NASA, States

In its Aerospace Day proclamation, Colorado legislators demand accelerated space program

The letter from House members calling on the White House for a “vision and timeline” for space exploration looks positively mild compared to what they’re asking for in Colorado. In a resolution passed by the Colorado Legislature designating Monday as “Colorado Aerospace Day,” members criticized the federal government for ceding the lead in human spaceflight. “At the dawn of the space age, there were two nations that could put people into space — the United States and the Soviet Union,” the resolution states. “Today there are still two nations that can put people into space, but the United States is no longer one of them.”

In the resolution, which also commends the Colorado Space Business Roundtable for forming a chapter of Citizens for Space Exploration, legislators call on the federal government to accelerate human spaceflight development efforts, including “regaining the ability of the United States to deliver persons and cargo to space by 2015.” The resolution doesn’t specify how to do that, but does go on to call on NASA to commit to “sending persons to destinations such as the moon, Lagrange points, asteroids, and Mars within this decade or as soon as technologically possible.” NASA’s current plans call for the first crewed flight of its Orion spacecraft, launched on a Space Launch System rocket, in 2021 on a mission in cislunar space, which would presumably not meet the “this decade” goal of the resolution.

19 comments to In its Aerospace Day proclamation, Colorado legislators demand accelerated space program

  • Vladislaw

    They should have criticized, ad nausum, the Porkonauts in congress, BY NAME and VOTING RECORD… over and over and over… and then .. one more time.

  • Let’s see, who builds Orion … Lockheed Martin.

    Where is Lockheed Martin headquartered … Colorado.


    • Hiram

      I have less indigestion with this than with U.S. congressional porkification. U.S. Congress is fundamentally supposed to be looking out for the better interests of the nation. But they’re really in it to line their own pockets as their constituents have their own pockets lined. Here Colorado legislators are trying to help Colorado. I can’t fault them for that. By the way, there are MANY aerospace industries setting up in Colorado, and not just in SW Denver.

    • Rhyolite

      Actually, I think LM is headquartered in Bethesda, MD.

  • Deploying reusable lunar landers and orbital transfer vehicles for a lunar fuel producing outpost is the most logical way to utilize the SLS. Such a cis-lunar architecture could also give Commercial Crew companies capable of reaching LEO, easy access to the lunar surface by the mid 2020s– possibly expanding space tourism all the way to the lunar surface.

    But the current administration has taken the Moon off the table and is more interested in NASA dreaming about the future– rather than making it happen.

    Since the Obama administration clearly has very little interest in the future of NASA, Congress is going to have to set its own agenda for NASA’s human space program.


    • Neil Shipley

      Idiot! Sorry, didn’t mean to get personal but FGS Marcel, it was Congress who have funded SLS and MPCV and who have NOT funded lunar landers, otv’s or other lunar infrastructure. The current administration didn’t take the Moon off the table, it was Congress – repeatedly.
      You’re right, once the WH realised what Congress was about then why spend political capital beating a dead horse.

    • Hiram

      Yep, that’s the most logical way to use the SLS. Too bad the money isn’t there to do it. That would make it somewhat less than logical, though, and perhaps just ideally logical. Of course, given that the ideally logical use for SLS isn’t going to happen, the practically logical approach is probably just to cut SLS off at the knees.

      OK, Congress is going to set its own agenda for NASA’s human program, just like they did by funding a launcher for humans that no one can afford to use. What comes next? Maybe a habitat for Europa that no one can afford to send there. Gotta have some admiration for ideally logical agendas.

    • Vladislaw

      The most logical thing to do with SLS is immediatley retire it and move it to a musuem of failed space archtectures….

  • guest

    I am basically in agreement with Stephen C. Smith, though not necessarily I believe it is simple pork for Colorado.

    Fact is Lockheed/Colorado is building Orion, and fact is they have been under contract since the start. Even if the NASA people were too stupid to lead the establishment of bona fide requirements or the definition of a ‘safe, simple, soon’ solution for the loss of Shuttle. Lockheed Colorado fully shared responsibility with the apparently clueless NASA leadership and have been totally complicit in not developing the solution on the expedited basis that was required. There is plenty of fault and responsibility to go around and Lockheed Colorado fully shares in the failure.

    • common sense

      “Lockheed Colorado fully shared responsibility with the apparently clueless NASA leadership and have been totally complicit in not developing the solution on the expedited basis that was required.”

      I don’t think you understand the NASA-contractor relationship.

      • guest

        I understand the relationship however when the contractor finds they cannot do the job they’ve been contracted for thanks to lousy NASA leadership or misdirection, they owe it to themselves and the taxpayer to speak up.

        • common sense

          No I am afraid you don’t understand the relationship. It is not the contarctor’s responsibility to speak up and certainly not to speak up to the taxpayer. Their responsibility ends with the delivery of the product, service or whatever it is they were contracted to do. They are only liable so to speak to the contracting organization for delivering what they promised they would. In that case NASA is in charge, for better… or worse.

  • red

    Sierra Nevada Corporation and United Launch Alliance are also in Colorado, so I’m sure they’d like commercial crew accelerated, too. Commercial crew is the only way to even approach their 2015 date for crew.

  • James

    Can Russia Annex Colorado? Stop SLS.Orion in its tracks!

  • James

    Russia should Annex Colorado to put the kabosh on Orion; Then Congress will see fit to fully fund commercial crew.

  • Malmesbury

    The current Orion program is a result of the interactions of politics with reality.

    1) Must be too big for EELV
    2) Must use legacy concepts
    3) Must launch on a vehicle using SRB derived tech on the first stage

    1) led to the battleship Orion. Too big for its parachutes
    2) led to a simple up scaling of the Apollo shape. AVOCAT heat shield. This led to even more weight – poor scaling
    3) led to the need for a giant LAS to escape the debris cloud. This led to heavy structures to support the LAS and survive its pull. Features were brutally chopped from Orion as Ares I failed to meet it’s requirements. At the end, despite an insanely high max dynamic pressure etc, Ares I was only able to get a cut down Orion into a suborbital trajectory – Orion had to make the orbital burn itself…

    So you have a massively overweight, under featured vehicle.

    Politics are still at work. An engineer at NASA just got a kicking for writing a proposal to replace the heat shield for Orion. The replacement material he suggested is flight tested, and would be lighter for a more capable shield. The existing one can do only a return from the moon. Mars return would need more shielding.

    Guess what he was proposing?

    • common sense

      If it is what I think it is there are unsolved issues with it since it is a tiled TPS. Namely the gap-fillers. Can it be solved? I guess we’ll know soon enough… I doubt though that this alone would save Orion. Seriously doubt. I always doubted Orion would fly. If it ever does it will be similar to the Ares-1X, a one-off event. Sad. Very sad.

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