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One question: The authorization bill that passed Congress on Wednesday night specifically required NASA to continue construction of a heavy-lift vehicle, quite similar in concept to Constellation. Why then is NASA management laying off all these Constellation workers? Granted, the authorization did not provide Constellation with as much money as previously budgeted, but the layoffs seem greater than necessary at this time, considering the budget differences. Also, the lack of a final budget from Congress might require these layoffs to occur temporarily, pending a new budget, but NASA is not making it clear that this is the case. Instead, they are letting a lot of people go without giving them any guidance about NASA’s future plans.
If the Obama administration was serious about fulfilling Congress’s legal requirement to build a heavy-lift vehicle (as deputy administration Lori Garver said they were on Thursday), I would have expected them to be more forthcoming to these NASA employees, if only to encourage them to remain available for rehiring, for at least a short time. That they have not is very telling.
Do not expect this heavy-lift vehicle to be built.