CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE CALLS SPACE STATION AN ‘INTERSTELLAR WHITE ELEPHANT’ | Citizens Against Government Waste

CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE CALLS SPACE STATION AN ‘INTERSTELLAR WHITE ELEPHANT’

Press Release

For Immediate Release   Contact:  Jim Campi
December 3, 1998(202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today reiterated its opposition to the astronomical cost of the International Space Station (ISS), an intergalactic gamble that the General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates may cost taxpayers nearly $100 billion.

“The International Space Station has become an interstellar white elephant,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “Originally expected to be completed for $8 billion, it is now projected to cost $95.6 billion – and NASA has yet to get a single component of the space station off the ground.”

The principal reason for this extraordinary increase in the cost is the space station’s transition into a 16-nation international venture – a development that was supposed to lower the financial burden on the federal government.  According to GAO, construction costs alone are expected to set American taxpayers back $53.4 billion – more than six times the projected estimate for the entire station when it was unveiled in 1985.  In its 1998 Prime Cuts Catalogue, CAGW estimated that eliminating the ISS would save taxpayers $9.3 billion over five years. 

“NASA officials are suffering from a strangle mindset that allows them to pretend they have the situation under control despite overwhelming evidence that the space station is hemorrhaging money by the hour,” Schatz noted.  “This week’s launch of the first American-built component of the ISS is just another example of NASA’s extravagant station fixation.”

GAO has also expressed concern that further delays beyond the current completion date of 2003 could cost taxpayers $100 million per month.  Unforeseen shuttle flights will cost approximately $500 million per mission.  In addition, completion of a space debris tracking system to protect ISS from a collision with space junk may wind up costing between $400 million and $5 billion.

“The can-do spirit that once exemplified NASA and made it unique among government agencies has been replaced by a can-spend spirit all too familiar to veteran waste watchers,” Schatz stated.  “No federal agency should have a license to spend billions with the reckless abandon NASA has displayed in regard to the ISS.”

CAGW is a 600,000-member nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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