Editor's note: According to NASA sources, the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) recently requested that NASA send an astronaut to represent the agency at the annual African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space event in Washington DC on 14 February. This event is part of Black History month. The agency usually sends someone and the NASM pays all travel costs. This year, the Astronaut Office declined the request from NASA HQ. To be certain, Code CB travel budgets are always tight and astronauts are always in demand.
Curiously, on 21 January 2009, the day after the inauguration and departure of Mike Griffin, an astronaut travelled to Washington, DC and reportedly visited the school where Rebecca Griffin's child attends classes as well as the school that a child of NASA CFO Ronald Spoehel attends. The cost of this astronaut trip was paid for out of a budget controlled by the Administrator's office.
Any school visit by an astronaut is of great value and can serve as a life-altering event. But given that these two schools were seemingly hand-selected due to 9th floor family priorities, and this other event will now go uncovered, one has to wonder what the priorities are for education and public outreach at NASA.