The NASA Space Agency is going through difficult times. At a time when the agency is making outstanding discoveries in space, it has faced serious problems on Earth. According to reports from Ars Technica, this is a problem that is deeply rooted, and it can take years to overcome.
At the forefront of this problem is NASA’s Director of Logistics, Erik Weiser. During a meeting at the National Academy, he warned that NASA’s infrastructure is practically in a state of “great decline”. This problem is exacerbated by the complete underfunding of the maintenance budget. At least a quarter of a billion dollars is lacking every year for proper funding, and this leads to even greater damage to NASA buildings and infrastructure.
“Most of our facilities are beyond their design life,” Weiser stressed. And this figure is impressive — 83%. This may be shocking news for those who are delighted with NASA’s scientific and technological achievements. “You can have a world–class telescope and a laboratory,” adds Weiser, “but if the building collapses, you won’t need this telescope”.
According to Weiser’s calculations, 78 repair and construction projects have been postponed over the past four years. And the more projects are postponed, the more objects are destroyed. Therefore, Weiser and his team face significant challenges in avoiding “unplanned failures” during future missions.
Terrible working conditions
Weiser also expresses indignation that the lack of proper infrastructure can distract young, gifted professionals from working at the agency. When they see the conditions in which they should work, they may be very disappointed. Despite the fact that NASA remains a leader in space research, it is gradually losing its position in favor of private companies such as SpaceX, which have more modern infrastructure.
Now the agency expects that the demolition of old facilities will help save tens of millions of dollars in the budget. But Weiser notes that it can take five to ten years if funds are found for demolition in the first place.
Now the agency faces a difficult task: to build new facilities or to save the old ones? In any case, it will be an extremely costly task. NASA has a lot of work ahead to return to its former glory and restore the infrastructure that will support planned future space travel and exploration.
Earlier we reported on what NASA’s budget actually was.
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