Better Late Than Never

Paul Krugman (inadvertently) explains to his moron readership why the CBO numbers for the health-care deform bill were bogus.

[Update a while later]

More on Paul Krugman’s ignorance (and by implication, that of anyone who pays any attention to him):

Last night, a few of us were discussing Paul Krugman’s apparent erroneous belief that Paul Ryan should have gotten the CBO to score the revenue side of his plan, but didn’t because he was attempting to put one over on the American people. As far as I know, scoring tax bills is still the job of the Joint Committee on Taxation, not the CBO–but no one bothered to blog it because, as far as I can tell, we all assumed that we must be misreading Paul Krugman.

But no, I didn’t misread; Krugman has two follow-up posts on the topic. It seems as if he’s really not aware that the JCT, not the CBO, typically handles the official scoring of tax legislation; “CBO” is not, in any of the policy circles I’ve run in, some sort of shorthand for the JCT (especially since there’s–ahem!–some rivalry there).

I haven’t read the work that got Krugman the Nobel prize, but those who have tell me he deserved it. I sure don’t know what he’s done since then that was worth a damn.

Well, Now We Know Why He Hired Her

Christina Romer says that we need a higher growth rate to reduce unemployment.

In related news, the Pope remains Catholic.

[Update a while later]

Good riddance, Christina Romer:

The ordinary function of government is to destroy talented people, but Romer’s epic failure has an additional element of tragedy. As an economist, Romer did an excellent job [pdf] of establishing that New Deal stimulus failed to end or seriously mitigate the Great Depression. As an Obama team player (and poignantly, a sunny supporter of the then-senator’s campaign), she made a 180-degree turn toward pro-stimulus hocus pocus. Romer will be remembered as the main advocate of the mythical “multiplier” phenomenon, in which every federal dollar spent producers more than 100 pennies worth of economic activity. This is the kind of economics you’d expect to hear from a fine arts major.

I wonder what she’ll say in the future? This reminds me of so many smart people who, after leaving NASA, say things like, “…how could I have made that decision”?

Boeing Is Cutting Metal

I sat in on a Boeing press conference on CST-100 yesterday morning, with several other space reporters, including Andy Pasztor, Ken Chang, Denise Chow, Todd Halvorson, Bill Harwood, and others. I’ll be incorporating some of it into a PM piece that I just wrote, but Pat Brennan at the OC Register has a story this morning.

[Update a while later]

Here’s Todd Halvorson’s story at FL Today.

[Update a while later]

Here are my notes from the presser:

4.5 meter, seven crew, pusher abort system flying in 2015. simplicity for safety/reliability. Space Act Agreement, fixed price, need low development risk, high TRL. Business case challenging. Need development funding/ISS market. Also need other markets. Keith: already started program under CCDev, just did IDR a couple days ago. Complete SDR in October. Pressure-vessel testing at Bigelow’s facilities. Doing drop tests, started a week ago, working on life support. Using rendezvous system from Orbital Express. Not viewgraph engineering.

Berger: Confidence that Boeing has in getting contract? Elbon: Watching that closely. NASA envisions process like COTS. Will have to assess probabilities as they move forward. Want to see commitment downstream so they have better idea of price.

Pat Brennan: Is this a Shuttle replacement? Crew only, can’t replace all capabilities of Shuttle. Will be able to stay for months.

Which authorization bill most favorable? Senate closer to the compromise they’d like to see.
What launch vehicle? Human rate Delta IV, what about hydrogen issue? Looking at Atlas, Delta, Falcon 9. Primary targets EELVs. Systems are human rated, not components. ULA working CCDev for FOSD. Don’t think that any major mods to rockets themselves. Big issues launch pad for crew egress.

Denise Chow: How did they settle on the shape? Good data base on Apollo design, don’t need much wind tunnel. Also good shape for land landing.
What have the biggest challenges been? Pusher abort.

Future for larger capsules in the future? Have to take it one step at a time. Get started with simple safe system and see how market develops.
Private individuals can fly, or just scientists? Hope to have broad markets — need destinations, not NASA only.

Harwood: Will the business model support multiple players? Even with Bigelow, is there enough? Elbon: More launches, lower prices. Working with KSC to find government assets, cost per use rather than having to own them. NASA wants at least two providers. Boeing hopes to get to market first, and see significant flight rate from Bigelow.
What is the order of magnitude of a ticket price? Will be competitive with Soyuz.

Halvorson: Test flight schedule? What vehicles? No vehicle selected yet, but ULA baseline. Late 2013, 2014 for abort tests and orbital flight tests. Pad abort test at White Sands, and rest out of the Cape.

Andy Pasztor: How much overall development cost? How much will Boeing spend? Less than numbers for CRV. How much Boeing spends depends on risk level, and what Congress/FAA/NASA do.

David Baker: What consideration being given to expanding market off shore? Ever launch on Ariane? Have to base business case on those things as upside potential, not baseline. Have considered that and will further develop down the road.
Any interest from Air Force? Not that I know of?

Chang: Anything beyond ISS/Bigelow? Hoping that other ventures will mature. Market is a chicken/egg thing.
Any chance of going forward without NASA business? Unlikely that biz case closes without it.
Bigelow not big enough market? Sees a lot of potential, but also a lot of risk.

Harwood: How reusable? Capsule reused up to ten times. Some parts get ejected (forward cone, base heat shield). Land at White Sands.

Halvorson: How many objectives and how many achieved in CDDev? 36 milestones (four per demo, four for design) completed 22, essentially done by end of year. About halfway to PDR. How long to PDR/CDR? Next spring, then end of year.

Brennan: What’s being done in Huntington Beach? For development, pressure vessel being assembled, base heat shield, AR&D sensors, tied into Houston simulators.

I had two questions. First, how did the pusher abort system work, did it have two different thrust levels, and was it liquid? Answer from Keith: it’s hypergolic (MMH/NTO, like the Shuttle) and has high thrust engines for the abort, and uses lower-thrust RCS for orbital maneuvering. I didn’t follow up on the operations implications for those propellants. The other question was whether or not it could be kitted, or if it was being scarred, for deep-space operations. The answer was no, that would be a different vehicle entirely. This one is for LEO only.

Let’s Hope This Survives

Chris Bergin has a lengthy discussion on a joint NASA/commercial propellant depot demonstrator to be flown in 2015, if it can survive the fools on the Hill (to paraphrase the old Sérgio Mendes song).

This is the key sentence:

A HLV – of any kind – is not listed in any current ULA or commercial documentation, with experts claiming such a vehicle isn’t required under the EELV and propellant depot architecture.

Don’t anyone tell Congress.

[Via Clark Lindsey, who has an interesting discussion going in comments]

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