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Rep. Bill Posey Introduces 'Back To the Moon' Bill 562

MarkWhittington writes "In an attempt to rationalize and give focus to NASA's human space flight program, Rep. Bill Posey, Republican of Florida, has introduced a bill that will direct the space agency to send astronauts back to the Moon with a goal of permanent habitation of Earth's nearest neighbor."
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Rep. Bill Posey Introduces 'Back To the Moon' Bill

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  • Re:A better idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:34PM (#35924800)

    Maybe the gap has been closed and exploration money can come from private sources.

    Nope. Outer Space Treaty makes it impossible to recover the costs of exploration, since you're not allowed to actually claim anything up there as belonging to you.

    Note also that the relevant government is required by that Treaty to authorize and provide supervision to any private party going into space from their soil.

    For that matter, any activity in outer space can be blocked (at least temporarily), by ANY signatory to the Treaty at their discretion.

  • by fredmosby ( 545378 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:40PM (#35924850)
    This bill is an attempt to revive the failed SLS space launcher based on space shuttle parts. Here's the relevant text in the bill:

    (3) The 111th Congress, in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010, called for the development of a heavy lift capability of greater than 130 metric tons consisting of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to pursue exploration, yet fell short on explicitly stating a clear destination.

    (4) The 112th Congress has reaffirmed this commitment to the development of a heavy lift capability.

    A few months ago a senator from Utah tried to get NASA to stop looking for alternatives to the SLS (such as SpaceX) by citing the 130 ton requirement. Now they're trying to pass a new bill with stronger wording to force NASA to spend money on the SLS, which happens to be built in their states.
  • The largest employer in his district is the Weber County School District, but otherwise I'd have to agree with your position on Rob Bishop. The guy is a sell-out, and is partly responsible for a $3 billion earmark (nearly the only one in the current budget) for the "SLS" launch system (often dubbed the "Senate Launch System") to essentially restart under a new name the Ares V project.

    It is useful to note that the ATK plant was in his Utah State House of Representatives district before he was elected to his current seat in Washington, thus has a rather cozy relationship with the people in that company as well as many neighbors who work for them as well.

    One legitimate issue that needs to be addressed is in terms of how to keep domestic production going for the Ammonium Perchlorate [], which is a vital chemical needed for general defense purposes. That is the primary chemical used in solid rocket boosters, and is used for most of the ICBMs in the arsenal of the United States (as well as the missiles in submarines). Right now, those missiles aren't being built, so there is a need for at least somebody, somewhere, to be using this chemical so that the factories making this rocket fuel can keep going for when the ICBM fleet needs to be refurbished for the next generation (the fuel is unstable and does need to be replaced periodically).

    My personal solution to the problem: Rather than disguising a NASA program as something other than a make-work jobs program to keep the factory workers at these chemical plants employed, why not simply get into the business of making 4th of July fireworks and literally give these "missiles" to every city in America for their annual celebrations? $3-$4 billion would make a whole lot of fireworks, and it could at least be enjoyed for pure entertainment purposes by most Americans if they want to see their tax dollars literally burned up every year. You could even keep rocket developers busy, where they would be able to "test fly" their designs on a regular basis. That is much more to say that to have a bunch of rocket developers design a vehicle that will never fly due to an eventual shift in priorities, political parties, and mismanagement that usually accompanies most NASA rocket development projects.

  • Re:A better idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @08:23PM (#35925168) Homepage Journal

    "Nope. Outer Space Treaty makes it impossible to recover the costs of exploration, since you're not allowed to actually claim anything up there as belonging to you. "

    Thankfully most countries with desirable launch areas aren't signatories of that treaty, rendering that null and void.

  • Re:A better idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday April 25, 2011 @01:01AM (#35926676) Journal

    Uh quote Mel Brooks bullshit bullshit aaaaand bullshit. maybe you'd care to explain how a full 2/3rds of corps paid NO taxes this decade [] or how GE, who paid paid NO taxes in 2010 [] and in fact got a REBATE and is now using those funds to fire Americans and build overseas [] with the head of GE actually having the brass balls to say "We've globalized around markets, not cheap labor. The era of globalization around cheap labor is over. Today we go to China, we go to India, because that's where the customers are."

    BULLSHIT and EVERY single time of growth in the history of this country TAXES AT THE TOP HAVE BEEN OVER 70% full stop. We have had unprecedented tax breaks for the top 1% for THIRTY YEARS and NOTHING has gotten better. NOTHING. So peddle the rep fantasy somewhere else, we ain't buying it no more. America WILL BE COME NATIONALIST the only question is how violent the change over will be. China is about to drop their US dollars so the game is over friend, time to pay the check.

  • Re:Unfunded mandates (Score:4, Informative)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Monday April 25, 2011 @01:58AM (#35926962) Homepage Journal

    Many of the top "new" aerospace companies are already siphoning off the cream of the crop from many of these companies, including operations in Houston. That talent isn't going to waste, and I'd have to agree that there is a deep talent pool which does need to pass on the lessons learned from one generation to another. That is indeed a huge issue, so I don't want to minimize that.

    Still, those involved with the manned spaceflight program at NASA have a dismal record of getting anything accomplished, where the last new design to actually make it into space has been the Space Shuttle, started in the Johnson administration and approved during the Nixon administration in terms of real funding. If the experience of nearly a dozen failed launcher projects is lost, it could even be said to be a good thing after a fashion. Something is certainly missing from what needs to happen as the object of the whole exercise, getting people into space, seems to be lost completely anymore. If the same worker bees keep shifting around from one nameless company to another, perhaps the whole system needs to be rethought.

    I'm also going to acknowledge that there ought to be a transition after a fashion, as radical moves can throw out the baby with the bathwater. The question is more in terms of how gradual, and what it really means in terms of a privatized spaceflight system in America. Merely becoming another contractor to NASA doing what was done by government employees isn't really privatization, as opposed to a company who sell spaceflight services to NASA as a customer but also sells those same services to many other people who are not even government agencies. More significantly, private companies don't have to "spread the wealth" by putting offices in key congressional districts, but rather make the decision in terms of where to locate facilities based upon hard economic decisions to remain profitable.

    The U.S. federal government is hitting a brick wall in terms of finances, and the train wreck is going to do far more than take out NASA. For myself, I wish that America had the money and the political will among the politicians in DC to be able to continue to fund NASA as it has for decades, and perhaps even go up to the 1960's levels of funding. Unfortunately cold hard reality is such that NASA is going to be an easy target with a weak constituency ripe to be wiped out in a budgetary compromise.... especially when programs like Head Start, Medicaid, and Social Security are also going to be hammered hard. If T-bills lose the AAA bond rating quality, expect that to get much worse before it gets better.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.