Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Birthday With No Cake

Click the arrow to watch a September 1958 film introducing NACA employees to the new NASA administrator.

NASA was born on October 1, 1958, in response to events in the last year beginning with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957.

That makes today NASA's 55th birthday.

No one is around to light the birthday candle, unfortunately, because Congress failed to pass a Fiscal Year 2014 budget by midnight. NASA has already begun sending out tweets on Twitter with this advisory:

Due to the gov't shutdown, all public NASA activities/events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Florida Today published an article on September 26 projecting the consequences of the shutdown on NASA.

Congress has failed to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the FY14 NASA budget. The House version would cut NASA's budget and prohibit the proposed Asteroid Initiative. The Senate version slightly increases NASA's budget and allows NASA to decide if the Asteroid Initative should proceed.

Contrast today's sad state of affairs with the optimism fifty-five years ago when Keith Glennan introduced Hugh Dryden to the employees of the outgoing National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NACA was being absorbed into the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Glennan was NACA's last director, and would be deputy NASA administrator to Glennan.

Fifty-five years ago, Glennan and Dryden knew they had the joint backing of the White House and Congress. They also knew that when it came time to open their doors on October 1, they could actually open their doors.

Not so today.

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