NASA Budget Slash?

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Gravity_Ray

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Well as usual with public interest in space and science at an all time low (after all the kardashian sisters are not involved with space) and the Republicans firmly in charge (and the Tea Party fiscal hawks looking over their shoulders) NASA's budget is going to get axed pretty hard.

Put predictions here if you want. Here are mine.

NASA Budget for 2012 will be cut -15% to -18% (down ~ 2 Billion dollars).

I am not blaming the Republicans by the way, so you conservatives don’t get your undies in a bunch. Just saying its the way things will go when you want to cut spending and you dont have the brass balls to take on Welfare, SS/Medicare, and the military. So things like NASA, NOAA and NIH will get the axe instead even though their budgets are miniscule compared to the big 3 named.
 
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Booban

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Republicans target welfare and healthcare for cuts, not space. Just different philosophical differences between the two parties. Although one could consider NASA welfare for engineers, uh uh, probably shouldn't say that aloud here.

But cuts are coming in all areas, its just economic necessity regardless of which party is in government. NASA is an easy target since nobody can seem to figure out what it should be doing, so if its doing nothing, then it doesn't need the money. Such a waste of resources, both monetary and human. I think 10% is a more reasonable estimate, since I think other areas of government will also be targeted.

Well, that would be the smart thing to do, spreading the pain and raising taxes (according to the 'deficit panel'), but that means I'm probably wrong :/.
 
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Gravity_Ray

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Booban":1bxpsgv2 said:
Republicans target welfare and healthcare for cuts, not space. Just different philosophical differences between the two parties. Although one could consider NASA welfare for engineers, uh uh, probably shouldn't say that aloud here.

But cuts are coming in all areas, its just economic necessity regardless of which party is in government. NASA is an easy target since nobody can seem to figure out what it should be doing, so if its doing nothing, then it doesn't need the money. Such a waste of resources, both monetary and human. I think 10% is a more reasonable estimate, since I think other areas of government will also be targeted.

Well, that would be the smart thing to do, spreading the pain and raising taxes (according to the 'deficit panel'), but that means I'm probably wrong :/.
Well, I can only hope welfare gets cut, and the 3 areas I mentioned must get cut. But there is not enough back bone between the two parties in Washington to cut any of those 3. So other things get cut. I’ll take you 10% figure as your guess (fair enough).

I agree that government spending must get cut, but its laughable that NASA’s budget should be looked at as “fat”. NASA’s 2011 budget is under 19 Billion and our current deficit is 14 Trillion. So cutting NASA budget by your 10% figure is 2 Billion against 14 Trillion. About 0.01%.

That’s sort of like telling your kid: Hey our family owes $10,000 so you cant have this candy bar.
 
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stevekk

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Well, the Obama's debt commission was supposed to come up with a bi-partisan plan that would make it through congress. If they could get 14 out of 18 committee votes, it would pass thru Congress unchanged. They succeeded in developing a plan that no one liked. They hit almost every sacred cow out there, including Social Security, Medicare, and the defense department. What kind of riots would there be in France if they had to work until 70 instead of 62 ??

Obviously, that plan isn't going anywhere.

The republicans want to roll back to 2008 spending limits. So, that cuts the current 19 billion proposal down to what 15 or 16 billion ?
 
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Booban

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24. Eliminate funding for commercial spaceflight.The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to spend $6 billion over the next five years to spur the development of American commercial spaceflight. This subsidy to the private sector is costly, and while commercial spaceflight is a worthy goal, it is unclear why the federal government should be subsidizing the training of the potential crews of such flights. Eliminating this program would save $1.2 billion in 2015.
http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/Illustrative_List_11.10.2010.pdf

Skimmed through the pdf, I think everything the commission said makes perfect sense.
 
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Swampcat

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Booban":i2d7slxh said:
24. Eliminate funding for commercial spaceflight.The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to spend $6 billion over the next five years to spur the development of American commercial spaceflight. This subsidy to the private sector is costly, and while commercial spaceflight is a worthy goal, it is unclear why the federal government should be subsidizing the training of the potential crews of such flights. Eliminating this program would save $1.2 billion in 2015.
http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/Illustrative_List_11.10.2010.pdf

Skimmed through the pdf, I think everything the commission said makes perfect sense.
It's good to see at least somebody in government making an effort to find ways to cut costs. I'll go off topic a bit to suggest that eliminating the Department of Homeland Security would cut over $56B from the proposed FY2011 budget. This Department overlaps the responsibilities of many other federal security agencies and, IMO, adds little if anything to our nation's security. Also, legalizing marijuana and eliminating ridiculously ineffective federal efforts to eradicate its use would not only reduce the costs in both dollars and societal impact of prohibition, but could, through taxation, raise substantial revenues.

Back on topic, I can understand the argument against using NASA's budget for private spaceflight to some degree. If the intent is to create a new private spaceflight industry, perhaps the bulk of federal subsidies should come out of the Commerce Department's budget. I would however disagree with the Fiscal Commission's point about subsidizing crew training. It's my understanding that the intention of government subsidies is not about training private spaceflight crews, but to help NASA with cargo resupply of the ISS after retirement of STS and eventual LEO crew transportation for astronauts from NASA and our international partners. In that sense, NASA subsidies to private enterprise may end up being a bargain compared to NASA's usual way of doing business.
 
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rcsplinters

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Its a bit early yet to speculate on funding, but I personally expect 2010 levels of funding for NASA. I think that the bigger question is how a 2010 continuation would affect (or not) the new program of record as the law could come into play. In fact, I think there is a hearing soon where that question is on the agenda. I'd love to be a fly on the wall during the latest phase of the HEFT work as well.

There is also a 'Congress to the rescue" mentality on the part of some in the new congress as it regards NASA. That has an outside chance of holding the 2011 budget request. I'd say there is an equal chance of budgetary catastrophe.

I see the greatest risk being to the SLS. Constellation kinda fell victim to levelized budget issues where NASA reduced budget across the board. If SLS suffers the same problem, then in 4 - 6 years we'll be lamenting the lost of 8 - 10 billion while the current administration engages in demonizing the prior program and proclaiming the superiority of the "new" design. This is an age-old problem with projects that span management teams due to lengthy timeline. If it were me, I'd make getting that SLS solution a top priority as that's going to be our "semi-truck" for the next 30 - 40 years.

I expect this is going to get interesting before its over. I think already some parties are trying to make SLS match their napkin in areas such a lift weight, SRB versus liquid, etc. The "not invented here" crowd will attempt to exploit the budgetary issues push their preferences and/or business ventures.
 
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sftommy

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Boehner voted against the House Bill last month, two months ago,
Back in 2006 he voted for the first round of commercial funding, but then missed the 2008 NASA vote.

Not sure what his position will be, not a NASA enemy, but definitely playing the fiscal conservative tune.

If commercial can convincingly make the call for a cheaper NASA this Congress might be convinced, especially with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, among others, stepping and say "we can!" without breaking the bank. LM said as much earlier this year that NASA oversight on Orion is doubling it's costs.
 
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vulture4

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It is unrealistic to suggest that we can all get tax cuts but still increase the NASA budget. If you're not willing to pay more in taxes yourself (and who is?) then NASA should concentrate on projects that may actually make money, like reducing launch costs for the commercial operators, making airplanes more efficient, and ground-based R&D. Orion should be jettisoned ASAP, and HLV as well unless it has a viable commercial customer, i.e. really big comsats. BEO human flight is a fantasy for our generation. Should we cut Social Security or the Webb Telescope? Or raise taxes? I don't expect a Republican Congress to go for the latter.

American does not have a dime to waste. NASA needs to develop technology that produces practical benefits and/or commercial exports. But hey, try to get any funding at all from NASA for useful technology that isn't essential to the mission of getting a handful of people to a destination in space.
 
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