Hilarious

I know I shouldn’t feed the troll, but Mark Whittington is sometimes amusing.  On his blog, he quoted a commenter to NASAWatch:

A commenter named Robert B. has a great answer:

Congress doesn’t trust NASA’s administrators to follow the will of Congress. The admins have proven that they will use the letter of the law to circumvent the intent of Congress. So Congress feels they need to be very specific about what they want done, to the point of being too specific. I don’t blame Congress, but it’s less than optimal I agree.

I think we need new NASA administrators once Congress has passed this budget. The current admins were picked in order to dismantle Constellation and move Obamaspace forward. Now that’s over with, we need administrators who are skilled in executing a space exploration program, and that Congress can trust.

This is all amusing, because the only reason Bolden was picked was because Congress thought he was going to be a shuttle-hugging lapdog for Congressional interests. That because he had been an astronaut, and had flown Nelson on the Shuttle that somehow he’d be easy to control to keep the pork flowing to their district. There were several other potential people for administrator who were probably more qualified, who “had skill in executing space exploration programs” (like say Steve Isakowitz), who were passed over explicitly because Congress didn’t want someone who knew what they were doing.

The problem is Congress (and most NASA fanboys) still don’t want an administrator who is actually innovative and knows what they’re doing. Because a NASA admin who knew what they were doing would do an even better job of pointing out how stupid it is to design an HLV *right now* when you don’t even know what the mission for it is, won’t have any hardware to use it, and will be stuck paying for it for decades to come. They want the status quo to continue so they can keep using NASA as a way to funnel benefits to their constituents at the nation’s expense.

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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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29 Responses to Hilarious

  1. And water’s wet. You run NASA with the Congress you have, not the one you want, and this Congress wants their 50 state supply chain for something. The question is this–is lambasting Congressional folly more important than opening up cheap access to space? If so, then by all means, stand on FY2011 on principle–insofar as the budget actually represents a principled stand on space access. You’ll lose, but you’ll feel good about yourself.

    If not, then perhaps its time to start thinking about prioritizing the other half of the budget. Let’s put it this way. FY2011 budgets upwards $4 billion a year for Big Science. Apparently upwards $2.2 billion a year is slated for “Earth science.” Sure, ULA gets a heft slice as Fedex for the professors, but ULA would also like a stake in manned space, right? That just leaves the Saganites out in the cold, and I’m willing to bet that crowd is a lot easier to knock off than the Shuttle supply chain interests.

  2. President Obama has shown extremely little interest in NASA or space and rarely mentions the space program. Obama clearly didn’t want NASA and its vendors building anything or going anywhere. In fact, President Obama seemed rather irritated that he had to address NASA at all. He seems to have a rather Nixonian hostility towards NASA.

    So Democrats and Republicans in Congress clearly had no choice but to fill in the vacuum due to the lack of commitment from the Executive branch since Obama apparently wanted to turn NASA into a multi-billion dollar a year make-work program designed to build nothing and to go nowhere which would have set NASA up for huge funding cuts in the near future (Its easy to cut the space program if there is no program).

  3. Tom D says:

    I’ve thought for some time now that the Constellation Program was best thought of as something to keep government bureaucracy busy with a Big Plan while a small part of the space budget (i.e. COTS and COTS-D) is used to help foster a commercial market in human spaceflight. Eventually, I imagine that it would be hard to deny the utility of existing, functioning commercial lift to LEO. Orion would then be relegated to purely beyond earth orbit missions.

    Calling for the cancellation of the whole Constellation Program rather than “updating” the Big Plan seems to have been a mistake. Canceling Ares 1 and putting Orion on EELVs would have been a great update without much disruption. It is not, however, the first time that this administration has naively thought that completely repudiating the previous administration’s plans was the way to turn the ship of state on a dime. I think that in time this could be straightened out with a more reasonable compromise, but that will probably be something for the next Congress to work on.

    I’d rather see a functioning commercial market in human spaceflight in LEO than yet another Big Plan that goes nowhere. At this point it looks like the most useful thing to come out of Constellation are the CxP requirements documents. There is a LOT of spaceflight experience distilled there (along with unneeded complexities and some misconception too no doubt), but I have skimmed many of these documents and think that they could be very useful to anyone who wants to develop human spaceflight. Perhaps the spirit of the old NACA is still there underneath after all.

  4. Can’t switch to ULA launchers without upsetting the apple cart. In a sentence, the Big Plan is to keep the spigot open for the Shuttle motor and facility supply chain.

  5. Mark, huh? Obama has mentioned NASA more than any president since the Apollo era. What’s your point of comparison?

    “Obama apparently wanted to turn NASA into a multi-billion dollar a year make-work program designed to build nothing and to go nowhere which would have set NASA up for huge funding cuts in the near future”

    No.. that’s what Congress wants to do. The President’s FY11 budget request was designed to actually achieve things, not make jobs, that’s why Congress didn’t like it. And you don’t have to take my word for that, they’ve said so, on the record.

  6. Obama has mentioned NASA more than any president since the Apollo era.

    Not sure how you figure. A crude comparison of the searches “Obama nasa speech” and ““george w. bush” nasa speech” has Bush beating Obama 10 to 1.

    No.. that’s what Congress wants to do. The President’s FY11 budget request was designed to actually achieve things, not make jobs, that’s why Congress didn’t like it. And you don’t have to take my word for that, they’ve said so, on the record.

    No need to inflate the significance of FY2011 or misrepresent the Congressional response. FY 2005 read like it was “designed to actually achieve things” as well, and was the product of an Administration interpreting some august body’s laundry list of recommendations. Hell, even NasaSpaceFlight was still a year short of a good gripe. Look how well that turned out.

    As for Congress’s pork inclinations: if you think “achieving” vaguely defined “things” is more important than “mak[ing] jobs,” I’d suggest you spare yourself the money and sweat and not run for Congress. For better or worse, we’ve been pouring half of NASA’s annual budget into the 50 states for decades. You’ve entire cities in Florida that have grown up around the space industry, and those cities are full of voters who’ve grown used to living off the federal tit. For a budget request that was supposedly designed to “actually achieve things,” seems the first thing it should’ve looked to address was its own passage through Congress.

  7. Correction. Here’s the link to ““george w. bush” speech.”

  8. Robert G. Oler says:

    Whittington aside, it is actually very impressive the job Bolden has done changing course. Change does not come easily in DC, particularly when the only thing at interest is pork; ie there is no great circumstances that change if the program changes…and yet more or less if the Senate bill becomes Law, Bolden et al have done it.

    NASA and HSF will be forever changed (I think for the better) and it is unlikely that in 2012 or 2016 that someone will come along who cares to reverse it.

    Robert G. Oler

  9. Paul says:

    Hi Presley, random thoughts…

    TW:”Obama has mentioned NASA more than any president since the Apollo era.
    PC:”Not sure how you figure. A crude comparison of the searches “Obama nasa speech” and ““george w. bush” nasa speech” has Bush beating Obama 10 to 1.

    Don’t forget that Bush’s total includes the loss of Columbia, and then the subsequent cancellation of the shuttle program and “Vision” announcement. That’s a bunch of speeches right there.

    However this seems to be his first mention of NASA: “Feb 28, 2001 – In his televised address, [George W. Bush] announced the outlines of a budget approaching $2 trillion (US), favouring education, law enforcement and other popular programs, while curbing growth in NASA …”

    And: “When Bush came to power, he cut just about everything in the NASA programme apart from Mars.”

    Hardly a fanboi. He seems to have largely ignored NASA until Columbia. Which is odd considering his own dad famously proposed a Moon/Mars program and his brother was Governor of Florida! (Coincidentally, like Obama, there was even a 6 month period after the election where Bush neither reconfirmed the previous NASA Director, nor announced a replacement.)

    (I’m too tired to trawl through every reference, but a quick look at your search shows most links are about Bush & NASA, not about specific speeches. You’d have to dig deeper to do a speech count. Hmmm, your best bet would be to search just one or two space-advocacy sites. I’d expect them to pick up on and blog about every single Presidential mention of NASA.)

  10. The exercise wasn’t to show that Bush made more speeches about NASA than Obama, but to raise skepticism about the claim that Obama has talked more about NASA than any President since the Apollo era. Best as I can tell, that came out of thin air.

    I don’t think a measure of a President’s interest in space coincides with his willingness to throw money at it. If in 2001 you thought NASA was best suited for sinking huge outlays into an otherwise useless space station and taking pretty pictures of the cosmos, then you’d be disappointed even before they announced VSE. If not, then you’d be disappointed that we even bothered with Mars Odyssey in the first place.

  11. Uh huh. Name a previous sitting President who has declared his support for NASA dozens of times, spoken fondly of his childhood memories of astronauts, gone to headquarters to talk to astronauts in orbit, etc. Back when he hadn’t said much everyone was declaring the Obama hates NASA and wants to cut it. Obama says lots of wonderful things about NASA, submits a budget request that increases the topline budget, and people like Marcel continue to say that it must be some kind of trick.

    Then there’s the accusations of secret cabals and other sorts of stupidity.

  12. Like I said, I don’t know where the hell your statistics are coming from; as such, they’re not worth debating.

    What President doesn’t say wonderful things about NASA? Americans would make a great deal more headway in space if we had one who was more of a critic. Throwing billions at an agency isn’t a sign of commitment, it’s a sign of apathy. Americans have been doing just that for decades without giving much thought to how the organization chooses and resources its priorities (or in NASA’s case, doesn’t). The result is half a decade wasted on a launcher that’s not going anywhere, decades more wasted on a science shop that can justify $650 million to test GRT ad nauseum and another couple billion to see if water exists on a plot of land no one will ever occupy, and zero return on American’s investment in the whole mess.

    Also, Marcel didn’t accuse Obama of wanting to cut NASA’s budget. On the contrary, he specifically accused him of recasting the agency as a center for multi-billion dollar make work–which in turn would make it easier to cut by some interested party down the road. Given the complete forswearing of strategy and priorities in FY2011, I’m inclined to agree. It’s one thing to recognize that Augustine made one good point about commercial buys, it’s another to confuse the directionless mess that made up the overall substance of Flexible Path for an actual way forward into space.

  13. Chris (Robotbeat) says:

    The fact is, FY2011 as proposed by Obama, actually paid for _payloads_, not just yet-another-NASA-launch-vehicle. Space is HUGE. There are far more interesting things about space than the trip to orbit. Yet, it seems Congress wants a socialized launch vehicle, even if that means sucking funds from actual payloads. It’s so dumb. It’s like… spending ALL of your vacation money on the most expensive airline ticket possible, leaving no money for SCUBA diving, a Hotel, food, rental car, cruise, etc, even when there are other, much more reasonable, airline tickets available. The launch vehicle is supposed to be just a small part of the overall mission budget, not the biggest part!

    And, vaguely defined? Isn’t it NASA’s job to define them?

    Congress should realize that pork can be just as good if it actually DOES something productive, like building actual exploration spacecraft (transfer vehicle, lander, etc), instead of just building a socialized version of something already offered by multiple companies (launch vehicles, that is).

  14. “Also, Marcel didn’t accuse Obama of wanting to cut NASA’s budget. On the contrary, he specifically accused him of recasting the agency as a center for multi-billion dollar make work–which in turn would make it easier to cut by some interested party down the road.”

    Yes, that’s what I said.. oh, it must be some kind of trick!! Obama is recasting NASA to do stuff that will be cut later! It’s all a conspiracy!

    “It’s one thing to recognize that Augustine made one good point about commercial buys, it’s another to confuse the directionless mess that made up the overall substance of Flexible Path for an actual way forward into space.”

    It isn’t a soundbite. Go watch the 80+ hours of public consultation and read the report that came out of it, plus all the supporting material that was published to back it up, and the decades of study that have gone into it. If you think the only thing of value that came out of the HSF Review Committee last year was “about commercial buys” then you obviously haven’t.

    Now, if you want to make a serious argument as to why this administration has failed (and I know you do) then look no further than the political ineptitude of the rollout of the new direction. Here’s a good argument by Bob Zimmerman which is a rewrite of an earlier attempt with some of the overt Obama-bashing removed (which isn’t to say Bob is partisan, he bashes whoever is in office).

  15. The fact is, FY2011 as proposed by Obama, actually paid for _payloads_, not just yet-another-NASA-launch-vehicle.

    So did FY2010 and FY2009, or any budget with a ULA launch.

    Space is HUGE. There are far more interesting things about space than the trip to orbit.

    “Far more interesting things.” You see, this is where you lose people and why Congress defaults to its go to interest: “protecting jobs.” Six years ago, we set out to return to the Moon–permanently; to prospect it, to open it up for real exploitation and settlement. The goal was easily communicated, and a real, if risky, opportunity for return on the investment was easily understand. Congress got behind the effort enough to that they pretty much killed the shuttle, on the promise that the underlying supply chain would be protected. We now know that those two goals were wholly incompatible, and here comes Augustine with a damn near throwaway proposal to buy cheap rides to…well, nowhere in particular. Commercial buy is a good instinct, but Flexible Path and its realization in the FY2011 request didn’t bother to set a strategy, and certainly didn’t compromise on all the billions worth of pointless NOAA and Saganite crap NASA’s up to its knees in. No, instead Congress got a vague promise to do some “interesting things” if only she kills thousands of jobs yet continues to fund NASA up to $20 billion a year.

    Yet, it seems Congress wants a socialized launch vehicle, even if that means sucking funds from actual payloads.

    Congress doesn’t care about the vehicle. She cares about the jobs attached to the vehicle’s development. That’s it. If the Flexible Path proponents were anywhere near as serious as they like to pretend to be, we wouldn’t even be talking about Constellation. We’d be talking about axing $2 billion a year for Earth science, another $2 billion for space telescopes and orbital experiments, and we’d demand the ISS de-orbit by 2015. There’s your money for commercial space development.

    NASA isn’t Congress. Certain interests in the agency have tight ties with the Hill, but almost half–and they amount to at least $4 billion a year–don’t. That the Administration apparently didn’t even contemplate taking on this low hanging fruit tells me two things: Obama sees NASA principally as an agency to take pretty pictures of space and promote his climate change agenda, and that commercial space at the expense of ATK was just a way for him to free up billions more for such inanity.

  16. Yes, that’s what I said.. oh, it must be some kind of trick!! Obama is recasting NASA to do stuff that will be cut later! It’s all a conspiracy!

    I wouldn’t call it a conspiracy, anymore than I’d call ESAS a conspiracy to kill the settlement of space.

    It isn’t a soundbite. Go watch the 80+ hours of public consultation and read the report that came out of it, plus all the supporting material that was published to back it up, and the decades of study that have gone into it.

    1) Done, 2) done and 3) I don’t think anyone’s gone that far. Either way, that’s my point. Flexible Path is a mess precisely because nobody bothered to distill the ideas floating into Augustine into a communicable, profitable strategy. It’s in fact a recommendation that NASA completely abrogate its responsibility to justify its expenditure, so long as she’s not spending on Constellation and within a $20 billion a year peak. Its supporters are divided between true believers and a more cynical class that–for whatever reason–believed the budget would buy NewSpace sufficient room and funding to bring real vehicles to market, just in time for a President with his head out of his ass to make use of them.

    Beyond that, FY2011 is $6 billion ISS life extension, a quarter stupid Carl Sagan and tree-hugger crap, and a quarter playing nice with other agencies. Heavy-lifters, commercial, and the robotic prospectors get to fight over the last slice.

  17. Now, if you want to make a serious argument as to why this administration has failed (and I know you do) then look no further than the political ineptitude of the rollout of the new direction. Here’s a good argument by Bob Zimmerman…

    From Zimmerman, excising all the fluff and political gnashing of teeth:

    Instead, Obama threw [Congress] nothing, and they are thus trying to throw nothing right back at him.

    That is my argument, though he’s gotta be smoking something if he thinks that Congess is just going to swallow an extension of Shuttle life if she doesn’t have to; we’re long past that and Constellation is the job driver in the key districts today. So why pick a fight? You’re only asking for $3 or so billion a year; it’s not as if NASA doesn’t have that kind of money elsewhere, and I’m sure ATK line worker beats college professor any day of the week.

  18. If you think the only thing of value that came out of the HSF Review Committee last year was “about commercial buys” then you obviously haven’t.

    Please, enlighten me. Name one other thing besides commercial buy that came out of Augustine?

  19. Chris (Robotbeat) says:

    You made a good point about all the other ULA launches… it seems the unmanned parts of NASA are the least fracked up right now, and they do deserve some praise for the awesome work they’ve done (not to say they don’t have problems with budget over-runs, but at least they have something to show for it!).

    Constellation wasn’t going to do any lunar development, and certainly not anything like settlement. It didn’t have the budget for Altair, didn’t have the budget for ISRU (which Obama added, BTW, in so-called “robotic precursor missions”), didn’t have the budget for Ares V, and, heck, didn’t even have the budget to finish Ares I. Any talk of lunar bases was almost completely irrelevant to reality by the time Obama did anything. And there was no way in heck there was any kind of budget to stay “permanently” on the Moon with the architecture that management at NASA and some parts of Congress had decided on (i.e. a launch vehicle which maximizes pork and forces a choice between program failure and huge budget increases).

    It’s not like commercial development takes much money. That’s just a small part of Obama’s FY2011 proposal. It’s about reinvesting in R&D and demonstrating feasible and promising (but non-traditional) technologies that could really make a big improvement on traditional exploration architectures… things like:
    Advanced Solar Electric Propulsion
    In-Orbit Propellant Transfer and Storage
    Lightweight/Inflatable Modules
    Aerocapture and/or entry, descent and landing (EDL) technology (needed for any manned mission to Mars)
    Automated/Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking (that’s right, we still don’t have this nailed down!)
    Closed–loop life support system demonstration at the ISS
    and the ISRU demonstrations under the robotic precursor category

    So, yup, just pretty pictures of space and climate change agenda. You’re right.

  20. Yes, we know Constellation wasn’t going to meet any of its strategic objectives beyond–maybe–fielding Ares I under any realistic budgetary conditions. That doesn’t change the fact that Constellation embodied a strategy–VSE–or that Congress nominally bought into those objectives.

    Flexible Path has none. Augustine produced a series of aspirations, one justified, the rest seemingly pulled out of thin air. One that sticks in my craw the worst is the notion that some speculative Mars mission constitutes progress along their Human Settlement and Economic Expansion axes.

    Commercial development may not take much money, but I make the case that if government has any role in expanding mankind into space, it’s to spend money to speed things up as best as possible. I won’t even speculate whether five years from now we’ll even be talking about the published solutions we toss around now, but it’s worth axing Science if money speeds up the search for the cheapest possible way into space.

  21. From Zimmerman:

    As for going back to the Moon, to Mars, or the asteroids, let us please get real. We will not be doing any of these things for many decades. Just getting Americans back into orbit will be challenge enough.

    Talk about small ball. If Americans can wait this long to go back to the Moon, then Science can wait a little less for a cheaper launcher. Seriously, space advocates are their own worst enemy.

  22. Paul says:

    “we know Constellation wasn’t going to meet any of its strategic objectives beyond–maybe–fielding Ares I under any realistic budgetary conditions. That doesn’t change the fact that Constellation embodied a strategy–VSE–or that Congress nominally bought into those objectives. Flexible Path has none.”

    I have to call BS on this. If the vague unfunded promises of VSE constitute a strategy then the vague unfunded promises of FP do so even more.

    VSE promised a HLV and a permanent moon-base. None of which was remotely funded. And in the process of failing, it was already killing off other avenues of research.

    FP promised asteroid missions and maybe visits to Mars’ moons. None of that was funded either. But at least the long-neglected basic tools would be explored (as listed by Chris).

    In other words, judged by their vague unfunded promises, both programs were equivalent. But in terms of what would have actually been funded by each program, FP wins hands down.

    “but it’s worth axing Science if money speeds up the search for the cheapest possible way into space.” (And similar comments throughout this thread.)

    I can’t really get my head around the idea of someone who is interested in human space-flight but so hostile to space science. I get that some people don’t like science, but those people always hate manned space travel. And plenty of space advocates support science over human-flight. But supporting human space-flight while holding space science in such contempt, I don’t think I’ve ever come across that before. Frankly, it’s just weird.

  23. The fundamental finding of the Augustine committee was that you need $3B/year more to do anything worthwhile in HSF beyond LEO. There was only two real recommendations that the report made, everything else being options, the first being to *change nothing* and keep Constellation struggling along unless you’re willing to pony up that extra $3B/year.

    As Paul Spudis is fond of saying, it would have gotten to the Moon eventually.. say, 2040 or so? And remember that the goal of Constellation was Mars, not just the Moon, so maybe around 2090 there’d be an attempt? After a few hundred government employees, 6 or so a year, had spent 50 years soaking up radiation on the Moon.

    In my opinion the administration rejected this because it’s a pathetic jobs program. Instead, they decided to focus on the other recommendation made, and I call it a recommendation because it was in all the other options: fund commercial crew and restart sensible technology development. With these two the cost of doing something worthwhile beyond LEO could be reduced so you don’t need the $3B/year.

    This was an option the Augustine committee really didn’t present but, from a non-political point of view, it works. Unfortunately, you need the political point of view, and they failed to come up with one. So if there’s any commercial crew or technology development funding coming from NASA it is going to be scraps.

    If you agree that you need either a bigger budget or technology development and real commercial involvement to make the bigger budget unnecessary, then we’re up shit creek right now. Without the bigger budget all the money to be poured into heavy lift is just going down the drain, that’s why the President’s direction called for no more than 5 years of study, to figure out how to do affordable and sustainable heavy lift, or develop technology that makes is unnecessary.

  24. Oh, I guess there was one other recommendation… linking NASA to national interests. That’s why the climate change stuff is being pushed.

  25. I have to call BS on this. If the vague unfunded promises of VSE constitute a strategy then the vague unfunded promises of FP do so even more.

    I’m not talking about vague, unfunded promises, which is a problem with damn near any federal “initiative” and its subsequent authorization. I’m talking about the strategy. VSE said, “we’re going to start settling space. To start, we’re going to build a permanent base on the Moon. To do so, we’re going to pick such and such launch architecture that will get crew, supply, and such and such ISRU from Earth to the Moon.” For all its faults in execution, that is a strategy.

    FP promised asteroid missions and maybe visits to Mars’ moons. None of that was funded either. But at least the long-neglected basic tools would be explored (as listed by Chris).

    FP promises none of those things, but instead says “let me get back to you ‘I don’t know how many’ years and let’s see what technology can do for us then.” And if the FP advocates were serious about doing even that much–as opposed to rattling off about a series of solutions–then they would’ve knocked off the cosmic navel-gazers at NASA instead of going for the jugular of the only space constituency Congress gives a damn about.

    I can’t really get my head around the idea of someone who is interested in human space-flight but so hostile to space science. I get that some people don’t like science, but those people always hate manned space travel. And plenty of space advocates support science over human-flight. But supporting human space-flight while holding space science in such contempt, I don’t think I’ve ever come across that before. Frankly, it’s just weird.

    That’s funny, because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of FP advocates who spit and moan at the price tag of Constellation and have no problems with spending upwards $4 billion a year on agency activity that has zero return now and zero potential for sparking growth going forward. $4 billion that they could use to advance what I assumed was their principal reason for even being in the game in the first place, expanding access to space beyond the privileged few.

  26. The fundamental finding of the Augustine committee was that you need $3B/year more to do anything worthwhile in HSF beyond LEO. There was only two real recommendations that the report made, everything else being options, the first being to *change nothing* and keep Constellation struggling along unless you’re willing to pony up that extra $3B/year.

    Yes, Constellation was failing. I’m pretty sure we knew that before Augustine came out and said it.

    As Paul Spudis is fond of saying, it would have gotten to the Moon eventually.. say, 2040 or so? And remember that the goal of Constellation was Mars, not just the Moon, so maybe around 2090 there’d be an attempt?

    Moon’s not a bad consolation prize, if you can keep it. In fact, it’s worth more than Mars.

    After a few hundred government employees, 6 or so a year, had spent 50 years soaking up radiation on the Moon.

    Who needs a large colony of government employees? You just need enough to survey the land and report back. If the Moon has nothing to offer, so be it–you tried. If she does, then let the homesteading begin. As I say over and over again, if government has any role in exploration–whether it be terrestrial or in space–its assuming or finding ways to reduce the enormous finders’ costs to open up the frontier and incentivize it for future enterprise. Your national astronauts are supposed to be modern day Lewises and Clarks, not Evil Knievels. To that end, I appreciate commercial space’s contribution by devising cheaper, more reliable canoes and applaud Augustine’s reaffirmation of public support for such activity.

    In my opinion the administration rejected this because it’s a pathetic jobs program.

    If that were the case, we’d be de-orbiting the ISS right now. The Administration rejected it because its a pathetic NASA jobs program that ate up funding it preferred to spend on other pathetic NASA jobs programs.

    Instead, they decided to focus on the other recommendation made, and I call it a recommendation because it was in all the other options: fund commercial crew and restart sensible technology development. With these two the cost of doing something worthwhile beyond LEO could be reduced so you don’t need the $3B/year.

    I’ve already noted that Augustine’s recommendation that NASA fund activity that spurs private sector participation in space is a good thing. We were arguing whether or not it was the only thing of value to come out of the commission.

    This was an option the Augustine committee really didn’t present but, from a non-political point of view, it works. Unfortunately, you need the political point of view, and they failed to come up with one. So if there’s any commercial crew or technology development funding coming from NASA it is going to be scraps.

    There is a whole other half of the previous budget, you know, more than enough to meet FY2011’s so-called commitment to slashing the price for space access. Or are we just not all that serious about aerospace R&D and commercial?

  27. Oh, I guess there was one other recommendation… linking NASA to national interests. That’s why the climate change stuff is being pushed.

    That’s not a recommendation, that’s barely even a sentiment. In a more honest day, we would’ve called it “placing NASA at the disposal of whatever pet project a given President wants to pursue.” FY2011 calls it dumping $2 billion a year on Earth science and upwards four billion on playing nice with other agencies. And no one has ever made a serious case as to why NASA must necessarily play a role in investigating climate change. In fact, seems pretty dumb to me considering all this talk about how the national space agency shouldn’t have any role in building well…rockets that go to space.

  28. Uhh.. it’s right there in the NASA charter, that’s why.

    http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ogc/about/space_act1.html

    read it sometime, you might be surprised what’s in there and what’s not.

  29. Uhh.. it’s right there in the NASA charter, that’s why.

    http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ogc/about/space_act1.html

    read it sometime, you might be surprised what’s in there and what’s not.

    I’m sorry, what’s the point you’re trying to make here?

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