[LINK] Finally up to date on the Shuttle

Frank O'Connor foconno1@bigpond.net.au
Mon, 3 Feb 2003 16:41:10 +1100

Yo Grantley,

Mmmm .... if you accept as reasonable that NASA is simply referring 
to operating costs.   :)

Factor in admin devoted to the program - and it goes up.

Factor in fixed costs (shuttle infrastructure maintenance, vehicle 
maintenance, launch platform maintenance, visitor services related to 
the shuttle, promotional services related to the shuttle, contractor 
relations etc etc) - and it goes up.

If you off-set revenues from launches from third parties it goes down.

Hell you could even factor in opportunity cost (what NASA could have 
done with the shuttle moolah had they spent it on something else) and 
it would go up.

Accounting can be weird science ... and like statistics very 
misleading ... especially when conclusions based on it are given out 
in a one sentence summary at a press conference.    :)

There are a lot of warm bodies at NASA that depend on the Shuttle 
program remaining operational, and who would feel threatened if the 
nasty scientific types got funds for deep space, interplanetary and 
other programs. The shuttle made NASA 'steady state' ... which is 
what a large number of non-techo people wanted there in the mid 
1970's (with threatened cut-backs, massive aero-space industry 
unemployment) and was what NASA adopted as its raison d'etre after 
the glory years. And as I said ... I regret that.


At 4:09 PM +1100 3/2/2003, Grant Bayley wrote:
>On Mon, 3 Feb 2003, Frank O'Connor wrote:
>>  2. The shuttle program currently absorbs the lions share of NASA's
>>  budget - even after 22 years.
>During the NASA press conference this morning, I seem to recall that the
>shuttle/space station program combined cost them something like 1/3 of
>their total budget.  Is this "lion's share"?  It might be the single
>biggest, but that still leaves 2/3 for everything else.
>On the topic of the shuttle in general, I had the URL of this funny CNNism
>posted to me: