Congress, NASA

HR 5781 schedule, and supporting the home team

It’s not a guarantee that action on the bill is delayed, but HR 5781, the NASA authorization bill, does not appear on the House floor schedule for Friday as distributed by the office of the House Majority Leader. Several bills are up for consideration under suspension of the rules, some of which were postponed from yesterday, but the NASA bill is not among them. Schedules, as always, are subject to change.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with the editorial board of Florida Today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk elaborated on his comments in the call-to-action email the company sent out yesterday morning. “It seems like just a basic rule of thumb — maybe you want to spend as much on the American team as you do on the Russians,” Musk told the paper, noting that the bill authorizes several times as much money for buying seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft as it does for commercial crew development. “It just seems like a crazy time to be doing that sort of thing.”

145 comments to HR 5781 schedule, and supporting the home team

  • DCSCA

    There’s nothing ‘crazy’ about buying seats on a proven, reliable, dependable spacecraft with decades of operational experience, Master Musk. If you had one flying now you’d know that. Instead, all you do is talk. And it’s not very ‘commercial’ of you to chat up private enterprise being the ‘future of space exploration’ on television programmes and in the press as a way to get ‘ordinary people’ out into space then go soliciting government subsidies for commercial space ventures at the same time. Quite hypocritical. You went to Wharton, remember? Private sector capital markets are the place to tap for investment in these ventures and assume the high risks, absorb the losses or reap any reward. Nothing is stopping commercial space from soaring-except the very limited market their free enterprised, profit driven projects want to service. Which is why governments do it.

    Stop talking. Start flying, Elon. Or change your name to Ivan.

  • amightywind

    I agree with Elon Musk. Why hand the cash to Vladimir Putin and his fellow gangsters a big check? So they terrorize their neighbors? That said, Elon Musk is way down the list of those who can competently provide a manned capability. Build an American Soyuz – Ares I/Orion. That was the original plan and is still the best.

  • Giving 5x our manned space money over to the Russians is absolutely crazy if we aspire to make our manned space program robust. If we aspire to give all our money away and not build a manned space craft, then that’s fine and dandy, I suppose. I certainly get that impression from quite a few commentators on this blog. But I myself would like to see America’s manned space program prosper.

    If you assume that NASA could build Ares I, you must then have to consider how much it would cost. Private industry has already proven that it can launch something in to orbit at a magnitude cheaper than NASA. Therefore there’s no harm in having faith in the American capitalist system and expecting as much if not more of private space.

    Private space can deliver. The question then hinges on how much the American public wants to see it try.

  • Mr. Mark

    He is trying. You can’t really expect Spacex to move from a first successful launch of Falcon 9 a month and a half ago to human spaceflight. Right now, a final version cargo Dragon is right now undergoing check out before being shipped to the cape for a launch in late summer/early fall. The first stage is already at the cape. They are going as fast as the can, this is not Mcdonalds or Burger King where you can always have it your way.

  • DCSCA, will you change your tune in 3 months when SpaceX flies again? How about 6 months down the road when one COTS-A-C demo is complete? How about by the end of next year (or early 2012) when SpaceX is delivering cargo to the ISS? How about when Orbital is delivering cargo to ISS around the same time frame? That’s two companies that the government has helped move along by expedited time frames. If you checked out the New Space conference you’d see that private space is doing one thing at a time, they’ll get there eventually, but in a capitalist society there’s no reason government cannot help move things along, for the public good. That’s exactly what NASA is doing with its commercial space ventures. The more the better, it’s sad that people still refuse to understand this.

  • space123

    I called my rep yesterday and had him vote FOR the bill. I’m glad it was posted so we could have our voice heard!

  • Brian Paine

    Elon Musk is now playing politics and primarily for his own (Space X) advantage. It proves that nothing ever changes in the money game, not even when the future of manned space flight is at risk.
    Quite unacceptable behaviour Mr. Musk,
    please put principle first not principal…

  • amightywind

    Josh Cryer wrote:

    Private industry has already proven that it can launch something in to orbit at a magnitude cheaper than NASA.

    Yes, SpaceX has proven they can fly a magnitude smaller spacecraft for a magnitude lesser price. Remarkable.

  • byeman

    1. It is ‘crazy’ to spend money on foreign systems vs US systems.
    2. Then by your point, there is no need for Ares I and Orion. We can keep using the Russians.
    3. Commercial is not defined by the source of the money. It is defined by the contracting mechanism. A project can be 100% gov’t funded but still be commercial.
    4. limited market is not justification that it has to be done by the gov’t. Military fighter aircraft are not designed and engineered by a gov’t agency.

    Once again, DCSCA , all your points have been disproved.

  • byeman

    “Yes, SpaceX has proven they can fly a magnitude smaller spacecraft for a magnitude lesser price.”

    More flawed babbling from illwind.

    1/4 the spacecraft, not 1/10 and at around on 1/100th the cost. And will deliver more personnel to ISS.

  • Justin Kugler

    I called my Representative, Pete Olson, and asked him to support the Senate compromise. He’s one of the biggest cheerleaders for HR 5781, so I’m not sure how much good it will do, but his staff at least knows that there are aerospace professionals in his district that aren’t toeing his line.

  • MrEarl

    Why is Musk so worried about this bill? I thought he was going to build his manned Dragon capsule with or without government subsidies. :-)

    Realistically there is no practical way to get around the fact that we have to depend on Soyuz to transport our crews until at least 2015. The real question is, “How do we make sure that something will be available by 2016?”. The best way to do that would be the Senate bill. It provides funding for commercial crew while also funding development of a BEO Orion capsule that could also be used for crew transport to the ISS if commercial crew dose not pan out or is delayed.

    I support the House bill because I believe it will checkmate the WH proposal of Feb 1st in the administration’s mind and force it to accept, and lobby for, the Senate bill.

  • MrEarl

    Byeman: “Once again, DCSCA , all your points have been disproved.”

    You forgot, “nanner, nanner”. Grow up and act mature like the rest of us on this site.

    hahahahahaha! :-)

  • amightywind

    MrEarl wrote:

    Realistically there is no practical way to get around the fact that we have to depend on Soyuz to transport our crews until at least 2015.

    NASA will be flying 2 shuttle flights per year until Ares I/Orion comes on line. Bet on it.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Grow up and act mature like the rest of us on this site.

    I sense a broken irony meter, either yours or mine. You can’t hold a candle to byeman.

  • Scott

    -Brian Paine wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 9:52 am
    Elon Musk is now playing politics and primarily for his own (Space X) advantage. It proves that nothing ever changes in the money game, not even when the future of manned space flight is at risk.
    Quite unacceptable behaviour Mr. Musk,
    please put principle first not principal…

    Do you really think that ATK, ULA, and the other big-boys AREN’T playing politics? I guarantee that those companies have donated FAR more money to their state’s representatives than SpaceX. The House wants Constellation still partly because ATK has successfully lobbied Utah’s delegation and Rep. Bishop is powerful enough to make it happen. Shelby supports MSFC and it’s contractors and presto!…new HLV for MSFC to build.

    Sorry if I don’t believe that ATK, ULA and the rest don’t just have altruism, human exploration and space colonization in their hearts when THEY lobby Congress.

  • red

    MrEarl: “Why is Musk so worried about this bill? I thought he was going to build his manned Dragon capsule with or without government subsidies.”

    It will take a lot longer, and there will be a lot more business risk, if SpaceX has to fund the investments alone, and if SpaceX has to write off the ISS market because that market is set aside for Ares I. We can just forget about BEO/Ares V if the Constellation approach is used, so Ares I, if it’s ever built, would have to justify itself by ISS missions.

    ““How do we make sure that something will be available by 2016?”. The best way to do that would be the Senate bill. It provides funding for commercial crew while also funding development of a BEO Orion capsule that could also be used for crew transport to the ISS if commercial crew dose not pan out or is delayed. ”

    The Senate bill is better than the House one (except in Space Technology where the House Authorization fully funds the Space Technology line), but it’s not good enough. The Senate bill doesn’t have enough funding for commercial crew, and it puts up roadblocks for commercial crew, so it probably would fail or at least not be ready by 2016. It also doesn’t have enough funding for the government HLV and Orion to be ready by 2016, and the HLV/Orion would be way too expensive to do crew missions for the ISS anyway, unless those missions included lots of cargo, which there’s no funding for and which would violate the bills by competing with then-well-established U.S. commercial cargo anyway.

    “I support the House bill because I believe it will checkmate the WH proposal of Feb 1st in the administration’s mind and force it to accept, and lobby for, the Senate bill.”

    If you like the Senate bill you should oppose the House bill and support the Senate bill. The checkmating strategy would probably backfire. Personally, I don’t like either the Senate bill or the House bill, but I could live with the Senate bill if the robotic precursors, commercial crew, space technology, and exploration technology demonstration lines were boosted somewhat (somewhere between FY2011 and the Senate bill – they wouldn’t have to be at full FY2011 strength), and if the ambitions and schedules of the HLV and Orion were made more realistic. But if you like the Senate bill, you should just oppose the House bill and FY2011, and push for the Senate one.

    If your focus is on basic space access for crew (not on, say, exploration missions), you should push for more commercial crew funding, removal of commercial crew roadblocks, and more HLV/Orion funding (perhaps at the expense of exploration technology and robotic precursors). You might be better off with an easier launcher for Orion, too (eg: EELV or, if you want to start down the HLV path, modest HLV variant of EELV).

  • Why is Musk so worried about this bill

    Maybe because he gives a damn about the taxpayer?

    I thought he was going to build his manned Dragon capsule with or without government subsidies.

    He is, but it will take longer, and NASA will waste a lot more money.

    NASA will be flying 2 shuttle flights per year until Ares I/Orion comes on line. Bet on it.

    That’s a sucker’s bet (which is why an idiot like you would take it). The production lines are shut down and the suppliers are gone, and it would take years to resurrect them.

  • red

    I think SpaceX likes the Senate bill for multiple reasons. The commercial crew funding in that bill is too small for some of the SpaceX competitors, and yet there is some funding there. That’s ideal for SpaceX, but not for NASA and the U.S., which need a viable commercial crew competition.

    The Senate bill also defunds the HSF robotic precursors dramatically, but keeps enough money there to perhaps do a very small mission or 2 over the course of a few years, which might be the right size for Falcon I or 9.

    The same goes for the exploration technology demonstration missions and space technology line. Keeping those lines open but with a small amount of funding plays into SpaceX’s strengths.

    At the same time, the government effort goes straight to an HLV instead of Ares I, which means the government rocket is in a radically different class from the existing and medium-term growth Falcon offerings.

    As for criticizing SpaceX for pushing for their preferred bill, I think they should stop as soon as their competitors do. Oh, and those competitors would also have to stick with competitively-awarded, milestone-based contracts.

  • MrEarl

    Marijn: No irony in that last post, that was completely “tongue in cheek”. There isn’t one person on this site who hasn’t acted childish at times, myself included. The difference is that most on the purely commercial side have zero sense of humor and can never see the irony’s, duplicities or utter lack of objectiveness they display.

  • red

    “I think SpaceX likes the Senate bill for multiple reasons.”

    … I forgot to mention the commercial cargo funding in the Senate bill, which should benefit SpaceX and Orbital Sciences.

    The Senate bill has all sorts of advantages for SpaceX. It’s great for them, but compared to FY2011 not so great for space access, affordable exploration, and so on. Something between the Senate bill and FY2011 could make a lot of sense, though.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Why is Musk so worried about this bill

    Maybe because he gives a damn about the taxpayer?

    That can’t be right, Rand – SpaceX is all about Krony Kapitalism – Abreakingwind said so.

  • MrEarl

    Rand you let you prejudices blind you. If Boeing had sent the same letter you would be accusing them of trying to save their “pork”. Of course Lord Elon is ONLY acting in the best interest of the taxpayers despite the fact that the senate bill will benefit his company far more than the house bill.

  • B Money

    Sorry to all you old timer aerospace guys. You all had your time and I don’t think you all accomplished all that much. Baby boomers need to get over themselves and evolve like the rest of the world has been for the past 10 years. Accept the change, it ain’t that hard. Support new businesses because the old models are not efficent enough for todays global competitiveness.

  • red, don’t forget that the Senate bill forbids NASA from making new commercial crew contracts in 2011. SpaceX probably would prefer Obama’s original plan, simply because it brings private space up a notch. But Obama’s original plan would’ve had a ULA Atlas V vehicle ready to go and would’ve divvied up the crew launch opportunities between SpaceX and ULA. As it stands now SpaceX can get at least a year or so head start. This is good for SpaceX in a way, but bad, too, because it puts much more pressure on them to get crew delivery going. If failure was not acceptable before, failure is certainly not possible now. It also potentially delays any IPO opportunities for another year. So really SpaceX isn’t gun ho about the Senate compromise, but it’s better than nothing and worth supporting.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Lord Elon

    He finds your lack of faith disturbing. ;-)

  • amightywind

    Sorry B Money. You should stick to skateboards and cellphones but leave it to your elders (and betters) to chart America’s course space technology. Your generation quite simply lacks the intelligence and discipline of previous ones, despite your carefully cultivated self-esteem. There is no reason to dump the current space program for Obama’s rainbows and unicorns.

    I have to laugh watching today’s Bolshevik/Keynesian leadership replay of the disaster that was Carter years for no better reason than those who learned the negative lessons are dead! Outnumbered by ignorant youth.

  • MrEarl

    B Money:
    Sorry New Space guys, you haven’t accomplished anything while the “old timer aerospace guys” have gone to the moon and back, built the space shuttle and basically created this “space industry” that you now think you’re going to “revolutionize with trasformative technologies”.
    You’re going to need the experience of the “old timers” combined the energy and new ideas of the “New Space” guys if we’re going to advance.

  • MrEarl

    @Martjin:
    Humor from someone on the other side!! There may be hope yet! ;-)

  • If Boeing had sent the same letter you would be accusing them of trying to save their “pork”.

    Don’t give up your day job to become a mind reader. You suck at it.

  • B Money

    amightwind, Get a cellphone already.

    I have several engineers old enough to be my dad working for me, because their grasp on the ‘good ole days’ prevents them from getting productive work down.

    History does not dictate the future, things evolve.

    Why do you think Northrop bought up Scaled?

  • Ferris Valyn

    MrEarl – some of traditional space is evolving just fine – look at Boeing & ULA.

    The issue is ATK, and parts of NASA (and LM, to a degree)

  • MrEarl

    Again Rand, you miss the point. That is why you fail.

  • amightywind, you do realize that “keep NASAs workforce funded” as opposed to “build new private space industry” is inherently Keynesian don’t you? Give me a break.

  • Bennett

    SpaceNews.Com is reporting that the bill WILL NOT be voted on today due to opposition from various groups and changes to the bill. I found this very interesting…

    Further complicating the bill’s path to the floor, the House Science and Technology Committee made some last-minute changes to H.R. 5781.

    The bill previously created federally backed loan guarantees for companies developing commercial crewed vehicles, but the committee dropped that provision after the Congressional Budget Office raised questions about the long-term cost of the program. In place of the loan guarantees, the committee added a $300 million grant program aimed at fostering commercial crewed systems, according to a July 28 copy of the suspension bill obtained by Space News.

    So, we keep fighting the good fight.

  • Bennett! Great news! Thanks for posting it! That was the one thing really in the House Bill that hurt commercial space! Private space won! Wow!

  • amightywind

    B Money wrote:

    I have several engineers old enough to be my dad working for me, because their grasp on the ‘good ole days’ prevents them from getting productive work down.

    Sorry. I have never been impressed with you young management types who run around with rockets up your *ss. I kick around and terrorize several software engineers young enough to be my kids, and never cease to be amazed at the thinness of their knowledge.

    Why do you think Northrop bought up Scaled?

    Scaled was founded by Burt Rutan, an old geezer. You are probably too young to know that, which kinda proves my point!

  • byeman

    Who is “purely commercial side”? I work for NASA.

  • Martijn Meijering

    I kick around and terrorize several software engineers young enough to be my kids, and never cease to be amazed at the thinness of their knowledge.

    The reverse also happens. I’d be happy to enter the ring against you. ;-)

  • amightywind, Tim Pickens might have a thing or two to say about Scaled Composites. But I won’t speak for him. New Space isn’t about youngsters, New Space is about new ideas and new approaches. Not building upon status quo because it’s politically viable, as opposed to logical and well reasoned.

  • Again Rand, you miss the point. That is why you fail.

    I neither “miss the point,” or fail. Thanks for playing, though.

  • MrEarl

    “So, we keep fighting the good fight.”

    From what was posted it sounds to me more like the bill isn’t finished.

  • Martijn Meijering

    New Space isn’t about youngsters, New Space is about new ideas and new approaches.

    Also, commercial is not the same as New Space. I’d expect parts of Old Space to thrive under a commercial regime, even to take a leading role.

  • Martijn, indeed, under the original plan, companies like ULA would’ve benefited greatly, as it stands now they’ll be nursing a non-commercial-viable rocket plan, which could at any point in the future be canceled, without building a significant private space industry. The original plan was just so unique and new that it was too much for the politicians to accept. So they threw all space advocates under the bus for it.

    MrEarl, the concession made was the very thing in the original bill that was killing private space. This new information shows that at least to some extent our phone calls matter.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    B Money:
    Sorry New Space guys, you haven’t accomplished anything while the “old timer aerospace guys” have gone to the moon and back, built the space shuttle and basically created this “space industry” that you now think you’re going to “revolutionize with trasformative technologies”.
    You’re going to need the experience of the “old timers” combined the energy and new ideas of the “New Space” guys if we’re going to advance….

    thats not accurate and to the conclusion you draw…my reply is “probably not”.

    The people who went to the Moon and then built the space shuttle are more or less gone from NASA…and have been gone for quite a few decades. What is left is really a sort of second generation incest group…ie people who are trying vainly in most aspects to be “like the Apollo folks” without any real ability to do that, because in many respects they cant. The agency is a mixmash of trying to be a test pilot shop and then be operational.

    Worse even if they had held on to the Apollo culture and made it work…that type of culture is probably not the right mix for today. If one goes look at the wars the US fights, generally we only start to win after we get rid of all the leadership that was “in place” when it started. There are some exceptions but for the most part people who are a product of years of drift really have a hard time merging into a dynamic environment.

    What we are (thankfully) entering into in The Republic is a period of dynamic change. That includes human spaceflight. The old order which has punked around for decades is collapsing.

    you cant see that but it is

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    @ MrEarl wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    “The difference is that most on the purely commercial side have zero sense of humor and can never see the irony’s, duplicities or utter lack of objectiveness they display.”

    There is a simple reason for it. Most of the good advocates for commercial have worked the programs the old way and they know how bad it is. Most of the old way proponents never worked on any aerospace programs. See we went through the suffering of working hard to get nowhere because of the “old” way. And we have enough of it.

    @MrEarl wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    “Sorry New Space guys, you haven’t accomplished anything while the “old timer aerospace guys” have gone to the moon and back, built the space shuttle and basically created this “space industry” that you now think you’re going to “revolutionize with trasformative technologies”.
    You’re going to need the experience of the “old timers” combined the energy and new ideas of the “New Space” guys if we’re going to advance.”

    Hmm. How do you know there is no “old-timer” working for new space? How? My friend MrEarl sometime you go off the deep end… ;)

  • It is in the best interest of the United States that the commercial human launch space industry develops under the auspices of the United States and not a foreign government. That certain controls are held by officers of the US government.

    Any other choice imperils the future of US national security. The US spends a Billion a year trying to keep terrorist off US planes, out of US skies. If commercial is not developed under US control we risk opening this venue to unfriendlies in the next decade.

    Politics isn’t rocket science, national security must be. NASA must to be fully funded for all it’s missions including commercial human space flight.

  • Space Cadet

    @ B Money:
    “Sorry New Space guys, you haven’t accomplished anything while the “old timer aerospace guys” have gone to the moon and back, built the space shuttle and basically created this “space industry” that you now think you’re going to “revolutionize with trasformative technologies”.
    You’re going to need the experience of the “old timers” combined the energy and new ideas of the “New Space” guys if we’re going to advance.”

    To be fair, almost all of those who can claim Apollo as their accomplishment are retired. The current generation of NASA and contractor leaders have to their credit: the ridiculously overbudget Shuttle, the ridiculously overbudget ISS, multiple failed programs for Shuttle replacements, the Challenger accident, the Columbia accident … I could go on but it’s depressing.

  • amightywind

    Martijn Meijering wrote:

    The reverse also happens. I’d be happy to enter the ring against you.

    Just what I need in my lab. A ambitous Norwegian with a vendetta.

    you cant see that but it is

    This rhetoric carried more weight when traditional NASA was on its heels and Elon Musk was the new Werner Von Braun. That fantasy has irrevocably dissolved. An outgoing congress will leave NASA much the same as they found it. Executing development of a shuttle replacement, but having lost 2 years to chaos and poor leadership.

  • common sense

    @ Space Cadet wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    “To be fair, almost all of those who can claim Apollo as their accomplishment are retired.”

    Or have passed. But you can still find a few, a very few. A few more worked on Shuttle. Most of the problem lies in the fact that what is important here is the “design” engineers are those lacking today. Those who actually designed those vehicles are missing.

  • common sense

    There is no “new” Werner von Braun. There will never be. For better or worse his accomplishments will never be seen again, at least in the area of “classical” rocketry. I don’t think any one has such an ambition even on the commercial side.

  • Martijn Meijering

    A ambitous Norwegian with a vendetta.

    Dutchman actually, and no vendetta.

  • amightywind

    common sense wrote:

    There is no “new” Werner von Braun. There will never be. For better or worse his accomplishments will never be seen again, at least in the area of “classical” rocketry.

    Burt Rutan comes close if anyone does. Interesting how he reinvigorated the “X-15″ approach to spaceflight that Ike abandoned in favor of Von Braun style ballistic missiles. I generally agree that rocketry has progressed beyond the heroic age of Von Braun. Too bad it has not progressed beyond ‘rock star’ age of Elon Musk.

  • common sense

    @ amightywind wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    No not even Burt Rutan despite all his accomplishments comes close to von Braun. Nope. No one. Period. BTW it writes with a “v”, “von” not “Von”.

  • amightywind

    common sense wrote:

    No not even Burt Rutan despite all his accomplishments comes close to von Braun. Nope. No one. Period. BTW it writes with a “v”, “von” not “Von”.

    Thanks. Sure I didn’t mis an umlaut? WvB stands alone, no doubts there. He accomplished more in life than I ever will. Of course I never had ready access to Jewish slave labor either..

  • amightywind, I trust the makers of a rocket who achieved orbit on their first try, over the makers of a suborbital which in testing resulted in the deaths of three people.

  • Jim

    Korolev and Schriever did more. von Braun was better dreamer and orator and used PR to his advantage.

  • common sense

    @ amightywind wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    In this business the little detail can kill you. You know that right?

    @ Jim wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Regardless and not trying to belittle the others accomplishments. You might argue that in the long run Korolev had it better than von Braun. Nonetheless…

  • Hunter

    I am NASA’s biggest fan. I think it is not crazy that you can buy seats. NASA could end up making a ton of money just by taking people into space. I believe in NASA that the seats would be reliable and safe. I know if NASA could take people into space I would by a seat.

  • Hunter

    I am NASA’s biggest fan. I think it is not crazy that you can buy seats. NASA could end up making a ton of money just by taking people into space. I believe in NASA that the seats would be safe and reliable if they let people fly. I know if NASA could take people into space I would by a seat.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Hunter – NASA can’t sell seats on spacecraft

  • amightywind

    Josh Cryer wrote:

    over the makers of a suborbital which in testing resulted in the deaths of three people

    The piloted X-15 predated Mercury by 2 years. NASA blew up plenty of Atlases before getting it right. And they launched a chimp first. The X-15 was flown at a time when jet test pilot mortality rates were over 20%. The Air Force was fairly comfortable with losing pilots.

    Rutan’s genius was ‘taking the fangs’ out of the dangerous X-15 flight regime. Spaceship 1 was very light and highly stable, so stable that supersonic powered flight could continue even after roll control was lost! Had that happened to a fueled X-15 it would have disintegrated. The flutter recovery of Spaceship 1 is one of the great innovations in aerospace history. The X-15 had the aerodynamics of a set of car keys.

  • NASA blew up plenty of Atlases before getting it right.

    I suppose, if by “plenty” you mean two.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Martijn Meijering wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    A ambitous Norwegian with a vendetta.

    Dutchman actually, …

    one of my three favorite songs from WAGNER comes to mind…

    Robert G. Oler

  • MJ

    My vision for NASA is for them to become the de facto big idea folks. The guys who are planning manned deep space missions to Mars or developing plans for building ships in space that will take men to the deepest parts of the solar system. To do this properly, they need to be freed up from have to spend billions and billions of dollars to develop their own delivery service to taxi men and material back and forth to LEO. With just a little help companies like SpaceX can do that work and provide jobs for folks for a fraction of the cost, and do it under the close supervision of NASA, who could learn a thing or two from SpaceX, especially from their Falcon 9 launch that was aborted, reset, and still got off the ground within the launch window. There is a natural synergy between American commercial space and NASA. I know there are many who hate SpaceX for whatever reason and are serving up the haterade by the gallon. Can we look beyond that? There is room for sucess for all in this endeavor. Let’s give it a chance to grow. This is a turning point in history for American space exploration. Let’s not screw it up.

  • GoNASA

    Rand,

    [[[Maybe because he gives a damn about the taxpayer?]]]

    Yea, right….

  • GaryChurch

    “My vision”

    Better buy some glasses. Those Inferior Lift Vehicles are going to cripple Human Space Flight.

    “With just a little help.”
    That cheap and nasty cluster is going to need more than a little.

    There are people arguing with me on this site about how much better kerosene is for upper stages- because SpaceX is going cheap this must be better.
    It is all false advertising.

  • amightywind

    MJ wrote:

    My vision for NASA is for them to become the de facto big idea folks.

    Interesting. That is the vision of Obamaspace as well, and it has been summarily rejected by both parties in the most partisan political environment we have ever seen. That should tell you something. Big ideas. Big budgets. No deliverables. No timelines. No credibility. Good work if you can get it. No, someone has to lose, completely.

  • DCSCA

    Josh Cryer wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 9:46 am More chatter from a ‘musketeer’. Best he just stop talking and start flying.

  • DCSCA

    “Brian Paine wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 9:52 am
    Elon Musk is now playing politics and primarily for his own (Space X) advantage.” <– Yep.

  • DCSCA

    byeman wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 9:57 am <- nonsense. Another 'musketeer' at work. 1+1=2, not 11.

  • Justin Kugler

    I see the knives are really coming out now from those who are true believers in one particular philosophy. Part of me is starting to feel like we in the space community are going to get what we deserve if we fail to rally around compromise legislation that at least tries to give us a healthy space program we can all work on.

    While I don’t think NASA needs to be in the business of LEO access any more, the alternative is not necessarily ivory tower research with no accountability. We need to have a serious discussion about what exactly it is we want to do as a nation in space and design architectures, programs, and systems that accomplish those goals and are relevant to our national interests.

    It makes no sense to argue that there is only one way to get things done outside of that context. Otherwise, it really is nothing more than an argument about what kind of jobs program you want NASA to be.

  • common sense

    @ Justin Kugler wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I am always for compromise whenever possible. But the right course of action at this point in time is to develop capabilities and technologies to support our goals. They just do not exit. A HLV is not the answer especially if designed by Congress. I would take the Senate bill over the House? Of course the House bill is just plain idiotic. But slashing R&D at NASA for an antiquated obsolescent HLV??? Come on! This is not a compromise. It is a jobs program indeed. You (seem to) fall somehow into the false argument of commercial vs. NASA. The only thing commercial about the new plan is to actually change cost plus contracts to fixed price ones. Why do the usual suspects not like it? Very simply because they are no longer equiped to compete these contracts. Remember Boeing saying something about they’d do a cost plus even though they bid CCDev? That is why. Boeing has the expertise they just don’t have the organization to respond to fixed price contracts as they respond to cost plus.

    So in essence I will repeat once again it is NASA AND commerical not OR. Together they can do something great. The status quo will most likely kill NASA HSF! Not the commercial one. Congress is not giving enough cash for NASA to accomplish their task! You will see, you don’t have to believe me. Supported byt more than 30 years of failure to design a new LV/RV combo.

  • Justin Kugler

    You misunderstand me, then, common sense. I am an advocate for public-private partnerships. In fact, fostering such relationships is part of my job. I also reject the false dichotomy you describe and the status quo. The Augustine Commission was very clear that our current path was unsustainable.

    I’m simply saying that arguing over what rockets we need outside of a discussion of what we’re actually going to use them for is rather pointless.

  • Byeman

    DCSCA wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Exactly. Your little math display is all you can come up with? You have no legitimate response or counter argument to discredit my points. You have no basis or foundation from which to form your position.

    This is where I stand.

    EELV>Falcon 9>> MSFC manage launch vehicles. And it is backed up by flight and project history.

  • common sense

    @ Justin Kugler wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Good then ;)

  • Martijn Meijering

    Just out of curiosity, where do you think Ariane would fit in this list?

  • common sense

    @ Martijn Meijering wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    “Just out of curiosity, where do you think Ariane would fit in this list?”

    Ariane? You mean this french government subsidized commercial LV that stole most of the market? Like Airbus you mean? A LV mocked at the beginning since it was so passe when compared with Shuttle? You cannot be serious!…

  • DCSCA

    Byeman wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 6:07 pm Talk talk talk. Musketeer ‘arguements’ are bogus. Time for Elon to shut up and fly.

  • DCSCA

    @Byeman: Get this through your head, Athos: SpaceX has flown nobody in space. Nobody. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has- for nearly half a century. Any comparisobn between SpaceX and NASA is totally bogus. Americans know it. Congress knows it. Investors know it. The time for talk is over. It’s time for SpaceX and their musketeers to shut up and fly. The world waits… and waits… and waits.

  • Matt Wiser

    I agree with DCSCA: tis’ time for Musk and the other commercial companies to shut up and fly. When they prove that they can do the job of cargo and crew to ISS is when they can qualify for government funding. Otherwise….As Sen. Bill Nelson said when a bunch of Commercial Space advocates talked with him, “It’s political science, not rocket science.” Translation: the Commercial Space advocates don’t have the votes in either the House or Senate to get what they want, which is either their way or the highway. The senate bill is much better, IMHO, but there will be a compromise between House and Senate, and POTUS will sign it in all likelihood.

  • Brian Paine

    Comments about a new generation pushing the baby boomers aside on the basis that a new world commercial order exists with new and better truths implied are qualifying one thing only, that their authors know very little about human nature which is a CONSTANT.
    That is why the developed world is once more living through the carnage of absurd financial management, and why economies are cyclical beasts.
    On a personal note and as a baby boomer…the argument is crap.
    Regarding “new space,” my advice is to stop immagining that there is a commercial fairy god mother riding a Falcon 9 and replacing that ideology with real planning for the future where all those who wish to can take part.

  • Terence Clark

    “Get this through your head, Athos: SpaceX has flown nobody in space. Nobody.”

    Neither has Lockheed, but you want them to build your next manned spacecraft. No offense to Orion, which I think is a fine spacecraft, but LockMart has never once flown a manned spacecraft. The closest they’ve come is the External Tank on the shuttle, the single largest risk to crew safety in the STS system.

    ” The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has- for nearly half a century. Any comparisobn between SpaceX and NASA is totally bogus. Americans know it. Congress knows it. Investors know it. The time for talk is over. It’s time for SpaceX and their musketeers to shut up and fly. The world waits… and waits… and waits.”

    Oh but NASA, it delivers on time every time, right? So I should expect a fully functional Ares I by 2013, right? And a moon landing by 2015? That’s what was touted in the VSE and Constellaton early days. So where is it?

    Musk said F1 by 2006 and it flew in 2008. He said F9 by 2008 and it flew in 2010. Cx said Ares I by 2012 and we’ll get it when, in 2017? And Ares V by mid decade. And that will fire up in maybe, maybe 2025. I’m curious to see what will replace Cx and if it will really have a better time line, but Cx was far far worse at delivering on it’s promises than SpaceX.

    And I do think its an entirely valid comparison when you consider that NASA has not completed a new manned spacecraft since the mid-80′s.

  • Terence Clark

    “Cx said Ares I by 2012…”

    I meant 2013.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Matt,

    Ok, if we are going to agree that Commercial space needs to shut up and fly, can we agree that 20 flights of Atlas V and 12 flights of Delta IV are enough flights?

  • Paul D.

    It’s time for the business-as-usual types to realize that human spaceflight, as has been done by NASA, is simply marching down a dead-end road. Costs have to come down, and have to come down dramatically, or else the entire enterprise is a pointless waste of money.

  • Byeman

    “Any comparison between SpaceX and NASA is totally bogus”

    So, why do you insist on doing it. My comparison was with only one of NASA’s centers, MSFC and they haven’t done squat for more than 25 years on launch vehicles.

    It is MY* agency (don’t response with “it is the Taxpayers”), I know what it can and can’t do. It can’t develop launch vehicles that are not high cost and efficient.

    * I would say the same term if worked for a company.

  • Matt Wiser

    Yes, the commercial providers need to fly: with people. Launching a satelite and launching a capsule with crew to ISS are two different things. And remember that none of the existing LVs that the commercial providers are human-rated at present. Just remember that Musk is not a god, despite what some on the board are saying. It seems like a lot of folks are of the mood “My way or the highway”, as Sen. Bill Nelson said. The House and Senate bills, when reconciled, will be the best possible compromise, because Constellation as it stands will be gone, but the headlong rush to commercial space will be stopped as well. The skeptics of commercial space (and I consider myself to be one) have to be convinced that the commercial providers will live up to their promises. Didn’t Space X a few years back claim that they would have cargo runs to ISS by 2010, for example? People need to realize what’s politically possible, and the original (or even the modified) FY 11 budget is not politically possible, especially in an election year. All politics is compromise, and as Tip O’Neil once said “All politics is local.” Which explains very much how Congresscritters from Utah, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Colorado, and Florida are fighting to preserve work that’s been done on Constellation so that some elements of it do wind up in the new program.

  • And remember that none of the existing LVs that the commercial providers are human-rated at present.

    You don’t even know what “human-rated” means.

    Just remember that Musk is not a god, despite what some on the board are saying.

    No one is saying that. More idiotic straw men.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Yes, the commercial providers need to fly: with people. Launching a satelite and launching a capsule with crew to ISS are two different things.

    Well, putting satellites up is a good start. Its a shame that we aren’t doing something similar with Ares I, Ares V, or Ares V-lite with Menthol, to at least get some data. And of course, there is the point that none of them have demonstrated much of anything, to date. So how you can view them as safe (and without defining what human-rating is, thanks to Rand for pointing that out), is beyond me.

    The skeptics of commercial space (and I consider myself to be one) have to be convinced that the commercial providers will live up to their promises.

    Well, that’d be great, and no problem, if you could identify exactly what it is you want them to prove, and, alternatively, if you’d make Constellation, Son of Constellation, and whatever other off-spring you want to mention, had to live by the same rules. Which don’t seem to be the case these days.

    Didn’t Space X a few years back claim that they would have cargo runs to ISS by 2010, for example?

    Wanna go over the broken promises from NASA as well? That pile will out SpaceX’s delays, any day of the week.

  • anon

    Ferris,

    “Well, putting satellites up is a good start. Its a shame that we aren’t doing something similar with Ares I, Ares V, or Ares V-lite with Menthol, to at least get some data.”

    That is a good idea, except NASA is no longer allowed to launch its own satellites on its own launchers thanks to the last spasm of commercialization. So now you hold it against NASA that they have no data from satellite launches while they have no data because they are not allowed to launch satellites anymore. Typical of the logic of Obamaspace arguments.

    “Wanna go over the broken promises from NASA as well?’

    And how many of those promises were broken because of administrations changing direction? Bush funds DC-X, Clinton kills it. Clinton funds X-33, Bush kills it. Bush funds Constellation and Obama kills it. How is NASA ever going to get to keep any promises if the next administration kills the POR and goes in a new direction?

    And yes, that goes for Obamaspace as well. Even if Obamaspace survives come 2013 the new Tea Party administration will kill it as well, cancel outsourcing HSF to the dot.com millionaire Friends Of Obama (FOO) and start over again.

    Yes, its long past time to break the cycle. Congress recognizes this which is why its rejecting Obamaspace and trying its best to save the program of record. That is why if you support American Space its critical to support them in their efforts.

  • Byeman

    “none of the existing LVs that the commercial providers are human-rated at present.”

    Neither is the shuttle, Soyuz or Ares I. Neither was Atlas or Titan when they were selected for Mercury and Gemini. So, your point is meaningless.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Rand Simberg wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 10:46 am
    >>Why is Musk so worried about this bill

    > Maybe because he gives a damn about the taxpayer?

    ROTFL

    >> NASA will be flying 2 shuttle flights per year until
    >> Ares I/Orion comes on line. Bet on it.

    > That’s a sucker’s bet (which is why an idiot like you
    > would take it). The production lines are shut down and
    > the suppliers are gone, and it would take years to resurrect them.

    I wonder about that. Been reading contradictory things about that. Certainly it wouldn’t take years to restart tank production. They should have enough spare or other tricks to last until they get new vendors certified. Money is obviously not a concern for this congress.

  • Kelly Starks

    > MrEarl wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 10:12 am
    > Why is Musk so worried about this bill? I thought he was going to
    > build his manned Dragon capsule with or without government subsidies.”

    And I think he thought he’d have Bigelows business all to himself, and maybe a shot at ISS crew fights.

    > MrEarl wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 11:11 am
    > Rand you let you prejudices blind you. If Boeing had sent the
    > same letter you would be accusing them of trying to save their “pork”.==

    ;)

    Somehow all suspicion (and reason) vanishes if it’s a alt.spacer.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Martijn Meijering wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    >>Lord Elon
    > He finds your lack of faith disturbing.

    ;)

    Elon Musk – He of the dark path.

  • Kelly Starks

    > B Money wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 11:32 am

    > Why do you think Northrop bought up Scaled?

    They already owned part of it, and with Rutan looking to semi retire, he wanted to sell.

    Besides, Rutans been at this for about half a century – so hows he “new space” and not one of the Babyboomer over the hill aerospace folks that can’t keep up.

    ;)

    One thing he does have (unlike Musk and the rest) is some business sense, and designs newer then Cadillac’s with really big fins.

  • Kelly Starks

    > amightywind wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    >> common sense wrote:
    >>There is no “new” Werner von Braun. There will never be. For
    >> better or worse his accomplishments will never be seen again,
    >> at least in the area of “classical” rocketry.

    > Burt Rutan comes close if anyone does. Interesting how he
    > reinvigorated the “X-15″ approach to spaceflight that Ike abandoned
    > in favor of Von Braun style ballistic missiles. ==

    The Air Force at least seems to have remembered.

    Sadly though, no ones rockets now are built to the safety standards the X-15 demonstrated.

    >== I generally agree that rocketry has progressed beyond the heroic
    > age of Von Braun. Too bad it has not progressed beyond ‘rock star’
    >age of Elon Musk.

    Agreed!

  • Kelly Starks

    > MJ wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    > My vision for NASA is for them to become the de facto big
    > idea folks. The guys who are planning manned deep space missions
    > to Mars or developing plans for building ships in space that will take
    > men to the deepest parts of the solar system. ==

    Certainly not the vision NASA is comfortable with, much less anything anyone in DC is moving them toward. So if they don’t do development or operations work of something (and more important not justify and spending big budgets to do it) – they are worthless.

    > amightywind wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    >> MJ wrote:
    >>My vision for NASA is for them to become the de facto big idea folks.

    > Interesting. That is the vision of Obamaspace as well ==

    Only in the fantasies of newspacer faithful.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Justin Kugler wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    >== While I don’t think NASA needs to be in the business of
    > LEO access any more, the alternative is not necessarily ivory
    > tower research with no accountability. We need to have a serious
    > discussion about what exactly it is we want to do as a nation in
    > space and design architectures, programs, and systems that
    > accomplish those goals and are relevant to our national interests. ==

    Big agree. Sadly (other then be good for national PR and pork) no ones really found a purpose for NASA that can generate much public/political support. Without a real mission, a goal they must deliver on, NASA will always drift randomly – and accomplish very little, at very high cost.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Terence Clark wrote @ July 30th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    >> “Get this through your head, Athos: SpaceX has flown
    >> nobody in space. Nobody.”

    > Neither has Lockheed, ==

    You don’t count the Shuttle?

    >Ferris Valyn wrote @ July 31st, 2010 at 10:29 am

    > if we are going to agree that Commercial space needs
    > to shut up and fly, can we agree that 20 flights of Atlas V
    > and 12 flights of Delta IV are enough flights?

    But to the faithful only newspacers are “commercial”.

    ;/

  • Matt Wiser

    20 Atlas V and 12 Delta IV flights-completely unmanned. Do several test and demo flights with a capsule and crew and that will convince the skeptics. Myself included. Until then, get Orion with HLV up and going. Which is what the Senate bill is saying, and when both House and Senate versions are reconciled, that’s what will come out. Along with some money for commercial crew: not as much as the original FY 11 budget request, certainly more than what the House bill allows, but more in line with the Senate. It sure didn’t help the Administration’s case with that sloppy rollout of the FY 11 budget, and even throwing a crew return Orion at POTUS’ visit to KSC wasn’t enough. Said it before and I’ll repeat: the commercial crew/cargo advocates do NOT have the votes in either the House or Senate to get their way. When they start flying and demonstrating they can do the job is when they’ll get more money-and it’ll probably be loans instead of being just plain given a check and “run with it.” Which is what Senators like Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Barbara Mikluski (D-MD) are against.

  • 20 Atlas V and 12 Delta IV flights-completely unmanned. Do several test and demo flights with a capsule and crew and that will convince the skeptics. Myself included. Until then, get Orion with HLV up and going.

    This is a statement of highly distilled idiocy. Test and demo flights of Atlas, Delta and Falcon for crew can occur in the next three years. Orion with HLV cannot happen for at least six, probably seven.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Kelly

    But to the faithful only newspacers are “commercial”.

    sorry Kelly, thats bull**** and you know it. How often have those of us who support commercial space talked about Atlas V and Delta IVs? How many of us would love to see a CST-100?

    And yes, I know, you have this theory that CST-100 will never be accepted as a NASA vehicle, despite multiple evidence to the contrary.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Matt -

    1. I know many people would like to be otherwise – there will be no final NASA authorization for this year.

    2. Doesn’t matter whether we have the votes or not – Traditionalists do NOT have the money to deliver anything before 2017, and much more likely 2020.

    3. Why should there be several tests of commercial crew, but no tests of Orion and HLV? We haven’t even seen unmanned flights of the HLV, forget manned flights. I say, if Commercial has to do multiple test flights, then so does Orion/HLV.

    Of course, since you don’t have a budget to actually develop it on time, I guess those test flights are even further off.

  • Martijn Meijering

    But to the faithful only newspacers are “commercial”.

    Nonsense, this is a myth that’s being peddled by opponents of commercial space.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Until then, get Orion with HLV up and going.

    There is no HLV. By your “logic” it should be launched without crew twelve times too. You are just shilling for the Shuttle supply chain.

  • Byeman

    “You don’t count the Shuttle?”

    Lockheed had nothing to do with the design of the shuttle

  • Kelly Starks

    > Byeman wrote @ August 1st, 2010 at 10:41 am

    >> “You don’t count the Shuttle?”

    > Lockheed had nothing to do with the design of the shuttle

    They’ve been servicing and launching it for a very long time.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 1st, 2010 at 2:11 am

    >> Kelly
    >> But to the faithful only newspacers are “commercial”.

    > sorry Kelly, thats bull**** and you know it. How often have those of
    > us who support commercial space talked about Atlas V and Delta IVs? ==

    In general seldom, and often with derision that they couldn’t possibly compete with SpaceX or whoever — or shouldn’t be considered a real commercial providers.

    Note Shuttle ops should be considered commercial providers as well.

    >==
    > And yes, I know, you have this theory that CST-100 will never be
    > accepted as a NASA vehicle, despite multiple evidence to the contrary.

    Your confusing me for someone else. Though I don’t think Commercial crew will be accepted.

  • Ferris Valyn

    In general seldom, and often with derision that they couldn’t possibly compete with SpaceX or whoever — or shouldn’t be considered a real commercial providers.

    Sorry, but again, thats bull****. Instead of making some sort of outragous claim that its all about SpaceX, go look at most of the well known commercial advocates, and show me where they are all about SpaceX, but ignore companies like Boeing and ULA. By and large, you won’t find it.

    You won’t find it from me (well, you’ll have to go back maybe 3 years, to find it – we all learn stuff as we get older)
    You won’t find it from Rand.
    You won’t find it from Common Sense
    You won’t find it from Robert Oler
    You won’t find it from Major Tom
    You won’t find it from Jon Goff.

    Going beyond the blogosphere
    You won’t find it from someone like Rick Tumlinson or Jim Muncy
    You won’t find it from the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
    You won’t find it from Jeff Greason
    You won’t find it from Norm Augustine.

    In short, you won’t find it, because its not there. If you are so sure its out there, go find the post, where people say that only Newspace companies. Or that traditional aerospace companies can’t embrace the principles of NewSpace.

    Note Shuttle ops should be considered commercial providers as well.

    They are a step in the right direction, but they are really more contractors than commercial providers. And that is an important distinction. I do believe that USA could become a full commercial company, but as it stands right now, they aren’t quite like that.

    Your confusing me for someone else. Though I don’t think Commercial crew will be accepted.

    I am sorry, but aren’t you the same Kelly Starks who says that NASA will never “buy off the rack” when it comes to Commercial Crew?

  • They’ve been servicing and launching it for a very long time.

    No, that would be USA. Lockheeds’ only significant role in the Shuttle is tank manufacturing (legacy of Martin Marietta).

  • Kelly Starks

    > Rand Simberg wrote @ August 1st, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    >>They’ve been servicing and launching it for a very long time.

    > No, that would be USA.–

    I presume you mean ULA, which is a Boeing/L/M joint effort.

  • Ferris Valyn

    USA is also a joint Boeing/LM effort, as is ULA. However USA has been around longer.

  • Byeman

    > Lockheed had nothing to do with the design of the shuttle

    “They’ve been servicing and launching it for a very long time.”

    Which doesn’t mean squat, because as a separate company, personnel and intellectual property are not exchanged from the parent company.

  • I presume you mean ULA, which is a Boeing/L/M joint effort.

    You presume ignorantly. I said USA, and I meant USA. USA runs Shuttle ops, ULA runs the EELVs. Lockheed has nothing to do with either, other than being a parent company in the joint ventures.

    And once again, your posts are at an extreme variance with reality.

  • Coastal Ron

    Kelly Starks wrote @ August 1st, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    > Rand Simberg wrote @ August 1st, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    >>They’ve been servicing and launching it for a very long time.

    > No, that would be USA.–

    I presume you mean ULA, which is a Boeing/L/M joint effort.

    Kelly, you’re not retaining knowledge over time. You and I have discussed this topic before, when you were confusing ULA for USA. It’s apparent that it’s either not worthy of your time to get it right, or that you are not capable of remembering the difference.

    Until you can get your facts straight, maybe you should hold off on posting. I’m not saying don’t post, but that you should make sure what you are posting is factually accurate – verify your information.

    Otherwise you’re just wasting everyones time by having them correct you over and over and over…

  • Kelly Starks

    > Rand Simberg wrote @ August 1st, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    >> I presume you mean ULA, which is a Boeing/L/M joint effort.

    >==USA runs Shuttle ops, ULA runs the EELVs. ==

    Ah, my mistake.

    >== Lockheed has nothing to do with either, other than being a
    > parent company in the joint ventures.

    And thats nothing?

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 1st, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    >> In general seldom, and often with derision that they couldn’t
    >> possibly compete with SpaceX or whoever — or shouldn’t be
    >> considered a real commercial providers.

    > Sorry, but again, thats bull****. == go look at most of the well
    > known commercial advocates, and show me where they are all
    > about SpaceX, but ignore companies like Boeing and ULA.
    > By and large, you won’t find it.==

    Can’t agree there – though that may be due to who you consider “well
    known commercial advocates” – certrainly in posts here its been a freaguently stated assumption that newspace commercials will outcompete and .

    >> Note Shuttle ops should be considered commercial providers as well.

    > They are a step in the right direction, but they are really more
    > contractors than commercial providers. ==

    Point, but I don’t think “Commercial crew” will be run much differently.

    Agree. that iit would be a REALLY big plus for shuttle ops was run more like a commercial provider – though politically I don’t think it would fly. Its to politically dangerous as a precident, and would be perceaved as not providing enough oversight.

    They spent the last 2 years in Washington demonizing private industry to cover their butts — now turning over high profile astrounaut carry to them?? …Not going to fly politically.

    >>Your confusing me for someone else. Though I don’t think
    >> Commercial crew will be accepted.

    > I am sorry, but aren’t you the same Kelly Starks who says that
    > NASA will never “buy off the rack” when it comes to Commercial Crew?

    Yes, but Boeing could customize CST as well as anyone else can modify theirs.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Can’t agree there – though that may be due to who you consider “well
    known commercial advocates” – certrainly in posts here its been a freaguently stated assumption that newspace commercials will outcompete and .

    Point them out – instead of claiming that they are out there, go find them, link to them, and show us who is claiming that.

    Point, but I don’t think “Commercial crew” will be run much differently.

    You are welcome to think that, but that doesn’t make you correct.

    Agree. that iit would be a REALLY big plus for shuttle ops was run more like a commercial provider – though politically I don’t think it would fly. Its to politically dangerous as a precident, and would be perceaved as not providing enough oversight.

    Sorry, but no. Based on what is it dangerous precedent?

    They spent the last 2 years in Washington demonizing private industry to cover their butts — now turning over high profile astrounaut carry to them?? …Not going to fly politically.

    No, the Democrats & Obama have not been demonizing private industry. Some people in the media have been claiming that, but thats not the case, and a reasonable examination would acknowledge that.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Bollucks, the format fairy strikes again

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 10:06 am

    >Bollucks, the format fairy strikes again

    ;)

    Ignoring the silly or opinion bits.

    >> was run more like a commercial provider – though politically
    >> I don’t think it would fly. Its to politically dangerous as a
    >> precident, and would be perceaved as not providing enough
    >> oversight.

    > . Based on what is it dangerous precedent?

    Washington’s justification for all these huge gov agencies is the assumption that the gov can do big complex stuff better and more effectively, more fairly, etc then just contracting it out to commercials. Many (especially in DC) believe that its true and won’t except the “risk” of trusting cutting edge stuff to commercials – and Washington helps them overlook the obvious fact commercials are usually doing it.

    If NASA’s trademark activity (manned space flight) is either discontinued, or delegated to commercials; then NASA looks like its out of business, and Washington has to either explain why its taking the chance in trusting HSF to risky less capable commercials – or it needs to explain why we need the huge agencies to do things, if even something so impressive as HSF (the pinnacle of US capability in the public mind) can be done as well by commercials.

    Can’t see politicians wanting to open that can of worms, and starting that predcident.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Washington’s justification for all these huge gov agencies is the assumption that the gov can do big complex stuff better and more effectively, more fairly, etc then just contracting it out to commercials. Many (especially in DC) believe that its true and won’t except the “risk” of trusting cutting edge stuff to commercials – and Washington helps them overlook the obvious fact commercials are usually doing it.

    Except that, sending humans to LEO is NOT cutting edge. This is a point that has been lost far too infrequently.

    If NASA’s trademark activity (manned space flight) is either discontinued, or delegated to commercials; then NASA looks like its out of business, and Washington has to either explain why its taking the chance in trusting HSF to risky less capable commercials

    And again, we have the all or nothing with regard to human spaceflight. Why is it that the instant a human leaves the earth, the assumption MUST be its either all commercial, or all government? That is a silly notion.

    Additionally, many people would disagree that human spaceflight is NASA’s trademark activity.

  • Additionally, many people would disagree that human spaceflight is NASA’s trademark activity.

    Particularly people who are familiar with the Space Act.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    > Except that, sending humans to LEO is NOT cutting edge. This
    > is a point that has been lost far too infrequently.

    That’s true, but a double edged sword. Given the plans all effectively dismiss everything NASA has done in in LEO, and its the only place NASA done anything “core” (HSF) for decades; if getting there etc isn’t cutting edge, then NASA has spent huge amounts for decades for no purpose. At the least theirs no reason to hire others to carry folks to LEO, for NASA to still do nothing. Worst, you just blew apart all the justifications given for the past few decades for NASA.

    NASA would make sense if the last few decades they developed cutting edge technologies that facilitate our doing big things in space; but we’re throwing away everything developed since Apollo, so DC blew that as a justification.
    NASA would make sense to folks if its continuing to show USA prestige at carrying folks to space (which only one other Nation ever did), hence showing the US excellence in a cutting edge capability. But if you effectively declare it mundane enough to just contract out like shipping office furniture, that’s no justification.

    If NASA was in a gov/private partnership to do something big and impressive beyond what was ever done before, that could justify NASA as the fosterer and coordinator of that. But we absolutely aren’t talking about anything like that in any of these proposals!

    So then a NASA contracting Soyuz or commercials to carry folks to ISS and doing re-research – really seems dead and time to bury to voters and politicians.

    >> If NASA’s trademark activity (manned space flight) is either
    >> discontinued, or delegated to commercials; then NASA looks
    >> like its out of business, and Washington has to either explain
    >> why its taking the chance in trusting HSF to risky less capable
    >> commercials

    > Why is it that the instant a human leaves the earth, the assumption
    > MUST be its either all commercial, or all government?==

    Because theres no proposal to do both.

    >==
    > Additionally, many people would disagree that human
    > spaceflight is NASA’s trademark activity.

    But in surveys, that’s by a far margin what NASA is seen as by the public. Its NASA “brand identity”.

  • NASA would make sense to folks if its continuing to show USA prestige at carrying folks to space (which only one other Nation ever did)

    If you don’t count China.

    The only kind of folks to whom that would “make sense” are idiots. We’ve been flying people into space for half a century. It’s old news. If NASA wants to have prestige, it needs to send people beyond earth orbit. Unfortunately, Mike Griffin decided that building new unneeded and unaffordable launch vehicles was a higher priority.

  • Byeman

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727701.300-shields-up-force-fields-could-protect-mars-missions.html?full=true

    Boom. There goes all of Church’s justifications for an HLV and nuke pulse propulsion. Now he has no leg to stand one. So, what will be the next mantra* that he will be posting over and over.

    * It will be just as wrong as his radiation one.

  • Coastal Ron

    Kelly Starks wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    > Why is it that the instant a human leaves the earth, the assumption
    > MUST be its either all commercial, or all government?==

    Because theres no proposal to do both.

    Yes there was. It was part of the NASA budget proposal from the Administration. Commercial crew to get astronauts to LEO, and NASA to go beyond.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Kelly, you viewpoint is overly simplistic.

    That’s true, but a double edged sword. Given the plans all effectively dismiss everything NASA has done in in LEO, and its the only place NASA done anything “core” (HSF) for decades; if getting there etc isn’t cutting edge, then NASA has spent huge amounts for decades for no purpose. At the least theirs no reason to hire others to carry folks to LEO, for NASA to still do nothing. Worst, you just blew apart all the justifications given for the past few decades for NASA.

    The plans do NOT dismiss all NASA has done in LEO. If it were to do that, ISS would also be gone. But its not. Further, the history of NASA isn’t just about what vehicles it flies. It is a more complex agency than that.

    As for NASA spending huge amounts for no purpose – guess what, many federal agencies do this, and NASA has been among them. The goal is to recognize when you pass the point of not providing returns, and then reform the agency.

    NASA would make sense if the last few decades they developed cutting edge technologies that facilitate our doing big things in space; but we’re throwing away everything developed since Apollo, so DC blew that as a justification.

    This is not the first time this happened with NASA. But NASA survived then, and NASA CAN survive this time. The fundamental question is whether NASA insists on clinging to how its done business in the past. If it tries to, it will be destroyed. But if it understands that it can have a new role, in creating new industries, and not just new vehicles, then there are great possibilities.

    NASA would make sense to folks if its continuing to show USA prestige at carrying folks to space (which only one other Nation ever did), hence showing the US excellence in a cutting edge capability. But if you effectively declare it mundane enough to just contract out like shipping office furniture, that’s no justification.

    And seeing the only purpose of NASA as a tool for international diplomacy is simplistic as well. NASA can be more than that.

    If NASA was in a gov/private partnership to do something big and impressive beyond what was ever done before, that could justify NASA as the fosterer and coordinator of that. But we absolutely aren’t talking about anything like that in any of these proposals!

    Yes, actually, we are. Its called starting real space development.

    So then a NASA contracting Soyuz or commercials to carry folks to ISS and doing re-research – really seems dead and time to bury to voters and politicians.

    And again, we return to the simplistic interpretation of NASA. That unless NASA can recapture what it was doing 40 years ago, it will be in danger of coming to an end.

    Politicians have treated NASA as a pork machine for 30 years covertly, and overtly for 10 years. NASA will never be in any danger of going away. Rather, it is in danger of becoming a permanent piece of pork, that will one day dies of its own volition. We can see that end game not being to far away.

    Obama’s proposed budget offers a chance to avoid that – by become an industry creator & true frontier enabler. But it cannot be a controller, if it expects to survive.

    Because theres no proposal to do both.

    Sorry, there is a proposal to do both. The fact that people want to ignore that Obama’s proposal set the stage to do both is unfortunate.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Rand Simberg wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    >> NASA would make sense to folks if its continuing to show USA
    >> prestige at carrying folks to space (which only one other Nation
    >> ever did)

    > If you don’t count China.

    Point

    > The only kind of folks to whom that would “make sense” are idiots.
    > We’ve been flying people into space for half a century. It’s old news.
    > If NASA wants to have prestige, it needs to send people beyond earth
    > orbit. ==

    Did that 40 years ago. Hows that any different?

    >== Unfortunately, Mike Griffin decided that building new unneeded
    > and unaffordable launch vehicles was a higher priority.

    unaffordable doesn’t mean anything to the feds – NASA needs to budget congressional votes not $. However, yes it was a LAUGHABLY expensive and backward design.

  • Kelly Starks

    >Coastal Ron wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    >>Kelly Starks wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    >>> Why is it that the instant a human leaves the earth, the assumption
    >>> MUST be its either all commercial, or all government?==

    >> Because theres no proposal to do both.”

    > Yes there was. It was part of the NASA budget proposal from the
    > Administration. Commercial crew to get astronauts to LEO, and NASA to go beyond.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 8:15 pm
    >Kelly, you viewpoint is overly simplistic.

    >> That’s true, but a double edged sword. Given the plans all effectively
    >> dismiss everything NASA has done in in LEO, and its the only place
    >> NASA done anything “core” (HSF) for decades; if getting there etc
    >> isn’t cutting edge, then NASA has spent huge amounts for decades
    >> for no purpose. At the least theirs no reason to hire others to carry folks
    >> to LEO, for NASA to still do nothing. Worst, you just blew apart all the
    >> justifications given for the past few decades for NASA.

    > The plans do NOT dismiss all NASA has done in LEO. If it were to do
    > that, ISS would also be gone. But its not. Further, the history of NASA
    > isn’t just about what vehicles it flies. It is a more complex agency than that.

    What NASA did for the last 37 years was develop the shuttles and demonstrate capacities for on-orbit repair and construction. ISS was done as a international political cooperation stunt. All interest in doing anything with it – was striped out before they named it ISS. It never did anything of interest to the public.. So everything NASA built and learned in the last 30 years has been thrown out. All the abilities necessary to do bigger scale programs in space is being tossed out.

    That translates to 37 years of promises and goals be shrugged off as worthless.

    >== But if it understands that it can have a new role, in creating
    > new industries, and not just new vehicles, then there
    > are great possibilities.

    Neither NASA or DC has any interest in establishing space industry, worse – for NASA a vibrant space industry makes its primary task (space spectacular service) completely irrelivent. Its one of the reason they are scared to death of CATS.

    >> NASA would make sense to folks if its continuing to show USA prestige
    >> at carrying folks to space (which only one other Nation ever did), hence
    >> showing the US excellence in a cutting edge capability. But if you effectively
    >> declare it mundane enough to just contract out like shipping office furniture,
    >> that’s no justification.

    > And seeing the only purpose of NASA as a tool for international diplomacy
    > is simplistic as well. NASA can be more than that.

    True, but irrelevant. The point is what voters already think its for, and would support it doing.

    >> If NASA was in a gov/private partnership to do something big and impressive
    >> beyond what was ever done before, that could justify NASA as the fosterer and
    >> coordinator of that. But we absolutely aren’t talking about anything like that in
    >> any of these proposals!

    > Yes, actually, we are. Its called starting real space development.

    No, that’s not being done – and the insistence that Commercial crew is that is pathetically laughable.

    >> So then a NASA contracting Soyuz or commercials to carry folks to ISS and
    >> doing re-research – really seems dead and time to bury to voters and politicians.

    > And again, we return to the simplistic interpretation of NASA. That unless
    > NASA can recapture what it was doing 40 years ago, it will be in danger of coming to an end.

    You miss understand. I’m not saying its in danger of coming to a end – its in danger of being seen as already dead.

    The public sees NASA as a HSF agency good for National prestique and pork. So Congress works it that way for votes.

    > ==
    > Obama’s proposed budget offers a chance to avoid that – by become an
    > industry creator & true frontier enabler.==

    No that’s a complete fantasy. Obama’s proposal converts NASA to pure pork, and eliminates all its capabilities to do anything. Specifically the kind of research projects Congress repeatedly noted NASA never delivered anything with. Even if a later admin wanted to do a significant project with NASA later, it would have shed its, and industries capacity to do one. At that point its unlikely any admin would take the years and money to rebuild it.

  • Ferris Valyn

    You miss understand. I’m not saying its in danger of coming to a end – its in danger of being seen as already dead.

    The public sees NASA as a HSF agency good for National prestique and pork. So Congress works it that way for votes.

    This is your fundamental mis-understanding – the public doesn’t care about NASA, by and large. Only those who get a paycheck, and a few crazies, like us. The rest don’t give a crap.

    In other words – they already see it as dead. It’s a question of whether it gets buried, or resurrected.

    What NASA did for the last 37 years was develop the shuttles and demonstrate capacities for on-orbit repair and construction. ISS was done as a international political cooperation stunt. All interest in doing anything with it – was striped out before they named it ISS. It never did anything of interest to the public.. So everything NASA built and learned in the last 30 years has been thrown out. All the abilities necessary to do bigger scale programs in space is being tossed out.

    Ok,
    1. The Shuttle hasn’t done anything of interest to the public except for blow up. The Hubble flights got a little press, much like the first flights. Otherwise, the most “exciting thing” the shuttles have done, as far as the public is concerned, is kill 14 people.

    2. Where as the shuttles really have been aged, and have no mechanism for continued use, the station still has potential. Yes, it isn’t great, but there is potential for use, because people are interested in using it (see things like Nano-Racks & Space Adventures & Astrotech)

    3. The tools and techniques developed for on-orbit assembly & refurbishments do not require the shuttle. We can develop better vehicles.

    Neither NASA or DC has any interest in establishing space industry, worse – for NASA a vibrant space industry makes its primary task (space spectacular service) completely irrelivent. Its one of the reason they are scared to death of CATS.

    This, right here, honestly makes me sick – you are effectively saying that the only purpose of NASA is to do stunts – its wine and circuses, for the US.

    I am sorry, but thats just god awful offensive, on multiple fronts. Its offensive that we are spending money like that, only to maintain a group of people to do stunts. And its offensive that you believe that people can’t be convinced that NASA & space can do anything else. People & voters aren’t this stupid or simplistic. But you have to give them a real reason to care.

    No that’s a complete fantasy. Obama’s proposal converts NASA to pure pork, and eliminates all its capabilities to do anything. Specifically the kind of research projects Congress repeatedly noted NASA never delivered anything with. Even if a later admin wanted to do a significant project with NASA later, it would have shed its, and industries capacity to do one. At that point its unlikely any admin would take the years and money to rebuild it.

    Sorry, but the tendency for research projects to turn into pork generally comes from the attempt at technological pull, rather than technological push.

    Kelly, more than once you’ve given plenty of reasons why NASA is a mess, and you know it. You’ve said as much. And then you say “but we have to save it,” never providing any justification. I get the impression that you think we need to save it because, one day, someone will invent transporter technology, or the US government will decided to invest 4% of its national budget back into NASA, and maybe do something with it.

    Its a very immature and, I would argue, childish viewpoint.

  • Ferris, you’re wasting your time arguing with Kelly Starks. He lives in an alternate universe where up is down, and black is white.

  • Jennifer Lawn

    Can i write an article for your blog? You can write one for mine and include a link to your site.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    >> You miss understand. I’m not saying its in danger of coming to a
    >> end – its in danger of being seen as already dead.
    >>
    >> The public sees NASA as a HSF agency good for National
    >> prestique and pork. So Congress works it that way for votes.

    > This is your fundamental mis-understanding –==

    Its not my understanding, its the results of public polls. Hence what congress generally acts on.

    >> What NASA did for the last 37 years was develop the shuttles and
    >> demonstrate capacities for on-orbit repair and construction. ISS was
    >> done as a international political cooperation stunt. All interest in doing
    >> anything with it – was striped out before they named it ISS. It never did
    >> anything of interest to the public.. So everything NASA built and learned
    >> in the last 30 years has been thrown out. All the abilities necessary to
    >> do bigger scale programs in space is being tossed out.

    > Ok,
    > 1. The Shuttle hasn’t done anything of interest to the public except for
    > blow up. The Hubble flights got a little press, much like the first flights.
    > Otherwise, the most “exciting thing” the shuttles have done, as far as
    > the public is concerned, is kill 14 people.

    That’s not the perception that shows up in surveys. If it was, the congress would have pulled the plug on it and sent the money to the districts via other bills, like they did when they cut funds to SSFP.

    > 2. Where as the shuttles really have been aged, and have no
    > mechanism for continued use, the station still has potential. ==

    No the shuttles are far under their service lives limits. Some of the sub systems are dated, but given how smoothly they replaced the avionics and cockpit systems in the ‘90’s that wouldn’t be hard if necessary.

    Hell even Enterprise, after a decade out in the rain and another in a unheated hanger, showed surprisingly little deterioration.

    > 3. The tools and techniques developed for on-orbit assembly &
    > refurbishments do not require the shuttle. We can develop better vehicles.

    We could develop better vehicles, but everyone is developing far worse vehicles, and dumping the tools and experience base.

    >> Neither NASA or DC has any interest in establishing space industry,
    >> worse – for NASA a vibrant space industry makes its primary task
    >> (space spectacular service) completely irrelivent. Its one of the
    >> reason they are scared to death of CATS.

    > This, right here, honestly makes me sick – you are effectively saying
    > that the only purpose of NASA is to do stunts – its wine and circuses, for the US.

    > == I am sorry, but thats just god awful offensive, on multiple fronts.
    > Its offensive that we are spending money like that, only to maintain
    > a group of people to do stunts. ==

    Its what voters see is valuable to them of what NASA dose. Its what NASA see as SOMETHING THEY WISH TO DO THAT WILL GET THEM THE SUPPORT THEY WANT.

    NASA also does other things of value. Develop new tech for industries that don’t threaten them, exploration (sometimes).
    As for what they are for, they can research and develop thing IF THEY NEED TO USE THEM. They developed a lot of expertise in no orbit assembly adn repair thats going to be critical to do major things in space.

    >> No that’s a complete fantasy. Obama’s proposal converts
    >> NASA to pure pork, and eliminates all its capabilities to do
    >> anything. Specifically the kind of research projects Congress
    >> repeatedly noted NASA never delivered anything with. Even
    >> if a later admin wanted to do a significant project with NASA
    >> later, it would have shed its, and industries capacity to do one.
    >> At that point its unlikely any admin would take the years and
    >> money to rebuild it.

    ==
    > Kelly, more than once you’ve given plenty of reasons why NASA
    > is a mess, and you know it. You’ve said as much. And then you
    > say “but we have to save it,” never providing any justification. ==

    I’ve listed several several times.

    1- Right now NASA is the bulk of the civilian market for space services and HSF. Lose it and we lose most all of our capacity to EVER have a significant commercial or scientific space program.

    2- If push HARD it can be made to let its people do major things. They developed a lot of expertise in no orbit assembly and repair that’s going to be critical to do major things in space.

    3- Its a good agency to use to demonstrate new technologies in targeted programs. A NASA or alternative should demo, or foster, the next generation technologies, craft, and systems that are beyond what industry can get investors to develop.

    4- I think for practical and political reasons the US should have a space program. Prestige in the worlds eyes and our own as a top rate technological nation. Inspiration that were more then a food and lumber source for the world, and worlds cops, etc.

    5- Long term I want major development of space and space industry. Your not going to get that by gutting out NASA to just pork, reducing our nation space capabilities to get to space or do things in space, or knowledge base – and by gutting the civilian market commercial providers can sell to..

  • Kelly Starks

    > Rand Simberg wrote @ August 2nd, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    > Ferris, you’re wasting your time arguing with Kelly Starks. He lives
    > in an alternate universe where up is down, and black is white.

    I live in a universe where disagreements are responded to by a reasoned response, not catty comebacks. When you grow up you should visit.

    ..If your not just to scared your wrong.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Its not my understanding, its the results of public polls. Hence what congress generally acts on.

    No, actually, that is your understanding of the polls. But the polls don’t tell you how much John Q Public cares, and how much it would take to offer an alternative vision of NASA that John Q Public could buy into.

    That’s not the perception that shows up in surveys. If it was, the congress would have pulled the plug on it and sent the money to the districts via other bills, like they did when they cut funds to SSFP.

    Again, pereceptions aren’t fixed in stone. And given that the average person doesn’t really feel strongly about NASA, if we make NASA relevent, they’ll have no problem going with that change.

    As for Congress – why would they reorganize a program that is already delivering enough pork for its districts?

    Its what voters see is valuable to them of what NASA dose. Its what NASA see as SOMETHING THEY WISH TO DO THAT WILL GET THEM THE SUPPORT THEY WANT.

    No, the public sees that as what NASA is doing. That doesn’t necessarily translates into what the voters see as valuable. If they did, again, NASA stunts should have greater priority for them then they do.

    Now, I will grant, some at NASA see it as the mechanism to get the support they need to do stuff. Which says a lot about NASA, rather than how NASA might generate support.

    As for gutting NASA just for Pork, or gutting it to the commercial providers,
    1. We don’t know that going to a tech R&D push program (which is what is being proposed) must turn into a pork program. I submit that, at worst, we don’t know what will happen.
    2. As for doing on-orbit construction and assembly, thats going to take place at ISS, and other stations. Frankly, having to take all of that up and down on the shuttle didn’t make a lot of sense

  • Ferris Valyn

    Rand,

    This round of masochism will end shortly

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 3rd, 2010 at 10:45 am
    >> Its not my understanding, its the results of public polls.
    >> Hence what congress generally acts on.

    > == the polls don’t tell you how much John Q Public cares,
    > and how much it would take to offer an alternative vision
    > of NASA that John Q Public could buy into.

    True, but no ones managed to do it for some time, and its risky to impact the parts the public now dose support for a new “vision”.

    The public has wide, but shallow support for NASA. How to change that overall has been a debate for decades. Shuttles early cheap frequent access to space etc got folks excited – but nothing much happened, so it wained..

    >> That’s not the perception that shows up in surveys. If it was,
    >> the congress would have pulled the plug on it and sent the
    >> money to the districts via other bills, like they did when they cut funds to SSFP.

    >== if we make NASA relevant, they’ll have no problem going with that change.

    Again. How?

    > As for Congress – why would they reorganize a program that
    >is already delivering enough pork for its districts?

    NASA can be dangerous for them given it screws up and embarrasses them. NASA has a bad reputation for lying through their teeth to them.

    Also their does seem to be real interst in sp-ace, adn some concept of of it being visionary. So they really would like it doing something productive.

    >> Its what voters see is valuable to them of what NASA dose. Its
    >> what NASA see as SOMETHING THEY WISH TO DO THAT WILL GET
    >> THEM THE SUPPORT THEY WANT.

    > No, the public sees that as what NASA is doing. That doesn’t
    > necessarily translates into what the voters see as valuable. ==

    That is not wat the polls say. Asked what of NASA is important to you – etc.

    Also frankly with politicians pushing NASA programs only on jobs or political commitments, its not surprising jobs is what they say is important to them.

    >== If they did, again, NASA stunts should have greater
    > priority for them then they do.

    ??
    But the pole lists that as one of the only 2 things they value…

    I’m missing something in what you mean here?

    > Now, I will grant, some at NASA see it as the mechanism to get the
    > support they need to do stuff. Which says a lot about NASA, rather
    > than how NASA might generate support.

    Griffen certainly championed that as THE goal and derided the Shuttle concept of making space frequent and routine. Which made me want to scream!!!

    > As for gutting NASA just for Pork, or gutting it to the commercial providers,
    > 1. We don’t know that going to a tech R&D push program (which is what is
    > being proposed) must turn into a pork program. I submit that, at worst, we
    > don’t know what will happen.

    That’s what happened for decades at NASA before when tried (even when tried in programs studying the same topics proposed by Obama), nothing much has changed to alter how they will react to it, so at the least you can see why the expectation of Congress and most folks in NASA is that’s where it will go.

    Reminds me of the old joke of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    > 2. As for doing on-orbit construction and assembly, thats
    > going to take place at ISS, and other stations.===

    No any more. They are going to be hard pressed even to maintain the ISS. he other on orbit maint and repair efforts done from shuttle, wont be attempted again. And the staffs that developed and trained such skills are being laid off.

    > Frankly, having to take all of that up and down on the shuttle didn’t make a lot of sense

    Why not?

  • Ferris Valyn

    True, but no ones managed to do it for some time, and its risky to impact the parts the public now dose support for a new “vision”.
    The public has wide, but shallow support for NASA. How to change that overall has been a debate for decades. Shuttles early cheap frequent access to space etc got folks excited – but nothing much happened, so it wained..

    1. Public doesn’t much care one way or the other on the “vision”.
    2. You are asking how do we get the public to care more about NASA. What I am talking about is how to change the mission of NASA so that it fills a void that is needed by the public.

    Again. How?

    By not focusing on stunts. By focusing on industry creation

    NASA can be dangerous for them given it screws up and embarrasses them. NASA has a bad reputation for lying through their teeth to them.

    Not really. The only real danger is if people die, and, although space is risky, what we’ve been doing is fairly well understood. They’d rather just keep the pork lines open.

    Also their does seem to be real interst in sp-ace, adn some concept of of it being visionary. So they really would like it doing something productive.

    Who do you see in Congress pushing it? I see it from Rohrbacher, but thats it. All the rest are largely interested in protecting their centers.

    That is not wat the polls say. Asked what of NASA is important to you – etc.

    The polls also tell us how much the public care about NASA as a whole – not what they find important in what NASA does currently, but compared to other governmental activities, what its underlying support is. And the answer – not much support.

    Also frankly with politicians pushing NASA programs only on jobs or political commitments, its not surprising jobs is what they say is important to them.

    Not all jobs are equal, nor are all political commitments.

    But the pole lists that as one of the only 2 things they value…

    Its time for them to do something they are not doing. Its not about messaging, and trying to get people excited about NASA – its about finding out what niche NASA can fill, that uses space.

    That’s what happened for decades at NASA before when tried (even when tried in programs studying the same topics proposed by Obama), nothing much has changed to alter how they will react to it, so at the least you can see why the expectation of Congress and most folks in NASA is that’s where it will go.

    R&D has NEVER been to top dog at NASA. Shuttle has, Station has, and then Constellation was. Thats why the R&D gets eaten. What happens if we make R&D the big piece of the pie.

    Why not?

    Why not leave the facility that is to do orbit maintenance & repair in space, and move it around, so you don’t have to spend money on fuel, flights, and the like, all the time?

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 3rd, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    > == You are asking how do we get the public to care more
    > about NASA. What I am talking about is how to change the
    > mission of NASA so that it fills a void that is needed by the public.

    It doesn’t mater if they need it. If they don’t support it it gets killed.

    >> Again. How?

    > By not focusing on stunts. By focusing on industry creation

    But no ones planning to do it, nor even tried to sell the idea – or a idea of what such a industry would be, and why voters would want it.

    >> NASA can be dangerous for them given it screws up and
    >> embarrasses them. NASA has a bad reputation for lying
    >> through their teeth to them.

    > Not really. The only real danger is if people die, ===

    No, if they [NASA] do something embarrassing, another Hubble launched with a bad mirror. A foul up (like say launching a two part moon mission, but the second booster can’t get off the pad and they have to dump Launch #1 as a write off, etc.

    NASA has screwed up BIG TIME. Worse, they don’t learn. All the investigations by congress keep pointing back to stupid arrogant NASA management choices.

    >> Also their does seem to be real interst in sp-ace, and some
    >> concept of of it being visionary. So they really would like it doing
    >> something productive.

    > Who do you see in Congress pushing it? ==
    >===
    >> That’s what happened for decades at NASA before when
    >> tried (even when tried in programs studying the same topics
    >> proposed by Obama), nothing much has changed to alter
    >> how they will react to it, so at the least you can see why
    >> the expectation of Congress and most folks in NASA is that’s where it will go.

    > R&D has NEVER been to top dog at NASA. ==

    Not top, but they have had lots of R&D programs over the decades (several on the topics Obama listed for further research), and they resulted in nothing, and the congressional investigations recommendations kept coming back with the fact that without a goal to focus them, NASA just plays out the studies indefinably to extend the study budget.

    Hey, I’d love NASA to be more like DARPA – but it aint, and congress and Obama haven’t the authority to make it be that.

    >==
    > Why not leave the facility that is to do orbit maintenance
    > & repair in space, and move it around, so you don’t have
    > to spend money on fuel, flights, and the like, all the time?

    Because the stuff to be maintained and repaired in orbit can’t be reached by the ISS.

  • Ferris Valyn

    It doesn’t mater if they need it. If they don’t support it it gets killed.

    If they need it, and know they need it, it’ll get support. Right now, its unneeded, although it does something slightly entertaining, now and again. Space can do better

    As for the rest of your post, Kelly, honestly, I don’t feel there is a response. You effectively say we can’t make it better, and that its really bad, but we need to keep it. And then you claim that the President & the Congress don’t have the authority to get a federal agency to change.

    Short of a trip to the X files, I am forced to wonder what you think is actually going on.

  • Ferris Valyn

    (See, Rand, told ya the masochism wouldn’t last)

  • Dennis Berube

    Now as the ISS gets some years on it, things will begin to produce problems, as aging always does. Remember MIR, and truly what a great success it was. The Soviets had to keep maint. going on her as she aged. America of course had to come along and do the station thing a lot better. Was it worth it. How much did MIR cost verses how much ISS is costing? The same science could be carried out on either.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 3rd, 2010 at 9:21 pm
    >> It doesn’t mater if they need it. If they don’t support it it gets killed.

    > If they need it, and know they need it, it’ll get support. Right now, its unneeded, ==

    Then obviously they don’t think they need it, you don’t think they need it now, so presumably yuo agree it won’t happen?.

    >== As for the rest of your post, Kelly, honestly, I don’t feel
    > there is a response. You effectively say we can’t make it better,
    > and that its really bad, but we need to keep it. And then you
    > claim that the President & the Congress don’t have the authority
    > to get a federal agency to change.

    Obviously unless the Pres and Congress change a lot of federal laws, there are real limits on what they can get a federal agency to change to. (Things like say changing the ways stafs are hired, fired, promoting based on merit, not rewarding inefficiency for example require changes to civil service law.) Thats a HUGE effort that obviously isn’t in work. If done it would revolutionize the whole federal government – but its not happening.

    There are other things (like NASA centers and programs just not delivering results, center administrators not needing to listing to the NASA administrator) that would require federal law changes, and organizational changes or at least major political shifts in congressional support/pressure. Possible but not being attempted.

    So really the question is “within the box we find NASA and Space what can you do?”, just like with all other gov agencies. At the least I’ld rather not see the current knowledge and industrial base for space, especially HSF and in space operations, pretty much thrown out – which was the Obama plan.
    Best would be a streamlined contract for something that would advance us in space. Say like dumping the $100B Constellation dev program, and putting into place a much cheaper CATS RLV alternative, preferably in a way allowing the RLV’s to be marketed commercially after the feds eat the big R&D charges, so you get a VERY low cost launch systems to foster commercial space development. [Nor holding my breath though.]

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