Campaign '12

Posey: Romney would provide “clearer goals” for NASA

Florida radio station WMFE interviewed Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s views on space policy. Posey does cover some highlights of Romney campaign’s space policy, including providing “clearer goals” for NASA. “Romney/Ryan recognize that NASA has long been asked to do too much with too little,” Posey said in the ten-minute interview. “The President’s goals, as you may know, are vague, to somewhere, someday: maybe an asteroid, maybe a meteorite, maybe this, maybe that, but there’s no goals,” he claimed, adding that money NASA spends on Earth sciences, particularly climate change, is misspent given there are “16 or 17 other agencies” that also study the subject. “Romney/Ryan, and Bill Posey, believe that NASA needs to stay more keenly focused on space.”

Posey said that a Romney Administration would support the Kennedy Space Center. “Kennedy Space Center and Cape Kennedy [sic] are the epicenter of space,” he said. “I don’t think Romney/Ryan would do anything to undermine it.” However, as the Romney campaign has indicated previously, Posey said that support would not come in the form of additional NASA funding. “I think the NASA budget right now, NASA could live with, if their mission was clearly defined, if they weren’t involved in so many different things, in so many different directions,” he said.

Posey spent part of the interview talking about some of his own views, including his support for the Space Leadership Act introduced in Congress in September. Posey doesn’t say if a Romney Administration would support the bill, but drops a hint that it might. “There have been over two dozen programs started and stopped before they reached their goals in the last few decades,” Posey said, recounting one of the selling points for the legislation. “I think Romney and Ryan, both, anticipate changing that.”

Posey dropped one interesting item at the end. He directed his staff, he said, to look “specifically at space’s impact on Congressman Ryan’s district, and there’s space industry right in his district.” (Ryan represents a district in southeast Wisconsin not typically identified as an aerospace hotbed.) It was unclear from the interview if Posey provided that analysis unsolicited to the Republican vice presidential candidate, or if it had been requested by the campaign.

49 comments to Posey: Romney would provide “clearer goals” for NASA

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    Well, I suppose some new goals are needed. The current running goal – restore US-indigenous crew access to LEO, will probably be complete circa 2016 from one commercial crew provider or another. As matters stand, things in terms of commercial crew are more-or-less at the metal-bending and equipment-testing stage, so little more policy-level work is needed on it. Yes, I know that President Obama said he wants an NEO mission circa 2025 and a visit to the Martian system by 2030 but that’s a bit too far ahead; so far that planning simply isn’t focussed right now.

    So, Romney is going to have to create a new policy to take NASA beyond the restoration of crewed flight and, ultimately, beyond ISS.

    To me, the big NASA policy decision for the 2013-20 period will be what, if anything, to do with SLS. It’s an expensive machine and, right now, apart from the two trans-lunar test flights, nothing has been set in stone except what variant of the launcher they will use for the EM-3 and -4 missions. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that’s putting the cart before the horse. So, what to do? EML-2 gateway station? Competition to develop a lander that can be modified for re-usability? Develop a cargo carrier like the unit on the proposed Liberty CV so Orion can support the ISS (this might be seriously important if the decision is made to extend ISS operations beyond 2020)?

    Right now, as far as HSF goes, NASA’s entire efforts can be distilled down into two projects:

    1) Commercial Crew, which is basically just an LEO-only support project;

    2) Build SLS and get it to flight readiness.

    There is nothing else, and this will only add ammunition to those who claim that NASA has lost its way. This institutional apathy is affecting robotic exploration too. To me, it’s astonishing that, after 2017, NASA has no planned Outer Planets missions at all. After 40 years and getting at least one probe into interstellar space, the Deep Space science effort is just going to… stop!

    I’m on the record as supporting the EML-2 gateway as a precursor to a human survey of more of the lunar surface and determining if resources on the Moon would allow a permanent facility, shades of Ammundsun Base in Antarctica. Alternately, one could make an all-out push to visiting an NEO, which would require focus on developing and deploying the DSH and CPS systems.

    • GeeSpace

      Build SLS and get it to flight readiness? Yes, but at less cost and at a faster development process. NASA probably will never have a “good” human settlement policy. But one of the main purposes of nonprofit space organizations such as NSS, Mars Society and others, is the develop and actively advocate for human settlements throughout the Solar System.

      • Vladislaw

        It not for NASA to have a settlement plan. That is for Congress and the President. If anything, it would fall under State or Commerce. I highly doubt NASA would be directed to do anything.

      • Ben Russell-Gough

        Really, I don’t think that SLS can be done “at less cost and at a faster development”. I’m not even convinced that the political backing for the project wants faster or cheaper!

  • amightywind

    to look “specifically at space’s impact on Congressman Ryan’s district, and there’s space industry right in his district.”

    An innocent statement. I don’t see why Ryan’s district should be discriminated against in NASA contracting. We shouldn’t send all of NASA’s budget to Hawthorne.

    Posey doesn’t say if a Romney Administration would support the bill, but drops a hint that it might.

    The last thing this nation needs is another unelected, unaccountable ‘death panel’ in order to skirt the inconvenience of democracy. NASA is schizophrenic because the nation is divided. You get the government (agencies) you deserve.

    • JimNobles

      “We shouldn’t send all of NASA’s budget to Hawthorne.”

      Come on, that’s not even close to being true. Even SLS supporters should acknowledge the very, very good deal that NASA and the taxpayers got with SpaceX and hopefully, in the future, with other so-called commercial providers.

      “NASA is schizophrenic because the nation is divided.”

      True. I expect it might get a little bit better after the election but probably not much. No matter who wins the beauty pageant.

  • yg1968

    It’s rare that I agree with amightywind but I agree that the NASA Leadership Preservation Act (and its unelected panel) is a really bad idea. I doubt that Romney would support it if he is elected. I don’t think that the bill has any chances in the Senate anyways.

  • GUEST

    I am no Obama fan and particularly feel his performance with regard to NASA is lacking, however what evidence is there that Romney will be better?

    Here is a great article by a generally unbiased external source that simply asks what can we believe about Romney? http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21565623-america-could-do-better-barack-obama-sadly-mitt-romney-does-not-fit-bill-which-one?fb_action_ids=10152206377750577&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=scn%2Ffb_ec%2Fwhich_one_&fb_source=timeline_og&action_object_map=%7B%2210152206377750577%22%3A172488779555530%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210152206377750577%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%7B%2210152206377750577%22%3A%22scn%5C%2Ffb_ec%5C%2Fwhich_one_%22%7D

    Romney seems to sway with whomever speaks last or loudest. His economic concepts are a throwback to Bush and the Republican agenda, which means if your are not in the top 1% you will be screwed. He has no plan for NASA or space. Space does not have the loudest advocates so its likely he will simply sway with the louder voices, which means NASA will not do well.

    I’ve taken a long time to be convinced of which way to go, but I think I know how I will vote.

    • Robert G. Oler

      Yes…well said and I’ve posted the article on my facebook page.

      What is in my view going to cost Romney the election are two things…the first is that he has gone rabid partisan in a world where the majority of Americans do not want that…and two he just lies.

      Romney is like a lot but not all and probably not even a majority of people in his “class”..when they deal with the rest of us they feel that they can say whatever they want and when it turns out not to be true, well it wasnt their fault..

      A guy who is normally a pretty solid “right” republican, the guy who runs the feed store I buy chicken and duck stuff at told me the other day “Romney will do the right thing as long as it is easy, when its hard he will screw you” and thats about right.

      He (Romney) reminds me more and more of the guy on Titanic that Kate was stuck with no not the wimp Leonardo…but the other guy.

      Into that have fallen a group of people; scott Pace, Eric Mike the rest of the band of idiots who are sitll pinning away mostly from when they were in power and made just one bad decision after the other; and sort of cannot come to grips with that. Mike Griffin has never that I have heard given an explanation of why after 15 billion dollars he had nothing flying at Cx…

      So we are stuck with a modestly weak President and a bunch of losers whose theory is “me first”.

      We should do better but the choice is the choice we have.

      And actually I like Obama’s space policy RGO

    • wodun

      “I am no Obama fan”

      Actually, the rest of your post makes it pretty clear you are an Obama fan.

      Just be honest and argue your point in good faith.

  • amightywind

    which means if your are not in the top 1% you will be screwed

    So Obama’s plan is to screw the top 10% who pay 60% of all taxes. The four year verbal assault has brought economic growth to a standstill and unemployment to an 8% new normal. Squeeze the top 10% more and you only bring more pain to those who can least stand it. Envy is not a plan. America needs economic growth.

    Even SLS supporters should acknowledge the very, very good deal that NASA and the taxpayers got with SpaceX

    SLS supporters despise the ISS mission. Getting a ‘good deal’ in support of a pointless waste is also a pointless waste.

    • guest

      Spoken like a true trickle-downer!

    • JimNobles

      “SLS supporters despise the ISS mission.”

      That has not been my observation. Most SLS supporters seem to support all of NASA’s HSF missions to a large degree, including the ISS. Some don’t like commercial crew very much though.

      I’m afraid those people who despise the ISS are in a losing battle. None of the Partners want to get rid of it. It’s the only practice spaceship they have. They seem to look at it as one of those training ships that never really gets far from the pier but on which people are trained for actual sea duty.

      It’s not just the training either. I read an article a few months ago that said that the water reclamation system on the ISS had just finally gotten to the point where it was operating semi-consistently and wasn’t breaking down all the time. That’s an example of the sort of thing that needs to be developed, tested, improved, and certified for long term use on a vessel not far from land. I’m sure there are more examples.

      I don’t really understand the reasoning behind despising the reality of the ISS. Did it cost to much to build? Yeah, I think so, but I realize that (unfortunately) it was built the least expensive way they could build it given all the issues they had to deal with. Mainly politics. Could we build a better LEO station starting today for less cost? Yeah, I believe so but given the situation we are in I don’t think many people think that might happen.

      From what I’ve seen most of the people that don’t like ISS seem to feel that if it were splashed then the money we are spending on it, wholly or in large part, would go to some favorite program of theirs. I think this is wishful thinking in the extreme. Most likely NASA would just lose half or more of that money due to the financial situation we are in. Other people seem to think that we already know all the important stuff about living in space and want to dump the station and start shoosting around the inner solar system in little Apollo style spaceships. IMO that’s just silly.

      At last, there are the people who want the ISS to go away because they think human activity in space is entirely or mostly a waste of resources. After all, we can build better robots and telescopes so what else do we need? To those people I don’t know what to say execpt, “I’m not one of you.”

  • Vladislaw

    I thought said we had a plan …. mars:

    OMB FY 13 Budget summary

    “Implements a lower cost program of robotic exploration of Mars that will advance science and will also help lay the foundation for future human exploration”

    21st Century Space Exploration: “The Next Chapter That We Can Write Together Here at NASA”, WHite House

    “Early in the next decade, a set of crewed flights will test and prove the systems required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. And by 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the Moon into deep space. So we’ll start — we’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it.”

    NASA Announces Next Steps in Launching Americans from U.S. Soil, White House

    “And second, just two years ago, at Kennedy Space Center, President Obama set a goal of sending humans farther into space than we have ever been — to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s.”

    NASA Mars Rover Team Hears From President Obama, NASA

    “What you’ve accomplished embodies the American spirit,” the president said. “Our expectation is that Curiosity is going to be telling us things we did not know before and laying the groundwork for an even more audacious undertaking in the future, and that’s a human mission to Mars.” Obama said Curiosity’s landing advances his goals of improving education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “This is the kind of thing that inspires kids across the country,” he said. “They’re telling their moms and dads they want to be part of a Mars mission, maybe even the first person to walk on Mars.”

    NASA Lands Car-Size Rover Beside Martian Mountain, NASA

    NASA Administrator Charles Bolden” “This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030′s, and today’s landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal.”

    Statement by the President on the Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, White House

    “Today’s launch may mark the final flight of the Space Shuttle, but it propels us into the next era of our never-ending adventure to push the very frontiers of exploration and discovery in space. We’ll drive new advances in science and technology. We’ll enhance knowledge, education, innovation, and economic growth. And I have tasked the men and women of NASA with an ambitious new mission: to break new boundaries in space exploration, ultimately sending Americans to Mars.”

    President Obama Calls Crews of Atlantis and the International Space Station, NASA

    “The President wants NASA to capitalize on America’s entrepreneurial energies to drive a competition to reach Low Earth Orbit and the space station, all while tasking the men and women of NASA with an ambitious new mission: to break new boundaries in space exploration, ultimately sending Americans to Mars.”

    All this President has to worry about is making sure we have the right tools in the tool box when we make the push. Inspace power and propulsion, closed loop life support, fuel station, etc.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Posey is either intentionally or unintentionally misstating the President’s position. The plan is visit an asteroid to test systems for a manned flight to Mars.

    Shall we be charitable and just claim Posey’s stupid and uninformed, or shall we not be charitable and claim that he’s lying and trying to confuse people?

    In as much as we don’t know the effects on our climate of our Sun’s variability, we can not know with any certainty how the chemicals we are dumping in our atmosphere are affecting our climate.

    NASA has unique abilities to get some of that data.

    These folks remind me of a fellow with a bad pain in his gut, and he does not want to visit a doctor to find out if its a bad burrito or appendicitis.

    In any case, our electric distribution system is being held together with tinfoil and chewing gum, and we need to reduce our use of foreign oil. Cleaner coal use is a part of the solution, as is nuclear.

  • Robert G. Oler

    What Posey’s comments tell me is that 1) the Romney campaign doesnt think it has FL locked down and 2) they can count on a good turnout by the stupid to get it that way.

    Because Posey’s comments lack everything but at the end of all of it “everyone gets a pony”

    NASA”s problems at least in human spaceflight ARE NOT clear goals. During Bush43 they had clear goals and they made a pigs breakfast of it.

    What NASA’s problems are is that the management there for a vareity of reasons cannot run a program on time and on budget if they had to…SLS a knock of of the shuttle and Orion a redo of Apollo should be doable for about 8 billion for the booster and maybe 3 for the capsule if one simply looks at the engineering chaellenges. But these clowns have been going at it in one form or another for almost a decade and they are really no closer to it…the 17 launch date is a fiction of the mind…and they have since SLS and Orion were saved from the Cx carnage…at least 9 maybe 12 billion dollars (with billions before that)

    The Space Leadership act is poopular among the NASA illuminatee because it is the “preserve our jobs” act…and in reality there is no hint a “President” Romney would sign it…anymore then anyone knows what any of his other policies are.

    We probably wont get a chance to find out…the polls are going against Romney they have not even locked down FL RGO

    • guest

      You’ve characterized the situation pretty accurately in my estimation. I know the NASA management doesn’t know how to manage. I am pretty certain that the major contractors, like Lockheed on Orion, are soaking NASA for everything they can get while delivering little-which brings you back to statement 1, that NASA doesn’t know how to manage.

      • Robert G. Oler

        thank you

        Three things need to happen to fix the situation

        The first is that we need to transform the entire notion of what NASA does from a “go someplace” agency to a technology one, at least in human spaceflight…I’ve always thought (and Rich Kolker and I Had a piece published along these lines) that the uncrewed activites, the basic planetary/science stuff should be spun off from NASA into a completely sep agency.

        Second NASA and industry need to rethink their relationship…it needs to be more like NASA/SpaceX or OSC then it is say NASA/Boeing…

        Finally national policy needs to rethink what NASA is suppose to do (OK this should probably come first)…lets face it there is no real reason to send people to the planets or the Moon now…so one has to view the dollars spent at NASA as something for American industry to use to get better at what it does.

        Then we can weed out the dead wood at management RGO

        • JimNobles


          If I were Emperor of the United States I would issue the command that NASA shall never build another Earth to LEO rocket. Unless it is basically a test of experimental technology that can’t be accomplished using off-the-shelf systems.

          Another command would be that any system or sub-system proposed for any NASA program or project and projected to cost more than a million dollars shall be put out for bid. Only if no credible bids were offered would NASA be allowed to build it in-house.

          I don’t know if these directives would help and I sincerely doubt such a technique would be adopted but I sure would like to see what would happen.

  • Romney is really not interested enough in space travel to defy the will of Congress on NASA if he became president. But the way he keeps talking about space as a strategic asset sounds like he might boost the military’s space budget.

    Marcel F. Williams

  • amightywind

    In any case, our electric distribution system is being held together with tinfoil and chewing gum, and we need to reduce our use of foreign oil. Cleaner coal use is a part of the solution, as is nuclear.

    We agree on yet another issue.

    But the way he keeps talking about space as a strategic asset sounds like he might boost the military’s space budget.

    The militarization of space is reality. We need to make clear to our greatest geopolitical foes, Russia and China, that we will win the race. Go Mitt!

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Posey makes a really valid point that will likely be missed by all of the Obamaspace supporters here. Over two years after the POTUS announced an epic mission to an asteroid, NASA does not know which asteroid will be visited, when it will be visited, how it will be visited, and what the astronauts will do when they get there. There has certainly not be an expressed rationale of favoring asteroids over the moon. And, of course, Obama proposes to do this epic voyage with no money.

    • Robert G. Oler

      Mark R. Whittington
      November 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm · Reply

      “, NASA does not know which asteroid will be visited, when it will be visited, how it will be visited”

      did that trouble you about Cx? Afer many years of development Cx had stopped developing a lunar lander (no money), could not if you put a gun to Mike Griffin’s head say when Ares 1 would fly much less Ares V.. There was not a hint when a lunar voyage was taking place…I guess they had identified the Moon as the landing place.

      Did you say something then? I must have missed you’re concern…

      RGO

    • JimNobles

      “Posey makes a really valid point that will likely be missed by all of the Obamaspace supporters here. Over two years after the POTUS announced an epic mission to an asteroid, NASA does not know which asteroid will be visited, when it will be visited, how it will be visited, and what the astronauts will do when they get there.”

      Let’s address this for a minute. You’re pretty smart.

      I never really took the asteroid proposal very seriously. Yes, I know that the asteroids are probably where the bulk of the resources will come from if we actually begin to move out into the solar system. But even so, I thought that the whole asteroid thing was premature. Although I’m heartened that some companies seem to think they can do something with the idea. Never-the-less I felt the Mission to an Asteroid idea was just something to say to possibly mollify the “WE MUST HAVE A GOAL!” crowd. I don’t they it really worked though.

      As I see it the main problem with the President choosing a space goal is politics. If Obama had proposed the moon as the next goal it would have made the Moonies happy but other people wouldn’t like it and Congress would laugh him off and never pay for it. If Obama had chosen Mars as the official goal it would have made the Martians happy but a lot of other people wouldn’t like it and Congress would laugh him off and never pay for it. If Obama had chosen “Building Infrastructure” as our official goal it would have upset most of the “WE NEED A GOAL!” people as well as the Moonies and the Martians and Congress would laugh him off and not pay for it. So he chose a Mission to an Asteroid. Far enough in the future that he doesn’t have to ask Congress to pay for it which they are not going to do anyway.

      I will repeat what I think is the most important point. This Congress is not going to pay for any significant goal oriented space program proposed by this President. Period. It is not the way they work and I suspect the next Congress is going to act in a similar fashion.

      So what should Obama have done? Well, I think he did about the only thing he realistically could have done. Helped Commercial Space keep moving along; despite its detractors, the new way of buying launches has shown a lot more promise for getting things done in space than any program or idea that I’ve seen come along in a very long time.

      I know there are many, or at least several, people who post here who do understand the political situation now and understand how we came to be in the political situation we are in. I don’t understand why the sometimes post things that make it look like they have no idea what’s been going on in the political scene.

      • Actually, the August report NASA Exploration Destinations, Goals, and International Collaboration submitted to Congress proposed an asteroid mission in 2025. The report cites the National Space Policy:

        The Policy further directs that NASA, by 2025, begin crewed missions beyond the Moon, including sending humans to an asteroid, and by the mid-2030s, send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth.

        NASA has people right now looking at potential asteroids. I know, because I’ve talked to some them as they’ve passed through KSC. The Planetary Resources people are very happy about this idea, because as some folks here know they intend to identify an asteroid for potential mining. The skills NASA would develop for an asteroid mission could then be transferred to the private sector, just as NASA is handing off “space taxi” service for Low Earth Orbit to the private sector.

        As we all know, Congress in 2010 told NASA to build the Space Launch System, but didn’t tell NASA what to do with it. The August report was mandated by Congress to suggest potential uses. NASA can propose all sorts of ideas, as can the President, but it’s up to Congress to authorize and fund the missions. So far, Congress couldn’t care less. They ordered the porkfest and that’s all they care about.

        Once we get past sequestration and the second Obama administration submits the FY 2014 budget early in 2013, I think we’ll see them propose more specific missions — but don’t count on Congress to do anything about it.

    • Vladislaw

      well gosh Mark .. just what do you think astronauts would do if they landed on an asteroid?

      sheesh .. lets drag out the chalkboard and draw some flow charts of astronauts collecting samples at an asteroid and setting in place various scientific experiments.

      wow .. that was really hard to figure out Mark.

  • Over two years after the POTUS announced an epic mission to an asteroid, NASA does not know which asteroid will be visited, when it will be visited, how it will be visited, and what the astronauts will do when they get there.

    There is no need or point in deciding such things right now.

  • Posey is the loony running around telling people we need to spend money on a lunar space fortress to protect the Moon from the Chinese.

    When I challenged him on it via a letter to the editor in Florida Today, Posey cited a source which turned out to be a guest opinion article in the Washington Times by a former Foreign Service officer who surmised the Chinese might someday be interested in the Moon.

    The bottom line is that Posey makes things up. His WMFE interview is just more of the same.

    Let’s not forget that Posey is one of the members of Congress who wants to seize control of NASA from the White House and give it to Congress. One has to wonder if he would drop that legislation if a fellow Republican were in the White House.

  • Mary

    True, this administrations goals have been vague from the start, which is why Romney will wait to listen to experts in the field from the planet Mormon before he announces his vision for space exploration. Its just not a top priority for either party.

  • Rhyolite

    Of course he would provide a clear goal: buy more solid rocket motors…what do you think the space program is for, silly!

  • Dark Blue Nine

    First, it’s Cape Canaveral, not “Cape Kennedy”. If Posey plans to continue representing the lower half of the Space Coast, he needs to at least learn the geography. Cripes…

    Second, a meteorite is a natural object from space that has survived entry and impact on Earth. By definition, a meteorite cannot be visited in space. If Posey plans to continue representing (or misrepresenting) civil space issues in Congress, he needs to at least learn grade-school space terms. Double cripes…

    Third, the President set a goal of visiting an asteroid by 2025, not “somewhere, someday”. If Posey wants to critique a White House’s space policy, then he needs to at least learn what the policy is. It is a fair criticism of the Obama Administration and sitting Congress whether the foreseeable NASA budget and SLS costs could produce an asteroid or any other human space exploration mission before the mid-2030s. But Posey is never going to manage such a specific, relevant and useful critique if he doesn’t even know what the policy is. Triple cripes…

    And fourth, there’s no exposition, explanation, or evidence in Posey’s statement about why a Romney Administration would provide any “clearer goals” for NASA. The Romney campaign has proposed doing exactly what the Obama Administration did when confronted with spiraling Constellation schedules and costs… convene a committee of experts to develop recommended goals and programmatic options. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    “Over two years after the POTUS announced an epic mission to an asteroid, NASA does not know which asteroid will be visited”

    This is an ignorant statement. Two years after Kennedy set a goal of landing a man on the Moon, NASA did not know that the Sea of Tranquility would be the landing site. Heck, even a year or so before MSL’s recent landing on Mars, NASA did not know that Gale Crater would be the landing site.

    NASA has a procurement on the street for a hosted payload to help survey possible target asteroids. Once that and other homework is done, NASA will get back to the POTUS and the nation with the target asteroid(s). To make this decision prematurely and risk tens of billions of dollars of investment is idiotic, to say the least.

    “There has certainly not be an expressed rationale of favoring asteroids over the moon.”

    The President was clear and succinct about the rationale.

  • Dave Hall

    Amightywind: We shouldn’t send all of NASA’s budget to Hawthorne.

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting all of the budget. How about a flat $1B per annum investment in a Mars-Earth Transportation System 1.0 for 10-years? Or just 6% of the annual NASA budget … a project to go into effect upon the delivery of the tested crewed version of Falcon 9-Dragon?

    Seen from the outside (I’m in South Africa) SpaceX has become a significant strategic asset of the USA. From a defense perspective they can be wielded as a single company in the way an entire military-industrial complex was wielded in the Cold War proxy battle of “The Race to the Moon”. These days small Special Forces units are a prefered strategic tool over large-scale conventional military forces for many missions.

    I think that SpaceX are clearly the nimble Special Forces-like organisation in the US aerospace community. It makes sense to the USA to help them thrive and achieve their full potential. It’s happening already, the relationship between government and SpaceX has gone well so far, why not push the envelope?

    As commander-in-chief the President can simply command Elon Musk as CEO of a government-supported company to make do with $1B per annum to get to Mars and back within 10-years. Helps that Elon Musk is perhaps the best single engineering team leader on Earth right now to submit his initial designs for a Mars-Earth transportation system … he’s surrounded by 2,000 of America’s best, brightest and most motivated with room to grow. After the hard-earned on the job experience of the last decade, he’s the best placed to realistically come up with a minimum cost for getting the job done.

    Observing from South Africa, the Chinese, Russian and EU way of doing aerospace doesn’t really stand a chance against a lean-mean vertically-integrated Silicon Valley-style company wielded as a national strategic asset.

  • Paul Nielsen

    I hope the President’s goals be on advanced nuclear propulsion techniques to open vast horizons to the future of humanity. I believe we’ll have a really huge step toward commercial space exploration when we definitely change the paradigm of chemical rockets to fusion-powered plasma turbines. http://youtu.be/ro5-QYqqxzM

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi AW

    “So Obama’s plan is to screw the top 10% who pay 60% of all taxes.”

    No. Obama’s plan is to make them more money by increasing the demand for their prodcuts.

    I myself have a very different view of that proposal. If you tax the top 10% at the old rate, do you think that they will simply pay that and roll over?

    NO. They will do what they did before, start new businesses or expand their existing businesses so they return to the income level they had before.

    Thus I think of Obama’s proposed tax increase as a motivation for our industrial leaders to get their butts in gear once again.
    An Incentive.

    By the way, I’ve despised Leveraged Buy Out Artistes since the 1980′s, when people I knew then had their investments and businesses interfered with by them. Leveraged Buyout Artistes are by no means entrepreneurs or true businessmen, in my view.

    There’s a difference between clever and wise.

  • vulture4

    Not only does Posey not know the difference between an asteroid and a meteorite, his only clear statement on space policy (on WMFE) was that the NASA budget for climate science should be eliminated. However his lack of education and incessant attacks on President Obama appeal to many local residents, who like to have someone to blame for their own failings.

  • DCSCA

    “Romney would provide “clearer goals” for NASA”

    Except he won’t.

    And his comments on space throughout the campaign, not to mention his personal disinterest on Christmas Eve, 1968, as Apollo 8 circled the moon (he was chaing down Cadillac Annie in an airport).

    Mr. Romney is a pathological liar and will say anything to ‘close a sale.’ Or, for that matter, a plant, liquidate its assets, take the money and run. Under Romney, NASA will cease to be an independet agency and likely be consolidated into the DoD as a vivilian department, to cut costs and streamline ops– or what will be left of it.

    The immediate future is the holding pattern presented by an Obama re-up with progress in the Hillary Clinton administration(s) to come, as Hillary has a genuine interest in the space program.

  • wodun

    “Posey does cover some highlights of Romney campaign’s space policy, including providing “clearer goals” for NASA. ”

    What an incredibly low bar.

  • guest

    “SLS supporters despise the ISS mission. Getting a ‘good deal’ in support of a pointless waste is also a pointless waste.”

    I think a lot of the SLS supporters are the people who are in a hurry to go somewhere.

    What’s their hurry? If its not sustainable it will be another flash in the pan, just like Apollo, and we’ll be left with nothing. These people would be very happy with a singular Orion flight around the moon, I guess. Personally I wonder what for?

    ISS is pretty important to learn lessons, whether developing technology or human research, that we need in order to make long distance flights to planets or other destinations months away. So I do not know why people are anxious to be rid of it. How do they think we will learn these things?

    I can say that the ISS program has been pretty poorly managed for a long time. I think the US gave away too many responsibilities to its “partners” in the name of saving the US taxpayer money. I dont think they saved the US taxpayer anything, but they did give away lots of expertise and shortchanged the US people on revenues. The program has taken far too long. It has cost far too much money. Its the same issues now with Orion and SLS and previously with Constellation, but with many of the same people running the show, its no wonder. The people who managed the ISS program (and who still manage the program) forgot what the ISS program was about, which is why they are doing so little and such poor science or technology development on-board presently. These people wasted tens of billions of dollars and a decade of needed work.

    • Robert G. Oler

      “ISS is pretty important to learn lessons, whether developing technology or human research, that we need in order to make long distance flights to planets or other destinations months away. So I do not know why people are anxious to be rid of it. How do they think we will learn these things?”

      ISS is going to prove extremely important in the future…dont look now but shortly there will be a battle to see where “India” goes in terms of its space future…ie the chinese or the US…the Chinese fired the opening salvo this weekend. RGO

  • Congressmen Bill Posey, Lamar Smith, and the rest of the old NASA guard are completely wrong with their “Space Leadership Preservation Act of 2012″. This “Act” only creates more bureaucracy, more requirements, more delay, more red tape, additional cost, less human American spaceflight, and less science. Instead of opening space up to all of us it tightens the government’s noose around the necks of anyone who would want to participate in the economic settlement of space.

    Leave it to the Tea Party to set the record straight… Both the Obama and Romney space plans stink.

    In the case of the President, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile. And to the President’s credit, he has done a good job guiding both COTS and the CCDev programs along. However, he has not championed his successes in space like he has Obamacare or his Supreme Court nominees. He leaves General Boldin and Lori Garver out in the wind to fend for themselves (and it doesn’t help when Seth is MIA when the budget cutters come to the NASA budget and he is nowhere to be found).

    Romney’s plan for space should scare the hell out of every conservative who loves space. If you look at his space advisory panel he can go one of two ways. Mr. Romney has put Eric Anderson on his panel and that is very positive. However, the good Dr. Griffin is also there and we at TPIS can totally see more time and billions wasted trying to ensure SLS morphs into something as close as possible to CxP.

    President Obama should not get any extra-ordinary credit for MSL. That was started under the Bush administration. In fact, we will not see any of President Obama’s space accomplishments, other than COTS and CCDev, until either his second term or Romney’s first…

    … and this is the real problem. NASA programs need to be tightened up to where we do not have to wait 18 to 20 years to see marvelous things. Things like the Ed Weiler Space Telescope just suck down resources that could be used for real astrophysics programs. Even MSL fell behind.

    In closing — The ever expanding NASA bureaucracy is expanding to support the ever expanding NASA bureaucracy.

    Respectfully,
    Andrew Gasser
    TEA Party in Space

    • Robert G. Oler

      Andrew

      there are three absurd statements in your post

      1. Eric A…the guy who was praising Obama’s space policy before he decided to land on it in a space news op ed. Does the Tea Party in space really support that kind of thinking?

      2. Both the Obama and Romney space plans stink.

      Like it or not like it Obama has a plan…romney has a promise for a conference which no one has a clue what it is going to come up with and then what Romney will actually do…since Romney can say different things to different groups on the same topic its hard to see how that qualifies as anything

      3. on the one hand you praise Obama for COTS and Commercial crew and then say he gets no credit for MSL because “Bush started it”. Bush started commercial cargo as well.

      you have cleared up nothing Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    “What’s their hurry? If its not sustainable it will be another flash in the pan, just like Apollo, and we’ll be left with nothing. These people would be very happy with a singular Orion flight around the moon, I guess. Personally I wonder what for?”

    You can not shout “american exceptionalism” unless America has the biggest phallic symbol. It is not about sustainablity, it never has been, it is about having something, like a security blanket, that says to the rest of the world, look at us, look how great and strong and … exceptional … America is.

  • vulture4

    I agree with Vladislaw on the symbolism. Apollo was a reasonable strategy in an era when the world was in the grip of the conflict of ideologies; it was a symbolic substitute for nuclear war. Today the situation is different, China is an economic rival as capitalist as we are and SLS is not going to help our competitiveness one iota.

    ISS has a geopolitical rationale quite separate from space, and the counterpoint to Apollo. Instead of demonstrating American supremacy, it can build trust and understanding between nuclear adversaries. That was why Congress finally funded it under Clinton, and that is why we should invite China to join.

    ISS’s most important pure-spaceflight role, IMHO, is to serve as a destination for all the new surface-to-LEO systems under development, particularly RLVs, until the cost of human spaceflight can be reduced to a level at which human spaceflight becomes practical on a larger scale.

    Unfortunately people like Posey appeal to many on the Space Coast who see Republicans as godlike and Democrats as (to quote a local AM radio host) “evil incarnate”. Demonization of your opponents is an old and honored political tradition.

    However even Posey cannot demonize Shannon Roberts. Unlike Posey she is educated, experienced, considerate of the views of others, and always constructive in her actions. Unlike Posey she knows an asteroid from a meteorite, and how to work with the administration. She is exactly the person the Space Coast needs in Congress.

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