Archive for July 13th, 2011

Space Program: Last Gasp?

While we are watching documentaries no one questions why all that detailed research is taking place.

So the space program is considered a natural development of something called “humankind.”

It isn’t.

When I was sitting there on Capitol Hill balancing federal housing programs against space vehicles, the space vehicles were seen as ridiculous.

This is was a real problem, because the actual appropriations for NASA were made by an appropriations subcommittee called HUD-Independent Agencies. The chairman and the ranking member of that subcommittee were an urban liberal Democrat and an urban liberal Republican whose only interest was in HUD.

You could not have searched Capitol Hill and found two congressmen more hostile to sending stuff to the moon.

That was the problem I faced, but like the Mantra, no one was interested when I tried to explain the reality faced by real funding.

Just as every time I try to explain where this stuff comes from and get slapped down by the name of a big name who will make a speech at a convention, any attempt to talk reality about the critical subcommittee was knocked down by a thrilled convention-goer talking about the fact that “General Whatzit Himself is going to deign to address our pro-space rally.”

So when push came to shove, it took Ashbrook alone to hold the Floor for a weekend for a cause having nothing to do with the normal interests of his district in Ohio, to save the program while the Dornans and the beneficiaries of the space program told each other how dedicated they were.

The present situation is not new to me.

I am used to all the shouting and hozannahs and praise going to convention sensations while the conventions serve largely as a distraction from the work that needs doing. In fact it is sometimes hard for me to realize there is merely a change in the words and the goal.

The reason that Ashbrook took on the real work at a crucial time was his own true goals and because of me.

The space program is about to go down for the third time once again.

There is no Ashbrook there, and there is no unique redneck staffer with him.

At this point someone will point out that the space program is going private.

Lots o’ luck, gang.