NASA, White House

Bolden: President “strongly committed” to future in space

One of the highlights of yesterday’s National Space Symposium sessions was a speech by NASA administrator Charles Bolden at the beginning of the morning session. (His speech had been scheduled for Thursday afternoon, but moved up after the White House announced plans for a space conference in Florida that day.) It was unlikely that he would make any major announcements given that President Obama will be making his own space policy speech Thursday (only to have the White House release details of the slightly-revised plan at the end of the day yesterday), but many attendees expected—or at least hoped—to hear a better story about the new plan. They came away from the speech underwhelmed.

“This is a big week for the entire nation,” Bolden said in some comments not in his prepared remarks, “and it’s a week where probably more people than ever before will be thinking about space. It’s an important week for all of us in the space industry and it’s a particularly important week for NASA.” Most of his speech touched upon the basic themes of the new plan, including technology development and enhanced utilization of the ISS, that have been presented in similar forms in other fora.

If there was a recurring theme to the speech, it was that the new plan had the support of the president, who does care about human spaceflight despite comments to the contrary from some. “President Barack Obama is strongly committed to our future in space,” he said. “We are so committed that we have made the hard choice to undertake a challenging new direction. We are so passionate about space that we made the hard choice to step back from our current program and find a more affordable and sustainable path forward.” And a little later in the speech: “The President, with my full agreement, did something very bold. He made a change — a big change. He made the change that we believe is needed to set NASA on a sustainable course into the Solar System.”

But for those wanting to learn more about the details in the plan, or hear it told in a different and perhaps more compelling way, left the speech disappointed, based on anecdotal evidence: conversations with a wide range of people at the conference afterwards. Also, while the schedule appeared to have an hour available to Bolden to speak (a “Speaker TBA” immediately after his original 30-minute block was not in the final program), Bolden spoke for about 25 minutes, took no questions, and immediately left.

53 comments to Bolden: President “strongly committed” to future in space

  • amightywind

    Strongly committed to space like he is to defense, fiscal restraint, government transparency, and low taxes. What a laugh! At best his Bolshevik NASA leadership is incompetent. Consider us who are “thinking about space” to be NASA’s Tea Party! We are incovenient, that’s for sure.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Poor Charlie Bolden, left to defend the indefensible and with a straight, though often tear streaked face.

  • “At best his Bolshevik NASA leadership is incompetent.”

    Do you actually know what Bolshevism is? Can you explain, even in basic terms the difference between Meshevism and Bolshevism? How about the similarities that made them part of soviet communism?

    By even the basic assumption that it was a extremist liberal movement (it wasn’t, indeed Lenin refused to negotiate with leftist organizations) suggest you haven’t a clue. Even if Obama was a communist, and he isn’t, his actions thus far are distinctly not those of a Bolshevist. You, of course, know what I mean by that, because you know what Bolshevist political theory is. Or do you?

  • [...] Space Politics » Bolden: President “strongly committed” to future … [...]

  • MrEarl

    So Jeff, the news from this story is that Nasa administrator Charles Bolden had nothing new to say.

    Thanks for the update!

    Reminds me of this SNL gem:
    Chevy Chase: ” Spanish dictator Francisco Franco is still dead! ”
    :-)

  • sc220

    At best his Bolshevik NASA leadership is incompetent.

    This is the stupidest claim I’ve heard in some time. How does the new plan even come close to Bolshevism? If you’re suggesting that Bolshevism is synonymous with the centralized socialist doctrine of Stalin’s era, then you are incorrect. Bolshevism promulgated the concepts of collectives, along Marxist lines. Stalinism was National Socialism, but coming at it from a left-wing origin. Stalinism was what we struggled against in the Cold War, and I assume is what you were alluding to in this statement. If so, you are even farther off the mark. The old approach championed by Griffin and company is Stalinism to its truest form. It mocks at the concept of entrepreneurialism and holds up the government-run Design Bureau (i.e., NASA centers) as the most effective way of doing business. You talk about human spaceflight’s importance to our country, yet you want to conduct it in a manner that runs counter to our nation’s values. Ridiculous.

  • Guys, the right-wing loonies how to district with buzzwords like “Bolshevist,” “Socialist,” “Halfrican” and whatnot.

    Don’t take the bait.

    It’s not my blog, but presumably they’re free to post so long as they don’t violate the rules of this site. But they’re not entitled to a response.

    When they distract you from the subject at hand, they win. That’s what Fox News does. So don’t let them distract you. Stay on message.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mr. Earl…on another post you wrote:

    “On another subject….
    Robert, how is a “safe haven” where a crew has to wait for a launch or two, meaning that a return vehicle has to be kept on a 1 to 2 week stand-by superior to CRV that can bring a crew directly home? The save haven is another redundant development expense.”

    If in theory the goal is to eventually mount expeditions in space “deep water” then the “uber” proving ground for that is ISS. Quite a few things need to be in hand before those “deep space” voyages sally forth…not the least is the understanding of how to deal with a vehicle that has a major problem, regroup, save the vehicle, and continue the mission.

    These are safe havens. Now any interplanetary vehicle would be designed with multiple of those internal…but that option is not available for the space station (yes it is two parts but there are other problems)…but on ISS the “plan” it seems to me would be to have a place where people can retreat to, formulate a fixit plan and then move back to regain control.

    Also as Simberg has pointed out (I like the analogy) the lifeboats on the Titanic were not designed to take everyone back to port..OK they were not designed to help retake the ship either but since we are short on space traffic I think that is a logical goal.

    The “abort to home” scenario only works when one is circling the house…otherwise not so much

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    rah

    the grenade was a dud Robert G. Oler

  • eh

    Well, back to where we were last week. Waiting on more detail. If we are lucky we get more tommorrow, if not it’s back to waiting months for the “tiger teams” to show us the powerpoint. Hopefully between now and then some of the more politically motivated critics will lose interest and space forums can go back to being about space.

  • .
    about the “new” new-plan…
    .
    “Begins major work on building a new heavy lift rocket sooner, with a commitment to decide in 2015 on the specific heavy-lift rocket that will take us deeper into space.”
    .
    develop the hadware for lunar missions needs 8-10 years, so, “decide [the HLV] in 2015″ means NO lunar landings before 2023-2025
    .
    “Restructures Constellation and directs NASA to develop the Orion crew capsule effort in order to provide stand-by emergency escape capabilities for the Space Station – thereby reducing our reliance on foreign providers.”
    .
    an Orion built ONLY to serve as ISS “rescue capsule” is very expensive and useless… it’s much cheaper to (just) dock a third Soyuz to the ISS
    .
    more discussions and proposals on the Space Summit Facebook Group:
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=356261201268
    .

  • amightywind

    Robert G. Oler wrote:

    “If in theory the goal is to eventually mount expeditions in space “deep water” then the “uber” proving ground for that is ISS. Quite a few things need to be in hand before those “deep space” voyages sally forth…not the least is the understanding of how to deal with a vehicle that has a major problem, regroup, save the vehicle, and continue the mission.”

    ISS is most definitely mired in the shallow end. Concepts like this:

    http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0908/17orion/

    were being studied Langrangian point targets or NEA missions until the recent unpleasantness. As for experience “saving the vehicle”, you’ve watched Apollo 13 a few too many times.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    As for experience “saving the vehicle”, you’ve watched Apollo 13 a few too many times…

    at last a viable debate.

    The water is only as shallow (or as deep) as one prepares for. As I am fond of telling people you can die as quickly in an afternoon sortie in the T-38 driving around Ellington as you can taking the Dreamliner to Tokyo or the Ercoupe out for the 100 dollar hamburger.

    The trick is to recognize that.

    The notion of “saving the ship” is what we do. The history of the US Navy is fighting until it is just not possible to bring the ship home, including from amazing battle damage. The Crew of the USS San Francisco under heavy enemy fire got her home with (at one point) about an inch of freeboard.

    If one is going to Mars then one has to be prepared to stay with the “ship” because more or less once one leaves orbit, there is no easy return (particularly once the low but continuous thrust engines come on line)

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    An interesting quote at space.com from Robert Bigelow in a report by Leonard David

    “There is “on-going discussion” about use of a Bigelow Aerospace-supplied module attached to the International Space Station, Bigelow said.”

    In the fact sheet released yesterday it say increased astronaut hours at the ISS, it looks like this will be the way they get more floor space to house additional astronauts and the need for domestically provided CRV.

    It would be politically safe to say we are lowering our dependance on Russia’s equipment, even though we would still be using launch services.

    I was thinking more about comments made by Garver at the NSS.

    ”Garver said, adding “the investment we made in Constellation along those lines is something that will benefit our program as well as allows us to rely on the Russians for a shorter period of time.”

    “We will ask them to focus Orion for the government purposes on our unique requirement of crew escape,” she said, adding that Lockheed Martin would be welcome to use the Orion capsule to bid on the agency’s $6 billion commercial crew program proposed in the president’s 2011 budget.

    “That would be a company decision on bidding for commercial crew technology,” she said. ”

    If the government funds the development of a CRV, that could also be used as a commercial crew vehicle. Wouldn’t NASA be backdoor funding a partial COT-D attempt?

    Lockmart would get the capsule development fully funded through a CRV program and would only need to fund the launch vehicle jointly through the CCEV program?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 5:31 am

    My wife and I had intended to move here to Space Coast in 2012 after I reached pension age at my job in California, but we were both laid off in 2008 so we figured we had nothing to wait for. We had lamented we would miss the end of Shuttle, but the layoff gave us the opportunity to be here for everything launched since June 2009…

    Stephen and Bennett.

    to me this new policy is just wonderful. It is almost unlimited potential…and sure that is the potential to fail, but as I tell folks how would failure look much different then what we have now.

    Personal ambitions aside, The Republic is in my view on the cusp of a major redo of our society, almost as great as if one stood in 1940 and tried to recognize the country in 1928 (or vica versa) and for the first time I think space, human spaceflight is going to be a part of it.

    Charlie has in my view put together one of the most innovative policies possible. It will be fascinating to watch it play out

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    yeah. where I think that this is going is to make ISS into a technology “park” with the US government spending some modest (by space standards) cash to facilitate that technology “experimentation”.

    Little things…you can see if you look a free flyer microgravity device in Dragon Lab…fuel depot experimentation, some inflatable hab work…AND I suspect that in the end we are going to use those “things” to fix some dependence on the Russians ie develop an independent American structure.

    a good program

    Robert G. Oler

  • Some say the Administration’s policy is taking the “long view” and remaking the U.S. space program as we approach a key crossroad that is marked by the end of the Shuttle program. However, in reality, the long view of the U.S. space program was adequately addressed in the wake of the Columbia accident by the President’s Commission on Moon, Mars, and Beyond, as informed by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. What this Administration is beginning to learn, only too late, is that the overwhelming majority of Americans that follow space policy support key aspects of the Constellation program, such as a destination specific plan and current investments in an architecture that gets us moving in that direction today.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    The Republic is in my view on the cusp of a major redo of our society, almost as great as if one stood in 1940 and tried to recognize the country in 1928 (or vica versa) and for the first time I think space, human spaceflight is going to be a part of it.

    Given the major economic shock we’ve gone through, a significant change was inevitable. Thank goodness Obama learned from history how to avoid another Great Depression. There were many causes, one of them being that the Republican Hoover administration decided to let the banks fail in some sort of economic Darwinism. When the banks failed, no one was left to lend credit but also people lost their life savings.

    TARP was passed during the waning days of the Bush Administration before the 2008 election, but if you read Game Change you find that Obama was in attendance at a critical White House meeting and several of the Bush staffers felt like Obama was the one acting like a President, working closely with the key people in the Bush cabinet.

    Obama has made sure that most of the TARP money is being repaid, and now it looks like the TARP loss will be only about $100 billion, a pretty cheap cost compared to what a Great Depression would have done to the economy.

    Keynesian economists believe FDR extended the Depression by not deficit-spending enough to prime the pump. It took the budget-busting World War II to end the Depression; funny how nobody ever complains about the debt we were left by the “Greatest Generation.” In fact, the government has left debt for future generations ever since the Revolutionary War.

    My concern is that I see a parallel with another pivotal era in our history — the Kennedy administration. The hatred spewed at Obama is very similar to the hatred spewed at JFK. For example:

    http://www.lawsch.uga.edu/academics/profiles/dwilkes_more/jfk_24blownaway.html

    This man is wanted for treasonous activities against the United States:
    1. Betraying the Constitution (which he is sworn to uphold):
    He is turning the sovereignty of the U.S. over to the communist controlled United Nations.
    He is betraying our friends (Cuba, Katanga, Portugal) and befriending our enemies (Russia, Yugoslavia, Poland).
    2. He has been WRONG on innumerable issues affecting the security of the U.S. (United Nations-Berlin wall-Missile removal-Cuba-Wheat deals-Test Ban Treaty, etc.).
    3. He has been lax in enforcing Communist Registration laws.
    4. He has given support and encouragement to the Communist inspired racial riots.
    5. He has illegally invaded a sovereign State with federal troops.
    6. He has consistently appointed Anti-Christians to Federal office:
    Upholds the Supreme Court in its Anti-Christian rulings.
    Aliens and known Communists abound in Federal offices.
    7. He has been caught in fantastic LIES to the American people (including personal ones like his previous marriage and divorce).

    Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.

    I’ve done a lot of research into the mythology surrounding JFK’s moon program proposal. He was hardly the visionary history paints him to be.

    I wrote about a few weeks back at my SpaceKSC.com blog:

    http://spaceksc.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-frontier-and-final-frontier.html

    The famous Moon speech to Congress was actually a routine address proposing a number of spending programs to prime the pump during a recession. Sound familiar? At the end, he proposed the Moon program, and its sole justification was to show the world our technology was superior to the Soviets’. The whole thing was one big publicity stunt. If Obama did that today, saying let’s spend $150 billion to show the world our technology is better than Russia’s, people would think he’s nuts and justifiably so.

    As for the Rice speech, that was to help Houston congressman Albert Thomas, who was chair of the House Appropriations Committee that determined how much money NASA got in the budget. It was politics, nothing more.

    Some people tend to swallow whole the mythology surrounding NASA’s early years. But the truth was it was shrewd politics. There really was no justifiable reason for a Moon program other than a national ego stroke.

  • The new Obama policy is the stuff that dreams are made of! Since we’re not committed to building anything right now it still could mean returning to the Moon someday, or going to Mars, or traveling an asteroid or even Alpha Centauri , or it could mean ending manned spaceflight altogether. That’s the beauty of the Obama plan! It could mean anything you want it to mean!

    And by the time the president decides in 2015 on what new heavy lift vehicle will be built, a new President will be in power less than 14 months later to easily cancel any such program if he, or she, wants to.

    Obama’s ‘Path to Nowhere”, would be a disaster for our manned space program.

  • Vladislaw

    A rebuttal article to the Neil Armstrong letter by Rick Tumlinson at the huffington post.

    Neil Armstrong — Right Stuff — Wrong on the New Space Plan

    “Armstrong, in a letter that could have been written by a Senate staffer from one of the states potentially losing its pork funding for Constellation said the new NASA program will destroy our human exploration program. Wrong. It would enhance and enable a much more robust program in the long run. NASA has already been on the “slow spiral to mediocrity” he says this new way forward represents. As one former NASA administrator said to me “It’s sad that our current program consists of flying shuttle in circles and waiting for another one to fall out of the sky.” The new program ends this dead end period and points us to a new way forward.

    Armstrong and company say: “It appears that we will have wasted our current $10-plus billion investment in Constellation.” Yes, they got this one right. We did. Touted as a space shuttle replacement, the Constellation was a slow and very expensively paved road to nowhere.”

    Full Article

  • amightywind

    Vladislaw wrote:

    “A rebuttal article to the Neil Armstrong letter by Rick Tumlinson at the huffington post.”

    Hufpoo? You can do better than that, comrade.

    Buzz Aldrin is the only Apollo astronaut to come out for the plan. About a dozen against. If the current astronaut core had any guts there would be even more noise. That is actually a fairly representative sample.

    “The new program ends this dead end period and points us to a new way forward.”

    How does another decade marooned with our enemy on the space station do that. I think you are getting carried away with that hopey changy thing.

  • sc220

    It appears that we will have wasted our current $10-plus billion investment in Constellation.

    Very true! It was a waste from the start, and would have been moreso if we had let it continue. The statements by Bigelow and some of the mindless rants coming from the Space-Tea Partiers is making me think that the our leaders in 1970 made the right decision after all. Perhaps it is best to concentrate on LEO. Human missions beyond LEO has become a cult. There is little rationale to back it up except emotions, hubris and comic book patriotism.

  • common sense

    @sc220 wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    “There is little rationale to back it up except emotions, hubris and comic book patriotism.”

    And there is a simple reason to this I think. The expertise of BEO flight was lost decades ago but not only. Since no cash was ever really invested in BEO exploration with humans those who advocate it today can only base their demands on Sci-Fi dreams. Very few realise that a voyage to Mars would most likely end up with fried astronauts with today’s technology. Very few realize the cost of having a permanent colony on the Moon even though 10s of billions of dollars are not enough to design, build and use the LVs, RV, Dep. Stages, Landers, etc to just go there. But those might give you arguments such as the bail out, the wars, health care and put them at the same level as space exploration. We should just keep living above our means…

    Finally you may want to read Keith’s comments here http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/04/space-policy-ne.html

    Oh well…

  • The last time American astronauts left LEO was 1972. That’s 38 years ago.

    Since then, the Republic has not fallen, and no other nation on the planet has bothered to go, which tells you it’s just not that big a deal.

    Quite clearly, all the drama queen claims of calamity for the future of America if we don’t continue to pour money into the Constellation black hole are baseless rhetoric.

    If China goes one day, good for them, but most estimates say it won’t be before 2030 and odds are they will have joined our international partnership long before then.

  • Bennett

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I agree completely, and I envy Stephen for his front row seat. The extraneous noise surrounding the change will die down after a while and we’ll have much more interesting developments to discuss.

    Also, I wanted to mention that your time line of the VP candidate process was very interesting. One never knows how fame will impact a person’s ego. All too often, destructively.

    Cheers!

  • Vladislaw

    “Hufpoo? You can do better than that, comrade”

    I am a die hard capitalist not a marxist … “tovarishch”. Unless you mean it in the russian archiac form which means business partner.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • John

    I guess Obama can climb Mt. Everest without resting at a base camp since he is now our savior. Too bad we lost our only chance of ever getting any new technology from space buy destroying our natural base camps at †he moon and beyond (no the ISS is only designed to look at Earth orbit experiments Obama will claim later on!). Ironically destroying any future technology from Americans. :(
    Dreaming we can somehow save the Constellation Project and America!!!!
    John

  • John wrote:

    “Dreaming we can somehow save the Constellation Project and America!!!!”

    So if it’s so important, how come no other nation has bothered to go to the Moon in the last 38 years?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    “but if you read Game Change you find that Obama was in attendance at a critical White House meeting and several of the Bush staffers felt like Obama was the one acting like a President, working closely with the key people in the Bush cabinet.”

    one of my old bosses who went on to become my father in law at one point use to say “I should be able to tell who has the deck 20 seconds after walking onto it” there is some truth in that.

    To see who is going to win a Presidential campaign, there are polls, but the “Oler factor” (grin) is to try and figure out who day after day is acting more and more as President. It is a job you either grow into (or fail to) and it shows. I was for instance in 2000 (and there is blog information on the net to substantiate this) surprised that the election gave Gore (who I liked and voted for) the popular vote as the last month in the campaign he seemed less and less to fit the role.

    McCain had one good week where he seemed to grow in the role and after that he was just always the guy on the bus. There were bitter shouting matches with some of the folks who I knew in the campaign with me always asking “where the frack is the guy who commanded the RAG in Jax?”

    What I find more and more in the space debate is that the opposition to Obama’s plan (after all he won the election) comes from “old people” or people whose opposition is about on par with the folks you quoted on Kennedy.

    The old astronauts are particularly entertaining. There is a reason that that Generals are mostly setup on fighting the current war like the last one because they never really break out of hte comfort zone of their youth. I find it sad that to some extent the last act of these people is to argue for one more run at the old times.

    In the end the weakest people in The Republic are those who cannot embrace the future and summon it. That right now is the far right.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    John wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    the America you embrace is an awefully weak place. mine is stronger

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bennett wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Also, I wanted to mention that your time line of the VP candidate process was very interesting. One never knows how fame will impact a person’s ego. All too often, destructively…

    a good friend (oddly enough Whittington has met him) “worked” to get on the McCain campaign and then was assigned to “Sherpa” Palin for a bit…he finally told McCain he was going to quit or come back to the candidates plane…and the later is what happened.

    My friend (and his wife who also was part of it) take on Palin is that she is lazy…and why not the choice was being responsible or making a lot of money

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    My friend (and his wife who also was part of it) take on Palin is that she is lazy…and why not the choice was being responsible or making a lot of money

    Not to stray off-topic, but you really should read Game Change and see what it says about Palin behind the scenes during the campaign. She had a core meltdown real fast when she realized she was in over her head.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    yes Game Change is great…it is the modern version of “The Making of The President”…I guess my point was to confirm what was said. I think my friend and his wife are part of the folks who told Halperin etc the story.

    A lot of us who have been supporters of McCain have been very very dissapointed with his performance since the start of the 08 election cycle. I dont understand what he is doing now at all (well I do but it is just sad to me)

    Robert G. Oler

  • Aerospace Engineer

    The nonsense that continues to trickle out of the administration concerning space policy is embarrassing. Even the advocates of the Obama plan are confused. Holdren et al are making it up as they go along. Orion, the crew exploration vehicle, launched unmanned, bolted to the the ISS, where it is not needed as a lifeboat, to rot uselessly? This is very telling. It’s obvious that there is precious little substance behind all these “bold” statements.

    More perplexed voices:

    http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/2010/04/14/to-do-the-heavy-lifting/

    More disappointed voices:

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/space/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3a51a64d54-6149-4e49-92b7-ec9218cc84d3&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest

  • Major Tom

    “At best his Bolshevik NASA leadership is incompetent.”

    Bolshevism was a strategy to seize state power and centralize that power in a dictatorship that (suppossedly) represented the lower social or economic classes.

    Comparing the leadership of a federal agency to the strategy behind a bloody national and political revolution is goofy. But if we’re going to make the comparison, a strategy to decentralize human space flight so that there are multiple private sector providers, some of whom will initially provide services to the highest social and economic classes, is quite the opposite of Bolshevism.

    “Consider us who are ‘thinking about space’ to be NASA’s Tea Party!”

    You might want to try a little reading and learning to go with your “thinking” (if it can be called that). Your goofy analogy and total lack of understanding about the term you’re throwing around would be an insult to any party (Tea or otherwise).

    “We are incovenient, that’s for sure.”

    Your statement is inane, not inconvenient.

    Lawdy…

  • Major Tom

    “Poor Charlie Bolden, left to defend…”

    How is Bolden being “left to defend” anything when his boss, the President, is making an address at KSC tomorrow?

    Do you even try to think before you post?

    Geez…

  • Major Tom

    “develop the hadware for lunar missions needs 8-10 years, so, ‘decide [the HLV] in 2015′ means NO lunar landings before 2023-2025″

    What’s the point? Per the Augustine Committee, there wouldn’t have been an operational HLV (Ares V) until 2028 at the earliest and no money available to build a lunar lander or other exploration hardware that could use that HLV.

    I’ll take lunar landings by 2023-2025 over an HLV with an empty payload shroud in 2028, any day.

    “an Orion built ONLY to serve as ISS “rescue capsule” is very expensive and useless”

    It’s not the old Orion design. It’s a smaller, less capable variant that won’t be as expensive.

    And the U.S. commitments to the ISS partnership are what they are. NASA can fulfill that requirement with domestic or foreign systems. Where possible, policy and program decisions should favor the former.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “An interesting quote at space.com from Robert Bigelow in a report by Leonard David”

    Actually, I thought this passage was the most interesting:

    “Given a NASA go-ahead to work on a super heavy lifter, much larger habitats are on the drawing boards, Bigelow said, ‘and the volumes that we can launch are absolutely gigantic.’”

    Apparently, Bigelow didn’t take Ares V seriously or didn’t find its timeline relevant, but does take the new HLV program more seriously or finds its timeline more relevant.

    “If the government funds the development of a CRV, that could also be used as a commercial crew vehicle. Wouldn’t NASA be backdoor funding a partial COT-D attempt?”

    If some commercial entity took advantage of it, yes. Even if they don’t, an Orion-lite CRV lowers the bar for commercial crew entry by taking crew rescue requirements off the backs of commercial providers.

    “Lockmart would get the capsule development fully funded through a CRV program and would only need to fund the launch vehicle jointly through the CCEV program?”

    That and the LES would probably be the two remaining big ticket items.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Aerospace Engineer wrote @ April 14th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    you may be confused…most of us who support the policy are not
    Robert G. Oler

  • TO “Aerospace Engineer”……. Or all these Bolden statements!! (That guy totally lacks an understanding of the engineering aspects to space exploration plans!!) Realistically, folks: WHY all this sudden obsession with “game changing new technologies” now?? Why not just percolate CONCURRENT funding for technology-laboratory research WHILE we are in the process of reaching & exploring the Moon? Why does the new Moon program have to die, so that all this Sci-Fi level, never-before-seen-stuff can come to fruition? I mean, did the Space Shuttle have to quit flying? Did the ISS have to stay permanently on the drawing boards, just so that some new, amazing propulsion technology could finally be developed? If the continued flying of the Space Shuttle didn’t stop ion propulsion from advancing….if the ISS being built didn’t stop it either; why then should we kill a Moon-bound manned program, based on the assumption that it is a “distraction” from aerospace engineers coming up with starship propulsion? People, can’t you all see what is really happening here?!?! Groups like the Planetary Society—the “Anywhere-but-the-Moon” zealots—simply want to stop future Lunar missions before they could even start. Just so NASA is strangle-held into doing their agenda, and nothing but their agenda! Nevermind that NASA might well be trapped in LEO for the next twenty years—just as long as nobody ever goes back to that Forbidden Planet Luna, ever again! The Mars zealots—a sizeable number of them—would have us ignore the Moon completely. They would have us ignore all of the natural resources that we could exploit there. All this, in favor of instead, sending astronauts on a multiple-month long trek to land upon some gigantic-sized pebble, hidden away in the darkness of interplanetary space. Landing on an asteroid would be a far more gloomy end to a huge space journey, than a three day Lunar arrival would be. And just what are you going to do there anyway, once you’ve gotten there, that is so amazing by comparison?? This urgency to do a manned mission to an asteroid, ahead of a Moon Return, currently advocated by the Mars fanatics, ignores the salient fact that the surface of an asteroid is VERY similar to the Lunar surface: airless, crater-battered, rocky & dusty. The equipment needed for such a mission would match fully the requirements needed for a Lunar expedition.

  • By the way….”Aerospace Engineer”….my full commentary was not meant as a rebuttal. I was just catching the trail from that “Bold” statements line, that you had on your post. The semi joke of “Bolden” statements. It does sound from your comments to this page that you in fact see the folly involved with Barack Obama’s & Charles Bolden’s space plan. “Flexible Path” will be a wholesale disaster to the nation and for NASA!! I am an engineering student, and it is my sincere hope that a daring Lunar-bound program awaits in the future for the U.S. The Lunar venture, sortie expeditions followed eventually by base expeditions, will make all other interplanetary goals possible & attainable. May Congress veto the President on this issue, and restore Project Constellation!

  • Major Tom

    “the overwhelming majority of Americans that follow space policy support key aspects of the Constellation program,”

    How do you know? Did someone conduct a poll of “Americans that follow space policy”?

    “such as a destination specific plan”

    Per NASA’s FY 2011 budget request and the OSTP fact sheet for the President’s talk tomorrow, the plan incorporates “a range of destinations including lunar orbit, Lagrange points, near-Earth asteroids, and the moons of Mars, and eventually Mars itself.” In fact, the OSTP fact sheet is specific about the sequence of missions:

    “This sequence of missions will begin with a set of crewed flights to prove the capabilities required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. After these initial missions, our long-duration human spaceflight technologies will enable human explorers to conduct the first-ever crewed mission into deep space to an asteroid, thereby achieving an historical first; venture into deep space locations such as the Lagrange points (potential sites of fuel depots that would enable more capable future missions to the Moon, Mars, and other destinations); and then send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth.”

    “current investments in an architecture that gets us moving in that direction today.”

    Like the HLV development, technology demonstration missions, and robotic precursor missions that are in NASA’s FY 2011 budget request?

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Buzz Aldrin is the only Apollo astronaut to come out for the plan. About a dozen against. If the current astronaut core had any guts there would be even more noise. That is actually a fairly representative sample.”

    No, it’s not. For example:

    online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204574475091646686368.html

    “How does another decade marooned with our enemy on the space station do that.”

    Beats the PoR, which would have “marooned” U.S. civil human space flight on the ISS for only a half-decade, followed by 12 or so years of destinationless Ares I/Orion flights, at which point Ares V could be launched with an empty payload shroud.

    FWIW…

  • Buzz Aldrin applauds the President for his boldness and commitment in working to make this worthwhile dream a reality. http://bit.ly/boYaoC

  • Major Tom

    “The new Obama policy is the stuff that dreams are made of! Since we’re not committed to building anything right now it still could mean returning to the Moon someday, or going to Mars, or traveling an asteroid or even Alpha Centauri , or it could mean ending manned spaceflight altogether. That’s the beauty of the Obama plan! It could mean anything you want it to mean!”

    Only if you don’t bother to read NASA’s FY 2011 budget request or the OSTP fact sheet for tomorrow’s speech, which reads:

    “The President’s vision for NASA space exploration enables a set of stepping-stone achievements in space that will take us further and faster into space, allowing us to reach a range of destinations including lunar orbit, Lagrange points, near-Earth asteroids, and the moons of Mars, and eventually Mars itself. This sequence of missions will begin with a set of crewed flights to prove the capabilities required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. After these initial missions, our long-duration human spaceflight technologies will enable human explorers to conduct the first-ever crewed mission into deep space to an asteroid, thereby achieving an historical first; venture into deep space locations such as the Lagrange points (potential sites of fuel depots that would enable more capable future missions to the Moon, Mars, and other destinations); and then send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth.”

    Don’t make stuff up.

    “And by the time the president decides in 2015 on what new heavy lift vehicle will be built, a new President will be in power less than 14 months later”

    The next President takes office in 2018, not 2016.

    Duh…

  • Major Tom

    “Too bad we lost our only chance of ever getting any new technology from space buy [sic] destroying our natural base camps at the moon”

    Since we did we destroy the Moon? Or our nonexistant base camps there?

    Don’t make stuff up…

  • Major Tom

    “More disappointed voices:”

    That Aviationweek article contains multiple false statements. For example, the complaint “that so far the new plan doesn’t have any procedures in place for capturing benefits from the more than $9 billion spent on the Constellation Program of space shuttle follow-on vehicles” is flat wrong. Any idiot (at AWST or elsewhere) could have done a simple online search and found multiple references (from the ESMD AA no less) to knowledge-capture exercise underway as Constellation winds down:

    msnbc.msn.com/id/35209628/ns/technology_and_science-space/

    Piss-poor journalism, even for an industry rag.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Realistically, folks: WHY all this sudden obsession with “game changing new technologies” now?? Why not just percolate CONCURRENT funding for technology-laboratory research WHILE we are in the process of reaching & exploring the Moon? Why does the new Moon program have to die, so that all this Sci-Fi level, never-before-seen-stuff can come to fruition? I mean, did the Space Shuttle have to quit flying?”

    Because the civil human space flight budget isn’t big enough to fund major systems developments, Space Shuttle operations, and lunar exploration at the same time.

    Duh…

    “Did the ISS have to stay permanently on the drawing boards, just so that some new, amazing propulsion technology could finally be developed?”

    Of course not. The ISS doesn’t have a propulsion system.

    Duh…

    “Nevermind that NASA might well be trapped in LEO for the next twenty years”

    Says who?

    Don’t make stuff up.

    “Landing on an asteroid would be a far more gloomy end to a huge space journey, than a three day Lunar arrival would be.”

    We should base multi-ten billion taxpayer dollars decisions about civil human space flight targets based on which target is sunnier and happier?

    Are you kidding?

    “ignores the salient fact that the surface of an asteroid is VERY similar to the Lunar surface: airless, crater-battered, rocky & dusty. The equipment needed for such a mission would match fully the requirements needed for a Lunar expedition.”

    False. NEA missions are simpler. Lunar missions require landers. NEA missions do not.

    “May Congress veto the President on this issue, and restore Project Constellation!”

    In the U.S. federal government, the Presidency holds veto power, not the Congress.

    “all these Bolden statements!! (That guy totally lacks an understanding of the engineering aspects to space exploration plans!!)”

    This from someone who thinks that the ISS has a propulsion system?

    Oy vey…

  • “In the U.S. federal government, the Presidency holds veto power, not the Congress.”

    Indeed. Marcia Smith on The Space Show has expressed doubts that Constellation can be forced on NASA if the President if he doesn’t want it. http://thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=1340

  • Vladislaw

    “They would have us ignore all of the natural resources that we could exploit there”

    Do we have the government exploit oil resouces? Coal resources? Does the government do our mining? Harvest our timber? Grow our food?

    Why do you want to follow a stalinist model? Commerce and the private sector does what you want, not the government.

    So you want private enterprise shut down and instead want a huge government program instead ….

  • Taka

    Amightywind wrote:

    “Buzz Aldrin is the only Apollo astronaut to come out for the plan. About a dozen against. If the current astronaut core had any guts there would be even more noise. That is actually a fairly representative sample.”

    Buzz Aldrin is about the only astronaut with any credibility. He’s been a great advocate for pushing the space program forward. He’s the only astronaut I’ve consistently seen at major space conferences (e.g. AIAA). You can tell he’s a regular because he’s not surrounded by people seeking autographs… I’ve stood right next him in the back of the room watching the same panel.

  • “Buzz Aldrin is the only Apollo astronaut to come out for the plan. About a dozen against. If the current astronaut core had any guts there would be even more noise. That is actually a fairly representative sample.”

    A month or so back someone actually did a poll of former astronauts (gasp) and came up with about 60% opposed and 40% for the new plan. I’d have to dig for the reference, but he’s not alone. Chang-Diaz and Chiao are both supporters, though admittedly they both run private space companies. Sally Ride has come out strongly in favor of it as well, she was on the panel that encouraged that the line of thinking behind it, after all.

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