Campaign '12

Did space policy affect the outcome of the Florida primary?

Last night Mitt Romney won a “decisive victory” in the Republican presidential primary in Florida, with 46 percent of the statewide vote. Many space advocates are wondering if the candidates’ space positions, particularly the speeches made last week by Romney and Newt Gingrich, made much of a difference. One way to check is to see how voters in Brevard County—the heart of the Space Coast—voted compared to the rest of the state, based on data from Florida’s Division of Elections:

Brevard Statewide
Gingrich 32.9% 31.9%
Paul 7.7% 7.0%
Romney 42.7% 46.4%
Santorum 15.3% 13.3%

The numbers don’t suggest that space played a major factor in the election on the Space Coast. Romney polled nearly four percentage points lower in Brevard than the state as a whole, but if these voters were rejecting his space policy, they weren’t necessarily attracted by Gingrich’s alternative: Gingrich polled only one percentage point higher in Brevard than he did statewide, but Rick Santorum—who said little about space and even canceled a campaign appearance in the county—did two percentage points better there.

A harder question to answer, though, is whether Gingrich’s space comments, including his calls for a Moon base by 2020 and even the potential for lunar statehood, more broadly helped or hurt him statewide. Those comments got a lot of attention—far more than Romney’s more pragmatic propsoals on Friday—including a significant amount of derision and ridicule in the media. It doesn’t show up in exit polls, which found the economy to be by far the most significant issue among voters. But was it lurking in voters’ minds when they cast their ballots Tuesday?

106 comments to Did space policy affect the outcome of the Florida primary?

  • DCSCA

    “…including a significant amount of derision and ridicule in the media.”

    For space advocates at all points of the compass, this development is troublesome to see surfacing. For it appears to be generational in nature- chiefly from the 40-something pundits, talking heads and journalists. This mind set frames how any meaningful discussion of space projects – grand or small- will be analyzed and presented through media putlets for some time to come– and it is inevitable that in the mix of any serious discourse for months id not years to come, ‘moon base’ and ‘lunar colony’ will resurface as a punchline.

  • DCSCA

    These percentages are restricted to registered Republicans allowed to vote in the primary as cross over voting isn’t permitted so it really gives us a picture of how GOP voters in that region prioritized– and it suggests that along the space coast in GOP circles, electability is more important to them than candidates positions on space policy.

  • amightywind

    The Florida campaign was not one of Newt’s usual ‘ideas summit’ junkets where he was free to speak whatever emerged from his hyperactive stream of consciousness. It was a Presidential primary, a political crucible where every word is measured. A sober, cautious explanation of his space policy would have done. Instead he dropped his drawers and shot the moon. Newt didn’t understand his audience. He’s like that on a lot of issues. He has only himself to blame that our enemies in the press seized on his error. Florida served its purpose. 2 men entered, 1 man left.

  • Marcel F. Williams

    Newt proposed a big government program to a party that hates big government programs. The Republican Party is also not exactly known for it’s love of science:-)

  • vulture4

    I have to agree. I would be surprised if anyone remembers the Space Coast campaign for long, but if they do it seems likely it will not be in a very positive way. But in my view Gingrich bears some responsibility for this, as do all the politicians who seem to think everyone else is stupid and their bright ideas are all that is needed to go to Mars tomorrow. Conversely, whenever the Augustine commission is reconvened, it doesn’t do anything but write down the laundry list. NASA needs some serious internal debate.

  • Interesting view, DCSCA. Why, perchance, do you think it might be that the 40-somethings (a/k/a Gen Xers) don’t have any investment or buy-in to the space program, and are so ready to denigrate it?

  • common sense

    Oh wow! Space policies are a major concern in these elections. Obama MUST win the Space Coast or he will lose the 2nd term!!! Isn’t that obvious???

    Whatever.

  • This just shows that what really matters to the anti-science Florida GOPers is who is more electable to defeat the “socialist” Obama this fall.

    Brevard County is an non-factor.

    To quote common sense: “Whatever.”

  • MrEarl

    Can you imagine how low Gingrich’s numbers would be without the endorsement of the politically connected and powerful Tea Party in Space?!

  • McGriddle

    Now that’s funny. I don’t care who you are.

  • Vladislaw

    why you always about the hate. At least they are trying to make a difference.

    Zubrin came out in support of a Mars prize with some numbers on cost.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/289775/mars-prize-robert-zubrin

  • amightywind

    why you always about the hate.

    I don’t think it was hate as much as derision, which is richly deserved for these astroturfers. TPIS are newspace cheerleaders indistinguishable from the rest of you.

    Thanks for the link. Nice picture of Zubrin complete with his Lenin cap. He has great ideas, for spending other people’s money.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi AW –

    It’s a long way from over, and a long time until elections.

  • MrEarl

    Vlad said:
    “why you always about the hate. At least they are trying to make a difference.”
    We’re all trying to make a difference. TPIS passes itself off as some large organization like the Mars Society or NSS but they’re really just a few buddies interested in space.
    It really is more derision than anything else. Every time I hear Tea Party in Space I can’t help thinking about the old Muppet skit, Pigs in Space.
    http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Pigs_in_Space

  • common sense

    @ vulture4 wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 9:00 am

    “NASA needs some serious internal debate.”

    I believe (know?) that this debate is ongoing. What they really need though is to face reality. I can tell that very few actually do. Budget is going to get low, very low, very soon.

    One reason maybe that people are hired fresh out of school and then they are trained to think one way, the NASA way, whatever that is. Corporate culture?

    But NASA is several different cultures and that is part of the problem. Why do we have HSF associated with astrobiology? One is space vehicle ops and the other one is science. Can they work together? They should but they don’t have the same take on things. What about JPL and JSC? One flies robots the other humans, or try to. One other problem is they don’t have a common mission or at least it does not show.

    Anyway, take NASA out of the LV business. They did what they had to do decades ago. Take these bright people and give them a real challenge, not SLS, not MPCV. Take MPCV and change it into a real deep space exploration vehicle. An X-vehicle the way they knew how to build them and somehow still do (e.g. X-43). Get them to think, not how to put 2 SRBs and a tank together! Come on! Get them to look at Nautilus-X and do better. Advanced technologies. What is happening is pathetic, very sad.

    Oh and yes build on the COTS CCDev model, partner with the industry. Do not dictate design, dictate requirements!

    Yes we can! (hey MrEarl, I did it)

  • @Vladislaw:

    At least they are trying to make a difference.

    Anyone would say they’re trying to make a difference. Results are what matter, and Tea in Space has come up short.

  • Vladislaw

    amightywind, actually, I wasn’t refering to you. I actually agreed with you on how Gingrich failed on his florida rollout.

    Only my opinion but when you do “big and bold” I believe the wise move is to have some kind of ‘big name’ support lined up in the wings and on the stage with you, so you can present it and have just a tad of credibility.

    Secondly he didn’t try and present it as a money maker or at least working towards being self funding and a new industry. Seemed only as costs only type of big government project.

    If he was going to promote it at all he should have used the word jobsonce or twice in every sentence, and not just florida jobs but as a national jobs machine.

  • McGriddle

    Was Muncy’s advice to Gingrich like Elaine’s advice to Mayor Dinkins about name tags?

  • Robert G. Oler

    DCSCA wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 8:10 am

    “…including a significant amount of derision and ridicule in the media.”

    to which you replied:
    “For space advocates at all points of the compass, this development is troublesome to see surfacing. For it appears to be generational in nature- chiefly from the 40-something pundits, talking heads and journalists.”

    I agree with this indeed I think that the problem is far worse (you might think that as well but…)

    With the exception of what I call “space fans” (and I’ll put myself in that) and “space junkies” (ie the ones who get money from the effort) the number of people who believe in large human space “exploration” (or really anything) programs as something of value to cost could probably fit in Clear Lake Stadium and still have room left for the student body to attend a Falcon’s game.

    This is not Newt’s fault; it is the fault of three decades of NASA over promising and under delivering and the American people getting almost nothing of value in return.

    Was there anything on Columbia’s last flight that was worth people dying for?

    Look I am not a Newt fan and hope that Obama just pounds either of the folks (except Paul, I might vote for Paul) who are likely to get the GOP nomination into sand …but Newt had/has a real vision for how government could work. He is the first guy (and that includes Obama) since Clinton who I think could have made government actually “work” in terms of it doing something.

    Obama has done that in SOME areas…the hunt for OBL and the systematic destruction of various elements of The Base with little or no “skin off our nose” is an example of how the wheels of government can be made to work…in Bush 43 administration nothing absolutely nothing worked efficiently.

    A belief on my part is that Newton Leroy could do that particularly for NASA…

    Now I would not vote for him because in his overall approach to government I am worried WHAT he would do with government…but at NASA he would shake those lards butts pretty hard…and they are lard butts.

    RGO

  • Vladislaw

    ‘We’re all trying to make a difference.”

    I disagree, everyone isn’t actually trying to make a difference. People like Andrew, who make a website and spend money on trips to congressional members offices and conduct briefings to politicians and their staffers or like Rand Simberg.

    I type a few posts on a blog once in a while. I might call or write a congressional member once in a while, I hardly count myself as trying to make a difference. It is more about just exchanging thoughts and ideas with like minded individuals and maybe learn something about a subject that interests me along the way.

  • MrEarl

    Good for you CS!
    Actually, I agree with much of what you say. For most things NASA should be dictating requirements not design. That could even extend to X vehicles. Leave LEO to commercial and the next step is permanent bases on the moon through EM L1 stations, which NASA then turns over crew rotation and supply missions to commercial.
    There are just two things in the way; Congress and NASA culture, neither of which will be changed anytime soon. Small programs like COTs and CCDEV will help to change that NASA culture when they are successful and NASA sees it’s budget squeezed even more.
    Congress is even more difficult to change, after 30 years of supporting the Shuttle, many a member’s districts are dependent on jobs and income derived from the shuttle stack.
    I just don’t see any purpose to continuing to bang your head against the Culture/Congress wall . An SDLV is going to be built. Congress has made that clear. Since that’s the case, make it as economical to develop and fly as possible. Make it as adaptable as possible to other missions not associated to Human Space Flight. From what I’ve been reading on other sources it seems that NASA is in the direction of keeping costs down and finding other uses for SLS.
    Nautilus-X is a great concept but it’s not needed to go to the moon. But it should be developed over the years so that when it is time to go to Mars all of NASA’s work on the project can be made available to companies that will be bidding the contract.
    This constant changing of directions and reassessments are what’s causing a lot of the waisted taxpayer dollars.
    Then there’s the whole thing about you preferring medium lift LVs while I prefer HLVs for moon base construction but we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that. :-)

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Can you imagine how low Gingrich’s numbers would be without the endorsement of the politically connected and powerful Tea Party in Space?!..

    >>>

    I mock lots of things but NEVER those who get out in the arena and try and make a difference. The fact that individuals and groups of real individuals (not corporations masquerading as individuals) still try is a tribute to how strong democracy is in this country…and it will need to be strong because the corporations masquerading as people have a large voice and bags of money…and the later will always triumph (or at least most of the time).

    Of course I am being tested now…Mocking Romney supporters would be so much fun.

    Andrew and I (and most of the tea party in anything) disagree on much and agree on little…but they are out there trying and for the most part trying honorably. That should be encouraged not mocked.

    I can mock Willard however RGO

  • well

    “”Can you imagine how low Gingrich’s numbers would be without the endorsement of the politically connected and powerful Tea Party in Space?!”"

    I think the endorsement of the Muppets in Space did more for him.

  • Doug Lassiter

    This is an excellent topic, and one that deserves some serious discussion. A presidential candidate brought up a bold approach to human space flight as an important part of his campaign, and judging from the numbers, it didn’t do him very much good. The media largely pounced on him, and however you feel about the media, they have a finely tuned sense of what the media-consuming and purchasing public wants to hear.

    But what was the problem? Why did such a bold approach net so little support in a locale that sees itself as the home port of space exploration? One can only assume it would have netted him less, or even negatively, in other parts of the country. Was it human space flight? Was it the Moon? Was it boldness? How, after Newt Gingrich’s bold proposal, can discussion of human spaceflight in a campaign no longer be considered laughable and even politically toxic? What’s the lesson we should take away from this?

    There are some good ideas that have been brought up here. One was that Gingrich conspicuously stood alone in talking about this. He didn’t have astronauts with him, he didn’t have members of Congress with him. He didn’t even have aerospace industry people with him. No one to vouch for the technological, political, or fiscal credibility of his bold plan. I think the voting public wasn’t fooled. They know that a President can’t land people on the Moon, although Gingrich thought that’s what JFK did. It’s a team effort, and at least with Congress, the public doesn’t see Gingrich as a team player. One difference between JFK and Gingrich is that the former was actually President. He wasn’t making campaign promises, and he had a huge amount of technological and current political wisdom at his fingertips.

    So what was the message that Gingrich should have presented? Given the virtual absence of human space exploration as a topic for campaign discourse, he could have said anything in general support of it that would have established him as a leader to the human space flight crowd. He didn’t have to say what he said, to appear knowledgeable, and even bold. Maybe he should have tried to explain the importance of an ambitious human space flight effort, and perhaps used return to the Moon as an example. But colonization? Statehood? He just didn’t need to go there.

    Perhaps another lesson is that boldness can only be couched in credibility and need. Gingrich didn’t couch it in either.

  • MrEarl

    “I mock lots of things but NEVER those who get out in the arena and try and make a difference. ” RGO
    I usually don’t but they’re so pompous about it and they take donations so I think their efforts and effectiveness can be scrutinized and questioned.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    This constant changing of directions and reassessments are what’s causing a lot of the waisted taxpayer dollars.>>

    No that is not accurate not at all RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    “I mock lots of things but NEVER those who get out in the arena and try and make a difference. ” RGO
    I usually don’t but they’re so pompous about it and they take donations so I think their efforts and effectiveness can be scrutinized and questioned.>

    scrutinized and questioned is one thing and thats fair game…mocking as to effort in my view is not. “Pompous” sometimes is a description that hides “intense” or excited and in my view the TPIS is just that…excited and intense.

    We are in my view at a pivotal moment in the history of TheRepublic. It cannot long remain a superpower going like it is…and that includes a national space effort which in Human spaceflight effectively “waste” almost every dollar it gets. Passions can get high.

    Robert

  • MrEarl

    .p.s RGO; At least on space policy, you and Andrew are almost in lock step and I wonder if you would concider them so honorable if they held veiws favorable to SLS and MPCV.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 3:06 pm
    The media largely pounced on him, and however you feel about the media, they have a finely tuned sense of what the media-consuming and purchasing public wants to hear.>>

    Doug. My friend who was a Senior Senator from Texas Chief of Staff (we were college chums…Rich and Mark have met him) and who is a “GOP political operative” calls the space issue by Gingrich “a label issue”…meaning that while not very important in itself; it can become a label good or bad for the entire candidacy.

    You can see now in retrospect how Willards team cleverly set this up…ie the “grandiose” label etc…and then this was tossed to them and in the end the American people simply no longer have space or human spaceflight in particular on their minds like they did in the 60′s and really dont believe it is that relevant to ANYTHING.

    Newt and his idea in particular floundered not because he didnt have an astronaut to back him up (who the heck knows them anymore) but because he could not explain what he wanted to do well and why that was an important thing to the entire notion of his view for America….which I dont think he had much success in going on about in Florida…because Willard was pretty good at the negative campaigning and knocking him off that game.

    I’ve said this for sometime here and other places…I dont think that anyone in the political world right now could sale ANY real substantive space goal if that goal means spending money in the near term or their political term period.

    This is unlikely to change until 1) there is some value for the cost of humans in space and 2) the cost to keep humans in space comes down a LOT..

    Robert

  • common sense

    @ MrEarl wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Did I mention, ever!, that SLS/MPCV should be cancelled? Anywho.

    The culture at NASA can change as quickly as their budget. And it may happen anytime now. The culture of Congress can change too. And that depends somewhat on the american people. Suffice to look at Congress approval rates… But assume Congress mentality never changes. If you don’t want politics to meddle with HSF then HSF MUST be as much a possible disconnected from politics, i.e. unfortunately NASA. This is part of the purpose of COTS and more specifically CCDev. Changes are a coming. You’ll see.

    Now about Nautilus-X. We may not need to go to the Moon indeed, we did it in an Apollo before. However we can more easily develop an X-vehicle going to the Moon. The concept may be validated going to the Moon or you preferred L-point,. We could start developing the CONOPS of cycling a planetary body, e.g. the Moon, yet develop technology for farther planets.

    In order to even develop a Moon vehicle, a cycler or an ECLSS you need to have an idea of what you want to do. I think saying your destination is Mars is no such big deal except for those obtuse enough to think that we would be building a vehicle and then be on our way next year. No. Assume you say you want to go to Mars then you’ll have to develop technologies, some of which may be validated on the Moon, e.g. a cycler, teleoperation, construction, mining, prospection, etc. Think Phobos or Deimos as the next step. Mars atmospheric entry challenges (numerous and difficult) may be somewhat put on the back burner and yet you’d still have a nice exploration plan. I think. Ah yes for our end-of-the-world friends it would also work for asteroid visits and the likes. Forgot ISRU in the mix. But it is kind of obvious, at least to me.

    So. The Moon vs. Mars is a non issue that is only used to divide our very friendly community.

    Elect me your leader and I will make it happen! Or not.

    This message was gladly provided to you by common sense with no guarantee expressed or implied.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    .p.s RGO; At least on space policy, you and Andrew are almost in lock step and I wonder if you would concider them so honorable if they held veiws favorable to SLS and MPCV…

    I would hope so particularly if he could explain them in a coherent fashion.

    Look I dont care if people disgree with my views but since I like to think (grin) that I hold mine coherently (ie I am pro choice but I also agreed with Ted Olson in Bush V Gore even though I thought Bush was and is an idiot, Roe and Bush V Gore are both decided on the same Constitutional basis) if they hold THEIRS coherently then we have the basis for some wonderful discussions.

    I dont mind people who are pro SLS if they can articulate why and the why is actual…not “wow its inevitable so I am for it” or “SLS will be the essential American symbol of power” or goofy things like that and they “why” actually uses facts.

    Marcel runs around quoting numbers from SLS that are simply fiction. I have people in my family who are “anti choice” because “its gods will that all life is precious”. I dont even think that is correct (on abortion) but for Pete’s sake religion has no place in a discussion of what the Constitution says.

    Andrew and I agree on SLS but on just about everything else we differ…see our facebook pages for one disagreement after another. But for the most part I think he holds those views honorably and coherently and assume he gives me the same credit.

    in honorable debate one has a chance to evaluate ones positions and see if they hold up. I use to be very very pro shuttle and was before 1989 pro space station. Rich can tell you the time I simply said “thats it”…in my “youth” I held a lot of positions that “aging” showed simply could not stand the test of evaluation…

    RGO

  • Scott Bass

    I can only speak for myself but even as much as I love grand ideas for space…. Still would not be able to vote for newt…. Just too many other negatives…… I would guess that is the reason for the numbers if others feel the same…. Btw I told my wife about the space plans and it amused her but when I added the statehood part at the end…. That was the punch line ;)

  • Doug Lassiter

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 3:35 pm
    “Newt and his idea in particular floundered not because he didnt have an astronaut to back him up (who the heck knows them anymore) but because he could not explain what he wanted to do well and why that was an important thing to the entire notion of his view for America”

    That’s exactly right. I didn’t mean than an astronaut standing next to him would have assured success. But he didn’t have ANYONE standing next to him who could have assured success. Not someone who could argue the importance of species preservation, or even a Helium-3 flack. Not even a Congressional approps person. No one. This was Newt’s mouth motoring along all alone. I admire boldness, and I admire visionaries, but boldness and vision are more than just a picture in someones mind. That’s what this was. There is nothing visionary about a vision without a plan, consensus (or a route to it), and ideally a team.

    Yes, human space flight has to come up with a compelling value story. Until then, specifics are dangerous.

  • Vladislaw

    “So what was the message that Gingrich should have presented? Given the virtual absence of human space exploration as a topic for campaign discourse, he could have said anything in general support of it that would have established him as a leader to the human space flight crowd.”

    Rather then present it as a pit stop on the campaign trail, it should have been presented with a team of players. Newt, the business panel, the technical panel. Jobs, technical leadership (maybe a highground refrence point tossed out as red meat for the hawks) and above inclusion of the american public.

    When making a sale pitch, never forget, sell the sizzle not the steak. I thought he failed in telling me how I would be a part of this next adventure.

    I would have made the pitch for parents to get their kids into math and science NOW because they were going to be the future astronauts and that the NASA monopoly was going to be ending. Stress their would be greater opportunity with anyone with a dream and big check book was going to space, it would open to all, gone is the NASA monopoly,

    The public has been divorced from space as soon as they realized it wasn’t going to be turned over to pan am and hilton. They would NEVER get to space as long as NASA was running the show.

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72327.html

    for anyone who thinks Willard is going to spend money on a lunar effort (this is almost to funny)

    “On the plane here, he assailed the former House speaker, who placed a distance second in Florida last night, for failing to be a true conservative, pointing to the money Gingrich would spend on a lunar colony and his stance on global warming.”

    this is a great example of Willard both lying about what Newton said and well ditzing any future space efforts…

    RGO

  • It’s only anecdotal, but …

    Twice today I had tourists visiting the Space Coast ask me about Newt’s proposal for a lunar colony. Neither thought it was a good idea. One wanted to know if Newt had cleared it with NASA first. The other wanted to know how we would pay the enormous cost for such an endeavour.

    Like I said, strictly anecdotal, but I don’t think Newt’s speech had the consequence he intended.

    I have this feeling that we won’t see space policy debated on the campaign trail for many many years. It will take the private sector turning Low Earth Orbit into the next Gold Rush for space to be “cool” again in the mainstream.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Like I said, strictly anecdotal, but I don’t think Newt’s speech had the consequence he intended.

    I have this feeling that we won’t see space policy debated on the campaign trail for many many years.”

    Newts speech was OK but he lost and is still losing the “spin war”…(see the politico story) and I also agree on the second point. Human spaceflight is toast for a public/Presidential effort for a long time. The irony of the corporate wing of teh GOP doing this is well splendid RGO

  • sc220

    This is further evidence that the public cares little about space. Thank Newt for making a caricature of the issue. No sane politician will touch this now with a 10-foot pole.

  • Mr. Walker

    In reading these comments and the various replies, I find myself seeing this community falling into the same pattern so many in the space business do. Attention is focused on Gingrich’s comments concerning a lunar colony instead of his overall message. The lunar base is a small part of the overall activity Gingrich envisions. This activity is entrepreneurial, accepting of risk, and is fed by the dreams of those wishing to be “out there”. Multitudes of risk-taking entrepreneurial dreamers are antithetical to the intertwined entities of NASA, the USAF, and the major aerospace contractors. Until the power of the pioneers is unleashed, we are stuck in orbit – as we have been for forty years.

  • Romney’s more pragmatic proposals? What proposals were they?

    He said, “I got a great resume. Here’s my advisory board with two guys who thought Constellation was a good idea and another one who markets $150 million lunar flyby tickets to billionaires. Those are top men. Top. Men. And I’ll get back to you once these geniuses figure out what my space policy should be.

    “Process, baby. That’s what the devastated Space Coast needs. Obama has screwed you, and I’ve got a process to fix it. At some point.”

    Good God. Space is so vitally important, but in the five years (or more) Romney has been running for President with little more to do than give speeches, he’s given it barely any thought at all.

  • Coastal Ron

    Vladislaw wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Rather then present it as a pit stop on the campaign trail, it should have been presented with a team of players.

    Good point. I think a smart move would have been for Newt to find a space authority that has proposed similar plans for a Moon effort, and put his support behind it.

    That would have insulated him from Romney (hey, it’s not MY idea), and shown that he looked around for “great ideas” instead of being the “Only Guy In The Room With Big/Smart Ideas”.

  • Googaw

    “For space advocates at all points of the compass, this development is troublesome to see surfacing.’

    It’s not troubling to this space activist. It’s quite a breath of fresh air, actually. Crackpot ideas have been circulating with far too little feedback from people with a good sense grasp on economic reality for far too long.

    “For it appears to be generational in nature- chiefly from the 40-something pundits, talking heads and journalists.”

    The same generation that has lived through the frauds of the space shuttle and space stations, and now quite properly oppose such scams. The same journalists that depend on satellites to get out their message (and are very familiar with using satellite hookups from remote locations). And depend on GPS to figure out where the story is going down. They don’t laugh at actual useful space commerce. They laugh, quite properly, at astronaut cultists and their dreams of heavenly cathedrals. This religion has had its hands in the federal till for far too long and it’s great to see some pushback from more sensible people.

  • Googaw

    Space was only ever an important issue in one presidential election: 1960. And even then the real issue was nuclear-tipped ICBMs. Sputnik, about the same size as a nuclear warhead, was just a symbolic stand-in for those swords of Damocles.

  • Googaw

    “On the plane here, he assailed the former House speaker…pointing to the money Gingrich would spend on a lunar colony and his stance on global warming.”

    Go Mitt go! I’m not really a Romney fan, and I certain don’t like his group of space advisers, but he is very right and smart to keep bashing Newt on his highly irresponsible crackpottery.

  • Marcel F. Williams

    Oler: “Marcel runs around quoting numbers from SLS that are simply fiction. ”

    They actually come from NASA documents. I think you must be referring to your boy Elon whose company has been around for a decade now and still hasn’t placed a human into orbit.

    But I do find your consistent anti- government extremist philosophy good for laughs– but, unfortunately, sad for the country:-)

  • DCSCA

    Ken Murphy wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 9:10 am

    It would be lengthy to go ‘inside baseball’ on how the news media operates these days to maximize profits, the median age of news directors and managing editors or the dynamics of minute-by-minute measures of cable ratings in this era. But suffice to say that Joe Scarrborough is no Walter Cronkite; Steve Doosey is no Hugh Downs and Solidad O’Brien, Mika Brizenzki and Megyn Kelly are most decidedly not Chet Huntley, David Brinkley or Jules Bergman. With respect to spaceflight, these 40-something talking heads have the memorable benchmarks in their lives of Challenger, Columbia and a movie about an aborted moonshot, Apollo 13, not the triumphs of Friendship 7, Apollo 8 or Apollo 11.

    On the other side, space advocacy lacks an authorative, articulate voice comfortable with the methods and procedures of our media culture today; one with the gravitas, experience and dedicated drive of a Von Braun or the professoral passion of a Sagan. Both had a rare mix and made the most of it. So in an era where soundbite responses are the required response to shallow questions from nicely dressed newsreaders between commercials, we get things like a grandiose assertion of a Musk and his plans to retire on Mars or the glib, attention grabbing plans for a lunar colonies and moon bases from Gingrich, all instantly turned into a punchlines for easy replay and even easier laughs.

    Pitching complex issues to weary Americans these days is a hard sell– be it talk of very down to earth matters likewaging war, making peace or the intricacies of space travel. That’s what made the Apollo charter by JFK to point and say ‘go there’ so magnificent. Most Americans are baffled at balancing their checkbooks. But historically, they have responded- reacted- to competition and it was no accident that JFK asked, ‘Why does Rice play Texas?’ in his famed ’62 speech st Rice. Because that kind of competition they understood completely. Whether that same kind of competitive spirit would be rekindled when the PRC head moonward remains to be seen. But it’s a cinch plenty of people who don’t live in New York or San Francisco or even in the United States, will tune in to the Super Bowl this weekend.

  • DCSCA

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    It will take the private sector turning Low Earth Orbit into the next Gold Rush for space to be “cool” again in the mainstream.”

    Doubt it. Embracing something Gagarin, Titov and Glenn did fifty years ago is not that hip. And the only ‘cool’ corportions these days w/that kind of fanbase are the gadgets and apps from Apple, Google and Facebook.

    Now if you’re proposing that a high school class in Upper Sandusky, Ohio will be able to assist the docking of a cargo Dragon to the ISS from their IT lab, or operate a camera-festooned rover on the Ocean of Storms, probing the Apollo 12 landing site for artifacts, yeah, that’s ‘cool.’

  • @Lassiter:

    A presidential candidate brought up a bold approach to human space flight as an important part of his campaign, and judging from the numbers, it didn’t do him very much good.

    Return and stay on the moon is not a bold approach to HSF. It was American policy from 2005 to 2009. Gingrich laid out the following:

    1. Put boots on the moon by 2020,
    2. …
    3. Statehood!

    That’s not being bold. That’s dropping half-baked steamers in the crapper.

  • @common sense:

    The Moon vs. Mars is a non issue that is only used to divide our very friendly community.

    It’s a very useful issue to weed out those looking to extract common prosperity from space and those gloryhounds who sink tens of billions of taxpayer dollars annually out of sickening sentiment.

  • @Lassiter:

    Yes, human space flight has to come up with a compelling value story.

    You put people in space to do things that create jobs, defend the country, and prevent disaster. Needn’t be any more complicated than that.

  • DCSCA

    @Googaw wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    “It’s not troubling to this space activist.”

    You have every right to represet a perspective that’s part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    @Mr. Walker wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    “This activity is entrepreneurial, accepting of risk, and is fed by the dreams of those wishing to be “out there”. Multitudes of risk-taking entrepreneurial dreamers are antithetical to the intertwined entities of NASA, the USAF, and the major aerospace contractors. Until the power of the pioneers is unleashed, we are stuck in orbit – as we have been for forty years.”

    Risk? In its first three years, NASA attemped to place 28 satellites into orbit and onlty 8 succeeded. The first two Mercury tests failed. Today, after 50 years of NASA;s pioneering success, the risk is less, but there is risk all the same. But quarterly driven, for profit ‘private enterprise’ firms cannot absorb that kind of ‘risk’ and those levels of loss for space projects of scale– that’s why government’s do it.

    @Marcel F. Williams wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 2:01 am

    “your boy Elon whose company has been around for a decade now and still hasn’t placed a human into orbit.”

    And they never will, because they can’t get a good enough ROI on the technical investment- that’s why governments do it. That’s why Bowersox punched out, too– because he knows it.

  • @Marcel Williams
    “They actually come from NASA documents. I think you must be referring to your boy Elon whose company has been around for a decade now and still hasn’t placed a human into orbit.”
    And as the Booz-Allen report aptly noted, NASA documents are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to cost estimates. Case in point, what Ares I was supposed to cost versus what it ended up being with still no orbital launcher produced.

    BTW, the engineers on SLS have never designed and developed a vehicle that has placed a human in orbit. That was done by previous generations of engineers. So your point is moot. Everyone is on an even footing as far as that is concerned. A little less hypocrisy please?

  • Robert G. Oler

    D. Messier wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Romney’s more pragmatic proposals? What proposals were they?

    He said, “I got a great resume. Here’s my advisory board with two guys who thought Constellation was a good idea and another one who markets $150 million lunar flyby tickets to billionaires. Those are top men. Top. Men. And I’ll get back to you once these geniuses figure out what my space policy should be.

    “Process, baby. That’s what the devastated Space Coast needs. Obama has screwed you, and I’ve got a process to fix it. At some point.”…

    LOL really good of course Willard is now worried about the Poor…he will shortly appoint another advisory board. well done RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 2:01 am

    They actually come from NASA documents.”

    are you for real? Other things have come from NASA documents like “the station would cost 8 billion dollars” or it was safe to launch Challenger on its last mission or Columbia is good for reentry or Webb is “on track”

    So you keep quoting price s from future programs that are complete fantasy? You are more goofy then I thought RGO

  • Doug Lassiter

    Prez Cannady wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 6:19 am
    “You put people in space to do things that create jobs, defend the country, and prevent disaster. Needn’t be any more complicated than that.”

    You can put people at the bottom of the ocean to create jobs, defend the country and prevent disaster. Yes, it’s been suggested. You could put them in the Mojave Desert as well to do those things. And putting them at those places is vastly cheaper than putting them in space. Maybe it looks like it needn’t be any more complicated than that. But it is.

    “Return and stay on the moon is not a bold approach to HSF. It was American policy from 2005 to 2009.”

    Looked pretty bold while we were trying hard for four years to achieve it. We didn’t. So much for “American policy”. Still looks bold to me.

    “1. Put boots on the moon by 2020″

    Like we did in 1969.

    “2. …”

    That’s the one I’m worried about. That’s about $50B per dot in your ellipsis. Gingrich was just about as specific as you’re being.

  • MrEarl

    MrEarl wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    .p.s RGO; At least on space policy, you and Andrew are almost in lock step and I wonder if you would concider them so honorable if they held veiws favorable to SLS and MPCV…
    RGO
    “I would hope so particularly if he could explain them in a coherent fashion.”

    Weasle words…..
    It’s a Yes or No answer.
    (Bold added by me to denote the main said weasle words, but the whole sentance applys.)

  • @Lassiter:

    You can put people at the bottom of the ocean to create jobs, defend the country and prevent disaster. Yes, it’s been suggested. You could put them in the Mojave Desert as well to do those things. And putting them at those places is vastly cheaper than putting them in space. Maybe it looks like it needn’t be any more complicated than that. But it is.

    Exactly what point are you trying to make by setting up a false choice between developing space and exploiting the deserts and oceans?

    Looked pretty bold while we were trying hard for four years to achieve it.

    That’s sentiment talking.

    We didn’t.

    By choice.

    That’s the one I’m worried about. That’s about $50B per dot in your ellipsis.

    Thoroughly made up number.

    Gingrich was just about as specific as you’re being.

    You think? That was an outline of Gingrich’s proposal.

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 2:01 am

    They actually come from NASA documents.

    Which must be kept at NASA’s version of Area 51, since you’ve never been able to show them to anybody.

    However there are NASA HLV cost estimates out there, and they are vastly higher than what you quote.

    Real estimates trump fantasy ones every time… ;-)

  • Googaw

    No DSCSA, common sense is not part of the problem. Economic fantasy is the problem. And common sense is a badly needed part of the solution.

  • Googaw

    “I think you must be referring to your boy Elon whose company has been around for a decade now and still hasn’t placed a human into orbit. ”

    If you haven’t performed the Great Ritual of the One True Religion, you haven’t accomplished anything at all.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I dont do yes or no answers on something that is pure speculation . RGO

  • “If you haven’t performed the Great Ritual of the One True Religion, you haven’t accomplished anything at all.
    Oh, then you must be talking about SLS. :)

    Most of the people I know of here want a combination of NASA (without SLS), and a number of companies participating in commercial crew type efforts, such as: ULA, Boeing, SNC, SpaceX etc. For the most part SpaceX is admired only because they are the farthest along and doing it cheaper. Any one else who does that, we’ll be tooting their horn too.

    We want NASA to concentrate on doing deep space (without budget money wasted on SLS) and promotion of commercial crew type efforts.

  • common sense

    @ Googaw wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    “No DSCSA, common sense is not part of the problem. Economic fantasy is the problem. And common sense is a badly needed part of the solution.”

    Wow! Thanks Googaw.

  • MrEarl

    Sorry Ron:
    The site you reference is not a NASA site, using year old data referencing even older data, and not about the SLS that is currently being built.
    NASA Watch also has a distinct bias against the SLS so I would expect them to pick data to support their bias.
    Try again.

  • Googaw

    “Most of the people I know of here”… are I’m afraid to say rather out of touch with the economic and political realities of the world. They’re not even in touch with the practical economic realities of space. Do you think Rachel Maddow invented that long litany of insults? It’s what sensible people have been saying behind your backs for years.

    The big lesson for space policy coming out of this election: don’t take political advice from a space cadet. Especially about space.

  • Doug Lassiter

    A more recent (8/2011) NASA cost assessment for SLS development and operations was also published publicly by SpaceRef. The numbers are pretty scary. A number of funding scenarios and flight rates are considered, but it doesn’t get much better than $1B for 70mT SLS procurement.

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=38348

    This was done by the Exploration Systems Development Division in HEOMD, which is charged with management of next-gen human space exploration systems. So I think it’s credible. This isn’t about “data picking”.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    The site you reference is not a NASA site…

    So? It references NASA data.

    …using year old data referencing even older data, and not about the SLS that is currently being built.

    The point of my referencing that link was that Marcel hasn’t been able to list ANY links to SLS costs. In the absence of any more updated or detailed information, the data I list is pretty much the current info.

    And really, how much can NASA affect the big cost drivers that they have already identified? Other than the booster competition that will be held sometime in the future, the HLV NASA is building for the SLS is pretty much what they estimated two years ago.

    If you think the cost estimates are wrong, then by all means, provide us with a link to more up-to-date info. But if all you do is say “it’s wrong”, it’s just your opinion/hope, not something based on fact.

    Try again yourself.

  • @GooGaw
    “The big lesson for space policy coming out of this election: don’t take political advice from a space cadet. Especially about space.”
    I agree. Take it from a combined Air Force/NASA study:
    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/586023main_8-3-11_NAFCOM.pdf

  • MrEarl

    @ Ron:
    So you reference old data, from a biased site, that is not even about the current project and try to pass that off as proof positive of your assertions?
    Here’s a NASA document that can be used to both confirm and refute NASA estimates.
    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/581582main_BAH_Executive_Summary.pdf
    It’s the Booze Allen audit of the SLS released in August of 2011.
    In summary of the summery it states that the 3-5 year budget cycle is “serviceable”. Near term cost estimates for the SLS are in the $18 Billion range.
    It’s after this point that the numbers become suspect.

  • DCSCA

    @Googaw wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    “If you haven’t performed the Great Ritual of the One True Religion, you haven’t accomplished anything at all.”

    You said it.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    So you reference old data…

    Call it whatever you want, but it’s the only estimate out there right now, and it was done within NASA using known Shuttle costs for comparison (Data derived from SSP Study NSTS 60583, dated June 8, 2010).

    You also keep forgetting why this subject came up – Marcel claims SLS costs that are only 50% higher than Delta IV Heavy. Do you find THAT believable?

    Regarding the Booz Allen study, they did not confirm the validity of any per-launch costs, as they were only looking at validity of NASA’s budget assumptions. Here is the paragraph I think sums it up nicely:

    The cost estimates prepared by the SLS, MPCV, and 21CGS Programs are consistent with pre-concept, AoA-phase estimates and thus are not suitable for long-term budget formulation or the development of Program baselines. NASA should treat the estimates as serviceable point estimates for budget planning in the near-term 3-5 year budget horizon as they represent the basis upon which future estimates can be constructed. Due to unjustified, sometimes substantial, assumed future cost savings; the ICA Team views each Program’s estimate as optimistic. Reserve levels were not based on a quantitative risk analysis and do not cover each Program’s Protect Scenario. Furthermore, each Protect Scenario excludes estimating uncertainty and unknown-unknown risks, which history indicates are major sources of cost growth on programs. Due to procurement of items still in development and large cost risks in the out years, NASA cannot have full confidence in the estimates for long-term planning.

    If you don’t like the numbers, fine, provide us with a link to the numbers you’d rather people use. But don’t bellyache about the numbers just because they look bad to you, but look realist to others.

  • Doug Lassiter: “A more recent (8/2011) NASA cost assessment for SLS development and operations was also published publicly by SpaceRef. The numbers are pretty scary. A number of funding scenarios and flight rates are considered, but it doesn’t get much better than $1B for 70mT SLS procurement.
    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=38348
    This was done by the Exploration Systems Development Division in HEOMD, which is charged with management of next-gen human space exploration systems. So I think it’s credible. This isn’t about “data picking”.”
    *********

    MW: The cost of SLS launches will, of course, depend on how frequently the vehicle is launched. The first SLS launches will be extremely limited because of the limited number of RS-25 engines available from the Space Shuttle program. So frequent launches of the SLS can not occur until the new RS-25E engines are finally being produced. And that may not be until the year 2021 according to Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne.

    The NASA scenarios that are referenced by SpaceRef. assume only one SLS flight every two years (ONE SINGLE FLIGHT EVERY TWO YEARS???) up to a remarkable TWO SLS launches per year. Wow!

    If NASA operated the $3 billion a year Space Shuttle program that way then true cost per launch would have risen from $600 million per flight (5 flights per $3 billion) to about $2.45 billion per flight (at minimum, NASA had to spend at least $1 billion a year for ground operations– even if nothing flys– plus about $450 per shuttle launch).

    To actually pay people to sit around for just– one launch– every two years until 2023 until we put the SLS into OVERDRIVE with a whopping one launch per year (the Obama scenario)– would probably put the final nail in NASA’s coffin:-)
    It was probably Obama and Holdren’s intention to scare Congress with such a crazy scenario!

    This is obviously not a Moon Base program but an Obama-Holdren (I refuse to use this vehicle) program scenario with as little as $3 billion a year to $5.2 billion a year spent on the SLS program from 2017 to 2025. President Obama inherited an $8.4 billion a year man spaceflight related budget from George Bush and probably could have gotten an $11.4 billion a year manned spaceflight budget from the Congress if he had a mission.

    However, with that money eating ISS program that Obama strongly supported still probably running from 2017 to 2020, NASA will have no choice but to minimize SLS expenditures. Plus with the limited number of RS-25 engines from the Space Shuttle, they probably have no choice. However, those ISS funds would be better spent developing a lunar shuttle and lunar base architecture, IMO.

    But once the expendable RS-25E engines are available and the costly ISS $3 billion a year mission to LEO program is finally no more, it will be time to really use the SLS for a Moon Base program that will probably require at least 6 launches per year.

    Annual operational cost for the SLS launches have been determined to cost about 1.1 times that of the Sidemount shuttle launch scenarios. And much lower launch cost are based on four to six SLS launches per year.

    References:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Study
    May 20, 2010
    *****
    Deep Space Operations Enabled By A Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle
    William J. Rothschild.1 and Theodore A. Talay 2
    John Frassanito & Associates, Inc.
    1350 NASA Parkway, Suite 214, Houston, TX 77058 Email: wjrothschild@yahoo.com Telephone: 713-248-2882
    Edward M. Henderson 3 NASA Johnson Space Center, TX
    Submitted for the
    AIAA Space Opearations 2010 Conference Huntsville, AL April 25-30, 2010
    ******
    A Near-Term, High-Confidence Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle
    William J. Rothschild1 and Theodore A. Talay2
    John Frassanito & Associates, Inc.
    1350 NASA Parkway, Suite 214, Houston, TX 77058

  • Coastal Ron: The point of my referencing that link was that Marcel hasn’t been able to list ANY links to SLS costs. In the absence of any more updated or detailed information, the data I list is pretty much the current info.”

    MW: You didn’t ask for any. And when I listed links many times before in the past, folks like you on this forum usually responded “You can post as many links as you like, but I still don’t care:-( That’s why I find this forum so entertaining:-)

    Marcel F. Williams

    References:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Study
    May 20, 2010
    *****
    Deep Space Operations Enabled By A Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle
    William J. Rothschild.1 and Theodore A. Talay 2
    John Frassanito & Associates, Inc.
    1350 NASA Parkway, Suite 214, Houston, TX 77058 Email: wjrothschild@yahoo.com Telephone: 713-248-2882
    Edward M. Henderson 3 NASA Johnson Space Center, TX
    Submitted for the
    AIAA Space Opearations 2010 Conference Huntsville, AL April 25-30, 2010
    ******
    A Near-Term, High-Confidence Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle
    William J. Rothschild1 and Theodore A. Talay2
    John Frassanito & Associates, Inc.
    1350 NASA Parkway, Suite 214, Houston, TX 77058

  • @Robert G. Oler

    Another Link:-O

    Costs of an International Lunar Base

    Center for Strategic and International Studies

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

  • @Marcel Williams
    “However, with that money eating ISS program that Obama strongly supported still probably running from 2017 to 2020, NASA will have no choice but to minimize SLS expenditures. Plus with the limited number of RS-25 engines from the Space Shuttle, they probably have no choice. However, those ISS funds would be better spent developing a lunar shuttle and lunar base architecture, IMO.
    You are contradicting yourself. You are always saying Congress chose SLS and so the rest of us should stop calling for its demise and “move on”. According to your that thought process, since Congress chose ISS, you should stop calling for it’s demise and “move on”. If it is true for SLS it is true for ISS. The hypocrisy strikes again. Are you really that dense? Are you incapable of understanding that are portraying your ownself to be a liar?

  • Oops, typo in my last sentence in above post. It should be:
    Are you incapable of understanding that you are portraying your ownself to be a liar?

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    The NASA scenarios that are referenced by SpaceRef. assume only one SLS flight every two years

    Nope. The study you reference (ESD Integration: Budget Availability Scenarios) does not list any budget number . The study was for assessing whether NASA’s estimates could be believed, not assessing the actual cost estimates.

    The link I provided is for an internal NASA study that assumed two flights per year for nine years (18 flights total), which provides a pretty good basis for recurring costs.

    Annual operational cost for the SLS launches have been determined to cost about 1.1 times that of the Sidemount shuttle launch scenarios.

    This is pure fiction. And none of the studies you reference backs that up.

    Just using common sense would tell you that’s wrong. The SLS is using the same technology as Sidemount, lifts almost twice as much, yet only costs 10% more? Pure fiction.

    None of the studies you list provides internal NASA estimates for an HLV, so as usual, your claims are not only unsubstantiated, but wildly unbelievable.

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    “Just using common sense would tell you that’s wrong.”

    Wow I am having a party today!

    And btw I already told him he’s wrong but it’s nice to be quoted like this today.

    ;)

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    You didn’t ask for any.

    I always do, but I never see any. Which makes this statement suspect:

    And when I listed links many times before in the past, folks like you on this forum usually responded “You can post as many links as you like, but I still don’t care

    I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ve never seen you provide any detailed and relevant data for the cost estimates you state.

    Even the studies you’re listing today aren’t linked, so I have to go out and search to see if I can find them. Two are public, but not the third. I only reference public data, since otherwise people can make up stuff, and from what I can see none of the studies you point to backs up your claims.

    Just as a reminder, my background is in manufacturing, so I’m used to figuring out how much things cost using a variety of methods. That’s why your claim of the SLS costing 10% more than a Sidemount HLV is just plain ridiculous – aerospace is a mature industry, and reducing costs that much using the same technologies is just not believable.

  • DCSCA

    Googaw wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    “Most of the people I know of here”… are I’m afraid to say rather out of touch with the economic and political realities of the world.”

    Nonsense. If you told Goddard in 1913 that talk in 2012 of returning to the moon nearly half a century after the first successful expeditions and planning manned trips out to Mars in the 2040 time frame were publicly ridiculed and inhibited by cost, not the capabilities of technologies on hand to engineer the effort, he’d rightly wonder what was the matter with people today and then smile understandingly, knowing he was ridiculed in the press as well for proposing the feasibility of the trip in the first place.

    You’re just projecting- or simply spooked by the high risk and large numbers that accompany big challenges. That’s SOP for private enterprised, for profit, quarterly driven firms, desperate to socialize the financial risk on the many by taping government seed monies to profit a select few.

  • DCSCA

    @Googaw wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    They don’t laugh at actual useful space commerce.”

    Especially when they think velcro and Tang were direct results of same, eh? Except they weren’t. Atil, we all can applaud weather and communication satellites. But space exploitation is not space exploration.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    References:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Study
    May 20, 2010
    *****
    “Deep Space Operations Enabled By A Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle”, William J. Rothschild and Theodore A. Talay, John Frassanito & Associates, Inc.

    “A Near-Term, High-Confidence Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle” William J. Rothschild and Theodore A. Talay, John Frassanito & Associates, Inc.

    That would be Bill Rothschild, formerly from Boeing, right? He, Talay and Frazz are private consultants. Ted is retired NASA. I appreciate their efforts, and they’re sharp folks, but I’m sorry, those aren’t NASA documents. These studies were largely contemporaneous, in early 2010. Almost two years ago. Actually, the JF&A studies were based on work done in 2006. Those are contributed AIAA conference papers, and don’t have any NASA logo on them.

    The HLLV study is old too, and was heavily grounded in the Constellation studies.

    And yes, you’re right, costs get a bit lower in volume, but there are no credible current plans to use SLS in the numbers per year you’re assuming. If you flap your arms harder, you might achieve some lift. Maybe more than we’re likely to get out of SLS.

    As to the NASA estimates being just a ploy to discourage Congress from funding SLS, maybe you’re right. So where does that leave us? The agency that’s going to build it says it’s too expensive. Maybe you can get the Air Force to come in and do it cheaper, huh?

    You’ve been given more recent cost estimates for SLS, in real dollars, and not scaled to any other made-up architecture. Time to start using them.

    But getting back on topic, I find it interesting that the Gingrich campaign never tried to defend itself from the ridicule it got over his lunar ambitions. At least I never heard any thing from them. You’d think at least an explanatory response would have been appropriate. Did his handlers just stuff lunar colonization and statehood in a lead-lined box marked “Florida”? Do bold ideas and vision just … evaporate?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    LOL can you tellme a SINGLE cost estimate of a major project NASA got correct? Just one? Please Bhueller anyone RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    But space exploitation is not space exploration.

    You need exploration to do exploitation, and that’s pretty much the whole reason for exploration – exploitation.

    The only question is how much we need to invest before we start getting a significant Return-On-Investment (ROI). We’re already getting an ROI from “going in endless circles around the Earth” (i.e. satellites), but it’s going to take a lot more investment before we can find the next revenue stream beyond LEO/GEO.

  • @Lassiter:

    A number of funding scenarios and flight rates are considered, but it doesn’t get much better than $1B for 70mT SLS procurement.

    What are you trying to say here?

  • Googaw

    “If you told Goddard in 1913…”

    Completely inapt comparison, as usual. Goddard wasn’t seeking billions to develop gigarockets to go to the moon. He was working incrementally with small experimental rockets and seeking small amounts of funding for same. The moon was only part of his vision and not the main motivation for his funders. Goddard knew perfectly well that the main application of rockets was military — he invented any early kind of bazooka during WWI. Similarly, the German rocket clubs while dreaming of space knew perfectly well that the practical application was military and didn’t get any large funding from governments except for military applications, and again to develop rockets far smaller than those of their imaginations.

  • Googaw

    “I find it interesting that the Gingrich campaign never tried to defend itself from the ridicule it got over his lunar ambitions.”

    Probably because beyond a small community of crackpots, it is indefensible.

    “Do bold ideas and vision just … evaporate?”

    Much like hallucinations.

  • Googaw

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

    Preposterously lowballed. They don’t even have a budget line for any lunar rovers, much less for any actual equipment that accomplishes anything actually useful for the suckers footing the bill back on Earth. So this “base” is less functional than some of the later Apollo missions (which themselves only accomplished a bit of lunar geology). It’s just a handful of astronauts huddling in a couple tiny RVs on the moon costing the U.S. taxpayer over $7 billion per year. But at least unlike RGO they make an attempt at breaking out costs.

  • DCSCA

    Googaw wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Inaccurate. Goddard was seeking as much funding as he could access for his research wherever he could source it be it the Smithsonian or Guggenheim and his rocket research was his prime motivation. And his most publicized proposals included high altitude research in space around the Earth by rocket and to send instruments all the way to the moon– which were ridiculed at the time as well. The famed German rocket clubs and societies- notably Oberth’s group- were in similar financial straits and tapped funding where they could get it- notably through sponsorships and as technical advisors to Fritz Lang. Their research flourished w/government backing- German Reichmarks.

  • @GooGaw
    “Preposterously lowballed. They don’t even have a budget line for any lunar rovers, much less for any actual equipment that accomplishes anything actually useful for the suckers footing the bill back on Earth. So this “base” is less functional than some of the later Apollo missions (which themselves only accomplished a bit of lunar geology). It’s just a handful of astronauts huddling in a couple tiny RVs on the moon costing the U.S. taxpayer over $7 billion per year.”
    Not according to former NASA executive Charles Miller from an article in the Wall Street Journal.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204652904577193501932074504.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
    If you don’t have a subscription to WSJ, you can find a few excerpts from it here:
    http://hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=35400

  • Coastal Ron

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ February 2nd, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I find it interesting that the Gingrich campaign never tried to defend itself from the ridicule it got over his lunar ambitions.

    That certainly tells you about the lack of coordination within the Gingrich campaign, and could be a hint of things to come if he ever makes it to the White House.

    I like his enthusiasm for all things space, but as the “lead of the free world” I think he would lack focus and be too ineffectual.

  • Googaw

    “Not according to former NASA executive Charles Miller.”

    “Not” what? None of this contradicts anything I said.

  • @GooGaw
    “Preposterously lowballed.
    That part. He covers it. He says::
    “In 2011, I challenged a team of NASA engineers to answer a simple question: “Can we send humans back to the moon, and to the asteroids, with existing launch vehicles?” The answer was, “Yes, we can.” We concluded that it would cost about $40 billion, and that this could be financed out of NASA’s existing annual human-spaceflight budget (around $4 billion) over 10 years.
    Emphasis mine. “Within the existing annual human-spaceflight budget” means the project fits within that budget and thus is not lowballing by definition. This is because lowballing means saying something costs less than it actually will to make it appear to be in budget. Thus, what this former NASA executive is saying is that a study he commissioned while he was at NASA supports the proposition that Gingrich was not lowballing.

  • Googaw

    Rick, my point is that Miller doesn’t break out any evidence for his claims. Nor does he explain what this lunar base is supposed to accomplish. He too is just engaging in preposterous low-balling, the same kind that the NASA culture he comes from engaged in when they promised that the Shuttle would cost $100/lb. and thus revolutionize space development. In fact it ended up costing over $20,000/lb. With the same proportions, a $40 billion base could easily turn into an $8 trillion base. Romney and Santorum are being generous to Gingrich when they use a figure of only $500 billion, especially considering Gingrich’s further ambitions for a colony thousands of times larger.

  • Googaw: “http://csis.org/publication/costs-international-lunar-base”

    “Preposterously lowballed. They don’t even have a budget line for any lunar rovers, much less for any actual equipment that accomplishes anything actually useful for the suckers footing the bill back on Earth. So this “base” is less functional than some of the later Apollo missions (which themselves only accomplished a bit of lunar geology). It’s just a handful of astronauts huddling in a couple tiny RVs on the moon costing the U.S. taxpayer over $7 billion per year. But at least unlike RGO they make an attempt at breaking out costs.”

    It depends on what you want NASA to do on the Moon. Its not NASA’s role to build a lunar colony. Its NASA’s function to do the basic science on the Moon to determine if lunar colonization and industrialization is possible. That’s what a tiny lunar base could teach us. We need to know:

    1. Is a 1/6 gravity environment harmful or harmless to human health and reproduction? The answer to this question could have huge ramifications for the human species and, of course, would be useful information for the space tourism industry

    2. Can lunar regolith be easily used to eliminate dangerous levels of radiation for lunar habitats?

    3. Can large quantities of lunar ice at the poles be exploited for the production of water, air, and rocket fuel substantially cheaper than importing these resources from Earth?

    4. Is there enough carbon and nitrogen at the poles to sustain lunar agriculture?

    5. How well can food be grown and raised on the lunar surface under artificial conditions.

    6. How much water or hydrogen is really needed to protect structures from cosmic radiation and solar events. Useful information for interplanetary travel.

    7. How difficult or easy is it to process lunar regolith into useful metals and other materials on the Moon. The satellite industry would probably like to know.

    8. Could cheap aluminized light sails be manufactured on the lunar surface and deployed into space and used for capturing small asteroids (100 to 200 tonnes) for material exploitation and mass shield space stations and for manned interplanetary space travel?

    These are things that a tiny Moon base could tell us in less than a decade on the lunar surface that could be very valuable to private industry and to humanity as a whole.

    Marcel F. Williams

  • Googaw

    Nice try Marcel, but no cigar:

    Questions 1-2 and 5-6 are irrelevant to any affordable (i.e. unmanned) private industry on the moon.

    Questions 3-4 can be learned at much lower cost by sending unmanned rovers to do the sampling and test processing. Some of it also by setting up test factories in environmental simulators on earth.

    Questions 7-8 involve economic fantasies of no interest to serious private industry, as I’ve explained elsewhere.

    In any case, there is no budget line for any of these items in the above-quoted cost estimates. Accomplishing these tasks, especially in a way requiring the intrusion of astronauts to justify the expense already lavished on them, would balloon costs very far beyond the bare-bones and already low-balled lunar RVs.

  • Vladislaw

    “Nor does he explain what this lunar base is supposed to accomplish.”

    I would think the science of staying alive. Hunker down for 3 months then six months at a time, looking at the biological effects of staying there. Do a couple EVA’sa week with a rover and collect samples. We have to mature the systems and evolve them as we learn what it takes. Start working on oxygen extraction tests, and water extraction tests. See if the the resources are exploitable.

  • Googaw

    “I would think the science of staying alive.”

    In other words, it’s all about astronauts for the sake of astronauts. Nothing matters except astronauts.

  • Vladislaw

    if i didn’t use the word astronaut and instead used the humans would that be better?

    As a species, we are either going to be obese couch potatoes watching robots do it all in space from the comfort of our couch, or we are going to physically move off world and include first the inner solar system then the outer solar system into our specie’s economic sphere of activity over the long term.

    Can we agree on that much?

    As a species we will either stay home or try to live off world?

    If we do not ever want to, or plan to leave earth than lets shut down all government spending relating to it because it will never be needed as we are physically never going off world.

    If we do want to or plan to live off world than the first thing must be the freakin’ science of a human living off world, if the species is incapable of that feat the rest is moot anyway.

    Either the human body can adjust to the rigors of living off world, through creative use of technology, or it can’t.

    So to answer your question, if we want to live off world, then yes, in the beginning, nothing else matters except what the human body sustain and for how long.

  • Vladislaw

    Marcel F. Williams wrote:

    “It depends on what you want NASA to do on the Moon. Its not NASA’s role to build a lunar colony. Its NASA’s function to do the basic science on the Moon to determine if lunar colonization and industrialization is possible. That’s what a tiny lunar base could teach us. We need to know:”

    A nice list of reasons Marcel except for one thing, you are not following what the NASA is actually mandated to do and instead are imposing them on the NASA.

    Let’s look at the ammended version of the Space Act of 1958 that created NASA.

    “(c) The Congress declares that the general welfare of the United States requires that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (as established by title II of this Act) seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.

    Think about those two words for a minute Marcel … SEEK and ENCOURAGE.

    Seek doesn’t mean to wait around and see what happens. That means NASA is supposed to go and and shake the freakin’ bushes and actively SEEK commercial ways of doing everything they do…. EVERYTHING.

    When they do spot any potential commercial space activity or are made aware of it then what are they supposed to do? ENCOURAGE it to the MAXIMUM extent possible.

    You steadfastly refuse to acknowledge this, incorporate it into your responses and until you do NASA will just continue to be a pawn of congressional pork interests and the aerospace status quo.

    It is not about success, it is not about putting America and Americans in space and it ESPECIALLY is not about allowing American enterpreneurialism having full and total access to the space frontier, christ, how could they, the congressional porkers, control all those billions?

    That is part C .. it is at the top of NASA’s mandate, it comes pretty much before everything else Marcel, do you finally understand that Marcel? Commercializing space is above 99.9% of everything NASA is mandated to do.

    On to part D.

    (d) The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:

    (2) The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;”

    Does it say improve their vehicles? If you understand the importance of what NASA does for commercial aviation you might just begin to grasp what NASA is supposed to be doing for commercial space. It is commercial space vehicles that NASA is mandated to be working to make better, not this self destructive path we are on to the entire Nation’s ability to move forward in space.

    Okay, now with a firm grasp of what NASA is actually mandated to do, in front of each or your points, add a codicle on how that point could be accomplished with commercial firms and NASA acting as the enabler only with the commerical firm taking the lead.

  • Googaw

    “the first thing must be the freakin’ science of a human living off world,”

    No, Vladislaw, I do not agree. Your approach to space colonization is hopelessly misguided. You are profoundly confusing the present tense with the future tense (a typical sci-fi confusion), and importance with urgency and feasibility. You also fail to recognize that human living is not primarily about our bodies — a classic voodoo belief — it is about our societies, and in particular our economies. Human bodies in space are useless (and indeed eventually must die or return to earth) without an economy in space to support them. It’s the latter that must come first.

  • Vladislaw

    Show me where I used the word colonization in my post?

    I live in North Dakota, if I drive to Arizona and stay there for a day, week, month, guess what? I am now living in Arizona. I am not there to colonize, or become a resident, just live there until I return. Wherever my body is, that is where I am currently living.

    If I fly, perpenticular from the Earth’s surface, and stay there a week/month, guess what? I am living in space. It is the same if I am on Luna for month or Mars for a month. What does trying to live somewhere have to do with freakin’ colonization? Those are two different animals.

    You never bothered to answer the basic premise of my question.

    Are we going to try and learn, through the creative use of technology, SANE governmental policies and incentives for commercial firms to try and LIVE offworld or not?

  • Googaw

    “seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.”

    I think they meant real commerce — people in the private sector serving the needs of other people in the private sector. Not government contracts redubbed “commerce.”

    Except for a brief involvement early in its history with an early communications satellite (much more a product of the military than of NASA), NASA has never in its over 50 year history lived up to this part of its charter. What makes you believe it can start now?

  • Googaw

    “Show me where I used the word colonization in my post?”

    My folks are awfully sensitive about that word all of a sudden. :-)

    What you did say was

    “we are going to physically move off world and include first the inner solar system then the outer solar system into our specie’s economic sphere of activity over the long term.”

    But I guess we can’t call these “colonies” any more. :-)

  • Vladislaw

    A colony, as a rule, has three components. Inheirant individual and commercial property rights, self suffient, (can live off the land) with the third being raising a family.

    We have had bases in antartica for how long? Anyone refer to them as colonies?

    We have military stationed in bases with no colonization going on.

    I am refering to working in space as the same as doing deep sea drilling, you may have to live on a platform for six months and go in a dive suit a couple times a week but you are not colonizing the sea bed.

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