Author Topic: NASA's New Direction  (Read 49155 times)

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #360 on: 03/26/2017 04:57 PM »
Regardless of politics we at least now have a president who doesn't consider NASA and its mission to be an afterthought.

Obama fighting to save the ISS, and creating and defending the Commercial Crew program, was not "an afterthought".  And we have yet to see President Trump tour KSC.

In fact Trump has stated, in direct response to a suggestion for a worthy space initiative, that fixing our terrestrial infrastructure was more important.

If the bar is what other President's have done with regards to NASA, Trump is nowhere close to that bar yet.  Maybe that will change, but so far he has not advocated for an increase to NASA's budget, he has not nominated a new NASA Administrator, and he has not used any "political capital" to make NASA a priority.

I'm not seeing what you're seeing...

Obama came to KSC to give a speech in 2010. But that was it for 8 years. He almost never spoke of NASA after that. Granted, his Administration did a good job with commercial crew.

Online RonM

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #361 on: 03/26/2017 05:26 PM »
Fixing our nation's infrastructure is a bigger national priority than NASA.

NASA already gets a good chunk of cash from what's left in the discretionary budget. Don't count on any increases and there maybe more cuts.

Congress should listen to NASA instead of their favorite lobbyists. Spend the money wisely, not on give away jobs programs and corporate welfare.
Fixing the infrastructure to burn more carbon when the US cannot meet the Paris climate accord may not make much sense. Climate change will cost future generations trillions of dollars, yet focus is on coal, Keystone, gutting the EPA and Earth Sciences,  and an NASA admin will similar 'thinking (?)'.   WRT NASA, if part of its budget could 'do more good' than infrastructure, then it could be a higher priority. 
In fact Trump has stated, in direct response to a suggestion for a worthy space initiative, that fixing our terrestrial infrastructure was more important.
Details matter, but apparently not for Don the _on.  There are 'worthy' or 'do more good' things to do, but the devil is in the details, not some Trumped up 'initiative' or 'inspirational platitudes'.  Does NASA really want a Trump tweet?

Infrastructure in the USA has been neglected for decades. It's inefficient and falling apart. Improving it will improve America's carbon footprint, but that isn't a Trump administration concern.

While we're all fans of spaceflight, it's ridiculous to think that NASA could be a higher priority than solving major issues in America. We're lucky Congress keeps giving any money at all to NASA. At least they recognize NASA is a good investment in technology.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #362 on: 03/27/2017 03:07 PM »
Obama came to KSC to give a speech in 2010. But that was it for 8 years. He almost never spoke of NASA after that. Granted, his Administration did a good job with commercial crew.

Obama spent the time upfront to research the situation by creating the Augustine Commission on May 9, 2009.  He took information that was validated from outside his "political bubble" to make a number of major decisions.

1.  The Constellation was at the point where it required a massive increase in it's budget, and required the (many would argue) premature end to the ISS.

2.  The goals of the ISS had not been realized yet, as the amount of work being done today shows.

As the Augustine Commission showed, the business case the returning to the Moon was not very strong, and the pace of the program was so slow it was going to be hard to keep political momentum going for it until it could reach it's goals.

So Obama came up with an alternate goal - a new direction.

Cancel the Constellation program, and instead focus on getting NASA ready for BLEO exploration by extending the mission of the ISS.  A bipartisan Congress agreed.

Congress wanted to save the Orion and build the SLS out of the ashes of the Constellation program contracts, and that pretty much set the course for the rest of Obama's time in office.  And other than fighting for the programs he had advocated for (ISS & Commercial Crew), there wasn't any budget left over to do anything else.  So I think he left all his cards on the table, it's just that he got his work done early so that he could focus on other priorities in the nation.

My $0.02

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 yg1968

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #363 on: 03/27/2017 03:44 PM »
I agree with everything that you said. But you are also confirming what I said : his implications with NASA essentially stopped in 2010.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #364 on: 03/27/2017 07:43 PM »
I agree with everything that you said. But you are also confirming what I said : his implications with NASA essentially stopped in 2010.

Agreed.

I think what I wanted to point out was that by design what Obama put in motion would not have required any additional changes during his first term in office.  Obama gave NASA a new direction and then he shifted to executing it.

As for Obama's second term in office there was nothing new for Obama to advocate for - he only stepped in to support what was already agreed to (specifically Commercial Crew).  Getting humans to Mars has been the assumed next big NASA goal for literally decades, and Obama's NASA continued work on that.  PLUS, there was no room in a flat NASA budget to do anything new - especially with the SLS and Orion programs taking the majority of the new hardware budgets.

So while Obama didn't do more, maybe the better question would be to ask "Within the budget and political constrictions of Obama's 2nd term in office, could he realistically have done more?"  He had already given NASA a new direction at the beginning of his first term in office, so if anything making more changes could have been viewed as detrimental.  I think he did enough.
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 yg1968

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #365 on: 04/02/2017 04:05 AM »
Robert Lightfoot's presentation (from 3 weeks ago):
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/100862362

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #366 on: 04/03/2017 04:26 AM »
In a town hall meeting this past week the  following is from my congressman:

Sensenbrenner said every presidential budget proposal has been “dead on arrival” because Congress often has different priorities.

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/01/rep-jim-sensenbrenner-talks-health-care-donald-trump-town-hall/99915924/

Congress will really decide what's in NASA's budget.  Unless the President really cares about a specific program and is willing to negotiate and arm twist for it, Congress will get what they want.

Offline clongton

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #367 on: 04/03/2017 09:36 AM »
In a town hall meeting this past week the  following is from my congressman:

Sensenbrenner said every presidential budget proposal has been “dead on arrival” because Congress often has different priorities.

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/01/rep-jim-sensenbrenner-talks-health-care-donald-trump-town-hall/99915924/

Congress will really decide what's in NASA's budget.  Unless the President really cares about a specific program and is willing to negotiate and arm twist for it, Congress will get what they want.

I know this is true but this is so freeking wrong! Congress as a whole doesn't give 2 tinkers damn about the space program. All NASA is to them is a huge pork barrel from which to draw billions to feed to their home districts. This is why we have spent SO much money for So long and have very little to show for it. Because Congress does NOT care about the space program. This is crap and there's nothing any of us can do about it.Where the hell is the "Angry" or "I Don't Like This" button?
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #368 on: 04/03/2017 11:36 AM »
In a town hall meeting this past week the  following is from my congressman:

Sensenbrenner said every presidential budget proposal has been “dead on arrival” because Congress often has different priorities.

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/01/rep-jim-sensenbrenner-talks-health-care-donald-trump-town-hall/99915924/

Congress will really decide what's in NASA's budget.  Unless the President really cares about a specific program and is willing to negotiate and arm twist for it, Congress will get what they want.

I know this is true but this is so freeking wrong! Congress as a whole doesn't give 2 tinkers damn about the space program. All NASA is to them is a huge pork barrel from which to draw billions to feed to their home districts. This is why we have spent SO much money for So long and have very little to show for it. Because Congress does NOT care about the space program. This is crap and there's nothing any of us can do about it.Where the hell is the "Angry" or "I Don't Like This" button?

I would disagree, somewhat with this.  There are people in Congress who care about space more than just about money spent in their districts.  Sometimes someone will support something from a standpoint of a true believer.  Now, you might fundamentally disagree with that, but it's there.

More seriously, however, I want to make a point I've said elsewhere, and maybe here before.  Space is fundamentally a 3rd tier issue, in part because most states/districts don't have a strong interest in it.  Compare this to something like the Farming bill, or the yearly DOD authorization Act, or infrastructure.  Every district/state has a clearly understood link to these issues, so it takes a lot of work, with lots of input.  Another example is of course health care (not looking to debate ACA vs AHCA vs others - just making the point that every person in every state has a direct link to the issue, which means every rep/senator has a link to the issue)

In short - if you want better space policy, you have to make it an issue that more people are touching.  And they have to be aware that they are touching space.
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #369 on: 04/03/2017 01:09 PM »
I disagree with Culberson a LOT, but he's sincere in his support of spaceflight beyond just his district.
Edit: fixed
« Last Edit: 04/04/2017 04:23 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #370 on: 04/03/2017 03:14 PM »
That's Culberson, without a T.  CulberTson is the ex-astro who works for Orbital ATK.

Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #371 on: 04/03/2017 10:31 PM »
In short - if you want better space policy, you have to make it an issue that more people are touching.  And they have to be aware that they are touching space.

And I think that's demonstrated by the fact that back when space was regarded as a national priority (during the 60s), the space committees in Congress were not so dominated by space-state senators and representatives.

I have a suspicion that NASA's good reputation may make it more prone to pork, because the majority of politicos who don't pay close attention to NASA may tend to feel that whatever NASA spends on is worthwhile.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #372 on: 04/07/2017 01:38 AM »
In a town hall meeting this past week the  following is from my congressman:

Sensenbrenner said every presidential budget proposal has been “dead on arrival” because Congress often has different priorities.

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/01/rep-jim-sensenbrenner-talks-health-care-donald-trump-town-hall/99915924/

Congress will really decide what's in NASA's budget.  Unless the President really cares about a specific program and is willing to negotiate and arm twist for it, Congress will get what they want.

I know this is true but this is so freeking wrong!

We geezers know it as "The President proposes, and Congress disposes" (of it, right into the trash can), because the President's budget is only a proposal with no force other than its rest mass. Congress has the constitutional power of the purse to tax and spend.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2017 01:39 AM by docmordrid »
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #373 on: 04/07/2017 02:20 AM »
I have a suspicion that NASA's good reputation may make it more prone to pork, because the majority of politicos who don't pay close attention to NASA may tend to feel that whatever NASA spends on is worthwhile.

Pork happens when there are vested interests to reward or protect.  Which today, for programs at least, the SLS and the Orion typify that description (IMHO).

If the SLS and Orion go away, then any new HSF programs would have to start from ground zero.  And that means competition (assuming Michael Griffin is not put back in charge of NASA...  :o).

NASA has never been without it's own launcher for HSF programs, so we don't know for sure how much or little political influence would happen, but there tends to be far less when programs start from ground zero.  And since the private sector should have very capable launchers by that point in time, HSF program designers in NASA will want to make use of them instead of advocating or recommending that a spec launcher be built for NASA - especially since it currently take decades for that to happen.

So without the SLS and Orion, and whatever budget level that means NASA has to live with, I think we'll see NASA wanting to think up smaller HSF programs that can return results quicker, and that will build up over time to more substantial efforts.  Which is what NASA wants to do today, but NASA hasn't given Congress the cost numbers for the SLS or the Orion, so it's unknown whether Congress would allocate enough funding for NASA to really do much with the SLS and Orion.  Even the Deep Space Gateway (DSG) will consume a majority of NASA's budget, so it won't have much left for a rapid tempo to anywhere.

That is what I would see would happen as NASA's new direction if the SLS and Orion programs were cancelled, and though we have sunk a lot of money into both of them (and years), I think NASA will be able to do more, and quicker, without them.  YMMV.

My $0.02
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?


Online AncientU

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Re: NASA's New Direction
« Reply #375 on: 05/03/2017 09:13 PM »
New article:
Quote
New Space Leadership Poised to Shake Up NASA, Promote Private Spaceflight
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With a paradigm shift in the White House, the new leadership has made its view clear: The government should facilitate private companies to lead the way in space exploration.

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A Bloated Bureaucracy?

If you came out of the Ultra Low-Cost Access to Space symposium (ULCATS) thinking one thing, it would be that NASA is swollen and inefficient. By the time the Space Launch System (SLS) flies in 2019—hopefully—building the big new rocket will have taken 15 years and cost more than $20 billion since George W. Bush announced in 2004 that NASA would return to the moon, with billions spent on the Ares rockets that went nowhere. That's not counting the Orion spacecraft, which has sucked up about $14 billion itself. As former Chair of the House Science Committee Robert Walker pointed out, when it takes more than a decade to develop a technology, the technology is obsolete by the time it is finished.

"The elephant in the room is SLS and Orion," said Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux, cofounder of the space technology company Escape Dynamics and a continuing advisor to NASA.

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"NASA requires political support driven by jobs in Congress," said de Cayeux, pointing out that this dynamic removes an economic incentive to innovate within the space agency. "You could argue that it works directly against this goal."

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The Next Steps

We need to get launch costs low enough for more people to launch payloads to space. But once we do, the snowball will start to roll, and the real savings will come from a massive increase in the number of launches. Whether military, commercial, or scientific, the more we launch, the cheaper it will be.

"We are sitting at the edge of one of the most brilliant opportunities in history," said Gingrich during his speech, "to break into the future that Robert Heinlein wrote about."

When asked by an audience member what the next step is, Gingrich said President Trump or Vice President Pence would likely soon deliver a speech that identifies low-cost spaceflight and reusability as the future. After that, a National Space Council will be established by executive order for the first time since 1993, likely to be chaired by Mike Pence—a move that is "imminent," said Robert Walker, who served as an advisor on space policy during the presidential campaign.

"The executive order has been written. It's all set to go," said Walker. "I can tell you firsthand that Vice President Pence is extremely excited about his ability to be the chair of that council, and I expect it to be a very active part of this administration."

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There are also plenty of engineering challenges that need to be met here on Earth. Martinage argued that our existing spaceflight infrastructure will need to be upgraded, saying of ranges and launch facilities, "we don't have enough, and it's old." Richard Dunn, the first General Counsel of DARPA from 1987 to 2000, said that education would be crucial, not only to train a new workforce for space industries, but to inspire kids to study STEM subjects so they can drive the coming revolution in space technologies.

"I really think the next decade is going to be as exciting or more exciting than the Apollo program," said Gingrich.

One of the lingering questions here was this: What should be the new role of NASA? James Reuter, the only NASA representative to speak, talked about the need to develop technologies for in-situ resource harvesting and manufacturing on other planets. "There is a large interest in places where you need to construct a habitat with indigenous materials."

These are the types of projects and studies that speakers at the conference argued NASA should focus on, while handing the reigns of vehicle manufacturing over to the private sector.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a26347/future-space-exploration-private-industry/
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 09:15 PM by AncientU »
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