NASA, White House

First look at NASA’s FY2011 budget

OMB released the high-level FY2011 budget proposal documents this morning, including a summary of the NASA proposal. Some highlights include the following assessment of Constellation:

NASA’s Constellation program—based largely on existing technologies—was begun to realize a vision of returning astronauts back to the Moon by 2020. However, the program was over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation due to a failure to invest in critical new technologies. Using a broad range of criteria, an independent review panel determined that even if fully funded, NASA’s program to repeat many of the achievements of the Apollo era, 50 years later, was the least attractive approach to space exploration as compared to potential alternatives. Furthermore, NASA’s attempts to pursue its Moon goals had drawn funding away from other NASA programs, including robotic space exploration, science, and Earth observations. The President’s Budget cancels Constellation and replaces it with a bold new approach that invests in the building blocks of a more capable approach to space exploration.

That building block approach includes heavy-lift launch vehicle R&D, “vigorous” technology development work in areas like automated rendezvous and docking and propellant transfer, and a “steady stream of precursor robotic exploration missions”.

The budget also includes, as expected, an ISS extension and support for commercial crew transport to and from the station. From the document:

Commercial launch vehicles have for years carried all U.S. military and commercial—and most NASA—satellites to orbit. The Budget funds NASA to contract with industry to provide astronaut transportation to the International Space Station as soon as possible, reducing the risk of relying solely on foreign crew transports for years to come. A strengthened U.S. commercial space launch industry will bring needed competition, act as a catalyst for the development of other new businesses capitalizing on affordable access to space, help create thousands of new jobs, and help reduce the cost of human access to space.

There’s also support for enhanced Earth science missions, “green” aviation technology, and infrastructure upgrades at the Kennedy Space Center.

More details will come later today when NASA releases its detailed budget documents, along with the telecon with Administrator Bolden.

64 comments to First look at NASA’s FY2011 budget

  • MrEarl

    US manned space flight is dead!
    You can try to put lipstick on it but it’s still a PIG!!!!
    $500 million for commercial flights to LEO is the only, tiny bright spot in the whole thing.

  • Thanks, Jeff. The “steady stream of precursor robotic missions” was something of a relief, though, like everyone else, we await details. LADEE, ILN, GRAIL and other missions originally envisioned in the National Academies’ “Scientific Context for the Exploration of the Moon,” are “precursors” for “extended human activity on the Moon,” and Constellation more specifically. Abandonment of Constellation seemed to herald an end to those important missions, an abandonment of lunar exploration. Even if the future of lunar exploration is teleoperation it’s far better than returning to the dry decades long period when so many erroneously believed we knew all there was to know about the Moon.

  • Major Tom

    Some of the budget figures:

    Total NASA Budget — $19B even, a $276M increase over FY 2010.

    Exploration — $4,263M, a $517M increase over FY 2010. Despite Constellation’s termination, Exploration is still going up. Expanding Mr. Foust’s reference above, the increase and redirected Constellation funds are going towards:

    “– Research and development to support future heavy-lift rocket systems that will increase the capability of future exploration architectures with significantly loweroperations costs than current systems—potentially
    taking us farther and faster into space.

    – A vigorous new technology development and test program that aims to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of future exploration activities. NASA, working with industry, will build, fly, and test in orbit key technologies such as automated, autonomous rendezvous and docking,
    closed-loop life support systems, in-orbit propellant transfer, and advanced inspace propulsion so that our future human and robotic exploration missions are both highly capable and affordable.”

    – A steady stream of precursor robotic exploration missions to scout locations and demonstrate technologies to increase the safety and capability of future human missions and provide scientific dividends.”

    Aero & Space Research Technology — $1,152M, a $651M increase over FY 2010. “Space Research Technology” is new, which explains the more than doubling over last year. Apparently this is focused on:

    “technology development and test program aimed at increasing the capabilities and reducing the cost of future NASA, other government,
    and commercial space activities. NASA will increase its support for transformative research that can enable a broad range of NASA missions.
    This program, which will involve work at NASA, in private industry, and at all levels of academia, will also generate spin-off technologies and potentially entire new industries.”

    Space Operations — $6,147M, a $1,259M decrease from FY 2010. Contrary to some reports, it doesn’t look like the heavy lifter will be developed here or that there will be new Shuttle missions, but does provide “funding for the Shuttle to fly its final five missions, even if their schedule slips into 2011.” In addition to extension to 2020, ISS will get upgrades that “could include a centrifuge to support research into human physiology, inflatable space habitats, and a program to continuously upgrade Space Station capabilities.”

    Science — $5,006M, a $537M increase over FY 2010. Likely mostly for Earth Science, including a “replacement for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory”, although there’s also language about Earth-crossing asteroid searches and Solar Probe.

    Commercial Crew — $500M. Unclear where this is bookkept and managed, but worth calling out separately. Mr. Foust has the language above.

    The institutional figures are mostly level but include “revitalization of NASA to put in place the right workforce and facilities to function as an efficient 21st Century research and development agency. A major focus of this effort will be to create the 21st Century launch facilities and infrastructure needed at Kennedy Space Center, transforming the facility to more effectively support future NASA, commercial, and other government launches.”

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “US manned space flight is dead!”

    Yeah, the $9.8 billion that the White House is proposing to spend on human space flight is a sign of the apocalypse.

    “$500 million for commercial flights to LEO is the only, tiny bright spot in the whole thing.”

    Yeah, $4.9 billion for heavy lift, autonomous rendezvous and docking,
    closed-loop life support systems, in-orbit propellant transfer, advanced in-space propulsion, and robotic precursors is such a deep, dark, black hole.

    Oy vey…

  • MoonExploration

    Can anyone call “enhanced Earth science missions” for exploration? I call it navel-gazing ….

  • Joe Dere

    Actually, it is dead. “A vigorous new technology development and test program that aims to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of future exploration activities.” That translates as “We’re going to goof around with some stuff in labs and test stands, but we’re not going to actually fly anyone in space outside of the commercial flights to ISS”. There are no launch vehicles or spacecraft funded outside of the ISS missions.

  • MoonExploration

    @ Joe Dere

    I used “Google Translation” with that sentence, and got the exact same interpretation….

  • Bill

    “Yeah, the $9.8 billion that the White House is proposing to spend on human space flight is a sign of the apocalypse.”

    It is if you’re not going anywhere except around and around and around and around and around and around…to what purpose again? Oh, that’s right, to go around and around and around….

  • MrEarl

    Ok Tom…
    Where did you get $9.8 billion on human space flight?
    $600 million for Shuttle operations
    $500 million for commercial human space flight
    $183 million for ISS extension.
    We’re missing about $8.5 billion from the what I can see on the fact sheet.
    All the technologies touted in the first set of bullet points would have been developed anyway under the POR but this budget keeps it to just R&D with nothing being built.

  • MoonExploration

    @ Bill

    Bill, you forgot the extremely interesting void to be explored at the Lagrange Points….

  • Major Tom

    “Can anyone call “enhanced Earth science missions” for exploration?”

    No one has made such a statement besides you.

  • MoonExploration

    Well it might be a hint for President Obama to make that statement – “Explore by going around in orbit – looking down …”

  • Major Tom

    “It is if you’re not going anywhere except around and around and around and around and around and around…”

    I hate to tell you, but under the old program, that’s what we were going to be doing until at least 2030 when Ares V finally became operational, and even then, there was no money to develop hardware for an exploration mission (lunar or otherwise) until circa 2040 — per Augustine.

    At least now we’re actually investing in exploration hardware this decade, instead of waiting until after 2020 to make such investments. I’ll take that over spending the next decade building the nation’s fourth intermediate lift LEO launch vehicle.

    Targets and dates are great, but they’re meaningless if we’re not actually building the capabilities necessary to reach them.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Well it might be a hint for President Obama to make that statement –’Explore by going around in orbit – looking down …’”

    Why would anyone make such a stupid statement?

  • Major Tom

    “Ok Tom…
    Where did you get $9.8 billion on human space flight?”

    $4,263M for Exploration
    $4,888M for Space Operations
    $651M for Space Research Technology

    $9,802M total for human space flight (more or less)

    “All the technologies touted in the first set of bullet points would have been developed anyway under the POR”

    No, they wouldn’t have been, at least not for a couple decades. Exploration was down to a couple hundred million dollars for technology work, and nearly all that was in support of Ares I and Orion. The Augustine report has a whole section on critical exploration technologies that were going uninvested in. Several NRC reports make the same point.

    “but this budget keeps it to just R&D with nothing being built.”

    The budget actually references test flights. So hardware will be built and flown. Hopefully the NASA rollout this afternoon and tomorrow will have more details.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “the extremely interesting void to be explored at the Lagrange Points…”

    The vacuum is not interesting. But the lagrange point observatory, solar warning, and other spacecraft that could benefit from servicing are. So are the peaks of several gravity wells that lie are lagrange points, which are advantageous for staging lunar surface missions and missions deeper into the solar system.

    FWIW…

  • MoonExploration

    hooray for Chandrayaan and Chang’e

  • Major Tom

    “It is if you’re not going anywhere except around and around and around and around and around and around…”

    So continuing to put astronauts in orbit and developing the capabilities to send them beyond Earth orbit is the end of U.S. civil human space flight?

    It’s the “apocalypse”?

    Really?

  • MrEarl

    @MT “At least now we’re actually investing in exploration hardware this decade, instead of waiting until after 2020 to make such investments. I’ll take that over spending the next decade building the nation’s fourth intermediate lift LEO launch vehicle”

    WOW. You really don’t understand what just happened with this budget do you? All that is gone Tom. NASA gets to keep some cursory r&d but there’s not going to be any exploration hardware in this decade or the next if we follow this budget.

  • Dan

    How much of this is global warming related research?

    They could spend a thousand bucks on a toilet and a shredder and get the same result.

  • Joe Dere

    The budget for Space Operations probably includes all unmanned ops as well. There isn’t going to be $9B for human spaceflight. As I said before, there is no budget for spacecraft or launch vehicles outside of ISS missions in this budget. Technology development is not building and flying humans in space.

  • “could include a centrifuge to support research into human physiology, inflatable space habitats, and a program to continuously upgrade Space Station capabilities.”

    I’m actually intrigued by this. Inflatable habitats suggests either a Bigelow agreement or a revival of the Transhab program that Bigelow bought Space Act rights to. Either way it takes the gains Bigelow suggests could be made using inflatable modules and adds them to the ISS. I’ll remind you that Bigelow’s 330 would have an internal volume not much smaller than the whole of the internal volume of ISS in one module. There’s issues with not having built-in science racks and such, but it would be a huge luxury to the tin-can approach taken thus far.

    The centrifuge suggestion is really huge in my book. We had a module in the works for a dual rotation rate centrifuge on ISS. Aside from the AMS, that module offered the possibility of some of the more interesting science that could be gained from ISS in my opinion. It was cancelled years ago, and perhaps it’s being revived or replaced by a similar system.

    “The budget actually references test flights.”

    I’m also really encouraged by this. Oddly enough, constellation didn’t have much in the way of test flights. It was one of the laughable claims made by ASAP opposing SpaceX. SpaceX had sloted a dozen or so cargo resupply missions before humans would ever fly on it and Ares I only had two test flights of a rocket almost but not entirely unlike Ares I and one unmanned flight of the actual article before people were put on board. If the details look the way I think they will, this may offer a faster, cheaper and possibly safer time line to the pad than Ares. I have little doubt whatever they go with will hit the pad before Ares V would have. That is 100% speculation, but given the absurd Ares I/V timelines and budgets I don’t think it’s without some basis in reality.

  • Bill

    Remember how much $ was sunk into the nuclear bomber which never got off the drawing board but just looked nice in paintings? R & D is great, but at the end of the day you’ve got to build something to do something. R & D is also easier to cancel than a real project. Obama wants R & D, all right, but only if it leads to clean technology so he can further his climate agenda. If it doesn’t, he will pull the plug on the R & D, too. Obama has no interest in space outside of what it can do for his real interests, which are poverty, education and the environment. Let’s see if his next budget even has R & D in it.

  • Major Tom

    “All that is gone Tom… there’s not going to be any exploration hardware in this decade or the next if we follow this budget.”

    It was never there to begin with. All we were going to get out of Constellation was a LEO capability towards the end of next decade. There was no “exploration hardware” coming online until 2030, and that was just an HLV with no money for in-space stages, landers, or other mission equipment.

    “NASA gets to keep some cursory r&d”

    $1.2 billion in exploration R&D backed up by $369 million in low-TRL technology development is not “cursory”.

    FWIW…

  • David Davenport

    Where did you get $9.8 billion on human space flight?
    $600 million for Shuttle operations
    $500 million for commercial human space flight
    $183 million for ISS extension.
    We’re missing about $8.5 billion from the what I can see on the fact sheet.

    That money goes to A.C.O.R.N., which will be providing important NASA support activities and services..

  • Why would anyone make such a stupid statement?

    I think there’s an obvious answer to that question.

  • Anthony Kendall

    Announcements like “human spaceflight is dead” reflect more about individuals’ hopes for NASA than the reality. In reality, Ares was never going to field a vehicle capable of leaving Earth’s gravity well. Ares V was a monster that would have required billions upon billions for each launch. The public, and future administrations (let alone this one) would not have supported it.

    I think that this announcement is the brightest spot of news we’ve heard for HSF in a long time. We will fund industry to develop capacity, and that will help lower costs. Lower costs will allow ideas like Bigelow’s private space station to fly. That will, in turn, increase demand and boost industry capacity.

    At some point, we had to get HSF off of welfare and kickstart market forces. Now, we’re seeing action from the ground-up–with suborbital flights to start soon. And, we’re seeing it from the top-up–with commercial flights to ISS.

    I am disappointed about the lack of HLV vehicle development, but I suspect there will be more to hear about that once this budget goes through Congress. The absolute worst outcome will be if Ares is kept alive. That, by itself, would be the dead end for HSF.

  • Major Tom

    “The budget for Space Operations probably includes all unmanned ops as well.”

    Space Ops does include space communications systems maintenance and upgrades, but that only totals a half-billion dollars and only a fraction of that (mainly the DSN) is for Science.

    The cost of actual science mission operations are bookkept under Science.

    “There isn’t going to be $9B for human spaceflight.”

    Only if Congress cuts below that figure. But that’s what the White House is requesting (more or less).

    “As I said before, there is no budget for spacecraft or launch vehicles outside of ISS missions in this budget.”

    There was none in the prior budget. Ares V was funded at $25 million a year (with an M) through 2014. Altair had been cancelled. There was nothing besides Ares I/Orion and COTS cargo to ISS.

    Now there’s commercial crew to ISS, HLV development, autonomous rendezvous and docking, closed-loop life support systems, in-orbit propellant transfer, advanced in-space propulsion, ISS centrifuge, inflatable hab, etc. — including flight tests.

    I can’t imagine why an exploration supporter wouldn’t take the latter over the former, any day. Do you want to build redundant LEO capabilities or do you want to build new exploration capabilities?

    “Technology development is not building and flying humans in space.”

    I don’t think anyone is interested in building humans in space.

    FWIW…

  • “That money goes to A.C.O.R.N., which will be providing important NASA support activities and services..”

    Red Herrings! We’ve got Red Herrings here! Get your straw men! Hot off cable news!

  • curious_undergrad

    Privatization of human space flight is a go !

    The giggle factor concerning going commercial appears to be finally gone.

    An organic albeit slow, but economically proper and open development of space can now occur in my generation and the next.

    This makes Obama (administration) centrist (mixing public and private) with respect to outer space affairs.

    Hope to see this within the decade:
    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/09/ula-claim-gap-reducing-solution-via-eelv-exploration-master-plan/

  • common sense

    “WOW. You really don’t understand what just happened with this budget do you? All that is gone Tom.”

    Major Tom, you really don’t understand!!!! Come on!!! The WH just gave additional funds to HSF including a $517M for Exploration!!! It is DEAD!!! D.E.A.D. !!!! Can’t you read? Mr. Earl and the others ARE right!!! We will not be flying one off the most unsafe rocket ever!!! We will not be drawing powerpoints for the Moon and Heavy Lift for the next 20/30 years!!! NO Sir/Madam! NO Powerpoints!!! Please read and comprehend

    ;) LOL, ROFLOL as my youger colleagues might say…

  • Joe Dere

    “There was none in the prior budget. Ares V was funded at $25 million a year (with an M) through 2014. Altair had been cancelled. There was nothing besides Ares I/Orion and COTS cargo to ISS.”

    So, there was no budget except for the budget that was there. Right.

  • “So, there was no budget except for the budget that was there. Right.”

    I believe his point was with no money for Ares V and Altair, the moon was as far away as it is now. I’m just glad we stopped pretending it was still there.

  • Joe Dere

    The press conference is hilarity defined. “What’s the impact to the blah Center?”. “Robust, robust, robust!”

  • M. Report

    Focus on the Main Enemy: The Federal Govt., acting thru NASA,
    to prevent any for-profit private company from exploiting space;
    The technological cascade, and the level of creation of new wealth,
    would make the computer revolution look small in comparison,
    would soon be out of the control of the State, and would destroy
    their position of power as provider of carefully rationed slices of
    a zero-sum, fixed-size economic pie, _not_ in the sky.

  • Mongoose

    It is just whitewash. They want to hold us back so our competitors can leap ahead, just like Clinton did with the ISS. Tha,t and toss monies at their various constiuenciesa, such as the Climate Research hacks. They do not even really have a thought out plan on this, other than the Democrats constant attempt to keep us in LEO. Just Bash Bush (TM) and undo anything he attempted. This is just like the Democrats destroying then super collider after his father left office. Look where THAT ONE led (CERN).

    More incompetence and treason out of the Democrats couched in obfuscation, lies and double speak.

    No innovation in constellation? What nonsense. What arrogance. What ignorance. What self-importance. Typical Liberal garbage.
    Bush’s work here was visionary.

    “Recreating Apollo”? Rubbish. They just do not get it, or, if they do, are lying about it.

    It is amazing how they dismiss anything that does not come out of their hands.

    It is ludicrous to dismiss things by virtue of them being “over budget” What major break through in space sciences has mot been over budget or fraught with difficulties? Once we proudly tackled such things. How low we have fallen.
    And they will just dither around for three years and push things father back. We will cease to be a space faring nation. That is what the Left wants: the degradation and the humiliation of the USA.

    As for “earth missions”, this is not the business of NASA. It is a SPACE program. It was created to HUMANS IN SPACE.

    Let us hope we can get rid of them soon enough and get make to rebuilding American greatness. Let us rebuild American leadership in Space and elsewhere.

  • Major Tom

    “So, there was no budget except for the budget that was there. Right.”

    See for yourself. Per the budget table on page EXP-2, Ares V was funded at $25 million (with an “M”) per year from FY 2010-FY 2014. (It peaked at a lousy $30 million in FY 2009). There was no line item for Altair.

    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/345955main_8_Exploration_%20FY_2010_UPDATED_final.pdf

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Focus on the Main Enemy: The Federal Govt., acting thru NASA,
    to prevent any for-profit private company from exploiting space;
    The technological cascade, and the level of creation of new wealth,
    would make the computer revolution look small in comparison,
    would soon be out of the control of the State, and would destroy
    their position of power as provider of carefully rationed slices of
    a zero-sum, fixed-size economic pie, _not_ in the sky.”

    Take your meds and put your tinfoil hat down, please.

    Lawdy…

  • Tom D

    I’m a little surprised that they went so far as to cancel the entire Constellation Program, but I’m happy with this proposal overall. This may be the first Obama administration proposal that I like :-).

    A few months ago Elon Musk mentioned his desire for a new, very large (Saturn V, F1-class) kerosene/LOX motor. I imagine that he’d like to replace the 9 engines on Falcon 9 with a single large one. Perhaps, NASA would be interested in partnering on that now?

  • “A few months ago Elon Musk mentioned his desire for a new, very large (Saturn V, F1-class) kerosene/LOX motor.”

    Do you have a reference on that? I’m trying to gather all the tidbits on SpaceX’s status together into a coherent picture. I had heard talk of Musk eyeing a superheavy, but I have no references for it.

  • common sense

    @Major Tom:

    See to some people you can actually develop an Ares V launcher with $25M per year. So indeed there was budget for about 200 people to work for a year. Assuming no hardware is being built. There may have been enough money to go to some preliminary concept of a vehicle. But that’s it. It would have not gone beyond a paper rocket or nowadays a ppt rocket. But that’s it. It’s funny how some will always ignore the financial aspect of anything. Ah yes but there is/was the bank bailout and the TARP and well the NASA budget increase…

    Oh well…

  • Major Tom

    “They want to hold us back so our competitors can leap ahead, just like Clinton did with the ISS.”

    The space station program was started by the prior (Bush I and Reagan) administrations, not the Clinton Administration.

    And even if the point of ISS was to hold the United States civil space program back so competitors could leapfrog it, it was a crappy strategy because no other nation has come close to doing so.

    “That and toss monies at their various constiuenciesa, such as the Climate Research hacks.”

    The White House is proposing so spend only $1.8 billion on Earth Science at NASA, of which only a fraction is climate change research, versus $9 billion for human space flight.

    “No innovation in constellation?”

    Apollo-era liquid engines and SRBs are “innovation”?

    Really?

    “‘Recreating Apollo’? Rubbish. They just do not get it, or, if they do, are lying about it.”

    You really want to repeat an achievement from 40 years ago? Even on steroids?

    “It is ludicrous to dismiss things by virtue of them being ‘over budget’”?

    There’s over budget and then there’s over budget.

    Constellation was tens of billions of dollars over budget. And a decade behind schedule. And it still had numerous unresolved technical issues.

    “We will cease to be a space faring nation.”

    We were going to cease to be a spacefaring nation for at least seven years (more likely nine) under the POR, anyway. I’ll take a shot at reducing that gap via commercial providers over guaranteeing nearly a decade of no U.S. human space launches.

    “As for “earth missions”, this is not the business of NASA. It is a SPACE program. It was created to HUMANS IN SPACE.”

    NASA has been doing “earth missions” longer than its been doing human space flight.

    FWIW…

  • asdfl;kj

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at how naive some of the commenters are. The bottom line is this:

    Cancelling the manned program altogether is politically difficult; if nothing else, it’s a jobs program for key congressional districts. So instead, you cut the deliverables but keep the overall budget where it is (for now), making up the difference with visionary but difficult-to-measure research dollars.

    It’s an old principle in politics to push for your goals NOW, but to support your opponent’s goals, too… later. Big spending increases: now, deficit cutting… later. Health reform/Cap and Trade: now, manned space program… later. Not cancelled, just pushed out a couple years (then pushed back again, and again).

    Without actually building and using hardware to accomplish real missions (the “D” in R&D), all the long-range R&D in the world will accomplish nothing but generating publications for researchers. The competencies and skills (such as they are) that NASA has developed will atrophy and disappear if put on hold for 10 years. At that point, re-starting the manned program will be basically starting from scratch.

    The President has that deficit-reducing commission that will report after the elections in November on potential cuts. At that point, some of the non-essential research programs will be delayed. Not cut, delayed. We all have to make sacrifices, right? With 80% of the budget already off the table for cuts, NASA isn’t much but it’s at least a possible source of cuts. And it’s harder to defend delaying long-term research if no one piped up when the manned program was tanked.

    Meanwhile, the remaining money can be channelled into politically popular programs: climate change studies (and other environmental programs) and education. When he’s mentioned space at all, President Obama has mainly focused on its ability to inspire science and engineering students. This accomplishes the goals without dumping money into what I think he sees as PR stunts and subsidies for defense contractors. Win-win.

    I’m not convinced that even the $500 million dollar subsidy for private space will help; it depends to some extent on what strings are attached, but more importantly, it inadvertently turns the private space companies into government contractors. So whether or not it’s a silver lining is debateable. Private space companies most of all need to be left alone; but when you’re operating on a shoestring and see a lucrative government contract dangled in front of you, it’s VERY tempting.

  • Major Tom

    “The competencies and skills (such as they are) that NASA has developed will atrophy and disappear if put on hold for 10 years.”

    That’s what was going to happen under Constellation, anyway. The most likely delivery date for Ares I/Orion was 2019 in Augustine (earliest 2017). Ares V wasn’t going to be online until 2030, and it wouldn’t have had an Altair lander or other hardware to send to the Moon until 2040.

    At least now, with commercial crew, competition, and key technologies in the mix, some of this schedule may be brought back to the left.

    “Meanwhile, the remaining money can be channelled into politically popular programs: climate change studies (and other environmental programs) and education.”

    The White House has proposed $1.8 billion for Earth Science, of which only a fraction is climate change research, versus $9 billion for human space flight.

    The White House is actually proposing to reduce NASA’s Education program.

    But we shouldn’t let reality get in the way of our conspiracy theories…

  • Cousin Dave

    “Ares V was funded at $25 million a year (with an M) through 2014. ”

    Granted, Ares/Constellation was vastly underfunded — which Augustine pointed out. So the solution to an underfunded program is to cancel it, start a new program from scratch, and then underfund it… riiiiiiight. And you guys really believe that the ultra-statist Obama administration is going to invest big bucks in private sector space activities. Like Rand Simburg, you are so anxious to dance on NASA’s grave that you are missing the whole point.

    Democrats have been trying to kill U.S. manned space since the ’60s. Doing so is a Holy Grail for them. We don’t have Saturn today largely because of Bella Abzug. The reason Shuttle came out like it did was largely because of Carter. Clinton saw ISS mainly as a vehicle to kiss up to Russia.

    All of the budget proposals I see here, relating to manned space, are incredibly non-specific. Ergo, with the way these things usually work, most of it is likely to disappear in earmarks and ratholes. Be real. Do you really think Obama is going to ride herd over Congress to ensure that the money gets allocated year after year, and is spent properly?

    The most telling bit here is to read the left-wing blogs that have commented on this. They aren’t celebrating a realignment of manned space to the private sector. They are celebrating it being killed, period. To them, manned space has always been an intolerable expression of American exceptionalism, plus they covet the money for social programs. I can’t believe that someone like Simburg would make common cause with that nest of viper. When they finally bite him, I’ll be the first to pop up on his blog and say “I told you so”. True, maybe Ares/Constellation wasn’t the right program. But that isn’t the point with this gang. If you really think the heavy hand of lil’ old NASA has prevented private space from getting off the ground, wait until you see what OSHA, the EPA, the FAA, the IRS, and the Justice Department can do to it.

    You’re making enemies out of the people you need to have on your side. You have not even seen the real enemy yet.

  • Joe Dere

    What vehicles are we building for the oft-quoted $9B? If we’re not building vehicles, we’re not going to be flying anything. Yeah, yeah, Cx wasn’t going to fly anything either, but $9B is a lot to spend if you’re not building anything.

  • common sense

    “with $25M per year. So indeed there was budget for about 200 people to work for a year”

    I meant 125 people at $200K/yr.

  • Anthony Kendall

    “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at how naive some of the commenters are.”

    I’m equally unsurprised for how partisan a perspective some of the commenters have here. As argued by others, there is actually more HLV money in this 5-year budget, and–more importantly–money to spur the commercial sector. This is something that space advocates on the left and the right have been hoping for for years.

    Ares and the moon was *never* going to happen. Get over that. The program was way too expensive, was NOT developing substantial new technology, and was little more than a federal make-work program.

    I see almost no partisan orientation on space policy. After all, it was Nixon that killed Saturn (and other programs), which Kennedy had proposed. Clinton proposed the VentureStar program, which failed for technical reasons, not political support.

    Come on folks, take off the partisan sunglasses and take a look at this proposal, and think more broadly than just Ares and the moon. That failed program would have killed HSF, this one attempts to set it on a proper course for the future.

  • Major Tom

    “Granted, Ares/Constellation was vastly underfunded”

    Actually, it wasn’t. If you look at the old FY 2004 VSE budget and compare it to more recent budgets, NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate received MORE (not less) funding than what was promised.

    Here’s what was promised in the FY 2004 budget:

    FY 2004 $1,646.0M
    FY 2005 $1,782.0M
    FY 2006 $2,579.0M
    FY 2007 $2,941.0M
    FY 2008 $2,809.0M
    FY 2009 $3,313.0M

    Total $15,070.0M

    And here’s what ESMD actually received in each fiscal year:

    FY 2004 $2684.5M
    FY 2005 $2209.3M
    FY 2006 $3050.1M
    FY 2007 $2869.8M
    FY 2008 $3299.4M
    FY 2009 $3505.5M

    Total $17,618.6M

    The total difference is $2,458.6 million. So the Bush II Administration and prior Congresses provided almost $2.5 billion more for ESMD than what the Bush II Administration promised in FY 2004 to develop systems and technologies to return to the Moon. This doesn’t include the $400 million that ESMD received in the Recovery Act (passed after the Bush II Administration), which would increase the total difference to $3 billion.

    The problem is not Constellation underfunding. The problem is that Ares I/Orion costs ballooned from $28 billion to something on the order of $35-40 billion, wiping out funding for Ares V, Altair, etc. (among other things).

    “And you guys really believe that the ultra-statist Obama administration is going to invest big bucks in private sector space activities.”

    No, the Administration is proposing to spend moderate bucks (compared to Ares I/Orion) to purchase a commercial crew capability and services from the private sector. The government won’t own these companies. There’s no “invest” (big bucks or otherwise) going on.

    “Like Rand Simburg… I can’t believe that someone like Simburg”

    His name is “Simberg”, with an “e”. If you’re going to call someone out, at least spell their name right.

    Sigh…

  • Major Tom

    “What vehicles are we building for the oft-quoted $9B?”

    Commercial crew vehicles (number TBD), HLV, and various flagship-class in-space technology demos.

    FWIW…

  • common sense

    “You’re making enemies out of the people you need to have on your side. You have not even seen the real enemy yet.”

    What is it today? Pharmacies are closed or something?

  • rssg

    Barry Soetoro, our Moooslim-Marxist in Chief, needs NASA’s money to re-distribute to his cult-like followers, – ACORN, SEIU union and “community organizing” groups and other Democrat voting blocs. He also needs to indoctrinate our children into his cult of “social justice” (read: socialism).

    And to think, there are “educated” Americans who follow this Chavez wannabe in the White House. So much for the “educated elite”.

    ;)

  • [...] Commercial launch vehicles have for years carried all U.S. military and commercial—and most NASA—satellites to orbit. The Budget funds NASA to contract with industry to provide astronaut transportation to the International Space Station …Read more [...]

  • l5

    Here, here…..our “Genius” in Chief, who brags about “restoring science to it’s rightful place”, actually still believes in GLO-BALONEY WARMING!! Guess thats why our Socialist Boy in Chief never has released his school transcripts like 99% of all other presidents and major candidates. I wonder what Genius Boy is hiding….?

    Too funny bro! Guess thats what you learn at all those fancy educatin schools like Harvard and Colombia! We rubes don’t have much fancy book learnin, we rely on our elites in da media and in Warshingtin DC to learn us fancy stuff.

    Three more years and Ol’ Big Ears will be history. And we can restore free enterprise and individual liberty. Central Planning by Obama’s Politboro? No thank you.

  • common sense

    Heck yeah the pharmacies are closed? Can’t you guys get home delivery for your meds?

    I was under the impression this site was “moderated”?

  • Joe Dere

    “Commercial crew vehicles (number TBD), HLV, and various flagship-class in-space technology demos.”

    Only one of those will be manned. I saw no HLV program, only “technology development” that could conceivably support it if some future administration chooses to fund a real vehicle development at some future time. It’s really code for “we’re going to goof around and not really build anything”.

    There is no $9B for human spaceflight. There’s some money to fly out Shuttle, some money for ISS, and $500M for commercial efforts. The rest is science fair projects that won’t result in any human space flight.

    It’s easy to win arguments when you move the goal posts, isn’t it?

    Oh, and think before you post.

  • Tom Billings

    OK, I have been opposing Obama since I heard of him, but those who cannot individuate his effective behaviors in different programs are using far too coarse a filter. Even the most corrupt Daley Machine pol has his dreams about a legacy, and needs money to make them happen. One set of legacy efforts have failed. This may be a start to more fiscally moderate ones for this administration.

    The extent to which Obama *may* be able to finally suppress completely the NASA turf war against the commercial space launch providers is the crucial point here, not which government engineers get hired or laid off, or reduced in GS ranking. That last is where a lot of the pissing and moaning on space blogs is coming from over the past 4 days. People *hate* looking for work, …I surely do, …and these sorts of changes guarantee that for many in the Space Community, such as it is. It will be worth it if we can get to a point where we no longer must worry about whether a particular program in spaceflight “raises enthusiasm”, but only if it furthers the human settlement of the solar system by free men and women.

    I have been saying for 3 years now that it is private US groups that will return to the Moon, because there simply is insufficient *political*profit* in it. That means the *best* we could hope for was a program that makes it cheaper for private groups to reach the Moon, till the point they can project a *financial* profit in doing so to financiers. Some here argue this cannot be sustained, but if *this* budgeted series of r&d programs cannot be sustained, then the far larger increases needed for doing the job with the POR were utter fantasy.

    Better we act like they were, and get on with the job of demonstrating Propellant Depots both in LEO, at L1, and at the first source for LOX out there, the Moon itself, and mostly with robots. Demonstrate propulsion tech needed for Translunar and interplanetary work. Most certainly demonstrate the construction technology needed to piece together large Translunar vehicles from smaller payloads of frequently launched cheap commercial launchers. Extend this with reusable LEO launchers. *Then*, when costs have dropped between one and two orders of magnitude for a lunar development, we can rationally expect private groups to make a profit, first at tourism, developed from LEO tourism, which develops from the market for sub-orbital tourism. Then, we can expect that with planetary science fieldwork being far cheaper per bit than today, the scientists will get funding to move operations to the field, so that they need not use slowly creeping telerobots, but at minimum can erase latency for much higher scientific productivity in the field. Then, ….

    This is the path that will get us beyond the small dreams of pols who want a few jobs in their district to be sacrosanct. Till we tread it, we will be dependent on them, and earth-bound. If an academician-turned-”organizer”-turned-politician has stumbled onto the first steps of this path, then applaud him for it. We obviously have so much else to rag on him for, that the contrast between our reaction to this and other programs alone may hold his attention, and keep the next 3 years of funding for this expanding path flowing. After 2012, we will face new challenges, but those were always going to be there, and I’d rather face them with the proposed program than with the POR.

  • Major Tom

    “Barry Soetoro, our Moooslim-Marxist in Chief, needs NASA’s money to re-distribute to his cult-like followers…”

    Take your meds, please.

    “Too funny bro! Guess thats what you learn at all those fancy educatin schools like Harvard and Colombia! We rubes don’t have much fancy book learnin, we rely on our elites in da media and in Warshingtin DC to learn us fancy stuff.”

    This has nothing to do with space policy. Take it elsewhere.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Only one of those will be manned.”

    Only one vehicle needs to be manned (but two or more commercial vehicles probably will be based on the Augustine report). HLV architectures usually assume that the HLV launches the stack unmanned and rendezvous with the crew in orbit. Tech demos don’t need to be (shouldn’t be) manned.

    “I saw no HLV program, only ‘technology development’ that could conceivably support it if some future administration chooses to fund a real vehicle development at some future time. It’s really code for ‘we’re going to goof around and not really build anything.’”

    The old program wasn’t bending any HLV hardware, tech development or otherwise.

    If I liked HLVs (which I actually don’t), I’d much prefer a program that spent hundreds of millions to billions of dollars developing actual, real-world HLV capabilities now versus one that spent low tens of millions of dollars on HLV viewgraphs for years on end.

    “There is no $9B for human spaceflight. There’s some money to fly out Shuttle, some money for ISS, and $500M for commercial efforts. The rest is science fair projects that won’t result in any human space flight.”

    That’s no different from the old program minus commercial crew. There wasn’t going to be any human space flight on Ares I/Orion until well after the budget runout.

    “It’s easy to win arguments when you move the goal posts, isn’t it?”

    Like Ares I/Orion from 2014 to 2017-19?

    Like Ares V from 2020 to 2030?

    Like Altair from 2020 to 2040?

    “Oh, and think before you post.”

    Pot, kettle, black?

    FWIW…

  • James

    My God! What an awesome display of ignorance. About half of you really need to check some facts before commenting.
    But never mind, this budget is a good thing for NASA and human space flight. The tech and propulsion development is the right course to take. There are technologies coming to term in companies, research centers, and universities that will make CxP look like an ox cart, and they could mature within five to ten years.
    So, I’m pleased and expect to see the Russ, Chinese, and Indians in my rear-view mirror by 2020.

  • “I saw no HLV program, only “technology development” that could conceivably support it if some future administration chooses to fund a real vehicle development at some future time. It’s really code for “we’re going to goof around and not really build anything”.”

    You do, of course, realize that Ares V wasn’t going to start development work until the second half of the decade, right? In other words when the R&D money for an HLV in Obama’s plan runs out and we’ve developed a bunch of technologies toward an HLV Ares V would just have begun it’s R&D. Even if it’s just throwing money at propulsion science projects, that’s better than throwing money at a gigantic funding hole.

    If Obama’s plan is commercial space welfare, constellation was welfare for Roskosmos. Throwing our chips in with constellation would essentially be handcuffing us to Soyuz for at least five and more likely 7 or 8 years. If we’re going to throw our money in the toilet, I’d rather it be an American toilet, thankyouverymuch.

  • commander keen

    According to Sally Ride and Augustine, NASA has been woefully underfunding the research of new HSF applicable technologies.

    I think it’s a great plan. I’d prefer if we worked on heavy lift implementation now but I do see the argument for a full press on research. Maybe we could get a centrifuge to ISS.

    This plan suggests starting construction in 2016, which is the Ares V timetable anyway. But puts billions into researching it beforehand, which Constellation wasnt doing.

  • [...] the Obama Administration’s plans, rolled out three years ago today, also met with opposition, resulting in the compromise enacted in the form of the 2010 NASA [...]

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