Thursday, August 13, 2009

An August Carol

Yesterday Norm finished up his public meetings and seemed ready to put pen to paper with our (non)spacefaring future.

But is that really the end of the story? Perhaps not.

Tomorrow, Norm will share his findings with the greenshade wearing folks throwing out the big mega-billion dollar checks for GM subsidies, bank bailouts, and health care. The same folks will don their crumpled hats, torn mittens, dragging chains and Scrooge mentalities for this special occasion. And Norm will say the line he has been practicing for some time now, "Please Mister, can we have some more?"

And if the answer is "no," then Norm is ready to revisit and discuss the options his team has formulated, minus the plus-up they feel is needed to keep the E Street theater open. That contingency and the opportunity for one more public discourse was opened when another Federal Advisory Committee Act meeting notice was filed for a week from Monday, if needed.

And how does this play end? The same way it started, of course.

The remaining withering options will be tossed up to Congress. And they will stay the course keeping the jobs protected in their districts. And that, dear friends, should be enough of a clue to discern the ending. Except, this time, there will no chickens in every pot.

3 comments:

kT said...

I would prefer to see another 'Showdown at the Augustine Corral'!

BenRG said...

FWIW, my call is that we will see the Ares rockets dropped to cut costs. Simple inertia will lead to extensions of ISS to 2020 and STS to 2015, simply because it is politically easier to let things stay the same than to make any changes (which require compromise, alliance-building and interminable haggling). I also expect the Gentleman for Alabama to create an enormous stink about the nod being given to third party crew launch. I expect some manner of SDLV (either in-line or side-mount) to be given the nod, to be developed by MSFC, of course, with "IOC some time in the Twenty-teens", just to shut him up.

Meanwhile, both Roscosmos and ESA are developing EELV-class multi-role LVs that can be scaled for different payloads. The Russian one will be a crew launcher too and their new crew vehicle will probably beat Orion (assuming that Apollo Mk2 isn't canned - a distinct possibility) into space by five years. It is possible that the new Chinese LV might follow a similar design philosophy.

So... by the 2020s, the Chinese and possibly the Russians might be looking seriously at a Moon landing, the ESA will likely dominate the satelite launch market and NASA will have a BFR in development that may not have any role once The Station That Ate HSF is deorbited (assuming it had one beforehand). Meanwhile, NASA will be entirely relying on third-party launch services to do anything, having not flown a vehicle of its own since 2015.

So much of this could have been avoided if the Emperor had been watched a bit more closely and not allowed to use NASA's next-generation program as a personal ego trip. Ah... hindsight.

Gaetano Marano said...

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I hope that Barack Obama and his W.H. experts will NOT believe in what the Augustine Commission will say them, since...
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first of all, the AG hasn't really examined ALL proposals it has received
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I've sent them over a dozen emails and links without receive just ONE answer or feedback!
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that, despite, I've two blogs that talks about Space from four years and are regularly visited weekly by space agencies and aerospace companies, I've contributed to several space and science forums and blogs with (at least) 8000 posts (so far) in four years, I've developed and published dozens suggestions about Space, ESAS and Constellation and, despite, the rocket that will (likely) be used, could be one of which I've designed and published the concept 3.5 years ago:
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http://www.gaetanomarano.it/articles/005_SLVnow.html
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I'm not alone in saying that, since, on the HSF Facebook Wall page, other have claimed to have send documents and suggestions NEVER taken in consideration by the HSF Committee!
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since I've not received any answer to my email to the HSF, I've posted many ideas, opinions and links on the HSF Facebook Wall page
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well, the (unknown) moderator of the HSF page, has FIRST warned me to send my ideas ONLY through the HSF-email/BLACK-HOLE, then, he has BLOCKED my comment privileges
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but, before and after that, the HSF moderator HASN'T blocked the guys that posted LOTS of propaganda for the Ares-1/5 and (try to imagine...) ..."Direct"... (from the homonymous LOBBY)
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ALL the (7-8) "options" proposed by the AC's "experts" (but, which kind of "experts" are they, if not able to know EXACTLY the right choice?) are WRONG and PRETTY SIMILAR, that, since, the AC looks DEEPLY INFLUENCED by LOBBIES and, with their conclusion, they JUST want to demonstrate that NASA, contractors and new.space companies need MUCH MORE MONEY (maybe, also the $35 Bn to develop the Ares-1) if the US President did not want to be the one that allowed NASA and USA to be surpassed by China, Russia and India in the new (commercial) "moon-race" (that, however, could happen anyway...)
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there are SEVERAL OTHER options that can be taken in consideration to come back to the Moon or go to Mars, but the AC hasn't discussed proposed them, while, they have discussed and taken in consideration old/wrong designs like the Shuttle-C, crazy and expensive technologies like the "orbital refuel" and things like the RESIZED-Ares-5 called "Direct"... (from the homonymous LOBBY)
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in fact, it's NOT TRUE that $81 Bn in the next ten years are "not enough" to accomplish ALL the orbital and Moon mission planned and it's NOT TRUE that NASA absolutely needs three more billion$ per years to accomplish these missions
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clearly, if NASA will receive more funds will be a very good news (hoping they'll not burn them like the $9 Bn spent in last four years for nothing...) but, $81 Bn (or a slightly higher) budget could be enough just IF the right choices are made and no one further cent is burned in crazy and bad things!
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