Author Topic: LIVE: Congressional Hearings into Obama's NASA Budget FY2011 - Feb 24-25 Part 2  (Read 348148 times)

Offline MP99

Old plan: retire the shuttle and have a gap while you are building one replacement vehicle. Fill said gap with Soyuz launches.

New plan: retire the shuttle and have a gap while you are building two or more replacement vehicles. Fill said gap with Soyuz launches. Oh no, the sky is falling!

Oh, like everyone thought that was OK before.

Martin

Offline psloss

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I would just like to make a little comment; most people don't know or couldn't care less, because the media networks don't care or cater to the Space NEWS, like they did in the 60's; why, well, I could think of a number of reasons, but the last one would be that people are NOT interested
Miles O'Brien made a very interesting (at least to me) comment in his opening statement:

Quote
And let's face it, the mainstream media doesn't have a clue, either.  Reporters who know some things about this beat have been unceremoniously dumped by the big papers and networks right and left and many of them are well, they're webcasting, I guess.  So I guess you could say it's the 'perfect storm': the agency is really not sold on the change internally, the communication plan was non-existent, and the reporters are not well-informed, and the public is disengaged.

The public may still have some interest, but broadly speaking I think that interest is mostly disengaged, as Mr. O'Brien put it.  (NASA is hardly the only institution the public is disengaged from now, the mainstream media that Mr. O'Brien was kicked out of is headed that way, too.)

Offline robertross

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What I find fascinating about this entire ordeal is that it is one of the only issues on The Hill today that both sides of the isle agree on for the most part.  In other words all of the energy was from one team (Congress) being directed on others.  I enjoying seeing WDC in agreement for once.  Granted its a small room of congressmen and women but they are on one team which is rare these days.   

And it gives hope that they will support funding manned spaceflight in the years to come. The path & the way they will make that happen will be the harder parts to figure out.

Again, I'm still upset Obama didn't announce this himself (at the SOTU or later), but I'm confortable in a way in the approach now. You can't go out and say: "We will go to Mars and spend much more getting there than the moon for the near term". Think of the backlash, especially with the economy. Now he gets Congress to do the sales pitch (and funding drive) for him. If he can't fit HLV into the budget, let Congress fund it.

Maybe it also plays into the Health Care issue, maybe not. But I still think this is about horse trading, but this time it's on the public record, not behind closed doors (or at least this part is).

Offline MP99

One question I have is how long will those rockets be designed and built in the United States?  It'll be a shame if this new commercialization plan results in us outsourcing to foreign providers at the expense of engineering and manufacturing capability, expertise, and jobs at home. 

Infinitely.  The US gov't has "Buy American" clauses in its contracts.  Atlas, Delta, Falcon, etc are all american.

Atlas wouldn't get off the ground without its RUSSIAN engines.

And Taurus II, of course. I know it's also at least 51% American, but...

NK-33 based engines.
Yuzhnoye SDO working on the first stage.

Pressurised modules for Cygnus produced in Italy.

Martin

Offline robertross

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Miles O'Brien made a very interesting (at least to me) comment in his opening statement:

Quote
And let's face it, the mainstream media doesn't have a clue, either.  Reporters who know some things about this beat have been unceremoniously dumped by the big papers and networks right and left and many of them are well, they're webcasting, I guess.  So I guess you could say it's the 'perfect storm': the agency is really not sold on the change internally, the communication plan was non-existent, and the reporters are not well-informed, and the public is disengaged.

The public may still have some interest, but broadly speaking I think that interest is mostly disengaged, as Mr. O'Brien put it.  (NASA is hardly the only institution the public is disengaged from now, the mainstream media that Mr. O'Brien was kicked out of is headed that way, too.)


Yeah, that's a very good point by Miles as you indicate.

We saw them dropped left and right at one point. It's heading in a dangerous direction.

Offline MP99

I would just like to make a little comment; most people don't know or couldn't care less, because the media networks don't care or cater to the Space NEWS, like they did in the 60's; why, well, I could think of a number of reasons, but the last one would be that people are NOT interested; if I hadn't been on this website and others, I wouldn't know from the TV or Paper Media that there were 3 astronauts in attendance at that meeting today

And it will stay that way whilst NASA stays stuck in LEO.

Get people back on the surface of the Moon, and the media will have something they can report, multiple documentaries on the National Geographic channel, people's interest will be re-invigorated.

But NASA can't put that off to the end of the 2020's and expect to retain even current low levels of public support, especially with a uge gap after ISS. With that will go useful budgets.

It's a simple matter of cost / benefit, and public see zero benefit in LEO.

Martin

Offline dbhyslop

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Nice side-step :)
No, he *absolutely* was talking about 7th grade kids not caring about the rockets.
He said:
Quote
they don't care about the launch vehicles
He was talking about the kids and he said it in the context of what does and does not inspire kids. There is no mistaking what he said. It was so clearly stated that it's not even open to misinterpretation. You might want to "spin" it, the same way politicians spin an unpleasant truth, but that would be beneath you; and you're better than that.

Face it; he said a stupid thing.

Chuck!!  I absolutely agree he said a stupid thing.  What I'm saying is that if he were in the room he'd agree he said a stupid thing, too and admit he meant to say what I said, precisely because it would be the most sensible thing for a person in his position to say.

Do you believe in your heart that Bolden doesn't think that 7th graders like rocket ships?  If there's one thing that people of every nationality and creed on this Earth can probably agree to, it's that 7th graders like rocket ships.  It would be utterly bizarre for someone who commanded a rocket ship to think otherwise, but it would be slightly less bizarre if he said something silly to the contrary under pressure.  Am I interpreting what he said in this situation--sure, but I think it makes sense given the context.

Dan

Offline psloss

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To make people interested there needs to be novelty involved.  Manned spaceflight can't be the same mission over and over again.
I think I see the point you're trying to make, but Shuttle -- which looks like the same mission over and over in the mainstream media, going on 30 years -- isn't being retired because the novelty wore off.

Public interest is a good thing, but I'm not sure it's been vital to sticking with one space policy or another for a while.  I think you can add policy making to the list of things the public is disengaged from and the space policy decision this year and for the next few years are likely to made in Washington without much input from outside of it.
« Last Edit: 02/25/2010 02:05 am by psloss »

Offline Jamie Young

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So the NASA boss doesn't even agree with the SSP manager over recertification. Wasn't poor communication the problem NASA said it had solved.

Offline dbhyslop

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I think I see the point you're trying to make, but Shuttle -- which looks like the same mission over and over in the mainstream media, going on 30 years -- isn't being retired because the novelty wore off.

You're absolutely right, but I don't think the answer defies my hypothesis.

Why despite public indifference, wasn't shuttle canceled a long time ago?  The answer is it that it has broad bipartisan support in congress despite national apathy.  Jobs in Utah.  Jobs in Florida.  Jobs in Alabama.  Jobs in Louisiana.  Jobs in Texas.

As a casual industry observer, I notice defense contractors doing the same thing--got a contract for a fighter but worried it will be canceled in ten years?  Build parts in 20 different states.

Plus, once we committed to ISS with international governments, it was more or less impossible to cancel shuttle (Thought experiment: in an alternate universe without ISS, would there have been a RTF after Columbia?)

Now, I don't want people reading this to think that I don't love the shuttle and everything about it.  I do.  I think each and every flight is a small miracle and it makes my heart glow to know that some little bit of the tax I pay facilitates this mighty machine. 

But I also know that most Americans don't share my views, and if I want my son to see a similar mighty machine we need a very smart and nuanced space policy that is hard to kill.  In doing so we need to take a critical look at all our of sacred cows.  And here on NSF we do have many :)

Dan

Offline jongoff

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Because we aren't right now, and we're not about to give up the only vehicle that allows us to be, right? Wow!

Old plan: retire the shuttle and have a gap while you are building one replacement vehicle. Fill said gap with Soyuz launches.

New plan: retire the shuttle and have a gap while you are building two or more replacement vehicles. Fill said gap with Soyuz launches. Oh no, the sky is falling!

Old plan: HLV by 2020.
New plan: HLV by 2030.

The gap has nothing to do with HLVs.  You can get to orbit quite well with vehicles a lot smaller than HLVs.  You can even do exploration this side of Phobos without HLVs.  HLVs are at best a means to an end, not an end in itself.  What I care about are the ends: space settlement, exploration, and space commercialization.  If an HLV has a part to play in reaching those ends at some point down the road, that's fine, and in fact this plan allows you to retain the capability you need to turn that option on when you're actually closer to needing it.

But this HLV fetish so many have here seems to border on a cargo cult mentality.

~Jon

Offline psloss

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But I also know that most Americans don't share my views, and if I want my son to see a similar mighty machine we need a very smart and nuanced space policy that is hard to kill.  In doing so we need to take a critical look at all our of sacred cows.  And here on NSF we do have many :)
We'd probably also disagree on the outcome of that strategy; on the cunning plan, my money would still be on the apathy + jobs formula.  (It's not like that's no longer working for those defense contractors you noted.)

Offline jongoff

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I'm not denying that kids love rockets.  I'm not an engineer like many people here, but it's my understanding that any plan under consideration to put astronauts in space, will in fact continue to utilize rockets.

Expendable rockets and capsules....just as I feared when NASA gave up on RLV development with the justification that capsules would allow us to return to the moon.  Now, looks like we have the worst of both worlds - still stuck in Low Earth Orbit and regressing from reusable spaceplanes to expendable capsules.

Umm...and the Program of Record or DIRECT would've given us RLVs?  More to the point, one of the specific areas of research that I've been hearing is being discussed for the new technology programs (if they get funded) is RLV technologies.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 02/25/2010 02:41 am by jongoff »

Offline vt_hokie

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Umm...and the Program of Record or DIRECT would've given us RLVs? 

At least that program was designed to get us out of Low Earth Orbit.  Let's have one or the other - a return to the moon (and hopefully missions beyond) or a return to advancing the state of the art, and pushing for routine access to space with reusable spaceplanes. 

Having nothing but Soyuz and Dragon capsules ferrying crew to/from ISS for the next decade is such a letdown!

Offline Lee Jay

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But this HLV fetish so many have here seems to border on a cargo cult mentality.

~Jon

I think that's unfair and incorrect.  It's my opinion that most of the people that want HLVs want it because they feel it's the best (in one way or another) way to get humans to other planetary bodies and back safely with meaningful work to do at their destination.  There might be a few Tim Taylor's but that's not the majority.

Offline Cinder

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"You don't want seventh graders thinking about Mars? I don't agree with that." Vitter.

Bolden disagrees. Cites about them not caring about the LV.

Emphasis mine. I don't know many seventh graders who build models of the ISS but I literally know hundreds who build and fly model rockets. It's the rockets that grab their attention, not the photo-ops inside a station.
Non sequitur.  Going to Mars, not the ISS.  Mars is what blows kids minds, not what particular rocket was used to get there.  Unless the rocket's even more extraordinary than going to a faraway planet for the first time.  There's no hints that this'll be the case.. It's going to be just another chemical rocket, just like the one that went to the Moon decades ago. 
NEC ULTIMA SI PRIOR

Offline Cinder

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"You don't want seventh graders thinking about Mars? I don't agree with that." Vitter.

Bolden disagrees. Cites about them not caring about the LV.

Emphasis mine. I don't know many seventh graders who build models of the ISS but I literally know hundreds who build and fly model rockets. It's the rockets that grab their attention, not the photo-ops inside a station.

Rewatching the event and Bolden made some very poor remarks at times.

This one is amazing:

"No one will know how an astronaut got to the ISS 10 years from now. No one will know what vehicle they went on. Nor will they care."

And this is the guy that wants kids to be inspired....just don't give a crap about the engineering, the processing, the launch vehicle, the launch event etc. And I suppose we can include the testing, the test flights.

Very poor remark from the head of NASA.


Ya know ... I remember watching a big rocket launch a couple guys towards the moon on TV a few decade ago.  But the name of that rocket and the names of the spacecraft that took them to/from the moon seems to escape me at the moment.  I guess I don't care ... the important thing is that Neal somebody, Buzz what's his face, and Michael in the command thingy made history. ;D

Edit for grammar.

I tried to find an excuse for his comment, such as Joe Public, but even Joe Public tend to know what a shuttle is.

Those exhibitions with retired orbiters are going to be in trouble by 2020, with masses of people asking "what's that?"
The Shuttle's exceptional.  It's easy to recall because it stands out.  Most people couldn't tell an Atlas from an Ares I from a Titan from a Falcon 1, given a picture of each without explicit scale. 
NEC ULTIMA SI PRIOR

Offline jongoff

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What I find fascinating about this entire ordeal is that it is one of the only issues on The Hill today that both sides of the isle agree on for the most part.  In other words all of the energy was from one team (Congress) being directed on others.  I enjoying seeing WDC in agreement for once.  Granted its a small room of congressmen and women but they are on one team which is rare these days.   

Congressmen and Senators from districts with large NASA centers agree that the rest of the country should spend more money on projects that benefit their districts?  Amazing!  Would've never suspected....  ;-)

~Jon

Offline jongoff

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But this HLV fetish so many have here seems to border on a cargo cult mentality.

~Jon

I think that's unfair and incorrect.  It's my opinion that most of the people that want HLVs want it because they feel it's the best (in one way or another) way to get humans to other planetary bodies and back safely with meaningful work to do at their destination.  There might be a few Tim Taylor's but that's not the majority.

I guess my point was that even among non-amazing people supporters of HLVs, the usual jist of their rationale is "it worked for Apollo".  Ignoring all the other things that made Apollo possible that just don't exist anymore.  Most of the time I try to discuss the technical side of whether HLVs are really needed or not, I get accused of either "arrogantly thinking I know everything we'll need in the future" or someone uses an appeal to authority (usually glossing over any nuance in said authority).

I wasn't saying people didn't honestly believe HLVs were needed.  Just saying that a lot of people think they're needed for reasons that aren't much better than a cargo cult mentality.  Those Pacific Islanders also really believed that if they rebuilt those long dirt strips, those big noisy bird looking things, and tall tower like things that it would somehow magically lead to the cargo and goods coming back to their islands.  That doesn't mean that they were somehow dishonest, or didn't really believe what they said they did. 

~Jon

Offline dbhyslop

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At least that program was designed to get us out of Low Earth Orbit.  Let's have one or the other - a return to the moon (and hopefully missions beyond) or a return to advancing the state of the art, and pushing for routine access to space with reusable spaceplanes. 

Having nothing but Soyuz and Dragon capsules ferrying crew to/from ISS for the next decade is such a letdown!

Under the new plan hasn't NASA given money already this month to a winged RLV project?  I know from many of your posts that you very much like winged vehicles--I'm surprised you're not jumping for joy about this.

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