Congress, NASA

House hearing next week on new NASA authorization bill

The House Science Committee’s space subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for the morning of Wednesday, June 19, titled “NASA Authorization Act of 2013.” The two scheduled witnesses are familiar faces for the committee: retired Lockheed Martin executive Tom Young and Cornell University planetary scientist Steve Squyres, who also chairs the NASA Advisory Council. The House version of a new NASA authorization bill is not yet publicly available, but its introduction is said to be imminent and presumably will be available by the time of Wednesday’s hearing.

99 comments to House hearing next week on new NASA authorization bill

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hello everyone –

    I’ve seen a lot of speculation here about China’s future plans. As I’ve told you repeatedly, China will make a decision on those several years from now.

    That said, some of the options may be guessed at. Note this illustration by a Chinese space fan:
    http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26876.60

    The supply ship shown is the same as the one shown here:
    http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26876.45

    I do not know what this implies as concerns the lunar lander concept shown in the first illustration linked to.

    For all of you Mars fans here, the 20 ton station elements could also be re-configured into a Mars ship.

    In any case, in my view the current NASA mission is exactly the right step in recovering from the Ares 1 fiasco, and will leave the US well positioned.

  • Coastal Ron

    I’m not familiar with Tom Young. Anyone know what he advocates for?

    • Dark Blue Nine

      Young managed the Viking missions and led a number of high-profile failure and independent program assessment reviews, like MCO/MPL and NPOESS.

    • Hiram

      You might want to check out Tom Young’s testimony in the House Space Subcommittee SPLA hearing on Feb 27. He had some very specific recommendations about the next NASA Auth bill, and his view of the current trajectory of NASA and civil space is not a pretty one. Human spaceflight has been marked, in his view, by a leadership failure, and that failure is traceable well above the NASA Administrator. The politicization of NASA by Congress contributes to that failure as well. Beyond this, two big problems, he feels, are the fiscal unresponsiveness of the agency to profound science questions, and the ISS which is “in danger of becoming a science and research failure”. He says the latter as former Chair of the ISS Advisory committee. His testimony was aimed less at SPLA, and more at the bigger picture, which is what the next Auth bill is going to address. No surprise he’s been invited back.

      Of course, Steve Squyres’ views as NAC chair are of some significant interest of a committee developing an Auth bill as well.

      • E.P. Grondine

        Hi Hiram –

        Despite his experience, the man is an idiot, IMO.

        He left asteroids out of his list of possible exploration goals:

        “A starting point is to recognize that the only practical destinations are the moon, the two moons of Mars and Mars.”

        His awareness of the impact hazard is zero, and he simply regurgitates the Decadal Study reports, which as I mentioned before included no impact specialists.

        While it appears that for fear of upsetting people Mr. Young is unable to face up to the Ares 1 fiasco and to name the names involved in it, anytime NASA looses 7 years and $8,000,000,000, I mysef am not afraid to mention ATK and looking in their direction.

        • Hiram

          By “exploration” he means human space flight. Human spaceflight to a NEO provides absolutely no mitigation to an impact threat. He’s smart enough to know that.

          There are no “Decadal Studies” that bear on impact threats because Decadal Studies are about science. Impact threats simply aren’t part of their charter. Ooh, yes, these committees actually follow their charters! Smart move of them not to include impact specialists.

          Impact mitigation is an important goal for space management and technology, but it’s not an important goal for either science or human space flight. That’s why you don’t see major efforts being undertaken. That’s a shame, but you don’t fix the problem by pretending it’s about human spaceflight or science.

          There are plenty of idiots around here.

          • E.P. Grondine

            Once again, Hiram

            1) You have to find them, the earlier (farther away with the most warning time, the better). By moving down to “smaller” (city destroyer) sized objects, the current mission will fulfill that goal.

            2) You have to be able to get a payload to them. The current mission preserves US capabilities to do that, and will improve them.

            3) You have to have the right payload to deal with the different types. The current mission will provide information which will vastly improve payload designs.

            Aside from that, Hiram, you’re absolutely right that there are plenty of idiots around here. Many of them are obsessed with the idea of a few people living on other bodies in our solar system, others with finding little green men.

            A few are junkies addicted to their own joy juice produced by solving physics problems. The Sheldon Cooper fan club.

            • Hiram

              “1) You have to find them, the earlier (farther away with the most warning time, the better). By moving down to “smaller” (city destroyer) sized objects, the current mission will fulfill that goal.”

              Human space flight does absolutely NOTHING for this.

              “2) You have to be able to get a payload to them. The current mission preserves US capabilities to do that, and will improve them.”

              “Preserve capabilities”? Huh? This mission is about preserving capabilities? We send payloads to all the planets in the solar system, and we routinely send payloads to asteroids. We don’t need ARM for practice.

              “3) You have to have the right payload to deal with the different types. The current mission will provide information which will vastly improve payload designs.”

              And this is the wrong payload to provide information about dealing with different types. This payload is aimed specifically at capturing an asteroid that would not be a threat to Earth. The payload design is largely irrelevant to payloads that would be used to mitigate a real asteroidal threat. The SEP system could be attached to a large asteroid to provide thrust, but this mission won’t teach us how to do that.

              Again, let’s not make up rationale where rationale doesn’t exist. (But I share your discomfort with certain obsessions.) Let’s be honest. The rationale for this mission is a desperate attempt to find a rocky “destination” for humans (and Orion, and maybe SLS) that doesn’t require the expense of landing in a dirty gravity well.

              Asteroid impact mitigation is a profoundly important task. Wouldn’t it be nice if this money were actually spent in ways that would enable us to do it? By your reasoning, ISS expenditures are wonderful impact threat mitigation investments. Why? Because they gives us practice sending payloads into space, and we’re managing the orbital dynamics of a body approaching the mass of a dangerous asteroid. Why, we could rename it the International SPace Asteroid Mitigation Mission. That acronym even accounts for the pork.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Hiram, once again we find you a source of misinformation.

                1) Prior to this mission, there was nothing in the pipeline to find smaller potentially hazardous objects. Further, the explicit requests of the man responsible for finding them, Don Yeomans, had been not only rejected, but any and all mention of them had been viciously suppressed.

                2) Prior to this mission, there was nothing in the pipeline to preserve or extend those capabilities. There was no test of diversion technologies, whether for planetary protection or for resource utilization.

                Aside from that, this mission preserves a large part of the US manned spaceflight technology base, giving it time to recover from the Ares 1 fiasco.

                Finally, the SEP proplusion system for diversion developed for this mission will also be of great use in future manned space flight beyone LEO.

                Thus this mission leavesthe nation well positioned to maintain space leadership into the 2020′s.

                3) “Types” is too broad a term, as it appears the “types” vary in composition within themselves.

                This mssion will thus provide detailed information which will be of extreme value in the future in designing payloads, both non-nuclear onees as well as the nuclear ones when absolutely needed.

                Lastly, in this time of budget austerity, this mission is likely the only one that the public will suppport, and we can afford it.

                Despite what most space “enthusiasts” may want to belive, I know of no other proposed mission which meets that test right now.

              • Hiram

                I’ll do a reply here to Mr. Grondine’s “source of misinformation”. I think we’re out of REPLY’s, which is probably just as well.

                You are confusing ARM with asteroid detection. As you say, for threat detection and eventual mitigation, the top priorities are (in Don Yeoman’s words) — detection, Detection, and DETECTION. ARM will make some investment in detection, but the VAST MAJORITY of ARM funding will NOT be going into detection. So you justify this mission because 1% of it will be expended on detection? That’s pretty sloppy rationale. That’s like justifying a NASA $17B budget because $90M goes into education.

                Look at it this way. The detection part of ARM isn’t even about threat mitigation. Not at all. It’s about finding a suitably miniscule asteroid that fits the trajectory requirements of ARM. That is, finding an asteroid that is not a threat to the Earth. The idea is that while we do that, we’ll probably find ones that are threats to the Earth. That’s good. But you have to be really suspicious about the return you’re trying to get when the priorities of the effort don’t match up with your priorities. You can bet that when we’ve found the rock we’re looking for, the “detection” investment will get cut off at the knees.

                “Preserve or extend these capabilities”? Huh? Detecting faint moving targets in space is something we do routinely. No one is going to forget how to do that.

                “Aside from that, this mission preserves a large part of the US manned spaceflight technology base …”

                Ah, it’s the 99% of the funding that comes in as an “aside”? Our “manned technology base” is heavily based on ISS, which is doing a prety good job protecting it. What else have we done BEO with humans in the last 40 years that needs protecting? You want to protect the Apollo technology base?? That stuff belongs in museums.

                No, this mission does not leave the nation “well positioned to maintain space leadership into the 2020s”. Because if China puts a human on the Moon while we’re screwing around with a rock in cis-lunar space, that argument won’t hold water.

                Any BEO mission will provide the “detailed information” you refer to, in designing future payloads. Except maybe capturing rocks? The question is whether this one is the right mission to do that.

                To the extent that this is the only human spaceflight mission the public will support (which I doubt) and it is devoid of sensible rationale, I’d say that human spaceflight has a big, big problem.

                I am kind of stunned that as an evangelist for asteroid threat mitigation, you are sucking up to a project for which threat mitigation isn’t a sensible part of the rationale. If I were you, I’d be furious that huge amounts of money are planned to be expended in the name of asteroids (actually, one asteroid, which isn’t a threat) with a detection program that will end promptly when a suitable non-threatening asteroid is found.

                “Hiram, once again we find you a source of misinformation.”

                Yep, you found me a source of misinformation, and it was you.

      • Coastal Ron

        Though not explicitly stated, he seems like he would have reasonable views on what we should be doing next. Certainly his views on the political interference NASA has are good to hear.

        Not to say that NASA doesn’t have some things they need to work on too, but I think the biggest negative influence is political at this point.

        • E.P. Grondine

          Hi CR –

          I think that after wasting 7 years and $8,000,000,000, ATK’s political power has been greatly reduced. My estimate is that there are now a lot of elected lesders who are reluctant to tie the future fortunes of their contituents to those of ATK.

          Hopefully, that has left the way open for the development of truly re-usable fly-back large first stages – boosters. But we’ll see.

          At least a lot more people will be watching ATK’s moves a lot more closely in the future.

          I’ve said this before, but as it has not sunk in I’ll say it again. If there is a legitimate defence need for large solid grain launchers, then the Department of Defense should pay for them, and not NASA.

          • Coastal Ron

            E.P. Grondine said:

            Hopefully, that has left the way open for the development of truly re-usable fly-back large first stages – boosters.

            I doubt it. NASA won’t have the money to explicitly pursue reusability, and it would be foolhardy of them to try since there is no (currently) known technology path that gets them there. Even the Air Force dropped it’s program, and it had more of a motivation than NASA does.

            At least a lot more people will be watching ATK’s moves a lot more closely in the future.

            I know you like to focus on ATK, but they are minor players for the SLS – Boeing is the prime contractor.

            And ATK is very likely to lose their participation in the SLS completely if Aerojet (their strongest competitor for boosters) can come up with a good liquid-fueled booster replacement.

            We don’t need to be concerned about them any more – there are bigger issues…

            • E.P. Grondine

              Hi CR –

              For years, ATK has done its best to kill ccompetitors before they start, and in the process has killed advances in launch systems in the US. They are the reason there was no shuttle replacement developed.

              If not for Musk, the US would shortly be loosing both the launch industry as well as the space sector as a whole to China.

              I do not like to single thread, and will be supporting the efforts of others to develop re-usable first-stages/boosters.

              • Coastal Ron

                E.P. Grondine said:

                I do not like to single thread, and will be supporting the efforts of others to develop re-usable first-stages/boosters.

                Nor do I, since we need competition to provide redundancy, inspire innovation, and to keep prices as low as possible.

                However SpaceX is the only entity on the planet that is working on a potentially feasible version of reusability for first stage boosters, and even they admit it may not work.

                Even if SpaceX is able to perfect reusability with their Falcon 9 3.66m diameter core, that doesn’t mean the same approach can be scaled up to the size needed for the SLS. Or at least not right away.

                No part of the SLS rocket will ever be reusable. Congress could fund work on it, but that would just be an extension of the pork spending that they are currently doing for the SLS as a whole, which itself is not meant to solve any pressing problems (i.e. it’s just a jobs program).

  • Dark Blue Nine

    SpaceNews poached the bill summary. Apparently the bill provides a larger authorization for commercial crew and provides no authorization for the asteroid redirect mission — the first signs of sanity I’ve seen from that subcommittee in years. But the bill maintains the loopy insanity of SLS/MPCV:

    http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/35799draft-nasa-authorization-bill-nixes-asteroid-retrieval-mission#.UbtoJ9gmyVY

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi DBN –

      “Funds survey for potentially-hazardous Earth-crossing asteroids.”

      Glad to see the interest in ther PHO survey, but it is still my task to tell you that the nation does not have enough coverage,

      NASA’s impact estimates are usually Morrison’s estimates recylced again, which are known to be low by anywhere from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude.

      The problem has been comet fragments, and small dead comet fragments presnt high observational difficulties. The constant assumption is that objects will pass by repeatefly before hitting, and this assumption is not justified. In fact, the impact data, suvh as it is, contradicts it entirely.

    • Bennett In Vermont

      Exactly. Other than the SLS as a back up plan to access the SLS, most of the funding AND the reasons for shifting funds make complete sense to me.

    • DCSCA

      ” a larger authorization for commercial crew…the first signs of sanity I’ve seen from that subcommittee…”

      Then you need glasses– for authorizing any funding for CC is an insane waste of public funds for a redundant system that is, at best, years off from going operational, just to access for a few years a doomed space platform. And it is a weak redundancy to an operational system already in place for decades: Soyuz. LEO is a ticket to no place, going in circles, no where, fast.

      • Coastal Ron

        Putin Fan-boi DCSCA wimpered:

        for authorizing any funding for CC is an insane waste of public funds for a redundant system…

        Redundant to the Soyuz you mean. Redundant to RUSSIA you mean.

        We may never know who DCSCA really is, but I can tell you that as an AMERICAN, I want an AMERICAN space transportation system for accessing LEO. I think quite a few other countries would feel better about relying on the U.S. than Russia too.

        And even if you are American, the manned SLS/Orion combo is only meant for those rarest of missions, which are Congressionally funded ones. So far there is only one of those planned, and Congress is already years late in funding any more.

        “…that is, at best, years off from going operational…

        At least one of the Commercial Crew systems could be operational in 2016, IF Congress properly funded it. Two are needed to insure redundant access to space, which the SLS/Orion combo will NEVER be able to provide.

        And when is the mythical SLS/Orion combo supposed to fly with real humans? 2021 at the earliest, which is five years later than the private sector. I notice you never mention that… I’d be embarrassed about that too if I were you… ;-)

        just to access for a vitally needed space research platform“.

        There, I fixed that for you.

        If we don’t do the research being done on the ISS, then we’re never going to be able to do more than “Flags & Footprints” type missions.

        I can see that you really aren’t interested in space exploration, just the perceived glory they supposedly bring. And why you want us to borrow $0.42 of each dollar for NASA from the Chinese to do that is beyond me…

  • Mark R. Whittington

    The bill looks good, except that it doesn’t actually give enough funding for a return to the moon.

    • Why would they? They don’t really give a rip about going back to the Moon or they wouldn’t be funding SLS at all. To understand this statement, read the Booz-Allen-Hamilton report (done at NASA’s behest). You can’t get to the Moon with a rocket that will never be completed.

      There’s a reason why NASA is having Bigelow research commercial methods for establishing bases on the Moon by way of commercial launchers. Leave LEO and the Moon to the commercial sector.

      SLS is not needed for that anyway. Even if a vehicle that size was needed, both ULA and SpaceX put forward proposals saying they could both build vehicles with greater payload capacity than SLS for many billions less than what SLS is going to cost (even if one assumes SLS would not go over its over-all projected budget, which it will — again see Booz-Allen-Hamilton).

      But then dealing with conditions as they actually are is not your forté.

      • Mark R. Whittington

        Rick, what are those ULA and SpaceX proposals? I know that SpaceX has a concept for a Falcon X and a Falcon XX but has not actually done any engineering work on them. I had not heard that ULA had even an idea for something that can lift more that 130 tons.

        • I’m not talking about Falcon X and Falcon XX.

          Before the shuttle-derived SLS was forced on NASA, the agency requested quotes from ULA and SpaceX for HLV’s in SLS’s payload class. ULA quoted a total development cost of $5.5 billion for a 140 metric ton payload to LEO vehicle, whilst SpaceX quoted $2.5 billion for one that would loft 150 metric tons.
          http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/EELVPhase2_2010.pdf
          http://www.nss.org/articles/falconheavy.html

          Please note the following in the latter article above:

          Musk was also quoted by Aviation Week (December 2, 2010):

          “We’re confident we could get a fully operational vehicle to the pad for $2.5 billion — and not only that, I will personally guarantee it,” Musk says. In addition, the final product would be a fully accounted cost per flight of $300 million, he asserts. “I’ll also guarantee that,” he adds, though he cautions this does not include a potential upper-stage upgrade.

          Clark Lindsey had links to the details of the two proposals to NASA on Hobby Space, but he has switched blog servers since then and has not got around to putting the relevant article back online (as well as all other Hobby Space articles from that time period). You might ask him if he can find them for you if you want more extensive details.

          • Bennett In Vermont

            Must be NASA’s upper management wasn’t interested in exploring a sane direction, or Congress wasn’t interested in anything other than the thickness of the envelope.

            Sadly typical.

            Thanks for the links, it was fun to read those articles again.

      • DCSCA

        read the Booz-Allen-Hamilton report (done at NASA’s behest).

        BAH to BAH. Their cedibility is pretty weak these days if you’ve been following the news.

        • Oh yes, the leaker in Hong Kong has everything to do with space. ;) Your position is so weak you will try anything to deflect attention from the actual space issues.

        • josh

          their credibility is infinitely higher than anything you, windy or michael griffin have ever put forth. deal with it. sls is an unaffordable make work project and nothing more.

  • Congressional hypocrisy is laid bare … NASA waits three years for Congress to tell NASA what to do with the SLS. After three years of no answer, NASA proposes its own idea. Congress still says no, but refuses to tell NASA what to do with SLS.

    Might as well eliminate all the inbetween stuff and send SLS directly to the Visitor Complex Rocket Garden.

    • Mark R. Whittington

      Actually Congress has been very upfront and clear about wanting a return to the moon. It’s in the 2010 Authorization bill. NASA is just trying to ignore Congress, much to its eventual sorrow.

      • Hiram

        “Congress has been very upfront and clear about wanting a return to the moon. It’s in the 2010 Authorization bill. ”

        You’re imagining things. There is nothing in the 2010 Authorization bill expressing congressional intent to return humans to the Moon. There are a few words about how developments in cis-lunar space would make such a return more viable. A couple more on how “the ability to support human missions in regions beyond low-Earth orbit and on the surface of the Moon can also drive developments in emerging areas of space infrastructure and technology.” But that’s about it. The words “moon” and “lunar” are infrequent in PL 11-267.

        In fact, this bill highlights “cis-lunar space” which, if you want to be picky, includes, by definition, “the region of space from the Earth out to and including the
        region around the surface of the Moon.”

        NASA sees that. They’re obeying Congress. Not ignoring it. In some respects, ARM is NASA’s way of honoring the Congressional intent to develop capabilities in cis-lunar space.

        I invite corrections. What “very upfront and clear” words are you looking at?

      • Mark, what members on the Congressional space flight related committees say and what Congress actually does are two different things. They say they want to go back to the Moon, but Congress doesn’t act like it. That logical dichotomy doesn’t register with you?

      • Matt

        Mark: totally agree. And Rick: this proves an old D.C. adage at work: “The Administration proposes, but the Congress disposes.” And they intend to dispose of this asteroid capture mission.

        Personally, I’d be more in favor of the L-2 gateway proposals: either the proposal with unflown ISS hardware, or the Skylab II proposal at Marshall using SLS hardware.
        If NASA wants to visit an asteroid, pick an NEO, fly to it, explore it, then come back. Less complex than a capture attempt.

        • Coastal Ron

          Matt said:

          And they intend to dispose of this asteroid capture mission.

          Are you aware of the definition of “dispose” as it relates to Congress?

          I think what you mean is that Congress won’t “dispose” (i.e. determine the course of events for an asteroid capture mission), but decide to NOT dispose. That they will pass on funding it.

          Which is no surprise, since they didn’t take any action on funding Obama’s initial asteroid visit proposal.

          If anything, all this does is validate the idea that Congress has no intention of funding ANY use of the SLS. And every day Congress DOESN’T fund an SLS payload mission, it’s another day the SLS will be sitting on the ground with NOTHING to do.

          Your tax dollars not at work…

        • @Matt
          And you’re just as delusional as Mark is. Again, with or without Congress’ approval Americans are going back to the Moon and/or to L2. Just not in the way you would like them to. Why the method matters more to you than actually accomplishing the goal is just a strange quirk of human psychology. The fact that you consider SLS a practical possibility at all says it all.

          • Matt

            Rick, you need to realize that there is ZERO support on The Hill for killing SLS and going ahead with a depot-based infrastructure. That track has only one congresscritter supporting it (Rohrabacher), and that’s it. Now, if he was Chair of the House Sci/Tech Committee, he’d be in a position to get NASA to at least consider the proposal, but he’s not. When idealism and political reality clash, reality wins. The reality at present means SLS and Orion. Whether you like it or not. When people like Shelby, Nelson, Landreau, Cornyn, Sessions (in the Senate), and their counterparts in the House who represent the districts with NASA or contractor facilities are essentially doing the NASA appropriations and authorization bills, you should get the idea.

            Expecting NASA to suddenly embrace depots (regardless of whoever is championing them-whether it’s some ULA employees or Elon Musk) at present is a waste of time.

            • Coastal Ron

              Matt said:

              you need to realize that there is ZERO support on The Hill for killing SLS and going ahead with a depot-based infrastructure.

              Regarding the SLS, I’m sure you would have said that there was ZERO support on The Hill for killing the Constellation program, yet Congress voted to do so when they were presented with a choice.

              As to depot-based infrastructure, we’re not going very far with or without the SLS unless we have fuel depots, so I don’t know why you are against them. Are you also against having access to your local gas stations?

              And Matt, it only takes one vote by Congress to kill the SLS, but it will take a constant stream of votes to keep it going. We only need to wait for the inevitable day where Congress sees that the SLS is going WAY over budget, and that they STILL haven’t funded anything for the SLS to fly. All they’ll need at that point is a choice to vote for something else, and the jobs program known as the SLS will come to an end.

              How else can you explain why Congress refuses to fund any hardware programs to launch on the SLS?

              By my reckoning, Congress is already two years late funding uses for the SLS, so it appears what you support is the worlds largest paper weight, not some enabling transportation system… ;-)

            • And I said whether or not SLS is cancelled does not matter as far as Americans going to the Moon is concerned. Whether or not NASA uses depots DOES NOT MATTER as far as Americans going to the Moon is concerned. American’s will be going to the Moon with or without NASA. I am saying NASA is a convenience, not a necessity as far as Americans going to the Moon is concerned. Are you really that stupid?

              As for “there is ZERO support on The Hill for killing SLS”, the same thing was said about Ares 1, but what happened, Matt? But whether or not SLS is cancelled has NOTHING to do with American’s going to the Moon because SLS will not be finished no matter how long it is worked on (read Booz-Allen_Hamilton). You can’t go to the Moon with a vehicle that never flies. God, you are dense!

      • DCSCA

        “Actually Congress has been very upfront and clear about wanting a return to the moon. It’s in the 2010 Authorization bill. NASA is just trying to ignore Congress, much to its eventual sorrow.” notes MW.

        Indeed. HSF is an instrument of politics; a means of projecting national policy– it’s political science, not rocket science that drives it.

        Human spaceflight in this era projects geo-political influence, economic vigor and technical prowess, around the globe for the nation(s) that choose to do it. And it plays out on a stage with high visibility that demands performance with engineering excellence from all the actors. The bounties from which are all reaped by the participating nation(s) on Earth. That’s why government’s do it.

        It is space projects of scale that matter. Which is why, in the long run, short-sighted forays by deep-pocketed NewSpace hobbyists do not.

        HSF is, in effect, a loss leader in this era for projecting national power and nurturing a perception of leadership. And in politics, perception is a reality. Which makes a drive to establishing a permanent foothold on Luna, seen around the world by all peoples in their evening skies, all the more imperative for the United States in this century.

        Commercial is welcome to come along for the ride– to supplement and service an exploration/exploitation outpost on Luna, established by governent(s). But they’ll never lead the way in establishing such a facility on their own The largess of the capital requirements involved coupled w/t low to no ROI prevents it; the very parameters of the market it is trying to create and service. That’s why governments do it.

        The rationale for HSF by the United States government in the 21st century was made in the 20th century by Presdient Kennedy. It is as valid today as it was in 1961:“We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.”

        • Coastal Ron

          DCSCA mumbled:

          HSF is an instrument of politics; a means of projecting national policy– it’s political science, not rocket science that drives it.

          You are 50 years out of touch. And you have failed, yet again, to provide ANY supporting examples.

          It is space projects of scale that matter.

          Apparently you support pork, but spending money does not guarantee that anything useful will result.

          Which is why, in the long run, short-sighted forays by deep-pocketed NewSpace hobbyists do not.

          Let’s use one of the objects of your affection, SpaceX, as an example. Elon Musk started SpaceX in 2002 with no outside money. 12 years later (in 2014), SpaceX should be flying their Falcon Heavy rocket – the most powerful rocket in the world.

          The government didn’t build that. Although the government is a customer, and looks forward to taking further advantage of the lowest cost way to move mass to space.

          And who is actually pushing the boundaries of the space the furthest these days? Arguably it’s NewSpace, with companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries. You may like to think that NASA will someday be mining the Moon, but U.S. industry is already planning beyond that – in fact the Moon is just a stopover point for Golden Spike customers (more NewSpace).

          There is no government plan to leave LEO, and there is no funding from Congress to back such a plan.

          You are being delusional if you think otherwise… but that wouldn’t be unusual for you, now would it? ;-)

        • Matt

          Concur with DCSCA on this one: and the political winds may very well dictate a return to the Lunar Regolith, especially if Congress rejects this Asteroid capture mission. IF that happens, the L2 Gateway proposals no doubt will get serious attention at NASA HQ, and they can sell that to Congress as a precursor to a renewed lunar landing program. Given that Charlie Bolden has backtracked on his “No NASA astronauts to the Moon” stance, because last week he indicated that NASA was willing to help others fly lunar missions, and the price of that would be NASA astronauts on such missions, he’s likely looking for a way to save face. The poor chap is just not a good communicator, unfortunately for this Administration….

          • Coastal Ron

            Matt said:

            Concur with DCSCA on this one: and the political winds may very well dictate a return to the Lunar Regolith, especially if Congress rejects this Asteroid capture mission.

            Don’t confuse Congress not being enamored with an asteroid mission as a hint that they feel compelled to fund something – they aren’t so inclined.

            Can you point to any consistent, broad, and vocal support for charging NASA with the responsibility for returning to the Moon? Or anywhere for that matter?

            As I’ve said before, you are a magicians dream audience member, since you get mesmerized by all the hand waving, and you miss what’s actually going on… ;-)

          • Ameriman

            NASA was willing to help others fly lunar missions,
            ===== =
            No one now working at Nasa has EVER designed a successful rocket, or managed/flown a single deep space Mission..
            Nasa has not gotten a single American beyond low earth orbit in 40 years and $500 billion blown on deep space….
            Nasa is now incompetent/incapable of crewing or even resupplying our own space station…
            Nasa is dead wood, incompetent, useless Center and HQ overhead..
            All Nasa has is a little taxpayer $s to hand out.. zero competence.

        • “Indeed. HSF is an instrument of politics;
          Indeed, in the case of SLS, the HSF program is ALL about politics. It’s a jobs program. But there is nothing geopolitical about it. That’s an idiotic statement for reasons outlined as follows.

          “Commercial is welcome to come along for the ride”
          What ride? Astronauts can’t ride a vehicle that never leaves the ground. That is the ultimate “short-sighted foray”. Distance-wise zero miles up is the smallest foray one can possibly have for a flight because it goes literally and figuratively nowhere. Especially not the Moon.

          If you were Charlie Chan’s eldest off spring, right now he would be saying, “Number One Son, ah, not too bright.” :)

        • E.P. Grondine

          Hi DCSCA –

          “HSF is an instrument of politics; a means of projecting national policy– it’s political science, not rocket science that drives it.”

          While that used to be very true, a number of paradigm shifts are occuring which reduce that summary’s validity.

          There are now a number of commercial uses of space which compete well in relation to HSF. GPS, communications, weather, Earth resources.

          Musk is not a space hobbyist, he’s an entrepreneur.

          Just as Tesla is very well placed to take advantage of any improvements in batteries, SpaceX is very well placed to take advantage of the demand for launch services.

          (I wsnt to add here that a clear, fair, and level playing field is one thing, but I do not favor SpaceX over ULA, and never will. It appears my ire has been entirely used up by ATK. ATK is not a loss leader, it is a loss, the same thing that as it has been since 1969. That is not to mention their predecessor’s earlier attempts to screw up the Saturn 5.)

          Third, we now know we have an entirely new unforeseen demand for spaceflight, specifically finding and dealing with impactors. (At least I did not see it many years ago.)

          Fourth, due to lower launch costs, we are actually entering the era of space resource utilization, which provides another reason for any of the larger nations to participate in HSF.

          The current mission is abot the best ATK can hope for.
          If ATK even thinks about screwing with or screwing up any re-usable fly-back effort from ULA…

          Its 2013, not 1958.

          • DCSCA

            “HSF is an instrument of politics; a means of projecting national policy– it’s political science, not rocket science that drives it.”

            While that used to be very true,

            It still is. Very. And only NewSpacers lost in their own delusions of tryingh for parody through false equivalency profess otherwise.

            “HSF is an instrument of politics; a means of projecting national policy– it’s political science, not rocket science that drives it.”

            Musk is not a space hobbyist, he’s an entrepreneur.

            He’s a space hobbyist and has norelevence to any discussions of HSF anyay- his firm, space X has failed to attemkpt to fly anybosy, and any reference to Musk in discussions of HSF are simply attempts to attain parody through false equivalency.

            • “And only NewSpacers lost in their own delusions of tryingh for parody through false equivalency profess otherwise.”
              Not one fact to back up your assertion that it is Newspacers who are delusional, when time after time evidence has been presented that you are the delusional one, especially as regards to SLS. That one sentence of yours is nebulously vague Orwellian double-speak taken to the ultimate extreme.

              You don’t have to agree with us to be taken seriously, you just have to put forward solid evidence with your arguments. You have demonstrated time and time again either your unwillingness to do that or your inability to do so.

      • josh

        congress doesn’t care about the moon, mark. i’m undecided if you’re actually so clueless as not be able to realize this or if you simply use their paying lip service to try and score points here.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    301.A.1 “(1) The extension of the human presence from low-Earth orbit to other regions of space beyond low-Earth orbit will enable missions to the surface of the Moon and missions to deep space destinations such as near-Earth asteroids and Mars.”

    301.A.3 “The ability to support human missions in regions beyond low-Earth orbit and on the surface of the Moon can also drive developments in emerging areas of space infrastructure and technology.”

    • You just proved my point.

      There are no missions defined in that text.

      • Stephen and Hiram, don’t confuse him with logic. :)

        • Rick Boozer wrote:

          Stephen and Hiram, don’t confuse him with logic. :)

          Yeah, I know. I normally ignore the trolls. But this time, I indulged myself.

          I noticed that this is a two-year authorization, which would cover fiscal years 2014 and 2015. It would expire October 1, 2015 — which means the next authorization bill will be debated as the 2016 presidential campaign is starting to crank up.

          That really won’t matter much, because outside of pork no candidate cares about space on the campaign trail.

          The Obama administration will be in “lame-duck” mode that year.

          It will also be the year that SpaceX hopes to start crewed test flights.

          It was the year that the Bush administration planned to splash the ISS to pay for the Ares I that was scheduled to fly to the ISS two years after the ISS was splashed.

          At least the House, which has been the tougher sell, is willing to significantly boost commercial crew funding. The message seems to be that we’ll fund commercial crew if you keep funding our SLS pork.

          Of course, by mid-2015 SLS will have fallen behind schedule by a couple years. With no mission or destination on the horizon, and possibly with successful flights of the Falcon Heavy, perhaps someone will finally have the huevos to question why we’re building this monster rocket. Naahhhhh …

    • Hiram

      That’s your response to my skepticism about your characterization of Congress being “very upfront and clear about wanting a return to the moon” in the 2010 Authorization bill???

      The bill says “The extension of the human presence from low-Earth orbit to other regions of space beyond low-Earth orbit will enable missions to the surface of the Moon” and that missions to the Moon “can also drive developments…”. You take that as “upfront and clear” desire by Congress to return humans to the Moon? Geez, whatcha drinkin’?

      Oh, I get it. So when Congress says in the bill “Radioisotope power systems are the only available power sources for deep space missions making it possible to travel to such distant destinations as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and beyond …” they mean that we need to be launching humans, asap, to Pluto and beyond, right? Same reasoning. With logic like that, Congress could actually pretend to be bold.

      Congress, in the 2010 Authorization bill DID NOT express any desire to return humans to the surface of the Moon. That’s a fact. Get over it.

  • NASA isn’t going down on the asteroid initiative without a fight.

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/jun/HQ_M13-096_Asteroid_Industry_Day.html

    MEDIA ADVISORY : M13-096

    NASA Invites Media to Asteroid Initiative Industry and Partner Day

    WASHINGTON — Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and other senior NASA officials will discuss the progress being made on NASA’s mission to capture, redirect, and explore an asteroid June 18.

    They also will outline engagement opportunities for industry, international partners and the general public at the event, which will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EDT in the James Webb Auditorium of NASA Headquarters at 300 E St. SW in Washington.

    Media representatives are invited to attend. Garver and Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot will be available to answer reporters’ questions immediately after the meeting.

    In addition to Garver and Lightfoot, mission directorate associate administrators William Gerstenmaier, John Grunsfeld, and Michael Gazarik will give an overview of the work being done on NASA’s asteroid mission. Jason Kessler, representing the agency’s chief technologist, will talk about how NASA plans to increase partnerships and citizen science participation in NASA’s effort to find and plan for all asteroid threats.

    The event will be webcast live at:

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-hq

    For more information about NASA’s asteroid initiative, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/asteroidinitiative

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “NASA isn’t going down on the asteroid initiative without a fight.”

      That NASA event was on the calendar long before the House subcommittee hearing was scheduled or bill summary started leaking. It’s not an indication that NASA is fighting back. NASA just can’t pull out of a long-scheduled event.

      That said, authorization committees often fail to get authorization bills passed. The 2010 NASA Authorization Act, for example, is a Senate bill because the House never managed to pass their own version. If the House authorizers fail to finish their job again this year, then the appropriators/porkers — especially on the Senate side — will be free to fund the asteroid initiative, if they desire.

      Make no mistake — this draft bill is a huge blow to the asteroid initiative. Even the sense that the House authorizers don’t want the initiative will probably cause the House appropriators to zero it out as well. That probably means that the best the Administration can hope for is a half-funded asteroid initiative coming out of a conference compromise, assuming the Senate appropriators fully fund the initiative. Realistically in this budget environment, it’s probably going to be substantially less than that, if anything at all.

      But it would also be false to claim “game over” at this point, especially given the historical incompetence of NASA’s House authorization subcommittee.

      • Hiram

        “The 2010 NASA Authorization Act, for example, is a Senate bill because the House never managed to pass their own version.”

        That’s a slippery explanation. The NASA 2010 Authorization Act was signed by the President. It’s law. This Act was a compromise bill that was based on the bill passed by the Senate. That compromise bill then passed the House on September 29, 2010. But it is the case that the original version of the House bill produced by their Science Committee was abandoned. Nonetheless, a “sense of Congress” was agreed to, and both the Senate and House agreed on an authorization for the agency.

        It’s true that occasionally an Authorization bill that governs particular years isn’t ever passed. That’s what happened in 2003-4.

        But I agree that if ARM isn’t endorsed in the current Auth bill, it’s toast. Appropriators could prop up bits and pieces of ARM for a while, but it would have no “sense of Congress” backing it up.

        • Dark Blue Nine

          “This Act was a compromise bill that was based on the bill passed by the Senate. That compromise bill then passed the House on September 29, 2010. Nonetheless, a ‘sense of Congress’ was agreed to, and both the Senate and House agreed on an authorization for the agency.”

          There was no “compromise bill” or “sense of Congress”. A “sense of Congress” is just report language added to a bill by the reporting committee. It’s not voted on and does not have the force of law. And by definition, to have a “compromise bill”, both the House and Senate have to bring their on versions of legislation to floor votes so they both have established position to compromise from. That didn’t happen on the House side. So instead, the House simply voted on and passed the Senate version. The 2010 NASA Authorization Act isn’t a “compromise bill” or “sense of Congress”. It is the Senate-passed version of the legislation.

          “It’s true that occasionally an Authorization bill that governs particular years isn’t ever passed. That’s what happened in 2003-4.”

          It’s happened more than that. I recall years in the 90s with no authorization act for NASA.

          FWIW…

          • Hiram

            I have documents from September 22, 2010, one of which is titled “SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON OF THE COMPROMISE TEXT AND THE BILL AS REPORTED BY COMMITTEE” and another that is called the “Compromise Text” which is an “AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE OFFERED BY MR. GORDON OF TENNESSEE”. I thought that’s what the House voted on. There was a House bill that was voted on by the House. It may have looked a lot like the Senate bill! So my understanding was that there was some sort of compromise, though the House may well not have added much to what the Senate came up with.

            I think the point here is that a given Authorization committee can have rather little to do with Authorization legislation. As you say, in the 1990s, much of the time NASA had no active authorization legislation at all, largely because the Senate dropped the ball, or was happy not to catch the ball. There was no legislation, but there was report language that expressed congressional guidance.

            I used the words “sense of Congress” not with the formal definition which, as you say, has explicit requirements, but just as a meaningful expression of intent. I shouldn’t have put that phrase in quotes. Report language, as you say, is not legally binding, but it does convey intent and guidance. NASA management ignores report language at their peril, but they won’t be jailed for doing so.

            • Dark Blue Nine

              “I have documents from September 22, 2010, one of which is titled “SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON OF THE COMPROMISE TEXT AND THE BILL AS REPORTED BY COMMITTEE” and another that is called the “Compromise Text” which is an “AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE OFFERED BY MR. GORDON OF TENNESSEE”. I thought that’s what the House voted on. There was a House bill that was voted on by the House.”

              You’re probably right that there were amendments offered on the floor before the House vote. But those would have been amendments to the Senate-passed version of the bill, not the House version. Unless my recall is 180-degrees wrong, the House version never made it to the floor.

              If amendments were accepted and voted into the House version of the Senate-passed bill, then you’re probably also right that there was a compromise between the Senate-passed version and the House-amended version of the Senate-passed version. But the amount of changes would not have been great since the bulk of the House bill was simply copied from the Senate.

              “I think the point here is that a given Authorization committee can have rather little to do with Authorization legislation.”

              Yes, that is broadly my point. The relevant House subcommittee and committee had little to do with the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. They dropped the ball then, and they could drop it again in 2013, which would give the Senate authorizers or appropriators generally more leeway to get ARM funded.

              “There was no legislation, but there was report language that expressed congressional guidance.”

              Yes, I think just getting the 2013 bill out of subcommittee expressed guidance or intent that will tie the hands of at least the House appropriators to some extent. Even if the Senate goes whole hog on ARM, I think they’ll have to compromise with House appropriators who will have only partially funded or zeroed out ARM based on what the House authorizers have already done. That probably means only getting ARM half-funded (~$50M), at best.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Corrected copy –

                Hi Hiram, DBN -

                It is very interesting that the possibility of a Presidential veto plays no role in either of your calculations.

                Your estimates are that Obama is so desperate to get anything done that he will accept whatever kind of House-Senate compromise is worked out.

                Whether or not this is true for Red State jobs now… I would suppose that may depend on Florida Senate elections and electoral votes.. but that’s not my concern or task, and never has been… the lobbyists get paid big money for those kinds of detailed analysis, as well as whatever influence they are able to peddle.. they also don’t post their analyses or work to public bbs’s either…

                Here’s my estimate, for what it is worth: any and all attempts to wish away a widely viewed unforeseen 540 kiloton airburst are likely to be extremely extremely futile. You can try if you want to, but there is nothing that produces more laughter than viewing complete and utter frustration…

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “It is very interesting that the possibility of a Presidential veto plays no role in either of your calculations.

                Your estimates are that Obama is so desperate to get anything done that he will accept whatever kind of House-Senate compromise is worked out.”

                The President has only used his veto power twice in over five years. Given that record, you’re an idiot if you think NASA will be the reason Obama pulls the veto trigger a third time.

                “Here’s my estimate, for what it is worth: any and all attempts to wish away a widely viewed unforeseen 540 kiloton airburst are likely to be extremely extremely futile.”

                It will happen again. But it most likely won’t be for decades, if not a century or two, and when it does, it’s statistically unlikely to burst over U.S. territory. That’s not the kind of dire, imminent threat that drives Presidential vetoes.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Hi DBN –

                You do not understand the realities of impact.

                Just because any type of impact occurs every so often ON AVERAGE, that does NOT mean that if one occured yesterday it will be that long before another one of that class hits. It is jst as likely to be tomorrow as 30 years from now.

                While you are correct in noting that Obama has ealier pursued a policy of compromise in his attempt to end divisive politics, the same thing holds for vetoes. You may want to examine the particular circumstances of those ealier vetoes more closely.

                But once again, that kind of work is not my job, and never has been.

                (PS – I am extremely disappointed that Griffin left the US dependent on foreign upplied manned launches. As I had great hopes for him when he went in, my disappointment in his performance is all the greater.)

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “It is jst as likely to be tomorrow as 30 years from now.”

                I understand probabilities.

                The reality is that meteors that cause deaths or injuries have occurred centuries apart. Before Chelyabinsk, the last meteor to cause deaths or injuries was the Ch’ing-yang event over China in 1490 — over 500 years ago. (And modern researchers doubt that meteor caused any deaths or injuries.) No President will be motivated to veto anything based on events with historical frequencies on the order of a half-millenium.

                Even if you count meteors that caused damage, if not deaths and injury, Tunguska was 105 years ago. No President is going to use his veto power for only the third time in his office based on something that happened over a century ago.

                We could talk to the President about probabilities until we were blue in the face. The reality is that, based on history, the President has no reason to believe that any US citizen’s life, body, or property is in any danger from any asteroids for decades, if not centuries, to come.

                “You may want to examine the particular circumstances of those ealier vetoes more closely.”

                The President vetoed a bill to speed foreclosures during the mortgage crisis in 2010. Unlike meteors, that was a threat to the property of millions of US citizens.

                The President’s other veto was of a spending bill that duplicated another bill that he had already signed. It was a housekeeping measure that saved taxpayers about a half-trillion dollars.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Hi DBN –

                “We could talk to the President about probabilities until we were blue in the face. The reality is that, based on history, the President has no reason to believe that any US citizen’s life, body, or property is in any danger from any asteroids for decades, if not centuries, to come.”

                Sorry, but you are out of the loop, and have been for about 60 years.

                Everyone with any access to US warning systems has been greatly concerned about the impact hazard ever since they first started operating in the 1950′s.

                The people who you can talk to until you are blue in the face are some of the space “enthusiasts”. They view dealing with the impact hazard as “diverting” money from “their” projects.

                That goes for the “cosmologists” as well as manned space flight “enthusiasts”. Look at the numbers: the amount spent for detection has been less than 1/1,000 th the cost overruns on Ed Weiler’s Space Telesccope.

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “Everyone with any access to US warning systems has been greatly concerned about the impact hazard ever since they first started operating in the 1950′s.”

                Anyone who works nuclear warning systems is worried about meteor airbursts because they can be mistaken for nuclear attacks and thus trigger a nuclear war, not because of the meteor airbursts themselves.

                There is no “early warning system” for meteor strikes, just surveys like Spaceguard, which didn’t start until the 1990s. Spaceguard provided no “early warning” for Chelyabinsk or any number of other meteor airbursts.

                You clearly have no clue what you’re posting about.

                “The people who you can talk to until you are blue in the face are some of the space ‘enthusiasts’.”

                I’m not writing about convincing “space enthusiasts”. They don’t have veto power over Congressional legislation. I’m writing about convincing the President. He has veto power over Congressional legislation.

                Buy a clue.

              • E.P, Grondine

                Hi DBN –

                “Anyone who works nuclear warning systems is worried about meteor airbursts because they can be mistaken for nuclear attacks and thus trigger a nuclear war, not because of the meteor airbursts themselves.’

                Yes, but… Your summary leaves out a whole whole lot of other concerned people in the loop.

                Aside from that, you have brought up a problem which OSTP, DoD, and State have yet to address adequately, particuoarly as regards the newly WMD armed nations.

                You are also correct that there is no early warning system for impact. The reason for this is Griffin’s act of direct contempt of the Congress’s instructions.

                ARM wil solve both problems.

                As far as having a clue goes, I deal with space “enthusiasts” who present their imaginary views on the impact hazard as Gospel Truth every day.

                They are currently in intense denial as concerns the ARM.

                As far as buying a clue goes and having no idea what I am writing about, you might want to take a good look in your mirror before you proclaim the ARM dead or make any other statements about either the impact hazard or means of dealing with it.

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “Yes, but… Your summary leaves out a whole whole lot of other concerned people in the loop.”

                Who? The voices in your head?

                “Aside from that, you have brought up a problem which OSTP, DoD, and State have yet to address adequately, particuoarly as regards the newly WMD armed nations.”

                Which has nothing to do with hazardous meteors.

                “You are also correct that there is no early warning system for impact. The reason for this is Griffin’s act of direct contempt of the Congress’s instructions.”

                Congress has never tasked NASA with implementing an “early warning system” for anything, during Griffin’s tenure or at any other time.

                You still have no clue what you’re posting about.

                “ARM wil solve both problems.”

                There is no provision for an “early warning system” in the budget for NASA’s asteroid initiative.

                Again, you don’t have a clue what you’re posting about.

                “As far as having a clue goes, I deal with space ‘enthusiasts’ who present their imaginary views on the impact hazard as Gospel Truth every day.”

                Who? More of the voices in your head?

                “As far as buying a clue goes and having no idea what I am writing about, you might want to take a good look in your mirror before you proclaim the ARM dead”

                Where did I claim that ARM was dead? I wrote that “this draft bill is a huge blow to the asteroid initiative” and that ARM will be “half-funded (~$50M), at best”.

                You don’t have a clue what you’re posting about even when it’s someone else’s post sitting right in front of your face.

                “or make any other statements about either the impact hazard or means of dealing with it.”

                Or you’ll do what? Make more delusional statements about asteroid early warning systems that prove you don’t know what you’re posting about? Misquote another poster’s statement?

        • E.P. Grondine

          Hi Hiram –

          “I agree that if ARM isn’t endorsed in the current Auth bill, it’s toast”

          I agree as well. If ARM is not endorsed in the current Authorization Bill, the Bill will be toast.

          • Hiram

            That’s another way of looking at it, but that’s not what I meant. I meant that ARM will be toast. There is good reason to believe, as we’ve heard, that the House bill won’t endorse it. The Senate might endorse it. We’ll see in the next few days. Nelson was, at one time, somewhat enamored of it, but the Senate has, somewhat curiously, not held any hearings that considered it. If they do endorse it, then some compromise, partial funding arrangement might land on the President’s desk. Partial funding translates into high LCC, and serious delays, which would not be a pretty sight.

            • E.P, Grondine

              Hi Hiram,

              (DBN appears to doubt your existence, as well as his own. He also seems to have forgotten whtever legislative history he knew.

              His logic has also failed him, as is apparent from this non-sequitur: “Aside from that, you have brought up a problem which OSTP, DoD, and State have yet to address adequately, particularly as regards the newly WMD armed nations.”

              “Which has nothing to do with hazardous meteors”

              It is worrisome.)

              I do not think that California and Texas can oversome the votes from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisianna, Florida, and the ULA states.

              As far as the all up vote goes, even given the ATK’s Ares 1 fiasco, my estimate is that the Congress intends to set NASA well positioned for the 2020′s.

              • E.P, Grondine

                Revision:

                As far as the all up vote goes, even given the billions wasted by ATK with the Ares 1 fiasco, my estimate is that the Congress intends to have NASA well positioned for the challenges of the 2020′s.

                My apologies for all of the typos as well.

    • DCSCA

      NASA isn’t going down on the asteroid initiative without a fight.

      Pffft. thy’re swining after the bell. Project Lasso is as dead as Apollo 13′s serbive module. the mission has already moved intothe orbit of the lampooners and embraced more by late night comedians than the apace community. Pretty much all of the Obama Administration’s initiatives are quacking now and this one it totally plucked.

      • “Project Lasso is as dead as Apollo 13′s serbive module.
        And so is SLS in the long run. As dead as Ares 1 and will get no further as well.

        • BTW, I don’t know what a “serbive” module is. Or maybe that’s just a side effect of your “dain bramage”. :)

        • DCSCA

          SLS/MPCV is a geo-political strategy for the United States. Spaceflight is an instrument to implement national policy, Rick. Space policy is politics. SLS is nat’l policy. Get over it. Stop wasting your energy and start flying somebody. Get someone up, around and down safely. That should be the sungular goal for NewSpacers like yuo, if you want any credibility at all. Earn some street cred. Take the risk. Fly somebody.

          • “Get someone up, around and down safely.”
            And something that never goes up can do nothing. SLS is not taking a risk, it is a prescription for doing nothing because it will never fly. You said it yourself, “Fly somebody”. You’re contradicting your own words.

          • Coastal Ron

            DCSCA opined:

            SLS is nat’l policy.

            So was the Constellation program. Things can change quickly in Congress, eh?

            Get someone up, around and down safely. That should be the sungular goal for NewSpacers like yuo, if you want any credibility at all.

            Your problem (one of many) is that you don’t understand how capitalism works.

            NewSpace doesn’t even know that you exist, and their measure of success is meeting the needs of their customers. So SpaceX getting paid $133M for a successful CRS mission is success.

            And while three NewSpace companies have government contracts to develop crew transportation systems, Congress has not provided any money for actual transportation contracts (apparently too busy writing checks to Russia).

            But don’t worry buddy boy (or girl, whatever), your dream is likely to come true in about two years, if SpaceX has any say in it. Funny how Elon Musk will be the answer to your dreams, eh? ;-)

            • DCSCA

              “Your problem (one of many) is that you don’t understand how capitalism works.” whines Ron.

              It is space projects of scale that matter. Which is why, in the long run, short-sighted forays by deep-pocketed NewSpace hobbyists do not.

              • Coastal Ron

                DCSCA opined:

                It is space projects of scale that matter.

                The only currently running “space projects of scale” is the ISS, which you think should be ended. In that regard you are highly inconsistent, since you say they matter, yet you don’t see the value in space research.

                Other than the ISS, there are NO “space projects of scale” being funded. Pieces and parts of what could be “space projects of scale” are being funded, but they are woefully inadequate by themselves to do anything new. ANYTHING new.

                So when do you think another “space projects of scale” will get funded? Do you think the Republican’s in Congress are anxious to do so? If not, then you will have a LONG time to wait.

                Which is why, in the long run, short-sighted forays by deep-pocketed NewSpace hobbyists do not.

                Shortsighted? Show me anything NASA is doing that is acknowledged to be “farsighted”. Certainly not the SLS, since they didn’t ask for it, and Congress hasn’t funded any use for it.

                And certainly not the Orion/MPCV, which not only has an overweight Service Module, but the craft itself is 20% too heavy to safely carry humans. And this is after how many years of development?

                If building a rocket that has not need, and building a spacecraft that is too heavy to carry it’s intended payload isn’t shortsighted, then I don’t know what is.

                In the meantime, SpaceX will continue to bring new capabilities online and operational. The Falcon Heavy next year, the crew version of the Dragon in 2015, and potentially reusable 1st stage boosters in 2016.

                Each of those SpaceX capabilities has paying customers waiting for them – not something NASA can claim with the SLS or Orion.

                In this case it is the government being shortsighted – you just can’t understand it…

              • “It is space projects of scale that matter. Which is why, in the long run, short-sighted forays by deep-pocketed NewSpace hobbyists do not.”
                As I explain here,
                http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/06/14/house-hearing-next-week-on-new-nasa-authorization-bill/#comment-417492
                the SLS that you love so much is the ultimate “short-sighted foray”

                No amount of evidence can change people like you and Matt can it? Totally government dominated space travel truly is a religion to you, isn’t it? In that sense, Common Sense is most certainly right: you’re a robot automatically repeating the same old stuff without thinking deeply about it. Or maybe a lot of it is just pride from you you not wanting to admit (even to yourself) that your position has been wrong all this time?

          • Bennett In Vermont

            Take the risk. Fly somebody.

            This should be thrown right into NASA’s teeth. But as Rand Simberg points out, NASA isn’t comfortable with risks, unless it’s the first flight of a really really expensive new LV, because they don’t trust their autopilot.

            But beyond that, actually building something that gets to orbit? Since Apollo, the only manned LV to do that was the Shuttle, and that was done badly.

            Compare the VTVL “Xombie” to NASA’s “Mighty Eagle” (or whatever clever acronym they’ve come up with) and the innovation and sophistication of New Space companies versus NASA becomes clear, to a thinking man…

            • DCSCA

              “‘Take the risk. Fly somebody.’This should be thrown right into NASA’s teeth.” weeps Bennett

              They did. Over fifty years ago. In the mean time, NewSpace has failed to launch orbit and safely return anybody from LEO.

              • Coastal Ron

                DCSCA cried:

                In the mean time, NewSpace has failed to launch orbit and safely return anybody from LEO.

                How can they fail at something they haven’t even tried? How odd you are.

                And why do you have this obsession about sending humans to orbit as the only measure of success for anything?

                Being able to transport humans to space is a goal, but so is being profitable, and THAT has been the more overriding goal for the private sector.

                No one cares what you care about, and certainly not Elon Musk. He’s too busy lowering the cost to access space, which has been one of the biggest barriers to sending humans to space.

                Too bad you’re too anti-capitalism to understand that…

              • “They did. Over fifty years ago. In the mean time, NewSpace has failed to launch orbit and safely return anybody from LEO.”
                At least newspace has succeeded in putting something into orbit and returning it safely. Given that fact, they’re more likely to do so than SLS. Again, what never goes up can’t send anybody up. The key in what you say is that NASA sent people to orbit “over fifty years ago”. A lot of the same people working on SLS earlier tried constructing Ares 1 to send people to orbit and failed. They weren’t as successful as newspace currently is since they got nothing at all into orbit. SLS would be a much bigger rocket and a much tougher challenge than Ares 1. It appears that just because their grandfathers did it back then doesn’t mean SLS workers can do it now. That is not because they are less skillful than the rocket engineers of the 60s, but because Congress is crippling them by legislatively restricting what they can do.

                Your contradictory thought processes are so weird.

              • josh

                oh dcsca (or maybe i’ll call you dicky from now on, that nonsense acronym is getting annoying:)), logic is so totally absent from your thinking it boggles the mind how you manage to funtion in daily life…

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “SLS/MPCV is a geo-political strategy for the United States.”

            To do what? What are the goals or objectives of this “geo-political [sic] strategy”?

            And where are they laid out? What Obama Administration policy document contains this “geo-political [sic] strategy”?

            “Spaceflight is an instrument to implement national policy”

            It can be, but what “national policy” is the current program implementing? What Obama Administration document lays out this “national policy”?

            “Space policy is politics.”

            Use a dictionary. Policy and politics are not the same thing.

            “SLS is nat’l policy.”

            Very wrong. The words “Space Launch System” and the acronym “SLS” do not appear in the National Space Policy. See here:

            http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/national_space_policy_6-28-10.pdf

            “sungular goal for NewSpacers like yuo”

            You literally put the “blithering” into “blithering idiot”.

          • josh

            sls is a pork project and nothing more. in time it will end up in the dustbin of history where it belongs.

    • DCSCA

      You have it so backwards. NASA doesn’t tell Congress what it wants to do; Congress directs NASA to do what it is told.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi RB –

    It is interesting to note that you had to go to HobbySpace to find those studies. I tend to think it is indictative as a sign as to how effectively ATK buried them.

    Hi Hiram –

    Yes, ARM is the best that NASA could do right now in responding to the Congress’s requests, given
    1) the Ares 1 fiasco, and
    2) the current budget realities.

    Item 3) is that NASA’s current mission fulfills vital national needs.

    Item 4) is that it leaves the nation’s technical base well positioned for the next steps in the 2020′s.

    You have to ask yourself how much effort Obama would make to preserve Red State jobs, Item 4, if Item 3 is not met.
    Would hew go to veto if a limited leadership “educational” campaign failed?

    • Hiram

      In many respects, yes, ARM fulfills Congress’ request, which is to develop cis-lunar space. ARM will do that, probably well under a budget that would be required to return to the Moon. Of course, Congress never said why we should develop cis-lunar space. That being the case, NASA could also fulfill that request by developing a fleet of Starbucks in cis-lunar space. In a civil space commercial partnership, no doubt.

      But let’s be honest (as I’ve said above) — it is of some question what “vital national needs” human space flight fulfills. The FY2010 Auth bill gives the old college try, which is “It is essential to tie space activity to human challenges ranging from enhancing the influence, relationships, security, economic development, and commerce of the United States to improving the overall human condition.” That’s exactly right. It’s something we still need to do. And this gem … “The establishment of and commitment to human exploration goals is essential for providing the necessary long term focus and programmatic consistency and robustness of the United States civilian space program.” As in, human space flight helps us get better at space flight. Duh. No, really?

      As to leaving the nation’s technical base well positioned for the next steps in the 2020s, there is no agreement about what those next steps are. I mean legislative agreement. So planning the nations technical base on the basis of that is just handwaving with blinders on.

      Obama has little to do with it. SLS, which was intended to preserve Red State jobs, came out of the Senate, and was forced upon the administration.

      • E.P. Grondine

        Hiram, developing a fleet of Starbucks trucks will do nothing to address the impact hazard.

        As for any relationship between Starbucks, Sir Richard, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, I do not know anything and will not be concerned, unless it presents a threat to the green chiles.

        • Hiram

          “Hiram, developing a fleet of Starbucks trucks will do nothing to address the impact hazard.”

          Nor will ARM. But ARM won’t make expensive coffee for us. A fleet of Starbucks outlets in cis-lunar space certainly will, and will contribute to space tourism as well.

          • E.P, Grondine

            Hi Hiram –

            The average taxpayer has no interest in paying for coffee for billionaires.

            Aside from that, except for the expresso drinks, Starbucks coffee is really not all that good.

            • Hiram

              So what exactly is the average taxpayer paying for in ARM? Technology development to offset costs for asteroid mining companies? SLS procurements? The inquiring taxpayer wants to know.

              The average taxpayer sure isn’t paying for impact threat mitigation. ARM won’t do that. In fact, the money expended on it will be money that won’t be spent on detection.

              I couldn’t help but notice in Lori Garver’s presentation today. The three people she listed as endorsing ARM as a threat mitigation mission were congressional legislators. Wow, I’m sure glad I have such technical wizards looking out for me!

              I never said Starbucks was “good”. I said it was expensive. And lemme tell you, the space tourists who buy the stuff will pay dearly for it, much to the delight of the taxpayer.

              • Neil Shipley

                Not good but expensive. Gee, sounds a bit like NASA’s SLS, MPCV and JWST.

                Agree the coffee. I send packs of decent stuff to friends in the U.S. all the time. It’s one of the great mysteries of life that they can’t find decent coffee. Oh well.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Hi Hiram –

                The skilled scientists and engineers who have endorsed ARM already have their names on it.

                “I never said Starbucks was “good”. I said it was expensive. And lemme tell you, the space tourists who buy the stuff will pay dearly for it, much to the delight of the taxpayer.”

                I myself would not try to sell Starbuck’s coffee to any space tourist, as they generally prefer far better coffee if they drink it. They will drink Starbuck’s expresso drinks only if no better is conveniently at hand.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi all –

    What I would like to bring up is Ball’s SENTRY satellite and some thoughts on B612′s private sector fund-raising efforts.

    The US is not he only country with wealthy individuals, and the ASE has members from many nations. While many space travelers do not want to spend more time away from their families, my guess is that there are some of them who might look forward to intimate soirees with those wealthy people.

    In other words, some really great little private parties.
    My guess is that the musical entertainment at them could resemble MYV’s unplugged, but far more intimate. It is fascinating to consider their possible locations and food and drinks as well. And the local hosts.

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