Friday, December 18, 2009

Obama's Preliminary Decision on Human Spaceflight?

Once again, far too many statements with respect to NASA are about maintaining jobs and not producing viable products. This is why government space will fail in taking humanity to the next level of space exploration. NASA is now a jobs program, NOT a Research and Development branch of the government for the purpose of space exploration and development.

Is it nice that Obama is considering boosting the NASA budget by a billion, focusing on Heavy Lift, and killing Ares 1 in favor of using NewSpace companies to accomplish the tasks Ares would have done? Yes. But when you have entrenched politicians who only care about keeping jobs in their districts where NASA centers are located, you completely lose sight of the real purpose of NASA. Sometimes, as a viable company would, you trim the fat or relocate your staff to be better utilized. That's just how it is, if you're a private company. NASA is so bogged down by political nonsense that they can't get out of their own way, and it's not their fault really.

I wish this was considered when NASA was being put together, but alas, NASA was a whirlwind creation with the Moon as the prize. I don't think anyone involved in the process saw the detrimental affects of spreading the organization throughout the nation based upon Congressional fancy. Nor would they have foreseen how such a structure and its governance would end up being the cause for its stagnation.

It would be nice, for once, if a President would step up and publicly tell Congress to shut up, that we're going to do what's right for the nation as a whole, and not just your district. That people can move to find new and better jobs if necessary, and although that's not ideal for those people and families, it's better than cutting things completely. For once, I'd like a President with the balls to put Congress in their place and set the stage for the greater good. I am getting sick of the selfish nature of individual politicians who care less about the big picture and are solely focused on their next election. Aren't you?

However, I still find this to be a half-assed move. Obama has yet to address one of the key aspects of the future of human spaceflight, which is fostering the growth of the Commercial Space Industry, not just placating it. What we need are moves like creating tax incentives to start space based companies, increased funding for space based university research, and the restructure of ITAR to get back to missiles, bombs and guns, and get out of peaceful commercial space. Hell, the last one doesn't require a dime to accomplish, but would result in huge economic boons to our nation.

As I said last night during the SpaceVidCast show, WE are the ones who need to get into positions of power, or elect people who share our vision of the future, if we're ever going to make the kind of moves necessary to make our dreams a reality.


PillowNaut said...

Agreed, agreed & agreed -- well said! I thought the same thing all through the last administration, where there was big talk but no money to back it up, because everyone was only concerned about their little slice, and never the whole pie. Unfortunately, any President who does pull this off will be accused of being unrealistic. Always a double-edged sword.

"If Obama were to somehow able to cure hunger in the world, republicans would blame him for overpopulation. If he could somehow bring about world peace, hey'd blame him for destroying the fence industry." - House Rep. Alan Grayson

Douglas Mallette said...

I'm okay with double edged swords, because it's not that hard to smack those close minded idiots down. The historical facts associated to the history of the space industry and its contributions to our society can't be argued. Throw facts in their face and they can't come back with anything except personal attacks, which are easy to call out and which the public is getting really tired of.

Norman Copeland said...

Ok, Douglas, and 'HHHEEEEEELLLLLLO' Pillownaut [interesting blog c.v]...

The main issues that you usually grapple and wrestle with are ITAR and manned flight directives. I realise that some percieve ITAR to be an obstacle to serious investment into the space exploration business for civilians, but looking at the evidence from around the world I see a trend towards this type of infrastructure being developed


I believe that some sort of agreement has been ratified and I'm guessing it was from the Ronald Reegan era because of my firm belief that our race has chosen to build our information highway for public consumption on computers and thus, the sociological developement path has been witnessing a conversion of world resource swinging significantly in favour of revamping the financial instigation of world developing economies.

Such a move would of most certainly seen a large average increase in public intellectual quotience and certainly more female science contribution [NOTE; Margaret Thatcher conservative era], but, the decision to cap immediate space exploration development potential would certainly of seen an increased repetoire of ideas for development.

England's withdrawel from Hong Kong represented with Chris Pattern European ambassader to China [I'm acquainted with his daughter] has obvious political suggestion's and one I'm happy to go along with...

I'm still staunch pro american government because I have a firm belief that erections need guidance to soft application for a mutually enticing work environment...

Marcel F. Williams said...

Since the primary goal for NASA's manned space flight program should be to enhance the human ability to settle the rest of the solar system and to exploit its natural resources for commercial benefit, NASA's first goals should be to:

1. establish a permanent base on the Moon as a simple first step towards colonizing the Moon

2. develop light sail technologies in order to transport astronauts and large payloads rapidly through interplanetary space and in order to capture and harvest the stupendous natural resources of small 50 tonne to 1000 tonne NEO asteroids

3. help private industry develop a simple DC-3 rocket in order for private industry to have easy and safe access to orbit for both manned and unmanned space travel

4. help private industry to develop reusable orbital transfer vehicles and lunar shuttles for use by NASA, the military, and private industry utilizing extraterrestrial resources from small captured asteroids and in situ lunar resources in order to refuel such vehicles

5. develop simple microgravity and artificial gravity space stations for LEO, L1, L4, L5, Mars orbit and beyond for NASA, the military, and private industry.

6. establish a permanent base on Mars as a simple first step towards eventually colonizing the Red Planet.

Those should be the long term goals for NASA, IMO.

Norman Copeland said...

The international space station should have it's own kitchen and observatory for flowers experiencing multiple sunsets per 24 hours, IMO.

This sort of scientific education is exactly why it's difficult to go to bed... Lol...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

God bless the president of the united states of America. [Lol... wink!]