HOUSTON, Texas -- Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., the new NASA Administrator confirmed by congress on July 15, 2009, has released a memorandum to senior space cadets informing them of his decision to drastically cut the budget-and staff-of NASA "to a few dozen men and women adept at astral projection."
"Rockets are incredibly expensive, and endanger the crews who operate them," said General Bolden. "After speaking to our R&D staff, and to leading psychics such as Rudi Gellar, I have determined that NASA's annual budget can be trimmed from billions of dollars to a little over $500,000 dollars, not counting my annual salary of just under $500,000,000,000."
"We intend to train a new corps of space explorers. The term 'astronaught' will be dropped in favor of the new designation of 'astralnuts,'" said Bolden. "The only cost will be for the administration of the program," he promised, saying, "The astralnuts will consist of unpaid volunteers. They won't require multi-million dollar flight training, or obscenely expensive space suits, because they may wear pajamas or travel in the nude, whichever they prefer."
General Bolden's decision threw cities across the US into a panic with the announced cuts in staff and purchases, especially Houston and Cocoa Beach.
"Thousands of NASA workers, and the hundreds of military and areospace contractors throughout the US that employ millions of workers, will be wiped out, and forced into bankruptsy, said delegations of congressmen and senators whose districts are financed by the industries that built and maintain the space program.
President Obama agreed there would be "short-term" rises in unemployment, "perhaps another four or five million workers will lose their jobs; but we have a plan to retrain them, most likely as auto workers, who will be resettled in Detroit and other rust belt towns like Gary, Indiana or Pittsburg," he said.
"I say, let them make widgets. Every college economy class talks about making widgets," said General Bolden. "Oh, yeah, before I forget, the Chinese are looking for experienced areospace workers and flight crews," he said.
NASA telephone operators were swamped with calls from prospective astralnuts, according to sources at Houston and at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.