Action Alert – Help Kill HR 5781 NOW

Action Alert – Help Kill HR 5781 NOW

September 23, 2010 Action Alerts, Blog, Opinion, Our Policy Voice
Urgent Action Needed to Kill Anti-Commercial Space House Bill

The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) urges every commercial space supporter to take action immediately. Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will bring to a vote the NASA Reauthorization Act. Unfortunately, they have decided to continue the failed policy that is Constellation.

“Although they’ve done their best to appear to be compromising,” Space Frontier Foundation Executive Director Will Watson states, “the fine text makes it clear that
they want to continue Constellation.”

Although Chairman Gordon has “tweaked” the language, if you look carefully, you’ll find the numerous landmines. For commercial crew, it:

  • Mandates 24 separate restrictions on the development of commercial crew, which is THREE TIMES more restrictions than the Senate bill.

 

  • Merges the budgets of Commercial Cargo with Commercial Crew, resulting in cuts of over 33% of the Senate Bill, and 51% of the President’s request. And depending on the allocation of future funds, this cut may wind up being as much as 80%.

These 2 issues will result in extending our dependence on Russia, postponing improved access to the ISS for scientists and engineers to do research, and pushing off Americans’ chances to fly into orbit on an American rocket. This is completely unacceptable, and is more than enough reason to oppose the Senate bill.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. HR 5781 also:

 

  • Tweaks the heavy lift language of the Senate bill to allow NASA to continue developing Ares I if the agency wanted to, all in a desperate ploy to continue the unsustainable Constellation program as-is.
  • Mandates that NASA give Congress 30 days notice before terminating or allowing any Constellation contracts to lapse, and gives special dispensation to the Ares solid rocket motors.

This is a level of pork that should be unacceptable to all citizens, and certainly to anyone concerned about the future of space. We urge our advocates and anyone who cares about space to call their Representative TODAY.

Uncle Sam Needs You
NewSpace Needs You!
  • Call the capital switchboard at (202) 224-3121.Tell them where you live, and they’ll connect you directly to your Representative.
  • When talking to your Representative, ask them to vote against House bill HR5781 or any House-written NASA Authorization bill if it comes to the floor this Friday or next week, and instead vote to pass Senate bill S3729 before the House recesses for the election.
  • If your Congressman is a Democrat, ask them to contact Majority Leader Hoyer in opposition to any NASA bill other than Senate bill S3729 coming to the floor, and to request that S3729 be brought to the floor for an up or down vote next week.
  • If your Congressman is a Republican, ask them to contact Minority Whip Eric Cantor in opposition to any NASA bill other than Senate bill S3729 coming to the floor, and to request that S3729 be brought to the floor for an up or down vote next week.

This is a battle that we can win, but only if we make our voice heard. Otherwise, special interests will continue to dictate the direction of NASA & U.S. space policy.

14 Comments

  • sftommy says:

    I disagree with your assessment and I hated HR 5781 for the same reasons your org does.
    I’ve read the compromise legislation and don’t see any reason to not ask my Rep to support this amended version.

    It’s all moot anyway, because of the way the SENATE version was voted upon, no substantial changes can be made without a new full note of the Senate. Which means continuing resolution.

  • Pathetic Lobbying says:

    NO! Support this bill. Protect the workforce, what’s left of it, extend shuttle and put the power behind a SDHLV. Do not support commercial bailouts!

    How much funding does this SFF get from commercial companies. Biased!

  • AmericaSpace says:

    HR 5781 is a balanced compromise that helps a nascent commercial crew launch industry get off the ground while also preserving our nation’s independent means of getting astronauts to ISS and (hopefully) beyond. The Space Frontier is over-reacting.

  • Rick Boozer says:

    “HR 5781 is a balanced compromise that helps a nascent commercial crew launch industry get off the ground while also preserving our nation’s independent means of getting astronauts to ISS and (hopefully) beyond. The Space Frontier is over-reacting.”

    The fact that you (one of the most ardent die-hard CX huggers I know of) is for this so-called “compromise” indicates to me that Space Frontier is anything BUT over-reacting.

  • […] Space Frontier Foundation says a House check would "result in fluctuating a coherence on Russia, postponing softened entrance to a […]

  • […] least one group isn’t buying it. The Space Frontier Foundation issued an “action alert” later Thursday blasting the bill for putting to many provisos […]

  • AmericaSpace says:

    Rick,

    I understand your animus tissues AmericaSpace–the vitriolic mail we get is impressive in it’s passion.

    But Rick, the elections are coming up. And it this Bill doesn’t pass, the the industry faces a Congress that will bear no fruit for the nation’s cargo and crewed launch industries. We either launch this industry now or we do it later–better to do it now than after the mid-year election when…the ultra Right will make sure that commercial space gets none of the help it needs.

    Politics can make strange bedfellows. Rick, I want to see the commercial launch companies thrive. I just happen to believe that they are not ready for prime-time for crewed launch. But they will be within a few years or less of cargo flights to ISS.

    If the House Bill doesn’t pass, my worry is that there will be no commercial launch companies ready to take up the mantle of LEO crew launch because the early-stage funding needed to get the launchers’ crewed hardware built and tested will sited go to ag subsidies or some other waste.

    Right now commercial space is trying to take NASA’s human space flight role. That’s silly. Our nation supports both gov’t run and commercial run airline/cargo–we can do the same in space. Noe is the time for the commercial space cargo launchers to build credibility and experience while laying the ground-work for future crewed launches. Without this Bill, and given the political prevailing wind of the mid-term elections, not to mention that we are talking about a Congress controlled by the President’s Party, the Compromise HR 5781 is the best that can be hoped-for and should be approved.

  • Rick Boozer says:

    Jim, if you really want to see "commercial launch companies thrive" you will give up your desire to keep the Constellation zombie going. The longer it sucks funds from commercial and other areas, the less money there will be for commercial and other important aspects of the America's human spaceflight future and the longer we'll be dependent on the Russians to send our astronauts to space. That is what I am against, NOT one particular website or another.

    You're right about one thing, politics CAN "make strange bedfellows". I suspect with the nation still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression that you will find that there will be little enthusiasm for this bill by most Republican politicians should they gain a majority given HR 5781's lean toward the economic tar baby that is Constellation. The SHORT TERM good for the part of Texas that you are most concerned with is NOT good in the LONG RUN for either that area and particularly the country as a whole. This so-called compromise is a complete charade. The rest of us aren't Trojans, we know what is in the wooden horse.

  • […] to continue Constellation,” Space Frontier Foundation executive director Will Watson said in a statement by the organization. The Foundation complains about “24 separate restrictions” on commercial crew in the […]

  • […] Space Frontier Foundation says a House check would "result in fluctuating a coherence on Russia, postponing softened entrance to a […]

  • RocketNut says:

    The prototype Ares 1x rocket cost the US taxpayers 9 billion dollars. The Ares 1 is likely to cost 10 billion more and is unlikely to be ready before the ISS is decommissioned unless the space station’s mission is extended. Even if the ISS is still in service when/if the Ares 1 is finished, the amortized cost per flight will be outrageous. The Space Shuttle fleet is 1960’s technology and requires a standing army of engineers and technicians to keep it going. At over 1 billion dollars per flight, it isn’t a viable program to keep running. In a competitive marketplace, both commercial providers and NASA will come out ahead. NASA will be able to select the most appropriate vehicle for a specific mission and more non-taxpayer funded jobs will be created. NASA needs to focus its talent and budget on science missions rather than building rocket vehicles. Yellow Cab doesn’t manufacture their own taxis, they purchase vehicles from commercial companies based on their requirements. Government purchased flights are the “anchor tenant” for commercial space companies. If commercial companies can sell the government launch services for cargo and crew, they will also have the ability to provide space transportation to non-government customers to access destinations such as Bigelow Aerospace’s facilities (there’s two demonstrator/prototype habitats in orbit right now). The Augustine report is a good resource that shows how bad things are with government run space transportation. I do not advocate that the US government hands out blank checks or free money to companies developing rockets. At the same time, I could advocate for the government to loan or advance some money to rocket companies against contracted services based on agreed milestones. This has worked well with SpaceX. It wouldn’t be long before the commercial companies would not need advanced funding and the government would only pay for services rendered. Time is of the essence. The Constellation project is way over budget and timeline. Without commercial crew and cargo, the US is going to be buying these services from Russia, Europe and Japan. Our astronauts will not only have to be excellent technicians, they will have to be fluent in Russian, French, Japanese and perhaps Chinese in the future to be able to go to space. Space in the next decade could be very exciting or bad government policies will remove the USA from man’s next great adventure. NO on HR5781. It’s a bad piece of legislation.

  • […] Space Frontier Foundation says the House bill would "result in extending our dependence on Russia, postponing improved access to […]