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NASA Space Science

NASA's Commercial Plans for Kennedy Space Center 106

coondoggie writes "Whether or not NASA launches two or three more shuttle missions, NASA's venerable hub of operations, the Kennedy Space Center will need a new mission. That's why NASA today said it was looking to morph the center's unique space rocket facilities into a new more commercial role after the shuttles stop flying. While its facilities would likely rise far above others, NASA could find some competition in any commercial launch venture."
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NASA's Commercial Plans for Kennedy Space Center

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  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:58PM (#34998598)

    If you RTFA, it sounds like how cash-strapped British Lords open up parts of their country estates to provide a little cash-flow to finance maintenance and repairs. Or like some kind of NASA garage sale. At any rate, it doesn't sound like NASA is planning on launching anything there real soon.

    So if you want to get yourself into space, learn Russian. Ha! It's like the Tortoise and the Hare Space Race . . . congratulations, Russia, in the long run, you have won.

  • Re:Makes sense ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak.yahoo@com> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:14PM (#34998796) Homepage Journal

    NASA is no more geared to commercial spaceflight than Red Bull's Formula 1 team is geared to making SUVs. NASA is, however, geared towards research and design, non-terrestrial physical sciences, deep space communications, etc.

    Specialists are capable of going further in a specific field than any generalist. It would be suicide for them to try and compete with fly-by-night rocket groups that can launch satellites from disused oil rigs. It is seriously doubtful they could seriously battle for the LEO passenger market, or even with the Russians on the millionaires-in-space front. Frankly, I don't think they should.

    NASA should not go commercial. They should invest more on ion drive research (how else will we get TIE fighters?), more on reliable landers (reusable spacecraft and/or colonies won't be possible until we improve the reliability aspect), more on deep space missions (commercial vendors won't bother mining asteroids until we find asteroids that we can profitably reach and mine - nickle isn't nearly valuable enough), more on alternative launch technologies (turbine-assisted ramjets, ski-jump ramps, cannon-assisted ramjets - all areas NASA is working on or have done), more on computational fluid dynamics (it's bad enough designing aircraft for atmospheres you can actually test in).

    These are areas where the commercial value is next to zero until AFTER the results are in. The private sector won't invest in this stuff. Or if it does, not nearly enough. But the private sector can do bugger all until those results are indeed in.

    NASA should be devolved from the Government, much in the same way the BBC is devolved from the British Government (via charter and as a source of funding but not under the control of nor under the sole funding of), but it should not be privatised or seek to use commerce to make the gap between what it needs and what scraps the politicians will give it after funding military escapades.

  • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:25PM (#34998902)

    The problem with the analogy for the Moon and Spanish exploration in the New World is simple.

    There was money to be had, hand over fist in the New World, going back and forth to the Moon was a money sink. Even if Apollo 19-20 had been funded and Saturn V production had continued, the Oil Crisis of 1973 would have killed the funding.

    NASA needs to get out of manned spaceflight and back to what it was founded for, developing technologies for civilian aviation and aerospace applications.

  • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:52PM (#34999296) Journal
    Open immigration to large numbers of people able to work, with strong preferences for those with higher levels of education, while there is space and infrastructure to fit more people. Create free or low-cost public knowledge-level tests for all subjects, and create a public record of all documented skills. Campaign for reduction of imports of everything, balanced trade levels, and for self-reliance, for all countries. Create lots of stimulus for people to study constantly throughout life. Promote the idea that you should consume only what you need, not be wasteful or greedy, and produce as much as you can. Create neighborhood citizen councils, with large powers to decide on what happens in their neighborhoods, emphasizing communications, work, health and education, and excluding only the promotion of violence or discriminatory actions. Propose laws requiring all government employees, officials and their families to use only public services, especially in health and education, available to all people of all income levels. Require everyone to participate in some level of civic life. Create tax laws balancing property levels to a max proportion of 1000-to-1 for wealthy-to-poverty levels.
  • Re:Sad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:16PM (#35000368) Homepage

    Imagine if Christopher Columbus came back from the New World, and no one returned in his footsteps.

    It's more like when Captain Thomas Bladen Capel came back from Rockall [wikipedia.org] in 1810, and no one returned until 1896. Somebody made another visit in 1955, and put up a plaque. There was another visit in 1985. Someone is planning a visit in 2011 as a promotion for a charity.

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