Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that one day after the removal of NASA's head of the Constellation Program, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, chairman of the Committee that oversees NASA, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the committee’s ranking Republican have asked NASA's inspector general to look into whether the NASA leadership is undermining the agency’s moon program and to “examine whether this or other recent actions by NASA were intended or could reasonably have been expected to foreclose the ability of Congress to consider meaningful alternatives” to President Obama’s proposed policy, which invests heavily in new space technologies and turns the launching of astronauts over to private companies. Congress has not yet agreed to the president’s proposed policy, which invests heavily in new space technologies and turns the launching of astronauts over to private companies, and inserted into this year’s budget legislation a clause that prohibits NASA from canceling the Constellation program or starting alternatives without Congressional approval. The manager, Jeffrey M. Hanley, whose reassignment is being called a promotion, had been publicly supported by Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., the NASA administrator, and other NASA officials, but he may have incurred displeasure by publicly talking about how Constellation could be made to fit into the slimmed-down budgets that President Obama has proposed for NASA’s human spaceflight endeavors. “It’s enough for us to be extraordinarily concerned,” said a Congressional staff member, who was authorized to speak only anonymously. “We just want the inspector general to follow the path and report back to us what he’s finding.”"
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