A Day Ending in “y”, Part Bazillion


As the head of the recently established National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence is the most important person in the United States when it comes to determining space policy. In this role, Pence oversees the development of US military, civil, and commercial space efforts.

That’s only because President Trump hasn’t met me yet. Then again, given what we pay the veep, he really should be doing something useful.

The Trump administration has come into office at a time when new space companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are challenging dominant aerospace industry companies, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. A key difference between the new competitors is that they’re willing to invest more of their own funds into developing launch vehicles—both SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and Blue Origin’s New Glenn rockets have been substantially funded by private money. Successful flights by these vehicles may raise questions about why the federal government should spend billions of taxpayer dollars on traditional contractors for other heavy lift vehicles.

OK, two things: 1) The federal government isn’t spending anything. It is dispersing *our* tax money. 2) It’s bad enough that a given rocket costs a zillion dollars, what makes it worse is that it ends up on the bottom of the ocean after having been used exactly one time.

(…) Earlier this year, Ars sought an interview with NASA’s acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot. He declined, citing a busy schedule, but his office agreed to answer questions in writing. We asked whether Lightfoot would be watching and what success would mean to the aerospace industry.

Lightfoot’s office responded, via email, as follows:

“NASA celebrates the success of its industry partners as a testament to the hard work the agency puts into sharing technology and innovation with American companies. To achieve the goal to extend humanity’s presence in the Solar System will require the best research, technologies, capabilities, and contributions from the US private sector and international partners.”

If all our tax dollars buys is a mealy-mouthed goodspeak response like that, is it any wonder I want to burn the place to the ground and start over?

Bear in mind also that both NA$A and the Interstate Highway System* are Cold War artifacts, and in both cases the reason our parents were told that they were a desirable expenditure of their tax dollars wasn’t close to the real reason the Gummint wanted them.

*properly known as the “Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways”. A more accurate title would be the American Autobahn, as that was the inspiration.

One Response to “A Day Ending in “y”, Part Bazillion”

  1. Jeffersonian says:

    “You didn’t build that”