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President Obama controls NASA's destiny, as the U.S. space agency needs at least $3B more per year

A 10-member government panel released a new 157-report that indicates NASA should consider ditching its new rocket, saying its findings can be considered options, not recommendations.

After construction of the International Space Station is completed in 2010, the three space shuttles that make up NASA's fleet will be retired.  The shuttle fleet retirement opens up a several year gap that will force the U.S. space agency to rely on the Russian space program to transport supplies and astronauts to the ISS.

"It's human spaceflight activities are nonetheless at a tipping point, primarily due to a mismatch of goals and resources," according to the Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation report.  "Either additional funds need to be made available or a far more modest program involving little or no exploration needs to be adopted."

The U.S. space agency has put high hopes on its Ares I rockets and Orion spacecraft, but the project severely lacks funds, which has led some to speculate the next-generation launch capsule is a mistake.  The timing of the report's release has proven to be interesting -- Ares is expected to make its first test flight later this month.

Essentially, the future of NASA is now squarely in President Barack Obama's hands, with the president's staff calling on space experts to share their thoughts and ideas.  Congress and the president will now meet to discuss the possibility of boosting NASA's $18.7 billion annual budget to $21.7 billion.



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I saw it coming
By Randomblame on 10/23/2009 11:57:30 AM , Rating: 3
with the proposed health reform bills already putting us a trillion dollars in the hole every year after they pass I don't think that congress is going to want to give nasa any more money. They're probably going to be robbing peter to pay paul on this one. Thanks a lot dems, you've destroyed our economy, spent all our money, instituted new entitlement programs, slapped the free market right across the face, and now you're going to kill the space program. Whats next? Will you instate a bald eagle hunting season?




RE: I saw it coming
By geddarkstorm on 10/23/2009 2:02:37 PM , Rating: 4
This is terribly sad stuff... Regressing so much, losing our capabilities, our will. No longer able to effectively reach space... This country is becoming all sorts of messed up. It really feels like the standard decline any civilization goes through that we seem to be in right now. Question is, if true can it be stopped, and if not, what will we become in the end?

Space is to us now like what the ocean was to people a millennium ago or so. The great world shaping powers of those eras were the ones that mastered the waves, all the way up to the modern times. Then it became those who controlled skies after World War I. Now, it'll be whoever can effectively navigate space. We'll become just a marginalized relic of the past if we let other countries surpass us on that frontier.

We've got a long time before then though. Space is very hard. And there isn't anything like spice trade routes or colonies to set up that can push a race into space, yet. But for our race to advance, it's where we need to go. And the riches that even our near area solar system holds are vastly beyond anything here.


RE: I saw it coming
By SPOOFE on 10/25/2009 7:24:41 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Regressing so much, losing our capabilities

Bah. We lost nothing but the momentum of the post-WWII boom. With the United States emerging from that conflict as the only significant industrial power on Earth without massive damage to its material infrastructure, we had growth and prosperity handed to us on a silver platter. It also gave us three generations of Americans who assumed constant economic expansion was a given, and not something that needs constant effort and vigilance to maintain.


RE: I saw it coming
By Samus on 10/23/2009 2:02:46 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Thanks a lot dems, you've destroyed our economy, spent all our money, instituted new entitlement programs, slapped the free market right across the face, and now you're going to kill the space program.


Just for the record, The Bush Administration set a record-breaking 2.7 TRILLION DOLLAR deficit over the 8 years navigating this country. Over 1.5 TRILLION went to Afghanistan and Iraq alone. None of this is even reflective of the damage by 9/11 on our economy from the cost of the towers falling, damage to tourism and the airline industry, etc. Gas prices TRIPLED for the majority of Bush's reign. All of these things slowly damaged the economy and once again...

The democrats are here to clean it up, and all people do is give them shit, even when they spend our tax dollars HERE instead of on some small country that didn't want our help in the first place.

I support a two party system, the freedom to choose based on values and what the country needs. But it always seems the timing is off for the party that is in control.


RE: I saw it coming
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: I saw it coming
By ianweck on 10/25/2009 4:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Projected Receipts for Fiscal Year 2009 are $1.9 trillion leaving the U.S. with a $1.7 trillion deficit if Obama’s $3.6 trillion Outlay budget becomes reality. That means his budget plan projects a one year deficit that is almost as large as the accumulated deficit of George W. Bush’s two terms in office.


http://www.babeled.com/2009/03/28/historical-us-fe...

Hmmm, 2.7Trillion over eight years vs. 1.7Trillion over less than one year.
Democrats here to clean it up? I hope you're right.
We'll see...


RE: I saw it coming
By SPOOFE on 10/25/2009 7:26:04 PM , Rating: 1
I once joined a blackjack game and cleaned up, too. Boy, were those other guys mad to see me walking away with their money...


RE: I saw it coming
By zerocool84 on 10/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: I saw it coming
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/2009 5:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
He blames the Democrats because they were in control of congress for the major of the years. Ultimately the two houses control the state of the economy, not the president. The president leads, the houses make the laws and conditions we live under.


RE: I saw it coming
By SiliconAddict on 10/23/2009 11:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
What the fuck are you smoking? The republicans controlled the house since '95. And they have had the house and Senate from 2002-2006. Ahh republican revisionist history. Next you will tell me we went into Iraq to liberate its people. That whole WMD thing was really a Democrat rumor and Bush never went on TV to explain how we needed to invade Iraq because of those WMD's. Right.

Here http://uspolitics.about.com/od/usgovernment/l/bl_p...


RE: I saw it coming
By ianweck on 10/25/2009 3:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And they have had the house and Senate from 2002-2006.


And the Dems have had it since Jan. 2007. Might want to check your calendar, that was almost three years ago.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...


RE: I saw it coming
By SPOOFE on 10/25/2009 7:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
Republicans didn't want to require banks to give loans to people that couldn't pay them back.


RE: I saw it coming
By Steve73 on 10/23/2009 4:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
Dems and Reps are to blame for how screwed up our financial system is and becoming. We need to throw both parties out. One party is for gradual enlargement of the government, while the other is full out socialism. Either way each party is leading us down the wrong path, away from the principles of what this Republic was founded on.


RE: I saw it coming
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/2009 6:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
This Republic... I think we lost the Republic at least 70 maybe 80 years ago... :)

We do need a new party. One the understand they are for the people... not the current people are for them attitude. Agreed both parties have messed up over last 70 years, even more last 20 years. These current "leaders" are so out of touch with the "common" man you would meet on the street, it's not even funny.


RE: I saw it coming
By rlandess on 10/23/2009 7:13:38 PM , Rating: 3
C'mon, The real problem is that people are rapidly getting dumber by the minute. I think politicians are faithfully representing the people. Soon thanks to mediocre school systems and generation after generation of lousy parenting we'll all be experiencing Idiocracy first-hand. EVERYONE HERE KNOWS IT'S TRUE.


RE: I saw it coming
By MrJim on 10/24/2009 7:59:37 AM , Rating: 2
The free market did splendid work these last 3-4 years in the world.


RE: I saw it coming
By CheesePoofs on 10/25/2009 8:48:42 PM , Rating: 2
You can't see it coming if it hasn't happened yet ... you're simply wrong, Obama is expected to increase the funding to NASA in light of this report.

Please research before whining.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0910/07obama/


The best overall option
By randomly on 10/23/2009 2:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
http://vimeo.com/7209149

A large part of NASA's problems are that it is tasked with ambitious goals, but congress fails to deliver the money promised and the programs slowly choke to death causing huge amounts of waste. The money has to match the goals, the money also needs to be there consistently, not changing year to year so all the budgets and all the contracts have to be redone over and over every year. Congress needs to allocate funds in 5 year chunks, and the money needs to be sufficient for the goals assigned. If there is less money, then the goals need to be scaled back appropriately. The worst thing is to have a mismatch of trying to do too much with too little money.




RE: The best overall option
By Jaybus on 10/25/2009 10:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think so. The large part of the problem is that, like any government agency, it can't seem to get past bloated bureaucracy that makes everything take twice the manpower and money that it should.


This is the Dems fault? LOL
By jfelano on 10/25/2009 11:44:52 AM , Rating: 3
Randomblame, you saw it coming? Your actually blaming the state of this country on the Democrats?? That is hilarious.
The state of this country is due to the last 8 years of Bush-nomics. Unnecessary war in Iraq being the main reason. The ENTIRE reason this country is where it is.....BUSH. Pull your head outta your #$%*.




By xprojected on 10/23/2009 5:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
On a related note:

Panel says NASA should skip moon, fly elsewhere

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091023/ap_on_sc/us_sc...

How come the DailyTech post didn't mention this part? Don't want to make W.'s plans look bad?




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NASA is inefficient
By HotFoot on 10/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: NASA is inefficient
By Moohbear on 10/23/2009 9:29:29 AM , Rating: 3
NASA already has contracts out for flights to the ISS, look up SpaceX. But, aside from the Russian space agency, what company (or government agency) is routinely and safely sending people into space?


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: NASA is inefficient
By Moohbear on 10/23/2009 10:55:49 AM , Rating: 3
Of course, the USAF is using the secret alien technology they recovered form all those downed UFOs.

It's true, Mulder says so!

</sarcasm>


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/2009 11:04:57 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,569143,00.html...

actual kind of funny, they never talk about any of the military space programs on the news.... but today they did.

The secret alien technology is from Germany. You can buy it on the web if you have enough cash. :)


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Moohbear on 10/23/2009 11:20:16 AM , Rating: 2
It's yet another test platform and not even a "secret" one., like so many before (Blue Gemini, Dynasoar...). Facts are: the US military has never sent anybody in space in one of their own craft. Only on NASA's Mercury/Gemini/Apollo/STS missions.

However, I'm interested in the secret alien technology from Germany. I know a few crackpots that would literraly give everything they have to just see the TRUTH :)


RE: NASA is inefficient
By TETRONG on 10/23/2009 11:36:45 AM , Rating: 2
I see your mind is already made up, facts be damned.

Enjoy your ignorance!


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/2009 12:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
the US military has never sent anybody in space in one of their own craft.

OK, that is as far as we know... It's not like they would tell everyone. I'm not saying they did or they did not. I have a few reliable sources that claim they did but of course can give no evidence.

The public knows what they need to know.... I still think the military has some cool "toys" that are kept from the public eye. At least I hope they do, and it would explain a lot of the UFO sightings.

Now for that secret Germany technology just type www.secr... (gaggg... choke... cough... gasp... thud. - damn I always get killed before I can give that secret web address out.)


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Jaybus on 10/26/2009 8:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
US military has never sent anybody in space in one of their own craft


Absolute rubbish. Please look up USAF Captain Joseph Walker, the first American to become an astronaut by both USAF and Federation Aeronautique Internationale rules. This was in a USAF X-15 spaceplane. Neil Armstrong also flew X-15s but did not cross the 100 km barrier until Gemini 8. However, 8 USAF pilots earned their USAF Astronaut wings. Also see the X-20 Dyna-Soar space glider program that began in 1957. The X-37 is just a continuation of the space plane concept.

Hell, the fact that the USAF even has Astronaut wings insignia is sort of telling.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Ringold on 10/24/2009 4:02:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Facts are: the US military has never sent anybody in space in one of their own craft. Only on NASA's Mercury/Gemini/Apollo/STS missions.


Ehh.. That's a blurry line. Our early space efforts involved what amounted to military officers riding military ICBM's in to space under the mere banner of a civilian agency. The sole reason for NASA not being a military organization is simply that it made for better anti-Soviet propaganda if it were civilian.

Todays NASA involves military officers (albeit more removed from the regular military than the early test pilots were) flying craft designed and built by military contractors.

As for secret military space craft, the Fox link appears legitimate and undeniable. I'm not surprised that the government wont disclose which agency owns that satellite they mention. There's no doubt plenty of government branches that aren't known to the public and, if they have their way, never will be. Don't believe me? NRO was created in 1960. Its cover wasn't blown until 1985, and the government didn't hardly acknowledge it until 1992. Thats 32 years you'd of had the wool over your eyes if you believed everything they say.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Yawgm0th on 10/23/2009 11:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course, the USAF is using the secret alien technology they recovered form all those downed UFOs.
Don't be ridiculous. They're using technology acquired through the Stargate program.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By PhoenixKnight on 10/23/2009 2:33:24 PM , Rating: 1
I thought they acquired the technology through reverse-engineering Megatron.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By SiliconAddict on 10/24/2009 2:01:24 AM , Rating: 2
If you think a branch of our military doesn't have something that is capable of reaching orbit and isn't using some seriously advanced tech you are delusional. Seriously. The only real credible reason that such projects as Aurora don't exists is simply funding. We aren't in a cold war anymore and as such there really isn't an arms race. Then again there is always China. *shrugs*


RE: NASA is inefficient
By drycrust on 10/23/2009 11:27:03 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
But, aside from the Russian space agency, what company (or government agency) is routinely and safely sending people into space?


China and India both have sent probes to the moon, and China has managed to put a man into orbit and safely get him back, so potentially both could do this type of work. After all, if a helpdesk can be in China and India, then there isn't any reason a rocket launch can't be done there. A few historical crowd shots from Florida, a countdown using an American accent, voila! Nobody notices the launch was in another country.

I think the real problem is a lack of proper management. To have an ill-defined "several years" gap between the shuttle and "whatever" looks like serious mismanagement.

Maybe this is the time to drag the olde Saturn V out of the museum to do the job, after all it was designed on a slide rule and has a decent payload, but probably isn't "green" enough with it's Kerosene and Liquid Oxygen engine.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/2009 3:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget Iran. I think they like to claim they been in space and back.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By namechamps on 10/23/2009 9:28:20 AM , Rating: 5
NASA only "problem" is that it is non profit and interested in research and exploration.

There are numerous NASA achievements that have been given away and produce massive (billions) of dollars in value to the word community.

Just one example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winglets

Winglets. NASA research found that a vertical wing tip improves thrust and reduces fuel consumption.

Every single commercial aircraft in the world uses this advancement today. Average fuel savings is about 2%. Try to calculate what the value of 2% fuel savings on every single commercial flight in the last 40 years is worth.

We need pure research organizations. Not everything needs to be focused on profit. NASA gives back far more in innovation then they take up in tax dollars. It is a net + for the world community.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By 91TTZ on 10/23/2009 9:55:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Winglets. NASA research found that a vertical wing tip improves thrust and reduces fuel consumption.


You mean lift, right? Thrust is generated by the engines.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By HotFoot on 10/23/2009 10:22:30 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, no. Winglets will produce a small amount of thrust when they're designed right. Simply, there's wasted energy in the wingtip vortices and the winglets tap into it. They're a lifting surface, but it works out that a portion of their lift is forwards - by definition: thrust.

Wasn't it Dr. Whitcomb that pioneered winglets? I was sad to hear of his passing last week. Career wise, the man was my hero.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Chernobyl68 on 10/23/2009 12:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
I thought they reduced drag?


RE: NASA is inefficient
By stromgald30 on 10/23/2009 12:48:48 PM , Rating: 2
Technically, not correct. Winglets reduce drag, which acts against of thrust. So, you could say that it increases thrust, but it would be more appropriate to say that it increases net or effective thrust (after drag is subtracted out) of an aircraft. Wings/winglets don't generate forward motion by themselves.

Lift from an aircraft standpoint is just what counteracts gravity. Lift from an airfoil view is whatever force the wing (or winglet in this case) generates perpendicular to the flow.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/23/2009 11:13:15 AM , Rating: 3
It's almost as if you read the agency's enabling statute. Whew, you came close to an informed opinion there. Watch out or they might throw you off DT.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Moohbear on 10/23/2009 12:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
I think NASA just got too big, overstretched. One solution would be to refocus the priorities. Going to LEO and building a space station is not out of reach from relatively small private companies. Let's give them some tax breaks and contracts to take care of that. Most of the robotic exploration now relies on non-NASA launcher. Why keep it under their umbrella? Spin it off to a new agency, focused on doing it on the cheap with existing rockets, the military are an endless supply of new rocket designs. It's already what they're doing after all.
NASA should focus on manned space flight. It should be tasked with a new "Apollo program", something exciting, something that would inspire people and draw support, something everybody on the planet will remember 40 years after. Going to Mars could be that, so would be building a Moon base. Adding another module to the ISS on the other hand...


RE: NASA is inefficient
By niva on 10/23/2009 7:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm... pardon me but the suggestions you gave to NASA are things already being worked on. They do want to go back to the moon, they do want to go to Mars. They don't have the money to do it and most likely it will not happen anytime soon. The sad truth is that it's starting to look more and more that humans will not be able to get off this planet and colonize others (even the Moon) in our lifetime. The research done on the ISS is simply invaluable, never mind the research, just operating that spacecraft is educational to the human race.

That being said there are a lot of issues with the new capsules. It is somewhat NASA's fault that they got to this point in their history by relying on the shuttle too long. While the shuttle is a very unique and capable vehicle it is too expensive to maintain and operate, never mind the consequences of something going wrong during ascent/entry. Redesigining the new capsules is probably the best thing in terms of that program now, unfortunately it's going to put us even farther behind the curve in terms of being able to continue to launch humans into space without relying on Russia.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Jacerie on 10/23/2009 5:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget about Velcro and Tang!!!


RE: NASA is inefficient
By SiliconAddict on 10/24/2009 2:11:08 AM , Rating: 2
More http://science.howstuffworks.com/ten-nasa-inventio...

I weep at the though of how much money NASA could make from even half of the inventions and innovations they have made over its life. I mean they where in thick with the design of the first pacemaker.

If they could have patented this stuff and used it to fund further research. Hell we might be on Mars by now.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Solandri on 10/24/2009 6:17:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I weep at the though of how much money NASA could make from even half of the inventions and innovations they have made over its life. I mean they where in thick with the design of the first pacemaker.

If they could have patented this stuff and used it to fund further research. Hell we might be on Mars by now.

NASA is a government agency. What they create is owned by the public. They get their money from taxes, and tax revenue is increased the most when the public is allowed to use their inventions and innovations without it being encumbered by patents and licenses.

If you have an issue with NASA not getting as much money as their inventions have increased tax revenue, then as the GP said your beef is with Congress for not giving NASA enough funding.

(Actually, much of the stuff in your link was made by private companies under contract with NASA to come up with a solution to a problem. So it was actually the private company which created it. NASA was the customer.)


RE: NASA is inefficient
By 3minence on 10/23/2009 9:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
That's one of the panels thoughts. Let private companies handle manned flight to low earth orbit (ISS) and have NASA focus on the lunar and deep space stuff.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By superPC on 10/23/2009 9:57:21 AM , Rating: 2
With the successes so far of private companies (Falcon rockets from SpaceX, Bigelow space station module, space ship 2), maybe NASA should just focus on the cutting edge science and technology, and leave the rocket launching business to private companies.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By JediJeb on 10/23/2009 11:57:10 AM , Rating: 2
Give the $3B to SpaceX and I wonder what they could do with it?


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Chernobyl68 on 10/23/2009 12:45:40 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think any of the recent provate companies have achieved what would be needed to supply the space station:

Orbital flight.

The speeds and energies needed to put something into orbit is probably at least an order of magnitude higher than what some these "Space Tourist" flights are giving. They are flying a sub-orbital trajectory, and are unable to miss the earth when they fall.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Chernobyl68 on 10/23/2009 12:46:07 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think any of the recent private companies have achieved what would be needed to supply the space station:

Orbital flight.

The speeds and energies needed to put something into orbit is probably at least an order of magnitude higher than what some these "Space Tourist" flights are giving. They are flying a sub-orbital trajectory, and are unable to miss the earth when they fall.


RE: NASA is inefficient
By Redwin on 10/23/2009 1:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10053326-76.html

SpaceX's Falcon first reached orbit over a year ago and they have already signed a deal with NASA to provide resupply missions to the space station. They haven't put any people up yet, and their deal is only for material resupply to the ISS for now, but they are working on a crew capsule to put on their heavy lift rocket, so its probably only a matter of time.

You're thinking of Virgin Galactic, et al, and their "SpaceShipOne" suborbital tourist flights, and that's not what anyone else here is referring to. They have nothing to do with Nasa or the ISS.


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