"We have a history in the United States of what I call 'start-stop-start-stop-cancel' programs. We get these giant, grand dreams -- this bold vision -- and all the contractors cost too much and deliver too little. And ultimately, we don't have those national budgets to support it," he said.
In place of Constellation, the White House wants NASA to help private companies launch a new orbital space transportation industry, develop new technologies for future manned and robotic space exploration, beef up aeronautics research, and increase environmental monitoring of Earth.
"The 2011 NASA budget... acknowledges one of the biggest barriers to exploring space: how you pay for it," said Ken Bowersox, a former shuttle commander now working with Space Exploration Technologies, a startup commercial space launching firm that plans to fly cargo and crew to the station.
"One of the things that you have to work in order to fix that issue is the relationships between the government and the contractors which provide the services. The government, hopefully, will set the destination. The contractors, with their innovation and flexibility, should be able to come up with new and innovative ways to get that job done," Bowersox said.