Congress, NASA

House committee approves authorization bill with some changes

The House Science and Technology Committee approved on Thursday its version of a NASA authorization bill, HR 5781. The approval came after a long markup that considered over 30 amendments, adopting 23 of them (listed here). Among the most significant amendments were those that authorize an additional shuttle flight and also reduce the scope of the overall authorization bill from five years to three, the same length as the Senate version.

The committee, though, rejected amendments by Reps. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to add funding for commercial cargo and crew programs, bringing them in line with the Senate version (in the case of commercial crew) and the original NASA proposal for the $312 million of additional COTS funding for FY11. The Kosmas amendment for commercial crew was opposed by members who were concerned about taking money away from government development of a launch vehicle and spacecraft. “I am philosophically in tune with Ms. Kosmas and Mr. Rohrabacher,” committee chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) said when discussing his opposition to Kosmas’s amendment was debated, “but I am not fiscally attuned to that.” Rohrabacher’s amendment to restore the FY11 COTS funding was opposed by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) in because the current COTS awardees, Orbital Sciences and SpaceX, who also said the additional funding was not needed to achieve their current milestones. “You know” she said to Rohrabacher during the debate on the amendment, “if I had may way we probably would have had zero for this program” instead of the $14 million in the legislation.

The committee, though, did reject another amendment by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to eliminate the $100-million-a-year loan/loan guarantee program for commercial crew development in the legislation. “This is the epitome of socialism and corporate welfare,” he said of the proposal. “Why hand $500 million of federal resources to companies that don’t need it, haven’t asked for it, don’t want it, and in all likelihood will provide nothing for it?” Rohrabacher, while not happy with the loan program (in part because it showed up in the legislation without prior discussion in earlier committee hearings), defended commercial involvement, and the amendment was defeated. Also, the commercial suborbital industry won a minor victory when the committee approved an amendment by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) that struck the $1 million authorization cap on the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program in the original version of the bill (it did not hurt that one of the companies that could benefit from CRuSR, Armadillo Aerospace, is in the home district of the committee’s ranking member, Ralph Hall (R-TX).)

Chairman Gordon emphasized in his statement that the authorization bill tried to find a path between the original Constellation program and the original White House proposal that would have killed Constellation, neither of which Gordon said were “executionable” as planned given available funding. “I believe the bill before us today provides the nation with a productive future for its human spaceflight program, one that can be sustained even in the midst of budgetary uncertainty,” he said.

However, the bill is at odds with the Senate authorizing and appropriating legislation in some key areas, like commercial crew and technology development programs. How (or even if) those will be reconciled, assuming neither bill is radically altered on the House or Senate floor, remains to be seen. Another question is how House appropriators follow the lead of this authorization bill. One appropriator, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), signaled his support for the bill “because it strongly rejects the Administration’s proposal to kill Constellation by providing a well thought-out strategy for maintaining a strong and well-rounded American space program.” However, recall last week that Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee with oversight of NASA, endorsed the Senate version of the authorization legislation, primarily for backing immediate development of a heavy-lift launcher, although that came before the House version of the legislation was completed.

90 comments to House committee approves authorization bill with some changes

  • GaryChurch

    That last sentence- that would be Sidemount.

  • pdxMike

    In my opinion the future of NASA depends on the appropriate funding and immediate development of a shuttle derived heavy lift launcher. They can horse trade and haggle with the rest of it as far as I’m concerned.

    Mike

  • Mission Control

    The tide has decisively turned against Lori Garver and her cohorts who created the disastrous NASA budget and plan for FY 2011.

    Congress could not be clearer in its rejection of the ill conceived plan Garver developed and sprung on Administrator Charlie Bolden in February. The Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee and House Science & Technology Space Subcommittee have all weighed in with well thought out plans which look far more like NASA’s baseline plan than the road to nowhere scheme proposed by Garver.

    Word has it Garver was intentionally left out of deliberations between Congress and the White House. This is ironic since earlier this year she cut Administrator Bolden out of the creation of the NASA plan.

    While last week Garver tried to spin the Senate bill as a victory saying, “We think this is a great start. It accomplishes the major shifts the President set out to have for the space program”, clearly the bill is a major defeat for her.

    If anything the Senate Appropriations and House Science & Technology Space Subcommittee bills are even more of a resounding defeat for Garver.

    One needs to bear in mind Garver is not solely responsible for the failed NASA plan hatched in February. Her accomplices were Jim Kohlenberger of OSTP and Paul Shawcross of OMB.

    Their plan has proven to be a major embarrassment for President Obama and is now totally rejected. Congress has been unnecessarily by Garver’s antics, and thousands of people have lost their jobs unnecessarily because of her.

    It’s time for Garver and her associates to go. President Obama should remove all three of them. Garver, Kohlenberger and Shawcross should have nothing to do with NASA as the nation moves forward with the solid plan Congress has developed. They will only be impediments and should be removed immediately.

  • Bennett

    Their plan has proven to be a major embarrassment for President Obama and is now totally rejected.

    Actually, if the final resolution is closer to the Senate version than the House, the only REAL change is (maybe) an extra shuttle flight and 3 billion for starting development of an HLV right away.

    The rest is pretty darn close to the FY2011 budget proposal. Especially from 2012 out. Here’s a piece by Justin Kugler on Open NASA that covers the process and potetial outcome.

  • Scott

    [quote]The tide has decisively turned against Lori Garver and her cohorts who created the disastrous NASA budget and plan for FY 2011.

    Congress could not be clearer in its rejection of the ill conceived plan Garver developed and sprung on Administrator Charlie Bolden in February. The Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee and House Science & Technology Space Subcommittee have all weighed in with well thought out plans which look far more like NASA’s baseline plan than the road to nowhere scheme proposed by Garver.[/quote]
    How is throwing more money down the Constellation drain also not a “road to nowhere”. Not to mention, that even if miracles occur and either the Senate or House bill gets a HLV flying sometime this decade, all it will be able to do is transport crew and cargo to ISS! NO money is available in either the Senate or House bill for exploration beyond LEO. They’ve eliminated much/most/all that money (tech development and precursors) to pay for their new toy (jobs program).

    So how is doing the EXACT same thing again (but with less money) a visionary plan for NASA and human spaceflight?

  • Scott,
    Apparently to most people these days inertia and the path of least resistance *is* leadership.

    ~Jon

  • Mission Control, I really wish people like you could just stick to the facts.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Let’s all understand that a common element of both Senate and House auth bills is that the President’s plan is unchanged in one key respect. The NASA POR was about going to the Moon. Constellation was about going to the Moon. It was all about going to the Moon. Putting outposts there, mining lunar regolith, mixing drinks with lunar water, and doing it by 2020. That’s gone. The Moon is now just one of many possible destinations, exactly as per the President’s FY11 budget proposal. None of these BEO destinations now has a date associated with it, but are pay-as-you-go. What’s being argued about is what the transportation architecture looks like for going to those many possible destinations. Aside from their unaffordability, I have no big problem with Ares I (which is DOA anyway) or an HLV.

    Congress understands this, which is why they refused to brand their neo-compromise “Constellation.”

    I think that’s why the White House is not displeased with this legislation. Their victory is not the implementation plan, but the kick in the butt they successfully gave to Congress about setting goals. As to setting realistic goals, Congress still needs some hand holding.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Mission Control, you’ve got a problem. You need to feed your systems with actual telemetry data, not /dev/random or wishful thinking. Just saying.

  • Vladislaw

    “The Kosmas amendment for commercial crew was opposed by members who were concerned about taking money away from government development of a launch vehicle and spacecraft. “I am philosophically in tune with Ms. Kosmas and Mr. Rohrabacher,” committee chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) said when discussing his opposition to Kosmas’s amendment was debated, “but I am not fiscally attuned to that.” “

    He is philosophically in tune but better pork comes from maintaining the status quo.

    “The committee, though, did reject another amendment by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to eliminate the $100-million-a-year loan/loan guarantee program for commercial crew development in the legislation. “This is the epitome of socialism and corporate welfare,” he said of the proposal.”

    As opposed to the stalinist model of a monolitic government space program.

  • sc220

    The compromise is pretty much what the President wanted, except for the change from HLV R&T to development. That’s fine with me, because it will most likely be a directly Shuttle-derived system. This is something we should have done 25 or more years ago.

    It is a major defeat for the POR/Constellation. The Moon is gone as a destination for human surface exploration. We now have the prospects for a more Flexible/Parallel/Incremental Path for human exploration beyond Earth orbit.

  • Coastal Ron

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ July 23rd, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I think that’s why the White House is not displeased with this legislation. Their victory is not the implementation plan, but the kick in the butt they successfully gave to Congress about setting goals. As to setting realistic goals, Congress still needs some hand holding.

    Agreed. I also see that commercial crew is only delayed at this point, and if SpaceX does their planned launches successfully, and Boeing starts beating the drum for their commercial capsule, then things could change next year, regardless which party is in charge.

    As for an HLV, no rocket designed by Congress has ever successfully been launched to my knowledge, and I see no reason to think that will change. Three years tops before they see the light on commercial cargo (Delta IV Heavy, Atlas V Heavy, or possibly Atlas phase 2) being good enough for now.

  • amightywind

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    Three years tops before they see the light on commercial cargo

    If only you ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’ would go way for three years and let NASA do their job the space program would be far along indeed. What a waste of time the two years of Obama chaos have brought! The EELV’s were designed to loft satellites to GEO. The idea that rocket development must necessarily end with them is absurd.

    ‘MIssion Control’ is right on. The NASA leadership that nearly sabotaged NASA spaceflight cannot be trusted to implement George Bush’s newly rediscovered vision. The poor rollout of the original plan should be a firing offense.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ July 23rd, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Co
    If only you ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’ would go way for three years..

    that has worked so well in the past…how is that Falcon 9 second stage commentary going?

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mission Control wrote @ July 23rd, 2010 at 11:25 am

    LOL and really that is all the comment I have.

    to paraphrase “Houston you have a problem”

    Robert G. Oler

  • amightywind

    Robert G. Oler wrote:

    how is that Falcon 9 second stage commentary going?

    My observations were right on. While you monkeys could scarcely contain your glee, I noticed the serious roll anomaly developing. No one ever published the estimated engine cutoff times, or the real weight of the dragon simulator. (Was it made out of paper mache?) Spaceflightnow declared an early 2nd stage shutdown. The SpaceX rocketcam shutdown right at the point the corkscrew anomaly was accelerating. I naturally concluded that there was a problem. In the future let us hope SpaceX’s commentary goes beyond, “it’s been a good day.” Be that as it may, I look forward to the next F9 launch. I do hope that they succeed in the coming years with their ISS mission. I am equally interested in Orbital’s Taurus 2 package which I believe is superior to F9. That effort is accelerating and shows much promise.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ July 23rd, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    My observations were right on.

    In your mind, but not in reality. As I recall, you declared that the engine cutoff had occurred far too early to achieve orbit, when in fact it happened as planned – near perfect orbital insertion. You were trying to be the first to declare failure, and you still are. You must be fun at parties… ;-)

    The SpaceX rocketcam shutdown right at the point the corkscrew anomaly was accelerating. I naturally concluded that there was a problem.

    Everyone in the world watching saw the same thing, and I would say that most understood that it was not a normal behavior. However, at that point they had already had a successful 1st stage liftoff, 2nd stage separation and ignition, and if you would have waited a little, you would have heard that their planned orbit had been achieved.

    No, they didn’t comment on the roll at that point, but since they had achieved the vast amount of their objectives, they were too busy celebrating a successful launch. Jeez, you really hate them.

  • amightywind

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    Jeez, you really hate them.

    amightywind wrote before this:

    I do hope that they succeed in the coming years with their ISS mission.

    I don’t hate them. I am puzzled why they would step to the head of the line over other contractors. Elon Musk and his cozy relationship with the Obama administration played a large part in creating chaos of Obamaspace. It hurt our space program. I do hate that.

  • Byeman

    “I am equally interested in Orbital’s Taurus 2 package which I believe is superior to F9.”

    Which shows that you don’t squat about launch vehicles. You believe wrong. Taurus II is no superior Taurus II has a solid second stage which seriously limits its utility for other missions, same goes for the launch site. The SRM was specifically chosen to allow for a quick development for the cargo delivery mission. OSC knows it needs to upgrade to a liquid stage, if it is to get other business.

  • Dave Salt

    almightywind, your are to space policy what Sir Les Patterson is to Australian culture and diplomacy.

    Please don’t change your name as it helps as an effectively filter for your unique “contributions”.

  • Byeman

    “Elon Musk and his cozy relationship with the Obama administration ”

    Wrong

    1. Musk provided more to the Republican party
    2. Spacex had nothing to do with Obamaspace.
    3. SPacex already had NASA contracts.
    4. Spacex was not guaranteed anything under Obamaspace and in fact, has loss many competitions (CCDev and others) since Obama has been in office.

    As for hurting our space program, nothing has done more damage than Ares I and CxP. 10 Billion dollars and nothing to show for it. I am embarrassed as a NASA employee.

    Once again, you are talking out your backside.

  • DCSCA

    @MissionControl: Well said. Garver is a lobbyist at heart. Nothing more. The politics of securing aerospace contracting is her bailiwick, not space exploration. The NSS was better off without her- and NASA will be as well.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ July 23rd, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    “its been a good day”.

    LOL

    at some point you should learn that private companies dealing with their own dollars working on a product usually dont feel it necessary to open themselves up so that amateurs like you can self aggrandize themselves. You were goofy on the commentary…you predicted it wouldnt make orbit…and that along with your commentary on the war has moved you into the non serious category. entertaining but not a real force.

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    amightywind wrote @ July 23rd, 2010 at 3:57 pm <- If you want a prelude to the character of commentary from SpaceX, just listen to BP pressers.

  • Bob Mahoney

    @Oler :
    along with your commentary on the war has moved you into the non serious category. entertaining but not a real force.

    Gee, Robert, I’m pretty sure a few folks categorize you the same way. Except for the entertaining part. ;-)

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bob Mahoney wrote @ July 23rd, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I am so sorry they dont find me “entertaining”.

    The war, which I was correct on, is used as “fact” material in terms of predictions that people make. Anyone who made positive predictions of the war, should have all their other predictions examined for a grasp on reality.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Ben Joshua

    The conferees may produce language that gives everyone reason to declare partial victory, assuming of course, they have the good sense to avoid the overly prescriptive and the unreal. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but conference deliberations often have broader political considerations, than sub-committees.

    Given the tight schedule and short funding for HLV, I hope the conference gives NASA designers enough flexibility to apply their best talents and technology to a real world HLV solution, rather than an overly expensive, limited use dinosaur.

    Reminiscent of 1958, when the government reluctantly or desperately turned to the von Braun team after Vanguard failed, where will the US turn when the current Soyuz contract nears its end? NASA and Orion may realistically not be ready. Will the US re-up with Soyuz, or turn to a (gasp!) private ISS cargo and crew service?

  • DCSCA

    Reminiscent of 1958, when the government reluctantly or desperately turned to the von Braun team after Vanguard failed, where will the US turn when the current Soyuz contract nears its end?

    This was actually a matter of ‘the government’ turning to ‘the Army’ when ‘the Navy’ misfired. Eventually, Vanguard was finally lofted- and is still up there orbiting Earth.

  • Ben Joshua

    I bet most folks on this site know “the rest of the story” and I didn’t mean to give the impression that the von Braun team was a private company, or that Vanguard never continued. Obviously not.

    I felt brevity was acceptable, even desirable, and just wanted to recall a moment of decision in spaceflight history, where results were obtained through an unexpected or unplanned course of action. Such a flux time may be just a few years off for ISS re-supply and crew transfer.

  • GaryChurch

    I wonder if those five segment SRB’s are going to go on Sidemount. I also recall reading something about using RS-68′s instead of SSME’s. That would be part of the evolution up to a 150 ton capability.

    I am also wondering if the 5 segment SRB has any vibration solutions built into it that might make Ares1 a contender again- since I understand it is going to fly again.

  • GK

    But von Braun’s Jupiter-C was sitting in a hanger ready to go and von Braun had been trying to launch a satellite for a year but had been directed not to because of the military nature of the launch vehicle.

    He did tell me that it was just as well the US came in second place with the first satellite and the first man in space, or there would have been no space race and no Apollo.

  • anon

    Yes, Congress is clearly in opposition to Obama and his dot.com millionaire pals raiding NASA – AKA Obamaspace/NewSpace.

    I guess its necessary to give them some pork for Obama to sign it, but at least don’t cut the NASA funds for HLV and Orion. Those are needed to move America forward in space. Rep. Kosmas is 100% correct in that.

  • He did tell me that it was just as well the US came in second place with the first satellite and the first man in space, or there would have been no space race and no Apollo.

    You say that like it would have been a bad thing.

  • Those are needed to move America forward in space.

    No, they’re not. They’re drag, not lift.

  • Matt Wiser

    Just remember that this process is an example of an old Washington saying: “The President proposes, but Congress disposes.” And in this case, ObamaSpace is being disposed of. Too bad they can’t dispose of Lori Garver and her accomplices at OSTP and OMB while they’re at it. (as in give ‘em their pink slips) In one way, the Augustine Commission members ought to be pleased, as it does call for HLV development now, not five years from now, but embraces a “walk, not run” attitude towards commercial cargo/crew, compared with the President’s original plan, which was “Here’s the money, run with it.”

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt Wiser wrote @ July 24th, 2010 at 3:07 am

    keep saying it, it will make you feel better.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Aggelos

    “The Moon is gone as a destination for human surface exploration.”

    Simply Nasa has not the money for a lander to land on the moon..but somebody lese in thw whole world goverment together with companies ,can build the landers.Also lunar isru is in Obama plan..

    there is no way nasa together with other agencies to go to asteroids without a first test the beo system with a spin around the moon..

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2010/07/sd-hlv-early-sps-demonstration-risk-assessment/

    this is the goofy nature of NASA thinking on a HLV.

    who knows how much the flight or ground component would cost…but for 1 HLV launch and whatever the ground and flight component cost…the power demonstrated is 1 Kilowatt

    for the price of two more HLV’s and the ground and flight component…we get 25 KW.

    so for 3-6 billion (or more) we get enough power to what power two or three homes!

    Goofy

    Robert G. Oler

  • harvey

    Once again I am just so impressed with the “authoritative” and “expert” opinions expressed on BLOGS like this. Amazing how so many of you are such wonderful monday morning quarterbacks that you can pontificate with such aclarity regarding what should be the true path of the manned space activity.

    Amazingly arrogant actually. It might be a tee-nsy bit more acceptable as expertise, if most of you got off your asses and actualy did something to affect the programs. But hell, it’s far better to sit here at a damn keyboard and expound on YOUR version of the proper role for our space programs.
    Bull FECES. People.
    You need to get out of your comfort zone, make the journey to the Hill as myself and numersous others have done, write letters, make phone calls to EXPRESS your opinions. Then you might have a viable leg to stand on. Until then it is simply a bunch of smart-assed commentators with no credentials making smarmy opinions regarding what the Congress or the President should have done.

    Right on. you folks rock.

    As for Lori Garver? The day she is told to go home and spend more time with her family, will be a day that I once again drive across the Potomac to do the Snoopy Dance of Joy in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  • Elsewhere … Sixty years ago today, at 9:24 AM Eastern time, the Bumper 8 missile launched from Cape Canaveral, becoming the first rocket launched from this historic site.

    Click here for the story at Florida Today.

    Click here for photos at Space.com.

  • sc220 wrote:

    The Moon is gone as a destination for human surface exploration.

    Funny, when I was outside last night, the Moon was still there. Did something happen after sunrise I don’t know about?

  • common sense

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ July 24th, 2010 at 9:12 am

    “Funny, when I was outside last night, the Moon was still there. Did something happen after sunrise I don’t know about?”

    Yep. Those darn commercial space advocates take it away in an attempt to decrease the likelihood that our government ever send someone there…

  • GaryChurch

    “this is the goofy nature of NASA thinking on a HLV.”

    I would say “goofy” is a 27 engine falcon 9 “heavy” compared to a Exploration Class vehicle lifting 200 mT.

    Or the Delta, or the Atlas, or any of the “inferior lift” vehicles being proposed.

  • vulture4

    “I would say “goofy” is a 27 engine falcon 9 “heavy” compared to a Exploration Class vehicle lifting 200 mT. ”

    What facilities will this Exploration Class vehicle require? How much facility maintenance? How many personnel? Overhead? Hazardous operations? Flight rate? Total operational cost per mission? What practical benefits? Who will put up the money? Apollo was cancelled in 1974 because it was much too expensive to be of practical value, and it didn’t even require the hazardous operations associated with SRBs.

  • Dennis Berube

    like I said before, Braun would roll over in his grave if he knew we were paying Russia to transport us to the ISS. However Korolev would be drinking a fine drink and laughing, all the way to the bank!

  • amightywind

    Gary Church wrote:

    “I am also wondering if the 5 segment SRB has any vibration solutions built into it that might make Ares1 a contender again- since I understand it is going to fly again.”

    Shown by Ares I flight (in a 4 segment simulator) to be a canard. An upcoming 5 segment ground test will hopefully deprive NASA haters of this silly issue.

    “I would say “goofy” is a 27 engine falcon 9 “heavy””

    Agreed. In all of the criticism of Ares designs and praise heaped upon SpaceX, the ridiculous 27 engine design of the F9H is immune. Why? Certainly the Merlin powerplant has been sized strangely. I had assumed nothing larger fit in Elon Musk’s garage. Give SpaceX credit for getting the contraption working, but they get no style points.

  • DCSCA

    @Dennis- Perhaps. This writer’s admiration for Von Braun’s engineering skills and his capacity- and tenacity– in marketing and advocating space travel with a ‘common touch’ is unbounded– and biased having met him many years ago. But von Braun was a pragmatist and it’s uncertain how to extrapolate the approach he’d take in today’s political and economic universe as he passed in ’77 when the Cold War was still raging. And keep in mind he and many of his ‘missile team’ were shunted aside post-Apollo, and in cases hounded for past transgressions. Arthur Rudolph comes to mind. Von Braun’s goal was the cold caluculus getting off the planet and, as Tom Lehrer so wryly ribbed, was a man ‘whose allegience [was] ruled by expedience.’ He’d doubtlessly be an advocate today for a vigorous human spaceflight program today but under which flag or flags would be interesting to know– as Lehrer again so witfully sang, “… und I’m learning Chinese,’ says Wernher Von Braun.”

  • GaryChurch

    “Give SpaceX credit for getting the contraption working, but they get no style points.”

    Strange bedfellows. There is Oler and Rand on the New Space side and me and you and Old Space side. What next? Cats and dogs sleeping together?

  • DCSCA

    vulture4 wrote @ July 24th, 2010 at 2:26 pm
    “I would say “goofy” is a 27 engine falcon 9 “heavy” compared to a Exploration Class vehicle lifting 200 mT. ” Yes, does seem to be a prescription for disaster, doesn’t.

  • DCSCA

    harvey wrote @ July 24th, 2010 at 9:04 am <- nice to know you believe you singlehandedly saved the space program from the dustbin of history. Plenty of people have done their part in their own way along many orbits of life for three or four decades besides trying your 'direct approach' of butting heads on the 'Ant Hill' with bureaucrats. But then you may not recall that 'the direct approach' was rejected as an efficient method of reaching the moon back in the early '60's.

  • like I said before, Braun would roll over in his grave if he knew we were paying Russia to transport us to the ISS.

    Then go complain to George Bush. We have been paying the Russians to transport us to the ISS for years, and it has been the plan since 2004 to continue to do so going forward until Ares/Orion were completed, which before they were cancelled was expected (optimistically) to occur around 2017.

  • GaryChurch

    “What practical benefits? Who will put up the money? Apollo was cancelled in 1974 because it was much too expensive to be of practical value, and it didn’t even require the hazardous operations associated with SRBs.”

    I must assume by “practical value” you mean profit for investors. That is what most of what is discussed on this site is really about, isn’t it? Taking those tax dollars away from that wasteful evil empire called NASA and putting them “to work” making a profit for…..somebody.

    The problem is that we can do nothing in human spaceflight without massive funding of projects like a 200 ton to orbit vehicle. Radiation shielding and nuclear propulsion are the two prerequisites that put “New Space” out of business with their cheaper-smaller-is-better philosophy.

    The DOD is the problem- not NASA and the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the cost of doing business. I am always posting info on DOD programs with budgets that make NASA’s entire budget look like chicken feed.

  • I am always posting info on DOD programs

    And like almost everything that you post it is always irrelevant. And usually wrong (e.g., the idiotic assertion that we spend a trillion dollars on munitions).

  • amightywind

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    “Then go complain to George Bush. We have been paying the Russians to transport us to the ISS for years, and it has been the plan since 2004…”

    It was Klinton who decided to turn Space Station Freedom into group therapy in space with lesser nations. One wonders how much longer the leftists will carry on with this sophmoric ‘blame Bush’ stuff. Hopefully after the dems are crushed in the November elections they will man up.

  • Justin Kugler

    Rand is a “leftist” now? That’s an interesting suggestion.

    I saw a quote on Twitter today that I think you might consider, amightywind. It was a German proverb that said “He who blackens others does not whiten himself.” You might remember that the next time you engage in thoughtless jingoism and then talk about others being sophomoric.

    Credit and blame alike should go where they are due. The space program is in the position it is today in no small part because President Bush did not adequately support the Vision for Space Exploration, politically or financially.

  • Rand is a “leftist” now? That’s an interesting suggestion.

    If by “interesting,” you mean hilariously stupid and completely clueless, yes. George Bush is much more of a “leftist” than I am.

  • amightywind

    Justin Kugler wrote:

    “I saw a quote on Twitter today that I think you might consider, amightywind…”

    Philosophy from Twitter? Let me guess. You got your technical training from wikipedia, and your political insight from the DailyKos. And thus a moron in full is revealed…

  • Justin Kugler

    Thank you for proving my point, amightywind. You only undermine your own credibility with your flame-baiting.

  • Dennis Berube

    Since we pay the Russians to fly us to the Iss, I wonder if when our contract runs out how much we will pay China?

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    Hi.

    Trying to follow this whole process and have some questions.
    With 2 versions of a bill, what happens next? Is there some sort of compromise on a final bill? Is it a funding bill in that it allows NASA to go forward spending actual monies? Does the WH have to sign off on it?

    Can someone provide a brief summary of the future actions required to provide NASA with money for whatever future programs are to be run and who decides what they are?

    Thanks.

  • Justin Kugler

    The House and Senate bills would ostensibly be hammered out in a conference committee to a point where both chambers would have identical legislation. This is a requirement before the House and Senate vote to send the bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

  • byeman

    China doesn’t enter the picture, the Russian contract will be extended.

  • amightywind

    Extending the contract with the Russians for the humiliating ride to our own space station will not be necessary if Ares I/Orion development is allowed to proceed to completion. The chaos sown by Obamaspace zealotry has hurt this logical and necessary effort. Only now is the solid program regaining traction.

  • Justin Kugler

    My friends that work on Orion have told me the Ares I/Orion stack would not be ready until at least 2017 if we continued with the status quo. The only way to fly Orion sooner is to put it on an existing booster, like we should have done to begin with.

  • byeman

    “Extending the contract with the Russians for the humiliating ride to our own space station will not be necessary if Ares I/Orion development is allowed to proceed to completion”

    Ares I/Orion is the very reason that we have to rely on the Russians. Use of proven and existing commercial launch vehicles is the only way to reduce the gap.

  • Jim

    The above is a fact. Plain and simple.

  • Major Tom

    “My friends that work on Orion have told me the Ares I/Orion stack would not be ready until at least 2017 if we continued with the status quo.”

    Your friends are right. Even with all the funding in the world, J-2X remains the long pole in the Ares I/Orion tent, and per various GAO reports, it won’t be ready until 2017 at the earliest.

    “The only way to fly Orion sooner is to put it on an existing booster, like we should have done to begin with.”

    At the funding levels for the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) in the Senate, Orion development can’t be completed before 2017. Orion needs at least another $10 billion to complete, and the Senate only ramps up MPCV funding to $1.4 billion per year — or a minimum of 7.1 years to finish. It’s actually worse than that because the FY11 funding is only $1.1 billion, and the MPCV is suppossed to do more than ISS-variant Orion for much less funding, while still using the Orion contracts, workforce, and components.

    FWIW…

  • GaryChurch

    “The only way to fly Orion sooner is to put it on an existing booster, like we should have done to begin with.”

    Sidemount?

  • Justin Kugler

    I meant in a technical sense, but, yes, you’re right, Tom, that launching Orion sooner is programmatically infeasible at expected funding levels.

  • Martijn Meijering

    So this is a truce, not a compromise? Or a very cynical ploy to prolong funding for a project that is doomed while claiming you have saved it?

  • Major Tom

    JK: “I meant in a technical sense, but, yes, you’re right, Tom, that launching Orion sooner is programmatically infeasible at expected funding levels.”

    No worries. I agree that Orion could technically be built sooner, but that would require a lot more funding than what Congress appears to be willing to throw at the development of an even larger, more complex crew capsule based on Orion components and contracts.

    MM: “So this is a truce, not a compromise?”

    I think it remains to be seen what this is. Until we see the Statements of Administration Position in response to these bills, we won’t know for certain whether the White House has decided to compromise or to continue pushing their position. Nelson has made claims about the White House’s position on NASA in the past that have proven to be false.

    “Or a very cynical ploy to prolong funding for a project that is doomed while claiming you have saved it?”

    The funding in the bills doesn’t match the requirements, deadlines, or constraints placed on NASA in the bills. Or the rhetoric in various congressional statements patting themselves on the back about the bills.

    Whether that’s driven by cynicism or stupidity is anyone’s guess. I’d venture some of both. For example, it’s cynical of Shelby (or his staff) to trash a commercially designed vehicle that have achieved orbit with operational hardware for a small fraction of the cost of a government-designed vehicle that has only gone suborbital with simulated hardware. Surely Shelby and his staff know better, even if they act otherwise out of parochial concerns. But it’s stupid of Shelby (or his staff) to oppose a NASA budget proposal that would have brought 2-3 new engine developments to Huntsville and likely boosted production at Decatur, over a PoR that only brought one new engine development and some project management to Huntsville. I’m not sure Shelby or his staff ever grasped what they were foregoing by opposing NASA’s FY11 budget proposal.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb…

    FWIW…

  • GaryChurch

    “it’s cynical of Shelby (or his staff) to trash a commercially designed vehicle that have achieved orbit with operational hardware for a small fraction of the cost of a government-designed vehicle that has only gone suborbital with simulated hardware.”

    You are cleverly misrepresenting the facts Tom. Buy not everyone is dumb, dumb…..
    Operational hardware is not a dummy capsule. The government designed HLV will probably be Sidemount, not ARES1. And the Orion capsule has an escape system that has been flight tested; Orion is much closer to operational use than Dragon in my opinion. SpaceX is promising but the testing required for an escape system is exhaustive and none has been done yet.

  • GaryChurch

    “Use of proven and existing commercial launch vehicles is the only way to reduce the gap.”

    Proven and existing would be the shuttle hardware used in the Sidemount HLV config.

    The commercial “Inferior Lift Vehicles” will not close any gap. They are not man-rated.

  • GaryChurch

    But…..that Delta IV heavy is a hot bird. It might do the trick. There is no Atlas heavy.

  • Major Tom

    “Operational hardware is not a dummy capsule.”

    Operational hardware for a launch vehicle is a functioning second stage and first stage, both of which are identical to the operational flight design.

    Operational hardware is not a dummy second-stage and first-stage with a different design from the operational article.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “The government designed HLV will probably be Sidemount”

    No, it won’t. Even the most efficient, modern, and fully enhanced sidemount design presented to the Augustine Committee by the Shuttle program manager falls short of the minimum payload targets set in the Senate bills.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “And the Orion capsule has an escape system that has been flight tested”

    And which, per USAF analysis, would likely kill the crew in the event of a flight abort.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “Orion is much closer to operational use than Dragon in my opinion.”

    Your “opinion” is factually wrong.

    A boilerplate Dragon flew earlier this year and an operational Dragon is going up on the next Falcon 9 flight late this year.

    Orion hasn’t done a boilerplate flight and is years away from its first operational flight.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “Proven and existing would be the shuttle hardware used in the Sidemount HLV config”

    A sidemount HLV has never been developed, nevertheless flown. That’s not proven or existing.

    Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9 have all flown, in some cases a couple dozen times. That’s proven and existing.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “They are not man-rated.”

    Falcon 9 meets all of NASA’s existing human-rating requirements.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    Lawdy…

  • Martijn Meijering

    There is no Atlas heavy.

    It can be if someone wants to buy a launch, since ULA is offering it. So far no one has wanted to.

  • byeman

    More clueless posts from the Church the Troll
    “The commercial “Inferior Lift Vehicles” will not close any gap. They are not man-rated.’

    Wrong,
    Atlas, Delta and Falcon can fly a manned spacecraft quicker than any SDLV. This is a fact.

    Ares I or any SDLV does not exist at this time, so they are not manrated either.

    Atlas, Delta and Falcon can meet manrating requirements when needed.

    The SDLV will not be a sidemount.

    The use of term “Inferior Lift Vehicles” to try to belittle the EELV’s just shows that you have no technical basis for any of your assertions.

    Know something before posting.

  • red

    Major Tom: “Orion needs at least another $10 billion to complete … and the MPCV is suppossed to do more than ISS-variant Orion for much less funding, while still using the Orion contracts, workforce, and components.”

    On that $10B figure, what do you think about the following from the Senate Appropriations Committee report? It sounds like they think the BEO Orion CEV will be cheaper to develop than the Orion-derived CRV!

    “Vehicle.—The Committee provides $1,100,000,000 for an Orion crew exploration vehicle that will enable human transportation beyond low Earth orbit. The vehicle shall be capable of being launched on the heavy lift launch vehicle and may also provide alternative access to low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station by fiscal year 2014. The program shall be managed under a strict cost cap of $5,500,000,000
    through fiscal year 2017. Within 60 days of enactment, NASA shall report to the Committee … As part of this report, NASA shall evaluate the preceeding cost cap and validate the cap or provide a viable and validated alternative.”

  • Dennis Berube

    Orion, Ares, is not the reason we have to rely on the Russians. If a continuation of the shuttle program were to commence, we would not need the Russians. In my opinion, the museums can wait alittle longer to acquire those birds. Dont blame the Constellation program for the lag. Each available shuttle could continue to make many more runs.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Two years of such runs would pay for the entire commercial crew program. You are not looking for a way to move the space program forward, you are just a pro-Shuttle partisan.

  • red

    “Orion, Ares, is not the reason we have to rely on the Russians.”

    Griffin could have done what the VSE instructed him to do, which is to acquire commercial services for crew transportation. Instead, he disregarded that, just like many other VSE instructions, and chose to waste piles of money on government launchers that would not work with the given schedule and budget, if at all. Thus, we now have no alternative to Soyuz. Orion and Ares are the reason we have to rely on the Soyuz, since they were doomed from the start to fail and since they took funds from options that would have worked.

    “If a continuation of the shuttle program were to commence, we would not need the Russians.”

    Even with the Shuttle continued, we would still rely on the Soyuz, since the Shuttle doesn’t provide crew return capability at the ISS except when it’s there. We rely on the Soyuz right now. Not only that, but the Shuttle is dangerous, and it costs so much money that we will not be able to do much else with HSF while operating the Shuttle (especially if we’re also operating ISS and inventing another HLV/Orion funding black hole like Constellation).

    The Shuttle won’t reduce our reliance on the Soyuz because of crew return requirements, and it prevents us from funding alteratives that would reduce our reliance on the Soyuz. Ares I/Orion didn’t reduce our reliance on the Soyuz because they were unaffordable. The new HLV and Orion will not reduce our reliance on the Soyuz because all indications from Congress are that they are mandated to be unaffordable.

    To reduce our reliance on the Soyuz, we need some form of affordable crew transportation and rescue capability or capabilities that can actually work in a relevant amount of time. COTS-like Commercial crew gives numerous possibilities for doing this. There are also other potential paths that involve NASA human-rating EELVs.

  • GaryChurch

    You continue to cleverly misrepresenting the facts Tom. But not everyone is dumb, dumb…..

    “Operational hardware for a launch vehicle is a functioning second stage and first stage, both of which are identical to the operational flight design.”

    Well, it flew once, but the capsule that is supposed to carry people, and has yet to demonstrate an escape system, a parachute system, a maneuvering system…..etc. That would make it a dummy capsule, just like I said.
    dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    “And which, per USAF analysis, would likely kill the crew in the event of a flight abort.”
    That is another technobabble lie. That study is a red herring and is used as often as the CAIB by SpaceX sycophants. No one is falling for your “likely” fox news qualifier.
    Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    Orion is much closer to operational use than Dragon in my opinion.
    “Your “opinion” is factually wrong.
    A boilerplate Dragon flew earlier this year and an operational Dragon is going up on the next Falcon 9 flight late this year.
    Orion hasn’t done a boilerplate flight and is years away from its first operational flight.”

    A boilerplate Dragon is a dummy capsule. It was put on cluster’s last stand for weight and tested no mythical dragon systems. Orion is being put together for anyone to see on NASA TV and it is built like a tank; for crew survivability. The escape system- two different ones, have been tested, and so has the parachute system; there is no way SpaceX is going to catch up to that.
    Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    “A sidemount HLV has never been developed, nevertheless flown. That’s not proven or existing.”

    The shuttle is an HLV- it’s heavy lift is the orbiter. Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    “Atlas V, Delta IV, and Falcon 9 have all flown, in some cases a couple dozen times. That’s proven and existing.”
    Falcon 9 meets all of NASA’s existing human-rating requirements.”

    Not man-rated, just like I said. And the Falcon 9 has flown….one time. It may be man-rated but the capsule carries the people- and it is a cheap mock up so far. Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    Gee whiz Tom, your arrogance is unbelievable.

  • Justin Kugler

    Gary,
    Ares I-X had a dummy fifth segment, a dummy second stage, and a dummy payload. I have to agree with Tom on that one. It’s not a misrepresentation to point out how different that configuration demonstrator was from an operational vehicle.

    With regards to the USAF analysis, you need to demonstrate how it is wrong or irrelevant. Claiming that it’s a red herring and calling anyone who cites it a sycophant is not a logical argument.

    As for Dragon itself, the Transportation Office has confirmed that SpaceX is meeting all of their ground testing milestones and they have tested the DragonEye docking system on a Shuttle flight. SpaceX is building the operational cargo vehicles as we speak and has even done a cargo packing test under NASA supervision.

    Here in the Payloads Office, we’re planning for cargo delivery and return next year. Orion isn’t even on our radar, as it was not expected to be ready any earlier than 2017. Again, I’m inclined to agree with Tom about the operational use of Dragon.

    While you are technically correct about the Orbiter, I think it’s clear that Tom was talking about the dedicated cargo vehicle. Even using available Shuttle hardware, the sidemount would be substantially different enough that you could not honestly use Shuttle reliability estimates. That’s the same problem Ares I ran into.

    The Dragon cargo vehicle has to meet ISS requirements for crew safety and operations just to dock. The actual crew capsule is a logical progression from there.

  • GaryChurch

    “Gary, Ares I-X had a dummy fifth segment, a dummy second stage, and a dummy payload. I have to agree with Tom on that one. It’s not a misrepresentation to point out how different that configuration demonstrator was from an operational vehicle.”

    You are the guys talking about Ares, not me. I am talking about Sidemount.
    As for the SRB study, if any spacecraft explodes it forms an expanding debri cloud. The same criticisms hold true for any rocket, liquid or solid. The red herring is that a liquid rocket can shut it’s engine down and make everything wonderful; if it blows up it blows up even more violently than solid fuel. The study lowers the probability of survival in the first part of the flight- the part when Challenger exploded and their is evidence that 3 of the crew survived and rode the cabin down to impact. Orion is far more survivable than Challenger.

    “Even using available Shuttle hardware, the sidemount would be substantially different enough that you could not honestly use Shuttle reliability estimates.”

    I disagree with that. How little do you have change to “honestly” use the same estimates? The fragile and troubled orbiter is replaced by a capsule built like a tank and encased in a pod and LAS shield.

    The rest of your post is SpaceX advertising and credential boast. Sorry Justin.

  • byeman

    Chruch, You are polluting this forum with your stupid ignorant technobabble and clueless incorrect statements. ” But not everyone is dumb, dumb…..” but Church is even more.

    1. Dragon is going to fly in a few months with a parachute system, a maneuvering system, ARAD systems, simple ECS, etc. Orion is still a hunk of test weld structure. Orion has no launch vehicle yet. Any response you make will fail to prove Orion is ahead

    2. The shuttle is an HLV- it’s heavy lift is the orbiter. Which is meaningless. The payload carrying element which has the engines and avionics is a brand new development and has not flown. Sidemount HLV is unproven until it flies.

    3. ““And which, per USAF analysis, would likely kill the crew in the event of a flight abort.”

    It is not a lie and it is the truth. Only a CxP toady would ignore this.

    4. Not man-rated,neither is the shuttle or Soyuz. Also, neither is Ares I or Sidemount. Do you know what manrating is? Nobody has at NASA has signed off on these vehicles as manrated at this time and wouldn’t be until late in the development cycle. So any assessment, modification and certification of “manrating” of Delta IV, Atlas V or Falcon 9 can happen long before Ares I or Sidemount. Hence your argument is meaningless.

  • byeman

    ““Even using available Shuttle hardware, the sidemount would be substantially different enough that you could not honestly use Shuttle reliability estimates.”

    I disagree with that.”

    You don’t have the knowledge or experience to agree or disagree.

    This is a fact, sidemount has so many changes from the shuttle that existing reliability estimates are not applicable and new ones will have to be generated. The same flawed reasoning stated that the 5 segment SRB had the same numbers as the 4 segment, which again was not true.

  • common sense

    @ byeman wrote @ July 28th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Sidemount is a useless monstrosity that NASA ought to be ashame they showed it especially for a crewed vehicle with a LAS. The whole SDV concept is total nonsense, a awfully expensive waste of money.

    Oh well…

  • Major Tom

    “Well, it flew once, but the capsule that is supposed to carry people, and has yet to demonstrate an escape system, a parachute system”

    Your point?

    The fact remains that Dragon has flown a boilerplate test article in orbit while no element of Orion has been tested in space, orbitally or suborbitally. And the fact remains that Dragon will fly a functional test article later this year while there is no Orion test flight on the horizon.

    It’s goofy to get hung up on a lousy crew escape system when it remains to be seen if the Orion capsule itself can or will ever make it to orbit. (Cripes, Orion doesn’t even know what launch vehicle it’s on anymore.)

    Put another way, there’s no point to building an air bag system when you don’t even have a car design that closes.

    Duh…

    “That would make it a dummy capsule… A boilerplate Dragon is a dummy capsule.”

    If you had even a rudimentary grasp of aerospace engineering terminology, you’d know that a dummy test article and a boilerplate test article are not the same thing.

    A “dummy” capsule is just a mass simulator, i.e., lead weights, for the launch vehicle. It lacks any of the structure, subsystems, or other hardware that would be used on the actual, operational capsule, and provides no test of their clearances, loads, handling, or other performance characteristics.

    A “boilerplate” capsule is a structural simulator that tests the actual clearances, loads, and handling of the actual, operational structure for the capsule, in addition to being a mass simulator for the launch vehicle

    Ares I-X carried a dummy mass in place of Orion that provided no test of Orion.

    The Falcon 9 flight performed a boilerplate test of Dragon that tested Dragon’s clearances, loads, etc.

    Before wasting other posters’ time with stupid claims, learn some basic aerospace engineering terminology. There’s even an article on what a “boilerplate” test article is on wikipedia, for crissakes.

    “Orion is being put together”

    No, it’s not. Ground test and some very low altitude test articles are being built. Unlike Dragon, the Orion program is building no actual orbital test articles or vehicles yet.

    “it is built like a tank”

    No, it’s not. Due to Ares I underperformance, Orion is largely a single-string vehicle. It lacks most of the redundant systems found on Dragon and every other human space flight vehicle.

    “The escape system- two different ones”

    The fact that the program is going to the expense of developing two different escape systems because USAF and other analysis shows that at least one of these systems will likely kill the crew in the event of an abort should tell you something.

    Think before you post.

    “That study is a red herring”

    The study is what it is. It’s an unbiased study performed by an independent federal technical authority (the Air Force), and it shows that the Orion LAS is likely to incinerate Orion’s parachute, precipitating a fall from altitude that would kill the crew in the event of a launch abort.

    “and is used as often as the CAIB by SpaceX sycophants.”

    Who, specifically, are these SpaceX “sycophants” who often use the CAIB (another independent federal technical authority) and the Air Force report? Names and references?

    And even if these “sycophants” regularly refer to these reports, how does that invalidate the evidence and findings from these reports?

    “No one is falling for your ‘likely’ fox news qualifier.”

    It’s not a “qualifier”. It’s a statement of fact. The USAF range analysis showed that the Orion LAS would be more likely than not to kill the crew in the event of a launch abort.

    “The shuttle is an HLV- it’s heavy lift is the orbiter.”

    The orbiter puts less than 25mT in LEO. That’s not an HLV. It’s equivalent to the performance of an existing EELV.

    “Not man-rated, just like I said. And the Falcon 9 has flown….one time.

    Your point?

    Neither Orion nor Ares I nor any other SDHLV have flown orbitally. The EELVs are years ahead of Ares I or any other SDHLV in terms of flights. A boilerplate Dragon has flown, putting it well ahead of Orion, which has no orbital test flights scheduled and doesn’t even know what its launch vehicle is anymore.

    Neither Orion nor Ares I nor any other SDHLV are man-rated. An operational Falcon 9 has flown and it meets all of NASA’s existing human-rating requirements, putting it well ahead of Ares I or any other SDHLV in terms of human rating. An operational Dragon will fly later this year, and it’s designed to meet all of NASA’s existing human-rating requirements, which will put it well ahead of Orion in terms of human rating.

    “dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.

    Dont’ make stupid ignorant technobabble statements and expect people to believe them.”

    Don’t repeat the same ignorant excuse over and over just because you have no understanding of basic aerospace engineering concepts and terminology.

    Stupidity is not an excuse.

    Learn something, anything, about the topics you’re addressing before you post again.

    “Gee whiz Tom, your arrogance is unbelievable.”

    I’ll take halfway competent arrogance over unadulterated idiotic assinine ignorance, any day.

    Sigh…

  • Justin Kugler

    “The rest of your post is SpaceX advertising and credential boast. Sorry Justin.”

    Apology not accepted. I stated unbiased fact from my on-the-job experience and the Transportation Office’s own public reports and you blithely dismiss it as “advertising” and boasting. Your advocacy is interfering with your ability to make rational judgments.

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