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More Marburger Thoughts

From Jon Goff (related to my previous post). I thought that this is a very key point, that demonstrates the absurdity of Mike's (or at least, people like Mark Whittington's) thinking:

There's been talk from NASA and some of their less discerning fanboys of a "Lunar COTS". Basically the idea is to waste $100-120B on using Constellation to setup a small ISS on the Moon, and then once its there start paying commercial entities to service said base. This creates an interesting situation. Since NASA won't have done anything for over a decade to help make it easier for commercial entities to actually service the moon, they'll either have to keep sustaining the base themselves while they spend the money to belatedly help develop that commercial capability. Or, if the commercial market has independently created that capability anyhow, that NASA base will likely be only a small niche market in the cislunar space.

Yes, there's a huge logical disconnect here. Either NASA will have developed technology that makes it easy for the commercial folks to access the moon (which they currently are not) or they are counting on the commercial folks to have done that on their own, in which case, that means that there's already a thriving lunar market, of which NASA will be a trivial part, because otherwise, it won't have happened commercially. NASA's current high-cost, low-activity plans really do have the effect of ensuring the worst of all worlds for them, and us.


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Dennis Ray Wingo wrote:

I have to agree with this, the ESAS architecture is the worst possible architecture to build a sustainable lunar presence and to incorporate the private sector.

Jay Manifold wrote:

High-cost, low-activity is the best of all worlds for a self-interested bureaucracy, thus the tendency of planning to trend in that direction.

John Kavanagh wrote:

Why is Marburger so eloquent in his articulation of space development yet so disconnected from the reality of NASA's method of implementation? Or has he just given up on the bureaucracy?

Karl Hallowell wrote:

There's a very good reason for the disconnect, John. Marburger has nothing to do with NASA. He is just an advisor with no real power. No one has to listen to or accomodate him.

Edward Wright wrote:

J. Wellington Wimpy used to say, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Mike & Co. are promising to help stimulate commerce 20 years from now, if we will buy them a hamburger today. But what about the "Shuttle workforce," who will transition to become the "Constellation workforce"?

If it's "politically unacceptable" to replace Shuttle workers with private enterprise today, why will it suddenly be acceptable to replace Constellation workers with private enterprise 20 years from now?

Although, the magnitude of the pork they're protecting is less than we're usually led to believe. According to NASA's economic impact study, the contribution of the Shuttle program to local economies is quite small -- less than 3% in Central Florida and less than 1% in all other areas.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on March 9, 2008 3:04 PM.

A Pet Rock was the previous entry in this blog.

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