Congress, NASA

House Appropriations Committee approves CJS bill

During a two-hour hearing on Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee debates and then approved by voice vote the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill. The committee made no amendments to the bill that affects NASA, which receives a little less than $17.6 billion in the bill.

In his statement introducing the bill, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) got a little emotional when discussing NASA. “Last week, when the shuttle came over, I bet almost everyone in this room went outside to look at it. That was almost a sign that American people are thirsting for this program to do something great,” he said. The funding for NASA’s exploration programs provided in the bill, along with the “decadal study” of NASA’s human spaceflight plans that is separately getting started, will help “get back to the days whereby people got excited about the program as they did in the days of Alan Shepard and John Glenn.”

Wolf also addressed commercial crew development, which was singled out for attention in the report accompanying the bill. The report, he says, directs NASA “to find the fastest, safest, and most cost-effective means of achieving a US capability” to access the ISS by reducing the number of awards and moving to more traditional contracts. The program’s current path, he warned, “runs a risk of high failure by one or more companies receiving government subsidies similar to what we last saw last year with regard to Solyndra. There’s also been one or two senators that have said that if we continue this current path, you could reach to a Solyndra.”

Wolf included a mention of planetary sciences funding in the bill, adding that at some point after yesterday’s hearing he was “going to meet with Mr. Culberson and Mr. Schiff,” a reference to Reps. John Culberson (R-TX) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), two leading advocates of planetary missions in Congress, “if there’s something different in regards to Mars and Europa” that should be done, without being more specific.

At the end of the hearing, full committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced that the CJS appropriations bill was scheduled to go to the House floor on May 8.

87 comments to House Appropriations Committee approves CJS bill

  • Curtis Quick

    Fascinating! Wolf’s words and actions could not be more antithetical. By directing NASA to downselect the number of commercial crew providers and insisting on more traditional contracts, Wolf is putting the breaks on commercial crew by strangulation. Yet, he claims this will accomplish the opposite. Wolf is the consumate politician. Clearly he does not believe this not so subtle subterfuge. Either he believes that the public will not know the truth, or that they will not care. Probably, the latter. Wolf knows that we know the truth, but he also knows that it does not matter. My guess is that he is getting a lot of encouragement from the vested interests to maintain the status quo. I would not be surprised to find that his re-election campaign has received some extensive contributions. The man’s a genius, an evil genius, but still a genius.

  • GClark

    If they really wanted to do something for Planetary Sciences, they would simply tell them to spend the extra money the way the Decadal said to – Discovery and New Frontiers first, then Mars or Europa.

  • amightywind

    Down select is a done deal this year. The message is clear from the House and the Senate. The logical survivors would be Boeing and Sierra Nevada. This country cannot continue to string along weak competitors.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Down select is a done deal this year. ”

    The Falcon 9 second stage is spinning out of control, it will crash in the ocean…etc etc etc. dont you get tired of being wrong ? RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    In his statement introducing the bill, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) got a little emotional when discussing NASA.
    “get back to the days whereby people got excited about the program as they did in the days of Alan Shepard and John Glenn.”

    It is impressive to me how out of touch Wolf and most of the members of the old party are. Go ask most Americans under 50 about Shepard and Glenn…well Andrew Shepard from the American president “might” come to mind but Alan Shepard..?

    The GOP is the backwads party…it longs for the Good old days or at least how it imagines and now is trying to rewrite history to suit their notions of those “days”. From Tony Perkins explaining that Americans who are black particularly those that live in the south were really better off in the 1960’s because “the family unit was intact” to the longing for a confrontation (military) with the Red chinese to the “lets all get exciting about space again”. It is pretty clear the GOP is a party that has simply run out of both ideas and courage in the future.

    Do you know what the crew of the Soyuz that landed today and the crew of Apollo 17 have in common? The vast majority of the world…including the US really cared that they landed…and 17 went to the Moon.

    What Wolf and the other troglodytes are arguing for is a space program that is ENTERTAINMENT..where each mission tries to get attention not by what it accomplishes but by some “shiny toy” object that gets the American people to pay attention…and then go back to their lives made more dreary each day by GOP economics.

    These people just need to be flushed. RGO

  • yg1968

    The Senate Report of its CJS bill does not contain such language. In any event, it seems unlikely that these bills will be passed before the election.

  • Vladislaw

    The logical survivors would be Sierra, who hasn’t even conducted a drop test yet. And both would be using the same launch vehicle that would again put the American access to a single point failure mode. An atlas failure would ground the Nation’s entire access.

    Great logic there Wind.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Sierra Nevada is a weak competitor to Boeing and SpaceX, and not a candidate for a later beyond-LEO upgrade. That makes it less of a competitor to Orion, which must be why you don’t like it.

  • Martijn Meijering

    I meant, that must be why you do like it.

  • Das Boese

    Please, Americans, do something to kick these people out of office, or at least end their power trip.

    Your country has the largest civil spaceflight budget, over 3 times of what ESA has and 4 times that of the Russians. These people are literally pissing it all away on pork and useless crap like SLS while stonewalling any chance of real progress, justifying it with twisted logic and outright lies, and they’re getting away with it. It makes me angry to no end.

  • Scott Bass

    Rgo….like it or not…. Entertainment as you call it is a part of the equation…… A mastery of the media and good pr is essential for any public supported program……. Something that NASA has not been very good at….. The NASA channel as an example even bores people who are fans.

  • MrEarl

    Well Oler;
    Windy may be right this time. $500million is barely enough to fund two compeditors. Down-select is the only logical choice.

    Second stages spinning out of control? WMDs? You need to stop living in the past. Come, join us in 2012. :-)

  • amightywind

    And both would be using the same launch vehicle that would again put the American access to a single point failure mode.

    Your thinking reflects the discredited ‘big government’ procurement thinking of the NASA leadership. “Why buy one when you can have two at twice the price?” The 2 player EELV ‘competition’ envisioned by the Air Force fell flat. Now we have ULA. I guess the NASA leadership wasn’t watching. I also prefer to cut SpaceX because of their bizarre propulsion package. I would not put an American on top of 10 Merlins.

    The GOP is the backwads party

    I thought you proclaimed that you were a Reagan Republican. He would have never said anything so crazy. To me you seem to be a unstable third party person with an ax to grind. You must have voted for Perot.

  • Martijn Meijering

    It makes me angry to no end.

    Das ist ja ironisch, Herr Boese…

  • Coastal Ron

    Scott Bass wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    The NASA channel as an example even bores people who are fans.

    Real life is boring to you?

    What would you do to make it not boring? Blow things up? Add half-naked women as commentators? Add a panel of talking heads to discuss the daily events at NASA?

    What? What would you do differently?

    Oh, and how would you do it on the same budget that NASA allocates today for NASA TV?

    The way I see it, space is a place for work. Now maybe your work is “entertaining”, but for the vast number of taxpayers it’s just work. I appreciate being able to see what my money is paying for with NASA, as no other agency is as visible. But I don’t need a daily dose of “excitement” from NASA TV. Maybe you do, I don’t know. Weird.

  • Coastal Ron

    Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) got a little emotional when discussing NASA…

    …will help “get back to the days whereby people got excited about the program as they did in the days of Alan Shepard and John Glenn.”

    Apparently Rep. Wolf thinks NASA has been too boring for the past 50 years? That landing on the Moon was not exciting enough, nor flying the Shuttle, nor even creating man’s first permanent foothold in space.

    What, pray tell, does he think would be “exciting”? Shoot off the world’s largest bottle rocket once a year? Risking people’s lives? What?

    I’m sure everyone can tell that I’m pretty tired of people thinking that NASA should be an entertainment agency, not one of science, technology and exploration. No wonder Congress is so dysfunctional when it comes to NASA budget.

  • Vladislaw

    “The 2 player EELV ‘competition’ envisioned by the Air Force fell flat.”

    Sat launches slowed and then Boeing and Lockmart, being the bloated military contractors they were …. priced themselves out of the global market for commercial launches.

    Fortunatly SpaceX is bring back some of those launches with agressive pricing and because they do not have a bloated overhead structure and are not totally dependant on government launches. Even if NASA canceled everything tomorrow SpaceX would still have a ton of launches.

    If Boeing and Lockheed would cut out the bloated structures they have built up MAYBE they could compete again.

  • Das Boese wrote:

    Please, Americans, do something to kick these people out of office, or at least end their power trip.

    This is a fundamental flaw in our republican system of democracy. The politicians are elected to represent a particular district or state. Most of them believe their job is to bring back to that district or state as much pork as possible, because keeping the locals happy will get them re-elected.

    If we want to change the system, we would have to amend the U.S. Constitution, which is exceptionally difficult. The other option would be to convene a constitutional convention, which I dread because those with great money and influence would shred our existing rights and we’d wind up with an even worse system.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Second stages spinning out of control? WMDs? You need to stop living in the past. Come, join us in 2012″

    Windy might be correct but probably he is not. It is worth remembering when people who have up to now got everything wrong…what they got wrong.

    Sorry to keep reminding people, particularly the ones that got things wrong; that they got things wrong…I know that is depressing…but the people who get things wrong should either admit that they got it wrong and then sit still until they get better at predictions …or they should be mocked.

    the right wing of the GOP is great at saying “you live in the past” which is code for “dont remind us of the things we got wrong”.

    I predicted here soon after bush43 announced VSE that it would fail, where it woudl fail and why…I predicted iraq and Afland would flounder and why…

    to paraphrase “will”…it is good to be correct. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I thought you proclaimed that you were a Reagan Republican. He would have never said anything so crazy.>>

    because under Ronaldus the Great the crazies were held at arm’s length…they did not run the party. As they do today.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Martijn Meijering

    The 2 player EELV ‘competition’ envisioned by the Air Force fell flat.

    Through lack of demand. Commercial crew would add significantly to the demand. Exploration based around propellant transfer could add massively to the demand.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Down select is a done deal this year.”

    A downselect was always coming in the next phase. The only significant changes that Wolf’s language introduce is whether it’s a downselect to one or two partners and whether those partners perform under the Space Act or the FAR. Wolf’s language was inserted in the report accompanying his bill, which means that it will not be voted on by the House or Senate and thus does not carry the weight of law. It’s just the sense of Wolf and some members of his subcommittee, which the Administration and NASA are free to ignore. I imagine that they will ignore the report language on these points. That will result in more angry tirades from Wolf, but little else. Who cares?

    “The message is clear from the House and the Senate.”

    It’s not clear. Wolf wants a downselect to one, Hutchison wants a downselect to two, and Mikulski wants the decision left in NASA’s hands:

    “There was some disagreement within the subcommittee on whether setting commercial crew funding at $525 million would force NASA to narrow the field of companies vying for the job of ferrying astronauts to and from the international space station.

    ‘Our priority for NASA is to be able to select two competitors for the commercial crew vehicle so there can be a robust competition but one that saves the taxpayers from funding more than two different private companies and therefore wasting more money,’ said the subcommittee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

    Mikulski said, however, that it would be up to NASA to decide how to structure the commercial crew competition. ‘We have funded [the commercial crew program] and I don’t know if it will be two companies or four,’ she said. ‘That is more of an internal management thing.'”

    http://www.spacenews.com/policy/120417-senate-transfer-noaa-sat-programs.html

    Given the usual confusion on the Hill, Mikulski’s preference will probably become the default result.

  • Scott Bass

    Thats fine if you disagree…. I have always thought though that NASA has such a large video archive and access to such talented people that high production values and producers directors and actors from the entertainment industry cold make some really high quality shows….. Many of them would even volunteer their time or work cutrate because they love and believe in the space program. However it does take someone with vision and desire to bring that to fruition. Wha NASA does is exciting but is presented in a very dull nerdy pbs

  • wintermuted

    How is Solyndra anything like CCDev/CCiCap? They defaulted on a government loan. CCdev purchases services/milestones from commercial companies. If they don’t deliver they don’t get paid. Where is the risk in that? It’s just more uninformed people trying to use scare words, or black-souled folks with their own agenda trying to crush what could be some of the biggest advances in human history.

  • Coastal Ron

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    A downselect was always coming in the next phase.

    I don’t think that MrEarl reads much relating to what he talks about, otherwise you wouldn’t have to keep pointing out the obvious. Joe and Windy seem to have the same problem – they want others to do their research for them, and then they point out any perceived inconsistencies (or imaginary ones in the case of Joe) and debate that instead of the real topic.

    Back to the topic at hand. The next phase of the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) program is also the last, since this takes into account all phases needed to provide crew transportation services by “middle of the decade” (NASA’s wording).

    I was reading the Q&A for the CCiCap proposal, and I thought this was interesting:

    9. Can NASA dollars buy an Atlas rocket with Russian engines under INKSNA rules?

    Answer: The Participant may not use CCiCap funds to pay a prohibited Russian entity. If a proposal includes use of Russian engines, the Participant must explain how either the Russian supplier is not a prohibited entity as defined by INKSNA, or how the Participant will implement its approach without providing CCiCap funds to the Russian supplier.

    Maybe this will be satisfied by a simple certification document from ULA that Boeing, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin pass along, but it definitely goes to show that if Boeing is using it’s political will to force a down-select that it wins, that Congress will again be favoring a foreign competitor (ULA’s Russian engine) over an American one (the All-American Falcon 9). Makes you wonder where their loyalties are, huh?

  • Scott Bass

    It does ring of common sense to down select if you don’t have the numbers to support everyone….so the real argument is whether to increase the numbers…. Seems to me that ship has sailed.
    The pressure for space x to have a successful mission is probably at its highest point til a manned flight comes along…. I am really praying for them

  • pathfinder_01

    Scott Bass:

    First man to land on the moon, exciting. Fifth guy no so much. First person to cross the Atlantic exciting, 100th person not so much. Living and working in space, i.e. actually attempting to do more than stunts isn’t exciting. I mean people on the ISS (or any other spacecraft) actually wake up, wash up, get dressed and go to work! Sounds a lot like Earth to me.

  • DCSCA

    @amightywind wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 8:45 am

    “This country cannot continue to string along weak competitors.”

    Which is why so much is riding on the May 7 pop by Space X. You can hear the Musketeers reciting the ‘Shepard’s Prayer’ from 61 years earlier already– Alan Shepard’s, that is.

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 9:46 am
    dont you get tired of being wrong ? RGO Hmmm. Sort of like your assertion that Space X didn’t get government subsidies. Accordingly, a refresher:

    “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.”

  • josh

    “This country cannot continue to string along weak competitors.”

    like atk, a company that survives solely on its ability to buy political support for its unneeded, dangerous and hyper-expensive products (can you say 5 seg srb?).

    spacex is the strongest space

  • josh

    company there is today in the us.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “get back to the days whereby people got excited about the program as they did in the days of Alan Shepard and John Glenn.”

    I remember those days, and I remember being excited. But I was excited about beating the Soviet Union more than about reaching into space. A lot more excited about that. Reaching into space was the noble excuse. It was nobler than telling the Soviets that, with regard to space, “we will bury you.” But we all were thirsting to do the latter.

    That’s the sad story of human space flight rationale these days. It was never about exploration. Everyone thinks it was. The public is less excited by “exploration” (whatever that is) than by competition. It’s a bit excited about adventure, but only if our adventure is better than your adventure.

    I find the reluctance of congressional leaders to wholly embrace commercial space flight as being oddly unpatriotic. Commercialization is what we’re about. It is an activity that partly defines us as U.S citizens. We should be hugely proud to do it. Can the Chinese do it? Nope. Wholly incapable. The Russians? Forget it. Of course, that reluctance is really mostly about keeping federal dollars in certain congressional districts. We all know that. But still …

  • Robert G. Oler

    Scott Bass wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Rgo….like it or not…. Entertainment as you call it is a part of the equation…… A mastery of the media and good pr is essential for any public supported program……. Something that NASA has not been very good at….. The NASA channel as an example even bores people who are fans.>>

    well…there is a difference between what Wolf is saying and “entertainment”.

    Look the era of “the space age” meaning the American people as a group are linked up with what is happening in human spaceflight as a personal “excitment” thing is long long gone.

    It floundered somewhere in Gemini when even as Gemini 8 had issues one network interrupted “Heidi” and got a zillion calls about it…and thats pretty proper…

    Space enthusiast then to be excited about space and either crewed or uncrewed flight or both because that is what makes them and “enthusiast”…there are people who sit outside airports and photograph various airplanes as they land…there are entire web sites dedicated to it…

    but for the most part that “excitement” is not something that the rest of the public shares.

    I agree that NASA does a lousy job…but if you or anyone think that somehow there is some magic formula where interest in human spaceflight is on par with “dancing with the stars” or even half of it…then you are simply mistaken. Its not going to happen RGO

  • @MrEarl
    “$500million is barely enough to fund two compeditors. Down-select is the only logical choice. ”
    You couldn’t be more wrong as long as SAA is used instead of FAR.

  • Coastal Ron

    Scott Bass wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I have always thought though that NASA has such a large video archive

    What is it that NASA has in it’s archives that would boost it’s audience significantly?

    And is that really the best use of NASA’s scarce resources? Is that what Rep. Wolf would consider a good use of NASA budget?

    Random musings about what you think would be “entertaining” is not necessarily what everyone else thinks. Why don’t you ask everyone in your neighborhood what they would like to see from NASA TV, and get back to us. I’m OK with it the way it is today.

    Actually I’m more concerned with what Rep. Frank Wolf said about getting back to the “days whereby people got excited about the program as they did in the days of Alan Shepard and John Glenn.

    I agree with what pathfinder_01 said – the first of something can be exciting, but after that it’s essentially “rinse & repeat” type work.

    I want NASA to be exciting because of the frontiers of science, technology and exploration they are pushing and opening, and not because of the chosen few who we get to watch on TV playing golf on some airless planetoid.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    It floundered somewhere in Gemini when even as Gemini 8 had issues one network interrupted “Heidi” and got a zillion calls about it…and thats pretty proper…

    Huh?!

    Perhaps you’re referring to the “Heidi Bowl” in which NBC interrupted a telecast of the Raiders-Jets game to show the film Heidi. It had nothing to do with NASA.

  • RockyMtnSpace

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 9:46 am – “The Falcon 9 second stage is spinning out of control …”

    You have referenced this comment numerous times as a way of bashing the credibility of AMW (apparently he made this comment way back when?) so I took a look at the data, as best as can be deciphered from the video of the June 4, 2010 launch. The second stage looks to be pretty stable in a 3-axis controlled flight attitude up to about the 18:49:45 mark at which point a counterclockwise roll about the vehicle’s thrust vector axis (call this the z-axis) can be detected given the view of the Earth’s limb in the background. Using this limb as an angular reference point, I was able to track the rotation rate over roughly the next four minutes before the video breaks up at the 18:53:33 mark. Initially the rotation rate is about 1 deg/sec but nearly triples to 3 deg/sec within about 90 seconds. Over the next 90 seconds, the rate triples again to about 9 deg/sec. At the video cut-off mark above, the rate has reached approximately 18 deg/sec (3 rpm). A best fit curve to the data is represented by a 2-degree polynomial in time which confirms the accelerating nature of the spin rate. The overall data curve also confirms what is visually seen toward the end of the video in that the second stage has begun to nutate about its primary roll axis. For comparison, the Delta-II provides the capability to spin up the second stage to a commanded roll rate as high as 5 rpm prior to separation of a payload that desires to be spin stabilized so the 3 rpm for the Falcon determined above (if controllable) is not necessarily an issue, although it significantly exceeds SpaceX’s advertised roll rate limit of 0.25 deg/sec. The nutation of the vehicle at these rates is critical however as separation tip-off errors would be significant and likely beyond the capability of the S/C control system to dampen soon enough to allow deployment of the solar arrays so that the vehicle can be power safe. What is clear from the data is that the roll rate was uncontrolled and accelerating indicating a failure in the vehicle’s roll control system (gimbal motor failure, FOD in the prop line, ??). While the term “spinning out of control” isn’t necessarily the way I would state the event, to laymen such as AMW and yourself, it is sufficiently accurate to get the message across. Thus your criticism along this line of argument is flawed.
    In terms of your other often used criticism about WMD in Iraq, there is data (not in the public arena) that unambiguously suggests otherwise. What little exists in the public forum is sufficient for those with the right knowledge and experience to piece together a fairly good picture of where Saddam was in his weapons program. I wouldn’t expect a laymen such as yourself to be able to identify and place enough pieces of this rather sparse puzzle together to see the outline of what Iraq was really accomplishing or where they were headed. Where the Bush administration erred was thinking that Iraq was further along than they really were. But one must also remember that Saddam was actively advertising this same fact, whether to intimidate the US, the West in general, or his neighbors, only he would know. But intelligence agencies across the world took him at his word (and likely suspected he was even further along than that). Saying “Bush lied” is a real stretch and most likely incorrect unless you have verifiable proof to the contrary. Given the Congressional Dems obsession with finding this same type of proof with absolutely no success makes it highly unlikely that you have insight where no one else does.

    Respectfully, RMS.

  • amightywind

    Perhaps you’re referring to the “Heidi Bowl” in which NBC interrupted a telecast of the Raiders-Jets game to show the film Heidi. It had nothing to do with NASA.

    I remember Curt Gowdy doing that telecast, though I was young enough to be happy that Heidi began on time.

  • vulture4

    There is a lot of controversy about the use of FARs vs SAAs. Both can provide a payment for a service. Federal acquisition contracts place many more constraints on how the contractor does it. IMHO FARs are appropriate for delivery of clearly defined commodity goods and services, where everyone knows the contract will go to the low bidder, so unless everything is clearly specified the contractor willing to cut more corners will win.

    For NASA developmental projects FARs do not work well. They encourage inappropriate micromanagement and extremely expensive reporting and review requirements that contribute nothing to the project. SAA’s, although they were not envisioned for this purpose, allow flexibility and innovation, keep the focus on the end product rather than the process, and work substantially better than FARs.

  • vulture4

    @RMS: I’m impressed by your analysis of the SpaceX launch. Historically, there are anomalies and even failures in the first few launches of almos any completely new LV, since not all contingencies are foreseeable. I have read that in this case there was an RCS malfunction caused by a LOX vent plume which froze an RCS fuel line. In any case the cause was determined and corrected, and it in no way suggests any underlying flaw in the Falcon or with SpaceX as a launch provider.

    Regarding the Iraq War, I hope this group will remain focused on space and drop the matter, but no evidence exists that Iraq was a threat. The Bush administration had years to produce such evidence and failed to do so. If you believe such evidence exists I would invite you to obtain it under the FOIA and provide it. Absent new evidence the claim is not credible.

  • Robert G. Oler

    RockyMtnSpace wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Goofiest post today. Well day is young so something else might chime in and exceed the bar…but its a pretty weak one. If you are in the Rockies…get some oxygen fast.

    “spinning out of control” is a term that I would expect my two year old daughter to use (she uses it some) and any goofball who is willing to offer an opinion on something where 1) it is not possible to make a real time judgement on the data presented, the videos 2) one has no knowledge and 3) one has a predetermined out come.

    If you read the entire thread, Wind starts making these statements in near real time on this forum as the vehicle starts its uncommanded roll. Almost everyone else; including me…said “wait” until we get more data…I posted the orbit TLE’s almost as soon as Spacecom had them up which was about two minutes after Wind made his declarative statement that the vehicle is in the Atlantic.

    I am use to such statements from “lay people”…in accident investigations the engines of the plane are always sputtering, the plane always “stalls” ..

    and what any trained person recognizes that one does…is realize that one is speaking to a person who observed events but has no technical knowledge and you are at best going to try and remove their inept technical filters and get a description of the event so you can make informed technical evaluations.

    One did not need real time Wind’s comments; the video was for all to see…I could figure out the roll rate with a stop watch.

    However the weak point in Wind’s analysis is that he made a declarative judgment before all the facts were in….facts which we did not have to wait long for….a declarative judgment that fit his beliefs not the reality.

    Of course no problem you fall into this trap about Saddam.

    There is no doubt Bush lied or at best was simply playing to his preconceived notions. Three facts make that clear.

    Special op forces were on the ground pre invasion going to various “sites” that it was claimed had WMD…and they were finding nothing. We now know according to Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powells COS that this is why Collin appeared with stage props instead of say actual evidence.

    Second Curveball which all the fools in the administration were actively touting…was being declared by our CIA, the British MI6 and the Italian folks as a liar. Nothing he said was being borne out by either intelligence or the above special ops teams.

    Third…Bush did not just say that Saddam had WMD, it was that they were going to be used on us. In fact Saddams “data dumps” were far more accurate then what the Bush administration was putting out. Saddam no more could say “I have nothing” then the North Koreans will say that and for the same reason the Iranians tug our chain about a gadget.

    This is how small bullies work in a land of small bullies with bad intelligence services. It is the same reason that the Soviets use to fly the same airplanes over and over the Moscow parades in the 60’s. to make us think they had something they did not have.

    The point of it is…

    is that sober policy analysis requires some guess work as to trends and at some point some assumptions with incomplete information…but for the most part what it requires is non biased judgement as to trends based on the ground truth reality.

    Hence it does not take a rocket scientist, having watched SLS for a few years now to see it is going down the well worn NASA path of NLS, ALS, Shuttle C, and yes Ares…to non performance…

    It doesnt take a rocket scientist, just someone with good management sense to recognize that both SpaceX and OSC are in the final stages of turning out a new product. They have entered the “last inch takes a long time” or what we call in the test flying business “the coffin corner” where every little thing takes a long time but it is the difference between success and failure.

    Musk has seen a few of these (the recontact on one of the Falcon 1 launches that cost him the trip to orbit…he should have seen that in simulation and they admit that)…and the last few weeks to me at least are a clear sign that his operation is maturing.

    he still may not “do it all” on the test flight…but that is why we do test flying.

    A blind man should have been able to see what the Administration was saying about Iraq was either the babbling of fools or a lie (and since Dick Cheney openly gamed having us manufactor an incident with the Iranians where we “pantomined their behavior with our own people”…) lying is not to strong a term.

    A blind man should see that SLS is floundering just like Ares did.

    But I am not a blind guy. That is why you get to ride on commercial airplanes as a passenger. I not only test the planes to make them safe; I check the pilots as well.

    And the fact that you can be distracted by the shiny toy that the babblers throw up, its a good thing you have that seat.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 6:24 am

    !

    Perhaps you’re referring to the “Heidi Bowl” in which NBC interrupted a telecast of the Raiders-Jets game to show the film Heidi. It had nothing to do with NASA.>>

    You are correct and I remembered that wrong…Of course I was very young (grin) when that happened….grin Thank you for the reminder. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I find the reluctance of congressional leaders to wholly embrace commercial space flight as being oddly unpatriotic.>>

    I agree but it is almost par for the course these days. The loudest people of “commercial this or commercial that” are the folks who routinely in space flight beat up on commercial…but even worse is the fact that they will let a national asset like ISS suffer because it cannot go up to full crew (such as it is) until there is a commercial up/down…and in the process wrap themselves in the flag and declare what patriots theyare.

    There is pork practiced by both parties…but patriotism as practiced by the GOP means that “you agree with their policies” this is why Bush43 could easily say words to the affect of “if you are not for US you are for the terrorist”…or shame the patriotism of people who disagreed with their policies for good reason.

    This is why supporters of SLS resort to the BS that they do.

    it is a sad state of affairs…and in some respects a true symbol of the decline of our politics. RGO

  • amightywind

    RockyMtnSpace, Congratulations. you are the second person to make these observations and come to the only logical conclusion. I have given up defending myself from this slander because when I do my posts are censored off of the site. Engineering truth is not valued here. If it is a faux pas to say ‘spinning out of control’ to describe a vehicle undergoing an uncontrolled spin, I don’t see that an expert such as yourself came up with a more accurate description. I also went on to suggest that the SpaceX purposefully cut off the video to save themselves from further embarrassment. One can only wonder what the final dynamical state of the second stage was.

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/46332

    this just shows how the goofy right wing continues to take the shuttle retirement (which was a Bush43 deal) and beat it in an anti Obama rant.

    It is devoid of facts…two are quite funny

    “The Space shuttle Enterprise no longer flies under its own steam, and as long as Obama is there, never will again.”

    Of course this is simply goofy. Enterprise has not “flown” (under its own steam whatever that means…more correctly as a function of its own kinetic energy) since the late 70’s.

    “The American moon mission was America’s finest moment in time,”

    Really? The lunar landings were great and of course have nothing to do with the shuttle’s end…but America’s finest moment in time?

    The Country that overthrew a King, ended slavery, values above all else individual liberty? Singlehandidly ended WW2?

    Really our finest moment?

    it is not that some right wing trogolyte takes a few facts and wraps them in an anti Obama rant…it is that people who should know better on the right wing are picking this piece up and touting it as some manifesto to stir up “low information” voters.

    Goofy RGO

  • DCSCA

    @Scott Bass wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    “I have always thought though that NASA has such a large video archive and access to such talented people that high production values and producers directors and actors from the entertainment industry cold make some really high quality shows….. Many of them would even volunteer their time or work cutrate because they love and believe in the space program. However it does take someone with vision and desire to bring that to fruition. What NASA does is exciting but is presented in a very dull nerdy pbs.”

    ??? For starts, apparently you missed the hugely popular, Emmy award winning ten part HBO series “From The Earth To The Moon’ produced by Tom Hanks, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard in 1998. (And, in fact, many below-the-line folks did volunteer time to work on the production of the series.) Attended the premiere in Los Angeles and the series was well received. And, of course, there was the hugely successful ‘Apollo 13′ as well as miles of real time video and film footage available in various documentaries and formats available to the public, not to mention the films/viceo archives piped out on NASA Select. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Revisit the context of the real time telecasts of the Apollo landings and you’ll doscover that as late as the Apollo 15 EVAs in July, 1971, CBS’s Cronkite delivered real time coverage of all the lunar traverses (the then new. clearer, computer enhanced color images from the Rover was a big TV draw) on the network yet by Apollo 17 in December, ’72,, when the TV was even better quality, CBS management forced Cronkite to deliver half hour summeries of the days events on the moon at 11:30 PM– which competed w/Carson no less. A war weary America had simply grown bored with ‘golly-shucks’ TV from the moon. To paraphrase Cronkite, ‘That’s just the way it is.”

  • DCSCA

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    “The American moon mission was America’s finest moment in time,” “Really?”

    Yep. Really. Witnessed its impact and reach first hand ooverseas.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/46332

    Judi McLeod, editor of the CFP, cut her teeth writing for Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, and Glenn Beck. So this isn’t an article about space policy, but about Obama bashing. CFP has a pretty consistent reputation in Canada as more of a wacko publication than a reputable conservative outlet. The National Post or the Sun it ain’t.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the GOP try to use images of the space shuttles getting pinned down in museums to flog Obama in the coming election. That should be fun to watch.

  • Ben Joshua

    That so much of the NASA budget has become no more than pork salad at a congressional picnic is par for the course. Big-money interests, beyond influence, actually control much of what we used to call public funds and public government.

    It is therefore a minor miracle that NASA achieves as much as it does in, say, robotic exploration. Explain to me how our next national steps in space can emerge successfully from a pork driven political agenda, instead of, say, from the imaginations of leading edge designers and hard nosed technical and cost analyses of engineers.

    NASA has shown it can rally from its own blunders, but if SLS / Orion finds its way to LC39, it will do so as a relic of old thinking and a product of a congress lining the pockets of tired, uninspired (and uninspiring) contractors.

    Compared to what the private sector accomplishes by then, SLS will unfortunately be a punchline, and those middle echelon workers, who pour heart and soul into making SLS function, will hold their breaths, pray and suffer high blood pressure before every launch.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    RockyMtnSpace, Congratulations. you are the second person to make these observations and come to the only logical conclusion.

    Gee. One other person agrees with you after almost two years.

    I also went on to suggest that the SpaceX purposefully cut off the video to save themselves from further embarrassment.

    Embarrassment for what? They achieved their goal, which was to put a non-functional payload into a pre-determed orbit. Do you understand what the term “non-functional” is?

    You’re like Joe, who complains that the cargo version of the SpaceX Dragon doesn’t have a functional verified crew ECLSS.

    Doing more, with less employees, and far less money, is apparently not a big deal to you. Makes me wonder what you two have against a great example of American innovation…

    One can only wonder what the final dynamical state of the second stage was.

    It feel into the ocean after successfully concluding it’s job.

  • Jeff Foust

    Discussion of the causes of the Iraq conflict is off topic here. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping the discussion related to the topic of the original post.

  • Ben Joshua wrote:

    NASA has shown it can rally from its own blunders, but if SLS / Orion finds its way to LC39, it will do so as a relic of old thinking and a product of a congress lining the pockets of tired, uninspired (and uninspiring) contractors.

    I thought it particularly amusing that they even painted the SLS design to look like an Atlas V, because all these Congresscritters grew up in the 1960s-1970s watching Atlas V launches. It’s all they know.

    Maybe if SpaceX agreed to paint the Falcon Heavy like the Saturn V, they could get the Beyond Earth Orbit contract and we could save the taxpayers billions of dollars.

  • I think you mean ‘Saturn V,’ but yes, point well. taken.

  • vulture4

    Virginia governor McDonnell is pouring millions into marketing his state’s exports to China while Virginia Congressman Wolf rabidly attacks China every chance he gets, openly threatening to slash NASA’s budget if anyone so much as mentions the world’s second largest economy. Maybe China would rather do business with West Virginia.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    . So this isn’t an article about space policy, but about Obama bashing.>>

    and sadly that is more or less the tone of space politics from the far right…and the “continue SLS/Orion” group. Well lets see what happens on May 7…or whenever. If Dragon makes it up to the space station this flight (or whenever it does) the world changes. big time RGO

  • Explorer08

    Hey Oler: your posts are usually pretty good but to state that the US singlehandedly won World War II is utter nonsense and you know it. To use your favorite term: “Goofy”

  • Robert G. Oler

    Explorer08 wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Hey Oler: your posts are usually pretty good but to state that the US singlehandedly won World War II is utter nonsense and you know it. To use your favorite term: “Goofy”>>

    Sadly you are correct.

    LOL really you are. I think I said “ended” not “won”…but in any event the conclusion in any verbiage was hyperbole. I was listening to “theme of the fast carriers” from Victory at Sea as I wrote that…and got a tad carried away. Victory in WW2 in all theaters was really an instance where all the nations on the allied side more or less gave it everything that they had.

    thank you for gently reminding me of it. I’ll make sure VAS isnt playing next time…take care. Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    @Frank Glover wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 9:36 pm
    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    “I thought it particularly amusing that they even painted the SLS design to look like an Atlas V, because all these Congresscritters grew up in the 1960s-1970s watching Atlas V launches. It’s all they know.” “I think you mean ‘Saturn V,’ but yes, point well. taken.”

    Hmmm. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This writer personally asked von Braun why his Saturn V was ‘painted’ in the scheme you churlishly chortle at- he responded it had an engineering/optical tracking rationale but, he said, the paint scheme, ‘looked rather pretty.’

  • DCSCA

    @Ben Joshua wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    “…if SLS / Orion finds its way to LC39, it will do so as a relic of old thinking.” Except old thinking- like the wheel, works.

  • BeancounterFromDownunder

    josh wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    “This country cannot continue to string along weak competitors.”

    like atk, a company that survives solely on its ability to buy political support for its unneeded, dangerous and hyper-expensive products (can you say 5 seg srb?).

    spacex is the strongest space

    josh wrote @ April 27th, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    company there is today in the us.

    So strongest .. in what sense. Capitalisation, political support, flight manifest, new products, and so on. Need to specify if you want to be taken seriously. Blanket statements don’t cut it here.

  • BeancounterFromDownunder

    Explorer08 wrote @ April 28th, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Hey Oler: your posts are usually pretty good but to state that the US singlehandedly won World War II is utter nonsense and you know it. To use your favorite term: “Goofy”

    Interesting. IF the Japanese had not seriously screwed up and bombed Pearl Harbour, the U.S. would probably have delayed entering the war. If that had happened, Australia quite likely would have fallen since the other Allies had their hands full in Europe. Japan did actually launch an attack on Australian mainland and Australia didn’t have the capacity to prevent them moving through to the southern defence line. Quite likey to occupation.
    Maybe the U.S. would have used the bomb at that point but the fact that they did enter the war in time to retrieve the position in Asia, was pretty significant. At least to us.

  • vulture4

    For those who are interested, the Fort Sill Amateur Rocket handbook designates the then commonly-used black and white Saturn V paint scheme as a pattern called “half-harlequin” because it resembles the vertical stripes of the costume of a a Rennasiance joker or “harlequin”, with the colors reversed halfway down the vehicle. The purpose was to provide easily visible right angles in poor visibility and allow naked-eye or camera trackers to see as clearly as possible the position and attitude of the vehicle in pitch, roll and yaw against light or dark backgrounds.

  • vulture4

    And although tracking cameras are still useful, navigational tracking is (or rather should be) electronic. The use of the paint scheme on the Ares V is either, like the return of the meatball, a nod to nostalgia, or an admission that even in 2020 we won’t be any farther along than we are now.

  • amightywind

    “spinning out of control” is a term that I would expect my two year old daughter to use (she uses it some) and any goofball

    The length and incoherence of this diatribe suggests that your are defensive about being humiated by a professional. My guess is RockyMtnSpace works at Lockmart in Littleton and knows something about the Centaur control systems. I have slept on it and I am willing to recant my words “spinning out of control”. I shall now refer to the incident as the “the Falcon 9 roll control anomaly.” There is still much left unexplained.

    “I thought it particularly amusing that they even painted the SLS design to look like an Atlas V

    The main body of the Atlas V is not painted at all It is a copper colored bare aluminium alloy. Frost forms on the O2 tank. Perhaps that is confusing you. The SLS is not likely to be painted either, as it is using a modified shuttle tank.

  • @ablastofhotair
    “The length and incoherence of this diatribe suggests that your are defensive about being humiated by a professional.
    We only have your word that you are truly a “professional” in the industry. There have been times when you have evidenced some true technical and operational knowledge, but many other times that you have demonstrated a profound and even hilarious ignorance — to an extent that is even obvious to a fairly knowledgable layman (such as myself) who doesn’t claim to be a professional in the area of aerospace engineering or policy. And it is especially apparent to me when you make erroneous statements stemming from overly simplistic arguments about the area of space science in which I am a professional. And the often over-the-top weird counter-common sense statements (that can only be said to be bordering on the insane) do not help.

    The best I can say is that you are occasionally entertaining, because it is hard to take you seriously most of the time.

  • Frank Glover wrote:

    I think you mean ‘Saturn V,’ but yes, point well. taken.

    Yes, of course. I do that all the time, say “Atlas V” when I mean “Saturn V” and vice-versa.

    As least I don’t confuse them with Babylon 5 … :-)

  • vulture4 wrote:

    The purpose was to provide easily visible right angles in poor visibility and allow naked-eye or camera trackers to see as clearly as possible the position and attitude of the vehicle in pitch, roll and yaw against light or dark backgrounds.

    I know that, but putting the Saturn V paint scheme on the SLS at the very beginning on the initial design serves no purpose other than to appeal to nostalgia. After all, the SLS’s big external tank is just a bigger version of the Shuttle’s orange external tank. NASA dropped the white paint after the first two flights because it added weight and served no useful purpose. So why paint the SLS ET black-and-white like a Saturn V at this stage unless it’s to appeal to scientifically illerate Congresscritters?

  • Dark Blue Nine

    RMS: “What is clear from the data is that the roll rate was uncontrolled and accelerating indicating a failure in the vehicle’s roll control system (gimbal motor failure, FOD in the prop line, ??).”

    MightyClueless: “I shall now refer to the incident as the ‘the Falcon 9 roll control anomaly.’ There is still much left unexplained.”

    C’mon, people. The second stage roll on Falcon 9’s maiden launch was understood and corrected on the second Falcon 9 launch (the COTS 1 mission) a year and a half ago:

    “Another fix in the works involves relocating a liquid oxygen drain outlet that contributed to a second-stage roll captured by an on-board camera that taped the launch from liftoff to orbit insertion.

    ‘The second-stage roll is being fixed by changing the location of the [liquid oxygen] pump drain outlet to avoid chilling the hydraulic lines of the roll control actuator,’ Brost said.”

    http://spacenews.com/venture_space/100903-spacex-tweaking-falcon-software-for-upcoming-launch.html

    MightyIgnorant: “I also went on to suggest that the SpaceX purposefully cut off the video”

    No, the video cut off when the second-stage went over the horizon of the T&T station that was providing the internet feed.

    MightyHypocritical: “I have given up defending myself from this slander because when I do my posts are censored off of the site. Engineering truth is not valued here.”

    Engineering truth is valued here over ignorant and biased FUD. That’s why your posts are repeatedly corrected (and probably deleted by the sponsor, too).

    Do your research and buy a clue before you post and maybe you won’t be treated like the pariah you have been here.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “The SLS is not likely to be painted either”

    Not according to the imagery released by NASA, which is what the other poster was referring to:

    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/596024main_SLS-ML.jpg

    http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/gallery/sls_launch5.html

    Try to pay attention…

  • Robert G. Oler

    BeancounterFromDownunder wrote @ April 29th, 2012 at 7:23 am

    desired outcomes shape strategery, strategery shapes tactics and tactics shape industry…

    The US Navy before WW2 (and sadly now) is a lot like NASA today…it is incapable of working that equation in part because “desired outcomes” from the political class were so “ephemeral”…The result(s) were that the first two years of WW2 were a muddled mess at least in the Pacific and a disaster in the Atlantic (aat least for the Navy) and today we are going through this agony with SLS/Commercial.

    You can see how this phrase plays out in Apollo. There was a desired outcome, that outcome more then anything else drove the strategery to get to the Moon (Big Booster lunar orbit rendezvous) and that strategery drove the tactics which then drove industry. Once the outcome was achieved there was nothing that survived Apollo in terms of “industrial outcome (ie no vehicles) BUT what stuck with the organization was the strategery…it is what made them “great” and everything else has been modeled on Apollo…it is the notion of square pegs driving into round holes.

    Today half a century later there is a drive to once again create that notion…there are people inside of NASA who see ” a new world” but they are not making much headway on changing the institution and cannot until some event occurs which literally sweeps the dead wood away (ie the ones who cannot think in a new box).

    This is one of Obama’s failures which I am working on trying to understand…he has failed to outline in space politics (and in other things) A new country if you will that could evolve from a new strategery. This means that the folks who are babbling away about things like “American exceptionalism” have the floor more or less all to themselves.

    So NASA today is doing a lot of what the US Navy did on the brink of WW2. When the money finally came for “the two ocean navy” the build consisted of a mix of some innovation (a smattering of CV’s and smaller ships like new DD class) and of course the North Carolina and South Dakota Class Battleships.

    in all respects the Battleships are like SLS/Orion…they are compromise designs which later in the war had serious limitations, they cost a lot of steel that would have been far better employed in say Essex carriers or escort ships.they totally consumed some of Americas industry

    ..BUT THEY HAD TO BE BUILT because the Navy’s “plans” were still evolving and the FDR administration was struggling to come up with a policy that would “contain” both Germany and Japan (with interesting political divisions internally). Amidst competing notions of how to do it and what to do…there was a policy evolving in the Atlantic sort of a containment…but they were struggling with one in the Pacific in large measure because the Navy was divided on what they could actually accomplish.

    the establishment was pretty sure that the Japanese would indulge them and they could win a Jutland style battle…some like Ray Spruance were back channeling to FDR that he thought both assumptions were wrong.

    The difference in today and then is that the stakes then were very high…today no one really cares if SLS could actually do what it is suppose to do…the job for it is to simply feed the industrial complex.

    Pearl Harbor (and the Germans kindly declaring war on the US on 10 Dec) finally settled everything and we moved to a “total victory” routine. The Navy built exactly four more battleships (although it slow walked 2 more) and turned its steel to CV’s, escorts and other vehicles which before the war got little attention. Jutland was out as a tactics and island hopping was in…Most of the battleship admirals went somewhere else.

    I dont see a Pearl Harbor in space but what I do see is a fading away of the old guard simply due to non performance.

    I would conclude by addressing this “Australia quite likely would have fallen since the other Allies had their hands full in Europe.”

    there are two things that the US establishment agreed on in the Pacific…if either Australia or the Philippines the US had to fight. The “sale” to the American people might have been hard particularly with Australia (the Philippines were then an American territory) but the US was moving to prepare for that battle (they thought invading Australia was more likely then the Philippines actually). A few days before 7 December the main striking power the US Navy had in the western Pacific left Subic to head south for Australia with orders to fight to the end to slow an invasion. They did.f

    The one thing that Obama’s critics have correct is that his policy is muddled in its communications…he never has outlined “what” we get for a change in policy and that drives a change in stragerery and that drives a change in tactics and that drives the industrial output…

    their aim of course is that he should have done something to make the shuttle workers happy and who cares on that…but he (Obama) needs to make some declarative statements about where he thinks we are going…and an asteroid is not it

    sorry for the long post hope you found it interesting RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ April 29th, 2012 at 10:46 am
    I shall now refer to the incident as the “the Falcon 9 roll control anomaly.” There is still much left unexplained.>>

    that marks you as an amateur or worse…the entire “event” is well understood…there has been a Falcon 9 launch post that event where no roll control issues were encountered.

    As for the speculation on the other person…who knows who you are or what he/she is RGO

  • E.P. Grondine

    RGO –

    From their comments about the first Falcon 1’s roll and Bush Jr and Iraq, RMS is a working professional and knows what they are talking about. Because of that I don’t think they will stop by here very often. (Personally, I enjoy Canada’s Timeless Media documentaries, and find the VAS music really annoying.)

    BCDU –

    While this is far off topic,and perhaps I misunderstood your comment, while I have read reports of the Japanese miltary’s air attacks on Australia, I do not know of any Japanese landings in Australia.

  • vulture4

    Congressman Wolf is the single biggest obstacle to human spaceflight in the world today. I suggest calling his office and letting him know; 202-225-5136.

  • BeanCounterfromDownunder

    EPG No Japanese landings are recorded in WW2 to the best of my knowledge.
    RGO Yes long read but very interesting. I haven’t seriously studied WW2 history, only bits picked up along the way and only wrt the Aust. Special Forces since an uncle of mine went MIA as part of those. Other family members were in the Somme.
    Your comments jibe with my own thoughts. O’B has been a disappointment in many ways.
    Looking forward to COTS 2/3. Hopefully successful and will IMO be the tipping point for leo spaceflight and the beginning of the end of SLS and MPCV.
    Notice that NASA has actually finally come out and said that they are incurring significantly more cost in designing SLS as a flexible vehicle due to lack of mission. LOL.

  • Robert G. Oler

    E.P. Grondine wrote @ April 29th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    RGO –

    From their comments about the first Falcon 1′s roll and Bush Jr and Iraq, RMS is a working professional >>

    not so impressive to me…as for WW2…would like to comment but its off topic…RGO

  • vulture4

    Yes, I remember now, on the first F9 launch when the second stage LOX was dumped the plume froze an RCS hydraulic line. One of the many proofs that most real launch vehicle contingencies cannot be predicted by systems engineering. There is no way the SE, looking at his block diagram, would ever anticipate that two systems with no logical connection would interact; it had to be revealed by actual flight testing. Fortunately, unlike SLS, the F9 will have an adequate number of launches under its belt before it ever carries a crew. The commonality between crew and cargo LVs will continue to ensure that significant changes in design can always be tested first in unmanned flight.

  • DCSCA

    @vulture4 wrote @ April 29th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    That’s essentially what von Braun relayed… optical tracking criteria… and he added, “it’s rather pretty.’

  • DCSCA

    Space X fails to meet schedule again.

    The only the only thing reliable about Space X is their unreliability.

    Space X has a $1.9 billion contract to deliver goods and services, not run an ‘open-ended test program’ at taxpayer’s expense. And at $60-$70 million a seat, $1.9 billion would cover the cost of 25 round trip seats for American astronauts riding Soyuz up to the ISS… and at 4 rudes a year a year two for six month stints each, that’s six years minimum- longer if crew rotations are stretched.

    It’s time for Congress to step in over the commercial coddlers at NASA, hold hearings and call the management of Space X and the commercialists within NASA on to the carpet for hearings on the failure of this firm, after being cut so many breaks in scheduling and subsidized both financially, to meet schedules and fulfil its contractual obligations. Better still, their schedule slippages speak for them already. Terminate their contract. Fire them.

  • Vladislaw

    SpaceX has a service contract to deliver cargo. What good would it do to spend that on rides for astronauts if there is no cargo delivered.

    Take your pills and goto bed.

  • vulture4

    Should we fire the managers of Constellation for being years behind schedule and billions over budget? The real question is, what are we trying to accomplish, and why. I do not think the SLS/Orion program will provide value for thee nation that is worth its cost.

  • joe

    vulture4 wrote @ May 5th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    “Should we fire the managers of Constellation for being years behind schedule and billions over budget?”

    You are aware that Constellation Systems (for whatever reason) was cancelled, right?

  • Coastal Ron

    joe wrote @ May 5th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    You are aware that Constellation Systems (for whatever reason) was cancelled, right?

    For whatever reason? Don’t be so naive Joe – Constellation was far over budget, far behind schedule, and according to the GAO it lacked a clear business case. Because of that a bipartisan Congress cancelled it without much discussion or disagreement.

    The bigger question now is what happened to the people who were responsible for the cost & schedule overruns?

    Fired for mismanagement? Promoted for spending so much money? Sent back to management school?

    Until we address the reasons why NASA programs go so horribly over budget, NASA will never be able to afford to leave LEO.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “It’s time for Congress to step in over the commercial coddlers at NASA, hold hearings and call the management of Space X and the commercialists within NASA on to the carpet for hearings on the failure of this firm, after being cut so many breaks in scheduling and subsidized both financially, to meet schedules and fulfil its contractual obligations. Better still, their schedule slippages speak for them already. Terminate their contract. Fire them.”

    NASA is not going to fire a company when NASA technicians need more time to understand the mission software:

    “The launch of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida had been set for May 7, but SpaceX said liftoff would be held up while NASA was double-checking changes in the flight software.”

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/03/11525131-spacex-chief-wants-to-be-spaceflier?lite

    Don’t be a flaming idiot, fella. The schedule slippage is due to NASA, not SpaceX.

  • joe

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ May 5th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    An interesting progression of descriptive language. First MSNBC reports:“but more time is needed to analyze changes in SpaceX’s flight software and make sure all systems are go.”

    Then MSNBC reports (siting their own previous article):”but SpaceX said liftoff would be held up while NASA was double-checking changes in the flight software.”

    So “analyze changes” had been changed to “double-checking”.

    Then “Dark Blue Nine” changes the description again:“because NASA technicians need more time to understand the mission software”.

    So “double-checking” is now changed to “understand”.

    Then “Dark Blue Nine” asserts:“The schedule slippage is due to NASA, not SpaceX.”

    Blaming the delay on NASA not understanding Space X software (even though he is the only one to imply that NASA does not understand Space X software).

    What actually has happened is that in the dry run for this test flight FRR last fall the Space X software just plain did not work. NASA has been working with Space X since that time to fix Space X software problems. It would be interesting to know – for those who claim to believe that the COTS program is commercial – where the money to pay the non-Space X personnel to help Space X fix its software problems is coming from:
    – Is Space X being billed?
    – Is the money coming from COTS (and how does that match up with ‘fee for service’)?
    – Or is the money being transferred from other NASA accounts?

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “So “double-checking” is now changed to “understand”.”

    Fair criticism.

    “What actually has happened is that in the dry run for this test flight FRR”

    Do you have a link or other evidence?

    “where the money to pay the non-Space X personnel”

    There is a small pot of money (~5%, IIRC) within the COTS budget for the NASA program office.

  • joe

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ May 6th, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    “Do you have a link or other evidence?”

    No, my sources are people I know participated in the FRR dry run. I realize you may choose to reject this – but, that is the situation. This whole matter has gotten to be politically touchy. I will not (for what I hope are obvious reasons) say anything to further identify them.

    “There is a small pot of money (~5%, IIRC) within the COTS budget for the NASA program office.”

    That might be the source of the funding. Probably alright to use it for testing support, but it would be a stretch to use it for actual coding.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Probably alright to use it for testing support, but it would be a stretch to use it for actual coding.”

    They’re doing V&V.

  • joe

    Dark Blue Nine wrote @ May 7th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    My understanding is that over the last six months considerable rewriting of the software has been required.

    We will see how it all turns out.

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