Space Frontier Foundation Applauds NASA's Bold New Direction

Space Frontier Foundation Applauds NASA's Bold New Direction

“Take Back Your Space Program!” Will Fight For Reforms on Capitol Hill

The Space Frontier Foundation called on Congress to back the courageous leadership of President Obama and NASA Administrator Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden as they rescue the US space program from certain failure in its ill-conceived effort to return to the Moon. The Administration is charting a new course based on common sense and a more normal relationship between the government and private sectors that will not only save billions of dollars but will help the US establish a NewSpace industry and eventually human settlements on the Moon, Mars and beyond.

“Everything we know of the plan so far is great!” said the Foundation’s Rick Tumlinson. “This new path will open space faster, cheaper and in a way that will pole vault US companies back to the front of the trillion dollar global space race. It will allow NASA to get back to the job of exploration – and yes, even return to the Moon, go to Mars and all the rest – but now we will be able to go to stay, and make it pay.”

The Foundation believes this new plan will help NASA do more at lower cost while transforming the US space industry back into the global force it once was. The Foundation asks: Do we cling to thousands of 20th century government-funded jobs for a few more years or enable millions of private sector 21st century jobs?  The role of government in a free society is to enable and regulate the private sector, not to compete with it – as has been the case so far in many areas of space, especially transportation.

“Government astronauts should not be driving trucks in Low Earth Orbit or on the Moon,” continued Tumlinson.  “They should be the vanguard of solar-system exploration, constantly looking over the next horizon, in the tradition of great American explorers like Lewis and Clark or the inspirational heroes of fiction like James T. Kirk – with the rest of us following and creating new wealth and opportunity. Maybe now, after spending decades literally going around in circles, America can pursue its true destiny: To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

The Foundation recently announced “Take Back Your Space Program!,” a year-long campaign in which citizens will visit Congressional leaders to advocate for policies that advance a free and open space frontier.

“Contrary to the hype from vested interests, these changes will help us take back our space program, resulting in more jobs, rather than fewer, in the aerospace industry,” said project manager Mike Heney.  “This is a major turning point, the chance of a lifetime to have an impact on America’s civil space policy.  The time is now to make your voice heard.  Don’t miss it.”

“Take Back Your Space Program!” begins with First Flight, scheduled for the week of February 7-12, 2010. During First Flight and later events, volunteers from across the US will visit Congressional offices to express their support for the bold leadership of President Obama and NASA Administrator Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden.

Citizens who want to help open the space frontier are invited to join the group for First Flight. All volunteers must be US citizens 18 years or older. Volunteers must commit to attend training on Sunday, Feb. 7 and participate in at least two of Congressional office visits during the week. For more information and registration, visit the “Take Back Your Space Program!” website.

Space Frontier Foundation Applauds NASA’s Bold New Direction [pdf]

16 Comments

  • Robert Mcbrayer says:

    when i first heard that thay cuttng Ares and giving 6 billion to the commercial space to develop a heavy launch vehicle
    i thought this could be a good thing companys like SpaceX are at the point of testing thar falcon 9 in a month or two manrating it will take some time but not as much ans a paper
    rocket going this route is scary but could get thar faster than undfunding Ares just look what happin to the space shuttle when thay undfunded and add more requirements we got this remarkable reusabl space transport but cost of runnig could have ben a lot less if thay what the funding. if we do not fund the development it going to cost more later on. and i do not see us doing that so giving commercial space a chance mayby worth triing

    but now i here that it all of constellation the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Summary and more importantly The Altair lander are on the path that NASA should be on. working on life support space to space transport

  • Gabe Kampis says:

    You are sick!

    Obama allocates $5.9 Billion over 5 years. First to pay for the Space Station, only then to the COTS people.

    The money goes through NASA. Do you think that you will see any of it?

    It will ALL go to Russia for Soyuz flights!

    If you want commercial spaceflight and you are a true-believing Capitalist then why are you sniffing around Washington?

    Build your own spaceships – no one is stopping you!

    NASA will not (cannot) take one penny away from Soyuz until COTS is up there.

    Also they will never let you dock to the US segment of ISS. You will have to float around until the Canada Arm 2 grapples you and berths you.

    What is the NASA market? If you are ready by 2015, NASA needs 8 seats a year for 5 more years. That's a total market of 10 flights!

    The US has NO LEO MISSIONS AFTER ISS.

    • innocbystr says:

      Thanks Gabe, I'd forgotten about paying the Russians. When I first saw the figures for the new NASA budge I thought to myself that that's barely enough to keep the lights on and pay the bureaucrats. If you want a good example of how the government handles money and administrating of it just check out how well it's doing with the $7.2 billion for high-speed Internet projects in last year's stimulus package. They should have just shut down NASA and put it out of its misery instead of leaving a "false front"…..

  • […] Space Frontier Foundation Applauds NASA's Bold New Direction […]

  • Statement by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden
    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/420994main_2011_Budget_Ad

    "Now let’s discuss the Constellation Program. The Program was planning to
    use an approach similar to Apollo to return astronauts to the Moon some 50
    years after that program’s triumphs. The Augustine Committee observed that this
    path was not sustainable, and the President agrees. They found that
    Constellation key milestones were slipping, and that the program would not get
    us back to the moon in any reasonable time or within any affordable cost. Far
    more funding was needed to make our current approach work. The Augustine
    Committee estimated that the heavy lift rocket for getting to the moon would not
    be available until 2028 or 2030, and even then they found “there are insufficient
    funds to develop the lunar lander and lunar surface systems until well into the
    2030s, if ever." So as much as we would not like it to be the case, and taking
    nothing away from the hard work and dedication of our team, the truth is that we
    were not on a path to get back to the moon's surface. And as we focused so
    much of our effort and funding on just getting to the Moon, we were neglecting
    investments in the key technologies that would be required to go beyond"

  • Statement by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden
    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/420994main_2011_Budget_Ad

    "…Now let’s discuss the Constellation Program. The Program was planning to
    use an approach similar to Apollo to return astronauts to the Moon some 50
    years after that program’s triumphs. The Augustine Committee observed that this
    path was not sustainable, and the President agrees. They found that
    Constellation key milestones were slipping, and that the program would not get
    us back to the moon in any reasonable time or within any affordable cost. Far
    more funding was needed to make our current approach work. The Augustine
    Committee estimated that the heavy lift rocket for getting to the moon would not
    be available until 2028 or 2030, and even then they found “there are insufficient
    funds to develop the lunar lander and lunar surface systems until well into the
    2030s, if ever." So as much as we would not like it to be the case, and taking
    nothing away from the hard work and dedication of our team, the truth is that we
    were not on a path to get back to the moon's surface. And as we focused so
    much of our effort and funding on just getting to the Moon, we were neglecting
    investments in the key technologies that would be required to go beyond.

    So this budget cancels the Constellation Program, including the Ares I and V
    rockets and the Orion crew exploration vehicle. NASA intends to work with the
    Congress to make this transition smooth and effective, working responsibly on
    behalf of the Taxpayers…"

    • Gabe Kampis says:

      To: Charlie Bolden

      Be brave. Chin up. The trick is for you to retain your credibility after this disaster.

      I did send you a while ago my proposal for ARES VI which would maximize salvage of previous Constellation expenditure, as well as Shuttle components and embodied the principle of maximum efficiency (Isp and structure).

      More appropriate possibly today would be to maximize EXISTING infrastructure and tooling (e.g. retain ET diameter and reuse KSC facilities).

      If NASA is not allowed to build Orion then Lockmart can build it. All Constellation experience, hardware and paper should be available to the commercial sector.

      I'm pretty sure that your thinking is already in this direction.

      Good luck.

  • Gabe Kampis says:

    The Joke ( the complete elimination of ALL US MANNED SPACE FLIGHT CAPABILITY) has gone too far, the time has come to act.

    Fire Lori Garver for her role in creating and putting out this policy.

    Fire the entire top echelon of OMB for their continued usurpation of elected executive responsibility for national decisions.

    Impeach President Barak Husein Obama as the author of the Joke.

  • MP_Walsh says:

    OK, I thought I would take a look at these comments and see if anyone was commenting on any new facts about the new COTS program and what it would look like. I didn't see any so I guess the SFF and its readers don't know any more about the rather vague new program than I do. At this point I don't know whether it is a bold new program or a pending disaster.

    I do believe we need consistency and not stopping periodically, tearing up the old programs, and heading in a new direction every few years. I just hope we don't do it again in 2 or 3 years.

  • Gabe Kampis says:

    Mr Walsh

    Please bear in mind that of Obama's increase of 5.9Billion ($) over 5 yrs one-half a Billion ($) each year will go to Russia for Soyuz services.

    You read it here first.

    The current price is $51million per seat but I estimate the cost (which the Russians intend to recover fully when the current agreement expires in 2012) to be at least $250Million per flight (2 passengers) and Nasa needs 2 a year at least.

    You are right in your second paragraph. This happens too often. Anyway, a new trajectory will commence at the latest on January 20th 2013. So hold your breath.

  • MP_Walsh says:

    Mr. Kampis

    Thank you for your reply. It is the first indication to me that anyone has been even bothering
    to read my posts.

    It is apparent that when the Shuttle is retired at the end of 2010 the only operating
    manned space capability available will be the ability to buy rides from Russia on
    the Soyuz and that will give them the opportunity to raise prices.

    Yes, I am ignoring the possibility of buying flights from the Chinese. They aren't
    there yet and we really have some good geopolitical reasons for not wanting to do it.
    Some of these are similar to reasons for avoiding dependency on the Russians
    but worse.

    However, I note that your posts seem primarily anti-Obama and anti-Garver and I
    don't buy the argument that our problem is that the Democrats were elected and
    everything has gone bad from there. If you want to go political we would carry this
    discussion off in a non-productive side-line so I won't continue that discussion,

    Mike Walsh

    • Gabe Kampis says:

      John F Kennedy was a Democrat and I am ecstatic about him, vis-a-vis the space program. Lyndon Johnston was the head of the program as VP and later he saw the Vision through.

      My comment is specifically re the space decision, which is awful, and neither the Man nor the Party.

      • MP_Walsh says:

        OK, but a call for impeachment of Obama and firing Lori Garver and somehow assuming
        Bolden would rather do something different seems more than a bit partisan.

        I might as well state my position, which really means little.

        I believe it is extremely important to continue the ISS as both a research station and
        as a goal for commercial operations. I do not like canceling the Shuttle before the
        U.S. has an operational replacement. I didn't like it under the old plan or the new plan.

        I think the shift to COTS for both cargo and personnel transfer to the ISS and other
        low earth orbit destinations can be done if provided significant government funding
        and if the contractors are held to specific, measured benchmarks.

        So far I don't see a plan for deep-space manned exploration although I do read some
        rather vague alusions to asteroid missions with no real funding guidelines.

        The SFF is a much needed, quite energetic organization, but to me one that seems
        to go off on tangents.

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  • Gabe Kampis says:

    "The SFF is a much needed, energetic organization, but one that seems
    to go off on tangents. "

    I agree.

    "Space Frontier Foundation Applauds NASA’s Bold New Direction"

    but that's not a tangent ….. it is FULL REVERSE!

    Anyone who applauds a policy which closes down ALL U.S. manned spaceflight ………

    well, I am at a loss for words.

    To define the Obama/Holdren/Garver policy as 'bold' is like being awe-struck by the initiative of the Lion in the Wizard of Oz.

    And it will take Americans to the Moon or Mars just as quickly.

    A further word of caution … businesses need to measure their market before investing.

    The market for US (and contracted Partners) is 2 seats to ISS every six months. Starting from when-ever a proposed TAXI service starts. And ending in 2020 (someone is day-dreaming when they say 2028).

    I make that a grand total of 10 missions, Maybe shared by two suppliers.

    Go ahead SFF and friends of the new policy…. invest if you dare.

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