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Want To Buy a Used Spaceport?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the would-you-like-to-swing-on-a-star? dept.

Businesses 99

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Want to buy a 15,000-foot landing strip? How about a place to assemble rocket ships or a parachute-packing plant? Have we got a deal for you. The Orlando Sentinel reports that with the cleanup and wind-down of the shuttle program, NASA is quietly holding a going-out-of-business sale for the its space-shuttle facilities including Launch Pad 39A, where shuttles were launched; space in the Vehicle Assembly Building, the iconic 526-foot-tall structure first used to assemble Saturn V-Apollo rockets; the Orbiter Processing Facilities, essentially huge garages where the shuttles were maintained; Hangar N and its high-tech test equipment; the launch-control center; and various other buildings and chunks of undeveloped property. 'The facilities out here can't be in an abandoned state for long before they become unusable,' says Joyce Riquelme, NASA's director of KSC planning and development. 'So we're in a big push over the next few months to either have agreements for these facilities or not.' The process is mostly secret, because NASA has agreed to let bidders declare their proposals proprietary, keeping them out of the view of competitors and the public. Frank DiBello, thinks the most attractive facilities are those that can support launches that don't use the existing pads at KSC and adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. 'Anything that still has cleaning capabilities or satellite-processing capabilities, the parachute facility, the tile facility, the OPF, all three of them, they have real value to the next generation of space activity,' says Frank DiBello, President of Space Florida, an Independent Special District of the State of Florida, created to foster the growth and development of a sustainable and world-leading space industry in Florida. 'If the infrastructure helps you reach market, then it has value. If it doesn't, then it's just a building, it's just a launchpad, and nobody wants it.'"

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Nice trick NASA (4, Interesting)

buttfuckinpimpnugget (662332) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497981)

Dump it on a rube, let them clean it up. No way that's not a toxic mess.

Re:Nice trick NASA (5, Interesting)

anorlunda (311253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498207)

That's no joke. The superfund law (i.e. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980) makes current owners or leaseholders responsible for cleanups even though a prior tenant did the pollution.

My company almost got nailed by this on a property owned by New York State but was used by the federal governement for rocket research in 1947. We even found a V2 rocket wreck hidden in the bushes. Spilled rocket fuel was the contaminant. In the end, EPA had mercy on us because we were truly innocent and too poor to pay anyhow, but they could have nailed us.

Now the site has been taken over by a brand new billion dollar semiconductor foundry. I sure hope the owners of that have made their peace with EPA.

Any potential tenant of NASA land could have the same problem. IANAL so I don't know if NASA can grant them immunity to EPA's demands.

Re:Nice trick NASA (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498265)

We even found a V2 rocket wreck hidden in the bushes.

DUUUUDE SO COOL 8O

Do you have pics?

Re:Nice trick NASA (4, Interesting)

anorlunda (311253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498351)

You don't need pics. It was donated to The Smithsonian and is on display in D.C. (I think) in one of the Air & Space museums.

Re:Nice trick NASA (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498411)

We even found a V2 rocket wreck hidden in the bushes.

Live from Peenemünde:

"Herr von Braun, our last lauch went a little bit off course . . . we think it landed somewhere west of London . . . and England, actually."

"And Ireland, as well . . ."

I know, the first rockets we launched were made by our German scientists, and the Russians' were made by their German scientists.

Obligatory Ice Station Zebra quote (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498813)

"The Russians put our camera made by *our* German scientists and your film made by *your* German scientists into their satellite made by *their* German scientists."

Re:Obligatory Ice Station Zebra quote (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501219)

That was actually something I find fascinating about the cold war, how much blatant theft was going on between the superpowers. You had Israel having one of their spies sleep with an Arab Christian pilot for nearly 3 years, just to get their hands on the MiG-21 (Steal The Sky has a good if watered down account), you had the Soviets actually buying a dud Sidewinder that had gotten lodged in the wing of a Chinese MiG 17 and using it to make copies so good of Sidewinder that you could mix and match parts from their Atoll and our Sidewinder and it would work perfectly, and when my grandfather was stationed in West Germany in the 50s and 60s he said if the Soviets ever wanted to take out our forward bases all they would have to do is send a single plane with a nuke as they had orders DO NOT FIRE if they detected a single Soviet plane as we had spread the word through our spy networks behind the curtain that there was a large bounty for each new MiG or Sukov and they didn't want to risk possibly shooting down somebody trying to collect the reward.

ob Tom Lehrer quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42503115)

"When rockets go up, who cares where they come down?"
"That's not my department"
says Werner von Braun
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEJ9HrZq7Ro

Re:Nice trick NASA (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42506583)

Actually Von Braun brought almost all of the important designers with him, the Soviets mostly got the techies and assembly people. They didn't trust them at all, so pretty much gave them the mushroom treatment until they had extracted the little useful knowledge that they had, and sent them back to Poland. That's why the Soviet boosters look so dramatically different from the US ones, they were almost entirely home-grown. Pre-war, the Soviet Union was third in the area of rocket research, after Germany and the US. What they did get from Peemunde were engine designs, which were the most advanced in the world at the time, and metallurgy samples that took them several years to replicate.

Re:Nice trick NASA (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500447)

It's the reason GE isn't selling their Fort Wayne plant. It used to be where they made a ton of stuff. But the ground there is so toxic no one would ever buy it and GE doesn't want to clean it up. So they're just sitting on it and paying the property taxes.

Re:Nice trick NASA (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501081)

Yeah I'd personally be scared shitless to take over any property that was built before the 80s, no telling what kind of toxic crap you'll end up with. We had several older factories set abandoned for years until the city finally tore them down, everybody was "Why destroy nice factories like that? surely somebody would be willing to buy if the price was right" and I told them about Superfund but they didn't believe me...until the guys wearing hazmat were tearing the buildings down because of the asbestos and toxic chemicals that had been in use and still contaminated the property.

People just don't realize how truly toxic many places were before the EPA started cracking down, in those old factories they found PHB and dioxin contamination and more asbestos than you would believe so I can only imagine what a place used to build fricking rockets from the 60s would be like, probably a toxic nightmare.

Re:Nice trick NASA (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42507713)

People just don't realize how truly toxic many places were before the EPA started cracking down, in those old factories they found PHB and dioxin contamination and more asbestos than you would believe

Yep, those pointy haired bosses ARE toxic! (I think you were referring to polychlorobiphenyls, or PCBs).

Re:Nice trick NASA (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501421)

Dump it on a rube, let them clean it up. No way that's not a toxic mess.

Rube hell, they spent billions on it all and they'll sell it for tens of millions. In the end they'll practically give it away to get rid of the monkey on their back and the buyer will apply for government funds to deal with the mess. That's how the game is played. Corporations get rich off the government and the government just gets deeper in debt.

Hmm (1)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497987)

I wonder if you get stuck with a toxic clean up bill as well.

Re:Hmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498037)

Only if you're not a billionaire who can buy Congress. Then you can get a "bailout" to pay for it.

Does it include shipping costs? (4, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497999)

I'm really not sure if it would be a suitable deal without free shipping.

Re:Does it include shipping costs? (-1, Offtopic)

xulaopas (2809545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498399)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] as Dawn answered I cannot believe that a mom can profit $6457 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you see this page

Re:Does it include shipping costs? (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501447)

I'm really not sure if it would be a suitable deal without free shipping.

They could always list it on Ebay for a $1.99 with 25 billion for shipping.

SpaceX please rent? (2)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498019)

Basically they want somebody like Space X to move in to the facilities. Of course most of the DoD contractors that could chop in for this are gonna underbid or wait for these to close up... There's more money in charging for "repair" to rotted facilities than to take over existing ones. Really only a year or two unoccupied will "kill" these as they include state of the art clean rooms and rocket assembly facilities. Once the doors open, those are ruined with years to clean them up again. Those DoD contractors will get to charge DOUBLE when NASA needs those again.

Ha. Ha, NASA.. Your expensive contractors got their money. "National Treasures" don't come before the bottom line.

Re:SpaceX please rent? (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498187)

Basically they want somebody like Space X to move in to the facilities.

It's too big. Space-X doesn't need a facility that big. Unless you intend to launch something the size of the Shuttle or the Saturn-V, nobody does. Space-X's first Falcon Heavy will be launched from Vandenberg this year, so they don't need huge new facilities.

Re:SpaceX please rent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498471)

SpaceX will need it or something significantly larger if Musk wants to realize his vision [dvice.com] .

Re:SpaceX please rent? (2)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499323)

It's too big. Space-X doesn't need a facility that big.

But they could easily make use of it for their smaller launchers if the price is right. Much easier to have regular launch schedules if you are renting/owning a facility.

Re:SpaceX please rent? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499825)

They're doing heavy launches from Vandenberg on the west coast:

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/12/business/la-fi-vandenberg-launchsite-20110713 [latimes.com]

Re:SpaceX please rent? (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499887)

They're doing heavy launches from Vandenberg on the west coast:

And they have to work around Vandenberg's schedule, which is my point.

Re:SpaceX please rent? (2)

harperska (1376103) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500099)

I thought I read somewhere that they were already expecting to use 39A for Falcon Heavy launches. And they'll need a big pad like 39A/B to launch their even bigger rockets in planning like the Falcon X.

Re:SpaceX please rent? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500995)

No, they are doing FHs at vandenberg for orbital flights. All others need to launch elsewhere. KSC will likely launch a number of them.

Re:SpaceX please rent? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500961)

It's too big. Space-X doesn't need a facility that big. Unless you intend to launch something the size of the Shuttle or the Saturn-V, nobody does. Space-X's first Falcon Heavy will be launched from Vandenberg this year, so they don't need huge new facilities.

You mean with falcon heavy running late this year, early next year, or the BFR (big fucking rocket) that is being quietly developed, are too small for that area? The BFR is meant to launch 150-200 tonnes into LEO. And this will likely occur before the first manned mission of the SLS.
And you think that SpaceX is too small? Really?

Re:SpaceX please rent? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501241)

Whatever happened to that company that was gonna make a luxury zeppelin? Sounds like a perfect fit to me, and I bet there is a lot of rich people that would pay to fly in style like that, the proposal I saw basically was like an airborne cruise liner which would be even nicer than first class on an airplane.

Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (2)

rbrander (73222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498041)

...like hurricanes and moistly corrosive air.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498113)

You do know they generally build these near water on purpose, right?

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498241)

You do know they generally build these near water on purpose, right?

Actually, they build them as close to the equator as they can on purpose. The 'near water' part is just a convenient secondary component. At 28 degrees of latitude, the cape was convenient in that respect (San Diego is 38 degrees).

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498325)

Texas is far closer and far more useful. Hugs expanses of worthless zero population desert/land.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499073)

We call it "Houston"

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499749)

There was still a requirement to be near water because the Saturn V first and second stages were too large to be economically transported by any other means. Plus, launching from the east coast of Florida meant a clear path over water for the first and second stages, which had substantial safety benefits. Launching from anywhere in Texas could possibly have led to the second stage coming down somewhere in the southeastern U.S. in the event of a problem. Even if the launch had been made at the southernmost tip of Texas, the Saturn's trajectory would have still have crossed directly over Florida.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (2)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498719)

Brownsville, TX / Boca Chica beach is just a hair south of 26 N, and is one of the locations that SpaceX is considering for a launch site. Parts of Florida are south of that, but are not as suitable as Canaveral. The Boca Chica area is not unlike Canaveral in being a sparsely populated wetlands area. There is still some hurricane danger, but it shouldn't have anywhere near the rain days problem of KSC.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42500153)

Launching from Texas gives a very narrow range of azimuths to fit between Florida, Cuba, and the heavily populated Caribbean islands. Also a narrow range for off-nominal launches. Overflying those relatively early in the launch is a major safety concern.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42503013)

Why would they even build it in the US, unless they are basically getting paid to do so? Hell there are plenty of South American countries closer to the equator that would let you have plenty of land dirt cheap and as we all know the closer to the equator you can get the cheaper the cost of getting into LEO.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42506581)

There is already the Centre Spatial Guyanais [wikipedia.org] launch center located in South America in Kourou in the French Guiana, at about 5 degrees north of the equator. The center is widely used for European (and other!) commercial satellite launches.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42508419)

Uhhh...yeah, kinda knew that already as the EU space agency does all their launches from there. Still doesn't answer my question though, which is Space-X getting paid by the US government to build in the USA over using a more logical place such as Centre Spatial. After all as we saw with Solyndra it wouldn't be the first time the US gov cut a fat check to have something located here that didn't make any sense.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (1, Informative)

rbrander (73222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498361)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baikonur_Cosmodrome [wikipedia.org]

  Note how the first sentence ends in "world's first and largest operational space launch facility".

Water is actually of very little help if you hit at more than 100 MPH. Ask the Challenger seven.

Except for 20,000 ft having weather issues of its own, your dream spaceport would be the top of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador, 2 deg S of the equator and your first four miles up is free. Or as wikipedia puts it, the top is the furthest point on Earth from the planet's centre. I concede the thick covering of glaciers remain a technical challenge. And the status of eco-tourism mecca, a slight political one.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498387)

If your rocket is going to be shedding stuff in flight, water might be a better place to have it land.

Re:Because nothing says "dream spaceport" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499805)

Water is actually of very little help if you hit at more than 100 MPH.

Nobody cares about water cushioning an impact - that's not the benefit. However, water is of very large help if you want a safe place for spent rocket parts to fall , as well as when said rocket parts are too large to otherwise transport.

Who would bid on something like that? (4, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498047)

The name of the top bidder is a closely guarded secret but those familiar with the process describe him as a bold, British chap with a habit of touching the corner of his mouth with his little finger.

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (4, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498257)

Richard Branson probably already has a place to dock.

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498423)

Richard Branson probably already has a place to dock.

Hear that? It's the sound of a "woosh" as that joke flies past you.

Now somebody find me those frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads!

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498729)

nah the woosh is on you.

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499475)

Hear that? It's the sound of a "woosh" as that joke flies past you.

The woosher woosh't!

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498705)

I believe the gentleman you are referring to is from Bruges.

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498751)

You have now given me a vision of Richard Branson as Dr. Evil. "He may be evil, but he's fast!"

Fortunately there was nothing in my mouth at the time, so my keyboard and screen are just fine.

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501459)

The name of the top bidder is a closely guarded secret but those familiar with the process describe him as a bold, British chap with a habit of touching the corner of his mouth with his little finger.

Given the billions they spend building it all the scary thing is his million dollar bid might be acceptable!

Re:Who would bid on something like that? (1)

jbburks (853501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42505991)

White long-haired cat optional.

Does it come with waterfront? (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498081)

That's a good fishing spot.

Sell it to China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498091)

Sell it to China

Re:Sell it to China (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498153)

Sell it to China

Hard to tell after the journalist filter, but

and its high-tech test equipment

could mean anything from Apollo era IBM mainframe (which would be cool, but not export controlled anymore) to fairly recent NSA spy satellite stuff that is going to have all manner of strange expensive regulations.

Re:Sell it to China (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499371)

Well shit, if there's a super-secret NSA spy satellite on the list of items, I'm gunna wait and snipe a $1 bid before the clock runs out.

Re:Sell it to China (0)

lennier1 (264730) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498703)

Why?
With the state of the US national debt they already own the remaining rest anyway.

Re:Sell it to China (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500807)

The USA's debts to China are payable in _US_ dollars, not Euros, not renminbi, not gold. So the USA can pay its debts to China in full any time it wants. Think about that.

The US Federal Reserve created trillions of US dollars in 2008+ by loaning from "thin air". Guess how China and the rest of the USA's creditors feel about that. They're not going to make loud noises publicly about it since that would just make things worse.

China is not that stupid though - they got more tech for all that funny money. And they've managed to use some of that funny money to buy real stuff.

Re:Sell it to China (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500939)

Why? With the state of the US national debt they already own the remaining rest anyway.

Not even close to true. China holds debt, but this same BS went on with Japan back in the 80's. Then Japan took it in the shorts because they had manipulated their money for several decades. In addition, they allowed large bubbles to develop. Sound familiar? The only real difference is that China will not lose 10-15 years. They will likely lose 20-30 years of stagnation. And that assume that they do not end up in a civil war when multiple bubbles pop.

Re:Sell it to China (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42506945)

That doesn't matter as much to China, they've endured major economic and cultural chaos about once a generation for the last several centuries. As it is, the majority of the country remembers life pre-industrialization and while they probably wouldn't like going back they know that it's possible. A more likely scenario to me is that after a couple of years of the world trying to get off its dependence on the dollar the Chinese will be happily selling cheap plastic crap to Africa, South America, India and its own populace.

Re:Sell it to China (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42528167)

Actually, multiple things wrong with what you are saying.

First off, there are multiple bubbles building in China. They are crashing with Chinese gov. lying throught their teeth on just about everything. Even now, they claim that the economy is doing great, yet, they are building up massive coal reserves because now where as much electricity is being used.All in all, China is in REAL trouble. [seekingalpha.com]

Now, as to the issue of cash, I find it interesting that nearly all investors are pushing the dollar. IOW, it is spreading more than ever before. Why? Well, who else are you going to go with?
China? Nope. Even China is desperately buying dollars and trying hard to spread their yuan to others in hope that if they crash, others will as well.
Japan's yen? Nope. Been in a recession for nearly 15 years and are now far more dependent on China than any other nation, with China now demanding their islands.
Euro? Nope. They are heading into a massive recession with the euro possibly collapsing.
Australian dollar? Nope. They depend on Chinese importing their resources. Well, if China collapses, so will Australia.
UK Pound? Nope. They are in a massive recession with the pound about to slide downwards.
Canadian Dollar? Possibly. Right now they are far too small, BUT, they have ran a tight fiscal ship.

You may think that investors want off the dollar, but nothing could be further from the truth. Investors and other nations desperately want dollars. Heck, even Iran and Venezuela wants dollars.

SLS? (3, Interesting)

multi io (640409) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498129)

Aren't they supposed to use those facilities for the SLS [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:SLS? (2)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499615)

They don't need all of them, and don't plan to use the entire VAB. As far as I know, the Vehicle Assembly Building was designed to prepare several Saturn V's at once, as NASA once had a vision of launching many Saturn V vehicles in a short amount of time. SLS is only scheduled to fly once per year.

Re:SLS? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500251)

Plus, who really thinks there will be an SLS? NASA has a remarkably bad track record for new launch vehicle development. The Shuttle was its last successful vehicle design. As I understand it, they are to some degree legally required to operate as if there will be an SLS at some point in the future, but that doesn't mean that there will be an SLS.

ah "Congress"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42504465)

Aren't they supposed to use those facilities for the SLS?

AHAHAHAH HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
sob.

Proprietary proposals? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498165)

I love the smell of corruption in the morning. Smell that pork.

ONE WORK NASA: E-BAY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498287)

And FUCK Buy It Now !!

FOIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498291)

"The process is mostly secret, because NASA has agreed to let bidders declare their proposals proprietary, keeping them out of the view of competitors and the public."

Is this perhaps a Freedom of Information Act violation?

Summary is misleading. (5, Informative)

Robotbeat (461248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498301)

The summary makes absolutely no mention at all of the next-gen rocket, SLS (capable of well over 100mT to orbit), which is being finished up. The boosters for it have been test-fired already (as have the main engines, which are left-over Shuttle main engines, and the upper stage for now is a big version of the Delta IV upper stage), and it is on-track for CDR. SLS will use LC-39A and the VAB. NASA and Florida are just looking for others who would also like to use the facilities, since they won't be in constant use. Boeing is already using one of the Shuttle processing buildings for their CST-100, which is part of NASA's "commercial crew" program and is already very far along, having tested its parachutes, heatshield, abort thrusters, airbags, etc.

Now, I'm quite skeptical with the idea of going back to 100+mT rockets for exploration instead of multiple commercial 15-30mT rockets (which have other, current customers and so are cheaper and will be around as long as the US is a country and which may shortly be capable of reusable flight), and especially I'm skeptical of the zipcode-engineered SLS, but it IS the current plan and it has lots of Congressional support and I'll cheer it along and enjoy its launches. People deserve to know that it's actually being built and that the VAB and LC-39A are going to be used by it, not all this BS about "oh, 'Bama canceled NASA, so they're having a fire sale." NASA's budget is still about the same (which is only about half of a percent of the federal budget, by the way), and the International Space Station is doing just fine with NASA astronauts in it, being resupplied with cargo by American spacecraft (SpaceX's Dragon right now has made two successful supply runs up and safely back down, soon to be joined by Orbital Science's Cygnus), and soon Dragon will be also shuttling the astronauts up and down to Station. http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/01/yir-part4-iss-new-year-successful-2012/ [nasaspaceflight.com]

Oh, another thing is that NASA is currently experimenting with a deep space habitat based on ISS modules and a Space Exploration Vehicle for going to asteroids or the moons of Mars. NASA retired Shuttle, and a dang good thing, too! Now we can really go explore beyond the confines of the Earth's gravitational influence.

Also, NASA's Orion capsule is VERY far along, has done several tests already and will do its first orbital test in the late 2014 time frame. This means by the time President Palin (or whathaveyou) is inaugurated, NASA will have essentially 3 man-rated capsules (Dragon, Orion, and Boeing's CST-100) already flight tested and a big-ass rocket built and prepping for launch (in 2017). NASA is NOT fracking canceled.
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/01/sls-cdr-engineers-work-baffling-issue/ [nasaspaceflight.com]

.
.

About the SEV: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/technology/space_exploration_vehicle/index.html [nasa.gov]
About the Deep Space Hab using ISS heritage or possibly even just existing ISS spares: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/03/dsh-module-concepts-outlined-beo-exploration/ [nasaspaceflight.com]

Re:Summary is misleading. (4, Interesting)

lingon (559576) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498377)

The summary makes absolutely no mention at all of the next-gen rocket, SLS (capable of well over 100mT to orbit), which is being finished up.

I didn't know they started using magnetic engines! ... and with a field strength of only 100 millitesla to orbit, that's perfectly alright, nice!

Re:Summary is misleading. (3, Informative)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498845)

which is being finished up

I don't know what your definition of "finished up" is, but "first unmanned test launch in two years if Congress behaves" isn't mine. That assumes that the Senate doesn't change their minds about the distribution of pork, causing the Senate Launch System to be even further behind than it already is.

Good thing we've got three private commercial crew launch systems underway (you forgot Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser), one of which is based on an already working (I won't call it "proven" without a few more successful missions) cargo system with currently the only significant mass return capability other than a crewed Soyuz.

Re:Summary is misleading. (1)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498917)

zipcode-engineered

Excuse me, could you please clarify what this means? I'm not familiar with this phrase and googling it only gets me your writing.

Re:Summary is misleading. (3, Informative)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499027)

It means manufacturing based on the geographic location desired by a politician instead of where it would make the most sense from an engineering standpoint. i.e. - You can't put all the high tech space jobs in the same place as each politician wants some of the money to create jobs in their own district.

Re:Summary is misleading. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499403)

It's clear you can't read the writing on the wall.

If you want to get into space, you better brush up on your Chinese and Russian.

Re:Summary is misleading. (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500303)

It's clear you can't read the writing on the wall.

If you want to get into space, you better brush up on your Chinese and Russian.

No offense, but those guys aren't doing so well either. The Chinese are going slow and steady, and have been successful to this point. But their country's leadership has its finger on the reset button. All it takes is one sufficiently public and embarrassing or lethal accident.

The Russians haven't been going anywhere for about two decades aside from creation of several commercial space launch services.

Re:Summary is misleading. (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501137)

which is being finished up

Sure, it is. NASA has a terrible track record when it comes to "finishing" orbital launch vehicles. Last one they finished in the real sense of the word was the Space Shuttle and that was thirty years ago.

Are they selling other space stuff as well . . . ? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498447)

Used astronaut suits? Training centrifuges? That would make a killer amusement park ride. Miscellaneous special-purpose rocket building tools?

They must have a warehouse full of junk that would find a happy new home in a geek's mother's basement.

Re:Are they selling other space stuff as well . . (1)

tragedy (27079) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498965)

How about base jumping inside the Vehicle Assembly Building?

Sealed bids should not be allowed (1)

shaitand (626655) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498649)

This shit needs to be banned across the board for public contracts, auctions, and sales of all types. It prevents bidding wars and hides the selection process from public scrutiny.

Why not China? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499217)

With China as the new Space power, it the obvious choice for the American government to give it to China. Americans try to be greedy and steal away the technology and keep the science from poor countries for too long. Now, China is clear winner of space race. Who send a women to the Space? Who take a picture of the moon? China. In some small way, America can make up for the lack of respect to Chinese culture.

Re:Why not China? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499229)

lol spoken like a true ignorant fuck

Abandon In Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499495)

A very old story at Canaveral, sadly.

http://www.rolandmiller.com/pages/ksc.html

Taking a page from Nokia's Book (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499647)

NASA seems to be taking a page from Nokia's book [slashdot.org] , selling off its property so it can lease it back from the new owner and raise money to buy time to reinvent itself as a smartphone maker. Turns out its much cheaper to put smartphones in orbit than people... Even the North Koreans are doing it.

Someday you'll be taking the Cape Canaveral tour with your grandkids, and as you pass the Vehicle Assembly Building, the tour guide will announce, "you see we leased this back from the country we sold it to. That way it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account."

Obama has turned (2)

amightywind (691887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499863)

Obama has turned our once proud space program into a flee market.

mo6d up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499925)

do, or indeed w4at Jav4 IRC client

...and robots will do their work eventually. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500087)

Emperor: Good. Good! Your turn from the Dork Side is almost complete. Let the bloated government flow through you, cannibalizing all resources not directly going into the hands of people who scare easily, and thus more likely to vote against me.

Hackerspace? (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500381)

wouldn't this be a perfect place for a hacker space?

anyone else?

Proprietary Bids (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500385)

The process is mostly secret, because NASA has agreed to let bidders declare their proposals proprietary, keeping them out of the view of competitors and the public.

And out of the view of upstarts like SpaceX. Who here will be surprised if these facilities end up in the hands of Boeing and/or Lockheed? And future launch contracts as well.

It's Here! (1)

connor4312 (2608277) | about a year and a half ago | (#42500625)

It's here, it's here! The year of the Linux Desktop! </sarcasm>

Casino? (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | about a year and a half ago | (#42501011)

Turn the VAB into a casino and add the profits to NASA's budget.

40 Years of "Stellar" Leadership... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about a year and a half ago | (#42502499)

Four decades of "stellar" leadership, and the swan song is the auctioning off of America's space program.

But some few Americans - and the OPEC nations, and the last communist nation and burgeoning superpower on planet Earth - got rich...

More evidence Obama is killing NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42502597)

Evidence:

  1. 1. His 2010 budget eliminated ALL manned spaceflight work at NASA other than the ISS (the only reason the SLS and the Orion capsule are being worked on is that the congress (both parties) ordered it)
  2. 2. When forced to build Orion, he reduced it from 6 seats to 4 and cancelled its ability to haul astronauts TO space; he ordered that it be launched unmanned and used as an ISS emergency-only lifeboat (The congress forced him to make Orion capable of full missions but failed to force a return to 6 seats)
  3. 3. His administration cancelled work on the service module for Orion; he is having NASA buy only two from ESA without any contract for more and with NASA getting no blueprints. His plan is for two unmanned Orion flights ... so he clearly plans for no manned American spaceflights with Orion or the SLS (and therefore by implication no American manned spaceflight beyond LEO)
  4. 4. He has ordered NO work on new engines for the SLS; The SLS will use-up the shuttle engines (and all related plumbing) which were removed from the orbiters before they went to the museums thus making sure no orbiter can ever fly again. (All orbiters on display have dummy engines) As a result, even if SLS flies, it will go fewer times than Saturn before being cancelled.
  5. 5. He is preparing to let others have pad 39A, VAB high bays, and the shuttle landing facility (SLF). He's been advertizing "commercial space" and the "dream chaser" with art showing "dream chaser" and others using the SLF but he plans to cancel Dream Chaser (and anything else that needs a runway at the cape) so he does not need the SLF. If he planned to allow the US to return to the moon or to go on to mars, NASA would need multiple VAB high bays and multiple launch pads (particularly for Mars which would require multiple SLS launches per mission) therefor he clearly intends the US be unable to go to any deep space locations. There are 4 VAB high bays and there were originally 4+ complex 39 launch pads planned because NASA knew those would all be needed for future complex moon activity, or for mars missions.

Oh, and for all you Space-X fanboys: Once NASA is incapable of anything it will be easily de-funded as a budget-savings and with no NASA there will be no NASA money going to fund Space-X missions nor will there be a post-2020 (only 7 years from now) ISS as a destination for "commercial" spaceflight. Ha, Ha Ha ... you've been duped by the cool dude in the White House. This is not a pro-Romney rant either; he was an empty suit who would have been only marginally better for NASA.

Shocked that he lied to you about being pro-NASA, pro-science, pro-technology, etc????? Look at your mid-January pay stubs and compare them to your pay stubs from two months ago ..... yup .... he lied about that too .... taxes going up on EVERYBODY who pays taxes, not just the rich!

Re:More evidence Obama is killing NASA (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42508205)

The abortion that the Bush Madministration mis-named 'Orion' (probably to make people forget the original Project Orion) should have been cancelled before it ever was presented to Congress. Seriously, a slightly-inflated Apollo capsule, riding on hardware designed in 1974, and this was supposed to be our glorious return to space? No, Orion and SLS was yet another pork-barrel project, designed by lawyers and lobbyists who think they're more competent to design a spacecraft than actual rocket scientists.

Who else read that in the voice of Colin Mochrie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42502621)

"Have we got a deal for you."
"Songs of the Spaceport"
"We've compiled over *three* songs on *seventy* CDs!"
"And you probably won't remember that great 80s rock-n-roll song 'Bang, There Goes Fifty Million Dollars!'..."

Can the Chinese or Indians Bid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42503649)

Can China or India get in on this action? They still have a space program, and both of them are just getting going, so might need some expansion space.

Spaceport Depreciation? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42503953)

I hear it will lose half its value as soon as you drive it off the lot!

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42504505)

Perhaps Virgin Galactic should put in a bid and tell the greedy New Mexican trial lawyer ASSociation to go F themselves.

Sold To China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42505685)

Nice move Round Eye!

Landing strips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42506473)

I, for one, prefer chicks with landing strips.

Not entirely sure about a 15,000 foot one, however.

now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42510129)

Really only a year or two unoccupied will "kill" these as they include state of the art clean rooms and rocket assembly facilities. Once the doors open, those are ruined with years to clean them up again sohbet [bakgor.net] - chat [bakgor.net]
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