Plan B For Outer Space

NASA Chief Bolden Seeks 'Plan B' for the Space Agency, Wall Street Journal

"NASA chief Charles Bolden has asked senior managers to draw up an alternate plan for the space agency after members of Congress indicated they wanted to reject a White House proposal to hire private companies to ferry U.S. astronauts into orbit and beyond. In an internal National Aeronautics and Space Administration memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bolden ordered officials to map out "what a potential compromise might look like" to satisfy critics on Capitol Hill. By calling for an alternative plan, Mr. Bolden threatened to undercut White House efforts to get its proposed NASA budget through Congress."

Johnson Space Center Prepares 'Plan B' at Bolden's Request, Space News

"Bolden, however, said March 4 that he did not request NASA human spaceflight officials to come up with an alternative to Obama's plan. "The President's Budget for NASA is my budget. I strongly support the priorities and the direction for NASA that he has put forward," Bolden said in a written statement. "I'm open to hearing ideas from any member of the NASA team, but I did not ask anybody for an alternative to the President's plan and budget. We have to be forward thinking and aggressive in our pursuit of new technologies to take us beyond low-Earth orbit, and the President's plan does this. After years of underinvestment in new technology and unrealistic budgeting, we finally have an ambitious plan for NASA that sets the agency on a reinvigorated path of space exploration."

Keith's note: According to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee staffer Jeff Bingham, posting as "51D Mascot" at regarding Sen. Hutchison's recent proposal:

"Absolutely right, but the point here is timing. At this stage you have "camps" at the extreme edges of "PoR" or bust and "Bold New Idea" with many of the influential folks and key players taking those positions--now. But when it becomes clear, as I believe it will, that neither of those are going to be sustainable, then a mddle ground will be sought. But it has to be articulated as an option, and THAT is the true purpose of this bill. Thus, an attempt to line up all those players prior to introduction would have been counterproductive. The hope is that having a reasonably cohesive, credible alternative "on the table" can provide an eventual rallying point for a path forward, or at the very least a focal point for the serious discussion of what that path should entail."

Bingham also notes here that "The Ares 1 references are, first, "suggestive" as options to be reviewed as part of HLV development. The notion is that an evolvable shuttle-derived HLV could begin with a core that might be an in-line configuration of 4-segment SSRBs, coupled to an ET-sized core segment (strengthened and with a boat-tail at the bottom holding SSMEs, and a payload attachment/inter-stage carrying an accelerated Orion with LAS attached) which would become the "government-operated" LEO/ISS support capability, with a target IOC of 2013."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 4, 2010 4:21 PM.

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