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Panel Says That NASA Needs To Privatize

From an irony-proof New York Times:

Panel Calls Program of NASA Unfeasible

By KENNETH CHANG

September 9, 2009

A blue-ribbon panel said Tuesday that a lack of financing has left NASA’s current space program on an “unsustainable trajectory” and that the Obama administration should consider using private companies to launch people into low-Earth orbit.

The panel, convened in May in response to a request by President Obama, delivered an executive summary of its report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The full report is expected later this month.

The summary contains few surprises, but neatly compacts to 12 pages the discussions of a series of public meetings in July and August.

Whatever space program is ultimately selected, it must be matched with the resources needed for its execution,” the panel wrote, emphasizing the possibilities of pulling in participation and financing from other nations and turning to the commercial space industry to provide rockets at a lower cost than a program by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA, under its Constellation program, is developing a new rocket called Ares I and a new astronaut capsule called Orion, and the system is to begin carrying astronauts to the International Space Station in March 2015. After that, development of a larger rocket, the Ares V, and a lunar lander was to lead to a return to the moon by 2020.

The panel said that those plans were “reasonable” when they were announced in 2005, but that largely because NASA never received the expected financing, the first manned flight of Ares I would probably be delayed until 2017, and the International Space Station is to be discarded by 2016 under current plans. And the projected financing for NASA would not allow enough money for development of Ares V and the Altair lunar lander.

The panel in fact could find no program that “permits human exploration to continue in any meaningful way” within the $100 billion for human spaceflight over the next decade.

For $30 billion more, the current Constellation program is feasible, but would still not reach the moon until 2025, the panel said…

Thus, the other four options that the panel presented call for replacing Ares I with a commercial alternative, possibly a variation of the rockets that launch military payloads or a new spacecraft from the start-up company Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX for short

Beyond the question of rockets is one of destination. The ultimate goal is Mars, but that is currently not practical, the panel said.

A lot of this sounds vaguely familiar. Such as:

The panel in fact could find no program that “permits human exploration to continue in any meaningful way” within the $100 billion for human spaceflight over the next decade.

Hasn’t the CBO and other panels said pretty much the same thing about Mr. Obama’s promises to insure the 40 million uninsured within the $900 billion dollar budget he has projected?

By the way, does anyone really believe that nationalizing healthcare for 300 million people will only cost nine times more than (under) funding human spaceflight over the next ten years?

And this too smacks of the healthcare reform debate:

Beyond the question of rockets is one of destination. The ultimate goal is Mars, but that is currently not practical, the panel said.

Doesn’t Obama-care promise us the Moon and Mars and the stars – when we can’t even afford what we have now with Medicare and Medicaid?

So if the practical thing for NASA is to turn over more of its operations to private industry, why wouldn’t that also be true for healthcare?

This isn’t rocket science.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 10th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Panel Says That NASA Needs To Privatize”

  1. Helena says:

    Holy Mackerel. They DO understand that private enterprise is more efficient than government. I really thought they didn’t.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      I would suspect that there are those in non-partisan positions in this government, who have been there for some time and who have weathered many an administration, who know how money really works..and I would venture a guess that, when using the taxpayers’ money, are very diligent in making sure it is spent wisely with the emphasis on safety. (Usually)

      But given that this particular administration hates private industry, I am surprised that they would say this. Obviously, if the industry was in the private sector, they would be those vicious dragons eating up evil profits taken at the expense of the little poor do-nothing urchins.

      However much of the industry IS private already. Their money simply comes from government channels, from taxes. So the argument can be made they work for the government. But, they simply contract their endeavors to private companies already in the aerospace industry.

      To do it without government subsidization is a utopian dream for me, to counter the greenies utopian dreams. Yet we seem to be dumping billions into “green technologies” in order to “stimulate” that industry, no?

      Yes, it’s a fair thing to say that if the space program is costing too much…then why didn’t they just throw money at it? Tax money? Billions of dollars worth?

      The logic disconnect…and I think the democrats haven’t seen what everyone else is seeing, or starting to see: That being it’s becoming more and more obvious that the healthcare takeover is less and less about healthcare than it is about government control of the money and the people.

      What escapes me and continues to do so, is why we’re supposed to treat these people with any respect when it’s become obvious that they are statists and elitists of the worst kind. All feeling they are superior and above the “common man” and thus, must take our money to use for their selfish interests.

  2. MinnesotaRush says:

    “A blue-ribbon panel said Tuesday that a lack of financing has left NASA’s current space program on an “unsustainable trajectory” and that the Obama administration should consider using private companies to launch people into low-Earth orbit.”

    So where’d they get this “blue ribbon panel” from? Don’t these loonies know that o-blah-blah is doing his absolute best to destroy “private companies”?

    My gawd .. get a grasp on reality and current events you blue ribbons!

    • Colonel1961 says:

      I know the cost analysis lead for the entire Augustine commission. Not a partisan, but not really up to the task, either. Not sure the results would have been much different with other participants. The moon is a worthless idea. Mars? OK – let’s go. But if you think Ares/Constellation is expensive, wait until you see the tab for solar-electric or nuclear propulsion.

      Ares I is (was) a royal cluster. A deign by to satisfy everyone and not meet the mission requirement. Pitiful.

      America can do anything – always has, always will – provided we get the Government out of the way as much as possible. von Braun never had to put up with the BS involved in the current NASA bureaucracy. And that’s why we made it before the decade was out.

  3. VMAN says:

    I see that not too many people have posted to this story. I was looking around and spotted it and I have to say it just made me sad. I grew up with the space program and many of my earliest heroes were the astronauts, although John Glenn was a disappointment latter in my life. I remember being herded to the auditorium or outside to watch launches (I live in Florida). I remember staying up all night to watch the moon landing and then it happened we stopped going to the moon and we’re going to start a project called Skylab. I thought OK maybe they are going to build a space platform to launch future moon missions to establish colonies and take us on to mars. Much to my surprise it all ended very fast and then they were talking about a space shuttle (which they had been talking about for a long time) Instead of leaving a Saturn launch pad they converted both to shuttle launch pads and I said well OK they can reuse the shuttle so that makes sense. Then I learned that the shuttle was incapable of leaving earth orbit and thought “well that sucks”. So they start building this ISS and I thought maybe they’re building a space platform to launch further space missions after all if they launch from space they don’t need the force they need from earth. Now I read that they are going to scrap the ISS? I guess I wax nostalgic to say this. It seems the USA has taken a similar route in the last 50 or so years. Back then we had great hopes of exploration and change and moving into the future with boldness but alas it was not to be. Just one more thing. I used to love the movie “2001 A Space Odyessy” but now I look at it as a comedy. I hope that the US doen’t turn out to be a comedy or horror show under this idiot president.

    • Helena says:

      So true. So sad. When the space program started it was all so exciting and kids all over the country dreamed of being involved somehow. NASA was the greatest part of America. America doing what it does best. It made everyone want to study science and space and be adventurers. And the things that came from the program! Computers, Teflon, new fabrics, new plastics, all kinds of improvements in instrumentation, and medical breakthroughs and knowledge about the Moon and our solar system and and – – – Tang!
      But then Jesse Jackson started saying things like “We can put a man on the Moon but we can’t lift all the poor people out of poverty” and that was that. We couldn’t have something beautiful and exciting and inspiring and VALUABLE, because politicians were too scared to fund it. And so the poverty pimps, who make their livings by keeping people poor, win.

  4. Reality Bytes says:

    Anyone who couldn’t understand how the Dark Ages happened need only to look at the direction our “leaders’ are heading us.

  5. mathews says:

    with known and better technology than was available in 1962 America reached the moon by 1969. So now the NObama campaign tells Americans that going to the moon will NOT happen. my expectation is Sarah Palin better make it happen before the end of her 8 years as POTUS


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