Author Topic: New Budget Realities  (Read 13715 times)

Offline TomH

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New Budget Realities
« on: 02/28/2017 07:46 AM »
Trump today announced a $54B increase in defense spending to be offset by across the board cuts to discretionary spending at equal percentage. What would be the effects on NASA? I do not see how SLS/Orion could survive. SpaceX beating them to a Lunar circumnavigation now appears a reality. Could NASA be forced to do its manned SF through commercial providers, with the monetary savings allowing the rest of NASA's programs to continue doing what they currently do?

Edit: My quick estimate is that NASA would take around a 10% cut. Of course Congress is the one who will set the budget, but this could be one huge fight.
« Last Edit: 02/28/2017 07:50 AM by TomH »

Offline IRobot

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #1 on: 02/28/2017 08:54 AM »
Unsure if this equates to a budget cut on NASA. Seems inconsistent with previous declarations.

Offline jgoldader

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #2 on: 02/28/2017 12:34 PM »
As a famous philosopher once said, people should "sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."  I've already seen panicked posts about the budget process on other websites.  We can do better than that here.

The process is the same as it has always been.  The President proposes a budget.  Congress passes whatever they please.  Then, the President has the option to sign off on the budget or let a shutdown happen (said shutdown being highly unlikely, imho).
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Offline woods170

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #3 on: 02/28/2017 05:12 PM »
As a famous philosopher once said, people should "sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."  I've already seen panicked posts about the budget process on other websites.  We can do better than that here.

The process is the same as it has always been.  The President proposes a budget.  Congress passes whatever they please.  Then, the President has the option to sign off on the budget or let a shutdown happen (said shutdown being highly unlikely, imho).
Exactly. Trump can propose anything he wants. Whether or not U.S. Congress goes along remains to be seen. An across-the-board cut of NASA is likely not to go down too well with certain senators from Alabama, Florida, Texas, etc. etc. etc.
« Last Edit: 02/28/2017 05:13 PM by woods170 »

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #4 on: 03/01/2017 04:51 AM »
If I had to bet, Earth Sciences will be cut out from NASA and transferred elsewhere. This could be enough to allow for some cut in the NASA budget.

Offline Jim

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #5 on: 03/01/2017 12:51 PM »
If I had to bet, Earth Sciences will be cut out from NASA and transferred elsewhere. This could be enough to allow for some cut in the NASA budget.

not going happen.  That would shutdown GSFC.

Offline jgoldader

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #6 on: 03/01/2017 02:46 PM »
If I had to bet, Earth Sciences will be cut out from NASA and transferred elsewhere. This could be enough to allow for some cut in the NASA budget.

not going happen.  That would shutdown GSFC.

Why?  What's the problem with NOAA/USGS taking over Earth climate work?  You could turn GISS into an NOAA group without shutting down GSFC.  There's a lot of things besides GISS going on there.  Then NASA could do aeronautics and space stuff.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2017 02:48 PM by jgoldader »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #7 on: 03/01/2017 02:53 PM »
If I had to bet, Earth Sciences will be cut out from NASA and transferred elsewhere. This could be enough to allow for some cut in the NASA budget.

not going happen.  That would shutdown GSFC.

I am expecting more towards planetary science and less towards Earth sciences.

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #8 on: 03/01/2017 02:56 PM »
If I had to bet, Earth Sciences will be cut out from NASA and transferred elsewhere. This could be enough to allow for some cut in the NASA budget.

not going happen.  That would shutdown GSFC.

You're probably right, Senator Mikulski would never let that happen.

Offline Proponent

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #9 on: 03/01/2017 03:19 PM »
She's retired.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #10 on: 03/01/2017 03:26 PM »
The only offsets the he is proposing is "pocket change" compared to the increases and the national debt...
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #11 on: 03/01/2017 03:38 PM »
As a famous philosopher once said, people should "sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."  I've already seen panicked posts about the budget process on other websites.  We can do better than that here.

The process is the same as it has always been.  The President proposes a budget.  Congress passes whatever they please.  Then, the President has the option to sign off on the budget or let a shutdown happen (said shutdown being highly unlikely, imho).

Er, that's not how the process works--sign, or shutdown. The president can also veto the budget.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #12 on: 03/01/2017 03:43 PM »
If I had to bet, Earth Sciences will be cut out from NASA and transferred elsewhere. This could be enough to allow for some cut in the NASA budget.

not going happen.  That would shutdown GSFC.

It goes beyond that. People who say that Earth sciences should be taken from NASA and given to NOAA don't really understand how either agency works, or what they actually do. For example, contract management and oversight for NOAA satellites is done by NASA, because NASA knows how to do contract management and oversight for spacecraft, and NOAA does not. So why would you want to transfer that responsibility to an agency that does not know how to do it?

And "transferring" responsibilities and personnel means that you have to work out all the nitty gritty details. For instance, ownership of buildings, responsibility for overhead costs at facilities, employee retirement plans and seniority.

Finally, those who are panicking about what might happen to NASA's budget might end up surprised.

Offline Jim

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #13 on: 03/01/2017 03:58 PM »

Why?  What's the problem with NOAA/USGS taking over Earth climate work?  You could turn GISS into an NOAA group without shutting down GSFC.  There's a lot of things besides GISS going on there.  Then NASA could do aeronautics and space stuff.

A.  NOAA/USGS  does do Earth climate work
b.  NASA procures and builds spacecraft for NOAA
c.  The earth science that NASA does is "space stuff".

It is NASA's task. 

It is in the first objective of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958
"The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;"

And in many other places

SUBCHAPTER IV—UPPER ATMOSPHERE RESEARCH

Earth science research and research on the Sun-Earth connection through the devel- opment and operation of research satellites and other means;

The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in consultation with the Administrator, the Ad- ministrator of the National Oceanic and Atmos- pheric Administration, and other relevant stakeholders, shall develop a process to transi- tion, when appropriate, Administration Earth science and space weather missions or sensors into operational status.

Offline clongton

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #14 on: 03/01/2017 05:42 PM »
I personally believe that Climate Science "should have been" assigned to NOAA. Earth science is part of what they do, among other things. A couple of months ago I even argued with Blackstar about this, advocating for the switch based on my belief that it should have been there in the first place. But his arguments were persuasive. I think it has been a NASA function for far too long for the switch to be made now. To attempt the switch would, in my opinion, damage both agencies for too long as they muddled thru the enormous complexities of the transfer. Perhaps one day, when both agencies have nothing better to do, we can revisit this, because I do unequivocally stand by my belief that climate science *should* be done by NOAA, not NASA. But for the time being I come down on the side of leaving it where it is - for now.
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Offline Jim

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #15 on: 03/01/2017 05:51 PM »
I personally believe that Climate Science "should have been" assigned to NOAA.

It is assigned to NOAA.  NASA is only involved space based observations and new instruments and procuring GOES and JPSS for NOAA. 

Offline clongton

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #16 on: 03/01/2017 06:05 PM »
I personally believe that Climate Science "should have been" assigned to NOAA.

It is assigned to NOAA.  NASA is only involved space based observations and new instruments and procuring GOES and JPSS for NOAA. 

Key word being "atmospheric". And perhaps we are saying similar things differently because of the extensive use of satellites that NASA monitors and manages. And no small number of them examine more than the atmosphere. There are instruments that peer into the earth's topography, examine the oceans and sea life, do resource mapping, forestry studies; the list goes on and on. It is those kinds of things that informed my position. Those are NOAA satellites. NOAA should be doing the managing, not NASA. NASA launched them for them, and that should have been the end of it. Just like when a launch provider sends a communications satellite up. Once it is delivered to orbit it becomes the responsibility of the company that contracted the launch. But NASA has been managing the birds too long to now.
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Offline RonM

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #17 on: 03/01/2017 06:26 PM »
Moving people and responsibility around between NASA, NOAA, or any other agency would be a waste of time and money. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

What's the problem being solved? The only one I can think of is certain politicians trying to kill research into climate change because it goes against their personal beliefs or interests of their favorite lobbyists. Politics as usual.

Offline Jim

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #18 on: 03/01/2017 06:50 PM »


Key word being "atmospheric". And perhaps we are saying similar things differently because of the extensive use of satellites that NASA monitors and manages. And no small number of them examine more than the atmosphere. There are instruments that peer into the earth's topography, examine the oceans and sea life, do resource mapping, forestry studies; the list goes on and on. It is those kinds of things that informed my position. Those are NOAA satellites. NOAA should be doing the managing, not NASA. NASA launched them for them, and that should have been the end of it. Just like when a launch provider sends a communications satellite up. Once it is delivered to orbit it becomes the responsibility of the company that contracted the launch. But NASA has been managing the birds too long to now.

NASA doesn't manage the operations of NOAA spacecraft

"Landsat 8 is an American Earth observation satellite launched on February 11, 2013. It is the eighth satellite in the Landsat program; the seventh to reach orbit successfully. Originally called the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), it is a collaboration between NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, provided development, mission systems engineering, and acquisition of the launch vehicle while the USGS provided for development of the ground systems and will conduct on-going mission operations."

"Earlier today, NOAA officially took command of its Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite.
NASA, in charge of both the launch and activation of the satellite, has officially handed over satellite operations to NOAA’s DSCOVR team. Next, the team will optimize the final space weather instrument settings and the satellite will soon begin normal operation."

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #19 on: 03/01/2017 07:45 PM »
What's the problem being solved?

And that's the question that should be asked every time this comes up. In fact, if you went to the Earth scientist community and asked "Is Earth science as a discipline broken?" and also asked "Would moving responsibility for Earth science from NASA to NOAA make things better?" the answer to both questions will be "No."

Look, it's pretty simple: the people who propose moving Earth sciences from NASA to NOAA almost always:

1-Don't care about Earth sciences;
2-Often are outright hostile to Earth sciences;
3-Do not understand what it is, or how it is done at either NASA or NOAA;
4-Do not understand what it would actually require to make such a move (for starters: it requires a new law, not simply an executive order or even a budget);
5-Are not trying to improve it.

Nine times out of ten, when somebody proposes reorganizing a government agency, the goal is to improve the thing that is being reorganized. For example, the Department of Homeland Security was created to improve the conduct of homeland security after the September 11 attacks. I have never seen a legitimate argument--backed by logic and data--that reorganizing Earth science (by moving it from NASA to NOAA) will improve it.

Now to be generous, there are some people who believe that NASA should be the "space exploration agency" and believe that moving Earth science to NOAA would somehow make NASA a better space exploration agency. But they never bother to explain how this will actually occur. It's sort of a belief in purity of essence--that if you take away from NASA things that you personally consider to be distractions for space exploration it will improve space exploration (as if NASA officials are unable to walk and chew gum at the same time). But the inherent bias in that view is that Earth science is unimportant and you don't actually care if it suffers. And you know what? There are plenty of people who do not agree with you and who actually value Earth science, so that's still a losing argument. It might be an answer to the question "what's the problem being solved?" but it's a weak and flawed answer that does not indicate that you're actually solving a problem with the thing that you are reorganizing.
 


Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #20 on: 03/01/2017 07:58 PM »
NASA doesn't manage the operations of NOAA spacecraft

I think a lot of people, including those who argue the "turn Earth sciences over to NOAA" thing, don't understand what the two agencies do even at a relatively superficial level.

For example, NOAA operates Landsat, but also all the GOES satellites, plus DSCOVR and so on. They actually have a relatively sizeable satellite fleet.

NASA operates quite a few Earth sciences satellites such as Terra, Aqua, CloudSat, etc. I'd have to go digging around a bit, but I think that NASA operates more Earth sciences satellites than NOAA operates satellites. And NASA's total number of operational spacecraft of all types is quite large (well over 100).

But that's simply flying the satellites. There are many other dimensions to this as well. One of the most basic, but somewhat difficult to understand, is that NOAA's satellites are "operational" satellites that are primarily used to provide data to users for immediate forecasting and decision making, and NOT for research purposes. A NOAA weather satellite allows a ship captain to plot his course and avoid storms, allows emergency management personnel to plan for hurricanes, and allows members of the public to determine if they need to bring an umbrella when they leave the house. Those are immediate needs, and they shape the way NOAA operates and the way the satellites are designed.

NASA's Earth sciences work is much more on the research side. NASA collects data that helps scientists understand the Earth as a system. And that can involve a lot of different things. Some of that includes building better models that then get migrated over to the systems that NOAA operates. For instance, one area of NASA research is trying to understand what causes hurricanes to form. They collect basic data on that and build the early models, and then eventually that work finds its way to NOAA so that people looking at satellite images of the South Atlantic can spot the conditions indicating that a hurricane may form many days before it actually happens. And NASA Earth sciences research looks at other things, like vegetation cover and deforestation, which are things that NOAA actually does not do (keep in mind that most of NOAA's focus is maritime/water and not inland).

Research and operational observations are different things. And there are good reasons to separate them.

Offline jgoldader

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #21 on: 03/01/2017 08:40 PM »
My interest in moving the climate things to NOAA is that some of the climate work done by GISS, whether rightly or wrongly (and I don't intend to debate that question), has been perceived as nakedly political by certain quarters.  The result is that NASA as a whole comes under attack, and pays a political price.  Moving the climate work to an agency that basically studies climate would remove that issue.
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Offline rsnellenberger

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #22 on: 03/01/2017 08:50 PM »
What's the problem being solved?

And that's the question that should be asked every time this comes up. In fact, if you went to the Earth scientist community and asked "Is Earth science as a discipline broken?" and also asked "Would moving responsibility for Earth science from NASA to NOAA make things better?" the answer to both questions will be "No."

Look, it's pretty simple: the people who propose moving Earth sciences from NASA to NOAA almost always:

1-Don't care about Earth sciences;
2-Often are outright hostile to Earth sciences;
3-Do not understand what it is, or how it is done at either NASA or NOAA;
4-Do not understand what it would actually require to make such a move (for starters: it requires a new law, not simply an executive order or even a budget);
5-Are not trying to improve it.


6-Object to the politicization of climate research during the tenure of James Hansen at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #23 on: 03/02/2017 12:29 AM »
6-Object to the politicization of climate research during the tenure of James Hansen at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

He's gone. And how would moving a $1.5 billion program to another agency have solved that problem?

Again: the people who propose this are not trying to improve the problem, they don't give a damn, or want to actually hurt Earth sciences.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2017 12:31 AM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #24 on: 03/02/2017 12:32 AM »
My interest in moving the climate things to NOAA is that some of the climate work done by GISS, whether rightly or wrongly (and I don't intend to debate that question), has been perceived as nakedly political by certain quarters.  The result is that NASA as a whole comes under attack, and pays a political price.  Moving the climate work to an agency that basically studies climate would remove that issue.

You realize that "Earth science" is not the same as "climate research," right?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #25 on: 03/02/2017 01:28 AM »
NASA's 1958 charter states:
"The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:

(1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;..."

...notice how atmosphere is the first item in the first objective. Understanding climate is clearly fundamental to NASA's chartered purpose.


...and now with the discovery of more and more potentially-habitable exoplanets, NASA will have more data points to validate our ability to model climate. Understanding the climate of Venus and Mars, for instance, are also in NASA's wheelhouse, and because NASA is the ONLY agency able to study multiple planetary climates directly, NASA is actually uniquely suited to a full understanding of Earth's climate (less so short-term weather events).
« Last Edit: 03/02/2017 01:30 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #26 on: 03/02/2017 04:44 AM »
There is a difference between NASA obtaining Earth science data (which it should be doing) and promoting a green agenda (which it shouldn't be doing). That line had become blurred under the Obama Administration. That's already changing under the Trump administration. You should also expect a better balance in the funding of Earth science and of planetary science. I therefore expect that there will be increases to planetary science funding and a corresponding decreases to Earth science funding (essentially the opposite of what happened under Obama).   
« Last Edit: 03/02/2017 04:48 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #27 on: 03/02/2017 06:35 AM »
Pretty sure general conservation and science are nonpartisan values, not "agendas."
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #28 on: 03/02/2017 01:09 PM »
You should also expect a better balance in the funding of Earth science and of planetary science.

What exactly do you mean by "balance"? Do you mean that they should be equal budgets? Why is the heliophysics budget so much smaller than the other three space science disciplines? Is that out of balance?

Within each of the science disciplines there is an ongoing discussion of "balance" and what it means. But that's internal. There is no reason that the various science disciplines have to be balanced against each other. They should reflect the priorities of the nation. If the national leadership decides that something is more important, it will get funded at a higher level.

Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #29 on: 03/02/2017 02:39 PM »
Pretty sure general conservation and science are nonpartisan values, not "agendas."

I never said otherwise. But it went beyond that under the Obama Administration. NASA TV and the NASA website were promoting a greener environment. That is not their job in my opinion.

Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #30 on: 03/02/2017 02:48 PM »
You should also expect a better balance in the funding of Earth science and of planetary science.

What exactly do you mean by "balance"? Do you mean that they should be equal budgets? Why is the heliophysics budget so much smaller than the other three space science disciplines? Is that out of balance?

Within each of the science disciplines there is an ongoing discussion of "balance" and what it means. But that's internal. There is no reason that the various science disciplines have to be balanced against each other. They should reflect the priorities of the nation. If the national leadership decides that something is more important, it will get funded at a higher level.

The trend under the Obama administration was that Earth funding kept increasing at the expense of planetary science. There was some push back from Congress on this. I expect the trend to reverse under the new administration. I don't know if funding for Earth sciences needs to be equal to planetary science but I think that there were close to eacher other in the past and that they will be closer to each other in the President's upcoming budget.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #31 on: 03/02/2017 06:06 PM »
I never said otherwise. But it went beyond that under the Obama Administration. NASA TV and the NASA website were promoting a greener environment. That is not their job in my opinion.

Here's to hoping that they reverse the trend and promote a less-green environment. Who needs clean air, anyway?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #32 on: 03/02/2017 06:20 PM »
NASA's Earth sciences work is much more on the research side. NASA collects data that helps scientists understand the Earth as a system. And that can involve a lot of different things. Some of that includes building better models that then get migrated over to the systems that NOAA operates. For instance, one area of NASA research is trying to understand what causes hurricanes to form. They collect basic data on that and build the early models, and then eventually that work finds its way to NOAA so that people looking at satellite images of the South Atlantic can spot the conditions indicating that a hurricane may form many days before it actually happens. And NASA Earth sciences research looks at other things, like vegetation cover and deforestation, which are things that NOAA actually does not do (keep in mind that most of NOAA's focus is maritime/water and not inland).

Research and operational observations are different things. And there are good reasons to separate them.

Let me be rude and add a comment to my earlier comment. I heard this story second-hand, so I may have some of the details wrong. But if the overall story is correct, it provides a good example of these things.

The most recent GOES-R geostationary weather satellite, which is operated by NOAA, includes a lightning detection sensor. Apparently that is new and has not been carried on previous NOAA satellites. Now it turns out that increased lighting flashes are directly correlated to increases in storm strength--in other words, as a thunderstorm gets stronger, it emits more lighting and by counting the lightning flashes, you can tell if a storm's intensity is increasing. Other methods of determining storm intensity are apparently not as good.

That lightning sensor was developed by NASA. It was part of a research program. Probably a few decades ago somebody who was applying for a grant or proposing an Earth sciences research instrument suggested that they gather information on lightning flashes. Maybe they already had other data or a working hyphothesis that lightning was connected to storm intensity. But what they really needed to do was research, and the way to do research is with a research program, not an operational weather satellite program that is required for immediate decision making. So NASA funded the research, that turned into observations that correlated with real-world experience, and then that research matured enough for somebody to say "hey, we should think about using this on weather satellites so that people can warn that storms are getting severe and might generate tornadoes."

There are many good reasons to keep research programs and operational programs separate. One of them is that science needs the opportunity to chase down leads that go in odd directions. That's a cultural thing and a budget thing. But another reason is that operational programs--like weather satellites--are very important and urgent, and when they experience problems, they will immediately suck money away from "less urgent" programs. Thus, if you stuck the research programs and the operational programs in the same agency, you would always run the risk of starving the research.

And if you do that, you never discover things like the link between lightning flashes and storm intensity and tornadoes.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #33 on: 03/02/2017 07:52 PM »
Pretty sure general conservation and science are nonpartisan values, not "agendas."

I never said otherwise. But it went beyond that under the Obama Administration. NASA TV and the NASA website were promoting a greener environment. That is not their job in my opinion.
Again, when did this become controversial?
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #34 on: 03/02/2017 08:32 PM »
Pretty sure general conservation and science are nonpartisan values, not "agendas."

I never said otherwise. But it went beyond that under the Obama Administration. NASA TV and the NASA website were promoting a greener environment. That is not their job in my opinion.
Again, when did this become controversial?

It wasn't controversial under Obama. But the Republicans are in control now. But NASA has already changed its core message to focus on space exploration. It's common sense. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #35 on: 03/02/2017 08:35 PM »
I never said otherwise. But it went beyond that under the Obama Administration. NASA TV and the NASA website were promoting a greener environment. That is not their job in my opinion.

Here's to hoping that they reverse the trend and promote a less-green environment. Who needs clean air, anyway?

NASA can let other organizations promote a greener environment and focus its core message on space exploration.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2017 09:07 PM by yg1968 »

Offline spacenut

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #36 on: 03/02/2017 09:15 PM »
NASA should focus on Space related activities.  It should only use facts they find about earth's atmosphere, not promote anything but space related activities.  Greener activities and climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
NASA shouldn't promote ANYTHING not space related, not religion, not politics.  It should be a non political agency. 

Offline launchwatcher

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #37 on: 03/02/2017 09:36 PM »
NASA's Earth sciences work is much more on the research side. NASA collects data that helps scientists understand the Earth as a system. And that can involve a lot of different things. Some of that includes building better models that then get migrated over to the systems that NOAA operates. For instance, one area of NASA research is trying to understand what causes hurricanes to form. They collect basic data on that and build the early models, and then eventually that work finds its way to NOAA so that people looking at satellite images of the South Atlantic can spot the conditions indicating that a hurricane may form many days before it actually happens. And NASA Earth sciences research looks at other things, like vegetation cover and deforestation, which are things that NOAA actually does not do (keep in mind that most of NOAA's focus is maritime/water and not inland).

Research and operational observations are different things. And there are good reasons to separate them.

Let me be rude and add a comment to my earlier comment. I heard this story second-hand, so I may have some of the details wrong. But if the overall story is correct, it provides a good example of these things.

The most recent GOES-R geostationary weather satellite, which is operated by NOAA, includes a lightning detection sensor. Apparently that is new and has not been carried on previous NOAA satellites.
was curious about this so I did a little digging:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Rainfall_Measuring_Mission
http://www.space.com/34764-goes-r-satellite-tracks-lightning-and-more.html
https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/jcsda/documents/seminardocs/Goodman20100526/Goodman_20100526.pdf

A lightning sensor launched in 1997 on TRMM,  a joint NASA-JAXA LEO satellite.   The correlation between storm activity and lightning activity was demonstrated based on TRMM data.

So looks like roughly 20 years from first launch of prototype to full-scale deployment.   (When the train -- in this case a major weather satellite upgrade - only leaves about once a decade, it's rough when you miss one..).

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #38 on: 03/02/2017 09:44 PM »
Heads Up NASA People: A Storm Is Coming

http://nasawatch.com/

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said this week that non-military spending will take the "largest-proposed reduction since the early years of the Reagan administration." To prepare for that possibility, agencies are preparing to shave 10 percent off their budgets, on average. And words like buyouts, furloughs and RIFs (or reduction in force) - government-speak for layoffs - are now being tossed around at the water cooler as civil servants face the possibility of massive downsizing. Some of these strategies were used when Ronald Reagan was president and others more recently to meet the goals of budget caps known as sequestration."

A storm is coming folks. You cannot hide under your desks and try and to ride it out. Not this time. You need to be preparing contingency plans and be ready to try things that you have never tried before to accomplish the tasks you have been given to do. Otherwise those things will not get done.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #39 on: 03/02/2017 09:53 PM »
First, it's the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. So they should not only promote space.

Second, NASA is doing 'green'. And before the Obama admin.

Third, there mandate includes education so NASA TV 'green' programs fits there especially if they are programs they are running.

Sorry to be short but they are doing great 'green' things but not for political points but very practical reasons like better fuel economy on planes.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #40 on: 03/02/2017 10:59 PM »
Heads Up NASA People: A Storm Is Coming


Hint: don't believe everything you read on that site.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #41 on: 03/02/2017 11:23 PM »
NASA should focus on Space related activities.  It should only use facts they find about earth's atmosphere, not promote anything but space related activities.  Greener activities and climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
NASA shouldn't promote ANYTHING not space related, not religion, not politics.  It should be a non political agency.
Guess what, you're objectively wrong (to the level that anything here is objective). NASA has the atmosphere of the Earth as a core mission since its very founding charter in 1958:
"The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:

(1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;"

Studying climate is neither political nor religious, and it is a core mission of NASA to pursue this.

Different administrations and Congresses can & do set different emphases, but to claim it's not in NASA's core mission is blatant falsehood.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2017 11:28 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #42 on: 03/02/2017 11:27 PM »
was curious about this so I did a little digging:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Rainfall_Measuring_Mission
http://www.space.com/34764-goes-r-satellite-tracks-lightning-and-more.html
https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/jcsda/documents/seminardocs/Goodman20100526/Goodman_20100526.pdf

A lightning sensor launched in 1997 on TRMM,  a joint NASA-JAXA LEO satellite.   The correlation between storm activity and lightning activity was demonstrated based on TRMM data.

So looks like roughly 20 years from first launch of prototype to full-scale deployment.   (When the train -- in this case a major weather satellite upgrade - only leaves about once a decade, it's rough when you miss one..).


Thanks for the digging. I suspect that they had data that formed their hypothesis probably going back to the 1980s, because it probably took 3-5 years to build TRMM and a similar amount of time to propose it and get it funded. Would not surprise me if they had lightning sensors on the ground or in airplanes or weather balloons and they saw increases in lightning that correlated with increases in wind speed, rain, etc.

Going back to my point, it's a subtle one, but nevertheless important: research organizations and operational organizations work differently. They have different cultures and different priorities and values. And when you put them together in a single organization, the day-to-day operational requirements tend to suck all the money and resources from the research activities. That's a good reason to keep them separate. There are other reasons too, but I won't go into all of them here.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #43 on: 03/02/2017 11:35 PM »
So looks like roughly 20 years from first launch of prototype to full-scale deployment.   (When the train -- in this case a major weather satellite upgrade - only leaves about once a decade, it's rough when you miss one..).

Lemme reply to this comment separately. You are right about the limited opportunities. That's something that happens in other areas too--you get a spacecraft that lasts a really long time and one downside is that it might be a long time before new technology gets introduced.

But there could be another thing here too (caveat: I do not know if this is true), and that might be the underlying theory and science behind this correlation between lightning and storm intensity. TRMM might have shown them that there was a correlation--lightning increases and so does wind speed and rainfall and that's BAD. However, it might have taken a long time to figure out what the relationship was. For instance, does a 50% increase in lightning mean a 50% increase in wind speed? Or does 50% increase in lightning mean 20% increase in wind speed but a 60% increase in lightning mean a 100% increase in wind speed?

So TRMM flies in 1997 and collects data for a number of years. But then people have to analyze that data and argue over it and then somebody has to have the "Eureeka! I got it!" moment where they figure it all out. And then somebody has to say "We need to start putting lightning sensors on our GEO weather birds and they have to meet X, Y and Z requirements."

Something that I don't well understand about Earth science but that I've heard about is that you not only have to have satellites, but you have to have data processing systems on the ground, and you have to have lots of scientists, and you have to have this whole supporting infrastructure that makes it possible to take that data and turn it into goodness.

Offline high road

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #44 on: 03/03/2017 06:36 AM »
NASA should focus on Space related activities.  It should only use facts they find about earth's atmosphere, not promote anything but space related activities.  Greener activities and climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
NASA shouldn't promote ANYTHING not space related, not religion, not politics.  It should be a non political agency.

Not a bad idea. Increase the EPA's budget to allow it to gain the necessary competencies to operate satellites, and pass legislation based on the EPA's findings on climate change, and other impacts to the environment.

Unfortunately, that's not the plan. Until we live in a world where legislative processes are based on scientific research that we know for sure to not have been tampered with, defending scientific literacy is essential to all government agencies, no matter what the subject.

Offline Proponent

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #45 on: 03/03/2017 02:59 PM »
The trend under the Obama administration was that Earth funding kept increasing at the expense of planetary science. There was some push back from Congress on this. I expect the trend to reverse under the new administration. I don't know if funding for Earth sciences needs to be equal to planetary science but I think that there were close to eacher other in the past and that they will be closer to each other in the President's upcoming budget.

It's true that NASA's spending on earth science rose during the Obama administration, but, adjusted for inflation, it never got back to the levels seen during early in the Bush II administration -- see the attached chart (which I'd love to see going further back in time, but it looks like I would have to spend some time extracting the data myself), which is taken from the attached GAO report.

None of this answers the question as to what the appropriate level of earth-science funding is, but recent levels don't seem to be far out of line with pre-Bush II levels.  I don't see any reason to believe that earth science has become less important since 2000.

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #46 on: 03/03/2017 03:54 PM »
The issue on the table really isn't whether the Earth Sciences portion of NASA should be transferred, but whether NASA will receive an increase from the new administration or a decrease.

There are some here who believe that Trump wants to go to the Moon or Mars or somewhere great, and others who believe that Trump really doesn't care, and that NASA will get a decrease plus some speeches.


Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #47 on: 03/03/2017 04:54 PM »
The trend under the Obama administration was that Earth funding kept increasing at the expense of planetary science. There was some push back from Congress on this. I expect the trend to reverse under the new administration. I don't know if funding for Earth sciences needs to be equal to planetary science but I think that there were close to eacher other in the past and that they will be closer to each other in the President's upcoming budget.

It's true that NASA's spending on earth science rose during the Obama administration, but, adjusted for inflation, it never got back to the levels seen during early in the Bush II administration -- see the attached chart (which I'd love to see going further back in time, but it looks like I would have to spend some time extracting the data myself), which is taken from the attached GAO report.

None of this answers the question as to what the appropriate level of earth-science funding is, but recent levels don't seem to be far out of line with pre-Bush II levels.  I don't see any reason to believe that earth science has become less important since 2000.

Thanks, it would be interesting to see a chart showing how planetary science fared during these same years if you have that handy.

Offline Jim

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #48 on: 03/03/2017 05:06 PM »
Not a bad idea. Increase the EPA's budget to allow it to gain the necessary competencies to operate satellites, and pass legislation based on the EPA's findings on climate change, and other impacts to the environment.


Yes, it is. Why add another agency?  NOAA can operate them and does.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2017 05:07 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #49 on: 03/03/2017 05:08 PM »
climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
 

No, that is NASA's charter and NOAA's

Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #50 on: 03/03/2017 05:57 PM »
climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
 

No, that is NASA's charter and NOAA's

I was under the impression that NASA only obtains the data and doesn't actually do the climate change studying. At least that's what Bolden told Congressmen Palazzo, a couple of years ago.

Offline Jim

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #51 on: 03/03/2017 06:02 PM »
climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
 

No, that is NASA's charter and NOAA's

I was under the impression that NASA only obtains the data and doesn't actually do the climate change studying. At least that's what Bolden told Congressmen Palazzo, a couple of years ago.

splitting hairs.  You can't just collect data and not look at it

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #52 on: 03/03/2017 06:24 PM »
climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
 

No, that is NASA's charter and NOAA's

I was under the impression that NASA only obtains the data and doesn't actually do the climate change studying. At least that's what Bolden told Congressmen Palazzo, a couple of years ago.

splitting hairs.  You can't just collect data and not look at it

NASA also funds scientists who analyze the data via grants. NASA has some in-house scientists, but most of them tend to be on the operator side of things, designing and overseeing spacecraft and instruments.

Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #53 on: 03/03/2017 06:40 PM »
climate change studies should be done by the EPA, not NASA. 
 

No, that is NASA's charter and NOAA's

I was under the impression that NASA only obtains the data and doesn't actually do the climate change studying. At least that's what Bolden told Congressmen Palazzo, a couple of years ago.

splitting hairs.  You can't just collect data and not look at it

For the most part, someone else looks at it (based on what Bolden said and on Blackstar's post). But I don't think that it's splitting hair. Republicans in Congress aren't against NASA collecting Earth science data, they just disagree on the analysis that is being done from it.  So it matters to them what NASA is actually doing in respect of Earth science.

Online Lar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #54 on: 03/03/2017 07:00 PM »
I never said otherwise. But it went beyond that under the Obama Administration. NASA TV and the NASA website were promoting a greener environment. That is not their job in my opinion.

Here's to hoping that they reverse the trend and promote a less-green environment. Who needs clean air, anyway?

Mod hat on: Not a helpful comment, Blackstar. You're a thought leader here and well respected, even loved....and you can do better. Please do. Set a good example.

Mod hat off:

Research and operational observations are different things. And there are good reasons to separate them.
(snip)
(snip)
There are many good reasons to keep research programs and operational programs separate. One of them is that science needs the opportunity to chase down leads that go in odd directions. That's a cultural thing and a budget thing. But another reason is that operational programs--like weather satellites--are very important and urgent, and when they experience problems, they will immediately suck money away from "less urgent" programs. Thus, if you stuck the research programs and the operational programs in the same agency, you would always run the risk of starving the research.

Exactly. You have in your posts laid out a VERY cogent case.

This is why NASA should do research. Figure out new instruments for sats and what the data those instruments yield means. Then hand over the engineering to NOAA and when NOAA specs the next gen of sats, NOAA specs it so they (LM, or Boeing, or Loral or whoever) put the new instruments in, and NOAA or contractors builds the ground support infrastructure (computers and models and operations people and etc) so that the new data from the new instruments does useful things.... Sure, let NASA contract for the building and launching, but they are NOAA birds, NASA just got them up there because **at present** no one else has the overall project management expertise to do new classes of weather (or nav) birds[1].

This is so obvious. To us anyway. And to NASA and NOAA. So why are we arguing about this?.... Because it's not obvious to Congress, who ultimately doesn't give a fig about any of this, only about whether they can get reelected.

But now... connect the dots a bit more.....  If this is true for weather/nav satellites, isn't it true for launchers? And habs, and ECLSS, and ISRU and rovers and all the rest? NASA should do the research, advance the state of the art, and maybe, just maybe, if Blue or Bigelow or Audi isn't up to it yet, manage the creation of the first copies of these things. But only if they advance the state of the art.  NOT if you can do it with COTS.

SO, and since this is a thread about new budget realities and since Musk and Bezos both announced upcoming COTS services, to deliver cargo to luna, to send riders to luna, to send science to mars.... why is NASA building a launcher that DOES NOT ADVANCE THE STATE OF THE ART???   (don't try to claim SLS does, it's just bigger, not more sophisticated)

Again, this is obvious to most of us by now... NASA should not be doing this and SLS should die.  Most of us (maybe excluding a few people I won't name by name at this time) know this. Deep in their bones, they know it.

But Congress? Congress might know this but they don't care. Because ultimately Congress doesn't give a fig about any of this, only about whether they can get reelected.

1 - side note:  NASA no longer builds and launches civilian comms satellites. They don't need to. The commercial market makes money at it, enough money to fund R&D as well as operations. We're not there for weather because it's not clear who you charge for weather forecasts, we choose as a society to fund it as a public good. We may never be there. And that's OK.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Offline spacenut

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #55 on: 03/03/2017 07:19 PM »
It would be great if NASA could give some money to BO for moon settlement and then some money to SpaceX for Mars settlement.  Do both.  Just buy rides and space to do what they want to do at each settlement. 

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #56 on: 03/03/2017 08:47 PM »

But now... connect the dots a bit more.....  If this is true for weather/nav satellites, isn't it true for launchers?

This site already has several dozen active threads where people argue SLS vs. SpaceX. Why turn this one into yet another one of those endless discussions?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #57 on: 03/03/2017 08:57 PM »
Republicans in Congress aren't against NASA collecting Earth science data, they just disagree on the analysis that is being done from it.  So it matters to them what NASA is actually doing in respect of Earth science.

I'd dispute that. There are plenty of Republicans who see no need for NASA to be "collecting Earth science data." In fact, the disputes over NASA's Earth science budget are over how much they should collect, not how much they should analyze. If they simply disagreed with the analysis part, they would not want to eliminate spacecraft budgets. And most of the people who propose turning this over to NOAA really don't care if that hurts the field or not.

But I'd also point out that we should not lump all Republicans into the same boat. I think there are some who see much value in NASA's Earth science program. And there are some who actually understand issues concerning climate change. If your congressional district is on the Atlantic coast, you almost certainly have real estate developers coming in and telling you that rising ocean levels concern them (because their property will be worthless). And there are plenty of U.S. Navy admirals (not exactly pinko liberals they) who will tell members of Congress about how decreased ice cover in the Arctic is changing the Navy's operating sphere. So there are Republicans who get talked to by people other than climate scientists and realize that there is stuff going on--but they may publicly say something different than they believe because they have to satisfy their core constituents.

I'd also note that we should look at this issue over time. The big Earth Observation System actually got started during the first Bush administration. It was largely funded in the early 1990s. The issue of climate science got much more politicized in the last decade or so.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #58 on: 03/03/2017 11:45 PM »
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/03/white-house-proposes-steep-budget-cut-to-leading-climate-science-agency/?utm_term=.8c9d911a80ab

White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency

The Trump administration is seeking to slash one of the government’s premier climate science agencies by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs, according to a four-page budget memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would also eliminate funding for a variety of smaller programs including external research, coastal management, estuary reserves and “coastal resilience,” which seeks to bolster the ability of coastal areas to withstand major storms and rising seas.

NOAA is part of the Commerce Department budget, which would be hit  by an overall 18 percent reduction from its current funding level.

OMB also asked the Commerce Department to provide information about how much it would cost to lay off employees, while saying those employees who do remain with the department should get a 1.9 percent pay increase in January 2018. It requested estimates for terminating leases and government “property disposal.”

The Office of Management and Budget outline for Commerce for fiscal year 2018 proposed sharp reductions in specific areas within NOAA, such as spending on education, grants, and research. NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would lose $126 million, or 26 percent, of the funds it has under the current budget. Its satellite data division would lose $513 million, or 22 percent, of its current funding under the proposal.

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #59 on: 03/04/2017 03:19 AM »
I guess some politicians believe that tracking hurricanes is not the role of government.

Offline vulture4

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #60 on: 03/04/2017 04:06 AM »
For the most part, someone else looks at it (based on what Bolden said and on Blackstar's post). But I don't think that it's splitting hair. Republicans in Congress aren't against NASA collecting Earth science data, they just disagree on the analysis that is being done from it.  So it matters to them what NASA is actually doing in respect of Earth science.
NASA is doing much of the analysis, and there is no way to analyze the data objectively without coming to the conclusion that antropogenic CO2 release is causing global temperature to increase. There is some uncertainty abou the magnitude and rate of increase, but this can be resolved with additional data.

I discussed this directly with Congressman Posey's legislative aide. Perhaps in an unguarded moment, he said that Republicans in Congress are opposed to NASA collecting climate data. They would like to eliminate the entire NASA climate science budget and devote it to other purposes such as commercial crew. They do not, however, propose increasing the NOAA budget to permit NOAA to take over the NASA portion of the work. They believe that climate change is essentially a hoax perpetrated for political purposes. They feel the best way to eliminate the problem of climate change is to stop studying it. Without new data, they believe, there will be no way for their political opponents to claim there is a problem.
« Last Edit: 03/04/2017 04:10 AM by vulture4 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #61 on: 03/04/2017 04:12 AM »
For the most part, someone else looks at it (based on what Bolden said and on Blackstar's post). But I don't think that it's splitting hair. Republicans in Congress aren't against NASA collecting Earth science data, they just disagree on the analysis that is being done from it.  So it matters to them what NASA is actually doing in respect of Earth science.

I discussed this directly with Congressman Posey's legislative aide. He said that Republicans in Congress are opposed to NASA collecting climate data. They would like to eliminate the NASA climate science budget and devote it to other purposes such as commercial crew. They do not, however, propose increasing the NOAA budget to permit NOAA to take over the NASA portion of the work. They feel the best way to eliminate the problem of climate change is to stop studying it. They believe that climate change is essentially a hoax perpetrated for political purposes. Without new data, they believe, there will be no way for their political opponents to claim there is a problem.

Republicans have been in control of Congress for a while and none of these things have happened. Many Republicans now say that climate change exist but that it isn't man-made and that we shouldn't kill the economy over it.

Offline yg1968

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #62 on: 03/04/2017 04:19 AM »
I never said otherwise. But it went beyond that under the Obama Administration. NASA TV and the NASA website were promoting a greener environment. That is not their job in my opinion.

Here's to hoping that they reverse the trend and promote a less-green environment. Who needs clean air, anyway?

Mod hat on: Not a helpful comment, Blackstar. You're a thought leader here and well respected, even loved....and you can do better. Please do. Set a good example.

Mod hat off:

I was using humor to poke fun at a ridiculously-phrased comment.

For the humor-impaired: who is really going to argue against clean air and water? The argument is over how to get there.

You missed my point. NASA shouldn't be promoting a greener environment. That is not their job. They are not a pressure group or a NGO. They are also not the EPA. Anyways, I don't think that I will convince you. So I will stop trying.
« Last Edit: 03/04/2017 04:21 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #63 on: 03/04/2017 12:33 PM »
I guess some politicians believe that tracking hurricanes is not the role of government.


We'll see how this shakes out. The Post headline is pretty misleading because most of what NOAA does is NOT "climate" related. They do a lot of fisheries and maritime monitoring, for instance. And then there's the weather satellites. I think that the administration going after NOAA's budget is more about money than "climate" per se.

But Congress gets to weigh in on this. Congress does not dislike NOAA.

Offline RonM

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #64 on: 03/04/2017 03:44 PM »
Congress usually ignores a president's budget and make their own. We'll get a military increase and budget cuts to pay for it, but on Congress' terms.

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #65 on: 03/04/2017 03:51 PM »
Congress usually ignores a president's budget and make their own. We'll get a military increase and budget cuts to pay for it, but on Congress' terms.

And how will this impact NASA?

Offline RonM

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #66 on: 03/04/2017 04:24 PM »
Congress usually ignores a president's budget and make their own. We'll get a military increase and budget cuts to pay for it, but on Congress' terms.

And how will this impact NASA?

Hard to say, but Congress as a whole seems to like the NASA budget as is. SLS and Orion will probably continue to be funded. Earth sciences might take a hit since many conservatives don't like hearing about climate change.

My guess would be the continuation of fiscal irresponsibility we've had since 2000. Increase in military spending without enough cutting to pay for it. So, no change for NASA, bad news for some agencies, but not as bad as Trump proposed.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #67 on: 03/04/2017 06:02 PM »
Congress usually ignores a president's budget and make their own. We'll get a military increase and budget cuts to pay for it, but on Congress' terms.

And how will this impact NASA?


So here's an interesting thought question:

This week we saw the budgets for Department of State, EPA and now NOAA all leak. But NASA's budget didn't leak. Why do you think that might be?

Online Lar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #68 on: 03/04/2017 06:51 PM »
Congress usually ignores a president's budget and make their own. We'll get a military increase and budget cuts to pay for it, but on Congress' terms.

And how will this impact NASA?


So here's an interesting thought question:

This week we saw the budgets for Department of State, EPA and now NOAA all leak. But NASA's budget didn't leak. Why do you think that might be?

Because it isn't done? (unlikely)
Because that agency is better at controlling leaks (also unlikely)
Because it is so bad that leaking it would cause such an uproar that the 45 team knows better (dubious but maybe)
Because it's an increase? (also unlikely)

I can't think of a reason that it actually might be as yet unleaked that seems at all likely... what do you think, Blackstar? Why hasn't it been leaked yet like everything else in the most leak prone admin in a while?


Mod hat on:  When I say something with "mod hat on" and someone disagrees? Press the report to mod button. That bucks it upstairs for Chris to see it (and possibly tell me I'm full of it... it happens)  Don't argue in forum. That post got deleted. Even though it had other useful things in it, it got deleted anyway.
« Last Edit: 03/04/2017 06:56 PM by Lar »
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Online Lar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #69 on: 03/04/2017 06:55 PM »

But now... connect the dots a bit more.....  If this is true for weather/nav satellites, isn't it true for launchers?

This site already has several dozen active threads where people argue SLS vs. SpaceX. Why turn this one into yet another one of those endless discussions?

We don't need to, but the thread title is "budget realities" not "NOAA satellite realities".

SLS is budget... and so it is on topic. I wasn't intending to spark a discussion of SLS vs. SpaceX, just give an example of how congress is short sighted and can't see past their own reelection or petty agendas. Not just for NOAA, but for every single thing to do with NASA. Sadly.

If you didn't like how I was making my point and wanted to complain that I was going off topic? Press the mod button. That's what it's for.
« Last Edit: 03/04/2017 06:57 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #70 on: 03/04/2017 07:07 PM »
If you didn't like how I was making my point and wanted to complain that I was going off topic? Press the mod button. That's what it's for.

It was not a complaint about going off-topic. I was pointing out that the comment was just re-hashing an argument that already appears in multiple places. Certainly there are other less-explored discussions for this thread?

And I generally don't complain to mods about off-topic stuff. I figure that the adults can take care of themselves without calling a hall monitor.

Offline Danderman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #71 on: 03/06/2017 03:18 AM »
I don't expect an SLS or exploration decision any time soon, so by not making a decision, they are making the decision to continue to build SLS with no funded use for it beyond a one shot.

« Last Edit: 03/07/2017 10:17 PM by Danderman »

Online Lar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #72 on: 03/07/2017 10:10 PM »
I don't expect an SLS or exploration decision any time soon, so by not making a decision, they are making the decision to continue to build SLS with a funded use for it beyond a one shot.

Yep!

"If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice"  - Rush [1]

1 - the Cygnus X-1/Red Barchetta/2112 guys, not the bloviator.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #73 on: 03/07/2017 10:10 PM »
So here's an interesting thought question:

This week we saw the budgets for Department of State, EPA and now NOAA all leak. But NASA's budget didn't leak. Why do you think that might be?
Still hoping someone will advance some theories... :)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline mme

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #74 on: 03/07/2017 10:23 PM »
So here's an interesting thought question:

This week we saw the budgets for Department of State, EPA and now NOAA all leak. But NASA's budget didn't leak. Why do you think that might be?
Still hoping someone will advance some theories... :)
I'll bite. NASA is not really all that relevant to his world view, his base nor his opponents...
Source: Google Trends

Edit: Blarg, I did it worldwide, not focussed on the US but the results are the basically the same.

Second Edit: OK, one more completely unscientific Google Trend to over explain why we don't have a leaked NASA budget.  I really don't think NASA is on this administration's radar much beyond the fact that NASA was preforming and helping with some pesky climate science.

I did find an article that says that Trump intended to "call for the restoration of manned missions launched from the U.S."  in the joint address but that was cut out of the speech for time.  Of course to achieve that all he has to do is keep funding Commercial Crew a bit longer.  But in the same article, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks warned that there may be cuts to offset the military spending increases.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2017 11:40 PM by mme »
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline mme

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #75 on: 03/08/2017 12:09 AM »
I don't expect an SLS or exploration decision any time soon, so by not making a decision, they are making the decision to continue to build SLS with no funded use for it beyond a one shot.
I think you nailed it, at least for the next year.
Statement by Smith and Babin:

https://science.house.gov/news/press-releases/house-approves-nasa-transition-authorization-act

Quote
Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas): “The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that creates certainty and long-term stability for NASA and America’s human space flight programs. The bill continues support for the International Space Station, the Space Launch System, the Orion crew vehicle, and the commercial cargo and crew programs.  Its passage puts NASA and America on a clear path forward into the next chapter of space exploration.

So I guess the real questions is what happens with:

Quote
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): ... It also directs NASA to create a roadmap for human exploration and guides the future path of exploration for decades to come.  With the passage of this bill, we take another step in making America great again. ”

But since Greg Autry left the transition team I bet they stick to the "Commercial Space will do LEO, we'll do BEO" story.  Destination Moon or Mars?  Maybe they'll bring back the Ares I. :D
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline AncientU

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #76 on: 03/08/2017 02:21 PM »
Congress usually ignores a president's budget and make their own. We'll get a military increase and budget cuts to pay for it, but on Congress' terms.

And how will this impact NASA?


So here's an interesting thought question:

This week we saw the budgets for Department of State, EPA and now NOAA all leak. But NASA's budget didn't leak. Why do you think that might be?

Not sure if this helps answer (re 2018 budget, from NASA Watch):

Quote
"To the president and his supporters who see a bloated bureaucracy with lots of duplication and rules that choke jobs, the budget cuts are a necessary first step to make government run more efficiently. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said this week that non-military spending will take the "largest-proposed reduction since the early years of the Reagan administration." To prepare for that possibility, agencies are preparing to shave 10 percent off their budgets, on average. And words like buyouts, furloughs and RIFs (or reduction in force) - government-speak for layoffs - are now being tossed around at the water cooler as civil servants face the possibility of massive downsizing. Some of these strategies were used when Ronald Reagan was president and others more recently to meet the goals of budget caps known as sequestration."

Quote
there were "some very depressed people up on the 9th floor working on the budget passback to OMB"
http://nasawatch.com/archives/2017/03/heads-up-nasa-p.html

and

Quote
"Last week, the White House released budget guidance to NASA and other government agencies for Fiscal Year 2018. In a normal, non-transition year this guidance - typically called "The Passback" -- would have been received shortly after Thanksgiving. Timing of this budget effort is not unusual during a transition year, but it is also important to point out that discussions are still underway. We're not yet at a point during this deliberative process where we have enough firm details to discuss the budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018. You may have already heard some of what we are able to share. The Administration is preparing a Fiscal Year 2018 budget that would increase base military spending by $54 billion, to be offset by $54 billion in funds reallocated from the overall pool of resources available for domestic discretionary programs. While the final numbers for the agency and its programs are going through this give and take process, we remain confident in the Administration support for NASA."
http://nasawatch.com/

Sounds like mostly 'take.'
« Last Edit: 03/08/2017 02:33 PM by AncientU »
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Offline incoming

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #77 on: 03/09/2017 06:45 PM »
on the "why no nasa budget leak" question....

Because it isn't done? (unlikely)
Because that agency is better at controlling leaks (also unlikely)
Because it is so bad that leaking it would cause such an uproar that the 45 team knows better (dubious but maybe)
Because it's an increase? (also unlikely)

I can't think of a reason that it actually might be as yet unleaked that seems at all likely... what do you think, Blackstar? Why hasn't it been leaked yet like everything else in the most leak prone admin in a while?


I agree with all of your characterizations, but there is another option - that it isn't news.  People leak things for a couple of reasons: 1) because they are angry and want to raise public attention to something 2) they are proud and/or happy about something and want everyone to know it

So the alternative that you did not mention (and which seems most likely based on Robert Lightfoot's comments reported by spacenews), is that NASA did better than lots of other people but not great.  So...flat maybe?
« Last Edit: 03/09/2017 06:46 PM by incoming »

Offline Kansan52

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #78 on: 03/09/2017 07:03 PM »
My 2 pennies, Not enough headlines if they leaked it so they didn't bother.

Offline Tea Party Space Czar

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #79 on: 03/10/2017 05:16 AM »

So here's an interesting thought question:

This week we saw the budgets for Department of State, EPA and now NOAA all leak. But NASA's budget didn't leak. Why do you think that might be?

NASA is about .40 of one percent of the budget.  Nothing yet to report.  "Soon"(tm) I am told.

I find this fascinating.   Just enjoying the ride.
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What we want and what we can afford are two very different things.

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Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #80 on: 03/10/2017 06:03 AM »
Maybe they'll bring back the Ares I. :D
No! Don't even joke about it!  That part of our long national nightmare is over and gone. :D ;D

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #81 on: 03/10/2017 04:28 PM »
Quote
Eric Berger ‏Verified account @SciGuySpace 3m3 minutes ago

Hearing NASA's budget will be cut by about $1b for FY 2018 in presidents request. About 5 percent.

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/840251960070688768

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #82 on: 03/10/2017 04:33 PM »
Quote
Eric Berger ‏Verified account @SciGuySpace 3m3 minutes ago

Hearing NASA's budget will be cut by about $1b for FY 2018 in presidents request. About 5 percent.

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/840251960070688768
I have no problems with that, just cut it from a program that has no mission...
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Offline TomH

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #83 on: 03/13/2017 04:13 AM »
As a famous philosopher once said, people should "sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."  I've already seen panicked posts about the budget process on other websites.  We can do better than that here.

That was simply rude and uncalled for.

News headlines

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/through-his-budget-a-bottom-line-look-at-trumps-new-washington/2017/03/12/29739206-05be-11e7-b9fa-ed727b644a0b_story.html?utm_term=.861af94d2fcd

are saying the budget he will propose this week will have the largest cuts since the end of WWII. And if you think Republicans in Congress will be unhappy with that.......................


Offline AncientU

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #84 on: 03/13/2017 09:56 AM »
Quote
Eric Berger ‏Verified account @SciGuySpace 3m3 minutes ago

Hearing NASA's budget will be cut by about $1b for FY 2018 in presidents request. About 5 percent.

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/840251960070688768
I have no problems with that, just cut it from a program that has no mission...

Unfortunately, the piece missing so far in our discussion is headcount.  Painful reductions in Federal employment will be a significant part of any reductions -- not just programs (and their contractors) -- if the administration gets what they campaigned on.
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Offline Sesquipedalian

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Re: New Budget Realities
« Reply #85 on: 03/17/2017 09:38 PM »
As a famous philosopher once said, people should "sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."  I've already seen panicked posts about the budget process on other websites.  We can do better than that here.

That was simply rude and uncalled for.

It's rude to appeal to our better natures and encourage level-headed discussion?  I'd like to know on what planet running around like the sky is falling is considered polite.

Anyway, in the days since your post, events have proven that NASA remains a high priority in the Trump administration.

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