Obama 2011 budget request: Major shakeup for NASA

By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 1, 2010; 12:08 PM

In President Obama's 2011 budget request, NASA gets a major programmatic shakeup in its $19 billion budget, which represents a bump of $276 million from the previous year. The budget kills Constellation, the Bush-era program that would have sent humans back to the moon. The Constellation program includes the Orion crew capsule and the Ares 1 rocket.

Instead, the administration is asking for $6 billion over five years to develop a commercial taxi to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the life of which would be extended to 2020.

The budget intimates that Constellation is both a budget-buster and a stale idea. Constellation, the budget states, "was planning to use an approach similar to the Apollo program to return astronauts back to the Moon 50 years after that program's triumphs. An independent panel found that Constellation was years behind schedule and would require large budget increases to land even a handful of astronauts back on the Moon before 2030."

For the full budget request, click here.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company