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NASA The Almighty Buck

NASA's Greatest Challenges In 2014 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the hard-road dept.
coondoggie writes "In its annual look at what challenges NASA faces in the coming year, the agency's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) this year outlined nine key areas it says will cause the most angina. Leading the way in pain is money. NASA's current money story starts off bad and just gets worse. From the article: '"Along with the rest of the Federal Government, NASA began FY 2013 under a 6-month continuing resolution that funded the Agency at FY 2012 levels. This was followed by a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that reduced the Agency's enacted funding level of $17. 5 billion by $626.5 million, or approximately 4% due to sequestration. These financial pressures look to repeat themselves in FY 2014, with no annual budget in place at the beginning of the fiscal year and potential sequestration impacts that could reduce NASA's budget request of $17.7 billion by $1.5 billion to $16.2 billion. As the National Research Council noted in its 2012 report examining NASA's strategic direction and management, NASA's budget is 'mismatched to the current portfolio of missions, facilities, and staff,'" the OIG report stated.'"
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NASA's Greatest Challenges In 2014

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  • by khallow (566160) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @11:05PM (#45732867)

    Why do you think they killed the shuttle program before there was a viable replacement?

    Two reasons: 1) because there never would be a viable replacement, especially while the Shuttle still flew, and 2) because the Shuttle and the rest of the manned space program had huge risks associated with it - bigger than the 2% chance of loss of crew (lose another Shuttle, the VAB, or the ISS and where is your manned space program?) which could be significantly reduced by not being dependent on the Shuttle.

    Why do you think the Jupiter-Direct plan was never given a fair shake?

    The plan had the serious defect of not throwing enough money at the usual contractors, particularly, ATK (Alliant Techsytems).

  • Re:Privatise it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @12:12AM (#45733137)
    Here's the obvious two rebuttals. First, there's no point to taking risks without a return. Your claims about finite elements analysis are bizarre. It was already being developed and it doesn't take decades of work to turn FEA into viable algorithms and working code when a single person could do it in a few years.

    Second, what risks really are being taken? It's easy to talk about taking risks when you get easy money from someone else and have little accountability for what you do with that money.

    You just won't get that from private enterprise, even a "Kickstarter-driven" kind of private enterprise.

    Ever try?

  • meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @01:01AM (#45733323)

    np China took the lead anyway.

  • Re:Privatise it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fnordulicious (85996) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @02:04AM (#45733577) Homepage

    Firefighting isn’t profitable. Police services aren’t profitable. Parks and playgrounds aren’t profitable. Plowing the streets and sidewalks isn’t profitable. Public art isn’t profitable. Keeping the air and water clean aren’t profitable. Teaching children isn’t profitable. Maintaining our highways isn’t profitable.

    Yet we spend our money on these things. Why? Would you volunteer to pay for fighting fires in a neighborhood on the other side of your town? Or how about to pay for a highway that connects two cities you’ve never been to? Or to educate someone else’s children?

    People are selfish, obviously including you. We don’t want to pay for things that don’t obviously benefit us. But we still want to live in a world where we have things like clean water, educated children, and people to put out our burning homes. Paying for scientific research is the same thing. We have governnments that tax us so that they can provide exactly those services that nobody is willing to voluntarily pay for.

    If you want to live without them, why not try moving to Sudan or tribal Pakistan? Try living without the modern society you’re accustomed to if you really don’t want to pay for it. Give it all up. When you have, maybe then you can come back and tell us about how everything should be paid for on a strictly voluntary basis.

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