Author Topic: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request  (Read 75947 times)

Online yg1968

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #340 on: 05/08/2017 11:50 PM »
Here is what the House and Senate Reports says about nuclear thermal propulsion:

Quote from: page 61 of the House Report
Nuclear thermal propulsion technology.—The recommendation includes no less than $35,000,000 for nuclear propulsion technologies for space transportation and exploration. NASA shall provide a report to the Committee within 180 days of enactment of this Act on ongoing nuclear propulsion research, how NASA intends to employ this technology to support various exploration programs, and a comparison of nuclear propulsion and use to other forms of propulsion, in terms of speed and ease of construction.

Quote from: page 105 of the Senate Report
Nuclear Propulsion.—NASA is continuing its work to develop the foundational technologies and advance low enriched uranium nuclear thermal propulsion systems that can provide significantly faster trip times for crewed missions than non-nuclear options. The Committee provides $28,900,000 above the request for ongoing nuclear thermal propulsion technologies for space transportation and exploration. NASA shall update its report to the Committee within 180 days of enactment of this act on ongoing nuclear thermal propulsion research and how the research into this technology supports NASA’s exploration programs
« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 12:11 AM by yg1968 »

Online yg1968

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #341 on: 05/09/2017 12:07 AM »
There is also wording related to inter-stellar propulsion research in the House Report:

Quote from: Marcia Smith
Rep Culberson uses part of his 2 min on H flr to spprt approps bill to say NASA will develop interstellar prop for the 2069 mission he wants

https://twitter.com/SpcPlcyOnline/status/859850137711108096

Quote from: page 61 of the House Report
Interstellar propulsion research.—Current NASA propulsion investments include advancements in chemical, solar electric, and nuclear thermal propulsion. However, even in their ultimate theoretically achievable implementations, none of these could approach cruise velocities of one-tenth the speed of light (0.1c), nor could any other fission-based approach (including nuclear electric or pulsed fission). The Committee encourages NASA to study and develop propulsion concepts that could enable an interstellar scientific probe with the capability of achieving a cruise velocity of 0.1c. These efforts shall be centered on enabling such a mission to Alpha Centauri, which can be launched by the one-hundredth anniversary, 2069, of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Propulsion concepts may include, but are not limited to fusion-based implementations (including antimatter-catalyzed fusion and the Bussard interstellar ramjet); matter-antimatter annihilation reactions; multiple forms of beamed energy approaches; and immense ‘sails’ that intercept solar photons or the solar wind. At the present time, none of these are beyond technology readiness level (TRL) 1 or 2. The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program is currently funding concept studies of directed energy propulsion for wafer-sized spacecraft that in principle could achieve velocities exceeding 0.1c and an electric sail that intercepts solar wind protons. Over the past few years NIAC has also funded mission-level concept studies of two fusion based propulsion concepts. Therefore, within one year of enactment of this Act, NASA shall submit an interstellar propulsion technology assessment report with a draft conceptual roadmap, which may include an overview of potential advance propulsion concepts for such an interstellar mission, including technical challenges, technology readiness level assessments, risks, and potential nearterm milestones and funding requirements.

« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 12:18 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #342 on: 09/26/2017 09:34 PM »
Assuming that the signing of the authorization constitutes enactment (maybe one of our inside-the-Beltway experts can correct me if I've got that wrong), the due dates for various reports required by the authorization now crystallize:

Citation in Authorization ActDeadlinePreparerContent
Subsec. 421(e)20 MayNASAOn Orion to ISS without SLS
Subsec. 421(h)17 SeptemberNASA, DoD & DNI"Utilization Report" on uses of 130-ton SLS for cargo
Subsec. 434(c)17 SeptemberNASAReport on Asteroid Redirect Mission, including cheaper alternatives
Sec. 43517 SeptemberIndependent NGOMars 2033 report on an SLS-based Mars mission (presumably not to the surface), with budget profile
Subsec. 435(d)16 NovemberNASA Advisory CouncilAssessment whether Mars 2033 "is in the strategic interests of the United States in space exploration."
Subsec. 432(b)Before 1 Dec. 2017, then biannually or more frequently, with budget submissionNASA"Human Exploration Roadmap"
Para. 303(c)(2)1 Dec. 2017, then annually though 2023NASAISS's future and role in human deep-space exploration

Thanks to brickmack, we have saw the Subsection 421(e) report that was do in May.

Three more reports have presumably just been completed, the obviously the one on ARRM is moot.  Anybody have any idea how to track down the SLS cargo utilization report or the Mars 2033 report?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #343 on: 10/10/2017 08:45 PM »
This seemed like it was more budget related than SLS or Moon related, since without the money it doesn't matter what the hardware or destination is:

If Mike Pence wants to send NASA back to the Moon, he has to find funds - The Verge

Key quote:

Quote
If there are no changes to funding, then this latest promise will be just another presidential spaceflight decree that never truly materializes. But if Pence really does want NASA to set up humans on the Moon, his administration and Congress will need more than words: they’ll need cash.

What I've been pointing out is that so far the SLS and Orion have been funded for development, but Congress has not fully funded any missions or payloads for them to support. Which is analogous to driving a car with your hands off the steering wheel as a curve in the road is coming - will Congress provide the funding/guidance in time before it's apparent that the SLS and Orion have nothing to support?

And as always, it doesn't matter what politicians say, it only matters what legislation they can get passed.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #344 on: 10/11/2017 04:04 PM »
What I've been pointing out is that so far the SLS and Orion have been funded for development, but Congress has not fully funded any missions or payloads for them to support.

You have that backwards. Congress cannot create the space policy for NASA, nor can it create programs out of whole cloth. It can create the policy framework for them to work in, but the actual initiatives and directives and programs and goals have to come from the executive branch. They did that with the authorization bills over the years. Obama never wanted SLS and Orion, but was forced to continue them by Congress (after the administration totally botched their cancellation). Since the administration had a rocket and a spacecraft it never supported, they sure as hell were not going to give them a destination (and payload). ARRM was never a goal or a payload, it was created as an illusion so that the administration could claim that it was doing something in human spaceflight, while never really supporting or paying for it.

Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #345 on: 10/11/2017 04:51 PM »
Congress cannot create the space policy for NASA, nor can it create programs out of whole cloth.

I get that's how it usually and probably should work, but why is it fundamentally impossible for Congress to create policy?  The House space subcommittee has at times mumbled about wanting a "roadmap" from NASA to get to Mars.  Why would it be impossible for Congress to write into law that NASA must produce a roadmap for, say, returning people to the moon and then, once it's produced, writing into law a requirement that NASA follow that roadmap?

EDIT:  "at time" -> "at times" in second sentence.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2017 01:59 PM by Proponent »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #346 on: 10/11/2017 05:41 PM »
Congress cannot create the space policy for NASA, nor can it create programs out of whole cloth.

I get that's how it usually and probably should work, but why is it fundamentally impossible for Congress to create policy?  The House space subcommittee has at time mumbled about wanting a "roadmap" from NASA to get to Mars.  Why would it be impossible for Congress to write into law that NASA must produce a roadmap for, say, returning people to the moon and then, once it's produced, writing into law a requirement that NASA follow that roadmap?

There's a much more complicated back-and-forth that goes on with all this stuff. Think of it as a big game of chicken: Congress (and when we say "Congress" we are not talking about Congress as a single point entity but a collection of various interests which are traded off of each other constantly) may want something, but they need at least some cooperation from the executive branch in order to get it. So they will pass a bill, but if the executive resists, then the issue gets dragged out, things move slowly, and lots of money gets wasted. So then Congress--a year or more later--will have to pass another bill (which could get vetoed, of course) pushing even more. The executive branch could continue to slow-roll it, drag it out, not implement it properly, etc.

The only thing you guys on this site really care about or write about is the human spaceflight stuff, but this kind of thing happens a lot throughout the space program (and of course it happens in lots of other areas of government as well). Two other examples that I am personally aware of (and have been involved in to some extent) are the mandated requirement for detecting potentially hazardous asteroids (look up the George E Brown amendment) and the Europa mission. In both cases Congress (or really, a few members of Congress) wanted something that the executive branch did not want. In the former, Congress still hasn't gotten its way, whereas in the latter, it is getting its way, but wasted some money while doing so.

So if members of Congress want something to happen and the executive branch resists, it can drag out a long time, many years, wasting a lot of money, and the question then becomes which side blinks first. Often the goal is to keep pushing your agenda and waiting for an election to eliminate the people you disagree with.

Now look at SLS/Orion in that light--what the proponents did was they kept pushing the rocket and spacecraft, keeping it alive, waiting for a new president to come along who would agree with their goals.

That's politics in a democracy.

Online yg1968

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #347 on: 10/11/2017 06:26 PM »
What I've been pointing out is that so far the SLS and Orion have been funded for development, but Congress has not fully funded any missions or payloads for them to support.

You have that backwards. Congress cannot create the space policy for NASA, nor can it create programs out of whole cloth. It can create the policy framework for them to work in, but the actual initiatives and directives and programs and goals have to come from the executive branch. They did that with the authorization bills over the years. Obama never wanted SLS and Orion, but was forced to continue them by Congress (after the administration totally botched their cancellation). Since the administration had a rocket and a spacecraft it never supported, they sure as hell were not going to give them a destination (and payload). ARRM was never a goal or a payload, it was created as an illusion so that the administration could claim that it was doing something in human spaceflight, while never really supporting or paying for it.

I don't think that he has it backwards. Once SLS and Orion are funded, very little is left for anything else. So you end up with ARRM and powerpoints about a Journey to Mars in the 2030s or 2040s.

I am not sure what will happen under the Trump administration. But they have inherited the same problem.  I am hoping that NASA can find a way to fund a commercial Moon lander and habitats. But I am not sure where they will find the money for it. The Verge article explains this issue very well.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2017 06:30 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA FY 2017 Budget Request
« Reply #348 on: 10/11/2017 08:48 PM »
What I've been pointing out is that so far the SLS and Orion have been funded for development, but Congress has not fully funded any missions or payloads for them to support.

You have that backwards. Congress cannot create the space policy for NASA...

Congress, not the executive branch, created the SLS and the Orion, which means by default they are NASA policy. Certainly NASA feels compelled to focus on their use in all HSF proposals, even though "NASA" (who is run by the President) did not ask for them.

Quote
...nor can it create programs out of whole cloth.

As you've already pointed out in another post, yes, Congress can create whatever they want, such as the Europa mission.

Quote
Obama never wanted SLS and Orion, but was forced to continue them by Congress (after the administration totally botched their cancellation). Since the administration had a rocket and a spacecraft it never supported, they sure as hell were not going to give them a destination (and payload). ARRM was never a goal or a payload, it was created as an illusion so that the administration could claim that it was doing something in human spaceflight, while never really supporting or paying for it.

I would advocate that Congress was going to create the SLS and Orion regardless of whatever the Obama administration wanted to do, since the cancellation of the Constellation program in the beginning of a massive recession was politically dangerous for certain politicians.

And we all know that Congress did not have a plan for the SLS or the Orion, they just mandated that they be created. Which mandated NASA to use the SLS and Orion in any future mission plans. That became NASA policy by default.

My main point though is that it doesn't matter whether the SLS or the Orion exist or not, that at this moment in our history there aren't any "National Imperatives" that could be used to drive human exploration beyond what we're doing on the ISS. ISIS is not on the Moon, or North Korea, so that leaves out national security reasons, and "science" is not really a big incentive to spend money - especially for this Republican Congress.

Which is why Congress, who currently owns the SLS and Orion, has not been able to suggest full-fledged uses for the SLS and Orion.

And sure, Pence has said that the Trump administration wants to send humans to the Moon, but we all know that many other administrations have wanted to do ambitious HSF plans but were thwarted when the price tag was unveiled. And since NASA has not allowed the operational costs of the SLS and Orion to be known publicly or to Congress, there is a big sticker shock that could be coming.

This current Congress is far more dysfunctional than just about any other in modern history, so color me skeptical that this Congress will want to increase NASA's budget just to send a bunch of government employees back to the Moon to pick more rocks...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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