Author Topic: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012  (Read 65943 times)

Offline yg1968

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #120 on: 03/29/2012 03:03 PM »
A frustrating reality is apparent... Congress, specifically the house of Representatives (or more specifically, Rep. Wolf), seem to have that "itch" and desire to have the NASA CCDev budget request cut in order to fund planetary science above the requested amount.

http://www.spacenews.com/policy/120322-wolf-eyes-commercial-budget.html

This is just the latest in a series of vocalizations by Congressional members of a desire to reprogram funds requested for CCDev to other areas within NASA. Let's not forget that last year, Congress did succeed in cutting CCDev almost by half the requested amount!

All due respect, there are a few things that need to be addressed:

1) Just as a reminder to anyone else reading this, as you reference above, the President requests budget.  The Constitution delegates management of the purse of the United States to Congress. "The President proposes, the Congress disposes" is the old mnemonic from civics class (back when they still taught civics classes). 

2) Your statement that Congress "succeeded in cutting CCDEV by almost half the requested amount" last year, while true, is a bit slanted.  The President via his signature on the NASA 2010 Authorization Act agreed to funding CCDEV to $500M in 2012  Then he requested $850.  Reflecting reductions in the overall budget and shifting some funding to JWST across the board, the final tally for CC was $406M.  This was $94M below what Congress had previously authorized _and the President had agreed to_.

3) There are unallocated funds from 2012.  When you add those to the Congressional authorization for CCDEV you get around $900M available funding.  NASA says it absolutely positively must have $850M in 2013.  Well, what does it mean by that?  That it wants to recover the losses from last year?  That it's really shooting for an available budget over over $1.1B?

Quote
This battle seems to be fueled by a misconception that the commercial efforts are redundant to and divert funds from NASA's Orion and SLS program developments. Unfortunately, there is no way around the illogic of these lawmaker's thought process's. If the CCDev budget is halved again this year, the CCDev program will be as good as cancelled.

To parse this a bit - you're absolutely right, there is apparently confusion among some members in the House (at least on the basis of public statements in the hearing, but I'm not sure what that really means) that some aspects of commercial are redundant to Orion/SLS.  But other members completely grasp the situation - the ranking member, Rep. Bernice Johnson, for example, who is sharp as a whip and fully appreciates all the implications.  She has great questions about the go-forward plan, very much on target.

With regard to your statement about diverting funds from SLS/Orion - well, that's one of the questions, isn't it?  Point of fact is that, like the deviation from agreement that marked the upper in the President's request for CC in 2012, there is similarly a deviation from agreed-upon levels for the SLS/Orion.  Now, you can say that the money hasn't been diverted, but when Commercial goes up by about the same amount that SLS/Orion goes down....NASA budget, like every other, is a zero-sum game.  It certainly begs that question.

With regard to your statement about "dead" -  Why do you say this?  On what basis?  There are options remaining, including an early downselect.  I'm not advocating that one way or another, I'm just pointing out that there is a great deal of gamesmanship going on.

The Senate is doing the same, nice summary: http://newstrendnow.blogspot.com/2012/03/back-to-drawing-board-for-nasa.html

Seems like the Back To SAAs strategy has failed.. that's what happens when you ignore the demands of Congress.


The last half of your statement is dead on.  Not certain that the Back to SAAs strategy is the sole driver - but as much as the questions about the SAA strategy, the spread of CC budget amongst 4 players, and the reductions in SLS/Orion budget requests are all adding up in some members' minds to an intentional decision on the part of the Executive Branch (per NASA) to subvert the will of Congress as expressed in the 2010 Authorization Act - first evident in the 2012 request and now in this one - well, as you point out that kind of thing is not looked upon kindly.

I was struck by Senator Hutchinson's discussion with the Administrator - she chose her words carefully but seemed to imply she does not trust him or the Administration.  The Administrator stated that the reduction in funds for Orion (in particular) but also SLS was based on "progress" and "technology gains" that were not anticipated when Congress and NASA came to an agreement about funding levels.  She told him that, OK, he says this this year, but if Congress goes along he'll come back next year and say well, we didn't make the progress we thought we would and with the cuts from last year, now we can't do SLS and Orion - because that's how you've (aka the Administration) has been playing this game (my paraphrase).

Listen to the webcast carefully. The battle lines are shaping up all over again and what is saddest about this is that EVERYBODY loses.  We have got to find a way to go forward together and this certainly isn't it.

http://appropriations.senate.gov/webcasts.cfm?method=webcasts.view&id=3750aefe-a8c6-4bd5-a520-bef0671db1df

The President supported the 2010 NASA Authorization bill because he had no choice. His only other option was the House bill which was a lot worse.  Senator Nelson admitted that there wasn't enough money for commercial crew when the Authorization bill was passed. But he said that the funding would increase starting in FY2014. As far as the battle lines being drawn, this was the case even before the NASA Authorization bill was passed. The NASA Authorization bill was a compromise. There was always going to be tensions, it was to be expected. The move back to SAAs didn't back fire, some Senators and Congressmen will find any excuse for not fully funding commercial crew regardless of what strategy is adopted. But there are some Senators (e.g. Senators Nelson, Rubio and Boxio) and Congressmen (e.g. Rohrabacher) that are pro-commercial crew and they will defend it as they have in the past.   So let's see how this plays out.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2012 03:04 PM by yg1968 »

Offline jongoff

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #121 on: 03/29/2012 04:34 PM »
Kay Bailey Hutchison accused General Bolden of “stealing” money from SLS/Orion to fund Commercial. Pretty strong words... If you listen to her and Shelby they would gladly shut down all funding to Commercial period. What are the chances of that happening if NASA keeps pi$$ing them off?

Shelby has always wanted to shut down commercial crew. When NASA tried to start CCDev using stimulus money, he rerouted/earmarked most of that money to work being done in Alabama on CxP...in spite of the fact that he then voted against the stimulus bill.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 03/29/2012 04:35 PM by jongoff »

Offline tigerade

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #122 on: 03/29/2012 04:49 PM »
We all knew this day would come.  There is a strong need for budget cuts and Commercial Crew is an easy victim. 

Also Frank Wolf's suggestion is outrageous:
Quote
Would NASA’s partnership with commercial companies to develop astronaut transports be cheaper if the companies competing for NASA funds combined their efforts into a single “all for one and one for all” project?

“At least give them an opportunity to express whether or not they could,” Wolf urged Bolden during the hearing. “Any savings that we could get would also allow us to continue the Mars program.”

I don't even know how the companies would react to that.  I think that the reception would be very poor especially from SpaceX.  No way they would stop developing a manned Dragon in favor of another company's project. 

Offline yg1968

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #123 on: 03/29/2012 04:55 PM »
We all knew this day would come.  There is a strong need for budget cuts and Commercial Crew is an easy victim. 

Also Frank Wolf's suggestion is outrageous:
Quote
Would NASA’s partnership with commercial companies to develop astronaut transports be cheaper if the companies competing for NASA funds combined their efforts into a single “all for one and one for all” project?

“At least give them an opportunity to express whether or not they could,” Wolf urged Bolden during the hearing. “Any savings that we could get would also allow us to continue the Mars program.”

I don't even know how the companies would react to that.  I think that the reception would be very poor especially from SpaceX.  No way they would stop developing a manned Dragon in favor of another company's project. 

Bolden gave a good answer on that question. He said that it was up to the companies to team up if they wished. He gave the example of Liberty (which has an unfunded SAA) as an example of such a collaboration between companies. He also said that most companies thought that it was too late in the process to start teaming up. It seems that Wolf wasn't entirely satisfied with Bolden's answer because he came back with the same suggestion a few minutes later.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2012 04:56 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #124 on: 03/29/2012 05:51 PM »
Another highlight of the hearing that I forgot to mention. At one point during the hearing, Mikulski shouted "I want to be pleased now!".

But before you get the wrong idea, the reason that she said that is that she was responding to Bolden who said that both of them were pleased to be at the recent inauguration celebration at Wallops but she interjected with anger that she wanted to be pleased now and that she wanted the work on the pad to be completed at Wallops ASAP so that Orbital could launch cargo to the ISS. Context is everything...   
Reminds me of something Jeff Greason said about Congress a couple years ago.
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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 QuantumG

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #125 on: 03/29/2012 10:02 PM »
Splinter thread: What if CCDev is zeroed out? http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28473.0
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #126 on: 03/30/2012 03:19 AM »
A frustrating reality is apparent... Congress, specifically the house of Representatives (or more specifically, Rep. Wolf), seem to have that "itch" and desire to have the NASA CCDev budget request cut in order to fund planetary science above the requested amount.

http://www.spacenews.com/policy/120322-wolf-eyes-commercial-budget.html

This is just the latest in a series of vocalizations by Congressional members of a desire to reprogram funds requested for CCDev to other areas within NASA. Let's not forget that last year, Congress did succeed in cutting CCDev almost by half the requested amount!

All due respect, there are a few things that need to be addressed:

1) Just as a reminder to anyone else reading this, as you reference above, the President requests budget.  The Constitution delegates management of the purse of the United States to Congress. "The President proposes, the Congress disposes" is the old mnemonic from civics class (back when they still taught civics classes). 

2) Your statement that Congress "succeeded in cutting CCDEV by almost half the requested amount" last year, while true, is a bit slanted.  The President via his signature on the NASA 2010 Authorization Act agreed to funding CCDEV to $500M in 2012  Then he requested $850.  Reflecting reductions in the overall budget and shifting some funding to JWST across the board, the final tally for CC was $406M.  This was $94M below what Congress had previously authorized _and the President had agreed to_.

3) There are unallocated funds from 2012.  When you add those to the Congressional authorization for CCDEV you get around $900M available funding.  NASA says it absolutely positively must have $850M in 2013.  Well, what does it mean by that?  That it wants to recover the losses from last year?  That it's really shooting for an available budget over over $1.1B?

Quote
This battle seems to be fueled by a misconception that the commercial efforts are redundant to and divert funds from NASA's Orion and SLS program developments. Unfortunately, there is no way around the illogic of these lawmaker's thought process's. If the CCDev budget is halved again this year, the CCDev program will be as good as cancelled.

To parse this a bit - you're absolutely right, there is apparently confusion among some members in the House (at least on the basis of public statements in the hearing, but I'm not sure what that really means) that some aspects of commercial are redundant to Orion/SLS.  But other members completely grasp the situation - the ranking member, Rep. Bernice Johnson, for example, who is sharp as a whip and fully appreciates all the implications.  She has great questions about the go-forward plan, very much on target.

With regard to your statement about diverting funds from SLS/Orion - well, that's one of the questions, isn't it?  Point of fact is that, like the deviation from agreement that marked the upper in the President's request for CC in 2012, there is similarly a deviation from agreed-upon levels for the SLS/Orion.  Now, you can say that the money hasn't been diverted, but when Commercial goes up by about the same amount that SLS/Orion goes down....NASA budget, like every other, is a zero-sum game.  It certainly begs that question.

With regard to your statement about "dead" -  Why do you say this?  On what basis?  There are options remaining, including an early downselect.  I'm not advocating that one way or another, I'm just pointing out that there is a great deal of gamesmanship going on.

The Senate is doing the same, nice summary: http://newstrendnow.blogspot.com/2012/03/back-to-drawing-board-for-nasa.html

Seems like the Back To SAAs strategy has failed.. that's what happens when you ignore the demands of Congress.


The last half of your statement is dead on.  Not certain that the Back to SAAs strategy is the sole driver - but as much as the questions about the SAA strategy, the spread of CC budget amongst 4 players, and the reductions in SLS/Orion budget requests are all adding up in some members' minds to an intentional decision on the part of the Executive Branch (per NASA) to subvert the will of Congress as expressed in the 2010 Authorization Act - first evident in the 2012 request and now in this one - well, as you point out that kind of thing is not looked upon kindly.

I was struck by Senator Hutchinson's discussion with the Administrator - she chose her words carefully but seemed to imply she does not trust him or the Administration.  The Administrator stated that the reduction in funds for Orion (in particular) but also SLS was based on "progress" and "technology gains" that were not anticipated when Congress and NASA came to an agreement about funding levels.  She told him that, OK, he says this this year, but if Congress goes along he'll come back next year and say well, we didn't make the progress we thought we would and with the cuts from last year, now we can't do SLS and Orion - because that's how you've (aka the Administration) has been playing this game (my paraphrase).

Listen to the webcast carefully. The battle lines are shaping up all over again and what is saddest about this is that EVERYBODY loses.  We have got to find a way to go forward together and this certainly isn't it.

http://appropriations.senate.gov/webcasts.cfm?method=webcasts.view&id=3750aefe-a8c6-4bd5-a520-bef0671db1df

The President supported the 2010 NASA Authorization bill because he had no choice. His only other option was the House bill which was a lot worse.  Senator Nelson admitted that there wasn't enough money for commercial crew when the Authorization bill was passed. But he said that the funding would increase starting in FY2014. As far as the battle lines being drawn, this was the case even before the NASA Authorization bill was passed. The NASA Authorization bill was a compromise. There was always going to be tensions, it was to be expected. The move back to SAAs didn't back fire, some Senators and Congressmen will find any excuse for not fully funding commercial crew regardless of what strategy is adopted. But there are some Senators (e.g. Senators Nelson, Rubio and Boxio) and Congressmen (e.g. Rohrabacher) that are pro-commercial crew and they will defend it as they have in the past.   So let's see how this plays out.


yg, did you go read the summary piece that QuantumG provided on the Senate CJS hearing? Granted, it's a narrow snapshot of the entire hearing. But your statement about which Senators support commercial crew suggests to me you--and, I can't help but notice many others--keep thinking, or at least asserting, that Senator Hutchison is an opponent of commercial crew. Here it is again, if you want to go read it:


Quote from: QuantumG on 03/29/2012 11:53 AM

    The Senate is doing the same, nice summary: http://newstrendnow.blogspot.com/2012/03/back-to-drawing-board-for-nasa.html

Beyond that, feel free to go through previous hearing transcripts, public statements--actual words uttered by the Senator--and show me where she has stated her opposition. I've asked this a couple of times in response to various members' posts, maybe too rhetorically, and have yet to receive a response.

Then bear in mind that commercial crew appropriated funding in FY 2011 was $312 million--just exactly what was both authorized by the Congress and requested by the Administration. Of course, we know the Administration requested $850m for commercial crew for FY 2012--$550 above the amount authorized--and the Congress appropriated $406m (the compromise reached between House and Senate, in which the Senate going-in position was $500m--the full authorized amount.) That was a $94m net INCREASE in CCDev funding level from the previous year. (Yes, it was less than half of the request, but the request is just that--it is not an approved budget. So it was a "cut" only from the "hopes or expectations of the request.)

And, by the way, when the Congress repeatedly asked for a breakout of the components of the $850m, there was no answer provided. What WAS eventually provided was an indication that, well, they really could do the same things if they could get $750m. No change in performance, schedule, etc., and yet $100m less. That sort of response does not inspire confidence in the remaining estimate; hence, the modest increase of almost $100m--but even that made possible only by the efforts of the Ranking Republican Member of the Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee, who would be?

Senator Hutchison, without whose efforts would have likely meant no increase from FY 2011 to FY 2012 at all for CCDev. And the 2010 Act, which you characterize as only acceptable because it was better than the alternative House bill--where the key differences in the HSF area were that the House would have continued Constellation and killed CCDev outright, but of course the Senate bill preserved--which was why it was endorsed by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

The Senate bill was a very hard-fought compromise. But it "saved" CCDev against the objections of significant Senate Members, any one of whom could have stopped that bill cold by raising the objection that would have denied passage under unanimous consent. Who were the two Senators, working hand-in-hand to develop and then pass that Compromise and ensure those objections were NOT raised? Senators Nelson AND Senator Hutchison. Senator Nelson, as Subcommittee Chair and Floor Manager of that bill, could not have done that--as he has said himself numerous times--without the efforts and support of Senator Hutchison--the so-called "opponent" of Commercial Space.

Sorry, I just get tired of hearing the same litany of uninformed--or maybe deliberately misrepresented, by some people, I don't know--commentary on this issue. How is that supposed to buttress the efforts of one of the very people key to the present continued EXISTENCE of CCDev?
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline QuantumG

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #127 on: 03/30/2012 03:21 AM »
KBH isn't an opponent of commercial crew done her way. She's made it abundantly clear that she is willing to cut CCDev if she doesn't get her way.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #128 on: 03/30/2012 03:35 AM »
Just because ~$400 million per year was the amount that was approved for the very early stages of the project (where we're still doing lots of paper requirements and such) doesn't mean that's enough to allow commercial crew to transition to orbital test flights with enough providers still in the race to ensure at least two can be fully tested through initial service contracts.

I see no credible statement that it can be done for much less than ~$800 million without significantly impacting the schedule and the probability of having at least two strong competitors reach the initial service stage. 51D, is there any reason to believe that it can? Wouldn't you have to be pretty wildly optimistic about commercial crew to think that running it on just $400 million a year wouldn't impact availability or schedule risk? Especially when Congress apparently wants them to use FAR as early as possible?

Congress seems to think that if they only ask firmly enough, they can do it anyway. Doesn't make sense. Just sounds like they'd rather give more money to Russia than let commercial crew be fully funded. How am I wrong?
« Last Edit: 03/30/2012 03:36 AM 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 Jeff Bingham

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #129 on: 03/30/2012 03:42 AM »
KBH isn't an opponent of commercial crew done her way. She's made it abundantly clear that she is willing to cut CCDev if she doesn't get her way.


Your characterization/interpretation of her words; obviously, folks can read things differently, but as I said, show me where she has specifically said that.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline QuantumG

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #130 on: 03/30/2012 03:44 AM »
umm.. you're the one making the wild claim here. Everyone agrees with us, so where's your quote of her saying what you're claiming?

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

Offline yg1968

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #131 on: 03/30/2012 03:46 AM »
yg, did you go read the summary piece that QuantumG provided on the Senate CJS hearing? Granted, it's a narrow snapshot of the entire hearing. But your statement about which Senators support commercial crew suggests to me you--and, I can't help but notice many others--keep thinking, or at least asserting, that Senator Hutchison is an opponent of commercial crew. Here it is again, if you want to go read it:


Quote from: QuantumG on 03/29/2012 11:53 AM

    The Senate is doing the same, nice summary: http://newstrendnow.blogspot.com/2012/03/back-to-drawing-board-for-nasa.html

Beyond that, feel free to go through previous hearing transcripts, public statements--actual words uttered by the Senator--and show me where she has stated her opposition. I've asked this a couple of times in response to various members' posts, maybe too rhetorically, and have yet to receive a response.

Then bear in mind that commercial crew appropriated funding in FY 2011 was $312 million--just exactly what was both authorized by the Congress and requested by the Administration. Of course, we know the Administration requested $850m for commercial crew for FY 2012--$550 above the amount authorized--and the Congress appropriated $406m (the compromise reached between House and Senate, in which the Senate going-in position was $500m--the full authorized amount.) That was a $94m net INCREASE in CCDev funding level from the previous year. (Yes, it was less than half of the request, but the request is just that--it is not an approved budget. So it was a "cut" only from the "hopes or expectations of the request.)

And, by the way, when the Congress repeatedly asked for a breakout of the components of the $850m, there was no answer provided. What WAS eventually provided was an indication that, well, they really could do the same things if they could get $750m. No change in performance, schedule, etc., and yet $100m less. That sort of response does not inspire confidence in the remaining estimate; hence, the modest increase of almost $100m--but even that made possible only by the efforts of the Ranking Republican Member of the Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee, who would be?

Senator Hutchison, without whose efforts would have likely meant no increase from FY 2011 to FY 2012 at all for CCDev. And the 2010 Act, which you characterize as only acceptable because it was better than the alternative House bill--where the key differences in the HSF area were that the House would have continued Constellation and killed CCDev outright, but of course the Senate bill preserved--which was why it was endorsed by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

The Senate bill was a very hard-fought compromise. But it "saved" CCDev against the objections of significant Senate Members, any one of whom could have stopped that bill cold by raising the objection that would have denied passage under unanimous consent. Who were the two Senators, working hand-in-hand to develop and then pass that Compromise and ensure those objections were NOT raised? Senators Nelson AND Senator Hutchison. Senator Nelson, as Subcommittee Chair and Floor Manager of that bill, could not have done that--as he has said himself numerous times--without the efforts and support of Senator Hutchison--the so-called "opponent" of Commercial Space.

Sorry, I just get tired of hearing the same litany of uninformed--or maybe deliberately misrepresented, by some people, I don't know--commentary on this issue. How is that supposed to buttress the efforts of one of the very people key to the present continued EXISTENCE of CCDev?

Thanks for your response but I never called Senator Hutchison an opponent to commercial crew and I don't think she is. But she has a tendancy to pit commercial crew and SLS against each other which is counter productive in my opinion. I know that both Senator Hutchision and Senator Nelson had a lot to do with coming up with the compromise that was the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. But since that time, Senator Nelson has seemed to defend commercial crew a lot more than Senator Hutchison has. But it is also clear to me that Senator Hutchison will not support more than $500 million for commercial crew for FY2013. Having said all of that, Senator Hutchison's retirement does worry me. I am not sure that Senator Nelson will be re-elected either. Incidentally, I have said many times that the 2010 NASA Authorization bill was a clever compromise. But commercial crew was under funded under that compromise.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2012 03:54 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #132 on: 03/30/2012 04:55 AM »
Just because ~$400 million per year was the amount that was approved for the very early stages of the project (where we're still doing lots of paper requirements and such) doesn't mean that's enough to allow commercial crew to transition to orbital test flights with enough providers still in the race to ensure at least two can be fully tested through initial service contracts.

I see no credible statement that it can be done for much less than ~$800 million without significantly impacting the schedule and the probability of having at least two strong competitors reach the initial service stage. 51D, is there any reason to believe that it can? Wouldn't you have to be pretty wildly optimistic about commercial crew to think that running it on just $400 million a year wouldn't impact availability or schedule risk? Especially when Congress apparently wants them to use FAR as early as possible?

Congress seems to think that if they only ask firmly enough, they can do it anyway. Doesn't make sense. Just sounds like they'd rather give more money to Russia than let commercial crew be fully funded. How am I wrong?

Bear in mind something important. Until the past two weeks, when the CCiDC proposals began to come in, no one really knew what even the potential bidders thought it would take to get an integrated capability to the CDR level. The President's Budget Requests, which you seem to take as "gospel", but which obviously predated that, were based on some sort of internal estimates and projections--never detailed to the Congress, but clearly not based on actual proposed work. Now we should be able to see--when the competition is concluded and selections made, because in the meantime that information--obviously proprietary and competition-sensitive--is restricted in a "blackout" phase of evaluation and determination--what the real "prospects" are and have an actual "informed" discussion about what actual level of funding for the program itself will be needed to achieve the eventual performance required. That's why Senator Nelson is able to say he anticipated that FY 2014 funding authorizations and beyond, will likely increase to the $6 to 8$ billion cumulative total to have at least one, likely two and possibly a third "in-train" contractor remaining after downselect and transition to a Far-Based procurement contract for services--not allowed under the constraints of an SAA.

All I can say is that what has been provided on background by some of the proposers regarding their submission--again proprietary and non-releasable--tell me the answer is very clearly YES to your question of whether success can be achieved at a funding level less than that Requested.  Much of that depends on the final decision regarding how many new SAA awards are decided upon, at what level of funding. As Ops Analyst pointed out, there are also carry-over funds from the FY 2012 appropriated amount that, coupled even with the authorized level for FY 2013, would result in an "actual" available funding level for FY 2013 in the neighborhood of $900 million...a bit above the $830m Request for FY 2013. So...where's the shortfall and slow down? Who knows what the FY 2014 Request will be, though the run-out projections in the FY 2013 Request indicate a flat-line projection of $850m through the next five years. That may well be the range of amounts authorized in the next NASA authorization Act next year (if there is one) and begin to close with the comments by Senator Nelson about the ramp-up in funding for that and subsequent years. And it should be a well-informed number based on the outcome of the current solicitation. Based on initial descriptions provided by some of the proposers themselves--though in restricted, proprietary level discussions--suggest to me again that the answer is YES, even at a $500m appropriations for FY 2013, coupled with a ramp up in 2014 and beyond, the objectives of timely availability of actual certified and demonstrated capabilities can be achieved.

The crux of the viability of all of that really depends on the number of awards made out of the solicitation. There are currently mixed signals from various NASA officials as to the "objectives" of CCDev/CCiDC: whether the focus is on providing the soonest possible support for ISS, or whether the focus is on helping to stimulate the development of a new "industry" capacity. My sense is that the priority should be the first, and the second be in the nature of an "intended spinoff" IF the available resources can permit that "luxury" in a time of fiscal constraints. That clearly is the direction of the questions being asked by Senator Hutchison and others; they just want to get the best information about how the chosen procurement approach best meets those objectives and are asking NASA to evaluate their approach to find the best and most defensible answer to those questions, and modify the procurement approach accordingly. I consider that "due diligence" on the part of people charged with the duty to maximize the effective use of taxpayer's money.

The question of using the FAR asap is primarily founded in the notion that the FAR provides the most direct means of levying and enforcing the meeting of necessary safety and performance requirements that are intended to lead to a confident achievement of "certification" needed to proceed to a contract for procurement of services from the eventual down-selected companies or teamed efforts who have offered proposals for this phase that will eventually be selected. Managers of the CCDev/CCiDC program certainly are smart enough to be able to consider ways to bring some of those necessary certification-directed activities either into, or parallel with, the later stages of this procurement phase--as has been suggested specifically by Senator Hutchison in her recent interactions with Charlie Bolden. It is hoped they will be able to do that within the SAA-based "regime" and thus meet the requirements that would otherwise be more directly imposed by a FAR. All that remains t be seen. But the reason for even looking at all of that would be to try to again help the answer to your question be "Yes."

There may be some of what I would characterize as perhaps less-than-fully-informed Members who would prefer to just continue to pay the Russians, as you suggest, but those are NOT all members who are in leadership positions of the various committees of jurisdiction, who generally better recognize that that whole issue is NOT simply about sending money overseas, but also entails a concern about being limited to a single-string, non-failure tolerant situation of crew access to ISS. There are, after all, not only the potential issues of technical failures in Soyuz, as we saw dramatically last fall, but also the potential for "geo-political football," where Soyuz access to non-Russian crew could be denied for reasons completely unrelated to the ISS requirements, but conveniently "linked" to some other  issue in trading for desired concessions in completely unrelated areas of the bi-lateral relationship.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #133 on: 03/30/2012 05:09 AM »
umm.. you're the one making the wild claim here. Everyone agrees with us, so where's your quote of her saying what you're claiming?



In the article YOU provided the link to, for one, and in the transcript of the authorization hearing the week before, for another. And in the transcripts of the hearing last November 17th, and on and on. You're quite adept at seeking out statements and references, so I have challenged you simply to review all of that and find me the language that makes YOUR point. You've made the initial claim; it's your responsibility to provide the evidence.

FWIW, I question that the statement "everyone agrees with us" is not such a "wild claim" either. Even if it were the case, I don't accept a misinformed majority as "proof of reality."

Finally, I do happen to be in a position to know considerably more about the Senator's thinking on these issues, but I do not post here as her spokesperson, nor am I authorized to do so; read my disclaimer at the end of my posts. I focus on what is in the public domain regarding these issues as much as possible, as well as occasionally trying to provide some insights into internal "processes" at times when folks ask for clarification--as I think I did recently in response to a couple of questions by you and others about the process. A response to which I am not sure anyone read, as I never heard any reference to it or follow up questions, so was probably a waste of my time, anyway. I will be hesitant to make that mistake again.   
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Seattle Dave

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #134 on: 03/30/2012 05:22 AM »
I'm 100 percent on your side 51D.

Personally, I support SLS, Orion and I don't support the subsidizing of commercial crew. These companies make bold claims, let them prove it and win the money when they do.

However, Senator Hutchison *comes across* as going after Commercial Crew. No question. You say she supports it, I'm sure she does and no one on this site knows better than you. So I would claim she is not communicating it properly, or is being trapped by a NASA leadership which is clearly aiming to draw this battleline.

Her question about Booze Allen estimates paid for by NASA who then change the numbers was perfect. That's what needs to be pressed home.

Offline Seattle Dave

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #135 on: 03/30/2012 05:25 AM »
umm.. you're the one making the wild claim here. Everyone agrees with us, so where's your quote of her saying what you're claiming?



With respect I've not agreed with anything you've said. No offense, but you're as biased as I am, but my opinion is held more firmly on this site than yours. Again, not being disrespectful.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2012 02:17 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline yg1968

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #136 on: 03/30/2012 12:17 PM »
I focus on what is in the public domain regarding these issues as much as possible, as well as occasionally trying to provide some insights into internal "processes" at times when folks ask for clarification--as I think I did recently in response to a couple of questions by you and others about the process. A response to which I am not sure anyone read, as I never heard any reference to it or follow up questions, so was probably a waste of my time, anyway. I will be hesitant to make that mistake again.   

People read your response (I know that I did) on what's next on the appropriation side. But your answer was very clear. So there was not much else to add to it! As a form of courtesy, people generally refrain from saying "thank you" or "+1" as a response to a post as it would make the thread unnecessarily long. But they do read your posts, you can be sure of that!

Offline MP99

Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #137 on: 03/30/2012 12:20 PM »
I focus on what is in the public domain regarding these issues as much as possible, as well as occasionally trying to provide some insights into internal "processes" at times when folks ask for clarification--as I think I did recently in response to a couple of questions by you and others about the process. A response to which I am not sure anyone read, as I never heard any reference to it or follow up questions, so was probably a waste of my time, anyway. I will be hesitant to make that mistake again.   

People read your response (I know that I did) on what's next on the appropriation side. But your answer was very clear. So there was not much else to add to it! As a form of courtesy, people generally refrain from saying "thank you" or "+1" as a response to a post as it would make the thread unnecessarily long. But they do read your posts, you can be sure of that!

+1

Cheers, Martin

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #138 on: 03/30/2012 12:40 PM »
I focus on what is in the public domain regarding these issues as much as possible, as well as occasionally trying to provide some insights into internal "processes" at times when folks ask for clarification--as I think I did recently in response to a couple of questions by you and others about the process. A response to which I am not sure anyone read, as I never heard any reference to it or follow up questions, so was probably a waste of my time, anyway. I will be hesitant to make that mistake again.   

People read your response (I know that I did) on what's next on the appropriation side. But your answer was very clear. So there was not much else to add to it! As a form of courtesy, people generally refrain from saying "thank you" or "+1" as a response to a post as it would make the thread unnecessarily long. But they do read your posts, you can be sure of that!

Thanks...I was obviously in a hissy mood when I wrote that post (happens, from time to time); I just frequently get asked to be a little less hazy or complex with elongated and convoluted posts, and I guess I was just surprised not to on that one, especially, as it's really where the "rubber will meet the road" this year on all of this, in terms of process, and so much is riding on the outcome.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline Mark S

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Re: House committee on appropriations - March 21, 2012
« Reply #139 on: 03/30/2012 12:45 PM »
Thanks very much 51D for all of your informative and convoluted explanations. How could any accurate explanation of how Congress works not be convoluted? :)

I hope we continue to receive the benefit of your insight for years to come.

Mark S.

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