Congress, NASA

Another NASA funding amendment to watch?

The House is continuing to debate hundreds of amendments associated with HR 1, the year-long continuing resolution that would fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Among the amendments that have not yet been taken up on the floor of the House is one by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) that would, in effect, defund NASA’s exploration program:

Amendment No. 96: At the end of the bill, after the short
title, insert the following new section:
Sec. 4002. None of the funds made available by this Act
may be used for “National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, Exploration”.

That amendment is taken seriously enough to warrant a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter from 14 members of Congress who represent districts or states with NASA centers. The DeFazio amendment “would prohibit NASA, one of the most effective job-generating agencies in the federal government, from spending any money on its exploration program,” according to a version of the letter forwarded from a reader yesterday. “By prohibiting funding for NASA’s exploration program so late in the operating year, it will result in tens of thousands of lay-offs to on-site contractors across the country, and cause us to cede our world leadership in human space exploration to other countries such as China and Russia.” [emphasis in original] The letter’s signatories include Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), chairman of the House Science Committee, as well as members whose districts include or are near to Ames, Glenn, Goddard, JPL, Johnson, Kennedy, and Marshall.

It’s not clear when, or even if, the House will take up the DeFazio amendment. House leaders have indicated they plan to wrap up debate on the bill and vote on it Friday before departing for a week-long break, and there are many other amendments still under consideration. Incidentally, there’s another amendment introduced, by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), that states that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the Constellation Systems Program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.” Depending on the current definition of “Constellation Systems”, that may be a moot point.

[Update 2pm: Neither DeFazio amendment nor the Shuler amendment are on the list of those amendments deemed in order, and thus won't be considered by the full House today (which is still demanding various amendments to the CR).]

53 comments to Another NASA funding amendment to watch?

  • There they go again, the porkers justifying NASA as a jobs program instead of an aeronautics research agency vital for keeping our technology competitive in the global marketplace.

  • Agreed Stephen, but I doubt the amendment would make it through the Senate anyway.

  • Page 1 in Florida Today:

    [NASA Administrator Charles Bolden] said he planned to formally announce “within the next few weeks, if not days” that KSC will be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis.

    NASA’s primary launch operations site never has hosted a human spaceflight project office.

    Expect a caterwaul from the Texas congressional delegation demanding their pork be returned to Houston. You just know that Rep. Hall will be holding up all NASA-related items until Bolden backtracks and moves the project office back to JSC.

  • amightywind

    The minority party often uses the amendment process to lob grenades at programs they don’t like and whose funds they covet. DeFazio’s spasms won’t amount to much. Exploration has solid support in the House. The problem continues to be corrupt and incompetent NASA leadership.

  • Someone

    Stephen – “There they go again, the porkers justifying NASA as a jobs program instead of an aeronautics research agency vital for keeping our technology competitive in the global marketplace.”

    Wouldn’t this amendment also terminate all COTS/CRS/CCDev funding as well?

  • Joe

    “Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 7:21 am
    Page 1 in Florida Today:

    [NASA Administrator Charles Bolden] said he planned to formally announce “within the next few weeks, if not days” that KSC will be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis.

    NASA’s primary launch operations site never has hosted a human spaceflight project office.”

    Reads like an attempt by the Administration to break up the bipartisan coalition opposing hos plans by pitting the Texas and Florida delegations against each other. “Clever Trick” I suppose. We will have to wait to see if it will work.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    @ Someone,

    Wouldn’t this amendment also terminate all COTS/CRS/CCDev funding as well?

    Nah, CRS, CCDev and COTS are a different line item altogether. What the amendment would do is de-fund and compel the shutdown of Cassini, New Horizons, Dawn, Mercury Messenger and the MERs as well as every other robot probe NASA is currently operating. However, I bet Rep DeFazio has no idea that this is the case.

    Someone thinks that they are being very smart. What they are actually doing is prove that they know absolutely nothing about NASA.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    Further to my above comment, the second ‘Someone’ is the politician in question, not the poster to whom I was replying. Sorry if there was any confusion caused.

  • Jeff Foust

    “What the amendment would do is de-fund and compel the shutdown of Cassini, New Horizons, Dawn, Mercury Messenger and the MERs as well as every other robot probe NASA is currently operating.”

    Those missions are in the Science account and would not be affected by the DeFazio amendment, which addresses only the Exploration account, based on my interpretation of the amendment text. Commercial crew would be affected, though, since it is in the Exploration account.

  • Sorry I don’t know which line this particular line fits, but does this affect the James Webb telescope?

  • Ferris Valyn

    sftommy

    JWST is in science

  • NASA Fan

    Glad to see Bolden breaking up the status quo. Politics driven of course, and I’m sure the politicians will get in the act on trying to turn this around….in the end, Program Office don’t do much but flow money to Projects, and liaison with HQ where the real decision making and ‘program functions’ still reside.

    Pretty window dressing.

  • Thanks Ferris,

    I’ve just sent an email to Pelosi in her role as House Minority Leader expressing my dissatisfaction with my Democratic Party and asking her to help limit this. If anyone else wants to express their thoughts her email for that role is: AmericanVoices@mail.house.gov

  • Florida Today has a video clip on its web site from their interview with Charlie Bolden. The link is:

    http://www.floridatoday.com/videonetwork/794005774001/Bolden-on-commercial-space

    Two important statements:

    (1) Commerical cargo has priority over commercial crew. Charlie said the main contenders are SpaceX and Orbital.

    (2) Charlie believes the first commercial crew launch will be circa 2015. He said the contract will give the vendor three years until the first flight, so doing the math it suggests that the CCDev contract will be issued in 2012.

    This all assumes, of course, that Congress doesn’t wipe out commercial just to keep the Russians employed.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Page 1 in Florida Today:

    [NASA Administrator Charles Bolden] said he planned to formally announce “within the next few weeks, if not days” that KSC will be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis….

    this is the only thing Charlie can do if he wants the program to have half a chance of working.

    and it shows the failure of the TExas delegation to embrace the new shift and make sure that Texas gets a viable share of it.

    Pete is simply out of touch

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 7:21 am

    “Expect a caterwaul from the Texas congressional delegation demanding their pork be returned to Houston. You just know that Rep. Hall will be holding up all NASA-related items until Bolden backtracks and moves the project office back to JSC.”

    Let’s see. I believe I remember TX reps saying that the end of Constellation was the end of HSF and never defended well… hmm.. SpaceX for example. Yet SpaceX has a shop in TX and SpaceX is part of COTS whose office was at JSC. So basically TX-JSC was not happy with commercial space.

    Now why would it matter to them if commercial space is hosted at KSC? I do not see Nelson as much of a supporter of commercial as he is to anything SD. However if I had to choose to support say Nelson (D) or Hutchinson (R) what should I chose since I am a Democratic President? Hmm tough question…

  • Mark R. Whittington

    “Common Sense” did I just read that you are saying that commercial crew is pork? Thank you.

    This has everything to do with election year politics. Obama and Senator Nelson are in trouble in Florida. The transfer of operating space craft for Houston to Florida has to do with that. Nothing else.

  • DCSCA

    [NASA Administrator Charles Bolden] said he planned to formally announce “within the next few weeks, if not days” that KSC will be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis….

    OLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL which is meaningless.

  • common sense

    @ Mark R. Whittington wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    “Common Sense” did I just read that you are saying that commercial crew is pork?”

    ????? I said commercial space is pork??? Because I said Congress in TX does not support it? Because I said the commercial space office ought to rather be in FL than TX? Where did I mention pork going to commercial space? Pork goes to NASA centers for sure.

    “This has everything to do with election year politics. Obama and Senator Nelson are in trouble in Florida. The transfer of operating space craft for Houston to Florida has to do with that. Nothing else.”

    Which has nothing to do with pork. Unless you are saying that the money that goes to NASA actually is pork. If this is what you say then we almost agree. But the money to operate an office in FL does not come close to compare with the money needed to design and run Constellation, now does it?

  • DCSCA

    It should be a comfort to all space advocates that as our budgets get slashed, the State Department announced today that Egypt will get $180 million in aid from th US of A– 42 cents of every dollar borrowed. Had NASA been protected under the umbrella of ‘national security’ as a division/department of DoD, most of these proposed cuts would never see the light of day. Government funded space programs and certasinly government subsidies for ‘commercial space’ continue to evaporate. But the pyramids will be safe for ‘democracy.’

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    “This has everything to do with election year politics. Obama and Senator Nelson are in trouble in Florida. ”

    gee you have stopped even being able to evaluate politics correctly.

    Obama will or will not carry Florida in 12 based on events whose outcome is simply not known now. First what the state of the economy will be and who the GOP nominee is. If the GOP nominee is for instance “Palin” Obama in my view carries Florida with ease. If the economy has floundered he has a very difficult time.

    Nelson is more or less in the same boat.

    The folks who are going to vote based on space politics and policy have never voted for Obama nor under any circumstance will.

    What this move is all about is that the folks at KSC particularly the leadership there has been a “sing along” with the notion of commercial crew ops almost from the word go…and in reality commercial crew has almost nothing to do with JSC…which is thanks to its leadership and the poltiical folks in TExas wedded to the notion of “big government programs forever”.

    As you, I and Rich use to discuss in the Clear Lake Group meetings…take away large government programs (which you use to support) and there is no real rationale for JSC.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    this is the only thing Charlie can do if he wants the program to have half a chance of working.

    and it shows the failure of the TExas delegation to embrace the new shift and make sure that Texas gets a viable share of it.

    Well, I expect them to try the same tactic as they did with the porker heavy-lift vehicle being forced to use the Senate’s design — they’ll slip in an amendment somewhere ordering the project office to be at JSC.

    common sense wrote:

    Let’s see. I believe I remember TX reps saying that the end of Constellation was the end of HSF …

    Not that I expect any consistency out of these hypocrites, but if they think commercial crew is doomed to oblivion then why would they want a project office that won’t exist? Nice piece of rhetorical logic you poined out.

    I’ve been checking the web sites of the Houston and Dallas papers waiting for the other shoe to drop. To quote Kevin Costner’s Jim Garrison character in JFK, “What else do you expect from a pig but a grunt?”

  • Bennett

    Mark R. Whittington wrote “Common Sense” did I just read that you are saying that commercial crew is pork? Thank you.

    As Andy Dufresne says to the Warden in Shawshank Redemption:

    “Why are you being obtuse? Is it intentional?”

  • amightywind

    that KSC will be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis….

    I share DCSCA’s amusement. Where else were they going to put it? Wallops Island? I am sure SpaceX and Orbital are thrilled about the new bureaucratic layer above them. That should speed things up.

  • Joe

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
    ““Common Sense” did I just read that you are saying that commercial crew is pork? Thank you.
    This has everything to do with election year politics. Obama and Senator Nelson are in trouble in Florida. The transfer of operating space craft for Houston to Florida has to do with that. Nothing else.”

    Probably not very effective politics either.

    Last October Space X Representative (former Astronaut) Ken Bowersox told a meeting that the Space X contingent at JSC numbered less than 10 people and was not intended to grow to more than 10 people (also said something to the effect that they only put the office in Houston because he already had a house there and did not want to move). The JSC side of the house is similarly small and includes a group of retired civil servants acting as consultants (who call themselves “grey beards”). If the Organiation is moved to KSC the number of jobs transferred (short term or long term) will be relatively small (no insult intended to anyone who might be affected by the move).

    But if you are interested in results the real loss to the program would be the loss of the expertise of those consultants to the Commercial Program. Of course if you are only interested in politics (and think you can spin the transfer of a couple of dozen jobs – at most – from one state to the other as a big political coup) then I guess that does not matter.

  • common sense

    @ Joe wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    “But if you are interested in results the real loss to the program would be the loss of the expertise of those consultants to the Commercial Program. ”

    I personally lamented quite often we were losing the expertise of a lot of people who worked Shuttle and the few remaining who worked Apollo. I had the privilege and honor to meet some of them. However, I think it’s already too late. Yet I also believe that commercial space will eventually do well. They would most certainly do better if they were able to access these people some of whom still reside in the Houston area.

    As for the “other” consultants? I am sure they will eventually go where the work is just like any one does in this country.

    I do not believe it is a big political coup considering the size of the office. I also believe that the TX reps made fools of themselves by not supporting a local JSC office and favoring the dying program. They are losing or will lose credibility for those in TX seeking employment with the space program/companies. They gambled and lost.

  • common sense

    @ Bennett wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    “Shawshank Redemption”

    A pretty good movie if you ask me. Not a bad parallel even. Akin to Dufresne being commercial space and the warden being Congress/Constellation. But in the end Dufresne is set free and the warden well… Too bad for the warden…
    ;)

  • pathfinder_01

    Ah, E-mail and air travel have been invented. If consultants are needed there are ways to lessen their imact and quite frankly the information that these consulatnts have should have been transfered inside of NASA.

    KSC is going to have major job losses no matter what and no new system will need as much man power as STS. Transfering a few dozen is about the most he can do for Florida as increasing NASA’s budget at this time period would cost him far more states.

    Bolden is correct the best source of jobs in the short term will be commercail crew/cargo. Any NASA program like the unneeded SLS wil take much longer to bring jobs in.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    “Well, I expect them to try the same tactic as they did with the porker heavy-lift vehicle being forced to use the Senate’s design — they’ll slip in an amendment somewhere ordering the project office to be at JSC.”

    maybe but they will run smack into the Florida delegation on this and I doubt thats going to work.

    Where folks Like Pete in TX22 have failed the district is that with the winds of change blowing they have failed to figure out where the winds are blowing and try and figure out some reason for relevance for JSC…I think that case can be made, but it first requires acceptance of the notion that the current regime is going to fall.

    Pete is not quite that agile

    Robert G. Oler

  • Some Guy

    Thanks for the update. It’s a little nerve-wracking working in the “new normal” of constant budget upheaval. And I’d really like to thank all of you pro-NewSpace folks who have so graciously offered NASA people compassion or good jobs in your government-funded “free market.” Just don’t expect a lot of sympathy if your ox gets gored as well.

  • common sense

    @ Some Guy wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    “It’s a little nerve-wracking working in the “new normal” of constant budget upheaval.”

    Are you saying you would not be able to work in any private company in the US? Because this is the lot of most people in the US, budget upheaval.

    “And I’d really like to thank all of you pro-NewSpace folks who have so graciously offered NASA people compassion or good jobs in your government-funded “free market.” Just don’t expect a lot of sympathy if your ox gets gored as well.”

    Well I guess then do not apply to any of those government funded free enterprise. You can always cross your fingers and expect Congress to be what it is and have Constellation funded for next 4 or 5 decades. You’ll have a job. The rest of the country? Who cares?

  • common sense

    @ Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    “Well, I expect them to try the same tactic as they did with the porker heavy-lift vehicle being forced to use the Senate’s design — they’ll slip in an amendment somewhere ordering the project office to be at JSC.”

    Too late I believe. And obviously they are not that smart anyway. Let’s take an example of smart: Astrium. ATK asks them to put their Arianne 2nd stage on top of their… hmm… thing and they say yes. At the same time they work with SpaceX.

    Only those blinded by the Constellation Sun cannot think outside the infamous box. And it probably is not worth the fight now for them. Only when “commercial crew” will have the upper hand on anything HSF, including BEO eventually, that the TX reps/clowns will say something, but by then…

  • Joe

    “pathfinder_01 wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    Ah, E-mail and air travel have been invented. If consultants are needed there are ways to lessen their imact and quite frankly the information that these consulatnts have should have been transfered inside of NASA.”

    No kidding, thanks for telling me. But, if the consultants continue to work on the program by telecommuting then the job transfer is even less (and the politics even more questionable). Additionally the efficiency of day to day activities is reduced as anyone who has ever “telecommuted” across time zones can tell you.

  • DCSCA

    Some Guy wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    The protective wing of the DoD awaits– it has space operations that are busy and relatively ‘safe’ from the budget raiders compared to NASA, which is a sitting duck now. NewSpace is a ticket to no place in this era and deep-pocketed ‘free market’ investors know it. That ox won’t be gored, it will be slaughtered and sold off as pet food as they see the opportunity for any subsidies evaporate. It desperately needs government subsidies and contracting to evolve and serious, real-world ‘free market’ investors with the down-to-earth desire to turn a profit continue to be wary and balk. Of course, it doesn’t help NewSpace’s case when high profilers like SpaceX CEO, Master Musk, lobby with back room plays to try to secure contracts and subsidies then pitch to the investing community he’s ‘not in it for the money’ and boast of plans to retire on Mars. The problem at NASA is weak leadership, as usual, with Bolden and Garver the latest incarnations– coupled with a mediocre management structure set to retire along w/shuttle. NASA is getting long in the tooth. Time to clean house and retool for the new century now that the Cold War has been over for two decades.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Some Guy wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    as the Speaker of the House said about the loss of federal jobs “so be it”.

    Thats a Tea Party guy for you Robert G. Oler

  • pathfinder_01

    There is only 1 hour difference and most people don’t count consultants in their head count. Trust me the only reason why JSC is located in Huston is due to a certain Texan as both Mercury and early Gemini were both run out of Florida. Huston only took over spaceflight mid Gemini.

    In addition the design of the commercial crew vehicles is being controlled by their companies which are headquartered in states other than Texas.

  • Coastal Ron

    Some Guy wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    It’s a little nerve-wracking working in the “new normal” of constant budget upheaval.

    I’ve worked in commercial companies with government contracts, and commercial companies in the consumer market. The lesson I learned from both is that there is no such thing as a guaranteed job anymore, so you best stay on your toes and do those things that add to your value as an employee or possible future employee.

    NASA has morphed over the years from a dynamic organization working on cutting edge programs, to one that does some good, but is also a dumping ground for some programs that are bloated by congressional design.

    The commercial space field is not pure as snow either, but it’s the place we need to move to. Think about it, do we want a continued government monopoly on human space transportation, or do we want to move to a competitive marketplace that doesn’t rely on direct government funding?

    There are some in Congress that want the government monopoly to continue, and that would be fairly easy (just throw money at it). The commercial marketplace will take time, and it will take government support in the form of ISS contracts. But over time, as non-ISS business ramps up, NASA will not need to do anything more than what it has done for the aviation industry, which is support the industry as a whole, and not specific companies.

    However the bottom line is that there are no guaranteed jobs anywhere, and even ULA is reducing their headcount aggressively, so whether it’s school or professional training, you better take your future into your own hands, because unless you have a patron, you could be in for a rude surprise the next time you step into the office – NASA or commercial space.

    Welcome to the new normal.

    My $0.02

  • The protective wing of the DoD awaits

    No, it doesn’t, but we await the day that you stop repeating this lunacy. I suspect we’ll wait a long time, unless your keepers cut off your Internet connection. I have to admit though, that your ability to type in a straitjacket is impressive.

  • Joe

    “pathfinder_01 wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 4:38 pm
    “There is only 1 hour difference and most people don’t count consultants in their head count.”

    Whether “most people” do or not I did when I said a couple of dozen, therefore the head count would drop. Additionally if most of the people the Space X Office would be interfacing with on technical issues were to remain at JSC, why would Space X move their office to KSC (other than politics)?

    “Trust me the only reason why JSC is located in Huston is due to a certain Texan as both Mercury and early Gemini were both run out of Florida. Huston only took over spaceflight mid Gemini.”

    I seem to detect a little regional hostility there (probably exactly what the Administration is hoping for in order to create dissention among the Texas/Florida Congressional Delegations to assure both states end up losing). Not really an expert on the Space History of that period, but according to the Florida Today Article on which this discussion is based “That work historically has been done at Johnson Space Center in Houston or NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and during Project Mercury, at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va”. No mention of it being done at KSC.

    “In addition the design of the commercial crew vehicles is being controlled by their companies which are headquartered in states other than Texas.”

    I really do not want this to become a Texas vs Florida thing (as I think that is exactly the adminstrations intent), but your statement forces the reply: and in states other than Florida, as well. So what?

  • Some Guy wrote:

    And I’d really like to thank all of you pro-NewSpace folks who have so graciously offered NASA people compassion or good jobs in your government-funded “free market.” Just don’t expect a lot of sympathy if your ox gets gored as well.

    And welcome to the real world.

    In my professional career spanning 30+ years, I’ve been laid off three times. There was never any “compassion” or “good jobs” waiting for me. These NASA contractors employees have received severance packages far more generous than anything I ever saw.

    Your problem is that you think you deserve some sort of privilege. It’s that entitlement attitude that’s cost you support amongst the members of Congress who don’t represent Space Center districts. Those of us in the real world have to struggle to survive without cushy benefits and fat pensions.

  • DCSCA

    @Rand Simberg wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    The stink of fear is all over you– and as a shill for the faltering commercial spaceflight industry, it is easy to understand as a funding source which socialized risk on the taxpayer for a small group of private profiteers- is drying up. Personal attacks aside, (which BTW appear to be the bulk of your arguments of late with Herr Oler as well) speak volumes about the weaknesses of your position and thinking processes. And, of course, as a shill for commerical space, your foundering lobbying efforts- in tandem with the likes of Bob Walker, who supports far right extremists like Gingrich and Thompson, does little to enhance your pitch. And of course, you are on record on this forum stating the following which essentially nullifies any serious considerations of your commentaries on HSF activities: “Crew is more valuable than a billion-dollar reconnaissance satellite in a war? I don’t think so. Crew is more valuable than a two-billion dollar Shuttle orbiter? Nope. We have lots of astronauts (a surplus, in fact), and plenty of people willing and able to replace them. Hardware is much more valuable.”- Rand Simberg, 2/18/11 Per Simberg’s own words: “What a stupid comment (unsurprising, of course, considering the source).” Shills like this bottom feeder have no place anywhere near the HSF business- commercial or government run.

  • Coastal Ron: “There are some in Congress that want the government monopoly to continue, and that would be fairly easy (just throw money at it). ”

    What they will throw at it, even more effective than money, is bureaucratic red tape. It is the hallmark of control over every cheaper innovation preventing it’s fiscal benefit being realized.

    This whole thing is starting to look like the airline industry industry where the workforce migrates to whichever Corporation gets the contract. The complaints I’m hearing sound familiar…

  • common sense

    I am not sure why people equate SpaceX at JSC with SpaceX in TX. Is JSC the center of the HSF world? Is it the belief? Because be ready for it to be shattered soon. SpaceX has a major operation in McGregor TX. They have people working there that would probably like a little support from their TX reps in Congress. Whether SpaceX keeps their office at JSC is irrelevant. If the COTS office moves to KSC then I would suspect that SpaceX will move with it out of JSC but I don’t know. Yet 10 or so people? Why does that matter so much? Well it does not. What matters is that JSC is losing, somehow, part of the HSF overall and at NASA in particular. What does that say about JSC execs? That is a question that the JSC employees ought to ask. Why in heck did they let it go? Is there a reason? You may paint it as politics and it almost sure is but it begs the question to those execs at JSC. After all it is their role and responsibility to ensure continuity of work at their centers. Now if JSC head was less than enthusiastic and KSC head was more then…

    Let’s remember who is JSC head: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/about/people/orgs/bios/coats.html A former VP at LMT. Funny that LMT happens to have the Orion contract and that Coats became director the year before the final down select for CEV… But hey in a world where a former ATK exec can have ATK sole source contract for Ares then I suppose nothing is really surprising.

    On the other hand http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/biographies/cabana.html apparently has NASA all over him. No other stint in the industry (?). Could he be more objective? Just askin’

  • Coastal Ron

    sftommy wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    What they will throw at it, even more effective than money, is bureaucratic red tape. It is the hallmark of control over every cheaper innovation preventing it’s fiscal benefit being realized.

    Unfortunately that is part of the territory, regardless of who is leading Congress or in the White House. All the more reason to slowly pry it out of their hands.

    This whole thing is starting to look like the airline industry industry where the workforce migrates to whichever Corporation gets the contract. The complaints I’m hearing sound familiar…

    I don’t get this reference (my background is manufacturing) – could you elaborate?

  • netlawyer

    Not to throw cold water on the political speculation but the plan to stand up the commercial crew program at KSC was first announced in April, 2010.

    NASA Centers Get New Work Assignments

  • DCSCA

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 5:44 pm
    FYI ‘layoffs’ are not excluasive to the aerospace industry but have spiked in frequency since January 20, 1981. Ahhhh, Reaganomics… the joys of trickle-down economics never cease.

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1102/17milsatcom/

    even the Pentagon is going commercial Robert G. Oler

  • A_M_Swallow

    The logical place for the launch vehicle operations project office is near its launch pads in Florida. The Dragon and Cygnus appear to be the on-orbit stage of the rocket.

    The correct place for the payload, astronaut and mission project office(s) could be somewhere else. Possibly in Texas. This new project office will no doubt appear eventually.

  • common sense wrote:

    Is JSC the center of the HSF world? Is it the belief? Because be ready for it to be shattered soon.

    I’ve been reading a lot of books lately about the history of NASA’s early years. The rivalries and jealousies between the various space centers was quite fierce as they jockeyed for primacy in the Apollo program.

    Of course, there’s really no reason (other than political) to have the space centers scattered all over the country. In the private sector, NASA would have consolidated long ago, but they can’t because of the Congressional porkers.

    The only reason there’s a space center in Huntsville is because of Wernher von Braun. The Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) sent his team there when they outgrew their operation at White Sands. When NASA was created by consolidating existing government space agencies, von Braun threatened to quit until he was promised Huntsville would be the missile test center. Otherwise there’s nothing unique about Huntsville.

    The only reason there’s a space center in Houston is Lyndon Johnson.

    Why Cape Canaveral? Turns out the Cape wasn’t the first choice. After von Braun’s White Sands team accidentally launched a V-2 into Juarez, Mexico, ABMA started looking around for a bigger range. Their top choice? Not the Cape. It was El Centro, CA. They wanted to launch down the Baja peninsula which would make it easy to establish tracking stations. But the president of Mexico said no, after what happened in Juarez. The Cape was the #2 choice.

    Since the location of a launch range should be remote and near the ocean, NASA needs the Cape. But they don’t need Houston or Huntsville. Nothing is unique about either location.

  • GuessWho

    Oler – “even the Pentagon is going commercial”

    Old news old boy. DoD has been doing this for the past ten years via DSCS. This is merely the continued ramp-up of DoD use of commercial broadband capabilities with a twist; they are trying to contract directly now with the comsat owner/operators to increase flexibility, reduce turnaround time for bandwidth acquisition, and hopefully lower costs (but that part remains to be seen). Try to keep up with the times.

  • Robert G. Oler

    GuessWho wrote @ February 19th, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Old news old boy…

    I know but it never hurts to keep reminding the forces of anti commercialization that its working elsewhere Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 19th, 2011 at 6:41 am
    ” Otherwise there’s nothing unique about Huntsville.”

    Inaccurate. Suggest you bone up on the very long history of the Redstone Arsenal, located in Huntsville, its designation as a rocket center (before Von Braun and his missile team were transferred there BTW, after they’d fired off all the captured V-2′s from White Sands, including the Juarez incident) and the development of the Redstone missile which Von Braun’s team worked on – for the U.S. Army. Carried a nuke of the era about 4,000 miles. =sigh=

  • Byeman

    If any one has to bone up on history, it is DCSCA. Redstone’s range wasn’t even 250 miles much less 4000 for warhead/nukes. The Jupiter-C variant didn’t lob any scale warhead past 1500 miles. The only thing it futher lobbed was a dummy 4th stage with simulated satellite. The Juno I work is well know but it only could orbit spacecraft no larger than 40 lbs, no where close to a warhead.

    Smith is right, there is nothing unique about Huntsville, the work can be done anywhere else.

    DCSCA stop embarrassing yourself, and don’t post unless you know something.

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