Skip to comments.With the Shuttle Program Ending, Fears of Decline at NASA
Posted on 07/04/2011 3:07:26 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
As NASA prepares to launch its last space shuttle ending 30 years in which large teams of creative scientists and engineers sent winged spaceships into orbit it is facing what may be a bigger challenge: a brain drain that threatens to undermine safety as well as the agencys plans.
Space experts say the best and brightest often head for the doors when rocket lines get marked for extinction, dampening morale and creating hidden threats. They call it the Team B effect.
The good guys see the end coming and leave, said Albert D. Wheelon, a former aerospace executive and Central Intelligence Agency official. Youre left with the B students.
NASA acknowledges the effect and its attendant dangers. It has taken hundreds of steps, including retention bonuses for skilled employees, new perks like travel benefits and more safety drills. Through cuts and attrition in recent years, the shuttle work force has declined to 7,000 workers from about 17,000.
The downsizing has been well managed and has achieved an acceptable level of risk, said Joseph W. Dyer, a retired Navy vice admiral and the chairman of NASAs Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. After a slow start, NASA and its industry partners did a genuinely excellent job in planning for the shuttles retirement, he said. But he conceded, Theres added risk anytime you downsize.
Nobody is predicting problems for the coming flight of the Atlantis, the 135th and last launching in the shuttle program. The event is scheduled for Friday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, before an estimated one million spectators.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Well it’s the change they voted for.
With the new mooslimb outreach programs and projects to prove man is causing global warming, there are huge opportunities at NASA. Unfortunately, none of them involve aeronautics or space flight.
Were not adrift, he said. And the vision is not gone. And we have a plan. We have a very sound plan.- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
Hey Charlie, maybe you should let us everyday workers know what the plan is. Because from our view, all we see is layoffs and project mismanagement by power hungry managers.
Our morale can’t be low. We have no morale to be low. We have thousands of highly skilled engineers just sitting around wanting to work.
GIVE US A MISSION!!!!
NASA has been declining since LBJ and Nixon. The good news is the very successful unmanned program, and private companies that will be developing manned rockets and space stations.
The Space Shuttle is outdated equipment and technology and ending the program was a good idea.
OK... so where's its replacement?
Does it still take fifty people to change a light bulb at NASA???
“The Space Shuttle is outdated equipment and technology and ending the program was a good idea.”
We have a 100 Billion dollar investment floating around in space and now have no access to it, unless we pay the RUssians. They DOUBLED their last fee.
You think THAT is a good idea?
Last one to leave Brevard County turn out the lights!
NASA will be able to devote more resources to help James Hansen predict immediate CAGW.
You’ll notice - everything the governments get involved with are inundated by lawyers, squeezing out the scientists and engineers who won’t put up with their political games. The ones that stay under the lawyers control ARE the B-Team!
I believe Challenger was a direct result of those political managers. RIP.
I never got space. I was in Vietnam when we first landed a man on the moon. I barely heard about it. And now we are supposed to go to Mars?! Why? What's there? Just sand.
When our ancestors explored the globe and found the Americas, there was something to look forward to. A new land and new opportunities. But Mars? Really? It's just sand. I can find sand anywhere.
NASA will become Barry’s official globull warming department.
Not many of Eric Holder’s people are aeronautical engineers, or engineers of any kind, therefore NASA is of no use to Eric Holder’s people, and must be destroyed.
We’re in the same situation as we were when Apollo was done and the Shuttle had not launched (1972 to 1981). It’s NOT a major problem. And this work is really better done by the private sector rather than the government (welfare for engineers is what we have now, and I worked in manned space flight [ground systems] for 6 years so I have some experience to calibrate on). Check out - http://www.spacex.com/ and http://www.scaled.com/ for what’s coming next. And in the not too distant future. Better, faster, cheaper.
A lot of us miss the old glory days, but with the moon reached and the ultra high maintenance shuttle done to death, and hard times upon all, what’s left for NASA? A handful of unmanned probes? I’ve heard of projects to try to clean up the space junk orbiting the earth.
I never did understand what Obama even ostensibly intended by this NASA-Muslim outreach. Do they wish to put sacred stones in orbit, or somefin?
A nation can have a space program or a welfare society, but it can’t have both.
Our morale cant be low. We have no morale to be low. We have thousands of highly skilled engineers just sitting around wanting to work.
One of the reason’s I left the Biz is that NASA is held hostage to the Politics of each Administration that comes in.
If there is to be real progress in building viable launch vehicles and exploration of the solar system then the effort needs to be completely separated from politics.
I don’t see it happening though. And what you see with happening to NASA was totally predictable. The saddest thing is that this has happened before after Apollo. The odds of good people going into Aerospace Engineering have just gone down again.
With all that being said maybe now is the time for private enterprise to step up and do the job. May they be successful!
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