An article in the Denver Business Journal highlights NASA’s forwarding of $163M to Lockheed Martin to continue Orion through September 30. It is starting to sound like the NASA Contractors may have a current advantage in the showdown between the administration and Congress.
The Congressional discontent over the President’s NASA proposal has grown more clear in recent weeks, as both houses have moved forward with legislation that maintains Constellation as the legal program of record and slaps the NASA administration on the wrist for the backdoor attempt at contractor self-termination of Constellation through enforcement of the new-found NASA need to adhere to the ADA (Anti-Deficiency Act). Sounds like NASA is now either being forced to maintain Constellation, or perhaps even quietly hedge its bets against the President’s proposal should it be sent to the waste basket come November. The lingering question now is whether or not NASA is having to front additional funds to both continue Orion and to provide sufficient resources to satisfy the ADA.
NASA, in the past two weeks, has found $80 million in payment it will accelerate to Lockheed Martin under its existing contract, and then it added another $83 million to the contract. NASA worried Lockheed Martin would halt Orion this week without the money, said NASA spokesman Michael Braukus. “They were threatening to stop work,” he said. The $163 million is presumed to keep Lockheed working on Orion through Sept. 30, which is the end of the federal fiscal year, Braukus said.