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Old September 9 2009, 03:57 PM   #35
Cicero
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

The old space program, even before President Kennedy chose to go to the moon, was significantly better funded than today's NASA. The space agency budget in 1962 was $5.4 billion, which is about $40 billion in today's dollars (the OMB inflation calculations are deeply flawed); 1.4% of the total budget was allocated to NASA. In 2009, NASA's budget was $17.2 billion, which accounts for only 0.55% of the national budget.

As President Kennedy put it, the difference in cost between the Mercury space program and the Apollo era was between 40 cents per person per week and 50 cents per person per week. Today, that would be about $2.40 per person per week (30 cents) and $3.20 per person per week (40 cents). The cost of the Mercury-era program today would be about $125 per person per year.

The ultimate price of Apollo was much higher than President Kennedy suggested. By 1965, NASA's budget had risen to 5.3% of the national budget, $33.514 billion. In today's dollars, the cost of the Apollo program at its cost height would be about $0.25 trillion per year.

When considering the future of the space program - when considering the future of any program - it's important to consider its costs, in terms of capital and commitment. Apollo was a tremendous undertaking in its day, and any serious space exploration in the next hundred years is likely to be similarly expensive, costly, and requiring. We cannot go to space without at least two of effort, money, and time.
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