Thursday, January 28, 2010

Former Nasa Administrator Speaks About HSF Future

It would be helpful to read this article above before reading my reply. Then you'll get the context.

All Griffin cares about is government space, which as we all know is run terribly, and cannot fathom the commercial space industry doing anything significant. He's arrogant and short sighted, and has always appeared that way to me with his condescending attitude towards the NewSpace movement.

NASA should have shed LEO operations to commercial space years ago, and the government should have helped commercial space establish itself while in its infancy, then cut it loose to run on its own. This would have saved NASA and the government billions of dollars.

The engineers working at NASA are no different than those working in the private industry or at Universities. To think NASA has a monopoly on all brain power in America is ludicrous, arrogant and insulting to every hard working space visionary who is not part of the government system, but has a true passion for getting humanity fully into space, to work, to play and to grow.

NASA should not be building LEO rockets anymore. Companies can do that, and in fact they do. Boeing, Lockheed, ATK and other contractor companies build the systems that NASA uses, not NASA itself, so the notion that commercial space can't do it is stupid. NASA just sets requirements. They rarely bend metal anymore. And when they do, it should be for behemoth spacecraft that are designed to build Moon bases, conduct Mars trips and facilitate asteroid missions.

Time to grow up, grow out, and commercialize space. :)


Marcel F. Williams said...

My only problems with private commercial manned space flight companies is that they don't currently have a reliable rocket system to take humans safely into space. Energia is a private Russian launch company that has a reliable rocket system with a long history of success. That's what US companies need.

But I don't like the fact the extending the life of the $2 billion a ISS program is apparently being used to keep these private companies in business. So I see this as government welfare rather than free enterprise. If tax payer money is going to be used to pay these guys to transport astronauts to the ISS, I'd rather they raffle the passenger tickets off to the general public so that some us average Joes and Janes could go into space rather than funding flights for the NASA astronaut elite. For $2 billion a year, you could probably send 80 tourist a year to the ISS.

By the way, did you see Bolden's interview in Israel. Its fascinating!

Ernesto Acosta said...

Good posts Mr. Mallett and Mr. Williams,
The question I have now is - Where is the Texas Space Authority (the Texas version of NASA)? California and N.M. have figured out that they need to counteract ESA and JAXA and the others.... Its good news for the big picture and long term view.

Ernie Acosta

Douglas Mallette said...

Commercial space is farther along and more capable than most give credit for. I'm not worried at all. As I said, the engineers are the same, the science is the same, the math is the same. What's different is bureaucracy and piss poor money management. That's why commercial space wins.

The ISS should be exploited by commercial space. It gives them an initial destination. This should have happened years ago. I do, I LOVE the raffle idea. Lotto for space. I'm in.

Douglas Mallette said...

Ernesto - Good question. But would such an organization be just as badly managed and under funded, even at the state level? I think it would.

Norman Copeland said...

The figures of how many people watch star trek would be a good indication as if a federation of international countries combining efforts for a singular space policy concerning travel and exploration. The revenue generated from science fiction is probably the front line money mechanism for advancing space interest and communities.

Perhaps a federation politician would earn a plentyful vote? Certainly enough to win a section of a village, perhaps a town...

But, how would that representative receive finance for the party infrastructure development and policy stimulus...