Policy: March 2014 Archives

Surrendering in Space, Paul Spudis

"The program was divided into four segments, one for each area of national concern. A five-minute news overview preceded each segment, followed by a four-member panel discussion of each report's content. Space advocates should take sober notice that the panelists - all well-read, highly regarded Beltway pundits (from both ends of the political spectrum) - appear to be fairly uninformed about many of the space policy issues. But consider: they are representative of the intelligent general public, to whom we wish to convince of the value and importance of space."

Keith's note: And of course, this aired on Fox so everyone blamed President Obama for implementing the decision made by President Bush to retire the Space Shuttle and none of them has ever heard of SpaceX. And none of them could smell the pork aspect of the SLS. Again, this program aired on Fox. That said, Paul Spudis manages to distill what these talking heads said, or might have said, or should have said, and thus explains why U.S. space policy is adrift and is a pale reflection of what it once was or could be - minus the Fox snark. Not that MSNBC or CNN can do much better with their own flavor of clueless snarkiness, of course.

It's Time To Retire The Shuttle, John Logsdon, 16 October 2008, Washington Post

"The shuttle is also very expensive to operate; this year's shuttle budget is close to $3 billion. If the United States continues to spend that money on flying the shuttle beyond 2010, it will take even longer to develop a replacement vehicle, further delaying U.S. plans to venture beyond low Earth orbit. ... The space shuttle is a remarkable technological achievement, but replacing it soon is the best path to the future. We should not let false pride or international tensions get in the way of an intelligent approach to exploring the final frontier."

Keith's note: John Logsdon was for shutting down the Space Shuttle program - before he thought it was "stupid".

Formulating Space Policy While Looking Through A Straw

"The Space Frontier Foundation believes that space settlement is the real reason to have a space program, and therefore we insist on measuring every policy or project against that purpose ...

... A lot of people are perfectly content on using ever more powerful telescopes and robotics to explore the universe - and maybe sending people - later. And these perfectly rational people can make a logical, cogent argument for that as the purpose for funding NASA - and for deciding what to fund or not to fund. That's the problem with idealistic space goals that proceed from a single personalized and narrow premise (bias): they mean nothing if the person you are talking to does not agree with you within the first few sentences. Its like looking at the world (or the universe) through a straw and then trying to proclaim policies that apply to everything outside the narrow field of view of the straw. You don't see what other people see or incorporate it into your world view. In a slightly larger sense this is the problem that all space advocacy groups have. They just assume a priori that everyone thinks space is cool in and of itself and that money should therefore be spent on things that space advocates think are cool. The real world takes a back seat. Small wonder space advocates have not made much headway in the past few decades."



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