Most of the news concerning the Vision for Space Exploration and its implementation through Project Constellation has concerned technical problems and schedule slips. However, a coalition of American space companies (and a flock of hired lobbyists) is fighting the uphill (or up-Hill) battle to get Congress to add some $2B to NASA's budget over the next few years to accelerate the Constellation program. One major rationale, as voiced by a spokesman for the United Space Alliance: "The less time we are relying on the Russians for human access to space the better it will be for our program and our country." NASA expects to buy at least 16 Soyuz rides beginning in 2009.
COMMENT: There is a limit to how much you can speed up such a complex program, regardless of funding increases. However, I hope this uphill fight gets won: a decent budget would do a lot to prevent further slips, if nothing else, while helping to keep the NASA workforce intact after Space Shuttle retirement.