NASA PAO Wants Everyone To Know Who Pays The Bills Back Home

Editor's note: Whenever a large government project is in trouble, the agency that depends on its continued funding usually employs a standard set of tricks to remind people how important the project is - while also making it clear that lots of jobs ($$$) are associated with the project as well. A classic aerospace company approach is to make certain that they track every Congressional district wherein a company works on a piece of the program - no matter how small. And when threats appear on the horizon, they remind the folks back home where the bacon (pork) comes from - and how many jobs could be in peril if something were to happen to the program.

Today I got 21 press releases from MSFC in rapid fire succession. You can see them all here. These releases are virtually identical - except that each one is tailored to an individual state and the specific companies that are working on the Ares 1 program in that state - including the monetary value of the work.

Of course, you want everyone to feel patriotic about what this project does, so you make certain to interject some feel good language such as Steve Cook's line "It takes a nation to build a rocket," Cook added. "And this is the rocket that will inspire our nation." Alas, whether intentional or not, Steve borrowed the first half of the line from the title of Hillary Clinton's book "It Takes a Village" which itself was supposedly inspired by an African proverb: "It takes a village to raise a child".

As for the "rocket inspiring a nation" phrase, I am not certain about that Steve. Given the steady series of delays, engineering problems, and cost overruns it has encountered in its development - and the fact that its delays are fueling a heated political debate about the Shuttle and Russia - I am not certain I'd be holding it up as a source of inspiration. Frustration, perhaps, but it has a long way to go before it can start inspiring people.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 15, 2008 9:54 PM.

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