Possible layoffs at NASA

January 14, 2009 7:35:34 AM PST
Layoffs are possible at NASA. That's the warning from administrators if Congress freezes its spending. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The new president and Congress will have a lot of decisions to make about the U.S. space program. Among the most immediate is a new budget that may threaten jobs at NASA.

According to Houston Chronicle report, agency Chief Michael Griffin is warning that a funding freeze at the 2008 level, enacted by Congress last year, could mean layoffs at the space agency.

The newspaper also mentioned that Griffin predicted the job cuts would have to come from the Constellation Program, which is planning the return to the moon, and cited the 2008 budget level at $17.3 billion.

That's where it was frozen by Congress for this year. NASA was hoping for $17.6 billion and the shortfall might mean cuts.

Another factor in NASAS's future is whether or not to extend the life of the shuttle program. As we've told you, President-elect Barack Obama's proposal is to delay the retirement of the shuttle until later than the planned 2010 closing date. That would also add to the total cost of NASA's budget.

Meanwhile, Discovery is inching toward the launch pad today for its next mission to the International Space Station. The slow crawl out of Cape Canaveral's vehicle assembly building began at 3am today. The three and a half mile journey will take about six hours.

Discovery is set to lift off February 12 to install more equipment on the space station.

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