Congress, NASA

Briefly: shuttle op-ed, NASA’s lack of a White House friend

Houston area members of Congress are continuing to complain about NASA’s decision not to award the city with a retired shuttle, nearly two weeks after NASA announced the sites that will host a retired orbiter. In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and John Culberson (R-TX) complain that the oversight “is more than just a disappointment – it’s an insult.” Interestingly, while they note they signed a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden asking him why Houston was left out, they make no mention of the two bills introduced in the House since the decision, HR 1536 and HR 1590, seeking to overturn the decision. (Green is a cosponsor of HR 1536, while Culberson has signed to neither.) Instead, the two appear to be more focused on future opportunities: “we will continue to fight to ensure that Houston will continue to guide humankind further into the wondrous realm of space by supplying our nation with a robust human space exploration program that is essential to our national security and leadership in the world.”

At a luncheon Monday in Huntsville, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) complained about a lack of support for NASA from the White House. “I am afraid that NASA does not have a friend in the White House,” he said, the Huntsville Times reported, when asked whether NASA will push to have the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lifter in service by 2016. Brooks added that Bolden “did nothing to fight a $300 million budget cut to the space agency.” What budget cut he’s referring to isn’t clear: the final FY11 continuing resolution (which Brooks voted for earlier this month) funded NASA at about $240 million below FY10 levels, and more than $500 million below the FY11 request. The Times article also reports that Brooks said the Huntsville area “fared well out of the recent 2011 budget crisis”, including $1.8 billion for the SLS, while also calling for state legislators to pass a resolution for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced-budget amendment.

30 comments to Briefly: shuttle op-ed, NASA’s lack of a White House friend

  • Oink, oink, oink. More grunts from the porkers.

  • amightywind

    “I am afraid that NASA does not have a friend in the White House

    Obama has always seen the NASA budget as a juicy target to fund his socialist redistributionist agenda, and said so during the campaign. You are only realizing this now? NASA will continue to flounder until there is a new President.

  • Vladislaw

    “At a luncheon Monday in Huntsville, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) complained about a lack of support for NASA from the White House. “I am afraid that NASA does not have a friend in the White House,” “

    He should have said ‘ I am afraid that I don’t have a friend in the White House for my pork

    You are right as always windy the President immediately cut NASA’s budget by 90% the day he took office.. or was it 50% he cut NASA’s budget. I forget .. he cut it 30% .. 20% .. how big was that juicy target of NASA budget cuts he rammed though?

    Can you provide the percentage he chopped out of NASA when he took office? How much did he chop out of NASA from the stimulas package?

    Hell does NASA even have a budget big enough to buy paperclips anymore? He must have had time to almost eliminate NASA funding totally by now.

  • @ Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Ditto.

  • John Malkin

    @Vladislaw wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    He should have said ‘ I am afraid that I don’t have a friend in the White House for my pork

    Smile.

  • Their hypocrisy is so transparent. Every one of these Republicans has voted several times this year for bills that included NASA budget reductions.

    When pressed, they’ll say they didn’t really want to cut *their* slice of the NASA pork, only someone else’s slice of the NASA pork.

  • kayawanee

    Vladislaw wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    “You are right as always windy the President immediately cut NASA’s budget by 90% the day he took office.. or was it 50% he cut NASA’s budget. I forget .. he cut it 30% .. 20% .. how big was that juicy target of NASA budget cuts he rammed though?”

    It was 101%. Each & every NASA employee was forced to pay 1% of their salaray back to the government as each received his/her pink slip. That’s how it happened, right?

  • Malmesbury

    No, it was at least 150% Every NASA employee had to work for SpaceX for free for the rest of their lives….

  • amightywind wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 8:12 am

    “Obama has always seen the NASA budget as a juicy target to fund his socialist redistributionist agenda, and said so during the campaign. You are only realizing this now? NASA will continue to flounder until there is a new President.”

    Obama’s vision of a diverse American space program is far more enabling of man’s ascent into space than a porkish-heavy lift albatross that may or may not ever get launched but will enable a gaggle of GOP spendthrifts to get reelected. I just hope all these GOP ‘space miracles’ are saving some union jobs so this impoverishment of the American worker by the GOP has some practical limits.

    This GOP Congress is floundering America’s space program for their own reelection, $500M on canceled Ares by Senator Shelby is a greater affront to this tax payer than any liberal “save the poor campaign”.

  • amightywind

    Every one of these Republicans has voted several times this year for bills that included NASA budget reductions.

    NASA is involved in many expensive far-flung activities like global warming activism, hippy camp outs in Antarctica, and dead end life sciences research. The GOP seeks to cut those budgets, severely, and properly fund human space flight.

    In other news, Orbital’s ISS resupply efforts are ramping up. Now isn’t a simple solid upper stage better than all of that SpaceX/Merlin muckity-muck?

  • common sense

    @ amightywind wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 11:41 am

    “The GOP seeks to cut those budgets, severely, and properly fund human space flight.”

    Well it is pretty sad if the GOP is being represented by these clowns you mention. But I hope that there will be some GOP leaders with half a brain to lead anything. Same for the Dems. See what the nation really needs is a real debate on anything, including space. Not some idiotic babble has expressed by so many of those you support.

    “In other news, Orbital’s ISS resupply efforts are ramping up. Now isn’t a simple solid upper stage better than all of that SpaceX/Merlin muckity-muck?”

    Are you saying or are you asking? There is nothing “simple” with a solid booster quite the contrary. We are not talking saturday night fireworks you know? And no a solid booster is not better than a liquid. Not for sending a crew to space anyway.

  • Robert G. Oler

    “The Times article also reports that Brooks said the Huntsville area “fared well out of the recent 2011 budget crisis”, including $1.8 billion for the SLS, while also calling for state legislators to pass a resolution for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced-budget amendment.”

    the ability of the right wing of the GOP to say both these things is frankly amazing…

    what is even more amazing is the ability of the GOP right wing “Masses” to buy this sort of thing. Dumbest people alive.

    Robert G. Oler

  • ok then

    Whenever a member of Congress is talking about NASA these days you know one of two things:

    A) His facts are wrong.

    or

    B) He’s lying to cover his you know what.

  • byeman

    “Now isn’t a simple solid upper stage better than all of that SpaceX/Merlin muckity-muck?”

    No, it is very constraining and will limit the utility of this vehicle. Falcon 9 will win the Delta II replacement contest.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 11:41 am

    In other news, Orbital’s ISS resupply efforts are ramping up. Now isn’t a simple solid upper stage better than all of that SpaceX/Merlin muckity-muck?

    I have always supported and promoted Orbital Sciences efforts on COTS/CRS. Unlike you, I believe in competition, and Orbital is doing a great job. I wish them well.

    Regarding your ATK shilling statement, no, solids as upper stages are not “better”, just a different approach. They are certainly less flexible, since once you light them you can’t adjust the thrust, so they have to used in the right places.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that Falcon 9/Dragon can carry more and costs less than Taurus II/Cygnus. I guess solids don’t really help on cost, but then again we could have figured that out from the Shuttle program, Ares I, and soon, the Senate Launch System (SLS)…

  • The biggest pork chop in the sky is the ISS program. The politicians love it and it will probably also serve as $3 billion a year of corporate welfare ($30 billion over a ten year period if the ISS is extended to 2025) once private spaceflight companies start to routinely deliver humans and supplies to this white elephant!

    Extending the life of the ISS program at $3 billion a year is an enormous waste of tax payer dollars!

  • Justin Kugler

    Life sciences research is key to long-duration space exploration because that is how we will be able to characterize the environment and the limits of exposure. If you’d even spent one minute studying the space life sciences roadmap, you would know that there are still crucial questions left unanswered because the population sample size to date is so relatively small and we’re only just scratching the surface.

  • mr. mark

    Most of this is pure nonsense. Amightywind clearly has a bone to pick with Elon Musk who was given his marching orders from then President George W Bush, not president Obama like he states. It was President Bush who gave the marching order for the COTS program. So is amightwind saying that president Bush is a socialist? PLEASE!

    “Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said NASA’s offer of seed money fulfills President Bush’s Jan. 14, 2004 directive to promote commercial participation in space exploration. The 2005 NASA Authorization Act also calls on the agency to advance space commerce. “We are directly tied to the Vision for Space Exploration and the law of the land,” Lindenmoyer said. “COTS marks a significant NASA activity to implement the commercialization portion of U.S. space policy.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/news/COTS_selection.html

  • amightywind

    Extending the life of the ISS program at $3 billion a year is an enormous waste of tax payer dollars!

    It is the greatest imbalance in the NASA budget places shackles on the post shuttle program. Deorbit ISS and contact out to Bigelow with the savings. That should keep you newspace types happy.

    Life sciences research is key to long-duration space exploration because that is how we will be able to characterize the environment and the limits of exposure.

    Puhleez! If you haven’t ‘characterized the environment’ after 40 years when will you ever be done? Your game is up.

  • Justin Kugler

    I seriously doubt you’ll do it, since you took that one sentence out of context, but go study it for yourself.

    http://humanresearchroadmap.nasa.gov/

    You can find all of the gaps, risks, evidence, and actions for NASA’s human research program. Go educate yourself before you, once again, pontificate on things that you clearly are not acquainted with.

    Just off the top of my head, we don’t even know what the minimum level of gravity is required to avoid the most deleterious effects of microgravity on the human body. There is some evidence that suggests we might be able to get away with limited spins on human-sized centrifuges, but it’s not conclusive.

  • amightywind wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 11:41 am
    “NASA is involved in many expensive far-flung activities like global warming activism, hippy camp outs in Antarctica, and dead end life sciences research. The GOP seeks to cut those budgets, severely, and properly fund human space flight.”

    Cut the science missions and you might as well crawl back in your cave and forget about putting humans in space, only science and it’s child engineering can do that.

    GOP is as clueless as Mr. Allmighty about the benefits or science and the important warnings that ‘hippy camps in the arctics” are giving humanity. GOP can choose to wait till man’s extinction is on the brink sitting atop their piles of gold and silver, the rest of us, I hope, aren’t willing to gamble on our children’s and our grandchildren’s lives like that.

  • Bennett

    “…after 40 years …”

    The ISS has been habitable for 40 years? How did I miss that newsflash?

    The ISS is starting its full operational phase where we can test the technology and medicine required to keep a space based society healthy and able to reproduce safely.

    Please read about what happens to bodily fluids in a zero-G environment, especially in a woman’s reproductive system to understand some of the challenges. I know we don’t need to reproduce in Zero-G in the short term, but just finding drugs to help maintain bone mass would be great.

    We have the ISS, and it is now the primary research platform into both zero-G and reduced-G life science. You know, doing stuff you can’t do on Earth?

    If we can get a centrifuge a la Nautilus-X, we can find out the answer to a really old question – Can humans thrive on the Moon or Mars?

    It would be a shame to dump the ISS just when we’re starting to use it, eh?

  • DCSCA

    The decision was arrived at per the law and given the parameters of the language there in, remains a good decision for the disposition of the orbiters for all the American people- not just Texas.

    Re-read the CAIB report. When you’re finished, you’ll see why Houston not only doesn’t deserve to be ‘rewarded’ with an orbiter, but should apologize to Americans for maintaining a management culture that lost two of them, killed 14 astronauts, and cost the people of the United States billions of dollars in various venues, both political and business, including redesigns costs and scheduling slippage and obligations with international partners. it should apologize to the people of the United States. NASA’s shuttle culture remains a poorly managed entitity. This is not your ‘grandfather’s’ NASA– the Apollo era folks have long since retired, and with it their ‘can-do’ attitude. The quicker the space shuttle program comes to an end and the NASA management running it is swept out of the agency, the better.

    “Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) complained about a lack of support for NASA from the White House. “I am afraid that NASA does not have a friend in the White House…” Perhaps ‘Mo’ should change his name to ‘Mel’ because his comments are hilarious- NASA hasn’t had a ‘friend’ in the White House since the 1960′s, the days of JFK and LBJ.

  • amightywind

    GOP can choose to wait till man’s extinction is on the brink sitting atop their piles of gold and silver, the rest of us, I hope, aren’t willing to gamble on our children’s and our grandchildren’s lives like that.

    The hubris that global warming hysterics display in their messianic desire to seize control of the global economy is breathtaking! You could zero out the NASA climate research budget and the world would never know the difference. The only gamble we are making with our children’s future is saddling them with a level of debt they can never pay. A plague on the ‘baby boom’ generation and their entitlement gluttony.

    We have the ISS, and it is now the primary research platform into both zero-G and reduced-G life science. You know, doing stuff you can’t do on Earth?

    We already know that muscles and bones atrophy and that radiation is harmful. The fantastic cost in obtaining additional minutiae of knowledge defies reason. It simply isn’t worth it. We could build the Super-Collider for the cost of a few years of ISS.funding.

    A word about CCDev2. Why on earth did NASA fund 4 (!!!) spacecraft projects and 0 launchers. One would think you newspace ninnies would expect a few bucks to be thrown at Boeing and Lockmart to man rate their launchers. Half a billion $ more and still no coherent plan! Total madness.

  • pathfinder_01

    “A word about CCDev2. Why on earth did NASA fund 4 (!!!) spacecraft projects and 0 launchers. One would think you newspace ninnies would expect a few bucks to be thrown at Boeing and Lockmart to man rate their launchers. Half a billion $ more and still no coherent plan! Total madness.”

    CCDEV 1 funded a emergency detection system from ULA that will work on both Atlas and Delta. NASA does not appear that worried about the safety of the launchers. The only thing ULA had planned to do this year was find a contractor to make the detection system that was the only bid they put in. ULA thinks they can be ready to fly by 2014 and Atlas by its nature is just about human rated. The 21st century launch complex money can be used to fund pads.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ April 26th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    The only gamble we are making with our children’s future is saddling them with a level of debt they can never pay.

    And yet you advocate that the government should pay $Billions to Republican donors for a rocket that doesn’t have a funded mission.

    The two halves of your brain are calling each other idiots – no wonder you don’t make sense…

  • The two halves of your brain are calling each other idiots – no wonder you don’t make sense…

    Cognitive dissonance and neo-con Newspeak, two concepts that have no problem existing in a right-wing mind.

  • What in the world does this have to do with “neo-cons”? Do you even know what that word means?

  • vulture4

    If they were interested in Shuttle, they should have kept it flying.

  • DCSCA

    @vulture4 wrote @ April 27th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Re-visit the CAIB report. The quicker this program is ended, the better it will be for the long term health of HSF. Aside from the fact it is 35-40 year old technology, NASA needs a good house cleaning and the first thing to go is the shuttle management and its culture.

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