Author Topic: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview  (Read 451976 times)

Offline DARPA-86

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1080 on: 04/09/2011 12:56 pm »
Regarding Simon's extrapolation of $1.3 billion, I may have missed something in the figures but how much was spent on the launcher and how much on the human payload regarding training and peripherals such as keeping the T-38s flying?

If they aren't separate, then the peripherals are part of the "program" costs that will also need to be considered when making comparisons with any new launch systems.

Also, it's may be worthy to understand that in the world of budgets one budget may spend the money, but then charge back to another. In other words, if I have a budget for maintaining a fuel system for Rocket Type A and need to pay overtime for the launch of Type B I may have the ability to recoup some of that money by charging against the system being launched. But, for budget purposes I need to account upfront for overtime or else can't authorize people to work. I can't say that sort of thing would or wouldn't skew the $1.3 billion figure in a big way, but when throwing around figures it's important to know the things for which the figures account so you're starting with a real number and not an artifact of budget.
You bring up a good point, accountants with sharp pencils can greatly influence how much, or how little a particular program costs, as long as there is a larger program in which to strand the costs.  NASA has gone back and forth with this over the years with their line item, "cross agency support".

At hand I have an older FY budget request (FY 09 I do believe) that shows a request for Space Operations of $ 5.764 Billion - broken down into sub catagories of $ 2.98 B for shuttle. $ 2.06 B for Station and $ 722 million for support of both programs.

I am going from memory here, but I do recall both congressional testimony and press conferences by senior NASA officals stating the historic flight rate of shuttle over the life of the program is an average of 4.4 flights a year.  And after Return to Flight (i.e. Post Columbia) when the program was fully flying at high operational tempo, the per flight cost of each shuttle mission was $ 300 to $ 350 million, with an additional month to month cost of $ 200 M per month - $ 2.4 billion per year - to maintian the capability to fly, spread across a number of centers, not just KSC.  That latter number has been whittled down to approx. $ 120 million per month, largely thru reduction in workforce, for the present fiscal year.  The first number should remain a constant, adjusted for inflation going forward.

Offline simonbp

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1081 on: 04/09/2011 04:14 pm »
And after Return to Flight (i.e. Post Columbia) when the program was fully flying at high operational tempo, the per flight cost of each shuttle mission was $ 300 to $ 350 million, with an additional month to month cost of $ 200 M per month - $ 2.4 billion per year - to maintian the capability to fly, spread across a number of centers, not just KSC.

Good breakdown, and it really underlines the huge standing army that it takes to keep Shuttles flying. Shuttle Derived would need less, but still a massive amount of overhead relative to any of the commercial operators, or even a clean-sheet NASA vehicle that did away with much of the legacy.

Offline clongton

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1082 on: 04/09/2011 04:38 pm »
And after Return to Flight (i.e. Post Columbia) when the program was fully flying at high operational tempo, the per flight cost of each shuttle mission was $ 300 to $ 350 million, with an additional month to month cost of $ 200 M per month - $ 2.4 billion per year - to maintian the capability to fly, spread across a number of centers, not just KSC.

Good breakdown, and it really underlines the huge standing army that it takes to keep Shuttles flying. Shuttle Derived would need less, but still a massive amount of overhead relative to any of the commercial operators, or even a clean-sheet NASA vehicle that did away with much of the legacy.

Thanks.

It occurred to me that so many people complain about the "standing army" it takes to keep Shuttle flying but nobody bothers to compare that to other transportation systems; such as the freight trains, airlines and transoceanic shipping. I think it would prove to be instructive to have these costs because while I do not have the actuals, I know that each of those spend far more than that per year. Anybody have the actual numbers?
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Offline Halidon

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1083 on: 04/09/2011 06:14 pm »
It occurred to me that so many people complain about the "standing army" it takes to keep Shuttle flying but nobody bothers to compare that to other transportation systems; such as the freight trains, airlines and transoceanic shipping. I think it would prove to be instructive to have these costs because while I do not have the actuals, I know that each of those spend far more than that per year. Anybody have the actual numbers?
In what terms would you compare? Personnel costs per vehicle? Personnel costs per lb/kg or payload?

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1084 on: 04/09/2011 06:45 pm »
And after Return to Flight (i.e. Post Columbia) when the program was fully flying at high operational tempo, the per flight cost of each shuttle mission was $ 300 to $ 350 million, with an additional month to month cost of $ 200 M per month - $ 2.4 billion per year - to maintian the capability to fly, spread across a number of centers, not just KSC.

Good breakdown, and it really underlines the huge standing army that it takes to keep Shuttles flying. Shuttle Derived would need less, but still a massive amount of overhead relative to any of the commercial operators, or even a clean-sheet NASA vehicle that did away with much of the legacy.

Last numbers I saw were that shuttle program work-force right now is about 6,500 contractor, and a bit over 1,000 civil service. Not quite a "standing army." That's down to half what it was in 2006, so there IS the issue of how many would have to be back-filled to maintain the whole stream of ground support, supply-chain, etc., to see an actual total. Guess it depends on how deep in that stream you want to count, too.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline simonbp

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1085 on: 04/09/2011 10:22 pm »
As deep as takes to account for the $3-4 billion per year; mean salaries are not $400,000.

For that sort of budget, you could get a lot more for money by hiring literally anyone else to launch your payloads. If you assume FH could launch 50 tonnes for $150 million, $3 billion could launch 1000 tonnes to LEO, or twice the mass of the ISS. Relative to that, Shuttle Derived just looks irresponsible...

Offline clongton

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1086 on: 04/09/2011 10:28 pm »
It occurred to me that so many people complain about the "standing army" it takes to keep Shuttle flying but nobody bothers to compare that to other transportation systems; such as the freight trains, airlines and transoceanic shipping. I think it would prove to be instructive to have these costs because while I do not have the actuals, I know that each of those spend far more than that per year. Anybody have the actual numbers?
In what terms would you compare? Personnel costs per vehicle? Personnel costs per lb/kg or payload?

I honestly don't know. Whatever made sense so that we could do a realistic comparison. What I do know is that each of those industries also have a huge "standing army" and yet *nobody* complains about them. They just use the service they provide and walk away. Why do people only complain about the Shuttle standing army and not those other industries? It's not right. If we're going to include the standing army in our deliberations, then we really should consider the other industries that also use standing armies and see what actually makes sense so that we have a reasonable standard to judge the Shuttle support structure by. We might be surprised by what we find.
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Offline neilh

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1087 on: 04/09/2011 11:07 pm »
It occurred to me that so many people complain about the "standing army" it takes to keep Shuttle flying but nobody bothers to compare that to other transportation systems; such as the freight trains, airlines and transoceanic shipping. I think it would prove to be instructive to have these costs because while I do not have the actuals, I know that each of those spend far more than that per year. Anybody have the actual numbers?
In what terms would you compare? Personnel costs per vehicle? Personnel costs per lb/kg or payload?

I honestly don't know. Whatever made sense so that we could do a realistic comparison. What I do know is that each of those industries also have a huge "standing army" and yet *nobody* complains about them. They just use the service they provide and walk away. Why do people only complain about the Shuttle standing army and not those other industries? It's not right. If we're going to include the standing army in our deliberations, then we really should consider the other industries that also use standing armies and see what actually makes sense so that we have a reasonable standard to judge the Shuttle support structure by. We might be surprised by what we find.

It'd also be interesting to include the number of federal dollars which go towards supporting the standing armies for each of the various transportation methods. It would be fascinating to see the "number of federally-supported person-years per ton" figures.
« Last Edit: 04/09/2011 11:09 pm by neilh »
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Offline neilh

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1088 on: 04/09/2011 11:11 pm »
According to liveblogging of Jim Muncy's talk at Space Access, a staff member for a certain senator made an attempt at cutting commercial crew in the final budget. We'll find out in the coming week if they were successful.

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=33032
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1089 on: 04/09/2011 11:55 pm »
According to liveblogging of Jim Muncy's talk at Space Access, a staff member for a certain senator made an attempt at cutting commercial crew in the final budget. We'll find out in the coming week if they were successful.

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=33032

Actually, I had an email question about that yesterday and replied that it was simply not true; certainly not the "certain senator" that I was asked about, in any event, nor have I heard of any others. Typical last-minute rumor mill stuff as far as I can tell.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline neilh

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1090 on: 04/10/2011 03:01 am »
According to liveblogging of Jim Muncy's talk at Space Access, a staff member for a certain senator made an attempt at cutting commercial crew in the final budget. We'll find out in the coming week if they were successful.

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=33032

Actually, I had an email question about that yesterday and replied that it was simply not true; certainly not the "certain senator" that I was asked about, in any event, nor have I heard of any others. Typical last-minute rumor mill stuff as far as I can tell.

Thanks for the update -- that's very good to know.
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Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1091 on: 04/10/2011 03:20 am »
So, um, how long until one of the budget-cutting tea-partiers cottons on to the fact that there's a US company now building a commercial 53 tonnes (58 short ton) launcher for ~$100 million per launch? (As opposed to 4/3 at 70 tonnes and >$1 billion per launch)...

Since both are hypothetical right now you cannot make that argument.  But for the record, the conservative right still views NASA like a slush fund for their particular states and districts. 

Need a better plan to communicate with the base.  Only the base will move elected officials as we have seen just roughly 24 hours ago and last November. 

Easier said than done.

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Offline mikegi

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1092 on: 04/10/2011 04:38 am »
... We might be surprised by what we find.
A meaningful comparison would be the number of people involved divided by the number of uses of the vehicle over a given period of time (e.g. a year). I imagine the Shuttle numbers would compare poorly. Of course, the Shuttle is very complex so this game really isn't appropriate. A better comparison would be the number of people involved in the Shuttle vs. the number of people for a different type of launcher (e.g. RP-1).

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1093 on: 04/10/2011 04:43 am »
According to liveblogging of Jim Muncy's talk at Space Access, a staff member for a certain senator made an attempt at cutting commercial crew in the final budget. We'll find out in the coming week if they were successful.

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=33032

Actually, I had an email question about that yesterday and replied that it was simply not true; certainly not the "certain senator" that I was asked about, in any event, nor have I heard of any others. Typical last-minute rumor mill stuff as far as I can tell.

I don't know if this is accurate but it says that a lot of the issues in the budget deal remain outstanding (including Constellation language):
http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/04/09/herculean-task-write-2011-budget-bill
« Last Edit: 04/10/2011 01:05 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1094 on: 04/10/2011 06:37 am »
According to liveblogging of Jim Muncy's talk at Space Access, a staff member for a certain senator made an attempt at cutting commercial crew in the final budget. We'll find out in the coming week if they were successful.

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=33032

Actually, I had an email question about that yesterday and replied that it was simply not true; certainly not the "certain senator" that I was asked about, in any event, nor have I heard of any others. Typical last-minute rumor mill stuff as far as I can tell.

I don't know if this is accurate but is says that a lot of the issues in the budget deal remain outstanding (including Constellation language):
http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/04/09/herculean-task-write-2011-budget-bill

Not "inaccurate," but clearly at a very top-level of reporting. Details on a host of issues have been--and continue to be--in work the past couple of days and over the week-end. The Constellation-related appropriations "rider" previously included in the FY 2010 Omnibus appropriations is among the issues being considered, and alternative language being passed back and forth; the final language will very likely include some treatment of that proviso, but it is too early to predict specifically what that will be.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline psloss

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1095 on: 04/10/2011 01:26 pm »
Thanks. Jeff Foust says that the text of the full-year CR should be released on Monday.
The Fox blog that you linked to earlier discusses the time considerations, including that 3-day public viewing option...note in there how they're finessing that.  The question there will be whether the text will be ready by 11 pm tomorrow when the House convenes again.

Offline DARPA-86

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1096 on: 04/10/2011 05:13 pm »
And after Return to Flight (i.e. Post Columbia) when the program was fully flying at high operational tempo, the per flight cost of each shuttle mission was $ 300 to $ 350 million, with an additional month to month cost of $ 200 M per month - $ 2.4 billion per year - to maintian the capability to fly, spread across a number of centers, not just KSC.

Good breakdown, and it really underlines the huge standing army that it takes to keep Shuttles flying. Shuttle Derived would need less, but still a massive amount of overhead relative to any of the commercial operators, or even a clean-sheet NASA vehicle that did away with much of the legacy.

Thanks.

It occurred to me that so many people complain about the "standing army" it takes to keep Shuttle flying but nobody bothers to compare that to other transportation systems; such as the freight trains, airlines and transoceanic shipping. I think it would prove to be instructive to have these costs because while I do not have the actuals, I know that each of those spend far more than that per year. Anybody have the actual numbers?
What we are really talking about here is the paradigm truly shifting?  I would make the case that Shuttle was much more like a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, or a ballistic missle submarine, a unique kind of national asset that was intended to further national interests along economic, geopolitical, and national security lines.  You have both a cost to maintain the capability for future use, i.e. shipbuilding and repair, and the operational costs of keeping a ship out to sea and a second crew training on shore.

For a long term historic perspecitve, I would suggest comparing the American railroad industry which also had economic, geopolitical, and defense implications.  The intercontiental railroad was built, in part, as a legacy testamant to a fallen president by a radical congress with little elected opposition - draw your own comparisons to Kennedy/Apollo.  For it's time it was both a great feat of engineering, and advanced the technology of it's day.  The precursor program was the intercontinetal telegraph - which was the "telecommunciations satellite" of the mid 19th century.  The law of unintended consquences was the Credit Mobilier scandal, which so corrupted Congress - it makes todays comings and goings seem pale in comaprison.

Two companies, Union Pacific & the Central Pacific were largely created on the basis of huge government backed financing and incentives - one is still with us today, the other collapsed soon after the original "carrots" were consumed.

The main point being one generation of taxpayers provided the means by which people, postage items, and goods could get from Point A to Point B, But not without a cost.  Ditto for the Panama Canal a generation later; good public policy would be to establish the means by which multiple parties (corporate, civilian government, and military) could ride the rails to the new frontier.  As long as there is some provision, and understanding for a equitable distrubtion and/or payment for use of heritage infrastructrue.  For instance AMTRAK, and CSX do use the tracks and facilities of UP, BNSF. etc. just as SpaceX and others use KSC and Vandenberg.

What we cannot do is to have three seperate, non-compatiable systems each whom expect to be fully funded and/or subsidized for robust flight rates.  The current budget environement and national debt levels will not allow for it.

Online Mark S

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations - preview
« Reply #1097 on: 04/11/2011 06:11 pm »
Bolden will testify at a Senate CJS subcommittee hearing on Monday at 4 p.m.:
http://appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=527faa7f-5915-46f2-9f7f-ba2571f12289

Quote
Monday, April 11, 2011
Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (Chairman Mikulski)
Time and Location: 4 p.m., Dirksen 192
Agenda: FY 2012 Budget Request for NASA
Witness:The Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
             Administrator
             National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Less than two hours to go. Is this hearing still going to be held? If so will it be webcast? I don't see any active links on the subcommittee's web page.

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations
« Reply #1098 on: 04/11/2011 06:27 pm »
Bolden will testify at a Senate CJS subcommittee hearing on Monday at 4 p.m.:
http://appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=527faa7f-5915-46f2-9f7f-ba2571f12289

Quote
Monday, April 11, 2011
Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (Chairman Mikulski)
Time and Location: 4 p.m., Dirksen 192
Agenda: FY 2012 Budget Request for NASA
Witness:The Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
             Administrator
             National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Less than two hours to go. Is this hearing still going to be held? If so will it be webcast? I don't see any active links on the subcommittee's web page.

Webcast at 4 p.m. will be here:
http://appropriations.senate.gov/streama.htm

See also the "Live Webcasts" link here:
http://appropriations.senate.gov/
« Last Edit: 04/11/2011 06:36 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: NASA FY 2011 Appropriations
« Reply #1099 on: 04/11/2011 08:03 pm »
Bolden will testify at a Senate CJS subcommittee hearing on Monday at 4 p.m.:
http://appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=527faa7f-5915-46f2-9f7f-ba2571f12289

Quote
Monday, April 11, 2011
Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (Chairman Mikulski)
Time and Location: 4 p.m., Dirksen 192
Agenda: FY 2012 Budget Request for NASA
Witness:The Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
             Administrator
             National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Less than two hours to go. Is this hearing still going to be held? If so will it be webcast? I don't see any active links on the subcommittee's web page.

Webcast at 4 p.m. will be here:
http://appropriations.senate.gov/streama.htm

See also the "Live Webcasts" link here:
http://appropriations.senate.gov/

Note: this hearing is focused on FY 2012, so maybe commentary should be in a new thread?
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

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