No Bucks for NASA Without Buck Rogers

Guest article by Nina Lincoff

An interview with Jeff Foust, Kathryn Thornton and Ian O’Neill.

SpaceX Falcon 9 on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral (SpaceX)
SpaceX Falcon 9 on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral (SpaceX)

On Feb. 24, 2009, a quarter of a billion dollars fell into the Antarctic Ocean.

NASA’s recently completed Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), failed 12 and a half minutes into flight when its upper rocket stage didnโ€™t separate.

The $270 million satellite never made it into space. It did make quite a splash though, filmed for the world to see.

In today’s economic climate, NASA does not need failures like OCO. On Feb. 26, the Obama administration allocated $18.7 billion to NASA in the 2010 budget. “Although that is only half a percent of the total U.S. budget,” says aerospace analyst and founder of the blog spacepolitics.com Dr. Jeff Foust, “to a person like you or me, it’s a lot of money to spend on an agency with problems.”
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