7 thoughts on “Trump And NASA”

  1. It seems to be, by internal competition, they are expressing fear of losing control. They need to get over that because commerce requires they ‘lose control.’

  2. Interesting times. Let’s see how radical the administration wants to go and if current beneficiaries of space policy can muster sufficient support in Congress to block the agenda.

    1. It’s unrealistic to think major change will happen while the new admin is fighting to get its team in place. What we’ve seen so far is nothing.

      While rioting and lawsuits will continue they will have little impact as long as Trump can continue to deliver to those that voted for him.

      For the first time, possible ever, people that had no voice are finally going to see results. The sleeping giant has been awakened. They aren’t going to be pushed around and ignored anymore.

      There will be plenty to disagree with the new admin but overall things will get much better than the last eight years.

  3. It’s not clear to me how the “internal competition” would work.

    Maybe they will have a dual track lunar program and see which one performs better since cancelling SLS seems near impossible. Leave SLS/Orion under current contracting and set up COTS type program that excludes those manufacturers.

    1. Although I also don’t know how they mean the phrase “internal competition,” I think you’re right about the dual track.

      One way to answer the question of why our manned space program is so dysfunctional, is to step back and ask an alternate question: why is it that our lunar and planetary unmanned spacecraft programs have done so well?

      One answer is that you can see competition at work. Applied Physics Lab has a good reputation in spacecraft design. That’s just an example – pick your own favorite university collaboration, NASA center (Goddard vs. Ames, for instance), JPL, commercial manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, and so on. This is not “eggs all in one basket”; quite the opposite.

      Some kind of competition could, will help the manned space industry. Perhaps it will take the shape of a dual track lunar program.

      1. You could add to that the competition that science missions go through before they are selected.

        Your examples are a great way to show the value of competition. The drawback to the current system is that there are many worthy science projects. The competition to select one doesn’t necessarily mean the “best” one wins. Or that the losers are in fact losers unworthy of their own missions.

        With state funded science missions maybe there isn’t a way around this until the costs come down enough that crowdfunding efforts or institutions can afford their own flagship scale missions. Maybe not until science partners with commerce because what makes the COTS programs successful is the ability of those companies to market their products to customers other than NASA.

        This may or may not mean that researchers would have to moderate their goals a little bit. But the opportunities would be much broader if not always so narrow. Research is a game of patience anyway, building off the gains of previous researchers.

        I don’t think a dual track for SLS/Orion and commercial is going to play out well for SLS/Orion. You are right about why planetary science has been so successful. But when looking at what wasn’t done and not just what was done, they leave a lot on the table. Maybe if the planetary science missions operated more like the COTS crew/cargo programs, they would also see big improvements.

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