PDA

View Full Version : The new NASA budget



Cugel
2006-Feb-07, 10:46 AM
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0602/06nasabudget/

Deserves a thread of its own, I think.
Griffin and comrades have taken about 2 billion dollars from science projects to pay for shuttle/ISS operations. Griffin himself isn't particularly happy about it, but he obviously doesn't have other options. What is your opinion about this?

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-07, 04:13 PM
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0602/06nasabudget/

Deserves a thread of its own, I think.
This thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=36925)sounds like what you're thinking.

Cugel
2006-Feb-07, 04:34 PM
You're right. That's what you get when you have to cover different things from one budget! (astronomy and space exploration)

Seems like the Europa mission is put on hold as well...

http://www.space.com/news/060207_europa_budget.html

ToSeek
2006-Feb-07, 05:28 PM
I don't have a problem with this thread being devoted to the specifics of NASA's budget. With that being said:

Canceling NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder: The White House's Increasingly Nearsighted "Vision" For Space Exploration (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1092)


This is a bad decision. A really bad one. In making it, one has to question whether this White House really meant what it said 2 years ago when it raised everyone's expectations, invoking an expansion "into the cosmos" in so doing.

With every passing year this "vision" is becoming increasing nearsighted.

ToSeek
2006-Feb-07, 05:29 PM
Sen. Mikulski Response to Space Funding in President's NASA Budget (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=18945)


Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) released the following statement today following the release of President Bush's FY 2007 budget, which included:

- $150 million for a servicing mission to save the Hubble Telescope

- $16.8 billion in federal funding for NASA (3.2% increase)

- $2.3 billion for Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., which supports 10,000 employees (a 2% increase)

The budget also provides $443 million for the Webb Telescope, which will follow the Hubble Telescope, scheduled to be launched in 2013. The Webb Telescope will be run by Baltimore's Space Telescope Science Institute and Goddard:

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-07, 05:41 PM
I don't have a problem with this thread being devoted to the specifics of NASA's budget.
Me neither, just wanted to point it out just in case... that's why I didn't ToSeek it. (Apparently you niether, or else you would have beat me to it:lol: )

ToSeek
2006-Feb-07, 05:46 PM
Good overview:

Highlights Of The NASA FY 2007 Budget Request (http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Highlights_Of_The_NASA_FY_2007_Budget_Request.html )

Manchurian Taikonaut
2006-Feb-07, 05:57 PM
I don't have a problem with this thread being devoted to the specifics of NASA's budget. With that being said:

Canceling NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder: The White House's Increasingly Nearsighted "Vision" For Space Exploration (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1092)


Get some of the science guys and lobby people quickly to the Euros, and ask the space agency of Europe for some cash. Although NASA has been the best agency - landing Vikings of Mars, the Voyager missions, Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon, Skylab station and other greats.

Yet a lot of its more recent missions have been supported by International help and joint missions, ISO and other space telescopes have come about due to European help, the ISS has been kept up by the Russian Soyuz and Russian Progress craft, solar science has been helped by Europeans such as Ulysses or the joint NASA/ESA Soho

When beancounters at NASA tried to chop down the old Ulysses jupiter-sun mission to save a few bucks the Euro-space agency went crazy with frustration and pushed back for extra funding. Right now the Europeans have a small but well organized budget and are pushing for a number of extra solar planet missions, the Corot spacecraft, expansion of the ESO telescopes, big OWL/Euro50 ideas, Darwin mission. If money is short the TPF could become a joint project like the Cassini-Huygens did.

Romanus
2006-Feb-07, 06:07 PM
I have mixed feelings about the postponement/cancellation of TPF. While my gut reaction is (extreme) distaste, I feel that it won't be shelved for long. My feeling is that the discoveries that Kepler, COROT, and (especially) SIM make in the next ten years will make a TPF-like mission almost inevitable in the long run.

kbmast
2006-Feb-07, 07:54 PM
Personally, I'm real annoyed. No funding for a Europa mission, SIM delayed, TPF delayed. It's the priorities of this president I'm afraid. Flags and footprings are getting in the way of the best science targets. Not that I'm not 100 percent in favor of scrapping the shuttle for something that can get out of LEO and begin expanding our horizons again, but really there is no reason to choose one over the other when you can easily do both.

Doodler
2006-Feb-07, 08:15 PM
Personally, I'm real annoyed. No funding for a Europa mission, SIM delayed, TPF delayed. It's the priorities of this president I'm afraid. Flags and footprings are getting in the way of the best science targets. Not that I'm not 100 percent in favor of scrapping the shuttle for something that can get out of LEO and begin expanding our horizons again, but really there is no reason to choose one over the other when you can easily do both.

Sorry, but when you've got a major city in ruins, an occupation to fund, an energy infrastructure still recovering, a raging allergy to new taxes, and a new record for budget deficit ($430 billion), there's just no money left to spare.

kbmast
2006-Feb-07, 09:02 PM
Sorry, but when you've got a major city in ruins, an occupation to fund, an energy infrastructure still recovering, a raging allergy to new taxes, and a new record for budget deficit ($430 billion), there's just no money left to spare.

Sorry but the NASA budget got quite a big increase. There is just too much allocated to the new exploration initiative over science objectives. There was 700 million more spend on the new launch system than was even planned. It looks like they are trying to increase the pace at the cost of science. Hurricaine relief and budget deficit haven't affected NASA at all. Spending is going up, priorities within the budget are being shifted. I wonder if China's announcement they planned go to the moon caused us to speed up our timetable.

Fortunate
2006-Feb-08, 12:53 AM
Sorry, but when you've got a major city in ruins, an occupation to fund, an energy infrastructure still recovering, a raging allergy to new taxes, and a new record for budget deficit ($430 billion), there's just no money left to spare.

My immediate objection is not to the overall amount of NASA's budget but to the percent of that amount that is spent on what I would consider good science versus the percent spent on what I consider less worthy projects. Manning spacestations and sending people to the moon has very little scientific value, and I would rather see the planets explored by satellites and robots. Meanwhile, I am very interested in basic science.

Edit: I typed this before I read kbmast's post immediately prior to mine. I suppose I've just echoed his post. Hello moonrocks, good-bye judgement.

spfrss
2006-Feb-08, 07:44 AM
Get some of the science guys and lobby people quickly to the Euros, and ask the space agency of Europe for some cash.

Europe in a few years will be an islamic worshipping dictatorship... You faith in ESA tells me you don't live in this continent.


Mauro

spfrss
2006-Feb-08, 07:53 AM
Personally, I'm real annoyed. No funding for a Europa mission, SIM delayed, TPF delayed. It's the priorities of this president I'm afraid. Flags and footprings are getting in the way of the best science targets. Not that I'm not 100 percent in favor of scrapping the shuttle for something that can get out of LEO and begin expanding our horizons again, but really there is no reason to choose one over the other when you can easily do both.

The amusing thing about all this fuss is that other threads in this forum are lauding Russian/Sino/euro(soon to be euro-islamic) moon initiatives as very good ways to advance space science and exploration...
Maybe there are two moons.

Mauro

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Feb-08, 08:07 AM
Well, Fortunate is our resident scientific conscience.
Most of us just like big rockets. :lol:

BTW, do check out the forum rules.

Fortunate
2006-Feb-08, 01:04 PM
Well, Fortunate is our resident scientific conscience.
Most of us just like big rockets. :lol:

BTW, do check out the forum rules.

Not sure where I expressed any conscience on this thread. Perhaps I did not express myself clearly. In my only post on this thread (#13), I attempted to say that Doodler's comment in post #11 was irrelevant to my major objection to the NASA budget, in that his comment pertained to the overall amount of the budget while my main objection was to the percentages in which the money was distributed to the various areas within the budget. I had absolutely no intention of expressing or implying any opinion about the content of Doodler's objection or about the relationship between NASA budget and any other budget. My comment was intended to deal only with the (alleged) value of manned spaceflight versus the value other possible NASA projects. I am fascinated by astrophysics and cosmology. I have almost no interest in people flying around in space. My preferences about how NASA divides up its funds are purely recreational.

This post seems long given the simplicity of the point, but my shorter post (#13) seems to have led to a miscommunication.

kbmast
2006-Feb-08, 02:51 PM
Well I have interest in BOTH science and having people flying around in space and the budget annoys me. Big increase in spending but the distribution cuts science missions even still. It just seems like a balanced approach would make more sense. Or not spending as much and spending more on the deficit would make more sense. But just bumping up money for manned space flight and cutting science when the budget goes up is annoying. If it wasn't for science there wouldn't be any space program. Any design for a spacecraft gets better the more you know about the enviornment you're sending it in.

spfrss
2006-Feb-08, 04:07 PM
If it wasn't for science there wouldn't be any space program.

IMHO it is exactly the opposite,

If it wasn't for manned spaceflight there wouldn't be any science space program.

Mauro

kbmast
2006-Feb-08, 05:04 PM
IMHO it is exactly the opposite,

If it wasn't for manned spaceflight there wouldn't be any science space program.

Mauro

Wow, I think you took me the wrong way. You're talking about political motivations, I'm discussing the technical aspects of even building a rocket. The technology didn't come from politicians or engineers. Scientists make the discoveries in chemistry and materials science and tell politicians what engineers can be built from that science. You're quite right, the initial motivation for the space program was based on cold war politics and international prestiege. It had zero to do with science which is why the program was canceled after the political objectives were met. Apollo 17 was the first flight to carry a scientist, and the last flight.

But just like understanding chemistry and materials science allowed for rockets, understanding the effects of dust on Mars or radiation around Jupiter or other things we don't even know about yet will allow us to build better spacecraft allowing more manned exploration and reducing the risk.

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-08, 05:15 PM
The technology didn't come from politicians or engineers. Scientists make the discoveries in chemistry and materials science and tell politicians what engineers can be built from that science.

I think there are elements of both. Imagination needs to be sparked.

Yes, scientists make discoveries where they say "what can this be used for?". They are also trying to come up with a way to solve a problem that engineering is presenting. And they are looking for evidence to support a politician's point of view.
So I think that this debate is moot, based on opinion, and anecdotal.

Engineering: communication satellites
Political: we are better than the others
Scientific: I wonder what's out there

Maksutov
2006-Feb-08, 07:44 PM
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0602/06nasabudget/

Deserves a thread of its own, I think.
Griffin and comrades have taken about 2 billion dollars from science projects to pay for shuttle/ISS operations. Griffin himself isn't particularly happy about it, but he obviously doesn't have other options. What is your opinion about this?I'm sure everyone is doing the best they can with what they've got.

Cugel
2006-Feb-09, 04:02 PM
I'm sure everyone is doing the best they can with what they've got.

No doubt about that. However, do you think everybody is on the same agenda?
I have the feeling that NASA has become a collection of independent kingdoms fighting each other. With two horses pulling a car in opposite directions (and at the best they can) you don't get much progress. Things would get much more transparent and efficient when NASA would be split up in 2 or 3 independent parts, each with their own budgets and goals. Where there is overlap in projects (like developing a methane engine for instance) you can always create a joint effort. I also think that none of these new 'parts' would need to be on the agency level like NASA is today. Science and Earth monitoring is done best by University related institutes like APL and JPL, while manned projects can be managed and directed by the Johnson space center. Who needs NASA at all?

(just an idea from a relative outsider)

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-09, 05:35 PM
I have the feeling that NASA has become a collection of independent kingdoms fighting each other.
I guess you can say that.

With two horses pulling a car in opposite directions (and at the best they can) you don't get much progress.
But I don't agree with the analogy because...


Things would get much more transparent and efficient when NASA would be split up in 2 or 3 independent parts, each with their own budgets and goals.
Essentially the different parts of Nasa do have seperate budget and it's mostly (but not all) controlled by Congress. At least with Nasa being a single entity, there can be some (intellegent?) decisions being made with the discretionary funds. My worry would be that Congress would say, group 1: do this, Group 2: do that, and Group 3: we dont think you add much benefit, so were getting rid of you.

So for the flexible portion of the budget, would you rather have 1) bunch of politicians, or 2)someone who has a scientific background.

publiusr
2006-Feb-09, 10:18 PM
NASA doesn't need to be weaker than it already is. Let the Air Force be forced to tackle the majority of aeronautics. Launch vehicle development has to come first. The flyboys have had more makes of airplanes than we have had of rockets.

Once the new LV fleet is established--STS will be axed and new science payloads will come to the fore.

Terrestrial Planet Finder is not dead for all time--it will be put off and a better version perhaps launched atop a larger vehicle.

Look how succesful the recent Atlas launches have been.

But there werefolks against anything beyond Atlas IIAS.

But thanx to the booster boosters, we have a fast pluto shot.

Be thankful.

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-10, 01:43 PM
NASA doesn't need to be weaker than it already is. Let the Air Force be forced to tackle the majority of aeronautics. Launch vehicle development has to come first. The flyboys have had more makes of airplanes than we have had of rockets...
I thought one of the main goals of NASA was non-military applications of aviation. What the Air Force needs, and what commercial aviation needs are 2 different animals. (Although you did say majority, so that may lead some wiggle room)
Actually, couldn't the same be said for rockets? The military has pushed rocket technology (at least it did decades ago) for missles, spysats, etc. And manned craft evolved off of that.
I think NASA is just in a position that there will never be a majority that it satisfies. So, lets gripe and urge as we may, but be glad for what we can get.

ToSeek
2006-Feb-10, 04:01 PM
I think it's less true than it used to be, but it's worth noting that NASA is largely a bunch of geographically dispersed bases, each with their own agenda (Goddard, Johnson, Kennedy, JPL, etc.). Recent administrators have worked on making this less of a problem, but I think it's still there.

folkhemmet
2006-Feb-10, 04:30 PM
The NASA science cuts are really stupid, esp when you consider that they are being made in order to free up funds for a human spaceflight program that really won't amount to much. It would be one thing if we were really serious about designing new propulsion techniques, building a replacement for the shuttle, and establishing bases on the moon and mars. Most this 'vision' seems to be political rhetoric: it would take a much firmer fiscal and political committment to make this 'vision' a reality-- half-hearted efforts and cutting programs that do work is not the way to accomplish the 'vision.' The headline making science missions, on other hand, are what NASA does best.

ToSeek
2006-Feb-10, 05:43 PM
Space science revolt begins (http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2006/02/space_science_r.html)


Greetings Colleagues: We have a very serious matter on our hands now. NASA plans to reduce funding for research programs over FY06 and FY07 by 25% in order to fund the development of the Crewed Exploration Vehicle and Crew Launch Vehicle. This is a disaster to American solar system exploration. Our ability to turn this situation around is going to depend directly upon your communicating with your Representative and Senators. Absolutely every voice will count!

ToSeek
2006-Feb-10, 05:48 PM
NASA Pulls Funds From Mauna Kea (http://kgmb9.com/kgmb/display.cfm?storyID=7233&sid=1183)


he sky was the limit for a space-aged project on Mauna Kea. However, the $50 million needed to build it has been cut from NASA's budget.

In its fiscal 2007 budget, NASA cut a big chunk of its science spending in favor of the space shuttle program. One project on the chopping block is a group of telescopes that have been highly anticipated by astronomers, but dreaded by some Big Island activists.

The twin Keck telescopes are the most powerful in the world. But astronomers say they could "see" even better surrounded by a ring of small telescopes that would focus and refine the image. The scientific goal is to learn more about where we come from and what else is "out there."

After eight years in development, those so-called Outrigger Telescopes appear doomed, left out of NASA's budget along with $2 billion in other planned science projects.

ToSeek
2006-Feb-10, 05:53 PM
NASA Budget Shuts Out Icy Moons Mission (http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NASA_Budget_Shuts_Out_Icy_Moons_Mission.html)


NASA's budget document for fiscal year 2007 contains 451 pages and nearly 150,000 words, but nowhere in that sea of text is one word mentioned that represents great importance to certain members of the scientific and astronomical communities: Europa.

Launch window
2006-Feb-10, 09:30 PM
I don't have a problem with this thread being devoted to the specifics of NASA's budget. With that being said:

Canceling NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder: The White House's Increasingly Nearsighted "Vision" For Space Exploration (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1092)


Another sad report on more budget cuts, will these exoplanet missions ever get going ?

Cugel
2006-Feb-11, 12:18 AM
My worry would be that Congress would say, group 1: do this, Group 2: do that, and Group 3: we dont think you add much benefit, so were getting rid of you.

Yes, I see what you mean. However, if congres decides to abandon the unmanned exploration of the solar system completeley (just an example....) there is not much you and I can complain about. It is after all a democratic decision and if "the nation" decides to spend its money elsewhere, so be it. Whether we like it or not.

My main point is that currently a lot of money and resources is spend on certain projects and when 80 or 90% of the money is gone some other "vision" gets the upper hand and the project is canned or cancelled altogether. This happened to both manned and unmanned projects in the past and it is happening again right now. The most likely thing to happen in 7 or 8 years from now is the Moon program being cancelled (because of budget overruns?) and we have another decade of "running to stand still" (quote from U2) If America wants someting seriously done in space, anything, you will have to get rid of NASA completely.

NEOWatcher
2006-Feb-13, 03:05 PM
But alas, we have what we have.
I don't think we can get rid of NASA, there are a lot of beneficial things that they do that a privately funded enterprise would not.
One problem is the big "S" is all the public sees. The other things that NASA does is not exciting, so we never hear about them.
Now about space:
The big problem is a perception of what NASA is and what the privately funded enterprises do, or are doing. NASA is in space along with other international governments. Private enterprise is "peeking" at space. There is a big discrepancy there no matter what the media protrays.
And funding human spaceflight is HUGE. So until someone finds a way to make it profitable, I don't think we'll see anything but govermental control over human spaceflight whether it be the U.S. or any other country. (and personally I want the U.S. to be the leader.)
As far as canning a big project, I think the only times that that has happened is early on. Large projects are scaled back (which is almost as bad), but we still get benefits from what was done. I can't think of any large programs that have been outright cancelled in later stages.

Cugel
2006-Feb-13, 11:04 PM
I can't think of any large programs that have been outright cancelled in later stages.

I admit it depends on what you call 'later stage', but the X-33 and X-34 (and all of SLI) qualify with some margin:

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/missions/x33_cancel_010301.html

One could also add Apollo (18,19 and 20 were basically ordered and payed for).
BTW, I agree that NASA does a lot of solid 'low-profile' work and we shouldn't drop that (maybe return to NACA?) Well, I guess NASA is not the root of the problem, just another symptom. When the industrial establishment pays the ticket to the White house, a president will have to pay back sometime. Isn't that what we are seeing now?

Grand_Lunar
2006-Feb-14, 01:48 AM
Sorry, but when you've got a major city in ruins, an occupation to fund, an energy infrastructure still recovering, a raging allergy to new taxes, and a new record for budget deficit ($430 billion), there's just no money left to spare.

You truly must be joking, right?

NASA's current budjet is about 0.7% of spending.
Even for Apollo, the high point was no more than 5% of spending.

ToSeek
2006-Feb-14, 05:24 PM
Jeffrey Bell thinks the science cuts are a ploy:

Griffin's Vision For Apollo 2.5 (http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/oped-06a.html)


In recent months Griffin has redone the Shuttle budget plan using sensible assumptions and has been shocked... shocked to learn that there is a funding shortfall of $3-5B over the next four years.

This has "forced" Griffin to propose radical budget cuts in the 2007 NASA budget. Everyone's pet ox has been gored: aeronautics research, space science, the Search for Life, even Mars missions have all been cut after many months of fervent promises by Griffin that this would never happen.

This budget crisis is Stage 1 of Griffin's plan for Shuttle termination. By slashing dozens of popular space science and aeronautics programs, Griffin is brillantly undercutting the Shuttle's small remaining political support base. In the past week we have seen an outpouring of anti-Shuttle sentiment - and not just from the usual suspects, but from quarters that are usually pro-Shuttle or at least neutral. No one can understand why successful programs are being sacrificed to maintain an obsolete system that is headed for extinction in a few years anyway.

Doodler
2006-Feb-14, 06:54 PM
You truly must be joking, right?

NASA's current budjet is about 0.7% of spending.
Even for Apollo, the high point was no more than 5% of spending.

I live in a country where the legislature is ruled by perception of reality, not cold hard facts. If Congress authorized a major increase in NASA's budget in an election year during which those items were pressed into the public's consciousness, the voters would be up in arms come November.

I am anything but joking.

Hugo Drax
2006-Feb-14, 07:23 PM
Furthermore (and this isn't a political point), allocating a couple of extra % of spending to something isn't as trivial as it sounds (ask any accountant); it is just a shame that NASA getting more money is big news whereas similar increases in other areas slip under the media/public radar.

baric
2006-Feb-17, 09:53 PM
Yes! I now have renewed hope that NASA's science budget won't be slashed!

http://space.com/news/060216_griffin_nasa.html

Doodler
2006-Feb-17, 11:07 PM
Representative Thomas Gordon's (D-TN) opening statement at the hearing.

http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/File/ForHearings/06feb16NASA/gordon_fy07nasa_hearing_16feb06.pdf


Nevertheless, the reality is that the glowing Vision that Congress was given two years ago bears little resemblance to the situation at hand. As I have said in the past, I support exploration - as long as it is paid for, and as long as it isn’t paid for by unwisely cutting the other important missions of NASA. It is becoming painfully obvious to me that “we aren’t going to get there from here” if we continue on the present course. While I have not yet decided on my final position, I think we have a number of alternatives to consider:

• Either increase NASA’s overall funding along the lines of the Authorization Act of 2005,

• Slow or stop all or part of the exploration initiative until the nation is prepared to provide the necessary resources or,

• Step back and consider whether there are meaningful alternatives to the President’s exploration initiative that might be more appropriate given our overall goals for NASA and the resource constraints we are likely to face.

None of these options will be easy, and I don’t claim to have the answer at this point. However, I want to make it clear that I don’t want to see Congress signing up for another big, under-funded hardware program that winds up costing more, doing less, and cannibalizing other important NASA missions. We have been down that road too many times in the past, and I’ve got no desire to do so again.

His head's in the right place, anyway. Not pretending to have an answer, and doing more than the usual emission of sound and fury for the camera.

And on the other side of the aisle, Representative Sherwood Boehlert's statement.

http://www.house.gov/science/press/109/109-192b.htm


A decent read, but I didn't see any particular passage that overall defined the intent of the statement that wouldn't require me quoting a huge chunk of it, not a bad read though.

Cugel
2006-Feb-18, 01:17 AM
What is it this science committee can actually do about the situation?
(I'm from Europe, which as you know is still gouverned by kings and queens, so I'm blissfully unaware of how a real democracy works...)

After all, this committee has the word 'science' in its name, so we can safely assume they will not be overly excited with this budget proposal. If they don't approve the proposal, would NASA be forced to change it? Or does the committee only advise the house?

Doodler
2006-Feb-19, 04:50 AM
What is it this science committee can actually do about the situation?
(I'm from Europe, which as you know is still gouverned by kings and queens, so I'm blissfully unaware of how a real democracy works...)

After all, this committee has the word 'science' in its name, so we can safely assume they will not be overly excited with this budget proposal. If they don't approve the proposal, would NASA be forced to change it? Or does the committee only advise the house?

They can make recommendations to the full house to either increase funding, or recommend Congress issue a directive to Griffin, overriding his spending priorities. The President's vision is all well and good, but its Congress that authorizes the money, so if there's any kind of budgetary or mission priority relief Griffin wants, now is definitely the time to ask for it. These endless committee hearings, pointless as they might seem, are actually THE means of getting your case made to the full House or Senate (depending on who's committee you're testifying before). Hearings like this never involve the full body, I couldn't even begin to comprehend the level of disaster that would entail in terms of getting anything useful done. Griffin's opportunity here is to explain in detail what his situation is, and the Committee will issue a finding to the full body, every member will have time to review, then the House will debate based on the issued finding, hopefully arriving at some resolution. That's the theoretical process, it actually works more often than not, its just the derailments of the process that you hear about in the news.

novaderrik
2006-Feb-19, 07:17 AM
what it usually comes down to is that when there are jobs affected in a given Senator or Representative's district- they form an opinion on it.
for example- i'd bet that Rep. from Tennessee represents a bunch of people that could likely lose jobs- or, more importantly, a big company that contributes to his campaign that will be forced to close a factory- in his district, and he doesn't want that cash or voter base to go away from him. so, suddenly he is "outraged" over the spending habits of NASA..
that's the way the game is played over here..

Cugel
2006-Feb-19, 01:34 PM
Thanks! As I understand these committees are pretty influential. I wonder how you can keep megaprojects (not just space related) on a straight political course, with several captains on the bridge (so to speak). You have the White House, plagued by Visions, science committees, congress, senators, big companies and now I probably forget a few. Maybe such mega projects do not fit in well in a democratic society? I am beginning to think that there is a sort of natural limit to the size of what a democratic system can do, because you can never maintain the required, broad level of support over a prolonged period of time. The really mega-mega-projects of the past, like the piramids and the chinese wall, were all created by autocracies (emperors and pharaos). The Apollo project was created by a democracy, and cancelled after 10 years.

Doodler
2006-Feb-20, 02:39 PM
Well, stepping briefly aside of the current topic at hand, megaprojects fit pretty well when you can wrap them in some form of patriotism or other symbolism, SEE Mercury/Gemini/Apollo.

Another means of securing megaprojects is to wrap them in national security, like our B-2 stealth bomber program. Each of those planes costs half as much as a new space shuttle, and we've got an estimated force about 5 times larger than the number of working shuttles (post Columbia), plus the CVX (aircraft carriers that will dwarf the current Nimitz class supercarriers) program is still on course for a first launch sometime late next decade.

The final way to slip a megaproject in is to convince voters that its going to produce jobs or other direct economic benefits. You'll see those fall into the same category as major highway projects or a levee system (read: Pork Barrel).

Its all in how you package it for sale to the voters and the Congress. Which is why I stand by my previously stated belief that logic and reason have almost nothing to do with why NASA won't see a lot of additional money. By rational comparison, NASA is nickel and dime stuff to the big ticket items like the military and entitlement programs, but its the perception of the public that space travel and exploration are luxuries not vital to the nation's security or prosperity that make authorizing substantial increases in budget unlikely in the current climate of disaster management gone awry and two major military operations underway. The perception is that increasing NASA's budget would be untenable, despite the reality that it would barely cause a ripple overall.

The Bad Astronomer
2006-Feb-22, 06:50 AM
I just blogged about this: An Open Letter to NASA (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/02/21/an-open-letter-to-nasa/).

Launch window
2006-Feb-22, 09:58 AM
I just blogged about this: An Open Letter to NASA (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/02/21/an-open-letter-to-nasa/).

that's a great letter BA !


Putting money in NASA will become an investment in aeronautics, education, telecommunications and science, and it does need more funding. When economic problems arise, NASA can suddenly become everybody's favourite punchbag yet the NASA budget isn't very large when you compare it to large corporations, or other governmental, military and private expenditures. As a percentage% of total federal expenditures it is very small about 1% percent.
NASA should not be made a scapeboat, cuts to NASA isn't going to solve the USA's trouble social security funds. Chopping bits off NASA will not help fix the deficit or the latest debt problem which is about $8,112,750,550,500 dollars ( about 8.1 trillion or 8,112 billion in debts )

Manchurian Taikonaut
2006-Feb-22, 11:32 AM
Chopping bits off NASA will not help fix the deficit or the latest debt problem which is about $8,112,750,550,500 dollars ( about 8.1 trillion or 8,112 billion in debts )

Today the debt ceiling might be in effect. If the USA's debt grows to a certain critical ceiling level, many branches of government are shut down or only provide extremely limited service.

From a business perspective, slashing NASA science won't save you much. Even if those anti-space beancounters axed all US spaceflight and axed the entire NASA budget they'd only be saving a few dollars. What is the entire budget, I heard it was 16 billion ? Cutting this is like getting few cents in spare change, contrasted to US debt

8,112 billions in debt
- 16 billions NASA fund

----------
We still have 8,096 billions of dollars in debt
http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7B29B8475F%2DEABA%2D4E5C%2DAE8B%2 D69EE4C007B07%7D&siteid=google
Meanwhile as NASA is facing slashed funds, congress and the Bush admin have been negotiating an increase in the $8.18 trillion debt limit which may allow Bush to run up higher debts of 9-10 trillion or 9,000 billions in debt

Doodler
2006-Feb-22, 06:45 PM
That was the theory, till Bush had'em raise the debt ceiling...

Trebuchet
2006-Feb-24, 02:01 AM
I just blogged about this: An Open Letter to NASA (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/02/21/an-open-letter-to-nasa/).

What I think you left out in your blog was NASA's almost total neglect of it's first "A" -- Aeronautics. That's understandable, you're an astronomer. I, on the other hand, work on airplanes!

Ilya
2006-Feb-24, 05:07 AM
What I think you left out in your blog was NASA's almost total neglect of it's first "A" -- Aeronautics. That's understandable, you're an astronomer. I, on the other hand, work on airplanes!
I did not know you can launch an airplane with a trebuchet! <duck>

Launch window
2006-Feb-25, 10:26 AM
I did not know you can launch an airplane with a trebuchet! <duck>


There are a heap of aeronautical stuff that NASA does directly with aeronautics : launch of Pegasus rockets ( smaller launcher with small payload ) from carrier airplanes, testing of designs for parachutes for Earth/Mars, Ramjet research, X-15 program, and when Shuttle goes into orbit it is a great feat in space exploration however when as returns home it is more of an aeronautical accomplishment.... one of their next big steps will be to design a Mars Airplane

Launch window
2006-Mar-03, 02:24 AM
That was the theory, till Bush had'em raise the debt ceiling...
Statement by Wesley T. Huntress, Jr - House Science Committee Hearing on NASA FY 2007 Science Budget
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.rss.html?pid=19811

meanwhile as the admin chops into NASA telling the agency to spend less, the admin themselves refuse to practice what they preach
they continue to clock up massive debts

The US administration told Congress yesterday it had begun to use a government pension fund to keep from hitting the $8 trillion (€6.7 trillion).
Treasury Secretary John Snow warned in a letter to congressional leaders that he would run out of room to make such manoeuvres in about four weeks, meaning the government would lose the ability to meet its obligations unless Congress had raised the borrowing limit by then.
As of Tuesday, the government’s borrowing subject to the limit stood $38.8bn (€32.6bn) below the current debt limit of $8.184 trillion (€6.8 trillion).
In his letter, Snow said that the Treasury would begin taking investments out of a $65.3bn (€54.9bn) government employee pension fund called the G-fund.
http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=173027186&p=y73xz789z
By withdrawing investments, Treasury is making room on the government’s books for increased borrowing.

time to raid the G Fund, payments to G-fubd are gone
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/harford/bal-ho.federal24feb24,0,6589501.column?coll=bal-local-harford
During the past week, federal workers and retirees likely have heard union rhetoric that the White House and Congress are "raiding" their 401(k) retirement plans to finance the growing federal debt.
That's not really the case - any money lost will be repaid - but here is the story behind those claims.
The federal government is very close to reaching the maximum amount of debt that Congress allows. To prevent exceeding that limit, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow has stopped investments in one of federal workers' 401(k) options, called the G Fund

The U.S. Treasury acted Thursday to avoid hitting the national debt limit and said it's "imperative" Congress raise the debt ceiling by the middle of March.
Treasury is suspending reinvestment in the so-called "G-Fund," an investment vehicle for a federal employees' retirement system. The action will free up $65.266 billion, a Treasury spokeswoman said.
"Without this action we would reach the debt limit today," spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said Thursday.
http://www.argmax.com/mt_blog/archive/2006_02.php
Congress and the Bush administration have been negotiating an increase in the current $8.18 trillion debt limit. On Wednesday Treasury said it would suspend sales of state and local government non-marketable securities.
Now Treasury Secretary John Snow is urging Congress to raise the debt limit by mid-March.
"I know that you share the president's and my commitment to maintaining the full faith and credit of the United States," Snow wrote to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., on Thursday.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2006-Mar-03, 01:51 PM
Statement by Wesley T. Huntress, Jr - House Science Committee Hearing on NASA FY 2007 Science Budget
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.rss.html?pid=19811

meanwhile as the admin chops into NASA telling the agency to spend less, the admin themselves refuse to practice what they preach
they continue to clock up massive debts



Dawn has been axed
http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=16782
mission has been cancelled

ToSeek
2006-Mar-08, 05:58 PM
NASA Science in Free Fall (http://skyandtelescope.com/news/article_1691_1.asp)


NASA's astronomy program is in a state of crisis as a growing number of space missions are falling to the budgetary ax. Smaller programs are suffering most in the 2006 budget as funding is siphoned toward human spaceflight. Additional cancellations are projected in the 2007 budget partly to help finance the James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope cost overruns. The coup de gr&#226;ce is a whopping 15 percent overall cut in 2009.

Doodler
2006-Mar-08, 06:33 PM
OUCH!!! Where the heck is Barbara Mikulski when all this is going on? Any other time a budget axe has threatened to cast a shadow on anything run out of Greenbelt, she's been there barking and snarling at the committee responsible...

ToSeek
2006-Mar-14, 05:28 PM
Dear Colleague Letter from NASA Associate Administrator Mary Cleave, Science Mission Directorate (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.rss.html?pid=19928)


These are exciting but also challenging times in NASA's Earth and space science programs. The current pace of discovery is astounding, and research pathways are being charted to address some of the great remaining questions concerning the origin, evolution and destiny of the universe, the history of the solar system, the possibility of life beyond Earth, the space environment to be encountered by robotic and human explorers, and the causes and consequences of global change on Earth itself. Fresh impetus has been provided by the Vision for Space Exploration and other Presidential initiatives in the arenas of science in which NASA is engaged. But we all plan and conduct our scientific explorations in a constrained Federal budget environment made more so by recent events on the national and international stage largely beyond the realm of science. Within NASA, the return to flight of the Space Shuttle and completion of the International Space Station require more resources than were anticipated a year ago. Within the SMD, the technical challenges of complex space missions has led to cost growth in our science missions that further limits the pace of mission selection and implementation that will fuel the pace of discovery in the future.

01101001
2006-Mar-15, 07:26 AM
Space.com: Angry Scientists Confront NASA Officials at Conference (http://www.space.com/news/060314_scientists_lpsc.html)


It was billed as an official NASA Headquarters briefing to space scientists—but turned into a powder-keg of emotion.

Frustrated researchers are demanding explanation as to projected NASA budget cuts, mission deferrals, and space agency decision-making that could derail solar system exploration plans.

The collision between scientists and top NASA officials took place March 13, here at the 37th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), which began Monday and runs throughout the week.
The Planetary Society Weblog: LPSC: Monday afternoon and "NASA night" (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000492/)


I could go on with details, but the bottom line is that Cleave and Dantzler attempted to tell the scientists in the room that they should be happy about the 2007 budget, and the scientists were not in any mood to hear that message. They are angry about the cuts to missions like the Europa mission and Dawn, and to the research and analysis funding that is forcing them to cut postdocs and graduate students, and they wanted to hear Cleave and Dantzler, their advocates in Washington, acknowledge that it is a bad time for science. But during the question and answer session Cleave responded to one vituperatively angry scientist by saying "I don't know why you're so angry." It was kind of a bad scene.

publiusr
2006-Mar-15, 08:51 PM
It wouldn't have done for me to have been there, I would have screamed bloody murder right back at the ingrates.

01101001
2006-Mar-15, 11:50 PM
BA Blog: NASA science still under fire (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/03/15/nasa-science-still-under-fire/)


The huge cuts to NASA science were a hot topic at the Lunar and Planetary Science meeting I just attended. Mary Cleave, Associate Administrator for Science at NASA, gave a talk at the meeting.
[...]
Basically, the scientists were good and truly ticked off, as well they might be.

publiusr
2006-Mar-23, 11:09 PM
I thought they were ugly with their anger.
Its a good thing I wasn't there in person or I would have thrown it right back at them.

MRO and New Horizons are just a couple of the many robotics probes out there. Without man-rated R-7--you wouldn't have the Venus probe approaching its destination

The fact is --it is manned spaceflight and launch vehicle development that has been hurt by scientists who think that Goddard should be the only NASA center. i think they are acting like babies. Were it not for the Soviet Chief Designers who gave us RD-170 (and therefore RD-180) from the Energiya HLLV strap-on--they wouldn't have MRO or NH. I would even go so far as to say that the blood of the Columbia dead is on the hands of those who undermined STS and safety funding that--for all I know--wound up in an also-ran Delta II mission. Do they really believe that the new LVs Griffin supports won't be a big plus to robotic missions and ISS completion? Or are the wishes of LV advocates to be eternally ignored in their opinion?

In short, the folks who claim that NASA is eating seed corn are in fact trying to wreck the tractor.

I support Mike Griffin and the Engineers who had little say during the Goldin/O'keefe era.

Launch window
2006-Nov-07, 02:40 PM
Your tax dollars at work
http://thebudgetgraph.com/view.html

VSE - the other alternatives
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=4890