Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Great Conversation to Share

Just follow along class. For the sake of privacy, no real screen names were used. :)

Person X: Actually, I do think that going to the asteroid is EXACTLY what NASA was built to do. Their mission is to push the envelope for Space and pursue Astronautics and Aeronautics. BUT, NASA, and the feds can help get commercial space off the ground and make it possible for private space to pursue LEO space as well as the moon. In the mean time, NASA continues to pursue doing something unique.

Me: Person X (and others who think going back to the Moon is old hat) - I'm pretty sure building a Lunar base is unique and different. It's completely different than what we did before on the Moon. Yes, the location is the same, but so what. Last time all we did was play golf, drive a dune buggy and bring home some rocks. Whoopie fraggin' do. People who "yawn" at going back to the Moon probably aren't old enough to have been around for it the first time. I'm not old enough myself, but at least I have some respect for the challenge required not just to land, but to BUILD! That's the difference, and the ONLY reason for going back to the Moon.

Building a base will be a huge test, and also a huge PR move for NASA if they ever wake up and promote themselves properly...or solicit non-profit organizations to be their PR team. Building a base on the Moon is no joke, and vastly important.

Additionally, and this is a must, it requires multiple nations to pull this off. No one nation should be do anything major like this by itself. Spread the work and spread the cost. This helps that whole international relations thing. :)

Person X: Hmmm. Where did I say that I am against going back to the moon? All that I have said is that the feds should be encouraging private space to get there, by helping them to get the infrastructure in place. I think that we have enough RD from NASA to help companies like L-Mart/Boeing/SpaceX/Bigelow/Blue Origin/etc get there. NASA can help them get there using a LITTLE BIT of federal money, while the majority comes from the private venture.
In the mean time, NASA can do what it does best; RD and pushing the envelope.

Me: Person X - Okay, I'll buy that. If NASA were to do something like that, and the government would enable private international company cooperation and collaboration by fixing ITAR, I'd be all for commercial space working the Moon Base and NASA doing the asteroid thing. That would be a fun race to watch, who finishes their mission first and cheapest...NASA or Commercial Space. My money goes with Commercial Space. :)

Person X: First, I do not think that the feds have to help International space achieve commercial space. That is not their mission. Over the years, I have watched this site (I hate to be into too many blog sites; joined this due to one discussion that was way off), and have noticed that many seem to think that NASA is about helping the international space programs come along. At this point, I have a strong desire to see America get our own commercial space program off the ground.

Now, as to ITAR, it is NOT ABSOLUTELY NOT BROKEN. It has doing the job that it was suppose to do. Nearly, all of the western companies that will not be building weapons and will not disseminate it to use against us can get that information. One of the issues that we have is that we want partners that will not out and out steal our tech, and we want to know that the partner will not be using it in a missiles aimed at us.

I have worked in various positions in several 3 letter agencies and one time for a 4 letter (NASA). I have SEEN attempts to steal our tech. And this was tech that could only be used against us. In addition, I have dealt with at least one gal that married an America major, came here, looked for jobs and we turned down (she was lukewarm on the job until she found out that it was dealing peripherally with the CIA and then she was adamant about getting the job). I found out that she was ultimately deported. I do not know why, but i can make guesses. BTW, this happens more than ppl realize.

As to a race, yeah, my money would be on commercial space. They will have more money and a great deal more flexibility. In addition, they have the luxury of focusing on one or just a few jobs. But, even with that, it requires the feds (obama and dem congress) to get their act together and help these folks. I am not certain that it will happen. I watched how short term thinking the neo-cons were, and as I watch the dems, they are not much better. The one good news is that generally in NASA's history, they have done much better with a dem at the helm, than either a pub or a neo-con. We will see how this shakes out.

Finally, with the above said, it would be useful for the friendly nations to stay to comment designs; Common docking; Common fuel hookups; common wiring hook-ups; etc.
NASA can play a major role in this and more importantly, should. I would very much like to see RSA, ESA, CSA, and JSA be able to hook up with Commercial space in being on the moon.

Me: Person X - WHAT?! ITAR not broken? The 1999 reform of ITAR to include Commercial Sats KILLED the American SatCom industry. 50% drop in global market share in 2 years. 50% drop in launch provider revenue in 5 years. Other nations don't want to work with us because ITAR is a nightmare. ITAR is a cancer and should be put back to what it's supposed to be (missiles, bombs and guns), not peaceful commercial space endeavors.

People need to stop being paranoid. Bad guys don't need space technology to be bastards (9/11 didn't require rockets), so to hamstring the commercial space industry from freely working together because of some overt paranoia that every international company is going to build missiles and laser weapons is stupid. Yes...stupid. What kind of national defense issues are present if companies want to build a space hotel together? Or make a commercial shuttle service to carry people to LEO, the Moon or beyond.

The damn government needs to STOP controlling space, because for the past 30 years all we've been dealt is a hand of bullsh%!, floating in LEO while we watch our kids get bored with space, science and technology because there's absolutely no WAY they will ever go to space.

Odds of becoming a Pro Athlete - 1:25,000
Odds of becoming an astronaut - 1:12,000,000

Yeah, and we wonder why kids don't give a crap about space once they turn 12. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the present system (govt. controlled) makes it virtually impossible to actually GO into space. That needs to change. NewSpace NOW!

(This message brought to you by a pissed off space advocate who's seeing the dream of space get destroyed by the government.)

Me: Person X - Oh, and sorry for throwing you in with the people who say "bunk" to going back to the Moon. I accidentally got you mixed with others. The point remains the same, but I retract you as a target of the point. lol.

Also, love the debate...keep it coming! :)


Its_Amazing said...

Sadly, I don't think he is that far off Doug. We have some pretty bad issues on-site with foreign and domestic people steeling/leaking important data. While the ITAR process does suck, it serves it purpose on blocking most Joe-Blow's from getting SBU or Classified information we work with and selling it off. Every company keeps certain data to their selves to keep an edge above the rest, don't see why NASA couldn't do the same with some foreign nations. We can't open source the USA...that just has disaster written all over it.

Douglas Mallette said...

I don't mean to shareware the knowledge. Each company should protect its intellectual property. That's just basic business sense. Industrial espionage has been around forever in all industries, and companies must do whatever they feel is proper to protect themselves.

I'm not taking about government space, I'm talking about the noose around the neck of commercial space. ITAR prevents companies from working with each other on a global level. It's up to the parties involved to decide what info gets transferred between them. You can go online right now and learn exactly how to build a rocket. It's not that hard really.

Again, I say this: How is it a national security threat if a US company and an Indian company work together to build a space hotel, or a next gen shuttle?

Norman Copeland said...

Actually, I think douglas is right, I think that it's language that everyone comprehend's that acheive's thing's among communitie's that need clear, thorough and decisive conjecture to base their vote upon.

The person talking with Douglas is right, ITAR has performed a service for a set number of years that 'has' seen a lowering of satelite cost's, a hightening cost for launching those satelite's, but more importantly, a period of ten year's for the development of low earth orbit {leo} government facility planning based upon the private sector availability for investment into serious space exploration and systems maintenance [THAT HAS NOT SEEN ANY INVESTMENT FROM AMERICA'S MIDDLE AGED/OLDER GENERATION MONEY MEN = BILL GATES AND COMMUNICATIONS AND COMPUTER MONEY SECTOR. it is them right?].

Otherwise it would of been completely at the whim of government to invest in space and the opportunity to encourage new business into the space industry because of affordable satelite building but, yes, resting intrinsically on government launch facilities.

Ultimately though I agree with Douglas, this generation should not be afraid of speaking what it want's and particularly based upon good old fashioned common opinion.

What is the conveyor belt producing...

Ain't nothin goin on but the rent, methinks].

Perhaps though...

Marcel F. Williams said...

The US manned space program cost us less than $10 billion annually which is really a tiny amount of money compared to the rest of the Federal budget. How the US Department of Education gets a $68 billion annual budget for not really educating anyone and NASA just gets a tiny $17 billion a year budget is beyond me. I just think its a myth that the US manned space program is very expensive. Its not!

Personally, I think international cooperation is a lot more expensive than international competition. That doesn't mean that I would be against an international Moon base but I would prefer seeing American Moon bases, Chinese Moon bases, Russian Moon bases, Japanese Moon bases, Indian Moon bases, etc.

I just don't believe that there is a monolithic (international) way to do anything. Plus,if I work for a private company on the Moon, maybe I'd like to go to Chinese Moon base or an Indian Moon base to see how they do things differently from the US and to dine on some good Chinese or Indian food while I'm there!

Marcel F. Williams

Douglas Mallette said...

Marcel - Good points.

Norman Copeland said...

Well, friends who are my real friends have the knowledge that I like warm beer, vegan food and adventure. Bringing ice from near planetoids/asteroids would be an easy way for stimulating a Venusian atmosphere. Considering the path is directly out to interstellar space the incentive for an expert connosiuer to build a base from near utilities is probably considered the next step to the universe...
Who is adept at building basic rockets? The northrupgrunman challenge offers ideas.

Who has got the chemistry. Stamina. Grounding.