Thanks to congressional inaction, NASA is being forced to spend $500 million on canceled projects—but can't begin much-needed modernization programs, reports the Orlando Sentinel. NASA's Constellation program, designed to return people to the moon, was canceled earlier this year by President Obama. But lawmakers inserted language into the budget to protect jobs in their home states requiring continued funding. Because a new budget was not passed in October, NASA must continue to pay for the canceled Ares I rocket development until at least March, at a cost of $95 million per month.
NASA claims that the Ares I money is not all waste—much of the rocket research could be applicable to a next-generation heavy-lift rocket design, if the agency chooses to use that design. Meanwhile, because of severe budgets constraints, NASA has been forced to delay upgrades to the Kennedy Space Center. "It would be nice if Congress did its work," said an expert at George Washington University.