While ATK tested a space shuttle booster Thursday, Rep. Rob Bishop was grilling NASA administrator Charles Bolden in Washington, D.C., about lost jobs and renting space capsule space from Russia if the shuttle's successor, the Constellation, is not funded.
According to a transcript released by his office, Bishop questioned Bolden during the House Science and Technology Committee hearing on NASA's fiscal year 2011 budget. Bishop is a former member of the committee. The administration's proposed 2011 budget does not include Constellation.
Bishop asked if Bolden had talked to the Department of Defense about what ending Constellation would do to the nation's missile-building industries. Bishop's office estimates job losses of 20,000 to 30,000.
Bolden said he has had only informal discussions.
Bishop asked for "an estimate on cancellation costs. Your budget puts it at around $2.5 billion."
Bolden said, "We are evaluating right now what the potential cancellation costs are."
Bishop asked, "When you said you were building a bold new path for the future and you are coming up with -- what was it? Programs ... summers of inspiration for kids to encourage them?"
Programs to inspire young people aren't going to impress students, Bishop said, after they "look at 20,000 to 30,000 private-sector jobs ... involved in science, math and engineering being given a pink slip."