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View Diary: What NASA Could Be (320 comments)

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  •  No, sadly, it's not. (1+ / 0-)
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    Have you actually worked for the Defense Department? I have, in my own small way. It makes NASA look like a factory floor by comparison. Projects going nowhere, money going who knows where, payoffs and kickbacks going to people based solely on what district they represent.

    If you doubt me, just Google "F-22" and look how long our next-generation fighter has been in gestation. It went into production only very recently, but was in test for 15 years before that. If a NASA program had been allowed to do that, it would have been cancelled long ago.

    Fact is, nearly every government agency has some slack in it. NASA has more than some, less than others.

    Dividing it is not the solution- any more than dividing the Department of State would solve our foreign affairs travails, or dividing the DOD into its component departments would cure its bureaucratic muddles and seemingly unstoppable wastage. You just have the same problems in smaller packets.

    What is needed is a re-imagined NASA, that asks itself the reasons for its existence, other than to perpetuate itself- what are we here for? What missions should we perform? What can we do to most efficiently do it? More pointedly, how can we most effective harness the resources - public and private - that we have to accomplish the missions set for us?

    NASA is what happens when there are a lot of bureaucrats and not a lot of money- everybody begins to create their own little satrapy to conserve their programs. Put NASA back into the hands of people with vision- and you'll find that the problems will eventually subside. (They will never go away entirely- there will always be somebody just looking to feather their own nest, and large government agencies are always good for that.)

    •  Not possible (0+ / 0-)

      I mean surely you can already imagine this so called "re-imagination"

      hearings, reports, assessment, budget fight, pork barrel fight... money and time wasted running in circle. $200-300 doing "reimagination". While the chinese already build a functioning rocket inside that time and money.

      Even very basic thing like: What NASA objective is will take gigantic political battle. (looking for alien life? expanding national horizon?  exploration? blaaa blaa blaaa...)

      Time to get real.

      We define what we want.  We want cheap access to space. And let the rest of academics and industry decide what to do once we have cheap access.

      NASA will be no more than "rocket agency".  It is not in charge of monitoring earth. It is not in charge of space exploration. It is not in charge of moon, mars, or whatever other planet expedition. Astronomy, science, etc. It is not in charge of leading national space vision nor aeronautical research.

      NASA should be canceled and replace with far simpler agency with only one task: cheap access to space. Make rocket and it better be cheap and reliable or heads gonna roll.

      Take out the NASA still functioning departments, combine it with other agency, and kill the rest.  Build new rocket agency.

      Party is over. we want result.

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