Editorial: Going Boldly, or Barely Going? | TrekMovie.com
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Editorial: Going Boldly, or Barely Going? February 7, 2010

by Michael & Denise Okuda , Filed under: Editorial,Science/Technology , trackback

Yesterday TrekMovie presented an editorial by former Star Trek science advisor Andre Bormanis, supporting the new proposed change in NASA’s human spaceflight policy that including cancelling the Constellation program. Today we present an different point of view from veteran Trek designers (and active space advocates) Mike and Denise Okuda.


Support Project Constellation

by Michael & Denise Okuda

Dear Friends:

As long-time supporters of real-life space exploration, Denise and I were disappointed to learn that the proposed NASA budget for 2011 would cancel Project Constellation and the planned return to the Moon. Constellation, as you may know, began in 2004, after the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew. NASA was determined to make spaceflight safer for its astronauts, and it knew that it had to give those astronauts a worthwhile mission: exploration.

Constellation is tasked with developing boosters, spacecraft, and other systems to provide a safer replacement for the Space Shuttle, one that would enable a return to the Moon for the specific purpose of developing the ability for humans to live on another world. Unlike Apollo, Constellation is designed to run on a comparatively constrained budget. Constellation’s Ares boosters are based on Space Shuttle technology, reducing their development costs and improving safety and reliability.

Since 2004, NASA has made a lot of progress with Constellation. New rocket engines have been designed and tested. A new launch pad has been built at the Kennedy Space Center, and a massive new launch tower has just been completed. Prototype Orion capsules are being tested, even as prototype moon rovers are trekking through the desert. Design work on Altair lunar landers and next-generation space suits is well underway. And last October, NASA conducted the successful first launch of Project Constellation, the Ares I-X Development Test Flight. We’re finally on our way back to the Moon, and heading out to Mars.

Artist rendition of Altair lander on the moon

Now, the administration has proposed to cancel Constellation in favor of a “flexible path” of technology development and the use of commercial launch services for astronauts to get into orbit. While technology development is a very good idea, it’s not a substitute for an actual mission with a real goal. Without a goal and a specific plan, we believe that NASA, however well-intentioned, will simply end up spending a lot of money without actually going anywhere. It’s happened before. We don’t want it to happen again. And while we believe that commercial spaceflight will be a reality in the relatively near future, the fact is that no such capability exists yet. Spaceflight is a difficult, dangerous enterprise, and it would be foolish to gamble the future of our nation’s space program by abandoning systems that are already well into development. With so much progress already made, we believe that canceling Constellation would be a serious mistake.

The good news is that the proposed budget is just that: A proposal. Over the next few weeks the Congress will review the proposal and will make whatever changes it deems necessary. Constellation can be saved if members of Congress – and the President – see that their constituents want it. That’s why we’re asking you to support Constellation by writing to the President and to their elected representatives.

Here’s a website that we’ve put together with more information on Constellation, plus resources on how to reach your elected officials.


Space exploration is vital source of technology and innovation for our society. The space program is one of the most effective means to stimulate economic growth, both in the short term and the long run. And exploration inspires our young people, even as it helps us comprehend the wonders of the final frontier, now and in the future. Please join us in making that future a reality by writing letters and by spreading the word to your friends.


-Mike and Denise Okuda

February 7, 2010 



Besides having worked in the Star Trek art departments, Mike and Denise Okuda are long-time supporters of the space program. Mike has done graphics for NASA including the crew patch for STS-125, the recent Hubble Space Telescope servicing flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis and the department logo for Mission Operations. His work for Project Constellation includes the mission patch for the Ares I-X Development Flight Test. Last year, Mike was honored for his work with NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal.


1. WGW - February 8, 2010

This is real hope and change, I hope it is setting in well for all of you, who voted for this guy last year. It is enough to ruin the country with massive spending but now the spending is not even going to anything worthwhile

2. Mindy - February 8, 2010

I heard about this on NPR. It’s absolutely awful, also considering the Shuttle program just ended.

3. Anthony Pascale - February 8, 2010

I want to thank both Mike&Denise as well as Andre for providing these editorials and sparking some debate here about something in the real world. It is refreshing to talk about something besides the ‘canon’ of a fictional TV show for once.

by the way ST-130 is about to launch with Trekkie Terry Virts on board. Virts appeared in an episode of ENT:

watch it on http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

4. Penhall99 - February 8, 2010

I just think it would be so exciting to go back to the moon. Imagine the hi-def images we would get on there now. And it would surely renew interest and excitement in the space program again, wouldn’t it? Here’s to hoping we go back to the moon…

5. Sean - February 8, 2010

We really need to get back to the moon. It has been such a long time since we’ve sent astronauts there that it will feel fresh and inspire a new generation, not to mention give NASA a recent accomplishment to lean on. If Constellation is our best way back, we need to support it.

6. CarlG - February 8, 2010

@4: It would be exciting, and make no mistake I’d want it to happen like nobody’s business, but would we get any real advancement out of it? What would we get out of it (scientific, commercial, whatever) other than bragging rights?

@3: To be honest, I’m amazed it’s stayed as civil as it has been so far. I keep expecting this site to break out in paroxysms of, “It’s Bush’s/Obama’s/Some other politician I don’t like’s fault”…

7. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - February 8, 2010

It’s crazy to think that the last time we went to the Moon, TOS had barely just gone off the air. I hope that helps people realize how LONG ago it was. How is it possible that people in the 1960’s were venturing into space, while us in our “advanced,” modern-day contemporary setting have stagnated into the ground? Sure, they didn’t have frivolous, stupid stuff like iPods, HDTVs, “Avatar”-quality CGI or Xbox 360s back in the 60’s, but they had the capability to GO TO THE F*CKING MOON.

We should be at Mars by now.

Next time someone laughs at the effects of TOS, they should just realize that – so what if the TV effects in the 60’s weren’t the way they are now? Who the hell cares? Are we really “better” because our entertainment has advanced to an incredible level? Is that what really counts – our iPods? At least back in those days they were focusing on better things, like flying to the Moon.

8. TipTopTommy - February 8, 2010

Seriously great article, and a great topic.

I find myself torn on this issue. On one hand, I genuinely liked the idea of going back to the moon. I remember when I read 2001: A Space Odyssey ages ago, thinking that bases on the moon would be the coolest thing ever (I also thought that they would be there in 2001). On the other hand, 2 shuttle disasters and decline in public interest have practically grounded NASA. Lets face it, the coolest things that have been done by NASA in the last 10 years have only involved people on the Houston side of a monitor.

If I were to build a pro/con list in my head, I can’t really think of too many reasons to go to the moon at this stage. Sure, it’d be great to go back, but once you’re there, what are you achieving? They could bring back some more moon rocks, maybe set up a small permanent settlement that would be expensive and grossly underused, or build a launch site for future missions with the same issues as the settlement, but that’s it. That process would take more than a decade. Sure I suppose that they could run a bunch of tests of long term exposure to moon gravity, but I don’t think that that’s what NASA needs right now.

There may not be a goal set right now, but I really believe that there has to be one in the works. Seriously, they’re NASA…I’m pretty sure that everything down to their necessary bodily functions plays a part in a larger plan. What I think NASA really needs to do to get back to into the public consciousness is something bold, and something fresh that we haven’t seen yet. NASA was at it’s best when it was taking risks, and the eyes of the world were upon it. How many people watched that first moon landing? Or would it be easier to ask how many people DIDN’T watch it? It’s one of the greatest moments in human history. What Purolator said is true, the interests of people have shifted, and for NASA to succeed I think that they need to shift back.

The approach that NASA is looking at right now, I personally think is the right one. To quote the article from the other day:

“Imagine trips to Mars that take weeks instead of nearly a year, people fanning out across the inner solar system, exploring the moon, asteroids and Mars nearly simultaneously in a steady stream of firsts.
– NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, February 1, 2010″

Now, that’s a fairly open-ended statement. I could say “Imagine a peanut butter sandwich that cures cancer”, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen, but if this is what NASA is working on then I’m THRILLED. I’ll take back what I said before (there not being any reason to go back to the moon). If we take the above statement as their “plan of action”, turning months into years, they could turn a trip to the moon from days into hours. If you have a vehicle that can travel from the moon, and back to the earth’s orbit with private companies sending astronauts or civilians up to a station for pickup, then they could conceivably do a 2 or 3 trips to the moon a week. This of course would rely on a renewable source of fuel, and technology that doesn’t exist yet, but that would certainly be something to get excited about and something that we haven’t seen before.

Reading that last part back it sounds wee bit insane. I don’t know, to me this all boils down to “Space travel is hard, NASA isn’t going anywhere right away, there are no bases on the moon yet, and in 5 years I should have a floating skate board according to Back to the Future II.”

Also, I talk/type too much.

9. wickedjacob - February 8, 2010

#7 — I’d agree with you if entertainment devices had been the only thing scientists had been working on for the past 40 years. But there have been advances in a number of life-changing and live-saving ways, not just the entertainment field. There are much better things to focus on than being able to fly to the moon.

Now I’m not saying NASA hasn’t helped in that. In fact, I think NASA’s overall mission is crucial and does make HUGE contributions to applicable technology. But going to the moon isn’t the only way to continue that mission and ipods vs. astronauts is a straw argument.

10. Cowboy Steve - February 8, 2010

We need to go back to the Moon. The principal reason would be to revive the Vision. Right now we are mired in mediocrity when it comes to manned space flight. Low earth orbit does not excite the imagination. It does not inspire a people to reach beyond their grasp. We need the Moon so we can exceed all of our boundaries. We are getting too settled in our ways. Once you are too settled, you stagnate, and once you stagnate you die. Give me life!

11. Chaya - February 8, 2010

Going to the moon would just have been a failed attempt of reliving the glory days of the old NASA. What was really needed was the investment in science listen to Phil Plait: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/01/president-obamas-nasa-budget-unveiled/

12. Scooter - February 8, 2010

When many people think of the benefits of the previous moon missions, the most common thought may be…velcro. However the benefits to all went far beyond that. Thousdands of good paying jobs were created and the technological advances help people in all walks of life.
If the Consetllation project is indeed cancelled, this would kill manned space flight for the United States for decades. As far as I know, no replacement for the shuttle is in the works and private ventures have yet to pay off and won’t in the forseeable future. We can not depend on Russia to continue to carry our astronauts to and from the ISS. One political incident, one military action and that cooperation ends.
The United States will further surrender it’s lead as a provider of advanced technology, something we can not afford to do in these times. As the Constellation program develops, new and innovative technologies will be developed, which will effect all our lives. These new technologies may also result in new industries, employing thousands.
I encourage you to contact your congressmen and voice your support for manned space flight in the United States. While the upfront cost is very expensive, the long term loss to our country and economy is far more.

13. Barihawk - February 8, 2010

I still think it’s selfish that the federal government is “tightening it’s belts” and considering 90 billion dollars a feverish waste, but the Democrats have no problem attempting to ramrod a 1.7 trillion dollar project as the last chance to pull pork out before the opposition gets 41 votes in the Senate. It’s all about making your Party look good and not what’s actually good for the American people or the world.

Corporate rocket technicians? Most likely going to cut corners somewhere to get the greatest return. The safest place for space to be is in the international government-run programs like NASA.

14. Ashley - February 8, 2010

sorry Mike and Denise, but I’m kinda glad Constellation is being scrapped… I’m all for going to the Moon and beyond, but I’m also for developing the technology to do so… if making things safer and more cost-effective means wasting that money on a half-century-old design then I say wait until they come up with something worthy of this century and millennium. I gotta say I was very disappointed when I heard that’s what they were using to replace the shuttle. Hopefully some good comes out of this though. This might put pressure on commercial spacecraft developers to get the public excited about space travel and could lead to innovations in spacecraft tech and designs. All this in ways NASA alone probably couldn’t accomplish. And hopefully NASA’s new budget will go to developing better methods of propulsion, and a NEW spacecraft design. Perhaps something that could skip the moon altogether and go straight for Mars. :)

15. I'm dead Jim - February 8, 2010

I don’t know which NASA route is the best right now, but I’m pretty sure that once the Chinese are ready and on their way to the moon, we’ll be playing catch-up.

What will this do to our ability to at least get to the ISS in low earth orbit? I suspect we’ll be using Soyuz for awhile longer than aniticipated. Nothing wrong with a little international cooperation but we need our own spacecraft… stat!

16. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

In creating a website in support of NASA’s Project Constellation and in publicizing the need to save our manned space program, the Okudas have done a great service for space exploration. One point in their article I found most informative was their observation on the reliability of the key technologies used in Project Constellation. Part of the President’s proposals emphasized that research and development was necessary to assure future access to the Solar System. Yet, equally important is the need to assure the safety of the astronauts we ask to engage in that exploration. Project Constellation balanced these two concerns.

Project Constellation was, in essence, the ultimate research and development effort, and it served the same function that NASA’s original Mercury-Gemini-Apollo programs did on a much vaster and interplanetary scale. Terminating the Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo programs would have made it much more difficult, if not impossible, for private enterprises such as SpaceX to justify efforts toward human spaceflight. Likewise, to the extent that it is terminated, the R & D toward Constellation’s implementation that would give rise to future versions of SpaceX would no longer exist.

At the same time, as the Okudas noted, the idea that an entirely new system based on untested technology should be used to send astronauts into deep space is needlessly risky when we already have the means in the form of Shuttle-based technology to help guarantee the safety of human explorers.

I join the Okudas in asking for your support of our common future in space. Your passion is desperately needed. Please write your Congressman or Senator and, in firm but polite terms, state your strong support of the future of manned spaceflight and your opposition to President Obama’s cancellation of Project Constellation.

Thank you.

17. CmdrR - February 8, 2010

Anthony — sorry, if I missed it, but could you do a wrap-up of all the great science done aboard the ISS? I know there are some achievements, but it’s easy to miss the point of having an ISS sometimes.
Just a thought.

18. NIck S. - February 8, 2010

Buzz Aldrin agrees with the proposed plan, and he has the most expertise to be forming an opinion about this. Obama’s plan represents a way for true innovation to come back to NASA and to space exploration as opposed to using outdated and lackluster methods. People who think Project Constellation was a great program were completely unaware of its true meaning and progress.

19. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

Buzz Aldrin, with all due respect, is wrong. There are astronauts (e.g., Walter Cunningham, Tom Jones) who have publicly voiced their strong opposition to the evisceration of our manned spaceflight program.

The President’s proposal disingenuously uses the Augustine Commission’s Flexible Path option as a purported basis for future development. But the Commission never contemplated destroying Project Constellation in order to pursue that path — or any path. It could not have done so, since it would require the use of Ares and Orion to reach the moons of Mars or nearby asteroids under that option.

Defending the President’s proposal, NASA Administrator and Obama appointee Charles Bolden claimed that because NASA will help fund private efforts to supply manned flights to the International Space Station, for that reason, NASA hasn’t abandoned human spaceflight. But this is absurd. Even the Augustine Commission would never have considered mere ISS resupply missions to serve the funded goals of the Flexible Path.

The Augustine Commission was concerned that other options (landing on the Moon, for example) were unrealistic for the reason that there would not be enough money. For that reason, the Commission proposed preserving some aspects of Project Constellation AND FUNDING THEM to pursue the Flexible Path.

The Obama proposal removes all funding from Project Constellation, thereby in effect annihilating any possibility that the Flexible Path could be fulfilled as proposed, along with any other option proposed by the Commission.

For Dr. Jones’ comments on Obama’s plan, please see:


Even Burt Rutan of Virgin Galactic’s Scaled Composites has expressed his opposition to the Obama proposal, despite the fact that his SpaceShipOne is often cited as the gold standard for private manned spaceflight.

20. rogue_alice - February 8, 2010

I for one am glad. I support the space program but we have to make cuts in the budget somewhere.

If we want to right the budget all programs are on the block.

I support the President’s decision to make cuts.

And for those that want to bash the President’s Hope and Change. Hey, you got some change now…with a program cut.

21. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

The President hasn’t made cuts. He’s increased NASA’s budget. So the idea that NASA’s budgetary imprint has been decreased to save America from budgetary armageddon is simply mistaken.

It’s just that the President has decided to kill Constellation in favor of pie-in-the-sky research and development that he, like King Canute, effectively commands to shorten our space travel time from nearly a year to just weeks.

If you believe that technological breakthroughs are any respecter of political commands, then I have a mountaintop home in the Mariana Trench I’d like to sell you. I can almost guarantee you an interesting view.

22. Jorg Sacul - February 8, 2010


Just speaking “Trekish” here, but imagine the Vulcans watching our space efforts.

“They will attempt to proceed to a neighboring planet without testing the survival science on their nearby satellite. Highly illogical.”

I don’t know who is advising Obama, but it’s time that that person experiences an airlock and subsequent results.

23. Author of The Vulcan Neck Pinch for Fathers - February 8, 2010

It is patently asinine, but hardly surprising, that this administration is willing to throw billions of dollars in black holes under the gospel of “stimulus,” yet with a chance to underpin an industry that has benefitted humanity in incalculable ways, backs away under some misguided notion of fiscal restraint.

To think that we are only about five decades removed from the visionary notion of JFK to put a man on the moon, and that such vision is now replaced with crawling into a hole. People blamed both prior Bush administrations for not understanding this “vision thing,” yet it is ironic indeed to find out that *this* media-darling president is the one taking the notion of a return to space exploration *fostered by the previous Bush administration* and throwing it summarily in the dumper.

I guess Obama wants to throw a few billion more bucks at some clunker cars and more totalitarian health “care.” Gotta *love* that kind of vision.

24. Damian - February 8, 2010

I am very concerned about the US in general. We have such huge debt (generated by both Democrats and Republicans to keep their hold on power) that will eventually crush our country. The mothballing of the space program is just the beginning. And we are mothballing it. Private enterprise is not going to create spacecraft to explore the Solar System. Not until there is some profit to be earned. Lets face it, their would be little economic gain and a huge risk beyond imagining. Eventually someone will get to Mars and beyond, but it will not be us. Eventually, the world will look to that other country, whoever they are (China, Russia, India, etc) as a world leader in science. As they increase in stature, we will diminish. When you look at history, the same story plays out. The beginning of our regression was the space shuttle. Instead of continuing moon missions, building bases on the moon, and going to Mars, we create a space vehicle that can only achieve low Earth orbit. Then we compound that with the space station. Instead of a space station that is expected to fall to Earth in 2020, we should have built a station on the moon that would have lasted far longer. People lost their excitement because we were not exploring anymore. The science experiments are great, but what people get interested in is real space exploration, going somewhere. Some posters have stated the Apollo program was cancelled due to some flaw. It was cancelled because Nixon (and later Carter) determined that space exploration just did not matter anymore. The Orion vehicle was modelled after the Apollo program. It was hugely successful and could have been a forerunner to greater things to come. JFK must be terribly dissapointed. Instead of continuing his great vision, we have squandered it. And now it may be centuries before we go to Mars. Star Trek might as well take place in the 30th century.

25. Frank Fischer - February 8, 2010

Thank god that someone takes action and tries to save Constellation. I did send an email to the white house and to the comitee for science and technology to save Constellation – and believe it or not I am a German not American citizen. Its in the interest of the entire world to save Constellation and to encourage our kids by these “ultimate goals” to study science and technology.
This is not a series of landings at diffrent points on the moon for research like Apollo – its a step to step programm to erect a human presence on the moon and build a moon base. For all who encounter the stupid argument of thats just a repeatment of the Apollo landings. Can you imagine that after the discovery of America by Columbus everyone in europe celebrated and than decided that its logical to not return to America because we achieved that goal? Thats crazy!

You have my support and I have my fingers crossed,

Best regards and LIVE LONG AND PROSPER


26. Damian - February 8, 2010

#24–Before anyone takes me to task, I do acknowlege the sacrifice of Apollo 1 and the problems with Apollo 13. Still, the Apollo program was still a huge success and there is always risk. But the astronauts who died in Apollo 1, the Challenger and the Columbia would be greatly disappointed to find out that we were abandoning manned exploration of space.

27. Imrahil - February 8, 2010

#6 – you obviously haven’t been reading CS Lewis’ reactionary stuff.

28. D - February 8, 2010

Everyone seems to forget that HALF of the mission to the moon and mars was not being completed. Ares V (the heavy lift rocket) was not actively being developed/constructed due to budget constraints. Only Ares I was in a stage of early launch testing.

The brilliance of this plan is that it focuses on what commercial spaceflight can’t do, deep(er) space. The new budget includes 3.1 billion in next FY for a heavy lifter, money which was 5+ years out on the current course.

People also seem to forget that there are multiple companies that are trying to take over the manned missions to the ISS and LEO. SpaceX and the Delta IV Heavy are being man-rated for the same missions our shuttle was doing. This can be done sooner than Ares I was on track for, and at a much lower budget.

Why do people just *react* rather than analyze?

29. kmart - February 8, 2010

You consider Lewis to be reactionary? Geezus, is the world so upside down that the BushDynasty is perceived as radical left as well?

30. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

I am encouraged by the support for our space program that I see above. I genuinely hope that the American people — and others who share our aspirations toward the human exploration of space — make their positive feelings known.

There is one political possibility that has occurred to me, and that is that President Obama may be crazy — crazy like a fox. He may be using NASA as bait so that those Senators who support Constellation, but who oppose his health care proposals, will agree to “logroll” and offer their support for health care in return for restoration of funding for our human spaceflight program.

Cynical though this may be, such are the ways of politics.

However, we cannot rely on this possibility, and the greater likelihood is that the Administration is, in fact, committed to this disastrous path for NASA.

Given the stakes involved for all humanity, we must make our thoughts known. In view of increasing knowledge about cosmic threats from asteroids such as Apophis and billions of similar objects as yet undetected, humanity cannot afford to dilly-dally given the threat to planetary existence.

It has become clearer as the years go on: Beyond even the aspiration to explore our Solar System, the continued development of the means to protect our planet from such threats as far away from the Earth as possible using the most powerful technological means we have available may be critical to the continued existence of our species in the universe. The destruction of concerted development of the most capable of vessels using all available national means may lead, directly or indirectly, to cataclysms greater than any in human experience.

In destroying Constellation, we may be destroying our own future.

31. cd - February 8, 2010

The Constellation program may be bloated and just a bigger redo of Apollo, but it is better than nothing. I am disappointed, but not surprised, by Obama’s cutting of this program. Someone at his White House said “we don’t need to go back to the moon,” so I guess that sums up Obama’s position on it.
I miss the space program. This is not how the 21st Century was supposed to be.

32. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

28, D, I just read your message. Please be advised that Dr. Tom Jones, a four-time Shuttle astronaut, is one of those who has actually read and analyzed the President’s proposal.

He states, in part, as follows:

“Even worse, the cancellation of Constellation replaces the Ares V heavy-lift rocket with “research and development” on building such a vehicle, someday. Without such a Saturn V-class launcher, Americans will never get out of low Earth orbit (where we have been marooned for nearly 40 years). The president’s advisers have now placed the U.S. on a par with other countries that can reach low Earth orbit. Soon, China will surpass that capability, and is now a clear favorite to be the next nation to send its explorers into deep space. We will watch, helpless to follow.”

Thus, the analysis you encourage yields only confirmation that the destruction of Constellation means the annihilation of the lift capacity you advocate, to be replaced by vague promises of research and development.

Constellation must be preserved.

Source: http://skywalking1.wordpress.com/

33. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

It shows us how far we’ve fallen to remember how quickly we were on the moon — HAVING NEVER GONE THERE BEFORE — following Kennedy’s announced goal of going there, and to imagine a finished Constellation launch pad that what? Will now rust away with weeds growing up around it?

And there are many good reasons for going back to the moon, not least of which is for HELIUM 3. Rare on Earth and problematic to extract or make, not so much so on the moon.

And you can bet that India, China, and Russia are interested in those lunar helium 3 deposits as well.

But to get it we would have to establish a large mining operation, and that will take time, time that we should be spending now. Because it’s not just about planting flags, it’s about solving energy problems on Earth in a way that no other energy solution can do.

Add to that the fact that human population grows while the Earth stays the same size, and outward seems to be the only humane way to go.

Space travel isn’t just something cool to do. It gives us a means of protecting this fragile blue ball we live on.

Space is our future, or our future is grim.

34. cd - February 8, 2010

30 – Health care is dead, it is jobs, jobs, jobs now: Obama and party finally realized. So kill a program that, if nothing else, generated jobs.
I think he just defaulted to a kneejerk reaction of ‘kill the space program’.
I was hoping for more from Obama, at least the status quo, so we could limp along, but not even that apparently. Very disappointing.

35. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - February 8, 2010

Going to the moon is a waste of time. We have already been there and there is nothing there but rocks and old orbiter landing vehicles. Why go back wards when we have many spending troubles here already. Why dont we balance our budget and pay off debt before we spend billions for a few rock samples?!?!

36. Frank Fischer - February 8, 2010

35 – see #25 and #33

37. C.S. Lewis - February 8, 2010

^27 Imrahil

Perhaps one must have a vested interest to understand. When faced with the reality of actually paying for a boondoggle such as moon shots or universal welfare or acting as “policemen to the world”, one tends to reasses one’s priorities. Those without responsibility are naturally flip and profligate with other people’s lives.

Yet I have a vested interest in the success of America. It falls to my generation to pay the bills for the irresponsible Baby Boomer generation (largely informed by their family history via Ellis Island) and their Marxist inspired rebellion against all that is holy. (Please read the autobiography of David Horowitz for details on this.)

That interest, backed up by four centuries of family blood sacrifice, means the bills will be paid, order restored. Our finances will be set once more to a responsible footing. Ill-conceived policies implemented from the late 1960s onward are being repealed and reversed despite the best efforts of the present government.

The band has been sent home. The party is over.

C.S. Lewis

38. SpockOut - February 8, 2010

Thank you for presenting both sides on this issue. Conservatives seem to be supporting NASA and O’Bama private industry. We live in intersting times. My concern is that we will be dependent on a foriegn space agency to get our guys into orbit. We dropped the ball and need to get our “stuff” together.

39. Atrin - February 8, 2010

For all who see going to the moon as a waste of time…next time you hear your microwave go ding, think about all the technologies that we now have because of the Apollo program.

40. Daoud - February 8, 2010

“We” the humans of Earth… still have quite the space program.

It just won’t be in the control of NASA any longer.

The Eurasian Space Probe Alliance coming soon, will federate China, Russia, Japan, India and Europe space programs for the greater good, and this sort of non-American program will get to the moon next, and Mars first. Count on it.

The age of the American Empire is over. It’s buried beneath a pile of debt from ill-begotten military interventions, and ill-begotten social programs. Both hawkish right, and socialist left have done it in.

41. Daoud - February 8, 2010

#38 To assume this is a conservative/liberal issue is inane. Both the Republicrat and Demopublican parties together have bankrupted the US.

42. cd - February 8, 2010

41 – True.

43. SerenityActual - February 8, 2010

I believe Obama is making a mistake with his proposal. We need to go to Mars, the belt and further out. The first step to this is going back to the moon.

For those who want to talk about balancing the budget, how about recalling our troops and ending our part in these ridiculous police actions around the globe.

This one planet is the birthplace of humanity and will be it’s grave if we don’t get out to the stars.

44. Licinius - February 8, 2010

41- How soon we forget that the Clinton administration tamed the deficit, and left office with a hefty surplus! And that the Democrats have supported “pay as you go” in Congress, which would have made Bush II actually pay for his tax cuts. (“Pay as you go” has recently been restored–by the Democrats.) And that Bush II never put Iraq war spending on the budget–dishonestly, if you ask me–and Obama has corrected that. And that Obama is deficit spending to pull us out the economic disaster left by…you guessed it.

Let’s be square with the facts about who is responsible for the deficit hole we’re in.

45. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

This is not a partisan issue, but a national and human one. We must never forget that the Earth may be overdue for another meteor strike; the Tunguska event occurred on June 30, 2008 — over a century ago. It released the equivalent of five megatons of energy. That kind of impact pales in comparison with what an asteroid such as Apophis could generate.

Dr. Tom Jones does not believe that Apophis is likely to hit the Earth. However, there are those who conclude that we do not know from available data whether its pass in 2029 will change its orbit so that, by 2036, it will.

Given the pace of technological development, it greatly behooves us to prepare for all possibilities.

46. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

Correction: “This is not a partisan issue, but a national and human one. We must never forget that the Earth may be overdue for another meteor strike; the Tunguska event occurred on June 30, 1908 — over a century ago.”

47. Spock - February 8, 2010

It all comes down to a lack of leadership.

48. Spock - February 8, 2010

Hey 44, let’s be honest, Obama quadrupled it.

49. Commodore z - February 8, 2010

During the campaign, Obama promised to support space exploration and the return to the Moon. He needs to be reminded of this.

50. John from Cincinnati - February 8, 2010

The budget has a record deficit, yet we are cancelling worthwhile projects. What’s the vision? What’s the goal?

51. Steve T. in NY - February 8, 2010

I was truly appalled at the idwa of cancelling the Constellation program. We need to have an indigenious manned spaceflight program for many reasons not the least of which our continued dominance in this area. Are the Chinese cancelling their programs? India? I think not. Hell even Iran managed to send up some turtles and earthworms into orbit last week!
I am weel laware of the budgetary problems facing this country. As a Obama supporter, I admit that I am not happy with all that has happened since the election. However I understand why he wants things shifted around and giving private industry a shot. It tool almost 10 years to get “spaceship on” from the drawing board to winning the X-Prize and becoming a working vehicle. This is unacceptable as we cannot waith 10 years (at least) for private industry to get our Astronauts up to the space station and beyond. We need a national effort to bring the ideas fo boldy going to a whole new generation of people brought up on XBox, YouTube, and Facebook. We ned to get these people motivated to learning math, science and history so that our citizens are at the forefront of the next tech wave. I’m afraid this will not happen if we cancel Constellation. The problem with all politicians is thaht they always want to cut things that are visible the the American people. The space Program is one of them. Ask a 75 year old senior if he or she wants men to go back to the moon or mars- they’ll say “we’ve got enough problems here on earth that need to be fixed”. Since they come out and always Vote, well that voice is heard loud and clear in Congress.
The reality is that the budget for NASA is approximately 1%, yes 1% of the entire National Budget!!! We send more money to other countries for relief and aid than we spend on our space program. Why do we need to cut NASA? We don’t. Again it’s a visible program that many find useless so they want to get rid of it. I’m afraid that if that happens, the next Flag to appear on the Moon or Mars will be Chinese, not American. The 21st Century will become known as the Asian century and America will fade away to become a thrid rate power in 50 years. Yes, the Space Program helps. Don’t cut it, if anything increase it to get things done faster!!

52. Damian - February 8, 2010

Face it, Democrats and Republicans do not care about you or I. They care about getting reelected and holding a majority for their party. That’s it, end of story. The 2 party system that we have today is the worse thing that ever happened and not what our founding father’s invisioned. Those of us in the center, who want real, pragmatic solutions to todays problems need to take back our country. The left and the right are ruining this great nation of ours with their partisan bickering, and how can we make the other side look bad attitude. The space program is only the first sacrifice. Democrats and Republicans could care less that they are leading us to our doom, as long as they have a majority in the House and Senate. You only need to look at the planes Boeing makes for the military. The military and defense department both say, no thanks, we don’t need anymore, in fact they are taking up valuable resources. Congress says yeah, you are taking them, we don’t care what you say. Why, because Boeing has plants in most of the states. So Congress allots the money because they want to get reelected in those districts. This is the kind of shenanigans that go on in our government and now worthwhile projects like the Constellation program are shut down. And this is just one glaring example. There are so many others.

53. StarFuryG7 - February 8, 2010

I’m with the Okudas on this. What people don’t seem to realize, including Andre Bormanis apparently, is that in order for there to be a manned mission to Mars, a manned mission back to the Moon will very likely have to take place first as a preparation and stepping stone for our setting foot on Mars finally, especially if both missions are undertaken with the intent of establishing permanent bases in both places later.

54. Nivek - February 8, 2010

This debate has stirred so many deep emotions for me…and apparantly many others. Both sides of the argumant have good points…and I’m very impressed with the passion and intelligence displayed on this site!

I for one, was awe-inspired by the moon landings as a small child (and also by Star Trek). These two things have promoted a life-long love of science and exploration within me. I wonder what my life would have been without them both.

With those inspirations – I served in the US Air Force…and in the last few years have become a teacher. However, the reality of our ecomomic times, budget cuts, etc…now leaves me wondering if I’ll have a job in a few months.

I know we as human beings need to reach out and explore, but I also know we need common sense and wisdom now more than ever. Our nation (in my opinion) has a sad case of apathy toward it’s leadership and it’s future.

55. Damian - February 8, 2010

#50 & 51
Sadly, American has lost her vision. We have become so concerned with our problems at home, we forgot the excitement that can come from true exploration (whether here on Earth or in space). I remember another poster on another board here saying that countries that become more insular eventually die. If there is nothing to excite the imagination, you start to stagnate, then whither and eventually die. I would say that American society has become depressed. It reminds me somewhat of the 70’s when people were thinking our country may not make it to the 21st century. Reagan and Clinton, whatever their faults, did create a great deal of optimism about what we are capable of as a nation. That has been squandered under Bush and Obama. Now it is not about what we can do, but what we can’t do.

56. cd - February 8, 2010

45-52: agreed.

57. Scott B. here. - February 8, 2010

I was at first a bit sad to hear of Constellation’s cancellation, but I’m reconciled to it after looking at the facts. It was looking like a boondoggle, with the typical cost and schedule overruns.

Obama’s budget proposal actually *increases* NASA’s budget. One area of increased funding is next generation propulsion systems. I agree with this. If we are to go to Mars, we really need to get there more quickly than conventional rockets. I don’t think most people realize how hazardous the radiation levels are outside Earth’s protective magnetic field. Astronauts going to Mars will either need cost-prohibitive shielding, or to get there and back much quicker than current technology (unless we want to go the “one-way trip” route with our Mars astronauts — a not-unreasonable idea frankly.)

Scott B. out.

58. Horatio - February 8, 2010

A space agency controlled by bureaucrats and flavor of the month politicians is always going to be F’d up.

Its amazing we’ve been able to do what we have.

Lets just change ‘Yes We Can’ to ‘No We Can’t’, shall we?

59. Scott B. here. - February 8, 2010

Re: C.S. Lewis – Our mutual friend Paul called. He whispered “Romans 12:16″ and told me to pass it on.

Scott B. out.

60. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

55: “Sadly, American has lost her vision.”

The good news is that you can’t lose “vision” the way you can lose an antique dresser in a fire.

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw: If you and I each have an apple and we exchange them, then we each still only have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange ideas, then we each have TWO ideas.

Vision is made of idea, and ideas can catch on quickly.

And one thing you can depend on in this world is change. Nothing stays the same forever. Not even the bad stuff.

61. Licinius - February 8, 2010

Hey 48, the facts are pesky things. Fact: Deficit when Bush left was 1.3 trillion. Fact: Obama’s hand was forced by the crappy economy he inherited. Or was he supposed to let us slip into a Depression–not just a severe recession–because of the ruinous policies of Bush II? (Hmm, I wonder if the Republicans would have tried to exploit that in the next election…?) Fact: the Republicans ran up huge deficits under Reagan, Bush and Bush II because they thought they could limit government by saddling it with debt. Check out Grover Norquist’s statements on this.

Hat Trick– of course this isn’t a partisan issue. But lazy “pox on both your houses” cynicism regarding our political system isn’t going to get us to Mars. There are good people trying to do the right thing in government service. Let’s support good policies and call out those responsible for bad, OK?

62. Andre Bormanis - February 8, 2010

I’m very happy to see the vigorous debate going on here on the boards, and I want to thank Mike and Denise for their “counterpoint” essay. The fact that at least a segment of the country is still passionate about the American space program is very encouraging.

Although I strenuously disagree that Constellation is worth continuing, and feel strongly that it will hold us back in space exploration instead of propelling us forward, nobody has a crystal ball, and nobody really knows what the best way forward is. Fortunately we live in a country where people can openly debate such questions, and let the democratic process (as deeply flawed as it is) determine our course.

I hope everyone who agrees with Mike and Denise will write their representatives in support of Constellation, join the “save Constellation” groups, and otherwise make your feelings known to the people who control the budget. And I hope that people who feel as I do, that there is a better way forward, will do the same. And thank you all for taking the time to consider and debate this important issue!

63. cd - February 8, 2010

62 – I agree Constellation was probably not the best solution to getting to the moon, being basically a rehash of Apollo. But it beats the alternative solution Obama presented: “we don’t need to go back to the moon”.
We have languished in low earth orbit for far too long.

64. Alex Rosenzweig - February 8, 2010

#1 – The fact for me is that I voted for the President as an act of opposition to the sort of “lower your sights” rhetoric spouted by the other side. It was a very sad night for me when I watched the State of the Union and saw him start to capitulate. That was *not* why I voted for Barack Obama!

That out of the way… I’ve done some reading, too. Arguably, there are better launchers, and better ways to do what Constellation is doing. And, yes, we are years behind schedule, due in large part to chronic underfunding, by both Bush and Obama…mostly by Bush, who had a number of years to do it right and failed miserably. I blame Obama now for not only not correcting Bush’s errors, but just making things worse.

I also understand the conclusions of the Augustine Report, especially that NASA couoldn’t do what it was being asked to do on an anemic, bare-bones budget.

Sadly, it seems that the politicians took the wrong lesson from the Augustine Committee. Instead of improving the funding, they decided to scrap the program.

I wouldn’t be hugely upset if they said, “Constellation can’t be done in this way, so here’s a proposal to do it better.” But they didn’t. As Mike and Denise said above, if we enacted the President’s proposal, there’d be no program, no timetable, no goal. There’s nothing to aim for, and nothing against which to gauge progress. They’ve proposed to replace Constellation with “Maybe someday.”


This cannot be allowed to stand. And it is up to those of us who care about the Space Program to act. Because if we don’t act, *no one else will*!

Over the past weekend, I composed, printed, and stuffed into envelopes 8 letters to key members of Congress overseeing NASA, as well as my own Representative and Senators. I didn’t e-mail them, because they don’t treat e-mail as substantial. It’s easy, you see. It takes little effort and time, even for that rarity, a thoughtful, well-composed e-mail message. So don’t just e-mail our political leaders. Send them good ol’-fashioned streetmail letters. Why? Because those will make them pay attention, in ways that e-mail simply will not.

It’s time to send them a message, regardless of what political party one might support or what President one prefers to see in office. Space exploration is not a partisan issue. It’s time to stand up to what Gene Roddenberry once referred to as “the petty bureaucrats and visionless leaders”. But they can’t adopt a bold vision if the American people keep telling them to do less and less. And many Americans are doing just that. So we must stand up to those people and say, “Our future is not about doing less. Our future demands that we go boldly.”

Good luck to us all…

65. Desstruxion - February 8, 2010

Going to the moon is pointless. It’s a rock. There’s nothing there. Emphasis should be placed on satellite advancement and systems that can service them better. Manned or unmanned. Unless the space station is to serve in that goal then it’s a waste of time too. Let private enterprise take the lead in exploration. That’s where the vision is now anyway. I like the concept of space travel as much as anyone but there’s a time for reality and a time for fiction. Most of the travel on Trek will NEVER be achieved. Let’s spend the money on something else.

66. cush - February 8, 2010

I for one do not mind the change in direction. Its time that NASA start to facilitate the voyage but its time we all got an opportunity to go. A Public /Corporate funding model makes way more sense that the Government meathod…. I mean realy the cost of this program ewas getting out of hand and like every ($300 dollar defence department ordered toilet seat cover/ $7000 dollar wrench) The corporate model would move much quicker and cheeper. I love NASA and the human space program but a total lack of vision has caused theis to happen. We should be on Mars right now, we should have a moon base and a station to rival the one in 2001 in orbit… buit we dont… because we lack the combined will to do so because there is no vision. Space is for everyone who wants to go. Not for a select few NASA elites…. Mike and Denise know this

67. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

61, I didn’t say a pox on both their houses.

62, Andre Bormanis, wise words, indeed.

64, well said. I agree, and I have already contacted my representatives. I’ve even contacted others in Congress who are concerned with the space program. I again urge that anyone who supports Project Constellation do the same.

68. Christopher Miles - February 8, 2010

First Point- on Launchers-

@ 28

Thanks for reminding everyone here that is not a “Constellation or Nothing” set of choices.

Interesting that the folks that seem to be GOP here on this forum are upset that we are planning on turning something over to the private sector.

Historically, our laissez-faire style of Government has been at it’s its best as a research and development tool and when flexing it’s huge (and quickly targeted) buying power .

Exception- The case of National/Local security and/or where markets are skewed and incentives abound to cheat / harm the public good.

Government should do the next great thing, and BUY the last great thing. Consider how the government’s purchase of Private airmail services helped the then nascent aviation industry.

We’ve seen the quotes about the movie 2001 above. Keep in mind that Haywood Floyd took a PanAM shuttle to get to the VonBraun inspired Space station.

Would it be so bad if Burt Rutan created a Space Ship 3 or elon Musk’s Space X or Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin took us there? Heck, even Lockheed reportedly has recently resurrected parts of its old X-33 program. BTW, I don’t remember this level of hew and cry when that program was cancelled and the sub scale prototype was darn near completion including fantastic new thermal tile and aerospike engine technology.

If even ONE of the players above manages to launch safely on time consistently for less that the Russians or the Chinese or the Indians- then we have WON. You don’t see the US in the Airline business do ya?

Second – Station Keeping

We built a Space Station. Paid a bundle for it (50-100 billion total). Keeping the Ares program as it was meant a tradeoff – and a de-orbit
in ~2015. We can now keep the station and use it with our international partners until 2020. Lets get some use out of the thing.

Third- Out dated Jingoism

We (all of us here) are supposed to be Trek Fans first, right? Even Pike/Kirk’s 1965/66 Enterprise has folks of ALL NATIONS boldly going- TOGETHER. I’m not saying America doesn’t have some wonderful qualities that I would love to see repeated throughout the world- but the idea that we must continue to go it alone is really very 20th century.

The DOD is developing the new F-35 with many customer nations in mind. We/Nasa can’t do that for long duration space travel?

I do not mean give away the high tech. Share only when prudent- but When folks are out of work and losing their homes- and NASA is one of the few agencies with a bump in its budget- I think a step back and a look at pragmatic, sot effective methods for access to space is certainly in order.

Fourth – On Nasa Spinoff technology

NASA isn’t going away! It still will be buying or developing or testing the robotics, the blended wings, the laminar flow, the forward swept wing, etc.

Other agencies are closer to the commercial space when spinning off technology anyhow- Look at Darpa Grand challenge for robotic vehicles or all the DOE’s work on Advanced (cheaper) solar power. Look at the Human Genome Project.

The sky is not falling… but we do have some work to do.

As a proud american (and graduate of a Space Policy program in DC) I would LOVE to go to the stars- but lets get there when we know why we’re going, who it benefits, and can state loudly and clearly that we haven’t left too many in need behind.

69. Losira - February 8, 2010

Very sad priorities went down the drain. War spending instead of space spending. People as being disposible with lack of a fair acessable healthcare system. Unless your an unborn baby. Education gone to low priority we need a healthy educated people for astronaunt and all space related endevers. Money thrown away on war ran the deficit up. Nasa never did they know how to stretch a dollar. My nephew works for NASA a lot of the equipment from srapped projects is canabolized. Very little goes to waste. Also more of Constellation needs reusable crafts not disposible capsule. There was talk of shuttle modifications instead of capsules. But our dreams of stars trekking relies on a healthy well educated generation that is goal minded not Greedy minded. Stop the yuppie narcissiom selfishness of the 80s. Committing to space travel will require teamplayers not ME players. We aspired to the moon and mars in the 80s-90s insted we are in the crapholes of wall street! And Dynasty. One thing for sure Gordon Geikko will never make it to moon or mars. We will instead blow money on warfare yes its the deficit and the only missiles built will carry. H bombs instead of astronauts. Very very sad but that’s not considerd Goverment waste just space exploration health and education is waste right.

70. kesseljunkie - February 8, 2010

Just read the letter, and I couldn’t possibly agree with it more. I will be visiting the site and telling each and every one of my friends to visit it as well.

When humanity reached for the moon, they got there and they marveled at what they could accomplish. Maybe we’d all be better off if we started looking up and out again instead of staring into our palms with the sole purpose of hypnotizing ourselves with the latest iGadget. The future doesn’t happen unless we get out and go there.

71. cbspock - February 8, 2010

The problem is there is no short term political goal to the space program, and that is all the politicians are looking at. No one wants to lose Astronauts on their watch. I went to an interesting presentation at the Cradle of Avaition, one of the Apollo astronauts gave. He ended it by saying, if you want space travel to be safe, don’t go.

We are becoming a country that is so risk averse it has become paralizing.

Oh, and 61, go check your facts…democrat congresses ran up those deficits and Obama quadrupled them. I agree that under Bush the republicans spent money like it was going out of style, but it doesn’t justify Obama doing it 4 times worse. Yes, those companies should have been allowed to fail. Sorry it would have been tough love, but we would have been heading out of the ression already, instead of the continuing slide into a depression. His economic polices are all WRONG.

72. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

When we realize helium 3 is important to have, we’ll be back on the moon to mine for it.

And we’ll need a heavy lift rocket to get the equipment there to do it.

We are going to need that helium. The moon is NOT a useless rock. It has a valuable resource that we are going to need to solve our energy problems on Earth in a clean way.

73. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

68: Here is a partial list of previous initiatives that went “ka-put” because of an emphasis on research and development:

Space Exploration Initiative (ended with termination of VentureStar)

1994 National Space Transportation Policy (ended without planned Shuttle Successor)

1996 National Space Policy (no result)

Now, added to this list is the Vision for Space Exploration

The fact is that every time a President desires to kick the can down the road, he initiates a new policy — and no real hardware worthy of sustained human exploration of the Solar System results.

The development of the Evolved Expendable Launch System (Delta and Atlas systems) are essentially Air Force systems. COTS was supposed to be an ancillary to the main rocket system NASA was to develop. Now, however, the United States is left to rely on what were previously deemed secondary systems as its potential systems of manned spaceflight.

It is worth emphasizing that under the Obama plan, by design, the United States will lose the use of the Shuttle in a few years and be completely unable to launch any astronauts at all. There is NO existing commercial spacecraft capable of launching astronauts into space for ANY mission whatsoever, including missions of supply to the ISS.

Under Project Constellation, Orion, which was in the middle of its design and had already taken shape as “boilerplate,” was to take this role. Now, there is nothing.


74. Colonel West - February 8, 2010

Speaking as a non U.S. resident and completely disregarding political affiliation, sometimes taking a look back and learning the lessons of history are whats needed so have a look at this:


and the short version:


The man talks sense even now.

75. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

Some may point to the manned version of the SpaceX Dragon as an existing design. It’s true that the Dragon is supposed to have a great deal of commonality with the current cargo version. However, the following should be kept in mind:

1. SpaceX has had a 40% success rate with its launches thus far.

2. The Dragon has never launched.

3. The Dragon is not a human-only design.

4. Judging from the lack of widely available reports, none of the systems still missing for the manned version of Dragon has been designed.

5. The Falcon 9, the launcher for the Dragon, has never flown.

6. The Falcon 9 is not man-rated.

7. The Dragon is not man-rated.

8. The Dragon, as far as reported information, has never been tested even in boilerplate in its manned configuration, possibly because there is minimal reliability concerning the final configuration, mass, and other specifics of that version.

9. There is no corporate track record of any integration between manned systems and unmanned systems.

10. The Dragon, in its speculated manned version, does not officially exist. It is merely a possibility.

Thus, the Dragon is not comparable to the Orion and, for the purposes I have noted, does not qualify as a successor to the Shuttle in my view.

76. Phil - February 8, 2010

Sorry guys, but the country has bigger problems right now, namely, it’s bankrupt. I’m not sorry to see it go, and in the process we should scrap Amtrak, NPR, TSA, and a few dozen other “make work” programs that produce nothing, except sentiment on how things “should” be. I’m not saying we should not be in space, but the pioneers headed out across the country on their own, and governments role in exploring space whould be rethought to getting out of the way of the people who want to do the work.

77. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

76: “I’m not saying we should not be in space, but the pioneers headed out across the country on their own, and governments role in exploring space whould be rethought to getting out of the way of the people who want to do the work.”

Phil, I think you are taking the “wagon train to the stars” idea a little too literally.

78. The Beezer - February 8, 2010

I always knew there was a reason why I loved the Okudas!! Finally, someone talking some sense on this website!

79. cd - February 8, 2010

76-But we need jobs. And those ‘make work’ programs make work. You want what is built to be useful too? You are asking a lot.

80. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

76, I think that in that case, we should also terminate the existence of NASA, move the President into something less grandiose than the White House, and make him fly commercial instead of on Air Force One.

For that matter, let’s seize the banks, empty the pockets of rapacious Wall Streeters, and give the money back to the taxpayers who bailed them out.

Moreover, let’s go further: Cancel all student loan programs, call in all student loans early, terminate all funding to nonmilitary programs, and recall all of our armed forces.

There are many, many more options we could pursue.

If it’s so urgent that a few billion dollars is needed, I have no idea why the President needs the White House when he could easily rent out the top suites of the Watergate Hotel for far less. (Aside from the connations, of course.)

And, does he really need his custom-designed Blackberry?

81. Damian - February 8, 2010

Private industry is not going to get involved with space exploration. Plain and Simple. No profit + high risk for the private sector=not worth it. I’m all for private industry doing things, but there are some things only a government can do. Some day, yes, private industry will be involved. But NASA will have to take the first step. The President’s plan has no real established goals for exploration. And why is going to the moon a waste of time? The moon would be a great jumping off point to Mars and elsewhere. It would obviously take a lot less fuel to launch a spacecraft from the moon than from Earth. You would need to establish a permanent settlement on the Moon before even thinking of going to Mars.

The real key to space travel that no one seems to think about is that to do true space travel, you have to find a way to faster than the speed of light. To really explore, that is a must. Otherwise it takes years just to get to Pluto, and forget our neighboring stars. I find it a sad state for the space program that practically everyday we are finding new planets, and no one in the public seems to give a damn. I would have thought that would be huge news. Especially since they found some that have the potential for life. Americans are like, so what, who cares. Don’t we ever want to see for ourselves someday?

82. Eli - February 8, 2010

The best thing Obama and his staff could have done upon taking office was stay out of the marketplace. The economy still hasn’t recovered because they still are messing with things by still wanting to penalize bankers who were forced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give risky home loans to people who never should have been given them.

And the Obama Administration STILL hasn’t spent all the money from the first stimulus plan to help “recover” the economy. They’re still sitting on a bunch of the money to try to pump it into the economy right before the midterm elections!

Every objective poll has shown that this presidency has lost all positive points when it comes to performance faster than any other presidency on American history.

Why anyone believed that he would be able to deliver on any of his promises without flushing the country down the toilet is beyond me, Tim Geithner’s still denying that the US is on the verge of losing it’s credit rating, and now the last single source of inspiration (Constellation) is circling the waste basket…

The President was quoted a few weeks ago saying he’d rather be a great one term president than a mediocre two term president. If that’s honestly the way he thinks we judge quality in a Republic Democratic leader, Mr. Obama may want to stop by Bethesda and get an MRI to check his wiring.

*I apologize if my comments are inflammatory, I’m just getting sick to death of my country and it’s future getting trampled by “leaders” who couldn’t lead lemmings over a cliff. On second thought, that’s probably the only good thing they could do…*

83. Losira - February 8, 2010

If Europe does get to the moon and beyond 1st its because education and assesable healthcare will produce the industrious healthy generation that will get there. The vision is there. So let’s get off our backsides andsolve our problems instad of creating them. Stop and get our priorities straight. Some kid said he does not want to be an astronaut cause he won’t get rich sad. Growing up and following the space program has been a treasure of memories on not only our accomplishments as americans but as a people with dreams and a wondrous awre in our minds. Now warfare and dollar signs replaced and killed the awe. Just bling-bling-me-meeeee I saw an anime serial in which the space program was abandoned due to apathy self absorbtion and greed. Guess what? A hostile astroid paid us a visit we were not ready no other world colonies. We were wiped out. Food for thought

84. Thorny - February 8, 2010

Someone mentioned the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. It should be pointed out that President Obama’s overhaul of NASA actually will make our future look more like that of “2001”.

How did Dr. Floyd get from Earth to the Space Station? Not on a national space vehicle. He flew Pan American.

85. Gorn Captain - February 8, 2010

#76 This country had big problems in the 1960’s too. And look what we achieved back then.

And anyone who’s so quick to bag on Amtrak ought to note rail service fares better in bad winter weather than the airlines do. ;)

Rightly or wrongly, when the Chinese go to the Moon, U.S. citizens are going to wonder what the hell happened to our space program.

86. Gorn Captain - February 8, 2010


Unfortunately, Pan Am went out of business. But there’s always Virgin Galactic! ;)

87. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

Except that Pan Am went out of existence in 1991.

Sadly, the way that our airline industry is going, we’d be lucky if we can go from any point on Earth to any other point on the same planet with any efficiency at all, let alone comfort.

I have no hope at all that we will ever see anything akin to 2001 within our lifetimes, or — with the cancellation of Constellation — even that of our children.

Private space travel will not take up the cudgel if even NASA, the great innovator and taker of risk, fails to do so.

88. That guy... - February 8, 2010

We’re never going anywhere. I’m not cynical, just being realistic. We’ll never get anywhere as long as people like Obama are in charge and intend to focus our tax dollars on the psuedo-science of “global warming”/”climate change” instead of boldly going where no man has gone before (after a quick kick off from the moon).

Meteorologists can’t even tell us accurately if it’s going to rain within the next week, but people want to trust them about what’s going to happen in 10+ years? Whatever happened to what was supposed to be happening by now according to ‘The Lorax’ himself, Al Gore? I seem to recall predictions by him and others almost 20 years ago that have not occurred nor do I believe they will.

Yes, there’s climate change….always has been ever since the beginning. The earth goes through cycles. That’s observable science. It’s not due to anything we’ve done. If it were, how would that explain the climate changes going on throughout the solar system? Pluto is moving out away from the sun in it’s orbit and yet it’s getting warmer. There are similar occurrences on a number of planets including Mercury, Mars and Saturn. Hello? It’s natural CYCLES.

Does this mean I don’t support recycling etc? No. On the contrary, I believe it is irresponsible not to. But to worship the planet like it’s some sort of god is going a bit far.

There is only one God. You might wanna get right with Him and get your affairs in order before you meet Him.

89. somethoughts - February 8, 2010

I am glad they canceled it, would you invest in big bulky tvs or computers that filled a room? Surely if we can make a microchip, we can make the equivalent in a space ship, ie. sub atomic structuring, those artists rendition look horrible.

I am happy Obama is investing in the proper technology instead of supporting pieces of crap machines that weigh a billion tonnes and expend a crazy amount of fuel.

NASA should get their act straight and come up with more innovative ideas for propulsion and make space ships sexier and sleeker, get rid of the big clunker designs and give us something revolutionary.

90. Desstruxion - February 8, 2010

#81 And why is going to the moon a waste of time? The moon would be a great jumping off point to Mars and elsewhere.

Ok so we have a jumping off point to Mars and we go. What’s on Mars? Instead of white powdery dirt we get red. I’ve heard it said that “life imitates art.” If Trek is art (it is) then look at Zephram Cochrane. He was a private citizen. He built the Phoenix to make money. Private industry is already involved and should take the lead. The average citizen shouldnt have to pay for something that’s never going to benefit them.

91. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


The ISS is used as a front to grow alien technology in the vacuum of space.

92. 790 - February 8, 2010

“It would be foolish to gamble the future of our nation’s space program.”

Our space program is a false front.
The real exploration goes on without the publics knowledge.
I guess you can invest in the conventional space program, but you’ll go nowhere slowy.

93. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

I would like to remind readers that the research and development program is little more than a sop to those who think (accurately enough) that NASA will be doing nothing toward future manned spaceflight capability. In essence, it is pie in the sky. Even worse, it’s not the first time we’ve gone through this bizarre rigmarole.

Few people realize that NASA attempted to do R & D into breakthrough propulsion concepts only to reach a point of utterly diminishing returns. NASA itself has said that, “[o]bjectively the desired breakthroughs might turn out to be impossible,” although it bravely said that it did not concede defeat.

The unit’s final status report stated that “no breakthroughs appear to be imminent.”

The program, the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics unit, was shut down in 2008.

Pie. In. The. Sky.


Source: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/

94. Thorny - February 8, 2010

I think we’re going to suffer a lot of near term pain with the cancellation of Constellation, but when we come out the other side (perhaps 10 years from now), we’ll have a far more versatile and affordable space infrastructure ready to take us anywhere in the inner solar system.

The giant Ares V rocket and the big Orion spacecraft were impressive, but we have to look at NASA budgets realistically. We were facing a situation where NASA could afford the Ares V or a spacecraft to launch on it, but not both. There was never the slightest chance Congress was going to approve large budget hikes for Constellation in the midst of economic crisis, even if the President asked for it (and now both a Republican and Democratic President have refused to do so.)

We need to think outside the box. The box is not our friend. The box has kept NASA trying to reinvent Apollo for 40 years, both times ending in sticker shock and swift cancellation once politicians saw the bill. A new approach is overdue. By nearly duplicating Apollo, Project Constellation (“Apollo on Steroids”) was following the same trajectory, a trajectory in which extremely high infrastructure costs (KSC) and launch costs (Saturn V) made necessary by a one-purpose mega-rocket proved unsustainable over the long term. A new approach, such as offloading the grunt work to commercial providers and establishing a market that could spawn innovation and drive down launch costs, seems to hold as much promise, if not more, than Constellation ever did.

95. Neville A. Ross - February 8, 2010

It’s crazy to think that the last time we went to the Moon, TOS had barely just gone off the air. I hope that helps people realize how LONG ago it was. How is it possible that people in the 1960s were venturing into space, while us in our “advanced,” modern-day contemporary setting have stagnated into the ground? Sure, they didn’t have frivolous, stupid stuff like iPods, HDTV s, “Avatar”-quality CGI or Xbox 360s back in the 60’s, but they had the capability to GO TO THE F*CKING MOON.

We should be at Mars by now.

Next time someone laughs at the effects of TOS, they should just realize that – so what if the TV effects in the 60’s weren’t the way they are now? Who the hell cares? Are we really “better” because our entertainment has advanced to an incredible level? Is that what really counts – our iPods? At least back in those days they were focusing on better things, like flying to the Moon.

@The TOS Purist aka The Purolator:

Maybe if a certain government whose mythology was predicated on ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of justice’ had given and promised all of that to ALL of its citizens, and done that instead of wasting all of it’s talents in stupid wars against the rest of the world, it wouldn’t have to worry about cutting it’s moon shots. But guess what, the Prez of this government has to focus on doing what the people that this government rules tells it to do-and that’s fixing the crappy schools, infrastructure and all of the other things that the previous dufus-head Prez didn’t fix. One large, stinky, smelly mess. That MUST BE FIXED. OR ELSE.

Space travel/going to the Moon is a great ‘Endeavor’, has brought us great technological treasure, and is something that we humans need to get back to. But not right now. Even I, who support it with all of my heart, realize that. And it’s something that has no place now, at this point. Not when people go to bead hungry, or can’t get a job, or can’t get medical help when they need it. Right now, America’s priorities are that, and they must be dealt with. When they are dealt with, then we can go. But spending money on the space program in the amounts you want would cost America a lot more than just money; it would cost its soul in the process. Already, people are saying that NASA takes up too much money; the Endeavor project would cause a groundswell of protest bigger than the teabaggers and their petty bullshit concerns-and it would be everybody else who voted for the current Prez! ‘Lunar caper, someday later, but now we’ve got other fish to fry!’

@Eli: Why weren’t you this pissy with Dumbya? Better yet, why didn’t Dumbya take America back to the Moon? Oh I know why-because he was fighting a war for oil, and a war against terror- wars you and people like you most likely supported! So guess what? Until those wars are wrapped up, and until America can get on it’s feet financially, space isn’t the place. And you can quit denying that your hatred of Obama isn’t racist-it most likely is. Also, Fannie and Freddie were the fault of Dumbya and the banks-not Obama-stop being so concerned about them, if you had, you would have voted better the first time.

96. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

Going back to the moon is a LUXURY we can’t afford, plus it’s been done.

We can’t even take care of the health, education, and well-being our citizens.

If Bush had funded it properly, it should have been done by now. But he wasted all of OUR money on destroying Iraq, enriching his cronies, and letting Wall Street run unchecked.

Is it any wonder that we need to cut cost? Thanks a lot Bush!

97. somethoughts - February 8, 2010

We need to figure out a new propulsion system and master the art of nano technology/sub atomic engineering before we can even get near the speed of light.

Flying ships that weight billions of tonnes and pushed forward with the jetison of fuel is a joke, we are the laughing stock of the galaxy.

98. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

94, Thorny, there may be one remaining hope, and that is the VASIMR engine. It MIGHT work.

But it could have been funded without killing Constellation.

Killing Constellation was akin to sinking our RO-RO cargo ships in the belief that ground-effect vehicles would make them obsolete. (http://www.hydrolance.net/page12.htm) Worse, in fact, since ground-effect aircraft have already seen the light of day (Google “Caspian Sea Monster.”)



99. Thorny - February 8, 2010

Rick… Actually my argument is that VASIMIR could *not* have been funded along with Constellation. Constellation’s costs were out of control… $30 billion for Ares I alone, many billions more coming due in the 2015-2020 period for Ares V. Ares was eating everybody’s lunch and there just wasn’t enough money left to do much else. Constellation’s “Altair” lunar lander had already been cancelled (or at least zeroed-out in funding requests) to pay for Ares. If the moon lander (the whole stated purpose of the project) couldn’t be afforded, what chance was there of a high-risk technology demo like VASIMIR?

Constellation was putting the cart before the horse. Let’s go buy some horses first, and be ready to fight the politicans who turn around and say “you don’t have a cart, what do you need a horse for?”

100. Desstruxion - February 8, 2010

Maybe we should build a new orbiter that works first. Can’t get to the moon anyway if you can’t to orbit first. One day the VSS Enterprise is gonna fly by the ISS and the pilot will smile and flip them the bird while traveling to a privately owned orbiting hotel.

101. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

VASIMR is great but you can’t use it to get big payloads off the planet. You’ll still need heavy lift.

Look, hard to say how this will play out. With proper support private enterprise may take this challenge and out perform nations in getting us back to the moon.

It certainly doesn’t help when people have a ground level view as if their upper vertebra were fused and they can’t look anywhere but straight.

Space isn’t just someplace cool to go to. Important resources are off world. And asteroid and comet strikes are very real phenomenon. The time to be developing our ability to use those resources and combat those dangers is before they are desperately needed or we are in imminent peril.

102. Christopher Miles - February 8, 2010

@ 95

Well said, Neville, well said.

103. Will_H - February 8, 2010

At first I was pretty against changing NASA’s direction, but when I take time to think about it I actually somewhat agree with it. If you look at how much our space technology has increased since NASA began…well its sad. We’re kinda wasting our time up there right now. Earth-bound tech is growing in leaps and bounds yet our tech for space doesn’t seem to be. I think we need a new line of space shuttles because I think going back to rockets is idiotic personally. The shuttles were a good idea, but they’re just too old and I think too small honestly. We need to be ready when we start really going for space and I think our money’s better spend preparing. And to all of you idiots out there that just wanna crap on Obama for anything and everything…well if doing this to NASA is something you wanna get at him at, lets take a look at your beloved W.’s record. Last time I checked Obama didn’t star a war that’s left how many people dead…yeah I’ve lost track. No, he’s not the perfect president (or even as good as we had hoped for that matter) but considering how bad Bush hurt America I can’t believe how many of his supporters like to hate on Obama. And I normally avoid getting political, but when I see that the first comment on this is just an attack on Obama instead of something relevant to the topic I gotta say something. I wish these idiots could be banned so there could actually be real discussion and debate on here about things that matter to the world of space exploration and Star Trek.

104. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

Knock off the political trolling. It’s nauseating.

105. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

99, Thorny, 101 said it better than I could. I disagree that VASIMR could not have been funded. Where there is a will, there is a way.

As I stated, it is asinine to throw away something you have a very good chance of successfully developing in favor of showing that something else could replace it. Ares was based on relatively new technology.

I refer to my RO-RO versus ground-effect hydroplanes again in this connection. The military would sooner dine on bayonets than give up something based on known technology in favor of something that might or might not work.

And in the case of hydroplanes and ground-effects vehicles, this is despite the fact that such things do exist and are shown to be capable of carrying tons of payload (again, the “Caspian Sea Monster” was a prototype that has already flown).

The President’s plan is clearly nothing more than pie in the sky. The problem is that, if it is followed, we will end up with something much worse than a pie in our face.

106. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

104. dmduncan: “Knock off the political trolling. It’s nauseating.”

Hah! where were you at post #1?

I hate the trolls too, but there’s a difference between what you are complaining about and what the tea baggers are doing here.

107. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

105. Hat Rick: “The President’s plan is clearly nothing more than pie in the sky. The problem is that, if it is followed, we will end up with something much worse than a pie in our face.”

CLEARLY, easy to say, and perhaps funny (to some), but probably hard to back up, putting it mildly.

108. JP - February 8, 2010

Just wanted to say thank you Anthony for publishing these articles and to Denise, Mike and Andre for your thoughts and passion on the subject. These are the sorts of articles i hope we see more of here on trekmovie. Well done to all involved!

109. MikeTen - February 8, 2010

I totally disagree with the Okudas. First off, the test launch of Ares was not a full test. Ares has a FIVE segment solid rocket motor and the test vehicle had FOUR segments and was basically a shuttle booster with a Orion mockup on top so you can’t say this was a true test flight.

Second, if this is the best that can be done after 5 years of development then something was seriously wrong and Ares deserved to be cancelled. It took less time to build the Space Shuttle once the design was locked in and the Shuttle is a far more complicated vehicle than Ares.

NASA should have went with the DIRECT 2.0 proposal which nearly directly used existing Space Shuttle components and could have been operational by now and kept the majority of the Shuttle workforce employed. NASA engineers were donating there time and skills to work on the DIRECT proposal but the last Administrator seemed to have a vested interest in Ares.

As for Ares being safer than the Shuttle that is not true. NASA safety control officers are on record stating that if a solid fuel launcher exploded the emergency crew escape system might not react fast enough to save the crew. Another negative, once you launch a solid fuel launcher like Ares you can’t turn it off like you could with a liquid fueled launcher like Atlas so if Ares goes out of control you are out of luck. In the case of the Challenger accident the range safety officer destroyed the malfunctioning solid boosters to keep them from endangering a populated area.

If we have to go back to using capsules to get into orbit, then why didn’t NASA man rate an existing launcher like Atlas and launch Orion on it? It would have probably been operational by now.

110. Licinius - February 8, 2010

Thorny– What qualifies as a “huge” budget increase to properly fund Constellation is a matter of opinion. To my mind, $3 billion a year is not huge by federal standards–it’s about our annual foreign aid to the nation of Egypt. Is having a definite program to reach a clear goal with proven technology worth what we give Egypt in a year? I think it is.

By the way, note how the media makes space exploration sound more expensive than it is. Instead of phrasing it in terms of a reasonable yearly outlay, they report something like “it will cost $30 billion over 10 years…” Joe Average doesn’t hear “over 10 years”, doesn’t do the long division. He just remembers the 30 billion part, as in “let’s spend 30 billion right now.”

104– Establishing the facts of what happened, why some people claim we can’t trust our leaders and can’t afford to do anything important, IS necessary. I agree that it is politically divisive, but we can’t do better until we put aside the lies.

Hat Rick– I didn’t mean to say that you said “a pox on both your houses.” A lot of other people have.

CbSpock–I guess I didn’t explain it clearly enough, so I’ll try again: the Bush deficit when he left office was 1.3 TRILLION dollars. Obama has not quadrupled it. As in, HE DID NOT. Just saying it over and over doesn’t make your inaccuracy true.

Second, please check your facts before posting. Bush II had Republican majority in Congress for six out of his eight years in office. So tell me, we had a surplus under Clinton, then a Republican president proposing huge budget deficits, and a Republican Congress approving them, for six out of eight years. So by what twisted logic are the Bush deficits the fault of Democrats?

Just letting our credit system go belly up was not a reasonable option–the vast majority of informed experts agree that some kind of rescue was necessary, or we’d be looking at a 30% official unemployment rate, not 10 or 12. A tough thing to hear, I agree. But them’s the facts.

Democrats deserve some of the blame for our country’s indebtedness, but nowhere near the amount the Republicans have racked up. Sorry.

111. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

A lie repeated often enough, becomes the truth.

112. fansince66 - February 8, 2010

Google “From the Moon to Mars: the New Economics-Part II” & watch this 29 minute video. THEN answer the question of whether or not we should vigorously pursue the space program.

113. Christine - February 8, 2010

I love how everyone is pointing the finger of blame at the man sitting in the Oval Office.

I mean, God forbid that funding goes to getting people like me into college, or getting medical research for people afflicted with cancer, epilepsy, or MS (AKA my entire mom’s side of the family), or financial aid programs that assist the programs I volunteer at every week, or send money to Haiti where it’s really needed…

Why not send it all to NASA?

(Just saying.)

114. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

Enough is enough. Uncontrollable emotion is why we spend more money on bombs than rockets in the first place.

115. Crispie38 - February 8, 2010

I think people are looking at this the wrong way, just get the Chinese to up their Space Program and before you know it : Space Race: The Next Generation!

116. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

“It took less time to build the Space Shuttle once the design was locked in and the Shuttle is a far more complicated vehicle than Ares.”

June 1, 1972: Shuttle design is basically finalized.

April 12, 1981: Shuttle flies under its own power for the first time in test-flight configuration. (STS-1, Columbia.)

That’s just short of nine years.

The Enterprise test article (Orbiter) was flown in 1977 aboard a converted 747 carrier. The Enterprise was not equipped with thermal tiles and could not fly in space.

The Orbiter experienced substantial issues with reference to its thermal tiles thereafter, necessitating significant design work. Tile issues continued to plague the Shuttle. Thermal protection breach caused by an ice strike caused the disintegration and destruction of the Columbia and hands aboard on February 1, 2003.

Prior to the loss of Columbia, hot exhaust emanating from a defective joint assembly and breaching the liquid fuel tank caused the explosion of the Challenger and all hands aboard on January 28, 1986.

117. Greg2600 - February 8, 2010

Unfortunately, people don’t care about science anymore, just money, food, sex, religion, and war. Science is barely in the top 10.

118. Daoud - February 8, 2010

@106 Do you realize “teabagging” is offensive? It refers to the sexual act of a man placing his testicles in the mouth of another.

Our President said during his campaign that “Dissent is patriotic.” Don’t forget that, it was one of the key reasons he won the nomination. It was refreshing to hear him agree to disagree with other candidates, and disagree with then President Bush without getting to offensiveness. His disagreements with Hillary over the course healthcare should take during the primaries and how he handled his disagreements with her proved the great promise he has as a leader. It is true he pledged during the campaign to forward the space program. It took BOTH parties to get the U.S. in this mess, period. Excesses on BOTH sides of the aisle.

Getting NASA out of the morass it’s in won’t be solved in a decade.

In the meantime, we should work together with Russia, China, India, Japan and Europe to explore the Moon and Mars together, primarily with robot exploration. A programmed robotic explorer, programmed by humans, controlled by humans, is human exploration.

Continued American hegemony of space was a bad post-cold-war idea. And teaming up with China and Russia in space is probably the best solution to prevent any future wars…

119. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

114. dmduncan: “Enough is enough. Uncontrollable emotion is why we spend more money on bombs than rockets in the first place.”

Why not get it right at home first, with emotions like love and empathy, before we move out into space with nationalistic greed and aggression?

120. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

Thanks for your clarification, Licinius.

Both the left and right should unite to restore funding to Constellation. It could very well be that the future continued existence of mankind depends on it.

121. Brian Kirsch - February 8, 2010

I for one am glad Constellation has been cancelled. It smelled like a boondoggle from day one, and has proven to be one, 5 years later. Someone once said “don’t throw good money after bad”.

Seriously underfunded from the start ( not the fault of NASA or Obama, btw) it was overbudget and seriously behind schedule. Even it’s supporters agree the “moon by 2020″ goal is unrealistic without massive budget increases. Not realistic in this political climate. Even with those massive increases, 2025 is probably more realistic, given how far behind the project already is.

Just imagine the pundits and teabaggers outcry if Obama came out and said we need to commit another trillion $’s over the next 10 years just to get back to the moon by 2020, maybe….. With no where to go from there, since all the money had been spent on getting there. At the sacrifice of developing advanced propulsion systems necessary to get to Mars or beyond.

To use Thorny’s analogy: Sure, we could spend money on an old horse and a second-hand cart. They might get us to the next city, but no further. I’d rather invest in a fresh horse and modern cart that will get us to other counties, or even states. That’s sounds more exciting to me.

I actually read the Augustine Commision Report. All of it. It took a good chunk of Saturday afternoon. A well done, well thought out report. Factual and fair, with no bias. It’s recommended reading for all space geeks like us! Don’t be lazy and rely on any source to make your judgement. Read it and reach your OWN conclusions. Don’t rely on soundbites, editorials, or political views.

Some of the recommendations that I thought made sense: Extending the life of the Shuttle until commercial interests can do that service. Extending the life of the ISS until 2020 at least. Their Flexible Path proposal which incorporates the useable remains of the failed Constellation project, few as they may be…..

122. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

118. Daoud “It took BOTH parties to get the U.S. in this mess, period. Excesses on BOTH sides of the aisle.”

Dissent is patriotic, dishonesty is not. Bush took us here. PERIOD

123. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

120. Hat Rick: “Both the left and right should unite to restore funding to Constellation. It could very well be that the future continued existence of mankind depends on it.”

Sad that there is some truth to this; that we will have f**ked up our home so badly that we need to escape it to survive.

124. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

Have you heard how the Bush clan plans on surviving the sh*t storm?

They have made the largest land purchase in history in South America, on which to build their inland compound, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves.

Nice, huh?

125. Lord Isaiah - February 8, 2010

You know, I am so sick of the “We have more pressing problems we need to solve here on Earth,” argument.

Is space travel like we see it on Star Trek centuries if not millenia in the future, if it occurs at all? Yes…yes it is…barring about 12 dozen brilliant people having 12 of those “Eureka!” moments each.

However, the “Earth” of Star Trek…is just as much of a fantasy…and if I’m being told to be “realistic” about spaceflight…then by TGBotG, those folks need to be JUST as “realistic” about “making things better here on Earth.”

There will ALWAYS be someone, on this planet, who is hungry, who is oppressed, who is jobless, who is poor, who is displaced, who is a jerk, who is unfairly wealthy, who is in a bad school system, who is sick, ect, ect ect. The ENTIRETY of the current budget proposal could be dedicated to only FEEDING the hungry of the US…and guess what…there would be SOMEONE out there…that would not get fed because there was SOMEONE else…who was a jerk, someone who took more food, someone, who took the money and lined their pockets, someone, who refused the food, because they felt it was immoral to accept it.

Do we need to get our spending under control? Yes, I agree, we do, and it means doing a lot of things we don’t like. Maybe abandoning space exploration is one of them, but so is a galactic butt-tonne of other things, and I haven’t seen ANY of those being put on the so called chopping block.

But who knows, maybe as this country sprials down into the toilet of it’s own self-destruction, folks will realize it’s a lost cause and pay any price to get off of this rock. Prices folks in China, Russia, Europe, and India…will be more than happy to collect upon.

126. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

There is no Flexible Path with a dead Constellation.

127. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

126. Hat Rick: “There is no Flexible Path with a dead Constellation.”

Completely baseless.

128. Thorny - February 8, 2010

109… MikeTen… “If we have to go back to using capsules to get into orbit, then why didn’t NASA man rate an existing launcher like Atlas and launch Orion on it? It would have probably been operational by now.”

a) Politics. Congress specifically stated in its FY06 appropriations bill for Constellation that NASA had to use “the shuttle infrastructure and workforce to the greatest extent possible.” That meant Shuttle-derived, not Atlas or Delta.

b) Politics. The Ares V was the ‘pet project’ of NASA Administrator Griffin, who had worked on the design earlier in his career. The Atlas and Delta (which had previously been considered perfectly adequate for the Orbital Space Plane project) suddenly became “non-viable” after Griffin replaced O’Keefe as NASA head. Even as Ares I grew closer and closer to ‘non viable”, the program kept moving forward, cutting capability from Orion to keep it light enough to ride on Ares I. Griffin left a year ago, and *poof* support for Ares I began to wane, with the underground DIRECT concect getting more and more official attention.

110. Licinius… “Thorny– What qualifies as a “huge” budget increase to properly fund Constellation is a matter of opinion. To my mind, $3 billion a year is not huge by federal standards”

It is a 15% increase at a time when all other discretionary spending is being frozen. That’s a political minefield with no hope of being passed in Congress.

116. Hat Rick… “June 1, 1972: Shuttle design is basically finalized. April 12, 1981: Shuttle flies under its own power for the first time in test-flight configuration. (STS-1, Columbia.) That’s just short of nine years.”

And that was 2 1/2 years behind schedule. In June, 1972, Shuttle’s first flight was planned for November, 1978. Space Shuttle Main Engine and thermal tile problems caused most of the delay.

129. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

125. Lord Isaiah: “There will ALWAYS be someone, on this planet, who is hungry, who is oppressed, who is jobless, who is poor, who is displaced, who is a jerk, who is unfairly wealthy, who is in a bad school system, who is sick, ect, ect ect.”

Yes, because there will ALWAYS be attitudes like yours.

“But who knows, maybe as this country sprials down into the toilet of it’s own self-destruction, folks will realize it’s a lost cause and pay any price to get off of this rock. Prices folks in China, Russia, Europe, and India…will be more than happy to collect upon.”

Nice option, if you can afford it. What about the rest of us?

130. MC1 Doug - February 8, 2010

#12: ‘When many people think of the benefits of the previous moon missions, the most common thought may be…velcro.”

You could not be more wrong (grin). It is well known fact that a Vulcan (not by Americans, though) attempted to introduce velcro to an American inventor near Carbon Creek, Pa., in late 1957 or early 1958. *

On a serious note, however, I am saddened by the President’s proposed NASA budget. I see both sides to this issue, but don’t think science research and space exploration should be viewed upon with such a limited scope. If we do not think big we are surely going to stand fast on the ground rather than soar with the stars.

131. MORN SPEAKS - February 8, 2010


132. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


“Enough is enough. Uncontrollable emotion is why we spend more money on bombs than rockets in the first place.”

Space exploration doesn’t generate revenue at the moment. We humans need a big big carrot in outer space for us to put our thoughts and energy into space ship design and innovations.

The only thing that can help us speed up the process of innovations and designs is to allow companies to compete against one another. Just look at the explosion of video game consoles, computers and vehicles.

If only the same thing can be said about our space ships and technology to travel in outer space, imagine if every 6months the speed of a spaceship doubles and approaches the speed of light.

133. MC1 Doug - February 8, 2010

* Velcro was actually invented in 1951 and patented in 1955 but its roots go back as far as 1941. The first textile plant to manufacture velcro was established in Manchester, New Hampshire in 1957.

This, from Wikipedia:

“NASA makes significant use of velcro. Each space shuttle has ten thousand inches of a special velcro made of Teflon loops, polyester hooks, and glass backing. Velcro is used everywhere, from the astronauts’ suits, to anchoring equipment. In the near weightless conditions in orbit, velcro is used to temporarily hold objects and keep them from floating away. A velcro patch is used inside astronauts’ helmets where it serves as a nose scratcher.During mealtimes astronauts use trays that attach to their thighs using spring and velcro fasteners.”

for a more complete treatise on the subject, go to:


And that kiddies, is my history and science lesson for today.

134. nscates - February 8, 2010

OMG, I’ve never seen a bigger collection of knee-jerk, ill considered reactions in ages! Obama is NOT ending human spaceflight, ffs!

@ 48 – I’m no Obama apologist, and I don’t agree with everything he does but come on, four times the national debt!? Really? The numbers don’t support anything like that amount! How can we have any real discussion of the issues if everyone just throws hyperbole at each other?

I was not a big fan of Constellation. I was pretty disapointed when they terminated the x-33 project; I thought that had a lot more going for it and was an attempt at genuine new technology, instead of update 50 year old designs to accomplish what was done decades before. I could almost see the value in testing mars-bound tech on the moon, but the return to the space-capsule paradyme seemed like a move in the wrong direction to me. Certainly won’t be getting to Mars in THAT. The aerospike engines of the x-33 seemed to have real potential, but now I can’t even find out why that project was scrapped.

I would agree that Nasa and the government in general has mismanaged things on occasion. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything the government does will fail or is guaranteed to be a disaster. I agree that Nasa’s palce is to be the forerunner on high-risk/high cost ventures. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all high risk/high cost projects are worth doing.

My 2 cents: if they don’t find a faster and more effecient way to reach escape velocity than lighting a giant hydrogen/oxygen bomb and hoping that nothing fails, we’re all doomed anyway. Everywhere worth going is too far away and we can’t afford to build ships big enough to cart the kinds of supplies we would need to get there and then live there. Rockets aren’t gonna get that done.

135. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

134. nscates: “if they don’t find a faster and more effecient way to reach escape velocity than lighting a giant hydrogen/oxygen bomb and hoping that nothing fails, we’re all doomed anyway. Everywhere worth going is too far away and we can’t afford to build ships big enough to cart the kinds of supplies we would need to get there and then live there. Rockets aren’t gonna get that done.”


136. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

127, how is it baseless? The Flexible Path contemplated the use of Ares and Orion spacecraft. The reason that Augustine Commission was concerned that the first and second options would not work was because of the cost of those objectives. It wasn’t because Project Constellation itself was too expensive. The third option was chosen because, to the Commission, visits to the asteroids and to the moons of Mars were the most economical.

At no point did the Augustine Commission recommend that there should be a Flexible Path without the existence of Project Constellation hardware. At no time did the Commission suggest that we should visit the asteroids or the moons of Mars with NO FUNDING for the necessary hardware. That would have been unthinkable as well as absurd.

So, please tell me why my comment is baseless.

You don’t get to slap the label “Flexible Path” on something that is entirely different from what the label meant.

137. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

“if they don’t find a faster and more effecient way to reach escape velocity than lighting a giant hydrogen/oxygen bomb and hoping that nothing fails, we’re all doomed anyway. Everywhere worth going is too far away and we can’t afford to build ships big enough to cart the kinds of supplies we would need to get there and then live there. Rockets aren’t gonna get that done.”

I’m sure glad Christopher Columbus didn’t have that attitude, or he’d have a pretty damn long wait for the Wright Brothers to come along.

138. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

137. Hat Rick: “I’m sure glad Christopher Columbus didn’t have that attitude, or he’d have a pretty damn long wait for the Wright Brothers to come along.”

WOW! Apples and oranges AND bananas! (comparison, that is)

139. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

In that Christopher Christopher was an explorer and adventurer, how does that make the comparison between his efforts and mankind’s efforts to explore space inapt?

During the time of Columbus, it took weeks to cross the ocean, carrying supplies for the entire journey. Today, it takes mere hours. The difference is that we can now travel by air while Columbus never could.

If we wait for some kind of breakthrough technology analogous to the airplane to make the journey into space less arduous and time-consuming, there is little question we would have to wait for decades, if not centuries, in order to explore the Solar System.

My comment was, therefore, well-taken.

140. James Heaney - February 8, 2010

I appreciate this site’s decision to run two editorials from two (well, three) big Trek-science names with two opposite points of view. I won’t repeat my comments from yesterday (except to say that I agree with the Okudas, so good on them), but I think Tony deserves kudos for going to such lengths.

141. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

136. Hat Rick: “There is no Flexible Path with a dead Constellation.”

Completely baseless because there are, and will be, other ways to fulfill the Flexible Path.

142. Licinius - February 8, 2010

128- THORNY– “It is a 15% increase at a time when all other discretionary spending is being frozen. That’s a political minefield with no hope of being passed in Congress.”

Thorny…guess we’ll have to disagree. Funding Constellation properly can be presented as a form of stimulus for the tech sector. Not a political stretch by any means, and it has the additional advantage of being true! Might also attract some bipartisan support, given the strength of Republicans in the states directly affected.

Discretionary spending freeze is another bad idea, with its own can of worms…

143. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

141, then call it something else. Don’t use the Augustine Commission’s idea, which relied on the use of the Project Constellation, for your own proposal, which kills it. “Flexible Path” presupposed that Project Constellation would be used. If the Augustine Commission had wanted to, it could have said that Project Constellation was hopeless and recommended it be scrapped, but it did not. It specifically found that Constellation could be used and that it could be used to visit the asteroids and the moons of Mars. In fact, it recommended that this take place. This option, in totality, was called “Flexible Path.”

To use the Augustine Commission’s terminology for something that guts the very means of following the option of that name is blatantly dishonest.

Just like the President’s campaign promise to preserve Project Constellation, which as proved to be a lie.

President Obama’s word has proved worthless insofar as Project Constellation is concerned. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it seems to me that he clearly lied when he said that. It would be foolish to believe his word now when it comes to funding any other research and development project.

144. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

This, for the record, is what Candidate Obama said in August of 2008:

“I know it’s still being reported that we were talking about delaying some aspects of the Constellation program to pay for our early education program. I told my staff we’re going to find an entirely different offset, because we’ve got to make sure that the money that’s going into NASA for basic research and development continues to go there.”

He can twist his words however he wants, but the clear implication of his words was that he would NOT delay the Constellation program. Not only has he delayed it, he has actually killed it.

This is akin to a physician’s promising that a surgical procedure would not cause pain, only to explain later that he meant that the surgical procedure wouldn’t cause pain, but would cause actual death.

145. Licinius - February 8, 2010

Hat Rick is absolutely correct: holding out for a “leap frog” technology is a bean-counter’s way of putting lipstick on a budgetary pig…or the sugar coating on the bitter pill, or whatever analogy works for you.

I’ve taken a look at Space X’s Dragon project…it’s a capsule, albeit less capable than Orion. Virgin Galactic is not offering orbital services, it’s offering pleasure trips to suborbital space to very rich individuals. Not exactly the “workhorse” we’ll need for the agency’s dirty work. Perhaps it can be adapted, but I don’t see that happening for quite a few years…or never, if there’s no profit in it.

All you boosters of the miracle of private enterprise in space should consider this: venture capital went into the toilet during the current economic downturn. Do you really want your hopes for space exploration potentially dependent on vicissitudes of capital markets? Should Captain Kirk be grounded because somebody’s credit default swaps?

146. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

139. Hat Rick: Comparing riding an ICBM through the void, to crossing the ocean on a ship, to first flight on a beach is apples/oranges/bananas IMHO (at least in this context).

Who says it will take us so long to find a better way? Who says we don’t ALREADY have a better way? (I suspect we do.)

147. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

146, it’s a metaphor and I stand by it.

By the way, Candidate Obama clearly lied again when he said that he would preserve jobs and support a successor to the Shuttle (which was never believed to be a privately funded vehicle). By farming out ISS supply missions to SpaceX, located in California, he would not be preserving EXISTING jobs at all. This strongly implies that Obama meant that he would preserve Constellation.

Here is what he said:

“We cannot cede our leadership in space. That’s why I will help close the gap and ensure that our space program doesn’t suffer when the Shuttle goes out of service by working with Senator Bill Nelson to add at least one additional Space Shuttle flight beyond 2010; by supporting continued funding for NASA; by speeding the development of the Shuttle’s successor; and by making sure that all those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the Shuttle is retired – because we cannot afford to lose their expertise.”

(Senator Bill Nelson, by the way, is livid at Obama’s betrayal.)

Source: http://hatricksblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/obamas-new-stance-on-nasa.html

148. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

144. Hat Rick: To turn that statement into a “promise” is misrepresenting Obama. I’m sure that if he could, he would. But he is faced with A LOT OF VERY DIFFICULT DECISIONS forced on him by the previous administration.

On top of that, he’s got the serious threat of the teabaggers barking at his heals for lower taxes and lower spending.

149. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

147. Hat Rick: When you present these quotes as “clearly lies”, YOU are being dishonest.

Intent not being realized (yet), does not equate to lying.

150. Thorny - February 8, 2010

145… “I’ve taken a look at Space X’s Dragon project…it’s a capsule, albeit less capable than Orion. Virgin Galactic is not offering orbital services, it’s offering pleasure trips to suborbital space to very rich individuals. Not exactly the “workhorse” we’ll need for the agency’s dirty work. Perhaps it can be adapted, but I don’t see that happening for quite a few years…or never, if there’s no profit in it.”

SpaceX has an advantage in that its Dragon design is already well along (a test article is to fly on the first Falcon 9 in the next month or two.) SpaceX designed Dragon with the ability to be upgraded into a manned spacecraft all along, aiming for Bigelow’s space hotel business. They have said they primarily need two things to put a crew on Dragon: a launch escape system and a life support system.

What did NASA announced funding of last week? Paragon’s universal Life Support System and Blue Origin’s “pusher” launch escape system. Coincidence?

The three other proposals that are being taken seriously in the industry are Lockheed-Martin’s “Orion Lite”, Sierra Nevada’s “Dream Chaser”, and Boeing/Bigelow’s unnamed vehicle. Orion Lite and Boeing’s vehicle are very much like the now-cancelled Orion. Dream Chaser is derived from NASA’s HL-20 lifting body (originally designed as a Space Station lifeboat.) All three are seven passenger spacecraft. A fourth dark horse candidate is Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos’ company) which is currently very secretive with its own manned space system.

Orion Lite and Dream Chaser were already being designed, again to support Bigelow. Boeing’s design seems to be based on its losing CEV entry (which Lockheed won with Orion.)

145… “All you boosters of the miracle of private enterprise in space should consider this: venture capital went into the toilet during the current economic downturn. Do you really want your hopes for space exploration potentially dependent on vicissitudes of capital markets?”

Yes, because that is the only way space will be opened up to anyone other than a small number of government employees. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is no capitol to be invested. There is plenty. If there is a sufficient market, investors will come. NASA is trying to establish that market. Bigelow wants it, too. NASA will likely help Bigelow by purchasing one of its inflatable modules for the Space Station, thereby further raising confidence in the market for investors.

Remember, Douglas Aircraft designed, built and sold the DC-3 in the height of the Great Depression. Also note that two of these companies are self-funded, by the mega-rich Elon Musk (PayPal) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon). Its not like Boeing and Lockheed will have great trouble raising money, either. Finding capital investment may not be the biggest problem to be solved.

151. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

He made the promise in August, 2008, four months before the election. The Great Recession began in 2007 and the crisis in the financial markets peaked in September, 2008. The Bush Administration was already in the midst of preparing a massive stimulus to forestall further injury to the financial markets.

Candidate Obama was well-aware at the time that the United States was in a massive economic downturn.

Needless to say, he was also fully aware that the United States was involved in two expensive wars overseas, since he had campaigned against them for about a year by then.

It wasn’t as if there was a massive surprise that Obama discovered once he walked through the White House doors.

Further, as I even noted in my blog at the time, Obama appeared to invisibly hedge his bets in his “I support NASA” statement, lying through use of sly, lawyerly implications that he could later attempt to contort.

However, whatever Obama may say now, there is no gainsaying that he was far less than truthful about his intentions, if his actual proposals this year are any indication.

For example:

“We cannot cede our leadership in space.” But in fact, by destroying Ares and Orion, we doing precisely this.

“That’s why I will help close the gap and ensure that our space program doesn’t suffer when the Shuttle goes out of service by working with Senator Bill Nelson to add at least one additional Space Shuttle flight beyond 2010; by supporting continued funding for NASA;”

“Continued funding” except for the major jewel in NASA’s crown, that is!

“by speeding the development of the Shuttle’s successor;

At the time, NASA’s successor was always believed to be the Orion-Ares spacecraft. No one believed that it would be a manned version of the Dragon space capsule, which, by the way, does not officially exist even now.

“and by making sure that all those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the Shuttle is retired – because we cannot afford to lose their expertise.”

This is a lie built on a lie, since not only would the loss of Constellation mean the loss of jobs for NASA personnel in Florida that are employed in sustaining that project, but the destruction of Constellation would inevitably mean the loss of the expertise of those individuals — the expertise, by the way, regarding Project Constellation and not any other project.

I have lost a great deal of respect for President Obama. He has turned out to be a major disappointment and perhaps the anti-thesis of the JFK-like figure I had hoped he would be.

152. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

151. Hat Rick:

“But in fact, by destroying Ares and Orion, we doing precisely [ceding our leadership in space].” BASELESS ASSUMPTION

“…except for the major jewel in NASA’s crown, that is!” IN YOUR OPINION.

“Shuttle’s successor”: Who says we don’t ALREADY have a better successor? (I suspect we do.)

“This is a lie built on a lie…” Even before it has happened the way you ASSUME it will?

153. Odkin - February 8, 2010

And, as expected, the Anti-Obama editorial gets bumped down the front page in record time, despite authorship by well-respected Trek pros,

154. Licinius - February 8, 2010

150- Well, of course you know that the space program has never been the preserve of a few government employees…private contractors have been part of the mix since forever. The choice is not between government and private enterprise, it’s between competing models of which should predominate.

Thanks for trying to keep me from being fooled, but no thanks. Raising money is NEVER a sure thing, especially in industries as capital intensive as launching rockets. What I refused to be fooled by–and you shouldn’t either–is mistaking glossy brochures by Elon Musk–or the spectacle of Richard Branson sending his mother on an expensive jaunt to suborbit–for a national space policy. I don’t want my dreams for the future to be hostage to the whims of rich boys and their toys.

But why are we arguing over this on a Star Trek site? ST canon is very clear on this: Starfleet is an arm of government, like the US Navy, that gives contracts (that’s what the “NCC” stands for) for the construction of spacecraft, presumably by corporations. Star Trek has traditionally been very suspicious of relying on the profit motive– Next Generation dealt with this directly a few times, with Picard taking 20th century characters to task for their greed. The original starship was called the Enterprise, but Kirk said “risk is our business”– not profit.

There’s one ST civilization that sounds very much like Obama’s proposal: the Ferengi. Yep, there’s an inspiring vision– a Ferengi future for humanity!

155. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


“I have lost a great deal of respect for President Obama. He has turned out to be a major disappointment and perhaps the anti-thesis of the JFK-like figure I had hoped he would be.”

Rockets are for Noobs in space, we will travel the stars when we as humans are ready and have the technological means to do so. A good propulsion foundation/innovation and a stable economy is first and foremost.

President Obama’s stance is that Constellation is “over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation. How can you lose respect for someone who is thinking big picture? Let’s say Obama went ahead with this crappy technology and we get 1960s technology at the cost of 2010 prices, he’ll be known as the guy who approved a cash grab idea that has no merit both scientifically and economically. In plain english the idea sucks and the Return on Investment is crap. Obama knows a scam when he sees one.

Obama is smart, he knows not to throw good money at bad. It was a horrible Bush idea and I am glad Obama got rid of it.

I rather NASA or someone else come up with a better way to travel in space that is a) cost effective b) innovative c) new type of propulsion and d) accountability, instead of just handing over a trillion dollar cheque and say do your moon soil thing and let us know if you find anything interesting.

The only people that is crying foul is the folks trying to con the tax payers for their hard earned money so they can sit around playing video games all day instead of coming up with near light speed travel.

156. Anthony Pascale - February 8, 2010


um, wtf?

I go out of my way to get two Trek vets to provide editorials on the news of the day and I am being attacked for bias?

This article was at the top of the site for about 14 hours (which is longer than most articles stay at the top of the page). It is now it is the third article down. We do roughly 3 articles/day. It will probably remain on the front page for 5 days. That is what we do with EVERY article, there no agenda.

I am getting real sick of people trying to divine agendas from everything.

And I want people to also stop with the partisan red v blue stuff that has nothing to do with the debate on science and NASA

157. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010


Don’t know why pro-Constellation has to be “Anti-Obama”, but it’s “expected” nonetheless.

With all due respect to the Okudas (I love them), I don’t care who authored the opinion, it is opinion nonetheless, and bound to be met by other opinions.

158. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


You forget the Majority of the world uses a Capitalist system and not a socialist/communist model.

Money talks. If wars and bombs can make money, let’s bring the pain, if space exploration can yield ROI this crappy project would have gotten the green light.

The Chinese will most likely be the leaders in space for the next 200 years because they work as a group to get the job done and not worry about individual gain on monetary items.

159. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

There’s one down side for those Obama supporters — including me — who — excluding me — think that his “kill (Constellation) bill” is the cat’s pajamas: Who can they criticize as purely profit-driven now? Certainly not just the Republicans. Not any more.

I’ve heard of Democrats in Name Only, but to buy into the Republican right-wing’s theology of monetary gain goes somewhat beyond that. It buys into the very core of Reagan Republicanism itself.

“Government isn’t the solution. Government is the problem.” — Ronald Reagan.

“Ditto.” — Obama’s NASA proposal.

160. Alex Rosenzweig - February 8, 2010

Stopping back in again….

Look, I’m not wedded to the Ares/Orion combination as the only way to achieve the goals of moving humans back into space in a significant way. Personally, as I’ve learned more about it, I’m rather liking the DIRECT concept.

But, again, what the President said wasn’t, “Okay, we think we have a better idea than Ares for a launch vehicle, and we’re going to pursue this new idea, which we think will save money in the long run and be a more robust system. Bear with us, it may take some time, but our goals are still there.” If he had, I might not be so angry. But instead, he said, in effect, “okay, we’ll get around to it, eventually, maybe…” And that’s not good enough. There has to be a goal, like Mike and Denise said, or the space program wanders aimlessly.

Now, pardon me, but I’m going to be blunt here. I apologize in advance for those who might be offended.

I was appalled anew to read all the comments–on a Star Trek fan site, no less–from people repeating the old whine about how we can’t afford a space program,and we have so many problems here on Earth. Yeah, right… If America is so broke, the lets bring home all our soldiers who are putting themselves in harm’s way all over the world. Let’s stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars on military adventurism around teh world. No, let’s defend our own borders and put all that money we save to work in paying down the debt. Oh, but wait… We *have to* do that? Is that what I hear people saying? It’s a worthy expense?

Well, yes, in many ways it is. And so, my friends, is a robust space program, which we could have for a *tenth* the cost of all these military adventures!

Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, all these people who would have us give up on our dreams, give up on the vision and hope of Humanity in space, well, they are imperiling our future. Nothing less. And they are the people who would ground us, who would clip our wings. Those of us who still care enough to dream of stars must be as strong, as emphatic, as unyielding in our commitment to that future as the people who think we have to lower our sights, because if Humanity is to survive and grow, it is those people that have to be won over, or simply defeated. Our future depends on it.

In today’s mail went a series of letters to elected representatives, both those of my home state and district, and to key players in the US Congress. the message was simple: Do not give up on our dreams. Do not give up on an ambitious, visionary space program.

I hope that I will be joined by many others. And I hope that our leaders will listen. The future is waiting, but we have to be willing to embrace it.

161. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

I HATE the partisan sh*t too, but it seems to pervade in every aspect of American life.

And unfortunately, when you are discussing government programs and funding, it seems unavoidable.

162. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


“Well, yes, in many ways it is. And so, my friends, is a robust space program, which we could have for a *tenth* the cost of all these military adventures!”

You forget that the ROI on war is greater than rockets and old technology.
Wars generate GDP, create jobs for soldiers and bombs to be made by bomb makers. Every bullet/bomb/war costs money but their return is good for the economy, sadly.

163. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


164. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

160, your words are those of truth, beauty, reason, and passion. Would that all of us do as you encourage us to do.

Star Trek isn’t just about pretty planets and sparkling starships. It’s a philosophy of hope and exploration. It’s a universal aspiration for leaving the Earth — a planet that the great Tsiolkovsky said was a cradle that we must leave — so that we may see what is beyond our planetary environs. The credo of Trek is to seek out new life, new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.

It is certainly not to go round in endless ellipses around the Earth.

If all that Trek means is the disparagement of our greatest national efforts to reach beyond our gravitation well, then Trek means nothing at all, and I might as well watch a test pattern until the break of dawn. At least then the spirit and future I hope for the world would avoid torture by the dark cynicism and despair of the moment.

165. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

160. Alex Rosenzweig: I am appalled to read on a Star Trek site, that we should be pushing for a specific option in our space program before we address human suffering!

166. Desstruxion - February 8, 2010

Space is a dead void. Why not fund undersea exploration. Lot’s of areas still unexplored. Lot’s of life (cure for cancer maybe) down there. May even discover real ruins of a lost civilization or two. New species. Sounds a lot more exciting that putting another flag on the moon.

167. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


Enjoy what we have, all good things come in time, we were unfortunately born 400 years too early.

There maybe a reason other than monetary value/roi for grounding this project than we can all imagine.

Has nobody understood why light travel at it’s given constant speed? Will someone please step up and mimic the engine that drives light at 299,792,458 metres per second and apply that to a space ship?

I rather Obama put the money towards that kind of research or have competing companies release new space ships every 6months that are faster than the previous models and are lighter, sleeker and sexier and comes with a sunroof.

Better yet, NASA should be asked to build a ARK concept, a mothership to hold a population of say 1million that can travel to other solar systems, a real city in a space ship that roams the universe exploring and trading with other space farring civilizations.

Thank You Obama for not investing in 1960s tech that is big clunky and wasteful, I just hope NASA comes up with something awesome.

168. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

166, if this is your interest, I think you would find the SeaQuestDSV forums fascinating as well. While I have no reason to doubt your interest in Trek, and to paraphrase, in modified form, Kirk’s dialogue to McCoy in the newest movie: I hate to break it to you, but Star Trek takes place in space. ;-)

169. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

162. somethoughts: “Wars generate GDP, create jobs for soldiers and bombs to be made by bomb makers. Every bullet/bomb/war costs money but their return is good for the economy, sadly.”

This is old thinking that no longer applies. Where is our war profit? Trickling down?

Look at all of the money and ammo we have dumped on Iraq? Why is our economy still in the sh*tter, after that HUGE “investment”?

170. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

To Anthony Pascale:

Thank you from me, as well, for according all Trek fans — both opposed and supportive of President Obama’s plan for NASA — a place to debate these issues of grave concern.

I know of no other site that has offered opposing views from Trek luminaries such as Andre Bormanis, Michael Okuda, and Denise Okuda.

I know of no other site that has hosted such a lively and informative debate which, to boot, has been mostly respectful and respectable.

May the Great Bird of the Galaxy continue to bless this site.

May whatever god any of us believes in protect us mortals from our own tragic myopia.

171. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


Imagine if there was no war(s), the GDP will be a lot worst. Money is the key motivator in outlining a yearly budget for a country.

Greed collapsed a well balanced economic model, folks were getting loans that did not have jobs or the means to pay back, as loans defaulted, banks failed, stock markets affected, perhaps it was a pyramid scheme to begin with, how can a value of a house rise in value as it get older?

The problem lies in the concept of what said item is worth and how much is someone willing to pay for it, if the person willing to pay for said item is fake, that in itself drives up the price of the item artificially and you have hocus pocus economics and fake profit/growth. Bankers and the financial/real estate industry who lost their jobs in turned could not support local small businesses in turn affected more loss of jobs of other industries, so you have a systematic job loss affecting every facet of the economy.

The money is tied up in the intelligence community after 911 to keep everyone safe. I am not saying 911 was caused by a black inside job govt hack to fund anti terrorism, but that is where the money is now. The fact is Osama was trained by the CIA to fight against the Russians who in turn, turned against the American people for abandoning his people in Afghanistan. The economy was affected negativity the day after 911 and sadly was during Bush’s term.

I remember hearing a story in some countries where the mothers would cut out the eyes of their children so they can claim insurance money to help feed the family, which is so sad.

172. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


Terrorism funding was going to be cut prior to 911 as the world was entering a peaceful era, money is the root of all evil.

173. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


The money is tied up in anti terrorism and national defense.

174. Thorny - February 8, 2010

154. Licinius… “150- Well, of course you know that the space program has never been the preserve of a few government employees…”

I was talking about the astronauts. The number of non-government personnel who have flown in space can be counted on two hands, and most of them flew as tourists on Russia’s Soyuz.

154… “What I refused to be fooled by–and you shouldn’t either–is mistaking glossy brochures by Elon Musk”

You do realize that Musk’s SpaceX has launched a satellite into orbit with Falcon 1, has its first much-larger Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft at Cape Canaveral today, and is one of two private companies with a NASA contract to deliver cargo to the Space Station, right? He is far from just ‘glossy brochures’.

Now, do I think everything is coming up roses? No, the odds are that the first Falcon 9 will fail. The odds aren’t too good for the second one, either. But SpaceX, with an existing rocket and an existing spacecraft, have three years to debug Falcon/Dragon and put a crew onboard before Ares/Orion would have been available in the best case (2013), and seven years according to the Augustine Commission (2017). Do I think SpaceX can have a manned Dragon docking at the Space Station by 2017? Yes, I do, and they’ll likely do it at a fraction of the cost of Ares/Orion. And unlike Ares/Orion, SpaceX has other customers for its system.

It’s time to let NASA get out of the way, at least for a while. If all of the startups fail, we can always go back to the Big Government system. All we lose is time and some of the talent, but time is unimportant (the Moon isn’t going anywhere) and talent can be relearned (it would probably be a good idea to relearn it without using nasty Solid Rocket Boosters.)

Let’s try. If these companies are right, we won’t have to wait too long to see if they can do it.

175. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

Re-invested, so to speak?

good one


176. 790 - February 8, 2010

I’m surprised how many people here on a Star Trek site are clueless about how for the last 100 years our military has been successfully reverse engineering alien craft.

The space shuttle is nothing more then a school bus with rockets on it. Its a public specticle. Even the Moon landing/filming was political.

Its staggering to read people honestly debate this rocket combustion fallacy technology when its been obsolete for decades.

Remember the media and Nasa/Jpl hide everything regarding alien life. You don’t think that also goes to hiding spacecraft and other related tech?

Amazing demographic.

177. Licinius - February 8, 2010

FYI, according to NYT piece by J.N. Wilford, if Obama gets his way, “NASA officials say that, depending on financing and progress developing new technologies, projections for the timing of the next astronaut ventures might be made in five or six years.”

Five or six years–just to put together PROJECTIONS? Add five or ten years after that just to see any hardware. By contrast, even at current funding levels, Ares/Orion would be flying in seven or eight years. So which plan gets us beyond LEO faster, friends?

Read it here: tp://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/science/space/09essay.html

178. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

175. Licinius

I think you are misinterpreting bad grammar, structuring, and paraphrasing…

179. Licinius - February 8, 2010

172- Understood, Thorny. But let’s also remember that Ares/Orion, if adequately funded, would be capable of taking us out of LEO. To my knowledge, Elon Musk is not working on a lunar lander…no profit in it yet. Please correct me if I’m wrong here.

There’s a reason government drives a lot of basic research. In many respects, space, though an engineering endeavor, is an act of basic research. Hey, I wish Musk luck– we all do. But for the really big stuff, government is better suited to take the lead.

180. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


The govt made a trade/treaty with our aliens friends in the early 1900s, before 1947 Roswell “crash”. Technology for genetic study/information/silence of their existence as the GraysDracos violated a Galactic law for interfering with civs that have yet have the ability to travel between solar systems, ie. alien abductions and hybrids etc., they want to have the ability to reproduce instead of being slaves to the Dracos (demons) who are at war with the angels (nomads). So clearly, it is a deal with the devil, as the Dracos are a higher rank than the Grays.

To this day, there is a underground civilization of aliens, who believe this planet is theres and we are the ones that are alien to earth, we were suppose to be created to mine gold for the Annunaki who in turn voted to give earth to us. They supposedly created us in their image and we are a hybrid of apes/them, fascinating eh? Both creation and evolution model would be correct and work, but this stuff is way too controversial so pretend you didn’t read it and it is just fantasy. The asteroid belt used to be a class M planet, mars, moon, earth used to be trading posts for ancient galactic space farring societies.

If aliens texted each other they would look at our “space ships” and say LOL look at these nubs in their special school buses.

181. somethoughts - February 8, 2010


182. dmduncan - February 8, 2010

174: “I’m surprised how many people here on a Star Trek site are clueless about how for the last 100 years our military has been successfully reverse engineering alien craft.”

Finally, someone who knows where velcro REALLY came from!

183. Odkin - February 8, 2010

Everyone tends to leave out a very important component of the Reagan quote: “IN OUR PRESENT CRISIS, Government is not the solution to the problem, Government IS the problem.”

There are problems to which government is the solution. Foreign policy. National defense. International trade. War. Espionage. Treaties. Constitutional enforcement.

Because of the resources required, the international implications, the potential for disaster or abuse, and the possibility of someone claiming ownership of international real estate, I’d say that space exploration is something best left to the public sector until we have a better handle on it.

184. Bill Peters - February 8, 2010

Agree with Anthony Pascale this is not a Political website yet the post on this Issue seem to get more Partisan as we go. I don’t like the cuts but think private Industry can make up for the cuts. Space Program to me is not something we can’t afford but something we need, we need to get off this rock and get new Technology and start populating Else where because the best chance for Human Survival in the long run is not to have all of us on one place!

185. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

177, let’s not grasp at straws. The NYT article, which I also read some hours ago, was perfectly clear and there were no grammatical errors. Licinius is right.

I was reading the article on my iPhone as I exited the parking lot near where I work, thinking that it was already too credulous in its description of the Obama plan. Even so, even the NYT could not bring itself to cast the destruction of NASA’s plans for human exploration of the Solar System in an entirely positive light. While the article took an agnostic approach toward the Obama plan, bits and pieces of the unadulterated truth seeped out — all of it utterly condemnatory, intentionally or not, of the Obama Administrations willful lack of vision and active attempts to obfuscate our wholesale withdrawal from true human exploration of outer space.

Our suspicions that President Obama’s abominable destruction of Constellation will result in the possibly permanent annihilation of anything except low-Earth orbital flights for the foreseeable future are confirmed in that article.

One can only hope that the more that the public knows and thinks about the Administration’s evisceration of NASA’s carefully wrought plans for human exploration of our cosmos, the more it will be moved to anger enough to tell our Congressional representatives that Constellation must be preserved at any reasonable cost necessary.

I need not say that the more I read about the Administration’s plan, the angrier I have become. Nothing less than the future of human existence may be at stake, and the President is quibbling about amounts of money that in sum are hardly more than rounding errors in our national debt.

If nothing else, the proposed sacrificial slaughter of NASA’s vision in the name of penny-wise, pound foolishness will stand as an indictment of petty politics and paint an increasingly clear picture of a helpless, foolish, and short-sighted Administration.

186. JohnWA - February 8, 2010

There’s a reason why the politics of the Federation aren’t discussed in great detail within the Star Trek universe. Even DS9 – which is arguably the most “political” of the shows – only tepidly touched upon it. Too much of that would ruin the whole aura of Roddenberry’s utopia within five minutes. It is a rough business and one that does not treat visionaries and dreamers particularly well.

The legislation to defund Constellation is going to sail through Congress with broad bipartisan support. Everyone’s jumping all over themselves to tap into populist anger right now. And sadly, that anger is largely directed at “wasteful” government programs like, you know, building space ships that can go to Mars. Like all politicians, Obama will do what the voters tell him to do. And the message from the recent special elections in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia could not be more clear:

No more spending.

There are probably 375-400 votes for the cuts in the House of Representatives right now. The only members of Congress who aren’t for cutting NASA’s budget are the ones whose districts are associated with the space program. That is, the members from Houston, Southern California, and Central Florida. And there simply are not enough of them to make a difference.

187. Hat Rick - February 8, 2010

184, Lincoln is said to have said that you can fools some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

If what you say is true, the problem is that the majority of the people are being fooled right now, and thereafter it will be too late to do anything about them.

I find it odd, however, that you use the phrase “cutting NASA’s budget.” Are the people not informed enough to know that President Obama’s plan actually increases NASA’s budget? Can it be that people really are that deluded as that?

188. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

182. Hat Rick: “One can only hope that the more that the public knows and thinks about the Administration’s evisceration of NASA’s carefully wrought plans for human exploration of our cosmos, the more it will be moved to anger enough to tell our Congressional representatives that Constellation must be preserved at any reasonable cost necessary.”


“Nothing less than the future of human existence may be at stake…”


189. I am not Herbert - February 8, 2010

184. Hat Rick: “…the problem is that the majority of the people are being fooled right now, and thereafter it will be too late to do anything about them.”

You are one of that group, IMHO.

190. Sisko is the Prophet - February 8, 2010


you are seriously messed up. You come to this site and attack the owner for putting up two opposing views, but then putting up more articles? What is your problem man?

God it seems like extremists partisans who are also Trekkies is an ugly combination of nightmarish nitpicker.


Thank you for providing this forum and for these editorials and all the other work that goes into this site and dont let these people get you down

191. JohnWA - February 8, 2010


When the dollar’s value has fallen so dramatically, numeric “increases” are not necessarily increases unless you adjust for the changes in labor and material costs. The ever growing costs for the new Bay Bridge in San Francisco is a good example of this. The original 1997 estimate came out at 1.1 billion. The one from 2003 was 2.6 billion. That was before the economic meltdown. Now, they’re saying it will cost 6.3 billion when all is said and done. One of the reasons why Constellation is on the chopping block is because the costs will inevitably go way, way over the original estimate of 230 billion. The amount NASA’s getting back for other programs is spare change in comparison.

192. Desstruxion - February 9, 2010

168. Hat Rick – February 8, 2010
166, if this is your interest, I think you would find the SeaQuestDSV forums fascinating as well. While I have no reason to doubt your interest in Trek, and to paraphrase, in modified form, Kirk’s dialogue to McCoy in the newest movie: I hate to break it to you, but Star Trek takes place in space. ;-)
SeaQuest was a great concept with lousy writing. I get your point but this article was about “real” space travel, not Trek travel and what we can afford. We can’t afford it apparently.

193. nscates - February 9, 2010

@137 –
“I’m sure glad Christopher Columbus didn’t have that attitude, or he’d have a pretty damn long wait for the Wright Brothers to come along.”

I normally wouldn’t respond to this as it was a ways back in the thread but it has ignited my ire once again. Hat-Rick, here’s the deal: neither you, nor anyone else will ever convince thinking people with such ill drawn comparisons. Trying to equate our current level of space-faring technology with Columbus’ at the time of his historic voyage is beyond ridiculous. For one thing, Columbus had the technology to ACTUALLY GET SOMEWHERE! It may have cost a small fortune in his day, but people _knew_how to build ships big enough to carry the necessary supplies. And there were key supplies he didn’t have to consider at all, like air and fuel.

No, what we are currently capable of is the equivalent of crossing the English channel in a rowboat. If a rowboat was all that was available, I doubt Columbus would have bothered. After all, he was sailing for Trade.

As for some of the other comments… I agree that NASA should have a goal to meet. The vaguer the vision, the more nebulous the results. I hope that Obama or his successor can articulate a clearer vision in the future.

I’ve actually been dreading this for a while, ever since the mega-recession became full blown, and especially since Obama announced the discretionary spending freeze. It seemed inevitable that NASA’s budget would get chopped, it only remained to be seen how that would take shape. I must say that it’s not as bad as I feared it would be. Whether you like him or not, everyone should be able to agree that Obama is under intense pressure to reign in any spending he can. The actual prudency of that course of action is debatable, but the fact that Americans are clamoring for it is not. A politician who ignores the will of the people does so at his own peril, no matter who is right, so Obama is left with trying to split the difference: cut where he can to assuage the fiscal conservatives, keep spending on defense to appease the hawks.

Oh, one other thing. Someone commented earlier about how wars are money making enterprises and someone else replied (and I’m heavily paraphrasing) ” so where’s the money?” One word: Blackwater. Okay, that’s not entirely fair, there are other subcontractors (Halliburton, anyone)who made money hand-over-fist on our two wars. In a sense, I think both posters were correct. These conflicts have had an impact on our economy (mainly through the subcontractors), but that wealth has been distributed to far fewer Americans than it would have in the past. So, yes, some people have gotten obscenely rich off of the wars, but the rest of us have yet to see any benefit whatsoever. Whoever said that that money would have been better spent on space exploration, I agree 100% – provided there was real exploration and not just retreating to old missions and technology because they are proven and politically expedient.

Thanks, Anthony, for running a great site, and presenting differing points of view. All in all, I think this has been a pretty good discussion.

194. Dr. Image - February 9, 2010

Obama’s decision was an arrogant act of pure political retribution.
Not surprising, really.
It’s a travesty and I hope it doesn’t stand.
Everyone needs to speak out NOW.

195. Eli - February 9, 2010

“@Eli: Why weren’t you this pissy with Dumbya? Better yet, why didn’t Dumbya take America back to the Moon? Oh I know why-because he was fighting a war for oil, and a war against terror- wars you and people like you most likely supported! So guess what? Until those wars are wrapped up, and until America can get on it’s feet financially, space isn’t the place. And you can quit denying that your hatred of Obama isn’t racist-it most likely is. Also, Fannie and Freddie were the fault of Dumbya and the banks-not Obama-stop being so concerned about them, if you had, you would have voted better the first time.”

Dubya STARTED Constellation, in case you forgot your NASA history. And Dubya didn’t ask for 9/11 to happen. I’m not happy with the deficits he rolled up in his second term, but Obama has qradrupled it and his “spending freeze” doesn’t even touch the growth of the size of our budget.

The Unites States could still be the world leader in manufacturing, production and energy generation, but because of castrating environmental regulations and oppressive labor unions, we can either not get to our own natural resources or we can’t afford to.

We have countries like Brazil and Chile more business friendly in today’s global economy than the USA. That is a big problem. And everyone who want’s to make it a Republican, Democrat, European, Socialist, Conservative issue misses the point. We need to unite behind the only policy that has ever led to human exceptional-ism: and that is freedom, liberty, and personal productivity.

196. Alex Rosenzweig - February 9, 2010

#162 – No, I haven’t “forgotten”. i don’t believe it. If we were to fund the technologies of space exploration at a comparable level to the technologies of warmaking, the ROI would be as great, if not greater. But nobody’s ever tried that, for assorted reasons.

#165 – Oh, I never said we shouldn’t address human suffering, too. I believe we can do both, and I reject the false choice between the two that some people would put before us. In fact, I’ll take it a step further. As we’ve seen already, the things we learn through aggressively developing the ability to explore space have already alleviated human suffering on immense scales.

#186 – If the American people spoke out in favor of supporting space exploration and development, the politicians would listen. It’s what I was saying before. If we, the people who do support our space program, don’t let our voices be heard, no one else will do it for us.

197. Licinius - February 9, 2010

195 — There’s so to disagree with in your post it’s hard to know where to start. No, it’s a myth that US manufacturing has been “castrated” by labor unions and environmental regulations– historically, labor unions saved capitalism from an outright rebellion, and also happened to give us our eight hour day and five day week; right now, manufacturing is hurting and the labor unions are historically weak–so where’s the causal connection?

What’s “castrating” US manufacturing is the resistance of some people to making our industries cleaner and more efficient. Green technology is the future, and it will sell overseas. We need to get ahead of this trend, not react against it. Environmental laws help our economy because dirty, befouled air and water ultimately cost more to deal with than neglecting them. China is finding that out right now.

And no, Obama hasn’t quadrupled the deficit. Bush did. See posts 61 and 110.

I actually give credit to Bush for trying to keep the manned space program alive. Didn’t care for much of what he did otherwise, but Constellation is one thing worth saving.

If you’d like to continue this discussion off-line, feel free to email me at kabeirai@gmail.com. I don’t want to clutter this thread with more partisan politics.

198. Licinius - February 9, 2010

Here’s a question that I suggest we should contemplate: is it really that important that the United States, in particular, lead in the exploration and settlement of space?

Several posters here have simply expressed resignation that the Chinese and the Indians will dominate space in the medium to long term. But should they?

For my part, I’d prefer that the values historically exemplified by the US– ethnic pluralism, individual initiative, freedoms of religion, etc.– are the ones we should prefer to spread around the solar system. They are, in fact, very close to those dramatized in Star Trek.

I don’t think allowing an autocratic, xenophobic regime such as China’s to be at the vanguard of human exploration is wise. I think one could actually make a case that it would be immoral.

Any thoughts, Hat Rick, Thorny, etc.?

199. somethoughts - February 9, 2010


Does your parents buy you the toys you want simply because you pout and cry? Suck it up and let your parents decide what to do with the money, perhaps they should spend it on their house, car, gas, food, and other bills before they buy your bulky overpriced toy truck.

200. somethoughts - February 9, 2010


Sometimes who dominates a medium such as space does not grow out of right or wrong, but simply what kind of culture/economic model makes it happen.

China may very well be the leaders in space because of their pride in being number 1 in anything that outweighs the costs of the project(s). If there was a space race today, which country do you think can afford it? China doesn’t have to worry about what citizens think, they do what they want as they are a communist country.

Communist states[which?] maintain their legitimacy by claiming to promote the long-term interests of the whole people, and communist parties[which?] justify their monopoly on political power by claiming to act in accordance with objective historical laws. Therefore, political opposition and dissent is regarded[by whom?] as counter-productive or even treasonous. Some communist states[which?] have more than one political party, but all minor parties are required to follow the leadership of the communist party.

Criticism of proposed future policies is usually[weasel words] tolerated, as long as it does not turn into criticism of the political system itself. However, in accordance with the principles of democratic centralism, communist states usually[weasel words] do not tolerate criticism of policies that have already been implemented in the past or are being implemented in the present.[7] However, communist states are widely seen as being de facto dictatorships by historians and sociologists, since the elections they held tended to be heavily rigged.[8]

201. somethoughts - February 9, 2010

Ironic how the export of USA Jobs to countries like China maybe very well contributing to their wealth and ability to go into space sooner than USA.

Corporations take notice, greed for the bottom line again will be our downfall.

202. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

201. somethoughts: “Ironic how the export of USA Jobs to countries like China maybe very well contributing to their wealth and ability to go into space sooner than USA.”

Not ironic, just greed driven stupidity.

“Corporations take notice, greed for the bottom line again will be our downfall.”

Unfortunately, no, corporations will continue to profit from this move;
it is the workers who will suffer.


203. somethoughts - February 9, 2010


We are just lucky we have the ability to speak up and protest and not get steamed rolled by tanks for disagreeing. We also have the right to vote every 4 years and hope for change if change is required, I really believe Obama is doing the right thing and allocating funds properly and into areas with the highest returns on investments.

204. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010


205. Chadwick is pissed at NASA...WHERE IS THE PROPULSION??? - February 9, 2010

I am sorry but I don’t agree, Okuda is gung-ho because he designed the mission logo’s but now it a no go

How can you call going back to the moon exploration, we have already explored it. Granted we could spend more time there and build a base but that is after we have developed faster propulsion. I personally don’t want a replacement for the shuttle, I want a FAST SHIP, one which can travel to other stars, a STARSHIP not a space ship…big difference.

“Without a goal and a specific plan, we believe that NASA, however well-intentioned, will simply end up spending a lot of money without actually going anywhere. It’s happened before. We don’t want it to happen again.”

So rather than developing new propulsion you just want to go somewhere and the moon is good enough!? SCREW THAT!


WE NEED FASTER METHODS OF PROPULSION. For christ sake we are still burning liquid and solid fuels, which are getting us NOWHERE!!!! What about nuclear engines, ion propulsion, antimatter?

I fully agree with the main funding going into propulsion methods. I would rather try and get to mars faster or other solar systems than put a base on the moon.

If we are able to go to mars, have faster propulsion then a moon base would obviously follow, but to going back to the moon and making a moon base the main focus is a poor goal!!!!

I am sorry Mike and Denise I do not agree with you. I am not in favor of going BACK to the moon just because you argue that we need to go somewhere

They say if the automobile engine advance as fast as the computer has it would have been the size of a quarter! Since the early days of NASA we are using the same goddamned ignition fuel burning engines which have made very little progress. In 50 years WE HAVE MADE NO FUCKING PROGRESS TO ACHIEVING LIGHT SPEED TRAVEL. WITHOUT THE SPEED WE ARE GOING NOWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

206. Hat Rick - February 9, 2010

We canna change the laws of physics, Captain!


The NASA unit in charge of breakthrough populsion studies was dissolved presumably for lack of progress.

It would take more energy than there is in the known universe to accelerate a single particle of matter to light speed, since the energy required to do, so using known physics, is infinite.

If you want to read more about possible end-runs against the requirements of relativistic physics, read the books of Michio Kaku and Google “Alcubierre drive.”

Various such theories exist, but they are without a doubt speculative and require strange things not known to reality such as negative energy.

However, teleportation of information and, recently, particles of matter have made the news in the last decade. The latest news is that particles of matter are shown to be teleportable according to the results of a Japanese experiment. The drawback is that the original particle is entirely destroyed in the process.

Except for VASIMR, which is really a version of the ion engine and not suitable for heavy payloads, the belief that we can or possibly have already achieved FTL travel is basically 3.1415926 in the sky.

207. Licinius - February 9, 2010

205 — Exploration doesn’t need to wait for exotic propulsion systems. Should Columbus have waited until steam power was available? Should the Wright Bros. have declined to use the propellor? Mars may require something more, but for the moon, Lagrange Points and earth-crossing asteroids, chemical engines are good enough. (Mars may require more.)

The moon has barely been explored. I’m thinking you haven’t been following the recent discovery of water at the lunar poles. There’s also much to be learned on the moon about the early history of the earth. A moon base would certainly not be a dead end, if only to give us practice with building settlements on other planets.

I’m guessing that fifty years from now, people like you will be arguing “Why go to Mars! It’s a dead planet!”

208. somethoughts - February 9, 2010


I disagree and here is why;

We have already been to the moon, the costs do not justify the returns to make a trip back. If there was oil on the moon or a natural resource that could benefit mankind, we would invest the money and go.

Money now should be allocated to more innovative ways to travel that yield the best return on investment. Just because this project is canned, does not mean mankind or USA does not return to the stars in the next 5-10 years.

Burning fuel is a joke, it is time to move forward and come up with more efficient greener ways to travel. Figure out how to harness energy in space, sorta like how whales eat plankton for energy (nature gives us hints all the time on how to move forward, we either are too dumb or not yet ready to figure it out).

209. Licinius - February 9, 2010

Somethoughts– your argument is like a Spanish explorer in 1500 saying “We don’t need to go back to America–we’ve done that already.”

If one think is for sure about space exploration, it is that nature has a constant capacity to surprise us. Nobody expected us to find volcanoes on Io, or exposed sedimentary deposits on Mars. Likewise, our investigation of the moon has actually barely begun. Like I said (and you apparently ignored) just the geology of the moon can tell us a lot about the history of Earth. Is that worth it?

None of that requires we wait for warp drive, magic carpets, or whatever exotic systems you’re imagining.

Frankly, I’m amazed I have to make these arguments on a Star Trek site. Very depressing!

210. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

Forgive me, but just intuitively thinking, I think that once we understand gravity, and it’s relationship with time, then we will be able to manipulate that formula, thereby utilizing gravity as the necessary energy / force, allowing us to “jump” from point to point in space/time.

Make it so, NASA!


211. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

209. Licinius: It’s a WASTE of MONEY. It’s getting flushed. Get over it.

212. somethoughts - February 9, 2010


If the Spanish explorer has the assets to go and was not just recovering from one of the worst economic times, then you have a valid point.

If you were the CEO of a company and a division was asking for x amount of funds for y, you have to pause and consider everything.

I am all for exploration but not at the figures the project would cost, I simply refuse to invest in a negative ev project.

213. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

206. Hat Rick: “We canna change the laws of physics, Captain!”

Acceleration is Newtonian thinking, it’s a dead end.

We need Einsteinian thinking!

214. somethoughts - February 9, 2010


Yes like the relationship between Distance, Velocity and Time. I love throwing rocks and making them spin and watch them hit the water and skip a few more times over great lengths. Think more 4D and less 2D and a lightbulb should go off somewhere around the world.

We need to master Electro Magnetism and create a craft that is capable of hitting micro sub atomic space and jumping great lengths, repeating until desired location is reached.

215. somethoughts - February 9, 2010

I am certain this is how light particle/wave behaves and is the engine that drives light at it’s constant speed in the vacuum of space.

216. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

214 & 215: EXCELLENT!!!

…like saucers skipping on water…


217. nscates - February 9, 2010

@ 210

I totally agree! Once they can unlock and manipulate the relationship between gravity and mass all things are possible! I regret that I don’t have the education to be a part of that research.

218. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

gravity times mass equals weight.


219. nscates - February 9, 2010

Perhaps I should have said between gravity an inertia… like I said, I’m no physicist, just a TV guy with a lot of interest.

220. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

To the protectors of the status quo:

Please let your statements / ideas speak for themselves. Put up a thoughtful argument.

Stop trying to sway us with your “I can’t believe I’m reading blah blah blah on a Star Trek site…” B.S.

That only works on ditto-heads.

221. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

gravity (fields) and time (fabric / threads) is the relationship of interest.

222. Licinius - February 9, 2010

I am not Herbert, Somethoughts– This is a useless discussion because your minds apparently are closed. The extra cost for Constelllation is about equivalent to the amount of foreign aid we give to Egypt every year.

Let me repeat that: it’s about the money we give to Egypt every year.

We most definitely can afford it. If we choose not to, that’s different.

Over and out.

223. Desstruxion - February 9, 2010

We should also cut all foreign aid.

224. I am not Herbert - February 9, 2010

222. Licinius: Please read the “con” article for a much more realistic assessment of what the actual cost would be.

And yes, we definitely choose not to. Because it’s a waste not only of money but time, effort, minds, lives, cache… you name it.

This was just another way for Bush to waste our money and time, to divert us from doing good instead.

Please back up your statements.

225. Hat Rick - February 9, 2010

There is a ray of hope for Constellation. It is stormy where I am, but Senator Cornyn’s strong statement on behalf of the project helped lighten an otherwise dreary day.

See: http://www.texasgopvote.com/blog/statement-president-s-proposal-end-nasa-s-human-space-flight-program-02095

226. somethoughts - February 9, 2010


Sometimes 1 step back and 2 steps forward works out, just be patient. We will have casinos, theme parks,hotels and cottages on the moon and mars one day, scrapping this mission for a better future one is well worth it.

It’s best to divert available resources to areas that can help most for the next 3 years.

I would rather they install a super xray machine on the hubble or sat and scan every area of the moon, inside and out and have super computers make 3D models of it and create a 3D world for everyone to experience in via online simulation, that is by far the more cost effective way.

227. Lord Isaiah - February 9, 2010

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and even starting typing out responses and then promtly deleting them.

I will admit that I don’t approve of how the government is being operated, and I will go even further to say that I don’t approve of how the United States government has operated pretty much since the the early 1800s.

I’m a strong believer in the rights of individuals, and will go so far as to say that I believe the rights of the individual outweigh all other considerations. Or to be more blunt, “The needs of the one, outweigh the needs of the many.”

In my earlier post, I made a very harsh statement about human nature, on that I still hold, but I did neglect to put in a statement about the fact that trying to end all those injustices is something that also always happens, and that fight, just like space exploration, is a worthwhile fight because while the goal may be forever out of reach, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t try.

Which brings me back to Constellation. I was re-reading JFK’s address to Congress, his famous challenge to land on the Moon by the end of the decade. In it, he lays out other goals to…such as developement of a satellite based communications network, and the immediate deployment of a world-wide weather monitoring network of satellites. 2 things which are almost never mentioned by folks who are referrencing the speech in modern times. There is also another thing that I almost never see referenced…
” Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars already available, will accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself.”

sound familiar?

However, what really grabbed my attention was this little tidbit…

” Let it be clear–and this is a judgment which the Members of the Congress must finally make–let it be clear that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many years and carry very heavy costs: 531 million dollars in fiscal ’62–an estimated seven to nine billion dollars additional over the next five years. If we are to go only half way, or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, in my judgment it would be better not to go at all.”

While his statement was meaning the drive for the moon, it is equally applicable to the entirety of the Space Program. In my mind, anyways, we have, as JFK stated, “reduced our sights in the face of difficulty”, whether real or imagined.

I guess at this point, I’m wishing we’d never gone at all, because I’m finding it a daily struggle, to make it through life, knowing that we could do it, but apparently nobody but me cares enough about it anymore to go. But hey, I’m just a poor sod who was born in the wrong century. Too late to be a cabin boy on the Santa Marie, too early to be a red shirt on the Enterprise.

Well, maybe next life..

228. fansince66 - February 10, 2010


Going elsewhere will REQUIRE going back to the moon & establishing an He3 processing industry (& many other industries) THERE. Google “From the moon to mars: the new economics-part II” & watch it, all 29 minutes of it.

The vision & reasons are already established. We have only to decide if we want to advance, or fall back into another dark age with 80 or 90% die-off of humanity. The plain unvarnished truth.

229. Cowboy Steve - February 10, 2010

I missed most of the latest postings, but want to comment on a few earlier ones.

#40 – Eurasian Space Probe Alliance – you’re kidding, right? What makes you think this disparate group of countries you name would be able to agree on anything this concrete? As fro your comments about how the US spent so much on “ill begotten military interventions,” you need to recall that during the Cold War the US was the only country with the resources and the will to stand up against the Soviet hegemony – most other countries in teh Free World lacked the money or the will. US blood and resources (which we could have invested elsewhere) paid for European, Japanese and other allies’ freedom.

#68 – I am really not sure how to respond to your comments! I am a fiscal conservative, and generally support free market solutions. However, I am also realistic enough to recognize that there are no purely free markets – there are always imperfections. Columbus’ voyage of discovery was subsidized by teh Spanish crown; other voyages of exploration and settlement were heavily subsidized by national governments, with businessmen getting into the act later. The US national railway system out West was possible only because the US subsidized the railways with free land and a de facto monopoly on transportation services.

In the case of NASA, the US manages the programs, but private enterprise provides the hardware. (this is the same with our military equipment) By holding on to Constellation, the US Government displays a commitment to man-in-space technology and ensures we will have the human-rated and heavy-lift capabilities we need. However, President Obama’s budget proposal essentially says we will take what private enterprise gives us, and unless business is confident that there is a ready market for their services they will not provide those services.

230. John in Canada, eh? - February 10, 2010

The best way to get to Mars is to go to Mars, not by making an expensive detour to the Moon. Why waste all that time and money to do what was done 40 years ago?

231. Hat Rick - February 10, 2010

In a February 9 article, Senator John Cornyn has said much the same things as the proponents of Contellation of said here.



230: The machinery, equipment, and architecture that will get us to the Moon are those that will get us to Mars, although the same cannot be said about the technology that keeps us in low orbit around the Earth. In fact, a version of the same argument is used by those who dislike the exploration of Mars, except that they wish to keep us circling ceaselessly around the Earth.

The Moon is around 700 times farther away than the highest orbit of which the Shuttle is capable and about 1,000 times farther away than the orbit of the International Space Station. Even in a straight line, Mars is around 200,000 times farther away than the maximum orbital height of the Shuttle. That’s two hundred THOUSAND times. Considering that any Mars vehicle would have to take a somewhat co-orbital trajectory in the beginning of its journey and certainly not a straight line, the actual length of any journey to Mars is much greater than even that. The Shuttle and any COTS vehicle under development wouldn’t have any hope of getting to the Moon; the Ares and Orion programs, on the other hand, are designing and developing vehicles that are capable of getting us to both the Moon AND Mars.

We’ve already spent five years developing the means to get to the Moon based on detailed analyses and work based on Apollo and Saturn, both which were a proven success. In fact, among other things, the design of Ares I incorporates an improved version of the J-2 engine, the original design of which powered the second stage of the Apollo-Saturn vehicle that got us to the Moon.

The only way to get to Mars using private industry is to reset the counter back to zero.

232. Hat Rick - February 10, 2010


“In a February 9 article, Senator John Cornyn has said much the same things as the proponents of Contellation have said here.”

“In fact, a version of the same argument as in your posting is used by those who dislike the exploration of Mars, except that they wish to keep us circling ceaselessly around the Earth.”

As corrected.

233. Trek Fan - February 10, 2010

Why was my comment deleted?

234. Trek Fan - February 10, 2010

Just to restate:

How’s that hope and change working out for you now?

Boldly going….nowhere!!!!!!

235. I am not Herbert - February 10, 2010

It was probably deleted, (and probably should be again), because it’s a stupid partisan pot shot.

236. dmduncan - February 10, 2010

230: “The best way to get to Mars is to go to Mars, not by making an expensive detour to the Moon. Why waste all that time and money to do what was done 40 years ago?”

Glad you asked. For helium 3. Unless you support the building of fission reactors around the world, which produce waste lethal for several hundred thousand years and a plethora of containment concerns, fusion is our hope.

Many see helium 3, plentiful on the moon, problematic to extract on Earth, as a superior fuel for fusion power. And the Chinese, the Russians, and now the Indians are all interested in it.

And there’s good news to report on the state of fusion research.


So. Why go back to the moon? Simply put. There’s gold in them thar hills.

237. I am not Herbert - February 10, 2010

210. I am not Herbert:

“…once we understand gravity, and it’s relationship with time, then we will be able to manipulate that formula, thereby utilizing gravity as the necessary energy / force, allowing us to “jump” from point to point in space/time.”

taking it a little bit further… if light waves need a medium to propagate through, that medium must be the “fabric” of space/time. We know that gravity distorts space/time. The extreme gravity well of a black hole warps a hole in the fabric of space/time. If we could harness or generate that kind of gravitational singularity and/or field, we could punch holes in space/time, and “fold” it to connect those holes or points, creating a “tunnel” through which to “jump”. It would happen very quickly, “in the blink of an eye”.

So, no need for FTL speed, no need to burn a hell of a lot of fuel.

We just need to “skip” our saucers on the “sea” of space/time.

Make it so, NASA!

238. dmduncan - February 10, 2010

Not to mention all the experience and expertise we will gain by launching a mining operation on the moon which will be applicable to surviving on Mars.

And THAT brings us back to the amazing heavy lift capability of the Ares V.

We can’t race anyone to the moon if we don’t have a car.

If we suddenly see the value of a lunar mining operation, how are we going to get the bits and pieces on the lunar surface?

Delta IV?

That could be like transporting lumber from Colorado to build a house in Florida using nothing but the back of a small Chevy pickup truck to carry loads.

Talk about doing things the hard way.

239. I am not Herbert - February 10, 2010

So, we will need to be generating and/or manipulating “gravitation”, perhaps through some form of electro-magnetism. Perhaps with 3 such “generators”, for stability, on the bottom of a small light weigh craft, with the craft being protected within it’s own “field bubble”.

Make it so, NASA! (Actually, I’m sure it’s already been worked on for decades)

240. fansince66 - February 10, 2010

All of which will lead to general advance in Earth-applied technology (the famous spin-off effect). Especially in nuclear fission/thermonuclear fusion technology. Asia/Pacific is going full flight forward in this developement. Imagine nuc-powered desalinization plants; “terra-forming” Earth to turn the world’s deserts into grasslands/forests to enable a five- or six-fold increase in human population (not-to-mention VAST increase in animal & plant population). Hydrogen fuel production from these desalinization plants to fuel our vehicles (eliminating carbon emissions & the “cap & trade” swindle that the global bankster syndicate was counting on). A tunnel between alaska & siberia to tie the five continents together with a much more efficient maglev/pipeline/powerline system. Millions & millions of REAL jobs created in infrastructure/R&D/ manufacturing/agricultural areas (in BOTH PUBLIC & private sectors).

This is no pipedream (the alaska/Siberia connection has been on the drawing board since the days of Lincoln & the Czars. That’s WHY Russia sold US the Alaska territory in 1867). Monetarism & the central bankster games are the illusion. The creative imaginations of scientists/engineers/technicians/machinists/etc… is the REALITY, & the real wealth of all the family of nations. If it can be thought, it can be done. Truth.

241. Yehuda - February 10, 2010

It seems to me that Obama has put the Jewel in Americas crown (the space program), pried it out with a pen knife, and wiped his butt with it.

242. Pacotheus - February 11, 2010

This is all about BHO distracting attention from the economy and the stinky health care “reform” bill. If he can get people to work at “saving” Constellation it is that much energy they can put towards other things. And if, by chance, people don’t take the bait, that is, don’t become distracted and divert their energies to supporting Constellation, then NASA can be disemboweled and the money sent on to ACORN and the “real” needs of America as determined by BHO/Reid/Pelosi et al.

Our politicians should decide whether NASA and space exploration should be something the USA is going to do. Or not. And, if not, scuttle it all and take our place alongside nations that are just getting from one day to the next. What will that feel like, to live in a nation with no more ambitions than Sierra Leone or Burma?

243. I am not Herbert - February 11, 2010

241. Yehuda: I resist the urge to tell YOU who is a butt wipe.

242. Pacotheus: It was Dubya (The Doubtful One) who tried to waste our time and money on Constellation.

The end of ONE poorly envisioned and poorly funded program does not spell the end of NASA. If anything, this is good for NASA.

What would it feel like to live in a country where people actually care more about each other, than national pride or personal greed?

244. dmduncan - February 11, 2010

I don’t think it’s a good thing to end Constellation. And I used to hear this argument when I was a kid. Take care of the problems on Earth first before we go to into space.

Problem with that is 1. If we follow that advice we’ll never get into space and 2. Some of the solutions here may well depend on going out there.

So as hard as it may be to do, we really should think of it as an investment in our future.

And you’ve heard the line (from Star Trek itself even (TOS: The Naked Time)) “If God had meant for us to fly he’d have given us wings.” I’ve got a better teleological reason:

If God didn’t mean for us to go to the stars, he wouldn’t have put them so close together. : )

245. I am not Herbert - February 11, 2010

The end of ONE poorly envisioned and poorly funded program does not spell the end of NASA. If anything, this is good for NASA.

246. somethoughts - February 11, 2010


God designed the stars to be far away from each other so civilizations that are still fighting amongst themselves are not in space conquering other civilizations. If only the same can be said for the space between continents…

Humans have to be more benevolent before we can visit other solar systems.

247. somethoughts - February 11, 2010

There could even be galactic reasons why earth is not ready to learn more about the moon and mars as it may impact earths religions and thoughts about evolution and creation. Obama surely has been briefed about the grays/dracos and nomads :)


248. nscates - February 11, 2010

235 & 243
Couldn’t agree more.

249. Anthony Pascale - February 11, 2010

Warning to Yehuda
that is just totally inappropirate

And warning to Trek Fan for political trolling and Neville for flaming

If you just want to take partisan potshots, I suggest visiting DailyKos or RedState or some other political blog and yell all you want at the ‘other side’

I am glad most here are willing to discuss policy without lowering themselves to partisan insults, for the rest of you, restrain yourselves or leave

250. Captain Robert April - February 11, 2010

Star Trek fans in favor of scrapping the space program.

Are they selling lift tickets in Hell yet?

251. Commodore Z - February 11, 2010

#244: And for a third thing, every dollar invested in the space program is actually spent here on Earth, where it creates jobs, advances technology, and helps to stimulate the economy.

252. somethoughts - February 11, 2010


I would rather they invest in another space project, maybe something in the lines of non chemical propulsion, perhaps something that revolved around solar enery/charged particles emitted from the suns/galactic center, magnetic energy, or even crude nuclear energy is better than burning fuel, yikes.

If the project they canceled is for say man on mars, I would be very disappointment but it’s for a version 2.0 of a trip to the moon, no thanks.

The money will go towards other areas that will benefit the economy, building infrastructure and IT jobs etc.

253. I am not Herbert - February 11, 2010

250. Captain Robert April:

please see post #220

254. Commodore Z - February 11, 2010

#252: Most of the technologies you suggest are probably good ideas, and I agree that NASA should be pursuing them. But it will be many years, perhaps decades, before they are far enough along to be used in human space flight. Until then, NASA should continue exploring space anyway. Returning to the Moon is an essential first step for going to Mars. We haven’t been to the Moon in 40 years, and we need to develop confidence in the systems to get us there. Remember that the Moon is comparatively close, just two or three day’s travel, so it’s a lot safer. A voyage to Mars will take months, even with nuclear power, and if they get in trouble it could easily take a year or more to get back.

255. fansince66 - February 12, 2010


In the video “From the Moon to Mars: the new economics-part II” they talk of using thermo-nuclear fusion engines ( fueled from moon-mined helium 3), & CONSTANT 1g acceleration, then constant 1g deceleration to get to Mars IN A WEEK. They talk of man’s inability to live in zero g for the time it takes to get to mars the conventional way. ALSO; not just zero g, but being away from Earth’s electromagnetic environment is a big problem, so long stays in space will necessitate some kind of force field duplicating Earth’ electromagnetic environment. Who knew Star Trek, with its’ force fields, was so close to the truth?!?

256. Chaya - February 12, 2010


257. fansince66 - February 12, 2010

Who knows? When they tackle the electromagnetic forcefield problem, maybe they’ll discover the supposed electro-gravitic phenomena associated with electromagnetism. That, combined with breakthroughs in Zero-point enrgy & cold-fusion research, might get us to “Star Trek Tech” alot sooner than we ever hoped. But that’s just how intense, “manhattan project” type research aimed towards a specific goal yields many unforseen advances in knowledge & tech.

258. Licinius - February 12, 2010

256 – The New Scientist article is meant to be critical of Constellation, but really just reinforces the proper policy– it needs to be reinstated AND properly funded. Moreover, it properly points out that the promise of Obama’s policy–“Relax, we’ll do cool stuff someday”–is not a policy. We all know what’s going to happen two or three years from now, when those ambitious research programs quietly get defunded.

In the real world, it’s harder to cut specific plans to go to real places than vague research programs. That’s why a lot of us want to keep Constellation despite its limitations and problems.

259. LCDR T'PAU - February 12, 2010

While I do not believe one’s individual political beliefs belong in a discussion of space or Star Trek, I have to respond to WGW of 8 Feb 2010. Much of the “massive spending” initiated by the current adminstration has been to help prevent the country from slipping into a full depression — and I would like to remind WGW that at least half of the “massive spending” was initiated by the previous adminstration — and that the current administration inherited untold debt from the previous administration — much, if not most, of it the result of spending on a second war that should not have been initiated — the money for this was never included in any formal budget — it was “off budget.” Not to mention the billions upon billions wasted/lost/over-charged by the primary contracter in this second war. The previous administration inherited a substantial surplus in the treasury — which disappeared rather quickly. In addition, the previous adminstration cut taxes for the wealthy and big business — while at the same time needing to fund two wars. What fiscal sense does this make?

As for the current budget proposal — we as Americans cannot have it both ways — we pay social security taxes so that hopefully we will receive social security benefits when we retire — do you want the government to cut those? Do you want the government to cut funding for Medicare — which we also contribute to — so that it is no longer available when we retire? We don’t want our taxes raised — especially big business and the wealthy — but yet we want our roads and highways and railroads and mass transit and water delivery systems to provide us with the safe and excellent service we expect and demand — we want the federal government to provide emergency assistance when needed — we want the federal government to protect us and the country — we want a trained and well-equipped military ready to defend us . . . . . . . . . . Need I go on?

All of these things take a lot of money — and while I do not agree with cutting all funding for space — and as Mike and Denise Okuda have pointed out — essentially wasting the progress already made toward further manned-space exploration and/or a return to the moon — we also have to be realistic. It is possible that these same projects could be continued, with less money. Space has many friends in Congress — I doubt that the Congress will allow all that has already been invested to go to waste — the timetable may have to slip some — but I think we will find that some space funding remains when the appropriations bills are finalized and come out of the Senate/House reconciliation committees.

260. Yehuda - February 12, 2010

My apologies for my initial gut reaction. Politically I feel indifference toward Obama just like I felt toward his predecessor. But I care very much about mans expansion into space.

What tickles my anger bone is the pronounce lack of focus and clear goals that have plagued the American and EU’s space programs for decades. One of the few good things Bush did during his administration was give a clear time table with clear goals for NASA. This is something that hasn’t been done since Apollo 17 packed it in in 1972-38 years ago!

Since that time the space program has been given amorphous projects and programs with no clear direction or sense of purpose. Though the achievements of the space shuttle and probes cannot be underestimated, this left NASA meandering in low earth orbit while potentially there could have been settlements already established on the Moon and possibly already a man walking on Mars. The payback of such endeavors being enormous.

Constellation is not a perfect program but for the first time in decades it has given us a direction. All the current administration has done is pull us back to that old meandering mentality that has hobbled the American space effort for 38 years.

38 wasted years!

261. Hat Rick - February 12, 2010

The President has been warned to stop damaging Constellation.

Members of Congress have written a joint letter advising the President that his instructions to terminate Constellation may be unlawful.

Federal law specifically prohibits the termination of any NASA program, including Constellation, without the approval of Congress. Further, if the President attempts to do so by unilaterally withholding funds, he may be in violation of a law passed by Congress during the Nixon Administration.



262. Hat Rick - February 12, 2010

^^ Erratum:

“NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has been warned to stop damaging Constellation.

“Members of Congress have written a joint letter advising the Administrator that instructions to terminate Constellation may be unlawful.”

As corrected.

263. I am not Herbert - February 13, 2010

GREAT! The Republicans are going to try to FORCE us to keep wasting time and money, while they cry murder over the deficit (that they created)!

(IF Hat Rick is to be believed; …BIG if IMHO)

264. I am not Herbert - February 13, 2010

Constellation has given us a direction?

YES! A BAD direction.

265. Hat Rick - February 13, 2010

To the contrary, 264, the Augustine Commission stated the Orion element of Project Constellation was the best way to achieve the goals of manned spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit.

The Augustine Commission, whose final report, entitled, “Seeking a Human Flightflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation,” is cited by the Obama Administration in attempting to justify the cancellation of Project Constellation, noted, in relevant part:

“A human landing and extended human presence on Mars stand prominently above all other opportunities for exploration. […] Mars is unquestionably the most scientifically interesting destination in the inner solar system. It possesses resources which can be used for life support and propellants. If humans are ever to live for long periods with intention of extended settlement on another planetary surface, it is likely to be on Mars. But Mars is not an easy place to visit with existing technology and without a substantial investment in resources.”

The Commission then extensively examined options for human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit, settling on the Flexible Path option, which at a minimum preserved the Orion aspect of Project Constellation.

Under President Obama’s proposal, Orion, along with the rest of Project Constellation, would be cancelled.

It is worth noting that the cancellation would change NASA’s direction yet again despite substantial developmental costs already expended toward implementation of Project Constellation. Although it said that sunk costs can only be one factor to be considered, the Commission warned against constant changes in NASA’s objectives:

“Significant space achievements require continuity of support over many years. One way to assure that no successes are achieved is to continually introduce change. Changes
to ongoing programs should be made only for compelling reasons. NASA and its human spaceflight program are in need of stability, having been redirected several times in the
last decade.”

The Commission warned that changes to Project Constellation carried significant risks, and, among other consequences, entail the loss of existing workforce resources and human expertise. Significantly, despite its concerns about the escalating costs of Ares I, it flatly noted that terminating Ares I would cause programmatic disruption.

“Alternatives to Project Constellation?”

The Commission’s report emphasized that a super-heavy lifter with a rating similar to Ares V would be required. By contrast, the President’s proposal omits any programmatic funding for any such lifter.

The Commission’s recommendations on commercial spaceflight made no mention of private provision of such launchers, and for good reason: Most of those knowledgeable in the field admit that commercial spaceflight cannot operate beyond low-Earth orbit and, moreover, have no generally recognized investment interest to in doing so. Development of an Ares V-class launcher would have no basis in private industry. Even the claims of a private industry lobbying group draw the line at going beyond a few hundred miles beyond the Earth:

“We have a tremendous opportunity here to jump-start private activity in low-Earth orbit that will further lower the cost of access to space and unleash the economic potential of space long promised.”

Use of commercial options for low-Earth orbital operations, the Commission noted, should be pursued only if there is accelerated development toward a heavy-lift vehicle such as the Ares V.

Contrary to the Commission’s findings, the Administration’s proposal for NASA, however, contains no such acceleration and in fact would terminate the Ares V without providing for any substitute.

The Commission also noted that a commonly cited alternative to Project Constellation, reliance on the Defense Department’s Delta IV and Atlas V vehicles (also known as Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, or EELV’s), incurred significant costs:

“Because of these realignment costs, the EELV-heritage super heavy does not become available significantly sooner than the Ares V or Shuttle-derived families of launchers. The transition to this way of doing business would come at the cost of cutting deeply into a the internal NASA capability to develop and operate launchers, both in terms of skills and facilities.”

Nor does the Administration’s proposal contain any funding for even this alternative.

“Not Worthy”

In short, President Obama’s budgetary proposal would cancel NASA’s means to achieve the goals cited by the Augustine Commission. It would seek private means of achieving low-Earth orbital operations but essentially delay programmatic commitment toward any human spaceflight beyond that threshold.

If the Administration had its way, NASA would no longer have in mind the objectives the Commission saw were worthy of a great nation.

Sources consulted:



See: http://hatricksblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-nasa-would-not-be-worthy-of-great.html at which also available an article with the full text of the letter from Members of Congress, cited above at 261 and 262.

266. Hat Rick - February 13, 2010

Note also an article in today’s Wall Street Journal by Taylor Dinerman, a columnist for The Space Review and a member of the board of advisers for Space Energy, a firm working on space-solar-energy concepts. Criticizing the Administration’s proposed reliance on private enterprise, Dinerman states,

“The private sector simply is not up for the job. For one, NASA will have to establish a system to certify commercial orbital vehicles as safe for human transport, and with government bureaucracy, that will take years. Never mind the challenges of obtaining insurance.

“Entrepreneurial companies have consistently overpromised and under-delivered. Over the past 30 years, over a dozen start-ups have tried to break into the launch business. The only one to make the transition into a respectably sized space company is Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va. Building vehicles capable of going into orbit is not for the fainthearted or the undercapitalized.”

The article’s conclusion is similar to mine:

“The Augustine Commission’s recent report to the White House was entitled “Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation.” The space entrepreneurs may claim that they can send people into space for a fraction of the previous cost, but they have not yet proved it. NASA’s policy is neither bold nor new; it is yet another exercise in budget-driven program cancellation. Until the American government can bring itself to choose a path and stick to it for more than a single administration, its claim to be worthy of a great nation will be in doubt.”



267. I am not Herbert - February 13, 2010

Nice write up! Look, in a perfect world, or at least a good world, we might still be moving forward on this.

But MABUS f**ked things up so badly for us, that now we need to make VERY HARD DECISIONS. This is one of them. “Staying the course” is no longer an option.

BUT don’t worry! It’s NOT the end of the space program!

268. Yehuda - February 14, 2010

You’re right Herby.It is not the end of the space program. The Chinese are picking up this dropped standard. The lights we will see on the moon in the next two decades will be that of the first human settlement and it will be a chinese one.

269. Hat Rick - February 14, 2010

“Do not go gentle into that night….

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

— Dylan Thomas.

Write your representatives.

Fight against the death of Constellation.

Fight for our shared destiny in space.

270. Mike Okuda - February 14, 2010

We’ve been told that the quickest, most effective means of sending a message to Congress or the President in support of Project Constellation and human space exploration is by fax. Conventional letters are good, but they can get held up for weeks by security.

To find your Representative’s name, go to:
and enter your ZIP Code.

Scroll down the list below to find your state. Try to address each fax or e-mail individually, since no one likes to get bulk mail. Some members of Congress may not send responses to people outside their districts, but every citizen has a right to contact any Representative or Senator (or the President) because their votes affect the entire country. Please feel free to distribute this list to anyone interested in helping to support Constellation. (List as of 2/10)

President of the United States
Barack Obama (D) Fax: 202-456-2461

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) Fax: 202-224-3149
Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R) Fax: 202-224-3416
Rep. Jo Bonner (R-1) Fax: 202-225-0562
Rep. Bobby Bright (D-2) Fax: 202-225-8913
Rep. Michael Rogers (R-3) Fax: 202-226-8485
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-4) Fax: 202-225-5587
Rep. Parker Griffith (D-5) Fax: 202-225-4392
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-6) Fax: 202-225-2082
Rep. Artur Davis (D-7) Fax: 202-226-9567


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) Fax: 202-224-5301

Sen. Mark Begich (D) Fax: 202-224-2354

Rep. Don Young (R-At Large) Fax: 202-225-0425


Sen. Jon Kyl (R) Fax: 202-224-2207

Sen. John McCain (R) Fax: 202-228-2862

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-1) Fax: 202-226-9739

Rep. Trent Franks (R-2) Fax: 202-225-6328

Rep. John Shadegg (R-3) Fax: 202-225-3462

Rep. Ed Pastor (D-4) Fax: 202-225-1655

Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-5) Fax: 202-225-3263

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-6) Fax: 202-226-4386

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-7) Fax: 202-225-1541

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-8) Fax: 202-225-0378


Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) Fax: 202-228-1371

Sen. Mark Pryor (D) Fax: 202-228-0908
Rep. Marion Berry (D-1) Fax: 202-225-5602

Rep. Vic Snyder (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5903

Rep. John Boozeman (R-3) Fax: 202-225-5713

Rep. Mike Ross (D-4) Fax: 202-225-1314


Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) Fax: 202) 224-0454 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) Fax: 202-228-3954

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-1) Fax: 202-225-4335

Rep. Wally Herger (R-2) Fax: 202-225-1740

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-3) Fax: 202-226-1298

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-4) Fax: 202-225-5444

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-5) Fax: 202-225-0566

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-6) Fax: 202-225-5163

Rep. George Miller (D-7) Fax: 202-225-5609

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-8) Fax: 202-225-8259

Non Constituent email address for Speaker Pelosi

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-9) Fax: 202-225-9817

Rep. John Garamendi (D-10) Fax: 202-225-5914

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-11) Fax: 202-226-0861

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-12) Fax: 202-226-4183

Rep. Pete Stark (D-13) Fax: 202-226-3805

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-14) Fax: 202-225-8890

Rep. Mike Honda (D-15) Fax: 202-225-2699

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-16) Fax: 202-225-3336

Rep. Sam Farr (D-17) Fax: 202-225-6791

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-18) Fax: 202-225-0819 

Rep. George Radanovich (R-19) Fax: 202-225-3402

Rep. Jim Costa (D-20) Fax: 202-225-9308

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-21) Fax: 202-225-3404

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-22) Fax: 202-225-8798

Rep. Lois Capps (D-23) Fax: 202-225-5632

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-24) Fax: 202-225-1100

Rep. Howard McKeon (R-25) Fax: 202-225-0683

Rep. David Dreier (R-26) Fax: 202-225-7018

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-27) Fax: 202-225-5879

Rep. Howard Berman (D-28) Fax: 202-225-3196

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-29) Fax: 202-225-5828

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-30) Fax: 202-225-4099

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-31) Fax: 202-225-2202

Rep. Judy Chu (D-32) Fax: 202-225-5467

Rep. Diane Watson (D-33) Fax: 202-225-2422

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34) Fax: 202-226-0350

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-35) Fax: 202-225-7854

Rep. Jane Harman (D-36) Fax: 202-226-7290

Rep. Laura Richardson (D-37) Fax: 202-225-7926

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-38) Fax: 202-225-0027

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-39) Fax: 202-225-5859 

Rep. Ed Royce (R-40) Fax: 202-226-0335

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-41) Fax: 202-225-6498

Rep. Gary Miller (R-42) Fax: 202-226-6962

Rep. Joe Baca (D-43) Fax: 202-225-8671

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-44) Fax: 202-225-2004

Rep. Mary Bono (R-45) Fax: 202-225-2961

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-46) Fax: 202-225-0145

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-47) Fax: 202-225-5859

Rep. John Campbell (R-48) Fax: 202-225-9177

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-49) Fax: 202-225-3303

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-50) Fax: 202-225-2558

Rep. Bob Filner (D-51) Fax: 202-225-9073

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-52) Fax: 202-225-0235

Rep. Susan Davis (D-53) Fax: 202-225-2948


Sen. Mark Udall (D) Fax: 202-224-6471

Sen. Michael Bennet (D) Fax: 202-224-1933

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-1) Fax: 202-225-5657

Rep. Jared Polis (D-2) Fax: 202-226-7840

Rep. John Salazar (D-3) Fax: 202-226-9669

Rep. Betsy Markey (D-4) Fax: 202-225-5870

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-5) Fax: 202-225-1942

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-6) Fax: 202-226-4623

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-7) Fax: 202-225-5278


Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) Fax: 202-224-1083

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D) Fax: 202-224-9750

Rep. John Larson (D-1) Fax: 202-225-1031

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-2) Fax: 202-225-4977

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3) Fax: 202-225-4890

Rep. Jim Himes (D-4) Fax: 202-225-9629

Rep. Chris Murphy (D-5) Fax: 202-225-4488


Sen. Edward Kaufman (D) Fax: 202-228-3075 

Sen. Tom Carper (D) Fax: 202-228-2190

Rep. Michael Castle (R-At Large) Fax: 202-225-2291


Sen. George LeMieux (R) Fax: 202-224-2237

Sen. Bill Nelson (D) Fax: 202-228-2183

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-1) Fax: 202-225-3414

Rep. F. Allen Boyd (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5615

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-3) Fax: 202-225-2256

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-4) Fax: 202-225-2504

Rep. Virginia Brown-Waite (R-5) Fax: 202-226-6559

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-6) Fax: 202-225-3973

Rep. John Mica (R-7) Fax: 202-226-0821

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-8) Fax: 202-225-0999

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-9) Fax: 202-225-4085

Rep. Bill Young (R-10) Fax: 202-225-9764

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-11) Fax: 202-225-5652

Rep. Adam Putnam (R-12) Fax: 202-225-0585

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-13) Fax: 202-226-0828

Rep. Connie Mack (R-14) Fax: 202-225-6820

Rep. Bill Posey (R-15) Fax: 202-225-3516

Rep. Tom Rooney (D-16) Fax: 202-225-3132

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-17) Fax: 202-226-0777

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-18) Fax: 202-225-5620

Vacant (19) Fax: 202-225-5974

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-20) Fax: 202-225-8456

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-21) Fax: 202-225-8576

Rep. Ron Klein (D-22) Fax: 202-225-8398

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-23) Fax: 202-225-1171

Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-24) Fax: 202-226-6299

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25) Fax: 202-226-0346


Sen. Saxby Chamblis (R) Fax 202-224-0103 

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) Fax: 202-228-2090

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-1) Fax: 202-226-2269

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2) Fax: 202-225-2203

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-3) Fax: 202-225-3013

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-4) Fax: 202-226-0691

Rep. John Lewis (D-5) Fax: 202-225-0351

Rep. Thomas Price (R-6) Fax: 202-225-4656

Rep. John Linder (R-7) Fax: 202-225-4696

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-8) Fax: 202-225-2515

Rep. Nathan Deal (R-9) Fax: 202-225-5995

Rep. Paul Broun (R-10) Fax: 202-225-8272

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-11) Fax: 202-225-2944 

Rep. John Barrow (D-12) Fax: 202-225-3377

Rep. David Scott (D-13) Fax: 202-225-4628


Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D) Fax: 202-224-2126

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D) Fax: 202-224-6747

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-1) Fax: 202-225-4580

Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-2) Fax: 202-225-4987


Sen. James Risch (R) Fax: 202-228-1067

Sen. Michael Crapo (R) Fax: 202-228-1375

Rep. Walt Minnick (D-1) Fax: 202-225-3029

Rep. Michael Simpson (R-2) Fax: 202-225-8216


Sen. Dick Durbin (D) Fax: 202-228-0400 

Sen. Roland Burris (D) Fax: 202-228-5417 

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1) Fax: 202-226-0333 

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-2) Fax: 202-225-0899

Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-3) Fax: 202-225-1012

Rep. Luis Gutirrez (D-4) Fax: 202-225-7810 

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-5) Fax: 202-225-5603 

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-6) Fax: 202-225-1166 

Rep. Danny Davis (D-7) Fax: 202-225-5641 

Rep. Melissa Bean (D-8) Fax: 202-225-7830 

Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-9) Fax: 202-226-6890

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10) Fax: 202-225-0837 

Rep. Deborah Halvorson (D-11) Fax: 202-225-3521

Rep. Jerry Costello (D-12) Fax: 202-225-0285

Rep. Judy Biggert (R-13) Fax: 202-225-9420

Rep. Bill Foster (D-14) Fax: 202-225-0697

Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-15) Fax: 202-226-0791

Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-16) Fax: 202-225-5284

Rep. Philip Hare (D-17) Fax: 202-225-5396 

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-18) Fax: 202-225-9249 

Rep. John Shimkus (R-19) Fax: 202-225-5880


Sen. Evan Bayh (D) Fax: (202) 228-1377

Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R) Fax: 202-228-0360
Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-1) Fax: 202-225-2493

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-2) Fax: 202-225-6798

Rep. Mark Souder (R-3) Fax: 202-225-3479

Rep. Stephen Buyer (R-4) Fax: 202-225-2267

Rep. Dan Burton (R-5) Fax: 202-225-0016

Rep. Mike Pence (R-6) Fax: 202-225-3382

Rep. André Carson (D-7) Fax: 202-225-5633

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-8) Fax: 202-225-3284

Rep. Baron Hill (D-9) Fax: 202-226-6866


Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) Fax: 202-224-6020

Sen. Tom Harkin (D) Fax: 202-224-9369

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-1) Fax: 202-225-9129

Rep. David Loebsack (D-2) Fax: 202-226-0757

Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-3) Fax: 202-225-5608

Rep. Tom Latham (R-4) Fax: 202-225-3301

Rep. Steve King (R-5) Fax: 202-225-3193


Sen. Sam Brownback (R) Fax: 202-228-1265

Sen. Pat Roberts (R) Fax: 202-224-3514

Rep. Jerry Moran (R-1) Fax: 202-225-5124

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-2) Fax: 202-225-7986

Rep. Dennis Moore (R-3) Fax: 202-225-2807

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-4) Fax: 202-225-3489

Sen. Jim Bunning (R) Fax: 202-228-1373
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) Fax: 202-224-2499
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-1) Fax: 202-225-3547
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-2) Fax: 202-226-2019
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-3) Fax: 202-225-5776
Rep. Geoff Davis (R-4) Fax: 202-225-0003
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-5) Fax: 202-225-0940
Rep. Ben Chandler (D-6) Fax: 202-225-2122


Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) Fax: 202-224-9735

Sen. David Vitter (R) Fax: 202-228-2577

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-1) Fax: (202) 226-0386

Rep. Joseph Cao (R-2) Fax: 202-225-1988

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-3) Fax: (202) 226-3944

Rep. John Fleming (R-4) Fax: 202-225-8039

Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-5) Fax: 202-225-5639

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-6) Fax: 202-225-7313

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-7) Fax: 202-225-5724


Sen. Susan Collins (R) Fax: 202-224-2693

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) Fax: 202-224-1946

Rep. Tom Allen (D-1) Fax: 202-225-5590

Rep. Michael Michaud (D-2) Fax: 202-225-2943


Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D) Fax: 202-224-1651

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) Fax: 202-224-8858

Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-1) Fax: 202-225-0254

Rep. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-2) Fax: 202-225-3094

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3) Fax: 202-225-9219

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-4) Fax: 202-225-8714

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5) Fax: 202-225-4300

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-6) Fax: 202-225-2193

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-7) Fax: 202-225-3178

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8) Fax: 202-225-0375


Sen. Scott Brown (R) Fax: 202-224-2417

Sen. John Kerry (D) Fax: 202-224-8525

Rep. John Olver (D-1) Fax: 202-226-1224

Rep. Richard Neal (D-2) Fax: 202-225-8112

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-3) Fax: 202-225-5759

Rep. Barney Frank (D-4) Fax: 202-225-0182

Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-5) Fax: 202-226-0771

Rep. John Tierney (D-6) Fax: 202-225-5915

Rep. Edward Markey (D-7) Fax: 202-226-0092

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-8) Fax: 202-225-9322

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-9) Fax: 202-225-3984

Rep. William Delahunt (D-10) Fax: 202-225-5658


Sen. Carl Levin (D) Fax: 202-224-1388

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) Fax: 202-228-0325

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-1) Fax: 202-225-4744
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-2) Fax: 202-226-0779

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-3) Fax: 202-225-5144

Rep. David Camp (R-4) Fax: 202-225-9679

Rep. Dale Kildee (D-5) Fax: 202-225-6393

Rep. Fred Upton (R-6) Fax: 202-225-4986

Rep. Mark Schauer (D-7) Fax: 202-225-6281

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-8) Fax: 202-225-5820

Rep. Gary Peters (D-9) Fax: 202-226-2356

Rep. Candice Miller (R-10) Fax: 202-226-1169

Rep. Thad McCotter (R-11) Fax: 202-225-2667

Rep. Sander Levin (D-12) Fax: 202-226-1033

Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-13) Fax: 202-225-5730

Rep. John Conyers (D-14) Fax: 202-225-0072

Rep. John Dingell (D-15) Fax: 202-226-0371


Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) Fax: 202-228-2186

Sen. Al Franken (D) Fax: 202-224-1152

Rep. Tim Walz (D-1) Fax: 202-225-3433

Rep. John Kline (R-2) Fax: 202-225-2595

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-3) Fax: 202-225-6351

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-4) Fax: 202-225-1968

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-5) Fax: 202-225-4886

Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-6) Fax: 202-225-6475

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-7) Fax: 202-225-1593

Rep. James Oberstar (D-8) Fax: 202-225-6211


Sen. Thad Cochran (R) Fax: 202-224-9450

Sen. Roger Wicker (R) Fax: 202-228-0378

Rep. Travis Childers (D-1) Fax: 662-844-5437

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5898

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-3) Fax: 202-225-5797

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-4) Fax: 202-225-7074


Sen. Kit Bond (R) Fax: 202-224-8149

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) Fax: 202-228-6326

Rep. William Clay, Jr. (D-1) Fax: 202-226-3717

Rep. Todd Akin (R-2) Fax: 202-225-2563

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-3) Fax: 202-225-7452

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-4) Fax: 202-225-2876

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-5) Fax: 202-225-4403

Rep. Sam Graves (R-6) Fax: 202-225-8221

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-7) Fax: 202-225-5604

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-8) Fax: 202-226-0326

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-9) Fax: 202-225-5712


Sen. Max Baucus (D) Fax: 202-224-9412

Sen. Jon Tester (D) Fax: 202-224-8594

Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-At Large) Fax: 202-225-5687


Sen. Mike Johanns (R) Fax: 202-224-5213

Sen. Ben Nelson (D) Fax: 202-228-0012

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-1) Fax: 202-225-5686

Rep. Lee Terry (R-2) Fax: 202-226-5452

Rep. Adrian Smith (R-3) Fax: 202-225-0207

Sen. John Ensign (R) Fax: 202-228-2193

Sen. Harry Reid (D) Fax: 202-224-7327

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-1) Fax: 202-225-3119

Rep. Dean Heller (R-2) Fax: 202-225-5679

Rep. Dina Titus (D-3) Fax: 202-225-2185

New Hampshire

Sen. Judd Gregg (R) Fax: 202-224-4952

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) Fax: 202-228-4131

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-1) Fax: 202-225-5822

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-2) Fax: 202-225-2946

New Jersey

Sen. Robert Menendez (D) Fax: 202-228-2197

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) Fax: 202-228-4054

Rep. Robert Andrews (D-1) Fax: 202-225-6583

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2) Fax: 202-225-3318

Rep. John Alder (D-3) Fax: 202-225-0778

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-4) Fax: 202-225-7768

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5) Fax: 202-225-9048

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) Fax: 202-225-9665

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) Fax: 202-225-9460

Rep. William Pascrell (D-8) Fax: 202-225-5751

Rep. Steven Rothman (D-9) Fax: 202-225-5851

Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) Fax: 202-225-4160

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) Fax: 202-225-3186

Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) Fax: 202-225-6025

Rep. Albio Sires (D-13) Fax: 202-226-0792

New Mexico

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) Fax: 202-224-2852

Sen. Tom Udall (D) Fax: 202-228-3261

Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-1) Fax: 202-225-4975

Rep. Harry Teague (D-2) Fax: 202-225-9599

Rep. Ben Lujan (D-3) Fax: 202-226-1528

New York

Sen. Charles Schumer (D) Fax: 202-228-3027

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) Fax: 202-228-0282

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-1) Fax: 202-225-3143

Rep. Steven Israel (D-2) Fax: 202-225-4669

Rep. Peter King (R-3) Fax: 202-226-2279

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-4) Fax: 202-225-5758

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-5) Fax: 202-225-1589

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-6) Fax: 202-226-4169

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-7) Fax: 202-225-1909

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-8) Fax: 202-225-6923

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-9) Fax: 202-226-7243

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-10) Fax: 202-225-1018

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-11) Fax: 202-226-0112

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-12) Fax: 202-226-0327

Rep. Michael McMahon (D-13) Fax: 202-225-1272

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-14) Fax: 202-225-4709
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-15) Fax: 202-226-0816 

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-16) Fax: 202-225-6001

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-17) Fax: 202-225-5513

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-18) Fax: 202-225-0546

Rep. John Hall (D-19) Fax: 202-225-3289

Rep. Scott Murphy (D-20) Fax: 202-225-1168

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-21) Fax: 202-225-5077

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-22) Fax: 202-226-0774

Rep. Bill Owens (D-23) Fax: 202-226-0621

Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-24) Fax: 202-225-1891

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-25) Fax: 202-225-4042

Rep. Christopher Lee (R-26) Fax: 202-225-5910

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-27) Fax: 202-226-0347

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-28) Fax: 202-225-7822

Rep. Eric Massa (D-29) Fax: 202-226-6599

North Carolina

Sen. Richard Burr (R) Fax 202-228-2981

Sen. Kay Hagan (D) Fax: 202-228-2563

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-1) Fax: 202-225-3354

Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5662

Rep. Walter Jones (R-3) Fax: 202-225-3286

Rep. David Price (D-4) Fax: 202-225-2014

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-5) Fax: 202-225-2995

Rep. Howard Coble (R-6) Fax: 202-225-8611

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-7) Fax: 202-225-5773

Rep. Larry Kissel (D-8) Fax: 202-225-4036

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-9) Fax: 202-225-3389

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-10) Fax: 202-225-0316

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-11) Fax: 202-226-6422

Rep. Melvin Watt (D-12) Fax: 202-225-1512

Rep. Brad Miller (D-13) Fax: 202-225-0181

North Dakota

Sen. Kent Conrad (D) Fax: 202-224-7776

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D) Fax: 202-224-1193

Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-At Large) Fax: 202-226-0893

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) Fax: 202-224-6519
Sen. George Voinovich (R) Fax: 202-228-1382
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-1) Fax: 202-225-3012
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-2) Fax: 202-225-1992
Rep. Michael Turner (R-3) Fax: 202-226-1443
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-4) Fax: 202-226-0577
Rep. Bob Latta (R-5) Fax: 202-225-1985
Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-6) Fax: 202-225-5907
Rep. David Hobson (R-7) Fax: 202-225-1984
Rep. John Boehner (R-8) Fax: 202-225-0704
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-9) Fax: 202-225-7711
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-10) Fax: 202-225-5745
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-11) Fax: 202-225-1339
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-12) Fax: 202-226-4523
Rep. Betty Sutton (D-13) Fax: 202-225-2266
Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-14) Fax: 202-225-3307
Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-15) Fax: 202-225-3529
Rep. Ralph Regula (R-16) Fax: 202-225-3059
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-17) Fax: 202-225-3719
Rep. Zack Space (D-18) Fax: 202-225-3394


Sen. James Inhofe (R) Fax: 202-228-0380

Sen. Tom Coburn (R) Fax: 202-224-6008

Rep. John Sullivan (R-1) Fax: 202 225-9187

Rep. Dan Boren (D-2) Fax: 202-225-3038

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-3) Fax: 202-225-8698

Rep. Tom Cole (R-4) Fax: 202-225-3512

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-5) Fax: 202-226-1463


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) Fax: 202-228-3997

Sen. Ron Wyden (D) Fax: 202-228-2717

Rep. David Wu (D-1) Fax: 202-225-9497

Rep. Greg Walden (R-2) Fax: 202-225-5774

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-3) Fax: 202-225-8941

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-4) Fax: 202-225-0032

Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-5) Fax: 202-225-5699


Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D) Fax: 202-228-0604

Sen. Arlen Specter (D) Fax: 202-228-1229

Rep. Robert Brady (D-1) Fax: 202-225-0088

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5392

Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-3) Fax: 202-225-3103

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-4) Fax: 202-226-2274

Rep. John Peterson (R-5) Fax: 202-225-5796

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6) Fax: 202-225-8440

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-7) Fax: 202-225-0280

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-8) Fax: 202-225-9511

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9) Fax: 202-225-2486

Rep. Chris Carney (D-10) Fax: 202-225-9594

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-11) Fax: 202-225-0764

Vacant (12) Fax: 202-225-5709

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13) Fax: 202-226-0611

Rep. Michael Doyle (D-14) Fax: 202-225-3084

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-15) Fax: 202-226-0778

Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-16) Fax: 202-225-2013

Rep. Tim Holden (D-17) Fax: 202-226-0996

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-18) Fax: 202-225-1844

Rep. Todd Platts (R-19) Fax: 202-226-1000

Rhode Island

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) Fax: 202-228-2853

Sen. Jack Reed (D) Fax: 202-224-4680

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-1) Fax: 202-225-3290

Rep. James Langevin (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5976

South Carolina

Sen. Jim DeMint (R) Fax: 202-228-5143

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) Fax: 202-224-3808

Rep. Henry Brown (R-1) Fax: 202-225-3407

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-2) Fax: 202-225-2455

Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-3) Fax: 202-225-3216

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-4) Fax: 202-226-1177

Rep. John Spratt (D-5) Fax: 202-225-0464

Rep. James Clyburn (D-6) Fax: 202-225-2313

South Dakota

Sen. John Thune (R) Fax: 202-228-5429

Sen. Tim Johnson (D) Fax: 202-228-5765

Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-At Large) Fax: 202-225-5823


Sen. Bob Corker (R) Fax: 202-228-1264

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) Fax: 202-228-3398

Rep. Phil Roe (R-1) Fax: 202-225-5714

Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (R-2) Fax: 202-225-6440

Rep. Zach Wamp (R-3) Fax: 202-225-3494

Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-4) Fax: 202-226-5172

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-5) Fax: 202-226-1035

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-6) Fax: 202-225-6887

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-7) Fax: 202-225-3004

Rep. John Tanner (D-8) Fax: 202-225-1765

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-9) Fax: 202-225-5663


Sen. John Cornyn (R) Fax: 202-228-2856

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) Fax: 202-224-0776

Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-1) Fax: 202-225-5866

Rep. Ted Poe (R-2) Fax: 202-225-5547

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-3) Fax: 202-225-1485

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-4) Fax: 202-225-3332
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-5) Fax: 202-226-4888

Rep. Joe Barton (R-6) Fax: 202-225-3052

Rep. John Culberson (R-7) Fax: 202-225-4381

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-8) Fax: 202-225-5524

Rep. Al Green (D-9) Fax: 202-225-2947

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-10) Fax: 202-225-5955

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-11) Fax: 202-225-1783

Rep. Kay Granger (R-12) Fax: 202-225-5683

Rep. “Mac” Thornberry (R-13) Fax: 202-225-3486

Rep. Ron Paul (R-14) Fax: 202-226-6553

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-15) Fax: 202-225-5688

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-16) Fax: 202-225-2016

Rep. Chet Edwards (D-17) Fax: 202-225-2234

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-18) Fax: 202-225-3317

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-19) Fax: 202-225-9615

Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-20) Fax: 202-225-1915

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-21) Fax: 202-225-8628

Rep. Pete Olson (R-22) Fax: 202-225-5241

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-23) Fax: 202-225-2237

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-24) Fax: 202-225-0074

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-25) Fax: 202-225-2947

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-26) Fax: 202-225-2919

Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-27) Fax: 202-226-1134

Rep. Enrique Cuellar (D-28) Fax: 202-225-1641

Rep. Gene Green (D-29) Fax: 202-225-9903

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-30) Fax: 202-226-1477

Rep. John Carter (R-31) Fax: 202-225-5886

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-32) Fax: 202-225-5878


Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R) Fax: 202-228-1168

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R) Fax: 202-224-6331

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-1) Fax: 202-225-5857

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5638

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-3) Fax: 202-225-5629


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) Fax: 202-228-0776

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D) Fax: 202-224-3479

Rep. Peter Welch (D-At Large) Fax: 202-225-6790


Sen. Jim Webb (D) Fax: 202-228-6363

Sen. Mark Warner (D) Fax: 202-224-6295

Rep. Robert Wittman (R-1) Fax: 202-225-4382

Rep. Glen Nye (D-2) Fax: 202-225-4218

Rep. Robert Scott (D-3) Fax: 202-225-8354

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-4) Fax: 202-226-1170

Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-5) Fax: 202-225-5681

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-6) Fax: 202-225-9681

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-7) Fax: 202-225-0011

Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) Fax: 202-225-0017

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-9) Fax: 202-225-0442

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) Fax: 202-225-0437

Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-11) Fax: 202-225-3071


Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) Fax: 202-228-0514

Sen. Patty Murray (D) Fax: 202-224-0238

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-1) Fax: 202-226-1606

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2) Fax: 202-225-4420

Rep. Brian Baird (D-3) Fax: 202-225-3478

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-4) Fax: 202-225-3251

Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-5) Fax: 202-225-3392

Rep. Norman Dicks (D-6) Fax: 202-226-1176

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7) Fax: 202-225-6197

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8) Fax: 202-225-4282

Rep. Adam Smith (D-9) Fax: 202-225-5893

West Virginia

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D) Fax: 202-228-0002

Sen. John D. Rockefeller, IV (D) Fax: 202-224-7665

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-1) Fax: 202-225-7564

Rep. Shelley Capito (R-2) Fax: 202-225-7856

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-3) Fax: 202-225-9061


Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D) Fax: 202-224-2725

Sen. Herb Kohl (D) Fax: 202-224-9787

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-1) Fax: 202-225-3393

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-2) Fax: 202-225-6942

Rep. Ron Kind (D-3) Fax: 202-225-5739

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-4) Fax: 202-225-8135

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-5) Fax: 202-225-3190

Rep. Tom Petri (R-6) Fax: 202-225-2356

Rep. David Obey (D-7) Fax: 715-842-4488

Rep. Steve Kagan (D-8) Fax: 202-225-5729


Sen. Mike Enzi (R) Fax: 202-228-0359 

Sen. John Barrasso (R) Fax: 202-224-1724

Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-At Large) Fax: 202-225-3057

Territories and Delegates:

American Samoa

Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-At Large) Fax: 202-225-8757

Washington, D.C.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-At Large) Fax 202-225-3002


Delegate Madeilene Bordallo (D-At Large) Fax: 202-226-0341

Northern Mariana Islands

Gov. Benigno Fital (Covenant) 670-664-1100

Puerto Rico

Delegate Pedro Pierluisi (D-At Large) Fax: 202-225-2154

Virgin Islands

Delegate Donna Christensen (D-At Large) Fax: 202-225-5517

271. I am not Herbert - February 14, 2010

Well you can thank Dubya and the “free market” for mortgaging our future to the Chinese.

Don’t bitch about loosing your toys, when you spend all of your money on killing for black gold.

272. Hat Rick - February 14, 2010

271, there are many Democrats who are quite unhappy about the cancellation of Constellation, as well.

Mr. Okuda — thank you for the fantastic and useful list!

Although I do not have his fax number, polite and respectful letters of opposition to the Administrator of NASA may also be written to the following address:

The Honorable Charles Bolden
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
300 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20546-0001

A sample letter follows and may be appropriately modified for use in letters to Congressional Representatives and Senators:

Dear Administrator Bolden:

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the Agency’s reported actions that have the effect of terminating Project Constellation.

For the last five decades, an enduring national consensus has been achieved that the United States must lead in the development and implementation of the national means to send astronauts to explore outer space. President Kennedy’s clarion call to land a man on the Moon before the decade was out resulted what many around the world continue to see as the cardinal achievement of mankind’s longheld dreams to set foot on another world. Regardless of political party, millions of Americans and billions of others around the world stand in awe of NASA’s achievements that showed that our civilization, and indeed our species, need not be limited to Earth. The investment in technology developed in support of our manned efforts have yielded untold tangible economic benefits to our economy through basic science followed programmically by innovation and invention. For a time, the promise of exploiting the infinite resources of the universe loomed large in the national consciousness.

Recently, however, this promise has been betrayed as decisions by successive Presidential Administrations have kept NASA limited to low-Earth orbit. Resources that could have been productively used to extend the reach of humanity have instead been diverted to the construction of a space station whose utility has been widely questioned. Until the development of vehicles for Project Constellation, spearheaded by NASA and supported by a bipartisan Congressional consensus for five years, the United States lacked any means of breaking the bonds of Earth’s orbit.

While promised programs to develop “next generation” propulsion technologies may appear attractive, merely increasing the outlay for research and development toward their realization is a far cry from the actual construction of human-rated vehicles, such as the Orion and Ares, based on mature technologies already developed and successfully implemented for the Space Transportation System. As former astronauts and many others with an abiding interest and expertise in our national objectives in space have observed, cancelling Project Constellation in the hopes that such “next generation” programs will yield results represents a giant step backward from what has already been achieved.

On behalf of millions of others who share my sentiments, I strongly urge that you heed the calls of Members of Congress and others to stop the damage to Project Constellation before it’s too late.

While most Americans would agree with the need for financial responsibility in the outlay of Federal funds, plans to terminate Project Constellation in favor of new objectives are not the way to achieve it. Our future depends on continuing the path toward success represented by Project Constellation, Ares, and Orion.


[Please note that corrections and updates may be available at:

http://www.hatricksblog.blogspot.com ]

273. I am not Herbert - February 14, 2010

It’s not a Democrat vs. Republican thing (spending on killing for black gold).

@Anthony: I see what Mike O. & Hat T. are doing, but does it really have a place here? Do you really want to publish this list and this letter and espouse specific political action?

perhaps links instead might be more acceptable / palatable?

274. I am not Herbert - February 14, 2010

In the mean time, I submit, on the flip side, for your consideration:


Patrician power-grab so immoral and anti-democratic that is INSANE!!!

Please contact your representatives as listed above, to voice your horror.


275. You will be - March 23, 2012

I’ll complain that you simply have copied materials from an additional supply

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