Lobbying, NASA, Other, White House

Briefly: mayors ask Obama for quick action; planetary science’s death greatly exaggerated

In a letter this week to President Obama, the mayors of Houston and Huntsville ask for immediate action on contracts related to the Space Launch System (SLS) and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) programs. Specifically, they ask that NASA “move forward as expeditiously as possible” on converting contracts for the Constellation program to SLS and MPCV. “Speed is imperative to protect the workforce and to ensure our nation’s global leadership in spaceand in technological advancement,” Houston mayor Annise Parker and Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle write.

They add that those programs are at least as important, if not more so, than commercial crew development efforts at the agency. “While we all agree that commercial space ventures are critical to the future of human space flight, they cannot come at the expense of NASA’s role in ensuring access to space. They cannot come at the expense of seeing all the amazing, cutting edge expertise gathered together at MSFC and JSC being dispersed around the world – lost to this country and our own space efforts.”

Meanwhile, Mars Society president Robert Zubrin raised alarm bells when he claimed in an op-ed published Thursday in the Washington Times that the White House was planning to “terminate” NASA’s planetary science program in its FY2013 budget proposal. After the 2013 launch of the MAVEN Mars orbiter, he said, “No further missions to anywhere are planned.”

There’s one problem with his piece, though: that fantastic claim appears to be incorrect. “It is not true the planetary program is being killed,” Jim Green, head of NASA’s planetary science program, told the NASA Advisory Council Thursday during a telecon, Space News reported. The planetary program does face some problems with funding in future years, he acknowledged, but termination is not in the cards. “I’m here to say the future doesn’t look as healthy as it has been, but it is still the best program in the world,” Green said, SpacePolicyOnline.com reported.

Zubrin, incidentally, will be appearing at a Capitol Hill forum next Thursday jointly organized by The Planetary Society and The Mars Society, titled, “NASA at a Turning Point: Vibrant Future or Close Shop”.

54 comments to Briefly: mayors ask Obama for quick action; planetary science’s death greatly exaggerated

  • Robert G. Oler

    . “Speed is imperative to protect the workforce and to ensure our nation’s global leadership in spaceand in technological advancement,” Houston mayor Annise Parker and Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle write.

    this is the part I always find entertaining. WE NEED OUR GOVERNMENT JOBS…from people who really dont believe in government providing jobs.

    Whittington opposes almost every “jobs” program at least this administration puts forward, except he loves this one. What makes the “SLS” workforce worth protecting anymore then say the workforce at Continental airlines a great deal of which are losing their jobs in the merger with UAL?

    Go over to NASAspaceflight.com where the SLS lovers hang out…and most of them work in the industry and need their job…and boy are they banging for it as hard as they can go. I always love it when good Republicans are hypocrites RGO

  • Zubrin has always been a bit of a loon.

    Got a laugh out of the municipal porkers. Nothing in there about what’s best for the U.S. government space program. Just more pork for their cities.

    At least here in Brevard County, the local leaders for the most part have finally got the message and are starting to diversify. (Although our congressional representatives, Sandy Adams and Bill Posey, seem mostly interested in trying to protect the old order.)

  • MrEarl

    The SLS and MPCV projects ARE just as important to the future of commercial HFS as CCDev funding.
    Once the commercial market has proven itself at LEO, as I expect they will, the moon and cis-lunar space will be the next place to expand that market. SLS and the MPCV, will be key in establishing laboratories and bases on the moon that will need regular re-supply and crew rotation. Heavy lift also opens the possibility of GEO communications platforms far more powerful and capable than what is available now. Those platforms will require servicing from time to time, opening another market for commercial companies. During hearings on Wednesday, future markets was a key concern of many members of the committee. SLS and MPCV missions provide the path for future growth of the commercial HSF industry.
    While many on this site make a good point that with refueling, we can reach the moon with present and planned commercial ELV’s, to do the type of construction of lunar bases and laboratories that would require the services I mentioned, most analysts familiar with, and deeply involved in the planning of such things, agree that heavy lift in the 100mT range will be needed.
    CCDev, without SLS and MPCV will cripple the future efforts to grow commercial HSF.

  • Scott Bass

    The main problem I am having with the Washington times piece is how it was presented as fact….. Even oped pieces should at least be reviewed by editors and disclaimers added if it goes off the edge this much

  • @MrEarl
    “Once the commercial market has proven itself at LEO, as I expect they will, the moon and cis-lunar space will be the next place to expand that market. SLS and the MPCV, will be key in establishing laboratories and bases on the moon that will need regular re-supply and crew rotation. “

    As NASA’s own studies show, SLS is not needed and indeed actually retards progress into deep space. The county’s future in space would be a lot brighter if people would stop drinking the SLS Kool-Aid.
    See:
    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1577

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    SLS and the MPCV, will be key in establishing laboratories and bases on the moon that will need regular re-supply and crew rotation.

    While the SLS & MPCV live, there will not be enough budget for a full-up lunar mission. Do the math on how much they cost to operate – it’s that simple. Besides, NASA’s own internal studies have shown we can do a lunar mission far faster and far less expensive using existing rockets, so why wait?

    I’m destination agnostic – I was fine with the CxP moon mission, even though what was proposed (Apollo on steroids) was pretty uninspiring. I didn’t lobby against the destination, just the exorbitant cost. That’s why it’s more important to me to lower the cost to access space, since by doing that you open up EVERY destination, and if the Moon is the first one, fine, whatever. But sitting here on the ground is not acceptable.

    During hearings on Wednesday, future markets was a key concern of many members of the committee.

    No, that wasn’t their real concern. They were concerned with getting stuck with another EELV situation. In that case Boeing and Lockheed Martin thought that the market for EELV launch services would expand outside of the government, but it didn’t materialize. The government ended up with a non-competitive market with rising prices, but it still has the access to space it wanted. Access isn’t a concern, but prices are.

    In the hearing you heard each company say that how they were approaching that risk. And is it a risk? Sure, everything is, and the SLS/MPCV is an even bigger one (no backup). But that is why focusing on cost is so important. And that’s what the CCDev program is doing, since it is highly competitive and has limited and specific service goals (i.e. crew safely to/from the ISS).

    most analysts familiar with, and deeply involved in the planning of such things, agree that heavy lift in the 100mT range will be needed.

    So far all of the hardware that has made it into NASA FISO plans can be launched dry on existing or near-term launchers. The SLS is not needed when fuel depots are used, and if the market demands a continuous series of large payloads, the market will step forward to supply them.

    Both ULA and SpaceX have proposed hardware paths that meet or exceed what the SLS can do if the demand shows up. But the demand is not there even for using the SLS, so why build it? Show us the payload money, then we’ll get the rockets. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

  • MrEarl

    Rick:
    The studies that you reference are only talking about sortie missions to the moon, not bases or exploitation. Fuel depots and SLS will be needed to create a true cis-lunar infrastructure. Refueling these depots from automated propellant factories on the moon, while being cheaper than doing it from earth, also creates capabilities needed to support exploration and eventual exploitation of other sites in the solar system. Fuel depots alone take advantage of existing technology but does little to expand capabilities.

  • @ Mr. Earl

    “…SLS and the MPCV, will be key in establishing laboratories and bases on the moon that will need regular re-supply and crew rotation”

    SLS is not going to be cost-effective for establishing a permanent presence on the Moon.

    EELVs however…

    http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/AffordableExplorationArchitecture2009.pdf

  • The studies that you reference are only talking about sortie missions to the moon, not bases or exploitation. Fuel depots and SLS will be needed to create a true cis-lunar infrastructure.

    Boeing presented a paper last month in Long Beach of an architecture that provided a lunar base of dozens of people, that didn’t require SLS. People who claim that SLS is essential don’t know what they’re talking about.

    “Fuel depots alone take advantage of existing technology but does little to expand capabilities.”

    This is utter nonsense.

  • @MrEarl
    “The studies that you reference are only talking about sortie missions to the moon, not bases or exploitation. Fuel depots and SLS will be needed to create a true cis-lunar infrastructure.”

    I agree that eventually use of in situ lunar resources is desirable. But we have to walk before we can run. In the near term, fuel depots supplied from Earth have an advantage and we can supply them with existing vehicles. See this ULA architecture for going to the moon and staying there:

    http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/AffordableExplorationArchitecture2009.pdf

    Even if a superHLV is indeed required, you are assuming that there are no better, faster to implement, cheaper to develop and operate HLV alternatives to SLS.

    Again, I know this is whistling into the wind, but it would be great if all the proSLSers would take the blinders off.

  • John Malkin

    I wish Gerard O’Neill was still alive. I think he would have some really good input into supporting the commercial initiatives. Non- US government LEO commercial space is coming sooner rather than later. We have so many players and it’s past the tipping point. The X prize was really the top of the hill but going downhill isn’t smooth. NASA/Congress have a big opportunity, I just hope they don’t blow it.

    300 million more isn’t that much when compared to the probable billions extra that Congress will need to cough up to keep SLS going forward to the first cis-lunar mission of the 21st century around 2020.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    The studies that you reference are only talking about sortie missions to the moon, not bases or exploitation.

    You are WAY ahead of yourself here. NO ONE is talking about spending the money needed to do the big things you’re advocating (bases & exploitation). It’s all theoretical, as is the need for the SLS.

    Show us the customers & funding for years of SLS payloads and then we’ll talk. Until then, it’s all just a fantasy (or lunacy in this case).

  • Mr. Earl,

    what lunar bases need is frequent/cheap access to the lunar surface,
    which will come from reusable Earth orbit-Lunar Orbit and Lunar Orbit-Lunar Surface transportation.

    there MAY be some need for large diameter fairing launches.

    but what you really need is low cost-per-pound delivery rates to
    the lunar surface. and that doesn’t come from the biggest, least-frequently flown rocket, but the cheapest.

    SLS was designed by the political requirement to employ shuttle contractors, not the needs of cheaply getting stuff out of LEO.

    Sorry, but the truth is still the truth, no matter how many times you repeat the big rocket lie.

    – Jim

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    the odd thing is that SLS proponents (and I guess you) have bought in full force to the Lori Garver theory from the 1980′s…

    There was no greater supporter of the space station project in the 80′s then Garver. I know I debated her at NSS meetings on the topic and she was in some peril of her position at NSS as support at NSS turned against the station.

    Garver’s theory on the cost of the space station build effort, as she worked tirelessly to knock down support for various “Heavy lift options” of the station was basically that after the station was launched, no matter what its launch cost, then it was like a communications satellite…ie the launch cost were pushed over the life of the vehicle and declined as a percentage of the station cost as the life of the station stretched out…so launch cost simply did not matter as long as the current administration was willing to sustain them…something she argued was politically sustainable because of the pork of the shuttle (much as Whittington now argues for SLS).

    Problem is that argument sucks.

    And it has no redeeming points. If it cost more to launch a geo satellite then the satellite could return in revenue then there would be no geo launch market except perhaps for the military for which cost generally dont matter.

    The GEO comm market developed and is sustainable WITHOUT any real military involvement and with only NASA technology experiment efforts…precisely because there was a synergy between satellite capabilities/revenue and booster capabilities/cost.

    I disagree with those who argue to dump ISS…we have it and what we need to do is figure out a policy that makes it useful (as very very hard as that is going to be)…but your argument is that SLS will make lunar operations possible is as goofy as what Garver use to say about the space station..

    What we need is affordable lift sized to the effort….until we have that we are doomed to six people on various places in space doing almost nothing of value and that would be accurate on the Moon RGO

  • amightywind

    Obama liquidated the shuttle workforce at KSC, an unpopular move in a key state. Red state mayors cannot possibly expect him to show interest in their workforces.

  • @Rand Simberg
    “Boeing presented a paper last month in Long Beach of an architecture that provided a lunar base of dozens of people, that didn’t require SLS. People who claim that SLS is essential don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Is that paper available anywhere on the Web? I would like to read it and I am sure there are others who would as well.

    (Sigh of frustration) Both your answer to Mr. Earl and Jim Muncy’s were so much better than mine.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Obama liquidated the shuttle workforce at KSC, an unpopular move in a key state.>>

    It is so wonderful the language the far right uses…”liquidated” wow something brought up from the cold war where people were “liquidated” meaning killed…

    This is pure Rush…can you people have an original thought or do you all have your brains turned off when you become a right winger? RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Correctly if I’m wrong, but it sounded like you were whining for more government jobs…

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Okay where to start?

    “A few days on the Moon cures all that ails you, is that your claim?”

    How do YOU know? Ever been on the Moon? I didn’t think so. In essence you don’t know what you don’t know!

    “Magic Moon dust,”

    Considering the astronauts and the LMs got covered in it and yet they made it back to the Earth, I believe there is a high level of presumption that the dust on the Moon really is magic. Of course to turn this presumption into evidence we will have to put a station on the Moon, preferably with men (it is the manned space program after all) and run experiments. There are a lot of people I am sure at the National Union of Thaumaturges that would be happy to sign up for a tour of duty on the Moon. Men though.

    “pools of frozen mineral water?”

    Possibly purer that that of the Sierras! Yessir.

    “You’re just making that up.”

    Nope.

  • Coastal Ron

    John Malkin wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    300 million more isn’t that much when compared to the probable billions extra that Congress will need to cough up to keep SLS going forward to the first cis-lunar mission of the 21st century around 2020.

    Just like elections boil down to making a choice, regardless how good or bad the choices are, so it is with our space program.

    A. Congress could defund the Commercial Crew program, and keep the U.S. dependent on Russia for access to the ISS through at least 2020. Besides the sovereignty issue, we’d also be one accident away from possible abandonment of the ISS.

    B. Congress could fully fund the CCDev program and regain the ability to send U.S. astronauts to LEO on more than one spacecraft. More upfront spending than using the Russians, but the money stays in the U.S., with U.S. jobs & taxes, and the U.S. gets a new capability for future space domination.

    So far Congress has chose to complain about the lack of choice, but not commit fully to making one. Do they want U.S. astronauts flying on Russian spacecraft in 2017 or not?

    If Congress does nothing, or doesn’t fully fund CCDev, then that means they are OK with depending on Russia. Is that what they really want?

  • Vladislaw

    amightywind wrote:

    “Obama liquidated the shuttle workforce at KSC”

    How did he manage to do that, with an executive order? It was my understanding that a bipartisan congress voted to end funding for the heavily subsidized, crony capitalism, constellation program. If the congress fails to provide funding you can not blame the President. You should be railing against the republicans that didn’t vote to fund your marxist, big government rocket.

  • This is pure Rush…can you people have an original thought or do you all have your brains turned off when you become a right winger?

    Well, if you’re not a “right winger” what’s your excuse?

  • Is that paper available anywhere on the Web? I would like to read it and I am sure there are others who would as well.

    Here.

  • Coastal Ron

    common sense wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    :-)

    I learned a new word today – Thaumaturge – although I can’t pronounce it.

  • @ablastofhotair
    “Obama liquidated the shuttle workforce at KSC, an unpopular move in a key state. Red state mayors cannot possibly expect him to show interest in their workforces.”
    Those layoffs were planned before the current administration. The resident nutball strikes again.

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    The added power of Google search and synonymous. You can do anything with the Internet nowadays.

  • John Malkin

    amightywind wrote:

    “Obama liquidated the shuttle workforce at KSC”

    We were still going to lose lots of jobs because Constellation didn’t require the same size workforce or skills as Shuttle at least in the near term. Congress or should I say the space committees knew it.

  • @amightywind

    Obama liquidated the shuttle workforce at KSC, an unpopular move in a key state. Red state mayors cannot possibly expect him to show interest in their workforces.

    I would humbly disagree with this statement. The shuttle workforce was on notice the day President Bush announced Constellation in 2004.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/news/rocketscience-05o.html

    I would also submit for the record that even back then, NASA knew that it could not sustain the workforce that had built up from Apollo on. That is why there are 1.1 government jobs to every 2 contractor jobs. When times get lean, who loses their job and who sticks around?

    We have serious problems in this country with our skilled work force. The public sector cannot pay for the ~60,000 NASA jobs. That number is lowering daily as we refuse the private sector to assume workers. Moreover, the regulations and requirements make it very difficult for start up companies to grow.

    I know there are companies in and around Huntsville consisting of rocket scientists designing cheaper EELVs. It is happening. We do not hear about it because they don’t have the billions in backing. However, there is a market trying to grow.

    NASA can nurture that or slaughter it, in conjunction with the politicians of course. Ultimately the free market will win, it always does. The question is will you be behind it or will it pass you by?

    Respectfully,
    Andrew Gasser
    TEA Party in Space

  • Mr. Right

    One more point, in 2008 we had planned to only lose about 600-1000 people when STS closed. Alomost everyone else would have made the jump to CxP and related support/training/development/test or just retired. That a bit different from 20,000+ lost over the last year.

  • @Mr. Right

    And while we love the people who made shuttle happen, there is no way we could have afforded a program like that. Technology and innovation passed NASA by.

    Of those 20,000 we lost, how many were contractors and how many were government employees? That is what we should be looking at.

    VR
    RE327

  • Mr. Right wrote:

    One more point, in 2008 we had planned to only lose about 600-1000 people when STS closed. Alomost everyone else would have made the jump to CxP and related support/training/development/test or just retired.

    Source? Link?

    And who is “we”?

  • Alan

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    …can you people have an original thought or do you all have your brains turned off when you become a right winger? RGO

    Robert,
    Some of us “right-wingers” don’t like SLS because it’s unsustainable and the wrong thing to do. Some us don’t live in Windy’s SLS fantasy land where NASA is part of the military defense infrastructure and only place where rockets can be built/designed is Huntsville, Alabama.

    Nor do I think you live in Obama Unicornland with all the other brain-dead, keynesian liberals and smelly,drug-addled hippies. : )

    Alan

  • Martijn Meijering

    That is what we should be looking at.

    Why?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    “One more point, in 2008 we had planned to only lose about 600-1000 people when STS closed. Alomost everyone else would have made the jump to CxP and related support/training/development/test or just retired. That a bit different from 20,000+ lost over the last year.”

    and here is the thing…The Republic is no worse off for it.

    If we had lost, say the cadre of Air Traffic Controllers we would have lost some people whose service to The Republic changed TR on a day to day basis, made our economy better, and our lives more full.

    Not so with the folks who we have “lost” from the shuttle program. In the end their “Paychecks” were simply technowelfare.

    Do you believe in government jobs programs to only provide a job? RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Alan wrote @ October 29th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Alan. you are correct and kind to point it out to me in a gentle fashion. I fired off at Windy and took to wide a brush.

    Actually I am one of Obama’s harshes critiques. (see my facebook page). It is stunning to me that someone could have the mandate he did and flounder so badly. The only thing that will cause me to vote for him, is that his opposition is so weak.

    But as I noted on my facebook page something like “A willard/barrack battle in 12 is between someone who will say anything to get elected and another who doesnt have a frack what he stands for”…A Herman/Barrack battle is even worse. RGO

  • vulture4

    Mr. Right wrote:
    “One more point, in 2008 we had planned to only lose about 600-1000 people when STS closed. Alomost everyone else would have made the jump to CxP and related support or just retired.”

    You’re talking about just the civil servants, right?

    I noticed here in Florida that as long as Bush was in office people tended to say said “I might lose my job when Shuttle ends, but that’s OK”. As soon as Obama was elected the same people were saying “We need new leadership, they’re killing the space program.”

    There are certainly Republicans nationally who take a more rational view, John McCain among them. But here in Florida the atmosphere is, dare I say it, radically politicized. Space is important to local politicos only as a vehicle for attacking the Obama administration. Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolous attacked Obama for “violating his promise to reduce the gap”. Never mind that Bush created the gap, and Obama initiated the commercial crew program which will close it years before Constellation could. Never mind that no supporter of Constellation is willing to pay for it.

  • josh

    ““While we all agree that commercial space ventures are critical to the future of human space flight, they cannot come at the expense of NASA’s role in ensuring access to space.”

    Why not? And what’s that expertise at msfc and jsc they’re talking about? both centers are full of incompetent bureaucrats and deserve to be shut down asap. what a load of bs from the sls huggers…

  • josh

    “That a bit different from 20,000+ lost over the last year.”

    That’s great news. They were not needed anymore, so they lost their jobs. Where is the problem with that? I hope the shrinking continues. The entitlement attitude that’s prevalent in the us aerospace sector is insufferable.

  • Mr. Right

    Back in the 70’s our aerospace experience base took a hard hit, the type of hit the NASA contractor have had over the last year. Many left the never came back. We paid for that in the 80’s. We had a 10 year experience gap that was hard to overcome. Yes, you can afford the space program like CxP (or a follow on) etc.. If you disagree, then your see no future for America in Space. Newspace, they can only build on the work NASA and the contractors did. No innovation in any SpaceX design. Not 1% (or the others). It all comes down to who you fund. Congress whated to fund both and was doing so. Amateurs in the top of NASA tried to kill a program they liked. Dumb and arrogant does not even come close. Ever wonder why when all this was going on Orbital kept its corporate mouth shout and did the job they got contracted for? That was brains. SpaceX and Lori, did harm and the payback will be bad. Funding for newspace will not be coming from congress in the way some liked or had been promised by Lori & Co. Boeing and may be one other will be flying crews to ISS (backed mostly by existing aerospace Co. funding). Orion will fly on EELV until SLS is ready to go (and even after). About 4 flights a year. Orion competing with newspace for seats and time on ISS. Such things come from empire building.

  • Coastal Ron

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Yes, you can afford the space program like CxP (or a follow on) etc.

    Congress said we couldn’t, so regardless how much money is flowing into the U.S. Treasury, Congress will NOT be increasing NASA’s budget. In fact they are getting ready to decrease it.

    If you disagree, then your see no future for America in Space.

    I see no future for bloated and uninspiring space plans (i.e. the former “Apollo on steroids” program.

    Luckily our permanent outpost in space has been finished (the ISS) and we have lots of innovation bubbling up out of the space industry to match the small amounts of funding that NASA will be getting in the future.

    Just as an observation, you seem to be part of the “only NASA” group, where you can only imagine a future in space where NASA does everything. I don’t share that view, as I think NASA does initial exploration best, but populating space after NASA is best left to the commercial world. NASA doesn’t get a big enough budget to pay for everything in space.

    SpaceX and Lori, did harm and the payback will be bad.

    So a company that wins open competitions and is lowering the cost to provide cargo logistics and crew services to LEO is doing harm? Sorry, but you must not be an American.

    Oh, and I normally don’t point this out, but since you claim to be some sort of NASA insider you must not have to write much since your grammar and spelling is HORRIBLE. Maybe you should switch on your browser spellcheck feature – that would help, since right now your spelling really detracts from the believability of everything you say.

  • Vladislaw

    “Newspace, they can only build on the work NASA and the contractors did. No innovation in any SpaceX design”

    So NASA used a pusher type launch escape system before? Or is that an innovation? They are also going to explore reusablity, more so than the shuttle. I think you will see innovation come faster in the private sector than NASA systems.

  • Yes, you can afford the space program like CxP (or a follow on) etc.. If you disagree, then your see no future for America in Space.

    I hope you don’t imagine that this is a convincing argument. It actually makes you look like a fool.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 1:46 am

    “Back in the 70’s our aerospace experience base took a hard hit, the type of hit the NASA contractor have had over the last year. Many left the never came back. We paid for that in the 80’s. We had a 10 year experience gap that was hard to overcome. Yes, you can afford the space program like CxP (or a follow on) etc.. If you disagree, then your see no future for America in Space.”

    none of those things really are accurate…and worse for your point of view, none of the political stands by Cain or whoever truly reverse the ills you see.

    “We paid for that in the 80′s” really how?

    “you can afford the space program like CxP” this is what I find so well droll.

    Really we cannot. Cx at best would have sent a few NASA employees to the moon after a couple of decades of effort…it would be on the Moon what the space station is going around the Earth…a project that once it was “on” did or does little to provide value for the cost of it. There is nothing “innovative” in Cx, Ares, SLS or any of the plans that NASA and its political followers have embraced to maintain the status quo.

    LOOK worse for your viewpoint Cain doesnt say how he makes SLS (or whatever you think his spaceprogram is) work.

    I would be more “kind” to a space program or policy put forth by Cain if he were to spell out how SLS or whatever he thinks that the policy should be both “is” and is financed. How does Cain end our reliance on the Russians?

    You dont know, because he doesnt know RGO

  • DCSCA

    John Malkin wrote @ October 28th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    “I wish Gerard O’Neill was still alive…”

    O’Neill was as goofy as Sagan. O’Neill made some wildly absurd proposals on Nightline back in 1989 on a broadcast about the 20th anniversary of the moon landing and what we could expect by 2000 and Gene Cernan politely brought him back to Earth with the realities of what was possible and affordable– the ol’ ‘they don’t know what they don’t know yet’ pitch was accurate even then.

  • John Malkin

    DCSCA wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Well most uneducated people call scientists goofy. Why don’t you read up on him because you obviously didn’t do any research.

    Did you know his office was next to Einstein’s office and they use to talk in great length about physics? I’m sure they were intelligent conversations. Do you depend on TV news shows for all your perspectives? Why don’t you read a copy of “The High Frontier”? I have an autographed copy if you would like to read it.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 5:07 am

    O’Neill was as goofy as Sagan. O’Neill made some wildly absurd proposals on Nightline back in 1989…

    Gosh, he proffered a “vision” that Cernan disagreed with, and that wipes out all the other things that he did for space advocacy?

    Cernan was a good pilot and engineer, but other than winning the lottery for being the last person on the Moon, did he personally create the level of excitement for space that O’Neill did?

    I didn’t watch much of Sagan’s stuff, nor did I read O’Neill’s book, but I do know that both were a positive influence on a whole generation of people that wanted to move out into space. I guess you see that as bad?

    Maybe you’re just envious because they are public figures in the space community and you’re not, but you’re just going to have to man up and get over that because the stuff you write is truly the standard for goofy… ;-)

  • DCSCA

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 11:28 am

    “I didn’t watch much of Sagan’s stuff, nor did I read O’Neill’s book.”

    Which pretty much negates any rational commentary you may post on them– particularly O’Neill, whose grandiose, disconnected proposals in the face of the technical and budgetary realities of his time bordered on the absurd.

    @John Malkin wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 11:08 am

    O’Neill’s proposals were wildly unrealistic for the technologies and budgets available. Ivory tower. Maybe you should revisit what he was hyping in the 70s and 80s– then have a good laugh.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Which pretty much negates any rational commentary you may post on them

    You, pal, are just a grain of sand on Sagan’s beach, and your personal opinions don’t carry much weight in this world. Stick to what you know, which is reading moldy Apollo history books and watching “Destination Moon”.

  • O’Neill’s proposals were wildly unrealistic for the technologies and budgets available. Ivory tower. Maybe you should revisit what he was hyping in the 70s and 80s– then have a good laugh.

    Why bother when, if we want a “good laugh,” we can just read your moronic and ignorant posts here?

  • vulture4

    O’Neil’s ideas are serious discussions of how large numbers of people could live in space, but still just discussions. It does not cost much to talk about castles in the air. The thought among most L5ers was that really doing it would be an evolutionary process, meeting the economic challenge by gradually reducing cost of spaceflight and finding economically viable activities that could be done in space.

    The Bush on Steroids program is a different kettle of fish. It was and is spending billions of real tax dollars, on real hardware. Yet it never even attempted a serious economic analysis. Other than some surface geology that could be done more cheaply by robotics , there is no scientific or economic justification at all, and even the science is obviously added on with a “we’re going to the moon, so what can we do to keep busy” rationale.

    The only real justification of Constellation is implied geopolitical value as a replay of Apollo. I have met NASA personnel who truly believe that Constellation is a vital assertion of American leadership in the world. But this is based on an astonishingly naive, almost childlike worldview. Kennedy was dealing with a conflict of ideologies that had placed us on the brink of Armageddon, but was at its core a game of appealing to the nonaligned countries with abstract ideas. He had a limited number of cards and played them well. Obama is faced with a world that really has accepted American capitalism and is locked in hell-for-leather competition. Constellation is like leaving the table during a championship poker game and taking a vacation on borrowed money.

  • Dennis

    Ihave O Neill s book, and it was good reading, with his visions for use of the Space Shuttle. Sadly the kind of money needed for such projects just would NEVER materialize, so it is a pipe dream at best. If we are truly to colonize, it will have to start with a small affordable base on the Moon and or Mars. Perhaps with Bigelows inflatables, which he has shown could build a Moon base. Until we get these ideas pushed to the front of the line, U wont see any colonization taking place. These one time sojourns might be nice for extravagent missions that make the front of the News Paper, but it doesnt get us living off planet.

  • John Malkin

    @Dennis

    He had vision and I think he would have supported Bigelow, SpaceX and others to start down the path to his vision. He had the mind of an entrepreneur with a scientist’s budget.

    The governement proved it couldn’t do affordable LEO with the Shuttle as promised. In order to have an affordable base on the moon, we will need affordable access to LEO. We need to leave Apollo behind and depend on the commercial industry we’ve already created including the new entrepreneurs..

  • Dennis

    I see now where Congress has voted the budget for the James Webb Tele. I did hope the program would continue. If it gets into space it will open up the Universe as never before.

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