Congress, Events, NASA

Senate postpones NASA hearing

Tomorrow’s scheduled hearing on NASA, “Transition and Implementation: The NASA Authorization Act of 2010″, by the Senate Commerce Committee, has been postponed to Wednesday, December 1, at 10:30 am. No reason for the delay was given.

There are two other space-related events going on in DC tomorrow, though. On Thursday morning the Space Transportation Association will be honoring outgoing Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), who had chaired the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, with jurisdiction over NASA and NOAA. Mollohan lost his bid for another term in the Democratic primary earlier this year. The breakfast and awards ceremony will be at 7:30am in Room 2359 of the Rayburn House Office Building. At 11:30 am Women in Aerospace is hosting a discussion titled “The Future of Human Spaceflight: Prospects, Programs and Educating the Pipeline”, featuring speakers from ESA, NASA, and the International Space University. Registration is $10-15 and includes lunch.

43 comments to Senate postpones NASA hearing

  • Paul Bryan

    Given this website is called ‘Space Politics’ and not ‘US Space Politics’ why does it focus exclusively on on US issues. I would have thought that the achievements of the Japanese space program this week were at least worth a mention if only to recognise that the pool of space skills is widening in the world.

  • Major Tom

    “I would have thought that the achievements of the Japanese space program this week were at least worth a mention if only to recognise that the pool of space skills is widening in the world.”

    Is there a political or policy angle to the Hayabusa success?

    FWIW…

  • This site is about US space politics. Read the subtitle of the site.

  • amightywind

    Hayabusa was a fine and successful mission, certainly from a spacecraft operations point of view. The problem is the inevitable political back biting going on in Japan, Russia, or China is not as transparent as our own.

  • Paul Bryan

    Is there a political or policy angle to the Hayabusa success?

    I guess for me, there’s two relevant angles here:

    1) The first is technical. Hayabusa seems like a good example of the scientific payoffs that can be achieved with relatively low budget projects. At a time when there’s a lot of handwringing about an ‘inadequate’ $19B annual budget for NASA – this projects points the way to alternative approaches to developing useful new technologies in an age of austerity.

    2) The other is about the potential benefits of increased international cooperation. Historically, NASA has chosen what it wants to do and then asked its international partners to buy in. This largely made sense when other nations were so far behind the US technologically. My point here, is that at least in some fields, such as earth observation, sample capture and solar sail technology the gap has narrowed significantly. With countries like China and India starting to take space seriously and even the tardy EU starting to up its game, there’s more opportunity than ever for the US to pool its resources to better effect rather than viewing space expenditure through the prism of domestic job creation and national prestige.

  • Jeff Foust

    To answer Mr. Bryan’s question, the primary focus of this site is US space policy, although I have written about activities in other countries from time to time. I would agree with Major Tom that the Hayabusa sample confirmation, while an impressive milestone, is not really a policy event. (Mr. Bryan and others may be interested in an article on cooperation between NASA and international partners I wrote last month in The Space Review, where I comment on, among other issues, the effect Hayabusa’s success is having on JAXA – it’s not all good.)

    If you have questions, comments, suggestions, complaints, or just plain rants about the content you see here, please email me. (It helps to keep the discussion here and on other posts on topic.) Thanks!

  • Robert G. Oler

    Major Tom wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Is there a political or policy angle to the Hayabusa success?..

    I’ve read Jeff’s post and he certainly is kind to put up with me on this site…but color me as one that things that there is a policy angle to Haybausa’s success.

    The entire issue of exploration of the solar system is in my view “bang for buck”. And it is clear that on not a lot of money some pretty decent results can be had with uncrewed vehicles…

    to me that is policy

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    “No reason for the delay was given.”

    The Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission Report is due out around Dec. 1 and everything is targeted for cuts, including space. In addition to their earlier leak recommending torpedoing government subsidies for private space ventures, Simpson and Bowles, appearing on PBS’ ‘Charlie Rose’ Tuesday evening, went so far as to mention recommending cutting 250,000 DoD contractors in the course of their discussions as well.

    Regardless of your advocacy for commercially subsidized space ventures, civilian-government or military-space operations, everything is on the table. The people of the United States have had it with the Beltway mind set and endless deficit spending. The Age of Austerity is upon us. The duplication of programs, facilities, operations, research, suppliers, personnel, etc., can no longer be sustained.

    Unless NASA expands its partnerships with other space operations- be ity international or military- it is teed-up to be dissolved and can be rationalized out of existence as a relic of the Cold War. The question facing America’s aerospace community will surely be- do we maintain some kind of space operations by eliminating the civilian space agency and dovetailing operations and assets into existing military operations- or do we simply eliminate it and maintain space-ops for national security under the cover of the military. The private sector’s only realist appears to be Branson. This writer will miss NASA when it’s gone, but the research will continue in other agencies. But to the man in the street, NASA’s reason to be was to fly people into space. When shuttle ends, NASA ends. Just as the Cold War ended.

  • amightywind

    And it is clear that on not a lot of money some pretty decent results can be had with uncrewed vehicles

    Have you been asleep for the past 40 years? It is not an area lacking within US policy, as the US has some 60 active spacecraft missions. How many do you want?

  • DCSCA

    @amightywind wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Where have you been, Windy? We’re long past the era of want and deep into the era of is this really necessary. Necessity is a vital component in determining the future of space operations, manned or unmanned. And in the Age of Austerity, space exploration is most decidely a luxury left over from another era for the United States, not a necessity.

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    ‘DCSCA wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 9:02 pm
    The private sector’s only realist appears to be Branson. This writer will miss NASA when it’s gone, but the research will continue in other agencies. But to the man in the street, NASA’s reason to be was to fly people into space. When shuttle ends, NASA ends. Just as the Cold War ended.’

    Comeon. This is just rubbish. NASA’s not going away since HSF is only part of what they do. We’ve all been discussing the robotic missions of NASA on other threads and how successful they’ve been in the main compared to HSF. HSF might downsize some for NASA but the organisation will keep on.
    The other comment is about Branson. Admittedly he’s taken the original success of SpaceShipOne and appears to be developing a business out of it but it’s no sure thing and SS2 still has to make it’s maiden rocket powered flight. You might not like SpaceX particularly but they’ve actually made more progress than Virgin/Scaled. Two different boosters have made orbit and one has launched a commercial satelite. Not to mention their launch manifest. The two organisations are apples and oranges at the moment and will probably remain so in the forseeable future.

  • WE NEED TO GET OUT OF LOW EARTH ORBIT, ASAP! Please NO more LEO space stations!! All that ferris wheel circling of the Earth, 200 miles up, will teach us nothing about occupying bases on a planet’s surface! Obama’s space plan is opposed to a Lunar Return. This is a grave mistake! The Moon should be our prime intermediate goal. Please NO further wasted decades, endlessly circling the Earth!

  • Rhyolite

    DCSCA wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    “Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission Report is due out around Dec. 1″

    The Simpson-Bowles report is DOA. There isn’t remotely enough support to pass it.

    “their earlier leak recommending…”

    That wasn’t a leak. It was a co-chairs draft report.

    “The Age of Austerity is upon us.”

    Which congress is set to kick off with $3.6 trillion dollar tax cut. I’ll believe the austerity bit when I see it.

    “This writer will miss NASA when it’s gone…”

    Can you name a single person in a leadership position in either party who has suggested eliminating NASA?

  • The entire issue of exploration of the solar system is in my view “bang for buck”. And it is clear that on not a lot of money some pretty decent results can be had with uncrewed vehicles…

    Ordinarily I would agree with you Robert, but some would argue against that paradigm where the James Webb Space Telescope is concerned.

    But maybe when it’s finally on orbit doing it’s designed job it’ll return its opportunity cost and then some.

  • Can you name a single person in a leadership position in either party who has suggested eliminating NASA?

    I can’t think of any.

  • WE NEED TO GET OUT OF LOW EARTH ORBIT, ASAP! Please NO more LEO space stations!! All that ferris wheel circling of the Earth, 200 miles up, will teach us nothing about occupying bases on a planet’s surface! Obama’s space plan is opposed to a Lunar Return. This is a grave mistake! The Moon should be our prime intermediate goal. Please NO further wasted decades, endlessly circling the Earth!

    First question, “How old are you?’
    Second question in two parts, “With what money” and “What part of Age of Austerity do you not understand?”

    The third is a suggestion, “Ever heard of Quaaludes? Take a couple, you need to relax.”

  • Dennis Berube

    First gents, I dont think NASA will be desolved any time soon. Up coming missions like the MSL and the James Webb tele, will certainly keep it in the lime light. These are all science programs under NASA. As to manned mission, while they may be slowed down due to budget cuts, Orion ison the table to be completed. Even if a HLV is put on hold, another launcher will be provided for Orion. Human spaceflight is not just a science endeavor, but military as well. Why would our government allow other countries to surpass us in such areas? The only reason that I could see would be so the politicians could pocket the funds. Seriously though, I dont think the public would let NASA die totally….

  • amightywind

    DCSCA wrote:

    The Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission Report is due out around Dec. 1 and everything is targeted for cuts, including space.

    This commission is the last gasp of a tax and spend democrat majority. Its conclusions will be disregarded simply because its composition is not ideologically representative of the electorate. The commission will recommend slowing the growth of spending and increasing taxation. The Tea Party approach will be to cut spending and lower tax rates. NASA will still fare relatively well because it is a national security concern. My hope is that NASA will be restructured and its program portfolio cut.

  • Dennis Berube

    dad2059, With the summit coming up, and nations of the world pretty much united on the idea of colonizing distant planets, I dont think that human spaceflight is in trouble. There is movement toward that end and even now the talk is of human one way missions to colonize Mars. Even in this time of tight money, I think the human endeavor to go into space will surpass our problems. With the announcement that anti-matter has finally been contained for the first time in history, the idea of the Enterprise of Star Trek fame, doesnt sound so far fetched does it? If anything, I see NASA at the forefront of deep space exploration, with perhaps other nations investing in the endeavor. We must go into deep space to survive as a species!

  • Doug Lassiter

    “… in the Age of Austerity, space exploration is most decidely a luxury left over from another era for the United States, not a necessity.”

    No, space exploration is a need every bit as much as high energy physics is a need. What is much less a need is shooting humans into space to do space exploration, as the various musings here about unmanned spacecraft reveal. The definition of exploration as something that must involve physical risk, hardship, and heroism is what’s left over from another era, and that definition is no longer necessary.

    The purpose of human spaceflight has been, for many years of technology development, collapsing into a single thing. To give civilization the opportunity to settle beyond the Earth. It’s certainly not about science, and it’s probably not even about resource development. Let’s hope it’s not all about “inspiration”! It may be about national security, in the sense that a nation wants to insure its survival. But that opportunity seems as unnecessary now as it’s ever been. If it were necessary as a long-range investment in survival then human space flight programs, and the nations that sponsor them, would have to acknowledge it. They have not done so yet. Have you ever heard Congress deliberating the importance of leaving? Is that spelled out in the Space Act? Nope. As a result, they are still struggling for rationale to do human space flight. Now, to the extent that physical risk, hardship, and heroism might be important things for a culture to exercise, let’s do it! But let’s not call it exploration.

    We can whine and grouse about not living up to the importance of sending people back to the Moon or on to Mars. But there is no intrinsic importance in doing those things EXCEPT in that such visits pave the way for an opportunity to leave. So let’s follow the argument. Why is that opportunity important to us? How do we make that argument to a taxpayer who really doesn’t want to leave?

  • Robert G. Oler

    dad2059 wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Ordinarily I would agree with you Robert, but some would argue against that paradigm where the James Webb Space Telescope is concerned.

    Good point
    There are three questions to be asked about Webb…

    The first and right now the most important one is just how much more money is it going to take to get the thing on station. What slipping dollars and time tables mean really is that the project management for one reason or another doesnt know what they are doing. They cannot estimate with any fidelity the technical challenges and hence the cost to meet them.

    At some point very quickly someone who has some background in salvaging projects needs to get on the deck (a non space person but a technical person) and figure out that answer.

    Because only then can the last two questions be answered.

    Is the Webb worth finishing based on its potential to do premier work in the field and is it worth finishing based on its potential to do premier work in the field as compared with how in the field the remaining dollars might be spent otherwise.

    NASA is never very good at any of those three questions. These questions are almost never answered before a project starts because NASA and project supporters almost always “low ball” the startup/completion/ops cost and always play up the “great things” that projects are going to do and how crummy the alternatives can be.

    Plus it is really quite amazing to me how simple notions get out of hand. The notion of a set bus for Jupiter and beyond exploration with instruments “hung” on it…just spun out of control rather quickly.

    My “own” inclination about Webb (and I have said this for sometime) is that it is to much buck for to little bang, particularly as “fixing” it is almost impossible once it is on station.

    In my view the notion of complex great observatories should be shelved until the ability to service/upgrade them as their life goes on becomes affordable.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis Berube wrote @ November 18th, 2010

    Human spaceflight is not just a science endeavor, but military as well.

    The military has shown little interest in preserving a human spaceflight capability after the Shuttle ends, and they really didn’t even utilize the Shuttle for human-related military capabilities anyways.

    With the announcement that anti-matter has finally been contained for the first time in history, the idea of the Enterprise of Star Trek fame, doesnt sound so far fetched does it?

    Fusion has been more well known and around for a much longer period of time, but as people like to joke “fusion is the power of the future – and always will be”, meaning that we still don’t know how to turn the science into the reality.

    The same will probably be true with anti-matter, where we can demonstrate it in the lab, but scaling up to something useful requires more power than it’s worth, or is beyond our capabilities.

    Stay focused on the problems of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

  • MichaelC

    “We can whine and grouse about not living up to the importance of sending people back to the Moon or on to Mars. But there is no intrinsic importance in doing those things EXCEPT in that such visits pave the way for an opportunity to leave. So let’s follow the argument. Why is that opportunity important to us? How do we make that argument to a taxpayer who really doesn’t want to leave?”

    It is a matter of survival. If something bad happens to earth that is it for the human race. Finito- gone-extinct-dinosaurs-dodo-etc.

    You want to argue with the taxpayer about it? We did not argue about the atomic bomb or ICBM’s.

  • DCSCA

    Beancounter from Downunder wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    “NASA’s not going away since HSF is only part of what they do.”

    You know that and most space enthusiasts know that but the vast majority of Americans only know NASA as the government agency that ‘sent John Glenn to the moon’ or ‘invented Tang’ and flies people into space on a shuttle they never gets off on time and has blown up twice. There’s very little NASA does that is not being done or cannot be accomplished by other existing agencies or by the military. There’s no difference if a payload gets orbited by NASA or the military as long as it gets up and running. The duplication of facilities, personnel, budgets, etc., is just not sustainable any longer with a government that borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Perhaps Australia can afford this kind of spending now, but Americans cannot. And consider this– history has shown that it is more difficult –at least in the U.S.– to cut funding for programs and projects protected by the military umbrella of ‘national security.’ That kind of ‘protection’ for the immediate future might very well save space projects for the long term thinkers. But in the current environment here, the civilian space agency is much more exposed. Take a hard look at what NASA actually does and you’ll see there’s nothing it does that could not be absorbed and operated in existing agencies of government. NASA’s lack of any focus for the future, the end on its core program, HSF operations, and the dire fiscal outlook in the United States has it all teed-up to be dissolved as an independent agency. Gingrich floated the trial balloon 15 years ago to eliminate NASA and it was quicky reigned in. Today, in the Age of Austerity, the proposal might very well fly.

  • DCSCA

    @Dennis Berube wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 6:29 am

    DoD can operate/administrate these programs. The United States does not need a civilian space agency to do that.

    “Seriously though, I dont think the public would let NASA die totally….”

    Which public? The over 60 crowd who recall the Apollo days and want thei SS and Medicare funded as they ready to retire or the 40 and under crowd who have shown little interest in shuttle operations? The polls always have shown a very broad but shallow support for space activities. The problem is duplication of efforts as budgets dry up. We, who participate on this site, have an interest in the future of the space. Most Americans are more concerned about keeping their jobs as their neighbors lose them– and focus on the immediate future of what’s for dinner.

  • DCSCA

    Rhyolite wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Newt Gingrich suggested eliminating NASA is the mid-1990′s– and that was when times were ‘better.’ Nobody is going to overtly propose it but the reasoning to do it will begin to appear self-evident as budgets dry up, duplications of facilities, personnel and programs, etc., are redlined and the full implications of the S-B report are absorbed. The Age of Austerity is here.

  • DCSCA

    Beancounter from Downunder wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Branson’s on the right track. SpaceX failed to factor in the possibility of no more NASA and having to compete for DoD contracts instead.

  • DCSCA

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    “No, space exploration is a need…” No it’s not. It is a luxury item the United States cannot afford any longer, at least paying for it on its own, in the Age of Austerity.

  • DCSCA

    @Doug Lassiter wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 9:53 am
    “How do we make that argument to a taxpayer who really doesn’t want to leave?”

    “We” don’t, especially in the Age of Austerity. Get out of the clouds. These taxpayers today are worried about making the car payment, putting food on the table for their kids and keeping their jobs– not about ‘leaving’ Earth. Which is why progress in rocketry and space operations were were made by countries with governments not beholden to taxpayers– Germany, U.S.S.R., … and now emerging Red China. The U.S. has always played catch-up, start-stop in this field and in the sweep of time, never led the way for long, especially when programs are budgeted yearly rather than for the whole project when proposed.

    Exploration is inevitable, but don’t expect it to be led by an Uncle Sam who has to borrow 40 cents of every dollar he spends.

  • Byeman

    “Branson’s on the right track.”

    Wrong, he isn’t orbital flight

    “SpaceX failed to factor in the possibility of no more NASA and having to compete for DoD contracts instead.”

    Wrong,
    Spacex is not dependent on NASA contracts. They have commercial ones and they are also competing for NASA and DOD unmanned launches

  • Vladislaw

    MichaelC wrote:

    “It is a matter of survival. If something bad happens to earth that is it for the human race. Finito- gone-extinct-dinosaurs-dodo-etc.”

    4 people on the moon would not be a viable gene pool, it would take a few thousand. You honestly believe NASA could ever get funding for supporting a base large enough for a gene pool? Without property rights and commercial operations there isn’t a colony. The sooner you stalinist, big government only, radicals realize that the faster we can actually start achieving that goal.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 4:20 pm
    ““No, space exploration is a need…” No it’s not. It is a luxury item the United States cannot afford any longer, at least paying for it on its own, in the Age of Austerity.”

    You’re sayingspace exploration. You’re thinking human space exploration. That’s what I was pointing out. Space exploration is actually pretty cheap. Human space exploration (especially when we really do it, which we’re really not right now) is not.

    Yes, and “we” don’t make the argument to the U.S. taxpayer that they need to figure out how to ensure survival of our species. Not at all clear who does. In principle, it’s not any individual country that does.

    MichaelC wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 3:27 pm
    “It is a matter of survival. If something bad happens to earth that is it for the human race. Finito- gone-extinct-dinosaurs-dodo-etc.”

    That’s *exactly* right. But that’s not the reason that our Administration, or Congress is giving for us investing in human space flight. No, they’re blathering about “exploration” and “inspiration”. Of course, they know that extinction is not something that the public worries about.

    Vladislaw wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 5:51 pm
    “4 people on the moon would not be a viable gene pool, it would take a few thousand. You honestly believe NASA could ever get funding for supporting a base large enough for a gene pool?”

    Nope. I don’t honestly believe that. Also exactly right. But let’s assume that NASA is developing the technologies that would someday ensure that some country (ideally ours!) that wants to preserve itself, with a real threat, and a space agency that is chartered for national survival, or even human space flight (!) will use it. That’s a (wave hands rapidly) credible rationale.

    What I’m pointing out here is the reality that the ONLY real reason for human space flight is as an investment in preserving the species, especially in this technologically astute era that lets us “explore” in other ways, and the fact that it’s an argument that the American public won’t buy. That’s not a situation that human space flight advocates want to be in. It’s a situation that they can’t seem to address face-on.

  • Bennett

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Great comment, as is the comment @7:07 pm

    Doug, I’m impressed with your reasoning, and wish that our congresscriters were as honest with the issue.

  • DCSCA

    @Doug Lassiter wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    No. The reference is to both. The smart move is to partner the projects with other nations, if at all. Space exploration by machine is by extention human space exploration anyway, but to be sure, physically sending people is what drives exploration. Ans as Michael Collins said, ‘People have always gone where they have been able to go. It’s that simple.” Whether they’re Americans or not is another matter entirely. Unmanned subs could visit the wreck of the Titanic to poke and probe, but peopled subs make the journey, too. No real reason, right- more dangerous, costly and so on… except the human drive to experience it first hand is the motivation. But to taxpayers trying to keep their jobs, fund kids college tuitions, put food on the table and worry about affordable medical care and retirement, space exploration is VERY expensive– and a luxury compared to the necessities of clinging to a reasonable life today in the Age of Austerity. When your country is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar to operate, probing the mysteries of the cosmos that have been there for eons and will be for some time to come appear to be a lavish waste- in fact, a luxury the United States cannot afford. But nobody is stopping other nations from doing it. Let them go for it. And pay for it as well. See how long they do it.

  • DCSCA

    @Byeman wrote @ November 18th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    If/when NASA folds and the military picks up the slack, SpaceX wont be too far behind. Branson is on the right track and plans orbital flights someday, but he knows his market and what he is trying to service.

    You best worry about what you’ll be doing when NASA is dissolved. There’s just no real rationale anymore in the Age of Austerity to keep this Cold War relic around. It’s manned space program is ending and its IG is desperate to create a reason for it to remain a separate independent agency. It’s a duplication of personnel, of facilities and of purpose w/DoD capabilities. Example- back in the 90s KSC and Cape Canaveral AFB had separate fire stations, separate everything… right down to the subcontracting of grounds keeping. And trhey were physically right by each other. It was a duplication of services. A total waste of tax dollars. They’ve since ended it and share services but no doubt other examples exist all through the space community. Why does it matter if a payload is lofted by NASA or the DoD as long as it gets on orbit and functions. It fact, it doesn’t in 2010. And ‘civilian’ space projects have a better chance of surviving the budget axe if they’re at least protected under the ‘umbrella’ of ‘national security’ if run out of DoD. So what’s left of NASA is run by DoD and NASA employees that survive become civilian subcontractors to DoD. Whether you realize it or not, the civilian space agency is very close to being phased out. There’s just no need for this Cold War relic of the 1960′s in 2010.

  • byeman

    “It’s a duplication of personnel, of facilities and of purpose w/DoD capabilities. Example- back in the 90s KSC and Cape Canaveral AFB had separate fire stations, separate everything… right down to the subcontracting of grounds keeping. And trhey were physically right by each other. It was a duplication of services. A total waste of tax dollars. They’ve since ended it and share services but no doubt other examples exist all through the space community. Why does it matter if a payload is lofted by NASA or the DoD as long as it gets on orbit and functions.”

    Wrong. You don’t know what you are talking about. There was no duplication of capabilities, it was a matter of joint or separate contracts. Having joint contracts did not reduce the facilities. The Cape still had it 2-3 firestations and KSC had its 2-3 stations, regardless of the contractual mechanisms. The security forces were not reduced, they still had to man the same number of posts either way. Anyways, they have gone back to separate contracts for the Cape and KSC. And the Cape went from a private security force to a military one.

    As for launches, they are not done by NASA or the DOD, they are done by commercial contractors.

    “civilian space agency is very close to being phased out.”
    You have no basis to make such a statement, except in your warped view of reality. You have no insight into the gov’t, NASA is a sacred cow and protected by congress. The DOD does not want to have anything to do with NASA’s mission.

  • Martijn Meijering

    What I’m pointing out here is the reality that the ONLY real reason for human space flight is as an investment in preserving the species

    That’s not the only reason. Space tourism is another, suborbital only for now, but eventually also orbital. And unlike Congress and preserving the species, wealthy individuals are already willing to buy such tourism.

  • MichaelC

    “-the ONLY real reason for human space flight is as an investment in preserving the species…….the fact that it’s an argument that the American public won’t buy. That’s not a situation that human space flight advocates want to be in. It’s a situation that they can’t seem to address face-on.”

    They will not “buy” it because it cannot be sold for a profit. Everything is not up for sale. We blow billions, hundreds of billions of dollars- on super weapons we use to blow up illiterate tribesman in the mountains of Afhganistan- the waste of that treasure is what is not being addressed.

  • DCSCA

    @byeman wrote @ November 19th, 2010 at 10:36 am “There was no duplication of capabilities, it was a matter of joint or separate contracts”

    You are just plain wrong– and tilting at windmills. But your bureaucratic speak is amusing. Suggest you take it up with CNN, KSC and the USAF. The report was broadcasted and confirmed.

  • @ dad2059, on his Nov.18th response: Question one. How old am I? Well, I’m VERY upset about all the destruction Mr. Obama & the Anti-Moon people have been doing, and keep on doing, to the quest of getting our astronauts OUT of LEO. In all my 35 years on this planet, NOT one single spaceman has EVER left low earth orbit. NOT one single space flight! NOT one expedition! It’s ridiculous! The Flexible Path plan calls for the total abandonment of the Moon as a goal. All those FP idiots want is more LEO station stays and a Book of World Record stunt to visit some gigantic wad of charcoal in far-deep space. Question two: With what money shall we re-visit the Moon? Answer: With the same frigging money that we are currently spending on maintaining the ISS! What, you think that without leaving the safe comfort of LEO, the cost of human spaceflight is zero?! The ISS is costing NASA multi-billions of dollars each & every year just to maintain. And get this boys: We aren’t going anywhere; we’re just circling the earth!

  • With what money shall we re-visit the Moon? Answer: With the same frigging money that we are currently spending on maintaining the ISS!

    It would take a LOT more MONEY than THAT! Apparently, in addition to not understanding how FOOLISH making words all caps, and using lots of exclamation MARKS makes you look, you don’t understand anything about the costs of various space ACTIVITIES!!!

  • Rob Aker

    I didn’t realize the US space program even exists anymore… after all we’re paying russians to take us up into space.

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