And you thought the Emperor was the only one sending our space program down a dusty trail? Read the Conference Amendment Text below and see how ignorant our Congressfolk and/or their staffers can be:
SEC. ____ . (a) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall take all actions necessary in fiscal year 2008, including renegotiating necessary prime contracts and subcontracts and ensuring that they do not expire, in order to ensure the option of operating the Space Shuttle beyond the currently planned Shuttle end-of-operations date in 2010. These actions shall be accomplished using existing funds made available by this or any other Act, and shall include --
(1) permitting no contracts necessary for such operation to expire;
(2) keeping all necessary production facilities active, or readily available; and
(3) conditioning any turnover of Shuttle facilities to programs other than the Shuttle program so as to ensure that such turnover will not affect the option to operate the Space Shuttle after 2010.
(b) Actions taken by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under this section shall not negatively affect Constellation program development, schedule, or delivery.
(c) Not later than March 1, 2008, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall report to Congress on how it intends to implement actions under this section within existing funds. Such report shall include a description of the proposed disposition of facilities and how the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will keep all Shuttle operations operating while still maintaining the schedule for the development of the Constellation program.
Keep flying Shuttle past 2010 and maintain the schedule for Constellation? Putting the technical issues associated with flying almost 30 year old spaceships aside, just where does Weldon think the budget will come from in this zero sum game to do all of that? We would like to suggest that Weldon buy a couple of gift cards tomorrow and throw a going away party for his space staffers, least he embarrass himself further by pursuing this unenlightened path.