Campaign '08

Obama still talking about using NASA to fund education

In an interview with NPR, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama discussed his educational program and how he would pay for it. And as he did when he introduced the education program in November, he said he would look to NASA to help pay for it:

Well, what we’re going to do is, we are going to delay or cut programs that I don’t think are as high a priority. And we’ve identified a range of ways that we can save money in terms of how we purchase goods by the federal government. There are some programs related to NASA, for example, that we would not eliminate – but defer – so that the spending is spread out over a longer period of time. There are a host of programs at the federal level that I think are less of a priority than making sure that our kids are getting a good start in life.

This appears to be a reference to delaying the Constellation program for five years, a stance he clarified recently by saying he supported continued development of Ares 1 and Orion.

18 comments to Obama still talking about using NASA to fund education

  • Jim Mesko

    Interestingly, when I clicked on this Space.com story, the banner ad at the top was for Obama:

    http://www.space.com/news/080123-astronaut-survey-drinking.html

  • Ray

    Hmmm … as everyone here probably knows, if he supports getting Ares I/Orion done as fast as possible, which the Spaceref post seems to indicate, he isn’t going to have a lot of money left over in Constellation to fund an $18B (is that right?) education program, especially if $500M of the deferred part of Constellation is kept around in “standby mode”. Either I’m confused, or Obama is confused, or both of us are very confused.

    Has the policy outlined on Spaceref actually appeared officially in Obama’s campaign?

    It’s too bad that Obama’s not talking about using NASA’s dollars more effectively to improve education by getting students involved in space (student competitions related to space, university research, student access to suborbital space, funding space-related university academic departments and scholarships, etc). As skeptical as I am about the ESAS part of Constellation, I’m equally skeptical that much will come of this alternative.

  • CitizenG

    This is exactly the type of policy decision to expect from a leftist politician. Drain resources from every technical and defense related program to fund yet more social engineering projects that will employ all those useless, innumerate, brain washed social studies graduates. Whatever it takes to buy the votes.

  • MarkWhittington

    It is a clever political tactic, though. Object and you’ll be accused of hating school children.

  • Space Cowboys

    You gentleman appear to be expert at ‘social studies’.

    We’re counting on you to get us technical types up to speed.

  • This is one policy of Obama’s that is completely ill conceived. Email Obama now and tell him how crazy his idea is.

    Fax Him and tell him again.

    If you are going to take the time to read this post and it’s comments, take the time to tell Obama that he needs to change his policy.

  • Dustin Reyes

    My impression was that Ares I/Orion and ISS operations would not be delayed or underfunded, but Ares V and the various lunar-specific elements of Constellation would be.

    Is this not feasible?

  • Of course it is feasible. But it is like building an ocean liner and keeping it in the harbor to save fuel costs.

  • SpaceMan

    Obviously none of you have focused enough attention on politics to realize that what a candidate says during a campaign has NOTHING to do with what they actually do once in office not to mention the fact that it takes lots of people (like Congress for instance) to assist in making a specific program functional.

    Get real and quit acting like the point of all this is electing a king.

  • Nemo2

    ACTIONSFORSPACE: If you are going to take the time to read this post and it’s comments, take the time to tell Obama that he needs to change his policy.

    Yes, tell Obama that he should adopt the recommendations of the bipartisan national (Aldridge) Commission, which stated that NASA must completely transform its relationship with the private sector, and that NASA must alter its plans in a manner that are affordable and sustainable.

    Tell him, that if he does so, he can produce major results for our nation’s space agenda with a steady flat-lined budget (which Mike Griffin has already predicted is what we will get for the next 50 years).

    Tell him this is a change agenda.

    - Nemo2

  • Rick Laviolette

    The Space Program would be an ideal place to initiate homegrown employment. The idea of one asteroid hitting the Earth to hundreds of Social Studies Philosophers may have a certain amount of appeal. It would be more appealing than the impending threat of the draft to man the proliferation of foreign military bases. These foreign products we buy also have an impact. They have the taint of American Veterans’ giving their lives on them, in every country we buy from. We guard countries like South Korea while the Japanese produce flatscreen lcd televisions there. Maybe it we show to be cost effective for us to produce them here and bring the troops home as Senator Obama had suggested earlier in his campaign strategies. It is tough to find visionaries among politicians and even tougher to fight off the greedy ones. Let us level the playing field for scientific ventures and employment instead of leveling countries. I want a Space-Friendly Candidate. Find me one and I will vote for Him/Her.

  • Mark Butkovich

    Sen Obama’s talk of delaying CEV is short sighted at best. Where are all of the kids he wants to fund in science and engineering going to get jobs after his actions take effect on the US space industry? Any delays to CEV are going to leave the US with no human spacelift capability for many years and will likely have a trickle down of having a disasterous effect on many of the space manufacturing companies in the US. Hopefully Sen Obama will fund lessons in Hindi or Mandarin along with his science education funding; students will need these language skills if they hope to work in aerospace if he becomes president (of course our kids will want to learn Russian also if they hope to get to the ISS).

  • “Of course it is feasible. But it is like building an ocean liner and keeping it in the harbor to save fuel costs.”

    Not at all! Orion would be built. Ares I would be built. Get into LEO, and probably keep the ISS going until he’s out of office. Then, we have to decide whether we want to develop the Ares V or not to go to the moon. It’s not the end of the CEV, if it happens. It’s more like the TPF. Let’s delay it, and we’ll look at it again in 5 years. Will we ever do it? I dunno. Ask my replacement.

    It’s really more like building an ocean liner, and not giving it a large enough fuel tank to go more than a few hundred miles out to sea…

  • Mark Butkovich – Senator Obama specifically endorsed the CEV and Ares I. What he would end up delaying is Ares V, and the Lunar Lander (and associated lunar hardware).

    Actually, this is my real problem with him – Ares I needs to be killed, and CEV needs severe re-thinking.

    CitizenG – I am always glad to see the “liberals hate space” meme is alive and well. Its such a load of crap, but it can keep me busy. And I know its nice to have a hobby

  • [...] on Space Again But not directly. Barack Obama was speaking in South Carolina on education. From NPR: In advance of Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic [...]

  • Your Mom

    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.

  • Dave

    NASA and Constellation are getting just desserts, and some of these writers belong in comedy. If Obama boosted NASA funding, he’d be accused of being Leftist. When he wants to reduce funding he gets accused of being Leftist. Perhaps he wants to put money into education so that more Americans have a half a sense of logic. Constellation has been wasting tax payer money, and deserves cutting. Last I heard that’s the sort of decision that generally comes from a conservative. The problems with Constellation are not really NASA’s fault, however; they stem from the attrition of technical talent going back to roughly 1990, when the agency began its transition to ‘administration.’ Prior to that it was a premier technical agency, actually able to understand, contribute to, and guide efforts of contractors. If the delay in Constellation is taken as a time to staff-up with technical experts, the waste could be reduced, and we could get back to the Moon faster.

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