Author Topic: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration  (Read 17873 times)

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #20 on: 01/15/2015 10:05 pm »
I'd like to see him cancel SLS and put those funds to better use on a BLEO exploration plan that uses commercial acquisition similar to COTS/CRS/commercial crew, rather than having the government make the design decisions.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #21 on: 01/15/2015 10:38 pm »
I'd like to see him cancel SLS and put those funds to better use on a BLEO exploration plan that uses commercial acquisition similar to COTS/CRS/commercial crew, rather than having the government make the design decisions.

Ditto me.  I have absolutely no expectation that this will happen, however.

Offline Prober

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #22 on: 01/15/2015 10:43 pm »
I am starting this thread because I would like to hear what people hope to see from Ted Cruz as the chair.  What would YOU like to see him take up when the gavel drops?  Include topics and verbiage.  Please be specific as possible but realize essays will end up not doing you any good.

Please do not post any of the typical stuff either for or against the senator.  We do not need another thread locked and tucked away.

I would ask that any post that strays from the idea of the thread would be banished to Tunguska. 

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser

Just want to post this thought....love or hate the man. He is going to shape NASA for a few years ahead.

Following that.....If he does run for higher office, and prevail.....think of it.   The first President of the US with his unique insight into NASA, and interest.

It could be the best of times  8)

maybe someone in article land can run with that ;)
« Last Edit: 01/15/2015 10:45 pm by Prober »
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #23 on: 01/15/2015 10:47 pm »
I'd like to see him cancel SLS and put those funds to better use on a BLEO exploration plan that uses commercial acquisition similar to COTS/CRS/commercial crew, rather than having the government make the design decisions.

Ditto me.  I have absolutely no expectation that this will happen, however.

Yeah, I agree, it's very unlikely it will happen.  But the question was about a "wish list".  We can dream. :-)

Offline rsnellenberger

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #24 on: 01/15/2015 11:01 pm »
Cruz has only been involved with NASA during the last couple of years. Commercial crew has been adequately funded for the last couple of years (close to $700M). He replaced Senator Hutchison on that subcommittee. Cruz meant that we shouldn't have to rely solely on the Russians for ferrying crew to the ISS and that's a fair point. It's not Obama's fault but he isn't going to admit it.  He has to sound like he disagrees with Obama even though it doesn't seem that he intends to change anything substantive about his policies. He is a presidential candidate for 2016. He is not going to praise Obama. He has to sound like he would have done a better job had he been President. That's just the way politics works.

It is most certainly Obama's "fault" (I prefer to say responsibility) that we have relied solely on the Russians for ferrying crew to ISS.  The Bush administration plan to retire the shuttle fleet was still in its early stages, and in January 2009 we still had three flying orbiters and the production facilities for tanks and boosters were still there -- there are articles here from February and March 2009 that discussed shuttle extension options.  We had all sensed by that time that Constellation was in serious trouble, and that was subsequently confirmed in the Augustine report later that year.  The President had an opportunity at that point to extend the shuttle program even further (beyond even STS-135), admittedly with some effort and at some cost. 

With all of that as background, President Obama decided to press forward with shuttle retirement.

This isn't a judgement on whether or not it was a good, correct, or even a well-reasoned decision.  But to suggest that he was just a spectator to some inexorable process isn't at all accurate.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #25 on: 01/15/2015 11:04 pm »
Apparently, I'm not allowed to post the whole truth

Whether something is true or not is irrelevant.  It's whether it's on topic for this forum.

What is on topic here is what he has said specifically about his stance on NASA.

Sure, you could try to deduce what he might say or do in the future with respect to NASA indirectly based on his views on other issues.  And other people could draw other conclusions.  And the whole debate would get far off-topic, because those inferences are largely based on your opinion about those other issues.

I'd wager most people here are more interested in spaceflight.  That's why they're here instead of on some unmoderated forum.

Offline mike robel

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #26 on: 01/15/2015 11:48 pm »
I would like to see him advocate sufficient funding for both SLS/Orion and commercial crew for full funding and a view to bringing IOC for all to the left.  Figure out a rational program for Orion - perhaps starting with a lunar program to confirm lunar water and establish an ISRU plant that could support a reusable lander plus a surface shelter.

Purpose of the ISRU is to produce fuel, O2, and water for the lander.

A reasonable Mars precursor mission...I think.

Offline arachnitect

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #27 on: 01/16/2015 12:05 am »
I would like to hear what people hope to see from Ted Cruz as the chair.  What would YOU like to see him take up when the gavel drops?  Include topics and verbiage.  Please be specific as possible but realize essays will end up not doing you any good.

Please do not post any of the typical stuff either for or against the senator. 

I would ask that any post that strays from the idea of the thread would be banished to Tunguska. 

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser



Okay then.

Take long term data collection seriously. Spend money and make decisions now so you're not doing it when your only sensor on orbit is a decade past its planned retirement. For example, Landsat is fine right now, but putting off planning the next one is only setting the stage for future grief. Another example is the NOAA climate sensors that got kicked over to NASA in an effort to keep JPSS on track. Fine (maybe even smart?) but just because they're NASA's problem now doesn't mean they're unnecessary (TSIS, CERES/RBI, OMPS-Limb). Trying to be creative with these programs usually just ends up being a longer more expensive way of getting to the same place (look at what happened to Landsat, JWSS NPOESS).

ESD (with NOAA and USGS) gathers data that people really rely on. A lot of the stuff that NASA does is sort of a National luxury, but this stuff is different.

If you want a government that spends the citizens' money responsibly, start by making sure the essential services we take for granted are taken care of before you go off gallivanting about the solar system.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2015 05:46 pm by arachnitect »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #28 on: 01/16/2015 12:17 am »
He is going to shape NASA for a few years ahead.

Really?  I think it's already already a stretch when people dream about a president remaking NASA, let alone one of 100 senators.  I'm expecting more or less the status quo.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #29 on: 01/16/2015 12:34 am »
I would expect him to try to divert NASA and NOAA Earth science funding to things that would fund JSC and other Texas based parts of NASA.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #30 on: 01/16/2015 02:35 am »
Personally, I would like to see more commercial initiatives: commercial habitats and commercial crew and cargo for BLEO missions should be the next initiatives in my opinion. Perhaps Cruz could help in starting these initiatives. 
« Last Edit: 01/16/2015 02:38 am by yg1968 »

Offline SWGlassPit

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #31 on: 01/16/2015 02:45 pm »
1) I would like to see some structure created for HSF direction, as well as NASA funding as a whole, that would insulate it from the whiplash it suffers every time a new congress or president comes to Washington.  To some extent, planetary science has this with the decadal survey, which would be a good model to help shape the direction of human spaceflight.  To be sure, oversight is necessary, and programs that go massively over budget and schedule deserve close scrutiny, but when a meaningful development program takes at least five years, that's three different congresses, who could have three different ideas what direction NASA should take -- a recipe for a massive portfolio of abandoned, half-finished projects.  It's akin to a grocery stocker getting a new manager every half hour, who then clears the shelves and tells the stocker they should be organizing the products a different way.

2) A large reason for the crewed launch gap is the fact that NASA never had enough funding to support both development and operations.  This would probably require a substantial increase to the top-line budget, but ensuring the funds are there so NASA (and those who fund it) don't have to wholly abandon the status quo to invest in the next great thing.  There's no good reason not to do both.

Offline vulture4

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #32 on: 01/16/2015 05:35 pm »
It is most certainly Obama's "fault" (I prefer to say responsibility) that we have relied solely on the Russians for ferrying crew to ISS.  The Bush administration plan to retire the shuttle fleet was still in its early stages, and in January 2009 we still had three flying orbiters and the production facilities for tanks and boosters were still there -- there are articles here from February and March 2009 that discussed shuttle extension options.This isn't a judgement on whether or not it was a good, correct, or even a well-reasoned decision.  But to suggest that he was just a spectator to some inexorable process isn't at all accurate.

I hope you will consider reading Wayne Hale's blog. He was the program manager, after all. He made it clear in 2008 that Shuttle production could not be restarted.  Literally hundreds of contracts with small companies producing critical parts had been cancelled, and simply qualifying new suppliers would have taken years. Obama added two flights, scraping the bottom of the barrel for parts but getting the Alpha Mass Spectrometer on board.

Bush had made it clear that America's participation in ISS would end with the last Shuttle flight, so the Orbital Space Plane was cancelled. Obama had to fight to extend ISS, and then to get new US manned spacecraft flying. Had commercial crew been fully funded, they would be flying this year.

At this point we need to focus on the future. The difficulty with Senator Cruz is that he is committed to cutting the overall budget and quite possibly the NASA budget as well. If this money comes out of Commercial Crew, it will further delay US human launch capability. Moreover we do indeed have three portfolios, Science, SLS/Orion, and Commercial Crew/ISS.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2015 05:38 pm by vulture4 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #33 on: 01/18/2015 07:05 pm »
It is most certainly Obama's "fault" (I prefer to say responsibility) that we have relied solely on the Russians for ferrying crew to ISS...  The President had an opportunity at that point to extend the shuttle program even further (beyond even STS-135), admittedly with some effort and at some cost.

Since the constant occupation of the ISS began in 2000 we have relied on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to KEEP U.S. crew members at the ISS.  While our crew is there the Soyuz acts as a lifeboat in case the crew needs to abandon the ISS for any reason, at any moment.  Waiting around for a Shuttle to launch to evacuate the ISS is not an option.

The Shuttle has never been able to keep crew at the ISS for longer than 2 weeks, so it's function relating to crew has only been to ROTATE crew, not KEEP crew at the ISS.

Eliminating the Shuttle early, or even keeping the Shuttle flying later, would not have changed the situation we are in with our reliance on the Soyuz.  We need one or more spacecraft that can stay in space docked at the ISS for as long as the crew stays (6 months or more), which ain't the Shuttle.

Those that sit on congressional committees that oversee NASA should know this (as should everyone), but apparently Senator Cruz has not been concerned enough about this situation in the past to suggest any workable solutions - like funding Commercial Crew to the levels NASA has requested every year since the start of the program (2010).

Maybe that will change, and fully funding the Commercial Crew program from here out would be my wish to be communicated to Senator Cruz.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #34 on: 01/18/2015 07:24 pm »
See the entire form of government in the US is established to prevent ONE person from deciding what all should do.  We decided not to have Kings and Queens rule over us.  Unfortunately this does nothing for those who want to demonstrate "leadership". 

KBH (Kay Bailey Hutchison) was very eloquent and had a leadership characteristics.  But ultimately, she was not able to set a 'vision' for NASA.  I think only the president can do this.  So (to me) she was only able to push for different allocations of a set budget.  Which unfortunately is more micromanagement.

Hutchison, Nelson and Shelby were able to thwart part of Obama's space plans when they didn't allow the Orion and Ares V HLV to be cancelled, so you can't say a small number of people in Congress don't wield significant power in setting the direction of our efforts in space.

Whereas Obama had planned to fund technology development, those three in the Senate (the House went along with what they wrote) decided that NASA needed an HLV and short-range spacecraft instead of developing technologies that NASA still needs even with the SLS and Orion.

This is not to say that Cruz will use his powers to do anything.  He may not.  But Congress is an equal branch to the executive branch, and the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Competitiveness does influence what NASA does.

Quote
I really think he is only able to help manage the budget up a little and have a nice conversation with the administrators and other invited speakers to do this. 

Money is apportioned by the Senate Appropriations Committee, so Cruz would still have to do some negotiations for any changes he wants to make, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Quote
Otherwise Obama has to define the budget and goals and have responsibility to see the stuff happens.

The President does that every year, but as is customary in Congress (regardless which party is in charge), Congress pretty much ignores what any President asks for.  And at this point in his term, I don't expect anything new out of Obama for NASA related stuff other than continuing to fight for full funding of Commercial Crew and the continued funding of the ISS.  Those are both keystone programs, and would be good legacies for any President.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline RonM

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #35 on: 01/21/2015 03:07 am »
President Obama actually mentioned the space program in the State of the Union speech.

Quote
I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs -- converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain -- and make sure to Instagram it.

Scott Kelly got a round of applause for his upcoming year long mission.

Spacecraft are almost never mentioned in the State of the Union. Maybe we'll see Senator Cruz, the Committee, and the President work together on manned spaceflight.


Offline mike robel

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #36 on: 01/21/2015 12:44 pm »
One has to remember that the President said during the campaign that he wanted to defund NASA in part, so he could increase funding to the Department of Education.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #37 on: 01/21/2015 12:48 pm »
My greatest hope would be to grade NASA plans/spending against four criteria:
1) Is the development effort advancing the state of the art in spaceflight?
2) Does the effort establish (space) infrastructure useable on subsequent trips/missions?
3) Can private sector competition lower the cost or introduce creative new approaches toward solving the challenge?
4) Is the projected cost to finish the project consistent with the advertised budget when the project was authorized?
If even a constant funding level is maintained, this approach should help move us forward.  Grading today's NASA projects/expenditures against these criteria would not produce passing scores.
« Last Edit: 01/21/2015 12:51 pm by AncientU »
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Offline RonM

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #38 on: 01/21/2015 05:55 pm »
One has to remember that the President said during the campaign that he wanted to defund NASA in part, so he could increase funding to the Department of Education.

Way back in 2007-2008. Obama has had many chances to do so and has not, so it's pretty lame for you to bring that up.

Cruz says he wants to cut the budget, but supports SLS and Orion, which would be great big ticket items to cut. Politicians say many things and then do something different.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Interview with Senator Cruz on Space Exploration
« Reply #39 on: 01/22/2015 01:31 am »
Way back in 2007-2008. Obama has had many chances to do so and has not, so it's pretty lame for you to bring that up.

Well, it's still the case that the administration sees spaceflight as an adjunct to STEM education. It's not about actually doing anything in space, it's about inspiring the kiddies.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

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