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Stability and Instability in Space

27 Feb 2016, 16:07 UTC
Stability and Instability in Space
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Congressman John Culberson (R-TX 7) testifies on his proposed bill to reorganize NASA.
The House Space Subcommittee held two hearings on the U.S. civil space program in February – one where the strategic direction of the human spaceflight effort was discussed, and a second one dealing with the configuration of NASA as an executing entity for such policy. The somewhat understated subtext of both of these hearings is that our space program currently lacks coherency and strategic direction. In partial response to this state of affairs, Rep. John Culberson of Texas has proposed legislation (the Space Leadership Preservation Act of 2015) to try and resolve some of these operational difficulties – legislation designed to reconfigure the existing interface between NASA and the executive and legislative branches of government. Many have given considerable thought as to why this bill is necessary and why it could be a solution to our ongoing space policy chaos.
It is clear from much of the discussion at these two hearings that despite repeated claims by the agency, no one believes that we are truly on a “#JourneytoMars.” This situation is in part technical, in that NASA does not have a well-defined architecture, or even a ...

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