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NASA Space Government The Almighty Buck

SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget 114

MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "While participating in a panel called "The US Space Enterprise Partnership" at the NewSpace Conference that was held by the Space Frontier Foundation on Saturday, SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell opined that NASA's budget should be raised to $22-25 billion, according to a tweet by Space Policy Online's Marcia Smith. The theory is that a lot of political rancor has taken place in the aerospace community because of the space agency's limited budget. If the budget were to be increased to pay for everything on the space wish list, the rancor will cease.

The statement represents something of a departure of the usual mutual antagonism that exists between some in the commercial space community and some at NASA. Indeed Space Politics' Jeff Foust added a tweet, "Thought: a panel at a Space Frontier Foundation conf is talking about how to increase NASA budget. Imagine that in late 90s." The Space Frontier Foundation has been a leading voice for commercializing space, sometimes at the expense of NASA programs."
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SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

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  • Why stop there? (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @01:41PM (#47544103)

    If 25 billion is good, surely 250 billion is better right?

    And if 250 billion is good, why not just hit 25 trillion?

    We live in a world of scarce resources - sometimes that means that expensive government programs can't be funded.

  • everyone knows (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @01:44PM (#47544125) Homepage
    everyone knows that NASA is the red headed step child of the government. they are the face of the government that kids love, and encourages science and technology research, there is no better government agency that I can think of that has more good will with the kids

    but for some reason, they dont get funded, everyone acts as if NASA wastes money left and right and they get nothing done. I blame congress and the president for always interjecting. They are politicians, not scientists. We should give nasa a blank check and let them do their thing.
  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @02:00PM (#47544227)

    It should be noted that deficits for Obama's years in office amount to $4T to $6T. And those had nothing to do with our wars.

    It should also be noted that unless we're counting Vietnam, Korea, and WW2, we haven't had $4T to $6T in war costs. Military budgets were higher as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan, but you'd have to count the entire military budget as "war costs" to reach even $4T, much less $6T.

    It should also be noted that we're making absolutely no attempt to "pay down" our debts. The National Debt goes up every year, by rather more than $500B (rather more than $1T during most of Obama's terms).

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @02:05PM (#47544247)

    SpaceX has scheduled eleven launches over the next several years with the US Government as the customer (ISS resupply missions).

    In addition, it has 17 launches scheduled for other customers (private satellite launches).

    So, no, SpaceX doesn't have to do space tourism, nor do asteroid mining, nor make all their money being a government contractor. What they are is a LAUNCH company. They don't do payloads, they just put other people's payloads into orbit for them cheaply.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2014 @02:09PM (#47544275)

    In the same way that plunging 2bn on... I think it was Ohio's public education system resulted in more admin buildings but worse sat scores, just more money to NASA won't help. The problem isn't the money, it's the failure to have a goal, as was already argued elsewhere. This is easy to see: After the apollo program the budget didn't change that much (adjusted for inflation), but without structure NASA has done nothing but pursue unconnected tidbits and flounder in its poor management structure.

    Besides, SpaceX' raison d'être would be to do better on less money, so it complaining NASA has not enough budget is disingenious and indicative of complete failure of that experiment. Best get rid of both, and be done with it. Neither is going anywhere.

  • Re:Another example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @02:33PM (#47544407) Homepage
    Yeah, it is a deplorable thing when a company suggests that you spend an extra $30/per capita for science, but it is fine when your politicians at the same time have you spending $2100/per capita for the military. Unless your problem is not the proposal itself but who makes the proposal. Perhaps you are more comfortable with the established method of only lobbyists being able to affect where taxpayer money goes. So SpaceX should hire lobbyists and pressure the house and the congress instead of participating in "panels".
  • When I was born... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @02:59PM (#47544555) Homepage
    When I was born Mankind had not set foot on the moon.

    By the time I was five, we had been there, done that and decided to never go back again.

    If aliens do exist, they are sitting back saying "What the f?ck man, you want to meet us but don't have the energy to get off the couch and answer the door?"

    Mankind does not deserve space travel. We had our chance and refused to take it.

    We spend less than 5% of our national budget on space travel. Whoops, sorry make that less than 0.5%. It is a joke.

    Science and technology have funded our industry for hundreds of years - yet we refuse to spend more on space industry than we do on our aircraft carrier program (old Nimitz class cost about 4.5 billion - and we have 11 of them).

    25 billion? Double that and make it a real scientific program. 50 Billion is a reasonable price to pay. Not the paltry less than 20 we currently pay

  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @03:33PM (#47544771)

    It has been said by many close to these matters that part of the drain on NASA is SLS. Just throwing more money at it could continue to enable the boondoggle. Maybe the money should be contingent on funding launch platforms that can and will compete with other commercial systems to lower cost, to actually compete with Soyuz on cost. The criticisms are that it is a very poor value, and not well designed for reducing cost and efficiency. The result is a launch platform that is far too expensive. One of the core problems is developing a launch platform that is SOLELY for use by the government, this pretty much prevents the market from driving down costs, unlike other launch platforms such as the Ariane and Soyuz which service private companies and thus are incentivized as a requirement to develop better, cheaper technologies.

    Maybe someone else can comment on this, but it looks like SLS will be more expensive and costly than anything else, giving us less for more money. Why even waste time developing this when we can use SpaceX, the Deltas, Atlas and so on, perhaps human rated versions of these.

    SLS could not compete on price with Soyuz, which is a good sign it should be scrapped. The Soyuz so far has us beat on reliability, cost, performance. If we continue to fund white elephants which are more driven by beauracracy and pork rather than driven by technical innovations to lower cost and improve reliability, we will continue down the road of stagnation and falling behind.

    It has often been said that if someone wanted to kill the US space program, the Shuttle and Space Launch System is exactly what they would do, to basically suck all of the resources dry on a far too expensive launch platform that is superior to everything else on the market, thus pulling resources away from the science and exploration missions.

    It is true that SLS is a drop in the bucket compared to the F-35 and welfare programs, yet if its still more expensive than everything else for less than what you can get from other launch platforms, why waste the money? Why not go with a human rated SpaceX?

  • Re:Why stop there? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by demachina ( 71715 ) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @04:21PM (#47545081)

    Probably one of the best things NASA could do at this point is abandon ISS, stop paying for it, and tell the Russians its all theirs. There is a fair chance they would fly Americans to it for free rather than get saddled with that boat anchor.

    If the Russians don't want it either its time to deorbit it. It would free up a LOT of money for more useful endeavors. Its never been good for much of anything, certainly nothing to justify the staggering price tag

    SpaceX will have the ability to put astronauts in to LEO in a few years. Its not like its a crisis, there is very little for people to do in LEO at the moment other than to be lab rats for zero G physiology studies. You would think they would have done most of that work by now.

    About the only point in putting people in space at all is as colonists, persumably on Mars. You can do just about everything else way better and cheaper with robots.

    So until you are ready to fly people to Mars to stay, stop getting your panties in a bunch about getting them to LEO.

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