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A Space Race I'd Like To See
Imagine a 2008 election campaign between Newt Gingrich and Bill Richardson. Whoever lost, space, and New Space, would win big. Not to imply, of course, that it's a likely matchup. The joint probability of both of them getting their respective party nominations is...errrrmmmm...astronomical.
Also, note that I've added a new category (a year or so before the first primary...sigh...) called "Space and Campaign 2008," to correspond to the one I had four years ago. I wish that I hadn't had to do it so soon.Posted by Rand Simberg at February 21, 2007 02:40 PM
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I don't think there will be big jumps in space initiatives even if either of these two people were President. It just isn't a high public priority.Posted by Twist at February 21, 2007 03:50 PM
Rand, Other than keeping you employed, please explain to us taxpayers why the Feds should pay for significant new space initiatives? We've been to the moon and back. We've tried manufacturing in space and it doesn't make economic sense - if it did we'd be doing it now OK? And btw, humans don't do well in space in the long term either - its proven now, dig? We can and do launch the one thing which works - satellites for communications already. I mean I dig the Buck Rogers shit (I have 15 years experience in manned spaceflight and satellite development personally), but frankly, how about we let the damn market do the job - OK?Posted by RKV at February 21, 2007 06:53 PM
There could certianly be good commercials. Richardson's commercials were some of the best in the last campaign season.
and Newt is always good for "something"...
Posted by Robert G. Oler at February 21, 2007 08:07 PM
It is very unlikely that Richardson will ever get the nomination. He is a tad too sane for national Democrats.
Newt, on the other hand, might just make it. At the very least he will be a fount of fertile ideas for others to carry.Posted by Mark R. Whittington at February 21, 2007 08:55 PM
But more importantly, both candidates are big advocates for exactly what you are suggesting. Bill Richardson (and his Sec. Economic Development Rick Homans) is one of the main reasons the XPRIZE Cup can do what its doing. Newt has been advocating for commercial space for decades. The ways a President can affect space policy goes way beyond simply twiddling with NASA's budget.
Rand, apologies for putting words in your mouth. I just couldn't let that comment stand...Posted by Michael Mealling at February 22, 2007 04:50 AM
Michael, I read this blog enough not to need kid gloves. Hey, I LIKE the Buck Rogers stuff. I just reject having to pay taxes for it. Time for the space business to stand on its own two feet or fail. My 2 cents.
Yo, if your reading comprehension isn't good enough to tell you Rand isn't pro-NASA, or that what Richardson and Gingrich like about going into space isn't much about NASA either, it needs to drastically improve, dig?Posted by Jay Manifold at February 22, 2007 06:38 AM
Yo, Rand works for one of the big NASA contractors, right? MacDac if I remember right? Works on proposals for big govt space, at least that's what I remember reading here previously.
Posted by Mark R. Whittington at February 21, 2007 08:55 PM
I actually think that Richardson has a better chance of getting the nomination then Newt does...If the GOP "front horse" (McNasty and Rudy) for some reason stumble on the way to the Imperium the guy who is waiting in the wings (and who I love to hear speak) is Duncan Hunter.
Hunter is smart, charismatic, and a true national hero...he is not a chickenhawk...his family walks the walk....
I guess if I do a fantasy it is a McCain/Hunter race...it puts CA and the west in play and is a wonderful ticket.
I would releash a debate where both members of the GOP ticket are vets and their kids are (or have been) in Iraq..and the Hillary/Obama camp is that camp of peace love and happinessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss...
RobertPosted by Robert G. Oler at February 22, 2007 07:10 AM
Michael, your logic: "the question becomes: if you are going to spend $16 billion a year on "space" anyway, wouldn't it make sense for it to enable the market when it can and when it can't, to do as little damage as possible?" - is just horrible.
When we see a robbery in progress, we should try to stop it, - period. We should not be thinking "since he is robbed anyway; if we can't stop it, let's at least get our cut of the loot!"Posted by Boris Ruhmsen at February 22, 2007 07:29 AM
Okay, Newt has advocated commercial space. Fair enough. On the other hand, Bill Richardson is actually DOING something in New Mexico.
Maybe space advocates need to donate to Bill's campaign so when Hillary and Obama knock each other out, Bill can step into the front tier.
Or at a minimum, get Bill Richardson to win the "Veep- stakes" with a promise to put NASA in his jurisdiction.Posted by Bill White at February 22, 2007 07:50 AM
Yo, Rand works for one of the big NASA contractors, right?
MacDac if I remember right?
That company hasn't existed for over a decade.
Works on proposals for big govt space
Occasionally, as a consultant. So?
So my simple point is we need to fund NASA less, much less than where we are now.
You can make that point all you want. It remains unlikely to happen. I've never advocated large budgets for NASA on this blog, but I accept the fact that they're going to continue to get them. I merely try to get them to spend the money a little more effectively.Posted by Rand Simberg at February 22, 2007 08:29 AM
Umm..... that's what I'm doing. I'm VP for Business Development for a commercial space startup that is building hardware. You might want to check your assumptions before posting some of that.
I've run down the road your advocating and it truly is tilting at windmills. I've posted about it numerous times. What you eventually learn is that NASA exists for political and non-technical reasons that you have zero chance of changing. We could have FTL starships built by Mitsubishi flying to other galaxies and you'll still have a NASA spending billions.
So the best thing you can do is tweek the bits on the edges to make them slightly less disruptive and then you route around the rest. You should also really check your assumptions about Rand. Suggesting he is a shill for Big Aerospace is laughable.Posted by Michael Mealling at February 22, 2007 09:19 AM
What you eventually learn is that NASA exists for political and non-technical reasons that you have zero chance of changing.
* * *
So the best thing you can do is tweek the bits on the edges to make them slightly less disruptive and then you route around the rest.
Thus to get knotted knickers concerning Griffin's over-priced shuttle derived hardware (ESAS) versus O'Keefe & Steidle's over-priced EELV spirals is pointless. A Bigelow deal with LM to fly an Atlas derived crew taxi will be far better for NewSpace than NASA's selection of Atlas V for CEV.
NewSpace needs to locate private money more than it needs a place at Uncle Sugar's banquet table.Posted by Bill White at February 22, 2007 10:27 AM
Mark Whittington comments as follows:
Rand Simberg imagines the perfect match up in the Presidential race for space advocates. Bill Richardson vs Newt Gingrich. I'm pretty sure that Richardson has no chance of getting the nomination, as he is too sane for national Democrats. Newt, on the other hand, has some popularity among Republicans and is one of the most imaginative and intelligent politicians in American history.
I will reply here to comment that the Veep-stakes are very significant here.
NASA & space exploration has at times been given to the Vice President as his jursidiction and a Veep Bill Richardson would give NASA more time and attention than a POTUS Bill Richardson ever could.
Now, with Hillary and Obama going at it with knives, a Hillary-Obama ticket is far less likely.
Enter Bill Richardson, stage right.Posted by Bill White at February 22, 2007 10:40 AM
> But your comment assumes that getting NASA completely out of the way
You are both assuming that "US government == NASA." That isn't true. NASA is just *part* of the US government.
NASA was founded for one single purpose. To take manned spaceflight out of the hands of the military, for Cold War propoganda purposes. As soon as that was done, the politicians could say "We don't need DynaSoar because we have Mercury."
The government in't going to cease to exist, or cease to be involved in space, but that doesn't mean there can't be changes in organization and spending priorities. Congress took manned space away from the military and gave it to NASA. Congress could give it back to the military. (There were serious calls to do that after Challenger.) At least two credible Presidential candidates are already talking eliminating or drastically restructuring NASA. Flight International just called for a restructuring to remove aeronautics from NASA and recreate the NACA. Etc.
The government has many more choices besides eliminating manned spaceflight and continuing to spend $17 billion a year on a Kennedy-era space program.
And yet, you're picking the our pockets with both hands to pay for ESAS.
You want taxpayers to give you huge sums of money, but don't want us to have any say in how that money is spent. According to you, only King Michael I should have any say.
Have you heard the expression, "No taxation without representation"?
> Guys like Rutan get it done, and get it done fast and cheap (relatively
Keith, are you aware of how many projects Rutan does for the military?
I invite you to pick up Verna Foster Rollo's biography of Rutan and check out the story about how his work on the Advanced Tactical Transport reformed DARPA procurement practices. (I'd give you a link to it at Amazon, but Rand's crazed spam filter won't accept it.)
There are many innovative ways that entrepreneurs could work with the military. Again, NASA is not the entire US government. Providing for the common defense is the first duty of government, and "whoever controls outer space controls the earth."
Back to the presidential candidates. I agree that Bill Richardson is the one Dem who has a track record in innovative space policy. And Newt is the most well known of the GOP contenders with a real space vision. I would also include Sam Brownback, who pushed for innovative space policies as chair of the Senate subcommittee dealing with space. (I know he's considered a dark horse, but the media and pundits always underestimate the strength of the prolife movement.) Think Pete Worden as NASA Administrator. (He served as a fellow on Brownback's staff.)Posted by Joe Gillin at February 22, 2007 06:42 PM
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