Campaign '04

Florida Today on Bush vs. Kerry

Florida Today has an article Friday about the space policy positions of Bush and Kerry. Not much new here, although Lori Garver does explain those claims that a Kerry administration would sharply reduce the number of shuttle flights:

Garver said Bush backers are stretching something she said in a Washington debate with Sietzen far out of context. Noone knows how many times the shuttle must fly to finish the station or do other jobs such as maybe repairing Hubble Space Telescope, she said.

“They’re trying to get Florida votes by scaring people,” Garver said.

Frank Sietzen’s response:

“The president’s policy has been out there since January 14th,” Sietzen said. “Senator Kerry waited until the virtual last minute to publish a conflicting and contradictory space policy statement. Looks like Halloween came early, and Kerry’s plan is the trick.”

A related point: Jim Oberg has an article for MSNBC stating NASA is indeed looking at ways to retire the shuttle early. Reducing the number of shuttle flights below 20, though, would make it impossible to fulfill international agreements unless an alternative assembly approach using ELVs can be developed.

28 comments to Florida Today on Bush vs. Kerry

  • Robert G. Oler

    It is amazing that Shrub thinks FL is that close to throw these rather weak darts.

    Anyway I see Oberg has reported the obvious to everyone in Texas (not a swing state…but District 22 might be entertaining) or at least this little part of it knows..

    Have a great day.

    Robert

  • (Duplicate comment)

    Physics Today recently published a comparison of the two candidates’ science policies, similar to ones published in Science and Nature.

    The Kerry statement went much further than before:
    “…[Our administration] will invest in bold new programs tied to priorities, set by scientific experts, in exploring weather, climate, oceans, astrophysics, and other areas. Our administration will rely on the advice of the scientific community to select the most appropriate goals for research and the most appropriate tools for achieving these goalsó including the question of whether manned or unmanned missions are most appropriate to the task.”
    Presidential Candidates Speak Out on Science Policies
    Physics Today
    http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-57/iss-10/p28.html

    If a Kerry administration “will rely on the advice of the scientific community” on “whether manned or unmanned missions are most appropriate to the task”, the scientific community’s advice will almost certainly be to scrap human spaceflight and use robots only. No shuttle, no station, and no new crewed vehicles or missions.

    The Kerry campaign seems to be moving to an extreme position. Not only is it against the Vision for Space Exploration, but it will be against any future for human spaceflight.

  • Bill White

    If ISS is finished with ELVs is it fair to say that the January 2004 VSE has survived without substantial change?

    Over at newmars.com in January, February and March of 2004 I was loudly posting that ISS completion using ONLY the orbiter was just DAFT.

    IIRC I even harassed TL James with my comments.

    ;-)

    It still is just DAFT to finish ISS using only the orbiter. Complete ISS another way or let Colin Powell negotiate a way to cut our losses and escape the burdens of ISS completion. altogether.

  • John Malkin

    If NASA uses ELV’s to finish the station it won’t be done until 2020. The space station modules aren’t design to rendezvous and dock. An example is the OTV from Europe, it has taken many years to develop this simple vehicle and its no were near large enough to carry station components. In addition we have no rocket that could carry these components as of right now. Why develop a system for short term use? Either you finish the station with shuttle or we leave it and move on.

  • Bill White

    Put an orbiter “on orbit” with one ISS payload.

    Shuttle C can carry 2 ISS payloads by volume and 3 by mass (extra room for food, water, batteries clean uniforms). Place one Shuttle C on orbit 3 months before and launch one Shuttle C just before the orbiter goes up.

    Yup. You need station keeping and last mile guidance but that ONE orbiter mission can install 5 ISS payloads.

    Of course, throwing in the towel is another option since 25 flights and CAIB launch window compliance will be darn hard to do between now and 2010.

  • Dogsbd

    I was thinking along the same lines Bill.

  • Bill White

    Or, design a rudimentary station-keeping attachment for the trusses. Launch the trusses via Proton.

    Collect the trusses with orbiter, after the primary payload is installed. Every Proton launch saves an orbietr launch.

    If such alternatives are impossible, then ISS is doomed and the sooner we “cut bait” the better.

  • MrEarl

    What discourages me most about this article is that it seems that the only choices being considered is scale down the station or get the Russians or the ESA to somehow pick up assembly. Why not send out an RFP to private companies to submit proposals to re-supply the station? That should cut down 3 to 4 missions there. Next give USA and other companies chance to develop a Shuttle-C with the guarantee of at least 5 launches.
    Once private companies have the ability to deliver segments and supplies (at what I believe would be a cheaper cost than sending a human rated vehicle), this would help to open up the ISS to commercial exploitation. The DoD should like this because if EELV’s are used for the cargo flights that saves them from having to subsidize both programs.
    If private industry starts using the ISS more it could even lead to accelerated development of a private manned vehicle to LEO.
    In other words the ISS could become a starting point for US private aerospace instead of a dead end.

  • Mr. Earl, I wholehartedly agree, through I would drop the Shuttle-C and instead think about using an uprated EELV (or Ariane-5) to launch the shells of the Station modules empty and retrofit the interiors later. However difficult and costly that is, it’s got to be cheaper than developing Shuttle-C, and we’d learn more about operating in space in the process. I’d rather see economic launch rates on the EELVs, SpaceX’s second generation vehicle, and the Kistler offering. As I argued in the Space News piece a few weeks ago, no new launch vehicles are needed — or even desirable — for the lunar and Mars efforts.

    — Donald

  • John Malkin

    If the US is keeping ISS than we should use the shuttle to complete and move towards alternate supply and crew rotation. To use Shuttle-C or ELV would require a long lead time for development (relative to shuttle), completely new set of operation procedures and retraining the crew. That is A LOT more money that may not by useable for VSE or the private sector. I donít know who in the private sector could build anything in the next 6 years that would be able to complete or

    Why do we want to abandon the shuttle? 2010 isnít hard date and congress will decide the real date. The core station will be done in 8 flights; this isnít a big deal plus another 16 to add the international components, centrifuge, Canada hand and cupola. The station including international components could be done in 6 years at a rate of 4 flights a year.

    The focus should be on replacing the shuttle after station completion and making sure the US does it right. CEV isnít one vehicle and we can build the part of the Ďsystemí that will carry cargo and crew (separate) to LEO. The US must have access to LEO with US spacecraft. The separation of cargo from crew will make thing a lot cheaper from the start. Maybe we need an independent watchdog group making sure congress and NASA exploit resources from large and small private companies.

  • John Malkin

    Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that the CEV system should be new vehicles.

  • John Malkin

    A cargo carrier would still be required for EELV which is why you would need additional lead time. This would also make the payload heavier.

  • Dogsbd

    Malkin: “Why do we want to abandon the shuttle? 2010 isnít hard date and congress will decide the real date. ”

    True but flying the shuttle past 2010 will require recertification per the CAIB which will be very costly and time consuming.

  • John Malkin

    I think they ment within reason not as a hard date. If it’s one or two years I don’t think that will be a problem. It’s up to NASA to show that they are ensuring the shuttle is safe.

  • John Malkin

    We could complete only US components which would 12 to 15 flights.

  • MrEarl

    I think lead time for the cargo carriers should be no more than 2 years. The EELV’s exist now and can take aprox. 28k lbs to the ISS. The only thing that would need to be developed is a maneuverable container and rendezvous capability. With the imminent launch of DART the latter should become much more clear very soon.
    As for the Shuttle-C, the reason I suggested that is,
    A:) because of attach points built into the remaining ISS components, a shuttle-C configuration could carry the components without having to modify them.
    B:) the lift capacity could carry two at a time.
    C:) the Shuttle-C has been on the drawing boards for years. There is even a mockup constructed. I would think that finalizing designs and testing should take no more than 2 to 3 years.
    During the lead times the Shuttle will continue to do the construction.

  • John Malkin

    The testing ‘may’ take 2 to 3 years but the red tape would add additional time. There is no reason that shuttle couldn’t be running during those years or at least until 2010. It’s only 24 flights and NASA has average 5 flights a year excluding downtime after Columbia and Challenger.

    I think a lot depends on what are NASA’s long range goals and that won’t be known for several months.

  • Dogsbd

    Malkin: The testing ‘may’ take 2 to 3 years but the red tape would add additional time. There is no reason that shuttle couldn’t be running during those years or at least until 2010. It’s only 24 flights and NASA has average 5 flights a year excluding downtime after Columbia and Challenger.

    The red tape wouldn’t take so long if this were teh Mercury-Apollo years. Just an observation. ;-)

    As for 5 flights a year, that was with 4 Orbiters. We only have 3 left to do the job. We’ll never reach 5 flights per year with only 3, IMHO.

  • Bill White

    To amplify Dogsbd point, doesn’t CAIB require that one orbiter ALWAYS be within 90 days of flight readiness whenever any other orbiter go up?

    As a backstop? (90 days may be the wrong number but CAIB does say 1 orbiter must be “on deck” at any time one is in LEO)

    With the current turnaround time between flights and CAIB launch window rules, 3 per year may be too optimistic.

  • Edward Wright

    > Why not send out an RFP to private companies to submit proposals to re-supply
    > the station? That should cut down 3 to 4 missions there. Next give USA
    > and other companies chance to develop a Shuttle-C with the guarantee
    > of at least 5 launches.

    Because investors know how read. Once they saw USA was getting unlimited handouts to develop a Shuttle-C that can lose a billion dollars a flight, they would not put a penny into competiting vehicles.

  • Bill Whiite

    Tell us Edward Wright, would you complete ISS (if so, how?) or “cut bait” and walk away?

  • Bill White

    Great column on Bush & Kerry & space. Kudos to Jeff Foust and spacetoday:

    http://www.flatoday.com/news/space/stories/2004b/102904billycoxcolumn.htm

    Maybe no one in Washington cares about space.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Tell us Edward Wright, would you complete ISS (if so, how?) or “cut bait” and walk away?

    Posted by Bill Whiite at October 29, 2004 07:43 PM

  • Keith Cowing

    FOUST: A related point: Jim Oberg has an article for MSNBC stating NASA is indeed looking at ways to retire the shuttle early.

    In yesterday’s media telecon NASA also said that they had studies underway which showed the need for *more* shuttle missions (i.e more than 28) and that they may well fly these missions beyond 2010.

  • Bill White

    The conflicting goals of ISS completion and orbiter retirement represents a very real contradiction at the heart of the “Bush vision” announced in January 2004.

    Unless or until a credible plan is offered to either finish ISS within budget (both money budgets and time budgets) = OR = we decide to just “cut bait” and significantly scale back ISS or cancel it outright, all the rhetotric about going on to:

    “Moon, Mars and Beyond. . .” is empty hot air.

    = = =

    Heh! Can anyone tell me when the election is? Wednesday you say?

  • Edward Wright

    > Tell us Edward Wright, would you complete ISS (if so, how?) or “cut bait” and walk away?

    I never would have started ISS. If someone gave it to me today, I would convert the existing components into something useful, like a propellant dump and orbital construction facility. I would hold off on any further components until Robert Bigelow has something that can be launched at reasonable price.

    Of course, if someone gave me ISS, I would probably have a heart attack and not live to do that. :-)

  • Bill White

    Edward, your proposal is really quite sensible, at least IMHO.

    An ISS-2 built with Trans-Habs (which Bigelow bought from NASA) and launched to 28 degrees and which DID NOT rely upon orbiter would be an excellent way to go.

  • Jim Rohrich

    Bill,

    “Heh! Can anyone tell me when the election is? Wednesday you say?”

    Election was yesterday. Kerry lost.