Skip to comments.With shuttle's end, space firms seek new direction
Posted on 05/10/2012 6:44:11 AM PDT by txrangerette
By Stephen Singer The Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. Less than a year after NASA ended its shuttle program, players in America's space business are casting around for new direction.
United Technologies Corp. is the most recent company to announce it will sharply scale back its role in space exploration. It's selling Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a manufacturer of rocket engines and liquid-propulsion systems...
Greg Hayes, chief financial officer at United Technologies, rapped U.S. space policy when he announced the decision in mid-March to sell Rocketdyne.
"Growth will be limited at Rocketdyne," Hayes told investor analysts. "It's still a very good business. It's a national asset ... but unfortunately, without a national space policy, growth will be limited for some time."
Rocketdyne dates to early rocketry, working with pioneers such as Wernher von Braun and contributing to propulsion on Apollo spacecraft in the 1960s and '70s that brought astronauts to the moon.
NASA's 30-year shuttle program ended last July with the voyage of Atlantis. The space shuttle Discovery has become a museum piece, turned over by NASA in mid-April to the Smithsonian Institution.
Other companies have shifted some business from space exploration.
ATK Space SystemsTech has laid off hundreds of workers in Utah, citing the phase-out of the space shuttle and the Minuteman III ballistic missile programs.
And Florida's Space Coast, once the center of rocket launches, has lost thousands of jobs.
Chris Quilty, a Raymond James analyst, said that without the shuttle, the United States no longer has a vehicle to put humans into space, calling into question the need for rockets.
"The rocket does not have a mission. It does not have a payload," he said. "There's no lunar lander. It's literally a rocket to nowhere."
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
You can say we're broke, or that the private sector is on their own now, etc. But we waste trillions, we have a very sluggish economy, and we have a political system that will not get entitlement spending under control. These impediments do not have to be; they are imposed on us by a massively failed government. So the money for a continued robust space program in cooperation between NASA and the private sector COULD still be there with the right pieces in place. This is a real situation, but it's also a metaphor for our nation, ie, "limited growth".
This is not America.
I thought Obama told them they had a direction—peace initiatives to the mohammedans.
Point taken, but I THINK this is speaking of a scientific, technical and business direction.
Just one more example of the hollowing out, not to mention the weirding out, of a great, exceptional nation.
there are all kinds of smaller companies that make nuts and bolts etc for NASA...not big engineering type companies, but small mftg places that hire average Joe’s to bang out part after part for $10-12 an hour.
Those are the people that are really suffering-especially here in New England.
They want a new direction?
Oh for sure.
Obama has an agenda. If you can waste billions on Solyndra and union bailouts and shovel ready jobs that aren’t shovel ready, etc, then in his mind it really isn’t about the resources.
It’s about his agenda to cut America down to size and end its exceptionalism.
Not that I’m a big fan of NASA, but, what the heck happened? We were going to have a moon colony. We were going to have underwater communities. We had a nation filled with people with fire in their bellies. Now, the Democrats want us all to sit around and contemplate our navels while they loot the public treasury. The Democrats are worse than you think. They’re not addle-brained zealots. They’re a bunch of thieves.
And the criminals in the old media cover for them saying, “We didn’t kill those people or steal that money! We just helped those other crooks get away with it.”
They’re not worse than I think, because I realize they have a leftist agenda and are crooks at the same time.
Follow the money. It’s all about them getting their hands on what resources we still have and doling them out to their people.
Venezuela under Chavez does the same.
Obama wants to downsize us, then grab what he can of what we have left, to perpetuate his and the left’s power over us little people.
“This is not America.”
Blessing and curse, I’m old enough to remember the America that was. As a kid growing up in Canoga Park, we sat out on the backyard patio and saw the orange glow and heard the rumble from the Rocketdyne engine test facility in the nearby Santa Susana mountains.
On some nights, we could clearly see satellites (ours or theirs?) streaking across the sky. And Alan Shepard was the man of the hour, every kid I knew wanted to be an astronaut. Except me, I wanted to be a nuclear physicist.
Those were heady times. We were all proud to be Americans, first in space exploration, first on the moon, first in innovation and invention. And the economy boomed.
And now we live in time where radical government greenies want to stamp out all traces of man and his marvelous progress, and return the planet to some imaginary primitive past. A utopia where we all live in huts with dirt floors, subsist on strict vegan diets, and sing Woodie Guthrie songs while holding hands around a picture of a campfire.
Oh, to be eight years old again during that moment of time in San Fernando Valley.
I’m old enough too, but I lived in a different place.
I remember going outside to catch John Glenn’s orbiter going over DFW in the night sky.
I remember all the things connected with being young and excited about being an American at such a time as that.
I couldn’t have imagined the future that’s looming now for our country.
You mean all of THAT, led to this?????
Predictably, politicians messed it all up.
A government program is still a government program, no matter how noble or inspiring its origin.
Government cannot be trusted to do nonmilitary things properly in the long run.
If we want moon colonies, we're going to have to do it ourselves (private sector). The biggest obstacle will be...you guessed it... government.
Rather than "partner" with government, entrepreneurs will have to fight the government for access to space, same as they would for any territory.
Same for underwater colonies. Such things just shouldn't be done by government, because:
1. Politicians won't base their decision on practical or econonic feasibility considerations.
2. Government will not properly manage the project.
Without the space program, I assume that all those funds for black projects will need to be buried in other programs or cut all together. Are we also closing secret bases for development of new technology as well? I assume Obama will stifle many programs in the works that are never going to see the light of day, and the space program is just the publicly visible tip of the iceberg.
By all objective criteria, America’s better days are behind her, and the public no longer has the pioneer spirit and sense of individual responsibility that would bring it back.
I wonder when the nation will fracture into smaller nation states, based on regional preferences.
More importantly, from what part of the world will the spirit of freedom be shining for the rest of the world to see when they are finally sick of the culture of dependency and despondency in which they now wallow?
I see no lamp of liberty lit in any part of the world, and it is fast being extinguished here. This is one of those times which, in years to come, will be labeled as a new “dark age” in which hedonism and secular bureaucracy stifled the human spirit in a spasm of collective group think. NO advancements will occur in medicine, in art, in literature, in mechanics, in chemistry, in physics, in aeronautics, in food production, in transportation, or in energy production.
We will be content to haul stones for a new pyramid to fool us into thinking we matter.
When I lived in the Soviet Union, there was an emphasis on the super-large edifices to show how great and advanced was the culture. In Moscow they built seven large buildings that all looked the same (after all, there was not need for creativity one the plan for a “great” edifice was drafted) to show the greatness of the collective.
The further Soviet society rotted from within, the larger became the exoskeleton of the stink bug that was the true structure of the Soviet society.
We are heading in the same direction, rotting from within while trying to create the impression that the shell of our is full of the promise of a new chicken ready to hatch.
Why else would we parade the shuttle over New York at the time when it is being placed forever on the junk heap of history. Hell, we won’t even adequately fund the museum in a year or two.
Reform must start with Washington, and those who go along in the corrupt system to gain power and prestige should be the first to go. But it will not happen, as the people are not aware of the situation and still think that they are on solid ground.
Heaven help us all.
NASA did ok in managing.
Politicans...not so much.
“UP” was the direction for America past.
A new direction is by definition a different one.
But I do see where you’re coming from.
Thanks for posting.
This is Obama's "commercial" space program: