The U.S. government is planning to spend $100 billion on the international space station over the next several years.
I would cut that out of the budget quicker than you can count down from 10.
Do I not like the space program?
Do I not see value from American exploration of space?
Do I not believe the U.S. has to compete successfully in this high frontier to ward off military threats from space?
While I do have my problems with the political agenda at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, like the way it manipulates data to stir hysteria over so-called “global warming,” I do believe there is a legitimate national defense interest in space.
However, the international space station is not part of that vital interest.
In fact, it is exactly the opposite kind of mission U.S. taxpayers should be coerced to underwrite.
Firstly, U.S. taxpayers should only be asked to support projects of vital national interest – not international feel-good plans.
Secondly, we are rapidly approaching a time when the U.S. will effectively abandon the international space station – leaving it entirely in the hands of the Russians.
What am I talking about?
In just over two years, the U.S. will no longer have any spacecraft of its own to carry astronauts and cargo to the hovering space station. The space shuttles are being retired, and NASA likely will not have any replacements for them before 2015.
In that interim period, assuming the U.S. builds a suitable replacement for the shuttles by then, which is no guarantee, only Russia will be able to supply the international space station – making it, effectively, a Russian project.
So why would we fund a space station that is entirely under the control of a foreign government to the tune of $100 billion?
The answer? We shouldn’t.
Yet, no one in the U.S. government is currently making this case.
Think about it.
We’re in a financial crisis.
The government is spending trillions of dollars it doesn’t have and can never hope to squeeze out of taxpayers without bankrupting the country. Yet Washington is still throwing huge amounts of money down rat holes. I don’t know any other way to explain $100 billion for a space station America can’t possibly have anything to do with or derive any benefit from for the period beginning 2010 through at least 2015.
Already today it is of very questionable benefit to the U.S.
To paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, “One hundred billion here and one hundred billion there – pretty soon you are talking about real money.”
Recognizing its problem – supplying a space station without any vehicles – NASA is scrambling now to hand out more money, more contracts to private companies to do the work for the space agency.
I have a better idea. If private companies can produce space vehicles more efficiently and cost-effectively than NASA – and I’m sure they can – why not just turn the entire business of space exploration over to private industry?
Maybe NASA has become an anachronism today in part because of putting politics ahead of science.
Is NASA really working on behalf of U.S. taxpayers?
Or is it serving some diplomatic globalist mission?
What are NASA’s goals for the future?
Is anyone articulating them?
Is NASA on autopilot?
What have been some of the recent accomplishments of NASA?
What can we expect to see from NASA in the future?
Has it outlived its usefulness?
There was a day when agencies like NASA had some degree of accountability to the U.S. taxpayer. The federal government hasn’t gotten so big since then that bloated bureaucracies can keep growing without even making a case to the constituencies who support them.
NASA is a very imperfect example.