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NASA Government Space News

Obama Taps Charles Bolden To Lead NASA 199

Posted by kdawson
from the in-need-of-a-steadying-hand dept.
viyh notes that President Obama has named former astronaut Charles F. Bolden Jr. as NASA administrator. Obama's campaign space adviser, Lori Garver, will be Bolden's deputy. Bolden flew four shuttle missions, two as commander, as well as 100 combat missions over Viet Nam. If confirmed, Bolden will take over an agency uncertain of its direction. The shuttle Atlantis's landing will mark the end of the servicing era — it was the last planned mission to repair any satellite. Some inside the agency are less than happy about how NASA's future looks from here.
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Obama Taps Charles Bolden To Lead NASA

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  • Uncertain? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @02:40PM (#28068525)

    I thought NASA was pretty damned certain of where they were heading over the next few years, the only uncertain part was what the next NASA administrator would try to change.

    • Re:Uncertain? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday May 23, 2009 @02:54PM (#28068651)

      the only uncertain part was what the next NASA administrator would try to change.

      And how much the next president cuts their budget.

    • Re:Uncertain? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @04:48PM (#28069475)

      According to a friend of mine who is working on Orion, they desperately need someone to go in there in clean out the bureaucracy. Any change to the design, no matter how small, has to clear dozens of bureaucrats, which have hung on to the organization like leeches for decades.

      Major changes have become downright impossible. The original plan for Orion was a completely new design that offered several aerodynamic improvements, but the bureaucrats threw it out, because it was too big a change from the old tried-and-true designs.

      While there is certainly something to be said for playing it safe and sticking with known-good technology, the bureaucracy keeps NASA from making any revolutionary leaps forward.

      So yes, NASA's future will be nice and consistent, barring major changes by the new admin. But it will be a nice, consistent decay into irrelevancy. If Bolden shakes things up a bit, then NASA might be able to start making the huge leaps that it was once known for. I wouldn't count on it though.

      • Fixing the Constellation / Orion program is not really going to fix the problem. "Go to the Moon, again!" and "Go to Mars!" are not strategic objectives. They are relics of the Cold War, where space exploration is viewed as a trophy. We got there first!

        We spent a decade and over a hundred billion on a space station, only to yank the transportation system out from under it without preparing another first, and change the plan to:
        "abandon it a few years after its completion, never funding the science
        • "We need to think about space access as an economic stimulus on the nature of the trans-continental railroads. We need to build an infrastructure to get to orbit reliably, then the moon reliably, then the asteroids and beyond."

          Honest question: Why ?

          How is the average American going to benefit from such a venture ?

          What are the running costs going to be ?

          What are the yields going to be (space vacations ? asteroid mining ? ... ????) ?

          I grew up with dreams of space exploration. I thought sending people to the m

          • by cowtamer (311087) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @10:33PM (#28071367) Journal

            Now I realize that if people actually want to go to space, then there's a demand in the market that isn't being filled. Companies can profit by figuring out how to fill that demand. They'll try and fail a lot but they'll use their own money to do it.

            No, they won't. Companies are not necessarily interested in advancing humanity, but getting ahead in the next 1-5 years. There is very little incentive for a private company to spend 15 billion dollars a year on anything that won't pay off in a decade. (If you don't believe me, start your own company sometime!)

            Governments can fund BIG projects with uncertain but (if successful) huge outcomes. America became a world superpower (in part) because it's not afraid to fund such things. I would rather have the government triple NASA's budget rather than buy a couple more golf balls for GM execs...

            Unfortunately, as long as the average techie in the USA has this myopic pseudo-libertarian "if it's worth doing some private company is going to do it" attitude, our children will only dream of the the glory days when there were Americans who walked on another heavenly body. By then, the expertise (and the infrastructure) to do such things may have been irretrievably lost.

            [The best thing Obama or any other leader can do is to inspire a clear and concrete vision for the next 10 years and put in the framework to support it. But this boils down to general political will, which is sadly lacking].

            • by wisebabo (638845)

              im replying to this point because my finger slipped when I was moderating and I gave it the wrong moderation point! By posting I'm hoping the system will remove my errant moderation point. (there's no undo I think for moderation points).

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday May 23, 2009 @02:47PM (#28068583)

    Used to be, back when I was in high school, that we listened to Kennedy's speeches about space and dreamed of becoming astronauts. NASA, in those days, was something of a heroic world where the best and brightest grouped to find ways to get men to the moon and return them safely to Earth.

    We looked at the Alan Shepards, Louis Armstrongs, and Buzz Aldrins as supermen. They were our Sanjaya back then. The right stuff, they had it, and we wanted to have it too.

    But now, NASA is just a sad shadow of what it used to be. The agency is hamstrung by lack of funding, but more than that, in the decades that have passed since I was a boy, educational standards have dropped to such an extent that even if we were to increase funding to reasonable levels, that we'd need to bring in foreign contractors just to make up the intelligence gap.

    The average American doesn't care about space. They care about what is directly in front of them. Their car, their job (if they still have it), and their bellies. The curiousity and hunger for space is gone except in a scattered few.

    It'll be another 12 years before any kind of rehabilition can take place. Until the next generation of kids passes through schools that encourage thought, discipline, and creativity and not just feel-good, everyone wins, it only matters if you try "education".

    • naaahhhhh (Score:2, Interesting)

      by whistlingtony (691548)

      I agree that NASA is a pale shadow of what it used to be. I'm not sure I agree with why.

      Kids are fine these days. There are plenty of smart folks out there kicking ass. Why is it that every generation thinks kids suck today? Have we all forgotten the stupid stuff we did?

      NASA may be lacking funding, but are they using the funding they have wisely?

      Why do we maintain the space station? There's no real good science going on. Why do we want to go to the moon? There's nothing there. Why would we want a colony on

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Volante3192 (953645)

        Why don't we use robots? Well, we do, and frankly all the good exploration comes from robots, not from people.

        Sample #15415 would disagree with you...

      • Re:naaahhhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @03:43PM (#28069037) Homepage

        Lets put our gumption and know how to solving problems here. There's plenty to go around... and you know what? Plenty of people hack, build, problem solve, and explore right here.

        This is very true, but it isn't the same issue as NASA's relationship to the politics surrounding Apollo. There was no pressing scientific or technical reason to push for a lunar landing before 1970. JFK made a credible political case for it. Lots of emotion, lots of handwaving, lots of Red Baiting. It just happened to be in a sphere the US is / was pretty good at (high tech).

        Since then, NASA hasn't had the high profile testosterone producing issue to follow the lunar landings. Mars? A bit too far away to sustain the hype. ISS - an interesting case. It certainly has increased our ability to do long term grunt work in space - maintaining a manned station in a hostile environment, fixing said station without pre planning every bolt twist for five years, dealing with the myriad of details to do this without killing anyone and with significant budget constraints. That sort of thing doesn't get everybody's panties dropping even if it's more important in the long run.

        Nope, we need some some of external challenge to get the gingiosm and the dollars flowing. If we can't find any helpful aliens, maybe we can cut a deal with the Chinese?

      • Re:naaahhhhh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by diewlasing (1126425) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @04:02PM (#28069135)
        Are you serious?

        While I agree we need to explore our vast oceans more extensively, I completely and utterly agree space is empty and boring. There are so many things we don't know and haven't discovered (just like in the oceans). In fact, I would go so far as to say there's a whole universe out there we haven't explored. You're statement that space is boring and empty is highly suspect at best and downright wrong at worst.

        And as for the space station, at the very least it gives us good data on how humans and possibly other living organisms can survive in space

        • We will master space or die out. We must not just explore it - we must make it our home. Anything less is to choose species suicide. As long as the survival of our species is limited to one planet, one star system, we are doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs. When we have escaped that perilous limit the Universe is ours. If we fail in this the Universe will clean the slate again and try once more to bring up a life form that can win.
      • by TimSSG (1068536)

        The nation's 15-year-olds make a poor showing on a newly released international test of practical math applications, ranking 24th out of 29 industrialized nations, behind South Korea, Japan and most of Europe. U.S. students' scores were comparable to those in Poland, Hungary and Spain.

        http://www.usatoday.com/educate/mathscience/article-math2.htm [usatoday.com] If you can NOT use the math what worth is it. Tim S

      • by genner (694963)

        Yes, we've lost the jazzy "coolness" of space. Know why? 'Cause it's EMPTY. Nothing there. Nothing to get excited about. B O R I N G.

        Lets explore the oceans instead!

        Why? There's nothing there.

      • by turing_m (1030530)

        Why would we want a colony on Mars or the Moon? No magnetic shield makes radiation very hazardous. We can't live there.

        Radiation pretty much mandates living under the surface of the moon or mars, and routing sunlight collected from mirrors on the surface to plants grown under the surface. It necessitates doing whatever needs to be done on the surface be done with robots instead of humans. With enough dedication, I suspect that those problems could be solved. The most pertinent reason to colonize is that if

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Divebus (860563)

      After Apollo was over, one of the greatest collection of scientists and researchers got their walking papers when NASA was disassembled. Why not take an agency like that and say "now, go cure cancer" or "figure out how to power the Nation for the next 1000 years"?

      • by Vintermann (400722) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @04:16PM (#28069245) Homepage

        In brief, because it doesn't work like that. The people who built Apollo would not have a clue about curing cancer, because rocket building and molecular biology have bloody little in common. Nor can they reliably make Einstein-like leaps of genius. No one can.

        If there's any problem with educational priorites, it is that "intelligence" is valued over hard-earned competence, and leaps of genius are romanticised at the expense of all the small, important steps.

        • True. I can picture a board meeting on how they'd attempt to cure cancer: "Lets point a rocket at it!"
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Divebus (860563)

          A lot of the science went into keeping humans alive where they shouldn't be. I'd say NASA knows a thing or two about the human body.

          • by fm6 (162816)

            You mean like, "People can't breath vacuum, we better make sure they have plenty of air"? Oh yeah, that's groundbreaking stuff.

          • There is no place that humans shouldn't be. Not in the seas of Saturn. Not in the core of stars. Not below the event horizon of the black hole the Milky Way revolves around.

            Given enough good science humans will go to all these places. Some of them will even come back.

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Apollo-era NASA was not a collection of scientists and researchers. It was an engineering job, first and foremost. They took stuff that was learned in 1943 Germany and applied it on a larger scale. Big engineering job, no research at all.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          Apollo-era NASA was not a collection of scientists and researchers. It was an engineering job, first and foremost. They took stuff that was learned in 1943 Germany and applied it on a larger scale. Big engineering job, no research at all.

          It isn't exactly true that there was no research at all. There was a whole bunch of it, but I'll admit that it was applied sciences (material science and engineering research) rather than "pure" science like what was done for the planetary science expeditions of the Mariner and Voyager space probes.

          The V-2 rocket had about as much in common with the Saturn V as the ENIAC has with the computer you are reading this from... other than the same lead engineer was in charge of the design of both the V-2 and the

      • Like others have said, that's not NASA's area of expertise. That's more a job for DARPA, IMHO.
      • Largely because those scientists and researchers didn't really do much during Apollo. Apollo was an engineering triumph, and one only possible because the scientists and researchers had been busy during the 50's and were ready to hand over technology ready for final development and implementation.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      I can't help but agree that "the right stuff" is no longer there. There are a few still, and it will never go away completely, but too many are just sitting on their fat bottoms smoking pot.

      Today you are more successful in the US if you work as a lawyer, work as a stock broker or is a criminal than anything else. And none of the occupations are really building any future.

      Of course - this is cynic...

      • by Teancum (67324)

        I can't help but agree that "the right stuff" is no longer there. There are a few still, and it will never go away completely, but too many are just sitting on their fat bottoms smoking pot.

        Today you are more successful in the US if you work as a lawyer, work as a stock broker or is a criminal than anything else. And none of the occupations are really building any future.

        Of course - this is cynic...

        If you are saying that the best and brightest are no longer working for NASA, I would have to completely agree. They don't get the best any more.

        For some time, the best and brightest engineers have been snagged up by Wall Street. Wall Street even uses the term "rocket scientist" for the software developers and engineers who tweak the computers for automated trading at the brokerage houses. Good for those guys too, as Wall Street pays good money for those kind of services.

        In terms of lawyers being success

    • by robably (1044462) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @03:04PM (#28068735) Journal
      There's a mistake there - Louis Armstrong was the jazz trumpeter and singer, it was his son, Neil Armstrong, who went to the moon.

      I checked on the internet, it's true.
    • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @03:10PM (#28068797)

      They care about what is directly in front of them

      Usually, that's a TV, probably with coverage supplied by satellites, put there by someone's space program. I think NASA's failure (and all post-Apollo Presidents) has been to fail to point out the benefits, both direct and indirect, of space exploration. We're in a Reaganesque "government is stupid" era where national programs get the ingrained grief of being another step towards Socialism. Until that changes, we're not going to see bold spending. Hell, we can't even get national healthcare because of the contradictory argument that a government program won't fix what private healthcare ruined.

    • Screw sanjaya. But tell us what that thing is.
    • by wbren (682133)

      We looked at the Alan Shepards, Louis Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrins as supermen.

      I also think of Louis Armstrong [wikipedia.org] as a superman. He played that trumpet like a god! But getting back to the article, I think Neil Armstrong [wikipedia.org] also qualifies as a superman.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Teancum (67324)

      What is NASA?

      It is a series of somewhat or even merely marginally related pork barrel projects created to provide economic stimulus to the aerospace engineering field. Each feast/famine cycle creates enough new engineers that when the next bust cycle happens there are enough unemployed engineers and technicians to start the next round of technology start-ups at pitiful wages.

      Does it have much if anything to do with space itself? Not really. Since NASA is now going to be without a spacecraft to send up as

    • by sgage (109086)

      "We looked at the Alan Shepards, Louis Armstrongs, and Buzz Aldrins as supermen. They were our Sanjaya back then."

      Yes, ol' Louis Armstrong was the man. He could blow a mean trumpet, and his version of "Hello Dolly" is still the gold standard.

      But I think perhaps you meant Neil Armstrong...

    • "NASA, in those days, was something of a heroic world where the best and brightest grouped to find ways to get men to the moon and return them safely to Earth."

      That's because they were doing something we've never done before. Once we went to the moon, Americans (and humanity in general) were bored with the whole thing... been there, done that. During the Apollo 13 mission, networks cut over to Batman. Higher ratings, you know. Not even going to Mars will have the excitement that the Apollo program first had

      • by omb (759389) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @06:43PM (#28070281)
        The notion that children need longer in school is pc and daft! And the idea that you can teach a cohort of children for 15 years, as is now done in the UK is ludicrous. First children differ hugely in ability and are profoundly affected by their environment, here in Switzerland most 10 year olds are tri-lingual, because, in this tower of babel it is easy to become so. Since we stream and have different types of school, as do Germany and France, kids get the type of schooling their minds need and become satisfied and succeed at what they are asked to do, and when they leave, go on to higher education or ON THE JOB training.

        Kids leave Berufschule or Ecole Artisanel at 17, reasonably numerate and able to read and write, normally in two languages.
        The academic kids go to University or one of the Federal Technical Highschools eg ETZ Zurich. There they can do a first degree or PhD as fast as they can, or more slowly.

        The US system has stopped working since it seeks to achieve equality of achievement, not equal opportunity, which leads to endless erosion of standards since no one can fail. Thus you have a politicised school systems in which I pity the academically bright student.

        You need to get your priorities right, get the bright kids out of normal High School and into somewhere where they can progress as fast as they can. In my view, 5-6 years in school is enough for anyone, two years for basic numeracy and literacy in two languages, two years maths and another one/two years in science. Before some of the teaching profession jump up and pontificate about History, Geography, Religious Studies and Social Sciences I say the kids can do RS on Sundays and pick up most of the rest as part of coursework, your kids should read the Constitution and Bill of Rights, ours UDI at Ruetli Field (1291).

        Finally you _do_ need to teach maths first, you cannot understand science otherwise.
    • "Until the next generation of kids passes through schools that encourage thought, discipline, and creativity and not just feel-good, everyone wins"

      Ah-ha, so THAT's who's to blame, the feel-good everyone wins liberals!

      I don't think that's very insightful. Sinking educational standards are a product of many forces. But keep some perspective.

      First, whether NASA has a pool of 12000 qualified people to choose from, or 11000 doesn't really matter very much - the benefit of hiring an extremely qualified person ove

      • by omb (759389)
        That is the kind of thinking that is an exact problem with your education.

        You dont need a heard, and you cant use one, you need _brilliant_ engineers 10-20 per generation.

        Your problem is the two years you spent getting an MBA taught you all the wrong things!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      that we'd need to bring in foreign contractors just to make up the intelligence gap.

      Nonsense. NASA's a big agency, but not so big that it couldn't meet its hiring requirements purely by hiring Americans (not that that is necessarily a good idea for other reasons).

      Name a single scientific or technical field where it is impossible to find an American.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dcollins117 (1267462)

      The agency is hamstrung by lack of funding...

      I actually had to look this one up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget/ [wikipedia.org]. I guess it depends on your perspective. 17 billion dollars sounds OK to me.

      FWIW, I have never heard of a government agency that said it *wasn't* hamstrung by lack of funding, thereby justifying a higher budget each year. That's how the game is played.

    • The problem isn't a lack of smart American kids. It's that for the last decade the smart American kids became quants on Wall Street making a million a year, rather than a grunt at Boeing make 50k.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "The average American doesn't care about space. They care about what is directly in front of them. Their car, their job (if they still have it), and their bellies. The curiousity and hunger for space is gone except in a scattered few."

      They (correctly) perceive that manned space exploration won't do anything much for them, and that there need be no rush to get to places that will still be there a billion years from now.

      We should be exploiting space with machines, and improving those machines, until they can

    • Louis Armstrong was a jazz musician, Neil Armstron is the astronaut you are thinking of.

      C.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But Frank Borman did not get the job done as the CEO of Eastern Airlines, while John Glenn was less than impressive as a Democratic Presidential candidate in 1984 (and was one of the Keating 5).

    In pro sports, Hall of Fame athletes are more than not failures as head coaches.

    One problem could be that the program, while brutally tough, is laid out for these guys. As head of the organization, they'll be the ones creating and staffing the program instead of following it.

    • But, it doesn't look like Bolden got the job because he's got name recognition or he's a crowd favorite that will fill the seats in the local stadium. The problem with a lot of these jokers you're speaking of, they ascend through the ranks because of their reputations and not their abilities. Had Donald Trump or William Shatner gotten the nod, I'd be worried.
  • Jim Wetherbee (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr&hotmail,com> on Saturday May 23, 2009 @03:07PM (#28068771) Homepage

    I've had the distinct pleasure of working with Jim Wetherbee, the man who has commanded more NASA shuttle flights than any other.

    During that time I asked him why he left NASA. And I don't want to put words into his mouth, but suffice it to say I think he felt like the country's support of NASA is terrible and he decided he wanted to go somewhere that he could make a difference (because he no longer felt that way in NASA).

    It's sad really. The space program, while expensive, has resulted in many great technological discoveries and inventions. And yet do you even know how small of a percent of our GDP goes towards it? It's pathetic.

    I only hope this Bolden is something like Jim Wetherbee. If so, there may be some hope yet.

  • by rossdee (243626)

    Why is it that whenever the President appoints/nominates someone for an important position, the word 'taps' is mentioned.

    Given that this is Memorial Weekend, the word Taps is more associatied with the bugle call for fallen soldiers, and is approppriate for remembering the Challenger and Columbia crews, (and Grissom White and Chaffee)

    • by mh1997 (1065630)

      Why is it that whenever the President appoints/nominates someone for an important position, the word 'taps' is mentioned.

      Because taps can mean "To select, as for membership in an organization; designate."

      As a veteran, I fought in the Gulf War specifically for the freedom to use the word taps when selecting someone.

  • by docbrody (1159409) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @03:41PM (#28069027)
    Obama wants to combine efforts with the the Air Force, which has a MUCH larger space program and a proven launch capability (Delta IV, Atlas V) already in hand. We will get to the moon faster and cheaper adapting the Airforce's existing technology, rather than letting NASA continue to flail and fail with the Ares I. Choosing Bolden has less to do with his background as an astronaut and more to do with the fact that he was a former general in the US Airforce. Obama wants to "To boost cooperation between NASA and the Pentagon," by, "reviv[ing] the National Aeronautics and Space Council, which oversaw the entire space arena for four presidents, most actively from 1958 to 1973." - including during the original missions to the moon! Insiders at Nasa, including former chief Michael Griffin are extremely resistant. They want to build and control their own technology (this should be familiar to anyone who has ever managed developers). âoeNo one really has a firm idea what NASAâ(TM)s cost savings might be, but the militaryâ(TM)s launch vehicles are basically developed,â said John Logsdon, a policy expert at Washingtonâ(TM)s National Air and Space Museum who has conferred with Obamaâ(TM)s transition advisers. âoeYou donâ(TM)t have to build them from scratch.â And thats the key. All quotes taken from: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aOvrNO0OJ41g [bloomberg.com]
    • This is about scraping the Aeres I and saving $

      I hope so. Ares is nonsense. One tiny rocket whose sole job is to lift the crew module into orbit, and it can't even do that; and one giant beast of a rocket that is so big that they can barely fit it through the doors of the assembly building, and will require completely new factories to build. Without the Ares V, Ares I has nothing to lift crew to, except to jump onto the ISS treadmill. Plus, that's all it can lift. No more supplies. No more spare pa
    • You hit upon something that does need to be made apparent to other American taxpayers here:

      NASA is not only smaller than the U.S. Air Force's space program, it is also smaller than the National Security Agency's space program as well. That is right, not just the #2 space program in America but actually it is #3... in terms of dollars spent and personnel employed on making things that go into space. That should be a hugely sobering thought by itself.

      I hope that Obama actually does take a stronger interest in setting space policy, but his efforts to date seem rather lame and more resembling a policy of maintenance rather than trying to boldly set out a new course for NASA.

      • by mbkennel (97636)

        [quote]NASA is not only smaller than the U.S. Air Force's space program, it is also smaller than the National Security Agency's space program as well. [/quote]

        You mean, National Reconaissance Office and Defense Mapping Agency.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          If what the U.S. Air Force is does is restricted only to the Defense Mapping Agency, I guess I live in a different universe than you do. It goes much more beyond that.

          As for the NRO, yes, I'm willing to admit it is its own beast. No, that isn't the Air Force space program either.

          I'll also admit that most of what goes on in the Department of Defense is mostly classified, even though quite a bit of it is related to intelligence gathering equipment and assets. That, of course, is mostly why the money spent

    • Bolden was a general in the USMC, not the USAF. That being said, as commander of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, he ran an "air force" larger than that of many good-sized countries. Not sure how much in the way of space operations any of the Marine aviation units do, though.

    • Obama wants to combine efforts with the the Air Force, which has a MUCH larger space program and a proven launch capability (Delta IV, Atlas V) already in hand.

      Strictly speaking, the EELV rockets are more commercial boosters than the Air Force, and NASA would be dealing with Boeing and Lockheed-Martin rather than the Air Force. I do have a lot of hope for the EELV-based approach though, and it's also likely that a capsule adapted to the EELVs could also adapt later on to commercial vehicles from companies like SpaceX or Orbital.

      As things currently stand, NASA's Ares I has been running into major problems, many believe it to have fundamental design flaws, and proje

    • When Bush was planning changes to NASA, the Liberals were up in arms complaining about how Bush would weaponize space. The quotes consisted of things like, "Space is free, we don't need to occupy it" and "Bush just wants to increase the US war machine."

      I don't think Bush ever proposed merging the Air Force and NASA. NASA has always been civilian technology while the Air Force was military technology. If he did, I'm sure it would have bolstered the lame arguments of the lefties about weaponizing space.

      Now

      • by FleaPlus (6935)

        Now here we have Obama talking about merging NASA and the Air Force. Where are the people disgusted that he is weaponizing space? Where is the outrage?

        The parent was being silly. Although the Air Force funded some of their development, the Atlas V and Delta IV are commercial rockets operated by Boeing and Lockheed-Martin. In fact, NASA (as well as a number of commercial companies) already launch payloads on them regularly. The only question is whether in the future those payloads will include humans.

  • by Daimanta (1140543) on Saturday May 23, 2009 @05:11PM (#28069627) Journal

    When you tap Charles Bolden, you may search for you Control NASA card and put it in your hand. Shuffle your deck afterwards.

  • No matter who is running NASA, Congress (i.e. the U.S. taxpayer) pays the bills, and Congress tells NASA what its priorities are. Congress told NASA to flush billions down the toilet that is ISS. Congress told NASA to go back to the Moon, but didn't give them any money to do it with. Congress (and the President) can change NASA's priorities in minutes, with no warning or appeal.

    In the 1960s NASA had clear direction and lots of money, and they landed men on the Moon. Now they have neither, and have been go

  • The rationalizations for the space shuttle program are all bogus.

    TFA laments the loss of the ability to repair satellites in space, and states that the shuttles have carried out 10 repair missions, 5 of them on the Hubble. Okay, Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] that the total cost of the space shuttle program has been 170 billion (in 2008 dollars), which works out to 1.5 billion per flight over 124 flights. So if the shuttle has only carried out 10 repairs in 124 flights, repairs clearly aren't one of its major missions.

  • Ms. Garver has been hyper critical of the Ares project (both I and V) and has tended to push Direct. In light of the current status of Ares I, I will be curious to see where this goes. I have to wonder if Garver was appointed by Obama or by Bolden.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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