The first “A” in NASA stands for “aeronautics,” a fact often overlooked in day-to-day discussions of and references to what most people regard solely as the “space” agency.
Michael D. Griffin
Michael Griffin reported to work late last month as the 11th administrator of NASA. By his own admission, Griffin will be “spending a good deal of my time reviewing our progress toward returning the space shuttle safely to flight,” so it remains to be seen if his experience as a flight instructor and instrument-rated multi-engine pilot will result in a renewed emphasis on aeronautics research.
NASA is requesting 3.2 percent more for its FY2007 budget than it requested for this fiscal year, but the agency’s aeronautics division may not benefit from the proposed increase. In fact, the Aeronautics Mission Research Directorate might lose 18 percent of its funding. The agency’s request went to Congress for debate early last month.