MadameConcorde
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Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:05 pm

From a column published in USA Today.

Is Obama grounding JFK's space legacy?
By Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan

Updated 5/24/2011 4:45 PM |

...
But today, America's leadership in space is slipping. NASA's human spaceflight program is in substantial disarray with no clear-cut mission in the offing. We will have no rockets to carry humans to low-Earth orbit and beyond for an indeterminate number of years. Congress has mandated the development of rocket launchers and spacecraft to explore the near-solar system beyond Earth orbit. But NASA has not yet announced a convincing strategy for their use. After a half-century of remarkable progress, a coherent plan for maintaining America's leadership in space exploration is no longer apparent.

JFK-space-legacy_n.htm?sms_ss=email&at_xt=4ddd15ff1b46beb9%2C0" target="_blank">http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion...s=email&at_xt=4ddd15ff1b46beb9%2C0

I agree 100% - Space Shuttle Atlantis will land for the very last time... and then??...

  


please discuss
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gigneil
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:19 pm

Obama is doing what needs to be done - making access to LEO an everyday commodity and focusing our resources on never before visited phenomena.

Ares was an unqualified disaster - billions and billions over budget, and not even enough power from the Ares 1 booster. SpaceX has built a family of rockets in just a few years for a small fraction of the dollars, and are planning to execute a heavy-lift booster from the family in a just a year. That's precisely what the commercialization of space is intended to bring.

Congress, under Obama's guidance on this, mandated a rocket and a vehicle be ready in a reasonable timeframe at a reasonable cost to get us on our way to Mars and other celestial bodies.

NASA's inability to execute is what grounded the space legacy, for now. Not Obama.

NS
 
NBGSkyGod
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:24 pm

The writing was on the wall long before Obama or Bush. NASA is no longer in the business of taking real risks. During the moon shot days, NACA had an almost blank check for R&D. Now almost their entire space budget is tied up in shuttle launches. The atmosphere is no longer about boldly going, but rather just going where we can get without making too many waves. I think it is time to let private industry have their hand in space programs. The x-prize competition proved that private industry can do it given a chance. This is the kick in the pants the US space program needs.
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MadameConcorde
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:57 pm

Quoting NBGSkyGod (Reply 2):
I think it is time to let private industry have their hand in space programs. The x-prize competition proved that private industry can do it given a chance. This is the kick in the pants the US space program needs.

Private means geared toward profit making - less costs.
Safety at less cost? I don't see how.

Looks like we are still a long way from seeing private US launchers taking astronauts to the International Space Station.

http://blogs.forbes.com/beltway/2011...1/the-case-against-spacex-part-ii/

 
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gigneil
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:59 pm

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 3):
Safety at less cost? I don't see how.

Really? You don't see how extracting the government from something would produce a superior product at a lower price?

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 3):
Looks like we are still a long way from seeing private US launchers taking astronauts to the International Space Station.

That's an opinion blog from an industry blogger that is, in fact, tied to Lockheed. But that aside, also seems to be a total moron.

NS
 
boeingfixer
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:01 pm

Quoting NBGSkyGod (Reply 2):
During the moon shot days, NACA had an almost blank check for R&D.

Don't know if this is a mistype but NACA was abolished in 1958 and did not directly contribute to the race to the moon.

Cheers,

John
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gigneil
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:07 pm

Yep read the blog post again. Totally misguided, overjudgmental, and written like a Fox News segment.


So, I maintain my previous argument - idiot. Not to mention, SpaceX isn't it for us. The Boeing CST100 is designed to ride all 3 boosters - Delta, Atlas, and Falcon 9. And Its right on schedule as well. Also, Orbital seems to be bumbling around with the Taurus and Cygnus but they are in fact an old and established rocketry organization - their product will no doubt function.

NS
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:50 am

Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
.. and then??...

Give the money back to tax payers.

Space for the most part is a financial black hole, that has appealed to the feel good and nerdy side of people for all these decades.

On the practical side all we really need is a vibrant satellite business which we already have.
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:16 am

In a perfect world with no budget constraints inherited from previous administrations and bailing out unsustainable banking practices, the picture would be different. I'm not sure today where the vast amounts of money would come from when everyone is protecting their piece of pork.

If we can resolve the economic crisis, we can resume the big plans. However, I believe public/private partnerships wil be required. Private for innovation and public for backing providing someone doesn't put a CO2 tax on rocket launches.
 
gigneil
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:37 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
Give the money back to tax payers.

That I couldn't disagree with more.

A, there's no such thing as giving money back to tax payers. It all gets taken, its going to get spent one way or the other, and there are far worse things to spend it on than jobs and scientific innovation.

2, Space as NASA is handling it is a black hole, but that doesn't mean it really is. It drives all sorts of scientific knowledge that has been given the back burner to the defense interests.

Third, I wanted to use several conflicting bullet headers.

Quoting kanban (Reply 8):
bailing out unsustainable banking practices,

The government made money back on TARP, by the way. Far be it from me to approve of something from the previous administration.  
Quoting kanban (Reply 8):
Private for innovation and public for backing providing someone doesn't put a CO2 tax on rocket launches.

The rockets, like everything else on the planet, need to be taxed for their carbon.

NS
 
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Stitch
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:26 am

Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
I agree 100% - Space Shuttle Atlantis will land for the very last time... and then?

Put that money into robotic probes, I say. We've learned far more from them then putzing around in LEO.
 
gigneil
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:18 am

Far more. However if we can really get people to some far away objects, then I am all for it.

What I really, really believe is that we need a global research organization for space exploration. That will likely not happen in my lifetime, but I can certainly hope.

NS
 
BMI727
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:32 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):
Space for the most part is a financial black hole, that has appealed to the feel good and nerdy side of people for all these decades.

That's why the government does it. They will move out of the potentially profitable parts of space as private companies move it.

As for the rest of it, Aaron Sorkin answered those questions better than I can:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN-gR9040fw
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MCIGuy
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:43 am

Yes, B.O. effectively ended the US space program and he and his group are gleefully putting America in the back seat in all things. Luckily, not even the Bin Laden mission is likely enough to get him reelected, especially if the economy is in the shape it is now or worse.
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:57 am

Obama's administration is not just harming the space program, but aerospace & defense industry in general.

Programs cancelled; Constellation/Ares, VH-71, F-22, C-17, F-136, JCM missile, amphibious EFV, and there are probably more...

Not only that, but the anti-general aviation rhetoric after he was first elected hurt the civil aerospace world too, making a bad situation for GA even worse than it needed to be.

Regardless of whether you think those military programs were needed or not (somebody did at one point), and regardless of whether you agree with the 'savings' made by all those cuts, that's a lot of layoffs, and a lot of local economic negative impact caused by the loss of those jobs.

Bottom line is, no president in history has done so much to hurt the aerospace world as Obama.
Additionally, no single Nobel Peace Prize winner has fired as many hellfire missiles as Obama, which is what makes it so ironic that someone relying so heavily on the military can do it so much harm.
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GDB
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:01 am

While I was sad to see the end of the program started in 2004, it does seem to be the case it was in a hell of a mess.
First Ares 1 manned by, they hoped, 2017? Space X will very likely beat that.
Back to the Moon by 2020 - wasn't it looking more like 2028 - in other words, never.

Safety - what about the design compromises of the Shuttle then the operational environment that destroyed Challenger and Columbia.

Under Bush, the Shuttle was going to end by 2010/11 anyway.

Maybe the best comment I've heard though was from a newspaper in Florida. That the Obama plan was trying to make the Space Coast more like Silicon Valley, the opponents of it (oddly usually very anti government spending types) wanted to turn it into Detroit!
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:34 pm

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 13):
Yes, B.O. effectively ended the US space program and he and his group are gleefully putting America in the back seat in all things.

I like to point out that it is the Bush Administration that phased out the shuttle program. That administration put into place a future plan ("Vision for Space Exploration") that was underfunded and unsustainable.

If you really want to dig deep, the problems arose when the STS program replaced the Apollo program in the early 70s. We went to the Moon (240,000 miles) then pulled back to 225 miles. A factor of 1000 RETREAT!

If we really wanted to be serious, there should have been a dual low orbit and exploration system in place beginning in the 1970s. It was impossible to sustain that financially.

Successive administrations (Reagan,Clinton,Bush H, Bush W ) FAILED to advance the goal posts when it came to the shuttle program. The space shuttle was not designed to run for 30 years. At best, this was a 10 year program of flight that would yield the space shuttle 2.0 or something else. Successive administrations did not want to open that can of worms hence we we arrived at 2002. Bush made the call to retire the space shuttle and muddled the next step by the half baked VSE. Obama has tried to undue some of the moves regards to the next launch system but the direction from the top has been lacking. It is certainly an interesting time, the new ideas seem to hold more promise now.

A lot of the consternation is around not the retirement of the shuttle but the lack of a clear cut successor. However, I believe this will work out soon, it does not make sense to commit to something without proper planning.


I love it when non American taxpayers complain about "the killing of the space program". I love the saving of MY taxpayer money on poor return on investment systems. The space shuttle system at approx. $ .75 to 1 billion a launch is just not good economics in the new world order. Time to move on to something better and safer.


I am looking forward to the new era and as much time i have spent working around the orbiters, I will have a sense of relief when we close out the program safely. I shudder at the safety odds that we give our astronauts to fly on the orbiters.


New directions always have growing pains. We just have to deal with it!


Move on.
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kanban
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:00 pm

It's odd that the very people that bemoan fiscal tightening of military and space programs are the same ones who want decreased or no taxes. It's always easier to sit back and snipe and blame the current incumbant for problems created by previous administrations and congresses than to own up that we elected some of those turkeys.

commercialization of space launches / exploration will be difficult and require big bucks that are not available right now. We could pump billions into it if we called all foriegn stationed troops home, cut the F-35 to a third, mothballed 50% of the Navy, closed 40% of domestic bases..... but then what would all the furloughed military personel do as civilians?
 
BMI727
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:34 am

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
Bottom line is, no president in history has done so much to hurt the aerospace world as Obama.

Carter sure tried though.

Quoting eksath (Reply 16):
We went to the Moon (240,000 miles) then pulled back to 225 miles. A factor of 1000 RETREAT!

Distance is not the only measuring stick that counts. If you don't think that the Space Shuttle and all of its associated missions and the ISS have not been major progress in space exploration and science in general, then you really need to do some reading.

Quoting eksath (Reply 16):
I love the saving of MY taxpayer money on poor return on investment systems.

Do you know how much of your taxpayer money goes to NASA?

Quoting kanban (Reply 17):
It's odd that the very people that bemoan fiscal tightening of military and space programs are the same ones who want decreased or no taxes.

Defense should always be the first money in and the last money out. And furthermore, NASA and the like is an investment, which is different than a handout.
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gigneil
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:22 am

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
Bottom line is, no president in history has done so much to hurt the aerospace world as Obama.

That's patently ridiculous. He's killing ineffective programs and trying to foster US businesses to do what, honestly, needed to start happening as soon as Apollo was over.

NS
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:22 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):

Distance is not the only measuring stick that counts. If you don't think that the Space Shuttle and all of its associated missions and the ISS have not been major progress in space exploration and science in general, then you really need to do some reading

you are telling the wrong person to read up on space exploration and space exploration goals,please do your background research. I stand by my statement regards the manned space program evolution over the last 40+ years.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):
Do you know how much of your taxpayer money goes to NASA?

Yes. and in my case, the flow is also opposite. i.e. i get more money back due to the STS program but I still want a better accounting. I actually make money every time a STS mission is being processed for up or down because that is related to my job.
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BMI727
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:55 am

Quoting eksath (Reply 20):
I stand by my statement regards the manned space program evolution over the last 40+ years.

You think that building the ISS is not an achievement? That learning to work and live in space for months at a time is not an achievement, and one necessary for a Mars mission at that? You really think that making manned space travel so routine as to barely make the news and is on the brink of becoming a commercial pursuit is not an achievement?

I am all for a mission to Mars, but to characterize everything after Apollo as a step backwards is rather absurd in my opinion.
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NBGSkyGod
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:13 am

Quoting boeingfixer (Reply 5):
Don't know if this is a mistype but NACA was abolished in 1958 and did not directly contribute to the race to the moon.

Yes that was mistype, I did mean NASA, thanks.

As for the fact that our space program has been moving backwards since Apollo, is just about spot on. While the STS and ISS programs are advancements, the fact that we have not left our low orbit in 40 years is absurd. The shuttle, while it has a brilliant purpose, it should not have been our go-to machine for as long as it has. There needed to be a replacement on the books long ago.

So after 40 years, we have gone from putting a man on the moon to not having a manned space program. It is not the result of the actions of one presidency, but rather many from then until now. We have gone from a nation of risk takers to risk avoiders. We don't want to put something together that may fail, may have flaws, may not go right.
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kalvado
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:59 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 21):
You think that building the ISS is not an achievement?

It is. Can we get some use of it?

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 21):
That learning to work and live in space for months at a time is not an achievement,

Congratulations! Now US space program is on par with soviet space program of 1980s. OK, what's next? Is there a closed cycle life support system coming? At the very least, can we recycle oxygen from CO2? That would be a real step towards long haul flying..

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 21):
You really think that making manned space travel so routine as to barely make the news and is on the brink of becoming a commercial pursuit is not an achievement?

Last time Shuttle was launched, it was in headlines for a few weeks - first launch attempt, repairs, second try..
However you are right - barely anyone noticed another Soyuz which was launched this week.

Both Shuttle and ISS were built as tools, flying itself is not a goal. Shuttle did not get used properly until ISS construction started. ISS.. I haven't heard about any real science done on-board which would justify that level of costs.
Station can become a starting point for going further - a launch pad for Moon or Mars missions.. Probably station would be too old before that would happen. Same as Shuttle was 20 years old by the time it found a real job of flying to ISS.

Space flight problems were building up for decades, it's hard to blame anyone in particular. Costs are too high, outcome is barely noticeable.
 
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eksath
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:35 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 21):
You think that building the ISS is not an achievement? That learning to work and live in space for months at a time is not an achievement, and one necessary for a Mars mission at that? You really think that making manned space travel so routine as to barely make the news and is on the brink of becoming a commercial pursuit is not an achievement?

No where in my statement have I said that.

The ISS remains "our only foothold in the new frontier." as well put by a man I admire and respect the former shuttle program director.

My point - which appears to be still missed by you- is that the US manned space program got "stuck" in LEO.

Let me try and explain my statement in simple terms to you:

If, for the next 40 years after Columbus, European explorers merely sailed 225 miles offshore of Europe and cruised around then sailed back, how would Western civilization capitalize on the finding of the new world?


We (all us space faring nations) have a long history of LEO - Spacelab,Mir,ISS + hundreds of flights to and fro. It is time to move the frontier line beyond low Earth orbit. Frankly, we have been ready for awhile now.
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:01 pm

Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
America's leadership in space is slipping.

America's leadership in many things is slipping. Manufacturing, engineering, medicine, education, and so on. Why should we pour money into a non-essential bottomless pit like the NASA manned space program?

Quoting gigneil (Reply 9):
It drives all sorts of scientific knowledge that has been given the back burner to the defense interests.

Scientific knowledge I suppose, but for applied technology, most of the things NASA gets credit for advancing were well on their way due to DoD and commercial programs. NASA didn't invent the computer or the integrated circuit.

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 13):
Yes, B.O. effectively ended the US space program and he and his group are gleefully putting America in the back seat in all things.

Geez, the man gets grief for spending money and then he gets grief for not spending money.

In some people's minds, he can't win.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
Obama's administration is not just harming the space program, but aerospace & defense industry in general.

Laughable. Aerospace and defense industry brought most of it on themselves. They need to learn how to deliver a product on time and on budget or suffer the consequences.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
Programs cancelled; Constellation/Ares,

Way over schedule and budget, project not meeting goals.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
VH-71,

Extremely over schedule and budget, and it wasn't even clear that its goals could or would be met regardless of how much money was put into it.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
F-22,

Way over schedule and budget.

SecDef Gates (you know, the guy that GWB hired and BO kept) agreed that the current fleet was big enough.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
C-17,

USAF doesn't want any more, Congress keeps ordering planes that the USAF can't operate. Pure pork.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 14):
F-136,

USAF never wanted it, Congress did. Pure pork.

And lots of things are still being funded. The next gen Mars rover comes to mind immediately as does F-35.

And don't forget we're still fighting the two wars that GWB decided we needed to fight. The money for that has to come from somewhere, right? Or maybe we should have kept running the wars off-budget like GWB did?

Quoting gigneil (Reply 19):
That's patently ridiculous. He's killing ineffective programs and trying to foster US businesses to do what, honestly, needed to start happening as soon as Apollo was over.

   +1

Quoting NBGSkyGod (Reply 22):
As for the fact that our space program has been moving backwards since Apollo, is just about spot on. While the STS and ISS programs are advancements, the fact that we have not left our low orbit in 40 years is absurd.

No, we've left LEO dozens of times since Apollo. Think of Voyager, Galileo, Mars Rovers, et al.

Who gives a **** that there wasn't a human space tourist (er, astronaut) aboard?
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BMI727
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:58 am

Quoting eksath (Reply 24):
My point - which appears to be still missed by you- is that the US manned space program got "stuck" in LEO.

And there is a lot that was learned there. To write off everything after Apollo as being useless is just not the case. I'd say NASA didn't do so bad considering all of the political challenges.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 25):
Why should we pour money into a non-essential bottomless pit like the NASA manned space program?

Because it costs each of us about the cost of a pizza each year. Because that is an actual investment that might pay actual dividends in terms of science and technology instead of just being a handout. Because the nation is so busy trying to raise the floor with programs like welfare and propping up companies that aren't viable that cutting funding to something that actually pushes some boundaries might cement America as the land of the free and the home of the average.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 25):
Way over schedule and budget.

SecDef Gates (you know, the guy that GWB hired and BO kept) agreed that the current fleet was big enough.

Yeah, there's nothing smarter than cutting a more capable program in favor of a less capable one that costs nearly as much.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 25):
They need to learn how to deliver a product on time and on budget or suffer the consequences.
Quoting Revelation (Reply 25):
Way over schedule and budget, project not meeting goals.
Quoting Revelation (Reply 25):
Extremely over schedule and budget,
Quoting Revelation (Reply 25):
Way over schedule and budget.

You should go read Walter Boyne's comments about the stealth Blackhawk and what happens when you have bureaucrats and politicians cut and run whenever there is a challenge or setback in a large and technologically advanced program. You get next to nothing.

When politicians are smart enough to stay the course and let contractors and government agencies fight their way through the challenges, the results can be nothing short of extraordinary.
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aklrno
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:13 am

I am always amazed that the same people who think we should privatize medicare, social security, the post office (mostly private, but still works under obsolete government rules), passenger rail (end Amtrak), and get the government out of GM would think that privatizing space travel would be unacceptable.

Also about a previous comment that TARP turned a profit, I'm not sure it has yet. Considering TARP, the AIG, Chrysler and GM bailouts together I think the total position is in a loss, but smaller than expected, and may get smaller yet by the time the last of AIG and GM is sold. Stock prices change. Before the Japan earthquake and a few other disasters, AIG was worth so much it cancelled out some other things. Not so true now. We will have to wait several more years for an accurate total. Creative accounting will be hard to work through too. If you add in the tax revenues and prevented unemployment and other benefits from a "saved" company it makes reaching a real total VERY difficult.

If you think any of this make me an Obama supporter or anti-Obama, think again. The situation drives the policies more than the labels on the administration. I just think we need to look at the best course without trying to shade everything with politics.
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:28 am

Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
But today, America's leadership in space is slipping. NASA's human spaceflight program is in substantial disarray with no clear-cut mission in the offing. We will have no rockets to carry humans to low-Earth orbit and beyond for an indeterminate number of years. Congress has mandated the development of rocket launchers and spacecraft to explore the near-solar system beyond Earth orbit. But NASA has not yet announced a convincing strategy for their use. After a half-century of remarkable progress, a coherent plan for maintaining America's leadership in space exploration is no longer apparent.

The US manned program hasn't had a clear-cut mission in 40 years. Heck, it's barely had any sort of discernable mission in 40 years.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 21):
You think that building the ISS is not an achievement? That learning to work and live in space for months at a time is not an achievement, and one necessary for a Mars mission at that?

Skylab 3 and 4?

Quoting NBGSkyGod (Reply 22):
The shuttle, while it has a brilliant purpose,

The one and *only* purpose of the shuttle was to provide cheap and flexible access to LEO. Total, utter, fail.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):
If you don't think that the Space Shuttle and all of its associated missions and the ISS have not been major progress in space exploration and science in general, then you really need to do some reading.

No one disputes that the manned program has made significant contributions to science and engineering. But you cannot consider only that side of the equation - the cost has been mind boggling enormous. For the same amount of money, spent more wisely, we could have had a vastly larger contribution to science and engineering.
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:30 am

Quoting rwessel (Reply 28):

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 18):
If you don't think that the Space Shuttle and all of its associated missions and the ISS have not been major progress in space exploration and science in general, then you really need to do some reading.

No one disputes that the manned program has made significant contributions to science and engineering. But you cannot consider only that side of the equation - the cost has been mind boggling enormous. For the same amount of money, spent more wisely, we could have had a vastly larger contribution to science and engineering.

Reminds me of the Concorde. A magnificent technical achievement, but a commercial dead end. TIme to move on to something else. I'll probably get flamed by Concorde fans for that.
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:27 am

Quoting aklrno (Reply 29):
Reminds me of the Concorde. A magnificent technical achievement, but a commercial dead end. TIme to move on to something else. I'll probably get flamed by Concorde fans for that.

Well I had the luck involved with the aircraft, I'm not flaming, but agreeing.
I think it's no coincidence that Apollo was cut back, funding restrictions meant the original totally re-useable STS became the compromise that was actually built, at the same time as the US SST program was axed.

Which was not good news for the Anglo-French SST, since the mounting anti SST campaigns had just one target to focus on then, emboldened by already claiming one scalp - though there was more to it than that of course - the B2707 had started out as way too ambitious, rather like the initial idea for Apollo with it's vast Nova rocket, direct ascent and huge lander to be put down on the Moon, before the more rational and practical Saturn V based, Lunar Orbit RV plan took it's place.

Apollo worked, Concorde worked, they also both though had less scope for improvement.

In 1962 when initiated, the Concorde program did not foresee potential limits to overland operation, the rise of the wide-bodies which changed the airline business model, the environmental objections and the price of oil quadrupling in the early 70's.
When JFK announced the US was going to the Moon, he (and few, if any others), did not predict that by the end of the decade the US would be in a bloody, massively expensive, socially toxic war in SE Asia, that the widespread support of large super science projects would remain largely unchallenged.
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:28 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 26):
You should go read Walter Boyne's comments about the stealth Blackhawk and what happens when you have bureaucrats and politicians cut and run whenever there is a challenge or setback in a large and technologically advanced program. You get next to nothing.

Yet somehow you think NASA does not suffer from the same problems?

Give it a rest. You can't argue that government is evil except for NASA.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 27):
I am always amazed that the same people who think we should privatize medicare, social security, the post office (mostly private, but still works under obsolete government rules), passenger rail (end Amtrak), and get the government out of GM would think that privatizing space travel would be unacceptable.

And think that we should support fund mediocracy in NASA and the defense industry.

And ignore the fact that we still are funding many other activities in NASA and the defense industry, hopefully worthwhile ones.

Quoting GDB (Reply 30):
In 1962 when initiated, the Concorde program did not foresee potential limits to overland operation, the rise of the wide-bodies which changed the airline business model, the environmental objections and the price of oil quadrupling in the early 70's.
When JFK announced the US was going to the Moon, he (and few, if any others), did not predict that by the end of the decade the US would be in a bloody, massively expensive, socially toxic war in SE Asia, that the widespread support of large super science projects would remain largely unchallenged.

Thanks for the excellent perspective, GDB.

Some seem to forget we are pouring money into fighting two wars right now.

Lots of money is going into beans, bullets, body armour and up-armoured vehicles.

Not as glamorous as space travel, but nation building is never cheap.

Personally, I thought we all had learned that lesson in Vietnam, but apparently the neo-cons didn't.
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:25 pm

Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
Is Obama grounding JFK's space legacy?
By Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan

Here is an answer to the three gentlemen. It is a point of view worth reading and pondering.

An Open Letter to Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and James Lovell

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1538

"Recently, a joint letter was penned by three legendary Apollo lunar astronauts berating the Obama administration for "Grounding JFK's Space Legacy" and declaring that a coherent plan for maintaining America's leadership in space exploration is no longer apparent. While it may be that the current administration's plans are not perfect - and a new national debate on space appropriate - these plans stand head and shoulders over the plan that was the latter implementation of the Constellation program. Furthermore, these space veterans have been misinformed pertaining to the reasons for the demise and cancellation of the Constellation program"
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:12 pm

Quoting aklrno (Reply 29):
Reminds me of the Concorde. A magnificent technical achievement, but a commercial dead end. TIme to move on to something else. I'll probably get flamed by Concorde fans for that.

The Concorde is really more like Apollo than the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle gets closer to a lot of commercial applications than Apollo ever did.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 31):
You can't argue that government is evil except for NASA.

Sure I can. I love government spending and government waste, as long as it is wasted into my pocket.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 31):
And think that we should support fund mediocracy in NASA and the defense industry.

You're getting into a chicken and egg argument there. Are they funding mediocre stuff, or is it mediocre due to lack of funding? Will contractors stop pushing limits because they are afraid that the government will pull their funding?

Quoting Revelation (Reply 31):
And ignore the fact that we still are funding many other activities in NASA and the defense industry, hopefully worthwhile ones.

Not enough.
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:10 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
Sure I can. I love government spending and government waste, as long as it is wasted into my pocket.

Sure you can, and lose any/all credibility.

That's tantamount to saying we should just give you the keys to Ft. Knox and let you have all the gold.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
You're getting into a chicken and egg argument there. Are they funding mediocre stuff, or is it mediocre due to lack of funding? Will contractors stop pushing limits because they are afraid that the government will pull their funding?

By definition, a contractor has a contract.

Nunn/McCready already allows them 25% overrun without a program review.

VH-71 was missing by 250% before the first production unit was built.

Constellation/Aries was so FUBAR that no one could produce a credible schedule and budget.

If programs get into this shape, yes, they should be afraid the government will pull their funding.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 31):
And ignore the fact that we still are funding many other activities in NASA and the defense industry, hopefully worthwhile ones.

Not enough.

Since you've already stated your in it just for yourself, you've lost all credibility.
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BMI727
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:51 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 34):
Sure you can, and lose any/all credibility.

I don't think so. I'm the only one honest enough to say it though.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 34):
If programs get into this shape, yes, they should be afraid the government will pull their funding.

The government can pull their funding, but then the government has no product, having likely wasted significant time and money. That's how you end up bolting oddly shaped pieces onto a thirty year old helicopter design. Often the government will be rewarded for staying the course.

The F-35 for example, was in my opinion a flawed premise from the start, having not learned the lessons from the TFX. They want a plane that can do CAS like the A-10, carry bombs like a Super Hornet, dogfight like an F-16, have stealth of the F-22, have top notch electronics, have a STOVL version for the Marines and do it all cheaply? Anyone could tell you that is a huge ask on the border of being unrealistic, especially since it is likely some compromises will be necessary in each role. There's pushing the limit, and then there is borderline ridiculous, and I think that the JSF was the latter.

Of course with the F-22, the Air Force stayed the course and allowed the industry to fight through the challenges are have been rewarded with the best air-to-air weapon in the world. Frankly, that design could have been developed to do a lot of what the F-35 is supposed to do, and probably at less cost.

Contrast that to the Navy, which in a fit of anger and shortsightedness, cancelled the A-12. Now what do we have? Constant complaints from the Navy that their Super Hornets are too big, too slow, too visible, and not as capable as the Tomcats they replaced not to mention two decades of litigation.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 34):
Since you've already stated your in it just for yourself,

Who isn't?
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:27 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 35):
The government can pull their funding, but then the government has no product, having likely wasted significant time and money. That's how you end up bolting oddly shaped pieces onto a thirty year old helicopter design. Often the government will be rewarded for staying the course.

It's not the government pulling their funding, it's the contractors missing their schedules and budgets by orders of magnitudes.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 35):
Who isn't?

In the context of your statement:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
I love government spending and government waste, as long as it is wasted into my pocket.

I'm not.

I can honestly say I do not pay my taxes hoping I get some government waste put back into my pocket.

I honestly hope there is as little waste as possible, and that's it.
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BMI727
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:47 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 36):
It's not the government pulling their funding, it's the contractors missing their schedules and budgets by orders of magnitudes.

The key is needing to make the distinction between a good program having problems and a bad program. Furthermore, I think politicians are rather poor at making that decision.

If a project has a problem and misses a deadline and comes in over budget, sure they could cancel it. But then what are you left with? That warm fuzzy feeling that comes from keeping some campaign promise to cut spending (as long as it is someone else's) and whatever problem you had before.

Or, if you believe that the solution under development really is the best solution you go with it. Growing pains and teething troubles are part of building something new and no amount of oversight or Congressional bellyaching is going to change that. Often the government is rewarded for staying the course.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 36):
I can honestly say I do not pay my taxes hoping I get some government waste put back into my pocket.

That's not why you pay taxes. You pay taxes so you don't go to jail. You pay lobbyists to put government waste back into your pocket.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 36):
I honestly hope there is as little waste as possible, and that's it.

Either you are in a completely neutral position with regards to government spending, or you're just lying to yourself.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:38 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 37):
If a project has a problem and misses a deadline and comes in over budget, sure they could cancel it.

Yes. We're even generous to allow a 25% overrun before congressional review.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 37):
Or, if you believe that the solution under development really is the best solution you go with it.

This is where your earlier statements damn you. You've already admitted the goal is to get as much government waste as possible into your pockets, and now you're saying we should all just let it happen?

Defense contractors can and do develop advanced products under fixed price contracts. Look at Wedgetail. When Boeing had overruns, they came out of Boeing's pocket, not the Australian taxpayers. Why can't we get that same kind of deal?

Both Cons/Aries and VH-71 were textbook examples of programs run amok. Cons/Aries should be shut down (Congress still may find a way to bring it back tho) because it's a non-essential program. VH-71 has been shut down, and I imagine whatever comes along next will be intensely scrutinized so the same mistakes aren't committed all over again.

You seem to think the government should re-inforce the negative outcome by tolerating gigantic cost overruns. I think the government should re-inforce the positive outcome by killing programs that are out of control.
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BMI727
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:31 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 38):
and now you're saying we should all just let it happen?

In a lot of cases, absolutely. Cancelling a program only wastes time and money and solves nothing while allowing the contractors to work through difficulties can pay huge dividends.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 38):
Defense contractors can and do develop advanced products under fixed price contracts.

Fixed price can work decently for a lot of things, like a $4 billion (AUD) Wedgetail, but what contractor in their right mind is going to take such a risk for a much larger program? Especially when it Congress cuts orders all the time, why would a company risk being left high and dry like that?

And, do you really want to see American servicemen going into battle with potentially inferior equipment because the contractor was designing to a cost trying to squeeze some profit out of a fixed price contract?

Quoting Revelation (Reply 38):
You seem to think the government should re-inforce the negative outcome by tolerating gigantic cost overruns.

Yeah, I think they should in many cases tolerate the cost overruns. Because in many cases, the end product is worth it.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 38):
I think the government should re-inforce the positive outcome by killing programs that are out of control.

Sure, cut the funding. That'll teach them a lesson. And then what? You're right back in the same boat you were before, just with less money and less time than before. Then you have to go back to the same group of contractors and scramble for a cheaper, quicker, and likely inferior solution not to mention all of the R&D that you are now not doing. And by the time you do all that, you could have had the first program in service. Maybe if you're lucky you saved a billion or two that you can toss to the trailer park queens and broken car companies.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:08 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 39):
Cancelling a program only wastes time and money and solves nothing while allowing the contractors to work through difficulties can pay huge dividends.

And then again it may not.

It was quite clear in many of the cases we are talking about (Constellation/Ares, VH-71, A-12) that the further the program went, the FARTHER they were getting from a workable solution.

Why should we pour money into a program that is diverging instead of converging?

I've been an engineer for over 25 years now, and I can tell you that failure is a quite common thing, and in many cases the right thing to do is to shut down the program and start all over again with different players and more achievable goals.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 39):
And, do you really want to see American servicemen going into battle with potentially inferior equipment because the contractor was designing to a cost trying to squeeze some profit out of a fixed price contract?


First you say it's your personal goal to put as much government waste into your pockets as possible and now you play the "pity the poor serviceman" card?
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:24 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 40):
I've been an engineer for over 25 years now, and I can tell you that failure is a quite common thing,

Failure is not the same thing as being behind schedule or overbudget. If the government cut programs nearly as often as you advocate and issued only fixed price contracts, next to nothing would get done.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 40):
First you say it's your personal goal to put as much government waste into your pockets as possible and now you play the "pity the poor serviceman" card?

I only want government spending I can benefit from, but that doesn't mean I should be the only one allowed to benefit.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:34 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 19):
That's patently ridiculous. He's killing ineffective programs

What, it's ridiculous that I think Obama is hurting aerospace by cancelling military & space programs, effectively laying off thousands of people in high-technology jobs? How precisely is it a good thing if more people are claiming unemployment benefits?

Quoting Revelation (Reply 25):
Laughable. Aerospace and defense industry brought most of it on themselves.

Oh yes, because everyone in aerospace WANTS to be laid off. For somebody who is supposedly a software engineer, you seem to have very little insight into the pressures of program management, none of these projects set out deliberately to over-run, but that tends to happen when you're working for demanding and indecisive customers!

Quoting aklrno (Reply 29):
Reminds me of the Concorde. A magnificent technical achievement, but a commercial dead end. TIme to move on to something else. I'll probably get flamed by Concorde fans for that.

OK I'm flaming you - Concorde supposedly made between £30-£50 million profit a year for BA and was in service for 27 years, so not too commercially shabby, meanwhile a single shuttle launch is about $400 million, so even Britain's biggest white elephant is tiny in comparison to that of the US.

But despite being the money-shallower that it is, the space shuttle program has become an industry. Retiring the program, and cancelling its planned successor effectively destroys a huge part of that industry and eliminates thousands of jobs, meanwhile private-venture space technology is nowhere near ready to step into those empty shoes.

I would love for one of you Obama fans to point out an example of Obama creating a single new job in aerospace.
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eksath
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:23 am

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 42):
But despite being the money-shallower that it is, the space shuttle program has become an industry. Retiring the program, and cancelling its planned successor effectively destroys a huge part of that industry and eliminates thousands of jobs, meanwhile private-venture space technology is nowhere near ready to step into those empty shoes.

..er, perhaps you did not get the memo, but the STS program was retired by the last administration.

The following are the words used by President George W. Bush on 14th January 2004:
"In 2010, the Space Shuttle -- after nearly 30 years of duty -- will be retired from service"

The current administration actually added a mission- STS-135- and extended the mission to 2011.


Regards the canceling of the "Vision for Space Exploration", it is called "not throwing good money after bad money".
Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee report A.K.A "the Augustine report" is linked below:
http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 42):
I would love for one of you Obama fans to point out an example of Obama creating a single new job in aerospace.

A far better metric is the budget growth, it translates to new R&D and jobs while it may not be at traditional states or locations such as KSC or JSC, if you follow the numbers, it is not a stretch to relate that to increase in work in the different economies benefitting from the growth in the NASA budget. There is an approx. $4 BILLION increase in NASA's budget from 2004 when George W. cancelled the shuttle program.

(billions)
FY 2004 $15,152 [BUSH]
FY 2005 $15,602 [BUSH]
FY 2006 $15,125 [BUSH]
FY 2007 $15,861 [BUSH]
FY 2008 $17,318 [BUSH]
FY 2009 $17,782 [OBAMA]
FY 2010 $18,724 [OBAMA]
FY 2011 $19,000 [OBAMA]

reference for the numbers above:
http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/420990main_F..._%20Budget_Overview_1_Feb_2010.pdf
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:35 pm

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 42):
What, it's ridiculous that I think Obama is hurting aerospace by cancelling military & space programs, effectively laying off thousands of people in high-technology jobs?

The 2012 defense budget is winding its way through Congress now, and it's at $690 B, i.e. two thirds of a trillion dollars.

Ref: http://www.defensesystems.com/Articl...es-NDAA-defense-authorization.aspx

To put that in context, it's the largest budget since WWII, 5% greater than last year, bigger than any budget passed by GWB, GHWB or Reagan, has doubled since 2001, and it amounts to a seven thousand dollar tax per household.

So, no, I'm not concerned for defense and space workers. The tax payer is doing more than enough.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 42):
Oh yes, because everyone in aerospace WANTS to be laid off. For somebody who is supposedly a software engineer, you seem to have very little insight into the pressures of program management, none of these projects set out deliberately to over-run, but that tends to happen when you're working for demanding and indecisive customers!

Indeed if I was part of a project that was over budget and schedule by hundreds of percent and had no realistic recovery plan, I wouldn't be surprised if I got laid off.

In fact my employer has something similar to Nunn/McCredy where if we exceed schedule or budget by certain amounts, our program gets reviewed by senior executives and the program must have a feasible recovery plan they agree to or it will be terminated.

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 42):
I would love for one of you Obama fans to point out an example of Obama creating a single new job in aerospace.

Ok. Let's see if someone can find one.

Quoting eksath (Reply 43):
The current administration actually added a mission- STS-135- and extended the mission to 2011.

That didn't take long!
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aklrno
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:57 pm

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 42):

OK I'm flaming you - Concorde supposedly made between £30-£50 million profit a year for BA and was in service for 27 years, so not too commercially shabby, meanwhile a single shuttle launch is about $400 million, so even Britain's biggest white elephant is tiny in comparison to that of the US.

Bad accounting. That figure does not include development costs and interest on that investment. If it was profitable, other airlines would have bought them. Notice that the only airlines that flew Concorde were flag carriers of the countries that paid to develop it. If someone gives me a free A380 I'll make tons of money flying it. Just let me know where to pick it up.
 
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:42 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 35):
Who isn't?

I'm not either. Most good people aren't.

NS
 
GDB
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:39 pm

I would say that the tanker selection for the USAF is to create quite a few US jobs, you may say 'that was started under the previous admin', then the same applies to the contention that the ending of the STS program.

Question - could the move towards a commercially operated launch system such as SpaceX/Dragon and what may follow, create US jobs?
And surely that sort of thing should sit well with those who bang about 'getting government out of the way', or does that not apply when local pork is a factor?

[Edited 2011-06-13 06:39:55]
 
kalvado
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:18 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 47):

Question - could the move towards a commercially operated launch system such as SpaceX/Dragon and what may follow, create US jobs?

SpaceX makes a big point that they have much fewer people running operations, that reduces costs. And, well, that also means less jobs for same number of launches.
Sort of same as going from 3-person to 2-person cockpit in civil aviation cut quite a few jobs.
 
dk1967
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RE: Is Obama Grounding JFK's Space Legacy?

Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:22 pm

Quoting kalvado (Reply 48):
SpaceX makes a big point that they have much fewer people running operations, that reduces costs. And, well, that also means less jobs for same number of launches.

Isn't that the point? Make LEO cheaper, creates more demand for/new innovations using LEO services from private sector, creates increases in LEO service jobs. What happened to all you capitalists out there?

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