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« Cargo Cults | Main | Now With 57% Less Evilness »

Back To The Moon?

Frank Sietzen says that's the inside scuttlebutt on the direction for the administration's space policy.

Of course, the article also points out that the President's father had such a policy, and it faltered on the shoals of a recalcitrant bureaucracy.

It's also interesting that, at the same time, Congress is reining in the OSP horses.

While killing OSP is a good idea in general, in my opinion, it certainly makes sense not to move out with any major new initiatives until we've figured out what we're trying to accomplish in space, and if Sietzen is right, we may know on December 17th. It will be somewhat ironic if Burt Rutan also flies a private spaceship into space on the same day, which, as rumor has it, he wishes to do.

[Update at 12:45 PM PST]

Leonard David has more. It has a typically stupid quote from Bob Park:

"NASA is looking a little sick. But to imagine that the cure is a larger dose of what made it sick is downright pathological," Park noted. "Manned spaceflight is going nowhere because there's nowhere to go."

However, Wes Huntress says something sensible:

NASA must back away from their intense focus on the station/shuttle infrastructure as make-or-break for the agency, Huntress told, and the imbedded notion that the ISS is a destination. Furthermore, the space agency has to abandon the notion that the station/shuttle infrastructure is on the critical path to deep space destinations, except for research on human space physiology.

[Update at 1:12 PM PST]

Tomorrow's Senate hearing will have a live webcast. And they have one unusual suspect testifying (not counting Bob Zubrin)--Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier Foundation. The hearing starts at 9:30 AM Eastern time.

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 28, 2003 10:07 AM
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Of course several things are different. George Bush the Younger is not his father. Sean O'Keefe is not Dick Truly. Congress is not run by Liberal Democrats. And it's not 1989, either. So I predict that this initiative has a lot better chance of becoming reality than did SEI.

Posted by Mark R. Whittington at October 28, 2003 12:34 PM

"unrealistic cost estimates" from NASA? Say it isn't so!

Posted by ken anthony at October 28, 2003 12:38 PM

This is encouraging news. I wonder if we were to establish a base on the moon that NASA would leave the door/airlock open to the possibility of giving private companies access for mining/tourism/research etc.

Posted by B.Brewer at October 28, 2003 02:52 PM

Why is nobody talking about the success of the x-prize and how NASA could be learning from it? Also, I haven't heard of much discussion of space commercialization in these meetings - it seems like the discussions are focused on grandiose gov't projects a la Apollo. Someone, please tell me that I have missed something and am incorrect.

Posted by James at October 28, 2003 04:46 PM

Tumlinson will almost certainly talk about that tomorrow.

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 28, 2003 04:56 PM

In reading about this at various news sites, I was impressed at the number of speakers that have truly given up on NASA in its present form. It really seems to be a mainstream position now.

The Robert Park "Nowhere to go" comment is a jaw dropper. Apparently this idiot hasn't noticed that there's an entire universe out there. It brought up a vision of Columbus, just reaching shore, saying "Oh. There's nothing here, let's go home."

Posted by VR at October 29, 2003 01:49 PM

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