Campaign '12

Santorum mostly silent on space in Huntsville

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich visited the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville for a speech, which included a brief discussion about space policy. Two days later another GOP candidate, Rick Santorum, visited the very same venue. This time, though, beyond a nod to the historical backdrop to his talk, there was virtually no mention of space.

“This is—what a venue,” he remarked early in his speech, which was webcast live by local TV stations. “It just takes me back to my childhood, growing up in the Mercury and Apollo time in our country in the ’60s and ’70s.” He recalled staying up late at night to watch the Apollo 11 “lunar spacewalk”, among other recollections of that era. “Just as an American, I just want to say thank you, Huntsville, thank you for the great work that you’ve done for our country.”

After that trip down memory lane, though, he went on to other topics, and didn’t return to space during the rest of the approximately 40-minute speech. The closest he came was in a discussion of defense spending, where he noted that “a very important part of our defense is space,” without going into greater detail. Advocates of NASA, though, might be disappointed in a statement he made a little earlier in his speech. “I will not cut the defense budget while I’m president of the United States,” he said to cheers from the several hundred people in attendance. “In fact, it is the only area of the budget that will grow under my administration.” NASA, it seems, would have to make do with, at best, a flat budget in a Santorum Administration.

Local TV station WHNT claimed to be the only media outlet to get a one-on-one interview with Santorum after his speech, but even then space did not come up: Santorum talked on topics from gas prices to missile defense.

37 comments to Santorum mostly silent on space in Huntsville

  • SpaceColonizer

    Geez louise…

  • Googaw

    Good for Senator Santorum! It would be quite helpful, not only to the health of the United States’ defense and economy, but to the health of space development in general, to have more pragmatic space spending — both commercial and military, but the latter being what the federal government has direct control over — and much less spending on the wildly distorted economic fantasies of NASA and the astronaut cult.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Its hard to imagine how Sweater Ricky could put together a coherent space effort even if he had the staff to do it…he does not (at least on the face of his statements) believe in the notion of a strong federal government doing things on behalf of the American people.

    Look Santorum is both in my view entertaining (in a political sense) and the Armaggedon that the GOP and the nation needs.

    His campaign is impressive…on almost nothing he is more or less tagging even with Willard, and while this is more a reflection of Willards weakness it is an impression of Santorums’ ability to “twiddle” the GOP faithful and organize what is left of the non corporate wing of the base into some coherent effort. If Newt has the honor to drop out; Santorum will be the nominee.

    I would like to see him get the nomination, hence I will vote for him in Texas…because I would like to see the right wing of the GOP, the “religious wing” and that is about all that is left of the party to get its ideal candidate. I think he loses and loses badly in the general..and hence the nation will simply stop paying attention as a whole to the groups that make up that “base”, the GOP will reorganize into a coherent party…and we as a nation can get back on track…or of course he wins and then we get to see how their ideas of governance stand up…

    A space future for humans does not happen without a coherent federal (US policy) that does for human spaceflight what it did for all the other technologies and infrastructure that are now common place. the right wing of the GOP in some pre civil war mentality does not believe in that role for the Federal government. We are a great nation for many reasons…but one of them is that the federal government has steered the opening of frontiers through private enterprise and private effort.

    I have been as critical as any reasonable person about Obama…but in the end even with all his weaknesses we have a greater chance of pushing back the frontier of space with humans…then with any of the little people of the GOP…at least in this cycle.

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    “the Apollo 11 “lunar spacewalk”…”

    Hmmm. Santorum was born May 10, 1958 and pretty much has the same foggy recall my brother, an attorney today, has for Apollo 11- he’d just turned 11 for Apollo 11 as well, and watched it in a Pittsburgh suburb not far from Butler, Pa, too. And it’s not as if there was no local connection– it was big news in the metro Pittsburgh area that Westinghouse, a large local employer, had assembled the color TV camera used aboard Columbia and the b/w TV camera tucked inside Eagle’s MESA, deployed to televise that ‘lunar spacewalk’ to thw world and it was well publicized in the Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette. Quite a source of local pride, broadcast on the reginal on the Westinghouse TV and radio affiliates. All the Gulf gas stations around town were giving away free Apollo LM paper models at the same time throughout Allegheny County, too.

    Apollo meant nothing to 11 year old Ricky Santorum, living in Butler, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1969.

    Odd, too, that a Holy Roller like Ricky wouldn’t note the reading of Genesis from lunar orbit at Christmas by Apollo 8 just six months earlier. Or note Buzz Aldrin held a quiet communion not long after the Eagle touched down. But then. he doesn’t remember much about 8 or 11 because he has no real interest in it.

    So Santorum’s memories of Mercury and Gemini are most certainly nil as well. It has no meaning in shaping his perspectives about the world. He’s just below that break age– old enough to know it occurred in his lifespan but too young to have it as a benchmark memory in shaping an outlook in his life. And nobody calls a moonwalk a ‘lunar spacewalk’ any more than they’d call his run for President a bid for the office of Chief Executive. He has nothing to offer space advocacy. Not even good lip service. At least Newt Gingrich- Moon President had some ‘base knowledge.’

  • mike shupp

    I no longer wonder that in the space of a century the ancient Romans permitted themselves to be governed by the likes of Caligula, Nero, Domitian, and Commodus.

  • DCSCA

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 12:34 am

    “I would like to see him get the nomination…”

    That’ MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s theory. But then, he thought Pawlenty would be the nominee. Santorum’s the last dirty, tattered bag of charcoal left at the store you have to pick up for your Memorial Day BBQ.

    “I have been as critical as any reasonable person about Obama…but in the end even with all his weaknesses we have a greater chance of pushing back the frontier of space with humans…then with any of the little people of the GOP…at least in this cycle.”

    Sure looks that way.

  • GeeSpace

    “Just as an American, I (Santorum) just want to say thank you, Huntsville, thank you for the great work that you’ve done for our country.” Yea, what you’ve done; not what you ARE doing or what you WILL be doing.

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 12:34 am “A space future for humans does not happen without a coherent federal (US policy) that does for human spaceflight what it did for all the other technologies and infrastructure that are now common place” He is 110% right on. A coherent US policy with significant private space involvement

  • vulture4

    None of the GOP candidates has shown any interest in space, except Gingrich who has no chance at the nomination and believes NASA can be replaced with a prize. Nevertheless much of NASA middle management is knee-jerk Republican and is doing its best to undermine Bolden and Garver, as is (apparently) Nelson of Florida who is a titular Democrat. Where’s the logic?

  • amightywind

    I remember moon walk day too, as a fine, strapping 6 year old Goldwater Republican. Old Neil showed us the right stuff that day!

    I like Santorum and voted for him in our caucus. This country could use some wild eyed religiosity. (BTW Obama really stepped in it with Cardinal Dolens!) But the candidate will be Mitt. If you look at the rest of the remaining states he should collect about 1400 delegates. I like Mitt. I like Mormons. Mitt’s our man. Go with Mitt! He will do well against Obomber with the moderates. Big business likes him. Gas prices, Keystone, employment, and geopolitical events are all converging on Obama, just like they did on Carter.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi RGO, AW –

    When the Democrats become the party of fiscal responsibility and efficient government, then you know something is seriously wrong with the Republican Party.

    I kind of hope that the GOP convention will go into deadlock. It would make for great TV.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 2:13 am
    “He’s just below that break age– old enough to know it occurred in his lifespan but too young to have it as a benchmark memory in shaping an outlook in his life. And nobody calls a moonwalk a ‘lunar spacewalk’ any more than they’d call his run for President a bid for the office of Chief Executive. He has nothing to offer space advocacy. Not even good lip service. At least Newt Gingrich- Moon President had some ‘base knowledge.’”

    That’s a curious position, that one has to be a certain age to offer something, even lip service, to space advocacy. That Santorum probably has nothing to offer to space advocacy has nothing to do with his age, or whether he actually remembers watching Apollo 11 on television. Using age and or “base knowledge” as a qualification for effective space advocacy makes the interesting presumption that the Apollo lunar landings left a national legacy that is actually expendable. There are people who also believe, of course, that national defense policy should not be entrusted to people who didn’t live through WWII.

    This is an extrapolation of the “inspiration” drivel that permeates space advocacy. True space advocates should wear an award bar on their dress uniform ribbon rack that asserts that they were watching television on July 20, 1969. Perhaps a lower grade bar could be one that asserts that they picked up a newspaper the next day. Gosh, another bar could be that the recipient heard “Zero-G and I feel fine!” being spoken. That way, you could really know who you could trust.

  • Robert G. Oler

    DCSCA wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 6:07 am

    That’ MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s theory. But then, he thought Pawlenty would be the nominee>>

    no he did not. At least on all the shows I watched and I watch him fairly regularly.

    The GOp is finishing out a cycle that started with the rebuilding of Nixon in the 66-68 time period…(the last GOP cycle ended with Goldwater in 64) …

    Political cycles end when two things happen…the first is that pandering to the base is more important then holding onto a general election platform…and as a result the base becomes more and more disconnected from reality…that the base is becoming more disconnected from reality is pretty clear when it becomes “segregated, describable, a few other terms come to mind…by very very few denominators.

    The non corporate base of the GOP is now more or less an American religious party…consisting of “evangelicals” in both the Protestent and Catholic “houses”.

    The only thing that is keeping Willard viable is that the “base” is splintered off into two candidates now…Ricky and Newt…if it were not Santorum would have an easy run on the nomination…He still may get it …but he is going to have to work pretty hard for it.

    Why this is important to space politics and Why Santorum spoke where he did and said almost nothing about space politics…is that oddly enough it is Ricks base that feels the most disconnected from federal issues like the space program.

    Humans in space is all the things Ricky’s base does not like. Its science, its formal education, it is an acceptance of national purpose…and those projects (except in national defense) is just something these people dont like so much.

    Cycles in politics do not end until the “base” gets its candidate in a general and then taht candidate is creamed.

    This in 84 was Walter Mondale…who was the last candidate of the old New Deal regime in the Democratic party. Once those candidates are creamed parties usually drift ideologically (the GOP did even under Nixon) captured more by personalities able to deal with imminent national issues (Nixon Vietnam) until someone (and in the GOP this person was Reagan) can then reform a coalition which shapes the party “thought”.

    Reagan’s colation consisted of the people who are now driving the party to oblivion but he was not dominated by them…in fact he was a big government conservative (much like Newt is)…and tried to shape space politics (the concern here) in a “big government private enterprise” mold…

    (as an aside for the Dems…Obama might be Nixon…in terms of a political cycle).

    (cont part 2) RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    DCSCA wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 6:07 am

    (part2)

    it would be interesting in “alternate history” to think or game the notion that in the 80′s the space shuttle “works”.

    I dont think it ever could have gotten to more then 12 flights a year…but there are some alternate time lines where the shuttle system kind of becomes an American “Ariane”…I had (what I still think today grin) a really good piece published in Commercial Space before it folded which talked about how such a notion would affect the development of free enterprise in space.

    Something like that is going to have to be done at some point (in my view) with the space station…unless some leader (Obama or someone else) is satisfied with (kudo’s to Marcel) a 3 billion dollar national pride program that really doesnt accomplish much…

    IE answer how a federal asset (which ISS sort of is although it si more a “world science place) interfaces with private enterprise to allow PE to do what it does best…on a federal facility.

    This is not as exciting to space junkies as going to Mars, the Moon or some piece of rock…but how that gets answered is going to determine a lot of things…and that is going to be done by the prevailing ideology of whatever electoral trend emerges out of this election.

    A stark choice is important…plus I suspect Santorum can barely carry 9 states. RGO

  • DCSCA

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    “O’Donnell] no he did not. At least on all the shows I watched and I watch him fairly regularly.”

    Not regularly enough, it seems– in fact, he did, and he’s quite up front about it. [FYI, MSNBC is on here 24/7- save prinson time.) Go check the archives. And as an aside, Scarrobough zinged Newt with a moon presdient punchline again today. The gift that keeps on giving.

    Alternative histories are an ‘if-only’ waste of time.

    @Doug Lassiter wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    “That’s a curious position, that one has to be a certain age to offer something, even lip service, to space advocacy.”

    Not in the context of Santorum’s comments. Having first hand knowledge of what he was exposed to at the time of Apollo 11′s landing, his response to a Huntsville crows was lame at best and indicates Apollo wasn’t a significant event in his forumulative years. “This is an extrapolation of the “inspiration” drivel that permeates space advocacy.” Hardly ‘drivel.” Put your managment cap on and you’ll learn it’s essential. You try motivating a tam w/o it. Be it meeting quota, target dates, winning a Super Bowl game or going to the moon. ‘Base knwlwdge’ BTW, was a punny reference to Newt’s moon base rants.

  • DCSCA

    @Doug Lassiter wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    “That’s a curious position, that one has to be a certain age to offer something, even lip service, to space advocacy.”

    Not in the context of Santorum’s comments. Having first hand knowledge of what he was exposed to at the time of Apollo 11′s landing, his response to a Huntsville crowd was lame at best and indicates Apollo wasn’t a significant event in his forumulative years.

    “This is an extrapolation of the “inspiration” drivel that permeates space advocacy.” Hardly ‘drivel.’ Put your managment cap on and you’ll learn it’s essential. You try motivating a team w/o it. Be it meeting quota, target dates, winning a Super Bowl game or going to the moon. ‘Base knwlwdge’ BTW, was a punny reference to Newt’s moon base rants. Apologies for the typos. Coffee on the keyboard.

  • DCSCA

    “A coherent US policy with significant private space involvement.”

    Is laughable, especially as ‘private capital markets’ remain wary of ‘private space involvement.’ No markets w/good ROI. So they invest in oil wells and Facebook instead. ‘Reaganomics’ is not going to fuel human expansion out into the cosmos. Space exploitation is not space exploration.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 5:30 pm
    “Having first hand knowledge of what he was exposed to at the time of Apollo 11′s landing, his response to a Huntsville crowd was lame at best and indicates Apollo wasn’t a significant event in his forumulative years.”

    No, it doesn’t “indicate” that at all. It indicates that he doesn’t have a good sense of space policy. Lots of people who didn’t witness Apollo in their youth went on to be responsible to space policy. Please don’t forgive Santorum’s ignorance of space policy on the basis of his birthday.

    “Hardly ‘drivel.’ Put your managment cap on and you’ll learn it’s essential. ”

    That’s pretty funny. “Inspiration” is one of those flexible words that means whatever you want it to mean. Something that always looks admirable and reverential. Some linkage to divine influence implied there, I think. Yes, from a practical standpoint we can call it drivel. Putting Americans on the Moon was an inspiration to Americans to beat the crap out of the USSR. That’s all. The idea that those lunar accomplishments of ours can be explicitly linked with our succeeding technology development and STEM education is completely specious. You motivate your team with “inspiration”? “Get inspired like me, ya lazy bums!” No, you motivate teams with incentives and ideas. Time to hang up your cap.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Space exploitation is not space exploration.

    Not understanding where money comes from limits intelligent debate with you, but suffice it to say that exploration without the ultimate goal of exploitation means we’re spending money for no reason.

    And maybe you’re not aware of this, but the U.S. Treasury has to borrow 43 cents of every dollar it spends, which means it would be pretty stupid to just throw away that money for the fun of watching rockets shoot up into the sky.

    Try to be a responsible adult and THINK about WHY we spend money. THINK.

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Ron wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Again, you’re just cranking to crank– and clearly are oblivious to ‘where the money comes from’ where the debt is and why the deficits stretch to the fiscal horizon. We’re in the Age of Austerity- so get with the program as you’re not leading– so follow along or get out of the way.

  • DCSCA

    @Doug Lassiter wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    No, it doesn’t “indicate” that at all.

    Of course it does. You just don’t see it. Hence your weak assessment of managment and motivation methods.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Coastal Ron wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 6:36 pm
    “Not understanding where money comes from limits intelligent debate with you, but suffice it to say that exploration without the ultimate goal of exploitation means we’re spending money for no reason.”

    Just to be clear here, “exploitation” shouldn’t just mean resource development or colonization. If it did, the $3B/yr we spend on non-Earth space science exploration is money spent for no reason. A broader definition of exploitation should apply. Yes, you won’t get a lot of private investment on that kind of exploitation, because the return is likely to occur on a long time scale to impact the market, and because applications are not that well determined.

  • josh

    that a guy like santorum is even a serious contender shows just how messed up the political landscape in the us has become. it’s hard to believe for a european like me that an hypocritical, ignorant, cold-hearted, corrupt, twisted jesus-freak like him is a candidate for president of your country…and in 2012 mind you.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 8:51 pm
    “Of course it does. You just don’t see it. Hence your weak assessment of managment and motivation methods.”

    I just don’t see it as you see it. I’ll grant you that. But you’re confusing the two points I made. You’re saying that Santorum’s lack of excitement about space is due to the fact that he wasn’t watching TV on July 20, 1969. I find that a simplistic explanation for a political stance that is more easily blamed on a weak awareness of science and technology, and how those things bear on national needs. It’s interesting that Elon Musk was born two full years after Apollo 11. However can it be that he is passionate about human space flight? Although it is true that his passion isn’t encumbered by the old-school of space exploration, where only NASA can achieve success in space.

    As to management and motivation methods, you still haven’t made your point, except to brand my assessment as “weak”. I suspect that’s because you too are reluctant to try to define “inspiration” in a way that one can effectively teach management and motivation. It’s a slippery word, that i-word. Really easy to toss off, as are monosyllabic assessments. I find that people who use that word routinely and reverentially are, if you’ll pardon my language, among the least inspiring people around.

  • Coastal Ron

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Just to be clear here, “exploitation” shouldn’t just mean resource development or colonization.

    I use the broadest interpretation of exploitation, meaning we exploit the knowledge or capabilities we’ve developed for our productive benefit.

    I don’t include entertainment in that, so watching people or rovers move around on distant bodies does not produce any real societal gains. Finding and transmitting information that helps us to expand to those distant bodies is beneficial, even if it’s on a generational scale.

    This is not a new concept, except for DCSCA. Why did Columbus seek out the New World? Economic benefit. Same with every other explorer. Wikipedia lists the definition of exploration as “Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information.

    So when DCSCA spouts “exploration is not exploitation”, he’s being naive. What else is new.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ March 9th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    clearly are oblivious to ‘where the money comes from’ where the debt is and why the deficits stretch to the fiscal horizon.

    Again, not understanding where money comes from limits intelligent debate with you.

    If you will look at this chart, you will see that the U.S. hasn’t been without debt since 1840, yet we continue to spend money we don’t have. And you’ll also notice on that chart that our debt as a % of GDP has been this high before, and was far higher during WWII.

    What you also don’t understand is that there is no constitutional reason to fund NASA, nor is there any constitutional reason it couldn’t be funded at 10% of the federal budget. Congress spends what it wants on NASA, and none of your hysterical “borrow 43 cents of every dollar” rants matters. NASA is in the category of discretionary spending, so Congress can do whatever they want. Spend $30B on an unneeded rocket? Sure! Who is going to stop them? You?

    While I do want to see public debt reduced, that conversation is disconnected from individual programs. It really only matters on an agency basis, which is why I have supported reductions in NASA’s budget as part of an overall reduction in government spending.

    I’ve suggested you take a class in economics, and I still urge you to do that. Passion without direction is just as wasteful as exploration without getting anything useful out of it (i.e. exploitation).

  • Googaw

    I see Coastal Ron is still insisting that there is only one goal that we should all be forced to pursue in space: “exploitation”. And amazingly enough, he does so while religiously ignoring the people who are actually doing that: e.g. the comsat and GPS people who have been very usefully exploiting orbits beyond LEO for decades. Because they don’t use his precious, but for exploitation purposes useless, astronauts.

    As for Senator Santorum, politicians who don’t get excited into spending taxpayer money on crackpot economic fantasies are very much who we need.

  • Coastal Ron

    Googaw wrote @ March 10th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I see Coastal Ron is still insisting that there is only one goal that we should all be forced to pursue in space: “exploitation”.

    You misinterpret what I was saying, and indeed what history has shown us regarding exploration.

    And amazingly enough, he does so while religiously ignoring the people who are actually doing that: e.g. the comsat and GPS people who have been very usefully exploiting orbits beyond LEO for decades.

    Just because I didn’t mention them does not mean I’m actively ignoring them. There is only so much one can put in a paragraph. For instance, I see that you have ignored Landsat because you did not explicitly mention them.

    Our current commercial use of space is an exploitation of our earlier space exploration, wouldn’t you agree?

    As to Santorum’s lack of mention of any concrete HSF space exploration plans, that is more a reflection of the lack of consensus on the subject. Not everyone is a space enthusiast, but you don’t have to be a space enthusiast to like a particular HSF effort.

    However the inability of the space community to come up with a majority-supported recommendation for going beyond LEO is reflected in the actions of our politicians. Politicians need constituent input, and right now they are getting mixed messages from the space community.

  • Googaw

    Coastal Ron: “Our current commercial use of space is an exploitation of our earlier space exploration, wouldn’t you agree?”

    Only very partially. It’s nice to know about the van Allen belts before launching satellites beyond LEO. But comsats, GPS, Landsat and the like are mainly technological spinoffs of the 1950s IRBM and ICBM programs, as well as Eisenhower’s important but unheralded spysat and military comsat programs (started long before Sputnik) based on those missiles. One practical application leads to another, while the impractical applications and economic fantasies of the kind pursued by NASA are dead-ends.

    “As to Santorum’s lack of mention of any concrete HSF space exploration plans, that is more a reflection of the lack of consensus on the subject.”

    Or perhaps it’s just because he’s a normal person rather than an astronaut cultist. Even if he was a closet cultist and your reason here is the correct one, it would be yet more evidence that lack of consensus about a future full of alternatives is a feature, not a bug.

    P.S. Santorum just drubbed Gingrich again in the Kansas caucus.

  • DCSCA

    @Doug Lassiter wrote @ March 10th, 2012 at 11:30 am
    “You’re saying that Santorum’s lack of excitement about space is due to the fact that he wasn’t watching TV on July 20, 1969.”

    No, you said that. Santorum infers he watched, but it’s not a matter of ‘lack of excitement’ on his part but an obvious indifference to it in spite of it not only being a major news event of his time but having major local coverage as well in the Pittsburgh area. Saw it first hand. It’s a peculiar position for him. It was an national eventt w/international impact a savvy politician speaking to a space-based crowd in Huntsville should have referenced accordingly. He didn’t. It simply did not register with him because it wasn’t important to him. Birth control is. So too are the Pittsburgh Pirates, as he referenced them before as well. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was clear to the crown in Huntsville that in spite of his locale, he isn’t in the ‘space camp.’

    “It’s interesting that Elon Musk was born two full years after Apollo 11. However can it be that he is passionate about human space flight?”

    It a hobby– it interests him– although he hasn’t flown anybody. He likes cars, too. And getting married. Space doesn’t interest Santorum as his comments on Huntsville clearly reveal. AS to managment technoques, if you can’t insire your team, they won’t follow your lead, particularly though hard-fought and/or long-term and costly endeavors- be it a football game, a war– or moving humans out into the soplar system.

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ March 10th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    You’re just crankin’ to crank. You do not lead and will not follow so all that’s left is for you to get out of the way— or get run over

  • Nick

    BTW, Coastal Ron, I left off Landsat (and many other space satellite industries) in favor of comsats and GPS for a very straightforward reason: both have greater revenue, profits, and overall economic value than private sector remote sensing and these other uses. I was simply listing the top two examples of space industry. By contrast, astronaut cultists and the even weirder worshipers of billionaire tourists obsess over a “market”, orbital HSF, where revenues always have been continue to be over 99% from historically bizarre civilian government agency projects which launch astronauts for the sake of launching astronauts.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ March 10th, 2012 at 6:16 pm
    “Santorum infers he watched, but it’s not a matter of ‘lack of excitement’ on his part but an obvious indifference to it in spite of it not only being a major news event of his time but having major local coverage as well in the Pittsburgh area.”

    You’re still blaming Santorum’s “obvious indifference to it” (it, being human space flight, I presume) on his response to Apollo 11 when he was a kid. Again, having been “inspired” by Apollo 11 is your badge of honor for human space flight enthusiasts. Not to apologize for Santorum’s indifference, but it may be that he clearly sees that, at least with regard to the Moon, Apollo 11 was a failure in setting us up for grander efforts on that body. Could be that’s why he didn’t mention it. Also, he says he has a digestive problem with JFK that may make him reluctant to point to a space accomplishment started by that President.

    “It a hobby– it interests him– although he hasn’t flown anybody.”

    To all of Musk’s employees at SpaceX, it certainly isn’t a hobby. They developed a high performance, modern launch vehicle, which is something that NASA hasn’t done for a long, long time.

    As to inspiration and management techniques, you’re still unable to define what that inspiration is. But boy, we sure need it, whatever it is. That’s the problem with inspiration and space exploration. No one really understands what it is or how it works. If we did, we’d use that understanding to design a program to generate it. Yeah, we can talk about mouths hanging open, or kids playing in boxes, but these aren’t signs of creativity or innovation that are unique to space exploration any more than they are to a stunning motion picture.

  • DCSCA

    @Doug Lassiter wrote @ March 11th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    “To all of Musk’s employees at SpaceX, it certainly isn’t a hobby.”

    More’s the pity. To Musk it is. Like cars, marriages– and making movies. But then, he’s planning to retire on Mars, isn’t he. LOL

    Santorum’s indifference may or may not be to HSF, but it appears to be a marked indifference to a major event in human history– ‘the greatest week since the Creation’ as fellow GOPer, Presdient Nixon, labeled it. Curios oversight for a Holy Roller like Ricky, along w/8′s Genesis Xmas Eve moment & Buzz’s lunar comunion post 11′s landing. Maybe he was into the ’69 Mets when the Pirates cratered, instead. His JFK faux pas only reinforces the point that it occured in his lifespan but the actual event when it occurred had little impace on him. He read and referenced it with years of Biblical hindsight. As to ‘inspiriation’ if you gotta keep asking what it is then you’ve never had to apply it as a coach, a manager or a leader of a team.

  • DCSCA

    Googaw wrote @ March 10th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    “Or perhaps it’s just because [Santorum's] a normal person.”

    Perhaps you should review Mr. Santorum’s history– professional, political and personal. He most decidely is outside the ‘norm’ hence his steep rejection by Pennsylvania voters.

  • Das Boese

    Nick wrote @ March 11th, 2012 at 12:57 am

    BTW, Coastal Ron, I left off Landsat (and many other space satellite industries) in favor of comsats and GPS for a very straightforward reason: both have greater revenue, profits, and overall economic value than private sector remote sensing and these other uses.

    GPS is a government (military) system that doesn’t operate on a for-profit basis. Same for other GNSS services.

    Commercial remote sensing on the other hand is a growth market.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ March 11th, 2012 at 5:28 pm
    “if you gotta keep asking what it is then you’ve never had to apply it as a coach, a manager or a leader of a team.”

    Well, I gotta keep asking you what it is, if just because you’re evidently not that clear on how to explain it. I know very well how to motivate a team, but inspiration isn’t a word I use to express how I accomplish that. There is some kind of divinity and perhaps evangelicalism associated with that i-word. Nixon’s comparison of the Apollo 11 event to creation just underscores that uncomfortable linkage of human space flight with religion. I do find it remarkable that passionate human space flight advocates often sound like true believers in more than one sense of the phrase. They worship the act, oftentimes losing track of rationale for it.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ March 11th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    More’s the pity. To Musk it is.

    If increasing your wealth to $2B is a hobby, then that’s the hobby I want.

    Just like you create new dictionary words when you can’t refute facts, now you’re trying to come up with a new definition of “hobby”. Won’t work, as everyone (except for your buddy Gaetano Marano) knows a business when they see one.

    Just out of curiosity – how many startups have you successfully grown? Oh, that’s right, you don’t create value, you only complain about people that create value. ;-)

  • DCSCA

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ March 13th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Uh no, it’s clear you don’t get it- for if you did, you’d know it and employ it daily Understandable as it’s not the forte of technicians comfortable as followers.

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