Author Topic: March 27th 2014 House Hearing: A Review of the NASA Budget for Fiscal Year 2015  (Read 21662 times)

Offline woods170

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So, who's to blame for not having an alternative to Soyuz until 2017: US Congress.

Not the way I tell the story.  President Bush started shuttle cancellation without a timely successor.  All Congress and Obama did was go along with that Bush program.  YMMV.
I know, the situation at hand is open to different interpretation by different persons. But the Obama administration was correct in going along with the planned cancellation of STS. US Congress on the other hand extended the gap between STS and it's successor in at least two ways:
- First they failed to properly fund Constellation. Apart from all the technical difficulties CxP suffered hugely from lack of proper funding.
- Then when CxP was found to be unsustainable and subsequently killed off by the first Obama administration it was US Congress that failed to properly fund Commercial Crew.
Say all you will, but the greater fault for the gap becoming the size it has today rests with US Congress.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2014 07:22 pm by woods170 »

Offline 93143

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But the Obama administration was correct in going along with the planned cancellation of STS.

This is easily the weakest link in your case.  STS should not have been cancelled without a replacement ready to go.  It was by no means a done deal by the time Obama showed up.  He stalled until it was, despite it reportedly being on a list of the top 10 issues facing the incoming President.  Proposals to rescue STS, either temporarily or on a more open-ended basis, were studiously ignored - IIRC Congress even had to fund STS-135 on their own when the White House wouldn't move on it.

Ares I was sold to Congress as Safe, Simple, Soon, and they bought it.  By the time Obama showed up, Shuttle extension was the only way to close the gap.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2014 08:13 pm by 93143 »

Online MATTBLAK

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There was one mostly complete and one approximately half-complete External Tanks at Michoud that should have been completed and flown as STS-136 and STS-137. This would have kept logistics and sovereign American crew transportation alive until about December 2012. This would have given even more breathing space for Commercial cargo and crew and kept the Shuttle & KSC workforce in place long enough for some to reach actual, legitimate retirement or other jobs.

However, there are two flaws in my above statements - there was no money and little political will to do the above, which would have been nonetheless sensible in my view. At least the Obama administration allowed STS-135 to happen and my trip out to the U.S. to cover it was a voyage I will never forget. But not flying those last E.T.s was a mistake at least half as big as not flying the two remaining Saturn V's at the end of Apollo... :(
« Last Edit: 03/29/2014 11:11 pm by MATTBLAK »
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Offline JohnFornaro

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The wording that the Obama administration was "correct" and "planned" in cancelling STS is either deliberately or inadvertently misleading, but misleading it is.

There has never been a principled objection to the timely and correctly executed plan to retire shuttle.  That technically and legally, the Obama administration continued enacting the Bush "plan", is spin and spin only.

Our politicians act with conscious deliberation at all times. They insist without evidence, that the results of their deliberations are intelligent, well reasoned, and act for the betterment of the country.  Below, I give a recent glaring example of how the falsities uttered by our politicians prove my point.

Had the battleship Maine survived, it would have probably fought in WWI, and later have been retired in an orderly fashion; maybe even would have been replaced by the Missouri, say.  The military, and all industry, continually replaces old equipment with new equipment.

However, in the last election, the Republicans, not that the Democrats have never done the same sort of thing, falsely warned the electorate that our Navy's readiness had deteriorated to about WWI levels.  After all, it was a statistical fact that since we had the same number of ships now as then, that the two navies must have exactly the same capability.

Consciously and deliberately, Mr. Romney pushed the falsehood on the electorate that the Maine was exactly as capable as the Missouri.  This same type of falsehood ishappening now.

Consider the shuttle.  Mr. Bush consciously and deliberately pushed the falsehood that he was retiring the shuttle in a responsible fashion, to make way for timely new US launch capabilities.  Mr. Obama consciously and deliberately ordered NASA to see to it that crucial aspects of the shuttle infrastructure were disabled quickly, so as to more readily implement the Bush plan.  This in the face of many knowlegable individuals on this forum and thruout the aerospace industry who argued vigorously not to disable the shuttle without a replacement.

Congress was sold a plan which pretended to a five year gap.  Now that gap appears to be closer to ten years.  The commercial launch sector is deliberately being slowed down by Congressional funding as demonstrated by the budget.

They're all in it together, and the star witness is now pretending to a new role, but nothing will probably change.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2014 02:45 am by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline vulture4

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Mr. Obama pushed quite hard to add two additional Shuttle missions, including one that launched the AMS, that had been canceled by Mr. Bush. He was advised that it would have taken years and billions to add even one more mission.

Offline Jim

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He was advised that it would have taken years and billions to add even one more mission.

Nonsense. 

Online MATTBLAK

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If the decision had been made in Fiscal Year 2009 or 10 to complete those unfinished E.T.s the rest of the decisions would have been easier. Oh well; water under the bridge...
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Offline JohnFornaro

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If the decision had been made in Fiscal Year 2009 or 10 to complete those unfinished E.T.s the rest of the decisions would have been easier. Oh well; water under the bridge...

And there were plenty of arguments from professionals, not just us amateurs, counseling the proper usage of those ET's, engines, etc.  That material was thrown away, in the same way that the last two Saturns were thrown away.

Somebody explain to me why these disposable policies are good ones.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Prober

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Sorry, all he did is cover his failures and say its not his fault.
 
Check out the exchange again when asked about access to the ISS if the Soyuz isn't available, ie the back up plan.    There is no back up plan, when pressed several times the answer came out.....wait until sometime in 2017 maybe.

Remember now this hearing was to answer the congress to obtain funds for the Agency.   The questions were asked where the funds to "fully fund" Crew were needed?   They wanted to see the report...he has none. These were very fair requests for a budget hearing.   He comes before congress asking for over a billion dollars for crew with the "hope" it might work (won't even commit to a guarantee in 2017).   

Crew's Plan is just to throw money at it and hope it works.

From reading the chatter above on this thread, and knowing what I know about previous testimony from the witness, this is the same impression that I got.

Do me a favor, willya?

What time in the hearing does this exchange take place?


Also:  Thanks Yves.

Would love to help you but I never wrote the times down and Mr. Bolden's performance is not on my view list again  :o
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Offline Sesquipedalian

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Mr. Obama pushed quite hard to add two additional Shuttle missions, including one that launched the AMS, that had been canceled by Mr. Bush.

As I described in my post above, this is not only false, it is backwards.

Online JBF

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As this is a hot button issue please provide evidence to back up your claims. Right now except for the link to Chris's article all I see is a lot of he said she said.
"In principle, rocket engines are simple, but thatís the last place rocket engines are ever simple." Jeff Bezos

Offline JohnFornaro

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Do me a favor, willya?

What time in the hearing does this exchange take place?

Would love to help you but I never wrote the times down and Mr. Bolden's performance is not on my view list again.

Thanx Prober.  I totally understand.

The video was posted on Friday.  I had budgeted 1:52:46 for Friday's entertainment, as usual.  So I was thinking about watching this testimony.

But I ended up going to a multi-band rockabilly gig downtown, where I gotta chance to dance with this really cute girl who ended up being the bass player for one of the bands.  When she started playing, some other girl asked me to dance.  Ended up spending more than my budgeted time, but hey: Ya gotta prioritize.  Sometimes the schedule slips to the right.

Yeah, I could have spent that time alone in the office in front of a flat screen watching politicians and hired guns lying to me about our nation's space program.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Besides, I learn all about NASA from reading the Sunday Comix:
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Prober

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As this is a hot button issue please provide evidence to back up your claims. Right now except for the link to Chris's article all I see is a lot of he said she said.
Charter
http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-113-SY16-20140327-SD001%20.pdf

Statement

http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-113-SY16-WState-CBolden-20140327.pdf


was looking for a link to Chris's article ???

wanted to see how NSF would write this one up.   Maybe a word for word text of the hearing will come out to digest in the future.

EditL add links
« Last Edit: 03/30/2014 08:52 pm by Prober »
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Offline Rocket Science

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It's about 52 min. folks...  ;D
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Offline vulture4

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He was advised that it would have taken years and billions to add even one more mission.

Nonsense.
I agreed at one time, but after becoming a little more familiar with shuttle logistics my view changed. United Space Alliance manufactures almost nothing itself; the thousands of components, assemblies, and systems required to prepare the shuttle for flight were procured from over a thousand suppliers, each of which had to go through an extensive certification procedure for each item. When cancellation was announced in January 2004, all these contracts were closed out with final purchases of just enough parts for the planned flights. Many of the suppliers were small companies and as long as they had an indefinite program ahead it was worth it to keep producing the components. But few could afford to go through the certification process again with only the prospect of a handful of flights over the next 5-10 years followed by a final cancellation. The obama administration got in all the flights it could, including the AMS launch and a final flight using the "rescue" shuttle that had been kept in reserve. At that point the best chance to minimize the gap was to push ahead with Commercial Crew. of course they did not realize that Congress would slash Commercial funds to keep Constellation alive.

Offline JohnFornaro

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When cancellation was announced in January 2004, all these contracts were closed out with final purchases of just enough parts for the planned flights.

One could hypothesize that the contracts were closed out at random.  I'm certain that would not be the case.

The sequence of closing out the shuttle program was carefully considered, as was the list of particular final purchase items.  In addition, the manufacuturing machinery was destroyed in a carefully planned sequence too.

As a taxpayer looking at the process from 2009, the loudest voices were those arguing that it was too late even then to save shuttle for a few more flights, which would have minimized the gap.  These voices continually brought up the specifics of those items and manufacturing capabilities that had already been deliberately lost, in order to strengthen their arguments against launching a few more flights of shuttle.

I cannot accept an argument that ineptitude was the sole reason we have the gap, nor that ineptitude is the sole reason that the gap is now widening.

What is the game plan today?  What do they hope to accomplish?  Three or maybe even four unmanned flights of a new BFR, loaded with steel plates?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline woods170

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The sequence of closing out the shuttle program was carefully considered, as was the list of particular final purchase items.  In addition, the manufacuturing machinery was destroyed in a carefully planned sequence too.

Can you back up those claims? Because right up to the last shuttle flight there was information in L2 saying that critical machinery and tooling was actually not destroyed but mothballed.
And then there is this to consider: cancellation of STS was set in motion in 2004. Final purchase and delivery of less critical parts took place the next year; six years before actual retirement. It took another five years to close all the production lines. Don't expect manufacturers to keep the machinery needed for production for six more years when they had been explicitely told in 2005 that no more parts would be needed after 2005.

Offline woods170

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But the Obama administration was correct in going along with the planned cancellation of STS.

This is easily the weakest link in your case.
No, it is not. STS was on it's way out the day after Columbia met it's tragic end. People were correct in 1986 when they stated that the STS program would ultimately not survive a second fatal incident.
STS came back to flying status in 2005 after Columbia but the STS days were numbered the year before. IMO if it hadn't been necessary to finish constructing the ISS the STS program would have cancelled in the wake of the Columbia disaster.
The US HSF program was scrutinized by the Augustine Committee. However, that committee didn't issue a plea to Obama to continue flying the shuttle; it only listed limited continuation of STS flight as an option to limit the HSF gap. But that option came with a big IF.

STS should not have been cancelled without a replacement ready to go.
Fully agree on that. The USA has apparently not learned anything from the gap between ASTP and STS.

It was by no means a done deal by the time Obama showed up.
Actually yes it was. NASA top management under Obama's predecessor Bush Jr. had seen to it that it was. By the time the presidency and NASA administrator changed it was it was for all purposes and intents practically and financially too late to try to extend the STS program. Remember, the day Obama became the president of the USA it was CxP that was the POR, with Orion being the shuttle replacement. General action, with respect to STS, within NASA between the anouncement of shuttle retirement up to the day Obama became president was aimed at flying out the program and shutting STS down. Griffin et al. had four years to see to it that STS retirement became irreversible, and they were succesfull at doing so. Shuttle had to go to free up funds for CxP.

He stalled until it was, despite it reportedly being on a list of the top 10 issues facing the incoming President. 
That top 10 of issues facing the president was dreamt up by the media. The White House deals with issues for any given president in quite a different way.

Proposals to rescue STS, either temporarily or on a more open-ended basis, were studiously ignored.
No, they were not. It's not the president of the USA that runs the HSF program. It's being handled for him by an agency called NASA. NASA managers had been looking into extending the shuttle program from 2007 forward, that's two years before Obama took office. First authorization for shuttle extension took place on February 15th, 2009, less than a month after Obama took office. The Obama administration at that moment in time had not had the time to ignore the proposals nor had it had the time to actively counter the proposals, let alone that it had had the time to fight the authorization.

Ares I was sold to Congress as Safe, Simple, Soon, and they bought it.  By the time Obama showed up, Shuttle extension was the only way to close the gap.
I agree with you on that. But it was not to happen.

Offline JohnFornaro

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The sequence of closing out the shuttle program was carefully considered, as was the list of particular final purchase items.  In addition, the manufacuturing machinery was destroyed in a carefully planned sequence too.

Can you back up those claims?

That the closing out sequence was carefully considered?  Mine is a reductio ad absurdum argument; I simply cannot accept your seeming assertion that they acted randomly.

Quote from: Woods170
Because right up to the last shuttle flight there was information in L2 saying that critical machinery and tooling was actually not destroyed but mothballed.

No doubt that certain critical pieces of equipment was mothballed.  Certain critical pieces were also destroyed.  Whatever is in mothballs was not going to be used for a few more flights, and is not being used currently.  It is the functional and pragmatic equivalent of having been destroyed.

Shuttle was intentionally retired prematurely, for no good reason.  Perhaps someone is floating the argument that destroying the shuttle manufacturing capability would hasten the construction of a new LV, but that clearly didn't happen, and would be a specious argument besides.

Quote from: Woods170
And then there is this to consider: cancellation of STS was set in motion in 2004. Final purchase and delivery of less critical parts took place the next year; six years before actual retirement. It took another five years to close all the production lines.

Not much of a point being made there.  The program took a while to kill.  This is not surprising.

Quote from: Woods170
Don't expect manufacturers to keep the machinery needed for production for six more years when they had been explicitely told in 2005 that no more parts would be needed after 2005.

Don't put any expectations on me, kemosabe.  I continue to assert that they planned to kill it prematurely, and they succeeded.  In other threads here, a few people who knew, suggested that four, maybe even six more flights would have been possible, as late as 2010.  I'm not going to revisit those arguments here.

As an aside, my most excellent suggestion after the first accident, was to build another one for "only" $4.5B, with no doubt unanimous agreement from Congress.  My idea was never floated at the time, and I cannot believe that I was the only person to have made this suggestion.

Back to the thread...
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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