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Senators Demand NASA Continue Spending On Ares 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the needs-new-rims-for-his-chariot dept.
FleaPlus writes "Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL and ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee handling NASA funding) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) have added an amendment onto an emergency spending bill for military operations in Afghanistan, reiterating that NASA must continue spending its funds on the Constellation program, particularly the medium-lift Ares I rocket. Alabama and Utah have strong ties to Ares/Constellation contractors, and both senators are opposed to the new direction for NASA, with Shelby describing it as a 'death march' for US spaceflight and criticizing the emphasis on commercial rockets."
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Senators Demand NASA Continue Spending On Ares

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  • by Herkum01 (592704) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:19AM (#32219068)

    And this is why the US is such trouble. When politicians are eagerly representing a companies views rather than the country.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:23AM (#32219094)

      How's that wrong? America isn't made up of people. It's made up of corporations. And those corporations need representation, dammit. Thankfully, the Republican and Democrat parties realize this, and do everything to support these True Americans, and allow them to participate in democracy.

      • by dammy (131759) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @10:19AM (#32219394)

        It's those engineers and support personnel who are about to be out of a job in those states are the ones that need Ares funded. Although I do support the commercialization of space and getting NASA out of the manned LEO rides, I can sympathize with those who are about to be unemployed because of the budget reversal. My memories goes back to the mid 1970s when my father and his friends lost their jobs when Apollo 17 completed it's mission.

        Can I blame those GOP Senators for pushing for funding to keep jobs in their state? Nope, sure can't. Do I think it should be funded, nope, sure don't.

        • by jfengel (409917) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @11:01AM (#32219678) Homepage Journal

          Can I blame those GOP Senators for pushing for funding to keep jobs in their state?

          You can when they're also pushing for an end to earmarks, reduced government spending, and a generalized "the government can't do anything right" attitude.

          "Small government" is a valid position, but "reduce spending on everybody but me" is an attitude that merits blame.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by butlerm (3112)

            You can when they're also pushing for an end to earmarks, reduced government spending, and a generalized "the government can't do anything right" attitude.

            You know not of whom you speak. Senator Bennett recently lost out to two more conservative candidates for the opportunity to run in the Republican primary. Among other reasons, because he never saw an earmark he didn't like.

            • by Tycho (11893)

              This interview from May 12 with Bob Bennett I find interesting:

              http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126782931 [npr.org]

              While I don't agree with the guy very much on political issues, he does make some interesting points. This time around tea partiers flooded primaries with themselves. Worse, they didn't want to engage in rational discussion of the issues and were unwilling to consider compromise. They also seem to misunderstand what exactly one senator, or every Republican senator could do with res

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by butlerm (3112)

                Worse, they didn't want to engage in rational discussion of the issues and were unwilling to consider compromise. They also seem to misunderstand what exactly one senator, or every Republican senator could do with respect to HCR. All you got was just a drumbeat about the "loving" the Constitution. This will get them nowhere in Congress.

                That is a poor generalization based on a few anecdotes. There were ~3500 state delegates and the idiosyncrasies of a small number of them does not a proper analysis make. T

            • by jfengel (409917)

              I do know Senator Bennett. As I understand it he was ousted primarily over his support for TARP, and I'm not hearing any outrage from his former opponents over this. Earmarks get a bad name, but spending is spending; earmarks actually account for a trivial fraction of the budget.

              • by butlerm (3112)

                As I understand it he was ousted primarily over his support for TARP

                That is what the Tea Party folks claim, the real motives of the two thousand some odd delegates who voted in favor of other candidates are more complex. I suspect, for example, that sponsoring a federal healthcare reform bill with stronger individual mandates than those enacted with Obamacare was a bigger issue than TARP. The opposing candidates, at convention, hardly mentioned either. Bennett's voting record on a number of controversial

          • by DesScorp (410532)

            Can I blame those GOP Senators for pushing for funding to keep jobs in their state?

            You can when they're also pushing for an end to earmarks, reduced government spending, and a generalized "the government can't do anything right" attitude.

            "Small government" is a valid position, but "reduce spending on everybody but me" is an attitude that merits blame.

            One state's "pork" is another states "vital national program".

          • by tsm_sf (545316)
            The Right pays lip service to "smaller government" just like the Left pays lip service to "better education". Great way to whip up the base in an election year, but the problem itself is simply too complex for our current crop of officials.
            • by jfengel (409917)

              Great way to whip up the base in an election year, but the problem itself is simply too complex for our current crop of officials.

              I agree, though I'm not sure a new crop of officials would be any better. Hard problem is hard.

              • by tsm_sf (545316)
                Actually it's probably more a question of will. Smaller government and better education starts locally, and we've seen that it's one thing to talk about doing something and another to reject federal money or vote for school levies.

                Of course, this is the same country that both claims to be a Christian nation and still has a death penalty. Logic is not our strong suit when it comes to governance.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Dishevel (1105119) *
        Dummy.

        Republicans represent the rich and corporations.

        Democrats represent illegal aliens and unions.

        • by hey! (33014) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:46PM (#32221226) Homepage Journal

          Actually, both parties have a Terry Pratchett-esque gentleman's agreement on the "illegal immigration" issue. The Republicans agree to keep keep cheap foreign labor illegal so long as the Democrats don't try to enforce the law. The Democrats agree to let cheap foreign labor into the country so long as we pretend they aren't supposed to be here.

          The Republicans then rail against the illegality of the cheap labor they crave. The Democrats rail against the inhumanity of the Republicans toward "undocumented workers", while at the same time being complicit in the legal fiction that strips those workers of basic legal protections.

          The poor bastards living in a hole in the friggin' ground with no running water just want a roof of their family's head and drinking water that won't kill their children. They want to work create wealth, and better their lives. And they know blatant hypocrisy when they see it.

          If you want to secure the border, there's two things that you have to do. First, you have to increase the number of legal immigrants so they can provide the cheap labor which our economy is dependent upon. The second is you have to support economic development in the places they come from. You can't keep them out with walls or border patrols, much less laws written down in books they'll never read. You've got to reduce the force that drives them over the border, then reduce the economic incentive for subverting the border.

          • by OrwellianLurker (1739950) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @03:29PM (#32221504)

            If you want to secure the border, there's two things that you have to do. First, you have to increase the number of legal immigrants so they can provide the cheap labor which our economy is dependent upon. The second is you have to support economic development in the places they come from. You can't keep them out with walls or border patrols, much less laws written down in books they'll never read. You've got to reduce the force that drives them over the border, then reduce the economic incentive for subverting the border.

            Uh, all you have to do is fine the businesses that hire them severely until hiring illegal aliens is no longer economically viable.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by hey! (33014)

              If there were the political will to do that.

              But there isn't. That demonstrates that the real policy aim isn't protecting American jobs or securing American borders. It's the kind of problem that both sides perpetuate because they both profit from it.

            • by swillden (191260)

              Uh, all you have to do is fine the businesses that hire them severely until hiring illegal aliens is no longer economically viable.

              To find those businesses, I suggest offering green cards to illegal aliens who rat out their bosses.

              • Uh, all you have to do is fine the businesses that hire them severely until hiring illegal aliens is no longer economically viable.

                To find those businesses, I suggest offering green cards to illegal aliens who rat out their bosses.

                You don't have to find very many. After a few businessmen lose everything, the rest will catch on. If we really need a manual labor force, we can get them here legally.

                • by swillden (191260)

                  Uh, all you have to do is fine the businesses that hire them severely until hiring illegal aliens is no longer economically viable.

                  To find those businesses, I suggest offering green cards to illegal aliens who rat out their bosses.

                  You don't have to find very many. After a few businessmen lose everything, the rest will catch on. If we really need a manual labor force, we can get them here legally.

                  With my suggestion, you may not have to actually find any of them. As soon as businesses who want to employ illegals realize that they people they most need to hide their shady business practice from are exactly the people they can't hide it from -- the illegal employees -- they'll give up the idea. In fact, they'll become really paranoid about making absolutely sure that everyone they hire is legal, because it would be in an undocumented worker's best interest to find a way to get hired specifically so t

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by FatdogHaiku (978357)
        You actually hit that right on the head, funny or not.
        What counts is raising money to stay in power,
        and both parties are dirty to the tops of their eyeballs
        Democratic Party: Top Industries [opensecrets.org]
        Republican Party: Top Industries [opensecrets.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      Let's not forget that pork often produces jobs. Usually, the support comes from the representatives etc who come from the states where the jobs will be produced. They get campaign contributions from their constituents and the corporations (ok, their real constituents) as a result.

      • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:58AM (#32219282)

        Let's not forget that pork often produces jobs.

        You'd get more employment (and "stimulate" the economy more) if that same amount of pork was used simply to pay people at the bottom of the economic ladder to work on various things (perhaps even to go to school). But then you wouldn't be able to direct the money to your favorite political donors.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          You'd get more employment (and "stimulate" the economy more) if that same amount of pork was used simply to pay people at the bottom of the economic ladder to work on various things (perhaps even to go to school). But then you wouldn't be able to direct the money to your favorite political donors.

          And I never suggested otherwise. I was describing the full motive. It's not just for corporate welfare. Until we root out corporatism, the majority of the money WILL go to the corporations. Given that, the politician's job is not to fight corporatism (although I'd like to see that, it only works if enough of them are united, and good luck with that) but to steer it towards the benefit of their constituents.

          Yes, I find the whole thing alternately angers and depresses me, too.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Raven_Stark (747360)
        How about creating jobs that also produce a product that is more useful to the entire country?
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          How about creating jobs that also produce a product that is more useful to the entire country?

          Are you trying to open up a war about whether the research that results from spaceflight is worth the investment? Where I come from, we call that Flamebait. It's also more than a little Redundant since some tool brings up the same argument every time we discuss spending on space.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You mean that Alabama and Arizona senators vote for things that benefit Alabama and Arizona? Shocking. Next you'll probably tell me that most people are interested in themselves first and others second.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      You could also frame it in terms of the populace being so easily manipulated that the other 98 Senators (or maybe 96...) can't just laugh the damned amendment off the floor.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      If Republicans spent less time beating a bible and more time thinking -- really thinking about anything -- we wouldn't be in the shape we're in. It's like having our very own Taliban in our backyard, with the Republicans' many divisions sowing discord: their crazed birthers, their TV hate- and panic-mongerers preaching destruction and vitriol, their just-so-fucking-crazy-there's-no-excuse crowd, all frothing at the mouth.

      You can take Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh -- and Sarah Palin while you're at it, pleas
    • Well, I agree with the sentiment but really the politicians are representing their constituents who are employed by the corporations. Either way, it's just pure waste.

    • I agree that corporations have way too much influence over government policy. But that's not the problem here.

      You're oversimplifying things when you cast it as "the people" versus "corporations". In this particular case, the two are actually aligned. If Ares is canceled, it isn't just corporations in Utah and Alabama who will lose out there, it's all the people who work for these corporations, and everybody in the state who would be affected by the damage to the local economies. Which is just about everybod

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HangingChad (677530)

      When politicians are eagerly representing a companies views rather than the country.

      The party of "no" suddenly doesn't want to cut spending...when it's in their state. Apparently spending cuts are things that happen in someone else's district.

      That's why we have more aircraft carriers than some countries have ships in their entire navy, because no senator wants to give up the funding.

    • by tsotha (720379)

      I don't think it's so much they're representing companies as they want to be able to tell constituents they saved x number of jobs in the district. Unfortunately that's the sort of thing people base their vote on.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      And that's how we fix it : Lawrence Lessig's fix Congress First [fixcongressfirst.org]. Reps or Dems, several politicians support the Fair Elections Now Act. Support them and outvote the others. Ask your candidates their opinions and the reasons they don't support it.
    • by NateTech (50881)

      Better than spending on bad mortgages driven by politics through Fannie and Freddie by handing banks wads of cash that did nothing to alleviate the fact that those two quasi-government institutions are still dead-broke. At least we'll have technology gains and real jobs out of this type of spending.

  • Pork! Pork! Pork! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:25AM (#32219098)

    Budget be damned! Hold funding for the troops hostage to a steaming helping of pork. I thought Republicans where supposed to support the troops and be against deficit spending.

    These actions speak louder than words, and I hope the voters are listening this November.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:27AM (#32219108) Journal

      Yes they are listening, just through republican ears. These are highly tuned and will hear roughly the following: Democrats who vote against this are against funding our troops, republicans who vote for this are voting for our space program!

      Really, politics is a lot simpler then people think.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      The Republicans are what got us into this mess to start with. But that's OK, they believe their god will help them get through it. They're fine with screwing Americans because they think a rapture is going to come and fix it all for them. That would be typical of their religion, err political view. No need to let things like freaking logic or science get in the way, whack it with a bible and make it better.

      You know, maybe the whole 2-party system is responsible. See, with only 2 parties one can always be t
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by m0s3m8n (1335861)
      I'll give you one point - I hate ear-marks tagged onto other more important work. Other than that, you are a dumb f*&^. Why is it whenever dems want to enforce "PAYGO" it is the military that gets blasted. Let's look at the domestic side. Or how about a windfall profit tax on lawyer fees in law suits. How about 50%. But alas that will never work as almost 50% of the electorate is on the dole and once they realize they can vote for bread and circuses. Getting back to topic (sorry) the US without h
    • by fermion (181285) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:47AM (#32219210) Homepage Journal
      This is on the same order as the amendment to deny viagra to sex offenders or to fire workers who download porn once. Besides the fat that no one should vote for these because they are overly broad and badly written laws, these are clearly junk amendments that waste our money. We pay these freaks, and when they act like freaks playing games, they waste our money.

      In this case the harm is clear. We have people in Afghanistan and we have a much harder job to do with less money to do it because we wated 8 years in Iraq. The attack in times square shows the frivolity of spending a trillion dollars in Iraq while Laden was working with the Taliban to destroy America. But because Obama wants to fight a war for victory, instead of the Bush war for Haliburton profits, the republican guard all of the sudden can't support it.

      What is even more silly is that the amendment is an attack on fiscal responsibility and the free market. We don't need a city of bureaucrats running the government mandated spae program. Yes it is going to hurt. Yes, some people, who have no skills and have been living the high life at the tax payers expense, are going to suffer. Yes, some government funded luxury neighborhoods will be in deep trouble. But I hardly think it is my responsibility to keep otherwise unskilled persons living in the style to which they have become accustomed.

      Which is not to say I don't think we need a manned space program. A scaled down shuttle program, two launches a year, transitional to private launches to LEO and multinationally funded human spec launches to the solar system would be quite adequate.

    • Re:Pork! Pork! Pork! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Third Position (1725934) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:58AM (#32219278)

      These actions speak louder than words, and I hope the voters are listening this November.

      You don't have to wait until November. Bennet already lost his party's nomination. [kansascity.com]

      • by FleaPlus (6935)

        You don't have to wait until November. Bennet already lost his party's nomination.

        Quite true, and good riddance. However, given that this is Utah, whoever wins the GOP primary is pretty much guaranteed to win the Senate election. There are two remaining candidates in the GOP primary, Tim Bridgewater and Mike Le. Mike Lee doesn't have anything on his website about space, and Tim Bridgewater doesn't seem to comprehend that NASA is the civilian portion of the country's space program (the Air Force already has their own independent program):

        http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/05/09/with-bennet [spacepolitics.com]

    • Re:Pork! Pork! Pork! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @10:36AM (#32219500)

      hahahaha! you certainly drank the "wah on tarrah" kool-aid

      you imagine the troops haven't been hostage for the last eight years, using their blood to grease the skids for the defense contracting industry and for a political rallying point? that's ALL they've been bleeding and dying for! That's all this "war" is about.

      Here's some reality for you. The "Taliban" that hosted bin Laden is long gone, today the "Taliban" is any disgruntled afghan with a gun. We dropped the ball on Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, put it on the back burner, and instead went for war in Iraq to further defense contractor profit enhancement and gain another neocon agenda rallying point.

      We need to drop the budget to zero on these pointless wars now. budget be damned, indeed.

      • by Thuktun (221615)

        We dropped the ball on Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, put it on the back burner, and instead went for war in Iraq to further defense contractor profit enhancement and gain another neocon agenda rallying point.

        You forgot bringing Al Qaeda to Iraq.

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          we did even better than that, we turned Iraq into an Al Qaeda recruiting center.

        • by PachmanP (881352)

          You forgot bringing Al Qaeda to Iraq.

          ...

          Near as I can tell, "Al Qaeda" loosely translates to "angry brown people". I mean maybe there really is some sort of global conspiracy, but every time an armed group of Muslims shows up it seems like it's immediately labeled Al Qaeda.

          • by Thuktun (221615)

            You forgot bringing Al Qaeda to Iraq.

            Near as I can tell, "Al Qaeda" loosely translates to "angry brown people". I mean maybe there really is some sort of global conspiracy, but every time an armed group of Muslims shows up it seems like it's immediately labeled Al Qaeda.

            Except, of course, in this case the group in question allied itself with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization. It may not use Al Qaeda in the name, but they purport to have similar cause and purpose, so using the name Al Qaeda is far from being a shorthand for "angry brown people".

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda_in_Iraq [wikipedia.org]

    • I hope the voters are listening this November.

      What, and vote for a democrat? I don't think so...

    • !Pork (Score:4, Insightful)

      by yog (19073) * on Saturday May 15, 2010 @11:28AM (#32219846) Homepage Journal

      It's not pork; it's R&D that's every bit as valid as anything else the Federal government spends money on, if not more so.

      It keeps thousands of aerospace engineers, scientists, and technicians productively employed.

      It restores funding to a project that is well underway and is built on known, working technology (Apollo).

      It gives us an American manned launch capability in the near future, versus the complete unknown of relying on the private sector.

      It's a tiny investment; Nasa needs about $6 billion a year to keep Constellation going. It's literally a drop in the bucket compared to many other appropriations.

      The country needs a manned space program. Say what you will about the Shuttle and other manned spacecraft, they have been an inspiration to generations of young Americans to pursue science and engineering careers. While our private sector engineering jobs have dwindled along with our domestic industrial production, aerospace remains a promising field. Jet aircraft are just about the only big ticket industrial item America still exports, and aerospace technology from Nasa bleeds over to the jet transportation field all the time.

      Now consider what else the Feds spend our money on:

      $700+ billion economic stimulus - truly, this is almost all pork and includes various "jobs training programs", money for local construction projects, items like that which are traditionally considered bacon. Individually, these projects may have merit, but why should the federal government be funding them with a huge a deficit?

      $600+ billion for defense. Surely, 1% of this budget could be redirected to Nasa with no damage to our national security.

      $125+ billion per year for new healthcare obligations. That's roughly twenty times the sum Nasa needs, and it won't even cover all the uninsured. It basically is a payoff to medical providers to take care of the indigent or working poor who can't or won't provide for their own healthcare funding.

      We could easily cut a trillion or so dollars from our national budget and not even notice the difference. Maybe 25% of Pentagon funding, and a bunch of entitlements, and the economy would actually benefit from the expanded availability of lending capital.

      • Re:!Pork (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @03:35PM (#32221534)

        It gives us an American manned launch capability in the near future, versus the complete unknown of relying on the private sector.

        Wrong. Constellation was facing huge technical issues, none of which had known fixes. And isn't relying on the private sector what the US should be doing? I mean, it's what I hear from every red-blooded republican.

        It's a tiny investment; Nasa needs about $6 billion a year to keep Constellation going.

        Is that the current R&D, or is that its projected operating cost? And considering that the NASA budget stands currently at $20B, $6B is anything but a tiny investment. In fact, it is the single largest component of the budget, on par with the current entire Space budget.

        The country needs a manned space program.

        No, it does not. The space shuttle has stopped being exciting long ago. I got a bigger kick out of the Mars Rover than any Space Shuttle launch in the last 10 years (save the Save the Hubble missions).

        We could easily cut a trillion or so dollars from our national budget and not even notice the difference.

        Really? I mean, REALLY? You could cut 25% of the Federal Budget without there being riots in the entire country? I'm sorry, that's just delusional. As a matter of fact, you can look at the hubbub that came from just cutting 0.1% of the budget through the nixing of Constellation program, and see that there is never any cut that is going to be unopposed.

      • by voss (52565) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @03:51PM (#32221618)

        but is it the best use of NASA funds???

        1) It's not a good design,
        2) there are already other off the shelf American launchers
        available that can do LEO for cargo for less money and are less expensive to make man rated including
        the Atlas V, Falcon 9, and Delta IV heavy. The Delta and the Atlas are already proven launch vehicles
        and the Falcon 9 will likely have proven itself in a month or so. Ares I would not be ready until 2018.
        3) Ares sucks money away from other more viable space exploration activities
        4) If you want to keep NASA employees productively employed let them work on missions that get us out of
        Low earth orbit instead of trying to reinvent apollo(on steroids, on crack, on lsd?)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by camperdave (969942)
        It's not pork; it's R&D that's every bit as valid as anything else the Federal government spends money on, if not more so.

        No, it's R&D towards producing a product that already exists or can't possibly exist. ARES-I is a 20MT launcher, just like the Delta-IV and the Atlas-V. ARES-V requires so many engines that the heat will cause the nozzles to melt. It is spending money for the sake of spending money.

        It keeps thousands of aerospace engineers, scientists, and technicians productively emplo
      • by winwar (114053)

        "It's a tiny investment; Nasa needs about $6 billion a year to keep Constellation going. It's literally a drop in the bucket compared to many other appropriations."

        If it were a GOOD investment I would agree. But we already have other launch vehicles that can fill that need. And they WORK.

        "The country needs a manned space program."

        No we don't. We may WANT one. Which makes the project pork.

        "$700+ billion economic stimulus"

        Sound economic policy. Also a one time event.

        "$125+ billion per year for new health

      • No problem then - it can have it's own funding bill instead of this blatantly evil opportunism that is giving the entire project a bad name.
        It reminds me of the Get Smart joke -
        "How long will it take to get the government to fund it"
        "Six weeks."
        "What if we say it's an emergency?"
        "Twelve weeks"
        These utter bastards are playing with an urgent bill to drive their own agenda and it really doesn't matter how noble their agenda is, this is against the spirit of a Republic let alone a Democracy.
  • by segedunum (883035) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:41AM (#32219180)
    I don't know what they're talking about. NASA is military spending because most of NASA's contractors contract for the military. NASA is also a military organisation, believe it or not. It has been and continues to be a massive white elephant black hole for money. Whereas military contracts are for the military military contractors have also made tidy sums out of NASA's supposedly 'civilian' spending.

    The focus on commercial spaceflight is right and proper because that's the only way things will move forward. Creating another Apollo craft forty to fifty years on to hop, skip and jump into space simply isn't going to work. We're at a stage in spaceflight right now where the Wright brothers were with flight, and we've been in that position for fifty years.

    Spaceflight has not turned into the everyday occurence that everyone thought it would around the time of the moon landing. Hell, 2001 was nine fucking years ago. I still can't get over that. Frankly, progress has been a failure.
    • by pnewhook (788591) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @10:00AM (#32219292)

      NASA is military spending because most of NASA's contractors contract for the military. NASA is also a military organisation, believe it or not

      Yes, most of NASAs contractors also contract for the military because it just makes sense, but that does not make NASA a military organization.

      Did you know that the Air Force budget for space development and operations actually exceeds that of the entire NASA budget?

      Speaking as a NASA contractor, NASA is definitely NOT military.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Speaking as a NASA contractor, NASA is definitely NOT military.

        then how sir are you going to explain away their clearly militaristic logo?! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NASA_logo.svg

        i think it's quite clear the comet-esque item is actually a missile and the red lines the spilled blood of our enemies who's locations indicated by the "stars" (bomb sites) on the "blue circle" (earth).

        caughtcha!

      • by hey! (33014)

        Yes, most of NASAs contractors also contract for the military because it just makes sense, but that does not make NASA a military organization.

        But it does make NASA part of the military/industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address:

        In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

        Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961

        That's where the phrase actually comes from. It's n

        • by pnewhook (788591)

          But it does make NASA part of the military/industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address

          Having contractors that happen to also do business with the military does not make NASA part of the MIC. NASA simply does not do enough business for a subcontractor to solely depend on that income. They take military contracts to survive - that and the military contracts are far more lucrative than the NASA ones.

          a cozy relationship between military bureaucrats whose career depends on certain programs with contractors who profit by those programs and the Congressmen they have in their pockets.

          Completely agree with this point. Business and politics should be forced to remain apart. These Republicans trying to porkbarrel money for their own benefit are just disgusting. They should be t

    • The thing about space exploration, the reason why commercial endeavours will fail, is that it has no practical value. Sure, communication satellites, but considering the cost, these things take time to pay for themselves, much longer than terran commerce to produce results. It won't take long for any commercial organization that achieves space flight to realize the margins are pathetically thin, if they exist at all. Space exploration has always been about discovery, and never about commercial application.
      • How's that space elevator coming? That's the next stage of space exploration we should really be pushing for.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nyeerrmm (940927)

        You have a complete misinterpretation of what 'commercial space' means in this case. The government is still buying the vehicles, launching missions, and deciding where to go -- NASA is in no way being dismantled. What we're doing is just changing how we pay for developing vehicles, and trying to set up a system thats less vulnerable to political disturbances.

        Clearly the current way of doing HSF is failing. The only viable option to keep flying on an American vehicle right now is to keep flying the shut

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Spaceflight has not turned into the everyday occurence that everyone thought it would around the time of the moon landing.

      When everybody is five years old, they believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny too. What 'everyone thinks' has roughly zero relevance to the real world, doubly so when most people don't understand why we went to the moon in the first place. (Short version: political Viagra.)

      Hell, 2001 was nine fucking years ago. I still can't get over that.

      In other words,

  • by pedropolis (928836) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:54AM (#32219254)
    What planet did I wake up on today? Republicans criticizing the commercialization of low-orbit space flights? Demanding the return of a gigantic, overbudget, behind schedule rocket to nowhere? Obama for the privatization of space and Conservatives for the continuation of a government monopoly on space? Has everyone gone space crazy?!
    • by znu (31198) <znu.public@gmail.com> on Saturday May 15, 2010 @10:17AM (#32219382)

      The real motivation here is probably to maintain the flow of money to NASA contractors, who happen to also be politically connected defense contractors. In other words, it's the usual crony capitalism [wikipedia.org] that the Republicans seem to favor over actual market competition these days.

      • .... so that some other crony capitalists can take over space flight, technology only developed because of the huge public expenditure on space in general through the military and NASA, and sell it back to the public.

        Wow.

        This isn't about "NASA is bad" as much as it's about Obamas new friends getting to feed at the trough. In the end it's still the American taxpayer paying. Fortunately I'm not one.

    • No doubt the space program has lost its way. Bureaucracies have a way of doing that.

      Close NASA and give Space to the Navy.

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @10:57AM (#32219650) Homepage Journal

      ``What planet did I wake up on today? Republicans criticizing the commercialization of low-orbit space flights? Demanding the return of a gigantic, overbudget, behind schedule rocket to nowhere? Obama for the privatization of space and Conservatives for the continuation of a government monopoly on space?''

      I actually think that if you look more deeply into what the Republican party and the Democratic party are really advocating, and where Liberals (in the American sense) and Conservatives (again, in the American sense) fall on various issues, you may be in for a few more surprises. Republican politicians voting for larger government, more government spending, and less room for enterprising individuals and companies is really nothing new.

      Many people _believe_ that the Republican party is for big business, less government control, hard-working people keeping their money, and sane economic policies, and many people _believe_ that the Democratic party is for more government control, higher taxes, taxing hard working people (or even handing out money to those too lazy to work), and running up budget deficits for future governments to clean up after. Many people _believe_ that Republican == Conservative and Democrat == Liberal.

      As far as I can tell, these beliefs are widely held by people all over the political spectrum. In actuality, things aren't quite as clear-cut. In fact, there are many cases where things are the exact opposite of what these beliefs would have you expect. For example, there are many cases where US national debt has decreased under Democratic presidents, and many cases where it has increased under Republican presidents [wikipedia.org]. Also, American liberals largely vote for the Democratic party. They also tend to be wealthy and highly educated [wikipedia.org]. This contradicts some of the things that many people say and believe. The moral of the story? Always check your assumptions, and check the actual program and voting record of the participants in the elections, lest you vote someone into office who is going to do the opposite of what you want ...

    • by demachina (71715)

      You woke up on a planet where Shelby is the Senator from Alabama which is home to Marshall Space Flight Center. Ares is pivotal to the long term health of Marshall since it's leading development of Ares. Its led the development of every major NASA launch vehicle and is rabidly opposed, with good reason, to privatizing any of their mission. Marshall creates a lot of high paying jobs in Shelby's state, Boeing has a large office in Huntsville and no doubt fills Shelby's campaign coffers.

      You woke up on a pl

      • by hitmark (640295)

        and thanks to rocket launches being in the area of 50% wasteful, its good for the corporations and workers (tho automation will increasingly remove the latter) as the customer will always be back for more.

    • by Vellmont (569020)


      Republicans criticizing the commercialization of low-orbit space flights? Demanding the return of a gigantic, overbudget, behind schedule rocket to nowhere? Obama for the privatization of space and Conservatives for the continuation of a government monopoly on space?

      You must be new to this "politics thing". See, Republicans are critical of "big government" they don't like, or don't have any special interest in, but love spending in their own state or for projects they approve of. So spending on big milita

  • Retarded (Score:3, Insightful)

    by durrr (1316311) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @10:14AM (#32219364)
    Spending truckloads of money on a super expensive brand-name rocket that not only do nothing more than the generic ones around but whose purpose of shuttling stuff to the ISS makes it entirely fucking retarded as by the time the rocket gets to orbit the atomized remains of the ISS will be floating in the pacific.
    This is the most apparent short sighted bill i've seen in a long fucking while. Someone should add a clause that draws the additional funding required from the pocket of the senators and the companies they are puppets for, perhaps they would be motivated to produce something that's a bit less shitty and budgethogging if they had to pay for it themself.
  • American politics.. I admire how parts of it are beautifully crafted where checks and balances work.

    And then there are rider bills and the lobbying industry,.. wtf? you can do better America...

    • by Chih (1284150)
      And it's unfortunate that any attempts to make real substantive progress will be quashed by this highly polarized political environment. It kinda wants to make a taxpayer fire/ban everyone involved (Reps, Dems, AND the Lobbyists that get our dole)
      • by nschubach (922175) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @11:00AM (#32219666) Journal

        We definitely need a reboot. We are so fragmented and corrupt right now. On one hand, we have our virtual memory being consumed at an alarming rate while we borrow more and more disk space to cover operation costs that we don't have the memory for. On the other, we have applications that demand more and more memory without regard to how much the system can handle. The common solution is to put in more memory, but that only makes each byte of memory that much more insignificant and applications will demand more and more until our whole system comes crashing to a halt. ;)

  • Do a bit of research. What aerospace firms are in Alabama and Utah?

    It is ALWAYS about the money. 'Nuff said.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499)

      Sorry, but it can't be summed up in six words.

      It's easy to say that the republicans are in the pockets of some big company.

      The Republicans and the Democrats are in the same people's pockets. If some big aerospace factories close, thousands of people lose jobs, and the local representative doesn't get re-elected. The difference between the Republican and the Democrat is that the Republican thinks it's the big company's responsibility to give those people a job, and the Democrat thinks it's the government's r

  • He will no longer be a senator shortly. Didn't make it into the primaries this year and will be unseated in November. That leaves only one Senator backing this bill. I suspect it may not make in the final version if anyone pushes back.

  • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @11:32AM (#32219866)

    Here is the current direction of the space program ... in China

    Chang'e 2 - 2010, second lunar orbiter
    Chang'e 3 - 2013, lunar lander
    Chang'e 4 - 2017, return lunar sample to earth
    Chang'e 5 - 2020-2025 - manned mission

    Japan, India and Russia may also be competing for the 2020-2025 moon race.

  • by mstrcat (517519) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @11:47AM (#32219958)

    So I almost lost my breakfast over this one. The amendment doesn't say word one about getting anything useful, only that the spending continue. The legislators in question don't seem to care if the money spent returns anything worthwhile, only that we keep spending. Barf! No wonder everyone hates politicians.

  • Regardless of the reason, the Shelby blackmailing the passage of legislation isn't unusual. Between 2008 - 2010 he's requested a total of $488,734,050. I have no idea if they were all/any "good" programs (and I have no definition of good. I suppose "good" for his state is different than "good" in the overall picture.) For more info, source is here: legistorm.com [legistorm.com]
  • Issues on Afghanistan and NASA aside, it should be made illegal to tack irrelevant points to legislation in an effort to piggy-back otherwise ridiculous things into law or to sabotage bills with unpopular additions.

    Seriously what the fuck.

  • I work in the space program and this is not a fun time. Many people I know moved to the areas where the work is being done because they love space and want to be a part of advancing civilization. Here is the problem with space budgets. There just aren't enough flights to recoup development costs. So take the $10 Billion that was already spent on Constellation. Just guessing that half was for the Ares I rocket. So what would $5 Billion buy you on the commercial market today? 50 Atlas V/Delta IV launches or a
  • wut? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by J05H (5625) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:09PM (#32220588) Homepage

    So a budget increase, a scope increase and general revitalization of a flagging agency are a death march? Only when some of the suffering is in your district. Obama is promising more NASA for more uses and the Republicans are screaming no.

    Ares I is slated to cost $35 BILLION to develop. This is for a basically existing design. Delta and Atlas EELV cost about $5-7G together and produced two families of light-medium-medium-heavy launchers. Ares is a joke and the sooner it dies the better.

  • When did the republican mantra become "Spend Baby Spend". Oh, wait, they do like to spend don't they, it's the paying the bills part of it they have a problem with.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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