The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 5, 2012

Expert panel: NASA seems lost in space, needs goal

(Continued)

NASA was also adrift after Apollo, but once then-President Richard Nixon decided to build a space shuttle, the agency had direction and that's not happening now, Lambright said.

American University policy professor Howard McCurdy, who also wasn't on the panel, said he sees the problem more as a lack of money than a lack of goals. NASA has seemed adrift for decades, he said.

The report said NASA does not have enough money for its too many projects and has difficulty managing its 10 centers efficiently.

In his statement, NASA's Weaver said: "We're fully utilizing the International Space Station; developing a heavy-lift rocket and multi-purpose crew vehicle capable of taking American astronauts into deep space; facilitating development of commercial capabilities for cargo and crew transport to low Earth orbit; expanding our technological capabilities for the human and robotic missions of today and tomorrow; pursuing a robust portfolio of science missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope; developing faster and cleaner aircraft and inspiring the next generation of exploration leaders."

Smith said that statement itself shows the problem: "If it takes you that many phrases to explain it, then you do not have a crisp, clear strategic vision."

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