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Money spent on space.

Posted by: Andy Hill - Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:15 am
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Money spent on space. 
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Post Money spent on space.   Posted on: Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:15 am
I have read numerous articles that complain about how much is spent on space and how the money could be spent elsewhere to better effect but is this really a true statement?

Could the $16B or so that NASA gets (or the amount other countries spend for that matter) make a significant difference if it was spent elsewhere?

I think that the whole NASA budget equates to less than 1% of the total US budget and only about half of that is actually spent on space (the rest going on aeronautics and research that is only loosly concerned with space). Anyone with actual figures or a breakdown please feel free to correct me here. :)

So what does the US get for its money aside from an infrequently flown shuttle and a half complete space station? Well there are all the jobs and investment that is put into engineering that helps keep the US at the cutting edge of technology for one thing. You could say that the same jobs and investment could be gained from defence spending and to some degree you would be right but the US already spends $440B on the military so NASA's extra few Billion will probably not make much difference and the chances of seeing where it is actually spent are probably slim, not on space if the attached article is anything to go on.

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArtic ... -SPACE.xml

What about using it for the good of others and spending it on foreign aid? This would make a difference to the impoverished nations around the world and make the US feel good about itself but ultimately would not solve most of the problems. Political solutions are needed that allow poor countries to help themselves and stand on their own feet not a blank cheque with strings attached.

The US could spend it to provide more medical support for its own people but it could probably achieve the same level by shooting most of the Lawyers and drug companies that have driven the costs up (I read the other day that Law is one of the most studied courses at US universitys, bet they cant wait to get out there and sue someone).

Up until fairly recently most engineers would jump at the chance to work for NASA as it was seen as possibly one of the most exciting places to work (this image has admittedly become somewhat tarnished over the last few years but there is still some truth in this). Anyway it served as a place for people to aspire to and if you worked for NASA you were generally felt to be a cut above everyone else. I bet if someone told you that they worked for NASA it would instantly generate interest whereas something like Construction or Banking (excluding Ekkehard :) ) would probably not have you jumping up and down with excitement. Of course if they said they worked for SpaceX, Biggelow or Scaled thoughts of NASA would dissappear but that just shows how NASA is seen has changed.

I cannot think of anything that you could spend money on that would have the same effect. The US space program is seen as something special by most other countries and is one of the few things the US does that is admired around the would.

End rant :)

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 28, 2005 7:51 pm
The best friend space has is Tom Delay--and now he is back in the news again.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:25 pm
I just heard on the evening news that Americans will spend $3,300,000,000 on Halloween this year. That would buy 16,500 suborbital tickets from Virgin galactic or 165 trips to the ISS. Makes you think, huh?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:23 am
Quite true; remember the comparison between the cost of Spiderman 2 and Tier One?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:04 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
I just heard on the evening news that Americans will spend $3,300,000,000 on Halloween this year. That would buy 16,500 suborbital tickets from Virgin galactic or 165 trips to the ISS. Makes you think, huh?


It makes me shake my head.


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