Congress, NASA

Upcoming hearings and other criticism of NASA

The House Science and Technology Committee has a pair of hearing scheduled next week that will feature, in part or in whole, discussion of NASA’s FY11 budget request and its change in direction. Presidential science advisor John Holdren will appear before the committee on the morning of February 24th to discuss the overall FY11 R&D budget proposal; that’s likely to include at least some discussion of NASA. The main event, though, will be the following morning, when NASA administrator Charles Bolden appears before the committee to discuss the agency’s budget request—and no doubt be grilled about the policy changes that proposal contains.

The chair of that committee’s space subcommittee, meanwhile, makes it clear she does not approve of elements of that new plan, particularly its scrapping of Constellation in favor or developing commercial systems to reach low Earth orbit. “I don’t like putting all our pace eggs into a commercial basket,” Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) told the Sierra Vista Herald. She said it’s “not a good idea” to rely on the private sector, telling the newspaper that she’s worried “the country’s national security could be harmed if private companies are given the opportunity to send missions into space”, without elaborating.

Giffords’s counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, is also planning a hearing next week featuring Bolden and another former astronaut, Hoot Gibson (that hearing has not shown up yet on the committee’s hearing schedule). Nelson tells Florida Today that he’s concerned that the White House has given the public the perception that it’s killing human spaceflight. “And I can tell you that we’re not going to let it die. That’s not the president’s intention.” Nelson also reiterated earlier comments that the new plan needs a goal, namely Mars. “[E]verybody knows the goal and that’s to go to Mars,” he said.

Another member of Congress sounding off in opposition to NASA’s new direction is Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO). Coffman, whose district includes Lockheed Martin Space Systems’s facilities in Littleton, is, like representatives in other states, worried about the impact of ending Constellation on his district. “This program supports many high-paying jobs in the 6th District and throughout the country. Shutting it down directly jeopardizes those jobs and the families they support,” he said in a statement. Coffman is one of 27 signatories of a letter to Bolden about potential violations of law regarding NASA plans to wind down Constellation, although the letter identifies Coffman as being from Texas, not Colorado.

And a union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, is also concerned about the job losses associated with terminating Constellation. “At a time when the U.S. economy in mired in the worst recession in 70 years and is in desperate need of a jobs creation program your Administration’s proposal to have NASA rely on the private sector to develop and operate manned space craft will contribute to the loss of several thousand well paid domestics [sic] jobs,” R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of IAMAW, states in a letter to President Obama published by the Orlando Sentinel. Relying on the private sector, he adds, could “compromise fundamental safety issues” nor can it “ensure the level of security that NASA exercises”. “The push to privatize space travel is similar to efforts to privatize other critical government services. These efforts are based on anti-government ideology and are promoted by companies that want to profit from government outsourcing,” he concludes.

58 comments to Upcoming hearings and other criticism of NASA

  • Robert G. Oler

    more and more confirmation that the policy is going to change and the old policy is pretty dead.

    human spaceflight is “dying” in The Republic because NASA misplanned….under the old administration.

    Robert G. Oler

  • With Nelson moving at the very least to fence-sitter, if not outright supporter of change the game has changed a bit. I had heard comment from him leaning in this direction before, but those comments were more fatalist. Now he appears to have moved beyond the mourning phase and is starting to plan for how to improve on it and make the best of the program as it stands. It’s not inevitable, by any stretch, that the budget will go through sans Constellation, but with the loss of the most vocal majority party opposition, it seems all but a done deal.

    In principle I don’t even disagree with many of the comments. It would be valueable to maintain Constellation while moving forward with commercial. But Constellation as it stands is sucking all the air out of the space exploration room. Unfortunately they drafted a plan that was so big, so expensive, and so long-term it looked to cancel, downgrade, or proevent anything but itself from mvoing forward. If some version of Constellation is to be retained, the Ares I/V portion will have to go or there will be no NASA left aside from Constallation. Given that most of the capability dongrades and development delays with Orion have been due to constantly changing requirements from the Ares I team, this could benefit Orion in the end.

  • frotski

    If Senator Nelson’s view is that the destination is what’s changing then why not just keep everything as is and move the direction away from ares 1 to ares 5 and allow everyone to keep their jobs, still have a vision people can believe in and move forward? If the administration had done that there would be very little backlash like they are seeing now.

    Because to go to Mars you will still need heavy lift, new pads, new firing rooms, and all the support that would have gone with ares 1. All of these things are already underway and employ people. That is huge!

    To say your going to cancel a program (and lay everyone off) and then come up with a new RFP for “whatever” is absurd. People are not going to hang around or want to come back and work for Nasa if they are just going to be jerked around.

    All they had to say was this and everything would have been fine: The President has a new vision and we are going to Mars instead of the moon. Stop working Ares 1, start work on Ares 5. Everyone continue the support work and we will adjust accordingly to redesign around the new plan keeping current workforce expertise in place. Private industry gets LEO and Nasa goes beyond LEO. Compromise achieved, everyone would have been happy.

    Easy enough, right…

  • dandwithaplan

    What I am curious about is the “continuation” after the Presidents expire.

    Who cares – in 3 years we’ll have

    A DIFFERENT PLAN

  • Wow, my apologies for the typo-ridden post. That’s what I get for posting before caffeine.

  • Justin Kugler

    Perhaps someone needs to get Gen. Bob Kehler, commanding officer of the US Air Force Space Command, to talk to Congresswoman Giffords about national security. He said last week to the Commercial Space Transportation Conference that commercial space is both essential to and intertwined with national security.

  • “All they had to say was this and everything would have been fine: The President has a new vision and we are going to Mars instead of the moon. Stop working Ares 1, start work on Ares 5. Everyone continue the support work and we will adjust accordingly to redesign around the new plan keeping current workforce expertise in place. Private industry gets LEO and Nasa goes beyond LEO. Compromise achieved, everyone would have been happy.”

    This is absolutely dead on. It’s essentially what the plan is, but Obama, et al, are a little too cautious or slow-moving to make the plan look good in the public eye. If you listen to Bolden or any of the NASA top dogs they say essentially that. They’re dropping Ares V itself, but replacing it with an HLV dev program that will get funding out of the gates. Some talk about retaining Orion or even retooling it for commercial launch has been talked about. And finally Mars is the end-game with the Moon and NEO’s in our sights as well. Sounds not unlike what you describe, frotski.

    I gotta say, I’m a dem who voted for Obama, and I still like the guy overall. As a policy-maker he’s pretty decent. As a PR guy for the policies he’s making he really sucks. And given his reputation for big, inspiring speeches I’m really confused as to why he’s failing this miserably at it.

  • Sheridan

    At the start of Obama’s campaign he said he wanted to cancel the human exploration program and give all the money to education.

    He has now canceled the human exploration program and plans to give most of that money to education in the form of Universities funding for R&D.

    Why is anyone surprised by this?

  • dandwithaplan

    Who “commercially” wants the ISS?

    Musk is in the wrong business (including Tesla)

  • “At the start of Obama’s campaign he said he wanted to cancel the human exploration program and give all the money to education.

    He has now canceled the human exploration program and plans to give most of that money to education in the form of Universities funding for R&D.

    Why is anyone surprised by this?”

    Obama said in the campaign that he intended to push back Constellation’s deadlines by 5 years to fund education so children could read, write, and perform calculations. Aside from the fact that he backed off of the statement shortly thereafter when it appeared Clinton could gain a high ground purchase on it, it also doesn’t mesh with your assertion.

    For one, R&D, from comments so far re:HLV and advanced space systems development, isn’t going to be done in universities. In fact the discussions of actual test flights for the HLV dev program suggest it will likely utilize many of the same commercial players already engaged in Ares I/V (yet another piece that has only been briefly mentioned in the budget that could be good PR for the proposal). All of the advanced propulsion and fuel depot recommendations are likely to be corporate space inc. developments.

    Additionally, even if it was going to universities, they largely assume you know how to read, write, and calculate when you enroll, so I’m pretty sure this isn’t in line with the one-line statement he made back in ’07.

    The human exploration program has not been canned either. LEO is going to be privatized, not cancelled, though some cynics may say the two statements are synonymous. HLV dev would begin immediately and looks to be able to get us to the Moon at or before the constellation deadline by the few rough estimates we’ve been given. And Mars, being the central target, has a shortened deadline based on Bolden’s comments.

    And here’s the real kicker: Obama’s not cutting space funding, he’s increasing it.

    Now if you’re in Shelby’s camp, then constellation’s cancellation means we’ll never get back to the moon and private space will fall on its face leaving us with no home-grawn access to space. But aside from his most dire reactionary side of the fence, no indication has been given that any of his plans, even in the cynics eye, amount to a fulfillment of a one-liner in the democratic primary race over a year before he was elected.

  • “Who “commercially” wants the ISS?”

    Nobody. NASA funded flights to ISS by private companies are being touted as an anchor tenant for the industry. Transportation is the only current commercial proposal for ISS usage other than perhaps an odd experiment or two that might fly on board.

    But if we can get a manned capsule then folks like Bigelow will finally have their transportation and the chicken-egg cycle in private spaceflight will be halted. Throw in that Musk has DragonLab planned and hasn’t ruled out tourist flights, though they won’t be his primary target, and he’s got a tenuous business model. It’s not a nice solid assurance that it will work, but with paying DragonLab customers, booked-solid suborbital tourist flights on SS2, and two Bigelow modules already flying, I’d say the chances of developing an actual industry now are far, far better than they were in the 90′s when the last few private efforts faceplanted.

    “Musk is in the wrong business (including Tesla)”

    He’s made his money as a business with his PayPal earnings and now he’s aiming for his personal goals instead of his professional ones. This is Musk’s version of retiring to a fishing pond or a golf course. He held no illusion that he was likely to make it big in rockets. In fact in the early days, he often paraphrased the old saying “The best way to make a small fortune in rockets is to start with a large one.” He’s spent $100 million of personal funds so far and says he’s willing to foot the bill for four failures of Falcon 9 before he closes up shop. He’s not in it for the money.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    What seems to be happening is something I’ve expressed fear about. By linking the end of space exploration to space commercialization, the administration has poisoned the latter in the minds of many people. Also Bill Nelson wanting to go to Mars is a matter of great concern.

  • “Also Bill Nelson wanting to go to Mars is a matter of great concern.”

    I don’t see Nelson supporting the cancellation of Cx but rather he is just latching on to the Mars goal which is completely out of the question with COTS HSF. I think he may be latching on to the Bolden goal and the using it against his specific plans. He may well be trying to induce the administration into some firm commitments on HLV for example.

  • dandwithaplan

    aremisasling,

    In Economic terms:

    A market consists of a demand and supply (for some reason demand comes first)

    Where is the demand for the Musk’s cheerleaders? (there were also ULA cheereleaders before)

    Only the artificial “demand” from uncle Sugar named ISS.

    Sure, ULA could have bid on it as well.

    Where is that “robust undustry”?

  • Storm

    dandwithaplan wrote @ February 17th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    “A market consists of a demand and supply (for some reason demand comes first)”

    That’s easy. The demand is absolutely, mind boggeling huge. Everyone and their grandma wants to go to space. Right now the price per pound to space is so huge that only a small fraction of billionaires and millionaires can afford to go.

    The whole point of most people who frequent this sight is to see space transportation flourish, not just for science, but for commercial industry. However, as you know, it is prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of people.

    We’re here discussing the future of space flight because we’re enjoying watching it develop. One of the ways that we want to see it develop is for the price per pound to drop, so that more people can go. Once the price drops and safety is assured then more of us will be able to go.

    I always use my great aunt Eileen as an example, who said, that when she was a little girl and saw her first airplane fly overhead that she never dared imagine that she would one day fly in one. She was a teenager when she saw her first airplane. And for many years she did not fly in one until in the 1970′s when she was much older and took a plane flight to see relatives. She was amazed by the experience, as I think we all are the first time we fly.

    You need to look at things in little bigger perspective Dan. It took hundreds of years for the Chinese to build the great wall. What if someone had kept complaining when they started that it would take forever to build – that the effort was futile. If he had succeeded in talking everyone into stopping its construction, then it would have never been built and China would have been more vulnerable to northern invaders.

    By saying that the industry is not robust and that the effort is futile is to try to deny the birth of an industry that will one day flourish. There are many hurtles to overcome. It won’t be easy, but we will overcome. Even Mark Whittington agrees with me on that. We just have different view on how to get there, or we’re in different political camps that are debating on how to do it.

  • dandwithaplan

    “That’s easy. The demand is absolutely, mind boggeling huge. Everyone and their grandma wants to go to space”

    Seriously? Try this:

    “That’s easy. The demand is absolutely, mind boggeling huge. Everyone and their grandma wants to go to the Marianas Trench”

    How many condos dow we have in the Abyss now (with much better conditions than the Moon or Mars…)

  • Vladislaw

    Human spaceflight is not about science, not about exploration, or even national pride or prestige. And no, it is not even about national security.

    Human spaceflight is a transportation issue. How do you safely move a person’s brain cells from point A to point B. Many of the commenters try and tie HSF to other, more complicated issues rather than dealing with it head on for what it really is.

    The automobile is not about science or exploration, but how many scientists use them in most aspects of conducting their science? How many geologists use them to go exploring for new rock formations?

    The ocean going ships were not about science, but that didn’t prevent the voyage of the HMS Beagle.

    Airplanes were not invented and the technology pushed because of science and exploration but doesn’t stop a hurricane chasers from adapting the technology to use it for science.

    Let’s at least all be on the same page for what we all want. A new transportation system that is open and robust enough to cater to ALL the different groups to conduct what they deem is the most important task to use that new transportation system for. Be it those who want it for tourism, science, exploration, national pride, national prestige or national defense.

    NASA having it’s own space transportation system can never fullfill all those goals. Only a robust commercial space transportation option allows all groups to utilize that transportation system for whatever they want. Just like automobiles, boats and airplanes do.

    For me, this is not a NASA problem at all, it is a problem for the Department of Transportation and the FAA. NASA is not a regulatory agency, it doesn’t have the personal or resources and it should not be tasked to be turned into one, all that will do it take part of their budget away to push more paper. NASA is a research and development agency.

    NASA doesn’t have it’s own regulatory agency for nasa personal to ride commercial aircraft, they trust the FAA and DOT everyday in thousands of different ways for thousands of different employees.

  • dandwithaplan

    Vladislaw,

    OK. Transportation to where? Will the destination offer any sort of relief?

  • dandwithaplan

    I think if this comical program goes along, 4-5 folks will be mulling around in a stainedsteeled cubical for over a year.

    Who wants THAT?

  • “A market consists of a demand and supply (for some reason demand comes first)”

    Thanks for the econ lesson. I have a business degree, I don’t really need it.

    “Where is the demand for the Musk’s cheerleaders? (there were also ULA cheereleaders before)
    Only the artificial “demand” from uncle Sugar named ISS.
    Sure, ULA could have bid on it as well.
    Where is that “robust undustry”?

    I already stated it. He has multiple booked DragonLab flights, ISS transport, and Bigelow so far. Bigelow has been chomping at the bit for a human transport from the commercial sector for years and has slowed production specifically because he doesn’t have it. Tourism is a fallback and not part of his core plan, but it is there and people do want it. Ignoring all of the valid examples in my post is not the same thing as refuting them.

  • dandwithaplan

    aremisaling,

    “Thanks for the econ lesson. I have a business degree, I don’t really need it.”

    Dude/ette, you are getting abrasive. Don’t f’k around.

    I DID NOT WANT TO OFFEND YOU.

    You’ve provided no Demand Markets (dragon lab does not exist)

  • “How many condos dow we have in the Abyss now (with much better conditions than the Moon or Mars…)”

    Children all over the globe have dreamed of flying in space and a huge number of them retain some desire to do so in adulthood. Nobody wants to live in the Marianas, and frankly fewer people have been there. This is a laughably invalid comparison. It’s akin to saying people won’t ever want to vacation in Florida because no one wants to vacation in Death Valley. They’re both warm, right? Clearly they must be the same.

    And here’s the really silly part about your argument. People already HAVE bought flights to space. They paid way to much money and went through eyars of training for a short jaunt on a space station where all but one was asked to do work for most of their stay. And not only did they fly, but there’s a line of Space Adventures folks ready and waiting to fill their slot. When one potential flier was bumped due to medical concerns he was genuinely po’d he didn’t get to go. Space Adventures has even found folks that said they’d pay the money to orbit the Moon once if it were offered. Yes, it’s currently the latest playground of the rich. But there are actually rich people out there that will pay to do it.

  • dandwithaplan

    Foton does exist, though

  • Storm

    Dan with the plan is just teasing us. We tried to get serious with him, but I feel he’s taunting us.

    Dan, we’re here to discuss specifics and you have us arguing with you about the basic premise for wanting space flight. nice joke.

    “How many condos dow we have in the Abyss now (with much better conditions than the Moon or Mars…)”

    Oh yeah, they’re building Abyss too jackass

    http://www.hydropolis.com/

  • “Dude/ette, you are getting abrasive. Don’t f’k around.

    I DID NOT WANT TO OFFEND YOU.”

    I didn’t start the attitude issue, that was you with your snarky “(for some reason demand comes first” and “condos in the Abyss” comparison among others. In fact your posts thus far on this article have been nearly 100% snarky. You want a reasoned debate? Stop making absurd comparisons and blowing off other people’s arguments as if they were never made in the first place.

    “You’ve provided no Demand Markets (dragon lab does not exist)”

    Dragon Lab does indeed exist and he has paying customers with a flight manifest on the calendar. Even if you mean to say Dragon isn’t a flying spacecraft, that’s a supply issue, not a demand issue. And I may have misunderstood, but it sounded to me like you were saying commercial space is a supplier without demand. And the kicker is that clearly with paying customers the demand side isn’t the issue.

  • dandwithaplan

    aremisaling,

    You are wrong. I’ve known folks who’d go to Alaska or “even” Antarctica, but never go to the Moon. Or, Mars for that matter.

    Many expressed interest in the DEEP SEA.

    But, hey let the market decide! Shoot your customers to the Moon.

    Thank you.

  • dandwithaplan

    And folks did express their interest in the deep [Earth] ocean and its creatures, and ‘the moon’ didn’t even come up.

    Still, we don’t live beneath the waves….

  • Vladislaw

    You are ignoring certain aspects of your supply and demand.
    A supply curve shows that at every supply point, price and demand changes.

    If I have a forest of trees and offer the board foot of one tree at X price there will be X demand for it. If there are more then one bidders for that board foot and I refuse to offer anymore trees you develop something called “pent up” demand. As long as I have the only forest and a government protected monopoly on lumber It wont matter what the demand curve shows for higher price points.

    Right now we are actually provided data for pent up demand. Virgin Galatic is selling seats for a service that is not even in business yet. If their wasn’t any pent up demand there wouldnt be any sales of reserved seats taking place.

    That fact that Russia has had more offers by customers wanting to fly than the numbers of open seats they have available also shows pent up demand.

    The demand is there that isn’t the problem, it is a supply issue. As long as NASA has a protected monoloply on domestic supply and views commercial space transportation a threat they will keep playing the safety card, the inexperience card and the it’s to expensive card. It is the same three card monte they have been playing since commerical was first suggested.

  • “dragon lab does not exist”

    http://www.spacex.com/launch_manifest.php

    I realized after I made my last post that you may genuinely be unaware of Dragon Lab and may be thinking I’m talking about an orbital space station. The Dragon Lab program, which has entries in SpaceX’s manifest, is essentially using the Dragon as a temporary space station the way we did with Mercury and Shuttle. It will be self-contained and may or may not be manned once the option becomes available.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ February 17th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    What seems to be happening is something I’ve expressed fear about. By linking the end of space exploration to space commercialization, the administration has poisoned the latter in the minds of many people. ..

    goofy.

    I mean really goofy.

    There IS NO GREAT OUTPOURING of “the end of human space exploration” outside of the pork protectors and a few people (like you and Spudis) who have invented threats from the Red Chinese (or sorry all 20,000 or so members of NSS are so angry that they are chanting in uninison). Then there are people like you who I guess are simply Obama haters.

    The polls show that most Americans dont want or care about a massive exploration effort for humans, the numbers get worse when the money is actually brought up.

    Nelson can see where this is going even if you cannot. The new policy is going to go forward.

    And it will be a good thing. People like you only care about the past and trying to relive it some of us are pushing for the future.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    frotski wrote @ February 17th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    If Senator Nelson’s view is that the destination is what’s changing then why not just keep everything as is and move the direction away from ares 1 to ares 5 and allow everyone to keep their jobs, still have a vision people can believe in and move forward..

    because (going backwards on your list)….the nation cannot move forward with the program of record, most Americans do not care about the “vision” or require believing in it, the jobs have to go away because they are not contributing to The Republic in terms of their cost and Ares 5 is as big or a bigger “pigs breakfast” then Ares 1.

    you need to understand…the day of “keeping everything as is” is ending.

    We have to cut things in The Republic which are not working…to save us.

    Sorry

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    off topic:

    Does anyone recall if this is the same website face for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation?

    http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/

    Or was this given a facelift by the Obama administration.

  • “And folks did express their interest in the deep [Earth] ocean and its creatures, and ‘the moon’ didn’t even come up. ”

    So because your friends would rather go to the deep sea than the moon, clearly there’s no interest in the moon. And again, what you describe is a supply problem. There’s plenty of DEMAND for a deep sea hotel by your story, but the SUPPLIERS are unwilling to build one. It’s again unlike space where the suppliers are currently working their tails off to meet the demand. And for the record I think there should be hotels and labs in the deep sea. I’d visit if I could afford it. Again, you describe the opposite problem you pose for SpaceX.

  • dandwithaplan

    aremisasling,

    No there is just NO DEMAND. No-one wants to go down there and live for years under 200 psi.

    Just like in the Moon/Mars situation. There is just NO DEMAND for it,

    from what I’ve observed (or some sci-fi inspired wishiful thinking)…

    But, perhaps yours is a different observation.

  • dandwithaplan

    And [some] folk do like to observe creatures of the deep, they just don’t like to live there, but whatever floats your boat.

    The barren Moon/Mars are a no go as far as I’m concerned.

    There is just no point to go there for anyone.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The most entertaining thing has been watching the “pro the vision” thunderheads fall all over themselves in logical conundrums as they try and defend the indefensible…

    Perhaps the efforts should be known as “pulling a Shelby” after Richard Shelby who on the one hand was pro commercial spending in the stimulus bill until he was against it in the new space policy.

    Our own Mark Whittington has done an anti obama about face…but lets stick to calling it a “Shelby”.

    The latest Shelby should go to Gabrielle Giffords who must have done her “fam” ride in the T38 without a real grasp of the Oxygen system and is still suffering.

    ““I don’t like putting all our pace eggs into a commercial basket,” Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) told the Sierra Vista Herald. She said it’s “not a good idea” to rely on the private sector, telling the newspaper that she’s worried “the country’s national security could be harmed if private companies are given the opportunity to send missions into space”, without elaborating.

    she is apparently all for an “eggs in one basket” approach…if it is Constellation…but once the effort gets moved outside of that…to likely multiple launch providers under a commercial effort…well ALARM.

    then there is the part about national security. Perhaps she got the “cut” sign from an aide and just trailed off…but one would long for the elaboration. It would at least give us something more to laugh at.

    At least the whole “support the vision” thing has some humor to it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • NASA is in trouble because the politicians refuse to use NASA’s manned spaceflight component as a pioneering program to enhance the survival of humans in space and on other worlds. The politicians have forced NASA to use its astronauts as symbols of a manned space program instead of a real pioneering manned space program.

    Its been 48 years since NASA sent the first American into orbit. And we’ve already known for several decades now that living in a microgravity environment for long periods of time is inherently deleterious to human health. Yet we still don’t know if humans can adjust to an artificial gravity environment, or a 1/6 hypogravity lunar environment, or a 4/10 hypogravity martian environment. These are things that we fundamentally need to know in order to determine if our civilization can expand beyond the Earth into space and to other worlds or if we are perpetually trapped on the planet that gave birth to us.

  • Vladislaw

    Personally, I would like to know where all this populist outrage is. Fox news never misses an opportunity to Obama bash 24/7 on any issue. I do not see them giving this any air time.

    The only outrage we see is the tea baggers, and I have yet to see a support NASA or Constellation or save human spaceflight on any of the signs and posters they carry. I see they are anti socialist and want smaller government and lower taxes on free enterprise.

    Maybe it is time for the teabaggers to start ranting for a no taxes for ZERO G companies. A tax free zero-g policy might help spur more investment.

  • dandwithaplan

    There is nothing to defend, really. There is no point to it.

    I don’t understand why Obama admin just didn’t abolish NASA HSF.

  • dandwithaplan

    Outright, I mean. And I would support him/his government in that.

    NASA is just a research agency. But now it’s got this ISS on its back…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ February 17th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    The only outrage we see is the tea baggers,..

    there is far more outrage then that circulating now in The Republic.

    Sarah Palin is doing her patriotic duty by eschewing off the really “nutty” folks of the tea party movement (white old and mainly rural) into their own little rush room where they will be completly ineffective in changing national policy.

    The real action is “center right” or “center left” where an amazing anger is brewing directed at the status quo of both parties…and that is where the tide is growing to seriously change the US political system.

    One reason that there is not much outrage over the end of “the vision” is that no politician who does not have NASA pork in their districts wants to stand up in front of the American people and say “we want to spend 3 billion more dollars to go back to the Moon, while you folks are losing your homes”.

    I find some conversations very odd. A few at the “save space” area wonder why Obama would spend money on trains while not spending them on space…

    here is a simple explanation. After the money on trains is spent…we will still have the trains…after money is spenton Ares…we dont even have the rocket.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Robert G …. take a look at this article from space.com from 2002, Paul Spudis seems to reject anything that even looks like an Apollo on steriods for NASA and instead believes that a flexible path utilizing a L1 gateway is the way to go.

    http://www.space.com/news/beyond_iss_020926-1.html

    How odd.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ February 17th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    “odd” is a good term.

    Look to be fair to Spudis; my read of his viewpoints is that what he is “really” interested in is returning to the Moon and doing insuti lots of stuff. I dont think (in fact he has said so) that he is particularly married to any “system”…what I think generates his “exaggerations” is a combination of fears (and it is fear that generates exaggerations of the kind he and others are pushing)….

    some of which stem from the fact that the entire notion of human exploration of space might be slipping from the platter of things that The US is wanting to do (and I dont agree with that) and some others that would simply be speculation by me (and are not important anyway). I take it at face value that his heart is in the “right” place. (there are some who I am not so kind with…)

    My view is that a “long term” goal of going back to the Moon and using the “things” there is ok but I dont see it as anything politically or functionally useful. I think that the failure of “the vision” in its implementation, the declining political situation in the US, and the declining economic situation in the US have made even offering such a “goal” as detrimental to the entire notion of human spaceflight.

    For two reasons.

    First; I dont trust the execution of “things” by the government all that much right now…because I dont think that the federal government is working all that well. The last President it worked well for was clinton…and it has been on a slow decline since about 2002. Just as I am for national health care, but dont think it being done now by this group of people is a good thing….I dont think that a government oriented plan to “game change” our society by using the Moon as a resource site is all that useful.

    If anything Ares even Orion prove to me that the folks at NASA who are in charge just dont have a fracken clue about how to manage much more then deciding which Chinese restaurant at Clear Lake to eat at. There is just to many “Pudknockers” of the kind who cost us a couple of years in Iraq hanging on there…

    Second. as “John” is fond of saying while the money for human spaceflight is small…it is all that there is. And I think that it should go for things which are “incremental” game changes. I dont know what commercial lift to orbit might bring. I do know what a program done just like the shuttle program will bring us. More of the same.

    And to me in this time of economic collapse…where good people are in some peril as to their future, I dont see the value in spending money where it will do nothing but perpetuate the past. We need some game changers or we are not going to survive as a nation.

    As a ret Marine General (Zinni actually) said about the “surge” that it took forever to convince Bush to do in Iraq “it has to be better then what we have done so far, because that isnt working”.

    That describes to me at least X number of years of “the vision” and indeed “the vision” in specific.

    We simply cannot stay here.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    For me what really bothers me is that when the shuttle had it’s best year about 60 people went into LEO. The current PoR will end the shuttle before the Ares 1 does any launching. The most we can hope for is in 2028-2034 we will have 4-8 people going into LEO and the constellation supports try to sell that as progrss.

    I tried to express that point on the constellation site:

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=12353&post=55385&uid=2350949498

    and was told:
    “In NO WAY does Russia have to worry about American space launch services taking manned space trips away from them. No American private space craft exists. One will not exist in less than 6 years, I feel it will be ten. I have no confidence in any company that claims it can build a space TAXI in 3 or 4 years and have routine access to LEO and the ISS in so short of time. It is a FANTASY! Space x is all talk and PROMOTION! In any case where are the other customers that want to take trips into LEO? What is the market for human space flight out side of NASA? ZERO! Other than rich playboys that want to poop in a space suit for 7 days in zero gravity there is no industrial of scientific reason to put NON- NASA people into LEO. NASA has reasons and those are obvious. ”

    Non NASA americans who foot the bill for everything NASA does, they don’t even deserve to be allowed into LEO, even on their own dime.

    How do you debate that logic.

  • Puke your sea-sicken, zer-g ISS weaken guts out, high G reentry, single-use throw away antiquated capsules to the useless ISS. Yeah the fix is in for Space-X relic capsule. Trips to space limited to the rich and famous. Flex-path generated random undefined shot-gun spending missions, go-but-don’t touch deep space missions. Bribes to Nelson for a HLV mars pipe dream, bribes to congress to continue ISS. Six billion bribe to snag commercial aerospace buy in. FLEX-UP path is NOT the commercial space industry I once dreamed of. Study LEO, VASMIR and HLV but no promise of a structure to support actual development. Like NASA didn’t generate enough AIAA, SBIR, STTR, CGI, power point paper studies during the past forty year LEO limbo era? Flex resembles the old pre-VSE NASA only with a new loosely defined commercial PR twist.

    There is a commercial alternative to the Flex-path Space-X capsule paradigm. That is a VSE macro defined destination goal driven “Newt” type free market X-prize commercial based program. With forward thinking companies like ULA AtlasV, Space DEV Dream-Chaser (reusable lifting body) and Bigelow LEO, moon, mars habs poised to lead the way. I could stomach HLV and the ISS given something more inspiring and defined than Flex-path provides the impetuous for a commercially focused synergy. A VSE 21st century tech based X-prize (Newt style) plan at the macro level to ensure the efforts are generally focused and the program is going somewhere. Allow the commercial sector to define the means and hardware that is developed to meet the prize goals at the micro level.

  • Doug

    Buzz has actually rode in of those spam cans and here’s his take on it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/buzz-aldrin/in-search-of-a-real-space_b_371205.html

    Space-X… great booster but the Dragon capsule thing is a total turn-off.
    I expected something much more innovative than a stinkin capsule from the talented bunch at Space-X.

  • [...] Space Politics » Upcoming hearings and other criticism of NASA [...]

  • Doug:

    The Buzz Aldrin article does present an interesting idea. I was puzzled by an early comment in which he seem supportive of this new effort. Now I see why. It seems that he is proposing a booster perhaps similar to the Direct rockets. This way we could use Shuttle SRBs rather than the evolved Ares type (takes care of the ATK faction). Then develop a HL-20 type space glider as the crew module. Lockeed Martin’s original CEV concept was of this type and SpaceDev is now working on the DreamChaser that is of HL-20 linage. I also like the idea of continuing the Shuttle until this new system is flying.

    To some other people, you don’t really expect a popular backlash about the space program do you? I think we are best being a little low profile on this. If the key committee’s want something else, it doesn’t create a large budget ripple, and it gives Obama something different than Bush we have big chance for success. I don’t think high profile talk of ISS vs. Moon vs. Mars is the way to go in these times.

  • There is a commercial alternative to the Flex-path Space-X capsule paradigm. That is a VSE macro defined destination goal driven “Newt” type free market X-prize commercial based program. With forward thinking companies like ULA AtlasV, Space DEV Dream-Chaser (reusable lifting body) and Bigelow LEO, moon, mars habs poised to lead the way.

  • common sense

    @Politics:

    In what way are the “ULA AtlasV, Space DEV Dream-Chaser (reusable lifting body) and Bigelow LEO, moon, mars habs” a “commercial alternative to the Flex-path Space-X capsule paradigm”? They are one and same thing. Today it is SpaceX and a capsule and possibly ULA/Boeing and a capsule. Tomorrow??? Who knows? But they are all commercial and they don’t need a NASA mandate for exploration if one does not come about. There is no paradigm here except the one you just made up.

  • [...] Milkuski inizierà le audizioni sulla Nasa verso la fine di marzo. la prossima settimana, però, se ne comincerà a discutere alla Camera dei rappresentanti. Incontri tutti da seguire, dato che il vero piano per il futuro della Nasa alla fine uscirà [...]

  • [...] Mike Coffman (R-CO), who previously expressed his opposition to cancelling Constellation, has gotten three colleagues from Colorado to join him. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D), Doug Lamborn (R), [...]

  • [...] Upcoming hearings and other criticism of NASA – Space [...]

  • Constellation End

    the China’s astronauts lunar landing could happen within 8 years and seen on standard and 3-D TV by over 6,000,000,000 people worldwide [ http://bit.ly/9Wtqzr ] however, the Constellation program is wrong, flawed and TOO expensive [ http://bit.ly/aK4KA0 ] and the new “commercial space” is up to FIVE TIMES more expensive than the Space Shuttle [ http://bit.ly/aP70mi ] as a consequence, NASA and USA will face a deep DECLINE and, soon, will be no longer a space leader http://bit.ly/dpkPas

  • [...] is the original post: Space Politics » Upcoming hearings and other criticism of NASA Share and [...]

  • [...] Sun reported, isn’t new: Nelson has made that statement on a number of occasions this year, as far back as mid-February, only a couple weeks after the White House released its FY11 budget [...]

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