Congress, Lobbying, NASA

House hearing on human spaceflight today

A reminder that at 10 am EDT today, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will be holding a hearing titled “NASA Human Spaceflight Past, Present, and Future: Where Do We Go From Here?”, which will be webcast on the committee’s site. The witnesses include former astronauts Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, as well as former NASA administrator Mike Griffin; late last week the committee added another witness, MIT planetary sciences professor Maria Zuber, the principal investigator of NASA’s recently-launched GRAIL lunar orbiter mission.

On the eve of today’s hearing, the student space advocacy group Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) said it send a letter to Armstrong, asking him to “carry with you some of the messages” that SEDS members articulated in a letter earlier this year. That earlier letter strongly supported commercial spaceflight, saying that “NASA and the nation both benefit greatly from investing in commercial spaceflight programs that will allow astronauts to fly on commercial vehicles,” and playing up the educational and workforce development benefits of such efforts. Given that Armstong (along with Cernan and Griffin) have been critics of the administration’s space policy, which has put an emphasis on commercial crew vehicle development, it’s not clear the students’ message will resonate with the legendary astronaut.

84 comments to House hearing on human spaceflight today

  • Mr. Right

    Griffin started commercial space efforts with cargo. When proven, move to commercial crew to ISS. NASA then does exploration. He wanted the effort for LEO given to commercial firms. But they have to prove they can do the job. That’s Griffins plan. Lori’s commercial only plan excludes NASA from exploration and pushes the agency to being more like the old NACA. No exploration for a very, very, very long time.

    Griffin offered a vision and had congress on his side. Lori is paying a campaign debt and made an enemy of the Senate and Congress. The US space program suffered because of the amateur, egotistical, near sighted attack on CxP. These are my views. Please keep you hate/disrespect/attack comments to yourself.

  • G Clark

    Mr. Right, would you care to explain to the class how Dr Griffins’ plan was so badly bungled that it was spending money like water, delaying more than a year per calender year, and had effectively cancelled the most important elements (habitat module & lander) by the time it was cancelled?

    Note: Not a Constellation fan. Not an Obama/Garver fan. Equally not a fan of waste.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Mr. Right – You are of course entitled to your views, but not the facts, and the facts aren’t reflected in your views. Of course, there is a long history of people ignoring the facts when it suits their purpose.

  • @Mr. Right:

    Griffin started commercial space efforts with cargo. When proven, move to commercial crew to ISS. NASA then does exploration. He wanted the effort for LEO given to commercial firms. But they have to prove they can do the job. That’s Griffins plan.

    Provided Soyuz resumes next month and there are no other upsets, you’ll see a first cargo demonstration later this year. Now that post-Griffin NASA’s finally settled on its IDC contracting scheme, you might want ask them when they’ll move forward with crew demos.

    Lori’s commercial only plan excludes NASA from exploration and pushes the agency to being more like the old NACA. No exploration for a very, very, very long time.

    Griffin hasn’t been at NASA for two years. Pray tell whose driving plans for a $40 billion SD HLV? Hint, it’s not bunch of Congresscritters with a couple of vague lines in a year old authorization that was never even funded.

  • BeanieCounterFromDownunder

    Mr Right, you are, of course, entitled to your views however, in this instance they are so wrong it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s just say that your level of comprehension and ability to discern facts from propaganda is abysmal. Take Cx for example. Here was a NASA Program that was simply looking to build a launch vehicle; a booster if you will, something commercial companies had already achieved with DoD. NASA spent in the order of $10 billion and achieved an failed sub-orbital flight with hardware that bore little resemblance to what was intended as the final vehicle. A private commercial firm took technology and lessons learned by NASA and refined them and created virtually an entire organization complete with 2 successful orbital launch vehicles, manufacturing capability, etc, etc for around the cost of the Cx launch gantry! One example. If you want others, check out how many failed programs there’ve been to develop a replacement for the Shuttle.
    So no invective necessary, just cold hard facts.

  • OMG! Could the witness list be any more imbalanced! As I have always said, Hall repeatedly threatening to call Musk as a witness is just cheap propaganda. If he has been afraid to balance all of his hearings thus far with people of the opposing view, he sure as hell is afraid to call Musk who is the most publicly visible newspace figure. By merely issuing the threat and not following through, he gets the benefit of casting doubt on the opposition without the risk of having his own position exposed to critique.

  • Bill Hensley

    The US space program suffered because of the amateur, egotistical, near sighted attack on CxP. These are my views. Please keep you hate/disrespect/attack comments to yourself.

    Mr. Right, if you don’t like “hate/disrespect/attack comments” you might want to avoid making ad hominem attacks yourself. Calling your opponent’s opinion “amateur, egotistical, near sighted” is hardly a respectful comment.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Remembering that Musk once referred to Hall and other GOP congressman as the equivilent of the Soviet Politburo, having him dragged before the kleig lights seems entertaining,

  • amightywind

    it’s not clear the students’ message will resonate with the legendary astronaut.

    I hope they will not. The left often uses children as human shields to do their dirty work. Remember the teachers in Wisconsin who coerced their students to carry signs during the union protests? This is no different, and just as disgusting.

  • Grand Lunar

    Griffin’s prescence ruins this hearing for me.

    He turned a viable idea, the VSE, into a bloated rocket building program, to satisfy his whims.

    For this guy to have called alternatives that would’ve used EELVs “fiction” shows how narrow his vision was.

    For him to think he can really offer insight is lunacy.

  • Lori’s commercial only plan excludes NASA from exploration and pushes the agency to being more like the old NACA.

    What nonsense. This is a dispatch from an alternate universe.

  • Not so much a discussion of any substantive issues as a feel good session for like minded individuals. The space dev options NASA will fore-go with this cabal is as serious a setback as any complaint they’re raising.

  • Robert G. Oler

      Mark R. Whittington wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 10:58 am
    Remembering that Musk once referred to Hall and other GOP congressman as the equivilent of the Soviet Politburo, having him dragged before the kleig lights seems entertaining,”

    how far Mark you have descended along the lines of Obama hate is illustrated by you post these days. The notion of a man who has made himself a fortune by providing services to people that makes their lives better,employes people, and pays not takes taxes…being “dragged” ois one that could only come from someone who hates free enterprise or iOS so consumed by political hate that they cannot think straight…or both.

    What I would like to see is griffin dragged (grin) before the hot lights and someone ask him how he spent more money then was spent on the Ford CVN and produced the first of it’s class and all griffin got was a sorry sub orbital demo that did nothing and cost more then what Musk spent to develop Falcon..and that WAS HIS OWN MONEY.

    You have become a political hack. RGO

  • Vladislaw

    Griffin said China could goto the moon with a long march V. He said it is the same as our Delta IV heavy. He said he wrote up how you could do it with 4 launches.

    That begs the question, why the hell are we screwing around with Constellation and SLS when we can return to the moon with 4 launches of a delta IV for 1.2 billion and the cost of a lander and an EDS.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    @ Vadislav,

    Because the movers and shakers wanted something that preserved the shuttle infrastructure chain and therefore vetoed any non-Shuttle heritage option. That is what killed Steedle’s spirals and O’Keefe’s original response to VSE.

    The preface to the DIRECT 2.0 presentation given to the AIAA (in about 2007, IIRC) was fascinating. In that, it is acknowledged that SD-HLV is sub-optimal but no other option is politically possible, so you are left trying to develop the best possible options from shuttle-heritage technology.

  • SpaceColonizer

    @Vladislaw

    Because… because… jobs? Is it jobs? I think it’s jobs.

  • amightywind

    That begs the question, why the hell are we screwing around with Constellation and SLS when we can return to the moon with 4 launches of a delta IV

    The Delta IV is too small, not man-rated.

  • Martijn Meijering

    The Delta IV is too small, not man-rated.

    Here we go again.

    If Mike Griffin knows it can be done with 4 Long March rockets, he knows it can be done with 4 Delta IV Heavies. Delta IV is not too small, it is just too small to do it in the way you want. And the reason you want to do it that way seems to be that you can’t use Delta IV that way. Pure circular reasoning.

    And “man-rating” is not a problem with Delta. It just needs more redundant subsystems to meet NASA specifications.

    Of course, you know all this, but choose to continue shilling for SLS.

  • common sense

    @ amightywind wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    “The Delta IV is too small, not man-rated.”

    Tss, tss, tss. Again out of your league. Stick to the left vs. the right rhetoric where you excel on good days. I am sure you have plenty of followers like that.

    Technical argument. Nah. It just shows that you don’t know what you don’t know. You may end up arguing with Cernan. Come on.

    Now isn’t that sentence a little tiny bit over the top? “The left often uses children as human shields to do their dirty work.” Children as human shield? Watched too many war movies recently? Or too many war footages?

  • libs0n

    Delta 4 can be manrated, and ISS is proof positive that a 25mt launch vehicle can be used to assemble a mission mass in orbit that is far beyond the payload capacity of the SLS.

  • BRC

    “The Delta IV is too small, not man-rated”

    Well, not yet, anyway, but it will be. As will the Atlas V (Heavy) — even NASA supports that.

    “(T)oo small”? So what, if it takes 4 launches? If LM (or BLS) is able to crank them out of the factory and shoot them at a fast clip (maybe even with a spare), as opposed to the SLS’s “be-super-slow-and-careful-because-it’s-all-eggs-in-one-basket” approach (like we had to do with the Shuttle). Btw, I’m bet the A-V can handle growth for more than just 2 strap-on liquid boosters (and I bet so can D-IV & F9 for that matter)

    That’s not to say I’m against the idea of a Super-Heavy LV (remember, “Battlestar Galactica” was the Hero), especially when they are really needed. I’d just rather see them come out as a logical and functional growth of proven systems (e.g., Atlas to Atlas II to Atlas III to Atlas V to Atlas V(H) to Atlas ???)

  • amightywind

    Neil and Gene didn’t disappoint at today’s hearing. They gave Obama both barrels. Lets hope it adds up to action.

  • Rhyolite

    “That begs the question, why the hell are we screwing around with Constellation and SLS when we can return to the moon with 4 launches of a delta IV”

    or 2 Falcon Heavies.

  • SpaceColonizer

    Today’s hearing was an example of how congressional hearings should not be done. Did we solve any problems? Did we advance the conversation? Did the panel have anything new to say? Did the video of the lunar landing have anything to do with “where we go from here” and did it need an explaination at least twice as long as the video itself… which was apparently not counted against his speaking time?

    Waste of taxpayers dollars… which is appropriate I guess considering the apparent subject matter (I.e. Senate Launch System).

  • BRC

    Considering this was a HOUSE hearing, II’m surprised they were that nice to the “SENATE Launch System”

  • @Mark Whittington
    “Remembering that Musk once referred to Hall and other GOP congressman as the equivilent of the Soviet Politburo, having him dragged before the kleig lights seems entertaining,”

    Did you comprehend what I wrote at all? I just showed Hall is too scared to do anything as gutsy as calling Musk up. Making repeated noises over long periods of time that he is going to call Musk, but never actually doing so is just a way of try to discredit Musk without actually taking the risk of facing him in a straightforward and honest hearing.

    The reason why Musk referred to Hall and his cronies as the equivalent of the Soviet Politburo is because of the very one-sided witness ensemble Hall calls every time he has a hearing: a result of his own cowardice and insecurity. Musk wouldn’t have to be “dragged” to the hearing as you put it, he would love the chance to expose the B.S. that Hall has been promulgating. But again Hall doesn’t dare call him or any other prominent figure from the opposing side to testify. If he was that brave, he wouldn’t keep the witness pool so one-sided hearing after hearing.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Rick, I hardly think that it would be appropriate to invite to a hearing upon what is wrong with the current space program someone who is financially benefiting from it. Commercial crew may be Solyndra on steroids, but it’s not yet time to start dragging CEOs and have them sworn in. Later, perhapos.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Neil and Gene didn’t disappoint at today’s hearing. They gave Obama both barrels. Lets hope it adds up to action.

    Two guys who haven’t been in space in four decades – Hall is scrapping the bottom of the barrel to find people that he can use to say “anti-whatever-the-President-says” stuff…

  • @Mark Whittington
    “Rick, I hardly think that it would be appropriate to invite to a hearing upon what is wrong with the current space program someone who is financially benefiting from it. Commercial crew may be Solyndra on steroids, but it’s not yet time to start dragging CEOs and have them sworn in. Later, perhapos.”
    And next, please tell me the one about the Three Bears, Uncle Marky.

  • Coastal Ron

    I read the news account of the testimony, and all I can say is that Cernan is truly clueless – he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

    Cernan said:

    You want a launch vehicle today that will service the ISS? We’ve got it sitting down there [Shuttle]. So before we put it in a museum, let’s make use of it. It’s in the prime of its life, how could we just put it away?

    The guy doesn’t even remember that the Shuttle cannot keep people at the ISS for any longer than two weeks. The problem we need solved is having a spacecraft that can stay docked with the ISS for longer than two weeks, and that’s what the Commercial Crew program addresses.

    Why is Chairman Hall tarnishing the memory of these past heroes by forcing them to speak on issues they never were involved with, and have no idea what the issues at hand are? Chairman Hall should be ashamed.

  • I hardly think that it would be appropriate to invite to a hearing upon what is wrong with the current space program someone who is financially benefiting from it.

    I think you could have ended that nonsense after the third word.

    Commercial crew may be Solyndra on steroids

    No, that would be SLS.

  • Joe

    Coastal Ron wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    “Two guys who haven’t been in space in four decades”

    Perhaps you would remind everyone Ron, when was the last time you were in space?

  • Perhaps you would remind everyone Ron, when was the last time you were in space?

    He may not have been in space, but at least he knows that it makes no sense to resurrect the Shuttle.

  • Coastal Ron

    Also from the testimony today, Neil Armstrong said:

    For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable.

    It’s funny that Neil Armstrong was sitting at the same table that was responsible for this situation. Why didn’t he just lean over and as Michael Griffin why he put us in this situation?

    Armstrong then said:

    A lead, however earnestly and expensively won, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain,

    Anyone that is involved with aerospace, or keeps track of the industry, can easily see that the U.S. is in no danger of falling behind anyone else in the world. The ISS, which is mainly U.S. owned, flies overhead every day, and our industry is working on far more space related hardware and vehicles than all the other nations combined.

    As an example we have two companies that are building sub-orbital passenger vehicles, and four other companies that are building orbital spacecraft.

    Armstrong must also be oblivious to the Commercial Crew program, and the announcement this week by NASA that they have released a Commercial Crew Draft RFP that could result in a crew system ready for test by 2014. This effort would be going a lot faster if Congress funded it fully, so he seems to be unaware of what the options are these days.

  • Vladislaw

    Mark R. Whittington shilled:

    “I hardly think that it would be appropriate to invite to a hearing upon what is wrong with the current space program someone who is financially benefiting from it.”

    So you are saying that the MASSIVE subsidies going to the crony capitalists that Griffin put into place with non competitive, cost plus-fixed fee contracts with escalator clauses that would take you to the moon without ever building a rocket would not benefit financially if Griffin gets his way as a paid lobbyist by Alabama?

    Talk about convoluted thinking. EVERY company involved in doing business with NASA is trying to benefit financially from that involvement.

    So commercial is trying to make money, but ATK is donating their services? Lockheed Martian is not making out like a rat with Orion/MPCV? Almost 10 billion for a freakin’ one time use capsule? lol gawd that is laughable.

    Mark, did you even read what the title of the meeting was?

    ““NASA Human Spaceflight Past, Present, and Future: Where Do We Go From Here?””

    Where in that title does it say what you said?

    “what is wrong with the current space program”

    Get out your box of crayola crayons and please underline, in the title of the meeting, where is says what is wrong with the current space program?

    Where do we go from here into the future. So for you to say it does not involve commercial space, which NASA is currently adding into whatever they do in the future, is VERY relevant.

    But as so many comments have stated, Hall stacked the deck and did not want to hear about ANY past, present or future that included a positive representation of commercial space, or anyone being in favor of it. It all had to be “Only NASA can do this”

    Rand had an excellent article on this very subject:

    The Fable of the Shoes

    The government has always provided the astronaut shoes and only the government, for the rest of the history of the United States, can only be provided with a big government program providing massive subsidies and crony capitalism to ATK. Orrin Hatch is laughing about it. “Mission accomplished, the taxpayer gets screwed and my state gets the money”

  • Coastal Ron

    Joe wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Perhaps you would remind everyone Ron, when was the last time you were in space?

    Exactly my point – these retired guys probably spend more time on golf than keeping up the aerospace industry. That Cernan was unaware of the fact that the Shuttle can’t act as a lifeboat for the ISS crew just goes to show that average citizens like me are more informed than he is.

    Thanks Joe. And I thought your comment would be just another one of your empty posts… ;-)

  • Artemus

    I wonder how well any contractor would do if burdened with the responsibility to…

    “… to the fullest extent possible consistent with a successful development program, use the personnel, capabilities, assets, and infrastructure of the Space Shuttle program in developing the Crew Exploration Vehicle, Crew Launch Vehicle, and a heavy-lift launch vehicle.” – NASA Authorization Act of 2005

  • Coastal Ron

    More from the testimony today:

    Armstrong was part of a four-member panel of space experts who told lawmakers that NASA needs a stronger vision for the future and should focus on returning humans to the Moon and to the International Space Station.

    And then later in the testimony:

    Maria Zuber, principal investigator on NASA’s unmanned GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) mission that launched earlier this month to orbit the Moon, said lunar study is valuable, but noted that her students are inspired by the notion of exploring Mars.

    “The goal of human exploration of Mars is also the consensus opinion of the next generation who will carry out this challenge,” she said..

    Ouch! That has got to hurt the feelings of the “Moon First” crowd.

  • common sense

    @Joe wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    “Perhaps you would remind everyone Ron, when was the last time you were in space?”

    Sometimes I feel we are dealing with teenagers in the schoolyard here.

    – Look I have a big rocket, how big is yours?
    – Nah not that big. Maybe but I went to space.
    – Wow! You did go to space didn’t you?
    – Yeah it was cool. Way cool.

    And “going to space” makes one an expert at space system designs right?

    Not sure how our good friend von Braun did it without the knowledge of those that went to space then though. Area 51 maybe? A return vehicle from somewhere else? Big wide open eyes? Nah that can’t be. You know I suspect von Braun actually studied you know physics and mechanics and mathematics and this kind of things. That could be why his team made it to the Moon but I am not sure.

    Hey Joe what do you think? How’s the sidemount going?

  • John Malkin

    The reason Obama wanted the Orion escape ship was to give Lockheed something they could get done in the next couple of years without the Ares I. Congress wants it all now but they don’t give the money now. That has been the bipartisan problem for the last three decades, NASA management aside.

    Griffin sounded a lot like when he was Administrator telling them, they either need to fund at the correct level or end it. I think I spend more than .15 cents a day on NASA but there are some homeless that pay nothing. Griffin also mention how NASA budget could be a rounding error in the DOD budget. Funny. I can’t tell if anyone on the committee heard him. I felt this was a complete waste of time.

    Also I need to play it back but didn’t Griffin say China could do a moon mission with four 25mT or Ares I equitant launch vehicles? I love the question: Are there any missions that would require more than 130mT – 150mT?

    BTW both testing nuclear propulsion and proving the fuel depots concept could be done under a robust Advance Technology program building real space hardware now.

    At least SLS hasn’t eaten CCDev, yet. Maybe Griffin wants to invest his money into Liberty…

    My rant…

  • vulture4

    The principal asset of the Space Shuttle program was the skill, experience, and dedication of the thousands of workers who actually maintained the only reusable spacecraft in the world. That asset has already been thrown away. There is no possibility that the taxpayers will put up the $170B-400B needed to send people to the moon with throw-away rockets. The billions that will be spent on SLS and MPCV will be wasted when the programs are delayed and ultimately cancelled.

  • John Malkin

    Oh I forgot… Economy of scales, Economy of scales… (say it like serenity now, serenity now from Seinfeld)

    Also how many amendments did the President veto to either save Shuttle, Ares I or Constellation? Of course the President doesn’t veto amendments but bills and none of them made it out of committee. Griffin did defend Bolden at least because he knows the Washington games. Maybe we should rename our capital from Washington DC to Washington BS.

  • Mr. Right

    1. No one is afraid of Musk, they are of Lori.

    2. a big part of CxP (Ares I) was to have NASA lead design, engineering development and initial manufacturing. Have NASA people learn how to do this again, the skills had migrated to industry (as they should), but the loss in terms of knowledge and experience was lacking to the point of making many NASA managers AND SOME ENGINEERS ineffective or even dangerous. It costs a lot to reeducate these people and for some, it was too late.

    3. Your right, many programs cancelled when the 1st whiff of it being hard came along (X-33, NSP, NASP, NLS). Falcon 9, 1 partial success, one good flight. Good stuff. I hope they make it all the way with a crew.
    Ares I/V – separate crew from cargo and make a great cargo rocket. In my opinion we would have flown Ares I about 10 times before the upper stage was migrated to the Ares V core making a crew version (Ares IV, go look it up). I saw manifest planning documents back in 2007 that had us working towards that.

    4. Congress is pushing for NASA to have a spacecraft (Orion) and launch vehicle (SLS). Not Lori. If she had won. both would be gone. and NASA would be out of the human space flight business (in terms of launch, operations and crew). To say otherwise is like saying the passengers on the AA flight that just left Dallas are all pilots.

    4. I’ll stack my facts against yours any day. Opinions and points view are just that.

    5. CxP – Ares I-Y full up (minus the J2-X) was going to fly in 2013 as a high alt abort test, Ares I-Y Prime (full up Ares I all stages/engines and production Orion) in 2013 (late ) or early 2014. Full up 1st crewed fight in early FY 2015.

    6. Ares I-X worked and did what we wanted. Accept it and move on.

    7. CxP never had a habitat module. Altar Lander would not fly for 10 years +. You could start it later (and should)

    8. Griffin still started Commercial crew. Not Lori.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Hey, if Armstrong and Cernan want to besmirch their records they’re welcome to do so.

  • Vladislaw

    Griffin tried to make the point that bigger is better and tried to compare a 1-2 billion dollars a shot for a disposable transport system is the same as super tankers. What he failed to point out is all those other transportation systems are reusable and they all make a stop at a fuel station. None are disposable and non fail to stop to get refueled.

    We need space based, reusable, gas n’ go vehicles, not billion dollar disposable bic lighters.

  • Joe

    Coastal Ron wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 5:13 pm
    “Exactly my point – these retired guys probably spend more time on golf than keeping up the aerospace industry. That Cernan was unaware of the fact that the Shuttle can’t act as a lifeboat for the ISS crew just goes to show that average citizens like me are more informed than he is.”

    Since you would not answer the question – When was the last time you were in space? – I will ask a few others you will not answer either:
    - What actual space program have you ever worked on?
    - Other than pontificating you questionable opinions on various websites, name one contribution you have ever made to any actual space program?
    - Since you consider Armstrong and Cernan (who have actually accomplished something in the area under discussion) ”scrapping the bottom of the barrel”, what does that make you?

    I really did not intend to post here any further, but that particular piece of drivel from ‘Coastal Ron’ was so egregious that it needed response and I knew no one else here would do it.

  • Coastal Ron quoted:

    “Armstrong was part of a four-member panel of space experts who told lawmakers that NASA needs a stronger vision for the future and should focus on returning humans to the Moon and to the International Space Station.”

    So what you’re saying is that Armstrong and colleagues mooned the House panel …

  • E.P. Grondine

    Mr Right – here we go, line by line

    “Griffin started commercial space efforts with cargo.”

    Musk started commercial space in a serious way. I could go on for hours about all the earlier bs that was out there, including all of Tumlinson’s Space Frontier Foundation nonsense. Griffin reacted to that reality.

    “When proven, move to commercial crew to ISS. NASA then does exploration. He wanted the effort for LEO given to commercial firms. But they have to prove they can do the job.”

    Griffin’s plan: Kill ISS one way or another, and use the money “saved” for manned flight to Mars. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the technologies or the money, nor if the public has manned flight to Mars as their highest priority in space.

    “That’s Griffins plan.”

    Griffin taught on ATK’s dime, and estimated that ATK’s launchers were the low cost solution. When O’Keefe and Reidel came close to another opinion, ATK brought Griffin in under W. to try to gain the medium heavy market.
    Griffin then did his best to lock NASA in to ATK.

    “Lori’s commercial only plan excludes NASA from exploration and pushes the agency to being more like the old NACA. No exploration for a very, very, very long time.”

    Gration’s nomination was blocked by ATK. But then ATK has stopped shuttle replacement programs for years, and they are the primary reason for US stagnation in space.

    Lori had little to do with it, but it is convenient to the neocons for their crony capitalism attack.

    Bottom lines here: Griffin was focused on manned flight to Mars, and his lunar program was little more than tests of elements for it.

    As far as our space press goes, they could not investigate their way out of a paper bag. That’s why Easterbrook eats their lunch.

    “Griffin offered a vision and had congress on his side. Lori is paying a campaign debt and made an enemy of the Senate and Congress. The US space program suffered because of the amateur, egotistical, near sighted attack on CxP. These are my views. Please keep you hate/disrespect/attack comments to yourself.”

    Griffin had ATK on his side from the start. But yet once again, ATK failed to deliver on time and no where near price.

    Re your “Lori’s own “campaign debt” repayment for Obama” manure… if I were to use the words I want to, Jeff would have to delete the post.

    We’ll see if ATK can deliver 4 seats at $180 million per launch, or if they end up killing astronauts. Based on past experience, I go with Option B..

    We’ll also see if Musk can deliver his launchers at his stated prices.

    In the meantime, LM/B has a rough road before it.

  • Coastal Ron

    Mr. Right wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    4. Congress is pushing for NASA to have a spacecraft (Orion) and launch vehicle (SLS). Not Lori.

    I don’t know who wanted it inside the Administration, but Obama wanted the Orion kept, so either mark it his column or both his and Congress, but it wasn’t Congress alone.

    8. Griffin still started Commercial crew.

    Griffin proposed Commercial Cargo and actually awarded contracts, so I have credited him for starting COTS/CRS. However despite proposing Commercial Crew (COTS-D), he never got it going, so I don’t credit him with starting Commercial Crew.

  • Coastal Ron

    Joe wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Oh Joe, you are so cute when you pretend to be righteously indignant.

    Since you would not answer the question…

    What part of “average citizens like me” don’t you understand? Do you think average citizens are going to space? Asked and answered.

    What actual space program have you ever worked on?

    I state on a regular basis that I’m a manufacturing guy, but yes, I have worked on a product that flew on Shuttle – computer equipment. However I don’t use that as the basis of my opinions since that was unrelated to what I advocate for which is: Those things that lower the cost to access space.

    Funny, I’ve never heard you say what you advocate for, and most of the times you just provide empty comments.

    what does that make you?

    Apparently a tax paying citizen of this country that knows more about the capabilities of the Shuttle than Eugene Cernan does.

    I expect expert witnesses to be experts, but that wasn’t the goal of Chairman Hall. Hall wanted “witnesses” that would provide the proper amount of Administration bashing, and Armstrong and Cernan did not disappoint. If Hall would have asked them about the engineering challenges that await us on future Moon missions, then I would have listened attentively. However they were asked questions outside their fields of expertise.

    Essentially they were giving their personal opinions, which means they carry no more weight than what any other citizen thinks about our next destinations in space.

    I really did not intend to post here any further…

    Don’t worry, I won’t shed a tear.

    Oh, and notice how I do respond to your questions, but you stopped answering mine long ago. If words discourage you, then maybe discussing things on public forums where people may disagree with you is not such a good idea…

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    Mr. Right wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 6:57 pm
    1. Why is Musk under attack from Arienne then as well as the porkers in Congress?
    2. Evidence that this was the aim of the Cx program please.
    3. Falcon 9: 2 orbital flights therefore successes, zero failures. Ares 1 never flew. Ares 1X wasn’t remotely like the final Ares 1 was supposed to be and only made sub-orbital at that. Broke up and the parachutes failed. Ares V never got beyond a paper rocket.
    4. Both will be gone. The U.S. can’t afford either. MPCV is over-budget with no end in sight. There’s insufficient budgets, no missions, and no follow-on vehicle development planned for SLS. It’s still a paper rocket.
    4. (Your numbering sucks LOL). What facts. Your’s are supposition and myth. Start with budget and actual $ values and I’ll become interested!
    5. Again, there was no indication that this was going to happen. The program was billions over budget and years behind schedule. Again, try to distinguish facts from myth.
    6. Ha ha ha. Worked? B.S.
    7. There was never going to be any money.
    8. Griffen started COTS not commercial crew and even then had to be dragged into awarding contracts to more than a single company.

  • Matt Wiser

    amightywind wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    “Neil and Gene didn’t disappoint at today’s hearing. They gave Obama both barrels. Lets hope it adds up to action.”

    Especially with this Congress. Remember that both the 2010 Authorization Act and the push for both Orion and SLS were done in a bipartisan manner. There are people on both sides of the aisle who believe the Administration’s going the wrong way on this, and you saw some when SLS was rolled out (finally!). Including people who don’t see eye to eye on many other issues, but about NASA and space, they’re on the same page. I won’t comment on the hearing further until I’ve seen it: C-SPAN hasn’t rebroadcast it yet.

    Mr. Right wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 6:57 pm:

    Agree completely with your remarks. When the Commercial Crew hearings are held (as Chairman Hall has indicated he intends to do), we’ll hear from Musk, as Hall has previously indicated that he wants Musk to testify. And let the sparks fly when that happens. Too bad the previous Administration underfunded Constellation by 1/3, and the current one chopped $500 million in FY 10-which was a handy figure to send to Augustine…..

    Mark Whittington: You’re right about Commercial Crew=Solandrya. Remember what Charlie Bolden said last year? That if the commercial entities had problems, he’d bail them out? He got an earful from the Senate committee about those remarks….Now, there are those on The Hill who agree that Commercial Crew and Cargo services are a good thing to have. Their problem is that no goverment funds should be used to develop such services. If Space X or Orbital want to develop their own rockets and crew vehicles, do it on their own dime, not the taxpayers’.

    Said it before, but I’ll repeat: I agree with what Neil and Gene have previously said re: Commercial Crew, and add what Gen. Stafford said. Proceed with caution, and have a backup plan in case these NewSpace outfits fail.

  • Justin Kugler

    It makes absolutely no sense to build new boosters if there are no payloads for them to lift. Griffin may be winning politically in Congress at the moment, but Augustine was right in his interview with Eric Berger – you can’t legislate engineering. It will catch up to us eventually if NASA does not have adequate resources and reserves to accomplish the tasks it has been given.

  • Maybe Hall should have another hearing with Peter Diamandis, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk.

  • Robert G. Oler

    I will be off line except for work for a few days and that includes space politics. Our baby Mae who was three months from delivery went home to heaven Robert

  • @Justin:

    It makes absolutely no sense to build new boosters if there are no payloads for them to lift.

    What do you mean no payloads? Hell, even Constellation had payloads. 130 mT wasn’t picked out of a hat, it’s a consequence of 60-70 mT preliminary designed mass to be thrown into TLI. The payload to LEO was a sideshow, to demonstrate the architecture could also meet LEO needs.

    Griffin may be winning politically in Congress at the moment, but Augustine was right in his interview with Eric Berger – you can’t legislate engineering.

    Good thing Congress didn’t.

    It will catch up to us eventually if NASA does not have adequate resources and reserves to accomplish the tasks it has been given.

    To do that, NASA has to first stop assenting to tasks she can’t carry out and clearly articulate why. What part of “clearly articulate” describes leaking portions of an external audit of a single architecture that you then go and choose as your reference design while holding back the whole report (which covered EELVs and kerolox alternatives)?

  • @Matt Wiser:

    You’re right about Commercial Crew=Solandrya.

    Seriously? SpaceX is lucky to get a contract for a $100 million to cover development of actual rockets delivered to the pad. Solyndra gets $500 million loan guarantee under the table and wasn’t even so much as expected to deliver a bone to a dog.

    Remember what Charlie Bolden said last year? That if the commercial entities had problems, he’d bail them out? He got an earful from the Senate committee about those remarks….Now, there are those on The Hill who agree that Commercial Crew and Cargo services are a good thing to have. Their problem is that no goverment funds should be used to develop such services. If Space X or Orbital want to develop their own rockets and crew vehicles, do it on their own dime, not the taxpayers’.

    Said it before, but I’ll repeat: I agree with what Neil and Gene have previously said re: Commercial Crew, and add what Gen. Stafford said. Proceed with caution, and have a backup plan in case these NewSpace outfits fail.

  • Vladislaw

    Joe wrote:

    “When was the last time you were in space?”

    So all it takes to become an expert in both aerospace engineering and in cost accounting large government aerospace programs and projects is a ride perpendicular from the surface of earth to space? Do you only get a Master degrees for suborbital and PHD’s for an orbital trips?

    If that is the case, I can’t wait until Virgin Galatic starts flying, we will be gaining thousands of experts of per year.

  • Mr. Right

    With SLS now using all existing Ares I contracts for development thru 2021 that means an extra billion is now available. The billion Bolden took from CxP for termination cost. The billion that cost 1000′s of people jobs.

  • Vladislaw

    “But then ATK has stopped shuttle replacement programs for years, and they are the primary reason for US stagnation in space.”

    Just what are you suggesting? That ATK was/is a crony capitalist getting massive subsidies because they bought influence with campaign contributions from Utah Senators?

    Better not let Mark Whittington find out about this, according to him they are the model that best exemplifies the way NASA should move into the future, cost plus, fixed fee with no competition. It is those dang new spacers, with their fixed price, milestone based contracts, for millions not billions, that are wrecking everything.

  • Mr. Right

    1. No, orbital started commercial space.

    “”Re your “Lori’s own “campaign debt” repayment for Obama” manure… if I were to use the words I want to, Jeff would have to delete the post. “”

    Growing up is hard to do.

    “”I don’t know who wanted it inside the Administration, but Obama wanted the Orion kept, so either mark it his column or both his and Congress, but it wasn’t Congress alone.””

    No it was congress. To quote the head of LM “it’s time to go on the offensive with out being offensive”. Lori said cancel Orion on Feb 1, 2010.

    Griffin never got commercial crew contracts out because they had to prove cargo 1st. a very valid plan.

    “”Falcon 9: 2 orbital flights therefore successes, zero failures. Ares 1 never flew. Ares 1X wasn’t remotely like the final Ares 1 was supposed to be and only made sub-orbital at that. Broke up and the parachutes failed. Ares V never got beyond a paper rocket.””

    1st Falcon 1 flight – upper stage death spin. Fail

    Ares I-X separated from the dummy Upper Stage so the 1st could be recovered. Not a break up. 1 of 3 parachutes failed (within design margin).

    Ares V was next in line and shared a great deal of engineering and cost with Ares I.

    Congress would not demand a design if Lori would have followed the law. The US will have a NASA owed s/c and launch vehcile. This fight was dumd anb cost us the chance to spend the money on a true crewed inspace spacecraft.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Matt –

    What do you call the $10,000,000,000.00 spent to put ATK into the medium heavy launch market?

    ULA has tons of experience. Launched Armstrong and Cernan both, I seem to recall.

    SpaceX has experienced engineers working on low cost launch.

    “Newspace” is just another slogan, like hobby-rocketeers.

    If Hall is planning to use a hearing to s**t on Musk and to sling ATK’s mud on Obama, then that hearing will be a good show.

    The neo-cons are not the only people able to pay P.I.’s, and my guess is that unlike Murdoch, Musk would never have to pay hackers; they’d hack this mess for grins and giggles.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Mr Right –

    The thrust oscillations still present a problem.

    If you get a chunk of solid propellant detaching, then it can start, and q

  • E.P. Grondine

    Mr. Wrong –

    The thrust oscillations still present a problem.

    If you get a chunk of solid propellant detaching, then it can start and quickly lead to failure.

    The problem with solids derives from their benefit – in failure mode, the energy rises too quickly to engage an abort system.

    History: Tumlinson was the master sloganeerer for the shut down ISS, and use the money “saved” for manned flight to Mars line. Griffin just attached himself to that $10,000,000 per year PR campaign and rode on its coat tails.

    Musk is in the launch business, and there was nothing Griffin could do to stop him.

    Musk started commercial crew. Commercial cargo came from ESA.

    Trying to mask your “crony capitalism” attack on Obama as anything less than the mud it is insults the intelligence of many here.

    Once again, you failed to mention ULA entirely in your analysis.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    I will be off line except for work for a few days and that includes space politics. Our baby Mae who was three months from delivery went home to heaven Robert

    Robert, my condolences. As always, your priorities are in the right proper place. You’re in our thoughts.

  • Re the Ares I-X …

    I was noodling around NASA.gov’s HD video page and found a video of the Ares I-X launch. I had a good laugh when the first stage separated, causing both the first stage and the dummy upper stage to tumble wildly. One can only imagine what that upper stage tumbling would have done to any crew onboard. So much for Ares I being a “success” and “proven.”

    Click here for the 1080i resolution video. It’s .MOV format so you’ll need QuickTime or compatible to watch.

    And for general reference, this is the main link for the HD Archive:

    http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/hd/HDGalleryCollection_archive_1.html

    Lots of good stuff you can download to make DVDs.

  • DCSCA

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 11:29 pm
    I will be off line except for work for a few days and that includes space politics. Our baby Mae who was three months from delivery went home to heaven Robert

    OMG RGO.

    Condolences to the 25th power.

  • DCSCA

    @Ed Minchau wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    “Maybe Hall should have another hearing with Peter Diamandis, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk.”

    Maybe he will- when they rate it and ever successfully launch, orbit (or sub-orbit) and return some crews safely to Earth.

  • vulture4

    Unlike SpaceX or Atlas, which only require access platforms for crew loading at their existing pads, all the ATK-based designs require that the massive SRB processing, VAB, crawler, MLP and LC-39 areas be maintained, apparently at taxpayer expense, a major hidden subsidy. These are expensive facilities with no other mission. Would create a few jobs, but not the productivity of Shuttle.

    As to Garver, she is technically on target in almost every case, which is more than can be said for any of NASA’s leaders in the last 20 years. She continues to be villified in private by many within NASA because she is a Democrat, particularly a Democrat linked to Obama, whom they blame for all the failures they should take responsibility for themselves. Garver’s goal of spaceflight at a practical cost, when we might finally see more than a dozen people in space at once, is seen by NASA elitists as exemplifying the socialist ideal. These same people, who never actually put their hands on the Shuttle, saw it and ISS as boring, while going to Mars was exciting.

    Human spaceflight with expendable systems is an unaffordable fantasy. The logical place to build reusable craft for BEO, as von Braun said long ago, is LEO. Personally, if I had the chance to go to LEO I don’t think I would be bored.

  • Justin Kugler

    @Prez: There is no budget for landers, habitat modules, etc. NASA has been directed to spend billions of dollars over the next decade just to have an HLV and a crew capsule. There’s no money yet to actually do anything with them. I don’t agree with how some people have been playing politics, either, though.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Human spaceflight with expendable systems is an unaffordable fantasy. The logical place to build reusable craft for BEO, as von Braun said long ago, is LEO.

    This is a popular opinion, but I disagree with it. People are far too fond of departing from and returning to LEO. L1/L2 are far more practical “home ports” and “shipyards”. A first stop in LEO on the way to L1/L2 (refueling, staying in a waypoint space station) remains a good idea of course, but return from L1/L2 straight to Earth is more practical than returning to LEO.

  • Coastal Ron

    Mr. Right Guesser wrote @ September 23rd, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Griffin never got commercial crew contracts out because they had to prove cargo 1st. a very valid plan.

    There was no plan, since the two aren’t related.

    For your guess to be true, then the COTS program would have required the applicants to also propose crew solutions that mapped heritage to the cargo systems. None of the COTS proposals, except for SpaceX, would have been able to do that. Orbital, Boeing and LM all proposed ATV/HTV derivatives, which are not crew vehicles, and Orbital’s launch vehicle is too small for crew.

    Griffin didn’t want a less expensive crew system to get established because that would remove the need for the far more expensive Ares I, and the Ares I development money was needed to lower the overall budget for Ares V.

  • Coastal Ron

    Prez Cannady wrote @ September 22nd, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    What do you mean no payloads? Hell, even Constellation had payloads.

    Constellation’s initial goal was a return to the Moon, so of course they had mapped out the hardware needed to do that.

    The Senate Launch System is just a rocket, and there are no planned or funded programs that require a 130mt capabilty, or even a 70mt capability. Even the most recent NASA studies like HEFT, Nautilus-X and the recent FISO proposals don’t require the SLS.

    But just for fun, let’s say there was ONE mission that was so designed that it required the SLS. What would you guess be for development costs for that?

    Now take that number and add that to NASA’s budget every year for 20 years, and you’ll quickly see why the SLS is not just unaffordable from an operational standpoint, but we can’t even afford the missions that it would carry.

    NASA’s budget isn’t big enough to use the SLS.

  • vulture4

    Return straight to earth is not an option for the simple reason that the space tug would burn up on entry. A practical L1-LEO space tug must be reusable also. One cannot afford to replace it or even boost a new one to orbit for every flight. Low-energy aerocapture to LEO with a lightweight reusable heatshield is a possibility. In any case the LEO infrastructure and the low-cost reusable earth-to-LEO shuttle are the first steps.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Return straight to earth is not an option for the simple reason that the space tug would burn up on entry.

    What space tug? I though we were talking about where to assemble reusable spaceships and what orbits to have them move between.

    In any case the LEO infrastructure and the low-cost reusable earth-to-LEO shuttle are the first steps.

    The most crucial goals, certainly. But not necessarily the first steps. I know you disagree, but I believe RLVs will emerge fastest if we rely on demand-pull, which means we must create demand first. And in that case initial activity will focus on beyond LEO.

    With the exception of RLVs I don’t believe in “build it and they will come”. A crew vehicle and space stations alone are likely unsufficient to generate enough demand even if they are provided free of charge. And an RLV while sufficient is probably only a theoretical exception, since there is little hope NASA could successfully complete such a project even if it tried.

  • Marc Trolinger

    So sorry to hear of you loss Robert. Having experienced similar tragedy in our family, you and your wife will be in my prayers.

  • Martijn Meijering

    I’m so sorry to hear that Robert. I wish you strength.

  • common sense

    Robert, I am very sorry. I am afraid I have no better words. I hope you come back soon to this board to talk silly again. And serious.

  • Frank Glover

    I echo the above sentiments. The policy debate situation likely isn’t going to be much different, by the time you’re ready to return.

  • Rhyolite

    Robert, I am very sorry to hear about your loss. You and your family will be in our thoughts. My sincerest condolences.

  • @Coastal Ron:

    Constellation’s initial goal was a return to the Moon, so of course they had mapped out the hardware needed to do that.

    The Senate Launch System is just a rocket, and there are no planned or funded programs that require a 130mt capabilty, or even a 70mt capability.

    Except, of course, the same moon mission in mind for Constellation. You think 70-100 mT/130 mT came out of nowhere?

    Even the most recent NASA studies like HEFT, Nautilus-X and the recent FISO proposals don’t require the SLS.

    HEFT called for selecting a heavy lifter for an asteroid mission in 2010, FISO’s dealing with architectures as imaginary as SLS is today, and Nautilus-X doesn’t exist.

    But just for fun, let’s say there was ONE mission that was so designed that it required the SLS. What would you guess be for development costs for that?

    I would imagine, in the worst case, on the order of $18 billion by 2017, with nothing to show for it.

    Now take that number and add that to NASA’s budget every year for 20 years, and you’ll quickly see why the SLS is not just unaffordable from an operational standpoint, but we can’t even afford the missions that it would carry.

    Still not seeing it. Let’s take the absolute worst case from Constellation, a $14 billion peak annual expenditure. That’s still $3.9 billion under NASA’s total budget even in a recession constrained funding environment like this one, enough for two flights a year that year.

  • @Justin:

    There is no budget for landers, habitat modules, etc.

    Sure there is. There’s that whole science side of the shop, after all.

    NASA has been directed to spend billions of dollars over the next decade just to have an HLV and a crew capsule.

    Except she hasn’t. She’s been directed to submit a budget proposal for 70-100/130 mT heavy lift.

    There’s no money yet to actually do anything with them.

    There’s no plan to spend money they don’t have yet anyway.

    I don’t agree with how some people have been playing politics, either, though.

    Neither do I, seeing as picking a fight with the Space Belt seems like a particularly stupid way to secure the necessary public infusion of capital to jump start a new age in commercial space.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

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