Exploration: December 2004 Archives

Questions for NASA, OpEd, Washington Post

"Indeed, taking over at NASA is something like inheriting a house partway through a renovation job that turned out to be ill-advised and running way over budget."

Editor's note: Alas, the intellectually lazy editorial staff at the Washington Post once again show how easy it is to wave their collective arms in the air about problems at NASA. Its as if they have a special button on their computer labeled "WHINE". The fact that the White House and Rep. Delay made passage of the entire federal budget contingent upon full funding for NASA is utterly unprecedented - yet they simply write it off as a pork ploy for Delay. Yet when it comes to a commensurate suggestion of possible solution(s) for NASA's woes, they put forth nothing. The closest they come up with is the worn out suggestion which can be summarized as "humans bad, robots good".

Editor's note: The following notices appeared in the Federal Register the other day. Now all NASA has to do is explain to everyone how this swarm of new advisory committees works to advise the agency and thow they interact with one another - and an already existing swarm of advisory committees. Oh yes, NASA has to go find a hundred or so people willing to serve on them.

Notice of Establishment of a NASA Advisory Committees:

NASA Solar System Exploration Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Nuclear Systems Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA International Space Station Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Space Shuttle Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Sun-Solar System Connection Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Robotic and Human Lunar Exploration Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Earth Science and Applications From Space Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Aeronautical Technologies Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Exploration Transportation System Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Search for Earth-like Planets Strategic Roadmap Committee
NASA Education Strategic Roadmap Committee

CEV Specs

9 December 2004: Crew Exploration Vehicle Request for Proposal Statement of Work,NASA

"The draft Statement of Work (SOW) for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) system summarizes the work required for the first phase of the CEV acquisition. The SOW requires the contractor to design and develop the CEV system culminating in completion of a Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The CEV system design is required to meet as a threshold, the CEV Spiral 1 and 2 requirements, with the objective to meet the CEV Spiral 3 requirements. The SOW includes a parallel risk reduction effort culminating in a 2008 flight demonstration."

"Cancel the sham program to return to the moon. Its goals are amorphous and too long term. It will not break the "government hobby" space paradigm, but extends it additional decades."

Editor's note: This excerpt is from a rather confused OpEd titled "Challenge America: An Open Letter" in the 6 December 2004 edition of Space News. It was written by Robert Oler and Rich Kolker who claim to represent the "Clear Lake Group" which is described as "a space advocacy organization." FYI there is no 'organization' registered under that name in Texas - or anywhere else. Rather, this 'organization' is just two guys - one of whom doesn't even live in Clear Lake. Oh yes, Clear Lake Group: the "Walt Bigelow" you mention in your piece has me confused. Were you referring to Robert Bigelow or Walt Anderson? Or both?

Editor's Update:I just got a call from Michael Gold, General Counsel for Bigelow Aerospace. He asked if I would let NASA Watch readers know that Bigelow Aerospace "has no association with the authors of this article, nor have we ever heard of either of them or their organization before". Gold went on to say that contrary to the OpEd that Bigelow Aerospace is "very much in favor of the new Vision for Space Exploration and we are particularly pleased with the job Adm. Steidle has been doing."

According to the Mars Aeronomy Working Group charter "It is the purpose of the Mars Aeronomy Working Group to consider the goals for studies of the Martian upper atmosphere/ionosphere in light of the Exploration Vision, and to assess possible pathways to their implementation." Presentations from a recent workshop are online here.

If you say so, Lou

The Sober Realities of Manned Space Flight, OpEd, The American Enterprise

"I vividly remember President Ronald Reagan going down to Texas after the Challenger disaster and memorializing the astronauts as heroes going further and faster into the unknown," says [Planetary Society President Louis] Friedman. "Of course they were doing no such thing. They were simply launching a communications satellite and carrying on the teacher-in-space show for schoolchildren--both rather mundane tasks. But by once again evoking the exploration theme, Reagan saved the space program.

More Naysayers

30 November 2004: Budget analysts call for NASA cuts, UPI

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's fiscal 2005 budget gives it wide latitude to direct money toward Bush's new space vision but Alice Rivlin, former White House budget director under President Clinton, and Bill Niskanen, chairman of the Cato Institute, both told a Brookings Institute forum on domestic policy in the second Bush term the plans are a waste of money."

30 November 2004: Editorial: NASA Funding Spend wisely; don't get lost in space, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Telescopes and robot missions aren't as romantic as sending a man to Mars. But with a federal budget awash in red ink, President Bush and NASA must make sure they're committing money to the projects likely to yield the greatest scientific benefits."


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