NASA’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL TO EDUCATE PUBLIC

About a year ago NASA created their own YouTube channel in order to provide the wider public with entertaining and informative way to learn about science, Earth, our Solar system and more. The videos are a collaboration of NASA’s astrophysicists, agency narrators and videographers. The videos are posted every Thursday around 4PM EDT. Future episodes […]
About a year ago NASA created their own YouTube channel in order to provide the wider public with entertaining and informative way to learn about science, Earth, our Solar system and more. The videos are a collaboration of NASA’s astrophysicists, agency narrators and videographers. The videos are posted every Thursday around 4PM EDT. Future episodes will focus on citizen science research; the search for new galaxies; how to watch this summer’s Perseid meteor shower; and the causes of recent wild weather events in the United States. The below episodes are the most recent. ZombieSat

Just when you thought it was safe to orbit Earth: Researchers say solar storms can turn satellites into zombies!

Power Of Sea Salt

Aquarius is the first NASA sensor to track ocean salinity from space, and aims to help uncover how the salinity of Earth’s oceans are effecting our climate.

Big Surprise

NASA’s Voyager probes have reached the edge of the solar system and found something surprising there–a froth of magnetic bubbles separating us from the rest of the galaxy.

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The Manned Space Program Is In Deeper Trouble And Greater Turmoil Than At Any Time Since The US Landed Men On The Moon

Work Continues On Constellation Despite Being “Dead” Soon The Los Angeles Times (7/18, Vartabedian) reported that even though Constellation is “almost certainly…dead within months,” work “continues at Plum Brook Station and other NASA centers and at private aerospace companies across the nation, where more than 14,000 people are still working on Constellation. Under pressure from […]
Work Continues On Constellation Despite Being “Dead” Soon The Los Angeles Times (7/18, Vartabedian) reported that even though Constellation is “almost certainly…dead within months,” work “continues at Plum Brook Station and other NASA centers and at private aerospace companies across the nation, where more than 14,000 people are still working on Constellation. Under pressure from Congress, NASA has been spending an average of about $9 million a day on the project.” According to the article, the US “now appears to lack not only the resources to mount a major human space program, but also the political will to eliminate the thousands of jobs connected with it.” Furthermore, “veteran space industry observers say the manned space program is in deeper trouble and greater turmoil than at any time since the US landed men on the moon.” “The choice is: Do we have a space program or a jobs program, because we can’t have both,” said Jeff Greason, president of XCOR Aerospace Inc. in Mojave and a member of a presidential panel that delivered a scathing assessment of the space program last year. Politicians cannot agree on long-term goals for the human spaceflight program, and the vast network of NASA facilities and private contractors is unable to make plans that keep pace with political action in the capital. More at http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/17/nation/la-na-nasa-future-20100718

NASA Cutbacks Causes Lockheed To Move 300 Positions and Cut 300 Contractors

Lockheed Martin is moving 300 positions away from development of the Orion space capsule and dropping another 300 subcontractors from the project over the next month. The Littleton-based division of the defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. said the move is necessary after NASA decided contractors should bear the costs of winding down the […]
Lockheed Martin is moving 300 positions away from development of the Orion space capsule and dropping another 300 subcontractors from the project over the next month. The Littleton-based division of the defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. said the move is necessary after NASA decided contractors should bear the costs of winding down the canceled Constellation space program, of which Orion was a part. NASA has yet to unveil what kind of funding the new mission for Orion carries with it. And the agency also recently informed Constellation contractors that NASA wouldn’t pay costs associated with halting the program. That left Lockheed Martin to cut work hours, reduce purchasing and make other adjustment to keep Orion going on its remaining fiscal 2010 funding. Lockheed Martin’s Orion project, managed from Houston, employs about 3,500 people, including subcontractors working for major aerospace companies such as Aerojet, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Hamilton Sundstrand, Honeywell, and United Space Alliance. More 500 smaller contractors in 28 states also work on the project. The biggest concentrations of Orion workers are in the Denver area, Houston, New Orleans and Cape Canaveral, Fla. About 600 Lockheed Martin Space Systems employees in the Denver area design Orion. Another 150 Lockheed Martin employees work on the project elsewhere in the state. Read more: – Denver Business Journal http://denver.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2010/06/14/daily70.html?ana=yfcpc If you enjoyed this information:
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Do you support or oppose the new Obama space plan ? Will the plan help or hurt NASA? Please post your comments here

NASA’a Future Space Program President Obama laid out more details on his future space program. Please give us your comments of whether this will be good for NASA or a mistake. ATI conducted a survey before the speech and 60 percent of the engineers and scientists who attended our professional development courses stated they thought […]
NASA’a Future Space Program President Obama laid out more details on his future space program. Please give us your comments of whether this will be good for NASA or a mistake. ATI conducted a survey before the speech and 60 percent of the engineers and scientists who attended our professional development courses stated they thought the new plan would hurt NASA or that they would oppose the plan , 32 percent supported the plan, and 8 percent were undecided. You can read their comments in earlier posts. The results of the survey and many remarks, both pro and con, are provided in an earlier blog posts. There were strong opinions by professionals in the field. Page down for previous parts of this post Overview of the Issue and supporting Opinions – Part 1 , Part 2 Opposing Opinions and Part 3- Undecided or Open Positions
Read ATI press release on the subject here..
  • Do you Support or Oppose the new Obama space plan?
  • Will it help or hurt NASA?
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A full transcript of his speech is at this link. http://www.nasa.gov/news/media/trans/obama_ksc_trans.html Addition information is at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100414/ap_on_sc/us_sci_nasa_future http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/space/6962725.html Speech Excerpts are below.

So NASA, from the start, several months ago when I issued my budget, was one of the areas where we didn’t just maintain a freeze but we actually increased funding by $6 billion. By doing that we will ramp up robotic exploration of the solar system, including a probe of the Sun’s atmosphere; new scouting missions to Mars and other destinations; and an advanced telescope to follow Hubble, allowing us to peer deeper into the universe than ever before. Now, I recognize that some have said it is unfeasible or unwise to work with the private sector in this way. I disagree. The truth is, NASA has always relied on private industry to help design and build the vehicles that carry astronauts to space, from the Mercury capsule that carried John Glenn into orbit nearly 50 years ago, to the space shuttle Discovery currently orbiting overhead. By buying the services of space transportation — rather than the vehicles themselves — we can continue to ensure rigorous safety standards are met. But we will also accelerate the pace of innovations as companies — from young startups to established leaders — compete to design and build and launch new means of carrying people and materials out of our atmosphere. In addition, as part of this effort, we will build on the good work already done on the Orion crew capsule. I’ve directed Charlie Bolden to immediately begin developing a rescue vehicle using this technology, so we are not forced to rely on foreign providers if it becomes necessary to quickly bring our people home from the International Space Station. And this Orion effort will be part of the technological foundation for advanced spacecraft to be used in future deep space missions. In fact, Orion will be readied for flight right here in this room. (Applause.) Next, we will invest more than $3 billion to conduct research on an advanced “heavy lift rocket” — a vehicle to efficiently send into orbit the crew capsules, propulsion systems, and large quantities of supplies needed to reach deep space. In developing this new vehicle, we will not only look at revising or modifying older models; we want to look at new designs, new materials, new technologies that will transform not just where we can go but what we can do when we get there. And we will finalize a rocket design no later than 2015 and then begin to build it. (Applause.) And I want everybody to understand: That’s at least two years earlier than previously planned — and that’s conservative, given that the previous program was behind schedule and over budget. So I’m proposing — in part because of strong lobbying by Bill and by Suzanne, as well as Charlie — I’m proposing a $40 million initiative led by a high-level team from the White House, NASA, and other agencies to develop a plan for regional economic growth and job creation. And I expect this plan to reach my desk by August 15th. (Applause.) It’s an effort that will help prepare this already skilled workforce for new opportunities in the space industry and beyond. But you and I know this is a false choice. We have to fix our economy. We need to close our deficits. But for pennies on the dollar, the space program has fueled jobs and entire industries. For pennies on the dollar, the space program has improved our lives, advanced our society, strengthened our economy, and inspired generations of Americans. And I have no doubt that NASA can continue to fulfill this role. (Applause.) But that is why — but I want to say clearly to those of you who work for NASA, but to the entire community that has been so supportive of the space program in this area: That is exactly why it’s so essential that we pursue a new course and that we revitalize NASA and its mission — not just with dollars, but with clear aims and a larger purpose.

NASA Is To Use Social Media: Open Government Plan

NASA recently embraced open government plan (see the plan here). This is great news for anyone interested in space exploration! The new plan will enable the public to communicate directly with NASA scientists as well make suggestions and propose solutions to everyday challenges of various projects. Whether NASA is using social networks to allow students […]
NASA recently embraced open government plan (see the plan here). This is great news for anyone interested in space exploration! The new plan will enable the public to communicate directly with NASA scientists as well make suggestions and propose solutions to everyday challenges of various projects. Whether NASA is using social networks to allow students to interact directly with astronauts or creating a Cloud Computing Platform to give unprecedented access to scientific data, NASA has embraced Open Government. Our founding legislation in 1958 instructed NASA to “…provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information…” The principles of Open Government have been embedded in NASA operations for 50 plus years. This plan is our start in revisiting these concepts and creating a new level of openness and accountability in our policies, technology, and overall culture. The plan will evolve over time as we continue to see success in these areas and work to replicate it throughout the Agency. The NASA Open Government Plan is divided into two main sections: the “Framework and Leadership” section and 25 fact sheets. The “Framework and Leadership” section describes NASA’s history of openness and outlines our framework for approaching Open Government. This framework is based on: a perspective of continuous learning; integration of policy, technology, and culture; and the rapidly changing external environment. We believe that integrating Open Government Principles into existing systems (e.g., governance councils and performance management system) provides the best framework for success. Through this plan we establish a solid foundation for institutional change based on the five NASA Open Government principles: Increase Agency transparency and accountability to external stakeholders. Enable citizen participation in NASA’s mission. Improve internal NASA collaboration and innovation. Encourage partnerships than can create economic opportunity. Institutionalize Open Government philosophies and practices at NASA. The 25 fact sheets in this plan highlight specific activities at NASA that meet and, in many cases, exceed the requirements Open Government Directive. Three “Flagship” initiatives describe NASA’s most recent efforts and commitment that take Open Government to a new level. Each “Flagship” initiative focuses on one of the interconnected tenets of Open Government: Policy: NASA is working to make open source software development more collaborative at NASA to benefit both the Agency and the public. Technology: NASA Nebula, the U.S. government’s only cloud computing platform, offers an easier way for NASA scientists and researchers to share large, complex data sets with external partners and the public. Culture: The creation of a new NASA Participatory Exploration Office will infuse more public participation into NASA’s mission. In addition to the “Flagship” fact sheets, this plan highlights four other new initiatives that demonstrate how NASA is more open and participatory, such as NASA’s contributions to Data.gov and Open Innovation Pilots. More than half of fact sheets outline ongoing initiatives at NASA that have been in place for some time and our efforts to make them even more open and collaborative. Some fact sheets describe ongoing activities unique to NASA that showcase our history of giving the public open access to our missions such as NASA TV and opportunities for public participation and collaboration such as Education Activities and Centennial Challenges, NASA’s prize program. Other fact sheets describe areas that apply to all Agencies, such FOIA, Congressional outreach, declassification, and records management. All of the initiatives, both new and ongoing, described in this plan outline how these areas will make improvements in the Open Government principles in the short and long term. In addition to the “Flagship” fact sheets, this plan highlights four other new initiatives that demonstrate how NASA is more open and participatory, such as NASA’s contributions to Data.gov and Open Innovation Pilots. More than half of fact sheets outline ongoing initiatives at NASA that have been in place for some time and our efforts to make them even more open and collaborative. Some fact sheets describe ongoing activities unique to NASA that showcase our history of giving the public open access to our missions such as NASA TV and opportunities for public participation and collaboration such as Education Activities and Centennial Challenges, NASA’s prize program. Other fact sheets describe areas that apply to all Agencies, such FOIA, Congressional outreach, declassification, and records management. All of the initiatives, both new and ongoing, described in this plan outline how these areas will make improvements in the Open Government principles in the short and long term. The fact sheets all follow the same structure to enable easier browsing and comprehension. Each one is written by the respective initiative, project, or program giving them the opportunity to communicate what they do, how it fits into Open Government, their goals for the next two years, useful links, and two anecdotes that embody Open Government. The Web site www.nasa.gov/open/plan has the entire plan online, where each fact sheet is its own Web page. The Open Government Directive calls on NASA to do what it does best-innovate. In our history, we have achieved seemingly impossible goals, from reaching the Moon to advancing fundamental knowledge about our place in the universe. In the past we would create the technologies to achieve these goals through internal teams and collaborations. NASA must now innovate how we innovate, focusing on technologies that advance humanity into space while more directly involving citizens and public-private partnerships. The Open Government Directive also calls on us to change the way we do business, and as a result turn us into a twenty-first-century space program for a twenty-first-century democracy.

Senators urge President Obama to re-evaluate his proposed cancellation of the Constellation program

U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet met with NASA Administrator, General Charlie Bolden, to urge President Obama to re-evaluate his proposed cancellation of the Constellation program. See some of the earlier posts below, both pro and con, by students and instructors of ATI’s Space and Satellite professional development classes and training seminars. The Senators’ […]
U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet met with NASA Administrator, General Charlie Bolden, to urge President Obama to re-evaluate his proposed cancellation of the Constellation program. See some of the earlier posts below, both pro and con, by students and instructors of ATI’s Space and Satellite professional development classes and training seminars.

The Senators’ letter to President Obama follows:

April 12, 2010 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President: As you prepare for the April 15th conference on America’s future in space, we want to share our thoughts with you on the proposed budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for fiscal year 2011, as well as outline some goals for a shared vision for the future of space exploration. While there is much to like in the proposed FY11 NASA budget – including new investments in science and aeronautics research, extension of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2020, and an additional $6 billion over five years largely for development of new space exploration technology – the cancellation of the Constellation program raises many concerns. For Colorado – where the Orion capsule is being developed – this move would lead directly to the loss of over 1,000 jobs and indirectly to thousands more. More broadly, we are concerned that a reliance on unproven commercial providers for U.S. access to low Earth orbit (LEO) compromises America’s leadership position in space. It is also unclear what, if anything, will become of the significant investment in Constellation to date.

We strongly support development of commercial launch capabilities and space services. Colorado is home to many companies on the cutting edge of aerospace, two of which recently won NASA contracts to further the commercial sector’s capability to support transport of crew to and from LEO. We look forward to the day when the commercial sector can provide these services, freeing NASA to focus on development of new exploration technologies and human missions beyond LEO. However, the proposed NASA budget presumes that day is close at hand even though the commercial sector has yet to prove it can safely put a human into orbit. Should they fail to deliver, America will be reliant on Russian-procured launch services to ISS and LEO for the foreseeable future. This is an unacceptable position for the security of the nation.

The decision to terminate NASA’s development of a follow-on to the Space Shuttle has other important implications for our national security. The Department of Defense (DOD) is currently examining the impact of this decision on the U.S. space launch industrial base. We rely on this industry to sustain our strategic deterrence mission and to assure access to space through launch programs. DOD officials have stated that Constellation’s cancellation could increase the current price of propulsion systems for our launch vehicles. We understand that a DOD assessment of launch program cost impacts will not be completed until summer 2010, but it seems clear that the cancellation of Constellation will result in at least some of the costs of overhead and underutilized industry resources being passed on to DOD. As DOD does not yet fully understand the impacts on its space launch programs of cancelling Constellation, we are concerned the decision to end the Constellation program is premature.

We recognize that there are significant obstacles you must overcome with the Constellation program as it is currently configured, not the least of which is chronic under-funding. The blue-ribbon commission you convened to study options for the future of human spaceflight began its report by saying, “The U.S. human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory. It is perpetuating the perilous practice of pursuing goals that do not match allocated resources.” However, we believe there is a way forward that balances stimulation of commercial service providers with the proven capabilities of NASA and its industrial partners, a way that responsibly uses limited taxpayer dollars and allows NASA to continue to serve as an inspiration to future generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers. We hope you will use the April 15th forum to describe in more detail how you plan to maintain America’s leading role in space exploration, and look forward to working with you on a NASA budget that reflects that commitment.

ATI’s Space Industry Professionals Weigh-In: Obama’s Decision to End NASA’s Constellation Program (Part 3)

Please click here for previous parts of this post Part 1 Part 2 Undecided explanatory comments of how this change will affect NASA and Manned space exploration: ________________________________________________________________________ “There are many who believe, some passionately, that most of NASA’s money spent on manned space flight has been a waste. Robotic space has high pay-offs, at […]
Please click here for previous parts of this post Part 1 Part 2

Undecided explanatory comments of how this change will affect NASA and Manned space exploration: ________________________________________________________________________ “There are many who believe, some passionately, that most of NASA’s money spent on manned space flight has been a waste. Robotic space has high pay-offs, at far less bucks for the results. Manned (and even that term is not PC) space flight has been a massive make-work program for a few privileged companies. Romantic, yes. Eye-candy, yes. Spectacular, yes. Sometimes of political advantage, yes. Sensible, in the larger scheme of things? Now that would be worth serious debate.”

ATI encourages further participation from both the public and private sectors to continue this important and controversial debate.

ATI is planning a follow-up poll after the President’s April 15th conference on NASA’s future where he will outline his strategy for the next step in space exploration. Jenkins says, “It will be interesting to see if any opinions shift after the President details his strategy for the future of space, since those details have yet to be presented beyond his 2011 Fiscal Budget Plan.”

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) specializes in professional development seminars in the technical areas of space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. For over twenty-five years, ATI has presented leading-edge technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DoD and aerospace contractors. ATI courses provide a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications. ATI has the unique capability to schedule and deliver courses in a matter of weeks. They offer customized on-site training at your facility anywhere in the United States, as well as internationally and over 200 annual public courses in dozens of locations. World-class design experts lead courses. To register or for an on-site quote, call (888) 501-2100, or visit them on the web at www.ATIcourses.com

ATI’s Space Industry Professionals Weigh-In: Obama’s Decision to End NASA’s Constellation Program (Part 2)

For Part 1 of this post please click here Explanatory comments in opposition of how this change will affect NASA and Manned space exploration: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “The new Obama space plan will definitely hurt manned space exploration. In this area, as in others, Obama is a leader who lacks vision.” ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “The Obama space plan doesn’t […]
For Part 1 of this post please click here

Explanatory comments in opposition of how this change will affect NASA and Manned space exploration:

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “The new Obama space plan will definitely hurt manned space exploration. In this area, as in others, Obama is a leader who lacks vision.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “The Obama space plan doesn’t appear to be a plan at all. He apparently wants to eliminate existing plans to use the Moon as a staging area for future space exploration, while at the same time eliminating heavy-lift launch capability. That would be the death-knell for future manned space exploration.” “Although unmanned scientific space missions would continue under the Obama plan, it is not clear how much support unmanned missions would receive in the future. Obama is of the opinion that the U.S. space program has had low return on investment. That notion is standard liberal poppycock. Estimates of the net loss in jobs (5000 – 7000 jobs lost) are probably low. The actual net job loss would likely approach 10,000.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “I believe we need to maintain the space program at this current level at the least. That includes launching, space science and the manned space program using our own launcher. I do not believe it is good policy to rely on the Russians to put us in space. “No, I do not support that plan.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “No….I feel this will put an end to manned space flight outside of LEO for the US. Doesn’t bode well for servicing mission to the Webb Telescope (that would be a know need), let alone any further exploration and experience outside of LEO. There is no money in the budget to pursue both, technology leaps would have occurred if they were remotely feasible. It is a tremendous waste of taxpayers’ money and the skilled workforce will take a generation to recover if this in fact happens, as the Aerospace and NASA industry is already aging.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “NO. The way forward is ill-advised. Many programs now mentioned in the President’s budget are low-hanging fruit, having been worked on within NASA for years and should now be given to the commercial world. NASA should keep in part Human Spaceflight (HSF) as a major infrastructure issue, not unlike highway and air traffic systems. The US government must stay involved for development in a safe and sustained way (when BIG government works best) without competing with commercial space market. It is good to have commercial know-how, but for the overarching system, the US government must provide goals and leadership in concert with the desires of the nation. The NASA budget is very modest compared to expenditures of recent Administration commitments, and a parallel manned system to commercial HSF systems is the way to maintain American manned access to space. The AF has assured access to space through EELV. Surely another government agency should ensure human access to space. It seems that NASA has now trepidation for the future of human spaceflight and space development, so perhaps another civil agency such as the FAA Office of Commercial Space should undertake this bold challenge (?) to balance both commercial and civil HSF systems ensuring our (US) economic growth in space. The US is the only country with budgets large enough to do the tough infrastructure development that lay the foundation for the economic development of space—from which later the American economy can be rewarded. There will be no quick ROI from space—more of long term growth, long term development (10-20 years), with funding consistency, like the utilities industry. And funding must remain predictable and consistent for commercial planning purposes. The question should be ‘Is NASA able to give consistent and solid leadership to continue our American heritage in space?’—manned, unmanned, and safe? And a question for later, how will the commercial development of space be protected from pirates, terrorists, space debris, sabotage, early warning of solar and radiation effects, which provide other opportunities for entrepreneurial developments. This year NASA is losing its importance as a global leader in space exploration at its own hand. Commitments made and not followed through, and a past history of elbowing the US industry out of ‘competition’ has hurt the NASA image. So less government commitment for space exploration is occurring as a solution. NASA should look internally to understand this failure. I am reminded of Apollo 13 and how failure then was never considered an option, against all odds. And yet here we are—NASA withdrawing in failure. Failure to stand up and fight for the budgets it requires to ‘do the hard things’. NASA in the past has competed with the commercial space launch business and industry scientists and PI’s, and would not fund commercial ideas—but they would take commercial concepts for their own without cutting out work for the originator of the idea . This created a reluctance to partner with NASA and dependence and reliance on NASA and only NASA–within the nation and world-wide—for programs which NASA could not deliver at costs they could not determine and later could not afford. NASA has defeated free market access and commercial enterprise interest in space development for years although persistence and unlimited private funding has begun to grow this market segment even before the Augustine panels and report. NASA created a dependence on solely themselves for manned access to space, access to ISS for the US and the world (solely through the Russians or NASA), SCRAMJET technology development through them, data from any sensors in solar system explorations and earth remote sensors only built by them and collected by them (JPL is NASA). With so much now depending on ‘them’, the President by advice of OSTP and NASA top management has decided to abdicate. NASA as an agency should have been in commercial partnerships all along. Now is not the time to withdraw from manned spaceflight leadership. We still need an alternative to the commercial spaceliners. And there was a successful demonstration on October 28, 2009 of a system that can parallel commercial market development. A major mishap will set back the commercial side of a manned program. Big government has to remain in the game to keep the manned space efforts filled with substance safely. These programs belong to the American taxpayer regardless of whether NASA funds commercial business or does it themselves. If anyone with an ‘inside the beltway’ address will be open to hear, maybe the taxpayer should decide the priorities for funding. For the billions of dollars in funding that NASA has received in the last 3 decades, there is little space transportation growth to show except for science projects to Mars and the outer planets. Manned spaceflight has been stuck in LEO. And it will take manned spaceflight to grow a viable economy in space. It will take NASA in partnership with the innovation of industry to ‘unstick’ us safely out of earth orbit in order to visit our solar system and learn more about potential threats outside of earth’s magnetosphere. And both NASA and the commercial space efforts need sustained and predictable funding for years to come to be successful.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “Working in this industry here at Cape Canaveral Florida, I know the dedication of the work force and the passion for what is done. We follow in the legacy of the “Steely-eyed Missile Men” that achieve the greatest feat of the 20th Century, landing a man on the moon. Look at the technology that came from that effort in just a short 10 year time span. Technology that the planet runs on everyday. We created, built, and integrated that technology that achieved a goal landing in the Moon within a ten year period. Even though we may not be at the pinnacle of that feat now, we never the less still need to at least continue to provide our (the United States) own transportation to the International Space Station. Going back to the Moon may not be a high priority right now, so why not scale back Constellation to provide assured access to the space and keep our experienced work force intact to help build the future of human space flight. But to stop dead in your tracks and start all over is wrong and then to rely on the Russian to provide transportation to the Space Station, ironically in a rocket that traces it heritage back to Sputnik! Yes, the Russian have relied on ONE launch vehicle for human space flight over the past 50 years, even though they failed at a few others. The United States has used six different launch vehicles over that same 50 year period and by the end of this year we will have NOTHING to fly to space and no capability of resurrecting any of those past 6 vehicles to get up to orbit. Even though ARES-1 isn’t the best option, NASA should reorganize and expedite the ARES-1 and Orion development to become strictly an ISS transportation vehicle. Then build off of their lessons learned as to develop the future manned spacecraft and launch vehicles. I grew up with the space program, watching the Apollo missions on TV as a kid and it was those conquests and achievements that encouraged me to become an engineer. But now we’ll have nothing for the future generation to watch, admire, and to encourage them to pursue math and technology in school. Ask them who invented the technology for their fancy video games, they’ll say the Japanese. They don’t even now that the origins of integrated circuit is America’s Space Program. We need something for those kid to see and encourage them, watching a rocket the Americans designed and built flying to space will interest them more than some 100 page report from some PhD on the next manned spacecraft design, filled with “if we do this” or “if we do that” statements. Not sure what the future generation will want to be when they grow up, but chances are it won’t be mathematicians and engineers. So we’ll have to rely on the countries to fill those jobs just like we’ll rely on Russia to take US Astronauts to the ISS… BUT AT LEAST WE’LL HAVE HEALTH CARE!” “White House plans to cancel the Constellation moon rocket program could jeopardize U.S. leadership in space exploration. Criticism, from both Republicans and Democrats, underscores the difficulty that President Barack Obama faces in convincing Congress of his plan, which would terminate Constellation and instead rely on commercial rockets or on Russia to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. “It could leave our country with no human exploration program, no human-rated spacecraft and little ability to inspire the youth of America,” said U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who chairs the House subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “The plan to go to Mars and abandon the moon will put manned exploration beyond low earth orbit behind by 2-3 decades. The VASIMR propulsion technology is decades away from being able to send any appreciable mass to the red planet. Nuclear reactors in space needed for the VASIMR plasma engine have been abandoned since the seventies and need to be reconstituted needing significant time to get to a working level for either test or even flight. Without Constellation there will be no capsules or other manned craft for an appreciable time. No heavy lift vehicle is even close to the drawing board as well. It is a presidential blunder of enormous magnitude – on scale with the unilateral decision to invade Iraq.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ATI encourages further participation from both the public and private sectors to continue this important and controversial debate.

ATI is planning a follow-up poll after the President’s April 15th conference on NASA’s future where he will outline his strategy for the next step in space exploration. Jenkins says, “It will be interesting to see if any opinions shift after the President details his strategy for the future of space, since those details have yet to be presented beyond his 2011 Fiscal Budget Plan.”

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) specializes in professional development seminars in the technical areas of space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. For over twenty-five years, ATI has presented leading-edge technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DoD and aerospace contractors. ATI courses provide a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications. ATI has the unique capability to schedule and deliver courses in a matter of weeks. They offer customized on-site training at your facility anywhere in the United States, as well as internationally and over 200 annual public courses in dozens of locations. World-class design experts lead courses. To register or for an on-site quote, call (888) 501-2100, or visit them on the web at www.ATIcourses.com

ATI’s Space Industry Professionals Weigh-In: Obama’s Decision to End NASA’s Constellation Program (Part 1)

Last week, Applied Technology Institute, a Space & Satellite technical training company for various NASA facilities, DoD and Aerospace contractors, surveyed their Space and Satellite clients and space industry expert instructors to find out how they feel about President Obama’s controversial decision to cut NASA’s Constellation Program. All survey participants are likely to be affected […]
Last week, Applied Technology Institute, a Space & Satellite technical training company for various NASA facilities, DoD and Aerospace contractors, surveyed their Space and Satellite clients and space industry expert instructors to find out how they feel about President Obama’s controversial decision to cut NASA’s Constellation Program. All survey participants are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly, by the shift in direction for the National and Space Administration as outlined in President Obama’s 2011 Fiscal Budget Plan. ATI’s Technical Director, Jim Jenkins says he saw an opportunity to support a healthy debate among space professionals that the public may be interested in hearing. “The Constellation controversy has been covered by varying viewpoints from different news sources, but we think people want to hear the opinions of those actually working in the space industry—those who have the technical knowledge and space industry expertise to understand how this decision may affect the space industry long-term,” he says. ATI’s survey asked the participants to weigh-in, expressing support or opposition to the President’s budget decision to cut the Constellation program in order to, “Build the Foundation for a Bold New Course for Human Space Flight, “ followed by an opportunity for them to explain their opinions as to how this change will affect NASA and manned space flight exploration. ATI’s Constellation Controversy Survey Results Summary A majority of 60% percent opposes the President’s decision to cut NASA’s Constellation Program while 32% percent expressed support. A few of the survey participants, 8% percent, are undecided. Nearly all participants explained their opinions in detail with regard to how the decision will affect NASA and manned space exploration. Explanatory comments in support of how this change will affect NASA and manned space exploration: “It is the only Obama policy I agree with. NASA needs to get out of the space business so that private industry can do something useful in space. NASA is, and has been, the major impediment to the industrialization of space. Why would someone develop a cost effective approach to space access and exploitation, when NASA spends billions to do what should cost millions (hint: look at all the progress)? If NASA made cell phones at least Apple would not be suing Google’s clients. The only thing more foolish than keeping NASA as-is would be creating a socialized health care system…oh wait… You are surveying the wrong folks. You should survey people who are trying to do something useful in space. People like Jeff Bezo, Elon Musk, Paul Allen, Richard Branson… Ask the real space industrialists and entrepreneurs what they think. I am guessing that they will tell you that NASA has held back space exploration and development for 40 years. Time to try another approach.” ______________________________________________________________________________________ “In my view, the new Obama space plan has a great potential to help the manned exploration of space. What the space program has needed all these years is an inexpensive way of handling large, manned and unmanned payloads from the surface of the earth into orbit – and beyond – at affordable rates. In short, we need “the DC-3 of space”. The approach we have been taking has not even come close to producing such a flying machine. Gain cheap access to space, lower the logistics costs, and everything else will fall into place. Come back with me to 1984. A typical GPS receiver of that era, the Texas Instruments 4100, cost $139,000 and we spent about $4000 to send one pound of payload into space using an expendable American booster. Now fast-forward to 2010: GPS receivers are so cheap (about $100 each), we give them away in my classes! And how much does it cost today to send one pound of payload into space with an expendable American booster? Around $6000 per pound! In that same 26 year interval almost every available high-technology product has either become enormously cheaper or far more capable. Why not booster rockets? So, should we just keep doing what we have been doing along the space frontier? Or worse yet, go back to reusing booster rockets that were developed 20 or 30 years ago? Surely we can do better! Maybe more free enterprise is the answer. What should NASA be focusing on? Cheaper ways to put large payloads into space. Are robotics missions a better approach? Sometimes. We keep about 2000 human beings in Antarctica year around and several thousand more in the summer months. Would it be more cost-effective to replace them with robots and teleoperators? Per unit of useful work, would it be cheaper? Maybe. Do we want to make that replacement? I don’t think so. In 1969 in my first book, I wrote about the funerals in which elderly Italian mourners were hired to wail and moan. As I asked at that time: “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to develop spring-wound mechanical mourners? Maybe so. But isn’t human presence somehow, in some cases, more special. If not, why does anyone ever go to a football game now that we have such excellent television coverage? Why do we go on vacation for that matter? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to stay home and watch travelogues?“ _______________________________________________________________________________________ “Yes, but only if something is done to continue manned U. S. presence in space. What he did does nothing but kill the U. S. manned space program and force the U. S. to rely on foreign governments for several years to come.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ “YES, but we should continue flying Shuttle until we have a demonstrated replacement capability operating. We should not look to other countries for our space taxi service. YES, I support decision to terminate Constellation program, but because it is not affordable and sustainable while performing any real exploration, e.g. spending all of our resources on the transportation system like we were in Apollo. This is the reason we terminated the Apollo Lunar program so that we could develop a reusable space transportation system that would bring down the cost of transportation. The Shuttle reduced the cost to ~ 1/3 of the cost using the expendable approach. We need to continue to develop and improve the reusable transportation system architecture to achieve this objective before we start considering a trip back to the moon or to mars. The shuttle cost reduction did not fully achieve the cost goal; however, we did not place any hard requirements on Life Cycle Cost controls during the DDT&E phase with a continuing cost reduction improvement objective.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ “Yes, I support the new plan for NASA. Newer technologies are clearly beneficial and the constellation was unsustainable.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ “The good news for sure is an increase of $6 billion over the next five years. It stresses new technology and innovation (to the tune of over $1.5 billion), which is also good. A lot of NASA’s successes have been from pushing the limits on what can be done. It also stresses Earth science, which isn’t surprising at all; Obama appears to understand the importance of our environmental impact, including global warming. So that’s still good news” ________________________________________________________________________________________ “We need to move beyond the shuttle. Specifically we should invest in a reusable first stage booster build using SOTA technology.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ “It help NASA determine their future course of action. Create jobs and advance our knowledge of Space.” “Yes. Constellation was unsustainable without a major funding increase, which was not going to happen in this economic climate. Success in the new program is better than failure in Constellation.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ “Yes. It was stupid for NASA to have agreed to the previous administration’s request to go to Mars with a hugely expensive detour to the Moon, particularly with inadequate funding. Why not just purchase some Russian Soyuz capsules and rockets? The Russian system is reliable and not that expensive. And whether Constellation is cancelled or not probably won’t matter. I don’t think that many Americans give a crap about the space program anymore, and fewer still are interested in science research. People are too busy with Hollywood celebrities and sports figures, cable TV, etc.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ ATI encourages further participation from both the public and private sectors to continue this important and controversial debate. ATI is planning a follow-up poll after the President’s April 15th conference on NASA’s future where he will outline his strategy for the next step in space exploration. Jenkins says, “It will be interesting to see if any opinions shift after the President details his strategy for the future of space, since those details have yet to be presented beyond his 2011 Fiscal Budget Plan.” The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) specializes in professional development seminars in the technical areas of space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. For over twenty-five years, ATI has presented leading-edge technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DoD and aerospace contractors. ATI courses provide a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications. ATI has the unique capability to schedule and deliver courses in a matter of weeks. They offer customized on-site training at your facility anywhere in the United States, as well as internationally and over 200 annual public courses in dozens of locations. World-class design experts lead courses. To register or for an on-site quote, call (888) 501-2100, or visit them on the web at www.ATIcourses.com To comment: Scroll to the bottom of the post and click ‘comment’. To post anonymously, use “guest” or “anon” in the name field. Your e-mail will not appear on the blog. Please click here for Part 2 or Part 3 of this post.