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Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower That It Will Never Use

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the pork:-the-final-frontier dept.

Government 342

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Phillip Swarts reports in the Washington Times that NASA is completing a $350 million rocket-engine testing tower at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi that it doesn't want and will never use. 'Because the Constellation Program was canceled in 2010, the A-3's unique testing capabilities will not be needed and the stand will be mothballed upon completion (PDF),, said NASA's inspector general. The A-3 testing tower will stand 300 feet and be able to withstand 1 million pounds of thrust (PDF). The massive steel structure is designed to test how rocket engines operate at altitudes of up to 100,000 feet by creating a vacuum within the testing chamber to simulate the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Although NASA does not expect to use the tower after construction, it's compelled by legislation from Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-MS), who says the testing tower will help maintain the research center's place at the forefront of U.S. space exploration. 'Stennis Space Center is the nation's premier rocket engine testing facility,' says Wicker. 'It is a magnet for public and private research investment because of infrastructure projects like the A-3 test stand. In 2010, I authored an amendment to require the completion of that particular project, ensuring the Stennis facility is prepared for ever-changing technologies and demands.' Others disagree, calling the project the 'Tower of Pork' and noting that the unused structure will cost taxpayers $840,000 a year to maintain. 'Current federal spending trends are not sustainable, and if NASA can make a relatively painless contribution to deficit reduction by shutting down an unwanted program, why not let it happen?' says Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union. 'It's not rocket science, at least fiscally.'"

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Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46130977)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

EdIII (1114411) | about 6 months ago | (#46131541)

Why do people get so mad about this?

It reminds me of the Golden Girls, a simpler time about geriatric women and their troubles.

Who doesn't wanted to be constantly reminded about that?

Re:Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131577)

Why do people get so mad about this? It reminds me of the Golden Girls, a simpler time about geriatric women and their troubles. Who doesn't wanted to be constantly reminded about that?

Because in a NASA thread, it's astronoaut, not cosmonaut, you insensitive clod!

Porking? (1, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46130987)

Tower of Pork

No, that's in Vegas.

BS (-1, Flamebait)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131007)

'Current federal spending trends are not sustainable, and if NASA can make a relatively painless contribution to deficit reduction by shutting down an unwanted program, why not let it happen?' says Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union. 'It's not rocket science, at least fiscally.'" It's B.S. We have a fiat currency and the only limit to spending is inflation.

Re:BS (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 months ago | (#46131027)

What is BS? After all, you do agree that inflation is a limit of deficit spending with a fiat currency.

Re:BS (0, Troll)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131089)

The BS is that 'Current federal spending trends are not sustainable' I see nothing but deflation right now. Cutting spending does not lead to the end of deflation.

Re:BS (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 6 months ago | (#46131235)

I see nothing but deflation right now.

Either you are not looking very hard, or you are basement dweller raiding your parents fridge. Seriously if you actually track what your spending on groceries, gasoline, clothing, and healthcare; I would be STUNNED if you still claim there is deflation.

The only deflation out there in recent years has been in heating costs (for folks using nat gas) and electricity in some areas. Housing had its big gaps down in 2008-2010, but has pretty well been inflating if slowly since that time. I don't rent but friends tell me rents have gone way up everywhere and its keeping them in their current apartments.

There has been no deflation in the things 99%ers spend their money on other than housing. I don't care what the FED claims; because their numbers are fucking retarded, I don't buy a new TV every week, I sure as hell do buy bread and gasoline though.

Re:BS (-1, Troll)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131277)

Show me the numbers from a credible source. Meanwhile the EU madness of no spending high taxation (which takes money out of the private sector) is leading to massive deflation http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02... [nytimes.com]

Re:BS (4, Funny)

turkeyfish (950384) | about 6 months ago | (#46131279)

"I see nothing but deflation right now."

Evidently, this guy doesn't get a cable bill.

Re:BS (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 6 months ago | (#46131683)

We can use the vacuum test chamber to see how Time Warner Cable executives breathe at 100,000 feet altitude, film it and charge $1 pay per view. I'm thinking recovery of the 350 million won't take long.

Re:BS (4, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131289)

Oh and yeah,we have weak inflation, not full deflation. So prices are rising, but lower than the 2% target inflation rate. The problem for 99%ers isnt inflation so much as a stagnant wage.

Re:BS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131667)

Bread is the same price I've been paying for the last 10 years. Gasoline is cheaper than it was 5 years ago. What fucking inflation are you talking about?

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131741)

Bread is the same price I've been paying for the last 10 years. Gasoline is cheaper than it was 5 years ago. What fucking inflation are you talking about?

I'll bet your salary isn't the same for the last 10 years. I'd bet it is much lower, with more of the shared burden for your benefits being passed on to you. You probably haven't gotten a raise for many years either. The prices may not show immediately that they are going higher, but they are. Remember when you were able to purchase a gallon of ice cream for the same price you are paying for that much smaller box now?

Re:BS (0, Troll)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131097)

Also I disagree to even the term 'deficit spending.' A net deficit in terms of taxes and spending means a net savings in the private sector. If the government spent less than it destroyed in taxes, the economy would shrink, no matter if it were a republican (low tax, low spend) or a Democrat (high tax, high spend) policy. In deflation, it should be a stimulus policy (low tax, high spend). Europe is stupid (high tax, low spend). Yeah it sucks over there because they are not using their power as a fiat currency to put more Euros into the economy.

Re:BS (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131107)

Also, it is a fallacy to think that taxes fund expenditures at the Federal level, since the federal government has a fiat currency, It can always pay its debts, not withstanding the limits of inflation).

Re:BS (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#46131165)

Considering US debts are overwhelmingly dollar denominated the effects of inflation on ability to repay debt are quite muted.

Re:BS (3, Interesting)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131241)

As a matter of rule, the U.S. can always pay back its debts by printing enough money to cover that debt. What that action would do to inflation is another thing altogether.

I got distracted when I posted the previous post. I meant to say that taxes don't actually fund expenditures since the government can print money to pay for any expenditures it authorizes.

So what are taxes for? 1) If you have to pay taxes in dollars, then you better have some dollars. Taxes help ensure that a government's currency is used by its citizens. 2) Taxes can control inflation by destroying money (i.e. taking it out of the economy) 3) to implement policies (e.g. redistribution)

Re:BS (5, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 6 months ago | (#46131693)

no matter if it were a republican (low tax, low spend)

Ha, you're funny. As this article demonstrates, Republicans can spend (and/or waste) just as much, if not more than, Democrats. They just don't want to spend any of it on poor people or minorities.

Re:BS (0)

khallow (566160) | about 6 months ago | (#46131745)

If the government spent less than it destroyed in taxes, the economy would shrink, no matter if it were a republican (low tax, low spend) or a Democrat (high tax, high spend) policy.

Economies are much bigger than just the government part. And the non-government part tends to be a lot more productive.

In deflation, it should be a stimulus policy

The fundamental flaw of Keynesian economics is that it conflates economic activity with economic growth. Just because you have a "stimulus policy" doesn't mean that you have economic growth. Japan showed that after the 1990 recession and the US and Europe are showing it now.

Re:BS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131139)

It's B.S. We have a fiat currency and the only limit to spending is inflation.

Chronic debtors rationalize more debt. News at 11.

Re:BS (0)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131215)

Its not debt. If it were a state, it would be a debt. Think of it as a deposit in the private economy. http://neweconomicperspectives... [neweconomi...ctives.org]

Re:BS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131479)

Chronic debtors invent euphemisms for debt. News at 11.

Re:BS (0)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131507)

Anonymous Cowards say nothing of interest on how money works Unfortunately, News at 11

Duh - help his state out (5, Insightful)

PKFC (580410) | about 6 months ago | (#46131017)

a $350 million rocket-engine testing tower at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi

compelled by legislation from Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-MS)

will cost taxpayers $840,000 a year to maintain.

Hey let's pour money into my home state plzkthx

Re:Duh - help his state out (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 months ago | (#46131067)

It's a pretty big part of what MS does. Measured as a percentage of GSP (the state-level version of GDP), Mississippi is the 4th-largest net recipient of transfers from other states, which equal about 20% of the state's economy. The only three larger are South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida (a whopping 50% of Florida's economy consists of net transfers).

Re:Duh - help his state out (-1, Flamebait)

meglon (1001833) | about 6 months ago | (#46131243)

Red states: the true welfare whores of the US.

Re:Duh - help his state out (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131325)

Well isn't that the problem? State governments whore to the federal government. That is, they give their power to the federal government for the federal governments money.States can't print their own money, but the federal gov't can. Since states compete to have low taxes and provide the most services, they have every incentive to give up as much of their own power as it can.

Thus the rise of Federal power and the loss of state power. To rebalance power to States, an amendment to the constitution allowing states some type of unlimited fiat currency powers, or a requirement of the federal government to only give block grants with no strings attached to the state. p.

Re:Duh - help his state out (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#46131463)

The problem is states like MS have low value added economies, poor residents and crummy education systems.

Their residents have very limited class mobility.

http://www.motherjones.com/fil... [motherjones.com]

Re:Duh - help his state out (2)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131511)

Agreed, in respect to mobility. These are real economic issues of real products and real resources and real labor.

Re:Duh - help his state out (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131651)

Red states: the true welfare whores of the US.

Is this what you mean by red state [utsa.edu] ?

Re:Duh - help his state out (5, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | about 6 months ago | (#46131281)

and Florida (a whopping 50% of Florida's economy consists of net transfers).

Just curious does that number include SS payments to individuals? For the sake of argument if it does SS is national program after all, and Florida tends to have lots of retirees relocating to it.

Sure they have adopted some policies that make it more favorable for that demographic but that is because the retirees were already there to vote for them; so it might be less fair to tar Florida with the same "hand in the federal cookie jar" brush as MS, and SC.

Re:Duh - help his state out (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46131439)

It's a pretty big part of what MS does. Measured as a percentage of GSP (the state-level version of GDP), Mississippi is the 4th-largest net recipient of transfers from other states, which equal about 20% of the state's economy. The only three larger are South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida (a whopping 50% of Florida's economy consists of net transfers).

Eh, it's not particularly abnormal for 'developing' nations to depend heavily on foreign aid and diaspora remittances...

Re:Duh - help his state out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131629)

It's a pretty big part of what MS does. Measured as a percentage of GSP (the state-level version of GDP), Mississippi is the 4th-largest net recipient of transfers from other states, which equal about 20% of the state's economy. The only three larger are South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida (a whopping 50% of Florida's economy consists of net transfers).

Maybe this [utsa.edu] has something to do with it.

Re:Duh - help his state out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131137)

It will join the mothballed Army Ammo Plant at Stennis. Another pork project that was closed shortly after it was built. At least some of those buildings have been re-purposed.

Pork-grubing from a medicaid obstructor! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131181)

But they only shower federal dollars on business owners in Mississippi. No medicaid expansion for the poor in Mississippi. Fuck the poor!

Re:Duh - help his state out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131291)

At least the Tea Party is consistent on this guy. They don't like him.

Re:Duh - help his state out (2)

litehacksaur111 (2895607) | about 6 months ago | (#46131487)

I think states like Mississippi are perfect examples of this hypocrisy about pork spending just like with the Lockheed F35 boondoggle costing over 1 trillion dollars because they employ workers in Georgia.

Stupid politician (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131021)

I'm betting he just wants the kickback, since his 'reason' is completely incorrect. No research facility that wastes time, money, and other resources building or buying equipment they know they won't use is never considered being on the forefront of research, and actually lose funding as nobody wants their grants or donations to be wasted on known boondoggles.

Re:Stupid politician (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131343)

I'm betting he keeps his job and eventually gets his very generous government pension plan all funded by taxpayers.

Typical (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131039)

I have several friends that work at General Dynamics here in Metro Detroit and the government spending has them in a quandary: they are forced by politicians to create a bill as high as possible - mandatory junkets and overtime, even when there's nothing to do. "Research" projects are the only thing that they do and they just post youtube videos, cancel the project and start something new. None of them can quit, even though the economy has recovered, because they are being paid so well as a result of the requirement to bill taxpayers so much.

Does anyone know why the Republicans came right to the table on the sequester this time around? Because offense spending (thinly veiled as "defense" spending) was to be rolled back to 2003 levels. That is absolutely evil if you are a member of the Republicans.

Never is a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131057)

I bet this thing comes in useful in the near future... They'll find something to do with it. It might even be useful. I'd rather they build things like this than dole out bank bailouts like they are candy on Halloween.

Re:Never is a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131247)

I bet this thing comes in useful in the near future... They'll find something to do with it. It might even be useful.

They could hold senate and congress meetings in there. Maybe even be nice to your northern neighbors and invite Harper and his entourage to come along.

Didn't they lease or sell one recently? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131059)

Didn't they lease or sell one recently to SpaceX or one of the other private companies? Sounds like the money was already allocated as well, so what's the damage?

Re:Didn't they lease or sell one recently? (2)

bjwest (14070) | about 6 months ago | (#46131737)

Didn't they lease or sell one recently to SpaceX or one of the other private companies? Sounds like the money was already allocated as well, so what's the damage?

The damage is the cost of completing the tower (so far unspent monies) and the $840,000/year maintenance fee. Fuck that the money was already allocated bull shit. If it's not needed and won't be used, reallocate the remaining funds somewhere (preferably within NASA, since that's where the money was really allocated) it won't be nothing but waste.
This "allocated funds need to go where they were allocated no matter what the current situation" and "spend it or lose" it crap is responsible for so much waste, it's ridiculous.

slashdot, fix your damn editor to recongnise a blank line as a fucking line brake, like everyone else in this century.

Tower to Nowhere... (5, Informative)

theodp (442580) | about 6 months ago | (#46131073)

...meet Bridge to Nowhere [wikipedia.org]

Re:Tower to Nowhere... (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#46131209)

Difference being that Palin was a national candidate, whereas Senator Wicker likely has no ambitions beyond his current position. Robbing the nation to provide pork to your constituents back home plays much better when those constituents are the only ones with a say in whether or not you keep your job.

Poor planning (1)

teethdood (867281) | about 6 months ago | (#46131077)

It all comes down to poor planning to begin with. Look at the Superconducting Supercollider ($2Billion to dig a friggin hole), this Tower, the cancelled Constellation program, cost overruns such as the $1.5Trillion F-35, etc. The government needs to do a much better job planning things out, and once planned, bring them to completion on time and on budget. If not, you have to have HUGE FINES or even jail time for bidding on things you know you can never accomplish. Don't blame that Senator for pork. Senators are elected to bring pork to their constituency. Blame the stupid planning by the administration of Sean O'Keefe for the failures of the Constellation program.

Re:Poor planning (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131103)

I work for Lockheed-Martin (I work for a completely different program that is within budget) and I can say that we have to keep the Gov. from changing the rules to the game every few seconds. It is like playing "calvin-ball" with calvin (of calvin and hobbs). They come up with an idea, and all of the sudden another part must be added to keep another senator/representative happy (jobs in his/her state). If we could stick to ONE design for any true length of time we could be ahead of the game, but not when the rules get changed ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

Re:Poor planning (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131597)

I work for Lockheed-Martin (I work for a completely different program that is within budget) and I can say that we have to keep the Gov. from changing the rules to the game every few seconds. It is like playing "calvin-ball" with calvin (of calvin and hobbs). They come up with an idea, and all of the sudden another part must be added to keep another senator/representative happy (jobs in his/her state). If we could stick to ONE design for any true length of time we could be ahead of the game, but not when the rules get changed ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

And why do you think this is? Do you not think it benefits Lockheed-Martin? Every time a requirement is changed and the contracts are re-written there is an opportunity to pack on some more lard. And do you think it is an accident or "neutral business planning decision" that the major aerospace contractors have subsidiaries and major suppliers in pretty much every state? Every time an unnecessary carbuncle is added to a project to satisfy a senator, the contractor has an opportunity to renegotiate costs, and also gains another ally who will not want to see the project die, no matter how irrelevant it becomes to the nation's needs. In some ways it's like bribery, except the cash is flowing in the opposite direction to normal...

Sure it might be irritating to an outcome-focussed engineering type who wants to work on technically successful projects, but from management's perspective a politically unkillable project that meanders on for decades, neither finishing or being allowed to fail, can be a far lower career risk.

Re:Poor planning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131129)

Planning takes longer than a typical politician's term. Perhaps there needs to be a party-agnostic oversight committee that bases its decisions on pure mathmathics?

oversight committees. (2)

mbkennel (97636) | about 6 months ago | (#46131221)


Yes, it's called NASA, and in particular NASA Advisory Council, and a parallel, independent, council from the National Academy of Sciences.

A politician with pork on his mind doesn't give a crap about any of them.

Re:Poor planning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131203)

The government doesn't do the planning. Private contractors do. They are the ones sucking up endless cash that just disappears

Re:Poor planning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131227)

Great planning. A project that gets lots of money, but don't not have to finish or work is a success. The people working on the project like it, the state government likes is, the "make work" job creation fans like it. It gets the congressmen more campaign funding (and likley a future job) and reelection so they like it. These projects were all well planed successes. You start with some grand justifiable mission to get the money (thats the hard part) and the rest does not matter at all.

The system is producing what it is designed to produce. If you want different results, then replace congress with something else. To do that, you need to amend the constitution, not jail the contractor who got their funding jacked for half of the project a couple years into it.

If you want to fix the government footing the cost of price overruns on contracts, that's a separate issue, and darn easy to fix: pay the original agreed upon amount upon successful completion. The contract should include terms for how to adjust said amount if its late (which might simply be $0 in some cases). Unfinished = 0 pay. This will increase the cost of said contracts for the government, and likely introduce middle men that basically foot the risk (they are insurance basically) and subcontract it out. That way we get capitalism to to accurately price the risk involved, and the government is protected from such overruns. Also, if you hire one such insurance style firm to subcontract the job out, its really easy to know who to blame when your website does not work (and you just don't pay them, and count it against them when considering their next bit). I don't get why no-one seems to be advocating this obvious solution.

Aye (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 months ago | (#46131085)

I approve this post.

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131091)

Constellation was killed for political reasons. The difference between Constellation and SLS is the party letter beside the name of the President that authorized it. Stupid shit like this is going to happen when you fuck over politicians, contractors and everyone else for no good reason. Make them finish it just to stick it in their eye.

What was spent already? (3, Insightful)

Zorpheus (857617) | about 6 months ago | (#46131111)

The article acts as if they are wasting $350 million by completing it. But it does not say how much has been spent already. Maybe there is not that much money to save by cancelling it?
And I can't believe that the NASA will not use it in the future, the article also gives no real reason for that.

Re:What was spent already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131173)

I can't believe that the NASA will not use it in the future, the article also gives no real reason for that.

The article states that the A-3 program that this tower was meant for has already been canceled in 2010. I think that's a pretty good reason for the tower not being used.

Re:What was spent already? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131451)

The amount already spent is irrelevant because it is a sunk cost. [wikipedia.org]

Re:What was spent already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131705)

The amount already spent is irrelevant because it is a sunk cost. [wikipedia.org]

Right, so for 57M$, you can buy a 350M$ tower. This is a huge bargain, and the government would be stupid to pass it up.

It's NASA (1)

steelyeyedmissileman (1657583) | about 6 months ago | (#46131163)

Can't they repurpose the tower? They are still developing new rockets, even if it's not the same one when the tower was designed. What makes it so this tower can only be used for a particular project that happens to have been scrubbed? This is NASA we're talking about; they can find a way to work with it.

Re:It's NASA (2)

mrbluze (1034940) | about 6 months ago | (#46131195)

Can't they repurpose the tower?

It would make for an awesome theme park.

Re:It's NASA (3, Informative)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 6 months ago | (#46131219)

It is hard to re-purpose it. The best thing to do would be to stop and preserve it the way it is or finish key parts that are already paid for or nearly complete. The only people who might use it would be SPACEX but considering the location that is not too likely. SPACEX would need to change enough stuff around that the work should be halted until there is a known need.

What do politicians know about rocket science? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131517)

VACUUM testing rocket engines up to 1 MILLION pounds on the groud? I'm surprised it cost only $350 million.

Seriously, that could test the J-2X, rs-68a, RD-180, rs-25e, merlin 1d, or whatever indigenous engines are out there. India, France, Japan, SpaceX, or South Korea would be happy to borrow it for rocket engine testing. Russia, China, and Iran could use it too if Washington let them.

So what if Constellation isn't going to test a rs-68b there, it could still test the rs-25e for the SLS, or an indigenous kerosene staged combustion engine to replace the RD-180.

Re:What do politicians know about rocket science? (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about 6 months ago | (#46131639)

Agreed. In this case I think NASA may be the short sighted one. "Maintaining capability" is something that has value, even when it's not used. I had a knee jerk reaction when I read the headline, but upon contemplating, I find myself agreeing with the senator who's getting the pork. Sometimes wrong people do the right things for the wrong reasons.

For safety of course (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 6 months ago | (#46131177)

"It is important that a large emphasis be placed on safety and testing, and we cannot launch any type of vehicle until we test it extensively using NASA's best tools for testing," Cochran said after a 2011 hearing on the agency's budget.

How did the Saturn V ever get off the ground without such a rigorous test infrastructure as this?

Re:For safety of course (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131233)

Willingness to have unforeseen issues taken care of instead of finger pointing and blaming and also knowing that the possibility of people dying is greater than 0 (many did), but you still take the risk. Living mean risk. You try and take all the risk and you kill the patient. 1 person dying is the end of the project.

Re:For safety of course (5, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 6 months ago | (#46131259)

How did the Saturn V ever get off the ground without such a rigorous test infrastructure as this?

May I introduce you to the Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:For safety of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131589)

That was the vibration/shock test stand. The test firings of the Saturn F1 were done out at Edwards AFB http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocketdyne_F-1

Re:For safety of course (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 6 months ago | (#46131623)

May I introduce you to the Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand?

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1985, which is really too bad since it in no longer much use to any modern space programs, and sits unused and badly rusting. The could tear it down, but will not be able to until it starts falling apart itself.

Its the new ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46131185)

... War on Savings.

Re:Its the new ... (0)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131261)

Net deficit spending is a net savings to the private sector.

Re:Its the new ... (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | about 6 months ago | (#46131351)

Only if its spent on something useful and worthwhile. Its not as if had Bush and Cheney not invaded Iraq, the private sector would have.

Re:Its the new ... (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 months ago | (#46131369)

net savings as a matter of accounting. Putting that money to good use is another issue.

National Taxpayer's Union? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 6 months ago | (#46131199)

I wouldn't trust them to properly differentiate between a scientific boondoggle and useful scientific research.
Maybe this facility is useless, maybe it's not. But the NTU doesn't share an agenda with those who would fund a program of basic reasearch in this country.

Re:National Taxpayer's Union? (5, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | about 6 months ago | (#46131297)

Maybe this facility is useless, maybe it's not.

NASA thinks it's useless, and I think they are the ones most likely to know.

Re:National Taxpayer's Union? (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | about 6 months ago | (#46131349)

There is very little basic research in a rocket launching pad unless it likely to be used for space exploration, which evidently this boondoggle is not, which is why NASA has been trying to kill it for years now but MS politicians keep preventing US taxpayers from saving money. (and Yes, I live in MIssissippi).

Are you kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131257)

What did they make the public buy?
A big toaster?

hahahhaha

Really? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 6 months ago | (#46131283)

Because, there is no way they can lease it out to all those wonderful commercial space ventures.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131423)

300 feet of vaccum? Lots of flywheel energy storage wheels with electrodynamic bearings.

Leave it to the republicans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131329)

To waste money.

Pork (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46131383)

Why did the rest of the senate go along with this? And what about the house?

Re:Pork (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46131455)

Why did the rest of the senate go along with this? And what about the house?

They'll need his vote when a project in their state comes up...

One senator can't do this alone ... (1, Insightful)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 6 months ago | (#46131387)

... I know it's another day, so Slashdot has to find another Republican to bash, but a lone senator can't keep a program funded.

Translation (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 6 months ago | (#46131395)

"I already promised my friends they will get the job, so IT HAS TO BE DONE."

Where is William Proxmire when we really need him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131419)

He would have been all over this like a fat kid on a box of donuts.

It CANNOT be shut down... (0)

Elyjah (108222) | about 6 months ago | (#46131433)

...because then the senator would be accused of being anti-jobs and anti-science. You know, because he's a Republican and that's the way they all are.

Jesus? (4, Funny)

AndyKron (937105) | about 6 months ago | (#46131491)

Maybe they can rework it into a 300 statue of Jesus?

NASA may never use it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131509)

but it may come in handy for ICBMs.

Better hope they use it (2)

approachingZero (1365381) | about 6 months ago | (#46131523)

Call me old fashioned, I actually watched the first moon landing in 1968 while in first grade, but I sure hope they do end up using it.
NASA used to me about space exploration, manned space exploration.
'The A-3 testing tower will stand 300 feet and be able to withstand 1 million pounds of thrust'
As far as I'm concerned what this article says more than anything else is NASA has lost it's way.

Re:Better hope they use it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131733)

Uh, the first moon landing by men was July 20, 1969. Not 1968

Actually useful car analogy (4, Interesting)

Jiro (131519) | about 6 months ago | (#46131529)

You tella car company that you're going to pay them a half million dollars for a special custom car. You sign the contract, which requires that you pay them $500000 and that they give you a car when it's completed. Halfway through the process you suddenly decide that you don't want the car after all.

Well, tough. You already signed the contract and they're already building the car. You have no choice but to pay for a car that you aren't going to use.

That's what goes on in vases like this. The government signed the contract saying that they'll pay. They can't renege on the deal just because they decided they didn't want what they were paying for any more, so instead they have to pay for it and let it gather dust once they have it. I can guarantee that if you or I signed a contract that said we'd pay for something we wouldn't be able to get out of it just because we no longer wanted what we were paying for.

This isn't so much about grandstanding politicians that want money for useless programs, but about grandstanding politicians who like to decide the government doesn't want something for which the contract has already been signed.

Re: Actually useful car analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131569)

The government can quite easily get out if contracts. Sure, they might have to pay for the work already performed, but the contactor will probably stop if Congress says they're not paying for more. Not to mention that you have to ask the government's permission before you can even sue it...

Re:Actually useful car analogy (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 6 months ago | (#46131587)

"The government signed the contract saying that they'll pay. They can't renege on the deal just because they decided they didn't "

Of course they can't renege on the deal just because they decided they didn't.

On the other hand, they can renege on the deal because they added a clausule that regulated such a possibility as it's done on any contract of the kind.

Re:Actually useful car analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131743)

> That's what goes on in vases like this.

The tower is shaped like a vase? The article didn't say that.

Doing a bit of NASA work (2)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 6 months ago | (#46131551)

and the bureaucracy for getting reimbursed for anything is crazy enough that sometimes I just take the loss (getting parts from Digikey, etc). And this is where the money goes?!? I dig doing my little bit to help the space program, but this is frustrating.

SpaceX anyone? (5, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 months ago | (#46131617)

SpaceX just cut a deal with stennis for testing of their new raptor family. The first engine of this family will be 1/3 of an F1. And yes, it is using these towers. So, this is wrong.

Fed Jobs Program, So Shut The Fuck UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131659)

NASA bought it!

NASA manages it!

We own it.

So build it and, SHUT THE FUCK UP Generalissimo Bolden Ass Wipe!

Jeeze, these Afro's are so touchy about being Gay and all when they ARE. Go Figure.

TEA PARTY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46131687)

Starve the beast end taxes.

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