[FPSPACE] What should NASA be?[Scanned by MAIL]
epgrondine at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 1 16:20:10 EDT 2007
Hi Tom -
In your summary of NASA's history you conveniently left out the fact that
the Apollo program had already been cancelled because the taxpayers no
longer felt it worth that much money to send people to the Moon.
This occured BEFORE the US beat the Soviet Union to the Moon, but AFTER Mars
was discovered not to be like the Earth.
In a similar manner, you conveniently left out the fact that the shuttle was
intially sold as a cheaper way to lift mass into orbit. And yes, there were
originally return to the Moon and manned Mars architectures which were going
to use that cheap shuttle launcher.
How the shuttle became so expensive is another history.
Finally, you have conveniently left DEALING WITH THE IMPACT HAZARD out of
your plans for the future of NASA.
The Congress hasn't. Get over it.
Man and Impact in the Americas
>From: "Matula, Thomas L." <MATULAT at uhv.edu>
>To: <DSFPortree at aol.com>, <fpspace at friends-partners.org>
>Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] What should NASA be?[Scanned by MAIL]
>Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 14:59:23 -0500
>First a bit of history. The NACA was created in 1915 because Congress
>believed the U.S. had fallen far behind Europe in aviation technology as a
>result of the Wright Brothers suing anyone and everyone who built an
>airplane without paying them royalties.
>NASA was form in 1958 because after Sputnik Congress believed that the
>U.S. had fallen behind Russia in space technology.
>Project Apollo started in 1961 under a new administration and was tasked
>with demonstrating to the world that the U.S. had closed the perceived
>technology gap with the Soviet Union by going to the Moon. NASA was tasked
>to do this because it was the civilian agency responsible for advancing
>aerospace engineering. Dont confuse NASA external goal with its internal
>mission and abilities.
>The Shuttle was created after Apollo basically to keep the U.S. aerospace
>workforce at NASA intact. It was in this period that NASA started drifting
>into science as a justification for its mission. When commercial space
>mission ended in the 1980s science took over as the primary justification
>for space exploration at NASA. Even the human spaceflight you hate was
>justified on the grounds of science, not expanding the technology based of
>the aerospace industry. Instead aeronautical and advanced research was cut
>in favor of an increased number of science only missions, a trend that
>started with Viking.
>As for the impact science has at NASA today you have to look no further
>then its mission or the composition of its advisory committees to seek
>science as being in the driver seat. Even the original goal of the ISS was
>seen as part of its science mission, even if life science doesnt meet you
>narrow definition of space exploration as planetary science.
>Now I am not against science as you seem to think. I enjoy science and took
>numerous science electives while in college, from biology and chemistry to
>paleontology and geology. I am an amateur astronomer with an 8 inch
>Springfield and an amateur naturalist.
> But my professional training and Ph.D. is in Business
>Administration/Marketing (BTW real marketing is about crafting successful
>business models based on creating economic utility, not merely promotion as
>many lay people believe
) and I look at NASA from the perspective of an
>organization with a filing business model.
>NASA right now is torn in three directions. First you have the strong
>science influence wanting to make space and NASA a preserve for science
>Second you have folks want to make it an welfare agency for
>newspace/altspace firms that arent able to make it in the free market
>place. This despite the fact that space commerce is a $110 billion dollar
>industry. Like the scientists they want NASA to bankroll their dreams and
>Then you have NASA as a foreign policy tool, building ISS to keep its
>agreements with its partners and attempting to find a justification for a
>project that really served no purpose beyond keeping the U.S. and Russian
>space workforce intact after the Cold War ended the space competition
>Lost in all this was the main reason NASA was created, which was advancing
>American aerospace technology, particularly civilian technology. Just look
>at the numerous advanced technologies projects and aeronautical research
>that has been cut to keep the science and diplomacy missions going. The
>impact of these cuts was well documents in the report of the Commission on
>the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry.
>The report recommended that a new agency be created to advance aerospace
>technology again, as was done in the 1960s by NASA.
>I think a better solution is returning NASA to its traditional role. SO
>what I think should happen with NASA is:
>First, space science should be spun-off as a separate organization, much as
>NSF was created after WWII. With it would go NASAs Goddard and JPL
>Centers. This would insure its budget is not raided anymore, which seems to
>be a one argument you use to say NASA is not being driven by science. Also
>it would create a new market for space entrepreneurs for building and
>launching payloads for it. With a leaner organization chart more money
>would go to science and as a separate entity the publics support for
>science could be focused on advocating increased Congressional funding. If
>public support for space science and Mars exploration is as large as
>believe this will benefit space science greatly.
>Next, after core completion the U.S. portion of the ISS should be turned
>into a national laboratory and run just as the other national laboratories
>are run. Perhaps the ISS agreement might even be modified to make it an
>international laboratory. Again this would create a separate budget for it
>in Congress and create a leaner more focused organization structure that
>space entrepreneurs could better interact with as contractors. Its new
>focus would also create better opportunities for firms to work with it on
>IP development, just as occurs with the other national laboratories. Also
>it eliminates the issue of how NASA astronauts go to the ISS since it would
>no longer be NASAs function to support it. Instead it would contract with
>private firms or other ISS partners for this function.
>Finally NASA would be free to return to original mission of technology
>development and human exploration of space, just as it was during NASAs
>most successful years under Apollo. In business this is recalled returning
>a firm to its core competencies and is the standard strategy for turning a
>failed conglomerate around.
>Of course you could just let things go as they are now. In which case all
>NASA will end up with will be the CEV, perhaps on the Ares I for political
>reasons, more likely on the Atlas V. Perhaps the China threat will be
>serious enough for the U.S. to continue with its focus on the Moon. But
>Mars and the rest of the Solar System will be out of reach for a generation
>or more. Except for robots.
>But then I guess that is the level of exploration folks like you are happy
>From: DSFPortree at aol.com [mailto:DSFPortree at aol.com]
>Sent: Fri 3/30/2007 9:12 AM
>To: Matula, Thomas L.; fpspace at friends-partners.org
>Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] What should NASA be?[Scanned by MAIL]
> > It will probably be a shock to folks here to see you don't believe the
> > mission of NACA/NASA was ever engineering and the development of
> > technology. It doesn't make NASA's mission political just because Apollo
> > Shuttle were programs driven by political needs.
>I'm sure by now people are quite used to me saying outlandish things. This,
>however, was not one of them. Please read my email. I stated that NACA was
>engineering organization. If you mean that NASA (not NACA) ever did
>for its own sake, then you are wrong. NASA (not NACA) is a political entity
>created for the space race. Politics dictate NASA engineering, not the
>way around. Hence the LOR decision and the Shuttle, both of which were
>by politics as much as anything else.
>Science is not in the driver's seat at NASA - never has been. Mission
>statements seldom reflect reality on the ground. The piloted program
>and it's not about science, though science is often invoked as a figleaf to
>cover that fact. You spout cliches with little basis in reality.
>Funding for science - all science - in NASA is less than 20% of the total
>budget. And yet it's the most productive part of the NASA budget. That
>is in decline because NASA is now chasing a weird goal imposed by an
>Executive Branch that has less than no clue (and little real interest in
>hardly sounds like science is in charge.
>If not scientific exploration, what purpose should NASA have? Inventing
>teflon? Funneling money to contractors in important legislative districts?
>that's one purpose it already serves.) Finding Osama bin Laden? (Who?)
>It's cool to attack science, just as it's cool to attack NASA, when one
>to complain about the failure of space commerce (at least in its grandiose
>"moon mines and space factories" form). The fact is, though, folks who do
>are attacking the wrong things. NASA and science aren't the sources of
>frustration. They should be hopping on Rocinante and tilting at a big
>David S. F. Portree
>author & educator
>dsfportree at aol.com
>Flagstaff Arizona USA
>"It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world's
>turning and you just can't quite believe it because everything looks like
>standing still. I can feel it - the turn of the Earth. The ground beneath
>feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour, the entire planet is hurtling
>around the Sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour, and I can feel it.
>falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little
>world, and if we let go..." - The Ninth Doctor
> See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
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