The State of NASA: Five Bold(en) Points


Yesterday, Doug spent the day at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) attending a #NASASocial event dubbed #StateOfNASA. A multi-center event, the plan for the day was to listen to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden’s State of NASA presentation (you can view the speech on YouTube: ), planned concurrently with the release of the FY2017 Federal Budget, and then to see how NASA’s part of the budget is reflected in the particular missions of the respective centers. AFRC’s bailiwick is aeronautics, and, as the day played out, Doug got a firsthand look at the work that AFRC is doing to make aviation Greener, Cleaner, Safer, and Quieter.

  1. NASA is the #1 place to work in the Federal Government.

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service (with help from Deloitte) conducts a worker satisfaction survey of agencies in the Federal Government. The survey is divided into small, medium, and large agencies, and NASA was ranked #1 in the category of large agencies (which seems happen with some regularity, since NASA was also #1 in this category in 2013 and 2014).

  1. NASA’s FY2017 Budget is $19B.

An article at the Christian Science Monitor points out that this is less than the $19.3B that Congress approved for NASA in December. This remains in line with the just under half of one-percent of the federal budget that NASA typically receives.

  1. More venture capital was poured into the commercial space sector last year than in the previous fifteen years.
(Blue Origin)
(Blue Origin)
  1. 1000 companies support NASA’s commercial space programs.
Dragon Capsule from SpaceX (Lofty Ambitions photo)
  1. Administrator Bolden loves his NASA people.

Administrator Bolden is known to be an emotional guy. This was on display twice during his presentation, both times deservedly so. (Doug got choked up too.) Bolden’s voice first cracked a bit when recounting the story of NASA Langley research mathematician and Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner Katherine Johnson, but he got very choked up when discussing the people of NASA.

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