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NASA sets new course

Space and Aeronautics be damned, we're now officially on a new course as indicated by two recent NASA news items.

First up, from the WaPo:

University of Colorado-Boulder faculty member Waleed Abdalati has been selected as NASA's chief scientist.

The 46-year-old associate geography professor will start the two-year term in January.

Abdalati directs the Earth Science Observation Center at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies, a venture of the university and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His research focuses on understanding changes in Earth's ice cover.

Abdalati will be chief adviser to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency's science programs, planning and science investments. He'll work with the White House, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress.

It's a most interesting selection especially when you see where the man's specialties lie and when you consider that he's been named to a post that was actually cut back in 2005.

Next item, from The Examiner:

When we think of NASA, the first thing that most Americans picture is the men and women of the astronaut corps. It turns out that the White House has been thinking about them as well - as something that needs to be cut. The Obama administration has requested a 10-month long study be held to determine the appropriate 'size' of NASA's astronaut corps.

...

The proposal to cut NASA's astronaut corps comes on the heels of numerous successive cuts that the space agency has endured over the past year. Many view the loss of the corps as one more blow to both spaceflight experience as well as national prestige. 

"Since he got in office Obama has been dismantling NASA step by step," said a long-time NASA employee who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. "He put Bolden and Garver in charge and they've worked day and night to see everything that NASA does is either torn apart or turned into something that furthers their agenda." 

Obama promised transformative change and that's exactly what we're getting. 

2012 may not get here soon enough.


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Comments (19)

PhD Physics seems more appr... (Below threshold)
tomg51:

PhD Physics seems more appropriate for my NASA

Well, NASA is a symbol of A... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Well, NASA is a symbol of American exceptionalism.

As such, in the eyes of Obama, it has to go.

"We want you kids to set yo... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"We want you kids to set your sights on the stars..."

They'll just not do anything to let them get there.

I wonder how long it'll be until space flight - both public and private - is banned in the US? Wasteful of scarce resources, don't ya know - and think of all the pollution!

? Wasteful of scar... (Below threshold)
Brett:
? Wasteful of scarce resources, don't ya know - and think of all the pollution!

You're joking but, unfortunately, there is a segment of the "environmental movement" that has set their sites on the space shuttle as a pollution source - you know, the shuttle that has been flying 2-3 times *a year*, max. And half the exhaust you see (and about 75% of the total) is *water vapor*. Oops, that's a very powerful greenhouse gas.

Next up - shut down Niagara Falls! All that water vapor released by agitation. - ten order of magnitude more than all the shuttle launches. Won't someone think if the children?

Railgun launch!if on... (Below threshold)
tomg51:

Railgun launch!
if only....

Obama is an example of Amer... (Below threshold)
914:

Obama is an example of Americas failing unexceptionalism and as such, to go.

has to go..... (Below threshold)
914:

has to go..

Brett -"You're ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Brett -

"You're joking but, unfortunately, there is a segment of the "environmental movement" that has set their sites on the space shuttle as a pollution source - you know, the shuttle that has been flying 2-3 times *a year*, max."

No, I wasn't joking... I knew about them, have known about them since the early days of the Shuttle. And the movement was even written about - in Fallen Angels they managed to get control of the government, and had a severe anti-technological bias.

As was pointed out in comments in another thread, the only real reason we've got such wonderful environmentalists is that we've got a sufficiently rich culture that we can afford their unproductivity. The 18th Century agrarian model they seem to prefer wouldn't be at all attractive to them after the first night...

On the plus side, Associate... (Below threshold)
Tim:

On the plus side, Associate Professor Waleed Abdalati is just the guy for NASA's Muslim outreach program. However, I would like to know what kind of college needs a geography professor.

PhD in Geography? Well the... (Below threshold)
jim m:

PhD in Geography? Well they are running NASA into the ground. Sounds appropriate to me.

I can never understand why ... (Below threshold)
KeithK:

I can never understand why conservatives are in favor of a big, centrally planned, command and control, government space program. We should be looking for ways to replace NASA control of spaceflight with commercial development of space. That's what's happening with SpaceX's Falcon and Dragon. It's fine for the gov't to be a customer.

Obama's plans for NASA actually are pretty good, even if he may not be doing it for the right reasons.

RE: "Obama promised transfo... (Below threshold)
kevino:

RE: "Obama promised transformative change and that's exactly what we're getting."

Yes, failure is an option.

NASA. Soon to become NCCSM... (Below threshold)
boqueronman:

NASA. Soon to become NCCSMOA - the National Climate Change Support and Muslim Outreach Agency. NASA's chief scientist will be a geography professor. You can't make sh*t like this up! But in one sense I agree with #11. Let's just put this agency out of its misery. Go Dragon!

KeithK -SpaceX and... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

KeithK -

SpaceX and the Falcon require a customer - namely NASA. Other customers will need to be 'subsidized' by NASA, so to speak. Oh, not much - to begin with. And hopefully the market will grow considerably. But for now, NASA's the real customer, and you can only go so far with your startup money.

No NASA, no SpaceX. No NASA, and it'll be easier for the environmentalists to work to shut down any sort of civilian space attempts - whether through environmental or safety issues.

Sure SpaceX needs NASA as a... (Below threshold)
KeithK:

Sure SpaceX needs NASA as a customer near term. But what Obama is doing isn't dismantling NASA. Cutting the astronaut corps doesn't do this. It's not widely known that astronauts spend an awful lot of their time doing desk work and paper work. Having the large stable of potential flyers on hand isn't necessarily required.

Killing Ares/Constellation is an important part of what the administration is doing re: space policy. Since these programs are really little more than big pork/job programs for Alabama, Utah, Florida, etc. this is a good thing.

The issue is taking a gover... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The issue is taking a government bureaucracy that was created to serve the purpose of putting man into space and dramatically altering its mission without any congressional approval.

If obama can change the mission of agencies at whim and congress has no say in what the bureaucracy does then we are in a de facto dictatorship until congress gets the balls to strangle the bureaucracy financially.

The issue is taking a gover... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The issue is taking a government bureaucracy that was created to serve the purpose of putting man into space and dramatically altering its mission without any congressional approval.

If obama can change the mission of agencies at whim and congress has no say in what the bureaucracy does then we are in a de facto dictatorship until congress gets the balls to strangle the bureaucracy financially.

KiethK -No, he's n... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

KiethK -

No, he's not 'killing' NASA per se - he's simply looking to eliminate the most visible, most photogenic, most emblematic bit of it.

If you had a sales organization and wanted it to survive, would you dump all the sales force? And not replace them?

I would like NASA to become... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

I would like NASA to become part of the DoD. The Civilian Space program was always a myth. We need to able to control defend and protect space just like we do with the Oceans. It nice to do joint exercise but privatize space program i is packed with just as much problems as Black Water.




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