Congress, NASA

Congressional reaction to NASA’s work assignments

As you might expect, most members of Congress who have expressed varying degrees of opposition to NASA’s new exploration plans were not allayed by NASA’s announcement yesterday assigning the new efforts among the various field centers. An example is Rep. Pete Olson, who posted a statement to his web site reacting to the announcement, noting that NASA administrator Charles Bolden called him to discuss what work the Johnson Space Center, in his district, would get. “I appreciate that assurance but the fact remains that this budget proposal still contains no option for human space flight so what missions will JSC control?” (The International Space Station immediately comes to mind.) He continued: “Opposition to killing Constellation, the program of record, is growing by the day and I will not stop fighting to maintain America’s ability to travel to low earth orbit and beyond without hitching an expensive ride with Russia.”

The new assignments also don’t sit well with members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation, the Huntsville Times reports. “Now that the administration has finally released its planned program assignments, it is clear that this is the end of America’s leadership in space,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, dismissing yesterday’s announcement as “a plan to rearrange NASA bureaucracy”. Added Richard Aderholt (R-AL): “Although Marshall and their innovative staff will be trusted with new program management opportunities, it doesn’t make up for the proposed abandonment of Ares and NASA’s manned space flight program by the president’s administration.”

Others, though, were cautiously supportive of the assignments. “The White House announcement today of some extra work for NASA in Florida is a step in the right direction – but there are miles to go,” tweeted Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). (It should be noted that yesterday’s announcement was a NASA one, not a White House one, and the work assignments were made entirely within the agency, according to Bolden.) Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was quite pleased with how the Glenn Research Center fared in the announcement. “While Constellation will be scaled back, Cleveland gets a whole lot more money, jobs and importance in the whole NASA program,” he said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Also supportive was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), although he wanted to learn more. “Now, we’ve got to get down to the details.”

51 comments to Congressional reaction to NASA’s work assignments

  • Robert G. Oler

    Obama will get his space policy, we can watch the sad ending of the “save our pork” bandwagon and the increasing childishness of the “we dont like Obama” groups.

    Let the band play on. I suggest The Doors

    Robert G. Oler

  • amightywind

    It is difficult to understand what Bolden is trying to accomplish. The proposed program is wildly unpopular and damaging. End of story. Obama needs to get his ‘reset button’ out on this one. Like the government healthcare takeover, America knows a stinker when they see it.

  • amightwind wrote:

    “The proposed program is wildly unpopular and damaging.”

    Really?! Says who?!

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/january_2010/50_favor_cutting_back_on_space_exploration

    A January 2010 Rasmussen Reports poll showed that 50% of Americans want the government to cut back on space exploration, and more (38%) want the private sector to pay for space research than the government (35%).

    It’s only “wildly unpopular” with politicians who want pork in their district and people who think the government owes them a job.

    Several Republicans — including Newt Gingrich, Robert Walker and Dana Rohrabacher — support Obama’s proposal.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    It is difficult to understand what Bolden is trying to accomplish…

    not really Newt G. figured it out.

    Robert G. Oler

  • CharlesTheSpaceGuy

    Perhaps my neighbor Robert has the right idea but I could suggest REO Speedwagon and “Riding The Storm Out”.

    In this case the storm is the obscene Federal deficit, which in yesterday’s Washington Post was outlined by Ben Bernanke. We can argue about the bias of various people but there is no doubt that we have a huge and growing Federal deficit, mainly due to “important” investments in high speed rail, broadband for rural ski resorts, etc. In comparison, space “pork” is vanishingly small. A deficit that sky rocketed (the only thing that is sky rocketing) under President Obama.

    The question we have to ask is: in this budget climate, will technology projects that do not support a specific goal survive the Congressional scrutiny? Is the Administration promising something now that they can blame on the Congress for cutting later?

    So, am I saying “Save Constellation And My Lousy Job!”? No, but when the Administration promises lots of vague programs I wonder why they don’t just define a program that would maintain at least a portion of the capabilities that we have today. Capabilities that might re-appear one of these days if an untried capsule on an untried booster works.

    A truely concerned Administration would have had a plan to do something like: stick a capsule on an Atlas (or Delta) and maintain a capability to access our very expensive Space Station. They would have had a plan that would take the unreliable Russians (who actively encourage anti-American radicals in Russia) out of the critical path for getting our people to ISS.

    People know that I am unimpressed by President Obama but we all ignore the storm clouds only if we listen to the radicals of either side. The next five years are going to be rough.

  • amightywind

    @Smith

    Newt Gingrich also promotes the global warming fraud. Dana Rohrbacher has SpaceX in his district. And your point is? There is unanimous bipartisan opposition to this plan in NASA’s budget committee. What about that do you not understand?

  • Bennett

    “There is unanimous bipartisan opposition to this plan in NASA’s budget committee.”

    Could you substantiate that statement? With a link perhaps?

    Thanks.

  • amightywind

    @Bennett

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704896104575139891578682472.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5

    …among others. There is a thing called Google. Try typing “NASA budget hearing” into it. It ain’t coming up roses for Obama.

  • anne spudis

    [When asked if he thought the proposed new approach would work — whether the vision for space exploration without a timeline or even a rocket would eventually get humans out exploring the solar system — Coats was noncommittal.

    “Maybe this will do it, I don't know,” he said.

    Although there are funds for Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to study heavy lift rockets in the proposed budget, Coats expressed concern about the lack of even a rocket blueprint to blast humans beyond low-Earth orbit. “In my experience it is awfully important to have some hardware flying in space,” he said.]

    JSC leader fears tough transition

  • Bennett

    What I found were articles from February, before support for it had a chance to make its way into the news. Everything that comes up in that thar google thing is old news

    I thought you had something other than the doom and gloom headlines from Texas or Florida. Try google maps, it’s a big country out there.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Actually, Oler, the song that is going through Obama’s head is one by Gil Scott Heron called “Whitey on the Moon.”

    A rat done bit my sister Nell.
    (with Whitey on the moon)
    Her face and arms began to swell.
    (and Whitey’s on the moon)
    I can’t pay no doctor bill.
    (but Whitey’s on the moon)

  • Yeah. Why do we need all of those greedy egg head scientist and engineers in this country anyway wasting good tax payer money:-) Sure they helped to create the satellite industry which has revolutionized telecommunications in the US and in the world. Sure they created spin-off technologies like the plasma arc that will probably help make the US totally independent of fossil fuels. Sure their cost and their percentage of the Federal budget have declined while other government agencies have increased. Sure they placed humans on the Moon, the first step towards the permanent expansion of the human species beyond the Earth! But really what has NASA ever done for us:-)

    Just turn manned spaceflight completely over to the greedy international corporations. They’ve always done what’s in our best interest! They’ve given us the most inefficient and expensive health insurance system on the planet which is crippling US productivity. They’ve made us dependent on fossil fuels that are largely controlled by fascist dictatorships and also require $40 to $80 billion a year in tax payer funds to protect the Persian Gulf. Its also a fuel that threatens to put our coastlines underwater! Oh, well!

    Seriously, the idea that if we just simply turned everything over to the corporations that we’d live in some laissez faire paradise– is just a very very silly notion!

    We need a strong government manned space program to continue the pioneering and the R&D needed to advance our space technology in order to expand human civilization off the planet and to help grow the economy. And we also need to grow the economy with strong private manned space programs to help commercialize and bring innovation to the New Frontier while also employing those who come to settle.

    But this private industry vs government stuff is paralyzing and destroying this country. Those who continue to demonize a great agency like NASA and its employees and its private vendors should really be ashamed of themselves!

    Government purchased, explored, and secured the Louisiana territories so that people and private industry could settle it! And it worked! Government opened up the space frontier for the telecommunications industry. And it worked!

    Stop trying to keep NASA trapped at LEO and lets put a base on the Moon and then on Mars, and I guarantee you that our economy will benefit enormously from these ventures!

  • Bennett

    “Stop trying to keep NASA trapped at LEO and lets put a base on the Moon and then on Mars, and I guarantee you that our economy will benefit enormously from these ventures!”

    Which, as I understand it, is exactly what the FY2011 NASA Budget sets in motion. Constellation was killing NASA’s ability to explore, and any hope for what you are passionate about coming to pass.

    Buying LEO launches from ULA or SpaceX is far better than buying it from the Russians, and 100 times better than spending a billion a year to have a NASA LEO LV.

    Get NASA to work on the things spelled out in the FY2011 budget and we’ll get ‘out there’ a heck of a lot faster, to stay this time, than under the failed VSE.

  • amightywind

    @Bennett

    “Which, as I understand it, is exactly what the FY2011 NASA Budget sets in motion.”

    Except they aren’t specific about how or when, beyond pursing ‘game changing technologies’ – the same arguments Obama made about green collar jobs pulling the US out of recession. When will you all learn? Bolden claims the effort is ‘sustainable’. I think he is finding doing nothing is not sustainable.

  • richardb

    If Obama’s plan was looking so good, why is he heading down to Florida to defend it? It’s not just the usual Congressional hogs that are against this plan. Serious people with street cred oppose it as well. Burt Rutan and Bob Zubrin for example. This plan was a shock to the public and to Congress. It was presented without the involvement of stake holders. As a result, opposition looks to be solidifying if not growing especially as members get to know Bolden who said this : “A very serious and real concern for everyone is the jobs,” Bolden told CNET in an interview on Thursday. “But this is what we call progress, unfortunately. If you look at every area of technology in this country, as you advance there are fewer and fewer manual-type jobs. That’s what happens when you advance technology.”

    That statement is stupid and thoughtless as it dismisses thousands of engineers, computer specialists, manufacturing types, etc as being “manual-type” jobs, like a 7-Eleven clerk.

    Congress is in the throes of change over the next few months as Dems run scared, see Bart Stupak in today’s news. Obama won’t control Congress much longer, and this huge surprise being lead by a shaky Nasa Admin is likely to be completely ignored by Congress this year and next.

  • Bennett

    “specific about how or when”

    In less than a week the President is going to give what has been described as a Space Program Policy Speech. Why don’t we see what he has to say and then debate the specifics?

  • Robert G. Oler

    richardb wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    If Obama’s plan was looking so good, why is he heading down to Florida to defend it? It’s not just the usual Congressional hogs that are against this plan. Serious people with street cred oppose it as well. Burt Rutan and Bob Zubrin for example…

    that is a set of easy questions.

    First Rutan’s opposition is overblown by folks like you. Zubrin? He is an arm waver who thinks we can just take off and go to Mars…it is the usual congress hogs who are against the plan.

    But the one question you posed “why is Obama going to FL” is easy.

    You have to understand the Obama Presidency (and Obama himself). Look I voted (and supported McCain…but) Obama views his Presidency not as a “time line” President but as one who is transitioning America to a “new reality”. We do this ever so often in our country. Today’s America is not the 1960′s America which is not the 1860′s America and so on…America changes and it usually does that under Presidential leadership.

    My guess about FL is that Obama is going to give a speech which sets the “new reality” in human space projects for The Republic.

    You and all the other folks who like the current way or think that it could just take a little modification and be fine…might not like the idea. But he won the election and he gets to give it a try.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    CharlesTheSpaceGuy wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Perhaps my neighbor Robert has the right idea but I could suggest REO Speedwagon and “Riding The Storm Out”.
    ….

    The question we have to ask is: in this budget climate, will technology projects that do not support a specific goal survive the Congressional scrutiny? ..

    I like The Doors, “This is the End” for the same reason that the folks who did Apocalypse Now used it for the opening…it sort of signifies the end of an effort; an effort that had lost all its focus and just was there for being there. (plus some excellent guitar work).

    As I noted in another post, we are at a nation at “the end” of one of the cycles of history in The Republic. What worked once, is the mantra but really no longer works. The people who try and make what once worked continue are people who simply cannot see the change.

    You can almost see this in “Old Mike” Coats and his statements to the media recently just one dimensional thinking…”we have to do it the old way”. (my quote but they represent his words)

    I think Congress will easily continue funding for R&D projects that are targeted, specifically defendable as to what they make possible in stark contrast to projects that year after year need more funding, push back further toward a goal that no one cares about.

    One other thing. Obama is on the brink of actually defining a mission for ISS…that as a technology center. I agree with Bill White (I think these are Bill’s sentiments) that no serious commercial activity is going to take place on ISS.

    But as a technological research center (at least on the US Side) I think that the effort is quite doable.

    Constellation is like Vietnam. Every one on the far right predicted “the end” of the US if we left Vietnam. They were going to be on the beaches of California next. Turns out the only mistake in Vietnam, was not leaving in 68 or simply going.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Actually, Oler, the song that is going through Obama’s head ..

    I dont know what song goes through Obama’s head. I presume it is Hail to the Chief (catchy tune, usually nice band playing it, everyone stands while you walk…)

    the lyrics are catchy…must blow your buns

    ” Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
    Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
    Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
    In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

    Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
    This you will do, that’s our strong, firm belief.
    Hail to the one we selected as commander,
    Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief! ”

    but at least you and the like have those zingers on Fox News given by teleprompter reading bleached blondes in tight suits, short skirts and high heels.

    Robert G. Oler

  • SpaceMan

    Why don’t we see what he has to say and then debate the specifics?

    Ahhh, a voice of sanity amidst all the ignorant noise & stinky winds.

    Thanks !

  • Robert G. Oler

    richardb wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Congress is in the throes of change over the next few months as Dems run scared, see Bart Stupak in today’s news…

    yeah I can just see the GOP running on “Spend billions to send NASA astronauts back to the Moon”

    Of course if “Newt” became President then you could dislike his space policy as well.

    Remember “This is the End”

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Marcel F. Williams wrote

    “Government purchased, explored, and secured the Louisiana territories so that people and private industry could settle it!”

    Not the best example to use on our way foreward into the stars.

    Those territories had already BEEN settled for 10,000 – 20,000 years. Those lands already had people on them. It would be same thing if I sold france to china and said go and settle it. All it would take is for me to say the indigenous people do not have a claim to it and me, having the divine rights of Kingship, can claim it and sell it.

    What we need going foreward is a internationally defined property rights regime. Why spend my money on going to the moon if I can own any resources when I get there?

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/09/lost-space-nasa-constellation-soyuz/

    and now for the hyperventalation from Fox News

    I like this line

    “Former rocket scientist Shannah B. Godfrey is equally outspoken in her criticism and concerns, noting the need for constant training and condition to remain prepared for a crisis in space.

    “Remember a few years ago when china ‘accidentally’ hit a satellite in space?” she asked, adding that “they were subtly sending us a message that they could cripple us instantly by taking out our satellites.”

    Watch NASA Shuttle Discovery’s mission, from lift-off to the space station and back.

    With NASA confirming the end of its Constellation program, the space agency will rely on others for travel. Here are the leading companies and their current generation space taxi systems.

    ” Think of the intelligence data that would be lost: GPS capabilities, cell phones, many other communications, etc. We may need to send people up in a hurry to replace, repair, and man satellites and other stations, too. I can’t fathom why we would put ourselves in such a vulnerable position.”

    perhaps she is auditioning for the role of Sarah Palin’s space advisor

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Robert, the link you posted about the fox article had this:

    “”The U.S. has surrendered its advantage in space, conceding the high ground to others who are probably our enemies,” said Jane Orient, a science policy expert and professor at the University of Arizona. “We are apparently leaving seven astronauts in space as hostages. Their loss would be a tragedy, but only a small part of the total disaster. It would symbolize the lack of respect that America has for its pioneers.””

    Do a search for jane, she is a medical doctor and very outspoken again the healthcare reform bill just passed. I couldn’t find anything in her bio about space. Unless there is a another one with her name in AZ.

  • Bennett

    ““We are apparently leaving seven astronauts in space as hostages. Their loss would be a tragedy, but only a small part of the total disaster.”

    WTF?

    Can I have my life back? Because apparently I have died and been sent to hell, which I didn’t believe in, but nonetheless exists and is staffed by members of that Tea Party.

  • brobof

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 1:52 pm
    “I can’t pay no doctor bill.”
    Hear Hear!
    The sooner you get a properly socialised “Single Payer” National Health Service the better. Without the social inequalities your tired, your poor, your huddled masses will be able to yearn for the stars like your rich entrepreneurs like Branson and Musk!

    At this juncture one is reminded of the other July 15, 1969; covered by the BBC at the time I may add!
    “We are not astronauts, but we are people.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Abernathy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_People%27s_Campaign

    Only this time it’s two intractable wars…

    If I were General Bolden or President Obama my thoughts would echo those of Thomas O. Paine:
    “if we could solve the problems of poverty by not pushing the button to launch men to the moon tomorrow, then we would not push that button.”

    There is no Cold War any more. But there still is Poverty…

  • SpaceMan

    “We are apparently leaving seven astronauts in space as hostages. Their loss would be a tragedy, but only a small part of the total disaster.”

    Don’t ya just love all those six year old minds in adult bodies ?

    “This is the End”

    Indeed

  • brobof

    On a lighter note: “The Obama administration’s decision to end the space shuttle program is causing great concern among politicians on both side of the aisle as well. ”
    Fox News courtesy of link provided by Robert G. Oler April 9th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    @Bennett This is not Hell, its a parallel Universe. You enter it by using Tea Bags instead of the Classic Teapot and strainer.

    More seriously can the WH demand a retraction and apology or does freedom of speech include falsehoods? Curious minds want to know!

  • Vladislaw wrote:

    Do a search for jane, she is a medical doctor and very outspoken again the healthcare reform bill just passed. I couldn’t find anything in her bio about space. Unless there is a another one with her name in AZ.”

    Here’s her web site:

    http://www.janeorient.com/

    Apparently she has extreme right-wing views and also writes science fiction novels — which would fit in neatly with her nutty comment about abandoning astronauts in space.

  • anne spudis

    Not only does she give her opinion (by name), she’s lead a productive life. Jane M. Orient obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, Sutton’s Law (a novel about where the money is in medicine today), and the second through fourth editions of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis. She coauthored two novels published as e-books, Neomorts and Moonshine, and books for schoolchildren, Professor Klugimkopf’s Old-Fashioned English Grammar and Professor Klugimkopf’s Spellling Method, published by Robinson Books. More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

  • If President Obama has his way, the United States will end its manned space program, basically. We’ll be trapped doing circles in LEO for the next twenty years! Without any precise goals, there will be NO advances in space technology. CHARLES BOLDEN IS HIGH ON ILLUSION, with his belief that “game changing new technologies” are just going to magically spring out of laboratories, if we kill a major project, and instead pour billions of federal budget dollars on just research & development. The current NASA administrator fails completely, when it comes to seeing each and every engineering challenge to interplanetary travel. He seems to think that if NASA just points a spacecraft Mars-ward, that all the pieces are just going to fall into place flawlessly, without the need for intermediate goals. “FLEXIBLE PATH” IS NOT A PLAN, in any engineering sense. It was hatched & conceived by the Mars zealots, as a scheme to prevent NASA from ever getting back to the Moon. This was based on their gross prejudices about it being a merit-less destination. They had such a fanaticism against sending astronauts back there, that they were willing to strand NASA in LEO for another twenty years, just so nothing would distract the agency from doing their agenda or else. It is all truly pathetic. It is dejecting to see an audacious, daring, and totally do-able space project killed, just because of some petty fight over which destination to do first—or not at all. Since it so bluntly disincludes the Moon, “Flexible Path” is NOT flexible at all!!!

  • Bennett

    Chris Castro wrote “Since it so bluntly disincludes the Moon, “Flexible Path” is NOT flexible at all!!!”

    Perhaps you (and everyone else) should read this MIT white paper.

    In no way does the Flexible Path “disinclude” the Moon.

  • brobof

    @Bennett wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 7:00 pm
    Ta Nice find! Starts reading…

  • Dana Rohrbacher has SpaceX in his district.

    Why do people continue to repeat this ignorant nonsense? SpaceX is not in Rohrabacher’s district, and never has been.

  • Enon

    The MIT White Paper by Drs Crawley and Mindell is really very good. Sme parts are arguable but at least they’ve put it in black and white for people to read and discuss.

    I would be happier, however, if such thoughts would be coming from the people ‘leading’ our space program. Supposedly they work within NASA. What I continue to see, though, is a lack of cognition, or thought or planning or strategy coming from the NASA leadership.

    Perhaps it is because it had been so long since anyone within NASA has led, they’ve forgotten how ? The last leadership we saw was misguided, and that was the unachievable, unaffordable Griffin steroid plan. No one within NASA seemed to review or react to it, either. It seemed to be the wild musings of a lone prophet who appeared to be unable to get the thousands of people he was employing to think through the plan in a thorough enough manner to be able to count on even the initial stages of implementation.

    The current crop of NASA managers seems to have no thoughts on the future.

    In the 60s, von Braun, Houbolt, Gilruth, Faget and others in the top echelons were arguing implementation methods, even in front of the President.

    Now it appears no one knows enough or else is willing to argue on behalf of anything. During Constellation we saw a bunch marching down the road to Abilene. No one was willing to speak up to question them or to redirect them to anything achievable. Things do not seem to have changed.

    I’m glad Dr. Crawley and Dr. Mindell are thinking.

  • The map of Rohrabacher’s district:

    http://rohrabacher.house.gov/District/interactivemap.htm

    SpaceX is in Hawthorne. It’s clear from the map that SpaceX is not in Rohrabacher’s district.

    If people have to lie to make their arguments, it’s because they have no facts to back them up.

  • Bennett

    Enon wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    If the path outlined in the MIT paper (my thanks to Jeff Foust) isn’t inspiring enough to put a few cracks in the malaise, nothing will. I’d guess that the first copy of this went directly to DC, and will figure into the meeting on the 15th. And I’d bet it already made the rounds at NASA offices. I hope people are getting excited. I am.

    Like I said in another thread, our president knows what he’s doing.

  • Rhyolite

    Bennett,

    Thank you for the link to the MIT paper. It’s excellent. Hopefully it will be widely read in NASA and the administration.

    Course 16 alumni should be proud.

  • NASA/Obama LEO plan has massive opposition-well duh.

    The minute you scramble NASA for a not too cohesive plan for the agency you’re gonna get opposition – well yea! Oh, whata epiphany! Better read the fine print on Obama NASA plan when the administaration goes glad handing promises. A redux of the healthcare bill passage is it NASA’s turn now?

  • Robert G. Oler

    anne spudis wrote @ April 9th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Not only does she give her opinion (by name), she’s lead a productive life. Jane M. Orient obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974..

    yes…all of which makes her basically ignorant comments even less puzzling.

    There are frequently people who in hot political debates say “goofy things”…for instance there were people after the NOLA flooding who were running around babbling “Bush rigged it so the poorest districts flooded first” which of course ignores the realities of NOLA which is that the poorest places are generally the lowest places and well thats how flooding works.

    I expect goofy statements by the uninformed and uneducated who are just being pushed by white hot rhetoric and feel the need to add their words to it.

    When someone who has education, who has the ability to do basic research (and should be expected to know how to do it) does and says goofy things like that article reports….and they are picked up by something that claims to be a real news source.

    Then it simply has to be an attempt to mislead people.

    The right wing has grown good at that. Bush of course used it all throughout his presidency in terms of foreign affairs, but even in the health care debate people like Sarah Palin who should have known better were using the scare term “death panels” when she knew or should have known that they did not exist in the bill. She eventually is pressed to admit that but then scoffs it off as a metaphor for “what could happen”.

    This is happening here. MArk Whittington is no Sarah Palin in terms of PR and all but he is a fairly smart person and is enlightened in terms of the realities of spaceflight…and from his blog this is how he puffs it off

    “While the idea of Russia holding American astronauts hostage on ISS is an extreme scenario, the problems inherent in depending on Russia as the sole source of space transportation until the commercial ships are ready are very real and ought not to be laughed off as crazy.”

    this is typical Palin or Bush the last.

    What people who are interested in rational debate should do is simply say that articles like this are WRONG. Whittington should know better…no matter if the shuttle flies on or doesnt we still depend on the Russians for the Soyuz as the CRV nothing changes that. AS for holding astronauts hostage?

    That is not an “extreme situation” it is a goofy one. (like Saddam and his balsa airplanes)

    But the right wing has learned to be careless with facts and to see those who are already bent into one lean…accept statements which are ludicrous on their own… without even bothering to check reality or do their own research simply because they sound like what should be true.

    There can be no rational debate with those people. The only thing to do, particularly after the experience of the Iraq lies…is to simply call them out as exaggerators or liars and point them and the folks who believe them out as people determined to mislead the American people.

    Robert G. Oler

  • “hitching an expensive ride with Russia.”

    Hehe, Russia is cheaper than anything NASA has ever flown and likely cheaper than any of the commercial crew providers will be offering (except maybe SpaceX, eventually).

    I love politicians, you can never tell if they’re ignorant or just bold face lying.

  • @ Bennett

    “Which, as I understand it, is exactly what the FY2011 NASA Budget sets in motion. Constellation was killing NASA’s ability to explore, and any hope for what you are passionate about coming to pass.”

    I guess you didn’t read the budget. It reduces manned spaceflight related expenditures from $8.4 billion a year down to only $4.1 billion a year by the year 2015. And there is absolutely no commitment to place a permanent base on the Moon in that budget.

    There are many faster and cheaper back to the Moon architectures than the Ares I/V. Many!

  • @ amightywind

    I can’t figure out why doing R&D on a hydrocarbon heavy lift vehicle would be considered a ‘green collar’ job since using fossil fuels to get into space would increase global warming– not decrease it.

    The space shuttle and the Delta 4 heavy are both ‘green’ space rocket ships that can use clean hydrogen and oxygen for carbon neutral fuel– if derived from the nuclear or hydroelectric electrolysis of water.

  • Marcel F. Williams wrote

    “Government purchased, explored, and secured the Louisiana territories so that people and private industry could settle it!”

    “Not the best example to use on our way foreward into the stars.

    Those territories had already BEEN settled for 10,000 – 20,000 years. Those lands already had people on them. It would be same thing if I sold france to china and said go and settle it. All it would take is for me to say the indigenous people do not have a claim to it and me, having the divine rights of Kingship, can claim it and sell it.

    What we need going foreward is a internationally defined property rights regime. Why spend my money on going to the moon if I can own any resources when I get there?”

    If we get there then we’ll own it. Whose going to stop us? Nepal?

    No nation should own the Moon or Mars or the planets. But nations should be able to lease limited amounts of territory for a specific period of time, IMO.

    For instance, an international law that said that a nation could lease control of 25 square kilometers of land (at $1 million per square kilometer per year) on the Moon or Mars in a particular area for 50 years with an option to renew the lease for another 50 years at twice the cost wouldn’t be too unreasonable. Individual governments could then lease portions of the territory that they control to private industry.

    However, I probably wouldn’t allow a single nation to lease any other property on a planetary surface within 100 kilometers of property that they already leased. And I wouldn’t allow another nation to lease property within three kilometers of another nation’s leased property. This would allow many nations to exploit the resources of a particular area without boxing in any nation’s particular territory.

    I’d also limit the amount of territory that can be leased on a moon or planet to less than 0.1% of the total surface area. For the Moon, that would only allow nations to lease up to 30,000 square kilometers of land. On Mars, that would be 144,000 square kilometers of land. I also wouldn’t allow any individual nation to lease more than 1000 square kilometers of territory on a Moon or planet.

  • googaw

    If we get there then we’ll own it.

    Who is “we”?

  • brobof

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Two problems:
    a/ Some areas of the Moon are more valuable than the others. Notably the near permanently illuminated peaks and water filled permanently shadowed troughs (craters). Should there be a premium or is it first come first served?
    b/ Who gets the leasing fees?

    Under the OST the scenario is not possible. OK Treaties can be broken but usually at cost.

    For further reading I recommend
    http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/oosa/COPUOS/Legal/2009/symposium.html
    United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs
    Legal Subcommittee: 2009
    Forty-eighth session
    (23 March-3 April 2009)
    The first two papers Tuerk and Gilbert are excellent.

  • Vladislaw

    “If we get there then we’ll own it. Whose going to stop us? Nepal? ”

    So you theory in how to proceed to the stars is, the same strategy America followed in the past? Make a treaty with people that will last “as long as the sky is blue and the grass is green” only until such time as we illegally find out there is resources on their land, then show them America’s word isn’t worth the paper it is printed on, break the treaty, goto war with them and take the resources and claim them as ours?

    Now that is a winning strategy for America and truely shows “American exceptionalism” as hannity on fox noise is always promoting.

    Show the entire planet that when you sign onto a treaty with America, it is never a question that we will break our word, it is only a question of when.

  • amightywind

    Marcel F. Williams wrote

    “The space shuttle and the Delta 4 heavy are both ‘green’ space rocket ships that can use clean hydrogen and oxygen for carbon neutral fuel– if derived from the nuclear or hydroelectric electrolysis of water.”

    Shuttle green? Not that I care particularly, but the shuttle SRB’s emit over 1000 tons of aluminum salts and other combustion products that horrify tree huggers. Makes a pretty contrail at sunset though. NASA’s liquid hydrogen supply is derived from natural gas in good old fashioned Gulf Coast refineries.

  • Sean

    I quote from Oler:

    “But the right wing has learned to be careless with facts and to see those who are already bent into one lean…accept statements which are ludicrous on their own… without even bothering to check reality or do their own research simply because they sound like what should be true.

    There can be no rational debate with those people. The only thing to do, particularly after the experience of the Iraq lies…is to simply call them out as exaggerators or liars and point them and the folks who believe them out as people determined to mislead the American people.”

    HUH! How did we get back to “Iraq Lies”?!?!?!?!?

    Obama supporters: You spent 8 years ripping anything from Bush, now you expect blind devotion to Obama. You spent 8 years saying to anybody who would listen that “Bush Lied, People Died” to the point that now you appear to actually believe your own propaganda. You now justify cheating (even up to Senate races – Franken) because “they” cheated. You justify underhanded tricks (parliamentary tricks to take over 1/6 of the economy) because “they” did it first. Where is your self-reflection?

  • Patrick

    Roughly half the US population is a bunch of ignorant rednecks with whom rational debate is impossible. Uh, okay.

    I guess a website called “spacepolitics” is as good a place as any for such boorish bigotry.

    Anyways…

    I happen to think the new policy is the best thing that ever happened to HSF–if that policy survives. Ironic that it was proposed by this administration.

  • On April 9th, “Bennet” wrote back to me, claiming that Flexible Path doesn’t exclude the Moon. Well take a good dose of reality: Flexible Path NEVER intended to funnel through new Lunar flights. It was a ruse, a smokescreen. It was an underhanded (at the time the MIT Paper came out, anyway) attempt to trivialize Lunar exploration, and put it as a tiny “maybe we’ll still do that” option, compared to what they really wanted done: The complete ignoring of the Moon as a destination. These Anti-Moon people, of the Augustine Commission, had the right-from-the-start agenda of derailing future Lunar flights. The Report that they finally gave the President did everything to ensure that the ignorant & gullible Mr. Obama would side with them in denigrating & belittling any future Lunar endeavors. All this, so that they could take NASA on a Guiness Book of World Records jaunt to an asteroid—(some two or three months travel time from Earth,by the way.). Mr. Obama is poised to turn space exploration into some huge publicity stunt circus! Going farther into space is NOT necessarily better!!! Sometimes…many times, in fact….it is the destination which actually counts. And THE MOON IS A PLENTY WORTHWHILE DESTINATION to do new sortie & base missions!! Again I tell you: LOW EARTH ORBIT: HAVEN’T WE BEEN THERE ALREADY?!?!

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