Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The National Space Society - Sustainable Space Exploration and Space Development ― A Unified Strategic Vision

Here is a link to a great paper written by Buzz Aldrin, Feng Hsu and Ken Cox, well known in the space advocacy community, especially Buzz of course. It's from the National Space Society.


It's a bit long, and the beginning is obviously politically biased to smack Bush a bit, but I can get over that and look at the serious thoughts they propose in the paper.

The two parts I love best are the creation of an official Department of Space to oversee commercial space development and the restructuring of NASA to be a "Lewis and Clark" operation that is solely focused on the risky space exploration and advanced technology development that comes with decent government funding. NASA dumps its LEO obligation onto the private sector, as I think it should, making the ISS an international effort that NASA no longer has an obligation too.

There is more. It's a good read.

I also strongly believe that we've become a nation of risk averse pu**ies, afraid of our own shadow, much less the natural risk of extreme space travel. This is a byproduct of rampant political correctness, which disgusts me. We must get back to our John Wayne roots, where we explore not because it's easy and safe, but because it's difficult and dangerous, which is where the adrenaline rush comes from. Far too many of us have turned into metrosexual winos. It's time to tighten the boot straps, work hard to develop advanced technologies and blast off!


Monsal Varga said...

I finally found the time to read it all :)

I consider it a fair and wide plan/opinion.

As an european myself, I obviously must try to focus on the ideas and main goals, because when americans speak they (rightly) defend their interests, the same as when europeans speak they (rightly) defend their own interests; and this is true specially in de details or spin-off goals, rather then in the major goals or basic ideas.

That said, I am all pro-international cooperation but where everybody acts as equals (utopia, I know) or at least share the burdens as equally as possible.

I suppose that these three authors - had they the power to take decisions - would have accepted Europe's proposal of developing a new heavy lift booster and everything else to go back to the Moon and then Mars. Europe's proposal specifically mentioned to be in equal parts of responsability (finantial, technological, scientifical, political, etc, etc, etc).
Nasa said no. (I'll try to leave some links to articles and stories related to this).

If we (all!) persist in pursuit of vain glory instead of fulfilling humankid's destiny... we won't see people on Mars in the next 50 years.

Monsal Varga said...

I've been searching for some info to back my previous comment, but found only a few lines:

from space.com/spacenews:

"...(European) officials said the U.S. government's refusal to permit European participation in the U.S. Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) program makes it more likely that a Euro-Russian partnership in next-generation crewed spaceflight will be formed.

And Evert Dudok, president of EADS Space Transportation, the prime contractor for Ariane 5 vehicles and Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo tug, said the prospect of a European alliance with Russia might move the United States to reconsider its go-it-alone approach to the CEV.

"If we sign a contract with Russia on Clipper, I am not sure that the Americans would not change their minds," Dudok said here May 2 during a ceremony to mark the completion of Europe's Columbus Laboratory module for the international space station.

European Space Agency Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain declined to go that far. "I am not playing with the Russians just to move the United States," Dordain told reporters here. "I have been told by [NASA Administrator] Mike Griffin and [White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John] Marburger that CEV is not for international cooperation. But if Europe is not involved in the next-generation transportation systems, we will stay forever a second-class partner."

the link: http://www.space.com/spacenews/archive06/Clipper_050806.html

But then again, everybody is now all too excited about the NASA/ESA "joint" missions to
the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Maybe things area achanging... ;)

Douglas Mallette said...

Monsal - I hope they are changing. This whole, "go it alone" crap is nonsense. I don't know this for certain, but I bet ITAR had something to do with why NASA didn't, or couldn't, do CEV with international partners.

We're so damn scared about our technology getting into the wrong hands that we often hamstring ourselves in making true global partnerships for space exploration and development.