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NASA To Continue Funding Canceled Ares Project Until March 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-even-firing-money-into-space dept.
wooferhound passes along this quote from the Orlando Sentinel: "Thanks to congressional inaction, NASA must continue to fund its defunct Ares I rocket program until March — a requirement that will cost the agency nearly $500 million at a time when NASA is struggling with the expensive task of replacing the space shuttle. About one-third of that money — $165 million — will go to Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, which has a $2 billion contract to build the solid-rocket first stage for the Ares I, the rocket that was supposed to fill the shuttle's role of transporting astronauts to the International Space Station. ... The odd scenario, in which NASA is throwing money at a canceled rocket program but can't fund a modernization program, is because of several twists in the legislative process that started a year ago and came to a head this month. At the root of the problem is a 70-word sentence inserted into the 2010 budget — by lawmakers seeking to protect Ares I jobs in their home states — that bars NASA from shutting down the program until Congress passed a new budget a year later. That should have happened before the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year. But Congress never passed a 2011 budget and instead voted this month to extend the 2010 budget until March — so NASA still must abide by the 2010 language."
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NASA To Continue Funding Canceled Ares Project Until March

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  • by mschaffer (97223) * on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @09:16AM (#34685236)

    Seems odd that the US space agency needs a "modernization program". Obviously, it should be called something else since NASA still plans on using Russia's own antiquated hardware to keep the ISS going.
    Anyhow, I don't understand why we should be so happy that NASA is funding a program that it's not planning on using---regardless of where the funding is coming from.
    Well, it's only money. After all, it's not like they are taking your money, out of your wallet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Well, it's only money. After all, it's not like they are taking your money, out of your wallet.

      Pork -- welfare for the rich. Will no one think of the rich children?

      I'm fine with feeding and housing the poor, but most welfare in the US goes to the rich, who get the lion's share of everything government supplies.

      • by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @10:03AM (#34685564)
        I'm not sure you meant to use the word "welfare". I've been on both ends of that spectrum: On welfare and paying into the system that supplies the money. And it's a complete fucking racket, for sure, but one thing it doesn't help is The Rich. Go down to your local welfare office and look around the waiting room and tell me how many "rich" people you see down there. Maybe you meant that the rich get so many tax breaks and incentives that come out of the same government money that welfare does, but I promise you that welfare wouldn't suffer if that pool dried up. If you were to cut even one recipient's food stipend by $5/month you would have an all-out riot on your hands...those guys don't mess around. Instead, they will take money away from Social Security, medical research and, yes, NASA.
        • by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @10:23AM (#34685742)

          He's just bitching because the people who pay 90% of the taxes get a few breaks here and there. Apparently, if you're part of the small percentage of the population who actually keep the country running, you shouldn't get any special treatment. That's his idea of "fairness".

          • by dasunt (249686) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @10:37AM (#34685882)

            He's just bitching because the people who pay 90% of the taxes get a few breaks here and there. Apparently, if you're part of the small percentage of the population who actually keep the country running, you shouldn't get any special treatment. That's his idea of "fairness".

            If there wasn't a large wealth disparity in the US (Gini index for reference [wikipedia.org]), perhaps the majority of taxes wouldn't come from such minority of people.

            Probably that wasn't the fix you were looking for though...

            • by c6gunner (950153)

              Imagine that - a small subset of the population is better than the rest. The nerve of some people. How dare they stand out from the crowd? Clearly the communists had it right - we must force ALL people into standard-sized molds. I propose we start by making one-size-fits-all shoes.

              • by Ragzouken (943900) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:11AM (#34686296)

                This is exactly the problem with the rich. They genuinely believe that their wealth is evidence that they are part of a minority of people who work harder and are superior to the rest. Some people get lucky, and most people don't. I really have trouble believing that anybody, rich or otherwise, is working a million dollars harder than the average man.

                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by c6gunner (950153)

                  This is exactly why you'll never be rich.

                  • by hairyfeet (841228)

                    Just remember, they are out breeding you by about 10,000 to one, and that number is only INCREASING. All your greed will be worth exactly a bucket of warm spit when the economy collapses and there aren't anymore bread and circuses to keep the huge desperate masses opiated, in which case you will either do a really nice impression of the fall of Saigon, or will be lined up against the wall, your choice.

                    There is a GOOD reason why governments don't last, and the USA is living proof. The rich buy off the laws w

                • by YoungHack (36385)

                  For support of this "get lucky" philosophy, I recommend N Taleb's book "Fooled By Randomness."

                  People get rich by working hard, yes. People get insanely rich by working hard and getting lucky. But they tend to over-attribute the outcome to working hard and discount the effect of chance. Lots of not-rich people work very very hard, but not everyone can be lucky.

                  Read the book.

              • Imagine that - a small subset of the population is better than the rest. The nerve of some people. How dare they stand out from the crowd? Clearly the communists had it right - we must force ALL people into standard-sized molds.

                Ah the old wealth gospel. I grew up in a life of privilege - attended the most expensive private boarding school in the state, rubbed shoulders with kids of rockstars, sports franchaise owners and all kinds of captains of industry. I know plenty of such families, and, without doubt, they are no "better" than the rest. There are just as many dumbasses and leachers among them as there are among any other broad group of society. For most, the only thing they are better at is being born into the modern aris

              • by GaryOlson (737642)

                ...one-size-fits-all shoes

                That would violate my constitutional rights which forbids cruel and unusual punishment.

              • by geekoid (135745)

                A) You make the flase assumption that more money = better people. It does not.

                B) You make an argument to the extreme.

                So your whole post is a one logical fallacy or another. And after reading your others post, there all almost entire logical fallacies. So basically you are a troll. I wish I had realized you where a attention starved troll before replying. Oh well, I guess years of being alone has allowed to to craft you troll tendencies to a fine art.

                well done, you lonely bastard.

                • by c6gunner (950153)

                  The word "better" is subjective, I'm not taking anything to an extreme, and you obviously don't understand what a "logical fallacy" is. So basically you are a troll.

          • by Duhavid (677874)

            "small percentage of the population who actually keep the country running"

            Which is more likely to work, all workers and no capitalists or all capitalists and no workers? No, they do not keep the country running. They are a big part of the reason that the country is not running well at this point.

            • by c6gunner (950153)

              Re: "capitalist" ..... you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

              • by nedlohs (1335013)

                Capitalist fits perfectly in those sentences. Are you sure you know what the word means?

                That doesn't make the claim correct (you'll produce more cars with all capital - a robot filled factory for example - than you will with all labor), but the "worker" and "capitalist" terms are used just fine.

                • by Duhavid (677874)

                  I would ask where the robots came from. Capital cannot produce them, workers do.

                  • by nedlohs (1335013)

                    Where they come from is irrelevant once they exist. And no workers do not produce them, a combination of workers and capital does.

                    • by Duhavid (677874)

                      Referring to my above, could you get robots with all capital and no workers? No. You could with all workers and no capital. Workers make things, capital controls what is made, when it is made, by whom it is made, &c. But you *have* to have workers. Capital is optional, but usually controlling.

                    • by nedlohs (1335013)

                      Sure if the global population is 1,000,000* people capital is optional.

                      And "have to"? You know for a fact it is impossible to have a self sustaining automated system that produces stuff? The sun seems pretty much self sustaining (well over a reasonable time span in terms of humans) without any input from workers and yet produces heat and light just fine.

                      You really think it is a physical impossibility for machines to be built which maintain the existing machines and build new ones so that there is no human l

                    • by Duhavid (677874)

                      "Sure if the global population is 1,000,000* people capital is optional."

                      It is optional at any level. I am not arguing that it is efficient, desirable, or any other such argument, only that it is, ultimately, optional.

                      "And "have to"? You know for a fact it is impossible to have a self sustaining automated system that produces stuff? The sun seems pretty much self sustaining (well over a reasonable time span in terms of humans) without any input from workers and yet produces heat and light just fine."

                      A, I t

                    • by nedlohs (1335013)

                      We can not feed 6 billion people by gathering food with our bare hands.

                      As soon as you give a farmer a hoe or a spade he is now a capitalist since he owns some capital. Or give him some land to use exclusively, he is now a capitalist again.

                      Unless you mean a system in which no one "owns" anything, though I would say that's the same as a system in which everything has shared ownership of everything and hence everyone is a capitalist as soon as one spade is built.

                    • by Duhavid (677874)

                      "We can not feed 6 billion people by gathering food with our bare hands."

                      I don't recall saying we should try. I am not against tools, up to and including robots.

                      "As soon as you give a farmer a hoe or a spade he is now a capitalist since he owns some capital. Or give him some land to use exclusively, he is now a capitalist again."

                      You can make that argument, I am not disputing it. I would say that he/she/it is now both capitalist ( owner of means of production ) and worker ( worker ). I think it is good.

                      I

                • by c6gunner (950153)

                  Capitalist fits perfectly in those sentences. Are you sure you know what the word means?

                  Bullshit. In order for it to make any sense, you have to accept that workers can't be capitalists, and capitalists can't do work. Two assumptions for which no justification is provided. If you think what he said makes sense, you're either misreading it or you're as clueless as he is.

                  • by nedlohs (1335013)

                    No you don't. They are the standard labels in economics.

                    Capitalists own the capital and derive income for merely owning it. Workers work with the capital and exchange their labor for income.

                    That one person can be both a worker and a capitalist is irrelevant to the question of which role is more important in an economy.

                    Do you have trouble understanding anything that involves sets that may overlap? Does the existence of movies in which an actor does the direction mean you can't have a discussion about whether

                    • by Gabrosin (1688194)

                      "Which is more likely to work, all workers and no capitalists or all capitalists and no workers?"

                      What a dumb argument you two are having. The question is meaningless. Both arrangements will work equally well, which is to say, not at all. It's impossible to produce goods without both capital and workers. If you had all workers, they would by default be the capitalists, as they would have to own their own capital (or sit idle, unable to produce). If you had all capitalists, they would also sit idle, unab

                    • by nedlohs (1335013)

                      That's not the argument we are having.

                      the argument we are having is "is capitalist a correct word to use in that context or does the statement imply that the person stating it doesn't know the meaning of the term".

              • by Duhavid (677874)

                I think you know what I mean. That "small percentage that actually keep the country running". If I am in error about what you meant by the phrase, please educate me.

                • by c6gunner (950153)

                  It's a false dichotomy, and a stupid question. Labor has always existed, as long as there have been human beings. The difference in wealth and success between societies arises from how they organize that labor.

                  • by Duhavid (677874)

                    I don't see it as a stupid question, but as a question to point out something. And of course labor has existed as long as people. What is the point of making that observation? And yes, how labor is organized is very important. Does any of the above mean that those who are fortunate or hard working enough to be wealthy should be able to do stupid things with my tax dollars?

                    • by c6gunner (950153)

                      I don't see it as a stupid question, but as a question to point out something

                      What?

                      And of course labor has existed as long as people. What is the point of making that observation?

                      In order to address your false dichotomy.

                      Does any of the above mean that those who are fortunate or hard working enough to be wealthy should be able to do stupid things with my tax dollars?

                      It means they should be able to do stupid things with their tax dollars, but that's a completely different discussion, anyway.

                    • by Duhavid (677874)

                      "I don't see it as a stupid question, but as a question to point out something

                      What?"

                      That it is not "a small percentage of the population" that keeps the country running. That capital doesn't keep anything running ( I would argue, currently, it is preventing things from running here ), workers do.

                      "And of course labor has existed as long as people. What is the point of making that observation?

                      In order to address your false dichotomy."

                      How is it a dichotomy and how is it false?

                      "Does any of the above mean that

          • by Xyrus (755017)

            He's just bitching because the people who pay 90% of the taxes get a few breaks here and there.

            I really really wish people would stop confusing income tax rate to total tax burden. They are not the same thing. Not even close.

            The total tax burden is higher on the lower end of the economic spectrum than the upper end. Why? Because the rich have whole set of tricks to keep their total burden lower (even though the rich control about 80% of the wealth in the country).

            The people who keep this country running are those who ARE NOT millionaires. They're the ones actually providing services and producing goo

          • In the part of ATK I worked for, all of our money came from the government, from taxes of course, and we squandered most of it. We were not keeping the country running, we were almost wholly parisitic.

            Those are 'the rich' he was talking about, and those are the kind I've encountered in my life. If you've dealt with constructive, productive rich people, in your life as a non-American, then I'm happy for your experince. It doesn't make the other side of the picture unreal though.

          • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:41PM (#34687688) Homepage Journal

            wow.. just.. wow.

            The middle class pay most of the taxes, not the rich. And the rich pays nowhere near when the amount of wealth they have would justify.

            slightly over 66% of all income tax is paid by people earning between about 34K and 353K.

            Exxon made billions of dollars, didn't pay a cent to the US.

            When talking about taxes, 'Fair' has to so with wealth distribution, not everyone paying the same percentage.

            Of course, when talking about fair taxes, the only thing that should be considered is total taxes v. total income. As it stands, the middle class carries most of that burden as well.

            You are being stupid. Stop being stupid, it's beneath you.

          • by dubdays (410710)

            He's just bitching because the people who pay 90% of the taxes get a few breaks here and there.

            Actually, he was using it as a metaphor, but that's beside the point.

            Apparently, if you're part of the small percentage of the population who actually keep the country running, you shouldn't get any special treatment. That's his idea of "fairness".

            And this is the real issue of all of this...the word "fairness". What exactly does it mean to be fair? The fact of the matter is that while there are indeed many lazy people out there, the real point is that people are NOT equal. This is caused by a variety of reasons, but I think we can agree that a few people were born with certain abilities that are more "valuable" in the market. But, that does not mean they are harder workers or even n

          • You get special treatment by being allowed to make your money, and keep more of it than you would in any other country in this world. Not to mention, I'm sick of hearing the top 1% cry about their tax rate when it's a fraction of what it was historically when our country was 'booming".

            http://www.truthandpolitics.org/top-rates.php [truthandpolitics.org]
        • Given what people getting welfare and food stamps say where I can hear them, a lot of them do not actually need the money to live on. Not only are a lot of them getting most of their food for free, they think buying cigarettes and Four Loko is part of a sound strategy for becoming self-sufficient.

        • by Duhavid (677874)

          "I'm not sure you meant to use the word "welfare"."

          Re-read his post. Pork is "welfare" for the rich. A complete racket by which the rich maintain themselves on our tax dollars rather than going out and earning profits by making products people want to buy.

        • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:19AM (#34686428) Homepage Journal

          Those LINK cards don't benefit the poor, they benefit the poor's employers -- WalMart, McDonald's, etc, who aren't forced to pay their employees a living wage, because Uncle Sam kicking in a stipend. Better thay should raise the minimum wage so that a man working 40 hours a week could feed his family.

          Section eight housing helps landlords at the expense of the poor; the poor tenant is paying $200 a month rent for a house or apartment that might get $250 or $300 on the open market, while the landlord is collecting another $300 or $400 from the government. This drives up rents for everyone, the poor included, while the landlord gets twice to three times what he would get if it weren't for Section 8.

          TIF financing that local governments pay to get industry in depressed areas also go to the rich.

          Then there's the pork I originally mentioned -- money for a project that's been cancelled is nothing but welfare, and the rich get every penny of it.

          The poor get very little at all from any level of government, the rich get damned near everything.

          • We were getting so much from the government because of the number of children we have that I had to get a job paying $40k/year to make it worth getting off the program. You really think Wal-Mart is going to pay the door-greeter $20/hour? No fucking way. I'm making upwards of $70k/year now so I'm glad I did it, but there are plenty of people on the program that will never get off, no matter how much you raise minimum wage.
        • by geekoid (135745)

          Sure it does.

          It gives the rich something to complain about. The rich use it like a club to keep unneeded projects alive so their companies can make money.

          It's the government spending money in order to keep jobs going.Jobs in places owned by the rich, who make the profits from the labor.

          5$ a month is a meal. So think about that next time your sipping your 5 dollar 'coffee'.

          Go down to the local welfare agency and look at how many back breaking jobs are posted at, or below, minimum wage and then tell me the ri

      • by mu51c10rd (187182)

        Can you back up that claim? Look at who actually pays income tax...it is the rich. Who supplies the jobs? The rich. Who uses the public school system more, the firefighters, police, roads, utilities, naitonal parks, social security, food stamps, unemployment, medicare/medicaid? Definitely not the rich.
        Who uses pork more? Look at your local congressmen and see what "pork" they got. I guarantee you benefit from some of those earmarks.

      • by GaryOlson (737642)
        Your terminology fails to convey the right meaning. Let's try

        Porkfare -- subsidies for the rich.

  • by cfa22 (1594513) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @09:35AM (#34685376)
    How bad would the penalties be?
    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Are you asking what the penalties are for breaking the law?

    • How bad would the penalties be?

      I don't know, but upsetting the people who write your budget is generally not a good idea. Looked at it that way, $160 mill is cheap insurance to keep funds flowing.

    • by khallow (566160)
      As I see it, if the executive branch doesn't follow the funding directives of Congress on a large scale, then government is no longer operating within constitutional bounds. Then much like a banana republic, what happens would depend on who ends up on top. On a small scale, Congress may choose to ignore it or they could punish it with removal of funds from other executive branch operations.

      The penalties can range from no action at all to impeachment and removal of the president. It's pretty much at the
    • by swillden (191260)

      How bad would the penalties be?

      ATK would sue, and a federal judge would direct the government to pay up, plus whatever penalties the judge felt were appropriate.

  • It's not like Congress hasn't been busy recently [lexisnexis.com], and presumably NASA and its subcontractors aren't just taking the money and throwing it in a shredder. It takes time and money to properly mothball a project of that size, and in the meanwhile maybe they can make a little progress toward their goals.

    • by Isaac-1 (233099)

      What goals? Design another new shuttle replacement that will in turn be cancelled before being completed?

      • by Oriumpor (446718)

        We need to learn from the pragmatists. Shuttles don't work.

        The buran was mothballed after 1 successful, UNMANNED!!!!, re-entry. CLUE BAT MEET NASA.

        I'm actually incredibly proud of our nation's ability to get shit into space without NASA.

        My father in law works for one of these companies, guess what, they care about budgets and maximizing profit and still get to space on a schedule.

        Nasa was something to behold when we threw hundreds of billions at it to develop technologies nobody was sure about. It's plac

  • This is good money thrown into the trashbin! Or better yet, simply shredded! There will be no finished product, no technical or scientific achievement as a result of this money. And while I might show my ignorance about the details of the Ares program, why the heck are they even developing solid fuel rockets? This is supposedly a manned program, no?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Ignoring your ignorance of rockets, it's not Hubris. No one is saying they are better then some god.

      The word you are looking for is 'pork'.

  • red. You know, the people that want to 'cut taxes' and 'have a smaller government'.

    This is what happens when the voters go for lines like 'cut taxes'. It's a stupid misdirection that leads t nowhere good. You can't generically cut taxes and reduce pork. You must go after specific pork.

    But hey, everyones' for cutting pork until it's their job.

  • "is struggling with the expensive task of replacing the space shuttle". Is the author talking about SpaceX or some other mythical shuttle replacement? Last I knew, outside of SpaceX, NASA did not have a pot to piss in with regards to future manned launch vehicles. Please enlighten me.
  • Just when you thought Congress had run out of ways to waste money

  • the grande olde race to the bottom with your favorite bureaucratic players serving their duly appointed decades of service in office to the allmighty dollar and its greased corporate hand.

    The soviets managed the first satellite, the manned lunar orbit, and the first robotic probe on the moon as well as plasma engine technology, and this was all done about 30 years ago. here in the states we still shoot people into space with the firm conviction that at any moment the event can fail catastrophically fo
    • by edawstwin (242027)

      The soviets managed the first satellite, the manned lunar orbit, and the first robotic probe on the moon as well as plasma engine technology, and this was all done about 30 years ago.

      Slavery gets shit done.

  • And the lucky lottery winner for 2011 is... ATK

    OK, I know it's not a lottery -- it's on purpose (I'm sure someone intended this to happen). AND perhaps I shouldn't be picking on ATK since there's a lot of good people who work there -- I mean them no personal insult.

    It looks like the bulk of the rest of the money goes to Lockheed for work on the Orion. That won't go to waste as it's likely Orion, or parts of it, will get used in some future system. It even appears Lockheed might try to put it to use

  • by DCFusor (1763438) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:39PM (#34687652) Homepage
    How many times PER DAY of us hearing about how destructive our government is of the value WE create is it going to take before we stand up and toss the doggone bums out? And I don't mean like last time when we just voted out incumbents -- the stupid other party then decided they'd been given a "mandate" when in truth, we didn't vote for them, but against the other losers. Remember who pays for it all? This isn't incompetence, it's negative, not merely zero, competence.

    What choice is it when we only get to pick one loser or another, chosen by one of the two heads of the same monster? That's not a representative government anymore, not even close.

  • What if a law was passed invalidating all porkbarrelling clauses in federal legislation, including retroactively?
    • by khallow (566160)

      What if a law was passed invalidating all porkbarrelling clauses in federal legislation, including retroactively?

      How do you know it hasn't passed already?

    • What if a law was passed invalidating all porkbarrelling clauses in federal legislation, including retroactively?

      It would probably be unenforceable due to vagueness: "porkbarrelling" is a subjective description applied to laws directing funds in a manner which the speaker feels does more to benefit the political interest of a legislator than the national interest.

      Even if it wasn't unenforceable due to vagueness, and it wasn't a Constitutional amendment, any newer law specifically directing funds in a manner inconsistent with the "meta-law" would supercede the "meta-law" to the extent that they conflicted, as newer ena

  • I guess this is just so there can be some jobs in a few places in the country. We would do much better paying 1000 people to dig holes in random places and another 1000 to fill them in. Replicate that all over the country and we could have millions of government jobs and zero unemployment.

    The jobs aren't coming back. The jobs were based on making stuff in the US which isn't financially responsible to do anymore. The jobs were also because more and more stuff was needed because people were spending money

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