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NASA Shouts astronaut shortage

By jkameleon ·
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WASHINGTON ??? The United States does not have enough astronauts to meet the changing needs of human spaceflight in the coming years, warned a report Wednesday by a non-profit group that advises on science policy.

The shrinking American astronaut corps poses risks to the US investment in human spaceflight and NASA should take steps to boost the size of its space-flying crew, the National Research Council said in its report.

"Viewed as a supply chain, astronaut selection and training is very sensitive to critical shortfalls," said committee co-chair Frederick Gregory, former commander of three shuttle missions.

"Astronauts who are trained for specific roles and missions can't be easily interchanged," said Gregory, also a former NASA deputy administrator.

At its peak in 1999, during the space shuttle era and as the International Space Station was being built, NASA maintained a staff of 150 astronauts.

But in 2011 that number shrank to 61, as the space shuttle program ended after 30 years leaving Russia as the only nation with a vehicle capable of taking people to the ISS.


They can't send people to space anymore, so why the **** would they need astronauts for? Just like a Big Programmer Shortage Panic around 1999, just before the dotcom bubble burst.

The more things get screwed up, the louder the labor shortage shouting.

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by AnsuGisalas In reply to NASA Shouts astronaut sho ...

Well, it appears you've never heard of the newest innovation in space exploration...
it's called the "Holistic Unpropelled Mounting Achievement as Nominally Probational Y-axis Ramping Ascension by a Method of Ingenous Design".
I'll spare you the very advanced aerodynamics involved, but this technology, this H.U.M.A.N.P.Y.R.A.M.I.D will be able to reach the moon without using any fuel... However, they'll need about a billion astronauts to pull it off

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No, I haven't heard about that

by jkameleon In reply to HAhahaha!

I heard about "Faith based orbital vehicle propulsion", though. It's a science-religion partnership program, a part of a wider trend in the USA:

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Did I miss something?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to No, I haven't heard about ...

I didn't find any mention of science in this article. Did I miss it?

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No, you didn't miss it.

by jkameleon In reply to Did I miss something?

The article is about trend.

There is no article about "Holistic Unpropelled Mounting Achievement as Nominally Probational Y-axis Ramping Ascension by a Method of Ingenous Design" AnsuGisalas mentioned either. It must be some top secret project or something.

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Unless they're trying to propel the poor in to space...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Did I miss something?

I don't see a connection, either. I guess we have to google it ourselves ... no, coming up empty.

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Uh, 'NASA' isn't shouting this.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to NASA Shouts astronaut sho ...

"...warned a report Wednesday by a NON-PROFIT GROUP THAT ADVISES on science policy." (My caps for emphasis.)

NASA and the non-profit started the study expecting to need less than the 60 astronauts currently trained. They found that many astronauts are planning on leaving the program because the flight opportunities are reduced (I'll come back to this). This is a huge loss of institutional knowledge. It takes years to train an astronaut, and the resulting new astronauts wouldn't benefit from the 'real world' ('real space'?) knowledge of the experienced veterans who've been there. The third-party recommendation was to get trainees into the pipeline while those veterans and other experienced trainers were still around to help teach them.

"They can't send people to space anymore,..."

Sorry, that's wrong. Even though we won't be operating flights to the ISS, we'll still send people up there on Russian flights, and hopefully on private flights in the future.

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It's not about "want", it's about "can"

by jkameleon In reply to Uh, 'NASA' isn't shouting ...

NASA wants to send poepole to space, sure enough, but it can't. And without flight opportunities, it's impossible to maintain knowledge even with veterans around, and it makes no sense either.

It's similar to (and probably related to as well) ability of producing hi tech products. For example, Amazon wanted to produce Kindle in the US, but it couldn't. Industry and expertise is simply gone. More here:

<a href="">Steve Denning: Why Amazon Can't Make A Kindle In the USA</a>

If decent career opportunities in certain field vanish, people most certainly wouldn't put themselves on ice, wait for jobs to come back, and keep their skills current in the meantime.

Oh, and... shortage shouting is always done through intermediary, so that it looks more objective.

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