UnNews:Lockheed Martin chosen to administrate new white collar welfare program
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31 August 2006
WASHINGTON - NASA on Thursday gave a multibillion dollar contract to keep a bunch of highly paid, over-educated, and otherwise unemployable nerds employed to Lockheed Martin Corp., the aerospace company that is no stranger to suckling off the government's swollen teat.
The nation's space agency plans to use building the Orion crew exploration vehicle to replace the overpaid jobs currently in place to maintain and fly the space shuttle fleet. The Orion might take astronauts to the moon and perhaps to Mars, unless somebody comes along and cuts funding or reroutes the money into their own pockets.
The last time NASA awarded a manned spaceship contract to Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., was in 1996, when they pissed away all the money trying to build a stupid spaceplane that was supposed to replace the space shuttle. NASA spent $912 million and the ship, called X-33, never got built. Way to go, Lockheed Martin!
The only other competitors for the contract were a team made up of other government leeches and parasites, namely Northrop Grumman Corp., the world's largest shipbuilder and third-largest military contractor, and Boeing Co.
"We feel we have a real shot at keeping our fancy jobs for years to come," said Doug Cooke, a deputy associate administrator when asked why Lockheed Martin was chosen over the competing team. "This is a design that is basically a cheap re-hash of the Apollo program, which we milked for over a decade before Dick Nixon pulled the plug."
Although all of NASA's 10 centers will be siphoning off the money to build Orion, the majority of the paychecks will be written at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
In picking Lockheed Martin for Orion, described by NASA's chief as "one of the biggest gopher holes to pour money into we could find," NASA bypassed Northrop Grumman of Los Angeles and its chief subcontractor Boeing of Chicago.
"NASA decided to do something different, spread the wealth, and make sure they've got two contractors that know how to overrun budgets and construction schedules," said aerospace industry analyst Paul Nisbet, president of JSA Research.
Lockheed Martin built several unmanned probes, including the 1999 Mars Climate Orbiter, which crashed because of a Lockheed Martin/NASA mismatching of metric and English measurement units. Way to go, Lockheed Martin!
Before the announcement Lockheed Martin released few details about its proposal. Their plan was heavily open-budgeted, allowing NASA the ultimate decision on how much money they wanted to funnel into the company.
Lockheed Martin's initial proposal was vastly different from what NASA wanted. Its first submission looked like the exact same plans for the X-33 spaceplane, but with the dates changed. NASA then clued Lockheed Martin in that it wanted an Apollo-like capsule, so the company rolled over, pulled some all-nighters, sucked some serious ass, and changed its proposal.
If all goes well, the first paychecks for the Orion project will start being printed in a few months. The first Orion launch could be in September 2014 and astronauts could return to the moon by late 2019 or 2020. What for, who knows? Just as long as somebody's signing those checks.