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NASA's New Vision

Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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2/1/2010 11:47:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
http://www.bbc.co.uk...

Look - Obama implemented open-market competition for NASA's vehicle development program! And here I thought he was a socialist!?...

Anyways, yes, NASA has taken a huge leap forward in designing new vehicles to go into space with. The private sector will now take over, with bidders already queuing up with ideas. That hefty Constellation program, created by Bush I think, has been cancelled, because it was clearly going nowhere.

Hurrah for smart science policies from the Obama administration! I recommend reading the article and clicking the links to all the neat companies and vehicle designs. Its pretty interesting stuff.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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2/1/2010 11:54:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Ok, so is this a step towards commercial space travel for the public?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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2/1/2010 11:58:32 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/1/2010 11:54:07 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
Ok, so is this a step towards commercial space travel for the public?

Sort of, yes. Mind you, it will still cost around $20 million to get a seat, so unless you've got the dough...

But, more importantly, its a step towards creating a better market for these vehicles. Competition will not only reduce costs, but it will help NASA be quite a bit more innovative and competitive than it is currently with the other various agencies in the world.
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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2/2/2010 12:03:34 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/1/2010 11:58:32 PM, Volkov wrote:
Competition will not only reduce costs, but it will help NASA be quite a bit more innovative and competitive than it is currently with the other various agencies in the world.

NASA was also hampered by EPA restrictions.
Floid
Posts: 751
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2/2/2010 5:02:49 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Anyways, yes, NASA has taken a huge leap forward in designing new vehicles to go into space with. The private sector will now take over, with bidders already queuing up with ideas. That hefty Constellation program, created by Bush I think, has been cancelled, because it was clearly going nowhere.

Well, that sounds all well and good until you consider what they are really saying. NASA is now going from a model of "we do most of our own work" to "we contract everything out", which is the same method the Defense Department uses to build new aircraft, ships, technology, etc. And look how much that costs...

So I am not saying this is bad necessarily, but its definately not good either. Instead of NASA directly paying a scientist or engineer say $100,000 a year to work on a project, they will now pay a private corporation $160,000 per year per scientist and engineer... $100,000 of which goes to the scientist/engineer, $40,000 of which pays company overhead, and $20,000 of which is profit for the company. And you now have extra layers of bureaucracy needed to manage the contractors, contracts themselves, and your own engineers/scientist to review your contractors work.

Might it lead to better innovation and better products? Sure. Is it going to save money? I seriously doubt it. Will it be more efficient? I doubt that as well.
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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2/2/2010 5:12:18 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Statistically speaking this sub-contracting is likely to produce lower quality, when there is viable profit to be made directly from space, then and only then should you open it up to the private sector.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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2/2/2010 5:23:41 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:15:54 AM, Volkov wrote:
Floid, you are a horrid libertarian.

Cerebral, where are these "statistics" you speak of?

Okay, from anecdotal experience. My country is built upon public money embezzelled by lazy private sub-contractors.

It just strikes me that the technical demands of NASA are so high and extreme that where possible everything should be done 'in house', sub-contracting greatly increases the chance of mistakes or a loss of quality. When the technology becomes old hat, and when profit can be derived directly from space exploration then the private sector will have the ability and the motivation to succeed, and will probably supercede NASA.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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2/2/2010 5:28:46 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:23:41 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
It just strikes me that the technical demands of NASA are so high and extreme that where possible everything should be done 'in house', sub-contracting greatly increases the chance of mistakes or a loss of quality. When the technology becomes old hat, and when profit can be derived directly from space exploration then the private sector will have the ability and the motivation to succeed, and will probably supercede NASA.

I think that they wouldn't sub-contract to these companies if they didn't already trust in their ability to create a proper product. My guess is that these are already companies that have provided either expertise or product to NASA or the USFG before, and have a good track record wit the state's institutions. However, your point is an interesting one.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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2/9/2010 8:36:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
It would be fair competition if NASA let a contract for a substantial number of manned flights. However, they are planning four missions per year and then only into earth orbit. At that level, it seems unlikely that private enterprise can compete with the heavily subsidized Russian programs. With the objective of a moon base canceled, it seems future manned space exploration is conceded to the Russians and Chinese.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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2/11/2010 9:32:10 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
It just strikes me that the technical demands of NASA are so high and extreme that where possible everything should be done 'in house', sub-contracting greatly increases the chance of mistakes or a loss of quality.

>Nonsense. All past NASA space technology has been done entirely by subcontract. All they do in-house is determine broad requirements, manage subcontracts. Some basic research is done by government labs, but they don't do any design or construction of hardware.

There are obvious inefficiencies that come from government management. For example, politics determined that NASA mission control be in Houston, LBJ's home state, while the launch facility is in Florida.
Floid
Posts: 751
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2/12/2010 6:50:06 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:15:54 AM, Volkov wrote:
Floid, you are a horrid libertarian.

I fail to see how pointing out that the government contracting out work rarely leads to greater productivity and actually hurts efficiency by creating an extra layer of bureaucracy makes me a horrid libertarian. Please explain.
Floid
Posts: 751
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2/12/2010 7:11:14 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I think that they wouldn't sub-contract to these companies if they didn't already trust in their ability to create a proper product.

The question isn't necessarily can a contractor create a proper product, but how much will it cost relative to doing it in house. The closest parallel is the defense industry, where it is not uncommon for large contracts to run twice or more their initial cost estimate and years late.