"Those who love the law and sausage should never watch either being made." -- Otto Von Bismarck The same goes for America's Space Program. Howdy! I stumbled across the Physics Forum just today, and it looks like a nice place to be. I am a retired (actually unemployed, but old enough to be retired, and it sounds better) aerospace engineer. Way back when I was in college, I switched from majoring in Physics to go to the Big University to major in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering because of the repeated ominous warning: There Are No Jobs in Physics. Besides, I was quite a space enthusiast at the time. The Apollo program was still ongoing and the hypesters in the television news talked as if it would continue and develop forever. So, I got to the Big U just in time for the (then) biggest Aerospace industry crash in history! Big Mistake #1, the first of series of many more to come over the next 40 years. Crash, schmash; I graduated two years later and got a job anyhow. There were no space jobs, but developing aircraft flight control systems was quite enjoyable. Seven years later, while I living in a city I really like with a job where I looked forward to going to work every day, I got a call from a recruiter looking to staff up jobs working on the Space Shuttle down in Houston. Once again, the muse of the space program was wiggling her tail and me, and once again, I fell for it. Big Mistake #2. Working on NASA programs was quite enjoyable; but the work itself was mostly unpleasant. Back then, I enjoyed the people I got to work with and my own conceptions about the importance and romance of the program made up for a lot. But more and more over the years, NASA went from emphasis on space exploration to emphasis on politics, and today, every bit of the agency is overwhelmed by politics. Except for maintenance of a few programs that this administration has not been able to cancel, America no longer has anything that you could call a space program. No one appreciates your sacrifice or your service. You're there to be chargeable labor; and unless you have knack for politics, nothing more. Darn. I should have stayed in Physics back then, and maybe picked up a masters in Mechanical Engineering if there was no way to earn a living in pure science. Harsh lessons learned.