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An artist rendering of the upcoming Crew Space Transportation CST-100 spacecraft  (Source: Boeing)

Cutaway view of the CST-100 capsule  (Source: Boeing)

  (Source: Boeing)
Craft is expected to offer commercial service in the place of the retired Space Shuttle

Boeing recently received a lot of press for the X-37B, a spacecraft it designed for NASA that has been passed off to the U.S. Air Force and further refined into a fully operational vehicle.  It turns out that was certainly not the only spacecraft the company is cooking up.

Under a $18M USD contract with NASA Boeing is building a capsule craft called the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100.  The craft can hold up to seven crew members.  It simplifies matters by reusing existing components and architecture from past capsule designs -- meaning that NASA will likely save on repair costs.

Size wise, the craft is bigger than an Apollo program capsule, but smaller than the planned Orion spacecraft which is NASA's official shuttle replacement.  It can launch aboard a variety of rockets, including the Atlas, Falcon, and Delta designs.

The plan will be to use the craft to ferry passengers and supplies to and from the International Space Station.  The craft will also likely service future upcoming commercial space stations, including those of Bigelow Aerospace Orbital Space Complex.  Bigelow is designing high-strength inflatable space stations which it plans to use in a commercial space hotel venture.

Competition in the field is tight, so Boeing has its work cut out for it.  In February, NASA gave $50M USD to Blue Origin, Boeing, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Sierra Nevada Corporation and United Launch Alliance to develop craft that could ferry passengers or freight to the ISS.  And while they have not officially tossed their hats in the ring, Virgin Galactic, makers of the space tourism craft SpaceShip One, and SpaceX, makers of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle both could design passenger craft to service the station at some point.

Ultimately, Boeing seems to be going for the right approach -- mixing affordability with an adequate design and flexibility.  How the design works out, though, remains to be seen.  Ultimately the results will prove a part of the critical test of whether President Obama's plans to denationalize the U.S space industry are feasible.



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There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 11:15:13 AM , Rating: 5
NASA once inspired our nation, inspired the people about our universe, the moon, our stars and beyond.

It once did this. It once had the funding to do this.

Now, it is far more important, at least, to our incompetent government to fund special interest programs and other waste-of-taxpayer ventures than throw leftover change from the treasuries pockets into NASA. What a shame. What a loss for all of America.

I like privitization of space--it is neccessary to have non-government companies creating technology and spacecraft. However, to make the big leaps, the great jumps into the unknown, oftentimes require billions of dollars of funding--funding that typically will not see the hands of a private business unless it were to yield measurable financial gains from.

Sometimes, these leaps need to be made in the name of science--and, as far as businesses are concerned, can not afford to make them just in the quest for knowledge. This is when Government funding comes in handy, and don't take this statement lightly as I truly want our Federals lean and trim, but this is one time where our nation can really benefit from programs such as NASA.

Something, that perplexingly Obama is so against.

This capsule from Boeing. Great. It is a capsule. It is a stopgap measure to keep supplies flowing to the space station. It doesn't inspire me though. I feel no awe. I feel no wow factor here.

I do not feel a sudden urge to push my child into the space industry.

What our nation needs is inspiration here and this is not it.




RE: There was a time...
By hughlle on 7/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: There was a time...
By KnickKnack on 7/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: There was a time...
By kattanna on 7/22/2010 12:05:06 PM , Rating: 5
wrong. we dont need higher taxes, we need to stop paying so many people to sit at home and watch reality TV.


RE: There was a time...
By bupkus on 7/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By Keeir on 7/22/2010 7:24:43 PM , Rating: 5
Bupkus.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/b...

Take a hard look at this graphic. It seems to me, from this graphic, that outside of National Defense, a benifit that is roughly equally shared by all citizens, that the National Government spends far more money in "helping" the situation of the bottom 25% of the population than any other use. (Exclude Medicare and Social Security as well, since these are funded outside normal income/corporate tax routes)


RE: There was a time...
By sinful on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By ajfink on 7/23/2010 3:17:25 AM , Rating: 3
There's only a budget surplus on paper, now. There's no such thing as a social security surplus in the long run, according to projections.


RE: There was a time...
By CSMR on 7/23/2010 6:59:24 AM , Rating: 3
What helps the economy get back on its feet is low taxes. I.e. reduced spending on benefits, military, etc..
You can see from the NYT chart that Keeir's statement is correct.


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 12:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
Cram it, you bitter foreigner and stick your nose where it lies--inside your own country. Your jealousy of America oozes out of your pores.

You have spent way too much time in California, apparently. That place is a mockery of our country that the hippies have displaced logical government with social pandering.

32 states in the US are not bankrupt at all. Show me proof before making baseless comments. I know for a fact they are not, otherwise we would be seeing huge numbers of defaults in municipal bonds. We aren't.

Americans don't need to more taxes, they can hardly afford to pay the ones they have right now! All I have to do is look at all the teachers being fired in my city from the public school systems to see what is happening. Thousands of teachers have been laid off here due to people being unable to pay their property taxes.

Yeah, people really have extra money lying around to dole it out to the Government. What we need is to trim the FAT, however, NASA is not fat. NASA, along with other space exploration programs, are necessary for the survival of the human species. Without it, we are doomed to live in this petri dish we call Earth which could ultimately culminate in the destruction of everyone. It is in mans nature to destroy their own to conquer.

The fact is there is so much crap Washington, and ESPECIALLY Kommifornia spends on useless, worthless bloat, that this stuff could be cut so the pennies that are left over could go towards meaningful programs such as NASA.


RE: There was a time...
By FaaR on 7/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 12:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
Our military helps keep us free. It helps zealots who want to destroy us to think otherwise.

Oh, and I'm forgetting the most important thing--it helps us pay for our weaponry that the whole world depends on when they call us to bail them out... over and over again.

So yes, our funding of the military is needed for the well-being of the whole planet. ;)

I am proud to be an American. I am not proud of our current president though.


RE: There was a time...
By Spuke on 7/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 2:49:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Our military can more than keep us free by not being a permanent fixture in anywhere except Japan.


That I agree with.

quote:
IMO, the US military should only be deployed when someone's poop shoot needs to be stomped into the ground (I do support pre-emptive strikes..it's just good strategy). And we don't need a permanent foreign presence to do that.


This too. We need our military, but it doesn't need to be everywhere, all the time. I'm pretty tired of having play police officer (which, my other post contained sarcasm about) everytime the rest of the world needs to be saved. It is like--they hate our military, yet, they cry for us the minute they are hurting and expect us to help them out.

Pretty sick, right? I'm all for having our troops at home except in instances where they need to be deployed, such as Afghanistan. It would be a crime though, to demilitarize America and let it go to waste within our borders.


RE: There was a time...
By Spuke on 7/22/2010 4:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Pretty sick, right?
It is and it's time for that sh!t to end. Doesn't mean we can't have allies and it doesn't mean we can't help when asked but the status quo is BS.


RE: There was a time...
By YashBudini on 7/22/2010 6:34:31 PM , Rating: 1
"Our military helps keep us free. "

But I feel trapped by $400 toilet seats and $600 hammers. Unchecked spending is the jail that binds us all.


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By Spuke on 7/22/2010 2:13:11 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Most other government overhead is peanuts in comparison to what upholding your own version of the roman empire is costing you.
Tell me how many other countries are in the "American Empire" where a correlation to the Roman Empire would be valid?

quote:
hrowing away hundreds of billions every year at the private corporations of the military-industrial complex is a complete waste.
I agree wholeheartedly, and quite frankly, I think you'll see a permanent change in the years to come. My prediction is a massive withdrawal after we bail out of Iraq (maybe after Afghanistan) from most, if not all, foreign countries. I think it's already happening. When Sec of Defense and various military leaders say we don't need certain things when historically they would've never said such things is a sign that there is a major change in thinking.

I personally believe that our only required presence is in Japan where we have pledged to provide for their defense. Thus allowing them not to have to spend a ton of money on their own military (yes they have one but it would need to be MUCH bigger if they were on their own). Everyone else doesn't need our presence.

The US has an active program of closing bases not just domestically, but in foreign countries too. It's a long time consuming process because Congress wants to gauge socioeconomic impacts and etc and I understand why this needs to be done locally but why does that matter overseas. Just close down and leave. I doubt we'll have that much impact on the economy in other countries.

I'm really not a fan of permanent foreign military bases and other Americans feel the same way. Hell, there are quite a few Americans that don't think we should be involved at all in foreign affairs. Some think we shouldn't even trade with other countries. I'm not that hardcore. A reduction in foreign involvement, especially when it clearly has nothing to do with us, would be nice.

PS - You can take the UN headquarters somewhere else too.


RE: There was a time...
By Obujuwami on 7/22/2010 3:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
PS - You can take the UN headquarters somewhere else too.


I too agree with this, send it to someplace neutral, like Switzerland, and free up the space for us. The country is neutral, has a low terrorism rate, and has great chocolate for the fat cat ambassadors who take a hefty check for doing not so much.

It would also cut down on all the political spying and other crap that we have to deal with.


RE: There was a time...
By Solandri on 7/22/2010 5:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Americans are not overtaxed by any definition of the word, but if you want to pay less taxes I suggest you start cutting where it really matters - in the military. Throwing away hundreds of billions every year at the private corporations of the military-industrial complex is a complete waste. Most other government overhead is peanuts in comparison to what upholding your own version of the roman empire is costing you.

Historically, U.S. military spending is near all-time lows relative to other government spending. The bulk of U.S. government spending has been social programs since the mid-1970s.
http://gravitron5.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/dist...

You might want to actually read up on what the U.S. government is paying for, and what future projected costs are; instead of taking for granted the left-wing rhetoric that military spending is the root of all our fiscal ills. The sword of Damocles hanging over our heads is not defense spending. It's entitlement programs. If current budgetary trends continue, by 2025 you could completely eliminate military spending and the federal budget would still be running a deficit because of the increased cost of social programs.
http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=3521&type=0
http://www.cbo.gov/publications/bysubject.cfm?cat=...

We pay lots of smart people at the Congressional Budget Office to summarize these numbers for us. Please, go read them. Educate yourself.


RE: There was a time...
By eggman on 7/22/2010 2:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
I can hardly afford to pay my taxes because my health insurance it so high.

Russ


RE: There was a time...
By KnickKnack on 7/22/2010 9:55:59 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, I'm guessing you're about 16 years old, right? I don't know how you interpreted me as bitter? I said I LOVE living here, I'm certainly not jealous of America, and I'm pretty sure my pores remain jealousy-free.

Your arguments all fall down unfortunately. You claim you know for a FACT that states aren't bankrupt but instead you spout rubbish about municipal bonds. If you want to know where I got my figures from, click here:

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/32-st...

I don't know how you make the link that teachers are being fired in your city because people are unable to pay their property taxes. Read that sentence back to yourself. I feel stupid just writing it, god knows what you must feel actually believing it. Chances are that the teachers are being fired because states are cutting funding to schools because they have NO MONEY left in the pot.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=18816&c...

The trouble with people like you MrBlastMan, is you have been raised to think that every man should fend for himself and not care about his neighbor; that any kind of social-service is fascist and un-American, but by neglecting social responsibilities like providing health-care for all and giving benefits to the poor, you're simply creating a system of US and THEM; those that have and those that have not. I don't see how that is going to help America in the long-term. Obama understands this and is trying to do something about it. I just hope he succeeds and that it goes far enough.

Oh and Kommifornia? Good one....


RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/23/2010 12:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
I'm 35, thanks for asking. My arguments do not fall down at all and I'll elaborate below.

quote:
Your arguments all fall down unfortunately. You claim you know for a FACT that states aren't bankrupt but instead you spout rubbish about municipal bonds. If you want to know where I got my figures from, click here:


Rubbish? Do you know ANYTHING about credit ratings and solvency of a municipality? Do you know what a municipal bond is? They represent the borrowing of individual counties via revenue and general obligation bonds. Both are extremely accurate barometers of the financial solvency of any given municipality.

If you take the sum of these in any given state you can get a fair reading of how the state is doing financially. Typically, in a healthy state, these bonds trade around par--as of now, most of these bonds are trading at a premium if the state or municipality is in good or great standing. I can pull up any state in the country whenever I want and look at the inventory of these bonds and see how they are priced. As of now, most are trading at premiums with some exceptions.

If you really want me to, I can go into great detail about how they work, premiums and discounts but I'd rather not. Just trust me on this, muni bonds are an incredibly useful way to gauge municipalities and states. They react nearly instantly to credit/debt problems, even simple things like a county losing school accreditation.

quote:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/32-st...


Guess what? Borrowing to make unemployment payments is NOT bankrupt. Try harder than to use BS excuses to justify your accusation. Just because you live in California which IS borderline doesn't mean the rest of the country is.

quote:
I don't know how you make the link that teachers are being fired in your city because people are unable to pay their property taxes.


Educate yourself on how our municipalities and States allocate their tax dollars for funding various segments of their budget. You'll do yourself a HUGE favor by doing this.

In my State, our property taxes DIRECTLY go to funding the schools. This is a fact. This is also why in my county, when someone reaches the age of 66, they no longer have to pay the school tax portion of their property taxes (which coincidentally makes up 80%+ of their property taxes). You can't argue with me on this. This is a fact.

quote:
Obama understands this and is trying to do something about it. I just hope he succeeds and that it goes far enough.


Obama is a tool and doesn't belong in office. He's destroying everything our men and women have died for to keep so strong and true in our country. It is clear that socialism runs deep in your blood. It is hard for someone like yourself that was not born here to really understand how our country works.

Trust me though, it does work, and a lot of people are happy with how it works right now (aside from all the crap that happened in the last few years that was a direct result of ignorance and congress being asleep). It isn't US and THEM, it is more like...

I work hard for my money, my money, my sweat, my fruits, I get to keep what I earn. If you want to have money, you work hard, you get to keep what you earn. It is capitalism.

If you really think Obama is looking out for America you need to go visit a doctor and get an MRI. He only cares about his own interests and doesn't give a darn about what the Country wants or truly needs. How can you be so naive about this?

I agree the healthcare system needs to be reformed, this is for sure. It doesn't though, need to go to a single pay system where we are dependent on our Government.


RE: There was a time...
By jive on 7/23/2010 9:16:56 AM , Rating: 3
actually you wrote quite good translation of one of the most well known socialistic phrases there is. Due to some very negative connotations to this German phrase I don't write it here though.

Capitalism is an economics of capital not work. What you want is not capitalism but socialism but not through taxes, which is known as the European way.

I applaud your attitude towards work. World really needs more people thinking that way.


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By MrBungle123 on 7/23/2010 11:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with a "Medicare buy in option" is that it would be run by the government. The government does not have to operate in a manner that is fiscally responsible like a private corporation (see $14x10^12 national debt if you don't believe me). Its responsibilities do not lie with investors, its makes the rules by which every other entity must abide, and it can bully the tax payer for more money anytime it needs an infusion of funds, not to mention that the primary objective of those who have the most power within its ranks is to get re-elected not provide the best services. No "free market" can operate in a situation in which it must compete with such an entity. It should be obvious to anyone with an IQ over 4 that understands the definition of the word "propaganda" that any justification for having the government enter the health care industry is rooted in the acquisition of power and money by those in power who at all costs wish to remain so.


RE: There was a time...
By MrBungle123 on 7/23/2010 11:41:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The trouble with people like you MrBlastMan, is you have been raised to think that every man should fend for himself and not care about his neighbor; that any kind of social-service is fascist and un-American, but by neglecting social responsibilities like providing health-care for all and giving benefits to the poor, you're simply creating a system of US and THEM; those that have and those that have not.


When are you leftist big government types going to actually go out and learn the roots of your own philosophy? Small government conservatives, libertarians, and any other groups usually associated with right wing American politics are polar opposites to fascists, NAZI's, etc...

First of all, a small "let everyone fend for themselves" bare bones government cannot be oppressive because it will lack the power to oppress its people.

Next lets look at the National Socialist German Workers Party (the NAZI party in case you are so ignorant that you have no idea what that means).

These are items from their 25 point platform:

7. "We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens."

Does this really need any explaining? It fits almost perfectly with the philosophy of any leftist progressive; they want the government to help. Those on the right want the government to leave them alone.

13. "We demand the nationalization of all associated industries."

Who is calling for the nationalization of industries?! [Big oil, car companies, banks] Oh, that would be the leftist democrats and their radical voting base.

14. "We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries."

Who has on numerous occasions called for "windfall profits taxes" and the confiscation of wealth from the rich to run socialist programs? It’s NOT the right it’s the left... people like you.

15. "We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare."

Again who wants to cut down on entitlement programs? The tea party folks, the libertarians, the conservatives. Who wants to expand these programs? The leftists... Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Democrats, etc...

The reason why those of us on the right believe that a big welfare state is fascist and un-American is because it IS fascist and un-American! Take away the racist genocide and NAZI philosophy and left wing progressive philosophy are almost in lock step!


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/2010 2:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
MrBungle123, you're getting all your "facts" from right wing websites and media pundits. The terrible lefty democrats had a big problem with bailing out corporations, which was pushed by your president ("W") in his last year in office. And I certainly remember Bushie's breathless demand for your tax money to bail out big corporations. Seems to me, that action was more socialistic than anything Obama has done. And it seems to me that Obama's "socialism" for the car companies was limited to a loan, something which the free market was unwilling to do. Same thing with nuclear power plants. The free market will not fund loans for nukes, nor will the free market insure nuke plants. The right wing seems all hot and bothered about wanting nuclear power, yet that requires the government to financially back them. So, who is a socialist, the "lefties" or the "righties". Seems both sides have blood on their hands.

Oh, and let's not forget, your president ran up $4 trillion in debt, creating a much larger federal government than any other president in the past 30 years. So, how in Heaven's name can you use the phrase "leftist big government", without falling into depressive self-loathing for being so disingenuous and misleading?


RE: There was a time...
By MrBungle123 on 7/23/2010 11:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
how in Heaven's name can you use the phrase "leftist big government", without falling into depressive self-loathing for being so disingenuous and misleading?


It's pretty easy... See I don't confuse terms I use them when they are appropriate. You seem to think that Republican = Conservative and based on this belief you conclude that I approved of everything "dubya" did. I don't, in fact he did more to piss me off in his last 4 years than he did that made me happy.

He lost me when he pushed for amnesty for illegal's along with that back stabbing election year conservative duche McCain. His 700 Billion Dollar TARP program was a sham; nothing more than a way for those in power to transfer untold amounts of wealth to their cronies via corporate welfare.

What you've allowed yourself to do is fall into the trap of believing that Democrat = Liberal and Republican = Conservative... this is simply not true. The two extremes are the statist super left that places all their hopes, dreams, and aspirations in government and its ability to save them from all pain fiscal, physical, and otherwise... then there is the anarchist super right that would have no government what so ever. with true left being 100 and true right being 0 you will find me ideologically at about 15. Neither major party represents me, as of lately they have both been far too left as far as I'm concerned. The Dems just happen to be wrong more often and as such deserving of more of my criticism, don't think that just because I didn't openly attack them in my last post that I don't have my issues with the Republicans.


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: There was a time...
By djcameron on 7/22/2010 1:26:10 PM , Rating: 1
Perhaps the reason you have a job over here is because our lower taxes create more wealth to invest in ideas that create more jobs.
State and Federal solvency will come when we learn how to reduce gubmint spending and reduce the number of gubmint employees.


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/2010 2:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Perhaps the reason you have a job over here is because our lower taxes create more wealth to invest in ideas that create more jobs


Yeah, that's why the US effective unemployment rate is up over 20%, because the tax breaks we've given the wealthy for the past 30 years have gone right into American jobs. Certainly those wealthy folks haven't moved their HQ to Bermuda or the Middle East to avoid paying American taxes. And certainly the wealthy have reinvested all that money right back into creating new corporations right here in America, which has just resulted in so much work, and so many jobs, that we just can't find enough workers to fill them.

If you study history, you would learn that government spending, and government regulation, has been responsible for the biggest eras of growth in the US. Removing regulations and lowering corporate taxes, along with lowering taxes on the wealthy, have gutted America's ability to compete in the global marketplace. Hey, here's an idea, why don't you open up a clothing store right across the street from WalMart. I'm sure you'll be able to compete with their low prices, after all the free market is perfect, and you'll thrive.


RE: There was a time...
By Kaleid on 7/23/2010 6:39:05 AM , Rating: 1
I guess I'll be downvoted for this as well since I agree.
The taxcuts over the years haven't been financed from other sources so it mostly has resulted into a lot of borrowing and of course a lot of debt.

McCain's economist during the election process:
"If you do nothing on the spending side, you're going to have to raise taxes whether you're a Republican, a Democrat or a Martian,"
http://crooksandliars.com/2008/09/13/mccains-econo...

Of course the MIC could probably be cut in half without any sort of danger to national defense.

But here's where we disagree on the space program...NASA doesn't cost that much and most of it would be invested within USA which would create a ripple-effect on the invested money.


RE: There was a time...
By Treckin on 7/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By MozeeToby on 7/22/2010 12:09:11 PM , Rating: 5
You're ignoring the externalities, pretending that the only product of NASA is sending astronauts to space. It's a straw man, and it's dishonest. Never mind the leaps in communication, earth and space sciences brought by satellites. Never mind all the technology developed for the space program that has found its way into civilian uses. Never mind a generation of schoolchildren inspired by our use of technology to do something truly amazing.

Quite frankly, if you want the US to remain a super power, you'd better find some way of encouraging today's best and brightest students to study science and engineering instead of finance and management. There will never be the money in pure science that can be had elsewhere, so you'd better be willing to do something pretty dang awe inspiring to convince them that there are more important things.


RE: There was a time...
By nafhan on 7/22/2010 12:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
Huh, "space race" apparently has a different meaning than I thought...
Come on, it's either a waste of money or it's not. Sending a multi-racial group would not have made any difference in that respect. Making everything into a racial issue is... racist! You know that, right? Mentioning the president in a post regarding national policies, is not.


RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 12:20:28 PM , Rating: 2
What the heck does "white" have to do with my original post? I sure hope you're talking about the color of their space suits...


RE: There was a time...
By Kaleid on 7/23/2010 6:40:40 AM , Rating: 1
Lots of jobs, new inventions and patents, a ripple effect of invested money which many smaller businesses would benefit from...


RE: There was a time...
By MozeeToby on 7/22/2010 12:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
No one thinks long term, that's just a fact of our society. Politicians only think far enough ahead to get reelected. Business leaders only to the next quarterly statement. Average Joes only to their next pay check.

NASA is a long term investment, even if they dumped 5% of the GDP into NASA it would still take us a decade to get anywhere new. By then the politicians (and the missions they set) are replaced, the businesses involved are trying to extend the contracts (that they underbid in the first place), and the public has forgotten about it (if they don't actively oppose it as a 'waste of money').

Actually, I think that what is being done is a step in the right direction. It certainly isn't what I'd like to see, but it sets small goals that can be accomplished in a politically acceptable time frame and budget that can support whatever mission the next politician wants to set. Orbital refueling has the potential to revolutionize the way we explore space. Privatizing LEO is the only budget friendly way to encourage constant improvements to launch technologies. Landing on a near earth object holds the potential to drastically reduce the number of launches needed.

It's not a trip to the moon, or Mars, or Phobos. It isn't a mining facility on a near earth asteroid (which is the goal that I personally would like to see). It certainly isn't a launch loop, space elevator or nuclear rocket. But it is a step towards a reliable, extensible exploration system, which is probably the only thing that is politically possible these days.


RE: There was a time...
By yomamafor1 on 7/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 12:14:05 PM , Rating: 3
Where has that spending on the people helped? I don't see it. Pray tell me how pissing trillions of dollars down the drain into the people's pockets (here's a hint--that money Obama promised, VERY LITTLE of it has ended up in OUR pockets) has helped our economy.

The fact of the matter is, the ONLY thing that can help our economy is the people and businesses themselves. The people need to spend in order to get the wheels turning again.

Inspire the people and the people will take action. Hand them money and crap and they'll sit on their behinds and do nothing.

NASA costs pennies to fund in the grand scheme of things and produces technologies over time (albeit slowly, but, we took how many thousands of years to discover nuclear power?) that help change and improve society, sometimes indirectly.

Employing census workers, though, does not.


RE: There was a time...
By Dr of crap on 7/22/2010 1:01:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but I have to agree here.
We piss away FAR to much money on programs dreamed up by politicians that only go so far as to get them elected again, and are a drain on us.
Way to many social programs.
And yes I'm sure most of you can point out how these programs are helping out a few people, yet the opposite is true as well. I'm sure there's A LOT of misuse and many people that do not need these programs are in them!
And you know how the govt works - 10 people to do the job that could be done by 1 or 2!
The work programs of FDR is what we need to kick start a better country!


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/2010 2:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And you know how the govt works - 10 people to do the job that could be done by 1 or 2!


Um, I hate to break this to you, but the huge corp I work for has that very same problem you attribute to government. Through various mergers and acquisitions, it has grown so big, that left hand has completely detached from the right hand's body, and the layers of management and bureaucracy make government look nimble. This is a "free market" result, when government allows the Sherman AntiTrust Act to go unenforced.

And by the way, why wouldn't you consider FDR's "work programs" to be social programs? Seems to me, they were created for the social good of putting people to work. Yep, more government "socialism". Seems to me that the free market should have started building hydro-electric dams and interstate tollways, rather than the government "socialism" doing that under FDR, right?


RE: There was a time...
By yomamafor1 on 7/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By Weedsy on 7/22/2010 12:32:49 PM , Rating: 1
We have more important things to fund, like two wars that we're fighting for no reason. Hell, 1 month of Afghanistan war cash would fund NASA for the entire year. But who needs a prosperous country when you have a government that isn't for the people anymore but rather more caught up in taking over the rest of the planet and getting into every other countries' affairs. Go USA! Or what's left of it anyway.


RE: There was a time...
By BruceLeet on 7/22/2010 1:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
I agree the US was the heavyweight of the space race and its advancements, but you cannot hold that title forever. There are alot of smart minds out there other than at NASA and because we all hail from the same planet I personally do not see what bad comes from other nationalities outpacing others about the unknown as we all are humans coming from the same place...except those Freaky Filipino's who knows where they're from they sure could've earned a spot on Men In Black. Joking aside, Humans as a race need to make a universal committee dedicated to space exploration with money pouring in from all participating countries and private financial donors. We can call this international venture Space Exploration, or SEX for short.

...and then I woke up.


RE: There was a time...
By Ard on 7/22/2010 1:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
Very well said. 6 this man.


RE: There was a time...
By paulpod on 7/22/2010 4:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the funding of special interest projects that has killed funding for NASA. (Which, in fact, is the ultimate special interest project.)

It is the special interest TAX CUTS that have left the country with no money for non-essential projects.

I repeat again here that the fully studied tax cut (by allowing income to be classified as capital gains) from a 29% tax rate in 1992 to a 17% rate in 1997 on just the top 400 earners in cost the government $17 million in 1997 (and similarly in following years). That equals the entire NASA budget just to let a people with $345 million average incomes pay half the taxes of a typical working profesional. But they own congress, so they get what they want.


RE: There was a time...
By paulpod on 7/22/2010 4:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, of course I meant $17 Billion, not million (345M*400*(.29-.17))


RE: There was a time...
By FITCamaro on 7/22/2010 8:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
Developments in NASA fuel private sector jobs meaning high paying engineering meaning people who don't rely on the government for survival.

AKA. Everything Obama is against.


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/2010 1:47:35 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
AKA. Everything Obama is against.


And you forgot to point out that he is a Kenyan, and a secret Muslim, and he wants to destroy America. Seems to me, the evidence is that Obama has continued most of the Bush/Cheney economic policies that have so damaged the US. He has given gifts to big pharma, just like Bush did. He approved offshore drilling leases, just before BP showed us why that made no sense. The big banks continue to rake in huge profits and pay big bonuses. The wealthy are still getting wealthier, corporations are still merging and getting bigger. So, tell me, which part of Republican capitalism isn't Obama supporting?


RE: There was a time...
By Phoque on 7/24/2010 3:04:34 PM , Rating: 2
You know, there are a lot of civilizations which were once great. None ever stayed at the top. US may have been ( still be ), at the top, but that's something that can't resist the test of time. You can blame it on the Democrats, you can blame it on the Republican, "you" always blame it on the politicians, but I think the problem is more fundamentally with human nature, but then, I am no anthropologist ( just an avid Howard Bloom reader ).

Also, maybe the US should continue and put more emphasis on international space cooperation. It seems to me to be such a wisest approach to just sit on US great space history and weine about the current situation. Not saying US should abandon Nasa. But why the US would'nt take the lead on building an international space shuttle in cooperation with Russia, China, Japan, ...? Technology secrets you say? Yes, I guess it's a good point for some people. It doesn't seem so obvious to me, though I'm not saying it is a bad point. While the US are still the leader, perhaps they should change the mentality, because no, they won't stay at the top forever. And it will only hurt more if they are left behind, alone, with their decaying pride.


RE: There was a time...
By delphinus100 on 7/24/2010 11:14:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I do not feel a sudden urge to push my child into the space industry.


Does your kid have to build 'inspiring' spaceships? Or just spaceships?

Commercial space is the only thing that will give us a self-supporting, not dependent on the whim of Congress/President human 'space industry,' as it already has with unmanned commercial satellites.


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