Bolden adds that budget makers appear to have lost sight of the fact that “Commercial Crew will go away after 2017-2018. It’s not one of these forever programs. It’s a development program for companies like Sierra Nevada, Boeing and SpaceX, to take over responsibilities of transporting crews to low Earth orbit. Once we get those stood up, . . . the development program goes away and . . . I don’t write checks anymore. NASA then writes a check for whoever the company is to provide crew support, but Commercial Crew disappears from our budget line.”
From the broader NASA program perspective, the effects of sequestration in 2014 will mean inevitable delays and potential program cancellations. “We’re not going to make it work,” Bolden says, adding that the originally requested budget of $17.7 billion would “negate sequestration, take it off the table. If we end up in sequestration it significantly reduces the amount of money NASA will have. Under sequestration we’ll lose around 5%, so we’ll be down to $16.6 billion. It will move everything to the right, and [take] the lower priority items and kick them off the calendar. So sequestration is really, really, really bad. I can’t say it any other way,” he says.