Author Topic: In a change of attitude, NASA appears to embrace private rockets  (Read 15494 times)

Offline RonM

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2016
  • Atlanta, Georgia USA
  • Liked: 914
  • Likes Given: 714
This is why Congress will never allow the President to line item veto.  None of these programs could stand up to a super-majority vote... most wouldn't achieve a plurality if voted on the record, one at a time.

Actually, there was the Line Item Veto Act of 1996. Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. Then it was immediately challenged and ruled unconstitutional. The Supreme Court confirmed the ruling in 1998.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5017
  • Liked: 730
  • Likes Given: 498
Let's assume that your conclusion is correct and that "Congress" (which you are using to refer to a select subsection of Congress) funds these programs "primarily because of pork."

So what?

What are you going to do with that information? What is the value of that conclusion?

I'd also add that this would not make space any different than any other thing that is funded by the federal government. I'm sure that we would all be shocked--just shocked!--to discover that the biggest proponents of farm subsidies come from farm states. And the biggest proponents of building submarines come from states where submarines are built. And the biggest proponents of allowing oil drilling on federal lands tend to come from states where oil drilling is a major enterprise.

What am I going to do with the information?  Pretty much what I do with most of the information I absorb or deduce from this forum, which is to say nothing much, aside from think about it and talk about it.

There are no doubt inefficiencies and conflicts of interest in submarine building, oil drilling too, and, for that matter, in other NASA programs.  However, submarines do actually get built, oil gets pumped (albeit with huge public subsidies) and NASA's other programs often reach fruition.  The Shuttle-derived something or other, on the other hand, is into its second decade and still does not even have any clearly-defined objectives.  Perhaps in its third decade it will do something new and notable, like put up a cis-lunar hab, but that will be a small shadow of what was promised when the program was kicked off.  It seems a marvel of inefficiency and diminishing expectations, yet so many within and without government are happy with it.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5017
  • Liked: 730
  • Likes Given: 498
The biggest symbol of all that work was Ares V. The Yet-Another-Committee Committee determined that they did indeed need a Big Rocket, and that's what they got, sort of, years later, almost.

Augustine never said that an SLS-sized rocket was needed; 50 tonnes was deemed sufficient.  And the NRC avoided the question of launch vehicles altogether by simply assuming that SLS would be used (Mitch Daniels seems like the kind of guy who knows a third rail when sees one!).

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5017
  • Liked: 730
  • Likes Given: 498
Just off the top of my head the blunders in early 2010 were:

...

-scrambling after all the controversy to come up with a new goal, which led to Obama going to KSC and saying "It's asteroids."

By that time, Obama had acceded to congressional demands for Orion a Shuttle-derived launch vehicle.  Given that, what else could he have done?  Promising to go to back to the moon would have raised the question of funding for the lunar lander, which, as we've seen in the years since, Congress itself is unwilling to fund.

Though widely panned (and I'm one of the panners, and as you've pointed out it's not obvious that even the administration was serious about it), ARM seems a pretty clever way to satisfy the conflicting demands imposed by Congress (use Orion/SLS but don't give NASA more money), because the additional technology and hardware required was robotic and, therefore, much cheaper than a lander or a deep-space hab (and, incidentally, in line with the administration's desire to develop new technology).

In an ironic twisf of fate, it now looks as though ARM's large electric-propulsion system may survive ARM's demise.  So some useful technology may come out of the whole sorry episode after all!
« Last Edit: 03/23/2017 02:39 PM by Proponent »

Tags: