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Nasa Manned Spaceflight Funding, Can NASA afford manned spaceflight?
post Nov 24 2005, 03:46 AM
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The Washington Post reports in this article that the current US budget shortfalls may force NASA to cut half of the planned manned spaceflights in the coming years. Excerpts from the Post article:

"A large deficit in NASA's troubled shuttle program threatens to seriously delay and possibly cripple President Bush's space exploration initiative unless the number of planned flights is cut virtually in half or the White House agrees to add billions of dollars to the human spaceflight budget."
Under the budgets projected for the next five years, experts outside and within the Bush administration agree, it will be impossible -- by several billion dollars -- to complete the planned shuttle missions and finish the new spacecraft [CEV] by 2012, or maybe even by 2014...Griffin acknowledged as much at a Nov. 3 House Science Committee hearing, saying the plan to finish the space station and retire the shuttle in 2010 faces a "$3 billion to $5 billion" funding shortfall.

A committee document placed the deficit at "nearly $6 billion," and some sources said even that figure could be low. NASA's budget difficulties have also been complicated by having to pay for about $400 million in special projects inserted, mostly by senators, into the agency's 2006 funding.

The sources said the White House is juggling several proposals to close the deficit, but one industry source said, "None of the choices are good -- NASA's in a box."
Several sources confirmed that the budget office in the early negotiations proposed stopping shuttle flights altogether. "It sucks money out of the budget, and it's a dead-end program," one source said.

But "that argument's over," another source said. "The political side of the White House said, 'We're keeping it.' If you kill the shuttle right now, it will be heavy lifting for your foreign policy because of the international obligations" around the space station.

A proposal under consideration would keep the full complement of shuttle flights -- 18 to finish the space station and one to service the Hubble Space Telescope -- and let completion of the crew exploration vehicle slip to 2014, if necessary, or even beyond.

"The president said originally there would be a four-year gap, and that's realistic," one source said. "My personal view, though, is whatever date you set . . . it will slip."

Jonathan Ward
Manning the LCC at http://www.apollolaunchcontrol.com
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post Jan 1 2006, 07:29 AM
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djellison: "Problem is, Bush went "Lets go back to the moon and stuff" and NASA went "OK". ....."

I'm getting awfully tired of comments like this from space-literate people as opposed to expecting it from morons in the mass media and the general public.

http://www.thespacereview.com has a big chunk of the real backstory, together with stuff in Sitzen and Cowing's "New Moon Rising" book, excerpts of which are probably still on Cowing's NASA Watch website.

"Forging a vision: NASA’s Decadal Planning Team and the origins of the Vision for Space Exploration"
Long before President Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration nearly two years ago, NASA has been quietly working on its own ideas for future human exploration of the solar system. Dwayne Day and Jeff Foust outline the history of those efforts and the influence they may have had on the creation of the VSE.
Monday, December 19, 2005

The real fact is that a "rebellion in the ranks" had been fermenting for a long time within NASA, with increasingly less-grudging support from first Goldin and then O'Keefe. The Columbia Catastrophe forced the issue to the front burner by demonstrating that the shuttle wasn't and could never be made what it should have been: Economical, Frequent and Safe access to and from space. The fact staring them in the face was that Shuttle had to be retired sooner than later and we'd either have to abandon manned spaceflight, or build new spacecraft for a new mission instead of forever going in circles. My impression without re-reviewing and reading the history of the initiative was that Bush was presented a series of options with recommendations as why some were bad options and others were better, all of the latter being variations on what was finally picked, with more or less push toward Moon and/or Mars in the different options.

Also note that the horrendous current and next-few-years cost overruns would be ocurring whether we do the whole initiative or just build a minimal station-access-vehicle.
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post Jan 1 2006, 11:44 AM
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QUOTE (edstrick @ Jan 1 2006, 07:29 AM)
Long before President Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration nearly two years ago, NASA has been quietly working on its own ideas for future human exploration of the solar system.

It's been doing so since it was formed. That's its job.

But it takes all the studies to find out exactly how to do these things instead of speculating about them. They cant spend money doing anything more than the formative speculation until they get a nod to go ahead and do it. Those studies take time, and it's not till you've done them that you can go "right - this is the cost"

There's no way in hell it's going to get the goahead now. A 4x increase in NASA budget isnt going to happen. The public will not support it. If they DO - I will be utterly utterly astonished.

Clearly NASA were not given the chance to find out exactly how much this program is going to cost before GWB signed them up for it, because if they had, if they'd have said "Sure, but it'll cots 4x what you give us now" then GWB would never had signed them up for it .....would he?

Problem is - what CAN Nasa do on it's current budget? It can retire off the shuttle, just about, but it has to be replaced with something, and it cant do that without spending a lot of money, money it doesnt have whilst the shuttle still exists.

On reflection, it's sort of obvious. It takes all it's current money to run the Shuttle, so how in hells name were they ever going to develop something to replace it, whilst still flying STS? This isnt the huge-budget-Apollo days when Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft were all developed within a decade. Nasa does not have the money, and looking at how much they honestly think it's going to cost them, they're not GOING to have the money to co-develop new vehicles, whilst retiring STS at the same time. STS has to go first, and thus we'll get a big gap.

So this poses the question.... what now?

The entire situation is more up in the air now that it's ever been.

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Posts in this topic
- ilbasso   Nasa Manned Spaceflight Funding   Nov 24 2005, 03:46 AM
- - BruceMoomaw   Another interpretation that can be placed on this ...   Nov 24 2005, 03:07 PM
- - OWW   QUOTE (ilbasso @ Nov 24 2005, 03:46 AM)Severa...   Nov 24 2005, 10:38 PM
- - Colby   When you put the foam issue as you just did, it do...   Nov 26 2005, 12:49 AM
|- - jamescanvin   QUOTE (Colby @ Nov 26 2005, 11:49 AM)When you...   Nov 26 2005, 01:44 AM
|- - mars loon   QUOTE (jamescanvin @ Nov 26 2005, 01:44 AM)Th...   Jan 1 2006, 03:03 AM
|- - mcaplinger   QUOTE (mars loon @ Dec 31 2005, 07:03 PM)DAWN...   Jan 2 2006, 03:03 AM
- - Toma B   This is quote from Space.com article about Space S...   Dec 17 2005, 02:18 PM
- - ermar   The New York Times lays out its position on NASA f...   Dec 31 2005, 04:02 AM
- - David   Let's suppose (and I don't suppose this is...   Jan 1 2006, 01:31 AM
- - djellison   Problem is, Bush went "Lets go back to the mo...   Jan 1 2006, 01:46 AM
- - edstrick   djellison: "Problem is, Bush went "Lets...   Jan 1 2006, 07:29 AM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (edstrick @ Jan 1 2006, 07:29 AM)Long b...   Jan 1 2006, 11:44 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   In my view, the Shuttle programme's woes hark ...   Jan 1 2006, 02:27 PM
||- - dvandorn   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jan 1 2006, 08:27 AM)Shuttl...   Jan 2 2006, 12:46 AM
||- - nprev   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jan 1 2006, 05:46 PM)Thank ...   Jan 2 2006, 05:38 AM
|- - dvandorn   QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 1 2006, 05:44 AM)Clear...   Jan 2 2006, 12:43 AM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jan 2 2006, 12:43 AM)Bush *...   Jan 2 2006, 11:33 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   Doug: The international ISS partners, bar Russia,...   Jan 2 2006, 11:59 AM
||- - djellison   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Jan 2 2006, 11:59 AM)Why sh...   Jan 2 2006, 12:16 PM
|- - dvandorn   QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 2 2006, 05:33 AM)...th...   Jan 2 2006, 12:41 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jan 2 2006, 12:41 PM)The pr...   Jan 2 2006, 12:56 PM
- - edstrick   I'm in about 90% agreement with Bob Shaw's...   Jan 2 2006, 06:37 AM

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