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Something amiss at NASA Ames?

MarketWatch.com columnist John C. Dvorak writes about NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. "When you visit the Ames Research Center you can sense something is wrong," he writes.

Exactly what Ames, which has always been known locally as a top R&D facility, did wrong is hard to pin down. It's possible that some of its best work in air traffic control, for example, isn't appreciated by executives with their eyes on Mars or Iraq. Ames researchers, led by the famous Dr. Heinz Erzberger, essentially invented modern air traffic control schemes and are currently working on an automated system that can handle the ridiculous traffic loads over major centers.

The other interesting item:
The kicker to all this, according to managers at the facility, is that U.S. companies such as Boeing Co. have turned their back on Ames despite a long cooperative relationship. It's believed that any association with any commercial vendor such as Boeing will impact international trade relations governed by the WTO, which forbid unfair government subsidies to private companies. Somehow Ames is perceived as part of an unfair advantage. I guess that should make the former employees feel better about themselves if they eventually shutter the facility.

This is particularly interesting given some findings that people at NASA are quite happy working there. We'll have much more on that in the July 25 issue of Federal Computer Week and I don't want to give too much away until it is out, so stay tuned.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jul 14, 2005 at 12:14 PM


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