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Bill Roper's Journal
Let's Go to the Moon 
25th-May-2011 04:53 pm
Fifty years today, President Kennedy committed the U.S. to going to the Moon.

On the anniversary, Rand Simberg argues that we need a new space policy.
26th-May-2011 12:38 am (UTC)
26th-May-2011 02:40 am (UTC)
If I'm reading right, he's contending that the reason NASA is so expensive is that politicians treat it as pork rather than expecting efficiency. There is certainly some truth to this, but I think it's hardly the only reason. He decries Apollo for being done in such a rush, on a spend whatever it takes as long as it's fast basis, but ironically, there's a real argument that if it not been done in such a hasty manner, it never would have happened at all, as each new administration to take office would seek to rearrange the program to put its own spin on it (or to shuffle the pork to their best supporters rather than the last guys if you want). But I think that the single biggest reason for the bad bang/buck ratio, at least during the time when I've been watching things happen with something like adult understanding (I was pretty young for Apollo) has been the overemphasis on safety since Challenger. We spent way too long wringing our hands after Challenger, and every decision NASA made after it happened only after way too much checking to be sure asses were covered. Then we lost Columbia and reacted by giving up on manned spaceflight. The astronauts taking the risks understood them and accepted them, but the politicians, pundits, and bureaucrats desecrated their sacrifice by saying you were wrong, we don't think it's safe enough to continue the effort you died for.
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