How To Cut NASA

Thoughts from Mary Lynne Dittmar. I disagree somewhat that we should simply appropriate the authorization, but it’s unlikely we’ll get a better authorization any time soon, absent fresh thinking from the usual suspects on the Hill. We do need to think about what capabilities we want to preserve within the agency (though I think that we need to completely restructure federal space policy, not just NASA).

5 thoughts on “How To Cut NASA”

  1. Congress generally specifies what gets cut, one way or another – most often either naming specific programs, or calling for an across-the-board percentage. Agency flexibility in reapportioning cuts among individual programs will usually be very limited.

  2. @MPM & Henry:

    Setting aside how Congress authorizes and appropriates, it’s my understanding that Treasury maintains a myriad of accounts for all agencies, attaching Congressional guidance as to the lawful expenditure for each. That guidance always provides instructions to spend no more than X; further instructions may constrain discretion in expenditure even further.

  3. I’m not sure I see the termination of the shuttle and Constellation programs as necessarily a huge blow to our As long as NASA funds a strong commercial program to build two or three new HSF vehicles, doesn’t some degree of “knowledge preservation” happen more or less automatically? Companies that land a contract snap up the brightest and most knowledgeable people from the old program. Most of the rest have to make some kind of mid-career course change. Isn’t that the kind of “creative destruction” that happens all the time in a free market?

    If the organization itself is excellent then you lose something when it is dissolved, but does that really apply to NASA? In any case, ISS will continue, which means that much of what we know about how to live and work in space will continue to be practiced within NASA for another 10 years at least.

  4. Wikipedia gives an internal volume of ISS at 837 m^3. Costing $35b to $160b. Operating costs going to be about $5b per year.

    3xBA330 would cost about $600m to orbit, providing more volume and the operating costs (considering they operate two modules in orbit for a few years now) should be almost nothing.

    I think they have room for savings. How could we transition the ISS to take advantage of some of that?

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