Congressional Investigators Side with NASA over 2010 Exploration Spending

July 27th, 2010

Constellation Program envision's Lunar Base Courtesy: Lunar and Planetary Institute

The investigative arm of Congress sided with NASA on Monday in a report sought by lawmakers over concerns the agency had slowed 2010 spending on the Constellation Program, while they reviewed White House plans to cancel the six-year-old, back-to-the-moon initiative.

The General Accountability Office’s 13-page legal opinion made public on Monday was in response t

o a March 12 inquiry from a bi-partisan collection of 17 House members, They  alleged NASA had slowed spending on Constellation and other exploration activities after the President announced his intent to cancel the program in February.

In the decision, the GAO found NASA’s 2010 spending rate on Constellation’s Orion crew transportation vehicle; Ares 1 crew launch vehicle; Ares V cargo launch vehicle; Constellation Program integration and operations; as well as the Commercial Orbital Transportation System was comparable to past years.

The auditors also found NASA was not in violation of provisions barring the agency from using 2010 exploration funds appropriated by Congress for the termination of Constellation activities.

Monday’s was the second of two legal opinions rendered by the GAO on the issue. NASA prevailed in the May 21 decision as well.