On average, things have now come to a screeching halt across the empire. Sure, the minions are going through the motions, but no serious decisions are being made in the current vacuum. It is in the quiet times, however, when the slightest noise brings the most attention.
Viceroy Gerst continues to run on rogue, pulling the levers and turning the cranks behind the green curtain. The COTS contractors have been restarted in spite of an ongoing protest that could overturn the award results sometime in the next couple of months. Shuttle C studies and Direct reviews have compared more than favorably with the Emperor's ego-architecture. When the minion's own accounting illuminate ways of getting to the moon for less than half of the current approach, you know ARES-1 is going the way of the Dynosaur.
And to the moon we shall still go. But the Snow Princess and her elfish Changelings did get the last laugh, it appears, on the shuttle huggers. No shuttles will fly after September 2010. Not unless a bake sale bailout like no other raises the funds to do so. At the rate things are going, Sam Ting may have finally been tonged.