Broadcast 1513 (Special Edition)

18 Feb 2011 Marcia S. Smith
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Guest: Marcia Smith. Topics: Mostly the FY 2011 and FY 2012 NASA budget, commercial space, and the federal budget process. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Please visit SpacePolicyOnline at www.spacepolicyonline.com for more information and to read Marcia's timely and important news articles regarding NASA, all of space, and much more. While our program unfolded in three segments, our discussion topics all focused on the FY2011 budget yet to be finalized and the newly announced FY 2012 budget, particularly the NASA portion of the budget. Ms. Smith updated us as to the status of FY2011 which has not been finalized and we learned the process it still must go through to become the nation's 2011 fiscal budget. We both talked about FY 11 in general and specifically the NASA part of the budget. At the same time, we discussed the newly proposed FY 2012 budget, including the NASA portion of it, and the fact that discussions and debate on the new budget must commence and move forward even without a resolution to what the FY 11 budget will be. Confused? Well, if you are, Marcia Smith will clear up all of your confusion in this 90 minute discussion. We did break down the components of the FY 12 NASA budget and compared them to the 2010 budget, the NASA Authorizations for FY 11 and FY 12, and we discussed the likely impact of budget cuts. As you will hear, areas of risk were pointed out and highlighted. You will hear both listeners and me refer to various tables on Marcia's website. To access this information, visit http://spacepolicyonline.com/pages/images/stories/NASAs_FY2012_Budget_Re.... In talking about budget cuts, both Marcia and I made the point that non-national security and defense discretionary funding, even if cut by 100%, would not make much of an impact on the overall crisis we face re the deficit and debt that is mounting up. For spending reductions to focus only on the discretionary items, it seems almost futile as the bulk of our national spending is in the entitlements part of the federal budget. We talked throughout the interview about commercial space, human spaceflight, space exploration, and science missions. We also talked about competing interests in congress and the need for the space enthusiast/advocacy community to speak with a united voice to be more effective. Other issues that were addressed included international cooperation, foreign competition, and the restrictive language to be debated in the House CR bill forbidding NASA to work with the Chinese. Listeners had several questions regarding the possibility of shutting down the government due to both sides being unable to reach a compromise on the budget. Marcia made a very strong case for evaluating the public benefit of gov. programs so that quality programs, including NASA, are not cut with regard to merit. One of her suggestions as we neared the end of the program for the 11th hour situation we now find ourselves in regarding FY 11 and probably FY 12 was to use the FY 10 budget across the board. We took several questions about the budget and the ISS as well as continuing some aspects of Constellation, specifically the new heavy lift vehicle. The issue of NASA as a jobs program came up and you do not want to miss this part of the discussion. As you will hear, we must decide as a nation how important it is to move to a technically literate workforce that can also inspire the youth and students of the nation to move us forward. If you have questions or comments for Marcia Smith, please post them on the blog URL above and you can also email them to Ms. Smith at the email address info@spacepolicyonline.com.

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