Neil Armstrong and Ex Apollo Astronauts Blasts Obama's Space Plan: Read their Letter

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They are true Heroes of Americas once proud Space Administration that the world envied. They are right that Obama wants to subvert us to a 2ND or 3rd rate country unable to achieve manned spaceflight while we will have to catch a ride with the Russians to get into Space and to the Space Station. We will no longer be able to go into orbit to repair Hubble or other Satellites we depend on which is ludicrous. No America needs to take the lead and be number one in Spaceflight and we need to Weaponize space so we can not allow sub orbital missile attacks on the USA from China, Russia or other rogue countries. Obama is taking NASA in a backwards direction as Russia and China move forward with their programs to take the lead. Armstrong and the other Astronauts recognize this mistake.

Here is Armstrong's letter:

Armstrong: Obama NASA plan 'devastating' - Nightly News- msnbc.com

The United States entered into the challenge of space exploration under President Eisenhower’s first term, however, it was the Soviet Union who excelled in those early years. Under the bold vision of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and with the overwhelming approval of the American people, we rapidly closed the gap in the final third; of the 20th century, and became the world leader in space exploration.

America’s space accomplishments earned the respect and admiration of the world. Science probes were unlocking the secrets of the cosmos; space technology was providing instantaneous worldwide communication; orbital sentinels were helping man understand the vagaries of nature. Above all else, the people around the world were inspired by the human exploration of space and the expanding of man’s frontier. It suggested that what had been thought to be impossible was now within reach. Students were inspired to prepare themselves to be a part of this new age. No government program in modern history has been so effective in motivating the young to do “what has never been done before.”

World leadership in space was not achieved easily. In the first half-century of the space age, our country made a significant financial investment, thousands of Americans dedicated themselves to the effort, and some gave their lives to achieve the dream of a nation. In the latter part of the first half century of the space age, Americans and their international partners focused primarily on exploiting the near frontiers of space with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

As a result of the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, it was concluded that our space policy required a new strategic vision. Extensive studies and analysis led to this new mandate: meet our existing commitments, return to our exploration roots, return to the moon, and prepare to venture further outward to the asteroids and to Mars. The program was named "Constellation." In the ensuing years, this plan was endorsed by two Presidents of different parties and approved by both Democratic and Republican congresses.

The Columbia Accident Board had given NASA a number of recommendations fundamental to the Constellation architecture which were duly incorporated. The Ares rocket family was patterned after the Von Braun Modular concept so essential to the success of the Saturn 1B and the Saturn 5. A number of components in the Ares 1 rocket would become the foundation of the very large heavy lift Ares V, thus reducing the total development costs substantially. After the Ares 1 becomes operational, the only major new components necessary for the Ares V would be the larger propellant tanks to support the heavy lift requirements.

The design and the production of the flight components and infrastructure to implement this vision was well underway. Detailed planning of all the major sectors of the program had begun. Enthusiasm within NASA and throughout the country was very high.

When President Obama recently released his budget for NASA, he proposed a slight increase in total funding, substantial research and technology development, an extension of the International Space Station operation until 2020, long range planning for a new but undefined heavy lift rocket and significant funding for the development of commercial access to low earth orbit.

Although some of these proposals have merit, the accompanying decision to cancel the Constellation program, its Ares 1 and Ares V rockets, and the Orion spacecraft, is devastating.

America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz (at a price of over 50 million dollars per seat with significant increases expected in the near future) until we have the capacity to provide transportation for ourselves. The availability of a commercial transport to orbit as envisioned in the President’s proposal cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope.

More in link above.
 

hyakku

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So you're saying that you don't trust private industry to be more efficient in spending funds than big government?

Because that's what this letter is essentially saying. I'm sorry, love Armstrong, cool ass American hero, but NASA has absolutely fucked up. Most nations space programs fail (or are nonexistent, or just use American/Russian technology), largely because outside of competition between nations, there's no REAL impetus for a government agency to make the most efficient use of its resources.

To the Moon? At Least Mars Row 2, Seat 4

From FOX NEWS (so there won't be any quibbles):

At the White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded to the Armstrong letter saying that an independent commission has looked at the NASA budget and found the budget and programs at the agency were massively over budget and were not going to meet the timeframe of going to the moon under any circumstance.
Now when the damn government is willing to publicly admit your over budget and behind time frame, I think it's time to give it over to the professionals. Reagan new this when he signed his Commercial Space Act, and HW Bush knew it too when he signed whatever act it was that forced NASA to buy launch services from private enterprise whenever possible.

NASA has a significant role in our nation, but it shouldn't be to just waste all of our money. On top of that, they just got a massive increase of nearly two BILLION dollars.
 

Kevin_Kennedy

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Yeah, how dare we try to save some money by cutting things we don't need. Not that we're really going to cut any funding to NASA.
 

Luissa

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I think it is time to start shopping for a "rest" home.
 

Si modo

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Yeah, how dare we try to save some money by cutting things we don't need. Not that we're really going to cut any funding to NASA.
Hmmm. *gesturing as if a balance is in my hands* Paying for 'universal' health care or paying for the advancement of science. The latter weighs heavily to me, but I'm not a Democrat.
 

Kevin_Kennedy

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Yeah, how dare we try to save some money by cutting things we don't need. Not that we're really going to cut any funding to NASA.
Hmmm. *gesturing as if a balance is in my hands* Paying for 'universal' health care or paying for the advancement of science. The latter weighs heavily to me, but I'm not a Democrat.
We can't afford either.
 

Luissa

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Yeah, how dare we try to save some money by cutting things we don't need. Not that we're really going to cut any funding to NASA.
Hmmm. *gesturing as if a balance is in my hands* Paying for 'universal' health care or paying for the advancement of science. The latter weighs heavily to me, but I'm not a Democrat.
So you would rather pay to send a shuttle to a planet, that we really don't NEED to go to, than help out your fellow man?

Wow, that is awesome.
 

Si modo

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Yeah, how dare we try to save some money by cutting things we don't need. Not that we're really going to cut any funding to NASA.
Hmmm. *gesturing as if a balance is in my hands* Paying for 'universal' health care or paying for the advancement of science. The latter weighs heavily to me, but I'm not a Democrat.
So you would rather pay to send a shuttle to a planet, that we really don't NEED to go to, than help out your fellow man?

Wow, that is awesome.
Well, I don't usually answer disingenuous questions, but you're pretty cool in my book, so I'll explain. As many in the space program have already said, the advancement of science in the NASA program will be gravely affected by the discontinuation of manned flights. That is a shame in my book, but I am quite partial to the advancement of science. So, that addresses your description of the shuttle program.

With respect to your description of the 'universal' health care as 'helping my fellow man': I look at what we had as more than adequate in helping my fellow man, especially after seeing sick folks sleeping on the sidewalks in other countries (just got back from a traveling). What we had was not perfect; what we have is ridiculous in cost compared to any alleged improvements - diminishing returns and all that.
 
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hyakku

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Hmmm. *gesturing as if a balance is in my hands* Paying for 'universal' health care or paying for the advancement of science. The latter weighs heavily to me, but I'm not a Democrat.
So you would rather pay to send a shuttle to a planet, that we really don't NEED to go to, than help out your fellow man?

Wow, that is awesome.
Well, I don't usually answer disingenuous questions, but you're pretty cool in my book, so I'll explain. As many in the space program have already said, the advancement of science in the NASA program will be gravely affected by the discontinuation of manned flights. That is a shame in my book, but I am quite partial to the advancement of science. So, that addresses your description of the shuttle program.

With respect to your description of the 'universal' health care as 'helping my fellow man': I look at what we had as more than adequate in helping my fellow man, especially after seeing sick folks sleeping on the sidewalks in other countries (just got back from a traveling). What we had was not perfect; what we have is ridiculous in cost compared to any alleged improvements - diminishing returns and all that.
Except that there's no reason to go back to the moon with people. Machines can do everything we need them to do up there and more.

I too would like to see a return to American investment in science and innovation, but manned mooned missions aren't the way to do it. These private firms can continue to make innovations until the next big "thing" in space travel occurs, at which point NASA can use the aggregated data and exploit that to their fullest advantage.

In the meantime, we can use that funding to strengthen emerging technologies like biotech, nanotech, and viable alternative energy options - like the Travelling Wave Reactor that Gates is putting funding into.
 

Si modo

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So you would rather pay to send a shuttle to a planet, that we really don't NEED to go to, than help out your fellow man?

Wow, that is awesome.
Well, I don't usually answer disingenuous questions, but you're pretty cool in my book, so I'll explain. As many in the space program have already said, the advancement of science in the NASA program will be gravely affected by the discontinuation of manned flights. That is a shame in my book, but I am quite partial to the advancement of science. So, that addresses your description of the shuttle program.

With respect to your description of the 'universal' health care as 'helping my fellow man': I look at what we had as more than adequate in helping my fellow man, especially after seeing sick folks sleeping on the sidewalks in other countries (just got back from a traveling). What we had was not perfect; what we have is ridiculous in cost compared to any alleged improvements - diminishing returns and all that.
Except that there's no reason to go back to the moon with people. Machines can do everything we need them to do up there and more.

....
Apparently the fact that the advancement of science will be gravely affected with the discontinuation of manned flights is a foreign concept to you.
 

hyakku

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Well, I don't usually answer disingenuous questions, but you're pretty cool in my book, so I'll explain. As many in the space program have already said, the advancement of science in the NASA program will be gravely affected by the discontinuation of manned flights. That is a shame in my book, but I am quite partial to the advancement of science. So, that addresses your description of the shuttle program.

With respect to your description of the 'universal' health care as 'helping my fellow man': I look at what we had as more than adequate in helping my fellow man, especially after seeing sick folks sleeping on the sidewalks in other countries (just got back from a traveling). What we had was not perfect; what we have is ridiculous in cost compared to any alleged improvements - diminishing returns and all that.
Except that there's no reason to go back to the moon with people. Machines can do everything we need them to do up there and more.

....
Apparently the fact that the advancement of science will be gravely affected with the discontinuation of manned flights is a foreign concept to you.
They aren't discontinuing manned flights, or shuttles to the ISS. They are stopping the constellation program, which was a planned return back to the moon. I mean NASA attempts to answer my question:

According to NASA, the answer to the question, "Why should we return to the Moon?,"[30] would be to:

extend human colonization,

further pursue scientific activities intrinsic to the Moon,

test new technologies, systems, flight operations and techniques to serve future space exploration missions,

provide a challenging, shared and peaceful activity to unite nations in pursuit of common objectives,

expand the economic sphere while conducting research activities that benefit our home planet,

engage the public and students to help develop the high-technology workforce that will be required to address the challenges of tomorrow.

In the words of former NASA Administrator, Michael D. Griffin,[31] "The goal isn't just scientific exploration.... It's also about extending the range of human habitat out from Earth into the solar system as we go forward in time.... In the long run a single-planet species will not survive.... If we humans want to survive for hundreds of thousands or millions of years, we must ultimately populate other planets ... colonize the solar system and one day go beyond."
First of all, whenever people tell me Obama's nuke free vision is lofty, I'll just quote this guy, envisioning a future hundreds of thousands or millions of years away.

Secondly, the only requisite up there that I think absolutely requires a manned presence, is the notion of human colonization, which is so far off it's a waste of the more than 100 billion this project would have costs.

What can a person do on the moon that a machine can't? While I'm sure there are unique tests they could run and whatnot, robotics have evolved to the point where it's extraordinarily likely that a robot is more efficacious in aggregating data than a person.

Similarly, private industry will certainly fulfill the other goals, if not more than NASA could ever hope to. NASA is part of the government, who's purpose is NOT to make a profit but look out for the needs of the people. Why then, would you rely on them to expand the economic sphere more than the actual agents that participate in it?

similarly, private corporations in America are doing incredible jobs offering positions to students and workers at firms where innovations are constantly happening. Google, Apple, MS are just the three major tech stocks that pop into my head. Let's not also forget that SpaceX and other companies will be intent on hiring and making the best/cheapest space flights available both for the government and commercial uses.
 

Si modo

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Except that there's no reason to go back to the moon with people. Machines can do everything we need them to do up there and more.

....
Apparently the fact that the advancement of science will be gravely affected with the discontinuation of manned flights is a foreign concept to you.
They aren't discontinuing manned flights, or shuttles to the ISS. They are stopping the constellation program, which was a planned return back to the moon. I mean NASA attempts to answer my question:

According to NASA, the answer to the question, "Why should we return to the Moon?,"[30] would be to:

extend human colonization,

further pursue scientific activities intrinsic to the Moon,

test new technologies, systems, flight operations and techniques to serve future space exploration missions,

provide a challenging, shared and peaceful activity to unite nations in pursuit of common objectives,

expand the economic sphere while conducting research activities that benefit our home planet,

engage the public and students to help develop the high-technology workforce that will be required to address the challenges of tomorrow.

In the words of former NASA Administrator, Michael D. Griffin,[31] "The goal isn't just scientific exploration.... It's also about extending the range of human habitat out from Earth into the solar system as we go forward in time.... In the long run a single-planet species will not survive.... If we humans want to survive for hundreds of thousands or millions of years, we must ultimately populate other planets ... colonize the solar system and one day go beyond."
First of all, whenever people tell me Obama's nuke free vision is lofty, I'll just quote this guy, envisioning a future hundreds of thousands or millions of years away.

Secondly, the only requisite up there that I think absolutely requires a manned presence, is the notion of human colonization, which is so far off it's a waste of the more than 100 billion this project would have costs.

What can a person do on the moon that a machine can't? While I'm sure there are unique tests they could run and whatnot, robotics have evolved to the point where it's extraordinarily likely that a robot is more efficacious in aggregating data than a person.

Similarly, private industry will certainly fulfill the other goals, if not more than NASA could ever hope to. NASA is part of the government, who's purpose is NOT to make a profit but look out for the needs of the people. Why then, would you rely on them to expand the economic sphere more than the actual agents that participate in it?

similarly, private corporations in America are doing incredible jobs offering positions to students and workers at firms where innovations are constantly happening. Google, Apple, MS are just the three major tech stocks that pop into my head. Let's not also forget that SpaceX and other companies will be intent on hiring and making the best/cheapest space flights available both for the government and commercial uses.
The benefits of learning about the human body in different environments is being cancelled by this administration. Unbelievable.

Anyone who bought the campaign rhetoric that Obama is a friend of science was a sucker. Hell, his own science czar says we should just accept the fact that we are not a leader in science.

I will not quietly accept that while this administration makes it become true.
 
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hyakku

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Apparently the fact that the advancement of science will be gravely affected with the discontinuation of manned flights is a foreign concept to you.
They aren't discontinuing manned flights, or shuttles to the ISS. They are stopping the constellation program, which was a planned return back to the moon. I mean NASA attempts to answer my question:

According to NASA, the answer to the question, "Why should we return to the Moon?,"[30] would be to:

extend human colonization,

further pursue scientific activities intrinsic to the Moon,

test new technologies, systems, flight operations and techniques to serve future space exploration missions,

provide a challenging, shared and peaceful activity to unite nations in pursuit of common objectives,

expand the economic sphere while conducting research activities that benefit our home planet,

engage the public and students to help develop the high-technology workforce that will be required to address the challenges of tomorrow.

In the words of former NASA Administrator, Michael D. Griffin,[31] "The goal isn't just scientific exploration.... It's also about extending the range of human habitat out from Earth into the solar system as we go forward in time.... In the long run a single-planet species will not survive.... If we humans want to survive for hundreds of thousands or millions of years, we must ultimately populate other planets ... colonize the solar system and one day go beyond."
First of all, whenever people tell me Obama's nuke free vision is lofty, I'll just quote this guy, envisioning a future hundreds of thousands or millions of years away.

Secondly, the only requisite up there that I think absolutely requires a manned presence, is the notion of human colonization, which is so far off it's a waste of the more than 100 billion this project would have costs.

What can a person do on the moon that a machine can't? While I'm sure there are unique tests they could run and whatnot, robotics have evolved to the point where it's extraordinarily likely that a robot is more efficacious in aggregating data than a person.

Similarly, private industry will certainly fulfill the other goals, if not more than NASA could ever hope to. NASA is part of the government, who's purpose is NOT to make a profit but look out for the needs of the people. Why then, would you rely on them to expand the economic sphere more than the actual agents that participate in it?

similarly, private corporations in America are doing incredible jobs offering positions to students and workers at firms where innovations are constantly happening. Google, Apple, MS are just the three major tech stocks that pop into my head. Let's not also forget that SpaceX and other companies will be intent on hiring and making the best/cheapest space flights available both for the government and commercial uses.
The benefits of learning about the human body in different environments is being cancelled by this administration. Unbelievable.

Anyone who bought the campaign rhetoric that Obama is a friend of science was a sucker. Hell, his own science czar says we should just accept the fact that we are not a leader in science.

I will not quietly accept that while this administration makes it become true.
Eh...what? We've increased funding in science in most areas. I guess we just have fundamentally different motivations here. I see space as an opportunity as an emerging industry, and a realm in which private-government cooperation is crucial. One government alone won't solve the mystery of the cosmos. I love America and all, but we're not that damn exceptional.
 

Si modo

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They aren't discontinuing manned flights, or shuttles to the ISS. They are stopping the constellation program, which was a planned return back to the moon. I mean NASA attempts to answer my question:



First of all, whenever people tell me Obama's nuke free vision is lofty, I'll just quote this guy, envisioning a future hundreds of thousands or millions of years away.

Secondly, the only requisite up there that I think absolutely requires a manned presence, is the notion of human colonization, which is so far off it's a waste of the more than 100 billion this project would have costs.

What can a person do on the moon that a machine can't? While I'm sure there are unique tests they could run and whatnot, robotics have evolved to the point where it's extraordinarily likely that a robot is more efficacious in aggregating data than a person.

Similarly, private industry will certainly fulfill the other goals, if not more than NASA could ever hope to. NASA is part of the government, who's purpose is NOT to make a profit but look out for the needs of the people. Why then, would you rely on them to expand the economic sphere more than the actual agents that participate in it?

similarly, private corporations in America are doing incredible jobs offering positions to students and workers at firms where innovations are constantly happening. Google, Apple, MS are just the three major tech stocks that pop into my head. Let's not also forget that SpaceX and other companies will be intent on hiring and making the best/cheapest space flights available both for the government and commercial uses.
The benefits of learning about the human body in different environments is being cancelled by this administration. Unbelievable.

Anyone who bought the campaign rhetoric that Obama is a friend of science was a sucker. Hell, his own science czar says we should just accept the fact that we are not a leader in science.

I will not quietly accept that while this administration makes it become true.
Eh...what? We've increased funding in science in most areas. I guess we just have fundamentally different motivations here. I see space as an opportunity as an emerging industry, and a realm in which private-government cooperation is crucial. One government alone won't solve the mystery of the cosmos. I love America and all, but we're not that damn exceptional.
I agree that more private funding in space is desirable. However, I am not in favor of ANY adminstration telling ANY government agencies involved in the sciences what programs to cut. They are politicians and not scientists thus they haven't the background necessary to make competent decisions in that matter.
 

theDoctorisIn

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The benefits of learning about the human body in different environments is being cancelled by this administration. Unbelievable.

Anyone who bought the campaign rhetoric that Obama is a friend of science was a sucker. Hell, his own science czar says we should just accept the fact that we are not a leader in science.

I will not quietly accept that while this administration makes it become true.
Eh...what? We've increased funding in science in most areas. I guess we just have fundamentally different motivations here. I see space as an opportunity as an emerging industry, and a realm in which private-government cooperation is crucial. One government alone won't solve the mystery of the cosmos. I love America and all, but we're not that damn exceptional.
I agree that more private funding in space is desirable. However, I am not in favor of ANY adminstration telling ANY government agencies involved in the sciences what programs to cut. They are politicians and not scientists thus they haven't the background necessary to make competent decisions in that matter.
I agree with you to some extent, insomuch as every administration in recent history has cut science spending - and thousands of projects the could revolutionized industry and saved countless lives have been canceled.

The problem I have with this example is this: The only reason that anyone is hearing about it - and using it to attack Obama with - is because NASA is "sexy". We don't need to send another man to the moon, there are enough things to study here. We need more funding for health and medical science. More funding for Chemistry, and Biology - not a vanity spaceflight.
 

Si modo

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Eh...what? We've increased funding in science in most areas. I guess we just have fundamentally different motivations here. I see space as an opportunity as an emerging industry, and a realm in which private-government cooperation is crucial. One government alone won't solve the mystery of the cosmos. I love America and all, but we're not that damn exceptional.
I agree that more private funding in space is desirable. However, I am not in favor of ANY adminstration telling ANY government agencies involved in the sciences what programs to cut. They are politicians and not scientists thus they haven't the background necessary to make competent decisions in that matter.
I agree with you to some extent, insomuch as every administration in recent history has cut science spending - and thousands of projects the could revolutionized industry and saved countless lives have been canceled.

The problem I have with this example is this: The only reason that anyone is hearing about it - and using it to attack Obama with - is because NASA is "sexy". We don't need to send another man to the moon, there are enough things to study here. We need more funding for health and medical science. More funding for Chemistry, and Biology - not a vanity spaceflight.
Actually, the last administration did not cut science funding at all. (I'll get the data in a moment). Regardless, I agree that NASA is the agency involved in science that is sexy. NIH, NSF, USDA, etc. are not so much. I don't agree that this is the only reason we are hearing about this. We just passed one of the most expensive bills in the history of Congress. That bill did not come without costs - expensive costs. This is one of them. Anyone who thought there would be no cuts in important programs was fooling themselves. 'Deficit neutral' my eye.

My preference is that it would not be one of the programs that is cut. My bigger preference is that this administration allow the scientists to prioritize scientific programs and I'm glad we agree on that.

We all have our spending priorities.
 

Si modo

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To support my claim above, here is a summary of the federal expenditures for scientific research and development during the time that president was in office*:

Eisenhower [R] –-- 177% increase in federal expenditures for scientific R&D

Kennedy [D] (during his tragically short time in office) –-- 25.9% increase

Johnson [D] –-- 18.9% increase

Nixon [R] –-- 17.1% decrease

Ford [R] –-- 1.41% increase

Carter [D] –-- 9.90% increase

Reagan [R] –-- 43.1% increase

GHW Bush [R] –-- 11.2% decrease

Clinton [D] –-- 5.82% decrease

GW Bush [R] –-- 23.8% increase

So, it appears that, regardless of the party in office, some cuts occurred and some fabulous increases occurred.




* Data obtained from here: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbri...17/figure3.xls

There's more.

2004 R&D Expenditures (to academia, for example; in millions of dollars)

DHHS --- 14,083.356
NSF --- 3,231.597
DoD --- 2,477.556
NASA --- 1,098.480
DOE --- 940.268
USDA --- 760.970

2005

DHHS --- 15,869.380
NSF --- 3,553.672
DoD --- 2,614.734
NASA --- 1,130.168
DOE --- 1,055.302
USDA --- 814.067

2006

DHHS --- 17,052.404
NSF --- 3,567.011
DoD --- 2,718.166
DOE --- 1,118.454
NASA --- 1,046.891
USDA --- 868.891

nsf.gov - SRS Federal R&D Funding Down in FY 2007 - US National Science Foundation (NSF)

This is the post-doubling period, too. There is plenty of data available from the NSF. There is not much partisan about the spending trends in the sciences.
 
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midcan5

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After we rebuild the infrastructure of the US - this would include roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, transportation systems, electric grid, develop better energy alternatives, bike lanes and trains, then we can resume flying around in circles.


"Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences." Lewis Mumford
 

Ravi

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Obama has a Republican streak.

I am not happy that he is privatizing the space industry and this will really hurt the Space Coast.
 

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