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Thread: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Barack Obama: NASA must try to make Muslims 'feel good'

    The head of the Nasa has said Barack Obama told him to make "reaching out to the Muslim world" one of the space agency's top priorities.

    By Toby Harnden in Washington
    Published: 8:00PM BST 06 Jul 2010



    Barack Obama wants Nasa to acknowledge Muslim achievements and contributions to science maths and engineering Photo: AFP/GETTY

    Charles Bolden, a retired United States Marines Corps major-general and former astronaut, said in an interview with al-Jazeera that Nasa was not only a space exploration agency but also an "Earth improvement agency".

    Mr Bolden said: "When I became the Nasa administrator, he [Mr Obama] charged me with three things.

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    "One, he wanted me to help reinspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

    He added: "It is a matter of trying to reach out and get the best of all worlds, if you will, and there is much to be gained by drawing in the contributions that are possible from the Muslim [nations]."

    Byron York, a conservative columnist for the Washington Examiner, characterised Mr Obama's space policy shift as moving "from moon landings to promoting self-esteem"

    Earlier this year, Mr Obama announced the scrapping of the moon programme in favour of an aspiration to visit Mars, cancelling the Constellation programme for manned space flight, the successor to the Space Shuttle.

    It means Nasa would not be able to travel beyond the Earth's lower orbit without international assistance and need the help of allies to make it to Mars.

    The proposal angered Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, the first and last men to walk on the moon.

    Along with Jim Lovell, the Apollo 13 commander, they issued a statement denouncing the decision "devastating" and a plan that "destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature."

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Was going to post this, but I was just too disgusted to do so.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Cal Thomas: The right stuff goes wrong under this president

    By cal thomas
    Updated 32 minutes ago

    Silly me. I thought America’s unparalleled space program (before the present administration began dismantling it) was a triumph of American ingenuity, technology, vision and boldness. Instead, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says its “foremost mission” is not returning to the moon, or completing a mission to Mars; rather it is improving relations with the Muslim world. Bolden says President Obama told him he also wants NASA to encourage children to study science and math, but isn’t that best done by applying science and math to a robust space program?

    Obama is boldly going where no president has gone before. It is a continuation of the president’s subjugation of himself (bowing to foreign leaders) and the country he is charged with leading by obsequiously kowtowing to a people for whom advancement to the Middle Ages would be a step up.

    The president and Bolden think it will improve relations with the Muslim world if we praise them for their work in math and science many centuries ago, but what has the Muslim world done for humanity lately? Female genital mutilation? Beheadings? Stoning of alleged adulterers? Honor killings? Terrorism? Death sentences to religious converts?

    Yes, Benito Mussolini was said to have made the trains run on time, so maybe previous presidents should have praised his timetable and overlooked the torture, the censorship, the holding of women and children hostage and the police state.

    I’m sure if we searched long enough, we might discover a good character quality or two in Mao Zedong, a world-class mass murderer. But let’s not forget China invented the compass and woodblock printing. What are a few human rights violations compared to these positive contributions?

    Perhaps if President Roosevelt had looked for some good in Adolf Hitler, World War II might have been avoided. Maybe it was our fault that Pearl Harbor was bombed. We should have appreciated the Japanese contribution to America (The cherry tree? Sushi?).

    What is it about this president of ours? He doesn’t seem to love America, at least not the America we knew prior to his coming to office. He pledged to change the country, but growing numbers think what we have is better than what he wants. Despite its past and current problems, most Americans are justifiably proud of their country and what it has stood for over the last 234 years. Regrets? Sure, we’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention compared to the blessings we have received and the blessing we have been to much of the world.

    On April 3, 2009, President Obama addressed an adoring crowd in Strasbourg, France. He told them the United States “has failed to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world” and that America had “shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward its allies.

    Actually, it has been the other way around. America bailed out Europe twice in the last century because it elevated evil men to leadership and they started wars that engulfed the world. And America protected European economies by paying for a nuclear umbrella that protected the continent from the Soviet Union, thus allowing those who refused to pay a price or bear a burden to concentrate on their economies and self-indulgent pleasures.

    If America is all that Obama makes it out to be, why do we have such an illegal immigration problem? You’d think these people would prefer Europe, or Iraq, which have contributed so much to our space program.

    If NASA’s “foremost mission” is no longer space, but a group-hug to Muslim nations, perhaps Congress should be asked to authorize such a change in purpose and reduce NASA’s budget. Do most taxpayers want NASA to focus on inner space, rather than outer space? I doubt it. They can render their verdict on this and many other Obama policies come the November election.
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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    NASA's Cloudy Future

    Jul 7 2010, 11:35 PM ET | Comment
    As they always do, the astronauts from the nearby Johnson Space Center shrugged off the heat and donned their heavy gear to participate in the annual Fourth of July parade in this pleasant Houston suburb. But this year's occasion was bittersweet. The space shuttle float ferrying local children featured a hand-painted "Farewell'' banner. After a final mission in February, the shuttle program will end.

    That day has been coming since 2004, when George W. Bush took the recommendation of the commission investigating the Columbia explosion and issued a directive to retire the space shuttle. The real shock came in January, when President Obama killed its successor, Project Constellation, which aimed to return Americans to the moon by 2020.

    Obama's FY2011 budget, while narrowly increasing NASA's $18.7 billion outlay, proposes to redirect that money toward research and development and stronger support for commercial space flight, which would bring NASA's illustrious 50-year history of manned missions to a close. This is economically and psychologically devastating to communities in Texas, Alabama, and Florida that depend on NASA programs. Here, the mood is defiant. Many of the parade floats bore signs that read "STOP OBAMA. SAVE NASA.''

    The future of NASA is a charged issue that doesn't divide along partisan lines. The Obama administration's plan to privatize manned space flight has won plaudits from conservatives like Newt Gingrich, who called it "a brave reboot,'' while angering others, like former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a longtime NASA champion whose district included the Johnson Space Center. Democrats affected by the cuts have raised an outcry -- Florida Senator Bill Nelson called it "dead wrong'' -- while others have cheered the proposal to refocus the agency on climate change issues.

    Obama's new approach to space is being touted as a tough, forward-looking set of policies designed to serve the nation's long-term interests. The Constellation program, the administration points out, was over budget, behind schedule, and relied on existing technology; even the destination -- the moon -- was nothing new. Better to direct those funds to developing heavy-lift rocket systems and robotic exploration missions that might one day help people visit new worlds. The prohibitive cost of a manned mission to Mars or an asteroid, both touted by the president in an April speech, means that any such mission will be a cooperative effort with other nations.

    Critics reply that killing Constellation and reorienting NASA is foolish and costly. "The innovations that have come out of the space program are phenomenal,'' DeLay said. "With our failing manufacturing base, it is extremely important for our economy to maintain them.'' Private space flight has shown promise, but it will be years before a commercial company can safely launch astronauts into space. Lacking the capacity to send US astronauts to the International Space Station, we'll soon pay Russia to ferry them there, which won't be cheap.

    But the loudest complaint regards "American greatness'' -- the idea that the willing forfeiture of our leadership in space amounts to a kind of moral trespass that will cede to nations like China and India the next great strides in science and technology.

    Stopping Obama and saving NASA's manned missions is unlikely. History and politics have conspired against it. Without the Cold War imperative to beat the Soviet Union, the space program's profile has waned. NASA has depended for years -- sometimes against the wishes of the president -- on a succession of powerful congressional figures, most recently Tom DeLay, whose clout helped ensure that Constellation would succeed the shuttle program. But after introducing Constellation, Bush never mentioned it again. DeLay was forced to leave Congress soon afterward, and NASA has never found his equivalent champion. Congress still must pass a budget, but Obama's vision is likely to prevail.

    Where his critics have a point is in arguing that NASA lacks a clear mission. Without a directive and funding, talk of visiting Mars or an asteroid is grandiose but empty. Meanwhile, gauzy nostrums about inspiring children and international cooperation are creating political headaches. Last week, NASA administrator Charles Bolden touched off a storm when he told al Jazeera that the agency's new mission was to "find a way to reach out to the Muslim world'' -- surely not what anybody had in mind.

    Joshua Green writes a weekly column for the Boston Globe.
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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS



    Shamma al Qassim, Hazza Bani Malek and Hamad Rajab at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, CA

    NASA chief Charlie Bolden said it: "Perhaps foremost, [Obama] wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering." The White House later denied this, but this news item confirms Bolden's contention that Obama told him to make outreach to Muslims his priority at NASA.

    "Emirati trio boldly go into Nasa as a world first," by Kareem Shaheen for The National, July 26 (thanks to Pamela Liner):
    Three Emiratis who are the first non-US citizens to train at the Nasa space agency said the intensive programme could be vitally important for the future scientific development of the UAE. "This is a one-of-a kind. It's a first step into something bigger," said Hazza Bani Malek, 20, speaking from the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California.

    Mr Bani Malek was selected along with his colleagues Hamad Rajab and Shamma al Qassim by the Arab Youth Venture Foundation, an organisation in RAK, to take part in the Educational Associates programme, which was previously reserved for US citizens.

    The programme is sponsored by Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi Government's strategic investment company. Nine more Emirati students are slated for training at Nasa this autumn.

    Mr Rajab, 21, is an electrical engineering student at UAE University who is specialising in research into water-recycling systems that will be used in new Nasa spacecraft during the six week internship.

    He said he believes his project could have a direct impact on water-recycling technology in the UAE.

    "The UAE suffers a lack of water resources," he said.
    "Getting this technology back in our country will really contribute in saving the amount of money that is used."...
    That's good. Saving the UAE money ought to be NASA's highest priority.
    All three interns said their participation was particularly significant in view of the US President, Barrack Obama's recent advocation of increased collaboration with the Arab world in the realms of science and technology. Mr Rajab said he would use the knowledge he has accrued on the programme to benefit his home country.

    "I want to develop my country. I want to be a decision maker. I would like to work in the Government or the private groups, he said. "I will definitely go back to the UAE and try to return some of the favours it did for me. I just want to utilize my knowledge and expertise."...
    Great. What is the U.S. getting out of this?

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    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Space Race Re-Start: Moscow Challenges USA In Mars-Landing
    7/20/2010

    USA astronauts to an asteroid and to Mars no later than 2015, according to NASA. Sooner than predicted in April by US President Barack Obama: Mars in the mid-2030s.

    "It is unreal by 2015," said yesterday to press agency “Ria Novosti” Alexei Krasnov, Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos director to manned space programs. "Probably they won't be able to any sooner than 2023-2025. They do not have the necessary spacecraft, and we will be ready with the project by 2018-2020", Krasnov said.

    A scenario boosted by good financial performance of aerospace industry in Russia and a huge financing provided. In fact Russia plans to occupy at least 15% of the world's space services under the national aerospace industry's development strategy for 2015.

    At the moment aerospace sector's “Output has been growing annually, growth rate exceeds that of both the industry as a whole and the military industrial complex", Anatoly Perminov, head of Roscosmos, said, adding that “Also Russian federal space program as well as the Global Navigation System (GLONASS) special federal program are provided with all the necessary resources and financing”.

    After the once-upon-a-time “Moon race”, are we now finally seeing start to “Mars race”?

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Russia To Kick Off Construction Of A New Spaceport
    July 20, 2010

    Russia will invest US $800m (£527m) into a new spaceport in the country's Far East, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced.

    The move is meant to ease the dependence on the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan, built during the Soviet-era.

    The future cosmodrome will be built near the town of Uglegorsk in the Far Eastern Amur region, close to the border with China.

    It is planned to be mostly used for civilian launches and should be operational by 2015.

    "The government has made a decision to earmark 24.7 billion rubles ($809m) over the next three years for the start of the full-blown construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome," Mr Putin said.

    Vostochny means "eastern" in Russian.

    The head of Russia's federal space agency, Roscosmos Anatoly Perminov, said that up to 30,000 specialists would build the new space launch facility.

    He also noted that it will be smaller than Baikonur, which Russia rents from Kazakhstan.

    "It will be a least costly and a more compact site," Mr Perminov noted, comparing the new site with Baikonur, which is the largest and oldest space launch facility in the world.

    The new space port will cover some 700 sq km and will contain new launch pads, a high-tech residential compound and research laboratories.

    Port for civilians

    Earlier, Mr Perminov mentioned that Russia hoped to launch its first space vessel from the new port as soon as it was completed in 2015, and a first manned flight is planned for 2018.

    Mr Putin stressed that the new site will be mostly for civilian launches.

    "I very much expect that Vostochny will become the first national cosmodrome for civilian purposes and will guarantee Russia full independence of space activities," he said.

    "It is important that the cosmodrome effectively ensures the operation of all future space projects," the Russian premier added.

    Russia plans to build a new generation of space vessels that could also be used for interplanetary flights - in particular, for a voyage to Mars.

    Engineers are supposed to start designing Vostochny's launch pads, assembly and testing sites as early as next year. The main construction work is planned to take place in 2012.

    Russia's space agency's first deputy chief Viktor Remishevsky said the cosmodrome was meant to ensure stability of the Russian space industry by giving the country independent access to space.

    International efforts

    Putin also encouraged more international co-operation, mentioning that the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) should be completed by 2015.

    "In early 2011, the Russian Soyuz launch vehicle will start operating at the ESA's French Guiana Space Centre in Kourou. Later, the Phobos-Grunt Russian interplanetary spacecraft will put a Chinese space probe in orbit around Mars as part of our programmes to explore deep space," he stated.

    With the US shuttle programme being phased out in February 2011, the only means to get to the ISS will be by the Soyuz spacecraft.

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Mr. Chekov will be the Captain of the SSSR Predpriyatiya (СССР предприятия) and Kirk will simply be a red shirt.
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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Science
    Amy Kellogg

    0
    comments



    Successful Launch of Soyuz Spacecraft

    October 8, 2010 - 11:33 AM | by: Amy Kellogg The Soyuz launch went off as planned in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, roaring into the cold, crisp skies above the steppes of Kazakhstan, exactly on time. This is the same launch pad from which Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin took off for the first human voyage into space nearly 50 years ago.
    Watch the latest video at FoxNews.com
    The hours leading up to the launch were full of rituals. Astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka autographed the doors of the rooms they slept in their last night before take-off, in a quarantined guest house/hotel. They suited up and paraded before cameras before heading to the launch pad. They should reach the International Space Station on Sunday and will spend six months there. Scott Kelly’s twin brother Mark will join him there in February. He’ll fly one of the last Space Shuttle missions to the ISS. The ISS is finally moving past assembly mode into fully functioning space lab
    An unexpected bit of drama was added to the night by the appearance of Russian agent Anna Chapman, deported from the United States last summer, sent back to Moscow in a spy-swap.
    She has not been seen much in public since. When reporters at the send-off for the astronauts approached her, and asked if she was indeed Anna Chapman, she denied it. Finally, though, we all stopped believing her. She turned to run back into the guest house, saying to a rather burly man who was protecting her, “Oh, it’s starting again.”
    Later an official from the Russian Space Agency confirmed to Fox News that Chapman was indeed at the launch, in her capacity as an advisor to Fund Service Bank, a Russian bank which looks after the accounts of the defense and space industries. Coincidentally, the initials of the bank—FSB—are the same as that of the successor organization to the KGB.
    The city of Baikonur, where the launch operations take place, used to be part of the Soviet Union, but since the former Republic of Kazakhstan is now an independent country, the base is leased by the Russians. Moscow will build a new launch pad on its own territory, in the far east. But that is a large undertaking which will take several years to complete. In the meantime, American astronauts will be increasingly familiar visitors to this part of the Central Asian steppe. The next American to head up to the ISS from here will be Catherine Coleman in December.



    Read more: http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2...#ixzz11mwCPRTA
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    Countdown to Space Program Shutdown
    April 26, 2011 | From theTrumpet.com


    “What happens when you have the right stuff at the wrong time?” asked the New York Times on the weekend. “Members of nasa’s astronaut corps have been asking just that, now that the space shuttle program is ending and their odds of flying anywhere good anytime soon are getting smaller.”
    With the last two scheduled flights already full, morale is currently low at nasa, where astronauts are all dressed up with nowhere to go.
    Space shuttle Endeavor is scheduled to launch for the last time on April 29, followed by Atlantis in June—currently set to be nasa’s final shuttle flight.
    The Times continued,
    Under President Obama, nasa’s human spaceflight program has been curtailed. The Ares i and Constellation programs, which were meant to succeed the space shuttles and take astronauts to the moon, were canceled, and nasa is instead hiring outside companies to devise alternatives. … Over the next few years, American astronauts will be competing for a handful of slots on the International Space Station, flying there on Russian Soyuz capsules.
    Disheartened astronauts have begun leaving nasa; the number of active duty astronauts today has dwindled to 61 compared to about 150 in 2000 when nasa was preparing for International Space Station missions.
    Some, like astronaut Garrett E. Reisman, have left nasa for the private sector, attempting to stay in the field of space exploration.
    “Being an astronaut is the coolest job ever,” he said. “It was very, very difficult to voluntarily leave.”
    “Morale is pretty low,” said Leroy Chiao, who left nasa to work for a company that will possibly offer space flights to tourists in the future. “This is a time of great uncertainty.”
    This time last year, President Barack Obama gave a speech at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida explaining the cancellation of the $108 billion nasa project Constellation, which was geared to send men to the moon by 2020 and to Mars by 2030.
    The effects of the cancellation are far-reaching.
    John M. Grunsfeld, the “Dr. Fix-It” for the Hubble Space Telescope, has now been told his chances of returning to space are “slim to none.” Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has afforded many advances in the realm of space and science, on top of its awe-inspiring unprecedented images of deep space. Now its future—like nasa’s—remains uncertain.
    In response to nasa’s new policies, Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan last year wrote in an open letter to President Obama (emphasis ours):
    For the United States, the leading space-faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature. …

    Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the usa is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity.

    America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal.
    “As for America’s space program, it is withering into obsolescence,” columnist Joel Hilliker wrote back in 2009. “The shift of influence from our visionary minority to its complacent majority precisely parallels America’s loss of national power.”
    America’s diminished space program, once the pinnacle of mankind’s dreams to touch the stars, is now just another area in which the United States no longer comes out on top.
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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    NASA to Fly Astronauts on Russian Spaceships at Nearly $63 Million per Seat

    by Tariq Malik, SPACE.com Managing Editor
    Date: 14 March 2011 Time: 05:50 PM ET

    The Russian-built Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft, as photographed from the inside of the space station by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, after the ship undocked March 18, 2010.
    CREDIT: Astro_Soichi.
    View full size image


    NASA has struck a new $753 million deal with Russia for 12 round trips to the International Space Station, but will now have to pay more per seat – almost $63 million, the U.S. space agency announced today (March 14).

    The new deal will allow NASA to fly a dozen astronauts from the U.S. or its partner agencies on Russia's venerable Soyuz spacecraft between 2014 and 2015 at a cost of about $62.7 million per seat. That's an increase from the $55.8 million per seat NASA paid under a deal for six round trips to the station in 2013 and 2014.

    "It's an 8.5 percent annual increase," NASA spokesman Joshua Buck told SPACE.com, referring to the overall increase. "The increase covers just the general inflation rate in Russia for the cost of processing and preparation."

    Russia's Federal Space Agency has been ferrying cosmonauts and astronauts on round trips to the space station for more than a decade. The $100 billion space station has been under construction by five space agencies, representing 15 countries since 1998 and is nearly complete.

    The first crew of the space station (called Expedition 1) arrived in November 2001. Three members of the station's latest crew, called Expedition 26, will be returning to Earth Wednesday (March 16) on a Soyuz capsule. [Top 10 Russian and Soviet Space Missions]

    NASA in transition
    The new deal comes during a major transition year for NASA. The space agency is retiring its space shuttle fleet after 30 years of spaceflight.

    The shuttle Discovery, for example, flew its last flight this month. The other two shuttles in service – Endeavour and Atlantis – are expected to launch their final missions in April and June, respectively.

    Once the shuttles are retired, NASA plans to rely on commercially built spacecraft developed by private companies to ferry astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station. The first flights for those are anticipated around 2015, up to four years after the last shuttle mission flies.

    "We are still anticipating having the availability of domestic commercial crew transportation by the middle of the decade," Buck said.

    Private spaceship plan
    NASA already has contracts with two private companies to build and launch unmanned spaceships to the space station to deliver supplies and equipment.

    One company is the California-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which will provide 12 delivery flights using its Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rockets under a $1.6 billion contract. The Virginia-based company Orbital Sciences Corp. will provide eight delivery flights using its Taurus 2 rockets and Cygnus spacecraft. [Photos: First Flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket]

    SpaceX and Orbital Sciences are also two of at least eight commercial space companies vying for NASA funding for its Commercial Crew Development Program aimed at spurring development of private spacecraft capable of launching astronauts into space.

    In a statement, NASA chief Charles Bolden said commercial space companies form a vital part of NASA's exploration plan, since they will give the United States independent access to space with American spacecraft.

    "The president's 2012 budget request boosts funding for our partnership with the commercial space industry and prioritizes our efforts to ensure that American astronauts and the cargo they need are transported by American companies rather than continuing to outsource this work to foreign governments," Bolden said. "This new approach in getting our crews and cargo into orbit will create good jobs and expand opportunities for our American economy. If we are to win the future and out build our competitors, it's essential that we make this program a success."

    Bluck said that the new deal for seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft should provide a one-year overlap between astronaut flights on Soyuz craft and the anticipated commercial vehicle trips.

    "We need to ensure that we have a smooth transition," Buck said.

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    NASA over a Russian barrel

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    By: Rand Simberg 04/27/11 12:39 PM
    Special to the Examiner



    Over at Pajamas Media today, I have a story on the latest shenanigans by the Russians to maintain their monopoly on providing lifeboats and (after we retire the Shuttle later this year) crew transportation for the International Space Station. California-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) could compete with them, starting later this year, at least for provisioning cargo, once they demonstrate that their Dragon capsule can rendezvous and dock with the station.

    With the addition of a life-support system (currently under development), they could take over lifeboat duties, with a system that can return seven instead of three (as the Russian Soyuz does), potentially allowing an increase in station crew size. That could be done in as little as a year. With the addition of a launch abort system (under development with a recent NASA contract) that could be available within three years, they could offer rides to orbit for twenty million a seat, instead of the sixty-three million that the Russians recently jacked up their price to, knowing that they will have a monopoly with the upcoming end of the Shuttle program.

    But on Friday, the Russian Space Agency, which is a partner in the ISS program, announced that it may not allow the Dragon to dock unless they can be assured of its "safety." This is a little rich, coming from an agency that recently returned one of our astronauts to earth with an untested new digital guidance system in the Soyuz (fortunately, all went well), and has injured crew in the past few years with two harder-than-anticipated landings. They have never objected to the Japanese or European robot craft that have docked to the ISS, but then, those didn't threaten their crewed spaceflight monopoly.

    As I note in the Pajamas piece, this is all the result of feckless and reckless space policy, not just for years but for decades, from both Democrat and Republican administrations, in which pork reigns over progress, and no one, other than those with NASA jobs in their districts or states, cares about space, until the next tragedy occurs. For the cynical amusement and edification of my readers, I put together a little robot theater on the subject of the Russians a few weeks ago.

    Sadly, it still applies.

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Companion Post:



    NASA's Muslim outreach: Al Jazeera told first

    Byron York 07/09/10 3:00 AM
    Chief Political Correspondent



    By: Marta Lavandier/AP
    NASA administrator Charles Bolden

    Lawmakers across Capitol Hill, both Democrats and Republicans, were surprised to learn recently that the Obama administration has made reaching out to Muslim nations a top priority for the space agency NASA.

    They will probably be more surprised to learn that administration officials told the Middle East news organization Al Jazeera about it before they told Congress.

    Rep. Pete Olson, the ranking Republican on the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, got a call from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on June 28, the day the White House released its new long-term plan for the space program. "He ran down some of the things from the president's new space policy, and mentioned outreach to Muslims," Olson recalls. "That stunned me. I didn't believe it."

    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Democrat who chairs the subcommittee (and is also married to astronaut Mark Kelly), got a briefing from Bolden the same day, according to a spokesman.

    As it happens, Bolden's calls to Giffords and Olson came several days after Bolden discussed the Muslim initiative with Al Jazeera. According to a NASA spokesman, Bolden sat down with Al Jazeera's Imran Garda on June 17, during a stop in Doha, Qatar. Bolden's Mideast trip, which was timed to mark the first anniversary of President Obama's June 2009 Muslim outreach speech, was devoted to pursuing "a new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world."

    During the interview, Bolden told Al Jazeera that the "foremost" mission he had been given by Obama was "to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

    The Al Jazeera interview did not air until June 30, after the Obama space plan was released and Bolden briefed members of Congress. But there's no question Al Jazeera got the word first.

    Although few, if any, lawmakers knew it, Bolden had previewed the idea even earlier. In a February 2010 blog item, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Bolden told a group of engineering students Obama had asked him "to find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries."

    "We now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners," Bolden said, according to the Sentinel. "We really like Indonesia because the State Department, the Department of Education [and] other agencies in the U.S. are reaching out to Indonesia as the largest Muslim nation in the world. We would love to establish partners there."

    Bolden might find some resistance to his plans on Capitol Hill. Olson is confident the public will disapprove of the whole Muslim outreach venture -- if they hear about it. (So far, the story has gone unreported by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the nightly newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC.) Republicans need to "make sure the American people knows what's out there," Olson says. "When the American people hear this, I'm comfortable that people are going to think, 'That's not what I want my money spent on.' "

    It's unlikely majority Democrats would crack down on NASA, but the space agency could be in for some serious questions if Republicans win the House of Representatives this November. "If we get the majority, then we'll have a say," Olson says. "We can de-fund things, and this would be a prime candidate in my mind."

    Bolden has not commented on the controversy. As for the White House, a spokesman says President Obama wants NASA "to engage with the world's best scientists as we work together to push the boundaries of exploration." That doesn't sound much like Bolden's description of the initiative, which foresees the U.S. working with Muslim nations that don't have the scientific know-how for manned space flight. What advanced technology do they have that the United States doesn't?

    For space veterans, the controversy is an indication of how far the Obama administration has strayed from NASA's original mission, first laid out in the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. "NASA was chartered ... to develop the arts and sciences of flight in the atmosphere and in space and to go where those technologies will allow us to go," says Mike Griffin, who headed the space agency from 2005 until 2009. The Space Act has guided NASA well for more than 50 years, Griffin says, and now, "I think the president should be required to go back and read it."


    Google engineers hacked through Egypt's government firewalls to help lead the Riots and spread Obama's new Middle East foreign policy "Arab Spring"




    Obama’s new mission for NASA: Reach out to Muslim world


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    By: Byron York 07/04/10 3:00 AM
    Chief Political Correspondent Follow Him @ByronYork

    In a far-reaching restatement of goals for the nation’s space agency, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says President Obama has ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand our international relationships,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.” Of those three goals, Bolden said in a recent interview with al-Jazeera, the mission to reach out to Muslims is “perhaps foremost,” because it will help Islamic nations “feel good” about their scientific accomplishments.

    In the same interview, Bolden also said the United States, which first sent men to the moon in 1969, is no longer capable of reaching beyond low earth orbit without help from other nations.

    Bolden made the statements during a recent trip to the Middle East. He told al-Jazeera that in the wake of the president’s speech in Cairo last year, the American space agency is now pursuing “a new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world.” Then:
    When I became the NASA Administrator — before I became the NASA Administrator — [Obama] charged me with three things: One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.
    Later in the interview, Bolden discussed NASA’s goal of greater international cooperation in space exploration. He said the United States, more than 40 years after the first moon mission, cannot reach beyond earth’s orbit today without assistance from abroad:
    In his message in Cairo, [Obama] talked about expanding our international outreach, expanding our international involvement. We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low earth orbit as a single entity. The United States can’t do it, China can’t do it — no single nation is going to go to a place like Mars alone.
    Bolden’s trip included a June 15 speech at the American University in Cairo. In that speech, he said in the past NASA worked mostly with countries that are capable of space exploration. But that, too, has changed in light of Obama’s Cairo initiative. “He asked NASA to change…by reaching out to ‘non-traditional’ partners and strengthening our cooperation in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and in particular in Muslim-majority nations,” Bolden said. “NASA has embraced this charge.”

    “NASA is not only a space exploration agency,” Bolden concluded, “but also an earth improvement agency.”

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Companion Threads:



    As NASA has been redirected to focus on Muslim countries are they transferring technology to Russia?

    Russia wants a nuclear-powered spacecraft for Mars mission


    Posted on Apr 12th 2011 by Lydia Leavitt

    The European Space Agency (ESA) is currently working with NASA to develop a major Mars exploration project.

    However, the ESA but has no immediate plans to collaborate with Russia, a nation which is also developing nuclear-powered spacecraft technology for a long journey to the red planet.

    Nuclear technology offers more power in less space, which makes it particularly attractive for long missions.



    Russia and the United States have been developing nuclear technology for decades, but placed new emphasis on the concept in recent years.
    The Russian government allotted 430 million rubles ($14.4 million USD) in 2010 to the cause.

    Alongside the Russians, the ESA is working with NASA on a project known as ExoMars (Exobiology in Mars), a similar but separate initiative to build nuclear-powered spaceships.

    Although all of the above-mentioned entities are researching nuclear power for spacecraft, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos reiterated there was no collaborative agreement between the three agencies.

    Roscosmos director Anatoly Perminov said the development of Megawatt-class nuclear space power systems (MCNSPS) would help Russia maintain a competitive edge in the space race for exploration of the moon and Mars.

    The Russians are hoping to complete the nuclear engine design by 2012 at an estimated cost of 17 billion rubles ($600 million USD).

    Still, it should be noted that ESA head Jean-Jacques Dorden recently confirmed the agency would "consider" using Russian experience and technology in its own nuclear-powered spacecraft developments.

    Russia, NASA to Meet This Month to Discuss Collaboration on Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft

    by eklipz on April 5th, 2011 at 4:31 PM in Science




    In the last century, Russia and the United States engaged competitively in both a space race and a nuclear technology race. In this century, it appears the two are considering collaborating in turning the fruits of those Cold War showdowns into workable technology that could expand spaceflight operations beyond Earth orbit. On April 15, Russia and NASA (and a handful of other “nuclear club” countries) will convene to talk about building a next-gen, nuclear powered spaceship.

    The head of Roscosmos–NASA’s Russian counterpart–told Russia’s state-owned newswire that states with a high degree of nuclear reactor technology will take part in the talks. So while Roscosmos and NASA are the principal space agencies involved, France, Germany, China, and Japan were also mentioned as potential partners in the report.

    Why now? Roscosmos, it turns out, plans to complete a new design for a nuclear spacecraft engine by next year. But while it has big plans for its nuclear technology, it needs some $600 million to build the thing. A good deal of that will likely come from Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency.

    But clearly Roscosmos also seeks international involvement, be it financial or technical.

    Nuclear tech has long been envisioned as the enabling technology that will lead to deep space travel, but there is not yet consensus on exactly how to implement it. Russia has previously described its “engine” as a “megawatt-class nuclear space power system.” That means it might be of the more conventional electricity-providing variety that would power ion engines or some such, though it could also use reactor heat to eject reaction mass, meaning it would provide thrust as well as electricity.

    It’s unclear if the Russians will make public their ongoing design April 15th, or exactly what Roscosmos expects to come of the talks. If it turns out Russia and the U.S. sign an unprecedented agreement to explore far-off star systems together riding a jointly-built nuclear spacecraft, expect to read about it here. But don’t put your money on it just yet.


    NASA tests Mars spacesuit


    Mar 22, 2011 07:14 Moscow Time

    NASA researchers have tested a spacesuit intended for missions to Mars. The tests were conducted at a base in the Antarctic. It is believed that the low temperatures of the continent closely resemble conditions on the red planet.

    The creator of the suit, Argentine engineer Pablo de Leon, personally tried out the suit and was pleased with its performance.

    The suit consists of 350 different materials and costs about 100 thousand dollars. Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama said that NASA may be sending astronauts to Martian orbit in 20-25 years.



    While Obama Destroys NASA, Russia Speeds Up Its Own Moon-Mars

    Project
    April 7, 2011 • 11:11AM

    While insane President Barack Obama is destroying the U.S. manned space program, the Russians remain committed to going to the Moon and Mars. In an interview with Bloomberg, Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said Russia will accelerate planned missions to the Moon that could put a man on the Moon within 10 years.

    "It is the first time that the government has allocated decent financing to us," Perminov said in a phone interview on April 2. The agency's $3.5 billion budget for 2011 is the highest since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. "We can now advance on all themes a bit," Perminov said.

    "We are increasing the space budget as the time has come for a technological breakthrough," Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also told Bloomberg. "We need to replace outdated infrastructure and continue to support the flagship status of the space industry." Russia intends to continue allocating more funds for the space industry, Peskov said. "We'll increase financing if possible, depending on the budget balance, because the industry was and remains one of our priorities," he said.

    On April 5, Russia's Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, with three astronauts, including one American, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome en route to the International Space Station. April 12 marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first mission as the first man to go into space. Alexander Samokutiaev and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, and NASA's Ron Garan are scheduled to arrive at the station on April 7, Roscosmos said on its website.

    Russia now receives $752 million from the U.S. for sending crews to the ISS through 2015. Of course, Bloomberg points out that this is happening just as Obama is scrapping the U.S. manned space program, and NASA is seeking an $18.7 billion budget for next year, $300 million less than the funding targeted for this year.

    "We need the Mars flight, as it will help create new large-scale technologies," Yuriy Karash, member of the Russian Space Academy, told Bloomberg. "It means there will be new rockets, new engines, new anti-radiation medicine that will protect people in outer space." Russia may be able to complete a Mars mission within 12 years if it is included in the new Federal space program, Karash said. Roscosmos is working on a plan that will start in 2015, to focus more on outer space than before, Perminov said in the interview. A flight to Mars is more likely in cooperation with other space programs, according to the Roscosmos plan.

    Russia will need a new rocket, a new manned spacecraft for crews of between four and six members, and a new launch site to operate manned flights as early as in 2018, Perminov said. The new rocket, Rus-M, which is to become Russia's main vehicle for manned spaceflights, should be ready for the 2015 start of Russia's new space program, he said.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    /sigh
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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    As a side note that might add a little bit to this conversation, Houston got completely passed over on keeping one of the Space Shuttles (including the training modules that are already here). Obama also denied Texas any emergency assistance to deal with the wildfires. As of 2007, Texas assumes the 3rd highest responsibility for federal taxes:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal...venue_by_state

    That's 8.5% of the nations tax revenue. California tops it out with 11% but has a lower per capita than Texas. New York is 2nd but that's where all the Wall Street Fat Cats live. lol.

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Ran across some interesting information on this subject the other day.



    It was startling!

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Boeing lays off 260 shuttle workers in Houston

    Copyright 2011 Houston Chronicle

    June 3, 2011, 12:11PM







    Boeing today sent layoff notices to 510 employees – including 260 in Houston – involved in space shuttle work.
    The notices give 60 days advance notice of an expected job elimination. The workers’ last day would be Aug. 5, pending the completion of the final space shuttle mission, STS-135.
    Boeing said in a statement that is working to keep as many workers as possible by moving employees to program such as the International Space Station work.
    “We hope that the next generation exploration launch system will serve to mitigate some of these losses, but time is running out,” said Brewster Shaw, Boeing Space Exploration vice president and general manager, in a statement. “Our priority will be to ensure the last space shuttle mission is safe and successfully executed, allowing the Space Shuttle program to cross the finish line as a winner. We are supporting our employees in their efforts to move to other positions, and we are grateful to them for their dedicated service.”
    The other jobs being eliminated are out of Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Boeing’s Huntington Beach, Calif., facility.


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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    And not just the shuttle... Looks like the replacement for the Hubble Telescope is on the chopping block.

    Proposed NASA Budget Bill Would Cancel James Webb Space Telescope
    July 6, 2011

    The US House Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee has proposed a NASA spending bill that would put NASA’s budget at pre-2008 levels and cancel the $6.5 billion James Webb Space Telescope. Space News reports that the proposal would cut $1.6 billion from NASA’s current budget, which is nearly $2 billion less than President Obama’s 2012 budget request for NASA, giving the space agency just $16.8 billion to work with.

    This news is not sitting well with scientists and researchers, with one astrophysicist saying this move could “kill US space science for decades.” Dr. C. Megan Urry, Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Chair of the Yale Physics Department said she has already written her congressmen and representatives to stand against this bill, “for the good of science, STEM education, and the nation.”

    “I think this is an extremely serious situation,” Urry told Universe Today, “and I think the James Webb Telescope is an extraordinarily important mission. It was recommended in the 2000 Decadal Survey and was strongly endorsed in the 2010 Decadal Survey, so the science community has supported this mission for a long time.”

    The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) quickly responded with a statement objecting to the axing of JWST, saying “Over the past year, NASA managers and the science community have undertaken a concerted effort to establish a budget and technology plan that allows the launch of JWST by 2018. The proposal by the Congress to terminate the program comes at a time when these efforts are coming to fruition.”

    The press release that came out along with the draft states that that the bill terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope because it is “billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.”

    Space News reports that the draft appropriations bill, which the subcommittee is scheduled to vote on July 7, also includes $1.95 billion for the Space Launch System — the heavy-lift rocket Congress ordered NASA to build for deep space exploration. The proposed 2012 funding level is $150 million more than the heavy lifter got for 2011, but some $700 million below the amount recommended in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, which became law in October. The bill would trim $431 million from NASA science, compared to 2011 enacted levels.

    NASA may be an easy target for budget cuts in these lean times Reports like the one on NPR that stated the US military spends over $20 billion a year just for air conditioning the tents in Iraq and Afghanistan have many wondering about priorities in government.

    “Killing the JWST is not the answer to budget woes,” said astrophysicist Brooke Simmons via Twitter.

    It should be noted that JWST is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and there is nothing else even remotely in the works that could replace what JWST is designed to do.

    On the proposed JWST cancellation, Dr. William S. Smith, President of AURA said “Against a backdrop of widespread discussion over the future of NASA and the human spaceflight program, it is tragic that the Congress is also proposing to curtail NASA’s science program. JWST is NASA’s premier science facility, unsurpassed by any other telescope now or in the future.”

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    Default Re: The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

    Yep. Heard that friday. Didn't have time to post it.
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