Sorry Folks - NASA And Space Force Agree: Space Is Hard

Keith's note: The opening speakers at today's Space Symposium session were General Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. Raymond said nothing new and just repeated his agency's talking points and had a bunch of people stand up in the audience for recognition. But he also said "space is hard" three times in his remarks - as if to instill a meme of caution and lowered expectations. He showed a short video that included Bill Nelson saying "space is hard". Then when Nelson spoke in person he said "space is hard" again. That's 5 "space is hard" citations in a matter of a few minutes by the top two space leaders in America. Its almost as if they are working together to try and set the stage for failure, lowered expectations, or for things not working as hoped. Thanks for cheering us up guys.

Nelson opened his remarks with the tired old spinoff excuse for what NASA does (cellphones and ski goggles) but did not really address what matters most to the 300 million taxpayers in America right now: the pandemic, political strife, and a shaky economy - other than to talk about jobs that he claims were created and/or supported by NASA. Yes, jobs are good but NASA never bothers to explain exactly how the jobs it cites are created by what NASA does. NASA just throws numbers out and then moves on. He also mentioned a new NASA app to let people see what NASA Earth satellites do but there is no mention of it at NASA.gov. Oh well.

To be certain, Nelson did lift his hopes upward momentarily and said "We can do hard things. We are a can-do people. ... for America to lead in space and continue to do so on Earth it will take all of us working together ... we are all in this together as citizens of this planet". But since this was a presentation to a crowd composed of the usual suspects in an echo chamber engaged in choir practice what else was he going to say, right? NASA did tell 48,000,000 Twitter followers at the last minute via Twitter that they could/watch listen to Nelson. But NASA passed on a chance to aim for the cheap seats with some relevancy to the real world and focused instead on the talking points that worked best with the select audience in attendance in Colorado.

Meanwhile we have yet to see anything emerge from the Biden Administration's National Space Council or its Users Advisory Group or OSTP with regard to space. Apparently Space Policy Is Hard too.

There are some new NASA videos featuring Drew Barrymore. Here is one of them. I have been a space enthusiast for more than 60 years so I do not need the sales pitch. Neither do space people. But saying that we're going to spend billions to go to another world to learn how to live there while our own world is burning from climate change and torn apart by civil strife flies in the face of what regular folks are inclined to support. NASA needs to explain itself better than simply saying that we are going to do these hard, expensive things in space because it makes sense - to NASA.

NASA did post a What does NASA do for you? feature at NASA.gov but it is mostly one sentence talking points, large pictures, and a few report links. Again, NASA passed on a chance to recognize what the nation and the world are going through - and missed yet another chance to "make the sale" with regard to the benefits of space to actual people living on the real world. Someday maybe NASA will learn to both listen to - and talk to - real people - and not just the person in the next NASA cubicle.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 24, 2021 12:17 PM.

Blue Origin Lawsuit Delays NASA HLS Work - Again was the previous entry in this blog.

Joe Biden's NASA Needs A Wake Up Call is the next entry in this blog.

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