The Shortchanged Space Station

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 22, 2007 in Science |

The International Space Station

In the below article John Glenn gripes about the International Space Station being overlooked. I agree with him, but I think it’s part of a larger issue, which is that NASA on the whole has been shortchanged these last few years. It’s unfair to cut the budget for the program but then keep adding goals like going to Mars. From where I’m sitting both the space station and the Mars project are being shortchanged. You can’t do big government projects like NASA on the cheap, unless you don’t mind the bad press from dead astronauts:

Glenn: Space station getting shortchanged

“The country is not getting its money’s worth out of the international space station, John Glenn said Tuesday, the 45th anniversary of the day he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Diverting money from the orbiting research outpost to President Bush’s goal of sending astronauts back to the moon and eventually on to Mars is preventing some scientific experiments on the space station, Glenn told an audience of about 300 high school students and space enthusiasts at the COSI Columbus science center.

“To not utilize that station the way I think it ought to be utilized is just wrong,” said Glenn, 85, also a former U.S. senator. He said he supports the president’s moon and Mars goals but not at the expense of the space station, which is only two-thirds complete. NASA and its international partners, including Canada, Japan and Russia, hope to finish the space station in 2010, but no decision has been made to extend its operation past 2016.

Glenn, a Democrat who represented Ohio from 1975 to 1999, said the station shouldn’t be abandoned, especially after costing taxpayers billions of dollars. “We will not even begin to realize its potential,” he said.”

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