View Full Version : Discussion: NASA Has Too Many Astronauts

2003-Jul-11, 05:40 PM
SUMMARY: A new report released Thursday by NASA's Inspector General says that the agency has too many astronauts for the number of shuttle flights. As of December 2002, 53 of the agency's 116 astronauts had yet to actually go into space because of fewer shuttle flights than originally planned; what was supposed to be 8 or 9 flights a year ended up being only five times a year. Ironically, this report was prepared before the Columbia disaster, so the loss of another orbiter will make this problem even worse. Astronauts selected for the 2004 class probably won't make it to space until 2009.

Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

2003-Jul-11, 09:31 PM
Actually, I think the problem is not too many astronauts...it's that we have too few flights!!! ;)

2003-Jul-11, 10:11 PM
Agreed. :-)

2003-Jul-11, 10:17 PM
Right on. Lets get afew [or many more ] vehicles so that instead of just messing around we go forward in our quest for knowledge.Yea Yea I know money. . I say lets borrow a famous quote from a famous american faced with an obsticl " Dam the torpedoes, full speed ahead"

2003-Jul-12, 02:30 AM
I just finished reading the (35 page!!) report. It's even worse than it first looks. year 2000 astronauts aren't expected to fly until 2010. Imagine being selected then potentially not ever getting to fly! For what NASA has planned in terms of flights per year and ISS missions etc, they hire more than necessary just in case there's a higher than expected attrition rate (for eg).

I still don't understand how people managed to get bored with going to space. Perhaps the USA needs another hostile competitor? Or the private sector's really got to get moving. Go X-Prize ... then x-prize II - mission to the moon. Okay, maybe i'm getting ahead of myself.


2003-Jul-16, 03:52 AM
Josh, I think you're right - the US was never more active in manned space research and development than during the 60's when they were scared of a Red Moon.

Hopefully the Chinese will soon be launching their first manned flight... wait until they start eyeing up the Moon - or Mars - and then watch as the US opens up one sleepy eye...


2003-Jul-16, 04:06 AM
I agree. How in the world did people get so bored with space. Why haven't we been to Mars yet. Money is secondary to desire. If we really wanted to go we would. We have the technology. We just don't have the leadership or the will as a nation to make that jump. We really should go.

2003-Jul-17, 03:56 AM
I don't think people have become bored as such... although I grant you that was the case during Apollo... I'd say the biggest problem is funding. People are asking for justification as to why we should spend billions of tax-payers dollars on space research that (as far as the public are aware) bring no immediate benefits when there are health care, education and poverty issues that need our attention.

However, the fact that exploration is fundamental to our nature is still evident, otherwise we wouldn't even have the ISS - even now, every couple of years we hear a politician rambling on about going to Mars (again) but of course, nothing ever comes of it.


2003-Jul-17, 09:08 AM
(Firstly I’d like to say that you have to HATE when you type out a long reply and it gets deleted due to stupidity! But anyway …)

I agree in a manner. People haven’t become bored. They haven’t had the chance to. People got bored (somehow ?!?!) with shooting for the moon during Apollo and the fervour for space never returned. We see the occasional shuttle launch or landing on the news and then nothing. None of the glory that is inherently associated with pushing the very existence of humanity is fed to the masses. Human exploration into frontiers unknown has been what allowed the human species to flourish. Without a continuation of this we will disappear into oblivion.

I’ve (obviously) never bought into this spend the money here on Earth to stop poverty instead blah blah. Why is it that, in the face of these cries by the uneducated we never hear people extolling the benefits of space travel: heart monitoring systems that save the lives of numerous people everyday, water filtration and purification systems that allow poverty stricken people in third world countries to drink clean water. The list is numerous!

(This was the general idea. There was more … but it is now lost to computer limbo)

Kevin Milburn
2003-Jul-18, 12:26 AM
I think Tim C has it right...not too many astronauts, but too few vehicles for them to fly aboard.

It seems strange that NASA would invest so much money in training astronauts from all over the world and then have then wait around to catch a flight into space.

The way the shuttle program is going there are going to be some astronauts who may never get into space.

I couldn't think of a greater disappointment for an astronaut than to make the grade and then get left behind without a ride.