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Old May 4th 2010, 02:50 PM
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Default The Final Frontier

These are NOT the voyages of the Starship Enterprise!

[quote]Under the budget released by the Obama administration in February, NASA was to get out of the business of human spaceflight altogether, at least for the near futureóno more space shuttle or rockets, no capsules or moon-landing apparatus. In their place, NASA would oversee something very different: a $6 billion, five-year contract for a handful of private companies to ferry American astronauts to and from the International Space Stationóto operate a fleet of space taxis, more or less. Human spaceflight, the province of national identity and aspiration since Yuri Gagarin first hurtled into orbit, was going to be outsourced. [/quote

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My apologies for the moronic magazine article. If you strip away 90% of the bullshit, human interest fluffy crap, what's left is pretty much the one paragraph of actual 'fact' that is important.

Anyway, the point is that NASA is being ordered to get out of the manned spaceflight business and that business is being turned over to private sector interests.

NASA is to focus itself on its core mission, which is the exploration of space. Shuttling humans to and from 'near-earth' orbit is considered to be a massive waste of NASA's expertise.

NASA ought to be doing 'deep space probes' and stuff like that. Shuttling private commerical satelites up and down is not a justifiable usage of taxpayer resources.

So what do you think of this plan? I think it is a good one. I object to the billions in subsidies to private corporations that the 'status quo' represents.
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Old May 4th 2010, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

[quote=Michael;27218]These are NOT the voyages of the Starship Enterprise!

Quote:
Under the budget released by the Obama administration in February, NASA was to get out of the business of human spaceflight altogether, at least for the near futureóno more space shuttle or rockets, no capsules or moon-landing apparatus. In their place, NASA would oversee something very different: a $6 billion, five-year contract for a handful of private companies to ferry American astronauts to and from the International Space Stationóto operate a fleet of space taxis, more or less. Human spaceflight, the province of national identity and aspiration since Yuri Gagarin first hurtled into orbit, was going to be outsourced. [/quote

Source

My apologies for the moronic magazine article. If you strip away 90% of the bullshit, human interest fluffy crap, what's left is pretty much the one paragraph of actual 'fact' that is important.

Anyway, the point is that NASA is being ordered to get out of the manned spaceflight business and that business is being turned over to private sector interests.

NASA is to focus itself on its core mission, which is the exploration of space. Shuttling humans to and from 'near-earth' orbit is considered to be a massive waste of NASA's expertise.

NASA ought to be doing 'deep space probes' and stuff like that. Shuttling private commerical satelites up and down is not a justifiable usage of taxpayer resources.

So what do you think of this plan? I think it is a good one. I object to the billions in subsidies to private corporations that the 'status quo' represents.
On the one hand, I agree with the principle that NASA should focus on Deep space exploration. Seems logical to me plus it's awesome.

On the other hand, from what I have read of this plan, the budget doesn't actually fund deep space exploration very well. So it seems to me like an excuse for the federal government to cut NASA spending in a time when deficits are a big issue.

So conclusion: good idea that could be executed a lot better.
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Old May 4th 2010, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

Aren't we transferring public assets to the private sector? What a deal. The funding is there to support that direction and hopefully a decision will be made to transfer DoD funding to NASA for what is supposed to be its core mission. Who gets the shuttle contracts will be an interesting political subject.
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Old May 4th 2010, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

The one component I see missing from this is that studying the human response to prolonged space "flight" is under the purview of NASA if we hope to go anywhere beyond the moon in person. We are poorly built for the deadly environment that deep space would expose us to. Studying how to mitigate that can be done relatively close to home. But indeed, the ferrying of astronauts to and fro seems to be something we do well now. Leave this to the private sector to develop into space vacations. Sooner or later, this privilege will trickle down to an affordable venture for the only slightly rich and the nouveau rich who are good at parting with their money. Ought to make someone a few million. Figuring out how to get to other star systems and to communicate across those distances to unmanned craft seems to be our best hope of future space exploration until we've discovered a faster form of travel.
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Old May 5th 2010, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

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The one component I see missing from this is that studying the human response to prolonged space "flight" is under the purview of NASA if we hope to go anywhere beyond the moon in person. We are poorly built for the deadly environment that deep space would expose us to. Studying how to mitigate that can be done relatively close to home. But indeed, the ferrying of astronauts to and fro seems to be something we do well now. Leave this to the private sector to develop into space vacations. Sooner or later, this privilege will trickle down to an affordable venture for the only slightly rich and the nouveau rich who are good at parting with their money. Ought to make someone a few million. Figuring out how to get to other star systems and to communicate across those distances to unmanned craft seems to be our best hope of future space exploration until we've discovered a faster form of travel.
Agreed. There's a whole lot more practical returns from expenditures that don't have to involve keeping Joe Astronaut breathing (and sane).

Long term, sure, but at the moment, practicality should reign.
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Old May 6th 2010, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

Yep...and the only way to develop alternative drive systems to make us go faster will be through unmanned testing. We can figure out environmental issues in orbit.

I wonder if this shift is because Obama sees the way NASA has sort of stagnated with the shuttle system? Corporations can do it for cheaper and do it faster and more comfortably.

And do you think this will mean more scientists at the space station?
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Old May 6th 2010, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

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Originally Posted by The Drunk Guy View Post
Yep...and the only way to develop alternative drive systems to make us go faster will be through unmanned testing. We can figure out environmental issues in orbit.

I wonder if this shift is because Obama sees the way NASA has sort of stagnated with the shuttle system? Corporations can do it for cheaper and do it faster and more comfortably.

And do you think this will mean more scientists at the space station?
The way I see this issue coming up is the fact that NASA's budget was getting consumed entirely by the mundane task of ferrying astronauts back and forth from near-earth orbit leaving nothing left for anything else (and this problem was only going to get worse over time as the Shuttle system needs to be replaced/updated).

Basically, without unlimited budgets, NASA has to choose its role more carefully. Thus, that task that is 'established' is opened up to the private market leaving deep space (unmanned) exploration as NASA's core mission.
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Old May 6th 2010, 09:20 AM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

I viewed the inception and mandate of NASA as more of a geopolitical cold war effort by the US. Once they made it to the moon with appropriate astronaut heroes, the government got stuck in a rut running a taxi service that could make the evening news complete with grinning 'Real American' faces. Deep space probes, which often take years to produce new data, simply don't garner the public attention of manned projects.
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Old May 6th 2010, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

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I viewed the inception and mandate of NASA as more of a geopolitical cold war effort by the US. Once they made it to the moon with appropriate astronaut heroes, the government got stuck in a rut running a taxi service that could make the evening news complete with grinning 'Real American' faces. Deep space probes, which often take years to produce new data, simply don't garner the public attention of manned projects.
Indeed, one must not overlook the long running and massive militarization of space by the US military.

I suspect that budget dwarfs NASA's.
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Old May 6th 2010, 10:28 AM
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Default Re: The Final Frontier

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Indeed, one must not overlook the long running and massive militarization of space by the US military.

I suspect that budget dwarfs NASA's.
DoD's 'official' budget for anything is the tip of the iceberg. DoD's unofficial funding reaches into every imaginable department under a wide variety of guises.
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