Thursday, January 20, 2011

The NASA Obameter

Share

Today marks the two-year point of Barack Obama's presidency. Since he was sworn in, I have depended upon the dedicated folks at PolitiFact.com to update their Truth-O-Meter with his initial campaign promises.

This subsidiary website of the St. Petersburg Times published a compilation of over 500 statements of intent made by Obama, and is still tracking process on their "Obameter" by rating status. There's good news and bad news for us space enthusiasts…

#150: Code of Conduct for space-faring nations
Stalled in 2009, Compromise in 2010

#331: Re-establish National Aeronautics & Space Council
Stalled in 2009, Promise broken in 2010

#332: Additional Space Shuttle flight
DONE in 2009

#333: Speed development of next-gen space vehicle
In the Works in 2009, same status in 2010

#334: Use private sector to improve space flight
DONE in 2009, proven in a big way by SpaceX in 2010!

#335: Work with international allies on ISS
DONE in 2010

#336: Partner to enhance potential of ISS
DONE in 2009

#337: Use ISS for biological + physical research
DONE in 2009

#338: Explore whether ISS can operate after 2016
DONE in 2009

#339: Support human mission to moon by 2020
Stalled in 2009, Promise broken in 2010

#340: Robust R&D on future human/robotic missions
Stalled in 2009, DONE in 2010

#341: Increase spending for long missions [Mars, asteroids]
Stalled in 2009, DONE in 2010

#342: Deploy global climate change monitoring system
DONE in 2009

#343: Improve climate change data records
In the Works in 2009, same status in 2010, ongoing…

#345: Enhance earth mapping
DONE in 2009

#349: Support commercial access to space
DONE in 2010

#350: Revise regulations for export of aerospace technology
In the Works in 2009, same status in 2010, ongoing…

#351: School programs to highlight space science achievement
DONE in 2010

In 2009, I introduced their initial report card for all space-related promises. In 2010, the first update showed 7 promises kept, 7 in the works and 4 in a holding pattern due to budget restrictions or administrative debates.

In a significant change from last year, four changed from "Stalled" status, which no longer shows up under any of the items, although bureaucracy being what it is, the status of "in the works" is debatable.

On this second annual update, we see 13 promises kept (with one being considered as a "compromise"), 3 in the works and 2 promises broken.

Obama's track record is still firmly in the green, but sadly, the promises broken were pretty big ones. No clear path to the moon, and increasing arguments about the value of our lunar satellite, which – and I know I'm biased – is severely misunderstood in terms of scientific value.

No comments: