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  1. #1
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    Default The value of the space programs

    As an ex NASA type I frequently get jumped on about the money "wasted by going into space". The following is the best assessment of the true value of government spending on space and other programs.

    The Space Review: Is space exploration worth the cost?

    You may think that the space program is a waste but please read the article to the end. You may be surprised at what you read.

    Vernon
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  2. #2
    Elite Member Ductape's Avatar
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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    I'v never once complained about the money my government spends on going into space ! Alot of the other things it spends our money on, however.............

    Excluding the military of course..... we don't spend nearly enough there!

  3. #3
    Elite Member milkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    Hey, we got velcro out of the deal, and my Tang stock went up, I'm not complaining.
    Hate is like drinking poison, hoping your enemy will die. unknown author

  4. #4
    Elite Member Tractors4u's Avatar
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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    I am a current NASA employee and of course I don't have a problem with money being spent on space exploration, my problem is with the money being wasted and not being used on space exploration. I am pretty sure it goes on in every government agency, but NASA is the only one that I have first hand knowledge of. Every year we are told to tighten our belts because we didn't get the funding we requested. Then at the end of the fiscal year the managers are trying to spend the surplus they have so that they can justify the new budget. It would make you sick. And it seems as though the employees don't realize that it is their tax dollars as well. I don't know where they think this money comes from.
    Brent Pepper


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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tractors4u
    I am a current NASA employee and of course I don't have a problem with money being spent on space exploration, my problem is with the money being wasted and not being used on space exploration. I am pretty sure it goes on in every government agency, but NASA is the only one that I have first hand knowledge of. Every year we are told to tighten our belts because we didn't get the funding we requested. Then at the end of the fiscal year the managers are trying to spend the surplus they have so that they can justify the new budget. It would make you sick. And it seems as though the employees don't realize that it is their tax dollars as well. I don't know where they think this money comes from.
    Brent

    I understand your frustration. I worked the Space Station program the last few years I was there and the ISS was replanned and redesigned 3 times with the changing political winds. Unfortunately that is true with all government programs.

    Or you have the situation with some politician who wants to get some TV face time will start ranting and raving about the money going into this or that program so let's cancel it and save that money. What the public never learns is that the contract cancellation costs frequently (almost always) exceed what it would have cost to complete the project.



    Vernon
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    Brent, are you at Redstone? Spent some happy times there way back when during my Army days.

    RavensRoost

  7. #7
    Elite Member Tractors4u's Avatar
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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    Quote Originally Posted by texbaylea
    Brent

    I understand your frustration. I worked the Space Station program the last few years I was there and the ISS was replanned and redesigned 3 times with the changing political winds. Unfortunately that is true with all government programs.

    Or you have the situation with some politician who wants to get some TV face time will start ranting and raving about the money going into this or that program so let's cancel it and save that money. What the public never learns is that the contract cancellation costs frequently (almost always) exceed what it would have cost to complete the project.



    Vernon
    Vernon,

    I think it goes way beyond that. Anyone who has ever been in business is familiar with cost over-run, missed estimates, etc. What I am talking about is pure waste. Most of it in the infrastructure. I read recently that our center director's bathroom and break area, (kitchenette) was remodeled at a cost of $150,000. For a freaking bathroom and mini kitchen!!! We actually have a document that spells out how much crown molding a manager gets in their office depending on their pay grade! There is something like this going on constantly. Then when I hear politicians talk about a tax increase I was to pull my hair out. Cut the budget of all of these government agencies to the point where they have enough money to get the job done, but not enough to take their extravagant trips and upgrade their Blackberry every 6 months.
    Brent Pepper


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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    In a nuclear fusion reactor, one Helium3 atom fused with another Helium3 atom will give off great energy and virtually no radioactive waste whatsoever. We have no He3 on Earth, but it is ejected from the sun and the surface of the moon is the only place we can find it (It lands on the moon. Earth's magnetic field deflects it away from Earth). The highest concentration is at the lunar south pole. Can it be any coincidence that the new Constellation program will not explore various parts of the moon, but only set up a permenant base at the lunar south pole? The Chinese have not beaten around the bush about their intentions, their clearly stated objective is to mine He3 at the south pole of Luna (our moon's actual name is Luna and our star's actual name is Sol, ie. we live in the Solar system). Intersesting also that the first race to the moon served as a substitute for war with our communist enemy the Soviet Union, yet the second race to the moon may spur us to war with our rising new communist nemesis China.

    One of the biggest problems with the space program is meddling by politicians. When the shuttle was built, those with economic interests in their districts wanted to make wure we would not go bact to heavy lift rockets; they wanted us to be completely dependent on the shuttle. Therefore, all blueprints, templates, and dies for Saturn rockets were ordered destroyed. Well, the shuttle turned out not to be what was promised. All that R&D $ for Saturn was down the toilet. Now we're trying to make Aries 1, Aries 5, and possibly an Aries 4 from modified shuttle components. Just this past week, a report came out saying that the Aries 1 will probably vibrate so much that it will destroy the upper stage and the Constellation CEV atop it. Any technology, once paid for and developed, should never be thrown away for good. That is sheer folly. Shelve it when outdated, but lock the technical specs and blueprints up in an archive vault.

    Another example is the cosmic ray detector that is going to be left off of the space station. Griffin will not bend from the 2010 date for shuttle retirement. A cosmic ray detector has been built for $1.5 billion. It is complete and was to be attached to the ISS. There aren't enough flights allocated to send it up. It has the ability to find dark matter, anti-matter sources in the universe, and to unlock equations that could leap-frog technologies into the future by the equivalent of several centuries. The thing is, the Europeans and Japanese want their labs attached to the ISS so they can be on equal footing with us & Russia in terms of "status", though almost no-one now expects much science to come out of those micro-gravity labs. So, they were chosen over the cosmic ray detector. Also, even though Hubble is about to fall apart (Don't get me wrong, I love what Hubble has given us, but truthfully, it is on its last leg), public outcry made a bunch of senators pester Griffin to the point that he committed a shuttle trip to attempt one last servicing of Hubble, even though sending a shuttle to Hubble will mean no "safe haven" at the ISS if another Columbia type debris strike compromises the thermal skin. This cosmic ray detector is paid for and has the potential to give us thousands of times the payback that those lab modules or Hubble could, but because of politics, it will just be laid to rest in an old missle silo. Griffin says it is too expensive to send it up via some other launch system.

    As far as what we have gotten from the space program, well, a lot more than velcro and Tang: micro-circuitry for all our modern electronics, EKG/EEG monitors, endoscopic surgery tools, cell and satelite phone technology, satellite TV. GPS not only keeps you from getting lost in your car, it lands airplanes in fog and means our bombs strike directly on enemy targets, avoiding collateral casualties and damage as well as keeping our own troops from having to penetrate and destroy targets in person.

    As far as VR games, I can't wait until Wii is replaced with Star Trek hollodeck technology. Forget transporters and replicators. When the day comes that we can all walk into our own hollodeck and be in St. Moritz one moment, then on a Tahitian beach with Hula girls the next..... Well, maybe that will pacify everyone so much that it actually brings peace on earth and goodwill among all mankind!!
    Last edited by Tom_H; 01-21-2008 at 07:28 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    milkman, every old farmer knows; Velcro came from cockelburrs!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The value of the space programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tractors4u
    Vernon,

    I think it goes way beyond that. Anyone who has ever been in business is familiar with cost over-run, missed estimates, etc. What I am talking about is pure waste. Most of it in the infrastructure. I read recently that our center director's bathroom and break area, (kitchenette) was remodeled at a cost of $150,000. For a freaking bathroom and mini kitchen!!! We actually have a document that spells out how much crown molding a manager gets in their office depending on their pay grade! There is something like this going on constantly. Then when I hear politicians talk about a tax increase I was to pull my hair out. Cut the budget of all of these government agencies to the point where they have enough money to get the job done, but not enough to take their extravagant trips and upgrade their Blackberry every 6 months.
    Maybe the govt. should use the same interior designers that the U.S. Navy uses. Ever walk around on a navy ship or sub? Minimum square footage and instead of crown moulding, you get exposed conduit. No need to cut into walls to get to wires and pipes, they are right there in plain view when repairs are needed. Same basic paint scheme everywhere. Deluxe mattresses and beds? Try a thin mat with a foot and a half of headroom. Trident crewmen get to sleep squeezed in between missle tubes. You would never confuse a U.S. Navy vessel with an art museum or a house from Architectual Digest.

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