Campaign '12

Ryan: “we have effectively no plan” for space under Obama Administration

During a town hall-style campaign stop Thursday in Ocala, Florida, Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan was asked what a Romney administration would do for NASA. As reported by The Hill, Ryan used the question to criticize the Obama Administration’s space policy—or, in his view, the lack thereof:

“The Obama administration came in and they inherited a plan for NASA from the Bush administration. They had a plan for space. They jettisoned that plan,” Ryan said. “They put it on, basically got rid of that plan. Now we have effectively no plan. We are not putting people in space anymore.”

Ryan noted that NASA now sends astronauts to space aboard Russian spacecraft, and transitioned into an attack on the looming sequestration deal that could cut defense spending.

“This administration, in my judgment, misunderstands the critical national security value that a space program has for our national security as part of our defense of our nation,” Ryan said.

It’s worth noting that while “NASA now sends astronauts to space aboard Russian spacecraft”, that situation would have existed under the Bush Administration’s Vision for Space Exploration, which originally projected a gap of up to four years between the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010 and the introduction of a new system by 2014.

As for what Romney and Ryan would do in space policy, Ryan repeated earlier plans to bring together a panel of experts to determine a plan for NASA, WMFE-FM reported:

“Our plan is to put together a plan for NASA, so that they have a plan,” said Ryan. “Bring the stakeholders in – the private sector, the Pentagon, NASA – and, like the last administration, put together a plan for NASA, and that plan is part of our vital national security interests.”

70 comments to Ryan: “we have effectively no plan” for space under Obama Administration

  • common sense

    Ryan: “we have effectively no plan” for space under Obama Administration

    “Our plan is to put together a plan for NASA, so that they have a plan,” said Ryan

    I hope all the Republicans in FL are ecstatic at what awaits if Romney and Ryan were to win… Then again, they won’t win. Or. They may. Darn.

  • Guest

    I thought the plan was to get astronauts to the ISS on an American spacecraft to ‘capture the flag’ just as soon as was feasibly possible. I wish SpaceX would just skip the LAS do it and get it over with. I volunteer. Thanks.

  • Coastal Ron

    Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan said:

    The Obama administration came in and they inherited a plan for NASA from the Bush administration. They had a plan for space. They jettisoned that plan,” Ryan said. “They put it on, basically got rid of that plan. Now we have effectively no plan. We are not putting people in space anymore.

    No acknowledgement that the Bush plan was over budget? That it was on an unsustainable budget path?

    Not a good sign from the supposed Republican budget architect.

    Apparently budget overruns on Republican initiated programs are OK, whereas programs initiated by “the other guy” that have co-investment from the private industry are not worth mentioning.

    Yep, it must be election season…

  • Heinrich Monroe

    “… put together a plan for NASA, and that plan is part of our vital national security interests.”

    I hope the State Department and the DOD are involved in their plan, because those are the agencies that are formally responsible for national security interests. Maybe Ryan is proposing that human space flight be done by the State Department, in a Romney administration? That would be a sight to see.

    What Ryan communicates in this interview is not only that they don’t have a plan for NASA and will figure it out (OK, that’s sort of a “plan”), but that “national security” is what NASA is all about. That’s a fundamentally different world view than what we’ve been hearing since the Cold War was over.

  • mike shupp

    Okay, Obama doesn’t have a PLAN for a future space program. I won’t argue too much with this.

    So what do the Republicans propose? A nice big committee meeting. Well… a “panel of experts” that will put together a plan. “Stakeholders.” From industry, DoD, and NASA. Right. No useless academics, let’s note. And the plan create will be part of “our vital national security interests.”

    Good old NASA! The traditional home of our national security programs.

    There will be no frigging moonbases in a Romney administration, in other words. There will be no program to land humans on Mars — or even robots on Mars. There won’t be wasteful attempts to see if earth-like planets obit around alien stars. We’ll put NASA’s expertise to work on really pressing issues — like listening in to every phone call in America to find terrorists. Or gay rights activists. Or spanking enthusiasts. Or fat smokers, or whomever else society disapproves of.

    Think of it as One Giant Leap Onto Mankind.

  • Robert G. Oler

    This is Republican and Romney/Ryan BS…it is designed to attack the other candidate while having no position of his own.

    In the end SLS is slipping year for year (see the other thread) the GOP “space program” (Orion and SLS) is like the rest of their policies a flop

    After Obama floundered in the first debate it has come down to a jump ball….it will be a blue gray election; but so far Obama is holding Ohio which gives him the Presidency RGO

  • After Obama floundered in the first debate it has come down to a jump ball…

    Decided that maybe you don’t like the taste of crow? What happened to all the certainty about an Obama landslide?

  • Coastal Ron

    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 11:54 am

    What Ryan communicates in this interview is not only that they don’t have a plan for NASA and will figure it out…

    Hey, I think you put your finger on a very important point here.

    The Romney/Ryan plans for just about everything seems to be “we don’t have a plan, but we’ll figure out a better plan than what Obama has done once you elect us – trust us!”.

    How inspiring.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    “Decided that maybe you don’t like the taste of crow? What happened to all the certainty about an Obama landslide?”

    Rand I call them like I see them and elections if you have not noticed are not static things. Obama had a bad debate and people here who are on my facebook page will acknowledged that I called the bad debate and its consequences as it was unfolding..

    That killed his “landslide”…and for a bit I was worried that it ended his chances of reelection but the second debate has helped things…and while he wont get a big “win” I think “right now” he is going to be reelected.

    It is going to be more a Bush/Kerry victory however although there are still a few weeks left.

    Every post I do on politics has somewhere in it “right now”…if you cannot read then maybe try another form of communication RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    I would say this about the first debate. Obama’s performance worries me. Mark Halprin on Morning Joe used a phrase which I have used since to describe Obama its “weak (male anatomical part)” and the debate showed it. If anyone sensible was running on the GOP side I would be considering voting another way…but Romney is a lying sack of horse manure. so is Ryan RGO

  • amightywind

    The truth hurts. President Bush had us on a path back to the moon. Obama has us going nowhere, and is funneling money to his friends. I hope Romney can restore the Bush plan. It is high time the United States launch Apollo 18! We are at a critical juncture in the election. Obama support is collapsing. Go Mitt!

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    “If anyone sensible was running on the GOP side I would be considering voting another way…”

    That’s why you will vote for Obama. He is the moderate Republican, sensible, candidate you are asking for. Several of his ideas are coming from the Republican party and you know that right? For example, space is one and healthcare is another one. Right Mitt?

  • Scott

    The only definitive thing the Romney/Ryan campaign has said regarding NASA is that there will certainly be no more money for NASA in their administration. Flat budgets are the best case scenario. Whatever tiny bit of momentum has been developed in NASA’s human spaceflight program over the last 3 years will be gone when Augustine Commission v3 is appointed and NASA is jerked around for another 1-2 years.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    Three thoughts:

    1) It’s hypocritical, circular, and funny in a sad way to accuse (falsely or otherwise) an Administration of having no plan and then admit that your campaign’s “plan is to put together a plan… so that they have a plan”. It’s like the old Richard Pryor routine: “I know that you know that he knows that we know…”. However well-meaning or not, the intent to create a plan is not a plan.

    2) I don’t expect every member of Congress to quote chapter and verse from NASA’s implementing legislation or to have read policy histories on the creation of NASA during the Eisenhower Administration. But I do expect the campaign’s expert advisors to warn their candidates against making stupid statements about NASA being a “vital part of our national security interests” that contradict the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act and go against nearly 55 years of precedent. Given all the policy firepower on the Romney space advising team (Pace, Marquez, Martel, etc.), you think that someone would let the campaign know that NASA was created as a civilian agency specifically to avoid militarizing all space activities domestically and abroad.

    3) Even if the Romney space advising team is asleep at the wheel, surely Ryan, with all his federal budget experience, expertise and wonkiness, has run across our actual national defense space programs in the DOD, USAF, NRO, etc. budgets and seen that they are separate and distinct from NASA’s. If so, is he being disingenuous on the stump about his belief that NASA is part of the national security apparatus or are his budget credentials not as deep as we’ve been led to believe?

    Not that it’s important to the election in any way, but I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed in the Romney campaign’s performance on space issues. I’d rather they had remained silent than release statements that alternate between empty platitudes and endorsing the Obama Administration’s approach. Or put their foot in their mouths about the civil rationale for NASA’s creation and existence, and make empty promises with no goals in mind about vague plans to have an amorphorous committee write a plan.

    Bleah…

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    “That’s why you will vote for Obama. He is the moderate Republican, sensible, candidate you are asking for. Several of his ideas are coming from the Republican party and you know that right? For example, space is one and healthcare is another one. Right Mitt?”

    Yes in many things particularly Obama’s space policy he is a “moderate Republican”. It was Nixon who proposed “Obama care” and actually it was more or less single payer, it was Reagan who shied away from foreign wars and killed difficult people with special ops…and it was Reagan who moved toward a commercial space policy; which Obama has brought to fruition.

    Ryan in his speech also spoke about entitlement reform without even mentioning that NASA and GOP space policies like SLS are technowelfare…

    the other day I was at a panel discussion in Clear Lake on the future of space policy and politics and one speaker railed on about the need to 1) cut government spending adn 2) spend more on NASA to ensure “we have leadership”.

    when I asked him how he reconciled cutting government spending and yet spending more on NASA (which is government spending) he looked like I had just hit him with a Shillelagh. “Well the two are not incompatible, we should spend less on entitlements and more to keep people employed”

    Needless to say I had a great deal of fun smashing him. RGO

  • common sense

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Note though it is funny, like in funny if it were not so sad, that Nixon may be badged a moderate Republican nowadays…

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    “Note though it is funny, like in funny if it were not so sad, that Nixon may be badged a moderate Republican nowadays…”

    two things have happened, and space policy shows it, that have made what you said “true”…and I would note that in any real statement of of liberal/conservative Nixon was by 1970 a moderate.

    1. the notions of liberal and conservative have been completely redefined in the last 15 years.

    2. the folks claiming to be conservatives have just moved so far right that they are essentially ‘zenophobic’…

    you can see this in space politics. The “conservatives” (for the most part there are exceptions and Simberg is one) for the most part (grin) want a space program that benefits them. There are sycophants like Whittington to whom “them” is their screwed up notions of nationhood…but the biggest advocates for SLS/Orion etc both in the political class and the “people” are those who get a paycheck in some way from it.

    and that really is the definition of conservative today “it is things which benefit them” so for instance it is ok to support whacked out defense projects but the few people on welfare who have big screen tv’s etc are welfare queens.

    that brings us to number 2…go see how SLS/Orion/EML station are justified…there never is a real concrete reason its just “wow it makes the US exceptional”.

    this is conservatism today and it appeals to people who are afraid of the future because it is different then today. Nixon in all respects was a crook…but he embraced the future and summoned it. I am not sure Obama does that. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    I would say this too about the polls…the only two that gives me a little “burn” and “worry” is the Gallup tracking…I put a LOT Of faith in Gallup but what they are showing is not picked up by any other poll…tracking or otherwise…nor is it picked up in Charlie Cooks polling nor even Luntz’s (I get Charlie cook off subscription and Luntz from a GOP operative that Whittington and Kolker have both met)

    Tracking polls particularly long trend ones are noisy and in my view (and I said this when Obama had a large lead in the Gallup) Gallup is picking up a lot of noise.

    What I am seeing in some state polls is the residue of Obama having a bad first debate…

    but lets see. RGO

  • BRC

    common sense wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 1:12 pm
    “Several of his ideas are coming from the Republican party . . ., space is one. . . ”

    EXACTLY!! For instance, this whole letting the commercial sector handle the spacelifting bit came from (hard-left Dems, plug your ears) REAGAN! When he signed the Commercial Space Launch Act (H.R. 3942) on October 30, 1984, his statement was surprisingly topnotch. I won’t bother with copy-&-paste (just google it or view http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=39335 ), but it’s actually impressive; and essentially Obama has seen merit in the concept, when he adopted some of it into his policy (it’s either that, or he came to that opinion on his own, w/o ever knowing a predecessor had the same idea).

    Of course that is the problem with politics – especially electoral ones: A politician thinks he HAS to be OPPOSED to Absolutely EVERYTHING the other guy has ever done, said ,or thought in his life … even if said politician had once agreed with it in the past (selective political amnesia).

    If R/R manages to win, versus O/B, some folks may opt for opening veins or jumping off bridges or dropping-everything-to-oppose-absolutely EVERYTHING… (well, opting to continue the sillycycle). But rather then that entertaining thought — how’s about coopting their opinion, by sending a copy of the original Act, with the Gipper’s statement to R/R, along with a heavenly warning to not go counter to The Great Communicator desire.

    If they’re savvy politicians, who have other fish to fry, they’ll retain most of the current policy as is, and slap their own label on, like a “Return to Reagan’s Dream” or some Fluffy-tag like that, declare victory and move on elsewhere. (Remember… whatever happens, Silly Season will end on October 7th)

  • BRC

    Separate, non-partisan query…

    How did some of you guys get your posts to hold Italicized texts?

  • Egad

    “Our plan is to put together a plan for NASA, so that they have a plan,”

    “My plan is to crowdsource a plan.”

    https://twitter.com/LSMiranda/status/250922112284499968

  • common sense

    @ BRC wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Obama is a pragmatist and leads by consensus. He is no excited socialist as some want to depict him, especially those who have no freakin’ idea what socialist means, some of which says “Get the Government out of my Medicare” or something like that. He will use a idea if it is good regardless where it’s coming from. And it plays against him with his supporters as well. Where is the banks bailout coming from? Who had this idea first begging Nancy Pelosi on his knees to make it happen? Remember that?

    “dropping-everything-to-oppose-absolutely EVERYTHING…”

    I am sorry but this is the brand of the Republican party since Obama won. I haven’t seen anything like that since… well… ever! Absolute insane bunch of well I might be moderated so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

    “Silly Season will end on October 7th”

    Really? You mean November right? Nonetheless it looks to me like this season never ends. Rational arguments were thrown out the window a long, long, long time ago in our political theater in favor of emotional issues chosen to divide rather than embrace our various communities. It’s not a new tactic but talk about exceptionalism… De Tocqueville where are you?

  • Egad

    How did some of you guys get your posts to hold Italicized texts

    Use use the left-bracket i right-bracket HTML tag shown at the bottom of the page to begin the italicized text and left-bracket /i right-bracket to end it.

  • BRC

    common sense wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Yeah, I meant “November” My sense of time has been degrading due to electoral-robo-calls & cheap glossy mailers leeching their way into my fitful dreams. (I’m starting to not care who wins anymore… I just want them to Please Make It STOP!)

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    “1. the notions of liberal and conservative have been completely redefined in the last 15 years.”

    I will venture that since the end of the Cold War when proclaimed socialist countries essentially disappeared off the face of the Earth the center moved to the then right. Societies were no longer based on socialist ideology such as that promoted by the former USSR. People realized that market economies are not so bad after all since they allow some of the freedom we all seek. And it was exemplified by the US. Not so much anymore. So then what is left to the more conservative parties to do? The (not so) “free” market ideas are embraced by the former “left”. Of course socialist interference is good when it comes to bailout banks, auto industry and others like that. Banks being of course the greatest of them all. A haven of leftists… In any case what is left for the “right” to do? Well let’s bring in “moral” values, “national security” and all this nonsense. And voila. Here is your Republican party today. Driven by their “exceptionalism”, whatever it means to them which they are the only one to understand – which I think they don’t, more like a chant of a cult.

    Anyway. FWIW.

  • BRC

    Test: Please Make It STOP!

    Egad, it works! Thanks!

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “‘My plan is to crowdsource a plan.’

    https://twitter.com/LSMiranda/status/250922112284499968

    Funny — good Archer ref. Wish I had thought of it.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    “Really? You mean November right? Nonetheless it looks to me like this season never ends. Rational arguments were thrown out the window a long, long, long time ago in our political theater in favor of emotional issues chosen to divide rather than embrace our various communities. It’s not a new tactic but talk about exceptionalism… De Tocqueville where are you?”

    I would make two points…

    FIrst in my viewpoint Obama didnt “Plan” his way into this space policy in the end it got there because SpaceX (and maybe OSC) performed and the government/industry combination of SLS/Ares/ORion did not.

    If Ares1 and Orion had been even remotely on track (ie some launch date that was written in anything but sand) then the trend in both political parties would be in my view to support inertia. and thats the old NASA way of doing things

    What the sLS/Orion crowd cannot grasp (and even with this slip) is that these people doing this project (mostly managing it ) would frack up hitting the ground with a book were it not for gravity. REally they are that incompetent. They are the incestuous derivation of three or four decades of growing ineptness with NO ZERO consequences…there have been no “evolution selectors” so the weak just keep on going on.

    Second to your broader historical point. The US is at one of those inflection points in history where a close margin (one way or the other) is going to determine a big course change. YOu can see the natural tendencies evolving in the state polls.

    After Obama’s horrible debate performance red states which are trending purple reverted to “Leadership over all” type of approach even if the leadership is a lying sack of horse manure. Watch Ryans statement on space (the link is on my facebook page) all he is doing is projecting a form of leadership and red state people who are weak intellectually in large measure tend to get reassurance from that.

    Fortunately I think the trends have been enough to get an Obama reelect…and that will if it happens, grin, ensure a vibrant space policy foundation for someone else if not an actual bright space policy RGO

  • common sense

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    “FIrst in my viewpoint Obama didnt “Plan” his way into this space policy in the end it got there because SpaceX (and maybe OSC) performed and the government/industry combination of SLS/Ares/ORion did not.”

    Is this a problem or just a remark? Because I think it might have gone the other way. And he suffered a lot of hits (at the space level) to try and do the right thing, which he did.

    “If Ares1 and Orion had been even remotely on track (ie some launch date that was written in anything but sand) then the trend in both political parties would be in my view to support inertia. and thats the old NASA way of doing things”

    I quasi-agree with you but all who were involved with the projects knew that Constellation was doomed right at inception whether we refused to accept it or not is a different story. Why do you think the WH asked for Augustine to review the effort way back when?

    “Second to your broader historical point. The US is at one of those inflection points in history where a close margin (one way or the other) is going to determine a big course change. YOu can see the natural tendencies evolving in the state polls.”

    Well I hope the US chooses wisely. Otherwise we’ll be happy when Chinese officials come over to discus the transfer of technologies you know the other way… ITAR will sound so sweet then…

    “After Obama’s horrible debate performance red states which are trending purple reverted to “Leadership over all” type of approach even if the leadership is a lying sack of horse manure. Watch Ryans statement on space (the link is on my facebook page) all he is doing is projecting a form of leadership and red state people who are weak intellectually in large measure tend to get reassurance from that.”

    We had the discussion about leadership. This is not leadership it is pandering and you know it. Leadership does not appeal to every one’s fears and weaknesses. Leadership is to do things not because they are easy but because they are hard. Steve Jobbs, Elon Musk and the likes are leaders in their own rights because they ask their troops to do what is difficult even seemingly impossible. Not because they tell them about below the chest blows. And watch where Apple is today! They could even be arrogant and they are not. They are just above the crowd. Can it last? I don’t know. But they don’t say how poor MS products are they just come with superior products without even boasting.

    “Fortunately I think the trends have been enough to get an Obama reelect…and that will if it happens, grin, ensure a vibrant space policy foundation for someone else if not an actual bright space policy”

    Not only space but he might even look at single payer healthcare. Can we push this way? Yes we can! But he cannot do it alone. Too much noise surrounds him, pulled every other way by lobbyists and the clowns of his own party. But between Romney/Ryan pandering and someone who actually did things for the middle class what do you choose? Simple choice in my view.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    Given all the policy firepower on the Romney space advising team (Pace, Marquez, Martel, etc.), you think that someone would let the campaign know that NASA was created as a civilian agency specifically to avoid militarizing all space activities domestically and abroad.

    My suspicion has been that these folks are a self-declared space advising team, as opposed to one that is actually consulted by the Romney campaign. As in, “we’re a team”, and “we’d be happy to advise the Romney campaign”, and “in fact, we’ll just say a bunch of stuff that the Romney campaign might like, so they might actually ask us”. Self declared advising teams run rampant in presidential campaigns.

    Is there any evidence that this group is indeed the former, rather than the latter?

    If they had been asked, you bet, they would have set R&R straight on the posture of NASA with regard to national security. Betcha they weren’t asked. Pace is a former NSC member, BTW.

    At a Washington Space Business Roundtable earlier this year, Scott Pace refereed to the “effective integration of national security and civil space interests in support of US national security foreign policy objectives”. I believe he refers to these not by making those interests one, but by reinforcing each other, and through soft-power that one gets from civil space leadership. Perhaps that’s where R&R are getting confused. In that civil space and national security can be seen to be related and relevant to each other. But they aren’t the same thing.

  • common sense

    @ Heinrich Monroe wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I realize you did not (quite) say that but don’t delude yourself. There is nothing even remotely connected between SLS/MPCV, JWST, MSL and national security. And hopefully so because if we were to wait for a NASA success (for whatever reason) to ensure national security we would be in a terrible mess. The DoD and DHS and State have plenty of cash to keep us safe(r). Fortunately.

    The notion that NASA is part of national security relates to the Cold War which is no longer. Talibans do not have spaceships. No, not even Iran, nor North Korea. And even if they did. We have vastly superior technology to fight such wars. Not so much about guerilla like wars but it seems to me that it has improved quite a bit recently. Just ask Osama if he’s better off than 4 years ago, right? And none of that with NASA…

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    A few points

    Leadership is whenever you get people to follow you. There are other modifiers to “leadership” which are qualitative but …red state voters revert quickly to people who offer simple solutions ““Our plan is to put together a plan for NASA, so that they have a plan,” said Ryan” and in the case of “conservatives” when they think the plan benefits them. The trick is that when it turns out “Not” to do so then they can always blame that on “liberals”.

    As for Cx. I thought it was doomed and to the chorus of unpopularity said that here about a month after it was announced. I recall Whittington etc informing me of how wrong I was, but I’ve been at enough of these rodeos to see the stink of incompetence and recognize it.

    the historical “note” about the US is that “change” is not embraced easily. there are several reasons for this; mostly people with low education cling to (to paraphrase Howard Dean) their “gods and guns” because those things make them powerful at least in their own mind and allow them to associate with others who find the same power levers.

    But eventually enough people summon themselves to be courageous and the wheel turns. Obama will (at least right now…note that Simberg) win a modest victory…the polls are swinging baack his way now …

    RGO

    I REALLY believe that for instance SLS could be made to work on say 10-15 billion dollars…but it would take a leader with kick rear effort to do it. the problem is that we have evolved into leadership at NASA that is functionally incompetent and that has allowed companies like Boeing et al to put Grade C talent at these efforts.

    A former boss of mine tells a story of a meeting he was in with Cap W. and the head of the Aegis program. Cap told the head of the program “we need this weapon, make it work or I can find someone who will, you will be gone” The problem is that there is no one at NASA who does that.

  • Paul

    At a Washington Space Business Roundtable earlier this year, Scott Pace refereed to the “effective integration of national security and civil space interests in support of US national security foreign policy objectives”.

    Is this code for NASA subsidizing producers of large solid rocket motors?

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    “A former boss of mine tells a story of a meeting he was in with Cap W. and the head of the Aegis program. Cap told the head of the program “we need this weapon, make it work or I can find someone who will, you will be gone” The problem is that there is no one at NASA who does that.”

    They say a fish rots from the head. I think it is not about NASA but rather about Congress. Congress is NASA’s customer and they dictate how NASA will behave. NASA is in no obligation to deliver a product of any kind. It is not what NASA does. Not really. Even though I believe change is coming even if at a glacial pace since forces from within and in Congress see their dominance challenged. It will take a lot of effort to make the change happen and one way it to get NASA out of their Congress masters. How do we do that? One way is the COTS approach to commerce and I think it’ll spread even to the DoD (I even suspect that the DoD wants it, after all many here forget that SpaceX essentially started with DARPA – http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=11).

    We could also spread NASA over the 50 states so to get more geographically balanced Committees in Congress. Hope springs eternal.

    I have advocated the revival of NASC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Space_Council) since I heard about its existence and I hope the WH will push it next term. It would help. It does not have to be the exact format it had before but it would be immensely beneficial and would possibly alter the powers of you know AL, TX, FL in what we do space-wise.

  • common sense

    “I REALLY believe that for instance SLS could be made to work on say 10-15 billion dollars…”

    SLS cannot work it is not designed to work. And if you want a cheaper, working alternative then you do not need SLS. SLS is only here to provide jobs, nothing more. And when the people will have retired or sequestration shows its ugly head then SLS will be retired. Or they will give it like 80% of its current budget until everyone retires you know to the Keys…

  • Heinrich Monroe

    I realize you did not (quite) say that but don’t delude yourself.

    Not sure what I’m not (quite) accused of saying, but I never even implied that I thought that NASA has any responsibility to national security. The idea that NASA is in any way a partner in national security is at the least, not in its charter, and at most, simply crazy.

    I was just pointing out what Scott Pace had said, and trying to rationalize his words. He may have been saying that civil space and national security can be seen to be relevant to each other, but I’m saying that even if that were the case, they are certainly not the same thing, as Ryan seems to believe. From a perspective of soft power, civil space could be viewed as “relevant” to national security, in the same way that health and education can be seen as “relevant” to national security by thinking people.

    Even during the Cold War, civil space was about soft power. Nothing more.

    No delusions here.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    SLS cannot work it is not designed to work. And if you want a cheaper, working alternative then you do not need SLS. SLS is only here to provide jobs, nothing more”

    I am not for SLS, I dont like the program, but a good leader and some who I have worked for could get it built…if they were given authority to “terminate” people. RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I REALLY believe that for instance SLS could be made to work on say 10-15 billion dollars…but it would take a leader with kick rear effort to do it.

    If it’s developed as a NASA designed effort like the current SLS program, then no, because the factors that have lead to the current SLS cost structure won’t have been addressed.

    However, if Congress told NASA to have the commercial launch industry provide a 70-130mt capable rocket, and they held an open competition, then I think such a vehicle could be developed for less than $15B – ULA would propose their EELV Phase 3 vehicle, and SpaceX their Falcon XX (~$3B to develop according to SpaceX).

    However the need for such capability has not been demonstrated, nor has the ability to afford such capability been demonstrated.

  • The current Administration’s NASA plan can be found on the NASA web site. All you have to do is click on Budgets & Plans.

    Apparently that is too complicated for the Romney-Ryan campaign to figure out.

  • Godzilla

    FIrst in my viewpoint Obama didnt “Plan” his way into this space policy in the end it got there because SpaceX (and maybe OSC) performed and the government/industry combination of SLS/Ares/ORion did not.

    Plans be damned. SLS is a pig of a rocket designed by the Senate which is eating the NASA budget to the point where it will not only not ever got launched, but where even if it was launched there would be no money to develop the lunar payloads and deep space propulsion which are currently stalled because, guess what, there is no money left.
    The market changed and SpaceX is one factor, Orbital will hopefully be another. If someone decreased launch costs to a tenth you have to reevaluate your plan. Simple as that.

    At this point NASA is better off funding 3 CCDev providers so we can actually get some use out of the ISS which cost like $150 billion to put there. Already we have some interesting results regarding reducing bone loss out of it which will be important in any sort of long term manned presence in the Moon or in Mars. Not to mention all the work being done in life support and recycling in the ISS.

    Develop the payloads first. For example you could do a set of lunar robotic ISRU experiments and launch then in an EELV or one of the launchers developed for COTS. You could launch a set of satellites to map the mineral resources in the asteroid belt. There is so much that can be done without any large rocket.

    Even a trip to the Moon doesn’t require SLS. Just because Von Braun selected this method back when time was a constraint, money be damned, it doesn’t mean that method makes sense now. This is Apollo cargo cult engineering.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Unlike the soon to be former president, Romney will certainly carry out his campaign promise regarding NASA and space. President Romney will have a plan. My prediction that there will be a lot of belly aching about it no matter what it is.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark R. Whittington wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 9:04 pm
    Romney will certainly carry out his campaign promise regarding NASA and space. ”

    what to have a study? wow cheap date you are. romney’s promises are worth the paper they are written on…

    As for Romney winning…well I to was a little discouraged about Obama’s reelection chances until today. Sorry polls are going the wrong way for a Romney victory. Had the election occurred Oct 4 through yesterday maybe …but doing the victory dance for Willard is premature.

    52 to 48 Gallup has in a serious poll Romney losing the debate…that is really a marker for the current state of the race.

    RGO

  • Jim

    NASA had effectively no plan once Griffin established Constellation. It was a plan that made no sense. It was a poorly conceived and an unaffordable, unsupportable design of spacecraft and rockets. There was no reason to ever expect it would get the required funding. Constellation was a NASA mistake.

    The Vision was a good strategy, less than a plan, that was poorly implemented.

    We need to get back to the Vision.

    We need to put support behind Space-X. That is America’s best hope right now for renewing manned space capability.

    Then we need to develop new capabilities based on the existing ISS systems.

    Those are the next steps for the next President.

  • Matt McClanahan

    I have a hard time reading Romney’s position paper on US space policy without checking my calendar to make sure I’m not back in the cold war. It’s largely a discussion of national security protection and military power projection. Science, research, and space exploration are barely mentioned, and even when they are they’re portrayed as a means to economic benefits, not scientific & intellectual ones. I can only assume that when he talks about space, he’s talking about all cumulative US government activities in space, not just NASA. So far everything Romney’s said about space suggests NASA is heading in the direction of servicing the space interests of the USAF and NRO. Maybe they’ll be able to sneak in some science despite that.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “Romney will certainly carry out his campaign promise regarding NASA and space.”

    It’s not much of a promise. The only thing the Romney-Ryan campaign has committed to do for NASA is get some industry, DOD, and NASA types together in a room to discuss goals. (And not increase the NASA budget.) Whoop-dee-doo.

    One would certainly hope that the leader of the free world could get his secretary to convene a meeting.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt McClanahan wrote @ October 19th, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I have a hard time reading Romney’s position paper on US space policy without checking my calendar to make sure I’m not back in the cold war. >>

    that is because Romney and most of the GOP are back in the cold war in terms of foreign policy …RGO

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Oler, considering the excrement sandwich that supporters of Obamaspace are swallowing, I’m pretty sure you’re in no position to call anyone “cheap.” Also, Gallup has Romney six points ahead, 51 to 45. One can just see which was the tidal wave is going.

  • In related news … This morning’s Florida Today has an article about GOP senator candidate Connie Mack IV endorsing the GOP plan to seize control of NASA from the White House and give it to Congress.

    Beyond that, standard “Obama has no plan” pap from Mack without saying what he’d actually do. He also declined to allow the media to attend a Florida Economic Commission roundtable he addressed here in the Space Coast. I wonder why.

  • GUEST

    http://www.chron.com/default/article/Krugman-Truth-is-Romney-has-no-plan-to-create-3965650.php

    “Our plan is to put together a plan for NASA, so that they have a plan”

    Sounds like Romney and Ryan have no plans other than to hope someone elects them. Then they’ll try to figure it out. FAIL!!

  • RockyMtnSpace

    GUEST wrote – “Sounds like Romney and Ryan have no plans other than to hope someone elects them. Then they’ll try to figure it out.”

    Perhaps they are just waiting to “take a look under the hood”.

  • RockyMtnSpace

    H. Monroe wrote – “… The idea that NASA is in any way a partner in national security is at the least, not in its charter, and at most, simply crazy.”

    Hmmm, right. I guess the rather large number of NASA employees that hold DoD security clearances only do so to have another badge around their neck. Just a status symbol huh?

  • Egad

    So far everything Romney’s said about space suggests NASA is heading in the direction of servicing the space interests of the USAF and NRO.

    A prospect which is certain to horrify the USAF and NRO, I’d wager. Those guys already have enough problems of their own.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    I guess the rather large number of NASA employees that hold DoD security clearances only do so to have another badge around their neck. Just a status symbol huh?

    Are you familiar with ITAR and EAR compliance? If you were, you’d understand why they, as well as a lot of aerospace workers, wear that same badge. It pretty much means that they have purview into technologies that the DOD considers sensitive to national security. It doesn’t that the DOD needs these folks to achieve national security. The DOD could pull all of their badges, and keep our nation just as secure.

    But yes, it is indeed a status symbol.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    Perhaps they are just waiting to “take a look under the hood”.

    That’s a fair statement. But if that were the case, R&R could tell us what they expect from a national space agency, and what concerns they have about NASA achieving those things. Thus far, what they’ve told us they expect from the agency doesn’t jive with the agency charter or even Congressional authorization. The charter isn’t “under the hood”. It’s the banner glued onto the outside door.

  • RockyMtnSpace

    H. Monroe wrote – “Are you familiar with ITAR and EAR compliance? If you were, you’d understand why they, as well as a lot of aerospace workers, wear that same badge. It pretty much means that they have purview into technologies that the DOD considers sensitive to national security.”

    I am intimately aware of ITAR/EAR. You don’t need a security clearance to deal with significant portions of ITAR restricted hardware/technologies. That argument is just a strawman.

    Having worked close to 30 years in aerospace, mostly DoD related, I have worked with numerous NASA engineers/scientists on DoD programs, both classified and unclassified. Their inputs have been invaluable. The aerospace community is too small to exclude participation just because of what “home badge” they wear and whether it is a USG or industry badge. Smart people come from both worlds, and both agencies are wise to draw on that talent wherever it comes from.

  • @ almightywind:

    “The truth hurts. President Bush had us on a path back to the moon.”

    Only in the sense that you could go back there by climbing a tree. It’s easy at first, but once you get to those smaller branches…

    “Obama has us going nowhere, and is funneling money to his friends.”

    Yes, everyone from SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada regularly come to the White House for a cook-out…

    “I hope Romney can restore the Bush plan. It is high time the United States launch Apollo 18!”

    Apollo 18. That’s half your problem. (and that of so many others) You still think in Apollo-esq visions of returning to the Moon. There were reasons we did it the way we did, on a single launch of a BFR. Those reasons, and the need for an architecture that looks anything like that one, are long gone…

    Returning to the Moon will happen. But Apollo 18 will remain a bad movie…

  • Robert G. Oler

    RockyMtnSpace wrote @ October 20th, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Hmmm, right. I guess the rather large number of NASA employees that hold DoD security clearances only do so to have another badge around their neck. Just a status symbol huh?>>

    Pretty much. Security clearances today are almost meaningless particularly at the level that most NASA employees are “cleared” at. The people who run the checkers at the airport for TSA have “security clearances” some DoD at about the same level as NASA people.

    it is our obsession post 9/11 with “security” and its mostly fraud.

    RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    RockyMtnSpace wrote @ October 20th, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Perhaps they are just waiting to “take a look under the hood”.

    From a budget standpoint, Ryan has already been under the hood and wanting to rip stuff out, so Romney claiming he doesn’t know what he would do with the budget is pretty lame.

    As to what he would do with space, him not having a “vision” just means he will treat space just like most other politicians…

    I’m not impressed.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    You don’t need a security clearance to deal with significant portions of ITAR restricted hardware/technologies.

    That’s true. My argument was not well stated. Let’s try this. Security clearance does not in any respect reflect active participation in ensuring national security. It just keeps people from messing up national security.

    Pretty much like a NDA. That agreement, negotiated for me, formally gives me permission to look at proprietary stuff, but it in no way reflects any participation by me in creating that stuff.

    Security clearance is a non-issue here.

  • William Mellberg

    Frank Glover wrote:

    “You still think in Apollo-esq visions of returning to the Moon. There were reasons we did it the way we did, on a single launch of a BFR. Those reasons, and the need for an architecture that looks anything like that one, are long gone …”

    H-m-m-m … then what do you make of Mr. Musk’s new “MCT” rocket with multiple 1.5 million pound thrust engines? (Of course, each of the F-1s on the Saturn V’s S-IC stage produced 1.5 million pounds of thrust.)

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/spacex-aims-big-with-massive-new-rocket-377687/

    “Shotwell said a possible payload range of the new rocket is 150-200t to low Earth orbit (LEO). A vehicle of that size would easily eclipse NASA’s proposed Space Launch System, which will eventually be capable of launching 130t to LEO, making SpaceX’s potential vehicle the most capable ever built by a wide margin.”

    Sounds like a giant, super heavy (“Apollo-esq”) rocket to me.

  • Robert G. Oler

    William Mellberg wrote @ October 20th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    H-m-m-m … then what do you make of Mr. Musk’s new “MCT” rocket with multiple 1.5 million pound thrust engines?

    Hard to know…there is a grea deal of speculation on “that” RGO

  • Googaw

    “Our plan is to put together a plan.”

    Wow Coastal Ron you oughtta be eating this up. :-)

  • Googaw

    I have a hard time reading Romney’s position paper on US space policy without checking my calendar to make sure I’m not back in the cold war.

    This is backwards. It was during the Cold War that we needed flashy civilian space extravaganzas so that we could pretend that “we came in peace for all mankind.” We successfully distracted most folks from noticing that the main thing we were actually doing in space was spying on the enemy, and the main thing we were actually doing with rockets was preparing to nuke them.

    Spying is still the main thing the federal government is doing in space — after the 9/11s it’s more important than ever — but there’s no good reason to pretend otherwise any more.

    The straightforward and rational way to achieve the Romney/Ryan goals, BTW, consistent with what Romney has said about HSF proposals on the campaign trail, is simply to cancel all NASA HSF projects and move those many billions of dollars into the Pentagon/NSA/NRO space program to make up for otherwise expected cuts to those areas.

    Orbital HSF is dead sooner or later anyway. It might as well be sooner. As for science and exploration, it doesn’t really matter whether that’s done by NASA or NSF. So NASA itself may not have much of a future. We don’t need a big space agency any more than we need a big ocean agency, a big underground agency, or the like.

  • Coastal Ron

    William Mellberg wrote @ October 20th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Sounds like a giant, super heavy (“Apollo-esq”) rocket to me.

    But not one that is costing the U.S. Taxpayer $30B – big difference.

    As to why Musk wants a rocket of that size, he obviously sees a need for one, but that still has nothing to do with the lack of need for the SLS. Where does Congress see a need for the SLS? Can they show a funding stream that supports not only the development of the rocket and EDS, but the 2-3 payloads per year that it will take to adequately justify it?

    Remember too the SLS is for purely government payloads, not for competing in the commercial marketplace. Musk may be planning, with others we don’t yet know about, for the eventual push to Mars – but as a privately led effort, not government.

    Oh, and just as a reminder, all they are working on is the rocket engine at this time – no rocket. Who knows what the development timeframe will be for that, or if they just decide to compete in the LH/LOX engine marketplace.

  • Godzilla

    LOX/Methane first stage = dumb. Heavier tanks. Supposedly easier to get staged combustion working with this fuel but no rocket actually uses it. For good reasons I might add. For a second stage it makes more sense.

  • DCSCA

    “Our plan is to put together a plan for NASA, so that they have a plan,” said Ryan.

    =blink= And this kind of goofy logic is running to be a ‘heartbeat away’ from the Oval Office. Memo to PRC- Luna is yours for the taking/

  • RockyMtnSpace

    Coastal Ron wrote @ October 20th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    “As to what he would do with space, him not having a “vision” just means he will treat space just like most other politicians…
    I’m not impressed.”

    Right … NASA’s ~$18B budget represents less than one-half of one percent of the overall USG outlays in FY2012. In terms of just the FY2012 deficit alone, it is less than 2%. Hardly a line item that is going to reap much in the way of reducing government spending when in FY2012 alone (a relatively good year in comparison to the prior three), the USG spent roughly $11 for every $7 it collected. In reality, NASA represent one nickel out of that $11 and is more rightly a round-off error. And yet you demand a “vision”. For a round-off error? Get real.
    Given the current budget issues and the anemic economy, NASA would be better served to stay under the radar rather than being placed front and center where the budget axe is more likely to inflict serious pain.

  • Coastal Ron

    RockyMtnSpace wrote @ October 21st, 2012 at 10:04 am

    And yet you demand a “vision”. For a round-off error? Get real.

    A good point, and I don’t. I spelled “vision” with a small “v”, which to me means “some idea of what they want to do”, not with a big “V” like in the Vision for Space Exploration that was a grand plan (unaffordable, but grand).

    Obama wants redundant, cost-effective access to space for cargo and crew, and to lay the groundwork for future beyond LEO missions.

    Romney wants to call a meeting.

    Pretty clear choice.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    Given the current budget issues and the anemic economy, NASA would be better served to stay under the radar rather than being placed front and center where the budget axe is more likely to inflict serious pain.

    That makes some sense, though the “serious pain” that cuts to NASA would inflict are serious to the nation at a level of a round-off error. It works both ways.

    While cuts to NASA would, as you say, hardly reap much in the way of reducing government spending, it doesn’t really look that way. It is abundantly clear from repeated surveys that the public believes NASA consumes a far larger percentage of federal funding than it actually does. So cuts to NASA will LOOK like a serious response to out-of-control government spending. I’m sure some deficit-crazed legislator won’t hesitate to slash NASA and proudly raise that cut up his or her deficit-busting flagpole.

    But it does seem wise for NASA not to draw attention to itself with some grand “vision” right now. Especially a grand vision whose benefits to quality of life in the nation really aren’t that clear. This probably isn’t the time for that. Newt Gingrich should have understood that.

    Maybe that’s what Ryan is implying. He sees NASA as some vague factor in national security, but won’t touch even the potential for some expensive grand vision. If Ryan got up there and started spouting about the federal government sending humans to the Moon, NEOs, and Mars, he’s lose a lot of his support. To R&R, “visions” for NASA are really dangerous policy, and the sensible way for them to avoid that dangerous policy is just to say “we’ll look at it”.

  • Vladislaw

    “knows what the development timeframe will be for that, or if they just decide to compete in the LH/LOX engine marketplace.”

    Musk said more information in the next 1-3 years… just about the time frame that the SLS will last. Expecially since it fell behind schedule another year.

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