Congress, NASA

Space policy stocking stuffers

A few items of interest related to space policy over the last few days, to tide you over the holiday celebrations:

The passing last week of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee, set off a chain reaction of events that led to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) being selected to replace Inouye as committee chairman. Mikulski has been chairing the committee’s Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee, whose oversight includes NASA, and has been influential in space policy, influence that may increase by running the full appropriations committee. A Mikulski spokesperson tells Space News that the senator plans to retain chairmanship of the CJS subcommittee in addition to chairing the full committee; Inouye chaired the defense subcommittee in addition to the full committee.

There remains no signs of progress in averting the “fiscal cliff,” including the automatic across-the-board budget cuts (aka “sequestration”) that would take effect on January 2. Last week NASA administrator Charles Bolden sent a memo to agency employees about what would happen if those cuts take effect. “I do not expect our day-to-day operations to change dramatically” immediately after the cuts take effect, he wrote, including any furloughs of employees. However, he added, “Should we have to operate under reduced funding levels for an extended period of time, we may have to consider furloughs or other actions in the future.”

An effort to rename NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center after the late Neil Armstrong appears to have stalled out in Congress. Last month, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House Majority Whip, introduced HR 6612, a bill that would rename Dryden as the “Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center” and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the “Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.” “This bill recognizes the achievements of Neil Armstrong in aerospace travel and space exploration, and highlights his important connection to Kern County,” McCarthy said in a statement when he and several colleagues introduced the bill, referring to Armstrong’s time as a test pilot there before being selected as a NASA astronaut. The bill was scheduled to be considered under suspension of the rules on Tuesday and then Wednesday of last week, but has yet to be taken up by the House.

119 comments to Space policy stocking stuffers

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/spacexs-entry-into-70-billion-us-launch-market-draws-lockheed-jab/2012/12/23/a0e4fd0c-4a2e-11e2-b6f0-e851e741d196_story.html

    congrats to our host Jeff F for not only some well thought out comments but the “Ink” in one of the nations most prestigious papers.

    Merry Christmas Jeff and everyone. I hope that whatever holiday you celebrate and however you do it; the effort is rewarding and brings joy to you. RGO

  • Bennett In Vermont

    Santa came early for me (and almost all space geeks) via SpaceX and their new video of the Grasshopper 40 meter flight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B4PEXLODw9c

    YeeHaw!

    Merry Christmas to all of you, and to our host most especially.

  • Just bring back Project Constellation, and let’s just get back to dealing with the Moon, and manned missions there again!!! THAT would totally make my Christmas!

    • NeilShiplry

      Not going to happen. No money!

    • The resident Tinker Bell strikes again! Money is NEVER a consideration with Chris. It will all happen by magic.

    • And it might have made it by Christmas of 2030…

      Do you want to get back to the Moon in a way that’s affordable and has growth potential? Then you want something like this, no HLV development required:

      http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/AffordableExplorationArchitecture2009.pdf

      Or do you want to get back to the Moon in a way that isn’t affordable, but looks something like Apollo, and has only slightly more capability than Apollo?

      Then you want Constellation.

      Merry Christmas.

      • @Frank Glover;….Constellation was indeed a substantial improvement over Apollo! I don’t know what kind of Sci-Fi, “game-changing” tech that you all want! Project Constellation featured: (a.) Much longer lunar surface-time stays, of up to a fortnight, with just the L-SAM alone. (b.) Even more longer surface stay times, of up to four months, using an unmanned lunar-lander variant, which would land at a pre-selected spot ahead of the crew, ferrying equipment & provisions. Plus, base modules could then be emplaced upon the Moon, for outpost-class missions and/or the building of an intermittently-occupied base, once a suitable site has been identified, from previous shorter missions. (c.) A lunar orbiter/cis-lunar transport craft (the Orion CEV) capable of being parked in LLO & remaining there unmanned & untended for the duration of the crew’s lunar surface stay; to be reached by them afterwards.

      • Reply #2, @Frank Glover;…Furthermore, even IF Constellation would’ve taken till 2030 to reach lunar orbit and/or lunar surface, THAT outcome would be WAY freaking better, than that year arriving, and all NASA would have to show for it—for the previous two decades—would be the ISS & a few measily LEO-only, corporate-built spacecrafts!!!

        • Chris,
          I have never seen you (or any one else with your position) give an honest answer this question.
          Why go back to the Moon with a shuttle-derived vehicle HLV(such as Ares V or SLS) when NASA’s own studies and studies from industry and universities indicate we can do it cheaper, faster and safer using existing launch vehicles?

          In short,
          Why wait more years than we have to and spend extra billions that we don’t need to on SLS, when we can do it cheaper and sooner without it? Especially, when the Booz-Allen-Hamilton report (which NASA commissioned and paid for) says that SLS will probably never be finished?

          But you will never give an honest answer to that question because that would mean denying your delusion.

          • The mistake with the SLS, is that it is nothing more than a one-size-fits-all “solution” to getting any & all space enthusiasts their much-varied ambitions in space. What they should be doing is building a Heavy-Lift in tandem with a specific deep space payload. But no. They are building it with basically nothing definable planned! Worse still, the SLS isn’t even a differently named Ares 5; but a considerably less powerful rocket than was called for by Project Constellation. The SLS is blindly being built on the faith & assumption that SOME nebulously-visible-to-us-right-now need and/or use will later on materialize in the 2020′s. All this in total absence of the man-returning-to-the-Moon goal. (Coincidently, with every other space destination as a go, thanks to the anti-Moon Flexible Path people.) THAT is what is wrong with the SLS [aside from its stupid name]. But Heavy-Lift is still the only real “gamechanger” here. As for whether unmanned variants of the Space Shuttle launch rockets could’ve been used in lieu of an Ares 5: sure, hypothetically speaking, the potential for humankind departing LEO with them was there. The Ares 1 was Shuttle-derived, for God’s sake! But why oh why then, were the Shuttle industrial-production lines on rockets allowed to quietly die?! THIS was some of the damaging fall-out, caused by the Flexible Path/No-Moon-Needed advocates!

            • Chris

              Again not an honest answer from you. We don’t need such a super HLV to go back to the moon. We can do that with existing non-HLV rockets, though we may eventually need a super HLV for more ambitious projects. NASA’s own studies say so.

              Also, you did not address another issue raised by BAH and the Augustine Committee. Any shuttle-derived vehicle would not have been as economically viable as a third-party designed and developed HLV of the same lift capacity. That would be true even if “Shuttle industrial-production lines” had not been shut down.

              Please, no more excuses about the Shuttle production lines being shut down. If the lines had not been shut down, there would have been some savings in cost, but studies have shown that (even under those conditions) a Shuttle-derived HLV still would cost many billions more than alternative methods — no matter what.

              However, for more ambitious deep space projects than going back to the Moon or L2, we may eventually need such a super HLV. In which case, I’ll state an even simpler question and maybe you’ll understand it enough to give a sensible answer.
              If SpaceX can produce a 150mt payload HLV for $2.5 billion and ULA can produce a similarly capable HLV for $5.5 billion, why have the taxpayer pay many billions more for a NASA developed vehicle?

              An honest answer: please, please, please …

              • On paper, the commercial corporations can do just about anything! Heck, maybe they can even cure cancer. But in the actual world, the history of corporate space projects has been DISMAL. In absence of government backing & government-mandated purpose, they all flounder! Worse still, the New Space entrepreneurs rely on the continuance of the long-obsolete ISS to give them a reason-to-be. Without the ISS, there’d be no freakin’ commercial space at all! THAT fact alone implies a multiple-decade span of future time, devoted ONLY to LEO, and nothing else. All the corporations have to deliver is taxi vehicles to reach an LEO station, and THAT my friends, is ALL they’ll be able to ever do!

              • Chris, again you are ignoring study results. A joint study by NASA and the Air Force concluded that SpaceX produced F9 for far less than what NASA could have with its traditional contractors and that the same principle would apply to just about any launcher of any size.

                You are totally living in a fantasy world. There is no reasoning with you. I should have known I wouldn’t get an honest answer from you. Don’t like something? NO PROBLEM, you just deny it exists (whether it does or not). How very convenient for you.

              • “All the corporations have to deliver is taxi vehicles to reach an LEO station, and THAT my friends, is ALL they’ll be able to ever do!”

                A comment that totally ignores the fact that the main reason for the creation of SpaceX is to go to Mars. But that’s our Chris, any fact that doesn’t fit with what he wants to believe is conveniently ignored

              • @Rick Boozer;….SpaceX could NOT carry out a Moon landing mission exceeding the last Apollo one. ALL they’d have to do is land a manned module with two or three astronauts & do a surface stay of at least four days, and carry out a little good science along the way, with a rover vehicle. I dare them to do it! But they won’t, because SpaceX is in Sci-Fi dreamer mode, and going for the giant sensational first-on-Mars story! I tell you, a manned Moon mission, even to mere lunar orbit, is a completely different ball game, than all this LEO space station jazz we’ve been doing since the Salyut & Skylab days!!

              • “I tell you, a manned Moon mission, even to mere lunar orbit, is a completely different ball game, than all this LEO space station jazz we’ve been doing since the Salyut & Skylab days!!”
                Wow, Chris! I didn’t know that! ;)

                Chris, as a prelude to getting to Mars, don’t be surprised if SpaceX does a stop or two at the Moon along the way. After all, what better way to test a Mars lander under less than Earth normal gravity than on lower gravity world that’s practically right next door.

                Also, don’t be surprised if some company or small country wants to buy a couple of Falcon Heavy’s and build their own lander. You don’t need anything more powerful than a Falcon Heavy to go back to the Moon!

                Again, wake up from your dream world.

              • @Rick Boozer, in response to his Jan. 4th, 7:01 am statement: Oh, pardon me. Did I mistake you for one of the anti-Moon Mars zealots?? My error. Sorry. There seem to be SO MANY of them here on this blog-site; that I feel the need to rebutt their views. In the spirit of debate. Maybe I did overlook some of your earlier comments here. I’m sure you all know by now, that I am a firm-minded Moon-firster! I get really appalled when I see this fantasia-like history-of-the-future, in which Apollo 17 remains the last expedition to Luna, and our satellite gets ignored for multiple decades more, all in some crazy-mad, tripping-over-each-other rush to get man to the Red Planet.

              • Coastal Ron

                Chris Castro moaned:

                Did I mistake you for one of the anti-Moon Mars zealots?

                Chris, you confuse the lack of enthusiasm for spending gobs and gobs of money without any real need for being against going to the Moon or Mars.

                I would love to go to the Moon and Mars, but I don’t see the value in spending $100-200B of my taxpayer money just so a couple of “chosen ones” can spend a week or two on the Moon picking up rocks.

                If we’re going to go back to the Moon, it should be to stay – to establish a permanent presence, just like we have in LEO. However we don’t have the knowledge or technology to do that in a sustainable fashion yet, so going back prematurely is just wasting money, something we don’t have any to waste.

                So the bigger question is, why do you want to waste money? Do you have stock in Boeing or Lockheed Martin, or some other company that would benefit from large government contracts?

                The Moon has been there for billions of years, and it will keep waiting for us as long as it takes for us to be ready to go back, but we’re not ready now, and there is no urgency to going back.

                Take a chill pill…

            • Coastal Ron

              Chris Castro said:

              The mistake with the SLS, is that it is nothing more than a one-size-fits-all “solution” to getting any & all space enthusiasts their much-varied ambitions in space.

              What a weird statement, and one that is divorced from reality. The most successful transportation systems are the ones that are general purpose. Tractor-trailers have been one of our most important transportation innovations, and they are neither the largest vehicles on the road, nor the most specialized, yet using vehicles of their size we can build the largest skyscrapers in the world.

              We have the launch vehicles we need to go to the Moon or even Mars, so the SLS is a waste of time and money. NASA can’t even afford to build and launch the payloads needed to justify the SLS, so it is doomed to failure – no one needs to do anything to kill the program, since it will collapse just like the Constellation program did.

              • Actually, @Rick Boozer, on his Jan. 2nd, 6:21 pm response: Even knowing full well that the New Spacers would rather ride a capsule straight into the Sun, than ever go back Moonward, I do emphasize that a human return to the Moon is an absolutely crucial first step, BEFORE ever venturing to Mars! There is NO way, a Mars mission could be mounted without first dealing with the intermediate challenges posed by renewed Moon landing & longer surface stay missions! Robert Zubrin & the Mars zealots are dead-wrong with their assumptions that the Moon is not needed for their Red Planet plans!

              • Chris
                “I do emphasize that a human return to the Moon is an absolutely crucial first step, BEFORE ever venturing to Mars!”
                Did you see my comment, “Chris, as a prelude to getting to Mars, don’t be surprised if SpaceX does a stop or two at the Moon along the way. After all, what better way to test a Mars lander under less than Earth normal gravity than on a lower gravity world that’s practically right next door”?

                Also see this that I put in a comment farther into this thread:
                “Once again, Chris, Mars is beyond LEO and SpaceX wants to go back to Mars. Just because they want to go to Mars does not mean they won’t go to the Moon in preparation. You say private companies don’t have the incentive to go beyond LEO, but that was the whole incentive for the creation of SpaceX.

                Come on Chris, you’re smarter than that. Don’t you see the oxymoron in your statement?

    • amightywind

      Looks like help is on the way. SLS just passed its preliminary design review.

  • common sense

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Good Luck to all

    • Thank U! Again, I still firmly believe that the Moon should be dealt with anew, BEFORE going on to Mars. This intermediate goal is the Gemini-type of project that’ll get interplanetary trips jump started. Do you agree with me? Are you with me? Let’s get our astronauts back on the Moon! As soon as a space-friendly President gets to the Oval Office. BO definitely isn’t that person.

      • Chris,
        I agree with everything except the last sentence. The current President is more space friendly than you give him credit for. That’s the reason why the Commercial Crew participants are making such great strides. You mentioned Gemini. In regard to return to the Moon or going elsewhere, think of Commercial Crew as directly analogous to Gemini. That’s what we have been trying to tell you for years. The new Gemini (happening now with Commercial Crew) comes before the new Apollo. But our version of Gemini and Apollo are being done in a way where we won’t have to stop going to the Moon and elsewhere as happened 40 years ago. We can keep going back forever because we will be able to afford it.

      • Coastal Ron

        Chris Castro bleated:

        As soon as a space-friendly President gets to the Oval Office.

        Have we had a “space-friendly” President since Kennedy? Not according to your definition I guess, which means that they have to want to go back to the Moon.

        Maybe Bush 43 could be defined as that, but remember the Moon to him was just an intermediate stop on the way to Mars, and he never used any of his “political capital” to fully fund the Constellation program.

        But you keep forgetting that you also have to have a Congress that agrees with going back to the Moon, and except for the Constellation program, which Congress cancelled (Presidents can’t cancel programs, only agree), there is no desire by Congress to spend exorbitant amounts on golf trips to the Moon.

        • Yeah, they’d rather have golf-trips on NEO’s or on the ISS! (It’s just that on the ISS, a golf ball could break a window, and on an NEO it’d launch straight into solar orbit.) Yes, Bush certainly failed to firmly make Constellation happen. Had he done so, Mr. Obama would’ve just had to let it be! I mean, did Bush Jr. stop the ISS? Did Jimmy Carter stop the Space Shuttle? If a big space project has come along enough, in terms of progress, usually a new president “cannot” terminate it.

          • Coastal Ron

            Chris Castro said:

            If a big space project has come along enough, in terms of progress, usually a new president “cannot” terminate it.

            Finally, some level of understanding for how things work.

            Yes, if the Constellation program would have been on schedule, and on budget, no one would have questioned it.

            But it wasn’t Chris. It was horribly behind schedule, and massively over budget. That is why a bi-partisan Congress agreed – WITHOUT DEBATE – to cancel it when requested by Obama. Congress could have ignored Obama, and either Republicans or Democrats in the Senate could have filibustered the legislation to kill the program, but Congress agreed. Let me repeat – CONGRESS AGREED that the Constellation program needed to be killed.

            So let that be a lesson for you. If you can’t propose a program architecture that will stay on schedule and budget, and if you can’t staff the program with good enough program managers that can solve problems within schedule and budget, then your little lunar dreams will never happen. NEVER!

            That’s why many of us support the goals of the companies trying to lower the costs to access space, because that frees up money that will be needed for the other hardware that will inevitably go over schedule and budget. So what SpaceX is doing is making it easier for your lunar dreams to come true, as is the work being done on the ISS to solve the problems relating to living and working in space.

            Too bad you can’t understand that….

            • Yep, too bad I can’t understand that. I dread an LEO-only NASA going on for yet another twenty years! Commercial Crew is NOT the new Gemini! It is the new Space Shuttle, and extending the ISS any more decades is a massive engineering waste of talent & ability! The country can do way better than Obamaspace!

              • Coastal Ron

                Chris Castro moaned:

                Commercial Crew is NOT the new Gemini!

                Commercial is not like government? Reusable is not like expendable? Operational is not like test?

                Wow, what insight.

                This may of news to you Chris, but Commercial Crew is going to be like Commercial Crew, which means dramatically lowering the cost to access space. It is also the permanent transfer of responsibility for what used to take a country to afford and do, and make it the responsibility of companies.

                It should have happened a decade ago, but at least it’s finally coming.

              • Ron, I suppose you know that when I said Commericial Crew is the new Gemini, I was speaking only from the standpoint of what the hardware could do in space. Gemini was LEO, Commercial Crew is also LEO. But as you say, the difference is affordability. Going beyond LEO is the next step after Commercial Crew and that is the whole reason for SpaceX’s existence. Chris just plain won’t allow himself to wrap his mind around that concept.

                I had this very faint hope that I might be able to get Chris to go beyond his ingrained prejudice long enough to see that his idea that we are going to be restricted to LEO is false. I was just trying to give him one last benefit of the doubt.

                Even after we go beyond LEO again, he will say that it could have been done practically and sooner some other way. That will be the case even when we return to the Moon (which we will, with or without NASA). In working towards the capability to go to Mars, we will automatically (long before we go to Mars) be able to return to the Moon because the capabilities required for a lunar return are a small subset of what is needed to go to Mars.

                Chris seems to think Elon is bullshitting when he says his primary goal is Mars. He is a truly hopeless fanatic. I totally give up on trying to reason with him.

  • Happy holidays to all. Thank you Jeff for all that you do. Your various contributions make it easier for us to keep a pulse on all things space-related.

  • Renewed Lunar exploration with astronauts will happen, because it is the next logical step in humankind’s quest for space! Apollo was but the preliminary round. The initial reconaissance. Expanded-capacity expeditions there, will teach us all of the basic things we need for crewed operations elsewhere. PLEASE NO MORE LOW EARTH ORBIT, to supposedly work out the bugs!! You all out there know pure well, that LEO station maintainance is nothing in comparison to other-world expeditioneering! The game is not just to go someplace, and brag for forty years that you’ve already been there! If THAT were the case, imagine just how paltry humankind’s exploration record would be here on Earth?! Cristobal Colon would’ve returned to Europe after expedition four, and the powers that be would’ve said “So what; we’re not going back, because we’ve already been there before!” James Cook would have gotten the same response from his government after surveying Tahiti, Hawaii, & Australia. Lewis & Clark would’ve been all there was to the exploration of the Pacific Northwest, as far as the American government was concerned. Hey, nobody ever goes back to the same place, once it’s already been visited a few times, in Earth’s exploration history; right??!

    • NeilShipley

      People do go back Chris but there’s got to be reason/s to do so and sorry but no one’s made the case yet compared with the cost of such a venture under the current gov’t funded model. Besides which, the Moon is very different to Earth. Mars is closer in terms of geography and environment with greater potential for self-sufficiency and research.

      • E. P. Grondine

        Hi Neil –

        ummm. Actually, the new first of the new impact estimates from the Mars crater data has come in, and the reason for returning to the Moon is the same as it was before, to build the detectors of the Comet and Asteroid Protection System (CAPS).

        Lower launch costs are good. But Musk is going to have to do better than a 1 in 9 engine failure rate if he is going to pull off lower launch costs.

        • NeilShipley

          Hi EPG. Is there any funding yet for CAPS? Full mission I mean? Btw, I’d think that lower launch costs would be something that CAPS would be very interested in. DoD is starting to take notice.
          Incidentally it appears that SpaceX knows what caused their engine shutdown and I expect they’ll fix it. Interestingly it didn’t cause a LOM so I’d say that the customers aren’t really concerned about it.

          • E. P. Grondine

            Hi Neil –

            Summing up even the current space efforts, little less estimating future planning, far exceeds the capabilities of a post here.

            That said, my estimate is that the CAPS detectors will not be built using the originally proposed architecture, but rather working from lunar orbit.
            But that is only my estimate, and I may be wrong.

        • Not a 1 in 9 engine failure rate. One engine failed in the last flight. At this stage that’s a 1 in 27 failure rate (3 flights X 9). Considering that it’s the first flights when they’re still working things out and such isolated engine failures are not fatal, that’s not bad. Ability to safely complete the primary mission with failure of a major component is a safety feature not a detrimental property. If it was any other current launch vehicle other than F9, the failure of one engine would have totally terminated the mission.

    • Coastal Ron

      Chris Castro opined:

      Renewed Lunar exploration with astronauts will happen…

      Hmm, “with astronauts”. Why did you add that qualifier?

      If you had said “humans will renew lunar exploration one day”, then I would think everyone would agree with you. I mean, who else? Dogs? Parrots? Dolphins? Because there is no question in my mind that humans will renew lunar exploration one day.

      …because it is the next logical step in humankind’s quest for space!

      The Moon is an airless, low gravity destination that is only of interest because of how close it is. All of the planning going on at NASA these days is focused on getting to Mars, and the Moon is not envisioned as a stopping point along the way.

      However, if Musk is successful in lowering the cost to access space, then endeavors like Golden Spike will be able to reach the Moon as privately funded activities.

      You are strangely silent on the Golden Spike plans, why is that Chris? You of all people should be foaming at the mouth that someone has a plan to return to the Moon – and far faster than NASA would able to do.

      What are your thoughts on Golden Spike Chris?

      • Chris doesn’t realize we are going to be going beyond LEO despite people like him, not because of them.

      • “going to be going”. I’m really off of my game from sleep deprivation. Been taking care of my terminally ill mother for the last two weeks and she did not “go gently into that good night”. She finally passed on Christmas Eve, but I’m still recovering.
        Restate:
        “Chris doesn’t realize we are going beyond LEO despite people like him, not because of them.”

        • Coastal Ron

          Rick, my condolences.

          * OT Warning *

          Taking care of our parents in their last days can be very stressful for us, but the way I look at it (with lots of personal experience) is that they are getting the best possible end-of-life experience. Not everyone has that ability or chance – the world is not that perfect. I’m glad you had the chance to be there.

        • pathfinder_01

          ““going to be going”.I’m really off of my game from sleep deprivation. Been taking care of my terminally ill mother for the last two weeks and she did not “go gently into that good night”. She finally passed on Christmas Eve, but I’m still recovering.”

          My condolences. I know how hard that is, I experienced a loss of someone I loved and took care of early this year and quite frankly I don’t think any words exists to describe that awful thing. Take time to recover and you will in time but by God does it suck at first.

      • E. P. Grondine

        Hi CR –

        “All of the planning going on at NASA these days is focused on getting to Mars”

        You’re mistaken there.

      • @Coastal Ron;….Golden Spike has some neat things going for it. But a for-profit organization, a corporation, which has to look out for its bottom line, will NEVER be able to carry such a grandiose project up from the ground to fruition. Let’s be realistic. The government would have to be involved! The multiple billions of dollars that it’d take, totally imply government backing. In the end, a Heavy Lift launcher is going to be needed—-but once a definite, concurently developed payload is definable. In the case of GS: that’d be two launches; (a.) translunar-injection stage and lunar lander, & (b.) translunar-injection stage and lunar transport/orbiter craft. As the two spacecraft complements leave LEO for LLO on separate flights. In brief, until a new Heavy-Lift rocket gets built, specially-designed for the lunar payloads, these noble dreams will be out of reach.

      • 2nd reply @Coastal Ron;….By the way, I will tell you that the Golden Spike idea is a truly wonderful one—–compared to all this bat guano about manned asteroid missions & lagrange point gateway stations!

    • “You all out there know pure well, that LEO station maintainance is nothing in comparison to other-world expeditioneering! The game is not just to go someplace, and brag for forty years that you’ve already been there!”

      It’s also not about leapfrogging from one gravity well to another.

      There will always be things to do in LEO. Just because they’re not ‘exploration’ (though much of it will still be ‘research’ and [gasp!] ‘commercial’) and seemingly mundane, doesn’t make them any less important.

      Crowds don’t gather in Paris anymore, just because a plane made a non-stop flight from the US. What’s important now, is that it happens every day, for self-sustaining reasons. It all becomes mundane eventually, people become jaded quickly. One day, even Pluto will be ‘someplace we’ve been for forty years.’ And if we can do that’ it’s a good thing. The infrastructure and human presence you leave behind, doing everyday useful and self-sustaining things, is as important as ‘boldly going’ somewhere else to plant another flag and a week of headlines.

      We want to be spacefaring, and it’s important to understand that space exploring is only a subset of that. And it will be a shrinking subset as a percentage, not because exploration will necessarily decrease, but because other kinds of spaceflight will increase, driving technologies that all spacefarers benefit from. As someone else here often says, ‘Space exploitation is not space exploration.’ To which I say; ‘Right…what’s your point? Don’t you favor both?’

      • Robert G. Oler

        Frank…really well said the entire post but particularly this

        “We want to be spacefaring, and it’s important to understand that space exploring is only a subset of that. And it will be a shrinking subset as a percentage, not because exploration will necessarily decrease, but because other kinds of spaceflight will increase, driving technologies that all spacefarers benefit from”

        RGO

  • amightywind

    Santa came early for me (and almost all space geeks) via SpaceX and their new video of the Grasshopper 40 meter flight.

    One can only conclude that SpaceX conducted a 20th anniversary tribute to the first flight of the DC-X. Unfortunately SpaceX failed to equal the DC-X performance. Please SpaceX? Something, anything original!

    PLEASE NO MORE LOW EARTH ORBIT, to supposedly work out the bugs!!

    Agreed. And please to more life sciences research either.

    Should we have to operate under reduced funding levels for an extended period of time, we may have to consider furloughs or other actions in the future.

    I will find higher taxes more easy to bear if government employment is truly cut. The growth of government is killing economic growth.

    • NeilShipley

      DC-X is history and long gone like so many NASA failed programs including their competing X-33 program which also failed.
      SpaceX is making it’s own history now and will probably surpass DC-X achievements on the next Grasshopper flight.

    • “Unfortunately SpaceX failed to equal the DC-X performance.”

      The DC-X itself didn’t do much more on its first flight, either (video is not hard to find). Last we were allowed to see, the Blue Origin test article outperforms this as well. Your point?

      Are you not familiar with concepts like ‘incremental testing,’ and ‘expanding the envelope?’ The first 747 in 1970 did a few turns around the airfield without even raising the landing gear. This is normal engineering practice. Were it not ‘under the microscope’ (one that Blue Origin has chosen to avoid, as is their prerogative), you’d hardly notice or care.

      • josh

        windy is just trolling these days. rational debate is the last thing he is interested in. he didn’t take the election results well i guess. now all that motivates him is spite. what he doesn’t realize is that his posts actually provide some comic relief around here so it’s not all bad…

    • Please SpaceX? Something, anything original!

      This is stupid.

      SpaceX is doing something original — lowering the cost of spaceflight.

    • Low Earth Orbit has always been the weakest of all fall back positions. It is WAY TOO EASY, to just continue sending astronauts on LEO station stays! The Space Shuttle did it over a hundred & thirty times. Yet you do not hear one word of complaint, that “we’ve been there already”; “we’ve done that already”. Expeditions into deep space, will bring on much more better life science research possibilities: Such as survival in low planetary gravities, and just to what extent should radiation protection be. Plus, how extensive should dust management systems be. These are all things that another twenty years spent in LEO, will NEVER be able to address.

      • Chris, where is your answer to this question that I asked you earlier.
        If SpaceX can produce a 150mt payload HLV for $2.5 billion and ULA can produce a similarly capable HLV for $5.5 billion, why have the taxpayer pay many billions more for a NASA developed heavy lift vehicle?

        • SpaceX and ULA & the rest are taking us down the yellow brick road path. Private corporations lack the incentive for doing anything other than LEO. Just look at how the mere existence of the ISS makes for an “opportunity” for them to produce LEO-only spacecraft. Erase the ISS and they’d have NO mission! That’s why corporate space required that the ISS keep right on going, till 2020 or 2030 or whenever….Look, in brief, the government is going to be the only entity that could effectively develop Heavy-Lift. The way they are doing it now, is all wrong, of course! Merely building a giant rocket to carry payload “WHATEVER”, is no way to go about it! After the Obama Bungle of the space program, after he deprived it of any purpose other than zero-gravity research, heck, maybe we should have suspended any plans at building a Heavy-Lift. But THAT’s only because Beyond-LEO missions had been scrapped. Its need under the Obama presidency, gone.

          • Coastal Ron

            Chris Castro bleated:

            Look, in brief, the government is going to be the only entity that could effectively develop Heavy-Lift. The way they are doing it now, is all wrong, of course! Merely building a giant rocket to carry payload “WHATEVER”, is no way to go about it!

            Chris… I”m not sure how you can’t realize this, but no one in government – not Obama, not the Republicans nor the Democrats – NO ONE wants to go back to the Moon.

            No one wants to spend the tens of $Billions needed to do the fantasy missions you drool over. And blaming Obama? Ha! If Congress wanted to go to the Moon, if it really had the type of overwhelming support you dream it does, then Congress would override any veto Obama did.

            But no one in Congress wants to spend the money to go back to the Moon. NO ONE.

            Your obsession is disconnected from reality.

            And as to building a heavy-lift rocket, ULA and SpaceX have both shown detailed proposals for HLV’s, but there is no demand for them. Even if NASA builds the SLS, there are no payloads for it to fly. NONE.

            So until Congress decides to fund a decade of payloads needing an HLV, building an HLV of any size is a waste of taxpayer money.

            Can you understand this?

          • “Private corporations lack the incentive for doing anything other than LEO.”
            Once again, Chris, Mars is beyond LEO and SpaceX wants to go back to Mars. Just because they want to go to Mars does not mean they won’t go to the Moon in preparation. You say private companies don’t have the incentive to go beyond LEO, but that was the whole incentive for the creation of SpaceX.

            Come on Chris, you’re smarter than that. Don’t you see the oxymoron in your statement?

  • E. P. Grondine

    Hi Jeff -

    Thanks.

    I have often been accused of “making stuff up” (lying), so thanks for taking the time to check out the facts of the re-usable first stage over at space review.

    You managed to clear everything up there, except for how I knew it, but then that is my business, after all.

    Happy Holidays

  • vulture4

    We can develop new technology that makes spaceflight practical for research and tourism, whether the explorers are intelligent robots that give us the sense of presence or human tourists flying at a price they can afford. But we must hold onto our foothold in LEO if we are ever to go further.

  • Congrats to SpaceX on a successful Grasshopper test. SSTO is a Holy Grail of cheap lift and this will go a long ways to bring this about.

    I would like to see tax free bonds like the old 19th Century railroad variety issued to companies like Planetary Resources and Golden Spike in order to jump start the industry. Historically the U.S. going back to the old Erie Canal has always used a combination of government and private monies in order to build new transportation infrastructure.

    Interplanetary development is a natural offspring of this.

    • Robert G. Oler

      its fascinating to say the least…the three videos are impressive…what they are doing depends on crossfeeding…they have in my view decided to attack the rocket equation with that weapon…

      RGO

  • BTW, the latest test flight of Grasshopper was covered on CBS Evening News on Christmas night. Nice to see on main stream news.

    • DCSCA

      CNN covere it, too. Quaint head fake to see Master Musk emulating vintage footage of rockets landing on their fiery tails a la 1950s sci-fi films. Very ‘Destination Moon’ of him. Oh, by the way, as 2013 begins, Space X has failed to launch, orbit and safely return anybody from space. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

      • @DCSCA
        As for Grasshopper, even Musk says that one is iffy, but at least he’s trying. However the following is a completely different story.

        “Oh, by the way, as 2013 begins, Space X has failed to launch, orbit and safely return anybody from space. Tick-tock, tick-tock.”
        First, no crewed launch was ever promised for 2013. As I remember, you used to say the same “Tick-tock, tick-tock” in relation to “SpaceX has sent nothing to ISS yet”. There is no reason why they won’t get people there in the next few years. Before that, it was similar gems of faux wisdom about a succeful Falcon 9 launch to orbit. It will be fun watching you forget your current imperfect prognostication the way you have your earlier ones.

        Past empircal evidence shows that you aren’t nearly as smart as you think you are. :)

        • DCSCA

          =yawn= You remember poorly. Space X has flown nobody. And Space X’s poor record of keeping to schedule speaks for itself. That’s the tick. Here’s the tock: for all the hype, the total poundage of payload Space X has delivered is quite small. But you go on praising the Magnified Importance of Diminished Vision. Like all commercial LEO ops efforts, it’s… quaint. Going in circles, no place, fast.

          • My turn to =yawn=
            What you say doesn’t change your past record. That’s empiricism. You are so full of it.

          • Aces on that statement!!! They—Commercial Crew—are just going in circles, & nowhere fast.

            • THAT was to DCSCA’s comment, by the way…..

            • Keep telling yourself that Chris. While you keep lying to us and yourself that none of the CC partipants has an incentive for going beyond LEO, when the whole purpose SpaceX was created is to get to Mars.

              If you hadn’t been told the truth before and you said that statement, you would not be lying. I have given you the benefit of the doubt before now and not blatantly come out and said you were lying. But there is no way anyone can say you haven’t been told the truth at this point. So I am going to call you on this lie everytime you say it.

          • Coastal Ron

            DCSCA moaned:

            Space X has flown nobody.

            As you’ve been schooled about previously, they haven’t tried, so it’s pretty nonsensical to say that.

            However today, at a NASA briefing for the Commercial Crew program, SpaceX said they are targeting their first test flights with crew in 2015.

            What a crow eating-fest for you that will be… ;-)

  • amightywind

    I would like to see tax free bonds like the old 19th Century railroad variety issued to companies like Planetary Resources and Golden Spike in order to jump start the industry.

    I would like to see the government out of the business of picking winners. Consider how well it has worked for the wind power, solar, and electric car industries in the last 4 years. If SpaceX has great technology they should have no trouble attracting investors. The fact that they have not done this is telling. Musk has made a career about being paid now for tomorrow’s work.

    • Coastal Ron

      amightywind opined:

      I would like to see the government out of the business of picking winners.

      I doubt it. The SLS is a “Big Government” program if there ever was one, and it there was never any chance of it being put out for competitive bid. Michael Griffin picked the design himself (i.e. Government picking the winners), and Congress has been happy to go along with the pork train of money it brings to certain states (picking winners again).

      In fact they wouldn’t have been able to put the SLS requirements out for competitive bid, because they would have had to define the payload requirements a competitively bid system would have to meet, and there are none for the SLS – just a bunch of made up mass requirements to orbit and beyond (i.e. no real demand). Once someone actually tried to determine government payloads for the SLS, it would become abundantly clear that they government can’t afford to build those payloads, much less launch them too.

      Your faux concerns are just that.

    • Robert G. Oler

      Wind wrote

      “I would like to see the government out of the business of picking winners. Consider how well it has worked for the wind power, solar, and electric car industries in the last 4 years”

      LOL really this is so funny

      The right wing is all about picking winners…given just a modest evaluation of cost, performance, competence name any attribute SLS and Orion would have been gone a long time ago.

      Yet you, Whittington, and other keen minds of the right wing are all for those.

      You are all for defense projects which in any other time in history would have gone the way of the B-60 ie cancelled for poor performance no cost containment etc.

      On the domestic side if one listens to people like you and Whittington and others including Mitt Romney, Exxon will stop drilling for oil if they dont get their tax and other subsidy?

      The federal government has picked winners and losers since the First Congress and G (drum roll) Washington…and folks like you are the biggest hypocrites that there are.

      And thats fine; but what is not fine is when you relabel things and think that you can Stalinlike get away with it.

      RGO

      • amightywind

        On the domestic side if one listens to people like you and Whittington and others including Mitt Romney, Exxon will stop drilling for oil if they dont get their tax and other subsidy?

        I am opposed to any subsidies, as I am to the offsetting senseless regulation and punitive taxation.

        • Robert G. Oler

          Wind wrote

          “I am opposed to any subsidies, as I am to the offsetting senseless regulation and punitive taxation.”

          that is absurd both from an ideological and from your positional point of view.

          SLS/ORion is a subsidy…there is no other way to describe it…the vehicles are not necessary for the survival or prospering of the country, they are not time critical there is no need for them; yet you support them

          Second the US is where the US is; aka a superpower because of subsidies to do things “in the interest of The Republic”

          Watch what happens if the GOP does not get its act together and the farm bill expires and milk goes up like it will. want to see them burn the GOP in the streets?

          Robert G. oler

          • Watch what happens if the GOP does not get its act together and the farm bill expires and milk goes up like it will.

            This is off topic, but it’s also economic ignorance. The farm bill props up milk prices. They’d fall in its absence.

            • Robert G. Oler

              This is off topic, but it’s also economic ignorance. The farm bill props up milk prices. They’d fall in its absence.”

              You could be correct Rand Simberg, that is not the common prediction but what will you do if you are “wrong”? RGO

            • Robert G. Oler

              Rand. I really dont understand the milk price thing and was going on what I read…so I got on the phone and called my friend who has a 1000 milk cow herd in Iowa and got a primer on the price support issue.

              If the House does not act then milk prices will go up under law to an inflation adjusted price from 1949…that will be “north” of 7 dollars.(Phil says 8.20) ..the bill was written much as the BCA was as a “poison pill” to force action on supports…

              There is no scenario of House inaction where prices do not go up (according to my friend and he has had his farm for 30 years since his parents handed it down to him, and they got it from their parents etc). Beats me…but that is what I am told.

              the House has been unable to repeal the 1949 law…Ryan tried but could not even get it through his own caucus.

              RGO

    • Fred Willett

      SpaceX has investors, and managed to attract them during the height of the financial crisis when most financiers were burying their money under their collective matresses.
      SO far Musk has founded (all with investor support) these companies: ZIP2, X.COM (later merged with another company to become PAYPAL),TESLA, SOLAR CITY and SPACEX.
      Most of these were successfully taken public. SpaceX is the only one yet to go public. But even here investors hold a large chunk of the company.

    • DCSCA

      THe government has always picked ‘winners.’ That’s why you have a child tax credit; a mortgage deduction and a low rate on capital gains as incentives. Government picks winners all the time. Get with the program, Windy.

  • vulture4

    >>PLEASE NO MORE LOW EARTH ORBIT, to supposedly work out the bugs!!

    The main bug is the cost, and unless it is worked out in LEO human spaceflight will not be feasible in LEO or BLEO.

    Grasshopper is a technology demonstrator for a reusable booster stage. This is a completely different goal from DC-X which was a technology demonstrator for a reusable SSTO spacecraft.

    • amightywind

      If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

      Wake me up when SpaceX launches a booster to 6000 mph and 200,000 ft, reverses course, and lands under its own power.

      • Coastal Ron

        amightywind bloviated:

        Wake me up when SpaceX launches a booster to 6000 mph and 200,000 ft, reverses course, and lands under its own power.

        As usual, you miss the point. Musk was very upfront when he announced the Grasshopper initiative, in that he said it may very well not work out. But he thought it could, and if it does, it will allow for a significant reduction in the cost of getting mass to orbit. Who else is spending their own money to do such innovation in the space industry? Only the true entrepreneurs, not the “Old Space” companies.

        However SpaceX is already in a winning position marketwise, so regardless if their Grasshopper initiative results in a reusable booster, SpaceX still has the lowest space launch service in the world. So what is already a hard situation to overcome for ULA and it’s “Old Space” parents (Boeing and Lockheed Martin), becomes even worse if SpaceX is able to at least perfect reusability just for the Falcon Heavy boosters (what I think will be the first application of reusability). Falcon Heavy boosters stage at a much lower speed and altitude, so perfecting reusability for boosters as opposed to a single core 1st stage will be much easier to perfect.

        There is no downside to SpaceX trying to perfect reusability, and it’s hard to fathom why someone that pretends to be a free-market proponent would pooh-pooh such efforts. Unless your stock portfolio is heavy into “Old Space”… ;-)

      • Poor Windy, it must be frustrating to be left behind in the evolution game. ;)

        NASA as it is presently set up is a costly Cold War relic. Without a Cold War to fight, it is practically worthless. It was never meant to be Star Fleet like you and Chris Castro profess it to be.

        NASA should revert to its pre-Kennedy era status as a technology incubator.

        • amightywind

          How can you say that when we are operating a UN in the sky at $3 billion a year. Your head is in the sand with regard to the Russians. The Neo-Stalinist Putin are back in control of Russia and reconstituting the Soviet Union. I would welcome the return of a Cold War NASA, and an aggressive defense of our territorial rights to the moon.

          • Are you kidding Windy? Russia is barely treading water financially. Their empire building days are lost past. In fact, if we weren’t paying them for lifting international astronauts ( and ours ) they wouldn’t have a space program at all.

            Building empires and financing them is like having a command economy, which historically is always doomed to fail.

            As we are soon to find out after January 2nd 2013.

            • Robert G. Oler

              Well said “Dad2059″ we are about to see some pain here as well, but in the end we will come out better for it. The command economy oddly enough has been in the things that the GOP loves RGO

            • @dad2059;….You all out there remember the last time a supposed Heavy-Lift rocket got built, without a specific payload & program behind it? The let’s-just-build-it-and-they-will-come approach? The Soviets in their waning years constructed the Energia rocket. Lacking any grand designs for its use, and only dealing with LEO stations with it, it was launched just a handful of times and then decommissioned; any future plans were scrapped. THIS might be the future fate of the SLS, in absence of a manned lunar goal. [I really hate that name, by the way, SLS, as it sounds too much like STS].

      • josh

        why? so you can move the goal posts some more? lol.

        somebody wake me up when sls gets cancelled…

      • DCSCA

        Better still, when they acvtuallty launch, orbit and sdafely return someone from spaceflight successfully. Until then, hit the snooze button.

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/defense-sector-braces-for-self-amputation-85491.html?hp=t3_3

    NASA is going to need this on a smaller scale…as Dad2059 points out we have a cold war agency with cold war ideas and the spending is coming to a halt

    We really need sequestration and for it to stick…then we need to take a heavier knife to NASA…I am starting to see the outline of a 10-12 billion dollar a year agency RGO

    • josh

      yeah, sequestration would be a good thing if it kills sls and orion. i fear there will be a lousy ‘deal’ with republicans though.

      • Robert G. Oler

        Josh.

        I use to worry about that as well but with each tick of the clock I worry a little less.

        There is a lot of pain in sequestration and if the world were a just place and we did not have the right wing of the GOP we could like a fat person losing weight/mass start to pull down some of the spending slowly to try and not push through a pause in the economy.

        BUT YOU KNOW maybe we have to just do it…the interest in the spending are so entrenched that now even so called fiscal conservatives love the spending (of course on their programs) and sequestration cuts the Pentagon and hard…and we need to do that.

        You know had Bush43 leveled with the American people about how much “the wars” were going to cost, we never would have done them….the ability to deficit spend is what keeps SLS/Orion/goofy wars going we have to just maybe go cold turkey and shut them down.

        It might be the only way (and in the process it will take down SLS/Orion and kill the right wing of the GOP) RGO

  • Elsewhere … Florida Today reports that Stratolaunch hopes to begin test flights at KSC in 2017:

    http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121227/SPACE/312270043/Despite-shift-KSC-s-Stratolaunch-s-sight-2017

    KSC Director Bob Cabana recently said we need to start thinking of the former Shuttle runway as a third launch pad, only the launches are horizontal. XCOR hopes to be flying the Lynx here in three years on suborbital adventure tourism flights.

    Within a few years, KSC will be busier than ever. It just won’t be larded down by a bloated bureaucracy employing thousands of people to maintain 1970s-era technology.

    • Robert G. Oler

      Which is good because the GOP is in the process of “killing” the current space effort.

      What is insane about the far right of the GOP and that includes all its hanger on groups (space policy as well) is that instead of embracing that the world is changing and trying to modify that change into something that protects the values that they hold dear; they have simply demanded no change and while that worked for a bit; the country is for the most part ready to move on.

      All the GOP supporters (and Dem ones as well although there are fewer of them) of the “Battlestar GAlactica NASA” ie the one that does massive missions somewhere or thing…should have recognized that SLS/Orion (and Cx) were not performing demanded that people be put in place and changes made which would get something flying…

      But instead as the other parts of the party have dragged the nation into fiscal oblivion they have “stayed the course” and now that the American people are sensing that we are at one of those pivot points; the right wing has no where to go.

      It is going to be a faascinating morning 2 Jan unless the right wing of the GOP recognizes that they have to change…RGO

      • It was precisely the Democrats under Obama, who demolished our space program. When they took the Moon out of our deep space plans, and tried to go instead into all different directions, destination-wise, all at the same time, they finished off with the most realistically feasible, near-term future goal. Hey, wasn’t 2015 supposed to be the year that novel-new “gamechanger” technologies were supposed to spring out of our aerospace laboratories, according to Administrator Bolden?!

        • josh

          the moon wasn’t a near term goal with constellation. first landing in 2030, how exciting…

          obama got nasa back on track by backing commercial crew. too bad sls and orion are still around but with a bit of luck they’ll be gone soon.

          • Again I tell you: I’d rather see a Constellation Moon expedition by 2030, than have 2030 arrive, and all NASA has to show for it, is the ISS and a few measily corporate-built craft to reach it—-which by the way, would ALL be LEO-only crafts!!!

            • You are completely delusional. It wasn’t going to happen. A number of really smart people (a lot smarter than you or I) did studies and produced concrete evidence that showed it would not.

  • amightywind

    KSC Director Bob Cabana recently said we need to start thinking of the former Shuttle runway as a third launch pad, only the launches are horizontal.

    Profound. This fellow sounds like one of thos ‘out of the box’ thinkers we heard so much about a few years back.

    suborbital adventure tourism flights.

    You mean like the X-15?

  • You mean like the X-15?

    No, the X-15 couldn’t carry passengers. It was an experimental aircraft, not an operational one. But please, keep flaunting your ignorance.

    • amightywind

      Experimental? I don’t see the distinction. The X-15 flew 199 times. I’ll accept your criticism when XCOR exceeds that number.

      • Experimental? I don’t see the distinction.

        That’s because you’re an idiot.

        The X-15 flew 199 times.

        Which is completely irrelevant to whether or not the vehicle was experimental. It didn’t carry passengers, and it didn’t fly operational commercial missions.

    • DCSCA

      “No, the X-15 couldn’t carry passengers.”

      The X-15 pilot was a passenger.

      “But please, keep flaunting your ignorance.”

      • “The X-15 pilot was a passenger.”

        Of course, Rand was following the time held convention of vehicle occupants as crew or passengers. A pilot is crew. Under that convention there were no passengers.

        “But please, keep flaunting your ignorance.”

      • Coastal Ron

        DCSCA ignorantly stated:

        The X-15 pilot was a passenger.

        What a laugh. Next you’ll be saying that left is right, and up is down… ;-)

  • pathfinder_01

    “Experimental? I don’t see the distinction. The X-15 flew 199 times. I’ll accept your criticism when XCOR exceeds that number.”

    No wonder the shuttle was so impractical. There is a world of difference between something that is experimental and something that is operational. With experimental craft things like cost, turn around time, payload are secondary to generating data. With Operational craft those things are much more important.

  • Robert G. Oler

    According to KC at NASAWatch

    Jesco von Puttkamer has passed into history.

    Jesco had an online presence back into the space politics forum at CSERVE…we stand on the shoulders of giants he was one of them. RGO

  • vulture4

    We set out to change the future of humanity. It seems a little mundane to be fighting to get a few tourists to pay for thrill rides. But when you look at Port Canaveral, and the huge terminal basin that was built over the past 20 years, and the gargantuan cruise ships leaving every day that generate more commercial revenue in the county than the space center, hey, maybe space tourism is a logical business for the area. They have a mockup of the Xcor Lynx in the KSC visitor center now, and it looks pretty impressive. Sure it can’t break 100km yet but it can take off with a tourist, climb vertically into space, and land, and do it several times a day. The technology (reusable low-maintenance liquid propellant engines for the climb phase and high L/D wings for landing) could be combined with a reusable booster stage and would have a chance of evolving into a practical system that could get into orbit. The best route to practical spaceflight may be to work from the ground up, not from the moon down.

  • DCSCA

    Although Armstrong would be honored having a test flight/aviation facility named after him, he’d most likely be contented and pleased with a glider port or municipal airport bearing his name in his native Ohio. circumventing the normal five year wait for a first class postage stamp would be an honor as well. Same for Sally Ride. But what would please both of them the most would be getting the HSF program back flying again.

    • Aces on that! Neil Armstrong should definitely get a postage stamp in his honor! A Sally Ride one would also be a fine idea, as it would take notice of female spacefarers. Consider the fact that NO woman astronaut has EVER been to the Moon or deep space. But sadly, Mr. Armstrong’s ghost would be very displeased with the continuing Obamaspace direction of NASA! The year 2030 may indeed get here, and all we’ll have to show for it will be the ISS & commercially-built, LEO-only capsules, designed to taxi to it…..

  • By the way, whatever your opinions about American space policy, to all the bloggers out there: Happy, Happy New Year!!! May 2013 bring about some positive developments in the arena of manned spaceflight, because Lord only knows just how downhill thing’ve gotten since the President dealt the big, awful blow, in 2010!

    • Neil Shipley

      Well that’s just your opinion.
      There are many who believe that the commercial efforts will provide greater advancement for the U.S. HSF program that the old government-only approach. 2013 may (I believe ‘will’)continue to demonstrate that.
      As an example, Orion (MPCV) now building for how long? DragonRider, CST-100 how long? Which program has made the most progress? How is each program going with respect to budget and schedule performance?
      If you want to argue, then let’s argue over facts including capability, not spin.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>