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Smoke & Fire

 

Op-Eds & Quotes

 

"I'm going to pay the Russians $450 million a year for every year that I don't have an American capability to put humans into low Earth orbit."

Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, March 2012

 

“Among the many dire impacts, the cuts threaten the very existence of the Mars exploration program which has been one of the crown jewels of the agency’s planetary exploration,”

David J. Des Marais, scientist & chairman of NASA Ames Research Center

 

“What matters here are not spin-offs (although I could list a few: Accurate affordable Lasik surgery, Scratch resistant lenses, Cordless power tools, Tempurfoam, Cochlear implants, the drive to miniaturize of electronics...) but cultural shifts in how the electorate views the role of science and technology in our daily lives.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, March 7, 2012

 

“If all you do is coast, eventually you slow down, while others catch up and pass you by.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, March 7, 2012

 

“The spending portfolio of the United States currently allocates fifty times as much money to social programs and education than it does to NASA. The 2008 bank bailout of $750 billion was greater than all the money NASA had received in its half-century history; two years' U.S. military spending exceeds it as well. Right now, NASA's annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that--a penny on a dollar--we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, March 7, 2012

 

“When you innovate, you lead the world, you keep your jobs, and concerns over tariffs and trade imbalances evaporate. The call for this adventure would echo loudly across society and down the educational pipeline.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, March 7, 2012

 

"Landing on Mars is a uniquely American talent, and there aren't too many things that are uniquely American."

Ed Weiler, former NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate February 27, 2012

 

If Obama's budget sails through as outlined, "in essence, it is the end of the Mars program." It is like "we've just flown Apollo 10 and now we're going to cancel the Apollo program when we're one step from landing."

Phil Christensen, Mars researcher at Arizona State University, February 27, 2012.

 

“We're trying to identify a way to (explore Mars) in these very difficult fiscal times."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, February 22, 2012

 

“As I told the Administrator during our meeting, I oppose these ill-considered cuts and I will do everything in my power to restore the Mars budget and to ensure American leadership in space exploration.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), February 9, 2012

 

 

"The J-2X upper stage engine is vital to achieving the full launch capability of the heavy-lift Space Launch System, …The testing today will help insure that a key propulsion element is ready to support exploration across the solar system."

William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, January 25, 2012

 

 

"The test engineers on the A-1 test team (of J-2X upper stage engine) are excited and ready to begin another phase of testing which will provide critical data in support of the Space Launch System."

Gary Benton, J-2X engine testing project manager at Stennis, January 25, 2012

 

 

“Based on our previous work, there is a pretty good possibility” that the new acquisition strategy will support at least two contractor teams to finalize and verify their designs.

Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA

 

 

"I believe Congress should prioritize human spaceflight and continue developing the Space Launch System and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle in order to achieve assured access for American crews to the International Space Station, in the event commercial ventures are not successful."


            Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS)-Chairman, Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, July 8, 2011

 

 

 

 “With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, NASA will face a critical period and will need Congress’s support and direction to focus its limited resources on sustaining America’s leadership in space. We are in a challenging budget environment, but I believe that ensuring U.S. access to space is vital to our national interests.  I believe human space exploration should be a national priority. In order for the U.S. to remain a leader in space exploration Congress has given NASA a blueprint in last year’s authorization bill, which is now law.  The Space Launch System and Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle are important priorities that can also ensure the U.S. achieves assured access for American crews, in case commercial ventures do not materialize or our international partners become unable to provide access to the Space Station. As Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I will continue to make sure that NASA follows this path, so that America will remain the preeminent leader in space exploration.”


            Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

 “Based upon our national behavior of late, I believe that most Americans, as well as our partners and competitors abroad, would be forced to conclude that the answer is "not".


            Mike Griffin, Former NASA Administrator/scholar and professor, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

“Given current federal budget constraints, I continue to be concerned about NASA’s ability to afford contracting with two or more companies to ferry our astronauts to and from the International Space Station.”

Rep. Ralph Hall (Rep. TX.), Chairman, Committee on Science, Space and Technology, December 15, 2011

 

 

Noting that Congress has attached some strings that could further reduce the budget for commercial rocket development by linking such dollars to the agency’s progress in developing a separate, larger NASA rocket, a development that will also limit NASA’s engineering and design control over the commercial program, he said the downside is that it “doesn’t ensure that we will get exactly what we need.”

Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA

 

 

When our nation is held hostage to other entities for basic access to space, something is very wrong.”


            Mike Griffin, Former NASA Administrator/scholar and professor, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

“The uncertainties associated with the radical changes in space plans and policies of the last two years contributed to a substantial erosion of the United States’ historically highly regarded space industrial base. Thousands of jobs have been lost, and the space component of the industry is perceived as unstable, discouraging students from considering preparing themselves for entry into this exciting but demanding career path.”


            Neil Armstrong, Former Astronaut, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

“If we're looking for a way to stimulate our economy today and in the future, a new space race—not relying on the Russians—is a good place to start.”


            Homer Hickman, author and former NASA engineer, November 17, 2011

 

 

 

“Who would have imagined that one July morning in 2011, when the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down at the Kennedy Space Center that America's manned space program would come to an end? Sure, we make noises about how we're going to fly astronauts to an asteroid and build a big new rocket, though we don't have any real plans or enough money allocated to do either one. Throughout our recent space demise, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden has seemed detached and inexplicably serene while his underemployed engineers try to believe that he, the president, and the rest of our elected officials care about spaceflight. But if they did, would we now have to pay the Russians to take us to the Space Station? The answer is no. Human spaceflight is so far down on their priority list, it doesn't even have a number.”


            Homer Hickman, author oand former NASA engineer, November 17, 2011

 

 

“Blaming budget uncertainties, NASA has announced that it will postpone their use of private launchers for transporting astronauts until at least 2017. This delay has prompted one prospective customer, Bigelow Aerospace, to lay off 40 of its 90-person staff.”

Larry Bell, author, Forbes contributor, professor and Director of the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture at the University of Houston, January 17, 2012

 

 

“Where to start? Short-range, get a president who believes spaceflight is important. NASA is part of the executive branch and goes where the president says; it doesn't much matter what Congress wants. Next, put passionate and savvy managers in charge of NASA and fire them if they don't perform. Long-range, educate the people to understand why spaceflight is important to our economic, social, moral and technical success as a nation. Sending your kids and teachers to Space Camp or the 48 Challenger Learning Centers across the country is a good start. There they can learn about the mathematical and engineering wonders behind Mission Control or join the crew of a simulated orbiting space station. “


            Homer Hickman, author and former NASA engineer, November 17, 2011

 

 

 

“Missions to the moon, asteroids, and Mars require a heavy-lift launch vehicle if they are to be conducted with any semblance of efficiency. The new Space Launch System, while not as capable or cost-effective as the Ares V design it replaces, is quite similar and is an effective compromise. The Congress should remain vigilant regarding the conduct of this program, as recent events have made it quite clear that the administration does not actually wish to pursue this development.”


            Mike Griffin, Former NASA Administrator/scholar and professor, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

“The new Space Launch System (SLS), while it can accomplish this task, is substantially overdesigned for the purpose. It is nonsensical to require the launch of a heavy-lift vehicle for purposes of ISS resupply or for missions such as Hubble servicing and the like. This nation, through NASA, should pursue a broad range of human spaceflight programs; exploration beyond low Earth orbit is only one of them.


            Mike Griffin, Former NASA Administrator/scholar and professor, September 22, 2011

 

 


“I have yet to be convinced that there is a sufficient commercial market that will sustain multiple private, for-profit commercial crew companies through the duration of America’s commitment to the International Space Station. NASA seemingly takes the position of ‘build it and they will come’; that by starting these companies first, business will soon follow.”    


            Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

“I am also concerned that we need a viable backup system to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS should commercial crew launch companies not be able to deliver as hoped. It is my sincere hope that NASA, commercial companies, and Congress can work through challenging technical, legal, and regulatory issues in the months and years ahead related to the nascent commercial crew model. However, as the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 proscribed, we must be ready to service the ISS if our hopes of a commercial crew industry are not realized. And just as importantly, the SLS and MPCV programs begin the work of ensuring that America has an ongoing long-term exploration program.”


            Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

“The thing about the Chinese is they know where they are going and they know when they’re gonna get there. They have a plan, they have a mission.”

Gene Cernan, Apollo 17 commander, September 2011

 

“SpaceX may have started out as an entrepreneurial, market-driven venture, but most of its future revenues look likely to come from Uncle Sam, just like the big boys. Since those older companies also are longstanding players in the commercial space sector -- among other things, they make communications satellites for private users -- it isn't so clear what makes SpaceX different.”


            Dr. Loren B. Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, Lexington Institute

 

 

 

“There are two principal issues. First, uncertain budgets and launch market commitments make NASA an unreliable customer, causing large R&D investments to be very risky. Second, working with NASA imposes contracts complexities, schedule delays and added costs that jeopardize business viability. This is particularly true in regard to design control over manned mission flight safety provisions.”

Larry Bell, author, Forbes contributor, professor and Director of the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture at the University of Houston, January 27, 2012

 

 

“When you are spending several hundred million dollars to loft astronauts or a complex spy satellite into orbit, the government tends to be very picky about how every facet of the launch enterprise is carried out. SpaceX has largely escaped that oversight -- which may be one reason why three of its first seven launch attempts failed.”


            Dr. Loren B. Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, Lexington Institute

 

 

 

“The simple reality is that SpaceX just doesn't have much of a track record. It has launched a grand total of seven rockets, and three of those launches were failures. Its current launch vehicle, Falcon 9, has only been launched twice, and apparently neither of those launches was picture-perfect. In contrast, the United Launch Alliance has conducted 54 successful launches of high-value payloads. Lockheed Martin's Atlas rocket, which was in use for decades before the joint venture was formed, is approaching 100 consecutive launches without incident, similar to the performance of the Trident ballistic missile that the company routinely tests for the Navy. “


            Dr. Loren B. Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, Lexington Institute

 

 

 

“The statistical probability that SpaceX can ever match this record of success is approximately zero. Maybe it can deliver launch services for less money, but there's good reason to believe that in rockets as in other products you get what you pay for. Once risk is factored into the comparisons, it's hard to see how federal officials could justify placing a billion-dollar spy satellite, or for that matter astronauts, on Falcon 9 or any other SpaceX launch vehicle until there was much more evidence of their reliability.”


            Dr. Loren B. Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, Lexington Institute

 

 

 

“To fully rely on commercial or government approaches, to the exclusion of the other, would place all human spaceflight by the US at risk, public and private. “


            Dr. Scott Pace, Space Policy Institute

 

 

 

Lori Garver believes that the commercial space industry is the key for NASA if it wants to achieve any of the lofty goals it has set for itself in the future. NASA has said that they believe private spaceships will be ready to carry cargo and astronauts to space soon and that the future of the ISS and deep space exploration depend on this outcome.
"In order to make good on the entire plan, it is this part of the plan that must be successful," Garver said. She (Garver) acknowledges that achieving this outcome is not easy. "Many of us are frustrated that we have not been able to advance this agenda faster," she said.


            Lori Garver, Deputy NASA Administrator, October 21, 2011

 

 

 

“For the United States, the leading space-faring nation for nearly a century, to be without carriage to low-Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature.”

Gene Cernan, Apollo 17 commander (With Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell in an open letter to President Obama), April 13, 2010

 

 

"Unfortunately, this administration is focused on killing human spaceflight by the death of a thousand cuts. Its plan wastes money, unnecessarily targets NASA's highly skilled work force, jeopardizes future national security and, most importantly, cedes U.S. space leadership for the next two decades. The mischaracterized $38 billion estimate and the uninspiring schedule estimates that go with it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if NASA continues to dither. Meanwhile, the work force and the industrial base are being decimated by the administration's political poker games and general lack of leadership."


            Mike Griffin, Former NASA Administrator/scholar and professor, August 31, 2011

 

 

 

“For all my seeming skepticism, I am willing to be convinced that I’m wrong, and I hope I’m wrong. I want the private markets to relieve NASA of the cost and burden of building a new launch system for low Earth orbit. But as I said a minute ago, NASA must do more to address these important questions, and it’s our role as the Committee of jurisdiction to ensure that whatever path we ultimately take, government’s investment will be well understood and well spent.”


            Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

 

“This Administration’s lack of commitment for human space exploration has frustrated and angered many of us in Congress who are committed to American leadership in space. The Administration’s obstructionism has already resulted in the unnecessary loss of thousands of American jobs, and served to diminish our Nation’s leadership and stature among space-faring nations.”


            Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS), Rep. Frank wolf (R-VA), September 14, 2011

 

 

 

“It is our sincere hope that today’s announcement signals a breakthrough with this president that will help alleviate the uncertainty that has plagued our aerospace industrial base and wreaked havoc on its employees. We will not judge today’s announcement by the administration’s words, but by their deeds and actions in the coming months and years.”


            Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS), Rep. Frank wolf (R-VA), September 14, 2011

 

 

 

“If not resolved quickly, I am deeply worried that NASA will be viewed by our international partners as an unreliable, schizophrenic agency. On the one hand NASA is actively seeking international partners to collaborate on future missions; on the other, the Administration appears to be interfering with the agency’s efforts to reach out and engage foreign governments in future flagship missions. If these internal conflicts aren’t soon resolved, NASA could be left alone to fly its own missions with budgets that will result in fewer flight opportunities. Meanwhile other international space agencies will collaborate, and in time, they may well be able to fly space missions that were once the domain of NASA.”


            Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS)-Chairman, Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, November 15, 2011

 

 

 

On Commercial Crew Program (CCP):
The CCP is a partnership between NASA and the private sector to incentivize companies to build and operate safe, reliable, and cost effective commercial human space transportation systems. In the near term, NASA plans to be a partner with U.S. industry, providing technical and financial assistance during the development phase. In the longer term, NASA plans to buy transportation services for U.S. and U.S. designated astronauts to the ISS. We hope that these activities will stimulate the development of a new industry that will be available to all potential customers --including the U.S. Government --putting U.S. industry in a leadership role for this new market.”


            NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, November 17, 2011

 

 

 

On Advancing Space Exploration Technologies:
“NASA recognizes that any future human exploration effort is largely dependent on developing breakthrough technologies that will enable us to safely go farther and faster into space and at a lower cost. By investing in high payoff, disruptive technology that industry does not have today, NASA matures the technologies required for future missions, while proving the capabilities and lowering the cost of government and commercial space activities.”


            NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, November 17, 2011

 

 

 

According to the NVTC, Bolden discussed “the importance of technology to the space agency's future,” urging continued investments in NASA's future in order to maintain American technology leadership and serve as a catalyst for high-tech jobs. He highlighted how the agency is streamlining and strategically focusing its investments and partnering with corporate America to encourage innovation. Bolden also listed NASA's efforts to develop next-generation space technologies including a laser-based optical communications system, a deep space atomic clock and a space solar sail, and described the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory on Nov. 25.


            NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, November 15, 2011

 

 

 

On vision for the future:
“Our vision for the future is clear: hand off low-Earth orbit transportation to the private sector; develop the technology and vehicles needed to explore deep space, eventually landing a human mission on Mars; and help develop quieter and cleaner airplanes, all while inspiring our young people to out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world.”


            NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, November 30, 2011

 

 

 

On agenda:
“Maybe you have heard lately that a few people have charged that we are pursuing a "political agenda". Well, here is our agenda. We are working to invest the Nation's valuable tax dollars to assure a healthier, more competitive industrial base, that advances technology, provides more scientific benefit, and expands humanities presence farther than ever before, while creating new markets, new industries, and new jobs in order to advance our national security and economic future. This is our agenda...we are committed to it, we are proud of it, and we hope you will join us.”


            Lori Garver, Deputy NASA Administrator, October 24, 2011

 

 

 

On retiring the space shuttle:
"Contrary to what you might have heard, that marks the beginning, not the end," Garver said. "With the support of the President and Congress, NASA has made a renewed commitment to human spaceflight."


            Lori Garver, Deputy NASA Administrator, October 21, 2011

 

 

 “NASA’s human space exploration program is fundamental to the agency’s mission and identity.  And it is synonymous with the image of American leadership around the world… For an agency with a budget that consumes less than one-half of one percent of federal spending – and human space exploration is about 20 percent of that - NASA is renowned at home and around the world as a quintessential American enterprise whose feats no one has been able to duplicate.”


            Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, September 22, 2011

 

 

 

“The vehicle concept and design being formally announced today is consistent with the design and development approach that was directed by the NASA Authorization Act. Because of the delays in announcing this design, it is imperative that we work with NASA to assure that the new Space Launch System is pursued without further losses of time and efficiency, while relying on NASA’s world-class engineers and designers to continue U.S. leadership in space exploration.”


            Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee, September 14, 2011

 

 

 

“I am happy to have a path forward in the future of U.S. space exploration with the new launch system. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee as we continue to advance U.S. led efforts in this frontier. This decision provides some certainty for NASA employees as we work to retain the best and brightest workers who have the experience to take us further into space.”


            Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the Science and Space Subcommittee, September 14, 2011

 

 

 

“I am pleased to see NASA making progress on our next generation of space transportation that will send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. I support the Space Launch System as part of NASA's balanced space program of human spaceflight, scientific exploration and discovery and technology development."


Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science and    Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, September 14, 2011

 

 

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