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U.S. Satellite Programs in Jeopardy of Collapse 328

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hold-a-bake-sale dept.
smooth wombat writes "A committee of the National Academy of Sciences, headed by Richard Anthens, has warned that 'the vitality of Earth science and application programs has been placed at substantial risk by a rapidly shrinking budget.' The list of Earth-observing satellite programs affected is a long one and includes satellite programs which observe nearly every aspect of Earth's climate. A delay in launching a replacement satellite or the disabling of a current satellite without a replacement could mean that data necessary to monitor or predict an upcoming event would be severely restricted. For its part NASA says that tight budgets force it to cut funding for all but the most vital programs. 'We simply cannot afford all of the missions that our scientific constituencies would like us to sponsor,' NASA administrator Michael Griffin told members of Congress when he testified before the House Science Committee February 16."
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U.S. Satellite Programs in Jeopardy of Collapse

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  • by nysus (162232) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:29AM (#14865702)
    $400 billion for the Iraq war. All of it pissed away and probably actually hurt our efforts on the war on terror. By comparison, NASA's budget is only $16 billion per year.
    • That's not right (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014)
      It's guns and butter. You just make some token gestures of restraint on the butter side so you don't scare off the people who really count: the lenders.

      A time honored variant of this is that you have your bullets shipped in butter cartons, pay for them out of the butter budget, then sweep the details under the Rug of Aggregation.
      • by Thud457 (234763) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @10:58AM (#14866683) Homepage Journal
        ... starting with those pesky sciencetitians that keep pointing out the flaws in our ideologically-driven policies.
        • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:15AM (#14866802) Homepage Journal
          Indeed. And I think you can detect a pattern here, of disasterous overconfidence, of overlooking the possible unintended consequencde.

          Only a fool could think they can feed the beast until it grows to unsustainable size, then it will let itself starve. Moreto the point that the people who live off the beast's waste (and I'm not talking welfare queeens here) are going to let themselves starve in consequence, when all they need to is release the beast glut itself opportunistically. What does it matter to them, as long as the beast feeds on somebody else?

          The beast, after all, is only a tool of men, and men look after their own advantage.
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:35AM (#14865738)
      Not only the $400B, we have to keep paying into the future - soldier's benefits aren't cheap plus the soldiers wounded are a long-term (rightfully so) expense as well and veteran's benefits make up a significant portion of the yearly budget and is not part of the military budget itself.

      All of that, so we could show the world how awesome our toys are. Oh, and spreading democracy throughout the world.
      • by Ravenscall (12240) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:46AM (#14865784)
        That will not be a problem because Bush keeps cutting Veteran's benefits, to the tune of over $14 Billion since he took office.

        Support our troops indeed.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @10:08AM (#14866307)
          That is expected. The closest that this admin has to war experience (excluding when powell and his people worked there), is cheney's shooting of a friend who had a gun in hand.
          • You know, I was watching a show about the three mile island incident the other day. It showed president Carter going to the site to do a press release to show the public that it was safe. (well, it was sorta safe) That little show really made the local people feel better. "if the president is here, then it must be okay" He was willing to take a personal risk to help ease the concerns the of the people he serves.

            How did we go from a president that served in the military, with nuclear physics experience,
      • by ElephanTS (624421) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:07AM (#14865890)
        Yes, you're right of course. I read somewhere yesterday (but now can't find the link) that when you factor in the cost of looking after veterans and all the additional costs, the war comes to about $1trillion - $2.2trillion over the long term.
      • by elrous0 (869638) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:14AM (#14865923)
        Not to mention the costs of the wide variety of perks that we're having to hand out to other countries to either gain their support for the war or to win back their trust. I shudder to think what kind of "incentives" we must be giving to countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. to keep their support. Hell, look what the UAE support is already costing us.

        The least successful war in U.S. history is probably going to be the costliest too.

        -Eric

        • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Elemenope (905108) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:35AM (#14866068)
          The least successful war in U.S. history is probably going to be the costliest too.

          Least successful war? I nominate three others...

          Vietnam, which we LOST. Many more allied casualties than this war, war aims not achieved, one million Vietnamese dead.

          Korea, which was a DRAW. Also many more casualies than this war, war aims not achieved, barely held on to S. Korea, lots of Koreans dead.

          The War of 1812, which we LOST. Washington DC sacked and burned to the ground. More American casualties than this war, and signifiant homeground damage due to British invasion. Oh yeah, and it made Andrew Jackson the indian-killing moron a war hero.

          I might also mention the American Civil War, but at least a few good things came out of that one. Also some bad things, like one out of three American males dead. But hey, who's counting?

          If you calculate the cost of these wars in constant dollars, some of them, particularly Korea if you include reconstruction (which I assume people are including in the Iraq cost), approaches the current cost of the Iraq War. It is likely that before the end, the Iraq War and reconstruction will end up costing more than Korea, but not by much.

          Now, I think that the Iraq War is an expensive and miserable failure, same as the next guy, but hyperbole really weakens the case, don't you think?

          • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by elrous0 (869638) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @10:14AM (#14866349)
            Korea and the War of 1812 were basically draws that resulted in a stalemate.

            The Civil War is a special circumstance.

            And yes, Vietnam was certainly an embarrassing loss. But it didn't leave the U.S. international reputation in complete tatters. Nor did it pose a grave threat to the U.S. status as world superpower

            This Iraq War is going to be a loss too. But it will also likely mark the beginning of the end of U.S. status as world superpower. And it has absolutely devastated our foreign relations standing, as well as encouraging the nuclear ambitions of countries like Iran and North Korea (who fear that they might be the next preemptive war on King George's list).

            And it's financial costs are just BEGINNING to be tallied. Combined the hit to U.S. foreign relations, and the rise of Chinese/Indian economic power, it could very well lead the U.S. to eventual insolvency and "debtor nation" status.

            -Eric

            • Re:Eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Elemenope (905108)
              Korea and the War of 1812 were basically draws that resulted in a stalemate.

              Stalemates of very different sorts; the War of 1812 was far more embarrassing, certainly, and fought on home soil. Whenever your capital gets sacked, that's a bad sign.

              The Civil War is a special circumstance.

              I agree. That's why I didn't include it amongst my 'three nominees' but stated it as a fairly instructive special case immediately following.

              And yes, Vietnam was certainly an embarrassing loss. But it didn't leave the

    • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:58AM (#14865842) Journal
      These NASA cuts are just the tip of what coming up.

      Americans have spent way too much money;
      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&si d=amz.HoNLRL_0&refer=us [bloomberg.com]
      • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:38AM (#14866093)
        Wow.

        What I don't understand is why there isn't more alarm in the USA about this situation. From my studies of economics I have come to understand that we don't really understand economics - for every economist that says the debt in the USA is a big problem, you can find another that will say it's not a problem at all. Conclusion - we don't know. However, as a biologist I do understand that graphs like this one generally indicate that a big change is about to happen:

        http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/history.gif [brillig.com]
        • I really and truly feel sorry for the American people for what is likely to happen in the future. Considering the increased amount of debt that the US is in, and the trade deficit you guys have to suffer and that China keeps buying your national debt - China will _own_ the US through patience and planning, and there is nothing you can do about it unless the budget deficit is rectified immediately.
          Unfortunately, that means cutting the armed forces back by 90-95% and keeping organisations like PNAC under the
          • What's the "PNAC"?

            There are some complexities that are getting missed in your assessment.

            First, the US can't cut military spending by 90-95%. It's simply ridiculous to suggest. The US has so much infrastructure (both in-country and outside) that there's always a significant outlay of cash required to keep it running. The military's strategic and logistical partnerships with other nations span the globe. US bases overseas are part of the socioeconomic framework of the host countries. As much as American

            • PNAC is the Project for a New American Century. They are hawks, think-tanks and move in the shadows normally, but because they have the ear of your current president, they have become bold and don't shy away from the light so much presently. Their manifesto is a cause for concern, whether you are american or not. PNAC argued for invading Iraq two years before 9/11. No wonder the sales of tin-foil hats have shot up.

              Okay, so cutting military spending by 90% immediately is not feasible. But cutting military sp
        • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:06AM (#14866734)
          http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/history.gif

          Hey, that chart was levelling off. A classic S-shaped curve, exponential growth hitting limits and slowing to a new equilibrium. I'd guess that in mid-2000 things were looking pretty good. Then in 2001 it's up again, and every year since then it's gone up, and up, and up some more.

          What the hell went wrong in late 2000, guys? What changed?

        • In many cases debt is actually wealth. IF you buy 20,000 worth of goods that can be sold for 40,000 you have good debt. If you commit to a 200,000 mortgage on a home that will sell for 400,000 in 10 years you have good debt. Borrowing $5 to buy a chocolate bar that you then consume.. you have bad debt... unless you need that chocolate to survive ;-p

          The US gov can spend trillions and still have good debt if those trillions are an investment in an improved economy, improved export revenues, improved technolo
          • In many cases debt is actually wealth.

            You post just convinces me further of belief that we don't really understand economics...

            Debt is debt. Saying that a debt is actually wealth, because the thing you have brought might be worth more in the future, is just gambling. It might be worth less. Running an economy on the premise that "the more we spend, the wealthier we are" just sounds foolish to me. One day, the bubble bursts, and I'm afraid that day is coming fast...

    • Darn. I missed my opportunity to drop the green flag on the bush bashing because NASA has to have a real budget.
    • Nearly $300 billion a year in foreign aid. All of it pissed away and probably actually hurt our efforts on the war on poverty. By comparison, NASA's budget is only $16 billion per year.

      * Look, I can make completely unsubstantiated statements too! *
    • Nasa, with those damn satelites controling how the wheater is on the globe predicted that there will be warmth and that the enterprises and cars should controll their emissions. Advising that combustible fuels should not be used anymore. All those things are bad, in the point of view of the Bush Administration, why would he give money to those satelites?

      I am certainly not surprised.
    • by God'sDuck (837829) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:16AM (#14865937)
      Has anyone raised the point that the current NASA director may actually have some very smart advisors? Six months ago NASA was doing the worst possible thing (economically) but the best for short-term job-security: kowtowing to Congress and saying "Oh yes great leaders we will do more with less." Now, someone had the bright idea, and the balls, to stick it to Congress, and announce cancellation after cancellation -- which doesn't mean the programs will actually *be* cancelled. This could all be a massive game of chicken, in which NASA releases press release after press release hitting constituency after constituency until 51% of congress has people set to be directly harmed by the cuts (lost jobs, lost revenue from satellite services, etc), and actually hands over the cash to save the programs. The director will piss off his bosses and may lose his job, but he'll save his organization.
    • $400 billion for the Iraq war. All of it pissed away and probably actually hurt our efforts on the war on terror.

      Let's see how "insightful" you'll be 20 years from now, with a democratic Iraq flourishing for all its people and not just the few tyrants that its past was full of. Then let's see how other countries are doing. Most are currently run by a few, but even now we're starting to see Arabic people from all over that region becoming bolder in their demands for more freedoms. $400 billion is nothing whe
    • Actually, this is a pretty clever decision on Bush's part: he saves a bit of cash for more war and tax cuts, and furthers one of his administration's major goals -- propogation of widespread ignorance about the state of Earth's climate -- at the same time.


      Of course, I don't see how this jibes with his talk earlier about promoting science, but I suppose that was just empty PR anyway. You don't need fancy satellites to tell you about the world when ID can explain anything for free.

  • Oh dear... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChowRiit (939581) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:30AM (#14865703)
    The first thing I thought when I read the title was that, yet again, people were cancelling missions because they had no "obvious benefit" or some such nonsense, completely missing the point that science for science's sake has often lead to many of the greatest breakthroughs in science history.

    However, I realised that they're not just cancelling missions that are trying to learn more generally, they're cancelling missions that have immediate and obvious benefits: weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

    What ARE the Americans playing at? This seems to me to be a very foolish course of action, these problems will not go away if we're blind to them...
    • they're cancelling missions that have immediate and obvious benefits: weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

      In other words, missions which are directly hurting Bush's biggest sponsors.
    • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:52AM (#14865813) Homepage Journal
      What ARE the Americans playing at? This seems to me to be a very foolish course of action, these problems will not go away if we're blind to them...

      Well, the reasoning is pretty clear, if you accept one premise: anything the private sector might the government ought not do. By this way of reasoning, government weather monitoring, morally speaking, tantamount to theft of potential profits from private parties.

      I'd posit, I hope in an impartial way, that acceptance of this precept is the greatest difference between the conservative and liberal theories of governance.

      An alternative precept is this: the government should do any activity where, on the whole, the public benefits more from government participation than government non-participation. This is a liberal viewpoint. To represent the conservative viewpoint fairly, conservatives don't say this is false, but it is true only in a tautological sense. They believe that in any case where the private sector participates to some degree in an activity, public sector participation a priori impledes the progress of the public good. This means it is never the case that government activity in spheres the private sector is interested in does the public good, people of a conservative bent can hold both premises consistently.

      Of course, these are caricatures of liberal and conservative thinking. Most thoughtful people don't reason exclusively from first principles to specific situations, but make allowances for exceptional circumstances.

      In any case, while one might violently disagree with government policies of the left or right, the stupidity if it exists doesn't necessarily lie in the process of reasoning, but the first principles from which that reasoning proceeds.

    • science for science's sake has often lead to many of the greatest breakthroughs in science history.

      We are talking about observational science here. What great breakthroughs have EOS missions ever produced?

      ...they're cancelling missions that have immediate and obvious benefits: weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

      It doesn't sound like the GOES weather satellites are effected, just some of the more specific Earth Observing System missions.

    • Who needs to monitor for natural disasters when for only a few trillion more dollars we'll be building a city on the moon! Now there's a real priority!
  • by ZiakII (829432) * on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:30AM (#14865705)
    Just lie and say you're using that money to come out with some military weapon...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:34AM (#14865734)
    >>The list of Earth-observing satellite programs affected is a long one and includes satellite programs which observe nearly every aspect of Earth's climate

    Don't worry about that pesky climate change thing. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
  • More questions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WinkyN (263806) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:37AM (#14865744) Homepage
    From TFA:

    "The agency's proposed 2007 budget request contains $2.2 billion for satellites that observe the Earth and sun, compared to $6.2 billion for operating the space shuttle and International Space Station and $4 billion for developing future missions to the moon and Mars.

    "We simply cannot afford all of the missions that our scientific constituencies would like us to sponsor," NASA administrator Michael Griffin told members of Congress when he testified before the House Science Committee February 16."


    So, we might be losing the ability to track dangerous weather systems, monitor volcanic activity and study the effect of humanity on the planet due to the demands of "scientific constituencies"? What exactly is a "scientific constituency"? The reporter/editor should have clarified this.

    Or is this more of a situation where the sexy projects (travel to the Moon and Mars) are taking precedence over real science? And why doesn't that surprise me?
    • Re:More questions (Score:4, Informative)

      by gclef (96311) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:02AM (#14865861)
      NASA's scientific consitituency is the scientists that make up NASA's grant applicants. Basically, it's the group of folks who are qualified & likely to win NASA research grants. It's an obvious statement that NASA doesn't have the funding to run *all* of the programs that people want to run, so his statement is a massive understatement of the problem.

      The problem has been that NASA is not only declining to fund new satellite programs, they're also cutting funding for existing ones, and going back on promises to fund projects already underway. (Some commentary from Nature on the subject is at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v439/n7078/fu ll/439768a.html [nature.com] ...unfortunately you need to subscribe to read it. The short version is that more than one sattelite program has learned from a press releasese that their funding was being cut...sometimes years after they'd started building based on earlier funding, and just weeks after being promised this wouldn't happen.)
    • n. pl. constituencies

      1. The body of voters or the residents of a district represented by an elected legislator or official.
      2. The district so represented.
      3. A group of supporters or patrons.
      4. A group served by an organization or institution; a clientele: The magazine changed its format to appeal to a broader constituency.

      ie. the voters and/or lobbyists. Add 'scientific' in there, and he's most likely talking about groups like the American Geophysical Union [agu.org] and the American Astronomical Society [aas.org]

      ps. There's a

  • Well, of course! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnifar i o u s.org> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:41AM (#14865758) Homepage Journal

    All those pesky earth-science satelites keep on reporting that the globe is heating up and stuff. Why would we want to hear that? That doesn't fit with our politics at all!

  • Just in time for solar storms to distroy our sattelites [sfgate.com]. Won't some kind soul out there please get me off this crazy planet? I can brew beer in trade, or show you where the more tasty humans are!@!!
    • Actually, the solar observing projects haven't (yet) been cut completely--

      STEREO [nasa.gov] is set to launch this year (but no one knows when, due to problems with a battery used in the system to destruct the third stage of the rocket in case something goes wrong)

      SOLAR-B [nasa.gov] is set to launch this year as well (it's a joint JAXA [isas.ac.jp] project, though)

      SDO [nasa.gov] should be on track as well

      That's not to say that these projects aren't hitting financial problems -- STEREO's delay is a problem, as it costs more to keep the spacecra

  • by poeidon1 (767457)
    from the US government to involve the private sector in space. There are hell many millionaires who would pay anything for nice moon or space trips. That should generate more than enough revenue than what NASA would need.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:43AM (#14865773)
    The funding will come, unfortunately it is all how you classify it.
    A scientific satellite to help observe global warming? NOT in this administration! They don't even want to acknowledge that global warming is happening, let alone help observe it.

    If this upsets you, I suggest you vote for a President that actually cares about Science.
    • If this upsets you, I suggest you vote for a President that actually cares about Science.

      He cares about science. Just look at how hard he and his cronies have worked to make sure our bright young biology students are aware of "divergent views on evolution."

      Maybe his sky-god can pay off our huge national debt one day too.

      -Eric

  • by cdrudge (68377) * on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:44AM (#14865776) Homepage
    Cost of war in Iraq: 245.727 billion [nationalpriorities.org]
    NASA's 2006 Budget: 16.656 billion [nasa.gov]

    Glad to see my government has no problems blowing 14 years worth of operating expenses on something that by all appearances will never have a positive outcome, while letting vital programs for all of earth collapse.
  • by GReaToaK_2000 (217386) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:51AM (#14865804)
    Hmmmm... Let me see... There's this...
    "the desire to explore and understand is part of our character," President Bush Wednesday unveiled an ambitious plan to return Americans to the moon by 2020 and use the mission as a steppingstone for future manned trips to Mars and beyond. [cnn.com]
    AND
    President Bush's Jan. 14 speech painted broad brushstrokes of his plan to put humans back on the Moon and send them to Mars. [space.com]

    Oh but that was back in 2004, right, trying to get more "techies" to vote for him...

    And NOW, as most of us have always know is TRUE color...

    Disgruntled members of a congressional oversight committee objected Wednesday to a White House budget plan that threatens to cripple NASA's unmanned space programs and Earth and aeronautics research, President Bush's plan instead emphasizes sending American explorers back to the moon by 2018. [chron.com]

    Budget cuts for 2002 [house.gov]

    Elsewhere there is talk of a 1% increase in NASA's budget for 2k7 but this is NOTHING compared to the slash to the budget that Bush dealt NASA when he first took office because he "needed" that money for the military we would later use to attach the middle east...

    Hmmmm... Nice Logic! Instead of looking FORWARD back then... and looking into alternative fuels, the future, and Space ... We (he) was in it for his Oil buddies. Now that he is a LAME DUCK president he can virtually spout off about whatever...

    But that's ok, it's obvious at this point that most Americans have a short attention span and don't really delve deeply. At least the "red" ones.
    • The hilarity of Dubya talking about Mars landings and moon bases, all while mismanaging the federal budget and slashing science programs, was a welcome distraction at the time. I remember thinking, "This guy believes that humans are biologically separate from the animal kingdom, and that at least two-thirds of his constituents are going to Hell after they die, and now he's on the side of science?"

      I just wish this expectation of failure made acceptance of the President's failures easier to deal with. Pe
  • by kulakovich (580584) <slashdot@[ ]fire ... m ['bon' in gap]> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:03AM (#14865870)

    I should really write this out as a form letter and paste it in pre-emptively to each NASA thread about budget, since it always turns into Bush-bashing.

    The Bush administration has increased funding every year for the past several years. The President of the US does not control how NASA's budget works. Sure he has made a push toward manned space flight being revamped, but why would you complain about re-vamping an outmoded inefficient system?

    It is the head of NASA who makes the budget the way it is. There is never enough money to do what you want to these days, no matter who is in charge of the country or what party they belong to. Michael Griffin has a hard job, and what he is saying is true, we need more science money. I am not disagreeing. But this notion that Bush has cut funding is folly, and shows up in every thread.

    Guns and butter indeed.

    kulakovich
    • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:34AM (#14866065)
      Not calling you a liar but can you back up your assertions with some sources? The reason I ask is another 5 point poster has already posted details and appear to be completly opposite to what you are saying.
    • It is the head of NASA who makes the budget the way it is.

      And the head of NASA reports directly to the President. And NASA is definitely part of the executive branch of the US government. If the President says "jump" to NASA, it responds "How High, Sir?".

      If the scientists had been in control, we would have shot the International Space Station and the Shuttle years ago. Together they suck up most of NASA's budget, and return little or nothing in new data.

      You are correct, NASA's budget is not being globa

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:15AM (#14865928)
    The Iraq war and even budget cuts have nothing to do with this. These satellite programs aren't getting cancelled because the budgets are being cut, they are getting cancelled because they have long since exceeded their budgets and then some.

    The US satellite industry has self-destructed. At one time, not very long ago, if anyone in the world wanted to launch a satellite, they went to the US. Now, they go to the Europeans. Why? US companies didn't want to bother with little commercial satellites. They wanted contracts in the $billions. Even if these big government projects fail and get cancelled, they are still more profitable than the commercial contracts.

    Increasing funding won't do a thing except waste more money. We need to stop measuring our performance by how much money we spend! How about measuring by how effective we are?

    Eventually, of course, the government will wise up and stop bankrolling these billion dollar boondoggles. They will just buy data from the European and Asian satellites. But, of course, that won't happen until at least next quarter, so party on!
  • ...All this is a product of Mr. Bush's [mis]management or the lack of it. I feel saddened and helpless since I cannot do anything significant about it now.
  • I, for one, am glad that you aren't worried about monitoring the status of the earth when there's a dead planet like Mars beckoning to be "explored." Beside that, we all know you can't possibly subsidize new, profitable, romantic business models on the back of programs that yield nothing but information (that might provide a counterpoint). We, all of us, accept that it's simply a matter of priority. If the investment does't lead US to a more competitive, hegemonic postion internationally, then it really isn

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The annual, NASA's budget is in jeopardy and we're going to shut down the Hubble project. We're going to lose all of our weather satellites. We're not going to be able to do any science because of all the Homeland Security / CIA / Secret Government Agency / Bush is the Anti-Christ spy satellites that the budget has been diverted to.

    It's another plea for awareness so that Congress can make sure that the NASA pet projects that have gone on for years can continue. Of course there isn't any money in the budg
  • I'd think that all these weather/ Earth monitoring space equipment would fall under NOAA and their budget and not NASA. NASA needs to be completely rethought out from the ground up. I agree it was a good idea for the 1960s just to bring the money/people/power together to create a space program. But come on it's 2006 and where are we? Let's see do we a LEO space station, lunar colony, Mars colony, asteriod mining, constant weather monitoring for every planet in our solar system? Um no?

    What does NASA do that
  • "NASA administrator Michael Griffin told members of Congress when he testified before the House Science Committee February 16."

    House Science Committee. Isn't that an oxymoron?

  • The Red Planet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @10:07AM (#14866297) Homepage Journal
    Griffin used to help run the Star Wars [google.com] "missile defense" boondoggle. That was a program outlawed by Congress in the 1980s, but whose administrators still found $BILLIONS each year to keep going. A program producing little useful science, and no useful defense products. It's only value was pumping corporate welfare into defense contractors and "trickle down" bribes into the politicians who love them.

    But when running NASA, even Griffin can't find money to keep America's most beloved, productive, and strategic science agency alive.

    Meanwhile, Bush's support for proliferating nuclear weapons to all the hot wars in Asia is great marketing for the useless Star Wars "missile defense shield".
  • False emergency? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by seven of five (578993) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @10:25AM (#14866432) Homepage
    Maybe this "satellite problem" is just a threat to Congress to stop cutting the budget?
  • by Pooua (265915) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @01:03PM (#14867941) Homepage
    No, I'm not talking about government; I'm talking about the posts on this thread. At least 2/3 of the posts on this thread should be marked Off-Topic. Look, the title article is about NASA; could someone at least talk about NASA? Instead, so many are spewing off their political and economic philosophies.

    OK, here's the deal: NASA just got a budget increase. Did anyone notice that? That's important, because it means the budget cuts are not to NASA, but to some programs. And, the reason, children, that the satellites are being starved, the number one reason for budget cuts everyone else in NASA, is not because Bush is President or the Republicans control Congress or the U.S. Vietnam War was a stalemate or the U.S. economy is deep in debt. No; the Number One drain on NASA's budget is the space shuttle program, followed closely by the space station program. As in, say bye-bye to 80% or more of whatever money NASA gets. THIS IS THE REASON BUSH IS CUTTING OUR LOSSES ON THE SHUTTLE AND SPACE STATION!! We (in the U.S.) have to get rid of those programs, or we aren't going to have a space program.

    Yes, the Earth-observing satellite programs are in bad shape. They have been for a long time. Believe it or not, they were in bad shape before Bush became President. And, unless we cut our losses on the space station and come up with an economical replacement for the space shuttle, the EOS programs are going to be in terrible shape long after Bush leaves office.

    Nothing I've said here is secret or novel. This is all common knowledge to anyone paying attention to the U.S. space program. So, how to explain the bulk of the posts to this thread?

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