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

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

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

    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

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    This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 31, 2004 7:36 PM.

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