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As it attempts to finish the ISS, NASA faces major budget issues

A report released by the Congressional Budget Office indicates NASA faces continued manned launch delays and budget issues that could delay several of NASA's immediate space plans over the next 15 years.

The full report, "The Budgetary Implications of NASA's Current Plans for Space Exploration," is available here [PDF] and outlines all of the threats facing NASA over the next few years.  It reports that NASA's current budget of $18 billion per year isn't enough, and more funds are necessary for the U.S. space agency to stay relevant in an evolving space industry.

NASA hopes to return to the moon by 2020, but is unlikely to be able to do this with current budget numbers given to NASA.  The U.S. space agency continues to try and complete the International Space Station (ISS) before the shuttle is retired.

"If NASA's funding was maintained at $19.1 billion annually and the agency realized cost growth in its program's consistent with the average for 72 of its past programs, its planned schedules for spaceflight programs would be delayed," according to the report.  "In particular, the initial operating capability for Ares 1 and Orion would be pushed to late 2016, the return of humans to the moon would slip to 2023, and 15 of 79 science missions would be delayed beyond 2025."  

It's possible a delay to the science missions could help offer a 10 percent bump up to $21.1 billion to the space budget each year.  Regardless of its possible decisions, it'll be very difficult for the U.S. space agency to try and launch future budgets without eliminating or delaying a few missions.

Furthermore, the shuttle retirement will cause thousands of people at the Kennedy Space Center and Space Coast to lose their jobs after 2010.

In a separate report, an independent safety panel officially eliminated the idea of extending the life of the current generation of shuttles, which is scheduled to end next year.  Its life line shouldn't even be extended despite the fact that budget issues could delay the Orion next-generation shuttle past 2015.  NASA must either receive additional funds or a bit more time for construction to be completed.

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NASA wears to many hats.....
By RoberTx on 4/17/2009 12:45:33 PM , Rating: 1
Why does NASA do NOAA's job? Why does NASA employ huge numbers of engineers that literally do nothing? NASA needs to get its clock cleaned by a manager with big balls. NASA's job is to develope technology, not be a social club for the politicaly correct.

RE: NASA wears to many hats.....
By Clauzii on 4/17/2009 1:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
Engineers doing nothing?

You mean one man can design a space toilet in one week? Would designing a module for ISS be as easy as assembling a LEGO Racer?

There might be too many employees, I really don't know, but in science, an extra pair of eyes are always better. 'Art' is sometimes created when doing nothing.

It IS rocket science, You know ;)

RE: NASA wears to many hats.....
By RoberTx on 4/18/2009 4:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
NASA has more engineers than they know what to do with. Some have spent their entire careers with NASA and have never engineered anything. Many of them wind up spending their time playing golf for most of their careers. This issue has been addressed many times by budget analyst but the issue continues. Why does my post cause you to have a sarcistic hissy fit?

RE: NASA wears to many hats.....
By Expunge on 4/17/2009 2:12:00 PM , Rating: 2
The only social person at NASA is the director that the President appoints. The rest are engineers, contractors, and astronauts. And having met a couple of astronauts I can tell you these people are some of the finest human beings on this planet. Extremely intelligent, very personable, hard working, down to earth, just absolute great people.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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