Author Topic: LIVE: Congressional Hearings into Obama's NASA Budget FY2011 - Feb 24-25 Part 2  (Read 319852 times)

Offline Halidon

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I'm sorry, but I'm a tad appalled at people who who think they've got Lori Garver pegged as some villainous opponent of HSF because they read her Wikipedia profile and found it wanting. I want to point out that Keith Cowling thinks you're all nuts, and I'll take his first-hand knowledge over your intuition every day of the millennium.

I really hope Congress calls the CCDev and COTS companies to The Hill before committing themselves. It's somewhat farcical for politicians with no direct knowledge of anything beyond talking points to claim "Commercial won't be ready for decades" without at least talking to Boeing, SpaceX, ULA, Bigelow, etc.


Right now, the NASA plan is a no sale because there is no goal, and there is no commitment to HSF that can be demonstrated by the budget numbers and plans currently out there.


This sort of sentiment amazes me. Committing to extend ISS to at least 2020 and committing to multiple, redundant paths to LEO is not a commitment to HSF? Putting money into advanced propulsion, open-architecture life support, and far-BEO manned mission technologies like Rad shielding means no HSF?

Offline yg1968

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Lori Garver? I must have missed the memo, but when did she become the bad person in all of this? That's why I was confused about Senator Vitter's attack on her.....as much as I wouldn't understand politics even if it slapped me in the face.

She's only trying to do what she thinks is right.   She doesn't believe in going back to the moon, never did.   And she is not a fan of any of the big defense contractors, even though they are where the wealth of experience is.   She would prefer to throw the whole lot out and replace them with Space-X style small companies and foreign partnerships (recall she is one of the central figures responsible for saving Space Station Freedom by bringing in International Partners).

She has been at the center of the negotiations, and while certainly not the only person in the room, she has been the main character in the evolution of these plans all the way from last year's transition team, through Augustine and to this politically explosive Budget Draft.

She isn't alone.   Alan Ladwig and George Whitesides are both centrally involved (transition team again).

John Holdren over at OSTP has been the senior White House/OMB guy in on this.

And Charlie Bolden seems to be saying all the right things to indicate he believe in this too, although reports vary as far as to say he's considering retiring from NASA already because this isn't what he signed up for.   I don't know which end of that spectrum is true though.   I guess we'll all see if/when he retires early.


President Obama has actually had very little input into this beyond a few high-level instructions.   By the accounts I've heard, he mostly wants increased education spending and to get rid of anything his predecessor started.   The rest is up to his advisers (listed above) to handle as they see fit.   They are the ones writing this, not the Oval.


Outside of that "inner circle" it becomes less clear who is involved.   One notable who I have noticed is all over this locally is Bob Cabana (KSC Director) who seems to be all-for getting rid of most of his own workforce right now.   If you talk to staff down here it almost sounds like there are a couple thousand people at KSC ready to lynch him already!

So no, Lori Garver isn't the only person behind this.   But she is a particularly central figure who has been leading this 'cabal' and crafting these decisions, plus speaking into the President's ear, for roughly a year longer than Bolden has even been in office.

There is no doubt at all that Lori was "in charge" until the Administrator was officially appointed -- she was given the authority of the President to do whatever she wanted until the time Bolden came into the picture   The only remaining question is exactly how much Bolden has taken charge after that point, and how much influence she still has today.   Excepting Bolden, her voice is still undoubtedly the loudest.

Ross.

Trying to target imaginary villains will back fire. First Griffin was a villain. Now Garver is a villian. Who's next on the villain list? This witch hunting serves no prupose. I thought it was classy of Bolden to defend Garver.

I suspect a lot of this new NASA plan actually comes from Obama himself. We haven't heard that much about what Obama thinks. But we have had hints here and there.

1- Months ago, there was an article about Obama wanting DOD and NASA to cooperate more in space. A number of people criticized the article as inaccurate. But there was obviously some truth to it.

2- Obama later mentionned that he thought NASA was adrift and that it didn't inspire any more.

3- Garver was named as part of the transition team by Obama and apparently Obama thinks she would make a good candidate as Administrator. Bolden is clearly Nelson's pick.

4- The Augustine Committee is set up by Obama and it indicates that NASA is not spending enough on R&D (because of Constellation) and that NASA should spend a lot more on R&D in order to enable BEO exploration. They also say that we should opt for commercial crew for LEO.

5- Bolden is nominated and says that the ultimate goal is Mars and talks about Vasmir. He also says that he is pro-commercial sector.

6- A few months ago Obama made a speech where he said that the US should spend 3% of its GDP on R&D and that NASA should be part of that effort.

This all adds up.  Obama is the real architect behind this new effort!

But I agree with Miles O'Brien. This is a good plan. So I am not going to try to turn Obama into a villain.

I am expecting that the plans for the HLV will be changed by Congress but a lot of the Obama plan will still remain: commercial crew to LEO, spending on propellant depots and on R&D for game changing technology.

If you listen to Senator Nelson, his stance on the HLV has soften in recent weeks. He seems on board with most of Obama's plan except the importance of having an HLV sooner rather than later.  Nelson generally gets what he wants when it comes to space policy. He has a good relationship with Obama. In my mind, what he says is more important than anybody else in Congress at this point. 
« Last Edit: 02/26/2010 12:02 am by yg1968 »

Offline nooneofconsequence

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Watched Bernie Schwartz bet the farm on Skynet at Loral - great financials, great management ... suicidal decision. Need I bring up VentureStar.

Not sure what you mean by that...Schwartz certainly bet the farm on Globalstar, and then sold off much of the profitable Skynet business to Intelsat after Loral had amassed a hopeless amount of debt largely from Globalstar as I understood it.

Quote
FWW, these guys are much better off than Kistler.

I sure hope so!  I was actually assigned to work on the Kistler program briefly when I was with AlliedSignal in Teterboro...barely had time to move into my new cubicle before that work ground to a halt, and I got pushed over to another program!
Originally all just skynet at the beginning. Don't want to do all of this in a post - too much to type! Suffice to say that satellite telcom has lucrative and loser items mixed together that many choked on.

To the point again - you can't presume throwing money (or anything) at it will make it better. Sometimes it makes it worse.

Many of the so-called "new space" firms are well-run in my experience. Unlike Kistler for example.

Where they are weak is lack of experience/resource - they often go the long way round the barn.

If you wish to improve odds here, what would work best would be partial investment by larger aerospace firms in them. Note that Scaled is owned by Northrup Grumman. That's really what you are asking for your comfort.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline marsavian

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« Last Edit: 02/26/2010 12:59 am by marsavian »

Offline nooneofconsequence

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Here's a question. Is there a danger that a political fightback against the FY2011 could result in months and months of hearings etc, which might leave us with a really bad situation of shuttle ending, CxP ending and the future plan bogged down with the lawmakers?

Also, for our older members, are the current events comparable with anything in the past....I'm thinking Apollo to Shuttle, as much as I know that must have been very different?

Very much so Chris.

That is why it is SO dangerous to open up definitive decisions in a  democracy decisions to scrutiny.  Definitive decisions are so rare, that once the option space is opened up it is not only likely that our representatives may pick a worse alternative, but might posture so long as to make ANY decision irrelevant.

There are those that warned of this.  Policies that result in huge government acquisitions in a political world are incredibly fragile eggs ... they require support from all sides (including those that may not like eggs) or the slightest crack leads to them falling apart to nothing. 

Not a system I'm proud of, but one that repeats itself for NASA and other agencies. 

Couldn't agree more.

Many here on this forum misunderstand the fragility of this situation.

They react like rhinos or elephants in musk. They want / think they can get things their way, and are naive enough to press political buttons that actually work backwards of what they think.

Part of the reasons for some of the negative projections some have you have done come true ... is because it is far easier to destroy than to create. So it is easy to help make the worst come true.

Rant away.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline marsavian

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What you haven't seen yet is the rivalries between senators when t settles in that they can't fund all of what they want and some get nothing. Then a different set of battles begin.

I think this is the fundamental problem.  Even without the commercial stuff and the R&D, there wasn't enough money being appropriated to give everyone in Congress a pony. 

Yeah, it would be great to live in a world where NASA could be given a budget big enough to:

1-Keep shuttle flying
2-Keep the shuttle workforce in a job
3-Keep flying "test launches" of "Rocket-X" (whatever that actually means)
4-Build an HLV
5-Extend ISS and increase its utilization
6-Have no job losses anywhere evar
7-Fund R&D necessary to move us to a new cost vs. performance curve
8-Fund commercial crew development so we're more than one single point failure away from losing our nation's HSF capability again
9-Restore to the science side all the funding they've lost due to CxP
10-Restore to Aeronautics all the funding it's lost to CxP

The problem is that the people on the appropriations committees (the very people dishonestly moaning about how "Obama doesn't give NASA more money" when it's their own darned job to appropriate money for NASA) have never been able to get NASA anywhere close to the resources it would need to do even a fraction of these well.  Remember, the President proposes, *Congress* disposes. 

~Jon

51D Mascot :-

Not true, Ross. 2005 and 2008 Authorization Acts provided ALL the funding authority originally projected for Exploration for 2007 through 2009, the three Fiscal Years for which they provided authorizations...but the White House never requested, and thus the appropriators never appropriated. Authorizers asked appropriators to approve above the requested levels, but that would have meant taking money from some other agency within their accounts jurisdiction (Commerce, Justice, other Independent Agencies) and that just wasn't going to happen. It has to begin with the President's request for the maximum authorized levels.

Here are the numbers, followed by what the numbers would be above the FY 2010 requested amount and projections for 2011 and 2012


http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18276.msg458438#msg458438


Offline robertross

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Bolden said that Cxp is behind in developing the vehicles, said that he hopes that by 2016 they'll have commercial LEO capability (maybe more than one vehicle), 2020-30 possibly going BEO.

I wanted to reply to this ONE statement by Bolden, because I haven't seen anyone else make any remark on it yet.

He 'hopes'? that by 2016 they'll have Commercial LEO capability??

The first 'hopes' were 2014. This is sounding more and more like an Ares I IOC projection...

So how is this 'better'? I'm not seeing it. Maybe it is realistic. But hey, COTS looks to be getting an additional $300B for one reason or another (propping-up or acceleration, I'll let others determine that one). Who's to say Commercial crew won't fall behind or come back looking for additional funds.

Offline mars.is.wet

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Trying to target imaginary villains will back fire. First Griffin was a villain. Now Garver is a villian. Who's next on the villain list? This witch hunting serves no prupose. I thought it was classy of Bolden to defend Garver.

If you can't win on merit, blame the officiating!

Doesn't mean that other alternatives weren't superior, they just weren't as clearly superior as others have made them out to be.

Either that or everyone who steps up in a leadership position is a villain.

Offline khallow

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I don't see the decision to go with Ares as being "definitive" for a couple of reasons. First, it was not done in a way that would be definitive in a democracy. As I see it, the ESAS was cooked (there's way too many unwarranted assumptions that favor SRM first stage vehicles) to get a predetermined solution that the boss, Mike Griffin wanted. That won't rest well with anyone who has a similar perception of the process, especially if they disagreed with the outcome.

Second, it was a very poorly executed decision. Very poor execution can undo an otherwise definitive decision. In additional to leaving commercial launch in the cold (which in my view was one of the worst mistakes NASA has ever made), they ended up well behind schedule, over budget, and exhibit many other symptoms of a badly executed plan (such as having to redesign the Orion spacecraft numerous times and cutting valuable programs in order to get enough funding).

For what it's worth, I think the Obama administration has at least gotten the first part partly right. The Augustine Committee was pretty open with reputable members, there was no favored conclusion. It is a good contrast to the ESAS.

I think the current mess with the poorly outlined NASA budget request is recoverable, especially since the debate will occur openly. I think there are reasonable concerns about future direction and even whether the Obama administration intends to undermine NASA's role in US space development. I think the aggressive congressional hearings herald a more open and more definitive decision than came with Constellation. A lot depends on whether Bolden can deliver a credible plan.
Karl Hallowell

Offline jkumpire

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I'm sorry, but I'm a tad appalled at people who who think they've got Lori Garver pegged as some villainous opponent of HSF because they read her Wikipedia profile and found it wanting. I want to point out that Keith Cowling thinks you're all nuts, and I'll take his first-hand knowledge over your intuition every day of the millennium.

I really hope Congress calls the CCDev and COTS companies to The Hill before committing themselves. It's somewhat farcical for politicians with no direct knowledge of anything beyond talking points to claim "Commercial won't be ready for decades" without at least talking to Boeing, SpaceX, ULA, Bigelow, etc.


Right now, the NASA plan is a no sale because there is no goal, and there is no commitment to HSF that can be demonstrated by the budget numbers and plans currently out there.


This sort of sentiment amazes me. Committing to extend ISS to at least 2020 and committing to multiple, redundant paths to LEO is not a commitment to HSF? Putting money into advanced propulsion, open-architecture life support, and far-BEO manned mission technologies like Rad shielding means no HSF?

Well,

I can understand part of your angst, but if you look at my post I said HSF BEO, Beyond Earth orbit. Frankly, I think you are hoping there is long-term funding for this, where the commitment is lacking on the part of the Administration.

There is supposedly a promise to spend money, but for what? How long is the money going to be budgeted for by the Administration? What happens when some of this, or most of this research ends up at a dead end, or people start saying they need more?

There are no assurances with these guys, since in the current Administration, every promise has an expiration date. Why should NASA be any different? Further, NASA is going all-in on a totally untested series of vehicles and systems that may or may not work.

On top of that, the HSF to LEO commitment is mostly smoke and mirrors anyway, since we do have obligations to ISS to 2020, and I fear that the Administration will decide to just pay other countries to do the work the US is required to do to meet its obligations.   

In short, you hope things work out well. You hope the money commitment is there. I need to see a lot more evidence that these hopes you have are justified.

I hope you are right sir. Right now, I think you are wrong about what you believe.

 

 
 

Offline mars.is.wet

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Bolden said that Cxp is behind in developing the vehicles, said that he hopes that by 2016 they'll have commercial LEO capability (maybe more than one vehicle), 2020-30 possibly going BEO.

I wanted to reply to this ONE statement by Bolden, because I haven't seen anyone else make any remark on it yet.

He 'hopes'? that by 2016 they'll have Commercial LEO capability??

The first 'hopes' were 2014. This is sounding more and more like an Ares I IOC projection...

So how is this 'better'? I'm not seeing it. Maybe it is realistic. But hey, COTS looks to be getting an additional $300B for one reason or another (propping-up or acceleration, I'll let others determine that one). Who's to say Commercial crew won't fall behind or come back looking for additional funds.

Wow, you mean the contractor proposals of HR Atlas V by 2012 were overstated?  Or is the massive NASA workforce slowing things down?

Contractor Advocates estimates are an ante, not their whole stake.  Just enough to get you to buy in. That's why you need a third party without a stake to adjudicate. 

Offline neilh

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That is also unfortunate, imo.  I'd be a lot more confident in something like DreamChaser if NASA gave one of the "big defense contractors" the contract to build it, rather than some upstart company with a shaky financial footing and zero history or experience in building such vehicles.

From the C3PO/COTS/CCDev presentation at the FAA Conference last week, here's the list of partners & subs for Sierra Nevada on the Dream Chaser:

http://www.aiaa.org/pdf/industry/presentations/Lindenmoyer_C3PO.pdf
Quote
Partners& Subs
Boeing
Draper Lab
ULA
Aerojet
AdamWorks
MDA
University of Colorado
NASA LaRC
Someone is wrong on the Internet.
http://xkcd.com/386/

Offline psloss

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(There was an appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday, but I haven't seen a webcast of that made available yet.)
No webcast links yet, but there's an article about this hearing:
http://www.spacenews.com/policy/100225-house-appropriators-grill-obama-science-adviser.html


Are you sure ? ;)

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20634.msg551584#msg551584

http://science.edgeboss.net/wmedia/science/scitech10/022410.wvx
Yes, I'm sure -- there were two NASA related House hearings yesterday; we only saw one.  Put another way: there were three NASA related Congressional hearings yesterday, we only saw two of them.  The links above point to the morning hearing that was also televised live on NASA TV.  That was a hearing of the House Science and Technology committee, chaired by Representative Gordon.

The House hearing in the afternoon I'm referring to occurred at the same time as the televised Senate subcommittee hearing chaired by Senator Nelson.  At the same time that Mr. Bolden, et. al. testified in front of Senator Nelson's subcommittee, Dr. Holdren testified in front of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies of House Appropriations, chaired by Representative Alan Mollohan.  I haven't seen a webcast link for that yet.
« Last Edit: 02/26/2010 02:02 am by psloss »

Offline Andy Armstrong

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No, we are not stuck.  We have a vehicle.

Commercial, at best, is 3-4 years away for crew.  The current "plan" is not a plan and hopes and assumes with zero contingency.

General lists, not really what I would call specific, of when maybe we would like to see technologies developed but then having no definitive plan to use them is a strategic mistake.  Does Microsoft just research how to make Windows better or do they plan to actually use it in there next version?  Take your pick of any company and feel free to use the same analogy. 

Agree, we have a vehicle (Shuttle) that can be used as a basis for building blocks.

The Microsoft comment is very germane. From a hardware perspective, how can we forget Intel 8086, 80286, 80386, 80486, ... essentialy x486 family. Innovation has happened in the family continuously that has lead the computer revolution.


Offline Jim

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1- Months ago, there was an article about Obama wanting DOD and NASA to cooperate more in space. A number of people criticized the article as inaccurate. But there was obviously some truth to it.


There hasn't been any new developments wrt this. 

Offline Jim

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Wow, you mean the contractor proposals of HR Atlas V by 2012 were overstated?  Or is the massive NASA workforce slowing things down?

Contractor Advocates estimates are an ante, not their whole stake.  Just enough to get you to buy in. That's why you need a third party without a stake to adjudicate. 


The long pole will be the spacecraft and not the launch vehicle. 

Offline yg1968

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1- Months ago, there was an article about Obama wanting DOD and NASA to cooperate more in space. A number of people criticized the article as inaccurate. But there was obviously some truth to it.


There hasn't been any new developments wrt this. 

The idea of funding R&D for a US version of the RD-180 could be funded by DOD and NASA. I beleive that Bolden specifically mentionned this as a possibility.

Offline Jim

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1- Months ago, there was an article about Obama wanting DOD and NASA to cooperate more in space. A number of people criticized the article as inaccurate. But there was obviously some truth to it.


There hasn't been any new developments wrt this. 

The idea of funding R&D for a US version of the RD-180 could be funded by DOD and NASA. I beleive that Bolden specifically mentionned this as a possibility.


Stuff like this has always been happening.  This isn't new to the Obama administration.  The cooperation that was poo pooed was joint missions or joint development of a new vehicle.


NASA has been working close with the DOD on EELV fleet management and improvements.    The DOD has no problem with this since:
a.  It is their fleet basically
b. they get a benefit at someone else expense.

Offline marsavian

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(There was an appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday, but I haven't seen a webcast of that made available yet.)
No webcast links yet, but there's an article about this hearing:
http://www.spacenews.com/policy/100225-house-appropriators-grill-obama-science-adviser.html


Are you sure ? ;)

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20634.msg551584#msg551584

http://science.edgeboss.net/wmedia/science/scitech10/022410.wvx
Yes, I'm sure -- there were two NASA related House hearings yesterday; we only saw one.  Put another way: there were three NASA related Congressional hearings yesterday, we only saw two of them.  The links above point to the morning hearing that was also televised live on NASA TV.  That was a hearing of the House Science and Technology committee, chaired by Representative Gordon.

The House hearing in the afternoon I'm referring to occurred at the same time as the televised Senate subcommittee hearing chaired by Senator Nelson.  At the same time that Mr. Bolden, et. al. testified in front of Senator Nelson's subcommittee, Dr. Holdren testified in front of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies of House Appropriations, chaired by Representative Alan Mollohan.  I haven't seen a webcast link for that yet.


Ok, thanks for the correction. FWIW there were 2 pdfs associated with that meeting

http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/Mollohan_Opening_Statement-2-24-10.pdf
http://appropriations.house.gov/Witness_testimony/CJS/John_Holdren-2-24-10.pdf

and also this testimony snippet

http://aderholt.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=20&sectiontree=6,20&itemid=1005

“My first question is about the speed with which NASA is shutting down Constellation even though the commercial options for human spaceflight are not ready.  Fixed costs for launching Ares I would be about $1.2 billion a year; any launch system is going to have that high a cost or higher.”

“The marginal cost, or cost per rocket, would be about $120 million for Ares I, plus about $50 million for the Orion capsule. The latest estimate for a completed Falcon 9 is about $130 million.  Meanwhile, we should note that the original March 2006 contracts NASA signed with the two companies which won COTS contracts called for 3 demonstration flights by the fall of 2008, showing the ability to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.   Almost four years later, we are still waiting on that first flight.”
« Last Edit: 02/26/2010 06:57 am by marsavian »

Offline Analyst

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Bolden seems more and more like a puppet after these past 2 days...

And you come to this conclusion how?

Analyst

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