NASA is not civilian. it is a cooperation between military and civilian components. more civilian involvement now, than in the past. when NASA was born, much of the tech was highly classified. now, to the extent that private companies can provide services like satellite launch, etc. i think it's great to have them do it.
however, the space program still has military and intel jobs to do. also, if we are going to be involved in things like an international space station, we should be able to get our own people and stuff up there.
as a conservative, i like to see private industry doing most things. i am not an anarchist. there is a place for government. as an example, we have an aging and vulnerable power grid. rather than spend money bailing out unions, i'd rather have seen the billions spend on things like the power grid. that would have been a useful and necessary spending of tax dollars.
it's funny to me that you think it's a good use of our tax money to throw it down the toilet on "stimulus" but not on something that is not only useful, but has contributed massively the the life style we now lead.
you probably can stand in one room and lay hands on 10 things that were in some way a result of the space program...then developed and marketed to the public by private industry. it's one of those rare times when you get a net win from a government program.