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Early American efforts included the Nike-Zeus Program, Project Defender, the Sentinel Program and the Safeguard Program. The late 1950s Nike-Zeus program involved firing Nike nuclear missiles against oncoming ICBMs, thus exploding nuclear warheads over the North Pole. This idea was soon scrapped and work began on Project Defender in 1958. Project Defender attempted to destroy Soviet ICBMs at launch with satellite weapon systems, which orbited over Russia. This program proved infeasible with the technology from that era. Work then began on the Sentinel Program which used anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) to shoot down incoming ICBMs.
In the late 1950s United States Air Force considered dropping an atomic bomb on the Moon to display U.S. superiority to the Soviet Union and the rest of the world (Project A119). In 1959, a feasibility study of a possible military base on the Moon (Project Horizon) was conducted. In 1958, a plan for a 21-airman underground Air Force base on the Moon by 1968 was developed (Lunex Project).
When I was growing up it was a big deal that retirees were not getting enough money from SSI to cover rent, utilities and food. Several older people died during the winter because they couldn't afford to keep the utilities on. And many retirees had to eat dog food because it was all that they could afford. Today the Republicans and Democrats keep taking about cuts to SSI, Medicaid and all other social services, I just keep thinking that if it wasn't for NASA, we could afford all those things and so much more.
In 1983 American president Ronald Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a space-based system to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear missiles. The plan was ridiculed by some as unrealistic and expensive, and Dr. Carol Rosin nicknamed the policy "Star Wars", after the popular science-fiction movie franchise. Astronomer Carl Sagan pointed out that in order to defeat SDI, the Soviet Union had only to build more missiles, allowing them to overcome the defense by sheer force of numbers.
As part of the ongoing initiative to transform the U.S. military, on 26 June 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that U.S. Space Command would merge with USSTRATCOM. The UCP directed that Unified Combatant Commands be capped at ten, and with the formation of the new United States Northern Command, one would have to be deactivated in order to maintain that level. Thus the USSPACECOM merger into USSTRATCOM.
On 16 December 2002, US President George W. Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive which outlined a plan to begin deployment of operational ballistic missile defense systems by 2004. The following day the US formally requested from the UK and Denmark use of facilities in RAF Fylingdales, England and Thule, Greenland, respectively, as a part of the NMD Program. The administration continued to push the program, despite highly publicized but not unexpected trial-and-error technical failures during development and over the objections of some scientists who opposed it. The projected cost of the program for the years 2004 to 2009 was 53 billion US dollars, making it the largest single line in The Pentagon's budget.
But instead of drying up, the SDI just shifted purviews and changed focus over the years and through multiple presidencies: going strong through Reagan, petering out during Bush 1, getting downsized and transformed into the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization under Bill Clinton, and eventually resuscitated by George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11. It was then that Bush allocated billions in funding to a new bureau, the Missile Defense Agency, which continues to receive billions every year to maintain and enhance our never-used missile silos.
So today, we’ve got a multi-billion dollar missile defense system—altogether, it’s believed that well over $100 billion has been spent on the program, according to the Fiscal Times. $80 billion of that was in the last decade alone. Now, it’s not quite $850 quadrillion, but still—that’s a lot of cash down the tubes for a system that experts say might not even be effective. See, the kicker is that nobody really knows whether Star Wars would work or not. According to a 2011 report in Bloomberg, which detailed the most recent round of defense contract approvals for the program, there’s plenty of reason for skepticism:
No one knows whether the $35 billion program would work. It has never been tested under conditions simulating a real attack by an intercontinental ballistic missile deploying sophisticated decoys and countermeasures. The system has flunked 7 of 15 more limited trials, yet remains exempted from normal Pentagon oversight and so far has been spared the cuts Congress is demanding in other areas of federal spending.
Indeed. Just last year, the Missile Defense Agency requested $8 billion for its annual operating budget. For a program whose success rate in test runs is less than 50%.
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By Christopher R Rice
Everyone is indoctrinated to believe that all of todays technological advances are all due to work at NASA. Someone even made the ridiculous comment that math, science and medicine wouldn't exist without NASA. But math, science and 'modern' medicine were used in ancient Egypt over 2,000 years before NASA.
Not only has NASA not contributed one single thing to our society but technological advances are not the responsibility of big government. They are the responsibility of private industry.
Since the 1950s I've watched my government pouring billions and billions of dollars down the drain for some moon rocks or pictures of Mars or whatever. All the while there are 2.5 million homeless children living in America. All the while people are dyeing from diseases we've had the cures to, for years. All the while they can't afford body cameras for beat cops or even to fix the pot hole in front of my house.
How much do those rich kids get paid coming straight out of college to work at NASA? While I have to work two jobs just to get by? Everyday I wake up in the morning screaming fuck NASA.
I've seen kids protesting high tuition rates getting pepper spayed in their face. And I think to myself, could've used that money we wasted on NASA to build new schools, roads and even more.
What has NASA given us for all of the money that we have given them? NOTHING. Zip, zero, zilch, nada, the big goose egg. We get nothing. The rich get richer and the poor get children.
Next we will see how much NASA cost. Then we'll look at where that money is really going.
"In 1961, President John F. Kennedy decided that NASA would send humans to the Moon before the end of the decade. At that time, each U.S. citizen was paying $20 per year to NASA. JFK needed that number to go up to $26 a year to help get our astronauts to the Moon. In 2015 dollars, the Apollo era budget would have been equivalent to each American paying over $200 a year to the space administration. If NASA still had that sort of funding in 2015, that would make its budget a whopping $65 billion dollars per year, compared to its actual budget of $17.5 billion. Instead, in 2014 each American paid an average of $54 per year to NASA."