Campaign '12

Romney’s focus: not the mission, but how to create it

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke late Friday afternoon at an Astrotech facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and, as expected, address his views on space policy in his relatively short (approximately 15-minute) speech. As in his previous discussions in two debate earlier this week, Romney said little about what he thought NASA and the national should be doing in space, but did describe what he would do to create a new vision for NASA if elected.

“So I’m not going to come here today and tell you precisely what the mission will be,” he said. “I’m going to tell you how I’m going to get there.” He said he would bring in people from various sectors of the space community, including the Defense Department, “astrophysicists from some of the leading institutions of the world”, industry executives, and NASA officials. They, he said, “will talk about each of those missions, each of those objectives, and then determine which mission for NASA, which mission for space, will most effectively carry out those missions.” That approach, he said, would make sure the job was done right and would support the nation as well as “protect ourselves from threats from space.”

Romney, in the passage above, was using “mission” in two different contexts: one being the plan for NASA that this interdisciplinary team—which sounds like something along the lines of blue-ribbon panels like the 2009 Augustine Committee and its predecessors—would develop, but also the objectives for the space program. In his speech Romney identified four objectives for American space efforts: “existential” studies of things “going on in the universe that could dramatically affect the Earth”, supporting commercial efforts, increasing the health and well-being of Americans through research and spinoffs, and national defense. “Each of them is, in and of itself, a critical priority, but collectively they suggest our space program is an integral part of America’s exceptionalism, and we must have a space program that combines all four of those missions.”

This approach to developing a mission for American space efforts was rooted in his experience in the private sector, where people collect data and and then make decisions based on the analysis of those data. That approach was different from others, he admitted, in comments that perhaps indirectly referred to Newt Gingrich’s speech two days earlier where he called the creation of a permanent lunar base by 2020. “In the politics of the past, to get your vote on the Space Coast, I’d promise hundreds of billions of dollars, or I’d lay out what my mission is,” he said. “I’m not going to do that. I know that’s something very attractive, very popular, but it’s simply the wrong thing to do.”

While Romney did not mention his rivals for the GOP nomination by name in the speech, he did directly attack President Obama. “If you wanted to put together a list of President Obama’s failures, it’s a long, long list, indeed. But the one in particular I want to talk about today is his failure to define a mission for the space program for this nation,” he said. “People are suffering because of that, we’ve lost technology because of that, people have lost jobs because of that. It’s time to have a mission for the space program of the United States of America.” Later in the speech he criticized the administration on more general grounds, such as the economy; the latter two-thirds of his speech, in fact, said little about space except for an anecdote about a Boy Scout troop that flew a flag on Challenger’s final mission and eventually got it back.

82 comments to Romney’s focus: not the mission, but how to create it

  • Robert G. Oler

    This is vintage Willard and I bet with appropriate changes he has made this speech a dozen times to companies and assembled people who he is about to put the knife in “trust me”.

    The team of (whats Whittington’s phrase?) “aerospace heavyweights” is the biggest crock since the GOP notion that we can get our way out of this economic mess by doing more of the same policies that got us into it. Whittington seems to think that the only problem with Cx was that it was not “properly funded” LOL

    What Willard is famous for in his business dealings is going into companies making great speeches like this and then completely downsizing organizations that he thinks no longer have value raiding the various funds both for himself and his investors.

    The “aerospace heavyweights” have simply been bought off with the promise of 1) jobs and 2) a return to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

    NASA is headed into massive funding cuts…Willard wont be POTUS but if he were he would be the first one to find NASA a cash cow…RGO

  • Doug Lassiter

    Mitt Romney missed a campaign opportunity here. What he could have done in Florida is briefly presented potential opportunities for human space flight. There are many that have been discussed. After doing so, showing that he had at least some grasp of or interest in the issue, he could have called for a decision to be made, and how to do that decision-making job right. But he didn’t. He just did the latter.

    He vaguely refers to protecting the Earth, but seems to be sending the message that he doesn’t have a clue what these opportunities might be, and needs to get a team to figure it all out.

    The opportunity he missed was to use Gingrich’s grandiose and much-mocked lunar colonization and statehood plans as a launching pad for what could be seen as a more measured and responsible approach to the future of human space flight. Instead, he’s left us with the impression that he doesn’t really have a clue about where we could be going (as he criticizes the Obama administration for not having) but with vague promises to figure it out. Even Obama has vaguely referred to protection of the Earth by human space flight. So the difference Romney has laid out between him and Obama on this topic is that he’s going to try to figure it out. Fail.

    An opportunity missed. In fact, Gingrich’s words in Florida were somewhat predictable. Romney should have seen them coming, and been prepared for them in this way.

  • amightywind

    The stalwarts of US space flight are behind Romney because they believe he will appoint responsible NASA leadership. I agree with them.

  • Googaw

    So on the one side we have bureaucratic crackpots, the Griffin et. al. types who see themselves as prophets, seers of our future, much wiser than the mere people, and declaim solemnly that building space cathedrals for astronauts and rockets to nowhere is so utterly critical for our future. But of course strictly the job of the government, because those greedy, short-sighted private sector investors lack the “vision” to properly worship astronauts by building them their grand temples. Long ago during a missile race these bureaucrats were able to turn their sci-fi-induced cult into a government-funded religion and they have no intention of stopping now.

    On the other we have crackpots like Gingrich, steeped in the same mid 20th century sci-fi books that populated every planet in the solar system with their own unique set of eerily familiar aliens, who think building cathedrals for astronauts and bridges to nowhere is the job of the private sector — as long as the taxpayer is still footing the bill. Since as has been well observed (most recently by Romney) rational private investors won’t put their money anywhere near such money-squandering monstrosities unless they are very generously funded, up-front, by the taxpayer. (Of course we have the occasional UFO chaser who is the exception to this rule, and gets this heretical sect of the astronaut cult all excited). But this sect too ignores the real space commerce of communications, GPS, and ignore the real military uses of space, because these don’t properly respect the holy role of astronauts. For this set of crackpots, their taxpayer-funded “private sector” magically reduces the costs of a lunar colony from ten trillion to ten billion while pursuing the same centrally planned heavenly shrines, or even doubling down on the economic fantasy since the private sector is magic and can do anything the government can do but orders of magnitude cheaper.

    And the devotees of these sects just scratch their heads about why the American people just guffawed.

  • Scott Bass

    Yeah it was pretty uninspired…another 4 years of billion dollar studies….. However at this early juncture I predict Obama will win in November and SLS development will continue…. Mission talk is pure politics until we are flying again, expect no changes to NASA til 2017….. At that point firm destinations and timelines will be established

  • Scott Bass

    Politician will be knocking each other down to get a picture of themselves standing in front of the SLS test article in few years using it as an example of Americas greatness…. Scoff as you will but I can see that clear as day in the 2016 election…. The debate will turn to what to do with it ;)

  • Like many Americans, including Obama, Romney has little to no interest in the manned space program. Any space advocates that think he does are just foolin’ themselves.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Scott Bass wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Obama will win reelection unless Gingrich is the nominee and then well all bets are off.. SLS will never fly. It will die this year RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Googaw wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 10:49 am

    “On the other we have crackpots like Gingrich, steeped in the same mid 20th century sci-fi books that populated every planet in the solar system with their own unique set of eerily familiar aliens, who think building cathedrals for astronauts and bridges to nowhere is the job of the private sector ”

    I am sorry…defending Newton Leroy Gingrich makes my head hurt, but that is not what he said. He angled on to the colony talk and that is what is getting most of the “HAH HAH” factor…but what he said was that he wanted a moon base by the end of his second term.

    As much as it hurts defending NLG it baffles me to no end those (not you) in the space advocacy community who are such GOP Toadies that they have latched on to WMR and are defending his characterization of the speech AND then defending his babble about what his plan would be.

    RGO

  • Scott Bass

    Whose going to cancel SLS this year rgo……?

  • Scott Bass

    Election year…. Congress – no action

  • red

    “will talk about each of those missions, each of those objectives, and then determine which mission for NASA, which mission for space, will most effectively carry out those missions.”

    That’s a lot of talk about missions to talk about missions.

    If he becomes President, Romney could save lots of time (and thus money) by skipping the blue ribbon panel, and pick up one of the stack of reports from earlier blue ribbon panels. Just read the Augustine Committee report, for example. You know, the one that says of the program Griffin and Pace implemented “this program … offers little or no apparent value”.

  • Googaw

    Oler, Gingrich’s “plan” contains so many layers of economic fantasy it’s hard to know where to start. I should just respond to this “vision” the same way the vast majority of the American people did — have a nice belly laugh and go back to my actual practical life. Or I could just point out that I, like Romney or any other rational business executive, would fire anybody who put forth such an astronomically uneconomical proposal.

    But as a favor, in case it’s possible to reach any astronaut fans or sci-fi cultists that are not too far gone in their economic fantasies, I will point out a few of the many areas where his “vision” diverges preposterously from reality. So let’s start by working backwards from the most grandiose part of his “vision”, since he says grandiosity is a great thing:

    First, he has no clue how a “51st state” of “13,000″ (?) colonists would be funded or built, or what these colonists would be doing there to pay back the monstrous amount of money that would have been expended on them in his Asimov-addled mind. The real original Amerrican colonies were orders of magnitude cheaper to set up and were funded by fish, furs, timber, tobacco, and many other export products. All Newt gives us is cosmically preposterous hand-waving about the magic of the private sector to reduce any kind of costs by astronomical proportions, despite still being centrally planned and funded from Washington DC. Not that adding in the usual fantasizing about He3 or manufacturing solar cells on the moon (when we can’t even make them in California) would help.

    Second, he thinks a lunar base, a handful of astronauts huddling inside a lunar hobbit-hole, relates in some magically unspecified way to his 51st state, just as the practitioners of voodoo believe their dolls due to their superficial similarity to real people have some actual real connection to them. The two projects in fact have no economic relationship to each other and little technological relationship. The buried lunar RV solves none of the important problems, and very few of any kind of the problems, that would confront the lunar colonists.

    Third, he’s suggesting that his why-didn’t-I-think-of-that bureaucratic reforms, like expediting the man-rating of the Atlas 5, will lead to the orders-of-magnitude speedup in launch rates and reduction in the costs of launching the heavenly pilgrims that his cosmic crusade requires. All we have to do is magically bask in the glow of Newt’s brilliance and 99% of the DoD/NASA/LockMart cost structure will — presto! – disappear.

    When explored in further detail one will find further nutty economic and engineering assumptions lying within these three.

    Russian doll crackpottery — one cracked pot nested inside another nested inside another, all based on the same mid-20th-century sci-fi that featured a Star Wars-like menagerie of aliens on every planet of our solar system. Scientology is by no means the only nor the most pernicious cult to have emerged out of this entertaining and creative literature.

    (Of course, it’s entirely possible that, as some others have suggested, Gingrich himself is not really an acolyte of the heavenly pilgrimage, he just knows enough about the cult to be able to cynically manipulate its true acolytes into donating to and writing in support of his campaign. If so, he didn’t give due weight to the possibility that his “vision’ might escape from Brevard County and the space blogs to become a national story…as a result he has turned his spectacular South Carolina surge in the polls into a plummet.)

  • Since the SLS is Congress’s baby, so it will fly because Congress wants it to and because the aerospace corporations want it to.

    The fact that Obama and Holdren don’t want it doesn’t matter because the Republicans in Congress hate Obama; and both Democrats and Republicans in Congress hate Holdren.

  • Mark

    I am astonished at the attitude that suggests that the country can burn so long as Mike Griffin will not be NASA administrator again.

    If anyone wonders why a lot of new space people do not get on board Gingrich or support Romney is that they don’t want to anger their government sugar daddy. Thus another example of the corrupting influence of government subsidies.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Scott Bass wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Whose going to cancel SLS this year rgo……?

    The Congress reelection and the Presidential campaign are going to be caught up around the budget deal which is going to require an enormous amount of cutting and SLS is going to go as soon as Falcon9 takes something to ISS…we are nearing the end times of NASA as we know it (thankfully) RGO

  • Scott Bass

    Even with Romneys tepid vision thus far, Florida remains a swing state…. It’s hard to even imagine a scenario where either party wants to kill any program that will kill jobs before the election…. If you meant that Robert I don’t think you have thought it through….. 2013… Who knows

  • vulture4

    “The debate will turn to what to do with it ”
    I can think of some appropriate things to do with it.

    It may indeed become a symbol of American exceptionalism. But most likely it will be milked for political effect and then, like the NASP or Constellation, passed on to the next administration without admitting that it is incompatible with tax cuts.

    On the other side we have Obama making the accurate point in the SOU that R&D must be focused on competitiveness in manufacturing and exporting commercial high-tech products if the country is even to survive economically. This was NACA’s original mission and should be NASA’s. It would fit the Republican ideology. But none of the GOP candidates even mentioned it.

  • Vladislaw

    “Or I could just point out that I, like Romney or any other rational business executive, would fire anybody who put forth such an astronomically uneconomical proposal.”

    Not that I am arguing for or against Romney or Gingrich or their space policies but your arguement is you would fire the person for even suggesting it?

    You would not even look at a business plan first?

    What the estimated ROI was?

    You would just simply fire the individual at just the mention of it?

    No DD (due diligence) at all? Just a Donald Trump, “you’re fired!”

  • Vladislaw

    When Romney ran the first time for the Presidency didn’t he come out in favor of the VSE and Constellation that had a lunar base as part of it? Has any reporter asked him about this flip flop?

  • “The Congress reelection and the Presidential campaign are going to be caught up around the budget deal which is going to require an enormous amount of cutting and SLS is going to go as soon as Falcon9 takes something to ISS…we are nearing the end times of NASA as we know it (thankfully) RGO”

    What does that have to do with the $8.4 billion manned spaceflight budget that Obama inherited from George Bush? Even if you totally eliminated the manned spaceflight budget, it would take nearly 2000 years for it to pay off the Federal government’s 15 trillion debt.

    Serious debt reduction requires dramatic Medicare and Medicaid reform that will cut Federal medical expenditures in half and closing a lot of foreign bases which could cut foreign base expenditures in half. This should reduce Federal spending by more than $500 billion annually.

    Cutting a billion or two from the tiny NASA budget is totally insignificant. And since studies show that space expenditures actually create more wealth than they consume, cutting NASA would actually reduce Federal revenues.

    Third world countries are poor because they don’t spend money on science and technology and education, not because they do! And China is becoming rich because it spends money on science and technology and education.

  • amightywind

    Obama will win reelection unless Gingrich is the nominee and then well all bets are off.

    Sarah Palin is probably happy that you support Gingrich, butpolling data does not support that ridiculous assertion. Florida is shaping up to be Gingrich’s Little Bighorn.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 5:00 pm
    “Third world countries are poor because they don’t spend money on science and technology and education, not because they do! And China is becoming rich because it spends money on science and technology and education.”

    That’s exactly right, but it’s not a great argument for spending money on NASA or human space flight. The routes to science, technology, and education are not at all dependent on human space flight. This nation could do science and education FAR better if the the $8B+ spent on human spaceflight were not spent that way. As for technology, it really depends what technologies you want to develop. Suit technology? Micrograv technology? ECLSS technology? Those have limited relevance beyond human space flight.

    I like human space flight, but let’s just get the rationale understood.

  • gregori

    On the contrary, billions do matter so NASA ought to be using that money in the best way possible or face cuts. What can be done with billions is amazing. The attitude that it is just ‘pocket change’ and doesn’t have to be spent efficiently is the problem. Most companies don’t even approach billions in revenue.

    When there are gigantic budget deficits, even programs are relatively small are not sacred cows and have to accept cutbacks. There are hundreds of other small programs that suffer cuts too. Or you have to accept large tax increases.

    NASA requires dramatic reform and a cut in its expenditures. Medicare and Medicaid actually provide something people need as do the armed forces overseas. “Spin offs” are a terrible justification as it would be orders of magnitude cheaper and more efficient to directly solve technological programs. I am growing tied of that old chestnut.

    NASA undoubtedly enriches certain districts at the expense of the rest of the country. I don’t think that’s “wealth creation”. We would see the how effective the “wealth creation” of NASA was if it was forced to operate without government funding on a for profit basis!

    Orbital cathedrals and pilgrimages to airless rocks are lower on the pecking order of priorities than defense and healthcare and wishing otherwise won’t make it so.

  • DCSCA

    “So I’m not going to come here today and tell you precisely what the mission will be,” [Romney] said. “I’m going to tell you how I’m going to get there.”

    Ahhhh, the smooth, velvet pitch of a corporate raider, microphone in hand, wooing the stockholders. A scene right out if ‘Wall Street,’ space advocates. Gordon Gekko would be so proud. “Presidents” don’t tell you how to get there, they point and say, ‘go there’ and direct the people who make it happen to ‘make it happen.’

    Romney wants to form a committee. That’s inspiring. As the old saying goes, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me… fool me three times, etc.,” Any ‘fool’ along the Florida space coast who votes for this shark deserved and deserves to hear his most famous directive thus far: “You’re fired!”

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    The Congress reelection and the Presidential campaign are going to be caught up around the budget deal which is going to require an enormous amount of cutting and SLS is going to go as soon as Falcon9 takes something to ISS…we are nearing the end times of NASA as we know it (thankfully) RGO

    Congress wrote the law. Congress can ignore the law.

    Also keep in mind that they typically go long past the October 1 fiscal year beginning without appropriating the budget. With an election in November, I really expect this to wait until at least the lame duck session in December, and frankly I think it will be punted into 2013 with the new Congress.

    They’ll pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running into 2013. The automatic cuts may conflict with the CR, but again only Congress has the power of the purse and unless Congress orders the cuts I really don’t think the automatic cuts will happen.

    If they don’t implement the cuts, so what? Someone would have to file a lawsuit against Congress for failing to uphold the law. Even if someone did (the Justice Department?!), it would have to make its way through the federal courts all the way to the Supreme Court, by which time a new Congress will be in office and the current fiscal year will have expired.

    I suppose we could have an emergency rush to the Supremes as they did with Bush v. Gore in 2000 to decide the election, but in the end I suspect the Supremes will simply punt it back to Congress and say Congress has the power of the purse to do what it wants.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    “Sarah Palin is probably happy that you support Gingrich, butpolling data does not support that ridiculous assertion.”

    I DONT support Newt, in a Newt/Barack race I would happily vote for Obama….but Newt at least has a brain instead of the Willard “its my turn” theory. As for polls they are almost useless this far out but no one is beating Obama…and Willards negatives have gone sky high. He is the face of the .1 percent.

    RGO

  • Scott Bass

    Yeah Obama would beat Gingrich even easier than he would beat Romney….although I do think Romney could pick up the independent vote…. I have not totally discounted him yet. I also think that if Gingrich had not come out so strong then Romney may have elaborated further on space…..it was calculated that he would get more mileage using NASA to portrait newt as a nut. But I guess you would have to be an insider to know if that was the case…… Back to the point though, although Obama is not exactly behind SLS he is still proposing decent size budgets for NASA and they are pretty much getting through congress in tact….. I believe and want NASA and SLS to survive…. NASA has been in drift for so long if the only mission they have is to build SLS then so be it….. Better than years of more studies that may or may not produce worthwhile hardware, I for one will be at the First SLS launch

  • D. Messier

    Romney has been running for President for five years and he shows up in Floridaa with nothing. He can’t explain anything other than the process he will use to figure out what his policy should be. You’ve got thousands of unemployed workers looking for hope and Romney gives them process. WTF?

  • Scott Bass

    I concur messier….. That’s why I said I think it was calculated to be more effective to portrait newt as nutty…. Not much other than that to explain it…. Romney had to have ditched his planned space speech

  • DCSCA

    @D. Messier wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Thast’s right. Years. How many times does Romney have to telegraph in debates, statements and speeches that the only space he cares about is the square footage of his fifteen homes. If you’re a space advocate, he’s not your guy.

  • red

    “the Defense Department, “astrophysicists from some of the leading institutions of the world”, industry executives, and NASA officials”

    With Pace and Griffin starting things off, I thought I’d take a guess as to who Romney would assign to talk about which mission will most effectively carry out those missions. Astrophysicists … not Planetary Scientists, Earth Scientists, or Heliophysicists. I guess he will go for some JWST employees. Industry executives? How about reps from LM, Boeing, P&W, and ATK? I wonder what they’ll say about SLS and MPCV? Those reps can cover for the Defense Department, too. NASA officials? Well, Pace and Griffin worked at NASA once, didn’t they? Maybe we could round it out with some NASA Constellation managers … Hanley, Cook?

    Maybe I’m being cynical, but everything I’ve seen over the last couple days makes me think Romney is clueless about space, and clueless about how to get advice on space. I just see NASA devolving into nothing but the pork of the SLS, MPCV, JWST, and the corndog rocket going operational in year 2034 with a President Romney. Let’s hope he comes to his senses and takes no advise from the guy that almost destroyed NASA failing – twice! – to build a multi-hundred billion dollar Moon program. Romney, fire Griffin!

  • @ Almighty:

    “The stalwarts of US space flight are behind Romney because they believe he will appoint responsible NASA leadership. I agree with them.”

    It’s what they would ultimately be responsible for doing, that worries me…

  • Googaw

    Vladislaw, anybody who proclaims that there must be a positive ROI to such a novel teraproject with such scant and speculative end products, and with such hand-waving about unprecedented orders-of-magnitude cost reductions from current practice, is making stuff up. And not in a small way, but in a whoppingly big way. A small error of judgment is one thing, a cosmically stupendous error in judgment, the kind of judgment that can send the stock price of a big company tumbling, is quite another. That there is a cult of sci-fi fans and NASA contractor wannabes willing to give politicians (who promise wonders with other peoples’ money) such advise is irrelevant, or even confirmative of the very poor business and economic judgment involved.

    Even if the manager making such an idiotic proposal has no say in its fate, such a terrible business sense could easily be applied in other areas where the manager in question is supposed to be able to apply their judgment without others having to look over their shoulder. In such a situation the Trump treatment is required to remove the risk to the department, or even the company (however much of the company the terrible manager might be entrusted with). Romney couldn’t have been more on target (even if rather politically tin-eared for again expressing his eagerness to fire people). It’s the wisest thing I’ve heard any politician say about a space topic in many a moon.

    On rare occasions such firings prove to be wrong, which is why we have angel investors and venture capitalists, who spend small amounts on many risky projects. Even Sand Hill Road of course will kick you out the door with a howl if you ask them for ten billion dollars (especially on a project industry veterans estimate will cost trillions). The typical investment in novel areas is in the single or double digit millions. The idea of venture capital is quite the opposite of the Gingrich centrally planned gigaprizes: dozens of different investment pools each bet a thousand times in a thousand ventures, a very diverse set of very different projects, small amounts on each, the few megasuccesses making up for the many more failures.

    I hope, BTW, that Romney maintains the wisdom he currently has on these matters (despite the terrible advise he his going to get from Griffin and the astronauts and their NASA contractor backers) and appoints a commission, radically different from previous commissions in that it actually reflects the needs of real commerce and military efforts in space (e.g. communications, GPS, intelligence) rather than the NASA contractors who dominated previous commissions (some of them now calling themselves “commercial” while raking in the taxpayer bucks). Romney from what he’s said so far about space, and more generally about the undesirability of government picking winners and losers in high tech investments, has the good judgment to see through the scams of NASA and its contractors. And I hope he keeps bashing Newt for his terrible economic judgment.

  • mike shupp

    But the nice thing with Romney-space is that we’ll finally a nice study of just what the American space program mighty accomplish, after we’ve agreed in advance it won’t do much. Such a novel idea.

    Let me guess. The new space report will promise “American leadership.” Don’t know why, just this crazy idea of mine, but it sounds like something that might be promised.

    Shall we start taking bets on how soon Norm Augustine agrees to be its head?

  • Robert G. Oler

    D. Messier wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Romney has been running for President for five years and he shows up in Floridaa with nothing. ..

    this is a description of the entire Willard campaign. Other then “put this or that to cater to the folks I need to vote for me” there is not much. His economic policy is just pander and his recent comments on the US military (about its force size however) range from lying to ignorance to stupidity. Truth is Willard is pandering to a GOP base that is barely out of cave man status on issues. To them the F-35 is a great idea because …well it looks good…even though the tailhook does not work on the naval version RGO

  • DCSCA

    @red wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    “Maybe I’m being cynical, but everything I’ve seen over the last couple days makes me think Romney is clueless about space, and clueless about how to get advice on space.”

    Romney is cut from the same cloth as Ivan Boesky, who famously quipped to his wife, “What good is the moon? You can’t buy or sell it.”

  • DCSCA

    @Scott Bass wrote @ January 28th, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    “I concur messier….. That’s why I said I think it was calculated to be more effective to portrait newt as nutty…. Not much other than that to explain it…. Romney had to have ditched his planned space speech…”

    Nah. Romney doesnt need to torpedo support from the space community – comments now on the record that he doesn’t want flip-flop on later. Newt looks erratic and does a good job of it on his own. Romney simply sees nothing in space to merit a high place on his national agenda. And besides, Mormons know they’ll get thir own planet in the next life anyway.

  • Marcel F. Williams

    @douglassiter

    Without the government’s investment in space, there would be no $200 billion a year global satellite based telecommunications industry. To say that satellites have had no significant impact on the economy and on our quality of life is ludicrous. Without space technology, there would have been no weather satellites and no global cable television networks.  We would be a much poorer nation today without space technology!

    Our investment in manned space travel will give us the ultimate gift of enhanced survival beyond our planet of evolutionary origin, a planet that has a long history of natural mass extinctions and in an age when soon several nations will have the power to create a thermonuclear holocaust at the push of a button. 

    If there was an industrial colony on the Moon today, those colonist would probably be some of the richest people in the solar system since the Moon’s low gravity well would allow them to totally dominate the satellite manufacturing and launch industry for both telecommunications satellites and space solar energy satellites for the production of trillions of dollars of carbon neutral energy for Earth. 

  • Marcel F. Williams

    @Gregorio

    Sorry but America has one of the worst public and private health insurance systems in the industrialized world. The hospitals and clinics are gaming this poor system so substantially that Americans are paying two to ten times as much for medical procedures as most other countries.

  • @Marcel Williams
    “Our investment in manned space travel will give us the ultimate gift of enhanced survival beyond our planet of evolutionary origin, a planet that has a long history of natural mass extinctions and in an age when soon several nations will have the power to create a thermonuclear holocaust at the push of a button.

    If there was an industrial colony on the Moon today, those colonist would probably be some of the richest people in the solar system since the Moon’s low gravity well would allow them to totally dominate the satellite manufacturing and launch industry for both telecommunications satellites and space solar energy satellites for the production of trillions of dollars of carbon neutral energy for Earth.”
    Then why not get and sustain all of those advantages (and I totally agree with you on those advantages) in a manner that gives us the maximum return in the least amount of time and money, rather than go the way of the ridiculus SLS? Why do you never address that issue Marcel? The only reason I can think of is that you know your preferred solution is the least practical option.

    You continually talk about what a tiny fraction of the total budget NASA has in order to justify the large cost of SLS. But why not get more accomplished on the Moon or elsewhere in less time for the same amount of money by using the alternate methods that a NASA produced study showed are more economically practical and faster to implement than SLS? Do you have any idea how dumb that particular argument of yours sounds?

  • Googaw

    Astronaut cult argument in a nutshell: unmanned satellites are such an important business, our government must “invest” billions of dollars each year in our heavenly heroes who having nothing to do with them. Forget all about those unmanned satellites and what they are actually doing for whom and how we might actually improve those products or services

    Unless the suggestion involves our beloved astronauts! More billion dollar Shuttle missions to fix $100 million satellites, yeah! Whoops, the Shuttle actually killed our beloved cosmic pilgrims, belay that idea…

    Also we should studiously ignore the obvious historical fact that unmanned satellites are a spinoff of the missile and military satellite programs, not of astronaut programs.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ January 29th, 2012 at 4:02 am
    “Without the government’s investment in space, there would be no $200 billion a year global satellite based telecommunications industry. To say that satellites have had no significant impact on the economy and on our quality of life is ludicrous. Without space technology, there would have been no weather satellites and no global cable television networks. We would be a much poorer nation today without space technology!”

    Agree completely. But you’re changing the subject. We’re talking about NASA and human space flight in this thread, not the governments investment in space, which is actually strongly DoD. We’re not talking about space technology in general, which is largely commercial. I’m not saying that satellites have no significance on our quality of life or our economy. I’m saying that, very largely, human space flight does not.

    It is remarkable how human space flight gets confused with space technology, and appears to many as the main thrust of that enterprise. It’s not. It’s good stuff, but that’s not why it’s good.

  • gregori

    @ Marcel F Williams

    The healthcare system is undoubtedly in poor condition but its a system that actually benefits people. Cutting funding from it does not mean it will improve and it could get much worse.

    Cutting on health and spending that money on human spaceflight would be worse. With health you actually get something back for the money no matter how inefficient.

  • Rick Boozer: “Then why not get and sustain all of those advantages (and I totally agree with you on those advantages) in a manner that gives us the maximum return in the least amount of time and money, rather than go the way of the ridiculus SLS? Why do you never address that issue Marcel? The only reason I can think of is that you know your preferred solution is the least practical option.”

    MW: Because the SLS is going to be a remarkably versatile and useful machine, especially when the disposable RS-25 engines come on line, hopefully by 2020. Only the SLS will be able to accommodate payload fairings large enough to accommodate the largest space depots, lunar shuttles, light sails, and Bigelow space stations. As far as cost per payload mass is concerned, the SLS should be able to place fuel into orbit cheaper than any smaller vehicle. Sorry Space X:-)

    Plenty of disposable RS-25 engines will also offer NASA the opportunity to significantly lower the cost of placing the MPCV into Lunar orbit or L1 or L2 by replacing the two SRBs with a single JX-2 powered upper stage. A reusable lunar shuttle fueled with lunar LOX/LH2 would meet the the MPCV in orbit and shuttle them down to the surface.

    I also suspect that the ULA will find use for the disposable RS-25 engines in the 2020′s in order to man-rate a singe core Delta IV rocket– without having to spend any of their own money. If Boeing or the ULA get the NASA contract for the ICPS and CPS upper stages for the MPCV, then the ULA will get a free man-rated upper stage that could also be used on man-rated Delta IV and Atlas V vehicles.

    Heavy use of the RS-25 engines and the ICPS and CPS upper stages by both the NASA and the ULA could be mutually beneficial– economically– for both the government and private industry.

    Rick Boozer: “You continually talk about what a tiny fraction of the total budget NASA has in order to justify the large cost of SLS. But why not get more accomplished on the Moon or elsewhere in less time for the same amount of money by using the alternate methods that a NASA produced study showed are more economically practical and faster to implement than SLS? Do you have any idea how dumb that particular argument of yours sounds?”

    I don’t think the SLS is really all that costly. President Obama inherited an $8.4 billion a year manned spaceflight budget from George Bush. The SLS is already significantly cheaper than the Ares V configuration to develop. And the highest annual SLS development cost I’ve seen for the SLS by Congress is about $2.6 billion (about a week occupying Iraq). MPCV development is currently funded at about $1.4 billion a year. So these two programs are not exactly breaking the NASA manned spaceflight bank.

    But I actually advocated an architecture slightly cheaper than the SLS, the Sidemount shuttle which really should have been built back in the 1980s, IMO. Although the SLS is slightly more expensive to develop than the Sidemount, the SLS would be a much more versatile vehicle. Man-rated vehicles like the Falcon 9, Atlas V, and the Delta IV have severe payload and fairing size limitations.

    Lunar lander and lunar base development cost might add two to four billion in annual development cost. This might require the termination of my favorite program: the ISS:-) Or it might require a $3 billion increase in the NASA’s annual budget– as recommended by the Augustine Commission.

    Marcel F. Williams

  • @gregori

    Gregori: “The healthcare system is undoubtedly in poor condition but its a system that actually benefits people. Cutting funding from it does not mean it will improve and it could get much worse.Cutting on health and spending that money on human spaceflight would be worse. With health you actually get something back for the money no matter how inefficient.”

    MW: Both the public and private health insurance systems that exist today in the US are inherently inflationary and will destroy the US economy if they not radically reformed in the near future. But I’ve already offered by solution to this titanic problem three years ago:

    How a ‘Real’ Public Option Could Reduce Deficits, Create Jobs, & Save the US Economy! :

    http://newpapyrusmagazine.blogspot.com/2001/11/how-real-public-option-could.html

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ January 29th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Because the SLS is going to be a remarkably versatile and useful machine, especially when the disposable RS-25 engines come on line, hopefully by 2020.

    You keep dreaming that NASA is some sort of rocket manufacturer, with plans of cornering a significant market and expanding their product offerings. you are living in a fantasy world.

    The SLS only survives on the whims of Congress, and it will only be able to do the things that you wish for if Congress allocates money for it. With Republican leadership that wants less government spending, not more, it’s hard to see how the SLS survives long term, much less any large exploration programs that would be needed in order to justify it’s existence.

    Your Pluto rocket is on thin ice.

  • @ Marcel Williams
    “I don’t think the SLS is really all that costly.”
    The independent Booz-Allen commission said that it would probably only remain in budget for the first 4 to five years. I would believe them before I would believe you, not because you are you, but because as usual you give no hard links or evidence to support your position.

    “the SLS is going to be a remarkably versatile and useful machine, especially when the disposable RS-25 engines come on line, hopefully by 2020. Only the SLS will be able to accommodate payload fairings large enough to accommodate the largest space depots, lunar shuttles, light sails, and Bigelow space stations. “
    Not if it can’t stay within budget, as I indicated above.

    “As far as cost per payload mass is concerned, the SLS should be able to place fuel into orbit cheaper than any smaller vehicle.”
    Cheaper than the $1000 per lb specified for Falcon Heavy? Get real. Again please give hard evidence and links. And if you’re basing it on the 6 launches per year you mentioned before at $500,000,00 per flight (a ridiculously optimistic flight rate from what I seen quoted as being likely), that’s still close to $2000 per pound assuming a 130 metric ton payload. I didn’t even need my TI-89 Titanium to figure that. :) The B.S. never stops with you.

    “Lunar lander and lunar base development cost might add two to four billion in annual development cost. “
    Well you did state earlier you thought the total development costs for a single stage lander would be 4 to 6 billion. As Rand pointed out at the time in different words, that is totally bananas. Even if it is single stage, the fact that you think that is not ridiculous says a whole lot about you and the people on your side. That attitude in a nutshell is what will restrict us to LEO for another generation if it is allowed to continue to hold sway.

    BTW, it doesn’t matter how much you cut from healthcare or any other program, it still doesn’t excuse spending more money to actually do less toward exploiting the Moon and moving out into the Solar System.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ January 29th, 2012 at 3:45 pm
    “Only the SLS will be able to accommodate payload fairings large enough to accommodate the largest space depots, lunar shuttles, light sails, and Bigelow space stations.”

    I see, if we don’t have SLS we’d never be able to put a 400mT, 800 cubic meter pressurized volume hab (you know, like ISS) into orbit. Nope. We could just never do that. Impossible! As to Bigelow space stations, Bigelow has explicit plans to use both the Atlas V and Falcon 9 for their inflatable habitats. No, not their largest habitat concept, but why is that important? After Ares V design was begun, the largest space depots, lunar shuttles, light sails, and Bigelow space stations were conceived. So it goes without saying that without a HLV, you won’t be able to lift those largest concepts. Hey, I can come up with larger concepts that even SLS won’t be capable of lifting!

    “As far as cost per payload mass is concerned, the SLS should be able to place fuel into orbit cheaper than any smaller vehicle.”

    Placing FUEL into orbit?? Whatever is going to use 100 mT of fuel in LEO?? Oh, you mean the half-dozen or so lunar missions per year you’re anticipating?

    “I don’t think the SLS is really all that costly.”

    Especially since you describe the SLS cost at the development cost, rather than the operational cost. Yes, it doesn’t cost an enormous amount not to fly anything.

    “Or it might require a $3 billion increase in the NASA’s annual budget– as recommended by the Augustine Commission.”

    Which isn’t going to happen, and that’s *precisely* why the Augustine Committee came down so hard on Constellation. The SLS is precisely what the Augustine Committee said that we should not do, unless NASA gets that kind of budget bumpup. Of course the Augustine Committee was also including lunar landers, which the present plan does not. One can only imagine what the Augustine Committee would have thought about SLS — an Ares V class vehicle without a payload.

  • Googaw

    “[SLS] will only be able to do the things that you wish for if Congress allocates money for it. ”

    Not even then, actually.

  • @Coastal Ron

    Sorry Coastal Ron the government doesn’t build rockets for NASA, private companies do. And companies like Boeing and Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne have been some of the strongest advocates for a heavy lift vehicle. But if you think that these NASA vendors can’t build space vehicles anymore– then I think your wrong!

    The SLS was created by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress because of their anger at Obama and Holdren who were attempting to terminate NASA’s manned spaceflight future.

  • Rick Boozer: “Well you did state earlier you thought the total development costs for a single stage lander would be 4 to 6 billion.”

    MW: I stated that a single stage lunar lander should cost less than the two stage Altair which is estimated by the Center for Strategic & International Studies to cost about $12 billion to develop a LOX/LH2 descent stage and a hyperbolically fueled ascent stage. I’ve conservatively used the figure of $8 billion for the total development cost of a single stage LOX/LH2 lunar shuttle.

    The CSIS study “Cost of an International Lunar Base”can be found at:

    http://csis.org/publication/costs-international-lunar-base

  • @Doug Lassiter

    If you’re going to spend $26 million out of your own pocket to go to a space hotel, would you rather go to a tiny cramped facility like the BA-330 or would you rather go to a spacious hotel like the 70 metric tonne plus Olympus BA-2100. The BA-330 weighs more than 23 tonnes so its going to require a Delta IV heavy just to place it into orbit. Because of the low demand for Delta IV launches, the cost per launch have increased dramatically to over $400 million per launch.

    Operational cost, according to NASA, for the SLS have been estimated to cost about 1.1 times the cost of the estimated cost for the Sidemount Shuttle which was estimated to cost about $430 million per launch if operated by a private company or $600 million if operated with NASA management and institution costs based on about 6 launches per year. So that should be about $480 to $660 per launch. A very high launch rate of about 12 per year could reduce even NASA managed SLS launches down to $400 million per launch and private SLS launches to below $400 million.

    The Augustine Committee showed a lot of ISS love and a surprising amount of lunar mission hostility. And then they started talking about silly manned missions past Venus and to a NEO asteroid– missions that would dwarf the cost of a lunar base because of the massive amount of mass shielding required to protect astronauts from a solar event.

  • @Coastal Ron;

    The SLS only survives on the whims of Congress, and it will only be able to do the things that you wish for if Congress allocates money for it.

    It must be awfully convenient to make these sort of inane points without resorting to numbers.

  • @Earth to Planet Marcel
    “Rick Boozer: “Well you did state earlier you thought the total development costs for a single stage lander would be 4 to 6 billion.”
    Marcel, there is NO comparison between using SLS and other systems at that webpage you mention the way there is in the NASA study I mentioned. Yeah, using traditional bureaucratic NASA methods, one might be able to waste a lot of money to make it come to that amount, but that doesn’t mean it has to.

    And that STILL doesn’t change the fact that I proved you were wrong when you said, “As far as cost per payload mass is concerned, the SLS should be able to place fuel into orbit cheaper than any smaller vehicle.”
    Even if one accepts the ABSOLUTELY UNREALISTIC proposition that SLS launches 12 times per year at $400 million per launch, that is still $1400 per pound, still significantly worse than the stated payload to orbit price of Falcon Heavy at $1000 per pound. Stop the lies!

    Marcel, people would respect you more if you would quit defending a position simply because your pride won’t let you admit it is invalid after all of these years of pushing it. It is time to come over from the darkside if you have any sense at all.

  • John Butte

    disposable engines by 2020.

    By 2020 the concepts of the disposable rockets and engines will be thoroughly obsolete.

  • Googaw

    “Because of the low demand for Delta IV launches, the cost per launch have increased dramatically to over $400 million per launch.”

    And yet we need to build something even bigger!

  • Douglas.y.Lassiter@gmai;.com

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ January 30th, 2012 at 12:03 am
    “If you’re going to spend $26 million out of your own pocket to go to a space hotel, would you rather go to a tiny cramped facility like the BA-330 or would you rather go to a spacious hotel like the 70 metric tonne plus Olympus BA-2100.”

    Well, the space tourists who went to ISS didn’t seem to mind having gone to a facility that didn’t ever need a HLV. Oh, you mean those tourists are specifically going to pay to go to a facility that can be launched in one launcher? That’s a peculiar bias against docking adapters.

    “Operational cost, according to NASA, for the SLS have been estimated to cost about 1.1 times the cost of the estimated cost for the Sidemount Shuttle which was estimated to cost about $430 million per launch if operated by a private company or $600 million if operated with NASA management and institution costs based on about 6 launches per year.”

    The Exploration Systems Development budget availability scenarios from NASA, issued in August 2011, anticipate an available SLS budget line of $1.4B/yr in 2020 (in an “escalated” budget scenario), which would see about one 70mt flight per year. Even the more fiscally optimistic Senate Auth projection, from the same document, would give $2.5B/yr to SLS, and would lead to two such flights per year. Not sure how you translate those NASA estimates into the numbers that you give. Six launches per year is a wet dream fantasy. No one is projecting anything like that.

    The Augustine Committee showed no such “hostility” to the Moon. Their hostility (if you want to call it that), was to a lunar program that appeared patently unaffordable. They liked Constellation as a program, but just pointed out that it was unimplementable without a major increase in NASA funds.

  • Coastal Ron

    Prez Cannady wrote @ January 30th, 2012 at 1:22 am

    It must be awfully convenient to make these sort of inane points without resorting to numbers.

    If truth is convenient for you, then so be it, but the point is there are no budget numbers to point to for using the SLS after it’s test flights. I’m sure you’ll draw your own conclusions, just as I have.

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ January 30th, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Operational cost, according to NASA…

    …have been estimated by NASA to be $1.5B/launch for the SLS when doing two launches per year, and figuring at least 18 launches overall. Keep in mind that Congress hasn’t approved building any SLS beyond two test flights, so where is the 5 million pounds of payload that 18 SLS launches would lift?

    Because of the low demand for Delta IV launches, the cost per launch have increased dramatically to over $400 million per launch.

    The beauty of the Delta IV is that it is a modular rocket, which means the same tooling and same infrastructure is used for a Delta IV or a Delta IV Heavy (which uses three Delta IV Common Booster Cores). ULA launched three Delta IV’s per year, of various configurations, from 2009-2011, and this year they plan to launch five. Serial production not only keeps costs in check, but it means the production folks keep their skills at a high level.

    Being a manufacturing guy, I notice that you complain about the Delta IV cost, but you don’t offer any reasons why a rocket that is 5X more massive is only supposed to cost 1.5X more? Does that make sense to you? If so, why?

    Is the SLS using only 50% more Al-Li?
    Is the SLS using only 50% more engines?
    Is the SLS only 50% more expensive to prep & launch?

    How can NASA, which is contracting for all the SLS manufacturing, build the SLS for a much lower $/lb of payload than ULA, which builds their own rocket bodies and handles their own launches?

    Your numbers don’t add up.

  • @Coastal Ron:

    If truth is convenient for you, then so be it…

    Very convenient. Damn shame you can’t be bothered with it.

    …but the point is there are no budget numbers to point to for using the SLS after it’s test flights.

    There are no budget numbers for Falcon resupply of the ISS. What’s your point?

    I’m sure you’ll draw your own conclusions…

    When data is available.

    …just as I have.

    Making stuff up isn’t drawing a conclusion.

  • @Coastal Ron:

    …have been estimated by NASA to be $1.5B/launch for the SLS when doing two launches per year, and figuring at least 18 launches overall. Keep in mind that Congress hasn’t approved building any SLS beyond two test flights, so where is the 5 million pounds of payload that 18 SLS launches would lift?

    Congress hasn’t “approved” any SLS flights. So what’s your point?

  • Googaw

    Coastal Ron, this is _space_ we’re talking about here! It’s cosmic. It’s astral. It’s magic! A humungous rocket designed the by the Senate and some superannuated NASA bureaucrats will greatly lower launch costs. A former Speaker of the House can due to his sheer brilliance give us a lunar base that will only cost $10 billion, and it will presto grow into a colony of 13,000 intrepid and all-American pioneers. A UFO-hunting billionaire can build spectacular space hotels from his spare change. It must be true because I want it so bad! When you wish upon a star, and dream about our heavenly pilgrims, and lobby for enough gigabucks to be borrowed from China, your dreams will come true.

    Or you will become a crotchety old space activist wondering where all those finny Mars rockets out of Collier’s magazine are. I guess the cosmos can be fickle.

  • There are no budget numbers for Falcon resupply of the ISS.

    Yes, there are.

    Why do you make such absurd statements.

  • @Simberg:

    Yes, there are.

    No, there aren’t.

    Why do you make such absurd statements.

    How is it only you can find the word “Falcon” at the link you provided?

  • Coastal Ron

    Prez Cannady wrote @ January 30th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Congress hasn’t “approved” any SLS flights. So what’s your point?

    The SLS program is to create a useable Space Launch System (SLS), and test flights are part of that. I don’t argue that the SLS would never fly under current program authorization, just that it won’t be needed, or needed enough, for any future payload launch needs.

  • How is it only you can find the word “Falcon” at the link you provided?

    One doesn’t need to find the word “Falcon” to know that those are the budgets that will provide payloads for COTS contracts (one of which will use Falcons), if one has a clue. Now show me the budget run out for SLS payloads.

  • Coastal Ron

    Prez Cannady wrote @ January 31st, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    How is it only you can find the word “Falcon” at the link you provided?

    How much hand-holding do you need on this? Or you being dense on purpose?

    From the link Rand provided:

    NASA has also contracted with domestic companies to provide cargo supply and return services beginning in CY 2011 via the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. The FY 2012 budget provides for the acquisition of cargo transportation through CY 2020, including cargo transportation for National Laboratory research payloads.

    SpaceX was awarded a CRS contract, and they plan to use the Dragon capsule, lofted by the Falcon 9 rocket, to deliver supplies to the ISS. Sheesh.

  • @Simberg:

    One doesn’t need to find the word “Falcon” to know that those are the budgets that will provide payloads for COTS contracts (one of which will use Falcons), if one has a clue.

    You have to be all sorts of special to conclude that the FY 2012 budget pays out for Falcon resupply flights any more than it did in 2011, 2010, 2009 or 2008.

    Now show me the budget run out for SLS payloads.

    You still have shown me a budget run out for Falcon payloads. Get to it.

  • @Coastal Ron:

    The SLS program is to create a useable Space Launch System (SLS), and test flights are part of that.

    Not one of which has been funded. Again, what’s your point?

    I don’t argue that the SLS would never fly under current program authorization, just that it won’t be needed, or needed enough, for any future payload launch needs.

    Don’t really care. Would like an answer to my question.

  • You have to be all sorts of special to conclude that the FY 2012 budget pays out for Falcon resupply flights any more than it did in 2011, 2010, 2009 or 2008.

    Perhaps, if by “all sorts of special” you mean “knows what’s going on.”

  • Coastal Ron

    Prez Cannady wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Would like an answer to my question.

    I don’t mind engaging in dialogue, and even answering questions. However I do expect reciprocity, and right now I’m not getting enough of it from you. If you need that put in simple terms, I answer far more of your questions than you answer of mine.

  • @Simberg:

    Perhaps, if by “all sorts of special” you mean “knows what’s going on.”

    If by “know what’s going on” you mean “letting your imagination run wild.” I suppose in the wonderful world of make-believe, a budget profile that doesn’t once mention specific launch and resupply services amounts to an actual budget.

  • @Coastal Ron:

    I answer far more of your questions than you answer of mine.

    Is that so? Can you name one question you’ve put to me that I haven’t answered?

  • Vladislaw

    Rand, the link you provided had this:

    “NASA has also contracted with domestic companies to provide cargo supply and return services beginning in CY 2011 via the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. The FY 2012 budget provides for the acquisition of cargo transportation through CY 2020, including cargo transportation for National Laboratory research payloads. SpaceX currently has four missions on its manifest and Orbital Sciences has three missions on its manifest. Both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences are making progress on their missions which are planned to begin in FY 2012.”

    If that isn’t refering to Falcon 9 flights, what other possible missions could NASA be purchasing in 2012 from SpaceX …. I don’t keep up with SpaceX’s product line .. are they selling NASA desks or computers or something?

  • @Vladislaw:

    If that isn’t refering to Falcon 9 flights, what other possible missions could NASA be purchasing in 2012 from SpaceX

    You mean this manifest? Didn’t know Musk was writing NASA’s budget requests these days.

  • Vladislaw

    Why are you showing a launch manifest from 2007 for a time period before NASA issued the resupply contract? NASA did not even award SpaceX the contract until dec of 2008. So how could the 4 flights be on the manifest you linked if the contract had not been issued?

    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2008/12/spacex-and-orbital-win-huge-crs-contract-from-nasa/

    “December 23rd, 2008 by Chris Bergin

    SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation have been awarded the lucrative Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract, with SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) earning 12 missions, and Orbital winning another eight missions. The details of the award – worth up to 3.5 billion dollars – equates to Orbital winning 54 percent of the funding. PlanetSpace Inc lose out on the award.

    The CRS contract deals with the resupply needs of the International Space Station (ISS) after the shuttle retires. However, with a decision date coming within the next few months on extending shuttle to 2012, there remains the possibility that there could be a deferral of a quantity of CRS related launches until 2013. The contracts themselves would not be altered, should NASA decide to extend shuttle.

    The award from NASA orders eight flights valued at about $1.9 billion from Orbital and 12 flights valued at about $1.6 billion from SpaceX.

    Working on the premise of shuttle retirement in 2010, NASA needed to find a solution to launching up to 150,000 lbs of cargo to the ISS, without the hefty upmass of the shuttle.

    The CRS contract – part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, with funding coming from NASA’s Space Act agreements – will cover at least 44,000 pounds of that requirement, joining with the cargo fleet of vehicles such as the European ATV, Japanese HTV and Russian Progress.”

  • @Vladislaw:

    Why are you showing a launch manifest from 2007 for a time period before NASA issued the resupply contract?

    Because you’re apparently confused as to the rigidity of these manifests and the authority they carry.

  • Coastal Ron

    Prez Cannady wrote @ February 3rd, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Because you’re apparently confused as to the rigidity of these manifests and the authority they carry.

    I think you’re confused about the difference between COTS flights (what was on the manifest you linked) and CRS.

    COTS is for the development of the cargo capability, not the delivery of cargo – that’s CRS. There are no cargo delivery flights listed on that manifest.

  • Coastal Ron

    Prez Cannady wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Can you name one question you’ve put to me that I haven’t answered?

    Yes

  • @Coastal Ron:

    I think you’re confused about the difference between COTS flights (what was on the manifest you linked) and CRS.

    I think you’re confused as to what we’re discussing.

    Yes

    Then do so.

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