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Old Dec 03, 2003, 01:34 PM
No "R" !!!!!!!
Fitz Walker's Avatar
Where Spacemen Live (TX)
Joined Jan 2000
1,075 Posts
I think I'm gonna cry now...

What happened to us? So many great ideas and great aspirations...
Are we now delegated to live vicariously through China?

Perhaps I'm being too melodramatic, but I just found this really neat website on Future Launch Vehecal Plans:

http://www.abo.fi/~mlindroo/SpaceLVs/Slides/sld001.htm

The Phase-A space program was particulary ambitious:

http://www.abo.fi/~mlindroo/SpaceLVs/Slides/sld021.htm

Check out the Shuttle II ideas as well.

-FTZ
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Old Dec 03, 2003, 02:15 PM
Crash happens! :)
Utah
Joined Jun 2002
2,161 Posts
Interesting that President Bush will be anouncing that we may soon be returning to the moon. . That will keep us a few steps ahead.
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Old Dec 03, 2003, 05:31 PM
Libertas in Infinitum
logan5's Avatar
Houston Ellington, Texas, United States
Joined Feb 2001
312 Posts
What happened was that NASA became a bureaucracy, more concerned with trying to "manage" technology instead of expanding engineering and science.

There was a time when managers there were engineers, now you need an MBA not an MS.

Logan5
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Old Dec 03, 2003, 06:18 PM
Registered User
Joined Sep 2003
423 Posts
Logan, that is only the tip of the iceberg as far as NASA's problems. The Challenger disaster showed how NASA had changed from a great customer of the suppliers to a beligerent "customer is always right" bureaucratic boondoggle. They learned but soon forgot this and sure enough, another problem surfaced, this time it was more difficult than a scrubbed launch. Did they contact the vendor when they thought they had a problem? Did they impose the "failure is not an option" mentality?

Why was it so easy to mandate CFC free insulation on the external tanks yet providing for repair EVA procedures was scrapped shortly after Young and Crippen made the first launch?

I have read the CAIB final report and do not have any more confidence in NASA. For the US space program to go forward, severe changes must be made and its not a hardware issue.
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 11:02 AM
No "R" !!!!!!!
Fitz Walker's Avatar
Where Spacemen Live (TX)
Joined Jan 2000
1,075 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Arrow
Interesting that President Bush will be anouncing that we may soon be returning to the moon. . That will keep us a few steps ahead.
Yes, I saw this shortly after I posted. Other news agencies are reporing it as well. But I'm being cautiously optimistic. The prez. was supposed to say something about this before and didn't.

We need to go back, we've been stagnant for too long. Yes, NASA has a whole host of problems, but what else do we have?

What about all the technical expertise that has long since retired (or unfortunately expired) since the last Moon missions? Not to mention our lack of heavy lift capability. It seems if this happens, we will be essentially starting from scratch.
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 12:53 PM
Registered User
Oakland, ca, usa
Joined Oct 2000
471 Posts
I'd love to go back, or to mars, or anywhere else in space

but

How are we going to pay for it?

Iraq is going to cost $400 billion by some estimates

The prescription drug benefit will cost about the same (currently paid for by raiding medicare but projections are it will be increased much more)

Tax cuts gave back over hundreds of billions more $$'s

The deficit is the largest in history


When are we going to grow up and realize we can't do everything we want? So cast your vote:

Fund the space program by

1. Truly internationalizing the Iraq effort
2. Cancel the tax cuts
3. Cancel the drug benefit
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 12:55 PM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
Palmdale, CA
Joined Oct 2000
13,238 Posts
Not starting from scratch, but any attempt will be so top-heavy with management it will fail.
Today's research environment is crippled by the MBA mentality of "bottom line counts first".
The recent programs that foundered on just plain running out of money because of the extra expense of management... The A-12, X-33... lots of black stuff..
We can't do it now.
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 05:48 PM
No "R" !!!!!!!
Fitz Walker's Avatar
Where Spacemen Live (TX)
Joined Jan 2000
1,075 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by jimbarstow
I'd love to go back, or to mars, or anywhere else in space
...
How are we going to pay for it?
...
Fund the space program by

1. Truly internationalizing the Iraq effort
2. Cancel the tax cuts
3. Cancel the drug benefit
1 - OK with me
2 - What you 'talking 'bout Willis? We are already over taxed
3 - By all means, as I understand it, no one really likes/wants it except "special interest groups"

The US spends more on social programs than on defense and NASA combined. Surely there is some fat (pork) that can be trimmed.

I'm quite a bit more optimistic than Sparky. True, too many MBAs may be running things, but it still can be done. At least we can try.

UPI has a news report on it as well. This stood out as some sliver of hope:

Quote:
Instead, the effort seems to have grown from a more fundamental motivation to reform and revitalize NASA -- something Cheney has been championing almost from the first day he and Bush took office in January 2001.

Bush ordered the policy review in late May. Since then, it has proceeded slowly and carefully, sources said, perhaps more so than any previous examination of the space program.
We'll see if they co-locate their currency with their oral orifice.
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 09:55 PM
[intentionally blank]
fprintf's Avatar
Cheshire, CT, USA
Joined Jan 2001
1,528 Posts
As an MBA who would love to run the space center I'd like for you guys to prove that NASA is run by uncaring business people, or that engineers can do it better. However I will also tell you that a personal friend runs the Jet Propulsion lab and is not an MBA but a PhD in Engineering. Remember that to get a man to the moon was an extremely expensive undertaking with very little regard for the cost due to the political pressure to get it done (due to Pres. Kennedy's statement in that speech about reaching the moon by the end of the decade, and no one wanting to go back to the American public on it).

If you think that everything technical is best only run by engineers then tell me of any government run project that has successfully come in under a reasonable budget and achieved its goals on time. Go back to any projects you can think of - not just the most recent ones, because as has been indicated, most are currently overbudgeted failures. I postulate that this is nothing new and it is not the fault of overmanagement or odd procurement processes (I work putting proposals together and gov't proposals are the worst - truckloads of paper, years of time etc).
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 11:01 PM
No retreat no surrender
newguy's Avatar
USA, WI, Milwaukee
Joined Apr 1999
640 Posts
Space program

Sparky, I hope you are wrong about this. I remember watching Apolla on TV as a child, and was absolutely riveted to the tube during the moon landings. It was the most hopeful thing going on in the world during that time. The technology and science developed during those flights is still changing our lives.

I am not blind to the times we live in, especially as the current economic times have affected my family, and not for the better. I believe in the long run for the human race to survive we must find a way to utilize the resources of the moon and nearby planets or we will simply run out of the means to survive.

I also believe if we do not begin this soon, the USA will become a second rate power politically as well as in outer space. We can not afford to wait too long, as the Chinese and other nations are now looking outward as well.

The shuttle is outdated technology, we need to look forward. The heavy lift capability needs to be addressed, and we need to go back to the moon, and find a way to become self sustaining there eventually, and then on to Mars and the outer planets.

To quote Robert Heinlein "the Earth is far too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all it's eggs in it"

Sorry for the speech, getting off my soapbox now...
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 11:04 PM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
Palmdale, CA
Joined Oct 2000
13,238 Posts
"....gov't proposals are the worst - truckloads of paper, years of time etc)."
.
"Where have all the MBA's gone
long time passing?
Gone to Gummint
Every one
When will they ever learn?"
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Old Dec 04, 2003, 11:08 PM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
Palmdale, CA
Joined Oct 2000
13,238 Posts
newguy, I agree wholeheartedly, but with long experience seeing programs vanish due to cost overruns, not imperfection in the product I have little hope we'll see anything happen.
Too many bosses, salaries out of this world..
It would take a financial miracle to even duplicate the antique shuttle.
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Old Dec 05, 2003, 02:38 AM
Build/Fly/Crash/Repeat
United States, HI, Kapalua
Joined Jan 2002
1,195 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Fitz Walker
The US spends more on social programs than on defense and NASA combined.
I'd like to see you support that statement with facts.....please.
Quote:
We are already over taxed
So how do you propose that we fund this?
  • We are already running the largest deficit in history.
  • Spending is at an all time high. President Bush has signed every single spending bill that has crossed his desk since he's been in office.
  • We still face having to pay enormous sums to resolve our Iraq "situation."
  • We now must fund the drug bill. Since this bill in it's present form is a joke it is virtually guaranteed this cost will increase significantly.
Where did you say this "new" NASA funding was coming from?
I think I missed that part......
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Old Dec 05, 2003, 01:24 PM
Go get them Meg!
lrsudog's Avatar
Cabin 21...
Joined Jan 2001
2,118 Posts
Yup, I'm with Coastal. I'd like to see some documentation on that claim. I just don't believe it.

That would mean that the Federal government is spending over $1800 for social programs for each & every man, woman, and child in the U.S.

I guess it just depends on what one considers a "Social program". Which of the following do you consider "Welfare"?

FY 2002 budget
Social welfare spending includes; Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Federal Emergency Management Administration, International Assistance Programs, Social Security Administration
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Old Dec 05, 2003, 10:05 PM
No "R" !!!!!!!
Fitz Walker's Avatar
Where Spacemen Live (TX)
Joined Jan 2000
1,075 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by CoastalFlyer
I'd like to see you support that statement with facts.....please.
I wan't making it up. I was curious what NASA's budget was:

The NASA website lists the FY2004 budget at $15.47 Billion.

Then I decided to see what percentage of the US budget it was.
For FY 2004, the US Budget OMBSummary Tables shows Defense spending at $409 billion, and Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and "other" together at a total of $1,260 Billion (or $848 billion excluding "other", whatever that is).

So: ~$850 billion (social) vs. ~$425 billion (Military/NASA).

That is how I read it. If I'm mistaken somehow, please let me know as I only intended to make an observation.

My simple intent of this thread was just to ask "have we really lost our formard thinking and ambitious goals in regards to the space program?" I wasn't alive through most of the Apollo program, but I do remember where I was when the Challenger exploded.

I don't expect everyone to agree on the monetary source or the politics behind it. I just needed to get it off my chest...
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