They misnamed the bill though. Should’ve been called “Found a Pork Program (un)Worthy of its Host Nation”.
I find it amusing that so many of the opponents of Obama’s proposed space plan are so happy with this, when it doesn’t actually resolve most of the things they said were wrong with his policy. To whit:
- There are no details, plans, or near-term destinations. Just an unfocused non-plan to build an HLV without really having a plan on how it will be used or when. So unfocused spending and lack of a plan or near-term destination wasn’t the issue?
- Even the Moon isn’t outright dismissed, it’s pretty clear the plan is a modified version of flexible path. Ie this isn’t going to give people that moonbase they craved so soon. So actually going back to the Moon anytime in the forseeable future wasn’t the issue?
- Without the shuttle extended, and with commercial crew being delayed (let’s get real folks, moving most of the funding to the out years is a cheap way of defunding a project without actually having to have the huevos to do it honestly), it is now guaranteed that the ISS is going to be accessible only via Russia for most of the rest of this decade. There will be no way of launching those critical spares that were the reason Jeff Bingham was always giving for a shuttle extension. So apparently the gap isn’t an issue?
- The KSC portion of the Shuttle team is going to get decimated next year still, this time with no commercial crew projects ramping up to help soften the blow. So apparently workforce retention wasn’t really an issue?
As far as I can tell, the only issue Congress really cared about was protecting jobs in Huntsville and Houston and making sure we get a big HLV as soon as possible, even though we won’t have anything to do with it once we get it.
The good news is that the “dot-product” of NASA’s direction and sanity is a fair deal of money, and it grew quite a bit compared to last year. At least some elements of useful things survived. Instead of being 99% orthogonal to the actual development of space, it’s now only 95% orthogonal. It’s just so frustrating and disgusting when we actually had a chance for something so much better.
Here’s to hoping that now that JSC and MSFC got their rattle back, the creative and useful parts of NASA can be moved to locales better-matched to small development programs. Even the pittance they’re being given compared to feeding the HLV albatross can go a long way if managed by the right group.
[Note (7/1/11): I realized that at least some of what I said was pretty offensive, so I edited out the most mean-spirited part.]
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