Author Topic: Impact of Republican Control of Both the House and Senate on Space Policy?  (Read 44066 times)

Offline Proponent

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Other than a few in Congress like Shelby, no one is standing up to fight for fully funding uses for either one of them [Orion or SLS].

Are you sure anyone at all in Congress has proposed funding levels sufficient to make sensible use of Orion/SLS?  I wasn't aware that Shelby or any else had.

Quote
Quote
...the new blood will reread the Augustine report.   Some of that direction will now be put into place?

Seriously?  You think Senator Cruz cares about what happened before he came into the Senate?  Do you think Senator Shelby cares about Augustine?  And what about in the House, which has always been Republican - has anyone over there cared about the Augustine Report?  That is ancient history, and not relevant to any political needs today.

I must wholeheartedly agree with your skepticism.  Consider even the more recent NRC report.  In essence it said the same thing as Augustine:  NASA is going nowhere with Orion/SLS unless it gets a lot more money.  I have yet to hear anyone in Congress acknowledge that, despite the fact that it was Congress itself called for the NRC study in the first place.

EDIT:  "Cobnsider" -> "Consider".
« Last Edit: 11/05/2014 10:11 PM by Proponent »

Offline QuantumG

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Are you sure anyone at all in Congress has proposed funding levels sufficient to make sensible use of Orion/SLS?  I wasn't aware that Shelby or any else had.

The same can be said of commercial crew.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Prober

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Other than a few in Congress like Shelby, no one is standing up to fight for fully funding uses for either one of them [Orion or SLS].

Are you sure anyone at all in Congress has proposed funding levels sufficient to make sensible use of Orion/SLS?  I wasn't aware that Shelby or any else had.

Quote
Quote
...the new blood will reread the Augustine report.   Some of that direction will now be put into place?

Seriously?  You think Senator Cruz cares about what happened before he came into the Senate?  Do you think Senator Shelby cares about Augustine?  And what about in the House, which has always been Republican - has anyone over there cared about the Augustine Report?  That is ancient history, and not relevant to any political needs today.

I must wholeheartedly agree with your skepticism.  Cobnsider even the more recent NRC report.  In essence it said the same thing as Augustine:  NASA is going nowhere with Orion/SLS unless it gets a lot more money.  I have yet to hear anyone in Congress acknowledge that, despite the fact that it was Congress itself called for the NRC study in the first place.

your talking about throwing money at a problem I am not.
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Offline Proponent

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Cobnsider even the more recent NRC report.  In essence it said the same thing as Augustine:  NASA is going nowhere with Orion/SLS unless it gets a lot more money.  I have yet to hear anyone in Congress acknowledge that, despite the fact that it was Congress itself called for the NRC study in the first place.

your talking about throwing money at a problem I am not.

You're talking about Augustine and Augustine presented no options for NASA doing anything BEO without an extra $3 billion per year (which would be about an extra $6 billion per year from where NASA is now).  Please enlighten me as to how St. Augustine offers a way forward that doesn't involve throwing money at NASA.

EDIT:  $7-billion shortfall -> $6-billion since, as JH points out, the Augustine suggestion was with reference to a notional FY 2010 budget of $18.6 billion.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2014 08:34 AM by Proponent »

Offline Proponent

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Are you sure anyone at all in Congress has proposed funding levels sufficient to make sensible use of Orion/SLS?  I wasn't aware that Shelby or any else had.

The same can be said of commercial crew.

Yes, although the administration, quite effectively aided by Russian foreign policy, advocated in favor of commercial crew.  Orion/SLS, on the other hand, has no such extra-congressional political support.

And there were some in Congress not opposed to more funding for commercial crew, e.g., Bill Nelson.  In contrast prime SLS supporters are on recored as saying that NASA's budget cannot increase.  Tune about 22 minutes into this House space subcommittee hearing on the 2013 NASA authorization act, and you'll hear a big-time SLS supporter, Rep. Palazzo, argue at length (he even presents charts) that NASA's budget cannot increase much for years to come.  That sentiment is echoed later in the hearing by other SLS supporters such as Mo Brooks.  Even more amazingly, Palazzo's statement comes right after Rep. Edwards makes exactly the same argument that SLS supporters in this forum have made over and over again, namely that given the size of the federal budget, it should be possible to find a little more money for NASA.

EDIT:  "Congressional" -> "congressional"
« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 07:53 AM by Proponent »

Offline vulture4

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It is not clear to me that Republicans in Congress would have any reason to adequately fund BEO spaceflight. They would get better press by letting the  program fail and blaming it on Mr. Obama's lack of "leadership", while taking credit for cutting taxes.
« Last Edit: 11/05/2014 11:21 PM by vulture4 »

Offline Proponent

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It is not clear to me that Republicans in Congress would have any reason to adequately fund BEO spaceflight. They would get better press by letting the  program fail and blaming it on Mr. Obama's lack of "leadership", while taking credit for cutting taxes.

I would say that is consistent with the behavior that's been observed.  Lot's of bashing of the administration but no realistic discussion of costs for going to the moon or the other things they sometimes mumble about.
« Last Edit: 11/05/2014 11:36 PM by Proponent »

Offline Proponent

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If James Webb is on schedule/costs it will be fine, otherwise troubled waters ahead.

I think JWST is in little danger, even if it stumbles a bit.  During Senate hearings on NASA's FY 2014 budget, Sen. Shelby, then ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, made it quite clear to Sen. Mikluski, then chairwoman of the Committee, that he could cause lots of trouble for JWST if he wanted too.  With their roles likely reversed in the next Congress, I'm pretty sure Shelby realizes that Mikulski could cause a lot of trouble for SLS should anybody threaten JWST -- and she has little to lose if SLS goes down.

Offline yg1968

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« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 02:26 AM by yg1968 »

Offline jongoff

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One thing that may matter is Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who is now Majority Leader in the House and is likely to replace Boehner as Speaker. Musk is one of his contributors.

He also represents Antellope Valley and has been a big fan of commercial space companies like XCOR, Masten, etc. I got to meet him briefly after Masten won the NGLLC back in 2009. His district doesn't include Palmdale, but does include Edwards. But most of the aerospace companies he interacts with are of a more commercial flavor than most. Hopefully he has bandwidth to pay attention to what they have to say if he becomes Speaker--space won't be a priority issue, but at least commercial space will likely have more of a connection with him.

~Jon

Looks like Steve Knight (son of an X-15 pilot and a big space and commercial space supporter) will be representing California's 25th congressional district, which covers Palmdale and Lancaster. He's replacing Buck McKeon, who retired.

So California now has at least three Congressmen who are fans of commercial space.

~Jon

Offline Coastal Ron

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Looks like Steve Knight (son of an X-15 pilot and a big space and commercial space supporter) will be representing California's 25th congressional district, which covers Palmdale and Lancaster. He's replacing Buck McKeon, who retired.

So California now has at least three Congressmen who are fans of commercial space.

It will be interesting to see what committee assignments they get.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Proponent

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Colorado's incoming Senator Cory Gardner teamed up with Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Mike Coffman of Colorado in accusing SpaceX of having sufferred "an epidemic of anomalies" in its launches last July (letter attached).  To my mind, this was misleading and melodramatic.  He doesn't sound very newspace-friendly.

EDIT:  Corrected spelling of "Gardner."
« Last Edit: 11/07/2014 09:55 PM by Proponent »

Offline muomega0

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Impact?  Examine past history.

The 2004/5 policies guaranteed Economic Access to Space would not be achieved for 20 years.
•      no competition between EELV/NASA rockets - divide to an excessive degree
            - separate by LV capacity (2-20 mT, 20 to 30 mT, 100 mT)
            - no humans on EELV; NASA will not backup EELV
•      non-common hardware between LVs and architectures, IPs need not apply
•      guaranteed fixed costs for two EELV launch vehicles
•      limit funding to all 'commercial' LVs
•      Delta IV required until 2020, shuttle derived as long as NASA exists
•      substantial job loss in one state wrt other states

National Security Space Launch Report, 2004
Quote from: NSSLP
1) the need for two EELV launch families.   Shuttle is no good for national security, nor costs. 
2) “The Secretary of Defense … shall fund the annual fixed costs for both launch service providers" until
3) "until certifying to the President that a capability that reliably provides assured access to space can be maintained without two EELV providers.”
4) “Human exploration missions will not be part of the EELV requirements. (See Appendix B.)”
5)  Delta IV will have the capability and production capacity to execute all EELV heavy-lift requirements through 2020.

"In December 2004, the Bush administration issued a new NSTP. The directive adopted the link between assured access to space and the need for two EELV launch families. The document states, “The Secretary of Defense … shall fund the annual fixed costs for both launch service providers until certifying to the President that a capability that reliably provides assured access to space can be maintained without two EELV providers.”

Quote from: NASA/AF Policy Letter-Appendix B of NSSLP
  Attached.
Recognizing the schedule burdens placed on unmanned payloads launched using human rated systems, we understand that the DOD and NASA believe that separating human rated space exploration from unmanned payload launch will best achieve reliable and affordable assured access to space while maintaining our industrial base in both liquid and solid propulsion launch systems.
1.  DOD/NASA will utilize EELV for all  payloads in the 5 to 20 mT class. Per NSPD-40, new commercially developed launch capacities will be allowed to compete.
2.  NASA will development Crew LV derived from Space Shuttle solid boosters  20 to 30 mT class.
3.  NASA and DOD will pursue a cost-benefits analysis on phasing out Delta II in favor of EELV.
4.  It is unlikely DOD will endorse the use of NASA developed booster as a backup for EELV due to the significant risk, reliability,
     and cost modifications potentially required to DoD’s satellites and infrastructure.  NASA does not promote the use of
     NASA-developed booster as a backup for EELV.
5.  NASA agrees to use the EELV for science and ISS cargo resupply missions in the 5- to 20-metric-ton class to the maximum extent possible.

The flawed ESAS study threw out depot centric and claimed a separate LV class (20 to 30 mT) with solids for crew rating, but not to complete with other rockets in this capacity.  (today, there is no human rated Atlas or Delta, SLS hardware (solids, SSME, ET) is not common with any other LV).

Clearly, past history has shown what to expect in the future.  The tactic is to place the 'plan' into law (not earmarked) then 'just say no' to change them when one loses control.  With control again, its time to work the magic again.  Congress specified 70 and 130 mT, when two lunar sorties/year = 2*120 mT divided by 10 launches is a single 24 mt LV.  If US requires non sole source, and one includes the IPs, then multiple LVs are required, not a single 24 mT LV, so the capacity is doubled, without including IPs.

Recognize that sound policies ALWAYS prevail, A new Space Policy required:  For NASA, the direction continues to be Mars, a new reuseable, launch vehicle independent architecture, and for the Country, consolidate the Atlas/Delta/SLS into a single common LV  and jobs distributed respectfully, not politically.

Quote from: Rogers Commission
NASA owes it to the citizens from whom it asks support to be frank, honest, and informative, so that these citizens can make the wisest decisions for the use of their limited resources.

Based on past history, what to expect?  (note posts above)
o Shift rocket and engine production from CA and CO to Alabama  See what happens if you get rid of Atlas/Delta!
o maintain old space production lines with no upgrades and stifle the competition...
    -  fund concepts that leech revenue
    -  fund concepts that can shift work from other districts, engines, for example
    -  claim that old space is reliable and vital for national interests, unless its engines and claim they are expensive
o have the government specify requirements only, then let the private sector decide the distribution of work
  The USG can't really dictate HW choices to private companies
o Non common, expensive, product lines retained that are not required:  solids, SLS, Orion.
o rockets that use russian built engines are okay until a new domestic engine is developed, then not okay. 
o commercial rockets are unreliable.
o no realistic discussion of costs to fund payload or missions
   3.7B for six ISS flights with SLS/Orion or  60 flights/cores for 35.7B
o suppress any technology that influences shift away from old technology
   depots, EP, and reusue?   It would appear that 35.7B for 60 additional flights, is worth more than building a depot. And revisiting Titan I without solids with reuse (Falcon) would cut into the margins.
o more Orion flight time
o IOW:  single missions uncrewed rather than a new architecture to reduce costs (Missions rather than technology to provide expensive certification flights)

Edit:  Contrast this to the 1995 Policy: "The primary requirement of the EELV program is to execute the Government portion (DoD and NASA) of the National Mission Model at lower recurring costs than those of current expendable systems"   
« Last Edit: 05/20/2015 01:11 PM by muomega0 »

Offline Jim

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Many false and wrong conclusions and statements in the above. 

Offline muomega0

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Many false and wrong conclusions and statements in the above.
Please give precise statements and links to support your claim in detail.

Offline pagheca

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less taxes for the richest -> less money in federal funding -> less money for Space and Science -> long-term economical crisis -> less taxes for the richest -> etc.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 02:10 PM by pagheca »

Offline yg1968

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less taxes for the richest -> less money in federal funding -> less money for Space and Science -> long-term economical crisis -> less taxes for the richest -> etc.

Or: lower taxes and less regulations -> economic growth -> more government revenues because of economic growth.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 05:26 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Chris Bergin

I don't have a dog in this fight, but everyone remember to keep this on space policy and not party politics (if possible. Politics sucks) ;D

Offline Prober

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Are you sure anyone at all in Congress has proposed funding levels sufficient to make sensible use of Orion/SLS?  I wasn't aware that Shelby or any else had.

The same can be said of commercial crew.

Yes, although the administration, quite effectively aided by Russian foreign policy, advocated in favor of commercial crew.  Orion/SLS, on the other hand, has no such extra-congressional political support.

And there were some in Congress not opposed to more funding for commercial crew, e.g., Bill Nelson.  In contrast prime SLS supporters are on recored as saying that NASA's budget cannot increase.  Tune about 22 minutes into this House space subcommittee hearing on the 2013 NASA authorization act, and you'll hear a big-time SLS supporter, Rep. Palazzo, argue at length (he even presents charts) that NASA's budget cannot increase much for years to come.  That sentiment is echoed later in the hearing by other SLS supporters such as Mo Brooks.  Even more amazingly, Palazzo's statement comes right after Rep. Edwards makes exactly the same argument that SLS supporters in this forum have made over and over again, namely that given the size of the federal budget, it should be possible to find a little more money for NASA.

EDIT:  "Congressional" -> "congressional"

Commercial- Bigelow
Las Vegas Sun
"With a win that was unthinkable a month ago, Republican Assemblyman Cresent Hardy ousted Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford to represent North Las Vegas and central Nevada in the U.S. House of Representatives."

The political machine lost out to a Businessman who was a contractor with 300 employees. Mr. Hardy will have a very wide area to cover including 2 VA medical centers, Area 51 and much more.

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Offline pagheca

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DISCLAIMER (for Chris): Note I'm not campaigning against the Republicans. I'm saying that the problem is different and almost indifferent to whoever run the country: the unavailability of public acceptance for high marginal taxes, making large funds for the Goverments unlikely. Anyway, whatever happens, I will quit with this comment - promised. I know my point of view on this always cause havoc. But note I cited in the following two US well recognized Economists, not Marx & Engels...

less taxes for the richest -> less money in federal funding -> less money for Space and Science -> long-term economical crisis -> less taxes for the richest -> etc.

Or less taxes -> economic growth -> more government revenues because of economic growth.

I know someone would reply like that. What I wrote sound as a blasphemy in today world!

However, economy is a bit of an art, with room for radically different opinions. The problem is that the link you said has just to be demonstrated. It hasn't to date IMO and US and Europe with those politics are going from one crisis to the next in a permanent emergency state.

Conversely, there are a lot of papers published on "optimal tax theory" showing the effect of tax reduction on economic grow. For example, if you are REALLY interested in this, you may like reading Diamond & Saez 2011:

Quote from: Diamond & Saez 2011
The share of total income going to the top 1 percent of income earners (those with annual income above roughly about $400,000 in 2007) has increased dramatically from 9 percent in 1970 to 23.5 percent in 2007, the highest level on record since 1928 and much higher than in European countries, or Japan today (Piketty and Saez, 2003; Atkinson, Piketty, and Saez, 2011). Although the average federal individual income tax rate of top percentile tax filers was 22.4 percent, the top percentile paid 40.4 percent of total federal individual income taxes in 2007 (IRS, 2009). Therefore, the taxation of very high earners is a central aspect of the tax policy debate not only for equity reasons but also for revenue raising. For example, setting aside behavioral responses for a moment, increasing the average tax rate on the top percentile from 22.4 percent (as of 2007) to 29.4 percent would raise revenue by 1 percentage point of GDP.

Why is this relevant to this thread? Well, my point is that one aspect quite often neglected of the Apollo Project extraordinary success is that in the '60 the marginal tax rate was ranging from 91% to 71%. Yes, I mean in the US, not Norway (sometimes I have to remind that). Now, it's obvious that the Cold War played a big role in motivating the nation for the Race to the Moon, but also through this sometime forgotten link: the availability of large amount of federal funding and the public acceptance of high marginal taxes. And that's exactly why, whatever Republicans (or Democrats) say today, IMO there are no chance of a new spaceflight and scientific Renaissance of that level: because today, this "recipe" is absolutely unacceptable for the US public, and is becoming less and less acceptable to the Europeans, including Scandinavians.

In other words:

Less marginal tax rates -> less federal funding (see the quote above for details) -> less Buck Rogers.

Whatever they say, we will not exit this any soon or easily. So, forget promises and try doing the most you can with these funding level.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2014 04:26 PM by pagheca »

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