Author Topic: Its time to corporatise NASA  (Read 6922 times)

Offline Jim

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #20 on: 05/31/2010 01:33 PM »

1.  Why couldn't NASA, as a corporatised entity just do the lot?

2.   If it wants to pitch to Government a particular space mission it designs it itself and markets it the same way any private firm does.

3.   The difference is that NASA Corp would have its eye on its bottom line and pitch projects that are going to be profitable for it. It could likewise pitch projects to foreign governments. It could use its assets to make money in whatever way would yield a return. It could do all this without the shackles of Federal Government policy as to how it operates its business. That would be for it to decide.

4.  If it wants to conduct launch services it does it itself. It it wants to contract launch services out it is free to do so as it see fit. No more pork barrelling of jobs for this state or that state.


1.  Because there are already companies that do it.  It is not the job of the gov't to compete in the marketplace.

2.  a.Who in the gov't is the pitch going to be made to?   If you don't know the answer, then you don't know what NASA does. 

b.  And if there are private firms, why does the gov't need to create a new one.

3.  As long as any entity is using US gov't money, it is shackled to Federal Government policy

4.  See #4 and hence pork barrel

« Last Edit: 05/31/2010 01:35 PM by Jim »

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #21 on: 05/31/2010 01:36 PM »
Time I think to let others speak.
Attempting to dismiss Jim's factual comments will not change the facts.
This will not work, move on.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #22 on: 05/31/2010 01:40 PM »
Time I think to let others speak.

You aren't going to get a different POV that agrees with you.  If the US Gov't is going to fund a US space program, there will be a NASA like the existing one or like NACA.  No US Gov't space program, no NASA.  There is no privatizing of NASA.

Even, if NASA were changed to FFDRC's, it/they would not be entities that can compete on the commercial  market. 

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #23 on: 05/31/2010 02:14 PM »
Time I think to let others speak.

You aren't going to get a different POV that agrees with you.  If the US Gov't is going to fund a US space program, there will be a NASA like the existing one or like NACA.  No US Gov't space program, no NASA.  There is no privatizing of NASA.

Even, if NASA were changed to FFDRC's, it/they would not be entities that can compete on the commercial  market. 

Sorry Jim, there are others that would agree with a privatized NASA, BUT the goat in the equation is as you have stated, the US Governmental Structures and Strictures would refuse to bend to allow such an entity to exist, even if it were created from scratch; it would probably work in another country, like Canada or Australia, where we have come at this privatization from a different direction; Government builds and Private Industry Runs, with in some cases Governmental oversite; can think of several examples here in Canada; the railroads, Canada Post and here in Ontario, our one and only toll road, the 407;
     nice idea, but just the wrong nation ;(
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Offline Jim

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #24 on: 05/31/2010 02:32 PM »

1.  Sorry Jim, there are others that would agree with a privatized NASA, BUT the goat in the equation is as you have stated, the US Governmental Structures and Strictures would refuse to bend to allow such an entity to exist, even if it were created from scratch; it would probably work in another country, like Canada or Australia, where we have come at this privatization from a different direction;

2.  Government builds and Private Industry Runs, with in some cases Governmental oversite; can think of several examples here in Canada; the railroads, Canada Post and here in Ontario, our one and only toll road, the 407;


1.  Then those who do, don't understand what NASA is or does.  Running a railroad or delivering the mail is not the same thing as running a space program.  The basic task for delivering the mail never changes.  As formulating and conceptualizing space projects and programs is not the same.

2.  NASA has already privatized several operations.   Delta and Atlas launch vehicles were turned over to private companies to operate.  Yes, it has reduced the number of NASA employees, but it didn't eliminate NASA's role.  USA role in the shuttle was increased while NASA's decrease.  Yes, you can reduce NASA's role in day to day routine operations, but you can't eliminate the organization if you are to maintain a gov't space program.
« Last Edit: 05/31/2010 02:34 PM by Jim »

Offline butters

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #25 on: 05/31/2010 02:44 PM »
Corporations are productive institutions.  NASA is a consumptive institution.

NASA does not exist to add value or generate profits or compete in a marketplace.

NASA's role is to purchase aerospace products on behalf of the American people, who value these products as a national interest but do not have the means to purchase them as individual consumers.

« Last Edit: 05/31/2010 02:45 PM by butters »

Offline khallow

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #26 on: 06/01/2010 01:32 PM »
The core problem with the proposal is simply that NASA doesn't provide a lot of services with concrete monetary value. How do you sell climate data or imagery of Titan?

If one looks at actual commercialization efforts in the space industry (namely, Arianespace and the former Soviet Republic efforts), they all are based on providing launch services for a profit. Those have a concrete demand. NASA could do something similar with the Shuttle or other NASA vehicles (assuming laws of the land were changed), either commercializing the entire Shuttle operations (so that a commercial though mostly government owned entity ran the Shuttles. An example is the Dnepr rocket) or letting a commercial entity sell access to a government-run vehicle (such as Starsem sells access to Soyuz).

So spinning off economically viable parts of NASA would be feasible (and something with a bit of positive history), but not commercializing the entire organization.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2010 01:34 PM by khallow »
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Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #27 on: 06/01/2010 01:35 PM »
g.  Gov't agencies don't get corporatised.

But, then can get contractor-operated.  I work for a GOCO (Government Owned Contractor Operated).

I'm not all that convinced there's savings and less bureaucracy using this method.  Perhaps.

Online KelvinZero

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #28 on: 06/02/2010 12:43 PM »
It seems to be that pberret is saying NASA should be a company that the government buys services off, whereas Jim is saying that We already do have that situation, except the companies are Boeing etc etc, and NASA is the branch of the government that buys service off them.

So instead of corporatizing NASA, you could instead ask if NASA should be smaller and buy more services from corporations. I heard somewhere that the Constellation design was rather more in-house than things are normally done. If that is true then disallowing such in-house design would be in effect corporatizing NASA; slightly different semantics but the same effect. Also these semantics let corporatising NASA be a sliding scale, not an all or nothing thing.

It might mean more missions for Delta Heavy also :)

btw, is it true as I asserted above that Constellation was more in-house than usual? It is just something I heard and cannot support.


Offline cozmicray

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #29 on: 06/02/2010 05:02 PM »
FFRDC  Federally Funded Research and Development Centers

NASA could become a FFRDC

List of FFRDCs

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf05306/

Offline Jorge

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #30 on: 06/02/2010 05:47 PM »
FFRDC  Federally Funded Research and Development Centers

NASA could become a FFRDC

List of FFRDCs

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf05306/


Every successful FFRDC started off that way. There is no precedent for successful conversion of a conventional government center to an FFRDC.
JRF

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #31 on: 06/02/2010 05:52 PM »
Every successful FFRDC started off that way. There is no precedent for successful conversion of a conventional government center to an FFRDC.

Are there precedents for unsuccessful conversions?
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Offline Archibald

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #32 on: 06/02/2010 06:00 PM »
There a 2004 document on the subject
http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/63427main_RFI_ffrdc_mod1.pdf

Quote
In this respect, NASA Centers such as Goddard Space Flight Center and Ames Research Center are the most amenable to transitioning to an FFRDC. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, already an FFDC, bears some of the characteristics described herein. Centers such as Johnson, Marshall, Kennedy, etc. could be considered for some form of alternative management structure with a greater private sector character, but there would likely be greater strengths in the profit making or entrepreneurial sectors for such institutional structures.
« Last Edit: 06/02/2010 06:02 PM by Archibald »
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Offline Jorge

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #33 on: 06/02/2010 06:07 PM »
Every successful FFRDC started off that way. There is no precedent for successful conversion of a conventional government center to an FFRDC.

Are there precedents for unsuccessful conversions?

There may soon be, if conversion is attempted for Johnson, Marshall, or Kennedy.
JRF

Offline pberrett

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #34 on: 06/03/2010 12:45 PM »
Some interesting discussion ensuing here.I have not heard of a FFRDC before but it sounds similar to the corporatisation I was talking about ie maintaining government ownership of the enterprise but with a corporate structure and practices similar to that used in private enterprise. So it seems it is not only possible, the US has used the structure before.

I do stress though that there needs to be devolution of decision making to NASA so that spending decisions are made on economic merit and not to boost jobs in a particular area. I hope that a FFDRC might facilitate that but am open to other ways to faciliate NASA spending decisions being based on economic not political considerations.

I take Jim's point about NASA subcontracting out work already but whatever functions NASA performs now or in the future, it is arguable that a corporate structure could give NASA more independence in its decision making re how it spends its funds and facilitate the use of private sector management in a public sector context.

Just because NASA doesn't turn a profit doesn't mean that it can't be run like a business. 

Offline pberrett

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #35 on: 06/03/2010 12:47 PM »
I might add that I had a chuckle when I saw talk of "conversions" of various centres.

Maybe Jim will now see the light :)

Offline Jim

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #36 on: 06/03/2010 01:05 PM »
I might add that I had a chuckle when I saw talk of "conversions" of various centres.

Maybe Jim will now see the light :)



No, you are still wrong.  The conversions to FFRDC are not the same as your idea. They are non profit.  It doesn't change what NASA does or how it does it.  It just changes how the workers get paid.  NASA overall would still be a gov't agency.  It does not change NASA Headquarters.  JPL is already a FFRDC and has higher labor rates than other NASA centers

BTW, I brought up FFDRC's. 
« Last Edit: 06/03/2010 01:23 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #37 on: 06/03/2010 01:12 PM »
1.  Some interesting discussion ensuing here.I have not heard of a FFRDC before but it sounds similar to the corporatisation I was talking about ie maintaining government ownership of the enterprise but with a corporate structure and practices similar to that used in private enterprise. So it seems it is not only possible, the US has used the structure before.

2.  I do stress though that there needs to be devolution of decision making to NASA so that spending decisions are made on economic merit and not to boost jobs in a particular area. I hope that a FFDRC might facilitate that but am open to other ways to faciliate NASA spending decisions being based on economic not political considerations.

3.  I take Jim's point about NASA subcontracting out work already but whatever functions NASA performs now or in the future, it is arguable that a corporate structure could give NASA more independence in its decision making re how it spends its funds and facilitate the use of private sector management in a public sector context.

4.  Just because NASA doesn't turn a profit doesn't mean that it can't be run like a business. 

You still don't understand, it changes nothing wrt what you are proposing.

1.  a.  It does not mean that corporate structure and practices similar to that used in private enterprise would be followed.  (The Aerospace  Corp looks like a NASA org)

b.  Also, how do you know that corporate structure and practices similar to that used in private enterprise are not followed now?   ALso even private companies get played around with by politics.

2.  It does nothing to this affect.  A few NASA centers may become FFRDC's, but NASA as a whole is still a gov't agency and still would be subject to the whims of congress

3.  It is not carguable that a corporate structure could give NASA more independence in its decision making, see #3.  As long as congress is providing the money, NASA is going to have to deal with pork.

4.  Who says it isn't?  Also, that doesn't mean it is going to change things.

Basically, you don't understand NASA's role in the US Gov't.  It is to do things for the US Gov't and for the US public (nation).  It is not to do things for US consumers or US companies or to compete in the commercial market, that is the job of private companies. 
« Last Edit: 06/03/2010 01:18 PM by Jim »

Offline khallow

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Re: Its time to corporatise NASA
« Reply #38 on: 06/04/2010 04:23 AM »

Just because NASA doesn't turn a profit doesn't mean that it can't be run like a business.

I disagree. You're throwing away the fundamental characteristic of a business, namely that it is run to make a profit (even if making a profit isn't the primary goal, the business goes bankrupt in the long term, if it spends more than than it earns).
Karl Hallowell

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