NASA Feels Strain of Budget Cuts
News story originally written on July 28, 1999
The United States House of Representatives recently put a damper on NASA's celebration of the launch of the Chandra Observatory. The space program is scheduled to take an 11% cut in its budget, which amounts to $1.3 billion in the next year. Here are some highlights of the recent statement made by NASA Administrator Dan Goldin.
"The NASA team just launched Chandra, the world's most powerful space telescope. Today, we will have to turn it back on Washington to see what remains of the NASA budget."
"Year after year, NASA is touted for doing more and more with smaller budgets and held up as a model of good government," said Goldin. "The NASA employees get up every day to achieve what most think is impossible. They have risen to the challenge of smaller budgets. And this is the reward the NASA team gets? Not only is this cut devastating to NASA's programs, it is a knife in the heart of employee morale."
"Over the past five years, NASA has restructured the Agency, done more with less, reduced government employees by one-third without forced layoffs, and still significantly increased productivity. Up until now, NASA has always stepped up to the budgetary challenge. This time the NASA team plans to fight. These cuts would gut space exploration. They may force the closure of one to three NASA centers, and significant layoffs would most certainly follow."
Goldin says the future of some space centers and programs is in jeopardy because of the sudden loss of funding. Even the new Deep Impact mission is in trouble.
"This cut destroys the technology base built by NASA," Goldin
said. "Our ability to further reduce costs and increase scientific
productivity would end. NASA is one of only a few investments our
nation makes to ensure a bright future, a strong economy and the
technology base to achieve it. As a result of the cuts, we would
be forced to eat our seed corn, and in the long-term it would
weaken America's technological and defense sectors. Perhaps most
sadly, we will lose the opportunity to inspire a future generation
of children. I won't feel better until every nickel is restored."