What Civil Space Agency Would You Create?

Frank's note: Another thought exercise for NASA Watch readers: What would the U.S. civil space agency look like if you built it from scratch? NASA, as we know, was established at the height of the Cold War, and was structured as a field centered organization with maximum deployment of facilities to help get and keep Congressional largess. The Cold War is long over yet the same organizational structure-and some would say mind set-remains. How would you build civil space policy and management if you had the chance to make a "clean sheet" approach? Would you have the NASA we have today-or a reformed organization? Or would you divide up Earth Science, exploration, space ops and aeronautics research differently? Let's hear your views and suggestions-please be brief and as always respectful of each other's rants and raves. When enough folks have spoken, I'll chime in with my two cents worth...

Frank's update:
Readers, my thanks for some detailed and thoughtful ideas-ytou've obviously been thinking about this for some time. After reading all of your ideas, I'm inclined to support separating out aeronautics from the NASA structure and putting it elsewhere-maybe FAA, maybe a new agency modeled like NACA. NASA's central mission now is exploration-manned and unmanned. That should be the primary focus of what NASA does. Another approach might be to move both Earth science and space science to another agency and have a smaller NASA basically a manned spaceflight operation. But no matter what direction, it seems only a matter of time before some of the agency's field centers are either shuttered or transformed into some form of public-private research partnership outside NASA itself. With the leaner if not drastically smaller budgets likely in the future, it seems that maintaining the status quo agency structure won't be possible. Again, thanks to one and all for a great debate!

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This page contains a single entry by Frank Sietzen published on May 14, 2009 7:55 PM.

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