Saturday, January 21, 2012

Space Obameter 2012


It's that time of year again! Today marks the three-year point of Barack Obama's presidency. Since he was sworn in, I have depended upon the dedicated folks at 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 as Promise Kept, Promise Broken, Compromise or In The Works. 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, No new status in 2011 or 2012

#332: Additional Space Shuttle flight
DONE in 2009, added flight STS-135 flew in 2011

#333: Speed development of next-gen space vehicle
In the Works in 2009 and 2010, still has same status throughout 2011
(So there appears to be some misunderstanding of the word SPEED, here ;)

#334: Use private sector to improve space flight
DONE in 2009, proven in a big way by SpaceX in 2010! Next SpaceX launch set for March 2012.

#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. ISS now expected to remain in operation until at least 2020, and potentially to 2028

#339: Support human mission to moon by 2020
Stalled in 2009, Promise broken in 2011... o don't get me started on this one.

#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 and 2011...

#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 and 2011...

#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 2011 we saw the most change, with nothing in "Stalled" status, and an increase in completions.

On this third annual update, we see 13 space promises kept (with one being considered as a "compromise"), 4 in the works and 2 promises broken. The overall picture has a track record similarly in the green:

Given the state of our government, the state of the economy, the nature of bureaucracy and the massive amount of sabotage this President has withstood in his first term, I wouldn't be at all ashamed to have the same track record!