NASA, White House

A penny for NASA? That’s what that petition was worth.

Earlier this year, inspired at least in part by comments from astronomer and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson upon the release of his latest collection of essays, some space activists started a petition on the White House website asking for NASA’s budget to be, at a minimum, doubled. “Tomorrow is gone without NASA,” the petition pleaded. “Please at least double NASA’s annual budget, and continue to support the most inspirational program in the country.” Backed by a group called Penny4NASA, a reference to their desire to see NASA’s funding increased to one percent of the overall federal budget, the petition got the 25,000 signatures needed within 30 days to merit an official response from the White House.

Yesterday, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) published the administration’s official response to the petition. The response, though, doesn’t directly address the petitioners’ request: that NASA’s budget be doubled. “NASA and space are so important to our future that we do need to be doubling and tripling what we can accomplish in this domain,” reads the OSTP response, citing, among other things, increases in the number of vehicles that can access ISS, the 100-times-more-powerful James Webb Space Telescope, and the Mars rover Curiosity, with 10 times the mass of scientific instruments than the rover Opportunity.

But what about budgets? Here, OSTP warns of budget cuts proposed by the Republican-led House, whose budget plan “if spread evenly, would significantly cut NASA’s budget, forcing the deepest cuts to the space program since just after we landed on the Moon.” By comparison, “the Administration has proposed a NASA budget for FY 2013 that spares the agency from such cuts and yet will deliver more than ever from this essential driver of American innovation.” Not exactly the message those who signed the petition were necessarily looking for.

Of course, in today’s fiscal environment, with the scythe of sequestration looming over every discussion of the 2013 budget, doubling NASA’s budget—or even far more modest increases—isn’t very realistic. (There is also the issue of what fraction of the federal budget should be devoted to NASA, and whether even that metric makes sense, but that’s a discussion for another post.) If space advocates want to increase NASA’s budget, they’ll need to find another approach than a petition, and they’ll need far more than 25,000 people to support that effort.

39 comments to A penny for NASA? That’s what that petition was worth.

  • Pretty much what I expected all along.

    I signed the petition, but I didn’t think it would accomplish anything other than the political statement by a White House staffer.

    People need to remember that Congress, not the White House, determines the budget.

  • SpaceColonizer

    I signed the petition myself, but never deluded myself into thinking it could ever accomplish its goal. I just wanted to advance the conversation. I found the response interesting. At its core I agree with what it’s saying: that increasing the effectivness of the $ spent on NASA is/can be more important than increasing the budget in general. But then it (as can be expected) gives the SLS crowd a handy, which is the most tragic waste of NASA $ I can think of. I think we’re more likley to get NASA up to 1% of the overall budget but cutting the rest of the budget.

    (Sarcasm mode activated) I just think it’s a shame that they ONLY reason the mainstream media won’t be reporting on this today it because the response was timed the night before the supreme coart’s decision on healthcare bill. (Sarcasm mode deactivated)

  • No doubt we’ll hear more insensible blathering from the usual suspects of “but all we have to do is splash ISS and double the budget for SLS!” Yeah, right.

    Now tell us the one about the Three Bears. :)

  • Fred Willett

    Sequestration is a real possibility. And even if that disaster is averted the next administration (Republician or Democrat) is going to have to do some serious debt reduction.
    That will inevitably impact NASA.
    That means a shrinking budget and that means learning to do more with less. Or learning to do without. We could get to the moon on half the budget if we worked smart.
    In fact we may have to.
    Larger budgets ain’t going to happen any time soon

  • amightywind

    We don’t need bake sales, we don’t need carnival barkers like deGrass Tyson, We need to reform NASA’s portfolio of activities and eliminate some. Real budget cuts need not effect NASA’s core activities. A manager like Romney sees that.

  • MrEarl

    “No doubt we’ll hear more insensible blathering from the usual suspects of “but all we have to do is splash ISS and double the budget for SLS!” Yeah, right.” Boozer
    To be closely followed by the battle cry of, “but all we have to do is cut SLS and Orion and give it to SpaceX”

    NASA best serves the nation through innovation and exploration, making new discoveries and opening up new territories for exploitation.
    I agree NASA has to work smarter with the money it’s given but it’s also true that if we go cheap on the future, the future will pass us by.

  • @Mr Earl
    “To be closely followed by the battle cry of, “but all we have to do is cut SLS and Orion and give it to SpaceX”
    And as I already answered in a much earlier response to Marcel, if you think I believe SpaceX is the only way to go, then you never understood a damn thing I wrote.

    “NASA best serves the nation through innovation and exploration, making new discoveries and opening up new territories for exploitation.
    I totally agree with that assessment. Again, if you think that I don’t, then your prejudice in favor of SLS is preventing you from understanding what I, Rand, Coastal Ron, and a host of others have been trying to get across to you. All I know is what the professional studies that actually compare SLS to other methods reveal. The only studies you have ever pointed out are ones that say SLS can do such and such if it is built, but you never show studies from NASA, industry, or academia that are a comparison. The reason why is that such studies support your beloved launcher.

    “I agree NASA has to work smarter with the money it’s given but it’s also true that if we go cheap on the future, the future will pass us by.”
    Spending NASA’s budget in a more effective manner is not the same as “going cheap”. Again, you seem to have difficulty discerning shades of meaning.
    Indeed “NASA has to work smarter with the money it’s given”. When are you and other SLS supporters going to behave as though you actually believe that rather than “I want my shuttle-derived HLV and I want it NOW!” like a little kid throwing a tantrum for a toy he has his heart set on and to hell with the consequences. But you then you tell yourself the negative consequences don’t exist, don’t you?

  • Robert G. Oler

    I didnt sign the petition and didnt think much of it for one very simple reason…it tries to say that NASA’s issues in HSF in particular are money issues…they are not

    NASA has evolved into all the “fixins and trimmings” of what is wrong with America…It is like most Americans the age NASA is fat, obese and no longer willing to explore aggressive options to the old way of doing business.

    NASA has spent three (THREE) times and growing the amount of money on some form of shuttle replacement that it spent flying the entire Gemini program. SLS/Ares long ago surpassed the money in constant dollars it took to build the entire shuttle system.

    The Federal government could give NASA more money and it is fairly clear that not much more would get done.

    If the Red Chinese with all their issues of old technology etc have spent 3-6 billion on redoing Soviet hardware and are flying it…why cannot NASA on three or four times that amount make shuttle knockoff hardware work?

    This is the US problem right now. It is not that the federal government spends to much; it spends to much money on things that simply dont work. Things that have no value for the money.

    The DoD is littered with this projects but almost anything at NASA that cost more then 1-3 billion total falls into this category.

    The right wing does not like MEdicare/caid but if you go look at the over head cost of that program, then check out the overhead cost of Orion…the waste is in Orion.

    More money wont fix NASA…less money with substantial cuts in the people there, firings of management dead wood and a couple of innovative leaders that motivate through various means the rest of the “troops” to do more with less…or just do more would be the ticket.

    It must be clear to all but the right wing idiots that we cannot cut the debt by simply cutting. We need taxes yes but we also need innovation and a restart of the economic system and that wont happen as long as 1 trillion or so of the federal governments spending is going to things that eat, but do not work…and thats mostly corporate spending.

    RGO

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “To be closely followed by the battle cry of, ‘but all we have to do is cut SLS and Orion and give it to SpaceX’”

    No, but an actual competition instead of a $30+ billion, sole-sourced earmark for the government’s first HLV in nearly 50 years sure would be appropriate.

    “NASA best serves the nation through innovation and exploration, making new discoveries and opening up new territories for exploitation.”

    None of which SLS/MPCV is capable of or budgeted and scheduled to do.

    “I agree NASA has to work smarter with the money it’s given”

    It’s not apparent from your posts. You support a ~$30B+ billion dollar heavy launcher and redundant capsule over functionally equivalent alternatives that would cost the taxpayer anywhere from zero additional dollars (Falcon Heavy) to $2-3 billion (EELV Phase 2 or Falcon Superheavy).

    If you support human space exploration, there’s nothing “smarter” that we could do with NASA than save an order of magnitude in dollars on NASA’s most expensive development project going forward and put those dollars into transfer stages, landers, and other actual exploration hardware.

    “but it’s also true that if we go cheap on the future, the future will pass us by.”

    The future is built by cheap transport, not uselessly expensive transport. We commute to work in Honda Civics, not Bugatti Veryons. Wal Mart moves product from its distribution centers to its stores with 18-wheelers, not monster trucks. Columbus bought readily available caravels and set sail; he didn’t spend 20 years and the queen’s jewels reinventing the sailing ship of his time. The American West was settled by the humble conestoga wagon pulled by draft horses and oxen, not by hansome cabs pulled by destriers.

    We’re going so expensive with SLS/MPCV that we can’t afford the elements necessary to go to any actual exploration destinations. We’re building an eight-lane, gilded, scenic highway, but we can’t afford any offramps.

    Heck, our highway is so expensive we can’t even afford to test for seatbelts in the car that will drive on the highway:

    http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120622-orion-abort-test-delay.html

  • DougSpace

    There was that NASA study showing that the SAA approach of developing the Falcon 9 cost only about a third had it been done the FAR way. The secret to getting twice the amount of achievement for the same or even less budget are these SAA approaches. That plus the moment we have craft cycling in cis-lunar space then reusability also allows us to accomplish more with less. Then again, there’s also ISRU. So the WH’s response is, I believe, appropriate and we are close to being there. But we need a “Lunar COTS” program for it to be realized.

  • Paul

    My reaction to the petition was to unfollow OSTP on twitter. :)

  • Oops, in my last comment, instead of, “The reason why is that such studies support your beloved launcher.” I meant to write, “The reason why is that no such studies support your beloved launcher.”

  • MrEarl

    Boozer, you’re becoming the definition of an angry old man, too convinced of the righteousness of their cause to even see the other side as anything but monsters. You should get a subscription to NASASpaceflight.com at the L2 level. While I’ll readily admit they tend to be supporters of the “big rocket“ group they do give a much more balanced view of the technology of space flight then you’ll find here on a “political” site.

    While I’ll also admit that I fall into the “big rocket” group my focus is more toward enabling technology and goals. That’s why my real support is for the Exploration Gateway/Platform as outlined by Skip Hatfield and Boeing.

    http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Hatfield_8-10-11/
    http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Post-Donahue_9-7-11/

    It allows us to get started on exploration now and is not dependent on SLS but will be able to take advantage of a launcher that can deliver large mass/large volume in the future.
    It will be relatively inexpensive using parts that are already built for the ISS and Shuttle programs and offers opportunities for participation of international partners. ESA just authorized a study of uses for it’s ATV and being the international segment of the gateway would be a great use of that technology and yes, they have expressed interest in doing such a thing.
    Now we have a platform for lunar sorties, NEO sorties and expeditions to Mars. Commercial companies can called upon to supply the gateway, any lunar bases that would come from that and expeditions to Mars and NEO’s just as they are starting to do now with the ISS.
    So I understand what you and the others are saying but there is what I believe is a well-reasoned argument for my beliefs too.

  • Ben Joshua

    NASA’s aeronautics budget seems short on histrionics and mammoth programs, and long on airliner safety, air traffic improvements, fuel efficiency, mining data for aeronautical “canaries”, control systems and a host of other useful R&D.

    Would that the space side of the budget could be as sensible. After all, budgets are about more than, “how much?” Tyson and the petition seem well meant. But the politics of space would be better served by elevating the fundamental questions of what NASA money is dedicated to and how it is spent, not just how much.

    Mammoth, maybe someday propositions, on the one hand, or much needed R&D, planetary science, and incremental, do-able steps toward exploration, which, like the tortoise and the hare, might get us out there more quickly?

    Personally, I prefer a future NASA budgeting for a Europa orbiter, et al, and pursuing a COTS-like approach to HSF ambitions.

  • common sense

    I agree that the problem is not the money but how we use it. But it’s not NASA’s problem. It is our Congress problem. Who last designed SLS? Who last budgeted a mega-launcher with no payload, no mission? It is true that the result is NASA has to spend time and money thinking what to do with these systems…

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “It allows us to get started on exploration now and is not dependent on SLS but will be able to take advantage of a launcher that can deliver large mass/large volume in the future.”

    Then you should argue to ditch SLS so NASA can afford to build and operate Boeing’s EML gateway and a reusable lander to go with it. Let industry build the HLV at a tenth of SLS’s cost to improve the EML gateway’s efficiency sometime down the line.

    Boeing’s EML gateway is your “must have”. And affordable HLV is your “nice-to-have”. And an egregiously expensive HLV like SLS is standing in the way of both.

  • JimNobles

    I don’t understand the rationale behind sending such a petition to the White House. The congress is unlikely to pass anything Obama wants at this point. And Obama has enough sense to know that. He probably wouldn’t try to get a “Double NASAs Budget” piece of legislation passed now even if he believed in it. It’s the same if he gets re-elected. There simply doesn’t seem to be the will necessary in congress to pass any kind of budget increase for NASA. No matter what the new congress looks like.

    Any petitions of this nature might have greater impact if sent to the powers that be in congress and the senate. They control the purse strings, not the president. I don’t think the petitions would have much impact there either but they would probably have more than those petitions sent to the White House. No matter who is in the White House.

    Or we could concentrate more on the growing private commercial sector of space development. Commercial space allows people to vote with their wallets rather than with a ballot. It allows them to vote as often and as much as they think they can afford. And vote for what they believe in without having their money diverted to causes they don’t believe in. And all without having to deal with so much of the political crap that happens now.

    I honestly believe that the old Government Space way of doing things will never result in America moving out into the solar system. There’s just too much overhead and waste involved in doing it that way. Plus the average citizen just doesn’t seem to be all that keen on doing it that way any longer. I say let the Space Cadets run the space program. And the best way I see that happening, right now anyway, is going the commercial route.

  • MrEarl

    CS, you hit the nail squarely on the head with your statement. It is congress that has put NASA in this position by decreeing that they build SLS. They were given the option of using EELV’s and propellant depots and the rest in Obama’s FY 2011 and rejected it out of hand. They slashed CCDev funding in FY’12 to make sure SLS had the money it needed. Continue to rail against the wind if you wish, most of NASA has decided to figure out what to do with these systems and that is what the Exploration Gateway does. So it’s important to get congressional buy-in on this. It starts deploying hardware within 18 months of approval. That way if, most of you would say when, congress changes it’s mind on SLS the gateway is well underway and existing LVs can takeover for the SLS role.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ June 28th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    interesting post. I find the crowd at NASAspaceflight.com interesting (not entertaining) but interesting in that they dont deal well with the politics of the situation, which is where this is all going…and assume some technical reality always trumps political reality. It does not.

    I would support the “L2″ effort if a couple of realities were different then todays. The first being that I thought the station actually had a chance of being deployed for some reasonable number of billions and the second is that once deployed there would be something other for the station to do then take lots of pictures and play lego blocks.

    NASA has effectively with the current station/Cx/and now SLS Orion demonstrated it has not a clue how to advance either issue from where they are today.

    I knew that the 8 billion dollar station was a lie…but when it started sailing over 50 billion with no real end in sight…wow all one could say is “the damn thing is out of control”…now that it is finished NASA doesnt have a clue what to do with it.

    I am afraid that the same thing would happen to an L2 station…we would struggle for a decade or two (depending on how much use SLS has to have) to build the darn thing; cost would run more toward 100 billion then 50 billion and at the end we would have probably 3 people sitting out at L2 for about 1 billion a piece (because thats more expensive then the LEO station) doing squat.

    I dont think we need (nor will the politics sustain) an exploration program…particularly one that has so little or no return to the American economy in innovation and technology…

    Look if SpaceX can bring the commercial launch industry back tot he US and Virgin can create a market for small sat launches…there is a loop that starts which will drive the US to the stars. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ June 28th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I agree that the problem is not the money but how we use it. But it’s not NASA’s problem. It is our Congress problem. Who last designed SLS?>>

    No its NASA’s problem. They should be able to build SLS for about thes ame price that they built the entire shuttle system why cannot they? NASA RGO

  • @Mr Earl
    “Boozer, you’re becoming the definition of an angry old man, too convinced of the righteousness of their cause to even see the other side as anything but monsters.”
    Yeah, use that as an excuse to tell yourself that despite the established facts behind what I say, you can discount my position because “I’m an angy old man”. While I admit at 60, you may consider me to be “old”, I would consider myself more “peeved” than “angry” after I and others have explained something time after time again and still the evidence from third party objective cost comparative studies doesn’t sink in. :)

    Even if I am “an angry old man”, remember Galileo was “an angry old man”, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have the facts on his side that indicated that the other side was wrong. Not that I claim to be on the same level as someone as great as Galileo. The only thing I have in common with Galileo is I have the facts on my side.

    And I just looked over the information at both links that you provided. Again, no comparison of the costs of doing things with and then without SLS. You have no argument for the superiority of SLS as far as economic practicality is concerned. Other studies by NASA, industry, and academia indicate that SLS is not as economically effective. Why can’t you grasp this?

    And no, I am not going to post again what I, Coastal Ron, Vladislaw, et al. have already posted for you in other threads. That is where the exasperation comes from. The fact that it is I (or anyone else) who points you to those third party studies has nothing to do with their validity, regardless of what you think our attitude is. The only thing that should matter to you is the evidence presented and what its implications are. Don’t use what you think other peoples’ attitudes are as a cheap strategy to score points. I don’t give a rip about scoring points against you, the only thing I care about is whether or not America keeps its leadership in space and getting across to you and others realistic ideas that advance that effort.

  • pathfinder_01

    Earl, so long as SLS is in the budget of NASA the gateway will never be. There is a limit to how much money (top line) people want to spend on NASA. That project costs billions all by itself. NASA does not have billions to spare nor the political capital to get them.

    You know as well as me that you don’t need a 70ton or a 130 ton rocket to do this mission. All you need is the ability to dock with a transfer stage and such a stage falls into the category small enough for a Delta Heavy to lift much less Falcon nine. And if you have the technology to push a 50MT station via SEP, you have the technology for a SEP tug. The Apollo lunar lander massed 14MT (granted there were safety issues). Even if you went for a 20 ton craft, you would still have room(and the trip through the Van Allen belts would be MUCH faster for a 20 ton craft than 50MT station all things being even….heck Boeing’s lander is only 15MT wet).

    “ESA just authorized a study of uses for it’s ATV and ATV and being the international segment of the gateway would be a great use of that technology and yes, they have expressed interest in doing such a thing.”

    Why do we need an international segment? Also the studies are for evolving ATV into a service module for Orion and evolving ATV for autonomous(i.e. unmanned) in space serving. Not use of ATV as space station module. As for the Russian international module, does it even work at l1/l2)? What other systems (on the ground) does a Russian module need? The ATV itself is only built to last 6 months at the ISS(though there are ATV mini station concepts). I think ESA and Russia are interested in the “Please keep me informed” mode, not “Sure I will send/do/give/spend” mode.

    The best way to enable technology and goals is to keep NASA working on what it needs to work on technology not rockets.

  • common sense

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ June 28th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    “No its NASA’s problem. They should be able to build SLS for about thes ame price that they built the entire shuttle system why cannot they? NASA RGO”

    I do not agree that we should single out NASA on this, not that they are home free.

    Congress is the pain in our neck in terms of budget allocation.

    Congress has no idea whatsoever what system integration means. This is the job of the likes of the major defense contractors. Congress does not properly identify the strengths and weaknesses of any given NASA center to readily address the design of anything aerospace. Congress only is interested in job numbers – by definition almost.

    Now. It does not mean that NASA is properly equipped to do the task at hand. I never said that. But Congress keeps giving NASA a job that NASA is ill equipped to perform. NASA is not in the business of an aerospace manufacturer, or any business for that matter.

    NASA should have no say on how an aerospace company wants to design any LV or RV. And I mean production, design, etc.

    What NASA ought to do is provide requirements, insight, oversight and support. Possibly R&D. NASA should work their strengths but it is not what Congress actually wants.

    Congress designed SLS and spec’ed MPCV for ISS servicing and told NASA to go do it.

    These are idiotic decisions. Congress is the lead, they deserve the blame. It should be Congress job to identify what can or cannot be done if they want to be in the aerospace business.

    But in the end Congress ought to enact laws (budget – since we know a law with no budget does not mean squat) to support policy, or not. Then they should leave it to the *executive* office to *execute*. But they don’t. Congress forcefully push down the throat *orders* to the executive branch where NASA belongs. They are trespassing.

  • MrEarl

    Oh Boozer, you claim to know the cost of everything but yet you know the value of nothing.
    Let go of your blind hate of SLS and objectively look over the proposals for the Exploration Gateway.
    DBN you’re right, the gateway is my must-have and the SLS is my-nice-to-have. The thing is, the SLS is congresses must-have. Since they control the purse strings and their must-have fits with my nice-to-have I see no reason to go after their must-have unless and until they claim that the gateway cannot be done because the money is being taken by SLS. Until then, my argument to my members of congress has been the gateway validates and gives purpose to the SLS. Until then, my argument to my members of congress has been the gateway validates and gives purpose to the SLS. Later on if the SLS loses support in congress the gateway can still carry out it’s mission using the present LV’s.

  • @Mr Earl
    “That way if, most of you would say when, congress changes it’s mind on SLS the gateway is well underway and existing LVs can takeover for the SLS role.”
    If it doesn’t get finished, the net effect is the same as if it were never started it; except for the fact that money will have been wasted that could have gotten us farther ahead.

    And another thing that I don’t think you realize. Even a lot of people who are against SLS (including myself) were for the legislation that created it because that was the only way that Commercial Crew could be brought into being. If I had been part of the negotiations, I would have gone along with the deal that was made: starting SLS just so CC could get going. The reason why so many of us were willing to go along with the SLS part was that we knew that the success of private space efforts would spell the eventual end of SLS, though we despised the waste that would occur in the meantime.

    Just because I and others knew that politically there was no way around starting SLS, that doesn’t mean we had to like it or that we can’t now point out what is wrong with it or talk about how we should end it as soon as possible. As I have indicated to you before, Falcon Heavy will have 75% payload capacity of SLS Block 1A with no development outlay money from NASA and be completed years before Block 1A SLS. So it’s 53 mt versus 70mt, but look at the many times more enormous development cost of one versus the other, even though FH has fully three quarters the payload capacity of SLS Block 1A. Furthermore, when it is completed it will be the most powerful rocket in the world for years. Don’t think that won’t have an effect on people’s attitudes.

    And don’t be surprised if SpaceX decides to put a Raptor powered second stage on it to put it beyond the 70mt payload of SLS block 1A. But I doubt that will be needed to kill off SLS, given what I said in the previous paragraph. There will be people asking questions.

    Yes, we were comfortable with seeing the bill that was the birth certificate of SLS being signed, because we also knew it was simultaneously its death certificate. The bad part is the waste during the wait.

  • @Mr Earl
    “Oh Boozer, you claim to know the cost of everything but yet you know the value of nothing.”
    Again, Earl, the third party comparative cost studies are more than about raw prices. You know as well as I do that it is as much the value received per unit cost and not just the amount spent. You can pretend those studies are not taking into account things such as reliability, repeatability, and safety along with the cost as long as you want. Are you familiar with the term rationalization?

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Until then, my argument to my members of congress has been the gateway validates and gives purpose to the SLS.”

    And where are you recommending that your representatives get the billions of dollars in funding required to field the Boeing EML gateway? If not SLS, then what other NASA programs are you recommending they terminate? Or are you recommending that they commit political suicide and raise taxes and/or increase the national debt?

    And in the absence of funded transfer stages and landers (at a minimum), a gateway doesn’t validate SLS or any other launcher. Unless you have a source of funding to recommend to your representatives for those elements, a gateway becomes just another space station. And we’ve already got one of those.

    • adamBATTAGLIA Posted on whit, your pictures are ubibleevanle. sure, i’m really jealous but also REALLY JEALOUS. congrats on what seems to be a successful trip so far. can’t wait to see the show.

  • reader

    You could probably find 30 000 people in this country to sign a petition to give a penny to feed starving unicorns as well. The money would probably be a bit better spent than handing it to NASA.

  • Vladislaw

    MrEarl wrote:

    “Let go of your blind hate of SLS and objectively look over the proposals for the Exploration Gateway.
    DBN you’re right, the gateway is my must-have and the SLS is my-nice-to-have. The thing is, the SLS is congresses must-have. Since they control the purse strings and their must-have fits with my nice-to-have I see no reason to go after their must-have unless and until they claim that the gateway cannot be done because the money is being taken by SLS.”

    It’s not hatred. It is more frustration over stupidity. Like your 18 year old kid, taking his college money to pay for tution and using it to by a Rolex rather than a timex.

    The problem with the usual suspects in congress’s “must have” is it is unsustainable. Which means it is highly unlikely that the SLS and Orion will be getting billions for almost another decade before there is really any functional use of the system.

    If you truely believe 5 new house of Representatives are going to fund that for another decade with no launches to speak of…. well more power to you. Personally, I do not see it as being sustainable, so the sooner you fight it and end the madness, the sooner those wasted funds can try and be pushed into more productive hardware.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ June 28th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    any decent manager given a free hand to fire and figuratively hang people who dont perform could have gotten Ares 1 built …or SLS for under 10 billion…there would be a sad week where many would be on the bricks fired for ineptness but it could have been done RGO

  • Frank Glover

    “Until then, my argument to my members of congress has been the gateway validates and gives purpose to the SLS.”

    Let’s find a reason to use the overly expensive system, because they’re going to have it built anyway.

    That’s not my idea of an SLS supportive argument, if there is one at all…

  • Vladislaw

    Robert G. Oler wrote:

    “or SLS for under 10 billion”

    I beg to differ Sir:

    For ten billion we could have paid for the upgrades to the Delta IV heavy, the Atlas V and fully funded the Falcon XX. Three heavy lift vehicles and you could launch each of them once for same price as an SLS launch (include the 30-50 billion in development costs).

    What a sad day for America .. the day congress voted to fund SLS. The Nation’s drive to space, once again thwarted by Darth Shelby.

  • vulture4

    I would only quibble at whether there is even a need to upgrade the Delta IV. The main concern is the static load design factor for the second stage, which was designed to the DOD spec of 1.25 vs the NASA spec of 1.4. The fact is that both of these numbers are arbitrary. Does the upper stage of an ELV in which each vehicle flies only once, was designed with CAD and has flown multiple times needs already the same degree of overbuilding that was required for the Shuttle orbiter, which carried a crew on its first launch and was designed to make 100 flights, and was designed in the days when computers, such as they were, used punch cards?

  • DCSCA

    “A penny for NASA? That’s what that petition was worth….”

    Neil De-Grasse-roots effort. No more, no less, just to telegraph to the powers that be that there’s still public interest- just as broad and shallow as ever. A few weeks ago local California media was reporting kids were quite literally holding bake sales to raise money for NASA exploration. Local news fodder. Quaint, if not sad. Down by the border, the San Diego County Fair is themed w/space this year and the annual Mirimar Air Show this October is cloaked w/a ‘Celebrating 50 Years of Space Exploration’ theme. It’s all for the kiddies, of course.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ June 28th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    to be fair, I dont think I was suggesting that we build SLS only that 10 billion should build it RGO

  • Michael

    It’s incredibly childish to take the White House’s response and think that the Penny4NASA fundraiser is or will be fruitless. We made a splash with the number of signatures and the celebrity support. Now we can turn that splash into a wave. Every movement starts out with a select few who believe in something. You’re all people who know the numbers and research, and you’re the people who should be educating everyone else and pushing this movement to success. Giving up on something you believe in should never be an option.

  • Eric

    If we found oil in space, we’d be there in a heartbeat.

    That or people without clothes, or worse yet, homosexuals in space. We’d have to go there to “tell them” how wrong they are. And pray for them.

  • chrisopher

    I read these comments and see people saying that they signed the petition and knew it wouldn’t accomplish anything. What kind of crap is that?! It’s a petition; if you thought it wouldn’t do anything you shouldn’t have signed it. It’s that kind of mentality that infects our society today that prevents anything from being reformed. We have turned into a hopeless society which no longer uses initiative. We directly elect members of the house for a reason. If you feel strongly about this topic then make it perfectly clear to those you elect.

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