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NASA budget favors private spaceship over shuttle replacement  (Source: NASA)
Budgeted funds have been redistributed

The current budget for NASA that will be used in fiscal 2012 is under some intense debate by those close to the agency. NASA chief Charlie Bolden went to Capitol Hill recently to defend the budget that NASA wants for 2012 against those in Congress that think the budget doesn't adhere closely enough to the outlines that were approved last year.

The debate around the budget has to do with how much funds will be offered to encourage the development of commercial spacecraft, and how much of the money will be put towards building a new heavy lift rocket that could be used to send astronauts into orbit and to the ISS. The heavy lift rocket was being viewed as a potential backup to the commercial spacecraft and private craft like the SpaceX capsule that became the first private spacecraft to hit orbit.

The NASA Authorization bill that was signed into law last year by Obama and set aside money from NASA to fund privately-developed spacecraft that would potentially take over after the final space shuttle mission. The problem some have with the budget that is being outlined for NASA is that it puts less money into the development of the next-generation spacecraft for NASA and more money into funding private development.

The total budget for NASA for fiscal 2012 has the backing of Obama and will lock NASA at 2010 levels amounting to $18.7 billion.

"While last year's Authorization Act was by no means a perfect bill, it did clearly articulate Congress' intention: that NASA pursue a means of transportation that builds on all the work that’s been done over the past five years," said the committee's ranking Democratic member, Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas). "I do not see it reflected in the proposed NASA budget request."

Committee chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas) said, "The new budget proposal disregards — yes, ignores — our authorization law."

"I get your message loud and clear and so does the president," Bolden said. "I think the budget does, in fact reflect following your guidance." Bolden does admit the funds were redistributed in the budget. He continued saying, "Because these are tough fiscal times we also had to make some difficult choices. Reductions are necessary in some areas so we can invest in our future."



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Politicians vs engineers?
By maven81 on 3/3/2011 12:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
This is the short version of what congress is saying "waaah! we know what you need better then you know what you need. Just make a giant rocket that will keep our lobbyists happy and our constituents employed."

This is a damn shame too because the issue is way more complicated then the politicians can grasp. You don't need a heavy lift rocket to deliver astronauts to LEO or to the ISS. Even 50 year old tech is perfectly capable of doing that if that is the mission. On the other hand, if we want to do anything beyond LEO (and we should be) we definitely will need a heavy lift launcher. But that can't happen if you cap the budget. You can't just say do it, and don't provide enough money, that's why constellation was a failure.
You also don't build a heavy lift launcher unless you have a mission for it. Vague notions of maybe going to mars in 20 years is not good enough.




RE: Politicians vs engineers?
By kattanna on 3/3/2011 12:48:43 PM , Rating: 5
a big problem for NASA is the constantly shifting goals. space programs are not short term goal items. they are long term ones, and need to be treated as such.

if we are to task NASA with a mission, we need to let it work on that mission until completion. changing goals every few years simply wastes vast sums of money


RE: Politicians vs engineers?
By bh192012 on 3/3/2011 1:00:26 PM , Rating: 4
The goals seems to change with every election. Whether it's a new administration, or one that's on it's second term and less worried about re-election.


RE: Politicians vs engineers?
By tamalero on 3/4/2011 10:48:15 AM , Rating: 2
You cannot keep one goal if your proyected funds keeps changing radically (like it seems to do in every administration).
hence why they have to "plan" as they go with each reduction.


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