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« Email Flood | Main | "Unnecessary Risk" »

Fool Me Once

...shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

COTS doesn't seem to be a very high NASA priority.

Sources close to the companies have told Flight International that the NASA budget proposal for fiscal year 2007 has a major reduction for COTS, which could make the projectís targets unobtainable.

I'm shocked, shocked!

A commenter over at Clark Lindsey's place nails it, I think:

It seems that the decision-makers in charge of recent NASA budget choices view its priorities in something roughly like the following order: continuing the Space Shuttle, completing the ISS, NASA-designed and operated CEV and CLV, NASA-designed and operated human moon transportation systems to go with CEV/CLV, using the ISS, very large lunar robotic missions, non-lunar (and small lunar) robotic space exploration probes and technologies, Earth observation satellites, aeronautics, Centennial Challenges, and COTS. My guess is that the actual interests and needs of the nation as a whole (the general public, the commercial space industry, other government agencies like DOD and NOAA, academia, science organizations, etc) are roughly the reverse of these priorities.

I'm sure that Mark Whittington will chime in with his foolish mantra any minute, about us being "unwilling to take 'yes' for an answer."

[Sunday evening update]

I see that Mark is indulging himself in his favorite solo sport again--setting up and kicking down strawmen. Which is why no one I know takes him very seriously.

[Update at 10 PM EDT]

Clark Lindsey has more details on the proposed budget cuts.

[Monday afternoon update]

I'm hearing now that the Flight International got it wrong, and that no cuts are being contemplated, or at least not requested.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 02, 2006 05:47 AM
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Nah, Rand is providing enough foolishness without my help. For those who are saying "aha!", I should ask who these unnamed sources are and what "major reductions" are defined as. Also, final budget decisions are months away. I will wait to see how this all shakes out before getting all excited and peturbed.

Posted by Mark R. Whittington at July 2, 2006 08:42 AM


> I should ask who these unnamed sources are and what "major reductions" are defined as.

Centennial Challenges -- cut from $35 million in the FY06 budget request to $10 million in FY07. A 71% reduction.

According to Mike Griffin.

I guess you don't consider the NASA Administrator a credible source, eh, Mike? :-)


Posted by Edward Wright at July 2, 2006 05:21 PM

Clark's theory, that the COTS funding schedule is going to get shifted over one year because the winners are being picked so late, actually makes a lot of sense. More sense than the idea that there's a "bait and switch" and that "fool me once..." is in play. I've learned that it's not a good policy to react too quickly to news stories, especially one that is so vague and pooly sourced as the one that started this one. Something for the Internet Rocketeer Club to think upon.

Posted by Mark R. Whittington at July 2, 2006 08:57 PM

My daily reading includes both Cumudgeons' Corner and Transterrestrial Musings. I take both you guys seriously. One or the other of you is usually right, and often both.

Posted by Zoe Brain at July 3, 2006 12:34 AM

Zoe - Thanks for the vote of confidence. You are right and have made my morning. (g)

Posted by Mark R. Whittington at July 3, 2006 04:38 AM


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