Skip to comments.The Other Great Debate (NASA AA Garver Put on Hot Seat Over Obama Space Policy)
Posted on 05/30/2010 6:45:28 PM PDT by anymouse
The so-called Great Debate at the National Space Societys (NSS) International Space and Development Conference (ISDC) in Chicago on Saturday afternoon featuring Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin and former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart was something of a dud, in part because it wasnt that much of a debate: after ten-minute opening statements by Zubrin (who opposes the agencys proposed plans) and Schweickart (who supports them), the floor was turned over to the audience, some of whom asked questions of the two, and others who simply expressed their opinions. Conference organizers explained that the event wasnt intended to be a debate between the two at all; the Great Debate title referred to the ongoing broader debate about the White Houses proposal for NASA (even though the Mars Society, in their own publicity about the event, called it a debate between Zubrin and Schweickart).
However, more interestingand more of a debatewas an impromptu exchange between NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver and Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University and someone who has been critical of at least some elements of the NASA proposal. It came together after Garvers luncheon ran long, overlapping with a presentation by Pace on the budget proposal that was to serve as the prelude to the Schweickart/Zubrin event. (Told about the clash of schedules, she joked, Im going to filibuster so that no one can go hear Scott Pace. The luncheon did end a few minutes later because the hotel staff needed to set up the room for another event.) Conference organizers then arranged to have Garver take some audience questions with Pace during his session for a short time until Garver had to leave for the airport.
What emerged was a debate about one key aspect of the NASA plan, the development of commercial crew capabilities. Pace is skeptical that its a wise move. The issue that I think is one of the main differences is what role do you think the government should play in human spaceflight in the transition now, at the end of shuttle, he said. Some think were ready to go towards human spaceflight on a commercial vehicle; and Im not. He said such a shift to commercial providers is not impossible, but that it would lengthen the post-shuttle gap.
He advocated that it made sense to press to MECO and continue building Ares 1, even if a commercial crew program goes forward. He said it would taken $7.5 billion to complete Ares 1 by 2015 or 2016, then noted that theres $2.5 billion in the proposal already for Constellation termination costs. If I do Ares 1 I get a $5-billion downpayment for a heavy-lift vehicle, the Ares 5. He suggested that Ares 1 be the fallback option should commercial vehicles fall behind schedule. I believe in the public option, he quipped.
Garver countered that continuing to develop the Ares 1 was neither wise nor affordable. Private sector will not have the incentive to invest and develop that capability if we have, as you call it, a backup plan, she said, arguing that the government should not compete with the private sector in this arena. She argued that developing Ares 1 would cost far more than Pace indicated. We have a situation where it is going to cost $18 billion overall to develop Ares 1, she said. By comparison, she noted, the very first case for Ares was, as I recall, from Scott Horowitz: $1 billion and by 2010.
I know people look at the $6 billion for commercial crew and think, oh, if we just use that to complete the existing program, she continued. Theres not nearly enough available to do that.
Over a decade ago, I challenged Garver in this same public forum about her hostility toward commercial space and it's supporters during her time as the National Space Society Executive Director. Now that it suits her political agenda, she is all for commercial space.
Garver makes me want to puke.
I can’t stand the sight of her.
She was Kerry’s space guru and she is all about Garver, not space. She attachs herself to democrats in hopes they come to power. Well she hooked onto Obama.
As for NSS?
I might quit. They are not fighting along side Armstrong and Cernan on this from what I can tell.
Space policy ping.
I assume you were there, so feel free to give us your report.
I quit NSS and AIAA nearly 2 decades ago, when I determined that they were just toting the big government space program rather than following their stated charters. I have influenced space policy more alone over these 2 decades than they have without me. And that is sad, because so much more could have been done to put us in a much better position to do what we both want - to open space for economic development.
I wasn’t there, but here is my take... Garver is the one who is running NASA, not Bolden. Like Obama, Bolden is just an empty suit. Garver is the one who is running NASA.. I also think politics has something to do with it.. The #1 reason why Obama is trying cancel the moon program: George W Bush..
Figured you would have been at the ISDC right in your backyard.
Garver is the conduit from the White House to NASA. She (like Obama) couldn’t run a lemonade stand.
Not sure why Bolden is allowing himself to be used as a figurehead/punching bag, but my guess is that he is just glad to have the gig and has been convinced that he is doing the noble thing (he has to be having some doubts though.)
Garver is taking non-political input from a host of space policy wonks, who are playing her like a cheap piano in a whorehouse. If she lasts into next year, I suspect that a Republican Congress will be grilling her for sport before demanding her resignation and/or indictment. She is stupid enough not to not cover her tracks.
obamafied surrender monkies....