191 - NASA

I'm coming clean. I work for NASA.

I'm not a fed, I'm a contractor, but my livlihood is certainly tied up in the space program. I'm just a budget analyst, but in the bigger picture I'm part of the group who run the thermal vacuum chambers where the astronauts suit up and get used to working with tools. We test almost anything that goes up in the shuttle for off-gassing (so no one gets poisoned by toxic fumes), and to see how it performs under space conditions. A part of our group is also involved in the James Webb Space Telescope, which is another really interesting project.

A few years ago I got to be a test dummy. I wore the suit during a safety drill, so that the altitude techs could practice rescuing an astronaut before the chamber run. I'm not going to lie -- it was fucking cool. See the smile? That was after I busted my lip on a metal o-ring. I only have this crappy picture of me in the undergarment that has the cooling water tubes (and the suit pants) to prove it, but I have the memory so it's all good. Maybe tonight when I get home, I'll write a post about that experience.

Where am I going with this?

The demise of Constellation is really pissing me off, and I don't give a shit if you like Obama or not, he's turning our world upside down and I am NOT a fan. Okay, I wasn't a fan before, this just makes me want to extend my middle finger to him in greeting every time I see his yapping mug on the the telly... which is every. damn. day.

Even before he stepped in, we were in a state of constant upheaval... start this project, get halfway through, funding gets pulled, start a new project, repeat. It's frustrating. But in these economic times it's downright scary. Not only is it a waste, it puts people out of jobs. And an ignorant portion of the public (not all, but the sheep who always believe everything without question) thinks it us, that we're wasting your money (what am I saying -- I pay taxes too, it's also my money). Those assholes are probably singing a chorus of 'Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.'

'What does NASA give us for the money?' people always ask. We're just flying to the moon, so what? All we do is launch rockets. And some don't even believe that we did go to the moon. Fucktards. We haven't been back to the moon... we've barely touched Mars... Yeah, see the beginning of the last paragraph for one explanation.

We've done a bad job of promoting ourselves, and we've let politicians make us look bad. I'm sick of it. A lot of us are fed up (that's also a pun, by the way... fed...eral government...).

So here's a great website (though somewhat simplified) that tells you what NASA has done for the world, it's about more than just Tang and memory foam. Once you put it into perspective, it's a great return on investment. NASA accounts for only 0.5% of the national budget... that's less than half a percent. You probably already know that though. Unfortunately the audience I'm trying to get to probably doesn't even read my blog.

Also, here's a little about the Constellation project, the one Obama chose to cut. It's a project some of my friends worked on, were very excited about, and one whose components were slated to test in our facilities later this year. Another victim of the political game.

And here's a tidbit: about 1,000 feds work on Constellation. They won't be out of a job, because as I learned yesterday, it literally takes an act of Congress to reduce the number of feds, so they have to go somewhere. That means in addition to the contractors who work on Constellation, others are going to get bumped out of positions they are in when the feds shuffle themselves around. Where are they going to go? But government is really tightening its belt... they're suffering just like the rest of us.

Sorry for the rant, it's just really stressful around here right now and I had to vent. Hope you at least enjoyed learning about NASA.


  1. Why in the blue hell are you apologizing? This is a great post and I learned alot.

    Thank you for posting it. I for one appreciated it.

  2. NASA does a lousy job of selling themselves to the public which is part of the reason people really don't know what goes on around here. It is a shame because now we don't have a goal or target to shoot for. We're just gonna flounder around until a new president gives us a real direction to go.

  3. Don't ever be sorry for a rant!!

    It must've been such an awesome experience to be part of an experiment!

    Does Obama really make a speech on TV every day??

    It really does suck that funding for a project you were all so excited about got cut. It's so frustrating!

  4. Frustrating indeed. They need a better PR dept.

  5. I was pretty ticked off when I heard his grand announcement. Now that I've read this I'm more upset. Also really jealous of you. Seriously you must tell more about your experiences. That's just too awesome.

  6. Excuse the stupid question, but are we neighbors?

  7. How cool, you work for NASA! That is awesome.
    Yes, Mr. O is killing our country, and the space program has give us airbags, affordable computers, calculators, cell phones, gps, pretty much ANYTHING that is fun and electronic.
    I know we are all pulling for you (and not just your finger)

  8. AMAZING that you work NASA! Sorry that things seem to be such a roller coaster right now. Hope things calm down soon.

  9. Ian - Not apologizing for content, just tone.

    Greg - True dat

    Sarah - It really was a cool experience, one that not many people get to have

    TGNDGU - Yeah, a much more aggressive one!

    TS - I might blog about it tomorrow

    MA - Do you drive a green boxy vehicle?

    Joe - Please don't pull my finger... my leg anytime, but not my finger... =)

    L&L - I think they will calm down. First Congress has to approve the budget, and maybe the outcry will mean that won't happen.

  10. Holy crap, I just meant... do you live in Texas... but as a matter of fact, I DO DRIVE A BOXY GREEN VEHICLE. Just how close of neighbors are we???

  11. I need one of the cooling suits to wear during the summer around here. By the way, I think I have shirt just like the one that guy is wearing.

  12. MA - You didn't just move into a house did you?!? With a black motorcycle? Yes, I do live in Texas.

    Joe - Me too, but one that fits better. It was like wearing full-body pajamas with feet, but for someone two feet taller than me! And unfortunately since it was just an emergency drill, there was no cooling water going through it... it got really hot in there.

  13. Nope, I've been in the same house for 33 years and it's a pretty safe bet I won't be moving. I'll probably die in this house. Sure was freaking out when you said boxy green vehicle. I thought a small world had suddenly gotten smaller!

  14. NASA could've stopped at creating Tang, and I would already be in awe!

  15. sorry about the project, and what a great place to work.

  16. Yet another disappointment from the administration, but how cool was that, being part of the SAFETY DRILL (safety guy remember)....

    I have to agree with Robyn Tang....mmmmmm just perfect...

  17. I'm going to enjoy a glass of Tang on my memory foam mattress tonight! Thanks NASA!

    Everybody had such high hopes for Obama, hell, I did too.... But unfortunately, I was silly to think that government would change and there would be some accountability for how they'd spend our money....

    I'm in California, and our governator tells us that he has to cut police and fire presence, then we all say 'No! We need to be safe!', then he tells us that he has to cut education spending, then we say 'No! We need to give our children the best education!' Then they raise our taxes, and tell us that it's our fault because we didn't like the first two options....

    We should dock politician's salaries for making stupid decisions.... Every stupid decision costs them $100.00. I'm guessing that would change their tune....

  18. Bendigo - LOL, I'm glad you were represented

    ABAO - I think that if they had to live by the rules they set for us things would be different. And live in the state that elected them for 90% of the year, teleconferencing in when needed. As it is, they vote themselves raises and create separate programs for themselves because they think they're better than us common folk. And when they write a bill, pork barrel crap should not be allowed. And... And... And...

  19. Ok so. Just when I thought you couldn't get any cooler, you pull this one out. Wow. NASA.

    That is the coolest thing ever, and that is the coolest picture ever.

    BTW- You are gorgeous!

  20. *blush* I've finally learned to accept compliments and not argue, so thank you. =)