Congress, NASA

House appropriators swing the budget axe

The House Appropriations Committee released its draft Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill today, and the news is by and large not good for NASA. The committee is proposing $16.81 billion for NASA in FY12, nearly $2 billion less than the $18.724 billion in the president’s FY12 request. Here is an account-by-account comparison between the president’s budget request (PBR) and the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) draft bill (all values in millions of dollars):

Account PBR HAC Difference
Science $5,016.80 $4,504.00 -$512.80
Aeronautics $569.40 $569.93 $0.53
Space Technology $1,024.20 $375.00 -$649.20
Exploration $3,948.70 $3,649.00 -$299.70
Space Operations $4,346.90 $4,064.00 -$282.90
Education $138.40 $138.00 -$0.40
Cross-Agency Support $3,192.00 $3,050.00 -$142.00
Construction $450.40 $424.00 -$26.40
Inspector General $37.50 $36.30 -$1.20
TOTAL $18,724.30 $16,810.23 -$1,914.07

Within Exploration, the House bill includes $1.063 billion for the MPCV and $1.985 billion for the SLS, both slightly higher than the administration’s request. In addition, although the text of the legislation doesn’t specifically mention it, the press release accompanying it states that the bill terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope because it is “billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.” The CJS subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill tomorrow, with the full committee to take it up the following week.

68 comments to House appropriators swing the budget axe

  • Kevin

    It eliminates the James Webb telescope? This should be HUGE news.

  • Time to throw the GOP out of the House,

    this is GOP failing this entire nation

  • kayawanee

    Any news on funding for CCDEV?

  • Scott

    I wonder if there’s money in there for commercial crew or cargo? Based on an overall cut while INCREASING money for MCPV and the new BFR, I’m guessing not.

  • Mark R, Whittington

    This is the inevitablle resuly of Obama blowing up the deficit and obstructing attempts to deal with it. Of course it doesn’t help that the Webb telescope is a train wreck. NASA will need to start over with a new concept and a new management team.

  • Jeff, where do COTS and CCDev fall within those numbers?

    I wonder how those who think the Republicans are pro-NASA and Obama is anti-NASA will spin the GOP cutting the budget by $2 billion and killing Hubble’s replacement.

    The fact that they’re preserving the money for SLS/MPCV proves it’s all about pork to them. They couldn’t care less about actual science.

  • yg1968

    There would be $601 million left for commercial crew, human research and robotic precursor mission, My guess is that commercial crew would get $500 million (the maximum allowed under the NASA authorization bill), human research $101 million and robotic precursor missions would get nothing. But that is just a guess.

  • MrEarl

    There you go again Steve. It’s all pork till it’s your pig on the spit.
    The Webb is exactly like the kind of “pork” you should be railing against, way past it’s schedule and way over budget.
    I can’t wait to see more granular budget figures.

  • Mark R, Whittington

    “I wonder how those who think the Republicans are pro-NASA and Obama is anti-NASA will spin the GOP cutting the budget by $2 billion and killing Hubble’s replacement.”

    Very easy. Obama blew up the deficit and is obstructing efforts to deal with it. The buck stops in the Oval Office.

  • Scott Bass

    I seriously doubt Webb will really get cancelled

  • Ferris Valyn

    Stephen C. Smith,

    COTS will almost certainly be zero, since that program doesn’t need more money, and is expected to be concluded with the money it has from previous years.

    With regards to Commercial Crew (which is funding CCDev) – of the Exploration budget, around $600 Billion is not specified in the Bill itself (no word from report language)

    However, Exploration (in addition to MPCV & SLS) has Commercial Crew & Exploration Research Porgram, and there is only about 600 million for that.

    The requested amounts for those 2 programs were $1.149 Billion, and its been dropped to around $600 Million.

  • Most obvious choice now becomes to drop the Heavy Lift until a new leadership comes to the House after 2012 election. I’m glad Bolden drug his feet so long on that one, although surprised the funding dried up so soon I figured it would 2014 or 2015 before HL would be canceled.

    Drop the Heavy Lift and save the Webb!

  • tu8ca

    There is a component to economics that most people don’t think about – psychology. Occasional belt tightening does wonders for efficiency. On the other hand, when you give all the money that’s asked for to an organization or individual, year after year, they turn into a hog. This is a universal, fundamental truth.

    Government contractors and projects are protected from many types of competition that private industry bears. They need occasional rounds of belt tightening to stay healthy, just like the rest of us.

  • Al Fansome

    There are other activities in Exploration beyond MPCV and SLS and Commercial Crew. We can not assume that Commercial Crew/Cargo receives all $600M.

    – Al

  • And where is AMightyWind to explain the wisdom of this move by the Republican-led House?

  • ok then

    Republicans save NASA!!! er…well….

  • DCSCA

    “The House Appropriations Committee released its draft Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill today, and the news is by and large not good for NASA. The committee is proposing $16.81 billion for NASA in FY12, nearly $2 billion less than the $18.724 billion in the president’s FY12 request.”

    As expected. No surprise given the economic brinksmanship going on these days. Bolden will be gone by the end of the year.

    Mark R, Whittington wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
    “The buck stops in the Oval Office.” But the bucks are spent by Congress. Witness Reagan and Dubya. They balked and never vetoed big dollar expenditures and placed wars off budget and wasted billions on DoD gadgets (like the B-1) w/Uncle Sams credit card. Madness. The looming meltdown rests squarely w/warped, conservative ideologues and is the end game of the 30 year supply-side folly called ‘Reaganomics.’

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    “I wonder how those who think the Republicans are pro-NASA and Obama is anti-NASA will spin the GOP cutting the budget by $2 billion and killing Hubble’s replacement.”

    It wont matter really. What we are facing thanks to 10 years of the right wing of the GOP and some really bad years with Obama (and lot of Obama bad mistakes) is nothing less then a meltdown of “want to do” spending and that is most of human spaceflight.

    It really wont be 2 billion; it will be in the end more like 4 or so and that might not be the bottom.

    The country is in for very hard times as we completely restructure how the economy and the federal government works. NASA is low hanging fruit and not all that important to the country…RGO

  • NASA Fan

    NASA is the desert at the buffet table. When folks get serious about dieting, the desert if the first to be sacrificed. I think, finally, the Republic seems serious about dieting.

    And slashing NASA’s budget by $4B will do nothing to deal with the root cause of our present budget catastrophe; that is something that will never be addressed with the present form of government.

  • Mark R, Whittington

    DCSCA – One thing the president can do is to actually bargain seriously with the congressional leadership about deficit reduction. If NASA is a priority for him, I;m sure that he’ll get a fair hearing about trading more money for that agency in exchange for cuts in other areas. Obamacare would be a good start.

  • On one hand, the release of this draft appropriations bill might not matter much, as it is probable there won’t be any budget that passes both houses of Congress and is signed by the president.

    On the other hand, this draft appropriations bill certainly signals the preferences of the GOP controlled Appropriations Committee.

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    “And slashing NASA’s budget by $4B will do nothing to deal with the root cause of our present budget catastrophe; that is something that will never be addressed with the present form of government.”

    yes it will.

    In fact it will do a couple of things

    First it will make a definitive statement that “incompetence will not be tolerated”. The Webb telescope is simply not working and wont work for any amount of dollars anyone wants to spend on it. That it (and Cx and a few others) all have the same level and type of management problems can no longer be tolerated.

    Second; it makes what we do in space be thought out a great deal more. HSF the last 30 years has spent billions on a space station program that is right now doing little more then “minimal” science. It takes far to many ground base personel (why cant we run it with oh say a total force of 300?) and what is done up there has no real link to the rest of the US. I think some people (Like Justin) are trying to make that better but we need to think things out before we spend money on them.

    Third…4 billion is 4 billion. If the DoD were to take a slightly under 25 percent cut and we can get some other savings in things like Homeland security and other organizations’ we start to talk real money.

    What is killing our economy is that we are under taxed as a population (although the middle class is probably about right) and transfering to much government wealth to the upper class (and that includes companies like Boeing).

    NASA is small stuff but that doesnt mean it should not be fixed

    RGO

  • Our Response: http://www.teainspace.com/house-appropriations-committee-tpis-reaction/

    We are happy JWST is on its way out the door. We are deeply saddened the $11 billion dollar earmark that is SLS is consuming the budget of CCDev.

    Respectfully,
    Andrew Gasser
    President, TEA Party in Space

  • Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Eh, doesn’t canceling Webb but funding a fully tricked out SD HLV (rather than a basic Jupiter 130) send a rather more mixed message on procurement reform?

  • John Malkin

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Excellent post.

  • sc220

    @Andrew Gasser

    I like your assessment. You Tea Partiers have a good perspective on what’s wrong with the NASA design bureau monolith. If anything, you should hold SLS up as a prime example of government waste. Give it more public visibility. Perhaps you’ll get Michelle to jump on the bandwagon too.

  • The fact that Congress is prioritizing funding for the SLS should not be a surprise since most people in Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) really didn’t want to get rid of the Constellation program or NASA’s manned spaceflight capability. But they probably would have accepted a cheaper alternative architecture than the Ares I/V to return to the Moon if the Obama administration had proposed it. But Obama nixed the Moon– in a very arrogant fashion!

    NASA has been the best friend to Commercial Crew Development. But its the current administration that politicized this by turning it into a NASA vs Commercial Crew debate by unnecessarily trying to terminate NASA’s manned spaceflight capability. Congress is right to make sure that the Federal government and the American people have a– public option– for accessing orbit and beyond!

  • Fred Willett

    It’s sad to see but it had to happen.
    If SLS survives this round by throwing JWST under the train it won’t survive the next round. Which makes the essentially low cost CCdev program even more vital.
    The great irony is that if JWST, SLS and MPCV are lost then NASA will emerge much stronger and more capable and we may actually get back to the Moon and on the Mars in some sort of reasonable time frame.

  • SpaceColonizer

    @Bill White

    Exactly.

    SLS/MPCV: Let’s not kid ourselves. This is basically just a continuation/rebranding of Constellation. As such, I consider it to already be over budget, and behind schedule. Also it is redundant in the face of commercial launch services. Worst part about it is that it has no mission. THIS is what needs to be cut.

    JWST: Over budget, behind shecule, maybe deserved to be cut, but it actually HAS a purpose, it HAS a mission. And this is the kind a project that has no analog in the private sector. Nobody can build such a far seeing telescope and make a profit on the commercial market.

    The fact that JWST gets cut and SLS/MPCV gets a boosts is clear indication of pork project bias. Anyone should be able to see that.

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    …most people in Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) really didn’t want to get rid of the Constellation program…

    They sure didn’t vote that way. I think you confuse rhetoric with reality.

    …or NASA’s manned spaceflight capability.

    Commercial crew, which was added by the Administration and Congress to NASA’s budget, does provide NASA’s LEO HSF needs. The MPCV was added by the Administration and Congress to support NASA’s beyond LEO HSF needs. “Getting rid” of our human spaceflight capability was never on the table.

    The big question is whether the nation needs a Super-Heavy Launch Vehicle (S-HLV). Some in Congress say we do, but since NASA is such a small part of the National Budget, and it’s never really been debated in Congress as a whole, there is no way to infer that all of Congress is behind it.

    But how do can you tell a true need from a Congressionally funded jobs program? By looking to see if they have funded a use for it yet. Since they haven’t, it sure appears to be just another jobs program.

    How else can you explain Congresses lack on interest in funding even a single mission or payload for the SLS?

  • NASA Fan

    @ Robert:

    The root cause of the economic catastrophe that is gripping the present and future of this nation will not be addressed by cutting $4B from the NASA budget, or even cutting completely the NASA budget, or even be completely eliminating discretionary spending.

    The root cause of the economic catastrophe we find our selves in, is a result of the ‘expression’ of our form of government.

    Also, the root cause of the JWST fiasco will not be addressed by canceling it. The root cause is an ‘expression’ of the dysfunctional relationships between the WH, Congress, OMB, NASA HQ, and Field Centers. The seeds of this dysfunction were planted decades ago, and is itself a derivative ‘expression’ of our form of government. There is no ‘healing’ that dysfunction; it will persist into perpetuity; hence NASA’s future, despite the changes in its portfolio, will look the same as our present, and our past: both good and bad..

    Standing outside of our U.S of A, and looking at the results we’ve produced will see our form of government is failing the our citizens and the world.

  • @Coastal Ron

    NASA wanted a heavy lift vehicle during the Bush administration for the Constellation program.

    The Augustine Commission said we needed a heavy lift vehicle.

    The Obama administration said we need a heavy lift vehicle even though they tried to defer its development for 5 years.

    The House voted for the development of a heavy lift vehicle

    And the Senate voted for the development of a heavy lift vehicle.

    And its pretty obvious, IMO, if NASA had kept is heavy lift capability back in the 1970s that we’d probably already have bases on the Moon and Mars and we’d probably have a much richer US economy because of it.

  • Alex

    Well, JWST (and maybe even MSL last year) should definitely go. Alas, it should not go so that SLS can live on for another fiscal year. JWST, SLS, and Orion should all go, and whatever’s left should go to commercial and tech development.

    You know, the budget outline the Admin submitted back in Feb ’10, but that the crazies on places like NasaSpaceflight decried as practically satanic.

    Of course, now the Shuttle Huggers and Big Dumb Rocket Lovers and Usual Gang of Bipartisan Idiots in Congress have all conspired to saddle us with a rocket program even more unworkable and hair-brained than CxP. History really does have a sick sense of humor.

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    must be a language thing…I dont get “The root cause of the economic catastrophe we find our selves in, is a result of the ‘expression’ of our form of government.”

    “expression” RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bill White wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    “Eh, doesn’t canceling Webb but funding a fully tricked out SD HLV (rather than a basic Jupiter 130) send a rather more mixed message on procurement reform?”

    The SD HLV is a disaster like Webb in procurement…it is as someone else noted a continuation of Ares and is already over budget etc. In a 4 billion dollar NASA reduction it doesnt survive in my view.

    I doubt it will survive period. More later RGO

  • VirgilSamms

    “How else can you explain Congresses lack on interest in funding even a single mission or payload for the SLS?”

    Ron, there has to be an SLS before there are any missions for it. Your argument is not an argument at all- it is an attempt to confuse and nothing else.

    The only jobs program is for that company collectiong on a political payback. They made a backroom deal to get rid of the most evolved and powerful heavy lift hardware on earth- and replace it with a hobby rocket.

    Congress decided that was not a good deal. Providing for our “LEO needs” is not what this is about- it is about providing for our BEO needs.
    There is no substitute for a HLV with hydrogen upper stages and a hydrogen EDS.

    The hype and false advertising may have the public decieved, but congress is not buying it and so we have the SLS. And very soon we will not need any kerolox cheap and nasties.

  • common sense

    Some really seem obtuse here. Not news but anyway. First attempt at a budget cut from our dear GOPers, the NASA “supporters”. So around $2B? Right. Yet they push SLS and MPCV and any one with half a brain knows there is not enough money for them. So sometime after 2012 when all is said and done they will cut SLS and MPCV, you know the “over budget” thing. Another what $3B? NASA’s budget will then be around $12B. I can assure y’all that CCDev will look like a great deal. This is not the end though, just the beginning of the end for HSF at NASA for some time to come. Since they will waste their resources in those systems that will never be built. All the while they could develop technology and science for deep space BEO. So people want dates and destinations? Here goes: 2012, destination Earth, the ground that is not LEO.

    We’ll see…

  • DCSCA

    @Mark R, Whittington wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 6:02 pm
    “One thing the president can do is to actually bargain seriously with the congressional leadership about deficit reduction.”

    He has. In fact, he has bargained with himself as well and the GOP jackels believe they can roll him and he’ll fold again. Khrushchev was led to believe he could roll a POTUS, too, until he blinked in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Expect the GOP to play the role of Nikita or watch the economic universe implode.

    “If NASA is a priority for him…” It’s not. It hasn’t been a presidential ‘priority’ since the 1960’s.

  • pathfinder_01

    Marcel, you are worshiping the wrong thing if you want lunar bases. It isn’t how much can we lift in to orbit in one go, it is how much can we land and how much we can do there when we do.

    The Saturn V had a flight rate of about 2 a year post 1969 and the most launched in a single year is 3.

    At a rate of 2 a year and with Apollo tech you are unable to support a lunar base.

    Problem 1: The LM could only land 5MT if it were unmanned.

    You chew HLV agnostic people out about how you the ISS which was limited to 25MT pieces was built but a lunar base using Apollo technology would have to be built in 5MT chunks. Heck the thing couldn’t even land a sundancer module(8MT).Unless you want to somehow design something capable of landing more($$$).

    Problem 2: The LM only had about 6.7 meters cubed worth of volume.

    Heck Progress, Dragon and Cygnus hold more.

    When it comes to resupply lots of items like food are not massive but bulky hence volume is often the bigger constraint. If you landed an LM unmanned it could hold enough supply to support a crew of 3-4 about 6 months using modern ISS derived technology. Using Apollo tech where water was not recycled and you lack much in the way of regenerative C02 removal a lot less than that. Your lunar base would not be able to be permanently manned due to being unable to be supplied but once a year at Saturn V’s flight rate.

    Problem 3: The LM had a limited life (3 days).

    With no solar panels and only 3 days worth of battery power how is this thing going to be able to store months worth of supplies for long periods of time or be able to wait months for a crew at a base? It was designed with only a 3 day mission in mind no more. I can’t see being able to do much lunar construction in 3 days. This means more ($$$) for development and odds are the newer more capable lander is going to mass more so that means more ($$$) to upgrade Saturn V.

    Problem 4: The CM has a limited life.

    Only about 14 days. You are going to need to redesign it and this redesign means going from Fuel cells to batteries plus solar panels and a water tank for the crew….this will greatly increase it’s mass. For the long term Skylab missions Skylab was providing power to keep the CM’s batteries charged but a space station in lunar orbit presents problems(lunar orbits are unstable due to mass concentrations in the moon). A lagaringe point one could do I guess, but we all know how much the lunar crowd hates not being stuck in a gravity well plus you would need a longer duration lander with more delta V to travel back and forth.

    We were no more ready to build a moon base than some tourist coming somewhere is ready to live in that place long term.

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    The Augustine Commission said we needed a heavy lift vehicle.

    At some point they “assumed” some sort of heavy lift vehicle would be needed, but they never stated when, and certainly they never said to build one and let it sit around waiting for enough money from Congress to actually use it.

    You and others say that the SLS will be used 2-6X per year, but you can’t point to any actual users.

    Congress wants the SLS ready by 2016, but in order to have the SLS-unique payloads and missions ready to launch, they would have to be started this year (actually last year). However we already see that NASA’s budget is being cut, and no new programs are being added, so when will these multiple payloads and missions be funded that will use the SLS?

    Should be a simple question to answer for someone that believes so much in the SLS…

  • Coastal Ron

    VirgilSamms wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Hey VirgilSamms/Gary Church.

    Ron, there has to be an SLS before there are any missions for it.

    According to SLS supporters, there is a long list of payloads that the SLS will be needed for. Of course it must be secret missions, because no one can tell us what they are. ;-)

    Since Congress has already specified what the SLS capacity is to LEO, the programs that will end up using the SLS can start the planning process for the payloads. All they need is the money from Congress to get started – when will that come?

    What payloads? I don’t know, but something weighing around 250,000 lbs, which is 1/4 the weight of the ISS. And since the payload width is supposed to be much bigger than the 5m standard everyone already has tooling, facilities, test equipment and transportation for, they are going to have to build new versions of all that for these new larger payload widths (8.4m?).

    A Moon mission? Fuel depot tests? A new telescope to replace the JWST? A new smaller space station to replace the ISS? A new Mars rover?

    The House wants to cut NASA’s budget by 10%. But let’s run some numbers just for the fun of it.

    If the 1M lb ISS cost about $100B, then a complex SLS payload is likely to cost somewhere in the $10-20B range (manned mission?). A simple one is likely to cost $5-10B (robotic?). I’m assuming the $/lb to build and ground test space hardware stays about the same.

    And if the SLS is supposed to launch twice per year, wouldn’t that mean a minimum of $10-40B/year just to build the simple payloads it will carry? And that doesn’t count the minimum $1B per launch.

    Keep in mind that the NASA managed JWST, which weighs just 14,000 lbs (20 could fit on an SLS) has been projected to cost about $7B, so my estimates seem like they are in the ballpark.

    I don’t see how Congress is going to be able to fund one meaningful SLS payload, much less two per year for a decade or more. Not in this budget environment…

  • William Mellberg

    pathfinder_01 wrote:

    “The Saturn V had a flight rate of about 2 a year post 1969 and the most launched in a single year is 3. At a rate of 2 a year and with Apollo tech you are unable to support a lunar base.”

    For the record, the Saturn V launch rate could have been much higher. That is why four high bays were included in the design of the Vehicle Assembly Building, and three Launch Umbilical Towers and two Crawler-Transporters were built. A fourth LUT could have been added, and so could a third pad (39-C) if a lunar base or Mars program had been pursued. Three pads were originally planned for Launch Complex 39.

    Also for the record, four (not three) Saturn Vs were launched in 1969 (Apollo 9, 10, 11 and 12). And if you include Apollo 8, five were launched in the 12-month period between December 1968 and November 1969.

    One of the primary reasons the launch rate slowed down after 1969 was that the scientists wanted more time to analyze the results of each of the lunar missions before selecting follow-on landing sites. In fact, at one point Skylab was to be flown before the last Apollo missions — in part, to give scientists more time to study the samples returned by earlier missions before choosing the final landing sites. The goal was to obtain the most diverse suites of lunar samples.

    All of that changed when the Nixon Administration cancelled Apollo 18, 19 and 20. Of course, a more aggressive flight rate had already been derailed when the Johnson Administration halted Saturn V production at 15 vehicles. The Nixon Administration ended Saturn production permanently. But the von Braun rocket team was quite convinced that they could have supported the creation of a lunar outpost with the Saturn V had the decision been made to do so. And Launch Complex 39 could have handled a much higher launch rate, as demonstrated by the three missions flown in four months (Apollo 9, 10 and 11) between March and July 1969. Which matches the maximum rate that you mistakenly stated was launched in one year.

  • DCSCA

    @William Mellberg wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Excellent posting. Spot on and well said.

    Was reviewing some old CBS New footage from 1969 and several backgrounders on NASA and the pending lunar missions made mention of the expense and necessity to begin to cut back– the blame being placed on the on going costs of Vietnam. When questioned on why they spent the $ on both LC 39 A and 39B as well, their answer was if one was destroyed by a Saturn pad failure, the second would be in place and operational– an answer which reporters noted, had shifted from the 39A,B,C days.

  • DCSCA

    @pathfinder_01 wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 12:49 am

    In interviews and in his memoir w/Alexi Leonov, Dave Scott reiterated that by the time they were planning out the final Apollo flights, they’d pretty much stretched the capabilities of the hardware. Both the LM and CSM as engineered along with their spacesuits and PLSS capacities were stretched to the design limits for Apollo integration. There wasn’t much more they could do to them for that program in that time frame.

  • Robert G. Oler

    William Mellberg wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 4:59 am

    ” But the von Braun rocket team was quite convinced that they could have supported the creation of a lunar outpost with the Saturn V had the decision been made to do so.”

    the problem is that the nation then and especially now could not have afforded it.

    I am not quite sure how someone (not you) thinks that two flights a year of a Saturn V would a lunar base make, much less one that contributed to the US economy.

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bill White wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    “Eh, doesn’t canceling Webb but funding a fully tricked out SD HLV (rather than a basic Jupiter 130) send a rather more mixed message on procurement reform?”

    sorry Bill, my little daughter wanted to play…and that shuts most anything down!

    NASA and space politics and policy are for the first time in a long time being caught up in a major national issue…that is how to stop the country’s economic system from continuing a decline. It is that debate that almost every single major NASA program will be caught up in…not some massive discussion of what a space program does.

    I dont know how the next few weeks are going to play out on the national stage. Obama couldnt lead flies to warm human excrement and most of the far right of the GOP are pushing things which have no chance of fixing anything but are aimed at idiots who understand almost nothing.

    But no matter how it works out, in my view there are hard times coming at NASA and in particular HSF. It is one of the things that the country can live without–at least most of the people will think so when they start looking at where those billions are going. RGO

  • JWST cancellation has nothing to do with SLS/MPV funding. You’re living in fantasy land if you think that savings from canceling SLS/MPV will somehow go to other NASA programs like JWST or vice versa. It won’t. Political support and budget are synonymous. Kill the program, kill the political support, and lose the money for NASA as a whole. This is why even if JWST 1.0 is canceled we need actively support a JWST 2.0 to take its place.

    Most of the expensive technical problems with JWST 1.0 originate from attempting to out do prior mission while still constrained to the same launch system capacities. The old amorphous canard that “its managements fault” is being used to draw our attention away from the real issue; which is in order to do more than we have in the past, ‘some’ missions require improvements in the launch system. Inexpensive ways of shoehorning stuff into 5m fairings have already been fully tapped out.

    While this notion is viewed as heresy by some on the ‘we don’t need manned spaceflight no matter what” side of NASA, in a SLS/MPV future we could get JWST 2.0 with more capability, sooner and at lower cost than JWST 1.0. All brought about by a true synergy between the unique capabilities and talents of manned and unmanned parts of NASA, imagine that. More than just a largely hollow statement on their annual budget request but a reality brought about by rising above the petty attempts at empire building by belittling each others accomplishments in order to increase the budget for their pet projects. A tone unfortunately all too prevalent and on display in Bill’s letter.

    Anyway back to those who wear big boy pants, the Basic Plan for JWST 2.0

    First an unmanned Jupiter-130 launch would place all non-mirror components in a high Earth orbit. The second manned Jupiter-130 would place the MPV and dual ‘heavy’ one piece mirrors in orbit to be assembled by the MPV crew in high Earth orbit. The telescope would be checked out and via kick motor in combination with a lunar swing by put itself at the SEL. A Dual set of 10 meter mirrors will more than out do anything JWST 1.0 was planning. An alternate plan would be to assemble the JWST 2.0 near ISS but would require more propellant.

    The very same device looking back at Earth would also help the DoD hence why it may be politically correct not to include ISS as part of the plan if the DoD was part of the funding and application mix just like with Hubble via Keyhole.

    Regardless, I much prefer this approach to the blue on blue conflict Bill is advocating. Just like when parents see their kids arguing, though are not sure who is wrong or right, their more likely to just punish both.

    Can’t we all just get along.

  • VirgilSamms

    “According to SLS supporters, there is a long list of payloads that the SLS will be needed for. Of course it must be secret missions, because no one can tell us what they are.”

    According to Bolden, yes, the DOD will be using the SLS heavy lift since they are limited by the 25 ton Delta Heavy Payload. And yes, those would be secret missions.

    Your technobabble about dollars per pound is gibberish Ron.
    Try again.

  • John Malkin

    William Mellberg wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 4:59 am

    But the von Braun rocket team was quite convinced that they could have supported the creation of a lunar outpost with the Saturn V had the decision been made to do so.

    What were the estimated annual costs for a lunar outpost including supplies at the time?

  • Vladislaw

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “According to SLS supporters, there is a long list of payloads that the SLS will be needed for. Of course it must be secret missions, because no one can tell us what they are.”

    Gosh Ron, you keep saying, “where is the payloads”, they have a payload, the Orion/MPCV. What more do you need? They can launch the MPCV twice a year to the ISS, starting in 2020 or so. No need for an EDS as long as it is launching and those jobs are in place.

  • Major Tom

    “Most of the expensive technical problems with JWST 1.0 originate from attempting to out do prior mission while still constrained to the same launch system capacities.”

    This statement is false. Per the final report of the JWST Independent Comprehensive Review Panel (ICRP):

    “Executive Summary

    The problems causing cost growth and schedule delays on the JWST Project are associated with budgeting and program management, not technical performance. The technical performance on the Project has been commendable and often excellent. However, the budget baseline accepted at the Confirmation Review did not reflect the most probable cost with adequate reserves in each year of project execution. This resulted in a project that was simply not executable within the budgeted resources.”

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=35294

    JWST cost growth has nothing to do with the limitations of the Ariane V.

    “The old amorphous canard that ‘it’s managements fault’ is being used to draw our attention away from the real issue…”

    No, per the ICRP, the “real issue” is management, specifically managers that selected an unrealistic budget baseline.

    “First an unmanned Jupiter-130 launch would place all non-mirror components in a high Earth orbit. The second manned Jupiter-130 would place the MPV and dual ‘heavy’ one piece mirrors in orbit to be assembled by the MPV crew in high Earth orbit.”

    This scheme evidences zero understanding of optical tolerances.

    It also evidences zero understanding of spacecraft costs, which go by mass. Even without the costs of human systems and on-orbit assembly, this telescope would be much, much more expensive than the JWST runout, even with all its overruns.

    “The very same device looking back at Earth would also help the DoD hence why it may be politically correct not to include ISS as part of the plan if the DoD was part of the funding and application mix just like with Hubble via Keyhole.”

    Reconnaissance satellites are not evolving in this direction, for the reasons above.

  • Major Tom

    “According to Bolden, yes, the DOD will be using the SLS heavy lift…”

    Quote? Link? Reference?

    “Your technobabble about dollars per pound…”

    Since when is elementary school mathematics “technobabble”?

  • Coastal Ron

    Vladislaw wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Yikes, you’re right! How could I not see that the SLS is just a dedicated MPCV launcher, and that paying $250M/seat to get to LEO is a great bargain! ;-)

    Do the SLS supporters really think that way? Now that’s scary.

  • Coastal Ron

    VirgilSamms wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    According to Bolden, yes, the DOD will be using the SLS heavy lift…

    Gary Church/VirgilSamms, don’t make things up.

    Bolden hasn’t said that, and he wouldn’t be making announcements for the DoD. The DoD hasn’t used NASA for launching their payloads for a long time, and with good reason (too unreliable).

    …since they [DoD] are limited by the 25 ton Delta Heavy Payload.

    I doubt they are limited, and in any case Delta IV Heavy is about to get a payload boost with the new RS-68A engine. If they need more capacity it’s cheaper and quicker for them to place an order for Atlas V Heavy, create a new orbital tug/booster, or save a ton of money and use the Falcon Heavy.

    But since the DoD is fighting budget cuts just like everyone else, I doubt they see a need to develop a new more expensive class of satellites that depend on a rocket that hasn’t even been designed.

    Provide public references if you think you’re right, but based on past experience, I doubt you are.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    there is no point in getting along with people who make continual goofy statements.

    First off there is no indication that the launch vehicle constraint is the issue with Webb.

    Second your plan of using a non existent rocket (to be developed at who knows what cost) to launch a Webb redo and then “kick motor” a dual 10 meter mirror system around is nuts.

    Third…what you have with Webb and “DIRECT” leaning on each other is two failing (or one failing and one non existent) programs trying to justify each other.

    Fourth to say management is not the issue is devoid of reality.

    Stephen does it hurt being wrong all the time? When there is (as is likely) no “HLV” announcement on July 8th…dont you people feel goofy at times making statements time after time again that are proven wrong?

    Here is a suggestion. Go on EBAY buy some old shuttle models and make you a Jupiter model…then you can have one in front of you at all times…RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    First an unmanned Jupiter-130 launch would place all non-mirror components in a high Earth orbit. The second manned Jupiter-130 would…

    Any plan to “replace” a cancelled JWST 1.0 with a JWST 2.0 is doomed to failure if you start off by describing the plan as “First we have the government build a brand new huge rocket…”.

    The whole point of canceling the JWST is because Congress doesn’t want to spend the money to finish it.

    Proposing to spend more money, on new programs that could just as easily go over budget themselves, is kind of crazy, don’t you think?

  • William Mellberg

    John Malkin wrote:

    “What were the estimated annual costs for a lunar outpost including supplies at the time?”

    I have been searching without success for an old MSFC technical report by Georg von Tiesenhausen outlining the von Braun team’s proposals for a post-Apollo space program. If I find it, I will come back to your question again as I think it included projected costs. But suffice it to say, those costs were far greater than the Nixon Administration and the Congress (i.e., the American taxpayers) were willing to spend at the time.

    My point was simply to note that the launch rate for the Saturn V could have greatly exceeded the two missions per year that were being realized by the end of the Apollo Program.

    The von Braun team proposed using the Saturn V for one or more additional Skylab stations, to be followed by a large, permanent station in LEO. The Saturn V would also be used for a pair of very large, unmanned Grand Tour spacecraft (which later became the much smaller Voyager spacecraft). And the Saturn V would have also been used to support a lunar outpost. Von Tiesenhausen envisioned a much larger lunar lander, as well as a space tug for shuttling between LEO and cislunar space. Space station modules would be adapted for use as habitat modules on the Moon. All of this, plus a Space Shuttle design which would have been fully reusable … and plans for Mars missions, too. You can imagine the price tag!

    In the Soviet Union, similar grandiose visions were being hatched by Vasili Mishin, Vladimir Chelomei and Valentin Glushko. But with Apollo’s political goal having been achieved and the N-1 launch vehicle suffering repeated failures, such plans were quietly laid to rest in both countries. Yet, the original Soviet circumlunar mission (utilizing a Proton launch vehicle and Zond spacecraft) could wind up being realized as a commercial venture some 45 years later. How ironic.

  • pathfinder_01

    “Gosh Ron, you keep saying, “where is the payloads”, they have a payload, the Orion/MPCV. What more do you need? They can launch the MPCV twice a year to the ISS, starting in 2020 or so. No need for an EDS as long as it is launching and those jobs are in place.”

    Sadly so true….

  • Martijn Meijering

    Proposing to spend more money, on new programs that could just as easily go over budget themselves, is kind of crazy, don’t you think?

    Not if you intend to be on the receiving end of that money.

  • Since when is elementary school mathematics “technobabble”?

    To some people, 1 + 1 = 2 is “technobabble.”

    Needless to say, such people aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

  • DCSCA

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 11:04 am
    William Mellberg wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 4:59 am ” But the von Braun rocket team was quite convinced that they could have supported the creation of a lunar outpost with the Saturn V had the decision been made to do so.” “the problem is that the nation then and especially now could not have afforded it.”

    Of course it could have- sans Vietnam.

  • DCSCA

    @William Mellberg wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Excellent posting. Well said.

  • Aberwys

    Please tell me where innovation is going to come from?
    NSF funding is cut,
    James Webb is out the door.
    The NASA Space Technology budget is proposed to be cut by $650M

    Who is innovating, Mr. President?

  • @pathfinder_01

    “Marcel, you are worshiping the wrong thing if you want lunar bases. It isn’t how much can we lift in to orbit in one go, it is how much can we land and how much we can do there when we do.”

    Actually, most of the cost for the Apollo program were for development cost. In fact, NASA’s highest annual budgets were from 1963 until 1968, before the lunar landings and Skylab program took place. During the lunar landings and the later Skylab space station program, NASA’s annual budget ranged from approximately $21 billion to as low as $11.4 billion in today’s dollars. During the years of the lunar missions, it ranged from $21 billion to as low as $15 billion annually. These numbers are pretty much in the range of current NASA spending. So its pretty much of a myth that the heavy lift vehicle based Apollo Moon program and Skylab space station program were unsustainable.

    There were things in the Federal budget that were unsustainable during that period, like the titanically expensive Vietnam War– but not our space program which actually created a lot more wealth than it consumed.

  • Rhyolite

    The shorter house: Eliminate anything that is scientifically interesting, technically useful, or cost effective. Let’s keep a laser like focus on dolling out useless pork.

  • pathfinder_01

    Marcel, in 1968 congress refused to allow NASA to buy a 2nd bath of Saturn V’s. NASA was unable to replace the Original 15 flight ones after they had been used.The low costs are that of a program that is winding down(like the shuttle is now).

    Apollo 20 was cacelled to allow Skylab to use it’s Saturn V.

    Basically from about 1968 till the end of the program NASA was not buying new Saturn V’s or CM or LM. In fact 3 missions were canceled in 1970 and the rest delayed.

    Other than for launch Skylab did not use the Saturn V. It’s missions flew on Saturn IB, which is cheaper to launch than the shuttle. The low busget of 11.5 billion does not occur till 1974. The last Saturn V launched in 1973.

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ July 7th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    but not our space program which actually created a lot more wealth than it consumed

    No, that’s a myth.

    The government spending $116B dollars in today’s dollars on any task produces economic trickle-down, but not necessarily more wealth. For that to happen you have to be able to show that the expenditures produced MORE than the amount spent.

    Did the Apollo program leave any lasting capabilities? No. The production lines were shut down, the non-reusable rockets and spacecraft were destroyed or put in museums, and the tooling was not directly applicable to any follow-on products.

    The Apollo program left knowledge, and it paid for things that were used for other things, but there is no direct correlation that shows spending $116B on the Apollo program had anymore lasting effect than spending the same amount of money on something like building roads or other usable infrastructure.

    In fact one could argue that spending $116B on military equipment for the Viet Nam war had the same effect as spending $116B on Apollo.

  • Vladislaw

    William Mellberg wrote:

    “I have been searching without success for an old MSFC technical report by Georg von Tiesenhausen outlining the von Braun team’s proposals for a post-Apollo space program. If I find it, I will come back to your question again as I think it included projected costs.”

    http://beyondapollo.blogspot.com/2009/06/fifty-man-space-base-crew-1970.html

    it also provides the nasa designation for the tech paper.

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