If the Obama administration and various NASA critics thought that the White House’s effort to kill Project Constellation would be easy…well, let’s just say nobody is taking this laying down. Take ATK for example, which released a statement regarding the White House’s proposed budget for NASA,
The President’s budget proposal is the first step in a long process that will ultimately require Congressional approval. It is not clear why at this time the nation would consider abandoning a program of such historic promise and capability – with so much invested. We anticipate additional detail on the budget proposal’s impact on the nation’s space policy to unfold in the coming weeks as the Congress and industry are provided an opportunity to review these recommendations. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have expressed their concern over this apparent change in policy direction. NASA and its industry partners have made significant progress in Constellation’s development, culminating in the successful Ares 1-X test flight. Ares is meeting all major milestones. The Ares I launch vehicle is an innovative and now proven design with an overriding concern for crew safety. It is 10 times safer than any launch vehicle in existence or on the drawing board. NASA’s own Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel recently concluded that “The Ares I vehicle has been designed from the beginning with a clear emphasis on safety. To abandon Ares I as a baseline vehicle for an alternative without demonstrated capability nor proven superiority (or even equivalence) is unwise and probably not cost-effective.” In the weeks and months ahead we are hopeful that the Congress and Administration will work together to deliver a budget that supports a program that capitalizes on the investments the nation has made in the Constellation program, closes the gap in US capability to return to space, and best assures continued US leadership in space. We believe ATK will continue to play a significant role in America’s future space exploration.