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NASA Vision Still Cloudy on Post-Shuttle Strategy

Gabby Giffords and President Obama exemplify the split
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2011 3:30 PM CDT
NASA Vision Still Cloudy on Post-Shuttle Strategy
Endeavour is due to blast off about 3:45pm EST, with Gabby Giffords and President Obama in attendance.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Whenever Endeavour manages to blast off, it's bound to be a grand spectacle that will no doubt recall NASA's glory days. But the Wall Street Journal warns that the pomp should not obscure fundamental questions about the agency's future. Consider the two most prominent spectators who were to attend today's launch before it got scrubbed, President Obama and Gabby Giffords. Obama wants to privatize much of NASA's work, a notion Giffords opposed as head of a House subcommittee that oversees the agency.

She argued that a commercialized NASA would doom US space dominance along with the manned flight program, and she angered the White House by pushing against it. It's just one example of the disarray amid decreasing space budgets and disagreement on strategy. "NASA's fundamental problem is a lack of clear-cut direction and goals," a former senior NASA official tells the Journal. "The current path is a very risky one, and time is quickly running out to correct course." (More NASA stories.)

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