Shelby: Budget a 'death march' for NASA

President Barack Obama's proposed budget represents a "death march" for United Staes space flight, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Monday .

Obama has proposed canceling NASA's "Constellation" project for manned space flight. NASA had hoped to return a man to the moon in 2010.

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Shelby is the ranking member of the Appropriations subcommittee handling NASA funding, and Alabama is home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

"The president’s proposed NASA budget begins the death march for the future of U.S. human space flight," Shelby said in a statement.

Shelby vowed that Congress would beat back Obama's proposed cuts and keep the program alive.

"Congress cannot and will not sit back and watch the reckless abandonment of sound principles, a proven track record, a steady path to success, and the destruction of our human space flight program," he said.

Obama has proposed outsourcing the program to private commercial providers. Shelby blasted those companies and said rocket science was so complicated that it requires a government program.

"We cannot continue to coddle the dreams of rocket hobbyists and so-called 'commercial' providers who claim the future of U.S. human space flight can be achieved faster and cheaper than Constellation," Shelby said. "I have consistently stated the fallacy of believing the cure-all hype of these ‘commercial’ space companies, and my position has been supported time and again by both the experts and the facts."