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Utah vs. NASA On Heavy-Lift Rocket Design

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the my-money's-on-the-dudes-with-rockets dept.

NASA 285

FleaPlus writes "Utah congressmen Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Rob Bishop, and Jim Matheson issued a statement claiming that NASA's design process for a new congressionally-mandated heavy-lift rocket system may be trying to circumvent the law. According to the congressmen and their advisors from solid rocket producer ATK, the heavy-lift legislation's requirements can only be met by rockets utilizing ATK's solid rocket boosters. They are alarmed that NASA is also considering other approaches, such as all-liquid designs based on the rockets operated by the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX. ATK's solid rockets were arguably responsible for many of the safety and cost problems which plagued NASA's canceled Ares rocket system."

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Shame (5, Funny)

winnitude (1352731) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315802)

It's always a shame when the law gets in the way of science. If it didn't, I would probably have six testicles by now due to cloning.

Re:Shame (1, Insightful)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315848)

Why the heck would you take 6 testicles? Short of making sperm they are useless. Not to mention the security risk of tripling the size and intensity of "the hit zone". Take the double heart or double thumb instead, way more useful.

Re:Shame (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34315894)

you obviously never had a proper full service blowjob

Re:Shame (0, Offtopic)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316250)

Of course not with a UID that high!

Re:Shame (0, Offtopic)

RichiH (749257) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315928)

> Why the heck would you take 6 testicles? Short of making sperm they are useless.

Correct. More shots.

Re:Shame (4, Funny)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316048)

That's bollocks. You can never have enough testicles!

Re:Shame (5, Funny)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316090)

That's testicles. You can never have enough bollocks!

Re:Shame (1, Informative)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316518)

never mind the bollocks, it's the sex pistols.

Re:Shame (0, Offtopic)

Bl4d3 (697638) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316540)

That's bollocks. You can never have enough testicles!

So I take it that you're a female angler fish [theoatmeal.com] ?

Re:Shame (4, Funny)

edumacator (910819) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316064)

Why the heck would you take 6 testicles?

You obviously aren't married. Two for my wife, two for me, and two on reserve for when my wife finds out I still have a set and confiscates them.

Re:Shame (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316428)

Ah. Now I get it. The standard /. mantra: "backups, backups, backups".

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316136)

I'd take an extra hand, this way I can drink, eat, pick my nose, etc ... while coding.

Re:Shame (3, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316620)

Why the heck would you take 6 testicles?

Because it gives you alternatives with plausable deniability, such as Of course I have a six-pack, wanna see it? and Wanna come over tonight and share a six-pack? It will also provide several public apperance and marketing opportunities with politicians who commonly refer to the masses as 'Joe Six-pack'.

You dont... (4, Insightful)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315810)

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what lobbyist wrote that clause of the bill...

Re:You dont... (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315912)

It's traditional to give the allegiance of senators and so on.

That's R, R, R, and Blue Dog.

(Not the Dem's are any less corrupt, but don't forget these idiots are claiming to want to bring budgets under control, not give all the cash to their buddies).

Re:You dont... (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316134)

Really? I've heard tea partiers & Libertarians claim they want to bring the budget under control, but not Orrin Hatch or other Republi-crats. The party now is still the same out-of-control spending party under George Duh Bush. Very little has changed.

In fact I just read the Republicans are pushing for yet *another* war, but this time against Iran.
Congressman Ron Paul responded by calling them, "Sick" and "speeding us faster towards bankruptcy."

Corrupt politicians owned by lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316498)

If everyone knows that all politicians are corrupt and anti-democratic, then why do we never do anything about it?

In most systems, including the US, the only inside-the-system option for reform is to have the representatives enact the reform. And of course they're never going to do that.

So it is time to step a little bit outside the system: start a new fork, open source [metagovernment.org] our governance.

Re:Corrupt politicians owned by lobbyists (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316688)

If everyone knows that all politicians are corrupt and anti-democratic, then why do we never do anything about it?

Because power and corruption are like radioactivity. Those who want to change things in government are slowly infected as they get closer to power. Once they get elected to a lower office it has already started changing their DNA. By the time they get into a real office or position with power they too are corrupt.

I would have used a car analogy, but the only one I could think of involved changing a timing belt and that would have led to another argument about metric vs standard/imperial.

Re:Corrupt politicians owned by lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316754)

Right! So... click the link [metagovernment.org] above, and you'll see the work of a global project working to build a ground-up system of governance that does not rely on representation.

Everyone is willing to criticize the current system, but amazingly few are willing to lift their littlest finger for a moment to do anything about it.

There is a real solution. It is not perfect, and it may take a long time. But apart from vast, violent revolution, there really is no other choice.

Can you please chip in [metagovernment.org] to the one project that is actually working to fix this?

Re:You dont... (5, Funny)

PseudonymousBraveguy (1857734) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316114)

Spider-Pork, Spider-Pork,
does whatever the lobbyist says,
Can he introduce
useful laws?
No he can't
he's a pork
LOOK OUT!
He's a spider POOOOOOORK

Hey, what happended to all that Tea Party shit? (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317142)

I guess the election is over and Republicans don't have to play pretend anymore.

PIGS IN SPAAAAAAACEEEE!!!! (3, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317236)

Hey, wait, you're considering designs that don't mandate using boosters built by a specific contractor based in our state? That can't be legal.
Too bad we can't vote to recall senators from other states.

The pork must flow.

Re:You dont... (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316344)

Indeed. I had to read that summary again, as on first reading I thought I was reading it wrong. NASA breaking the law for investigating alternatives to a single supplier? It just doesn't read right. When I started reading I expected it to be the other way around, as in NASA going for a certain supplier, without properly investigating other options.

If those solid boosters caused so many problems, then it only makes sense they will search other options. On top of that I'm not expecting anything less from a research institute like NASA. Isn't development of new technologies part of their mandate?

Re:You dont... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317298)

Indeed. I had to read that summary again, as on first reading I thought I was reading it wrong. NASA breaking the law for investigating alternatives to a single supplier? It just doesn't read right.

Allow me to translate from Politician to Reality:

NASA: I want to build a spaceship.
Politician: I want to get re-elected.
ATK Lobbyists: Mr. Politician, here is a big bag of money.
Politician: NASA, here is a law that funds your spaceship. I don't know much about that sciency stuff, but my staffers helped write it. The law says that you can build any sort spaceship you want, so long as the engines are built by a manufacturer with three letters in their name, where the first two letters of the manufacturer's name are the same as first two letters of the the common scientific abbreviation for adenosine triphosphate, and the third letter of the manufacturer's name is the chemical symbol for potassium. Now go build that spaceship! For SCIENCE!
NASA: But what about engines not built by ATK, whose lobbyists influenced your staffers to write that law?
Politician: Then your spaceship would be illegal, and we'd have you all arrested for breaking the law. Or you can STFU, sign the contracts to enrich my political backers, and GBTW.

... ten years later...

NASA: (Builds something that pogo-sticks the astronauts into jelly.)
Politician: Oh no, what have you done, NASA!
ATK Lobbyist: There oughta be a law.
Politician: An SRB that won't kill everyone on board is gonna cost a fortune, y'know.
ATK Lobbyists: (beams delightedly) Yes, we know. Awesome, isn't it?

Nothing like the smell of corruption, cronyism (2, Funny)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315812)

in the morning.

Re:Nothing like the smell of corruption, cronyism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34315828)

Is it morning already? I can't see outside because of all those solid rocket fumes... /sent from my Blackberry in Florida

Re:Nothing like the smell of corruption, cronyism (1)

Computer_kid (996105) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315870)

Silly human resource, there is nothing to see here!

Move along, nothing to see (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34315818)

So... if I understand correctly, what's actually happening here is that a Utah company claims that NASA cannot meet the legal requirements by using the competition's designs, and the various Utah congressmen are joining in the chorus to support that Utah company.

Company discredits competitors, congressmen support their state's industry. Surprising? Hardly.

Re:Move along, nothing to see (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315888)

So... if I understand correctly, what's actually happening here is that a Utah company claims that NASA cannot meet the legal requirements by using the competition's designs, and the various Utah congressmen are joining in the chorus to support that Utah company.

Company discredits competitors, congressmen support their state's industry. Surprising? Hardly.

That's only half of it - the astronauts have to wear magic underwear [guardian.co.uk] inside their space-suits to meet the clothing law

Re:Move along, nothing to see (4, Informative)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315900)

So... if I understand correctly, what's actually happening here is that a Utah company claims that NASA cannot meet the legal requirements by using the competition's designs, and the various Utah congressmen are joining in the chorus to support that Utah company.

Company discredits competitors, congressmen support their state's industry. Surprising? Hardly.

The law itself is very fishy. Quoting TFA:

The law states that NASA “shall, to the extent practicable, extend or modify existing vehicle development and associated contracts including contracts for ground testing of solid rocket motors, if necessary, to ensure their availability for development of the Space Launch System.”

To me, the intent there is "don't change it unless reasonable on safety or other grounds". But why the enforcement of staying with current contracts? It stinks of the lobbying parent describes. More from TFA:

Phrases like “to the extent practicable”, “if necessary”, and “as appropriate” give NASA leeway to go in different directions if they determine something as specific as outlined in the legislation’s report language is not practicable, necessary, and/or appropriate.

Or dangerous, as the summary suggests.

Re:Move along, nothing to see (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316374)

But why the enforcement of staying with current contracts? It stinks of the lobbying parent describes. More from TFA:

Very fishy indeed. No need to put that into the law: for starters, a contract is a contract and is supposed to be respected from both sides. Breaking contracts should only be done in special cases. No need to put that again in a law.

NASA should go for a technology which is best for the job. Besides this is a new project, for new technology, so whether existing tech can be used right away well that's not so sure of course. Logically NASA should go with the tried and tested stuff, again no need to put this in the law.

Re:Move along, nothing to see (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316470)

But why the enforcement of staying with current contracts? It stinks of the lobbying parent describes. More from TFA:

Very fishy indeed. No need to put that into the law: for starters, a contract is a contract and is supposed to be respected from both sides. Breaking contracts should only be done in special cases. No need to put that again in a law.

The law is telling them to extend current contracts beyond their original length, not merely honor their present obligations. And given the fuzzy language in the bill, NASA is under no obligation to do so if there are enough valid technical and safety reasons, which there are.

NASA should go for a technology which is best for the job. Besides this is a new project, for new technology, so whether existing tech can be used right away well that's not so sure of course. Logically NASA should go with the tried and tested stuff, again no need to put this in the law.

Tried and true, yes, but tried and failed should be dropped without hesitation. The solid rocket boosters were never a good idea, and there is zero reason to continue using them when we have so many tried and true liquid rockets around.

Re:Move along, nothing to see (4, Informative)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316724)

But why the enforcement of staying with current contracts? It stinks of the lobbying parent describes.

Not only does it stink, it's a rotten fish in plain sight. Quoting directly from the statement [senate.gov] released by Hatch:

"My purpose in calling this meeting was to explain in no uncertain terms the Utah congressional delegation's interest in ensuring that Utah's solid rocket motor industry is protected."

"I will continue with other delegation members to ensure the agency abides by the law and protects this industry that is so vitally important to our national security and northern Utah's economy."

"delegation members say the Utah experts they consulted say the legislation's requirements for the heavy-lift rocket can only be realistically met by using solid rocket motors"

Re:Move along, nothing to see (3, Insightful)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317140)

Just a question? Is it not the responsibility of Congressmen to represent their constituents? I'm not stating anything about the validity of what they are saying, I'm just pointing out that one reason Congressmen (and women) are elected is to represent their state. So in this case, these Congressmen are doing their jobs. Again, I didn't state anything about lobbying or science; I was making a purely political point.

Like riding a firecracker (4, Informative)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315890)

The solid rocket boosters have always seemed to be the most dangerous piece of the "stack". The problem is, YOU CAN't SWITCH THEM OFF. Because of this, I believe there is literally no way out for the shuttle crew while they are firing. I think Wehrner Vom Braun refused to design man rated vehicles with a solid rocket stage (he mustn't have been responsible for the Redstone I guess). Even the Russians used liquid fueled strap-on boosters in their Buran.

Of course if the shuttle had been properly funded it would've had a liquid first stage (maybe even winged so it could fly back). But that was in an alternate universe I guess. I know that Constellation would've had an escape tower that would be (hopefully) be able to pull it away from the main vehicle but still it would be much safer if the main vehicle's engines were OFF at that point.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315996)

Costs should be a larger problem then safety.

With a million kg of fuel strapped behind your back there simply is a chance of dieing. People are willing to take that risk. Having a safe mission is important for mission sake. Saving the crew when disaster happens... not so important.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316366)

Yes, but increasing safety decreases the chance of both having to train new astronauts, and of losing more valueable equipment than necessary.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (3, Informative)

oranGoo (961287) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316012)

The problem is, YOU CAN't SWITCH THEM OFF.

Could you provide some references? I found claims on wikipedia that

"Once ignited, a simple solid rocket motor cannot be shut off, because it contains all the ingredients necessary for combustion within the chamber in which they are burned. More advanced solid rocket motors can not only be throttled but also be extinguished and then re-ignited by controlling the nozzle geometry or through the use of vent ports. Also, pulsed rocket motors that burn in segments and that can be ignited upon command are available.

Modern designs may also include a steerable nozzle for guidance, avionics, recovery hardware (parachutes), self-destruct mechanisms, APUs, controllable tactical motors, controllable divert and attitude control motors, and thermal management materials."

Re:Like riding a firecracker (4, Informative)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316042)

You refute your own argument!
>> Modern designs
>> More advanced

How old are the designs for the shuttle boosters? Shuttle boosters cant throttle or pulse.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316486)

... More advanced solid rocket motors can not only be throttled but also be extinguished and then re-ignited by controlling the nozzle geometry or through the use of vent ports. Also, pulsed rocket motors that burn in segments and that can be ignited upon command are available.

Be that as it may, we have 60+ years experience designing and building reliable liquid-fuel rocket engines. How much experience do we have designing and building these "advanced" solid-fuel engines and how safe and reliable are they? Has anyone even built an actual rocket using these "advanced" engines yet? How big? Or are they still in the proposal stage?

Re:Like riding a firecracker (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316718)

Once the SSRB is ignited, there's no turning back. It's a 2 minute ride and you're in the seat for the duration. In the Shuttle design, any abort or evac has to wait until the SSRBs burn out.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316170)

Mercury had solid rocket motors for the deorbit burn, but you would never want to stop that burn half way. The Shuttle can dump the SRBs during launch (taking a big risk of being fried as they fly away) but if one SRB fires more than 100ms after the other SRB on the pad its all over for the orbiter and the crew.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316324)

but if one SRB fires more than 100ms after the other SRB on the pad its all over for the orbiter and the crew.

i never considered this, but it is perfectly logical. It sounds like an insane failure mode though, if there is a single glitch in the ignition sequence/electronics, or even a faulty ignitor, they lose the shuttle in a big flaming ball of death. Obviously they have redundant systems to make the odds as slim as possible, but still, that is one big ass designflaw

same goes for ditching the SRBs in flight, that sounds like a sure-fire way to ignite the fuel tank

Re:Like riding a firecracker (4, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316404)

That's why the SRBs are literally bolted to the pad until after ignition. Ever wonder why 'main engine start' comes in the t- count? Liftoff (t=0) is when the clamps release and the frangible nuts blow, not when the engines are started.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (4, Informative)

multi io (640409) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316748)

"main engine" refers to the liquid-fuelled SSMEs, not the SRBs. The SRBs are ignited at t=0, and after that, the stack is gonna lift off and fly somewhere (hopefully upwards), bolted or not.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316796)

It was the same with the Saturn V, the Saturn IB, Titian, Atlas, etc... The Saturn 5 was bolted down for like a good 5 second to bring all the engines up to full trust before that bad boy was released.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316198)

The Redstone was his, and it was liquid-fueled.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316560)

Agree. Solid rocket boosters are only suitable for applications where killing people is a design goal.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316864)

Yea because no one was ever killed in a rocket with Liquid boosters.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (2)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316610)

Beat me to it. Well, part of it at least.

Essentially the other issues are that solid boosters are smaller and cheaper. But this comes with a huge problem as well in the forces that the thing transmits to the ship and cargo as well. A liquid fueled rocket will get up to speed much more slowly and in a smoother manner. One more minute to get to orbit isn't a big deal at all. In the end, the cost savings for the booster has to be designed into the rocket to withstand it and also to reinforce the payload so that it arrives in one piece. (Astronauts routinely commented that the solid boosters on the Shuttle felt very unpleasant - almost painful, in fact)

You end up with no real savings and more danger and wear in the end. While this isn't a big deal for something like a missile, it's different with humans and delicate ($$$) cargo like a satellite.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (3, Informative)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316712)

The Redstone I was a liquid fuel design based loosely on the V-2. It was fueled by ethanol and liquid oxygen. Dr. von Braun was the project leader and the Redstone I. The Redstone was intended to carry a small tactical nuclear warhead, much like the Russian Scud missiles which came along a few years later. It was adapted for the Mercury program because of its availability and good reliability compared to other rockets of the era.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (1)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316914)

I once read of a fictional solid rocket motor design that used small fuel pellets fed into a combustion chamber instead of a big ol' rubbery chunk of fueI to allow for restart capability, among other things. Not being a rocket scientist, I'm unable to perceive the technological and physical obstacles to building such a system, but I do wonder if such a system is possible.

Re:Like riding a firecracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316928)

Not sure if Von Braun was involved in the design of the Redstone, but it was a liquid fueled rocket (kerosene & LOX).

I'm confused (5, Insightful)

tancque (925227) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315896)

A law to dictate which supplier to use? That sounds like something from soviet Russia.
Every time I think I remotely understand the US something shows that doesn't make sense.

Re:I'm confused (2, Insightful)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315920)

I believe it should be against the law not to consider competitors.

Who's damn idea was this?

Re:I'm confused (3, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315958)

I believe they've got their names listed above.

Re:I'm confused (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316222)

If the law does state, explicitly or implicitly, that NASA shouldn't consider competitors, then NASA probably has competing legal directives here. The company that I work for has sold hardware to NASA before and they ALWAYS have to get multiple bids. Even when their engineers wrote up the specification for the hardware so that only one company's hardware actually meets the requirements, they're required to evaluate the "best equivalent" of competing vendors.

Re:I'm confused (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316212)

Actually, what confuses me is the apparent contradiction in the summary: how is it that the requirements mandate a solid-rocket design, yet NASA is also considering all-liquid designs? I wouldn't put it past NASA to do contradictory things, but I would hope the summary-writer and editors could explain things better.

I've got it! A solid liquid design! What will those guys think of next!

Re:I'm confused (3, Insightful)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316452)

Like most businesses, ATK will hate paying taxes (and likely bend over backwards to avoid doing that), but obviously love receiving tax money in the form of government contracts. It also looks like they've worked hard at oiling a number of prominent state politicians to make sure they keep those contracts regardless of whether their technology is outdated or not.

Re:I'm confused (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316722)

Also, it is likely that the area where the factory is located for these boosters have basically hinged all their other activities on the factory running forever. This is something that happens everywhere in the world tho, sadly. I live close to a wharf that have been operating for generations. If it was to close down, it would result in the region loosing a whole lot of income and take on a whole lot of expenses related to the unemployed.

The only way these things can keep on ticking is if they provide perishable commodities to the local community. If they provide non-perishables to internal or external customers, sooner or later they have to change or shut down as their current market is saturated (or change preferences&requirements).

Anyone wanting to be (re)elected under such conditions will make it their primary objective to maintain said production (and by extension, market).

Hmmmm... (-1, Offtopic)

Abdul Jakul (1912090) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315934)

Well this is uplifting! It's nice to know where our taxes went. Still I hope they can find more practical application for these things. Something that remedies immediate needs. :-D Learn DSLR Video Store [learndslrvideostore.com]

Re:Hmmmm... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316000)

How about strapping the people who made this dumb law to them, then shooting them off into low earth orbit? Or, better still, just _short_ of low earth orbit :)

Re:Hmmmm... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317388)

Next reality TV show: "Vote them off the planet!" With a suspense scene - One-way or... Return.

Even if you don't actually send the "one-way" winners unless they volunteer to pay for return fare (with a potentially embarrassing interview), I'm sure many would be happy to pay to vote (or even vote more than once ;) ).

Next, "Launching up the Stars"...

Re:Hmmmm... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316480)

Abdul Jakul is a spammer. Please mod him down. Look at his history [slashdot.org] and do not patronize his business.

Utah sucks... (1, Flamebait)

kronnek (982486) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315954)

Utah sucks... Their exports:

1. Hot chicks that like to get down (even tho they are mormons)
2. Pimple faced bible throwing teen boys
3. Solid fuel rockets WTF Who knew?

If someone can build a better motor cheaper, faster and safer than Utah... Fuck em'. They'll be the first to squeel and scream about too much gov't so... Let em' hang.

Only thing Utah is good for is another Fallout expansion...

Re:Utah sucks... (1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316156)

If the people in Utah are happy, what does it matter what the other 49 states think of them?
That's what freedom is all about.

Of course if Utah came begging for a bailout, like what Greece and Ireland did in the EU, then I suggest we tell them "too bad" and let them figure it out by themselves. Same goes for California, New York, or any other state that overspent beyond their means. But overall I think Utah has been well-behaved and limited spending, and therefore doesn't deserve the criticism you aim at them.

Re:Utah sucks... (5, Insightful)

unkiereamus (1061340) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316294)

If the people in Utah are happy, what does it matter what the other 49 states think of them? That's what freedom is all about.

Of course if Utah came begging for a bailout, like what Greece and Ireland did in the EU, then I suggest we tell them "too bad" and let them figure it out by themselves. Same goes for California, New York, or any other state that overspent beyond their means. But overall I think Utah has been well-behaved and limited spending, and therefore doesn't deserve the criticism you aim at them.

In 2005 (the last year I could easily find number for) CA received 79 cents of federal spending for every federal tax dollar paid, NY was 78 cents and Utah was $1.07. To give you some framework for those numbers, CA works out to have sent ~$286,627,000,000 to the Federal Government, and received ~$242,023,000,000 dollars worth of federal funding. A disparity of 44 billion.

Who's bailing out who exactly?

Re:Utah sucks... (0, Troll)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316538)

In 2005 (the last year I could easily find number for) CA received 79 cents of federal spending for every federal tax dollar paid, NY was 78 cents and Utah was $1.07. To give you some framework for those numbers, CA works out to have sent ~$286,627,000,000 to the Federal Government, and received ~$242,023,000,000 dollars worth of federal funding. A disparity of 44 billion. Who's bailing out who exactly?
Did you factor in a the work the FBI does hunting down copyright violators and the state dept to make sure hollywood can continue to enjoy their price discrimination worldwide? Crunch those numbers then get back to me.

Re:Utah sucks... (2, Insightful)

stdarg (456557) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316862)

Now how much of that $287 billion was paid by the top 1% of income earners. Sure, THEY are paying way more than they receive in services. But to extend that to the entire state, including the poor who vote Democrat?? It's ridiculous.

Re:Utah sucks... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317006)

It isn't an export but the Skiing in Utah is some of the best on the planet

Just to be clear... (3, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#34315968)

Hatch [senate.gov] and Bennett [senate.gov] are the two US Senators from Utah, while Bishop [house.gov] represents Utah's 1st District (most of northern Utah) and Matheson [house.gov] represents Utah's 2nd District (most of Southern and Southeastern Utah), the latter two in the US House of Representatives. (The western portion of Utah forms the 3rd House District, represented by Jason Chaffetz [house.gov] . No word on why he didn't sign on with everyone else.)

Re:Just to be clear... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316296)

Living in Utah I can give you a hint, he is the only at least somewhat unowned man among the current congressional delegation. One of a few politicians I actually have hope for on either side of the aisle. Hopefully senator-elect Lee who was also elected against the establishment Republican's wishes will also be a bit less owned then Bennett, a guy can dream right?

Read this as.... (4, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316004)

We got bought by this rocket manufacturer right here and we promised them that, with our legislation, they'd get all the business from NASA. Now, NASA is tossing a monkey wrench into the whole works because they want to consider other rocket manufacturers, and our feet are being held to the fire to deliver on what we promised. We can't let NASA just select any old rocket manufacturer or we'll end up in cement shoes at the bottom of the ocean.

Re:Read this as.... (2, Insightful)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316340)

As long as it's for Hatch and his corrupt idiots, I welcome the concrete booties.

Re:Read this as.... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316744)

No need to be bought, the production of the rockets are likely to have become a corner stone of the regional economy. As such, anyone wanting to be (re)elected would need to make sure it keeps on going.

How this sounds to me (4, Interesting)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316014)

ATK lobbied for the laws, and now NASA is trying to circumvent the laws (read: circumvent ATK's monopoly), so ATK's bought congressmen are crying foul to preserve ATK's profits. All is well in capitalist America.

let's call a spade a spade (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317358)

crony capitalism = crapitalism

As in "the crap always trickles down"

Bring in the lawyers... (1)

jlar (584848) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316026)

Regulation and red tape is seriously hampering the space program. We need to cut back on that. Unfortunately that won't happen until pigs fly.

Re:Bring in the lawyers... (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316060)

It'll have to happen when China's pigs start flying.

Re:Bring in the lawyers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316572)

Anything flies - with sufficient thrust. Come on NASA, make it happen!

This is why gov't does not work (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316108)

Dumb laws and dumb servants block progress towards new ideas.

*Not* circumventing anything ! (5, Informative)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316182)

From the Release:

The language Hatch was successful in getting inserted in the NASA Authorization Act does not require the new heavy-lift rocket to use solid rocket motors. But delegation members say the Utah experts they consulted say the legislation’s requirements for the heavy-lift rocket can only be realistically met by using solid rocket motors.

If NASA said "We're going with liquid fuel boosters." they would not be violating the law.
Even if NASA told ATK "Go to hell... We'll buy our rocket motors from someone else", they would not be violating the law.

The only way they'll be breaking the law is if they fail to come up with *some* method of making it work within their budget.

And gee, what a surprise that the stonecutters are telling everyone that stone bridges are the only feasible way to get a ton of lentils across the creek.

Meh, we've got better designs in the works anyways (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316260)

And with those designs come terra-based launch assistance, which can (not so easily) be accommodated by hydroelectric, tidal, or nuclear power.

Our atmosphere is the big problem, here. Maybe we can design something to disrupt and push the atmosphere out of the way to make friction less of an issue towards launching in the future.

Still gotta fight gravity, though.

Re:Meh, we've got better designs in the works anyw (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316752)

Well you could set off an atomic bomb and follow up behind the shockwave as it pushes the air out of the way, ride the wave of air created by the rising fireball, or you could just let the atomic bomb push you into orbit. Wait, I've read that somewhere before...

The BEST design wins (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316268)

Let's use this motto from now on, please NASA?

Looks like someone is pissed off... (2, Insightful)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316380)

...because the engineers are trying to figure out a way around one of his pet earmarks!

My recollection is that this is not new (5, Interesting)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316394)

I recall, from reading Aviation Week as a wee lad (my dad was a guidance systems engineer), that the then-senators from Utah managed to get the SRBs for the Space Shuttle (mostly) built in Utah. The preferred design was a one-piece booster, built in Alabama, barged around to Florida, but because it was built in Utah and could not travel by barge, it was instead built in segments, with O-rings between the segments. O-rings, that get hard in the cold weather, and leak gasses.

I've been trying to confirm this for years, because hey, I could have remembered it wrong, but decades-old back issues of Aviation Week are still not online in searchable form.

yes, this is common knowledge (4, Interesting)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316630)

After the disaster in 1986, everyone knew about the role of Utah's senators in the disaster - but as you say, it's hard to find now. Between the fact that much data from that era was never put online, and possibly some gaming of search results to steer searchers elsewhere, I don't see anything now. I imagine that certain rocket companies in Utah would prefer that no one knew about that.

Anyway, it was common knowledge at the time.

Re:yes, this is common knowledge (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316774)

Having watched that happen and send my career plans into the toilet (I was about to enter college in 1986)... You'd think that after the 1986 Challenger disaster everyone would know SSRBs are NOT the safest way to go. And yet, here we are.

Re:My recollection is that this is not new (0, Flamebait)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317258)

sounds the fuckin red state express.

A better legal solution (3, Funny)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316422)

Just add amendments to the laws of gravity, aerodynamics and celestial mechanics and the whole rocket design process will become much easier. Surely the utah legislature can manage that, can't they? (and while they're at it, sort out Pi, too?)

When will they learn? (2, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316532)

Oh, NASA, NASA, when will you learn? You keep trying to make spacecraft, when as we all know your job is to build precision pork delivery vehicles.

Deja boom (4, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316606)

As I recall, the reason the boosters were not a safer one-piece design was because Hatch had to have Morton Thiokol in Utah get the contract. MT could only build them in segments using the questionable O-ring joints because a whole booster could not be shipped from Utah to Florida.

Seven people would still be alive today if Hatch had kept his sanctimonious oinky nose out of NASA's engineering process.

C'mon guys, (2, Funny)

lavaboy (21282) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316652)

it's not like this is rocket science or anything...

oh, wait a minute... what?

Oh no! National security! (1)

shrtcircuit (936357) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316894)

“Today’s meeting confirms that we are in a long-term fight over the future of NASA’s manned space flight program,” Bishop said. “While I appreciate Administrator Charlie Bolden and Assistant Administrator Lori Garver’s willingness to meet with us, I remain very concerned that NASA continues to delay the transition from Constellation systems toward the new heavy-lift program while they needlessly explore private start-up technologies that remain unproven, require more money and are unfit for human-rated space travel. During the meeting, I expressed my disappointment that both Bolden and Garver continue to slow-walk the plans required by the NASA Reauthorization Act. A vital component of our national security with solid booster production remains at high risk so long as the current Administration and its NASA advisors continue to ignore the existing proven and successful space and missile defense technologies in favor of systems that are still considered to be experimental. This concerns me greatly. When national security is at stake, there are certain risks not worth taking, such as abandoning our existing vital industrial base.”

Really? Weren't experimental new technologies the whole point of the space program? Wasn't national security being at stake the whole reason the space program dared to do something farther, faster, and bigger than anyone had ever done before? These congressional idiots have literally lost touch with reality and the spirit of exploration and innovation, which is what made this country great. Thanks Utah for voting these morons in...

Fuck you, Orrin Hatch (2, Funny)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316974)

"According to the congressmen and their advisors from solid rocket producer ATK, the heavy-lift legislation's requirements can only be met by rockets utilizing ATK's solid rocket boosters. They are alarmed that NASA is also considering other approaches, such as all-liquid designs based on the rockets operated by the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX."

No, they're alarmed that the corporation that fluffed Orrin won't be getting the kickbacks he promised them. Fuck Orrin Hatch. Fuck him right in his mouth. Repeatedly.

Re:Fuck you, Orrin Hatch (2, Funny)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317004)

In this age of federally-mandated TSA molesting and DHS stupidity, I should point out that the preceding post was humor. I hereby declare that I am not going to make my way to Utah and force my penis into Orrin Hatch's mouth repeatedly, no matter how used to it he is by now from campaign contributors.

Politicans need to leave NASA alone (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317328)

Back when Wernher Von Braun created the Saturn 5, he was given the freedom to design the BEST rocket for the job. And that rocket put 12 men on the surface of the moon.

When they built the space shuttle, they made compromises in its design in order to ensure companies located in key congressional districts got contracts and as a result, the Shuttle Challenger blew up and killed 7 people. (I have no clue if the aforementioned design compromises were responsible for Columbia)

The politicians need to leave NASA alone and let NASA buy and fly the BEST rocket for the job. Regardless of whether that rocket is made by ATK, Boeing, SpaceX, the Russians or some guys on a sheep station in the Australian Outback. And they need to get out of the way of the private space industry and let it thrive, only getting involved in so far as ensuring that 3rd parties and their property are not harmed/damaged and that the work done by these space companies is not turned into nuclear missiles aimed at downtown DC.

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