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NASA Government

NASA Trying To Reinvent Their Approach 123

coondoggie writes to tell us that NASA has started down the road to reinvention with the addition of four new committees to the external advisory group that drives the agency's direction. "The four new committees include Commercial Space, Education and Public Outreach, Information Technology Infrastructure, and Technology Innovation. The council's members provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA administrator about agency programs, policies, plans, financial controls and other matters pertinent to NASA's responsibilities. In the realm of commercial space, NASA has been pushed by outside experts to leave low Earth orbit flights to other aerospace firms. The Review of United States Human Space Flight Plan Committee report recently took that a step further in recommending: A new competition with adequate incentives to perform this service should be open to all US aerospace companies. This would let NASA focus on more challenging roles, including human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit based on the continued development of the current or modified NASA Orion spacecraft."
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NASA Trying To Reinvent Their Approach

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  • by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Monday November 02, 2009 @05:40PM (#29955436) Journal

    They would do well to put the moon and Mars on the back burner and focus on the asteroids. Then set aside a few hundred million a year in x-prize style incentives open to *everyone* not just US companies.
    Focus on alternative propulsion and energy systems as chemical engines are not going to get us very far. Get NASA out of Earth to LEO and focused toward targets that are farther out and harder to reach. Let SpaceX and friends take care of launch costs to LEO. Focus on utilising robotic missions where possible and reserve human space flight for in depth study where the time lag/AI insufficiencies become problematic. Get hacking on the problem of orbital space debris- that will be a major problem if we're going to be going to do anything outside of our atmosphere.

  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Monday November 02, 2009 @05:58PM (#29955630)

    NASA is a hopeless entrenched bureaucracy. Forming more committees, and writing reports, is what they do when threatened, its their counterpart to the old west circling of the wagons when attacked by Indians.

    As an aside here is a fascinating article [] by an ex CIA agent on why the CIA has exactly the same disease NASA has and why they are dysfunctional too. Apparently most CIA agents spend most of their time angling to making a jump to the private sector where they can get rich by using their insider knowledge to get lucrative contracts.... from the CIA.

    NASA is pretty similar. There are very few scientists and engineers left at NASA. They are mostly contract monitors who shuffle paper from pile to pile to get money from Congress to award contracts to the private sector and the contractors do all the actual work. Of course contractors tend to be flakes, and are just in it to milk as much money as they can. During Apollo there were a lot of contractors but there were actual engineers and scientists at NASA who did stuff, not so much any more.

  • Amazing (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 02, 2009 @06:18PM (#29955952)
    that so many idiots want to Kill NASA and America's space program when China just announced that they are going to militarize Space []. I mean I can understand if Chinese are hoping that America will kill its program. BUT, there are appears to be Americans that want this.
  • by whathappenedtomonday ( 581634 ) on Monday November 02, 2009 @06:39PM (#29956198) Journal

    If we can see objects like this coming we should be able to evacuate the impact site ahead of time.

    Hm... up to 70km you say - that's quite unlikely, results would be quite devastating [], even if you were 8000km away from the impact site (but depending on quite a few parameters of the object/impact).
    Give this a try, maybe you'll reconsider: []

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday November 02, 2009 @09:59PM (#29958556) Journal
    The reason why NASA has problem (as does RSA and somewhat ESA), is that all have settled on one design and stick with it. What is needed is multiple designs and development. Only by doing numerous approaches will better be found.

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