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A Congressman and an Astronaut Propose a New Plan For NASA

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the can't-we-involve-bruce-willis-somehow? dept.

NASA 221

MarkWhittington writes "Reflecting a rising discontent with the state of the U.S. space program in the wake of the last space shuttle mission, Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, and Apollo astronaut Walt Cunningham have proposed a new space plan that addresses space exploration, the role of commercial space, and reform of NASA."

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Send all Republicans from Texas in to Space (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868604)

FOREVER.

Re:Send all Republicans from Texas in to Space (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868626)

They're already living on the Moon.

Re:Send all Republicans from Texas in to Space (-1, Offtopic)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868688)

They're already living on the Moon.

Well, they're living in Texas, which is the same in many ways.

Re:Send all Republicans from Texas in to Space (0)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869130)

but I thought movie studios were in Hollywood CA?

Re:Send all Republicans from Texas in to Space (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870428)

Snark all you like, but I posit that whoever successfully colonizes space first, will be the first to begin its dominance over Humanity a century later, and will achieve it 150-200 years on.

It's already happened in history, where roughly a century after the US was officially founded (1786, when the US Constitution was ratified), it began stretching its power base, and within 50-60 years of that, became a global superpower. two centuries on, it became the world's strongest power (economic/military/influence). Further back, the UK did the exact same thing within 150 years of its mercantile/colonization push. Spain did so before that.

Now you can certainly quibble over whether or not that power will be held on to, and for how long, but the facts remain.

Unlike undiscovered continents and (relatively) primitive peoples, space is going to be a toughie to conquer. However, once someone finagles a way to begin mining/manufacturing on a mass scale out there, and figures down a way to build self-sustaining colonies, the sheer power that one can wield over the rest of humanity (economic, military, or any other valid metric) will be staggering.

Anyone who gets left behind will become like the rest of the previous world empires: a subject nation living on past glories and a crumbling sense of future, as the best and brightest among their populations abandon them for the adventure and opportunities to be had among the powerful.

Agreed (1)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868622)

I'd like for them to do this, it'll help advance more efficiently and be more open to other possibilities

Wait, these are not MY corporations (5, Informative)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868628)

FTFA: "Instead, NASA was directed to pursue a riskier course, diverting billions of dollars to a group of companies– most devoid of experience in manned space vehicles"

Ah, Republicans, all for market solutions, as long as the money goes to the your preferred part of the market.
(Even better, they're blaming Obama for wasting $9b on the ridiculous Constellation.)

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868640)

Lets think about Knowledge and Evolution instead of money please.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868674)

Lets think about Knowledge and Evolution instead of money please.

Nothing against Evolution, but I don't think spending billions on an email program is a good idea. Never used Knowledge, but it's probably the same thing but for KDE. Not worth billions either.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868712)

Well, with NASAs budget we could have a few space stations around the world to make space travel common and more efficient for commuters as well as Astronauts and Astrologist to do their work. It's really just a more efficient way of working. With space being a big deal governments and people don't really think of the possibilities as they should because they fell there are people higher than them doing what is best, but in reality NASA is so big that people don't question it as often or make suggestions and give ideas. Even 1 space station big enough to work in and hold about 500 people. You can have people there working and studying and also engineers building new ships and equipment without wasting billions in gas money. People could actually travel around Space in a big barrel with 2 fans on the back to move them through space.... Science is Science.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868748)

Astrologist to do their work.

Can't they just project themselves to the ISS? We don't need to spend money on that.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (0)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868908)

you're an idiot. you won't be spending money on that. That's a god damn bonus... open your head and take down all the ignorant walls you have built up

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869040)

I suspect that the idiot is the one who doesn't know what an astrologist is, yet insists on using it and then insulting other people who notice. And that would be... you.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868964)

People could actually travel around Space in a big barrel with 2 fans on the back to move them through space.... .

Shirley, you can't be serious.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868678)

Lets please not think about evolution. This world was created by the grace of God. The space program was created by God. Clearly God does not want us to pursue our knowledge about Him any further. He is preventing it by His divine intervention. I call upon all Christians to follow the will of our Saviour to execute His great plan.

You can be a part of this, listen to Jesus and the Holy spirit. Let God into your heart and let Him shine light into the darkness that covers us. Stop this exploration nonsense right now. If God wanted us to flee our homes and seek out new environments or if He wanted us to learn more about His glorious creation, He would have made it a more easy path to follow.

God bless you all. His kingdom will come.

(I just hope I don't have to be a part of it...)

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868922)

Forget that. The 'conomy is far more important! That isn't just my opinion, either. That is a universal fact.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869134)

Evolution? Psh, any Texan worth his salt would have you learning creation; and liking it.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (2)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869088)

I think they are blaming Obama for cancelling the Constellation program, which inevitably turns the $9bn already invested in it into waste.

          -dZ.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (5, Interesting)

murdocj (543661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869160)

The 9 billion was already wasted, Obama simply had the courage to admit that.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869228)

I agree, wasn't the shuttle meant to have a trip turn around time of one week?
IIRC it averaged out to be 3months at th very least...

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (0)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869572)

There were multiple reasons for this, most importantly the SSMEs were routinely used well past their rated thrust efficiency (you hear shuttle pilots being ordered to go to "104%" or higher on most launches) which essentially requires the engines to be completely overhauled and rebuilt after every flight. The original thrust target was about 70% of the rated capacity for those engines, which if done could have taken a simple inspection of the re-entry tiles, swapping out the cargo bay, and placing the thing on a launch pad when it was all done.

The "turn around time" might be a bit longer than a week, but the Shuttle was supposed to be launching on nearly a weekly basis between multiple spacecraft. The best that NASA ever got was to launch on a roughly monthly basis, right before the Challenger exploded. The Shuttle also wasn't nearly as robust as the Saturn V in terms of having more abort requirements due to weather (Apollo 12 flew during a thunder storm and was struck by lightning).

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36870072)

I agree, wasn't the shuttle meant to have a trip turn around time of one week?

To be fair, the shuttle was originally intended to have a fleet of twelve vehicles, launching from sites on both coasts, and to be the vehicle to launch all defense, intelligence, and commercial satellites.

When the Air Force pulled out of the program (and do remember that the main design parameters of the shuttle were driven by Air Force requirements, it was an Air-Force/NASA Joint project), it was pretty much all over for the rapid turn around. When Reagan decreed that the shuttle wouldn't launch commercial satellites (a 180 switch from the original plan, in which the shuttle was to replace the expendable boosters), the launch traffic just wasn't there to drive the shuttle launch rates up.

The original cost model was for fifty launches a year. If you take an infrastructure for fifty launches a year and launch 3 times a year, the price per launch is a lot more expensive. That's not rocket science-- that's simple accounting.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

Seggybop (835060) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870252)

There were multiple reasons for this, most importantly the SSMEs were routinely used well past their rated thrust efficiency (you hear shuttle pilots being ordered to go to "104%" or higher on most launches) which essentially requires the engines to be completely overhauled and rebuilt after every flight.

Would you have any source for that? Shuttle main engines at 104% were not running beyond their spec. The final design of the SSME was capable of somewhat more thrust than originally specced, but for the sake of convenience "100%" throttle was calibrated to be the same amount of thrust as 100% of the original intended spec. IIRC the true maximum was 109%, which was indeed beyond normal safe limits and only used for emergencies.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869396)

These two comments underline the problem with keeping the space program in the government's hands. The reality is that the political divides within the US are making US governance dysfunctional and ultimately everything that we wish to remain reliable must be isolated or abstracted away from the ebb and flow of the two parties war over control. Doubtless both sides will say the best solution is for the other side to submit to it's power but that seems unlikely. If carried to an extreme that will mean the end of the republic as all decisions will be in the hands of the unelected. The democrats hate the space program except when they love it and the republicans love the space program except when they hate it. There's little rhyme or reason to it. They're both playing to the crowd when they think it will win them votes and when not they'll loot the budget for other programs or ideas. Who trusts they'll keep funding space programs and who even trusts that NASA is doing a good job of allocating what resources it gets? We've all heard the horror stories of no-bid contracts, cost plus contracts, and just straight up cronyism as it regards these things. A private sector space industry if it can actually be nurtured into existence will self sustain, self direct, and be both beyond the inevitable chaos of US politics without requiring the republic to chain itself to an endless system of unalterable rules. So that is why I find the private sector model appealing. I question whether those that are against it do so because they don't believe it will be made a reality or whether they're just reflexively anti corporate despite the fact that we all depend upon the corporations as economic institutions. Ironically, it seems those that live in cities seem to hate them most even though none are more dependent upon them then those same people. Just an observation.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (2)

supernatendo (1523947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869860)

The dysfunction of the Government was planned by the founders. It was intended to prevent the Government from even trying to create huge wasteful programs, because if they have so much trouble with small things why take on huge complex projects with wide-reaching consequences? The dysfunction of government is inherent to all governments, whether under the pretense of one party "cooperative" or "efficient" rule or not. Dysfunction is beneficial as it naturally keeps the government small, and aims toward anarchism as close as possible.

Ironically? (2)

imric (6240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870066)

"Ironically, it seems those that live in cities seem to hate them most even though none are more dependent upon them then those same people"

Maybe it's BECAUSE they are dependent on corporations and know how well they serve the people (their customers)? Perhaps it's because corporations, in order to maximize profit, must minimize delivery? Competition, too, is minimized, by co-opting or eliminating competitors - that's the nature of the beast. Face it, corporations are not the ideal delivery mechanism for all things that citizens depend upon, despite republican and libertarian dogma to the contrary.

"We've all heard the horror stories of no-bid contracts, cost plus contracts, and just straight up cronyism as it regards these things"

And corporations are immune, of course. Wait. Stop. That IS corporate delivery of goods and services, doing what is natural to the corporation: minimizing competition as it interferes with profit. Maybe with more regulation the libertarian/republican model might be able to serve though...

"I question whether those that are against it do so because they don't believe it will be made a reality or whether they're just reflexively anti corporate"

ROFL - so people either believe the battle-cry to deliver space services for profit is a trick (possible, the current level of commercial technology cannot do the job), or they just hate commercial delivery of service for no reason at all? I put it to you that _premature_ commercial support of the space program is just as reflexive to those people that have dogmatic corporatist beliefs. You can't just 'have faith' in corporations; without proper regulation they are worse than government - and the libertarian/republican axis will never permit regulations as they want government to serve corporations, rather than have corporations serve the people.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870476)

A private sector space industry if it can actually be nurtured into existence will self sustain, self direct, and be both beyond the inevitable chaos of US politics without requiring the republic to chain itself to an endless system of unalterable rules.

It will also actively work to hinder others, which is why I firmly believe that coprorations must be prevented from ever gaining a foothold in space. Space belongs to humanity, not the US, and not individual companies. It's better that space stays undeveloped until we can get our shit together than that it gets exploited by commercial interests who will fight teeth and claw to keep "their" monopolies.
The moon isn't going anywhere. It will be ready for us when we're ready for it. And by dogs, we're not.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36870368)

Ahh perception what a concept.. I have YET to hear anyone who actually works in the space program call it courage.. LOTS of other words, most of them not repeatable here, but courage nope.. not yet.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (4, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869488)

The ghost of Constellation keeps on marching on like a zombie that has to be killed multiple times. It has morphed into SLS and will likely morph again into something else, while the Ares I has now morphed into the "Liberty" spacecraft.

Keep in mind that the Ares I was mainly supposed to be a Shuttle SRB that flew on its own, but since it didn't have enough "umph" to make it to orbit, they had to add an extra section.... which added far more complications to the design than anybody who started the idea was willing to admit.

Now if NASA could only design a rocket system that actually flew. NASA has a dismal record of one launcher program after another getting cancelled, of which the Constellation program is merely the last of a long line of bureaucratic failures. Fancy dreams do eventually have to face the ugly truth called physics, and the results often aren't pretty.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869382)

Ah...Democrats all for Government solutions, as long as the money goes to your preferred part of the market.

There, I put "Democrats" in and it does not change a damn thing.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (4, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869448)

Democrats are all for market solutions for spacelaunch..... because the current system is so screwed up that going with a "market solution" is 100% not the way that George W. Bush did it. Therefore it must be good.

I do like this phrase: "Democrats don't think free markets work in the atmosphere, Republicans don't think it works above."

BTW, the $9 billion being dumped on Constellation is mostly a Republican earmark of monumental proportions. I find it strange that of all of the earmarks that Republicans are willing to keep, this one stands out. I think that figure may even be a bit low, but that is your figure and large enough I can live with it as it gets the point across that it is a colossal waste of money. For myself, I think Constellation is just plain wrong to be happening for many reasons, even if it might be a potential employer for myself and that its cancellation will adversely impact many of my neighbors.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

supernatendo (1523947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870172)

It's because of the Cold War. Republicans want a viable space program to stay ahead of the rest of the world for recon and weaponry. They see national defense as the one and only use for government, and NASA fell under that definition for them as well. This is the real reason why NASA hasn't ventured for the moon since the Russians stopped trying. It was never for science or exploration, rather a race to the best spot to shoot heavy and fast objects on the enemy using a magnetic canon on the moon. The real reason for project constellation is to impede china from re-igniting another cold war space race. If a nation places a moon base and disregards the space treaty it could mean a great tactical advantage in war.

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870324)

If a nation places a moon base and disregards the space treaty it could mean a great tactical advantage in war.

If a nation disregards the space treaty, I'm willing to bet that it will be the country with the longest track record of disregarding its international treaties.

Can we please keep the greed down here on earth, and look at space as something that belongs to our children, not our corporations?

Re:Wait, these are not MY corporations (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869904)

When Pete Olson said that we need to ween ourselves off the government tit, by "we" he meant "you" of course.

ah, Pete Olson (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868648)

So, he ran on a platform of slashing nearly all government programs, eliminating many agencies entirely, and halving the budgets of others--- because private-sector alternatives are always superior, whether it's private schools, private healthcare, or corporate research labs.

Oh, except NASA, which is a vitally important public service that can't be replicated in the private sector. Coincidentally, he represents a district in southeastern Houston, and NASA is one of the largest employers in that district.

Typical republican mumbo-jumbo (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868768)

He claims the commericial companies that are now supposed to do the space race have little experience in manned space flight... well so did NASA at the time of JFK decleration. Further more, he claims Obama changed the plans but forgets to mention that this started under republican leadership and that with the huge debt republican leadership gave to Obama, the guy has little choice.

This is just about pork pure and simple. Oh and JFK was a democrat as well. Guess from which side of the political spectrum he got a lot of opposition for state funded space exploration? Gosh, you guessed right!

Re:Typical republican mumbo-jumbo (2)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869328)

with the huge debt republican leadership gave to Obama, the guy has little choice.

I hate to break it to you but both sides are responsible for the current problem, and Obama has done his fair share of spending:

In 2007, before the recession, federal expenditures reached $2.73 trillion. By 2009 expenditures had climbed to $3.52 trillion. In 2009 alone, overall federal spending rose 18%, or $536 billion. Throw in a $65 billion reduction in debt service costs due to low interest rates, and the overall spending increase was 22%.

That is from the WSJ [wsj.com]

Re:Typical republican mumbo-jumbo (-1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869598)

"I hate to break it to you but both sides are responsible for the current problem, and Obama has done his fair share of spending:"

I hate to break it to YOU but most of that spending was to prop up the economy after "W" put it into the toilet with his war to find imaginary WOMD's and failure to regulate the banks. Thanks to "W" we had to bail out the banks and stimulate the economy. PS the stimulation was only half of what it SHOULD have been.

Re:Typical republican mumbo-jumbo (2)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869982)

You do realize that the bank deregulation that resulted in the market crash was instituted under Clinton, right? The bank problems were caused in the 90's. Sure Bush had the chance to push through regulation to fix the problem, but he did not create it. He just failed to recognize the problem and fix it. And look back at the Great Depression. You can't prop the economy up with government spending. They tried all those public works projects to end the depression and it just kept chugging along.

Re:Typical republican mumbo-jumbo (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870246)

There's 2 problems with this argument that really really bad.

1. Bush signed the 2009 budget right before he left office. I still hold congress accountable for budget descisions, but it was in no way Obama who made any spending choices until 2010, whereupon republicans stonewalled any budget bill until halfway through the year. Obama has had no unopposed budget proposals. It very much smells of hypocricy.
2. 2009's budget in particular included about 800 billion in immediate spending that has no impact on the long term budget deficit. It was the much-hated "TARP" program that bought semi-liquid assetts with government money to add liquidity to the market. Almost all of that money has already been repaid. That's a huge chunk of the "Obama spending" that people complain about.

The real drivers of the post 2009 deficit are basically the same things that got us into the mess in the first plac.e
1. Historically low revenues driven by
a. Bush tax cuts being continued(approximately 500 billion per year minimum estimate)
b. Weak economy(around 300 billion per year)
2. 2 wars and providing equipment and funding to other NATO nations in Libya.

ALL other spending has stayed well within the bounds of inflation. The only point I really see being legitimately true here is that the stimulus attempts did not work as intended, which means there was a catastrophic waste of money involved.

Re:Typical republican mumbo-jumbo (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869520)

jfk = apollo, saturn V. nixon = shuttle. i think ill go with the democrats on this one.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (0)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868876)

ding, we have a winner

Richard Shelby R-AL is a similar hypocrite, dogging out public education, healthcare, and the auto bailouts (which ended up costing less than 2 months in Iraq, and have largely worked, despite a poor economy), but he's never meant a NASA dollar he didn't like, as long as some of it ends up in Huntsville.

And then we have Boehner, that paragon of fiscal responsibility, demanding the Air Force buy a F22 engine it doesn't even want, because its built in his district...

Re:ah, Pete Olson (5, Interesting)

EMI Lab (2001478) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868968)

Well, get your facts checked. DOD terminated the GE JSF engine. I know. I was working on the EMI/EMC compliance on the engine control (FADEC) system. My new assignments are related to EMC compliance of space packages for ATK boosters that are under development. To be honest both the republicraps and democraps are responsible for the difficulities we are in. They are both paid-off by the big corporations and wall street. Both parties idea of fiscal responsibility are based on smoke and mirrors. They both lie and blame each other for accomplishing nothing while accepting money from their buddies. We have all been effectively hoodwinked.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (2, Interesting)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869138)

Well, get YOUR facts checked, yes the DOD terminated the engine, but Boehner has been trying his damnest to restore funding
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/18/133875475/Funding-Fight-Puts-Boehner-In-Tough-Spot [npr.org]

And I don't buy this "sigh, those politicians are all the same" line of defeatist bullshit.
Yes, the Democrats have disappointed me in MANY cases, but there is a clear difference, in my book, in the parties when it comes to who is willing to govern with a sense of rationality, and in a manner that supports the interest of the American people.

We need, a comprehensive national health insurance plan, and we need it yesterday. We spend almost twice as much, don't cover everyone, and have health outcomes that are largely no better.
If you want to support small business and entrepreneurship, support national health care. That way somebody starting/running a business can concentrate on the buisness, and not what happens if his kids need to go to the doctor.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869178)

Brilliant response. I think your last two sentences need to become the new main argument for federal single payer health care.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (3, Insightful)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869356)

And I don't buy this "sigh, those politicians are all the same" line of defeatist bullshit. Yes, the Democrats have disappointed me in MANY cases, but there is a clear difference, in my book, in the parties when it comes to who is willing to govern with a sense of rationality, and in a manner that supports the interest of the American people.

Just because he can see what's going on doesn't mean he's a defeatist. For all you know, he is actively trying to change politics in the US. But you'd have to be blind to think that the parties aren't practically identical in every way. The only difference is who the politicians play homage to. Just ask any of our European friends on Slashdot. Most of them would agree that even from an external perspective both parties look very similar, even if they typically prefer the foreign policies of democrats.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (3, Informative)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869700)

Identical? Not a chance. Yes, I do understand political disappointment, particularly with the Democratic party. And I understand the simple urge that can lead one to be bitter and cynical, but the two parties are not the same, not even close

Democrats : Largely support a women's right to have an abortion, particularly early in pregnancy
Republicans: Openly support utilizing the policing-power of government (i.e. force, i.e. men with badges and guns, judges, and prisons) to FORCE women to have children they don't want to have, no matter what stage of the pregnancy, and no matter what the circumstances. And no, that's not an exaggeration, that is the avowed policy of most of the Republican field of candidates for President, including Michelle Bachman, and Sarah Palin. Heck, there are even republicans in the deep south who haven't given up on the prevention of interracial marrage.

Democrats: Largely support comprehensive health care reform, many including my former congressman, who got beaten by a tea-party darling, supported a public option. Yes, the bill that passed leaved a LOT to be desired, but that is largely do to the compromises that had to be made.
Republicans: support corporate health care, and continuing the specter of medical bankruptcy for Americans too "rich" for Medicaid, too young for Medicare, and not in possession of a government job...

Democrats: majority voted AGAINST the Iraq war, and the majority including the President support a rational US foreign policy. Now, 1000% yes, Obama has disappointed me here, but the fact remains he absolutely has drawn down our forces in Iraq (though not as fast as I'd like) faster than any Republican ever proposed to. I'm also mad at him for not shutting down Gitmo, although he did rewrite our policy on torture, which is a good thing
Republicans: All except Ron Paul seem to be in support of an eternal/unfunded worldwide police action (except Libya of course since that's "Obama's war")...

Democrats: Have (largely) supported gay rights, including the repeal of the awful defense of marriage act (DOMA) and the repeal of don't-ask-don't-tell
Republicans: Continue to appose gay rights (well, most of them, Dick Cheny, now that he has no election to win, actually supports gay marriage), including banning gay parents from adopting, equating homosexuals with pedophiles, and support debunked "conversion" therapies...

Republicans: Supported the citizens united ruling (look it up), and have blasted Network Neutrality regulations as "government censorship"
Democrats: have been critical of the citizens united ruling, and have largely supported network neutrality regulations...

Re:ah, Pete Olson (2)

x6060 (672364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870012)

Wow, those werent biased descriptions at all.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (1)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870366)

You do better then.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870112)

But those are all just talking points. When it's all said and done, both sides have been supporting things like the Patriot act, and the ridiculous TSA spending for security theater. Obama didn't withdraw the troops form Iraq and send them home. He ended up boosting the presence in Afghanistan with those same numbers that left Iraq. When you look past the surface, and the Gay rights and abortion topics, they are almost identical. They are equally corrupt and financially irresponsible.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869498)

Who is willing to govern with a sense of rationality?

I can tell you who doesn't: democrats AND republicans. When have politicians in the last 20 years ever done things for their constituents? How long have we been waiting for this stupid "piracy OMG PIRACY" shit to end? 10 years? 15? Now they want to push for censorship? They've gone against the constituents directly and we have no fault to blame but our own for letting these jackasses get in office (hint: about 80% of congress/senate should not be there).

If you think this is a party issue you are looking at the wrong focus. Corporatism owns both sides of the argument. Why do you think that the Patriot act got signed again with not a single minute of debate? Was that a "republican" or "democratic" issue? No.

National health care would be a good thing if we had it in a good form. However, how quickly did both sides buckle on that shit? Where is any form of actual preventative care? Where is any focus on moving things towards preventing problems? Simply having it ensures it's going to be a: useless and b: Expensive as fuck and c: watch your employers go from covering 50-70% of costs to about 25-50% because they'll be contributing the same amounts while the plan costs go up. We still have problems with medical patents increasing the cost of healthcare tenfold and above, like the situation where a retroactive patent on a drug was granted and the costs went through the roof.

You have tunnel vision. There's so much shit wrong, that focusing on one part will allow it to be exploited.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869550)

America has...like...way more people than alot of other first world countries.
Of course we pay twice as much as everyone else for health care. More people, more money. Duh.

Both parties suck. Hard. You just appear delusional.
Let's think about comparing the scientific breakthroughs of a new health care insurance vs. space travel. ...
Health care just obviously lost.

Re:ah, Pete Olson (3, Informative)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870448)

.America has...like...way more people than alot of other first world countries. Of course we pay twice as much as everyone else for health care. More people, more money. Duh.

Are you stupid, or just trolling?
When I say we pay more, I mean we pay more, per capita, then any other nation..

Here: unignorantize yourself : http://www.creditloan.com/blog/2010/03/01/healthcare-costs-around-the-world/ [creditloan.com]

Re:ah, Pete Olson (2)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870458)

America has...like...way more people than alot of other first world countries.
Of course we pay twice as much as everyone else for health care. More people, more money. Duh.

Twice as much per capita.

Good, let's slash (2)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869534)

Oh, except NASA, which is a vitally important public service that can't be replicated in the private sector.

How is NASA "vitally important"? We could close NASA tomorrow, and still could launch all of our rockets at USAF facilities such as Vandenberg AFB. The only thing NASA gave us that the Air Force couldn't do was Space Shuttle facilities, and we've retired that program anyway.

I'm all for retiring NASA... and all of our Cold War military, intelligence, and technology institutions born from it... and starting over with an eye on future needs. We'll need an Army and Navy of some kind (with air capabilities), but everything else should be put to this question: "What do we need, and what's the best way to do it allowable under the Constitution?".

Space launch shouldn't be a monopoly anyway, and for decades, that's essentially what NASA was. Let's put the science part in a "United States Science Institute" that helps coordinate research between universities, foundations, and companies, and then let the military and private sector do rocket launches.

Re:Good, let's slash (1)

imric (6240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870148)

Here's an idea: why not do that AFTER commercial interests have the technology to do what NASA does now, rather than just having religious faith in corporations to do everything that government institutions have accomplished?

No? Your dogma is showing.

With Whose Money? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868660)

Some Texas Republican wants to spend money on something? But this week Texas Republicans are smashing the US economy against the debt they ran up for 30 years. Who's going to pay for their insanity?

Who's going to pay for their insanity? (3, Insightful)

toetagger (642315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868698)

You will, who else?

If Russia can default and still fly in space (1)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868666)

If Russia can default and still fly to space, maybe the US can.

There's no plan there... (5, Insightful)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868668)

Only a call to create a plan. The article is wrongfully disdainful of private rocket companies. Nine years ago, SpaceX started developing their launch systems. They started from scratch. They Spent maybe 10% of the equivalent NASA budget for Constellation. And they have something to show for it - several successful launches, a space capsule that has successfully returned form orbit and is being fitted for a manned launch, and a heavy launch vehicle in the works. NASA, in the mean time, was creating a *derived* system and yet ran into technological problems and have yet to produce a single piece of hardware that can do anything. Obama is diverting funds from a slow-moving, conservative, wasteful government agency and cancelled an under-performing, over-budget, technologically conservative (and yet riddled with problems) program. The money was diverted to the free market. And yet, all the space-loving republicans who touted the free market's ability to compete with NASA are now howling and complaining. Why? cause it's OBAMA, that's why.

Re:There's no plan there... (3, Insightful)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868742)

Nope. Because SpaceX is not in their backyard, employing their electors.

Re:There's no plan there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868762)

Some SpaceX stuff is in Texas though, like their test facility.

You have to remember that Constellation was not a Shuttle Replacement.
It was to get man out of Earth orbit, and at a push to take people to the ISS if the COTS contracts did not work out, COTS has been in progress for more than just the last couple of years. Due to the funding from Bush and the push for Constellation, the funding & development of a lot of other science & remote sensory (robot) missions were cancelled, which is what NASA is now movign back to, with the COTS contracts picking up the stuff NASA has already done.

Re:Constellation was not a Shuttle Replacement. (3, Interesting)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868824)

No, but it did use a lot of shuttle pieces & parts (like SRB's) which would keep certain contractors flush with money.

I agree with the GP (Michael_gr) that it's nice to see SpaceX showing us how it should be done. The authors of this article are either ignorant of SpaceX or deliberately disregarding it. Notice that they published this piece in Politico, where many non-geek readers are likely to be unaware of SpaceX's success.

Re:Constellation was not a Shuttle Replacement. (4, Informative)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869702)

From scratch means SpaceX had developed their own rocket engines and systems to go along with them. Sure, they are using existing launch systems, why not?
The Falcon 1 rocket will earn them money by launching commercial satellites. The Falcon 9 along with the Dragon capsule will become the system to re-supply the ISS and ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. The upcoming Falcon 9 heavy has about half the weight lifting ability of the Saturn-V rocket. It uses a new concept of staging where the strap on tank-boosters transfer fuel back into the core during initial flight so when the boosters separate the core is still fully fueled. Also since the boosters are separated at a lower altitude and speed they should be re-usable. The Falcon 9 heavy is the result of a lot of new thinking, and will out perform existing Titan and Atlas based heavy lift systems. It will also provide the lowest cost to orbit per lb of ANY rocket system yet.

Re:There's no plan there... (3, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868918)

If by "scratch" you mean using existing launch sites, applying NASA discoveries, tech and employees, and taking expertise from ("investing in") existing academic spin-offs and other established aerospace operations, then yes, SpaceX started from "scratch".

This is how it always is when an industry is privatised: following a period where politics deliberately stifles the government programme, there are calls for privatisation; the early gold-diggers plough funds into the project, essentially copying what has gone before and producing what appears to be progress but is in fact little more than a reimplementation of what has gone before. A decade later, we will be back to stagnation, but with control out of the hands of the people and reliance on a bulky corporate infrastructure with no incentive but profit.

The same pattern has been observed with every major industry since the early '80s yet we continue being suckers for punishment. And now we have soooo much choice and everything's so much better, right? If the only pace of government-sponsored technological development from the '50s through the '70s had been maintained for another 30 years! But, no, in the US it was redirected entirely to the purpose of toppling the USSR from the '80s, and then sold off to the friendliest bidder. And China, which is not so friendly, but knows how to be a good creditor.

Re:There's no plan there... (5, Interesting)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869112)

So? What is wrong with letting the private sector do what they are best at--taking existing technology and refining it to the point of profitability? It's not trivial work, and we need it done just as much as we need the research in the first place. I think we've pretty well proven that the current system of government funding is incapable of actually producing an efficient production program.

Besides, the minute the space shuttle became a "production" vehicle, the progress stopped. It should never have been elevated to that status; the shuttle was an incomplete and half-baked idea from the start and should have been the first in a long list of modern spacecraft experiments by NASA. Instead, we were stuck with a boondoggle program in need of justification, hence Hubble and the space station. All worthy enterprises, but could have been so, so much cheaper if the shuttle had been refined for another 10 years--or changed completely--before production.

IMHO, the real test is to see if we can jump-start the real research in NASA while simultaneously promoting private-sector production development of existing technologies. And no, a Constellation-style (read: Apollo-style) heavy-lift rocket does not constitute real research. That too can be left to the private sector. I've said it a million times, Constellation was squarely on track to become just as expensive and unreliable as the shuttle--that "$9b wasted" was a drop in the bucket compared to what the program would have cost in the long run. The real research is in ion & plasma drives, space elevators, and planetary exploration vehicles, etc.

Re:There's no plan there... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869208)

What is wrong with letting the private sector do what they are best at--taking existing technology and refining it to the point of profitability?

You may have untintentionally set up a straw man. My present argument was against privatisation of space flight research, not for restricting the privilege of lucky entrepreneurs to spend money on fun projects which might then make them more money.

The OP is arguing about diverting government money to "the free market", or something, as if SpaceX's profit-based implementation efforts are a substitute for NASA's research efforts (worse, he may be suggesting that one proper function of government is to channel money to private corporations). It's part of a wider philosophical obsession with applying capitalism everywhere that has resulted in the privatisation, stagnation and price-gouging of various industries and services since the early '80s.

IMHO, the real test is to see if we can jump-start the real research in NASA

There is real research in NASA, although you're right that the political climate has taken us away from the sort of experimentation we were seeing 30 years ago. I wish government stopped thinking of its (ever shrinking) departments as working for clients rather than citizens, building a product rather than developing an idea and looking ever more like troughs for contractors. But market faith has all but supplanted religion as the least substantianted belief system and there is very little opposition to it. Apply what works only where it works.

Re:There's no plan there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36870184)

I may be ignorant on current politics, yesterday's politics, and big business, but I disagree with you, on several points. You seem to be under the impression that 1) launching space vehicles is a major industry and 2) all business is made up of bulky corporations... or even that all business is made up of corporations at all! Both of these are false. I will tell you, though, that the US government is big and bulky.

Privitization's success depends a great deal on how much competition exists in the (local) industry AND on the motives of the company's(ies') leaders. In the case of utilities there usually isn't much, if any, local competition, in which case the industry turns into a monopoly, and functions at best as efficiently as government could have. Although SpaceX is the largest contender in the private space race (that I'm aware of, anyways), it does face competition (in this case, from Russia's space program, to a certain extent from Virgin Galactic (even if they concentrate on suborbital flight)). I'd like to believe that Elon Musk and the rest of SpaceX's leadership care about developing launch vehicles cheaply, efficiently, and profitably, rather than just pure, immediate profit (if the latter is the case, they failed from the beginning and are completely incompetent).

As it stands, the shuttle isn't and hasn't been a subject of research, but rather a platform by which to deploy research tools. After Constellation would have been finished, the same would have gone for it. If another organization can do the same work, more cheaply, and more efficiently, than it behooves the government, as it represents the taxpayers, to employ that organization.

Furthermore, there is no reason why the NASA can't utilize SpaceX's vehicles for conducting research, much like it has been using Boeing's vehicles. IMO, the NASA should be concentrate on doing research, rather than spending its resources on deployment. NASA may be doing research right now, but not as much as it could and should be doing... partly because it's current research is subject to the ever changing whims of today's politics (and therefore research gets canceled halfway through completion), and partly because it is spending money on projects it shouldn't even be handling.

Oh, and I believe the OP is arguing that by diverting money to SpaceX and the other space businesses we are saving money, while accomplishing the same thing.

There, enough rambling.

Re:There's no plan there... (0)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869212)

Hubble - Could have been launched from a conventional rocket, could have been repaired and serviced from a conventional vehicle

ISS - Could be and and was partially launched, serviced and assembled from conventional rockets

They did not need the Shuttle, and it would have been easy to not use them... but it was all the US had

The Shuttle was a 30 year old solution looking for a problem, Constellation was a replacement for the Shuttle mainly to go back to the Moon, a programme with no real merit, an no ability to do most of what NASA does as routine ..?

Re:There's no plan there... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869478)

Actually, NASA launch sites may not be best suited to new launch technology. Why not use a railgun to get the initial delta-v. Navy guns have [foxnews.com] a launch velocity of Mach 7 (35% of orbital). Scale up the launch velocity (increase length to longer than a carrier), and increase the payload capacity (more power!), and you have a way to significantly reduce launch costs as well as decrease the size of the launch vehicle. A launch acceleration of 32G for 22 seconds would give orbital velocity (and a helluva ride!). That's an acceleration value used [safeeurope.co.uk] in ejection seat design. Such a launch system would be required to be 76km long (47.2 miles) and would be affected by the curvature of the earth (only 32 feet at that distance - a doable height).

I wonder if the soon to be decomissioned [aps.org] Tevatron has a strong enough power supply to shoot off a new shuttle. It'd be great to repurpose tech like that instead of seeing it scrapped.

Can we get this into Obama's "high speed rail" program as a rider?

Re:There's no plan there... (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869632)

for the prices spacex are charging per tonne to orbit, id hardly call them 'gold-diggers'. more like 'holy shit boeing and lockmart have beeing pumping the government for fat cost-plus government contracts for launch services for decades and spacex is a breath of fucking fresh air to DOD and nasa'

Re:There's no plan there... (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869740)

Yeah, the first one's always free.

Call me when SpaceX have done a century of their own "research" at commercial prices and we'll see how things are going.

Re:There's no plan there... (3, Interesting)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870216)

At the risk of Piling On, let me point out that NASA spent nearly two billion dollars on developing plans for their Great Space Station. After years and years of practice, they had produced many viewgraphs and powerpoint presentations. And who flew the first piece of the space station? The Russians, of course. Whose spacecraft ferry crew to and from the space station? The Russians, of course. Who launches resupply missions to the space station? The Russians, of course.

And as for wasting nine billion dollars, what did we get for nine billion dollars? Some nice animations about what a great thing the Constellation program ought to be. We have a booster launch that wasn't even a new booster, it was the same old Solid Rocket Booster that blew up the Challanger, with a dummy fifth segment. And the spacecraft? What a spacecraft. A recycled Apollo capsule.

The NASA we have now is a ghost of what it was. The good engineers have left (and gone to SpaceX, among many others) and what we are left with are slackers and bureaucrats, and a labor force that wants to keep doing whatever they are doing. Should they learn something new? Oh, heck no. Let's just try to go back to the glory days of Apollo, and relabel it "Constellation".

There is absolutely no riskier plan on or off Earth, than not taking any risks.

Screw that guy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868704)

The congressman is not our savior. He's just another crony trying to funnel money to his district. He doesn't care if it's a shuttle or an unmanned rocket.

If on the other hand, he was doing this because science is important and necessary, I would support him..

All for free (1)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868778)

Is anyone willing to do it for free? Because at a moment when the US are struggling to stay afloat and are likely to default payments in the next 2 months, I don't think anyone in your Congress will allow for a 20+ bn USD program...

Re:All for free (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869094)

Despite the rhetoric being spun out there, the U.S. is unlikely to default any time soon. The U.S. government brings in enough revenue each month to service its existing debt. What will happen if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling is that the U.S. will not be able to do some of the things that money (that isn't there) was appropriated for in the last spending bills that Congress passed. Another option would be for Congress to actually authorize the issuance of some specific bonds (which is the way the Framers envisioned it working and the way it worked until 1917 when instead of passing a law authorizing each new bond issuance, Congress gave the Treasury authorization to issue whatever bonds Treasery thought necessary up to a certain maximum).
Basically, if Congress does not authorize an increase in the debt ceiling (or to be specific, the Senate at this point, since the House has passed a bill authorizing the increase in the debt ceiling, but the Senate refused to vote on it--along party lines), Obama will get the government shutdown he has been trying to engineer all year.

Re:All for free (4, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869308)

In 1979, during a similar dick-waving exercise as today, the US didn't pay some (tiny fraction of) T-bills in a timely manner, technically defaulting on them. The result was that the US had to pay a higher interest rate on all its debt for many years afterwards. Quickest [npr.org] link I could find, plenty more out there.

Re:All for free (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869460)

Ok, let me put it another way, if the U.S. defaults it will be the Treasury Department's fault (and the Treasury Department answers to the President), just like it was in 1979. If you look at what happened in 1979, while the failure to raise the debt ceiling contributed to what happened, the primary cause of the default was a failure of the computer systems at the Treasury Department. It is unlikely that a similar computer failure would occur today, but if it were to occur, it would be the fault of Timothy "I don't need to pay no taxes" Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury because there has been ample warning that plans need to be made as to what government spending not to spend if the debt ceiling is not raised (Constitutionally, paying off T-bills is not one of those things that can be chosen to not pay).

Re:All for free (0)

imric (6240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870196)

Yah - and the Republican answer is to gut Social Security; effectively defaulting on THOSE treasury bonds so that we can continue spending AND pay off on the Treasury bonds we sold to the Chinese. Bottom line: to the Republicans, Chinese investors are more important than US citizens in need.

Re:All for free (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870432)

Yah - and the Republican answer is to gut Social Security; effectively defaulting on THOSE treasury bonds so that we can continue spending AND pay off on the Treasury bonds we sold to the Chinese. Bottom line: to the Republicans, Chinese investors are more important than US citizens in need.

Your basis for saying that the Republicans plan is to "gut Social Security" is based on what? What exactly is the Democratic Party plan? Oh yeah, that's right, keep on spending until no one will lend us any money anymore. The last plan a Democrat presented was the budget that Obama sent to Congress in April. That budget called for increasing deficits as far as the eye could see.
Social Security is going to run out of money. The only thing that is debated is when. When it does, the Federal government is going to have to borrow money to make payments on it. At current spending rates, where is that money going to come from? Current projections indicate that the U.S. government will be spending somewhere on the order of 50% of the world's GDP by the middle of this century unless something changes.

Real soon now... (3, Interesting)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868788)

> In coming weeks we, with others committed to the HSF program, will offer a more detailed plan to return to flight.

So... what? Do they have a plan already, and the just aren't ready to tell us? Or are they still thinking about it? What's the point of even making an announcement like this if all you've got to say is a few extremely general talking points?

Basically, we have a TX congressman who wants to get the pork flowing back to his deep-pocket-donor pals in the military/industrial complex. [yawn]

When Did Koch Industries Get Into Aerospace? (5, Informative)

cmholm (69081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868794)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the same Olson who never met a program he didn't want to cut, or a tax expenditure (ie. loophole) for the oil industry he didn't want to protect? It's natural for a Congressional Rep to protect local industry, so I'm not surprised he's looking to replace his pork funding stream.

The days when a noticeable fraction of the US GDP goes into NASA are long over. Unless someone discovers an asteroid that shits tax breaks, private industry is going to stick with shooting sats into orbit. It's been a nice ride, but US man-in-space is basically over for the rest of my lifetime. I'll be interested to see how far the Chinese and Indians go before they hit their own limits.

The snarky title refers to Rep. Olson's largest campaign contributor, and I think it safe to say that the Kochs' could give a rat's behind about space flight.

Re:When Did Koch Industries Get Into Aerospace? (3, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869602)

It's been a nice ride, but US man-in-space is basically over for the rest of my lifetime.

I remember watching Gordo Cooper's flight in the 3rd grade, first time I'd ever seen a TV in a classroom.
I remember Ed White walking in space, and later dying.
I remember Jim Lovell and Frank Borman on Christmas eve.
I remember watching Neil and Buzzy live from the Moon.
I remember getting up at 3:00 AM to watch STS-1 take off.
And I remember getting up at 4:00 AM and tearing up as STS-135 landed, thinking "Well, that's the last I'll ever see of this".

Shit, I got something in my eye again.

Re:When Did Koch Industries Get Into Aerospace? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36870054)

an asteroid that shits tax breaks

Ironically, that's Chris Christie's campaign slogan.

Which Tax, Rep. Olson? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36868916)

If Representative Olson can identify a source of revenue (i.e. a tax) to raise to fully fund his plan for NASA, he might have a worthwhile plan. Otherwise, everybody should rightly ignore him. Because if he cannot find at least one good reason why even a billionaire hedge fund manager currently paying a maximum of 15% in federal tax (and often much less) should pay -- a ra then his plan for NASA really isn't worth paying for. And if it isn't worth paying for, it isn't worth doing.

Re:Which Tax, Rep. Olson? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869542)

Whatever is used for Iraq+Afghanistan+Libya wars, would probably be sufficient for both NASA and education.

They just need to GTFO of those three places.

hi (1)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868938)

Some of you have no idea what you are talking about and are just rambling about whatever you feel like rambling about. I feel that China is going to just manhandle space soon enough. With NASAs budget we could have a few space stations around the world to make space travel common and more efficient for commuters as well as Astronauts and Astrologist to do their work. It's really just a more efficient way of working. With space being a big deal governments and people don't really think of the possibilities as they should because they fell there are people higher than them doing what is best, but in reality NASA is so big that people don't question it as often or make suggestions and give ideas. Even 1 space station big enough to work in and hold about 500 people. You can have people there working and studying and also engineers building new ships and equipment without wasting billions in gas money. People could actually travel around Space in a big barrel with 2 fans on the back to move them through space.... Science is Science. Nothing will change except for what they do with the money they already get/have. Money isn't really a factor if you get down to the point, they already have a lot of the utilities and equipment to do this... and in the long run it will save and in many ways will produce a lot of money and possible revenues by discovering new elements and slanging moon rocks to the rockheads.

Apollo 7? Really? (-1, Troll)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868946)

Raise your hand if you want to take advice from a guy who worked during Apollo 7 to offer a plan for far into the 21st Century. My hand is kept firmly down.

Re:Apollo 7? Really? (0)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869348)

Check out his [wikipedia.org] Wikipedia entry for some great anti-AGW quotes, too.

"Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth's climate."
"The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend."
"A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization."
"The best strategy to pursue is one of 'no regrets'."

Clearly, a man with his finger on the pulse of the latest scientific thinking.

This is a "prestige" plan without a mission (5, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#36868990)

To be honest, I prefer Obama's "let the private sector do it" approach to manned space travel than the Texas Republican's "only big government can do it" manifesto. (I hope the irony is not lost on anyone.) In general, we need do de-emphasize human missions. These are largely vanity projects and don't generate anywhere near as much science as things like Wmap and the Mars rovers. The first question that any NASA proposal should begin with is: What do we want to learn about space? And what's the safest and most cost-effective way to learn it? These guys are still stuck in the old "wouldn't it be cool if we launched a guy to ...?"

Re:This is a "prestige" plan without *funding* (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869238)

...than the Texas Republican's "only big government can do it" manifesto. ...?"

The irony is not lost, but for the less-perceptive individuals out there on slashdot, perhaps putting "Republican" and "big-government" in the same sentence only serves to confuse and inflame their fervor.

Re:This is a "prestige" plan without a mission (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869282)

I see non-manned missions as a sensible prerequisite to manned ones. Before Vostok 1 you had Sputnik. There were 20 robotic launches in the Mercury Program before Alan Shepard went up on Mercury-Redstone 3. Before the manned lunar landing we had the Ranger, Surveyer and Lunar Orbiter programs.

Even if you didn't care about the people you send to, say Mars, it would be financially unconscionable to send them there before we'd done some missions that returned Martian samples to earth. I'll give a few reasons here:

* Experience shows that Mars landings are risky.
* We have no experience with Mars launches; a few test runs are needed if returning human explorers is important.
* Identify targets which can best be studied by humans before sending very expensive missions.
* Maintain and advance planetary exploration skills with frequent cheap missions where failure *is* an option.
* Reduce cost of manned exploration by developing proven and reliable systems.
* Develop a sustainable, successful planetary exploration program before risking everything on a fabulously expensive manned mission with untried technology and uncertain goals.

There are times when you have to be bold, but there are times when being sensible is the bold thing.

Re:This is a "prestige" plan without a mission (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869404)

The irony is lost on most Republicans, because Obama is a "socialist", and the space program is a perfect opportunity for flag waving and chanting "USA!, USA!". So, sadly, about half the country. These are the same people who e-mail each other Hubble pictures with "Isn't it amazing what God can do?" captions.

Re:This is a "prestige" plan without a mission (1)

Frangible (881728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869660)

Yeah, we should just let ISS fall out of the sky. It's only the single most expensive object ever created. What possible science could we learn with the ISS?

And these days, it looks like "let Federal Russia do it" is the true choice being made. Fortunately Russia somehow manages manned space flight cheaper and more reliably than our unmanned missions.

It'll just be cosmonauts doing it and us stealing and looting Russian science. Not the first time in history that's happened. Oh well, we wouldn't want to spend any of the rich people's money on science and technology, would we?

Re:This is a "prestige" plan without a mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36870410)

There is probably another reason you are seeing them squawk like chickens. In the senate it is a 'i scratch your back you scratch mine'. That program was probably a big itch... Having very little to do with money and more to do with that.

Follow the money. I would bet cold hard cash that Obamas position is just paid for by a different corp... It is a better decision. But I am too cynical at this point to think that either side is doing it 'for the greater good'. The constellation program (or whatever it is called these days) was just a big corp program anyway. NASA makes very little actually space vehicles. They buy them from their contractors. They have in effect relegated themselves to baby sitting contractors. Going more private will mean even more of that.

A Congressman and an Astronaut walk into a bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869080)

Sounds like the start of a great joke :)

a congressman and an astronaught walk in to a bar (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869086)

and the bartender says: "hey! no deadbeats allowed, getoutta here ya bums"

This is a wish, not a plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36869102)

From TFA:

Return to the earlier NASA model of success: Adopt best practices to reform contracting, foster better communication between centers, eliminate activities not essential for space exploration and clear away bureaucracy.

Straight from the campaign stump speech. Of course, it's easy to identify the significant waste, fraud, and abuse, and then get everyone to agree to make the cuts and move on with the program, right?

$9Billion Waste? Not by the author's reasoning... (1)

Blitz22 (1122015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36869442)

In the first paragraph the writer praises JFK because it was not the actual trip to the moon part that would be good for the country, but the technology development to get there.(and everything that entails) Then in short order he calls the $9billion spent on constellation development "a waste". Well? Which is it? Technology was developed(if not finished) just like for the Apollo program. Why is the development process the real success of one program and "a waste" in the other program? If the process of trying to accomplish a goal is good for Murrica, reaching that goal should be immaterial.(per the authors reasoning, I'm not saying reaching a goal is unimportant)
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