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Scuttle the Shuttle! Foundation Urges
Space Frontier Foundation Press Release via SpaceRef ^ | Monday, July 14, 2003 | Rick Tumlinson

Posted on 07/15/2003 6:29:25 PM PDT by anymouse

The Space Shuttle system should be retired, and all further investments in the Shuttle ended, argued the non-profit Space Frontier Foundation today.

A growing consensus in Congress and the space community affirms that the Shuttle system is hopelessly inadequate to our needs and cannot be made safe or affordable, stated the group s founder, Rick Tumlinson. It's time for the venerable Space Shuttles to make way for the improvement in safety, innovation, and competitive pricing that would occur if the private sector were to be given the chance to do for space travel what commercial aviation has done for air travel.

The Foundation points out that while NASA spends billions maintaining and flying the Space Shuttles, a new generation of privately funded commercial spaceship firms has sprung up to fly people on sub-orbital flights, conceivably for mere hundreds of thousands of dollars per ticket. Rather than continuing to waste taxpayer funds, the group believes an era of commercial orbital space flight could be in the making, if the government would nurture it using the money currently spent on government-only space systems.

NASA should not be in charge of designing, building and operating what is essentially a glorified space truck/bus, added Tumlinson. Imagine if the government had done the same thing with an airline. With no competition it would never get cheaper, better or more efficient - and no one would be able to afford to fly on it. That's the socialist monopoly we have in space flight. It has not improved safety or access and wasted billions of tax dollars.

To begin the hand off to the private sector, NASA should be banned from developing any replacements, and should be made to examine every alternative to safely end the Space Shuttle era, including ending Shuttle flights upon completing the international core of the International Space Station (ISS); flying the Shuttle using its remote control systems in the meantime; and/or mothballing the ISS until commercial LEO transportation becomes available.

None of the Shuttle's capabilities are indispensable, argued Tumlinson, and the ISS should not be used as an excuse to keep flying it at the risk of more astronauts lives. If needed, the Russians can keep it going, or it can be mothballed until it can be taken over by a private Space Port Authority, and then operated, serviced and expanded by private spaceships and cargo vehicles. Now is exactly the right time for a change that can eventually open space to the people who have paid for it all.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government; Technical
KEYWORDS: columbia; commercial; goliath; nasa; shuttle; space; sts107

1 posted on 07/15/2003 6:29:28 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: *Space
Space ping
2 posted on 07/15/2003 6:30:02 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: All

Let's keep the Dem's on the run!
Click the Pic!

3 posted on 07/15/2003 6:32:26 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: anymouse
Amen! I have been singing this tune for years. Imagine if NASA designed surface transport. We would have one size vehicle, whether you were moving ton lots of potatos across the country or commuting across town. Aside from military necessity, the main federal driver in airplane design was the airmail contract. Gov't did not design, build or invest in airframe construction. It just dangled lucrative airmail contracts and announced that if you could demonstrate a reliable aircraft, you could get a shot at one of the contract routes. Hundreds of companies tried, 99% went bust, a few got fabulously wealthy, and the taxpayer paid not a farthing for all this furious competition. Had NASA been in charge of that, we would probably be breathlessly anticipating the introduction any day now (as soon as we run a few more tests) of the Ford Trimotor.
4 posted on 07/15/2003 7:52:52 PM PDT by barkeep
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To: anymouse
But is it time for the handoff?
5 posted on 07/15/2003 8:08:42 PM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins
Yes, how long would it take to get something new off the ground?
6 posted on 07/15/2003 8:27:55 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: KevinDavis
Space ping list, please.
7 posted on 07/16/2003 8:56:25 AM PDT by anymouse
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To: Normal4me; RightWhale; demlosers; Prof Engineer; BlazingArizona; ThreePuttinDude; Brett66; ...
Space Ping! This is the space ping list! Let me know if you want on or off this list!
8 posted on 07/16/2003 9:03:31 AM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: Normal4me; RightWhale; demlosers; Prof Engineer; BlazingArizona; ThreePuttinDude; Brett66; ...
Space Ping! This is the space ping list! Let me know if you want on or off this list!
9 posted on 07/16/2003 9:03:45 AM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: barkeep
I pretty much agree with your post, but don't you think NASA was pretty good in the early days? I wonder what's changed, they seemed inspired and excited back then. Perhaps it is as you say, the perceived competition (against the Russians) is gone.
10 posted on 07/16/2003 9:19:02 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: Sam Cree
When something big and difficult gets done, it gets done because enough people are willing to do the job. Take combat in 1941 - 1945 as an example. I would call the kind of people who get the job done "good men", or if you insist on the "modern" language, "good people." Most people just want a "job" for the income and percieved social status, not to get the job done. Good men are replaced by careerists, most of whom do not realize they are not good men. (Good old "in denial.")

The careerists are always talking about "justice" and "rights" and "equal pay for equal work," "fairness", "glass ceilings", "discrimination", etc., and whining that they get no respect. Then the careerists hire and are replaced by time servers, who hire even worse people. Only the very best people will hire people who are better men than they are.

This is just the way things are. "Human nature," they call it.

11 posted on 07/16/2003 1:32:26 PM PDT by Iris7
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To: anymouse
O'Keefe has the same idea, look below:

NASA to Accelerate Orbital Space Plane Schedule
By Lon Rains
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 01:00 pm ET
15 July 2003

DAYTON, Ohio -- NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe has instructed the agency to accelerate development of the Orbital Space Plane and to have a vehicle ready to send to the international space station by 2008 to serve as a crew rescue vehicle.

"In light of Columbia, the administrator has asked us to accelerate by two years," said Daniel Dumbacher, manager of the second generation reusable launch vehicle program office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. He said O’Keefe requested the new schedule about two weeks ago.

The previous plan had been to have a crew rescue vehicle ready for the station duty by 2010. By 2012, NASA wants a crew transfer vehicle ready to replace the shuttle and Russian-built Soyuz space vehicles for transporting crews to and from the space station

Dumbacher noted that the acceleration of the program will be subject to congressional approval. He made his remarks during a presentation on the Orbital Space Plane here at the The Next 100 Years, an International Air & Space Symposium and Exposition sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Dumbacher said NASA officials have been studying how much it will cost to accelerate the Orbital Space Plane but declined to give details.

Three industry teams are competing for the Orbital Space Plane contract. Those teams are led by Boeing; Lockheed Martin; and Northrop Grumman and Orbital Sciences Corp.

While the contractors are aware of the likely schedule change, they won’t be formally notified for about two weeks, while NASA officials develop the specific requirement changes, said Stephan Davis, manager, Crew Transfer Vehicle Project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

12 posted on 07/16/2003 1:32:30 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: Sam Cree
NASA was a walking talking miracle in its early days. They had a near impossible job, put the best and brightest on it, cut red tape like an industrial strength shredder and got to the moon ahead of schedule. Then it's like they drank all the champagne and woke up the next morning wondering "What the hell do we do now?"

After that they fell onto the predictable gov't priorities of empire building, job security, and above all protect the budget and cover your ass.

We need two things; a clear goal or two, and then set the contracts and let the private sector get us there. If we can ever get out of that damned Space Treaty, we could truly commercialize space. A real live, just like in the sci-fi books high orbit wheel space station would be a good start. Give us a half gee environment and the medical problems of weightlessness go away. Put a spoke through it for 0 gee experimentation or manufacture, and the people could live for truly extended periods. Turn 120 degrees of it into staterooms and people with more money than I have would throw it at you by the truckload. I would, if I had it. Leave it to NASA and we'll be playing protect the shuttle till I'm wormfood.
13 posted on 07/16/2003 2:46:47 PM PDT by barkeep
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To: demlosers
O'Keefe is so bad, he should be fired this second.
14 posted on 07/16/2003 3:13:53 PM PDT by Iris7
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To: barkeep
A half gee is all it takes? Cool. Thanks for the answer, makes lots of sense to me.
15 posted on 07/16/2003 5:55:47 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: RobbyS
how long would it take to get something new off the ground?

6 months. Won't be a Space Shuttle, just an old, proven tech capsule. New one actually. Need to get a booster man-rated, too.

16 posted on 07/16/2003 5:58:49 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: Iris7
"Take combat in 1941 - 1945 as an example"

Yeah, think you are right. My dad was in on that, in Europe, D-Day to the Bulge and into Germany with the IV, as an infantryman, over 200% casualties for the division by war's end. Yeah, that was commitment and motivation. For the whole world, pretty much, on both sides.

I have often thanked God that my own personal little family has not had to go through such a thing. Though I fear it is starting now.

But if we want to be "good men," we'll prevail.

17 posted on 07/16/2003 6:17:24 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: anymouse

18 posted on 07/16/2003 6:23:39 PM PDT by Momaw Nadon (The mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work unless it's open.)
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To: Momaw Nadon
Cool, the cloud cover looks almost like an ocean waves in the image. Thanks.
19 posted on 07/16/2003 6:26:22 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: Sam Cree
Not enough stars, though.
20 posted on 07/16/2003 6:26:47 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: Sam Cree
"[D]on't you think NASA was pretty good in the early days? I wonder what's changed, they seemed inspired and excited back then. Perhaps it is as you say, the perceived competition (against the Russians) is gone."

My grandfather was one of the NACA engineers who became the founders of NASA. Those engineers had all just spent the duration of World War II developing warplanes. (Admittedly, some of those engineers designed planes for the Luftwaffe, but the principle is the same.) During wartime, getting results quickly, and getting them right the first time, meant the difference between life and death, victory and defeat. They ran NASA the same way they had run their wartime projects: lean, quick, free of bureaucracy and committed to doing whatever it took to hit the target.

Competition from the Soviets was a factor, but it was their wartime experience that taught them how to compete. By the end of Apollo, though, that spirit was gone. The war-hardened engineers were too old to keep running projects with that same intensity; they either became upper managers or moved to other opportunities. The ones who followed them learned their skills not in the airplane factories of a nation at war but in the postgraduate classrooms of universities rocked by 60s radicalism.

If you want to find engineers with that early-NASA spirit today, you can't look anywhere in the aerospace industry. You have to look at growth industries like computers, software and biotechnology, where the high-stakes, cutting-edge atmosphere of start-ups and IPOs inculcates that same "victory or death" ethic. In other words, the best way to duplicate NASA's early success is to kill NASA and offer its budget as prizes to private-sector firms.

21 posted on 07/16/2003 6:43:47 PM PDT by Fabozz
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To: Fabozz
Thanks, that's very interesting and believable. It explains alot.
22 posted on 07/16/2003 6:46:55 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: Fabozz
I completely concur. Check my profile page for links to some space forums of interest.
23 posted on 07/16/2003 8:59:17 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: Iris7
There are fields were performance remains high, over generations. Every one I'm thinking of has the professional delivering directly to the person who uses or benefits from what is deleivered For example: surgeons, fire men, tailors, carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, theater.

24 posted on 07/16/2003 9:06:22 PM PDT by bvw
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To: bvw
One can find good men in these fields, and also in the large bureaucratic organizations. I am involved in the latter sort of operation, and find the good men in it in a never ending struggle, making a great personal effort, sacrificing, to keep the organization running at all. This is probably how things work everywhere and everywhen (at least from my point of view).
25 posted on 07/16/2003 11:12:43 PM PDT by Iris7
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To: anymouse
Do this right and we have the next economic boom.
26 posted on 07/17/2003 12:08:29 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot
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To: Sam Cree
Just to be accurate, no one can say with absolute certainty what the threshhold level of healthy gee force would be, naturally there has been no way to empirically test it,but the best speculations I have read by people in the field is that half gee would be more than sufficient.
27 posted on 07/17/2003 9:02:00 AM PDT by barkeep
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