January 2004 Archives

January 2004

28 January 2004: Save Hubble campaign gaining momentum, New Scientist

28 January 2004: NASA urged to reconsider Hubble decision, AP

"Maryland's congressional delegation sent a letter to NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe urging him to reconsider the space agency's recent decision to cancel the final servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope."



28 January 2004: Statement by Howard McCurdy 28 January 2004: Statement by Neal Lane 28 January 2004: Statement by Rick Tumlinson 28 January 2004: Statement by Louis Friedman

28 January 2004: Statement by Sean O'Keefe before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate January 28, 2004

28 January 2004: NASA Chief Questioned on Money for Moon and Mars, Reuters

"I think the American public is justifiably apprehensive about starting another major space initiative for fear that they will learn later that it will require far more sacrifice, or taxpayer dollars, than originally discussed or estimated," Sen. John McCain told NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe."



28 January 2004: Move Aside, NASA, Cato Institute

Editor's note: Yes Ed we know: NASA evil, private sector good. What is really goofy about your ongoing argument is the suggestion that there is not significant private sector involvement in NASA programs now. The last time I checked Boeing, Lockheed Martin etc. were all non-government entities owned by shareholders. NASA buys their rockets, pays them to build their satellites, and pays them to operate their spacecraft. To suggest that they are going to suddenly start to do this on their own without NASA money is nuts.

Could we get these services from the private sector cheaper? Oh yes. Could we be more creative about partnering with the private sector? Yes. But to wave this "NASA as bogeyman" flag around and expect all of our problems to go away is getting old.

No one is stopping Boeing or Lockheed Martin from funding their own human moon mission.



27 January 2004: Weldon: Reach for stars good for Central Florida, Orlando Sentinel

"Some may say now is not the time to talk of going back to the moon and on to Mars. I say now is the perfect time. Failure to move forward on these types of initiatives means failing our next generation. When we commit to exploration today, we expand the horizons and possibilities for our children tomorrow. That's why the president's announcement is good policy and good leadership."




27 January 2004: NASA vision meeting held at CalTech

Editor's note: According to author William Burroughs NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe recently convened a meeting of individuals charged to look for a "new vision for NASA". The meeting was held on 10 December 2003 at CalTech and was chaired by JPL Center Director Charles Elachi. Among the attendees were Sean O'Keefe, Andrew Chaikin and Neil Tyson. No word as to what the outcome of this meeting was.



26 January 2004: To Boldly Go ... , OpEd by Dennis Wingo, SpaceRef

"I don't know how many people really and truly understand this, but we live in the year 2004. That is almost 40 years since the time of the design and production of the Apollo Command/Service Module and Lunar Excursion Module. When our forefathers went to the Moon in the dawn of the space age, it was with the computer equivalent of stone knives and bear skins. It is truly mind boggling to the modern computer engineer that we were able to go to the Moon with the hardware and software developed from scratch back then."




26 January 2004: Sen. Bill Nelson: Bush Abandons New Space Initiative, AeroNews.net

"Let me give it to you straight," says Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), a former NASA astronaut. "When the president announced this last week, I was one of his biggest cheerleaders. Only one week later, lo and behold, it looks like they dropped it like a hot potato."

"This is the worst of all possible times to have a space initiative that's going to cost a lot of money," Nelson said in a telephone interview, "because our budget is hemmoraghing a half-a-trillion dollars a year. It's a tough time. It can be done -- if the president will lead it. I hope he will, but the first clues are that it's fizzled."

Editor's note: Once again Sen. Nelson is in the dark on this actual facts on this issue. It is not the first time either. Clearly, flying as political ballast on a space shuttle does not automatically make one a space expert.

What is the most important thing we should focus on Sen. Nelson? Do we find things for our existing launch systems to do in space and live with the limitations that go with that - or do we decide what is important to do in space and then adapt our launch systems to match that need? And what happens when we decide to try and go do bold things in space once again? What do we do when the money is limited? Do we make hard choices - or do we stick with things that we are used to because we are afraid to let them go?

YOU were one of the loudest complainers that the nation needed a space vision - and that the White House should lead the way. Well, they have done just that. You can't have it both ways: bold vision does not come without sacrifice. Its time for you to endorse making sacrifices - or stop complaining about a lack of vision.


26 January 2004: Has the Shuttle Become NASA's '76 Dart?, NY Times

"We're certainly gratified that that was listened to," Admiral Gehman said, "and that NASA now knows exactly how long the shuttle is supposed to last."



26 January 2004: The European (French) response to Bush's space strategy, Opinion by Taylor Dinnerman, The Space Review

"It would be far better for the US to forget about seriously cooperating with the Europeans. The overwhelming majority rejects the dreams that so many Americans have of a new, spacefaring civilization. Large-scale, long-term, difficult and very expensive projects are best accomplished by cooperating with trusted friends and allies. While there are many nations in Europe that fit this description, the ones that dominate ESA do not."

Editor's note: The author of this isolationist, anti-european rant couldn't be more wrong. He seems to think that we in the U.S. need ignore the rest of the world until/unless they adhere in lock step to what is in the best interest of the U.S. He has a long wait ahead of him -- for the world will continue to change while we wait.



26 January 2004: Ground Control To Mr. Bush, Andy Rooney, CBS

"But then, I think of all that money. There are so many things we need to do here at home. Space exploration hasn't produced much for us except some good pictures."

Editor's note: As I understand things, CBS pays Mr. Rooney to be both out of date - and out of step with reality. He does his job well.




22 January 2004: Scientists Add Up Gains, Losses in Bush's New Vision for NASA, Science (subscription required)

"Astronomers were stunned to learn that the president's plan precludes any more servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope."

Editor's note: Wrong. The space policy makes no mention whatsoever about Hubble Servicing missions. It simply says "Focus use of the Space Shuttle to complete assembly of the International Space Station". It also says "NASA will return the Space Shuttle to flight consistent with safety concerns and the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board." The decision not to fly SM4 was made by NASA on safety grounds based on CAIB recommendations and, to some extent, Stafford/Covey Task Force observations. Had O'Keefe decided to fly the mission it is doubtful the White House would have said or done anything.




22 January 2004: Bringing space costs back down to Earth, MSNBC

"Bush's new space plan certainly deserves to be debated. And it won't be cheap. But any discussions that are based on flawed data and outright fantasies are worthless."



22 January 2004: International Space Station Research Institute on Hold

"The decision was made following the President's Jan. 14 announcement of a new vision for NASA's space exploration program. A feature of the new plan is a re-focused research effort on the International Space Station to better understand and overcome the effects of human space flight on astronaut health, increasing the safety of future space missions. NASA will implement, as its priority for the International Space Station, research that specifically enables this human exploration vision."


9 September 2003: Wanted: Public's Opinion About NASA Space Station Research Institute, NASA HQ


9 September 2003: Release of Draft Statement of Work for the International Space Station Research Institute, NASA HQ



21 January 2004: Despite far-reaching goals, NASA benefits Earth most, OpEd, David J. Eicher, USA Today

"NASA often is relegated to elitist-bureaucracy status, seen as driven by starry-eyed scientists looking to grab funds away from better use on Earth. But since the days of Apollo, NASA has contributed to the technological advancement of everyday life on Earth as much as - and maybe more than - anything else. That's why President Bush's new space initiative, while expensive, will pay back incalculable dividends to everyone on Earth during the coming decades, just as the Apollo program did."

21 January 2004: Bush Wants Bigger NASA Budget, Official Says, NY Times

"Mr. O'Keefe would not elaborate on details of the new objectives, saying that to do so would cut off some areas of thinking. Since the loss of the shuttle Columbia last Feb. 1, he said, NASA has learned to question every assumption and not to cut off areas of discussion."

21 January 2004: Future of International Space Station murky as NASA turns to moon and Mars, CP

"The international venture has been the focus of NASA's space program for the better part of a decade. NASA originally planned to operate the space station for at least 10 years after its completion in 2002. But the construction schedule has slipped past 2006, causing uncertainty even in NASA about when the U.S. commitment ends. James Kennedy, director of the Kennedy Space Center, said the commitment "on paper" is until 2016. But Kostelnik said it ranges from 2015 to 2020."

Editor's note: Mike: NASA's recently released budget chart says "complete Station Research Objectives" in FY 2016 (i.e. between 1 Oct 2015 and 30 Sep 2016) - not FY 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020. The ISS budget wedge (orange) is totally gone after FY 2017. Is the chart wrong?




20 January 2004: The Bush administration's designs on Mars and the moon are, well, a little spacey, Newsweek

"As a fan of "Star Trek" and "Total Recall," I am, of course, in love with the president's plan to harvest the mineral wealth of the moon. As an American, I'm dubious. Most important, as an entrepreneur, I'm saddened that someone out-hustled me in setting up a crackhouse on Pennsylvania Avenue, next to the White House (seriously, if Hollywood science-fiction is now the basis of American public policy, someone is on the pipe at 1600)."

Editor's note: So, Gersh - your editor asked for 1,100 words and you worked backwards from the premise that you did not take this new space policy seriously and tossed in some gratuitous conspiracy mongering and drug jokes so as to give folks a chuckle.


20 January 2004: Politicians ponder new Bush initiatives, DelMarva.com

"The space exploration initiative could cause growth in technology jobs and research as engineers try to find ways to accomplish the goal. But many officials in Congress aren't certain whether to support the changes. "There are yellow flashing lights," Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said in a statement issued last week on the space exploration plan. "What is the price tag? Is this the best way to invest in science?" Even fellow Republicans have their doubts about the president's space plan, which has been estimated to cost up to $500 billion. "I'd rather spend the money here," said Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-1st-Md."

Editor's note: Wayne: there are no stores in space, nor are there any banks. That may change someday, but right now all money spent on space is spent on Earth."

20 January 2004: Bush's space dream, editorial Ashai Shimbun

"President Bush stressed his intention to make the new program a joint venture with other countries, saying his new space strategy is a ``journey'' rather than a competition. If so, he should realize that any unilateral approach under which the United States calls the shots and other countries are supposed to follow its lead will not work."

20 January 2004: Per Ardua ad Astra - Necessary vs. cool, Opinion, John Derbyshire, National Review Online

"All of that is thrilling stuff. All of it has the potential to turn up stunning surprises - dramatic shifts in the way we think about our place in the universe, sensational insights into the nature of matter, energy, gravity, that could transform our everyday lives. None of it needs human beings in space. None of it needs colonies on the moon or Mars. (Well, the moon would be a lovely place to put certain kinds of observatories... but space will do.) And the worst news is, that expenditures on manned space flight suck away funds from all this worthwhile science. Not only are there no scientific arguments for human beings in deep space, there are no arguments of any other kind, either."

Editor's note: While Frank and I are flattered that Mr. Derbyshire referred to one of our UPI articles last week and used it as a departure point for this article, we totally disagree with his conclusion (above) regarding the value of humans in space.



19 January 2004: Former astronaut trainee will head Bush-proposed moon-Mars commission, AP

"The commission will offer advice on Bush's plan but will not pitch alternative ideas, Aldridge said - like skipping the moon and heading straight to Mars. "The purpose of going to the moon is a step to go to Mars," he said, and the commission won't challenge that concept. "We're not going in and saying, 'Well, Mr. President, we believe you're wrong.' "



19 January 2004: To Mars . . . and beyond, Commentary, Donald Lambro, Washington Times

"One of the important changes in the space program is to end the quagmire of choosing either human or robotic missions. We will do both. Much more robotic exploration of the solar system is planned. Robots will return to the moon by 2008."

18 January 2004: A spaceship is much easier to propose than to produce, USA Today

"NASA's track record on developing new manned spacecraft is not encouraging. Over the past 10 years, NASA has had to kill three spacecraft that were under design because they were too expensive or too difficult to build. The failed efforts consumed billions of dollars. Some space experts think NASA is too stodgy and incompetent to create a new spacecraft. Others say the agency has the technical know-how just not the cash."

Editor's note: Perhaps, Traci. But that rover driving around on Mars, Stardust, and dozens of other flawless missions speak to the polar opposite of all the doom and gloom you open your article with.

19 January 2004: Will This Idea Fly? President Sets His Sights on Moon, Mars, "Kids Section", Washington Post

"President Bush and his advisers were looking for "a big idea," something the country could rally 'round. So they came up with a proposal that is, well, out of this world: Send people back to the moon and then on to Mars."

Editor's note: Let's pollute the minds of children now. In this piece the Post goes on to highlight all of the doubts and negativity - things that adults get all spun up about but does little to discuss the exciting aspects of this new plan as they relate to children. What a great way to convince kids not to spend extra time on their homework.

17 January 2004: Experts question Bush's call for space exploration, Orlando Sentinel via SunHerald.com

"[Alex Roland, a former NASA historian ] I think it's just a circus. All the arguments that are made for it are that humans have to be there to explore," he said. "I ask them why, what is it that people do there, that makes it worth the enormous cost and risk? And they get all vague and fuzzy at that point." Roland scoffs at the notion that scientists may be able to brew rocket propellant on the moon, from liquid water and hydrogen. Equally silly, he said, is the idea that the moon can serve as a jumping off point for trips to Mars. "It's really science fiction stuff, and it's bad science fiction at that," he said.

Editor's note: Of course you are going to "scoff" at the engineering Alex. You are a bookworm not a rocket scientist.

17 January 2004: The Citizen Astronaut, OpEd, Greg Klerkx, NY Times

"As it shoots for the moon, NASA should provide material encouragement to entrepreneurs who are making progress in developing human-rated spacecraft for popular use. It should also create incentive programs to reduce the cost of launching things into orbit, which is still the biggest challenge, and thus the greatest cost, in space flight. Name a price per pound: if a company can meet it, give it the money. That would help both NASA and the embryonic "space tourism" industry."

14 January 2004: On to the Moon, and to Mars, via von Braun, NY Times

"It would be the culmination of the von Braun paradigm," said Roger D. Launius, chairman of the division of space history at the National Air and Space Museum and a former chief historian at NASA. "The von Braun paradigm has been played out almost religiously since it was first enunciated in the 1950's. It was very logical. It's easy to grasp."




17 January 2004: Beyond the Moon: Inside Bush's space plan (Part 3 of 3), UPI, by Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith Cowing

"Both Democrats and Republicans had been questioning NASA's vision -- or lack of one -- and many looked to the Bush administration to come up with one. At the same time, some members, who had been hearing rumors about the interagency review going on at the White House, were complaining the administration was making space policy in secret -- much the way, they claimed, the president had done in formulating other policies. They demanded to be heard."

16 January 2004: Beyond the Moon: Inside Bush's space plan (part 2 of 3), UPIby Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith Cowing


"Steve Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, chaired the meetings, which were attended regularly by Richard Armitage from the State Department and John Marburger, the president's science adviser, both of whom supported the idea of a revamped space policy."


"Marburger seemed to grasp early on that the plan would require a complete restructuring of NASA. He told NASA's chief, Sean O'Keefe, and the president repeatedly the purpose of the International Space Station should be for human research only, not for commercial projects. He also pushed for a return to the moon to build advanced, permanent bases there."

14 January 2004: Beyond the Moon: Inside Bush's space plan, (Part 1 of 3), UPI, by Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith Cowing


A few days earlier, Vice President Dick Cheney informed O'Keefe he had been chosen to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "I've got a job for you," Cheney had told O'Keefe. Now Bush himself wanted to talk with him about NASA -- in particular, about the space program. Card closed the door to the Oval Office and Bush turned to O'Keefe. "About this NASA job," Bush said. "Here's what I want you to do."



16 January 2004: Hubble Servicing Mission Cancelled

16 January 2004: Internal STScI memo:



Colleagues, A few minutes ago, we concluded a meeting at which Sean
O'Keefe, the NASA Administrator, announced his decision to
cancel SM4, the next servicing mission to Hubble. It was his
decision alone, and I will discuss the details with your
personally. I will be holding a town-hall meeting in the
auditorium at 3:00 pm today for everyone who is interested to
answer your questions about the decision and talk about the
future.


O'Keefe decided, apparently almost purely for
reasons of Shuttle safety, to cancel SM4. Budget was not a driving
concern, nor was the new Bush space initiative. (Only the timing
was related to the President's announcement.) Code S opposed the
decision and had identified sufficient funding to cover the SM4
slippage.

NASA update: Please allow me to correct an incorrect statement in your letter to the SOC. Code S did indeed identify funding to cover the SM4 slippage. But Code S did not oppose the decision of the Administrator. The decision was based, as you described in your letter, on safety. Code S fully supports the decision. Sincerely, Anne Kinney Director, Astronomy and Physics Division, Office of Space Science, NASA Headquarters

Hubble Servicing Mission 4 (SM4), NASA GSFC 31 July 2003: Expected Hubble Space Telescope Science Lifetime After SM4 31 July 2003: NASA Hubble Space Telescope End of Mission (EOM) Options 31 July 2003: NASA Office of Space Science HST-JWST Transition Plan 31 July 2003: NASA Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Missions: An Astronaut's Perspective 31 July 2003: Increasing Hubble's Capability with New Instruments


16 January 2004: A Modest Proposal, Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post

"Those who want to divert even these paltry sums to domestic spending would undoubtedly have objected to Magellan's costly plans, too. Look. We can stay on Earth. We can keep tumbling about in orbiting Tinkertoys. Or we can walk the moon again and prepare for Mars. I can't imagine an easier choice."



16 January 2004: Exploring the Crew Exploration Vehicle, Gregg Easterbrook, New Republic

"A rocket far more powerful than the Saturn V will be a necessity if the Crew Exploration Vehicle is to be both capable of Moon flight and of carrying more than one person. Such a rocket is possible on a technical basis, but vast expenditure would be entailed. Development of the Saturn V was the single greatest line item for the first Moon program--the Saturn V cost about $40 billion, in current dollars, to develop. A similar outlay would be entailed to develop a new super-rocket. That's $40 billion or more spent before the first dime is invested in the Crew Exploration Vehicle that sits on top."

Editor's note: DUH not if you use Earth orbit rendezvous and launch components on several EELVs - rockets you can buy TODAY. The Saturn V launched EVERYTHING on one launch - of course it was big. As for Easterbrook's "cost estimates" - I get the impression that he just makes each successive quesstimate a larger number than the one he contrived before.

16 January 2004: Mars Mission a Trojan Horse?, Wired

"[John] Pike said he was skeptical of the administration's motives in articulating the moon-Mars plan. He noted that a new moon landing would not take place until at least 11 years after the end of a possible second Bush term."

Editor's note: "Hmm, let's see - Kennedy's charge to "land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth ... by the end of this decade ...". Had he lived, this would have been several years after Kennedy left office. The International Space Station program was to have been done in 1992, four years after Reagan left office - and it is still being completed (albeit rather late) 16 years after he left office. Then there's the Human Genome Project, the Interstate Highway System, the Panama Canal, a variety of dams - lots of things that require more than one Administration to complete - whether they are ahead, on, or behind schedule.




16 January 2004: Industry Hopes Soar With Space Plan - Energy and Aerospace Firms Have Long Lobbied NASA, Washington Post

"An industry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the oil and gas industry, including Halliburton, would benefit considerably from technology that was developed for drilling on Mars, including the tools, the miniaturization, the drilling mechanism, the robotic systems and the control systems."

Editor's note: Oh this is just idiotic - goofy, for that matter i.e. alluding to the notion that we are going to Mars so Halliburton can make money. This is just conspiracy mongering and wanton speculation disguised as a background article in a prominent national newspaper. Besides, the soonest any human is going to be running a drilling rig on Mars is decades from now. I have to think Halliburton can find far more lucrative ways to make money - as they did marking up gasoline in Iraq, for example.

16 January 2004: Space Dreams and Real Needs, letters to the editor, Washington Post

Reader comment: "Am I the only one who found it interesting that while there were four letters about the President's space initiative published in today's Washington Post, only in the case of the one supportive letter did the Post find it necessary to add the editorial comment that the author was a former NASA employee?"



16 January 2004: Analysis: U.S. space record mixed, UPI

"A review of the five previous attempts to set national space goals shows a record mixed with stunning achievement -- and rejection. Twice efforts yielded the intended programs, twice the proposals were met with substantial revisions in Congress, and one effort, the most recent, failed completely."




15 January 2004: 'Take the next step', OpEd, Washington Times

"A year ago, we urged Mr. Bush to put forward a vision of the future of manned space flight and a plan for fulfilling it as the most fitting memorial to the Columbia and her crew. Yesterday, Mr. Bush proclaimed, "It's time for America to take the next step [in space exploration]." Congress must now put its foot forward."



15 January 2004: Resumption of Moon and Mars programs discussed in Russia, ITAR-TASS

"Only about 15 billion U.S. dollars will be needed to do it, though the Americans evaluate their own project at 150 billion U.S. dollars," Gorshkov stressed."

Editor's note: "Only about 15 billion U.S. dollars".



15 January 2004: Issues and Opportunities Regarding the U.S. Space Program: A Summary Report of a Workshop on National Space Policy, National Research Council

"While workshop participants were not asked to reach a consensus and the report is not meant to be taken as a consensus report of the SSB, ASEB, or National Research Council, we were impressed by the extent to which participants did voice broad agreement about many issues about which they held shared views."

15 January 2004: President's Vision Is More Shrewd Than Flashy, Washington Post

"What the plan lacks in momentum and flash, however, it makes up in political shrewdness, and analysts said that, unlike previous attempts to get the space program off the dime, it might even survive the congressional gantlet."

15 January 2004: Bush Outlines Space Agenda, Washington Post

"The administration outlined a piecemeal program that had no overall price, although a chart released by NASA suggested it could add up to as much as $170 billion by 2020. Bush's aides were eager to avoid the mistake made by his father, who in 1989 proposed establishing a base on the moon, sending an expedition to Mars and beginning what he described as the permanent settlement of space. NASA responded with a plan estimated to cost as much as $500 billion over decades, and Capitol Hill rejected the plan."

15 January 2004: Bush Backs Goal of Flight to Moon, NY Times

"Summoning the spirit of Lewis and Clark, who set out two centuries ago to explore the wilds of the uncharted West, Mr. Bush noted the United States' pathbreaking history in space but also said the nation was working on goals set years ago with technology that is now generations old."

15 January 2004: Bush Creative on NASA Aid, NY Times

"While NASA employees applauded heartily as President Bush announced a new push to the Moon and human space exploration, some left the auditorium at headquarters with their enthusiasm tempered by nervousness. "Let's see $11 billion reprogrammed," said one."

15 January 2004: Bush's sweeping agenda for space - Retool NASA for permanent moon outpost, SF Chronicle

"It clearly is massively insufficient to advance the program that he is touting," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, a House Science Committee member. "It makes me wonder whether this is just another political plan that really has nothing to do with reality."

15 January 2004: Bush aims for `worlds beyond our own', Houston Chronicle

"But Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who flew aboard the space shuttle in 1986, said the additional $1 billion Bush proposes isn't nearly enough to accomplish all he plans. "If the president will lead, Congress will support it," Nelson said. "But he's got to put the juice to it."

15 January 2004: Bush Sets America's Sights on the Moon, Mars, Reuters

"I think it's just a total fiscal absurdity. Bush has been spending money like we've got money to burn, and we don't," said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a politically powerful conservative group. Democrats said the government should focus on bolstering domestic programs. "We should not be going hundreds of millions of miles away on a costly new mission when we have limited resources," said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.




15 January 2004: CSI Praises New Space Exploration Agenda Pledges Private Capital to Help Make it Happen

"CSI has already invested significant private capital working with NASA to develop our low-cost LEO ExpressSM Space Cargo Service. We are ready to step up and help NASA and its international partners achieve their research goals at the Space Station, and to help them affordably move into the solar system," said Miller.

Editor's note: Unless I am wrong (it happens) CSI's largest customer, by far, has been NASA. Specifically several multi-million Alternate Access grants. As such, this "pledge" would be recycled NASA money. Then again, you could say that about Boeing and Lockheed Martin too with regard to governement-derived income - except they also have substantial non-government, non-aerospace markets that generate revenue.

Editor's note: CSI responds to NASA Watch posting




15 January 2004: NASA Announces New Headquarters Management Alignment


  • Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Craig E. Steidle is the new Associate Administrator, Office of Exploration Systems.


  • Dr. J. Victor Lebacqz is the new Associate Administrator, Office of Aeronautics, which was previously known as the Office of Aerospace Technology.


  • The Office of the NASA Administrator will be streamlined to allow for more independent leadership in areas vital to the execution of NASA's vision and mission



  • 14 January 2004: Bush: Humans headed to the cosmos, UPI by Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith Cowing

    "In closing his speech, Bush recalled the words of a member of one of the families of the shuttle Columbia's crew. "The legacy of Columbia must carry on for the benefit of our children and yours," Bush said, adding, "Columbia's crew did not turn away from the challenge, and neither will we."




    14 January 2004: President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program, The White House

    "Today, President Bush announced a new vision for the Nation's space exploration program. The President committed the United States to a long-term human and robotic program to explore the solar system, starting with a return to the Moon that will ultimately enable future exploration of Mars and other destinations."

    14 January 2004: White House Space Policy: A Renewed Spirit of Discovery, White House

    14 January 2004: NASA Space Policy Budget Chart, NASA

    Editor's note:
    The $1 billion in additional funds "spread out over 5 years" referred to by the President today is over and above White House budget projections made just a year ago. This increase amounts to $12 billion more for exploration over the $15 billion that was projected (done by drawing a straight line increase).


    Relative to the FY 2004 budget base number, this amounts to an increase of 5% each year through FY 2007 and then a 1% increase through FY 2009. After that, the budget will then increase only by the annual rate of inflation.


    This represents a net increase of $800 million over the amount contained in the FY2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and presumes that this bill is enacted into law. If so, this would increase the $15.4 billion amount contained in that bill to $16.2 billion".


    14 January 2004: President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program: Fact Sheet: A Renewed Spirit of Discovery, White House


    Key Points on the President's FY 2005 Budget



  • The funding added for exploration will total $12 billion over the next five years. Most of this added funding for new exploration will come from reallocation of $11 billion that is currently within the five-year total NASA budget of $86 billion.


  • In the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 budget, the President will request an additional $1 billion to NASA's existing five-year plan, or an average of $200 million per year.


  • From 1992 to 2000, NASA's budget decreased by a total of 5 percent. Since the year 2000, NASA's budget has increased by approximately 3 percent per year.


  • From the current 2004 level of $15.4 billion, the President's proposal will increase NASA's budget by an average of 5 percent per year over the next three years, and at approximately 1 percent or less per year for the two years after those.



  • 14 January 2004: The Planetary Society Welcomes the President's New Course for Human Space Exploration

    14 January 2004: Space Foundation Hails New U.S. Space Policy

    14 January 2004: Boehlert Statement on President's New Vision for Space Exploration

    14 January 2004: Rep. Nick Lampson: "A New Year and a New Vision for NASA"

    14 January 2004: Gordon Reacts To President's Vision For Human Space Flight


    14 January 2004: Space Initiative, News Hour, PBS

    ROBERT PARK: Yes, exactly. It's a rather old-fashioned sort of idea. We judge the success of society by the extent to which work that is menial or dangerous is done by machines. And it doesn't matter if it's on Mars; that's still the way a society should work.

    Editor's note: Bob, you are a tired and broken record - and you haven't even bothered to update your anti-human spaceflight rant in a decade. YOU are old fashioned. YOU are also out of step with the American people. Indeed, I am convinced you only say these things so that (lazy and unimaginative) TV networks will put you on the air as a pundit. It must really suck to be you - with only robots to talk to.

    LORI GARVER: But if you were to ask people today, especially students, about explorers, they're not going to name robots. They're naming Lewis and Clark, and we need those new Lewis and Clarks.

    Editor's note: Go Lori! YOU get it.



    14 January 2004: Question and Answer Session with the Press by Sean O'Keefe after the President's Space Policy Announcement at NASA Headquarters 14 Jan 2004



    9 January 2004: Amazing Images from Mars?

    Editor's note: From someone@nasa.gov.


    Click on image to enlarge.


    And I thought Barney Cam II: Barney Reloaded was cutting edge ...




    13 January 2004: Special Notice - President Bush to Visit NASA Headquarters

    "The President's remarks will be broadcast on NASA Television and on streaming video at our website (http://www.nasa.gov) beginning at 3 p.m. EST. All NASA Centers will be making special arrangements to televise the event in their auditoriums or other common areas."

    13 January 2004: Presidential Announcement and Vice Presidential Visit to JPL, JPL

    "JPL's successes during these last few days have resulted in the eyes of the world being upon us. Tomorrow we will be the recipients of two very important official visits - one real and one virtual. Wednesday the Vice President of the United States will be visiting JPL, immediately following a NASA TV televised Presidential announcement on a new vision for space."

    Editor's note: Deputy Adminstrator Fred Greogry will also be present.



    13 January 2004: President's plan revamps station research, UPI

    "Possible targets for such cancellation, sources said, include material science, such as metallurgy and basic physics; basic, non-human biology; plant physiology, and cell culturing experiments. This does not mean none of this research will be conducted aboard the space station. Rather, it will likely continue using the equipment and laboratories of other countries.

    Sources suggested it is unlikely that changes in station programs will affect other areas of NASA's research, such as astronomy, physics or earth sciences. On the other hand, once the United States has answered questions about human adaptation to space, it is likely to end its space station participation -- probably around 2013".

    13 January 2004: Skepticism surrounds U.S. space plan, USA Today via Detroit News

    "The exploration plan President Bush is set to announce Wednesday would put the country in front in the world's space race. But it would also pose serious financial and safety risks, space historians and engineers say."

    Editor's note: Traci and Judy haven't seen the plan - nor have their sources - yet they post pronouncements on what it will say. Nice trick. Care to tell me what next week's Lotto numbers are?

    13 January 2004: Plan carries astronomic price tag, LA Times

    "This lack of strategic vision has been very hurtful to the space program," [Rep. Rohrabacher] said. "The president's goal is a challenge to this generation to set up operations on the moon and a challenge to the next generation to move on to Mars. As long as it is done in a responsible financial way, it will have the support of Republicans in Congress -- even at this time of high deficit spending."




    13 January 2004: To Boldly Go, OpEd by Homer Hickam, Wall Street Journal

    "If the president's space proposals seem overly bold, it's because no president has ever thought it important enough to spend any political capital to see a cogent plan in space all the way through. I don't agree with President Bush about everything but he's starting to remind me of Harry S. Truman. He gets with the program. You can argue with him about what he does and you might even be right, but you can't fault the man for getting out front and leading. That is, after all, what we hire our presidents to do."






    13 January 2004: Bush's space plan wants foreign help, Washington Times

    "Inviting such participation is a complex issue, however, whose full effect on the new space policy probably will not become apparent until later this year, sources said, when the overall architecture of Mr. Bush's new space policy begins to emerge."

    13 January 2004: Bush to Lay Out 'Affordable' Space Initiative, Reuters

    "The spirit (of the initiative) is going to be one of continued exploration..., seeking new horizons and investing in a program that ... meets that objective," Bush said during a meeting with Canada's new prime minister on the sidelines of a summit in Monterrey."




    13 January 2004: Space Policy Tidbits


  • The Associate Administrator for the new Code T, the Office of Exploration Systems, will be Rear Admiral Craig Steidle, former Joint Strike Fighter Program Director. Steidle has been seen at NASA HQ


  • Word is circulating of changes to the make up of Code U


  • Congressional briefings are delayed until tomorrow morning




  • 13 January 2004: The Allure of an Outpost On the Moon, NY Times

    "For some, it is the steppingstone of the Moon, not the distant goal of Mars, that is the irresistible destination in the human venture into space that President Bush will propose tomorrow."




    12 January 2004: Bush to seek partners for space plan, UPI

    "Although the thrust of the Bush space initiative will be within the context of domestic policy, sources said the president prefers the United States avoid undertaking such ambitious exploration journeys alone, if at all possible, and that the new plan not rule out international participation."




    12 January 2004: Presidential Directive Calls for Sweeping Changes at NASA, Aviation Week

    "The White House Office of Management and Budget has already plugged in an extra $800 million to NASA's Fiscal 2005 budget request to fund early work on the project, which Bush is expected to outline in a Wednesday address. The initiative would drive NASA's budget up 5% a year after that, according to sources familiar with the development of the new policy, but the agency will refocus its present spending on the new effort as well."




    11 January 2004: To boringly go where they've gone before, The Telegraph

    "Such failures have cowed the once-proud space agency, to the point where it breaks open the champagne if one of its probes sends back the same images seen a quarter of a century ago. Nasa may have succeeded where the British team failed, but from a scientific viewpoint, it need hardly have bothered."

    Editor's note: Let's see Robert: the UK couldn't manage to land a simple aeroshell on Mars equipped with a simple robotic arm. Yet the US lands a sophisticated rover (with another on the way) that will do what no robotic spacecraft has ever done - on any planet (even Earth!) and you aren't impressed? When the US fails in space, it fails big time. When we succeed, we succeed big time. I guess that's the difference between our space efforts and yours: you just take itty bitty steps. We leap. The true test of the UK Mars effort will be whether you send Beagle 3 to Mars - or just give up because this is too hard. Indeed, I hope (and expect) to see a Beagle 4, 5, 6 as well. And next time, instead of forcing the true believers to scrounge around for private funds, that the UK will make certain that such efforts get all of the funding required.

    11 January 2004: George W Bush boldly goes to Mars, The Telegraph

    "But Americans, thank Heaven, do not always think in strictly practical terms. They are a restless, inquisitive, pioneering people. The concept of exploration, of an ever-expanding frontier, is central to their identity in a way that some Europeans find hard to understand."

    Editor's note: Well said. I am gratified to see that not everyone at the Telegraph is a sourpuss!!




    10 January 2004: Bush plan may spell shuttle's end, Huntsville Times

    "It doesn't make sense to talk about scrapping the shuttle now, when the International Space Station is not complete. Even after it is complete, something has to carry up supplies," [Mark McDaniel, a Huntsville lawyer and member of the NASA Advisory Council] said. "There has to be something to replace it and, right now, nothing can carry the weight of the shuttle into low Earth orbit."

    Editor's note: That is not what the plan calls for, Mark. The plan calls for retiring the Shuttle once ISS is complete. At that point large things (such as those the Shuttle carries) will no longer need to be carried there. Europe's ATV and Jpaan's HTV will provide logistics support much as the MPLM does. Progress flights will continue as will Soyuz mission. And the CEV (Crew Exploration Vehicle) will take up the crew transport and return role that the OSP was planned to provide.



    10 January 2004: Costs to make or break Bush space proposal, Houston Chronicle

    "With almost everyone clamoring for change, President Bush is much likelier to stand behind his proposal than did his father the last time around. "It's a personal thing with him," said Keith Cowing, a space expert who runs the NASAwatch Web site, which broke he story of the impending policy change. "He has taken personal ownership of this and pushed it along and elevated it in importance. I really think they are going to stand behind this. I see a pretty darn good chance of this getting through Congress."

    10 January 2004: Officials Vague About Costs of Space Plan in Long Term, NY Times

    "The vision is very simple: Humans need to go out into the solar system to stay," said Keith Cowing, editor of Nasawatch.com and a former NASA official. "The vision is to go out there, but you need to homestead, to build the tools and learn how to use them."

    10 January 2004: Taking flight, OpEd, Washington Times

    "Yet again breaking the bonds of low-earth orbit would fulfill an even more important purpose, reviving the drive to explore and discover - what Mr. Bush called the "desire written on the human heart." Since the frontier closed over a century ago, Americans have searched for ways to manifest those aspirations, ingrained as they are in the national character. After many falterings and a few disasters, America again has the opportunity to lead the way into space. Mr. Bush is launching the nation on a critical endeavor. Legislators should listen and be prepared to follow his lead."



    9 January 2004: Back to the Moon, and Beyond, ABC News

    "A new multipurpose ship, called a "Crew Exploration Vehicle," would be built as NASA's future workhorse. It would consist of different components that could be combined as necessary for different missions, whether they are to Earth orbit, the lunar surface, or beyond."

    10 January 2004: Space Plan Envisions Apollo As Model, Washington Post

    "Details of the president's budget and space initiatives were first reported yesterday by United Press International and were confirmed by administration officials."

    Editor's note: Thank you Eric.

    9 January 2004: Boehlert Statement on Forthcoming Presidential Space Policy Announcement

    "I'm eager to hear the President's vision for a revived human space flight program and I look forward to getting the details next week. I applaud the President for focusing on this issue at a critical time in the history of the American space program. I appreciate the meeting we had with Vice President Cheney in the fall, as well as my ongoing conversations with NASA Administrator O'Keefe and other Administration officials regarding the future of space policy.

    9 January 2004: A Vision for the Space Program U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon



    "The president needs to provide leadership to place an ambitious human space-exploration agenda on the table, and Congress needs to be prepared to do its part. But I do not want to minimize the difficulty of doing what I am proposing. An ambitious presidential space agenda must represent a durable commitment, not simply one more re-election sound bite, or both Congress and the American public will dismiss it out of hand."



    9 January 2004: UPI Exclusive: Space plan to push robots, By Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith L. Cowing, United Press International

    "NASA would fuse together its robotic space systems and manned space program to accommodate the goals of President George W. Bush's new space exploration agenda, senior administration sources told United Press International."




    8 January 2004: UPI Exclusive: Bush OKs new moon missions, By Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith L. Cowing, United Press International



    "American astronauts will return to the moon early in the next decade in preparation for sending crews to explore Mars and nearby asteroids, President Bush will propose next week as part of a sweeping reform of the U.S. space program.


    To pay for the new effort -- which would require a new generation of spacecraft but use Europe's Ariane rockets and Russia's Soyuz capsules in the interim -- NASA's space shuttle fleet would be retired as soon as construction of the International Space Station is completed, senior administration sources told United Press International.


    The visionary new space plan would be the most ambitious project entrusted to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration since the Apollo moon landings of three decades ago. It commits the United States to an aggressive and far-reaching mission that holds interplanetary space as the human race's new frontier."

    8 January 2004: NASA plans return to moon, By Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith L. Cowing, Washington Times

    "According to senior administration sources, in the weeks following the Feb. 1 Columbia accident, President Bush met or conferred with NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe on an almost daily basis. What had been a persistent interest on the part of the President in space had now become much more focused.

    Specifically, his interest has centered on NASA's recovery and its future. Mr. Bush was not interested, however, in just throwing money at this. Rather, he was looking to lay out a more definitive plan for NASA and America's civil space program. As such, these discussions evolved over the spring and into the summer to become a more focused and structured review of potential new space goals. The end result of that process is embodied in the policy Mr. Bush has now approved."

    Editor's note: The announcement will be made by President Bush at NASA Headquarters next wednesday.

    Comments on President Bush's new space policy? Send them to
    nasawatch@reston.com


    Your comments thus far:


    8 January 2004: Bush to announce return to the moon, MSNBC

    "UPI quoted administration sources as saying the current plan called for an $800 million boost in space spending for fiscal year 2005, with most of that money going to develop new robotic space vehicles and new human exploration systems. NASA's current budget is about $15.5 billion."

    8 January 2004: Bush to Set NASA on Course to Moon, Discovery News

    "The still-unnamed program will culminate with a landing on the moon in 2013, said Frank Sietzen, a Washington, D.C.-based space policy expert and co-author of "New Moon Rising," an upcoming book about the new exploration initiative."


    9 January 2004: Bush shoots for moon, Mars, Florida Today

    "The cost of what this president will propose next week is uncertain, but the timing and content of the announcement indicates a budget increase is going to be sought. The Bush plan will be spelled out just before he makes his State of the Union speech and introduces his 2005 budget proposal."

    Editor's note: Oh c'mon John, Larry, and Todd the cost is certain. We have it in our UPI article.



    9 January 2004: Bush Plans To Call for Settlement On Moon, Washington Post

    "President Bush will announce plans next week to establish a permanent human settlement on the moon and to set a goal of eventually sending Americans to Mars, administration sources said last night."

    Editor's note: We broke the story on UPI and Washington Times - in specific detail - before you did Kathy. Be a pro - admit it.

    < 9 January 2004: NASA to Start From Scratch in New Effort, AP

    "No firm cost estimates have been developed, but informal discussions have put the cost of a Mars expedition at nearly $1 trillion, depending on how ambitious the project was. The cost of a moon colony, again, would depend on what NASA wants to do on the lunar surface."

    Editor's note: What have you been smoking, Paul? NO ONE has ever placed an estimate that large on a human mission to Mars.



    6 January 2004: Comments about NASA and Space Policy by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, 6 January 2004

    "MR. McCLELLAN: The review has been moving forward, and I have no additional update at this time."

    7 January 2004: Comments about NASA and Space Policy by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, 7 January 2004

    "Q Could you tell us specifically of any benefit at all from t

    Your comments thus far:


    It'd be crazy to let Hubble die and spend a fortune on sending a Man to Marsinstead. Hubble fulfills NASA's prime mission, while Mars fulfills Bush'sprimary mission, i.e. getting reelected. And if we can't afford to get acouple mechanics up in orbit, which is something we've been doing for 40years, how (or why) do we get the same guys to Mars? Given recentdevelopments, NASA should (absolutely) consider bidding out Hubble serviceneeds to other govts. and/or the private sector or any combination of same.This is especially stupid as we're just beginning to 'see the light' at theabsolute beginning (or end) of the tunnel, or donut, or ellipse or, heck wewon't know.....


    As an outsider I can only think that NASA is an organization in the same basic condition it always was.

    There is one re-occurring theme and that is top down management that stifles input from the rest of the organization. The Challanger blew up despite warnings because management did not want to blemish a launch schedule. The Columbia also came down because good engineering questions again fell prey to internal political pressure. It wasn't a lack of concern for safety that brought down these two Shuttles.

    The fix is not to go to extremes for safety (while really just focusing on the schedule for the ISS and Mars.) Another top down decree of safety procedures will leave the underlying cause which is a lack of listening to worthwhile communication.


    Folks:

    Keith Cowling at his "NASA Watch" web page is firing away at Walt Cunningham (Apollo-7 Astronaut and his bio is here: http://www.waltercunningham.com/ ) about Cunningham's editorial in today's Houston Chronicle on NASA's Sean O'Keefe's decision not to fly the last repair mission to the Hubble Telescope. See below.

    I normally leave this kind of debate to the direct participants, but this whole business of America becoming so risk-adverse that any risk of injury or death sends people into a tall-spin is really getting to me. From Mr. Cunningham's web page, he appears to be the classical overachiever that NASA used to be proud of, but now apparently considers too Rambo-esque. And yes Mr. Cunningham, apparently Mr. Cowling does seem to think that the "Right Stuff" has gone out of style in America and that you are an anachronism. This attitude is implicit in the over-the-top safety culture that is now taking hold at all the NASA field centers and at NASA's contractors as well. But thank God we aren't doing that YET in the US military, where some people are going to die in any mission by definition, be it a large training mission or in real combat, because folks, fighting ones enemies is a TOUGH and DIRTY business as our fighting men and woman of any generation will attest to.

    If you are to succeed in any venture, one has to make the best preparations one can to minimize risks WITH the available resources, but then you have to push the go button and get the mission done, and if you get a few cuts and abrasions, or even deaths along the way, so be it. That's what I believe Mr. Cunningham is using as a touch-stone in his Hubble repair mission judgment call, and it's something that seems to be lost on some in Washington. Yet even in the military we are fast going to the risk-adverse approach to management by going to remote fighting vehicles where there is little or no chance of our soldiers getting in harms way. But what happens when the machines are broke, the will to use them is gone, and the barbarians are at our gates? I suggest that you look at the fate of the Roman Empire or Europe in 1938 to get your answer.

    Sadly, with our ever increasing Politically Correct and Risk Adverse society, brought to you by the 1960s Hippy Flower power movement, trial lawyers, and the ruling wieners in our society that's what we have to expect from now on in American and our Federal Space Program. It's enough to make one want to puke, but it also points out that Sean O'Keefe is just making sure another accident doesn't happen on his watch with his Hubble decision, which is just another demonstration of the CYA bureaucratic-shuffle.. Any bets on whether the Space Shuttle will ever fly again, or this new Presidential "space vision" is just an election year con-job? Any bets that the American Space program is already dead and its various parts just haven't figured it out yet?

    If we aren't willing to take some well thought out and well defined risks in any of our space endeavors as noted by Mr. Cunningham, we sure aren't going to send anyone back to the Moon or go on to Mars where there is a non-zero probability of loss of some crew members or even the entire mission, especially with the low-rent approach that the current President is taking with it. But that very fact is probably how we as a society currently rate the importance of our space exploration program. It's nice to have, but it's not important enough to our collective selves to spill blood over it at ANY level.

    So how far do we take this new safety culture of ours? How much responsibility does the individual have for keeping their fingers out of the fires of life and how much should his or her keepers have? I vote that it has already gone way too far to the keepers, AKA the NANNY STATE Government.


    I don't understand your antagonistic attitude towards Walt Cunnigham'sopinion in the Houston Chronicle - nor your bias against Hubble and forthe ISS.

    Mr. Cunningham's thoughts seem perfectly reasonable to me - fix theinsulation and fly. It seems crazy to be afraid to perform missions wealready have performed before. Now we need safe havens and backupmissions just to enter LEO? I'm afraid we have lost our nerve.

    I am sure every astronaut would volunteer for the Hubble servicing mission.They know the risks of spaceflight and accept them.

    By the way, I did read the CAIB report and understood it. I happen to be anaerospace engineer. Admiral Gehman's report does not preclude HubbleServicing missions - only risk averse and timid mentality does.

    A Hubble mission is arguably no more risky than an ISS mission. And it's ariskany astronaut would be willing to take. Especially to prolong the life ofprobablythe most successful and meaningful payload the Shuttle has ever launched.


    Hubble is bigger than NASA and Mr. O'Keefe. Hubble is a national asset; the decision does not lie with NASA. The move in Congress to direct NASA to fly SM4 is the right approach.


    The Hubble decision brings to light NASA's continuing inability to "think outside the box". The development of an Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (manned or unmanned) would provide the ability to save Hubble and at the same time provide a valuable capability to supply Station (no need for every payload to be able to auto-dock), not to mention satellite orbital insertion/recovery. At the same time providing experience in operation and design of space craft for our mission to the Moon and beyond.


    Keith,

    You have developed a huge following by providing critical analysis andinformed opinions about NASA and its comings and goings. I personally checkyour website many times a day to keep up with OUR agency. I have becomeincreasing disturbed by the mean-spirited attitude you have displayed sincethe Bush Administration announcement of the exploration policy and thecancellation of the HST servicing mission. Your comments about WaltCunningham's opinion piece were uncalled for, but are consistent with yourresponses to many who have questioned or criticized the Administration inrecent months. His editorial was thoughtful and accurate. You offered noinformation contradicting anything he said; you just criticized him foropening his mouth.

    After having spent 20 years at KSC working for NASA on the Shuttle and ISSPrograms, I feel like I have some expertise that can be used to take acritical view of Agency activities and policies. The fact of the matter onHST is that Sean is dead wrong about canceling the HST mission. If its notsafe to fly to HST, it isn't safe to fly at all. I reread the white paperon the rationale for the cancellation that is linked to NASA Watch and therationale is wrong regarding the potential problems with having a rescueshuttle on the pad. How much of the rest of the rationale is flawed?

    About the only thing that the Exploration policy does is guarantee that HSTand Shuttle are doomed and that our involvement in and use of ISS will bedownsized to a trivial level long before its useful life is over. It alsoguarantees that there will be a long gap in having a US capability to sendpeople into space. How in the world can one justify a gap of 6 or 7 yearsbetween first flight of manned spacecraft and its first occupied flight? Iwould love for my former USNTPS classmate Craig Steidle to explain that one.I cant believe that you think it to be reasonable. As I recall, the roadmapcalled for a first flight in 2008 and a manned flight in 2014. I hope theymade a typo.

    I think that you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself why you havebecome so defensive and mean-spirited. It seems that you have lost yourobjectivity to take a critical look at the Agency and provide the communitywith other opinions. I too want to see us return to the moon and mars, andwe do need desperately to develop a new method to travel to LEO and beyond... way beyond. The Bush plan might be a good place to start the policydiscussion that needs to take place, but it isn't necessarily THE way to go.


    I know that many of you who read this are NASA employees heading forretirement this year. I don't work for NASA, at least not officially, butsomeday they're going to figure out that I'm their biggest cheerleader.Minus the skirt and pom-poms, of course.

    Have you ever seen this movie, featuring Kevin Costner as an aging pitcher,contemplating retirement, who throws a perfect game in his final appearance?Sean O'Keefe blew a perfect chance to engage all of you when he arbitrarilycancelled SM-4 and cited the CAIB's recommendations about having in-orbitTPS repair capability in place. If he had stated that you have two years toget this done, and thrown down the gauntlet, it would've signified a"can-do" attitude "out here", instead of being paralyzed with fear.

    I'm sure that you folks get inundated with your share of paradigms andmission statements on a daily basis. But you've never heard them from me,one of the folks in the crowd at KSC and the Smithsonian. Now, you will. Butremember that I'm 48, with a 11 year old son who wants to go to Mars.I've read that the RTF suggestions mailbox received 286 suggestions, out of286 million people. I had one of them, with two suggestions. Since themailbox was open to the world, what does that tell me? That no one reallycares? I hope not.

    Before you clock out for the last time this year, look at yourself in themirror, and ask yourself why you joined NASA in the first place. We all knowthat it wasn't for the money. It was to make a difference, to contribute, tobe part of the continuance of Kennedy's dream.

    Use all of the information you have available to you and solve theseproblems. Keeping the Hubble online is just the tip of the iceberg, becausewhat you accomplish, or fail to accomplish, will affect spaceflight formany years to come. Don't say "It's not my job" or "No one cares" because weout in the bleachers are watching.

    Do whatever it takes to solve these RTF issues.

    Throw YOUR perfect game.

    Then you can retire.


    Mr Cowing: Thanks for offering outside observers of the space program, such as myself, so many chances to speak out. NASA's recent decision to cancel all shuttle flights to Hubble really brings us back to the good old 20/20 Hindsight! Think of how many times that NASA has send shuttles into space with no 'safe haven' in place, such as Mir and the ISS. The first 25 flights between STS-1 and the Challenger accident. And then they got Discovery ready to go in 1988, still with no 'safe haven'. They then flew alot more flights before they started docking shuttle missions to Mir. When we think back about the foam falling off the external tanks and impacting the shuttle's tiles all these years, compounded with the fact that lots of these flights were sent up with no 'safe haven such as the Mir or ISS, and also not even any rescue plan in place on those docking missions, it really gives me the chills to think about all the risks they took with all those flights. Terrible that we had to lose another 7 astronauts to realize all this.


    Why not send Robonaut to HST for simple repair and replacement of Gyros to allow the telescope to go as long as possible? It would make a great use of telerobotics techniques already used in labs and would be a great dry run for any future EVA required activity with the James Webb Telescope. Dust off the Interim Control Module mate Robonaut and the spares on it and put this existing technology on an Atlas 5 and go for it in a few years. We keep forgetting that we have the technology.


    According to space.com, the DART (Demonstration of AutonomousRendezvous Technology) project will "provide expertise in de-orbitingthe Hubble Space Telescope. " The plan is to send up a "boosterrocket" to de-orbit the observatory and drop in the ocean.

    From what I understand, the longevity of HST depends on itsgyroscopes. If they can attach a rocket motor, they can attach arocket motor that just happens to contain a new attitude controlsystem for HST including gyros. When the new attitude control systemfails, then they can fire that rocket.

    Also, I think NASA needs to understand that they are managing anational asset (and to some degree an international asset). There maybe quite a few institutions interested in financing the HST servicemission or the mission I described above. And, some of them mighteven have better ideas than that. Perhaps NASA simply give HST tosome research consortium who would then have to come up with the fundsand technology to keep it working or to bring it down. NASA wouldhave to have veto power for safety reasons, though.

    Thanks for the opportunity to speak!


    How about Hubble2?

    Instead of paying $500M to $1B to train for and launch a servicing mission, we could pull the backup mirror out of the museum, hook the replacement gyros up to it, replace the optics on the new instruments and launch an all new Hubble2 (complete with deorbit motor) on an EELV.

    Even if it cost $300+M to complete design and assembly of Hubble2, and another $100+M to launch it, the cost would still probably be less than a servicing mission, and the new hubble could be designed to last longer between visits. (Or we could just replace them every 8 years.)

    I do think that Hubble has made and can and will continue to make important contributions to Astronomy, however, it, like the shuttle itself, is one of the most expensive solutions to the problem of getting better data. If we had a more responsive and less expensive RLV, then servicing might be a great thing. But since the only likely craft available to service Hubble is Shuttle, I think Hubble2 is a good alternative.


    Keith

    I both agree and disagree with NASA decision cancelthe Hubble service mission. With the changes NASA areputting in the chances of anything happening are veryslim. Infact it shows that NASA are to scared nowbecause of Columbia when the attitude shoud be "We canand will do this".

    But I can understand the decision for the simplereason even before the Columbia accident the remainingshuttles were booked to fly ISS missions and it wasColumbia to fly Hubble service missions and trying tofit in Hubble into the launch schedule now will behard.

    But I really hope that they can do it as Hubble hasbeen an extremely important and it will useful to keepHubble going for as long as they can


    From your SpaceRef.com article "Astronomy Community Disputes NASA s Hubble Plans" of Tuesday, February 10, 2004: "In the post-Columbia way of doing business NASA had decided that in order to assure the safety of a crew flying to service Hubble that another shuttle would need to be fueled and ready to go in case the first shuttle was damaged and unable to return to Earth.

    "This would be required since the Hubble and the space station are in different orbits. This would prevent a crippled orbiter from reaching the space station as a 'safe haven' if problems arose. Of course this would add considerable complexity to the standard way of doing things. 'This means two countdowns, two control centers, two of everything' NASA's Associate Administrator for Spaceflight William Readdy said in a teleconference with reporters on Monday."

    From your SpaceRef.com article "NASA Planning to Move Next Shuttle Mission to 2005" of Tuesday, February 17, 2004: "Meanwhile, STS-300 was baselined last week for a November 15, 2004 launch date - the same as the current planned STS-121 launch date. STS-300 is a pre-staged rescue mission to be in place to recover the STS-114 crew from the ISS in the event of non-repairable damage to the shuttle orbiter Atlantis used to fly STS-114."

    They can't fly SM4 because they would have to have a rescue mission ready to go, but they're going to fly STS-114 with a rescue misssion ready to go? What am I missing here?


    Keith: Hope you're still accepting comments on SM4, and keep up the goodwork dealing with Pike, Roland, etc.:

    "After the Apollo 1 accident, you couldn't start a fire in the CommandModule if you wanted to. After the Challenger accident, you couldn't get anSRB field joint to leak even with an intentional O-ring defect. When theshuttle returns the flight with all the new damage prevention measuresimplemented, the chances of a Columbia-type incident will be vanishinglysmall (and it only happened once in over a hundred prior flights with noneof the new measures in place). With all due respect to the CAIB and theAdministrator, I begin to wonder if everyone is overreacting to the RCC/tiledamage risk after Return To Flight. The SM4 decision could have at leastwaited until the first several missions were completed and thermalprotection results analyzed."


    HST has had a significant impact on astronomy and is definitely worth another servicing mission. The Shuttle is not unsafe, it is NASA management that is unsafe. Both Shuttle accidents were due to known problems which could have been corrected but were ignored in spite of their catastrophic potential. If not for poor management, the Shuttle would have an unprecedented 100% flight success rate. Therefore, I believe it is safe to perform SM-4 as long as NASA management makes the right decisions for Return To Flight. The Shuttle is at it's safest after RTF because the workforce, and more importantly management, has their eye on the ball in regards to safety. Only after long periods of success does management become lax and allow serious issues to be declared non-problems at the highest of levels while stifling the concerns of the workforce. O'Keefe needs to quit managing out of fear of screwing up again. And boy did he screw up with Columbia by putting the pressure on the workforce to meet ISS Core Complete by 2/19/04, at Bush's command of course. If O'Keefe wants to save money, maybe he ought to do SM-4 and cancel all flights to ISS as an unnecessary risk. After all, HST has returned more science than ISS ever could, especially with a minimal crew who can barely do maintenance (and I'm talking the 3 person crew it had, not the current 2 person crew, again thanks to Bush). Besides, there's no science freezers to do human biology experiments and return samples. MELFI has never flown powered and the MPLM has never been flown in an active configuration (and won't for years to come). I just wish NASA had more intelligent management. They are either technical-oriented but fiscally retarded so they ruin the budget with enormous cost overruns (thanks JSC) or they are money-smart but dumb as a bag of hammers on technical issues (ala O'Keefe). We need someone with both the fiscal aptitude and technical background to do the right things technically within the budget we are allotted. Unfortunately, there are no more Von Braun's in the world.

    p.s. Whatever the decision, I have complete faith in our management to make the wrong one.


    Keith,

    Thanks for offering these forums.

    Those suggesting the ISS orbit as an intermediary enabler for HST servicing need to understand just how difficult the orbital mechanics makes it. The shuttle carries about 1000 ft/sec velocity-change capability of OMS propellant into space, including what it has to use for initial orbit insertion (OMS-2) and deorbit. Those two burns collectively use up roundabout half. So, a shuttle may have (optimistically) about 500 ft/sec available to use for any orbit-changing maneuvers.

    Plane changes (altering the orbital inclination included) are VERY expensive Delta-V-wise; they require in the ballpark of 700-900 ft/sec per ONE degree at shuttle altitudes (dV = 2*base orbital velocity*sine(angle/2); in other words, if the shuttle launches to the Station, it would only be able to lower itself inclination-wise to 51 or so degrees, and that's being generous. Hubble is at 28.5 degrees. 1000 ft/sec of OMS prop capability weighs in at around 24,000 pounds. THEORETICALLY (VERY theoretically!), the shuttle might carry 40,000 extra pounds of OMS prop in the payload bay, assuming the tankage was available AND nothing else was there. Go ahead and do the math and you'll see that the shuttle at its theoretical best (using lots of previously unflown OMS tankage) could lower its inclination from ISS (51.6 degrees) to only 49ish degrees. To sum up, that means a shuttle would NOT be able to get from the ISS orbit to the HST orbit. [Bonus reality: ISS is in that orbit because we're partnering with Russia; Freedom was going to be at 28.5. Compromises, compromises . . .]

    So, you ask, how about sending HST back to ISS-land with an automatic booster? This of course presupposes a delicate autonomous rendezvous could be achieved and that HST could handle the contamination of both the booster (including the shaking thrust environment) and ISS region--all big assumptions. 51.6 - 28.5 = 23.1 degrees makes for a required planar velocity change of roughly 10,000 feet/sec. Think about that; that's a sizable percentage of the base orbital velocity (~25,000 ft/sec), which means a whopper of a booster stage. (HST weighs ~24,500 pounds; I'll let someone more qualified work out the rocket equation to come up with precise booster size.)

    Realistically, then, this leaves us three options:

    a) Don't do SM4;

    b) Do SM4 as planned, after we perfect an autonomous shuttle TPS inspect (AERcam-Sprint?) & repair (Plume Boom?) capability and have a 2nd shuttle (the following ISS mission in the queue) [or three-four Soyuzes (would this be possible?)] standing by on the ground;

    c) Do SM4 (or some portion thereof--an attitude control supplemental system seems most viable) using a ground-launched autonomous system.

    Before I had been leaning toward giving (c) a shot, but, y'know, (b) makes a lot of sense--the Apollo 18 20 deju-vu-regrets possibility is smelling stronger and stronger.

    HOWEVER, one risk of (b) I haven't seen discussed is the risk that a third shuttle loss would pose to ISS Assembly Complete--don't forget that the Columbia scenario isn't the only way of losing a shuttle & crew. Since finishing ISS is to be the shuttle's primary duty per the proposed new space strategy, perhaps the challenge of finishing ISS with only two orbiters (assuming an HST mission catastrophe, on a mission NOT dedicated to ISS completion) was part of the decision equation. Hardware-centered heartlessness, but an issue nonetheless.

    So I offer these thoughts for Mr. O'Keefe's (re)consideration.


    If it is to dangerous to send the Shuttle to maintain the Hubble, how about Soyuz? This might take both a Progress, automatic cargo version of Soyuz, to carry parts, etc, and a manned Soyuz to bring astronauts to do the work.

    I have so many feelings about this issue that it's hard to have a single, coherent position on it.

    1. HST and the ST Science Institute have done a fantastic job in involving the public in the excitement and awe of astronomical imagery.

    2. The prospect of several years of coordinated observations by HST, Chandra, and SIRTF was one that excited much of the astronomical community. The possibility of overlap with JWST was of sufficient importance that the Bahcall committee was willing to recommend considering stifling other possible new missions to enable it.

    3. There are lots of other space science missions that do great science, too, often at far lower cost per number of refereed papers in professional journals.

    4. SM4 slippage, and possible future servicing missions recommended by the Bahcall committee, would have had to be funded by gutting the Discovery and Explorer programs --- from which, it could easily be argued, a lot more "science per buck" is derived than from larger programs such as HST. Even assuming HST were doing the fraction or quality of all NASA space science some of its warmest admirers have stated here, would it be right to continue HST at the cost of new technology and new science? It could be argued that the longevity of HST and the enormous cost of manned servicing missions has kept the "cork in the bottle" by stifling lower-cost, new technology missions. Arguably, without an STScI to help with public outreach, the scientific achievements of these smaller missions are less familiar to the public.

    5. HST's capabilities, though, are unique, as has been mentioned here several times --- adaptive optics (AO) on the ground is limited in field of view and wavelength --- and optical/UV astronomers won't see another large "light bucket" in space for another ~ 20 years or more. The observatory on the moon business, much as we might want it, has to be seen as ripe with opportunities for Lucy yanking the football away, and it would be decades before such an observatory could be built and productive.

    6. HST is unlikely to die tomorrow; its gyros and batteries still have some life left in them, and some science could still be done with reduced numbers of gyros.

    7. The gyros to be installed during SM4 are refurbished (I believe) and unlikely to have the lifetime or perform to the same specification, as long, as did the earlier gyros.

    8. For the coming last six years of the Shuttle's lifetime, it has to be viewed as fundamentally unsafe --- that is the real message of the CAIB report.

    8. We have to ask ourselves seriously if the new science that could be achieved by extending HST operations yet again warrants risking human life.

    9. As an astrophysicist, I believe it does --- but if and only if the only lives put at risk are those of astronomers, those who have a burning desire to do the science that would be allowed by a mission extension. The Shuttle astronauts will always jump at the chance to do something as interesting as an HST servicing mission: not only is it not as boring as hauling cargo up to and trash down from the ISS, it's challenging in and of itself --- and they want to fly. As long as we need skilled pilots and flight engineers onboard to get Shuttles up and down, it's plain wrong to ask them to do what robots can do.

    10. There will never be an end to the argument over whether it's better to launch new missions with more advanced technologies but ever higher development costs, or try to put missions in low earth orbit and service them with replacement hardware with the enormous expense and significant risk of manned missions. Fortunate are they whose missions got to places where it's hard (today) for astronauts to follow (L1, L2, comets, asteroids, Mars) --- they have to build things right the first time, or they lose. If the exploration initiative succeeds, we'll be able to have the same discussion over servicing missions much farther away from home --- but probably no more conclusively.


    If a Shuttle can carry the required fuel, I'm sure that Astronauts can go from Hubble back to the Space Station to carry out inspections before returning to earth. We all love Musgrove's account of "the dance" to repair HST !!................A WONDERFUL ACHIEVEMENT !!


    Hi Keith,

    Short of a sophisticated automated robotic service vehicle, I can't see how to maintain the Hubble without a shuttle though I am an avid supporter of its scientific research. Would it be possible to remotely attach a delicate booster to the scope and modify the orbit to match the ISS? If so, would it be practical to attach it to the ISS as part of it's scientific mission despite subtle station vibrations and periodic attitude changes? The station gives us the ability to monitor and repair things things so much better than isolated orbits and obsolete vehicles. It would also save on remote maintenance costs.


    Dear Keith,

    Can I weigh in to your page of responses on Hubble?

    Firstly, I don't think this is an easy judgement either wayand I think Mr O'Keefe took a responsible decision, even ifI do disagree with it.

    Secondly, an exaggerated reaction to safety concerns- which I don't think is the case here - is not necessarilyirrational. This decision may have a salutary effect onengineers elsewhere in the Shuttle programme,reminding all that NASA cares enough about safetyto make painful sacrifices for it. If Mr O'Keefe maynot be saving these lives, but he may be savingothers, by making the point that a 2% risk of crewloss is different from a 1% risk.

    Thirdly, I accept that the loss of lives in a NASA accidenthas a greater significance than a similar industrialaccident elsewhere, because astronauts in some senserepresent us. They carry the flags of our nations, andthey also embody our feelings about exploration.In that same sense, the Station may be "worth" morethan Hubble, because it is a vocation rather than anexperimental laboratory. So I think cheap ripostesabout whether the S2 starboard truss section is"worth more" than Hubble are shallow arguments.

    However, and with the deepest respect for those whodied and those who are still agreeing to go up there,we accept that a new bridge, a new dam, a new tunnel,etc., will cost lives. Architects of dams in Africa or Asiaroutinely include chapels of remembrance in theirblueprints, for they will be needed. We send ourpeople out to dozens of war zones around the world,to keep the peace. Many are killed.

    What we should not do is to raise bogus arguments tosay that visiting Hubble is as safe as visiting ISS.I know it is easy to be brave with other people's lives,but we should be saying something braver: that thiswould be a (moderately) more dangerous flight thanusual, but in a great and good cause. Humanexploration is a great cause, but so is science.If building ISS ennobles us, so does building Hubble.We should not flinch.


    A few things to point out, in repsonse to what's been said in other comments:

    1. One respondant suggested that there was a logical flaw in assuming that HST missions are just as safe as ISS mission. In fact that person made an elementary error in probability. If there is 1/10 chance that an ISS mission will get into orbit, but not make port (such as would occur with a SSME failure, then Abort to Orbit), then with 30 missions to complete the ISS, this would happen 3 times. If there is any significant chance that at even one ISS mission cannot make port as the ISS is completed, then one is accepting at least the SM-4 risk, and perhaps more, based on the anonymous documents.

    2. There as been completely reckless talk of what adaptive optics from the ground can do in the near future, let alone what it is doing now. There is zero capabality now or even planned to do wide-field diffraction limited imaging in the visible wavelengths from the ground. Adaptive optics are great for bright compact targets in the near-IR, but they cannot replace what Hubble can do.

    3. The JWST will be wonderful when it flies, but it is not an HST replacement. The Bahcall committee recently outlined a sensible approach to the HST/JWST transition period. One can argue about supporting SM-5. new instruments, etc. versus spending the money elsewhere in space-science (as we were doing just a few weeks ago). An abrupt cancilation of SM-4 with $200M+ spent on new instruments is not the way to effect an orderly transition. If this is how we do things, JWST, and manyy other missions will be next....


    As a student who has dreamed of spaceflight for years, I'm in tears over the decision to abandon the Hubble to a slow death before its time. Astronauts and manned missions are flashy and exciting, but it's the beauty of the images that Hubble returns that ignites a true and long-lasting love affair with the stars.

    Without the Hubble images of M16 and M27 to remind me why I'm putting myself through the difficulty of studying astrophysics, I would not have made it to graduation.

    - A heartbroken dreamer


    Keith,

    I read your piece about the anonymous engineers on HST. One other option that may not have been mentioned is one that refutes Ed Weiler's position on co-orbiting HST with ISS to mitigate concerns about doing the servicing mission without a safe-haven for the crew. Simple orbital mechanics dictates that a plane change from 28.5 to 56 deg is not feasible at LEO, it is quite doable at GEO or higher. GEO comm birds that don't launch on SeaLaunch, do this all the time. It's basically a perigee burn for altitude (about 3 km/s) then apogee plane change at GEO (neglible delta-V). Only difference here is instead of 28.5 to 0 deg, it's 28.5 to 56 deg. Also, we would just need another 3 km/s retrograde to bring the HST into an appropriate altitude for the servicing mission. Orbit angle can be 180 from ISS to assure of no collision. Shuttle can first launch to ISS, be inspected, then phasing burns to HST, servicing, then go home.

    This is an idea, I have not seen anywhere, and while it IS rocket science, it's not that difficult to conceive, especially if NASA is planning to develop this "debooster" with autonomous rendezvous and docking for $300 million. I think they could add the additional propulsion and Guidance and Control logic for about the same overall cost.

    Keith,

    In a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees, the scientific community is so obsessed with saving Hubble that they cannot see that they have the potential to have an even better observatory on the Moon. I think the scientific community would find a NASA willing to reach a mutually beneficial agreement were the scientific community to approach NASA and indicate that they would stop the fight for Hubble in exchange for a promise for first access for a lunar telescope. Instead, they are calling all the chits in to get Hubble serviced and building even greater acrimony with NASA.

    I believe that the Hubble supporters who are fighting tooth and nail to have the servicing mission forced through NASA may end up with a pyric victory. Not something that one would associate with such an intelligent group of people who are supposed to have the capacity for abstract thinking.


    Keith,

    There has been a lot of interest in the anonymous documents describing the risks of a Hubble servicing mission, but I haven't seen much discussion of their content.

    Consider this portion:

    "The existence of or lack of a RCC repair capability will be a problem that is common to HST and ISS missions. While an HST mission will not have a safe haven capability, the risk associated with the absence of a safe haven is the same as ISS missions that fail to dock with the ISS."

    Fine as far as it goes, but there is a logical flaw here - the Hubble mission would deliberately launch into a non-ISS orbit, but an ISS mission would not. The chance of reaching orbit but being unable to dock with the ISS is fairly small - certainly no more than 1 in 10. So, as far as this part of the argument goes, an ISS mission would be at least 10 times safer.

    Is it just me, or do both of these documents seem to be a little ... selective? ... in the arguments they present? Not exactly a balanced engineering argument.


    To NASA Watch:

    I strongly oppose Administrator O'Keefe's decision to abandon the Hubble Telescope. His decision-making style resembles that displayed by Dan Golden. I had hoped that abrupt announcements made in isolation had disappered with the departure of the last administrator. Apparently, Mr. O'Keefe blind-sided those professionals on the Hubble team who had been led to believe that the SM4 mission would proceed.

    In addition, this brings back memories of one of NASA's darkest chapters, namely the sickening cancellation of the Apollo 18 and 19 lunar landing missions. They were sacrificed on the altar of the Space Shuttle. Does Mr. O'Keefe really want to be remembered for making a decision equally as misguided? All of the boosters and spaccraft that had already been built (and paid for) for those two Apollo missions were scrapped. In much the same way, the new camera and spectrometer that were to be installed in HST during Servicing Mission 4 are essentially built and paid for. Scores of devoted individuals have labored over the last several years to bring this instruments alive. What is their reward from the Adiminstrator? A slap in the face! Is this the new NASA?

    It seems that Mr. O'Keefe doesn't "get it." Much of the American tax-paying public EQUATES the Hubble Telescope with the space program. It appears to them that it is one of few missions conducted by the space agency that they can identify with, that they can understand. So what does Mr O'Keefe do a couple of days after President Bush's bold announcement resurrecting manned deep space missions? He negates entirely the tide of joy, excitement and focus that the President's speech had generated. Of course, the news was let out late on a Friday afternoon, before a holiday weekend, and as the news media wa switching to coverage of the primaries and caucuses. This is the new NASA?

    I hope that Admiral Gehman takes into account the many scientific and cultural attributes of HST in his report back to Mr. O'Keefe. The Hubble Space Telescope truly belongs to the American people. I hope that Admiral Gehman charges NASA with using their ingenuity and spirit of innovation to service HST, for it is now NASA's most effective means of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers "as only NASA can."


    Delivering and servicing Hubble was the most meaningful thing done by the shuttle program in its entire history. Yet somehow, a single servicing mission is now deemed too risky while an additional *25* Shuttle flights will be required to complete the ISS. Any assessment of risk should take into account the possibility of failure during launch, as with Challenger. And I believe there's a reasonable chance one of those 25 missions might fail to reach the Station, making an independent, Shuttle-based inspection/repair/rescue capability a good thing (and not merely a capability developed at considerable expense for one-time use).

    The station may in fact be the colossus of engineering that it's reputed to be, but it's scientific and cultural value is puny compared to HST. The decision to cancel SM4 is naturally viewed with great skepticism and distrust by scientists and average citizens alike. It's obvious, even to the non-technical, that servicing Hubble is a worthy endeavor, even profound. It's also obvious that assembling the ISS is neither.


    Keith,

    There has been a lot of interest in the anonymous documents describing the risks of a Hubble servicing mission, but I haven't seen much discussion of their content.

    Consider this portion:

    "The existence of or lack of a RCC repair capability will be a problem that is common to HST and ISS missions. While an HST mission will not have a safe haven capability, the risk associated with the absence of a safe haven is the same as ISS missions that fail to dock with the ISS."

    Fine as far as it goes, but there is a logical flaw here - the Hubble mission would deliberately launch into a non-ISS orbit, but an ISS mission would not. The chance of reaching orbit but being unable to dock with the ISS is fairly small - certainly no more than 1 in 10. So, as far as this part of the argument goes, an ISS mission would be at least 10 times safer.

    Is it just me, or do both of these documents seem to be a little ... selective? ... in the arguments they present? Not exactly a balanced engineering argument.


    With all the whining I am hearing about NASA's discontinuing the upgrades to Hubble (HST), I feel obligated to write this note to support NASA's position on this. I am a university astrophysicist who admittedly does not do Hubble science. I question the wisdom of the communities call for continuing to upgrade HST, which will certainly come at the expense of other science endeavors regardless of the new Mars initiative.

    The HST has produced much wonderful data with spectacular scientific results. However, one must ask, what will the continuation of HST bring in comparison to what new space experiments might bring? We obviously cannot continue HST, bring on the James Webb Telescope, and support other important areas of research. One must also consider the risk, and ask if the continuation of HST is worth the human and financial risk. Are astronomers willing to give up the Webb telescope to continue HST? A balance must be struck, which NASA management seems to be trying to achieve.

    Scientists in general are a very conservative lot. We like things to be ordered and we do not generally like change. I think this may be partially what NASA management is up against. I think Dan Goldin said it right (and I don't mean by this to generally support his policies) a few years ago at an AAS meeting when he said something to the effect that Hubble Huggers will have to let go some day and move on to other things. It seems that that day is near and we will need to move on to other things. It is this moving on that usually leads to the real breakthrough science.


    I vote for servicing the Hubble through a robotic mission. The Hubble is designed to be serviced by astronauts in full pressure suits. It is designed to be caught by the shuttle's arm. So it would seem like a "doable" problem to design a robotic S/C to lock on to one or two of the shuttle-arm attachment points and then service the shuttle as required. Can a hand inside a pressure glove be better than a mechanical hand/arm? Since the Hubble is in a low orbit, using TV cameras and live control of the robot could be done (possibly multiple control centers would be necessary so that a controller would be near the S/C at all times). We could launch this on expendable vehicle such as an Atlas or similar.

    This would seem a lot easier than what is currently being done on Mars.

    Another thought: If we can send up a robot to de-orbit the Hubble, could we not send up a robot to re-orient its orbit to be closer to the space station? Then maybe the shuttle could service it while remaining within the rules of being close enough to the space station to have a "Safe Haven". A similar robot could then boost the Hubble back to its original orbit.

    In NASA de-orbiting the Hubble just to preserve the notion that human servicing of it was ever needed?


    In a time when those who are against space, believe that we can notafford a space program that costs less then 1% of the national budget,we must show a willingness to forgo more esoteric pursuits. But with allthings that we try to get the American public to swallow, things are notwhat they seem.

    Early next decade, Hubble's replacement is slated to go up. Hubblecurrently has a lifetime of about 6 more years, barring any accidents.That gives us no UV data for at most 6 years. And no pretty pictures forthat time.

    What, in a best case scenario, do we get in return? Next generationfleet of shuttles that will deliver on the promise that this fleet ofshuttles failed. No more one size fits all. This will help deliver apermanent base on the moon, which will bring a Far-side Observatory thatmuch quicker.

    How likely this outcome happens depends if we can properly educate themass of non space enthusiasts that make up the voting super majority.

    Does it truly matter if its safety or the new policy that made thedecision? When in reality it most likely a bit of both that truly didit. This would have been the finial supply mission anyways.

    The shuttle needs to be retired. Its more expensive then it needs to be.If it wasn't for two things, I would say ground the fleet now. Thequicker we can ground them the better, for a manned spaced program.

    We have global obligations to finish the ISS, and the building of it gives us experience of micro-g construction. The ISS was designed aroundthe cargo bay of the shuttle. This frees up the design constraints ofthe cargo shuttle replacement.

    The second reason why we can't ground it is the most important for amanned space program. Nothing to replace it as a crewed vehicle. Nowthis is what gives us a ray of hope in keeping the Hubble alive untilits replacement.

    With all the various x-initiatives canceled in recent years, who is tosay the shuttles replacement isn't delayed and they can put SM4 back inthe rotation sometime in the next 6 years.

    But if not, it is better to have a sacrifice of waiting four years, oreven ten years, for Hubble like data in exchange for a jump start of amanned program that will yield even more scientific data even fasterthen the status quo allows.


    I am finding it interesting that those political figures that have lambasted NASA and its sub-contractors, sometimes appropriately, for failing to take adequate safety measures during Space Shuttle missions, will now be willing to deviate from the CAIB's report in order to perform a servicing mission on the aging Hubble Telescope, could bring unwarranted detrimental factors into a mission that at this point, are not operational, but experimental. Political maneuvering at its worst at the expense of human lives.


    I do hope that NASA reverses its decision to discontinue servicing the Hubble. Obviously this is one of the greatest scientific tools ever created and its work will never be done. President Bush's grand plansfor moon colonization and Mars manned exploration will be a waste of money. Unmanned tools are where we should be devoting our investment andresearch since we will get much more bang-for-the-bucks. The Hubble and the Mars rovers are just an example of what can be accomplished. This idea of putting man far out in space is pointless.

    Can I do anything to help save the Hubble?


    Mr O'Keefe, Adm. Gehman,

    I'm a homebuilt flyer/builder along the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. Managing risk comes at many levels for my passion.

    Judgement, planning, execution encompass every flight in my experimental aircraft.

    I understand Mr. O'Keefe you are following Admiral Gehman's report guidelines for Shuttle return to flight. But Hubble's last upgrade mission is worth any percieved risk based on CAIB findings.

    I understand choices based on financial budget constrains. President Bush's Moon-Mars initiative will force delays, cancellation, and reorganization of NASA to meet the Presidents goals.

    But the final last mission is worth BOTH CAIB's risk assessment exception AND financially, a bargain for the science returned to humanity.


    It seems very strange to me that this whole issue to repair HST with the Shuttle hasn't blow wide open. What's happened to your ability to get at the truth? Why are just a few people at the top able to make this decision to terminate the Shuttle HST mission? I am worried that the same exclusive mentality and arrogance that brought down Columbia is still alive and well in the Shuttle Program management. In my opinion, nothing has changed. I don't think they realize it but the new management is still sending the wrong signals to the workforce.At first I had hope that things would change and get better. But now I doubt it.I say let's go back and repair HST so the Shuttle Program can be proud of its mission and the HST can fulfill its destiny.


    Why does O'Keefe have the authority to make this decision? Hubble belongs to all of us. It is not just another piece of NASA hardware. President Bush's directive should not mean abandoning all that has come before. What a dumb and thoughtless decision.


    Here are just two of the many ways that the Hubble can be saved.

    what would be needed is a slightly modified version of the shuttle C. Meaning with an update cargo module; one that has a return safety capsule (CEV), a grapping section to latch onto the Hubble from the cargo container bay. Which would then have a follow up mission from the space shuttle with necessary hardware with a minimal staff to accomplish the task of retro fitting it with all the upgrades. Since the earlier shuttle C module is in place you now have a safe haven retreat should anything go wrong as well as a return module in the CEV capsule. I assume that it needs to remain in it's current orbital alignment and altitude. Other wise use the shuttle C module once docked to tow it to the space stations orbital alignment and altitude for a later repair by the usual missions to supply the station.

    If it is possible to stow a Soyuz capsule less launch and orbital stuff inside the cargo bay of the shuttle.

    This would satisfy the safe haven requirement for return from orbit if the shuttle were damaged and not repairable at that time.

    If is not needed then you have it for the next time that one is required. Of course there must be also room left over for all the upgrades that would be made on such a mission.


    Hello,

    I apologize if I am sending this to the wrong place, but I couldn't find Sean O'Keefe's email address or phone number. Please forward this to the person in charge of the Hubble maintenance team if possible.

    I have never sent a message to NASA and if I have a complaint about government I call my senator or representative, so this is a first. I do not know anyone personally working in the space or defense industries.

    I am a 40 year old woman, a molecular biologist at a private biotech company. When I was a child, I spent hours glued to the black and white TV watching the astronauts landing on the moon. Gene Kranz and the gang are some of my heroes. My husband and I have no children. Like the rest of America, I cried for Columbia and Challenger and cheered for Spirit.

    Unlike many in America, I initially welcomed President Bush's new commitment to space colonization, though like everyone else wondered where the money would come from. PLEASE rethink the plan to not maintain the Hubble telescope. I can't believe that with all the maintenance equipment already built and ready to fly, and with all that the Hubble has already contributed, that there is not another way. I understand the shuttle safety concerns and do not want to see the astronauts take on any more risk than they already do, but the Hubble is working so well and showing us such wonders that it seems an incredible waste to not take the opportunity to extend the telescope's wonderful life and let it continue to make contributions. As someone whose tax dollars help to pay for NASA, it seems to me reasonable to continue with a jewel of a program and put off the moon base for a few years. A bird in the hand is worth two on the moon?

    I'll not take up your time or mailbox any longer. But I would love to see the Hubble keep flying into the next decade, with the famous NASA know-how.


    Why not send Robonaut to HST for simple repair and replacement of Gyros to allow the telescope to go as long as possible? It would make a great use of telerobotics techniques already used in labs and would be a great dry run for any future EVA required activity with the James Webb Telescope. Dust off the Interim Control Module mate Robonaut and the spares on it and put this existing technology on an Atlas 5 and go for it in a few years. We keep forgetting that we have the technology.


    Dear Mr. Cowing,

    The decision to cancel the next Hubble service mission was a judgement call on O'Keefe's part, and even though I don't agree with it personally I can see why he made the choice he did. NASA needs all the budget authority it can to start on the new manned vehicle, and SM-4 was the mission least related to its current duties of returning Shuttle to flight and finishing Station, which duties are currently crowding that budget authority. So he decided to cut SM-4. I doubt it was an easy choice, and I think some of the flack he's taking is a bit unfair, but making difficult choices and taking flak for them are what executives are supposed to do. At least O'Keefe is doing these things, which far too many career NASA managers seem unwilling or unable to do. For this, I think, his decision deserves at least some approval.

    However, I can hardly disapprove of the current uproar over SM-4 cancellation, as it may prompt Congress to find some extra budget authority for NASA to bring back SM-4. I can't imagine O'Keefe being averse to carrying out the mission under those circumstances, nor can I imagine him having been blind to this possible outcome when he made his decision.

    But I will not predict any particular outcome, as the auguries have failed us rather notoriously of late. Instead I will say that, if we get additional money for SM-4, that would be great; but if we don't, that is acceptable--provided this sacrifice does indeed produce a reinvigorated manned American space program.


    Hi Keith To save the Hubble Telescope all that is needed would be a slightly modified shuttle C with an update cargo module; one that has a return safety capsule (CEV), a grapping section to latch onto the Hubble and a follow up mission from the space shuttle with necessary hardware with a minimal staff to accomplish the task of retro fitting it with all the upgrades. I assume that it needs to remain in it's current orbital alignment and altitude. Other wise use the shuttle C module once docked to tow it to the space stations orbital alignment and altitude for a later repair by the usual missions to supply the station.

    Don't waste what has already been paid for.


    Since the Hubble will require the development of a robotic mission todeorbit it safely that same mission could be altered to boost the Hubbleinto a long term storage orbit where it could await the development of amission that would restore it to operation. It would in fact be safer tokeep Hubble in orbit that to try to guide it to a splashdown. The proposedCEV will make it possible to service the Hubble again though the parts forservicing might have to be launched separately from the manned CEV itself,we only need to be able to save the Hubble long enough to make such amission possible.


    People seem to be taking great pains to be defensive about how this decisionis not related to the new space policy. But in fact, it is. Here's howit's linked. By not flying SM-4, it will take one fewer Shuttle flights tocomplete ISS, meaning that more $$ will be available to support the "newvision." If I were in Code T, I'd want as much budget available as soon aspossible to make progress towards the Administration's new milestones. Thisis pressure on the Administrator from Codes T, not S. In making thisdecision, the Administrator is freeing up more $$ for the president's "newvision". If the "new vision" didn't exist, then it's not clear at all thatthe same pressure would exist.

    Make sense? So this is the kind of decision that gets made in this kind of environment.


    Hi Keith, If the Shuttle is so unsafe that it can't visit HST, it's never going to be able to visit Station safely, either. In fact, the whole story about "safe haven" requirements appears to admit just that...and fix it with a band-aid that doesn't address many of the risks. Let's either accept the risks and use the Shuttle to do some good work to accompany the "man in a can" stunts (which is what the Station has degraded to with such limited capability...almost no science, no satellite servicing, no assembly base...I could go on and on) or dump the thing altogether, ride on Russian rockets for the foreseeable future, and use the money saved to develop a system that provides assured, affordable access to low earth orbit.


    If we are not willing to "risk" the Shuttle flight to repair HST what makesus think we can risk going to the Moon or Mars?


    Despite my previous messages urging O'Keef to reconsider the SM4 servicing mission, I think the idea of using a space tug to reposition the Hubble and park it near the ISS is medium cool. In fact, it's got legs. As previously mentioned, it furthers the cause of space development as well as serves science. What a concept! No only that, it fits within the president's plan of using robots and manned missions to achieve a single goal. As far as I am concerned, we all need to back to the president's plan and include Hubble within that plan. It can be done with the right creative thinking.


    The rationale for cancelling the last Hubble servicing mission seems flawed. Safety?!! Is it safer to land a man on the moon or Mars than to perform the next Hubble mission? I don't see the logic. We're willing to risk human life to send a man to Mars but not to repair Hubble. We're willing to risk human life to finish a scientifically questionable space station but not to repair Hubble. This is a brilliant political move however. No one seems to be comparing the two risks. O'Keefe can cling to the CAIB report because there is no CAIB report-equivalent for a lunar/Mars mission. What a colossal blunder...


    Posted to sci.astro.hubble

    From: HANLEY, JEFFREY M. (JEFF) (JSC-DA8) (NASA) (jeffrey.m.hanley@nasa.gov)
    Subject: RE: Daily 3536

    Newsgroups: sci.astro.hubble
    Date: 2004-01-23 09:52:35 PST
    Dear HST friends and colleagues...

    On behalf of the MOD team members here at JSC that have had the privilege ofworking with you on past missions, I'd like to express our regrets that theagency will apparently not be pursuing the planned SM4. The Hubble SpaceTelescope represents a cornerstone of achievement on so many levels withinthis agency. It is truly a "gem" for us all to celebrate. One couldsuccessfully argue that our success in building ISS in orbit began with thegroundbreaking work in methods, techniques and tools that flowed fromServicing Mission 1 in 1993... which demonstrated that ambitious orbitalassembly and maintenance by EVA was possible.

    I have been fortunate enough to be part of every HST mission the SpaceShuttle Program has flown, from deployment in 1990 through four verysuccessful servicing missions. I've carried away from that experiencepersonal and professional relationships with many of you that I will alwaystreasure, and I count the time spent working on HST as some of the mostpersonally satisfying of my career.

    The HST team has much to contribute to the future of this agency - not theleast of which is keeping HST productive through the next several years. Weare all proud of your team's accomplishments... and look forward to yet morediscoveries in the years to come.

    Jeff Hanley
    Flight Director Office
    NASA Johnson Space Center
    281-244-0202 mob. 832-287-6871


    When the initial Bush space initiative was announced I thought to myself - FINALLY, something to shoot for. I have to admit that what worries me now is that this is nothing but a political ploy to end NASA or severely curtail the agency. Part of the plan is to retire shuttle in 2010. What happens if we get that far, retire shuttle then the administration of the day decides for budget reasons to cancel work on the new Crewed vehicle? The manned space program ends. Nice clean and simple.

    Now we have Hubble being cancelled with a stroke of the pen. The timing is absolutely suspect coming so shortly after this announcement. Using the CAIB report and the difficulty in developing an on orbit repair capability to me is a cowardly way out. NASA has flown 112 missions successfully with no need of in flight repair. The odds to me seem in favour of going as is to do the Hubble mission. If necessary, have a second shuttle in the process queue ready to fly if needed, and if not needed it is ready for a station mission soon after. I would bet my mortgage that you would have a lineup of volunteers willing and able to fly in order to do the Hubble m

    18 January 2004: Clark takes stand on flag: 'Flags ought to be a way of uniting people, not dividing people', Times & Democrat

    "Clark is dubious about President Bush's proposal to establish a base on the moon and work toward an eventual manned mission to Mars. "It's not clear to me that the program, as Bush has explained it, makes sense or fits into our priorities," Clark said. "It looks like an election year gimmick to me."

    Dems don't like space

    15 January 2004: Gore blasts Bush space plan, says Earth neglected, Reuters

    "Instead of spending enormous sums of money on an unimaginative and retread effort to make a tiny portion of the moon habitable for a handful of people, we should focus instead on a massive effort to ensure that the Earth is habitable for future generations," Gore said to a cheering Manhattan crowd."

    15 January 2004: Bush Calls for New Direction for Space Program, McClatchy Newspapers

    "Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in New Hampshire last week, said Bush's plan "is not worth bankrupting the country" and suggested it is politically motivated. Some analysts said Bush wants to inject a bold, forward-looking domestic initiative into his re-election campaign this year."

    15 January 2004: Kerry comments on Moon Policy, SF Chronicle

    "Rather than sending Americans to Mars or the moon right now, these people would be better off trying to figure out how to get Americans back from Iraq," he said."

    15 January 2004: Transcript - Bush Space Plans, Dr. John H. Gibbons Former Presidential Science & Technology Adviser, Washington Post

    "Dr. John H. Gibbons: I'm sad about the focus on human space flight when we're doing so well with robotics which extend human presence. This refocus on human flight is something that worries me greatly. I think its a misplaced focus on the future that will borrow heavily from an already deficit-ridden country. It also seems to be unilateral, and it should be an international effort."

    15 January 2004: Razor-thin race whips Iowa into final frenzy, Washington Post (via Seattle Times)

    The passion that unions feel about defeating Bush became evident when, in his speech, Gephardt made a dismissive reference to the president's new proposal that would send Americans back to the moon and eventually to Mars. Spontaneously, the union workers broke out in a chant: "Send Bush to Mars! Send Bush to Mars!"

    12 January 2004: Dean admits he had no minorities in his cabinet, AP

    "Asked about Bush's expected call for a costly new effort to return U.S. astronauts to the moon and send them to Mars, Gephardt said that NASA ought to remain focused on the space station. "I think we ought to see this through before we go on to something else," he said. He also said that with the deficit at $450 billion, the nation's first priority ought to be job creation."

    11 January 2004: Dean catches flak over record on minorities, St Louis Post Dispatch

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio turned a question on the space program into a platform of canceling President George W. Bush's tax cuts, bringing troops home from Iraq and slashing the Pentagon budget. And, he threw in a joke for good measure: "I've been wondering why the president would, while we're still in Iraq, talk about going to the moon and going to Mars. Maybe he's looking for the weapons of mass destruction still."


    11 January 2004: Mars, the moon on Bush's Agenda, Marin Independent Journal

    But politics does not stop at the atmosphere's edge. At a rally in Rochester, N.H., yesterday for his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor, suggested that Bush's motivation was political, and he asked how the program would be paid for. "I happen to think space exploration is terrific," Dean said. "Where is the tax increase to pay for it? It is not worth bankrupting the country."

    11 January 2004: Democrats in Tight Race Before Iowa Caucuses, Reuters

    "At a pancake breakfast in Waterloo, Iowa, Dean took aim at Bush instead, calling him out of touch with reality and ridiculing his upcoming call for replacing aging U.S. space shuttles with a new generation spacecraft to get Americans back to the moon and on to Mars."

    11 January 2004: CNN Late Edition (Transcript)

    BLITZER: "Let's go through a few of the substantive issues on the agenda right now. The president expecting next week, in this coming week, to announce a major new initiative on space, to perhaps send man, maybe women, men and women, back to the moon for some sort of a permanent base there, and maybe even, long term, go out to Mars. Is this money well spent?"

    LIEBERMAN: "You know, I have very mixed feelings about it, but I'll make clear where I end up. Remember, I was attracted into politics by President Kennedy, so the moonshot program thrilled me, and I've always supported the space program. But if you ask me whether the best use of $1 trillion of American taxpayer money in the coming years is to land a mission on Mars or the moon, I'd say no. We need it right here on Earth to give health care that's affordable to everybody, to improve our education system, and do better on veterans' benefits and homeland security. And I'll tell you, I've got an idea to create an American center for cures, that will set as the goal something that seems as impossible today as it did when Kennedy said we could go to the moon, and that's to cure chronic diseases like Alzheimer's and forms of cancer and diabetes, et cetera, et cetera. But if we need -- if we had that kind of money, we could do it right here on Earth. And, frankly, I think that's more important to the American people than that kind of space voyage at this point in our history."

    Your comments thus far:


    With all due respect to space advocates who view the new space policy as a positive thing, I am a space advocate who sees it in an entirely different light. I look at the same policy and see a shutdown of U.S. human spaceflight in 2010. Beyond that, there is an incredibly unchallenging timeline for retuning to the Moon. This bold vision is no more than political double speak.


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