From: Dani Eder (
Date: Tue May 02 2006 - 19:12:03 MDT

> NASA is a political animal. It's currently
> operating as a designed
> loser. I don't know why, but this has seemed
> obvious for decades.

I agree it is a political animal, but one designed
to maintain jobs in certain congressional districts.
After Apollo, NASA's budget declined by 2/3 in
real dollars, and not one NASA center closed.
The Air Force Space Command manages a similar
budget to NASA's with about 1/4 the people.
When the mission control center in Houston was
upgraded from 1970's technology to control the
Shuttle to 1990's technology to control the
Shuttle + Space Station, the number of people
working there remained _exactly_ the same (604
before, 604 after). That doesn't happen by

The space station project itself was originally
set up as 3 prime contractors working under 3
NASA centers. It was a hellishly poor way to
organize a project, but it distributed the project
funds in more congessional districts that way.

Eventually Boeing became the sole prime contractor
by buying Rocketdyne and McDonnell-Douglas, but
there are still 3 NASA centers involved.

They feel they have to do things this way because
it's required to get funding, but it's a poor
way to spend the taxpayer's dollars.


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