NASA, White House

Some more commentary on the national space policy

In this week’s issue of The Space Review, I provide an overview of the new policy and some reactions, particularly on areas of international cooperation and commercialization. While international cooperation is “woven throughout the new policy”, in the words of one White House official and there’s language in the policy (re)opening the door to space arms control accords, that doesn’t mean a treaty banning weapons in space is imminent or even likely for the near future. Also, the lack of specific details about space export control reform is not an oversight, but instead reflects the fact that such reform is ongoing.

The Marshall Institute has a much more thorough examination of the new policy, comparing sections of it side-by-side with the 2006 Bush Administration policy. “In general terms, the new policy builds on the old policy, much as one expects,” Marshall Institute president Jeff Keuter notes in the white paper. He adds, though, that the policy features some new terminology such as “sustainability” and “responsible behavior”. “How those terms come to be interpreted and subsequently reflected in decisions about other policies and programs will be of considerable interest to U.S. departments and agencies, policy analysts, and foreign governments.”

One of the more curious reactions came last week from the Greater Houston Partnership, which decried what it called the “Obama ‘United Nations’ NASA Space Plan”. “While we think the Administration’s plan is well-intended, we question the wisdom of its United Nations approach to our homeland security,” Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the partnership, said in a statement. Homeland security? He explains that “it is important from a competitive standpoint that we not abandon the independence of our space exploration program and allow any country to forge ahead of us in space leadership. Our national security and economy is very dependent upon a space program that should remain independent and uncompromised.” Left unstated in the release is that many Houston-area people are working on something of a “United Nations” space program: the International Space Station.

68 comments to Some more commentary on the national space policy

  • “While we think the Administration’s plan is well-intended, we question the wisdom of its United Nations approach to our homeland security,” Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the partnership, said in a statement.

    Moseley is just participating in sour grapes politicking and pork-pie whining.

    Logic or common sense have very little involvement here.

  • Doug Lassiter

    One could just as well question the wisdom of a World Cup approach to our homeland security, where it’s all about competition. The new NASA approach could be considered more State Department-centric, and less DOD-centric. Both agencies are critical to national security. In fact, this new space policy document is not a plan for national security, so judging it on those terms is somewhat unfair.

  • amightywind

    Obama’s NASA policy is rapidly devolving into a laughing stock. Some of Bolden’s more notable quotes:

    “NASA is not only a space exploration agency, but also an Earth improvement agency.”

    “We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low Earth orbit as a single entity,” “The United States can’t do it.”

    Can anybody defend these ridiculous statements with a straight face? What do NASA employees think? Bolden must resign immediately.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/NASA_s-new-mission_-Building-ties-to-Muslim-world-97817909.html#ixzz0t0afTsQH

  • byeman

    “Can anybody defend these ridiculous statements with a straight face? ”
    Yes

    “what do NASA employees think? ”
    The truth hurts, but it is truth.

    “what do NASA employees think? ”

    That amightywind doesn’t know a thing about NASA and spaceflight.

  • Dennis Berube

    Bolden said he wants to fly the last shuttle flight! With his betrayal of the space program by supporting Obamas plan, I wouldnt let him fly my paper airplane!!!!! I was just reading where our government is going to pay Russia 335 million for seats aboard its Soyuz over the next few years. Comes out to about 50 mil a seat!!!!!!????? That money should instead be going toward extentions of shuttle flights, until Orion can come on line! What the hell are they thinking up there in Washington?

  • Doug Lassiter

    “I was just reading where our government is going to pay Russia 335 million for seats aboard its Soyuz over the next few years. Comes out to about 50 mil a seat!!!!!!????? That money should instead be going toward extentions of shuttle flights, until Orion can come on line! What the hell are they thinking up there in Washington?”

    OK, ranting aside …

    Shuttle can carry seven crew members. At $0.5B/launch, that works out to $70M/seat. So for the purpose of launching humans to ISS, Soyuz is cheaper that Shuttle. Granted, Shuttle carries up a lot of stuff along with people, but cost-wise, the Soyuz purchase option is not unreasonable. A more serious issue is who controls our access to ISS. It has been noted that competition (e.g. Dragon) will provide incentive to the Russians to lower the seat cost on Soyuz.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    The new NASA “Missions to the Muslims”, besides being arrogant condescension, suggesting that we’re going to pat Muslim people on the head like children and make them feel better about themselves, is a distraction from the real mission of NASA, one being abandoned by the regime, of exploring space.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Dennis,

    The NASA budget doesn’t allow us to extend the shuttle until Orion flies. Hell, it doesn’t allow us to keep station & fly Orion even.

    Sorry, but Constellation is a dead end. Commercial Crew is the way forwrad

  • Major Tom

    “I was just reading where our government is going to pay Russia 335 million for seats aboard its Soyuz over the next few years. Comes out to about 50 mil a seat!!!!!!????? That money should instead be going toward extentions of shuttle flights, until Orion can come on line!”

    $335 million won’t pay for one, half-billion dollar Shuttle launch. It won’t even pay for two months of Shuttle operations at $200 million per month.

    And it’s only 7% of what’s needed to complete a limited, $4.5 billion Orion CRV, nevertheless Orion’s ISS transport variant.

    Time to face budget reality.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Obama’s NASA policy is rapidly devolving into a laughing stock.”

    It’s not a “NASA policy”. Per the title in Mr. Foust’s post at the beginning of this thread, it’s a national space policy, covering all space sectors (civil, commercial, national security) and multiple departments and agencies (USAF, NRO, NASA, NOAA, FAA, etc.).

    Read, comprehend, and think before you post, and don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “‘NASA is not only a space exploration agency, but also an Earth improvement agency.’”

    NASA was executing Earth remote sensing missions before it was conducting human space exploration. It’s part of NASA’s charge under the 1958 Space Act. To argue that NASA isn’t an Earth observation and science agency displays high ignorance of NASA’s history and charter (or willful denial of reality).

    Stop littering this forum and wasting other posters’ time with stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “What do NASA employees think?”

    That they’ve been hired to follow orders and do a job, not write political op-eds.

    Duh…

    “Bolden must resign immediately.”

    He’s not going to. The White House is backing him.

    floridatoday.com/article/20100707/NEWS02/7070337/NASA-chief-Bolden-s-Muslim-remark-to-Al-Jazeera-causes-stir

    Again, stop littering this forum and wasting other posters’ time with stupid statements out of ignorance.

    Ugh…

  • Major Tom

    “The new NASA “Missions to the Muslims”, besides being arrogant condescension, suggesting that we’re going to pat Muslim people on the head like children and make them feel better about themselves”

    It’s not condescending to acknowledge real achievements in and historical contributions to western civilization. Much of western science, from the 12th to 17th centuries and from astronomy to chemistry to medicine, is founded on muslim texts that were the only surviving translations of natural philosophy from the classical period or represented original experimental research in their own right. Even an idiot searching wikipedia can figure this out:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_in_medieval_Islam#Influence_on_European_science

    In more modern times, an Egyptian led the Apollo program’s landing site selection committee and chaired its astronaut training group:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farouk_El-Baz

    Even our numbering system is based on Arabic numerals, for crissakes.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “is a distraction from the real mission of NASA, one being abandoned by the regime, of exploring space.”

    Extending the ISS, undertaking robotic precursor missions, redirecting billions to key exploration technologies and HLV acceleration, and setting NEO and Mars human space exploration deadlines is not “abandoning” space exploration. It’s the opposite.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    Ugh…

  • Doug Lassiter

    “The new NASA “Missions to the Muslims”, besides being arrogant condescension, suggesting that we’re going to pat Muslim people on the head like children and make them feel better about themselves, is a distraction from the real mission of NASA, one being abandoned by the regime, of exploring space.”

    It should be noted that Bolden’s outreach to Muslim countries, while defendable in many respects, and hardly arrogant or condescending, is actually not a function that is obviously consistent with the Space Act which formally defines what NASA is supposed to do. It doesn’t obviously fall under “7) Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the
    peaceful application of the results thereof
    .

    So aside from Bolden being asked to do something that is not clearly part of his job, and assuming it isn’t taking up a lot of his time, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Bolden is being used here as an instrument of national space policy, rather than as a NASA Administrator.

    ““We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low Earth orbit as a single entity. The United States can’t do it.”

    Of course, what the Administration is saying here is not that this function is technically unachievable by the U.S., but that it’s fiscally unachievable on the basis of any rational perspective on federal funding for human space flight. We’re good, but we’re not rich. In fact, many Muslim countries are quite rich. So aside from patting them on their heads, Bolden can try to stimulate partnerships.

  • Coastal Ron

    Partnerships are always tricky things to manage, but when they work, they can provide more potential money for a project than one entity (country, corporate, etc.) can provide on their own.

    As the capabilities of the commercial market grow, then the costs to get to LEO become more predictable for both cargo & crew. This should help smaller country participants join in, since their portion of the costs can more predictable (the ISS was not). This will also apply to corporate partners, and I don’t think it’s too far fetched that we’ll see space station modules sponsored/provided by well known firms like Google or Pfizer. Maybe another 10 years…

  • common sense

    @ Mark R. Whittington wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    “The new NASA “Missions to the Muslims”, besides being arrogant condescension, suggesting that we’re going to pat Muslim people on the head like children and make them feel better about themselves, is a distraction from the real mission of NASA, one being abandoned by the regime, of exploring space.”

    As always enlightening of the shortsightedness of some… It says what you would do and how you feel, not how it is being done.

    There is no such thing a a real mission of NASA of exploring space. Period. Dream’s over.

  • common sense

    @ Doug Lassiter wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    “It doesn’t obviously fall under “7) Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the
    peaceful application of the results thereof.”

    It does not mean that because it is not “obvious” that it is not the case. We are not aware of all there is in applying the space policy. At least I am not. And I see a real way forward here. I am sure that if some one thinks hard enough some one can see it too. Part of the mission of NASA is international cooperation. A smart lawyer would easily show you in words that Gen. Bolden was exactly doing his job.

  • amightywind

    Minor Tom wrote:

    It’s not condescending to acknowledge real achievements in and historical contributions to western civilization. Much of western science, from the 12th to 17th centuries and from astronomy to chemistry to medicine…”

    Damning by faint praise. Muslim civilization reached its zenith 800 years ago. The present day countries left in its wake are some of the most benighted and barbaric on the planet. Who are you kidding?

    “Even our numbering system is based on Arabic numerals, for crissakes.”

    Some of our notation does, certainly. Use of base 10 was already well established. They grasped integers and rationals like the Greeks. Deeper concepts of numbers (negative integers, real, complex numbers) were a post renaissance phenomenon. Do you not understand the difference?

  • Doug Lassiter

    “It does not mean that because it is not “obvious” that it is not the case.”

    I didn’t say that it isn’t obviously a good thing to do. I think it is a good thing to do! I just said that it isn’t obviously covered under the charter of what NASA, as an agency, is supposed to be doing.

    What I think I pointed out is that international cooperation is part of NASA’s mission, in the context of doing what NASA is supposed to be doing. Inspiration of foreign nationals is not. But I also pointed out that developing potential international partnerships that could enable what NASA is supposed to be doing (maybe even by just helping to pay for it) is easy to relate to the charter.

    This may be what a smart lawyer would come up with. Anything else?

  • The ISS should be terminated after 2015 so that NASA can use that $2 to $3 billion a year to focus on beyond LEO endeavors. But the Congress is addicted to this meager symbol of manned spaceflight.

    That’s because, in their heart, these Washington lawyers really don’t want NASA doing anything beyond political symbolism! And neither does Obama!

  • common sense

    @ Doug Lassiter wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    “I just said that it isn’t obviously covered under the charter of what NASA, as an agency, is supposed to be doing.”

    And that is what I responded to. It does not mean that not being “obviously” covered by the Space Act, even though I think it is, that it “actually” is not covered by the Space Act.

    You understand this as inspiration of foreign nationals. I understand this as reaching out to create more opportunities for international cooperation. Reaching to unusual partners. Reaching out to make them partners in a “noble” endeavor. See what I mean? When it comes to our usual partners we (kinda) know how to do it. How would you do it in this part of the world? You have to build bridges first and then we will see. Way to much fuss over this I think! It is a very small step at very low cost. The return can be enormous!

    I am not a lawywe so I don’t know ;)

  • Bennett

    Major Tom wrote

    “Stop littering this forum and wasting other posters’ time with stupid statements out of ignorance.”

    It’s the stock and trade of all trolls, and even though I like reading your comments dissembling their nonsense, they only provide more fuel (attention) for these idiots to post more “litter”. This unfortunately tends to sidetrack any real debate or conversation of the matters at hand.

    Respectfully,
    Bennett

  • Lifeboat

    Orion CRV is likley to be == the current Block 0. If so, Orion will fly & we have ISS under fy2011. Just possibly with no crew during ascent, depending on CLV decisions and budgets.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “Reaching to unusual partners. Reaching out to make them partners in a “noble” endeavor. See what I mean?”

    I do see what you mean, and I basically agree (but I don’t think the nobility of endeavors has anything to do with the Space Act). What we’re talking about is what the Administration, with respect to the new national space policy, and NASA as an agency, has to be able to articulate. That articulation hasn’t been done very clearly yet, at least not in language that the public has found it easy to digest. Certainly some posters here have some indigestion about international partnering with regard to space. They need some smart words, if not some Rolaids.

  • Major Tom

    “Damning by faint praise. Muslim civilization reached its zenith 800 years ago. The present day countries left in its wake are some of the most benighted and barbaric on the planet.”

    And do you want them to continue on that violent nadir or do you want to encourage them to follow the path set by their cultural zenith?

    Think before you post.

    “Deeper concepts of numbers (negative integers, real, complex numbers) were a post renaissance phenomenon.”

    Oh, really? I had no idea.

    [rolls eyes]

    Your point?

    Ugh…

  • juggler

    I thought this was a Space “Politics” forum? No one seems to be addressing the political aspect of Bolden’s comments. The best that folks seem to be doing is indicating he didn’t express himself well pertaining to noble (or long-range) goals, and cutting to reliance on sharp-worded statements by smart lawyers concerning the Charter of NASA to save the day. How about some hard discussion (and worry) about the political fallout of these poorly-chosen (or delivered) words; there is a lot of political mileage being made by those opposed to the New Plan today. How much damage do you folks think has happened?

  • DCSCA

    The Administrator’s comments, for better or worse, essentially follow the trajectory of ‘inclusion’ as layed out by the WH and articulated by the president at KSC on 4/15. It is what it is.

    The issue isn’t Bolden, but whether American space efforts will continue to be bold.

    The WH has played their space and moved on to other issues. It’s up to Congress now. Change is in the air. The question is, for our time, if it truly is change you can believe in.

  • Gary Church

    All I care about is safeguarding our race- the human race- from the threat of extinction. This is the main reason I am interested in space and space politics. It started several years ago when I was researching nuclear weapons for a college ethics paper. I read about Fermi- the Fermi Paradox- the most probable soution- and the survival imperative. And here I am, a space enthusiast. I am not happy about the way the government addresses my concern and I am even less happy about the way private space is going. But I will go whichever way gets the job done. I have been rethinking the private space path lately and comparing it to what is happening in public space and wondering if I had better start supporting private space as the lesser of two evils. The same reason I voted for Obama. I read today he is putting money into solar power- finally. There are big holes in the private space plan to expand into the solar system- and when I bring them up I am damned. If you private space fans cannot give me the right answers, you are wrong. So why can’t anybody here tell me how private space is going to address the radiation and propulsion problems in BEO-HSF. I know Oler does not care, he could care less about HSF, he only wants to see NASA go down. The other major players here, Rand, Ron, Tom; you guys are just advertising. What is the plan? NASA does not have one, private space does not have one, it seems like I am the only one has a plan. I was thinking about the Medusa concept- it could possibly make private space part of “my” plan.

  • Gary Church

    I am not about holding a grudge or making enemies. I have a unique world view and have my differences, just like the famous demotivational poster says, “remember you are absolutely unique- just like everyone else.” So I can get along with Rand even though I am progressive, and Tom, even though he is……irritating. If though cannot interact with me productively then I will just give back their body products with my own. But cooperation is what makes things happen. So cooperate and tell me how to solve this BEO-HSF problem without HLV’s and Nuclear Devices. And I will go to work for SpaceX.

  • byeman

    Marcel F. Williams should terminate his call to terminate the ISS.

    1. It is asinine and ridiculous to keep posting the same garbage over and over, since it is not going to happen no matter who is in office.

    2. It is bad idea in the first place. There is a station, so use it.

    3. There is no guarantee that the “saved” money would be used for BEO.

    4. Also, the ISS is more inline with NASA’s charter than BEO endeavors are.

  • amightywind

    juggler

    Aside from the Bolden carnival, a counter attack against Obamaspace has successfully been waged since the plan was announced. Obama does not have the support of his own party let alone the GOP. Why should he? The plan was conceived by a few Bolsheviks in Obama’s inner circle with a bizarre view of NASA and space. Politically the needless layoff of 1000′s of skilled NASA workers is an inexplicable unforced error in an important state like Florida. Obama and the dems will get hammered for it. Wouldn’t it have made more political sense for Obama leave the popular Constellation program in place? Obama is approaching the point of no return.

  • Bennett

    juggler wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I think that no matter what the news of the day, those opposed to the policies of President Obama will do their best to put a negative spin on it. All you have to do is read a few of the comments on any right leaning blog (Rand’s, for example, but in a more civilized fashion) to get a full measure of the anger raging in the hearts of those who dislike the policies of the current administration.

    Nothing has changed from the days of GWB, except for the actors and the audience. The anger and polarization remains.

    It’s sad that a remarkably good policy for NASA and HSF had such a controversial first step – to kill off CxP – before putting into place programs that could result in the kind of progress most of us have been dreaming about since the days of Apollo.

    I wish it were not so…

  • common sense

    ” the nobility of endeavors has anything to do with the Space Act”

    I agree, the “nobility” was my own assessment not a reference to the Space Act.

    “What we’re talking about is what the Administration, with respect to the new national space policy, and NASA as an agency, has to be able to articulate. That articulation hasn’t been done very clearly yet, at least not in language that the public has found it easy to digest.”

    I do not agree. I think all has been said loud and clear already. Shuttle on its way out as planned back in 2004, Constellation terminated since unable to meet (ever changing) requirements, is over budget and under schedule. Emphasis on commercial for LEO, and, R&D for BEO. What else do you want? The timeline/destination issue is trivial. VSE did so in vain. It is impossible to predict where and when you will be anywhere in the Solar System until technologies exist and they do not exist at an affordable cost.

    ” Certainly some posters here have some indigestion about international partnering with regard to space. They need some smart words, if not some Rolaids.”

    They need to open their minds and to some it would mean neurosurgery ;) Some people will always be against no matter what. At some point you just ignore them I suppose and carry on. It is a 2 way street and these people have 1 way thinking: Me, me, me ah yes and me. So? Can you convince Limbaugh that this is any good for the country? What do you think?

  • Doug Lassiter

    “The issue isn’t Bolden, but whether American space efforts will continue to be bold.”

    What does a question about “bold” have to do with this? Strikes me that the new space policy and the new plan for NASA is remarkably bold, in that it’s trying new approaches, as opposed to using unaffordable steroids on old approaches. Pulling the plug on an unexecutable plan that was starting to spin its wheels is bold. Reliance on commercial for LEO access is bold. A challenge to develop what they call “game changing” technologies is bold.

    Sorry, Constellation wasn’t bold.

    To the extent that the new space policy emphasizes international inclusion, I guess it would be nice to better understand why. The national space policy as written doesn’t really tell us why. If the “why” is to improve space exploration, then it should be explained here how such partnerships do that. If the “why” is about making friends, then that’s all well and good, but it should be the subject of a national security policy, and not a national space policy.

    If international inclusion benefits space exploration, then one must guess that it’s about having other pockets to pull money out of. If that’s the case, then reaching out to rich nations can be an effective strategy. Especially those rich nations who don’t have a clue about what to do with their huge amounts of money. There are a number of Muslim nations that fit that strategy.

  • DCSCA

    Earth to Charlie. Earth to Charlie. you might consider tapping a ‘colleague’- and an ‘ally’ for these kind of public affairs events. Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman, a Muslim, flew aboard Discovery in 1985.

  • Vladislaw

    Rand, good article, just waded through the comments, even more offbeat than here.

  • common sense

    @ Rand Simberg wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    It must be hard to defend something that makes sense even though you seem to have a very high disdain for this WH. Well no one said it would be easy. But think real hard. Today we are at a cross road for NASA and actually the US in terms of HSF: Bright future or oblivion. The next WH may not be as kind to NASA as this one regardless of the party. The previous WH was seen as a champion of NASA and drove it into the ditch.

    Who said it was NASA’s responsibility to repair the lack of self-esteem in the islamic world??? Please point me to the reference. Exaggeration like this are futile and irresponsible.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “Emphasis on commercial for LEO, and, R&D for BEO. What else do you want? The timeline/destination issue is trivial. VSE did so in vain. It is impossible to predict where and when you will be anywhere in the Solar System until technologies exist and they do not exist at an affordable cost.”

    It all works for me. But the timeline/destination issue is not trivial. A lot of people, including members of Congress, are quite hung up on it. To them, timelines and destinations are what define “challenge”. In their view you can’t be challenged without them. It’s inherited baggage from the Apollo program. What I want is a leader who can address concerns like that.

    “They need to open their minds and to some it would mean neurosurgery ;)

    Do they use telerobotics and virtual presence to do lobotomies? Cool.

  • Fred Cink

    Juggler, your concern about the “political fallout” from “these poorly-chosen (or delivered) words” and the damage it might cause to “the New Plan” (too bad you couldn’t cue angelic singing with the caps) can all be laid to rest. Major Arrogant will simply point out that anyonyone not agreeing with his enlightened view is simply…un-enlightened. Problem solved. Just remember to FEEL GOOD about yourself!

  • DCSCA

    @DougLassiter-”Strikes me that the new space policy and the new plan for NASA is remarkably bold, in that it’s trying new approaches, as opposed to using unaffordable steroids on old approaches.”

    No, it’s not. It is diffuse and nebulously inclusive, per Bolden’s comments, aimed at international participation to ultimately spread the costs among partners. U.S. space operations, even with some trimming, could be quite affordable if other discretionary spending was slashed — like the DoD budget, which may soon finally face some realistic review in this post-Cold War era.

  • common sense

    @ Doug Lassiter wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    “But the timeline/destination issue is not trivial.”

    It actually is.

    ” A lot of people, including members of Congress, are quite hung up on it. To them, timelines and destinations are what define “challenge”. In their view you can’t be challenged without them. It’s inherited baggage from the Apollo program. What I want is a leader who can address concerns like that.”

    Sorry but they are a bunch of hypocrites. If the VSE was so great as it had each and everything they wanted including timeline and destinations then why did they not provide enough cash to implement Constellation? Some would give you the GDP argument of Apollo times. Then yes sure give the cash and we’ll make it. In the mean time we do what we can. FY2011 is exactly that. Do what we can with the cash we have. Everything else is theatrics.

    “Do they use telerobotics and virtual presence to do lobotomies? Cool.”

    Don’t know. It could be a flagship mission though…

  • Doug Lassiter

    “U.S. space operations, even with some trimming, could be quite affordable if other discretionary spending was slashed — like the DoD budget, which may soon finally face some realistic review in this post-Cold War era.”

    Ah, c’mon. That’s just handwaving. By that token there’s always enough money to do anything. With a $1.4T discretionary pot to trim dollars out of, why not? The point is that our nation is comfortable investing of order $20B/yr on space science and exploration. It’s a completely different question that pertains to vastly more than space policy, about deciding what “trimming” you can do on that discretionary budget. That’s why the Augustine Committee didn’t come up with a simple idea like that.

    “It is diffuse and nebulously inclusive, per Bolden’s comments”

    Boldly diffuse and nebulously inclusive, I should say. We can’t afford to have it any other way, I’m afraid. But then, maybe if Bolden went to the Pentagon, patted DOD people on the head like children and made them feel better about themselves, they’d give up some of their budget!

  • common sense

    @ Doug Lassiter wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    “But then, maybe if Bolden went to the Pentagon, patted DOD people on the head like children and made them feel better about themselves, they’d give up some of their budget!”

    Ah! :) Would be fun to watch…

  • Who said it was NASA’s responsibility to repair the lack of self-esteem in the islamic world?

    The president did, if the administrator is to be believed…

  • Doug Lassiter

    “If the VSE was so great as it had each and everything they wanted including timeline and destinations then why did they not provide enough cash to implement Constellation?”

    Um, they did. They provided what they were told would be needed to implement Constellation. That amount wasn’t even close to what was eventually needed.

    Sure, they are hypocrites, but hypocrisy and theatrics are just part of the political game, and they come across as hangups. I’d like a leader who could call them on that.

  • common sense

    @ Rand Simberg wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I suppose I missed those words then.

    The President actually said “lack of self esteem”? Are you sure?

  • common sense

    @ Doug Lassiter wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    “I’d like a leader who could call them on that.”

    Don’t w all? Who’s to say that Ge. Bolden is not precisely the leader you long for? See sometime you have to use your adversaries tactics to win… We shall see. Because if he too fails then so will HSF as a whole at NASA. Just watch.

  • DCSCA

    “I must preface my commentary by noting that I think that the Obama administration is a national catastrophe on almost every possible level…”– Rand Simberg.

    With a pre-amble like that you should be capable of selling even a conservative Texan a bum steer like Obamaspace. Still, ‘pitching’ the private enterprise-laced Obamaspace plan proposed by an administration you label a ‘catastrophe,’ to an out of power, no regulation, pro-business minority party, with a laisse-faire minority subset that has historically not supported the civilian space agency, suggests you have an alternative agenda in work.

  • juggler

    not trying to start anything, commonsense, but here is the quote from a link at CNN (hardly a Righty source):

    “…and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.”

    ref: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/06/tuesdays-intriguing-people-18/?iref=allsearch

    That doesn’t say “self-esteem”, but it is not a large stretch to so interpret “:feel good about…”

  • juggler

    Hey, finally some good hard-nosed, political comments from more than one side with at least a bit of content for a change. Thanks to Rand (an interesting read), DCSA, Bennett, Cink, amightywind, and the rest…

  • common sense

    @ juggler wrote @ July 7th, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Sorry but he is nowhere talking about the self-esteem or lack thereof. If you were to visit a muslim country you’d see there is no shortage of self esteem. The misunderstanding of simple facts like this one drives our policies to the ditch all the time.

    He is only trying to acknowledge the contribution of the muslims to arts and science over the centuries. A contribution without which our current society would not be possible. To show that the US do not only see muslims as terrorists.

    The (your?) interpretation is frivolous and free. It is a large stretch. You (seem to) hear what you really want to hear, not what he said. An unfortunate common trait of a lot of people trying to derail the current policy/administration.

  • Interesting string of commentary;

    DoD is one arm of the National Space Policy and its demands upon technology and technology export control are paramount to NASAs. I would add DoD space spending in 2007 was approximately $22B when NASA budget was $16B. I would suspect total US government space spending to remain proportionally similar today, so 2011 total space spending is roughly $45B.

    The unimportant distractions are apparently drawing the interest of those intended, for the rest of us let’s keep our eyes on the prize and harassing our congress people!

  • DCSCA

    @commonsense “He is only trying to acknowledge the contribution of the muslims to arts and science over the centuries.”

    ‘He’ is really not the fella to be doing this… Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman, a Muslim, is. He flew aboard Discovery in 1985 and could be a more credible voice to carry that message to the Muslim world.

  • Gary Church

    “DoD space spending in 2007 was approximately $22B when NASA budget was $16B. ”

    That does not matter here- they are only interested in themselves, not what matters. Trust me.

  • sc220

    Some of our notation does, certainly. Use of base 10 was already well established. They grasped integers and rationals like the Greeks. Deeper concepts of numbers (negative integers, real, complex numbers) were a post renaissance phenomenon. Do you not understand the difference?

    We aren’t claiming that early muslim civilization had a monopoly on all the important breakthroughs in mathematics, science and engineering. The truth is that contributions to what we now refer to as “western civilization” came from all over the world.

    It is naive to think that NASA should be immune from being used as a diplomatic tool. Since when does NASA deserve to be treated like some sacred cow? In fact, NASA was born as an instrument of the Cold War…to demonstrate U.S. superiority in technology and weaponry to the rest of the world. Once that was accomplished, the budget was slashed and the agency was placed into idle mode. If it can serve a purpose other than inspiring K-6 graders, all the better!

  • NASA was used as a diplomatic tool starting in 1961 when JFK told Congress we should send a man to the Moon to show the world American technology was superior to the Soviet Union.

    NASA was used as a diplomatic tool in the 1970s when Nixon proposed a joint Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous mission that served no purpose other than to help detente.

    NASA was used as a diplomatic tool in 1992 when the first President Bush signed an agreement with Russia that pledged both sides to collaborate on space exploration.

    NASA was used as a diplomatic tool time and again during the Shuttle era to send astronauts to space from nations around the world.

  • juggler

    sigh, commonsense: you seem to have missed the point of my post completely; this is politics and seemingly attempted diplomacy; Bolden did not speak well to the point that he was trying to make and was implying the Prez had charged him with; his language was terribly imprecise and has given the anti-New Plan folks a lot of fodder; you can interpret his words til the cows come home, but the point remains he said “to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, etc etc” Was that really his charge or a mis-statement? The right way to have said that would have been to say something like “we acknowledge the contributions of Islamic scholars over the centuries particularly those who carried the torch of learning at times when it was all but lost or withering elsewhere….. etc etc”, but instead it came out as a touchy-feely that could even be interpreted as, albeit inadvertantly, patronizing. Frankly, I suspect your Muslim country resident, along with having plenty of self-esteem, also would not be too well-disposed to having a foreigner overtly stating their mission as helping him/her to feel good about their own history.

    In fact, to see an interesting take on a related situation with substantial reference to the historical aspects broached here you might read the thought-provoking article that rabbitt posted last night on the previous thread – the post said:
    “in the Bolden al-Jazeera afterglow, not sure if anyone here is really interested…, but here is an interesting and thoughtful article on Muslim science from Physics Today, written by an experienced Pakistani physicist… (titled: “Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement”), the basic theme is: “With well over a billion Muslims and extensive material resources, why is the Islamic world disengaged from science and the process of creating new knowledge? ”

    http://scitation.aip.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_60/iss_8/49_1.shtml?bypassSSO=1

  • Vladislaw

    This how the President handles it in the backyard.

    The President taking care of business

  • Bennett wrote:

    See you, and raise you one dollar

    Bennett, that was AWESOME. And on topic, since it featured a rocket launch. :-)

  • Bennett

    Thanks Stephen. Sometimes I get lucky. :-)

  • Fred Cink

    For common sense on your reply to juggler…”The (your?) interpretation is frivolous and free. It is a large stretch. You (seem to) hear what you want to hear not what he said. An unfortunate common trait of people…” trying to keep from spilling kool aid on their cheerleading sweaters.

  • common sense

    @ Fred Cink wrote @ July 8th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Wow very constructive. I was wondering why Constellation was adrift…

  • common sense

    I think that sums it all. What is it that a comedian gets that a lot of people here cannot? Neurosurgery any one?

    http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/07/video-nasa-bold.html

  • DCSCA

    Excellent post, Jeff Foust.

    This writer has worked within the realm where the ‘monster media’ roams for nearly three decades. It likes shiny objects that easily bait and distract. That 24-hour news cycle is a hungry animal, that demands feeding around the clock– and it’s diapers changed regularly. For the primary objective is to draw a crowd and sell things — not enlighten and inform. It is quite obvious what happened with Bolden. It could happen to anyone targeting a message to favor a specific audience. He knew who his audience was in this instance and earnestly emphasized NASA’s ‘out-reach’ to that audience, but mangled the message. The Rabid Right, particularly knee-jerk blogs and just jerk-talk radio, not the target audience for Bolden’s comments and ever hungry for tidbits to feed the ‘animal,’ pounced, chewed it up into yet another scrap and tossed into their daily anti-Obama spin cycle for down market and to the Right listeners and readers to consume. Today it will be something else.

    It’s clear Bolden is not smooth or comfortable at public affairs. Few come naturally to it and most need schooled in the basics. At times, NASA has been blessed with some good ones. You know who they are. The administrator’s comments, for better or worse, essentially follow the trajectory of ‘inclusion’ as spelled out by the WH and articulated by the president at KSC on 4/15. It is what it is.

    The issue isn’t Bolden, but whether American space efforts will continue to be bold.

    This WH has played their space cards and moved on. It’s up to Congress now. Change is in the air. The question for our time is if it truly is change you can believe in.

    But the private enterprise-laced ‘Obamaspace’ plan, as proposed by this administration, should be an ‘easy sell’ to the out of power, no regulation, pro-business minority party, with a laisse-faire minority subset that has historically not supported the government funded, civilian space agency. Instead, they snacked on the administrator because it takes another bite out of an administration they abhor. The future of our space program has little to do with it.

  • DCSCA

    ^^ Apologies- posted on wrong thread.

  • Low Earth Orbit: Haven’t we been there already?! Why doesn’t Buzz Aldrin gnaw on THAT bone for a little while?? (He was on the Lunar surface for a mere 21 hours, tops; both the single EVA plus the time spent in the landed LM.)

  • If you all want to stop dictatorship on Mars Planet check out this site http://www.democracyformars.com for a real free planet.
    We can star there a discussion over all this topics
    see you there

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