Author Topic: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA  (Read 15715 times)

Offline JohnFornaro

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Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« on: 01/12/2010 06:31 PM »
Over on:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19965.msg523776#msg523776

Bill White made some intriguing, to me at least, comments:

"How might it be politically feasible to re-structure NASA to achieve robust human exploration without heavy lift?"

He goes on to ask: "What would the legislation actually say?"

I am at a loss for words on how I would express something like this, but I figured there'd be several comments about this on this forum.

Edit 01-13-10:

Added public transparency and accountability to the list of legislative traits.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2010 05:21 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline agman25

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #1 on: 01/12/2010 06:44 PM »
It would say
"NASA is prohibited from developing, manufacturing and operating any launch system that does not meet NASA Science, DoD and commercial needs"

Offline Namechange User

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #2 on: 01/12/2010 06:53 PM »
Or how about legislation to say that "robust human exploration" must be achieved with legos and bubble gum?  How would that come about?

Heavy lift is pretty much required unless you want to design everything to a smaller launcher, potentially assemble it in LEO over multiple launches where anyone launch failure takes your mission out of the game (for at least a little while) before even leaving orbit. 

Sure it can be done, but why make it harder and more complex than necessary?
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Offline Jim

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #3 on: 01/12/2010 07:04 PM »

This is better.


"NASA is prohibited from developing, manufacturing and operating any launch system

Offline robertross

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #4 on: 01/12/2010 07:10 PM »
Why not just say:

"Write a blank cheque to the any and all commercial launch providers"

You pay for it, one way or another.
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #5 on: 01/12/2010 07:14 PM »
The problem here, where: "...any one launch failure takes your mission out of the game..." is that it also affects an HLV, if not in spades.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Downix

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #6 on: 01/12/2010 07:15 PM »

This is better.


"NASA is prohibited from developing, manufacturing and operating any launch system
I'm unsure, as operating would prohibit the training of astronauts, or any safety oversight.  This would be a cancellation of space flight within the US, as there would then be no operational capability.  You can win me over on a case of developing and manufacturing launch capability, but some operational level needs to remain, altho I would be agreeable to FAA-levels.
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Offline neilh

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #7 on: 01/12/2010 07:46 PM »
Heavy lift is pretty much required unless you want to design everything to a smaller launcher, potentially assemble it in LEO over multiple launches where anyone launch failure takes your mission out of the game (for at least a little while) before even leaving orbit. 

Why would you structure an assembly-based architecture that way, when you could instead structure it in a way which would be even more resilient to launch failures than an HLV? Granted, your view seems to be quite prevalent on NASA's powerpoint slides.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #8 on: 01/12/2010 07:52 PM »
Heavy lift is pretty much required unless you want to design everything to a smaller launcher, potentially assemble it in LEO over multiple launches where anyone launch failure takes your mission out of the game (for at least a little while) before even leaving orbit. 

You must know this is not true. Docking and propellant transfer are all that is needed.

Quote
Sure it can be done, but why make it harder and more complex than necessary?

For the sake of commercial development of space. Not everybody may care about that, but the choice exists: seek synergy and share costs or go it alone.

"Write a blank cheque to the any and all commercial launch providers"

Where did that blank cheque come from? Done properly you'd have more accountability than with an in-house NASA effort. If anything the in-house option is more accurately described by "blank cheque". Look at the amount of money spent on Ares I (supposedly for the sake of crew transport) compared the money earmarked for CCDev.

"NASA is prohibited from developing, manufacturing and operating any launch system

Bingo.
We will be vic-toooooo-ri-ous!!!

Offline Bill White

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #9 on: 01/12/2010 07:52 PM »

This is better.


"NASA is prohibited from developing, manufacturing and operating any launch system

Persuading Congress to enact and persuading the President to sign the legislation was part two of my question.

Crafting a road forward for NASA (as a purely hypothetical matter) is one thing. Crafting a road forward that can actually be implemented within the Beltway is something altogether different.

In any event, I have long believed that finding revenue streams that do not first pass through the US Treasury is the #1 mission critical task if we desire that our species becoming space-faring.

IMHO, as always.
EML architectures should be seen as ratchet opportunities

Offline Bill White

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #10 on: 01/12/2010 07:53 PM »
@ mmeijeri

Bingo? Well okay, but I also want a pony and a date with Jessica Alba.
EML architectures should be seen as ratchet opportunities

Offline robertross

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #11 on: 01/12/2010 08:05 PM »
@ mmeijeri

Bingo? Well okay, but I also want a pony and a date with Jessica Alba.

I don't need a pony...



"Write a blank cheque to the any and all commercial launch providers"

Where did that blank cheque come from? Done properly you'd have more accountability than with an in-house NASA effort. If anything the in-house option is more accurately described by "blank cheque". Look at the amount of money spent on Ares I (supposedly for the sake of crew transport) compared the money earmarked for CCDev.


Accountability? Try the usual cost overruns. While we're at it, you'd also have to change the contracting from cost plus to firm fixed price. Good luck with that.

And why do we continue to fund Ares I? Politics.
Why do we continue with NASA's design of vehicles? Politics.
Why do we have HSF? Politics.

Oh, and the money comes from: government = politics.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #12 on: 01/12/2010 08:16 PM »
Firm fixed price (+performance bond) would be a good idea. A blank cheque would be a bad idea, regardless of who gets it.

Mrs Ross and Mrs White might not approve of you guys going on a date with Jessica Alba. I'm single. :)
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Offline robertross

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #13 on: 01/12/2010 08:20 PM »
Firm fixed price (+performance bond) would be a good idea. A blank cheque would be a bad idea, regardless of who gets it.

Mrs Ross and Mrs White might not approve of you guys going on a date with Jessica Alba. I'm single. :)

No Mrs Ross, I'm single too, so hands off! lol

The problem with fixed firm price is getting the companies to go along with it. If we're talking unknown territory, then costs can easily escalate, and I'm sure the stakeholders wouldn't like that. But that's a debatable point.
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Offline agman25

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #14 on: 01/12/2010 08:26 PM »
Taking the job of design and manufacture of equipment away from a Govt. run organization, when commercial alternatives are available is not unknown or unprecedented. The US Army used to design and manufacture rifles. Does not anymore.

Offline Bill White

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #15 on: 01/12/2010 08:33 PM »
More seriously, Lori Garver is #2 at NASA and George Whitesides is Chief of Staff and Jeff Greason was on the Augustine Commission.

Today, senior management at NASA is more pro-commercial space than ever before.

The message: "NASA should be prohibited from developing, manufacturing and operating any launch system" has certainly been heard at the highest levels of NASA even if it isn't being heeded.

And yet, if kraisee and the others on Team Direct have been getting good intel, an HLV is what we will be getting, going forward. Not Ares 1, fortunately, and perhaps a stretched heavy and perhaps not, but an HLV.

Mileage varies on whether this is a good idea or not, however, the political realities seem clear enough, and advocating something that won't get through Congress seems pointless, at least to me. Except perhaps over margaritas at the Space Access Society convention.

Therefore, IMHO, NewSpace & all-commercial advocates should consider looking for revenue streams that do not first pass through Uncle Sam, at least as much as they demand that NASA change course.

With the aforesaid top management at NASA, I also believe NASA  today will be more tolerant of purely commercial ventures independent of NASA than it has been in the past.

The MirCorp episode for example.

Thus I advocate a MirCorp II attempt perhaps with Bigelow, if he's interested, and perhaps financed by selling name rights and advertising.

 = = =

Opinions vary on whether Mike Griffin squelched plans for a privately financed light Atlas V crew taxi to a proposed Bigelow hab. I do not know what really happened as everything I know comes from reading the intra-tubes.

However, Bolden (and Garver & Whitesides) would probably be more sympathetic to such a plan, whether or not Griffin actually did what some internet posters say he did.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2010 08:43 PM by Bill White »
EML architectures should be seen as ratchet opportunities

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #16 on: 01/12/2010 08:41 PM »
We don't get ponies until we actually have a lunar base.  And the only blank checks you get are the ones you just ordered from the bank.

Lotta political statements above, not so much legislative lingo. For example:

"Whereas Congress find HSF to be, blahditty blah blah blah...."

I'm not complaining, the political talk sets some of the parameters, but what would the wording start looking like?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline agman25

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #17 on: 01/12/2010 08:49 PM »
How about
"From toilet paper to launch vehicles, if it is available commercially, or can be designed and built commercially, do not design or build it in house"

Offline Downix

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #18 on: 01/12/2010 08:51 PM »
Heavy lift is pretty much required unless you want to design everything to a smaller launcher, potentially assemble it in LEO over multiple launches where anyone launch failure takes your mission out of the game (for at least a little while) before even leaving orbit. 

You must know this is not true. Docking and propellant transfer are all that is needed.
You do realize that docking/propellant transfer *is* assembling in LEO over multiple launches, yes?
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Legislative Language for Restructuring NASA
« Reply #19 on: 01/12/2010 08:57 PM »
You do realize that docking/propellant transfer *is* assembling in LEO over multiple launches, yes?

The simplest form of assembly, yes. The kind even CxP is comfortable with.
We will be vic-toooooo-ri-ous!!!

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