In the coming weeks some in Congress will try to kill America’s future in space as they desperately work to prop up the tax sucking, pork eating, dreamslaying monster known as the Constellation rocket program. Right now a bought and paid for cabal of hypocritical puppets in the House and Senate are trying to prop up this corpse of a dead end plan to go to the Moon and Mars that not only failed to deliver on President Bush’s promise of a permanent US presence in space, but continues to eat the budgets of the very exploration it was meant to support.
Worse, in order to line the pockets of a few old space contractors, those who support what I call the Constellation Hallucination want to block President Obama’s plan to re-invigorate our space program that gets NASA back to exploring by kickstarting our commercial NewSpace transportation industry. With some democrats turning against their own president and so called conservatives lying to their own constituents about the choice between their strangely socialist space agenda and the NewSpace frontier enabling Obama space plan it is obviously all about the money – our money, and making sure it goes into the right pockets, not into opening space.
Those defending the status quo with hollow arguments that the president’s plan is destroying our space program have succeeded so far in confusing the public as to what this is all about, and worse, made American enterprise look like the bad guys while defending a NASA human spaceflight status quo that has been a failure to launch when it comes to the dreams they have peddled us for all the decades since Apollo.
This battle is full of ironies, for example, President Obama’s plan actually helps achieve President Bush’s of a permanent US presence beyond Earth orbit. In fact it will allow us to go anywhere in the Solar System and actually stay there, rather then leaving behind flags and footprints because we spent so much just getting off the Earth we can’t afford to stay.
Why? Because the new plan creates infrastructure and a new partnership between public funded exploration and private enterprise. It lowers space transportation costs by employing the innovative brilliance of US private firms to carry payloads and people on the short hop to low Earth orbit, develops a strong orbital infrastructure much like a coastal port system, and focuses NASA on the much more difficult and challenging work of creating systems to carry astronauts between worlds to explore.
And let’s face it, NASA has utterly failed in any of these areas since Apollo. For example, the space shuttle, though a magnificent machine, was sold to the people as being able to fly 50 times a year, yet as it is being forced to retire the barely 5 times a year it reaches orbit looks good compared to the alternatives.
The new White House plan does the following:
- Increases our investment in space exploration and operations. Contrary to the lies from the socialist space program’s defenders, NASA’s budget will go Up, to a new high of $19 billion, including almost $200 million to extend the space station we are just finishing building to 2020, reversing cuts in science by billions of dollars and investing $6 billion so multiple US vehicles can fly to and from the space station.
- It ends sole source, non-competitive cost plus contracting. Remember the million dollar toilet? The new plan calls for fixed price contracts based on actual delivery of services and goods to firms who actually compete for the work. Cost plus means you get let’s say 10% of whatever you spend. That means if my contract costs 1 million dollars I get to keep $100k. But if I can make the project cost $10 million I get to keep a cool million. Now you see how we have been flushing our money away? The new plan closes the lid on this drain of your money.
- It shifts taxpayer funds from re-inventing the space truck to investment in new R&D on deep space technologies and advanced propulsion systems for use between planets. Instead of pumping billions into an unflyable old style government rocket that has more in common with the 1960s than the 21st century, NASA will focus on developing ways to travel quickly between the Earth, Moon, Mars and the asteroids, and support work on such ideas as how to re-fuel rockets in space rather than throwing them away.
And it does all of this in a way that for the first time draws the tremendous creativity and energy of our citizen run private companies into the mix, letting them take over the been there done that transport of payloads and people on the first short hop to orbit, and freeing tens of billions of dollars and the rest of our nation’s space agency and explorers to get back to their real job – exploring!
Meanwhile, your local congress people are trying to push a bill known as HR 5781 that continues to feed the dinosaur of old aerospace by keeping Constellation alive and wounding NewSpace. Both HR 5781 and its Senate equivalent go out of their way to kill our chances of ever going anywhere in space. Instead they keep the cash flowing to the same cost plus contracts that have eaten billions of dollars of your money and delivered virtually nothing flyable. It creates new paper spaceships that not only waste billions of dollars doing what commercial firms can do better cheaper and faster, and guts science and research projects at centers and universities across the nation while doing it.
Even worse in some ways, congress wants to waste billions competing with them by funding NASA vehicles like the Orion space capsule, a paper “lifeboat” that does the same thing companies like SpaceX and Boeing/Bigelow are proposing to do anyway for their own space businesses anyway, only much, much more expensively and in a way that may kill off some of the companies possible investors along the way.
This ironic hostility towards new US space firms has manifest itself in ways that boggle the mind, and clearly point to an effort to kill this new industry before it upsets the current space pork farm. One of the most insulting is that while essentially banning NASA from moving full speed ahead to cut cost saving contracts with US commercial NewSpace firms to carry astronauts to the space station in the nearer term, Congress wants to spend billions of dollars of your money buying seats from the Russians in one of the most outrageous and literally out of this world outsourcing scams I have ever heard of!
So it’s up to you America. You can sit back and let the dreamstealers feed you their Constellation hallucination as they pick your pocket and deny your children’s dreams of their future in space as they have done for the last 40 years, promising everything and delivering nothing, or will you try a bet on American know how and ingenuity? Call the people you put in office to look out for you and tell them you want tomorrow back.