Author Topic: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing  (Read 30902 times)

Offline yg1968

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July 13, 2016

NASA at a Crossroads: Reasserting American Leadership in Space Exploration

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the  Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a subcommittee hearing titled “NASA at a Crossroads: Reasserting American Leadership in Space Exploration” on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at 2:30 p.m.

The hearing will focus on the importance of ensuring consistency in policy to best leverage investments made in human space exploration. The hearing will also explore questions facing the agency related to the upcoming presidential transition.
 
Witnesses:
 
- Mr. William H. Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of Human Exploration and Operations, NASA
- Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, Executive Director, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration
- Mr. Mike Gold, Vice President of Washington Operations, SSL
- Mr. Mark Sirangelo, Vice President of Space Systems Group, Sierra Nevada Corporation
- Professor Dan Dumbacher, Professor of Engineering Practice, Purdue University

* Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:
 
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
2:30 p.m. ET
Subcommittee Hearing
Senate Russell Building 253
 
Witness testimony, opening statements, and archived webcast are available at this link:

http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=52A2354F-37D5-467A-9FEA-8D44BDBD82A6
« Last Edit: 07/19/2016 01:30 am by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #1 on: 07/19/2016 01:21 am »
Archived video on YouTube:

« Last Edit: 07/19/2016 01:27 am by yg1968 »

Offline Lar

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #2 on: 07/19/2016 02:47 am »
An interesting list of witnesses, for those who watched the vid did it stay that way or were there changes?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Dante80

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #3 on: 07/19/2016 10:28 am »
The list of witnesses was indeed very interesting. This one though ended very soon, the number of questions asked were minimal. With a panel like this, I expected the hearing to take twice as much or so..

Out of the comments, one that stood for me was Gerstermayer talking about Congress/Government NOT giving specific technical design points/requirements to NASA, but broader policy decisions to implement. The Apollo program came to mind.

I might have this wrong, but it sounded like Gerst was critical to the SLS specifications decision from Congress.

Offline Lar

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #4 on: 07/19/2016 02:00 pm »
I might have this wrong, but it sounded like Gerst was critical to the SLS specifications decision from Congress.
Good for him. I think even hard core SLS fans would agree that having Congress specify so many technical implementation decisions rather than just requirements might not have been totally optimal.

Whether this hearing did any good?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online guckyfan

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #5 on: 07/19/2016 02:31 pm »
Mike Gold of SSL made a statement that the ISS as a NASA run project would end in 2024 and then the private sector would have to be ready to take over and continue LEO presence.

Senator Nelson however later said the ISS should be operated a lot longer, until at least the end of the 20ies. I understand that NASA hopes to end ISS in 2024 and have the budget available to advance Mars plans. So would this delay Mars or could we expect a budget increase to do both?

At the very end of the session Senator Cruz mad an interesting suggestion. He said maybe the Senate should be sent to space, on a one way mission.  :)

Online RonM

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #6 on: 07/19/2016 03:00 pm »
Mike Gold of SSL made a statement that the ISS as a NASA run project would end in 2024 and then the private sector would have to be ready to take over and continue LEO presence.

Senator Nelson however later said the ISS should be operated a lot longer, until at least the end of the 20ies. I understand that NASA hopes to end ISS in 2024 and have the budget available to advance Mars plans. So would this delay Mars or could we expect a budget increase to do both?

At the very end of the session Senator Cruz mad an interesting suggestion. He said maybe the Senate should be sent to space, on a one way mission.  :)

Ah, Senator Cruz and I finally agree on something.

Senator Nelson's suggestion to keep ISS going beyond 2024, if written into law, most likely will not result in an increase in the NASA budget and delay any Mars program.

Congress has a bad habit of mandating programs and then not providing the money to fund them. When that is done to the states it is referred to as an unfunded mandate. Then the state governments have to come up with the money out of their own budgets or be in violation of federal law. Same thing happens to federal agencies, but they do not have a way to increase funding, so they must scale back operations. The Food and Drug Administration is a good example. Whenever there is a big food safety issue, Congress complains that the FDA isn't doing their job. The reality is that the FDA can't do their job because they don't have enough inspectors since Congress doesn't give them enough money.

NASA receives about 0.5% of the overall federal budget. When you subtract out non-discretionary spending and the defense budget, there's not much left. NASA receives about 3% of non-military discretionary spending. That's a large amount considering it's competing against almost every other function of the federal government. NASA is not going to get a budget increase.

If NASA is going to Mars in the 2030s - 2040s, ISS has to end operations in 2024.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #7 on: 07/19/2016 03:09 pm »
Not if NASA just goes along with SpaceX. Not that that is a sure thing or anything, but it's at least as realistic as NASA just doing it with SLS.
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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

Online guckyfan

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #8 on: 07/19/2016 03:25 pm »
Not if NASA just goes along with SpaceX. Not that that is a sure thing or anything, but it's at least as realistic as NASA just doing it with SLS.

Of course the vast majority of the hearing was spent praising SLS and how private industry is involved in making it happen. And of course that SLS must not be cancelled like Constellation was with devastating results. Both by the committee members and the representatives of industry.

SLS will get the US back out of LEO and finally to Mars.

Offline Lar

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #9 on: 07/19/2016 03:39 pm »
If NASA is going to Mars in the 2030s - 2040s, ISS has to end operations in 2024.
Or be privatized. Which is unlikely...

Not if NASA just goes along with SpaceX. Not that that is a sure thing or anything, but it's at least as realistic as NASA just doing it with SLS.

Far better approach for everyone. Except the pork rollers. Hence, present course and speed.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online RonM

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #10 on: 07/19/2016 05:02 pm »
If NASA is going to Mars in the 2030s - 2040s, ISS has to end operations in 2024.
Or be privatized. Which is unlikely...

Not if NASA just goes along with SpaceX. Not that that is a sure thing or anything, but it's at least as realistic as NASA just doing it with SLS.

Far better approach for everyone. Except the pork rollers. Hence, present course and speed.

Agreed, privatization or paying SpaceX would be better.

One possible approach would be to pay SpaceX to use MCT to deliver a NASA designed base. If Boeing and Lockmart got the contracts to build the base components then maybe they wouldn't feel so bad about SLS and Orion being cancelled.

Having your pork and eating too with a side of privatization.  :)

I wouldn't expect anything like that to happen until after MCT is operational or conducts the first manned landing on Mars.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #11 on: 07/19/2016 05:22 pm »
Mike Gold of SSL made a statement that the ISS as a NASA run project would end in 2024 and then the private sector would have to be ready to take over and continue LEO presence.

Senator Nelson however later said the ISS should be operated a lot longer, until at least the end of the 20ies. I understand that NASA hopes to end ISS in 2024 and have the budget available to advance Mars plans. So would this delay Mars or could we expect a budget increase to do both?

The need for the ISS is determined by a number of factors, including whether or not NASA has answered enough questions about the ability of humans to survive a future trip to Mars.

If NASA doesn't know how to keep humans healthy enough to successfully complete a trip to Mars, then there is no point in going to Mars and the ISS should continue it's research.

If the medical professionals at NASA feel that the ISS has provided enough answers to allow a government crew to successfully survive a mission to Mars, then that would certainly be one less reason for the U.S. Government to keep spending money on the ISS.

Personally I think it will be invaluable to continue having a 0G National Laboratory in LEO to continue expanding our knowledge of how humans with not only survive in space, but thrive, but the ISS is a big expense.  So handing off the ISS to the private sector, even in some subsidized way, may be the only way to keep the ISS going through the end of the 2020's.
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 mfck

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #12 on: 07/19/2016 05:46 pm »
Is it technically viable to keep ISS going past 2028? Until when is it "max-rated" from the engineering pov? Possible repairs and inspections might increase the operational costs significantly towards the end, might they not?

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #13 on: 07/19/2016 06:37 pm »
An extra point of interest: the hearing includes at least one NSF member!  Do you know who?
(Their identity on this forum is not confidential.)
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Offline Rebel44

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #14 on: 07/19/2016 08:20 pm »
minor OT: did Congress spent all the money on SLS, or why the hell do we get 360p video from them in 2016?

Offline Lar

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #15 on: 07/19/2016 08:35 pm »
An extra point of interest: the hearing includes at least one NSF member!  Do you know who?
(Their identity on this forum is not confidential.)

I do and I spotted it right away but I don't know that we want 20 posts with guesses. :)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #16 on: 07/19/2016 09:39 pm »
...
Not if NASA just goes along with SpaceX. Not that that is a sure thing or anything, but it's at least as realistic as NASA just doing it with SLS.

Far better approach for everyone. Except the pork rollers. Hence, present course and speed.
Or NASA goes with SpaceX but maintains SLS anyway. Of all the possibilities for people landing on Mars, that one seems just as likely as others.

But another thing:

Pork rollers have power only because the aerospace primes are large. Boeing Defense, Security, and Space is worth about $30 billion and as about 50,000 employees worldwide. SpaceX is worth $10 billion and has 5000 employees all in the US.

In 10 years from now, the picture may look very different. It's possible SpaceX may be worth much more than Boeing BDS and may have just as many US employees. That may mean SpaceX has just as much political power.

I mean, look at SpaceX vs ULA in Congress. How many people 5 years ago would've guessed that SpaceX would be able to wield political power (McCain) against ULA like that?

Don't take things for granted.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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 yg1968

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #17 on: 07/19/2016 09:45 pm »
Here are a couple of articles by SN on it:

http://spacenews.com/senate-committee-seeks-stability-for-nasa-programs-in-next-administration/
http://spacenews.com/nasa-seeking-ideas-for-use-of-space-station-docking-port/

The second article provides a good opportunity for the commercial sector.
« Last Edit: 07/19/2016 09:48 pm by yg1968 »

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #18 on: 07/19/2016 10:15 pm »
An extra point of interest: the hearing includes at least one NSF member!  Do you know who?
(Their identity on this forum is not confidential.)

I do and I spotted it right away but I don't know that we want 20 posts with guesses. :)

Yes, good point.

"Well, that's the end of the lightning round.  For all of you playing along at home, the correct answer is highlighted in RED below."

Witnesses:
 
- Mr. William H. Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of Human Exploration and Operations, NASA
- Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, Executive Director, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration
- Mr. Mike Gold, Vice President of Washington Operations, SSL
- Mr. Mark Sirangelo, Vice President of Space Systems Group, Sierra Nevada Corporation
- Professor Dan Dumbacher, Professor of Engineering Practice, Purdue University
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: NASA at Crossroads: July 13 2016 Senate Hearing
« Reply #19 on: 07/20/2016 06:48 pm »
Not having all the commercial players there was unusual to me... Not saying it was deliberate... But still... ???
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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