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Author Topic:   White House Says No Major Space Policy Announcements Planned 'In Near Future'
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2003 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Despite widespread speculation that a major presidential announcement on space is at hand, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters today that President Bush has no plans to make any policy announcement about the U.S. space program "in the near future."

http://space.com/news/moon_bush_031204.html

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2003 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the actual transcript of the press briefing:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/12/20031204-11.html

quote:
Q Is the President, the White House planning a new space initiative that includes travel to the moon and to Mars?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me kind of go back and refresh your memory a little bit. Several months ago, the President initiated an interagency review of space exploration to determine the appropriate future course of United States based exploration activities. The President is strongly committed to the exploration of space. That review is ongoing at this point. It has been underway, and it continues, and it is ongoing.

Q Would the President like to have a new initiative that goes to --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I think as long as this review is underway, it would be premature to get into any speculation about our space policy that has been and continues to be under review. There are no plans for any policy announcements in the immediate future, and that would include any upcoming speeches. I've seen the reports you're referring to --

Q Are they wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and I would encourage --

Q Are they wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: Those reports are not coming out of the White House. And I would encourage you -- if you want to follow those reports, that's certainly you're prerogative, but I would encourage you to not to, because the review, our interagency review of space exploration is ongoing. So it's premature to get into any speculation about some of that space policy.

Q Taking a step back from this particular story, other presidents have talked about space and sort of broadly about the ideas --

MR. McCLELLAN: As has this President.

Q -- and the desires about what they want to do in terms of space exploration. In conversations, has the President talked about the fact that he would like, during his presidency, to have some kind of a situation where he can get to the moon or Mars?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you've heard the President talk about the importance of space exploration, and the importance, too, of continuing our journey into space. He remains strongly committed to those efforts. And you can look back at his budget and his proposals that he has made. You're asking me to kind of jump ahead of an interagency review process that is going on to make recommendations, and then the President will make some decisions to determine the future direction of space exploration.

Q Is he planning to visit North Carolina, Kitty Hawk, to talk about this, on December 17th?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as you know, I don't announce events this far in advance. But I made it very clear to you that there are no plans to make any policy announcements on our space program at any immediate upcoming speeches.


BLACKARROW
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posted 12-04-2003 05:52 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When a politician's spokesman says that his political master "has no plans" to do something, and that to suggest otherwise "is just speculation", you can bet your bottom dollar that something's going to happen.

Rick Boos
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posted 12-04-2003 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Strongly committed to the exploration of space"? That has to be the laugh of the day!!! I've yet to see any evidence! Actions speak louder then words, and the records don't lie....See my other postings under on this same subject under the topic "Out Of This World".

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2003 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick, I am no fan of the President but I believe you are being too harsh on him. He does follow the program -- closer than you (or I previously) would have expected.

I agree with you that his actions (fighting for funding with Congress) will speak louder than words, but his words to those close to him have been better than could be expected based on his track record.

pokey
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posted 12-04-2003 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Latest (6:40 PM CST) Houston Chronicle article on topic: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2271238

Rick Boos
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posted 12-04-2003 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I'm not against President Bush. To the contrary. I voted for him in the last election, and will gladly support him this time around too, despite his inaction in taking a leading role in supporting NASA and its' funding. All I'm saying is that I question his motive and his aparent sudden change of heart. I seriously doubt if he saw the light. I think it is more likely tied to China's entry into the spaceage and the fact that there is going to be military applications in his proposed new vision, and that someone may just be pulling his strings a little. I want us to go back to the moon and on to Mars, but I want to see it done for the right reasons and not just for another cold war race, or stunt program. We haven't had a president really supportive of the space program since LBJ.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-04-2003 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, I don't believe this has anything to do with the Chinese. I think this push for a new vision stems from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board finding that one of the primary needs for NASA is a direction and purpose -- and that has to come from above (a.k.a. the White House).

If the earlier reports were true, Bush's vision doesn't involve new funding. Rather, he is setting a "direction and purpose" as directed by the CAIB and assigning NASA to implement it under their current budget. The only way that happens is if the space agency phases out all its projects that don't relate to the new direction/purpose, which fits within O'Keefe's plan for OneNASA (all centers working toward a common goal). Its not an entirely bad idea -- the current system of individual centers competing for funds for their own pet projects is not working. Its not a coherent message when JPL is working on Mars exploration while JSC is focusing on LEO. The two should be combining and complementing their efforts, along with the other centers. Hopefully, if we see nothing else from this new vision (if there is a new vision) it will be a NASA with a clearly stated set of goals and roadmap to achieve them.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited December 04, 2003).]

Hawkman
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posted 12-04-2003 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Personally, I don't believe this has anything to do with the Chinese. I think this push for a new vision stems from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board finding that one of the primary needs for NASA is a direction and purpose -- and that has to come from above (a.k.a. the White House).


I agree with Robert here. We need to do something other than send people into space to do experiments to see what happens when a frog passes wind in weightlessness.
A lot of good has come from the shuttle program but we need to look further into the future. Are we just going to spin around and around in orbit taking pictures and blowing little spheres of orange juice from a straw or are we going to go somewhere? If we are just going to spin around and around, let's take the astronauts to an amusement park and put them on the Tilt-A-Whirl. At least that way we could save the taxpayers some cash.

Gene

Rick Boos
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posted 12-04-2003 10:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, "One NASA" is a great idea, but no new funding spells more trouble for NASA not to mention any new goals for the new vision. Heck, NASA can hardly stay afloat the way it stands now! Look at the space station status and the Shuttle program. NASA is having to canabalize one shuttle to keep another one going! Isn't there anyone that is knowledgeable enough in Washington to realize that a boost to the space program's budget is really a boost to the ecomony? Or is it that no one knows about the multiplier effect? Perhaps they need to go to the library and get a copy of Ben Bova's book "The High Road" and read it over and over till it finally sinks in. I would like to quote something that might be of interest to our readers and maybe Washington if they're reading this post. "The Chase study showed that for every billion dollars invested in the space program on a sustained basis between 1975 and 1984, the effects on the economy would include: 1. An increase in the gross natinal product of $23 billion. 2. Creation of more than 800,000 new jobs. 3. In terms of "rate of return" (which would be called "profit" in a private firm), each dollar spent would produce a 43 percent return. 4. The "multiplier effect" for dollars spent on space is somewhere between three and eight; this means that every dollar spent on space has the effect of three to eight dollars worth of NEW purchasing power." Isn't it ironic that our economic slide began when they started whittling away at the space budget? For the life of me I can not understand why it is so hard for those that are supposed to be in the know to understand this, and why we don't have a robust space program. I think it's past time for Washington to get its' act together!

Rodina
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posted 12-05-2003 12:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

As much as I like this President, I'm not really optomistic about NASA's position to get into space to stay -- this smells of goodies for contractors, not a good, sound, sustainable effort for access to space. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit summed it up best today:

"Permanent human presence on the Moon: great. Big NASA project that NASA will screw up: not so great. Likelihood of getting the latter: high. Likelihood of getting the former: Not as high. Likelihood of getting the latter without the former actually coming about: highest."

DavidH
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posted 12-05-2003 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I'd be really interested in hearing your speculations on what's going on.
Is an announcement coming? When will it be? What will it be?
You're better informed on all of this than most, and I'd be curious to hear what you've put together from all the pieces out there.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2003 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't pretend to know more (or even as much) about this than others but here is my perspective (since you asked):

I believe an announcement is coming and that it will involve a directive for NASA to return humans to the Moon.

I doubt that it will include any deadline or timeline by which that should happen.

Unless Congress decides to play along -- which I doubt, because they were left out of this "interagency review" -- I also feel it unlikely that any significant additional funding for NASA will result from this announcement.

The President will advocate a much stronger relationship between the Department of Defense and NASA, but will leave it to the space agency to streamline their own programs to fund much of this new initiative.

I believe international cooperation will not be stressed and may even be discouraged.

More than any other motive, this vision will be targeted at giving the nation something it can feel proud about (something to counter the negative views toward the situation in Iraq).

I believe the White House when they say there are no "near term" plans for an announcement.

I think the State of the Union is the earliest we might see this vision surface. On that day, the President will have the undivided attention of Congress, his cabinet, and most of the U.S. population, not to mention international viewers. He is not going to want to spend the entire time talking about Iraq, or the economy, and this provides an uplifting distraction from both -- especially since the speech falls so close to the anniversary of Apollo 1, STS-51L, and STS-107.

Beyond that, everything and anything speculated can change -- and probably will.

MICHAEL CLEMENTE
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posted 12-05-2003 07:25 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Come on people lets wake up and smell the coffee. First of all we have a war still going on in Iraq. OOPS! I am sorry this is not a war because Bush declared ourselves the victors. However, we have more brave soldiers dying everyday then we had during the war. This is turning into another Vietnam. We have a Space Shuttle that needs to be updated or replaced with something better. All of this cost money. I just don't see Congress saying okay lets spend money to meet some new space initiatives. Also, there are too many egos to please in Congress. They need to get off their high horses and do something that would certianly benefit the whole nation. However, It would be nice if they would because it would create new jobs and give the economy a boost. It's all about the trickle down effect. I really believe nothing spectacular is going to happen in my life time. But one can dream.

Rick Boos
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posted 12-05-2003 10:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to agree with you Michael that probably nothing spectacular is going to happen within our lifetime. It's sad but true. I can only hope that our kids will live long enough to see the "glory days" return, but even that is in doubt and will only happen after the deadbeat Congressmen and Senators wake up, wise up and appropriate the necessary funding needed to transform a vision into reality. A vision without appropriating additional funding makes about as much sense as trying to launch a rocket without fuel. You know I'm getting sick and tired of hearing about all the money we waste on the space program and hearing the same old rhetoric about taking care of the problems we have here on earth, or let's wait until better times. It doesn't have to be an "either or" proposition, look at the Chase Study! The Chase Study is self explanatory and leaves no doubt that we would be better off with an ambitious space program. No one can dispute the Chase Study facts that I posted yesterday in this column. Facts don't lie and yet I doubt if there are many Congressmen or Senators, if any, that even know of this study and its' findings. The million dollar question is how do you educate them when they think that they have all the answers and are too busy playing political games?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2003 10:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wasn't alive for the moonwalks -- in fact, I wasn't alive for any Saturn V launch -- and yet I've seen some pretty spectacular things happen in space in my (relatively) short lifetime.

A moonwalk today would be spectacular no doubt -- but it wouldn't negate everything that came before (or after) it. To write off everything that has happened in the last 28 years is to also dismiss Gemini, Skylab, ASTP, Salyut, and Mir in favor of only Apollo.

The shuttle can be and is spectacular. The ISS is spectacular. Spirit, Opportunity, and Beagle will be spectacular.

But if you really feel that nothing spectacular will happen in your lifetimes, then know you are in good company. Robert Zubrin was recently quoted as saying that a return to Moon would be uninspiring. "Really, how do you inspire the youth of today with a challenge repeating feats their grandparents did?" said Zubrin.

"Spectacular" must really be in the eyes of the beholder.

------------

An addendum to this post: There is a saying, "The best way the know the future is to create it yourself." This is the philosophy behind companies such as Space Adventures and SoaceX, and organizations such as the National Space Society and the X Prize Foundation.

No one is expected to be only optimistic about everything they hear, but almost every idea has a redeeming aspect. If you only focus on the negative, than how do you expect to contribute to shaping the future you want? Instead, find that "silver lining" that appeals to you, get involved in whatever way you can, and I promise you will find spectacular events at which to marvel.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited December 05, 2003).]

MICHAEL CLEMENTE
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posted 12-05-2003 11:43 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I don't disagree with what you said. But, the bottom line is that in order to shape and create the future you need MONEY. Without it you have nothing except a dream. The space program can't live on a dream. That's why we need the support and backing of everybody. It just can't be a short lived thing. We all must be in it for the long haul. It's great to dream big. Unfortuantly it cost a lot of money. Just need to kick the guys in Capital Hill and get them on our band wagon. AIM HIGH!

Rick Boos
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posted 12-06-2003 12:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well stated Michael!!! Robert, when I agreed with Michael reference nothing spectacular would happen within our lifetime, I was refering to coming out of Bush's so called "vision" without additional funding. My underlining point in that statement and post, and for that matter all of my posts, has been funding! Something that you or no one else wants to address. I think Michael said a mouthfull in his last post. For the record, I think that Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, which by the way includes Skylab and the joint mission, as well as all of our unmanned programs have been spectacular!Perhaps the most spectacular was the murdered Delta Clipper program. I can't and won't say that about the Shuttle. The Shuttle was just that a shuttle, a cargo ship that spent years in search of a mission. Yes, it had its' place, but in my opinion, it's time to retire it and it's time to move on. It's time for this nation to truly reach for the stars. It's ridiculous to have been stuck in low earth orbit(manned wise) for so many years! There is no reason why we can't return to the moon and on to Mars and still man the space station as well.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-06-2003 01:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick, I did address funding, twice:

posted December 04, 2003 09:07 PM

quote:
If the earlier reports were true, Bush's vision doesn't involve new funding. Rather, he is setting a "direction and purpose" as directed by the CAIB and assigning NASA to implement it under their current budget. The only way that happens is if the space agency phases out all its projects that don't relate to the new direction/purpose, which fits within O'Keefe's plan for OneNASA (all centers working toward a common goal).

posted December 05, 2003 03:48 PM

quote:
Unless Congress decides to play along -- which I doubt, because they were left out of this "interagency review" -- I also feel it unlikely that any significant additional funding for NASA will result from this announcement.

The President will advocate a much stronger relationship between the Department of Defense and NASA, but will leave it to the space agency to streamline their own programs to fund much of this new initiative.


I do not disagree with you Rick that more funding is a good idea and should accompany Bush's vision -- and I actually agree that a lack of additional funding will make any such vision very difficult to achieve, however it would not be impossible. If NASA were to drop all projects unrelated to the new vision than $14 billion could go far -- at least far enough to convince Congress that they do not want to be the cause of shutting down a forward moving, very public project by holding back funding in the out years. Sometimes its better to get the ball rolling in the right direction, however slowly, then waiting for its own momentum to take over.

At least then, if someone wants to stop that ball, they need to overtly apply pressure in the opposite direction.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-06-2003 01:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Boos:
Perhaps the most spectacular was the murdered Delta Clipper program.

If the Clipper was that good an idea, NASA's decision to pass on it for the X-33 contract would have not spelled its end. Private industry could have easily (at that time) justified developing the project further. The problem was that neither the Clipper's nor VentureStar's backers had any interest beyond the NASA contract to develop the vehicle themselves.

SpaceX just demonstrated that if you believe in a concept, you can not only fully finance its construction without a NASA contract, but you can deliver a finished vehicle in a record period of time -- all the while chipping away at the cost of access to space.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited December 06, 2003).]

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-06-2003 01:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Boos:
It's ridiculous to have been stuck in low earth orbit(manned wise) for so many years!

Not that I disagree that we should be returning to the Moon, but I am curious, why you feel justified in stating we have been in LEO for too long? What defines too long? Is it because the research conducted hasn't kept your particular attention? -- because I know many for whom the Moon and Mars hold little to no interest but LEO is greatly exciting to them.

There are plenty of good reasons to go beyond LEO but that its been "too long" seems far too focused on individual tastes.

MICHAEL CLEMENTE
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posted 12-06-2003 02:16 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, It really doesn't matter which idea is better or not. Whether we choose the DC-X,X-33,or whatever. However, I do believe if Pete Conrad was still here. You might of heard more from the DC-X program after it's cancellation. But we'll never know. The bottom line is that NASA needs to move on whether it be LEO or onto MARS. Again, The SpaceX is a program that is experitmental. It is not something that is fully functional (ONE DAY I HOPE). We are talking about a couple programs within it. But, in order to make it readily available to the public which is suppose to be the objective of this amongst other things. It stills comes down to $$$$$. Which you have stated also. But, for know we can go back and forth till we are blue in the face proving who's right and who's wrong and which program is important. Hopefully, NASA will be headed into a bold and exciting future.
For a topic that is very important and the future of the space program I only see a couple of people doing the posting. What's everybodies feelings besides worrying about if Niel Armstrong signature is authentic or not.AIM HIGH!

MICHAEL CLEMENTE
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posted 12-06-2003 02:26 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My bad, The SpaceX is functional I don't want to step on anybodies toes. Plus it will be used to bring payloads to space supposedly cheaper. But nevertheless, my opion remains the same.

Rick Boos
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posted 12-06-2003 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Delta Clipper...now she was a real jewel! God bless her she did everything that was asked of her and more! Thatlittle "junkyard" rocket proved herself time and time again, but she was cut down in her prime. Why? The REAL story has yet to be told publicly. I would suggest that you and others do your homework and do a little investigative work on your own and talk to the people "in the know" that were "directly involved" with the program! I think that you would find it enlightening, sad, and worth your time and effort. This much I can tell you,Dan Golden didn't like the Delta Clipper team and called them a bunch of hoodlums, and industry and political powers didn't endorse the "vertical vertical" concept of Delta Clipper or the X-33. All politics, something that has NO place in the destiny of the spaceprogram!!!Despite what you think Robert, Delta Clipper was a good idea and should still be flying today, and in essence it was passed on for further development. Problem is it was passed on to Japan! LBJ's quote holds true again!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-06-2003 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick, I didn't say Delta Clipper was a bad idea -- I said that if it had merit to its backers than it could have been financed without the NASA X-33 contract.

Why must a good idea rely only on the purse strings of Congress and/or NASA? NASA and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization gave DC-X its start, but when both pulled funding, where was private industry? Obviously McDonnell Douglas did not feel it could carry on the development of the Delta Clipper project without support from the government. Why? Certainly there were other customers than NASA and DoD (the emerging LEO satellite market for example) and if they had completed it, you could be sure NASA and the DoD wouldn't have completely ignored it.

The problem with the whole X-33 program wasn't that the designs proposed were unreasonable -- it was that they were far too reliant on the government contract as the only reason to exist.

Rick Boos
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posted 12-06-2003 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, in answer to your quetion to me reference LEO. I have nothing against LEO missions, but to be stuck in LEO for this many consecutive years (manned wise)IS utterly ridiculous! Ask around and you will see that I'm not alone in my thinking on this. Poll the public and see if they would rather be going elsewhere or "stuck" in LEO. That's why public interest is so low when it comes to the space program. LEO just doesn't capture the public's imagination! LEO DOES have its' place, don't get me wrong. In my estimation there isn't any reason (other than MONEY) that we can't have both going on simultaneously! But what REALLY gripes me is all the wasted time and money on getting the ISS up in orbit! That coupled by the fact that the name of the spacestion should have been "SKYLAB 2" about 15 years ago! Because of MONEY and shortsightedness, Skylab was abandoned in favor of the Shuttle...another "either or" proposition that shouldn't have happened! If you recall there was a second Skylab, but the problem was that there was no way to launch it! Problem was that NASA wanted all the MLP's for the shuttle and that they tore down pads 34 and 37 to save MONEY! Talk to Sam Beddingfield and he will tell you the real facts, and how he tried and tried to save the MLP's. Skylab 2 could have been a beefed up version and it would have served the same purpose as the ISS(on a smaller scale) at a fraction of the cost and it would have been OURS! Think of all the precious time and money wasted because of a NASA blunder! But you know Robert, even Skylab 1 was out of sic in the scheme of things. It should have came before we went to the moon, and was only an afterthought when it became apparent that the lunar landings were going to be terminated. One thing about it, it sure didn't take all that much time and money to put it together and get it up! Why do I want us to go back to the moon so bad? Because I would hate to think of Apollo as just a "stunt" program based upon a cold war! We need to go back and carry on where Apollo 17 left off. We need to explore the moon, set up a base, and mine the moon. Use the experience we gained there to move out to the asteroids and on to Mars. In doing so Apollo wouldn't be classed as a stunt program but rather a stepping stone on our way to the stars! We went to the moon the first time for all the WRONG reasons.Apollo's 11, 12, and 14 could have cared less about geology. Apollo 13's crew would have, but the flight was cut short. The real hard science and exploration didn't happen till the "J" missions. If we go back we need a vision with a purpose and we must be able to justify that purpose and above all, have the FUNDS, backing and fortitude to press on! As much as I would like to continue on with this thread I'm ending with this post. I hope the debate continues with other members.But even more important I hope a debate like this is going on in DC, and I wish that someone there would read all these posts.It's been real!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-06-2003 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps the following responses to two of Rick's statements might encourage others to jump in and participate in this thread...

(I also want to thank Rick for raising important and well thought questions and issues throughout this discussion.)

quote:
That's why public interest is so low when it comes to the space program. LEO just doesn't capture the public's imagination!

The public didn't stay very interested in the Apollo moon landings once the initial novelty wore off. Sure, a near space disaster caught their attention, but ask what they remember of the following mission, and if they recall anything it probably involves a golf ball.

Keeping the public enthralled doesn't require a remote location. Look at the ratings for the all-night EVAs on STS-61 repairing Hubble. Look at the worldwide attention on STS-95 with John Glenn.

An entire nation stopped what they were doing to watch daily updates from space -- during STS-107. Israel tuned in to watch Ilan Ramon describe the Earth from above and the science his country was achieving solely because they could relate to him.

LEO can be exciting. Its not exciting to you perhaps because you haven't found a recent aspect to it that appeals to you. That's fine. But don't write off LEO as a "been there, done that" less you are ready to do that for the Moon as well.

quote:
Because I would hate to think of Apollo as just a "stunt" program based upon a cold war!

You may hate to think of it that way, but that was what it was. The astronauts recognized this and will tell you it themselves. Even the decision to send Jack Schmitt vs. Joe Engle on Apollo 17 was a political decision. Science was a spinoff; a bonus. Apollo was a flags and footprints program.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited December 06, 2003).]

MICHAEL CLEMENTE
unregistered
posted 12-06-2003 05:35 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick I don't think you could of said it any better. A GREAT JOB. Also Robert it doesn't really matter which program gets cancelled or which program they should implement. As long as NASA is headed in the right direction. However, I feel (I hope I don't step on anybodies toes) NASA could fund quite a few bold adventures but Government needs to reform its operation on how it goes about its business and how it treats the people it serves.BOTTOM LINE. I don't need to go into a long drawn out explanation about cost overruns and the like. But a lot of money wasted could go into a bold new plan for NASA. Robert, you need to get your rose colored glasses of and see the real world for what it is . It seem obvious that this subject is not of interest to our forum. I guess Niel Armstrong's Autograph is more important then the future of our space program.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-06-2003 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike, I live and work in Washington, DC, and have been actively working the political side of the space industry, advocacy and educational communities for nearly 10 years. I am not wearing rose colored glasses; rather, I have resisted wearing black and white spectacles. The government is not always the culprit and every issue raised has multiple angles. Lamenting the lack of progress in space because the government hasn't had its act together is ignoring the role played by private industry and the market. I am not saying that the government has been perfect in fulfilling their part of the bargain -- far, far, far from it -- but to think that the ISS overruns (as an example) were only a result of poor NASA management or only because of poor Congressional oversight is oversimplifying the issue.

Returning to the Moon (or going anywhere else) is not just a question of more money from Congress. That's an important part of the answer but its not the end-all.

MrSpace86
Member

Posts: 1379
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 12-06-2003 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting thoughts guys but I was just wondering, is Bush going to announce the return to the moon on December 17 or not? I read earlier that Congress didn't seem interested or something but then CNN.com posted a really good article regarding Bush's announcement.

-Rodrigo

All times are CT (US)

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