What’s missing from the bold plans for human spaceflight?

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Manned Space, NASA, Washington Post

Got Space?

The answer to the Washington Post headline is, of course, money.

Whatever the problem(s), to include NASA’s, chances are good it can be fixed with time and money.

However, an essential task of leadership is establishing priorities.  After all, when everything is priority one, nothing is priority one.  This is because there is always more people want done than there is time and money to do.  So the issue becomes ‘what are we going to do and what are we going to (by choice) not do?’

It’s interesting NASA has become a political and funding football largely because (IMHO) there is no well understood (or agreed on) mission, vision, and strategy.  Oh, those things exist on paper, but are they reconciled between NASA, the Congress, and the administration?

The comments trailing the article are telling.  They tend to fall into one of three bins:

1) Conspiracy theory.  NASA’s dilemma is a plot to cause them to fail for the purpose of draconian space cuts in the future.

2) Appeal to goodness.  Full funding for NASA’s manned space efforts because…well, it’s important!

3) Space isn’t all that.  Unemployment, deficit spending, and other domestic problems should serve to push NASA’s problems off the funding screen.

Of course, there should be great synergy between military space, civil space, and commercial space.  Instead, we have funding disconnects, excess capacity, conflicting visions and goals.

Keep doing what you’re doing, keep getting what you got.

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