NASA, Where are you going? And are you taking the shuttle?

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/196738main1_mg_226.jpgAll of us are in here at the same time listening to Michael Griffin give an address. He had mostly been glossing over the histories of NASA. Now he is digging into where things are going. The Shuttle? Done when ISS is built and Hubble is launched. Period. It’s just not safe. Other projects are all being revisited.

This is bad.

SIM is in jeopardy. If I hear him right, it’s toast. If his recommendations are adopted. The problem is, we can’t afford SIM and James Webb. He’s scolding us and flat out telling us everything else we want to do will suffer. There’s no money. He wants us to be more clear in the future with what we want. We want too many things. Our decadal surveys, which lay out our dreams and the missions needed to accomplish them, dream big. But congress is cutting funding.

He is now laying out just how bad it is across the board.

A third of ISS missions – Gone

NASA’s Budget – It’s not what was promised by the Bush Administration when they mandated to return to the Moon and Mars. $5 billion extra they were promised – Gone. $2 billion in their existing budget – Gone. (warning: I thought he’d said million, but someone else heard billion).

ISS is getting priority. “It is a feature of American Space Policy.” We were just told we are “consigned to the kids’ table” if we don’t except that.

I get the strong feeling that he sees us as the enemy, as children, and as people who need to be scolded and put in our place.

I can hear astronomers behind me muttering about how they can’t believe the attitude we’re being addressed with.

Griffin is asking for the science community to understand that NASA is not a purely scientific entity. “Does the Scientific Community understand that expanding the human endeavor in space is an equally nobel endeavor?” he says. Um, sure. But we don’t have to agree that NASA should allocate resources the way it does.

He just mentioned James Rumsfeld is his friend.

I like his honesty about the need to tighten budgets. I don’t like him belittling people who don’t agree with his positions. Phil is pounding away beside me on his keyboard, writing way faster than I am. I can’t wait to read what it is saying.

Griffin is invoking the names of the lost Columbia crew to promote manned space flight. He is saying we can’t lose sight of that purpose – their manned spaceflight purpose.

I can’t agree. They were scientists. They did science. Their’s was the last mission dedicated to science.

Commercial space agencies can do the manned space flight thing. NASA is the only place to go for science in space in the US. And I am not a small child sitting at the kid’s table. I am a voting American citizen who believes we need to finish ISS to meet international treaties and only for that reason, and then we need to move on and decide where we are going to go next with NASA and with commercial space. There options. I want option C.

I need to call a congressman. He just pointed out that over 1/2 of NASA’s budget is earmarked (mandate) by congressmen who are micromanaging.

What do you want NASA to be? Call a congressman.

5 Comments

  1. Cedillo June 25, 2009 at 3:35 am #

    I Love the way you write…thanks for posting

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