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Science program cuts

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:16 am
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Science program cuts 
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Post Science program cuts   Posted on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:16 am
NASA is cancelling discovery missions and probably other science missiosn and programs also. The reasons are budget problems combined with the Bush plan and the Shuttle problems plus ISS.

A significant portion of these problems could have been avoided if they would have involved the private sector much more into the Bush plan and the Shuttle-replacement from the beginning - because the private vehicles would have included the chance that significantly less budget would be consumed for the Bush plan and thus still would be available for missions like DAWN. ...



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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:33 am
I think that although NASA is cutting missions, you might not actually see as much in the long run as you'd expect. There's a tremendous amount of political lobbying going on at the moment and a lot of NASA's reason for existence is about science. I think you'll see the Vision continue to be scaled back and the ISS as much as possible rather than see the science side of NASA decimated.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:20 pm
That would be sad.

How many new manned spacecraft have we had in the past 25 years?
Now--how many robotic probes have we launched in that time period?

It took the better part of 40 years since the start of the Atlas/Titan ICBMs before we finally got to EELVs with lofting power no better than Titan IV.

In that same time period, how many new kinds of aircraft have been fielded?

So, the next time some wiseguy says that "we don't spend enough on robotics or aeronautics"--you have my permission to punch him dead in the face.

Because as far as I'm concerned, it was the anti-human spaceflight crowd that robbed the STS of safety money and put it instead into also-ran Delta II probes launched every other week. The robotics folks therefore have the blood of the Columbia dead on their hands.

And why Congress listen to anything Wes Huntress and Louis Friedman have to say is beyond me. Due to Gen Moorman, we have the Atlas V (much better than Atlas IIAS) that gave us MRO and the New Horizons Pluto shot--so I'd say Griffin is doing pretty good with regard to probes.

But what has Friedman done?--he lost not one but two of his solar parasols because (like a lot of pointy heads and white coats) he thought too much about the payload and had very little interest in rocketry.

We need more engineers and less scientists running things--otherwise you get the Dan Goldin era all over again.

If only the next presidential candidates were Bill Richardson vs. Ken Calvert.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:32 pm
publiusr, while I think your a little harsh, saying they have blood on their hands, I do think your point is valid. However, this goes to a point that I wish Griffin would throw in the face of Congressmen, scientists, and basically everyone who is still pushing for just unmanned space - What exactly is Nasa suppose to be? Because if it is just a science agency, then why are we funding the shuttle, or the VSE, or the station? But if its something else, whatever that something is, then we need it identified

Which of course goes back to an eariler point I made - Are we going to colonize space, and if so when, and if so, what role does government play


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:27 pm
The National Aeronautics and Space Act gives NASA many missions, but colonization of space is not one of them. Science and engineering are two of them, with science listed first.
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ogc/about/s ... tml#POLICY


In my opinion the robotics folks have no blood on their hands. It is on the hands of the managers who choose to launch the shuttle(s) while neglecting known safety issues. All the astronauts who were lost could have been saved at very low cost by simply not launching, as is being done now. The result would not be higher cost per year or zero manned flight. It would be higher cost per flight and less frequent but safer manned space flight.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:52 am
campbelp2002 wrote:
The National Aeronautics and Space Act gives NASA many missions, but colonization of space is not one of them. Science and engineering are two of them, with science listed first.
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ogc/about/s ... tml#POLICY


Aw contre, but it is. In the 1988 Nasa Authorization bill, was a provision called the Space Settlement act, And it directed Nasa to report to congress every 2 years about Colonization/Settlement efforts.

I am in the process of finding as much about that as possible, given an idea I have, but until then, this is from Steve Wolfe

Quote:
It was my distinction to conceive and draft the Space Settlement Act as a staffer to the late visionary Rep. George E. Brown, Jr. (D-CA). The House Science and Technology Committee eventually folded most of the language of the Act into the NASA Authorization Bill of 1988, which was signed into law (P.L. 100-685) by President Ronald Reagan. In essence, the law declares that Congress believes space settlement to be the ultimate result of human space flight and that human expansion into space will enhances the common good.

Further, it mandates that NASA prepare a comprehensive report every two years reflecting an interdisciplinary review of all research relating to settlement, such that Congress can measure the progress being made toward the settlement goal.


Now, someone has told me that this has since been repealed, (Something I am trying to confirm) and I know they've never produced said report.

Thus, they are at least partailly reponsible for colonization. If you want all the gory details of the Law, http://www.arc-space.org/Space%20New%207-03.htm [/u]


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:14 am
As predicted, missions are being reinstated and previous cuts to science programs such as Astrobiology are also being reinstated. As there's no indication of additional funding for NASA, that will mean that the STS, ISS, and the Vision will have to fund from their own current budgets.

That means that significant cuts to those programs will be required with deferrment, cancelled flights, extending timelines, cheaper alternatives, etc, continuing as the order of the day. I also think that it's highly unlikely that more funding will be available from international partners given NASA's record of chopping and changing midstream.

Before the initial invasion of Iraq, the USA had a healthy budget surplus and money to burn. After Desert Storm, it was gone. That was Bush Senior's contribution to politics. Before Bush Junior was elected, the country was back in surplus and again had plenty of money. After the invasion (sorry - liberation) of Iraq, the country is again deep in deficit and getting deeper every day. On top of that Katrina came along and the STS went off the rails.

Merely an observation. I'm not saying it was right or wrong but if there's one way to obtain a quick fiscal turnaround it's get into an ongoing war. :cry:

Personally I don't think NASA and the current US Administration (can't speak for future ones) has the political will to get back to the Moon let alone Mars. There's just too many other distractions requiring big buckets of money. :cry: I think it will either get down to the private corporations and / or if another race develops.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:37 am
beancounter wrote:
... if another race develops.


That's where my money is. A race against some sort of mix of Europe/Russia/China/Japan. Until this becomes apparent to Congress and there is a healthy surplus (via tax roll-backs), NASA isn't going to do it.

The killer-ap for space is asteroid mining (for Platinum-group metals) or He-3 mining on the moon for viable fusion reactors. Personnally, I think the former is more likely.

Space tourism just helps pay the bills until someone develops a economically way of doing either of the above, or some other killer-ap (which is what I'm hoping for).

- Alistair

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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:37 am
Hello, Alistair,

regarding your issue about the role of space tourism you are very close to what Prof. Collins writes in his documents listed in the Collins-thread in the Financial Barriers section.

In general I already explained in another post and thread of quite another section why NASA, the government(s) unpreventably will and are be acting this way and why they don't have areal will like the researchers at the universities, germna Max-Planck-institutes and the like - it is their system-immanent nature, they can't but do so, they aren't interested in sane government households or the like. What they are interested in is to be reelected by the voters, political power, international reputation and the like and nothing of this is linked to the health and the wealth of their people, the public budgets, the economy, the health of the people etc. The only situation where there iis a loose link to that is when the politicians undoubtedly have caused catastrophic situations like in Germany in between - the governemtn has manoevered itself into a situation where they it don't have nearly no choice of decisions, nearly no option(s). Without any war. It has manoevered itself into that situation slightly during decades and now much of the situation is rock bottom here.

The only way to keep a healthy budget is to be forced to look to the costs closely and to the profit margins. The only ones being forced are privates and especially companies. If the scientists and reserachers at the universities, Max-Planck-institutes etc. are freed to buy services from companies there might be more, beter and cheaper activities achieving such reasults NASA acheives - but at lower costs and with postive impacts on employment, public, private incomes, GNP and thus government household.

And the public interest in space would be larger enabling better NASA budgets. ...



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)

PS: Perhaps I will colect the other issued about this made in other threads in one new thread one day.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:01 am
The US economy is huge and they have plenty of funds available if they didn't keep blowing them on what historically have turned out to be pointless wars - as I mentioned previously. What a waste :(
To give some comparison of just how much economic might the US has available, the economy of California alone is more than the entire Australian national economy and that's just one state.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:01 am
Like I already said - it has to do with NASA being govermental and with the goverment having pulled the "task" to itself, using taxation to fund the task without standing behind and to it really heartfully - which can't be expected because of the system-immanent nature of governments, parliaments and staets.

The whole task is in better hands at the privates -which doesn't mean companies necessaryly. The privates could be the Planetary Society and other private societies and organisations like that.

The small funds of such private organisations are no valid arguments because it is possible to direct funds into them via incentive-oriented taxation, "Ordnungspolitik" and science-institutes like the german Max-Planck-i´nstitutes, Fraunhofer-Institut and the like. In Germany there were and are positive experiences with ways like these. The US simply should try to win them for the Bush-plan and the like and they may prove to be pretty capable of doing it - because they will do it by heart and struggle to keep the costs as low as possible while also keeping - and increasing the safety standards etc.

...



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