In Your Face, Commercial Space! Shelby Shoves $100 Million Down Ares Rathole

constellation

$100M shifted to Ares program
Orlando Sentinel

For months, a powerful Republican senator from Alabama has fought the Obama administration to block $150 million that the White House wanted to spend to help private companies build rockets capable of reaching the international space station.

Now, it appears that U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby has won, in a decision that could have a major impact on the Cape Canaveral work force and America’s continued access to space.

According to administration and industry sources, Shelby insisted that $100 million of the money — part of $1billion set aside for NASA under this spring’s economic-stimulus bill — be diverted to Constellation, the troubled rocket program meant to replace the space shuttle after its 2010 retirement.

Though details of the concession to Shelby remain unclear, the fight shows the extent to which Shelby will go to defend both Constellation and Marshall Space Flight Center, the Alabama facility developing the Ares I rocket central to Constellation.

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