Nasa- America's Failing Space Program

Topics: NASA, Space Shuttle, Space exploration Pages: 5 (1572 words) Published: November 28, 2011
When you think of NASA you might think of bright lit hangers, laboratories, and the worlds brightest scientist, but over the better part of the last 30 years NASA has struggled to struggled to maintain certain obligations. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA was started as a scientific program for the United States government. For the last 52 years NASA has been the leader in innovation and exploration in not only astrological areas but making many scientific discoveries that benefit people all around the world. However in recent years NASA has fallen in prestige due to monetary issues, outdated laboratories, and the risk is just too high for the results being yielded. Several reports completed by NASA have proven the various faults in the government run space program, and different ways they could have been avoided.

One of the largest problems with the space program is the fact that it is fiscally draining the already low budgeted American economy. It is a direct result of this sunken economy that exploratory government programs like NASA are at risk of being shut down. Although it only cost the taxpayers around 15 cents a day to cover NASA’s budget, the problem is that people are beginning to feel like in these times money could be better spent elsewhere. NASA has tried and failed continuously for the better part of the last 30 years to make their money work more effectively.

NASA’s current budget is limiting because of the reoccurring failures and sluggish nature within NASA’s leadership. "This budget demonstrates the administration's commitment to maintaining NASA's leadership role in space," Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. "It puts us on a path to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world." Though NASA feels cutting funds is highly detrimental to the status of the United States and to the education of its youth, it may be too little too late. The question is not whether the government has to make cuts to NASA’s budget, it is just how much they will cut and when.

Since 1958, in real dollars (not adjusted for inflation), NASA has been budgeted over 400 billion dollars. When adjusted for inflation, the number is over 600 billion dollars. These numbers were reached by taking NASA’s annual budget beginning in 1958 and ending in 2008 then adding them together to sum up the total amount of money spent over a 40 year span.

The reason for the recent NASA slowdown is a mixture of many reasons. In conjunction with the fact that it is extremely expensive to maintain, another reason is the fact that shooting shuttles into space loaded with jet fuel is like sending NASA pilots on missile rides. Adding to the danger of space exploration is the fact that space contains no oxygen and the temperature varies from subzero to the high hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit. This puts tremendous stress on the fuselage of the shuttle and is the cause of many in flight errors. Errors that cost NASA not only time and money, but the safety of the crew. This is from NASA having make corrections each time mistakes are made, or else disasters can occur.

The crash of the Challenger was a harsh reminder that although all the technological advances we have witnessed over the past century, the human element cannot be ignored. And although the crash of the Challenger was technically due to mechanical failure caused by both miscalculated O-ring tolerances and subnormal Florida temperatures, the crash was actually the unnecessary result of several organizational issues within NASA. In fact, the shuttle program itself was on a collision course long before the Challenger lifted off due to an organizational structure that failed to keep pace with NASA’s unclear and ever-changing mission. This ultimately led to a flaw in NASA’s group decision-making process.

The mission of NASA’s space program had evolved dramatically from the time it was established in 1958 to the...
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