NASA: On the Road to Ruin … or Recovery?

NASA has taken on the look of a lost-in-space agency. Its shuttle fleet is stuck on the ground. A multi-billion dollar international space station project seems to some observers more a pork barrel claptrap than a hoped-for “world class” research laboratory. Then there’s the fallout from the Columbia tragedy earlier this year. It has served as a horrific metaphor for bureaucratic, managerial and technological blundering, not only within NASA, but at the aerospace contractor level too. This Wednesday, a Senate hearing will attempt to sort out what’s wrong with NASA, but also what amount of right stuff remains at the space agency to propel humans outward into the future.