Campaign '12

Cain blames Obama for having to “bum a ride with the Russians”

National Journal reports that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain blamed Obama on Friday for cuts to the space program and vowed to make the US the “leader of the space program again”. Speaking before more than 1,000 at a campaign stop in Montgomery, Alabama, Cain touched on space policy briefly:

Playing to residents of a state long central to the U.S. space program, Cain praised former President John F. Kennedy for his “inspirational leadership” in advancing space exploration.

By contrast, Cain said that President Obama “has cut our space program to the point that we now have to bum a ride with the Russians in order to get to outer space,” he continued to hoots and applause Friday. “That’s not what the United States wants to happen! We’re used to being a leader in the space program, and … we’re gonna be leader of the space program again!”

The report didn’t indicate if Cain described what he would do differently to restore US leadership in space, although he revisit the issue Saturday when he speaks at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Earlier this month Cain said in a TV interview that he wants to “relaunch” the US space program, but also did not offer specifics.

What neither Cain nor the National Journal report note, though, is that the current state of having to “bum a ride with the Russians” predates the Obama Administration: even under the Constellation Program, there would have been a gap of at least several years between the shuttle’s retirement and the introduction of Constellation’s Ares 1 rocket and Orion spacecraft.

Cain’s comments may be part of a theme seeking to blame President Obama for effectively terminating US human access to space. In addition to Cain’s stump speech, PolitiFact reported Friday on a “chain email” that claimed that Obama is the “First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space”. As PolitiFact notes, “it would be unfair to blame only Obama” since the decision to retire the shuttle predates his administration; moreover, the claim in that chain email ignores the Apollo-Shuttle interregnum in the 1970s. That led PolitiFact to grade them claim, quite bluntly, as “Pants on Fire”.

President Obama and his administration can be praised or blamed for a number of space policy decisions, including the cancellation of Constellation, resetting the long-term goals of human space exploration, and a greater emphasis on commercial entities to provide access to LEO, but forcing the US to fly its astronauts on Russian spacecraft isn’t one of them.

Update 10/30: Cain did discuss space policy during his stop Saturday in Huntsville, but largely repeated the points he made Friday, according to a Huntsville Times report. “I was disappointed when President Obama decided to cut a significant part of the space program,” Cain said, apparently referring to the administration’s decision to cancel Constellation. “The space program inspires other technological advances to business and the economy. In the Cain presidency, it will be reversed back to where it should be.” He did not indicate how he would accomplish that.

157 comments to Cain blames Obama for having to “bum a ride with the Russians”

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    Ben’s first rule of politics: “Never allow fact or reality get in the way of a good sound-bite or negative campaigning.”

  • Grand Lunar

    Perhaps Mr. Cain needs to study a bit more history.

    Seems he forgot that the shuttle’s retirement was put forth during Bush’s term.
    He also needs to read a bit more about the descision to make use of SDLVs instead of man rating EELVs, a choice also made during Bush’s term.

    And, as mentioned above, he forgot about the ending of Apollo.

    If Mr. Cain can’t get his facts straight, I say he’s not really the best person to put in office, let alone decide what we should be doing in space.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The mantra of the GOP right now is that “everything is Obama’s fault”…reality doesnt really matter to MOST of the group that Herman is appealing to…(as in many instances it doesnt matter to the group barrack is appealing to).

    Ask Whittington about Cx….it was on track and with minor tweaks could have taken us to the Moon someday at some price (or at least taken some NASA astronauts)…and the evil Obama doesnt want to go to the Moon he just wants to kill the space program and make us like Europeans!

    goofy RGO

  • vulture4

    Cain’s remarks are disappointing but not surprising. Republicans have one objective, and one objective only regarding space; to use space policy as a vehicle to attack President Obama and regain the political power they held when Bush cancelled the space shuttle program and set thousands of Space Coast workers on the path to unemployment, and when they planned the most disastrous program in NASA history, Constellation. They conveniently forget the cavalier way in which Sean O’Keefe shrugged off dire warnings, even from John McCain, that Constellation would bankrupt the country and leave us dependent on Soyuz.

  • NASA Fan

    Cain is boring. Like all politicians. He loves the attention that comes from being in the spotlight, so he’ll play/lie to the crowd in front of him; great example of what doesn’t work anymore in modern politics.

  • John

    That’s just a bad call by Cain. Obama had nothing to do with it. It was Bush who retired the Shuttle program and decided a US crew vehicle was not vital and that the Russians were to be responsible for ISS support. Obama just played along cancelling an already defunct program and using “commercial space” as scapegoats.

  • Dave

    President Bush made the initial decision to end the Shuttle program when the ISS assembly was complete. President Obama had the opportunity to change President Bush’s decision in 2009 and choose not to. This was a decision shared by both Presidents. Reversing the decision to end the Shuttle program in 2009 would have been expensive.
    Cain is talking about the space program and, if he survives the primaries, I expect that he will become smarter about the space program.

  • DCSCA

    “Cain blames Obama for having to “bum a ride with the Russians”

    Meanwhile, his own campaign manager is bumming cigarettes.

    The ballistic trajectory of the Cain campaign is quite predictable as its a short range vehicle with a dummy second stage and an unreliable guidance system. It has reached its apogee, achieved MECO and the inevitable arc back into the atmosphere of political realities are forthcoming. Whether it’s a controlled or uncontrolled reentry remains to be seen– but the seat-of-the-pants flying so far suggests a bumpy return to Earth.

  • Coastal Ron

    Cain’s ignorance of the Soyuz situation is not unusual, nor is his blaming Obama for it. Likely he is unaware of the Commercial Crew program, and if told that Obama was pushing it would blame Obama for, I don’t know, not pushing it hard enough (while ignoring the SLS fiasco).

    As always it doesn’t matter what a politician says, it only matters what they do, and people trying to become a parties nominee are even less likely to say something that is thoughtful or should be believed by the public at large – especially since the candidates are throwing red meat to their supporters, not trying to solve problems.

  • William Mellberg

    vulture4 wrote:

    “Republicans have one objective, and one objective only regarding space; to use space policy as a vehicle to attack President Obama and regain the political power they held when Bush cancelled the space shuttle program and set thousands of Space Coast workers on the path to unemployment, and when they planned the most disastrous program in NASA history, Constellation.”

    It’s all Bush’s fault, right?

    The fact of the matter is that the Constellation Program had bipartisan support in Congress. It was approved twice by both a Republican and a Democrat Congress, although I’ll grant you that neither fully funded CxP.

    That issue aside, one of the reasons the Bush Administration was winding down the Space Shuttle Program was to make way for the Constellation Program. As you know, the idea was to finish the ISS, then focus on going back to the Moon. Once the ISS was complete, Launch Complex 39 was to be modified for the Ares I and Ares V rockets, as well as for the Orion spacecraft. That meant changes not only to Pads A and B, but also to the VAB high bays and to several other facilities at KSC. Those changes also meant that LC-39 would no longer be able to support Shuttle launches. NASA would let its international partners, as well as the budding “commercial” space industry, assume more of the responsibility for the ISS while redirecting America’s national space program toward the goal of a permanent lunar outpost. And, yes … during the gap between the retirement of the Shuttle and the introduction of Orion (and/or a commercial spacecraft), the Russians would be responsible for transporting crews to the ISS. But American space workers in Florida and elsewhere would have been gainfully employed during that time gearing up for the Constellation Program. All of which is “conveniently” never mentioned by President Obama’s supporters.

    NASA’s human spaceflight program used to be the pride of our Nation, and the envy of the world. What a pity that it has become so thoroughly politicized and tragically disjointed under Obama/Holdren/Bolden/Garver.

  • Doug Lassiter

    This isn’t about Cain. This is about all the anti-Obama types who can’t seem to resist blaming him for all that ails our human space flight program. It’s pretty much the whole GOP, and those who seem to be just reflexive opponents, whose political leanings aren’t even that obvious.

    Yes, Obama didn’t cancel shuttle, and yes, W did. But Bush cancelled shuttle with the promise that we would get Constellation. That was supposed to more or less promptly provide us with human space flight capability. Bush never wanted the U.S. not to have human space flight capability. Obama did cancel Constellation, which was the illusion that our nation was going to have prompt, and maybe even gapless human space flight beyond shuttle. I’ll say it again. Obama cancelled the illusion of gapless human space flight. Constellation was unaffordable in the eyes of both the Obama administration, Congress, and really even eventually in the Bush administration as well. It wasn’t going to happen. Certainly not on any prompt timescale.

    Now, to many people, if you can’t have the capability, then there is something comforting about having an illusion of capability. Those who moan about the cancellation of Constellation are moaning about an illusion of capability.

  • Bennett

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ October 29th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Well said.

  • SpaceMan

    Those who moan about the cancellation of Constellation are moaning about an illusion

    Dreams die hard, particularly those based on delusional thinking.

  • John

    Constellation was an ill-conceived program to begin with no matter how much it would have cost. Congress knew Constellation was DOA before Obama ever took office. What Obama did not do was reverse decades of failed policy which will force the American taxpayer again to shell out billions more for SLS.

  • pathfinder_01

    Actually William, Florida would have seen a reduction of jobs due to CXP. Much of the work in Florida was serving the Shuttle, which CXP would not use. Between Fy2008 and Fy2011 KSC would have gone from 8,000 workers to a low of 2,300 and would have rebounded to a high of 3,800 in Fy2011. CXP would have reduced the Florida workforce.

    MSFC would have seen an increase.

    The total work force would have dropped from about 21,000 in 2008 to 17,000 in FY2013. There would have been a low of 13,800 in FY2013. 4,000 jobs in total would have been lost.

    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/220259main_Workforce_Transition_Strategy_rpt.pdf

  • pathfinder_01

    I also suspect that this report figured CXP would be online by 2014 instead of the more likely 2017 date(i.e. only 1 year FY2011 of big reductions….)

  • I’m not a big fan of Bush, but I do think his administration made the right call when it came to retiring the Shuttle.

    As I wrote last July 4 on my blog, Shuttle was cancelled because, in the words of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, it was “a complex and risky system” that killed 14 people.

    CAIB might have recommended retiring Shuttle right then and there if another system was available for launching the remaining ISS modules, but there was no other option. Retiring Shuttle meant abrogating our agreements with our partners to complete ISS. We would have had no launch vehicles and no microgravity laboratory.

    So we had to continue flying Shuttle to complete ISS. The Bush administration got it right in deciding that Shuttle would fly only to complete ISS, and then Shuttle would be retired.

    Where the Bush administration went off the rails was trying to build “Apollo on Steroids” without adequate funding. You can watch the January 28, 2004 Senate Committee hearing for yourself to see them plant the seeds for this disaster. Some of the Senators — John McCain and Bill Nelson — called it for what it was, but in the end Congress approved the Vision for Space Exploration, which evolved into Constellation.

    But it did give us the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which in 2012 will result in commercial cargo flights to the ISS. The success of COTS gave us Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) in 2010.

    I think the Obama administration got it exactly right when they chose not to reverse five years of planning the Shuttle shutdown. Plenty of studies showed it would be expensive and it would be 2-3 years before new external tanks would be ready, so Shuttle wouldn’t have flown anyway until 2013 or so.

    But it really doesn’t matter, because it still overlooks why the Bush administration made the original decision — the Shuttle was “a complex and risky system” that killed 14 people.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ October 29th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    It’s all Bush’s fault, right?

    No, but facts are facts, and Cain is ignorant of them.

    The fact of the matter is that the Constellation Program had bipartisan support in Congress.

    And bipartisan support to cancel it. How convenient you keep “forgetting” that.

    That issue aside, one of the reasons the Bush Administration was winding down the Space Shuttle Program was to make way for the Constellation Program.

    As was the reason for throwing away the ISS after five short years. Let’s not forget that the Constellation program was voraciously sucking up more and more money as it fell further behind in schedule, and as it went further and further over in budget. Hence the reason Congress agreed to cancel it.

    And, yes … during the gap between the retirement of the Shuttle and the introduction of Orion (and/or a commercial spacecraft), the Russians would be responsible for transporting crews to the ISS.

    You keep forgetting – we have always relied on the Russians to keep our astronauts at the ISS. Why do you and others continue to “overlook” this simple fact?

    NASA’s human spaceflight program used to be the pride of our Nation, and the envy of the world.

    We still are. If the reason you think we’re not is because we can’t fly to space right now, then that would have been the situation no matter who was President. Aren’t you forgetting that Ares I & Orion wouldn’t have flown for another 4-6 years, if then? How “convenient”.

    What a pity that it has become so thoroughly politicized

    That it is, and you’re not doing much to help that. I can find plenty to blame with Obama’s efforts with NASA and space policy, but when the Republican leader of the Senate (McConnell) is against any Obama “wins” for space (and everything else), you can’t say that Obama is entirely to blame.

    For myself, I follow a non-political space philosophy – I support those things that lower the cost to access space. Maybe you should do the same…

  • William Mellberg

    pathfinder_01 wrote:

    “Much of the work in Florida was serving the Shuttle, which CXP would not use.”

    Yes, I’ve read that report previously. And yes, the overall workforce would have been reduced temporarily following the Shuttle retirement. But it would have ramped up again rather quickly had Constellation gone forward. It would have been a situation very similar to the transition from Apollo to the Shuttle.

    The report you cite notes that many Constellation ground support requirements were undefined at the time it was written. Some space workers would have been switching hats during the transition. Others would have been dislocated, as was the case between Apollo and the Space Shuttle. Some would have lost their jobs permanently. Others would have found new jobs (construction workers modifying the VAB and related facilities, for instance). Kennedy Space Center would not have become a ghost town. And a lunar outpost would have eventually made it “America’s Moonport” (as the signs used to say) once again … and a very busy place in the years ahead.

    But the point I was actually trying to make (and strayed from) was that one of the reasons the Bush Administration planned to retire the Space Shuttle Program was to clear the decks for the Constellation Program. One program was being replaced by another.

    The Obama Administration let Constellation die without giving birth to anything really new or clearly defined. We went from a return to the Moon to a “mission to nowhere.” Rhetoric has replaced a plan. And the accompanying chaos has produced turmoil.

    What it really boils down to is this …

    Do the American people (i.e., the taxpayers) want a national space program that sends robots and people beyond Earth orbit to explore the unknown and to lead the world in boldly going where no one has gone before?

  • NASA Fan

    @ Doug L, regarding ‘illusions at NASA’

    Very well said. And you are leaving out so many other illusions that NASA thinks is reality.

    like: “We know how much it will cost and how long it will take to develop a flag ship mission, like JWST”

    like: “We know that if we set up independent review boards to watch over projects, we’ll be safe, and have great success in meeting cost and schedule targets”

    etc. etc. etc.

  • Given Michael Griffin’s recent criticisms, I thought some of you might enjoy the irony of Griffin’s remarks in an October 20, 2006 speech given at the X-Prize Summit:

    http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=22396

    Griffin gave a very strong pro-commercial space speech. Now that his 2006 vision is about to become reality, for some reason he’s against it.

  • John

    ….2004,
    “…The success of COTS gave us Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) in 2010…

    Crew vehicle….( wait for it..)….

  • William Mellberg

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “… you can’t say that Obama is entirely to blame.”

    No, I can’t. In fact, I had an opportunity in January 2009 to talk about America’s space program with one of the persons who was on the President’s short list to become NASA Administrator. At that time I told him that NASA was at a crossroads, and the way ahead was not certain. After he lost the job to General Bolden, I told him not to be too disappointed. “You might wind up being relieved that you didn’t get it.” I haven’t talked with him since, but I do wonder if he sees the situation differently today than he did in early 2009.

    My comments to that gentleman reflect the fact that I understood the problems with America space program before Barack Obama was even inaugurated.

    In any event, I am hopeful that the upcoming Dragon mission is a complete success. The sooner America has its own spacecraft to service the ISS, the better. On that point, we agree.

  • josh

    irrelevant. cain will never get the nomination. the gop will never make themselves choose between two black men.

    it’s probably romney and he’ll lose to obama ofc.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The problem with (so far) all members of the GOP group that want to be POTUS is that none of them really have cared about space policy and politics anymore then just simply beating up on Obama…that is clear because (to the disgust I am sure of people like Whittington) none of them have detailed any real alternative program.

    Cain’s comments are simply rhetoric. The GOP faithful need to believe certain things and his candidacy is based on that. There is a belief in the “simpleton” wing of the GOP that for instance getting rid of the IRS alone makes the economy better…..so Cain’s 999 plan gets traction even though it would cause the rich to pay less and the folks going down the income scale to pay a larger part of their income in taxes.

    It is important for the GOP that Obama be the culprit in terms of what is roughly labeled “space power projection”. Cx was a flop but the folks in teh simpleton wing cannot bring themselves to admit that (see Whittington’s explanations “It needs more money”)…the reliance on the Russians was clearly Bush and is a method to give them hard currency to keep them in the space station game…etc

    if any of these people were “real” they would at the same time that they gripe would state a recovery plan.

    They dont.

    So all it is, is rhetoric to appeal to a particular wing of the GOP which also nicely conforms with the anybody but Willard wing. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    josh wrote @ October 29th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    irrelevant. cain will never get the nomination. the gop will never make themselves choose between two black men.

    it’s probably romney and he’ll lose to obama ofc.>>

    Willard and Obama both have nearly the same problem. Willard has never met a position he wont change to get elected and Obama has no position that he really believes in …

    I would agree with you on Cain…except this. There is a suicidal wing of the GOP and it might be taking shape here to drive the nomination. These are people who believe that the world should be viewed as it should be, not as it really is. Cain with his space policy and other things appeals to that wing…and they might be large enough this time to drive the nomination.

    Sadly while one can convince “that wing” that Obama is the one who drove the reliance on the Russians…that wing might be large enough to get the nomination but it is not large enough to win the Presidency…and it is not possible to convince the middle in American politics, the other 90 percent…that up is down and down is up. They have had it on that

    Obama will cream Cain…and probably beat Willard… RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ October 29th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    The Obama Administration let Constellation die without giving birth to anything really new or clearly defined.

    - Extending the life of the ISS as our only permanent outpost in space is nothing?

    - Promoting and creating a complete logistics system for LEO is nothing new (Bush/Griffin never pushed commercial crew)?

    - Designating a human visit to an asteroid by 2025 as NASA’s next major exploration goal is not clear?

    It sure does seem like “Moon First” supporters just don’t hear anything unless it’s related to returning to the Moon.

    This gets back to the question of sustainability – how do we maintain a sustainable space effort that is not a bunch of “programs” spaced every decade or so, with years of nothing going on because we can’t afford it.

    How do we maintain an ever expanding & permanent presence in space?

    That to me is why the ISS has been such a success, because it keeps us in space and forces us to keep it sustainable. The same situation will happen with anything on the Moon – how do you maintain a sustainable presence on the Moon when it is 1000X further away than the ISS? If we can’t work out the logistics & technical systems for LEO, we won’t be able to support anything beyond LEO.

    Do the American people (i.e., the taxpayers) want a national space program that sends robots and people beyond Earth orbit to explore the unknown and to lead the world in boldly going where no one has gone before?

    Unfortunately they don’t really care about space unless something exciting is happening, like a loud rocket going off (with the possibility of a fiery explosion), or something “NEW” (whatever they consider “NEW”). Essentially it’s just another channel of entertainment or diversion – kind of like rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series even though you didn’t watch them during the regular season.

    We already conquered the Moon – they want what’s next, but they won’t know what’s next until they see it, so asking them is not going to help. We as a community need to come up with the answers, but just as the political process is highly polarized, so it seems with the space community.

    You and I (metaphorically) need to come to some sort of agreement, otherwise this polarization will keep us from doing much.

  • Coastal Ron

    Just an FYI.

    I was cruising thru the channels tonight and checked what they were showing on NASA TV. They were showing the unboxing of the Dragon after it was delivered to their launch facility last week.

    It was shrink-wrapped completely in black plastic, and they had an aluminum box that covered it during it’s truck ride.

    Now that the Shuttle program has ended, it’s smaller vehicles like Dragon that will start being covered for pre-launch activities like this.

  • Mr. Right

    Cain supports a robust US space program. Be nice.

  • Pathfinder_01

    William here is what CXP was:

    A program to develop a vehicle to get to the ISS that was so late the ISS would have been deorbited before it got there. A program that needed the shuttle’s money to even meet that late date. If Obama had not changed things we would have been stuck with a tiny capsule with nowhere to go from about 2016 till whenever the heavy lift came online (likely the 2020ies).

    A program that depended on deorbiting the ISS to free the money to develop the Heavy lift needed to go to the moon and a program that had already put Altair(the moon lander) on hold. Moonbases likewise on hold.

    We would have traded the ability to send 7+ people into space and stay for months at the ISS for a program that at best was planning about 2, 2 week moon landing a year with a crew of 4! I don’t know about you but that sounds like ONE GIANT LEAP backwards to the 60ies for mankind. I am a child of the 70ies. I didn’t see the moon landings. They are dusty history to me. I did see the shuttle and how it attempted to make spaceflight a regular event and anything that reduced the number of people going into space or does not attempt to make spaceflight into something that perhaps might one day be useful to the common man looses my support.

    Basically if you extend the shuttle, you delay CXP unless you increase NASA’s budget for many years and that was not happing. CXP was a program that could not achieve any sane results within any likely budget. It was’nt a dream. It was an illusion.

  • Pathfinder_01

    Anyway if you want to go to the moon here is a tip.

    Drop the HLV, gain international support. One problem with HLV is that not all countries can afford to use or develop them. Heck the two superpowers found them too expensive for their tastes (Saturn V, N1, Engeria).

    Countries like to be seen as equals or near equals in spaceflight. In the case of the ISS both ESA and JAXA provide something useful in the form of ATV and HTV. Russia likewise in Soyuz and progress. With CXP the rest of the world could provide little to nothing since everything would have been launched by NASA and unlike the Shuttle\Spacelab not complementary or reused.

    Prop depots and Electric Propulsion(or chemical) tugs are much easier to work with international support. Plans that use an HLV lock others out. For instance with the tug Russia could launch a progress and have it tugged to lunar space or just develop a Lander for the NASA tug. Russia gets to show off it’s prow less by building and launching rather than say tagging along. Likewise ESA and JAXA.

    What amazed me was how surprised NASA was during the Bush Administration about how little international support CXP gained. I mean If you want an international moon base, then it would help if more than one country could send crew and supplies to it. If you were a Russian would you support your government building a base that from the get go your cosmonauts’ can’t get to unless you make massive investments in an HLV? What would JAXA and ESA be able to provide or gain? Going it alone can be very expensive.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    The problem with (so far) all members of the GOP group that want to be POTUS is that none of them really have cared about space policy and politics anymore then just simply beating up on Obama.

    I think Newt Gingrich may be an exception to that statement. At least he knows what’s going on with NASA.

  • vulture4

    Dave wrote @ October 29th, 2011 at 4:22 pm
    “President Bush made the initial decision to end the Shuttle program when the ISS assembly was complete. President Obama had the opportunity to change President Bush’s decision in 2009 and choose not to.”

    You are correct that it was Bush’s decision, not the recommendation of the CAIB. The Space Station was planned from the beginning to have the support of Shuttle or a similar vehicle throughout its operational lifetime.

    But I recommend that you read the blog of former Shuttle program director Wayne Hale. He wrote in 2008, even before the election, that the decision to end the Shuttle program was already irrevocable, and he would know. I tend to believe he was right; even by that time too much of the tooling and specialized knowledge had been destroyed.

    What is difficult for me to understand is, why would anyone dispute the point? Why would those who supported Bush at the time now want Obama to “share the blame” for Bush’s decision? If Bush was right, they should be happy we have no Shuttle. They should logically proclaim instead that Obama should “share the credit” for the shuttle’s demise. Personally, I argued all along that it was a mistake.

    Finally, it is meaningless to say that either President Bush or the Democratic Congress supported Constellation but failed to fund it. If they didn’t fund it, they didn’t support it. In fact, the position taken by politicians like Haridopolous, who supported Bush when he cancelled Shuttle, who oppose any taxes at all, but who now blame Obama for every one of the thousands of job losses and the “gap” is blatant hypocrisy.

  • Coastal Ron

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Cain supports a robust US space program.

    Oh? And which “robust US space program” would that be?

    Does he support the ISS? Which destination does he support for our next foray past LEO, and why? What has he said regarding Commercial vs Russian crew transportation, and what has he said regarding CCDev funding?

    Sorry, but citizen Cain, who is aspiring to be a politician, has offered nothing to prove that space is anything more than a political punching bag with a picture of Obama on it.

  • common sense

    @ Mr. Right wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 2:02 am

    “Cain supports a robust US space program. ”

    Cain so far has shown that what he says on space policiy is totally moronic.

    “Be nice.”

    Sure. I’d like two pizzas with that space policy.

  • Later Gattor

    Be Nice

    Ok, where was Mr. Cain when Bush canceled the space shuttle and replaced it with a failed architecture called Constellation? Just wondering, thanks in advance.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 2:02 am
    “Cain supports a robust US space program. Be nice.”

    Pretty much everyone supports, in principle, a robust US space program. I don’t know of any presidential contender who says that they don’t. In fact, Cain said it himself that the United States wants such robustness. But Cain really isn’t supporting it here. He hasn’t advanced a plan to support it. He’s just accusing someone of not supporting it. Accusing someone of not supporting it shouldn’t be confused with supporting it. That’s something to keep in mind as election politics start to ramp up. We’ll hear this a lot, I suspect.

    But what Cain is doing here is bringing space into the national conversation about future goals. Gingrich has also done that. That’s a useful thing to do. But let’s not misinterpret that as credible support.

  • Mr. Right

    Cain made words of support for NASA. That should be welcome by everyone. Donate $1000 to his campaign and try for a seat in his admin. Would be a good way to infuse “your” space policy into NASA. Lori did it for only $29,000,000 in contributions to Obama’s 2008 campaign.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 6:19 am
    “I think Newt Gingrich may be an exception to that statement. At least he knows what’s going on with NASA.”

    what I would love is a oh say 20 minute conversation completely off the record with “newt” where we each (but particularly him) tell each other just the truth in relations to the questions asked.

    Of all the candidates in the GOP “field” Newt has to be one of the two (the other being Bachmann) who is just having one heck of a time figuring out which way the “suicide wing” of the party is trending. Newt must have believed that with his creds from the mid 90′s he could summon up the “anyone but Willard” wing of the party…and for a few weeks in his campaign (including an apperance on MTP) he actually kind of spoke in sane sentences that gave a hint to the scholar and thinker he is (underneath the bomb thrower Newt).

    This is illustrated by so many things (some of which he has since abandoned) but since this is the space forum…I’ll note that. Newt recognizes what dolts on the GOP right cannot.

    There is no way to return NASA to its “glory” days of the 60′s. The Agency is to fat and old and goofy but also the country and situation has changed and there is no appetite (much less money) in The Republic for somesort of make work Apollo style effort…or even another “build the station” effort.

    IN NORMAL TIMES for the GOP beloved Newts call to a commercial space orientation…would sell and sell hard. But all you have to do is look at Whittington. There was no more “Newt” fan in the 90′s then old Mark…Now of course Whittington has dumped Newt because for the most part Newt wont or didnt participate in the “its all Obama’s fault” line…or the fantasy that a large human space flight exploration program requires.

    There might be time for a “second rise” for Newt…but something tells me that unless Herman Cain starts spouting things like “I love health care for everyone” probably not. Cain is the flavor it seems of the “suicide wing” of the party…and he could have staying power if the Anybody but willard wing forms around him….it will form around someone.

    But to the larger point…Newt grasp what is wrong in human spaceflight politics and policy…and sadly the suicide wing of the GOP no longer does.

    This is likely the most entertaining campaign since McGovern grabbed the suicide wing of the Dems. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Cain made words of support for NASA.”

    is that what you call them? Wow things have slipped over time. I take it you are a member of the suicide wing of the GOP? wont the next four months be fun! RGO

  • More gobblygook from Citizen Cain. Sad, really. A long rhetorical blast devoid of facts and details of what he would actually do. #FAIL

  • Peter Lykke

    Just saw this, and haven’t read any of the comments yet. But I have to say this:

    If we accept politicians that lie, intentionally or by ignorance, we do not have democracy. If we accept and elect these politicians anyway, we deserve what we get.

    Simple as that. Call me a dreamer.

  • Michael from Iowa

    Incidentally, Progress 45 has a successful launch today which means that normal crew and cargo transport operations should be restored.

    Looks like SpaceX might be able to meet its launch window for a December docking after all. (here’s hoping)

  • Mr. Right

    I guess we have our own “occupy space policy” gang on this site…
    Some sad, just bloody low minded comments.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    N NORMAL TIMES for the GOP beloved Newts call to a commercial space orientation…would sell and sell hard. But all you have to do is look at Whittington. There was no more “Newt” fan in the 90′s then old Mark…Now of course Whittington has dumped Newt because for the most part Newt wont or didnt participate in the “its all Obama’s fault” line…or the fantasy that a large human space flight exploration program requires.

    Robert, with all due respect … You and Rand, along with Jeff, are the three whose opinions here I stop to read. But please stop the obsessive references to Mark Whittington. He’s irrelevant. You go on and on about him to the point that I start to wonder about your sanity.

    You are entitled to your opinion. So is Mr. Whittington, although I couldn’t care less what he thinks. Please consider my advice and drop the incessant Whittington jabs. Thank you.

  • Coastal Ron

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I guess we have our own “occupy space policy” gang on this site.

    You seem to be the more recent “occupier”, so I think you’re using the wrong metaphor. Go back and try again.

    Some sad, just bloody low minded comments.

    Surely you don’t mean when someone challenges your vague assertions or the lack of evidence you provide?

    It’s one thing to pretend to be an insider, with “insider” knowledge that, of course, can’t be refuted (much less verified). It’s another to be believable. I think you still have a ways to go.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen thanks for the gentle reminder…I should be kinder but it annoys me to no end people who have changed their tune simply because Obama is POTUS…but you are of course correct RGO

  • amightywind

    it would be unfair to blame only Obama” since the decision to retire the shuttle predates his administration; moreover, the claim in that chain email ignores the Apollo-Shuttle interregnum in the 1970s. That led PolitiFact to grade them claim, quite bluntly, as “Pants on Fire”.

    Well, Obama inherited a NASA with a robust shuttle replacement program, on steroids, in Constellation. Obama killed it shortly after a successful Ares I test flight. Hard to see how one cannot blame him for NASA’s current moribund state, unless Politifact, like so many of the baboons on this forum, carries water for Obama.

  • Fred Willett

    William Mellberg wrote @ October 29th, 2011 at 5:23 pm
    …All of which is “conveniently” never mentioned by President Obama’s supporters.
    It would be well worth your time to go back and look at the work done by Sally Ride for the Augustine committee.
    She examined many options. They all showed that Constellation. or any other heavy lift, was never going to happen on the existing budget. With a “less constrained” budget option of a permanent $3B a year extra added to the NASA budget a Heavy Lift architecture was possible, but still pushed lunar landers and all the other necessary hardware off into the far distant future beyond 2030.
    The only practical option present by Augustine was to forget Heavy Lift (constellation) for the time being and concentrate on research. The President saw this was inevitable and OK’d the flexible path.
    The senate revolted and reenstated Heavy Lift (The SLS) but crucially they did not add the extra $3B a year that was needed just to make a Heavy Lift vehicle affordable.
    This is where we are today. Committed to a Heavy Lift vehicle, but without the funds needed to really make it work.
    as Doug Lassiter wrote”
    “Those who moan about the cancellation of Constellation are moaning about an illusion of capability.”
    That also applies to SLS.

  • Mr. Wrong wrote:

    I guess we have our own “occupy space policy” gang on this site…
    Some sad, just bloody low minded comments.

    Am I the only person who finds it amusing that the most pompous, ignorant, afactual and ahistorical, ungrammatical, illogical statements are made by a new troll going by the pseudonym of “Mr. Right”? These trolls have no sense of irony whatsoever.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Well, Obama inherited a NASA with a robust shuttle replacement program, on steroids, in Constellation.

    Are you even aware of what you say? You do know that steroids, in the way that you mean them, are extremely harmful? That they artificially add muscle but shorten the lives of the people who take them? How apropos that you used that term since Constellation followed the same path.

    shortly after a successful Ares I test flight

    Let’s be clear here – Ares I-X was an Ares I in name only. No Ares I flight hardware or software flew, so there was no heritage to a real Ares I. Ares I-X was a powered mockup, and really only served the purpose of proving that an extremely tall and thin rocket could be successfully flown.

    unless Politifact… carries water for Obama.

    Everything is a conspiracy to you. Must be hard not knowing where the closet liberals are hiding, although I’m sure you have your suspicions… ;-)

  • Steven White

    Herman Cain gets it. Of course, he does not know all of the details that readers of this blog obsess over. However, he does know, in his heart, that we can do better than pay the Russians to take us to the ISS. Wait until he finds out that NASA is requiring our new astronauts to learn Russian. He will raise hell!

  • Mr. Right

    Not comments about me old boy. Comments about GOP not voting for a black man…. etc. that’s sick and low minded. As for being an “insider”, never said that once, but nice to see you think I am. I get my data from what I worked on or people doing the work now. I’ve been posting about space for about 17 years. Anyone remember “This Week In Space Station Development”? Lastly you try posting from an iphone.

    Good luck everyone! May we get a robust crewed deep space exploration program and a civil space capability to boot.

    My last post.

    Cheers!

  • E.P. Grondine

    People, People! –

    We’re getting off message here again, which is that ATK is a crummy company that got $10 BILLION for promising to develop a crummy rocket, and then failed to come in anywhere close to on time or on budget.

    All of the words in these “analysises” here just get in the way of THE MESSAGE.

    PS – Mr Right, Where the hell did Lori Garver get $29,000,000 from?
    For that matter where the hell did you get that number from?

    Love and KISS’s, E.P.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    We could have had DIRECT and 2 manned LEO launch systems for about $5 Bil – what the producers of 2and1/2 made off of Charlie Sheen.

    Instead we have this mess for $6 Bil and $4 Bil in IOU’s.

  • Rhyolite

    “Obama inherited a NASA with a robust shuttle replacement program”

    The only thing “robust” about it were the size of the cost overruns and the year-for-year schedule slides. It was a dead program no matter who was elected in 2008.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Working hard on getting us out of this mess:

    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/10/sls-flexibility-roadmap-focus-center-stage/

    Reaction appears positive

  • DCSCA

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ October 30th, 2011 at 6:19 am
    “I think Newt Gingrich may be an exception to that statement. At least he knows what’s going on with NASA.”

    No he doesn’t. Gingrich knows more about the revolving credit policies at Tiffany’s and the divorce laws in Georgia than he does about America’s space agency. His mantre is a page from the Herritage Foundation’s playbook- privatize as much of the government as possible and starve the beast of funding. That’s all. He may sound knowledgeable to the uneducated, but he’s a classic example of a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing. He really is a dinosaur from 20 yearfs ago– and if you recall, was forced out of power by his own party. Nothing has changed from this statement he made about NASA nearly 17 years ago:

    “Gingrich Criticizes NASA
    House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Saturday that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should have been disbanded after the Apollo moon program ended in the 1970′s.” Source- NY Times February 6, 1995

  • DCSCA

    Things are heating up now that Cain has begun reentry and the harrassment charges are beginning to ablate his heatshield already. Expect drogue deployment by Thanksgiving and return to Earth by the holidays.

  • Just how many different LEO stations does the world need?! If the ISS had been de-orbited, as well it should have, in 2015, billions of dollars would have been freed for the real next big thing: the Return to the Moon, this time with the intent to stay, via intermittently occupied bases & greatly expanded sortie missions—which are still needed in order to explore geologically distict sites there. The prospect of commercial space and China putting up yet more floating cans of alluminum into LEO bores me to freaking death!! Why are we wasting more & more decades on this boring, dull, useless activity, of putting our astronauts on board circling cannisters, 200 miles up—-anymore??! Have we as a country lossed all of our true exploration instincts?? There’s literally NOTHING in LEO! In the great Apollo days, LEO was merely the start of the journey—-a parking orbit for two hours on the way to the REAL destination. LEO was NOT the destination! The reason I, for one, despise commercial space, is because a great future second round of Lunar exploration was sacrificed at the altar in order to “make it happen”. This was completely unnecessary! Project Constellation absolutely could have worked!

  • Dennis

    Truly what we should be developing, is a FULLY reusable manned spacecraft. This may only be a dream of the far off future, at least with the politicians we have. I will be amazed if M. Musk can pull of a totally Falcon reusable.

  • Fred Willett wrote:

    The senate revolted and reenstated Heavy Lift (The SLS) but crucially they did not add the extra $3B a year that was needed just to make a Heavy Lift vehicle affordable.

    And I’ll point folks one more time to “The Senate Launch System” on the Competitive Space Task Force web site as the definitive primer on how SLS came to be and why.

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    Am I the only person who finds it amusing that the most pompous, ignorant, afactual and ahistorical, ungrammatical, illogical statements are made by a new troll going by the pseudonym of “Mr. Right”? These trolls have no sense of irony whatsoever.

    And if people would ignore the trolls by not responding, they would be denied the attention they so desperately crave. But people just can’t resist taking the bait.

    Personally, I think we have only two or three trolls who are using multiple screen names to think they have more support than they really have.

  • Steven White wrote:

    However, he does know, in his heart, that we can do better than pay the Russians to take us to the ISS. Wait until he finds out that NASA is requiring our new astronauts to learn Russian.

    And Russian cosmonauts are required to learn English — as are every other non-American who will travel to the ISS.

    As for paying Russia, that was decided by the Bush adminstration in January 2004. The Obama administration has four companies vying to lease their 21st Century spacecraft to take U.S. astronauts to the ISS. That’s four more than Bush had.

  • amightywind

    Expect drogue deployment by Thanksgiving and return to Earth by the holidays.

    …He may sound knowledgeable to the uneducated, but he’s a classic example of a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing.

    Truer words have never been spoken. It is disturbing how unserious the GOP group is considering what is at stake.

  • BeancounterFromDownunder

    Dennis wrote:

    Well he’s the only one seriously giving it a go in the orbital sphere anyway. Anyone who doubts that needs to look at what they’ve got in the works and also what they’ve been attempting to do.
    Traditional space companies have got complacent and too reliant on NASA and the U.S. government for what have become essentially jobs programs and handouts. SpaceX is breaking that model by going out and doing stuff with their own money. They’ve been well and truly underestimated in my view. More power to them.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    I admit that my knowledge recent space policy history is spotty. There was, IIRC, a project called ‘OSP’, that was intended to launch a fairly basic crew vehicle into LEO on top of one of the EELVs. This mutated into CEV and later into what we now call MPCV. However, at the time it was conceived, it was very much a ‘public option’ version of what we now call Commercial Crew

    Maybe someone who knows more than me could answer this: When was OSP cancelled and, if it had not been, would there be a need for NASA to ‘bum rides’ off of anyone?

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 6:49 am

    at least with the politicians we have…

    And that’s what is really holding us back, since NASA has already proposed a fully reusable spaceship:

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=36068

  • Coastal Ron

    Mr. Right wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Not comments about me old boy. Comments about GOP not voting for a black man…

    What? Maybe I’ve glossed over the one nut-job that you’re referencing, but it sounds like you’re trying to use the wacko words of one person to smear an unaffiliated group. That’s a classic political smear tactic, so don’t pretend to be naive here.

    Lastly you try posting from an iphone.

    Another classic tactic – blame others for your mistakes. You do realize that you can turn off spell correction, right?

    May we get a robust crewed deep space exploration program and a civil space capability to boot.

    If you had been discussing this type of stuff from the beginning, and not trying to re-write history, maybe you would have had a better conversation here.

    In general I would rather discuss the future than the past, since other than trying to re-write the history books and get political points, there’s nothing we can do about it – we’re stuck with whatever good or bad happened.

    The future is not set in stone, but it’s not clear either. We aren’t limited in what we can do, but we are limited by what we have not agreed upon to do. Moon first, asteroids first, mega-rockets vs existing ones, etc., etc. Until there is more consensus, we’re not leaving LEO.

    So for those that want to leave LEO I suggest you make sure you’re doing your fair share of consensus building, otherwise the fate of CxP will be repeated over and over through the rest of your lives, and your dreams of space will be just that – dreams.

  • John Malkin

    Chris Castro wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Just how many different LEO stations does the world need?! If the ISS had been de-orbited, as well it should have, in 2015, billions of dollars would have been freed for the real next big thing:

    I doubt it. NASA’s budget would have been reduced by that amount not transferred to another Cx like program.

    Also Congress isn’t stupid enough to waste a $100 Billion laboratory. There wasn’t any real opposition to the decision to keep ISS funded. Congress/the space committees didn’t want to see it destroyed. Plus ISS isn’t a US only asset, that’s the I.

  • John

    Dennis wrote,
    “Truly what we should be developing, is a FULLY reusable manned spacecraft….”

    …and a reusable booster for a 65mt HLV.

  • Vladislaw

    Chris Castro wrote:

    “Just how many different LEO stations does the world need?! If the ISS had been de-orbited, as well it should have, in 2015, billions of dollars would have been freed for the real next big thing”

    Let’s see the world has a grand total of one LEO station, your solution is to have no space stations at all. Talk about small thinking. I can see a day when there are dozens of them.

    “The reason I, for one, despise commercial space, is because a great future second round of Lunar exploration was sacrificed at the altar in order to “make it happen”. This was completely unnecessary! Project Constellation absolutely could have worked!”

    So which funding for commercial crew sank the Constellation program, that had already blew through 13 billion, the 50 million in the stimulus? Gosh that 50 million would have saved constellation if only they wouldn’t have spent it on having our own American launch service rather than pay the russians. You can not be refering to round two because Constellation was already gone and had needed an addition 3 billion a year so the 250 million in round 2 funding would not have saved constellation either.

    You say chop the ISS in 2015, well that would have saved 2.5 billion a year but Constellation needed the extra 3 billion starting in 2008-9 and a bipartisan congress refused to fund it so Griffin started grabbing funds from other accounts. Chris you are now so far off base you are not even in the ballpark anymore, hell your not even in the parking lot with the tailgaters.

  • When was OSP cancelled and, if it had not been, would there be a need for NASA to ‘bum rides’ off of anyone?

    It was cancelled in 2004, as part of the policy shift with VSE. As to whether or not it would have solved NASA’s problems, that depends on whether or not it would have been successful. NASA has not successfully developed a new manned system since the Shuttle, with many failed attempts, of which OSP was just one.

  • Dennis

    If only Elon Musk can get the Falcon heavy off the ground! I still dont understand his plans to land boosters with rocket power, as taking aloft all that extra fuel will limit payload weight. I think he should simply pick them up at sea, like theSRBs! The Dragon making a land landing is doable, but Im not so sure about the booster rockets.

  • Frank Glover

    @ Mr Right:

    “Cain supports a robust US space program. Be nice.”

    But we still don’t know what that means to him. We only know what he’s against, much of which is simply incorrect.

    Where should the ‘nice’ come in?

    @ Pathfinder:

    “Drop the HLV…”

    Okay, but…

    “… gain international support. One problem with HLV is that not all countries can afford to use or develop them. Heck the two superpowers found them too expensive for their tastes (Saturn V, N1, Engeria).”

    You still operate on the assumption that an HLV is even *needed* now or soon. Saturn V and N1 were developed, because both sides ultimately concluded that the best chance to reach the Moon ahead of its rival, was a single-launch HLV with a separate Lunar lander vehicle to descend from Lunar orbit.

    Earth orbital rendezvous of two or more components for assembly and/or refueling in LEO to take your main capsule to the Lunar surface and back was nice, did and still make sense,,,it was simply judged to take too long.

    A super-heavy HLV that could land a capsule in its entirety and return (Direct Ascent), needing no rendezvous was nice, but would also have taken too long to develop, and cost seriously more.

    This is what you get, when dates and ‘races’ (the explicit ‘before the decade is out,’ and the implicit ‘before the Soviets,’ whichever comes first) become more important than cost and sustainability. You optimize for ‘fast,’ and get something that’s sub-optimal for ‘cheap.’ Those who hope that a major space action by China ‘will get us moving again’ don’t see that it would lead us down the same path.

    ‘International’ projects however, tie you to the continued good will of all involved (as we are now with Russia) for the duration of the project, and add yet another layer of bureaucracy. This is *not* a good thing…

    If you assert that ‘It’s too expensive for the US to do alone,’ the response should not automatically be ‘Hey, let’s bring other nations in on it, then’ but instead ‘Okay, so what assumptions take us to that conclusion, and what can we do to make it *less* expensive to achieve the same goal?’

    And getting an HLV or anything else that looks too much like the Apollo architecture (because we are not under the time constraints that drove it) out of our thinking, and embracing pre-Apollo Earth orbital assembly and refueling (and sooner or later, you must, for even SLS won’t permit a single-launch Mars mission), is the first step…

    @ Chris Casro:

    “Just how many different LEO stations does the world need?”

    I don’t know, how many ships and planes does ‘the world’ need? As many as it takes to do ‘the world’s’ business, I’d say. That we think in terms of THE space station, as if just one could possibly satisfy all possible needs into the indefinite future, is another case of a limiting mindset.

    ” If the ISS had been de-orbited, as well it should have, in 2015, billions of dollars would have been freed for the real next big thing: ”

    Is this about expanding human presence into space, or leapfrogging to the next celestial body, in search of ‘The Next Big Thing?’ Will we stop going to Mars after the first several missions, to ‘free up’ money to get to the moons of Jupiter?

    If it’s the former, then continuing to build on your gains in the places where you’ve ‘been there and done that’ are important. There will never be an end of things to do in LEO. (or the Moon, or whatever has ceased to be The Next Big Thing) The Planetary Science people know better than that. Budget permitting, they don’t hesitate to re-visit ‘old’ places, with new technology and new questions. And then there’s commercial…

    Why should HSF be different?

  • vulture4

    OSP had to contend with NASA management, but at least it had a chance; Boeing had to OSP designs, one a larger version of the X-37, the other was basically the CST-100; both infinitely superior to the Orion/Ares for the simple reason that they were designed for LEO access, a mission that we at least might be able to achieve. The OSC Prometheus at least had the potential to succeed as well. In short, there wasn’t that much difference between OSP and CCDev except that it was five years earlier and before we blew $15B on George Bush on Steroids.

    As to ocean recovery, if you’ve actually been out there you would know it is much more expensive than land recovery, and there is no way to reuse the vehicle without a total overhaul. It takes surprisingly little fuel to bring a nearly empty booster to a stop just above the ground, as long as you have a control system that can wait till the last second and hit the brakes at exactly the right time.

  • Frank Glover

    @ Dennis:

    “If only Elon Musk can get the Falcon heavy off the ground! I still dont understand his plans to land boosters with rocket power, as taking aloft all that extra fuel will limit payload weight.”

    Okay, so?

    If a small payload penalty ultimately allows a more graceful recovery and turnaround of Falcon launchers, I’ll take it, if it results in still *lower* launch costs.And Musk wouldn’t be exploring the idea, if he didn’t think it had the potential to do so.

    “I think he should simply pick them up at sea, like theSRBs!”

    Refurbishing something that’s been immersed in salt water is no small feat itself. All the more so for a liquid-fueled rocket, compared to an SRB casing.

    “The Dragon making a land landing is doable, but Im not so sure about the booster rockets.”

    Yes, it’ll be a challenge. Not just to make it work at all, but to demonstrate that it’s practical and worth it. But; “For all things, there is a first time…”

  • vulture4

    “The prospect of commercial space and China putting up yet more floating cans of alluminum into LEO bores me to freaking death!!”

    Your’re bored? Go to a movie!

    I don’t hear you offering to pay for this. I’m astounded that the same people who want tax cuts for themselves have the panache to simultaneously attack Obama for not wanting to spend $400 billion of my tax dollars to keep them entertained. NASA isn’t in the entertainment business, although there seem to be more than a few civil servants at JSC, MSFC and even KSC who think so.

    As for Mr. Cain, I can still remember when both parties fought in elections but worked together the rest of the time. Today space seems to be important to most Republican politicians only as the “high ground” from which they can launch unguided missiles of political invective.

  • Bennett

    Frank Glover wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Wow, Frank. Very thoughtful comment. Thanks for taking the time to write that.

    Bennett

  • Doug Lassiter

    Chris Castro wrote @ October 31st, 2011 at 5:51 am
    Project Constellation absolutely could have worked!

    Yes, it could have worked, if two administrations and several Congresses were going to fling enough money at it. But they weren’t and they didn’t. Case closed. It was fiscally non-executable. The issue wasn’t technical, it was fiscal. The hardware could have worked, but those doing the work, I guess, just weren’t going to get paid. How does that make it “work”?

    It’s amusing to use those ground rules to make up stories about things that could have “worked”, when those doing the work don’t get paid.

    Cain might want to think, as he and his GOP compatriots ponder the cuts they accuse Obama of making to the U.S. space program, that the NASA budget is pretty much flat. Our space program hasn’t been cut at all, though fiscally non-executable elements of it have been replaced by elements that are actually affordable. In their mind, leadership in space seems to be measured by how many people sit on rockets, and the extent to which we run our own cab service to LEO.

  • Pathfinder_01

    The problem with OSP from the political sense was that OSP was going to use an EELV to get to space. I frankly think that OSP had a much better chance than CXP. With CXP, NASA underestimated just how hard it is to make a new rocket.

    Frank, I agree about staging in LEO. I just wish that R/D tech like inflatable habs, prop depots, and electric propulsion wouldn’t keep being looked over just to keep up an system that no longer serves a purpose (NASA owning its own rocket).

  • William Mellberg

    vulture4 wrote:

    “I’m astounded that the same people who want tax cuts for themselves have the panache to simultaneously attack Obama for not wanting to spend $400 billion of my tax dollars to keep them entertained.”

    And what’s the price tag going to be on Obama’s asteroid missions? Those will be your tax dollars, too.

  • @Frank Glover;…..Sir, you totally MISunderstand me, if you think I’m like the damned Flexible Path people who are dead-set against going to any place that American astronauts “have been”. HELL YES the Moon should be re-explored! The unmanned, robotic space enthusiasts, never fail in configuring newer planetary space probes, with which to re-explore other worlds. Did they stop sending probes to Jupiter, for example, after the Pioneer & Voyager missions? Of course not! Because there remained plenty of scientific questions which needed to be answered, and subsequent robotic missions to re-survey, were more than justified. But these idiot Flexible Path people demand that we never ever again send astronauts to the Moon, on the flimsy & cowardly excuse that our spacemen were already there, 40 years ago; and they think that there will never be another reason to send them there in another era. Well, Flexible Path as a game-plan totally stinks!! But I will tell you, that, Low Earth Orbit is still a wholesale ludicrous fall back plan, because we could be stranded there for a lifetime! Just how near & close to the Earth can we be, and still simultaneously claim to be traveling through “space”??? Do you all see the big problem?—LEO is the bare freaking minimum we could ever be doing, in terms of sending astronauts “into space”. Building more & more castles in LEO in one flagrant mission to nowhere!

  • Dennis

    It seems to me that as partners in the ISS, we could or should have worked out a better deal that what Russia is charging for seats aboard Soyuz. Now Im for the planned for commercial Soyuz mission around the Moon, but here to theprice tag is way to high.

  • Justin Kugler

    I think we all understand you just fine, Mr. Castro. At best, all you offer are strawman arguments designed to malign and discredit anyone who disagrees with your “one, true path”.

  • @Dennis
    “It seems to me that as partners in the ISS, we could or should have worked out a better deal that what Russia is charging for seats aboard Soyuz. Now Im for the planned for commercial Soyuz mission around the Moon, but here to theprice tag is way to high.”
    When there is no competition, there is no incentive to lower prices. Because of that the U.S. has little leverage to bargain from. That is why having more than one final company chosen for Commercial Crew is a great idea: more than one company means competition and competion means each will try to undercut the other’s price. But that can’t happen if Congress keeps cutting funding to CC.

  • @Dennis
    “If only Elon Musk can get the Falcon heavy off the ground! I still dont understand his plans to land boosters with rocket power, as taking aloft all that extra fuel will limit payload weight. I think he should simply pick them up at sea, like theSRBs! The Dragon making a land landing is doable, but Im not so sure about the booster rockets.

    The point you are missing is that when a launcher takes off, most of its weight is fuel. So most of the energy spent during launch is spent lifting fuel! The actual weight of the booster hardware is but a small fraction of the launch weight. Also, the first stage is not only lifting its own mass plus its fuel, it is lifting at least one fully loaded upper stage (with its fuel) and payload. Thus, after separation, the powerful engines of the first stage need comparatively little mass in fuel to decelerate and land the enormously reduced mass of just that one stage. But first stages always carry more fuel than they need anyway as a safety margin, thus there is always fuel left in the booster when it falls back to earth. What SpaceX proposes is to use that fuel that is left over from the launch (which doesn’t need to be a hell of a lot because of the greatly lessened mass returning).

    The same principle essentially applies to the second stage. After it separates, most of its fuel would be gone and the second stage will no longer be attached to both the mass of its initial load of fuel and the mass of the payload. The main problem will be the mass of the TPS, but looking at the SpaceX video of their recovery plans, a knowledgeable person can see some clues about how they plan to keep the weight of the TPS on this stage at a minimum (at least for the 2nd stage). But I will not go into what those clues are because that would take a lot more time than I have.

    Again, though SpaceX says they have come up with a system that works in principle (taking into account all of the relevent physics they can think of) as Elon says, this has never been done before so they are not 100% positive it will work. But if nobody ever has the balls to try it, it will never be done. At least SpaceX is willing to try.

  • @William Mellberg
    “And what’s the price tag going to be on Obama’s asteroid missions? Those will be your tax dollars, too.”

    And worth it because that will prove out technologies needed for going to Mars in an economically feasible manner.

  • @Chris Castro
    “The reason I, for one, despise commercial space, is because a great future second round of Lunar exploration was sacrificed at the altar in order to “make it happen”. This was completely unnecessary! Project Constellation absolutely could have worked!

    No Chris, the real reason why people like you “despise commercial space” is that you are enthralled by NASA’s past Apollo glories to such an extent that you have a hero worship of the way things have always been traditionally done at NASA. An adolescent hero worship to such an extent that you cannot stand the idea that the Commercial Crew companies can do anything better than can be done with the old style way of doing things. The most important thing CC can do is get to LEO cheaper which means getting anywhere else is cheaper because you have to get to LEO before you can get anywhere else. SLS is a turkey because it won’t be economically practical with any amount of money that Congress will actually be willing to appropriate.

  • @Chris Castro
    “Have we as a country lossed all of our true exploration instincts??
    No. Flexible path allow us to develop the technologies needed to get astronauts to Mars and back alive. We will go back to the Moon, but that will be done as an accomplishment on the side. When access to space gets cheap enough, it can be done with a NASA/commercial partnership or possibly even commercial alone. It just doesn’t need to be our primary focus.

    SLS will actually slow down our advancement into the solar system because of its budget blowing impracticality.

    A piece of advince. Engage brain before activating typing fingers.

  • Oops! Instead of:
    “When access to space gets cheap enough, it can be done with a NASA/commercial partnership or possibly even commercial alone. It just doesn’t need to be our primary focus.

    Should have said in the last comment:
    “When access to space and fuel depots are cheap enough, it can be done with a NASA/commercial partnership or possibly even commercial alone. It just doesn’t need to be our primary focus.”

  • Dennis

    While many of us are ethralled by NASAs past accomplishments, there is nothing wrong with that, and we know it can happen again. The Mars500 experiment is about to end successfully, and this shows we can survive a Mars bound space trip. Next should be an astronaut spending the required time aboard ISS to prove it further. All of this combined with international effort, could put us on a flight toward that goal. We must move on, either with the help of commercial, or without. I say back to te Moon and on to Mars.

  • @Dennis
    “While many of us are ethralled by NASAs past accomplishments, there is nothing wrong with that, and we know it can happen again. The Mars500 experiment is about to end successfully, and this shows we can survive a Mars bound space trip. Next should be an astronaut spending the required time aboard ISS to prove it further.”
    And none of that addresses the radiation hazards of BEO, which (I can tell you as an astrophysicist) are totally different than the LEO environment where ISS is. I suggest you learn a little more science relating to matter before you come to an opinion about it.

    “I say back to te Moon and on to Mars.”
    That’s what I said. But you and I differ as to the means to go about doing so. Again, if you are truly interested, do some research.

  • Excuse me, instead of:
    “relating to matter”
    Should have been
    “relating to the matter”

  • Engage brain before activating typing fingers.

    It’s pretty clear that Chris Castro’s comments are driven purely by emotion, what with all the random capitalization, exclamation marks and multiple question marks. There is no apparent thought involved.

  • Dennis

    Mr. Boozer, I do know of the radiation hazards that would engulf a Mars bound spacecraft. However steps can be taken, and it is within our scientific means to accomplish, to avoid these pitfalls. Back in the 60s scientist were working on nuclear engines that could get us to Mars in a period of 29 days, which certainly would reduce risks. Today plasma type engines are beinglooked at also. Even with Bigelows inflatables, it has been thrown around that water jackets could protect crew members from deep space hazards. Perhaps as new techs. come on line even better means willl be found. Quite awhile back scientist were looking at the shapes associated with space vehicles which would direct the radiation away from the crewed spacecraft. I understand this issstill being looks at. Time will tell. Anyway I am not totally ignorant of the subject.

  • Dennis

    Please excuse my typing errors!!!! I think an experiment where an astronaut would stay aboard the ISS would give the added priority of weightlessness. Remember a Russian spent 400 + days aboard Mir awhile back, which indicated a Mars mission was possble. Making it to the 500+ mark would be even better. Im sure they would get volunteers for this purpose. This would be a logical step after the Mars500 mission is completed Nov. 4th, I believe the doors open!

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis wrote @ November 1st, 2011 at 11:05 am

    However steps can be taken, and it is within our scientific means to accomplish, to avoid these pitfalls.

    Dennis, we already know the basic dangers, but even though we may have ideas about how to ameliorate them, that will require years of testing to lock down a complete system that will allow people to survive BEO trips. And all of that requires money that Congress has not provided.

    Back in the 60s scientist were working on nuclear engines that could get us to Mars in a period of 29 days, which certainly would reduce risks. Today plasma type engines are beinglooked at also.

    None of that stuff has full funding so it can be pursued. If you are so interested in the technology, you need to be looking at the funding too – no bucks, no Buck Rogers.

    As always, we are only held back by the amount of money Congress wants to spend on space, and these days that number is only getting smaller, not larger. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

  • @Coastal Ron
    Thanks. You saved me from having to make the same points to Dennis.

  • Vladislaw

    Dennis wrote:

    “Next should be an astronaut spending the required time aboard ISS to prove it further”

    They have been doing exactly that. The reason they do 6 months on the ISS is that is the time to get to mars with chemical propulsion. Although a Mars trip might be 500 days, it will be six months there, a year on the surface, then 6 month return. It will be the radiation that will be the long pole in the tent. Unfortunately we can not test that on ISS.

  • William Mellberg

    Vladislaw wrote:

    “The reason they do 6 months on the ISS is that is the time to get to mars with chemical propulsion.”

    No. The reason they spend six months at a time on the ISS is because that is the lifetime of a Soyuz spacecraft. The Soyuz transports must be replaced every six months, so the crews are generally replaced every six months with them.

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “And worth it because that will prove out technologies needed for going to Mars in an economically feasible manner.”

    Using the same SLS that you say is not economically feasible? That is the plan, is it not? To use the SLS for Obama’s asteroid and Mars missions. Or are those missions to asteroids and Mars that the President talked about really just missions to Fantasyland — designed to deflect the criticism for killing Constellation?

    Here is Lori Garver’s take on the subject:

    “NASA has been making steady progress toward realizing the President’s goal of deep space exploration, while doing so in a more affordable way,” NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. “We have been driving down the costs on the Space Launch System and Orion contracts by adopting new ways of doing business and project hundreds of millions of dollars of savings each year.”

    So we can’t afford to build the SLS and Orion to return to the Moon. But, according to Ms. Garver (and apparently you), we can afford to build the SLS and Orion to fly to asteroids and to Mars.

    The word “illogical” comes to mind.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 1st, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    But, according to Ms. Garver (and apparently you), we can afford to build the SLS and Orion to fly to asteroids and to Mars.

    Garver talked about driving down costs, not that the SLS & MPCV as a whole or in part are affordable. Because they are the law of the land NASA is obligated to use them, but being forced to use something does not mean that it would be your first choice in an open competition.

    Let’s remember the origins of the SLS – it was touted as saving jobs, not that it was solving a pressing national problem. Congress hasn’t even funded a use for the SLS, so don’t confuse pork spending with affordability.

    The word “illogical” comes to mind.

    That’s Congress for ya…

  • @William Wellberg
    Using the same SLS that you say is not economically feasible? That is the plan, is it not?
    Using SLS was the deal with the Devil in the current plan, because that was the cost of getting CCDev funded. It was not part of the original plan and it’s budgetary impracticality threatens to undermine the economic advantages obtained by Commercial Crew. But then you knew that already, you aren’t stupid.

    “Or are those missions to asteroids and Mars that the President talked about really just missions to Fantasyland — designed to deflect the criticism for killing Constellation?
    SLS was never needed for those missions, as internal NASA studies have shown.
    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1577
    Again, this has been pointed out to you by me and others. Once more you are capable of comprehending that point but choose to act as if you don’t.

    “NASA has been making steady progress toward realizing the President’s goal of deep space exploration, while doing so in a more affordable way,” NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. “We have been driving down the costs on the Space Launch System and Orion contracts by adopting new ways of doing business and project hundreds of millions of dollars of savings each year.”
    Making it “more” affordable is NOT synonomous with making it truly affordable in the absolute sense as in being able to indefinitely pay for an operational system. That just means less expensive. But again, you are smart enough to know the difference.

    My points are very logical and grounded on scientific and economic fact. Yours are distorted Orwellian doublespeak for political spin purposes.

  • Addendum:
    The sentence, “That just means less expensive.”
    Should read, “That just means somewhat less expensive than it already was.”; i.e., not necessarily affordable.

  • It IS indeed ILLOGICAL that Obama’s asteroid & Mars-orbit missions can be mounted flawlessly on their first time out,—but then, a human return to the Moon using a heavy-lift rocket is flounderable at the starting gate. I whole-heartedly agree with the Journey Into Fantasyland deal, as the assessment, that the American space program is headed under Obama & his cronies. By the way: there is NO multi-month long manned stay on board the ISS that could ever simulate effectively the far-deep-space environment of the interplanetary void, in terms of equaling (1) the vast mind-boggling distances of airless nothing, between the expedition and Earth; & (2) the rabidly intense ionized radiation of that particular space environment. We’ve had literally hundreds of astronauts & cosmonauts who have stayed on the ISS for roughly six month-span stays on board. The notion that yet further experimental stays are required, prior to an Orion CEV space-craft breaking orbit, is ludicrous, to say the least. How about emplacing a lunar landing crew on a renewed Moon venture, and see how well they hold without, or nearly without, mission control’s direct intervention, over the span of half-a-year?? After all boys, the Lunar surface space environment is VERY similar to what astronauts would encounter in interplanetary space! The rate of cosmic ray & solar flare ray bombardment is virtually identical, since on the Moon, they are no longer protected by the Ionosphere. How about THAT little prerequisite experiment?—before commiting our poor & hapless spacemen to the radiation & isolation rigors of interplanetary space?

  • common sense

    ” William Mellberg wrote @ November 1st, 2011 at 5:04 pm ”

    It is not “illogical”. The right word is political.

  • @Chris Castro
    You pretended as if I had not addressed all on Mellberg’s points in my comment that followed his. Your world must be a wonderful place since you just ignore anything that does not fit your preconceptions. That is the very definition of a Fantasy Land. :)

    And this comment even further confims that impression of you::
    “By the way: there is NO multi-month long manned stay on board the ISS that could ever simulate effectively the far-deep-space environment of the interplanetary void, in terms of equaling (1) the vast mind-boggling distances of airless nothing, between the expedition and Earth; & (2) the rabidly intense ionized radiation of that particular space environment
    Do you honestly believe that I of all people don’t grasp issues relating to “the vast mind-boggling distances of airless nothing” or the “the rabidly intence ionized radiation of that particular space environmen”? I question the use of “rabidly” in that context, but what the heck. Chris, what do you think the word astrophysicist means? It was people such as myself that introduced those concepts you mentioned to humanity. I’ve given up trying to make sense of what passes for thought processes in that head of yours.

    I know it’s hopeless to ask. But again please, if for nothing else than to cease your continual and repetitive embarassment: engage brain before activating typing fingers.

  • Dennis

    First it wouldnt be poor and hapless space people bound on a Mars mission. Im sure they would have all the details, of what could andshould happen. I believe we have the tech. today to carry out a manned Mars mission. Like Kennedy said, we dont do it cause its easy, we do it cause its hard. A mission of this magnatude would push our science to its limits, but thatis what keeps science on the edge.

  • common sense

    “what do you think the word astrophysicist means?”

    Well fair enough. I’ll help Chris on that one. You have to look behind the modern misspelling of words to really understand their meanings. And this is a fact. Especially words spelled by highly suspicious wannabe scientists…

    So here goes: it comes from 2 words:

    1. astrophy whose correct spelling is atrophy, i.e. “degeneration, decline, or decrease”, and,
    2. sicist that should really be spelled sick-ist. Sick means, you know, not well. And the suffix “ist” denotes the person who is concerned with, here, “sick”, e.g. an MD or a patient.

    So: It is now clear that astrophysicist is the person who is concerned with sickness due to degeneration.

    Nothing to do with space or “vast mind-boggling distances of airless nothing”.

    Nope. Nothing. Or… Does it? Hmmmm.

  • @Common Sense
    Damn! You found me out! :)

  • William Mellberg

    Chris Castro wrote:

    “The notion that yet further experimental stays are required, prior to an Orion CEV spacecraft breaking orbit, is ludicrous, to say the least.”

    While I view the Moon as a natural space station (in a very high orbit), I do think the International Space Station is a tremendous engineering achievement. And therein lies a good part of its value. When a permanent lunar outpost is eventually built, the habitat modules will have to be highly reliable. The experience gained with the ISS modules (i.e., operating and maintaining them in a hostile environment for long periods of time) will find its way into some of the systems that will be used on the Moon and Mars. Bigelow’s inflatable shelters will no doubt find their way to the lunar surface, as well. Moreover, the ISS is providing useful experience in building international partnerships. That, too, will likely carry over into future lunar programs. But like a lunar outpost, the real value of the ISS is difficult to quantify in dollars and cents. It is an investment in technology … and in the future.

  • vulture4

    William Mellberg wrote @ But, according to Ms. Garver (and apparently you), we can afford to build the SLS and Orion to fly to asteroids and to Mars.

    William, you make some good points. However Garver has only said what Congress has forced her to say, and Congress is still trying to ram Constellation down NASA’s throat. Garver isn’t a follower of Griffin’s “voodoo economics”. She is well aware that the (Republican) House is going to slash NASA’s budget. At that point something big will have to go. My guess is that eventually Congress will have to accept the end of “Bush on Steroids”.

  • @William Mellberg;….I only semi-agree. Low Earth Orbit has become a shiny placebo pill, that makes everyone believe that we’re all really excelling & making progress in space, when in fact we are just plainly stagnating. Stagnating! LEO, & manned flights up there, are nothing but a stripped-down bare, minimum effort, of what barely can qualify as space travel. When capsules or shuttles fly the endless lap of LEO circles, we tell ourselves: “Wow, look at us!—we’re in space! Ha ha.” When in fact we’re doing nothing more than wading at the shore, in our little rowboats, hugging closely to the coast, because we are too scared & have lost our nerve to venture far from our home planet anymore! Notice how many, many billions of dollars we, as a nation, have spent & continue to spend on LEO exploits; and notice just how little-to-nothing outcry you hear from all the welfare state liberals, who want no exploration until “all of the world’s problems get solved” first….?! Then, as soon as something like Project Constellation gets announced, then the human spaceflight community have to get backed into a corner, trying to justify the large money expenditures & the rationale for renewed deep space voyages. Don’t you all see: LEO flight has become the lazy, bare-minimum fall-back position, that since it never has to be justified on any grounds, it goes to figure that we as a nation and a species could be bound & marooned there—-in LEO—for countless generations to come, unless some real derring-do punctuates this bland equilibrium! Have any of you out there, in TV-land, ever stopped to think, just how old in age you’re all going to be, in 2030 or 2040, when finally some spacemen of some nation, will eventually get to break terrestrial orbit and head off into the astounding deep space void?? How much more time on this Earth do any of us have, in order to be part of this wondrous experience—on any tangible level?? How many more delays can this world take, till we as a species get to true spacefaring again? Handing off the nation’s spaceflight agenda to the commercial entrepreneurs & letting them take center stage, will delay any and all human deep space plans, for the scale of decades! Space travel is STILL a recondite & dangerous business—-way far too difficult, to be placed in the hands of amateurs & hobbyists! Make no mistake: the government STILL must lead the way—NOT get out of the way!

  • Dennis

    When the Russian cosmonauts rode our space shuttle, I often wondered how much they were paying us?

  • @Chris Castro
    “Low Earth Orbit has become a shiny placebo pill, that makes everyone believe that we’re all really excelling & making progress in space, when in fact we are just plainly stagnating. Stagnating! LEO, & manned flights up there, are nothing but a stripped-down bare, minimum effort, of what barely can qualify as space travel.”

    In your fanatical loyalty to the old paradigm, you will not allow yourself to comprehend the truth that has been stated to you over and over again repetitively. Economically practical access to LEO in not the goal, it is a means of reaching the goal. That goal is spreading Americans throughout the inner solar system.

    The true reason why we have been stuck in LEO the past half century, is because of the the kind of project SLS is and Constellation would have been. A system that, even if enough is budgeted for it to be built, will be so expensive to operate that it can only be flown (at most) a few times per year. Instead of a system where at most we can send a handful of astronauts on deep space missions, let’s have one where it is economically possible (given budgets that Congress will actually be willing to give us) to send scores of them.

    Yes, ISS is useless for testing protective systems against radiation hazards of interplanetary space. If you look back in this thread, you will see that I brought that issue up before you did. But it is for precisely this kind of thing that we need such missions as flights to asteroids to test. In the meantime the ISS is useful for testing issues related to the effects of weightlessness on long voyages and other issues. As I have already mentioned, there is a proposal to attach a rotating torus to ISS to investigate the praticality of rotational artificial gravity. But with other NASA projects having their budgets reduced in order to keep the SLS budget uncut (even Commercial crews budget is being funded several hundred millions below what was requested, while SLS will get every penny that was requested for it), such preparations that we need to go into deep space will only be delayed.

    If you really want America to be the Number One nation in human solar system spacefaring (as I do), you and others on your side of the issue need to realize that both SLS and Constellation are examples of pipe dreams in that regard. If the goal I state is what you really want, you will support any method that makes it practical, not just one adhered to out of blind loyalty. Support of a throwback system like SLS will only impede us from that goal.

    Unlike before, I am talking to you now without condescension, hoping that you are capable of being a reasonable person who can look beyond his cherished preconceptions to see what is best for the greater good. But you need to realize that the reason for that earlier condescension is the impression that you give, that no matter what a careful preponderence of the evidence suggests is a reasonable alternative, you will not even consider anything other than what you have a previous emotional investment in.

  • Pathfinder_01

    Christ, LEO spaceflight is far cheaper than any BEO effort could hope to be. Notice the ISS’s flight rate vs. Apollo’s. Which would be easier to support a station about 200 miles away or a station 225,622 away? Which will be easier to access, supply, keep manned?

    Apollo imho was an illusion. Yes man can land on the moon, but only two guys for three days at most and usually twice a year. CXP wasn’t much better landing for 2 weeks at most but only 4 guys. The ISS can support crews of up to 7 for months. Lets say you want to study the impact of low gravity on man. Which will yield more data at less cost (the ISS) or some moon base? You certainly couldn’t do it with the LM(three days is not enough time).

    There are probably more row boats and fishing boats than ocean crossing ships and as for lost the nerve to go further in space, you can die just as fast in LEO as you can in BEO. The Issue with BEO spaceflight is doing so in an affordable and practical way.

  • ohmy

    Cain, like most pols on this subject, is an idiot.

  • DCSCA

    The ballistic trajectory of the Cain campaign has begun it’s fiery plunge back to Earth. This week was entry interface and his vehicle id heating up. Expect drogues by Thanksgiving, main chute deploy over the holidays and a hard landing- splash or thump– by January, the day after the Iowa Caucuses.

  • William Mellberg

    Pathfinder_01 wrote:

    “Apollo imho was an illusion. Yes man can land on the moon, but only two guys for three days at most and usually twice a year. CXP wasn’t much better landing for 2 weeks at most but only 4 guys. The ISS can support crews of up to 7 for months. Lets say you want to study the impact of low gravity on man. Which will yield more data at less cost (the ISS) or some moon base? You certainly couldn’t do it with the LM(three days is not enough time).”

    Between December 1968 and November 1969, five Saturn Vs were launched from LC-39. Four of them were lunar missions. The rate slowed down after that because the Nixon Administration cancelled the last three Apollo lunar landings, and because the science community wanted more time between missions to analyze the results (i.e., the rock and soil samples) before choosing the final landing sites. The four high bays of the VAB, three mobile launchers, two crawler-transporters and two pads were designed to sustain a much higher launch rate as originally envisaged by the von Braun team in support of a much more ambitious follow-on program to Apollo. But Lyndon Johnson halted production of the Saturn launch vehicles and Apollo spacecraft before he left office, and Richard Nixon ended the program — prematurely — shortly after taking office (perhaps, in part, because Apollo was so closely associated with his former rival, John Kennedy). The cost of the Vietnam War and the Cold War made the von Braun team’s plans for a base on the Moon and expeditions to Mars impossible from a budgetary point of view. Thus, we got the Space Shuttle.

    The Space Shuttle was, in fact, part of an overall integrated plan that the von Braun team foresaw. That plan would have included space stations in Earth orbit and lunar orbit. A Space Tug would have ferried cargo and crews between those two transportation nodes. At this end, the Space Shuttle would have brought crews and supplies to and from the Earth-orbiting space station. At the other end, lunar landers would have carried cargo and crews between the lunar space station and the lunar surface. Vehicles such as Grumman’s MOLAB would have carried lunar explorers across the Moon’s surface for two weeks at a time.

    Initial stay times of two weeks were based on the 28-day lunar day (28 Earth days). Explorers would have two weeks of sunlight. But once habitats were built on the lunar surface (or, actually, buried just beneath the surface where the thermal environment is more stable), lunar explorers could live and work on the Moon indefinitely. Which, of course, was the goal of the Constellation Program. A permanent outpost on either the rim of Shackleton Crater near the Moon’s south pole, or at a similar location near its north pole, would offer sunlight rough 70% of the time and access to water ice. Unlike the ISS where space is at a premium, the lunar surface would offer unlimited space to erect inflatable greenhouses for growing food. Thus, not all supplies would have to be carried to the Moon from Earth. Eventually, the Moon itself could provide oxygen to breathe, water to drink, plants to eat and hydrogen to power rockets.

    The J-series Lunar Modules were limited to three-day (four-day, actually) stay times. But the advanced lunar landers that the von Braun team envisioned would have greatly expanded those capabilities.

    The von Braun plan makes just as much sense today as it did 60 years ago. It called for an integrated space transportation system making use of common hardware wherever possible. I believe “commercial” space would fit quite nicely into that plan — not only providing access to and from the Earth-orbiting station, but also flying to and from the lunar space station. It would be a scenario somewhat like the one presented in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001″ film more than 40 years ago (which was based, in large part, on von Braun’s vision).

    As for studying “the impact of low gravity on man” … what better place than the Moon with its low gravity? But there are other things to study in space. For example, the impact rate of space debris in the recent past. The Moon preserves a history of the Solar System from its earliest days to the present day. Lunar geology can tell us a lot of useful information that pertains to Earth.

    Apollo was not an illusion. It was a start. Just as Dragon is a start.

    Apollo proved the basic system for sending humans to and from the Moon. It gave us some initial experience with operating equipment (Lunar Rovers, for instance) on another world. There is absolutely no reason why stay times on the Moon cannot be the same as stay times at the ISS. Indeed, some day they will be the same. And some day, space tourists will enjoy playing sports in the Moon’s reduced gravity … and romantic views of the Full Earth. I won’t be around to see it happen. But it will happen.

    Ditto for Mars.

    Yes, the Apollo Program was based on one thing and one thing only … America’s Cold War competition with the Soviet Union. But the Apollo Program also produced some tremendous scientific and technological returns which mark the real legacy of that era. In the end, Apollo wasn’t just about a Race to the Moon. It was about the exploration of the Solar System. It was about carrying our species beyond our own world (and Low Earth Orbit).

    Apollo was not an illusion. It was a beginning. Apollo 17, as said at the time, was “the end of the beginning.”

    I had the good fortune of seeing the last men heading from the Earth to the Moon (and of knowing those men). I hope I live long enough to see the next humans to set foot on the lunar surface — the men and women who will pick up the challenge of Apollo.

  • DCSCA

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 2nd, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    “While I view the Moon as a natural space station (in a very high orbit), I do think the International Space Station is a tremendous engineering achievement.”

    So was assembling the pyramids, but in reality they’re little more than useless piles of rocks in the desert. Afraid that’s the fate of the far-too-costly ISS, which really has not returned anything of value for the massive $100-plus billion investment and expensively flies in the wake of the successful Sayluts, MIR and Skylab, which have provided volumes of data over years of research already. The ISS was a copout and has been little more than an ‘aerospace WPA project,’ as Slayton labelled it shortly befofre his death. Since the Reagan era, it has diverted fleeting funding for bolder, BEO HSF projects and side-tracked the inevitable return to the moon for half a century or more, dissuading if not discouraging several generations of engineers from launching their careers into the space industry. Even the famed ‘Icy Commander’ himself, Alan Shepard, saw this happening before he passed. Today Cernan, Armstrong, Lovell, Kranz, Krafy, Lunney et al., see it and their legacy, evaporating as well.

    Last week a MSNBC anchor was interviewing a crew member aboard the ISS. The com link was stellar and the window about sicx minutes, but the journalist asked the drop-dead question in the first minute that made the other ficve seem like a year: ‘What exactly are you doing up there?’ The astronaut hemmed and hawed, began rattling off systems they check; the daily routines, experiments monitored and hardware they’d changed out… but never really gave a straight, coherent, solid answer on what they’re doing up there to justify the expense. It was a strained exchange.

    Frankly, the ISS should have been firmly anchored to the floor of the Ocean of Storms, orbiting 240,000 miles above us as a lunar research facility for decades to come; not falling around Earth at a mere 300 miles up, destined to end up in a watery grave within a decade or so. But then, Garver supported the ISS over a return to the moon back in the 80s. She was wrong headed then. And she is wrong headed now.

  • @William Melberg;….VERY GOOD COMMENTARY! We differ much on the matter of having faith in commercial space: I DON’T. Commercial space has too much of its genesis tied in the demolishment of America’s next great Lunar adventure, for me to ever feel anything but anger towards it. Plus, commercial space relies upon America doing nothing but low earth orbit for another 15 or 20 years. So naturally I feel much opposition to this whole “entrepreneurs-can-do-it-better-than-the govenment” battlecry & assumption. But aside from my anger & rage over what this presidential administration has done to the long term of American manned spaceflight, I am glad to see that some of the persons on this blog-site still can speak of the Apollo program with the veneration & reverence that it is worthy of. What Apollo accomplished was truly majestic! What people like myself hope, with all their heart, is that one fine day, the American nation will rise up to the call to bravery, once more; and pick up the work-tools and continue the great task we sadly, had to abandon, in December 1972, next to forty full years ago. How much older do any one of us have to get, into old & middle age, before another American astronaut leaves LEO???

  • @Chris Castro
    “Commercial space has too much of its genesis tied in the demolishment of America’s next great Lunar adventure, for me to ever feel anything but anger towards it. , ,But aside from my anger & rage.”
    Whoa, so much for my appeal for contemplation and reason.

    “How much older do any one of us have to get, into old & middle age, before another American astronaut leaves LEO???”
    The longer SLS lasts, the longer it will be. Thus, it’s proportional to the length of time that slow motion train wreck is allowed to exist. And probably exponentially proportional rather that linear.

  • William Mellberg

    Chris Castro wrote:

    “But aside from my anger & rage over what this presidential administration has done to the long term of American manned spaceflight, I am glad to see that some of the persons on this blog-site still can speak of the Apollo program with the veneration & reverence that it is worthy of.”

    Mr. Castro, we have to play the hands we are dealt. Elections have consequences. And that is why some of the Apollo veterans have been working (mostly behind the scenes) to put America’s space program back on course toward the Moon after the Obama Administration joins the ranks of the unemployed.

    Your anger is really directed at Lori Garver for the ham-handed manner in which she changed America’s space policy without (as Neil Armstrong has pointed out) consulting with more experienced people. It is also directed at the President for his cavalier attitude toward a return to the Moon. My advice is to support those candidates who will reverse the misguided policies of Obama, Holdren, Bolden and Garver. Until that crew is changed, Americans will be stuck in Low Earth Orbit for the foreseeable future. The talk about missions to asteroids and Mars is just that … talk.

    As I mentioned earlier, I see the Moon as a natural space station in a very high orbit. And unlike the ISS, which is totally dependent on supplies from Earth, a lunar outpost would eventually be able to obtain much of its required resources from the Moon itself.

    As for “commercial” space … I have no problem with turning over LEO to the private sector, although I seriously question the viability of the market (other than as contractors to Uncle Sam). Moreover, I don’t want the taxpayers supporting (or bailing out) any ‘Solyndras’ in space.

    But my focus is on what lies beyond LEO. And Step One is a Return to the Moon.

    Correction. Step One is to get rid of the Obama Administration one year from now.

  • Hate to inform you guys of this, but you will see either a Russian Soyuz or SpaceX (with or without NASA’s help) send a crew beyond LEO long before (if ever) you will see SLS do so.

    Also, if you think this is a Republican vs Democrat issue, may I remind you that there are not a few influential anti-SLS people such as Jim Muncy of the Space Frontier Foundation who was part of the Reagan administration and is as stalwart a Republican as they come. SLS will provide a few jobs for a while, but that’s about it. So ultimately, you guys are destined for disappointment regardless of who becomes President.

    If the resources used for SLS were diverted for use of existing EELV’s or soon to be existing commercial HLVs, NASA could be going beyond LEO within three years rather than the end of the decade time slated for SLS.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 4th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Your anger is really directed at Lori Garver for the ham-handed manner in which she changed America’s space policy without (as Neil Armstrong has pointed out) consulting with more experienced people.

    This is a myth that you and others continue to believe, but it is not reality.

    You’re saying that there is a mandate that all Apollo era astronauts must be consulted before BEO decisions are made? That they, as a group, take a vote on whether the plans of Congress and the Administration measure up to their expectations?

    You are truly delusional.

    But I’m curious why you don’t think the same about Shuttle era astronauts? You know, the ones with more spacecraft hours and space time than any of the Apollo astronauts?

    Not only are they are more familiar with the technology we have available today, but many actually work in the aerospace industry as company executives and paid consultants. You know, being involved, not just talking about “how we did it in the old days”.

    Weird. Truly weird.

  • common sense

    “And that is why some of the Apollo veterans have been working (mostly behind the scenes) to put America’s space program back on course toward the Moon after the Obama Administration joins the ranks of the unemployed.”

    You know. It feels weird. Do you really believe this that you write? Apollo veterans will make sure the space program will go back on track toward the Moon after the Obama Administration. I have to write it somehow to try and understand what you believe. Do you have any supporting evidence? Who are they working with? Congress?

    I mean. Do you really think you’re talking to teenagers here? I mean except for Chris.

    Please.

  • William Mellberg

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “You’re saying that there is a mandate that all Apollo era astronauts must be consulted before BEO decisions are made?”

    No, and that’s not what Neil Armstrong said, either. He talked about Lori Garver’s failure to seek any meaningful input from the senior leadership at NASA’s field centers (current management, not retired personnel) when redirecting NASA’s human spaceflight program away from the Moon. He did not mention Ms. Garver by name. But everyone understood who Mr. Armstrong meant when he told the House Science and Technology Committee:

    “So many normally knowledgeable people were completely astounded by the President’s proposal. Had the announcement been preceded by the typical review, analysis and discussion among the Executive branch, the Agency, the Congress, and all the other interested and knowledgeable parties, no member of this committee would have been surprised by the announcement of a new plan. In this case, a normally collegial sector of society was split in many fragments … all because a few planners, with little or no space operations experience, attempted an end run on the normal process. It has been painful to watch.”

    I would add to Mr. Armstrong’s remarks that Lori Garver is one of the most polarizing figures in NASA’s history. She’s certainly no Hugh Dryden, Robert Seamans, Thomas Paine, or George Low (to name just a few of her distinguished predecessors).

    Common Sense asked:

    “Who are they working with?”

    It’s no secret. Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan have made three appearances on Capitol Hill. They and several of their former colleagues have also been working with political leaders, industry leaders and members of the media. And when I say “former colleagues” I don’t mean former astronauts alone. A number of retired NASA and industry managers, such as Chris Kraft, are also talking with anyone who will listen about the direction (or misdirection) of America’s space program under the current Administration. BTW, some of NASA’s later astronauts have also joined the cause, including Space Shuttle veteran and former KSC Director Bob Crippen. He has been highly critical of the Obama Administration’s space policy.

    If I may ask you a question …

    Are you suggesting that all of those NASA and industry veterans are a bunch of old fogies who don’t know as much as Barack Obama and Lori Garver about space science and technology? Are you suggesting their opinions shouldn’t be heard?

    That’s the real problem with this Administration. They won’t listen to anyone with differing points of view. They will not accept any constructive criticism or alternative ideas. Which is why the economy is still in the tank three years after Barack Obama was elected to the presidency. He is ideological rather than pragmatic. Ideologues stick with their preconceived notions (such as “been there, done that”). Pragmatists adapt to current conditions.

  • William Mellberg

    Rick Boozer wrote:

    “Hate to inform you guys of this, but you will see either a Russian Soyuz or SpaceX (with or without NASA’s help) send a crew beyond LEO long before (if ever) you will see SLS do so.”

    I would be pleased to see either or both sending a crew beyond LEO. I would expect to see the Russians doing it first … several decades behind the original plan, perhaps, but better late than never.

  • common sense

    @ William Mellberg wrote @ November 4th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    “Are you suggesting that all of those NASA and industry veterans are a bunch of old fogies who don’t know as much as Barack Obama and Lori Garver about space science and technology? Are you suggesting their opinions shouldn’t be heard?”

    I don’t believe I ever suggested anything like that. What I said is that they are wrong. Sincerely wrong most likely, wrong nonetheless. Now are you suggesting they hold *the* truth? Why is Neil Armstrong out of your idealized astronaut corps? Why are the other Shuttle astronauts not worth your time? Why do you find two former astronauts working at SpaceX? Why is your group value any better?

    I’ll tell you why the others are right though. We tried the old fashioned way and it failed every time. Last time was Constellation. Next time will be SLS/MPCV. I realize you don’t want to believe it but it will fail yet again.

    Trying to do the same thing over and over again will fail over and over again. We need new ideas, new ways, new people. As a former businessman you ought to know that you must adapt to ever changing market circumstances, don’t you?

    And no you are not a pragmatist, neither are the group of people you refer to. And if you ever were able to take your rant out of your vision you’d realize that what Obama did for the economy was the only way then, however much I disliked some of what he did. We would be worse off, a lot more worse off. We as a nation. Not, you know, the top 1%…

    We need to change. Now. Period.

  • common sense

    “Why is Neil Armstrong out of your idealized astronaut corps?”

    Ooooppppsss

    I meant “Buzz Aldrin” of course ;)

    Old age setting in…

  • William Mellberg

    Common Sense wrote:

    “What I said is that they are wrong. Sincerely wrong most likely, wrong nonetheless. Now are you suggesting they hold *the* truth? Why is Buzz Aldrin out of your idealized astronaut corps? Why are the other Shuttle astronauts not worth your time? Why do you find two former astronauts working at SpaceX? Why is your group value any better?”

    Just because you say they’re wrong doesn’t make it so.

    Just because I say they’re right doesn’t make it so.

    The great thing about a free country is that we all have the right to express our individual beliefs … and to try and persuade others.

    Saying you’re right and I’m wrong is not very persuasive.

    Arguing that respected space veterans are wrong and unproven space newcomers are right is not very persuasive, either.

    Pompous, yes. Persuasive, no.

    Common Sense also wrote:

    “Do you really think you’re talking to teenagers here?”

    I don’t know who I’m talking to here since you hide behind a pseudonym. But I do know that some of your personal attacks come across as rather adolescent.

  • common sense

    @ William Mellberg wrote @ November 4th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    “Saying you’re right and I’m wrong is not very persuasive.”

    Look the point that *you* miss is that *I* don’t say they are wrong. The Augustine Committee showed this line of reasoning does not work. The much over budget and slipping schedule showed it was wrong. The inability to provide a Shuttle replacement for the past what 30 years shows it does not work. How many proofs do you need? Maybe you ought to ask the people actually doing the work at NASA and in the industry whether Constellation was on the right track. Maybe you should talk to those who are not after past glory but rather the engineers. Constellation was an ongoing miserable failure because NASA cannot operate like this. It cannot. Again how many, how much proof do you need before you change your mind? Unlike you *I* worked on that program and *I* saw the ongoing train wreck. From the get go, or, rather, right after Constellation came to be.

    “Arguing that respected space veterans are wrong and unproven space newcomers are right is not very persuasive, either.”

    I never said anything like this. You say those things. In addition those “newcomers” as you describe them include space veterans that you do not want to recognize since they do not fit your agenda. How do you call that?

    “Pompous, yes. Persuasive, no.”

    Is this your notion of civility? Any wonder why you are unable to reach out to the “newcomers”? Condescension from a former failed business, Fokker I believe, businessman or marketeer should I say is not going to help you much with your message.

    “I don’t know who I’m talking to here since you hide behind a pseudonym.”

    Yeah well c’est la vie.

    “But I do know that some of your personal attacks come across as rather adolescent.”

    Show me a “personal attack”? Or unwarranted attack. Considering I am still waiting for your grand vision for space I am not holding my breath.

  • William Mellberg

    Common Sense wrote:

    “Condescension from a former failed business, Fokker I believe, businessman or marketeer should I say is not going to help you much with your message.”

    As I explained in a previous thread, Fokker’s collapse had nothing to do with its North American division. In fact, Fokker Aircraft USA recorded the greatest sales in the company’s 75-year history, including large fleets of jet transports that were placed with American Airlines, Piedmont Airlines and US Airways (among others). American flew the world’s largest fleet of Fokker 100s, Piedmont flew the world’s largest fleet of F.28 Fellowships and US Airways flew a large fleet of both types. We sold fewer F.27 Friendships. But considering the fact that the aircraft was nearing the end of its 30-year production run, and that Fairchild had already sold and produced close to 200 F-27s in North America under license during that time, our efforts in that market also bore fruit. I might add, the very last F.27 to roll off the production line at Schiphol was delivered to Air Wisconsin. Our marketing efforts were highly successful, despite your attempt to portray them otherwise.

    Fokker’s demise was the result, in large measure, of the Dutch government’s liberal entitlement policies which made it impossible for the firm to match its personnel levels with market demand and production rates. The government-mandated benefits and compensation packages were too great for a such a relatively small firm to bear — something the social engineers in Washington ought to be thinking about as they attempt to impose higher taxes and more burdensome regulations (not to mention ObamaCare) on businesses in America. On a related topic, I refer you to the Boeing debacle in South Carolina — you know, the new 787 production line that the Obama Administration is trying to stop in order to placate the union bosses in Washington State. Apparently good jobs don’t mean much to this President if they aren’t in a blue state, or if they aren’t union jobs (through which union dues can be siphoned to Democratic campaign coffers).

    Your suggestion that Fokker’s collapse had anything to do with yours truly is both ill-informed and mean-spirited. Which doesn’t surprise me.

    Common Sense also groused:

    “Show me a ‘personal attack’? Or unwarranted attack.”

    I just did. But I would also refer you to this ‘Common Sense’ comment disparaging Mr. Castro:

    “Do you really think you’re talking to teenagers here? I mean except for Chris.”

    Your personal insults, Mr. Sense, are plentiful. And in my opinion you have neither ‘common sense’ nor common decency. It’s very easy to attack others while hiding behind your veil of anonymity. But it’s a bit cowardly, too, in my opinion.

    BTW, while I didn’t work on Constellation personally, I have a number of friends currently employed by NASA who did. Their assessments of the program are very different from yours. Not that it was trouble-free.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 4th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    He talked about Lori Garver’s failure to seek any meaningful input from the senior leadership at NASA’s field centers (current management, not retired personnel) when redirecting NASA’s human spaceflight program away from the Moon.

    Yes, as an employee it sucks when the boss makes a decision without consulting their employees, but that is the boss’s prerogative. It’s the same with new Administrations – they come in with new agendas, regardless what the government employees think should happen. If the “senior leadership at NASA’s field centers” don’t like the plan, they know what their alternatives are. By the way, that scenario happens with every change of leadership in the White House, so it’s not all that unusual.

    Regarding the “away from the Moon” part, in it’s concluding observations, the Augustine Report stated:

    Shrinking budgets and inadequate reserves—the latter not only in dollars but also in time and technology – are a formula for almost certain failure in human spaceflight. If resources are not available to match established goals, new goals need to be adopted. Simply extending existing ambitious programs “to fit the money” is seldom a solution to the resource dilemma.

    The President proposed a plan that cancelled the Constellation program, pushed out the decision point for a heavy lift vehicle, extended the ISS to at least 2020, implemented the Commercial Crew program that had been proposed by Bush/Griffin but not implemented, and proposed a new destination (an asteroid) that would be a stepping stone destination for what everybody agrees is the ultimate destination – Mars.

    Because of the timing with submitting the NASA budget, there wasn’t much time to “consult” with NASA Centers, and what could they have added to the conversation?

    Congress agreed with the Augustine panel regarding Constellation, and Congress wanted the ISS extended too. Otherwise it boiled down to jobs being lost with the end of the Shuttle and the cancellation of Constellation, so the SLS was added. 80% win for Obama, so Congress seemed to like the new plan, regardless what the “senior leadership” thought.

    Did “senior leadership” complain about Congress not consulting them about the SLS? The reason for that is also the reason why “senior leadership” isn’t always the best source of opinion for what NASA should do next…

  • common sense

    @ William Mellberg wrote @ November 4th, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Asking you if you are talking at teenagers is “an insult”? You don’t seem to have a very thick skin.

    “Your personal insults, Mr. Sense, are plentiful.”

    Yeah well of course if asking tough questions as the one you referred to about “teenagers” is an insult then I am sure I’ve insulted you and probably others more than once. I suppose that saying Obama is a socialist is not an insult in your eyes… Whatever.

    “And in my opinion you have neither ‘common sense’ nor common decency.”

    Every one has an opinion. I’ll take whatever the majority here thinks about my posts rather than the opinion of one or two posters. I don’t believe you have any idea what decency actually means, just like socialism.

    “It’s very easy to attack others while hiding behind your veil of anonymity. But it’s a bit cowardly, too, in my opinion.”

    Yes it is cowardly of course. You on the other hand have so much to lose right? Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? Any?

    “BTW, while I didn’t work on Constellation personally, I have a number of friends currently employed by NASA who did. Their assessments of the program are very different from yours. Not that it was trouble-free.”

    Great you have friends working on this program. Let’s see my assessment mostly is confirmed by that of the Augustine Committee. I assume I am in a cabal to end HSF then? I assume Buzz Aldrin also is a person who must have insulted you quite often and probably is overtly trying to end HSF at NASA? All the astronauts supporting the policy of this Administration, Charlie Bolden first, are trying to end HSF. Or they just are mystified socialists trying to gain from cronny capitalism. Or something like that?

    Did you see this picture and where it was taken? Does that tell you something?
    http://images.spaceref.com/news/2011/china.hearing.jpg

    I’ll tell you a little secret of aerospace: It is a dying breed. People on Constellation or elsewhere are hurting like crazy because of scarce budget and enormous bureaucracy and overhead costs. Anyone working on any project will most likely tell you the glory of it since they may otherwise lose their job. The fact of the matter is that they will unfortunately lose their jobs because of poorly managed aerospace programs such as Constellation that you so much incense. The first to lose their jobs are the worker bees then the managers who usually save the largest size of the budget pie for themselves. Please do teach me lessons about decency again.

    Fokker ought to have taught you something. Obviously it did not and you are still longing for a long gone era.

    Have a nice life in the past then.

  • Vladislaw

    “He talked about Lori Garver’s failure to seek any meaningful input from the senior leadership at NASA’s field centers (current management, not retired personnel) when redirecting NASA’s human spaceflight program away from the Moon.”

    So Lori Garver, who is proposing a redirection of NASA funding, should goto the people and reveal to them what the Administrations plans are and warn them ahead of time what is coming, then these same managers that have been driving NASA with bad policies would jump for joy that their big rocket plan is going to be ended and jump on the bandwagon?

    From listening to some NASA employees who post and ex NASA people, those managers at some of the field centers are part of the problem, why would you give them advanced warning about any shift in policy when you know they will be trying to torpedo your efforts the second they find out.

    The people you suggest should have been consulted would have been 100% against anything that touched their big rocket funding and would have fought it tooth and nail, you see it with the fuel depot versus heavy lift. They do not want to hear about fuel depot other than power point presentations that can be buried and forgotten.

  • William Mellberg

    Vladislaw wrote:

    “So Lori Garver, who is proposing a redirection of NASA funding, should goto the people and reveal to them what the Administrations plans are …”

    That would have been one way of building consensus rather than creating chaos in America’s national space program. It would have also fulfilled Barack Obama’s pledge to have “transparency” (Mikhail Gorbachev called it “glasnost”) in his government and to “bring people together.”

    Instead, as Neil Armstrong noted:

    “A normally collegial sector of society was split in many fragments … all because a few planners, with little or no space operations experience, attempted an end run on the normal process.”

    That same comment could apply to the Obama Administration’s economic policies, as well. A few planners, with little or no business experience …

    Personally, I am looking forward to some real “hope and change” on November 6, 2012.

    Like a majority of Americans (according to the latest right track/wrong track polls), I’ve had enough of Barack Obama with his directionless space program, endless campaigning, class warfare, “Solyndra capitalism”, union thugs, Occupy Wall Street bums, incompetent bureaucrats, unsustainable entitlements, high unemployment numbers, low housing values and overall misery.

  • William Mellberg

    Vladislaw wrote:

    “why would you give them advanced warning about any shift in policy when you know they will be trying to torpedo your efforts the second they find out.”

    Democracy is messy, isn’t it?

  • William Mellberg

    Common Sense wrote:

    “Fokker ought to have taught you something.”

    It did, Mr. Sense. It taught me plenty. My teachers were the many airline CEOs, CFOs, presidents, vice presidents and senior executives who I worked with while presenting performance data and economic analyses relating to our products (i.e., jet transports) in board rooms and executive offices. My classrooms were flight operations centers, engineering offices, maintenance bases and airport facilities all across the U.S., Canada and Mexico — as well as our factories in Holland and Germany. I had the good fortune to have some highly experienced aerospace veterans as my bosses and co-workers (people from Hawker Siddeley Aviation, British Aircraft Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, Rolls-Royce Aero Engines, de Havilland Canada, Pan American and Dixon Speas Associates). And, being based in Washington, I had the added benefit of working with seasoned professionals in the trade press, as well as in government agencies such as the FAA, NASA and the CAB (the now defunct Civil Aeronautics Board which disappeared when the airline industry was deregulated).

    It was an excellent experience for a young man hired right out of university, Mr. Sense. And I regard my time with Fokker as an education in itself. I am proud of my association with one of aviation history’s greatest names (even if Fokker, like so many other legendary aerospace firms, is no longer with us).

    Now tell us about your experience. How about starting with your real name?

    I could take your pontificating far more seriously if you didn’t hide behind your anonymity.

  • Vladislaw

    “That would have been one way of building consensus”

    In what fantasy land are you talking about? The President has been fillibustered even when he proposed economic policies the republicans had tried to pass themselves. What consensus could have been built with Shelby, Nelson, KBH, Hatch? They wanted the big rocket, they would have voted for nothing short of that, hell look at the actions Senator Shelby took about both space and military contracts. It was ALL my way or the highway.

    To say consesus could have been built around the Administration’s plan to not fully fund Constellation and cut the pork to several space states is silly. The bottom line was the congress agreed with the Administration and didn’t vote to fund it.

    “Instead, as Neil Armstrong noted:

    “A normally collegial sector of society was split in many fragments … all because a few planners, with little or no space operations experience, attempted an end run on the normal process.” “

    Normally collegial? Does he mean the way Griffin backdoored the ESAS over what was laid out in the VSE? Not allowing any opposition to “the stick” and buried anything that went against it, was only the unauthorized release of data on the L2 site that it was made public how slewed the process was.

    Where are the fuel depots that Bush outlined in the VSE? Where is the NASA will build no new rockets outlined in the VSE? Christ how you can write that with a straight face is beyond me. There is nothing collegial the way Griffin ran NASA, it was his way or your out.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 4th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    That’s the real problem with this Administration. They won’t listen to anyone with differing points of view.

    Show us how Griffin did that while leading NASA.

    Would that be when he immediately dumped the O’Keefe plan to compete the CEV and compete the rocket it would launch on?

    Or when he chose the Ares I/V based on a study HE did, without “differing points of view”?

    Is that your gold standard?

  • William Mellberg

    Vladislaw wrote:

    “In what fantasy land are you talking about? The President has been fillibustered …”

    I see. And Democrats, when they controlled Congress, treated Presdent Bush with nothing but kindness, respect and cooperation. Right?

    Wrong!

    As Winston Churchill noted, “Democracy is the worst form of government — except for all the others.”

    And as I said previously, democracy is messy. Which is why statists don’t like democracy.

    But getting back to the subject at hand …

    America’s space program had long enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress, as Gene Cernan noted on Capitol Hill last year. That is, until now. Candidate Obama’s broken promises about the space program, as well as the chaos and partisanship introduced into the space program by President Obama, are described in this Wikipedia entry:

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

    You might read this story, too:

    http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2010/02/fact-check-obama-broke-campaign-promise-to-return-to-moon/

    Perhaps the greatest indication that the Obama Administration puts politics ahead of everything else was the purely political decision to turn Orion into an unmanned “emergency escape capsule” for the ISS. What an enormous waste of money that would have been. Absolutely a total waste. But that decision was made for political reasons (i.e., saving jobs and votes in Colorado, which has been swinging from a red state to a blue state). The lifeboat idea was abandoned. But the fact that it was even considered demonstrates that the President cares very much about pork and votes — just like the Republicans at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

    As a result, we now have two space programs being planned at two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Neither offers a coordinated, integrated approach to space exploration. The President has given NASA a mission to nowhere, and Congress is giving NASA a heavy-lift rocket with no mission. What a debacle.

    Which is why Neil Armstrong suggested that it would have been nice if the Obama Administration had consulted with Congress and NASA field managers before trying to force a major change in space policy down their throats. After all, that’s what President Kennedy did when he laid the foundations for the Apollo Program. He sought advice from seasoned professionals like Hugh Dryden, Robert Gilruth and Wernher von Braun. Even after the goal of landing a man on the Moon was announced, there was a spirited debate within the space agency about the best way to accomplish that goal — leading to consensus and success. Granted, the times are different. But perhaps we wouldn’t have the current mess if the Obama Administration had courted Congress ahead of time, rather than trying to do an “end run” around the normal process (as Neil Armstrong so aptly put it).

    One last point.

    Some people here seem to think that I oppose “commercial” space. I do not. Nor do people like Neil Armstrong and Harrison Schmitt. I don’t oppose new and more efficient ways of accessing space, and neither do they. But I do question the use of the term “commercial” and the viability of the “commercial” market (apart from its reliance on taxpayer dollars to support the ISS). And I do regret that the President’s focus (and Ms. Garver’s) remains fixed on LEO. It’s nice to talk about missions to asteroids and Mars. However, I see no indication that it’s anything more than just talk.

    What would really be nice is a coordinated and integrated plan to bring the two visions together. But partisanship seems to be in the way of doing that.

    Candidate Obama promised to bring American together. President Obama has been tearing America apart — pitting different groups of people against each other.

    We need change.

    We also need to start putting our heads together rather than butting our heads all the time. That means giving up the myopic notion that people with different points of view are totally wrong.

  • William Mellberg

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “Show us how Griffin did that while leading NASA.”

    On whose watch were the contracts awarded to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences for a minimum (between the two firms) or twenty commercial cargo resupply missions to the ISS?

    Answer: Mike Griffin’s

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 6th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    On whose watch were the contracts awarded to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences [COTS/CRS]… Answer: Mike Griffin’s

    Is that it? Is that the best example of leadership you can find about Griffin?

    I notice you didn’t address Griffin immediately dumping the competitive CEV plan his predecessor had in place.

    I guess it’s OK for Griffin to not listen to anyone before making a major decision, but Obama/Bolden get blasted for one that is based on the results of a full-up commission?

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 6th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    America’s space program had long enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress, as Gene Cernan noted on Capitol Hill last year.

    Cernan is a celebrity these days, but not a recognized authority on politics or history. He was a participant in one segment of our space program, but was not a leader, decision maker, or even a continuing participant in the space program. To me his (and other Apollo astronauts) opinions don’t lend anymore weight than any other astronaut, and astronauts don’t lend as much weight as decision makers.

    But let’s examine his supposition. To have “bipartisan support in Congress”, all you need is Republicans & Democrats agreeing on a budgetary course of action, which they did for Constellation at one point, and again when they decided to cancel Constellation last year.

    Last year also Congress gave bipartisan support to the majority of Obama’s space proposal, and the part they didn’t like was reflected in the SLS.

    Regardless of what Cernan says, Congress continues to provide bipartisan support for our space program.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 6th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Obama’s broken promises about the space program…

    The PolitiFacts article you listed shows that Obama kept 83% of his space-related promises – for any politician, that’s pretty good.

    And the one he didn’t? That was Constellation, which a bipartisan Congress agreed with him on. So are you going to continue to blast Obama for something that Congress did? Probably, huh?

    But let’s examine what would have happened under two different scenarios.

    1. Obama didn’t propose to cancel Constellation. Shuttle still ends, our manned space program ends in 2015 (ISS sold to China or Russia), and Congress has to cancel multiple other NASA programs in order to keep CxP going for a mid-2030′s landing date. How uninspiring. Or…

    2. McCain was elected, and based on the same fiscal analysis that Obama had, he cancels it too. Why not? McCain could care less about Bush’s legacy, and McCain had already warned about the fiscal problems Constellation had. McCain would have cancelled CxP too. You keep forgetting that.

    The problem you and others have Mr. Mellberg is that you ignore fiscal realities. You think the government should continue to spend HUGE amounts on a massive space program that returns more Moon rocks for analysis. Bottom line was that CxP truly was Apollo on steroids, and it wasn’t worthy enough for our Nation to keep it going. We can do better, for less.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 6th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Some people here seem to think that I oppose “commercial” space. I do not.

    I think you’ve been pretty consistent about saying you support commercial space, so I believe you.

    Nor do people like Neil Armstrong and Harrison Schmitt.

    Armstrong is no friend of “commercial” space. It’s OK to have informed questions or doubts, but Armstrong has not displayed any of that.

    This gets back to the same thing I said about Cernan. Other than accident panels and being a Board of Director for numerous companies (including ATK), Armstrong wasn’t really involved with the aerospace industry – he wasn’t even a businessman.

    So why is his opinion any more informed than the current generation of astronaut/business people? I don’t think it is, and his experience is far less relevant for the plans that Congress has funded at this point.

    Candidate Obama promised to bring American together.

    Yes, and Republicans have done everything they can to compromise with Obama, but to no avail…. LOL

    Cut the political naivete act Mr. Mellberg. Poll after poll show that Americans think far less of Congress than Obama, and a recent poll in Florida even showed that 23% of Republicans thought that Republicans in Congress were damaging the country in order to make Obama look bad. No one has clean hands in politics, so don’t be surprised.

    Let’s stick to finding middle ground on what we want to do in space instead of fighting about who’s pig has more mud on them.

  • Frank Glover

    @ Chris Castro:

    “Sir, you totally MISunderstand me, if you think I’m like the damned Flexible Path people who are dead-set against going to any place that American astronauts “have been””

    (shrug) It was you that claimed ‘boredom’ with LEO. I don’t have to invoke (and never specifically had in mind) Flexible Path, to understand that.

    “But I will tell you, that, Low Earth Orbit is still a wholesale ludicrous fall back plan, because we could be stranded there for a lifetime!”

    Again, going on to ‘The Next Big Thing’ (as LEO once was) isn’t what it’s all about, it’s one part of it. There continues to be science to do in LEO. There is business to be done in LEO, and the Space Act does require NASA to support the commercial use of space. It will be true, no matter how soon or how often we go beyond it, again.

    And the ships to go again, will be assembled in LEO. All those things mean various ‘aluminum cans’ and inflatables for humans to do them in. That logic can be extended to the Moon, Mars, and whatever is within the ‘cutting edge of exploration’ of the moment. What we do, is as much about *utilizing* space, as *exploring* space.

    “Just how near & close to the Earth can we be, and still simultaneously claim to be traveling through “space”??? Do you all see the big problem?—LEO is the bare freaking minimum we could ever be doing, in terms of sending astronauts “into space”. Building more & more castles in LEO in one flagrant mission to nowhere!”

    You seem to see it as either/or, and primarily about exploration, and it’s not. You do A. As you continue to do, and get better at A, you do B. As you continue to improve those abilities, you do C, etc. LEO isn’t a ‘fallback’ plan, it’s PART of the plan. Not doing it will make serious movement beyond, harder, not easier. And…

    “Truly what we should be developing, is a FULLY reusable manned spacecraft.”

    Actually, you’re right about this. Now tell others of your viewpoint that we need a better means of reaching LEO (to do the things I outlined above, but more and cheaper than ELVs could do, beyond a certain traffic level), and they, too, will accuse you of wasting time and money on LEO, and not ‘going somewhere.’ (I’ve heard similar nonsense about how the Shuttle ‘can’t go beyond LEO,’ as if anyone had ever promised anything else) And they will say it, oblivious to the fact that it enables and enhances the deep space missions they actually want. I often liken it to trying to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, directly from your hotel room down in town, and having no good means of reaching your base camp…or even understanding that you should *have* a base camp.

    This is an example of what an RLV can give you (if you don’t like Skylon in particular, substitute any RLV of the same capacity):

    http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/downloads/mars_troy.pdf

    But any such vehicles won’t be developed *just* to assemble deep-space ships (not all of which will be purely ‘exploratory,’ either, see my comment to Dennis…but they’ll use much of the same technology, helping assure continued development for those ‘boldly going’), they’ll serve *any* LEO customers who need that capacity. (yes, ‘commercial’ service) And the more, the better. Expanding infrastructure in LEO and beyond, in order to do more. That’s what this is about. And each step *will* become mundane as it becomes common, but it’s the shoulders on which the explorers stand.

    @ Dennis:

    “Now Im for the planned for commercial Soyuz mission around the Moon, but here to the price tag is way to high.”

    Certainly too much for you or I. But there’s one rider signed up, and they say they need at least one more to make it happen. I’m hoping for this as well, because it weakens the argument of those who say ‘commercial will never take us beyond LEO,’ and show that such things can be done by multiple launch of existing rockets. Russia isn’t going to resurrect N1 or Energia to do this, just use the Protons they’ve got.

    And it will be interesting to see the former Soviets go beyond LEO for the first time themselves, not for geopolitical prestige (though they won’t waste the bragging opportunity either), but for…money. (giving pause to those who think China is about to rule the solar system would be nice, too, IMO. Their launchers *could* enable a similar flight [even Mike Griffin said so], but it’s a long way off..)

    If we’re lucky, it’ll encourage SpaceX and/or others here, to ask themselves if they could undercut the Russian price for a commercial circumlunar (or even Lunar orbital) flight, and the commercial ‘race’ will be on…

  • William Mellberg

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    “You think the government should continue to spend HUGE amounts on a massive space program that returns more Moon rocks for analysis. Bottom line was that CxP truly was Apollo on steroids, and it wasn’t worthy enough for our Nation to keep it going. We can do better, for less.”

    Well, one could argue that we are spending HUGE amounts to keep the ISS going around and around and around the Earth. And with what return on our taxpayer investment? Where’s the scientific and economic return from the ISS? One almost has the impression that Skylab returned more science in one year than ISS has produced in ten years. In any case, CxP wasn’t about returning more Moon rocks. It was about learning to live on another world and using its resources to help supply a permanent outpost. That’s something we cannot do in LEO where everything (water, food, etc.) has to be brought up from Earth. The Moon has water, and plants can be grown there in greenhouses. So if the long-term goal is to send humans to Mars and populate the Solar System, the Moon is an excellent place to get a first foothold.

    Coastal Ron also wrote:

    “Armstrong is no friend of ‘commercial’ space. It’s OK to have informed questions or doubts, but Armstrong has not displayed any of that.”

    Actually, Mr. Armstrong does support commercial space. But he also understands commercial economics and reality. In any case, you cannot say that Harrison Schmitt doesn’t support commercial space. He’s been on the Board of Directors at Orbital Sciences for decades. Which is why he, too, understands commercial economics and reality. However, as Dr. Schmitt’s book makes clear, he is also confident that it will eventually be the private sector that carries the ball in space exploration and settlement. And Mr. Armstrong knows that the private sector, not the government, has designed and built all of America’s spacecraft over the years. He flew with North American (X-15), McDonnell (Gemini) and Grumman (Apollo). None of the vehicles he flew were built by the government, even though they were paid for by the government.

    Coastal Ron opined:

    “No one has clean hands in politics, so don’t be surprised.”

    That’s certainly true here in Illinois where we send both Democrat AND Republican former governors to prison. And there is no shortage of crooks in Crook County … from both parties. But it will be interesting to see the national poll results one year from today.

    And Coastal Ron wrote:

    “Let’s stick to finding middle ground on what we want to do in space instead of fighting about who’s pig has more mud on them.”

    Yes. It’s the only way we’re going to get anywhere. No one has a monopoly on good ideas, and we need to put our heads together rather than butting heads (as I wrote above). We must find the common ground that serves the common good. Having two space programs directed from two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue won’t work.

    Finally, Coastal Ron wrote:

    “I think you’ve been pretty consistent about saying you support commercial space, so I believe you.”

    Thank you.

  • William Mellberg

    Frank Glover wrote:

    “Russia isn’t going to resurrect N1 or Energia to do this, just use the Protons they’ve got.”

    The N1 was never part of the Soviet circumlunar L1 (Zond) project. The L1 circumlunar missions were built around the Proton, although problems with the Proton prevented Soviet cosmonauts from beating Apollo 8 around the Moon. Of course, the L1 missions wouldn’t have been able to orbit the Moon. Just quick flybys. But a quick loop around the Moon would be pretty exciting in itself for a wealthy space tourist. And it would certainly draw attention to human spaceflight Beyond Earth Orbit. So I’m hopeful that the Russians finally succeed in sending their modified Soyuz around the Moon. Better several decades late than never. In short, I agree with your comments about the proposed Russian lunar ‘holidays’.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 7th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Where’s the scientific and economic return from the ISS?

    Do you want a list? There is a very long one if you decided to actually look. And as a Congressionally designated National Laboratory it’s job is not to produce economic returns per se, it would be easy to justify part of it’s economic benefit as retiring risk for future spaceflight.

    In any case, CxP wasn’t about returning more Moon rocks. It was about learning to live on another world and using its resources to help supply a permanent outpost.

    That was a romantic view of the Constellation program, but not one grounded in reality. In reality the program was only budgeting for a few short stays, and there was no money budgeted for ISRU or truly “learning to live” on the Moon.

    Maybe Congress would have expanded the program to do what you think it should have done, but after two decades of being absent from space maybe Congress would have decided to do something else with NASA, or even shut it down for lack of results.

    Waiting two decades for a mission to start is too long. NASA can do better, for less, and much quicker – why don’t you support that?

    The Moon has water, and plants can be grown there in greenhouses.

    The same can be said about Mars, yet we don’t even know how to stay alive for long periods of time beyond LEO. No matter where we go we have to learn how to live, work and survive in space – that will always be the common “place” as we expand out into space. That is why the ISS is the first step, not the Moon.

    So if the long-term goal is to send humans to Mars and populate the Solar System, the Moon is an excellent place to get a first foothold.

    With all this talk about living and working on the Moon, I hear no talk about how to get there, support the operations, and rotate personnel. It sure seems like you are hoping that instantaneous transportation between the Earth & Moon gets developed for your Moon plans to work, because you’ve given no thought to developing a cost effective logistical system that will support a lunar development.

    The MPCV/SLS aren’t cost effective, and if you tried using them you wouldn’t have enough money leftover to do anything.

    I don’t fault anyone for having grand dreams of eventually living on the Moon or Mars, but I do not support plans based on unsupportable fiscal spending, and that’s what all the current Moon plans are.

    Really what it seems like you are most angry with Obama about is that he stopped your gravy train for the Moon. I have no sympathy for you if that is the case. Our expansion into space is going to be very slow with NASA, so focus on small steps that reinforce the previous ones and build towards the next – no giant leaps that lack fallback points.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ November 7th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    In any case, you cannot say that Harrison Schmitt doesn’t support commercial space.

    Dr. Schmitt has been active enough to have an informed opinion, which is why I didn’t mention him. I have disagreements with him, but at least he is more current than Armstrong, who been out of the loop too long.

    Armstrong could get current by just picking up the phone and asking for personal tours of all the commercial aerospace companies – everyone (except Blue Origin) would accommodate him, no matter what he has said in the past. I wonder why he doesn’t do that?

    Having two space programs directed from two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue won’t work.

    It’s not just our government, but the aerospace community as a whole. There is a lack of general agreement on not only the destinations but everything in between.

    If the space community can’t reach consensus, then blaming the politicians is pretty fruitless.

    I would imagine that it is going to have to take an agreed upon exploration roadmap developed by science and industry to get us past this point, but I have no idea who or when it could happen. Who knows when or if that could happen, but we’re not going far without it…

  • Frank Glover

    @ Weiialm Mellberg:

    “The N1 was never part of the Soviet circumlunar L1 (Zond) project. The L1 circumlunar missions were built around the Proton, although problems with the Proton prevented Soviet cosmonauts from beating Apollo 8 around the Moon.”

    Yes, quite correct. I remember the anticipation at the time, that they might do a manned Zond (though they would’ve called it something else, I’m sure) circumlunar flight, as little as two weeks before Apollo 8, and the relief for some, when the Russian December Lunar launch window closed without event.

    That program is well chronicled here:

    http://www.astronautix.com/craft/soyz7kl1.htm

    However, the Space Adventures plan doesn’t involve the late 60′s single-launch configuration, which was essentially a deep-space Soyuz with one man, and minus the orbital compartment. This requires the launch of a Soyuz in its more typical configuration (though with the heavier heat shield, and possibly a somewhat larger parabolic antenna for the greater distance), and a Proton-launched transfer stage, including additional habitation volume, and using ISS as a staging point for docking and checkout of the two elements before departure…just as it was long envisioned that flight beyond LEO would be done:

    http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/05/05/space-adventures-lunar-flyby-include-hab-module/

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=33481

    My point in referencing N1 and Energia,however, was only to show that one can do these kinds of things, and more, without heavy-lift launcher development, just making good use of what already exists. And this would be clear proof of that, if they make it happen…

    As for a US launch provider possibly doing something similar, the speculation at least, is already out there…

    http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=30771

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/04/if-spacex-falcon-heavy-was-used-for.html

  • common sense

    @ William Mellberg wrote @ November 5th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    “Now tell us about your experience. How about starting with your real name?”

    Talk about pompous and pontificating. But hey I never was lectured by a comedian before. I suppose there is a start to anything. You truly have aerospace experience that humbles mine. Especially in the area of HSF.

    As I said before to you. My name is none of your business. What should be important to you is whether my arguments hold or not. Obviously they don’t since you can base your judgement on a long and successful career in aerospace. Right?

    Or maybe your good friend Harrison Schmitt is helping you out a little? You know there is a difference between writing books about other people’s experience and actually trying to do something.

    Then again, I am not an expert at comedy. Though I tried sometimes on this very website and I hope you did enjoy it.

  • common sense

    All of those people seem to think like me and some others here. What could they (we) know that some don’t? And why do they know? Emphasis mine.

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1586

    “We understand there are many programs competing for limited NASA funding; however, Commercial Crew funding must be kept as one of the top priorities if America is to retain its position as the world’s number one spacefaring nation, ahead of other spaceflight powers like Russia and China. Simply put, Commercial Crew represents the most rapid way for America to get back its human space transportation capability following retirement of the Space Shuttle, and for America to end the “gap” in human spaceflight. The US will be back with its own capability soonest through Commercial Crew. Without Commercial Crew, America will be on the sidelines for years and years. And as long as America lacks a domestic means to access and maintain our $100 billion International Space Station, then we are running a risk that any setback to the Russian space program or a deterioration of US-Russian relations could force us to temporarily or perhaps permanently evacuate the American crew from the ISS. “

  • William Mellberg

    Common Sense wrote:

    “Then again, I am not an expert at comedy.”

    Nor do you seem to recognize the difference between comedy and satire.

    Some people, Mr. Sense, are endowed by their Creator with multiple talents. Tom Lehrer, for example. Do you think Professor Lehrer was unqualified to discuss mathematics because he also happened to be a highly successful political satirist?

    You are probably familiar with Tom Lehrer, but if not …

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

    As I said, some people are multi-talented, and I make no apologies for my dual career. On the contrary, I’m rather proud of it. And only an ignoramus would mock it.

    Common Sense added:

    “I tried [to be funny] sometimes on this very website and I hope you did enjoy it.”

    I did not. For one thing, I didn’t notice it. For another, I find nothing funny about cyber bullies who insult others — especially when the insults are flung by an anonymous individual who purports to be an expert, but who hides behind an ill-fitting pseudonym. That’s cowardly, not comedy.

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