If We Must Waste Money…

…then this is one of the things to waste it on – from Politico:

For all the rhetoric about cutting government spending, NASA’s space mission remains sacred in Congress.

A handful of powerful lawmakers are so eager to see an American on the moon — or even Mars — that they effectively mandated NASA to spend “not less than” $3 billion for a new rocket project and space capsule in the 2011 budget bill signed by the president last week…

That $3 billion is 1/3 the cost of a Ford-class aircraft carrier. Three are projected right now, so we just put off the third one for a couple years and, presto!, the money is available for the space program and, at worst, the US Navy gets its third Ford two or three years later than expected. To me, the manned space program is a matter of national security – and every bit as important as our command of the seas. And as our command of the seas is absolute (China is set to launch their first carrier soon – but it is an old, Soviet carrier re-worked…China will pose no naval air threat to the United States for at least 10 more years; and even then only in limited form; it takes a generation to build a fleet air arm), I’m willing to forgo a bit on the seas in return for a bit in space (and, liberals, this is call prioritizing – you figure out what you really need and then you find the money for it…perhaps delaying some other thing you might want which is of less immediate importance).

We dare not let our manned space program atrophy – it is already bad enough that with the end of the shuttle program we will have no capability of putting a man in to space for some years. This is a terrible dereliction of duty on the part of our government as it allows time for China to catch up a bit. There is a time and a place to be cheap – manned space flight isn’t it. Cancel a few diversity coordinators, if you have to, but keep the rockets flying.