Congress, NASA

Coburn includes several NASA programs in his annual “Wastebook”

Wastebook cover

The cover of this year’s Wastebook by Sen. Coburn features a NASA astronaut sleeping despite the commotion all around him, evidently worn out from spending all day studying Congress and/or in a food coma from eating too much 3D-printed pizza.

On Tuesday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released his annual “Wastebook,” a document that identifies programs (typically small, obscure ones) that he concludes are “wasteful and low-priority” and thus could be cut. And as was the case with last year’s report, several NASA programs caught his attention.

Coburn’s report singled out NASA’s bed rest studies, where test subjects spend months in bed simulating some of the effects of long-duration weightlessness. Coburn is less critical of the science behind such studies as their current need. “No manned space missions to Mars—or anywhere else—are planned, scheduled or even possible in the foreseeable future, however, and NASA no longer has an active manned space program,” the report states. This will no doubt come to a surprise to many at NASA, including astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins, who are currently in space on the ISS. The cost of this program: $360,000, according to the report.

The report also flags a $3-million program by NASA to conduct annual week-long seminars over the next several years for its employees to explain how Congress works. Coburn’s criticism is actually directed more at Congress itself and its lack of productivity than NASA itself. “NASA would be far better off looking for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.”

The report brings up a program also mentioned last year: studies to develop food for future human Mars missions. This year’s report mentions a $125,000 grant to a small company to develop a “3-D pizza printer” that is on top of other NASA food study programs. “Every year, the average budget for Martian food development is $1 million.”

Elsewhere in the report, Coburn criticizes NASA spending $390,000 on an obscure “cartoon superhero” called the Green Ninja, who is supposed to teach students about the implications of climate change. “[W]ith the manned mission to the red planet shelved, the Green Ninja may be the only little green man the space agency makes contact with for the foreseeable future,” the report states, again claiming that NASA has no plans to send people to Mars. The report also complains that NASA spent $237,205 to study Christmas Island red crabs, arguing that such research should only be funded by the NSF, and $23,000 for a portrait of former NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver.

However, after reading this report, no doubt many people will ask if these relatively small programs really are the most wasteful ones at the space agency.

56 comments to Coburn includes several NASA programs in his annual “Wastebook”

  • I betchya none of these program are in his state.

    Did the taxpayers fund his “Wastebook”?

  • amightywind

    Green Ninja, who is supposed to teach students about the implications of climate change.

    Right up there with ‘the life of Julia’ in fanatic creepiness.

    $23,000 for a portrait of former NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver.

    ISS could have had a new toilet seat for less than that.

    Congratulations to Senator Coburn for taking up the mantle of former democrat Senator William Proxmire in highlighting Washington’s most egregious spending.

    • josh

      “the most egregious spending”

      lol, tone-deaf to the max, as usual. sls is the biggest waste there is and it’s about a million times more relevant in dollar terms.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Typical GOP pick pennies when you need to look at programs that are billions RGO

    • DCSCA

      “Typical GOP pick pennies when you need to look at programs that are billions RGO”

      Agreed. Recall Romney crowing over going after Big Bird. Pennies. Or as Fox execs call it, ‘chump change.’

  • Dark Blue Nine

    If there are “No manned space missions to Mars — or anywhere else — are planned, scheduled or even possible in the foreseeable future”, then why the frack are we spending $3 billion per year on SLS and MPCV?

    Way to miss the forest for the twigs, congressman.

    Idiot.

    • amightywind

      They are worth the investment if only to keep an ember of manned spaceflight burning until the Marxists are swept from power. Then they can be scaled up.

      • Doug

        Yes, let’s make it so that the bed-rest program can be hugely expanded. We can lay people up for YEARS! And, oh my, we can print ginormous pizzas. That’s what the embers of manned spaceflight will scale up to.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “Then they can be scaled up.”

        How asinine. SLS is already a 70-ton rocket-to-nowhere that NASA can’t afford to fly more than once every few years, and the CM on MPCV is 5K pounds overweight for its parachutes. They need frequent missions, sane requirements, payloads, and a severe diet, not “scaling up”.

        • amightywind

          SLS is a child’s replica the 190 mt Ares V architecture. In this dark age of manned space flight, the requirements for the lunar mission remain. I only hope we will be in time to head off the Chinese on the way to the moon.

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “SLS is a child’s replica the 190 mt Ares V architecture.”

            This isn’t even a complete sentence.

            “In this dark age of manned space flight, the requirements for the lunar mission remain.”

            None of which “require” 190mT to LEO.

            “I only hope we will be in time to head off the Chinese on the way to the moon.”

            God forbid their non-existent human lunar program erects imaginary Star Wars missiles powered by unconfirmed polar ice and aims them at Washington. We’d only have a week to respond!

            Sheer idiocy…

          • DCSCA

            “In this dark age of manned space flight, the requirements for the lunar mission remain. I only hope we will be in time to head off the Chinese on the way to the moon.” mused Windy.

            It will take leadership.

            For this kind of initiative comes from the top down, not the bottom up. Accordingly, the damaging drift inflicted on our space program by the indifference and disappointing disinterest from the Obama Administration will take time to repair. Revisit a similar period in the NACA days, jusr before NASA, before Gemini and Apollo, when Mercury was a USAF project on paper called MISS. The F-1 was under development with no certainty of a Saturn program in its future; the slide-rule boys at the STG were planning lunar missions with no inkling of a Project Apollo on the drawing boards just a few years later and the likes of Von Braun, Ley and other millile men of that time were testifying to committee after committee, urging an indecisive Congress to act for, as Von Braun noted in the late 50s during a hearing, “I would not be at all surpised to be hearing a human voice from outrer space that will have an unmistakable Russian accent.” He was priven right on April 12, 1961. The Kennendy commitment to Luna and the follow through by LBJ transpired. That’s leadsrship from the top down, not the bottom up. It will take a competitive stimulus from a foreign power to get America ‘off it’s apollo laurels anf get moving adain” as Mike Collins noted in 1989. The PRC is going to make a move on Luna on its own. It wil not partner with America even if asked. The geo-political benefits for China are self-evident. They want tio hallmark this century as theirs. Look to Hillary Clinton. She has a personal interest in spacefight and will likely be the one to re-ignite leadership in this field. Otherwise, American indifference and drift will leave it behind as other nations fill the void and move forward in space. The Red Moon is on the rise.

            • Hiram

              “It will take leadership.”

              Nah. It’ll take a reason. Sending humans to the Moon for the sake of sending humans to the Moon isn’t a reason. Human space flight has historically been a geopolitical tool, but sending humans back to the Moon isn’t even that any more. It was in days of yore, when the context was missles, and command and control of missles. The Kennedy commitment to Luna was about missles. Ours are better than yours, and we can even put people on them (which actually used to mean something!) We don’t give much of a flake about missles anymore. International competition? That’s what the Olympics are about. We can be stronger, and more dexterous than you guys. Sending people to a far away place to colonize and harvest isn’t a reason either. Antarctica never worked out that way, and there must be gobs of resources in Antarctica, if you did deep enough. Antarctica is a vastly easier place to dig than the Moon. Developing new transportation technologies to far away places isn’t a reason either. We have no technological thrust to develop new ways of getting humans to Antarctica. National security isn’t a reason. No one is going to set up a base on the Moon to lob bombs at the Earth. It’s a crummy place to do that from. Asserting technological superiority might be a reason, but landing Curiosity on Mars did that for us in spades.

              But going to the Moon is certainly a challenge, and the Chinese would like to step up to the challenge that we already achieved. We can be as good as you were, they say. If we hear voices on the Moon with a Chinese accent, it really isn’t going to bother anyone. We’ll all be wondering when they’ll give it up like we did, and how much fruitless money they sink into it before they do.

              Human spaceflight as an international partnership is certainly a good reason. Ideally, we’ll be working with the Chinese soon on that. If we can bring them into our economic sphere, we can certainly bring them into our space exploration sphere.

              What Obama, and any leader who follows him needs, is a reason. The sad thing about human space flight these days is that we don’t have a reason.

              • DCSCA

                “The sad thing about human space flight these days is that we don’t have a reason.” dreams Hiram.

                Except we do.

                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 the early 60′s:“We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.”

                Go out and take a look at Luna tonight. There’s activity going on up there on the lunar surface. And it’s Red Chinese. Red Moon rising.

                “Nope, it takes a reason.” chimes Ron. See Above. And BTW, the Red Chinese have a reason, Comrade.

              • Hiram

                “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 the early 60′s:“We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.”

                Yes, but that rationale had nothing to do with space, in Kennedy’s mind. He admitted that. It had to do with beating the technological crap out of the Soviets (you know, the other “Reds”). That rationale doesn’t exist anymore, since the Cold War is over, hard as it may be for you to believe in your alternate reality world. But it is actually painful, isn’t it? The rationale that drove us to the Moon simply doesn’t exist anymore. It exists only in the history books, and in the dreams of those reluctant to face reality and who are vicariously living in those books.

                Go out and take a look at Mars tomorrow morning. There’s activity going on up there on the Martian surface (in several places). And it’s the U.S. Stars and stripes rising. Our technological achievements there leave everyone else in the dust. Which is, in fact, where Chang’e-3 finds itself, no? Had we the technological skill at the time, Kennedy would have been demonstrating them by pushing our achievements on Mars. The Planetary Society made up a wonderful “Mars Exploration family portrait” pointing to the missions (both successful and unsuccessful) that have reached out for that planet. Check it out.

                http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/updated-mars-exploration-family-portrait.html

                The dominance of the U.S. in successful exploration of Mars is absolutely mind blowing, which of course just builds on our established dominance for the Moon.

                The Red Chinese do have a reason for landing a rover on the Moon. It’s about self-fulfillment. It’s an ego boost. Works for me. Actually, it’s also about proving to the space faring nations that China could be a credible partner in exploration. Works for me as well. It’s about time.

            • Coastal Ron

              DCSCA whined:

              It will take leadership.

              Nope, it takes a reason. The reason for Apollo was not space exploration, but the Cold War. Once we showed that we were technologically more advanced than the USSR, the need to go to the Moon went away. Been there, done that.

              Leadership only plays a role when there is a need that can be clarified and focused on, but there is no such need for human space exploration today other than “because it would be neat”.

              That doesn’t cut it when the U.S. Taxpayer is being saddled with the debt.

              Your so called “government projects of scale” for space are a thing of the past until little green men show up or an asteroid threatens to hit U.S. territory. And even then, threats will be handled by the Department of Defense, not NASA.

              We are at a turning point where the private sector is starting to become more capable at doing things in space than NASA. So the only real question for the future of NASA is will it return to it’s NACA roots and help the private sector like NACA did with the aviation industry, or will those that don’t understand the new reality cling to the incorrect belief that “Only Government” can do space.

              • The government doesn’t build space rockets. Private industry does. The government only provides financing for the building of rockets.

                Private industry could have easily put the first satellites into orbit and the first men on the Moon but they didn’t because they saw no immediate profit in doing such things. However, once the government started putting satellites into orbit then private industry followed. Now satellites are at the core of a $200 billion a year satellite based telecommunications industry thanks to government leadership from both America and the former Soviet Union.

                Once governments start establishing permanent outpost on the lunar surface then, once again, private industry will follow.

                Private space companies like the ULA, Space X, Bigelow, Sierra Nevada, etc. wouldn’t even be possible if it weren’t for the hundreds of billions of dollars of tax payer investment in space through a government of the people, by the people, and for the people!

                Marcel

              • Coastal Ron

                Marcel F. Williams said:

                The government doesn’t build space rockets.

                When Congress tells NASA to build and operate a rocket, the government is building and operating a rocket. They didn’t tell NASA to contract with the private sector for ‘X’ amount of mass transport to LEO.

                Private industry could have easily put the first satellites into orbit and the first men on the Moon but they didn’t because they saw no immediate profit in doing such things.

                That is a silly statement. You’re trying to back into a result.

                …wouldn’t even be possible if it weren’t for the hundreds of billions of dollars of tax payer investment

                Another silly statement and a heck of a strawman. The same could be said for medical research, aviation safety, car safety, and many many other things.

                And let’s also remember that the mission of NASA is to disseminate U.S. Taxpayer funded technologies to U.S. Industry BECAUSE it benefits the U.S. Taxpayer. Companies like ULA, Space X, Bigelow, and Sierra Nevada are run by U.S. Taxpayers, and generate the tax revenue that allows NASA to exist.

              • Vladislaw

                Marcel F. Williams wrote:

                “However, once the government started putting satellites into orbit then private industry followed.”

                You are close to being correct, BUT *there is always a but* you forgot one element.

                The government established property rights in space. You can now OWN your obital slot. A competitor can not simply park a satelite on your property.

                The satelite industry refers to these slots as real estate and until we resolve the property rights issues for beyond GEO we are where we are.

                The World’s Hottest Real Estate: Orbital Slots Are Prime Property.

                Hot Orbital Slots: Is There Anything Left?

                Once the slots are gone orbital platforms with multiple arrays will replace the individual slots I am sure but until then property rights have only been established out to GEO.

                Hopefully a company can grab an asteroid and claim it and we can FINALLY resolve this matter and allow capital to flow to Luna and Mars.

              • Hiram

                “Private industry could have easily put the first satellites into orbit and the first men on the Moon but they didn’t because they saw no immediate profit in doing such things”

                Exactly right, and the government saw immediate profit in doing so. It was, to the government, profit in national security. Satellites in orbit gave us VASTLY better knowledge about military threats, and dramatically improved our military communication posture. Putting humans on the Moon? Eh, that was just to tweak the Soviets, who we were worried would beat us there.

                “Once governments start establishing permanent outpost on the lunar surface then, once again, private industry will follow.”

                Ah, but there’s the rub. The government won’t do that because there is no national profit in it. Putting a permanent outpost on the Moon in no way, shape, or form makes our nation more secure. There has to be some OTHER reason. We do not, as yet, have that other reason. No one is going to beat us there.

              • Vladislaw

                Marcel wrote: “Private industry could have easily put the first satellites into orbit”

                Private industry could have “EASILY” put the first sats into orbit?

                Ahh can you tell me, what company I could have bought a launch from to launch my satellite above the Kármán line in 1957?

                The Rand Project in 1945 in their report said that the only thing satellites were going to be good for was science and even the miltary at the time thought there was no miltary value.

                The U.S. Communications Satellite Act of 1962, which was highly controversail at the time, allowed a commercial consortia to own and operating their own satellites, but the only launch vehicles were still state-owned launch vehicles.

                Man these people who want to rewrite history and say how commercial could have led the charge into space since the 50′s. This is total bullshit. Elements in congress have, from day one, fought to keep commercial elements out of space and they are still there today!

            • Robert G. Oler

              The Chinese would like to step up to the challenge?

              LOL there is as much data for that claim as Bush had with his “smoking gun smoking mushoom” stupidity RGO

      • josh

        “marxists”

        you obviously dont know what that word means. is embarrassing yourself something like a recreational activity for you? some time i think that’s the only explanation…

  • Vladislaw

    Programs that are blowing through BILLIONS don’t get a mention, like MPCV and SLS but complains about a program costing 390K

    His wastebook is laughable.

  • The ISS is probably the most wasteful manned space program since it:

    1. with no artificial gravity, it doesn’t enhance the human ability to stay beyond the Earth for several years

    2. with no mass shielding for beyond the magnetosphere it doesn’t enhance the human ability to travel to other planets

    The ISS is an extremely wasteful $3 billion a year LEO on steroids program that’s now going to be used as corporate welfare for the emerging Commercial Program– even though there’s not enough crewed traffic to the ISS to sustain more than one company.

    It would be a lot less wasteful for NASA to give Commercial Crew Companies a billion dollars a year (enough for six or seven manned launches to orbit each year) to transport people to private space stations like an SLS launched Bigelow BA-2100 than to continue the extremely wasteful big government ISS program.

    NASA should be trying to promote lots of private launches to private space stations, not just a few launches to a big government space station at three times the cost!

    Marcel F. Williams

    • Justin Kugler

      You haven’t even looked at the NASA HRP risk reduction roadmap and how essential ISS studies are for addressing those risks, have you?

      You also continue to fail to understand that there is nothing waiting in the wings if we don’t make full use of the ISS as a platform until there is enough activity in LEO that it is no longer required. Private US investors want to see continuity in ISS operations before they take a bigger risk on non-existent platforms.

      • Robert G. Oler

        Justin I hope that you are correct and things move that way. Certainly that is the way that they should move

        Sadly I am drifting over to the view that as management and policy are going now…ISS will do litte in the scheme of things other then pull into reality commercial human spaceflight, to help the advancement into space by humans.

        One is starting to get that old feeling from the shuttle days that the entire thing is just cruising to some sort of technical disaster. We are now in the situation where the space suits are ????? after they nearly drowned the last guy would you get in one of them? It seems to be taking all theyhave to manage this cooling issue…who knows what else is lurking out there. There is no real planning to replace things like solar arrays which are aging. And cost? they keep going the wrong direction

        I would love to see some “blue sky” here but so far…:) RGO

        • amightywind

          amightywind has held this view for years. Glad to see you can succumb to reason.

          • Robert G. Oler

            Wind…dont flatter yourself. dont

            My objection to the space station and its method of operation is the same as my objection to SLS and Orion, two projects that you support

            the objection is NASA managements inability to work a project or program in a reasonable way to find some vale for the money spent.

            SLS and Orion have consumed billions and produced little or nothing of flight hardware that is human rated. they both will consumed tens of billions more to produce, if allowed to go unchecked a vehicle which will cost more to operate per year then the space station for about 1 fight every two or four years

            dont selectively think I agree with your sentiments. YOu dont have a clue. RGO

        • Justin Kugler

          What ISS Program costs are going the wrong direction, Robert? As long as Congress keeps slow-rolling Commercial Crew, NASA can’t control the escalating Soyuz costs.

          I just met with my NASA counterparts today, though, to discuss how to better reduce cost and complexity for ISS National Lab users. They’ve got some good ideas that are already in work, so that we’re spending less time and money covering integration & safety costs and more on the payloads themselves.

          • DCSCA

            I just met with my NASA counterparts today, though, to discuss how to better reduce cost and complexity for ISS National Lab users. They’ve got some good ideas

            Hopefully the idea topping the list was splashing the orbiting zombie. Too bad they don’t have any valueable returns to justify the extending ops. .

          • Robert G. Oler

            Justin…you are a smart thoughtful person, one of the best and you are far more “in the field” then I am…but

            You are the one who told me that NASA cannot manage the issue with the cooling loop on the station AND deal with a “visiting vehicle” at the same time.

            If this was a CVN do you really think the CO would stop flight ops because of this? How many people do you think would be on this issue (the coolant loop) and it be solved in what a few days?

            NASA has a facility in space and how long ago was it that they almost drowned the Italian and they still dont have the space suit issue sorted out…how many people have been working on that?

            I bet you over the last three years of station operations the number o people who it takes to “run the thing” on the ground has not decreased by more then 1 percent…and I would not be surprised to find out that its gone up.

            I can onlly guess at how many FTE’s are going into trying to plan these EVAs?

            the answer is that management is under no pressure to make the station work…just keep it going around the earth with people on it and what they do…well in the words of one station person they can “limp along”…its 100 billion plus facility.

            either get the people who are running the thing to make it work, or find some managers who can.

            at some point someone is going to ask “what are we getting for this money”?

            Do you think we are getting value for the money? Robert

            • Justin Kugler

              They can, but they chose not to because it was apparent the EVA repairs would have to be done eventually. It was a risk management decision moreso than a capabilities issue.

              Yes, I do think we are getting value. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer keeps running smoothly and collecting data that will take years, if not decades, to analyze and tease apart the underlying secrets of the universe. The experience of building, maintaining, and operating the platform itself is essential for better, future activities. We are only now starting to see the fruits of the scientific labor, as shown by the recent uptick in cited publications referencing ISS research.

            • Coastal Ron

              Robert G. Oler said:

              If this was a CVN do you really think the CO would stop flight ops because of this?

              Well to be accurate, this is delaying resupply of the ISS and is something that is not time-critical for the operation of the ISS. With a CVN, it exists to project power with aircraft, so of course they have to be able to launch in all conditions.

              Operating the ISS is teaching us valuable lessons that we have to learn sooner or later, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather learn it in the least costly place in the universe, which is in LEO. Erring on the side of caution for something that has plenty of schedule buffer in not even worth discussing. Who cares if the Cygnus comes this week or next?

              NASA has a facility in space and how long ago was it that they almost drowned the Italian and they still dont have the space suit issue sorted out…how many people have been working on that?

              Yes, and they still don’t have a definitive answer, so they are creating new backups in case it happens again. Are you suggesting that we declare space “hard”, and give up? That safety really should be NASA’s #1 priority?

              People are going to die in space in various ways, and the people that sign up to fly in space know that better than any of us. If we want to learn how to NOT die in space, the ISS is the only place to do that right now.

              Not that everyone agrees, but I think we should be expanding humanity out into space. And right now the ISS is the best way to figure out how to do that, and overall the sustaining costs are not that high. If we can’t figure out how to keep a space station working in LEO, then we might as well shut down NASA and bulldoze KSC.

              • Robert G Oler

                No I am suggesting it is incompetent that they have not found the root cause for the space suit issue. This is not rocket science it is a plumbing issue and how many months has it been? If this happens again and or someone dies the entire program is going to look like it is back in the Challenger Columbia era which it seems we have drifted back to. How many millions in time and effort have been blown?

                The “fall backs” are from a safety standpoint laughable. Robert G Oler

              • Coastal Ron

                Coastal Ron said:

                No I am suggesting it is incompetent that they have not found the root cause for the space suit issue.

                If I recall, the defective suit is still at the ISS awaiting a trip on a Dragon to bring it down to Earth for a real tear-down evaluation. And they obviously have a good idea what the problem is, and they have a backup suit, so I’m not sure why you are so concerned. Has this ever happened before? No, so it’s not like it’s a trend, it’s an anomaly.

                Think about it this way – if they were on a trip to Mars and this happened, they would not cancel the mission because a piece of equipment has a 1-in-a-million failure, you replace it and continue on.

                The “fall backs” are from a safety standpoint laughable.

                Again, since this hasn’t happened before in the decade of use the suit has had, if anything this validates the need for two-way cargo transportation so problems like this can be fully evaluated back on the ground. And they do have backups – other suits and the Russian suits if needed.

                In fact this also points up the need for a U.S. crew transportation system that can carry more than just the minimum crew exchange, since one of the Commercial Crew vehicles could bring up engineers to do evaluations in space when they are doing crew exchanges – they would stay for a few days during the exchange, and ride back down with the crew going home.

                So if anything this whole episode reinforces the need for better transportation options to & from space, and not that “space is too hard, so we might as well go home”.

              • Hiram

                Let me just add that this ISS cooling system malfunction, and EVA repair, is just another example why ISS is important to the future of human space flight. It’s not just a matter of understanding potential problems in space subsystems and improvements in engineering, but it’s a matter of diagnosis and organizing repair when the thing isn’t conveniently on the lab bench and you can’t call in the experts to fix it. As noted above this is about developing confidence in doing hard repairs for a mission that you can’t simply bail out of. That’s as much a cultural strength and a psyche as it is an engineering strength.

                Yeah, we might like to splash the ISS and just set off for Mars, but we really don’t have the skill set nor even the mission psychology to have a lot of confidence in that, because bad things do really happen, and the ultimate embarrassment would be a bad thing that we couldn’t handle. On Apollo 13, for example, we were pretty much just lucky.

        • DCSCA

          “ISS will do litte in the scheme of things other then pull into reality commercial human spaceflight, to help the advancement into space by humans.” realizes RGO.

          Albeit a poor policy decision left over from the Reagan era and the geo-politics of the Cold War days, it served its purpose for an era long over. Today it makes news for systems failures, not science successes.

          • amightywind

            I disagree. ISS does not fulfill Reagan’s vision of Space Station Freedom. Today’s ISS is a holdover from the 1990′s and Clinton’s naive hope of a productive, peaceful relationship with Russia. Those days are long gone. Along with China they are our foremost adversaries in the world. How absurd that we continue to bolster their space program.

            • Coastal Ron

              amightywind said:

              Along with China they are our foremost adversaries in the world.

              And to show our resolve to resist the Chinese, the first thing we should do is go through your house and destroy all the products that say “Made In China”. That will show them, huh? ;-)

            • Robert G. Oler

              Ronaldus the Greats vision for Freedom was never going to happen, like SLS and Orion it was doomed by an incompetent NASA RGO

    • Private US investors need to invest in microgravity research in small Bigelow types of space stations and space tourism in large Bigelow space stations– not a Big Government space station that’s hard to maintain an on its way out!

      Even Bolden says that small space stations are the future of microgravity research– not the ISS– where somebody on an exercise bike can disrupt your experiment.

      We need to move forward and send the ISS too its grave by the end of the decade.

      Marcel

      • Justin Kugler

        I’m actually working in this sphere, Marcel. They want to see proof-of-concept on the ISS first because it doesn’t cost them anything to use the National Lab except the cost of the payload itself and because it’s actually there. They want to see a transition from the existing platform to future platforms to ensure the continuity of investment.

        Your throwaway approach doesn’t allow for such a transition because it fails to take advantage of what we have right in front of us. Do you really think NASA is going to be trusted by Congress to manage the programs you want to see if they can’t get it right with the ISS?

    • Vladislaw

      Utilizing the space shuttle doubled the cost of the ISS. Lets keep a few things in perspective. First, because of congressional pork you can take off the table any sort of mean and lean program under NASA. It doesn’t matter if a commercial option is there as long as the new option gets rid of the standing army in my district it isn’t going to happen.

      NASA is not directed by congress to find a lean and efficient station that employees the least amount of people, so you can take your pie in the sky government ANYTHING program being cost effective and works the way you want off the slideshow.

      Marcel, we have what we have, and though the just the station and program cost about 48 billion, (subtracting the launch costs) we got something for the money. Constellation 12 billion, 30 billion of the SLS and 16 billion for Orion .. and what are we getting for that 60 billion?

      To date, one test launch of old parts, that didn’t even go suborbital.

      I will take what we have orbiting in LEO for the last decade for what we have gained the last decade in our dreams of the big rocket and a lunar return.

  • DCSCA

    The only valid piece of waste in this report is $23,000 for a portrait of quitter Lori Garver. Ironic, too, as the champion for NASA’s poison pill known as private enterprised space efforts is getting a painting on the taxpayer’s dollar to take up wall space instead. Musk should pick up the tab for this.

    Coburn is another one of these attention seeking, penny wise, pound foolish, radit, righ-wing conservatives, famously familiar to Fox viewers and chummy with weak minded fellow travellers like MSNBC’s Joe Scarrborough, who avoids reporting space news on his 3-hour morning show like potholes in a Florida interstate along the Redneck Riviera.

    • Robert G. Oler

      No Morning Joe has some good coverage of Ares IX or whatever it was called, the 1 billion dolar sounding rocket “Bet that cost 5 bilion dollars” exclaimed Mika. she was close RGO

  • Fred Willett

    Private space stations (Bigelow) require commercial crew.
    The more commercial crew slips due to under funding of ccicap the longer Bigelow is forced to wait.

  • Fred Willett

    Official portraits of high govt officials is something that has always been done. Will always be done. It doesn’t matter if the official is good or bad. It is part of the record of their service.

  • Here is the Green Ninja Project’s official response to the Senator’s report:

  • Here is the Green Ninja Project’s official response to the Senator’s report:
    http://greenninja.org/team/response-to-senator-coburns-wastebook-2013/

  • DCSCA

    “The government doesn’t build space rockets. Private industry does.”

    That would be news to the folks who brought you Sputnik.

    • Vladislaw

      Sputnik wasn’t a space rocket.

    • Ben Russell-Gough

      It’s worth remembering that the R7 rocket was originally developed as a ballistic missile specifically to launch a hydrogen bomb (its lift power based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation of what such a device would weigh). It was Korolev’s personal, private and exceedingly unofficial dream of space flight that made Sputnik and Vostok happen. Indeed, the official line from the Moscow Academy of Sciences until fairly late in the day was that orbital space-flight was a ‘distraction’ of dubious political reliability.

      So, you are actually 100% wrong. It was a few men’s personal vision, held for years against official scorn and even open hostility, that made space-flight happen when and how it did.

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://spaceflightnow.com/station/exp38/131218spacewalks/#.UrRNS38aySM

    caption the picture of the “spacewalk officer” holding up the “snorkel” which they hope might save the guy in the EVA suit that almost drowned the Italian…wonder how many “people hours” went into this joke

    wonder why NASA cant make headway. This is idiotic

    Robert G. Oler

  • John Malkin

    This book is a waste of time. It would seem to be time would be better writing bills to de-fund some serious waste. Of course most of the waste is used as negotiating tools in budget battles.

    Clear sustainable practical goals that last more than one administration would reduce the wandering waste. NASA HSF shouldn’t be at the whim of Congress well actually the science committees. It would better to have a Decadal Survey for HSF science and engineering just like we have for unmanned NASA programs. We should develop mission classes similar to the discover, explorer and flagship with equivalent goals. Focus and direction will reduce cost and waste not petty bickering.

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