Author Topic: President Obama on Space  (Read 46298 times)

Offline MP99

Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #100 on: 12/28/2011 04:14 pm »
I have to agree. It sure would be nice to have a fiscally responsible government space program as well as an industry stimulus program for commercial crew and a sensible technology maturation program.

And if elected, I promise to do all that, and reward everyone with a pony.

Can I have a unicorn instead?  ::)

I'm afraid we only have block I unicorns in stock at the moment, sir.

You'll have to wait until block II for the version with the horn.  ;)

cheers, Martin

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #101 on: 12/29/2011 05:20 am »
After all, the moon is "been there done that" and the central goal of the agency is to currently go "touch an asteroid"  (but nothing really more) possibly a generation from now.

What President Obama actually said is "We’ve been there before." :-(

No, he said what I quoted.

Do you have a reference for that? What I remember him saying, and what the link I gave has him saying is the following:

"Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned.  But I just have to say pretty bluntly here:  We’ve been there before.  Buzz has been there.  There’s a lot more of space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do.  So I believe it’s more important to ramp up our capabilities to reach -- and operate at -- a series of increasingly demanding targets, while advancing our technological capabilities with each step forward.  And that’s what this strategy does.  And that’s how we will ensure that our leadership in space is even stronger in this new century than it was in the last."

Quote
Either way, it is astonishingly short-sighted in my opinion.

Well, I think President Obama was trying to present a long term vision, one that bypasses the Moon in search of new technology and celestial bodies much further away. In my opinion, that is the harder and more expensive approach. I think we should start with the closest celestial body (which is the Moon) using existing technology and build from there.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2011 05:41 am by Steven Pietrobon »
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline 93143

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #102 on: 12/29/2011 06:16 am »
Yeah but again unavoidable.  The shuttle used fewer people than Saturn and the people you need to develop something are often different than the people you need to operate something and even when they are the same you may not need all of them all at once.

People change industries all the time.
 

Don't be ridiculous.  That transition is legendary for how badly it was botched.  NASA had institutional knowledge in the Saturn/Apollo days that it still hasn't recovered.  Everything to do with operating, maintaining and upgrading existing systems was ended completely, leaving nothing but new-system development for several years, on a shoestring budget no less, and when they asked the fired people to come back, 90% said no.

The solution is obvious.  If you don't want to lose all your ops people, don't shut down an existing program without a replacement and a transition plan.

DIRECT had a plan whereby the gap between Shuttle and Jupiter was only a year or so, and a significant chunk of the personnel (not all, of course, even taking retirement attrition into account, but enough to constitute a solid basis for the exploration program workforce) were kept busy with useful work during the transition.  Now what have we got?
« Last Edit: 12/29/2011 06:27 am by 93143 »

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #103 on: 12/29/2011 11:40 am »
Many of us on Here watched the Augustine Committee hearings and we saw how the process played out in public. What happened behind the scenes is open for speculation. I mentioned my sentiments a couple of posts back that if the President was not “ill advised” that we would have something on the pad right now. I didn’t want to bring up DIRECT specifically so as to not raise the hairs up on some people’s back. Since it did come up, It would be nice to know for sure how far it went up and who would have told the President (if they even did) to reject the idea. I am fairly certain that he was not made aware of it.

One thing we do know about the President is that he is pragmatic and does not make impulsive decisions.

Look at the battle between the White House and the Hill over SLS. Would the Hill have fought so hard for DIRECT and what would have been the White House’s response… It was sad to see the fight between the Executive and Legislative branches of the government, while they each lost track of the big picture for U.S. Spaceflight and its many loyal and motivated workers.

DIRECT could have offered a middle ground for both branches…
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #104 on: 12/29/2011 02:42 pm »
Quote from: Prez Obama
We’ve been there before.

That the Prez didn't specifically say "BTDT" has nothing to do with anything.  He didn't say: "But I just have to say pretty bluntly here:  We’ve been there before.  And we need to go back and practice before we go to Mars..."

His was a lousy argument, in a speech where he read from his teleprompter, probably without significant deviation in wording.  He is not interested in HSF unless it should be the only thing which would guarantee his re-election.  Which it isn't.  Sure, he would like to have Florida, but his team is looking at the whole country, and has bigger fish to fry at this time.  Altho it doesn't prove anything, it is interesting that here's a government endeavor which he doesn't care to grow.  His position is a sad commentary on his opinion of the value of HSF, science and higher education, as well as hi paying skilled jobs.

He flat out does not care about those things.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2011 02:44 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #105 on: 12/29/2011 03:38 pm »
So that we are not mincing words here are the official transcripts and video from NASA and the White House respectively.

http://www.nasa.gov/news/media/trans/obama_ksc_trans.html

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Offline chrisking0997

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #106 on: 12/29/2011 04:50 pm »
Quote from: Prez Obama
We’ve been there before.

That the Prez didn't specifically say "BTDT" has nothing to do with anything.  He didn't say: "But I just have to say pretty bluntly here:  We’ve been there before.  And we need to go back and practice before we go to Mars..."

His was a lousy argument, in a speech where he read from his teleprompter, probably without significant deviation in wording.  He is not interested in HSF unless it should be the only thing which would guarantee his re-election.  Which it isn't.  Sure, he would like to have Florida, but his team is looking at the whole country, and has bigger fish to fry at this time.  Altho it doesn't prove anything, it is interesting that here's a government endeavor which he doesn't care to grow.  His position is a sad commentary on his opinion of the value of HSF, science and higher education, as well as hi paying skilled jobs.

He flat out does not care about those things.

EXACTLY!!!  There is an underlying theme to each of these political "where do they stand" threads, and that is that when its all boiled down none of them could care less what happens with our space program.  The only thing they care about is figuring out what to promise in order to get the votes.  They dont care because long term plans mean nothing to their short term political careers.  The only President associated with the space program is Kennedy, and thats only because he laid out a bold goal and then was cut down before he was able to see it through.

Since NASA is unable to provide capabilities within the term limits of a president and congress is unwilling to pay for it, we're stuck in limbo.  And since there is no foreseable commercial market in space except supplying the government and communication satellites, thats a dead end too.  Meanwhile China is pushing forward.  They consider their program part of their national prestige, not a political football.  I guess until we find either A) gold or B) voters in space, we'll be left living vicariously through them.

I wish John were running for Prez...I could really use a pony right now.
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Offline muomega0

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #107 on: 12/29/2011 05:29 pm »
The strategy:
Quote
So I believe it’s more important to ramp up our capabilities to reach -- and operate at -- a series of increasingly demanding targets, while advancing our technological capabilities with each step forward.  And that’s what this strategy does

….because the HLV architecture is unsustainable…. It’s that simple.  The product lines are not needed.

A NASA OCT chart (attached) shows some of the technologies required to explore sustainably.  The most significant mass (and hence cost) reduction is obtained through improved cryogenic boiloff.  How much?  Its 10s of Billions of dollars.

The strategy is sound and flexible--The solution returns to a depot centric architecture, smaller launch vehicles, and technology development

Quote
It wasn't workforce for direct just infrastructure.  {A few} figured {wrongly} that the cost of CXP would have been much lower if it could have used the shuttle's systems with fewer changes.

Infrastructure cost have been addressed with a flexible launch platform.  The cost issue is too many product lines, flight rate, and boiloff.

Many of us on Here watched the Augustine Committee hearings and we saw how the process played out in public. What happened behind the scenes is open for speculation. I mentioned my sentiments a couple of posts back that if the President was not “ill advised” that we would have something on the pad right now.

Your summary of Augustine is woefully inadequate.  The Augustine Commission restated the obvious:  that even if NASA were handed the heavy lift vehicle, it could not afford to operate it. 

Yes, if President Bush and his Congress were not “ill advised”, VSE would have occurred without Constellation and NASA would have made progress on a depot centric architecture, originally called “spirals”.  To be fair, the understanding of the depot architecture has greatly improved over this same time.

Quote
I didn’t want to bring up DIRECT specifically so as to not raise the hairs up on some people’s back. Since it did come up, It would be nice to know for sure how far it went up and who would have told the President (if they even did) to reject the idea. I am fairly certain that he was not made aware of it.
Look at the battle between the White House and the{part of} the Hill over SLS. Would the Hill have fought so hard for DIRECT and what would have been the White House’s response… It was sad to see the fight between the Executive and {part of} Legislative branches of the government, while they  lost track of the big picture for U.S. Spaceflight.
DIRECT could have offered a middle ground for both branches…

A Direct middle ground is not a solution to the NASA $$$ problem.

The basic Direct, or Jupiter J-130 (4 segment SRMs, SSME, 8.4m ET) did not reduce operational costs until the average annual MT/year greatly exceeded 400MT/year.

Nor does a gateway depot with SLS  (SLS v3), nor does a gateway depot without a LEO ZBO Depot.

Making these statements requires data and analysis.  Unfortunately, only HLV architectures have been on the table for the last decade.


----------------------------------------
A summary of links and data is listed below to partially support this assessment. 

The data shows that the "compromise" in which a major new NASA rocket and capsule, the Space Launch System, would coexist with commercial companies, IOW, keeping all the product lines open, is not going to work. :o


Direct vs EELV Costs with links to data and  The budget does not support a robust Exploration Program

The Historical Costs of Shuttle

A LEO ZBO Depot solves the two major dollar drivers for NASA

  Numerous variations of the HLV architecture have not solved the $$$ issue

  NASA has two big $$$ problems:  HLV and 0.1% or above boiloff, both solved with the Major Advantages of ZBO LEO Depot

  Depot Centric saves 60B versus HLV architectures over 20 years

The LEO Zero Boiloff Depot is ready for demonstration, contrary to claims otherwise

  A ZBO LEO will require about 10 kWe, and has Significant Margin

  0.1% Boiloff Limits Mission Flexibility to  ~ 180 days  and the *Lousy* 0.1% =~180 days is easy to estimate

Most of NASA has little influence on the overall architecture

  Congress sent a clear picture to NASA on the overall architecture

  There are Billions ($$$) of reasons to retain a HLV, but the time to change the architecture is now

  Determining the average MT/year required is a key figure of merit and stating the LV size is the wrong parameter ::)

  2008 Congress Bears part of the Blame for JWST Costs

Online Robotbeat

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #108 on: 12/29/2011 05:42 pm »
The President made the executive decision that the problems with Constellation weren't worth fixing (Ares I performance issues and cost increases, etc) and that the whole concept, which had become merely Apollo on steroids (i.e. sortie missions with disposable hardware), wasn't worth spending the vast sums needed to make it work when it would be viewed by the public as almost the same thing as Apollo. Nowhere did he ever say that HSF wasn't worth it. Many people conflate Constellation with HSF, so if one opposed Constellation that one is opposing all HSF, but this is just a plain falsehood. The same people conflate HSF with NASA as well, when this is also untrue.

So, the President ordered a change in direction to focus on beyond the Earth-Moon system entirely, to study NEOs, which are an existential threat to our species, and eventually Mars (which is and has been considered the prime goal for human spaceflight for many, many decades... since the very dawn of the Space Age) while extending ISS through a continued focus on commercial crew (a more private-sector approach that has been championed by none other than Newt Gingrich). Some people fell in love with Constellation so much that they took this change in direction as direct opposition to all HSF or even all NASA, when there is really no truth at all. The President proposed a budget increase for NASA, which was actually more than Congress ended up passing. So, if Obama is somehow anti-NASA, Congress is even more so.

So, yes. Obama threatened to cancel Constellation and he did so. But that in no way means he is anti-NASA, and to say so is a bald-faced lie.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #109 on: 12/29/2011 06:44 pm »
I challenge those who disagree with my assessment to name one candidate that has a more pro-NASA (or even pro-space) position. Mitt mocked Newt's Moon base idea; Newt supports much of Obama's new direction (which makes sense for a Republican... it is much more pro-private sector development than the alternative). Most of the others have been silent.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2011 06:45 pm by Robotbeat »
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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 Namechange User

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #110 on: 12/29/2011 07:49 pm »
The problem is, and has been in my opinion, President Obama has not lived up to his own hype.  He has a gift for the oratory.  It was that "hope and assumption" that likely gave him the Whitehouse.  The trick is, and always have been, turning lofty words into action.  That is where he has failed on a number of counts, including NASA. 

Every president has the right to define policy.  It is a function of being president.  However, in the case of NASA, his lofty and carefully spared words were all based on political calculus.  He would talk about his childhood in Hawaii and the Apollo astronauts, that nobody is a "bigger supporter than him", etc.  Those, and the other things, are the words providing political cover and the ability to blame others, namely Congress. 

The reality is this:

There was nothing wrong with the VSE.  "The Moon, Mars and Beyond".  Sums it up well.  "Incorporating space into the economic sphere of the United States", etc, etc, etc.  That was policy.  In very broad terms that is still exactly the same.  The execution of the Constellation Program had flaws obviously but instead of changing the execution, he decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater. 

The proposed direction cancelled everything and substituted it with nothing.  It assumed, or it was by political design, that everything existed before it needed to be eliminated.  With no short- and long-term strategy and tactics on how to execute it, everything splintered and nothing integrated to determine "what" to spend limited resources on, "when" the funding was needed and "how" that funding profile therefore needed to look. 

In short, we had nothing but buzzwords, such as "ground-breaking", "game-changing", "innovative", etc. 

Look at where we are today.  Those buzzwords have not served us well:

We retired a capability unique to history "just because".  We are now reliant on the Russians, and their clearly unreliable capability, to get to a space station essentially funded by the United States. 

"Commercial" is still TBD and essentially a government run program where now government will have to down-select, likely to only one, "commercial" provider. 

We have, still, no integrated strategy and tactics where the "buzzwords" above can be plugged in and as a result empires forming and getting stronger within the centers in order to cultivate their own survival. 

We have Orion, which he initially cancelled, then suggested it could be a lifeboat (which contradicted the capabilities Orion was being designed for and claimed he wanted), then to only, eventually and after much wrangling, gain lackluster support as MPCV.

We have an SLS that also gets lackluster support, also after much wrangling, instead of "studying" something where countless studies have already been performed on essentially any configuration that would be a possibility in the next 5 years anyway. 

We have heard nothing more from our President on this topic since he bolted out of there to get to his fundraiser in Miami, which is essential to provide the leadership to move anything through Congress.  The OMB is controlled by the Executive Branch, I would not call them "big supporters"

So, in summary, there was an ample amount of options he could have pursued, *if* he really cared about all of this as much as he claimed that combined elements of his "buzzwords" with building on the accomplishments of the past and present (like Russia, China, etc do).  In many respects, that was then attempted to be accomplished in the NASA Authorization Act, something I think may be fair to question if they *really* support. 

As a result, we are in limbo.  We do not know when, or if, we will ever "get back" to something real and tangible.  The industry is in shambles and the next ten, if we are lucky, will be spent rebuilding the skill and experience from the devestation of the last 3 years. 
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Offline jagmaster

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #111 on: 12/29/2011 08:41 pm »
The problem is, and has been in my opinion, President Obama has not lived up to his own hype.  He has a gift for the oratory.  It was that "hope and assumption" that likely gave him the Whitehouse.  The trick is, and always have been, turning lofty words into action.  That is where he has failed on a number of counts,

Really? You'll find quite a lot of people who voted for him based on policies too.

Offline Namechange User

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #112 on: 12/29/2011 08:51 pm »
The problem is, and has been in my opinion, President Obama has not lived up to his own hype.  He has a gift for the oratory.  It was that "hope and assumption" that likely gave him the Whitehouse.  The trick is, and always have been, turning lofty words into action.  That is where he has failed on a number of counts,

Really? You'll find quite a lot of people who voted for him based on policies too.

I'm sure that is the case.  Like in my previous example, things like:

Heathcare:  That worked out well.  We still do not even know the impacts of the law and the cost.  Anything turned over to a 535-ish member body is sure to be spectacular.

Economy:  We're rolling now!

Stimulus:  840 billion for "jobs" and to jump start said economy keeping unemployement below 9%.  Strange that 1/4 of it went to more entitlements and the economy still sucks and unemployment went over 9% for a long time.  This does not count underemployed or those that just "gave up".

Deficit:  Major expansion

Iran:  Let's talk to them and use the ability to make a good speech shame them into seeing the light.

Class Warfare:  Blame them for doing something to make money.

:)
« Last Edit: 12/29/2011 09:04 pm by OV-106 »
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Offline jagmaster

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #113 on: 12/29/2011 09:12 pm »
The problem is, and has been in my opinion, President Obama has not lived up to his own hype.  He has a gift for the oratory.  It was that "hope and assumption" that likely gave him the Whitehouse.  The trick is, and always have been, turning lofty words into action.  That is where he has failed on a number of counts,

Really? You'll find quite a lot of people who voted for him based on policies too.

I'm sure that is the case.  Like in my previous example, things like:

Heathcare:  That worked out well.  We still do not even know the impacts of the law and the cost.  Anything turned over to a 535-ish member body is sure to be spectacular.

Economy:  We're rolling now!

Stimulus:  840 billion for "jobs" and to jump start said economy keeping unemployement below 9%.  Strange that 1/4 of it went to more entitlements and the economy still sucks and unemployment went over 9% for a long time.  This does not count underemployed or those that just "gave up".

Defecit:  Major expansion

Iran:  Let's talk to them and use the ability to make a good speech shame them into seeing the light.

Class Warfare:  Blame them for doing something to make money.

:)


Well for a start, getting a healthcare reform bill into law, flawed though it may be, is the kind of example of turning "words into action" that you were looking for.

And "Class warfare"? Seriously?


Offline Namechange User

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #114 on: 12/29/2011 09:23 pm »
This will be last post on the subject, because this is not really the place for it.

Did the Administration submit a Healthcare Bill to Congress for its consideration, providing any sort of "blueprint" for what it expects for one of their signature accomplishments?  Or did they outsource it completely to the Congress and Democratic majority at the time, where it is now "flawed" as you say and the costs of such are undetermined and so many want to overturn it, including possibly the Supreme Court? 

Yeah, class warfare.  You know "redistrubte the wealth" as the President said. 
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Offline Tcommon

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #115 on: 12/29/2011 09:28 pm »
Well for a start, getting a healthcare reform bill into law, flawed though it may be, is the kind of example of turning "words into action" that you were looking for.

And "Class warfare"? Seriously?
Health care was the administration's number one priority. Every president since Nixon (and probably earlier) has tried to do something about it, and failed. He was also saddled with a couple of wars and major problems in the financial markets left over from the Bush administration. The massive bailouts were also started on Bush's watch. All told, Obama had a lot on his plate and has done a good job.

Cancelling Constellation was the right thing to do, however unpopular that decision might be in this forum. Commercial space needs to be given a chance, and I think it can make some positive differences. (By the way, President Ronald Reagan created commercial space in 1984.)


Offline BeanEstimator

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #116 on: 12/29/2011 09:29 pm »
I'm actually really glad to see how the thread has turned out.  Especially the last poster (muomega0) who had the balls to make an argument and link to various supporting documents and other threads.  I would like to note that nobody has responded to him....yet.   ;D


We retired a capability unique to history "just because".  We are now reliant on the Russians, and their clearly unreliable capability, to get to a space station essentially funded by the United States. 


I just want to pull this out if you'll allow me.  I could have sworn 'we' retired Shuttle for 2 primary reasons, neither of them being "Just Because":  1) CAIB findings said retire it or refurbish it, NASA chose retire and 2) Agency leadership said we couldn't run shuttle while developing the next exploration program (which at the time was CxP)

I also seem to recall the baseline plan at what could loosely be called "PDR" for Constellation including a planned gap of 5 years between Shuttle and Ares 1/Orion crew rotation to ISS.  We were, at that time, setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars to "be reliant on the Russians" during that 5 year gap.  I also seem to recall that 5 year gap being evaluated by Aerospace Corp, CxP itself, and Augustine.  The results of those evaluations suggested a minimum of 5 years, and more likely 6-7 years before CxP would be ready for "FOC" (full op capability, i.e. crew rotation).  I will happily provide links to source material to support the above if needed.

The reason I pull this out is that, to be honest, I see us in much the same predicament with respect to Shuttle/ISS/"the gap" as we were in '06-'09.  Except now the plan is to have "commercial" providers accomplish the task rather than government Ares 1/Orion. 

So I have trouble with 1 - linking Obama to the cancellation of Shuttle (we've been over this before) and 2 - that Obama somehow created or extended the gap (time will tell if commercial comes on line in less time than was predicted by CxP, and sense we aren't running commercial and CxP in paralell, we'll never really know who would have gotten there first) 

Much the rest of your post I do not take exception with, and generally agree with the majority of the sentiment.  Especially wrt to wasting time and money...although, IMHO, that is par for the course at this agency, and I don't fault the Exec for that.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2011 09:30 pm by BeanEstimator »
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Offline jagmaster

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #117 on: 12/29/2011 09:45 pm »
This will be last post on the subject, because this is not really the place for it.

Did the Administration submit a Healthcare Bill to Congress for its consideration, providing any sort of "blueprint" for what it expects for one of their signature accomplishments?  Or did they outsource it completely to the Congress and Democratic majority at the time, where it is now "flawed" as you say and the costs of such are undetermined and so many want to overturn it, including possibly the Supreme Court? 

Yeah, class warfare.  You know "redistrubte the wealth" as the President said. 

Well, it's "flawed" in that there's still a monopoly for private insurers. But hey, it's a lot better than nothing.

There's a big difference between a fairer taxation system (which I presume he was was getting at) and alarmist nonsense like "class warfare". You must be having us on with that.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2011 09:52 pm by jagmaster »

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #118 on: 12/29/2011 09:47 pm »
Bean,

Show me where CAIB said "retire it".  ;)

We flew it for 6 more years after RTF.  In addition CAIB, said "recertify the vehicle" if one is going to fly past 2010, which was accomplished via the Mid-Life Certifcation Project and the bulk of that during RTF itself. 

Finally, CxP was cancelled.  There was no reason shuttle could not continue.  In other words, we just cancelled our justifcation for cancelling shuttle. 

Don't you think having it around right now would be better than not?  ;)
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Offline Namechange User

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Re: President Obama on Space
« Reply #119 on: 12/29/2011 09:54 pm »
Well for a start, getting a healthcare reform bill into law, flawed though it may be, is the kind of example of turning "words into action" that you were looking for.

And "Class warfare"? Seriously?
Health care was the administration's number one priority. Every president since Nixon (and probably earlier) has tried to do something about it, and failed. He was also saddled with a couple of wars and major problems in the financial markets left over from the Bush administration. The massive bailouts were also started on Bush's watch. All told, Obama had a lot on his plate and has done a good job.

Cancelling Constellation was the right thing to do, however unpopular that decision might be in this forum. Commercial space needs to be given a chance, and I think it can make some positive differences. (By the way, President Ronald Reagan created commercial space in 1984.)



Just out of curiosity, how many years are required for President Obama to be president before it is no longer fashionable to blame Bush for everything?  When will it be "allowed" for this administration to be accountable for anything?

As for "commercial", when was it ever not given a chance?  If someone wanted to build a true commercial spaceship, with a true business case and value proposition, do you really believe NASA was going to stop them?  Don't be silly....and they could not have. 

What this "commercial" is is just a government program with a "kewl" name to make it sound different than everything before it, but only sound that way.  If it was "commercial", where were these folks with Bigelow, America's Space Prize, etc???
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

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