Thursday, April 17, 2008

McCain Plans to Freeze NASA Budget

John McCain has announced a plan to freeze NASA's budget, along with all other discretionary spending, at 2009 levels for 2010. According to the Vision for Space Exploration laid out by Bush and approved by Congress, including a vocally supportive McCain, NASA's budget had been slated to be 18.5 Billion in 2010. President Bush himself has asked for 17.6 Billion in 2009 (which is .5 billion less than less than the VSE called for at 2009 levels). If this happens, it will have a cumulative 1.5 billion dollar hit to what NASA has planned for over only 2 years.

To put this in perspective, NASA only allocates 3.2 billion to constellation in 2010, with the rest of their budget spread over Earth science, planetary science, the Space Station and Shuttle programs, astrophysics, aeronautics, and other programs. Where will they get the money from to pick up the shortfall? Robotic Exploration? Will they delay the manned program? Will they neglect to put up necessary replacement weather satellites? Will they cut short missions for spacecraft already performing in space (Mars Rovers, Cassini, or Mars Odessey?)

This is not a question of priorities at NASA. This is a question of negligence in Washington. Over 1 Billion is spent in Iraq each week and we are starving the very agency that has given us the ability to fight wars, perform modern operations, communicate globally, etc.

Even if you don't think that NASA gets high marks for efficiency, commissioning them to build new ships to go to the Moon and Mars and then systematically giving them less than what was proposed is a recipe for problems regardless of NASA's execution of the plan.

John McCain, don't freeze NASA's budget. Increase it to at least what you authorized it to be in 2005. Be true to your stated position and voting record. Furthermore, participate in the Science debate in Oregon and demonstrate a sincere desire to act in the long term interest of this nation.

Readers, Email, Fax, and call McCain at (703) 418-2800 and tell him to prioritize space exploration.


Anonymous said...

Hey John,

Thanks for the heads up about this! I guess NASA's choices for the future are looking at either being screwed entirely, or just partially.

I have a strong feeling that NewSpace may have to team up with NASA if America is ever going to reach for the stars (again).

As far as the war in Iraq goes, I would highly recommend that you DO NOT bring Iraq into the space debate, as you may lose supporters who may write off your post as "liberal rantings."

Keep up the focus about space in general, and how it can help people, as the last thing we need are "bunny trials" that distract, rather than help our cause.


John Benac said...

Yeah, you are right about Iraq. It is a complicated issue. It's not even that I want to send the message that the war is wrong... I just think that when the military budget is compared to the space budget, it sheds light on how little we are spending on space.

David said...

John: Glad I found your blog (thanks to you commenting on mine). I am very much in favor of increasing the position of space science and exploration in our list of national priorities. You're doing good work here, keep it up!

-Dave Galvan

Jim said...

So, as the McCain campaign's "man on the ground" for Space in Brevard County, I was surprised to read this. You have in essence made a tempest in a teapot and mischaracterized the Senator's desire to freeze discretionary spending as one that would freeze NASA's budget. The only folks who have done that was the newly elected Democratic Congress last year and, increasingly likely, this year.

Senator McCain in fact supports funding for NASA that will continue America's pre-eminence in Space, to preserve the talent pool on the Space coast, and allow us to move forward on Constellation, not just reaching LEO, but the Moon as well. Does that mean specifically $2 Billion extra for NASA? McCain has not said yes or no as to an amount. But his statements to date, especially those from August 19th, do not indicate or hint that he will cut NASA.