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NYT Calls for Shuttle, Space Station Retirement
Their motivations is to end the human spaceflight program and use it for social welfare vote buying schemes designed to advance the careers of liberal politicans like Barney Frank.
They do not share your altrustic motives Rand.
The NYT has long been an enemy of human spaceflight and I hav elong been anenemy of the NYT for the same reasons.Posted by Mike Puckett at August 13, 2005 10:01 PM
Sam, if there is no ISS where will t/Space fly its new capsule to?Posted by Bill White at August 13, 2005 10:14 PM
Sam, if there is no ISS where will t/Space fly its new capsule to?Posted by Bill White at August 13, 2005 10:14 PM
Once again, NASA is called "the" human spaceflight program.
Do people think that only NASA employees are human, or only NASA has a spaceflight program?
> use it for social welfare vote buying schemes designed to advance the careers of
If you're going to judge the merits of the proposal based on whether it buys votes for liberals or conservatives, please note that while Bush gave NASA a large gift, the NASA employee union endorsed John Kerry in the last election.
> if there is no ISS where will t/Space fly its new capsule to?
Didn't someone say something about the Moon, Mars, and Beyond?
Altruistic? I'm surprised Rand doesn't ask you to take that dirty word back.
OK, I can't talk for him. But I have no "altruistic" reason to hope they cancel Shuttle. I want them to do it so there is more chance that I can go.
Mike: attacking the NY Times due to your perception of their motives is rather ad hominem, don't you think?
The space program's big problem has not been its critics, but its supporters, who never saw a space spending program they couldn't convince themselves to like. Show some courage and commit yourself to a space program that makes some amount of sense, not a useless orbiting moneypit.
THe NYT's stance is wrong, apparently generated by the same deliberate the-sky-is-falling ignorance that fueled coverage of the last mission.
A number of commercial airliners have crashed this week. Why isn't the NYT calling for the cessation of all commercial passsenger airline actvity?
If panic and pressure exists to block all of NASA's human spaceflights until each flight can be guaranteed to be perfectly safe, then there will be no more human spaceflights by NASA.
Nor should anyone imagine that private human spaceflight would be exempt. The kind of equally ignorant infatuation we saw surrounding Rutan's Spaceship One flight will vanish instantly as soon as something goes wrong during a flight, or, worse yet, someone dies. Odds are, sooner or later, someone will die.
As for the rest: I am much more interested in seeing this country explore space -- however funded -- than I am in seeing a few private firms make a profit. I don't see the latter necesssarily leading to the former. I know a lot of people think NASA is somehow thwarting their chance to "go", but I don't see that linkage. If there's money to be made in space, joyrides or mining the moon or whatever, it will be made, whether NASA exists or not. Commercial aviation isn't threatened by military aviation. Why should commercial space travel be threatened by NASA?
Posted by billg at August 14, 2005 06:17 AM
[ Their motivation is to end the human space flight program and use it for social welfare vote buying schemes designed to advance the careers of liberal politicians like Barney Frank. ]
That is the truth.
Rand, Bruce Hoult, and some of the other fellows here fail to understand is that the NY Times crowd doesn't want to end the Shuttle/ISS project in order to free up funds so that the government can hand out Super X Prizes, thereby stimulating private space exploration.
The pee cee Left is Luddite and basically anti-human space exploration, whether by NASA or by private enterprisers waving copies of Atlas Shrugged. For that matter, the NY Times crowd will come out against any space-based research activity that tends to disprove global warming.
And for another matter, Mr. Simberg's putatively right wing rigid "Stop government space now!" position is not that far from the Lefty Ludd point of view. You know the old saying about the extreme Right and the extreme Left curving around and converging with each other? Rand, don't you feel a little bit uneasy about being on the same side as the NY Times editorialist?
Canceling the Shuttle/ISS project entirely and immediately would tend to have a chilling effect on all manned space exploration. The Left would say, "Oh, human space exploration is just too too risky. The utterly failed Space Shuttle has proven that. NASA had to, just had to, terminate the Shuttle utterly and completely. Encourage private enterprise attempts at space flight? What a horrid thought!"
Note that I advocate NASA committing itself to fewer than ten more manned Shuttle missions to the ISS. My animus is against the ISS. I think ISS construction is sucking up too much money without demonstrating much scientific benefit or other payback. What I suggest is slowing down the rate of ISS construction until replacements for the Shuttle are available.
In general, however, I don't think that flying the Shuttle is too dangerous. The ISS is the problem. The International Space Station hasn't yet proven itself to merit the money that's being spent on the ISS.
ISS schedule stretch out is what is going to continue to happen anyway, in the realm of practical affairs. Let's just be more explicit about the stretch out, sez I. If NASA explicitly commits itself to fewer additional manned Shuttle missions to the ISS, and maybe one Hubble mission, then maybe the Shuttles will be retired sooner while allaying the Ludd Left in Congress and giving their media outlets less chance to declare manned space flight a failure.
Explicitly announcing a Shuttle retirement schedule will help funding for Shuttle replacements and for future Super X prizes. Furthermore, the Shuttle/ISS lobby will have less of a casus belli against newer launch systems if the Shuttle is phased out on a compromise schedule.
Posted by David Davenport at August 14, 2005 06:49 AM
"Mike: attacking the NY Times due to your perception of their motives is rather ad hominem, don't you think?"
Sorry for my spelling and grammar in the initial post as I was about to pass out from exhaustion. I literally had to try and outrun a thunderstorm on foot on a section of the Appalachian Trail just a couple of hours before.
Ok, I now see Sam posted this and not Rand too.
Because some of them are going to loose their jobs under VSE. The Orbiter gravy train is coming to and end and Orbiter processing in now the tail wagging the dog. I would still bet more NASA employees voted for Bush than Kerry. A lot of this endorsement stuff is issued by the big union labor leadership cadre, not the rank and file.
As far as the NYT is concerned from their lofty perch, alt.space does not yet exist and is still beneath their notice.Posted by Mike Puckett at August 14, 2005 08:26 AM
Mr. Simberg's putatively right wing rigid "Stop government space now!" position is not that far from the Lefty Ludd point of view.
Ignoring the fact that this is Sam's post, not mine, that is not now, nor has it ever been, my position. The notion that if it were, that it (or I) is "right wing," or rigid, is just stupid.Posted by Rand Simberg at August 14, 2005 08:35 AM
Stupid, huh? :0o
Mr. Simberg says, "In tomorrow's New York Times, they call for the cancellation of Shuttle and ISS. I called for it [link] last June. ..."
Followingthe "called for it" link, one gets the following:
The Dinkin Commission report (part 1)
Here is a Dinkin Commission report, consisting of one member and zero people consulted, on how the President can be remembered in 2504 as Queen Isabella is today.
The executive summary consists of these 15 points:
1. Set four goals for America in space: Establish a private suborbital, orbital and point-to-point space transportation industry; widen the space preeminence of the US military; commercialize 90% of NASA by 2008; and colonize the Moon and Mars, returning to the Moon to stay no later than 2008.
If the shuttle is not to be ended forthwith and immediatement, how many more Shuttle missions to the ISS do you suggest?
Stupid, huh? :0o
Well, at the least having trouble with reading comprehension.
Mr. Simberg says, "In tomorrow's New York Times, they call for the cancellation of Shuttle and ISS. I called for it [link] last June. ...
Mr. Simberg never said that. Mr. Dinkin did. Go argue with him. And read the authors of posts.Posted by Rand Simberg at August 14, 2005 10:05 AM
"I know a lot of people think NASA is somehow thwarting their chance to 'go', but I don't see that linkage."
Frustration always generates a search for scapegoats, from "Sixties liberals took away our Vision" to "NASA and Big Aerospace and Congress have no interest in my miracle CATS solution."
For some, almost anything's preferable to acknowledging that access to space is hard and expensive, and will get less so only slowly and incrementally.Posted by Monte Davis at August 14, 2005 11:42 AM
As opposed to enlightened infatuation with sending fewer and fewer people further and further into space at higher and higher cost?
FYI, Bill, something went wrong on almost every flight of SpaceShip One. The so-called "ignorant infatuation" with practical spaceflight did not vanish instantly as you predict. In part because SpaceShip One, unlike guided missiles, was designed to be survivable, controllable, and reusable even when something does go wrong.
> As for the rest: I am much more interested in seeing this country explore space -- however funded
Okay, so you're only interested in sliding into home plate and don't care about running the bases. What makes you think the laws of economics are not going to change just to allow what you want?
Please tell us how you think the entire country can explore space unless there are companies making a profit on it. (Please don't say, "By watching pictures of a a few astronauts on TV" -- watching TV is not exploration.)
> I don't see the latter necesssarily leading to the former.
We've been through this before, Bill. There were lots of people who didn't see the airplane replacing the dirigible or the microprocessor replacing the mainframe. Just because you don't see something doesn't mean it won't happen.
> Commercial aviation isn't threatened by military aviation. Why should commercial space travel
Because the military doesn't try to build an airliner, fail, then tell investors they "proved" airliners are impossible. Because the Secretary of Defense does not write white papers saying affordable air travel is impossible for the next 40 years. Because the Department of Defense purchases 80% of its air transportation from commercial aviation.
Since you raised the question, Bill, why don't you answer it?
Why should NASA compete with commercial space? If the military can purchase commercial transportation for its non-combat-related missions, why do you think NASA should not do the same?
Posted by Edward Wright at August 14, 2005 12:50 PM
My position is that government should take its $16 billion and use it to subsidize space access with no preference to what actvitity it is whatsoever so private explorers, colonists, scientists and business people can explore and develop space. That is still government money, just no more government control of how the money is spent. I.e., you put on your tax return how much stuff you delivered to space and get $16 billion divided by the total.
I think clearing out the shuttle and ISS will result in more government space, not less. More telescopes, robotics and outward human missions sooner.
Bigelow can handle depoting for interplanetary missions.Posted by Sam Dinkin at August 14, 2005 01:13 PM
Chemical rockets do not require any miracles, Monte -- unlike the "incremental" space elevator you are pushing.
If you really believe that stuff, you need to review the laws of physics and strength of materials.Posted by Edward Wright at August 14, 2005 01:19 PM
[ Mr. Simberg says, "In tomorrow's New York Times, they call for the cancellation of Shuttle and ISS. I called for it [link] last June. ...
Mr. Simberg never said that. Mr. Dinkin did. Go argue with him. And read the authors of posts. ]
Compare that to the following:
" August 13, 2005
NYT Calls for Shuttle, Space Station Retirement
In tomorrow's New York Times, they call for the cancellation of Shuttle and ISS. I called for it last June. Seems like a long shot still.
You DID say write those words, Mr. Simberg.
I suppose you will reply that you didn't write the text of Mr. Dinkin's proposal printed in the aforementioned link. OK, you got me there, Rand.
Now will you please cease this Clintonesque parsing of words and respond to my question, which is: Should there be any more Space Shuttle launches ? If additional Shuttle missions are not taboo to you, Rand, how many more STS launches do you suggest?
What about private enterprise spysats, anti-satellite sats, and orbiting missile defense weapons for hire? The 21st century counterpart to old-time privateers and freebooters of the seas ...
Posted by David Davenport at August 14, 2005 01:37 PM
You DID say write those words, Mr. Simberg.
As I've stated multiple times, I did not. What part of posted by Sam Dinkin, which is included in the part you pasted, are you incapable of comprehending?
If you're going to post delusions, please do it on another blog.Posted by Rand Simberg at August 14, 2005 04:26 PM
Edward, I find I difficult to respond to your scattershot posts, since you emulate talk radio and substitute cheap word play and scarecrow demolition for substance. It sounds good to the angry listener, but doesn't really respond to much of anything.
That said, I'm not opposed to private space activity. Nor did I say that. Just the opposite, in fact. If and when I can afford a ticket, I'll buy one. I am honest enough, however, to understand that businesses will not be active in unprofitable areas. But, since I try not to be motivated by ideological bias, I do not rule out non-private space activity as an inherent evil (as you appear to do).
As for specifics: SpaceShip One was not a "practical" vehicle. If it was a practical vehicle, it would still be flying and making money, not being prepped for museum display. It was a purpose-built one-off design to win a contest; it was a "spaceship" only in the sense that it spent a few seconds above a defined altitude. That's not to say that it wasn't a good thing, or that Rutan's next efforts might not do something different, even if only provide outrageously expensive and purposeless joyrides for the outrageously wealthy, and maybe eventually lead to something actually useful. It is to say that calling Rutan's first ship "practical" is either a deliberate fantasy or an exercise in wishful thinking.
Nor do I believe "the entire country" will ever explore or exploit space, no more than the "entire" population of Europe explored the Americas in the first centuries after Columbus. Nor is it important.
NASA does not compete with commercial space. Where is the private company with the demonstrated ability to put people in LEO and on the Moon that is being stymied by NASA? If someone can demonstrate the ability to do something NASA wants to do, they ought to be able to put in a bid, just like DoD. To date, I've seen no demonstration of private capability to do much of that. I've seen a lot of plans, boasts and wishful thinking. Someday that will change, and I'm all for that. (The Shuttle didn't fly for two years. That was an opportunity for someone to put in proposals to haul the trash and transfer crews. There were no proposals because the private sector, as of yet, lacks that capability. If and when such capabilities exist, and buying it is cheaper than doing it in house, then NASA should follow DoD's example.)
In the end, business will do whatever they make money doing, and government will do whatever else is seens to be politically necessary or acceptable. If it is profitable, it will be called "exploitation"; if not, it will be called "exploration".Posted by billg at August 15, 2005 06:47 AM
Where is the private company with the demonstrated ability to put people in LEO and on the Moon that is being stymied by NASA?
This is an extremely disingenuous question. The whole point is that the effect of NASA's stymieing has been to prevent private companies from getting to the point of demonstrating capability, by making it difficult for them to raise funds from nervous investors, either because of NASA naysaying against their abilities or designs, or fear of government-funded competition.Posted by Rand Simberg at August 15, 2005 07:25 AM
Sunday New York Times lead editorial:
"Is the Space Station Necessary?"
Editorial directly below that:
"Meanwhile, People Starve."
So, here's the solution (according to the New York Times): cancel space station and space shuttle and spend that money to feed starving people.Posted by William Berger at August 15, 2005 08:16 AM
"The whole point is that the effect of NASA's stymieing has been to prevent private companies from getting to the point of demonstrating capability, by making it difficult for them to raise funds from nervous investors, either because of NASA naysaying against their abilities or designs, or fear of government-funded competition."
Yeah, people who have failed at the private space business have claimed this. They have even claimed it when their own business models were pretty stupid and unrealistic (MirCorp, Beal Aerospace). It is very easy to blame your problems on the Big Bad Gummint rather than yourself.Posted by William Berger at August 15, 2005 08:18 AM
No one has said business should be active in unprofitable areas, nor have you proved that spaceflight will be unprofitable. Belief, even firmly held belief, is not evidence.
> As for specifics: SpaceShip One was not a "practical" vehicle. If
You do not understand the function of an X-vehicle.
> It was a purpose-built one-off design to win a contest; it was a "spaceship"
Yes, and airplanes are only "airplanes" in the sense that they spend time in the air.
> It is to say that calling Rutan's first ship "practical" is
Or an understanding of the way technology develops. The first airplane was not a long-range 747. The first boat wasn't a 100,000-ton luxury liner that could circumnavigate the world.
Starting small (and cheap) is practical because it is affordable, sustainable, and incremental. Trying to jump directly to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond may be sexier, but 40 years of experience have shown that it is impractical.
> Nor do I believe "the entire country" will ever explore or exploit space,
To quote your own words:
>>> I am much more interested in seeing this country explore space
> no more than the "entire" population of Europe explored the Americas in
Most Europeans could go to America, if they wanted to go badly enough.
> Nor is it important.
It may not be important to you, Bill. It is important to many people.
> NASA does not compete with commercial space.
That's your belief. People have given you many examples to show it is false. If you don't care about the facts, there is no point discussing it with you.
> Where is the private company with the demonstrated ability to
Don't you get tired of beating that dead horse? Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean it can't be done, or that it can only be done by government.
Where is the government agency with the demonstrated ability to put people on Mars? Since it hasn't been done, it can't be done, right? So, Moon, Mars, and Beyond is going to fail?
> If someone can demonstrate the ability to do something NASA wants to do,
That would be fine, Bill, if you really meant that. If NASA required Boeing or Lockheed to demonstrate their ability to do what NASA wants to do, that would be great, but NASA does not do that and you know it. They only require Boeing and Lockheed to show a few viewgraphs before giving them a contract -- and that's the system you're defending.
> The Shuttle didn't fly for two years. That was an opportunity for someone
There were proposals because NASA was not accepting proposals.
There is nothing in law that requires a company to have a capability available on the day it submits a proposal. The law says that a service is to be deemed commercially available if it "is currently offered by a commercial provider or could be offered in response to an RFP."
> In the end, business will do whatever they make money doing, and government
The Explorer of the Seas must be unprofitable? Otherwise, it would be called Exploiter of the Seas?
I don't think so.Posted by Edward Wright at August 15, 2005 01:33 PM
In that case, Bill, you need to start calling Columbus an "exploiter" rather than an explorer. Columbus expected to profit from his journey, as did his backers, the firm of Ferdinand and Isabella doing business as "Spain."
The idea that governments do not seek to make a profit is a modern conceit.
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