25 December 2014

Even NASA wastes money

GULFPORT, Miss. — In June, NASA finished work on a huge construction project here in Mississippi: a $349 million laboratory tower, designed to test a new rocket engine in a chamber that mimicked the vacuum of space.

Then, NASA did something odd.

As soon as the work was done, it shut the tower down. The project was officially “mothballed” — closed up and left empty — without ever being used...
The reason for the shutdown: The new tower — called the A-3 test stand — was useless. Just as expected. The rocket program it was designed for had been canceled in 2010.

But, at first, cautious NASA bureaucrats didn’t want to stop the construction on their own authority. And then Congress — at the urging of a senator from Mississippi — swooped in and ordered the agency to finish the tower, no matter what.

The result was that NASA spent four more years building something it didn’t need. Now, the agency will spend about $700,000 a year to maintain it in disuse...

So the tower stand has taken its place on NASA’s long list of living dead. Last year, the agency’s inspector general found six other test stands that were either in “mothball” status, or about to be. Some hadn’t been used since the 1990s. Together, those seven cost NASA more than $100,000 a year to maintain.
More grim details at the Washington Post.


  1. While politicians of a certain party (who represent the people of Mississippi and other Southern states)
    holler about government waste on such unnecessary things as unemployment, food stamps, etc., they rally round a big pork project at home.

    1. I know you don't mean to be snooty on such a civilized blog, but this comes across that way to me. Politicians of BOTH parties love big pork projects. Conservatives, and TEA party people, think the only solution to rampant pork is smaller government. Some members of one party, the Republicans, are more committed to this goal.

  2. Didn't I just read where Congress forced the Army to buy a bunch of tanks they didn't want just for a pork barrel project?

    1. Not has Congress forced the Army to purchase more tanks then the Army wants or needs, that tank (the M1) has failed in most head-to-head tests against other tanks, and failed to meet a lot of the Army's needs.


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