Lobbying, NASA

NASA situation “as bad as it’s been in the last 10 to 15 years”

While members of the Texas Congressional delegation are gearing up to defend NASA against budget threats, real or perceived, supporters of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia are planning similar action. The Daily Press newspaper reports that the president of Hampton University is planning a luncheon to “get the community’s leadership re-engaged in the process to head off any potential budget cuts”.

Anna McNider, a “volunteer lobbyist” with a organization called the NASA Aeronautics Support Team, is concerned: “The state of NASA today is as bad as it’s been in the last 10 to 15 years.” However, she appears to be looking a little too far ahead:

McNider said that with NASA’s involvement with the International Space Station concluded, and no currently operating space shuttle, the center’s available workload is going to continue to decline.

Last I checked, NASA was still involved in the ISS and the space shuttle still had 9-10 more missions to fly. In any case, she said, “The push has been the need to take care of things at home – atmospheric science (climate change research) and aeronautics.” Langley, of course, is a major aeronautics center and nearby Hampton University has a center devoted to atmospheric sciences.

One other note: while McNider might be a “volunteer lobbyist”, the NASA Aeronautics Support Team does have some professional support: the organization has spent $110,000 to date this year on lobbyists Van Scoyoc Associates, and in the past several years has paid the firm as much as $240,000 a year.

7 comments to NASA situation “as bad as it’s been in the last 10 to 15 years”

  • Al Fansome


    You need to create a topic about the following story from Orlando Sentinel. It is unbelievable.

    You have to read the entire story, but I have copied some excerpts here to wet your appetite.


    NASA has become a transition problem for Obama
    posted by Robert Block on Dec 10, 2008 9:36:41 PM

    CAPE CANAVERAL – NASA administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is “not qualified” to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

    In a heated 40-minute conversation last week with Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator who heads the space transition team, a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to witnesses.

    In addition, Griffin is scripting NASA employees and civilian contractors on what they can tell the transition team and has warned aerospace executives not to criticize the agency’s moon program, sources said.

    Griffin’s resistance is part of a no-holds-barred effort to preserve the Constellation program, the delayed and over-budget moon rocket that is his signature project.

    Tensions were on public display last week at the NASA library, as overheard by guests at a book party.

    According to people who were present, Logsdon, a space historian, told a group of about 50 people he had just learned that President John F. Kennedy’s transition team had completely ignored NASA.

    Griffin responded, in a loud voice, “I wish the Obama team would come and talk to me.”

    Alan Ladwig, a transition team member who was at the party with Garver, shouted out: “Well, we’re here now, Mike.”

    Soon after, Garver and Griffin engaged in what witnesses said was an animated conversation. Some overheard parts of it.

    “Mike, I don’t understand what the problem is. We are just trying to look under the hood,” Garver said.

    “If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar,” Griffin replied. “Because it means you don’t trust what I say is under the hood.


    – Al

    Politics is not rocket science, which is why rocket scientists (e.g. Mike Griffin) does not understand politics.”

  • […] to Al Fansome for pointing this out (initially on the SpacePolitics.com website, from which this was shamelessly pilfered). Tensions were on public display last week at the NASA […]

  • KDH

    I hope people will realize the Moon/Mars program will need some tweaking given the current financial climate. I encourage everyone to look at the Planetary Society’s “Road Map to Space” plan. It deemphasises the Moon in favor of Earth monitoring and getting Constellation up and running all the while keeping Mars the long term goal. I think this plan is something all of us space enthusiasts can embrace due to it’s realist look at the future. My greatest fear is that we focus so much on the Moon that a base there becomes the only think NASA can afford and all other priorities take a back seat. Just look to the Shuttle and the ISS for examples of cost overruns and delays that can hurt everything NASA does.

  • […] article in today’s Daily Press newspaper follows up on an earlier report about concerns people in the Hampton Roads region have about the future of NASA’s Langley Rese…. “About 20 people” gathered at a luncheon organized by William Harvey, president of […]

  • […] be going on if there weren’t the big drags on the department budget due to some colossal cost overruns: space shuttle (keep or replace), ISS (finish and expand or abandon), MSL (now we have to wait two […]

  • […] NASA situation “as it’s been in the last 10 to 15 years” – Space Politics […]

  • Excellent post and I would like to add the following. Cost overruns are only part of the basic problem at NASA. The problem with NASA is that it has been dragging it’s feet for to long. Year after year, and decade after decade, of low earth orbit would make any common American citizen bored of what NASA is doing. The only really exciting science related stuff has come from the unmanned Mars robotic rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which have been enormously successful, and relatively cheap. The problem is only scientists and technical people get excited about Spirit and Opportunity. If NASA wants to gain the backing of the American people, they need to speed up the process of human exploration of space. Back in the Apollo days, we went to the moon within a 9 year period. Today, it can take 9 years just to get a NASA program approved by Congress. At the rate that NASA is going, private enterprise will pass it in terms of getting humans back into space exploration. And if not private enterprise, then China will gladly take the role of a global leader in space exploration. For news about space visit Space News – Headlines For the Space Enthusiast .

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