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White House Decides to Outsource NASA Work

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:59 PM
Original message
White House Decides to Outsource NASA Work

By ANDY PASZTOR, Wall Street Journal, Jan 24

The White House has decided to begin funding private companies to carry NASA astronauts into space, but the proposal faces major political and budget hurdles, according to people familiar with the matter.

The controversial proposal, expected to be included in the Obama administration's next budget, would open a new chapter in the U.S. space program. The goal is to set up a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar initiative allowing private firms, including some start-ups, to compete to build and operate spacecraft capable of ferrying U.S. astronauts into orbitand eventually deeper into the solar system.

Congress is likely to challenge the concept's safety and may balk at shifting dollars from existing National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs already hurting for funding to the new initiative. The White House's ultimate commitment to the initiative is murky, according to these people, because the budget isn't expected to outline a clear, long-term funding plan. SNIP

However, many in NASA's old guard oppose the plan. Charles Precourt, a former chief of NASA's astronaut corps who is now a senior executive at aerospace and defense firm Alliant Techsystems Inc., said that farming out large portions of the manned space program to private firms would be a "really radical" and an "extremely high risk" path. Unless the overall budget goes up, he said, whatever new direction NASA pursues "isn't going to be viable."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704375604...
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nooooooooooooo!
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. I'm thinking it's time to turn Mt. Vernon into a theme park
Put in some bad ass roller coasters and water rides and that sucker would rock.
Maybe even a special ride through "The Founders Indian Hemp Field" (adults only)
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. That will be next...with Saudi's running it along with the Chinese...
Both can use a little extra money for what they've put into keeping our Ponzi Scheme going.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-27-10 12:28 AM
Response to Reply #15
25. Dubai World, Saudi America, it's endless;) n/t
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. If you're going to *unrecommend* leave a reason why.
:shrug:
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. It Just Keeps Getting Better (nt)
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. This one's important and also symbolic
People are already subtracting votes ;)
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That Is Quite Enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. *shakes head*
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. He's on a roll!
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DJ13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. Im glad to see Obama is finally in touch with his inner Republican
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #5
20. "finally"?
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
6. I thought this was a joke headline.
I want to fly to Mars on the ExxonMobile...
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. New worlds, new oil spills n/t
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bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. It sounds scary, but I thought other countries were doing work & contributing for a while...
The big outsource whoopsy I recall was a little metric standard conversion oversight https://sse.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/profile.cfm?MCode=MCO... :blush:
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Phoonzang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
11. OOOOH let's use the scary dogwhistle term outsource to describe something that
many space enthusiasts (i.e. not the people bitching here who couldn't give a shit about space) have been suggesting happen for years. Companies like Space X and individuals like Burt Rutan are making tremendous advances in rocketry. Why not let them take over the task of shuttling humans to and from low earth orbit? NASA can do the heavy lifting and be responsible for taking people to the Moon and beyond.

What you SHOULD be worried about is talk about shifting NASA's focus towards climate monitoring and environmental projects. That is NOT NASA's job. That's what we have NOAA and other government agencies for. I care as much about keeping an eye on climate change as anyone, but NASA should be looking outward, not inward.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Monitoring the environment USED TO BE NASA's job . . . W changed that ...
The planet -- for gawd's sake -- isn't even officially their concern any longer!!!


This is about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ -- no one is going to the Moon nor Mars!!



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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. NOAA and USGS don't have launch capabilities
That's just fine but the astronauts are the ones taking exception. Look at the article, it's right
there.

You don't have to know about space to know that outsourcing in the crowd of klepto monopolists
is going to turnout the way the rest of the economy has. It will suck!
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
12. Please, say it ain't so, Mr. President.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:17 PM
Response to Original message
14. I believe this was the subject of a Dilbert episode
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Edweird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
16. This makes me nauseas.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
19. Manned spaceflight is a losing proposition -- people are too heavy and require too much life support
Use robots instead.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. that's certainly true! manned space flights are for pol show, not science
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rumpel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
22. Absolutely against this!
The frontier of discovery & knowledge should be by the people for the people!

thanks for posting, autorank.

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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
23. You've got to be shitting me.
:wow:

The militarization of space is almost complete.

This is like a kick in the gut.

Signed,

Sixties Kid.
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groundloop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
24. Flame away, but this isn't a totally bad idea
First, NASA's safety record isn't exactly spotless.

By bringing in outside talent there's likely to be new innovation (I'm thinking specifically of Burt Rutan - everyone raise your hand if you're familiar with Spaceship 1). Burt was able to put men into space for a fraction of what it cost NASA. PLUS, they'll be providing good high tech jobs in the US. I don't think NASA will ever go away, in fact I'm a fan of NASA and know people who work for NASA. I just don't see this as all being as horrible as some people.

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Snazzy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-27-10 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
26. so it was more hype?
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-27-10 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
27. not a big surprise
I know some people locally working on studies for the eventual "space ferry/cargo freighter" duties, which they figure will be a highly competitive (and lucrative) market in the future...The local facility (Wallops Island) needs more upgrades, but they are counting on the industry to be up and running in less than 10 years...
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