Congress, NASA, Other

Briefly: Mikulski’s supernova, Brown’s letter, Palazzo’s public-private support

What do you get the senator who has been one of the biggest supporters for space-based astronomy? How about an exploding star! The AP reports that a supernova will be named after Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) at a ceremony Thursday in Baltimore to inaugurate a new archive facility at the Space Telescope Science Institute. The facility itself will also bear her name: the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, or MAST. Supernovae are typically not named after people, so this may be only an unofficial name.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released a letter Wednesday signed by him and 13 members of the state’s House delegation asking NASA to reconsider its choice to manage the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory. NASA selected last year a Florida nonprofit, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), to manage the ISS national lab, but CASIS has come under recent scrutiny after its executive director resigned and the organization itself appeared to be getting off to a slow start. “It is the general impression of the situation that CASIS is neither performing this type of work, nor actively heading toward being able to perform this type of work,” the letter states, referring to supporting ISS research. “Because of the limited life of the ISS, it may be time to consider a switch in leadership for this activity.” CASIS beat out Space Laboratory Associates (SLA), a joint effort of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute.

In an op-ed this week in The Hill, Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) discussed the benefits of public-private partnerships in research and innovation, specifically mentioning NASA’s commercial cargo and crew benefits. “Developing a mutually beneficial relationship between NASA and commercial industry can enable commercial providers to carry human crews to low Earth orbit in the near future,” he writes. Palazzo is chair of the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, which in recent hearings has raised questions about NASA’s approach to commercial crew in particular.

43 comments to Briefly: Mikulski’s supernova, Brown’s letter, Palazzo’s public-private support

  • Dark Blue Nine

    Nothing against the space telescope archive per se, but public works paid for with tax dollars should not be named after congressmen. Public servants are not nobility. If a congressman wants their ego stroked and their name on something, they should pay for it themselves.

  • Martijn Meijering

    It would be more appropriate if she had a black hole named after herself.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 9:02 am
    “Nothing against the space telescope archive per se, but public works paid for with tax dollars should not be named after congressmen.”

    I suppose I agree, but the precedent has been overwhelmingly set. Highways, buildings, bridges, schools, ships. Over and over. In fact, in the days of big earmarks, that’s how legislators paid for things to be named after them. It was just expected that if they got the bucks for it, their name would be engraved on it. In fact, it’s hard to say that it wasn’t Senator Mikulski who shepherded the funds for MAST through Congress.

    MAST is an obvious example of something whose name can be sold (or whose former acronym for “Multi-mission Archive at STScI” can be effectively recycled). It will last well after HST is gone and, as an archive, will essentially represent the remains of all space telescope programs that get run out of STScI.

  • MrEarl

    That’s interesting, with all the intriuge in the other two story lines from the post and everyone selects the mundane naming of an archive and supernova after a senator, (not congressmen) would be the storyline that attrcts intrest.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “I suppose I agree, but the precedent has been overwhelmingly set.”

    No doubt. A highway in my home state named after a senator came to mind when I read this. I just find the practice disgusting. The people have paid for these things, not the congressmen.

  • DCSCA

    @Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 9:02 am

    There’s nothing wrong w/naming publicly funded and constructed facilities after public servants– be they elected offcials or individuals who lost their lives in the service of their country. It’s an honor. What is misguided is the notion of ‘selling’– nay, ‘peddling’ said honor as naming rights to publicly funded facilities like space centers, highways, bridges, sports stadiums and the like to the ‘highest bidder’ but to commercialists and advocates of privatization it’s no surprise.

    @ Martijn Meijering wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 11:42 am

    LOL– for a few bucks ($50 or less) you might be able to do it for her at one of those ‘Star Registry’ sites. It’s a lot cheaper than a Tiffany ‘crystal space shuttle.’

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “with all the intriuge in the other two story lines”

    I don’t see much intrigue. One is an obvious attempt by the Ohio delegation to get a procurement award that went against an organization in their state revisited. The other is a balanced statement (for once) by a congressman about commercial cargo/crew.

    That said, there’s no intrigue in naming a taxpayer-sponsored facility after a congressman, either.

    “senator, (not congressmen)”

    You’re correct. “Congressman” is normally interchangeable with “representative”, while “members of congress” is the accurate term when referring to both representatives and senators. That said, I find “members of congress” to be a needlessly unwieldy term, especially for the comments section of a blog, and just use “congressman”.

    Don’t tell the House sargeant-at-arms.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “individuals who lost their lives in the service of their country. It’s an honor.”

    I have no problem with this.

    But mere elected officials have not earned such an honor. Not by a long shot.

    “What is misguided is the notion of ‘selling’– nay, ‘peddling’ said honor as naming rights to publicly funded facilities”

    If the corporation or individual is actually paying for a significant fraction of the facility or its operations, I have no problem with this as a taxpayer. It means less taxes from me to get the same facility or service.

    Naming a facility after an elected official provides no such benefit to the taxpayer.

  • DCSCA

    @Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    “But mere elected officials have not earned such an honor.”

    In fact, they have. Public servants who’ve secured funding and steered legislation to make significant public works a reality merit recognition, be it a postage stamp or a plaque on the building bearing their name. And it’s a peculiar, if not bitter, attitude for someone who touts experience in the Federal government.

    “If the corporation or individual is actually paying for a significant fraction of the facility or its operations, I have no problem with this as a taxpayer.” Ahhhh, shilling for Space X. “…a significant fraction” LOL is still a fraction. Minority stake is not a majority stake, particularly id the minority stake has been goverment subsidized. Yep, O’Keefe could have used you on staff.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Public servants who’ve secured funding and steered legislation to make significant public works a reality merit recognition, be it a postage stamp or a plaque on the building bearing their name.

    Who determines if such taxpayer funding was praise-worthy or just pork-barrell politics? If they want to wait until the person they are naming it after is dead, and they are honoring the totality of their public service, then that’s fine with me. But naming something after someone when they are still walking around, and still in politics – I think that’s too quick.

    As an observation, it’s funny when the money is not coming to you and yours, it’s all “Age of Austerity” crocodile tears. But when it goes to something you want it’s “worthy”. Talk about shilling.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 4:00 pm
    “There’s nothing wrong w/naming publicly funded and constructed facilities after public servants– be they elected offcials or individuals who lost their lives in the service of their country.”

    Except when those facilities got named after people who earmarked money to get them built in their district. That earmarking is hardly “service to their country”. More like service to their district which, I think, ought to count for a lot less. OK, maybe a smaller plaque for them, with an icon of hands grabbing.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “In fact, they have. Public servants who’ve secured funding and steered legislation to make significant public works a reality merit recognition”

    Not at this level. Voting on legislation or having one of your staff write legislation does not merit permanent name recognition. They didn’t donate the money to make that facility or public works possible. Taxpayers did.

    Worse, it’s a conflict of interest. Why are my taxpayer dollars being used as a quid pro quo by congressmen to buy themselves name recognition?

    If they want name recognition, they should pay for it themselves.

    “And it’s a peculiar, if not bitter, attitude for someone who touts experience in the Federal government.”

    My federal service is not relevant. My status as a taxpayer and voter in this country is.

    And what experience leads you to believe that merely writing and voting on legislation? Are you a congressional page?

    “Ahhhh, shilling for Space X.”

    How is this “shilling for SpaceX”? SpaceX hasn’t bought the naming rights to an arena.

    “LOL is still a fraction. Minority stake is not a majority stake”

    Don’t be an idiot. Fractions can be majority stakes.

    And if it reduces my tax burden or gets me more facility or service for the same tax dollar, all the better.

    “Yep, O’Keefe could have used you on staff.”

    Another incoherent statement from the resident troll.

  • DCSCA

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Representatives represent their districts, not the ‘country.’ =eyeroll=. There’s nothing wrong w/bringing home the bacon. Even George Washington opted for an ‘expense account’ during the Revolution. It’s a great read.

  • Doug Lassiter

    DCSCA wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 10:22 pm
    “Representatives represent their districts, not the ‘country.’

    They represent their districts as part of their service to the country. What flag does Sandy Adams salute, anyway?

    Nothing wrong with bringing home someone elses bacon, especially if it’s well smoked, larded, and it’s coming to your home. They don’t call it pork for nothing.

  • Vladislaw

    ya .. there is nothing wrong with pork barrel politics… I mean come on .. a local road contractor doesn’t have any work, so it makes some big healthy campaign contributions to a member of the house and suddenly there are new roads going in that no one asked for. Gosh, what’s wrong with that.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ April 6th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    ya .. there is nothing wrong with pork barrel politics…

    there is a difference between representing local interest in the business of The Republic…and simple pork politics.

    When the bantem weight US Navy was looking for what today would be “cruiser”…ie the Constitution class ships the plan was to have them built in the premier shipyards of the day; Boston, New York, Philly…but to get buyin from the “south” two had to be built in the more or less new shipyard in Norfolk…and have southern timbers…they were the worst two ships of the lot.

    thats different then Pork…which has no value to The Republic RGO

  • Doug Lassiter

    Vladislaw wrote @ April 6th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
    “ya .. there is nothing wrong with pork barrel politics… I mean come on .. a local road contractor doesn’t have any work, so it makes some big healthy campaign contributions to a member of the house and suddenly there are new roads going in that no one asked for. Gosh, what’s wrong with that.”

    An earmark is never wasted on something “no one asked for”. You may end up with a road no one asked for, but a lot of very happy construction workers, whose requests were honored. You might say that what’s wrong with earmarks is that the money that paid for the roads is from the pockets of people not getting the roads. But you’d like to believe it all evens out. Now, members of appropriations committees have been outwardly defensive about earmarks. They’ll look you straight in the eye and tell you they deserve these rewards, because of the hard work they do. You know, writing all those checks can give you carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Re Barbara Mikulski, she has been a real hero to NASA science, and probably deserves to have at least bits of a star named after her. I do find it surprising that naming an episodic detonation after her could be considered a compliment, though. Flash and burn (or the other way around).

  • vulture4

    Names of stars and similar buttering up is cheap. It’s better than the usual rewards for Congressmen, who have to raise an average of $15,000 a DAY in bribes (sorry, campaign contributions). In other words, you are required to be corrupt just to get elected. Whether the next LV contract goes to ATK or SpaceX depends mainly on which is willing to write a larger check to Congressman Wolf. And with the Supreme Court recently declaring that offering a politician a million dollars through a “super-PAC” to change the law to suit you is “free speech”, it will only get worse. “Citizen’s United” makes a mockery of democracy.

  • DCSCA

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 8:48 pm
    “In fact, they have. Public servants who’ve secured funding and steered legislation to make significant public works a reality merit recognition”

    Not at this level. Yes, at this level. You misquote yourself you stated a ‘significant fraction’ which is a a classic ‘intended vagery.’
    “And if it reduces my tax burden or gets me more facility or service for the same tax dollar, all the better.” Not if it has already rec’d subsidies, as Space X has, from the Treasury, to benefit a select few at the cost of the many.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Yes, at this level.”

    No. No congressman warrants name recognition at the same level as someone who has given their life for their country.

    Your value system is way out of whack.

    “you stated a ‘significant fraction’”

    Yes, which can be a majority share.

    “Not if it has already rec’d subsidies, as Space X has”

    According to NASA’s own analysis, Falcon 9 would have cost the government $4 billion to develop. SpaceX did it for $300 million. That’s a savings to me and other taxpayers of $3.7 billion. SpaceX has not received anywhere close to $3.7 billion in “subsidies”.

    I’m guessing you’re not a taxpayer.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 8th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    “No congressman warrants name recognition at the same level as someone who has given their life for their country.”

    I very much agree. But let’s be clear here. It would be insulting to name a supernova or even an astronomical archive after someone who has given their life for this country.

    As I said above, it seems vaguely insulting to name even the first of those after a person who successfully routed taxpayers money to a discipline. For one, it’s a detonation, and its about the destruction of a star. For another, it’s a flash in the pan. Maybe a couple of papers will be written about it, but then it’s gone. You’d like to believe that there would at least be some Mikulski staffers who might have been skeptical about that kind of honor. “You want to do WHAT?” The science isn’t such that a crater or an asteroid could be seriously named for her. But maybe a galaxy? A nebula?

  • DCSCA

    @Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 8th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    SpaceX has not received anywhere close to $3.7 billion in “subsidies”.

    Except it has received subsidies which it should nt get at all. The amount is irrelevant. Space X gets from the government and hypes itself as a private enterprised company promoting free enterprise space venturs. It’s niothing of the sort. “I’m guessing you’re not a taxpayer… Your value system is way out of whack.” In fact, it is your ‘value system’ which is obtuse by advocating spending other people’s money- tax dollars- of which 43 cents of ever dollar is borrowed- to benefit a select few and socializing the risk on the many rather than sourcing investment from the private capital markets, as private enterprised firms do. By trying to tap dwindling resources from the Treasury, you are in factv syphoning off funsding for civl and DoD space operations. . The United States does not need to subsidze private enterprise with ‘venture capital’ which can secured from private capital markets. Senator Shelby is 100% correct.

    FACT: “In October 2009 NASA provided a pre-solicitation notice regarding an effort to be funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The commercial crew enabling work would include a “base task” of refurbishing and reactivating SLC-40 power transfer switches, performing maintenance on the lower Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) substation and motor control centers, installing bollards around piping, replacing the door frame and threshold for the Falcon Support Building mechanical room and repairing fencing around the complex perimeter. Several optional tasks would include work installing conductive flooring in the Hangar Hypergol area, performing corrosion control inspection and maintenance of the lightning protection tower’s structural steel, upgrading and refurbishing other facility equipment and performing corrosion control on rail cars and pad lighting poles, painting several buildings, repairing and improving roads, and hydro-seeding the complex.” It’s the taxpayers who’ve been suckered into subsidizing a firm perfectly capable of securing funding to build and maintain its own infrastructure. Space X is not a ‘private enterprise’ firm.”

  • DCSCA

    @Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 5th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    “But mere elected officials have not earned such an honor. Not by a long shot.” =eyeroll= Lincoln Tunnel, George Washington Bridge, FDR Drive, Hoover Dam, USS ronald Reagan, Johnson Space Center. Kennedy Space Center.. it is you who have values which are out of whack. Which is why you advocate Space X trying to tap the US Treasury rather than private capital markets which remain wary.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Lincoln Tunnel, George Washington Bridge, FDR Drive, Hoover Dam, USS ronald Reagan, Johnson Space Center. Kennedy Space Center..

    Of these only the Hoover Dam partially fits your narrative, since it was named after Hoover while he was still alive, something that caused controversy.

  • vulture4

    I’m more concerned that all the companies involved send “contributions” to all the politicians and can now spend unlimited amounts influencing their votes. You can at least look up the official contributions of ATK, Boeing, Lockheed, and SpaceX, but the new superpac money is unlimited and secret – except to the legislators. No wonder they don’t listen to us.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ April 8th, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Except it has received subsidies which it should nt get at all. The amount is irrelevant.

    I guess it irrelevant when you can’t get your facts straight, but highly relevant when you get your facts wrong.

    But why do you bring up SpaceX (not “Space X”) on a topic of politicians getting credit for things that taxpayers have funded? Watch “Iron Man II” instead of “Destination Moon” by accident?

    Of all the government money flowing into space-related private companies, SpaceX gets the least of any of the rocket manufacturers, yet you don’t sound a peep over the money Lockheed Martin gets, despite them being the #1 recipient of NASA funding. Do you work for Lockheed Martin?

    And you continue to have trouble understanding the concept of leasehold improvements, but have no problem with a Senator taking credit for money they have been directing to their state. Could it be that local pork is seen as “good” to you?

    Plu you’ve already stated that you want us to borrow more money from China to go to the Moon, so it’s clear that you don’t have any moral high ground on any of these topics that you talk about.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “The amount is irrelevant.”

    It is relevant, because your argument is that the U.S. Treasury is having to borrow more when, in fact, SpaceX has already enabled to the Treasury to borrow less.

    “In fact, it is your ‘value system’ which is obtuse by advocating spending other people’s money- tax dollars-”

    I advocate avoiding unnecessary costs and saving the taxpayer’s dollars.

    SpaceX has already saved the taxpayer more than 10 times what the government spent on it. The U.S. Treasury avoided borrowing another $3.7 billion thanks to SpaceX.

    I advocate doing the same with SLS and MPCV. Cancel them, pursue less costly alternatives, and save the taxpayer billions.

    I don’t know why you consider saving the U.S. taxpayer dollars and spending U.S. taxpayer dollars to be the same thing. But there’s only two words for it:

    False equivalency.

    “refurbishing and reactivating SLC-40″

    SpaceX doesn’t own SLC-40. The federal government does. If the government wants to refurbish SLC-40 or any other facility to attract business to that facility, that’s their decision and their responsibility. Companies can’t be expected to pay for facilities that they don’t own.

    I don’t pay to refurbish my room at a hotel when I check in.

    I don’t know why you consider owners and renters to be the same thing, but there’s only two words for it:

    False equivalency.

    “Lincoln Tunnel, George Washington Bridge, FDR Drive, Hoover Dam, USS ronald Reagan, Johnson Space Center. Kennedy Space Center”

    These are all former presidents, not sitting congressmen.

    More false equivalency.

    “it is you who have values which are out of whack”

    I don’t know why you equate getting elected to Congress with dying in service to one’s country.

    But that is some sick, twisted false equivalency.

  • amightywind

    SpaceX has already saved the taxpayer more than 10 times what the government spent on it.

    Considering Japan, Europe, and Russia already possess the capability which the US could buy cheaply, and because SpaceX still hasn’t launched anything, your argument is absurd. Using your reasoning we should be good capitalists and buy the services, ironically, from those who are not, and not bother with space technology development

    I am still trying to understand why if we (the taxpayer) fund SpaceX development, we do not own the results. Isn’t that how venture capitalism works? In Obama style crony capitalism, the taxpayer pays the money, and the space entrepreneur (Obama donor) keeps possession of everything. Shrewd America.

  • If SpaceX succeeds, we will at least have the capability to launch supplies (and ultimately crew) to the ISS from the US. We do not have that capability now, and we aren’t likely to ever get it from SLS/Orion.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ April 9th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Considering Japan, Europe, and Russia already possess the capability which the US could buy cheaply

    This from the poster who has always disdained any international partnerships? That’s not the nationalistic Windy I know… ;-)

    In Obama style crony capitalism…

    Let’s not forget that Bush 43/Griffin are the ones that set in motion not only COTS/CRS, but also CCDev. And Obama is following their template, quite enthusiastically, despite Republican opposition to private industry taking over routine government services. What twisted logic are you going to use now?

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Considering Japan, Europe, and Russia already possess the capability which the US could buy cheaply”

    No, through law and policy, US federal agencies (NASA, USAF, etc.) are required to “buy American” launches unless there is absolutely no alternative (as is the case with ISS transport currently) or unless there is a cooperative quid pro quo (as is the case with JWST). Both situations require White House review and permission at a minimum. This is to support the domestic launch industry

    When dealing with Russia, INKSA adds more wrinkles to the process.

    Not sure why you want to send US taxpayer dollars overseas to begin with.

    Really not sure why you want to send more US taxpayer dollars to a Russian regime that supports Syria.

    Regardless, your argument applies even more strongly to Ares I/Orion and SLS/MPCV. If you don’t want to spend $300 million to get a domestic launcher, then why would you want to spend $10-30 billion? It’s cheaper to use Russian or Chinese labor.

    Finally, it’s not clear that any foreign vehicles would actually be cheaper. Ariane and H-II certainly are not. Soyuz maybe, but only if there’s a competitive alternative driving their costs back down. Even the Chinese admit that they can’t match SpaceX prices. Your argument is probably moot.

    “and because SpaceX still hasn’t launched anything, your argument is absurd.”

    It’s absurd that it would have cost the taxpayer $4 billion to get a vehicle like Falcon 9 to first flight.

    It’s _not_ absurd to save the taxpayer $3.7 billion and have industry do it more efficiently and share the costs.

    “Using your reasoning we should be good capitalists and buy the services, ironically, from those who are not, and not bother with space technology development”

    No, my reasoning is that NASA should not be developing and operating vehicles for routine things like ETO space transport that industry has shown itself very capable of doing. Due to parochial politics and a lack of bottom line, the government is inherently inefficient, and it’s going to cost the taxpayer more to have NASA do anything in-house or through traditional contracting channels. I’d rather hand the routine tasks over to industry, save some bucks, and have some budget left at the end of the day to spend on NASA doing things no one has ever done before. I’m talking about real technology development and exploration, not rearranging 30-40 year old Shuttle systems and resizing Apollo capsules for a decade or more.

    “I am still trying to understand why if we (the taxpayer) fund SpaceX development, we do not own the results.”

    Because most of the costs were born by SpaceX and because NASA is interested in a service, not the IP.

    (And, if SpaceX ever does go out of business, the IP and more does revert to NASA per their SAA.)

    “Isn’t that how venture capitalism works?”

    Government funding is not venture capital. It’s payment for development milestones reached and services provided.

    “In Obama style crony capitalism”

    Musk and SpaceX have given thousands and thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and causes.

  • Justin Kugler

    DBN, I have made the exact same arguments – almost word for word – though I will add one thing. Neither JAXA, ESA, nor Roscosmos have the ability to return science samples at the needed rate or capability to support ongoing ISS research. Only Cargo Dragon and, eventually, the commercial crew vehicles will.

  • DCSCA

    @vulture4 wrote @ April 9th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    “If SpaceX succeeds, we will at least have the capability to launch supplies (and ultimately crew) to the ISS from the US. We do not have that capability now, and we aren’t likely to ever get it from SLS/Orion.”

    “We’ do already. Progress spacecraft have been servicing space platforms/stations for over 34 YEARS. Every tax dollar wasted on subsidizing LEO commecial ventures throws good money after bad siphons off funds for BEO government space planning and existing operations in work and near-term plans. The place for commercial firms to source funding is the private capital markets, not the U.S. Treasury.

    @Coastal Ron wrote @ April 9th, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Except the facts are clear- Space X and the Musketeers which tout it as a ‘private enterprised firm’ rec’d government subsidies it could easily have spent itself.

    “Plu you’ve already stated that you want us to borrow more money from China to go to the Moon, so it’s clear that you don’t have any moral high ground on any of these topics that you talk about.”

    Uh, no, YOU said that. DCSCA advocates shifting existing budgets to finance government space operations and consolidating space operations; tucking NASA into DoD as a civilan division, terminating all Federal subsidies for commercial HSF which condemns HSF to LEO for decades and leave sourcing said funds for same to the private sector to finance and develop and leave BEO planning/operations to government. Space exploitation is not space exploration. If Musketeers need a loan to finance their hobby, try an investment bank, a venture capitalist and not the U.S. Treasury.

    @Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 9th, 2012 at 9:05 am

    “and because SpaceX still hasn’t launched anything, your argument is absurd.” Except its not. And it’s the focal point of Space X’s false equivalency. Get somebody up around and down safely. Until then, it’s all hype and no flight. Put somebody up, or shut up. It’s this feeble Space X false equivalency which is utterly ‘absurd’ and easy for all space advocates to see though. Like the holes in a wheel of cheese. Senator Shelby has ‘em pegged. So does Cernan, Armstrong, Lovell, Kraft et al.

    “It is relevant, because your argument is that the U.S. Treasury is having to borrow more when, in fact, SpaceX has already enabled to the Treasury to borrow less.” <- this is just goofy Musketeerism. A system to access LEO for ISS servicing is already long in place; been operational and been delivering crews and goods for years: Soyuz and Progress (Progress has been delivering supplies for over 34 YEARS to space platforms; Soyuz, designed for lunar flight, has been operating in LEO for over 40 years =eyeroll.=.) You advocate U.S. government subsidizing development of a system which already exists under the guise of 'private enterprise.' A subsidy which in actual fact, benefits a select few at the expense of the many. No. Your pitch is subsidizing a private enterprised firm because it was denied funds by wary, private capital sources which do not see a long term market w/a reasonable ROI for the investment. Musk himself said on 60 Minutes he has only invested $100 million of his own money. Why not all of it– because he wants to use tax dollars as a subsidy instead so he tries to buy access and pitch poor mouth and hype it with false equivalency. We'll see how soon he retires on Mars. Mars, PA more likely. This is Tesla Redux. Apparently he lacks faith in his own company to risk all. Pelley revealed only a few of the holes- and they're easy to see through. And that same government funding, a dwindling resource, is supposed to get siphoned off from existing government space operations to subsidize 'private enterprised' firms accessing a 'faux' market. If Space X needs financing, go to Musk; go to the investment banking community but not the U.S. Treasury. Space exploitation is not space exploration and LEO is a ticket to no place.

    "I advocate avoiding unnecessary costs and saving the taxpayer’s dollars." Then you advocate denying commerical HSF firms any and all government subsidies because it duplicates an existing system already in place. There was no reason for tax monies- 43 cents of every dollar borrowed- to be spent subsidizing commercial HSF firms which can access same from the private capital markets. If you've got a sound business plan, investment will come. But the smart move is to fly somebody. Demonstrate you can get a crew up, around and down safely. Until then, all you have is false equivalency. 1+1=2, not 11.

    "I don’t know why you equate getting elected to Congress with dying in service to one’s country.– No , you have– and why you'd deny any public servants who've commited their lives to public service the inexpensive yet honored recognition of naming a facility after them for their efforts in making same a reality is perplexing if not petty. Best you revisit some history regarding naming things- the USS Wally Schirra, the USS San Diego… Stennis Space Center… [John] Holliman Auditorum (a CNN correspondent no less)… Reagan was a governor, too, so too was FDR… Stennis served in Congress… Glenn… so did Lincoln… Wally sure didn't- Wally was just an aviator astronaut who passed… Holliman was killed in a car accident; Webb, rtc., and so on… the list is endless. Your pitch is strangely lame and you seem to have it in for congress folk who get elected by the people. So Mikulski got an exploded star 7.5 billion light years away named after her– a ball of hot gases no less– it may, in fact, be a back-handed compliment.

    "I don’t know why you consider saving the U.S. taxpayer dollars and spending U.S. taxpayer dollars to be the same thing." Yes you do. But it's an awkward admission for Musketeers. Spending tax dollars on government operations to benefit the many is a correct and positive use of government funds- subsidizing faux 'private enterprised' firms w/tax monies to benefit a select few at the expense of the many is not- especially when that firm is quite capable of sourcing funds from the private sector and the system in question duplicates what is already in operation.

    “Musk and SpaceX have given thousands and thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and causes." To attempt to influence policy and secure subsidies. Nobody forced them and those same funds could have been better spent building their own launch facilities for a start, rather than asking for government hand outs to pay for it. Apologies for any typos.

  • Justin Kugler

    You are completely misrepresenting Musk’s statement about his investment in SpaceX, DCSCA. The vast majority of SpaceX’s capital has been raised through traditional private means and my colleagues there indicate that they’ve been operating in the black for a couple of years now.

    Musk hasn’t put more money in because he hasn’t needed to. They have enough private investment and enough of a backlog from government and commercial customers to operate. If you have data to contradict this, put up or shut up.

    You also completely ignore the geopolitical and technical issues with continuing with Soyuz and Progress, like the INKSA waiver and the lack of sufficient downmass capability.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Get somebody up around and down safely.”

    Orion/MPCV hasn’t gotten anyone, anything, or even itself up and down. Even the lowliest technician can tell the difference between a vehicle that has flown and one that hasn’t. And comparing the two is just pure, unadulterated…

    False equivalency.

    “easy for all space advocates to see though. Like the holes in a wheel of cheese.”

    You can’t see through the holes in a wheel of cheese. Your analogy doesn’t hold up.

    You’re just cranking to crank.

    “A system to access LEO for ISS servicing is already long in place; been operational and been delivering crews and goods for years: Soyuz and Progress”

    Soyuz and Progress are foreign, Russian systems. Domestic U.S. launch systems keep U.S. taxpayer dollars in the U.S., generate jobs in the U.S., and don’t support regimes that oppose U.S. foreign interests. Using foreign, Russian launch systems sends U.S. taxpayer dollar overseas, takes jobs out of the U.S. and props up a regime that doesn’t support U.S. foreign interests. Comparing the two is a big load of…

    False equivalency.

    “A subsidy which in actual fact, benefits a select few at the expense of the many… to benefit a select few at the expense of the many…”

    SpaceX has a workforce of more than 1,000 workers, all of which benefit from employment at SpaceX. Comparing a few to more than 1,000 is serious, mathematical…

    False equivalency.

    “denied funds by wary, private capital sources… can access same from the private capital markets…”

    SpaceX has already garnered hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments (besides Musk’s share).

    You clearly havn’t done your homework.

    You’re just cranking to crank.

    “1+1=2, not 11.”

    And 2+2=4, not 22.

    And 3+3=6, not 33.

    And 4+4=8, not 44.

    Cool… now anyone can troll using 1st grade math!

    “Space exploitation is not space exploration and LEO is a ticket to no place.”

    And space exploration is not space exploitation and you can’t get to BEO without a ticket through LEO.

    Cool… now anyone can troll using repetitive catch-phrases!

    “public servants who’ve commited their lives to public service”

    Is not the same as losing your life in service to your country. Comparing the career of one person to the loss of another person’s life takes some crazy…

    False equivalency.

    (Seriously, you really should apologize to our dead servicemen and their families for assigning the same value to the loss of their lives as the political careers of congressmen.)

    “So Mikulski got an exploded star 7.5 billion light years away named after her”

    I never objected to naming a supernova after Mikulski. I objected to naming a facility paid with taxpayer dollars after Mikulski.

    You’re so confused.

    You’re just cranking to crank.

    “Spending tax dollars on government operations to benefit the many is a correct and positive use of government funds…”

    And COTS, CCDev, and CRS are doing that. SpaceX alone has over 1,000 workers, who all benefit from the tax dollars spent on these programs. Blue Origin, Boeing, OSC, and Sierra Nevada add many thousands more.

    You clearly havn’t done your homework.

    You’re just cranking to crank.

    “those same funds could have been better spent building their own launch facilities for a start”

    SpaceX is building their own launch facility:

    http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=40524

    You clearly havn’t done your homework.

    You’re just cranking to crank.

  • Vladislaw

    DCSCA wrote:

    Vulture commented “If SpaceX succeeds, we will at least have the capability to launch supplies (and ultimately crew) to the ISS from the US. We do not have that capability now, and we aren’t likely to ever get it from SLS/Orion.”

    DCSCA wrote: “We’ do already. Progress spacecraft have been servicing space platforms/stations for over 34 YEARS.

    I embolded a phrase from Vulture’s comment.

    Vulture was clearly refering to a domestic company. You could conceviably include an international company launching from U.S. soil but I can reasonably conclude that Vulture was refering to the U.S. having a domestic company launching from U.S. soil.

    You then said .. The United States already has a company launching from American soil the Russian spacecraft Progress.

    Where do the Russians launch the soyuz on American soil? maybe I missed it and Vulture CLEARLY predicated his statement on a conditional: U.S soil so how is your statement relative to Vultures?

  • DCSCA

    Vladislaw wrote @ April 10th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    =yawn= It’s an international facility. Whether it’s supplied from the U.S. is redundant and a waste of tax subasidies- its throwing good monies after bad. but if Space X wants to pay for it on its own and make a buck at it, fine, but it is still a redundancy not needed with Soyuz and Progress working just fine toi service a space platform doomed to Pacific splash. Musk has only put $100 million of his own money into his firm and asks for tax subsidies- apparently he doesn’t have confidence in his own firm- or is simply tapping the Treasury liek he did for his other hobby, Tesla. It’s a waste of tax dollars. End of story.

  • DCSCA

    @Justin Kugler wrote @ April 10th, 2012 at 8:27 am
    “You are completely misrepresenting Musk’s statement about his investment in SpaceX.”

    No, those are his words. “Musk hasn’t put more money in because he hasn’t needed to.” If he if he can get government subsidies like he did w/Tesla it’s easy to see why, but it doesn’t reinforce his commitment in that CBS puff piece. That’s the whole point- he doesn’t need government subsidies. It’s not a ‘private enterprised’ firm and every tax dollar spent on Space X is siphoned off from dwindling resources for the government space operations- including BEO planning and hardware development.

    “They have enough private investment and enough of a backlog from government and commercial customers to operate.” You keep erinforcing my point- then they don’t need government subsidies- yet keep asking for it. End of story.

    “You also completely ignore the geopolitical and technical issues with continuing with Soyuz and Progress, like the INKSA waiver and the lack of sufficient downmass capability.” There’s nothing to consider beyond fulfilling minimal contractual obligations and getting out of the ISS ASAP. It’s a dinosaur from an era long gone and has no relevence in the Age of austerity. LEO is a ticket to no place. =eyeroll=

    @Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 10th, 2012 at 9:37 am

    =yawn= False equivalency is the Musketeer’s mantre.

    NASA has been lofting people into space for over fifty years. Russia, too. China has done it. Space X has flown nobody. End of story.

    ‘Soyuz and Progress are foreign, Russian systems.” So– Americans drive Audis, Austin Minis, Mercedes and Toyotas, too. The ISS is an international platform and both Soyuz and Progress are operational– for decades. You advocate using tax dollars to subsidize developing a redundant system to a limited lifetime space platform– a dinosaur from plast planning in another era– funds denied by private capital sources wary of the limited market and low to no ROI to access said dinosaur. It’s throwing good money after bad. Space exploitation is not space exploration and LEO is a ticket to no place. And, of couse, you can access BEO directly. Sad and desperate on your part and the personal attacks only diminish your pitch. “SpaceX has already garnered hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments (besides Musk’s share).” From his circle of Silicon Valley cronies and now that source has dwindled. Apparently you’ve not done your ‘homework’– it’s easy to research those who’ve inested and been posted on this forum long before you arrived. And Musk has only put $100 million of his own money into it, as he said himself on ’60 Minutes.’ .” “Space X is building a launch facility…” =eyeroll= No they’re not– it’s a ‘notice of intent’ posted yesterday, 4/9/12 regarding an environmental impact study to get clearence to begin — (which can be objected to and denied, of course) =eyeroll= — they haven’t built a thing– just another piece of classic Space X hype– a press release. Musk has expressed an ‘intent’ to ‘retire’ on Mars, too. =eyeroll= so we can expect Space X to reimburse the U>S> Treasury for the facilities renovated already. “I never objected to naming a supernova after Mikulski”- In fact, you did, as the discovery of the BH is a matter of public works by the STI. you Musketeers do everything but the one thing to earn cerdibility- fly somebody. Shelby, Cernan, Armstrong, Lovell, Kraft, et al have ‘em pagged. BTW, take a look at some swiss cheese. =eyeroll=

  • Justin Kugler

    “…every tax dollar spent on Space X is siphoned off from dwindling resources for the government space operations- including BEO planning and hardware development.”

    You still don’t get it. That’s absolutely not true when an independent assessment found it would have cost NASA ten times as much to do this in-house. Whether you like it or not, the ISS is our outpost and foothold in space. Without it, the HSF enterprise would be dead in the water right now because of the Constellation Program’s failure to go anywhere.

    Enabling companies like SpaceX to provide launch services and getting out of programs like SLS is what will allow us to focus more resources on space operations. That’s how your beloved Air Force and NRO afford their oh-so-expensive satellites. They aren’t stuck in the launch business.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “NASA has been lofting people into space for over fifty years.”

    You’re off by eight years. NASA didn’t launch anyone from 1975-1982 and stopped launching again last year. They’re not scheduled to launch anyone again for another decade at the earliest, and that assumes there is no cost growth, schedule delays, or cancellations on SLS/MPCV.

    51 years is not the same thing as 43 years. Once again, you are engaging in mathematical…

    False equivalency.

    “Americans drive Audis, Austin Minis, Mercedes and Toyotas, too”

    Other Americans don’t spend my tax dollars on those Audis, Minis, Mercedes, and Toyotas. And none of those cars is built in a foreign country opposed to many U.S. foreign interests. And no multi-billion communications, national security, or human space flight transports are dependent upon any of those foreign production lines.

    False equivalency.

    “the Musketeer’s mantre.”

    “you Musketeers do everything”

    “the personal attacks only diminish your pitch.”

    You’re the one who just called me a “Musketeer”. Twice. That’s very hypocritical…

    False equivalency.

    “it’s a ‘notice of intent’… just another piece of classic Space X hype– a press release”

    The “notice of intent” (an Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement) was released by the Federal Aviation Administration in the Federal Register, not by SpaceX in a press release.

    http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=40524

    If you had a background in policy, you’d understand words like “Source” and acronyms like “FAA”. But as a mere, helpless technician, the meaning of these things is far beyond your comprehension. Just stick to cranking wrenches.

    But don’t crank to crank.

    But you can crank a crank if it’s one of the duties of your job.

    As a technician.

    “you can access BEO directly”

    Not without going through LEO.

    You’re not a very good technician, are you?

    “In fact, you did”

    No, I didn’t. I wrote “public works paid for with tax dollars should not be named after congressmen.”

    I’m pretty sure supernova don’t qualify as “public works”.

    Apparently you’ve not done your ‘homework’– it’s easy to research whether a supernova is a public work, as present on the internet, in astronomy texts, in encyclopedias, and in dictionaries, long before you arrived.

    But then again, you’re just cranking to crank.

    “take a look at some swiss cheese”

    When I look at a wheel of swiss cheese, I’m pretty sure that I can’t see through it. Here’s an example:

    https://www.babyswiss.com/shop/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=16&cat=2+lb.+Wheels+of+Baby+Swiss+Packs

    Apparently you’ve not done your ‘homework’– as I’ve just shown, it’s easy to research whether you can see through a wheel of cheese, as present on the internet, in astronomy texts, in encyclopedias, and in dictionaries long before you arrived.

    But then again, you’re just cranking to crank.

    “=eyeroll=

    =eyeroll=

    =eyeroll=”

    You’d be a better technician if you’d see an opthalmologist and get that eye rolling problem fixed.

    It’s hard to see what you’re cranking on, what other posters have written, and whether wheels of cheese are hollow if you’re constantly looking at the inside of your head.

  • common sense

    @ Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 11th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    “It’s hard to see what you’re cranking on, what other posters have written, and whether wheels of cheese are hollow if you’re constantly looking at the inside of your head.”

    I haven’t posted in a while but your last post. Well. Thanks for making my day a lighter day today. I might have been… well y’know… a little cranky otherwise.

    “constantly looking at the inside of your head.” Not bad. Not bad at all.
    ;)

  • Vladislaw

    Mister Narcolepsy yawned:

    “=yawn= It’s an international facility. Whether it’s supplied from the U.S. is redundant and a waste of tax subasidies- its throwing good monies after bad.”

    Blah blah blah ..you are just cranking to crank.

    That has absolutely NOTHING to do with the comment you replied to.

    A person is talking about American DOMESTIC capacity and launching taking place on American soil.

    You then go off, as usual, on one of your disjointed tangents which had appsolutely nothing to do with the point Vulture was making.

    Namely .. Orbital and SpaceX will give us domestic capability for supply launched on american soil and domestic crew access launched from American soil.

    I am sure you would love to see more money flowing to soviet style design bueros rather than american commercial firms.. hell you are probably wetting yourself at the possiblity we could also pay china for those services rather an a wholely owned american company.

    Vultures point was not about sending american taxpayer’s money to russian or even china.

    His point was about America regaining the ability to recapture domestic capabilitys. Not paying the russians for a service.

    Try to stay on point.

    The russians said they can do lunar trips for 150 million a seat. Why are you not advocating that NASA buy those seats from the Russians also and save us the 50 billion being spent on SLS?

    or are you just cranking to crank SpaceX?

  • BeanCounterfromDownunder

    With a bit of luck, only a few weeks to go to what could be a real turning point for SpaceX, NASA and Congress.

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