Author Topic: President faces a Kennedy decision on space  (Read 13538 times)

Offline daver

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 328
  • South Carolina
  • Liked: 85
  • Likes Given: 831
President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« on: 06/23/2009 09:44 PM »
COMMENTARY
By Jay Barbree   MSNBC

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31496353/

Clip from commentary
  “Must have an astronaut escape system,” one insisted.  “Can’t have another Challenger.”

“Got it,” assured another, pointing to the drawing of a rocket escape tower. “This baby’s computer will boost the living to safety in a microsecond — do it from the moment of ignition.”

“Must fly a low trajectory so the crew can survive anywhere along the way,” offered a third.

“Right. Low profile all the way out.”

“Delta 4 and Atlas 5 can’t do that. Right?”

“Right. Their flight profiles are too high.”

“This has got to be the safest rocket ever flown.” 

“How about 1-in-3,000 odds?”

“Great. The space shuttle is about 1 in 75, right?

“Or less.”

“And Delta 4 and Atlas 5?”

“About a third, if that.”

Offline robertross

  • Canadian Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17795
  • Westphal, Nova Scotia
  • Liked: 461
  • Likes Given: 3845
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #1 on: 06/23/2009 10:22 PM »
Another great source of disinformation...
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Danny Dot

  • Rocket Scientist, NOT Retired
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Houston, Texas
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #2 on: 06/23/2009 10:48 PM »
Another great source of disinformation...

I posted this reply:

I retired from NASA in 2006 as a Crew Survival Engineer.  The comments about the Atlas and Delta flying too high are a myth I fought for two years before I retired.  The only trajectories we, NASA, ever had that were too high were the ones straight out of the user guides at the time.  Within 24 hours of being asked, Lockheed lowered the Atlas trajectory and Boeing lowered the Deltas.  I see my formermanagers at NASA are still using this myth on why they didn't pick the Atlas or Delta.  I don't blame MSNBC for this mis-information.  I blame my former managers.

Danny Deger
Danny Deger

Offline ChrisGebhardt

  • Assistant Managing Editor
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6205
  • ad astra scientia
  • ~1 AU
  • Liked: 4064
  • Likes Given: 514
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #3 on: 06/24/2009 03:09 AM »
Wow. Just read the entire article. Talk about ignoring the facts on Ares I, Delta IV, and Atlas V.

As you said, robertross -- "A great source of disinformation."

I love the fact that you can't make a comment about that article. It's just there as fact.

(insert sigh here)

Offline vt_hokie

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3023
  • Hazlet, NJ
  • Liked: 89
  • Likes Given: 213
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #4 on: 06/24/2009 03:58 AM »
Wow, that's a surprisingly biased opinion piece!  Didn't know Barbree was such an Ares I fan!
« Last Edit: 06/24/2009 04:13 AM by vt_hokie »

Offline mfoster

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 64
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #5 on: 06/24/2009 03:58 AM »
Wow. Just read the entire article. Talk about ignoring the facts on Ares I, Delta IV, and Atlas V.

As you said, robertross -- "A great source of disinformation."

I love the fact that you can't make a comment about that article. It's just there as fact.

(insert sigh here)


To reply go to the end of the story, under discuss story

Offline ChrisGebhardt

  • Assistant Managing Editor
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6205
  • ad astra scientia
  • ~1 AU
  • Liked: 4064
  • Likes Given: 514
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #6 on: 06/24/2009 04:18 AM »
Wow. Just read the entire article. Talk about ignoring the facts on Ares I, Delta IV, and Atlas V.

As you said, robertross -- "A great source of disinformation."

I love the fact that you can't make a comment about that article. It's just there as fact.

(insert sigh here)


To reply go to the end of the story, under discuss story

That doesn't appear for me at all. Hmmm.... apparently my computer hates me. I'll try tomorrow on a different computer.

Offline loomy

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 172
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #7 on: 06/24/2009 06:27 AM »
This article isn't pro-constellation up until the very end.  His point about ula potentially doing everything isn't pro-constellation to me either, it's a valid (but overstated I think) monopoly concern.

Quote
What worries this spaceflight vet is that history might be repeating itself. My nightmares are rerunning the Apollo 1 fire.

The tragedy set America’s space program back for more than a year — time for the White House and Apollo contractor North American Aviation to open their eyes.

They put O’Malley in charge, and the first thing he did was run off the retired colonels and generals and political payoff hires and replaced them with Mercury and Gemini veterans. In 18 months, three astronauts orbited the moon aboard Apollo 8. 

To me that reads like a put-down of the constellation people vs the shuttle people, actually

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9161
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 613
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #8 on: 06/24/2009 12:50 PM »
My take on a  "Kennedy decision" is somewhat more general than this biased MSNBC article.  To me, the President is being asked whether or not we should emphasize HSF beyond flags and footprints.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline William Barton

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3487
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #9 on: 06/24/2009 01:28 PM »
I have to admit, the article seems like alternate history, basically a science fiction story. Nothing that I remember from the time (I was a teenager) or have read since suggests Kennedy was a space visionary of any sort. If anything, he was the opposite, and only cared about finding some way the US could outdo the Soviets and show the world what we could do. My recollection is, one of the seriously considered alternatives to Apollo was "desalinization." If anyone was a visionary in that administration, it was Lyndon Johnson (whose biggest flaw was that he had too many visions, combined with a "Texas ego" not unlike a more recent president).

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17186
  • Liked: 1549
  • Likes Given: 721
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #10 on: 06/24/2009 01:50 PM »
I have to admit, the article seems like alternate history, basically a science fiction story. Nothing that I remember from the time (I was a teenager) or have read since suggests Kennedy was a space visionary of any sort. If anything, he was the opposite, and only cared about finding some way the US could outdo the Soviets and show the world what we could do.
It would fit with the pattern of mythologizing aspects of JFK's administration after he was assassinated.

Offline meiza

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3069
  • Where Be Dragons
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #11 on: 06/24/2009 04:12 PM »
I had to double check I wasn't reading the Onion.
I'm having a laugh here.

Offline rsp1202

  • Elite Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1083
  • 3, 2, 1 . . . Make rocket go now
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #12 on: 06/24/2009 04:29 PM »
As a counter to Barbree's cheerleading, Buzz offers this:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4322647.html
See especially page 2, "Ares 3." I think we've already covered this, but the room needs freshening.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11108
  • Liked: 2568
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #13 on: 06/24/2009 06:23 PM »
It's a very badly-written article with a lot of ridiculous claims.  Generally, a journalist has to be careful when putting things in quotation marks.  They usually imply that someone is being directly quoted.  In this case, he's obviously using them to paraphrase what he _thinks_ happened.  It's a big difference, and rather sloppy.

His assertions about Kennedy are really off-base (Kennedy was no space buff), and he dramatically oversimplifies what happened with Apollo 1.  All of this reads like one of Grampa Simpson's stories about the war--history as it should have happened, as I want to remember it.

But using Buzz Aldrin to refute him is no better.  Buzz has now become a parody of himself.  He's the William Shatner of astronauts.  He just recorded a rap song with a guy who produced a series of adult films and is banned from several countries.  It's just bizarre.

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9161
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 613
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #14 on: 06/24/2009 06:55 PM »
That is really wierd about Buzz Aldrin.  [Edit:  05-30-12 Later thinking.  But hey.  Why can't he make a rap song?  He reaches out to a different audience.]

I agree with Aldrin on the use of liquid fueled rockets.  But I disagree with the notion of abandoning the Moon in preference for Mars.  I don't like the "gap" at all.  We should not be without manned launch capability, period.

And could someone summarize for me why COTS is a bad idea?

I think Aldrin is misguided to think that the Chinese will accept his suggestion to become a team player. 

I know I'm over my head here, but I would suggest an Ares 2+4, where the cargo rocket is bigger than the crew rocket, but the crew rocket could also carry hi-tech cargo.  Maybe someone could gently discuss the ins and outs of Ares 1+5, without too much of a side track.  I don't mean to introduce a new design or , gasp, hijack the thread.

I don't understand why Aldrin thinks landing on Phobos is so important.  And his idea about one-way tickets to Mars...  If I could afford to, there's a couple of people I would buy tickets for!
« Last Edit: 05/30/2012 02:59 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.


Offline William Barton

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3487
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #16 on: 06/24/2009 07:44 PM »
"Its cancellation would set in motion a virtual rejection of the entire culture of NASA and the Huntsville rocketeers." Well, not the ones behind DIRECT, or the ones who presumably like Not-Shuttle-C. Not to mention the ones who might even like EELV. Are Griffen & Co. an "entire culture?" I doubt it.

Offline rsp1202

  • Elite Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1083
  • 3, 2, 1 . . . Make rocket go now
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #17 on: 06/24/2009 07:49 PM »
But using Buzz Aldrin to refute him is no better.  Buzz has now become a parody of himself.  He's the William Shatner of astronauts . . .

Thanks for the update. Buzz is quirky -- who knew? I'm more interested in the technical merits, or lack thereof, of his proposal anyway, or any that counter the original article.

Offline meiza

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3069
  • Where Be Dragons
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #18 on: 06/24/2009 08:26 PM »
Rand Simberg and Clark Lindsey weigh in as well:

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=19924 [scroll to late evening update]

http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=13355

The media is almost totally clueless about NASA and Constellation.
Except this outfit, Nasaspaceflight.com. Keep up the good work, Chris and guys!

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11108
  • Liked: 2568
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #19 on: 06/24/2009 09:20 PM »
Thanks for the update. Buzz is quirky

And not taken seriously.  At this point he's entertainment, not a voice that anybody in power listens to.

Offline Oersted

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 847
  • Liked: 447
  • Likes Given: 264
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #20 on: 06/24/2009 10:05 PM »
Thank God Buzz wasn't the first out of the hatch... I think we are many who have thought that over the years...

Online Patchouli

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4340
  • Liked: 159
  • Likes Given: 282
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #21 on: 06/24/2009 10:24 PM »
This article isn't pro-constellation up until the very end.  His point about ula potentially doing everything isn't pro-constellation to me either, it's a valid (but overstated I think) monopoly concern.

Quote
What worries this spaceflight vet is that history might be repeating itself. My nightmares are rerunning the Apollo 1 fire.

The tragedy set America’s space program back for more than a year — time for the White House and Apollo contractor North American Aviation to open their eyes.

They put O’Malley in charge, and the first thing he did was run off the retired colonels and generals and political payoff hires and replaced them with Mercury and Gemini veterans. In 18 months, three astronauts orbited the moon aboard Apollo 8. 

To me that reads like a put-down of the constellation people vs the shuttle people, actually

Cleaning out most of the CxP management probably is a necessary step in fixing everything.

It might even be possible to replace Orion with vehicles like Dragon and Dreamchaser.

Yes they would require modifications but think of them as Lunar Gemini vs Apollo.
Unlike the 60s the economy is a mess it's the 1970s allover again.
Other options partner with the ESA or JAXA and use the ATV or H2 vehicle as a starting point.
Or license kliper from RSC etc. Soyuz also could be licensed but it's somewhat out dated now.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2009 10:26 PM by Patchouli »

Offline loomy

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 172
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #22 on: 07/02/2009 05:19 AM »
Thanks for the update. Buzz is quirky

And not taken seriously.  At this point he's entertainment, not a voice that anybody in power listens to.

His thing in popular mechanics made perfect sense, more than you can say of most things on the internet, and more than you can say of some real space plans.

These Buzz comments are pretty gutsy of you guys.  I'm pretty sure more people listen to him than you or I.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32003
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 10629
  • Likes Given: 317
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #23 on: 07/02/2009 11:54 AM »

It might even be possible to replace Orion with vehicles like Dragon and Dreamchaser.

Or license kliper from RSC etc. Soyuz also could be licensed but it's somewhat out dated now.

None of the is "possible".  Why do you keep repeating the same nonsense.

Again Kliper doesn't exist, it is a non program.  The Russian's aren't even doing it

Dragon and Dreamchase can't replace Orion.    The requirements are too different

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11108
  • Liked: 2568
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #24 on: 07/02/2009 03:50 PM »
These Buzz comments are pretty gutsy of you guys.  I'm pretty sure more people listen to him than you or I.

Buzz is not influential at space policy.
« Last Edit: 07/04/2009 01:50 AM by Blackstar »

Offline nooneofconsequence

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1391
  • no one is playing fair ...
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #25 on: 07/03/2009 03:40 AM »
In fairness to Aldrin he's very smart and engaging. He was a good choice to fly on Apollo 11.

Having said that, there are more than a few who would like to deck him with a single punch.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11108
  • Liked: 2568
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #26 on: 07/03/2009 02:00 PM »
In fairness to Aldrin he's very smart and engaging. He was a good choice to fly on Apollo 11.

Having said that, there are more than a few who would like to deck him with a single punch.

Buzz has shown that he can take care of himself.


Offline JosephB

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 737
  • Liked: 4
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #27 on: 07/03/2009 08:15 PM »
Is that for real? !!!!

Great follow thru Buzz!!
Love it!

Offline zapkitty

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 358
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #28 on: 07/03/2009 09:43 PM »
Is that for real? !!!!

Great follow thru Buzz!!
Love it!

Yes, that happened . The conspiracy hoaxer Bart Sibrel tried a little ambush journalism on Aldrin... and got his oh-so-deserving ass clocked by Buzz  ;D

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17186
  • Liked: 1549
  • Likes Given: 721
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #29 on: 07/03/2009 09:51 PM »
Yes, that happened . The conspiracy hoaxer Bart Sibrel tried a little ambush journalism on Aldrin... and got his oh-so-deserving ass clocked by Buzz  ;D
Well, I think Buzz connected a little higher than that...unless you're saying Sibrel also has torsonic polarity syndrome. ;D

Offline Danderman

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9597
  • Liked: 354
  • Likes Given: 460
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #30 on: 05/30/2012 02:47 PM »
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-05-27/opinion/os-ed-space-program-mark-kelly-052712-20120525_1_spacex-dragon-space-program-commercial-spaceflight

Obama's tough decisions will lead nation forward in space


President Obama has made some tough decisions to answer that question. He has a forward-looking plan for sustainable space exploration and innovation that extends the life of the International Space Station.
« Last Edit: 05/30/2012 03:42 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9161
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 613
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #31 on: 05/30/2012 03:06 PM »
From the article:

"[Mr. Obama] has a forward-looking plan for sustainable space exploration and innovation that extends the life of the International Space Station."

Not sure I agree with that opinion.

In general tho, I think Captain Kelley wrote a pretty good article.  He does over-play the role of a cheer leader for Mr. Obama's policies, a little bit, but hey.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5308
  • Liked: 894
  • Likes Given: 588
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #32 on: 05/30/2012 03:22 PM »
I think Obama deserves some credit for visiting Falcon 9 on the pad before its first flight.  That was pretty gutsy:  had that rocket failed, which it very easily could have, we'd have been reminded over and over again of his visit.  And he also announced the presence of a US flag on ISS, brought by STS-135, that is to be retrieved by the first US commercially-launched crew.  I'd say that's pretty good cheer-leading and a higher level of involvement than any other recent president.

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9161
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 613
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #33 on: 05/30/2012 04:35 PM »
I think Obama deserves some credit for visiting Falcon 9 on the pad before its first flight.  ...

Credit readily granted.

Even tho he still has the wrong destination in mind...
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline butters

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1713
  • Liked: 349
  • Likes Given: 103
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #34 on: 05/30/2012 05:56 PM »
I think Obama deserves some credit for visiting Falcon 9 on the pad before its first flight.  ...

Credit readily granted.

Even tho he still has the wrong destination in mind...

Does he really have a destination in mind or is it just talk? Seems to me like he sees the journey as ultimately more important than the destination (a view shared by many of us), and particular objectives are mostly a justification for the process. The process is what matters. That's what builds a sustainable exploration architecture, whether we're content to talk in the abstract about "flexible path" or insist on talking about asteroids or other such concrete destinations.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5308
  • Liked: 894
  • Likes Given: 588
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #35 on: 05/31/2012 05:00 AM »
My two cents' worth is that Obama administration realizes that with plausible budgets and near-term technologies, a return to the moon or Mars mission is not possible if done the way today's NASA wants to do it.  Nonetheless, it feels it must have some kind of BEO goal, so it chose an NEA, since that doesn't require a lander (recall that Constellation had dropped Altair, because there wasn't enough money available, and that's when NASA's budget was $19 billion).  Really, though, what the administration wants is to defer BEO exploration until improved technology and the participation of the private sector (e.g., SpaceX) makes it affordable.

There's a parallel in big telescopes.  In the 19th and early 20th centuries, telescopes were made progressively larger until the construction of the 200" reflector on Palomar Mountain.  Progress then stalled for decades, because the cost of classic telescope designs increased very rapidly with increasing size.  Then two technological developments occurred, both dependent on cheap computers.  Firstly, computer-driven alt-az mountings (with one axis vertical and the other horizontal) replaced the traditional equatorial mountings (one axis parallel to the earth's, the other perpendicular to that); that made structures lighter, simpler and cheaper.  Secondly, traditional telescopes are very stiff, so as to keep the optics in alignment regardless of the telescope's position.  Stiff means heavy and expensive.  With modern computers, however, it's possible to build relatively floppy telescopes and actively compensate.

The point is that despite a rapidly growing economy, telescopes couldn't grow larger than 200" until the technology improved.  Similarly, with BEO exploration, not much can happen until the technology and approach move beyond the Apollo paradigm.

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9161
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 613
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #36 on: 05/31/2012 12:56 PM »
Quote from: butters
Does he really have a destination in mind or is it just talk? Seems to me like he sees the journey as ultimately more important than the destination (a view shared by many of us), and particular objectives are mostly a justification for the process. The process is what matters. That's what builds a sustainable exploration architecture, whether we're content to talk in the abstract about "flexible path" or insist on talking about asteroids or other such concrete destinations.

My understanding is that a type of destination is in mind: an asteroid.  Which, where, and when, up in the vacuum, so to speak.

While it is true, in general, that the process matters, to conclude "scientifically" that the process is the only thing that matters, isn't well enunciated.  IOW, clearly the scientific process is indeed something that matters, but is building hardware for its own sake equally as important?  The way the "flexible path" has been enunciated by the administration so far sure seems to be a recipe for business as usual.  Maybe they mean that "sustainability" is that current budget levels are not seen as insurmountably high, and therefore can be almost guaranteed, thus literally confirming the "sustainability" argument.

The destination is important, and for me, the "exploration" as they define it, is a side effect.  We should be actively and consciously attempting off-world colonization, with that first attempt being the proximate destination.  With the skills developed in the immediate neighborhood, we can verify the long term health effect of sub-one gee on the human body, and then contemplate moving on the Mars.

This doesn't mean that unmanned exploration should stop.  What it does mean, for me, is that unmanned exploration should serve humanity, not just the program managers.  Translated to priorities, it means that we should focus on determining whether or not there is life on Mars, which is a task that supports the goal of off-world colonization.  When that is determined, then we can spend scarce funds on expanding that search in the solar system.

Now, per the decadal survey, we are proposing to go to Europa to "look for signs of life", which is what they said we were doing on Mars, but which has still, 37 years later, not been decided.  Is this then the "process" that "matters"?  We'll just look further and further away for "signs", but never actually determine if there is life elsewhere in the solar system than Earth?  Which, as could be expected, I'd say is the wrong way to proceed, and which tho "sustainable" in a narrow financial definition, will simply not serve to answer humanity's questions about this issue.  The issue, properly framed, is to "search for life", but that's specifically not what we're doing.

Besides all that, HSF is simply not that important to either Mr. Obama nor Mr. Romney.  So it will be up to private industry to get people up in space and walking on new worlds.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline butters

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1713
  • Liked: 349
  • Likes Given: 103
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #37 on: 05/31/2012 01:57 PM »
Now, per the decadal survey, we are proposing to go to Europa to "look for signs of life", which is what they said we were doing on Mars, but which has still, 37 years later, not been decided.  Is this then the "process" that "matters"?  We'll just look further and further away for "signs", but never actually determine if there is life elsewhere in the solar system than Earth?  Which, as could be expected, I'd say is the wrong way to proceed, and which tho "sustainable" in a narrow financial definition, will simply not serve to answer humanity's questions about this issue.  The issue, properly framed, is to "search for life", but that's specifically not what we're doing.

My allusion to "process" is more about the way we execute in building up an exploration architecture while controlling costs and streamlining management. We've been really weak in these respects, to the extent that even if we could make our minds on where we're going and what we're doing there, we couldn't follow through on our intentions. We can't execute. That's the process problem.

On my optimistic days, I consider President Obama's space positions and view them as evidence that he understands that our human spaceflight program is unlikely to go anywhere unless we restructure the way these programs are managed.

It's difficult to say whether COTS and SpaceX are relevant models for structuring an exploration program, but compared to the status quo, it's easy to see some modicum of promise. Good politicians are quick to attach themselves to good news, and Obama is nothing if not a good politician.

Even if nothing else changes in the BEO HSF "process" at NASA, the commercial services provide a political counterpoint and apply pressure to the status quo. Clearly, what NASA is charged to accomplish is more challenging and risky than that which we've entrusted to the likes of SpaceX, but if this new process continues to yield results and the old process doesn't, then something has to give.

NASA has been instructed multiple times in the past to develop spacecraft to service the ISS, and they haven't come through. So we're approaching a point at which we can no longer blame the lack of results on the complexity of the mission requirements.

Obama doesn't want anything to do with a philosophical debate on the objectives and rationales for space exploration. He wants to attach himself to a process that seems to be working. In politics, good results can defy a lack of a good premise. We don't care why we're flying in space nearly as much as we care that we are flying in space. It's a good process story.

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9161
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 613
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #38 on: 05/31/2012 02:16 PM »
My allusion to "process" is more about the way we execute in building up an exploration architecture while controlling costs and streamlining management.

That pretty much sums up my sense of your use of the squishy term "progress".  I'm taking the idea a bit further than you did, since "progress" means so many different things to so many different politicians.

But it's still good to see your elaboration, particularly this:

Quote
We're approaching a point at which we can no longer blame the lack of results on the complexity of the mission requirements.

Even tho it hasn't happened at this particular minute, all systems are go on a successful Dragon spashdown.  This will prove that altho rocket science is hard, it is not impossible.  It will also prove that profit and accomplishment can go hand in hand. 

Personally, I am tired of being constantly told "rocket science is hard", as some sort of justification for not changing the way the status quo has been proceeding.  The status quo being "profit before accomplishment".

I pretty much agree with that entire post of yours.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Danderman

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9597
  • Liked: 354
  • Likes Given: 460
Re: President faces a Kennedy decision on space
« Reply #39 on: 05/31/2012 02:29 PM »
Does he really have a destination in mind or is it just talk? Seems to me like he sees the journey as ultimately more important than the destination (a view shared by many of us), and particular objectives are mostly a justification for the process. The process is what matters. That's what builds a sustainable exploration architecture, whether we're content to talk in the abstract about "flexible path" or insist on talking about asteroids or other such concrete destinations.

It would appear that Obama is trying to avoid the "flags and footprints" syndrome when it comes to exploration - rather than a one time goal, Obama is developing a capability that provide for a sustainable exploration program, with a potential to support settlement.

In the long run, Obama's policies may be more significant than the blip generated by the Kennedy decision.

Tags: