After years of construction on a test tower in Mississippi, America’s space agency was thrilled to announce this year that the job was finally done. But despite the $349 million price tag, the thing was immediately shut down. Why? Because the program had been canceled… four years ago!
The A-3 test stand tower was built to test the effects of the vacuum of space on new rocket engines and had been in the works since the year 2007. Planners expected the facility to help them develop new engines to take Americans back to the moon and even beyond to Mars.
During the ground breaking in 2007, NASA officials and state politicians alike hailed the facility as the next step to the future of space exploration.
“You who live in Mississippi and who work at this space center will see that frontier opening,” NASA’s then second-in-command Shana Dale said, as reported by The Washington Post. “You’ll hear it, too: the rumble of moon-bound rockets being tested here. The thunder of possibility; the roar of freedom.”
Initially the program was to have cost a mere $119 million and was scheduled to be completed by 2010. But in that same year, budget cuts and new priorities ended the rocket program for which the test facility was being constructed.
Yet, construction on the Mississippi facility continued regardless of the fact that even if completed, the tests meant to be carried out there would never be conducted.
Apparently in June, as soon as the construction was successfully completed on the A-3 test stand, the whole facility was shut down and locked up, never to be used again.
Ultimately the construction cost NASA $349 million in wasted budget dollars.
That isn’t the only major waste perpetrated by NASA. Earlier this year Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) highlighted over $3 billion wasted by the space agency in 2014 of which the A-3 tower was a prominent part.
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