A Healthy Take on NASA

Just read Dan Schmelzer’s take on this whole NASA business:

To my mind, the manned spaceflight portion of NASA is a parasite on the American people. It’s now a jobs program for rocketeers. I look at it rather benignly, though. It’s a waste of money, but no more than that. NASA doesn’t stop anybody from doing what they want to do. No small, innovative companies — those who will form the backbone of future space activity — are going broke because of NASA. On the other hand, I discount heavily the potential good that NASA can do for the industry.

Because of this view, to my mind the best thing to do is to ignore NASA’s manned spaceflight activities. It would be boring to follow it anyway.

Amen. As someone on one of the MSM websites put it “its the yawn of a new era”.

It’s more fun to follow SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace, and potentially Scaled Composites and Armadillo Aerospace once their orbital programs come into sharper focus.

It’ll be nice once we at MSS actually get something flying so people can start speculating about our future plans too. 🙂

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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7 Responses to A Healthy Take on NASA

  1. Mark says:

    Jon, you might want to check your company’s site. The address you gave comes with the following message:
    “Warning: main(/etc/wordpress/config-www.masten-space.com.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /etc/wordpress/wp-config.php on line 6

    Fatal error: main(): Failed opening required ‘/etc/wordpress/config-www.masten-space.com.php’ (include_path=’.:/usr/share/php:/usr/share/pear’) in /etc/wordpress/wp-config.php on line 6″

  2. Jon Goff says:

    Mark,
    Thanks for pointing that out. Weird. Not sure why it’s doing that, but apparently if you take the www out of the url, it works fine. Sent an email to our website guy to take a look at it. Fixed the link so it should work now.
    ~Jon

  3. Brian Dunbar says:

    Amen. As someone on one of the MSM websites put it “its the yawn of a new era”.

    Start up space companies have advantages over NASA.

    Scaled showed it can be done.

    NASA is huge, lumbering and ‘cratic. Startups are nimble. Goliath, meet David. Now, where is that sling?

    Americans like to root for the scrappy underdog.

    Challening the establishment, then doing it better, faster, cheaper, is an American tradition.

    Cute idea – the various competitors in this arena club together to sponser a very special lunar mission. It’s sole purpose is to land, days before the NASA return to the mooon flight, at their landing site. Robot arms deploy a sign after the NASA mission touches down;

    “WELCOME ASTRONAUTS”

    If we want to be cheeky a second sign can say

    “Now what TOOK you guys so long?”

    The entire show is beamed back to the internet of course.

  4. larry says:

    Get a good sit or if you want to play get your rocket engineering gear together.

    I think the next 12 years can be summed up as NASA vs. The Other Space Players, who are composed of other countries and private space program.

    Given the technologies that exist today and being developed, plus motivation. I would place my bets on the other players.

    Rather then a yawn, it will be race that will start heating up.

    I look at Rutan, China, others and compare there velocity of developoment to NASA. Lets be honest this is NASA last big vision – I doudt NASA will exist in 15 years.

    Funny thing about those cold equations they work for anyone who learns how to engineer with them.

  5. Mike Puckett says:

    “Cute idea – the various competitors in this arena club together to sponser a very special lunar mission. It’s sole purpose is to land, days before the NASA return to the mooon flight, at their landing site. Robot arms deploy a sign after the NASA mission touches down;

    “WELCOME ASTRONAUTS”

    If we want to be cheeky a second sign can say

    “Now what TOOK you guys so long?”

    The entire show is beamed back to the internet of course.”

    I would perfer simply scrawling a giant “Kilroy Was Here” in the Regolith so the astronauts could see it as they approached the landing site.

  6. Michael Mealling says:

    The various versions of the website have been fixed. Apparently WordPress snuck in some changes to their templating/theme setup. If anyone sees any more wonkiness please let me know.

  7. Patrick says:

    As NASA has chosen its path and that path doesn’t end at the doors of SpaceX, Bigelow, Scaled, or t/Space, I’d suggest looking for the positives, if only for your mental health. For instance:

    1. The ISS crew/cargo bone. Of course, this may be snatched away at the first sign of trouble.

    2. A NASA lunar base will provide the same potential benefits for alt.space that the ISS crew/cargo bone now provides: an engineering target on which to baseline capabilities, and a marketing target with which to cajole investors. Won’t lunar bases need resupply too? And if t/Space or someone else succeeds bigtime at ISS resupply, NASA will find it more difficult to deny the benefits of commercial lunar resupply.

    3. The current situation is much to be preferred to that obtaining just a couple years ago, when NASA personnel couldn’t even discuss human planetary exploration without fear of being taken away in the night.

    It’s not all bad!

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