Congress, NASA

Pre-hearings roundup

Today is a busy day on Capitol Hill, with presidential science advisor John Holdren appearing before the House Science and Technology Committee this morning and the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee this afternoon to talk about the overall R&D budget, including likely some discussion of NASA. Meanwhile, NASA administrator Charles Bolden will appear at a hearing of the Science and Space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, with several other witnesses testifying on a separate panel, all on the change in direction for the agency contained in the FY 2011 budget proposal.

While much of the political reaction to NASA’s new plan has been negative, some key people have recently spoken out in favor of it. In an essay in The Huffington Post, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson supported the agency’s new emphasis on commercial spaceflight for transporting cargo and crew to LEO. “This is a win-win decision; creating thousands of new high-tech jobs and helping America retain its leadership role in science and technology,” he writes. Also endorsing the plan is former NASA Ames director Scott Hubbard, in an op-ed in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. “This move from government-specified vehicles to the equivalent of buying an airline ticket has startled and dismayed many present and former NASA employees and contractors,” he writes. “Nevertheless, it is exactly the right move. It is past time for NASA to get out of the transport and trucking business.”

As you might expect, opponents of the budget proposal aren’t exactly swayed. “Now, the administration is willing to throw away 50 years of progress on a suborbital taxi cab that places the US further behind China and other nations who are willing to make the investments we used to because they understand the importance of human space exploration,” Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) said in a speech on the House floor on Tuesday during a section of one-minute speeches by House members. “It a path to second place for the United States.” In a separate speech, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) decried NASA’s plans to reach out to Indonesia and other Muslim nations. “It looks to me like the administration is looking out for everyone except our own space workers,” he said.

Bolden, meanwhile, has responded to a letter from over two dozen House members claiming he was breaking the law by trying to wind down Constellation in the current fiscal year. “While you have received reports that NASA managers have instructed members of our teams to begin closeout activities on the Constellation Program, I have directed no such actions and have found no evidence that Constellation managers have issued such directions,” Bolden said in a letter sent to one of the members, Steven LaTourette (R-OH). Bolden did say he has directed the agency not to begin new Constellation work not currently under contract. The “tiger teams” created by the agency are necessary, he said, to prepare for all budget scenarios, including ones where Constellation is canceled.

The letter appeared to ease LaTourette’s concerns about NASA’s work. Bolden “answered our concerns and questions,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The contracts aren’t on hold, and he recognizes this program has value. I’m looking forward to working with him through the appropriations process.”

90 comments to Pre-hearings roundup

  • It is increasing looking like Congress is not going to support the Obama space plan. It is basically is unworkable and too risky.

  • Simon

    I would have to agree. Unworkable is a word that applies well to the present Congress. Perhaps even risky.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    The defiant stance that Bolden is assuming toward Congress is not going to work. Clearly the administration erred in springing this train wreck of a policy at the last minute, without consultation. It may be doubling down on the error by trying to ram it through.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ February 24th, 2010 at 7:50 am

    The defiant stance that Bolden is assuming toward Congress is not going to work…

    chuckle..

    that is all to say about your post Mark. This plan is gaining traction every day.

    Just think in about 4 years when we have commercial access to space you can claim that Bush the Failure did it

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    John wrote @ February 24th, 2010 at 7:07 am

    It is increasing looking like Congress is not going to support the Obama space plan…

    almost as funny as Whittington. Pete Olson is sadly a study in mediocrity. His speech was simply boilerplate.

    Robert G. Oler

  • CharlesTheSpaceGuy

    We should all understand that President Obama is gonna get his way with this transition – he is the one with the resources to pull together a plan. Congress is fragmented and cannot poll the working level people (in any Federal agency) to develop a alternate plan.

    Part os the Congress will oppose a change but there is no agreement or team there to propose a separate path.

    That said, we are going to continue to blunder along, figuring out what facilities go where, what people are responsible for. One of these days we’ll all know what to do. Hopefully Falcon and other commercial boosters will have a smooth test phase and will be reliable in a few years. In four years when we have commercial access to space we can blame Obama for the gap – which was threatened by the Bush plan but guaranteed by the Obama muddle.

    In the mean time, there will be a lot of politicians posturing, and Bolden will enthusiastically work on cancelling Constellation while denying that he is doing that – he is only asking people how it could be cancelled!

    It is certainly a good time to buy commercial flight for our people, but the Administration has chosen the most wasteful and distructive way to do it.

  • googaw

    It’s amazing to see Olson go from bragging about supposed NASA spinoffs one second while the next second promoting Constellation, which is purposefully using old technology, instead of promoting actual technology research, as the new budget does. The IQ he imputes to his audience is breathtakingly low.

  • googaw

    CharlesTheSpaceGuy:
    Part os the Congress will oppose a change but there is no agreement or team there to propose a separate path.

    Yes, where is the alternate budget proposal to keep Constellation and cut everybody else? If you Constellation fans are serious let’s see some specific numbers!

  • Ferris Valyn

    googaw,

    Just give us the $3 Billion Norm said we needed, and by GOD!! we’d have a working program
    /snark

  • Robert G. Oler

    Whittington, John, and others make the rookie mistake of measuring the volume of the opposition to the “plan” and assuming it indicates some sort of following.

    Charles is correct. Obama is going to get his plan. What Charlie will do is make sure that the cogent players are massaged to get some “take homes” to their people so they can say “we brought this back”…

    Opposition to the change reminds me of all the right wingers who chanted “stay the course” oppossing the surge then going on (in a revolt of the Generals) in Anbar…then when Bush got thumped at the polls and changed course they all supported it.

    Charles…it is being done the only way it can be done.

    The reality of the change is that the current course doesnt have access to ISS by Ares until 2017 and that means really never. So embrace the horror…The bush the failure era is gone.

    Robert G. Oler

  • googaw

    I want timelines! I want specifics! Specifically, I want to see Constellation fans discuss their schedule for taking the $100+ billion ISS, and admitting that it was all just a fraud by letting it plunge into the Pacific Ocean, so that they can free up money for the next fraud.

  • 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 — I’ve seen SEVEN years LOST (2004-2010) and $12 billion BURNED (Orion, Ares-1, LAS, 5-segments SRB) — but also the next 5 years will be LOST due to: Shuttle retirement, very high priced COTS-CRS cargo, unknown, expensive and very late “commercial” crew vehicle, very expensive and useless new engine, etc. — 80% of the “new” NASA plan is WRONG exactly like the older one

  • Set it straight

    The timelines noted in the report are fictitious since Augustine and Aerospace made assumptions on information they didn’t have access to or did they request real-time access. ATK’s first stage could fly by 2014 and if the qualification program could be minimized, could fly by 2013. DM-2 is in September and CDR for first stage is April of next year. Where at that time, flight parts can be cut. Thrust Oscillation extremes are a dead issue based on the DM-1 test and Ares 1-X data results. The mitigation of the oscillations have been removed from the design because the level of oscillation were magnitudes less than worst case assumptions.

  • “…suborbital taxi cab…”? Does he even know what the word “suborbital” means? Does his staff?

  • Eric Weder

    ‘… the new “commercial space” is up to FIVE TIMES more expensive than the Space Shuttle ‘

    I thought maybe you had some information nobody else does, but looking at your ghostnasa.com page, you don’t. Just another hack.

  • Major Tom

    “The timelines noted in the report are fictitious”

    No, they’re not. The Augustine report agrees with independent GAO assessments of Ares I, which have been predicting for years that Ares I couldn’t fly before 2017.

    “since Augustine and Aerospace made assumptions on information they didn’t have access to or did they request real-time access.”

    Simply not true. There were scores of NASA staff supplying the Augustine Committee with whatever information they requested.

    “ATK’s first stage could fly by 2014″

    So what? J-2X engine development is the long-lead item on Ares I. Per GAO, J-2X wouldn’t have been complete until 2017, the second stage sometime after that. By itself, a 5-segment SRB is useless.

    “and if the qualification program could be minimized, could fly by 2013.”

    Now there’s a smart move — reduce testing now on an unflown rocket configuration.

    “Thrust Oscillation extremes are a dead issue based on the DM-1 test and Ares 1-X data results.”

    Hardly. The mitigation systems are bigger and more complex than anything ever flown before. Until those systems were tested in the actual flight configuration for Ares I, they were a big question mark. And that wouldn’t have happened for years.

    FWIW…

  • Set it straight

    @ Major Tom:

    You definately aren’t working for the POR. If you are, you’re way out of touch. TOA design is out as of last month for the system on the launch vehicle. Constituents working the J-2X are stating they are on target. I agree though, first stage is useless without a second stage.

  • “ATK’s first stage could fly by 2014 and if the qualification program could be minimized, could fly by 2013.”

    Funny, NASA was saying 2015 for Ares I. Now you can criticize Augustine, but when your own team is arguing against your numbers, you’re in trouble. And given than since 2006, four years, Ares I has slipped from 2012 to 2015, what reason do I have to assume that over the next five years it won’t slip to 2017 or beyond?

    And with one test flight already cancelled and a ‘manned from day 1 approach’, safe is not a term I’d use in reference to Ares/Orion. Throw in that the parachutes failed on the unmanned portion of the first, non-analogous test and I’m not reassured. SpaceX will have more than a dozen production flights of Dragon complete with human capsule entry and nearly 20 of F9 before they ever put people on board. That’s a solid test of everything but the escape system 20 times over.

    And given that pretty much every other program would have to be cancelled, including ISS and any new technology developpment or site scouting at our proposed destinations, it just doesn’t make sense. If the current proposal is betting the farm on commercial, Constellation was betting the whole of the American agriculture industry on Ares/Orion with no backups in the works if it failed.

  • Major Tom

    “You definately aren’t working for the POR.”

    So what? I can read independent reports as well as anyone else.

    “TOA design is out as of last month for the system on the launch vehicle.”

    So what? The design still carries a massive, spring-loaded ring that introduces a major weakness in the structure. And they’re still carrying alternatives like the enormous LOX bellows. And none of this has been tested in Ares I’s actual flight configuration and wouldn’t have been for years. Heck, we wouldn’t have even known if the Shuttle and Ares I-X data is relevant to the actual Ares I flight configuration — including a 5-segment SRB with new propellant geometry and a fueled J-2X upper stage — until then.

    “Constituents working the J-2X are stating they are on target.”

    Well of course they claim that. Multiple independent reports show otherwise.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “It is increasing looking like Congress is not going to support the Obama space plan.”

    Based on Olson and Posey’s comments?

    Posey doesn’t sit on any authorization or appropriations committee for NASA. Except for floor motions (that will likely be ruled out of order or ignored by the rest of the Congress during bill votes anyway), he’s toothless and has no power over NASA’s programs or budget.

    Olson is the minority ranking member on NASA’s authorization subcommittee in the House. He’s not on the majority; no one has announced plans for a NASA authorization bill this year; Congress has a very spotty record of getting NASA (and most) authorization bills passed even when announced; and appropriators routinely ignore the spending limits set in authorization bills anyway. What limited power he has over NASA’s programs and budget requires agreement by the majority party on his subcommittee and overcoming several legislative hurdles.

    Mostly bark with very little bite.

    “It is basically is unworkable and too risky.”

    Getting the U.S. astronauts off Russian Soyuz vehicles in 4-6 years, instead of 7-9, is unworkable and too risky?

    Providing the ISS with a second means of crew transport in 4-6 years, instead of 7-9, is unworkable and too risky?

    Putting two domestic providers for crew transport in place, instead of relying on one, is unworkable and too risky?

    Getting actual HLV and exploration technology development underway in 2011, instead of waiting until 2017 or later, is unworkable and too risky?

    Are you kidding?

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “The defiant stance that Bolden is assuming toward Congress”

    What defiant stance? Bolden disavowed a bunch of false claims. Do you really think that the NASA Administrator should admit to wrongs he didn’t commit?

    Goofy…

    “Clearly the administration erred in springing this train wreck of a policy”

    You liked the budget in yesterday’s thread. And today you don’t?

    Can’t you make up your mind?

    “at the last minute,”

    What are you talking about? The NASA budget rolled out on the same day as every other department and agency’s FY 2011 budget. Nothing was sprung at the “last minute”.

    Double goofy…

    “without consultation.”

    The Administration can’t consult with Congress on anything in the President’s Budget when the President’s Budget is embargoed.

    Duh…

    But to claim that there was not consultation with Congress, when the Augustine Committee received written statements and heard from at least 14 congressmen, is patently false.

    Don’t make stuff up.

    “It may be doubling down on the error by trying to ram it through.”

    How is Bolden telling Congress that their claims are false “trying to ram” anything through?

    Triple goofy…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Set it straight wrote @ February 24th, 2010 at 10:49 am
    The mitigation of the oscillations have been removed from the design because the level of oscillation were magnitudes less than worst case assumptions…

    wow things are more screwed up in Ares then I thought.

    Lets see. Based on a vehicle test (Ares 1X) that had no resemblance whatsoever to what the first stage (or the second stage or the crew capsule) actually is…

    were you one of the people who came up with the data saying it was safe for Columbia to reenter?

    yikes

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    “which was threatened by the Bush plan but guaranteed by the Obama muddle. ”

    Did you read the Augustine report? It was guaranteed under Griffin’s plan, not the Bush’s plan. Bush had a vision, the VSE, for better or worse. What created the gap is ESAS and its implementation in Constellation. Not Bush, not Obama. Try a little logic and you will see how things get much clearer.

  • googaw

    Martin:
    I agree completely, I am opposed to NASA building infrastructure. I might be OK with a moon base though.

    That’s a mighty big exception. $200 billion worth of exception, at least. What do you expect a NASA moon base to accomplish?

  • Loki

    I’ve seen several people lately make the claim that constellation is using “old technology” both here and other sites, and that’s simply not true. There’s a big difference between “old technology”, “current technology” and “cutting edge technology”.

    I’d describe CxP as using current tech. It’s certainly not cutting edge, but it’s not like we’re using the same old computers that the Apollo spacecraft used or the same GN&C equipment. The C&DH sub-system is using computers based off the new 787 aircraft. Far more advanced than Apollo or shuttle to say the least. The crew “cockpit” will be as modern as any current aircraft, with LED flat screens, etc. Far more advanced than the shuttle, even post MEDS. The guidance system will include advanced IMUs and GPS recievers. GPS didn’t even exist 40 years ago. And that’s just the avionics. Again, none of that is “cutting edge”, but it’s not “old” either. NASA’s tried going with state of the art low TRL stuff before and gotten burned (see X-33/ Venturestar for a prime example).

    Saying that it’s “old” just because it looks like an oversized Apollo capsule is like saying the 2010 Mustang is “old” just because it resembles an oversized 1968 fastback.

    When people accuse CxP of using old tech it makes it sound like they’re using the same stuff that we used decades ago during Apollo. I’m not sure if people are doing it out of ignorance or to deliberately disparage the program. The former can be forgiven, the latter cannot, and is not necessary. There’s plenty to disparage without resorting to lies.

  • Al Fansome

    Just wanted to say …

    GREAT JOB MILES!

    FWIW,

    - Al

  • Vladislaw

    “ATK’s first stage could fly by 2014 and if the qualification program could be minimized, could fly by 2013.”

    ——

    So while everyone has been screaming on here about how commercial providers are unsafe and should be held to the absolute highest, unpublished, standards, we should, once again, lower NASA requirements.

    Does this mean that commercial space gets to lower the bar also and minimize their requirements on some launches?

  • googaw

    Ares is back… but now they are calling it “Rocket X”.

    According to Hoot Gibson and his Senate fans, continuing with the funding and projects and schedules of the program formerly known as “Constellation”, and in particular going ahead with the development and testing of “Rocket X”, is supposed to make progress towards a future HLV that we supposedly need. But we can’t call it Constellation or Ares, since we told our creditors that we canceled those frivolous programs. Sounds to me like a sleazy way of letting the same workers work on the same failed programs while pretending otherwise.

  • Vladislaw

    Mark wrote:

    “The defiant stance that Bolden is assuming toward Congress is not going to work. Clearly the administration erred in springing this train wreck of a policy at the last minute, without consultation. It may be doubling down on the error by trying to ram it through.”

    Wow, that was some uproar, did the press even cover it? I have been channel surfing the news and hell, even fox, who never miss a chance to spear the President over anything, isn’t giving this a blurb.

    As O’Brien said, if you tell someone that the moon program got cut they dont have a clue we were even going. Unless yyou are a space junkie, what NASA does in space is so far under the wire it is none existant.

    Can 1 person in 5000 even name one of the current 88 active astronauts?
    Can 1 in 5,000 name an american currently at the ISS?

    The program will change, if Obama gets reelected, another 4 years of it, than it will change again if the party in power changes over to Republican. The NASA football will still be the same. With one difference, if commercial space starts and it does take off, space flight will no longer be held hostage by the political winds and that game will no longer matter.

  • common sense

    @Loki:

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/apr/HQ_09-080_Orion_Heat_Shield.html

    “The biggest challenge with Avcoat has been reviving the technology to manufacture the material such that its performance is similar to what was demonstrated during the Apollo missions,” said John Kowal, Orion’s thermal protection system manager at Johnson.

  • common sense

    “The program will change, if Obama gets reelected, another 4 years of it, than it will change again if the party in power changes over to Republican. The NASA football will still be the same. With one difference, if commercial space starts and it does take off, space flight will no longer be held hostage by the political winds and that game will no longer matter.”

    It is pretty sad that the usual suspects were given 30 years after the first Shuttle flight that resulted in a series of failures while the new space guys are only given 3 years to make it happen. Well actually it’s almost in sync with the budget for either…

  • googaw

    Another gem from the hearings: Bolden et. al. have leaned on SpaceX and OSC to hire lots of workers from NASA or its contractors and keep them in Florida.

    If the overwhelming dose of NASA money doesn’t do it, and if the man-rating bureaucracy doesn’t do it, the massive influx of NASA people bringing their culture to SpaceX will. Slowly but surely, SpaceX is turning into a NASA zombie.

    Wasn’t it just wonderful how Senator Vitter slimed Bolden by stating that Garver was the primary author of the new budget, and that Garver is trying to steal Bolden’s spot as Administrator, strongly suggesting that Bolden is just a figurehead. Alas, Bolden did not succeed in dispelling the insinuation. The three Senators who bothered to show up are out for Garver’s head.

  • common sense

    “the massive influx of NASA people bringing their culture to SpaceX will.”

    Duh?

    “Slowly but surely, SpaceX is turning into a NASA zombie. ”

    Double duh?

  • googaw

    Duh?

    Do you have a question?

  • Bill White

    Burt Rutan wrote a letter, it seems:

    Commercial space pioneer Burt Rutan has sharply criticized Obama administration proposals to outsource key portions of NASA’s manned space program to private firms.

    The White House wants NASA to use outside firms to develop and operate new rockets and spacecraft that would transport astronauts into orbit and beyond, functions that had previously been considered a core function of the agency. Mr. Rutan, a veteran aerospace designer and entrepreneur, in a letter addressed to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, says he is “fearful that the commercial guys will fail” to deliver on the promises to get beyond low earth orbit, and that the policy risks setting back the nation’s space program.

    “That would be a very big mistake for America to make,” according to the letter sent to lawmakers that is expected to be released Wednesday during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on the future of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704240004575085810715611660.html?mod=WSJ_hps_sections_news

  • Bill White

    @ googaw

    If the overwhelming dose of NASA money doesn’t do it, and if the man-rating bureaucracy doesn’t do it, the massive influx of NASA people bringing their culture to SpaceX will. Slowly but surely, SpaceX is turning into a NASA zombie.

    This is why I want SpaceX Dragon to race Shenzou and Soyuz to EML-2 for television money and Nike contracts rather than be assimilated by the NASA Borg collective.

  • donnie

    the obama administration wants to work with people and compromise. there is room to compromise in the new nasa budget.

    but at the same time, the rest of the country isn’t as biased as the loud people here.

    a democrat and conservative congress will pass this budget over one that spends even more money (like on constellation or a mars invasion plan)

  • Saying that it’s “old” just because it looks like an oversized Apollo capsule is like saying the 2010 Mustang is “old” just because it resembles an oversized 1968 fastback.

    It’s current technology being implemented in an antique paradigm.

    Sounds to me like a sleazy way of letting the same workers work on the same failed programs while pretending otherwise.

    If that’s the political price we have to pay to finally get a significant amount of money for space transportation service purchases, we’re still a lot better off than we were with Constellation. It’s not like those rockets will ever be a threat to actually get in the way.

  • googaw

    @Bill

    Musk’s best bet at this point may be to build a firewall between the Dragon division, which will be fully given over to the Borg, and the Falcon division, which will be a real commercial operation launching for commercial and DoD as well as for NASA. Hire NASA people only for the Dragon division. The result would hopefully be rather like the cultural difference between Boeing’s commercial airliner division and its DoD/NASA contractor division.

  • common sense

    @googaw:

    “Duh?

    Do you have a question?”

    Yes sure, where did you happening see any of what you claim? Or did I miss something?

  • googaw

    Rand: It’s current technology being implemented in an antique paradigm.

    Much of the technology is just plain old (SRBs, Avcoat) or attempts to modify the old (J-2X). The main point is that it’s not new technology, as would be required for the claims of progress and spinoffs to make any sense. Technological innovation and gigaprojects don’t mix. New technologies pose risks to the project and to each other and the result is that conservative choices are made and there is very little innovation.

  • googaw

    where did you happening see any of what you claim?

    At the Senate committee hearing this afternoon. Senator Nelson encouraged Bolden to lean on the “commercial companies” (referring to COTS) to hire NASA workers in Florida, and Bolden responded that he’d already done so: they are “on notice” that they better hire NASA workers. According to Bolden one of the companies had been planning to not hire a significant workforce in Florida but after Bolden read them the riot act they changed their minds.

    That’s one of the prices of taking NASA money that doesn’t show up in the black letters of their contracts. We’ll undoubtedly see more to come.

  • common sense

    “Senator Nelson encouraged Bolden to lean on the “commercial companies” (referring to COTS) to hire NASA workers in Florida, and Bolden responded that he’d already done so: they are “on notice” that they better hire NASA workers.”

    All right then. They “better” hire NASA workers? Sure with what budget? On what program(s)? Look they lean all they want but that is all they can do unless they provide the famous dough. So far, that I know, “they” haven’t taken any money from NASA. COTS/CRS is formulated as pay on service delivery. They cannot impose anything using such contracts. You stated SpaceX is a NASA zombie yet you only advance the diatribe of some Senator who is just ranting nonsense and has done so for quite sometime now. Therefore you are just pushing rumors here and hear-say. Until I see an actual exodus of NASA employees to SpaceX I say this is all er… nonsense.

  • New technologies pose risks to the project and to each other and the result is that conservative choices are made and there is very little innovation.

    Especially when there’s a fixed date to accomplish the goal, because new technologies particularly enhance schedule risk. The stated goal of the moon by the end of the coming decade is one of the things that drove NASA to such a moribund approach. Well, that and Apollo cargo cultism…

  • NASA Fan

    If I were Space X or any of the Merchant 7 I would not step one foot on any NASA KSC owned property with my operations; I would not hire anybody that I did not think would embrace and empower the corporate culture I was trying to establish.

    NASA folks work from a different paradigm that does not suit the new space folks.

    I wonder how the astronaut corp is going to respond to design decision by Space X, et al….typically astronauts are all over the requirements/design/ processes with their input. If I”m Space X, I avoid this too.

  • common sense

    On certain topics I do not agree with Rand but:

    “The stated goal of the moon by the end of the coming decade is one of the things that drove NASA to such a moribund approach.”

    Absolutely, especially that NASA, not having the expertise anymore 50 years later, missed the budget to do so. In effect if you have to restart essentially from scratch you need an Apollo budget…

    “Well, that and Apollo cargo cultism…”

    Very simple reason why: They were the only people who knew how to do the job then and now. BUT there expertise if not updated relied on 1950s reasoning. Don’t get me wrong, the Apollo team was exceptional, really. I don’t know we could even comee close to assemble such a team in aerospace. But they worked in a free flowing cash environment and without today’s technologies. Some of their advice should have been taken very, very carefully. Too bad.

  • googaw

    So far, that I know, “they” haven’t taken any money from NASA. COTS/CRS is formulated as pay on service delivery.

    Very far off the mark. They get paid on a “milestone” basis which has reportedly more than covered SpaceX’s costs up to each milestone. Long before they’ve delivered a single kilogram to the ISS NASA is already responsible for the majority of SpaceX’s revenues. With this new NASA direction that proportion will grow much further.

    As for the forced hiring of Florida workers you can watch for yourself at 87:04:

    http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=1fe8aef1-3b71-4380-921f-828311451d7e

    “[The "commercial companies"] have promised a certain number of jobs…I will hold them responsible for that.” Poor Bolden was tagged-team ambushed by Senators LeMieux and Nelson of Florida. Only three Senators even bothered to show up for the hearing and two of them were from Florida.

    Senator Vitter’s attacks against Garver and insinuations that Bolden is a figurehead are at 35:20 and 57:45.

  • common sense

    “Very far off the mark.They get paid on a “milestone” basis which has reportedly more than covered SpaceX’s costs up to each milestone.”

    So? As soon as they deliver a “milestone” as you put it they get paid, not before. As to what cost it is to SpaceX, it is not NASA’s business. NASA is willing to pay for service/milestones and they negotiated the price before hand. This is already done. And they cannot push back, unilaterally that is.

    ““[The "commercial companies"] have promised a certain number of jobs…I will hold them responsible for that.”

    There is huge difference between the companies “promising” to hire and NASA, or anyone else for that matter, actually leaning on them. Do you see the difference? And you only mentionned SpaceX. I did not watch the show so I will rely on you here. Apparently he talked about “companies” with an “s”. Now let’s even assume they did promise something, do we know the worked out “deal”? Do you?

    Again until I see the exodus I say this is just showmanship from the Senators and NASA to appease the fervent huggers. And some hear say from you. Sorry.

  • common sense

    “I would not hire anybody that I did not think would embrace and empower the corporate culture I was trying to establish.”

    Well are you then promoting unemployment for your people?

  • googaw

    As soon as they deliver a “milestone” as you put it they get paid, not before.

    It’s extremely different from what you were claiming, that they only get paid when they deliver and that they haven’t been paid yet. Somebody has fed you a huge line of bull about what COTS is.

    The SpaceX/NASA relationship is very different from a free market relationship, the COTS hype about “commercial space” notwithstanding. The more NASA money comes in the further SpaceX evolves away from being a free market company. COTS is a somewhat better form of government contracting. That is all. It is not a free market.

    As for SpaceX hiring NASA employees, we already have former NASA managers on SpaceX’s executive staff.

  • common sense

    “typically astronauts are all over the requirements/design/ processes with their input. If I”m Space X, I avoid this too.”

    You know, Bowersox is an astronaut, you know? And he’s a SpaceX employee, you know?

  • common sense

    “It’s extremely different from what you were claiming, that they only get paid when they deliver and that they haven’t been paid yet”

    It is not different. A milestone is a delivered good or service or whatever.

    “we already have former NASA managers on SpaceX’s executive staff.”

    Like who? http://spacex.com/company.php Are you making stuff up?

  • googaw

    You just mentioned the former NASA manager yourself, Mr. Bowersox. Sheesh! Most of the other executives come from NASA and DoD contractors.

  • googaw

    You stated SpaceX is a NASA zombie

    No, I stated that they are evolving towards becoming a NASA zombie, just as Orbital Sciences once started out with commercial ambitions and ended up evolving into a DoD/NASA contractor. They still may have time to change direction and prevent that outcome.

    For example if they demurred from participating in the “Commercial Crew” program, sticking to whatever they’re contractually obligated to do under COTS, and focused on their commercial and DoD satellite launch customers, they would save themselves from becoming a NASA zombie. Of course Musk might lose quite a bit of money with that choice. But the choice is there.

    Another possible strategy I described for Musk is to set up a cultural firewall between the Falcon and Dragon groups, much the way that the commercial aircraft and government contract groups in Boeing are very different.

    The reality is that SpaceX is already getting most of its revenues from NASA and that proportion is set to further greatly increase with the dawn of Commercial Crew. The result is inevitably that they will be forced to play politics — to hire workers in Florida if the Senators with the most say in the NASA budget demand that, for example. Indeed at least one of the COTS companies has already changed some of their decisions on where employ their workers to Florida for just that reason, as Bolden described. It’s government contracting, somewhat improved, but still government contracting that still has most of the political faults of government contracting. It’s not a free market, and the term “commercial” is looking more and more like a euphemism the greater the NASA share of SpaceX’s revenue grows and the more political games it has to play to keep those revenues coming.

  • googaw

    A milestone is a delivered good or service or whatever.

    No. You seriously don’t understand. Example milestones are that they raised a certain amount of money or they passed some preliminary technical tests on some of the spacecraft prototypes. This is extremely, tremendously, very very very different from getting paid only when they perform the actual service of delivering goods to the ISS. As I stated, SpaceX is more than covering the costs of development based on these “milestone” payments long, long before they deliver a single kilogram of cargo to the ISS.

    And as we are now seeing, there are increasingly important parts of the deal that don’t appear in any of the language in any of the contracts. It’s called politics. It’s the games you have to play when you’re getting government money, especially when you’re getting government money long before you are actually performing an actual service such as delivering cargo. COTS is better than a cost-plus contract but it’s neither “commercial” nor “off the shelf”. Observe reality instead of swallowing the euphemism.

  • “ATK’s first stage could fly by 2014″

    So what? J-2X engine development is the long-lead item on Ares I. Per GAO, J-2X wouldn’t have been complete until 2017, the second stage sometime after that.

    As I understand it the main reason for going to the J-2X was the earth orbit rendezvous for the moon mission. But, since we aren’t going there why not use the J-2 on the Ares I/Orion? Then we can mov the schedule forward to maybe 2014 or 2015.

  • googaw

    [just going to LEO] why not use the J-2 on the Ares I/Orion?

    Why doesn’t ATK enter this into the COTS competition and stick to the same budget as SpaceX and OSC?

  • Doug Lassiter

    Did you catch Bolden’s comment on the inspirational non-value of Mars?

    Senator Vitter was looking for something inspirational for his seventh grade kids, and mentioned that the budget words “Mars is the focus of our design reference mission” did not have that inspirational value.

    Bolden said in response –

    “I don’t want a seventh grader to think about Mars! I want a seventh grader to get excited when his or her classroom has an opportunity to talk with astronauts on the ISS”.

    Gasp. Jaw drop. We don’t want kids to get excited about Mars as a destination, but instead want them to get excited by people in ISS??? What was he thinking?

    Although I suppose if you want to get kids excited abut Mars as a destination, it would help to have it look like you’re really going there.

  • googaw

    Gasp. Jaw drop. We don’t want kids to get excited about Mars as a destination, but instead want them to get excited by people in ISS??? What was he thinking?

    He was thinking that education should be about reality instead of science fiction.

  • Major Tom

    “But, since we aren’t going there why not use the J-2 on the Ares I/Orion? Then we can mov the schedule forward to maybe 2014 or 2015.”

    The old J-2 doesn’t have enough capability to allow Ares I to get Orion to orbit. Thus the significantly higher thrust level on the J-2X (and subsequent redesign).

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “We don’t want kids to get excited about Mars as a destination, but instead want them to get excited by people in ISS??? What was he thinking?”

    I think Bolden was saying that he doesn’t want educational enrichment for kids to be limited to theoretical thinking about missions that are a couple decades or more out. He wants them to have substantive, direct experiences involving ongoing missions. (I don’t think anyone would argue that this is something NASA could do much better, and it’s probably why there’s $5M in the budget for it.)

    I may be wrong, but I can’t imagine any NASA Administrator meaning what you took away from his comment. I think that’s especially true in Bolden’s case since he was arguing that Mars is _the_ destination for human space exploration earlier in his testimony.

    (Personally, regardless of whether its ISS astronauts or Mars mission designs, I’d argue justifying a space program in the hope that it inspires a few kids to lifelong pursuit of STEM degrees and careers is bad policy. If STEM learning is so critical to economic competitiveness, it’s much cheaper, more direct, and more effective to simply incentivize students and adults into these degrees and careers directly via scholarships and superior pay. But that’s another thread.)

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Ares is back… but now they are calling it “Rocket X”.

    According to Hoot Gibson and his Senate fans, continuing with the funding and projects and schedules of the program formerly known as “Constellation”, and in particular going ahead with the development and testing of “Rocket X”, is supposed to make progress towards a future HLV that we supposedly need. But we can’t call it Constellation or Ares, since we told our creditors that we canceled those frivolous programs. Sounds to me like a sleazy way of letting the same workers work on the same failed programs while pretending otherwise.”

    I wouldn’t worry about it. Despite all the sturm and drang at today’s hearing, the draft Senate FY 2011 authorization bill for NASA endorses the Administration’s basic plan: get more than one commercial crew provider by 2016, extend ISS to 2020, get an HLV underway ASAP, and develop other, actual exploration capabilities.

    Ares I and Orion are reduced to internal 90-day studies to see if there’s any way they can fit in the new plan — Ares I maybe as a test vehicle and Orion maybe as an industry-proposed option — without undermining the commercial approach. There’s actually stronger language in the bill about Shuttle termination than Ares I/Orion termination.

    FWIW…

  • The old J-2 doesn’t have enough capability to allow Ares I to get Orion to orbit. Thus the significantly higher thrust level on the J-2X (and subsequent redesign).

    Actually it mostly likely does. We can use the some of the Orion’s delta v to do orbit insertion since it is only going to the ISS or other LEO objectives. Another option would be to but less fuel on the Orion and achieve the same goal.

  • Bill White

    I wouldn’t worry about it. Despite all the sturm and drang at today’s hearing, the draft Senate FY 2011 authorization bill for NASA endorses the Administration’s basic plan: get more than one commercial crew provider by 2016, extend ISS to 2020, get an HLV underway ASAP, and develop other, actual exploration capabilities.

    get an HLV underway ASAP?

    That, of course, would mean DIRECT.

  • red

    Major Tom: “If STEM learning is so critical to economic competitiveness, it’s much cheaper, more direct, and more effective to simply incentivize students and adults into these degrees and careers directly via scholarships…”

    There is a certain amount of this sort of thing in the budget, too, in the form of “Space Technology Grants”: 2-year (or more) graduate student fellowships for “up to 500″ U.S. citizen graduate students researching space technology. It includes tuition, a stipend, summer travel money, 1 or 2 NASA summer internships, and work with a university and a NASA advisor.

    There are also other potential in-roads for academic collaboration with NASA that have the potential for various types of direct encouragement for STEM students beyond general inspiration.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “He was thinking that education should be about reality instead of science fiction.”

    I pity the next generation if education is about being inspired by people who aren’t going anywhere, rather than real goals. Well, they’re going kind of fast, and they’re going in zero-g. Going Going to Mars is hard, but it isn’t science fiction. Avatar is science fiction. Certain space advocates in their NASA klatch think we should all be inspired by Avatar, which indeed is truly hilarious.

  • Loki

    common sense wrote @ February 24th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I had a feeling someone would point out avcoat for the TPS. It can be argued that it is “old technology”, but the truth is there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress in the area of TPS materials over the last ~30 years or so. Mainly due to the fact that other than the shuttle there simply aren’t that many missions that are required to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Also several X programs that would test new TPS materials have either been canned or delayed for very long times (X-33, X-38, X-37 to name three).

    Anyway, the main thing I was poking at before was that there’s no need to make broad overarching claims implying the whole program is using old tech. NASA’s given plenty of ammo to the “haters” through their own incompetence and bungling without resorting to lies and half truths.

  • googaw

    get an HLV underway ASAP? That, of course, would mean DIRECT.

    No, it means the undead Ares. (Not that DIRECT would be any better).

  • Loki

    Rand Simberg wrote @ February 24th, 2010 at 6:27 pm
    “…It’s current technology being implemented in an antique paradigm.”

    That’s true, the paradigm of big government NASA program is quite antique. I was only talking about the technology though. Interestingly enough the same could be said for my Ford Mustang analogy. Big dumb american muscle car that can only go somewhat fast in a straight line and not much else. Very antique concept (and they wonder why noone wants to buy american cars).

    Actually innovation is something that’s missing in the aerospace industry in general. There really hasn’t been much innovation over the last 2 or so decades at least. That could be blamed partly on the dominance of government programs/ projects, but the commercial aviation industry isn’t blameless either. 10-15 years ago we were told that blended wing-body designs would be all the rage because of their superior aerodynamic performance, yet when Boeing came out with their latest ariliner, the 787, low and behold it looks like … every other airliner currently flying. Real innovative.

    My advice to any kids considering a STEM field: if you want to work on innovative new technology and creative “out of the box” ideas and concepts, avoid the aerospace industry like a plague.

  • That’s true, the paradigm of big government NASA program is quite antique. I was only talking about the technology though.

    I was being even more specific than that. I was referring to the Apollo paradigm: mondo grosso rocket, little capsule and lander, with nothing returning to earth except capsule.

  • common sense

    “You just mentioned the former NASA manager yourself, Mr. Bowersox. Sheesh! Most of the other executives come from NASA and DoD contractors.”

    Absolute total nonsense. Sorry. Bowersox was hired because he is an astronaut not because he’s a manager. No one else has NASA management work history.

  • common sense

    And btw even if Bowersox was hired because he was a NASA manager, is that the extent of the exodus you mentionned? The effeect of Bloden leaning on SpaceX?

  • common sense

    @Loki:

    “the truth is there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress in the area of TPS materials over the last ~30 years or so. ”

    Not in ablative TPS and not in such TPS available for civilian purposes.

  • common sense

    “No, I stated that they are evolving towards becoming a NASA zombie, just as Orbital Sciences once started out with commercial ambitions and ended up evolving into a DoD/NASA contractor. They still may have time to change direction and prevent that outcome.”

    Any documentation that supports this statement? A link? Anything?

    “For example if they demurred from participating in the “Commercial Crew” program, sticking to whatever they’re contractually obligated to do under COTS, and focused on their commercial and DoD satellite launch customers, they would save themselves from becoming a NASA zombie. Of course Musk might lose quite a bit of money with that choice. But the choice is there.”

    How do you know they don’t have commercial contracts for Dragon as a crewed vehicle? I mean outside NASA.

    “Another possible strategy I described for Musk is to set up a cultural firewall between the Falcon and Dragon groups, much the way that the commercial aircraft and government contract groups in Boeing are very different.”

    BTW with CRS theyr are supposed to deliver cargo to the ISS so thy will build the non crewed Dragon no matter what.

    “The reality is that SpaceX is already getting most of its revenues from NASA and that proportion is set to further greatly increase with the dawn of Commercial Crew. ”

    Do you have access to their accounting books?

    “The result is inevitably that they will be forced to play politics”

    Commercially or otherwise you always play politics.

    “— to hire workers in Florida if the Senators with the most say in the NASA budget demand that, for example. ”

    We shall see. So far you just speculating without an ounce of proof.

    “Indeed at least one of the COTS companies has already changed some of their decisions on where employ their workers to Florida for just that reason, as Bolden described. ”

    Which one? SpaceX?

    “It’s government contracting, somewhat improved, but still government contracting that still has most of the political faults of government contracting. It’s not a free market, and the term “commercial” is looking more and more like a euphemism the greater the NASA share of SpaceX’s revenue grows and the more political games it has to play to keep those revenues coming.”

    You’re mixing apples and oranges sorry. SpaceX is a commercial company which contracts to the US Government but not exclusively to the US Government. As far as the way they handle their politics are you saying that Microsoft or Apple or GM or ALCOA don’t play politics with the government? Not all politics need to be reflected in a contract…

  • common sense

    @googaw:

    You may want to read this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Orbital_Transportation_Services

    “NASA would spend $500 million (less than the cost of a single Space Shuttle flight) through 2010 to finance the demonstration of orbital transportation services from commercial providers. Unlike any previous NASA project, the proposed spacecraft are intended to be owned and financed primarily by the companies themselves and will be designed to serve both U.S. government agencies and commercial customers. NASA will contract for missions as its needs become clear.”

    and this:

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/Draggie122408.xml&headline=Space%20Station%20Resupply%20Contracts%20Awarded

    “The contracts take effect Jan. 1, 2009, and will include “production milestones and reviews” linked to payments that Gerstenmaier said will include design reviews, cargo safety reviews, vehicle baseline reviews and cargo integration reviews, as well as payments for cargo actually delivered to the space station.”

    I am not sure who needs to make an effort at understanding the contratcs here.

  • googaw

    How do you know they don’t have commercial contracts for Dragon as a crewed vehicle? I mean outside NASA.

    Because we’d all know if they did, that’s why. It would be all over SpaceX’s web pages and all the buzz in NewSpace if Dragon actually got any private sector customer. Congresscritters were asking Bolden about this at the hearings today: isn’t SpaceX just going to become the ward of NASA? SpaceX’s “commercial off-the-shelf” funding from Congress depends on convincing them and their campaign donors and other constituents that they are in fact commercial, that there is in fact a big market for Dragon besides NASA. If SpaceX had good news on this score we’d all know.

    Don’t get so carried away by language. COTS is supposed to be a play on “commercial off-the-shelf” but it is neither commercial nor off-the-shelf when government is paying for R&D “milestones” rather than the finished product or service. It is just a somewhat improved kind of government contracting, a variation of the traditional fixed-price milestone contract. That’s all. It comes with most of the politics that weigh down government contracting far more than they weigh down free markets. COTS is very, very different from the free market incentives that lead to the private sector efficiencies that NewSpacers are after.

    Heck, Bolden claimed today that the Shuttle itself was “commercial”, indeed that every American manned space flight that has flown has been “commercial” because it was done by contractors. “Private” and “commercial” are starting to become buzzwords synonymous with “government contractor.”

    These are euphemisms, words to soothe the naive. Bureaucrats have a long history of trying to co-opt terms that connote the better reputation of commercial relationships. A few years ago they started trying to call taxpayers “customers”. But that was going too far. :-)

    It’s crucial to study economics and some history. When Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan pushed privatization, they didn’t mean anything like government contracting. They meant auctioning off government operations that investors thought could make an unsubsidized profit in the market (often after being broken up or having massive reorganizations and layoffs) and letting them complete or fail in the marketplace generally with no subsidy. Economists will tell you that markets behave in radically different ways than governments or government contracting. The incentives are very different. If it’s the incentives of markets that you are after, SpaceX is not an exemplar, and they are becoming less so the more money they get from NASA.

    Like I said, we are not quite there yet. SpaceX is a fresh new company and has time to reverse their course towards government contractor zombiehood. But the odds are against it. Uncle Sugar is very sweet, and the new budget is high fructose corn syrup indeed.

    (SpaceDev, I’m afraid, has already been swallowed up by a government contractor, Sierra Nevada Corp., following Mr. Benson’s passing).

  • Spangleway

    get an HLV underway ASAP? That, of course, would mean DIRECT

    No, I hope that means something affordable and sustainable. Nothing based on the shuttle infrastructure can ever be made affordable.

  • googaw

    Spangleway:
    I hope that means something affordable and sustainable. Nothing based on the shuttle infrastructure can ever be made affordable.

    I agree. The good news is that the specs given by the Senate Bill call for a payload which can be satisfied by the Heavy versions of Atlas, Delta, and Falcon.

    common sense:
    are intended to be owned and financed primarily by the companies themselves

    The ownership is good. Like I said, I’m a strong supporter of COTS, although I hate its euphemistic language and the way its supporters confuse it with actual free market relationships and incentives. It is very different from free markets. SpaceX’s ownership is important but it doesn’t make a huge difference as long as NASA is the dominant customer. The “financed” part of the source you quoted is nonsense, since NASA’s milestone payments have more than covered the costs of getting to each milestone.

  • common sense

    @googaw:

    Look. I reacted at you saying that SpaceX was hiring NASA workers under NASA pressure for which you have no evidence save for Bowersox. And even that is tenuous at best.

    As for COTS. I don’t remember saying it was free market BUT as you point out it is a start which is better than any cost-plus. I, and others, would argue that it is okay for the governement to provide incentives to create a market. If there is actual profit to be made then the market will sustain itself otherwise…

    As for the financed part, Musk invested at leats $100M of his own cash into the company. Let me remind you that it is in part what made RPK fail.

    As to the Dragon’s customers you are just speculating here. You don’t know unless you work for SpaceX, do you?

    And I don’t get carried away by language not any more than you do.

    Finally you made this assertion without any substance “Slowly but surely, SpaceX is turning into a NASA zombie. “

  • googaw

    Well, “common sense”, I’m afraid you are falling rather short of your moniker in hotly defending a company most of whose revenue comes from the government as if it was some group of John Galt capitalist heroes. I’m only the messenger, no need to get mad at me. If SpaceX has the great promising market you expect, nothing I can say can hurt a hair on their heads. Nor would their future depend on having a bunch of exuberant fans. Unless of course their future actually lies in getting NASA contracts. In which case having exuberant fans to write their Congressmen or sing their praises on the space politics blogs comes in quite handy.

    I reacted at you saying that SpaceX was hiring NASA workers under NASA pressure for which you have no evidence save for Bowersox

    No, you apparently ignored the evidence save for Bowersox. I also gave the URL specific minute of the video clip, the Senate hearing this week, where a Florida Senator urges Bolden to pressure “the commercial companies”, obviously referring to SpaceX and OSC, to locate operations and hire in Florida, and Bolden replies that he has already do so. In fact one of them was not planning substantial hiring in Florida and Bolden “convinced” them to change their minds. (They didn’t say which one). Actually, both Florida Senators chimed in on this matter. It’s quite clear what is going on. Get your head out of the sand.

    it is okay for the government to provide incentives to create a market.

    COTS does not create a market. Super-COTS does. There needs to be a good proportion of other, preferably private, customers involved for a market to start to form. COTS doesn’t do anything about that, indeed the dominance of the NASA money encourages the company to focus on NASA and ignore the rest of the market. Also, NASA is extremely terrible at guessing what markets will be. So there need to be milestones about getting other customers as well as milestones about investment, instead of the traditional handwaving about hypothetical markets in order to grab NASA contracts based on a mythological “commerce.”

    Finally you made this assertion without any substance “Slowly but surely, SpaceX is turning into a NASA zombie. “

    I’ve provided tons of evidence for this. Try going back and rereading my posts again, you obviously must be just skimming. And you should research the history of Orbital Sciences, how they started out chasing commerce (back in the day, smallsat communications in LEO was the big hype like space tourism more recently). The hypothetical markets fell far short of the grand expectations, and the DoD and NASA contracts that investors were led to believe were just supposed to prime the pumps became their regular gig. There was also tons of similar hype by Spacehab and others back in the 1980s about huge prospective markets that ended up only as NASA contracts. That is where SpaceX and the other NewSpace companies going unless they wake up and the NewSpace community wakes up to see what is going on and head it off.

  • common sense

    “Well, “common sense”, I’m afraid you are falling rather short of your moniker in hotly defending a company most of whose revenue comes from the government”

    Hmm. A little odd as a line of argument. But what the heck!

    “In which case having exuberant fans to write their Congressmen or sing their praises on the space politics blogs comes in quite handy.”

    I did not know we, the exuberant fans, had so much power.

    “No, you apparently ignored the evidence save for Bowersox. ”

    What evidence??? Plese provide names and/or links or something that shows how many NASA employees went to work for SpaceX as you state. Until then I am not sure who has the least common sense.

    “COTS does not create a market. ”

    No on its own it does not. COTS provide cash to help develop an industry. CRS is the current governement market when it comes to NASA.

    ” I also gave the URL specific minute of the video clip, the Senate hearing this week, where a Florida Senator urges Bolden to pressure “the commercial companies”, ”

    So what??? A Florida Senator makes some showmanship! You take it as if it were the truth.

    “dominance of the NASA money encourages the company to focus on NASA and ignore the rest of the market.”

    Please provide proof to your argument. Especially that you were the one actually focusing on SpaceX as if the other companies were not in the same situation loke OSC, ULA, BO, Boeing etc.

    “Also, NASA is extremely terrible at guessing what markets will be. So there need to be milestones about getting other customers as well as milestones about investment, instead of the traditional handwaving about hypothetical markets in order to grab NASA contracts based on a mythological “commerce.””

    Sounds like rethoric or dare I say diatribe.

    “I’ve provided tons of evidence for this.”

    Tons of evidence??? I am not talking about OSC and neither were you. You are/were making statements about SpaceX.

    “That is where SpaceX and the other NewSpace companies going unless they wake up and the NewSpace community wakes up to see what is going on and head it off.”

    Pretty amazing you making this kind of prediction without any substantiation. Maybe you’re right but maybe you’re wrong. You have no evidence for today’s companies.

  • googaw

    I have provided tons of evidence, I’m not going to keep reposting it just because you keep pretending it’s not there. Try learning Google.

  • common sense

    “I have provided tons of evidence, I’m not going to keep reposting it just because you keep pretending it’s not there. Try learning Google.”

    No you did not provide any evidence save for the hearings. At best this is very tenuous and those who know just know, you don’t. You obviously are easy to make an argument based on hear-say. Frankly it is your point of view and that is all that is. You have provided absolutely no evidence to what you claim. Baseless.

  • danwithaplan

    I’d tend to agree with googaw’s arguments. I still see no real private HSF markets developing. Just federal subsidies for “commercial” companies like SpaceX. The “litmus test” would be if companies like SpaceX would still continue and thrive, if Uncle Sam’s guarantees, or even potential for using taxdollars, were suddenly dropped.

  • danwithaplan

    common sense, just as a matter of record, I don’t beleive I’ve seen you provide ANY BACKING to your arguments (i.e. ‘commercial companies’ have non-NASA orders/staff).

  • danwithaplan

    In HSF terms, of course. (ComSats, etc… are another story, and Arianne and Proton mainly spring to mind as commercial) Good luck.

  • common sense

    @danwithaplan:

    ” I don’t beleive I’ve seen you provide ANY BACKING to your arguments (i.e. ‘commercial companies’ have non-NASA orders/staff).”

    You may just read this for example http://spacex.com/launch_manifest.php

    I have dispelled googaw’s arguments. You are just acknowledging an opinion you share with googaw not facts.

  • common sense

    @danwithaplan:

    And please find a former NASA manager here http://spacex.com/company.php

    I am not the one making baseless affirmation. So I have no need to back up any thing.

  • common sense

    And most googaw’s crticism was directed at SpaceX. Please re-read the posts. Not at “commercials”.

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