Budget: April 2010 Archives

Machinists in Houston Rally to Save Space Program Jobs, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

"It's time to let Congress know that American astronauts deserve better than a heavily outsourced space program that relies on Russian, Japanese and even Chinese contractors to provide transportation to the International Space Station (ISS)," said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. "If NASA and the Obama administration have their way, American astronauts will be reduced to hitchhiking to the ISS." Speaker after speaker called on President Obama to reconsider his plans to terminate the Constellation program and commercialize the shuttle program. More than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in Texas, Florida and other states are associated with the two programs."

Letter from IFPTE to Senators Mikulski and Shelby Regarding NASA's Proposed FY 2011 Budget

"The greatest strength of the President's budget is that it is honest and forward-looking; in February, President Obama asked NASA to deliver $19 billion worth of work for $19 billion in funding and invested the necessary attention back into long-term R&T so that America can someday lead a crewed mission into deep space. To those in Congress who argue passionately and cogently that NASA should do more and move faster, we say "show me the money". IFPTE would support an increase in NASA's workload as long as it is linked to an appropriate increase in funding. Never again should NASA be asked to deliver $22 billion worth of work for $19 billion in funds as this is a formula for failure."

House Appropriations: Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Planetary Society Teleconference

"Today, board members of the Planetary Society will be joined by former NASA astronauts and other space community leaders on a teleconference for the media. This expert panel will provide comments and take questions on President Obama's recent speech at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on April 15, as well as discuss the results of today's hearing chaired by U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski."

Just Do It

Words, Words, Words ... NASA, NASA, NASA, Huffington Post

"So, listen up. Develop a sense of urgency and a respect for the benefits we gain from going to space ... without knowing what those benefits will be. Even if he knew precisely what was going to happen, how far would JFK have gotten had he described to Congress a world of cell phones and laptops, YouTube and Google, wireless and texting - for the seeds of all that technology trace directly back to the communications tech required for the Apollo program. Demanding usefulness as a precondition for any NASA budget is wrong-headed thinking; demanding cutting edge innovation, paradigm-shifting scientific, breakthrough technologies - that's the ticket! What will result will no doubt amaze and astound."

Space Watchers Critique President Obama's Proposal for NASA's Future, PBS NewsHour

"Keith Cowing, editor, NASA Watch: It's a paradigm-shifting proposal. It has matured a little over the past few months and will continue to mature. But what it does overall is challenge the status quo as to how America explores space. And that involves making some difficult decisions. It's changing the policy begun by President Bush with the Constellation program, and it says we want to go further in terms of using private sector than ever before.

Tom Young, former Lockheed Martin executive vice president and former NASA official: I think it's a significant mistake. Not because I don't think the aerospace industry is enormously capable, but I think it's not capable of doing something as challenging as humans in space by itself. I think the probability of it being unsuccessful is very high."

Aldrin Is Buzzing Today

Mr. President, here's my NASA to-do list, Buzz Aldrin, USA Today

"Other astronauts might have different views, and I respect them, but I believe that working with this president toward a consensus on how America can lead human exploration, commercialize that effort in a timely way as possible, and set our collective sites on Mars is more likely to create the kind of sustained effort, commitment and legacy that we all want to see. This seems more productive than simply opposing a change of course."

Buzz Aldrin gets ride on Air Force One, CNN

"Buzz Aldrin is used to traveling on high-profile missions. His 240,000-mile trip to the moon on July 20, 1969, set the precedent. On Thursday, Aldrin is hitching a ride aboard Air Force One to Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the invitation of President Obama, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. It appears to be just one of the perks for being on Obama's side of the controversy over the president's new space program, which cancels former President George W. Bush's plan to return U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020."

Keith's note:NASA TV has "special coverage" of todays events in Florida here at 2:40 p.m. when President Barack Obama speaks.

NASA Announces Conference on the American Space Program for the 21st Century

"Following the President's remarks, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will host a conference overview, beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT, with Norm Augustine, chair, Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee and John Holdren, assistant to the President for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The conference overview and the four concurrent conference sessions, beginning at 4:25 p.m., will take place in both the Operations and Checkout Building and in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will host a conference wrap-up with the four panel moderators at 5:40 p.m. in the visitor complex's Astronaut Encounter Theater."
Feud Over NASA Threatens America's Edge in Space, Wall Street Journal

"Even the Florida summit sparked friction. White House aides initially encouraged lawmakers to organize the event, but then decided to do it themselves. Aides to Mr. Obama then promised to reserve tickets for any members of Congress who wanted to attend, according to legislators and staffers. But invitations were later limited, according to a White House email this week that blamed Democratic Congressional leaders and apologized for "any misunderstanding."

Keith's note: Apparently all manner of space advocacy groups have mananged to get tickets - and are bragging about that fact - yet rank and file KSC employees are not as lucky.

Buzz Aldrin gets ride on Air Force One, CNN

"Buzz Aldrin is used to traveling on high-profile missions. His 240,000-mile trip to the moon on July 20, 1969, set the precedent. On Thursday, Aldrin is hitching a ride aboard Air Force One to Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the invitation of President Obama, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. It appears to be just one of the perks for being on Obama's side of the controversy over the president's new space program, which cancels former President George W. Bush's plan to return U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020."

Today's Contrasting Views

White House Defends NASA Plans, ABC News

"Critics say NASA is being dramatically scaled back and tens of thousands of jobs are expected to be lost. The administration insists that this plan is actually going to create 2,500 more jobs in the Florida Space Coast by 2012 and 10,000 over the next decade. The new jobs will come from the development of the commercial space industry and a plan to modernize the Kennedy Space Center."

Obama tries to get support of space plan off ground, USA Today

"While the administration may have finally realized that its initial budget request was a complete disaster, the new plan, from the same team, still ends human spaceflight," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who sits on the subcommittee that decides how much to spend on NASA. "The president has replaced one visionless plan with another."

Americans in Space: A Dream of the Past?, Opinion, Houston Chronicle

"Today the United States manned space program lies in deep peril as our ability to reach destinations such as the moon, Mars and beyond continues to slip to indefinite timetables. If Congress accepts the president's budget proposal on NASA's Constellation program -- a program that enjoys bipartisan support -- Constellation will be eliminated from the federal budget, effectively ending the era of American leadership in space."

Statement from Buzz Aldrin On The White House Space Policy

"The President's program will help us be in this endeavor for the long haul and will allow us to again push our boundaries to achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth. I believe that this is the right program at the right time, and I hope that NASA and our dedicated space community will embrace this new direction as much as I do. By so doing we can together continue to use space exploration to help drive prosperity and innovation right here on Earth."

Put NASA on a Diet?! Them's Fightin' Words, Mr. President

"... reaction ranged from mild (Buzz Aldrin endorsed Obama's original plan) to downright irate: moon veterans like Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell slammed the cuts as effectively dismembering the U.S. space program, saying it "destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature."

Keith's note: One thing that is really starting to annoy me: all of the complaining about - or campaigning for - this new policy does is being done by people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s - most of whom had their shot in the sun a generation or more ago. Where are the voices of the people who will inherit this space program and actually go to these new places? I do not see them being interviewed. And who will be at the Space Conference/Summit/Flyby event at KSC? The usual hand-picked suspects, I suppose - all fighting over table scraps of an old way of doing things.

OSTP Fact Sheet on the President's April 15th Address in Florida: A Bold Approach for Space Exploration and Discovery

"On Thursday, April 15, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the President will outline a bold strategy for human spaceflight that increases the NASA budget by $6 billion over the next five years. His plan represents an ambitious effort to foster the development of path-breaking technologies; increase the number, scope, and pace of manned and unmanned space missions; make human spaceflight safer and more efficient; and help create thousands of jobs."

To do the heavy lifting, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"I'm confused. If a heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV) is not needed for future human missions beyond LEO, why are we spending billions of dollars researching aspects of it in order to make a design decision five years hence? If a heavy lift launch vehicle is needed for such missions, why are we waiting five years to make that decision when we have the parts and workforce needed to make the vehicle now?"

Obama revives capsule from canceled moon program, AP

"President Barack Obama is reviving the NASA crew capsule concept that he had canceled with the rest of the moon program earlier this year, in a move that will mean more jobs and less reliance on the Russians, officials said Tuesday. The space capsule, called Orion, still won't go to the moon. It will go unmanned to the International Space Station to standby as an emergency vehicle to return astronauts home, officials said. Administration officials also said NASA will speed up development of a massive rocket. It would have the power to blast crew and cargo far from Earth, although no destination has been chosen yet. The rocket would be ready to launch several years earlier than under the old moon plan."

Is A Human Space Flight Compromise Emerging?, NASA Watch, earlier post

"This is the consensus that seems to forming in and among NASA, OSTP, and NSC: Ares 1 and 5 remain cancelled. Orion is continued - but in a "Lite" variant designed to ferry people to and from ISS. This "Orion Lite" would fly on human-rated EELVs and would be, in essence, a government competitor to what NASA is also encouraging the so-called "Merchant 7" (SpaceX, Orbital et al) to develop. The commercial activities would remain unchanged from what was announced in February. Meanwhile, NASA will continue to fly the Space Shuttle albeit at a stretched out rate (2 or so flights/year) while ET production is restarted."

Obama's NASA policy: The White House vs. Neil Armstrong, USA Today

"It's not easy to go up against a living legend, but that's what President Obama will be doing Thursday when he gives a speech on new NASA policies that are being blasted by Neil Armstrong."

Star Wars: Neil Armstrong, Obama Spar Over NASA's Future, Fox

"The first man to walk on the moon has blasted off at the Obama administration's stripped-down space plans, describing the president's proposals as "devastating." But supporters of the president's latest plan, which will be unveiled on Thursday, insist all systems are go for an accelerated rocket program that sets new goals for the American effort in outer space."

KSC employee note: "I guess Obama doesn't want to see any employees during his visit. The O&C, where he will speak has been closed to all employees on Thursday. Security Bulletin text included below. Not clear yet whether employees will be told to stay home or just hang out somewhere else. I'm guessing about 1000 employees are affected by this closure, including many of the technology development laboratories."

"SECURITY FLASH - O & C CLOSURE: The O&C Facility will be closed to all personnel on Thursday, April 15, from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m., to accommodate President Obama's visit. All services within the building, to include but not limited to, fitness center, Rehabworks, massage, cafeteria, sundry store, etc., will be closed. No access will be permitted unless previously authorized and included on an approved entry authorization list. Parking will not be permitted in the O&C east parking lot or the front curb parking area. All vehicles, including GSA vehicles, must be removed from these areas no later than 7 a.m. on Thursday, April 15th. The O&C west parking lot will be partially closed. All vehicles, including GSA vehicles, must relocate to the western-most portion of this parking lot (closer to the Training Auditorium)."

Open Letter to President Obama Regarding Space Policy

"Too many men and women have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to achieve America's preeminence in space, only to see that effort needlessly thrown away. We urge you to demonstrate the vision and determination necessary to keep our nation at the forefront of human space exploration with ambitious goals and the proper resources to see them through. This is not the time to abandon the promise of the space frontier for a lack of will or an unwillingness to pay the price."

President Obama to Deliver Remarks at Kennedy Space Center

"On the afternoon of Thursday, April 15 President Barack Obama will visit Cape Canaveral, Florida and deliver remarks on the bold new course the Administration is charting for NASA and the future of U.S. leadership in human space flight. ... The breakout sessions in between will be closed press ... media can only cover either the arrival/departure of Air Force One or the President's remarks. It will not be logistically possible to cover more than one event. Media credentialing and logistic details, for planning purposes only, can be found below."

Keith's note: This last minute stuff is a function of White House rules - not NASA PAO. This is all rather pointless since you either get to take pictures (nothing else) or you can watch the actual events from afar outside the presidential bubble with zero Q&A interaction. In other words, there will be no real media access, no interaction whatsoever with rank and file NASA KSC employees, no possible compromises offered - just staged political theater where the President tries to convince everyone how great his policy is.

No Vision = Perish

Blakey Calls for a U.S. Space Strategy

"In 1962, President Kennedy didn't say we'd go to the moon today; he said, this decade," Blakey said at a meeting of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla. "Despite the financial troubles that lapped at his feet, President Kennedy stepped up to the challenge and urged us forward, with a goal and a vision and a plan. Today, a lack of urgency and specificity will not sustain the vision and, as we know, where there's no vision, the programs -- and the skills and workforce that go with them -- perish."

Udall, Bennet Ask President to Explain, Re-evaluate Cut of Constellation Program

"For Colorado - where the Orion capsule is being developed - this move would lead directly to the loss of over 1,000 jobs and indirectly to thousands more. More broadly, we are concerned that a reliance on unproven commercial providers for U.S. access to low Earth orbit (LEO) compromises America's leadership position in space. It is also unclear what, if anything, will become of the significant investment in Constellation to date."

NASA Glenn would stabilize, see more business under Obama budget proposal, center director

"NASA Glenn Research Center would take greater control of its future and potentially attract more business under new tasks proposed by President Barack Obama, the center's acting director said Friday. The center would take the lead on two programs projected to cost $2.1 billion over the next five years, Ramon "Ray" Lugo said at a news conference at the Brook Park campus."

Marshall Space Flight Center gets four new program offices, will lead $3.1 billion heavy lift rocket research, Huntsville Times

"Marshall Space Flight Center will get four new program offices in a NASA reorganization announced today."

KSC to get commercial office under new NASA plan, Orlando Sentinel

"The White House has taken heat for its plan, as lawmakers -- many with Constellation contracts back in their districts -- have complained that the new NASA proposal lacks detail. Today's announcement, which will unveil work assignments nationwide, is aimed at blunting some of that criticism before Obama's visit."

JSC leader fears tough transition, Houston Chronicle

"As NASA released more details Thursday about its restructuring under President Barack Obama's space proposal, the director of Johnson Space Center expressed optimism and concern. Though he welcomed the proposed addition of a five-year, $6 billion technology development program at the Clear Lake-area space center, director Mike Coats said he is concerned about job losses and not having a space vehicle to fly. "We have some challenges to confront here," Coats said. One of the big ones: Even contractors who will get jobs in the restructuring might find themselves out of work for up to a year as the new plans are being formulated."

NASA Announces Programs and Costs for Next 5 Years

"With all due respect to everybody," the general replied, "a serious and real concern for everyone is the jobs." As technology advances, there are fewer and "fewer manual-type jobs," he explained. Even with Constellation, several thousand jobs were going to be lost. "I think that is a significant issue for people," he said."

NASA to oversee space taxi development, USA today

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said, "In terms of NASA planning, Constellation as a program is dead." Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, whose district includes Johnson Space Center, said Bolden's plans don't "change the fact that the president seems willing to hand off American dominance in human spaceflight to nations like Russia and China." "The president has a say in the budget process but by no means the last word," Olson said in a statement. "Opposition to killing Constellation, the program of record, is growing by the day."

Kosmas added to 'Save Space' rally

"U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas has been added to the roster of speakers for Sunday's "Save Space" community rally at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center. The rally is designed to emphasize that human space exploration should be the critical aspect of NASA policy."

Kosmas and Posey to Participate in Florida Today Space Forum

"Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) will participate in the Florida Today Space Forum at the Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Brevard Community College Cocoa campus. Kosmas, along with Congressman Bill Posey (FL-15), will answer questions on the future of the space industry in Florida and its impact on Space Coast communities."

Details of Workforce Breakdown Under NASA FY 2011 Budget

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver briefed reporters on Thursday, April 8, about the next steps in implementing the agency's new exploration initiatives outlined in the new fiscal year 2011 budget."

NASA Internal memo: "You are invited to join Administrator Charlie Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at Headquarters for a special NASA Update today at 1 p.m. EDT. The program will be carried internally on NASA Television on Headquarters channel 76. The program also will be streamed internally over the Web to NASA Headquarters employees at: http://aquarius.hq.nasa.gov/ramgen/broadcast/hq.rm

Administrator Bolden and Deputy Administrator Garver will outline the next steps in implementing the new exploration strategy outlined in the 2011 fiscal year budget proposal. Please join them for this important announcement."

NASA Work Assignments Topic of Media Telecon on Thursday, April 8

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will brief reporters on Thursday, April 8, about the next steps in implementing the agency's new exploration initiatives outlined in the new fiscal year 2011 budget."

Information is now online here.

- NASA Johnson Space Center Director Michael Coats Avaialable Thursday to Discuss Center's Roles in 2011
- NASA Kennedy Center Director Holds Media Briefing on April 8
- NASA to Hold New Exploration Strategy Briefing; Marshall Center Director Robert Lightfoot to Speak with Media
- Media Invited to Dial In for NASA Langley Assignment News

Keith's note: Relibable sources also note that a conference call is being arranged for today between the Vice President's office and key members of Congress involved in the space policy and budget debate.

NASA Contractors: abandoning the Constellation moon program? , Orlando Sentinel

"Recently rocket engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne have told other contractors -- namely Lockheed Martin, Boeing, ATK and the United Space Alliance -- that it will no longer support their lobbying efforts to keep Constellation alive.Their departure from the elite lobbying effort -- confirmed by very reliable sources and PWR officials -- is a blow to the effort to keep the moon program going over the objections of the President."

Rep. Kosmas on future of NASA, Fox Orlando

"We have made some propositions and proposals that we are hoping that the President will use to fill in the blanks that we thought were missing from his budget proposal. So I'm hoping, um, that it won't be a sales pitch and that it will actually be an opportunity for us to come together and find some common ground that will help us to mitigate job loss on the space coast."

Keith's note: Only a week and a half remain before the much-anticipated Space Summit at NASA KSC on 15 April. While no public mention has been made as to venue, agenda, participants, audience etc., there does seem to be a general consensus forming behind the scenes as to what sort of rethinking might be acceptable to all parties with regard to where NASA human spaceflight is going.

Obama's plan to transform NASA in spotlight as Florida trip looms, Orlando Sentinel

"Lawmakers are threatening to file a congressional resolution in favor of Constellation, and several senators --- including George LeMieux, R-Fla. -- filed a bill last week aimed at preventing Obama from shutting down the program. While congressional critics have issues with the entire plan, it's the $429 million requested for KSC in 2011 that appears to be especially vulnerable. Members of Congress privately complain that nobody at NASA or in the White House has been able to explain to them exactly what the money will be used for. KSC Director Bob Cabana has said repeatedly that Kennedy is a 1960s facility badly in need of modernization. But he has also said that NASA is still studying what a 21st-century launch center should look like and how to coordinate changes with the Air Force, which now runs commercial launches at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station outside the gates of KSC. That, he said, takes time. Lawmakers are unimpressed, with some claiming that the funds are nothing but a political payoff to Florida in an election year. They have been telling members of the aerospace industry in Florida not to hold out hopes for the money."

Posey's Fight To Save Space Jobs Continues, cfnews13.com

"Posey points back to when Obama was a presidential candidate and the promise he made during a campaign speech in Titusville in the fall of 2008. "You said you would close the gap between the space shuttle and Constellation," Posey said. "And you would assure America would stay first in space. Right now he's doing neither, and I'm hoping that's going to change soon." Posey said he will be at the April 15 summit whether he's invited or not. "We have not received any notice at all from the president about the meeting," Posey said. "We've written him. We've asked to be invited."


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