Congress, Lobbying, NASA

Compromises, rallies, and more

Aviation Week sees signs of a developing compromise between the White House and Congress on NASA’s future, based on its interpretation of this week’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing. That assessment is based in part on comments at the hearing by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), the latter stating that he believes “we need a new direction” in human spaceflight. What that compromise will look like, though, and how long it will take to develop remains to be seen.

Compromise, however, wasn’t on the mind of attendees of dueling rallies about NASA Friday in Galveston, Texas. A “Democrats and Labor Support NASA Jobs” rally, featuring Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), lobbied for NASA (or, at least, NASA’s Johnson Space Center); Green said there that “Congress needs to save the mission of what NASA means to the country.” A separate “Save NASA, Stop Obama” took place at the same time and, as the title suggested, said the agency’s current situation was entirely the fault of the president. The White House’s plan is “not based on science or fact or anything” beyond an attack on Texas governor Rick Perry, one attendee claimed, while a Galveston County commissioner at the rally said it was “time for Obama to man up and take responsibility” rather than blame the Bush Administration.

Meanwhile, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City called on Congress to reject the president’s plans for NASA in an editorial Saturday. Noting the amendment to FY10 supplemental appropriations bill in the Senate that reiterates and clarifies an existing prohibition on terminating Constellation contracts, the paper argues that “Now, it’s up to all members of Congress to stand firm and reject the plant [sic] completely.” The administration’s plan of sending humans to asteroids and eventually to Mars “lacks details and seems to be little more than a package of wishes”, the editorial hopes that Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s testimony before the Senate earlier this week will be “more than one small step toward keeping the United States in the forefront of space exploration.”

71 comments to Compromises, rallies, and more

  • Jeff quoted:

    … a Galveston County commissioner at the rally said it was “time for Obama to man up and take responsibility” rather than blame the Bush Administration.

    Well, that’s revisionist history right up there with Soviets airbrushing out of photos liquidated Politburo members.

    Bush cancelled Shuttle in January 2004. NASA has spent six months complying with that directive. The Bush administration signed the contracts to put American astronauts on Russian craft. Two weeks after Bush’s proposal in January 2004, the Senate Commerce Committee called him out for it not having adequate funding and for shutting down non-human NASA research programs to pay for it.

    Obama appointed the non-partisan Augustine panel which looked at this big mess and offered us a way out.

    If anyone should “man up,” it’s lying politicians who will say anything to obtain power, regardless of the consequences to the interests of the American people.

  • Vladislaw

    I found the comments on the Deseret News article interesting. None of them are calling for the continuation of Constellation. If that is a sample of what residents of Utah want, it’s not more deficit funding of ATK.

  • Robert G. Oler

    this is the key line from the AWST article

    “U.S. space policy remains the object of heated debate as the federal funding cycle grinds on, but powerful members of Congress are softening their outright opposition to the plan advanced by the White House in the Fiscal 2011 NASA budget request.”

    remember all those people talking about a “PLAN B” …there wasnt one and there isnt one here. The anti Obama people are exhausting themselves in a sea of stupidity and his plan with some minor tinkering will role on.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Go ahead Oler… run with that single line published in a magazine, run, run from the reality that you beloved Obama is going down the tubes on this one. His administration has insulted, abused and arm-twisted the Congress one to many times. Hope he enjoys the rest of his one and only term.

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://robot_guy.blogspot.com/2010/05/developing-space.html

    this is from Rands site…worth a read.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Max Peck wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    In 1982 endless numbers of people were predicting Reagan was a one termer and in 77 they were predicting Carter was a cinch for a second term.

    It is far to far out to make any judgment

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Max Peck wrote:

    “His administration has insulted, abused and arm-twisted the Congress one to many times.”

    Ya our dearly beloved congress… abused… insulted .. and arm-twisted, through a doubling of the number of fillibusters. When Reagan got 20.. the republicans howled at the unfairness of it .. until they cast 112 against President Obama.

    Yes our beloved congress, with it highest approval rating in it’s history.. what is their approval rating now? 18% ….

    Yes our poor abused congress .. maybe you should see if you can arrange more campaign financing for them.. maybe that would bring a smile to those poor arm twisted, insulted and abused americans.

  • Vladislaw

    That was a pretty good article, thanks for the link R.O.

  • Gary Church

    That was not a pretty good article. It gave a very poor space history blurb ending with a few paragraphs criticizing constellation and glorify private space companies. If you have a problem with vibration you do not say to hell with the other billions and years of work. If you think there is a profit to be made in space you better start finding more billionaire space clowns. You are talking about an entertainment industry- space american idol. Space toilet paper.

  • Gary Church

    There is only one reason for Man in Space; the survival imperative. To insure the human race is not destroyed or destroys itself. And if we cannot understand this- than we may go extinct because we are too stupid. Last night a smart guy told me it is embarrassing to quote Arthur C. Clarke. And another smart guy was insulting the apollo astronauts. I read a story about Armstrong a couple years ago; at a press conference he was asked if there was something that he thought was really important to him personally that he would like to take to the moon with him and was told by nasa he could not. Armstrong replied, “more fuel.” That is the survival imperative. Most of the people posting here on politics are clowns- space clowns. Arthur C. Clarke was also in the entertainment industry but he also wrote books about what space offered man- not profit; a future.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Gary Church wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    That was not a pretty good article. It gave a very poor space history blurb ending with a few paragraphs criticizing constellation and glorify private space companies. If you have a problem with vibration you do not say to hell with the other billions and years of work.

    Gary.

    The problem that I have with people who support Constellation is not that they cannot figure out that the hardware is subpar (it is) but that they cannot seem to grasp that the entire method of the project; a big government very statist organization that does nothing but things which perpetuate that organization…is flawed.

    Constellation particularly Ares is just an assembalage of sub prime hardware…but that alone is not the problem. The big problem is that Constellation has turned out to be nothing but Shuttle/NLS/ALS/Station/ insert program here redux.

    There is nothing that says at the end of the build phase of the program, whenever that is; that we do anything but send a bunch of NASA astronauts back to the moon to hang out and do things all of which have nothing more of value then what is done at the ISS (or has been done on the shuttle).

    That to you might constitute a space program…and it certainly is a “program”…but I challenge you, Whittington or any of the other shills for the POR to explain how after 200 plus billion, two more decades we are going to see anything from Constellation other then a few astronauts on the Moon doing nothing that has any value to the rest of us.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Gary Church wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 3:29 pm
    Arthur C. Clarke was also in the entertainment industry but he also wrote books about what space offered man- not profit; a future.

    there is no future in space for people unless there is a profit for them to be made. because if there is no profit, no economy that can support people in space; then there is no life there.

    In 2001 Heywood Floyd did not ride the NASA shuttle.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Gary wrote:

    ” If you think there is a profit to be made in space you better start finding more billionaire space clowns.”

    Gosh, you better inform the telecommunications satellite operators that they better pull all their satellites down from …. space, their shareholders will have a fit if they find out there is no profit to be made there.

  • Gary Church

    I am not a shill. I do not think going to the moon constitutes a space program. If there is no profit, no economy can support people in space? There is no life in space Robert. You are one of those people that thinks money is the most important thing. I can understand this. I think there are more important things though. Things that money should serve, not serve money.

  • Donald Ernst

    There is little or no direct profit coming from our research facilities at the south pole, yet we have had elaborate well manned operations there for decades. There is direct profit to be made in space but thats not a requirement to seek knowledge about the universe. That knowledge will result in profit in the long run by itself.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Gary Church wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    If there is no profit, no economy can support people in space?

    that is correct because there is no way that the enormous expense can be borne by the non space faring population (or would be borne) unless living in space can become self supporting.

    The notion of those who support the POR, particularly those who argue ambiguous reasons for that support (and to be fair that includes human survival) is that on its own a human space presence should be suppoprted by folks who make money on Earth just because it is a neat thing to do.

    Sorry that wont pay the bills

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Donald Ernst wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 4:16 pm


    There is little or no direct profit coming from our research facilities at the south pole, yet we have had elaborate well manned operations there for decades.

    if space operations can take on the cost of human operations at the South Pole, then your vision of the world situation might become true.

    that is unlikely.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church wrote “There is only one reason for Man in Space; the survival imperative.”

    It’s one thing to have the survival imperative, it’s another to figure out a business case that let’s you act on it. It’s funny in that Elon Musk would agree with you, and that is also part of the reason why he started SpaceX, and why he developed Dragon with internal funds.

    That could also be part of Bigelow’s motivation too. He certainly has the urge to house people off this planet, and he’s willing to bet his own money that other people would pay to stay in his space hotels.

    It sounds like the commercial market is where the survival imperative is alive and well. For Constellation, it’s the politicians that are in survival mode, but from a money standpoint. Which would you rather succeed?

  • amightywind

    Compromise? No! With the GOP strengthening in the election run up and strong bipartisan opposition against Obamaspace, there is no need of compromise. Kill it now!

  • Vladislaw

    Gary wrote:

    ” If you have a problem with vibration you do not” build that freakin’ ROCKET! You do not redesign the wheel and go off the reservation with bad engineering just to try and make it work. Griffin was not supposed to build an Ares I at all. NASA was expressly ordered to use a commercial launch vehicle. What part of the VSE, that President Bush laid out, and expressly told the American people that NASA would NOT build a new launch vehicle for the CEV do you not understand?

    Given enough time and money I bet NASA could make a brick fly. What a minute, they already did that with the shuttle. So we should do it all over again? Pour enormous amounts of money into a design that continues to have to be redesigned over and over again? Just so we can say we made it work?

  • President Obama really doesn’t have enough interest in the Space program to fight Congress on this issue. And it would be political suicide for any member of Congress from the states of Florida or Texas to the support the President’s plan.

    However, there is such a diversity of opinions in Congress as to what NASA should be doing that its still not clear what Congress will endorse except for continuing the ISS and building a heavy lift vehicle.

  • Gary Church

    This is a very bad situation. I have to agree with some things Mr. Oler has said; Government can really screw things up- as well as make things happen. I am unhappy with constellation, just as I was unhappy with the shuttle when a chapter in a book by Zubrin finally turned the light on about that what a mistake it was. Self-supporting communities in space- Bernal Spheres- are just the basic first step. But hundreds or thousands of hollow artificial moons by the end of this century, if ever, seem completely impossible. But it is not only possible, it is doable and it is really important that we do it for several reasons all associated with that survival imperative. There are keys to this happening as I understand it; recovering and reusing components- wet workshops-nuclear bomb propelled space ships with massive radiation shielding and artificial gravity. How is space tourism ever going to make this happen? How is a dysfunctional political process that cannot make a dysfunctional agency get it’s act together ever going to make this happen? It is all very frustrating.

  • @Gary Church

    NASA’s not dysfunctional. They’ve done practically everything the politicians have asked them to do.

    It was Nixon and the Democratic congress that wanted NASA to move away from the Moon and beyond to become more Earth oriented. And no matter how many times NASA has dreamed of moving humans beyond LEO, the politicians have always managed to keep it stuck at LEO. And President Obama is the latest politician to do so.

  • Robert G. Oler

    OFF TOPIC (sorry)

    But years ago in the Compuserve Space Forum there were some folks who I have lost touch with today…and I was busy while skimming the list here some days ago and saw something I meant to get back to…but now I cannot find it.

    Someone mentioned Alex Gimarc (spell last name) he was up in Alaska last time I had contact with him…someone mentioned his name…any links or email that I could tag up with him?

    While at it Martin Beyer is another name. Maybe as well Ed Wright.

    sorry for the off topic just curious what these folks are doing

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    @Gary Church

    NASA’s not dysfunctional…

    oh yes it is. Any group that spends 10 billion dollars and cannot get a vehicle put together to get to LEO is just a whack job.

    Robert G. Oler

  • @Robert G. Oler

    Since I oppose the Ares I/V architecture, I’m sort of glad its not finished. But NASA has been sending humans routinely into orbit since the early 1960s. In fact, they even sent people to the Moon!

    How many times has Space X or any other private company sent humans safely to and from LEO since the beginning of the space age????

    I agree with Hutchison, the CEOs of these companies should be the first to fly on their own rockets.

  • Non-biased

    From Set it Straight…

    Costs
    FY CLV CEV
    2006 0.384 0.839 Actual
    2007 0.916 1.001 Actual
    2008 1.03 0.889 Actual
    2009 1.067 1.387 Enacted (will be less due to political issues)
    Totals 3.397 4.116

    Robert, I dont’ see 10 Billion spent here…

  • Vladislaw

    “How is space tourism ever going to make this happen?”

    Space tourism, if commercial access comes about, should push prices down, creating more demand. More demand means more efficient ships on the next generation of designs and will push space facilities to expand. It will be the competitive drive to bring more and more services to attract customers.

    Watch what happens with suborbital flight. You have basically four selling points. Safety, room to move around in, price, and how high do you fly. I would imagine that the second generation will fly a little higher with down range capability. “In heaven as it is on earth”… the same pressures to include more services and features to any product or service will be seen in space.

  • amightywind

    “The only way I could accurately describe it is, you remember that Christmas when you were promised a bicycle and instead you got a sweater?” he said. “Don’t let this administration give us the sweater.” — David Hughes, of Deer Park, works in maintenance support for Computer Sciences Corp.

    In other words, Obama would tells us he is giving us a steed to the stars. What he is really giving us is horse dung. Fight Obamaspace fiercely!

  • Rhyolite

    @Non-biased

    The total there is over 7 billion and this excludes several billion under the “Program Integration and Ops” budget line.

  • Michael Kent

    Non-biased wrote:

    FY CLV CEV
    Totals 3.397 4.116

    For $2.5 billion Boeing developed both the Delta IV Medium and the Delta IV Heavy, the RS-68 engine to power them, launch pads at the Cape and Vandenberg to launch them from, a brand-new factory in Decatur to build them in, and bought a barge (the Delta Mariner) to tote them around in. A complete launch vehicle package.

    For $3.397 billion NASA developed…..the Ares I-X, a sounding rocket.

    Why should we pour more money down the Ares rat-hole? Even if it works, all we’ll get is a launch vehicle no more capable than a Delta IV Heavy.

    Mike

  • Fred

    Non-biased said
    “Robert, I dont’ see 10 Billion spent here”

    If Ares 1 cost $7B or $10B to date is beside the point.
    The GAO in 2007 costed the Ares 1 development at $30B all up. Subsequent estimates have been higher, but we’ll go with this lower figure.
    Cost of Falcon 9 AND Dragon to NASA is $278M (that’s Million, not Billion)
    Total all up cost to Elon Musk (including development money from NASA) to develop Falcon 1 AND Falcon 9 AND Dragon is around $500M.
    So for the cost of developing Ares 1 commercial could develop SIXTY equivalent launch vehicles AND their spacecraft.
    If you go with the lower $278M which is NASA’s total contribution to the SpaceX program and work out how many commercial LV’s NASA could have bought for $30B…. well I’m sure you can work it out.
    P.S. Don’t work out the equivalent figures for Orbital who are developing Taurus II and their Cygnus capsule on just $171M of COTS funds. Those figures make Ares 1 look even sicker.
    But hey, these companies are commercial. They can’t be any good.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind blows…

    You know, you’re kind of funny, in a tragic kind of way. It’s one thing to debate the merits of different ways of doing things, but all you do is blast political slogans around.

    You’re on a space forum, not a political one. Can you articulate specific reasons why the old/new space plan is better than the new/old one? Or maybe you have a plan of your own?

    For instance, can you defend why the Bush/Griffin plan to end the Shuttle in 2010, end the ISS after 2015, and not have the U.S. going anywhere in space for at least 10 years is a good idea?

    Or maybe you have insight into why commercial companies are not capable of building & operating hi-tech equipment like spacecraft.

    Are you able to articulate real reasons?

    Or are you just a hater?

    Please do tell…

  • Gary Church

    If Obama is after a heavy launch vehicle I am all for it. But heavy should be heavy and the architecture should be correct. Reusable is cheaper than expendable if you are sending up a heavy enough payload. Nasa did studies on 300 and 325 inch SRB’s and Aerojet test fired a 260 inch. The figures in the mid 60’s were a dollar per pound of thrust. These were made using submarine hull technology in shipyards and had to be barged anywhere (not good for business in Utah). A 325 inch would put out about 14 million pounds conservatively. Two of those as strap-ons would be just right for a heavy lift IMHO. With close to 30 million pounds you could put up a pretty good size second stage wet workshop. The SRB’s parachute into the ocean and are re-used, the second stage engines with their own ablative shield do the same- and the empty second stage gets used as part of a station or ship. And if it is manned, the capsule and escape tower also parachute and are reused- but that part of constellation probably made sense; using a smaller man-rated vehicle to haul only people with all the best escape systems. This is the vehicle we should build. I do not think space tourism is up to it but NASA might be if all the political stuff that ruined the shuttle program could be avoided. What do you think Mr. Oler? Why build a rowboat when you can build a supertanker?

  • amightywind

    Coastal Ron dribbled:

    “You’re on a space forum, not a political one. ”

    Space Politics
    Because sometimes the most important orbit is the Beltway…

    “For instance, can you defend why the Bush/Griffin plan to end the Shuttle in 2010″

    In 2003, after incinerating 7 more astronauts, W wisely called for the end of the shuttle. Politically it was the only choice at the time. It could have ended right there if ISS weren’t half complete.

    “and not have the U.S. going anywhere in space for at least 10 years is a good idea?”

    The original plan was to have Ares fly in 2013 and land back on the moon in 2020. A democrat congress starved the project since 2006.

    “Or maybe you have insight into why commercial companies are not capable of building & operating hi-tech equipment like spacecraft.”

    Did you see by chance the laughable proposals made by LockMart and Boeing before NASA announced the Orion concept? Pretty sad. Commercial aerospace companies to well as contractors for NASA’s designs. That’s how Apollo and STS were done. The model is tried and true. SpaceX and others have their funding to develop commercial spacecraft for ISS servicing. But like Neil Armstrong said, relying solely on them for our only space transportation is ‘poorly advised’. That is the crux of the disagreement on this site. The rest is politics.

    I don’t hate, I ridicule. That is also part of political rhetoric. Someone has to interrupt the leftist circle jerk around here.

  • Gary Church

    Left AND right are the problem. George Bush was the worst. The rich get richer and I am not one of them so I voted in my best interest. A Manned Space Program is not right or left- it is astronauts going places. Plenty of people on both sides want that. A democratic administration is just as likely as a republican one to succeed or fail.

  • G Clark

    Pray, tell me…

    What exzctly about the 15 proposals submitted in response to the VSE was laughable?

    Not attempting to start an argument. Just want to establish a baeline for comparison.

  • Gary Church

    “Did you see by chance the laughable proposals made by LockMart and Boeing before NASA announced the Orion concept? Pretty sad. Commercial aerospace companies to well as contractors for NASA’s designs. That’s how Apollo and STS were done.The model is tried and true.”

    This statement doe not make alot of sense to me. Apollo was designed for one mission and not only was a truly amazing amount of money thrown at it, but if you read up on the program you will find that their were tens of thousands of people who were sacrificing years of their lives to make it happen. People were under tremendous stress, working 12 hour days and taking work home on weekends. I worked and flew on rescue helicopters in Alaska for seven years and I can tell you what year after year of hard stressful work does to people and their families. What made them do it? What drove them? It was a combination of things. The follow on obviously had less going for it. I have read a couple books on the Shuttle program and it is really fascinating how so many poor decisions in the design were not recognized and the brakes put on it. I do not see any tried and true model.

  • Robert Horning

    The Apollo program was an attempt to apply the concepts learned from doing the Manhattan project, but apply it to spaceflight. While it certainly worked from the perspective that a crash program done with government largess where the mantra is “waste anything but time”, we know that eventually the government can put together a program to get something to happen.

    One example in the Manhattan project of the kind of thinking involved here, at one point the project managers ran out of copper to make the electrical wiring necessary for the isotopic concentrators. Rather than spending a whole bunch of time necessary to ramp up domestic copper production to meet this need, instead they got presidential permission to raid the national bullion reserves from the mint and made all the wiring out of silver. This is precisely what is meant by “waste anything but time”.

    The problem I have with that is that problems of national significance that are so utterly important to put the entire country on such a war footing to solve a technological problem can and ought to be a very rare thing. For myself, I simply don’t see the national urgency in trying to develop a crash program to develop a vehicle capable of launching people into orbit around the Earth… particularly when there are already existing and competing vehicles that can get the job done perhaps even at a cheaper price. We don’t need a crash program in order to get back into space, yet the proposal for the Ares I is precisely that. Until you can convince me that development of the Ares I is something utterly vital to national security and that its inflated costs are worth the effort, the case to support Ares I is certainly lost.

    More significantly, those who defend Ares I simply can’t defend its operational costs for anything other than strictly a government vehicle. If ATK can make the Ares I at a price point cheap enough to compete with all of the other launchers available in the market place (including the Soyuz and perhaps the Chinese manned spaceflight program for good measure), I wish them luck. Heck, I think the money spent on Ares I ought to be considered government pork and a flat-out grant where ATK can keep that as seed money, even if many other companies would have loved to have had that kind of money. Let’s see the Ares I compete in a real commercial marketplace, and if it can’t, let it die a natural death to inefficient vehicle designs.

    There certainly is no reason to continue cost-plus financing of vehicles going to low earth orbit at this time, particularly given that there are multiple companies willing to go there through other financing options.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Better. No at least you are talking specifics, instead of just being blindly against.

    You also said:

    “Politically it was the only choice at the time. It could have ended right there if ISS weren’t half complete.”. I bet Senators Shelby, Hutchinson & Nelson would disagree with that statement. Also, Constellation needed the Shuttle’s money, otherwise they would have had to ask for an increase in NASA’s budget. Remember, in politics, you have to follow the money. However, I do agree that ending the Shuttle after completing the ISS is the right time to do it. With Shuttle, commercial companies would have a harder time getting any contracts for crew delivery.

    “A democrat congress starved the project since 2006.” Hmm, yes of course, no way would a Republican would starve NASA of funds. Oh, but wait! The Democratic Party only took control of the House in 2007, and then there was that one Republican that could have stood up to them Demo-crats…. what was his name…. oh yes, Republican President George W. Bush. Yes I seem to remember that Presidents with backbone have that special little pen that they can use to veto a bill from Congress if it doesn’t do what they want. Let’s try to remember if George ever had the backbone to do that… nope, not for NASA. Oh well, so much for that blame game.

    “laughable proposals made by LockMart and Boeing before NASA announced the Orion concept?” I agree with G Clark, what specifically? Boeing and LM have more experience designing and building space systems that NASA does. NASA is a great at R&D, but Boeing and LM design & build the most complex aerospace systems in the world. And remember it’s ULA (Boeing/LM) that process the Shuttle, so they have the practical knowledge to understand what it take to operate complex space systems too. Needless to say, I disagree with you.

    “Commercial aerospace companies to well as contractors for NASA’s designs.” Huh?

  • Vladislaw

    I saw an interesting comment on the deseret comments. A person was responding to this:

    “ATK builds the Ares rocket, but it also develops the nation’s missile defense system. Losing engineers tied to the space program would affect many of the nation’s missile needs.”

    His response:

    ‘The MinuteMan is a Boeing design – and a Boeing Contract.

    The Trident D-5 is a LockheedMartin design – and LM contract as well.

    ATK is a sub-contractor 2 bit player.
    The prime contractors own the drawings, tools, and processes and farm them out.

    The fact is ATK over played their hand — milk hand that is!

    I worked for Boeing for 22 years and went to ATK in 2007 to “help bring them up to the 21st century”.

    Guess what — after 2 years of being told daily to sit down and shut-up…that might be how Boeing and ULA and LM do it, but it’s not how ATK does it.

    I saw the writting on the wall and went back to Boeing.

    You reap what you sow.

    Just like the Dinosaurs –
    You either evolve and improve or become extict.

    Later ATK.
    Go build your ammo and your army nap-sacks.”

  • abreakingwind flatulated:

    The original plan was to have Ares fly in 2013 and land back on the moon in 2020.

    Ares wasn’t part of the original plan. Mike Griffin came up with that a year and a half later, which was the beginning of the end for the VSE.

    Did you see by chance the laughable proposals made by LockMart and Boeing before NASA announced the Orion concept? Pretty sad.

    Which were they, laughable, or sad? And why? What was “laughable” about them? Do you have anything of substance to say, or are you just going to flatulate?

    Commercial aerospace companies to well as contractors for NASA’s designs. That’s how Apollo and STS were done. The model is tried and true.

    It was so tried and true that Apollo was cancelled because it was unaffordable, and Shuttle was cancelled because it was unaffordable and killed fourteen people.

    I don’t hate, I ridicule.

    You don’t seem to possess the intelligence or knowledge to ridicule, so you’re forced to resort to flatulation.

  • I’m not really understanding the Tea Party these days. They’re against excessive government spending, but they want to keep funding Constellation?

    OK….good night, everybody!

  • G Clark

    “Tried and True?”

    More like “It’s not what you decide, it’s to decide.” Mercury, Apollo, and Shuttle were decided by NASA (specifically Faget) after contractors had already submitted their designs. In that respect, VSE turning into Orion was just more of the same. Any design solution was acceptable, as long as it was NASAs’ preferred one. NASA usually managed to pick the winninng contractor beforehand too – how did Martins’ winning bid turn into North American exactly?

    At least this time, NASA is sorta giving the contractors a chance to show they can do it their own way. That alone makes it an improvement.

  • I’m not really understanding the Tea Party these days. They’re against excessive government spending, but they want to keep funding Constellation?

    There’s no logic to the Tea/GOP Party at all, just anything anti-Obamanator rhetoric and the false left-right paradigm.

    Even if the Tea/GOPers take over Congress this fall, you’ll be certain that NASA won’t get over $18B appropriation funding, if that.

    Will folks like the “breakingwind” holler and complain about CxP being under-funded then?

    Or will he just keep his flatulations to himself simply because a Tea/GOPer Congress is in charge?

  • Set it straight

    @ Robert Horning

    If ATK can make the Ares I at a price point cheap enough to compete with all of the other launchers available in the market place (including the Soyuz and perhaps the Chinese manned spaceflight program for good measure), I wish them luck.

    Robert, ATK doesn’t make all of Ares I. They are only first stage and LAS.

    From another thread… It seems to me 35-40 mil (I’m guessing) for a first stage and that amount of thrust is pretty good…

    Engine Costs:
    ————-Cost———————Thrust
    Shuttle SRB —-23.2 Mil (All Inclusive) -3.2 Mlbs
    RSRMV —-35-40 MIl (All Inclusive) -3.6 Mlbs
    RD-180 —-10 Mil Engine Only -0.861 Mlbs
    RS-68A —-20 Mil Engine Only -0.702 Mlbs
    SSME ———50 Mil Engine Only -0.470 Mlbs
    Merlin 1C ——-??? Engine Only -0.125 Mlbs

  • Robert G. Oler

    Non-biased wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    thanks for the numbers…I probably need to be a tad more careful as the total Ares1/Constellation cost are I believe around 10 billion…there certainly is a breakout between Ares and Orion development.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    D. Messier wrote @ May 16th, 2010 at 1:52 am

    I’m not really understanding the Tea Party these days. They’re against excessive government spending, but they want to keep funding Constellation?

    there is some logic to some of the players in the “Tea party” movement (I guess that Newt is in the movement although really I guess he is not) …

    but you have to understand the “logic”.

    The Tea Party movement is not against “wasteful” spending per se. They are against spending that they think is wasteful or more correctly goes to programs that they dont like. But ones that they do well the spending is Ok.

    For instance the F-22. They are all for that (mostly). It has no real opponent, no real need, cost far to much..but it looks mean, seems to project ‘American power and exceptionalism” and so wow we need a lot of those. On the other hand making sure that all women have prenatal care…”wow those folks shouldnt have gotten pregnant (of course the social rightes are against birth control because all life is precious)”

    Constellation and a big government program to send a few astronauts back to the Moon (and no foreigners please) planting the flag, saluting looking cool…thats back to American exceptionalism and power (or power and exceptionalism).

    There are a few consistent souls. Ron Paul for instance. But as the rallys (to kind a term actually) here in Houston show to “save our space program” it is really about a lot of people deluding themselves as to what projects American power.

    As you can see in Afland..most of the right wing is willing to have almost everyone elses kid die for their notion of American honor.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Tim

    @Fred – Best post I’ve read here in a long while – thanks!

  • Robert G. Oler

    Robert Horning wrote @ May 15th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    nice post

    Robert G. Oler

  • amightywind

    Since my previous post several of you have thrown around pejorative “tea party” references. Is drastically reduced government spending is a bad thing? Current current fiscal policy is rapidly leading the nation to bankruptcy. The Nanny State has made promises of transfer payments it can never keep. Do you really feel it is necessary to hand over 50% of what you make to a corrupt, incompetent, unaccountable bureaucrat class? The tea party is a sign that the ‘great silent majority’ , that Nixon spoke so eloquently of, is alive and well and ready to seize the nation back from the reckless adventurers who now control it. Space policy is a microcosm of the dispute. For 50 years now HSF has been considered a core function of the federal government like defense. Its worked pretty well so far.

    I did attend a tea party rally here in MN in April. I recommend that you do as well when you get the chance. I heard Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann speak. These are remarkable, talented, and charismatic women. Quite a potential ‘girl power’ Presidential ticket!

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ May 16th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    and yet you are pro Constellation…sigh

    Robert G. Oler

  • I’m not really understanding the Tea Party these days. They’re against excessive government spending, but they want to keep funding Constellation?

    NASA is close to the bottom of the Tea Partiers’ concerns. And idiots like abreakingwind certainly don’t represent them.

  • Robert G. Oler

    I heard Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann speak. These are remarkable, talented, and charismatic women. Quite a potential ‘girl power’ Presidential ticket!

    I am quite certain that this is the ticket that the Obama 12 people would LOVE to run against.

    Robert G. Oler

  • amightywind

    Robert G. Oler

    I am a supporter of SpaceX mission was to resupply ISS, I am a supporter of SpaceX development of a manned launch capability to ISS/LEO Heck, GDub invented the idea. But It is lunacy to extrapolate this as far as Obamaspace has to the exclusion of NASA HSF.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ May 16th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Robert G. Oler

    I am a supporter of SpaceX mission was to resupply ISS……………

    it is not a SpaceX mission to resupply ISS…it is a commercial mission to do it consisting of SpaceX and OSC and when it comes to crew change we are probably going to see ULA get involved.

    You also support a Nanny state program called Constellation…a big government program with no responsibility to the people other then to spend money.

    If you had any intellectual honor you would be calling for major reforms to make HSF and HS exploration financially and otherwise accountable to the people…ie to fix the program to make it work.

    Robert G. Oler

  • amightywind

    “You also support a Nanny state program called Constellation”

    Constellation is analogous any other defense procurement program. Sometimes they must be restructured. But like we need bombers and fighters, we need human space flight.

    “If you had any intellectual honor you would be calling for major reforms to make HSF and HS exploration financially and otherwise accountable to the people”

    There is no disagreement here. I do not see how Obamaspace does this. SpaceX is already over budget and over schedule.

    “I am quite certain that this is the ticket that the Obama 12 people would LOVE to run against. ”

    The one we all should be watching is Chris Christie.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/05/why_chris_christie_is_catching.html

  • Constellation is analogous any other defense procurement program. Sometimes they must be restructured. But like we need bombers and fighters, we need human space flight.

    Constellation is no necessary for human space flight.

  • Vladislaw

    “For 50 years now HSF has been considered a core function of the federal government like defense. Its worked pretty well so far.”

    It has not been universally considered a core function of the Federal government. Every President has called for more commercial use by NASA. President Reagan actually had NASA’s core foundational document changed to reflect that. President Bush called for commercial launches of the CEV which NASA ignored. Now President Obama is calling for, once again, using commercial launch providers. Contrary to what you may think, the last eight presidents disagree with you.

  • Constellation is a fantastic space project precisely because it FINALLY GETS US SOMEPLACE. Obama-space strands us to the same boring LEO merry-go-round for the next two decades. Sure, he has to give vapid, empty promises in his speeches, to keep the Anti-Moon people happy. But doubtful squared that the Planetary Society adherents comprehend just how many MANY more times difficult doing an asteroid-visit mission will really be; compared to a Lunar mission. They see THAT Obama pledge through rose-tinted glasses! Look, guys: any heavy-lift rocket adequate for the Moon, will be plenty adequate for a NEO mission as well. Ares 5 should be the heavy-lift rocket we should all be rooting for! But, sadly, since the Anti-Moon space lobby CANNOT stomach any form of a manned Lunar Return, in NASA’s adjacent future, they favor killing off the entire Constellation architecture, rather than allow the flying of any hardware that was connected to a Lunar initiative. This is completely self-defeating & idiotic! The Altair-class lander can demonstrate the unmanned, one-way soft-landings of heavy cargo & base modules onto the Moon, in its automated variant form. (Its manned form can then land the astronaut crew, for a pinpoint Lunar surface rendezvous, for a multiple-month-long surface stay.) Also, the leaving in lunar orbit of a temporarily unmanned Orion CEV craft, awaiting the return of the surface crew, in the flight plan, adds brand new dimension to other-planet mission capability, all of which will be directly transferable to other far-deep space destinations, (like NEO’s, the Martian moons, & Mars itself). I support Constellation because it is the only credible proposal which gets us out of LEO anytime soon. Obama’s Plan puts NASA on a weak, flimsy, and even-more-easily cancellable course.

  • red

    amightywind: “there is no need of compromise.”

    I agree that there’s no need to compromise, although in my case I mean that there’s no need for the Administration to compromise with Constellation supporters. However, I think it’s an interesting subject anyway.

    Most of the compromise suggestions I’ve seen don’t make any sense as compromises. Generally the ones I’ve seen essentially look like the Administration giving up all of its initiatives and going to one of the Shuttle-derived options (fly the Shuttle a few more decades, DIRECT, Constellation with a different paint job, etc).

    Let’s suppose there are 2 camps in opposition to the Administration budget. The first camp is the Moon-specific supporters: Moon Society and other grass-roots supporters, the lunar science community, perhaps some of the Apollo astronauts, etc. This is a small camp, but it’s easy to make real changes to compromise with this camp. Many Administration and NASA statements and documents show that the Moon is still one of NASA’s intended destinations (just not the first one). The Administration could compromise in this area in the following ways:

    – Put out a document specifically showing the Moon in its place on the intended exploration path. (For example, Obama’s speech didn’t mention where the Moon fit in – nor did it mention Lagrange points). This costs nothing, and the real decisions on it will happen later anyway, but it ensures everyone is on the same page.
    – Specify that the “test” mission(s) in the early 2020’s include lunar orbit. Lay out some lunar science/engineering work that will be done in these missions. Suggest some follow-up missions in this region. (We don’t have to set long-distance records with every mission).
    – NASA’s robotic precursor plans include 5 larger precursors: 2 to NEOs, 2 to Mars or its moons, and 1 to the Moon. In addition, there will be scout precursors every 12-18 months. Shift the balance of the 5 larger ones to 2 NEOs, 2 Moon, and 1 Mars to reflect that for astronauts the Moon will most likely come before Mars (at least Martian surface). Also lay out a proposed sequence for the scouts that includes decent lunar coverage. (These sequences could always change later, but at least lay out something).
    – Take a close look at Moonrise (lunar sample return), even if it doesn’t win the New Frontiers competition. Maybe pick 2 out of 3 for New Frontiers (that has been done with Discovery before). Of course that would bump something else. If both MoonRise and Osiris-Rex (asteroid sample return) are evaluated to be worthy, it might even make sense to use some precursor funds (combined with delaying the next New Frontiers, bumping some other Planetary Science mission, etc) to allow both to fly.
    – Slightly shift the technology development and demonstration effort to enable lunar missions. Many of the technologies already support lunar missions. This would just shift a little bit away from the sort of “get to Mars in a few weeks” efforts (which I suspect may come up short anyway).

    These are all just minor tweaks to the existing NASA plan. Just make sure after this is done that some document is released showing all of the NASA efforts going towards the Moon (specific to the Moon or general efforts that apply to the Moon and other destinations).

    I’ll continue with the other camp in another post.

  • red

    … continuing post …

    I’d characterize the other camp to be the Shuttle/Shuttle-derived workforce camp. These are the people who lose jobs or constituents’ jobs with the current plan, including the decision to phase out the Shuttle that Bush made and Obama confirmed.

    We would probably be best off with some combination of propellant depots, docking, assembly, and modest/affordable HLV with infrastructure shared with rockets used for other purposes, not a Shuttle-derived HLV. However, a compromise can involve a less-than-optimal decision to allow other good elements to happen. So, what could help bring the Shuttle-derived workforce and its supporters on board without wiping out the promising new initiatives in NASA’s budget?

    Nelson has talked about adding a Shuttle flight or 2. A compromise that does something like that, assuming it can reasonably be done with available component (eg: the last rescue mission hardware, using a small Shuttle crew and ISS/Soyuz in case of problems), could be the most affordable compromise for this workforce. On the other hand, it’s bad because it gambles with astronauts’ lives on the Shuttle. It also doesn’t offer the Shuttle workforce anything permanent.

    Shannon’s block I sidemount claims the cheapest HLV development cost I’ve seen due to high synergy with existing Shuttle hardware. Let’s suppose it’s really $3B (a bit more than Shannon claimed). It’s cargo-only. Block II would lift more, but would cost more to develop. Postpone block II thoughts for later years. Let’s assume sidemount is too dangerous for crew. This would be a cargo-only rocket. The cargo need not be defined here – let’s just suppose the sidemount is used to launch robotic precursors, or technology demonstrations, or large ISS components, or science missions … it doesn’t matter.

    Usually the sidemount proposal goes out of control because it’s tied to a Shuttle extension. There is synergy between Shuttle extension and sidemount because 1 maintains infrastructure used by the other. However, the cost of Shuttle extension (at least $170M/month) completely blows this paired option out of the water. It would be so expensive it would wipe out most of the new NASA initiatives.

    So … for a compromise that might be affordable … don’t include Shuttle extension. Just develop the block I sidemount. Fund cargo for it from existing NASA lines. Don’t give the cargo launch users lots of money for sidemount missions. Just make lots of mass and volume available to them, but keep their budget the same as if they were using an EELV. Once Shuttle itself stops flying, just maintain the Shuttle infrastructure enough to later support the sidemount – which I assume is considerably less than what would be needed to support Shuttle extension. I don’t know what these infrastructure cost would be, but it would surely save a decent amount of Shuttle workforce jobs. Would it be affordable? I don’t know. Suppose bare-bones infrastructure and workforce maintenance with no flights at all, just whatever is needed to enable later sidemount cargo operations, is $100M/month (everything depends on what this figure really is). From 2011-2015 that’s $6B. $6B + $3B block I development is $9B.

    In the new budget, if you take $3.1B from HLV/propulsion R&D (any such R&D now moves to the “Space Technology” line), $1B from Constellation Transition, $1.9B from KSC Modernization, and $0.6B, you’re left with a $2.4B shortfall. You can get away with purchasing a few fewer EELV or similar rides since your sticking robotic precursors or something like that on the sidemount, so the $2.4B shortfall may only cause about $2B in actual pain to the new initiatives. That would not be pleasant, but it could be a viable compromise that brings the Shuttle-derived workforce on board.

    This particular plan and figures might not close, but hopefully my point gets through. Excluding the most minimal Shuttle extension/flight addition, the compromises the Shuttle workforce supporters have put forward have been either far too expensive (i.e. DIRECT with Orion, Constellation revived, etc) or purely wasteful (i.e. Ares I tests forever). They need to discover and then support a compromise that is affordable and useful. If they can do that, I’d expect serious consideration by the Administration.

  • Constellation is a fantastic space project precisely because it FINALLY GETS US SOMEPLACE.

    In theory, it gets a tiny number of astronauts back to the moon, two decades from now, at horrific cost. If you want to go someplace, there are much faster and cheaper ways to do it, with many more participants.

    I support Constellation because it is the only credible proposal which gets us out of LEO anytime soon. Obama’s Plan puts NASA on a weak, flimsy, and even-more-easily cancellable course.

    If you believe that, you don’t understand anything at all about Constellation. It was not only not the only credible proposal (there are many of those) but it was an incredible one if you want to go anywhere any time soon. And as for cancellibility, it would seem that this was a strong trait of Constellation, not other plans, based on the available evidence.

  • Vladislaw

    Rand, do you know if O’Keefe every commented on the Presidents 2011 budget, or about the proposed cancelation of the Constellation program?

  • Coastal Ron

    Chris Castro wrote @ May 16th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    “Constellation is a fantastic space project precisely because it FINALLY GETS US SOMEPLACE.” You must have been very frustrated from 1972 until 2005. Now that someone proposes something that returns to someplace we’ve already been, you don’t care how much money it takes to go there. Are we supposed to pay for your Moon fantasies?

    “Look, guys: any heavy-lift rocket adequate for the Moon, will be plenty adequate for a NEO mission as well. Ares 5 should be the heavy-lift rocket we should all be rooting for!” An HLLV is not necessary for any of these destinations. What many of us don’t like about Constellation, is that Griffin unilaterally decided what the architecture would be. There were no RFQ’s, no design competitions, and he didn’t ask the two most capable aerospace companies in the world (Boeing & Lockheed-Martin) what they do. Without competition, you don’t get a wide variety of ideas, and more importantly, you don’t find out where the costs should be. Ares V is a typical sole-source cost-plus contract, and if you look at it from a $/lb standpoint, will be the most expensive launcher in history. There are alternative ways to get to the Moon (in-orbit assembly), and they can happen quicker and at a far lower cost. What’s the matter with that?

    “The Altair-class lander can demonstrate the unmanned, one-way soft-landings of heavy cargo & base modules onto the Moon, in its automated variant form.” Altair is a paper vehicle, and no one really knows what it will finally look like. However, from the concept published, it is 1) non-reusable, 2) extremely difficult to enter or exit (have to climb a 20ft ladder), and 3) is not designed for cargo because of how high up the cargo is loaded. If you want to see the next generation of vehicles after “Apollo on Steroids”, look at the Lockheed-Martin ACES-41 proposal. ACES-41 can land crew & cargo on the moon using the current generation of landers, which means it is extremely less costly than Constellation. Lack of competition means higher costs, and unimaginative designs.

    “leaving in lunar orbit of a temporarily unmanned Orion CEV craft…adds brand new dimension to other-planet mission capability…”. Piffle! Robotic operation of spacecraft has been demonstrated for decades, and leaving Orion on automatic is no big deal. The bigger questions are 1) why live in the small Orion for long periods of time, and 2) why would you want to haul a couple of tons of heat-shield weight around when you don’t need it? We already have equipment in space that will sustain astronauts for long periods of time (ISS modules), why not expand on that proven equipment. You don’t take your car with you when you fly to Hawaii, do you? Look for alternatives.

    Overall, Constellation lovers lack imagination. They think the Moon must be conquered today – no matter what the cost! Do we need to bring in the Tea Party to enforce some fiscal discipline?

  • Rand, do you know if O’Keefe every commented on the Presidents 2011 budget, or about the proposed cancelation of the Constellation program?

    Not that I’m aware of. Of course, he’s pretty old news by now, and was never a Constellation fan to begin with.

  • @ Red….Those are intriguing ideas for a compromise between the Moon-Firsters like myself and the “Anywhere-but-the-Moon” crowd. What happens is the Moon is totally excluded in Flexible Path. All the FP supporters can give us is that same STUPID “We’ve-been-there-already” crap. How are you EVER going to develop a frontier, and station base personnel there, if each and every destination has to be 100% virgin territory, at every turn?? When Lewis & Clark reached the Pacific Ocean, when they returned East, was the answer now for no other people to ever retread their steps; because, OH, We Already Went There?! (That should be the title of their deep space manifesto; those Anti-Moon people.) There will be ZERO progress under Flexible Path!! There will be NO bases emplaced anywhere, with FP, because that would require going back to some previously surveyed land!

  • red

    edit of earlier post:

    and $0.6B” should be “and $0.6B” from Shuttle slip contingency”

    (If Shuttle does have a small slip, then you’d have fewer of those $100M(?) months of infrastructure costs to deal with anyway, so the impact wouldn’t be all that great).

  • Coastal Ron

    Chris Castro wrote @ May 17th, 2010 at 2:04 am

    “What happens is the Moon is totally excluded in Flexible Path.”

    You keep missing the point here. We already know how to land, move around on, and return from the Moon. Everything else we want to do there is just expanding on that. The new plan calls for doing more 1st time exploration, such as learning how to live in places not protected by the Earth’s magnetic fields. This is the hard stuff that only NASA can do.

    Flexible path creates the systems and technologies that allows any public/private group to go places NASA has already been, including the Moon. The next people on the Moon are going to be there for exploitation, not just pure exploration. NASA does exploration, and other groups, either with or without government support, do exploitation. How many industries do you want NASA competing with private enterprise?

  • What happens is the Moon is totally excluded in Flexible Path.

    No, it is not. If that were true, it wouldn’t be flexible. Just because Obama says “been there, done that” in 2010 doesn’t mean that we can’t go to the moon once we get the infrastructure in place to go beyond LEO in general.

  • Flexible Path calls for NOTHING ELSE but MORE of the same old LEO merry-go-round, for the next fifteen to twenty years. FP NEVER had ANY intention of including the Moon: it merely wanted a long list of places & pseudo-places other than the Moon, so that it could have its circus show of Firsts. FP has Luna as a weak, one-on-a-list-of-one-hundred, as a less-than-half-hearted “Maybe, we’ll still do that” kind of little option. That served the deceptive purpose of winning over more of the space interest community, who actually should know way better,—that bypassing the Moon and avoiding the building of major-gravity-well lander craft, will not at all be conducive to later reaching Mars one day. But a lot of generalist space interest people & organizations have been grossly deceived by the “We’ll do the Moon somewhere along the way” Lie. And what a freaking bright, shining lie it has been!!!

Leave a Reply to Stephen C. Smith Cancel reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>