Budgets: We do them for businesses and work, and now I am doing it now for a space journey! I can handle a household budget and my lab budget, but a NASA budget … this is a Dark Hole in Space.
Unbeknownst to me – a first-time budgeter for spaceflight experimentation – what I really needed was a budget four times what I had planned. How you ask…let me give you a couple examples of unique spaceflight budgeting.
First, NASA suggested we prepare for up to four weeks of spaceflight scrub mission scenarios. Four weeks. Who could have expected that? I budgeted for the team to travel to Florida once. While I did plan a couple extra days for delays, never did I think four weeks of financial planning was necessary. This alone has caused significant increased expenses. In addition to the basic housing and necessities needed for four weeks of travel, we have to consider storage and transportation of equipment and maintenance/replacement of perishable science items, like cells and therapies.
Second, we needed to add a very expensive ground control study (AKA practice) into our efforts. Since our research is breaking new ground with NASA’s spaceflight research, additional testing is required. Another item not included in our initial budget.
I could go on – regulatory hurdles, conference calls – but I think you get the idea. Planning a budget for spaceflight is not easy, and because of this, we have significant funding shortfalls for our research mission.
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