Congress, NASA

NASA lays out its shutdown plans

With no sign of a deal between the House and Senate on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded beyond Monday—the Senate passed a CR Friday that did not contain the controversial provisions of the House version—NASA and other federal agencies are laying out their plans should a government shutdown go into effect on Tuesday. On Friday, NASA published a memo from agency chief financial officer Beth Robinson describing what operations NASA would continue, and what personnel would stay on the job, should a shutdown go into effect October 1.

The short answer on the second question: not many. NASA said that 367 full time equivalent (FTE) personnel, out of a total workforce of 18,250, would remain working across the entire agency should there be a lapse in appropriations. The Johnson Space Center would keep 144 FTEs on the job, the most of any center; the Kennedy Space Center, by comparison, would have only 7 FTEs exempt from the shutdown, and the Stennis Space Center would keep only 4 FTEs.

The memo identifies those activities that are exempt from the shutdown and thus would retain those employees. Those include space launch hardware processing activities; tracking, operation, and support of the International Space Station and other NASA satellites; and “completion of phase-down” of ongoing research activities in those cases where “serious damage to property” would take place if there was an interruption in work. Activities specifically mentioned in the memo that are not exempt from the shutdown include education and public outreach activities, such as NASA TV and the NASA.gov web site: “citizens will not have televised access to NASA operations and programming or access to the NASA website.”

NASA has also published a list of frequently asked questions about operations in the event of a government shutdown.

59 comments to NASA lays out its shutdown plans

  • Guest

    Hopefully this will do to the SLS and Orion what the space cadets can never accomplish. Personally I would add the Webb Space Telescope and Mars 2020 to the list of things the American public no longer need and certainly can no longer even afford.

    • Benjamin

      Questioning SLS/Orion is somewhat justified considering the uncertainty around those programs. After all we don’t have a set in stone destination for Orion and there will most certainly be delays most probably. Is SLS/Orion the best way forward for our manned program? Probably not in my opinion. Thankfully, Space X will possibly give us an alternative so we don’t have to start from scratch.

      As for Webb, its nearly complete. It would be pointless to scrap the damn thing now. Also, the science that Webb is going to do will be well worth the cost of the telescope, sure it could of been managed better but its still a better investment and cheaper than say the Iraq war.

      As for Mars 2020, that isn’t all that ambitious a mission seeing as it’ll use a lot of the same hardware as MSL. Either way, its madness to think we can’t afford to fund NASA. There is absolutely NO reason we can’t fund NASA. If we can afford the biggest, most expensive military in the world we can afford to do science for crying out loud. Especially when the benefits of scientific understanding/engineering have been far reaching. Our entire civilization is built upon our understanding of the world, solar system, and so forth.

      NASA’s budget is 0.5 percent of the total national budget, that’s it. Tiny. Yet we can’t afford to do science. Question as much as you want whether we are investing our taxpayer dollars wisely, but the idea that we can’t afford to spend a measly amount on the best space program in the world is beyond stupidity.

    • Matt McClanahan

      Before arguing to cancel the mostly complete JWST, I suggest comparing its expense and significance to humanity to SLS.

      JWST’s latest budget is around $8 billion. That’s certainly more than the original (by over 2x, in fact). And it’s obviously taken longer than initially scheduled to complete. Of course, budgets and schedules require previous experience on similar projects, and nothing like JWST has ever been attempted by any organization.

      It’s a common thing with even well-understood tasks like building a new fighter jet or airliner that budgets and schedules aren’t met. It should be expected when trying something totally new like JWST.

      It also requires a particularly short memory to decide before JWST has launched that it “isn’t needed.” Hubble development started in the late 70s with the plan of launching in 1983. Needless to say, that’s not what happened. Hubble ended up costing over five times more than expected and wasn’t ready for launch until 1990. And then there was the repair mission (which of course won’t be possible with JWST).

      What’d we get for this massive overrun in budget and development time? Totally rewritten astronomy textbooks several times over. Now, we have the potential to do it again on an even larger scale. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said,

      “Yes, cost overruns are bad, but, if there’s a cost overrun on anything in this world, should we be surprised when it comes about with something we’ve never done before? This is a telescope without precedent — in its size, in its power and scale, on how deep into the universe it’s going to reach, telling us about the origins of the cosmos. The engineering innovations that need to be brought to bare to make that happen are equally unprecedented.”

      Let’s imagine for a moment that JWST ends up costing even more, like $9 or $10 billion. Return on investment of $10 billion: redefining our understanding of the universe, probably more than once.

      Now let’s look at SLS. $10 billion pays for just three years of SLS development. Return on investment: parts of a rocket. Another $10 billion later, and we may actually have a rocket and possibly a capsule, but no mission hardware to land anywhere.

      Does JWST still look like something that should be abandoned?

      • pathfinder_01

        “Hubble ended up costing over five times more than expected and wasn’t ready for launch until 1990. And then there was the repair mission (which of course won’t be possible with JWST).”

        Hubble was planned to be launched in 1986, Challenger changed thoose plans.

      • Hiram

        “Before arguing to cancel the mostly complete JWST …”

        While I certainly support completion of JWST, and the sunk costs in it are enormous, let’s not make the mistake of calling it “mostly complete”. The design is mostly complete. The development is (comparing prior expenditures with projected development cost) about half complete. Including operations costs, JWST is less than half complete. Given its fiscal history, and even including what is supposed to be generous contingency funding, there isn’t a lot of optimism outside the agency that JWST will succeed under its latest cost cap, as most contingency expenditures are in the final stages of mission development.

        JWST has an operational design lifetime of 5 years. That works out to $1.7B/year – almost twice the yearly NASA Astrophysics budget. The huge budget overruns on JWST have totally emasculated Astrophysics planning in the agency. HST never did that.

        The premise that JWST science is so good we can ignore cost overruns is simplistic. We’re not talking about cost. We’re talking about fiscal credibility, and JWST has blown fiscal credibility out of the water. It’s a factor of two over formally promised costs. It’s a factor of ten over concept phase estimates that were used to start the project. JWST is, from the perspective of cost management, a huge black eye for the agency. So arguments about JWST cancellation are more about patching fiscal credibility than saving dollars.

        This is not a forum for arguments about the value of JWST, but rather one about fiscal futures. Let’s just say that it will be marvelous instrument doing revolutionary science and we sure hope that, at least fiscally and strategically, the likes of it never happen again.

      • DCSCA

        “Does JWST still look like something that should be abandoned?”

        Yes,

  • Hiram

    “Personally I would add the Webb Space Telescope and Mars 2020 to the list of things the American public no longer need and certainly can no longer even afford.”

    Compelling arguments could be made that all of NASA fits in that category. The American public never needed it, and it’s super easy, in a witless way, to say that we can’t afford it. It’s amusing to imagine the range of federal expenditures that can be described that way. Of course, once you do so, you’re basically talking anarchy. That is, of course, what the shutdown is all about. It’s about taxpayer money not being spent, and at least an implicit denial of the value of government.

    But when it comes down to the American public not needing to answer questions about the world that we live in, we really demean ourselves as a society, a culture, and even a species. We can certainly live out our lives while so demeaned, but any pretense about exceptionalism goes out the window.

    • Guest

      Distant galaxies and Mars are not the worlds we live in. We live in an asteroid belt, on a planet with a molten core, an atmosphere, large continents and an oceans, an active hydrogeological cycle, and a biosphere, along with seven billion other humans.

      We know enough about the universe to know what is important, right now, and what isn’t.

      • Matt McClanahan

        “We know enough about the universe to know what is important, right now, and what isn’t.”

        Sorry, if I’d seen this remark before writing my JWST reply, I wouldn’t have wasted my time on you.

    • It’s amusing to imagine the range of federal expenditures that can be described that way. Of course, once you do so, you’re basically talking anarchy.

      All this hyperbole is getting ridiculous. The Founders weren’t anarchists. Limited government is not anarchy. Failing to fund a space telescope (or ObamaCare) is not “anarchy.”

      • Hiram

        I will humbly suggest that if it were up the Founders, there wouldn’t be a NASA at all. I mean, making a large federal investment in technology development and soft power. Limited government may not be anarchy, but if taken to extremes, it may not be much of anything else either.

        You can show what you’re worth as a nation by flipping greenbacks at people, or you can show it by doing things collectively.

        • I will humbly suggest that if it were up the Founders, there wouldn’t be a NASA at all.

          I agree, but a lack of NASA is not “anarchy.” Words mean things.

          You can show what you’re worth as a nation by flipping greenbacks at people, or you can show it by doing things collectively.

          “Collectively” is fine, as long as it isn’t with a gun to one’s head. Apple and its customers are doing things collectively. So are SpaceX.

        • Limited government may not be anarchy, but if taken to extremes, it may not be much of anything else either.

          Anarchy is a complete absence of government, not (as Harry Reid seems to fantasize) “government that doesn’t do everything I want it to.”

          • Hiram

            That’s why I said that limited government may not be anarchy. But if you limit it too much, not as much gets done. Perhaps I’d like to see more get done than you would.

            Apple and its customers are hardly doing things collectively. Apple is trying to make a buck, and more power to them. They don’t ask me how they should make their bucks. Same with SpaceX. If they happen to make what I want, they make bucks. If they don’t, they die, and their potential dies with them. Kind of funny way to think about a collective partnership.

            But yes, the founders would never have had anything to do with a NASA, or a DOE, or an NIH, etc. etc. Probably even a DOD. Interestingly, we never would have gone to the Moon if we didn’t have a national collective effort to do so. We never would have had rockets to go into space if we didn’t have a national collective effort to have them. In my book, the idea of government should be that it does everything that the (horizontal) collective effort wants it to.

            • Coastal Ron

              Hiram said:

              But yes, the founders would never have had anything to do with a NASA, or a DOE, or an NIH, etc. etc. Probably even a DOD.

              I disagree with that statement, especially the DoD part since the Founders did show an interest in investing in the latest military technology of the time. But I don’t have enough historical background to make any further arguments about the topic (nor the interest to pursue it).

              In my book, the idea of government should be that it does everything that the (horizontal) collective effort wants it to.

              I don’t know if I’m quoting something that has been stated previously publicly, but I’ve always thought that the best role of the government is to do what individuals and companies can’t or won’t do on their own.

              Now that may be what the (horizontal) collective would like done but they can’t do it by themselves, or it could be that the government sees a need that the (horizontal) collective doesn’t.

              As it pertains to NASA, NASA is just part of the science and technology efforts the government funds, and I think in general the (horizontal) collective understands that by doing that we are a far stronger country because of it. But how much NASA should get of that whole science and technology pie is negotiable, and it really depends on what the alternatives are.

  • Bennett In Vermont

    “We live in an asteroid belt”

    Really? I thought the asteroid belt was out past Mars. Silly me.

    Benjamin wrote: “If we can afford the biggest, most expensive military in the world we can afford to do science…”   and “…the idea that we can’t afford to spend a measly amount on the best space program in the world is beyond stupidity.”
     

    I agree wholeheartedly.
     

    Hiram wrote “But when it comes down to the American public not needing to answer questions about the world that we live in, we really demean ourselves as a society, a culture, and even a species. We can certainly live out our lives while so demeaned, but any pretense about exceptionalism goes out the window.”
     

    Well said, Sir!

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi Bennett –

      Given the large circular holes in the ground, I’d have to say yes, we live in an asteroid belt. That is unless they were all caused by comets hitting the planet we all live on.

      Really.

      In other news, not only was water found on Mars, but also a slew of toxic chemicals – providing more engineering problems for Elon and his team.

      • Doug Lassiter

        In other news, not only was water found on Mars, but also a slew of toxic chemicals – providing more engineering problems for Elon and his team.

        I think Elon would be flattered to hear that toxic chemicals on the surface of Mars are now his problem. He’s come a long way. Congratulations to the SpaceX team on their F9 launch today.

  • Paul

    So, I find it hard to believe that they are going to take the time to shut down the NASA website, why not leave it running? An additionally, what’s to say that if there are any dedicated NASA employees working on a time sensitive research project, essential to their career or the future of said project that they wouldn’t just come in and work on it anyway? Or does no one care?

    • pathfinder_01

      It is more complicated than that. A web site takes power and needs some human monitering(not constant, but good to have people on hand if your site gets hacked), so shutting it down is the best move.

      Time sensative research projects may require more employees than just the researcher, so having a policy in place is important because it could require lab assitants, security(or other party to open the doors), engineers(either to set up, change, or fix something). They might come in anyway but they may need support.

  • Leonidas

    So depressing! The whole situation is such a national disgrace for the U.S.

  • DCSCA

    Shutdown and trim. SOP for NASA. If anythin, thr agency can show the rest of the government how to do it right.

  • Hiram

    “If anythin, thr agency can show the rest of the government how to do it right.”

    Oh yeah, we’ll spend a huge amount of money to land a CR bill on the roof of the White House in a decade, and then we’ll all cheer. Or else, we’ll spend a huge amount of money to “go round and round” in Congress. Or else, we’ll take 60-days to plan an unaffordable future for the nation, to have the plug mercifully pulled on it several years later. Or else, we’ll make up stories about going fiscally further than we’ve ever gone before, and tell those stories until we’re blue in the face, while the treasury is locked down. Or else, we’ll develop a heavy-lift cart to transport a particularly dense and thick spending bill from one side of Congress to the other, only to realize that such a bill is baaed on unauthorized expenditures, and can’t really be written. Or else, we’ll set up a secretarial pool to copy bills by human hand, because we don’t trust a machine to do the job.

    Ah, the lessons that NASA could teach the government …

  • E.P. Grondine

    Folks, James Webb was long dead when work on this telescope was started.

    I’m pretty sure that its design made no provision for humans fixing it, and that is what I think it will need at some point.

    • Hiram

      In order for missions to be named after people, they have to be long dead. That’s the tradition, if not the rule. It was a notable that a few years ago, the JSC MCC was named for Chris Kraft, and he was there to unveil the nameplate. I should say that James Webb had no science cred, so the naming of JWST by Sean O’Keefe frustrated many in the science community. But really, Webb was adept at extracting unexpectedly large amounts of money out of Congress, and the JWST mission has been adept at doing just that. A real monument to Mr. Webb’s skill and commitment!

      JWST indeed has no provisions for humans fixing it, exactly as for all the other incredibly successful missions that the NASA Science Mission Directorate has done, except for HST. HST is the only space mission, commercial, military, or otherwise, that was designed to be serviced by humans. The successful strategy for success has otherwise been to build it, use it, dump it, and move on. In fact, in an arena where the technology is developing rapidly, that’s exactly the right strategy. We now have an operational HST that is woefully obsolete in many technical respects. So although JWST will “need” servicing at some point, we hopefully won’t “need” to service it.

      • E.P. Grondine

        Hi Hiram –

        Kraft earned it with Apollo 13.

        Its not future servicing I’m talking about, its getting the thing to work in the first place.

        You are right it would have been cheaper to ditch Hubble and to have launched replacement(s). Not so with this one.

        As far as Hubble “servicing” goes, a lot of the necessary servicing was not anticipated. That includes the fix for the null collimeter mistake to get it working at all. This time even more money is involved, and no studies of manned “servicing” have ever been done.

  • amightywind

    What’s NASA they gonna do? Shutdown manned spaceflight? They’ve already done that. Shutdown NASA for a few weeks and on one will know the difference. America must cut wasteful government spending!

    • Ben Russell-Gough

      Seriously, I think we’ll see a lot of non-essential staff (admin, R&D and support) going over to 3-day or shorter weeks and long-range mission planning (early stage proposals and the like) being halted altogether.

    • Gregori

      And it should do that by cutting SLS first…

    • Coastal Ron

      amightywind said:

      What’s NASA they gonna do? Shutdown manned spaceflight? They’ve already done that.

      I’d say that Karen Nyberg and Michael Hopkins would disagree with you as they pass over us everyday in the ISS.

      Every time you say that type of thing it shows how ignorant you are of what’s going on…

  • Fred Willett

    The really interesting thing that happened just yesterday had nothing to do with NASA. It happened at SpaceX.
    SpaceX launched their new rocket the Falcon 9 v1.1 delivering Cassiope to orbit. After the second stage separated the first stage of the Falcon 9 turned around, relit 3 engined and lowered itself gently into the atmosphere. The F9 got as far as restarting the centre engine before roll overwhelmed the ACS and the vehicle was lost. But it was a good first attempt at vehicle recovery.
    Before this flight Musk was saying they think they had a way to make launch vehicles reusable but didn’t know if it would work.
    After this flight he said:
    “despite that, we have all the pieces in place to accomplish recovery of stages in the future, “full and rapid reusability” of stage.”
    What NASA does just may have become irrelevant.

    • “Super Sunday” as folks are calling it on Twitter was one of the biggest triumphs yet for NewSpace.

      I couldn’t help but think of all those Congressional porkers and their scheming staffers who three years ago were claiming “SpaceX will blow up and kill people!”

      Now we have two companies capable of delivering cargo to the ISS using 21st Century robotic spacecraft, and SpaceX is on their way to developing reusable rocket stages after demonstrating they can deploy satellites with an upgraded Falcon 9.

      As for those Congressional schemers … All they’ve got left is SLS and ludicrous claims like 39A is needed as a backup pad for their pork rocket that might fly once every four years. Three years ago, they were claiming SLS was needed as a backup for NewSpace. Well, that argument today would get them laughed at anywhere other than Capitol Hill.

      We’re one step closer to divorcing space exploration from Congress.

      • Ben Russell-Gough

        For a while now, I’ve been foreseeing a future where, in terms of LEO spaceflight and possibly beyond LEO, NASA is purely a mission-arranging organisation that buys/leases spacecraft and launchers from commercial providers for their needs. NASA may even lose the operations end to commercial providers who, as they develop and fly rockets and spacecraft more often, have more knowledge in how to operate them correctly and safely.

        The result would be a smaller NASA with more of a bias towards bleeding-edger R&D and mission development. However, I would argue that this smaller, leaner NASA would be able to achieve more as it would be more focussed on the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’, which should rightly be left to the bidders for the contract to determine (inside the limits of legislated safety standards, of course). You’d have NASA planning how to utilise its money on missions rather than engineering vanity projects.

        • Guest

          NASA used to be a great institution, but now with Constellation redux, the inane focus on human exploration and Mars, the Webb Space Telescope debacle and their absolute refusal to fund a required asteroid detection mission, they have lost all credibility with me. I am glad they will shorty be defunded by government default.

          Bring it on. The sooner we have an alternate destination to the ISS the better.

          • Coastal Ron

            Guest said:

            NASA used to be a great institution, but … their absolute refusal to fund a required asteroid detection mission…

            You are confusing NASA with Congress.

            Bring it on. The sooner we have an alternate destination to the ISS the better.

            You’re being cryptic again, and when you sound cryptic you sound, you know, kind of nutty. Is that how you want to be perceived?

            • Guest

              No, and I am not confusing the NASA of today with the institution formerly known as NASA. As a citizen of the United States of America I am no longer comfortable or satisfied with the institution in charge of aeronautics and space. In fact, given their performance to day, I am completely terrified at the waste and incompetence they have recently demonstrated in their nationally chartered task. Luckily, they will not be a fiscally viable national institution very soon. If you think I’m nutty, that’s your problem.

          • E.P. Grondine

            Guest, you’re confusing NASA with Griffin et al.

            • Guest

              No, Ed, I am not. There is no ‘One NASA’. Charlie Bolden is so far gone he may as well just be sitting on his boat in Charleston. It’s a shambles.

              This is exactly what I expected of a country that went totally broke with nothing to show for it except for some giant imaginary edifice of folly.

              SLS and Orion.

        • Coastal Ron

          Ben Russell-Gough said:

          However, I would argue that this smaller, leaner NASA would be able to achieve more as it would be more focussed on the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’, which should rightly be left to the bidders for the contract to determine (inside the limits of legislated safety standards, of course).

          NASA doesn’t have to get less money to do this, although there is plenty of “fat” and duplication in NASA that could be “leaned out”.

          Overall though I like what you outline, and it’s not really too different than how parts of NASA already operate today. The exception is the SLS and MPCV programs, which are really just leftover echo’s of the Constellation program. Once they are gone NASA will hopefully be able to get into the mode you describe, which would fit any budget and allow the U.S. to mount a consistent and long-term exploration effort (whatever that may be).

          And I say that because affordability has been the main problem NASA has had. I don’t mind the occasional program that is cancelled because it didn’t achieve it’s goals – that is an expected byproduct of pushing the boundaries. But committing to an effort without a clear idea of where the future funding will come from, and without the ability to reach sustainable intermediate goals fairly quickly – that is a recipe for disaster, and the latest example of that was the Constellation program. The SLS will not be far behind.

          • Jim Nobles

            Part of the problem is that an entire generation of people grew up believing that what NASA mainly did was build rockets. So now they have a hard time seeing NASA as something else.

            • Coastal Ron

              Jim Nobles said:

              Part of the problem is that an entire generation of people grew up believing that what NASA mainly did was build rockets.

              How many rockets would you think “an entire generation of people” think NASA has built?

              Saturn V and the Shuttle? Two in 55 years? And the Shuttle was built over 30 years ago.

              I think I’d have to disagree with your assertion.

              If anything I think the vast amount of the public thinks of NASA as operating the Hubble, running the ISS, and sending a lot of robotic missions to Mars. As for the Shuttle, I think it is quickly fading from memory.

              The people that most remember NASA operating their own rockets are the politicians that have districts most related to building and operating rockets.

              And the reason politicians have fond memories is because of the money that those programs bring to their states and districts, which is really no different than the money that comes from any government program, so that tells me that they really don’t care so much about NASA and rockets as they do about NASA and big-ticket programs – of any type.

              • Jim Nobles

                CR said, “How many rockets would you think “an entire generation of people” think NASA has built?”

                When I talk to people around here about NASA they think “rockets” and maybe the space station or a Mars rover. These are normal people and not space cadets like us.

                “I think I’d have to disagree with your assertion.”

                Go ahead if it makes you feel better but I stand by it.

                “If anything I think the vast amount of the public thinks of NASA as operating the Hubble, running the ISS, and sending a lot of robotic missions to Mars. As for the Shuttle, I think it is quickly fading from memory”

                All of these things have rockets in common.

                I don’t think the general public is yet educated to the point that they understand the next big thing NASA is working on doesn’t have to be building another rocket to launch their stuff. I suspect many people still believe that NASA has to build the next big rocket(s) because no one else can do it. It may be our failing that we have not educated them better than this.

              • Coastal Ron

                Jim Nobles said:

                When I talk to people around here about NASA…

                In general, where is “here”? At NASA? At a school? A company? Just curious so your statement has context.

                All of these things have rockets in common.

                The Mars rovers all had far more press coverage of their landing and excursions on Mars than their launch. Hubble also had far more coverage of it’s repairs and discoveries than it’s launch.

                So while rockets were involved in getting them all to space, I think it’s an unproven assertion to say that the public is focused on the rocket part and not what the results were after the rockets fell in the ocean.

                I think in general that the Shuttle launches were popular to watch because of the known element of danger involved with each launch. It’s like all the people watching the 747′s landing and taking off at the Princess Juliana International in Saint Martin…

      • amightywind

        Now we have two companies capable of delivering cargo to the ISS using 21st Century robotic spacecraft

        It isn’t really that big a deal. Delta IV and Atlas V have routinely flown more demanding mission profiles in launching satellites for decades.

        and SpaceX is on their way to developing reusable rocket stages after demonstrating they can deploy satellites with an upgraded Falcon 9.

        You know the first stage restart test was a complete failure, right?

        Today is a great day! Our despised big government will cease to exist at midnight. (At least for a little while.)

        • common sense

          “Today is a great day! Our despised big government will cease to exist at midnight. (At least for a little while.)”

          And this is how you support NASA and SLS/MPCV?

          You are an insult to intelligence. There is a difference between showmanship (Cruz et al) and actual reform of the government. Showmanship will change nothing yet put people’s livelihood at risk.

          You and those who think like you have a very superficial understanding of how things actually work.

          Now hopefully Cruz et al will be reminded at the next elections how selfish their action was even though I am not holding my breath considering the level of stupidity of those who think like you.

          • amightywind

            And this is how you support NASA and SLS/MPCV?

            Yes. NASA’s budget could and should be cut by at least $5 billion without effecting its primary mission.

            Showmanship will change nothing yet put people’s livelihood at risk.

            Those ‘lives at risk’ are the Washington establishment that has grown bloated beyond all justification. Washington is surrounded by 4 of the 7 richest counties in America. That wealth is a corrupt skim off of the hard earned wealth of those in the hinterlands. Starve the beast I say! The democrats will be more agreeable to foregoing their Obamacare waivers after a few days of austerity.

            • Coastal Ron

              amightywind said:

              Yes. NASA’s budget could and should be cut by at least $5 billion without effecting its primary mission.

              Which is what?

              Washington is surrounded by 4 of the 7 richest counties in America. That wealth is a corrupt skim off of the hard earned wealth of those in the hinterlands.

              Yeah, like that corrupt Republican Govenor of Virginia, right?

              It’s funny when sometimes you are right, but for the wrong reasons… ;-)

        • Coastal Ron

          amightywind said:

          It isn’t really that big a deal. Delta IV and Atlas V have routinely flown more demanding mission profiles in launching satellites for decades.

          Um, apparently you don’t realize that Dragon and Cygnus are spacecraft, and Atlas V and Delta IV are rockets. They aren’t the same. Although this may explain why you don’t understand the value of NewSpace… ;-)

          You know the first stage restart test was a complete failure, right?

          In fact it wasn’t. The 1st stage was restarted twice, but it flamed out after the second restart because the engine became fuel starved.

          Maybe you were thinking of the 2nd stage engine?

          Again, this lack of understanding simple facts provides a hint of why you are always so wrong on your opinions… ;-) ;-)

        • Neil Shipley

          You are an idiot. The reusable test was a partial failure in that the soft water landing didn’t go as planned. The re entry burn was successful and Elon says they’ve retrieved large sections of the first stage and understand how to fix the issues.
          Next test will be CRS-3.

      • Neil Shipley

        Yes it’s great isn’t it. In addition, compare SLS, perhaps pretty much any other launch business with SpaceX who look like launching at least once per month on average for the next several years. That’s not including those who haven’t yet signed up with SpaceX but will now after this latest flight.

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi Fred –

      While I myself do not think that powered landing is the best recovery method, Musk has a whole lot of money and skilled engineers and I do not.

      My expectation is that SpaceX will face competition from drogue parachute and winged or rogallo winged fly-back re-usable launchers. That is, in this market segment. Other market segments have other solutions.

      It is a question of timing, and market windows for SpaceX.

      • Neil Shipley

        There’s no indication that there is going to be any competition for SpaceX. Nobody is doing any work in this area except SpaceX. I discount entirely sub-orbital work.
        Timing is therefore not critical. So SpaceX will proceed along their planned route at a timeframe that suits them.
        If you have any facts and possible timelines regarding such competition to bring to the argument then would welcome them.

  • Jim Nobles

    Does anyone have a URL for a .mp3 file of Sunday’s telecon with Musk? Stephen?

  • E.P. Grondine

    If Obama was playing hard ball, he would have made sure that any shutdown would have been particularly painful to the states the Confederacy.

    As it is, one may be sure that most of the military contracts were set up with payment terms so that contractors in the Confederate states feel little pain during this hostage taking.

    Obama has not read “The Wrecking Crew”.

  • Robert

    Are you people retarded…. DO you have any Ideas at how many technologies have been founded by space programs….. how often we use these technologies every bloody day of our lifes… we are nothing more then ants on a hill in a universe… Space is the future people mining asteroid belts could pay off american debt in months… but your bloody government rather keep their million – billion dollar pay checks then help the future of their country.

    Do you honestly think shutting down these programs will help the country by going backwards lol… just as well call yourselfs a third world country now cause all thats gonna happen is a few more people sitting at the top looking down at the ants we call a middle and lower class will get richer none of that money will ever make it down to the common folk…

    Either way Canada, Europe, China, Japan, India, and a bunch of other space agenices are in operation and or soon to be in operation so we will just sigh as america makes one of its biggest mistakes ever and goes so far backwards there may be no saving it lol but yah keep that military funded, and your people dumb so you can keep paying goverment fat cats / Movie stars / singers / sports stars the hundreds of millions a year to ( watch you work / play make believe / sing( lately mostly autotune and dance) / and play games

    once again Fair well America and hello our neighbouring Third world country
    P.S maybe another war will end that debt lol one to end all wars

    • Coastal Ron

      Robert said:

      DO you have any Ideas at how many technologies have been founded by space programs….. how often we use these technologies every bloody day of our lifes

      Oh, you mean like Tang and velcro?

      Maybe, just maybe the space program had a impact on technology back in the 60′s, but I would say that Apple Inc. has far more of a technological impact on our lives today than NASA does.

      But maybe you disagree, and that’s OK. Just tell us what technologies I’m missing that NASA has provided that are so important to our lives today in 2013.

      Either way Canada, Europe, China, Japan, India, and a bunch of other space agenices are in operation and or soon to be in operation so we will just sigh as america makes one of its biggest mistakes ever and goes so far backwards…

      Were you sleeping this whole weekend? Did you miss the Orbital Sciences Cygnus capture by the ISS, and the launch of the new SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1?

      I’d say that America’s companies can do as much or more than the entire space efforts of entire COUNTRIES. As long as Commercial Crew keeps being funded, America is going to extend it’s lead on everyone else. Too bad you can’t see or understand that.

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