Campaign '04

A Kerry space policy statement

The Kerry/Edwards campaign has posted a space policy statement on its campaign website. The content of the policy should not come as much of a surprise for those who attended and/or read the press accounts of the Garver-Sietzen debate. The statement calls the Vision for Space Exploration “a purely political stunt, without being backed up by the necessary funding.” The alternative proposed by the Kerry campaign has five major points:

  1. Increasing NASA’s funding “above current levels adjusted for inflation”, paid for (along with other R&D initiatives) by accelerating the transition to digital TV broadcasting and auctioning the existing analog spectrum;
  2. Develop a “more balanced” program that “assigns appropriate priority to all NASA programs”. This would appear to place less of an emphasis on exploration in favor of space science, earth science, and aeronautics programs;
  3. Encourage international participation in NASA programs “in a meaningful way”;
  4. Increase the emphasis on aeronautics R&D (a partial restatement of point 2);
  5. Improving the current management of NASA; which the campaign alleges has failed in its bid to reform the agency’s financial and management problems.

Again, not too much of a surprise, although it is the most detailed official campaign statement on space policy to date.

95 comments to A Kerry space policy statement

  • Bill Turner

    The statement has few details.

    It says it will increase funding for NASA above current levels adjusted for inflation, but does not say how much the increase will be.

    It does not have the words “shuttle” or “station” anywhere. [You can try searching for them by using Find (Ctrl+F).] This is troubling, since the CAIB report recommended that NASA should “replace the Shuttle as soon as possible as the primary means for transporting humans to and from Earth orbit”.

  • Bill Turner

    It’s sad to see the Democrats go from:

    “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

    to:

    “In particular, we need to invest in the creation of a robust, safe, and secure air traffic management system that will be adequate to meet the growing demand for air travel that is predicted.”

  • Bill Turner

    This space policy doesn’t have a name.

    How about Cancellation of Space Exploration (CSE).

  • Dogsbd

    “Kerry-Edwards plan devotes $30 billion to increasing research, innovation and entrepreneurship over the next decade”

    Barely 1 billion a year more, and I don’t believe it regardless. Kerry’s never fought for a NASA increase why would he start now.

    “Although he (GWB) has outlined ambitious space goals, his budget does not include any money to meet these goals.”

    That’s false. Budgets have been presented, and the President stated explicitly in his speech that further resources would be required down the road by future administrations/congresses.

    “The Bush administration’s plan for lunar bases and human exploration of Mars is based on political rhetoric”

    Why political rhetoric? To corner the huge space enthusiast vote?

    “It was developed in secret, without consulting the U.S. scientific and engineering community or potential international partners.”

    The original JFK, the real JFK, developed his plan in secret too. No consultation with scientific or engineering communities, is NASA out of scientists and engineers? International partners, do we have to ask permission to make plans for OUR space agency?

    “They (Kerry/Edwards) will support solar system exploration as an important goal for our human and robotic programs, but only as one goal among several.”

    In other words, human exploration of the solar system is not a priority.

    “Ensuring that space exploration is a global undertaking that unites all nations in the common quest for greater understanding”

    So space policy will be ran from the State Department as in the Clinton years.

    “Yet the Bush administration is applying its unilateralist approach to the Moon and Mars”

    ….. and I call on other nations to join us on this journey, in a spirit of cooperation and friendship. – George W. Bush January 14, 2004

    “The Kerry-Edwards administration will restore financial integrity and credibility to NASA.”

    Goldin / ISS. Enough said.

  • kdspace

    Keith, I am confused. Are you for the Shuttle and ISS or the Vision? Everyone knows that the biggest threat to the Vision is the Shuttle and ISS. Many in NASA have not plans to limit them as planned by the President. You cannot have it both ways.

  • Robert G. Oler

    “In particular, we need to invest in the creation of a robust, safe, and secure air traffic management system that will be adequate to meet the growing demand for air travel that is predicted.”

    Posted by Bill Turner at October 25, 2004 08:36 PM

  • Bill White

    Keith, I am confused. Are you for the Shuttle and ISS or the Vision? Everyone knows that the biggest threat to the Vision is the Shuttle and ISS. Many in NASA have not plans to limit them as planned by the President. You cannot have it both ways.

    I share this concern. After we pay lots of money and spend lots of time on orbiter return to flight how can we be certain that those with a vested interest in the orbiter won’t find a way to extend the orbiter program after GWB leaves office?

    The orbiter is a vampire. It needs a stake through the heart, not fancy new tires and a commitment to send 3 of them to the Smithsonian in pristine working condition come 2010.

    Don’t mess around. Kill it dead, dead, dead, NOW!

    That is my biggest complaint about the Bush VSE.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    This is not so much a policy as it is a political rant against Bush’s policy coupled with generalities disguising as a policy. The ghost of John F. Kennedy must be weeping.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The ghost of John F. Kennedy must be weeping.

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 25, 2004 11:50 PM

  • Edward Wright

    > times change and idears and policies should change along with them. Exploration
    > was “a good thing” in the 60′s not because of exploration but because it fit in the
    > larger political issues of the time.

    You’re greatly confused. The space race of the 1960′s was not about exploration. It was about political propoganda.

    > If you think any of the political parties absent a Soviet threat
    > would have advocated a lunar trip I disagree.

    Absent a Soviet threat, a lunar trip probably would not have been undertaken by the US government. It’s impossible to say how soon such a trip would have been undertaken. However, once accomplished, it’s unlikely that we would have turned our backs on the Moon for another 30 years.

    > Exploration has no value to The Republic for the dollars it is going to take.

    You have no idea how many dollars it’s going to take (or how many it will generate).

  • Edward Wright

    > The ghost of John F. Kennedy must be weeping.

    If the ghost of John F. Kennedy is doing anything, he’s probably chasing the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. The real John F. Kennedy cared very little about space and was nothing like the fiction that’s been created around him.

    > Jack Kennedy would not have today proposed going to the Moon–
    > nor would he have invaded Iraq.

    Actually, the reason Kennedy announced the race for the Moon was to deflect public attention from his failed invasion of Cuba. See “Bay of Pigs.”

    Kennedy was far from the liberal pacifist his modern worshippers make him out to be. (He was also making plans to expand the Vietnam War at the time of his death.)

  • GS

    Policy? It just an anti-bush diatribe. It mentions Bush nine times. It mentions the shuttle ZERO times. So sad. If Kerry should win. We must do all we can to protect NASA. We must never give up.

  • First, let me recognize that it can’t be easy to write the space policy you want to write with an election imminent. Now on to some specific thoughts (corresponding to the sections in the document):

    (1) I like that the source of extra funding is specified.

    (2) This comes across as a reversion back to the old status quo justified as ‘balance’. I think nearly everyone agrees that the old status quo was dysfunctional, and so we need more details to allay this fear.

    (3) Cooperation at the macro program level, like ESA’s Mars Express complementing NASA’s Mars Odyssey, is a good thing. Taking individual engineering projects like space stations and dividing them between countries has been proven to be disastrous. The damage to NASA programs is not worth the extra points it gets from the State Department.

    (4) I think balance between space and aeronautics is a good thing, as aeronautics is mismanaged and under funded, and has been for many years.

    Updating air traffic control has been a holy grail of the FAA and NASA for many years too. I agree that the results will be worthwhile but ask myself why we didn’t have this system in the 1980s? What went wrong before; was it fundamental technical issues or just programmatic incompetence?

    One other important issue is the competitiveness of US aerospace companies in the civil market. Europe is innovating its way to a commanding market share, and the US must now innovate agressively to remain competitive.

    We need investment to move the industry forward to improved airframes and flight regimes. This means seriously looking at flying wings, which have been very successful for long range bombers and could substantially reduce ticket prices if used for civil transport.

    Anticipating that jet fuel prices will contract the aerospace sector in the medium term (having repercussions for the economy), NASA should now prepare the aerospace sector for the hydrogen economy: The NASA program for hydrogen aircraft should be accelerated toward flight testing.

    (5) I think most people would agree that changing the current NASA management would improve the prospects of NASA’s recovery. Within NASA, the technique worked well at JPL during a period of poor performance in the 1970s.

    One final note, the policy mentioned nothing about the restoration of the US science and engineering base. This has been a democratic theme, and might logically be expected to be a major justification of NASA’s budget.

  • Flying wings have a serious problem for passenger aircraft–the motion for those farther from the center would be likely to induce much more airsickness than conventional aircraft.

  • MrEarl

    Right now a modern ATC system would mean more to the country then a trip to the Moon.
    Posted by Robert G. Oler at October 25, 2004 11:09 PM

    True Bob but there are fees in place today to pay for just such systems. If the fees are inadiquate that rais them on the comanys that use the system don’t take it out of NASA’s budget.

  • Robert G. Oler

    True Bob but there are fees in place today to pay for just such systems. If the fees are inadiquate that rais them on the comanys that use the system don’t take it out of NASA’s budget.

    Posted by MrEarl at October 26, 2004 10:38 AM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Flying wings have a serious problem for passenger aircraft–the motion for those farther from the center would be likely to induce much more airsickness than conventional aircraft.

    Posted by Rand Simberg at October 26, 2004 08:21 AM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    “My larger point is that exploration makes no sense in an era where there is little or no commercial explotation of space by humans AND there is almost no aerospace industry in the country that can survive absent government handouts.”

    Oler is putting the cart before the horse in his zeal to be against everything GW Bush is for. Exploration must come before commercial exploitation by definition. How one knows what sort of activities are commercially viable without exploration first is a question whose answer escapes me.

  • Edward Wright

    > Anticipating that jet fuel prices will contract the aerospace sector
    > in the medium term (having repercussions for the economy), NASA should now
    > prepare the aerospace sector for the hydrogen economy: The NASA program for
    > hydrogen aircraft should be accelerated toward flight testing.

    Leaving aside the fact that hydrogen is more expensive than jet fuel, the large tanks needed for carrying hydrogen lead to highly inefficient designs. If you look at the artist concepts for hydrogen-powered airliners, you see what looks like a wide-body jet but with narrow-body seating capacity.

    Look up Project Suntan. Even Kelly Johnson couldn’t make that turkey fly.

  • Edward Wright

    > I am not a flying wing proponent but FBW has gone a long way to taking
    > the woblin out of the goblin.

    Fly-by-wire does nothing about the wing drop when you bank into a term.

    You’d need some sort of gimbled to get rid of the rotational motion. Even so, passengers would experience + and – gees on their y axis.

    (As a side note, I’ve always wondered how Star Fleet solves that problem. If the bridge crew gets tossed around like that, what happens to the guys who are all the way out at the edge of the saucer section? :-)

  • Edward Wright

    > How one knows what sort of activities are commercially viable
    > without exploration first is a question whose answer escapes me.

    It’s called “market research.”

    You’re still lead astray by your belief that exploration is something only government does.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Exploration must come before commercial exploitation by definition. How one knows what sort of activities are commercially viable without exploration first is a question whose answer escapes me.

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 26, 2004 02:19 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 26, 2004 02:19 PM

  • MrEarl

    Bob:
    The whole reason that Rutan and Vergin G exist now is that a govenment funded X15 blazed the way 45 years ago. As for a few NASA astronauhts going to the moon not effecting the economy of this country you just don’t know if that is true. Some discovery on the moon by this group of astronauts could become vital to our country in the next 50 years.
    It’s also clear that since the invention of the airplane all major advancement has been finaced by government programs. It’s too expensive for companies or even groups of companies to take on that type of resurch and exploration with unknown prospects of payoff. That’s why I say it is proper for goverment to fund this resurch and explorations and pass what is learned to intrestes in our country that can exploit them while moving on the the next project. NASA has learned all it could from LEO. It’s now time for them to move there exploration out to the rest of the solar system and leave LEO to those who can utilize it.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, if you may remember, I wrote an opinion piece on how the Moon could be the Saudi Arabia of this century. Obviously you didn’t read it, otherwise you would not have written that last post. Getting people to the Moon and beyond is not only a good thing for civilization, but necessary.

  • Rand,

    We had a presentation from the program manager of the Boeing Blended Wing body program a couple of years back and my understanding is that all the problems were either solved or turned out not be an significant issue with this design.

    http://www.aerosite.net/bwb.htm

    Ultimately, it has better performance and scales better to large passenger counts, which is the direction the industry is heading. Nevertheless, these types of craft are a significant departure from existing designs and probably can’t be undertaken without government help, as was the case for earlier Boeing airframes.

  • Edward Wright

    > The whole reason that Rutan and Vergin G exist now is that a govenment
    > funded X15 blazed the way 45 years ago.

    There’s a logical fallacy here. The fact that government project X had certain benefits 45 years ago does not mean an entirely different government project Y will have the same benefits today.

    Furthermore, the X-15 had nothing to do with the Moon landings you talk about. In fact, Project Apollo was one of the contributors to cancellation of the X-15 and other research projects that arguably held the development of human spaceflight back 30 years.

    > It’s also clear that since the invention of the airplane all major advancement
    > has been finaced by government programs.

    You don’t consider ailerons a major advancement? Or flaps, retractable landing gear, supercharged engines, variable-pitch propellers, 100-octance gasoline, streamlined cockpits, or composite construction?

    The Air Force doesn’t seem to agree with you. USAF chief historian Richard Hallion wrote, “Until the advent of the post-Second World War X-series aircraft, air racers constituted a unique series of high-speed research aircraft.”

    > It’s too expensive for companies or even groups of companies to take
    > on that type of resurch and exploration with unknown prospects of payoff.

    You mean groups of companies like Scaled Composites and Vulcan Ventures. You haven’t been watching the news this summer, I take it? :-)

  • Edward Wright

    > I wrote an opinion piece on how the Moon could be the Saudi Arabia of this century.

    Does that mean you expect the Moon to export oil or Islamic terrorism? :-)

    > Getting people to the Moon and beyond is not only a good thing
    > for civilization, but necessary.

    That is not the question, Mark. The real question is *how* it should be done.

    In your opinion pieces, you say that private companies should pay NASA to transport scientists to the Moon on NASA spacecraft, flown by NASA pilots.

    That is a socialist approach, which completely inverts the way we do things in this country. Scientific research is NASA’s job. Operating transportation systems is a job for the private sector. NASA should be paying private companies to transport scientists on private spacecraft, not vice versa.

    If NASA follows the private enterprise model, they will be able to send lots of scientists to the Moon. If they follow your proposed model — well, let’s just say there are no private companies that can afford to send even one scientist to the Moon at NASA prices.

  • Edward,

    At some point in the not-too-distant future petrochemical propellants will be a great deal more expensive than they are today. The issue of whether or not hydrogen aircraft have slightly lower performance than their petrochemical equivalents is neither here nor there, as we probably won’t have a choice. We need to plan ahead because the economy will suffer badly should civil aviation become unaffordable for the average American, and there won’t be the revenue stream to transition to hydrogen aircraft then.

    http://www.haw-hamburg.de/pers/Scholz/dglr/hh/text_2001_12_06_Cryoplane.pdf

    The hydrogen economy is predicated on the idea that hydrogen will be a cheap and abundant carrier of energy. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable assumption. Of course it supposes that there is ultimately a cheap enough energy source. If there isn’t one, then our way of life as we have known it since the second world war will end, it’s as simple as that.

    (and yes, I read about project Suntan in Ben Rich’s book entitled “Skunk Works”)

  • Al Thompson

    While I support both manned and unmanned space travel, the creation of a “commercially based” manned, orbital space industry will be required if we hope to develop a sustainable “exploration” policy. However the creation of a commercially based, manned, orbital space flight industry will NOT occur if NASA continues to put forth strategies such as the “Moon to Mars” policy. This policy, like its predecessors, assumes that if the United States spends enough money on exploration, the commercial sector will eventually follow. However, the manned, orbital space flight market has no commercially independent entities after 40+ years. If federal money were removed from the manned, orbital space market, this market would cease to exist. Therefore we must be willing to accept strategies that are directed at commercialization.

    If we ignore these commercial aspects specifically; a commercial sector that is independent of government programs, we will find that the cost associated with manned space flight will remain to high to justify the expenditure. That is why we should direct our strategic space policies toward developing infrastructure elements and incentives that support a commercially based, manned, orbital space industry that is not exclusively funded by the government. We cannot eliminate the government from the industry; government has important roles and responsibilities within the space industry. However, we should define these roles and responsibilities based upon the proven successes of Earth-based industry models.

    We will struggle to sustain any manned space exploration policy until we can show the American public that the manned, orbital space flight market can have a direct, positive economic impact independent of government programs. Science and spin-off technology arguments, while valid, will not be enough incentive to sustain public support as the cost of these “exploration” policies escalate.

  • MrEarl

    Eddy…
    What I was explaining, as you shurely must know, is that the work of Rutan was based on government resurch preformed by the X aircraft (most notably the X15) meny years ago. It is logical then to assume the Burt Rutans 40 years from now will be building and improving on the knowlege gained by the X43 flights now to build hypesonic transports using scramjets.
    On your second point; while streamlined cockpits, ailerons and variable pitch propelers are very clever, they are still only evolutionary. The technologies that were truly revolutionary, jet propulsion, composit materials, suprsonic design and even the flying wing design, were all government funded. ( You should check your facts before you answer.)
    What I am proposing is that it is the resposibility of goverment to do the basic resurch and exploration that is too costly to do in the privet sector. This knowlege should then be provided to our privet sector.

    Brian Chase, one time Director of the National Space Society said it best,:
    “Spacve exploration is a worthwhile endeavor and a investment that can be made while meeting other needs in our nation. History teaches us that societies that have pushed their frontiers outward have prospered; those who have not have withered and faded into the history books.”
    I belive that NASA should be at the vanguard of pushing America’s society outward.

  • Edward Wright

    > It is logical then to assume the Burt Rutans 40 years from now will be
    > building and improving on the knowlege gained by the X43 flights now to
    > build hypesonic transports using scramjets.

    Baring advances in life extension, it is not logical to assume Burt Rutan will be building anything at the age of 100. As for “hypesonic” scramjets — “hype” is the right word indeed. :-)

    > The technologies that were truly revolutionary, jet propulsion,
    > composit materials, suprsonic design and even the flying wing design, were all
    > government funded. ( You should check your facts before you answer.)

    The centrifugal flow turbojet developed directly from the superchargers used for air racing. Composite aircraft have been developed in the private sector for many years. You should check your facts before you get snarky.

    Your main, problem, though, is logic. I never claimed that government hadn’t developed anything. However, the fact that government was responsible for some things does not prove your claim that government was responsible for *every* major advance.

    > I belive that NASA should be at the vanguard of pushing America’s society outward.

    And if society isn’t willing to wait that long?

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA has learned all it could from LEO. It’s now time for them to move there exploration out to the rest of the solar system and leave LEO to those who can utilize it.

    Posted by MrEarl at October 26, 2004 04:16 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 26, 2004 04:45 PM

  • John Malkin

    Kerry from day one has taken an anti-Bush policy rather than a democratic position. This campaign has been very disappointing and short sited. I think if Clinton hadn’t gotten sick it would have been better. Now with a week left Kerry is in danger of loosing the election and he had ever opportunity to clench the election. Talk about squandering opportunities. Having worked with many law firms the thought of 10,000+ lawyers involved in this election is worse than stationing a terrorist at each poll place. Proof of this is the award for most pointless disclaimer awarded each year, now there is a waste of money.

    I see the Kerry Space Policy sadly lacking any concept of vision or mile stones however as I said before I wouldn’t expect such a thing from a candidate for president, if Kerry did present a vision he would truly shine.

  • John Malkin

    Kerry insist he will pay for his plan with money from accelerating the transition to digital television and auctioning off the freed up analog spectrum to wireless companies and other ventures. I don’t see this happening unless his subsidies poor to get digital converters and currently it is likely the date for transition will slip a year a two. Currently it’s Jan. 1, 2009, hmmm so if he fails does it affect to him?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by John Malkin at October 26, 2004 11:30 PM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    “So I dont have a clue what you would label as a ‘democratic” position. Jack Kennedy if he were alive today would not argue for a return to the Moon.”

    This coming from a guy who once claimed that if Reagan were alive, he’d be a liberal. Actually, I think JFK would not only enthusiasticly support MM&B but would do so as a Republican.

    By the way, I notice that the administration wants to amend the Space Treaty of 67 to protect property rights in space. Looks like they are contemplating a lot more than just a few government astronauts on the Moon.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 27, 2004 12:06 AM

    This coming from a guy who once claimed that if Reagan were alive, he’d be a liberal.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    I notice, by the way, that John Logsdon, Kerry’s space advisor, is suggesting that human exploration beyond LEO “would not be in danger” in a Kerry Administration. Noting Kerry’s reputation for hostility toward space exploration, he tendency to be dishonest, and the fact that Logsdon himself once wrote an oped in Space News opposing sending humans beyond LEO, I have to remain a little skeptical. However it is interesting that the Kerry Campaign feels that it must try to “appear” to be in favor of human exploration, even if it is not.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Fly-by-wire does nothing about the wing drop when you bank into a term.

    Posted by Edward Wright at October 26, 2004 02:54 PM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Being accused by Oler of fabrication is like being accused by Clinton of adultery. I have seen you slander former President Reagan a number of times by attributing to him positions he would never have taken, like opposition to missile defense.

    Reagan, by the way, would have loved MM&B. He would have undertaken something like it himself if Iran-Contra had not consumned the last two years of his administration.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 27, 2004 01:05 AM

  • Edward Wright

    > Reagan, by the way, would have loved MM&B. He would have undertaken something
    > like it himself if Iran-Contra had not consumned the last two years of his administration.

    Um, Mark. Reagan did do something similar. SS Freedom, now known as the International Space Station (ISS).

  • kert

    “I would argue that what NASA has learned from LEO is in most respects useless and that private enterprise has learned nothing in the endeavor. Nothing has been learned because that was not the object of the excersize.”

    That cant be agreed with. IMO they provide countless good lessons of how not to do things.
    If not for NASA, somebody might still be thinking that produdly building the “most complex machine in the world” will somehow make space access cheaper.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, I can only point out that in Fall, 1986, when Reagan recieved the findings of the National Commission on Space–which called for human exploration of the Moon and Mars–he not only reacted with great enthusiasm, but promised that the recommendations would be implemented. That is an indisputable fact. Reagan was a great fan of space exploration. For you to suggest that were he alive today he would have changed his mind is the equivilent of suggesting that were Ike alive he would have been a NeoNazi or a Communist. The suggestion does not pass the laugh test. Reagan was a man who was very consistant in his beliefs and did not change them of a whim (unlike a certain haughty, French looking political candidate who by the way went to Vietnam, don’t you know.)

    I suggest that there would have been a MM&B type initiative in the last years of the Reagan administration had there not been an Iran-Contra scandal. (Of course, to be sure, considering NASA’s bungling of Bush’s SEI, whether anything would have come of it is open to question.)

  • At some point in the not-too-distant future petrochemical propellants will be a great deal more expensive than they are today.

    I’m not sure what relevance this has to anything, since the cost of propellants is currently an insignificant fraction of launch costs. You could increase them by a factor of ten and hardly notice it.

    Now with a week left Kerry is in danger of loosing the election and he had ever opportunity to clench the election.

    Assuming that you mean “losing” the election, you say that like it’s a bad thing.

    You’ve got it backwards. Fortunately, there was actually never much danger of him winning the election.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 27, 2004 07:34 AM

  • MrEarl

    Ok Ed and Oler….
    Since all you seem to be able to do is run down NASA and other people’s opinion, I would like for both of you to tell us where humans should be in space travel in 50 years and why. How will they get there, who will pay for it and site examples to backup your claims.

  • “I’m not sure what relevance this has to anything, since the cost of propellants is currently an insignificant fraction of launch costs. You could increase them by a factor of ten and hardly notice it.”

    Rand, I was refering to aircraft propellant costs.

  • Robert G. Oler

    50 years and why. How will they get there, who will pay for it and site examples to backup your claims.

    Posted by MrEarl at October 27, 2004 10:33 AM

  • Edward Wright

    Mr. Earl,

    You made a false statement that government was responsible for every major advance in the history of flight and private enterprise never accomplished anything. I refuted your statement with facts.

    If you think believing private enterprise should have a role space exploration is “running down NASA,” so be it. NASA no longer has a monopoly on space exploration, any more than NACA had a monopoly on exploration of the air.

    If you want to believe America’s future in space consists of nothing more than building ISS 2 on the Moon and ISS 3 on Mars, so be it. A politician once said the telephone was such a useful invention, he could foresee the day when every town would have one.

    P.S. Get a spell checker. You’re actually making Oler look good.

  • Dole and McCain lost after advocating early TV auctions. This space policy is going to get buried on the TV news for selfish reasons. I can see that there will be no budget increase if the space community has to duke it out with the TV broadcasters. So much for good government.

    I think the demise of the shuttle will happen under Kerry too. The stealth victory for private industry is that NASA has no heavy lifter for the coming decade. Maybe it will have to go private for its launch needs soon. I think Bush’s vision is compelling enough that Kerry will support it (albeit for a start in 2017 instead of 2009) or he will be accused rightly of having no vision.

    That leaves a clear field for commercial development of tourism on the moon as the next major use.

  • MrEarl

    Ed..
    At least Oler stated his position. That is the basis of any meaningful discussion.
    You on the other hand can only ridicule, adding nothing to the discussion but hot air.
    Since Oler answered the question, I think it is only fair that I do the same and will after work.
    I ask that you do the same and add something positive to the discussion or keep your petty ramblings to yourself.
    (p.s. Read your email.)

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, continuing to repeat nonsense over and over does not make it not nonsense. Your sliming of the memory of Reagan the Great is nothing short of astonishing. Hr would be the first to cheer not only MM&B but the beginning of true missile defense (which does work, by the way.)

    Getting people beyond Low Earth Orbit (and considering the administration’s willingness to revisit the Outer Space Treaty, it looks like more than just NASA explorers are contemplated) is vital for establishing a space faring civilization. It gets NASA out of LEO operations, making way for commercial operators. Further it provides a proper understanding of commercial opportunities on the Moon and beyond and establishes an infrastructure around which commercial operations cab flourish.

    But that’s not your true objection. Your true objection to MM&B is that Bush proposed it and in your mind Bush is Satan.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark.

    Sorry your wrong on several demonstratable points.

    The Missile defense systems DOES NOT WORK. It has failed in 82% of its test, the only ones it has been successful at have been ones where transponders were on the “warhead”. There have been several articles in Space News that discuss the failure of the kill vehicle…much less the failure of the boost vehicle.

    This of course negates the problem with the X band radar which doesnt work either. So a kind of cobbled together lashup (which has never been tested) of using some other “Cobra” assets is emerging.

    A clear case of deploying a system that doesnt work. The last guy to do that was Strange McNamara who rushed the M-16 to the field and well there were bodies of US infantrymen and Marines found vainly trying to clean their upper recievers.

  • John Malkin

    I have a question related to ‘Commercial’ development. Has any rocket systems in the last 20 yrs been develop exclusively by government personnel?

    As I understand the bulk of the money allocated by NASA is given to the private sector for support and design services and equipment including rocket components and space station parts. The space station has product both new products and very good science, however it is severely under staff and not fully constructed with a long list of people waiting for its use. SpaceShipOne uses technology developed by private companies with some of these companies being born out of government contacts. Perot’s EDS early success is owned to government contracts.

    In order to ‘improve’ NASA, congress must give goals, one goal was to improve accounting procedures and systems and NASA is well on their way to completing this goal. Kerry financial references are based on old information like the rest of his stand on space. NASA biggest problem is they have no focus and there for accountability is nearly impossible. In a good business plan you need clear goals. Maybe they should hire Perot to run NASA.

    I, John Malkin approve this post.

  • John Malkin

    Boeing could build inflatable McDonalds maybe that would get the private sector to the moon. Drop one in every creator. It is the chicken and egg with the commercialization of space. The answer is the egg came first unless you are a creationist than I think it would be the chicken. An egg would break if dropped from heaven unless it had a good parachute system.

    The starting of the aeronautics industry can’t be compared to the commercialization of space because you have people spread all over the world and they want to see each other and send packages to each other. People are the most import thing in any endeavor. Another thing it’s very easy to build a plane in your garage, just ask Burt Rutan. Now building a rocket to go to another planet with no people, that is a bit more difficult and even Burt Rutan needed someone like Paul Allen to get into sub-orbital space.

    In the commercial world if you want to build an industry, you invest and pray.
    Example DVD: DVD players in the beginning cost a lot to develop. Companies took a big risk on the technology and they hedge there investments by making the cost of the first units around $5,000 to $10,000 and than as the industry grew people were stampeding for $49 units at your local discount store.
    Example IO sulfur: Using current day capitalization it would cost about $1 trillion dollars (unconfirmed) per kilo at least in the first few years however it would sell on commodities market for $1 kilo. What private company will take this kind of risk? Even if I’m exaggerating would they on there own?

    Going to space to commercialize will fail but going to space to colonize and explore will succeed because it will be a joint effort between governments and the private sector. Can the private sector explore without government? Yes! But this doesn’t mean government can or should be left out of it completely.

  • One other thing about the hydrogen economy – it will create a huge market for catalyst metals such as iridium, platinum etc. Well, there’s not much iridium on Earth…

  • Bill White

    Going to space to commercialize will fail but going to space to colonize and explore will succeed because it will be a joint effort between governments and the private sector. Can the private sector explore without government? Yes! But this doesn’t mean government can or should be left out of it completely.

    Yup!

    Tourism will be profitable but remember after Ellis Island closed, tourism was insufficient to support the great oceangoing liners run by Cunard and White Star Lines. The 1st class tourist passenger got all the press but the 3rd class and steerage passengers paid the bills.

    Humanity is NOT spacefaring until we can safely and routinely bear children out there.

    Moon versus Mars? I invoke this ancient bit of Jewish wisdom. Shiksas are for practice.

    The Moon may be fun for a little while but in the long run Mars is where you settle down and raise families.
    :-)

    = = =

    PS – will this darn election ever get over with so we can argue about other stuff?

  • Bill White

    PS – Governments will be very much involved because of the obvious terror capability for any launch system capable of reaching LEO.

    Governments may not lead the way, but the US government just is not going to let hundreds or thousands of commercial ventures fly rocket ships to LEO without a tremendous amount of oversight and regulation. Especially if we deploy (gasp!) nuclear propulsion (which I strongly favor).

    Earth to LEO lift plus nuclear propulsion just screams national security issue. Don’t believe me? Ask Taylor Dinerman! :-)

  • Al Thompson

    Agree, to a point. Government has an important role in the space industry, in the same way the government has important roles within the airline, automotive and cruise line industries. However, government funded exploration will not in itself generate a commercial sector. Forty years of these types of policies have failed to generate “any” commercially based, manned orbital space flight market that is independent of government financing. There has to be a balance and our space policies need to reflect this.

  • Bill White

    However, government funded exploration will not in itself generate a commercial sector.

    Absolutely YES! Gosh, we need more agreement around here. Feels good. :-)

  • Dogsbd

    [i]However, government funded exploration will not in itself generate a commercial sector.[/i]

    But will government funded exploration [i]hinder[/i] commercial involvement?

    That seems to be what many are saying.

  • Al Thompson

    How space policy will effect commercialization is dependent on the space policy itself.

    Space policies like the Moon to Mars program lack strategic plans directed at building a commercial sector that is independent of government financing. This oversight will hinder commercialization; in the past 40 years these types of science and exploration policies have not generate a commercially based, manned, orbital space flight market that is independent of government programs.

    We should analyze the industry and from this analysis, adjust space policy in a way that can address the deficiencies that exist in the space industry business model. If these deficiencies are addressed in a logical manner, the space policy can then support independent commercialization while it establishes value-added components that can support scientific and exploration agendas. There is a balance between independent, commercially based requirements and manned exploration requirements.

  • MrEarl

    I think one major point about the commercialization of space that everyone is missing, is that privet industry needs a REASON to go and a reasonable return on investment. There was nothing stopping privet industry from purchasing any manned American vehicle or developing one on their own. It’s only been recently technology has been developed that allows SpaceShip1 to obtain orbital flight cheaply and safely. As for orbital flight Burt Rutan himself sees that taking 20 to 25 years to develop technologies to make it safe and inexpensive.
    Technology developed by NASA and the DoD has created a commercial launch and satellite business. You can argue about it completive ness but the vast majority of American commercial launch capacity came from either NASA or defense spending (either US or Russian).
    I see NASA’s role in space as two parts. Basic research in matters of propulsion and design, and second to take on exploration that the privet sector is either unable or unwilling to invest in.
    Being a optimist, I believe there are important discoveries on the moon and Mars and the rest of the solar system both scientific in nature and practical for commercialization, but not too many companies or groups of companies are able to invest the 16billion bare minimum to find these opportunities but the US government can surly afford less the 1% of its total budget to fine these opportunities that will greatly affect our lives and economy in the future.

  • John Malkin

    The issues of space policy can be broken down into two categories. First immediate requirements and second a long term dynamic plan.

    Short Term: Shuttle replacement; ISS crew rotation and completion; Hubble servicing
    I doubt Burt Rutan could on his own replace shuttle and complete ISS in the next 10 years. This is why NASA continues to turn to the big aerospace companies for the big hardware. Note that Boeing and other contractors subcontract most of the parts to other private companies. I don’t see the either party selling or abandoning ISS so we must continue supporting it. The government could privatize all of NASA except for the management body which oversees the allocation of money. I think doing this would be like England giving up the royalty, we would loose a piece of our countries collective heart. The policies put in place over the last year are moving NASA in the right direction but congress must ensure it continues into the future. NASA won’t be perfect but we can always work toward improving it.

    Long Term: Security; Exploration; Colonization
    Exploration can be carried out by either government or the private sector but I can’t find any space exploration outside of low earth orbit done solely by the private sector. It appears that both democrats and republicans will rely on the National Science Foundation for direction and priority of exploration. I think one problem in the debate on commercialization is it must be define. Building Solar Power Satellites and space elevators isn’t planetary commercialization. Building habitats, office complexes, mines, farms and all the things that make a place like earth home is commercialization also known as colonization. Do we really want to build a mine to harvest raw resources to be sent back to earth with a few robots tending it?

    How does Kerry’s plan fit into these questions?

  • Dogsbd

    “I think one major point about the commercialization of space that everyone is missing, is that privet industry needs a REASON to go and a reasonable return on investment.”

    Exactly. Private industry is not going to send probes/men to the Moon, Mars, Saturn etc. in hopes that it may lead to some profitable endeavor 50 years down the road. None of use here would be a shareholder in any company that would take such a gamble.

  • Al Thompson

    Since 1995 our team has been analyzing the space industry, looking for investment opportunities that would have stable, long-term return on investment; we have yet to find one. This led us to analyze the space industry from a macroeconomic point of view. What we found was rather surprising, I won’t go into it here since describing the analysis would bore you to tears. :-) But if your interested, you can check out the publications on our website: http://dserweb.echoechoplus.com

    In short, what we found was that the industrial business model used to define the manned, orbital space flight industry is only marginally correct. There are infrastructure elements missing from the current space industry model that address safety and reliability. These infrastructure elements exist in other industries and are important to the safety, reliability and cost structure of assets that operate within other industries.

    Attempting to reach deeper into space without considering the needs of the commercial sector will create a situation in which the federal government must support more and more infrastructure assets to sustain its exploration agendas. If we can address the infrastructure issues required to develop a commercially independent manned, orbital market, we will eventually be able to release developed infrastructure assets, like the space station, over to the commercial sector.

    Remember that sustaining multi-decade space policies requires a public “perception” of affordability. We are finding that science and spin-off technology arguments are not enough to convince the public that manned space flight is affordable. We must being to show that manned, orbital space flight can have a direct, positive economic impact, independent of government financing before we can expect to sustain long-term exploration policies. There is a very delicate balance between the commercial sector, the science & exploration sector and the public’ “perception” of affordability.

  • Bill White

    Al Thompson, a question for you.

    25 years ago every company in the Fortune 100 made things or mined things. They dealt in tangible goods.

    Today, a large percentage of the top companies only market in intangibles such as “brand value” – - Nike is my poster boy here since they do not make anything. They buy from sub-contractors and add a logo and reap their profits.

    Has anyone looked at space as a vehicle for brand development and brand promotion of consumer goods?

    See Interbrand and Business Week:

    http://www.interbrand.com/best_brands_2004.asp

    = = =

    Your comments reflect my gut intuition that there are no short or medium term profits to be made from “mining the sky” for tangible goods. Mining and manufacture are 19th century business models while creating a new “brand identity” can create billions in market capitalization merely by “selling the sizzle” not the steak.

    He3? Fusion has been 30 years away for teh last 50 years. Other resources? Mining landfills wold be cheaper and more profitable than mining NEOs.

    Water from the Moon? If mass produced, Russian boosters could lift Lake Michigan water to LEO for under $1000 per pound. Thiokol could beat $1000 per pound to LEO if pushed as well.

    So, sell ideas and create brands. Apply 21st century business models to 21st century technology.

    Thoughts?

  • Bill,
    Nike does more than just brand, they’re the ones that come up with the designs based on extensive market analysis and understanding of the customer. Nike doesn’t just sell whatever their subs manufacture.

    A brand has to be backed by something that gives it value. In Nike’s case its their creative process that’s tied very closely to the sports market and the understanding of the customers desires that makeup that market.

    A company that doesn’t do anything other than brand is easily displaced in the market by simple advertising dollars. Plus, regardless of what anyone in marketing will tell you, customers are notoriously cost sensitive. So in the end, you’re still stuck having to give some kind of value to the customer. Besides, 3M has 3 times the market cap of Nike.

    In terms of non-manufacturing/extraction based space businsess about the only real way to get there is either entertainment (already a well built out industry that’s really hard to break into that has a substitute (CG) in place), experience based products (tourism, etc), or the traditional telecom business.

  • Edward Wright

    >There was nothing stopping privet industry from purchasing any manned American vehicle
    > or developing one on their own.

    Private industry *did* try to purchase vehicles or develop their own. When private companies tried to buy Shuttles, NASA (despite its previous promises) was not interested. Not that anyone could have made a viable business out of the Shuttle even if NASA had cooperated. Companies that tried to develop vehicles on their own faced significant government barriers.

    > It’s only been recently technology has been developed that allows SpaceShip1 to obtain orbital flight cheaply and safely.

    No, it has not. Burt Rutan will be the first to tell you SpaceShip One does *not* dedepend on new technology.

    I know you aren’t going to like my saying this, but you need to do some research.

    > As for orbital flight Burt Rutan himself sees that taking 20 to 25 years to develop technologies
    > to make it safe and inexpensive.

    Burt has said he expects to see affordable travel to Mars in his lifetime. He’s 60 years old and not counting on great breakthroughs in life extension.

    Please don’t put your words in other people’s mouths.

    > Technology developed by NASA and the DoD has created a commercial launch and satellite business.

    Which is irrelevant. The expendable missiles currently used to launch satellites have no utility in opening the frontier.

    > I see NASA’s role in space as two parts. Basic research in matters of propulsion and design,

    Private industry is capable of designing its own vehicles. NASA didn’t design SpaceShip One.

    As far as propulsion is concerned, you seem to have fallen for the line that we need new technology. What we have today is quite adequate. All we need to do is mature it a little.

    > and second to take on exploration that the privet sector is either unable or unwilling to invest in.
    > Being a optimist, I believe there are important discoveries on the moon and Mars and the rest of the
    > solar system both scientific in nature and practical for commercialization, but not too many
    > companies or groups of companies are able to invest the 16billion bare minimum

    $16 billion? Where did you get that figure from?

    When we go to Mars, we will do so affordably. It won’t cost $16 billion.

    > to find these opportunities but the US government can surly afford less the 1% of its total budget to fine
    > these opportunities that will greatly affect our lives and economy in the future.

    Making space travel unaffordable, whether it’s through $200 million EELVs or $16 billion Mars missions, will not affect our lives or economy in any positive way. To do that, we need to make space travel *affordable*.

  • Edward Wright

    > If mass produced, Russian boosters could lift Lake Michigan water to LEO for under $1000 per
    > pound.

    They already can. So what? There’s little market for water at that price.

    > Thiokol could beat $1000 per pound to LEO if pushed as well.

    You say that like it’s a *good* thing.

    Getting launch costs under $1000 per pound is not interesting unless you mean *way* under $1000 per pound, and you can’t do that with guided missiles, no matter how much you mass produce them.

  • Al Thompson

    Hi Mr. White,

    “Today, a large percentage of the top companies only market in intangibles such as “brand value” – - Nike is my poster boy here since they do not make anything. They buy from sub-contractors and add a logo and reap their profits.”
    “Has anyone looked at space as a vehicle for brand development and brand promotion of consumer goods?”

    ***** *******
    Good point! I don’t know if anyone has really looked at brand development as a mode of furthering space commercialization. However, to conduct business within this model you have to have companies (sub-contractors, etc.) that actually build a product or provide a service. From our analysis, the manned, orbital space flight market is not at this point, yet. There is currently no commercially independent, space based manufactures, so it would be difficult to apply this model considering the current maturity level of the manned, orbital space flight market. That’s not say it couldn’t be applied successfully in the future.

    We have found that the lack of infrastructure elements that address safety and reliability are missing from our current space industry model and this forces the entire industry to exclusively rely upon Damage Tolerant Design methodologies to ensure safety and reliability. This significantly drives up the cost of manufacturing space assets and products.

    While brand development models work in more mature industrial sectors, the independent, commercially based, manned orbital space flight market does not exist yet. Therefore we need to address these deficiencies (infrastructure, cost model issues, etc) first, once the industry is rolling I’m sure we will see the application of brand development and other marketing models.

  • AJ Mackenzie

    Governments may not lead the way, but the US government just is not going to let hundreds or thousands of commercial ventures fly rocket ships to LEO without a tremendous amount of oversight and regulation.

    there’s already a lot (too much, some might argue) oversight of commercial launches by the FAA. are you arguing that there needs to be even more?

    Earth to LEO lift plus nuclear propulsion just screams national security issue.

    is there any commercial venture seriously considering nuclear propulsion? I’d imagine most are are too smart, or just too poor, to really plan on using in the indefinite future…

  • Edward Wright said “As far as propulsion is concerned, you seem to have fallen for the line that we need new technology. What we have today is quite adequate.”

    I strongly disagree.

    I’ve heard many people argue that the real cost is due to procurement methods, organizational culture etc. etc. These arguments have probably been around for 40 years, and after this 40 year pause in launcher propulsion development, the average cost of launch is the same, the reliability is the same, the flight rate remains low, and industrial base continues to be a long way off from private spaceflight.

    We’ve had 40 years to try changing everything but the propulsion system, and in all this time, if existing propulsion systems are quite adequate, why has nobody found the winning formula? I think the developments in the suborbital market are fantastic, but the suborbital companies who evolve into successful orbital companies will do so with new propulsion systems.

  • MrEarl

    Eddie is back!
    Adding nothing to the discussion again. Just tearing down others for his own personal gratification. That’s all small people have.
    As for the Burt Rutan quote, here is what I was refuring to:
    “And I predict that within 10 years from now, maybe 12 years, kids will know that they will go to orbit in their lifetime.”
    So I didn’t remember corretly, my appoligies.
    Eddie… Since you seem to know everything, for the third time I ask you to state how you feel that corprate america should persue space travel in a timely, efficent and affordable way or stop finding fault in everything.
    (p.s. read your email!)

  • Dogsbd

    MrEarl:”So I didn’t remember corretly, my appoligies.”

    Actually, I too saw a quote from Rutan stating something to the effect that orbital flights would not be affordable to the masses for 20-25 years. I’ve searched for the quote but can’t find it now.

  • Bill White

    Good point! I don’t know if anyone has really looked at brand development as a mode of furthering space commercialization.

    I suspect Richard Branson has! ;-)

    Suppose Virgin-Rutan deploys an X-38 SS1 hybrid weighing 3/8ths of the original X-38. Falcon V can probably lift such a thingee. My enthusiasm for SS1 skyrocketed (sic!) when it dawned on me that Scaled Composites was a lead contractor for X-38.

    Now suppose Virgin-Mariott deploys a genuine LEO space hotel for Virgin-Rutan to fly to.

    Branson can sell tickets to LEO and rooms in LEO and make a few shekels. Fair enough, no problem here.

    BUT!

    If Virgin Airlines also runs a lottery where every mile flown on Earth equals one chance for a free trip to LEO perhaps Branson will make very much more money off the business travellers who decide to fly Virgin rather than British Airways or Lufthanza. The real profit comes from the vicarious pleasure thousands of business travellers experience “hoping” that they win the lottery.

    Virgin-Mariott also sells hotel rooms in Fargo North Dakota because Herb Winchell selling widgets would rather stay at the chain that has its flagship in LEO.

  • Bill White

    Michael Mealing writes:

    A brand has to be backed by something that gives it value. In Nike’s case its their creative process that’s tied very closely to the sports market and the understanding of the customers desires that makeup that market.

    I agree with this nearly 100%.

    Emotional branding seeks to tie products into consumer’s sense of self identity, even when its very far from being rational. (Example, the idea that drinking various brands of beer will make it more likley that sexy super-models will seek out your company strikes me as patently ridiculous, but it seems to work – - shrug.)

    As David Halberstam reports:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0767904443/qid=1099000376/sr=1-11/ref=sr_1_11/102-3324782-8760155?v=glance&s=books

    NBA basketball’s popularity didn’t just happen. Its popularity was engineered by smart men like David Stern, Phil Knight, Brad Falk and even Spike Lee.

    Now, what is there about space exploration (if anything) that a super genuis media type could use persuade consumers to purchase Brand X over Brand Y?

    As Rand Simberg has often said, public support is miles wide and only an inch deep. If true, lets find a way for tens of millions of people to contribute $10 or $50 or $200 dollars per year.

    If IBM donated $200 million per year for 15 years to help fund a permanent lunar base, and gave every astronaut a ThinkPad, might that influence the decisions of people when they bought their next laptop?

    How much does IBM spend sponsoring golf?

    Will this work? Honestly, I don’t know.

    Yet I believe raising $3 billion from IBM this way can happen far sooner than we can expect to sell $3 billion worth of lunar He3 or mine $3 billion worth of platinum from a Near Earth asteroid.

  • Bill White

    Another marketing / brand identity example.

    David Letterman retires and CBS chooses a new host for the show. Would they get sufficient bang for their bucks if it cost $50 million or even $75 million for the new guy’s first show or two to be broadcast from LEO?

    So what if the Soyuz launch costs $30 million for the Letterman follow-on and sidekick. If this jump starts his ascendancy over the NBC rival its money well spent. Creating brand identity.

  • Al Thompson

    Hi Mr. White,

    “I suspect Richard Branson has! ;-)

    You might be right; I haven’t spoken to him about the specifics of his plan (Like he’d tell me anyway!) :-) I agree that the sub-orbital market is ready for commercial transition since the infrastructure systems required to support it are already in place. Of course we will have to see how the regulatory issues will affect this market’s future (personally, I think they’ll be OK, but we’ll have to see).

    Our teams concern is centered on the development a manned, orbital space flight market. While the market models that you describe are valid for industries that are established, (and for the most part the sub-orbital market is established from an infrastructure and operational point of view), the market model becomes less clear for manned, orbital space flight. In this market we need to develop the infrastructure model to best support commercialization, while improving our scientific and research capability. This is not complete and will take years to fully establish.

    Our analysis focuses on the roles and responsibilities the government should have within a commercially based, manned, orbital market and how these responsibilities should fit within national space policy. The individuals I have been working with in the international community agree with our basic strategy and see the benefits of focusing on commercial sector manned, orbital space flight. I invite you to read over our information. I’m going to be out of the country next week, however send me an e-mail and we can keep this going. You have some interesting marketing ideas.

  • John Malkin

    NASA has been named the 2004 Agency of the Year by a federal organization honoring excellence in financial management.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0410/28financial/

    This would contradict Kerry’s campaign stance that alleges has failed in its bid to reform the agency’s financial problems.

  • Dogsbd

    “This would contradict Kerry’s campaign stance that alleges has failed in its bid to reform the agency’s financial problems.”

    Contradicts Oler’s rhetoric on the subject as well.

  • Robert G. Oler

    This would contradict Kerry’s campaign stance that alleges has failed in its bid to reform the agency’s financial problems.

    Posted by John Malkin at October 28, 2004 09:04 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=15389

    snip

    Contradicts Oler’s rhetoric on the subject as well.

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 28, 2004 09:12 PM

  • Dogsbd

    Oler: “HAH go read the above link…about halfway down it gets into the “excellent” fiscal shape.”

    Consider the source:

    http://www.house.gov/science_democrats/welcome.htm

    HAH!

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 29, 2004 07:55 AM

  • Dogsbd

    Oler:”but you cannot dispute the statements.”

    Sure I can.

    Bart G:”The bad news is that over the last three and a half years, our space program has been weakened by inconsistent leadership, ill-advised priorities, and initiatives that lack budgetary and programmatic credibility.”

    The last ~3 years NASA has enjoyed the best leadership it’s had since Webb. They’ve finally been given something worthy as a priority, they’ve fought for the budget that was submittted and the program submitted is the most credible in years.

    Gordon mentions the ISS, Bush was handed a bungled ISS program by Clinton/Goldin/Congress. It will never be straigthened out, much less in only 4 years.

    Yes NASA bungled the Shuttle program too, with regards to safety and everthing else. Again, the STS program was handed to the Bush admin in a poor shape. I’ll blame Bush with 3 years of poor handling (inaguration until Columbia) if Gordon and company accept the previous 10-15 years of poor handling by Clinton/Goldin/Congress.

    This is simply a PARTISAN EDITORIAL OPINION written on the eve of national elections for political gain. Nothing more.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Yes NASA bungled the Shuttle program too, with regards to safety and everthing else. Again, the STS program was handed to the Bush admin in a poor shape. I’ll blame Bush with 3 years of poor handling (inaguration until Columbia) if Gordon and company accept the previous 10-15 years of poor handling by Clinton/Goldin/Congress.

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 29, 2004 09:28 AM

  • Dogsbd

    How convenient of you to forget that 8 of those years prior to Bush were Clinton/Goldin. For you to be “Mr. Accept responsibility” you sure give those guys a pass.

    I bet the USAF and the Navy lost some aircraft/crews on GWB’s watch too, probably some to poor maintenance/neglect. Is Bush directly to blame for that too? How about people killed on the highways due to bad road surfaces, poor maintenance etc., Bush’s directly responsible?

    You simplistically eliminate every individual between the problem and the head of state, and place the blame with the POTUS. Except of course for the years 1992-2000.

    Clinton/Goldin/Congress had 8 years prior to GWB to clean up the Shuttle program and ISS. They failed miserably. If there is any one individual who shares a bigger share of the blame than any other one individual for the Shuttle loss and the ISS mismanagement it is Daniel Goldin, no one else is even a close second.

    And don’t even go with the missing munitions story, it is rapidly become apparent that is a pre-election news media attempt to smear Bush. Even YOU can recognize that. You do know CBS were trying to save the story until just two days before the election, right?

  • AJ Mackenzie

    NASA has been named the 2004 Agency of the Year by a federal organization honoring excellence in financial management.

    actually, the press release says nothing about NASA’s financial management, only that the agency can keep track of when employees punch the timeclock through the web. interestingly, the system seems to predate the arrival of O’Keefe, at least at MSFC.

  • John Malkin

    In order to implement an accounting system it can take at least one year for large single office company if done correctly. A 62 office law firm took 4 1/2 years to standardize there accounting system and another 2 years to connect them together. 50% of the offices were on the same accounting system at the beginning of the project.

    Government red tape adds a lot of time and therefore money to any project that’s why I hate to work on government contracts, but that has nothing to do with NASA specifically. O’Keefe has complained many times about the red tape in congress which is inherited from the legal environment. Sit in a partners meeting at a law firm and it’s like sitting in congress. O’Keefe is blunt and fair with NASA employees, he is an excellent manager and I have seen many. Congress could give NASA administrators more control over the budget but that will never happen.

    I’m still wondering what Clinton did for space program and he had 7 years. Is there any book about Clinton’s space policy?

  • Dogsbd

    Malkin: “Is there any book about Clinton’s space policy?”

    I think he gave NASA one paragraph in Mein Kam.. er “My Life”.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 29, 2004 10:21 AM