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!

Shuttle Extension & Heavy Launcher Bill Proposed

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the hail-mary dept.

Government 134

FleaPlus writes "In light of Congressional resistance to the new plans for NASA (criticized as 'radical') proposed by NASA head Charles Bolden, Sen. Hutchinson (R-TX and ranking member of the Senate committee dealing with NASA) has proposed a compromise bill. Hutchinson's bill calls for postponing the Space Shuttle's retirement until 2015, and instead of wholly canceling Constellation/Ares, it would adapt the more effective portions to a 'government-operated space transportation system,' largely inspired by the DIRECT proposal. NASA would also pursue commercial crew and cargo launches to orbit, although the bill leaves out Charles Bolden's proposal for R&D of 'game-changing' technologies for sustainable and cost-effective space exploration."

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

Bring home the bacon! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380922)

The government shouldn't make sure that Americans aren't killed or bankrupted by treatable illnesses.

Government is for invading foreign countries and building spaceships in a certain Republican senator's home state.

Thanks, Kay. You could have given us health care but instead your giving us spaceships.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380958)

Health care?! Are you putting your own well-being above new, expensive, and fantastic technology? You must be new here...

Pork, US Government Way Of Life (0, Troll)

dammy (131759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380980)

Government isn't supposed to be in control of my life from the womb to my tomb either. With drawl from the ISS, cancel the STS and get NASA out of the low earth manned space program all together and let industry do it's work.

Re:Pork, US Government Way Of Life (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31382606)

Maybe industry can teach you the difference between a possessive pronoun and a contraction.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380986)

Personally, I don't think the Gov't shouldn't be in the business of providing health care, either. If they can't balance a bank book (i.e. the budget) then how do we expect they can handle running health care?

Re:Bring home the bacon! (-1, Flamebait)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381076)

Then you'll be refusing Medicare when you get old enough, right, anonymous coward Randroid?

Or perhaps you meant that REPUBLICAN government can't balance the checkbook. The last Democratic President left office with a budget surplus.

Which a REPUBLICAN President pissed away and then drove the US DEEPER into debt with his "Look how big my dick is!" war in Iran.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381846)

You fucking idiot. Yeah democrats are way better at balancing a budget. Your douchebag hopey fuck hasn't been in office a year and he's spent trillions so people who work at mcdonalds can get liposuctions for free and who shouldn't have bought 400000 dollar homes can fucking walk away from them.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (3, Informative)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381940)

Look at any chart of national debt since WW II and you will find it is Republican presidents who have driven it upwards and Democratic presidents who have lowered it.

Every president from WW II until Reagan steadily lowered the national debt; Reagan cut taxes but not spending and tripled the national debt. Bush I continued the trend. Clinton lowered national debt. Bush II tripled or quadrupled national debt. Obama has only been in office a year, and has just started his first budget, so for you Republican whiners who blame all the recent debt on Obama, dream on -- it is Bush II's debt hands down.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31382348)

To be fair Reagan's massive military spending spree bankrupted the Soviet Union.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (0)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382584)

I had no idea Reagan was spending Soviet money on our military.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383804)

To be really fair, it did not. We KNEW in the 70's that the USSR was already bankrupted. There was little that reagan did that affected the USSR outcome with ONE exception. Carter had put a grain embargo on USSR for their invasion of Afghanistan. reagan lifted it shortly after coming into office (as a present for the farmers). Now, the issue is that typically when a large nation or even an empire collapses, they will do one of 3 things:
  1. Massively expand outward via wars. Typically they engage in one or more wars to keep the economy going falsely and ppl pre-occupied (sound familiar)?
  2. Collapse inward, typically with a revolution (Romania comes to mind).
  3. A new change of gov brought in peacefully.

The last is what happened with most nations of the USSR esp. Poland and Russia. It really was amazing to witness. Had we kept the grain embargo on USSR, then the gov COULD have pointed to the west and said that WE were responsible for denying them food. Basically, that embargo could have forced USSR's collapse to go very violent outwards. In this one regard, reagan did the right thing. In nearly all else, the man was a total idiot being ran by the likes of Cheney and Rove. It was reagan's and W's massive debt during good times that has caused America's and possible the west's economic collapse. Of course, the fact that W and so far Obama have not held China to their treaties and WTO obligation has a LOT to do with this.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381904)

He may have left with a budget surplus, but that was to pay off the enormous national debt. You know, because you're actually supposed to pay debts, not get them forgiven.

Re:Bring home the bacon! (0, Flamebait)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381424)

I do not want them in the business of Health Care either. However, some pretty good arguments have been made for Single Payer (extending Medicare to all). As it is, Medicare served as the basis of a health insurance for Germany, Japan, Swiss, etc and all are well known for their excellent health care.

No, she is not giving u new spaceships (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381322)

She wants to slow DOWN new ones and keep the existing one going.

No! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380956)

I work for a lab which is deeply involved in both the Constellation and COTS programs. Yes, Constellation might have been cool, but Obama has the right idea. He understands that building rockets is economically feasible and therefore should be done by commercial entities. NASA is slow and bureaucratic with this because they have done it before. NASA is MOST effective when they are doing something without precedent. Then NASA is developing something new which no one else might have done, and which may not have economically rational given the risk of failure. This is a much better role for NASA than just replicating rocket technology over and over again.

I have watched this first hand.

Re:No! (1, Interesting)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381538)

Especially as there was no point to Ares I. It wasn't revolutionary like the VentureStar, it wasn't cheap and according to many not even especially safe.

Perhaps I'm naive but I always thought NASA should look into building a Orion+Escape System combination that can abort safely in just about any circumstances. That way you could just take any launcher with the necessary payload and a proven track record and put Orion on top of it without all the man-rating bruahaha.

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31383004)

Precisely. A lot of commercial applications don't care whether they're on their own chassis bolted onto an atlas stack, or combined with several other projects riding a delta-IV heavy. Manned capsules should be no different, excepting that they would always go at the top of the stack, to provide escape opportunities in the event of disaster.

Re:No! (1)

Xarius (691264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381960)

NASA is MOST effective when they are doing something without precedent. Then NASA is developing something new which no one else might have done, and which may not have economically rational given the risk of failure.

How can we tell if they're being effective, if it has never been done before? What are we comparing it against?!

Re:No! (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382718)

I think the keyword is "most". As in, comparing current NASA with past NASA.

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31384164)

building rockets is economically feasible and therefore should be done by commercial entities.

commercial entities as opposed to what? You claim to work on Constellation. Do you think that NASA was going to build a factory to build Ares? Do you think there'd be a NASA factory with NASA workers building Orion? No. Commercial entities were going to be given contracts to build the rockets and the capsules, just like how Rockwell built the Space Shuttle and Grumman build the lunar lander.

So your comment basically boils down to: "bush's plan to use commercial entities is fundamentally flawed. Obama's plan to use commercial entities is brilliant!!"

To me, that's what this whole issue comes down to. People don't like Bush. Well guess what: no matter what Obama does, in eight years president (god help us) Palin is going to cancel it because she and the republicans wont like Obama. And they'll claim that they're just canceling it because it's having budget problems and their plan is so much better. The only difference will be that since 99% of the internets are liberal democrats, you'll be whining about it when Palin does it. But that wont change the fact that it'll be the exact same thing for the exact same reason.

And eight years after that, president Chelsey Clinton will cancel Palin's space program and if you're still around you'll say, "oh yes, Clinton has the right idea. We really need to use commercial companies."

bah!

speaking of NASA (4, Informative)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380988)

Last night I was visiting with a friend who has worked at NASA for 11 years. He is concerned for his job, etc. Among the things we discussed was astronaut photography. Sometimes an astronaut comes through the program and demands an update to the cameras they're approved to bring into space. The administration is very resistant to these upgrades because of the testing that is involved to approve a new device to bring into space. Something as simple as a dslr camera requires millions of dollars in testing to ensure that the device won't cause problems in vacuum or in zero g, etc. It even goes so far that NASA produces its own battery charger for the camera instead of using the commercial charger that ships with the model.

Seth

Who makes the batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381182)

Who makes the batteries? Can I buy some? I'm a bit worried about the crap lion sploders I currently use. Hate to think of that happening in space.

Stupid NASA.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381230)

Can you elaborate more on that?

What kind of problems could a DSLR cause in space? If there's potential trouble with the batteries, for instance, there exist DSLRs that use plain AA batteries, and surely somebody already tried to bring into space something that uses those.

Other than that, a DSLR seems like a rather harmless device to me. The good ones are sealed, so they should be unlikely to produce any sort of contamination.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382724)

there exist DSLRs that use plain AA batteries, and surely somebody already tried to bring into space something that uses those.

Since it costs NASA about $1000 to lift a single AA battery into orbit, rechargeables seem like a better bet.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382988)

There are rechargeable AA batteries too. Also it's a generally bad idea to use most non-rechargeable batteries in a DSLR as they don't last for very long. The only kind that works very well is the non-rechargeable lithium, but those are so expensive you might as well buy NiMH ones instead.

Re:speaking of NASA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381254)

So what DO you do when the battery charger bursts into flames on orbit? Can't call the fire dept, can't run out the door, your options are limited. And fire extinguishers make a mess, more so in zero than on the ground. Also consider that many AC adapters, even for high-end consumer cameras, come with NO documentation. In many cases, the housing (made of an unspecified black plastic-like material) is sealed or glued shut and can't be opened to allow inspection of the circuitry. Given the effort required to gather to the necessary information to assess the safety of the unit, and the likelihood that even with all the information it might still be impossible to assure the safety of the unit, it really might make more sense to design and build your own.

Re:speaking of NASA (5, Informative)

cyclone96 (129449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381490)

So what DO you do when the battery charger bursts into flames on orbit?

I'll reinforce your point here. Knowing something about the fire response strategy on ISS you do the following:

1) If you actually are lucky enough to witness the charger burst into flames, remove the power from it, hit the fire alarm, put on a mask, and expend a CO2 based fire extinguisher on it. The mask keeps you from asphyxiating yourself with the extinguisher.

2) If you don't physically see what happens (which is most likely, ISS is big and some modules may go unattended for hours) - the combustion products will trip off a cabin smoke detector in the module. That will stop ventilation inside the module and ring the alarm. In most cases, this will put out a fire in zero g - fires tend to smother themselves without gravity to force convection currents.

Meanwhile, not having any knowledge other than a smoke alarm from a module, the crew will converge in a safe haven in the vehicle away from the fire. Two (of the 6) may go forward to investigate with masks, fire extinguishers, and a hand held device to detect combustion products (mainly so they know if they are entering a lethal pocket of CO or other gases). Hopefully the module isn't a total fog of combustion products - if it is, the crew is likely to isolate it and leave it. If you don't know what the fire source is (because you can't see it), it may well end up that the entire module ends up getting powered down to ensure an electrical fire isn't being fed. This of course has some pretty serious ramifications as well - shutting down power to a module is not a simple event to reverse (since all the computers, cooling, lights, etc. go down with it). It's likely that collateral damage to a module's systems would happen if that were done.

Even if you do understand what happened and know it's out, the harmful gases from burning plastic aren't going to just go away on their own, they have to be scrubbed out with deployed fans and special canisters. It would take weeks to clean up.

Fighting a fire in a closed environment is very different than something you would do in your home. In zero gravity, most of the control is by prevention - don't use flammable materials, stop ventilation on a detected fire so it doesn't spread, don't use things that generate poison air when they burn, etc. Even a minor fire that many of us have encountered at one time or another (smoked electronics, plastic bag on fire, etc.) would be an extremely serious event in space. That's why so much time is spent making sure equipment conforms with fire prevention standards.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383414)

Knowing nothing firsthand about this myself but with my "common sense" I have to ask:

If a particular module were full of smoke and other noxious materials why wouldn't it be possible to seal off that model and then vent its entire atmosphere into space? At that point there would be nothing "airborne" left in that module. Then you would re-pressurize it.

That to me would seem to be more certain than any form of filtering. Of course somewhere in there you would have to make absolutely sure that the source of the noxious materials was eliminated too.

Re:speaking of NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31383606)

Where by "common sense" I guess you mean you watched any of a number of SF movies/TV episodes (perhaps Firefly's Out of Gas, or some episode (sorry, don't even remember which season) of BSG) depicting that scenario.

Me too.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

zblack_eagle (971870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384514)

Where would you get the atmosphere to re-pressurize the module from, without having to wait for the next resupply visit bringing some up?

Re:speaking of NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31384926)

Ok, fine, it might cost tens of billions of dollars in damage to irreplacable infrastructure and also kill everyone, but I want to bring my new camera. I want to, I want to. I just got it for $259 at Best Buy and it's COOL. So what if the taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to lift me into space, this is my mission and I want to bring my cool new camera. Testing is crap.

Re:speaking of NASA (4, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381276)

Something as simple as a dslr camera requires millions of dollars in testing to ensure that the device won't cause problems in vacuum or in zero g, etc. It even goes so far that NASA produces its own battery charger for the camera instead of using the commercial charger that ships with the model.

NASA would need to be sure that any lubricants used on the camera's moving parts (yes, even DSLR's have them) will not outgas if exposed to vacuum, or freeze/liquefy when exposed to the wide temperature variations experienced in space. The same would go for components like electrolytic capacitors, batteries, etc, which might rupture and release toxic chemicals when exposed to a vacuum.

The battery charger most likely needs to be customized in order to make one that can plug into the 28VDC or 400/800 Hz AC power systems typically used on spacecraft.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381450)

Think of the exploding/flammable capacitors that we saw for a decade or more coming from cheap chinese construction. They had stolen a design from Japan which Japan knew to be lousy. Last place I would want that is in a thin metal can in one of the most hostile environments going.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382476)

Why do spacecraft use those power specs, out of curiosity?

Re:speaking of NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31383498)

I knew some guys once that were crew chiefs on C-130 cargo planes, which also use 400Hz AC onboard. I was told it's done to reduce the size/weight of the parts needed to supply that power. Inductors and capacitors sized for 400Hz are evidently much smaller/lighter than those used for 60Hz.

That may not be the case at all on ISS, but it sounds like a reasonable assumption.

Any astronauts here want to set me straight? :-)

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384046)

I knew some guys once that were crew chiefs on C-130 cargo planes, which also use 400Hz AC onboard. I was told it's done to reduce the size/weight of the parts needed to supply that power. Inductors and capacitors sized for 400Hz are evidently much smaller/lighter than those used for 60Hz.

It is just a power to weight and volume issue. Using a higher frequency increases the losses due to magnetic hysteresis and eddy currents but that can be made up for using more expensive designs and materials if needed. Switching power supplies use powdered iron or ferrite instead of laminated steel for this reason.

The rule of thumb for a standard rectifier and capacitor power supply input stage is about 8200uF of capacitance per amp x volt (drop). The capacitor size is inversely proportional to frequency so at 400 Hz the capacitor will be about 1/6th the size. Transformers and inductors become smaller to the same proportion.

A lot of computer and consumer equipment will work fine on 120/240 volt 400 Hz AC or even 170/340 volt DC.

Re:speaking of NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31384658)

I'd guess it's an heritage of aircrafts. I'm working on helicopter avionics, it's the same specs all over the place. 28 VDC for the win.

And as usual in avionics: if it works (and is qualified) - don't touch it. ever.

Re:speaking of NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31384498)

Or get a waterproof camera case and use that.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

etnoy (664495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385712)

NASA would need to be sure that any lubricants used on the camera's moving parts (yes, even DSLR's have them) will not outgas if exposed to vacuum, or freeze/liquefy when exposed to the wide temperature variations experienced in space.

Yup, the previous set of DSLR:s NASA used needed a new lubricant before being allowed into space. The new cameras (which were ordered just last year, Nikon D3s to be specific) had incorporated this change into the stock model. Guess Nikon figured the change was so small it could be used on all cameras, possibly reducing the modification costs for the cams to be space-approved. This new generation will be used on the ISS without any modification at all (except for the aforementioned battery charger), during the spacewalks the cameras will need to be taped white to not get too hot. Vaccum doesn't absorb any heat in contrast to air, so the sun's rays would heat up a black object too quickly. The color change was all that was needed to get that camera into *space*. That's pretty cool methinks.

that is not a NASA issue (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381300)

The reason is that NASA funds things like that, and then Russia, ESA, JAXA, CSA, and even Chinese use that as the approved list. The fact is, that the testing HAS to happen since it was not designed from the gitgo with space missions in mind. If an America company was smart (kodak comes to mind, but then, they are not very smart), they would follow the Fischer Pen approach and design a camera to survive in space, water, etc. and then advertise it as being rugged for space as well as water, camping, etc. That little bit of marketing helped make Fischer Space pen sell a million more than what it would have otherwise.

Re:that is not a NASA issue (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385858)

If an America company was smart (kodak comes to mind, but then, they are not very smart), they would follow the Fischer Pen approach and design a camera to survive in space, water, etc. and then advertise it as being rugged for space as well as water, camping, etc.

This is exactly [hasselblad.com] what Hasselblad did.

Of course, Hasselblad products were already absurdly rugged (and expensive to match), so it's likely that very little additional engineering effort was required.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382888)

Right, but while SLRs (or any camera) may _seem_ simple, they aren't, take a look at the cut-away diagrams some time. Even a disposable style film camera would require a lot of testing too.

I wonder how often the cameras need to be updated. They certainly don't need to do annual model replacements, updated cameras rarely change significantly. I bet a five year old SLR that's been certified will do the job just fine, keep using them until there's concern about something breaking.

I thought some of the considerations were interesting, Olympus made a special space version of one of their cameras: http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/21760/olympus-slr-camera/ [letsgodigital.org] Particularly, the removable caps are clear so you can see if anything is floating inside, to avoid accidentally releasing pieces into the living space.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383052)

Ahh, but I wonder why NASA would be the ones to pay for the testing. You'd think camera manufacturers would jump over themselves to be able to stamp "approved for use in the space program" on their devices. Particularly in light of your link to Olympus doing precisely that.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385120)

it's called gold plating.

BTW, every private astronaut who has flown on the ISS has taken equipment without NASA oversight.. and there's been no incidents.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385854)

BTW, every private astronaut who has flown on the ISS has taken equipment without NASA oversight.. and there's been no incidents.

Yes, but those aren't mission-important items. A camera might be mission critical.

What are the odds of an off-the-shelf DSLR even surviving to orbit? When Nikon or Canon tests them, they don't have multi-G stress in mind, or thousands of bangs and shakes per second, or higher doses of radiation, or all the other fun stuff cargo gets as it zooms up to orbit.

Put it another way: one of the major subdisciplines in satellite engineering is surviving launch. Consumer stuff simply isn't made with launch, vaccuum, and zero-G in mind, so it may not work.

Re:speaking of NASA (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31386124)

What are the odds of an off-the-shelf DSLR even surviving to orbit?

So far? About 10 for 10.

Innovation in America is dead. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381058)

Thanks to Nixon opening up relations with China in the 1970s, followed by NAFTA and other free trade agreements in the 1980s and 1990s, followed by the Republican craziness of the 2000s, we've seen several decades of American industry, R&D and education being severely damaged.

It's no wonder that America's space initiatives have stalled, and we're stuck using technology first developed in the early 1970s. The Shuttle is the last major innovation we've seen out of America.

Computer networking and the Internet arose in the 1960s. Computer hardware has only been incrementally improving since the 1970s (look at how early PCs are nearly identical to PCs of today in terms of the sort of hardware they use). When it comes to software, the best we have (UNIX-like technologies) date from the 1960s. OOP is a 1970s concept. Functional programming predates that by a decade.

Most of our mobile phone and smartphone technology was initially developed in Europe, by Nokia and Ericsson. The rest was developed in Japan.

Our American-made vehicles are nearly identical to what we had in the 1950s.

We haven't had any new power generation methods developed since the nuclear power pioneered in the 1950s.

Buildings and infrastructure from the 1920s boom have proven to be far more reliable and robust than anything we've built since then. Suburbia is reaching the age where the shitty 1950s homes are starting to fall apart, and homes from the 1990s are now falling apart even quicker.

Now we see Europe, Japan and China becoming the leaders in biotech, thanks to backwards Republican thinking that punished researchers who sought to investigate stem-cell-based techniques.

What's worse, the education system of America has become so pathetic that it can't be turned around. There aren't enough intelligent, qualified Americans between the ages of 20 and 60 who can teach our youth. Even if we could improve education immediately, there'd still be a 50-year gap consisting of people who were born and raised during the so-called "American Dark Ages" of the 1970s until now.

These Shuttle issues are just the tip of the massive iceberg.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (3, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381266)

Oh, dear. And I suppose the creation of Starbucks led to the housing crisis? Correlation is _not_ causation: while Nixon did a lot of fascinating things, many good, many truly awful, it's difficult to show that the expansion of free trade with China was a bad idea. Given that China was (and is still, to some extent) a paranoid society with limited free speech and nuclear weapons, it seems well worth it to defuse their military concerns about the USA by opening trade.

There are numerous other factors that have impeded genuine development: lobby protection of existing industries is a primary force protecting the car industry. Buildings and infrastructure from the 1920's has, for the most part, fallen apart long ago: it's exceptional structures that remain. And those exceptional structures didn't have the same budgetary limits as an "exceptional structure" now. The 1920's had a lot of spare money for investment, and over-leveraged investment encouraged to the stock market crash of 1929.

And sadly, take a good look at exactly how far stem cell research has gone. There is not a _single major disease_ that is treated with stem cells, anywhere in the world, except as part of experiments that have monstly failed. It just hasn't worked. Not epilepsy, not Parkinson's, not diabetes.

And the youngsters I've seeing, well, they're a mixed lot. Some are very sharp, and very educated: enough to lead quite a lot of scientific and engineering development if they could get a _job_.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381642)

Oh, geeze. You're one of those "correlation is not causation" faggots. Now that you've gotten your clichéd saying out of the way, let's talk facts.

FACT: There are millions of buildings and many hundreds of thousands of miles of pipeline and other infrastructure in older American cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Pittsburgh build in the 1920s or earlier that are much more durable than the crap thrown together today in new-growth areas like California, Texas and Florida.

FACT: Opening up the American market to Chinese goods has destroyed America's manufacturing base, which has directly reduced America's research and innovation capabilities, all in the name of shitty Chinese-made "goods" that break after a month of moderate use.

FACT: Researchers in European and Asian nations are making huge strides in treating a wide variety of illnesses using findings derived from stem cell research. If you're suggesting otherwise, it's only because you're ignorant about what's going on outside of America. Go read some European or Asian medical journals, or even their mainstream newspapers (that is, if you can understand anything beyond English).

FACT: Even the best American students are damn near useless. Every year, several top American universities send some of their brightest students here to Germany to intern at the same company I work at. Out of the 120+ students I've worked with over the past five or six years, only two of them were comparable to a student coming out of a European university. These shouldn't be stupid students, either. They've majored in math, science and engineering. Some even have Masters degrees. Yet they can't do basic algebra, let alone basic calculus. We had one such student who didn't know what shape a trapezoid was! We couldn't believe it.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381954)

No, what has destroyed our manufacturing base has been the widespread destructive regulation of industries by our government. When the British left Hong Kong, for example, there was a huge explosion of business and free enterprise because you only needed to fill out a single piece of paper to start a business. Here you have to hire people specifically to understand tax laws, people to understand trade laws, pay permit fees, etc..

If government truly gave a crap about business they would stop putting tariffs and duties on imports, stop regulating exports, and stop setting up new taxes on everything. When you have to determine whether a sale is legal before you can actually make the sale, that is a huge impediment to business. I've had shipments delayed by days simply because the shipper needed a harmonized code. If I were to ship to China there would be no such issues.

Economic protectionism is a huge protection racket, where we pay our legislators to protect our businesses by sucking the lifeblood out of them in taxes and tariffs and blocking blood transfusions through regulation.

And to allay your suspicion that I'm somehow a member of the elite in this country, I make less than 30k a year.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31386000)

None of those things are provable facts -- just vague, general statements.

How about that steam main that blew up in NYC a few years ago? Poorly-maintained 1920s technology at its finest. Go look up survivorship bias, and think about how it effects your argument. Although I won't deny that we've been increasingly building things on the cheap ever since the 1960s, there was plenty of shitty 1920s architecture that (rightfully) met the wrecking ball over the past 5 decades.

That's how progress works: Save what worked, and improve or eliminate what didn't. Right now, we're cleaning up the mistakes of the 60s-80s, most notably the Corbusier-inspired housing projects, and Moses-inspired urban freeways. However, there are plenty of excellent structures from those eras that are going to be around for a long, long time.

Similarly, today, we have shitty buildings being built on the cheap that will most likely need to be torn down in 40 years, while other buildings are being constructed to last hundreds of years. This isn't exactly a departure from the past way of doing things.

Thankfully, we're also realizing the necessity of preserving and restoring old buildings and infrastructure that were particularly excellent, rather than ripping them down in favor of a modern counterpart. The best examples of this are New York City's two train stations -- the highly-functional and architecturally-magnificent Penn Station was torn town, and replaced by a modern underground station that was neither efficient nor aesthetically-pleasing. On the other hand, Grand Central Terminal was preserved (and carefully improved), and is now an architectural landmark as well as a highly-functional train station.

New York City also has a subway system that was built on the cheap by a series of competing private companies in the 1920s that has been a maintenance nightmare for the city ever since it inherited the system, and has a level of complexity that borders on labyrinthine. On the other hand, the Washington Metro was constructed in the 1970s, cost quite a bit more to build, but also included much nicer stations, a simple map layout, and provisions that have allowed the system to grow. Despite coming from an era noted for architectural mediocrity, Metro's cavernous concrete stations are likely to last a great many years without requiring continuous maintenance.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381550)

You sound like an old fart whining for the buggy-whip days. The only real problem is you are ignorant and blind to major technological developments.

For starters, because this is slashdot, have to point out major advances in computing made in America since the 1970s to now. Get your timeline out of computing 1980s through 2010. No innovation?

Automobiles of today have huge technological improvements from those of the 1950s, those were guaranteed to rust out within a few years and be blowing oil out worn valve guides and piston rings. Trying to start one in below zero degrees F was a major undertaking, electronic fuel injection is vastly superior for gasoline engines. Watch a Youtube video of a 1957 chevy crashing into a modern chevy and see who would die. At least twice the fuel efficiency for given vehicle weight. Air bags, GPS navigation, OBD-II, catalytic converters, solid state radio, radial tires, digital sensors and readouts (even if it looks analog there is for example no speedometer cable to wear out). Cars are not the same.

My parents house was built in mid 60s, well built and doing fine. The house I live in was built in 1980 and is doing fine. Both places will be good for another 30 years at least, where you get your silly notions might be from some garbage low-cost tract housing, guess what that was done in 1930s and 1940s also in some places (effects of Depression) and you don't know about it because it didn't stand the test of time, your sample set is flawed..

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381828)

For starters, because this is slashdot, have to point out major advances in computing made in America since the 1970s to now. Get your timeline out of computing 1980s through 2010. No innovation?

The GP covered that in the third paragraph from the top. Most of the so-called computing "innovations" of the past three decades are nothing more than incremental improvements on ideas or products available in the 1960s.

Like you yourself state, automobiles today are nothing but minor refinements on what we had in the 1950s. There has been absolutely no innovation. It's the same template, just with minor tweaks.

It's laughable that you Americans consider houses 25 or even 50 years old to have "stood the test of time". There are millions of houses that are 300+ years old in Europe alone, still being used to this very day. Having seen American construction methods and materials, you guys will be lucky if your houses last to 75 years of age before crumbling.

Your argument has proven the GP right. American innovation is dead, and has been dead for almost half a century now.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (2, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382702)

most of the 300 year old houses in europe of lower and middle class collapsed long ago, your sample data set is very flawed.

my usb flash drive is incremental improvement on something available in 1960s? Your pocket 1962 1311 IBM disk pack with 2MB, perhaps? My 8mbit ADSL modem is incremental improvement to 300 baud 103A dataset modem of 1962? you are just running off at the mouth on a keyboard in ignorance.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31384850)

most of the 300 year old houses in europe of lower and middle class collapsed long ago, your sample data set is very flawed.

What are you basing that assumption on? There is such a vast amount of small (and mostly poor) farms and buildings older than 250 years around here, that I really find it hard to believe you have anything to back that claim up.

BTW, I'm not the guy you're replying to. I agree that there have been dramatic innovations in semiconductor wafer processing. Intel still is doing a lot in that regard.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384872)

the only difference between flash and eeprom is that flash erases in blocks, while eeprom erases individual bytes. eeprom was invented in 1978. the difference between eeprom and eprom is that eeprom uses a thinner gate oxide layer. eprom was invented in 1971. the biggest difference is the much smaller transistor size, and corresponding density increase.

aside: it's sad that we North Americans think that 8Mbit is fast.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31382770)

> Most of the so-called computing "innovations" of the past three decades are nothing more than incremental improvements on ideas or products available in the 1960s.
> automobiles today are nothing but minor refinements on what we had in the 1950s. There has been absolutely no innovation. It's the same template, just with minor tweaks.

You clearly have no idea how much of the engineering 'under the hood' of either device has changed since then. You're just looking at the user interface - ooh, a steering wheel, two pedals, and four wheels! Same as before! What were you expecting, flying thought-controlled cars powered by Mr Fusion?

> It's laughable that you Americans consider houses 25 or even 50 years old to have "stood the test of time". There are millions of houses that are 300+ years old in Europe alone, still being used to this very day

Selection bias. There were *hundreds* of millions of houses in Europe 300+ years ago. 99% of them are gone. 300 years from now, 99% of the houses standing in Europe today will gone. That'll be true of the entire world.

> American innovation is dead, and has been dead for almost half a century now.

Because the US is the only place capable of making cars or computers, therefore your (wrongly) observed lack of progress is solely the US's fault. Right.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383268)

You sound like an old fart whining for the buggy-whip days. The only real problem is you are ignorant and blind to major technological developments.

For starters, because this is slashdot, have to point out major advances in computing made in America since the 1970s to now. Get your timeline out of computing 1980s through 2010. No innovation?

Automobiles of today have huge technological improvements from those of the 1950s, those were guaranteed to rust out within a few years and be blowing oil out worn valve guides and piston rings. Trying to start one in below zero degrees F was a major undertaking, electronic fuel injection is vastly superior for gasoline engines. Watch a Youtube video of a 1957 chevy crashing into a modern chevy and see who would die. At least twice the fuel efficiency for given vehicle weight. Air bags, GPS navigation, OBD-II, catalytic converters, solid state radio, radial tires, digital sensors and readouts (even if it looks analog there is for example no speedometer cable to wear out). Cars are not the same.

My parents house was built in mid 60s, well built and doing fine. The house I live in was built in 1980 and is doing fine. Both places will be good for another 30 years at least, where you get your silly notions might be from some garbage low-cost tract housing, guess what that was done in 1930s and 1940s also in some places (effects of Depression) and you don't know about it because it didn't stand the test of time, your sample set is flawed..

The number one crucial development for the Automobile Industry that has stalled for decades is engine efficiency. That is intentional, not because they can't sell 100mpg vehicles. They fear they would sell less of them. Those fears are unfounded. People upgrade for the look, not the efficiency no matter how efficient the vehicle. Porsche could sell a 100mpg vehicle and within 5 years add a bunch of "luxury" items now considered stock only to see a large used market for those 5 year vehicles because everyone has to have the new stock model. Henry Ford sold the world a drug and intentionally provided incremental upgrades to keep the habit going.

Make the Highspeed [250mph+] rail systems that loops the entire US and provides a connection Hub to Denver and St Louis that branches like a web to the midwest for [150mph] rails and just see how fast the Auto Industry innovates itself or dies. Add lightrail for all US Metro cities at 200K+ and watch the lobbying protest against it from the Auto industry. Your list of luxury accessories for Autos weren't invented for the sake of evolving the industry. They were invented to keep the addiction going and to comply with ways to handle factors of safety the heads of these Auto corporations would prefer not to care about.

Re:Innovation in America is dead. (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385958)

Computer hardware has only been incrementally improving since the 1970s (look at how early PCs are nearly identical to PCs of today in terms of the sort of hardware they use).

I love watching those old shows on TV Land and seeing their wireless networks, solid state drives, flat panel monitors, and RAID arrays.

Our American-made vehicles are nearly identical to what we had in the 1950s.

I love watching Happy Days reruns and seeing their fuel injection, airbags, antilock brakes, satellite radios, and mp3 players.

No bucks (1)

ComputerInsultant (722520) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381064)

No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

This will go nowhere unless additional cash is added to NASA's budget.

shuttle may not make 2015 (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381090)

Here is the thing. On one hand I think the shuttles are good enough, and we should use them indefinitely. Of course, indefinitely means until one of the three remaining shuttles fail, most likely taking another crew. I don't think most people want this to happen, which is why they are being retired now that we know and have seen the consequences of some sub optimal design decisions. In effect we have a choice of giving up this year,or simply not setting a date certain. I think the later might be a reasonable decision.

In any case, the decision must be made in terms of safety and effective spending of tax money, not politics. Those people who are going to be fired, are, after all, in conservative terms, are overpaid federal bureaucrats. Now, the people most effected by this are the people of clear lake,TX. These fine people elected Pete Olson, a fine conservative. Pete Olson does not believe in socialism. Pete Olson does not believe in extending unemployment checks, as one conservative said if you feed a stray animal the just multiply. Olson voted against a bill to help keep people in thier homes, a decision which I do not disagree with. Given this, it is clear that the only right and proper thing we must do is look at the technical side, and disregard all this fear mongering about jobs. These are allegedly technical and educated people. They will be able to find or create jobs. Unemployment in Texas is 2 points below the national average, and for professionals much lower.

The thing to do is to look at what is best for the country, and what is best to reduce the tax burden of the American People,and limit the role of government. That is what the last election cycle clearly indicated was the will of the people. If a few people in Clear Lake have to find other jobs to achieve that goal, then maybe that is what needs to happen.

Re:shuttle may not make 2015 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381296)

crew is replaceable. what i don't get is why are they scrapping a working design? it would make sense to build new shuttles while improving existing design to require less maintenance and use more reusable and cheaper parts. its common sense to reuse existing design. i doubt anyone would have anything against shuttle 2.0. in today's space industry its most important to make do cheaper. that is with less maintenance and more reuseables

Re:shuttle may not make 2015 (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381460)

what i don't get is why are they scrapping a working design?

      For the same reason people no longer use crossbows?

      I mean, the crossbow is a working design. It can let just about any amateur kill a man from a distance. It makes no noise. Yet for some reason people are convinced that assault rifles are the way to go...

Re:shuttle may not make 2015 (2, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383654)

For the same reason people no longer use crossbows?

The crossbow had successors available, which displaced the crossbow gradually. I could name three crossbow replacements, each specialized in a way that the crossbow was generalized. What Shuttle replacements/successors have you?

President cancels truck industry - until 2020 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31385080)

This just in: The President has come up with a "better idea than trucks" which will be made available for use in 2020. In the meantime, all trucks will be taken out of service and the revenue saved will be used to develop the new technology. By next year, all large trucks will be melted down, resulting in large reductions in emissons of greenhouse gasses.

I like the crossbow example, because the crossbow was not arbitrarily cancelled until the functions it performed were gradually, and competitively, replaced by other technologies, as those technologies became available in the field and out performed the crossbow.

For developng construction in space, the shuttle rules, and there is no better alternative in existence. Trucks are in fact useful, and are not the same as economy cars. Launch from orbit, using in orbit construction techniques, is a more viable option for mars missions than ground based launches, which are slow and can only deliver small payloads.

Don't cancel the shuttle. Develop the age of the space station, learn in orbit construction, and do robotic exploration of the planets. The space program was doing fine until the PR idiot Carl Rove decided to make it into another image campaign.

Re:shuttle may not make 2015 (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385380)

Actually, this is more equivalent to the reason no one uses lasers. It sounds like a nice weapon in theory, but in practice it's completely useless outside of very controlled conditions.

Re:shuttle may not make 2015 (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385510)

I think the government should have a role in space exploration, but you are right. We shouldn't just keep paying to keep jobs, we should keep exploring for the sake of technology and society. There are many things not economically viable for a private entity to research, and space travel / exploration is one of the most important. /Clear Lake born and raised

Ah yes, politicians (4, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381128)

So much for Republican core values of small government, free enterprise, and especially the government getting out of the way of free enterprise to do a job better, cheaper, and without the stifling bureaucracy.

At least that is what Republicans of all stripes say they stand for. In public. Officially.

Pork always wins out, tho.

(Note to Republicans who are incensed by this attack on their imploded view of reality: see the title of this post.)

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381470)

You've got a bit of a point there.

The interesting thing is that Obama's proposal to 'privatize' manned space launches, flys directly in the face of all the other stuff he's doing.

In Obama's view the housing, banking, auto, and insurance companies all need very strict government oversight. It ironic that he thinks manned space flight needs less. Note: I said ironic there. At heart, I believe and hope that Boeing and/or SpaceX can create manned rated rockets with appropriate funding from NASA. So while Obama's acting counter to what I think his instincts are, I also think there's a chance this will work.

BUT, as for this bill, I think extending the shuttle is a necessary step too.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382250)

In Obama's view the housing, banking, auto, and insurance companies all need very strict government oversight.

Really? Ford doesn't seem to think so. The bailout was intended to try to save U.S. jobs where the free market failed. Most banks have already repaid TARP, Chrysler/Fiat is standing on its own and the administration pretty much left the housing market alone (mortgage company failures notwithstanding.) BTW, these plans were initially put into play by the Bush administration.

I don't have a problem with having the private sector develop the technology for manned spaceflight. The problem is that we scrapped a complete (if misguided) plan and timetable for manned spaceflight, and replaced it with random projects to develop a hodgepodge of technologies with no real plan, goal or timetable.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31383720)

BTW, these plans were initially put into play by the Bush administration.

Under pressure from president-elect Obama's camp.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384472)

Uh, the bailout of AIG happened two months before the election. And while Bush said in July 2008 that there'd be no auto industry bailout, by late October, again before the election, he was already flipflopping. Oh, and Senator McCain voted for TARP as well, again, before the election.

Taxpayer funded private space vechicles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31385584)

What "private" space program?

Quote from above "At heart, I believe and hope that Boeing and/or SpaceX can create manned rated rockets with appropriate funding from NASA"

How exactly can it be "appropriate" for taxpayers to fund private development of space transporation (along with handing the associated patents to private companies)? Especially as those who constantly crow about the superiority of the private sector visciously criticize NASA (and the air force), which are paying for the vast majority of space development? NASA would be a source of national pride, except for those who constantly trash it while simultaneously trying to steal its technology, all the while being paid on contract by the US taxpayer.

Maybe your vaunted "private space transportation" companies should recieve all their funding from the private sector, and not get a dime from NASA, either to help them compete with NASA or to replace NASA with outsourcing contracts. Let the "private sector" hire Space X and the rest of them to exploit space. They can go to the private sector's space station, while they are at it.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31382274)

You are assuming Obama thinks about the Space Program as much as housing, banking, auto, etc. I assure you he does not. The push to switch to privatization is a policy of his advisors (specifically Lori Garver) that have goals and agendas that are not necessarily motivated by overall policy goals of the Obama administration.

Frankly I think Obama thinks about or cares very little about spaceflight personally.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383850)

What makes you think that launch businesses won't be "strictly" overseen?

What do you mean by "strict" anyway? Should oversight ever be "lax"?

Of course not. Oversight should always be strict, but at the same time reasonable. In other words the rules should be clear, have a reasonable justification, and make provision for foreseeable hardships they might cause. Given that, violators shouldn't get a pass because regulators are "lax".

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385392)

In order to do any sort of manned space exploration, NASA's budget needs to be doubled, probably tripled. That's why Obama is pushing it over to private industry. He wants it to fail - and he's right to make it fail, given that we're refusing to allocate sufficient funds.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381934)

So much for Republican core values of small government, free enterprise, and especially the government getting out of the way of free enterprise to do a job better, cheaper, and without the stifling bureaucracy.

At least that is what Republicans of all stripes say they stand for. In public. Officially.

Pork always wins out, tho.

(Note to Republicans who are incensed by this attack on their imploded view of reality: see the title of this post.)

As you pointed out, Republicans (and many other politicians) are all for cutting government in somebody *else's* district; for free trade until a company in their district loses out to a competitor; while at the same time *creating* jobs in their district (with federal dollars, of course.)

Newsflash - the government does not create jobs - it just picks winners and losers; and will keep doing so as long as bring home federal money means getting re-elected. We vote them in of course, sow we truly have met the enemy, and he is us.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383726)

I'm kinda shocked that it took this long for someone to point out the hypocrisy here. Hutchison is proposing a government-operated space transportation system? Really? Not only is the commercial sector already active in that area, it's a massive expansion of NASA into unknown territory (from cutting-edge research to providing a public service) along with a billion dollar expenditure that really isn't needed.

I'm baffled. Shouldn't his brain implode when considering these options? Wait, you're right. He's a simple politician. For them, that behavior is par for the course.

Hutchinson LOST the Texas primary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31383976)

Hutchinson LOST the Texas Republican Primary a few days ago, in part because she does so much spending.

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384554)

So much for Republican core values of small government, free enterprise, and especially the government getting out of the way of free enterprise to do a job better, cheaper, and without the stifling bureaucracy.

At least that is what Republicans of all stripes say they stand for. In public. Officially.

Pork always wins out, tho.

Yup. Hutchinson is from Texas, and NASA has a lot of legacy infrastructure in Texas ("Houston, we have a problem...").

Re:Ah yes, politicians (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385420)

There isn't a huge amount of overlap between "Republican" and "fiscal conservative" any more. That's why they got creamed in 2006 and it also gave birth to the Tea Party movement.

Retire the Shuttle? How about defund NASA? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381140)

America is in the midst of an economic crisis and it is about time to cut our losses. What has NASA given in return for its massive funding? Just about as much as the military incursions into the middle east, almost nothing. Maybe in the future we should return to space, but not right now. Right now America needs to focus n getting debt under control while still being able to take care of its citizens. That is why we need to Retire the shuttles,not in 2015, but in 2012. This way everyone can be brought back from the International Space Station, deorbit the space station, defund NASA completely, and sell off all of its assets. By that time America should have enough money to get a better grasp on its soaring deficit and debt.

Re:Retire the Shuttle? How about defund NASA? (4, Informative)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381224)

Obviously NASA has not provided us with anything of value!

http://www.howstuffworks.com/ten-nasa-inventions.htm [howstuffworks.com]

By the way. I just Googled this. Took me all of 3 seconds to find something of value that NASA has provided.

Re:Retire the Shuttle? How about defund NASA? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381250)

WHich also ignores that NASA actually helped build up the micro computer industry. If not for NASA, we would still be using Mainframes and Vax.

How about defund private space companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31385760)

Yes, NASA provided major funding for electronic miniturization, which was necessary for packing control circuits into rocket payloads. That was a fantastic industrial policy for the 1960's through around 1980. Today, the equivalent would be a major NASA push for the robotic exploration of the planets, since robotics research plays right into the flowering of a major new industry in our era. Robotic exploration of the planets has great spin off potential, and it's obvious and relevant to the near future, just as electronics was in the 1960's. Manned exploration of the moon and mars has far less relevance as industrial policy, and will produce nowhere near the applicable useful science and technology.

The manned program today should be focused on learning in orbit construction, life support in space, all the things that can be done relatively cheaply using the shuttle and space station, and that was the era we were actually in before Rove and Bush made use of a tragic accident to trash a very functional space program which had been going in an appropriate direction.

About the shuttle hyper safety program - cars crash, airplanes crash, people fall down, rockets blow up, accidents happen. It was Bush's cowardly reaction to a tragic accident that screwed up the space program.

Re:Retire the Shuttle? How about defund NASA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31382938)

How about in the last 10 years? Nothing? Oh then my original post stands, Nasa should be defunded. As I stated before, Nasa has not really been giving anything compared to the tax money it has spent. Most of the shit was from its beginning. Overall NASA has really given us nothing. With Nasa bleeding America dry like the useless war it's involved in, the overall picture of NASA is getting even more useless.

Fickle American Public! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381142)

The problem with using the aging shuttle technology indefinitely is one of safety. Not just for the crews of these craft, although that is very important, but for the safety of the entire program. Americans will not stand for too many other disasters. Anybody remotely acquainted with the space program knows that it cannot be made perfectly safe. But the American public will blow things far out of proportion if another shuttle goes down. Every big disaster that happens people start thinking that NASA is wasting money and lives on frivolous activities. We need to be very careful here!

Blessed Atheist Bible Study @ http://blessedatheist.com/

Hypocrite Republican: Texas Jobs Bill (2, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381166)

Those hypocrites in the Republican Party! This is nothing more than a jobs bill for Houston and the Southern states who all own most of the various NASA installations [Texas, Alabama, Florida] and so they will stand to lose when the admirable-but-currently-unaffordable NASA Launch Business is set to retire.

I'm sure this Republican from Texas, who is basically proposing the opposite of what President Obama has proposed, is all against government waste--except when it comes to things that benefit his district.

I love the space program. I admire most of what NASA has done. I agree with President Obama that NASA should delegate the conventional launch business to the private sector. NASA should focus on developing the technologies of the future, not ones that were invented by Goddard back in the twenties.
Though it would be cool and exciting to see the huge Ares V rocket blast off, we cannot afford it right now. Why is that so hard for people to understand? We can afford to do research on the next generation but we should not be in the Space Truck business. Let's throw a few bones to the private sector. Let them build it cheaply and we will buy seats for our people and stuff.

Amazing (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381226)

The same set of neo-cons that carp about Stimulus bill are busy pushing another jobs bill via this. And where are they from? Texas, Fl, Al, and Ca. Surprised that they would put their election ahead of the nation? Not me. With that said, this bill is a prime example of neo-con spend and borrow. It wants to extend the shuttle for another 2-3 years, but only gives up 3 billion to fund it. Well, if you fly ONE SHUTTLE, then you have to fund the entire crew. That means 3-4 BILLION for that year. So, you are better off flying as many as possible since each flight is only about 200 million in variable costs. The problem that we have with our space system is that we have depended on exactly ONE arch to get us to the moon and then exactly one to get us into LEO. That needs to change if we want to support a moon base, or even a mars base. As such we NEED multiple architectures. in
  1. Human lift to LEO,
  2. Small and Medium Cargo Lift to LEO
  3. SUPER-Heavy cargo lift to leo.
  4. Pluggable way to add a tug to a craft.

The above will prevent Congress from doing what it is doing AND will prevent an accident in a rocket from shutting down the entire space program. Nixon killed skylab because he did not fund NASA properly for building the shuttle after shutting down Apollo in 1970. Likewise, W and the 2004 Congress SEVERELY underfunded NASA after pushing a mistake like Constellation. In addition, Challenger and Columbia shut down NASA's Manned missions for several years. For us to move off this planet, we need to prevent such nightmares from happening again. The heavy lifter that NASA is pushing is not on the drawing board yet. They want to do more RD to bring up to speed on engines. THEN they want to have Private Space build 2 or more heavy lift mostly on their dollar, and have NASA focus on doing cutting edge RD as well as focused on how to build out a system that moves us out of LEO. The new plan will build up private space and help get them to the moon along with a national consortium (almost certainly all of the ISS crew and possible adding India and Brazil). The issue will be the idiots in congress that did not fund these vehicles over the last 6 years, but are now wanting to throw good money after bad ideas.

Re:Amazing (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385676)

You guys on the left have so over-used the word neocon that it doesn't mean anything at all anymore. The neocons were never fiscal conservatives - they were leftists who became militarists because of external threats (real and imagined). They have almost no influence left in the Republican party and never had any with the Tea Party people. Just because a guy wants to fund useless crap to generate jobs in his district doesn't mean he's a neocon. That just makes him a member of Congress.

The shuttle never delivered on its primary mission, which was cheap access to space. It should have been killed as soon as that was clear in the mid '80s. We should not be funding a project that "moves us out of LEO". If we ever want to have a hope of doing anything useful in space we need to retrace our steps and build a cost effective system to get people and material into LEO.

Right now there isn't anything worth doing in space beyond spy and communications satellites, and the reason is it's too damn expensive to get there. If we don't lower the $/kg cost to orbit any manned space efforts will be the sorts of vanity projects we've been seeing in the last 30 years. Hey, let's spend a billion dollars going to orbit and start some high school student's microgravity ant hill experiment! Those kinds of projects can't be justified in economic terms, so they'll never be funded evenly.

There's no particular scientific challenge to cheaper space travel, either. Rocket fuel is relatively cheap - the fuel with the energy it takes to put a 747 in orbit is about the same amount of fuel it takes to fly that same jet from Los Angeles to Sydney. It's an operations cost engineering challenge, and not one well suited to a bloated government bureaucracy like NASA.

Choosing the government option (for orbital lift) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381446)

Isn't it funny - the government option for health care (that will benefit poorer citizens and keep the greedy corporations honest) is opposed by the Republicans, and yet the government option for orbital transportation is supported by them - higher costs, benefits only going to their friends at Boeing, Lockheed etc etc.

Brought to you by the letter 'H' for Hypocrisy.

Why are we still wasting money on this? (1)

terraplane (898379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381774)

Time to kill the space program once and for all. A juvenile, stupid waste of money and lives.

Go indulge your space adventure fantasies somewhere else, idiots.

Nitpicks and Bill Number (2, Insightful)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382008)

First, it was Kay Bailey Hutchison (no "n" in Hutchison). Second, the bill can be found here, on THOMAS [loc.gov] . Although the text of the bill isn't up yet, the introducing language is up. It's bill S. 3068, if anyone cares.

Third, this is not a good idea. If there was ever a time to grow our spaceflight industry it's now, at the inflection point. Saying that it will lose us space is just silly: who do they think we will contract with after Soyuz? Arianne? This is exactly how you win space, by spurring private sector investment in space transportation for its own purposes. Rocketry is mature enough for the start-ups, so get NASA to do things others cannot: major spaceflight research. Look at what Bigelow is doing with inflatable modules and is planning on doing going forward. If we can get such major tech in the hands of industry and provide a guaranteed market, I think we're well on our way to owning spaceflight.

this FP for GNNAA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31382068)

do, or indeed what AppLe too. No, of business and was contact to see if goals. It's when

Wishing thinking (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383030)

I'd love the Shuttle to continue, and some new launcher to take its place, but I can't realistically see it happening with so much US debt at the moment. Of the Ares launchers, presumablely the Ares I would be the one to stay, but its heavy lift launchers that the world is short of. Plus there is the spectre of another Shuttle disaster hanging over any plan to extent the shuttles life span.

---

Space Craft [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Can the shuttle (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383104)

It should have never been built. The Apollo was PERFECT (the rocket, not the CM). It should have been allowed to continue. The ORIGINAL shuttle design would have been safer, but, they once again went the cheap route. What they need to do is build something that has a CM similar to the old Apollo, and make a heavy launch vehicle for hauling equipment & supplies. The only reason Senator Hutchison is proposing this is to keep the shuttle jobs alive. An astronaut, long ago was asked if anything about flying into space scared him. He replied, the only thing that bothers me is that I'm sitting on top of something that went to the lowest bidder! Truer words were ever spoken.

too frikin late! (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383992)

Half of the factories have been shut down already and people let go. Its a two year pipeline to prepare a shuttle. The pipeline only has seven months left in it.

Abysmal decision making from the Whitehouse (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384608)

It is good to see the congress contest the abysmal decision making coming from the Whitehouse. There is no logical reason to end NASA's manned space program. Obama's sycophants at NASA are in full retreat. I look forward to the return of Constellation and extension of the Shuttle project.

This Way Leads to Failure (1)

Your Anus (308149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384954)

This is stupid. Even with the extension, there won't be any flights for at least three years, because there aren't any external tanks left in the pipeline. NASA will be stuck in the past, and we will never leave Earth orbit because we will spending our moon money on make-work projects.

A NASA White Knight Emerges: Ergo, NASA = JOBS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31385868)

It appears that the Right Honorable Mr. Bolden was chosen for the job becasue "Bolden" rhyms with "Golden", a.k.a. a former NASA Chief.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?