21 thoughts on ““A Penny For NASA””

  1. I think he has a memory of a time that never existed. America was enthralled with NASA space exploration three times: when Alan Shepard became the first American in space, when John Glenn became the first American in orbit, and when Apollo 11 put the first men on the moon. The rest of the time, it lacked the support of the majority of Americans principally because of the cost.

    There are 100 million taxpayers in the U.S. Doubling NASA’s budget would cost each around $180 a year. It’s “not much,” unless you really don’t care about it. I do, and so do the denizens of this blog. Sadly, we’re a small minority.

  2. What is NASA doing so well today that would warrant doubling their budget?

    James Webb Space Telescope – billions over budget and years behind schedule
    SLS – wasteful and unnecessary boondoggle (mandated by Congress). Rocket to Nowhere.
    Orion capsule – $5 billion spent so far and still years from first flight.

    I’d love to see a list of significant NASA projects (say >$500 million) over the past 40 years that came in on time, budget and met performance requirements. It’ll be a short list.

    1. I don’t really blame NASA for SLS. Having seen comments by the administrators it seems like the whole thing was shoved on their throats by Congress. The Augustine Commission basically said it was necessary to do more work on technology demonstrators and to properly fund the other things necessary for a permanent manned presence in space rather than just the heavy lift rocket. The demonstrators serve to reduce risk. Instead this is sorta like Ares V all over again. Work on engines is going at a snails pace while they still haven’t decided which engine, or how many engines, they are going to use on the first stage (doh!).

      JWST is another thing altogether. It is eating so much of the budget that it put the planet finding missions on hold or they were cancelled altogether. Those missions are IMO more important than “studying the early origins of the Universe” or whatever JWST is supposed to do.

      1. Like I wrote, the SLS was mandated by Congress. However, I don’t think NASA protested too hard. I gives Marshall a reason to exist.

  3. I’d be in favor of transferring $17B from most of the other $2483B that the federal government spends each year other than NASA, but I’d want it all to be spent on commercial delivery subsidies, like the Kelly Airmail act. E.g., a subsidy to start filling an orbital fuel depot with kerosene. With this administration, I’d hope the first extra billion would go to fully fund the latest acronym for COTS.

      1. Trent, subsidies can encourage industries to grow. Just look at the renewable energy industry. The vast majority of that growth in the developed world and elsewhere is due to subsidy. It doesn’t mean the subsidy is a good idea since the effort put into growing that industry could have gone possibly in more productive directions. But it is feasible.

    1. I hope some people show up and tell them they’re being jerks to everyone who doesn’t get a government handout and, as such, takes bake sales and other fund raising activities seriously.

    2. Excellent.

      Shuttle-cakes for $10.
      Constellation-cakes – it’s a raffle to see if you get a cake, for $20.
      Falcon cakes – smaller. But $0.25
      (Add SS1 and anyone else vaguely competent)

      Little placards:
      “Buy -this- cake, because it employs -X- NASA rocket scientists(*)”

      “This cake made by some vicious, greedy, hateful 1% type.”

  4. I had the impulse to work out how many tax dollars did i send to the spectacular Constellation project, total, over the years. And then i had the impulse to weep in the corner.

  5. Stephen’s analysis of the SLS is more than a little simplistic, but just plain wrong. The purpose of SLS and Orion is to preserve as much of the exploration program as possible, pending a more enlightened administration than the current one. Tyson’s One Percent Solution would actually go a long way to making the rump exploration program that arose out of the ashes of Constellation into something meaningful.

    1. The purpose of SLS and Orion is to preserve as much of the exploration program as possible

      Then dropped the manned space part and continue to send the occasional robot mission. Manned space isn’t exploring anything and hasn’t done so for four decades.

      But if you’re serious about exploration, then you need to cut the programs that get in the way, such as SLS, of manned space exploration. To be blunt, ATK can develop SLS on its own dime. There’s no reason for the US government to overspend in the usual way on a program that it doesn’t have a use for.

    2. So the Shelby Launch System isn’t about keeping 200 million a month flowing to NASA employees so they don’t get laid off as was outlined in the Vision for Space Exploration?

    3. out of “the ashes of Constellation”?

      I didn’t realize you could burn power point files, because for 12 billion spent on Constellation, most were that. Just think, 12 billion and not one single orbital test flight. But when you are spending 200 million a month just to keep the employment rolls filled in the usual suspects districts, what can we expect.

  6. Maybe the bake sale will give NASA enough money to launch one of those satellites they got from the NRO or maybe pay for storage costs because it doesn’t look like NASA knows what to do with them.

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