Congress, NASA

Huntsville comes to Washington

While space industry professionals from around the world are in Huntsville this week for the SpaceOps 2010 conference, 175 people from the greater Huntsville area are in Washington for an annual lobbying visit organized by the local Chamber of Commerce, and atop their agenda is trying to win support to save Constellation from the administration’s plans to cancel it. Sunday evening they got a pep talk from Sen. Richard Shelby, the Huntsvillle Times reports. “If (Republicans) were in control of the Senate, I would tell you exactly what we’d be doing to save Constellation,” he said, reiterating earlier statements that the administration’s strategy is a “death march” for NASA.

Yesterday they got a similar message from staffers for Shelby and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). “I don’t know how many more blunt objects we have to hit NASA over the head with,” Allen Cutler, on Shelby’s staff, said, according to the Times. He told the story of his daughter, who had been saving money for a trip to Space Camp but after the release of the FY11 budget proposal changed her mind, wondering what the use was “if there aren’t going to be any more astronauts”. Despite plans in the proposal to extend the ISS to 2020 and mount missions to near Earth asteroids, Mars, and other destinations beyond Earth orbit, Cutler said he’s also wondering “what is NASA going to be worth if it isn’t flying astronauts into space?”

Brian Hendricks, on Hutchison’s staff, “expressed ‘profound anger’ at Obama’s decision”, the Times reported. “and he said the ability of the commercial world to achieve what NASA has achieved is ‘circumspect.’”. (One suspects that he said, or meant to say, that he was circumspect about about their abilities.) He added that there is “no support” in Congress for canceling Constellation. A mid-May hearing is planned to bring in “people who best understand spaceflight and NASA” to express their views about the president’s plan, “and I have a real problem calling it a plan because he doesn’t seem to have one.”

70 comments to Huntsville comes to Washington

  • amightywind

    The Obama administration has ADD. They simply cannot follow an existing program with widespread support with out marring it. Can anyone remember a revolt like this against a NASA budget? I can’t.

  • Survival of Constellation via partisan politics? Doubtful.

    Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Florida is not all of Congress, just pissed off rent seekers.

    There simply is no money. Ask your so-called conservative congress-critters to transfer funds from the Pentagon to NASA if you believe in Constellation so highly. Good luck with that.

    And if you think a GOP Congress will fund NASA more, well, good luck with that one too.

  • Justin Kugler

    I have to wonder who Cutler and Hendricks are actually talking to and plan on bringing in for that hearing.

  • Shame on Allen Cutler for lying to his daughter, telling her there would be no more astronauts. NASA just had another graduating class. They will be flying to ISS at least through 2020 and we’re negotiating to extend that to 2028.

    I wonder if, when Cutler’s daughter grows up, she will resent him for lying to her and denying her the wonderful experience of Space Camp.

  • amightywind

    Why send a kid to space camp when the best she will be able to do is hitch a ride to the forlorn ISS with the Ruskies? Better for the kid to face reality now. This regime’s chaotic decisions have consequences as we are all coming to learn bitterly.

  • Bennett

    I’ll be glad when all this BS about “the death of NASA” and “the end of HSF” goes the way of the Dodo. And it will, and the GOP will have lost even more credibility over their lies and misrepresentations.

    Here again are the power point presentations from April 15th in Florida.

    These have been in the hands of Congress since then, and put the Porker’s BS clearly on the table. The Presidents pan is the smartest and best thing that’s happened to NASA in 35 years.

  • New Space had better vote Democratic in November 2010.

  • Or better yet, educate the Republicans (with help from Newt, Bob Walker and Dana). New Space voting Democrat isn’t going to stop the deluge. All it will do is further alienate the Republicans against it.

  • ISSvet

    New Space had better vote Democratic in November 2010.

    Sad, but true.

    NewSpace used to be bipartisan, with definite Republican leadership. Now the Republicans in Congress are so sunk in a fact-free swamp (Rohrabacher excepted) that NewSpace is becoming Democratic by default. We no longer can trust anything a Republican says about space because of this performance. Their principles clearly mean as little to them as the facts.

  • ISSvet

    If the Republican response to citizens voting Democratic because of Republican opposition to the citizens’ interests is to increase the Republican opposition, that pretty well defines the problem, doesn’t it?

  • amightywind

    >New Space had better vote Democratic in November 2010.

    Congress is packed with a once in a generation supermajority of democrats. The opposition to Obamaspace is bipartisan. Scott Brown’s election in MA is a harbinger of a massive rejection of the democrat agenda this November by a highly motivated conservative base.. As I said before, Obama’s chance to change NASA came and went last year. The best he can do now is negotiate from a position of weakness.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    It looks increasingly clear that Obamaspace is dead in this Congress. Crony capitalism and vague promises of going to an asteroid or Mars “someday” somehow are not proving to be good selling points. Nor, I daresay, are snarky comments on the Internet about how all opponents to Obamaspace are stupid, or socialists, or something.

  • If the Republican response to citizens voting Democratic because of Republican opposition to the citizens’ interests is to increase the Republican opposition, that pretty well defines the problem, doesn’t it?

    Citizens don’t care about space. They’re much more worried about spending. As I said, people who care about the new policy had better develop bipartisan support for it. It’s a waste of your vote to try to stem an anti-incumbent (which means anti-Democrat this year) tide.

  • ISSvet

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Some citizens care about space – those are the ones we’re talking about. That said, I agree with you that the essential thing right now is to develop bipartisan support. Do you have any idea how to get through to Republicans on this?

  • Yes. There has to be an educational campaign, at a grass roots level. I would even try to get Tea Party support for it. We have about eight months.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    It looks increasingly clear that Obamaspace is dead in this Congress. ..

    yes Mark and the WMD went to Syria…what a hoot. Sorry Mark you left being a serious evaluator of events a long time ago.

    Obama’s space policy is doing fine. It will shortly be the law of the land

    and just as the GOP is not going to do a thing about the health care plan…ehy will do nothing about the space policy in the next Congress…they are just saying that for the stupid.

    Robert G. Oler

  • amightywind

    “Yes. There has to be an educational campaign, at a grass roots level. I would even try to get Tea Party support for it. We have about eight months.”

    Obamaspace is not an issue that will resonate with Tea Partiers. Indeed, Obama’s plan to diminish US space dominance will create the opposite effect. The Tea Party is about defeating Obama’s agenda not aligning with it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Allen Cutler, on Shelby’s staff, said, according to the Times. He told the story of his daughter, who had been saving money for a trip to Space Camp but after the release of the FY11 budget proposal changed her mind, wondering what the use was “if there aren’t going to be any more astronauts”…………….

    Cutler knows that these are the kind of arguments one uses when one has no other arguments to use.

    All this is just bluster. The politics behind Obama’s plan are pretty solid…and the national politics are far from set.

    The GOP might have blown its wad on the Arizona thing and the Finance Reform bill.

    With Rush now making statements openly admitting that the GOP is mostly “old and white”…and the Hispanic vote leaving the GOP in droves now…

    saying what the 2010 election will turn out to be is amaterish

    Ares and Bush’s plan to go to the Moon are deader then a knob.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Yes. There has to be an educational campaign, at a grass roots level. I would even try to get Tea Party support for it. We have about eight months…

    perhaps a lecture could be had between classes on how to paint signs making Obama alook like Hitler…or those speeches questioning his citizenship…or how all the folks who are on federal health care programs are opposed to them.

    “you betcha”

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 10:38 am
    The opposition to Obamaspace is bipartisan. Scott Brown’s election in MA is a harbinger of a massive rejection of the democrat agenda this November by a highly motivated conservative base…..

    LOL

    Robert G. Oler

  • Major Tom

    “The Obama administration has ADD. They simply cannot follow an existing program with widespread support…”

    Where exactly is this “widespread support” for Constellation?

    Rep. Mollohan, chair of NASA’s House appropriations subcommittee, has stated that “President Obama is committing the nation to human spaceflight as a continuing endeavor, but this commitment is part of a balanced effort within a constrained budget,” and has questioned whether “the Apollo-like vision of the 1960’s… is that the approach that best serves our national interest?”

    Sen. Voinovich on NASA’s Senate appropriations subcommittee is “encouraged that President Obama is becoming more personally involved in charting this new course for our nation’s space program”, found that the “announcement providing Glenn with a leadership role in planning the development of next-generation space technologies was very encouraging”, and is “happy to see that the administration is looking for a way to capitalize on the $3.9 billion investment already made on Orion, and is laying out some time frames for the development of a heavy-lift rocket.”

    Sen. Cochran, also on NASA’s Senate appropriations subcommittee, has “gained assurances that the Stennis Space Center will have a robust future as a testing facility” and “welcomed Bolden’s assurances and expressed his desire for the Appropriations Committee to work with the space agency.”

    Sen. Rockefeller, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees NASA’s authorization subcommittee, commended “President Obama for strengthening and clarifying his vision for NASA” and “is pleased the president’s plan retains its focus on innovation, research and technology development – the drivers of our economy.”

    Sen. Udall, “Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has told the press “that NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and the White House understand Colorado officials’ concerns” and that NASA’s FY 2011 budget request “is great news for… the nation’s leadership in space.”

    Rep. Rohrbacher on NASA’s House authorization subcommittee said that “President Obama reiterated the nation’s long-term space goal – America, and American astronauts, exploring the solar system. This remains the right goal… Getting the private sector more involved in space efforts will free up NASA to explore the solar system and the universe beyond.”

    NASA’s largest union has sent a letter to Senator Mikulski supporting NASA’s FY 2011 budget request:

    spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=33960

    The largest professional association of aerospace engineers has released a statement supporting NASA’s FY 2011 budget request:

    intranet.aiaa.org/industryresources/PDF/spacesummit15AprilPR.pdf

    Multiple major industry players, from Orbital to Aerojet to ITT to Harris, have come out in favor of NASA’s FY 2011 budget request:

    reuters.com/article/idUSN1412086820100414

    orbital.com/NewsInfo/release.asp?prid=729

    Major aerospace industry organizations have also come out in favor of NASA’s FY 2011 budget request:

    aia-aerospace.org/newsroom/aia_news/2010/statement_on_president_obamas_space_policy_speech/

    commercialspaceflight.org/?p=1197

    University presidents in charge of leading aerospace engineering programs like Georgia Tech and Embry-Riddle are writing editorials supporting NASA’s FY 2011 budget request:

    washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/23/reinventing-nasa/

    news-journalonline.com/opinion/editorials/2010/04/21/local-space-dreams-survive.html

    The two largest space advocacy organizations have come out in favor of NASA’s FY 2011 budget request:

    planetarysociety.org/about/press/releases/2010/0421_Planetary_Society_Submits_Statement_of.html

    nss.org/news/releases/pr20100415.html

    Heck, even editorial boards at major periodicals like the NY Times, Nature Magazine, The Economist, Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune support NASA’s FY 2011 budget request:

    nytimes.com/2010/04/16/opinion/16fri3.html

    economist.com/science-technology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15449787

    nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7282/full/463709b.html

    boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2010/02/15/while_nasa_needs_to_evolve_the_universe_still_beckons/

    startribune.com/opinion/commentary/83972312.html?elr=KArksc8P:Pc:U0ckkD:aEyKUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

    “The opposition to Obamaspace is bipartisan.”

    No, it’s not. It’s parochial. It’s concentrated in a couple handfuls of congressmen from Alabama, Texas, and Utah.

    “The best he can do now is negotiate from a position of weakness.”

    Yeah, having multiple senior congressmen in key committee positions, the largest unions and professional organizations, multiple major companies and industry organizations, leading university presidents, the largest public advocacy organizations, and top editorial boards in favor of your proposal is such a “position of weakness”.

    Oy vey…

  • Major Tom

    “It looks increasingly clear that Obamaspace is dead in this Congress.”

    It’s exactly the opposite. The telling quote from the Huntsville Times article:

    “Hendricks said Hutchison and Shelby have worked together to try to save Constellation and prevent other NASA changes, but thus far a fix hasn’t been found.”

    Efforts to insert Shelby’s Constellation language from last year’s omnibus appropriations bill into a bill this year have failed. The opposition still hasn’t decided between Shuttle extension and reinstating Constellation. And in the meantime, both draft NASA authorization bills provide all the funding in every NASA account that the Administration requested, and multiple senior congressmen in key committee positions, including Mollohan, Voinovich, Cochran, Rockefeller, Udall, and Rohrbacher, have all made statements supporting NASA’s FY 2011 budget request.

    Don’t make things up.

    “Crony capitalism and vague promises of going to an asteroid or Mars “someday” somehow are not proving to be good selling points.”

    This is an ignorant and gross mischaracterization of NASA’s FY 2011 budget request. The agency is planning multiple specific exploration demonstration missions — including lunar volatiles, high-power electric propulsion, in-space propellant storage and transfer, and inflatable mission modules — on specific timelines over the next decade. See this presentation from Doug Cooke, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems:

    slideshare.net/coalitionforspace/a-new-spacee-enterprise-exploration-technology-and-capability-development

    Don’t make things up.

    “Nor, I daresay, are snarky comments on the Internet about how all opponents to Obamaspace are stupid, or socialists, or something.”

    Who said that in this thread?

    Stop making things up.

    Ugh…

  • perhaps a lecture could be had between classes on how to paint signs making Obama alook like Hitler…or those speeches questioning his citizenship…or how all the folks who are on federal health care programs are opposed to them.

    No one is proposing that political morons like you do the outreach.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    there is no need to do outreach to a group which so far has not elected a single national office holder who is still with the “tea party” movement.

    I know you are going to bring up Scott Brown, but it is more a case of the tea party being with him, not he with the tea party. If the “tea party’ person in say NY 23 could have been elected then you would have something.

    So far the tea party folks, amplified by the incessant noise of Fox are the biggest bluff since falsies.

    Worse for the tea party groups while they could be tenuous…the first winds of economic recovery are starting to blow.

    Robert G. Oler

  • My big concern is that there will be a continuing resolution, and that there will be no budget this year. And then, next year, Mollohan will likely be gone, either because he lost his seat (his reelect numbers aren’t very good), or because he’ll have lost his chairmanship to Frank Wolf, or worse, Culberson. On the Senate side, while it’s not likely that the Dems will lose the majority, I wouldn’t necessarily bet a lot against it, and if Shelby takes the gavel from Mikulski, the budget will become a real (almost literally) pig’s breakfast.

    It’s not going to be possible to change Shelby’s mind, but we have to get as much Republican support for the new direction as possible, if we want the plan to survive.

  • Major Tom

    “Obamaspace is not an issue that will resonate with Tea Partiers. Indeed, Obama’s plan to diminish US space dominance will create the opposite effect. The Tea Party is about defeating Obama’s agenda not aligning with it.”

    Per the Tea Party’s own mission statement, the organization’s core values are:

    – Fiscal Responsibility
    – Constitutionally Limited Government
    – Free Markets

    teapartypatriots.org/Mission.aspx

    Replacing commercial crew with Constellation at a cost of $5 billion per year conflicts with two of those three core values.

    Think before you post.

    Lawdy…

  • Think before you post.

    You’re asking to much of Mr. Oler.

    I actually am starting to think about a media strategy to sell this. What we need is a new version of the von Braun Colliers/Disney series, showing the disparity in the two visions, and get it to go viral on the web. We also need, as much as possible, to separate the policy from the White House, because the association is unhelpful.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    “Obama’s space policy is doing fine. It will shortly be the law of the land”
    Actually, no. Even if time runs out in this Congress, Constellation or “The Program of Record” is the default and will likely be preserved in a continuing resolution into the next Congress, which will be vastly different and far more energetic about overturning stupid, train wreck plans like Obamaspace.

  • Unfortunately, Mark is right, for once, unless we can get the Republicans on board with a free-enterprise space program. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard…

  • Well Duh…it’s simple.

    Constellation has to stay active !!!

    The solid rocket industry has to stay active for civil and military space. It’s a matter of health lift in HSF, robotic space flight, commercial space flight and national security. You can’t cut away a big chunk from the industry despite arms reduction treaties and expect it to survive. Technical people need to be practised and building SRB’s to avoid ‘stale engineering’ problems in people and material. It costs way more money to resuscitate the SRB industry if it’s cut back to the point of no return. Large scale SRB building is complex and needs more advancement not less to stay reliable.

  • Major Tom

    “My big concern is that there will be a continuing resolution, and that there will be no budget this year. And then, next year, Mollohan will likely be gone, either because he lost his seat (his reelect numbers aren’t very good), or because he’ll have lost his chairmanship to Frank Wolf, or worse, Culberson. On the Senate side, while it’s not likely that the Dems will lose the majority, I wouldn’t necessarily bet a lot against it, and if Shelby takes the gavel from Mikulski, the budget will become a real (almost literally) pig’s breakfast.”

    It’s certainly a scenario to hedge against, but with Wall St. reform starting to change the election calculus yet again, Democrats possibly pushing through as many bills as possible if defeat does seem inevitable, possible White House demands for CR language, the unlikelihood of Mikulski going against a Democratic White House, and support from key Republican appropriators like Voinovich and Cochran, my 2 cents is that it’s a lower probability scenario.

    “It’s not going to be possible to change Shelby’s mind”

    As brazen and hypocritical as Shelby is about pork, there’s a decent chance he’d change his mind if he’d just let someone sit down with him and go over the net gains in MSFC (and ULA) work. Even a Senator can understand that three engine development projects require more high-value technical jobs than one.

    “but we have to get as much Republican support for the new direction as possible”

    Between Voinovich, Cochran, and Rohrbacher, you have several already.

    “You’re asking to much of Mr. Oler.”

    Just for the record, my response was to “amightywind” (a flatulence reference, really?), not Mr. Oler.

    “What we need is a new version of the von Braun Colliers/Disney series”

    The question is who is today’s equivalent of von Braun — a publicly recognizable expert in aeronautical engineering who is also a fluent advocate. I can’t think of any.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “The solid rocket industry has to stay active for civil and military space.”

    Certainly, but only NASA uses huge, segmented, solid rocket motors. The Shuttle SRBs, whether through Shuttle extension or Constellation restoration, are an extremely expensive and dumb way to keep that industry active. For the cost of one Ares I-X test flight or one Shuttle flight, half of the solid rocket motors in the U.S. land-based ICBM arsenal could be refurbished or dozens of EELV solid rocket boosters could be purchased.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    Of course, there’s a track on commercial space at the SpaceOps conference this year in, of all places, Huntsville:

    blog.al.com/space-news/2010/04/for_mission_controllers_commer.html

    It’s really great how Shelby and other Alabama congressmen are listening to their own workforce:

    “‘This will help us begin the step of communicating and integrating’ between private and government systems, said Mike Kearney, Marshall Space Flight Center mission operations technician and technical program chair for the conference.”

    “‘The days of going it alone are long over,’ NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Charles Scales told the opening session at the Von Braun Center.”

    Oy vey…

  • PS. Please, “don’t taze me…bro.” with being republican or democrat I’m just pro-space pure and simple.

  • amightywind

    Major Tom:

    “Wall St. reform starting to change the election calculus yet again, Democrats possibly pushing through as many bills as possible if defeat does seem inevitable, possible White House demands for CR language, the unlikelihood of Mikulski going against a Democratic White House”

    Your reasoning is incomplete since you ignore the politics of Florida. Obama is handing Marco Rubio a gift issue in NASA jobs. Ben Nelson is terrified, wondering what challenger will appear out of the woodwork supporting NASA. And to defend what? A lark by some of Obama’s leftists who want to pursue their mad schemes without regard for NASA’s space professionals?

    The financial regulation bill has done nothing but galvanize GOP opposition to institutionalised bailouts and cronyism. It is not a winner for the dems. Even Obama fanboi Warren Buffett is opposed.

  • I think people need to understand the relationship between liquid and solid rocket booster building, movement, storage and maintenance have between military use and requirements for payload delivery and the civilian use and requirements of same for payload delivery.

    The difference between military and civilian technical space requirements are very different-very, very different.

    In fact both worlds compete and share technical information.

  • The question is who is today’s equivalent of von Braun — a publicly recognizable expert in aeronautical engineering who is also a fluent advocate. I can’t think of any.

    I’m not sure we need the von Braun, but we do need the multi-media popularization campaign, sort of a fact sheet for the public to cut through all the hysteria and sell the public.

    abreakingwind flatulated:

    Obama is handing Marco Rubio a gift issue in NASA jobs. Ben Nelson is terrified, wondering what challenger will appear out of the woodwork supporting NASA.

    Rubio is going to beat Meek regardless. Neither Ben Nelson or his opponent care about space. There is no Nebraska space program, and he’s not up for election until 2012. And if you mean Bill Nelson, his seat is good until 2012 as well.

    And to defend what? A lark by some of Obama’s leftists who want to pursue their mad schemes without regard for NASA’s space professionals?

    This is a lunatic characterization, and many of NASA’s space professionals are fully behind new direction. What kind of “leftist” policy would help open up space to free enterprise?

  • Bennett

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    “sort of a fact sheet for the public to cut through all the hysteria and sell the public.”

    What are your views on the presentation material from the April 15th KSC event? I think a lot of it could be used in support of what you propose. There are some great timeline pages that I would love to have splashed up on the front page of every space oriented website, just to start to counter the argument that there IS a plan.

  • Bennett

    “just to counter the argument that there isn’t a real plan.”

    Yeah, well, you knew what I meant…

  • What are your views on the presentation material from the April 15th KSC event? I think a lot of it could be used in support of what you propose.

    I haven’t seen it, but what I want to do is compare and contrast: a few astronauts a couple times a year at billions per flight, versus hundreds of people going all sorts of places for the same budget. And I want to get story tellers with graphics studios in Hollywood to do it, instead of engineers with Powerpoint. I’m in discussion with some right now.

  • Bennett

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Go, man, go! Let us know if additional voices are needed.

  • I was going to post a comment here…. but after reading a bit I felt that I may be losing I.Q. points just by reading this dribble. Come to think of it- this is a post, and thus I have lost some I.Q. points… Oler, Major Tom et.al. you now owe me- pay up.

  • Bennett

    Max Peck wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Yikes! And the IQ points you lost were the ones that knew the difference between “dribble” and “drivel”…

    ;-)

  • Vladislaw

    “He told the story of his daughter, who had been saving money for a trip to Space Camp but after the release of the FY11 budget proposal changed her mind, wondering what the use was “if there aren’t going to be any more astronauts”

    Let’s see, two trips to the moon per year, under the program of record, with a total of 8 astronauts. No astronauts at the ISS because it gets deorbited at the end of 2015. So out of a Nation of 310,000,000 people 8 per year get to goto space. Your odds are 1 in 38,750,000 of getting that shot. I would rather see 2-4 companies launching 6 per trip, 3-6 times a year with a potential of 36 – 144 people getting into space. I hope she decides to vote for commercial.

  • amightywind

    “No astronauts at the ISS because it gets deorbited at the end of 2015. ”

    If you want to talk about mistakes, it is continuing to sink billions into this albatross. NASA could have easily launched a more modest platform in 10 or so shuttle flights. But no, Clinton chose to create a UN in space. I’d rather see ISS deorbited in 2015 and replaced by a more modest station launched by an Ares V as with Saturn V and Skylab.

  • Major Tom

    “Obama is handing Marco Rubio a gift issue in NASA jobs.”

    Yes, Rubio can really make hay of the fact that NASA’s FY 2011 budget request generates 2,500 more jobs than the old Constellation plan.

    Can’t you get at least one fact right in your posts?

    “Ben Nelson is terrified,”

    Sigh…

    Bill Nelson is the Senator from Florida (and former astronaut). Ben Nelson is the Senator from Nebraska.

    Do you not know the difference between Florida and Nebraska?

    Or between the names “Bill” and “Ben”?

    Again, do you think at all before you post?

    “A lark by some of Obama’s leftists”

    Yes, it’s such a leftist scheme that famous socialists like Ed Hudgins, from that communist organization the Atlas Institute, are arguing that NASA’s FY 2011 budget proposal contains “positive elements” including “‘cancelling… Constellation” and “encouraging ‘the private sector for low-Earth-orbit missions.’”

    ocregister.com/opinion/space-245942-nasa-president.html

    Again, can’t you get at least one fact right in your posts?

    “without regard for NASA’s space professionals?”

    Here’s what the IFTPE, NASA’s largest union representing the agency’s professional engineers, says:

    “First and foremost, in a time of severe fiscal pressure, President Obama has shown his confidence in NASA by proposing that NASA receive $19 billion in FY11, a $275.7 million dollar increase in its top line over the enacted FY10 level…”

    “… Third, in support of NASA Space Technology and Aeronautics, President Obama is proposing to invest $1.15 billion to renew NASA’s scientific and technological research, which will restore core capabilities at the Research and Technology (R&T) Field Centers so badly neglected over the last 6 years.”

    “Fourth, as part of his unwavering commitment to Human Space Flight, President Obama is proposing to increase NASA’s Space Exploration budget by $483.6 million.”

    Fifth, because President Obama understands the problem of workforce disruption during any programmatic transition, he has proactively proposed specific, aggressive steps to protect NASA’s core capabilities at its Field Centers. In particular, to put America on a sustainable course for Human Exploration beyond Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), the President is proposing to invest $559 million to accelerate the development of a new Heavy-Lift vehicle and to support critical research on in-space propulsion, which will nurture core capabilities at Marshall Space Flight Center and Glenn Research Center. These FY11 research and analysis efforts should mature as soon as possible into a NASA-led vehicle-development program to support extended-duration Human Exploration beyond LEO. Furthermore, judicious allocation of Constellation transition funds should be used to augment the Heavy-Lift effort by fully leveraging the Ares I workforce and capabilities. In addition, the President is also proposing to invest $429 million to develop a 21st century launch complex that will revitalize and extend the Kennedy Space Center’s Human and Robotic Space Flight capabilities…”

    “… The greatest strength of the President’s budget is that it is honest and forward-looking; in February, President Obama asked NASA to deliver $19 billion worth of work for $19 billion in funding and invested the necessary attention back into long-term R&T… Never again should NASA be asked to deliver $22 billion worth of work for $19 billion in funds as this is a formula for failure.”

    “The last two Presidents have promised Mars as a Human Exploration destination, yet we are as far away from that today as we were when President Bush announced his Vision for Space Exploration. Why? Because near-term responsibilities and corporate interests have dominated decision making with critical long-term R&T postponed again and again. To those who argue passionately and cogently for a crewed mission to Mars, we say ‘show me the technology’. For NASA to send humans to Mars (or an asteroid) and back, safely and cost-effectively, it first needs to make major breakthroughs in both spaceflight and human-support technologies. This will require long-lead research into in-space propulsion, power generation and storage, closed-loop life support, material science, space life science and human factors, automation, thermal protection, cryogenics, and other areas. One thing is sure; if we don’t start, Mars will remain 20 years away forever.”

    spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=33960

    For the third time, can’t you get at least one fact right in your posts?

    “But no, Clinton chose to create a UN in space.”

    Double sigh…

    It was the Reagan Administration that signed up partners in Europe, Japan, and Canada for the space station. The Clinton Administration actually shrank the program after years of overruns and only added Russia to the partnership.

    Please, before you post again, get at least one fact right and think before you hit “submit”.

    Ugh…

  • common sense

    @Major Tom wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    “The question is who is today’s equivalent of von Braun — a publicly recognizable expert in aeronautical engineering who is also a fluent advocate. I can’t think of any.”

    Indeed there is no such person today. So we could go about it in a slightly different way. We could use a small group of people with high visibility. For example you could ask if they are so inclined people who have shown interest such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking (Kip Thorne? I don’t know his views on HSF if any but he has experience with PBS like shows), and Richard Branson and possibly Elon Musk. Nowadays even if a “von Braun” was lurking somewhere I doubt the “public” would pay any attention to him/her. It is not only about aerospace expertise any more. It is about communication. And it is an effort that MUST last more than a few weeks. So you blend the “speakers” with something online and some Nova-like shows and 3D Imax movies and maybe, just maybe you could pick the interest of the public but I am far from convinced. In other words how do you turn “Space” into an “iPod”?

    Oh well…

  • Major Tom, I don’t think the other astronauts consider Bill Nelson an astronaut. Or “Barfin’” Jake Garn, either.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Max Peck wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I was going to post a comment here…

    …cant lose what you dont have! Robert G. Oler

  • addendum to my comment: Both liquid and solid booster advancement are part and parcel for both military and civilian space. I disagree with ‘newspace’ EELV commercial centric space philosophy. It’s not suprising that military space is ahead of civilian space now with launch of X37B and higher tech reuse-ability. This is the future for military space as more civilian infrastructure will be built in space. It will be a fact of life in space as the military will be called upon to provide security for assets on LEO and lunar/mars soil firma.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Think before you post.

    You’re asking to much of Mr. Oler…

    it seems to be asking to much of you to follow the thread…

    “I actually am starting to think about a media strategy to sell this. What we need is a new version of the von Braun Colliers/Disney series, showing the disparity in the two visions, and get it to go viral on the web”

    This has been tried. While success might have alluded the effort due to the presentation, the reality is that we live in a world where the vision of spaceflight, particularly by humans is not something that can be “fantasized” or well “romanced” would be a better world because the reality is so clear.

    The Colliers series worked because to that world it was “plausible”. That might be the key and that might be what you had in mind…but it would be extremely difficult.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Your reasoning is incomplete since you ignore the politics of Florida. Obama is handing Marco Rubio a gift issue in NASA jobs…

    you make the mistake that all space groupies make. That the “rest” of the American people care the same amount about space jobs…that the people who have those jobs care about them.

    That is not even true in Texas and its not true in FL.

    Go up to Hearne Texas and try and sale the folks at the 5/10 dinner that Obama is a lefty because he is abandoning the Moon to the chinese and you will find a giant yawn among those who are worried about 100,000 things before they are worried about that. You might make that sale in Clear Lake City but not even so much there.

    The “shine” of space agency jobs being all that special came off a couple of decades ago. I’ve been out of Clear Lake City politics for a bit, but while there is some angst about jobs at the JSC…it is not the major employeer in the area…and right now the big angst is 1) making sure there is enough money to finish some of the road projects and 2) keeping some teachers employed at th Creek school district.

    Put it another way…if there is a choice between spending billions to send a few “mythic heroes” back to the Moon and spending those same billions to turn Highway 59 into an interstate…guess which one the folks locally want.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Major Tom

    “Major Tom, I don’t think the other astronauts consider Bill Nelson an astronaut. Or ‘Barfin’ Jake Garn, either.”

    Agreed — I also have a hard time using that term with those two. But how the other poster can confuse Bill Nelson from Florida who has been on a Space Shuttle flight and is active in NASA politics with Ben Nelson from Nebraska who hasn’t and isn’t is beyond me.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Major Tom, I don’t think the other astronauts consider Bill Nelson an astronaut. Or “Barfin’” Jake Garn, either…

    much as few Naval Aviators consider bush as anything other then grandstanding for his trip to The Babe.

    I actually agree with your sentiment here…but be careful.

    The notion of what career federal employees being the sole determiner of who is and who is not an astronaut (and thats what the astronaut office would like) is part of the problem with human spaceflight right now.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    you make the mistake that all space groupies make. That the “rest” of the American people care the same amount about space jobs…that the people who have those jobs care about them.

    As I noted a few days back, the latest poll shows Obama’s approval in Florida up five points from three months ago. His space proposal clearly had no impact — or if it did, the effect was positive.

    National polls continue to show that a majority of Americans want less government spending on space, and want the private sector to pay for it instead.

    But the space groupies ignore all that because it’s not what they want to hear.

  • Fred Cink

    “A majority of Americans want less government spending on space.” Sadly I have to agree, as most polls confirm this. A KEY point that some of those polls also show, is that the vast majority of those polled think that NASA’s share of federal spending represents 5-10% (at a low range) and 20-50%(!?!) at a high range. I am posting this from a library at a small state university in ND (fertile ground for wheat and soybeans but not so fertile for supporters of NASA) I just asked 3 students and their responses were 2-5%, and all supported an increase. Earlier, 2 people at a gas station said 25% and 50% and wanted cuts. They didnt believe me at all when I told them it was 0.5% Maybe we should have an education effort on getting the truth out (other than the pathetic job that is done by NASA TV) and average John and Jane support for NASA just might increase and opposition just might decrease.

  • Rand,

    I think you’re on the right track with a short compare/contrast video. If there’s any way the Lunar Library can help out, please let me know.

    As I read through all of the mental ma$turbation going on here under the guise of ‘politics’, I’m quickly reminded of why I am so much in support of the private sector taking a far bigger role in space endeavors. So long as space efforts are tied to NASA, they will always be tied to the whims of political gamesmanship and maneuverings. Jobs and taxes are going to be created by the private sector, both of which are something we are in great need of right now.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Fred Cink wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    that is interesting but I bet that all it reflects is ignorance of the general public as to the share of monies that various federal expenditures have. Indeed I bet you if you pulled 100 people from any group you would find that the numbers that can even name what the federal budget bottom line is (and just be close) is at best in single digits.

    There is almost no data that suggest that any federal program rises or falls in terms of support based on the size of the expenditure. Although I dont have any studies to back this up…I can cite individual programs like PBS or any of the national endowment for the arts efforts which take “little” money but generate enormous interest.

    In the recent health care debate Palin was able to draw Death Panels from a very modest expenditure that allowed people to seek “end of life” counseling.

    I doubt very much that if one pointed out the cost of a federal program that it has much affect on the support of it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • SpaceMan

    For example you could ask if they are so inclined people who have shown interest such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking

    James Cameron would be one of the first to consider since he has been a Mars Society member, had his team do initial work for a first landing on Mars movie and a mini-series as well as being involved in a moon related for-profit project just before the 20000 market implosion. Of course there are all his movies as well to consider as well.

    And if he isn’t interested he sure could point you in the correct direction to those that are.

  • SpaceMan

    Obviously that should read :

    “… just before the 2000 market implosion. Of course there are all his movies to consider as well….”

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    National polls continue to show that a majority of Americans want less government spending on space, and want the private sector to pay for it instead….

    What most space groupies cannot seem to figure out is that most Americans really DONT CARE about human spaceflight. IN the scheme of things Obama’s perceived support or non support of human spaceflight will affect some areas but they are mostly ones he was losing already.

    What is going to be interesting to see is how the forces shape up running into the election. We have had two major events occur in the body politic and I suspect that the consequences are going to be fairly entertaining.

    Robert G. Oler

  • @ Almighty Wind……Your comment is right on the money! The ISS IS costing us billions of federal budget dollars, even with nothing more ambitious being planned. With the Aries 5, we could have had launched a Skylab-type of station that would’ve cost far less to maintain, and could’ve been easily serviced by the fully-developed Orion craft, for intermittent crew stays. I always lamented that the original Skylab was allowed to crash to Earth before the U.S. got newer spacecraft, in the 70s. NASA might very well have gotten over all that LEO station mania just-to-copy-the-Soviets thing, long ago. ALL the Soviets, and eventually Russians, have EVER done since the 1970s has been LEO space station stays! Since the Salyut and Mir days, on to now. If only America could’ve just got some serious international competition in placing astronauts in deep space, way back then! Things would’ve been so different. Or even now, then there would be NO WAY that President Obama could get away with wrecking Project Constellation!

  • red

    Chris Castro: “With the Aries 5, we could have had launched a Skylab-type of station that would’ve cost far less to maintain, and could’ve been easily serviced by the fully-developed Orion craft, for intermittent crew stays.”

    How would this be affordable, given that Ares V isn’t affordable? How could we do this, when Ares V won’t be built until ~2028 at current estimates, and this would leave no money to develop a space station to put on it? How could it be easily serviced by the fully-developed Orion craft, when that and its launcher are too expensive to develop and operate, too?

    I’d suggest that a big part of the ISS expense was due to Shuttle expense and delays. I do think we should be looking into smaller, possibly intermittently-crewed, specialized stations launched and serviced by existing rockets at this point, though.

    “ALL the Soviets, and eventually Russians, have EVER done since the 1970s has been LEO space station stays!”

    A lot of the Constellation supporters are suggesting that the new NASA plan lets the Russians leave us behind. I think you have a much more realistic version here of the Russian side (although we probably don’t agree on the NASA side, where I think the new plan will move us ahead much better than Constellation would).

  • @ Red…..Pure sensationalistic bunk: all that talk about Constellation’s heavy-lift vehicle taking multi-decades to build! With PROPER FUNDING, the Aries 5 would easily have been up and running before this decade was out! The Augustine Commission just had an ax to grind about the Moon being Destination One. Constellation’s rockets, spacecrafts & infrastructure could subsequently have put together a later mission to dock with an asteroid—keeping the Moon as its primary goal. What do you think happens AFTER that Guinness Book of World Records stunt mission to the asteroid?? Remember Buzz Aldrin’s Rule: We never ever visit a planetoid more than once! We just place a flag, collect a few rocks, and we’re done with THAT place forever! (Flags, Footprints, & Nothing More: that’s Flexible Path—that’s Obama’s space plan!)

  • common sense

    @ SpaceMan wrote @ April 27th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    “James Cameron would be one of the first to consider since he has been a Mars Society member”

    I don’t think James Cameron has what it takes. He sure makes impressive movies but it is far from enough. One will need charisma AND technical credibility As for being a member of the Mars Society, so what? What does that tell the public?

    Let me ask again: How do we turn “space/HSF/NASA” into an “iPod”? If you can answer that then you have a case for public interest, otherwise…

  • MrEarl

    One person I would very interested to have his opinion is Bohdan Bejmuk. He was a member of the Augustine Committee who I got to meet and was very impressed with. I found him to be excited about all forms of human space flight and quite knowledgeable.

  • Mr. Bohdan Dejmuk should be speaking out, about the long-term wisdom of a Lunar Return—-ahead & before ANY asteroids. Neil Armstrong should’ve spoken out, WAY sooner! Constellation is STILL the way to go, and we need to continue the campaign to save this project in Congress. Even Robert Zubrin, that tireless stalwart for Mars missions in OUR time, can read through all the bunk & deception in President Obama’s space plan—-and he condemns it! Skipping the Moon, just to do one-time-only Flags & Footprints landings on asteroids will NOT get us any closer to resource-utilization NOR an Antarctic-type of base foothold ANYWHERE. Because THAT kind of space vision REQUIRES that you in fact DO go back to where you’ve been! There’s nothing wrong with return expeditions, to expand on the knowledge that you’ve previously uncovered, as well as to expand the logistics & scope of your operations on the frontier!

  • Skipping the Moon, just to do one-time-only Flags & Footprints landings on asteroids will NOT get us any closer to resource-utilization NOR an Antarctic-type of base foothold ANYWHERE.

    That’s not what the plan is. Are you people posting this nuttiness from a parallel universe?

  • @Rand Simberg….Flexible Path—Obama’s space plan, IS precisely Flags & Footprints & Nothing More!! Remember Buzz Aldrin’s Rule: We NEVER can visit a planetoid more than once. Once that glorious first landing/ docking mission is complete, we’re done with THAT place forever! Mark that place as already visited. Hence, there will be NO bases NOR resource utilization ANYPLACE, since we are now forbidden from EVER returning! Flexible Path stinks!! Anyone with any futuristic sense of what is needed for a space-faring tomorrow, can see the horrible effects this “plan” will have. Again, even Robert Zubrin can see just how bad it reeks!

  • [...] week businesspeople and others from the Huntsville area came to Washington to lobby Congress about Conste…; now, it’s Colorado’s turn. A 100-person delegation from Colorado will be in Washington [...]

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