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NASA Space Politics

Romney-Ryan Release Space Policy Paper 378

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-the-stars dept.
RocketAcademy writes "The Romney-Ryan campaign has released a white paper on space policy, which observers find to be long on criticisms of the Obama Administration but short on specific recommendations. The policy promises 'a robust role for commercial space,' but it's clearly a supporting role: 'NASA will set the goals and lead the way in human space exploration.' When it comes to space, both parties put government ahead of private enterprise. Some see a parallel with the policies which are driving space companies out of California. Newt Gingrich, one of the few politicians who thinks seriously about space, says the policy is a step in the right direction but not enough."
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Romney-Ryan Release Space Policy Paper

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  • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:00PM (#41443335) Homepage Journal

    Seems I've been hearing that for the last month or so.

    I keep expecting Mitt and Paul to get elected, then slip out of their disguises as Kang and Kodos.

    I for one ... ah, bugger it.

    • by Antipater (2053064) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:15PM (#41443459)
      "As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball" is something I would be utterly unsurprised to hear coming out of Romney's mouth.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:01PM (#41443341) Homepage Journal

    Even us die-hard Obamatrons are tired of them!

  • What NASA needs. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by camperdave (969942) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:05PM (#41443377) Journal
    What NASA needs is a specific goal (moon in this decade), and the money to achieve it, free of political constraints. None of this "No ATK, no $$$" garbage.
    • by kiriath (2670145) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:09PM (#41443401)

      I agree, I feel like we should make a our goal creating a base on the moon from which to launch further expeditions to Mars, perhaps even construct the ships out there, so that we can make them larger, and more habitable.

      It's all sci-fi sounding I agree, but It could be a step in the right direction... anything would be a step in the right direction.

      • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:31PM (#41443623) Homepage Journal

        I agree, I feel like we should make a our goal creating a base on the moon from which to launch further expeditions to Mars, perhaps even construct the ships out there, so that we can make them larger, and more habitable.

        It's all sci-fi sounding I agree, but It could be a step in the right direction... anything would be a step in the right direction.

        The latest step appears to be, "Let's watch and see what China and India do."

        • by murdocj (543661) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:53PM (#41443873)

          yeah... because since the 60s, all NASA has done is launch probes to all of the planets, orbiters to a bunch of them, rovers on Mars, interstellar probes at the boundary of the solar system, ion drives, missions to asteroids... gee I sure wish we were still trying to put a couple of guys into low earth orbit.

          • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:06PM (#41444013) Homepage Journal

            yeah... because since the 60s, all NASA has done is launch probes to all of the planets, orbiters to a bunch of them, rovers on Mars, interstellar probes at the boundary of the solar system, ion drives, missions to asteroids... gee I sure wish we were still trying to put a couple of guys into low earth orbit.

            The James Webb Space Telescope (with it's awesome infra-red capabilities!) is a definite posibility of getting axed. Lots of other astronomy projects are threatened by the budget axe, too. Some great work being done from the ground, but there's getting to be a lot less support for keeping it going.

            • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@@@netzero...net> on Monday September 24, 2012 @08:38PM (#41444767) Homepage Journal

              The James Webb Space Telescope is an abomination that is killing the exploration of the Solar System and beyond. Just as Constellation was killing manned spaceflight, the same could be said about the JWST. There have been some very well thought out science missions that are getting axed because of the cost overruns of the JWST and other projects including the commercial crew program are starving for fiscal oxygen as it were because that already incredibly late and hugely over budget project simply won't die.

              If there was a project that ever should be cancelled due to mismanagement and lack of planning as well as simply being a complete waste of tax dollars, that would be the project. I'm not condemning NASA by any means other than NASA administrators should have fired the management teams of that project a long, long time ago and been very blunt to Congress about why that was done along with recommendations to kill the project back elsewhen. It still isn't too late.

              For the price of the JWST in the current fiscal year budget, I bet we could get a couple space-based telescopes built that would end up doing far more actual science and could be routinely replaced. This would be especially true if they would make building those telescopes a part of the Centennial Challenge program and just hold a billion dollars or so out for any team that would put up a telescope that would meet or exceed the claimed properties of the JWST. I'm just calling everything spent so far on that monstrosity as sunk costs and written off completely.

          • Re:What NASA needs. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by mjwx (966435) on Monday September 24, 2012 @10:52PM (#41445719)

            yeah... because since the 60s, all NASA has done is launch probes to all of the planets, orbiters to a bunch of them, rovers on Mars, interstellar probes at the boundary of the solar system, ion drives, missions to asteroids... gee I sure wish we were still trying to put a couple of guys into low earth orbit.

            Because NASA GISS and JPL have done nothing in the last 40 years.

            If it weren't for JPL, flying would still be as expensive as it was in the 60's.

            You cant continually perform great feats with an ever shrinking budget.

            How does this crap get modded up.

      • Re:What NASA needs. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:46PM (#41443803)

        No. South pole of the moon is a potential fuel base. Build the ships on earth, assemble in orbit, fuel from the moon. Skip mars mission and fetch the nearest earth crossing small to medium nickle-iron asteroid to L5. People only in LEO and maybe at the lunar fuel base. Everything else robotic.

        Then build/invent orbital metal refinery with intention of blowing or sputtering onto foil a nickle iron barrel shape. Move that to LEO as new habitat. Also refuel and refurb asteroid tug and send it for the next asteroid.

        Be fucking careful, an asteroid tug is a serious potentially planet destroying weapon. Use very strong crypto. Build hard restrictions into navigation computer.

      • by camperdave (969942) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:57PM (#41443913) Journal
        You can't build rockets on the moon. There are no sources of refined metals, or plastics, or electronics. There are no machine shops, nor tool and die fabricators. There are no people to operate anything either. There are no launch facilities, no way to fuel the rocket, even if you managed to get it built.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:05PM (#41443379)
    Romney thinks the windows in our space craft need to be able to open.. ya know, in case there is a fire and they need to let the smoke out.
    • Re:I hear that... (Score:5, Informative)

      by SoCalChris (573049) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:21PM (#41443521) Journal

      This is what AC is referencing. 7th paragraph down.

      http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romney-beverly-hills-fundraiser-20120922,0,2317962.story [latimes.com]

      “I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

      Sadly, this isn't an Onion article.

  • Same thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:09PM (#41443399) Homepage Journal
    Whoa so wait a minute... Romney's policy is almost identical to Obama's? What a shocker! Who could have predicted such a thing, when they are so.diametrically opposed on every other issue? Gee, that makes it so much harder to decide which tyrant to vote for.
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:09PM (#41443403) Homepage Journal
    ... will the Romney spacecraft have windows that open? [latimes.com]

    When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no - and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous.

    Clearly, Romney is an expert on these things, so I hope they take his input seriously in the design phase. We wouldn't want future astronauts dying from not being able to open their windows.

    (yes, I know I'll be moderated down for this. but I've got karma to burn - even if I can't get oxygen at 30,000 feet to burn it with)

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:35PM (#41443667)

      Clearly, Romney is an expert on these things, so I hope they take his input seriously in the design phase. We wouldn't want future astronauts dying from not being able to open their windows.

      You missed the recommendation that magnets not be used in spacecraft, since nobody knows how they work... *cough* *sputter*

  • by medv4380 (1604309) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:16PM (#41443477)
    We can blame ether side all we want, but the truth is that without a perceived threat there isn't any political power to throw to NASA. If their was a known killer asteroid that was going to hit in 10 years we'd put every penny of the defense budget towards stopping it. If North Korea were building a lunar station we'd do everything to get one up first. But without the credible threat of something like what USSR presented we have no motivation other than just "to do it". I'm sorry but as much as we like to think we do things just because we can we do things a lot faster when you're in fear for your life.
  • Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:25PM (#41443551)
    blah blah space good. Insult Obama. I will be better than Obama

    1:Science and innovation important, some how having nasa means our workforce is some how more scientifically educated and skilled. Which makes no sense because I thought education did that, not Nasa.

    2: Space is important some how to a bunch of industries, despite the only real importance being research and satellite launching.

    3:Military in space good, need to secure space against space terrorists. More money to defense contractors. Could be hostile aliens?

    4:Nasa and our space program is like fancy armor in WoW, it is the international penis we can wave in the face of non-space faring countries. People respect space penis. Also private space penis is good too.

    Restate all the above and say that the country needs clear and concise leadership etc.

    pretentious quote by me. Who quotes themselves in their own policies? I do. I'm that awesome

    Huge diatribe on how Obama is bad and stuff. Also commercial space stuff is good

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:28PM (#41443585) Homepage

    who needs NASA?

    Really. Space-X has docked a test capsule to the ISS, and their first cargo delivery launches October 7th. Astronauts will follow on later flights.

    NASA hasn't developed a successful new booster in 30 years, despite about three failed attempts. Space-X has a new booster that works. Arianespace has a new booster that works. NASA has old ICBM derivatives and a "Space Launch System" proposal.

    Space-X has only 1800 employees. NASA still has 34,000. NASA does some good stuff, but it's far too big for what it accomplishes.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:33PM (#41443649)

      Space-x hasn't designed anything new. They have just refined working technology. The tech Nasa tends to work with when designing a new launch system isn't. Just look at the Aerospike engine compared to the launch system that SpaceX uses.

      Ya Nasa isn't perfect but they are hardly washed up and they are hardly useless. They face a declining budget each year and have to try find ways to make it streach and what projects should cover it. Any long reaching projects are also impossible because each administration ends up setting Nasa's goals so every four to eight years they end up marching to a new drummer.

      • by slew (2918) on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:25PM (#41444201)

        They face a declining budget each year and have to try find ways to make it streach and what projects should cover it.

        Like any far-flung political governemnt organization, not all parts of NASA are created equal.
        If you look at the "top" line budgeting for NASA, you'll see the following...

        Decreasing funding...
        Operations: FY11: $5.1B, FY12: $4.2B, FY13: $4.0B (e.g., shuttle, ISS)

        Pretty steady funding...
        Science: FY11: $4.9B, FY12: $5.0B, FY13: $4.9B (stuff like the James Web Telescope, LandSat, MSL experiments)
        Exploration: FY11: $3.8B, FY12: $3.7B, FY13: $3.9B (rover development, Orion, space commercialization grants)
        Cross Agency: FY11: $2.9B, FY12: $2.9B, FY13: $2.8B (overhead, people, buildings, pork, etc)
        Aeronautics: FY11: $530M, FY12: $570M, FY13: $550M (all that nextgen airtraffic control stuff)

        Increasing funding...
        Space Tech: FY11: $450M, FY12: $570M, FY13: $700M (all the researchy stuff you are talking about)

        Of course for longer term aggregate budgetary trends, you could also look at a wiki and you can see how your statement about "declining budgets" isn't really true at all http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA [wikipedia.org]

        It just seems like Nasa is getting less money since its percentage of the total federal budget has been shrinking (from 1% in the 90's to less than 0.5% today). However, in real dollars it's been about the same for a long while. Unfortunatly, the rest of the government has been getting bloated. Maybe that's the space-nerd in you feeling like Nasa is getting gyped relative to other federal spending.

        Still, getting "gyped" no excuse for not getting something from the $450-700M/year we are spending on researching new Space Tech for the last 30 years. The strategy to attempt to garner sympathy for failure by pointing out others got more help is excuse of a kindergardener... Sure there are political winds to navigate, but that's the game you have to play when the tab is being picked up by a bunch of finiky taxpayers.

    • by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:08PM (#41444037)

      who needs NASA?

      NASA is supposed to be SpaceX's primary customer. NASA builds a lot of satellites and space probes, manages and is the primary funder of a lot of space missions, and ships a lot of payload to the ISS.

      Rockets are the means to space exploration, not the end. NASA is still a big player in the ends business, even if it doesn't develop a lot of new means lately.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:31PM (#41443621)

    January 27, 2012 Republican debate:

    “I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, ‘You’re fired!’” -Mitt Romney

    Calling for anything other than a minimal to nonexistent manned space program is hypocrisy for Mitt Romney.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:05PM (#41443993) Homepage Journal

    Newt Gingrich, one of the few politicians who thinks seriously about space...

    I think the specific quote was "Mars, bitches!"

    Or maybe it was "Mars...BITCHES!" indicating the former Speaker of the House and perennial presidential candidate thinks there are hot bitches on Mars who could be persuaded to do a little chubby chasing. After all, Calista isn't getting any younger, if you get my drift.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:50PM (#41444389)
    "I don't want a president who looks like a game show host." - David Letterman
  • by goodmanj (234846) on Monday September 24, 2012 @09:25PM (#41445149)

    The article's editorializing isn't really fair. No, Romney doesn't have a plan, but the goal of the article isn't to propose a space policy, but to bash Obama's. And it's true that space exploration has taken a hit during the Obama administration, but all the key events took place before his administration.

    Bush, 2004: "Screw that space shuttle, boys, we're going back to the moon!"
    NASA, 2004: "Cool! Just so you know, that's kind of expensive."
    Bush, 2006: "Is a buck fifty enough?"
    NASA, 2006: "No. And BTW, we're cancelling the shuttles like you asked."
    Obama, 2009: "Umm, guys? Let's be honest here, going to the moon on a buck fifty isn't going to happen. We need a new plan for what to do with your buck fifty."
    Congress, 2009: "What buck fifty?"
    Obama, 2011: "Oh for fuck's sake."

    I've talked to lots of NASA employees over the year. Lots of them are really pissed off at Washington politics. But the names that inspire curses are George Bush and Congress. Obama is rarely mentioned.

    NASA's woes are a classic case of the Republican game plan:
    1) When in power, make grand plans without sweating the details or the cost.
    2) When out of power, block all solutions to the problems that arise from your grand plans.
    3) When seeking power, blame the opposition for failing to solve the problems you caused.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

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