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NASA's future still far from certain, as money issues and politics causes problems

President Barack Obama's decision to open even more future NASA space missions to private contractors was met by heavy criticism from representatives in Florida and Texas.

Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, a Florida Democrat, along with Rep. Pete Olson, who is the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, implied space travel for the U.S.-run space agency should stay in-house and not be contracted out. California representatives are more optimistic, as SpaceX and other private contractors prepare to earn millions in government contracts.

A recent meeting at the House hosted the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, Congress General Accounting Office and the NASA inspector general -- NASA officials weren't present at this meeting, but the U.S. space agency is expected to be involved in future meetings.

The next-gen space rocket that is currently in development could be scrapped, even though it likely would require additional research money and development time for an alternative rocket system.  The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket could be used, as it meets all NASA human flight launch requirements.

Politicians are not as enthusiastic about allowing SpaceX to be involved in astronaut launches, saying the rocket still may not be safe enough to send NASA astronauts into orbit.

Continued turbulence has cast further doubt as to whether or not NASA will be able to return to the moon in the future.  China, Russia, Japan and several other developing space countries also have tentative plans to reach the moon in the next 20 years.

Russia reportedly is facing similar problems as NASA, and must now find ways to revolutionize its space fleet. 



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Change of heart.
By porkpie on 2/5/2010 9:58:48 AM , Rating: 1
After looking over it more deeply, I actually like Obama's proposal for NASA ... though its a bit odd he wants to socialize healthcare, but privatize space travel, two areas in which the US already leads the entire world.

Still, privatizing space launches is a bold move, and a smart one I think. God knows NASA has basically become little more than a bureaucracy to justify launching the failed shuttle on ever-more pointless missions (how many more launches do we need to 'study the effects of microgravity on the germination of plant seeds'?)

And for you Europhiles who think otherwise, the US DOES lead the world in health care. Those "surveys" that claim otherwise only score European nations higher due to their "access to care" score. In actual medical outcomes and survival rates, the US does best by a large margin.




RE: Change of heart.
By maven81 on 2/5/2010 2:17:38 PM , Rating: 4
I don't know why you had to drag healthcare into an article on space travel, but this:
"the US DOES lead the world in health care."
Is insulting BS, and I am an American. If you're going to pick and choose categories then I could even say India has the best health care in the world, because their top hospitals are no worse and waaaaaay cheaper. But that would be a sweeping generalization, just like the one you just made.


RE: Change of heart.
By porkpie on 2/5/2010 2:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
" If you're going to pick and choose categories"

There is NO category more meaningful to health care than the end result of that care. In actual outcomes, survival rates from treated diseases or conditions, the US leads by far. The US also leads in physicians per capita, in having by FAR) the highest number of specialists, the lowest wait times to see a specialist, and a dozen other categories. Every year, millions of people come from all over the world for care in the US.

The ONLY reason anyone ever leaves the US for healthcare is to try some radical new (and risky) experimental procedure not yet certified as safe here. The term "medical tourism" is unheard of here...in Europe, its a sad fact of life.

The "studies" showing the US doing poorly in healthcare are, without fail done by groups advocating for socialized healthcare. They penalize the US system sharply for having "low access" to care. That is the ONLY reason the US scores badly. Everything else is a myth.


RE: Change of heart.
By maven81 on 2/5/2010 5:02:41 PM , Rating: 1
"There is NO category more meaningful to health care than the end result of that care. In actual outcomes, survival rates from treated diseases or conditions, the US leads by far."

This is completely disingenuous. Our healthcare system is great if you have a ton of money or great insurance . What difference does it make if some people got good treatment when other people got no treatment at all?!
For example, my mother found out she had cancer. We went to the best clinic we could find, but with her insurance they wanted 500 dollars PER VISIT. So instead we wound up going to a local hospital staffed with clueless interns and doctors that took vacations, or said things like "what's the point you're going to die anyway, we all die". And she did, 2 years ago.
Now is there a guarantee that the good clinic could have saved her? I'll never know the answer to that because we never even got a chance to find out.

And the outcomes better be good considering our healthcare is consistently the most expensive in the world. And again if you're under insured this means absolutely squat. Of course if you believe it's actually good I suggest you come to NYC sometime and stay in one of our many "fine" hospitals.

"The US also leads in physicians per capita"

What the hell does that have to do with anything? That doesn't say anything about how good they are.

"Every year, millions of people come from all over the world for care in the US."

You better have some good data to back that up.

"The ONLY reason anyone ever leaves the US for healthcare is to try some radical new (and risky) experimental procedure not yet certified as safe here."

This isn't true even in my experience.

"They penalize the US system sharply for having "low access" to care. That is the ONLY reason the US scores badly."

That's blatantly false. The studies take into account preventable deaths, life expectancy and mortality rates, expenditure as % of GDP, etc.

Once again, quality is irrelevant if it's not affordable.


RE: Change of heart.
By AlexWade on 2/5/2010 9:46:00 PM , Rating: 1
I don't want to get into a flame war. But you are partially right. The US healthcare system is great if you have a ton of money or great insurance or are poor . I know of a few people who are lazy, on medicaid, and get sufficient healthcare. I know a family which are moochers. The people left out are the people in the middle. I have come to the simple conclusion that no system is flawless. The system we have now is filled with abuse on all sides. The reform plan being discussed by our corrupt members of Congress does not address that issue. It is just bickering and bribes.


RE: Change of heart.
By maven81 on 2/6/2010 11:28:13 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you. When I was a freelancer I had no insurance at all. The current bill as is would have done very little to help me. So for those of us who are not rich and not poor it's not exactly a godsend.
Of course the system could have been fixed, but the lobbyists have made sure that it will never happen.


RE: Change of heart.
By porkpie on 2/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Change of heart.
By maven81 on 2/8/2010 1:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
If I'm a baby you are a presumptuous ass. I want healthcare to be affordable not free. I want there to be more choices and lower premiums. But I guess some of us here just love the status quo or are rooting for the healthcare industry.


RE: Change of heart.
By porkpie on 2/8/2010 3:52:19 PM , Rating: 2
"I want healthcare to be affordable not free"

Then you don't want Obamacare. An indepenent GAO survey said his plan would do nothing to lower costs. And another independent study by Price Waterhouse said it would RAISE costs for anyone not getting the free government option.

If Obama really wanted to lower costs, he'd stick to basic economic principles. You lower costs by increasing supply and reducing demand. Making it easier to become a doctor, and making more people WANT to be doctors would be a good start. Instead, Obama's plan would ensure less people would actually want to go into medicine, and vastly INCREASE demand, by adding millions more people into the system. A recipe for sure disaster.

#1 way to drastically cut health care costs overnight? Tort reform...but trial attorneys who make billions off medical lawsuits are the #1 contributor to the Democratic Party. They could care less that the average doctor pays several hundred thousand dollars per year in malpractice insurance...costs that are passed on right to you and me.


RE: Change of heart.
By MrTeal on 2/6/2010 12:36:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
doctors that took vacations


Bastards! How dare they.


RE: Change of heart.
By maven81 on 2/6/2010 11:32:21 AM , Rating: 1
Leaving the country for 3 weeks when your patient is undergoing treatment for a life-threatening illness with no way to reach you, and not assigning anyone to cover for you is irresponsible. You might make a case for it if you leave a contingency plan, but there was none. Of course things turned sour right during that doctor's vacation, and no one wanted to make any decisions until he got back.


RE: Change of heart.
By AlexWade on 2/5/2010 9:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
Privatization is not always better. Conversely, socialization is not always better either. Why can't the US have both privatized space launches and launches through NASA? Who says they are mutually exclusive? The NASA space program is one of the most important things this government has ever done or will ever do. It should have a higher priority than many other things. NASA has given us many inventions and given us hope. You don't take that away or farm it out to a private company.


RE: Change of heart.
By mxnerd on 2/21/2010 11:04:09 AM , Rating: 2
I really wonder what do you mean U.S. leads in healthcare.

Yes, U.S. probably leads in healthcare technology, but I'm not even sure about that, at least in patient's records. Yet U.S. has the worst system, slowest service and highest cost.


follow the money
By rika13 on 2/9/2010 12:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
obama is stuffing musk with cash, with spacex and tesla; did musk provide some campaign cash?




RE: follow the money
By randomly on 2/10/2010 12:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
Don't get too simplistic and try to blame everything on Obama, the COTS money directed at Spacex comes from the Bush era, not Obama.

I happen to agree with the COTS program and both Spacex and Orbital Science (the other major COTS fund recipient) are meeting the technical performance milestones so there is nothing political about it.


one change NASA needs
By kattanna on 2/5/2010 11:27:37 AM , Rating: 3
one thing that really needs to change at NASA is that it needs to be a bit more autonomous then it is, more like the military, IMO.

if the military had to make the massive course corrections like NASA does with every new president, they might still be using flintlocks.

its gotta be darn dispiriting knowing full well that anything started by one president will most likely be canceled by the next. and then they have to take the blame for "not making progress"




NASA...Meh
By Chaser on 2/12/2010 7:27:09 AM , Rating: 1
NASA has evolved into another taxpayer funded bureaucracy of government waste. It's a mechanism to propel overachievers to astronaut "hero" status along with the massive expensive infrastructure to maintain it.

During their time, the moon missions brought familys together in their living rooms watching the Apollo missions on their black and white sets. Perhaps then the space program was a pride boost for many Americans. But the USis a lot different today. The space program doesn't interest most people. For me today, when I watch a shuttle mission I shake my head as I watch millions of dollars shoot out of the bottom of the booster rockets.

NASA is nothing more than a dying vague interest that is struggling to justify its existence propelled only by a handful of people with a sincere passion for space exploration, wanna be astronauts for their hero walls, private companies seeking lucrative contract wins, and the rest looking for next week's paycheck and a pension.




RE: NASA...Meh
By 91TTZ on 2/16/2010 9:57:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
During their time, the moon missions brought familys together


Familys? What are "Familys"? Do you mean "Families"?

The rest of your post isn't any better. I can understand why bottom feeders like you look down upon those who can excel in their fields and set out to explore the unknown, but please contain your bad ideas within your own underachieving mind.


Man-rated?
By Arc177 on 2/5/2010 8:57:46 AM , Rating: 2
I like what Spacex & all are doing but...
Just because Elon Musk claims his vehicle meets manned requirements doesn't make it so. Even assuming it is built to man rated specs I do not believe it has been tested as such and therefore cannot be claimed to be man rated or meeting all manned requirements.




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