Former NASA space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale says NASA’s Constellation program may have been doomed well before it was targeted for cancellation by the Obama administration.
The problem, he writes in his blog, was that NASA budgeteers were far too optimistic in their assumptions of when the space shuttle would resume operations following the 2003 Columbia tragedy, how much that would cost, and when assembly of the international space station might be completed.
“There are probably any number of factors which have wounded the Constellation program, perhaps mortally. But taking longer to return the shuttle to flight, costing more to return the shuttle to flight, and delaying the completion of the ISS and the retirement of the shuttle; those were major causes too. Coupled with the top-level decisions not to ask the Congress for more money, the squeeze was well-nigh intolerable. From my standpoint the consequences were unintentional. But unintentional or more precisely with the best of intentions, the result was severe.”