NASA, White House

Obama’s visit, his speech, and growing support

With few officials details released yet about next Thursday’s space conference at KSC, the space community is seizing upon any bit of information about the event. That was the case yesterday when Florida Today reported that, according to the White House, President Obama will spend only two hours at KSC on the 15th, arriving at 1:45 pm EDT, giving a speech at 3 pm, and leaving at 3:45 pm. While it was clear for some time that he wouldn’t be spending the full day there (since he’s also attending fundraisers in Miami that day) many were clearly disappointed that he would not stay longer. Left unanswered, though, is the question of just how long Obama needs to be there: is two hours sufficient for giving his speech, having private meetings with various officials, and whatever else he needs to drum up support for this plan? It doesn’t leave that much time for sightseeing, to be certain.

What Obama will say in his speech is also still a mystery: will it be a defense of the current plan, or will he announce small- or large-scale tweaks to it? (Major changes seem less likely, as they would likely undo the work assignments NASA announced Thursday.) Speaking at the Space Access ’10 conference in Phoenix Thursday night, NASA’s Alan Ladwig offered a hint of one minor thing Obama might mention in his speech: a reference to the impending 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. “Hopefully next week, when the president speaks down in Florida, if we’re able to work this out, he’s going to reveal the most recent photos from Hubble as part of the 20th anniversary,” Ladwig said.

Elsewhere, in an interview with Popular Mechanics, NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver said that despite a slow start, people are beginning to better appreciate the benefits of the agency’s new direction. “While the budget rollout might have been better planned and managed, we recognized the cancellation of Constellation was not going to be initially popular with those who had committed to the program,” she said. “There is a growing segment of the space community that understands what this budget proposal makes possible and strongly supports this program shift.” The challenge for the president next Thursday is to further broaden support in a region—Florida’s Space Coast—where concerns about job losses and their economic impact have generated vocal opposition among many to this new plan.

126 comments to Obama’s visit, his speech, and growing support

  • Collin R. Skocik

    Well, I am not behind his plan. I still feel as betrayed and enraged as I did the day his budget was announced. It has nothing to do with my job; I don’t work for NASA or Constellation. It entirely has to do with our future being taken away. Once again, short-sightedness and small-term concerns prevail. The American pioneer spirit is dead. We’re a bunch of drones who go about our mundane daily lives, complaining about how miserable we are, and yet unwilling to take action to build a greater future. A world without manned space flight is not going to be worth living in.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    The Popular Mechanics piece was a series of softball questions answered with spin and falsehoods. I’m not sure where this “growing support” is coming from. Perhaps the administration hopes to sell Obamaspace much in the same way it sold Obamacare, by spreading pork to enough districts and states to tamp down the opposition.

  • brobof

    Collin R. Skocik wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 10:44 am
    Take heart. With the new plan we assured of a constant human (American) presence in space until 2020! And possibly longer. With the old plan the ISS was to be ended in 2016 and the Ares-I unlikely to launch before 2017 with nowhere to go.
    However there are plenty of space advocacy groups. So be pro-active, join one. Get informed and get involved!

  • Colin,

    how does extending ISS, *using* ISS, and enabling multiple commercial spacecraft to carry astronauts on proven Atlas V boosters to ISS constitute “a world without manned spaceflight”?

    how does investing in focused technology flight demonstrations that will radically improve humanity’s abilty to explore, develop, and settle the solar system constiute “short-sightedness”, whereas the Program of Record’s reuse of 1960s technology and elimination of all exploration technology is somehow more visionary?

    I realize you really believed in Constellation. I realize you wanted it to be true.

    I’m sorry they lied to you, and to all of us, as well as to themselves.
    But they were wrong. Constellation was not affordable and sustainable. In no real world was NASA going to get $5 B more per year. You can wish it were so, but even if NASA could get that money, Constellation would be a LOUSY way to spend it.

    – Jim

  • Bob Mahoney

    Actually, nothing is “assured” with the new plan. Federal budgets come out every year and US ISS participation can almost just as easily be curtailed back to terminate in 2014 as extended out to 2020. And as flawed as the Constellation architecture is/was (don’t ask me to defend it lock, stock, and barrel…I won’t), it most certainly had a place to go, namely the lunar surface and, ultimately through that, beyond. The current plan, as I described in my essay last week, goes everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It might be the road to big things…and it might not. It all depends…

  • Ferris Valyn

    Bob

    Nothing was assured with the old plan. Sudan could announce tomorrow that they have a plan to go to the moon, based on ESAS. So what? Doesn’t mean its going to happen.

    As for your essay last week – while the individual metrics it had weren’t too bad, it ignored 3 key components that should’ve been included in your metrics.

    It was also rather deficient because far too much of it consisted of “we can’t trust the Democrats with space”, or “we can’t trust Obama with space”

  • Robert G. Oler

    From the PM article

    “It is unfortunate that Tom Rogers is not here today to let us know whether he sees this as a “curvature in the wake.” I would hope that he would recognize this time as a renaissance of innovation and discovery when space activities evolve well beyond just NASA and a handful of astronauts. In the future, we will help make it possible for scientists and students to travel to space with their experiments”

    this to me was the best answer that L. Garver gave.

    What I have never understood about the supporters of the POR is why they support the plan.

    Some of them live in a fantasy world (“the Chinese are going to take over the Moon”) some live in a “save my job” mode (and that includes the politicians) but for the rest..I realize that there is a lot of anti Obama here but in the end the POR was stale.

    One knew exactly what at best if it got a lot of money and took a lot of time was going to do…send NASA astronauts back to the Moon in sort of a redo of Apollo…there was nothing else it could do. To use the Trek analogy there were no worlds of “Unexplored possibilities”…

    I agree that the new program could flounder; but if it did at worst we would be use to that…every other program that NASA has done has floundered even the ones that flew, from the hopes and dreams of those who claim to want a space faring civilization. Most spent billions and never flew.

    Fifty years after 1903 was the 707. Fifty years after John Glenn…we have six folks in space blowing soap bubbles (at least in terms of the cost to keep them there) and given enough time and money Constellation would have gotten them back to the Moon to blow soap bubbles.

    Why do people not believe in free enterprise? It has worked everywhere else.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    The Popular Mechanics piece was a series of softball questions answered with spin and falsehoods…

    considering that you refused on your web site to rebuke a Fox News piece that talked about Americans being held hostage on the space station…

    you calling an interview softball is like Donald Duck Rumsfeld saying he didnt lie about Iraq.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Simberg has a good piece in PM. It is biased…clearly one can read that Simberg supports the policy…but I thought that it asked some reasonable politics questions and Garver gave some interesting answers.

    nice job Rand.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Thank you, Robert. I have a response at my blog to those who complain about the softballs.

  • Its pretty obvious that the Obama administration doesn’t care much about our manned space program and its tiny budget.

    Let’s hope the Congress doesn’t feel the same and asks NASA to present the American people with an alternate architecture that can replace the shuttle and get us back to the Moon faster and cheaper– which is really not all that difficult to do.

  • googaw

    It entirely has to do with our future being taken away.

    You can still have your economic fantasies of the future. Just use your remote control to switch from the NASA Channel to the Sci-Fi Channel. I’m sorry that you prefer the NASA Channel’s economic fantasies to those of the Sci-Fi Channel, so that this will be inconvenient for you, but it will save taxpayers tens of billions. And it will save our children from having to pay back more of the money we would have borrowed to pay for Constellation to the Chinese, so that they can actually have a real future.

  • googaw

    A world without manned space flight is not going to be worth living in.

    That’s the way the followers of Jim Jones’ communist cult felt too. I guess nobody ever led a worthwhile life on planet earth until Yuri’s stunt.

  • sc220

    A world without manned space flight is not going to be worth living in.

    It’s very sad that some individuals would feel this way. There is so much more that life has to offer than just human space flight. Fortunately, most people don’t feel this way, and have found other technical challenges to pursue.

    As googaw points out, human space flight has become a cult, a sad insular cult that insists on viewing the world and future only one way.

  • Alex

    Why do so many desire massive White House involvement in our nation’s space program? We tried that once before under Bush I and look how that worked out? Plus, we already have too much Congressional involvement in the space program, as is. Get the politicians out of the space .

  • Vladislaw

    “A world without manned space flight is not going to be worth living in.”

    Thank Enki that the Russian and Chinese are still launching then and you won’t have to commit suicide.

  • common sense

    @ sc220 wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    “As googaw points out, human space flight has become a cult, a sad insular cult that insists on viewing the world and future only one way.”

    You’re much better than that. googaw only is trying to defend his investments in some tech companies, it has nothing to do with HSF or not. Read our exchange in one of the threads below and you will see.

    You cannot just put all HSF workers/supporters in the same delusional group as those vociferous groupies of Constellation and/or Shuttle. If you do you are not any better than they.

  • googaw

    googaw only is trying to defend his investments in some tech companies

    Previously “common sense” was declaring that I was a disgruntled laid-off robot engineer. Now I’m a greedy capitalist. Lots of flailing around, trying to construct a theory of villainy for the heretic.

  • common sense

    googaw wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    “Previously “common sense” was declaring that I was a disgruntled laid-off robot engineer. Now I’m a greedy capitalist. Lots of flailing around, trying to construct a theory of villainy for the heretic.”

    This probably is going to be my last post to you since you are actually lying now.

    BUT: I did somehow ask if you were a disgruntled laid-off robot engineer or a failed astronaut applicant, but I did not claim anything. Or please show where I claimed such!

    As for the greedy capitalist, I do not remember where I said you were greedy please show. You are actually really trolling around now.

    So, here is your post (emphasis mine) in http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/04/07/lobbying-and-rallying-and-opting-out-in-florida/#comments and how you lose all credibility

    googaw wrote @ April 8th, 2010 at 3:57 pm
    Actually “common sense”, I am quite “in” with real space development. As I have mentioned previously, I have several investments with real space commerce companies. Contrary to your fantasy that I am not some disgruntled laid-off robot engineer, I rather invest in space machines and more importantly in the wonderful humans who make and use them. I am very closely in touch with space commerce economics, far more closely than dilettante space activists or people who spend their time trolling for NASA HSF contracts.

  • Joh Hansen

    Growing support for the Obama disgrace? NO ONE who initially saw through the “flexible/Mars” plan to ascertain it as a smokescreen for totally shutting down any ambitious NASA hsf for 15 years has changed their minds. When we had the clearly stated, twice resoundingly apporved, far more doable goal of returning Americans to the moon around 2020, to rip that out for a mish mash of research and vulnerable, far more costly, far more complex talk of Mars is apalling.

    What the mars/flexible proposal means is a SHUT DOWN of ambitious NASA hsf for 10 to 20 years. Since commercial space interests will be rising, it will probably mean a permanent shut down. It gives the moon to ticketed billionaires. And it gives the moon to, as Rutan stated, competing space powers. Notabley China, who has 3 major missions to the moon coming up.

    Let’s tell Obama (and his likely cronie on Thursday, Senator Bill Nelson, who has said NOTHING about destroting the hard fought but twice resoundingly approved moon-by-2020 legislation) to STOP SLAUGHTERING our space program with this inexplicable, vulnerable decoy of “flexible/Mars” plans.

  • NO ONE who initially saw through the “flexible/Mars” plan to ascertain it as a smokescreen for totally shutting down any ambitious NASA hsf for 15 years has changed their minds.

    NO ONE can be reasoned out of a position they haven’t been reasoned into.

    When we had the clearly stated, twice resoundingly apporved, far more doable goal of returning Americans to the moon around 2020

    That wasn’t a doable goal with Constellation for the budget available. It wasn’t likely to happen before 2035.

  • Vladislaw

    “And it gives the moon to, as Rutan stated, competing space powers. Notabley China, who has 3 major missions to the moon coming up.”

    So we are ‘giving’ the moon to China? Gosh, I didn’t know America owned it… so all nine BILLION acres? And it is only going to take them three unmanned probes to do it?

  • googaw

    And now for telling the truth I am a “liar” on top of all the other imaginary degradations and villainies that “common sense” has concocted out of thin air. Tell you what, “common sense”, if you are so hot and bothered that I invest my money in real commerce instead of the HSF cult, or about my positive opinion of the former and negative of the latter which I consistently express on this forum, I have an “investment” to recommend to you: please buy yourself a one-way ticket to North Korea where you won’t have to be bothered by the opinions of greedy capitalists.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Joh Hansen wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Growing support for the Obama disgrace? NO ONE who initially saw through the “flexible/Mars” plan to ascertain it as a smokescreen for totally shutting down any ambitious NASA hsf for 15 years has changed their minds. When we had the clearly stated, twice resoundingly apporved, far more doable goal of returning Americans to the moon around 2020, to rip that out for a mish mash of research and vulnerable, far more costly, far more complex talk of Mars is apalling…

    the problem is that Constellation was barely going to get into orbit by 2020…the Moon…not so much.

    learn some facts…then comment

    Robert G. Oler

  • Joh Hansen

    By the way, I have seen commenters on the Space Politics site who definitely, based on their words and styles, echo PAID writers from new space interests, actively going around the internet to spin things, and jumping on theose who might not be as professional as themselves! I don’t know. But anyway, I was faulted the other day for not giving a link supporting the fact that China IS going to the moon.

    Here is the link to China’s beautiful lunar exploration flash, leading to their logo, which features HUMAN FOOTPRINTS on the moon: http://www.clep.org.cn

    Here’s another page of it with google translation which also has a picture of the Orion capsule! http://translate.google.com/translate?js=www.clep.org.cn%2Findex.asp%3Fmodelname%3Dindex&sl=zh-CN&tl=en

    Some have had the audacity to say there is NO China factor. It’s a fact that Obama and Nelson’s “Mars/flexible” plan has the United States and NASA rolling over to give the moon to China, and perhaps ticket buying billionaires as well — while destroying NASA’s hsf role there.

  • Jeff Foust

    Hey folks, let’s ratchet down the rhetoric a notch or two. Don’t make personal attacks, don’t take things personally, and enjoy the weekend. Thanks.

  • Joh Hansen

    Remember, Robert, I’m not saying anything about Constellation. Lost in the dust from these Obama proposals is the nationally legislated goal of Americans on the moon (and, the offshoot of that, a NASA/allies science outpost there, which was SUPPORTED by our allies), that national goal of the US back on the moon around 2020. That, as a passionate space exploration fan, is all I’m defending, and that is what the Obama & Nelson “flexible/Mars” talk destroys.

  • Here is the link to China’s beautiful lunar exploration flash, leading to their logo, which features HUMAN FOOTPRINTS on the moon

    It’s a lot easier to put together a flash than it is to go to the moon.

    Some have had the audacity to say there is NO China factor.

    Because we understand the technology, and what is required to get to the moon at all, let alone dominate it or prevent others from doing so.

  • Lost in the dust from these Obama proposals is the nationally legislated goal of Americans on the moon (and, the offshoot of that, a NASA/allies science outpost there, which was SUPPORTED by our allies), that national goal of the US back on the moon around 2020.

    You can legislate goals until the cows come home, just a you can legislate that pi = 3.0, but that doesn’t make them reality. I prefer a budget and plan to make it possible to get to the moon to a legislated goal accompanied by an unrealistic plan to do so.

  • Joh Hansen

    …in favor of remote, vulnerable plans. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize this was your endeavor, Jeff! Now I REALLY better ratchet it down! Sorry, sir, your words are correct and acceptred! But I really have to complement your work here, its such a great, comprehensive, central resource. Thanks, Jeff, a good weekend to you as well.

  • amightywind

    “There is a growing segment of the space community that understands what this budget proposal makes possible and strongly supports this program shift”

    Lori Garver is a spin master worthy of her place in the Obama administration. We here faint echos of an education process, not unlike the Obama spin following the partisan government health care takeover. No, there is no support because there is no coherent plan at all. The budget amounts to increased funding for descoped goals. If you are a bureaucrat on the taxpayer dole, why wouldn’t you love it? I look forward to this meeting being a fiasco and the congress taking control of NASA from this feckless and incompetent president and his minions.

  • Jeff! Now I REALLY better ratchet it down!

    I doubt that he was referring to you.

    The budget amounts to increased funding for descoped goals.

    Actually, they’re broader and more ambitious goals. And more realistic.

  • Joh Hansen

    Rand, an example of concrete platforms might include, for example, the Constitution. Additionally, you mentioned understanding the technology. But to see a nation aiming and building for the moon, with the groundbreaking in December of China’s new huge KSC style launch tract doesn’t concern you about dropping our 2020′s moon goal? But have agood weekend rand! (Mr. Foust, are you going to watch the Orion Pad Abort Test anywhere special? Thanks again.)

  • Vladislaw

    “Some have had the audacity to say there is NO China factor”

    I believe your arguement would carry more weight if China would actually start building human spaceflight hardware going to luna. Right now if there was a call for “a race”, echoing apollo’s drive, it wouldn’t be taken seriously.

    If China starts actually building a saturn V class heavy lift, or a space based infrastructure for a luna landing I believe America would pick up the gauntlet and run with it. At the speed they are going, a manned lunar mission is still decades away.

    I wonder where the google lunar x-prize fits in, as a lot of those are American, but as they are not a government funded NASA program i guess those don’t count.

  • Additionally, you mentioned understanding the technology. But to see a nation aiming and building for the moon, with the groundbreaking in December of China’s new huge KSC style launch tract doesn’t concern you about dropping our 2020’s moon goal?

    No. Particularly since that goal was utterly realistic with the current direction anyway. We have a much better chance of hitting it with the new plan than the old one.

  • That should have been “unrealistic.”

  • Robert G. Oler

    Joh Hansen wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    a couple of points.

    First I dont think much of the POR as a program and think nothing of it as a program that is going to fullfil the goals that Bush the last laid out…and worse I dont think much of the goals that Bush the last laid out.

    “Exploration” or even ISRU has gotten some sort of holy grail which I think is unjustified. Unless we develop a space industry that functions less like it does today and more like Boeing does with commercial airliners…then we will never go back to the Moon for a price that is affordable nor can we even think about staying.

    It is about like the US trying to have a permanent base at the South Pole before the airplane industry could develop the DC-3. It is technologically and politically and economically to far a reach.

    Second…I dont care if the Chinese are going to the Moon….because 1) they cant stay either and 2) do anything that justifies the cost because they dont have any better a space industry then we do. Worse I dont think that the Reds are trying to go to the Moon. My personal (though it is completly circumstantial) belief in what their goals are is far more worrisome to me, and if accurate far more a danger to The Republic.

    Third. I dont really care about all the other arguments to keep what is. Jobs? People are getting laid off all over the country why should jobs that really do nothing other then something that doesnt matter at all To The Republic be spared?

    Fourth…Obama? I voted for the other guy…but we have one President at a time and the last one screwed almost everything he touched up…and so I think we should give the man some slack as he tries to fix it. We will have ample time in a year or so to start focusing on possible replacements. But I like his space policy.

    We have tried it the “program” ‘way for 40 years since Apollo and we are no where. What does it hurt to try it this way for a bit?

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    “There is a growing segment of the space community that understands what this budget proposal makes possible and strongly supports this program shift”

    Lori Garver is a spin master worthy of her place in the Obama administration…

    did you complain about the Bush spin on Iraq? Robert G. Oler

  • Collin R. Scocik wrote:

    “A world without manned space flight is not going to be worth living in.”

    I must have missed that announcement. It sure didn’t come from Obama.

    The president is extending the ISS until at least 2020, and the administration is current negotiating with our partners an extension to 2028.

    Sounds like at least 18 more years of manned space flight to me. And that’s not even counting what other new spacefarers, public and private, will be doing in the next few years.

  • amightywind

    @Oler

    “did you complain about the Bush spin on Iraq?”

    No, I thought the ‘mission accomplished’ event on the carrier was a master stroke. Bush was bold. Rummy ran a fantastic campaign. Saddam hanged. End of story.

    Indeed, Iraq’s liberation may have produced our deliverer from the destroyer Obama. That would be General David Petraeus. Run in 2012 General! America is in dire need!

  • I really don’t think Obama needs to “drum up support for his plan.” The locals are tone-deaf. The contract workers are only interested in perpetuating their own jobs, and the local politicians are only interested in pandering to that self-interest by falsely claiming they’ll magically save both Shuttle and Constellation.

    And I don’t see where “sightseeing” would make a difference. He has people in place to run NASA. He doesn’t have to do it personally. It’s not like he can’t look on TV or the Internet to see what the VAB or a Shuttle launch pad look like.

    There’s absolutely nothing he can say on April 15 that will change any minds here. And even if he told them what they want to hear, they would just interpret it as fulfilling all their prejudiced opinions that he’s an incompetent Muslim atheist communist who should immediately resign and let Sarah Palin take over.

    Quite frankly, I hope he speaks to them as adults and tells them this is the future, like it or not, and they have a choice — get on board and be left behind.

    That said, he has to address his statement in Titusville on August 2, 2008 when he said we have to make sure to save the thousands of space industry jobs here because that expertise is needed. It’s a promise he shouldn’t have made, but he did and now he’s responsible for it.

    But redirecting American space flight to its new course is more important, and if losing some obsolete job skills is the price, so be it. I’m sure the stagecoach workers probably didn’t like the horseless carriage either.

  • That said, he has to address his statement in Titusville on August 2, 2008 when he said we have to make sure to save the thousands of space industry jobs here because that expertise is needed.

    Every Obama statement has an expiration date. April 15th, 2010 will be the date for that one.

  • amightywind

    @Smith

    “Sounds like at least 18 more years of manned space flight to me.”

    18 years on the road to nowhere. 18 years marooned with our geopolitical enemy, Russia. 18 years of studying space sickness, pointless research, endless puff pieces on NASA TV with our cheerful, diverse space station crew mugging and doing back flips for the camera! I can hardly wait.

  • Joh Hansen wrote:

    “Here is the link to China’s beautiful lunar exploration flash, leading to their logo, which features HUMAN FOOTPRINTS on the moon …”

    Uh, that’s propaganda, not reality.

    If you want reality, here are a couple articles from independent journalist sources:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LB12Ad01.html

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2010/03/15/AW_03_15_2010_p22-211145.xml&headline=Longer Marches

    In summary, China is roughly right now at where we were in 1965 with Gemini. They are talking about building a lunar program but it’s only talk. No program has been officially initiated, no vehicle has been built.

    Furthermore, the U.S. and its ISS partners are talking with China about joining them in operating the Space Station.

    In the long run, it’s cheaper for the Chinese to join the rest of the spacefaring world — U.S., Russia, Europe, Japan, Canada and soon India — than it is to go their own way. All the other nations understand a space program is too expensive to do alone. That’s why we’ve spent the last 20 years combining programs.

    Even if China does decide to go it alone, most articles I’ve read estimate they won’t make it until at least 2030 — which is pretty much when we’ll be there anyway with our other space partners.

    And even if they do get there, so what? American flags have been there since 1969. No technology exists for any nation to “possess” the Moon. The cost will be $100 billion+ just to send three people there to pick up more rocks; in fact, the Chinese are looking at robotic landers instead of human missions to return rocks to Earth.

    International law already says the Moon belongs to the world, so it’s a non-issue. All the partisan hyperventilation can’t change that basic fact.

  • Rand Simberg wrote:

    “Every Obama statement has an expiration date. April 15th, 2010 will be the date for that one.”

    And then there’s the non-partisan PolitiFact.com, which says you’re wrong:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/browse/

    Obama’s space promises are at:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/subjects/space/

    Most promises have been kept or are “in the works.” Some are stalled, just the nature of politics (including Republican filibusters). You’ll find very few broken promises listed.

  • eh

    I’m quite happy with the stay the course mentality. Despite all the rumor-mongering of radical changes to the Obama plan, that doesnt seem to be materializing.

    Some people just imagine that life is like a Flash Gordon serial. Just build big rockets and everything get’s solved. Getting money for a big rocket is easy. It’s the R&D funding opportunity that doesnt happen often, as Sally Ride has said.

  • Most promises have been kept or are “in the works.”

    I didn’t say anything about promises.

  • neil

    Finally, NASA is building to it’s budget, instead of think Congress gives a care if the budget given is “lower than the projections”. Flexible path is going to be a show in the next few years.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    @Oler

    “did you complain about the Bush spin on Iraq?”

    No, I thought the ‘mission accomplished’ event on the carrier was a master stroke…

    thanks…I was trying to figure out where your reality level was. Got it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Aerospace Engineer

    If we’re not flying new spacecraft, we’re not doing anything. R&D is great, but we already have a National Science Foundation. NASA is not supposed to be just another research organization. It’s supposed to have missions, build spacecraft, and fly them. Now. Not after we we spin our wheels with technology programs that may get us somewhere, someday, somehow. Constellation, with all its flaws, was a real program to get back to the Moon. It was building hardware, it was cutting metal, it was man rating space hardware. All this “game changing technology” and program cancellations will get us beyond LEO in more time, not less time. There is nothing to celebrate with this new “plan”. Space veterans know this. I see no reason to celebrate putting off beyond LEO missions indefinitely while we “research” and “scout with robots” in the hopes that one day we might focus that into a real HSF mission. Or celebrate throwing some money at the “commercial launch providers” who will take 5-10 years to develop man rated missions to LEO. Something we’ve been doing since 1962. The Obama plan (or should I say the Holdren/Garver Plan) is a disaster for the future of human spaceflight. Get ready for absolutely nothing from the US in HSF for the foreseeable future. You would think building a earth moon transportation infrastructure NOW would be a worthy investment for the United States of America. There are resources on the moon after all, including lots of water. We don’t need new research and flagship demonstrators to do this. We could do it now. Instead we have all this BS and throwing some money at Nasa centers in an incoherent, unfocused fashion. Throw ‘em a few bones and maybe they’ll stop complaining. I hope not.

  • Bennett

    Aerospace Engineer wrote @ April 10th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    If you actually work for NASA now, please do the USA a favor and find another job. You are NOT someone I want (as a taxpaying advocate of space exploration – robotic or HSF) working for NASA.

    Since you don’t know what you’re talking about, and haven’t taken the time to undertake basic research regarding Flexible Path, you don’t deserve the opportunity to be part of making history.

    Next!

  • Aerospace Engineer

    Ah yes, the Flexible Path. When you’re going everywhere, you’re going nowhere.

  • Aerospace Engineer,

    Flexible Path doesn’t mean going everywhere AT THE SAME TIME.
    It means developing — as quickly as possible — the means of operating in deep space AND on planetary surfaces, but not necessarily simultaneously, since the budget simply won’t support that.

    To everyone who wants to worship at the promise of a return to the Moon by 2020… that was possible in 2004. It was possible in 2005. It was not possible in 2006 after NASA adopted a transportation architecture sized for Mars instead of the Moon. An architecture that everyone knew would cost more to develop than NASA had, even before Bush cut the outyear budgets.

    The person who broke the promise to go to the Moon by 2020 was Mike Griffin. For the record, it’s still possible for Americans to get there by then, but only if you give up shuttle-derived heavy lift.

    which do you guys care more about? the goal, or your rockets. choose now.

    – Jim

  • googaw, common sense, get a room. You’re both just anonymous opinions on the Internet.

  • Please, show me any evidence that President Obama has embraced the Flexible Path. In order for humans to fly beyond LEO, you need a ‘fly beyond LEO’ spacecraft. An no new R&D program is required to do this.

    President Obama needs to stop the nonsense and present us with a serious manned space policy. But if he really doesn’t believe that the Federal government should have a manned space program– then he ought to just come out and say it!

    But continuing to play games with the future of our aerospace scientist and engineers and our astronauts is simply outrageous, IMO!

  • Aerospace Engineer wrote:

    “NASA is not supposed to be just another research organization. It’s supposed to have missions, build spacecraft, and fly them.”

    Perhaps you should actually read the National Aeronautics and Space Act to find out what it is NASA is supposed to do:

    http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ogc/about/space_act1.html

    (1) The expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
    (2) The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;
    (3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies, and living organisms through space;
    (4) The establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from, the opportunities for, and the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes;
    (5) The preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology and in the application thereof to the conduct of peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere;
    (6) The making available to agencies directly concerned with national defense of discoveries that have military value or significance, and the furnishing by such agencies, to the civilian agency established to direct and control nonmilitary aeronautical and space activities, of information as to discoveries which have value or significance to that agency;
    (7) Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the peaceful application of the results thereof;
    (8) The most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States, with close cooperation among all interested agencies of the United States in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, facilities, and equipment; and
    (9) The preservation of the United States preeminent position in aeronautics and space through research and technology development related to associated manufacturing processes.

    Let’s also note Section 102(c) which states:

    The Congress declares that the general welfare of the United States requires that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (as established by title II of this Act) seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.

    As in, what the Obama administration is doing now.

  • Bennett

    “In order for humans to fly beyond LEO, you need a ‘fly beyond LEO’ spacecraft. An no new R&D program is required to do this.”

    As things stand, we don’t have a viable HLV. Under Constellation/VSE the development of a HLV (R&D) was to start in what, 2017?

    Regardless, to fly beyond LEO you need a viable plan, one that we can afford. What the VSE huggers refuse to admit is that we simply couldn’t afford to pursue one-off missions at a billion per after spending 20-50 billion more for R&D.

    Please read about Flexible Path, and give the President an opportunity to show his commitment to a viable, game changing approach to space exploration, of which HSF is only one important part of the program.

    We’ll get to the Moon (and other spots of interest) far sooner if we plan a sustainable path, rather that blowing all our resources on meaningless pork barrel spectacles.

    Bennett

  • Aerospace Engineer

    I am all for Nasa performing R&D.
    I am all for robotic exploration of the solar system.
    I am all for encouraging commercial space activities.

    What I am against is the lack of any HSf mission in
    development or even planned! Pie in the sky statements
    and R&D do not equal an HSF mission on the books!

    Without a mission to focus our efforts, we ain’t going
    nowhere. Without a mission of what use is mission
    control at JSC? Without a mission will KSC survive?
    SpaceX doesn’t even launch from KSC.

    The plan doesn’t add up. It’s too vague, it’s unfocused
    and I fear it puts off any real HSF to “the future”
    which means it will never happen.

  • .
    .
    the previous (Ares, ESAS, etc.) plan has failed after seven years (including 2010) and $9 billion (plus other billion$ to close the Constellation contracts) LOST and the former NASA administrator has been fired
    .
    the most relevant aspect of the “new” plan is that it has plenty of (unknown) basic researches but just a few real projects and, great part, relying on the (unknown) real capabilities of the “commercial space”, so, also this plan will fail within four years (max) with two dozens billion$ LOST and the NASA administrators will be changed again
    .
    .

  • Bennett

    I guess I’ll stay away from the comments section of Space Politics until after the 15th. I’ve grown weary of the whining defeatist attitudes of folks who are either too dense to understand WHY we need to take a different path to BEO, or who simply hate the President so much that they’re willing to throw HSF “under the bus” in order to puppet the stupid FOX talking points that fester and rot in their small minds.

    It’s obvious that there are two camps within the space community and it seems that no amount of conversation can bridge the gap between those that understand and those that don’t want to understand.

    Sadly, I expect the same stupid comments after the 15th. No matter what our President says, the doomers will still puppet FOX, and the rest of us will either patiently explain reality, or give it up and ignore the idiotic predictions that Flexible Path means the end of HSF.

  • Kennedy and LBJ are the only two presidents to give NASA more than a casual passing glance. Most see NASA as PR opportunity. Obama appears to be par of the course. Drop a bomb and move-on as Bush did with VSE. Flex path is already heading south due to the way it was implemented and the vague reality on with it is based.

    The new plan is as bad as the old plan. We simply go from one extreme to another. No doubt some will prosper from the flex path while many others will perish. This knee-jerk all commercial or nothing vague flex path plan is full of empty promises and lacks accountability. THERE IS NO PROMISE OR CLEAR PATH BEYOND FLYING CAPSULES “SPLASH DOWN” TO THE ISS AND LEO UNTIL 2020 OR PERHAPS 2030! There is a strong commitment “not to land” coined “look but don’t touch”. No promise to fly or “bend metal” on technology R&D only commitment to do white paper, lab based power-point studies. There is already a mountain of these studies and R&D papers gathering dust at NASA and AIAA files. ISS and Zero-G has yielded little ROI after decades of development on Skylab, MIR and ISS. Majority of that R&D can be done with satellites.

    While we flex around in LEO to and from the ISS for the next three decades water ice rest on lunar surface waiting to spark true free market based manned space development and infrastructure. Problem with all this LEO and tech rhetoric is there are no markets developed in the plan to support or nourish it.

    There are more logical innovative budget minded economic sound architecture plans that transition to a commercial based NASA without all the pain, risk, and hopelessness that flex or constellation generates. Hopefully congress can find some logical middle ground.

  • googaw

    water ice rest on lunar surface waiting to spark true free market based manned space development and infrastructure

    Typical central planner wannabe nonsense to try to justify tens of billions more of astronaut pork. As with the Shuttle and ISS, real commerce has no desire to follow in the wake of “leadership” or “vision” that is so divorced from economic reality. In fact, if you run the parametrics for real markets, the optimal physical scale of lunar propellant production is two to three orders of magnitude too small for the manned form factor. The form factors being planned by the Google Lunar X Prize contestants are much closer to the economic reality. Until propellant production can be achieved in a fully automated and small-scale way, lunar ice is just another phony excuse to pursue the same obsolete 1950s fantasies and produce more Shuttle- and ISS-like bridges to nowhere at the expense of taxpayers and our children.

  • googaw

    BTW, it’s crucial to observe that twelve astronauts walked and roved around the surface of the moon, at a cost of over a hundred billion dollars, and yet none of them ever got any clue that there is ice on the moon. It took scientists on earth analyzing the data from methodical and relatively quite inexpensive machines to do that. So much for the supposed central place of astronauts in exploration.

    Of course, no astronauts were sent to the poles. But that’s what happens when we launch astronauts, we make conservative choices centered around the astronauts rather than around actually trying to discover things. Not to mention that the missions that discovered the lunar ice were several orders of magnitude less costly than Apollo.

    Even, BTW, if astronauts had been sent to the poles, they would have been steered far clear of the permanently shaded reasons where they would have frozen to death, so that by selection effect they still wouldn’t have discovered the ice.

    But for most astronaut fans reality doesn’t matter and I don’t expect any let-up in the pulp fiction tales of astronauts outsmarting robots and oh my what a profound lesson we should learn from these concoctions of the Luddite imagination.

  • Bob Mahoney

    Ferris,

    I see that you did not offer any counter to what I suggested here regarding the new policy, so can I presume that you agree that what I stated is valid? I never claimed that anything was assured with the Constellation ESAS architecture, I merely pointed out that unlike as was stated above, it did include a specific “place to go”. Do you deny this? That the said architecture was financially and/or temporally “challenged” in terms of reaching that place does not invalidate my statement. While I may not pull it off every time, I occasionally write precisely what I mean.

    As for whether or not Constellation’s woes make my point moot is another discussion, which Robert addressed. But my point can be re-expressed with an (albeit imperfect) analogy: if the Allies operated per the new space policy in WWII, the D-day forces might potentially have stayed on British shores and gone nowhere while the tech people invented new and better means of invading anywhere they might care to: Calais, southern France, through the Balkans (in commercially provided landing craft no less!)—but such an invasion might never have come. Per the Constellation architecture (if we hold the Augustine Committee’s assessment to be valid), they might have eventually (note the “might have”, as in, it might never have happened here too) landed at Normandy in 1959 (potentially forgetting why they were doing so) with a much different (and potentially inadequate) force structure…but they would have been planning on landing at Normandy throughout, i.e., they would have stayed focused on the place to go.

    As for your comment on the “metrics” in my essay, you seem to be addressing an essay I did not write as opposed to the one I did. I look forward to reading your essay on the points you have made here and in your comments over there; they certainly suggest interesting and potentially valuable lines of thought.

    As for your suggestion that I am biased against Democrats, I suspect you are merely misconstruing my remarkable insight and perception as such a bias from your own distorted perspective. ;-)

    But seriously, perhaps I am thusly biased…no writer is without his point of view and anyone who claims to be so is lying or deluding themselves. I presented my rationales for my conclusions in the essay for all the world to see. Disagree with my conclusions if you like, but I think I’m still allowed to come to my own conclusions. The essay was meant to offer points to ponder regarding where the new policy may take HSF; I believe that it did so. You are free to disagree with THAT conclusion, too, if you would like. But only time will tell if my “predictions” actually come true.

    Please note, however, that I had not included my parallel February 2008 prediction (it’s still there in my Sent folder…I’m terribly bad like that) of what would have come to pass in space policy if a Republican had been elected as POTUS only because a Republican wasn’t elected: there was no point of comparison. Using exactly the same logic that I offered in the essay for mapping forward a Democratic outcome had yielded just as “unflattering” (at least if you’re for big growth in human spaceflight operations)—but different—an HSF outcome. Previous Republican administrations from Nixon through W have more or less followed a remarkably consistent path (some would call it a rut) in space policy just as the post-Vietnam Democratic presidencies have.

    So perhaps I’m biased against Republicans, too… Or as Bill Watterson so aptly put it in his brilliant Calvin & Hobbes… “I LOVE humanity. It’s people I can’t stand!”

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    To me, my concern has always been that the new plan is so vague. NASA will continue to utilise the ISS… but logistical issues (especially outsize replacement parts) are simply not addressed. Commercial providers will supply America’s next crewed spacecraft… but no mention is made of when, nor any obvious moves made to identify the processes of procuring this spacecraft.

    FWIW, I do not believe that President Obama is interested in personally bringing an end to US-indigenous human spaceflight (as opposed to flying on other people’s spaceships, like Soyuz or even Shenzhou). If anything, I would say that he is an agnostic about it – not holding sufficiently strong feelings to care either way. However, my concern is that he has made it easier for a later administration to close everything down, should they choose to do so.

    In any complex and difficult human endeavour, momentum is a critical aspect. Once we are doing something, it is hard to stop it. Similarly, if we pause, it becomes harder to restart it.

    I would have just been so much happier if a crash program had been announced to develop an LEO-only ISS support system using existing equipment (shuttle, EELV, Orion, whatever works) as an interim until this R&D pays off… if it ever does.

  • googaw, heh, we didn’t have the technology to detect lunar water back then. It’s only this year that we have detected it with any degree of certainty, after a decade of trying since Lunar Prospector. Not to diminish your point, as I think it’s still valid. I think you’d have required a large astronaut program and lots of sorties to discover it with the technology we had back then.

    Just for perspective, the first few mm of lunar regolith has a few parts per million of water. Simply scooping that tiny layer of regolith into a bag would disturb it enough, in the harsh environment of the vacuum and the temperature of the surface, to disassociate a good deal of those water molecules.

  • [...] Space Politics » Obama’s visit, his speech, and growing support [...]

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bob Mahoney wrote @ April 11th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    The problem with the Normandy analogy is that it has no parallel in the “need” or lack of “need” to go back to the Moon.

    Normandy (more precisely the strategery behind the US and Allies action in WWII in both theaters) was laid on for a variety of political/economic/and military reasons that were a combination of events on “our side” and that of the other. Yes we could have waited for better weapon systems, but then the other side would have had them as well…and thats just the military situation.

    There were reasons to not only go when “reasonable” weapons could be developed…but to take the tens of thousands of lives that such an effort would take…at any time.

    The analogy breaks down because there IS NO REAL REASON TO GO BACK TO THE MOON…in the first place and in reality there is no real reason to go back to the Moon that can be sold to the American people who are watching their way of life slip away.

    Many have tried…one can read them here. They range from “without a goal we wont have a great space exploration effort and wont be a great people” to “the Red Chinese are going to take over the Moon” to ” our astronauts will become hostage on the space station”.

    All ideas which not only lack rigor but in most cases common sense. Which are more illustrative of how our politics has deteroriated in the last 10 years then anything else.

    The genius of Obama’s path is that he puts the nation on a sustained path toward developing a commercial space industry that one day might lay the foundation for a return to the Moon and to do it where we can stay.

    I think it will happen sooner rather then later, but in the end I am quite sure that it will happen.

    We have had decades of government “plans” which even when they have succeeded have done nothing but create “technodependency” and really have not done much to return value to The Republic. I say its time for a change.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Josh Cryer wrote @ April 11th, 2010 at 4:17 pm
    I think you’d have required a large astronaut program and lots of sorties to discover it with the technology we had back then…

    one of the things I am hoping in the next 3-7 years of the Obama policies (right now I give him better then even money to get reelected)…is that I hope that the US gets over its “astronaut fetish”.

    Almost every industry in The Republic has come to terms with the concepts of automation and robotics except human spaceflight and to some extent the cheerleaders for human spaceflight.

    There is almost nothing that can be done on the Moon right now…that cannot be done far better and far cheaper with instrumented probes (robotics) then humans. The “we need humans” to make it interesting folks are living in another world.

    As the Marine General who took back Anbar noted “it doesnt matter if the bad guys are killed by a crewed plane or a Predator, Marines are still pulling the trigger” (Marines and Sailors…but the point is still there).

    Robert G. Oler

  • By the way, I drove by the self-proclaimed “Save Space” rally on the way home this afternoon. Florida Today is reporting a crowd of about 3,500, and that looked about right to me. I hope they enjoy sitting in all the pigeon and seagull poop left behind in that old decrepit ballpark.

    I’d sure like to know who’s paying for this event. My guess is labor union money and the local Republican party.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 11th, 2010 at 6:14 pm ..

    My guess is labor union money and the local Republican party…

    that is probably correct. Today is sort of a “family rest day”…myself, wife and baby all sort of hit a peak last night which has made today sort of a “take it easy” day (and I have some work to get done!) …

    but as a result I was surfing the net and came across a few things which sort of tie in

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/04/americas_surrender_of_space.html

    this is about the level of thought of the true ideological (not save our jobs) Republicans and right wingers. two lines struck me …

    “So it makes perverted sense for Obama to destroy our pride in this matchless accomplishment and stage our humiliation before the world. America, which once deployed masterly innovation, commitment and daring to vanquish the Soviets in space, is now deliberately stranding seven astronauts in orbit with no way home except to hitch a ride from the Russians.”

    this (along with that Fox news stupidity) is about where the politics of this are with the GOP and it increasingly narrow right wing base. Aside from being non factual…it is the sort of hot button rhetoric that warms the hearts of the red meat right like Mark Whittington (he has it on his blog as something really valuable which means he must have abandoned all logic and now beliefs this nonesense).

    These are the sort of arguments that the GOP is increasingly coming to (death panels etc) when it simply cannot come up with a plan for the events of today and assumes the fetus position of politics which is to go back to the “old days”.

    Most of the “save our job” have like drowning people latched onto this rhetoric and somehow think that the rest of America cares.

    As an aside I noticed that Ron Paul who was not at the GOP right wing love feast in NOLA finished second in the straw poll…

    and this from that article above

    “America doesn’t do hard anymore.”

    tell that to the Marines/Sailors/Army/etc who took Anbar.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    “This (along with that Fox news stupidity) is about where the politics of this are with the GOP and it increasingly narrow right wing base. Aside from being non factual…it is the sort of hot button rhetoric that warms the hearts of the red meat …”

    Without being too overtly conspiratorial, I think this is the culmination of a deliberate dumbing down of American political discourse that began in the 1980s when the Reagan administration threw out the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. Congress tried to restore it, but first Reagan and then Bush I vetoed it.

    It should be no surprise that Rush Limbaugh’s national radio show debuted in 1988. The program deliberately encouraged its listeners not to think for themselves, to believe whatever Limbaugh told them, to proudly call themselves “dittoheads” bragging that they refused to think for themselves.

    Then in 1996, Roger Ailes of the Republican Party is hired to create Fox News, which was essentially a TV version of the Limbaugh gimmick 24/7.

    A 2007 study found that 90% of radio talk show programming is conservative, meaning that casual radio listeners are unlikely to hear more than what’s been fed to them by the Republican propaganda machine.

    All because the Reagan administration killed the Fairness Doctrine.

    Those of us old enough to remember what news was like before then got the joke when on the original SNL’s Weekend Update Chevy Chase was required to provide an opposing point of view by Emily Litella. Local news broadcasts were required to allow average citizens to present opposing points of view, and a station’s license renewal was based in part on its “fair and balanced” news presentation back when that phrase actually meant something. The Reagan and first Bush administration gutted it, news divisions were absorbed into entertainment divisions and it became more important to amuse than to inform.

    So is it any wonder we have people who think death panels are real, that Obama is a Muslim atheist (contradiction in terms) socialist, that he’s sold the space program to the Russians and the sole purpose of the Chinese space program is to burn American flags on the Moon (even though there’s no oxygen to ignite the flame)?

    I would love to see this Democratic president and this Democratic Congress restore the Fairness Doctrine, although we know the Republicans would filibuster until they turn blue to keep that from happening because it would basically put their propaganda machine out of business.

  • But my point can be re-expressed with an (albeit imperfect) analogy: if the Allies operated per the new space policy in WWII

    That analogy is so imperfect that it is useless for the present discussion. It implies that space is important, and that we are in a race with something to go somewhere, as we were in the sixties. Neither of those are true.

    I would love to see this Democratic president and this Democratic Congress restore the Fairness Doctrine

    Yeah, to heck with that pesky First Amendment.

  • @Robert G. Oler

    You voted to put Sarah Palin just a heart beat away from controlling nuclear weapons? If she ever came to power then I’d have to start my own space program!

  • Bennett

    Wow, Robert, great stuff.

    The First Amendment did just fine before the concept of “fairness” was torn down. Rand, do you really believe that the hate-filled and intentionally ignorant propaganda coming out of FOX is good for the country OR the space program?

    How many percentage points less madness would there be in the world if Murdoch’s their lies and half truths were challenged, right in front of their audience?

    No, Obama did not cancel the Shuttle, and the FOX reporter did not go into an Acorn office dressed as a pimp, etc…

    This country needs to get a grip.

  • Bennett

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ April 11th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    @Robert G. Oler

    You voted to put Sarah Palin just a heart beat away from controlling nuclear weapons?

    An otherwise seemingly rational man, too.

  • googaw

    Don’t pretend to be in favor of both the Fairness Doctrine and free speech, it’s about as credible as pretending that you can freeze water by boiling it on the stove. It’s blatantly obvious that the goal of the new “Fairness Doctrine” is for the left wing to censor views they can’t stand such as Fox News and right-wing talk radio. And yes, the First Amendment did greatly suffer when we had a government-dominated mass media under the Fairness Doctrine and I’m very glad Reagan and company started enforcing the First Amendment again. If you think that mass media was more accurate or balanced between Roosevelt and Carter you are nutty. Being a lackey of government bureaucrats is not anything close to the same as being balanced. And being a lackey of government bureaucrats is just what journalists will go back to being if the government gets to decide what the “center view” is on which they have to “balance”.

    Back to the topic of this blog, if Obama sets some specific goal with a deadline, the chances that he will satisfy most people are slim to nil. Almost everybody who is criticizing him today for a lack of a goal will when he sets one criticism him (and probably justifiably so, I predict) for picking a stupid goal. And everybody whose pet destination, the Moon cult or the Mars cult or both, is not chosen will damn Obama for his heresy. And the Obama-bashers will criticize him even if he chooses their pet destination, finding some sacrilege in the details of the ritual Obama or NASA HQ promulgates. Obama’s acolytes will have to spend many years denying NASA contracts to heretics who refuse to kowtow the new “unifying” goal before they intimidate the heretics into silence. So his goal-setting will win him few new friends but many new opponents with respect to space policy and there is a high likelihood that it will be overturned by the next President, just as Bush and Obama have overturned the previous NASA plans. There’s another piece of the Constitution I’m happy about, the one that limits the President to two terms.

  • If she ever came to power then I’d have to start my own space program!

    Why wait? You don’t seem to be very happy with this one. Go for it!

    Rand, do you really believe that the hate-filled and intentionally ignorant propaganda coming out of FOX is good for the country OR the space program?

    Not that I agree with your nonsensical description, but what difference does it make what I think about it? I will defend to the death their right to say it, and that of MSNBC as well (which much better fits your description). It’s sad that so many think that the government should decide what people should say, or hear. One of the many signs of the coming end of the Republic, unless we do something about it this fall.

  • Obama is a disaster as President. We will long regret his Presidency, much like Jimmy Carter’s four years.

  • Queysther

    Obama’s presidency is good so far. Good for Spaceflight. Bad for Human Spaceflight perhaps, but human spaceflight is such an outdated concept anyway. Everything that humans can do in space can be done by robots at a fraction of the cost and without risking life.

    The USA will become the world leader in space by being the first country to give up human spaceflight in favor of advanced robotics. Let the Chinese and Russians continue to wallow around in mid-20th century tech and stunts (and, at most, get as far as the USA got in 1969), while the USA, together with Europe and Japan (the world leader in robotics) conquer the Solar System, 21st century style. Humans not required.

    Human spaceflight supporters have indeed become a backwards-looking cult. If manned spaceflight is canned, it will be another great leap forwards for mankind. About time, too.

  • Rand Simberg wrote:

    “Yeah, to heck with that pesky First Amendment.”

    Huh?!

    Try actually reading about what the Fairness Doctrine was:

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

    The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that the FCC had the right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine. It was constitutional.

    Furthermore, the Fairness Doctrine ensured that all points of view have a chance to be heard. Today all you hear on TV is the opinions corporate-owned TV networks want you to hear — the opinions that make money for them.

    The Internet, thankfully, is an end-run but the Fairness Doctrine regulated TV and radio. Access to those frequencies — “the public airwaves” — was regulated by the FCC. If you want to use the public airwaves, you need to allow the public to be heard. That was what Reagan/Bush threw out.

    As an aside, the Fairness Doctrine probably would have become irrelevant anyway with the advent of cable TV. Networks like FNC, MSNBC, etc. don’t rely on the “public airwaves.” Strictly satellite and cable. So the FCC’s authority would have been limited.

  • Bennett

    “I will defend to the death their right to say it,”

    Agreed. I don’t want to keep these clowns (on both sides) from saying whatever in the first place. I do remember seeing the “response” from a differing point of view being allowed time to speak following a broadcast, and it didn’t seem onerous to me (at the time).

    But I was just a kid then.

    unless we do something about it this fall.”

    …as if either party had a track record of honesty and policy making to benefit America’s citizenry. That’s naive, at best. Bush II’s 8 years in power will haunt us for quite a while, and more of the same is not something I would welcome (although some would say that’s what I’m getting right now!).

    I do encourage all to vote for whatever candidate they think will do the right thing, and then hope for the best.

  • The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in 1969 that the Fairness Doctrine was legal and complied with the First Amendment:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Lion_Broadcasting_Co._v._FCC

    Sorry to stray away from space politics, but I wanted to set the record straight.

    It could be argued that it’s on target when only one side of the space view is allowed to be heard on a particular network (Fox News).

  • Bennett

    googaw wrote @ April 11th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    “And yes, the First Amendment did greatly suffer when we had a government-dominated mass media under the Fairness Doctrine and I’m very glad Reagan and company started enforcing the First Amendment again. If you think that mass media was more accurate or balanced between Roosevelt and Carter you are nutty.”

    I had to go back and address this, then I’ll restrict the comments to space politics…

    I don’t think there’s ever been a “government-dominated mass media” in this country. I think the 60′s and 70′s were unique and a high point for broadcast news in the coverage of Vietnam, anti-war protests, Civil Rights, Watergate, and overall cultural change.

    I don’t remember how things were before the 60′s, it hasn’t been a subject of study for me. I just remember how things used to be vs. how they are now.

    I don’t know how old you are googaw, but I’ve never seen such a high level of rhetoric posing as news. It’s NOT fair and balanced, and it saddens me to watch the country divided by talking points and misinformation.

    My 2 cents.

    P.S. Good luck with the baby Robert, I was there 4 years ago and sleep is hard to find during those first months.

  • amightywind

    Here is an interesting report on the skepticism of the Obama plan by the companies who would carry it out. It was published by that wild-eyed Tea Party shill the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/science/space/12rocket.html

    FTA: “I think people who have been in the launcher business for many years find it hard to take the president’s plan seriously,” Dr. Thompson said. “They think it sounds like an elaborate wake for the human spaceflight program more than a plan for moving forward.”

  • richardb

    For a little more skeptical reaction to the Obama plan, the NYT has a story that does ask some good questions. The reporter doesn’t have a fan boy demeanor just does the job of marshaling the arguments about his headline.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/science/space/12rocket.html?ref=science
    Of course he wasn’t interviewing Garver or an equally exalted personage that could put sparklers in his eyes, just doing routine interviews of industry spokesmen.

  • It could be argued that it’s on target when only one side of the space view is allowed to be heard on a particular network (Fox News).

    And your evidence that Fox News is “only allowing one side to be heard” is…?

  • And of course, Fox News is cable, so the (Un)fairness Doctrine wouldn’t apply.

    The idiotic thing about the Fairness Doctrine is that there are more than two sides to issues. How does one decide? Where does it end? It’s nonsensical.

  • John Malkin

    @richardb

    Interesting article which just increases my support for “commercial” access.

    It seems that Lockheed and Boeing only want to support HSF if NASA (Actually Congress/American Tax Payer) covers a large portion of development costs plus margin for the stock holders. ATK isn’t even mention in the article. Like many American companies they don’t know how to compete in a global commercial market.

    When paypal, amazon, ebay were created, there was no market. They had to create the market. It’s called innovation.

  • anne spudis

    Blakey Calls for a U.S. Space Strategy

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 12, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a speech today, AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey asked President Obama to lay out a clear strategy for human spaceflight with concrete timelines and goals when he comes to Florida for a space summit this week.
    “In 1962, President Kennedy didn’t say we’d go to the moon today; he said, this decade,” Blakey said at a meeting of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Despite the financial troubles that lapped at his feet, President Kennedy stepped up to the challenge and urged us forward, with a goal and a vision and a plan. Today, a lack of urgency and specificity will not sustain the vision and, as we know, where there’s no vision, the programs — and the skills and workforce that go with them — perish.”
    President Obama is scheduled to speak Thursday in Florida on the future of the space program.
    Blakey insisted that America needs specific metrics for a concrete commitment to human spaceflight beyond low earth orbit, including clear goals and milestones. Shifting the focus of human spaceflight programs is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the main goal is keeping America strong and in the lead.
    “We require a roadmap for the future, with milestones along the way and a sense of urgency that space exploration is important to our country and proclaims in clear terms that this is who we are as Americans,” Blakey concluded.
    Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, materiel, and related components, equipment services, and information technology.
    SOURCE Aerospace Industries Association

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/blakey-calls-for-a-us-space-strategy-90622349.html

  • Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has called for an international space summit:

    http://flametrench.flatoday.net/2010/04/russian-president-calls-for.html

    He reiterates what the Obama administration has said, and is one tenet of its FY 2011 budget proposal — no one nation can go it alone, we have to share the costs.

    Glad to see our major space partner gets it.

  • Rand Simberg wrote:

    “And your evidence that Fox News is “only allowing one side to be heard” is…?”

    http://blog.fittoprintnews.com/?p=18

    An overwhelming majority of Americans believes that Fox News delivers news with a conservative bias, according to a New York Times/National Public Radio poll conducted over a one-day period in July.

    A whopping 67% of respondents describe Fox News as conservative or very conservative, with 8% describing it as liberal or very liberal, 24% saying it delivers news without bias, and 1% having no opinion.

  • Will

    Anne, read the VSE timetable and look where we are now with Constellation and where we will be with Constellation in 2030 earliest (if adequately funded) according to the Augustine committee.
    Clearly there’s a problem. Somehow it doesn’t quite work with these clear goals and timetables. We must break out of that situation. The FY2011 budget proposal is a brave attempt to achieve that in my view.
    The new approach says that we need to address some basic issues first, namely affordable and sustainable access to LEO. And R&D to get us technology for vehicles that can really go beyond LEO. Not just simply an upgraded cramped Apollo capsule and a new lunar lander. We need true spaceships. Meanwhile, robotic precursor missions will examine worthwhile targets. Progress in these terrains will lead to more specific targets and timetables.
    Even if we’re not in the lead for a few years, we will be in the end. But, preferably, as Stephen mentions, it will lead to international co-operation. It’s always nicer to explore with friends than to compete with enemies. You can do a lot more and it will be more profitable too.

  • John Malkin

    NASA can depend on one thing next year, Congress will forget everything that happen this year especially after an election. NASA can also expect inadequate funding another good reason for “commercial” access.

    Does anyone think Ares is either affordable or sustainable for LEO access? As I understand it, the Ares program was retro-fitted for ISS access because originally US participation in ISS was going to be phased out. Is this statement incorrect?

  • A whopping 67% of respondents describe Fox News as conservative or very conservative, with 8% describing it as liberal or very liberal, 24% saying it delivers news without bias, and 1% having no opinion.

    That doesn’t prove that Fox News “only lets one side be heard.” It’s not even evidence for it. Sorry.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bennett wrote @ April 11th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ April 11th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    @Robert G. Oler

    You voted to put Sarah Palin just a heart beat away from controlling nuclear weapons?

    An otherwise seemingly rational man, too…

    I would say this on Palin and will bring it back to space.

    I advocated Palin based on the three factors I thought a McCain VP would need (given that he was not going to pick someone like Lieberman) and Palin’s well known (until then) ability to work across party lines in Alaska. What I warned about was that as “new people” are introduced to America as a national figure that they either shrink rapidly or they blossom spectacularly and that her introduction was going to have to be handled carefully (unlike say J. D. Quayle.)

    What I did not count on was that Palin was unwilling to put in the hard work necessary to rise into the slot…and that instead she would take the easy route and simply morph into the hard right of the party. One of the goals that I thought she would accomplish was to cement the “philosophical right” into the McCain campaign. These people are simple slogan types who evaluate something more on “what it sounds like” then the facts. I figured that her personal story (the Downs syndrome child plus her daughters child) would alone make that connection.

    What I did not count on was her being captivated by those crowds. The trick in a political campaign is not to continue to preach to those who are converted but to broaden the appeal. Palin, despite the McCain campaigns best efforts refused to do the hard work to broaden her appeal…assuming for instance that most Americans hate Katie Couric as much as well the right wingers do…or that most Americans salivated at the charge of “domestic terrorist”…

    As the campaign wore on there were no more votes to be had on the “radical right”…they hated Obama enough for a wide variety of reasons…the vote metric was the middle and Palin’s rhetoric and demeanor scared those folks. Including myself.

    McCain had his own set of problems (not being able to define McCain’s America for instance). Palin hurt him because in the absence of a McCAin America she became the face of it…and thats a problem.

    We are seeing that now in the space debate. There are two groups of people…the save our jobs folks and then there are the Whittington/Spudis etc of the world who have latched on to any rhetoric that makes their point…because like Palin in the campaign they have no point of their own.

    Spudis talks well of how to use lunar resources but he doesnt have a clue how to make that happen in any sort of commercial effort that makes it sustainable. It sound good, go back to the Moon use its resources…but the trick is in how to do it…and he just either wont put in the hard work to figure that out…or more likely has come to the conclusion that it cant be done and just is advocating a policy.

    Whittington is in the ‘hate Obama’ category. He was burned badly by the failure of Bush (who he rallied for) to accomplish really anything or do it well…and his knee jerk reaction to the “lost in space” stories just shows a blind dislike of the President.

    Most of the “Palin wing” are like that.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 12th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    A whopping 67% of respondents describe Fox News as conservative or very conservative, with 8% describing it as liberal or very liberal, 24% saying it delivers news without bias, and 1% having no opinion.

    That doesn’t prove that Fox News “only lets one side be heard.”

    really? I dont know about the poll but if only XX percent think that it delivers the news without bias that must mean that this is the only group that thinks that the news is delivered even handed.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bennett wrote:

    “P.S. Good luck with the baby Robert, I was there 4 years ago and sleep is hard to find during those first months.”

    you nailed it! Robert

  • Robert G. Oler

    Wags wrote @ April 12th, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Obama is a disaster as President. We will long regret his Presidency, much like Jimmy Carter’s four years…

    Carter’s was a walk in the park compared to Bush’s eight years. He allowed what OBL tried to do.

    Robert G. Oler

  • I dont know about the poll but if only XX percent think that it delivers the news without bias that must mean that this is the only group that thinks that the news is delivered even handed.

    No one claimed it delivered the news without bias.

    Are none of you left wingers capable of exercising logic?

  • How come all this “We’ve-been-there-already” jazz never applies to low earth orbit?!?! Pretty darned funny isn’t it? I suppose if it was your space plan to never go to the Moon again,—and avoid it as if it were the Death Star Battle Station, and avoid dealing with it, at all cost,—then I suppose you and your particular pro-space lobby would hatch-up a scheme like “Flexible Path”. You’d then try to get some gullible & indifferent President to go along with it—and order the vast dismantling of an imminent Lunar Return Plan. (A vividly detailed & architecturally precise plan, by the way.) Gee, isn’t it funny how these “Anywhere-but-the-Moon” fanatics wish to avoid deep gravity wells, except for that of Mars? They would have the President of the U.S. order the dismantling of a deep space program, that would’ve given NASA a new and vastly improved Lunar Module (the L-SAM, or Altair-class lunar lander); yet, they so badly desire landing craft that could reach asteroids & the martian moons—places which are all rather Moon-like, anyway: asteroids are all airless, rocky, crater-marked worlds. Astronauts would STILL need: (1) robust, long-term wear, multiple-use space suits; (2) they would need solar flare & cosmic ray protection; (3) they would need a solidly reliable life-support system, that could withstand a long series of months with little or no repair, in-flight. Ask yourself: Could the ISS maintain itself with a crew on board for two & a half or three years straight, without resupply or direct intervention from Earth?? Obviously LEO is a very inferior place to test your intended far-deep space equipment. Furthermore, there has been plenty of zero g research done on the medical effects of humans in the weight-less state, on board space stations. (All of which have orbited well within the Ionosphere, where they are partly shielded from solar flares, by the way.) It has been established that astronauts can survive finely on space flights lasting six months one-way, until reaching another gravity well, at a presumed destination.

  • richardb

    John Malkin wrote “When paypal, amazon, ebay were created, there was no market. They had to create the market. It’s called innovation.”

    You know the old saying? How do you make a small fortune in the space business? Begin with a large fortune!”. Boeing, ATK, Lockmart know exactly what they are talking about and have the write offs to prove it. SpaceX, Orbital and others will have to get near 100% guarantees from the Gov before they’ll invest any money in Obama’s scheme. To do otherwise bets their company’s life on Congress coming thru, year after year, and Obama winning re-election in 2012.

    If you’re a businessman, how often do you bet the company on politicians silver tongues? A little different from what Ebay, Paypal were up too, wouldn’t you say?

  • Just had a thought about President Medvedev’s proposal for an international space summit …

    Seems to me a bit coincidental that he proposes this three days before President Obama is to make a major space policy address at KSC.

    Just my speculation, but what if Obama is going to announce that the U.S. accepts the proposal and they jointly announce the summit will be held in the Space Coast?

    At the very least, that might be what this speech is going to do — announce an international conference where the sparefaring nations of the world will agree to pool their resources to reduce costs and create a common vision for humanity to go to deep space as one species.

    It would certainly put an end to all this nonsense about what nation is “#1″ this week, as if it’s some sort of BCS college football poll.

  • richardb

    Stephen Smith said “announce an international conference where the sparefaring nations of the world will agree to pool their resources to reduce costs and create a common vision for humanity to go to deep space as one species.” Kumbaya baby!

    He’s only speaking for 45 minutes to the masses, otherwise he’s busy fund raising. Hardly enough time to get grandiose. More likely he’ll simply pitch his program as only he can, tell them about some extra job assistance the feds will shower on the coast and then call it a day.

    Actually I kind of like being number 1 in space. Just like I enjoy having the number 1 economy on the planet. I also enjoy having the most patent holders on the planet. I enjoy having the best medical system in the world. I really, really treasure having the best military in the world and the companies that build the finest military hardware in the world.
    Being number 1 can be a good thing!

  • SpaceX, Orbital and others will have to get near 100% guarantees from the Gov before they’ll invest any money in Obama’s scheme.

    SpaceX has already invested a lot of money in “Obama’s scheme,” if by that you mean the plan for NASA to purchase human transportation from the private sector. They started doing so, in fact, long before Obama was elected.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 12th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I think that the fairness doctrine is a good thing…but the problem goes much deeper then that. The good news is that I think things sort themselves out in the next election or two.

    We are in a unique period of American history. Take a snapshot of any period of American history and generally what you find are three generations struggling with economic, foreign, or cultural change…sometimes two at a time but only in about three other periods of history have we dealt with all three at a given time. We are now.

    When those periods happen there are generally groups of people who simply can not cope with the change. Today’s group has been accelerated in intensity with the new media outlets whose sole goal is to make money off of that particular group.

    so these media outlets feed these folks a representation of events which feeds into maintaining the watchers. Hence you have the BS about how astronauts are held hostage on ISS etc.

    my feeling is that we are going to have it out in the next two elections and these people are about to lose.

    history always moves on

    Robert G. Oler

  • SpaceMan

    my feeling is that we are going to have it out in the next two elections and these people are about to lose.

    I would say that is a winning perspective. Time to move forward “into the light”.

  • Major Tom

    “He’s only speaking for 45 minutes to the masses, otherwise he’s busy fund raising. Hardly enough time to get grandiose.”

    Kennedy’s speech at Rice U. was less than 17 minutes long.

    http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/jfk-space.htm

    Duh…

  • my feeling is that we are going to have it out in the next two elections and these people are about to lose.

    And “these people” (you know, the ones who actually give a damn about the US Constitution, as opposed to this guy) are who, again?

    I’m going to be very interested to see what you have to say when the Donkeys lose both houses this fall.

  • I would also note that it doesn’t surprise me that it is your “feeling.” I’ve certainly never seen you apply anything resembling thought, or facts, or rationality to it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 12th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    “And “these people” (you know, the ones who actually give a damn about the US Constitution, as opposed to this guy) are who, again? ”

    one of the hubris of the extremes is that it is only “they” who give a “damn” about The Constitution. The extremes sort of accept this as a religious fact…no one else cares at all about The Constitution. This is of course why Bush etc were quite comfortable doing what they did in the name of The Constitution.

    Ultimately The Constitution means whatever “the people” say it means…That is how the Founders wrote it.

    As for

    “I’m going to be very interested to see what you have to say when the Donkeys lose both houses this fall.” far to early to make that judgment. I’ll let the group know what mine is “later”…only amateurs predict this far out.

    Robert G. Oler

  • one of the hubris of the extremes is that it is only “they” who give a “damn” about The Constitution.

    I just gave you an example of a Democrat who explicitly doesn’t.

    Ultimately The Constitution means whatever “the people” say it means…That is how the Founders wrote it.

    That’s a pretty scary statement. It just reinforces my previous point about your blathering being about feelings, rather than thought, logic or facts.

  • richardb

    Simberg said “SpaceX has already invested a lot of money in “Obama’s scheme,” if by that you mean the plan for NASA to purchase human transportation from the private sector. They started doing so, in fact, long before Obama was elected.”

    What money would that be Rand? They got 1.6 billion from Nasa for the ISS resupply using Falcon and Dragon in 2008, before Obama was sworn in. They are bidding for billions more to do a crew vehicle. They aren’t putting their own money into Obama’s scheme. They had firm contracts in place before all of this. They will have firm contracts in hand after this. Use some common sense. Musk isn’t that stupid to use significant company funds on Nasa projects. Boeing and LockMart could explain why it’s a bad idea.

    Major Tom, please don’t confuse yourself between Obama and Kennedy. Obama just recently spent 17 minutes answering one question on taxes. See it here
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/04/obamas-17-minute-2500-word-res.html
    For him 45 minutes is just enough time to say “hi, nice to meet you, let me thank so and so and so and so and so and so; here’s my bold vision for you and your children, hey nice talking with you, got to go”.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 13th, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I wrote
    Ultimately The Constitution means whatever “the people” say it means…That is how the Founders wrote it.

    you replied
    That’s a pretty scary statement.

    ..

    only to those who do not grasp the notion of a sovereign people.

    Robert G. Oler

  • What money would that be Rand?

    Their own money that they invested prior to any NASA Space Agreement.

    They got 1.6 billion from Nasa for the ISS resupply using Falcon and Dragon in 2008, before Obama was sworn in.

    Maybe on Planet RichardB. On planet earth, they’ve gotten less than three hundred million to date.

    only to those who do not grasp the notion of a sovereign people.

    I fully grasp the notion of a sovereign people. But my notion includes sovereign people who give a damn about the Constitution and the Republic, even if you don’t.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 13th, 2010 at 1:44 am

    I fully grasp the notion of a sovereign people. But my notion includes sovereign people who give a damn about the Constitution and the Republic, even if you don’t…

    yeah and you and others like you get to define who those people are. Thats another characteristic of extremism. Actually its two of them, trying to imply that others who have differing viewpoints dont care much about The Republic.

    Look this is the wrong forum for this and you can take the last pass but I am done with this…

    everyone who is a citizen has equal stroke on what The Constitution means. The struggle in The Republic has been to include more and more people in the definition of “us” and it has been against those who would define “us” very narrowly.

    Anyway wrong forum for this so I am back to space.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    richardb wrote @ April 13th, 2010 at 12:53 am

    They got 1.6 billion from Nasa for the ISS resupply using Falcon and Dragon in 2008, before Obama was sworn in…

    If so then it is like no government contract that I have ever seen or heard of before. As I recall SpaceX has gotten 3 or 4 hundred million dollars on that contract. NOW thats a lot of money if you know what to do with it and not an unreasonable amount given the task at hand…and cheap to NASA standards.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Fox News caught in another fib:

    http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20100413/COLUMNISTS0207/4130316/1086/Reed++Debunking+the+latest+health+care+conspiracy+theory

    Fox News falsely claimed that the health care bill lets Obama create his own private army.

  • Fox News caught in another fib

    So? What’s your point?

  • richardb

    Rand, Robert G, let me educate you using Elon Musk’s own words here on Planet Earth in 2008:
    “The SpaceX team is honored to have been selected by NASA as the winner of the Cargo Resupply Services contract,” said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO, SpaceX. “This is a tremendous responsibility, given the swiftly approaching retirement of the Space Shuttle and the significant future needs of the Space Station. This also demonstrates the success of the NASA COTS program, which has opened a new era for NASA in US Commercial spaceflight.”
    Further, “NASA today announced its selection of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS) Cargo Resupply Services (CRS) contract award. The contract is for a guaranteed minimum of 20,000 kg to be carried to the International Space Station. The firm contracted value is $1.6 billion and NASA may elect to order additional missions for a cumulative total contract value of up to $3.1 billion.”

    This is lifted from SpaceX’s own press release, dated December 23, 2008, Planet Earth. http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20081223

    Now that isn’t the only USG funds SpaceX has gotten. Falcon 1 would never have flown without DOD funding. Nor would it have flown without the us of the USG’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Island.

    Face the facts gentlemen, SpaceX isn’t doing anything for ISS or LEO unless USG is the bill payer. There is no commercial outside of satellites. ISS is not commercial in any sense. It doesn’t produce a revenue stream, it has no billable services that anyone outside of the government wants. Its a creature of the Congressional funding monster and no company will bet the company on it. SpaceX will approach ISS, crewed transport just as LockMart, ATK or Boeing did. Cash upfront please.

    SpaceX has their own registered lobbyists in DC, one is named Bud Cramer, a former congressmen with the firm Wexler and Walker. Musk is a frequent flyer to DC to lobby for all of his enterprises, whether it’s SpaceX or Tesla, whether it’s Nasa or the Department of Energy, Musk is hanging around shaking the federal fruit tree for frequent snacks. Further, a little googling shows SpaceX is a very active contributor to Congressman and women. They are no different than ATK in the way they go about their business of dealing with DC.

  • Bob Mahoney

    Robert,

    Speaking as someone who had a new kid in the house 5 times, I think you must be neglecting yours based solely on the obviously huge amount of time you spend generating the sheer volume of text you post. And you don’t have enough typos to prove that you’re doing all that typing one-handed.

    Of course, the logic you frequently employ could be explained by lack of sleep, so maybe you’re not… :-)

    Go spot Mom! She needs a break…

  • The firm contracted value is $1.6 billion and NASA may elect to order additional missions for a cumulative total contract value of up to $3.1 billion.”

    Just because they’ve signed a contract with a stated value doesn’t mean that they’ve actually received that much money. Learn a little about contracting, and stop flaunting your ignorance.

  • @Robert G. Oler

    You voted to put Sarah Palin just a heart beat away from controlling nuclear weapons? A woman who thought Africa was a country! A woman who believes in exorcist! A woman who believes that humans walked with dinosaurs! Of course, since you appear to want America to become some libertarian paradise like Somalia, maybe you were voting for what you really wanted!

    Lunar commercialization, industrialization, and colonization will be quite sustainable well before the end of this century. There’s just too many ways to make big money on the moon in the long run:

    space tourism (the Moons just 4 days away), satellite manufacturing and launching, protecting the Earth from NEOs, lunar funerals and burials, supplying laser energy from the Moon to infrared photovoltaic power facilities located anywhere on Earth 24 hours a day/7 days a week, platinum prospecting on the lunar surface, telescopic prospecting for small 100 tonne asteroids in space, and even lunar real estate for those folks who like living in huge biodomes in a low gravity environment where you could strap on some wings and fly! The Moon will probably be one of the wealthiest regions in the solar system well before the end of this century!

  • A woman who thought Africa was a country! A woman who believes in exorcist! A woman who believes that humans walked with dinosaurs!

    Are you really stupid enough to believe all of that?

  • I hear Sarah Palin can see Star City from her house …

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