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NASA, Space programs
Topic: NASA, Space programs (Read 1408 times)
NASA, Space programs
July 06, 2010, 05:14:22 AM »
I posted this yesterday in the Hall of Shame thread, and use it here today to kick off this thread.
Amongst the long list of areas of strong disagreement I have with Obama is what he has done/is doing with US efforts in space. My understanding is that our edge in space forms a essential cornerstone of our military strength via our abilities to look down, to communicate, , , and other matters. This is why the Chinese are so intent on killer satellite technology (as well as hacking our military computer networks)-- so they can blind us and incapacitate our communications.
That our CinC has selected policies that leave us having to pay the Russians to give us a ride into space (on top of depending on them as a supply route to Afghanistan) is jaw dropping to the point of wondering about the man's sanity , , , or patriotism. I gather he now is absolving the US of any intention of acting independently in outer space as well.
With regard to the following, Krauthammer spoke of "PC psycho babble". He is right:
Obama’s new mission for NASA: Reach out to Muslim world
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
07/05/10 2:50 AM EDT
In a far-reaching restatement of goals for the nation’s space agency, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says President Obama has ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand our international relationships,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.” Of those three goals, Bolden said in a recent interview with al-Jazeera, the mission to reach out to Muslims is “perhaps foremost,” because it will help Islamic nations “feel good” about their scientific accomplishments.
In the same interview, Bolden also said the United States, which first sent men to the moon in 1969, is no longer capable of reaching beyond low earth orbit without help from other nations.
Bolden made the statements during a recent trip to the Middle East. He told al-Jazeera that in the wake of the president’s speech in Cairo last year, the American space agency is now pursuing “a new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world.” Then:
When I became the NASA Administrator — before I became the NASA Administrator — [Obama] charged me with three things: One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.
Later in the interview, Bolden discussed NASA’s goal of greater international cooperation in space exploration. He said the United States, more than 40 years after the first moon mission, cannot reach beyond earth’s orbit today without assistance from abroad:
In his message in Cairo, [Obama] talked about expanding our international outreach, expanding our international involvement. We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low earth orbit as a single entity. The United States can’t do it, China can’t do it — no single nation is going to go to a place like Mars alone.
Bolden’s trip included a June 15 speech at the American University in Cairo. In that speech, he said in the past NASA worked mostly with countries that are capable of space exploration. But that, too, has changed in light of Obama’s Cairo initiative. “He asked NASA to change…by reaching out to ‘non-traditional’ partners and strengthening our cooperation in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and in particular in Muslim-majority nations,” Bolden said. “NASA has embraced this charge.”
“NASA is not only a space exploration agency,” Bolden concluded, “but also an earth improvement agency.”
Read more at the Washington Examiner:
Re: NASA, Space programs
Reply #1 on:
July 06, 2010, 09:45:17 AM »
........I feel the need to respond but aside from "that does it we have a nut in the white house" I really do not have any articulation. I would understand downgrading NASA to being the space science promotion agency, but the reaching out to international contacts? (Isn't that deparment of state stuff?) and a specific group?! No, I do not think so.
I hope Rutan, Air Force and the others come up with some sort of cargo hauler before the GPS/ COMSAT systems start collapsing, along with the experimental satellites. There are so many technologies Nasa brought into the practical use category in an effort to explore space, that we simply would not have an America as we know it now.
We are going to NEED to be in space anyway, there are so many resources, materials, and just plain elbow room, up there.............
Re: NASA, Space programs
Reply #2 on:
July 08, 2010, 04:44:26 PM »
NASA to Put Muslim on Moon Using Muslim Technology
by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace · Comments (21) · ShareThis · Print This Story
(2010-07-08) — The White House today announced a bold new program consistent with NASA’s top priority to help Muslims “feel good about their historic contribution in science and math and engineering,” as the space agency’s chief, Charles Bolden, recently told al Jazeera TV.
NYT: The coming Clusterfcuk
Reply #3 on:
January 25, 2011, 08:21:45 AM »
Where to next? And when?
For NASA, as it attempts to squeeze a workable human spaceflight program into a tight federal budget, the answers appear to be “somewhere” and “not anytime soon.”
When the space shuttles are retired this year — and only one flight remains for each of the three — NASA will no longer have its own means for getting American astronauts to space.
What comes next is a muddle.
The program to send astronauts back to the moon, known as Constellation, was canceled last year.
In its place, Congress has asked NASA to build a heavy-lift rocket, one that can go deep into space carrying big loads. But NASA says it cannot possibly build such a rocket with the budget and schedule it has been given.
Another crucial component of NASA’s new mission — helping commercial companies develop space taxis for taking astronauts into orbit — is getting less money than the Obama administration requested. Companies like Boeing and SpaceX that are interested in bidding for the work do not yet know whether they can make a profitable venture of it.
When it comes to the future of NASA, “it’s hard at this point to speculate,” Douglas R. Cooke, associate administrator for NASA’s exploration systems mission directorate, said in an interview.
A panel that oversees safety at NASA took note of the uncertainty in its annual report, released this month. “What is NASA’s exploration mission?” the members of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel asked in their report.
The panel added: “It is not in the nation’s best interest to continue functioning in this manner. The Congress, the White House, and NASA must quickly reach a consensus position on the future of the agency and the future of the United States in space.”
A nagging worry is that compromises will leave NASA without enough money to accomplish anything, and that — even as billions of dollars are spent — the future destination and schedule of NASA’s rockets could turn out to be “nowhere” and “never.”
In that case, human spaceflight at NASA would consist just of its work aboard the International Space Station, with the Russians providing the astronaut transportation indefinitely.
“We’re on a path with an increasing probability of a bad outcome,” said Scott Pace, a former NASA official who now directs the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.
A NASA study, completed last month, came up with a framework for spaceflight in the two next decades but deferred setting specific destinations, much less timetables for getting there. One of the study’s conclusions was that trying to send astronauts to an asteroid by 2025 — as President Obama had challenged the agency to do in a speech last April — was “not prudent,” because it would be too expensive and narrow.
Instead, the study advocated a “capability-driven framework” — developing elements like spacecraft, propulsion systems and deep-space living quarters that could be used and reused for a variety of exploration missions.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the fight is less of a conflict of grand visions than a squabble over dollars and the design details of a rocket.
Last fall, in passing an authorization act for NASA, which laid out a blueprint for the next three years, Congress called for NASA to start work on the heavy-lift rocket. It also said that the design should be based on available technologies from the existing space shuttles and from Constellation; that the rocket should be ready by the end of 2016, and that NASA could have about $11.5 billion to develop it.
At the time, Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who helped shape the NASA blueprint, said, “If we can’t do it for that, then we ought to question whether or not we can build a rocket.”
The blueprint, signed into law by President Obama in October, gave NASA 90 days to explain how it would build the rocket.
Two weeks ago, the agency told Congress that it had decided on preferred designs for the rocket and the crew capsule for carrying astronauts, but could yet not fit them into the schedule and constraints.
“All our models say ‘no,’ ” said Elizabeth Robinson, NASA’s chief financial officer, “even models that have generous affordability considerations.”
She said NASA was continuing to explore how it might reduce costs.
A couple of days after receiving the report, Senator Nelson said he had talked to the NASA administrator, Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., and “told him he has to follow the law, which requires a new rocket by 2016.” He added, “And NASA has to do it within the budget the law requires.”
Page 2 of 2)
The track record for large aerospace development projects, both inside and outside of NASA, is that they almost always take longer and cost more than initially estimated. If costs for the heavy-lift rocket swell, the project could, as Constellation did, divert money from other parts of NASA.
Thus, many NASA observers wonder how the agency can afford to finance both the heavy-lift rocket and the commercial space taxis, which are supposed to begin flying at about the same time.
“They’re setting themselves up again for a long development program whose completion is beyond the horizon,” James A. M. Muncy, a space policy consultant, said of the current heavy-lift design. “The question is, what does Congress want more? Do they want to just want to keep the contractors on contract, or do they want the United States to explore space?”
He called the situation at NASA “a train wreck,” one “where everyone involved knows it’s a train wreck.”
Constellation, started in 2005 under the Bush administration, aimed to return to the moon by 2020 and set up a base there in the following years. But Constellation never received as much money as originally promised, which slowed work and raised the overall price tag.
When Barack Obama was running for president, he said he supported the moon goal. But after he took office, he did not show much enthusiasm for it. His request for the 2010 fiscal year did not seek immediate cuts in Constellation but trimmed the projected spending in future years.
The administration also set up a blue-ribbon panel, led by Norman Augustine, a former chief executive of Lockheed Martin, to review the program. The panel found that Constellation could not fit into the projected budget — $100 billion over 10 years — and would need $45 billion more to get back on track. Extending the space station five years beyond 2015 would add another $14 billion, the group concluded.
The panel could not find an alternative that would fit, either. It said that for a meaningful human spaceflight program that would push beyond low-Earth orbit, NASA would need $128 billion — $28 billion more than the administration wanted to spend — over the next decade.
If the country was not willing to spend that much, NASA should be asked to do less, the panel said.
Last February, when unveiling the budget request for fiscal year 2011, the Obama administration said it wanted to cancel Constellation, turn to commercial companies for transportation to low-Earth orbit and invest heavily in research and development on technologies for future deep-space missions.
The Obama budget requested more money for NASA — but for other parts of the agency like robotic science missions and aviation. The proposed allotment for human spaceflight was still at levels that the Augustine committee had said were not workable.
In pushing to cancel Constellation, one Obama administration official after another called it “unexecutable,” so expensive that it limped along for years without discernible progress.
“The fact that we poured $9 billion into an unexecutable program really isn’t an excuse to pour another $50 billion into it and still not have an executable program,” said James Kohlenberger, chief of staff of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, at a news conference last February.
At the same news conference, Lori Garver, NASA’s deputy administrator, noted that Constellation, without a budget increase, would not reach the moon until well after the 2020 target. “The Augustine report made it clear that we wouldn’t have gotten to beyond low Earth orbit until 2028 and even then would not have the funding to build the lander,” she said. But with the new road map, NASA may not get to its destinations any faster. As for the ultimate goal of landing people on Mars, which President Obama said he wanted NASA to accomplish by the mid-2030s, it is even slipping further into the future.
POTH: Space Litter
Reply #4 on:
February 19, 2012, 06:47:13 AM »
The most obvious sign that there is a lot of junk in space is how much of it has been falling out of the sky lately: a defunct NASA satellite last year, a failed Russian space probe this year.
While the odds are tiny that anyone on Earth will be hit, the chances that all this orbiting litter will interfere with working satellites or the International Space Station are getting higher, according to a recent report by the National Research Council.
The nonprofit group, which dispenses advice on scientific matters, concluded that the problem of extraterrestrial clutter had reached a point where, if nothing was done, a cascade of collisions would eventually make low-Earth orbit unusable.
“NASA is taking it very seriously,” said Mason A. Peck, chief technologist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
There is a straightforward solution: dispose of the space junk, especially big pieces, before they collide and break into smaller ones. Researchers are stepping in with a variety of creative solutions, including nets that would round up wayward items and drag them into the Earth’s atmosphere, where they would harmlessly burn up, and balloons that would similarly direct the debris into the atmosphere. Also on the table: firing lasers from the ground. Not to blow things up, which would only make more of a mess, but to nudge them into safer orbits or into the atmosphere.
Just last week, researchers at a top Swiss university, the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, announced that they were designing CleanSpace One, a sort of vacuum cleaner in the sky — an $11 million one — that will be able to navigate close to a satellite and grab it with a big claw, whereupon both will make a fiery death dive.
The Swiss have only two satellites in orbit, each smaller than a breadbox, but they are concerned about what to do with them when they stop operating in a few years.
“We want to clean up after ourselves,” said Anton Ivanov, a scientist at the institute’s space center. “That’s very Swiss, isn’t it?”
The space junk problem is so old and widely acknowledged that it even has a name: the Kessler Syndrome. In 1978, Donald J. Kessler, who led NASA’s office of space debris, first predicted the cascade effect that would take place when leftover objects in space started colliding.
Today, Dr. Kessler is retired in North Carolina but still contemplating the issue — and the need to clean up. “The sooner they do it, the cheaper it will be,” he said. “The more you wait to start, the more you’ll have to do.”
With so many items whizzing around at more than 17,000 miles per hour and shattering as they crash, the threat to working satellites, which are vital to hurricane tracking, GPS systems and military surveillance, has grown more immediate. Three years ago, a derelict Russian satellite slammed into an Iridium communications satellite, smashing both into tens of thousands of pieces. The Air Force currently tracks 20,000 pieces of orbiting space junk, which includes old rocket parts and dead satellites.
For now, the risk is real but manageable. Satellite operators can dodge the big debris and armor their satellites to withstand impact with smaller pieces. But eventually, if not cleaned up, low-Earth orbit would become too perilous for people and satellites.
Re: NASA, Space programs
Reply #5 on:
February 19, 2012, 09:45:46 AM »
I wonder if there is any gold on Mars? The trip could pay for itself
No Mars gold rush in 20"49"
Reply #6 on:
February 19, 2012, 09:48:46 AM »
Ssecret mission still secret
Reply #7 on:
June 05, 2012, 07:35:39 PM »
Reply #8 on:
September 07, 2012, 09:09:52 PM »
Stratfor: The Next Great Game
Reply #9 on:
February 03, 2013, 09:29:09 AM »
In Space, the Next Great Game
February 1, 2013 | 0301 GMT
Friday marks the 10th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident. Although the U.S. government ended the shuttle program in 2011, the United States continues to compete with numerous other countries around the world for a geographic and technological advantage in space. Increased global interest in space exploration and the benefits it could provide on earth illustrate space's continuing strategic importance. After falling behind Russia in the ability to send people into space, the American public and private sectors are working to lower the costs of sending people and material into space, an essential hurdle to gaining that sought-after advantage.
Several countries have announced in recent months actions to pursue space-related advances. Russia and the European Space Agency both announced plans for moon-related missions. China plans to put 20 new satellites into orbit in 2013 and attempt to land an unmanned vessel on the moon in the same year. This follows benchmark achievements for China in 2012, including manned docking operations with its space laboratory, Tiangong-1. Japan plans to test new launch technology in 2013 aimed at increasing operational efficiency and decreasing costs. There have also been smaller advances made by other interested states, including South Korea's successful launch of an indigenous satellite into orbit and Iran's reported launch of a monkey into space this week.
The competitive nature and the geopolitical importance of space is inherently militaristic since satellites control global communication and navigation. A huge portion of the U.S. military command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities are reliant on this infrastructure, which is instrumental in projecting force and maintaining situational awareness throughout the world.
Most of this infrastructure is relatively indefensible and have few, if any, replacement options. This makes it a prime target for any advanced state in conflict with the United States. Although there is no evidence to suggest that any non-state actor has the ability to threaten space, this is not likely to be a permanent condition. The ability to lift small payloads into orbit trickles down to ever-smaller private enterprises and "rogue" nations like North Korea or Iran, who -- while they may lack refined targeting and maneuverability -- can put debris into orbit in a disruptive and possibly dangerous manner.
More nations building space-based infrastructure could be advantageous to the United States, who leads in this capacity. As these other states continue to build their own infrastructure and rely on its capabilities, a natural deterrence develops. Each side thinks twice before attacking the others because it opens them up to similar retaliation. Compounding this, more nations involved in space could lead to a degree of interconnectedness, meaning that any attack could be perceived as an attack on all countries cooperating with the targeted country. This could spur an international response, a reason for further deterrence. Given that the United States holds most of the physical infrastructure and concurrently relies on it, other actors may see that as incentive to attack it in an attempt to level the playing field in the event of hostilities.
An important step toward further development of space is the increasing affordability of the launch. The space shuttle sought to increase affordability as a reusable launch vehicle, but the cost savings of the program never fully materialized. To further establish territory in space beyond satellites, the lift cost, or the amount of money needed to get material into space, needs to be reduced.
The estimated cost for a single launch into low earth orbit is roughly $10,000 per pound. However, SpaceX, a private company operating in the United States, is set to test a rocket system in 2013 that claims to have reduced lift costs to less than $1,000 per pound, which is considered a reasonable baseline for affordability. (It is unclear whether this cost includes insurance of payloads.) SpaceX plans to achieve affordability through adjustments in launch technology that will allow for easier mass production of the engines, which would reduce production costs, among other things. Advancements such as this, even in the private industry, could allow the United States to re-establish its role as the eminent leader in space exploration. Japan is also looking to reduce launch costs through technological advances aimed at decreasing costly operation time. The Japanese, by using the Epsilon Launch vehicle, plan to test some of these potential improvements later this year.
The present geopolitical importance of space remains. The establishment of satellites to coordinate terrestrial activity will continue. The management of navigation and communications through satellites remains vital. Additionally, the continued technological advances in making space more affordable brings closer the idea of making it habitable.
The United States was long perceived as the leader of space exploration; when the space shuttle program was shut down, that image was left a bit tarnished. Ten years after the tragic Columbia accident and more than a year since the U.S. shuttle program ended, several nations are competing for a future position in space. Through continued efforts at NASA and the country's growing and robust private sector, the United States remains the primary competitor in the arena, but the field is becoming increasingly crowded.
Read more: In Space, the Next Great Game | Stratfor
Israel headed to moon?
Reply #10 on:
February 19, 2013, 04:10:44 PM »
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