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NASA's 1$ billion windfall



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 15th 04, 01:29 AM
Bill Clark
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Default NASA's 1$ billion windfall

I may be kind of skeptical, but I think it will take the extra $1
billion President Bush has pledged for NASA just to keep it going at
current levels. Here's why:

Everything is classified now. Even technical journal articles have to
be vetted before they are published. Especially anything having to do
with orbital mechanics, or any other aspect of "rocket science" that
applies to missiles or that is somehow related to SDI so that it's
classified.

The problem with high security operations is that progress is
inversely proportional to security level. The higher the security,
the less the competition, and the less incentive scientists have to
produce high quality work. Anybody who does a very good job is
harassed by his or her peers for making them look bad so, if anything,
there is negative incentive. Moreover, the whole system is ratcheted
so that high performing scientists will be booted out of the system
leaving only the low horsepower people left.

Consequently, with all the new security operations in place since 9/11
the $1 billion Bush thinks will get us to the moon and Mars will only
pay for more security, lazier scientists, and an underperforming space
program.

Bill Clark
http://home.austin.rr.com/whcii/

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  #3  
Old January 15th 04, 01:47 PM
Martha H Adams
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Default NASA's 1$ billion windfall

I have to agree with Bill Clark's comments, and add further
observations.

First, that the "security" thing is not peculiar to NASA but seems to
be a basic policy from the people in Washington. It ranges from
net-dragging (mild pun here) the public domain to top policy that
financially and politically powerful groups are claiming possession of
anything they can define. Over the long run, our whole culture is
impoverished. I can't feel troubled over such policy with respect to
what is called "popular music" but the space program carries the germ
of our future and possibly even of our very existence in to the
future. So I think the "security" thing is bad trouble.

Secondly, there is that oh-so-photogenic Shawn O'Keefe. I've seen
very many genuinely working people in industry and universities.
These ranged from engineering draftsmen to predoctoral grad students
to professors to Nobel prize winners. And to my recall, none of them
in their productive years, gave attention to how they looked in front
of a camera. My first impression of O'Keefe and ever since, is does
he ever think about anything else? I cannot see that man as a working
administrator. He only reminds me of whats-his-name who headed up the
Postal Service a few years back.

As I try to guess what the future will see looking back at us, I think
the central question will be: Why all that buzzing around about "man"
and "exploration," when we needed to be putting *settlements* Out
There?

Cheers, sort of -- Martha Adams

  #4  
Old January 15th 04, 02:53 PM
Jon Berndt
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Default NASA's 1$ billion windfall

"Steve" wrote in message

I also share your skepticism. I see this initiative as money for
Boeing and LockMart to give to their shareholders while they make
noises about producing hardware and then deliver nothing. Remember
the X-33.


You must be joking. The profit margin on this kind of work is typically
very, very low.

As far as delivering nothing, you should probably look into that [false]
statement a little bit before throwing it out.

Jon

  #5  
Old January 16th 04, 12:49 PM
Earl Colby Pottinger
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Default NASA's 1$ billion windfall

"Jon Berndt" :

"Steve" wrote in message

I also share your skepticism. I see this initiative as money for
Boeing and LockMart to give to their shareholders while they make
noises about producing hardware and then deliver nothing. Remember
the X-33.


You must be joking. The profit margin on this kind of work is typically
very, very low.

As far as delivering nothing, you should probably look into that [false]
statement a little bit before throwing it out.


Really, then name one useful thing learnt from the non-building of the X-33.

And it is non-building when you consider that there is not even an assembled
airframe.

Earl Colby Pottinger

--
I make public email sent to me! Hydrogen Peroxide Rockets, OpenBeos,
SerialTransfer 3.0, RAMDISK, BoatBuilding, DIY TabletPC. What happened to
the time? http://webhome.idirect.com/~earlcp

  #6  
Old January 17th 04, 12:41 AM
Scott Lowther
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Default NASA's 1$ billion windfall

Earl Colby Pottinger wrote:

Really, then name one useful thing learnt from the non-building of the X-33.


Multi-lobe composite pressure vessels are hard to make. Very hard to
make.

Cryopumping in composite structures is a serious problem.


There. That's two things.

--
Scott Lowther, Engineer
Remove the obvious (capitalized) anti-spam
gibberish from the reply-to e-mail address

  #7  
Old January 17th 04, 04:23 AM
Greg D. Moore (Strider)
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Default NASA's 1$ billion windfall

"Scott Lowther" wrote in message
...
Earl Colby Pottinger wrote:

Really, then name one useful thing learnt from the non-building of the

X-33.

Multi-lobe composite pressure vessels are hard to make. Very hard to
make.


And we didn't know that before?


Cryopumping in composite structures is a serious problem.


Nor that?



There. That's two things.


Seems to me several people knew this was a problem before we started on
X-33. So I think you'd be hardpressed to say we learned anything.



--
Scott Lowther, Engineer
Remove the obvious (capitalized) anti-spam
gibberish from the reply-to e-mail address


  #8  
Old January 17th 04, 05:05 AM
Scott Lowther
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Default NASA's 1$ billion windfall

Greg D. Moore (Strider) wrote:

"Scott Lowther" wrote in message
...
Earl Colby Pottinger wrote:

Really, then name one useful thing learnt from the non-building of the

X-33.

Multi-lobe composite pressure vessels are hard to make. Very hard to
make.


And we didn't know that before?


I believe it was suspected. But some thigns you don't *know* until you
try. it can be easily argued that lessons learned from the X-33 program
were not worth what they cost, but it is a simple lie to suggest that
*nothing* was learned.

Also learned was that the X-33 aerodynamci shape was badly unstable at
Mach 12 or thereabouts. This is definetly new, and the basic X-33 shape
is quite old... late sixties at least.

Learning what *doesn't* work is a perfectly valid lesson. It's our "must
be perfect right out the gate" mentality that does not accept failure
that ahs led us to accomplish *nothing.*

--
Scott Lowther, Engineer
Remove the obvious (capitalized) anti-spam
gibberish from the reply-to e-mail address

 




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