Congress, NASA

House approves NASA budget

On a day that was pretty awful on space topics in general—be the news embarrassing, bizarre, or horribly tragic—there was a one positive development. The full House passed the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, which would give NASA $17.6 billion in FY2008, $300 million more than what the Bush Administration requested. There were no floor amendments to alter NASA’s funding that I found, although there was one by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) that would “prohibit the funds made available in this Act may be used in violation of Subtitle A of Title VIII (International Space Station Independent Safety Taskforce) of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005.” The amendment was a non-controversial one, and approved by voice vote.

Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO), chairman of the space subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee, called the budget “a step in the right direction” in a statement. “While this funding level does not reach the amount authorized under the 2005 NASA Reauthorization Act, it will help balance NASA’s many responsibilities and represents a step forward in tight budget times.” As for funding of the Vision for Space Exploration, specifically the Orion CEV, Udall noted the impending gap between the shuttle and Orion. “It is within the Administration’s power to send over budget requests in FY 2009 and FY 2010 to address this gap within the context of a balanced overall NASA program, and I hope that the Administration will do so.”

The Senate has yet to take up its version of the budget, which is about $150 million smaller in total than the House version (and with a different distribution of funding), but also holds the promise of a “Mikulski miracle” if Sen. Barbara Mikulski and her allies are able to push through a billion-dollar increase for the agency during floor debate, However, keep in mind that earlier this week the Office of Management and Budget issued a statement of policy that strongly opposes the House version of the bill, and threatened a veto if submitted to the president in its current form.

26 comments to House approves NASA budget

  • anonymous.space

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the budget figures in these bills are largely noise at this point. The White House veto on this and the other appropriations bills is about much more than just NASA, and it guarantees that these funding levels will get revisited, probably at lower levels, in a tougher, post-veto budget environment.

    FWIW…

  • Donald F. Robertson

    Besides, if nonymous.space, et al, really believe that Dr. Griffin’s current strategy is as wrong-headed as they state, maybe they should be advocating smaller budgets, so as to force a change as soon as possible.

    (For the record, I don’t agree with that. For all it’s faults, and although I am clearly almost a minority of one in this forum, I think still going forward is better than starting over, so I personally do hope for the increases. . . .)

    – Donald

  • I am clearly almost a minority of one in this forum,/em>

    Have you given any thought as to why that might be the case?

  • MarkWhittington

    “Have you given any thought as to why that might be the case?”

    Hmm. Are we implying that space policy should be determined by majority vote from Internet posters?

  • Paul Dietz

    Are we implying that space policy should be determined by majority vote from Internet posters?

    Are you implying that majority opinions are usually wrong?

  • Donald F. Robertson

    An opinion’s popularity has no bearing on whether I am correct or not. I shall continue to make up my own mind based on my own analysis of what I understand to be the facts, taking into account the opinions of others but by no means being governed by them. Rand, that was a cheap shot.

    – Donald

  • MarkWhittington

    Paul – Nope. Just not necessarily right.

  • Well, now, if we are done with the usual “who’s right” arguments – let’s get back to whether or not the NASA budget makes sense. Donald, I believe your argument is it’s better to get the money, regardless of the value of individual projects, than to go back to a lower level and have to fight for those dollars again in the future when we actually have a program with goals, outcomes, and long-term value to space development and need the money…?

    While I agree that in the standard internet forum environment majority opinion is not necessarily the correct one – the alt.space community tends to have many extremely intelligent people participating in the discussion fora that makes the quality of debate (with a few notable exceptions) better than the average bear.

    That being said, I must disagree with you, Donald (and those who have the same opinion as you on this current budget). VSE does nothing, IMHO, for creating a sustainable cost-reduction infrastructure for long term space development. It’s another wasteful program in the same category as ISS and STS. I think throwing $100b out the window is proof enough that the “just let us spend it until we can come up with something that actually has value” strategy is a bad one.

  • Donald F. Robertson

    Shubber, I respect your opinion, but I also (still!) disagree with it. The Space Station is why. Yes, we spent $100 billion (more, actually, I think) on the SS, when a tenth of that or less should have been more than enough. But the fact is, the political sausage machine did cough up a base that needs a lot of resupply and the political will to maintain it for the foreseeable future, and that is critical for the COTS-like efforts that, in turn, are critical for achieving our wider goals. Unfortunately (and don’t forget that I have opposed not using the EELVs from the very beginning), the political sausage machine has coughed up ESAS this time around. If we go back to the beginning now, I think it will either cough up something equally unpalatable (since the political machinery that resulted in ESAS has not really changed), or nothing at all.

    (It is probably worth remembering here that back with “the stick” was popular and I was one of the few here arguing for EELVs, my opinion then was just as unpopular as my opinion now.)

    If we are going to work in the public domain, than we have to work within the political realities that produced ESAS — that is, you have to keep the Shuttle workforce employed doing something vaguely similar to what they’re doing now.

    None of this means that I am opposed to change, or that I think change cannot be achieved. But, the change has to work within the political realities and it has to be seen as going forward, not back. So, the next Administration should take Orion, figure out some way to put a better expendable, Shuttle-derived booster under it, and redesign Ares-V to fit with the new booster — and preferably forget Mars for now so that those two can be similar derivatives of the same rocket.

    If it appears to be starting over, it is not going to fly. In that case, the next Administration really would start over and we’d lose the key benefit of ESAS — using what we have now to get to the moon — and go back to playing at the endless better-launch-vehicle-before-you-do-anything game. That may keep a lot of engineers employed, but in my (unpopular) opinion, that is a lot less likely to get us back to the moon than ESAS.

    – Donald

  • Donald F. Robertson

    Oops, that should read, “we’d lose the key benefit of the VSE — using what we have now to go to the moon. . . .

  • anonymous.space

    “Yes, we spent $100 billion (more, actually, I think) on the SS, when a tenth of that or less should have been more than enough. But the fact is, the political sausage machine did cough up a base that needs a lot of resupply and the political will to maintain it for the foreseeable future, and that is critical for the COTS-like efforts that, in turn, are critical for achieving our wider goals.”

    I guess it depends on how you define the term, but when I hear the words “political sausage machine”, I think of Congress. And looking back, I’m not aware of much, if any, role that the Congress played in setting the requirements for, designing, or developing the ISS. Nearly all the decisions that have led to the oversized, long-to-deploy, hard-to-maintain, and egregiously expensive ISS that we have today (vice a more appropriately sized, quick-to-deploy, and orders of magnitude more affordable Mir- or Bigelow-type space station) were made by NASA managers, not Congressional politicians.

    Moving beyond Congress, it is true that the Clinton White House directed a space station redesign to bring the program’s costs under control and President Clinton himself selected the final option for the configuration, soon followed by the introduction of the Ruskies to the partnership. But those decisions were driven by international considerations, not pork-barrel politics, so I’m not sure I’d categorize them as part of the “political sausage machine” either.

    “Unfortunately (and don’t forget that I have opposed not using the EELVs from the very beginning), the political sausage machine has coughed up ESAS this time around.”

    Again, although folks are quick to assume from all the flaws in ESAS that there was strong political pressure to select Shuttle elements for the new transportation architecture, I have seen no evidence of it. And even if there was, there are Shuttle-derived vehicle configurations that make much more efficient use of those Shuttle elements that ESAS totally missed.

    I think we’re attributing bad decisions to politicians when they should properly be attributed to NASA’s leadership and human space flight management, culture, and bureaucracy. Thus I wouldn’t blame politics and let NASA off the hook for the innumerable stupid decisions that have led us to spend $100 billion on a space station whose sole remaining purpose is to provide a few billions worth of a space transportation market or to pursue a $100 billion lunar architecture that’s not even capable of reaching the Moon.

    Never underestimate the power of stupidity to screw things up.

  • Donald F. Robertson

    Nearly all the decisions that have led to the oversized, long-to-deploy, hard-to-maintain, and egregiously expensive ISS that we have today (vice a more appropriately sized, quick-to-deploy, and orders of magnitude more affordable Mir- or Bigelow-type space station) were made by NASA managers, not Congressional politicians.

    True, but unfortunately Mir is not the American way (or at least not the American government way), and thus not the political reality. We don’t build small, quick-and-dirty aircraft carriers, either. NASA may have insisted on an ever bigger, ever re- re-designed Space Station, but NASA is a result of (or at least not opposed by) Congress, where, as I read the Constitution, the financial buck stops.

    But those decisions were driven by international considerations, not pork-barrel politics, so I’m not sure I’d categorize them as part of the “political sausage machine” either.

    Why not? Those decisions were probably the one and only reason the Space Station, and thus the market for COTS, survived. If it hadn’t, we probably would not have any human spaceflight program today.

    There are Shuttle-derived vehicle configurations that make much more efficient use of those Shuttle elements that ESAS totally missed.

    Of course. But a different set of people would now be picking those apart, had they been selected. Dr. Griffin picked a flawed plan, but I do give him great credit for sticking with a plan and not letting it get picked apart. We needed a decision, we hired Dr. Griffin to make it (to general acclaim in this venue as I recall), and now most of us don’t like his decisions. Maybe they are the wrong decisions, but they are far more likely to achieve something than indecision.

    should properly be attributed to NASA’s leadership and human space flight management, culture, and bureaucracy

    No dispute there, but that is part of the post-Apollo inertia that created the political machine that got us the Space Station and market for COTS.

    Thus I wouldn’t blame politics and let NASA off the hook for the innumerable stupid decisions that have led us to spend $100 billion on a space station whose sole remaining purpose is to provide a few billions worth of a space transportation market or to pursue a $100 billion lunar architecture that’s not even capable of reaching the Moon.

    The Space Station is doing rather more than that, and it may yet prove to be of scientific or exploration use. Get me another plan through the machine that has political support behind it, and I’ll be pleased to support it, but I’m not prepared to distroy what (admittedly little) we’ve got before you pull your political miracle out of the hat.

    – Donald

  • Donald F. Robertson wrote @ July 27th, 2007 at 1:34 pm:

    For the record, I don’t agree with that. For all it’s faults, and although I am clearly almost a minority of one in this forum, I think still going forward is better than starting over, so I personally do hope for the increases
    My comments may be few and far between yet they fully support Griffin’s plan, the alternatives are too short sighted. Make that a minority of two.

  • anonymous

    “but unfortunately Mir is not the American way (or at least not the American government way), and thus not the political reality.”

    Sure it is. We’ve been building smaller, faster, cheaper science spacecraft since Goldin’s days, which (prior to Griffin’s cutbacks to fund Ares/Orion) resulted in a couple different White Houses and several different Congresses not only reversing a declining space science budget but supporting a steadily increasing one instead.

    And that’s just civil space.

    The PC is not American?

    The Eclipse personal jet is not American?

    The Boeing 787 (vice the Airbus 380) is not American?

    Lame, untrue stereotypes prove nothing. We Americans pursue smaller, more rapidly fielded, and more affordable technologies all the time. Whether due to Apollo inertia or plain ineptness, NASA’s leadership just chooses not to apply these kinds of engineering approaches to human space flight.

    “We don’t build small, quick-and-dirty aircraft carriers, either”

    This outdated example does not support the argument. Today’s naval development doctrine recognizes that carriers are not the future and is focused today on building smaller, stealthier destroyers and missile carriers.

    It’s happening all over our military in response to changing threats. Witness the Stryker AFV replacing the Abrams MBT. Big aircraft carriers aren’t uniquely American. They’re just outdated.

    “NASA may have insisted on an ever bigger, ever re- re-designed Space Station, but NASA is a result of (or at least not opposed by) Congress, where, as I read the Constitution, the financial buck stops.”

    This is a confused argument. Congress allowing NASA to make “stupid” decisions with regards to designing and building the ISS does not mean that Congress would prevent NASA from making “smart” decisions with regards to the same.

    The point is that the politics has nothing to do with it. The dumb decisions are originating at the agency’s level (at least as regards human space flight), not with the Congress or White House.

    “Why not?”

    Because, as I already stated in the prior post, Clinton WH decisions on the ISS were driven by international considerations, not by the pork-barrel earmarking that comprises “political sausage making”.

    “But a different set of people would now be picking those apart, had they been selected.”

    Who? Who would oppose a smarter, more efficient, more capable, and safer use of true heritage Shuttle and/or EELV elements?

    And criticizing the utterly unnecessary development of new civil launch vehicles that duplicate military and private sector capabilities at great cost to the taxpayer and which still can’t support NASA’s new human exploration mandate is hardly “picking” nits. To not say anything would be like an umpire not walking a batter after the batter got beamed by the pitcher. NASA’s implementation of the human lunar return element of the VSE has been so far off the mark and destructive as to beg for criticism.

    “Maybe they are the wrong decisions, but they are far more likely to achieve something than indecision.”

    It depends on your definition of “something”. Building civil space vehicles that:

    – cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars to duplicate military and private sector capabilities they already paid for,

    – that waste precious political windows for getting actual exploration development underway, and

    – that, despite all the waste, don’t have the performance/mass margins to support the chosen lunar architecture

    may all be “something” but it is hardly a good “something” for the nation’s civil space program.

    “Get me another plan through the machine that has political support behind it”

    Again, this argument is confused and proves nothing. Just because stupid plans have gotten through the political “machine” doesn’t mean that smart ones can’t.

    “I’m not prepared to distroy what (admittedly little) we’ve got before you pull your political miracle out of the hat.”

    A “miracle” is not necessary. Logically, a smart plan will get through the political “machine” faster and easier than a “dumb” one. And they do — witness the growth in the space science budget after the advent of smaller, faster, cheaper missions.

    “the alternatives are too short sighted”

    Elaborate, please. How can spending billions of taxpayer dollars and a precious political window pursuing vehicles that duplicate military and private sector capabilities and (despite all that) still can’t close a lunar architecture not qualify as way, way more “short sighted” than any of the alternatives. How is trapping NASA’s human space flight programs in LEO for another couple White Houses or so not “short sighted”?

    Oy vey…

  • How can spending billions of taxpayer dollars and a precious political window pursuing vehicles that duplicate military and private sector capabilities and (despite all that) still can’t close a lunar architecture not qualify as way, way more “short sighted” than any of the alternatives.

    Here we go again. The Ares vehicles far exceed any military or private sector capability in terms of safety, reliability and lift. Creating this capability is expensive. Ares I has only reached SRR, Ares V is in very early development, and the Lunar Architecture is even less well defined. There is no basis for saying they can’t close this mostly undefined architecture; alternatives are even further away because of their lesser capability.

  • Adrasteia

    The alternatives can be put into operation within three years, they don’t have to be long sighted. One of the alternatives even has a growth plan. First to a 80t vehicle from the existing pad, then to a 150t vehicle from a new one.

  • Adrasteia

    There is no basis for saying they can’t close this mostly undefined architecture; alternatives are even further away because of their lesser capability.

    I’d like to hear Lockheed Martin’s side of this argument.

  • anonymous

    “The Ares vehicles far exceed any military or private sector capability in terms of safety, reliability”

    On what basis? Demonstrated flights? Nope, still a paper design. Heritage? Nope, threw that out with the 4-segment and air-start SSME. ESAS calculations? Nope, they couldn’t even get blackout periods and thrust levels right.

    “and lift.”

    Ares I is underperforming by several tons for the lunar architecture (well below three-stick Atlas V and Delta IV capabilities that could actually put the big Orion into orbit and not some suborbital hop) and Ares V by over ten tons. How is that superior “lift”?

    “Ares V is in very early development,”

    Ares V has not even started development, not by a long shot.

    “the Lunar Architecture is even less well defined”

    How is four astronauts to the lunar south pole for a week with EOR and global lunar access an “undefined” architecture?

    “”There is no basis for saying they can’t close this mostly undefined architecture;”

    Then why was LockMart considering drastic changes to Orion’s lunar requirements like forgoing global access?

    And why has NASA now directed LockMart to forgo Orion’s lunar requirements altogether and focus on ISS?

    The reality is that the shortfalls in Ares I and V performance for the lunar architecture are so big that either Orion’s basic requirements will get revisited with consequent changes to the Orion design or NASA is going to have to substantially redesign the Ares vehicles for greater lift (or adopt different launch vehicles). Shortcomings this large in mass margin cannot be fixed by just shaving a design here and there — NASA will have to fundamentally start over from scratch with one or more of these vehicles to create a lunar-capable system.

    Or NASA can forgo a lunar-capable system altogether, which is what’s currently happening.

    FWIW…

  • “The Ares vehicles far exceed any military or private sector capability in terms of safety, reliability”

    On what basis? Demonstrated flights? Nope, still a paper design. Heritage? Nope, threw that out with the 4-segment and air-start SSME. ESAS calculations? Nope, they couldn’t even get blackout periods and thrust levels right.

    Curse you, Anonymous, and the differing time zones between Australia and the US!!

    You beat me to it.

    This sort of “ol’ time religion” that supporters of the ARES architecture have just baffles me. How can ANYONE claim greater reliability and safety from a computer-aided design that has never been built..?

    Oh, wait – I get it now.

    Since it’s never been built, it’s NEVER FAILED.

    If it’s never failed, it must be better in terms of safety and reliability than something which has had 1 or more mishaps (even if they weren’t complete failures).

    See? With the right coaxing, you can logically make the argument that was made about the ARES.

    And on that note, I have this great, 100% reliable reusable space transportation system that i’m willing to sell to NASA or the DoD for only $1 billion. It has the lowest failure and unreliability rate of any space system out there.

    :-)

  • clclops,

    according to nasaspaceflight.com’s reports of actual Constellation program documents & meetings, NASA has in fact determined that there is zero margin for the Block 1 Ares 1 and Orion to support lunar missions. Furthermore, I have heard from MSFC senior personnel that the current Ares 5 conceptual design does not meet requirements for delivering enough mass to lunar orbit and therefore a fully-fueled LSAM to the lunar surface. In this engineer’s own words: “it doesn’t close”.

    I’m not saying NASA can’t fix this. I’m not saying that these engineers are incompetent. What I am saying is that by developing Ares 1 instead of using the highly-reliable Atlas V (with those evil-but-reliable Russian engines), we are pushing off all development of Ares 5 or EDS or LSAM until after the Shuttle stops flying.

    Then, when you hear Congress asking why can’t we fly the shuttle a few more times… perhaps for two years or so… to reduce the “gap”, one has to conclude that 95% of the focus of Constellation has been put on recreating Apollo VII, not Apollo XI.

    And even if you accept Donald’s Macbethian “it’s worse to go back and start over” — which I heard from 1985 through 1993, only to watch ISS become something very different than Freedom — then we’re stuck on a track that doesn’t appear to get us out of LEO.

    THAT is a bad thing, if you support the basic goal of VSE.

  • Anonymous,
    Quick question. I know that it’s an article of faith among many that O’Keefe and Steidle were “forced out because of their all EELV architecture”, and that therefore a Shuttle Derived architecture is a hard requirement from NASA…

    You seem to be disagreeing with the conventional wisdom regarding O’Keefe. Would you be able to elaborate your reasoning? I’ve never heard anything actually solid ever produced to show that O’Keefe was kicked out because of supporting EELVs, but it’s an idea that seems to be the conventional wisdom in spite of the paucity of evidence.

    ~Jon

  • Paul Dietz

    Paul – Nope. Just not necessarily right.

    So then why did you phrase that response as you did? The rhetorical question being asked didn’t require that the majority necessarily be right, only that it often be right.

  • anonymous

    “This sort of “ol’ time religion” that supporters of the ARES architecture have just baffles me. How can ANYONE claim greater reliability and safety from a computer-aided design that has never been built..?”

    My two-bit take on quantitative safety analysis in ESAS is that it’s driven by GIGO (garbage-in, garbage-out). ESAS uses the same quantitative models and analytical techniques that were telling us Shuttle LOM/LOC was on the order of 1-in-1000 before Challenger and 1-in-250 before (and after) Columbia. Those models and analysis have been proven to be off by orders of magnitude versus the real world. We’re kidding ourselves to claim anything (good or bad) with respect to the reliability or safety of any launch vehicle using that piss-poor of an analytical track record.

    “Quick question. I know that it’s an article of faith among many that O’Keefe and Steidle were “forced out because of their all EELV architecture”,”

    O’Keefe wasn’t forced out at all. He left NASA HQ. to become the head of a university back in Louisiana, a position that combined his love of teaching (prior to taking the Deputy Director position at OMB, O’Keefe taught at Syracuse) with his love of policy and administration (in his home state of Louisiana to boot). It was an offer he could not refuse. And even without such an offer, O’Keefe was way too politically powerful, between his connections to Cheney and Stevens, to get forced out.

    There are two stories on Steidle. One, Griffin visited Steidle when Griffin was still heading APL and, in Griffin’s usual apolitical way, threw insults Steidle regarding Steidle’s aerospace engineering knowledge, to which Steidle leaned forward and surprised Griffin on a point or two in no uncertain terms. When the other shoe dropped and Griffin became NASA Administrator, Griffin had little choice but to get rid of Steidle after butting heads with him.

    The second, more well-known, story is that Griffin was genuinely displeased with the rate of progress towards a highly defined lunar architecture and gave Steidle his pink slip ASAP as a result. Personally, I’d take Steidle’s deliberative, highly competitive, procurement-driven, and militarily-prove approach to developing a human space flight architecture over Griffin/ESAS’s 60-day jump-to-a-conclusion on the basis of bad data, inadequate analysis, and in the absence of any competition or real deliberation.

    I suspect the real story on Steidle involves some of both of these stories –both personally motivated as well as genuine professional disagreements on the best approach to program development.

    “and that therefore a Shuttle Derived architecture is a hard requirement from NASA…”

    It became a hard requirement for Griffin after ESAS and may have been requirement for Griffin before ESAS. Although I can speculate that Senators Hutchison and Nelson made Shuttle workforce retention a pre-condition of Griffin’s Senate confirmation, I have yet to see any evidence that Shuttle-derived per se was a hard requirement for anyone other than Griffin. Even then, a Shuttle-derived requirement does not explain some of the stupidity exhibited in ESAS, like totally missing the superior Shuttle-derived hardware combination embodied in DIRECT 2/Jupiter 120.

    Never attribute to ill intentions what is easily explained by idiocy.

  • Wish I could say wrote:

    NASA has in fact determined that there is zero margin for the Block 1 Ares 1 and Orion to support lunar missions. Furthermore, I have heard from MSFC senior personnel that the current Ares 5 conceptual design does not meet requirements for delivering enough mass to lunar orbit and therefore a fully-fueled LSAM to the lunar surface.

    Hello and thank you for your response. IIRC Block 1 Orion is the ISS variant, it was never intended to support lunar missions. Its a moot point that in 2007 the conceptual design for Ares V does not meet the conceptual requirements for lifting the conceptual design of the Lunar Lander for a conceptual mission in 2020.

    An engineering enterprise of this scale involves many engineers and projects and few have the complete overview. Studies are performed by small groups of engineers to investigate alternatives, risks and to refine definition. It’s not unusual that such studies discover problems, solving them is what engineers do. Trying to analyze this whole process externally is fascinating for those of us who are genuinely interested in following this extraordinary endeavor. However some have their own agenda to find fault and undermine the work, they latch onto every negative rumor as proof of their own view, a view based on incomplete knowledge and often llittle understanding of basic engineering.

  • anonymous

    “IIRC Block 1 Orion is the ISS variant, it was never intended to support lunar missions.”

    This argument misses or ignores the whole point behind a “block” development strategy to maximize vehicle commonality and contain costs.

    The fact remains that the mass/performance shortfalls are now so big that the ISS and lunar Orions can no longer share a common design. It’s no longer a matter of simply changing the interior layout to create the lunar-capable Block II. The lunar Orion, assuming the next White House or two ever give NASA a shot at it after this fiasco, will now be a fundamentally different vehicle design than the ISS Orion, with all the associated new development costs and time.

    The alternative is for NASA to redesign Ares I a third time. But doing that also entails all new development costs and time.

    Either way, NASA has to design and develop at least one more vehicle than originally planned to create the lunar architecture. And that means more costs and more time than planned and promised, which will mean more cuts to other NASA programs, going back to a future White House and Congress for more money, and/or a substantial delay in the human lunar return effort.

    “Its a moot point that in 2007 the conceptual design for Ares V does not meet the conceptual requirements for lifting the conceptual design of the Lunar Lander for a conceptual mission in 2020.”

    It’s not a moot point when the Ares V can no longer leverage or share element commonality (e.g., 5-segment SRB) with Ares I. That’s going to drive additional design and development costs over and above those mentioned above. Maintaining two different sets of vehicle element elements, instead of one common set, is also going to drive operational costs.

    And again, that assumes that the next White House or two even lets NASA get that far after this fiasco.

    “Trying to analyze this whole process externally ”

    It’s not a matter of process and it’s no external analysis. Internal documents that state the problems in very plain language are available on both NASAWatch and nasaspaceflight.com.

    Where are the current, internal, confirmable, publicly available sources stating otherwise?

    “Studies are performed by small groups of engineers to investigate alternatives, risks and to refine definition. It’s not unusual that such studies discover problems,”

    The Ares I/Orion performance/mass shortfalls are not the result of a “small group of engineers” doing studies to “discover problems”. The entire Orion program stood down for weeks to get a handle on the shortfall.

    “However some have their own agenda to find fault and undermine the work,”

    How can we know what anyone’s agenda is on an internet blog? Does posting here give us clairvoyant superpowers?

    “they latch onto every negative rumor as proof of their own view,”

    Again, publicly available internal documentation articulating the mass/performance shortfalls and schedule problems in very plain language is hardly “rumor”.

    And again, where are the current, internal, confirmable, publicly available sources stating otherwise?

    “a view based on incomplete knowledge and often llittle understanding of basic engineering.”

    Please, argue the facts, logic, and opinions, not the posters. It’s fine if you don’t have any facts or logic to back up your opinions. But don’t resort to broad personal attacks on everyone who disagrees with your opinion. That doesn’t help your argument and only makes it look desperate.

  • Paul Dietz

    That doesn’t help your argument and only makes it look desperate.

    I suspect a good fraction of the remaining desperate defenders of the concept are drawing a paycheck from it, in one way or another. It’s hard to change someone’s mind when their livelihood depends on their current stance.

    Oops, arguing the posters. Never mind. :)

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