9 thoughts on “The Zombie Stumbles On?”

  1. Norm Augustine kinda gave away the store, here:

    11:37 AM: Augustine punts, largely, on that question. “We believe the existing program would be a fine program,” he says. But Gordon presses on saying, “That wasn’t really an answer to the question.”

    11:40 AM: The conversation shifts as Republican Hall takes the floor. He asks Augustine how to “close the gap” between when the shuttle stops flying and when we’d have a near option for reaching near Earth orbit. Augustine says that the only way is to extend the Shuttle’s life.

  2. It was indeed a depressing performance all around, but why would you expect anything else? All Congress knows about NASA and its alleged implementation of the Vision is what the agency has told them. What we saw yesterday was the classic “Iron Triangle” — agency, Congress, and contractors — tightly clasping to what they have (“Children cling tight to nurse, for fear of finding something worse!”) The Augustine Committee report didn’t help in that they punted on the tough issues Constellation has (of course it can be MADE to work — the issue is “is it WORTH it to do so?”) and filled their report with classic space-cadet assumptions (most of which are highly questionable, e.g., “Mars is the ultimate destination.”, “Get public excited about space”, “Nothing wrong with NASA that more money couldn’t fix.”)

    In the end, these guys will all have a run-in with reality. Congress (the real Congress, not this subcommittee) simply isn’t going to give NASA more money so the whole thing will simply die a slow death. Apparently, we haven’t yet reached the true crisis point where this is evident to all. But we will.

  3. Some of the comments in the Wired thread are pretty insulting to those who oppose the Ares program. A Jim McDade claims Ares I was tested recently.

    The opponents of Ares I have a major credibility issue now that the Ares I test firing has illustrated the insignificance of the thrust oscillation vibration “problem” that Ares I opponents claimed was a fatal show stopper for the Shuttle replacement. Now I understand why the opposition to Ares I wanted that test to be canceled. The test results revealed that Ares I opponents were willing to use lies to bring down Project Constellation. Those “astronaut killing” vibrations were at the core of anti-Ares I arguments. This Congressional hearing has further revealed the sham nature of the anti-Ares I initiative. Shame on them.

    He neglects that Ares I wasn’t tested here and won’t be tested until the Ares I-Y flight sometime in 2013 or 2014. We may well find that the problem never went away. He also neglects that even if the thrust oscillation issues aren’t as bad as predicted, we still have that the first stage underperforms (and can’t be expanded in the future) and the rocket has aerodynamic issues due solely to the slender first stage.

  4. The hearings went as they could have been expected to – members of Congress made some campaign speeches and could not understand why there were any problems.

    Members of Congress asked fevered questions so that the evening news could have something good for the 10 pm show.

    Everyone agrees that we MUST supply more money – no one explained where that money should come from. Certainly from cutting wasteful programs – though no one can agree that their programs are wasteful.

    Public hearings seldom produce anything of value.

    Now hopefully the actual leaders in Congress will be meeting behind closed doors to decide how to proceed. They “need” to supply additional billions. They pretend that our enormous Federal deficit will magically disappear next year. They want to give everyone good news – more jobs, more programs, lower taxes.

    How they reconcile all of that is the problem! Look for them to want to keep looking at everything until they can safely retire!

  5. I believe it was Bismark who said that the making of laws and sausage shouldn’t be seen. I was certainly disgusted by the committee hearing. NASA’s current programs do so very little to advance the settlement of space.

    I have been expecting to see Ares 1 canceled with Orion launched from EELVs while some sort of shuttle-derived vehicle is developed to keep people employed, but I’m not so sure now. The status quo seems to have won round 1. Perhaps something better will come out of the closed door sessions.

  6. New Space got a start when people lost confidence in NASA. Maybe New Space is about to get a whole lot more attention and investment.

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