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« Conventional Unwisdom | Main | Probably A Roll Back To The VAB »


Forty-nine years after its founding, Chair Force Engineer asks if NASA should get out of the manned spaceflight business. I think that's inevitable, at least for earth to orbit segment (probably beyond as well, once access gets cheap enough for the Planetary or Mars Societies to sponsor their own expeditions, as the National Geographic Society does on earth), but there's too much political inertia for it to happen before it becomes clear to everyone how absurd its proposed architecture is. That won't happen, as he notes, until the private sector is launching people into space.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 27, 2007 08:43 AM
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Is there a good place to read a summary of NASA's proposed architecture and a critique thereof?

Posted by Jeff Mauldin at February 27, 2007 09:48 AM

Interesting admission from the Chair Force Engineer's post: "The private sector will take even longer than NASA to reach the moon..."

Are we NewSpacers so hostile to NASA "socialism" that we are willing to allow the communist Chinese to start the exploitation of the Moon first?

I, for one, am not.

Posted by Bill at February 27, 2007 11:14 AM

I don't agree with that assessment, but even if I did, China will take longer than either NASA or New Space, at least at their current rate of two launches every three years.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 27, 2007 11:20 AM

I've always seen a role for a government space effort, much like a Coast Guard/Air Force function that we have today for rescue at sea. There'll also be some role for long-lead research.

Granted, I'm not sure how many centers those roles would support...

Posted by Tom at February 27, 2007 12:30 PM

I think NASA should be in charge of manned spaceflight as much as the FAA is in charge of manned Air Transportation. The FAA doesn't run an Airline or own the planes. NASA shouldn't "own" space transportation.

NASA needs to go back to it's NACA roots and do basic science that helps private companies develop space transport (as NACA designed the Hershey bar wing).

NASA needs to get out of the business of launching commercial satellites. Lockheed and Boeing (among others) are perfectly capable of launching commercial payloads. Let NASA launch the science payloads to do the basic research.

Posted by Charles Butler at February 27, 2007 03:57 PM

> Are we NewSpacers so hostile to NASA "socialism" that we are
> willing to allow the communist Chinese to start the exploitation of the Moon first?

> I, for one, am not.

Yet, you don't criticize Mike Griffin for saying he is "dating" the Communists and wants to bring them into VSE. Your criticisms are directed solely at those who want an expanded role for private enterprise or the US military.

I guess you don't think very much of lunar resources, if you believe three taikonauts in a Shenghou capsule could use them all up.

Posted by Edward Wright at February 27, 2007 08:01 PM

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