Campaign '04

Glenn on Kerry space policy

In Thursday’s edition of Florida Today John Glenn has a column about John Kerry’s recently released space policy. One of the most notable comments is at the very beginning of the column:

There have been false rumors circulated that if my good friend John Kerry is elected president, he will limit future space shuttle flights to 10 or less. Kerry has no such plans.

This appears to be references to rumors that NASA Watch alleged that Lori Garver had been circulating in recent days. Another interesting statement by Glenn is that Kerry “intends to be at the return-to-flight launch of shuttle Discovery next year.” Most of the rest of the commentary is largely a restatement of the Kerry space policy document.

67 comments to Glenn on Kerry space policy

  • Robert G. Oler

    The only real significance of the op ed (but it is real) is that John H. Glenn not only signed it but probably wrote some of it (parts of it read like his speechs).

    It would seem to back up the statement I made several days ago that Glenn is ONE of the folks who are making up Kerry’s senior braintrust on aerospace matters.

    All this was is an attempt to put the death knell on some mild “Shrub spin” that Kerry advocates killing early the shuttle.

    Robert

  • Bill White

    Thats too bad. Cancelling orbiter ASAP and finishing ISS another way is something to be sought, not avoided.

  • Bill Turner

    John Glenn is a great guy, but he is a politician first and an astronaut second. He wrote this op-ed to support Kerry, not to support NASA.

    Glenn’s op-ed has material on both the shuttle and the station, but there is still no mention of either in the full space policy.

    Ever since the CAIB report came out, there has been a consensus that the shuttle should be replaced by a new human space vehicle. The Kerry space policy does not address this at all.

    The Democrats used to be good for space, but 2004 has been a big disappointment.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    There are a couple of ways to look at this. One is that the trial balloon that Garver was spreading about ending the shuttle didn’t work and Glenn was assigned to shoot it down. The other is that Glenn and Garver have seperate and distinct understandings about what Kerry intends to do (maybe because Kerry told each a different story.)

    The slam against Moon, Mars, and Beyond is rather sad. Glenn the astronaut would be shocked to see what Glenn the retired politician is sayings.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The slam against Moon, Mars, and Beyond is rather sad. Glenn the astronaut would be shocked to see what Glenn the retired politician is sayings.

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2004 10:56 AM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    By the way, Jeffr, Garver’s rumor that you’ve linked to was that Bush was planning to limit shuttle flights. There’s another rumor that Kerry would end the shuttle.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, I see that your excuse for opposing MM&B has shifted. I take it that you believe that sending people beyond LEO was some quaint thing we did in the 60s that we have now outgrown like–say–bell bottoms and psychodelic music? That now limiting humans to LEO (or perhaps to Earth itself) is a sign of maturity rather than cowardice?

    It’s a silly argument, as are most of yours. MM&B in one way is correcting a thirty year old mistake, which was to get the government into running a space line and out of cutting edge science and exploration.

  • Dogsbd

    If Kerry annouced he was going to scrap all the orbiters, pads and everything else at the Cape and turn them into razor blades Glenn would find something good to say about the idea. Over the past twenty years or so I’ve slowly lost just about all the respect I ever had for Glenn.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2004 11:07 AM

  • Robert G. Oler

    If Kerry annouced he was going to scrap all the orbiters, pads and everything else at the Cape and turn them into razor blades Glenn would find something good to say about the idea. Over the past twenty years or so I’ve slowly lost just about all the respect I ever had for Glenn.

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 28, 2004 11:18 AM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    “Exploration in itself has no value.”

    That has got to be the silliest statement I have ever heard. Of course exploration has value, particularly of places like the Moon (and even Mars in the long term) that can have such benefit for our civilization.

    “To bad you have let partisan politics enter into your calculas.”

    Pot calling the kettle black. I know about your problems with the entire Bush family (even the cute twins) and how those have made you say things, take positions, and support people that are so–well–wrong that the matter is not even open to debate. If President Bush had come out against space exploration, I know that you would conclude that it was not only a good thing, but an urgent thing and that Bush was evil for suggesting otherwise.

  • Dogsbd

    “Then its time to seriously downscale NASA (can we say oh 4-6000 employees), close centers and head for the stars.”

    After you trimmed NASA to 4-6000 employees WHO would go to the “stars”?

    tSpace? Scaled? Virgin?

  • Bill White

    O’Keefe comments on return to flight.

    http://space.com/missionlaunches/risk_okeefe_041028.html

    Sounds like May 2005 is far from certain.

    = = =

    How can we move forward with the VSE whlle we fiddle with and delay Return to Flight and also fund a robotic Hubble repair and also still not have the increased funding asked for?

    Regardless of the merits of the Bush vision, we need a strategy – - or to quote John McCain (hardly a donkey-loving loon):

    “Vision without strategy is illusion”

  • Robert G. Oler

    After you trimmed NASA to 4-6000 employees WHO would go to the “stars”?

    tSpace? Scaled? Virgin?

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 28, 2004 11:52 AM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2004 11:39 AM

  • Robert G. Oler

    “Vision without strategy is illusion”

    Posted by Bill White at October 28, 2004 11:53 AM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    The Viking anaology is even more silly. First, there are not any savage Native Lunarians or Native Martians to kick us off. Second, the Vikings did colonize Greenland, Iceland, parts of England, parts of Ireland, Normandy (including one of my remote ancestors), and Novgorod in Russia. Besides terrorizing Europe with raiding, they established trade routes across much of the known world.

    To my mind, the Vikings are a success story for bold exploration. You have made my point.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2004 12:21 PM

  • Bill White

    I am a species-centric expansionist and therefore favor “exploration” but only as a precursor to actual settlement. Without the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis & Clark would have been a waste of money.

    The Bush-Vision carefully avoids the word “settlement” – - correct?

  • Mark R. Whittington

    The Vikings were a super power for two hundred and fifty or so years. The United States has just been one for about sixty years. We have a ways to go before matching the success of the Vikings.

    (Indeed, one might say that England’s reign as a world power was partly the result of the Norman Conquest (Normans being Christianized and Europeanized Vikings, which included one William de Whittington, hero of Hastings, but I digress (g).)

    Dan Goldin had two problems. One was that he served mostly under a President who could care less about space, wouldn’t support him, and slashed his budget. The second problem was the he practiced management by primal scream.

    O’Keefe suffers from neither of those impediments.

  • Robert G. Oler

    O’Keefe suffers from neither of those impediments.

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2004 12:36 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    The Bush-Vision carefully avoids the word “settlement” – - correct?

    Posted by Bill White at October 28, 2004 12:34 PM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, I am not convienced that the CEV is going to be built in the typical way. Look at t/Space’s presentation. My suspician is that the first exploreres to return to the Moon will travel part of the way (say to LEO) on a flight chartered from somewhat like Sir Richard Bransom.

  • Brad

    First unmanned test flight of the Project Constellation CEV is supposed to fly in 2008, only four years (closer to three) from now. Does anyone think that would happen under a Kerry administration?

  • Robert G. Oler

    way (say to LEO) on a flight chartered from somewhat like Sir Richard Bransom.

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2004 01:23 PM

  • MrEarl

    Oler..
    I had such high hopes for you. You just seem to stick with your one note song, Free enterprise will solve every problem.
    It STILL comes down to free enterprise will NOT invest in exploration if there is no reason to expect some near term return on investment! Government sponsored exploration is needed in space to discover investment opportunities.
    Now here’s your out; Whether that means direct funding of a government agency, i.e. NASA, or contracting with private industry, government will still play a majority role in space exploration for the foreseeable future.
    Lewis and Clark is really not a good analogy to space exploration. The voyage of Columbus would probably be a better fit. He we have the same doubts that it could even be done and it was more expensive than any merchant could afford at the time, but the riches found were enormous. What we don’t want to happen is for the US not to exploit the explorations and discoveries that we have only just begun to find.

  • AJ Mackenzie

    Government sponsored exploration is needed in space to discover investment opportunities.

    but the government-sponsored space exploration to date doesn’t seem that devoted to finding investment opportunities: instead, it’s being used to figure out how thick Saturn’s rings are or if an obscure Martian crater was flooded with water four billion years ago. interesting science, sure, but not many investment opportunities there.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, actually you deal in fantasy.

    The Aldrige Commission report came out before 4 October 2004. Burt Rutan suggested that Boeing and Lockmart doesn’t know it yet, but they will be building low cost space transportation in ten years. The same princible applies to NASA (though I think O’Keefe and his stop people already know it, if one reads between the lines of their recent statements). NASA will be chartering space flights to LEO from the private sector in ten years or so.

  • Dogsbd

    The same process that took aviation from two guys on a beach to well what we have today–Free enterprise.

    And while Curtiss and Wright etc. were building and design new airplanes for the “masses” the GOVERNMENT was also involved in aircraft research and advancement.

    Sooo… why is it that private industry’s involvement in space is dependant on NASA NOT being involved???

    If private industry is so eager to take over from the government in space exploration, why don’t they just DO IT??

  • John Malkin

    Congress could have come out with their own version of a vision for space policy, now they will need to deal with what was given. Even if Kerry is elected, Kerry would still need to deal with a republican controlled congress. Many democrats are on the side of a bigger NASA so I think the ‘Vision’ will stand in some form. Kerry’s campaign is very safe because he isn’t going against any popular perceptions.

    I would have liked to see a Bush v. Edwards for president. I remember Perot saying a monkey could produce 1% GNP; well a monkey could get 50% of the American vote. It doesn’t appear to me that Kerry had to work very hard to get elected in Massachusetts. Now Clinton is trying to save his backside after having major surgery.

    NASA needs to be more creative in using the private sector but the last two requests for information seem to show they are getting the message. NASA’s return to flight has been preformed poorly? What is the basis for that statement? It looks like they are keeping to there promise not to fly until ready.

  • MrEarl

    I have often been accused of being unimaginative in the ways of free enterprise so I can only guess here but the research into the composition of the rings of Saturn may result in a new compound that can not be reproduced on Earth but is very beneficial. The existence of past water in a Martian crater may lead to discoveries of that planet’s ability to sustain life presently which may have some commercial value in the future. It’s not too often in this type of research that you go out to find oil or gold, but A:)that doesn’t mean you won’t find it and B:) that doesn’t mean that some new unexpected discovery won’t be even more valuable. Remember, Columbus was looking for a fast trade route to the far east. Who would have thought he would find a continent?

  • John Malkin

    Would Columbus have made that journey if he wasn’t looking for faster trade routes? Early Explorers had an advantage of being on a planet with lots of life. Space is a very big unknown.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 28, 2004 02:48 PM

    Well a few points.

    First NASA of today (for the last 25 years) is no where near to doing the research that NACA did in the pre war era. NACA did not sponsor vehicles, did not operate them in any form or fashion, it did not try and do self sustaining efforts that had nothing to do with the research…it did technology and thats it.

    Private spaceflight has not happened for two reasons.

    First government dollars in the civilian sector have concentrated on creating government infrastructure…not private. There is NO reason that the station could not have been designed to be launched first on expendables and then EELV’s …just NASA needed to maintain its shuttle fleet.

    Second spaceflight has had to let the technology get to the point where a spaceship 1 was doable. The irony is that SS1 would have happened without ANY of the shuttle/apollo experience. The technologies (including the unique reentry method) share more in common with aviation research then space vehicle research.

    Going to the Moon doesnt create a market when all the mistakes of the space station are repeated. In fact it stifles them.

    Look you and me and most of the people reading this board who are over 30 are probably not ever going into space period. Nor does it matter. It really only matters if the United States develops an aerospace industry that in the future can conquer space–thats our legacy to The Republic and thats all we should care about.

    If we get to go great. But its more important that The Republic continue. That requires being able to operate in space like it does in aviation…

    Robert

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2004 02:39 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Posted by MrEarl at October 28, 2004 02:11 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA’s return to flight has been preformed poorly? What is the basis for that statement? It looks like they are keeping to there promise not to fly until ready.

    Posted by John Malkin at October 28, 2004 02:54 PM

  • Edward Wright

    > The Viking anaology is even more silly. First, there are not any savage Native
    > Lunarians or Native Martians to kick us off.

    An interesting statement, since NASA’s primary stated motivation for going to Mars is to find native life there — in which case, Mars likely *would* be declared off limits to humans.

    > The Vikings were a super power for two hundred and fifty or so years…. (Normans
    > being Christianized and Europeanized Vikings,

    “Vikings” were not a superpower or even a nation. The word “Viking” referred to an occupation, not a nationality. In modern terms, it would translate to “pirate” or “terrorist.”

  • Dogsbd

    Oler:”Want to use Columbus? Thats fine. Columbus did not develop the ships, train the crew, design ANYTHING other then his sextant.”

    That is because those things ALREADY EXISTED. Moonships and Mars landers etc. are not available at the local used car dealer, so NASA has to commision them to be built.

  • Dogsbd

    Oler: “Inability to define the problem, set a concrete date for return to flight, set a cost figure, define an appropriate level of risk for the missions, understand an apporpriate level of safety, want me to go on?”

    Man you sure are putting a lot on O’Keefe’s shoulders. Do you think that he might need some help from NASA’s army of engineers and managers on some of that? I bet you think Goldin would have it solved huh?

  • Dogsbd

    Oler: “you misstate Rutan’s comments on Lockmart and Boeing.”

    Burt Rutan:“Lockheed and Boeing will be making very low-cost access to space hardware within 20 years. They just don’t know it yet…because they’re going to have to.”

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=96&e=3&u=/space/20041014/sc_space/burtrutanbuildingtomorrowlandonelaunchatatime

  • Edward Wright

    > Want to use Columbus? Thats fine. Columbus did not develop the ships, train the
    > crew, design ANYTHING other then his sextant. He did some interesting historical
    > and scientific research then got Sigourney Weaver to pony up the diamonds

    The Columbus argument really makes no sense because “government” does not mean the same thing it did in Columbus’s day. You can say that Columbus was financed by the government of Space — or you can say Columbus was financed by a wealthy couple using their own money. Both statements are true, because there was no distinction between the person and the office in those days.

    Ferdinand and Isabella effectively owned Spain, as their personal property. That’s what “King” and “Queen” meant. In the 15th Century, wealth was land and any large landowner would be a noble, if not a royal, invested with power of government over his land.

    We no longer do things quite the same way today. Government is no longer personal, and landowners no longer rule over their land. Ted Turner may own a large part of Montana, but he does not make his own laws or try criminals who are brought before him.

    In real terms, Ted Turner probably has more wealth than Ferdinand and Isabella did, even though is not a sovereign ruler. His private yacht would put any of Columbus’s ships to shame. So, it’s hard to see why the Columbus model should rule out expeditions financed by wealthy landowners or industrialists, even if they don’t happen to be sovereign rulers.

    (It’s also hard to see why we should be bound to follow that one single model, out of hundreds of exploration models that can be found in history.)

  • Edward Wright

    > That is because those things ALREADY EXISTED. Moonships and Mars landers
    > etc. are not available at the local used car dealer, so NASA has to commision
    > them to be built.

    Break this statement down logically.

    If X is not available at a local used car dealer, then NASA must commission X to be built.

    SpaceShip One was not available at a local used car dealer. NASA did not commission SpaceShip One to be built. Yet, SpaceShip One was built.

    Thus, your statement is in error.

    $10 million invested in the X-Prize produced more working hardware than all the money NASA invested in NASP, Shuttle II, X-33, X-34, X-37, X-38, 2nd Generation RLV, and Orbital Space Plane.

    What would happen if NASA invested $50 million in prizes?

  • Edward Wright

    > Oler:”Want to use Columbus? Thats fine. Columbus did not develop
    > the ships, train the crew, design ANYTHING other then his sextant.”

    > That is because those things ALREADY EXISTED.

    Just for the sake of historical accuracy, Columbus did not develop the sextant, nor did he use one. He did have an astrolabe and knew how to use it, but the standard celestial navigation instrument in his day was the quadrant. The sextant came much later.

  • MrEarl

    If we get to go great. But its more important that The Republic continue.
    Posted by Robert G. Oler at October 28, 2004 03:17 PM
    May the force be with you Oler. (Sorry, couldn’t help it)

  • Edward Wright

    > And while Curtiss and Wright etc. were building and design new airplanes
    > for the “masses” the GOVERNMENT was also involved in aircraft research and
    > advancement.

    And failing. Langley’s aerodrome was as flawed as NASA’s X-33.

    > Sooo… why is it that private industry’s involvement in space is dependant
    > on NASA NOT being involved???

    This is the reddest herring in the barrel. NASA *has* been involved. If you’re satisfied with the progress to date, enjoy the National Aerospace Plane and VentureStar. Some of us are not satisfied, however. So, what’s wrong with trying another model?

  • This discussion has evolved in a direction I’ve thought a lot about. See, e.g.,

    http://www.speakeasy.org/~donaldfr/sfmodel.pdf

    If you look at history, the model that has worked most reliably to open a new frontier is for the government to deploy an initial base for military, trade, or other reasons. Then, commercial and private “entities” compete to supply that base, usually with existing technology. That is why I agree with Bush that completing the Space Station and deploying a lunar base should have priority over government development of any further launch vehicles of any kind, and the private sector (broadly defined as anyone else) should compete to supply those bases with essentially existing technology. Bases in space provide the market that commercial launch providers need to fly enough EELVs, et al, to make money and to justify development of new vehicles and technology.

    The upshot is that, to make this work, we need both government and private development, but deployed in different ways than has been common so far. . . .

    – Donald

    – Donald

  • MrEarl

    Eddie…
    Are you 15?

    Break this statement down logically.

    “If X is not available at a local used car dealer, then NASA must commission X to be built.

    SpaceShip One was not available at a local used car dealer. NASA did not commission SpaceShip One to be built. Yet, SpaceShip One was built.

    Thus, your statement is in error. ”
    Eddie

    Lets look ar YOUR statment logicly.
    If NASA needs X to do a job and X did not exist then YES, NASA would have to commision X to be built. Which has nothing to do with SpaceShip1.
    No one is arguing to shut out private enterprise but for orbital flight government programs are still the only game in town and will be for at least a decade.

  • MrEarl

    Thankyou Donald. I think your post has said in a few words what most of us have been trying to tell Eddie and Oler for the past few days and hundreds of words.
    Well Done.

  • Edward Wright

    > Oler, I am not convienced that the CEV is going to be built in the typical
    > way. Look at t/Space’s presentation. My suspician is that the first
    > exploreres to return to the Moon will travel part of the way (say to LEO)
    > on a flight chartered from somewhat like Sir Richard Bransom.

    Mark, please quote the exact portion of the t/Space presentation says that private transportation should only go “part of the way.”

    A constant theme of your posts is that only government can do “Lewis and Clark exploration” beyond LEO, but I see nothing in the presentation to support that.

  • Dogsbd

    Edward: “Break this statement down logically.

    If X is not available at a local used car dealer, then NASA must commission X to be built.

    SpaceShip One was not available at a local used car dealer. NASA did not commission SpaceShip One to be built. Yet, SpaceShip One was built.

    Thus, your statement is in error.”

    No, my statement is not in error. I did not state that spacecraft could be commissioned to be built ONLY by the government, just that in order for the government to have those things when they wanted them they had to commission the building. Oler’s argument was that Columbus did not design and build his own ships like NASA does and my response was that Columbus didn’t have to because ships already existed, but NASA does have to build or commission to be built the craft it needs because those are not off the shelf items as ships were in Columbus’ day.

    Edward:“What would happen if NASA invested $50 million in prizes?”

    We’ll find out if/when Congress approves the prize’s that NASA wants.

  • Dogsbd

    > Oler:”Want to use Columbus? Thats fine. Columbus did not develop
    > the ships, train the crew, design ANYTHING other then his sextant.”
    > That is because those things ALREADY EXISTED.
    Edward: “Just for the sake of historical accuracy, Columbus did not develop the sextant, nor did he use one. He did have an astrolabe and knew how to use it, but the standard celestial navigation instrument in his day was the quadrant. The sextant came much later.”

    And just for the sake of board accuracy, you’ll want to direct your historical correction to Oler as he was the one who premised that Columbus developed his sextant not I.

  • Dogsbd

    > Sooo… why is it that private industry’s involvement in space is dependant
    > on NASA NOT being involved???
    Edward: This is the reddest herring in the barrel. NASA *has* been involved. If you’re satisfied with the progress to date, enjoy the National Aerospace Plane and VentureStar. Some of us are not satisfied, however. So, what’s wrong with trying another model?

    That wasn’t the question please try to follow along. I know that NASA has been involved, but why has NASA involvement hindered private industry from “doing it right”? Whilst NASA fumbled why didn’t private industry prove it could be done better?
    Langleys aerodrome failure did not keep the Wright brothers from flying, why is it that you believe NASA’s failures have kept and are keeping private industry from developing cheap access to space etc. on their own? The aerospace company that does develop cheap access could take over the launch market, so what don’t they just doe it if it is so simple?

  • Dogsbd

    Edward: “A constant theme of your posts is that only government can do “Lewis and Clark exploration” beyond LEO, but I see nothing in the presentation to support that.”

    Government isn’t the only one that CAN do it, government is just teh only one that IS doing it. If you want to start a company to conduct private space exploration, go ahead.

  • Edward Wright

    > Eddie…
    > Are you 15?

    No. Are you capable of arguing based on logic, instead of namecalling? Or foul language, like you’ve sent to my email address?

    > Lets look ar YOUR statment logicly.
    > If NASA needs X to do a job and X did not exist then YES, NASA would
    > have to commision X to be built.

    No, that does not follow at all. There are many other ways to cause X to be built other than having NASA commission someone to build X.

    > Which has nothing to do with SpaceShip1.

    It has everything to do with it. It’s an existance proof that shows it’s possible to cause something to come into existance without commissioning its construction.

    > No one is arguing to shut out private enterprise

    Saying that only government can do exploration is logically equivalent to shutting private enterprise out of it.

    > but for orbital flight government programs are still the only game in town
    > and will be for at least a decade.

    Unless you can forsee the future, that is only your opinion. Even if it turns out to be true, it does not support the far more sweeping statements you have made about private enterprise.

  • Robert G. Oler

    If we get to go great. But its more important that The Republic continue.
    Posted by Robert G. Oler at October 28, 2004 03:17 PM
    May the force be with you Oler. (Sorry, couldn’t help it)

    Posted by MrEarl at October 28, 2004 04:35 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    st for the sake of historical accuracy, Columbus did not develop the sextant, nor did he use one. He did have an astrolabe and knew how to use it, but the standard celestial navigation instrument in his day was the quadrant. The sextant came much later.

    Posted by Edward Wright at October 28, 2004 04:34 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Burt Rutan:“Lockheed and Boeing will be making very low-cost access to space hardware within 20 years. They just don’t know it yet…because they’re going to have to.”

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=96&e=3&u=/space/20041014/sc_space/burtrutanbuildingtomorrowlandonelaunchatatime

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 28, 2004 04:19 PM

  • Robert G. Oler

    Man you sure are putting a lot on O’Keefe’s shoulders. Do you think that he might need some help from NASA’s army of engineers and managers on some of that? I bet you think Goldin would have it solved huh?

    Posted by Dogsbd at October 28, 2004 04:14 PM

  • Edward Wright

    > That wasn’t the question please try to follow along.

    You mean, it’s not the question you want to answer. You’d rather attack private enterprise than defend the track record of the government vehicles you advocate. Why is that?

    > I know that NASA has been involved, but why has NASA involvement hindered private industry
    > from “doing it right”?

    Because it prevents NASA from buying private launch services, as the law requires.

    > Whilst NASA fumbled why didn’t private industry prove it could be done better?

    Because NASA distorts the market in ways that make it very hard for private industry to enter.

    That’s why Congress passed the Launch Services Purchase Act.

    > The aerospace company that does develop cheap access could take over the launch market,
    > so what don’t they just doe it if it is so simple?

    Because it isn’t that simple. A company can’t just walk into NASA Headquarters and demand to “take over” all of NASA’s business.

    Again, that’s why Congress passed the Launch Services Purchase Act.

    Now, why do you think NASA should develop its own vehicles instead of buying commercial launch services *as the law requires*?

  • Edward Wright

    >> Edward: “A constant theme of your posts is that only government can do
    >> “Lewis and Clark exploration” beyond LEO, but I see nothing in the presentation
    >> to support that.”

    > Government isn’t the only one that CAN do it, government is just the only
    > one that IS doing it.

    Define “doing it.” Unless I’m mistaken, NASA doesn’t have any astronauts beyond LEO.

    Do you mean “did it 30 years ago” — and if so, how is that relevant to today?

  • Bill White

    United Space Alliance. Aren’t they private sector?

    The entire orbiter is composed of parts purchased from the private sector, right?

  • Robert G. Oler

    The Moon/Fort analogy.

    I understand the analogy quite well. The problem is that at best a lunar base is like building a Fort at San Franscisco in say 1787.

    The US had neither the money or the capabilities to protect and service it…and neither the sailing vessels of the time nor the RR’s had matured enough.

    Its well “a fort to far”.

    ISS is another matter.

    Robert

  • Edward Wright

    > The entire orbiter is composed of parts purchased from the private sector, right?

    Bill, I’ve explained to you before, orbiter parts are not commercial launch services.

    To comply with the law, you have to comply with all the words, not just pick the words you like.

  • Bill White

    Edward Wright:

    (b) Exceptions

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall not be required to purchase launch services as provided in subsection (a) of this section if, on a case by case basis the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration determines that–

    1) the payload requires the unique capabilities of the space shuttle;

    (2) cost effective commerical launch services to meet specific mission requirements are not reasonably available and would not be available when required;

    3) the use of commerical launch services poses an unacceptable risk of loss of a unique scientific
    opportunity; or

    (4) the payload serves national security or foreign policy purposes.

    Upon any such determination, the Administrator shall, within 30 days, notify in writing the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate of the determination and its rationale.

    A 1st year law student could drive a truck through these exceptions. . .

    Anyway, NASA doesn’t own or operate ANY launchers, right?

    So what’s the issue?

    Shuttle derived B/C/Z or Ares could be owned and operated by the United Space Alliance (arguably a commerical provider) and EELV+ (Delta IV super heavy) would be owned and operated by Boeing or Lockheed anyway.

    Why is this an issue?

  • Edward Wright

    > A 1st year law student could drive a truck through these exceptions. . .

    No, the exceptions are quite specific.

    > Anyway, NASA doesn’t own or operate ANY launchers, right?

    No, wrong. NASA owns and operates the Shuttle — and you want to perpetuate that by developing yet another expensive national launch system.

    > Shuttle derived B/C/Z or Ares could be owned and operated by the United Space Alliance (arguably a commerical provider

    That’s sophistry. None of those vehicles have any commercial viability. Putting the deed in the contractor’s name to circumvent the law doesn’t change that.

    > Why is this an issue?

    Because NASA’s mandate is to “seek and encourage to the maximum extent possible the fullest commercial use of space.” NASA can do that by buying commercial launch services *as the law requires*. It cannot do it by squandering tens of billions on a new heavy lift vehicle that will make space access even more expensive, lead to more astronaut layoffs, and discourage the industry that NASA is suppose to encourage.

    It’s against the law, it’s bad policy, it’s bad economics, it’s bad engineering, and it’s bad politics. Other than that, Bill — there’s nothing wrong with it.

  • Bill White

    { wink }

    If we were to set aside natioanl security issues
    I would prefer NASA buy Russian & Ukrainian boosters.

    { / wink }

  • John Malkin

    NASA doesn’t have any control of the laws and that is the problem. NASA’s hands are tied no matter who is the Administrator. Congress likes to be able to snack on NASA’s budet. If NASA was a department it would be different but maybe not better. The private sector must be a large part of any futre in space, the question is what role should NASA play. Congress needs to give NASA clear goals. Can anyone tell me what were NASA’s goals for the last 12 years?