Author Topic: New Budget Realities  (Read 11621 times)

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10584
  • Liked: 2163
  • Likes Given: 1
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.

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 25901
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 5945
  • Likes Given: 4413
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

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10584
  • Liked: 2163
  • Likes Given: 1
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.

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10584
  • Liked: 2163
  • Likes Given: 1
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 569
  • Europe
  • Liked: 143
  • Likes Given: 32
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4970
  • Liked: 702
  • Likes Given: 477
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

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9450
  • Liked: 332
  • Likes Given: 423
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8899
  • Liked: 1063
  • Likes Given: 700
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

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30380
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 8691
  • Likes Given: 283
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

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30380
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 8691
  • Likes Given: 283
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8899
  • Liked: 1063
  • Likes Given: 700
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

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30380
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 8691
  • Likes Given: 283
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

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10584
  • Liked: 2163
  • Likes Given: 1
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8899
  • Liked: 1063
  • Likes Given: 700
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.

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7572
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4480
  • Likes Given: 3004
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
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online spacenut

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1802
  • East Alabama
  • Liked: 214
  • Likes Given: 158
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. 

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10584
  • Liked: 2163
  • Likes Given: 1
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?

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10584
  • Liked: 2163
  • Likes Given: 1
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.

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10584
  • Liked: 2163
  • Likes Given: 1
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

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9450
  • Liked: 332
  • Likes Given: 423
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.

Tags: