Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Reported Obama Plan Would Privatize Manned Launches

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the worth-it-at-any-price dept.

Moon 450

couchslug writes with this excerpt from the not-yet-paywalled New York Times: "President Obama will end NASA's return mission to the moon and turn to private companies to launch astronauts into space when he unveils his budget request to Congress next week, an administration official said Thursday. The shift would 'put NASA on a more sustainable and ambitious path to the future' said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But the changes have angered some members of Congress, particularly from Texas, the location of the Johnson Space Center, and Florida, the location of the Kennedy Space Center. 'My biggest fear is that this amounts to a slow death of our nation's human space flight program,' Representative Bill Posey, Republican of Florida, said in a statement." If true, this won't please the federal panel that recommended against just such privatization.

cancel ×

450 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Corks will be popping! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947628)

More cash for Jesse Jackson and friends!

Beware of the spin. (5, Insightful)

MROD (101561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947630)

Before anyone jumps up and shouts make sure that you're not being taken in by lobbyists who are trying to either support specific companies or jobs in specific states. They are apt to shout out about the sky falling before the real information is known.

Sit back, relax and wait until the report is actually published, read it and make up your own mind. Don't believe what has been filtered through potentially biased news media companies.

Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947646)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable. (A maximum of 65% for McCain is okay. So, European-American support at 55% for McCain is well below this threshold and, hence, is not racist.)

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin color is quite acceptable by today's moral standard.

Re:Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947696)

I do not find your ideas intriguing and would like to unsubscribe from your newsletter.

Re:Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948074)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

And 95% of McCain voters voted for McCain due solely to the color of his neck.

Re:Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948272)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

And 95% of McCain voters voted for McCain due solely to the color of his neck.

And 95% of Sarah Palin enthusiasts voted for her solely due to the color of her parachute.

Re:Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948292)

And 95% of McCain voters voted for McCain due solely to the color of his neck.

Liver spotted? Why would anyone vote for that.

Re:Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (3, Insightful)

dapyx (665882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948410)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin

It's the same percentage of the Afrian-Americans that voted for Clinton.

Re:Beware of the spin. (3, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947688)

read it and make up your own mind.

What are you, some kind of commie? This is America! We think what our favorite cable news pundit tells us to think! That's how democracy works!

Re:Beware of the spin. (4, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948218)

[Rush Limbaugh | Keith Olberman | Shaun Hannity | Chris Matthews | Glen Beck] hasn't told me how I feel about this. Can we hold off on this conversation until later?

Re:Beware of the spin. (4, Insightful)

redkcir (1431605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947962)

Lets see now. Who filled their cabinet posts with lobbyist after vowing not to? Who campaigned with the transparency pledge then developed a health care plan behind closed doors and limited examination of the bill to 72 hours before the vote?? How did that stimulus bill work out for the middle class and poor of the country? What has this guy done to help this country? You don't need to believe what any news the media "filters". Listen to the mans own words and match what he says and what he does for yourself. They don't add up. What gives you reason to believe this or anything else he says? If he has a plan, why not present it now? Learn from the past. The spin you need to watch out for is coming from him.

It's not spin, it's Obama's personal priorities (4, Informative)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948348)

Obama has never liked the space program, at least not since running for president. His campaign website actually had a proposal to create a nationalized pre-school/daycare program and fund it by cutting NASA's budget. Someone must have informed him that the space program is important for the United States, because this proposal was removed before the election. Some educators also called into question the need for such a pre-school program.

NASA has always had its ups and downs, perhaps more downs than ups lately. It helps to have a sympathetic President in office. Kennedy wanted a moon landing, and his successors honored his memory by following through. Nixon was lukewarm to the space program, and he used NASA as a diplomacy tool--during his time they had Skylab (somewhat useful) and the Apollo-Soyuz space linkup (pure entertainment).

Reagan was a space nut and an enlarged NASA fit into his SDI/Star Wars vision. Bush I spoke of a Mars mission, but left before he could really push it through. Clinton was lukewarm to space but lucked out with a temporary stock boom that filled the tax coffers, so NASA could keep rolling while he partied. Bush II liked space and authorized new missions. That brings us down to Obama who is the first president in my memory to shut down a manned space project.

NASA is a victim of politics and of poor leadership in the 1970s and 80s, leading up to the avoidable Challenger tragedy. To spread the wealth (and pain of cuts), NASA in the 1970s embarked on a decentralization project to spread out its facilities all over the country, thus maximizing Congressional support for its various missions. The unfortunate side effect as pointed out by many observers over the years was to dissipate engineering teams. Perhaps today in the new century, with our modern communications abilities, virtual teams can work almost identically to localized teams, but this was not so in the 1970s. Thus, the rugged and long lasting space ships of the 1960s such as the Pioneer which survived decades beyond anyone's expectations gave way to buggy, incomplete efforts such as the Shuttle and some of the planetary probes.

NASA's never been a perfect space agency but it has contributed hugely to improving the human condition through science and technology. It keeps hundreds of thousands of aerospace engineers and scientists employed, who would otherwise have gone to law school or some other less productive field. It keeps the U.S. at the forefront in aerospace technology which it needs in order to maintain its military edge. It promises great riches should we ever get self-sustaining stations online in near-Earth orbit or beyond--moon mining, asteroid mining, solar power, zero grav manufacturing, and all the scientific and engineering developments which will be a part of these efforts.

We simply can't afford to not go into space. The Constellation program has been harshly criticized by some dissident engineers--fine, that's what engineering is all about. You design something, find the flaws, fix them, and move on. It's an iterative process.

Simply walking away from billions of dollars of effort is not only a waste of time and money, it displays a distressing lack of vision by the current leadership. Obama obviously feels we can't afford a national space program, so he's sloughing it off on the private sector. Privatize it, he says. Indeed? Then the U.S. will no longer have a manned space exploration program at all, but only a very cautious and profit-oriented space tourism program. Others will pick up the slack and take over space exploration--the Chinese, the Japanese perhaps, the Russians, and the Europeans. Some day, we will sit in our yards and watch them through our Chinese-made telescopes. Look, Dad, there's the China Station! There's the European Station! There goes another Russian moon shot! And we can look back on this pivotal time in our history when we turned our back on the future and technological leadership.

Damn SOCIALISM (4, Funny)

Josh04 (1596071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947652)

That Obama is practically a COMMUNIST, I tell you!

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947692)

Just waiting for Fox News pundits or other similar pundits to be up in arms about privatizing space travel as being unamerican (unAmerican? un-American? How do you spell this?) and a slap in the face for NASA.

Personally? Eh. Privatization of manned space flight could lead to new innovations and cheapening, but with the whole "launch sites near the equator" thing, there's a real limit to how many sites you can create. And once that land gets up for grabs, things might end up going crazy for a while. I know quite a lot of people would despise launch platforms near their homes.

I suppose the gubbermints could setup launch facilities a la airports and just lease out launch dates and so on giving them some direct revenue from space travel. Having only Cape Canaveral could really bottleneck things. And the whole piggybacking of satellites model might not be possible for manned spaceflight? Since I'm assuming the private companies would build and finance the rockets, fuel, etc?

But sure. Most of the trends in tech seem to involve the government getting the basics done followed by US private companies making it better then east Asian countries making it even better. Let's keep that tradition going.

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948024)

Suppose that a commercial launch supplier decided that the most economical way to launch was to use the Ariane launch site in French Guyana? Would it be unpatriotic to have American astronauts launched (on American rockets, with mixed launch controllers as might be appropriate) from a foreign country?

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (1)

Torino10 (1369453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948300)

So exactly how many American astronauts have been launched aboard Russian launch vehicles?

If the ESA had human launch capabilities I'm certain American Astronauts would have already launched from there.

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (1, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948286)

unAmerican? un-American? How do you spell this?

It's spelled "F.O.X."

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948364)

Did you think that funny bit up all by yourself or did your gay lover tell it to you while you were getting serviced?

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (0, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948396)

I thought it up while I was banging your mom, son.

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948392)

Or maybe we do away with the "Stick a big lump of metal on the end of a pipe bomb and press the "BANG" button" so beloved of governments with too much money to spend and actually get space developement going properly.

If we used aeroplanes to get to a decent altitude, then fired the rockets, the cost to launch would go way down. But this isn't economical when there are huge public subsidies for a hugely flawed system.

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (1)

Xaduurv (1685700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947742)

Go easy on him, modders... I think he was trying to be funny! Unfortunately so was Kramer... that day...

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948190)

You might even want to explain the funny for the American readers, because I don't think they actually manage to link NASA and communism.

Re:Damn SOCIALISM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948342)

It's the hilarity of labeling Obama as a socialist or communist when he's doing things like privatizing space travel.

He's pointing out the irony in Obama's detractors labeling him as such.

Also, *whoosh*.

Privatize Space Program. Nationalize Healthcare. (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948354)

It's not about logic, it's all about the size of the voting bloc whom you can make beholden to you.

A sound plan (4, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947684)

Plan : increase the budget to NASA, and ask for them to purchase rides to space from newly formed private companies.

The article says that NASA has "50 years of institutional experience" in doing spaceflight, and that this would be a bad idea.

The "institutional" part of that statement is the problem. NASA stinks for spaceflight. The problem isn't in their engineering, it's in the fact that they have many, many masters all trying to stir the pot. Their budget depends upon the whim of Congressmen, not performing to a contract.

Privatization has many failures. There's a lot of goods and services that it doesn't make sense to privatize. But I think the high tech industry of space travel is one that will benefit enormously from privatization.

The only downside? Private firms can probably get a LOT more manned launches done per year for the same cost, but they'll be a little riskier. More astronauts will be killed. I don't see this as a problem : there's 6 billion people on the planet, and I for one if faced between possibly dying during a trip to space or dying from old age would choose the former.

Re:A sound plan (4, Insightful)

AllyGreen (1727388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947762)

Totally agree, my only niggling worry about using private companies is the greed factor. But maybe a little greed and more competition is really what the space industry needs?

Re:A sound plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948030)

Greed won't be much of a factor until they can actually prove a method of profit. In other words, competition and free market will run hand in hand until they actually start seeing results. When they publish, that's when greed will rear it's ugly head. That said, if enough are competing, and the method they find is not prohibitively expensive, the initial greedy prices for a trip into space should start falling relatively quickly.

Re:A sound plan (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948052)

The greed factor is handled by competition. What they must not do is simply privatise NASA to one supplier. You need a multiplicity of suppliers - preferably more than two. The airline industry runs high-tech safely (albeit not profitably) because many suppliers compete with relatively low barriers to entry. The large aircraft industry is a duopoly, but sufficiently high profile that they have noe managed to set up the implicit message channels that allow shared gouging. The problem will come if Nasa gives a twenty year contract to a single company.

Re:A sound plan (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947800)

Private firms can probably get a LOT more manned launches done per year for the same cost, but they'll be a little riskier. More astronauts will be killed. I don't see this as a problem : there's 6 billion people on the planet, and I for one if faced between possibly dying during a trip to space or dying from old age would choose the former.

Kind of agree. The dying thing is a turnoff, but like the people who decide to be soldiers or drive stunt cars, they know or at least should be vaguely aware that death is a possibility.

What I really do agree about is the sheer potential increase in quantity. Fuel consumption will suck, but the ridiculous increase in quantity of launches will cause far more innovations and research for future craft than the current trend of not so many launches. According to Wikipedia and a little bit from NASA, there've been around 130 shuttle missions in the last 30ish years. That's about 4 launches a year give or take?

Bump that number up to 1 a month, combine it with the fact we might have multiple shuttle/rocket designs going up a year due to different companies sending up different designs and the set of data we'll have about what makes a good shuttle/rocket will have increase by quite a lot after 10 years.

Thumbs up to privatization. Maybe they can get NASA to do more hardcore research with less of the headache that comes from administration.

Re:A sound plan (3, Interesting)

bitrex (859228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948104)

NASA had originally planned to do dozens of flights per year - the logistics of turnaround on the Shuttle turned out to just consume too much time, particularly due to the fact that even with a "reusable" spacecraft it was essentially being rebuilt every time it was turned around. For example, even though the landing gear were rated for say 10 flights they would be stripped down and refurbished after every launch. Same goes for the thermal protection system, the main engines, and hundreds of other functional units. NASA's fastest turnaround performance was in 1985, with 9 flights that year. Next year was Challenger. When something goes wrong and people are killed, who wants to be the person in management who ends up having to say "Yeah, we could have refurbished that part, but we needed to shave a day off our turnaround time"?

How are for-profit corporations going to be any faster at turning around a space vehicle than NASA? Even though manned spaceflight went on hiatus after Challenger and Columbia, it did continue after a time, and all the costs involved in the recovery, analysis, and remediation of the accidents were eventually footed by the US taxpayer. With a for-profit corporation, one fatal accident and you are finished, if not from the legal costs of the inevitable lawsuits, then from the loss of market share in what will most likely be a rather limited market. If you're going to drop $200,000, why do it with the company that killed people? Of course, perhaps companies like Virgin Galactic have figured something out that NASA was unable to figure out during the 30+ years of the Shuttle program. Then again, it's not like the current private spaceflight corporations have exactly been racking up the numbers of completed flights. It's a money pit, if there is no longer the political and/or economic will in the US to continue manned space flight for reasons of national pride, technological research, or scientific discovery, I don't think one should expect for-profit reasons to continue doing it to suddenly materialize. I'm of the opinion that you'd probably have more luck opening a transatlantic steamship line.

Re:A sound plan (3, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948214)

I think that one thing for-profit corporations would do (presuming someone is buying manned space launches. If there's no market they won't do anything.), is look at the costs and turnaround time and realize that they would need to have more vehicles if they want more frequent launches.

Then they'll realize that it's stupid to spend money on sending stuff to space only to bring it back, so you only bring back the stuff you absolutely need to instead of a whole freakin' rocket. Which would lead them to the conclusion that single-use rockets are both less expensive per launch and inherently parallelizable.

They should be safer, too, although the numbers at the moment still suggest otherwise, and also that "safer" is a relative proposition: in the history of manned space flight, a 1:50 failure rate with loss of crew seems to be the economically acceptable risk factor.

Re:A sound plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948008)

Any loss of life is unacceptable in any industry. And you're naive if you think you'll be able to afford a private space flight in your lifetime, especially if all these private companies are going to do is milk their lucritive government contracts for every single taxpayer penny. That's the problem with government contracts, there is often no incentive to deliver the product/service faster, better, or cheaper. The only people the private industry are accountable to is their shareholders. And the shareholders always love juicy government contracts.

Re:A sound plan (5, Insightful)

diewlasing (1126425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948028)

Allow me to strongly disagree with you for a second. While I think private space flight will be a good thing in the future, it's not now. The technology is there, but funding, logistics and safety guidelines probably are not up to par with NASA's

I abhor your suggestion that we could sacrifice people to get private space flight off the ground. Reminds me of the Star Trek Enterprise episode where the Klingons kidnap Dr. Phlox in order for him to help cure or restore the genetically altered Klingons who were dying. He didn't have time and the Klingon general wanted to sacrifice some of his people as test subjects. Phlox refused because it was unethical, but relented when given the option of millions of lives verses a few, and pressure from the Klingons.

The point is it was unethical, but did it, for what was at the time, the only winning option

Sacrificing even a few lives for private space flight at this point in time would be irresponsible (and might turn off many people to privitization) and it stinks of the old Robber Baron's lives for profit attitude (sounds Ferengi, no?).

So instead, if you want to go the private route, let me suggest a better short-medium term plan, which could be our winning option: Streamline NASA. Keep it's budget big, but dedicate it to ONLY spaceflight (and maybe atmospheric research) so as to try and have it waste less by setting goals for only that. And have private companies haul cargo, like satellites and rovers into space. That is something they are already capable of doing, and are doing it safely. Now, it won't save as much money as privatizing manned-missions so soon, but it will save money and definitely save lives.

Re:A sound plan (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948200)

The only downside? Private firms can probably get a LOT more manned launches done per year for the same cost, but they'll be a little riskier. More astronauts will be killed.

After a few launches where astronauts get killed, we'll hear the screaming to let NASA go back to manned space flight. The problem with using private firms/corporations is that they only care about how much money they make in a year. Yes, the astronauts know the risks of climbing into a rocket and being launched into space; we shouldn't go backwards and increase the risks they face.

Re:A sound plan (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948274)

It's not monkeys that you send to the space and risk their lifes. It's humans and moreover highly trained *scientists*. Unfortunately number of 6 billions doesn't count for this. Risking life of an astronaut is much more costly than some elderly dying. You can build shuttles in a factory but it's not possible to build scientists in a known automated way, otherwise we would have thousands of Einsteins, frankly we only had one till now.

Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947704)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable. (A maximum of 65% for McCain is okay. So, European-American support at 55% for McCain is well below this threshold and, hence, is not racist.)

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin color is quite acceptable by today's moral standard.

BEGIN (partisanBickering) (5, Funny)

cherokee158 (701472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947706)

Does anyone else see the irony in two Republican congressmen complaining about the privatization of space flight?

Re:BEGIN (partisanBickering) (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947750)

I'm used to it by now. The Obama administration has, thus far, (when one counts actual policy actions, rather than words) been pretty much a long sequence of Obama doing something that is centrist-democrat at best, "Bush III, but literate" at worst then being howled at by republicans(many of whom supported virtually identical policies in the recent past) because anything a communist-fascist-muslim-sleeper-terrorist from kenya does simply must be evil.

Re:BEGIN (partisanBickering) (0, Flamebait)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947876)

I'm used to it by now. The Obama administration has, thus far, (when one counts actual policy actions, rather than words) been pretty much a long sequence of Obama doing something that is centrist-democrat at best, "Bush III, but literate" at worst then being howled at by republicans(many of whom supported virtually identical policies in the recent past) because anything a communist-fascist-muslim-sleeper-terrorist from kenya does simply must be evil.

Obama? A centrist? Bush III? I think your ideas of what defines a "centrist" are off. Cap and Trade, Universal Health Care, Income Redistribution, cancelling the moon and Orion missions and repurposing NASA to study global warming... hardly what I'd call centrist. Boy, I'd hate to see what you call a lefty.

Bend over. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947916)

Income Redistribution

Man! You went there!

Bend over!

Do mean all that money (bank bailouts) that was taken from the middle class in the form of taxes to bail out the filthy rich bankers so that they can get their BILLIONS of dollars in bonuses paid for by the US taxpayer?! THAT INCOME REDISTRIBUTION?!? ($$ Poor => Rich and well connected)

Yep, that's REAL leftist alright.

Re:Bend over. (1)

KWolfe81 (1593877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948216)

"their BILLIONS of dollars in bonuses paid for by the US taxpayer" I'm no banker, but I believe you might need to findout how things actually played out. We loaned many of these banks money... and they paid us back... with interest. The only thing we did that supported the bonuses was made it particularly easy for them to do business in the form of keeping interest rates low. Am I afraid my income tax from this year is going directly to a banker at GS and not to fixing the pothole on Main street? No, not really.

Re:Bend over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948380)

Am I afraid my income tax from this year is going directly to a banker at GS and not to fixing the pothole on Main street? No, not really.

That's horribly naive and uninformed. You do realize that local budgets are extremely strained right now, don't you? And that many of those potholes will not be fixed because of these shenanigans? All the money that went into AIG and maybe the auto companies will never be seen again. Yeah, bend over Mr. Taxpayer - unless you're one of those overpaid union members, management, or investment bankers who's benefiting from our Government's socialism for the rich.

Oh and as far as those banks who repaid their Government handout loans and gave their executives bonuses for a "great job" - I'd like to point out that those same banks screwed over the very people who allowed the bailout in the first place. Junks fees - many that are illegal and unethical, improper late fees for things that were on time, raising CC rates just because they can and were unwilling to work with people who WERE paying their bills on time. The list goes on and on - just watch the Consumerist.

And don't you find it disgusting that the big shots can get all the money they need, but Joe Mainstreet business guy has to go belly up? Or all those people who lost everything, the responsible people who paid their bills on time and everything, didn't get any bailout.

The fact that the banks have gotten so large as to threaten our financial system to warrant Government bailouts means that they should be broken up to secure our financial system.

Re:Bend over. (1, Offtopic)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948308)

Do mean all that money (bank bailouts) that was taken from the middle class in the form of taxes to bail out the filthy rich bankers so that they can get their BILLIONS of dollars in bonuses paid for by the US taxpayer?! THAT INCOME REDISTRIBUTION?!? ($$ Poor => Rich and well connected)

Sure, that's part of it. What communist government HASN'T done that?

The communist "ideal" may speak about equal distribution of income, but in reality it's "equality" for the masses, an underground capitalist market, and kickbacks and bonuses to the well-connected.

Re:Bend over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948328)

Income Redistribution

Do mean all that money (bank bailouts) that was taken from the middle class in the form of taxes

A) There was not tax increase to pay for TARP
B) TARP was a Bush II monstrosity, not Obama.
C) That POS Chris Dodd (D Conn) stuck in the bonus money line item, not Obama.

As for Obama's general support for TARP and it's child programs:
If you're insane enough to suggest that he should have just let the banks fail, or that was even in play, ok, fine.. he's a right winger. A true left winger would have let the entire world economy collapse in a total systemic failure. That would have been awesome! Nothing to start with week like waking up and living out Mad Max.

Re:BEGIN (partisanBickering) (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947960)

(when one counts actual policy actions, rather than words)...

A "universal healthcare" process that has been deferential to the point of obsequious to existing insurance and pharmaceutical players, and isn't shaping up to be universal at this point. "Income redistribution", the same-old grab bag of welfare programs that have been in play for years, across multiple administrations, along with massive subsidy of dysfunctional Wall Street entities. Yup, a real socialist firebrand. We'll be "re-educating" the bourgeois elements and living on communal farms any day now.

Our little adventures in the middle east are grinding on pretty much exactly as they ever are, the NSA and CIA are as far above the law as ever.

As for "cap and trade", I'm not sure when it became an article of faith that businesses have the right to impose unlimited externalities on everybody else. "Cap and trade" is by far the most market-oriented mechanism for internalizing externalities. If you think that that is a sinister lefty scheme, your head would probably pop on exposure to an actual Green Party...

Re:BEGIN (partisanBickering) (2, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948096)

You are confusing what he is settling for with what he wants. He has consistently spoken out in favor of much more *ambitious* policies than the process is forcing him to accept. He is undeniably a leftist, but with a healthy dose of pragmatism.

Re:BEGIN (partisanBickering) (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947984)

Cap and Trade - Pragmatic, market-based solution to a serious problem, a solution that Libertarians loved until a Democratic president proposed it. Centrist.

Universal Health Care - The standard for Western industrial nationals, and supported in some form by 60-80% of the US population. Centrist.

Income Redistribution - A loaded term for making the wealthy pay their fair share for the national infrastructure that as capital owners they get far more use from. Centrist (the rightist Republican version of course is Income Redistribution from the poor and middle classes to the rich).

Canceling NASA projects - eliminating wasteful spending. Centrist.

Studying global warming - Necessary science to resolve a looming crisis. Non-political.

So yeah, fairly centrist so far.

Re:BEGIN (partisanBickering) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948154)

That 'income redistribution' as you call it has a much more common name. It's called 'Taxes', and it pays for everything your country does. The country has been collecting taxes for over a century. Obama did it, Junior did it, Clinton did it, etc, etc, ad-nauseum. The simple fact is, that right now, the rich hold almost all of the wealth in the country. It's now at levels not seen since the last great depression oddly enough. It's time for a little balance, or the middle class will simply cease to exist. Did you ever stop to consider that applying more taxes to the rich at this time is actually returning the US to a much more healthy balance?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/business/worldbusiness/29iht-income.4.5075504.html [nytimes.com]

The Republic Party Brand (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947952)

Nowadays everything is about branding, even politics. In order to differentiate their brand from brand of the Democrat Party (as they like to call it), the Republic Party (as I like to call them) has to avoid showing any support for anything Obama does. Their marketing division (or, to use an old-fashioned term, their political strategists) understand that any show of bipartisanship confuse the consumers (I guess most people still call them "voters") and dilute the brand. So the party has to maintain a uniform anti-Democrat (not to be confused with anti-Democratic) message, even when the Democrats propose a product (officially a "policy") that the Republics invented in the first place.

Obama's attempts to achieve a consensus show his utter contempt for the way business (isn't government a business? if not it should be) is done in the 21st century. If that doesn't convince you he's a communist, nothing will!

Re:BEGIN (partisanBickering) (4, Funny)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948056)

Does anyone else see the irony in two Republican congressmen complaining about the privatization of space flight?

They're just following the first rule of politics - no government spending is wasteful if it occurs in your district.

How's that working out (0, Flamebait)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947730)

How is that Hope and Change working out for you NASA. I see this as a way to siphon off funds to be redirected to more social programs (I mean buy votes). Flame On!

Re:How's that working out (3, Interesting)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947808)

Exactly right. This is one of the main reasons the space program went down the toilet in the early 1970s and has stayed there. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: "If our nation can spend twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth." http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-04b.html [spacedaily.com]

Re:How's that working out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948004)

Yeah, it's preposterous, isn't it? How dare the government decide to spend MY taxes to help people in need instead of spending billions sending some folks into space...

Re:How's that working out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948084)

Yeah, it's preposterous, isn't it? How dare the government decide to spend MY taxes to help people in need instead of spending billions sending some folks into space...

So how're all those social programs working out? Think you're getting your money's worth?

Re:How's that working out (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948066)

(Just a note before we start: I'm a black American. Don't misconstrue my hard truths as "racism" or some bullshit like that.)

We have, as a nation, given huge amounts of aid to all sorts of "disadvantaged" groups. It's not the giving that has been the problem; it is that many of these groups have outright refused to take advantage of the generosity provided to them.

That's why we have thugs in L.A. who bitch and moan about living in the ghetto, but then they never even try to get an education or even any sort of remedial training that will allow them to get a legitimate job. We provide all of that to them, basically free of charge, too! They just don't want a "white education," even when the curriculum has been designed by blacks, and is taught by blacks.

So let's stop wasting our time and resources on them. If they want to marginalize themselves, so be it. Let's spend the money on spaceflight. Let's spend the money on science. Let's spend the money on funding research.

We've tried to help these people, but they just don't want the help. So let's cut our losses and say to hell with them. Those of them who have the yearning to succeed will, and the rest should be ignored.

Re:How's that working out (-1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948068)

Obama is nothing like Martin Luther King Jr, and Obama will not do a damn thing for the people. He's just another republican in black face.

Re:How's that working out (2, Interesting)

lottameez (816335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948048)

Aren't all government programs poorly run and ineffective? Isn't that what we keep hearing about health care? "If you want to have your health care be like the post office...blah blah blah". Why is this different? Can't private industry do a better job?

Re:How's that working out (5, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948122)

I see this as a way to siphon off funds to be redirected to more social programs

TFA: "Mr. Obama’s request, which will be announced on Monday, would add $6 billion over five years to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s budget."

How is increasing NASA's budget and enabling it to buy space launches from private companies "siphoning off funds to be redirected to more social programs"? Your political bias is leading to illogical reasoning.

"Launch astronauts into space"? (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947760)

Who gives a flying fuck about privatized LEO launches of some tycoon (apart of the tycoons themselves)? Private companies will not undertake the large-scale, visionary projects like sending people to Mars, building permanent bases on Mars and Moon, reaching Europa and exploring her oceans. Private companies only produce as little science as they possibly can get away with, putting much more emphasis on patenting the crap out of the little they do produce, and then keep it for themselves.

In other words: FAIL!

When Obama said he'll cancel Constellation, he crushed the dreams and hopes of MY generation. Those who grew up in the 50s and 60s in the US and Europe had the ride of their lives, if they had even the slightest affinity for science. That was science that inspired millions, and from the sci-fi movies of the 70's, I'd say people were probably less dumb on average than they are today ("Andromeda Strain", for one example. Compare that to the blockbuster space-operas some call "Sci-fi"). Nowadays scientists are only prodded to make cheaper electronic components and larger plasma screens.

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (1, Troll)

Amiralul (1164423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947780)

Sir, I couldn't agree more! I wasn't born in 1969 and I was hoping to live the day when man will step on Mars. Sadly, this will not happen during my lifetime. Thank you, Obama.

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948016)

It's not like there only live man in the US.

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (3, Interesting)

aderuwe (539595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948236)

You honestly think that's thanks to Obama?

And it has nothing to do with spending billions of dollars on war, increasing your country's national deficit beyond even something imaginable?

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947878)

I'm not sure I understand your objection. NASA would still be free to do big projects (horribly), they'd just have to buy the first ride from commercial providers.. which is really the way it should be. NASA shouldn't do anything that can be bought off-the-shelf and, if it currently cant buy something off-the-shelf, it should be doing the work to ensure that it soon will be able to do so. No commercial company has ever launched a person to orbit. Suborbital was only done 5 years ago. How freakin' disgraceful is that?

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948076)

... Nasa would pay the private company to perform a mission. If they don't do what Nasa says, then nasa probably won't pay them. If your being paid to do science, you can't just not do anything.

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948078)

It is a dark day for exploration. The day we turned to the unexplored and unmastered and said "fuck it, we don't care." The space program has always been a huge source of national pride for me. I guess not so much for many other people. But then again, most people consider "national pride" to be anything the other party doesn't want.

You said it best, it crushed the hopes and dreams of OUR generation.

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948194)

It is a dark day for exploration. The day we turned to the unexplored and unmastered and said "fuck it, we don't care."

As LBJ said: "It's too bad, but the way American people are, now that they have all this capability, instead of taking advantage of it, they'll probably just piss it all away."

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (3, Insightful)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948126)

Private companies will not undertake the large-scale, visionary projects like sending people to Mars, building permanent bases on Mars and Moon, reaching Europa and exploring her oceans.

You don't need manned space flight to do any of those things. In-fact manned space flight is a terrible way to do those things. We're already doing awesome things and producing great science using robots. Why on earth would you want to do it with humans?
- We need food and oxygen. We can't run on solar power. Food and oxygen is added weight which given the cost of launching is the last thing you need.
- The risk of failure is much higher. If a human life is lost then it's a huge tragedy and setback. If a robot is lost it's a financial setback and you sit down and work out what went wrong and then have another go. No huge political or moral setback.
- We can push our knowledge of robotics to the limit and make new discoveries related to robotics.

When Obama said he'll cancel Constellation, he crushed the dreams and hopes of MY generation.
I'm in my 20's and I didn't feel very crushed. Let's say we do go back to the moon. What're people going to say? I'm imagining it would go something like: "Oh great we did that half a century ago. What's new?" Certainly going to Mars would be an enormous victory but you need to balance between spending huge amounts of money on something which has enormous propaganda but huge risks associated with failure vs. spending relatively little continuing to send robots up and generating tonnes of new scientific knowledge.

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948370)

I'm in my 20's and I didn't feel very crushed.

But you're not an American, are you?

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948204)

NASA would pay private companies to develop huge launchers necessary to conduct research and concentrate on building the payload itself. Ares was a wobbly piece of shit that couldn't even launch a test payload without destroying the launchpad, and slamming into the payload itself. That's because there are political reasons behind the design of spacecraft that end up fucking up NASA's ability to do shit. For instance, the Space Shuttle was designed to land cross country with bigger wings to accommodate the military's request to land at military bases. (The military stopped using the Shuttle and ended up using disposable launchers.) A private company wouldn't have that problem.

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948220)

If NASA says: "We'll buy the service, and we are willing to spend X on it" a lot of private companies would jump at it

Re:"Launch astronauts into space"? (2, Interesting)

jeroen94704 (542819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948230)

On the contrary.

Especially BECAUSE NASA should focus its resources on those visionary missions does it make sense to shift to commercial partners for the initial launch part. Why? Because launching by itself is not all that interesting. There will never be a vehicle that will launch from Earth and fly to Mars in one go. The only sensible solution for manned deep-space missions is to develop pure space-vehicles, that never touch own on a solid surface. If NASA can simply purchase seats to LEO on a commercial launcher for its astronauts, this frees up a tremendous amount of resources it now spends on launchers to work on those deep-space vehicles.

Of course, this assumes there will be something to replace the moon-landing portion of Constellation. Since NASA is actually expected to get an increased budget in the next few years, despite a general budget-freeze in many departments, I have some hopes for this. They have to spend the money on something, after all.

Rant incoming... (0, Troll)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947772)

Sounds like some bigwigs with enough lobbying power in DC decided they wanted to rape the USA for more money. I mean, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the perfect models for contracting to civilians agencies, who take a 110 million dollar contract, and subcontract it, paying the subcontractors about 10% and they get to pocket the rest. Of course with such public program, this could never happen you say. All it takes is some byzantine law that says they arent required to disclose budgets and suddenly we have no idea where the money goes (besides the pockets of corrupt politicians and greedy C level officers) They say in TFA they wan't to increase "entrepreneurial interests" WTF. I'm so sick and tired of washington politics it makes me so disappointed in my country. With the public fighting over partisanship ("Obama's the antichrist","Bush done it") people need to wake up and realize that the problem is greed for money and power. Both fucking parties are just as at fault for everything that is wrong with the USA right now. First step to a better America IMO is to completely stop the ability for corporations to make donations to any type of political party or anyone with political affiliation. Lobbying should be an intellectual exercise, not a who can buy off who exercise. This would proportionately seem to put more power back in the people hands, at least as a start. Second? American people need to start using their brains. Stop watching 5 hours of TV a day and read a good non-fiction book about the middle east, american politics, anything to expand your mind. Learn how to stop being so damn religious and start thinking rationally and objectively (all of these things are also parts of basic education, something which is also failing horribly) Washington needs to stop using their own heads and start listening to Think Tanks and people with practical experience equally. Have accountability in everything. The sad part? It will more than likely never happen. Its a prisoners dilemma sort of situation. Most of use know the government and corporations are horribly corrupt and inefficient, they screw us over all the time. So what is your response? "Well all I can do is look out for me and my family" which is the same thought process the corrupts people have. Everyone (with exceptions of course, comon, I'm making a bunch a generalizations to get my point across) has this attitude and it never changes. If you were that C level person, what would you do? Even if you think you would do the right thing, studies show that by nature to higher you get the more likely you are to be stricter about moral issues on other people but more lax on them with yourself. The problem is that it seems to be human nature. Send 50 people to colonize a new earth duplicate planet, and within months I guarantee there would be thievery, repression, greed ect. Yep, pretty much humanity seems to be like a virus, and one of these millennium the universe is likely to swallow us whole and try and start over.

Re:Rant incoming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947918)

I would read this if it wasn't in WALL OF TEXT format.

It's really hard on the eyes is what I'm saying.

Re:Rant incoming... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948330)

Let my guess? (html formatted?)
carp3_noct3m

carp3_noct3m writes:
Sounds like some bigwigs with enough lobbying power in DC decided they wanted to rape the USA for more money.

I mean, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the perfect models for contracting to civilians agencies, who take a 110 million dollar contract, and subcontract it, paying the subcontractors about 10% and they get to pocket the rest. Of course with such public program, this could never happen you say. All it takes is some byzantine law that says they arent required to disclose budgets and suddenly we have no idea where the money goes (besides the pockets of corrupt politicians and greedy C level officers)

They say in TFA they wan't to increase "entrepreneurial interests" WTF. I'm so sick and tired of washington politics it makes me so disappointed in my country.

With the public fighting over partisanship ("Obama's the antichrist","Bush done it") people need to wake up and realize that the problem is greed for money and power.
Both fucking parties are just as at fault for everything that is wrong with the USA right now.

First step to a better America IMO is to completely stop the ability for corporations to make donations to any type of political party or anyone with political affiliation. Lobbying should be an intellectual exercise, not a who can buy off who exercise. This would proportionately seem to put more power back in the people hands, at least as a start.

Second? American people need to start using their brains. Stop watching 5 hours of TV a day and read a good non-fiction book about the middle east, american politics, anything to expand your mind. Learn how to stop being so damn religious and start thinking rationally and objectively (all of these things are also parts of basic education, something which is also failing horribly) Washington needs to stop using their own heads and start listening to Think Tanks and people with practical experience equally.

Have accountability in everything. The sad part? It will more than likely never happen. Its a prisoners dilemma sort of situation. Most of use know the government and corporations are horribly corrupt and inefficient, they screw us over all the time. So what is your response? "Well all I can do is look out for me and my family" which is the same thought process the corrupts people have.

Everyone (with exceptions of course, comon, I'm making a bunch a generalizations to get my point across) has this attitude and it never changes.
If you were that C level person, what would you do?
Even if you think you would do the right thing, studies show that by nature to higher you get the more likely you are to be stricter about moral issues on other people but more lax on them with yourself.

The problem is that it seems to be human nature. Send 50 people to colonize a new earth duplicate planet, and within months I guarantee there would be thievery, repression, greed ect. Yep, pretty much humanity seems to be like a virus, and one of these millennium the universe is likely to swallow us whole and try and start over.

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will reformat so that others will be able to agree with me."

obligatory xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947784)

http://xkcd.com/695/

somebody please think of the robots...

Re:obligatory xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948012)

http://xkcd.com/695/ [xkcd.com]

sniff,... I cried

This is Good (5, Insightful)

Diagoras (859063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947850)

Every damn article posted on Slashdot about privatization of space has been packed with complaints that this is the end of the world. It's really not. God willing, it may be the start of a new one.

NASA was pursuing a completely impossible architecture. Ares was underfunded and unable to be effectively used until 2017 at the latest. By forcing NASA to buy services from private corporations we can develop our domestic launch infrastructure as opposed to keeping it under government control.

And yes, I said BUY! This is not cost-plus contracting, which defense contractors famously use to rip us off every chance they get. This is a straight purchase of services, cash for deliveries and milestones met. In other words, actual free-market capitalism.

As for those claiming that we should have blown our cash on another Apollo-like shot: what cash? Obama is not a dictator, he's a President. His budget requests have to be approved by Congress which would have balked at any substantial increase in spending on space exploration. Not to mention that we tried Apollo and it was nowhere near substainable. Development of regular deliveries to orbital space by private companies - that's sustainable. That's what will provide us with the groundwork to move beyond earth orbit and lower the cost to orbit to the point where we can actually do something.

Its better than good (3, Informative)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947994)

If necessity is the mother of invention, its time we get to inventing. Nasa has subsidized extremely expensive shuttle launches that cost us $500 million a pop. Ares I wont put a man into space until 2017 at the EARLIEST if at all. Ares V is a bad joke thats already on the verge of being scrapped. The current plan would not get men back to the moon before 2028 at the earliest, project constellation was an epic fail. Lets give private companies like spacex (which will test launch a man ready falcon 9 THIS YEAR) a chance

Re:This is Good (4, Insightful)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948032)

In other words, actual free-market capitalism.

It's not free market capitalism when the government's doing the buying.

Fly Ryanair . . . to the Moon! (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947902)

No check-in. You have to schlep all your moonwalk gear yourself to the launch vehicle: "All you can carry." This cuts down on excess weight, saving fuel costs. Do you really need that extra oxygen tank?

A glass of Tang? "That will be 10€, sir."

Online Gambling! Your now have no incentive to return safely to the Earth . . . you are now bankrupt.

. . . and when you do get back, they lost your luggage filled with priceless moon rocks . . .

"I'm sorry, sir, your baggage was inadvertently placed on one of our flights to Mars. We should have it back for you in a couple of years time.

Re:Fly Ryanair . . . to the Moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948090)

4444

Re:Fly Ryanair . . . to the Moon! (4, Funny)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948120)

Great - return flight to the Moon $50 (excluding optional $5,000,000,000 life-support surcharge).

Of course, they say Moon, but actually its to the new state-of-the-art spaceport at L1, only a short bus ride away from the Moon. Well, they say new state-of-the-art spaceport... its actually an abandoned Apollo third stage with a Starbucks and a chemical toilet...

Russians have it all ready in place. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30947946)

All the Space Industry overthere is privatized. They even build an original Space Shuttle (since the American one is a theft design) and are launching stuff into space you would not believe. But hey, let's talk about Chinese Censorship. Did you know they sank a whole USA fleet in 2003 and nobody ever reported about it?

I feel divided about this. (4, Insightful)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947956)

On one side I know that (in this economy) there are many more ways to spend money than space.
But few things united the US as much as the space program.

When the political climate was different, the reasons for going to space were different.
Now that the Cold War is over, space has become a primarily scientific endeavor. I'm happy that science (instead of politics) is the motivator, but now it seems that politics is choking one of the greatest achievements of our species.

The idea behind this "private taxi service" to space could go either way. We all know how recent new aircraft have suffered delay after delay. But what if a more competitive environment brings innovation that otherwise would have been unattainable? After-all it was a competitive environment that pushed us to be the first on the moon.

What I am really sad about though is the lack of interest in the moon. I believe that a permanent, self sufficient (however difficult that might be) settlement on the moon should be a priority. And if we don't start soon, India [telegraph.co.uk] or China [xinhuanet.com] might beat us to it.

While I believe that any mission to the moon is an international event, other countries/cultures might not share that view. I would prefer for us to set the bar in both - returning to the moon, and sharing that experience with the rest of the world.

Privatisation (4, Interesting)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30947982)

Privatisation isn't privatisation when your primary customers and sources of funding come from the government. There is in fact no difference, just an illusion of competition. What is needed is for them to remove the regulations that exist against private space travel. Remove the monopolistic government funded NASA entirely, leaving the playing field completely open for private firms to build a true spot in the marketplace. That is the only way space exploration, tourism and travel will be able to survive.

Outsourcing to China (4, Insightful)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948034)

Privatization may seem like a good idea, and I hope it will turn out to be. But I doubt it. Right now, the US has one - count them - one man-rated orbital vehicle. That's the shuttle, and it will be ending soon. Without a replacement, the US will be forced to hitch rides in the short term with Russia, maybe even China. In fact, since we've outsourced much of our manufacturing base to China anyway, why not our space program? Well here's why: other countries, maybe even private companies in the future will fly in space. Maybe they'll let the US hitch rides. Maybe not. Either way they won't be building their launchers and space vehicles with US program goals in mind. They'll be building whatever makes sense for them. It may or may not be what makes sense for US goals. So in the end, we'll have an ISS that we continue to pay for - funding for that is in the budget, and no way to get there from the US. Excellent. The Mercury astronauts had it right... No Bucks, No Buck Rogers. We'll continue to send neat probes to other planets. And we'll continue to get amazing pictures. But in the end, people will tire of that too. That'll leave us with No Bucks. When you look back 200 years from now, this will be the moment that people say the US "jumped the shark"...

Re:Outsourcing to China (2, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948124)

Its the death of America.

It has now become American to sell out America... even Obama is doing it.

We're slowly dismantling everything that we once were. One day we'll look back and say "no wonder they couldnt pass universal health care...... you have to actually care to do it."

As long as the rich have their big homes and green grass, it doesnt matter if America dies around them.

Obama is as Republican as they come. (-1, Offtopic)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948040)

He's done nothing for the people.

Re:Obama is as Republican as they come. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948368)

You Sir, have said this before and are an idiot. If he was republican, then republicans would like him. Take time out from smelling your own farts to visit the outdoors and clear your head.

this is the american model (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948114)

most nations recognize the value of capitalism, but they yoke it with socially-conscious goals, to effective and ineffective results

but the usa is a cult of capitalism. they think it answers every question (it doesn't). they invoke market principles where market principles make no sense, such as in healthcare. they remove financial regulations and then act surprised when the markets bubble and burst (and then some of them, in their denial, even blame the government, magically somehow, for the market's failure, confusing cause and effect)

that space exploration should be privatized is yet another absurdity of the monomaniacal american obsession with elevating market principles as the driving force behind everything in the world. americans: of course capitalism is important. of course capitalism works. but capitalism is a beast of burden, it needs to be tamed and controlled. it needs to be fenced and given limits, or it will run roughshod and destroy your society with its extremes and stampedes of panic or greed. you need social safety nets, and you need to tame the excesses. understand this or understand nothing and be just a market fundamentalist, as foolish and blind to reality as any religious fundamentalist

It's about time (2, Insightful)

Torino10 (1369453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948242)

Finally the Administration is doing something to end corporate welfare and make the US aerospace industry competitive once again. If it forces Republican congressmen to stand up and trumpet there support for pork barrel projects while crying for fiscal conservatism I'm sure the Irony will not be lost on the general population.

Give such corporations as Space Exploration Technologies a chance, there founder, Elon Musk, his comparison of other aerospace companies to "Dilbert in real life" is spot on.

I say this as an aerospace employee.

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948280)

If it forces Republican congressmen to stand up and trumpet there support for pork barrel projects while crying for fiscal conservatism I'm sure the Irony will not be lost on the general population.

Huh? You have had decades of "borrow and spend" republicans telling you that they are for small government and are in some way conservative.
Since noone has called them out on being the "fiscally profligate/socially conservative (but secretly shagging around)" party during that time, why would the voters realise that now?

This is actually an awesome thing (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948250)

For those of you who are wondering about this and not just using it to blast Obama/dems with ever breath,
then read the last 10 pages of the Direct forum [nasaspaceflight.com] .
In a nut shell, Boeing, et. al. will be building Direct and offering it for commercial space. Yes, SpaceX, Orbital, and even the EELVs will have their role in space. HOWEVER, direct will now be allowed to be developed by Boeing and offered for commercial launches. Once that happens AND they have 2 launches per year via commercial, it will drop the price per launch. And what commercial space will be interested in this? Well Bigelow figures VERY prominently in this. That is why we are seeing them suddenly get active. That is also why they shifted their schedule to have station in 2015. Basically, we are about to see a MASSIVE expansion into space, but via the commercial world. Think of the railroads for USA in the mid 1800's.

This is not the end of America's human flights. It is the FINALLY the beginning of it. Most importantly, it will remove Space from politicians hands like W's who said that we were going to the moon and the provided next to ZERO funding for it. Heck, only in 2007 and 2008 did NASA budget increase. Prior to that it was being cut.
NASA will instead do what it does best; high tech RD as well as getting all parties to connect well (ignoring a mars probe).
Windbourne.

The new airline industry (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948264)

This just sounds like another oligopoly to bail out. Seriously how many different vendors will actually pop up? I'm gonna apply to be a space vendor im pretty sure my back yard would make a nice site for a launch pad.

Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948318)

The real reason the government was running it previously was because of the incredible risk. They could ask Marines and other service-members to risk their lives, and they were excited for the chance to get into space. Those brave men and women are still there and more than ready to put their lives on the line for their country. Unfortunately, as more and more civilians crept into the program, their tolerance for risk evaporated to the point the just getting a rocket off the pad is a nightmare.

It is a tragedy that this country lost 2 shuttles. But in this country, about 100 people die in traffic related incidents EVERY DAY. Spaceflight is a RISKY proposition, but we MUST be willing to simply accept some of that risk. We should take reasonable and responsible precautions, but we are currently so risk intolerant that we don't have a real manned program right now. Not because we don't have smart and brave folks ready to go, but because the bureaucrats running the show are cowards.

They're so scared they are trying to pawn it off on industry, and we can expect tons a litigation and finger pointing from the government following the first INEVITABLE death.

Take my temperature (3, Interesting)

LaissezFaire (582924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948332)

I think I agree with something the President said. Now, if we can guarantee property rights for those companies in space, too, this'd be amazing! Maybe Mr. Obama read Robert Heinlein when he was a kid and hasn't told anyone yet.

This is retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30948394)

Private industry has proven no capability yet in space, yet alone one which is reliable. This is truly putting the cart before the horse. Another bad move is to cut out returning to the moon. The moon is far easier and far safer (if one can truly use that word in space) as a first attempt at man setting up any form of long term camp/colony. There is something to be said about learning to crawl, walk and run in that order. I'm not sure we are even past crawling yet. There is no reason why we should attempt to do this on a far more distant planet without first having proven the technologies feasible closer to home where failure need not necessarily mean a death sentence.

First Class has wine and an in-flight meal... (2, Funny)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30948404)

Coach passengers may opt to purchase oxygen.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>