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Space Exploration - Research Paper Example

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Summary
During the heat of the space race in the 1960s, NASA decided it needed a ballpoint pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of approximately $1 million US dollars.
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Space Exploration
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Download file to see previous pages The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success at a novelty item back here on earth. The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.

ABSTRACT
NASA and its voluminous funding by the US government have been burning questions from day one. While the proponents of NASA funding have a firm belief that even a penny invested in its prolific research programs will reap insurmountable benefits for the world and humanity in general, the people who condemn NASA and its so-called good for nothing activities have a strong contention that that the profusion of funds that NASA uses are neither worth it nor serviceable for mankind.
In this research paper we try to analyse both sides of the argument and try to reach a conclusion as to why the US government should work to dilate the funding of NASA programs, and what should be the role of NASA administration in this regard.

NASA AND ITS PROJECT HISTORY
In the period starting from 1958 till 2008, the total spending on NASA has been $471.23 billion dollars, which makes an average of $9.06 billion per year. NASA's budget for FY 2008 sums up to $17.318 billion, which is almost 0.6% of the $2.9 trillion United States federal budget for the year, and almost about 35% total academic scientific research spending in the United States. These figures might look huge but the point of consideration is that they have enabled NASA to provide humanity with some emphatic developments and research successes. The most prominent discoveries and developments of NASA are the Pioneer 10, Voyager 1 and 2, Hubble Telescope, Space Shuttle Program, Apollo 13, Mars Pathfinder, and Moon Landing. These benchmarks have proved that the funding provided to the agency was fully utilized for productive purposes. These days there is a contention about whether NASA would be able to carry out on its latest Constellation Program that aims at retiring the space shuttle this year, replacing it Orion (capsule- based vehicles), and luner landers and Space Launch System, etc. But all these prospects rest on the simple debate that whether the amount being spent in this area is really worth it, especially when American debt is making life tougher for the Finance Ministry day in and day out. THE DARK SIDE OF NASA OPERATIONS: It is a known fact that most of NASA’s projects face huge research flaws and take a lot of effort and financial input to rectify those flaws. For example, the Space Launch system that is currently being worked on has billion dollars and still, there are massive security and sustainability issues popping up that place doubts in the minds of the government as to whether the mission would remain viable or not. Another major loss incurred by NASA was the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999 in which $327.6 million was invested for the orbiter and Lander and $193.1 million was invested for spacecraft development. Also, $91.7 million and $42.8 million were incurred in launching the mission and operating the activities respectively. This shows that the NASA operations and research efforts, no matter how object oriented they are, always carry huge risks that could not be averted at any cost. This, however, can only be considered an overgeneralization because the success rate of some of NASA’s operations is very high. For example, NASA’s launch service program enjoys 98% success rate that is unparalleled. Similarly, the ULA, United Launch Alliance, has made 50 Delta II launches with 100% success rate completing a wide array of exceptionally imperative science missions. Also with the long list of accomplishments like those mentioned above, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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