The national TEA Party in Space is open to all members. This is where we coordinate national action measures dealing with congress.
It is bad. It is REALLY bad. JWST continues to spin his Webb. While I was listening to the webinar I could not help but laugh when the JWST scientists claimed JWST was not hurting science. Of course this is a flat out lie. The speaker put up a slide that showed JWST would take money from heliophysics, astrophysics, and planetary science. Earth science, which studies how our climate changes, was untouched. Space News has an article up detailing the science cuts.
Over the past few days there has been a string of articles coming out of Texas that are beginning to show why the Space Launch System is not good for America. Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle writes a peice titled: As NASA, pols celebrate their rocket plan: A splash of cold water. Here is the quote we all need to understand:
On September 22 the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is holding a hearing called “NASA Human Spaceflight Past, Present, and Future: Where Do We Go From Here?”
The first two witnesses are Neil Armstrong, Commander of Apollo 11, and Gene Cernan, Commander of Apollo 17, the first and last men on the moon. These guys are real heroes, serious heroes. They were test pilots who risked their lives to push the envelope further than humanity ever before explored. They literally walked on the moon and took “one giant leap for mankind.” These guys are my heroes.
It seems of late that our friend, Mike Griffin is inserting himself into the NASA lime light again. Never mind this is the man who is solely responsible for the situation we are in at the moment. Dr. Griffin was the father of the failed and canceled Constellation program.
Now Dr. Griffin is opining in the Huntsville Times about where the shuttles should have gone. His choices are very telling. You see right now NASA is on the verge of colossal changes. Dr. Griffin thinks the orbiters should have ended up in Florida, Alabama, and Texas... kind of like where all the SLS money is targeted to be spent.
Competition. If you watch the presser from the senate you will notice how they bring up competition of the boosters. However, we have to wonder why the core stage and main propulsion engines are not being competed. It simply is not good enough to say you will compete a portion of the system and not all of it.
We have to question: could the free market compete for the core engine contracts? In 2011, are we really to believe that "only NASA" can design a rocket that will carry 70 to 130 metric tons to low earth orbit? And if we answer no, the free market could design such a vehicle, would it need boosters? If so, would they have to be solids? Would the core need to use Hydrogen and Oxygen or could we go with a "kerolox" solution?
Sadly, like many of you, after seeing the morning presser the TEA Party in Space looks at this event more as a public relations event to drum up support for the new rocket to nowhere than an actual presser on space exploration. While the politicians had their 15 minutes of fame, NASA bureaucrats had to clean up the mess. In the end, this is the failed Constellation program’s Ares V. Everything about Space Launch System SLS reminds us of the failed Constellation program’s Ares V… with one exception: NASA painted the core white designed to bring back the nostalgia of yesteryear when NASA actually did something beyond low earth orbit.