Congress, NASA, White House

Adams on human spaceflight, delayed budgets, and sea versus space

More end-of-the-year odds and ends:

Among the new members of Congress taking office next week is Rep.-elect Sandy Adams (R-FL), who defeated Suzanne Kosmas in November in Florida’s 24th district, which includes the Kennedy Space Center. In an op-ed in the Daytona Beach News-Journal today, Adams says she’ll seek to make human spaceflight the “core mission” of NASA. “I will work to educate my colleagues about the importance of restoring human space flight as the mission of NASA — not as an afterthought or something that would be ‘nice’ to do, but as the core mission of the agency,” she writes. Her concerns are based on what she perceives to be “a national security issue” (“We cannot and should not be forced to rely on the Russians and Chinese to get our astronauts into space”) but also a local jobs issue. She does not get into specifics, though, about what she will do to achieve that goal.

Adams and others, though, may have to fight on another front: against scientists and others who would like to see funding for space research spent instead on studying the oceans. In a CNN.com commentary, Kevin Ulmer of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution argues that the planet “needs a Hubble for its oceans”, specifically, a global monitoring network that would provide real-time information on ocean conditions. He has an idea of where the money could come from for such a system: space programs like the James Webb Space Telescope. “I, for one, would gladly wait a bit longer to learn of oceans on distant planets in return for the ability to see our own precious seas with the clarity and detail that will be required to insure the continued existence of life on this planet.”

How the administration will propose to allocate funding for NASA and other federal agencies in 2012 will be delayed a bit, POLITICO reports. Typically budget proposals are released on the first Monday of February, which would be February 7, but administration officials now say the FY12 proposal will come out a week later, around February 14. The delay is due to the belated Senate confirmation of new OMB director Jack Lew and continuing delays in finalizing appropriations for FY11. Space advocates will have to wait a bit longer, then, to see how much love the administration has for NASA.

89 comments to Adams on human spaceflight, delayed budgets, and sea versus space

  • amightywind

    Adams says she’ll seek to make human spaceflight the “core mission” of NASA

    I have been saying this for a year on this forum. There is no reason we cannot have increasing HSF budgets if we defund non-core NASA programs.

    Kevin Ulmer of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution argues that the planet “needs a Hubble for its oceans

    Great. Let NOAA fund it. Last night I watched a NOVA program where NASA funded climate researcher hippies in Antarctica attempt once again to peddle global warming hysteria,. All enabled by their federally funded friends at PBS of course. This is sick. NASA earth sciences and life sciences programs must be terminated.

    “I, for one, would gladly wait a bit longer to learn of oceans on distant planets in return for the ability to see our own precious seas with the clarity and detail that will be required to insure the continued existence of life on this planet.”

    The Gaia worship and messianic narcissism that has crept into earth sciences is spooky.

    Space advocates will have to wait a bit longer, then, to see how much love the administration has for NASA.

    The smoking ruin that is NASA should be evidence enough of Obamalove for NASA. This must be that ‘hope’ thing.

  • It figures that my Republican neighbors voted an idiot into office.

    Nothing in the National Aeronautics and Space Act requires NASA to fly humans into space, much less to send them to explore other worlds or even for NASA to own its rockets. But it does require NASA to prioritize commercial access to space. That was added by the Reagan administration in 1984.

    As for relying on “Russians and Chinese” … We have no formal space relationship with the Chinese. Only an uneducated fool would think that.

    The decision to rely on the Russians was made by the Bush administration in January 2004. Where was she nearly seven years ago when that decision was made? It was on the front page of Florida Today. Perhaps she doesn’t read. That would explain a lot.

  • Byeman

    Wrong,
    NASA earth sciences and life sciences programs are core NASA programs and more inline with NASA’s charter than HSF. Adams won’t be able to change this. The opinions of two misguided persons does not make a case for change.

    “NASA funded climate researcher hippies in Antarctica attempt once again to peddle global warming hysteria”

    It is a more legitimate item to fund than flags and footprints on the moon. Even if there is no such thing as AGW, the research provides other benefits.

    “Let NOAA fund it.”
    Correct, but it comes from the same source of limited money as NASA’s.

  • Jeff

    Is the new congress going to extend shuttle?

  • Gregori

    As it stands, Human Space Flight is “nice” but total lunacy. Peoples lives are being risked constantly, going nowhere of interest, doing stuff that doesn’t require humans at all! It is as if they started a program to send a boat for six months off the coast some 200 miles to test how people handle the ocean conditions instead of sending it to sail to another country!!

    If the public were given a choice about it, they would likely cancel it immediately. They’ve actual important things to worry about in life and such that are much more worth risking lives over.

    Monitoring the Earth is actually a worthwhile activity because it effects all our lives. Climate change could be disastrous for much of the species on the planet including us. We need to know, where, how come and how badly to come up with plans to deal with it. Its not as exciting as sending people into space. There is not action story about it and sounds really boring, but like many boring things its actually pretty bloody important.

    I am utterly confused at amightywind though. What Obama did was increase the chances that we might actually go beyond LEO sustainably and sooner. He increased NASA’s budget and made sure it invested in new technologies that will help us go the Moon and Beyond. Going with Constellation would have got us an Ares V rocket by 2030′s with no payload to even put on it. We’d be back on the Moon but 15-20 years late, with no new technology to make it sustainable or affordable. It would have been canceled like our first trip to the Moon in the 60′s for the exact same reasons as last time. BILLIONS and BILLIONS would have been wasted repeating a one off stunt. We’d be asking ourselves, “why did we even do that??”. That’s assuming we got to a first flight of the Ares V. I doubt a program that takes 30 years to achieve would avoid being canceled. Why would you want your tax money spent so wastefully to achieve something that was already done in the 1960′s? Besides, everybody won with the compromise. Commercial human spaceflight got funded and a more realistic HLV got funded. The only thing that got axed was the stupid Ares I. NASA can only barely afford to develop one launch vehicle, never mind one that’s an unsafe duplication of what’s already on the market.

    Reducing the cost of access to space is a worthy goal. Improving technology so we can go to the asteroids and Mars with humans is a worthy goal. The republican support for the government designed vehicle is pretty hilarious since they advocate privatizing everything else!!

    Before anybody retorts about commercial spaceflight being a handout to SpaceX who are “unproven”…..its NOT. Many of the contractors working on Constellation are the same contractors who would be bidding for contracts under the new scheme. Orbital, Lockheed, Boeing and even ATK to name a few. The only difference is that they would be getting nowhere near the amount of money they were managing to get out of constellation.

    Space X has been proven itself pretty capable in the last few months. With the nearly the same amount of money it cost to get to Ares IX test flight (which was just a spare 4 Seg RSRM with some Atlas avionics) they developed two full rockets, a reusable cargo spacecraft and made 7 test flights in just 8 years!!!

    The facts are that NASA’s budget is not getting a huge increase any time soon. If JFK were president today, even he couldn’t get such a measure passed. The politics of the situation are just not right today for that to happen. The only thing it can do is squeeze more value for money out of the budget it has. If it can get this kind of value for money out of the pool of commercial space, it can do FAR more things than currently.

    We’re all space fans here, so I can’t think of any reason why anybody here would object to NASA being able to do more cool things. Duplicating capability (Ares I) rather than sharing with DoD and commercial was just and incredibly dumb move.

    I’d actually like to see NASA (and international partners) send humans somewhere interesting in my lifetime!! I think the compromise resolution is a step in that direction.

  • NASA Fan

    Adam’s comments translated: “Must have jobs in my district so I can get re-elected” Geez, what amazing leadership.

    Ulmer may get his wish as JWST is probably on the chopping block as NASA digests the CR impacts/pass backs from OMB…..

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Jeff makes a key point when he points out the Adams does not offer specifics. She does not reject or embrace commercial space or renewing the NASA exploration program.

  • Justin Kugler

    Repeating the same things over and over again, despite all evidence to the contrary, doesn’t make them true, amightywind.

  • amightywind

    Monitoring the Earth is actually a worthwhile activity because it effects all our lives.

    I am not arguing whether these activities are worthwhile (although I think they are not). I am arguing that they should be evaluated and funded by a more appropriate source like NOAA or USGS. NASA should not be a gravy train for these stragglers.

  • Actually, NASA’s priorities and goals are whatever the President and Congress decide they want them to be. No NASA charter stopped John Glenn from going into orbit or Armstrong and Aldrin from going to the Moon!

    We need a government manned space program if we are to continue to lead the world in science and technology in the New Frontier and in order to help foster the development of private commercial space programs in the US.

    But its easy and sometimes popular to selfishly tear things down. But its not always so easy to build them up again!

  • Vladislaw

    Stephen C. Smith wrote:

    “Nothing in the National Aeronautics and Space Act requires NASA to fly humans into space, much less to send them to explore other worlds or even for NASA to own its rockets”

    It is those relatively cheap science endevors that congress can not porkulate into a massive jobs program in their district is why they want NASA’s core mission to be human spaceflight. They can only get the multiple billions in pork if they are doing a long term flight program.. like say .. constellation. 10 billion dollars flushed down drain for one rocket to no where launch of legacy hardware that was not even a part of the program.

  • Vladislaw

    Gregori wrote:

    “Its not as exciting as sending people into space.”

    Does anyone believe that people going to work by car, bus, train, plane, or a boat exciting? Does it ever get news time? That is why NASA has been dead set again astronauts taking commercial flights to their workplace. It won’t be “exciting” anymore. It will just be some government workers going to a research station.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Let me underscore the point made above, that the Space Act, which legislatively defines the purpose of NASA, doesn’t say anything about launching humans into space. So if one is going to make human space flight the core mission of NASA, one had better start working on amending that Act. In fact, what it would have to be amended to say is that expansion of our citizenry into space is a national priority, because such expansion is increasingly the only credible reason for human space flight. That is, bringing the solar system into our economic sphere, for example, may or may not require human space flight.

    Adam’s idea that human space flight is national security issue because of the prospect of relying on other nations to send our astronauts to ISS is really mind boggling. Sure, it’s a national pride issue, but a national security issue?? That, I guess, is why the DOD is frantically trying to improve our capabilities to get humans to ISS. Uh, they are, aren’t they?

    Interesting comment from Kevin Ulmer about JWST. The enormity of the cost surprises on JWST, and the fact that its survival has made JWST an agency-managed mission, rather than a Science Directorate managed mission, likely tapping other funding pots, means that food fights are likely to begin. Now Ulmer, in his wisdom, isn’t taking about just plopping JWST-scale money into a NASA Earth Sciences ocean program. One important difference between Hubble and its planned successors and the Ocean Observatories Initiative, he says, is the budget allocated to them. But another one, which he doesn’t note, is that the Earth’s oceans are right here, and that astronomical targets are not. That is, for better or worse, getting info about space is harder than getting info about the oceans.

  • Vladislaw wrote:

    It is those relatively cheap science endevors that congress can not porkulate into a massive jobs program in their district is why they want NASA’s core mission to be human spaceflight. They can only get the multiple billions in pork if they are doing a long term flight program.. like say .. constellation. 10 billion dollars flushed down drain for one rocket to no where launch of legacy hardware that was not even a part of the program.

    I have no problem with a robust HSF program. I wish we had one. But we don’t. Constellation was a disaster. Exploration beyond LEO is not a political priority — that’s not the fault of one party or the other, it reflects the political will of the American mainstream.

    I’ve long believed the next step should be a permanent human presence on the Moon. The ISS is a step in that direction. The first human colony on the Moon should be multinational, as is the ISS, and the nations of the world should share the cost. Earlier this year, Russian President Medvedev informally suggested a global summit of spacefaring nations to adopt a common plan for space exploration. I wish someone had followed up on it.

    But I don’t see any proposals beyond LEO having political traction until the economy is fixed and the federal debt is reduced. So it’s a waste of time screaming about lots more money for any grandiose program, but it’s just not going to happen. The political climate is all wrong.

    I really think we’re going to see a revival of HSF from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the next few years. SpaceX will open the door, but there are other entrepreneurs than just SpaceX. Multiple sources at the highest level who deal with such things have told me a lot of interested parties are knocking at the door inquiring about commercial access to CCAFS.

    If the public sees celebrities, the affluent, the famous going into space via a non-government vehicle, I think there will be lots more public support for an exploratory mission. Although you and I won’t be able for afford it, the mainstream will see that day is much closer and interest will return in exploring beyond LEO. We might be at that tipping point by the end of the decade.

  • Vladislaw, it hasn’t been exciting for decades. Want to excite people? Have something in it for them. If people can’t see that there is some benefit to them directly, then they won’t get excited about it.

    Guys like Bezos and Musk and Powell and Branson and Carmack and Bigelow are excited about space. They all stand to benefit directly. Same with the people who are involved in things like the Google Lunar X-Prize. These guys are doing the basic research that NASA should have been doing the last 40 years, on their own dime.

    If NASA doesn’t get out ahead of the pack it risks irrelevancy.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    “Does anyone believe that people going to work by car, bus, train, plane, or a boat exciting? Does it ever get news time? That is why NASA has been dead set again astronauts taking commercial flights to their workplace. It won’t be “exciting” anymore. ”

    that is kind of accurate…but there is a greater concern.

    First off the people of The Republic dont care about shuttle flights…the notion of astronauts going into space is about as exciting to them as well its not exciting. NASA has tried to keep it that way by keeping up the myth of the 60′s years…the myth that the astronauts are super brilliant, super brave, super this or that…go read the press releases that they put out on a new astronaut class and its kind of like “wow these are super people because they are going into space”.

    This is why “space is hard” is the theme song of almost everything NASA does in Human spaceflight.

    What worries the leadership at NASA HSF is that I think they do understand that space, human spaceflight is not as hard as they make it out to be. its difficult of course but from an engineering standpoint no more so then sailing nuclear submarines or doing very invasive human surgery or ….. it is all something that when modern engineering methods are applied then it can be done competently for a reasonable price.

    If someone burst the bubble…that it doesnt take 10 billion plus to build a rocket and space craft…if it doesnt take three to four years to “make an astronaut” if it doesnt take a massive control center(s) with a astronaut to ground support ratio that is in the hundreds or perhaps thousands…

    well then the entire notion that they have been peddling for decades burst and then people are actually looking at the thunderheads who orchestrated the loss of two space shuttle orbiters or spent 10 billion on Ares 1 and Orion and have no flight hardware or who claim it takes “lots” of EVA practice to do relatively straightforward task on orbit…and saying “you are incompetent”…

    you look at the training that it takes for a high school graduate (a bright one but still a HS graduate) to go from the street to oh taking care of a nuclear reactor on a submarine that stays “at sea” for six months in a very hostile environment as oppossed to what it takes to train an astronaut with multiple degrees to spend either two weeks on orbit in the shuttle or gasp a few months on orbit in the station…and you say “what the frack”.

    NASA has justified this for along time…and slowly but surely that bubble is bursting…

    What is amazing to me, and maybe the Orion guy has gotten the message is that for anything at human spaceflight to survive as a residue of the old NASA way, meaning the thunderheads at NASA like Shannon and others have a significant say so in how it works, they really need to change the way tht they do business and pretty darn quick.

    Frankly I dont think that they are capable of it

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/commercial-spaceflight-2011-outlook-101229.html

    A good piece, as usual, by David…Simberg and Muncy are pretty close…however there is zero chance the the GOP pork machine will “get it”…the GOP invented both modern wealth transfer and deficit spending…its quite stunning

    Robert G. Oler

  • tps

    I think the Murray/Cox book about Apollo had a comment from a flight controller that if they were given a bright, average person off the street they could qualify them to pilot an Apollo to the moon in a year or so. That comment tended to make the astronauts a bit upset….

  • John Malkin

    GOP get it but it’s about keeping up appearances. They need a new path as much as NASA. They would look really bad with SpaceX flying animals to ISS and the GOP trying to convince the public that a big decade long project to get Humans to ISS is smarter or safer than “commercial”.

    But SpaceX can’t have any failures this year or it will fuel support for a government option which will slow commercial crew. It’s not fair but it’s true.

  • Byeman

    “funded by a more appropriate source like NOAA or USGS. NASA should not be a gravy train for these stragglers.”

    You just don’t get it.

    1. How is it more appropriate? It is spacecraft that are collecting the data. That is NASA’s charter to build such spacecraft.

    2. NASA manages weather sats procurement

    3. It comes from the same pot of money. It doesn’t mean NASA have more money for HSF. Moving the work to NOAA or USGS means the money goes with it and NASA’s budget would decrease.

  • DCSCA

    Gregori wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 10:06 am
    As it stands, Human Space Flight is “nice” but total lunacy. Peoples lives are being risked constantly, going nowhere of interest… <– LOL which is among the many reasons Russia sold America, Alaska.

  • DCSCA

    tps wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 3:51 pm
    Lindbergh and pilots of his ilk in that era were labelled ‘chauffeurs’ back in the day as well.

  • DCSCA

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    “What worries the leadership at NASA HSF is that I think they do understand that space, human spaceflight is not as hard as they make it out to be. its difficult of course but from an engineering standpoint no more so then sailing nuclear submarines or doing very invasive human surgery or ….. it is all something that when modern engineering methods are applied then it can be done competently for a reasonable price.’

    LOL then, as the Nike ‘commercial’ says, ‘just do it.’ Nothing is stopping commerical space from soaring to the stars except the very limitations of the free market it wants to service. That’s why, in this era of human history, governments do it. And will continue to do it for decades to come.

  • DCSCA

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    “I really think we’re going to see a revival of HSF from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the next few years.” Nah. It’s a ticket to nowhere. You’ll get closer to HSF a few miles west riding the space coaster in Space Mountain at Disneyworld in Orlando. Branson’s New Mexico operation will be flying people up and down on rides and turn a buck, which is what ‘commerical space’ is all about. HSF from Canaveral only has a future if NASA is absorbed into the military and kept flush with funding.

  • DCSCA

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 9:16 am

    “Nothing in the National Aeronautics and Space Act requires NASA to fly humans into space…”

    Project Mercury was born October 7, 1958. Program approval was granted one week after the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. =sigh=

    “But it does require NASA to prioritize commercial access to space. That was added by the Reagan administration in 1984.”

    Of course, it is no coincidence that the perceived decline of NASA coincides with poisoning of the agency with the simplistic notion of trickle down Reaganomics, trying to turn a R&D organization into a profit center. The results were figuratively and literally disasterous. The country rejected this years ago and it can be removed from NASA with a stroke of a pen.

  • “I, for one, would gladly wait a bit longer to learn of oceans on distant planets in return for the ability to see our own precious seas with the clarity and detail that will be required to insure the continued existence of life on this planet.”

    Fortunately, it’s not entirely up to him. This isn’t either/or, unless we make it so. In spite of frequent appearances, we’re a civilization that can walk and chew gum at the same time (but I sometimes wonder what those who think NASA money needs to be spent on their project [and it may indeed be a vital one] would turn to, if they didn’t have ‘the space program’ to kick around anymore?)…

    “That is why NASA has been dead set again astronauts taking commercial flights to their workplace. It won’t be “exciting” anymore. It will just be some government workers going to a research station.”

    It quickly reached that point, anyway. Just because a crew is wearing only the NASA meatball, doesn’t change the fact that the public quickly adjusts to anything, In terms of novelty and ‘excitement,’ Apollo 16-17 weren’t the same as Apollo 8 and 11. And that isn’t even a bad thing. If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing regardless of how many minutes on TV news or magazine/newspaper space is devoted to it.

    And if it can be done commercially, so much the better…

  • DCSCA

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    “I’ve long believed the next step should be a permanent human presence on the Moon. The ISS is a step in that direction.”

    Wrong. The ISS was a disasterous step backwards, if not in the wrong direction; a make work project for aerospace firms for a quarter of a century that has literally had space exploration/exploitation going in circles. It has been little more than an expensive boondoggle and this writer has opposed it from the get go (unlike aerospace contract queen Lori Garver.) We already have a ‘space station’ in orbit around the Earth- the moon. Rather than sailing along 300 miles up around the Earth, the ISS complex should have been firmly anchored to the floor of the Ocean of Storms. That would have been a much more challenging and progressive enterprise.

  • Bennett

    Stephen C. Smith wrote “Nothing in the National Aeronautics and Space Act requires NASA to fly humans into space…”

    DCSCA responded “Project Mercury was born October 7, 1958. Program approval was granted one week after the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. =sigh=”

    Does anyone who reads this blog think that because Project Mercury was approved a week after NASA was established that this is somehow proof that the two are related?

    [crickets]

    Nowhere in the NASA Charter does it lay out NASA’s responsibility for having gubmint rockets put humans into orbit, but it does say that they should help commercial companies do so. I wonder why DCSCA doesn’t get this simple concept.

  • @Stephen C. Smith:

    It figures that my Republican neighbors voted an idiot into office.

    Says the guy who in the next breath declares moving Man into space little more than an ancillary interest of the the nation.

    Nothing in the National Aeronautics and Space Act requires NASA to fly humans into space

    Which is why we have in addition to a sixty year old authorization (as amended) annual authorizations and appropriations directing specific targets in manned spaceflight as well as Congressionally enacted initiatives to do the same–the body of which forms the basis of NASA’s legal authority. However, none of this has anything to do how policy evolves from now to the future. And last I checked, Sandy Adams will be precisely positioned to weigh in on NASA’s priorities going forward.

    , much less to send them to explore other worlds or even for NASA to own its rockets.

    But it does require NASA to prioritize commercial access to space. That was added by the Reagan administration in 1984.

    Actually, the law says: “[t]he Administration, in order to carry out the purpose of this Act, shall–… seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space…yada, yada.”

    Of course, budget authority and discretion for any particular activity stems from annual authorizations and appropriations, so you can consider this bit of legislative language effectively meaningless.

    As for relying on “Russians and Chinese” … We have no formal space relationship with the Chinese. Only an uneducated fool would think that.

    Where does Sandy Adams ever say the US has a “formal space relationship” with the Chinese (whatever that means)?

    The decision to rely on the Russians was made by the Bush administration in January 2004. Where was she nearly seven years ago when that decision was made? It was on the front page of Florida Today. Perhaps she doesn’t read. That would explain a lot.

    I assume you mean 9 Jan 2004, “Bush shoots for moon, Mars” by John Kelly. Where does it mention Russians?

    Consider this, however; the only reason Americans are positioned to buy flights on Russian vehicles is because Americans are still participating in the ISS boondoggle. Cut that nonsense and we can say with all honesty we’re not relying on the Russians to lift the boys into space.

  • James T

    THINGS THAT OBAMA AND MEMBERS OF GOP (if they stick to their core principles) SHOULD BE ABLE TO AGREE UPON:

    DON’T RUSH THE HLV. Spending money on an earlier than (if ever) needed HLV is just a budgetary black hole. It is becoming increasingly likely that Commercial Crew and Cargo options will be ready to fill out LEO needs sooner than this HLV can be completed. If we still need an HLV to take us back to the moon or beyond to Mars, we can get started on it later. In addition to just the fact that we’re being made to build the HLV, the legislation also dictates pretty specific rules on how to build it. But a new environmentally friendly rocket fuel might be on the horizon that seems to have the potential to carry x4-x8 the payload for the same amount of fuel. As long as the fuel doesn’t cost x4-x8 as much as current fuel then we’re looking at some cost savings. We need to access the potential of this new molecule and see if we need new rocket designs to utilize it before we move forward with last century’s technology. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101222071831.htm

    MAKE CHEAPER ACCESS TO SPACE A PRIORITY. Rather than continuing with an exploration strategy where just barely getting to space is the most expensive part of the mission, we should invest into endeavors that will bring our costs down, increasing the amount of payload we can deploy with a given budget. If the new fuel I mentioned above isn’t enough of a “game changer” than we should look into other prospects. And as much as I am a supporter of the idea of a space elevator, there are plenty of more readily achievable endeavors like nuclear engines, hybrid ion-rocket engines, and railguns (for cargo, too much g-force for humans).

    COMMERCIALIZATION. Republicans are supposed to love commercialization and hate government run programs. If the private sector can do something cheaper than the government then they should rally behind it. Saving money from a government run launch system and refocusing it into new technologies and achieving next generation mission objectives is what we need, even if that money has to go into commercial investments in the short term.

  • @Byeman:

    1. How is it more appropriate? It is spacecraft that are collecting the data. That is NASA’s charter to build such spacecraft.

    NASA doesn’t have a charter. She has an initial authorization that’s revisited year after year after year. But to get to your point, is it your argument that NASA is bound by some inviolable law to build her own spacecraft? If so, not only should you be hollering mad about new commercial launch developments, but hell, you should be pissed off on the contracting system responsible for our launch infrastructure today. Hell, you shouldn’t be satisfied until NASA can prove that every key assembly of a spacecraft’s architecture was built solely by duly unionized federal employees paid wholly out of accounts Congress specifically authorizes for NASA’s use.

    2. NASA manages weather sats procurement

    Another area where she can afford to divest.

    3. It comes from the same pot of money. It doesn’t mean NASA have more money for HSF. Moving the work to NOAA or USGS means the money goes with it and NASA’s budget would decrease.

    Not necessarily. You can also choose not to fund those activities period.

  • @DCSCA:

    Of course, it is no coincidence that the perceived decline of NASA coincides with poisoning of the agency with the simplistic notion of trickle down Reaganomics, trying to turn a R&D organization into a profit center. The results were figuratively and literally disasterous. The country rejected this years ago and it can be removed from NASA with a stroke of a pen.

    Surely you can point to a SINGLE budget to prove that theory, especially since one half of America’s HSF architecture for the past three decades was born before Reagan even took office.

  • Byeman

    Presley Cannady wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 5:48 pm.

    1. Charter-Space Act: Same thing.

    2. Build, operate, manage, procure, whatever, etc. No, it is not my argument that NASA is bound by some inviolable law to build its own spacecraft. I am pro commercial launch procurement and that is what I do. You are the one who doesn’t understand the point/

    The point is that NASA has the task to:
    (1) The expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
    (3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies, and living organisms through space.
    And nowhere does it say build a lunar base.

    3. NASA civil servants are not unionized.

    4. Wrong, weathersat procurement is not a effort the US Govt can afford NASA to divest. It would cause more duplication of tasks. NOAA would have replicate the NASA program and the launch service offices.

    5. “You can also choose not to fund those activities period.” And your point is? It still means the money is not available to NASA, which was my point.

  • Vladislaw

    “The ISS was a disasterous step backwards, if not in the wrong direction; a make work project for aerospace firms for a quarter of a century that has literally had space exploration/exploitation going in circles. It has been little more than an expensive boondoggle and this writer has opposed it from the get go”

    Okay, let me follow your logic here. NASA was unable to build an outpost in space only 200 miles away. It was an expensive boondoggle and a makework project for a quarter of a century.

    So instead, if they would have been tasked with building a lunar base 230,000 thousand miles away, it would not have been expensive, it would not have been make work for aerospace firms and it would not have taken a quarter of a century?

    If the spacestation was supposed to be almost twice as big, cost only 8 billion and take only 5 years, but ended up costing 100 billion and taking 25 years, how long and how much would the lunar numbers be if NASA did it?

  • @Byeman:

    1. Charter-Space Act: Same thing.

    Only if we stretch the meaning of charter to the point where it means nothing. But ultimately, that’s besides the point. This so-called “charter” isn’t binding on Congress.

    2. Build, operate, manage, procure, whatever, etc. No, it is not my argument that NASA is bound by some inviolable law to build its own spacecraft. I am pro commercial launch procurement and that is what I do.

    Then what’s with all this nonsense about what NASA’s “charter” requires that it do?

    You are the one who doesn’t understand the point.

    Says the man who said: “[Regarding] spacecraft that are collecting [some] data. That is NASA’s charter to build such spacecraft.”

    The point is that NASA has the task to:
    (1) The expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
    (3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies, and living organisms through space.

    And nowhere does it say build a lunar base.

    42 USC 16661 (b)(1): “The Administrator shall establish a program to develop a
    sustained human presence on the Moon, including a robust precursor program, to promote exploration, science, commerce, and United States preeminence in space, and as a stepping-stone to future exploration of Mars and other destinations. The Administrator is further authorized to develop and conduct
    appropriate international collaborations in pursuit of these goals.”

    By your definition of “charter” (generously assuming you don’t hold the Space Act to be inviolable unamended) apparently it does.

    3. NASA civil servants are not unionized.

    You might want to take that up with AFGE.

    4. Wrong, weathersat procurement is not a effort the US Govt can afford NASA to divest.

    I’d love to know why, because below is no reason.

    It would cause more duplication of tasks. NOAA would have replicate the NASA program and the launch service offices.

    Why would NOAA have to replicate the NASA program? And even if she did, in what world does replacing one agency with another constitute “duplication?” But seriously, I’d like to know exactly why you think NOAA should pick up the ball?

    5. “You can also choose not to fund those activities period.” And your point is? It still means the money is not available to NASA, which was my point.

    And?

  • Ben Joshua

    Making HSF the core mission of NASA can be seen in several lights.

    Imagine how it is perceived by those in remote sensing, robotics or aeronautics;

    by contractors, their bought and paid for elected officials or HSF administrators;

    or by non-HSF representatives, citizens trying to get up off the recession floor or basic science researchers.

    Among those who favor spaceflight, the great divide, between those who think it’s the expensive that makes it good and those who think it’s the less expensive that makes it possible, seems to be resolving, however painfully, in the harsh reality of a long structural recession.

  • Vladislaw

    DCSCA wrote:

    “Nothing is stopping commerical space from soaring to the stars except the very limitations of the free market it wants to service. That’s why, in this era of human history, governments do it. And will continue to do it for decades to come.”

    We are on the cusp right now. I agree, the primary new emerging markets will be second and third tier countries can not afford a full up space program. What country is best positioned to exploit that and gain the jobs, tax base and dominating the global market the fastest.

    I usually bet on America, they have the greatest base of capital markets, aerospace engineering talent and entrepreneurs on the planet.

    We all know that governments help their industries and emerging markets and a company/sector/industry that doesn’t get help from their government is invariabley facing a competitive disadvantage in the global markets.

    A governmental space boom is coming and for our Nation to not only ignore it but to not try and have their companies dominate the market is very short sighted.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 5:05 pm “The country rejected this years ago and it can be removed from NASA with a stroke of a pen.”

    Re changes to the Space Act, it sure can be removed from NASA with the stroke of a pen … after Congress and the President agree to do it. The words “Congress” and “agree” don’t go together that well these days. One wonders why that agreement has never happened if it was so easy to do.

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 11:47 am “Actually, NASA’s priorities and goals are whatever the President and Congress decide they want them to be. No NASA charter stopped John Glenn from going into orbit or Armstrong and Aldrin from going to the Moon!”

    Not quite. NASA’s standing priorities and goals are formally whatever the President and Congress decide should be in the Space Act. Nope, no NASA charter stopped astronauts from going into space, but that was a time in which a task for NASA — beating the Russians, was clear and critical enough that no one would have cared to contest it as a primary goal for the agency. That’s not the case now. The priorities and goals of NASA are by no means clear right now with regard to human space flight, and that’s an ugly situation that the Space Act is supposed to cushion our nation against.

    Presley Cannady wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 5:48 pm “NASA doesn’t have a charter. She has an initial authorization that’s revisited year after year after year.”

    You bet she, er, it does have a charter. It’s the Space Act. The Space Act and the Authorization legislation are considered jointly. The latter refers to the former. The former is more strategic, and the latter tactical. The former is what the agency *is*, while the latter is what the government authorizes it to do in any given period of time.

    Human space flight has to be considered a tactical approach to implementing discovery, which is what the Space Act formed the agency to do. Commercial use of space was added later. Human space flight is not a strategic goal in and of itself, and it should not be. Not any more than, say, human underwater travel should be. In many respects, with the dramatically increasing sophistication of our robotic agents, discovery and commercial use don’t need humans as much as they used to. But if human expansion into space and colonization of other worlds were somewhere identified as priority goals for our nation (which they are currently not, and seem unlikely ever to be), human space flight would be absolutely necessary.

  • red

    “a global monitoring network that would provide real-time information on ocean conditions. He has an idea of where the money could come from for such a system: space programs like the James Webb Space Telescope.”

    JWST isn’t the first place I’d look for the money, even if we had to look within NASA (hint: SLS/MPCV).

    However, if it came down to it, I think it would be a good trade to lose JWST in exchange for $6.5B worth of ocean-monitoring satellites, suborbital rides, and instruments. Maybe we could even include servicing capabilities in the sats with that kind of a ocean-monitoring budget boost.

    Being a space fan, I wouldn’t want to trade space hardware for an “array of deep-sea moorings outfitted with sensors, along with seafloor cables, gliders and autonomous underwater vehicles.” instead of satellites. Setting aside my space bias, though, it wouldn’t surprise me if those non-space items weren’t a good trade compared to JWST on multiple levels (more practical science and operational data, more economically useful industrial maintenance, more militarily useful information and business capability, etc).

  • Robert G. Oler

    Folks…my participation in this forum will be limited over the next (bit)…

    I had thought since coming home that my time “outside:” The Republic was going to be limited…but not so.

    I’ll check in as best as possible…Jeff host a good spot and it is a lively debate.

    I’ll wave to you on the Jan 4 eclipse date (which might hint where I will be…)

    Rich Kolker…I will try and stop by!

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    “Her concerns are based on what she perceives to be “a national security issue” (“We cannot and should not be forced to rely on the Russians and Chinese to get our astronauts into space”) but also a local jobs issue.”

    National Security? LOL … NASA, if you wanns stay flush with funding in the Age of austerity, your future’s soon-a-comin’ as a division/department of the DoD. Yeah, baby.

  • I don’t live in Florida, so the jobs picture doesn’t affect me directly, other than where my tax dollars go. It just sounds to me that Sandy Adams is just spouting partisan rhetoric, much like our friend Windy does in order to “maintain appearances” like a poster up-thread notes.

    The orbiting sats for monitoring Earth climate and such is also a partisan political hot potato and funding for them could be an issue for the next two fiscal years, especially with a GOPer Congress. But as with most Congresses, it depends whose districts are affected and jobs/votes in said districts.

    They say “no pork”, but that remains to be seen. John Boehner is Establishment GOP and he loves himself some bacon!

  • DCSCA

    @Vladislaw wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Caught the NOVA episode this week on Antarctica Windy was blowing about on another thread. Kept picturing the same international research teams funded by their respective governments, as they are in Antarctica, in spacesuits conducting similar reasearch at the lunar south pole one day. The projections/comparisons were not hard to see. 150 years from now, that’s pretty much how it’s going to be.

  • DCSCA

    @amightywind wrote @ December 29th, 2010 at 8:42 am
    Guess it was this thread after all. Windy, that PBS special pretty much showed you how a south pole lunar research station will operate one day. Probably 100-150 years from now. Government funded and serviced by visiting supply craft with spartan living conditions where the eggheads can do their work 24/7/365. Maybe they’ll eat lots of chocolate on the moon and consume 6,000 calories a day as well. But it was easy to picture them all in spacesuits conducting research activities. See DCSCA comment @ December 30th, 2010 at 6:57 am

  • dad2059 wrote:

    It just sounds to me that Sandy Adams is just spouting partisan rhetoric, much like our friend Windy does in order to “maintain appearances” like a poster up-thread notes.

    Has anyone seen Adams and the windbag in the same place at the same time? Hey, you don’t suppose … naahhh …

    When Florida Today endorsed her opponent, here’s what the editorial writer had to say about Adams:

    Kosmas’ opponent is four-term Republican state Rep. Sandy Adams of Orlando, whose lack of knowledge about NASA is appalling.

    During an interview with FLORIDA TODAY’s editorial board the day the House voted on the bill that set NASA’s course for at least a generation, Adams hadn’t even read the measure and did not know any of its specifics.

    She also had no idea of the key details in state legislation to spur space initiatives here, or of the many efforts underway to diversify the Brevard economy to create post-shuttle jobs.

    At least Adams isn’t alone in her cluelessness. I had a local tell me a couple weeks ago she hated Obama for cancelling Constellaion because Constellation was a weapon that was going to protect us from the Russians, and now that it’s gone the Russians are going to attack us from space.

    I’m not exaggerating.

    Adams doesn’t appear to know much more than that loon.

  • …she hated Obama for cancelling Constellaion because Constellation was a weapon that was going to protect us from the Russians, and now that it’s gone the Russians are going to attack us from space.

    I wonder what she’d thought if you told her the US was paying to keep the Russian HSF program open?

    Her head would explode! lol. ;D

  • Vladislaw

    DCSCA wrote:

    “Caught the NOVA episode this week on Antarctica Windy was blowing about on another thread. Kept picturing the same international research teams funded by their respective governments, as they are in Antarctica, in spacesuits conducting similar reasearch at the lunar south pole one day. The projections/comparisons were not hard to see. 150 years from now, that’s pretty much how it’s going to be.”

    I agree, that tourism will be a lower as a percentage of lunar business than how much governments will be spending, but as it stands right now Luna would be more commercial friendly than present day Antartica. They both ban any one government claiming it but there is nothing in the outer space treaty of 1967 that out right bans commercial exploitation of resources on Luna as it does in antartica. The moon treaty tried to close the private ownership loophole that the outer space treaty has but none of the major powers signed on to it.

    What happens on Luna will be largely determined, in my mind, by how the international community reacts to the first commercial ventures and will the United Nations start voting to curtail or promote those operations.

    If the UN ratifies the moon treaty it would pretty much end commercial operations in my opinion:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Treaty
    “The treaty would apply to the Moon and to other celestial bodies within the Solar system, other than the Earth, including orbits around or other trajectories to or around them.

    The treaty makes a declaration that the Moon should be used for the benefit of all states and all peoples of the international community. It also expresses a desire to prevent the Moon from becoming a source of international conflict. To those ends the treaty:

    Bans any military use of celestial bodies, including weapon testing or as military bases.

    Bans all exploration and uses of celestial bodies without the approval or benefit of other states under the common heritage of mankind principle (article 11).

    Requires that the Secretary-General must be notified of all celestial activities (and discoveries developed thanks to those activities).

    Declares all states have an equal right to conduct research on celestial bodies.

    Declares that for any samples obtained during research activities, the state that obtained them must consider making part of it available to all countries/scientific communities for research.

    Bans altering the environment of celestial bodies and requires that states must take measures to prevent accidental contamination.

    Bans any state from claiming sovereignty over any territory of celestial bodies.

    Bans any ownership of any extraterrestrial property by any organization or person, unless that organization is international and governmental.

    Requires all resource extraction and allocation be made by an international regime.”

    The last two bans would pretty much kill commercial operations on Luna in my opinion. But as it stands now, Luna would be a better commercial venture than antartica.

  • John Boehner is Establishment GOP and he loves himself some bacon!

    Boehner has never requested an earmark.

  • John Boehner is Establishment GOP and he loves himself some bacon!

    Boehner has never requested an earmark.

    Okay, I’ll retract that, but we’ll see how long this new House/Congress goes along with the “no earmark” edict.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • dad2059 wrote:

    I wonder what she’d thought if you told her the US was paying to keep the Russian HSF program open?

    Actually, I told her that and more … That the first Bush administration reached the agreement in 1992 that put U.S. astronauts on Soyuz capsules in the 1990s to visit Mir, and subsequently sent Shuttle flights to Mir; and that it was the second Bush administration which in January 2004 made the policy decision to rely on Soyuz for ISS access until the next U.S. vehicle was ready.

    She said nothing for a few seconds, and then said, “Now let me tell you why I hate Senator Nelson …”

  • @DCSCA:

    You bet she, er, it does have a charter. It’s the Space Act.

    Oh, I see. So we’re playing that game where you point at something randomly and flub the name. Okay. This sandwich in my hand? That’s a charter, too.

    The Space Act and the Authorization legislation are considered jointly.

    The Space Act is an authorization. It is followed by subsequent authorizations.

    The latter refers to the former.

    Most legislation subsequent to related legislation does.

    The former is more strategic, and the latter tactical.

    Exactly how is the Space Act “more strategic” than say the NASA 2005 authorization?

    The former is what the agency *is*, while the latter is what the government authorizes it to do in any given period of time.

    1. Space Act also authorizes activities. Read up.
    2. I’m certain there are some people out there pondering the metaphysics of what a given government agency is and is not. Of course, in the real world people are more concerned with what said agency “does.” Particularly, they’re interested
    3. Shall we dispense with this inconsequential lesson in civics and focus on the actual policy and politics of the matter at hand?

    Human space flight has to be considered a tactical approach to implementing discovery, which is what the Space Act formed the agency to do.Commercial use of space was added later.

    Who cares about preambulatory fluff from fifty years ago? Every authorization since the Space Act has operative, controlling language, and every Congress and constituency has fought over what our national space priorities should be. If you want to defend idle discovery that costs billions while returning nothing, then you should do so out of your own sense of justice rather than hiding behind a dubious theory of statutory interpretation.

    Human space flight is not a strategic goal in and of itself, and it should not be.

    Now you’re making an argument. You’re wrong on the history; every single authorization since Mercury has provided for manned spaceflight as a strategic objective. I’d also love to see you go to the taxpayer and explain why he should forget expanding manned presence in space but should still fund your precious, expensive space boondoggles.

  • Sorry, that last was directed at Doug.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Presley Cannady wrote @ December 30th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    “Oh, I see. So we’re playing that game where you point at something randomly and flub the name. Okay. This sandwich in my hand? That’s a charter, too.”

    Point at something randomly? Gee, I thought we were talking about policy directives to NASA. Your sandwich looks like pastrami to me …

    “The Space Act is an authorization. It is followed by subsequent authorizations.”

    I wasn’t arguing with that. I was simply pointing out that roughly biennial NASA authorizations acknowledge the Space Act which, in a sense, you’re right, can be considered a first authorization.

    “Exactly how is the Space Act “more strategic” than say the NASA 2005 authorization?”

    Very simply. The Space Act is a standing legislation (no time limits). The 2005 Authorization Act is for two years only. Strategy lays out long-range objectives, and tactics implement a contemporary response to those objectives.

    “Shall we dispense with this inconsequential lesson in civics and focus on the actual policy and politics of the matter at hand?”

    There are many who believe that actual policy and politics of the matter at hand depend on civics. Civics is how government operates, and NASA is government. You’re maybe an engineer, right?

    “Who cares about preambulatory fluff from fifty years ago?”

    Because that preambulatory fluff from fifty years ago is the standing definition of our space agency. Gosh, does that mean the founding documents of this nation are “preambulatory fluff”? They are several HUNDRED years old, after all! Long before our nation came to be what it is now.

    “If you want to defend idle discovery that costs billions while returning nothing, then you should do so out of your own sense of justice rather than hiding behind a dubious theory of statutory interpretation.”

    Hoooeee. Whazzat? Defending idle discovery? What in the world are you talking about? I’m certainly not saying that human space flight is idle discovery that costs billions and returns nothing, though there are certainly those who believe that to be the case. I myself don’t have any precious, expensive space boondoggles that I’m aware of. Not sure how you can accuse me of having some. (I’ll check in my garage …)

    Take a deep breath.

    I’m just saying that human space flight should be regarded as a tool with which to accomplish high level objectives. That’s how the Space Act, which is the standing (get that? – standing) charter for the space agency, and subsequent authorizations for the agency should be viewed. The Space Act provides those higher level objectives.That’s why the Space Act doesn’t include human space flight explicitly. Human space flight had been, for many years, our primary credible tool for addressing higher level objectives. But it isn’t anymore. Advocacy for human space flight often ignores those higher level objectives. In the case of scientific discovery, it’s becoming clear to most that human space flight doesn’t offer as much as it used to. In the case of commercializing the cosmos, it may or may not offer a lot.

    I am in no way suggesting that because human space flight isn’t explicit in the Space Act, that NASA shouldn’t be doing it. But just that human space flight is not an objective in and of itself.

    What the Space Act needs to be amended to say, in order to incontrovertibly argue for human space flight, is that expansion of humanity into the cosmos is a national priority. As in, colonizing space. Whether that’s for species protection, or for national pride in preeminence, or some sense of national security, I guess it doesn’t matter, but those are real, important, strategic objectives. Shooting people up on rockets is not.

  • @Doug:

    Point at something randomly? Gee, I thought we were talking about policy directives to NASA. Your sandwich looks like pastrami to me …

    You think I’d trade corned beef for pastrami? You savage. ;)

    Back to the point. The Space Act is legislation authorization the establishment of NASA and legal foundation for its initial activities. Every single authorization that follows does exactly the same thing, encasing policy in the color of law. There’s no charter here; no one other than the enacting body–Congress–would even have standing to address whether or not NASA’s course in policy conforms to even its most recent authorization or executive direction.

    In other words, NASA is whatever the President and Congress decides it is in the course of every day administration and periodic budgeting.

    Very simply. The Space Act is a standing legislation (no time limits). The 2005 Authorization Act is for two years only.

    Authorizations simply lay out the legal basis for following appropriations. They are not subject to the constitutional limitation on spending across Congresses.

    Strategy lays out long-range objectives, and tactics implement a contemporary response to those objectives.

    Are we to argue that VSE is not strategy?

    There are many who believe that actual policy and politics of the matter at hand depend on civics. Civics is how government operates, and NASA is government. You’re maybe an engineer, right?

    Oh good Lord, I’m not going to debate the various connotiations surrounding the word “civics.” Will you swap in “high school government class malarkey” and leave it at that?

    Because that preambulatory fluff from fifty years ago is the standing definition of our space agency.

    Really, in what court of law? We are talking about a law, after all. Mission statements aren’t operative in any organization, which is why authorizations and real charters actually detail out activities the receiving agency is legally cleared to carry out.

    Gosh, does that mean the founding documents of this nation are “preambulatory fluff”? They are several HUNDRED years old, after all! Long before our nation came to be what it is now.

    It means the courts aren’t going to rule on the constitutional implications of George Washington’s signature on the Constitution.

    Hoooeee. Whazzat? Defending idle discovery? What in the world are you talking about? I’m certainly not saying that human space flight is idle discovery that costs billions and returns nothing, though there are certainly those who believe that to be the case.

    Where it concerns human spaceflight and just about everything else NASA does, I am one of those people.

    I’m just saying that human space flight should be regarded as a tool with which to accomplish high level objectives.

    Ya think? But you’re still not defending those objectives. You’re basically saying “human space flight should focus on this and this and that because I think that aligns with what I conjure to be the strategy laid out by the initial offering in a fifty year series of legislation.” This and this and that being anything but the expansion of man into space–in other words, idle discovery.

    I imagine you want to keep the $20 billion a year, too.

    I am in no way suggesting that because human space flight isn’t explicit in the Space Act, that NASA shouldn’t be doing it. But just that human space flight is not an objective in and of itself.

    And there’s the problem. Any vision of space “exploration” that doesn’t first and foremost concern the exploitation and eventual settlement of the frontier is nothing more than a damned waste.

  • Byeman

    3. NASA civil servants are not unionized.

    You might want to take that up with AFGE.

    Again, I said NASA civil servants. AFGE has no teeth. It can’t bargain for benefits, pay or hiring/RIFs, Congress and OPM determine this. Hence, NASA engineers don’t bother with it.

  • Byeman

    “But seriously, I’d like to know exactly why you think NOAA should pick up the ball?”

    So you think that the gov’t shouldn’t have a weather service?

  • @Byeman:

    Again, I said NASA civil servants. AFGE has no teeth. It can’t bargain for benefits, pay or hiring/RIFs, Congress and OPM determine this. Hence, NASA engineers don’t bother with it.

    That was a joke.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Presley Cannady wrote @ December 30th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    “Authorizations simply lay out the legal basis for following appropriations. They are not subject to the constitutional limitation on spending across Congresses.”

    That’s incorrect. The 2010 authorization bill very specifically authorizes appropriations for just 2010, 2011, and 2013. As such, it “lays out the legal basis” for precisely those years and no others.

    “Are we to argue that VSE is not strategy?”

    No, we aren’t to argue that. But we can argue about whose strategy it is. VSE was issued by a President, with no evident input from Congress, and certainly no vote on it by Congress. Congress later endorsed it in an authorization for several years. But the latest, binding authorization legislation never once refers to VSE. Oh, you’re still thinking that authorization laws don’t have fixed periods of legality.

    “Oh good Lord, I’m not going to debate the various connotiations surrounding the word “civics.” ”

    Thanks. I agree that it’s enough to respect the importance of it in developing national policy.

    “Really, in what court of law? We are talking about a law, after all. ”

    (Re the fact that the Space Act defines our space agency.) Not clear at all that a court of law is ever needed, unless the Act is contested in some way. It’s a law. We follow it. Civics, remember? In what court of law does appropriations legislation get endorsed? Hey, we’re talking about a law, after all.

    “Where it concerns human spaceflight and just about everything else NASA does, I am one of those people.”

    You believe that just about everything NASA does is idle discovery, costs billions and billions and returns nothing? Um, OK.

    “You’re basically saying “human space flight should focus on this and this and that because I think that aligns with what I conjure to be the strategy laid out by the initial offering in a fifty year series of legislation.” ”

    Yes I am, Because the Space Act lists high level objectives that are carefully worded to express lasting national value. And, by the way, the Act was amended to include new high level objectives. It’s not a dead document. But no one ever thought the Act needed to provide for human space flight, because human space flight is not, in itself, a high level objective. That was actually pretty smart. We do it because it accomplishes something, not because of what it is.

    “Any vision of space “exploration” that doesn’t first and foremost concern the exploitation and eventual settlement of the frontier is nothing more than a damned waste.”

    Well, we’ve got one of those that defines the agency. You need to talk with your legislators about all that damned waste! You could consider exploitation and eventual settlement implicit in the Space Act, but it’s not explicit. It’s not there or in any authorization legislation that followed. Even VSE never endorsed “settlement” of outer space, though it did call to “extend human presence across the solar system”, which you can do with sortie-type visits. We have already extended human presence to the Moon, even though we never settled there, wouldn’t you say?

  • Well, the Space Settlements Act is standing legislation, AFAIK, though NASA has never obeyed it, and Congress has never seemed to care.

  • DCSCA

    Vladislaw wrote @ December 30th, 2010 at 9:44 am

    “I agree, that tourism will be a lower as a percentage of lunar business than how much governments will be spending, but as it stands right now Luna would be more commercial friendly than present day Antartica.”

    It’s a stretch, Vlad. Can’t see tourism as a big component of lunar activities in the next 100 years or any strong commerical element either. Unless titanium cures cancer and regolith makes for a healthy supplement to oil. Human nature tends to extrapolate on what works and apply it to similar endeavors so what we see at work in Antarctica in just basic operations and day to day research methodology is most likely what will evolve into a blueprint for lunar south pole exploration architecture.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Thanks! The Space Settlements Act was intended as an amendment to the Space Act, but it was never passed. George Brown introduced it. The words he wanted inserted were as follows …

    “The Congress declares that the extension of human life beyond Earth’s
    atmosphere for the purposes of advancing science, exploration, and development will enhance the general welfare on Earth and that such extensions will eventually lead to the establishment of space settlements for the greater fulfillment of those purposes.”

    He understood that the Space Act was where such words really belonged. But you’re right, George Brown did end up putting language into the 1989 NASA authorization bill to that effect, and that bill did pass. So space colonization was, in fact, in one piece of auth legislation that was enacted.

    Here’s what Jim Vedda said about it at Space 2007 (references in his original paper).

    “The Space Settlement Act was passed as part of NASA’s fiscal year 1989 authorization bill, and President Reagan signed it into law on November 17, 1988. However, aside from the reporting requirement, the Act’s
    language was neither specific nor directive, so it never had any substantive influence over NASA’s planning. The space agency’s Office of Exploration, expected to implement the Act’s reporting requirements, disappeared shortly thereafter and a similarly chartered office remained absent from the scene for over a decade. The biennial reporting requirement was discontinued in 1994 due to its lack of relevance to the political environment, and was formally terminated by subsequent legislation effective May 15, 2000. The language that remains in the statute provides no real guidance, merely stating that exploration leading to space settlements is a good thing for the nation. No specific
    goals, missions, destinations, or timetables are mentioned.”

    So George Brown must have understood clearly that space settlements as a national goal were the best justification for human space flight. Unfortunately, we do not have that as a formal national goal right now. Where’s the George Brown who can try again to amend the Space Act?

  • That’s incorrect. The 2010 authorization bill very specifically authorizes appropriations for just 2010, 2011, and 2013 As such, it “lays out the legal basis” for precisely those years and no others

    How cute. Decadal doesn’t mean ten years anymore.

    No, we aren’t to argue that. But we can argue about whose strategy it is. VSE was issued by a President, with no evident input from Congress, and certainly no vote on it by Congress.

    So 42 USC 16611(b) is just an accident?

    Congress later endorsed it in an authorization for several years.

    If by later you mean the next fiscal year, and by “for several years” you mean “until the present day,” we’d have to agree.

    But the latest, binding authorization legislation never once refers to VSE.

    Yeah, that’s part of the problem.

    Oh, you’re still thinking that authorization laws don’t have fixed periods of legality.

    If you’re asking if I confuse authorizations with appropriations, no I don’t.

    (Re the fact that the Space Act defines our space agency.)

    The Space Act establishes NASA. Last time I checked, it didn’t mention shit about Huntsville.

    Not clear at all that a court of law is ever needed, unless the Act is contested in some way. It’s a law. We follow it. Civics, remember? In what court of law does appropriations legislation get endorsed? Hey, we’re talking about a law, after all.

    Not even gonna try and parse this.

    You believe that just about everything NASA does is idle discovery, costs billions and billions and returns nothing? Um, OK.

    Just about. One thing’s for certain, for decades NASA sure hasn’t contributed iota to the one industry paying the bill for its use of space.

    Yes I am, Because the Space Act lists high level objectives that are carefully worded to express lasting national value.

    If fluffy words concerning activities you will never partake in have billions upon billions of dollars worth of value to you, then we’ve little to talk about.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “How cute. Decadal doesn’t mean ten years anymore.”

    That word appears in the 2010 NASA Authorization bill only in the reference to Decadal reports for the space science section. Those reports are science community plans, not agency obligations. It doesn’t appear at all in the Space Act nor, as far as I can tell, in the VSE. As far as I know, it still means ten years.

    “So 42 USC 16611(b) is just an accident?”

    I doubt if it was, but then, it has nothing to do with this discussion. If I recall correctly, it’s just the US code that requires NASA to provide certain info about the annual budget justification that the White House submits to Congress.

    “The Space Act establishes NASA. Last time I checked, it didn’t mention shit about Huntsville.”

    Nope, nor does it mention the cities of any other NASA centers. Why would one list agency locations in a charter that defines what an agency is for? Ah, but maybe NASA is supposed to be about Huntsville? Mr. Shelby would agree!

    “One thing’s for certain, for decades NASA sure hasn’t contributed iota to the one industry paying the bill for its use of space.”

    What industry would that be? The comsat industry? They do pay their bill for their own use of space. To the extent that NASA hasn’t contributed to that industry, how would that be contrary to provisions in the Space Act?

    “If fluffy words concerning activities you will never partake in have billions upon billions of dollars worth of value to you, then we’ve little to talk about.”

    I wouldn’t make that presumption. But I do think we’re done here. Many thanks for your passionate discussion.

  • Vladislaw

    “It’s a stretch, Vlad. Can’t see tourism as a big component of lunar activities in the next 100 years or any strong commerical element either. Unless titanium cures cancer and regolith makes for a healthy supplement to oil.”

    I would have to disagree on the 100 years part, at the way wealth is growing, the creation of millionaires, billionaires, I dont think it will take a century for the ‘keeping up with the jones’ syndrome to affect this group, once commercial space flight starts. They will not be rushing to fly, but once it is fairly established, say one or two decades, they will be a lot more willing, or at least to fund their kids to fly. I don’t believe Luna will be major target, I think it will be LEO, but there will be lunar tourists by 2050 is my best guess.

    I don’t think metals will be the commercial target first, gold is gold, platinum is platinum. If you mine gold on Luna, there will be absolutely no reason to fly it back to earth. Miners will simply hang a sign on their habitat, BANK and then do electronic fund transfers the same way most gold is handled today, it just sits in a vault and they just transfer ownership, not the actual gold itself.

    I still believe the gemstone market will be first because a lunar gem will have a rare and unique value making it more expensive than a terrestrial gem.

    “But Mrs. Gates has a lunar diamond when are you going to buy me one!”

    I can just see the new DeBeer’s ads:
    “Show her that you really love her with a Lunar diamond ring”

    Gemstones will have a better rate of weight to value than gold also so shipping will not be much of a factor.

  • DCSCA

    @Vladislaw wrote @ December 31st, 2010 at 1:12 pm
    Well, Vlad, times estimates on events regarding things to come tend to be underestimated. Bear in mind it has already been over 42 years since Apollo 8– nearly half that ‘hundred year’ span of time and we’re on where close to establishing a lunar base akin to operations at Antarctica. It’s gonna take decades to get a base at the lunar south pole up and running.

  • Egad

    >Lunar diamond ring

    Unfortunately, at least as far as we and I know, most gemstones are formed under conditions that Earth has and Luna doesn’t. Kinda the same with mineral ores.

    Some fairly extensive prospecting missions seem in order to determine what’s actually there and in what form. Ditto asteroids.

  • Vladislaw

    There is nothing I have seen in literature that would preclude the formation of gemstones. Most gemstones are hunted in ancient volcanoe tubes. You scrape off the top layers of soil, find the pipe and start mining. (on the moon this regolith would be sold off to a secondary processors)

    The moon has huge areas of billions of years old volcanoes and the pressure needed for formation. I would imagine because of less gravity the gold and other PGM’s would be more in globs than the traditional veins that formed on earth after one blew and poured lava out.

    Here is the only ancient volcano diamond mine that is open to the public with over 75,000 diamonds found todate. Just dig in the pipe.

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1604203/crater_of_diamonds_state_park.html

    Besides, it really won’t matter what it is as long as it sparkles, the mining company can call them whatever they want, lunar moonstones et cetera. It will be the beginning rarity and uniqueness that will be their selling point. I highly doubt a marketing giant like DeBeers would have trouble pushing them.

    A few thousand carats of various sparklies and you are talking potential billions. A process that would be more profitable than a water/o2 start up. Mining the pipe also puts you underground, lowering shielding costs.

    But I do agree, the moon is quite a few decades away, but LEO is the gate and the faster that is commercialized the better, and I would prefer that American companies are encouraged by tax dollars and grab control of that sector with access and destination before another government does.

  • Someone mentioned Florida Today’s description of Rep-elect Adams knowledge of space as “appalling.” I would like to show you a KSC worker who thinks otherwise. You can find his assessment at http://www.sandyadams.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.details&ArticleId=74.

    As for Florida Today, I’ve dealt with them many times while at KSC. Their knowledge and agenda many times are “appalling” and I have yet to see them launch anything except bad opinions and editorials.

  • Coastal Ron

    Rocketman wrote @ December 31st, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    I would like to show you a KSC worker who thinks otherwise.

    Actually that’s a former KSC worker (most likely worked for USA), and someone that obviously is angry over the cancellation of Constellation. He doesn’t even address Adam’s comments, only that he “found her knowledgeable and current with what was happening“.

    They are shooting the messenger, not addressing the issue. Not surprising of course, since it’s Adam’s website…

  • Freddo

    “I would like to show you a KSC worker who thinks otherwise. You can find his assessment at http://www.sandyadams.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.details&ArticleId=74.”

    Do you normally refer to yourself in the third person, Mr. Cecil?

  • Egad

    > There is nothing I have seen in literature that would preclude the formation of gemstones. Most gemstones are hunted in ancient volcanoe tubes.

    OK, accepting that, it still goes back to sending prospector/ surveyor missions to find out what’s really there, where it is, and, consequently, what machinery would be needed to exploit it. Given the economics of the matter, those missions will probably have to be robotic. (The same goes for water, I should add. Recent results are encouraging, but they fall way short of being an adequate basis for a business plan.)

    Cheap experiment that might help: take the volcanoes listed at

    http://the-moon.wikispaces.com/Lunar+Volcanoes ,
    find some appropriate geologists/selenologists, and ask them which ones might have gem-containing pipes within a few hundred meters of the surface. Take their answers and start designing missions to determine the facts.

  • Sometimes I do Mr. Freddo. I originally wrote the letter to Florida Today, but they did not publish it. I had cc’d a copy to Rep-elect Adam’s campaign and they asked to publish it on their site.

    @Coastal Ron, I was quite angry about the cancellation of Constellation and our entire HSF program and chose to express it in my letter to Florida Today and on my website.

    Rep-elect Adams will have an opportunity now to help save our HSF program unlike Rep Kosmos, who chose to sell out the workforce at KSC and was “fired” by them.

    Be safe and well.

  • Vladislaw

    Egad wrote:

    “OK, accepting that, it still goes back to sending prospector/ surveyor missions to find out what’s really there, where it is, and, consequently, what machinery would be needed to exploit it.”

    I don’t believe it would be the federal governments job to do that. I think this aspect of lunar exploration should be all private enterprise.

    The government has already shown what is there. Wealthly people have to finance these kinds of operations. Thanks to Uncle Sam we know there is water-ice, metals, minerals, et cetera.

    I have hammered this dead horse before and it goes to .. if we can’t routinely travel, both government and private sector, 200 miles to LEO and have robust operations talking about exploiting Luna, to me, is just plain silly.

    We have billions in assets in GEO, if we can not routinely travel a mear 25,000 miles to the satellite belt it is silly to be talking about 230,000 miles like it would be somehow easier. Large Space Platforms (LSP) for dual use in GEO could serve both government and commercial interests.

    I believe there is a ton of infrastructure that can we worked on, iron out the gas and go refueling issues, aerocapture returns and power and propulsion. Work on robotic missions until we have a truely robost human LEO/GEO government/private sector space economy. If close isn’t routine we kids ourselves if we think it gets easier farther out.

  • I was quite angry about the cancellation of Constellation and our entire HSF program

    Then you were quite angry in extreme ignorance about something that didn’t happen. Constellation was not “our entire HSF program.” In fact, it would have been the death of it had it continued, at least as far as NASA HSF.

  • Egad

    > I don’t believe it would be the federal governments job to do that. I think this aspect of lunar exploration should be all private enterprise.

    I mostly agree. Let’s see who thinks the potential payoff is great enough to justify the investment.

    > Thanks to Uncle Sam we know there is water-ice, metals, minerals, et cetera.

    For certain values of “there is” that’s true. What we don’t know is whether those things exist in economically exploitable forms. Figuring out just what the polar water resources are would be a good first step.

  • @Rand Simberg “extreme ignorance” is a pretty strong term for saying you and I disagree Sir. Constellation was not perfect, but Obama and Congress has replaced it with….nothing. That is my educated and professional opinion and if it doesn’t agree with your “educated and professional” views Mr. Simberg, then so be it.

    It is my humble opinion that when the last Space Shuttle flies, that will be the last time you see an American astronaut fly on an American ship to LEO for at least ten years. I sincerely hope I am wrong and time will make that judgment Mr. Simberg.

    Be safe and well.

  • Coastal Ron

    Rocketman wrote @ January 1st, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I was quite angry about the cancellation of Constellation and our entire HSF program

    I agree with Rands comments to you, and I wonder if you know how much human space flight would have happened with Constellation?

    You do realize that the ISS had to be defunded after 2015 in order for Constellation to continue? And you also must know that the latest estimates for when Constellation would have landed it’s first crew on the Moon was sometime in the mid-2030′s?

    So based on all of that, what human space flight would Constellation give us for the 20 or so years between 2015 & 2035? CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS?

  • Byeman

    “I was quite angry about the cancellation of Constellation and our entire HSF program”

    That statement does show “extreme ignorance”. Constellation does not equate the “entire HSF “. There is still the ISS program. Further more NASA HSF does not equate to the US HSF. Sorry, but NASA is no longer in the driver’s seat wrt HSF.

    Constellation needed to die. It was bloated and never would have achieved its goals. The end does not justify the means.

    “educated and professional opinion ” from a tile tech? This is the problem with most of the KSC workers, they think they are owed a job.

  • Vladislaw

    Egad wrote:

    “For certain values of “there is” that’s true. What we don’t know is whether those things exist in economically exploitable forms. Figuring out just what the polar water resources are would be a good first step.”

    All Custer had to say was there was gold in them thar hills and prospectors rushed in, the same as it was in California. It was not the governments job to determine what the ratio of gold or silver was but the prospector. Same for prospecting for all natural resources, from oil and natural gas to minerals.When the private sector has the means to get to the resources, meaning we have routine travel to space, starting with LEO, then billionaire prospectors will head to the moon and start prospecting.

    The private sector will determine if they want to use local resources for procuring breathable air and water or have it shipped to their mining site. The same as it is done on earth when mining the four corners of the globe. I do not believe the government needs to develop anything on the moon other than a property rights regime so mineral rights claims can be started to be bought and sold, a market that can already start creating wealth.

  • Vladislaw

    Rocketman wrote:

    “It is my humble opinion that when the last Space Shuttle flies, that will be the last time you see an American astronaut fly on an American ship to LEO for at least ten years.”

    Well all we need to do to see your prediction come true is, put NASA in charge and let congress and NASA roadblock the commercial sector and it will take 10 years and overblown budgets. NASA is not about cheap. You have to understand that monopolies are never cheap they are never innovative. They do not have to be because there is absolutely no competitive pressure to make them change. The only thing that will change NASA and congress is if commercial is allowed to flourish, that means get rid of the roadblocks, prime the pump and let it happen.

  • Yours is the first I’ve heard that Constellation would not fly to the Moon until mid-2030′s and I have to disagree with that. Even with the $3 billion underfunding, Constellation was still scheduled to land our first crews on the Moon sometime around 2020 and already have been flying crews (along with commercial companies) back and forth from the ISS.

    I worked at KSC and saw the equipment and people for Constellation while Obama and the Senate plan still exist only on paper and PowerPoint. SpaceX is still learning how to launch and fly rockets and there is no replacement now for our HSF.

    Constellation and ISS funding were separate items and Congress allocated the funding too extend the ISS mission life.

    Anyway, Constellation has been cancelled as many of the “New Space Boys” wanted and now we have nothing.

  • Vladislaw

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “So based on all of that, what human space flight would Constellation give us for the 20 or so years between 2015 & 2035? CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS?”

    Come on Ron, I expect better from you, you KNOW what would happen, it would be the space shuttle all over again. The orion would fly to LEO, go around in circles because there would be no space station, then there would be a call from congress and NASA that the orion needs a station and the whole frakin nightmare would start over again building a new 100 billion dollar station.

  • Vladislaw

    Rocketman wrote:

    “Yours is the first I’ve heard that Constellation would not fly to the Moon until mid-2030′s and I have to disagree with that. Even with the $3 billion underfunding, Constellation was still scheduled to land our first crews on the Moon sometime around 2020 and already have been flying crews (along with commercial companies) back and forth from the ISS.”

    Was the EDS, lunar lander or Ares V being funded? Ares I was not scheduled to fly before 2017-18 according to the AC, if you read that.

    There would have been no flights to the ISS because that was going to be decommisioned at the end of 2015 because Griffin was counting on the ISS money to fund the finishing of Ares I and to start funding the Ares V. The earliest flight for the Ares V would have been in the neighborhood of 2028 with the EDS and lunar lander having to be developed after that.

    NASA does not do cheap, it is a monopoly and they never have to be innovative or cheap. Only through competition will spaceflight costs start to move downward. Congressional porksters can not work with a cheap system they need HUGE programs, the only way a program can cost billions is if the NASA myth stays in place, namely Space is super expensive and therefore only NASA can do it.

  • @byeman ““educated and professional opinion ” from a tile tech? This is the problem with most of the KSC workers, they think they are owed a job.”

    Yes I was a tile technician on the shuttle fleet and during my time there I also earned three more degrees including my Masters. Technicians are part of the team and can also have a say on our nation’s HSF policy Sir. I don’t know why you imply that we should not have a say.

    Also, I and my former co-workers never expected nor demanded a job at KSC. We all earned our positions, and felt it was a great privilege to work on America’s HSF. No one owes us a job Sir. That is something we all have earn for ourselves based on our merit and education.

    I see less debate here and more insults which is disappointing gentlemen.

  • If your interested in learning more about what this former “tile technician” has to say about our current space policy, you can listen to my interview on The Space Show. http://www.rv-103.com/?p=1027

    Good day gentlemen.

  • @Rocketman:

    Yours is the first I’ve heard that Constellation would not fly to the Moon until mid-2030′s and I have to disagree with that. Even with the $3 billion underfunding, Constellation was still scheduled to land our first crews on the Moon sometime around 2020 and already have been flying crews (along with commercial companies) back and forth from the ISS.

    What the law and a smattering of internal documents “scheduled” and what can be done are two very different things.

    I worked at KSC and saw the equipment and people for Constellation while Obama and the Senate plan still exist only on paper and PowerPoint. SpaceX is still learning how to launch and fly rockets and there is no replacement now for our HSF.

    If by HSF you mean retire one architecture while twiddling one’s thumbs on the other, you’ve got a point. At which you’re left with on stark fact; SpaceX has put a post-Shuttle spacecraft in orbit and returned it to Earth. NASA has not, and certainly won’t at the price point SpaceX’s entire development run has already set.

    Anyway, Constellation has been cancelled as many of the “New Space Boys” wanted and now we have nothing.

    You had nothing two years ago. You weren’t going to get anything until 2017 at the earliest, if even that much.

  • Constellation was not perfect, but Obama and Congress has replaced it with….nothing.

    No matter how many times you repeat this, it remains factually untrue, at least with regard to the administration, though certainly Congress has royally screwed things up. The 2011 budget proposal was not “nothing.” It was a proposal going forward that actually would have placed us in a realistic position to get back to the moon and on to other places much sooner and much more cost effectively than Constellation could have. Just because it was “scheduled” to do so by 2020 is meaningless when the budget for the hardware needed to do it (e.g., a lander) wasn’t going to be available until well into the twenties.

  • Coastal Ron

    Rocketman wrote @ January 2nd, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Yours is the first I’ve heard that Constellation would not fly to the Moon until mid-2030′s …Constellation was still scheduled to land our first crews on the Moon sometime around 2020 and already have been flying crews (along with commercial companies) back and forth from the ISS.

    With all due respect, you’re completely out of the loop with regards to reality. If you follow the news about space related topics at all, you would know that even before the Augustine Commission announced it’s findings, that NASA had announced that the Constellation was slipping far out of it’s original schedule. And that’s NASA under Bush/Griffin.

    The Augustine Commission foresaw that Ares I/Orion was going to slip out to at least 2017 for it’s first crew launch, but remember, without the ISS there would have been no destination for it. Now if you think that Ares V, the EDS and the Altair lander could be built & tested within 5 years (to meet the 2020 date), when Ares I/Orion were taking 11 years, then you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

    Constellation was a poorly run program and far over budget, and because of that it deserved to die. And a bipartisan majority in Congress agreed with President Obama to do just that.

  • byeman

    Define “our HSF.”

    Flying NASA astronauts on commercial launch vehicles and spacecraft is still “our HSF”

    “can also have a say on our nation’s HSF policy”
    Having a say and knowing something about it are two different things. Launch vehicle and spacecraft architectures formulation are not taught at trade schools.

    The “New Space Boys” have techs who “can also have a say on our nation’s HSF policy”

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

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