Shot across Constellation's bow

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radarredux

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As usual, NASA generally hasn't been a priority in the national election debates, but two recent stories from Nasa Watch caught my eye.<br /><br />Apparently Barack Obama wants to delay the Constellation program by 5 years in order to help pay for his education program.
 
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docm

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And according to the latest polls Obama is leading or has caught up to Clinton within the poll margins in the early primary/caucus states. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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holmec

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5 years? how rude! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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baktothemoon

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Voting repbulican is starting to look pretty good, considering what the dems are offering.
 
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qso1

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And to think, just a few months ago, I was criticized for saying the dems if elected...will eventually scuttle the constellation program all together. Thats not to say all dems are against human spaceflight but the key ones always target NASA when they want to find funding for other projects. Of course, this does not mean this will happen. Just that it has a better chance of happening. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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no_way

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there is a lively discussion on this over at Space politics<br /><br />i think his proposal actually makes quite some sense. <br /><br />EDIT: being against constellation does not mean being against human spaceflight. depending on your point of view, being against constellation can be viewed as being extremely PRO human spaceflight.<br /><br />Also whatever happens with STS and Constellation and the entirety of NASA, there will not be a 10-year gap in US manned spaceflight. There are lots of other organizations working on the problem.
 
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elguapoguano

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Well, that takes Obama off my list for voting. Another 5 year delay would mean that the USA would have a Space Station in orbit, with no way to get there for up to 10 years. In the mean time ISS will be deorbited because of lack of political support.<br /><br />And I don't buy this crap about private companies and their human carrying launch vehicles. What have they done so far? Nada, Zilch, Nothing. Sure Burt and the boys went SUBORBITAL a couple times, and more ships are on the way. But they are a Looooooooong way from the ISS. Sure Elon has some good idea's but the fact of the matter is, he's launching less than one a year, and still has not had a successful orbital delivery, on just a Falcon 1. Falcon 9 is just a cool powerpoint presentation right now. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ff0000"><u><em>Don't let your sig line incite a gay thread ;>)</em></u></font> </div>
 
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holmec

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>In the mean time ISS will be deorbited because of lack of political support. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Have to assume by "deorbit" you mean in a political sense. <br /><br />I can appreciate your skepticism about the private companies. But the fact that suborbital tourist flights by private companies may take off, is a major coup though it may be a small step. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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Falcon 9 is a lot more than powerpoint. They haven't finished one yet, but there are quite a lot of hardware pieces being fabricated.<br /><br />NASA hasn't launched an Ares-I either; they don't even have a final design nailed down. F9 is further along than Ares-I.<br /><br />Not to mention Atlas and Delta, both capable launch vehicles.<br /><br />That is, if we want to keep ISS at all. I'm not convinced it is worth finishing at this point.<br /><br />NASA's funding is likely to suffer short term no matter who is in the White House, when the financial chickens come home to roost from the deficit spending of the last 7 years for Iraq, the falling dollar, and the collapse of the mortgage industry. Congress sets the budget, not the President. All the President can do is recommend.
 
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CalliArcale

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Well, that takes Obama off my list for voting. Another 5 year delay would mean that the USA would have a Space Station in orbit, with no way to get there for up to 10 years.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />I gotta wonder if, given the current prickly relations with Russia, whether it would really work out in reality to essentially gift-wrap expensive US hardware and give it to Russia. That's what it would amount to. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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l3p3r

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>the current prickly relations with Russia<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote> On this topic: Anyone else but me getting an ominous and somewhat tiring sense of deja vu? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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h2ouniverse

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IIUC, if Obama does not get the presidency, he might well get the vice-presidency (assuming a dem victory).<br />Isn't the vice-prez in charge of Space policy in the US?
 
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josh_simonson

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It would be a huge political mistake to delay the Constellation program like that, the current course basically keeps the shuttle workforce (most of it) working on Ares development and operations for the next decade. Basically the budget will be kept the same and everyone will be doing something else. Dump that money to something else for 5 years and all those guys will be out of a job - devastating local economies in Fl, Tx, UT, CA.... Florida in particular is unlikely to give their electoral votes to someone who is anti-space. <br /><br />Obama in general strikes me as very naive when he talks about most things, mainly spewing fuzzy sounding populist rhetoric that has zero chance of materializing. I'm not at all surprised that he's mainly being attacked for 'lack of experience'. Folks on youtube may think sending puppies wearing bows to North Korea is a great idea, but the truth is they'd just get eaten...
 
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elguapoguano

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<font color="yellow">Have to assume by "deorbit" you mean in a political sense</font><br /><br />No not really. If constellation is duped for 5 years, the dream will die. The facilities will suffer, the workforce will be lost, manned space flight for the US, dead.<br /><br />With no Manned spaceflight, no money for Constellation, the political will to keep up with the ISS will be lost. It has been established that without US facilities or TRDS. The ISS cannot function and would have to be physically deorbited. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ff0000"><u><em>Don't let your sig line incite a gay thread ;>)</em></u></font> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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"Isn't the vice-prez in charge of Space policy in the US?"<br /><br />Only by tradition, starting with Johnson. But it is Congress that sets the priorities by how they choose to set funding levels, with considerable pork considerations.
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>manned space flight for the US, dead.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />*SIGH*<br />NO<br />NASA is not the only ogranization in the US working on manned spaceflight, nor is the Constellation the only possible architecture.
 
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elguapoguano

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Ok, well NASA is the only one in the US that has EVER launched humans into orbit. Sure there is hope that maybe the Falcon 9 will pan out with a dragon perched on top. But, that is a big maybe. So if that venture doesn't work out, who is left? Kistler? Ha! Rutan, maybe but that won't be for at least 10-15 years. Bigelow has got the station design, but no way to get there.<br /><br />Plus, how much of NASA's money is going to Falcon/Dragon. About a half a billion dollars. IF NASA's budget is cut dramatically for Manned SpaceFlight, don't you think that COTS money will go with it?<br /><br />No Bucks, No Buck Rogers... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ff0000"><u><em>Don't let your sig line incite a gay thread ;>)</em></u></font> </div>
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>So if that venture doesn't work out, who is left?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Lots of other companies and organizations. Read Hobbyspace and find out.
 
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elguapoguano

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Ok, checked out your HobbySpace. Here's what I found....<br /><br />Beyond-Earth Enterprises- providing small payload launch capabilities, no manned ambition<br /><br />Bigelow Aerospace- Building Space Stations, sponsoring "America's Space Prize" aka Not building their own capsule or launch vehicle.<br /><br />Blue Origin- Slow and steady is the way to achieve results, and we do not kid ourselves into thinking this will get easier as we go along. Our first objective is developing New Shepard, a vertical take-off, vertical-landing vehicle designed to take a small number of astronauts on a SUB-orbital journey into space.<br /><br />Masten Space Systems- Working toward the goal of Orbital and manned capability, but are a long way off. The roadmap illustrates technical development paths and not an exact timeline since planning beyond 2009.<br /><br />RocketPlane Kistler- Site says they are still developing the K-1. But recent news has put a black shadow in the company. K-1 might just be a pie in the sky.<br /><br />RocketRacing- No spaceflight actually planned to occur. Just racing rocket powered aircraft.<br /><br />Scaled Composites- Good ole Burt. So far the best money is on him and his team. But as stated before, they are in the SUB orbital game so far with no real chance of going orbital for 10-15 years.<br /><br />SpaceDev- The guys that brought us the hybrid Rocket motor. Great company and their engines could one day be very benificial. But no plans for their own orbital Manned Spacecraft.<br /><br />Space-X - The only true hope for a manned launch vehicle, Who else is even close?<br /><br />Tethers Unlimited, Inc. - These guys are looking for in space propulsion. No manned Spacecraft envisioned.<br /><br />TGV-Rockets - TGV Rockets is a preeminent R&D firm specializing in all facets of aerospace engineering and design, including systems analysis, systems integration, high performance computing, and critical market analysis. <br /><br /><br />So, back to my original point. NASA shu <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ff0000"><u><em>Don't let your sig line incite a gay thread ;>)</em></u></font> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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Then we do unmanned missions for a while, or ride with the Russians or Chinese. A few years ago we didn't even have SpaceX as a possible alternative, so that is progress.<br /><br />With climate change to deal with, NASA's manned exploration plans become relatively unimportant, particularly at the current price tag.
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Here's what I found.... <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />You didnt even find like ten percent of them. Keep digging. Better yet, subscribe to it if you hadnt done so for the last few years. If not, its a lot of digging.
 
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josh_simonson

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Actually given that SpaceX is a California company I'd expect a democratic president to be moderately generous to them.
 
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thereiwas

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Congress! Not The President. At least, if we were observing correct separation of powers, and not letting no-bid contracts.
 
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holmec

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>No not really. If constellation is duped for 5 years, the dream will die. The facilities will suffer, the workforce will be lost, manned space flight for the US, dead. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Hmmm....not a good prosective. I would put a more positive spin on it though. US manned space survived the gap between Apollo and STS, why wouldn't it survive a gap now if needed?<br /><br />Also your view on ISS seems too US centric IMHO. Without NASA's active support I would assume that ISS would hobble along for a few years. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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holmec:<br />Hmmm....not a good prosective. I would put a more positive spin on it though. US manned space survived the gap between Apollo and STS, why wouldn't it survive a gap now if needed?<br /><br />Me:<br />Your quite right that the U.S. survived the 6 year gap between Apollo and shuttle. But can someone tell me why we should have another gap? Are we simply too poor now to afford the pittance we currently spend on human spaceflight? So poor we have to spacepool with the Russians and Chinese?<br /><br />IMO, this gap is not needed. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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