Author Topic: March 27th 2014 House Hearing: A Review of the NASA Budget for Fiscal Year 2015  (Read 21674 times)

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
It's not the president of the USA that runs the HSF program. It's being handled for him by an agency called NASA.

You know that the President runs that agency called NASA.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10317
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 702
  • Likes Given: 728
It's not the president of the USA that runs the HSF program. It's being handled for him by an agency called NASA.

You know that the President runs that agency called NASA.

and Mr Bolden the Presidents PR man does the rest  ;D
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline 93143

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3038
  • Liked: 294
  • Likes Given: 1
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.

You mean the recertification?  IIRC that was established to be a red herring.  Most of it had been done already in the course of a mid-life review; the bulk of what the ASAP was asking for was done prior to every single flight.

The Augustine Commission didn't issue any "pleas", or even recommendations, for anything.  That was explicitly not their job.

Quote
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.

Then why were there no less than two serious, insider-supported attempts in 2011 (Holleran and CSTS) to resurrect Shuttle on an ongoing basis?  One of which (Holleran) involved modernizing the whole supply chain with private money, and was stymied not by SSP-related issues but by the repurposing of infrastructure for SLS?

Your view sounds like what Wayne Hale said in 2008, but that wasn't so much a declaration of impossibility as a heads-up regarding inevitable difficulties.  And inasmuch as it dismissed the idea of uncancelling Shuttle, it seems to have been overtaken by events...

At the very least, a few extra flights could have been added without having to restart the supply chain, stretching the manifest a couple of years and resulting in a minimized gap (assuming Ares was replaced by a properly-funded Jupiter).

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.

I believe there were three part-built tanks, as well as an old LWT.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2014 03:39 am by 93143 »

Online MATTBLAK

  • Elite Veteran & 'J.A.F.A'
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4535
  • 'Space Cadets' Let us; UNITE!! (crickets chirping)
  • New Zealand
  • Liked: 1282
  • Likes Given: 2497
Well; that just makes it worse, then... :(
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Online woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8845
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5910
  • Likes Given: 2000
It's not the president of the USA that runs the HSF program. It's being handled for him by an agency called NASA.

You know that the President runs that agency called NASA.
No, the NASA administrator does that for him. NASA falls under presidential direction, but Obama's got Bolden to handle the details for him.

Online woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8845
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 5910
  • Likes Given: 2000
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.

You mean the recertification?  IIRC that was established to be a red herring.  Most of it had been done already in the course of a mid-life review; the bulk of what the ASAP was asking for was done prior to every single flight.
Yes, I mean the recertification. Augustine Committee was well aware of the mid-life reviews but nevertheless attached the recertification "IF" to the shuttle-extension option. That doesn't sound like a red herring to me, but more like an attempt to invoke additional caution for a system that was already flying longer than it ever was supposed to.

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.

Then why were there no less than two serious, insider-supported attempts in 2011 (Holleran and CSTS) to resurrect Shuttle on an ongoing basis?  One of which (Holleran) involved modernizing the whole supply chain with private money, and was stymied not by SSP-related issues but by the repurposing of infrastructure for SLS?
The repurposing of STS infrastructure for SLS started out as repurposing of STS infrastructure for Constellation. One of the more visible aspects of that was the retirement of LC-39B and one of the VAB high-bays to support CxP. Shuttle was on it's way out (in terms of production and infrastructure) long before CxP was canned and replaced with SLS. The fact that the insider-support extension attempts for STS were stymied by repurposing of infrastructure was not SLS-invoked but CxP invoked. For example: shutdown on External Tank manufacturing lines started under CxP, not SLS. Shut-down of RS-25 production lines was ordered in 2007, under CxP, (but was halted in 2008). Shutdown orders for numerous spare parts for the STS systems was ordered almost entirely between 2005 and 2009.
Shutdown of production lines and repurposing of infrastructure was in full swing long before CxP was cancelled. You can thank Bush Jr. and his pet-dog NASA administrator for that; they made very sure that it was for all practical purposes nearly impossible to extend STS. And it worked; by the time Obama became the president it was clear to most people that extending shuttle (beyond two extra flights) was really not an option.

At the very least, a few extra flights could have been added without having to restart the supply chain, stretching the manifest a couple of years and resulting in a minimized gap (assuming Ares was replaced by a properly-funded Jupiter).
Minimizing the gap from at least 7 years to at least 4 to 5 years (assuming those few extra flight - 3 at best- would have been done in 2-3 years) does not sound like minimizing to me. A not-so-long gap is just as bad as a long gap.



Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6262
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2430
  • Likes Given: 806
Minimizing the gap from at least 7 years to at least 4 to 5 years (assuming those few extra flight - 3 at best- would have been done in 2-3 years) does not sound like minimizing to me. A not-so-long gap is just as bad as a long gap.

And the cost of keeping the shuttle on life support like that would've likely sucked enough money out of the room to delay both SLS/Orion and commercial crew by another year or two, completely wiping out the gap reduction benefit gained.

~Jon

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
It's not the president of the USA that runs the HSF program. It's being handled for him by an agency called NASA.

You know that the President runs that agency called NASA.
No, the NASA administrator does that for him. NASA falls under presidential direction, but Obama's got Bolden to handle the details for him.

I will not accept this level of spin.  Mr. Obama calls the shots at NASA.  It is his legal job to do so.  You are correct in your assertion that Mr. Obama does not run the xerox machine for Mr. Bolden.

I do not appreciate the slackjawed attention that Mr. Obama has paid to NASA, nor is there any excuse for the lamebrained advice he has been given by his closely held, virtually incestuous group of close minded insiders.  Everything that Mr. Obama has ordered has been entirely within the legal parameters of his job, and it is his right to do so.

One of the biggest problems facing the country today is out of control spin.  This is probably the second largest problem with our HSF program, after corporate greed.  They are all so busy winning at all costs, and saying whatever is necessary to win the internecine budget battles, that they don't really know what the facts are anymore, and cannot make good decisions.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10679
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2871
  • Likes Given: 1150
Maybe its time to redefine ISS into a space gateway station vs. a pure science research program.

ISS cannot be repurposed for that.
An assembly and servicing station would be a completely different geometry.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10679
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2871
  • Likes Given: 1150
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. ... However, there are two flaws in my above statements - there was no money and little political will to do the above,

Matt, OV-106 was privy to a private very, VERY heavily financed effort to operate STS commercially for a while (not permanently). There are others on here who also knew. Funds were actually in place iirc for at least 3 flights. NASA would have simply paid for the service, much as is envisioned now for Commercial Crew & Cargo. Everything was in place except the decision to allow it - which never came. And thus STS died - while perched to take flight. Sad.
« Last Edit: 04/04/2014 05:03 pm by clongton »
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline RanulfC

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4446
  • Heus tu Omnis! Vigilate Hoc!
  • Liked: 814
  • Likes Given: 32
It's not the president of the USA that runs the HSF program. It's being handled for him by an agency called NASA.

You know that the President runs that agency called NASA.
No, the NASA administrator does that for him. NASA falls under presidential direction, but Obama's got Bolden to handle the details for him.

And just to be clear, Congress directly controls the budget so that they actually have much more direct control over NASAs operations and programs. Review: The President lays down overall "official" policy, Congress directly appropriates the budget for programs, operations, and support, and the Administrator tries to balance the two (usually opposing) factions. His "boss" is the VP of the United States, he works for the President, but answers to Congress.

In the end, no matter what a President makes for "policy" the Administrator ends up dealing with what support Congress gives for any specific program with a little leeway depending on his abilities to "finagle" finances and avoid running afoul of any of the aforementioned "higher-ups" in the process.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
In the end, no matter what a President makes for "policy" the Administrator ends up dealing with what support Congress gives for any specific program with a little leeway depending on his abilities to "finagle" finances and avoid running afoul of any of the aforementioned "higher-ups" in the process.

It's a shame, but there it is, roughly as you report.  Remember also how Bolden stonewalled Congress on the release of various reports and studies over the last few years.

I have this naive notion that had NASA been more accomplished in decades past, then Congress would grant them more leeway on prioritizing their work.  It would also help matters a great deal if Presidents would take a serious interest in NASA (not to overlook other agencies), and make reasoned judgements on priorities, rather than focus on improving their golf scores.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
...a private very, VERY heavily financed effort to operate STS commercially for a while ...

I remember hearing bits and pieces of this revealed here and there on this forum.  Supports my general contention that there were powerful forces intent on killing shuttle period, regardless of the ancillary consequences. 

As I recall, the private effort to extend shuttle was to have actually been somewhat less expensive than the government would have been.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline muomega0

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 861
  • Liked: 65
  • Likes Given: 1
Shuttle used for commercial....iMars comes to mind....."serious" faux interest...

Maybe its time to redefine ISS into a space gateway station vs. a pure science research program.

ISS cannot be repurposed for that.
An assembly and servicing station would be a completely different geometry.
They say the best way to get something done is to ignore those who say it can't be done... So the plans to redefine ISS into a gateway are not on L2?!  :o   

MaxFaget said that "we really need to get behind a really sensible first stage that's completely reusable and piggyback off that event"  After decades of not getting $/kg  lower and funding STS over Titan despite analysis showing no return on investment assuming 100s of flights, Spacex revisited Titan and seems on a path to make a low cost reusable lower stage.  Perhaps its true:  no incentive to reduce costs as it reduces profits.  If ISS is repurposed, no new hardware to build...perhaps that's the reason....

Offline RanulfC

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4446
  • Heus tu Omnis! Vigilate Hoc!
  • Liked: 814
  • Likes Given: 32
In the end, no matter what a President makes for "policy" the Administrator ends up dealing with what support Congress gives for any specific program with a little leeway depending on his abilities to "finagle" finances and avoid running afoul of any of the aforementioned "higher-ups" in the process.

It's a shame, but there it is, roughly as you report. Remember also how Bolden stonewalled Congress on the release of various reports and studies over the last few years.

Sad but true. As for Bolden and the reports/studies I can't say really that I blame him given he already knew "who" was demanding them and "what" they were going to do with them. Neither of which was aimed at actually changing anything, nor using the information effectivly. And it was only certain "Congressmen" and not "Congress" that was making the waves so that no matter which way he went the only "looser" at the end was going to be NASA...

Quote
I have this naive notion that had NASA been more accomplished in decades past, then Congress would grant them more leeway on prioritizing their work.  It would also help matters a great deal if Presidents would take a serious interest in NASA (not to overlook other agencies), and make reasoned judgements on priorities, rather than focus on improving their golf scores.

I don't see it as naive at all actually. NASA (and its Administrators) have never been really good at "playing-the-game" on the Hill with few exceptions. Given the background of 90% of them it is pretty inevitable really. Couple that with the way NASA was set up originally and "distibution" of power...

At this point it is water under the bridge however and very unlikely to change. The "problem" with Presidents is that they come and they go, more-so now that it is a given one will never be in place past 8 years. A President has to take "serious" interest in NASA during his first term, and be willing to fight Congress on the level Obama has been fighting Congress for the last 6 years and really space and NASA just are not that "important" for the majority of people.

I kinda wish we COULD elect a President on a "space" platform, and that's about the only way it would get done but I can still dream :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
I kinda wish we COULD elect a President on a "space" platform, and that's about the only way it would get done but I can still dream

And that dream is exactly the naivete I raise.  BTW, I'm running again as a write in candidate for Prez in 2016.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10317
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 702
  • Likes Given: 728
I kinda wish we COULD elect a President on a "space" platform, and that's about the only way it would get done but I can still dream

 BTW, I'm running again as a write in candidate for Prez in 2016.

what Kool-Aid have you been drinking?  ;D
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Rocket Science

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9220
  • NASA Educator Astronaut Candidate Applicant 2002
  • Liked: 3069
  • Likes Given: 8358
Maybe you all can convince Newt to run again... ;D
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline JohnFornaro

  • Not an expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9176
  • Delta-t is the salient metric.
  • Planet Eaarth
    • Design / Program Associates
  • Liked: 623
  • Likes Given: 339
what Kool-Aid have you been drinking?  ;D

You talkin' to me?  I got several dozen write in votes in '08.  In more than one state.  Three, if some of my Cali buds actually voted for me.  You never heard Obama talk about it did ya?  Shows you how scared he was.   

To answer your question:  Hawaiian Punch.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline 93143

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3038
  • Liked: 294
  • Likes Given: 1
Yes, I mean the recertification. Augustine Committee was well aware of the mid-life reviews but nevertheless attached the recertification "IF" to the shuttle-extension option. That doesn't sound like a red herring to me, but more like an attempt to invoke additional caution for a system that was already flying longer than it ever was supposed to.

The orbiters were a third of the way into their design lifetimes.  And you should know that the Augustine Commission didn't have the time to do much analysis themselves, but had to more or less trust the word of the various organizations that supplied data to them.

People who actually worked on STS were highly annoyed at the ASAP's comments.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/09/ssp-fight-back-asap-augustine-claim-risk/

(Some interesting stuff on Shuttle extension proposals linked in that article.  It was plainly not at all impossible in 2009, though the poor commonality with Ares resulted in handoff issues.)

Quote
The fact that the insider-support extension attempts for STS were stymied by repurposing of infrastructure was not SLS-invoked but CxP invoked.

Your assertion is contrary to known data, with supporting evidence insufficient to justify the contradiction.

And my statement was specific to the Holleran attempt.  When CSTS was proposed by USA it was still not too late, unless you're suggesting that the one contractor who knew absolutely everything about STS could have made a mistake like that, years after you claim the point of no return was passed...

CSTS:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24010.0

Holleran:
http://www.marylynnedittmar.com/?p=1303
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/12/next-gen-shuttle-vehicle-secret-effort-save-orbiters-ends/

Quote
by the time Obama became the president it was clear to most people that extending shuttle (beyond two extra flights) was really not an option.

No, that was propaganda.  Three or four extra flights could have been managed without any supply chain restart, and multiple proposals were submitted during Obama's first term that explicitly included the option to go beyond that.

Quote
At the very least, a few extra flights could have been added without having to restart the supply chain, stretching the manifest a couple of years and resulting in a minimized gap (assuming Ares was replaced by a properly-funded Jupiter).
Minimizing the gap from at least 7 years to at least 4 to 5 years (assuming those few extra flight - 3 at best- would have been done in 2-3 years) does not sound like minimizing to me. A not-so-long gap is just as bad as a long gap.
And the cost of keeping the shuttle on life support like that would've likely sucked enough money out of the room to delay both SLS/Orion and commercial crew by another year or two, completely wiping out the gap reduction benefit gained.

What part of "properly-funded Jupiter" did you guys not understand?  MSFC was confident they could get a J-130 in the air in three years from the word go, and J-130 had much more in common with STS than either SLS or any version of Ares did.  As late as 2009, a short Shuttle extension of just a few flights (not requiring a supply chain restart) could have resulted in the last STS mission launching after the first J-130.

The Augustine Commission wouldn't have found that out, because they ignored J-130 entirely, and added a large margin on top of DIRECT's already margin-packed number to come up with an unrealistically high cost to develop J-241.

Tags: