17 thoughts on “NASA’s Move To Commercial Space”

  1. When I still lived south of the River, inside Portland, I once attended one of David Wu’s town hall meetings in the year before he left office. I was quite surprised at his vituperation against commercial crew. As I questioned him, it became apparent that his source was indeed Scott Horowitz. The point that there were other astronauts who liked commercial space seemed to slide right off him like water off a duck’s back. Only Horowitz’s opinion mattered.

    I don’t remember where Horowitz was working at the time, but Wu resigned later that summer. He did so after being advised to by people inside the Oregon Democratic Party. There were other things going on, … and ATK only had a single facility in the Portland Metro area (they were acting like a conglomerate at that time). I always wondered at the intensity of disgust in the voice of that Rep. when talking of commercial space. He had seemed like a decent sort.

        1. Bingo!

          As it was, one member of Oregon L5 was an organizer of the group inside the Democratic Party that convinced him to resign. Apparently his behaviors had gotten worse over the previous 2 years. Remember, in the Portland area this sort of thing was becoming common, for Mayors, and Senators, and …… over the previous 20 years. Just another case of Oregon losing its grip on reality as the Universities that Senator Mark Hatfield funded to the point of gluttony went hog wild, and it spilled over into the local culture here worse than elsewhere.

  2. I just hope they have good security on the rocket. Wouldn’t put it past the old space crowd / Boeing to sabotage the flight. They sure don’t hesitate to sabotage it verbally.

    1. Oh I think NASA *could* have gotten Ares I launched by now….

      But then there’s Orion. The Artemis I CSM is sitting basically ready to launch. But it has no life support system, and no docking system, so it would be kind of useless for sending crew up to ISS, unless you want to have them go all Gemini and transfer by EVA.

      Oh, by the way, that will cost you $30 billion.

    1. I called it the Corndog because that’s what it looked like. IIRC, NASA paid $500 million for the Ares I launch platform alone, which is more than the cost of developing the first Falcon 9 rocket and the cargo Dragon capsule.

    2. We certainly are a long way from NASA officials foaming at the mouth at the prospect of Dennis Tito paying for a ride to the ISS. You’d have thought Tito was going to call forth space demons the way they were talking. Now they’re buying rides from a guy who built his own space program.

        1. Makes sense. Tom Cruise narrated the IMAX movie about the ISS. And he’s not shy about putting himself in the hot seat for a movie. Hope he does better than John Denver or Lance Bass and actually gets to go.

  3. Ares 1, or as I and many call it, Estes 1, was an abomination in many ways. It had basically no hardware or software commonality with the planned Ares LV, so, what exactly was the point of it?

    Also, they had a leftover Shuttle SRB, under a dummy second stage. How on earth they managed to spend so much to do so little is certainly one of the most epic squanderings in history.

    As for commercial crew, I think there are issues with it (which does not mean that it’s not a huge net positive). #1 is, why has it taken so long to develop? CCDev (Commercial Crew Development) began in late 2010. It should not have taken a decade to develop a capsule. My suspicion is that red tape and unreasonable specifications played a huge role, but I’d like to see an accurate investigation, no matter what the results turn out to be.

    1. Some of us called it Der Griffinschaft, with occasional suggestions about where it should be shoved.

      For capsule development, I would like to know just exactly why Dragon 1 couldn’t have launched people years ago if approached with a reasonable attitude towards risk and budget. No escape system, okay it’s more risk which is what the hazzard flight pay and insurance is for. No windows, climb in or step aside. Spam in a can with no onboard controls, hey it’s Uber, not Avis. Life support not certified by NASA, get your TS slips at the chaplains office. If it was a life or death requirement to get people to and from ISS, it seems it could have been done starting about 8 years ago.

    2. “…why has it taken so long to develop? CCDev (Commercial Crew Development) began in late 2010.”

      Well, first off, while the initial Commercial Crew awards (CCDev 1) were awarded in 2010, those were all tiny study awards – the highest one was to Boeing for $18 million, and the rest were under $10 million. You don’t start getting serious money awarded until CCiCap in late 2012, and you don’t get the final contracts awarded to SpaceX and Boeing until late 2014. So the idea that SpaceX and Boeing have been working full-tilt, fully funded since 2010 on these vehicles is not tenable.

      And speaking of funding: Congress’s reluctance to fund the program in FY2011-15 also played a role, too. They ended up only approving a fraction of what NASA requested, shifting most of the money to SLS instead. This also retarded development, even with the money the contractors were sinking in from their own resources.

      Beyond that, the contractors have obviously had some unexpected technical difficulties to overcome. Had Congress fully funded the program from the start, DM-2 would certainly have flown last year, at least.

  4. You would think Musk would use this pandemic, to make his workers never leave work.
    You guys are now all in quarantine, so, keep on working!

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