Houston, You Have A Problem
March 5, 2010

Paraphrasing the famous (but misquoted) Swigert's radio message "Houston, we have a problem" after the explosion in the service module of the Apollo 13 CSM, we could (ironically) say, calling the NASA's headquarter, "Houston, You have a problem" (or, to be exact, a mountain, an ocean, a galaxy of problems...) since, as in the Apollo 13 (happy ended) story, NASA has limited resources and must complete the mission saving the ship and the crew.

After the leadership's change from Griffin to Bolden, the NASA's plans have been changed nearly every week, and now, after the "perfect" and "definitive" new "commercial space" plan revealed in the early days of february, "the plan" seems close to change again... then, again and again and again, losing very much time at every change and always making lots of wrong choices.

But, just the "successful failure" of Apollo 13 (ironically used to start this article) could teach to NASA the right way to solve its problems, since today's situation is similar to what happened in the Apollo 13 story with a space agency that has a good and skilled "crew" but must only need to learn how to well use the engineers, the technology and the funds it will have, all them enough to finish its "mission" successfully.

In other words, the current NASA situation is pretty similar to what happened in the Apollo 13 (as you can see in the Apollo 13 movie and in the YouTube video below) when, in the middle of the rescue, the crew aboard the spaceship and the NASA engineers, faced the critical problem to change the cylindrical CO2 filter on the Lunar Module with the cubical CO2 filter of the CSM using ONLY the "resources" already available aboard the Apollo convoy.

Hope to save NASA and the future of the US manned spaceflight waiting the (unavailable) stellar $200+ billion funds (that means have a total of, at least, $30 billion per year in the next ten years for the NASA budget) for the Ares rockets and the Constellation program, is EXACTLY like try to save the Apollo 13 crew sending a second "rescue Apollo capsule" or the spare parts to repair the Apollo 13 service module, while the Apollo 13 spaceship was flying in space... simply IMPOSSIBLE.

I think that a yearly NASA budget of $19 billion to $21 billion between 2011 and 2015 is MORE THAN ENOUGH to accomplish ALL the NASA plans (including the development of new space hardware and the return to the Moon within ten years) using the technology, the know-how, the engineers and the experience that NASA already has, BUT, to do that without lose further time and money, NASA needs a CLEAR AN UNIVOCAL STRATEGY developed by a GOOD STRATEGIST who knows EXACTLY what NASA should do, step by step, point by point, problem by problem, today, tomorrow and in the next ten years, without change its path every week.





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