[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: starship-design: Space Money
In a message dated 11/4/97 9:06:05 AM, email@example.com wrote:
>So far the -best- NASA has ever been funded was when it was 4.4% of the
>federal budget, in 1966. Since that time, the worst was when it was
>0.7% in 1986. The projections for the next few years show NASA's budget
>going back down to 0.7% again.
>Imagine what NASA could do with double its budget (which would still
>only be 1.6% of the federal budget)!
>The problem is, of course, that most people really have no idea how much
>we spend on space. When someone in the government wants to win points
>with the public by cutting the budget, space programs make an easy
>target: you just say "we're spending millions on this stuff which has no
>direct immediate benefit to you" and you've got it made! What they
>never tell anyone is how many OTHER programs out there are getting even
>more money for even less immediate value to the public. I think if they
>quoted percentages rather than actual dollar amounts, the space program
>would be seen in a much better light by the public.
True the public has little if any understanding of the fraction of the budget
NASA is. On the other hand I think they are correct that NASA generally
wastes most of its budget, often for political reasons, but still wastes.
Think about it. A space shuttle costs about a billion dollars a bird to buy,
and about the same per flight to operate. The yearly shuttle flight expences
would buy most of an aircraft carrier a year. The space station construction
budget is expected to run over 40 billion. NASA likes to talk about
spin-offs, but the B-2 bomber program had far more, for far less money.
Regratably I think its the public, not us space advocates, who correctly
evaluate the costs of space. I.E. we're geting ripped off by NASA.
For new guys who don't know, I was in the Space Shuttle, station, and NASA
headquarters contracts for about 14 years. So I know something about what I