Thursday, November 04, 2010

What's the election mean for NASA?

Well, NASA's purpose is to explore the unknown, so here we go again. There's a general presumption that GOP leadership is more favorable to space spending than the Democrats, but it's not always true: for the last few decades, NASA's budget has been essentially stagnant. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) was very good at getting money for NASA, but he's out of Congress and on trial for something or other, and Rep John Boehner, who will be the new Speaker of the House, is focused on cutting deficits more than anything else. Some of the new Republican leaders have criticized President Obama's overhaul of the agency's missions, especially in human spaceflight, but returning NASA to a Constellation-type program takes money, and even the $19B authorized for the agency may not be what is actually appropriated, whenever Congress gets around to the months-overdue appropriations legislation. Hang on tight, space-lovers.

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