Wednesday, February 09, 2005

President Dim Rapes NASA

I have to wonder if NASA Watch's Keith Cowing is ashamed yet of the stupid book he cowrote about the Chimperor's glorious plans for conquering space. Because, as it turns out, Bush is so busy raping NASA there's not going to be much left for the glorious conquest. In particular, the aeronautics budget - the part of NASA that has the most to do with actual practical life on earth - is getting slashed. Comments sent to NASA Watch include:

Yesterday at Glenn we heard our Center Director's interpretation of what the new NASA Aeronautics budget would contain. In his words, only "Breakthrough Technology Demonstrators" would be funded, no more fundamental research. I take this to mean full size hardware with mature technology. I would like someone in the Bush administration to explain to the Aerospace engineers here how you can show breakthrough technology WITHOUT doing fundamental research. I really don't think that this administration gets it. Corporations usually fund the full scale demonstrators in aeronautics, at least in the systems NASA deals with. They depend on NASA to do the legwork and show that it can be done in research and small scale testing first. NASA has been the organization to fund the risky and long term research. It had gotten this country to be number one in aerospace. Not any more. Boeing lost its edge in aircraft production to Airbus. I wonder if engineers in the U.S., including those at NASA in aeronautics, will be job-shopping to Airbus in the future.

Of course basic research proves that the earth is neither flat nor 6000 years old, so it has to go. There's more:

I have been a civil servant at LaRC for over 20 years and have witnessed first hand the demise of this once-great national asset. If the goal of the "President's Management Agenda" is to destroy NASA, he is well on his way to accomplishing that goal.

Many ultra-conservatives have been advocating the privatization of NASA for decades. In fact, the Libertarian Party publicly supports NASA's privatization as one goal in their agenda. If the President shares that view he should publicly state it and not covertly dismantle NASA from within.

It seems this Administration is using NASA as a "Cash Cow". The Moon-Mars initiative is simply corporate welfare for Boeing, LockMart, and the rest of the military industrial complex who are now the prime contractors for NASA. I doubt Bush came up with this idea on his own. My guess is the people who advocated this project are the same ones who are profiting by it. By the time the next president is elected billions of our tax dollars will have been wasted on this boondoggle, nothing will have been accomplished and it will be canceled. Leaving NASA in ruins.

A friend of mine works for NASA and he says the general belief among his coworkers is that as soon as the shuttle is retired - five years before "Project Constellation," the spam-can copy of Apollo, is scheduled to fly - the manned space program will be shut down. And why in shit's sake does it take 10 frigging years to build a copy of Apollo?!

Morale could not be lower and if this situation is not handled quickly, strategically and with a prospect of something worth staying for, many of the best people will simply walk away. Frankly, most of the researchers have come to the conclusion that this is the desired outcome.

So, Keith, ready to burn that asinine book of yours? New Moon Rising my ass.


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