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Policy Analysis of Nasa's Budget

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Policy Analysis of the Budget Percentage Appropriated to NASA February 5, 2013

Introduction to the Policy Issue. As it stands today, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is at a crossroads. It seems a lack of direction has plagued the organization in recent years and with the close of the Space Shuttle program this past year, the questions looming have become even more exposed. What next? Recent budget cuts have left NASA funded at its lowest level in four years5, forcing the space agency to juggle priorities (see Figure 4) and think uncharacteristically “inside the box” for answers to this question.

Background on the Issue. NASA's budget peaked in the period 1964-1966(see Figure 2), during the height of construction efforts leading up to the first moon landing under the Apollo program. Since then, NASA has undertaken many projects, while its portion of the national budget has been slowly chipped away. There are many ideas, but no definite decisions on what NASA should set to achieve next. Without proper leadership, direction, and funds, NASA and the United States will soon take a back seat in the ‘space race’.

Effects of Present Problem and Current Policies. Identifying policy alternatives is important because NASA’s impact can be seen through: * Being a leader in space exploration is still considered as essential to a majority of Americans (see Figure 3); * The dollars spent in each state, boosting economies throughout the entire nation(see Figure 1); * An incredible amount of innovations and technology used in military defense, medical advances, and everyday life1; * A combination of the strong leadership the United States should be known for and international cooperation helpful to countless efforts abroad.

Figure 1. “How NASA Dollars help everyone”

Figure 2. “NASA’s budget peaked during the Apollo program”...

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