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NASA Task Force Recommends Radical Changes

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the belt-tightening dept.

Space 170

darrellsilver writes: "As reported at the nytimes (free reg, etc) here and msnbc here, an independant task force initiated in July by the now resigning Dan Goldin concluded this week that "radical changes" need to be put into place if the space station is to continue functioning. The full report in PDF format is available from NASA here." We've reported on this before but we didn't have a link to the report itself. Budgetary woes have already taken their toll on the station and this report is recommending even more cuts.

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170 comments

Aw y34h (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521557)

fp styl3 w1t' th4 g4ng5t4 h1t5, f00

Poot! (-1)

crossbow_of_speed (527135) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521683)

[nt]

Naw. (1)

ShaniaTwain (197446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521558)

We're too busy spending all our money blowing the hell out of each other..

Re:Naw. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521622)

This war on terror will be mighty expensive.

Re:Naw. (1)

KiDSSHoW (113971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521753)

well...
the end of a war (even if it's a made up one) have always meant economic prosperity...

Alternative Financing (3, Interesting)

Hanzie (16075) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521559)

It's really a pity that they couldn't find anybody willing to PAY for a trip to the ISS. It would solve so many financial problems.

Idiots.

Re:Alternative Financing (1)

redcliffe (466773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521790)

No it wouldn't. A tourist paying $10 million wouldn't cover the costs of his own launch. Instead they should work on cheap access to space with an SSTO that would eliminate the use of the shuttle for passenger and logistics cargo, then use cheap ELVs for the rest.

David

Re:Alternative Financing (3, Interesting)

hughk (248126) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521817)

A shuttle launch costs in the region of $100mil, this is far too expensive. However, the Russians can launch for $10mil which means that the entire three man flight costs less than the shuttle does per person.

how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521560)

we blow it up and spend the $$ on real space research rather than using it to funnel money to russia

Re:how about (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521597)

Now THAT was a statement replete with sparkling intellect... Whassamatta, you miss the Cold War or something? Ya idiot.

Re:how about (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521610)

Log in when you insult someone, you pussy.

Re:how about (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521625)

um, didn't you hear your mother calling you as i fucked her up the ass with a telephone pole? i thought not. now, eat some shit and die quietly like a good little fuckwad. Thanks!

Re:how about (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521634)

You're going to have to pay for that ass, bitch.
My mom doesn't come cheap.
And judging by your ugly face, I'm going to have to charge you extra for hazard insurance.

Re:how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521645)

Judging by your lack of intelligence, you'd not be able to figure just what the charge would be... Charge? Grand larceny.

Re:how about (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521656)

Oh, come on. Is that the best you could do?
Try harder.

Even those morons from Adequacy put up a better argument than this.

Re:how about (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521666)

Harder? You want *harder*? You can't handle harder... that baseball bat is splitting your ass bloody as it is.

Re:how about (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521681)

oooh baby. Rawrrr.
You know how to push my buttons.

NASA Budget 2002 (5, Funny)

Colin Bayer (313849) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521561)

Used car parts: $50
50,000 rolls of duct tape: $25,000
Bottle of Elmer's Glue: $0.99

Re:NASA Budget 2002 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521583)

Lawsuit from the writers of McGuyver: priceless*

[*Actual litigation price may vary, see court for details. Not valid in countries with a reasonable judicial system.]

Re:NASA Budget 2002 (3, Funny)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521584)

The sad part is that would probably be denied, whereas something like the NSA's budget would be approved right away:

New cars: $2,000,000
50,000 rolls of duct tape: $11,000,000
17 toilet seats: $160,000
Bottle of Elmer's Glue: $14,000
Rubber doorstops: $6,350,000

Ah well, we have our priorities I guess.

Re:NASA Budget 2002 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521600)

Your remark: trite, shopworn, absurd, just plain stupid in a very average reactionary way. Now go away and don't come back. Thanks!

Re:NASA Budget 2002 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521954)

>Used car parts: $50
>50,000 rolls of duct tape: $25,000
>Bottle of Elmer's Glue: $0.99

Bad publicity from another failed mission: Priceless

Cost & Schedule vs. Safe & Right (3, Interesting)

purp (12986) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521565)

It seems like what's being lost in this analysis is that any project you're going to launch into space has to be done safely and properly ... or your cost-managed investment amounts to naught.

It's all well and good to insist that NASA manage to a budget and a schedule; however, to hold these as the two highest priorities as they attempt to coordinate something no one has ever tried before is ludicrous.

--j, insomniac at large.

Re:Cost & Schedule vs. Safe & Right (2, Insightful)

testharness (522244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521640)

It's all well and good to insist that NASA manage to a budget and a schedule; however, to hold these as the two highest priorities as they attempt to coordinate something no one has ever tried before is ludicrous.

Instead of rewriting history, would it not be better to learn from it? The Russians launched and ran a space station for many years ( remember ), until the costs crippled the program. The same thing seems to be happening to NASA.

NASA has to understand that a large percentage of tax payers see little point in a Space Station, and unless it embrasses budget cuts it will either alianate tax payers even more, or face another Challenger.

Personaly, I hope for neither.

Re:Cost & Schedule vs. Safe & Right (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521651)

Instead of re-writing this post, would it not be better to learn from it? For example, the misspelling of the simplest of words such as "embrace" and "alienate" and "personally" is instructive if only to serve as a reminder that spellcheckers are available and should be used by at least 99% of the people that post at /.

Re:Cost & Schedule vs. Safe & Right (1)

testharness (522244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521748)

Piont wel maid.

Duh!

Re:Cost & Schedule vs. Safe & Right (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521731)

If I'm not mistaken the current emphasis lies in reudcing the projected capabilities of the ISS in order to maintain both safety and an acceptible budget. I don't think that safety will ever NOT be a primary concern for the ISS. Instead, I think what is being said is that if, with X dollars, they cannot make the ISS safely do A, B, and C, but can make it safely do just A, B, or C, then two of the three functions must be discarded.

budget cuts (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521567)

Damn. The ISS took yet another hit, and more NASA engineers who love their jobs will be told to leave. The article makes these panel members sound inscrutable, but who knows what kind of backseat politicking is going on here? Finance and law seem to be tearing engineering apart.

Since when does science take a backseat to finance? Welcome to the federal hegemony of America, where culpable deniability and reactionary motivation rule the day. This is the same kind of stuff that makes American engineers cry: when Goldin parachutes matter more than scientific progress. It makes me want to resign my own piece of scholarly hide to some country that is friendlier to engineers and hard scientists.

Unfortunately, the "American way" is being imposed almost everywhere, and many countries are pervaded with an overarching sense of responsibilty to itemize their science into the ground. Just where does NASA think this will take them? More importantly, why in the hell is Johnny Lunchpail equating NASA cuts with more money in his pocket?

Re:budget cuts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521604)

by gawd, if your comment does not get modded up, there is no damn sense nor reason left... oh, but wait... i forgot this is /.

Budget Black Hole (3, Insightful)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521901)

As reported in the Observer over the weekend, NASA has budgetary problems not being well reported state side. You can read about it in full here:

http://www.observer.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4291653,00. html [observer.co.uk]

Paraphrasing here, "the agency's main hopes lie with persuading Congress to bail it out. It is estimated it needs 8 billion dollars to fulfill its commitments and to cover a 5 billion dollar debt, a vastly improbable sum given that America is on a war footing and has priorities far removed from space travel. Instead, a desperate slashing back of costs and missions seems the agency's likely future."

Not a pretty picture at all.

Geeks in the High Frontier (1)

reinterpret_cast (534281) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521573)

Hmmm, if they cancel, or even worse they cut down the project budget I am afraid there will never be job opportunities for geeks up there... sigh!

Space program relavency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521574)

Honestly, I just don't see the relavency of the space program in this day and age. I mean these people have the gall to call for more money to spend on the space station when our country is in the midst of a war, not to mention a recession. Do you really think that all the brave Americans that died in the September 11th attacks would want to be remembered as paving the way for some weird space program? I'm not saying that NASA is bad or that we shouldn't continue to explore outside our planet, but I don't think this is the correct time to be worrying about more funding. We need to concentrate on keeping our citizens safe, and most importantly bringing our boys home from Afghanistan and bringing Bin Laden to justice.

Relevancy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521592)

Honestly, I just don't see the relavency of the space program in this day and age.

Construction.

We need to concentrate on keeping our citizens safe, and most importantly bringing our boys home from Afghanistan and bringing Bin Laden to justice.

Destruction.

Re:Space program relavency (4, Insightful)

itzdandy (183397) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521607)

first of all, the people that died on sept 11 were unfortunate americans, and im a patriot and all but that does not qualify them as brave(with exception of the firefighters,etc).

second, if we abandon everything so that we can go after one guy(this was implied in the previous comment) then we are a very sad country.

the space program does a whole lot more for us than "waste money"

Many usefull things have come out of NASA, most importantly knowledge.

the 120 some million americans can do a whole lot more than just focus on terror. We have to keep moving and developing, as in keep programs like NASA running. The space station also gives us a certain respect from other nations and people, they know that only america can do stuff like this.

not to mention that you are an anonymous coward!

AND, not that im defending him, but Bin Laden has not been proven of the sept11 attack, he is just a major terrorist and the first target of many, dont use this one man to focus everything bad you knoww on, focus on the terrorism itself. anything else would be mob justice which is not justice at all.

YHBT (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521617)

Man, you just got trolled up the ass with a chainsaw.

Re:YHBT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521620)

Man, you just got the WHO FUCKING CARES award. Congrats. Now go away and eat shit and die. Thanks.

Re:YHBT (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521631)

*bends over*
You like it, bitch.

Re:YHBT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521637)

Oh, so you're everyone's bitch now? You bend over for anyone? Wow... You know, you can get some nasty diseases these days... Likely that does not matter to someone at your depraved station in life? Heh heh. Fool. You're amusing, but only in a pathetic way.

Re:YHBT (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521652)

Waaaahh, someone who doesn't even have the balls to log in is trying to hurt my feelings.
Away with you child. It's past your bedtime.

Re:YHBT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521660)

Hoo ha... the last resort of a truly dimwitted chump: a lame-assed dismissal from one who does not know his betters. Troglodyte!

Re:YHBT (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521668)

Isn't that exactly what you're doing now?
I'd say you're the only chump here.

Re:YHBT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521679)

You WOULD say that... I knew you would. Your mind is known better by me than by your own self. And it takes but a few nanoseconds to crunch it, not much data in that file.

Re:YHBT (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521706)

"Your mind is known better by me than by your own self"

Yep, I'll just let you keep thinking that. If it makes you feel smart.
Then again, how do you figure? Because of a few late night posts made out of boredom and a lust for childish mischief?
You should know better than to make broad generalizations based on a few posts made in a forum.
BzzZZzzT! I'm afraid you lose this one.
But hey, if it makes you feel better, I'll tell the guys you give good head. ;)

PS. (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521719)

P.S. - We'll argue about this later. ;)
Time for work.

And yes, you knew I would say that so I could back out of the argument, yadda yadda yadda.
Nice try, but no dice.

Re:Space program relavency (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521627)

first of all, the people that died on sept 11 were unfortunate americans, and im a patriot and all but that does not qualify them as brave(with exception of the firefighters,etc).

Actually it's now looking as though Americans were the largest minority (mid 40's percent) of the people killed.

the space program does a whole lot more for us than "waste money"

Anyway if you want an example of a money wasting exercise there are far better examples.

Re:Space program relevancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521618)

I don't suppose you've ever heard of "spin-offs", eh, Sparky? Like most of the tech you are using in your everyday life just *POOF* appeared one day from thin air? Well, perhaps it did spring from thin air, the air is mighty thin in outer space. Meaning, you dim bulb, that the space exploration efforts have spawned so much of the tech that we use everyday and hardly even notice... Luddite!

About Time! (5, Insightful)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521575)

I'm tired of the $2 billion/year ego project that the ISS is. I'd go back to really good 100 million buck science projects, and fund 20 of em a year, or 5 bigger and 12 smaller ones. I suspect a few scientists would agree. And that's basically what the report comes down to. No good science looks like it'll be getting done any time soon.

People forget that it takes foundational science to do sexy science, and there are TONS of really worthy and interesting projects that get sidelined by sex appeal.

Even the dreamers should realize that ISS does much less to get folks on mars for example than real good focused R&D here on earth. NASA has a horrendous record in cost control, timeline estimates, and it is about time they paid the price. Redirect all that money to folks who'll use it well untill NASA get's its house back in order.

Man on mars (one way trip to start) is definatly cool, but let's take a pause to do some real science for a while, say 5 years, then see where we are.

Sure, this'll get modded down by all the NASA lovers but all these blind science geeks need to realize something. Unless you allow stuff to fail you never will evolve. Basic evolution in action.

That's something the miliary for example, which refuses to admit huge procurment mistakes time and again, has never has got. They can't admit a mistake and end up chasing down dumb roads to the tunes of billions.

Re:About Time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521630)

There is great deal of 'Real Science' that is very necessary for a personed flight to Mars that can only be done in orbit. For example, the effects of extented periods in low gravity on the human body have been well documented. How best to overcome those effects has not yet been determined. The experiments needed to test potential methods of over coming the effects of long periods in low gravity can not be conducted on Earth. Similar questions must be answered to safely conduct a personed mission to Mars, and many of them can not be answered with out going into orbit for extended periods of time. Thats requiers a Space Station.

Re:About Time! (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521639)

I'm tired of the $2 billion/year ego project that the ISS is.

The goal for ISS is to "conduct the most balanced, efficient, and effective space program". Moreover, it provides unprecendented breakthroughs in research. I think the price tag is worth it.

Others: For more info, read here:

Re:About Time! (5, Insightful)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521687)

Point me to these research breakthroughs.

"The station program is expected to cost about $25 billion to develop and build"

If you gave me that kind of money I could come up with some research breakthroughs of my own. Realize that even on the scale of large science, and not sure how large a level you work on, that is some SERIOUS money.

And including shuttle costs this stuff approaches $100 billion.

Christ, pick up any science news letter and you'll see folks getting much larger bang for the bug across science, including astronomy and space research.

The articles you linked to undermine you point, include higher cost numbers, and repeat the question of the quality of science that will be done on the ISS going forward.

Re:About Time! (3, Offtopic)

John Zero (3370) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521705)

How about that "other" project, called military, getting $260 billion/year?
Now, that's a real ego project.

The ISS is built by several nations.

Re:About Time! (3, Insightful)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521750)

Good point. They too have trouble in procurment as well, because they too refuse to:

A) Admit mistakes and let projects fail which means they run a risk of wasted money

B) Have a monopoly on their area.

Neither of these things needs to be true of the space program.

Re:About Time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521724)

Man on mars (one way trip to start) is definatly cool, but let's take a pause to do some real science for a while, say 5 years, then see where we are.

"One way trip to start"???

I think we'd have trouble getting astronauts to volunteer. Or did you have someone specific in mind?

Re:About Time! (2)

FTL (112112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521870)

> "One way trip to start"???

> I think we'd have trouble getting astronauts to
> volunteer. Or did you have someone specific in mind?

As long as "one way" != "suicide", I would jump at the opportunity to go to Mars. And I'm not alone.

Yes, I completely agree that when we go to Mars, we should go to stay. Planting a flag then leaving doesn't seem productive.

Re:About Time! (2)

G-funk (22712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521888)

SHOTGUN!

Even if there's no garuntee I'm gonna make it more than 3 weeks on the surface of mars, pack me up and ship me off... The missus will understand.

Re:About Time! (1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521754)

I couldn't agree more. I view NASA's budget overruns not as mere incompetency, but as willful theft. They're stealing from the future, both directly by "pre-spending" and indirectly by sending the message that space is a money pit.

The solution? Give NASA 5 years worth of funding and all their current assets ($10,000 hammers and all), and wish them good luck as a private company.

Re:About Time! (2, Insightful)

Chocky2 (99588) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521892)

I'll start off by saying that, unfortunately, we shouldn't be thinking of initiating a manned mars program for at least 20-30 years. However, having said that...

ISS, or a similar facility, will be necessary before any manned Mars mission for a number of reasons, not least of which is that we still don't have much good information on the long term effects of microgravity on people, and the information we do have is from scenarios which wouldn't map accurately onto a manned mars mission (particularly, the mission astronauts would be subjected to months of microgravity either side of high-g during orbit/surface/orbit transfer, and this we don't have good models for).

Some science needs to be done in low/micro-g, and in these cases the return on the investment for the ISS will be very high, primarily because of it's reuseability and the fact that much of the equipment will only need hauling up there once rather than carrying it up on every shuttle flight as happens now when micro-g experiments need performing.

That said, there is critical underfunding in a wide number of un-cool areas of science, and the scientific infrastructure is starting to suffer as post-docs leave academe for business and undergrads have little reason to stay on for a PhD in, say, physics, when starting salaries in industry are, even during recession, treble what they'll get in a university as a doctoral student. If these issues aren't addressed soon, then in 10-15 years time we won't have the scientific infrastructure necessary for advanced projects - we need to do un-cool science now in order to do cool science in 10 years time.

no money for science (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521576)

but the fucks can attack afghanistan and get to
show off their 1337 equipment.

Re:no money for science (1)

KiDSSHoW (113971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521715)

nasa isn't army...
military forces are much more usefull to Bush

Budgetary woes, cuts? (4, Insightful)

Soft (266615) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521578)


Bush never cut the space station's budget... His administration simply agreed on the already-planned funding, but told NASA they wouldn't get a single buck more than that. Aren't they already several tens of billions over budget? (If I'm not mistaken, the planned cost was about $40billion and the current estimates are more like 80...)


And now they say they can't make it, due to an absolute failure to track costs. Giving them more money is encouraging them to soak more of it into their virtual monopoly on spaceflight. That said, not completing the space station is a violation of the US' international commitments.


How about calling for bids and letting a private company complete program? Preferably a small one - not Boeing and the likes, they're already the ones running the show...

Re:Budgetary woes, cuts? (2)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521690)

Excellent excellent point.
If you don't allow things to fail you don't evolve, and the costs NASA is ringing up are staggering.

The amount of good science not getting done because of this is tragic.

Re:Budgetary woes, cuts? (1)

KiDSSHoW (113971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521720)

it's sad to see science progress interrupted/slowed down by a human-created ""science"".

Get full report here (3, Informative)

m_evanchik (398143) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521589)

As usual the really good stuff is in the appendix, which is available here:
ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/reports/2001/imce_ ap pdx.pdf

What cutbacks? (3, Informative)

wronkiew (529338) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521593)

The report detailed a plan to maximize the research capability of the station while keeping down costs. So far NASA has not shown the ability to hold down total program costs. This report addresses that in a way that does not endanger the construction of the station. "Core complete" is not the intended final configuration. It is proposed as a milestone. When NASA demonstrates competency at managing project costs, they get more toys, and a station crew of seven.

The idea of using visiting crews to supplement the station crew is brilliant. I only hope that NASA takes this advice seriously.

The report also made the point that cutting more hardware will do little to reduce the cost. The proposed solution is to cut support personnel, which of course NASA will fight tooth and nail.

The first cuts will include... (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521603)

...tossing those Commie Russian bastards out the nearest air lock.Air isn't cheap, you know!

Re:The first cuts will include... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521629)

Man, you just won the dumbshit of the fucking millenium award!

Re:The first cuts will include... (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521641)

Hmmm, you again. Can't you take a hint?
You argue like a fucking Mac user.
Now go and play with your shiny metal things.

Re:The first cuts will include... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521672)

LOL!!! ROTFLMAO!!! Took you long enough to notice and respond, SpeedRacer.

Re:The first cuts will include... (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521689)

Vroom vroom!

It may just be me but.... (3, Insightful)

Heph_Smith (513724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521605)

I am highly interested in progress in space. I want to see many more things happen before I die. I am all for any way to increase the amount of funding that advances space sciences.

Although nasa may not be the best place to put all that money in its current state, that does not mean we should just cut the funding for space projects.

To say that we are at war or that there are more important ways to spend money is short sighted and a narrow view of the benefits of this science.

Re:It may just be me but.... (2)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521698)

What benefits? To say there are better ways to spend the money makes total sense. And there are, but it is folks like you who probably have never been in a lab that only pay attention to the sexy projects such as ISS and have no idea what REAL science is getting done.

Re:It may just be me but.... (2, Informative)

Heph_Smith (513724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521709)

Well, "folks" like me understand that just because its not labeled "NASA" that it can come from technology developed in space programs. I will not cut and paste tons of data that can be easily found elsewhere to people who look, but you can take a look at this url to educate yourself:
http://www.seds.org/technology/index.shtml
I'm sure you can find many more examples.

So in other words, if you "pay attention to" more than just ISS (its sexy? phallic maybe....) you will see my point.

btw, you sure got a mod point quick after posting.

Re:It may just be me but.... (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521746)

'Folks' like me understand that we are talking about the ISS here and would appreciate it if you avoided trying to confuse the issue by posting links to stuff the report didn't even cover.

PLEASE PLEASE read the links you have been posting before including them in your messages. They often have no bearing or contradict what you are trying to say.

Please free to post 2 examples that are worth even $1 billion each that are from the ISS (out of a total $100 billion). The fact is, better science can be done for the money.

Re:It may just be me but.... (1)

Heph_Smith (513724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521771)

"Although nasa may not be the best place to put all that money in its current state, that does not mean we should just cut the funding for space projects."

I was originally talking about the idea that money should not be spent on space projects and how it would be a bad thing. Many people come to this conclusion and I see it as a problem. So we were not just talking about the ISS.

I would find it possible that the ISS (also being a platform for research) that is still in progress has yet to produce a 'spin-off' from the research. Do I think that nothing positive has been learned from the work so far or that nothing will ever come out of it in the future to be worth it? Hardly.

btw, how can one posted url (defending my true position actualy) mean that the links I post _often_ have no breaing or contradict what I say? Lets not flame here, thats no way to learn.

Re:It may just be me but.... (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521816)

No one doubts that SOMETHING will come of the ISS, they will spend $100 billion after all. But few doubt that they couldn't have found better ways to spend $100 billion that would have resulted in better and more science, and more "spin-offs" you like.

Re:It may just be me but.... (2, Insightful)

Heph_Smith (513724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521829)

Predicting the future success of the ISS and comparing it to the predicted future of other unknown projects is a sketchy way to argue against the ISS. That only comes with hindsight, something we don?t have.

Re:It may just be me but.... (1)

KiDSSHoW (113971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521700)

i'd guess we'll see more and more space projects financed by venture capitalists in the near future. the government may give less, diff. priorities (like war against terror (if u look at cia's own definition of the word terror, u might have to consider the essence of the american international affairs as being t...)), but space exploration won't die. well imho...

Re:It may just be me but.... (1)

Heph_Smith (513724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521714)

I'm unsure of how much government funded groundbreaking will be required before the venture capitalists pick up the ball and make it the next financial boom. Hopefully it will be enough to make that happen before things slow down too much. Its just too bad that nasa has so far discouraged commercial funding like the Russians have embraced. Hopefully that act has not slowed the process to the future we both see.

Budget Cut?... 3 words: (-1, Offtopic)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521616)

Estes, Model, Rockets.

NASA hasn't enough, so give even less (5, Insightful)

Inez{R} (144441) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521653)

There is something in this analysis that strikes me as odd.
1) Apparently, the NASA did not have enough money these last years, and solved this by pushing costs to the future.
2) The solution suggested for this problem is giving them even less money. Strange.
If you look at item 1, you would think that giving them *more* money, or more time on the current budget, would be a logical solution. At least, give them the same amount as before and allow for some time to reorganize their management.

Of course, budgetting is a real world issue, so just doing the logical thing is not always feasible. Spending for ISS has been going down for some time, even before the current maybe-recession and the attacks on Afghanistan. But even though wars costs lots of money, a wise government would not stop spending money on all research. Imagine when they would have said in WWII "we're at war, we don't have time for this research on atoms". The outcome could have been way different from what it was.
And on a side note, wouldn't you be giving the terrorists more credit than they're due? They are already disrupting normal life, which is surely one of their targets.

Inez{R}.

Re:NASA hasn't enough, so give even less (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521695)

Um... Informative?

How about they spend the money on research that is usefull? No one is argueing about cutting research, but it is idiots like you that equate the ISS with the only research going on. That money could be better spent elsewhere, and anyone paying attention knows that.

And please stop trying to yank the terrorists into this.

standardize on hexadecimal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521657)

nuff said.

Happy to some extent (1)

BravoXL (248870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521662)

I'm glad that they at least brought all these issues to attention. I have been really disapointed in the lack of activity and intrest in our space program over the past few years. I hope this will at least be the start of some change.

Geekizoid (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521692)

What's happened to Geekizoid.com? Where do all the trolls congregate now?

Space is important (2, Insightful)

John Zero (3370) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521702)

If humanity wants to survive, we must get off the Earth.
And that certainly starts with small steps, like the ISS.

But, hell, we can't even take that small step :-(

Re:Space is important (1)

KiDSSHoW (113971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521730)

survive to which immediate menace ? self-destruction?

the faster we'll get into space, the faster we'll develop space weapons to kill ourselves with...

shouldn't we learn how to live, how to respect what's around us so we don't have to simply survive...?

NASA should auction the station (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521704)

Then the US government should break up NASA. NASA is now a great big lead weight on the progress of space flight. Ever since the "low cost" shuttle was created.

They don't like euphemisms (2, Insightful)

Ozan (176854) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521712)

In the appendix [nasa.gov] , which is much more interesting, it says on page 21:

Some of the assumptions behind the selected 1993 Space Station "Alpha" design and cost estimate of $17.4B now appear to be ridiculously optimistic.

The space flight software would total 500,000 source lines of code (SLOC).

It is now projected three times as high, tripleing the costs. And this is only to speak of the software onboard, the whole project software has 4M source lines it says later. Why do I think that in the majority of cases the software costs is the part which is underestimated mostly? Shouldn't they have learned from the Ariane V disaster [eiffel.com] ?

Anal Retentive Engineering - New Scientist (5, Informative)

geoffwa (42720) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521747)

A little while back New Scientist, 14th July 2001, had a great article on all the little engineering hickups that were plaguing the ISS.

Props go to New Scientist for excellent journalism, and me for subsequently stealing it (subliminal message: subscribe! subscribe!)

Problems with the space station are: <riff>
  • Incompatible electrical supplies between the Russian and American modules
  • Russian and American water supplies cannot be mixed. Russians used silver ions to preserve water, Americans use iodine, mix and you get silver iodide which clogs any/all filters/valves.
  • The crew couldn't get to an air-circulation fan to fix it due to a large piece of "substrucutre". Out comes the impact driver... which solves the problem... sort of.
  • Lack of tools. Stuff like vice grips are being used to hold together temporary odds and ends as well as tightening and loosening things.
  • "Crew Squawk" program, designed to report when systems aren't working, isn't working. =(
  • 3-page procedure for putting a maintenance panel back on is on the back side of said maintenance panel.
Other problems have been:
  • Crew are using hair shampoo for all personal hygene, since it's hard to grip bar soap in weightlessness. Supply issues resulted since NASA wouldn't send more shampoo.
  • Velcro strips are also food traps, very difficult to clean.
  • The US-made Kapton tape has been abandoned in favour of the Russian "gray" tape, which upsets the ground control crew because it leaves a residue.
  • The station's inventory manglement system both doesn't function, and doesn't work. Several hours a day is wasted chasing down equipment.
  • Printer for said inventory manglement system fails on a regular basis.

    Fortunately most of these problems have been ironed out. The whole thing reads like a Dilbert cartoon. Just goes to show that money doesn't solve everything. Said article appeared in the July 14 edition of New Scientist and was written by James Oberg.

    Best quote is from ex-ISS Commander Bill Shepherd:
    "We need to get a handle on the anal-retentive engineering approach to everything."
    Fortunately the crew left the station on the 18th of March.

    (PS - subscribe to New Scientist - the Women's Weekly for geeks(TM))

I think the ISS is a waste of money (2)

mj6798 (514047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521757)

I don't see much purpose to the ISS. We should concentrate on robotic missions for now: they yield much more information per dollar spent. NASA seemed to think so as well; the ISS seems to have mostly been pushed through for political reasons, not for scientific ones. (Of course, I still prefer the ISS to bombs, but that's another matter.)

Re:I think the ISS is a waste of money (3, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521826)

You're exactly right: the ISS was dreamed up in a time when NASA thought "private industry" would find all sorts of things to do in space, so they would fork over money and have it done in their station.

By the time everyone figured out there was basically nothing of scientific value that needed the whole space station, NASA was already committed. What they should have done is said "oops, actually could we just please have all the space station money and use it for something else?" -- but that's understandably hard to do, because it would make them look incompetent. What they went with insted is the "let's cook up some thin stories to justify this monstrosity; they only need to be good enough to fool some senators."

It kills me that we have already spent enough NASA money on this to fund the Pathfinder mission 200+ times over. That's when NASA was at their best (in science, bargain-hunting and self-promotion).

The space station is now operational, but we don't hear anything about it because nothing is happening there. And there won't be, even when all the parts are attached! Sure, they'll act like all kinds of neato science things need the space station, but for any experiment they do, ask yourself whether the same thing could have been done in an independently-launched, self-contained experimental satelite, which would have been much cheaper. Most things, like growing crystals and perfect vaccuum research, will require independent satellites anyway, because of the vibration caused by motors and centrifuges on the ISS, and because the ISS will inevitably leak a little bit, so it will be surrounded by a cloud of gas. Any studies on physiological effects of weightlessness would just duplicate what was done on the MIR... and let's see... what else was there supposed to be?

My first reaction to the ISS is that though it's useless, it's still cool, just because it's a SPACE STATION, and I always hoped we'd have a nice one. But it's not innocent like that: Not only does the ISS draw money from much more interesting and budget-constrained experiments; it also makes NASA look like bumbling fools when in 2005 a panel concludes (correctly) that we basically didn't learn anything on the ISS that experiments costing 1/10 as much could have told us. In the next budget, NASA's funding request will get lauged at. NASA's epitaph will curse the ISS, and that's why it sucks.

Re:I think the ISS is a waste of money (4, Interesting)

BDew (202321) | more than 12 years ago | (#2522000)

The essential point you and many of the other posters this morning have missed is that the NASA budget is not a zero sum game, for two reasons:

1) The Space Station budget is ENTIRELY divorced from that of the Office of Space Science and the Office of Earth Science. Congress decreed that NASA had to fix ISS within the confines of the ISS program budget, and NASA has been doing that.

2) (this is the big one) Money not spent on Station WOULD NOT BE SPENT BY NASA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congressional budgeting doesn't work like this. NASA fights with the Veterans Administration, EPA, and HUD for its dollars, so money not being sunk in the ISS hole would just as likely be sunk in the VA Hospital hole as go to NASA Science.

The trap in robotic missions is that they are then all you will ever get. NASA Does quite a few robotic missions, and most of them work. Try this link: http://spacescience.nasa.gov/missions/index.htm for the comprehensive list. Many scientists would be happy to just use robots forever, but NASA's mandate is broader than that.

NASA made an immense mistake in trying to sell ISS as a Science platform. It's true that, as originally designed, it would have been good for that. In truth, though, ISS is a massive engineering and design project. It is MUCH more complicated than a glorified Mir station. Nearly all of the work done on ISS has been groundbreaking in space engineering, and the knowledge generated is necessary to move the manned program forward.

Re:I think the ISS is a waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2522001)

The mission of NASA should be to boldly go where no man has gone before. Science will take care of itself along the way. The ISS is a waste.

-- 19570506

Well done, slashdotters (1)

FrankBough (173822) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521793)

Of course the budget's overrun. No-one ever got a budget approved by being honest about it. The only really unbelieveable thing about budget overruns is that people get surprised by them.

However, we have proven here that all is not lost. If we combine all the suggestions here presented we have a viable solution:

Save Money
Use the ISS to drop a few bombs every time it passes over Afghanistan (or Kosovo, or wherever happens to be a problem). Save $200million in B52 fuel.

Make Money
There must be several more multi-millionaires who would pay for the privilege of a trip into space. Let's say 100 millionaires paying $100m each - that's $10billion. Not to mention the ones who would pay to drop bombs.

Combine the two, and a couple of advertisement hoardings on the back of the solar panels and you're in credit by quite a bit. Put half of that into non-sexy research on earth, and the rest can keep the station running.

NASA (0, Troll)

Danielle Gatton (534290) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521795)

It's sickening to me that we spend as much on NASA as we do. Around the world, people starve and die of diseases that would be cured by a quick trip to an American doctor. Yet we continue to pour billions of dollars into fruitless, pointless, space exploration, dollars that could be used for very real good here on Earth.

NASA long ago finished serving its purpose as a national cheerleading institution. We haven't done anything of significance in space since the moon landings, and we won't in the near future, either. The only way to "save" NASA is to let it die a much-needed death. Commercial interests will eventually take over and put money into doing meaningful space exploration: exploration with a goal beyond "because it's there".

Re:NASA (2)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2522016)

Worse than that. Think about how much money the US spends every year bombing the people you just spoke of. You know, like the ones in a certain Af.... country.

Better Idea (-1, Offtopic)

redcliffe (466773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521799)

Swap the money that the military gets with the money that NASA gets. So NASA would get what the current military budget is, and the military would get what NASA currently gets. This would fix numerous problems. Firstly man would be on Mars within a decade and cheap access to space would be realised. Secondly, the USA wouldn't be a superpower so there would be no reason for anyone to attack them.

A win-win situation. Simple.

Re:Better Idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521853)

You sir, are a moron.

No matter how much funding you throw at the issue, man will NOT "be on Mars within a decade."

As to this leading to the USA no longer being a target, sir, or should I say, boy, have you visited a place called "reality" lately? I will not waste my breath further; that you managed to navigate to a website, and yet still do not see the absurdity of your statements says to us all that you are a lost cause.

The ISS isn't about science... (2, Interesting)

isaac (2852) | more than 12 years ago | (#2521864)

I agree the ISS is a collossal waste of money, but those who think the main purpose of the ISS was ever scientific are pretty naive. The point of the ISS is to keep the Russian rocket/space industry afloat, thus keeping their scientists and engineers employed in peaceful pursuits instead of working for the missile programs of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Pakistan, India, etc. etc.

-Isaac

Re:The ISS isn't about science... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2521882)

So give them all green cards and save the billions of dollars wasted every year on the Great White Orbiting Elephant.
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