Congress, NASA

Happy birthday, Charlie. Now where’s that SLS study?

Today is NASA administrator Charles Bolden’s 65th birthday: he was born in Columbia, South Carolina, on August 19, 1946. So what did Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) get him for his birthday? A press release about the status of studies for the Space Launch System (SLS). According to Hutchison, the independent cost study for the SLS being carried out by Booz Allen Hamilton is now complete, and, she believes, “will confirm what myself and the NASA technical staff have known for many months — that the SLS plan is financially and technically sound, and that NASA should move forward immediately.”

The thrust of Hutchison’s statement was that NASA should no longer delay in annoucing its design for the SLS, in large part to preserve jobs that are being lost as the shuttle program winds down. “NASA began reviewing additional alternatives for the SLS in November of 2010. Since then, more than over 5,500 jobs have been lost, many of which could have been transferred to the SLS program,” she says. “This past June, Administrator Bolden confirmed to us that NASA had a design for the SLS. However, a formal announcement was delayed while the Administration awaited the results of an independent cost assessment, a delay that has cost 3,000 jobs.” She adds another set of layoff notices are due next week, and thus, “We cannot delay in announcing the plan that can provide a focus and a purpose for workers that remain and for the industries that rely on our space program to survive.” Unclear, however, is how many of those jobs would be directly relevant, at least in the near-term, to SLS development, and thus would be retained even if there was a final design for SLS.

Sen. Hutchison said she has not seen the Booz Allen report yet—a copy of the report was due to be delivered to Congress today—but sounded confident that it would expose no issues with the agency’s proposed design. “I expect the assessment will confirm what Congress and the NASA technical experts have known for nine months, that the Administration could have approved the vehicle design concept months ago, prevented the loss of thousands of jobs, and ensured U.S. leadership in space and science,” she said. (To underscore that, the press release includes a timeline of the decisionmaking process for the SLS, which it dates all the way back to June 2010, when NASA issued a Broad Agency Announcement for heavy-lift studies.)

I am reminded of a scene early in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when Spock presents Kirk with a birthday present: an antique copy of A Tale of Two Cities. Kirk opens it up and starts to read:

Kirk: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Message, Spock?
Spock: None that I’m conscious of. Except, of course, happy birthday. Surely, the best of times.

Happy birthday, Administrator Bolden. Surely, the best of times. Right?

255 comments to Happy birthday, Charlie. Now where’s that SLS study?

  • Alex

    I like how the letter lives in this world where A. People can never be hired back. And B. Once laid off, a person immediately ceases to exist.

  • “According to Hutchison, the independent cost study for the SLS being carried out by Booz Allen Hamilton is now complete, and, she believes, “will confirm what myself and the NASA technical staff have known for many months — that the SLS plan is financially and technically sound, and that NASA should move forward immediately.”

    Having made an intelligent guess as to what is in that report, I wish I could see the look on her face when she sees its conclusions. It appears at least one of them truly believe their own BS! :)

  • Robert G. Oler

    Happy Birthday Charlie…Long Live The Republic and congrats on doing a technically perfect slow walk to killing SLS RGO

  • Happy Birthday, Charlie. You’re the best administrator NASA has had in a long time. We’re lucky to have someone of such distinguished service to this country at a time of such difficulty.

  • In reading Hutchison’s rant, I noticed that nowhere in the press release does it actually mention a mission or destination for SLS. Its sole purpose seems to be to perpetuate Shuttle jobs in her state.

  • John

    Happy Birthday Charlie. Hope you and Lori get fired real soon for obstructing the 2010 Authorization Act in return for a payoff from the commercial sector. Traitors should go to jail.

  • josh

    by now i just want nasa to see hsf capability dismantled for good. buy from the private sector and otherwise stay out of the way and don’t wast taxpayer money on make-work-projects.
    ofc sls will never fly, i just hope it gets cancelled fairly soon and not after like six years and billions wasted (constellation).

  • You’re the best administrator NASA has had in a long time.

    Well, that’s damning him with faint praise.

  • Hope you and Lori get fired real soon for obstructing the 2010 Authorization Act in return for a payoff from the commercial sector. Traitors should go to jail.

    What is it with all these communists who hate private enterprise, and want a state monopoly on spaceflight? Do you think we should have a national airline, too?

  • DCSCA

    Check those pension statements and square up those retirement papers, Charlie. The time to punch out has arrived!

  • DCSCA

    Rand Simberg wrote @ August 19th, 2011 at 7:53 pm
    What is it with all these socialist space firms seeking government subsidies who hate private enterprise for denying them capital investment, and want to cash-in on govern ment funding for spaceflight?

    There, fixed that for ‘ya.

    =yawn=

  • DCSCA

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ August 19th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    “You’re the best administrator NASA has had in a long time.”

    If you admire the Peter Principle. You might want to recalibrate your metrics cause that ain’t sayin’ much.

  • Coastal Ron

    John wrote @ August 19th, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    in return for a payoff from the commercial sector

    Who do you think ATK, Lockheed Martin and Boeing are? U.S. agencies? NASA doesn’t build anything significant – it contracts out all the work.

    Who do you think ran the Shuttle program? Not NASA. It was United Space Alliance (USA), which was a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. And the Constellation program? The “commercial sector” did most of the work.

    I don’t think you have a clue what really goes on.

  • Bennett

    Hope Hutchison and Shelby get fired real soon for obstructing real HSF progress in return for a payoff from the commercial sector (ATK).

    “Traitors should go to jail.”

    Actually, it’s the firing squad if I remember correctly.

    :-)

  • I don’t think she believes that the cost study will be good news for SLS. She’s just getting a few last punches in while Bolden can’t fight back.

  • Equally important is how the current administration thinks the SLS should be used within cis-lunar space once it is operational. This was also requested by Congress.

    But since the Obama administration didn’t want an SLS and wanted to focus on beyond cis-lunar missions set far into the future and is particularly hostile towards returning to the Moon, I really don’t expect much from them on this matter.

    Since Holdren and Obama didn’t want an HLV, the SLS is really a Congressional rocket program. And that’s probably going to require Congress to decide how it will be used since the Obama administration is obviously not enthusiastic or even interested in having an aggressive manned cis-lunar program for NASA.

    Marcel F. Williams

  • Alex

    Reading it again, I see that Hutch’s list of major recent space happenings makes no mention of Congress not agreeing on a budget (and an out of the odious Shelby Amendment from the previous year) for FY11 until March 2011.

    She and other SLS boosters railing against NASA’s “stalling” seem oblivious to this not insignificant detail.

  • red

    “While I have concerns that the funding levels and schedule contained in the assessment do not achieve the timeline for a return to U.S. manned spaceflight as required in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, the Administration should immediately announce a formal decision approving the vehicle design concept and prevent the loss of even more jobs and the further deterioration of our human space flight capabilities.”

    In other words, the Senate Launch System is so out of control in budget and schedule that it will take over a decade more work on it, on top of the Constellation money wasted already, to have it launch an astronaut, it will take over two decades to finish the full rocket, and even then there will be no prospect of leftover money for payloads that would actually use its capability. So hurry up and start wasting more money!

    “”The contributions our space program has made generally to science, our national security, and economy are invaluable and a prime example of why we need to do everything we can to maintain our leadership role.”

    In other words, science, national security, and the nation’s economy are important! So fund the SLS at the expense of science missions, missions that help bolster our national security in areas like satellite technology, aeronautics, and EELVs, and missions that strengthen our economy like those that use commercial services and develop new economically useful technologies.

  • Kirby Runyon

    “Who do you think ATK, Lockheed Martin and Boeing are? U.S. agencies? NASA doesn’t build anything significant – it contracts out all the work.”

    Yes, they basically *are* government agencies the way they’re handed money without the money being tied to milestones the way SpaceX, etc, are paid.

    Isn’t it clear to everyone that two Falcon Heavy launches = one SLS launch and 15 years sooner? Isn’t it also obvious that SLS has to go to better fund JWST and commercial crew?

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

  • Bennett

    red wrote @ August 19th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Yeah, that’s exactly how it seems to be. Tragically pointless.

  • North American

    Traitors should go to jail.

    My understanding is that Americans convicted of treason are put to death.

    That never happens in America, though, and certainly not for something as silly as a NASA and/or congressional Space Launch System. Get a grip on it.

  • Bennett

    @ Kirby

    “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.”

    I see we share the same bizarre universe.

    This accounts for the letter I got today, in response to a detailed letter to my one of my Senators regarding the current NASA debacle, thanking me for supporting his position on social programs…

  • ATK-Lockheed Martin-Boeing-Northrop Grumman are aerospace/military companies crony gov’t corporations whose only concern is revenue from Federal contracts. The SPACE part of their mandate is considered a nusance. Money lies in the AERO the military ‘AERO’. Nothing like structures of past space programs, that’s why there’s no civil space program-duh !!

  • Bennett

    This, from Kirby Runyon, bears repeating:

    Isn’t it clear to everyone that two Falcon Heavy launches = one SLS launch and 15 years sooner?

    Not to mention billions and billions of NASA dollars less expensive?

    We are so fucked if the SLS is funded.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ August 19th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    In reading Hutchison’s rant, I noticed that nowhere in the press release does it actually mention a mission or destination for SLS…

    actually I mention this on both Kay and Pete’s facebook page at every opportunity. RGO

  • DCSCA

    Kirby Runyon wrote @ August 19th, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    27 engines… crazy all right.

  • Major Tom

    The dissonance between Hutchison’s statement and reality is deafening.

    “the SLS plan is financially… sound”

    How can SLS be “financially… sound” when its development cost is projected to be $26 billion over the budget provided in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act that Hutchison co-authored? Or when its operational readiness date is projected to be a half-decade after the deadline set in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act that Hutchison co-authored?

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-nasa-next-moonshot-20110805,0,4257663.story

    “and technically sound”

    How can SLS be “technically sound” when key members of Congress can’t even agree on what boosters it’s suppossed to have:

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2011/08/19/01.xml&headline=Senators%20Disagree%20On%20Rocket%20Approach

    “jobs have been lost, many of which could have been transferred to the SLS program”

    How do employees trained to operate an existing vehicle transfer to positions requiring them to design and build a new vehicle? Especially when the new vehicle will only operate (get tested) once in the next 10 years?

    Sigh…

  • Major Tom

    “Happy Birthday Charlie. Hope you and Lori get fired real soon for obstructing the 2010 Authorization Act”

    How, exactly, are Bolden and Garver “obstructing” the Act? Because Congress didn’t pass a 2011 budget until more than halfway through the fiscal year? Because the White House required an independent review of SLS costs, consistent with NASA program management rules?

    Don’t make stuff up.

    And political appointees serve at the pleasure of the President. They can’t be “fired” by Congress.

    Learn junior high civics.

    “in return for a payoff from the commercial sector.”

    And what payoff, exactly, have Bolden or Garver received?

    Evidence? Reference? Link?

    Don’t make stuff up.

    “Traitors should go to jail.”

    I’m certain that the definition of treason in the U.S. does not include the “obstruction” of any authorization act.

    Think before you post.

    Ugh…

  • Major Tom

    “We are so fucked if the SLS is funded.”

    NASA civil human space flight is. Other U.S. human space flight efforts, not so much.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler

    This has to be the best of times for Charlie. He is making substantive change in the direction of NASA for the first time since Webb set it on a path to the Moon. It is hard work and he is getting a lot of flack…but in the end 50 years from now people will look back on him as probably the best administrator the agency had since Webb. RGO

  • Yeah things like assembly-line manufacturing and redundancy are just too risky, right DCSCA? Because nobody has learned anything at all since N-1.

  • Charles Bolden has been a nightmarishly awful administrator!! He is opposed to further manned Lunar expeditions, and played an enthusiastic role in condemning Project Constellation. Meanwhile, he revels in the delusion that miraculous “game changing technologies” are just going to spring up out of the lab, like magic; if NASA does nothing more than Low Earth Orbit for another fifteen or twenty years. This man has been a snake-oil salesman! He cheerleads the Commercial Space bunk-fest. He is fully content with the termination of American-built, government-done spaceflight, because he has such starry-eyed expectations that the commercial entrepreneurs are just going to magically take the center stage & the lead. Well I tell you all, Commercial Space stands like a flimsy house of cards! It can be knocked down in a second’s notice!

  • Mark Bernard

    John wrote @ August 19th, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    “Happy Birthday Charlie. Hope you and Lori get fired real soon for obstructing the 2010 Authorization Act in return for a payoff from the commercial sector. Traitors should go to jail.”

    What a disgusting and stupid comment.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    actually I mention this on both Kay and Pete’s facebook page at every opportunity. RGO

    On a tangent … I tried to e-mail Sandy Adams and Bill Posey the other day about their space policy. I’m in Adams district, but Posey’s district begins a couple blocks away. Adams has KSC, Posey has CCAFS.

    Adams’ web site requires you to enter your NINE-DIGIT zip code or else it will not allow you to submit an e-mail. How many of you know your NINE-DIGIT zip code? I have to look it up on USPS.gov.

    Posey’s site requires you to enter your complete address but will accept a five-digit zip code. If the zip code isn’t in his district, though, it will reject your e-mail. You get a warning that this is due to “congressional courtesy.”

    I suspect this has more to do with what happened a couple weeks ago when Obama called on Americans to contact Congress to protest that body’s misbehavior. Perhaps the Republicans decided to block e-mails accept those coming from their own districts. Requiring a nine-digit zip code is just one way to assure they don’t hear from you.

    I never got a response from Adams, but then her staff never respond to anything I submit, so nothing new there.

  • NASA Fan

    Does anyone know if any of these congresscritters who support the Senate Launch System, have said anything about what goes on top of it, and where the money for that would come from.

    It seems so obvious that the SLS is a bridge to nowhere…how come the crazies in congress keep marching forward with it? Do they think we’re all crazy and wont notice the SLS sitting out on the Pad, for years, waiting to put something on it?

    Ugh. I am going crazy trying to understand the intelligent stupidity shown by congress

  • common sense

    @ NASA Fan wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 8:15 am

    There is nothing stupid in the action of Congress, not really. It all relates to short term cash and votes. Very simple it seems to me. Call it SLS, bridge to nowhere or just plain cash and votes. It does not matter.

    Okay it is stupid in the sense that they are slowly but surely killing NASA and therefore killing a source of income for their respective states but I suppose their bet is that it will soon not be their responsibility and that the next rep or senator will take the heat.

    They may also think that some illuminated president in the future will ask for 5% GDP to go to Mars beat the Chinese on the Moon and do the other things. You know people in Congress drink and smoke the same things any one does. No mystery here.

  • Bennett

    Major Tom wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Agreed. The progress of non-NASA space technology is the only thing that keeps me from being too depressed about the ongoing quagmire.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 7:55 am

    “I suspect this has more to do with what happened a couple weeks ago when Obama called on Americans to contact Congress to protest that body’s misbehavior. Perhaps the Republicans decided to block e-mails accept those coming from their own districts”

    The mantra of the GOP right is to block access to the political system for all who dont agree with them. That is why Pete Olson is holding his “town hall” meetings at corporations where access is easily restricted and questions are always friendly. Cantor and others are charging people to “have some time” with The Congressman. There have been no significant issues of voter fraud, but the plethora of “picture ID” laws from GOP legislatures are in this venue.

    These are just typical Republican tactics and they have been around for a bit…what I am really annoyed at is the just simple blatant hypocrisy of the appeals by Kay and Pete (and some Democrats but mostly Republicans) whose only real anchor in SLS is the federal and contractor jobs it creates …all the while they beat up on things like unemployment and other federal “Shovel ready” (HAH) projects that actually have a chance of jump starting the American economy.

    This is the kind of simple hypocrisy that has really brought the nations economics to its knees RGO

  • These are just typical Republican tactics

    Yes, those noble Democrats never do anything like that.

  • Rhyolite

    “They may also think that some illuminated president in the future will ask for 5% GDP to go to Mars beat the Chinese on the Moon and do the other things.”

    The depressing thing is that we could do that on our current budget or less and relatively quickly if NASA HSF wasn’t run as a pork fest.

  • E.P. Grondine

    DB, all –

    It’s the combustion oscillations that prevent the sensor/computer system from working. That’s for ATK’s 5 seg no matter how it is used.

    RGO, when it comes to killing programs, Bolden is a distant second to Griffin, who very nearly managed to kill an agency.

    Our opinions here, and the facts, count for little – it is what the public at large wants to believe.

    The job of NASA Administrator is in the Prune Book, not the Plum Book.
    Happy Birthday, Administrator Bolden; it’s’ good to see the stress has not taken too much of a toll.

  • amightywind

    Holdren, Bolden, and Garver ceaselessly criticized the slow pace and expense of the Constellation program. We are in month 9 and counting of a feasibility study of a rocket that they already know how to build! For goodness sake the nation is screaming for leadership that has some credibility in technology development. (Mike Griffin is available.) It is high time congress brought charges of obstruction!

  • Doug Lassiter

    NASA Fan wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 8:15 am
    “It seems so obvious that the SLS is a bridge to nowhere…how come the crazies in congress keep marching forward with it?”

    It’s really simple. It’s because their “vision” is not about discovering new things, or saving humanity, or STEM inspiration. It’s about jobs. Period. Before you howl with laughter, please understand that this is a valid Congressional “vision” in the absence of any better one for NASA. Congress is very attuned to being seen as doing visionary things, and making new jobs (especially for your own constituents) is a pretty great one. Now, why would payload development for SLS serve the “vision” of making jobs at JSC, MSFC, or KSC? I can’t imagine how it would. Hence the lack of any payload dollars or plans. One supposes that there is good stuff that one can do with an SLS, they’ll say, but we’ll let NASA figure it out for us.

    Congress does all the right handwaving about the importance of space exploration. But if the vision is simply that we should land on things, plant flags, leave footprints, and settle the cosmos, it’s really pretty hard for them to bite off on it. Now, making jobs is a bigger deal to them. Their legacy is all about realizing a “vision”, and KBH can be assured that she can create some jobs before the cosmos gets settled.

  • Das Boese

    E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    It’s the combustion oscillations that prevent the sensor/computer system from working.

    Then please provide evidence for that, or shut up.

    Obsessing over a non-issue instead of pointing out actual problems related to the use of ATK SRBs (of which there are plenty) makes you look like a complete tool.

  • common sense

    @ Rand Simberg wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    “These are just typical Republican tactics

    Yes, those noble Democrats never do anything like that.”

    So what? Does that provide a good reason in such times for the GOPers? Come on.

  • josh

    Does anyone here think Bolden will be even a tiny bit scared by that letter? I don’t. He’ll just keep stonewalling. I see an sls announcement coming some time this winter to be followed by more studies and evaluations. If we’re lucky though sls will be killed off well before..

  • reader

    screaming for leadership that has some credibility in technology development. (Mike Griffin is available.)

    Laugh. Out. Loud.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    We are in month 9 and counting of a feasibility study of a rocket that they already know how to build

    SLS is not a carbon copy of the Ares I or Ares V, and NASA hadn’t even finalized the design for the Ares I, much less the Ares V, so what do they know how to build?

    Besides, any plans for the Ares series couldn’t be used as-is, since the Senate had their own requirements that they wanted, and they didn’t equal what Constellation was doing.

    And considering the financial debacle that Constellation was in before Congress cancelled it, rational people will understand the Administrations desire to get independent cost estimates before committing to spending vast sums of taxpayer dollars.

    To do so otherwise would be irresponsible.

  • Matt Wiser

    Chris Castro wrote:

    “Charles Bolden has been a nightmarishly awful administrator!! He is opposed to further manned Lunar expeditions, and played an enthusiastic role in condemning Project Constellation. Meanwhile, he revels in the delusion that miraculous “game changing technologies” are just going to spring up out of the lab, like magic; if NASA does nothing more than Low Earth Orbit for another fifteen or twenty years. This man has been a snake-oil salesman! He cheerleads the Commercial Space bunk-fest. He is fully content with the termination of American-built, government-done spaceflight, because he has such starry-eyed expectations that the commercial entrepreneurs are just going to magically take the center stage & the lead. Well I tell you all, Commercial Space stands like a flimsy house of cards! It can be knocked down in a second’s notice!”

    Seconded. Said it before: he was a fine astronaut, and no doubt was an excellent Marine aviator in the day, but as NASA Administrator? As Tony Soprano would say, “Fugadaboutit.”

  • Does that provide a good reason in such times for the GOPers?

    No, and I didn’t say that. I was just pointing out the typical lunacy of Oler’s partisan posts.

  • Tu8ca

    Ahem … Let’s have a little respect, please. It’s Mr. Bolden, or General Bolden – not Charlie.

    This guy flew a hundred combat missions in SE Asia before many of you were born, I’ll bet.

  • There are 300+ million people in the USA and 535 congressmen; each represents more than half a million people. With a limited budget for staffing, it is not unreasonable to give priority to the half million one represents and ignore the 300 million people that one does not.

  • Robert G. Oler

    josh wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    “Does anyone here think Bolden will be even a tiny bit scared by that letter? ”

    No, Charlie probably read it, went over to the oak paneled bar in his office and poured himself his favorite drink and had a good laugh.

    This is to coin a phrase (not really) the old Potomac two step. All The Congress can do is hurl harsh words and hope that the folks back home are fooled by the goings on to believe that their Congress person really did fight for their jobs before they vanish (or as they have).

    Except for a few real dullards like Olson who simply dont havea clue, most of the folks out fighting for SLS realize that the cause is doomed and it would be yet another fiasco on the NASA board…but they just dont want to be the ones that didnt “fight for their districts”…

    It is all sort of Casablanca without the good actors (or INgrid Bergman) or a good script.

    RGO

  • Matt Wiser

    Oler’s posts aren’t just lunacy for that reason. His blanket opposition to HSF of any sort is another.

  • Robert G. Oler

    E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    “RGO, when it comes to killing programs, Bolden is a distant second to Griffin, who very nearly managed to kill an agency.”

    Griffin’s “efforts” were from sheer incompetence, Charlie’s is from competence. Sorry about the delay on the SRB answer…I have been very very busy RGO

  • DCSCA

    @Ed Minchau wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 2:27 am
    “Because nobody has learned anything at all since N-1.”

    Many have- some haven’t, like Master Musk. So if you want to characterize him as a nobody- fine. Like for starters, you don’t build HLVs w/30– or 27 for tyhat matter, engines as it’s a prescription for N1 disaster, let alone a plumber’s nightmare. Good grief.

  • common sense

    @ amightywind wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    “It is high time congress brought charges of obstruction!”

    You are obstructing Congress now?!

  • Martijn Meijering

    It’s Mr. Bolden, or General Bolden – not Charlie.

    If I recall correctly, in one of his first speeches to NASA workers he told them they could call him Charlie. Mr. Bolden was fine too, but he preferred Charlie. Not Chuck BTW. :-)

  • josh wrote:

    Does anyone here think Bolden will be even a tiny bit scared by that letter? I don’t. He’ll just keep stonewalling.

    I don’t think he’s “stonewalling.” I do think he’s putting a happy face on SLS while knowing privately this is a porkbarrel project that will never fly, but he’s doing it because he was ordered to do so by Congress.

    Tu8ca wrote:

    Ahem … Let’s have a little respect, please. It’s Mr. Bolden, or General Bolden – not Charlie.

    I do agree that he deserves respect. But everyone I’ve met who knows him calls him “Charlie.” He’s a very easygoing person. So is Lori Garver. One nice thing about them is that this is one NASA administration that doesn’t act like it’s sitting on Mount Olympus. That probably irritates those who worship the NASA bureaucracy like it’s a deity.

    Elsewhere …

    Aviation Week has a nice article about the Senators fighting amongst themselves for the SLS scraps. Senate Launch System, indeed.

  • MM_NASA

    Hey you all SLS Haters:

    It is pretty sickening hearing all the negativity and hostility toward a program which will advance U.S. beyond LEO. Not only in this thread but in previous threads as well. There is also such hostility toward the NASA centers that have brought our nation amazing and successful programs such as Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Spacehab, Space Transportation System (STS) – Space Shuttle, ISS and many smaller programs that I am unaware of. NASA is very capable of delivering the SLS and MPCV and advancing U.S.’s final frontier. Planning, designing, developing, testing and operating a manned-space flight vehicle takes a lot of time and financial resources. The Space X bandwagon claims it can do a lot of things for much less the cost. All I have to say is….WE WILL SEE. It also baffles me that many commercial supporters bad mouth the Space Agency – KNOW THIS THAT THE SPACE AGENCY WILL BE YOUR ONLY CUSTOMER! I know the military is not interested in your services and the international partners want to develop their own capabilities. If this hostility continues, the Space Program will dissolve. If you want to see a U.S. Space Program or commercial-supported U.S. Space Program, you need to show support for NASA and we have to work together. Just to let you know that bad blood between Space X and NASA is already developing and it may only get worse. In my opinion there is a strong need for SLS and MPCV where the folks at MSFC have the technical expertise to build man-rated launch vehicles and JSC has the experience to build man-rated spacecrafts. We need a federally funded U.S. Human Space Flight Program. Space X and commercial sector cannot invest large sums of money to develop new technology, cannot design new architectures to go beyond LEO, and cannot truly advance the final frontier forward – after all their whole company architecture is TO MAKE A PROFIT! I agree that more support is needed by the President and hope that good change is coming. So for those people who have nothing positive to say in regards to our Space Program, don’t say anything at all.

  • Alan

    amightywind wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    For goodness sake the nation is screaming for leadership that has some credibility in technology development. (Mike Griffin is available.)

    Ever think about going into standup comedy? We need to coin a new phrase for you – Griffin-huggin’ in addition to SLS-huggin’.

    Dude, he got fired in the most polite way possible.

  • Alan

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 20th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    These are just typical Republican tactics and they have been around for a bit…what I am really annoyed at is the just simple blatant hypocrisy of the appeals by Kay and Pete (and some Democrats but mostly Republicans) whose only real anchor in SLS is the federal and contractor jobs it creates …all the while they beat up on things like unemployment and other federal “Shovel ready” (HAH) projects that actually have a chance of jump starting the American economy.

    Robert, you’re getting as bad as Windy with your selective use of facts:

    “typical Republican tactics”? – And which party does a certain SLS porker Senator from FL who rode on Shuttle belong to? How a bout that Senator from NV who co-signed a letter because a major supplier of perchlorate is in his state? The politicians protecting SLS are doing it because of LOCAL interests (and their campaign coffers), it transcends political parties.

    One could use this to make a point of repealing the 17th Amendment.

    federal “Shovel ready” (HAH) projects – And which party used this terminology. If memory serves me it was the current occupant of the White House and his minions. Now that same person stated on 13 June 2001 in Durham, NC … “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected,”

    USA Today: Obama jokes about ‘shovel-ready projects’

    To quote an often used phrase here, Don’t make things up

  • @ Matt Wiser

    “Seconded. Said it before: he was a fine astronaut, and no doubt was an excellent Marine aviator in the day, but as NASA Administrator? “

    I noticed in another thread, that you responded to everyone else’s comments in response to you except mine. And they have to do with the validation behind the philosophy behind Bolden’s policies. Please answer each issue individually.

    You said
    “NASA and other governments’ space agencies handle BEO missions. That doesn’t rule out commercial support of BEO (on-orbit refueling depots, for example), but any commercial BEO is going to be initially exploitation, not exploration, when that time comes, though commercial support of a lunar base (i.e. resupply) is not out of the question.”

    My only problem with this is that SLS won’t be able to handle BEO missions because (especially in the country’s strapped financial straights) it will not be built within a reasonable time line anyway and for a much greater amount than need be if it were built. It may be possible to do with 2 Falcon Heavies or 2 souped up ULA vehicles what one SLS could do (should it even be built) in the time it would take to build the SLS or even less time. And even if they won’t, an industry competition would yield an equally capable but much more reasonably priced vehicle probably within less time even if they don’t start immediately, for reasons I outline next.

    “He [Musk] is not the Messaiah when it comes to HSF, and he needs to realize that-and so do his fans.”

    And most of us realize that. It just that currently (and even the Chinese admit this) he has set the bar for everyone else to meet as far as lowest $/kg to orbit. All you have to do is look at the price lists on the SpaceX website. And a NASA study showed that hisdevelopment costs were much less than what NASA would have spent to do the same thing and in less time. As Heinlein said, “Reach Earth orbit and you’re half-way to anywhere in the solar system” because Earth’s gravity well is the most expensive obstacle to overcome. If the guys working on SLS could give anywhere near those prices to orbit (the place they have to reach first) than I’d be the first to sing their praises. Those are cold hard facts.

    @ Matt Wiser
    Addendum

    I too want NASA to handle BEO exploration, in the truest sense of the word, since that would not be profitable for commercial enterprises. But that means them working on the spacecraft that will go from Earth orbit out into the solar system. That does not require them to come up with their own heavy lifter. Private companies can do Earth to LEO just fine.

  • Vladislaw

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “SLS is not a carbon copy of the Ares I or Ares V, and NASA hadn’t even finalized the design for the Ares I, much less the Ares V, so what do they know how to build?”

    Oh come on Ron, we take that external tank designed for the shuttle, we slap on two of those unflown 5 segment SRB’s, on top of the shuttle tank you add the unbuilt, never flown leo injection stage and top it all off with the non built, never flown orion and launch the damn thing. This is all old technology so there is nothing new or untried there. Just launch it tomorrow for 100 million per launch.

  • E.P. Grondine

    HI DB –

    The oscillations are well known. This is the second time here I’ve asked how you implement a launch abort system with them, and have got a lot of hand waving or silence.

    The same goes for the additional acoustic load from those combustion oscillations.

    As far as all of ATK’s supporters goes, including Sen Hutchinson and Sen. Reid, if DIRECT had of gone through, then these disruptions to the tech base and the economic disruptions in the lives of those who are that tech base could have been entirely prevented.

    Bottom Line: It was simply ATK’s desire to monopolize the manned launch market that got us into this mess, from the very start.

    Its a wonder that the wizards of ATK have not figured out yet that they could run 4 seg and 5 seg lines, if their 5 seg launcher is all that – $180 million per launch – oh really? As far as their efforts with DIRECT goes, they remind me of as drowning person lashing out at someone trying to save them.

    As far as Griffin and SpaceX goes, Griffin knew there was nothing he could do to stop Musk, thus CCDev. Boeing looked at the Ares 1 mess, saw an opening, and went for it.

    The only thing Musk needed from the government was no impediments.

    He’s now asking that the DoD long term launch contracts be delayed until Falcon has some more flights; given the construction times, that does not seem unreasonable.

    ATK may not believe Musk’s prices, or BLM’s prices, but no one believes theirs right now.

    Happy Birthday and well done, Administrator Bolden. Here’s a present for you: When it gets real rough, there is a small number of former Administrators to talk with.

  • Jeff Foust

    A reminder to keep your comments on topic. Discussion of general political party tactics or beliefs is off topic here. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • Byeman

    “We need a federally funded U.S. Human Space Flight Program.”

    Why? And if so, why does it have to be federally managed? NASA doesn’t need its own launch vehicles.

  • Vladislaw

    “As far as all of ATK’s supporters goes, including Sen Hutchinson and Sen. Reid”

    Senator Reid is supporting ATK for only one reason:

    “The issue also has ramifications for Nevada. American Pacific Corp., headquartered in Las Vegas, produces ammonium perchlorate, a key rocket fuel ingredient, and the Utah company is a significant customer.”

    http://www.lvrj.com/business/nevada-senators-supporting-utah-rocket-maker-128102173.html

    Retain the jobs we have. It is not about affordablity, it is not about sustainabilty, it is not about space exploration. It is about protecting the status quo at all costs. If the numbers presented by NASA are accurate, 29-38 billion then at ALL costs is correct. Cost to the taxpayer is not a factor, protecting current jobs is.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Alan wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 9:10 am

    with due consideration to our hosts wishes

    you did not read my post except to see it through the filter you wanted to

    I mocked “shovel ready projects” (that was the purpose of the HAH) and I did make a Democratic exception in my notion of pols who are supporting SLS…both of your points seem to ignore that.

    Space pork (as does military pork or whatever) transcends parties…There are few things which unite Sheila Jackson Lee and say Pete Olson but start talking money spent at the Johnson Space Center and one can get them to line up singing the praises of federal dollars being spent on just about anything.

    But the hypocrisy really lands on the GOP side. The farther one goes from what is left of the “GOP” middle (there is no left anymore…unless it is the center of the Democratic party! LOL) argues incessantly to commercialize everything that the federal government does. Until one gets to human spaceflight and then all of a sudden there are lots of impediments to commercialization and worse…its an afront to the American people ….and that is why we must continue to justify an agency which really is doing some of the worst work in the federal government.

    NASA with the help of its mainly GOP friends has formed an impressive shield which has justified mediocrity and in the process its existence.

    That has not served the agency well and is one reason that sloth and torpor have overwhelmed it. RGO

  • Vladislaw

    “the Space Program will dissolve. If you want to see a U.S. Space Program or commercial-supported U.S. Space Program, you need to show support for NASA and we have to work together.”

    Space is a place, not a program.

    Do we have a ocean “program”? For the government to run the Nation’s entire oceanic transportation system? Does the government say “no fuel stops for ocean vessels”?

    Do we have an air “program”? For the government to run the Nation’s entire air transportation system? Does the government say “no fuel stops for air planes”?

    Do we have a land “program”? For the government to run the entire land based transportation systems? Does the government say “no fuel stops for trains or automobiles”?

    As much as I love NASA accomplisments in outer space, they are not the end all be all for all space transportation systems. As a Nation we took the opposite track on transportation systems. The private sector handles it and the government, along with the private sector and the general public, utilize those systems. They regulate the systems, they may subsidize those systems, they may pass laws to encourage those systems but they do not design, develop, have built at cost plus, and operate all the Nation’s transportation systems.

    Why does the word space always have to have the word program follow it when refering to government’s role in it?

    Which is more important to you?

    That America put an American on the moon in an affordable, sustainable manner.

    That Nasa put an American on the moon at any cost?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Martijn Meijering wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 5:37 am

    When Charlie’s formal name was Marine Air Wing 3…he always preferred “Skipper” to “General”. A tradition his successor carried on RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    MM_NASA wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 7:56 am

    It is pretty sickening hearing all the negativity and hostility toward a program [SLS] which will advance U.S. beyond LEO.

    But the big mystery is WHY do we need it. That’s why people don’t like it, because it’s wasteful spending.

    Usually there is a widely recognized need for something when you’re going to spend $16-35B of the American taxpayers money, but so far no one can point to any funded or ready to fund payloads and programs that require an SLS, much less decades worth of SLS launches.

    Can you articulate the need for the SLS? Or are you just another drive-by poster?

  • Robert G. Oler

    The issue with SLS is the future of the agency and in large measure federal spending as a whole.

    The great failure of the space shuttle system was that after multi decades and hundreds of billions of dollars there was no real reason left to continue human spaceflight.

    The argument is traditionally over “architecture” ie how to do “human exploration” …all over the net the argument is “single launch” versus “multiple launch”…but all ignore the basic question “why should we do human exploration”

    Human exploration has never been able to pay for itself in other then ephemeral political terms. SLS perpetuates that reality. SLS does not develop new technology that really has any value past SLS…SLS does not give the nation any capability that there is an overarching desire outside of the traditional “stake holders” to have.

    Those are the issues that should be debated…RGO

  • In my opinion there is a strong need for SLS and MPCV where the folks at MSFC have the technical expertise to build man-rated launch vehicles and JSC has the experience to build man-rated spacecrafts.

    No one at MSFC or JSC has built a man-rated vehicle in over forty years. The people who did in the sixties are all retired or dead. The closest thing that exists to one right now is the SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi RGO –

    “Human exploration has never been able to pay for itself in other then ephemeral political terms.”

    As I’ve explained to you before, Apollo put an end to lunar volcanoes.
    Aside from that, Apollo technologies led to US leadersship in space industries.

    ” SLS perpetuates that reality. SLS does not develop new technology that really has any value past SLS…SLS does not give the nation any capability that there is an overarching desire outside of the traditional “stake holders” to have.”

    While I can agree about SLS, DIRECT can put up payloads to enable us to deal with the impact hazard. It preserves a base which allows for future improvements. 60-70 tons is okay; 130 tons, not right now.

    I still await your comments of 5 seg combustion oscillations and the difficulties they present for abort systems.

  • Rhyolite

    “Aside from that, Apollo technologies led to US leadersship in space industries.”

    Not really. Essentially all of our launch vehicles derive from non-Apollo sources, mostly ICBMs with purely commercial vehicles coming to the fore more recently. Likewise, almost all of our satellite technology derives from non-Apollo civil, commercial and military sources. Apollo was more of a dead end than people realize.

  • Robert G. Oler

    E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    “As I’ve explained to you before, Apollo put an end to lunar volcanoes.”

    there is little Apollo did that could not have been done by uncrewed vehicles at a far cheaper cost.

    The odd thing is, is that in terms of lunar exploration Apollo was probably the “high point” in the humans/machines argument. ie our machines have gotten far more capable, and despite billions of dollars human operations in space have become more difficult. The Apollo (and Cx landings would have been the same) landings steered away from the more interesting spots due to safety concerns…we send a robot or two or three or ten or twenty to the most difficult spots and when they succumb we issue nice press releases and thats that.

    there is in my view a role for humans in space but humans need to cost far less and be far more versatile. RGO

  • DCSCA

    @MM_NASA wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 7:56 am
    “We need a federally funded U.S. Human Space Flight Program”

    Need? Fifty years on from Alan Shepard, you’re still pitching ‘need’ as the argument?

    The CAIB Report pretty much concluded that NASA has to establish a rationale for it. In fact, all of us who have supported HSF for decades realize that as well. And the justification and unwaivering support has to come from the White House.

    The rationale during the heady days of the ‘space race’ was to compete and beat the Soviets to the moon. Fine. Mission accomplished. However, even the most ardent supporters of American HSF, perusing news reports and newspapers for the past 35 years could tell you that post-Apollo, the consistent theme reflected in print and broadcast messaging regarding space policy on HSF has been the lack of direction, the absence of a destination-goal and a solid, core rationale for putting Americans into space beyond the fact that ‘it is there’ and it can be done.

    The ‘Cernan intangibles’ have value and even emotional tug, but that alone– the footprints and flags bit– are not enough to justify the expense in this era. Such is the nature of our ‘capitalist’ society. Other nations have incorporated HSF into their national character. Russia has cosistently maintained a human presence in space for half a century. It is a part of who they are as a people. The PRC appears to be adopting HSF as a part of their national character as well. Outside of a devoted group of core supporters, the people of the United States has not. That takes leadership from the White House and a coinsistent, degree of political and financial commitment across party lines through several administrations. They did it with the Cold War. They have not with space. In their time to meet the immediate challenges at hand, JFK and LBJ did it. They went out and visably supported it across the land. Since those days, the occupants of the WH have not.

    The biggest challenge facing NASA today is developing a rationale to the American people for human spaceflight. It’s a sell that’s less engineering and more inspirational. And always political. That’s a challenge far above Garver and Bolden’s skill set and pay grade. It’s a responsibility resting with the President of the United States.

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 1:11 pm
    MM_NASA wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 7:56 am

    “It is pretty sickening hearing all the negativity and hostility toward a program [SLS] which will advance U.S. beyond LEO.”

    But the big mystery is WHY do we need it. That’s why people don’t like it, because it’s wasteful spending.

    Rubbish. By ‘people’ you mean commerical space desperate to access dwindling funding for subsidizing LEO ventures rather than see investment in BEO for HSF. Rather than criticizing BEO planning, commercial LEO HSF best just get operational and put somebody up around and down safely because so far, it’s all squawk and the only thing commerical HSF has proved is that they excel at wasting time. Tick-tock, tick tock.

  • I still await your comments of 5 seg combustion oscillations and the difficulties they present for abort systems.

    Why do you think that Robert Oler knows anything about that?

  • Rhyolite

    MM_NASA wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 7:56 am

    “It is pretty sickening hearing all the negativity and hostility toward a program which will advance U.S. beyond LEO.”

    Advancing beyond LEO can be done in other ways that are faster and cheaper. Spending billions more than is necessary is an impediment to advancing the US beyond LEO.

  • vulture4

    Rand Simberg: “No one at MSFC or JSC has built a man-rated vehicle in over forty years. The people who did in the sixties are all retired or dead. The closest thing that exists to one right now is the SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon.”

    Hey, at KSC we have been tearing down, rebuilding, maintaining, redesigning and modifying human-rated spacecraft for 30 years. The basic configuration could not be changed, and so the cost could not reduced very much, but I challenge you to find a single component, tile, or instrument that wasn’t improved between Columbia and Endeavour. Where else do people have to clean space potties? Of course, all these hundreds of man-centuries of work was done by USA contractors who are now being laid off, so in a couple months we will effectively have no experience.

    RGO: “The great failure of the space shuttle system was that after multi decades and hundreds of billions of dollars there was no real reason left to continue human spaceflight.”

    Human spaceflight should only be continued if the cost can be cut to <=~$1M/seat to LEO, at which point there will be a small but viable free market for research, tourism, and even some satellite maintenance. This could not be done with the Shuttle, not because it was a dead end, but because it was a flawed first attempt.

    As early as the mid-90's we had the X-37 configuration and the other RLV tech demonstrators, and the OSP program would have at least given us a transition to a new RLV generation. In fact the Boeing winged OSP proposal was based on the X-37. But after OSP went to capsules to cut development cost, and then was scrapped entirely, and all the RLVs (including Shuttle) were scrapped between 2000 and 2005 in favor of "Apollo on Roids" any hope of keeping up the evolution of reusable launch systems was gone, at least for our generation.

    CCDev is our last best hope but it is too bad NASA does not seem to know the difference between a lifting body (i.e. Dream Chaser) and a winged entry vehicle (i.e. Prometheus). That difference is called L/D, if anyone still remembers what those letters mean.

  • William Mellberg

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    “No one at MSFC or JSC has built a man-rated vehicle in over forty years.”

    I take it you’re forgotting the International Space Station (as I did a while back).

    In any event, no one at MSFC or JSC ever built a man-rated vehicle. They oversaw the work of contractors (McDonnell, North American, Grumman, etc.).

  • Coastal Ron

    E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    …DIRECT can put up payloads to enable us to deal with the impact hazard

    What payload is so big that it can’t be modularized into smaller sized payloads? You do realize that we built the ISS in segments that massed less than 50,000 lbs, and overall it weighs close to 1 million lbs.

    What specific constraints exist that mandate such a large single mass?

    Why can’t existing launchers be used?

  • Hey, at KSC we have been tearing down, rebuilding, maintaining, redesigning and modifying human-rated spacecraft for 30 years.

    The Shuttle was never human rated.

  • Vladislaw

    Robert Oler:

    “The odd thing is, is that in terms of lunar exploration Apollo was probably the “high point” in the humans/machines argument. ie our machines have gotten far more capable, and despite billions of dollars human operations in space have become more difficult.”

    Almost a trillion dollars spent on pre-competitive space technology that even as it moved into the competitive stage, commercial space transportation was never pushed to compete. Spaceflight was kept as a sacred cow under NASA and that space was just to tough for American aerospace firms.

    vulture4 wrote:

    “Hey, at KSC we have been tearing down, rebuilding, maintaining, redesigning and modifying human-rated spacecraft for 30 years.”

    If you are refering to the shuttle, it was my understanding it was actually never human rated because it has no crew escape capability. Wasn’t the space shuttle an experimental vehicle that was classified as operational even though it didn’t meet human rating standards?

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Rather than criticizing BEO planning

    Other than Obama’s asteroid goal, there is no BEO planning, and there is no direct funding even for the asteroid goal.

    So the question still stands – why must we spend untold $Billions for a rocket that has no clear need? Can anyone identify the funding stream that will support all the supposed payloads for the SLS?

    Oh, and btw, I’m glad to see that sometimes you’re remembering my advice for using shorter paragraphs instead of one really long one. Now if we can get you to use facts instead of empty rhetoric, you might actually become readable… ;-)

  • Robert G. Oler

    vulture4 wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    “Human spaceflight should only be continued if the cost can be cut to <=~$1M/seat to LEO, at which point there will be a small but viable free market for research, tourism, and even some satellite maintenance. "

    I suspect that the "cost/value" break point is higher then that.

    If the US military ever put a say oh 1=1.5 billion dollar "comm raft" in GEO orbit surrounded by other "floaters" (and this is being discussed) then one could probably have a service/upgrade call that ran in the 100-200 million dollar range and have value for the cost.

    I suspect that there is a number for like a BIG GEO astronomical platform as well. RGO

    RGO

  • I take it you’re forgotting the International Space Station (as I did a while back).

    The ISS is not a vehicle. I’m not even sure what the phrase “man rating” means in its context. I wish that we could purge the phrase completely from our vocabulary.

  • common sense

    @ William Mellberg wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    “I take it you’re forgotting the International Space Station (as I did a while back).”

    Do you know the difference between a ISS, a space vehicle, and a LV/RV (atmospheric ascent/entry vehicles)?

    Designing ISS does not qualify for designing a LV/RV, no matter what you may think.

  • common sense

    @ E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    “I still await your comments of 5 seg combustion oscillations and the difficulties they present for abort systems.”

    I believe I and others have explained multiple times the issues related to aborting from a solid booster so please browse through the posts. Oscillation are only one problem. even if there was no oscillation you’d still want to NOT abort from a solid since it may not save the day in the end.

  • Vladislaw

    “Human spaceflight should only be continued if the cost can be cut to <=~$1M/seat to LEO, at which point there will be a small but viable free market for research, tourism, and even some satellite maintenance."

    And you know how we reach that 1mil a seat price? We steadfastly refuse to allow commercial space in and instead we keep funding NASA for another 50 years to conduct human spaceflight because we know first and foremost that NASA, and the cabal in congress, is all about reducing the cost for space access for America.

  • Vladislaw

    DCSCA wrote:

    “Rubbish. By ‘people’ you mean commerical space desperate to access dwindling funding for subsidizing LEO ventures rather than see investment in BEO for HSF.”

    Can you elaborate on what this means?

    By “people” he was not eluding to commercial aerospace firms in any way shape or form. I believe he is refering to people like many posters on here that are not connected to commercial space but still see NASA doing wasteful spending.

    The GOA has had NASA on “high risk” status for two decades.

    A conservate group of people have formed the tea party in space which point out the wasteful spending.

    “Rather than criticizing BEO planning, commercial LEO HSF best just get operational”

    Can you show me some links where commercial aerospace firms are criticizing BEO efforts and refusing to try and advance commercial crew access and become operational?

  • DCSCA

    Rand Simberg wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 5:35 pm
    I wish that we could purge the phrase [man-rated] completely from our vocabulary. Sure you do. Good for Musk’s hardware, bad for crews which might climb aboard ‘em.

  • Justin Kugler

    DCSCA, I know people working on SLS who don’t understand why we’re doing it this way because there is no mission and there are no payloads for it. We have to figure out how to get human space flight beyond solely relying on Presidential politics for it to be sustainable. We can’t afford to wait for another Kennedy.

  • Matt Wiser

    Ron, by your analogy, the USAF should still be using C-47s and C-54s. Existing vehicles work up to a point, but sooner or later, new hardware comes along that requires a larger vehicle to haul it. (either too heavy or too massive) There are two legacy systems that I have no problem using because nothing’s come along good enough to replace them: the C-130 (still in production) and the B-52 (good to go until 2040). Sooner or later, you need a new vehicle to haul the heavier or more massive stuff. I’d rather it be sooner, so that when the new stuff is ready (Mars habitats, for example, or lunar base infrastructure), you don’t need to wait 5-7 years for the rocket. Not to mention you fall into the trap CxP did: the expense of developing everything at once drives up costs due to delays on one item.

    Vadislaw: on the earlier thread, I raised some issues to on-orbit refueling. Here’s another from the wikipedia article on propellant depots:

    “Like all forms of low earth orbit rendezvous this still restricts departure windows. By contrast, launching directly from the ground without orbital refueling offers daily launch opportunities though it requires larger and more expensive launchers.[21]

    The restrictions on departure windows arise because low earth orbits are susceptible to significant perturbations; even over short periods they are subject to nodal regression and, less importantly, precession of perigee. Equatorial depots are more stable but also more difficult to reach.[21]”

    The issues of boil-off, propellant settling/transfer, and refilling are also addressed in the piece, but need to be flight-tested and shown to be reliable before NASA or any other customer signs on to use ‘em. And if the problems cannot be solved, you need a Plan B.

    Rick:

    The proof is in the pudding. Show that either ULA or (ugh) Space X can do what SLS is supposed to do and you’d have a good case to put to Congress. But when Augustine said a heavy-lift vehicle was needed for BEO, Bolden says we need HLV (though he wanted to wait 5 years while figuring out what kind-NOT what Congress wanted to hear), and Congress members of BOTH PARTIES say we need it, the politics just doesn’t enable getting approval at the present time. Remember what Tip O’Neil once said? “All politics is local.” And right now, the Congresscritters in both houses from the “space states” are the ones you have to convince-since some of ‘em are on the key committees-that the kind of strategy you propose can do the job.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Sure you do.

    We’ll wait while you dig up the “man-rating” spec. Tick tock, tick tock fella

  • Matt Wiser

    Ron: in an earlier thread, you asked about CxP’s manifest. Well, follow this link and you’ll find it. And, of course, CxP’s supporters would (and did) heartilly disagree with what Augustine said about when things would fly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Constellation_missions

  • William Mellberg

    Common Sense wrote:

    “Do you know the difference between a ISS, a space vehicle, and a LV/RV (atmospheric ascent/entry vehicles)? Designing ISS does not qualify for designing a LV/RV, no matter what you may think.”

    Funny. When I failed to mention Boeing’s role in building the ISS a while back, I was reminded by some people here that the ISS is a spacecraft. I pointed out that it is NOT a “craft” per se. But the nitpickers criticized me, nonetheless, for failing to mention Boeing’s role in the ISS.

    Now I’m criticized for mentioning it.

  • Rand Simberg wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 5:35 pm
    I wish that we could purge the phrase [man-rated] completely from our vocabulary. Sure you do. Good for Musk’s hardware, bad for crews which might climb aboard ‘em.

    Ignoring the fact that you’re as completely ignorant of the usage of quotes and HTML as Oler, the notion that “man rating” or “human rating” means anything at all is an anachronism from the sixties, so it’s not surprising that a moronic anachronism like you, who seems to be stuck there, would embrace it.

    What is important is risk versus reward.

  • Vladislaw

    More insanity?

    Is the answer to heavy-lift rocket cost issue bringing back Ares I?

    Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water….

  • Das Boese

    DCSCA wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Sure you do. Good for Musk’s hardware, bad for crews which might climb aboard ‘em.

    Your obsession with Elon Musk is becoming creepy.

  • Matt Wiser

    This one’s for William Melberg:

    In an earlier thread, you indicated agreement with the view that NASA’s rollout of their original FY 11 Budget was a disaster, that NASA leadership has said as much about being unable to sell it to Congress and the Public, and they’ve never recovered from that botch. (some would argue they won’t recover until there’s a new administrator who can communicate well). How would you have done the job had you been asked? Knowing full well that a) there’s going to be angry Constellation supporters and workers who will push back via their elected representatives, b) Angry Congresscritters in both houses and in both parties who are upset that 1) $9 billion was spent and nothing’s going to fly, 2) you have no program ready to present to Congress to take CxP’s place, 3) You want to do what? Outsource crew transport to unproven private entities? Over our dead bodies; 4) Where are we going, what do we need, and when do we start flying? and c) Skeptics ranging from former astronauts to guys like Chris Kraft and Gene Krantz, who don’t think the private sector’s up to the challenge of HSF, and 5) Folks who are space buffs, but angry that each new administration keeps killing programs that the preceding administration started for poltical spite if nothing else.

    So, given that climate on 1 Feb 2010, how would you have done the job?

  • Martijn Meijering

    Man-rated is a mostly meaningless term used by defenders of the status quo to insinuate their competitor’s products are inferior. It is an almost inherently mendacious term.

  • Martijn Meijering

    DIRECT can put up payloads to enable us to deal with the impact hazard

    You do realise that the first stage-and-a-half Atlas ICBMs could carry nukes nearly all the way to orbit? Nukes requiring HLVs is another of those pro-SDLV myths.

  • Martijn Meijering

    And if the problems cannot be solved, you need a Plan B.

    The orbital mechanics are no serious objection once you use high energy staging orbits (likely L1/L2) as you should anyway for a long list of reasons. The challenges relating to cryogenic propellants can be solved by using noncryogenic propellants. For performance reasons you could choose to only use them from L1/L2 onwards. Similarly you could rely on much higher Isp propulsion like SEP or NEP. There are no show stoppers. What you are proposing is not a plan B since it would take up more of the budget than the nominal plan A. Not to mention the fact that even if you did want an HLV you shouldn’t do it with Shuttle components.

    You don’t offer serious arguments, you offer lies.

  • DCSCA

    @ Justin Kugler wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    It’s not going to happen for space projects of scale in this era. That’s why governments do it. And you may have to consider that the United States may not be a true leader in this field but more of a supplier in the wake of others, being profiteers, not rocketeers. The U.S. certainly did not exploit it when it was born in Goddard’s time when the private sector scoffed at his work whereas the German government excelled in rocket development backing Von Braun’s work for geo/political and military purposes. The private sector balked again when the ‘space race’ began with the Soviets and let the government carry the high risk/low to no ROI load, socializing it on thee taxpayers back. The only place you’ll find private enterprised American industry taking the leadership position in space is in the movies- see Destination Moon for details (it’s a pretty good business plan, BTW.)

    Point is, HSF is a part of the Russian national character. They’re mighty proud of it. And they have been lofting crews into space for half a century through some incredible political upheaval and economic change. The PRC is embracing it as part of their national character as well. A loss leader of sorts, to establish the perception of global leadership . Not so, in America. It’s a cultural stubborness akin to the national aversion to the metric system (or soccer)– both common around the world. Space in America has always been regarded as a competition; a reactive endeavor, albeit of better quality in the short term, but lacking the capacity to sustain itself over time with the people of the America through administration after administration. Yet fighting the Cold War was. These fits and starts in space over decades are not the way to incorporate a national philosphy on space into the national character or build a sustained aerospace ndustry with smart planning. In fact, Tom Wolfe once noted that the only true philosopher on HSF at NASA was Wernher Von Braun– and he did a helluva good marketing job for it for two decades. It takes national leadership from the White House to point the way and say that’s the road we’re taking– or in JFK’s case, toss the hat over the wall. It is not going to percolate up from corporate boardrooms or at stockholder meetings.

    @Matt Wiser wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 3:05 am
    “Skeptics ranging from former astronauts to guys like Chris Kraft and Gene Krantz, who don’t think the private sector’s up to the challenge of HSF..”

    Kraft and Kranz are correct- the private sector isn’t up to it. Or they’d have orbited crewed spacecraft years ago. But then, the private sector’s objective is to make a profit when they fly a rocket and space exploitation is not space exploration.

    @Rand Simberg wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    “What is important is risk versus reward.”

    What’s important are the crews that ride the hardware. And as Musk takes no risk in that department by not flying crews, hence he is not rewarded with the recognition of competence he is desperate to obtain. However, you are on record on this forum holding the value of hardware above the people who ride it. Sick and sad, fella. No doubt you opposed seatbelts and airbags in cars as well.

    @Martijn Meijering wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 am
    “Man-rated is a mostly meaningless term used by defenders of the status quo to insinuate their competitor’s products are inferior. It is an almost inherently mendacious term.”

    Spoken like an advocate for inferior flight hardware which cannot meet the standards set by successful predecessors.

  • vulture4 wrote:

    Hey, at KSC we have been tearing down, rebuilding, maintaining, redesigning and modifying human-rated spacecraft for 30 years.

    NASA says that’s not true.

    From Human-Rating Requirements for Space Systems:

    P.2.2 The Space Shuttle, the International Space Station (ISS), and Soyuz spacecraft are not required to obtain a Human-Rating Certification in accordance with this NPR. These programs utilize existing policies, procedures, and requirements to certify their systems for NASA missions.

    NASA has never worked on a “human-rated spacecraft.”

  • Alan

    Martijn Meijering wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Man-rated is a mostly meaningless term used by defenders of the status quo to insinuate their competitor’s products are inferior. It is an almost inherently mendacious term.

    Most of the people who throw around the “man-rated” term have ZERO clue what it is technically referring to – they use it to look like they know more than they actually do.

    All “Man-Rating” (in a nutshell with layman’s terms) means is that you analyzed each system in the vehicle and the vehicle itself (i.e. the system of systems) for potential failure points and weaknesses. You estimate the technical risk associated with each failure point and determine if a mitigation strategy is necessary and if that strategy will fit within the envelope budget constraints (mass, volume, power, thermal and financial). Do some trade-off analysis on risk vs the 4 budgets and come to a conclusion – do NOT get stuck in analysis paralysis.

    It is the analysis that ULA, Boeing, SNC, SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc. perform all the time. Why do you think SpaceX wants to recover a first stage – they want to perform failure analysis on the stage tanking and the Merlin engines. No one has successfully done that before with a liquid (LH2/LOX or KeroLOX) first stage before – forget about re-use, just having the datapoints on the technical condition would be extremely valuable.

  • Florida Today reports that the FY 2012 NASA budget passed by the Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee whacks funding for processing the three orbiters for museum delivery. There’s only enough money to pay for USA employee pensions, but not enough for them to actually do anything.

  • MM_NASA

    We need it to advance the human capability of space exploration. Experiments and science can more effectively be advanced by HSF. The need to begin habitatng space is important for many future generations. SLS is being studied for use to asteroids, lagrange points, moons of Mars, possibly comets, transporting observatories even deeper into space, and finaly mars. A lot of engineee

  • MM_NASA

    A lot of engineers working the past successful programs are still in our branch. Fifty percent of our branch is composed of these experienced individuals. Also, oversite is often confused with hands off approach. NASA runs the same analyses as the contractors and make the tough decisions. They are also not biased towards making more profit.

  • “The proof is in the pudding. Show that either ULA or (ugh) Space X can do what SLS is supposed to do and you’d have a good case to put to Congress. But when Augustine said a heavy-lift vehicle was needed for BEO, Bolden says we need HLV (though he wanted to wait 5 years while figuring out what kind-NOT what Congress wanted to hear), and Congress members of BOTH PARTIES say we need it, the politics just doesn’t enable getting approval at the present time.”
    I’m actually an agnostic on the general issue of an HLV in so far as BEO is concerned. I want to study the issue more before I am convinced one way or another. But the economic evidence specifically against SLS is overwhelming, and as I have said over and over again, the laws of economics are just as inescapable as the laws of physics. Violation of either can make a launch vehicle impractical, and SLS does the former.

    You still haven’t responded to my main point. Maybe if I rephrase it more simply, you’ll actually answer the question. If SLS can not be built for what Congress is willing to budget for it, what good are its hypothetical specs?

    From what I have heard via someone who has access to Aviation Week Intelligence Network, a recent presentation made by Booz-Allen concerning their to-be-released SLS report, indicated that even the outrageous $38 billion dollar recent NASA estimate is too low.

    I suggest you and other SLS huggers learn the meaning of the word “rationalize”. As Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines it: “to attribute (one’s actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives; broadly: to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for. ([in other words to] “rationalize” the problem).

  • Justin Kugler

    With all due respect, DCSCA, that was a long-winded strawman argument. I said that we need to get HSF beyond Presidential politics, not that we needed to get government entirely out. I have repeatedly and consistently called for public-private partnerships that simultaneously build the space industry and enable NASA to actually do the cutting-edge science, research, and exploration that it does best.

    We need a political framework, perhaps akin to the Decadal Surveys for space science, that translates between the technical and policy worlds on a consistent and well-managed basis for HSF. Otherwise, we will continue to get caught in this recursive political loop that keeps us from moving forward.

  • common sense

    @ William Mellberg wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I am not sure what Boeing has to do with knowing the difference between ISS and an LV/RV. Boeing is made of several sectors/entity some of which have legacy knowledge or current knowledge of space vehicles be they stations or LV/RV. Still knowing how to design, build and operate the ISS does NOT make you an expert at LV and RV.

    C’est la vie.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 6:11 am

    the private sector isn’t up to it. Or they’d have orbited crewed spacecraft years ago

    To where? I know you have no clue about how capitalism works, but just like a taxi driver needs paying passengers to take to various destinations, so would a commercial crew service.

    For the past 30 years the government has had a monopoly on government employee space travel, so no government work would be available. And since Bigelow has only recently started getting his business ready to launch (with a targeted start no earlier than 2014), there have been no commercial customers. This is what business people call a lack of demand, which is why no companies have tried before.

    I know this kind of logic is over your head, but I hate to let lies lie.

  • Alan

    DCSCA wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Point is, HSF is a part of the Russian national character. They’re mighty proud of it. And they have been lofting crews into space for half a century through some incredible political upheaval and economic change.

    Uhh huh. The ever accurate DCSCA …
    Reuters: Manned space flights no longer priority for Russia

    Not so, in America. It’s a cultural stubborness akin to the national aversion to the metric system (or soccer)– both common around the world.

    What leaps of logic! You mean “football” not “soccer”, at least get it right.

  • amightywind

    public-private partnerships that simultaneously build the space industry and enable NASA to actually do the cutting-edge science, research, and exploration that it does best.

    Crony capitalism, politically motivated malinvestiment (of which newspace is a magnificant example, green jobs is another, Government Motors is another…), is the reason the recession persists. One marvels that you still appeal to it. Then again, you are on the inside and are a direct beneficiary.

  • Alan

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Florida Today reports that the FY 2012 NASA budget passed by the Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee whacks funding for processing the three orbiters for museum delivery. There’s only enough money to pay for USA employee pensions, but not enough for them to actually do anything.

    A quote from the article …

    About 500 of USA’s current 1,600 KSC personnel are involved in shuttle transition work.

    It just goes to show you the literal army of people needed to decommission the Shuttle, let alone what it took to keep them operational.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    by your analogy, the USAF should still be using C-47s and C-54s.

    Matt, maybe you weren’t aware of this, but the military had LOTS of stuff that already existed that they needed to move. The SLS has none.

    Sooner or later, you need a new vehicle to haul the heavier or more massive stuff. I’d rather it be sooner, so that when the new stuff is ready (Mars habitats, for example, or lunar base infrastructure), you don’t need to wait 5-7 years for the rocket.

    Sticking with the military airlift analogy, the military built planes around existing and forecasted needs. The C-130 provided an incremental increase in the number of troops it could carry, and it provided the new ability to drop cargo off the back while flying. Add to that longer range and more reliable turbine engines, and it built upon what the military already had.

    Again, the SLS has no current or forecasted need, so how does anyone know if it sized correctly? Sure politician have heard numbers, but everyone is guessing how big a launcher needs to be.

    The key issue here Matt is that most requirements for larger transport come from the users, where they are using existing transportation and it is constraining them in some way. That situation doesn’t exist today, nor has it for the last 30 years when 50,000 lbs to LEO via the Shuttle was plenty good enough.

    Regarding Mars and lunar habitats, Congress hasn’t funded any of those. And if you build the SLS without things to launch, you still end up wasting a significant part of your budget on SLS overhead that isn’t producing anything.

    Waste, waste, waste. The key measure for what we do in space is how much we can do with a fixed set of money. For the SLS you don’t get to launch #1 until after you have spent ~$35B. If you use existing launchers, you are out in space for less than $5B, or even $1B.

    Also, if you combine the relatively inexpensive technologies of modular assembly, automated docking, in-space refueling, and even electric propulsion, you obviate the need for payloads bigger than 50,000 lbs to LEO. The ISS, which was built using existing launchers, is far larger than what the SLS can put up with one launch, so these technologies are needed anyways.

    But if you do need bigger payloads, near-term rockets can do that (Atlas V Heavy and Falcon Heavy), while Atlas V Phase 2 and Delta IV Phase 3 are low risk evolutions that take commercial capacity up to the 200,000 lb to LEO range.

    The problem isn’t with getting stuff to space Matt, the problem is we don’t have enough money for NASA to build anything for space. The SLS doesn’t solve that, in fact it exacerbates the problem.

    I’d rather be doing stuff in space – how come you don’t?

  • William Mellberg

    Matt Wiser wrote:

    “So, given that climate on 1 Feb 2010, how would you have done the job?”

    Good question! And quite a challenge. But that’s why media consultants get the big bucks … for turning lemons into lemonade. And the new policy that the Administration rolled out a year and a half ago was certainly a lemon.

    The shaky rollout was followed by more fumbles. For example, the Administration praised Buzz Aldrin for supporting the new policy, but ignored the valid criticisms of Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz, George Mueller and many other space veterans — including Democrat John Glenn.

    The President was willing to host a “Beer Summit” at the White House with a professor and a cop to discuss their differences of opinion. But he wasn’t willing to sit down and listen to the concerns of a distinguished group of American heroes regarding the “crown jewel” of American technology and prestige.

    As with so many other things, this Administration has been tone deaf with respect to space policy, which is why America’s space program is in as big a mess as America’s economy. And no amount of “spin” can change the growing perception that we have a President who is in over his head. There is a similar perception of the leadership at NASA HQ.

    Now that you mention it … I probably would have turned down the job.

  • Alan

    amightywind wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Crony capitalism, politically motivated investment (of which SLS is a magnificent example, green jobs is another, Government Motors is another…), is the reason the recession persists. One marvels that you still appeal to it. Then again, you are on the inside and are a direct beneficiary.

    I’ve fixed your spelling errors and your examples

  • @ William Mellberg comment at August 22nd, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    All that shows is that these great men have pretty much sat on their laurels and not bothered to learn many important relevant details of what has happened to the industry in the intervening decades since their great accomplishments. For instance, some of them testified that adapting current EELVs to human launch would involve the same risks as when ELVs was done with Mercury and Gemini. An assumption based on the supposition that reliability of such launch vehicles had not changed in the intervening time. But there is a reason for the extra E in front of EELV vs the old ELV, that word is “evolved”, as in more technically advanced and more reliable due to technical evolution in the intervening years.

    How about addressing a real substative issue such as the one i brought up at 9:54 AM in response to a comment by Matt.

  • Typo in last comment: should be “substantive” rather than “substative”

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 21st, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    “Ron, by your analogy, the USAF should still be using C-47s and C-54s. ”

    really none of your aviation analogies work. None of them support any of the arguments you make for SLS…indeed they are sadly quite wrong.

    If SLS is any aviation analogy, it is the cargo version of the B-36. The XC-99. And it fits that almost perfectly.

    The airplane was simply “to big” and “to expensive” to justify even the military using it.

    The one example built could carry almost 100,000 pounds of cargo and go very long distances, far exceeding the C-54 or other cargo lifters…but the cost to use it were enormous, the technology was very fickle (particularly the engines) and in the end the military (emphasis mine) DECIDED THAT MORE FLIGHTS OF SMALLER PLANES WAS A BETTER IDEA THEN ONE SINGLE LIFTER ATTEMPT.

    Although 100,000 pounds of payload is typical now in the jet age, back then not even the airlines could afford the XC-99. Pan Am did some serious studies of it (I have a model I built of the XC-99 in Pan Am colors its very very pretty)…but even they came to the same conclusion…the engine maintenance alone would have killed the profit end.

    SLS is a bridge to no where…it is just a fish out of time; it is far to early in the human space experience to need those large payloads and the infrastructure that it takes, the legacy of the shuttle is simply to large.

    What made the Boeing 707 succeed where the XC-99 failed was that the numbers of people to maintain the plane (and to fly it) were far lower..The technology was far more usable…and by that time the airline industry had matured.

    There are no payloads waiting for SLS.

    and aviation analogies need to be used by people who know aviation RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    William Mellberg wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Obama’s only mistake in the space policy rollout was the same mistake that is killing his administration. Dont try and pacify people who simply will not be pacified. Simply ignore them. When you win, they shut up. RGO

  • Matt Wiser

    Martin, while you’re addressing the orbital side of the issue, you’re not addressing the technical issues. Propellant storage and stability, propellant transfer, restocking said depot, etc. are all issues that need to be addressed before the decision is made to rely on depots for as part of an exploration strategy. Do I think the problems will be worked out? Probably. But until we know for sure with a technology demonstrator IN ORBIT, I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

    William: I agree with you completely. This POTUS is in way over his head. And convening a “space summit” where the only ones invited are those who support his plans-and disregarding bipartisan opposition to said plans-was a recipe for disaster-and they’re still in recovery mode.

    Ron: Just because those things are not funded YET is no reason to have something at hand to lift those. We’re still YEARS away from making the decision on Mars, and Charlie Bolden himself has indicated that if he was directed to scrap the Asteroid mission and go to the moon, he could do it by 2020. (I do appreciate the irony-that was in his first house hearing after FY 12′s budget came out). Let me repeat: Augustine ID’d a need for HLV. Bolden himself (and even POTUS by extension) said he wants it-only planning to defer by 5 years to “study” wasn’t politically acceptable, and Congress does too: and the HLV bandwagon IS BIPARTISAN. The politics do not allow an EELV based exploration at the present time: how do you get around that? And no, while I do wish Space X well with COTS and CCDev, I just can’t stand Musk: his attitude is arrogant and seems self-centered whenever he’s on camera, he shoots his mouth off and is his own worst enemy, and is in way over his head.

  • Justin Kugler

    I suggest that we all just ignore the innuendo and lies from the obvious trolls.

  • As a libertarian minarchist anti-Keynesian pro U.S. Constitution small gov’t advocate I preach the need for business to get very pro-active in civil space development. And Gov’t to operate efficiently in providing some targeted public funds for space advancement and R&D. In today’s skewed perception the mantra is no one wants to participate which is a mistake. Both market and gov’t have constantly gone down the wrong road of ill conceived economics & strange non-productive plans to no where.
    No SPACE PROGRAM will grow without the necessary physics employed to expand the SPACE PROGRAM where business & public want to invest in.

    The major core technology is NUCLEAR.

    STOP the BS and fashion a SPACE PROGRAM around nuclear power hardware!

  • @Matt Wiser
    “Ron: Just because those things are not funded YET is no reason to have something at hand to lift those. “

    Again, if you mean SLS, then that is a logical paradox for reasons that relate to a question you have yet to address that I asked you.

    See my comment at 9:54 AM.

  • DCSCA

    @Alan wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 11:21 am
    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You confuse ‘priority’ with ‘pride’ which is not surprising in American society. The fact that HSF has been a consistent element of Russia’s national character does not indicate it is a ‘priority’ but a routine element of who they are as a people. Not so in the USA. And, of course, the reference to ‘soccer’ rather than ‘football’ was so simple minded Americans would comprehend they are one in the same. Live, not visit, but reside a few years outside of the USA and see how others view it. You might just learn something.

  • Joe

    Justin Kugler wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 2:46 pm
    “I suggest that we all just ignore the innuendo and lies from the obvious trolls.”

    Please provide a list of the “obvious trolls” so we can know who has been excommunicated form the ‘church of the pure’.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    “And no, while I do wish Space X well with COTS and CCDev, I just can’t stand Musk: his attitude is arrogant and seems self-centered whenever he’s on camera, he shoots his mouth off and is his own worst enemy, and is in way over his head.”

    Musk can be arrogant (although I dont find him that way, some say I am arrogant…sigh)…he has accomplished a great deal in his lifetime so far…and in his space efforts he has accomplished a great deal more with less money then NASA HSF has on a LOT more money.

    NASA HSF (and some other aspects of it) are in fact not bordering on incompetence, they have merely crossed over the line into incompetence…and seem blissfully ignorant of it. It is impossible to review the Cx effort…15 billion dollars for mostly nothing…and in comparison to Musk’s efforts not just hang ones head in shame…and even in comparison to other US government efforts (Gemini, the Ford CVN) just wonder “how did we find such idiots”.

    There is NO NEED to make any decisions “NOW” on the systems or outlines for going to Mars, going to an asteroid, or even doing a lunar thing…because there is no reason for humans TO PAY FOR SUCH MISSIONS NOW…none.

    Other then just keeping people employed doing things of no value to the folks who actually contribute the money to keep them employed …there is no reason to even talk about goofy missions by humans outside of GEO… So why build hardware?

    Why do you think we should send humans to places outside of GEO?

    What reason(s) do you have RGO

  • Propellant storage and stability, propellant transfer, restocking said depot, etc. are all issues that need to be addressed before the decision is made to rely on depots for as part of an exploration strategy.

    There are no significant issues with these technologies that would lead one to think they cannot be developed, and much sooner and cheaper than SLS. They have already been demonstrated. I keep hearing all of this uncertainty about it by the ignorant, but no one actually working on them has any doubts. We are not going to seriously explore or develop space without storing and transferring propellant on orbit. But we can do a lot without SLS. Much more, in fact, since not doing SLS will free up billions in wasted funding for doing useful things (at least with a sane Congress).

  • DCSCA

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Space exploitation is not space exploration. You make this too easy. But congratulations, you’ve just posted the rationale as to why Branson’s Virgin Galactic is the next logical phase with a promis of success for a commerical HSF venture. And in case you haven’t been reading the papers, American capitalism hasn’t been working very well at all lately –without being propped up by loans from the PRC. Sheesh.

    “For the past 30 years the government has had a monopoly on government employee space travel…” <- Utter nonsense. For the past FIFTY years the private sector has balked at financing and flying folks in space because of the very limiting parameters of the market they’d be trying to service. Their objective is to make a profit and the high risk/ low to no ROI for quarterly driven ‘for profit’ firms just isn’t there. That’s why governments do it. Space exploitation is not space exploration.

    You make this too easy. But congratulations, you’ve posted a rationale as to why Branson’s Virgin Galactic is the next logical phase with a promise of some success for a commerical HSF venture by lofting paying passengers on suborbital flights for the pleasure- or as Melberg notes, the entertainment, of the experience. And in case you haven’t been reading the papers, American capitalism hasn’t been working very well at all lately –without being propped up by loans from the very Red PRC. Sheesh.

  • DCSCA

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 10:55 am

    “For the past 30 years the government has had a monopoly on government employee space travel…” <- Utter nonsense. For the past FIFTY years the private sector has balked at financing and flying folks in space because of the very limiting parameters of the market they'd be trying to service. Their objective is to make a profit and the high risk/ low to no ROI for quarterly driven 'for profit' firms just isn't there. That's why governments do it. Space exploitation is not space exploration.

    You make this too easy. But congratulations, you've posted a rationale as to why Branson's Virgin Galactic is the next logical phase with a promise of some success for a commerical HSF venture by lofting paying passengers on suborbital flights for the pleasure- or as Melberg notes, the entertainment, of the experience. And in case you haven't been reading the papers, American capitalism hasn't been working very well at all lately –without being propped up by loans from the very Red PRC. Sheesh.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Propellant storage and stability, propellant transfer, restocking said depot, etc. are all issues that need to be addressed before the decision is made to rely on depots for as part of an exploration strategy.

    No, that’s not true. All we need to know is that it is feasible without adding undue cost. And that we do know. Storable propellant is good enough, even from LEO, but especially from a Lagrange point onward. And since we have cryogenic upper stages already, EOR with such a (prefueled) stage in LEO is straightforward enough. SEP beyond the van Allens (or one way) can be done for small payloads (think Dawn) such as small amounts of storable propellant. Storage, stability and transfer have been proven for storable propellant. Restocking the depot (or preferably the spacecraft, at least initially) could be easily done with existing EELVs or Falcon 9, with upgrades to EELV Phases 1/2 and F9H / FH being available as a fallback.

    Really, there can be no doubt that this is feasible and that it can be done incrementally, at lower yearly budgets than SLS + MPCV, and achieve results sooner.

    Now, let me offer a distinction here: while I passionately believe we should start this way and do so as soon as possible, there is another aspect to this. Even if you disagree we should do this, at the very least it does show that we know with 100% certainty that we will not need an HLV to do the kinds of things people claim they want it for and that even if we should want one eventually it need not be Shuttle-derived and therefore shouldn’t be given the natural preference for competitive procurement.

  • DCSCA

    @Justin Kugler wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 10:25 am

    “I said that we need to get HSF beyond Presidential politics”

    You can’t. It’s a high profile, national venture in this era. Presidential politics was just as involved in earlier facets of progress of similar impact, profile and magnitude- the push West; the railroads, even telephones, cars and electric lighting, etc. That’s just the way it is. Even Hitler used the airplane as tool for persuasion when air travel was still an expensive and new novelty- see ‘Triumph Of The Will’ for details.

  • DCSCA

    @MM_NASA wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 9:28 am

    “We need it to advance the human capability of space exploration.”

    Yes, but that is a loss leader for national self-esteem – or geo/politcal gamesmanship in this era, not a profit center and requires space projects of scale for advance. Quarterly driven, for profit firms with stockholders to satisfy and financing to repay cannot make a buck at it in a timely fashion in this era. The high risk/low to no ROI and the parameters of the limited market it would try to service inhibit it. Space exploitation is not space exploration. Discover oil on the moon or that asteroids are giant gold nuggets and that might change. Of late, the cry is follow the water.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Just because those things are not funded YET is no reason to have something at hand to lift those.

    So wasting money for decades is OK with you? Ugh, no wonder you’re hard to reason with.

    Let me repeat: Augustine ID’d a need for HLV.

    So what? But he didn’t say which century, now did he? And being a successful business person he would disagree with your reasoning to build the most expensive rocket in the world and let it sit around until someone figures out what to do with it.

    I think there will be a need for a vast increase in the amount of mass we need in space too, but not until we have a lot more funded or self-supporting activity in space. And by that time we may be using newer technology that obsoletes the SLS, which is another reason to not spend money on it until we have a large backlog of know missions that can only be supported by the SLS, and nothing else.

    I just can’t stand Musk

    If you are going to let your emotions get in the way of making sound business choices, then you’ll never get anywhere. The world is full of clear & direct business people that actually get things done and create lots of value. Musk is just one of them.

    Besides, we’re not voting for the next American Idol winner here. We’re backing the people best able to lower costs and create sustainable space systems. On that basis, Musk and everyone else doing the same get my support.

  • amightywind

    This POTUS is in way over his head. And convening a “space summit” where the only ones invited are those who support his plans-and disregarding bipartisan opposition to said plans

    No. This was their primary strategy, to force though their agenda making full use of their control of congress. If the Tea Party puts together a winning majority let’s hope we will use it as effectively to remake the country. What is puzzling is why they waited over a year to unveil their NASA plans. Democrat hegemony in congress was already cracking. That was a lost opportunity for Obama and his newspace supporters, and a lifeline to us red-blooded Americans who believe in NASA.

  • DCSCA

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 11:36 am

    “I’d rather be doing stuff in space…”

    Which has been proven to be a wrong headed thinking since the Apollo days. Not going to a destination and just ‘doing stuff’ is not a rationale for HSF, commerical or government funded. The objective today is to first develop a rationale for American HSF, convince the American people it is part of their national character then use it to build and expand a permanent human presence out into space- to the moon, the planets and so on. LEO is a ticket to no place– just going in circles ‘doing stuff.’ Good Lord.

    That’s precisely why Americans have been turned off and turned away from space.

  • Coastal Ron

    Joe wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Joe, you’re back! And with your usual lack of content.

    Care to help out Matt by describing what the first series of non-MPCV missions will be for the SLS, and when Congress will fund them? He doesn’t seem to have a clue.

  • DCSCA

    @William Mellberg wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    “For example, the Administration praised Buzz Aldrin for supporting the new policy, but ignored the valid criticisms of Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz, George Mueller and many other space veterans — including Democrat John Glenn.”

    Look, Obama showed up at KSC and read a policy paper prepared or him by his space policy folks- Holdren, Garver, Bolden and such, who have differing agendas than the Griffin crowd. Glenn, Kraft. Kranz, Mueller, Cernan and Schmitt are old men now with little cache for these times as well. Even Armstrong is politely ignored. For goodness sake, when Cernan and Schmitt were on the moon, Libya’s Kadaffi was just 3 years into his 42 year reign.

    Obama really doesn’t have any interest in space, public or private, unless someone in the industry is donating to his campaign. Aldrin was an easy reach. Buzz is all about Buzz these days and the other space veterans are not really part of Obama’s formulative years and their experience means little to him- and increasingly less to the NASA of today. . Don’t expect any high profile consideration of change in American space policy until the PRC starts flying more. And even then, the America of today might merely shrug.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    For the past FIFTY years the private sector has balked at financing and flying folks in space because of the very limiting parameters of the market they’d be trying to service.

    What market? Come on, cough up some facts to support your claim. Where was the “private sector” supposed to fly people?

    Until the Shuttle was EOL’d, even the government didn’t consider commercial crew to the ISS as an option, so where are all the supposed customers for the last 50 years that the private sector was supposed to service? MOL? Skylab? Mir? What?

    What a maroon.

  • DCSCA

    @Oler “Musk can be arrogant (although I dont find him that way, some say I am arrogant…sigh)…he has accomplished a great deal in his lifetime so far…and in his space efforts he has accomplished a great deal more with less money then NASA HSF has on a LOT more money.”

    He is. You are. So was Barnum. And yes, he and his partners created Paypal and sold it. But that’s about it. Movies and cars and marriages are hobbies. Now it’s rockets.

    “…and in his space efforts he has accomplished a great deal more with less money then NASA HSF has on a LOT more money.”

    ROFLMAO When did Master Musk land men on the moon? Oh that’s right, NASA HSF did. Meanwhile, Musk hasn’t flown a soul. How’s that retirement condo of his coming on Mars? Sober up.

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “All that shows is that these great men have pretty much sat on their laurels and not bothered to learn many important relevant details of what has happened to the industry in the intervening decades since their great accomplishments.”

    Your statement suggests that you are unaware of what these men have been doing in recent years. Contrary to what you might think, they have not been sitting on their laurels or collecting cobwebs in their heads. They have been very much involved with current aerospace developments as consultants, board members, etc. Harrison Schmitt, for example, chaired the NASA Advisory Council between 2005 and 2008. He has also served on the board of Orbital Sciences Corporation for many years.

    http://www.orbital.com/Investor/BOD/

    Neil Armstrong served with Schmitt on the NASA Advisory Council. He is still a member of the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board:

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/Features/nrc_team_visits_dryden.html

    http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DEPS/ASEB/index.htm

    The other gentlemen who I mentioned continue to have a keen interest in the space program and current technology, as well.

    Which is why President Obama (and General Bolden and Lori Garver) would be well-advised to sit down with some of these NASA veterans and listen to their concerns and advice. It is the height of arrogance to think that one cannot learn anything from older, more experienced people. And it is the height of ignorance to think that people like Armstrong, Lovell, Cernan, Schmitt, Kraft, Kranz, Mueller and the others no longer have anything to contribute — or haven’t kept up with today’s technology.

    Incidentally, Burt Rutan had a very different view while he was developing SpaceShipOne. He sought the advice of at least two members of the von Braun team, including Ernst Stuhlinger and Konrad Dannenberg, both of whom were in their 90s at the time. Likewise, Boris Chertok was a consultant at Energia well into his 90s. But in our youth-oriented culture, some people forget that “seasoned” citizens still have a lot to offer. Experience, for instance.

    Of course, in the case of Buzz Aldrin and Russell Schweickart, who endorsed the President’s new space policy, age discrimination does not seem to have been a factor. They were lauded by the President for agreeing with him.

    Double standard?

  • Vladislaw

    Matt wrote:

    “said he wants it-only planning to defer by 5 years to “study” wasn’t politically acceptable,”

    As has been pointed out N times, President Obama never said defer it for 5 years, I challenge you to provide a quote where the President said that.

    His words were NO LATER than 2015. Administrator Bolden specifically addressed this.

    “Next, we will invest more than $3 billion to conduct research on an advanced “heavy lift rocket” — a vehicle to efficiently send into orbit the crew capsules, propulsion systems, and large quantities of supplies needed to reach deep space. In developing this new vehicle, we will not only look at revising or modifying older models; we want to look at new designs, new materials, new technologies that will transform not just where we can go but what we can do when we get there. And we will finalize a rocket design no later than 2015″

    The Ares V was getting 25 million a year. President wanted 3 BILLION invested in heavy lift and wanted a finalized design NO LATER that 2015.

    So tell me Matt, how is investing 3 billion, versus 25mil defering it for 5 years. Matt, that makes you a liar everytime you say that. I have repeatedly pointed this out. Yes you steadfastly keep repeating an untruth.

    He never said defer it for 5 years, he said lets spend 3 billion developing the best system and than build it. NO LATER than 5 years.

    It was the exact same kind of language in the VSE, President Bush said we would land on the moon as early as 2015 but NO LATER than 2020.

    That does not mean you run the clock out to the last second, it means you have to have all your ducks in a row NO LATER than 5 years.

  • Robert G. Oler

    William Mellberg wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 5:53 pm
    “Your statement suggests that you are unaware of what these men have been doing in recent years. Contrary to what you might think, they have not been sitting on their laurels or collecting cobwebs in their heads. They have been very much involved with current aerospace developments as consultants, board members, etc. Harrison Schmitt, for example, chaired the NASA Advisory Council between 2005 and 2008. ”

    the problem is that their experience is pretty much one dimensional. It was molded in the notion of NASA HSF executing programs in space that existed solely because of policies on earth that it was a side show party to…their experience is solely in that “mode” and they have not really articulated a reason that has some salience to go back to that mode.

    What people who want to go back to the “glory days of Apollo” cannot seem to grasp, and in many cases do not even try to understand is how unique Apollo was and how everything after has been a lessor and lessor shadow of it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    @ Joe wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    So how’s this sidemount coming? What are the experts up to these days?

    ;)

  • @William Mellberg
    “Your statement suggests that you are unaware of what these men have been doing in recent years. “
    All I can tell you is what I (and many others) saw and heard Stafford, Armstrong, and Cernan testify before Congressional committee. They were the ones that gave the erroneous testimony that I mentioned.

  • Vladislaw

    Windy bloviated:

    “and a lifeline to us red-blooded Americans who believe in NASA.”

    Which Americans do not have red blood?

    Since you want a Stalinist socialist model for space here is what one of your socialist brothers said:

    “These are the gentry who are today wrapped up in the American flag, who shout their claim from the housetops that they are the only patriots, and who have their magnifying glasses in hand, scanning the country for evidence of disloyalty, eager to apply the brand of treason to the men who dare to even whisper their opposition to Junker rule in the United States. No wonder Sam Johnson declared that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” He must have had this Wall Street gentry in mind, or at least their prototypes, for in every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the people.”

    Eugene V. Debs.

    That’s you windy, wrapping yourself in the flag, only you are a patriot and anyone who disagrees is advocating treason.

  • @William Mellberg

    “Double standard?

    No if Aldrin or Schweickart testified false info (even if untentional) to a Congressional committee, I’d call them on it too.

  • Oops typo. “unintentional”

  • Joe

    common sense wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Ahh, yes “common non-sense” as pointless and clueless as ever.

  • DCSCA

    @Vladislaw wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 6:23 pm
    Matt wrote: “said he wants it-only planning to defer by 5 years to “study” wasn’t politically acceptable,” As has been pointed out N times, President Obama never said defer it for 5 years, I challenge you to provide a quote where the President said that.

    Matt is correct, as posted on this very forum from Obama’s campaign in ’07.

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2007/11/20/obama-cut-constellation-to-pay-for-education/

    Obama: cut Constellation to pay for education
    November 20, 2007 at 2:06 pm · Filed under Campaign ’08

    Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama released today the education plan he would enact if elected. The full 15-page plan includes a variety of proposals, including reforming early education programs. The last section of the plan, titled “A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility” explains how he would pay for these initiatives. The passage of relevance here: “The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years,” among other steps.

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 3:54 pm
    “If you are going to let your emotions get in the way of making sound business choices, then you’ll never get anywhere.”

    ROFLMAOPIP- which explains why commercial HSF is going no place fast for Musketeers. The two most powerful emotions at work on Wall Street every second of every trading day are: fear and greed, fella. What a maroon, indeed. Wise up.

    “The world is full of clear & direct business people that actually get things done and create lots of value.” Yes. And it full of people who don’t. But in so far as space goes, Musk is just a huckster- a P.T. Barnum in search of government subsidies for his flights of facny– flights, BTW that fly nobody. He is not one of them. There, fixed that for ‘ya. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

  • DCSCA

    @William Mellberg wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 5:53 pm
    “Which is why President Obama (and General Bolden and Lori Garver) would be well-advised to sit down with some of these NASA veterans and listen to their concerns and advice.”

    They have. For God’s sake, Garver used to work in Glenn’s office when she was getting started in her career before her NSS gig. They’ve listened and concluded thie advice is outside the area of their competence for these times.

    “The other gentlemen who I mentioned continue to have a keen interest in the space program and current technology, as well.”

    They have ‘interest’ but little sway. You can’t keep trying to use these aging aerospace icons to spearhead fresh arguments these days. With each passing month, their deeds fall furthering into the past and their words fall on deaf ears. There is no Von Braun today to inspire, to rally or to rationalize HSF.

  • amightywind

    He is. You are. So was Barnum. And yes, he and his partners created Paypal and sold it. But that’s about it. Movies and cars and marriages are hobbies. Now it’s rockets.

    Mark Cuban put his nerd wealth to rather better use and bought a Gulfstream jet and the Dallas Mavericks. Musk will use his to inflict losses on the aerospace industry for a time.

    That’s you windy, wrapping yourself in the flag

    Now that’s harsh.

  • Matt Wiser

    Vadislaw: Read the Washington Post Article from 23 Nov 07: it’s titled “Clinton Favors Human Space Flight.” It shows the differences between the two candidates and mentions Candidate Obama’s proposal to defer CxP by 5 years “to pay for unspecified education programs.” Why? According to the article, it (CxP) was “a Bush thing.” That proposal to defer HLV by up to 5 years to “study” was the same darned thing, IMHO.

    William Melberg: re: your last post about the NASA vets: BRAVO! Well said, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Ignoring the advice that NASA’s veterans can offer is indeed the height of arrogance. I’d add the following terms: criminal stupidty and the height of folly.

    Rick: Ignoring what the old hands have to say is not “listening to erronious testimony.” It’s stupidity. Not taking advantage of their experience, knowldege, and advice would be criminal. Charlie Bolden needs to swallow his pride and listen to what they have to say. And use some of their suggestions.

    Ron: HLV will come: sooner or later. As for Musk, he needs to shut his trap, knock off the “retiring on Mars” crap, and let his rockets do the talking for him.

  • pathfinder_01

    Mat, you do know about Atlas Phase II or phase III? ULA can indeed do everything SLS can do and more. An Atlas phase III can lift from 10T to 130MT. Allowing it to have other users. SLS is going to have a fixed lift capacity.

    http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Barr_11-3-10/Barr%2011-3-10.pdf

    http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Kutter_8-28-07.pdf

    Congress knows these options and these options don’t use much of any of the shuttle workforce hence their dislike of them.

  • DCSCA

    @CoastalRon- This should comfort you. About 15 years ago, stopped by a garage sale and came across a box of old reel to reel audio tapes for sale. Three of the reels were oddly marked “Appolo” in faded pencil. Took a chance, bought the box, and discovered they were pristine, unedited real time recordings from July 16 and July 20, 1969, of the Apollo 11 lanuch, the landing amd the moonwalk, ‘the way it is’– or was, as reported by the late Walter Cronkite. So there it was. The pinnacle of a $24 billion government funded space project, the most significant achievement in human history to date, sold off as clutter at a yard sale for five bucks.

  • Rhyolite

    AW is reporting that JWST is now up to $8.7B. Maybe Jeff can post on this:

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awx/2011/08/22/awx_08_22_2011_p0-362179.xml&headline=NASA%20Estimates%20$8.7%20Billion%20To%20Fly%20Webb&channel=space

    It looks like all of NASA’s funding for the next generation is going to go to a couple of white elephants. That’s a recipe for long term decline.

  • Jeff Foust

    Hey, folks: let’s restrict our comments to the subject of the post and not attack each other. Thanks for your cooperation.

  • @Matt Wiser
    “Rick: Ignoring what the old hands have to say is not “listening to erronious testimony.” It’s stupidity. Not taking advantage of their experience, knowldege, and advice would be criminal. Charlie Bolden needs to swallow his pride and listen to what they have to say. And use some of their suggestions. “
    Rather than calling me stupid, why don’t you quit avoiding answering the question that I asked you that has to do with the real main substantive issue of this thread? That issue being Bolden’s skepticism about SLS. Please, give an answer directly related to to this direct issue instead of more misdirecting unconnected rationalizations. Again:

    Since SLS can not be built for any amount that Congress is going to be willing to budget for it, what good are its hypothetical technical specifications and so called advantages?

    I’m actually an agnostic on the general issue of an HLV in so far as BEO is concerned. I want to study the issue more before I am convinced one way or another. But the economic evidence specifically against SLS is overwhelming, and as I have said over and over again, the laws of economics are just as inescapable as the laws of physics. Violation of either can make a launch vehicle impractical, and SLS does the former.

    From what I have heard via someone who has access to Aviation Week Intelligence Network, a recent presentation made by Booz-Allen concerning their to-be-released SLS report, indicated that even the outrageous $38 billion dollar recent NASA estimate is too low.

  • Charlie Bolden needs to swallow his pride and listen to what they have to say.

    He did listen to what they said. So did I. What they said was largely clueless nonsense. It was quite sad.

  • common sense

    @Joe wrote @ August 22nd, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    “Ahh, yes “common non-sense” as pointless and clueless as ever.”

    I missed you too Joe. Looking forward to seeing our new SLS design soon. It’s not a sidemount but it’s big and useless.

  • Ferris Valyn

    DSCA & Matt Wiser,
    Lets get all the facts straight about the 08 campaign season. Here is what actually happened

    Nov 20 – Obama releases his Education plan. At the end he discusses how he will pay for it

    Barack Obama’s early education and K-12 plan package costs about $18 billion per year. He will maintain fiscal responsibility and prevent any increase in the deficit by offsetting cuts and revenue sources in other parts of the government. The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years, using purchase cards and the negotiating power of the government to reduce costs of standardized procurement, auctioning surplus federal property, and reducing the erroneous payments identified by the Government Accountability Office, and closing the CEO pay deductibility loophole. The rest of the plan will be funded using a small portion of the savings associated with fighting the war in Iraq.

    (I love how that one quote is taken to clearly explain how he hates spaceflight)

    Then, on January 10th, there was a “proto space policy” released by the Obama campaign (or at least, it was leaked).While most people have since forgotten it, this was taken as having come from his campaign

    I’ve included the discussion about human spaceflight.

    Develop the Next-Generation of Space Vehicles: The retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010 will leave the United States without manned spaceflight capability until the introduction of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) carried by the Ares I Launch Vehicle. As president, Obama will support the development of this vital new platform to ensure that the United States’ reliance on foreign space capabilities is limited to the minimum possible time period. The CEV will be the backbone of future missions, and is being designed with technology that is already proven and available.

    Complete the International Space Station: The International Space Station is an example of what we can accomplish through international cooperation. Barack Obama is committed to the completion of the International Space Station.

    Then, on March 7th, Obama was asked about space. Borrowing from an article about the event

    During the question-and-answer portion of an event at a recreational center here, Obama was asked about the nation’s space program.

    “I grew up on Star Trek,” Obama said. “I believe in the final frontier.”

    But Obama said he does not agree with the way the space program is now being run and thinks funding should be trimmed until the mission is clearer.

    “NASA has lost focus and is no longer associated with inspiration,” he said. “I don’t think our kids are watching the space shuttle launches. It used to be a remarkable thing. It doesn’t even pass for news anymore.”

    Then, on April 14, when he was in Phoniex, he was again asked about space (sorry, I couldn’t find the citation for this, but I know it happened)

    Q: What do you plan to do with the space agency? Like right now they’re currently underfunded, they, at first they didn’t know if they were going to be able to operate Spirit rover. What do plan to do with it?

    Obama: I think that, I, uh. I grew up with the space program. Most of you young people here were born during the shuttle era. I was the Apollo era. I remember, you know, watching, you know, the moon landing. I was living in Hawaii when I was growing up, so the astronauts would actually, you know, land in the Pacific and then get brought into Honolulu and it was incredible memories and incredibly inspiring. And by the way inspired a whole generation of people to get engaged in math and science in a way that we haven’t – that we need to renew. So I’m a big supporter of the space program. I think it needs to be redefined, though. We’ve kind of lost a sense of mission in terms of what it is that NASA should be trying to achieve and I think that we’ve gotta make some big decisions about whether or not, are we going to try to send manned, you know, space launches, or are we better off in terms of what we’re learning sending unmanned probes which oftentimes are cheaper and less dangerous, but yield more information.

    And that’s a major debate I’m going to want to convene when I’m president of the United States. What direction do we take the space program in? Once we have a sense of what’s going to be most valuable for us in terms of gaining knowledge, then I think we’ll able to adjust the budget so that we’re going all out on what it is that we’ve decided to do

    Finally, there was his Titusville speech, and his 7 page white paper which you really should read, as the things he proposes are quite good.

    If you look at it in its entirety, I submit what you see there is an evolution, from someone who doesn’t see much benefit from space, to someone who sees the potential of space, but also sees the problems at NASA.

    And no, its not all about the “it’s evil because Bush did it”
    Please actually look at the evidence.

  • Vladislaw

    You keep using something from his campaign. A person CAMPAIGNING for the Presidency does not set our National Space Policy. It does not matter what a politician says during a campaign, they can promise the moon and many often do. What matters is what do they do once they are actually sworn into the office. Once Senator Obama was sworn in and then released official space policy there was nothing about defering it for five years.

    It doesn’t matter what Senator Clinton said, it doesn’t matter what McCain said. What matters is what was put forth as offical space policy by the President, and as President he never said defer it for 5 years.

    The President put forth a budget proposal calling for an increase from 25 million being spent on heavy lift to 3 billion being spent on heavy lift with a final design decision NO LATER than 2015.

    You can try and spin it like you always do .. but the OFFICIAL space policy set by the President called for massive spending on heavy lift. People campaigning for the office of the President do not set space policy.

  • josh

    if only obama’s original plan had been implemented in its entirety.. we’d be entering space wonderland right about now. sigh..
    oh well, this is reality, what do you expect:(

  • common sense

    From nawatch.com

    http://images.spaceref.com/news/2011/BAH.Executive.Summary.pdf

    “Finding: The BOEs provided by the Programs are not fully traceable or documented. An independent organization could not replicate Program estimates using the data sets provided by SLS, MPCV, or 21CGS without additional explanation from Program staff. ”

    Translation: We have no idea if those estimated costs are real (BOE = Basis of Estimate).

  • Matt Wiser

    Rick: Those vets that you dismiss are the ONLY people so far to have sent other human beings beyond Earth Orbit. To casually dismiss the concerns they have, or not to take advantage of their advice on future exploration plans, is a MISTAKE.

    As for HLV: when Augustine says we need it, Bolden himself says we need it, and not just the old guard at NASA, but even that….witch Garver says we need it, that’s good enough. Congress agrees. They agree on something (for once).

    Vadislaw: He’s flip-flopping. Typical candidate. He only did so when he realized that to win Florida, he’d need the I-4 corridor from Tampa to Daytona, and that’s also KSC. Pure electorial politics, nothing else, IMHO.

  • amightywind

    You can try and spin it like you always do .. but the OFFICIAL space policy set by the President called for massive spending on heavy lift. People campaigning for the office of the President do not set space policy.

    The problem comes when the candidate promises X, garners the vote of space workers who believe him, and then as President stabs them in the back and does Y, which is indeed what Obama has done.

  • DCSCA

    Ferris Valyn wrote @ August 23rd, 2011 at 11:17 am
    “I submit what you see there is an evolution, from someone who doesn’t see much benefit from space, to someone who sees the potential of space,… ”

    LOL in fact, the ‘submission’ is an ‘admission’ that you see a politician flip-flopping at work, if you lay your timeline next to a primary map, as he was trying to get votes/delegates in key states for an election cycle. This president has no interest in space and given the immediate problems on his plate, rightly so.

    @Rand Simberg wrote @ August 23rd, 2011 at 9:29 am
    “Charlie Bolden needs to swallow his pride and listen to what they have to say.” “He did listen to what they said. So did I.” And neither of you heard a word.

  • @ Matt Wiser
    “Rick: Those vets that you dismiss are the ONLY people so far to have sent other human beings beyond Earth Orbit. To casually dismiss the concerns they have, or not to take advantage of their advice on future exploration plans, is a MISTAKE. “
    They should be listened too, but if they are mistaken, then their advice should be discarded like any one else’s. These guys are my childhood heros and I have enormous respect them, but they are fallable human beings and that doesn’t lessen my respect for them.
    It seems that you consider them to be perfect superheros who are incapable of being wrong! :)

    As for HLV: when Augustine says we need it, Bolden himself says we need it, and not just the old guard at NASA, but even that….witch Garver says we need it, that’s good enough. Congress agrees. They agree on something (for once).
    The question I asked you was not about HLVs in general. Why are you so afraid of answering it? I wasn’t arguing either way for or against HLVs and you know it. You are not stupid, so quit pretending that I am stupid enough to believe you didn’t understand the question.
    The question AGAIN is about SLS NOT HLVs in general.:
    “Since SLS can not be built for any amount that Congress is going to be willing to budget for it, what good are its hypothetical technical specifications and so called advantages?”

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 23rd, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Pure electorial politics, nothing else, IMHO.

    Regardless what candidate Obama said, a bipartisan Congress gave President Obama a good 80% of what he wanted for NASA – Constellation cancelled, ISS saved, MPCV funded, commercial crew funded, etc.

    The 20% he didn’t get is mainly the requirement for the SLS, which is already on the ropes financially, so it’s a pretty good bet that Obama’s percentage will go up over time.

    I’d say any politician that gets 80% of what they ask for in these hyper-partisan times is doing pretty good.

  • Vladislaw

    Okay, let me get this straight, as a candidate, he said he was going to put heavy lift on a back burner for 5 years, and he did this to gain votes in a space state?

    Then, after getting elected he proposed adding 6 billion to NASA over five years, ramp up spending on heavy lift from 25 million to 3 billion.

    Now you are saying he is a flip flopper and should have stayed with his original position of not spending anything on heavy lift?

  • Those vets that you dismiss are the ONLY people so far to have sent other human beings beyond Earth Orbit.

    You say that as though it has some significance.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 23rd, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Those vets that you dismiss are the ONLY people so far to have sent other human beings beyond Earth Orbit.

    Uh, no. At its peak, the Apollo program employed 400,000 people and required the support of over 20,000 industrial firms and universities.

    Those “vets” you cite don’t even register on the scale for the total experience the program generated, which lives on in our schools, businesses and even somewhat at NASA.

    But since no one is building Saturn V’s and spacecraft using only 1960′s era technology, I’d say those veterans only have a limited viewpoint to provide. Valid, but limited.

  • Matt Wiser

    amightywind wrote @ August 23rd, 2011 at 2:01 pm
    “You can try and spin it like you always do .. but the OFFICIAL space policy set by the President called for massive spending on heavy lift. People campaigning for the office of the President do not set space policy.

    The problem comes when the candidate promises X, garners the vote of space workers who believe him, and then as President stabs them in the back and does Y, which is indeed what Obama has done.”

    Exactly. He got their votes and then stabbed them in the back. “Hope and change…” Yeah, right.

    Rand: Yes it does. Those guys sent 21 men to the moon: 12 to the lunar surface, one flyby (13), and the rest to lunar orbit. Not listening to their advice on going forward, IMHO, smacks of arrogance and stupidity. They did something that NO one has repeated since 1972, and when those legends have something to say about the future of HSF, one had better listen them, and act on some of their advice. Even someone who didn’t go to the moon, John Glenn, came out against POTUS’ plans for NASA. Seems there’s a double standard: if a former astronaut comes out in favor of what the current Administration has in mind for HSF, he or she is “enlightened and correct.” If, OTOH, there’s the slightest bit of skepticism, there’s hostility to that POV and their views are not valid. Strange that….

  • Rand: Yes it does. Those guys sent 21 men to the moon: 12 to the lunar surface, one flyby (13), and the rest to lunar orbit. Not listening to their advice on going forward, IMHO, smacks of arrogance and stupidity.

    They did it under unique circumstances, decades ago, that will never again occur in human history, and it a completely different technological era, but they imagine that this is the only way to do it. They, and you, are stuck in the past.

    I don’t know whether or not you’re arrogant, but you certainly seem to be stupid. I’m not calling you that — you may just be playing it on the Internet.

  • William Mellberg

    Matt Wiser wrote:

    “Not listening to their advice on going forward, IMHO, smacks of arrogance and stupidity … when those legends have something to say about the future of HSF, one had better listen to them.”

    Agreed. But remember that they are more than living “legends.” They are professionals who have remained very much involved with aerospace developments and activities since their more historic achievements They didn’t check into retirement villages when Apollo ended. Nor did they become senile. I know you know that. And I know you agree that is why their comments and concerns should be heeded rather than berated.

    Matt Wiser added:

    “Even … John Glenn came out against POTUS’ plans for NASA.”

    John Glenn, who was an American Hero. John Glenn, who was a Democratic candidate for President in 1984. John Glenn who was a longtime Democratic Senator. John Glenn who was basically ignored by this President because (it would seem) he disagreed with this President.

    Mind you, Senator Glenn went along with President Obama’s cancellation of Constellation. But he did propose another option, following that program’s termination, which called on the President to keep the Space Shuttles flying until a replacement becomes available. When Senator Glenn was finally given an audience at the White House, his advice apparently fell on deaf ears. “Thank you for your visit, John. Have a nice day.” End of discussion.

    Matt Wiser concluded:

    “Seems there’s a double standard: if a former astronaut comes out in favor of what the current Administration has in mind for HSF, he or she is ‘enlightened and correct.’ If, OTOH, there’s the slightest bit of skepticism, there’s hostility to that POV and their views are not valid. Strange that ….”

    Not so strange, really. It’s just politics … Chicago-style. And Barack Obama is a product of the Chicago Political Machine.

    Remember what happened to Chicago’s lakefront airport? In a highly controversial move which violated an agreement he had previously negotiated with the State of Illinois, Mayor Daley ordered Meigs Field to be demolished in the middle of the night, as described here:

    http://friendsofmeigs.org/html/history/meigs_history.htm

    and here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meigs_Field

    Note this comment, in particular:

    “Editorials in the Chicago Tribune pointed out that ‘the issue is [Mayor] Daley’s increasingly authoritarian style that brooks no disagreements, legal challenges, negotiations, compromise or any of that messy give-and-take normally associated with democratic government.’”

    The Mayor totally ignored his critics, and his midnight closure of the airport (to make another park in an area surrounded by parks) became a fait accompli.

    Sound familiar?

  • @ Matt Wiser
    @ William Wellberg
    “Not listening to their advice on going forward, IMHO, smacks of arrogance and stupidity … when those legends have something to say about the future of HSF, one had better listen to them.”

    Cernan made the statement in interviews to the press that the gap and using the Russians to fill it was a decision made during the Obama administration when in fact it was made during GW Bush administration. When these guys make those kind of gaffs, as well as equating the reliabily of the old ELVs to modern EELVs during congressional testimony, why should we always take their advice?
    There is arrogance and stupidity going on here, but I suggest you two look in the mirror.
    Again, they are great exceptional men, but they are HUMAN and susceptible to the same foibles as the rest of us. For God’s sake, grow up out of the mindless hero worship!

  • @Matt Wiser
    You keep avoiding answering the key issue that I placed to you:
    ““Since SLS can not be built for any amount that Congress is going to be willing to budget for it, what good are its hypothetical technical specifications and so called advantages?””

    The only reason I can think of for your non-response is that you don’t have a solution to this dilemma and deep down you know that you are on the wrong side of this issue. It doesn’t matter how good a vehicle looks on paper, if enough money is not going to be available to finish it, all those nice specs mean nothing.

    I suspect what is really going on here is that, if you can’t have your coveted SLS, you’d rather see nothing happen with American spaceflight. But you won’t admit this to yourself. That is part of the reason you have come up with the idea of Obama overtly seeking to destroy American spaceflight. I’m not saying Obama is a big friend to NASA, but he is not a old style villain saying “Moooo AH HA HA! I must kill human spaceflight!” No, if you tell yourself that Obama’s goal is to kill spaceflight, then you have a rationalized reason for saying “SLS or nothing!” After all, you tell yourself, no SLS, means no human spaceflight because the latter is Obama’s goal. It’s so much male bovine excrement.

  • Martijn Meijering

    I don’t know whether or not you’re arrogant, but you certainly seem to be stupid. I’m not calling you that — you may just be playing it on the Internet.

    Monster space truck fans are not open to reason.

  • Mind you, Senator Glenn went along with President Obama’s cancellation of Constellation. But he did propose another option, following that program’s termination, which called on the President to keep the Space Shuttles flying until a replacement becomes available. When Senator Glenn was finally given an audience at the White House, his advice apparently fell on deaf ears. “Thank you for your visit, John. Have a nice day.” End of discussion.

    It didn’t fall on deaf ears. It fell on the ears of people who actually understand the issues, and the reasons that the Bush administration decided to end the Shuttle program. None of those reasons went away because John Glenn decided that we should keep Shuttle going anyway, long after it was even feasible (at that point, extending it was impossible — at best, it could be put on hiatus and resurrected a couple years later, after the supply chain had been rebuilt, at a cost of billions that NASA didn’t have).

  • Vladislaw

    Association fallacy

    “An association fallacy is an inductive informal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion.”

    “Mayor Daley ordered Meigs Field”

    Mayor Daley has what to do with Space Flight and NASA?

  • Matt Wiser

    William Melberg: Not being from Chicago, but I can get the idea. If you’re not part of the machine, your views don’t count, and can be casually dismissed. Which is what Bolden, Garver, Holdren, and POTUS are doing. Listen to what the old hands have to say, and just admit that they have valid points that should be acted upon. Add up their experience and it sure beats what the commercial sector has any day of the week.

    Rick: I hate to be repetitive, but when Augustine ID’s a need for Heavy-Lift, Bolden (and POTUS) say we need it, and Congress (who write NASA’s checks) say we need it. This board’s about space politics: and the politics dictate that a HLV is going to be built. Now, I disagree with Augustine re: overreliance on the commercial sector, but that’s going to go anyway, and was very p***ed off about their FlexPath when it was first rolled out, but after watching Ed Crawley (MIT Professor and a commission member) present it at that “space summit” (preaching to the invited choir-not gathering both pro and con), he “made the sale”-a lot more than Charlie Bolden ever has. Congress is committed to HLV, and is dragging this Administration kicking and screaming to that POV. Don’t like it? Write your Congresscritter and Senators, tell them to vote against HLV and offer your substitute proposals.

    Some have said the way foraward is “faster and cheaper.” Sound familiar? NASA tried that under Dan Goldin. Didn’t work out too well….

  • Matt Wiser

    Rick: it’s not “hero worship.” It’s making use of accumulated decades of individual experience working in HSF. Tapping that is a good way to find out what works BEO and what doesn’t. Unless you’re willing to find out the hard way…..

  • Vladislaw

    “It’s making use of accumulated decades of individual experience working in HSF”

    And how did their accumulated decades of individual experience working in HSF lower the costs for NASA? What did they do in those decades to bring costs down?

  • @ Matt Wiser
    Rick: I hate to be repetitive, but when Augustine ID’s a need for Heavy-Lift, Bolden (and POTUS) say we need it, and Congress (who write NASA’s checks) say we need it. This board’s about space politics: and the politics dictate that a HLV is going to be built

    Again,I am not debating whether or not an HLV is needed, that is a whole different issue. I am questioning the economic viability of SLS, not HLVs in general. Are you really that thick?

    “it’s not “hero worship.” It’s making use of accumulated decades of individual experience working in HSF
    It is juvenile hero worship when one of them can make an inaccurate statement and YOU completely ignore it and behave as if they are infallable.

    I give up on you. You are truly hopeless. You are the king of circular logic and Orwellian double speak.

  • William Mellberg

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    “None of those reasons went away because John Glenn decided that we should keep Shuttle going anyway …”

    Given today’s failure of Progress M-12M, perhaps John Glenn, Chris Kraft, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Bob Crippen and the others weren’t as dumb as you suggest when they urged President Obama to keep the Space Shuttles flying until a replacement becomes available.

    http://enews.earthlink.net/article/us?guid=20110824/8342ed0a-24bf-45db-acea-a8c165c9fcb1

    “‘The supplies aboard the space station are actually pretty fat’ after the resupply mission by Space Shuttle Atlantis in July, NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries said from Houston.”

    While it’s true that President Bush decided to retire the Space Shuttle fleet to make way for the Constellation Program (thereby introducing the “gap”), President Obama could have reversed that decision and reduced or eliminated that gap when he cancelled Constellation. Which Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan discussed in their testimony on Capitol Hill last year.

    Vladislaw asked:

    “Mayor Daley has what to do with Space Flight and NASA?”

    Nothing. But he had a lot to do with teaching Chicago Machine politicians how to ignore other points of view, and how to push an agenda through no matter how many intelligent people might find flaws in a plan. And now the White House is filled with Chicago Machine politicians. Which is why I am not surprised that the Administration would ignore the valid concerns of people such as John Glenn, Chris Kraft, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Bob Crippen and the others. The Chicagoans advising the President at the time (Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett — to name just a few) didn’t have any experience with NASA or spaceflight. But they sure had plenty of experience with Chicago-style political hardball.

    Rick Boozer opined:

    “Again, they are great exceptional men, but they are HUMAN and susceptible to the same foibles as the rest of us.”

    Except, apparently, for Barack Obama, John Holdren, Charles Bolden, Lori Garver, Elon Musk and their fans and supporters who are the enlightened ones while everyone else is a flawed human being. There seems to be no possibility that Obama, Holdren, Bolden, Garver and Musk might be wrong in the minds of the NewSpace fans. But their critics are obviously senile old men who just don’t get the new way of thinking (i.e., they don’t agree with your point of view).

    I still wonder why the President’s “Space Summit” at the Kennedy Space Center last year was a cheerleading event rather than a genuine summit. Why weren’t people such as Glenn, Armstrong, Schmitt, Crippen, Kraft, Kranz and the others invited to offer their perspectives and concerns? I guess it was because opposing points of view weren’t welcome. So they were ignored … Chicago-style.

    Rick Boozer added:

    “For God’s sake, grow up out of the mindless hero worship!”

    Appreciating the experience, wisdom and insights of these men (based, in part, on personal relationships) isn’t “hero worship.”

    Perhaps one of the biggest problems with America’s space program these days, as Captain Cernan pointed out last year, is that it has become so increasingly politicized. And the political climate in this country has become so increasingly polarized. Common ground has become as scarce as common sense.

  • DCSCA

    Rand Simberg wrote @ August 23rd, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    “You say that as though it has some significance.”

    It does, to progressive visionaries. To the conservative mind set, not so much.

  • common sense

    “Common ground has become as scarce as common sense.”

    Yep, I know what you mean.

    If we could only bring Wernie and his team back.

    On the other hand maybe they are hanging somewhere with Elvis watching this unfold and cry.

  • Vladislaw

    “While it’s true that President Bush decided to retire the Space Shuttle fleet to make way for the Constellation Program”

    Actually President Bush decided to retire the Space Shuttle to make way for the Vision for Space Exploration, which stated NASA does not plan on building any new launchers. Constellation came later after Griffin came on board, but the shuttle retirement was already policy for a year.

    So it is this “chicago political machine” that has cornered the market on not listening to opposing views? “no matter how many intelligent people might find flaws in a plan” Was President Bush not pushing an agenda and did not listen to opposing views? What happened to generals that had opposing views?

    So the new crop of GOP presidential contenders are sponges for listening and adopting opposing views?

    Why would the President accept opposing views that were simply a call for let NASA do things in the traditional way they have always done, and then expect a different result?

  • @ William Mellberg
    “Except, apparently, for Barack Obama, John Holdren, Charles Bolden, Lori Garver, Elon Musk and their fans and supporters who are the enlightened ones while everyone else is a flawed human being”
    They are just as fallable and flawed as I, you, or anyone else. It’s just that when it comes to the ONE ISSUE of space policy, they have (for the most part) objective evidence on their side. And even on space policy, I don’t know that anyone, including them or me, has everything right. But I do know a number of things that are wrong with SLS (and I DON’T mean HLVs in general), based on objective evidence.

    You and Wiser both would make lousy scientists. You don’t know how to separate what you desire from what is actually practical given observed conditions in objective reality. There are a number of things I would like to see done at NASA, but I know they won’t happen simply because I want it badly. I will settle for what is economically possible to move Americans out into the solar system. That may ultimately be by HLV or not, but it won’t be with SLS.

    I have seen brick walls more susceptible to reason than you and Wiser. So I give up on you as welll. That doesn’t mean that in the future I won’t explain to someone else why I agree or disagree with some stated position of yours. I just won’t try to convince you because facts are irrelevant to you. I’ll just save my thoughts for someone who I think may possibly have an open mind.

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “You and Wiser both would make lousy scientists … I have seen brick walls more susceptible to reason than you and Wiser. So I give up on you as well.”

    And you would make an excellent Chicago politician. Because you apparently choose to ignore anyone who disagrees with you. And that’s what so many people these days seem to find difficult about dealing with opposing points of view. It’s so darned frustrating when everyone doesn’t embrace your particular set of values and beliefs.

    But that’s what debates are all about. And that’s what democracy is all about.

    I’m truly sorry that you choose to opt out of this exchange of ideas simply because you and I happen to have some differences of opinion.

    And with America’s space program at a crossroads, I’m sorry that President Obama failed to have an open exchange of ideas at his “Space Summit” last year. It’s not a “summit” when everyone is singing from the same song sheet (or reading from the same teleprompters). And it’s not a forum when everyone has the same opinion. In fact, these threads would be pretty boring if everyone agreed with everyone else.

  • William Mellberg

    Vladislaw wrote:

    “Was President Bush not pushing an agenda …?”

    Of course. That’s what politics are all about. And two years from now, you might be talking about a new President adopting a new space policy that will overturn this President’s policy.

    That is why we argue in favor of our differing points of view. It’s all part of the political process (something which people who have never engaged in the political process find difficult to understand at times).

    But I should point out that Congress approved the Constellation Program … TWICE. Once with a Republican majority, and the second time with a Democrat majority. It had bipartisan support. The Obama policy does not.

  • Vladislaw

    “Because you apparently choose to ignore anyone who disagrees with you. “

    Actually that is not Rick is saying at all.

    If I am argueing that the step forward is 2+2=4 and someone disagrees and uses 2+2=5 as the reason why .. guess what, I am going to ignore them also.

    You are argueing that the SLS is 2+2=4 when in fact, it has been shown repeatedly that the logic for SLS is using 2+2=5

    Congress says built it for 12 billion by 2016 but do not use competition, use heritage hardware, facilties and workforce. That is 2+2=5. NASA said it will cost 29-38 billion and Booz Allen says that is optimistic.

    Why we are even talking about spending 12 billion to 38 billion when a private sector firm said they can do it 2.5 billion is beyond irrational.

  • @William Mellberg
    “And you would make an excellent Chicago politician. Because you apparently choose to ignore anyone who disagrees with you”

    Disagreeing with me is not a criterion for me not paying attention to someone. In fact, I love for someone to show my position is incorrect with hard evidential fact, because then I learn something new. If I pay dilligent attention to someone’s ideas and they indicate that no opinion but their own can possibly be right and there is no way they will consider anything different, then it’s time to ignore them. I haven’t been ignoring you or anyone else that disagrees with me. And I won’t ignore other people who disagree with me, except you and Wiser from now on, because you have shown you minds are closed.

    The end as far as you’re concerned.

  • Vladislaw

    Rand,

    I just figured out what the problem is you have with DCSCA.

    He is a progressive visionary. You and others like you that want a “conservative” spaceprogram based on the entrepreneurial spirit of America and capitalism. By moving past a socialist, big government, space program and include things like space based reusable spacecraft and fuel depots does not qualify as progressive.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 24th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    it’s not “hero worship.” It’s making use of accumulated decades of individual experience working in HSF.

    And there are literally thousands of other experienced space experts that would disagree with them.

    Your former astronauts may have been consultants at some point, but they are no longer involved deeply in the aerospace industry. They have valid perspective, but not necessarily better perspective than people that are current astronauts and more familiar with the technology of today.

    If we were designing a lunar lander, then Cernan would be an excellent person to get advice from since no one else has built a lunar lander since Apollo. But for building a commercial crew system, he has no relevant experience that makes his opinion stand out from the astronauts of the Shuttle generation that are actually employed in the aerospace community.

    Cernan’s Apollo-generation knowledge has been superceded by the Shuttle generation of space experts, which includes Bolden and those involved with the various commercial companies.

    Sorry, but that’s life.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ August 24th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    …I’m sorry that President Obama failed to have an open exchange of ideas at his “Space Summit” last year. It’s not a “summit” when everyone is singing from the same song sheet (or reading from the same teleprompters).

    Let’s not be too naive about Presidential politics. Obama is just the latest in a long line of Presidents that have learned to manage their messages.

    The best so far has been Bush 43, who had a machine that puts what you call Obama’s “Chicago machine” to shame.

    You are focusing too much on the person (Obama), and too little on the position (POTUS), which is why this is all so surprising to you.

  • Coastal Ron

    Rick Boozer wrote @ August 24th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    And I won’t ignore other people who disagree with me, except you and Wiser from now on, because you have shown you minds are closed.

    Matt has ignored the same question from me for a long time too. I guess he doesn’t have any defense of the SLS to offer, so he just ignores the question.

    Even on other forums I haven’t been able to find anyone that can define one, much less years worth, of SLS-only payloads that would at least make a weak justification for the SLS.

    All Matt can offer is “people have said” type stuff, totally ignoring the fact that the people he quotes were talking about the future, not the present.

    I’m more like you, in that I’ll put up a spirited defense of my beliefs, and I have been persuaded to change my beliefs when the facts support it. I guess not everyone is like us. Oh well…

  • Vladislaw

    “But I should point out that Congress approved the Constellation Program … TWICE. Once with a Republican majority, and the second time with a Democrat majority. It had bipartisan support. “

    It got funded before the wheels came off. Once the schedule kept slipping and funds were moved from projects other congressional members were pushing the funding stopped.

    I should point that a bipartisan congress killed it because NASA could not follow funding and scheduling.

  • Matt Wiser

    That “space summit” was just what Melberg said: preaching to the choir. No one there had any contrary views, everyone was hand-picked to sing the same song. If it had been a true “space summit”, people like Glenn, Cernan, Armstrong, Krantz, Schmitt, etc., would’ve been invited, their views would’ve been aired, and maybe incorporated ioto the final plan (such as it is with no defined target destinations other than Mars orbit by 2035 and a so far undetermined NEO by 2025.). Not listening to the views of the veterans, who, if you add up their experience levels, would total centuries of experience, is a big mistake. Too bad POTUS didn’t take a gamble and appoint someone like Gene Krantz or Jim Lovell as NASA Administrator. We’d be a lot better off.

    OK, people: answer this question: What BEO option has more political support in both houses of Congress? Is it the MPCV/SLS or a still-undefined crew vehicle and EELV? The answer should be obvious. If you don’t please Congress-they do write the checks, after all, you will go nowhere. (literally) As long as this Administration is perceived as favoring the private sector over BEO, there will be skepicism of the former, and Congressional support for the latter. All because Charlie Bolden and those around him ignored their PAOs and rolled out an FY 11 budget proposal the way they did. If he’d “made the sale” the way he should’ve, or if CxP had been properly funded from Day One, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  • Matt Wiser

    Rick: find Professor Ed Crawley’s presentation at that “space summit” (more like choir practice) on youtube-it should be on NASA’s youtube channel. He “made the sale” re: FlexPath far, far better than Charlie Bolden ever did. Professor Crawley lays out what needs to be done, the destinations, and so forth-which is what critics of the Administration want-not the same garbage about NEO by 2025 and Mars orbit by 2035. He lays out what kind of missions can be done with HLV and a crew vehicle, which ones you’ll need a hab module for, and landings. (only 6-8 destinations to land, not counting Jupiter’s moons where human landings are likely impossible without radical new tech). Crawley also points out the obvious: No president is going to approve a mission to the Martian surface without planetary surface operations for a prolonged period, which means lunar return, Phobos/Deimos, or both. Conversely, no President will approve a Mars landing without deep space experience (NEO, L-Points both Earth-Moon and Earth-Sun). He sold it. Bolden, who thought he knew better than his PAOs, didn’t. And NASA’s been in recovery mode ever since. Until Bolden and Garver admit that there’s more to their “plan” than just NEO and Mars orbit, Congress will have reservations. And you can bet a successor administration will tell NASA “When are you returning to the moon as part of this?” Even Bolden, at his first House hearing re: FY 12, said that if he was told to, we’d have lunar return by 2020.
    The moon need not be the first step, but it should be #2 or #3.

    Just my two pennies’ worth…….

  • Matt Wiser

    Rick: then answer this question: If you question the validity of HLV at this time, what do you propose instead? It’s a given that ISS as we know it couldn’t have been built without shuttle, so now, with shuttle off to museums, what do we use to lift not only heavy things, but exploration vehicles, into orbit and beyond? Augustine looked at EELV-based programs, but wasn’t that enthused about it, from what Norm Augustine told Congress when asked about his committee’s options. Lifting a crew vehicle (MPCV) and either a hab module (deep space flight) or lunar lander is what’s required in this case. Knowing that industrial base issues are coming up (solid rocket boosters, for example), how do you get this done? You know my position (SLS with MPCV). What’s yours?

    FWIW, the Committee preferred a “lite” Ares V variant for crew and cargo flights.

  • Given today’s failure of Progress M-12M, perhaps John Glenn, Chris Kraft, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Bob Crippen and the others weren’t as dumb as you suggest when they urged President Obama to keep the Space Shuttles flying until a replacement becomes available.

    What happened today demonstrated that we have to accelerate competitive commercial programs, and eliminate our dependence on a single supplier as soon as possible. To think that it means we should have kept Shuttle going (which couldn’t even serve as a lifeboat, so it didn’t eliminate our need for the Russians even when operating) is lunacy.

    “Again, they are great exceptional men, but they are HUMAN and susceptible to the same foibles as the rest of us.”

    Except, apparently, for Barack Obama, John Holdren, Charles Bolden, Lori Garver, Elon Musk and their fans and supporters who are the enlightened ones while everyone else is a flawed human being.

    We don’t agree with those people because we worship them. We agree with them because what they say actually makes sense, and when what they say doesn’t make sense, we disagree with them. I think that Barack Obama is the worst president in my lifetime, and possibly in American history, and I want his tenure to end as soon as possible, but not being a lunatic, I support his space policy, for no other reason than that it makes sense. I also think that John Holdren is a Malthusian human-hating loon, but somehow, he got it right on space policy.

    Please end this logical fallacy of argument from authority, and at least make an attempt to actually discuss the issues, if you’re capable of it. Sadly, I’ve seen no evidence that you are.

  • Das Boese

    Vladislaw wrote @ August 24th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    You are argueing that the SLS is 2+2=4 when in fact, it has been shown repeatedly that the logic for SLS is using 2+2=5

    Actually, the logic for SLS is more like 2 + Apples = Purple.

  • @Matt Wiser
    “Rick: find Professor Ed Crawley’s presentation at that “space summit” (more like choir practice) on youtube-it should be on NASA’s youtube channel. He “made the sale” re: FlexPath far, far better than Charlie Bolden ever did.”
    Matt, all you do is quote people that you consider experts and expect that to pass as proven fact. How about some historically or evidentially proven fact for once rather than what someone said? There are many experts on both sides of this issue with just as much experience as Dr Crawley. I have heard what the good Dr has to say. I won’t get into it because you have already shown that anything I write that has a valid point will be ignored by you, so why bother even explaining? Here ONCE AGAIN is a great example about what I mean.

    “If you question the validity of HLV at this time, what do you propose instead? “
    The question I posed to you was NOT about the validity of HLVs in general, but about the economic impracticality of SLS. The Booz-Allen study just confirmed that impracticality. Remember the question was:
    “Since SLS can not be built for any amount that Congress is going to be willing to budget for it, what good are its hypothetical technical specifications and so called advantages?”

    But you never give me an honest answer to that question and instead you pretend that I asked you a different question. Why should I answer you when your mind is that closed? I’ll make you a deal, give me an honest answer to that question without pretending I am asking you something else, and I will give you serious answers to your questions. It’s just that first I need evidence that you are introspective enough to at least entertain the idea that you can possibly be other than totally correct.

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “And I won’t ignore other people who disagree with me, except you and Wiser from now on, because you have shown you minds are closed. The end as far as you’re concerned.”

    Mr. Boozer, I’ve tried to be polite to you. I’ve mentioned my respect for you and your wonderful achievement of earning your Master’s Degree in Astrophysics (with high honors, I should add) at age 58. And I’ve talked about our common love for the heavens and our shared passion for space exploration.

    But because I don’t agree with you about the precise direction of our Nation’s space program, you choose to denounce me as “close-minded” and refuse to acknowledge my right to have my own opinions — no matter how flawed you might think they are. Perhaps you believe that Master’s Degree gives you superior intellect. Perhaps you think my lifetime of experience doesn’t count for anything. (Over the years, I have noticed a tendency among some academics to think that university degrees mean more than real world experience.)

    Does that attitude display maturity … or pomposity?

    And why should it matter to me if you choose to ignore my thoughts, my feelings, my associations, my professional experience and my right as an American and a human being to have opinions that differ from Rick Boozer’s?

    I’m not asking you or anyone else to agree with me. I’m just freely expressing my thoughts as you freely express your thoughts. But you seem to be in favor of some form of self-imposed censorship for people who disagree with you … or who find errors in your logic. You act as if it is beneath your dignity to read the comments posted here by people like myself (i.e., people with a different perspective than yours).

    I try to show respect for others, even though insults seem to be commonplace in the blogosphere. Unlike some who post comments here (Mr. Simberg, for instance), I don’t call people “stupid” or “lunatics” or “insane” just because I disagree with them. And I certainly wouldn’t say “I’m not talking to you anymore” because you won’t admit the possibility that YOU might be wrong … or, at the very least, that other people might have some good ideas, too.

    Your words suggest plenty of emotion. But they don’t say:

    “Come, let us reason together.”

    As I’ve stated previously, common ground has become as scarce as common sense in today’s rude, confrontational culture. Whatever happened to civility?

  • Unlike some who post comments here (Mr. Simberg, for instance), I don’t call people “stupid” or “lunatics” or “insane” just because I disagree with them.

    Neither do I. I simply point out when comments are demonstrably stupid, or lunatic, or insane. I make no claims about the commenters themselves.

  • Matt Wiser

    Rick: I’ve also tried to be polite to you. And when I point out those who have good ideas that I support, your response is very negative. Did you even bother to see Professor Crawley’s presentation? I gather from the tone of your response that you didn’t. And you are now dancing around the question: If not SLS, what? And if so, when? And you have to realize that right now, the political wind in Congress (Congressman Rohrbacher notwithstanding) is for SLS, despite the Administration’s foot-dragging. NASA cannot spend any money on a program (nor can any other agency), no matter how noble it seems, unless Congress approves the funding. NASA cannot ignore Congressional will or dictates, because Congress writes the checks.

    Ignoring experts in the field is not a good idea. At least I listen to what they have to say. And when so many former NASA people come out against what the Administration (and some people here) advocate, you’d best listen to them. Because guess who testified after Bolden and Dr. Holdren at the final Senate hearing dealing with NASA last year? It was Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and Norm Augustine. All of them had reservations about the Administration’s proposals, and the Committee listened to them and incorporated heavy-lift (which Dr. Augustine’s commitee ID’d as essential to BEO) into the program NOW. Not waiting up to 5 years to “study”. NOW. And that passed: it’s the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. Unless Congress changes the law, NASA has to do what Congress says. Have a problem with that?

  • @William Mellberg
    “But because I don’t agree with you about the precise direction of our Nation’s space program, you choose to denounce me as “close-minded” and refuse to acknowledge my right to have my own opinions — no matter how flawed you might think they are.”
    As I told you before, your disagreeing with me is NOT the problem. I enjoy disageement when it is NOT based on rigid positions. I want you to prove me incorrect with objective and proven facts rather than “you’re wrong because this or that person of high stature said so”. It has nothing to do with my degree. There are a number of people on this blog who have corrected me before with less education than I and who I have appreciated, because when they pointed out my error in a logical and reasoned manner (with evidence rather than hearsay), I learned something new. When you say, “That is not so because it disagrees with Armstrong, Cernan, Stafford” or anyone else that is not reason.

    There are other people on this blog that I have disagreed with for a lot longer than you with whom I will continue to have vigorous opposing discourse, but they do not venerate personages above hard evidence. Neither do I, and I also don’t consider my opinion to be totally right simply because it is my opinion.

    Let us reason together.
    That is what I would love to do. But reason involves more than just saying something is true because someone who is in a position of authority says it. If the the independent objective facts point to that authority being in error, reason requires that one acknowledge the error. You and Wiser say that because information comes from someone that you consider an authority, that automatically makes it true. True reason involves all information being subjected to skepticism regardless of who the source is, no matter how venerated. If you ever reach the point where you no longer consider both certain people and your particular position on the issue to be infallable, then we can have a logical and reasonable discussion.

  • common sense

    “If not SLS, what? And if so, when?”

    What? Nothing. When? Right now.

    “Ignoring experts in the field is not a good idea.”

    Indeed it is not. Who are the experts you listen to except for former astronauts? Whose experience in vehicle design is? What?

    “Unless Congress changes the law, NASA has to do what Congress says. Have a problem with that?”

    Duh yes I do. Congress uses my taxpayer’s money to design – if that ever means something again – a rocket that is big and useless. So I do hope that this WH will resist as much they can and that Congress changes the law you like so much. This Congress does not represent my interests nor those of most of the people in the US. Hopefully someday Congress will change for the better. Hopefully. Here again this “hope” thing.

  • the political wind in Congress (Congressman Rohrbacher notwithstanding) is for SLS

    No, the political wind in Congress is for cutting discretionary spending. Guess what is a very big fat juicy target in that environment?

  • Matt Wiser

    Not just former astronauts: people like Gene Krantz or Chris Kraft, who got astronauts to where they were going. When you add up the experience that the old hands who did HSF in the ’60s and ’70s, most of whom stayed through the early shuttle years, it adds up to centuries of experience. Ignoring such experience, which also included human costs-the Apollo I fire-is a risk I’d prefer not to take. Until the day comes when another BEO flight is launched, they’re the ONLY people to have either flown, or sent missions to, BEO. I’d rather learn from their experiences than have to relearn everything again-the hard way. Understand what they did right, note what they did wrong, and that will serve well in the long term. Dissing that experience base is foolhardy at best.

  • William Mellberg

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    “Neither do I. I simply point out when comments are demonstrably stupid, or lunatic, or insane. I make no claims about the commenters themselves.”

    Is that supposed to make your rude language any less insulting … or your mean-spirited comments any more insightful?

    Perhaps you should invest in a Thesaurus. There are other words you can use besides “stupid” and “lunatic” and “insane.” Words that professionals in the business world would use. But they don’t seem to be in your vocabulary.

    How can one have an intelligent “discussion” with people who resort to bully tactics and ad hominem attacks?

    Again I ask … whatever happened to civility?

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “You and Wiser say that because information comes from someone that you consider an authority, that automatically makes it true.”

    “We” don’t consider people like Professor Armstrong, Dr. Schmitt and Dr. Kraft to be authorities. The whole world considers them to be authorities! And their records, quite frankly, are more extensive than Elon Musk’s (who you, no doubt, regard as an authority).

    I don’t consider anyone’s comments to be “automatically true.” But I certainly pay attention when experienced professionals have something to say. I don’t discount their opinions as automatically untrue.

    Moreover, having known some of these gentlemen personally for quite a few years, I have had the opportunity to appreciate their insights and intelligence even more fully. Which is why I have tried to defend them against the slings and arrows of their detractors — including people who clearly don’t know them.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 25th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    And you are now dancing around the question: If not SLS, what?

    Nothing. Existing launchers satisfy all forecasted NASA needs.

    You know, if a group within Boeing were to propose building a cargo plane 5X bigger than the C-17, the Board of Directors would ask them the same question I have asked you many times – who are the customers, and what are their needs?

    Is it just one buyer and they only need to make one flight for a special oversized payload job? Or are there ten buyers, and they have a growing list of customer commitments for unique cargo that can only fly on this new airplane? The Board of Directors will not authorize a new airplane to be built unless they know there is a quantifiable need.

    What specifically is the demand for the SLS? Why can’t the demand be satisfied by existing or near-term launchers?

    Any guesses?

  • common sense

    @Matt Wiser wrote @ August 25th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    So the only people you are willing to talk to are the former Apollo crew? Do you realize that Boeing recently orbited the X-37. That the X-37 in its original form was a contender for the OSP. Do you realize that there are experts today who are not in anyway related to Apollo? Save for the knowledge they acquired from Apollo. Plus who said we need to disregard the opinions of the Apollo crew? Yet it does not mean they hold the truth how to do something. Try and understand that budget is a significant parameter in any design and that during Apollo they had almost unlimited funding. Therefore their design space is severely limited in today’s environment.

    Is it that difficult to understand?

  • @Matt Wiser
    “Did you even bother to see Professor Crawley’s presentation? I gather from the tone of your response that you didn’t. “
    I literally told you I did. But I also told you that since you ignored earlier answers I gave you as though I never gave them to you, that I was not going to discuss it with you.

    Again, if you will answer my question and not pretend it is a different question from the one I asked, I will be glad to discuss Crawley’s specific points and anything else. I have asked you the same question repeatly over and over, but you have yet to give me an answer that is in any way relevant to the question that I asked. The only one of us who is dancing around things is you. Yes, “Congress approves the funding” Yes, they will fund at some less than adquate amount. They will NOT fund $38 billion or more needed in the next 10 years to complete SLS and YOU know it. And you also know what that means.

  • @William Mellberg

    But I certainly pay attention when experienced professionals have something to say. I don’t discount their opinions as automatically untrue.””
    Then please explain to me why when one of them says something demonstrably false (like Obama came up with the gap and the crew deal with the Russians), that you insist he has not made an error?

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “Then please explain to me why when one of them says something demonstrably false (like Obama came up with the gap and the crew deal with the Russians), that you insist he has not made an error?”

    I never said they didn’t make any errors. Everyone makes a slip of the tongue on occasion. Professor Armstrong and Captain Cernan clearly know (and knew) that President Obama did not create the gap. It was going to be there had Constellation gone ahead. (And having been on the NASA Advisory Council at the time Constellation was being planned, Armstrong certainly knew it … as did Cernan who was adding his own input to Constellation.) They aren’t that out of it, no matter what you might think. But they have also talked about President Obama widening the gap by retiring the Space Shuttle fleet prematurely. Without Constellation, there was no need to retire the Shuttles at this time, as Howard DeCastro reiterated just today:

    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/reversing-nonsensical-retirement-shuttle-requires-miracle-decastro/

    BTW, I don’t think Elon Musk really meant it when he announced that he is going to “retire on Mars.”

    As I said, everyone makes a slip of the tongue from time to time. Myself included.

  • Vladislaw

    Matt Wiser wrote:

    “Not just former astronauts: people like Gene Krantz or Chris Kraft, who got astronauts to where they were going.”

    They did it with a blank check, America is not giving NASA a blank check this time around to get to the moon.

    Every President since Nixon have used words like “sustainable” and “affordable” and use more commercial.

    President Reagan had the original Space Act, which governs NASA, changed to include:

    “Commercial Use of Space.–Congress declares that the general welfare of the United States requires that the Administration seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.”

    Not only is NASA supposed to utilize more commercial they are charged with the task to “seek“.

    The dictionary defines that as:

    “to go in search of: look for: to try to discover”
    “to try to acquire or gain”

    So NASA is not charged with sitting back passively, they are to be actively seeking out and then encourage, to the “maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.”

    Now some on here talk about NASA and the law, that is the law right there. That comes BEFORE the agency gets any other mandates.

    President Bush, in the Vision for Space Exploration, laid this out even more explicitly. Of course that gets ignored in the drive for a big rocket.

    From the Commercial Space Act of 2004:

    “the goal of safely opening space to the American
    people and their private commercial, scientific, and cultural
    enterprises should guide Federal space investments, policies, and regulations”

    http://www.space.commerce.gov/transportation/#policy
    “The U.S. Space Transportation Policy of 2005, issued by President Bush, remains in force at this time. It also emphasizes the government’s need to assure U.S. access to space. It calls for a fundamental transformation in U.S. space transportation capabilities and infrastructure and encourages the government to capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit of the U.S. private sector, which offers new approaches and technology innovation in U.S. space transportation, options for enhancing space exploration activities, and opportunities to open new commercial markets, including public space travel.”

    Everything from the Executive branch has been about bringing more commercial players into the space sector.

    President Obama is not breaking any new ground here. He is following in a long line. The idea he has to get advice on how NOT to do commercial but instead let NASA build a big rocket in the traditional way is beyond silly. As the Chief Executive his job is to execute those commercial laws and what NASA is mandated to do. Utilize more commercial. You can hate it, you can shout from the roof tops, but I highly doubt a new President, Democratic or Republican, and return it to the status quo is failing to see what Presidents have been trying to do.

  • @William Mellberg
    Everyone makes a slip of the tongue on occasion.
    OK, I can accept that. But let’s again talk about their testimony against Commercial Crew before Congress; wherein Stafford (especially), Armstrong and Cernan assumed that using modern EELVs were dangerous for adapting to human crew under the assumption that modern EELVs reliabilty is no better than the reliability of old style EELVs. When it is a demonstrable fact that in the early days of NASA that catastrophic failure rate was up to 80% on early ELVs before they were adapted to carry astronauts, but the failure rate on modern ULA EELVs (both catastrophic and benign combined) is on the order of 0.0001%. Again that was an error that I mentioned earlier and you brushed it off.

    My point was NOT they they should not have been heard. But that they did give erroneous testimony and their advocacy against Commercial Crew does not mean Commercial Crew is a bad idea.

  • Matt Wiser

    And until the EELV community puts up a crewed vehicle and brings it back, the questions and skepticism will continue. As the Commercial Spaceflight Federation said at their symposium last year, “we need to stop talking and start flying.” Only when that happens, will concerns like what Capt. Cernan, Brig. Gen. Tom Stafford (GT-6, GT-9, Apollo 10, ASTP), and other critics have said, be addressed. Whether it’s Boeing, Orbital Science, Sierra Nevada, or even Space X, they need to prove that they’re capable of doing what NASA has asked them to do.

    Remember Augustine? They looked at EELV-based exploration, and did include it in one of their options. It was not an option that the Administration chose to execute. No way to know what went on in the back room, but I’d guess (the WAG-type) that TPTB knew that putting such a program to Congress was not politically survivable. Given the hostile reaction to the FY 11 Budget disaster, such a program would’ve even generated greater hostility. Remember, people, there is a big difference in what you would like to do, and what Congress will allow you to do. (power of the purse and all that)

    Ron: I’m not disputing what the law says, or what VSE said. Where people can disagree on is HOW MUCH reliance on the private sector should NASA have, how much control NASA ought to have re: mission control, safety, mission assurance, etc., and the dividing line between where the private sector ends and Government-flown HSF begins. Personally, I prefer the dividing line this way, which is similar to an Augustine option: LEO is the responsiblity of the private sector (with appropriate NASA oversight-there’s no FAA space section right now), and BEO is NASA (and other government space agencies) turf. That doesn’t rule out the commercial sector supporting exploration activities (propellant depots, for example, or supporting a lunar base should such a facility be constructed), but that’s the dividing line. Even the crew launch for BEO would be on a government vehicle (likely due to political reasons). Why? It’s an exploration launch, and that’s NASA’s job. When we get an Administration that listens to what NASA vets have to say, or at the very least, NASA leadership that does, we’ll be much better off.

    When the private sector demonstrates crewed vehicles + EELVs, the case for EELV-based exploration programs would be much stronger. Want that kind of program? Get the private sector flying those vehicles, and you’d have a strong case to get Congressional approval when budget time comes. Until that happens, the politics won’t allow it. Possible? Maybe.

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “OK, I can accept that. But let’s again talk about their testimony against Commercial Crew before Congress; wherein Stafford (especially), Armstrong and Cernan …”

    Stafford (especially)?

    General Stafford did not appear with Professor Armstrong and Captain Cernan at that hearing. The man you seem to think was Thomas Stafford was Thomas Young, the former EVP of Lockheed Martin. Mr. Young had been President and COO of Martin Marietta and Senior Vice President of Martin Marietta’s Electronics & Missiles Group. Before that he was Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Deputy Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center. He was also very much involved with the Viking and Voyager projects. He is highly respected within the aerospace community.

    Perhaps you should know who the gentleman is before you criticize him.

  • General Stafford did not appear with Professor Armstrong and Captain Cernan at that hearing.
    It was Stafford before the Senate Committee, where there was also representatives from SpaceX, Orbital, and ULA. I am sure other people here watched that hearing and can verify it.

    Quit trying to squirm your way out.

  • @Matt Wiser
    “And until the EELV community puts up a crewed vehicle and brings it back, the questions and skepticism will continue.”
    A little less hypocrisy? Until the current people designing and developing SLS puts up a crewed vehicle and brings it back, there should be an equal amount of skepticism. No one at NASA or any of its contractors have had any success designing and developing a vehicle to do that over the last 30-40 years. The people that did have success doing that with Apollo and Shuttle have long since retired or died. The king of rationalization strikes again.

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “It was Stafford before the Senate Committee, where there was also representatives from SpaceX, Orbital, and ULA. I am sure other people here watched that hearing and can verify it. Quit trying to squirm your way out.”

    I’m not “trying to squirm” my way out of anything. Why must you resort to such adolescent name-calling and temper tantrums?

    For the record, I heard from one of the participants this morning, and you will be pleased to learn that I stand corrected. General Stafford did, indeed, testify before the Senate committee. But not with Armstrong and Cernan. Since you mentioned the three of them together in your remarks, I misunderstood what you were saying. The suggestion was that you mistook Tom Young for Tom Stafford. Had you mentioned Stafford’s separate appearance, I would have understood your point.

    But I don’t understand why you seem to have found General Stafford’s testimony so offensive. My friend forwarded the link to Stafford’s statement:

    http://commerce.senate.gov/public/?a=Files.Serve&File_id=356046c9-83d1-4ada-9d30-64d85f6efd90

    It seems to me that General Stafford made some very valid points and raised some very valid questions. His remarks were based on his years of experience in flight testing, including his command of the Air Force Flight Test Center following his career as a NASA astronaut. General Stafford continues to serve in his Washington-based consulting firm.

    I find the following remarks from General Stafford’s Senate testimony to be especially relevant, and they certainly reflect my own thinking having worked in the aerospace industry myself:

    “It may be that the complexity of developing a new government crew space transportation capability, and the difficulty of conducting spaceflight operations safely and reliably, it is not fully appreciated by those who are recommending the cancellation of the present system being developed by NASA, and the early adaptation of the presently non-existent commercial government crew delivery alternatives. There seems to be some belief that if NASA would ‘step aside’, private alternatives would rapidly emerge to offer inexpensive, safe, reliable, dependable government crew delivery space transportation at an earlier date.

    Human spaceflight is the most technically challenging enterprise of our time. No other activity is so rigorously demanding across such a wide range of disciplines, while at the same time holding out such harsh consequences for minor performance shortfalls. Aerodynamics, aerospace medicine, combustion, cryogenics, guidance, and navigation, human factors, manufacturing technology, materials science, structural design and analysis – these disciplines and many more are pushed to their current limits to make it possible and just barely possible at that, to fly in space. Flight in space is very, very hard to achieve.

    We’ve learned a lot about human spaceflight in the last five decades, but not yet nearly enough to make it ‘routine’ in any meaningful sense of the word. As Admiral Gehman and the CAIB outlined, these flights in the past have been developmental flights and the relatively small number in the future will be the same. Thus far, it has been a government enterprise with only three nations yet to have accomplished it. Of the three, it is important to note that only the United States, where NASA set requirements had oversight with the design and development of vehicles, and commercial entities built all of the hardware and software. In the other two countries, it is government owned entities that built all of the hardware and software for their capabilities. Development of new systems is very costly, operational risks are extremely high, and commercial profitable activities are elusive. It may not always be this way, but it is that way at present.

    Apart from questions of technical and operational complexity and risk, there are business issues to be considered if the U.S. is to rely upon commercial providers for government crew access to space. It is not that industry is incapable of building space systems. Far from it. It is American industry which actually constructs all of our nation’s space systems today, and carries out most of the day-to-day tasks to implement flight operations, subject to the government supervision and control which is required in managing the expenditure of public funds.

    So the question is not whether industry can eventually develop government crew delivery systems and procedures to fly in low Earth orbit. It can. The relevant questions in connection with doing so commercially are much broader than that of the relatively simple matter of whether it is possible. Let us consider a few of those questions.

    Absent significant government backing, will industry provide the sustained investment necessary to carry out the multi-year development of new commercial government crew delivery systems to LEO? Will industry undertake to develop such products with only one presently known customer, the U.S. Government? What happens if, midway through the effort, stockholders or boards of directors conclude that such activities are ultimately not in the best interests of the corporation? What happens if, during development or flight operations, an accident occurs with collateral damages exceeding the net worth of the company which is the responsible party? A key lesson from the development of human spaceflight is that safety is expensive, and the failure to attain it is even more expensive. Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia have shown that spaceflight accidents generate billions of dollars in direct and collateral liabilities. Who will bear this risk in ‘commercial’ space operations? If the company, how much insurance will be required, where will it be obtained, and at what cost? If government indemnification is expected, upon what legal basis will it be granted, and if the government is bearing the risk, in what sense will the operation then be ‘commercial?’”

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ August 26th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    So the question is not whether industry can eventually develop government crew delivery systems and procedures to fly in low Earth orbit. It can. The relevant questions in connection with doing so commercially are much broader than that of the relatively simple matter of whether it is possible. Let us consider a few of those questions.

    And those questions have to do with risk. All businesses are risky, and the companies that succeed are the ones that have learned to manage risk well.

    NASA manages some risk, but not ultimate one, which is system redundancy. How many times has NASA shut down flight operations because it relied on just one flight system? And the SLS/MPCV don’t solve that, since they are just one accident away from shutting down NASA yet again.

    So the solution is clear to the problem of both the shutdown risk and the financial one – have more than one system. Spread the risk.

    Matters like liability are being addressed, and do need to be clarified before anyone launches people, but they are more matters of law than physical barriers. And general financial risk can be managed by having more than one participant and managing their concerns.

    Keep in mind that there is no question commercial crew systems can’t be more safe than their NASA predecessors, so this is just more a matter of working the issues than anything else.

    And keep in mind too that NASA needs commercial space to provide crew transportation more than the aerospace industry needs to risk money, so if they are risking their money it’s because they feel strongly about the future market, not because they are doing it for fun. This is business, which is why everyone requires NASA to put skin in the game along with them.

    The commercial companies have the same concerns about NASA and Congress that Stafford voiced about commercial companies – will Congress provide enough funding for development, and will they provide enough funding for operations? Or will they bail on the ISS?

    Two veteran aerospace companies and two startups say that commercial crew services are worth the risk. Instead of guessing why they might fail, you should be asking why they see so much potential success. What do they know that you and others don’t?

    That’s why I don’t give too much weight to the opinion of people that aren’t active in the aerospace business today, since their opinions are like driving down a road based on what you see in your rearview mirror – they don’t know what the industry knows about today and tomorrows business opportunities.

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ August 26th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Pretty nice answer.

    I think that the SLS huggers and Apollo cultists are the way they are for emotional reasons and nothing else. They want to rejoice in the NASA of the past. The grandeur of the USA of yesteryear. You know.

    What these people have forgotten is that this country is great because of its daring entrepreneurial spirit for right or wrong. This spirit is lacking in the investment industry today. Yet a few entrepreneurs and companies think it’s worth a shot to try and open a new market – in space. They should be celebrated because in the end if they are successful more Americans than ever will be able to go to space for work and possibly for leisure.

    What the people clinging to their past want is to have a piece of the pie. But they do not make the effort to work in this business. They only associate themselves with celebrities and expect the light will shine on them too. The problem is that the light does not shine on them and they are bitter.

    Well yes it’s risky to be in this business for many reasons. And if you want some light to shine on you you have to take risks, not regurgitate the past of others or of yours. We live in today not in yesterday.

    Some live in tomorrow and the light in on them.

    Oh well…

  • “Neither do I. I simply point out when comments are demonstrably stupid, or lunatic, or insane. I make no claims about the commenters themselves.”

    Is that supposed to make your rude language any less insulting … or your mean-spirited comments any more insightful?

    No, their insight is an intrinsic feature — it doesn’t arise from your perception of their “rudeness” or “mean-spiritedness.”

    Perhaps you should invest in a Thesaurus. There are other words you can use besides “stupid” and “lunatic” and “insane.” Words that professionals in the business world would use. But they don’t seem to be in your vocabulary.

    I write for a living. I have a very wide vocabulary. I tend use words that I deem to be the most accurate.

    How can one have an intelligent “discussion” with people who resort to bully tactics and ad hominem attacks?

    I don’t know, not being the sort of person who does so. Do you even know what the phrase “ad hominem” means? In what way am I being a “bully”? Did I steal your lunch money?

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “You and Wiser say that because information comes from someone that you consider an authority, that automatically makes it true.”

    “We” don’t consider people like Professor Armstrong, Dr. Schmitt and Dr. Kraft to be authorities. The whole world considers them to be authorities! And their records, quite frankly, are more extensive than Elon Musk’s (who you, no doubt, regard as an authority).

    I regard Elon Musk as an authority on his company and his rockets. Who else would I consider an authority on that subject?

    I don’t consider anyone’s comments to be “automatically true.” But I certainly pay attention when experienced professionals have something to say. I don’t discount their opinions as automatically untrue.

    Who here has done that? We “didn’t discount their opinions as automatically untrue,” or (your other repeated straw man) “not listen to them.” We listened to their opinions, processed them, and consequently assessed them as nonsense. The fact that they came from Apollo veterans (sadly) doesn’t change that.

  • BTW, I don’t think Elon Musk really meant it when he announced that he is going to “retire on Mars.”

    As I said, everyone makes a slip of the tongue from time to time. Myself included.

    It doesn’t really matter what you think. I’m sure that if you asked Elon again, he would repeat the statement. I have no reason to believe that is not his goal, based on many other things he has said.

    And until the EELV community puts up a crewed vehicle and brings it back, the questions and skepticism will continue.

    The EELV community has a very good reliability record. NASA, on the other hand, hasn’t successfully developed a new launch system in over three decades, even if you consider the Shuttle a success, with many failed attempts. Why should they not be the ones subject to questions and skepticism?

    Mr. Young had been President and COO of Martin Marietta and Senior Vice President of Martin Marietta’s Electronics & Missiles Group. Before that he was Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Deputy Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center. He was also very much involved with the Viking and Voyager projects. He is highly respected within the aerospace community.

    That may be, but there is nothing in his resume that would lend him any expertise with human spaceflight. It appears that the main reason that he was chosen to testify is that he would tell the committee what it wanted to hear.

  • Absent significant government backing, will industry provide the sustained investment necessary to carry out the multi-year development of new commercial government crew delivery systems to LEO?

    That has already been happening for years. It is SpaceX’s business plan, and they have been funding it steadily.

    Will industry undertake to develop such products with only one presently known customer, the U.S. Government?

    That’s an unuseful question, since we already knwo that there are other known customers (Bigelow and his sovereign clients, Space Adventures, et al).

    What happens if, midway through the effort, stockholders or boards of directors conclude that such activities are ultimately not in the best interests of the corporation?

    That’s like asking what happens if Elon Musk suddenly abandons his life-long goals. Why do you not have a similar concern about fickle funding in Congress, for which there is ample history, with government space programs?

    What happens if, during development or flight operations, an accident occurs with collateral damages exceeding the net worth of the company which is the responsible party?

    It will be covered by insurance and indemnification. Are you unfamiliar with the legal regime under which these companies operate?

    A key lesson from the development of human spaceflight is that safety is expensive, and the failure to attain it is even more expensive. Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia have shown that spaceflight accidents generate billions of dollars in direct and collateral liabilities.

    Most of that was a result of the high cost of the loss of the vehicle and unwillingness to risk any more of the fleet until they were fixed, not the loss of life per se.

    Who will bear this risk in ‘commercial’ space operations? If the company, how much insurance will be required, where will it be obtained, and at what cost? If government indemnification is expected, upon what legal basis will it be granted, and if the government is bearing the risk, in what sense will the operation then be ‘commercial?’”

    Again, you are betraying your ignorance of current statutes in that regard. Go look up what is required to get a launch license from the FAA.

  • William Mellberg

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    “I write for a living.”

    So do I. But I’d be very hard-pressed to find an editor who would allow me to use words like “lunatic, insane and stupid” in describing other people and their points of view. I’ve always strived to be polite, civil, professional and cheerful.

  • But I’d be very hard-pressed to find an editor who would allow me to use words like “lunatic, insane and stupid” in describing other people and their points of view.

    I have different writing styles for different venues. No one pays me to comment here.

  • By the way, note that I’ve been trying to have a serious discussion on the issues, which you claim to want to have, and all you can do is whine about my incivility and accuse me of things that I don’t do, while ignoring all my substantive responses. Should I continue to attempt to take you seriously?

  • Matt Wiser

    Ron: here’s another reason you find for the skeptical views held by Congress and by the old hands like Gen. Stafford, Capt. Cernan, Dr. Schmitt, and others: trust. NASA, with its decades of experience, has earned the trust of Congress and the Public in regards to HSF. With all due respect to the private sector, they have to earn that trust. Again, as the Commercial Spaceflight Federation said last year, “We need to stop talking and start flying.” That’s how the private sector will earn the trust of the public, skeptics like Cernan, Stafford, Gene Krantz, and Chris Kraft, as well as the skeptics in Congress. Some companies don’t have far to earn that trust: Boeing, ULA, Lockheed-Martin; they’ve been doing spaceflight for decades and know what has to be done. By contrast, the startups are just getting their feet wet, and they’re the ones in the public eye-Space X especially, with Musk shooting his mouth off with that “retiring on Mars” nonsense. One could argue that if Boeing or ULA was out in front on Commercial HSF, they’d have an easier chance of getting Congressional support for NASA making use of such services, and not startup firms still getting their feet wet.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 27th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    You’ve said a lot of stuff, so I’ll break up my response to keep it more readable:

    NASA, with its decades of experience, has earned the trust of Congress and the Public in regards to HSF. With all due respect to the private sector, they have to earn that trust.

    What an odd comment.

    You’re saying that Congress doesn’t trust Boeing?

    Or that despite building 592 launch vehicles, mostly for the U.S. government, that Congress doesn’t trust Orbital Sciences?

    And yes, Congress certainly can trust NASA to do…. what? Over spend? Not meet schedule? Use really bad decision skills that kill people?

    The things you make up Matt….

    That’s how the private sector will earn the trust of the public, skeptics like Cernan, Stafford, Gene Krantz, and Chris Kraft, as well as the skeptics in Congress.

    I know you’re not a business person Matt, so I’ll make this easy. Search the RFP’s and contracts the U.S. government issues and you won’t find the word “trust”. What you will find is a list of requirements and a schedule of compensation. Meet the terms of the contract and you get paid – that’s what matters.

    And Cernan, Stafford, Krantz and Kraft aren’t elected officials, don’t sign contracts and don’t authorize contract payments, so why should anyone have to worry about what they say? Weird.

    Just out of curiosity Matt, why didn’t Michael Griffin consult this august group of space seers when he awarded SpaceX and Orbital Sciences the COTS/CRS contracts? Wouldn’t they have told him that he shouldn’t award such an important contract (ISS support) to a new company (SpaceX) that hadn’t even launched their first rocket?

    Could it have been that Cernan, Stafford, Krantz, et al don’t matter when it comes to government contracting? Or that Griffin & NASA knew something that they didn’t?

    Makes you wonder, huh?

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 27th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Some companies don’t have far to earn that trust: Boeing, ULA, Lockheed-Martin; they’ve been doing spaceflight for decades and know what has to be done.

    Great, let’s turn over NASA to them. In fact, Congress should create a law that states all future human spaceflight in the U.S. will be through them, and only them. Try selling that idea…

    By contrast, the startups are just getting their feet wet, and they’re the ones in the public eye…

    Another good point. Another law Congress should issue is no startups! Or maybe that’s too harsh, so the law should read “startups must be quiet about their accomplishments, no matter how good they are, and they are not allowed to upstage existing companies, no matter how inept they may be“.

    Would those two laws solve your problem?

    One could argue that if Boeing or ULA was out in front on Commercial HSF…

    One could also argue that if it wasn’t for the “startups”, we wouldn’t be talking about four firms building 7-passenger crew vehicles for far less than what it takes NASA to build one.

    One could also argue that since a “startup” is upstaging all the older aerospace companies, that the older aerospace companies are having to step up their game so to speak – focus on building quickly and making smarter decisions about cost.

    Tell me again why Boeing or Lockheed Martin couldn’t have built two rocket families and one multi-purpose cargo/crew capsule for less than $1B? Was there a law holding them back? Did they lack talent? Did they not have enough Congressional support?

    …they’d have an easier chance of getting Congressional support for NASA making use of such services, and not startup firms still getting their feet wet.

    It’s obvious the type of capitalism that you support is called “Crony capitalism”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crony_capitalism

    You know, the “good ole boy” network.

    I’m sure this will surprise you, but startups are what drives the innovation in this country. So if you don’t want innovation, then outlaw startups. However smarter people won’t do that, so I don’t have to worry about the U.S. turning into some 3rd world country…

  • William Mellberg

    Matt Wiser wrote:

    “By contrast, the startups are just getting their feet wet, and they’re the ones in the public eye-Space X especially, with Musk shooting his mouth off with that ‘retiring on Mars’ nonsense.”

    You have made a good point about “trust” which also relates to “reputation.”

    When Airbus Industrie was a “start-up” manufacturer in the early 1970s, the firm had great difficulty selling its original A300 jetliner. It was an excellent aircraft (as time would show). But Airbus was a new entity, and skeptical airline executives did not know if they could “trust” the company to provide full and timely product support, like Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed. Even though established manufacturers such as Aerospatiale, Hawker Siddeley and Fokker were part of the Airbus consortium, the organization itself was new, and it had not built its own reputation. Over time, sales slowly added up, and Airbus proved itself to be a reliable supplier. Which is why Frank Borman (the former astronaut) bought a fleet of A300s for Eastern Airlines and put Airbus over the top.

    Another aircraft from that era did not do as well because of the “trust” factor. The Yak-40 was a unique (at the time) and excellent little transport — the first of the Regional Jets (even though that term wasn’t in vogue then). Aviaexport, the organization that sold Soviet airliners and provided after sales product support, thought they could crack the Western market with the diminutive Yak-40. In fact, they even teamed up with Rockwell to do so. Rockwell would have finished “green” aircraft (built in the USSR) here in the United States, adding American-made components such as avionics and interiors to satisfy Western customers. But other than a handful of sales in Europe, the Yak-40 never took off in the West. Aviaexport never built the “trust” (or reputation) that it needed to satisfy the skepticism and concerns of Western airline executives. Of course, some of those concerns revolved around Aviaexport’s reliability given the Cold War politics of the time. But even today, Sukhoi hasn’t found much of a market in the West for its new Superjet 100. Why? Because it still hasn’t built (or earned) a reputation for product support. The Superjet is, after all, Sukhoi’s first airliner.

    I think you have put your finger on one of the concerns some space veterans and Congressional critics have about SpaceX. They hear Elon Musk promising “hope and change.” But thus far, his record is still pretty slim. SpaceX could wind up like Airbus some day (i.e., a stellar success story). And I hope it does. But like some other people, I’ll remain a skeptic until the firm has a long record of success of the sort that finally put Airbus on top. SpaceX is off to a good start. However, they have a long way to go to prove themselves (as does Tesla Motors).

    As an aside, please note that there is no ‘t’ in Kranz. It is a common error that many people make. But it’s Kranz, not Krantz.

    Incidentally, it was Gene Kranz who wrote, “The NASA Administrator is appointed by the President and to a great degree represents the current President’s views on space.”

    How true.

  • Matt Wiser

    Ron: I’m not knocking startups: far from it. BUT, and this is what General Stafford, Captain Cernan, and other critics have pointed out, and to quote Captain Cernan from his most recent Senate testimony: “They don’t know what they don’t know.” Read: they will have learning events. And those events will cause delays. Again, and I’ve said it before, I want the private sector to succeed, because that frees up NASA’s resources to focus on BEO. But again, I’d much prefer a company that’s been around the block, knows how to get things done, and has institutional experience available to give advice and counsel when difficulties arise. A startup will be learning all of that-and one major failure can be trouble.

    Again, NOT listening to what General Stafford, Captain Cernan, Gene Krantz, Chris Kraft, Dr. Jack Schmitt, and Neil Armstrong (among others) have to say on this matter is folly. Listen to them, take their advice into consideration, and incorporate their ideas into the overall program. DO NOT ignore them. You may regret it.

  • common sense

    @ Matt Wiser wrote @ August 27th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Some companies don’t have far to earn that trust: Boeing, ULA, Lockheed-Martin; they’ve been doing spaceflight for decades and know what has to be done.”

    Boy is it that you like reading the nonsense that you write? ULA has HSF experience? LMT has? When? What vehicles? Are you ever, EVER going to make an effort at living with facts???? EVER?

    ULA never flew humans, and neither did LMT. Boeing, through Rockwell, has some legacy HSF design experience but this is how far it goes.

    See this is the problem with people like you who make grandiloquent statements out of thin air. Learn and come back with a well adjusted argument. You are only being detrimental to HSF with your nonsense. And… You are not alone.

    See? Unlike Simberg I did not use “insane, stupid or lunatic”.

  • William Mellberg

    Matt Wiser wrote:

    “… to quote Captain Cernan from his most recent Senate testimony: ‘They don’t know what they don’t know.’ Read: they will have learning events. And those events will cause delays.”

    Yes, as the people at Boeing have learned with the 787, which is now just a mere three and half years behind schedule (sending costs up and profit margins down). Pioneering new production methods has proven to be a bigger challenge than Boeing management thought when the project was launched. Even the most experienced teams “Don’t know what they don’t know.” Which was Captain Cernan’s point.

    Matt Wiser added:

    “NOT listening to what General Stafford, Captain Cernan, Gene Kranz, Chris Kraft, Dr. Jack Schmitt, and Neil Armstrong (among others) have to say on this matter is folly. Listen to them, take their advice into consideration, and incorporate their ideas into the overall program. DO NOT ignore them. You may regret it.”

    Listening to experienced professionals and taking outside advice seems to be very, very difficult for some NewSpace lobbyists, cheerleaders and Musketeers to do.

  • Matt Wiser

    William Melberg: You’ve put the finger right on things: “Trust” does equal “reputation.” The firms that have been around for a while have a well-deserved reputation for getting things done. Boeing,ULA, Lockheed-Martin, even Northrop-Grummann (which built the Apollo LM and might have gotten the Altair contract) have earned their reptutations for accomplishment-whether it’s HSF or in launching satellites and NASA probes to the planets. Space X, Orbital, etc. have yet to do so. I agree with you: Space X, Orbital, Sierra Nevada, etc. may yet prove themselves to be reliable and safe providers of commercial crew and cargo services. They need to prove it first. Only then will the skeptics-which are numerous-be satisfied.

    “Listening to experienced professionals and taking outside advice seems to be very, very difficult for some NewSpace lobbyists, cheerleaders and Musketeers to do.”

    Agreed. They seem to have a lot of faith, which is what General Stafford was concerned about. Not to mention pride. Those folks need to swallow their pride and take what the NASA vets and other skeptics have to say.

  • William Mellberg

    Matt Wiser wrote:

    “Space X, Orbital, etc. have yet to do so.”

    Actually, Matt, Orbital Sciences Corporation enjoys a solid reputation resting on its record of success over the past three decades. OSC has built hundreds of launch vehicles and satellites during that time, as well as the Dawn spacecraft which recently went into orbit around the asteroid 4 Vesta. So I would not describe OSC as a startup. It’s an established member of America’s space industry. Of course, moving into HSF and servicing the ISS is something new for them.

  • common sense

    @ Matt Wiser wrote @ August 27th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    “Only then will the skeptics-which are numerous-be satisfied.”

    Thankfully no one cares about the ignorant skeptics. SLS is done/gone. MPCV will follow shortly.

    Look at this start-up http://www.sncorp.com/ Only 50 years in business…

    We only care of knowledgeable skeptics and they are few and far between.

    Oh well…

  • Matt Wiser

    William: then I stand corrected, but they’re lumped into the category of startups when Commercial Crew/Cargo services come up in Congressional hearings. Probably because of their involvement with Pegasus, correct?

  • William: then I stand corrected, but they’re lumped into the category of startups when Commercial Crew/Cargo services come up in Congressional hearings.

    You may not have noticed, but you need a lot of correcting, on a more-than-daily basis. Has it ever occurred to you to actually go out and do a little research and educate yourself on these topics before spouting off and making a fool of yourself in public?

  • William Mellberg

    Matt Wiser wrote:

    “Probably because of their involvement with Pegasus, correct?”

    I suppose so, in that OSC was regarded in that light when they developed the original Pegasus. But I think they are long past the “startup” phase.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 28th, 2011 at 2:30 am

    then I stand corrected, but they’re lumped into the category of startups when Commercial Crew/Cargo services come up in Congressional hearings. Probably because of their involvement with Pegasus, correct?

    You don’t even know why you call them derogatory names?

    Just another lemming…

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 27th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    they will have learning events.

    Matt, how many companies have you founded, grown successfully in tough financial times, IPO’d and sold?

    How many have Cernan, and all the other supposed “experts” that you say must be consulted before any aerospace company starts up.

    Musk has had to deal with plenty of business challenges, and his results speak more loudly than your ignorant rants.

    And maybe you didn’t know this, but SpaceX is not a company of one (Musk), it is a company of over 1,500 professionals, and those professionals come from NASA, rocket companies, the tech world, and some of the best and brightest of our engineering schools.

    So what are you trying to tell them, that they don’t know what they’re doing? That you are smarter than them, even though you have no idea what they do and the challenges that they have already overcome?

    You always say that SpaceX “doesn’t know what it doesn’t know”, but that applies to everyone, including you and Cernan. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and neither do you. Cernan never built a rocket or spacecraft, he’s an electrical engineer and pilot. So he has no idea what the challenges are that SpaceX is going through.

    What Cernan said is pablum to the ears, and makes a good sound bite, but it’s useless as a management technique. How do you manage the unknown? To some degree you can’t, and NASA has proved that on many occasions, even though they had people like Cernan et al.

    How come Cernan and your crew of experts weren’t able to stop all the NASA failures? Didn’t they know what no one else knew?

    Do Boeing and Lockheed Martin have this ragtag group on a consulting contract? Where are their offices? What papers have they published on the subject? Do they hold seminars?

    Or are they just a bunch of former aerospace people expressing personal opinions that you have cobbled into an imaginary super hero group like The Avengers?

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ August 27th, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Of course, moving into HSF and servicing the ISS is something new for them [Orbital Sciences].

    Orbital Sciences is not “moving into HSF”.

    I find it odd that you and Matt are so gleeful in pointing out that SpaceX and Musk “don’t know what they don’t know”, but neither of you know who is or isn’t planning to do human spaceflight.

    I wonder what that says about the rest of your “informed” opinions?

  • William Mellberg

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “Orbital Sciences is not ‘moving into HSF.’”

    I knew someone would catch me on that one. I should have said “was” as they had hoped to be “moving into HSF” with Prometheus.

    A slip of the tongue (or in this case, the gray cells) I’m afraid. But believe me, I’m fully aware of what Orbital Sciences has done and is doing.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ August 28th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    But believe me, I’m fully aware of what Orbital Sciences has done and is doing.

    Since we can all only be judged by what we write (I can’t peer into your brain), the only way to show that you are knowledgeable about something is to be accurate.

    People do make mistakes, but keep in mind that you still don’t know what you don’t know.

    I’m going to love using that phrase now… ;-)

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