Author Topic: Rohrabacher - Russian Launch Failure; Calls for Emergency Commercial Funding  (Read 25586 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                       
 
August 24, 2011

Contact: Tara Setmayer 

Rohrabacher Statement on Implications of Russian Soyuz Launch Failure

Calls for Emergency Funding of U.S. Commercial Crew Systems to End Dependency on Russian Launch Vehicles

 

Washington, DC- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued the following statement in reaction to today’s failure  of the Russian Progress Soyuz cargo rocket:

 

“Today, Russia’s Soyuz launch vehicle failed to boost the Progress M-12M cargo ship into orbit to deliver needed supplies to the International Space Station.  This failure should be a cause of grave concern, and a moment of reexamination of America’s space strategy,” said Rohrabacher.

“Today’s Russian rocket failure will interrupt ISS cargo deliveries, and could threaten crew transportation as well. NASA needs to conduct an investigation before another Soyuz spacecraft with new ISS crew members can be launched, and it is unknown how long such an investigation will take.”

“I hope this is a minor problem with a quick and simple fix,” said Rohrabacher. “But this episode underscores America’s need for reliable launch systems of its own to carry cargo and crew into space.  The only way to achieve this goal is to place more emphasis on commercial cargo and crew systems currently being developed by American companies.

“We need to get on with the task of building affordable launch systems to meet our nation’s needs for access to low Earth orbit,  instead of promoting grandiose concepts which keep us vulnerable in the short and medium terms. The most responsible course of action for the United States is to dramatically accelerate the commercial crew systems already under development.

“I am calling on General Bolden, the NASA Administrator, to propose an emergency transfer of funding from unobligated balances in other programs, including the Space Launch System, to NASA’s commercial crew initiative.  Funding should be used to speed up the efforts of the four current industry partners to develop their systems and potentially expand the recent awards to include the best applicants for launch vehicle development.

“NASA could potentially transfer several hundred million dollars from this long term development concept, since the SLS project has not even started, to the more urgently needed systems that can launch astronauts to ISS, reliably and affordably.  This transfer will boost the development of American controlled technology and greatly reduce our dependence on the Russians.”

Rep. Rohrabacher is a senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Offline psloss

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Interesting.  (Edit -- well, interesting as politics goes.  Maybe not as interesting otherwise.)  I would not have predicted seeing a news/press release from him first...anyone know if another representative came out with something before this?

(The content of the release not as surprising.)
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 10:29 PM by psloss »

Offline Comga

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One thing NASA could do real quick is to try and buy from SpaceX the payload positions of the Orbcomm sattelites on COTS-2.    SpaceX would be able to deorbit the second stage immediately after boosting Dragon to it's rendezvous orbit. This would obviate all of the safety reviews for those secondary payloads, which are said to be the last hurdles to clear before NASA approves combining the COTS-2 & -3 missions. 

They should be able to do that for less than the $50M cost of an entire Falcon 9 flight, but there is always some price for a commercial service to which SpaceX and Orbcomm would agree.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Space Pete

Gotta love politicians manipulating events for their own political purposes. ::)

"NASA needs to conduct an investigation before another Soyuz spacecraft with new ISS crew members can be launched" - didn't know Rohrabacher had a PhD in rocket science.
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Robotbeat

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Interesting.  (Edit -- well, interesting as politics goes.  Maybe not as interesting otherwise.)  I would not have predicted seeing a news/press release from him first...anyone know if another representative came out with something before this?

(The content of the release not as surprising.)

I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 10:33 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 mmeijeri

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I bet he had that press release lying around just in case.
We will be vic-toooooo-ri-ous!!!

Offline Rocket Science

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Well, we all knew of this… So no one needs to say I told you so, or do we? Same old, same old “failure of imagination.  So now we are in back to “go fever” again. Maybe the U.S. can only operate in this mode… Always reactive vs. proactive, so be it if it gets the job done…
Regards
Robert
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 10:43 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"

Offline psloss

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Interesting.  (Edit -- well, interesting as politics goes.  Maybe not as interesting otherwise.)  I would not have predicted seeing a news/press release from him first...anyone know if another representative came out with something before this?

(The content of the release not as surprising.)

I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.
Depends on what you mean by "patriotic...when it comes to space."  I think of his space policy positions as being much more market-oriented than prestige-oriented.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.

Yes, and the fact that SpaceX is based in California is definetely not a factor, and the resulting potential capital from CRS/Commercial crew flights for SpaceX is not a factor at all

 And people complain about Utah and ATK ::)
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 10:48 PM by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline Robotbeat

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Interesting.  (Edit -- well, interesting as politics goes.  Maybe not as interesting otherwise.)  I would not have predicted seeing a news/press release from him first...anyone know if another representative came out with something before this?

(The content of the release not as surprising.)

I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.
Depends on what you mean by "patriotic...when it comes to space."  I think of his space policy positions as being much more market-oriented than prestige-oriented.
Those two aren't mutually exclusive. It's certainly possible to have a (domestic) market-oriented AND prestige-oriented space policy position. I'd imagine that's what he would say.

Regardless, he ain't no fan of the Ruskies.
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 Robotbeat

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I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.

Yes, and the fact that SpaceX is based in California is definetely not a factor, and the resulting potential capital from CRS/Commercial crew flights for SpaceX is not a factor at all...
I never said it wasn't a factor.
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 Jim

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I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.

Yes, and the fact that SpaceX is based in California is definetely not a factor, and the resulting potential capital from CRS/Commercial crew flights for SpaceX is not a factor at all

 And people complain about Utah and ATK ::)

He is a rep and not a senator.  Spacex is not in his district.

Offline baldusi

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One thing NASA could do real quick is to try and buy from SpaceX the payload positions of the Orbcomm sattelites on COTS-2.    SpaceX would be able to deorbit the second stage immediately after boosting Dragon to it's rendezvous orbit. This would obviate all of the safety reviews for those secondary payloads, which are said to be the last hurdles to clear before NASA approves combining the COTS-2 & -3 missions.
I think that there are longer poles in the ISS, the software upgrade to be able to use the Canarm, for example. Personally, I would make SpaceX launch on December and do a further review of its mission. There's so much pressure on them at this time that they would need to be extra careful. Was it Napoleon that told his chamberlain: "Dress me slowly since I'm in a hurry"?
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 11:01 PM by baldusi »

Offline psloss

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Those two aren't mutually exclusive. It's certainly possible to have a (domestic) market-oriented AND prestige-oriented space policy position. I'd imagine that's what he would say.
I don't recall him making the prestige argument as much as others (who aren't advocating what he is, and vice versa).  Which is why it's clever politically...the timing, too.

Offline Robotbeat

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Those two aren't mutually exclusive. It's certainly possible to have a (domestic) market-oriented AND prestige-oriented space policy position. I'd imagine that's what he would say.
I don't recall him making the prestige argument as much as others (who aren't advocating what he is, and vice versa).  Which is why it's clever politically...the timing, too.
I would imagine he has a different understanding of "prestige" than what others may, probably viewing a robust domestic commercial spaceflight industry as prestigious, as opposed to a government operated launch vehicle.
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 11:02 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 psloss

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"Failure of Russian Resupply Mission Underscores Need to Sustain America’s Leadership in Space"
http://hutchison.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=746
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 11:04 PM by psloss »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.

Yes, and the fact that SpaceX is based in California is definetely not a factor, and the resulting potential capital from CRS/Commercial crew flights for SpaceX is not a factor at all

 And people complain about Utah and ATK ::)

He is a rep and not a senator.  Spacex is not in his district.

Its right next door, and one district undoubtfully has an effect on the other...

Not that I dont agree that the US does need a resupply/crew exchange vehicle.  However at this time I am not so sure that both should be from one line, in this case SpaceX and Dragon as both will be grounded as seen with this Progress flight and Soyuz.

Also like to show the "nuspace" fans that SpaceX and others use the same tactics as ATK and "old space"
« Last Edit: 08/24/2011 11:12 PM by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline Robotbeat

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I'm not surprised he was the first. He's quite the patriotic fellow when it comes to space, not liking the idea of relying on the Russians one bit! He is the most outspoken in that respect. A red-blooded American type.

Yes, and the fact that SpaceX is based in California is definetely not a factor, and the resulting potential capital from CRS/Commercial crew flights for SpaceX is not a factor at all

 And people complain about Utah and ATK ::)

He is a rep and not a senator.  Spacex is not in his district.

Its right next door, and one district undoubtfully has an effect on the other...

Not that I dont agree that the US does need a resupply/crew exchange vehicle.  However at this time I am not so sure that both should be from one line, in this case SpaceX and Dragon as both will be grounded as seen with this Progress flight and Soyuz.
What about Orbital? What about all the other commercial crew folks?

Having both crew and cargo from the same line makes the actual per-flight safety (as opposed to PERCEIVED safety!!!!!!) of the "line" much higher.
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 psloss

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He is a rep and not a senator.  Spacex is not in his district.

Its right next door, and one district undoubtfully has an effect on the other...
Hawthorne doesn't seem next door to Westminster or Huntington Beach, but wouldn't be surprised about some commuters.  Still, Rep. Rohrabacher has often seemed to be in a minority of one during sort-of recent Science subcommittee hearings on Space.

Offline Namechange User

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Meh, political grand-standing.  The "most responsible" course of action would have been to not stand down the main cog in ISS resupply and rely even more on the Russians.

The "most responsible" thing to do would have been to have an overlap in the existing capability and the new capabilities to verify performance. 

*NOW* he's calling for emergency funding to help remidy a situation he at least tangentially had a hand in creating.  If it is "emergency funding", why can't Congress appropriate it in addition to what is already been allocated.  After all, a "few hundred million" is chump change to the government.
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

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