MacCallum: No Bucks, No Buck Rogers

Universe Today has an interview with Paragon Space Development Corporation CEO Taber MacCallum in which he defended NASA’s work on the Constellation program and blasted Congress for not giving the agency sufficient resources to do its job.

“I think NASA has done an incredible job of getting Constellation this far with the funding they’ve received,” he said. “The more of us who have gotten into this program, the more we have appreciated how much of the things we derogatorily attribute to NASA are really things that Congress has created. I think all Americans need to realize that when we say NASA has problems, the problems are really with Congress. NASA has become the organization it has in response to what Congress has made it do.”

“Congress has asked NASA to do things and not given them the money, or marked certain money for this or that or tied their hands a certain way,” MacCallum continued. “The more we’ve gotten into this the more I think that NASA does an admirable job given the challenges Congress gives them.”

MacCallum’s Tucson-based company is building life support and thermal control systems for NASA’s new Orion and Altair spacecraft. It also is developing life support systems for SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Rocketplane Global’s suborbital vehicle.

Development of NASA’s Orion and Altair spacecraft – and the Ares rockets to carry them – is lagging, which will lead to a years-long gap in flights after NASA retires the space shuttle late next year.

“Soon we’re going to be at place, and people will wake up one day and realize we are in stand down mode and America can’t fly people to space, but only current and former communist countries can,” MacCallum said. “It’s going to be an interesting day. That gap is going to be pretty big. It terms of NASA’s charter to lead and Congress’s charter to give them what they need to lead, we’re in an interesting position where the most modern human spacecraft is made by China – not to demean the Chinese at all, but it’s not what we think of as American’s leadership in space.

Read the full interview.