Campaign '12

Romney is in no rush to go back to the Moon

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was speaking at a town hall in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Friday when he was asked—unexpectedly, perhaps, given the locale—about NASA planetary exploration efforts. Romney, according to CNN’s account of the event, “said he would study different options”, a response along the lines of the space policy he laid out nearly a month ago in a Florida speech. But he had a little more to add specifically about racing China for a human return to the Moon, POLITICO reported:

And I know China is headed to the Moon. They’re planning on going to the Moon, and some people say, oh, we’ve got to get to the Moon, we’ve got to get there in a hurry to prove we can get there before China. It’s like, guys, we were there a long time ago, all right? And when you get there would you bring back some of the stuff we left?

That response would suggest that a human lunar exploration effort wouldn’t be a high priority for a Romney Administration, something that’s perhaps a bit surprising given that his team of space policy advisors includes former NASA administrator Mike Griffin, who implemented the Constellation program to enable a human return to the Moon as called for by the Bush Administration’s Vision for Space Exploration. Romney, of course, has previously been critical of fellow candidate Newt Gingrich’s call for a lunar base by 2020.

It’s worth noting that various media accounts of the event described Romney as being in a light mood: the Wall Street Journal called his campaign stop “cheeky” while MSNBC called the former Massachusetts governor “just plain funny”. Some advocates for a human return to the Moon, thought, might not be laughing.

57 comments to Romney is in no rush to go back to the Moon

  • Robert G. Oler

    Remember those Halcyon days when all the GOP Toadys on this forum were talking about how a GOP President would restart exploration and “set things right” at NASA….

    WAit till Santorum weighs in ….RGO

  • SpaceColonizer

    Sounds like someone didn’t look into or even talk to the “top men” he’s hired to handle these issues. Well… why do I care? I hate this guy anyways. He can’t “lose” me. Space policy will be one of the lowest of my concerns with this guy as president. “I’m Mitt Romney and I say let China own our debt, let China take our Jobs, and, heck, let China have the moon.”

  • Robert G. Oler

    This election is shaping up to be one of the more important in the nations history, even though we have well “less” people running.

    Obama has in my opinion been a weak President BUT he has managed in some instances to lay the ground work for quite massive course changes in The Republic. We are on the road (thankfully in my view) to national health care, a rethink of our foreign policy ….etc etc…and in my view a complete rethink of space politics and policy.

    The GOP candidates (with the sometimes exception of Gingrich and clearly Ron Paul) are not running on really much of all. Willards economic policy that he outlined to a near empty stadium is basically Bush heavy…

    But mainly what they are running on is repealing most of what Obama has done. They dont have much of their own, except try “Bush” again…

    Obama for instance in his space politics and policy has to my taste been to timid. I would just stop SLS (although with the number of studies that they are doing of SLS consuming almost all the money they are more or less doing that) …I would fight the battles with the porkers in Congress…

    BUT you can see the broad outlines of where Obama’s space policy goes in a second term. No exploration by humans (there is no real case for it at this cost) and we do get commercial lift and crew…As illustrated in this thread…there really is no policy from Willard, Santorum wouldnt be for anything in space unless you could send all the birth control stuff up there.

    SLS will die and if Obama is reelected it will stay dead. Orion will at best fly on EELV’s and then die. there is no mission for it…

    And the door to a lot of exciting possibilities will be opened.

    There is no real reason at the current cost levels for people to be on the tip of exploration of space….for what we are spending on SLS alone, we could paper the Moon with equipment that would answer the basic questions about water minerals etc…and thats where I htink a second Obama term goes.

    RGO

  • GeeSpace

    What do you expect in Space policy from Romney or Santorum; both of them wants to take the American society back to the 1790′s? And why, of course, to improve the future of Americans.

    I doubt that Romney is listening to his space advisors

  • Doug Lassiter

    I’m not sure what is more troubling, Mitt Romney saying he wasn’t interested in going back to the Moon, or Mitt Romney considering the whole premise a joke. Certainly Newt Gingrich gave him a terrific set-up for the latter, but it is incredible that Romney’s “team of space policy advisors”, such as they are, haven’t counseled him about the former. What he could have said, had they really done that, is that there are good reasons to do human space flight, and the idea of going back to the Moon is one that deserves some careful consideration — specifically, what it does for our nation. This episode pretty much tells me how much of Romney’s ear Mike Griffin has.

    Now, let’s be careful here. What Romney has is a letter of support from several senior policy pundits and astronauts. That letter of support hardly defines a “team of space policy advisors”. Romney showed off that letter simply to show that space policy pundits appreciate him, and not to say that he necessarily agreed with them. Endorsements like that are not obviously bidirectional, and an endorsement letter doesn’t make one an “advisor”. Do we have any reason to believe that Romney actually has such a “team”?

  • I have to say that even though I am a fan of the Moon as a next destination for space exploration and development, I agree with Romney’s take on trying to reignite a Chinese moon race. I’ve never gotten the whole chain of logic that says:

    1- China wants to send a guy to the moon at some point in the next decade or two
    2- …
    3- Bad things would happen
    4- NASA should be given a huge budget increase to repeat Apollo and beat the Chinese back to the Moon

    As it is, I think Jeff Greason made this point back during the Augustine Committee. Personally, I think there are much more compelling arguments that could be made for going back to the Moon, but those arguments don’t necessarily back up the desire of some for a large, NASA-run Apollo-redux.

    ~Jon

  • Coastal Ron

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    What Romney has is a letter of support from several senior policy pundits and astronauts. That letter of support hardly defines a “team of space policy advisors”. Romney showed off that letter simply to show that space policy pundits appreciate him, and not to say that he necessarily agreed with them.

    Well put. The flip side is that the space-related people that put their names on Romney’s endorsement did that mainly to make sure that Obama wasn’t re-elected, NOT because they like Romney’s vision for NASA and space exploration.

    Of the field that is left, Romney would, in my opinion, do the least damage as President. Santorum and Gingrinch want to start a war with Iran, and Paul, though he may be the smartest of the bunch, does not represent the true intent of the majority of Americans, much less the majority of the elected officials he would have to work with.

  • Mr Earl

    Robert, a few unfortunate facts that you continue to overlook.

    First, you must have the 2012 election confused with the 1912 election. No one is standing at the gates of Armageddon to do battle for the Lord. This is just a highly partisan election for a highly partisan time.

    Second, as I’ve been saying for a while now, congress Democrat and Republican, have supported a SDHLV for over 8 years now and has resurrected it twice when Obama has tried to stop it or slow it down. Obama has shown very little interest in spending what little political capital he has to advance his views on space policies. There is no reason to believe that will change in a second term.

    Third, if SLS and Orion were to die, the door to a lot of exciting possibilities in human space flight closes for years to come. They will be used as exploration vehicles to establish gateways and bases that will need supplies and crew transfers provided by commercial vehicles. There’s no indication that funds not used for SLS or Orion will be given to a robotic exploration program. The best that could be hoped for is that robotic exploration gets a token increase while the rest goes back in the general fund to be wasted on something else.

    SLS and Orion are shaping up to be your “WMD’s in Iraq” issue.

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA administrator Mike Griffin, who implemented the Constellation program to enable a human return to the Moon as called for by the Bush Administration’s Vision for Space Exploration….

    Griffin’s role in this is important. There are a number of people from Bush 43′s administration who simply cannot admit failure during their term in office (that is OK a lot of Bush 43′s followers cannot either)…and that inability to admit failure (Iraq failed, Afland failed, their handling of the economy failed, they left OBL alive, Cx failed.

    and that is Griffin’s incompetence. for 15 billion he should have gotten “something”…it is hard to imagine how that much money goes out the door and really there is nothing flying.

    but the answer from all the folks who actually “did” policy in Bush43 is not to admit either incompetence or policy failure…but has been to double down and kind of like the peoplewho to this day insist Vietnam was “winnable” argue “we should have gone harder” or done it more or something.

    What you never get from the folks who supported Cx and now SLS is some sort of contrition as to how they spent that much money and got nothing. I mean nothing

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I’m not sure what is more troubling, Mitt Romney saying he wasn’t interested in going back to the Moon, or Mitt Romney considering the whole premise a joke. >>

    its just reality.

    Look there is no reason right now for human space exploration that passes the “sanity” test in a country with enormous budget issues and unemployment. The Chinese are no more headed to the Moon then we are…in fact what Apollo and most LEO large human projects have taught is that they are very expensive and do little to justify the expense.

    The reality is that the last 50 years of human spaceflight have simply been an orgy in federal spending that has almost nothing to show for it. Right now we have 6 people on ISS who have no clue of how to justify their existance based on the billions spent to keep them there.

    The people on the space station are building lego toys…goofy RGO

  • sc220

    LOL. As many of us predicted, the Republican mainstream are not at all enamored with the prospects of rekindling Constellation. In fact, I’m starting to think that bringing Romney in would stop SLS and other pork barrel space projects dead in their tracks. Obama is clearly fine with letting SLS idle on, and that is a big mistake in this era of limited resources. My how things change over just a few years…

  • well

    I wonder if Mike Griffin is experiencing buyer’s remorse yet. Or if he’s simply banking on Romney’s disinterest tranalsating into more time for SLS.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Jonathan Goff wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I have to say that even though I am a fan of the Moon as a next destination for space exploration and development, I agree with Romney’s take on trying to reignite a Chinese moon race. I’ve never gotten the whole chain of logic that says:>>

    there is no logic to it…really it is just incompetent musings RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    Mr Earl wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Second, as I’ve been saying for a while now, congress Democrat and Republican, have supported a SDHLV for over 8 years now…

    Nope. Congress supported the Constellation program, which included an HLV, but Congress was supporting the goal, not the hardware.

    When the Constellation program was cancelled, that is when a few in Congress stepped in to make sure their districts didn’t suffer dramatic layoffs, so they de-scoped the Ares V down to the SLS, and de-scoped the Orion down to the MPCV. Purely a jobs-related move on the part of Congress.

    No organization that builds payloads and missions were lobbying for an HLV, and none have said they can afford to use one, much less two per year.

    SLS and Orion are shaping up to be your “WMD’s in Iraq” issue.

    Since there were no WMD’s in Iraq, I guess you’re saying that Robert is right? Poor choice of examples on your part… ;-)

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “I wonder if Mike Griffin is experiencing buyer’s remorse yet. Or if he’s simply banking on Romney’s disinterest tranalsating into more time for SLS.”

    I think it demonstrates (again) that Griffin was never serious about lunar return or human space exploration in general. If he was, then he would have backed a candidate that endorsed that such a goal (like Gingrich), rather than the candidate that makes fun of the goal (Romney). Griffin just wants to be in charge of building his pet rockets — and not even HLVs given his Ares I obsession — so he’s backing the uncaring front-runner, not the space visionary.

    Same goes for Scott Pace (one of Griffin’s former lieutenants) who is heading up Romney’s space team. Neither has a sincere bone in their body. They’re just in it for the power — destinations, goals, and costs be damned.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Second, as I’ve been saying for a while now, congress Democrat and Republican, have supported a SDHLV…”

    They don’t support an SDHLV (or an HLV or lift capacity of any type). They only support Shuttle-derived jobs.

    “Third, if SLS and Orion were to die, the door to a lot of exciting possibilities in human space flight closes for years to come.”

    SLS and MPCV have already closed exciting possibilities in human space flight “for years to come.” Outside commercial cargo/crew, the rest of NASA’s human space flight development dollars are bound up in building SLS and MPCV for the next decade. Then maybe — if SLS/MPCV don’t keep slipping year-for-year as they did over the past year — we’ll get an Apollo 8-type human lunar circumnavigation in the early 2020s. Then we’ll wait another five to ten years before any other human space exploration hardware like transit stages and landers are available to do any actual exploration of the Moon or NEOs. It’s going to be at least a generation before we actually return to the Moon or do something new like visit an asteroid. These are all missions we could start building today and launch in the next 5-10 years, if we used existing launchers and spent NASA’s limited funds on the transit stages and landers, instead of unnecessary HLVs and duplicative capsules.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mr Earl wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Robert, a few unfortunate facts that you continue to overlook.>>

    do see Ron Paul as the new Eugene Debs and Bloomberg as TR? HMM

    the race changes if serious independents get into it…but as the GOP descends into a self imposed mediocrity of birth control and the “trees being the right height” in Michigan I actually find it less likely that a Bloomberg is going to get in. Paul might be another issue but probably not.

    If the GOP were presenting a solid alternative future (and the closest guy to this is Newt but he is likely fading for the last time…when he faded the first time I figured hemight get another go …I dont see a third line) Obama would be in trouble. He has in my view, if one looks close laid a solid foundation to build on in a second term…but its one which is not all that appreciated nor really well understood (and I am pretty sure that includes those in the administration who are trying to implement it)….

    but it seems to gain coherence daily as the Santorum campaign argues for an America just like the right wing thinks the 1950′s was…and Willard just grows more strange as the days go on…

    IF Obama gets a second term (and one has to view this as more and more likely) then it will be the ultimate repudiation of the GOP right…and he will get more of what he wants from Congress the second half…and that will include in my view killing SLS and Orion; if SLS does not go down this year.

    Pork politics are goign to die in the rush toward sequestration and a debate over spending. The administration would kill SLS outright and is slow walking it now. Most of the money is going to studies not much to vehicle building…in anticipation of either it ending in the budget morass of this year or Obama getting a second term and axing it.

    You may think otherwise but I’ve gotten more correct then you have and when we are talking about killing the F-35 there isno way that the pork keeps going.

    “Third, if SLS and Orion were to die, the door to a lot of exciting possibilities in human space flight closes for years to come”

    that is your viewpoint and it does not have a lot to support it. SLS will take to long to fly, be functionally obsolete when it flies and far to expensive to be used for dick. It is like many other programs in the federal government a legacy of pork spending that is no longer really affordable.

    One thing I agree with the critics of Obama on…another four of Obama and at the end of that you wont recognize The Republic (and be sure if someone quotes this quote the rest of it). We are transistioning from a superpower world to a post superpower world; from a world of potential large scale country to country military conflict into a world where economics are far more important then “throw weight”…into a culture that is more inclusive and less judgmental…and into a space program/effort that is based on being able to demonstrate sound results that have some consequences to the nation; rather then a lot of mythic heroes in space building legos.

    In that respect this is a game changer election like 1912…Taft had dissolved into sheer incompetence and the two visions were a competing one of Wilson and TR as the US as an emerging world power. What is different today is that both Wilson and TR had some intellectual and other horsepower behind their visions…where the GOP has just drifted off into well contraception being a major issue.

    can anyone imagine Ronaldus the Great talking about birth control? LOL

    4 more years of Obama will see the sprouting of a robust human commercial spaceflight industry that will be the foundation of our move to the stars a century or so from now.

    it is an exciting time RGO

  • While the Chinese are on the Moon exploiting the ice resources at the lunar poles for water, air, and rocket fuel for future economic gain, the US could extend the ISS for another decade at $3 billion a year as corporate welfare for Elon and the rest!

    But maybe we can beg the Chinese to allow an American astronaut to visit the Moon again aboard one of their ships. I’m sure they won’t overcharge us! The Russians didn’t:-)

    I thought Romney was just an idiot. Now I realize that he’s a– complete– idiot!

    Marcel F. Williams

  • Doug Lassiter

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 12:20 pm
    “I’m not sure what is more troubling, Mitt Romney saying he wasn’t interested in going back to the Moon, or Mitt Romney considering the whole premise a joke.”

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 2:10 pm
    “its just reality.”

    Well, the reality is that we’re spending a high-profile $8B each year on human space flight. So one would at least like Romney to be giving it a little serious thought. Is Romney saying that $8B/yr is just “reality”? He said once in Florida that his administration would study the issue, which he refers to here. While that’s hardly an aggressive posture, it’s better than just walking away from it with a laugh as he also does here. Is his “reality” about human space flight that it’s about lunar colonization and statehood, and is a real running joke?

    In fact, Newt Gingrich gave the other GOP candidates a precious gift. Whenever space comes up, they now get to spin it off into a laugh line about another candidate, thereby avoiding the question. It’s not clear from the reportage here, but the Mars questioner may not even have been asking about human space flight at all.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mr Earl wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    SLS and Orion are shaping up to be your “WMD’s in Iraq” issue.>>

    BTW I argued well before we invaded Iraq that there would be no WMD’s found in Iraq. My reasoning was that 1) the inspection teams were not finding them; even though we were using our intel to “cue” them to find them, 2) SEAL and other special ops teams were not finding them and 3) we purposely bomb them hard in Desert Fox.

    I also predicted (I am pretty sure on this forum as it came up occasionally) that Mr. Bush’s space program Cx would flounder; descend into mediocrity spend a lot of money (I predicted 20 billion OK 15 is close) before it died.

    I was right the people who were predicting otherwise were wrong.

    I am correct about SLS as well. It wont make it past this year. not because I dont want it to (even though I dont) but because I can see where the trends are going.

    Watch, listen and learn. RGO

  • amightywind

    I commend the editor for coming to grips with Newt’s irrelevance. Better late than never. I am confident that Romney will be well advised on NASA. Mike Griffin returns! And you all called me crazy!

  • mike shupp

    jon Goff:

    I don’t think anyone here is actually arguing for “a large, NASA-run Apollo-redux.” After all, we really have “been there, done that.”

    Other hand, suppose it’s twenty years from now, the Chinese are doing interesting things in space (building Luna City, let’s say, in cooperation with Europe, India, Japan, Brazil, Iran, Nigeria, and others). Suppose also the US wishes to respond with its own international program, and comes a cropper because (a) aerospace industry employment is down to 300 or 400,000 people, most of them in their sixties, and (b) the aerospace supply chain in this country has pretty dwindled away as the defense industry shrank and as commercial aircraft production shifted to overseas.

    So we’d have lots of egg on our face. Who wants to go there? But how do we avoid that if we spend the next 20 years sitting on our hands?

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “I am confident that Romney will be well advised on NASA. Mike Griffin returns!”

    Unlikely if the Bloomberg News, Gallup, and other polls from this week hold up next week:

    Bloomberg: Santorum Joins Romney in Final Michigan Push

    “The poll of 400 likely primary voters, conducted Feb. 18-21, showed Santorum leading Romney, 37 percent to 34 percent.”

    Poll: Santorum Edges Out Romney in Michigan

    “According to an American Research Group survey released Monday, 33% of likely Michigan GOP primary voters say they are backing Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, with 27% supporting Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.”

    Gallup: Santorum 35, Romney 27 in National Poll

    “A new Gallup poll shows Santorum taking 35 percent of Republican voters nationwide, compared with 27 percent for Romney, 15 percent for Newt Gingrich, and 10 percent for Ron Paul.”

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Suppose also the US wishes to respond with its own international program, and comes a cropper because (a) aerospace industry employment is down to 300 or 400,000 people,”

    This is harsh, but that’s probably a feature, not a bug. The problem with the existing NASA human space flight programs is that they’re more about keeping thousands of government and contractor workers employed than they’re about actual space exploration. Competing against a country with much lower labor costs like China means doing more with fewer workers. The Shuttle workforce was about 17,000 compared to ULA at around 3,700 (on its way to 3,000) and SpaceX at around 1,500. If we are going to compete with China in your hypothetical, then our launch workforce would need to more closely resemble the latter two examples than the former. And if the politics don’t allow us to fire anyone between now and then, then shedding and not replacing retirees is the only other way to do it.

    “most of them in their sixties”

    For better or worse, the more commercial side of the space sector may be taking care of the age distribution problem itself. According to some A&A departments, their best young engineers are going to work for the SpaceX’s of the world:

    “To my amazement, I found that of my top 10 students, five work at SpaceX. No other company or lab has attracted more than two of these top students.

    I also noticed that SpaceX recruited only two of them directly from the university. The others were drawn to the company after some years of experience elsewhere—joining SpaceX despite lower salaries and longer work hours. Why do they leave successful jobs in big companies to join a risky space startup? A former student told me, ‘This is a place where I am the limiting factor, not my work environment.’ At SpaceX, he considers himself to be in an entrepreneurial environment in which great young people collaborate to do amazing things. He never felt like this in his previous job with an aerospace company.

    My colleagues in universities around the U.S. say they have had similar experiences. SpaceX is winning the battle for the best and most entrepreneurial young talent in the aerospace industry.”

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/awst/2010/08/16/AW_08_16_2010_p58-245003.xml

  • Robert G. Oler

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Well, the reality is that we’re spending a high-profile $8B each year on human space flight. So one would at least like Romney to be giving it a little serious thought.>>

    Well not to be flippant (sorry I am shoveling crushed concrete on our new drive…) but one would Willard would give his entire campaign and notion of a Presidency some serious thought, but clearly he is instead worried more about how to capture an increasingly moronic, zenophobic lots of other phobic irrational electorate that will decide the GOP nomination.

    The solution sets for fixing all that ills the United States and its government is really pretty small, few things are painless…but to some extent NASA has become metaphoric in a small scale of the issues affecting almost all of the federal government…at its heart it is the notion of very good people as a group stuck in a system which mostly tolerates and demands mediocrity of the people who are chosen as both the political and civil service leadership.

    Go look back in the plethora of things I’ve had published and you find a few years there where I was quite for some sort of heavy lift…and a few other things that I am against now (I was for them before I was against them…lol) and while a lot of it is conditions and realities change; the main reason I abhor any real project at NASA is that if their parents had not taught them how to defecate in a politie manner…if the leadership at NASA had to invent something to make the effort work…they literally could not do it for any reasonable price. Oddly enough the turning point for me was when they tried to 1) fix the toliet on the shuttle and 2) upgrade the shuttle cockpit.

    What anyone who wants to fix NASA HSF and make some use of those 8 billion dollars is going to have to do is 1) kill (metaphorically) most of the senior managers at NASA…it just needs to be a decap down to oh GS 14 or maybe some level of the SES…2) bring in new blood as managers/leaders and then 4) try and sort out something that can be done at NASA HSF which is doable in 4 years…like technology demonstrators for instance.

    A lot of this is going to have to happen government wide. The armed forces need a serious cleansing…to many flag officers and the ones that are there need a serious “rethink” of who stays and who goes on the lecture circuit. The FAA needs this as well…

    but along the way the pork protectors have to die as well…and that is something that will happen in my view if Obama is reelected.

    The right wing of the GOP will literally implode in anger and a self firing squad trying to blame someone when that happens…and then he can have a better hand in Congress.

    But in reality the short answer to Willards policy is no he doesnt give a darn about human spaceflight. He will say anything and do anything to be elected President…except there is nothing he can say or do concerning HSF which helps that goal. RGO

  • Doug Lassiter

    amightywind wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
    “I am confident that Romney will be well advised on NASA. Mike Griffin returns! And you all called me crazy!”

    There’s an interesting thought. What if Mike Griffin did, in fact, volunteer to be a space advisor to Romney? Think Romney would jump at that? Here’s a guy who led the U.S. off a cliff in human space flight, whose plan was declared unexecutable by a high level (and non-partisan!) committee, and which was formally disbanded by Congress. George W. Bush wouldn’t even try to fund it properly, as the plan matured. As the Space Frontier Foundation noted, Romney would probably have fired Mike Griffin! Why in the world would Romney want to send the message that his space policy is being drafted by Mike Griffin? Romney doesn’t need Mike Griffin’s political and policy baggage if he wanted to highlight the Moon as a destination, or an SLS as an important vehicle to get there.

    No question that Mike Griffin wants to return, but I see no advantage to any Presidential candidate in forging a conspicuous alliance with him.

    Now, this all being said, I do now note that in the letter from Pace et al (including Griffin) that endorsed Mitt Romney, Scott Pace is listed as Chair of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group. I can’t find any other references to that group except for the letter, so I have to assume that this is a self-declared group. Not at all clear that Romney specifically asked them to form. So again, it’s not at all clear that this Advisory Group is really doing any advising.

  • josh

    lol, windy must be getting pretty desperate as the primaries drag on and his silly ‘opinions’ become more and more untenable. it’s fun to watch.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I am confident that Romney will be well advised on NASA. Mike Griffin returns!

    Romney already on record saying that a Moon mission would be nuts, and we all know that Romney never changes his mind… ;-)

    And you all called me crazy!

    No, I think your posts are idiotic, not crazy. Regarding Griffin, he has made his desires very public, so it’s not a great leap of deduction to see that he wants to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Don’t count your chickens until they hatch though…

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi RGO –

    “The Chinese are no more headed to the Moon then we are…”

    China’s space leadership has already stated clearly where they are in that process.

    The big question is “Why?”, and China’s space leadership have their own answers to that question.

    Will the state leaders act on them?
    Many things and thinking will be different by 2020.
    We’ll see.

    In any case, the US will face severe competition in space markets in the near term.

    We could have had DIRECT and two manned launch systems for what was wasted on Ares 1, and we still don’t know how that fiasco happened.

  • Vladislaw

    Dark Blue Nine wrote:

    “Griffin just wants to be in charge of building his pet rockets — and not even HLVs given his Ares I obsession — so he’s backing the uncaring front-runner, not the space visionary.:

    Since Romney would more than likely support Utah and the ATK “Liberty” rocket would be seen as a Utah project and the liberty is basically the Ares 1, Griffin is aligning with exactly what you say he wants, keep working on this Ares 1.

    Marcel F. Williams wrote:

    “But maybe we can beg the Chinese to allow an American astronaut to visit the Moon again aboard one of their ships.”

    How many non americans did the USA allow to fly on our “ships”? Just curious.

  • DCSCA

    “Romney is in no rush to go back to the Moon…”

    That’s too generous. He has no intention of going at all. Which makes that endorsement letter Cernan, Griffin and Crippen signed a month ago before the Florida Primary appear an all the more foolish gesture on their part. Romney’s attitude is one only another Wall Street-type could embrace- like Ivan Boesky, who famously quipped to his wife: “What good is the moon– you can’t buy or sell it.” Form a committee and study a problem… yeah, that’s ‘leadership.’

    “It’s like, guys, we were there a long time ago, all right? And when you get there would you bring back some of the stuff we left?”

    What is it about ‘that was then, this is now’ Romney doesn’t understand. The man would be the perfect GOP candidate– if this was 1952. No doubt the Book of Mormon addresses national humiliation someplace along with what Spain said to Britain when they began to establish the American Coloinies.

    @Dark Blue Nine wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    “The problem with the existing NASA human space flight programs is that they’re more about keeping thousands of government and contractor workers employed than they’re about actual space exploration.”

    LEO HSF operations has/had little to do w/space exploration. And the poison of commercialization efforts by Reaganites and his cronies only aggravated the situation– as if Reaganomicis was going to lead mankind out into the cosmos. Laughable. Space exploitation is not space exploration. Almost as funny as ‘Newt Gingrich- Moon President.’

    “SpaceX is winning the battle for the best and most entrepreneurial young talent in the aerospace industry…” =yawn= Yet another Musketeer press releaser. Because SpaceX is going no place fast and LEO is a ticket to no place. Bowersox knew it — and punched out.

    Again, Musketeers need schooled on the fraud they try to pitch whixh is a false equivalency; that half a century after government managed and operated space programs have launched, orbited and safely returned crewed spacecraft from Earth orbit– and from moon orbit and lunar landings as well– SpaceX and other commercial space enterprises have failed to launch, orbit and safely return anybody. Not a soul. And the clock is ticking, the days, the weeks and months go by…

    Half a century after Gagarin, Glenn and Titov as well as Shepard and Grissom’s suborbital flights SpaceX continues to rate a big goose egg in the HSF column– but flown a small wheel of cheese. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

  • Martijn Meijering

    We could have had DIRECT and two manned launch systems for what was wasted on Ares 1, and we still don’t know how that fiasco happened.

    You behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye. DIRECT was every bit as stupid, useless and corrupt as Constellation was. We don’t need new launch vehicles to explore the moon, we need a lander. We do need new launch vehicles, radically cheaper ones, if we are to open up space to (manned) commercial activity. Doing an exploration program with freely competing existing launchers is an ideal way to generate the demand that will over time lead the market to develop such launchers. The earlier we start, the sooner we will have the results we want.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Suppose also the US wishes to respond with its own international program, and comes a cropper because (a) aerospace industry employment is down to 300 or 400,000 people, most of them in their sixties, and (b) the aerospace supply chain in this country has pretty dwindled away as the defense industry shrank and as commercial aircraft production shifted to overseas.

    Behold the poodle’s core: what you care about is the pork, and the jobs, not the space program.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Other hand, suppose it’s twenty years from now, the Chinese are doing interesting things in space (building Luna City, let’s say, in cooperation with Europe, India, Japan, Brazil, Iran, Nigeria, and others).

    No one will be doing that by then. NASA on the other hand could be at L1/L2 by 2017, at least visit a NEO by 2022 and probably land on the moon not much later than that, provided they seek maximum synergy with commercial space. If they do, we can have commercial crew by 2015, large scale commercial spaceflight in LEO by 2027-2032 and commercial lunar activity after that.

    If on the other hand we spend ten years developing unneeded infrastructure like SLS or depots, or going on a research-a-thon, we’ll have nothing by 2022. In the best scenario that wastes another decades. In a worse scenario (from the space enthusiast rather than the taxpayer perspective) this is the end of NASA manned spaceflight and nothing will come after it, so we will have screwed up for good.

  • @Martijn:

    No one will be doing that by then. NASA on the other hand could be at L1/L2 by 2017, at least visit a NEO by 2022 and probably land on the moon not much later than that, provided they seek maximum synergy with commercial space.

    This schedule is arbitrary and borderline non-sequitur.

    If on the other hand we spend ten years developing unneeded infrastructure like SLS or depots, or going on a research-a-thon, we’ll have nothing by 2022.

    Nonsense. Even if heavy lift and depots were “unneeded,” the expenditure on either has nothing to do with making or breaking commercial lift.

  • @Martijn:

    Behold the poodle’s core: what you care about is the pork, and the jobs, not the space program.

    That is fundamentally what the space program is.

  • @Lassiter:

    I’m not sure what is more troubling, Mitt Romney saying he wasn’t interested in going back to the Moon, or Mitt Romney considering the whole premise a joke.

    Are you usually troubled by things that were never said and never happened?

  • Martijn Meijering

    This schedule is arbitrary and borderline non-sequitur.

    Cargo Dragon is about to become operational. A manned Dragon could follow in a couple of years, 2015 is probably conservative given sufficient funding. An operational CST_100 by then is also perfectly reasonable. By 2017 NASA could have develop an Orion-derived universal service module. Together with a Centaur modified for service as an EDS this is good enough for going to L1/L2 by 2017, especially since unmanned version could go earlier than that.

    Another five years for a Bigelow style hab and / or a lander is reasonable, which would allow NEO and moon missions. Five to ten years after the first manned propellant intensive missions (Moon/ NEO) should be enough for the development of radically cheaper commercial space launch. A couple more years would be needed for the first commercial lunar surface activity. Perfectly reasonable, not at all arbitrary.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Nonsense. Even if heavy lift and depots were “unneeded,” the expenditure on either has nothing to do with making or breaking commercial lift.

    Of course it does, because it delays the huge demand for launch services inherent in an exploration program, and therefore delays the availability of R&D funding for radically cheaper launch vehicles.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Perfectly reasonable, not at all arbitrary.

    And let me add this: even under this optimistic scenario (optimistic because it assumes NASA following its mandate to seek an encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space), it will take twenty years to see large scale commercial activity. I’ll be pushing sixty by then. Waste another decade on unneeded launchers or infrastructure and then another decade to recover from the political backlash, and I may be close to pushing up daisies. And all that when we could have had it all by now without that damned Shuttle.

  • Martin Meijering wrote:

    Behold the poodle’s core: what you care about is the pork, and the jobs, not the space program.

    On the subject of jobs …Florida Today published today an article looking at jobs “lost” at KSC.

    Turns out they were all contractor jobs. No NASA employees lost their jobs.

    In fact, in 2011 NASA lost the fewest jobs by percentage of any federal agency.

    Anyone paying attention knows the clock on the contractors started on January 14, 2004 when President Bush gave the speech announcing Shuttle’s retirement effective the completion of the ISS.

  • Vladislaw

    NASA lost 13 jobs? Anyway to see how many jobs were lost each year for the last 4-6 years?

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Again, Musketeers need schooled…”

    The author of that article is not a “Musketeer” and he doesn’t need “schooling”. He’s Thomas Zurbuchen, a professor of space science and aerospace engineering and associate dean at the University of Michigan.

    “Tick-tock, tick-tock”

    Again with the bomb threats?

    You are one revolting creep.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “In fact, in 2011 NASA lost the fewest jobs by percentage of any federal agency”

    I knew that no civil servant jobs were lost, but this fact is shocking. Talk about engineering welfare…

  • Doug Lassiter

    Prez Cannady wrote @ February 26th, 2012 at 8:19 am
    “Are you usually troubled by things that were never said and never happened?”

    I never said that I was troubled by these things. But thank you for your concern.
    Many people do find it troubling that Mitt Romney gives no indication that he wants to go back to the Moon. He’s had many opportunities, in dinging Gingrich, to say that he thought that a return to the Moon was of value for us, but I don’t believe he ever has said that. The “Romney Space Policy Advisory Group” has not been very successful in advising Romney on this critical facet of space policy. As pointed out above, the letter by that group just looks like a foolish gesture, especially since Romney has never expressed those sentiments himself.

    There is no question that when human space flight comes up with Mitt Romney, the premise of a lunar return is couched by him as an anti-Gingrich joke. Now that Gingrich isn’t as much of a threat to Romney, as he appeared to be after South Carolina, and since Santorum doesn’t see space as being much more than about jobs and technology partnerships (of which at least human space flight is a VERY minor piece) I suspect we won’t hear a lot more about it from the GOP.

  • Mark

    Prediction: If Romney if elected president, a return to the moon will be part of his space policy. It won’t a Gingrich’s “zany” idea nor will it be to race the Chinese.

    Remember, this guy is able to say — with a straight face — that Romneycare has nothing to do with Obamacare.

  • Robert G. Oler

    E.P. Grondine wrote @ February 26th, 2012 at 12:55 am

    China’s space leadership has already stated clearly where they are in that process…

    not really they have said they are studying it…but they are not committed to it RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark wrote @ February 26th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Prediction: If Romney if elected president, a return to the moon will be part of his space policy>>

    other then Willards ability to take every viewpoint of an issue and convince the weak minded corporate drolls of the GOP that he is really on his side…and your fantasies…what do you use to come to that prediction?

    It really doesnt matter…Obama is going to have a major reelection victory…the GOP is headed for the abyss. I am still hoping that Santorum is the nominee…he wont carry more then 9 states. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ February 26th, 2012 at 11:54 am

    There are is seems quite a few groups trying to suggest things to Willard on space policy. Here in Houston there is a group that has some “help” from both Pete Olson and KBG trying to put together a space policy that Willard can speak to if the Texas primary 1) happens and 2) as is likely the nomination is still in play.

    Maybe the convention will get a fresh face and Palin will emerge as the candidate…then the back to the Moon crowd can have a fresh shot…LOL RGO

  • @Earth to Planet Marcel
    One minor change:
    “While the Chinese are on the Moon exploiting the ice resources at the lunar poles for water, air, and rocket fuel for future economic gain, the US could extend the SLS for another decade at $3 billion a year as corporate welfare for ATK and other former shuttle-related companies!”
    There, fixed that for you!

    As I mentioned in another thread:
    Because of SLS backers, we are going to be relying on the Russians for years longer than we have to. Also every year we are waiting for the completion of SLS for crewed deep space missions (without proceeding with a deep space plan using existing launchers along with space vehicles developed through commercial competition coupled with fuel depots) will be an extra year we will remain stuck in LEO.
    See: http://images.spaceref.com/news/2011/21.jul2011.pdf

    Even the legendary former Director of the Johnson Space Center, Chris Kraft is now on the anti-SLS bandwagon. He recently said,
    “Building a great big rocket is not a necessary expenditure at this time. In fact, the budget that will be consumed by this big rocket will prevent NASA from any meaningful human exploration for at least the next decade and probably beyond. We don’t have to march in place while we wait for the powers that be to cancel it. Let’s be innovative; let’s wake up the sleeping giant and have at returning to the Moon right now.”
    That quote is from this article written by him:
    http://spacenews.com/commentaries/111219-nasa-needs-wake-reality.html

    Contrary to the claims of its backers, SLS is the problem not the solution. They are doing a grave disservice to their country’s future in space. Ironically, these are some of the same people claiming fear of China gaining space leadership. This claim is a paradox of the first order. Want to help China gain space leadership over the U.S.? Then continue supporting SLS,

  • DCSCA

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    “4 more years of Obama will see the sprouting of a robust human commercial spaceflight industry that will be the foundation of our move to the stars a century or so from now.”

    ROFLMAOPIP ‘Reaganomics’ has failed on Earth and never going to fuel the human expansion out into the cosmos.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ February 26th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    ‘Reaganomics’ has failed on Earth

    I think the fawning over Reagan is pretty stupid, but it’s also clear that you have no idea what “Reaganomics” is, or isn’t, nor do you know how markets are motivated.

  • DCSCA

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ February 26th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    You Musketeers are an angry, frustrated lot and have no credibility until you take the risk and put some skin in the game– launch orbit and safely return somebody. Until then, it’s all talk. .

  • DCSCA

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ February 25th, 2012 at 12:06 pm
    This election is shaping up to be one of the more important in the nations history

    Nonsense. You’re witnessing they dying dregs of Reaganomics at the end of a 30 year cycle and the transitional elements in all matters of society- including space policy- is to be expected. Time has marched on and the the GOP doesnt know it. Watching the Reagan bransd of hyper-conservatism burn out is a joy.

  • well

    Romney wants a significant tax cut. The idea that he’ll be pushing for a return to the moon just doesnt seem very realistic. NASA will limp along with constrained budgets and do what they can.

  • BeancounterFromDownunder

    DCSCA wrote @ February 27th, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Pot, kettle, black!!

  • DCSCA

    BeancounterFromDownunder wrote @ February 29th, 2012 at 9:36 am

    More static. Australia has no HSF program either, public or private. G’day.

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