Congress, NASA, White House

Final WH decision: wait till February?

Shortly after the Augustine committee released its final report, Alan Ladwig of NASA spoke at the luncheon of the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in New Mexico. Ladwig, filling in for deputy administrator Lori Garver (who was scheduled to speak but stayed in Washington because of the report’s release) did briefly address the “800-pound gorilla in the room”—the report—but without going into detail about what direction NASA would go. “It remains premature for anyone at NASA to draw conclusions or speculate about future spaceflight plans or policies based on the committee’s final report,” he said.

He said that policy leaders from a number of organizations would now meet to “transform the Augustine options into a recommendation or recommendations to be considered and acted on by the president.” He hoped that decisions would be made in time to influence the FY2010 budget and to be incorporated into FY2011 budget request. He noted that the budget request normally isn’t released until late January or early February. “So while it is likely that we’ll hear something about our fate from the president before the end of the year,” he suggested, “a complete view of the new-and-improved NASA may not be completely defined until the release of the 2011 budget.”

The organizations that would be involved in that process, Ladwig said, likely includes OSTP, OMB, “probably” the National Security Council, and “maybe” the National Economic Council. “Hopefully they’ll be smart enough not to make the mistake that was made back in 1989″, when the first Bush administration didn’t coordinate with Congress on the planning for the Space Exploration Initiative, he said. He added that he would not be surprised if President Obama himself got involved in the deliberations at some point before the plans were finalized. “He likes to get involved in these discussions sooner than later, so I don’t envision that he’ll be sitting by and won’t see anything about this until the very last moment.”

91 comments to Final WH decision: wait till February?

  • Of course, if we don’t go forward with the current architecture, every month before that decision is made represents money spent on a system that may be canceled in whole or in part. That is truly wasted money. The sooner the decision is made, one way or the other, the better for all concerned. . . .

    – Donald

  • NASA Fan

    What is clear to me from listening to Augustine today is that the quagmire NASA finds itself in is a clear indication of lack of leadership at the Presidential level…for over 40 years. There has been no ongoing sustained conversation for possibilities to utilize humans in space to address national concerns…a conversation the President and his/her successors must generate and sustain. Without that, we have our present day situation. NASA has been adrift and operating in survival mode ever since July 20th, 1969.
    I guess we will see what Obama has to say now.

  • mike shupp

    I don’t see “lack of leadership” as the issue so much “lack of need.” From the White House’s vantage, NASA probably looks something like the Post Office or the Coast Guard — it’s a sizable but stable component of the US government which might be useful in some future contingency, and ought to be preserved with some degree of capability because re-creating such capability would be difficult in the middle of a crisis. We don’t keep NASA around because the country actually needs a space program, in other words — and especially not a manned space program; we keep NASA going as a sort of insurance policy.

    With this in mind, I suspect the Obama administration will greet the Augustine report with subdued enthusiam, much verbal support, few of those extra three billion dollars, and absolutely no marching orders. There’s no pressing need to do anything else until 2020 or so — and by then it’ll be some other President’s problem.

  • Robert Oler

    mike shupp my wife Monica refers to flexible path as “the off the hook option”.

    I dont share the concept that “nothing” will be done, but I do believe that what is going to be done is commercial lift, some heavy lift development, and a serious revamping of NASA under the guise of doing something “flexible”.

    That may take a few years as BOlden et al rearrange the chairs and try and plug the leaks in the Titanic

    Robert G. Oler

  • Derrick

    Obama kicking the can down the road? Considering the ongoing financial mess, trillion dollar deficits, health care reform, and Afghanistan, I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ll still give him the benefit of the doubt though.

  • NASA Fan

    @ Mike Shupp “..lack of need”.

    I agree with you here. Clearly there is no national concern that is satisfied by the existence of manned space flight. i.e no national need.

    It is not NASA’s job thought to ‘create a need’. It’s the Presidents job to awaken the populous to the possibilities that manned space flight can bring to the nation, and the world. NASA’s job it to implement whatever policy the Administration dictates.

    I see the flexible option as the ‘kick the can’ option.

  • Top Dog

    We already know by demonstration that the Moon and Mars options raise the very real probability of 1) failure and 2) cancellation. So what do you want, nothing at all, in return for a huge investment of money, resources and time, or something flexible which can adapt to almost any conceivable outcome?

  • mike shupp

    Nah. TALKING about “the flexible option” and its wonderful virtues until 2020 without attempting to implement any part of it — that’s the real kick-the-can approach.

    ——————————-

    Maybe I ought to add that from the vantage of most of the government a successful large ambitious space program would Not Be A Good Thing.

    Building infrastructure — whether launch pads in Florida or hydroponics tanks for tomatoes on the moon or conventional highways across Iowa — is generally expensive, and always unappreciated by taxpayers. And however much we talk about privatising space operations, it’s likely to mean that commercial companies will grab the opportunities for profit (mining Helium-3, f’rinstance), while leaving the expense of actually building living quarters and cleaning up the mess of extraction to the taxpayer-supporting operations agency (ie, NASA or its successor). The Budget Bureau is not going to embrace this.

    For another point, you and I may applaud the canny entrepreneurs who mine He-3 and Dennis Wingo’s platinum-rich minerals; the world is filled with Chileans who want to keep THEIR copper out of the hands of Yanqui imperialists, Mexicans who regard PEMEX as a trust from God to be kept away from Americans, Indonesians who have learned not to trust Europeans, Africans who prefer Chinese investors to Americans, and so on and so on. These people will never accept that fat cat gringos have any right to exploit the moon and planets for personal profit — and if they are forced by events to put up with it…. their countries have votes in the UN and not much to lose by being obstreperous. The State Department knows this, even if you and I care to ignore it.

    Not to say that a large successful ambitious space program would be a bad thing to have, but it’s the job of most bureaucrats to worry about problems and dangers rather than to embrace possibilities.

    My 2 cents, anyhow. I might be wrong, but I’d be surprised to see that the Augustine 2 report considers such issues.

  • aremisasling

    I seriously doubt Constellation will be cancelled, I just don’t see it. A few years back dropping Ares/Orion/Altair in favor of Direct, commercial, or whatever was a possibility worth exploring at least. Now we’ve walked the path too long and spent too much money. A total gear switch would fall short of budgets, timelines, and any good PR left to be had from the latest incarnation of NASA. People are already seeing constellation as cost inefficient and I don’t think any sound political calculation includes making what was an unsound choice into a complete waste of money by scrapping it.

    The furthest I see them going toward that end is pulling the plug on Ares 1 and pushing the Moon/Mars dates out further. Even that I see as an untenable option.

    My money is on Obama giving it the funding Augustine, et al says it needs and even perhaps a bit more. Why? Because if Obama is at all politially savvy, and even his opponents and critics often agree he is, he’d realise that every president since Nixon has given the speech in support of the theory of NASA, but few have put the money on the table. He still sees himself as a different kind of president and I think NASA could stand to ride in on that wave. My odds, 55% says he throws funds at it. Probably 75-80% chance he’ll push out the dates on Moon/Mars (because realistically they’re probably already well past targets). I’d give about 20% on him pulling the plug on Ares 1 and handing it directly to commercial. Direct 3.0 sits around 2% and cancelling Constellation outright? .05%. It’s an untenable political decision with no winners even outside the space geek blogosphere.

    I think commercial may score some points here too and see some love in one way or another. But I just don’t see the big O handing them the keys.

    Aremis

    Aremis

  • eng

    Well, NASA and the troglodytes on the Hill have asked for ‘more money’ before and never were granted it (rightly so, I’d cut their HSF budget)

    If Obama’s answer is to simply throw another 3b at NASA a year without changing his agency’s objectives and the modus, well… that’ll be simply seen as desperation when the whole train wreck falls off the cliff.

  • mike shupp

    Eng – Well, bully for you. The rest of us will find it disappointing, but I suspect you’re going to get a manned space program that will make you very happy.

  • Ferris Valyn

    What kind of blows my mind here is how many people are convinced we need a big all encompassing Space Program that is entirely government controlled, and still believe that will get us to a spacefaring society, when we have decades of proof that this isn’t the case. We want a spacefaring society, we’re gonna have to do something different.

    Which brings me to my thoughts on whether Obama will do some things or not, and I am actually optimistic (and yea, given that I am a diehard member of the Democratic party, I admit – not totally surprising), because of some basic facts, the biggest being that I don’t think Obama will want to maintain a program that is nothing more than $8 Billion dollars a year of pork – and thats what the human spaceflight program is, right now – It doesn’t produce a damn thing, it doesn’t move us towards becoming spacefaring – its just spends money in a few districts. In short, its nothing but political pork, and that is offensive. Particularly when we have a financial situation that has the potential to be as dire as our current one is. Either the money being spent by the federal government has to be doing something, or it shouldn’t spend it (and yea, I know, there are people who disagree with me about federal spending in other areas – lets leave those for discussion elsewhere).

    I’ve kinda become convinced that the idea was to make Constellation the new Project Apollo, but the simple fact is that no national need is served by Project Apollo, for the obvious reason that no one, on the international stage, is measuring d*** size by how big their rocket is. Its time to end this $8 Billion dollar a year blow job, and actually come up with something that serves a public need using human spaceflight, which means considering how we change society, and change ourselves, rather than offering up cool pictures and cool spaceship ideas – that won’t get the money for us.

    Finally, a special comment to Mike Shupp

    Concerning the issue of infrastructure spending, I disagree – its been my experience that taxpayers have no problem with infrastructure spending, and even welcome it (I can think of 1 television commentator that loves infrastructure spending – Hello Ms. Maddow). But it has to be infrastructure spending that actually produces some benefit, more than just political pork – there has to be a need. And there is a need, but it will only materialize if we are willing to let other people utilize the infrastructure (IE commercial).

  • NASA Fan

    @Aremis “most bureaucrats to worry about problems and dangers rather than to embrace possibilities.”

    Indeed. I agree completely. And this is why the world isn’t working. And why NASA HSF isn’t working for the American public.,,,and hasn’t for nearly 40 years. It is not solving anyone’s problems, and reducing anyone’s dangers. It is slogging around in survival mode at the hands of ‘bureaucrats worrying about dangers and problems to fix’…which heretofore has translated into “keep HSF obs in my district’. NASA’ present quagmire is the impact of this bureaucratic approach.

  • Monte Davis

    NASA Fan and others moaning about WH leadership:

    Try http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0252066324

    When you’re in touch with reality, we’ll take it from there

  • Doug Lassiter

    “It is not NASA’s job thought to ‘create a need’. It’s the Presidents job …”

    Precisely. HSF meets no near term national needs. None at all. It’s about promise and (dare I use the word?) vision. Those things are not what an agency, or even Congress, are for. They don’t “do” vision. Presidential leadership is about “vision”, and is at least partly about establishing what is a need when it isn’t staring people in the face. Or connecting the dots that make a need appear when it wasn’t apparent before. The public likes to follow a flag, and the President has to be holding it. The need is the direction he’s pointing as he’s holding that flag. Once that’s established, the President has to preach it, and instill it into the collective national consciousness. That’s where Bush II dropped the ball completely. He gave us his Vision, but then threw the ball to Mike Griffin and moved on.

    Coming up with a true vision for HSF, since it doesn’t address a standing national need, will require some outside-the-box thinking. Obama is pretty good at that kind of thinking. He may well understand that $20B/yr is, on a national budget scale, a pretty cheap way to cultivate national pride if spent right. If the result of all this turns NASA into a technology development agency, which I think is what is likely to happen, federally funded HSF becomes the tip of the capability sword. It becomes less about “exploration” (whatever that is), and more about proving technological mastery.

    That’s where flexible path is credible. It can be responsive to proving new capability as that new capability is developed. The suggested deemphasis of “destinations” by the Augustine panel is very healthy, in that sense, since “destinations” are just boxes that can get checked. Apollo got us to the Moon, and the Moon box was checked. Then we were done with the Moon.

    Obama has to come up with a story line about the importance of technological mastery for going new places and doing new things in space. That story line has to touch on recognized national needs, but doesn’t have to be based on them. He’s the one who has to pry those destination check-boxes away from the public. I look forward to seeing him meet that challenge.

  • Top Dog

    Ares I and Constellation are the ‘keys’ to nothing, certainly not the ISS.

    The commercial guys not only have the keys, they also own the vehicles.

    It’s time for mommy and daddy to start standing in the unemployment line.

  • “Ares I and Constellation are the ‘keys’ to nothing, certainly not the ISS.

    The commercial guys not only have the keys, they also own the vehicles.”

    I presume you were replying to my comment. My intent was to suggest that Obama is not about to hand over the whole of LEO operations to commercial space. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate of commercial space. I have wildly optimistic hopes for commercial space. But while we’ve progressed from the pipe dream commercial designs of the 80′s and 90′s to flight articles in the new millenium, commercial space is just not mature enough to hop in the driver’s seat this round.

    It’s a shame, that. I think commercial programs will be the better part of the future of manned and unmanned spaceflight, especially in Earth orbital operations. But for all of my hopes for the industry, I know the US Government is just not ready redline Ares1 and sign a check to NewSpace. Perhaps if the timing were offset by a few years to give SpaceX et al a chance to prove themselves, but by that time the LEO train for the Constellation generation of NASA will have long left the station.

    Perhaps, though, it’s for the best. If manned Dragon, Orion Lite, Neptune, Almaz and any other companies that are proposing manned systems can prove themselves in the coming years, that will provide us with a menu of options to go with for whenever we eventually sundown Constellation. Because if there’s one thing I’m more of a supporter of than commercial space it’s having more than one American crewed option available. It’s been four times now that we’ve gone without US human launches (Apollo-Shuttle gap, Challenger gap, Columbia gap, and Shuttle Ares gap). Wouldn’t it be nice to still be able to fly people up there without handing over taxpayor money to Russia when something goes wrong or we sundown a rocket?

    Aremis

  • Top Dog

    commercial space is just not mature enough to hop in the driver’s seat this round.

    Cuz youz sez sos on the tubes. Let’s just compare CxP and SpaceX.

    In four years CxP has burned through almost 10 bills with the entire resources of NASA and the United States government at it’s disposal, and the best they an come up with is Ares 1X, a suborbital fake pseudo-test flight.

    SpaceX has burned up maybe half a bill over the last six years and has flown several orbital flights, one for a paying customer, and will be flying an orbital pseudo-test of a full fledged million pound thrust class clustered two stage kerosene powered rocket maybe early next year, on which they will be pseudo-testing a seven person ISS capable capsule prototype.

    Even compared to the ESA and JAXA, the Constellation program fails.

    I know the US Government is just not ready redline Ares1 and sign a check to NewSpace.

    And America will never accept the power of science over the delusions of religion. You are just that deluded about Ares I. It’s over. You are a failure.

    You need to count your blessings that Augustine lied though his teeth and forgave you for your sins. You need to pick up the shattered pieces of your delusional dreams and move on, that’s all you are going to get out of this.

    But if you insist of maintaining and believing your religious delusions, the power of nature and the obvious superiority of scientific methods will smite you down with the greatest of ease. Trust me on that, I’ve seen it happen.

  • Robert Oler

    Ferris Valyn wrote @ October 23rd, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Ferris..that was in my viewpoint one of the best post I have read on this board or any other concerning human spaceflight (and that includes mine!) it is really well said on a couple of angles. You touch on almost all the things that just really annoy me about how human spaceflight is going right now.

    I dont think that most people recognize how desperate the situation (financial) of The Republic is right now. I think that it is fairly dire and to me NASA and human spaceflight have become one of the poster programs for just how badly most of the federal government is being run right now. It is not Obama’s fault if he fixes it, he inherited a government that had in the words of Sarah Palin, gone rogue and had allowed a lot of private industry to do about the same thing.

    I hear all these people like Zubrin and Spudis and the like barking their particular act at the carnival…and you get down into it and there is just no real reason why other then a lot of smoke and mirrors which is more or less completly out of touch with reality.

    That coupled with the fact that NASA and its human spaceflight group is as you put it just a couple of pork centers DOING NOTHING in return other then redistributing wealth through tax dollars…

    No I agree there is no need for a big government program with lots of goals that have nothing to do with making the country stronger. FDR in the midst of the depression did a lot of infrastructure building, but his infrastructure turned electricity on in the south and west, built ships that were not only sustaining the ship building industry, but were essential in WW2, it had a purpose other then just spending money that was being borrowed.

    What the AC had to do was come up with a program that could fit inside a budget which was politically possible…ie what was going to be spent…while all the pork protectors are now saying “we oppose deficit spending but in this case wow it is a good idea”.

    The more I read the study, the more I find it a very very good work.

    In very difficult times

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert Oler

    aremisasling wrote @ October 23rd, 2009 at 10:39 am
    , commercial space is just not mature enough to hop in the driver’s seat this round.

    that is indeed the NASA line. YOu know the folks who have lost two orbiters, 14 astronauts, spent billions on a booster that is no where near flight ready (Ares) and about 1/2 billion (the same money Musk has spent to come to flight status on Falcon9) on a test flight that will prove nothing.

    Gee

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert Oler

    The more I read the AC report, the more impressed I am with it.

    It is fairly clear from reading the report that the Committee got the word that 1) there was no more money (at least not a lot of more money), 2) there was likely no less money (at least not significantly less), and 3) the administration needed something that created private/commercial jobs.

    What Augustine had to chose from is starkly clear in the report it wasnt the Moon or Mars…it was …either protect the NASA Launcher industry or build a private one.

    Robert G. Oler

  • John Kavanagh

    @NASA Fan: “NASA’s job it to implement whatever policy the Administration dictates.”

    NASA’s failed at that job, too. President abdication of space policy has less to do with this mess than NASA’s end run around the guidelines of the Vision for Space Exploration and the recommendations of the Aldrige Commission … which is why we find ourselves with this Final Report from the Augustine Committee and Obama carrying his mop to NASA HQ.

    @mike schupp: “These people will never accept that fat cat gringos have any right to exploit the moon and planets for personal profit… and … their countries have votes in the UN.”

    Irrelevant. The UN debate club doesn’t effect change; it isn’t a material obstacle nor an enabler to development of extraterrestrial resources. It is forum where diplomats express themselves peacefully, while accomplishing little. See: Iranian uranium enrichment; North Korean IRBM development.

    @aremis: “Now we’ve walked the [Constellation] path too long and spent too much money.”

    We sure have spend too much money and it’s all sunk cost with little forward value (unless your objective is a jobs program) compared to alternative architectures. As assessed by panelists on the Augustine Committee, the day Ares goes operational it’ll already be too expensive to fly operationally, given NASA’s projected budgets and concurrent commitments. A new approach, given the budget constraints, is required.

    @Ferris Valyn: “Its time to end this $8 Billion dollar a year blow job”

    Priceless. Agreed.

  • Lots of different opinions here!

    So if you were president, and hand sufficient control of congress, what would be your human space policy?

    Cheers,
    Nelson

  • “that is indeed the NASA line. YOu know the folks who have lost two orbiters, 14 astronauts, spent billions on a booster that is no where near flight ready (Ares) and about 1/2 billion (the same money Musk has spent to come to flight status on Falcon9) on a test flight that will prove nothing.”

    “A new approach, given the budget constraints, is required. ”

    You’re preaching to the choir. I didn’t say it made technical sense to proceed on the path as so far followed, but it makes political sense. Lock-Mart has a long history of successful (or at least semi-successful) projects for NASA. SpaceX has five launches and two successes. I’m about the biggest SpaceX fan there is, and if the LEO program were mine to offer, SpaceX would be top of the list. But wholesale investment in a fledgeling rocket company that just got it’s first model of rocket orbital within the last few years is just not going to happen in the US congress. I’m not speaking out against private space or Constellation alternatives, I’m just stating plain political realities. Like with COTS resupply, they may send some money SpaceX’s way, but a total course change is just not in the cards, even if it’s the right course to take.

    Aremis

  • Ferris Valyn

    aremisasling –

    A couple of things – first you are assuming that Commercial only means SpaceX, or NewSpace.

    Far from it – Commercial would absolutely include Lockheed Martin, and other big companies. We aren’t going to turn it over to SpaceX, but we dont’ need to – Companies like Orbital Sciences, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and most importantly ULA, and Serra Nevada Corp all can provide LEO access. So we aern’t turning it over to a fledging firm – we are merging the government market for LEO access with the private market for LEO access, and whoever gets the contract go forward.

    Lets make this very clear – if NASA were to go commercial, for crew transport to LEO, do you think Boeing would not compete for it? Or Lockheed Martin? In short, do you not think its possible that we can get established companies to play by fixed price contracts?

    As for Obama seeing himself differently, but dealing with the political realities – the political reality is that Constellation, as is, CANNOT deliver in any appriciable timeframe, at the current budget. And the amount of budget needed is not in the cards.

    Therefore, if you can’t increase the budget, and you want to do something different, you h ave to reform the agency.

  • Ironically, the easiest way for private industry to develop a government man rated and approved launch vehicle is for NASA to provide them with one.

    NASA could actually do this rather quickly if they decided to endorse a DIRECT concept that also included– a Jupiter launch vehicle without the solid rocket booster– simply designed to launch a 25 tonne Orion vehicle into orbit. Such a vehicle was proposed at the AIAA 1st Exploration Conference in Orlando, FL back in 2005:

    http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=325.0;all

    So with SRBs, the DIRECT concept could give us a vehicle capable of transporting the Orion or the Altair to lunar orbit and without SRBs it could be used by NASA, the military, or a private launch company to launch the Orion to LEO.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Marcel,

    Now, if NASA (or anyone else) could actually afford those vehicles, there might be a point to that

  • Loki

    I’m inclined to agree with Aremis on this one. While I like what SpaceX has done, let’s not go overboard. Their success rate for Falcon 1 is 2 in 5, and Falcon 9 & Dragon have not flown even once yet.

    I do like commercial and I think that’s the way we’re going to need to go, but asking NASA to give up its monopoly on HSF and trust an uproven company like SpaceX with astronauts’ lives is asking a lot. In truth it’s taken a lot for them to get over their trust issues when it comes to COTS/ CRS.

    One thing to point out though is that everyone seems to be focusing on SpaceX when they talk about commercial space transportation. Why? Robert Bigelow wrote an open letter to Bolden recently asking him essentially this same question (http://www.spacenews.com/commentaries/open-letter-nasa-administrator-charles-bolden.html).

    If NASA were to announce that they were going to rely on commercial vendors for LEO access, I think you can bet that LM, Boeing, ULA, and maybe even some of the other “big boys” in the aerospace industry would jump into the fray with their own vehicles. For instance, I could easily see LM teaming with ULA to offer a “commercialized” version of Orion launched on top of a man rated Delta 4-H. In fact, from NASA’s perspective the biggest difference between a “commercial Orion” and business as usual would be that in the commercial case NASA doesn’t take ownership or responsibility for operating the vehicle. Instead, they mearly purchase a service (crew transportation) from any one of several competitiors (LM & ULA, Boeing & ULA, SpaceX, Orbital, and anyone else who decides to jump into the game). Notice how that would also produce 1) competition and 2) multiple options for crew transportation should something go wrong.

  • Loki

    Darn, Ferris beat me to it. That’s what I get for taking so long gather my thoughts before posting :)

  • common sense

    “For instance, I could easily see LM teaming with ULA to offer a “commercialized” version of Orion launched on top of a man rated Delta 4-H.”

    I don’t think this will ever happen, since pretty much all of Orion was developed with NASA’s money. Unlike say Dragon for example. It’d be VERY unfair most likely illegal. Now if LM wanted to build its own capsule FROM SCRATCH then… It’d be interesting to see whether they would go back to their LB concepts… Just for fun.

  • “Far from it – Commercial would absolutely include Lockheed Martin, and other big companies. We aren’t going to turn it over to SpaceX, but we dont’ need to – Companies like Orbital Sciences, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and most importantly ULA, and Serra Nevada Corp all can provide LEO access. So we aern’t turning it over to a fledging firm – we are merging the government market for LEO access with the private market for LEO access, and whoever gets the contract go forward. ”

    “If NASA were to announce that they were going to rely on commercial vendors for LEO access, I think you can bet that LM, Boeing, ULA, and maybe even some of the other “big boys” in the aerospace industry would jump into the fray with their own vehicles.”

    God wouldn’t I love it if they did. But so far my experience has been that LM, Boeing, et al only draft blueprints if there’s a solid contract to be had. They could have gone for COTS and indirectly LM/Orbital are with doing a pseudo Space Act routine with Orion Lite. They’ve already done that with nearly every other launch vehicle we’ve seen. Shuttle wasn’t built by NASA, it was paid for by it. Constellation is the same way. NASA’s not doing the construction, they’re just paying the tab. Why dopes Bigelow have to buy the engineering models of Orion to do Orion Lite? Why isn’t Orbital/LM doing that already?

    It’s a difference of business model. LM, ULA, and Boeing run on a standard ‘NASA asks, we build it, they buy it’ model. SpaceX and their ilk run more on an ‘we build it, we own it, you fly on it’ model. The difference is there’s no competition beyond the blueprint stage in the Old Space model. LM gets Orion and Orion flies to the moon regardless of what Boeing put on paper and Boeing’s desing never leaves the drafting room. When I say commercial I mean the SpaceX/Bigelow model. Now if LM, Boeing and the bunch decide to throw caution to the wind and start to build and operate their own hardware without a NASA contract, then I’ll be glad, no exstatic, to see it. I just don’t think they will.

    Why don’t I think they will? SpaceX is doing what they are doing with no prior experience. Bigelow is doing the same. And so are a laundry list of other companies that are rarely if ever in the newspapers. All the other guys in the established rocket world had ample opportunity to do the same. Heck, we could have had an ‘Apollo Lite’ way back in the 60′s. Even if you take market demand and budgetary feasibility into account, surely they could have wholly owned and operated in house programs in the 80′s or 90′s. But they didn’t and they don’t. And for that I presume they won’t. I hope I’m wrong. I really, sincerely do.

    I never discount the existing commercial space companies out of hand. I discount them because they just don’t seem to be moving in that direction. And I support SpaceX/Interorbital/Almaz/Bigelow because they have the ‘build it come hell or high water’ attitude that I think will drive the next generation of space exploration.

    Aremis

  • Ferris Valyn

    Common Sense – what do you consider Orion-lite then?

  • “As for Obama seeing himself differently, but dealing with the political realities – the political reality is that Constellation, as is, CANNOT deliver in any appriciable timeframe, at the current budget. And the amount of budget needed is not in the cards. ”

    Late and overbudget is still more politically palatable than unproven from what I’ve seen. Again, what I presented were predictions, not hopes. For me, the two are very different things.

    “Therefore, if you can’t increase the budget, and you want to do something different, you h ave to reform the agency.”

    Again, I think you’re right on what SHOULD happen, but wrong on what WILL happen. He’ll throw money at it because it’s bolder than his predecessors but may still get past congress. He won’t rework NASA from the ground up because most people, congress included, don’t see the space world the same way we do. In the public’s mind Constellation is the future of NASA come hell or high water. I think that’ll change, but I think other designs will have to change it from the outside looking in and not the other way around.

    Aremis

  • Loki

    “I don’t think this will ever happen, since pretty much all of Orion was developed with NASA’s money … It’d be VERY unfair most likely illegal”

    You may very well be correct, since I’m not a lawyer I don’t know, but wouldn’t be surprised now that you mention it.

    Since pretty much all of Augustine’s options included the Orion, just not necessarily for ISS crew transportation, and not necessarily on Ares 1; it’s possible that maybe LM could bring back their old OSP concept or something similar for commercial transportation.

    As for whether or not they decide to pursue something like that or not, I don’t know. It’s always possible that LM could decide to stick to their traditional cost plus contracts and not bother, but I kind of doubt it. If they think there’s money to be made through pursueing commercial endeavors then I think they will.

    Also, remember LM did actually team up with Planetspace to compete for COTS, but they lost to SpaceX and Orbital. A lot of people were kind of surprised because the Planetspace team actually included both LM and ATK, both of whom are highly experienced. Also, keep in mind that Boeing is currently teaming with Bigelow for CCDev. As I said, if they think they can make money off of commercial space I think they’ll try for it, even if it requires doing business in a different way than they’re used to.

  • common sense

    I have NO IDEA what Orion-Lite is or will be, I am sure they’d have to clear off a lot of legal issues before it be okayed. Remember though that LMT was working OSP and had “several” concepts even though the LB is the one people like to remember… But I would add that even the OSP concept may not be that easy since it’d depend whether or not they used NASA’s money to develop it… Can’t have the cake and… So my guess is that LMT will be on contract for a deep-space Orion. Yet even that is not clear sicne NASA may have to re-procure the whole thing! And not on a COTS-D or any of that. UNLESS the COTS-D LMT team is firewalled from the Orion LMT team. Good luck then to find the right people to work on the commercial vehicle… Tough luck LMT I guess…

    I learned in the past that, some time, in order to win you MUST loose. A tough lesson to accept, believe you me.

  • mike shupp

    Nelson Bridewell — IF ELECTED, I WILL ….

    a) cancel Ares I and Ares V, terminate Shuttle in 2011, announce a 2015 termination date for support of the ISS, cancel COTS as unnecessary, drastically reduce spending on pure science missions, close 5-6 NASA centers, lay off about half of NASA’s employees, ditto for supporting contractors, and announce plans to totally terminate US manned space programs and interrplanetary launch operations as quickly as possible. I would explain this to the nation as the collective wisdom of space-interested internet pundits.

    b) I’d announce that the US has neither the ability nor the interest to enforce any sort of international treaties for ownership of the moon or other heavenly bodies or their resources. Who gets to ‘em first, gets to claim ‘em.

    c) I’d turn around to look at all the collected wise space-interested internet pundits we find hereabouts, and say something like “PUT UP OR SHUT UP, DUDES.”

  • common sense

    “A lot of people were kind of surprised because the Planetspace team actually included both LM and ATK, both of whom are highly experienced.”

    LM and ATK on COTS and on Constellation back then would possibly have created a little legal mess… Just a thought…

    Boeing is a totally different story, even though the same may apply to where they got the money to develop their OSP and CEV vehicle concepts…

  • Ferris Valyn

    aremisasling – I know you are talking about predictions – so am I. And what you are failing to take into account is that, there is also the economic reality, and the reality that you have to be able to point to something to prove that you are successful – this is the point that Norm made more than once, about how you can’t “go half way to mars”

    This is the reality
    1. The White house has seemed to indicate that no more money is available. This isn’t a case of what we’d like – the money isn’t there, and there isn’t pressure to find the money. This is not like health care, were people are dying, or Afghanistan, where there are huge national security issues that interact with people on a daily basis. So no more money is coming, or is likely to come.

    2. It is acceptable to spend money on something, if you can see something produced. This is how & why there is funding for things like infrastructure, and schools, and stadiums. This also manifests itself on a personal level – its why people find it easier to buy something & take it home then making sure they are investing enough for retirement. This is one of the big things that has maintained NASA – we had a shuttle, we had space assets already in place, we had better use them or the money goes to waste. That will not be the case if we utilize Ares I – we will have a station we can’t get to, and the stuff we are building won’t be ready for a decade, so we can’t point to anything actually happening in that time frame. The American political and American public, IMHO, won’t tolerate that – not because they see some sort of great thing from space, but the simple fact is it’ll be seen as being like more bank bailouts – they would rather we close NASA then spend money on NASA not doing anything for long periods of time. They don’t see Constellation as the future of NASA. In short, it will be a death of a thousand cuts.

    3. As for Congress – most of Congress doesn’t care about NASA, like most of the public doesn’t care about NASA, because NASA doesn’t serve a national interest (at least the human spaceflight program doesn’t). There are a few places who have immense power over NASA, but if they president is willing to spend a little political capital, (and believe me, I suspect it’ll be a lot less then you think) he can reform NASA.

    In short, giving it more money isn’t the bold thing to do – its not even in the realm of the possible right now.

  • Ferris Valyn

    mike shupp – no doubt some of that is aimed at me. What you’ve tended to ignore is the fact that, you have to provide societal reasons to invest in human spaceflight, and its not enough to declare that it is cool. And merging the public and private markets is the best way to do that.

    Nelson Bridewell – since you asked, my suggestion would be this
    1. End Shuttle, and eliminate any launching infrastructure owned and operated by NASA (or privatize it).
    2. Fully fund Commercial crew transport to LEO, for both ISS and follow-on activities.
    3. fund a LIMITED heavily lift COTS (50 mT at most), while also funding the R&D work for orbital propellent transfer, and let both sides know that they are in competition with each other – the more affordable system wins.
    4. Fund an R&D proggram
    5. ITAR reform baby!!
    6. re-institate the National aeronautics & Space Council, and give them the job of doing large scale inter-agency development projects (and they can start with Space Based Solar Power)
    7. Begin discussions with world partners over developing a way to allow for extraterrestrial land ownership

    I figure that’ll keep us busy

  • Robert Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ October 22nd, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    What is clear to me from listening to Augustine today is that the quagmire NASA finds itself in is a clear indication of lack of leadership at the Presidential level…for over 40 years.

    I was inclined to agree with you when you wrote that post…but now after reading the AC report and driving about 40 10 foot ground stakes into the ground (ham radio grounding system) I am not

    Since Apollo there has been in retrospect I think a LOT of Presidential leadership…the problem is however that NASA can never take advantage of it…the internal politics and bum engineering always overwhelm it.

    Let’s take “the vision”. I dont agree with it, in my view it was something stupid that Bush pulled out of the cold war bag of tricks…but if I HAD been administrator tasked with “doing it”…I would have thanked him for the commission and set out to make darn sure that I could 1) get flying hardware and 2) set out on the goal by the end of his term.

    That could have been done. REPEAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE.

    Instead of developing their own vehicle NASA could have taken the route of man rating the EELV’s or modifying the term “Man rated” or whatever it took to get a vehicle. Folks like Whittington and Hanley and all the other “excuse a day” people aside, the organization has spent enough money just on Ares 1 to have with competent management DONE SOMETHING. As for a crew capsule? Oh comeon rebuild Apollo..the folks in the 60′s did it from scratch in less time.

    This is partially Griffin’s fault, but it is systemic to the organization.

    When Reagan had bold political leadership and announced the space station…what did the agency do? Instead of coming up with “the possible”…they instead came up with a goofy facility (the twin keel) that was far beyond the capabilities of the agency…and yet spent billions cranking on it until it just became impossible.

    NASA has had such weak leadership in its administrative post that it has hosed every president except Clinton since the moon landing.

    To give the devil his due, Psycho Dan was tough enough to make sure that when ISS came along…what was thought of was something that was remotely doable.

    The agency since Apollo/Skylab is dysfunctional. If a President gave it orders to do anything and an unlimited pay check, they would find a way to over gizmo it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • NASA Fan

    @ Robert G. Oler: “I was inclined to agree with you when you wrote that post…(lacking presidential leadership) but now after reading the AC report and driving about 40 10 foot ground stakes into the ground (ham radio grounding system) I am not

    Robert, I agree NASA itself has fumbled the ball of implementing White House policy. Not sure though if this is the result of bad administrators and the decisions they make, or the dynamics of a large federal agency.

    Hard to say for sure.

    And, NASA finds itself in a very bad situation no matter the root cause. I can see job loss and program content loss coming to the manned centers. And when this has happened in the past (anyone remember the mid 90′s Zero Base Review!), there is always efforts to shift work from other centers, unrelated to manned space, to cover some of the overcapacity at JSC/MSFC/KSC…..so Obama’s decision is probably going to impact the entire Agency, not just manned centers.

    I

  • Robert Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ October 23rd, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    NASA (at least the human spaceflight folks) have this problem for two reasons.

    The first is that they think space is special, that it is harder then any other endeavor that man has ever accomplished (listen to the rhetoric..”most complex vehicle ever”, “docking at 17,500 mph” ) and hence they have become an incestuous group. EVERY problem at NASA, every stupid decision is buttressed by “its space only we know how to do it and it is very very dangerous”…

    Want an example. Take for instance the teeth nashing going on over “no vehicle can come to the station while the shuttle is there”. They are stuck they are going to eventually ditch that flight rule, but the question is why did they ever have it? It is like saying “the port has two piers but the other one cannot be used while the CVN is docked there, even by the Aegis Cruiser”.

    But the genius at NASA dreamed it up and patted themselves on the back for “being safe”.

    The second thing is that they have an inflated opinion of their capabilities. Most of the managers and decision makers at NASA manned space would starve at any other occupation. Any one who dreamed up the “dual keel” design with so little EVA knowledge would be immediatly be sent to the night janitors office at any corporate real company.

    More then once I have heard “we went to the Moon”…not this NASA. They pat themselves on teh back with every successful docking…the Russians do it with ancient technology.

    These two things are very dangerous in singularity or in combination. They lead to a hubris that just predicts failure.

    NASA needs a good housecleaning.

    Robert G. Oler

  • NASA Fan

    @Robert October 23rd, 2009 at 11:57 pm
    “Most of the managers and decision makers at NASA manned space would starve at any other occupation.”

    One thing I never understood is how Griffin, he of so much technical and programmatic experience, and with 98 PhD’s, could not see that managing operations contracts in an operational environment is NOT the same thing as managing development contracts in a development environment; hence he allowed the shift of MOD folks to manage Cx. There is a big difference in the skill set of managing and engineering in an operations and maintenance environment and a spacecraft/instrument/observatory development environment.

    You want to turn the Cx, or whatever is left of it, on it’s head, then turn over Cx program and project management to one of the robotic space flight center, have JSC/MSFC/KSC provide system operational requirements to the requirements development, to capture their extensive knowledge in operations, and let the robotic centers manage and engineer the Cx systems.

  • @Ferris Valyn

    “Now, if NASA (or anyone else) could actually afford those vehicles, there might be a point to that”

    Since they’d still only have to build one new booster, the Jupiter, the cost would pretty much remain the same. They estimate the cost of developing the Jupiter at less than $9 billion. This doesn’t include the EDS stage for beyond LEO missions. An EDS stage should cost less than $3 billion to develop.

    The Jupiter booster would have a huge economic and safety advantage since it would be a simple single stage to orbit vehicle. For instance, while a Orion/Jupiter vehicle would require only one stage to achieve orbit, an Orion/Delta IV would require at least 3 or 4 rocket boosters to achieve orbit.

  • Robert Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ October 24th, 2009 at 2:48 am

    I concur, bad management choices usually give you bad managers.

    Part of the reason Musk has done well and he has done very very well is that he Musk understands people who know the difference between the engineering world and the operational world…and Musk can inspire those worlds to meet.

    Jim Oberg has an interesting viewpoint about the post Apollo let down…is that after working almost a decade at 60 hour plus weeks, people the good people wanted their life back and sort of descoped, left, or otherwise changed how they functioned in the agency…and hence it kind of became the realm of the second tier. Who more or less took over.

    But yet they are still second tier. And because of the promotion of “People like me” they are promoting all the same level of folks.

    Yet they take the job as a kind of routine normal situation…Linda Ham for instance couldnt hold another meeting about Columbia, she had T times she had to meet.

    All this coupled with the space is hard and an overwhelming viewpoint of their own internal capabilities have banished reality. This is not just a NASA trait, it has become prevalent in the government…DoD has endless examples…the project/program just becomes more important then reality.

    It is not just Ares. Go look at the space station development/morphing of almost a decade with lots of money being spent and little or no hardware (or hardware that ended up on the playground!) and it is clear.

    The dual keel design was the Ares of its day.

    The first years strategery in Iraq was another, the F-35 is a textbook example.

    There is no longer any relationship of the work product to managerial competence. There was no one, no one in the senior cabal of decision makers on the Columbia “event” who got shown the door.

    And if anyone should have been shown it, in sort of a branded disgrace…it was Linda H. The CAIB savaged her professionally, yet last I checked she had recovered to be part of the Ares Constellation program.

    She should be in jail.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert Oler

    This is one of the quotes from the CAIB, just incase someone thinks I am not being Kind to old Linda

    “Reliance on past success as substitute for sound engineering practices; organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion; lack of integrated management across program elements; and the evolution of an informal chain of command and decision-making processes that operated outside the organization’s rules”

    and she still works at NASA

    Robert G. Oler

  • Ferris Valyn

    Marcel – the problem with Direct, or any shuttle derived, is not the developmental costs – its the ops costs

    The Jupiter booster would have a huge economic and safety advantage since it would be a simple single stage to orbit vehicle. For instance, while a Orion/Jupiter vehicle would require only one stage to achieve orbit, an Orion/Delta IV would require at least 3 or 4 rocket boosters to achieve orbit.

    You know who you sound like? Mike Griffin & Bo Bejmuk when they talk about Ares I. The reality is that shuttle derived vehicles have and always will have ops costs much higher than any other system out there.

    The only way we are likely to reduce launch costs (and the Augustine report noted this) was through having a reason to launch a lot of rockets.

    And of course, propellent transfer is one of those ways…

  • NASA Fan

    @ Robert Oler …regarding Linda Ham

    I would add that Linda became successful operating in an environment that she did not create. One could say ‘it’ created her…and probably others of her ilk.

    So, has the ‘environment’ she ‘grew up in professionally’ been dismantled? Or altered?

    Because if not……

  • @Ferris Valyn

    There would be no space vehicle that could have a cheaper operating cost than a disposable single stage to orbit vehicle. The shuttle is expensive because it has to use three rocket boosters (2 SRBs and the space shuttle orbiter attached to an external tank). Plus the SRBs have to be recovered and refurbished and the SSMEs have to be refurbished.

    A Jupiter SSTO vehicle, on the other hand, would be a simple single stage fuel and launch vehicle where you could place an Orion, a satellite, or logistics cargo on top. And no recovery apparatus would be required for the booster. This would be much simpler, safer, and cheaper than any shuttle or Delta IV rocket.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Marcel – you still have the SSMEs, which are anything but cheap, and the proposed SSTO idea (which is NOT part of Jupiter/Direct system) requires a LOT of them.

    Further, you are talking about a system that uses 6 SSMEs – you are talking about generating some incredible temperatures, which could concievable cause structural issues (this has come up in the Ares V I know)

    One last thing – I think it should be clear that NASA may not have the institutional knowledge to know how to put together a system that is cost effective (and I suspect that may partly be because of how NASA is as an institution) – they can develop technology that will make things cheaper, but they don’t know how to put the pieces together

  • Top Dog

    Marcel – you still have the SSMEs, which are anything but cheap, and the proposed SSTO idea (which is NOT part of Jupiter/Direct system) requires a LOT of them.

    Not if you give it a little boost with some million pound class hydrocarbon boosters or a pair of four segment SRBs. In theory you only need one of them.

    The trick is to have that core and payload arrive at your spaceport ready for the space environment that it suddenly finds itself in. That’s the whole point of spaceflight, and certainly a booster core and engine can be made ready. It all boils down to the foam insulation problem. Fix that, and you have solved your space flight cost problem by an order of magnitude.

    But you know Americans. Scientific Wimps. Intellectual lightweights. Fools.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Top Dog – the 4 segment SRBs are hardly cheap either. And there is no existing Hydrocrabon booster for the Shuttle stack or a shuttle derived stack. which means added developmeng costs (which, BTW, I have no problem with, but we have to get something thats actually worth developing. In short, we are back to the original problem – Shuttle doesn’t offer any organic growth, particularly at this stage in the game.

    There was a time when that might not have been the case, but now – shuttle is a dead end.

  • Top Dog

    <i?Top Dog – the 4 segment SRBs are hardly cheap either. And there is no existing Hydrocrabon booster for the Shuttle stack or a shuttle derived stack.

    Why does it have to be a shuttle stack? You could throw an SSME on the center core of a Delta IV Heavy. It could be an Ares I upper stage stretched and redesigned for a core stage, it could even be a Direct core with a single engine, a couple of OMS engines for roll control, and a light load of fuel.

    You are clearly not a deep engineering or analytic thinker, Ferris, sorry.

    Not even close. That’s the problem with NASA, you have people just like you who are unable to come to grips with your limitations as thinkers.

    It’s a problem all across America, Americans have failed to think.

    And we know what the result is of that. Ares I is a small example.

  • Robert Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ October 24th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Linda Ham aside from her personal “things” is a product of an organization which values loyalty and “support the program” far more then engineering or management competence. And in many cases cannot tell the difference between the two.

    It is that simple.

    Ron Dittemore who more or less made Ham a protege sort of summed it up (unknowingly) when he stated her claim to fame was to be able to assimilate facts quicker then anyone he knew (or something pretty close to that)…the problem is that this is about the worse qualification for manager possible. If one wants to use the word “assimilate” (which was a big buzz word at NASA …then what a manager does is “assimilate” possibilities, concerns, and courses of action. Others beneath “you” assimilate facts and present them (for a good example of this one can go watch Apollo 13 where Krantz, Lunney et al are rolled into one character and do precisely that…ie assimilate possibilities, concerns and courses of action.

    NASA does not (anymore) value that attribute because the missions are so set piece that they essentially are like reading a script. This is why they essentially stop EVA’s when the TDRSS link goes away.

    Ham simply could not contemplate the possibility that the foam had caused significant damage, it was outside of her ability to assimilate that possibility (it had not been simed) hence her comment “well there is nothing we can do about it anyway”.

    It is going to be fascinating to watch what happens to the “chickens” in the bureaucracy if the head of Ares 1 is cut off. They are just having a very hard time dealing with the fact that some outside group might take their toys away.

    Until the Ham mindset changes (and they fire incompetents) NASA is in big and bigger trouble

    Robert G. Oler

  • Ferris Valyn

    Top Dog

    If you go back and read the original post, you’ll see it wasn’t me who was proposing the system, but Marcel Williams. And his proposal was based around a Gary Hudson thought experiment (which is where the 6 SSMEs on an External Tank idea comes from). And it has to be a shuttle stack, because thats what Marcel was discussing, none of what you were talking about. In other words, the limitations were imposed by the system under discussion. Marcel didn’t propose an SSME on a Delta IV Heavy, or any of the other things you talked about – he proposed putting 6 SSMEs on a Shuttle ET, and using that as an expendable Single Stage to orbit.

    And people can come up with interesting and cool ideas, like you talked about, but thats not whats under consideration – the question is, is it a cost effective (ie cheap) system? And none of what you’ve offerred (particularly the mixing and matching stuff) have even been run through a cost analysis. Yes, you can come up with an infinite number of permutations, but the point isn’t to come up with the most number of permutations – its to come up with a cost effective system.

    And its my supposition that shuttle heritage hardware, of any kind, is always going to be very expensive. A supposition that the Augustine report seems to endorse.

    Do me a favor – actually read stuff before you insult me.

  • Top Dog

    Do me a favor – actually read stuff before you insult me.

    Like what, the daily Koz? Here a further insult to you :

    http://www.arxiv.org

    How’s this for a further insult. STS will fly next month, before the end of the year, several times next year and several times the year after that, and it will be a far cheaper and easier fielded heavy lift than anything else imaginable.

    Let’s compare that to what you wrote :

    There was a time when that might not have been the case, but now – shuttle is a dead end.

    So much for your dead end, Ferris. I’ll tell you what is a dead end.

    The democratic party. You are only slightly shallower thinkers than your opponents. I happen to think heavy lift will not be able to compete with kerosene expendables, but I do think reusability will be able to compete with expendables as long as it’s done on a small scale, and the SSMEs are flying now, will be flying for the next two years at least, and are the minimum engine necessary to begin incremental development of reusable launch vehicles with the payload requirements necessary in the future.

    Marcel’s approach of simple regurgitation of some party line is just the same as yours, but his approach is far more exemplary of critical thinking of the type of vehilces that will be required in the future than yours is.

    I’d rather listen to a wild thinker than someone who shuts down discussion.

  • Robert Oler

    Ferris Valyn wrote @ October 25th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    And its my supposition that shuttle heritage hardware, of any kind, is always going to be very expensive…

    Ferris. I dont think it is supposition, I am pretty sure that it is fact. The instant one has any legacy hardware, the entire shuttle cost are in the door.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Top Dog

    Ferris. I dont think it is supposition, I am pretty sure that it is fact. The instant one has any legacy hardware, the entire shuttle cost are in the door.

    What would you rather spend your money on, Ares I and V which just soak up funds and let civil servant push paper and contractors polish the wrenches, or try to salvage some of those sunk costs with a program that uses the most successful aspect of the heritige hardware, the SSMEs and to a lesser extent the reuse of ET tank fabrication technology to build a variety of tank sizes and configurations, leveraging commercial talent in order to incrementally evolve existing expendable launcher designs into reusability.

    So what is it, Robert, a space program that does nothing, or a space program that flies now, accomplishes missions now, and builds a future?

    Hydrocarbon expendables and EELVs certainly can service the space station, but then what? Hydrogen is definitely a part of the future whatever.

    Incompetence, like brain damage or a poor eduction, is unrecognizable by those who suffer from it. Americans suffer from these things in volume.

    Witness : Gabrielle Giffords.

  • Robert Oler

    Top Dog wrote @ October 25th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    My Great Grandmother grew up in West Texas and she was use to using everything to the point where it had no more value in it…and then her phrase was “it is time to waste it”. Meaning “waste” as put it in the trash as it had no more value.

    This is where we are with the shuttle program.

    Everytime I hear “if we mothball the shuttle program all those sunk cost are lost” all I hear is “we have to do more spending to make the former spending look better.

    Nope. It is time to cut our expenses, retire the shuttle, ditch its infrastructure and move forward no matter what that means for our future efforts.

    One can argue that the shuttle program could be made cheaper and that certain parts of it could be operated at a cost that is affordable…but that requires changes that in over 30 years of shuttle operations no one has been willing to make.

    At some point it is time to “waste” things and move on. And we are there with the shuttle program, as Ares in my view clearly shows.

    “Incompetence, like brain damage or a poor eduction, is unrecognizable by those who suffer from it”

    that statement is profoundly not accurate. It sounds good but it is not valid.

    Incompetence is for instance not brain damage. Brain damage is something that happens physically, incompetence is a choice. Poor education is not just a choice, but it is not a physical condition.

    But people with brain damage do recognize that they have it. My Grandfather suffered a stroke and knew good and well what parts of his brain had been damaged. It took sometime but before long he was moving his left arm as though nothing had ever happened.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Top Dog

    I’m not advocating flying the shuttle past its current manifest, Robert, I am recommending adoption of science and evolution over religion and belief.

    Ferris believes the SSMEs are too expensive, but he offers no numbers of his own, because he is incompetent to do so, when the real development and operational numbers of the SSME tell an entirely different story. The democratic party et al. advocates the continuation of ESAS et al. when the real numbers clearly indicate the immense folly of continuing this folly.

    You people are seriously delusional, and after four years of putting up with your nonsense, and a year of putting up with democratic nonsense, it’s getting well past the time that I should waste my time trying to correct you.

    Heavy lift is the elephant in your backyard that is strangling the people and organizations that are capable of evolving into that niche gradually and rationally with the available natural resources at hand, using science.

    The choice is science or stupidity. It’s clear the choice America has made.

  • Robert Oler

    Top Dog wrote @ October 25th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I’m not advocating flying the shuttle past its current manifest, Robert, I am recommending adoption of science and evolution over religion and belief….

    well I do not know where to start.

    The SSME’s are to expensive, they are top notch performers but that came at an amazing price…even NASA recognized that when it chose the J2X over the SSME

    As for adoption of science and evolution over religion and belief…I dont know what you are barking at here.

    I do not have any problem with my religious faith coexisting with my science belief. I dont think that the world is 6000 years old or whatever the current “creation” theory is…but I dont understand what that has to do with space oplicy.

    Heavy lift is one of those things that needs some serious thought.

    Having said that…flying any part of shuttle hardware past 2011 is a death sentence for American space efforts

    Long Live The Republic

    Robert G. Oler

  • Ferris Valyn

    Top Dog – I meant read stuff in this post, not what I’ve written elsewhere (and BTW, its Dailykos)

    How’s this for a further insult. STS will fly next month, before the end of the year, several times next year and several times the year after that, and it will be a far cheaper and easier fielded heavy lift than anything else imaginable.

    That assumes We need heavy lift (open for debate), and is explicitly at odds with what the Augustine committee found.

    The democratic party. You are only slightly shallower thinkers than your opponents.

    Not really relevant, but you are looking to make an total jack@ss of yourself, aren’t you? moving on…

    I happen to think heavy lift will not be able to compete with kerosene expendables, but I do think reusability will be able to compete with expendables as long as it’s done on a small scale, and the SSMEs are flying now, will be flying for the next two years at least, and are the minimum engine necessary to begin incremental development of reusable launch vehicles with the payload requirements necessary in the future.

    1. This isn’t a discussion of reusables vs expendables – its a discussion about shuttle heritage, and whether its cost effective.
    2. Done properly, reusablity is going to be more cost-effective then expendables.
    3. The Shuttle is not reusable – its salvageable. At a minimum, to be reusable, we should see the same shuttle launch at a minimum of 1 a month – we don’t have that
    4. Continuing on about the shuttle being salvageable – each SRB, after pickup in the ocean, is torn apart, filled, and then reassembled. Each ET is used only 1 time. And, if my understanding is correct, the turbo-pumps on the SSMEs are replace QUITE frequently (I’ve heard after every other mission). And this doesn’t consider the issues concerning the orbiter.
    5. SSMEs are not the only reusable options out there – we seen demonstrated reusable systems that go to sub-orbit more than once quite frequently. As for orbital systems, yes, the shuttle is the only CURRENTLY flying system that gets reused in some fashion, but its reusablity is not cost-effective.
    6. For reusablity to be cost effective, you have to have a high number of launches, something shuttle doesn’t do, and can’t do.

    I am all for pursuing reusability, but for it to happen, you need systems that are much better designed, engineered, and operated than the shuttle hardware can do. I think that SpaceX offers one good option. Another viable option would be for LM or ULA to pursue a reusable first stage for the Atlas V – these things work better when you can increment your development. And of course there are the suborbital guys.

    and I have no problem with NASA doing developmental work on things like SSTO or RLVs, but it should be pretty clear to everyone that NASA does not have the ability to do long term large scale operations – the history of shuttle, and station to a degree, prove this. And what Marcel was talking about was an operational system, not an R&D project.

    The only time NASA should be doing operations is when there isn’t some existing company/organization doing the operations (like telescopes, probes to other planets, and beyond LEO human flights)

    In short, you want to do incremental development? I think thats great. Shuttle hardware, and shuttle derived hardware, won’t work for that. And if you are so sure that it can be made cost effective, tell me why there has been no real attempts to privatize the shuttle, or why no companies have attempted to build their own shuttles?

    Marcel’s approach of simple regurgitation of some party line is just the same as yours, but his approach is far more exemplary of critical thinking of the type of vehilces that will be required in the future than yours is.

    What party line? If you mean Giffords and Nelson’s support for ESAS, thats hardly the party line – thats 2 Senators, and is not what I think we should be doing at all. And it certainly is not endorsed by the entirety of the Democratic party. If it were, there would be no Augustine committee, since Obama is president, and a Democrat. And you’d find it in the Democratic party platform, which it isn’t.

    You keep saying SSMEs are cost effective – do something to demonstrate it. I submit that, if they were cost-effective, other existing systems would use them. They don’t. So show me some data that backs that up.

  • Top Dog

    You keep saying SSMEs are cost effective – do something to demonstrate it.

    How about I watch it launch a reusable space plane to the ISS next month.

    I submit that, if they were cost-effective, other existing systems would use them. They don’t. So show me some data that backs that up.

    How many other launch vehicles besides the Delta IV use the RS-68?

    How many other launch vehicles besides the shuttle are reusable?

    How many other rocket engines besides the SSME are reused?

    I really was hoping you could analyze and discuss the actual numbers within the realm of rationality and science, but I guess that’s just too much to expect from someone who is represented by Sen. Gabrielle Giffords.

    Unless or until you guys learn to manage your own party, you are in for a real big surprise in 2012. There are democrats who understand the details of the technology they discuss, they are called progressives, and starting this year, I’m pretty sure they won’t be voting democratic next election.

  • Top Dog

    If you need a numbers addendum, Ferris, Ray Schmitt’s excellent industry development and operational cost numbers have been out there for years.

    I suggest you do a little research. Can I spell it for you? R e s e a r c h.

  • Robert Oler

    Top Dog wrote @ October 25th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    You keep saying SSMEs are cost effective – do something to demonstrate it.

    How about I watch it launch a reusable space plane to the ISS next month.

    that does not prove cost effectiveness

    Robert G. Oler

  • Top Dog

    No, Robert, Ares I and Ares I-X demonstrates the cost effectiveness of the entire space shuttle system and KSC infrastructure, separate from the SSME.

    The SSME is basically an order of magnitude more cost effective than the STS.

  • Robert Oler

    Top Dog wrote @ October 25th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    No, Robert, Ares I and Ares I-X demonstrates the cost effectiveness of the entire space shuttle system and KSC infrastructure, separate from the SSME…

    whatever you believe.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Top Dog

    I believe you are a fool, Robert. Your recent posting here confirms that.

    From : Numbers

    SSME:
    Design (1973-82): $3B
    Production (1978-83): $1.3B
    Operation (1983-2000): ~$4B
    Upgrades (=Pratt & Whitney turbopumps, 1986-2000): $1.4B
    The SSME inventory in the year 2000 totaled 55 engines.
    The unit manufacturing cost of the SSME is in the $45-60M range.

    Work it though. Try arithmetic, I heard that works real good. Unless of course, you know of some other way besides rocket engines to get to orbit hundreds of times over a period of decades. Then try upping flight rate.

    Gabrielle Giffords is an embarrassment to the nation and should be relieved of her science and technology senate committee chair forthwith.

  • Robert Oler

    Top Dog…I believe that you cannot read

    from the link you had

    “Here’s the cost breakdown for the F-1 and the SSME (in current dollars):

    F-1:
    Design: $800M.
    Production of 98 flight engines: $1.1B
    Operations support: $200M
    BTW: the production cost of the 98th engine was about $8M

    SSME:
    Design (1973-82): $3B
    Production (1978-83): $1.3B
    Operation (1983-2000): ~$4B
    Upgrades (=Pratt & Whitney turbopumps, 1986-2000): $1.4B
    The SSME inventory in the year 2000 totaled 55 engines.
    The unit manufacturing cost of the SSME is in the $45-60M range.

    In current dollars the SSME is in all respects far more expensive then the F-1 which was far more engine.

    what was the point you were trying to make again?

    Robert G. Oler

  • Top Dog

    The F-1 flew approximately 65 times, was not reusable, wasn’t even an SSTO capable hydrogen engine that the SSME was, and no longer exists.

    The SSME exists now, is flying now, flew six times as many missions as the F-1 and if you do the ARITHMETIC you will see that any increase in flight rate will put it in F-1 total development and cost territory. In fact, any increase in flight rate of the SSME will utterly trounce RS-68 total costs, and that engine too isn’t SSTO capable. The entire operational infrastructure of the SSME exists right now, it is an engine that has successfully gone through several improvement cycles, and several other improvement cycles were extensively studied and are ready to go at a moment’s notice and a dozen exist right now, indeed, it is the most thoroughly tested and understood engine of all time. Plus, it’s flying now and the system it is flying on (STS and ISS) can be used as essential test infrastructure for any follow on system or improvements developed from it, and there is no lack of ideas for them.

    With respect to the RS-68, it’s flying now on a medium and heavy lift vehicle for which it was designed, and is entirely unsuitable for modern booster assisted SSTO cores or expendable heavy lift launch vehicles.

    Any fool with any critical thinking skills at all can see that shuttle derived expendable heavy lift is a non-starter, all you have is STS and the SSME if indeed you want a second generation launch vehicle. Ares I is clearly not it.

    Has it occurred to you yet that you are completely out of your league with other critical thinkers here and are making a complete boob of yourself?

  • Major Tom

    “Ares I and Ares I-X demonstrates the cost effectiveness of the entire space shuttle system and KSC infrastructure”

    The latest cost estimate for Ares I-X comes in a $445 million:

    http://www.floridatoday.com/content/blogs/space/2009/10/new-ares-i-x-test-rocket-carries-risks.shtml

    That’s nearly half-a-billion dollars for a one-time flight of:

    – an existing four-segment SRB,
    – a dummy upper stage,
    – a dummy crew capsule, and
    – existing Atlas V avionics.

    The only significant element of the test vehicle that doesn’t already exist or isn’t a dummy element is the roll control system.

    It may be hard to understand why it costs nearly half-a-billion dollars to cobble together a rocket from nearly all existing and dummy components (it is for me, at least), but it certainly doesn’t prove the cost effectiveness of anything.

    As for Ares I, according to its former manager, the cost of just getting Ares I to its first operational flight ranges is $35 billion:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/science/space/18nasa.html?_r=2&ref=us

    By comparison, the cost of the entire EELV program, including development and all anticipated launches (and projected overruns) of both the Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles, is $32 billion:

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/eelv.htm

    For what it would cost NASA just to get to ONE launch vehicle into service(Ares I), the Air Force can buy TWO operational launch vehicles AND all the flights they need.

    Clearly, the Ares I is not cost effective by modern launch vehicle standards.

    “SSME:
    Design (1973-82): $3B
    Production (1978-83): $1.3B
    Operation (1983-2000): ~$4B
    Upgrades (=Pratt & Whitney turbopumps, 1986-2000): $1.4B
    The SSME inventory in the year 2000 totaled 55 engines.
    The unit manufacturing cost of the SSME is in the $45-60M range.”

    Incorrect. Using these numbers, the unit cost of the SSME is $176 million. The design, production, operation, and upgrades figures total to $9.7 billion. When divided by 55 engines, that $176 million per engine. That’s approximately three to four times more expensive than the $45-60 million figure quoted for unit cost.

    “Work it though. Try arithmetic, I heard that works real good.”

    It’s hypocritical to make this statement when you can’t properly add up and divide your own figures.

    FWIW…

  • Robert Oler

    Top Dog wrote @ October 25th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    the F-1 was cheaper not reusable then the SSME is…

    as for the rest all I see you doing is tossing insults and that alone speaks volumes.

    a minor nit “Plus, it’s flying now and the system it is flying on (STS and ISS)”

    there is no SSME on ISS…

    sorry

    Robert G. Oler

  • Top Dog

    Robert, after witnessing this debacle for four full years I have a right to insult you. I have EARNED the right to insult you, and I will exercise that right across the internet wherever and whenever I can. Deal with it. I’m going to verbally eviscerate you here from now on. By name. And I’m going to bring your name up elsewhere and trash you there too. And certain senators, by name, everywhere I post, under multiple pseudonyms, and my real name if I feel like it. I may even go directly after Bolden’s ass too if he doesn’t shape up real soon now. Obama already has gotten a piece of me.

    It’s gonna be great fun. I’ve earned a right to ripe you a new asshole.

    there is no SSME on ISS…

    There are three of them on the ISS every time a shuttle docks with it.

    WTF do you think made the ISS possible?

  • Top Dog – how the fuck do you claim to have “earned the right” to insult Robert, or myself? You certainly have no claim to be the all knowning all seeing god you seem to think you are. As far as going after elected officials, you are free to open your mouth, but unless you are backing your claims up (something you’ve totally failed to do, btw), you’ll merely continue to look like a total jackass.

    There are three of them on the ISS every time a shuttle docks with it.

    WTF do you think made the ISS possible?

    So, does that mean that if someone on board ISS is gay, then the ISS is gay itself?

  • Top Dog

    Ares I Ferris. National Debt.

    Plus I’ve published. Numbers. I even took the time to give you the numbers you are so incapable of finding or analyzing on your own. I read your Koz article. Not a single mention of launch vehicle, or any numbers at all in it.

    How do you expect to do the things you want in space without rational discourse with numbers? Hint : your expectations far exceed your abilities.

    Robert talks about the F-1, an engine that NO LONGER EXISTS. And NASA is trying and failing to resurrect a 40 year old engine that no longer exists, and they can’t even manage that in any reasonable budget and timeframe. And you continue to defend republican and democratic senators that continue to defend THE BIGGEST US FAILURE SINCE THE VIETNAM WAR!

    Screw you. I’ve published. I’m coming after you viscerally like the flies on the pile of shit that you are. You need to get used to it, because I EXIST.

    And my goal in life is to rip you a new asshole all next week. Enjoy!

  • And BTW, concerning the SSME and the RS-68

    1. The SSME is NOT currently on an SSTO, and its debatable how easy/hard it would be to convert it into an engine for an SSTO.

    2. Major Tom did a pretty good job going over the figures themselves, so I won’t bother hitting that

    3. With some changes to the Delta IV heavy, the RS-68 could easily do 50 mT

    4. It is true that the Delta IV is not the most cost-effective rocket – the fact that most of the launches of government probes go on Atlas V should tell us something about the cost-effectiveness of the Atlas V, and the Delta IV

    5. Which brings me to the last point – in all of these discussions, we are ignoring the RD-180 and the Merlin, which should be under consideration

  • Top Dog

    I can do a ‘Jim’ just as easy as any other ‘jimmy’.

    1) I only claimed the SSME is SSTO capable.

    2) What figures? Where? Without references how can anyone tell what you are talking about? Ray Schmitts numbers are the best in the world and simple arithmetic puts the SSME on the top of the list of advanced engines. The GE90 is a highly evolved and very expensive and fussy advanced reusable engine as well, and I don’t hear any airline customers bitching.

    3) Changes that will cost hundreds of millions if not a billion and will take years to implement. Where are the payloads for your vehicle? Low earth orbit space stations have guaranteed heavy payloads for decades to come.

    4) The fact that NASA is not putting any CxP payloads on the EELVs should tell you a little something out their ability to understand numbers.

    5) The RD-180 and Merlin are flying on expendable rockets right now. Why would you want to develop a new reusable heavy lift vehicle from them? If you were to retire the Atlas tomorrow I’m pretty sure you’d want to design a new vehicle around the RD-180, as the Russians are doing right now. We are retiring the Shuttle. There are a dozen engines available. Pratt and Whitney can have brand new engines available in four years. The engine is SSTO capable. Even if NASA built a heavy lift vehicle, whatever that vehicle ends up as, the core will be SSTO capable with SSMEs powering it, whether that is a single SSME of seven of them. We know smaller wins every time. The RS-68 has intractable efficiency and base heating problems in cluster.

    Plus, now get this, there are no developments costs available with the SSME and there are several well studied improvements all lined up that NASA killed when they were suddenly struck dumb along with the rest of Murka.

    The result follows. (I know, that requires deep thinking on complex interrelationships between difficult concepts, but if you quit drinking the koolaide and do some research you might be able to get a handle on it.)

  • Ares I Ferris. National Debt.

    Huh? WTF? Again, point to where I defended Ares I. As for the National Debt, thats not being discussed here.

    Plus I’ve published. Numbers. I even took the time to give you the numbers you are so incapable of finding or analyzing on your own. I read your Koz article. Not a single mention of launch vehicle, or any numbers at all in it.

    First of all, it might help if you could learn to spell – its dailykos. Second, what article are you talking about? I didn’t even cite any of my pieces on dailykos. Third, published what? Your rambling rather incoherently. Also, its not my job to find your numbers, when you make a claim – thats your job.

    How do you expect to do the things you want in space without rational discourse with numbers? Hint : your expectations far exceed your abilities.

    I never claimed we could – you just never cited any for the longest time.

    Robert talks about the F-1, an engine that NO LONGER EXISTS. And NASA is trying and failing to resurrect a 40 year old engine that no longer exists, and they can’t even manage that in any reasonable budget and timeframe. And you continue to defend republican and democratic senators that continue to defend THE BIGGEST US FAILURE SINCE THE VIETNAM WAR!

    And exactly where have I defended the current plan? Or the positions of Senator Nelson, Senator Shelby, Rep Giffords or Rep Olsen? I think that, by and large, their stances do nothing to advance us towards a spacefaring society. Go read my history, here or elsewhere – for example, there is the time I said Senator Shelby was extorting $400 million dollars (which I stand by), or the time I wrote Bill Nelson, asking him not to make the choice of NASA administrator to be based on just Florida interest.

    Screw you. I’ve published. I’m coming after you viscerally like the flies on the pile of shit that you are. You need to get used to it, because I EXIST.

    And my goal in life is to rip you a new asshole all next week. Enjoy!

    Talk about small goals. I mean, if you are picking goals in life, I’d consider making a million dollars, or becoming an elected official, or something along those lines.

    As for the rest – Fuck you. Seriously, just shut up, and get over yourself – you’ve offerred very little, and this will probably be my last comment to you, because you are a troll of the highest order

  • Mr. Foust,

    I apologize for some of the behavior in this thread. I suggest its probably best to simply close it

  • Top Dog

    Seriously, just shut up,

    That’s the American spirit Ferris!

    Just shut up about that pesky little Ares I thrust oscillation, or that fake PDR, or the costs, and NO COMMIES, our you’ll never work in this town again!

    You’ve really got that bipartisan status quo act down Ferris!

    Heckava job, Ferris, just a heckava job.

  • Top Dog

    The 45 to 60 million cost is the actual cost of SSME manufacture, exclusive of development or operations. I thought you could see that. Silly me.

    The only thing preventing the SSME from becoming the least expensive engine of all time is FLIGHT RATE. Come up with a reusable vehicle with a single SSME on a five meter core, and manufacture those five meter cores at Michoud like the original Atlas ICBM was manufactured in the early 60′s and you have your flight rate. SSMEs are SSTO capable, so any reusable boosters will work, depending on the amount of payload you want to loft. They could be reusable boosters using Merlins or RD-180s or even four segment SRBs if you are still a glutton for punishment after this EPIC FAIL.

    Either you want a second generation reusable launch vehicle to complement your large inventory of EELVs, COTS vehicles and international offerings, or you don’t, but if you want shuttle derived expendable heavy lift, all you will get is another future cancellation of an unaffordable vehicle obsoleted before it ever even flies. The COTS operators are leaving you eating dust.

    NASA needs to compete, or withdraw. That’s you America. You are getting a second chance. I have no idea why. A smart president would shut you down, and your debt spending is going to shut you down shortly anyways,.

  • Major Tom

    “The 45 to 60 million cost is the actual cost of SSME manufacture, exclusive of development or operations.”

    Not according to the production total you quoted:

    “Production (1978-83): $1.3B”

    $1.3 billion divided by 55 engines is $24 million, not $45-60 million.

    “I thought you could see that. Silly me.”

    I’m not the one who has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to perform basic math.

    “Either you want a second generation reusable launch vehicle to complement your large inventory of EELVs, COTS vehicles and international offerings…”

    If there is a “large inventory” of other launch vehicles, then by definition, there is not enough demand to support the development of a new launch vehicle, RLV or otherwise.

    Look, Elifritz, either take your medicine so you can add two numbers and put together a coherent argument without insulting every other poster on the board and threatening public figures.

    Or leave. You’re wasting your time and ours.

    Bleah…

  • Top Dog

    If there is a “large inventory” of other launch vehicles, then by definition, there is not enough demand to support the development of a new launch vehicle, RLV or otherwise.

    The whole reason for the shuttle retirement was originally costs, we were bitching about launch costs of STS and EELVs long before you arrived on the scene ‘Tom’. Or should I say ‘Tammy’. Safety had nothing to do with it, there are people lined up to fly it right now since the government is paying.

    The whole reason for the existence of Newspace was launch vehicle costs. Yet Bolden et al. still talks about new ‘lite’ heavy expendable development when it already is a demonstrable failure. What I’m talking about is ‘lite’ flexible COTS/EELV/STS hybrid incremental launch vehicle development. What is there not to like about that if the SSME numbers are this good. And believe me, when you multiply that by flight rate, these numbers are damn good, but only if you have the technological and management skills to pull it off. Are you saying NASA doesn’t have the technological saavy or people that can better the shuttle in unmanned cargo only lite conventional RLVs?

    Then you have US Industry, COTS competitors and Newspace, and if they can’t do it then maybe some up and coming third world country can do it.

    ISS is going to get extended, COTS and CRV is going to fly, EELVs are flying now, and a new second generation launch vehicle is going to be developed.

    You decide, NASA can either screw this up all over again, or you can get something that will grow and evolving into your now idiotic expectations.

    This outcome after four years is seriously laughable. That’s you ‘Tom’.

  • Major Tom,

    Having never experinced an Elifritz freakout, I always wondered why people said he should be banned. Having experinced one – well, I am now in that camp as well.

  • Top Dog

    Hey Ferris, if you are not freaking out about NASA Constellation costs, national debt and deficit expenditures, and the actual product delivered by that spending, if you are not outraged, then the problem is all yours, not mine.

    Did it ever occur to you that Rocketdyne might have needed to make a profit on those engines? Nobody knows the price of an SSME, the 40 to 60 is the oft quoted price, because NASA has declined to provide that information.

    Those are Ray’s numbers take it up with him, I only add up the contract values and divide them by the number of engine flights. I also get the impression that none of you guys even want to ever go into space.

    Certainly you don’t give a damn about America if you are not incensed.

    It’s going to be great fun trashing your failures in your face.

    And I fully expect a flowery speech soon from Obama.

  • Diagoras

    Gentlemen,

    Regarding Top Dog: Have you learned nothing on the internet?

    Don’t – feed – the – trolls. Even if the trolls are self-proclaimed experts on aerospace. Just ignore them until they’re ready to act like adults.

  • Robert Oler

    Top Dog in conversation with you I am reminded of the line used by both important characters in the Movie Cool Hand Luke.

    what we have here is a failure to communicate.

    With this, I am done until you civil up

    Robert G. Oler

  • Diagoras – Its hard to remember who the trolls are sometimes, and easy to get lost in a conversation. But you are right, its always a bad idea to feed them, and when you do realize you are doing it, to stop

  • Top Dog

    Yeah, just go with the flow, don’t speak up, everything is fine, Ares I is a fine launch vehicle. Every day you don’t speak up America become dumber and in ever deeper debt. You people are the problem, not the solution, and not a single one of you have published anything on this serious problem in the last eight years. And then Robert shows up, not a bit changed in eight years, trying to communicate with him is like trying to communicate with ants.

    You people just don’t get it. You have failed, from climate, to finances, to unnecessary failed wars WORSE THAN VIETNAM, to idiotic rockets, all across the board is massive failure, yet not a single one of you can come to grips with it. Why am I not surprised. But alas, I am an America, so no matter how idiotic your failures get, I will continue to insult your sorry asses.

  • Its hard to remember who the trolls are sometimes

    Elifritz is always a troll. On Usenet, he’s the stuff killfiles are made of. That’s why he’s infesting blogs now.

  • Jeff Foust

    Comments to this post are closed.