Video: Time Has Come To Fight For Space


Video courtesy of Fight for Space

While working on some other space-related stories I came across this video detailing the current plight of the U.S. space program. We at AmericaSpace have long stated that “leaders” within the U.S. government have failed us. Don’t think so? 

– FAILURE – not properly funding the replacement for the space shuttle that you initiated.

– FAILURE – stating you support NASA – then work to cancel many NASA programs.

– FAILURE – threatening to fire anyone who approached you with plans to build Moon base.

– FAILURE – stating “I think we should send some politicians to the Moon…”

All of these statements are pretty much irrefutable as you can actually watch the “leaders” make these statements. This highlights the very sad state of affairs in terms of science and space exploration in this country. In terms of building the needed infrastructure we must have for the survival of our species, inspiring current generations to do it and being brave enough to support it – the United States is in serious trouble.

For supporters of the U.S. space program this video should serve as a rallying cry to fire (or never hire) those in Washington that simply don’t understand that space exploration isn’t about shiny rockets – it is about survival.

George W. Bush never properly supported the programs he initiated; Barack Obama pledged his support and then betrayed the space workers who voted for him. He has gone on to request that NASA’s planetary missions be cut by 20 percent. Mitt Romney has stated he would essentially fire anyone that would try to get the U.S. space program back on track. Representative Ron Paul has such a dim view of space exploration that he felt safe to make it the butt of his lame joke.

There have been a large number of videos like this one made recently and groups like #Penny4NASA and others are fighting against the actions and statements of our “leadership.” Will it matter? The public by-and-large think that the space program (and not the shuttle program) has been cancelled. This, however, is just the perception of the misinformed. If those who actually do understand the immense value that stems from human space flight don’t fight to turn the tide – the opinion of the misinformed might turn out to be prescient.

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  1. I don’t think the space program is dying. It is changing into something that will be sustainable. So, parts of it are dying, but necessarily so. The space program will outlast all of the politicians alive today.

    • There is a difference between commercial exploitation of low Earth orbit and space exploration. Current administration policy is fine for the commercialization of space. However, no commercial venture in the near future will ever go farther than Earth orbit. What is in it for them? Commercial ventures do not drive the excitement that we had during the Apollo program when we were sending people farther than they had ever gone before. The necessary technologies to expand the boundaries are driven by the manned space program working to achieve new goals. The excitement of a manned space program gets young people interested in pursuing science, technology or engineering related degrees. That will do more to increase our productivity and quality of life than any of the current social progams will.

      • So, then explain Space Adventures’ Lunar trip. Explain Planetary Resources asteroid missions, or B612.

        More to the point – I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – if you believe what you’ve said, then run for political office on that belief about space. See how far it gets you.

        • Aaron,

          Space Adventures’ Lunar trip, Planetary Resources’ asteroid trip…you’re kidding, right?

              • Um, that actually wasn’t my point

                in Mr. Emert’s original post, he said

                “However, no commercial venture in the near future will ever go farther than Earth orbit.”

                Now, you may have issues with the hardware’s point of origin. But it IS a commercial venture, that is in the near future, that is going beyond Earth’s Orbit.

                Or have I missed something.

        • While I respect Dr. Albrecht, he’s describing the symptoms and not a cure, Jeff’s BVP allusion notwithstanding.

          SLS is not old or slow n

        • While I respect Dr. Albrecht, he’s describing the symptoms and not a cure, Jeff’s BVP allusion notwithstanding.

          Albrecht’s criticism of the SLS, that it is old and slow, should have prompted the question of compared to what? But that would point out the inconvenient truth that without SLS or something like it, BEO exploration will be as much a work of pulp SciFi as Space Adventures’ current Lunar plans. True, SLS was not picked out of thin air by the Senate CJS Committee. It’s genesis can be found in the SEI and the Stafford Commission’s recommendations in support of that effort. Why go back and start putting into place some of the pieces that would constitute a new SEI? I’d like to think that perhaps some of those who helped kill SEI over 20 years ago realize its value to the nation.

          But back to Albrecht, he proposes no exploration program, just more money thrown at more studies. How that will help our nation maintain whatever lead it still manages remains a mystery. In the meantime, Orion and SLS continue to make steady progress towards moving us from a nation that dreams of flying the hot spacecraft to actually doing so.

          • And no, he wasn’t suggesting more money thrown at studies. The issue he was raising was reforming NASA. Thats not about “studies”

              • The big problem Jim isn’t the architecture. Its not big rockets vs depots, capsules vs spaceplanes, or anything like that.

                The problem is how do you make so that it can move off public funding, or at least, move most of the fixed costs off public funding. Otherwise, you fill up the NASA budget with infrastructure that locks you into a particular cost structure, particular destination, and specific budget scenario. This is not a minor detail, or theoretical construct. How many times have people said something akin to “Oh, if only we hadn’t gotten rid of the Saturn V”.

                And its not just Saturn V. We launched Skylab, and then let it crash. We built the Shuttle, but it never figured how to move off NASA’s budget. Griffin proposed eliminating the ISS 5 years after completion and spending $100 Billion on it, and 10+ years building it.

                The current plan just repeats all of these mistakes.

                Look at the DRMs right now (ignore the issue of destination preference). NASA needs MULTIPLE pieces of hardware that are not funded right now (and BTW, this problem doesn’t go away if you select the moon). So NASA “prioritizes” SLS. But once its flying, its still chewing through the budget, like Shuttle did. So the only way the other pieces get built is more money coming in. Who is going to provide that?

                What you need is some mechanism that allows you to move the fixed costs away from the NASA budget. Or they will eat you alive. Like they did for Apollo, like they did for Shuttle, like they have been for ISS, and like they would for Constellation.

                If you start from that stand point, you see SLS as is, doesn’t survive.

  2. Ron Paul has never served in the Senate. His son, Rand Paul has, but then, he’s never run for president either.

    As for whether its dying – watch sequestration. That will either kill the deadwood of NASA (looking in the SLS direction) or it will kill all of NASA.

  3. BTW, you aren’t quoting Governor Romney correctly.

    This is the point I have made regarding President Obama as well.

    Read the statement carefully

  4. Mr. Valyn (Aaron Oesterle),

    The article detailing the video is an Op-Ed, as such, paraphrasing is normal. The video is included so viewers can hear the actual words for themselves, allowing them to weigh them against what is said in the article – as well as what others have tried to convert those words into.

    Criticisms only have value when the person criticizing has the courage to use his real name.

    Sincerely, Jason Rhian

    • Mr. Rhian

      If you were paraphrasing Governor Romney accurately, that would be a fair point. But lets look at the actual quote you are referring to (I think)

      “If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the Moon, I’d say, ‘You’re fired,’”

      Your paraphrase…

      “Mitt Romney has stated he would essentially fire anyone that would try to get the U.S. space program back on track.”

      In essence, what you are suggesting is that the only way to get the US space program back on track is to spend a few hundreds of Billions of dollars, to put a colony on the moon. That is the logical assumption required to get from his first statement, to your paraphrase. Those are some huge assumptions, assumptions not everyone necessarily buys. (and actually, if you look at the quote in more detail, you would realize how much more interesting the quote is, and its logical conclusions – but I have no intention of doing all of this on my own).

      And who says I am not using my real name (well, at least half of it is). And its not like its that hard to find out who I am (there are videos of me using both my online name and my real name, there is the fact that its in my facebook, that I’ve acknowledge my real name on my blog, etc).

  5. Mr. Oesterle,

    Why use a psuedonym at all? What do you have to hide? People shouldn’t have to do detective work to find out who you really are? And how does Ferris Valyn even remotely sound like Aaron Oesterle?

    As to the paraphrasing Romney said, any business executive who approached him with plans for a lunar base would be fired. Any other executive or official who had the capacity to bring that concept to him – would at a minimum feel a similar chilling effect. A statement like that displays a complete lack of support for space exploration – which is what I highlighted.

    I understand how much you love splitting hairs and semantics – but that makes one sound less tha honest.

    I think those of us that understand that sustainable, long-term space exploration requires an infrastructure and that infrastructure needs to be made in incremental steps. Moon, asteroids & Mars and then points beyond. Aaron, there is a reason China, Russia, Japan and others have stated plans to go to the Moon. It’s rich in resources and anyone that bypasses them doesn’t understand the “in situ” situation on the ground. Lastly, Aaron – it’s an Op-Ed. The “Op” in Op-Ed – means Opinion. Sorry that my opinion doesn’t match yours – but such is life.

    Have a great day.

    Sincerely, Jason Rhian

  6. Concerning Romney’s, Paul’s, and Obama’s comments on Space, the video tells the whole story. If there’s a silver lining, and I admit it’s a pretty flimsy one, at least Romney, unlike the President, hasn’t falsely presented himself as pro-Space. If we get Romney, we get apathy for Space exploration. But considering the President’s hostility to Space exploration (quick, name the President’s precursor missions to Mars or any asteroids…there are none!), apathy may not be so bad.

      • …it would were Romney not supportive of the current mandated Space program.

          • Frankly, I’m surprised…just asking that tells me two things. First, you’ve never worked with or for a Presidential campaign. And you don’t know who is working on the Romney campaign’s Space positions.

            It’s public knowledge that Mike Griffin is advising the Romney campaign, on Space matters I can only assume. Might also be other prominent opponents of Obama’s 2010 space policy train wreck? Perhaps…

            And no, I’m not now, nor do I plan to be in the future, working for the Romney campaign in any way, shape, or form, whether directly, indirectly, or otherwise.

            • We are all aware of who is on Governor Romney’s space policy council.

              But that does not articulate into support for the current plan. Or an alternative plan. All we know is that Romney has said he intends to convene his own Blue Ribbon Panel on the issue of space policy.

              If I were to look around on Governor Romeny’s website I can find out where he stands on a number of issues – Afghanistan, Israel, Energy, etc. That does not exist for space. There is no white paper, no draft white papers that I am aware of, no major speech about space since the Florida primary. The only thing that exists is a handful of comments that have been given, since FL, when he was asked about it on the campaign trail.

              If he is supportive of it, I would hope to see something from his campaign about it. But the only thing out there is his Blue Ribbon panel, a general endorsement of US in Space, and some non-committal comments (although at least one of them is not really endorsing returning to the moon).

              So, I say again – evidence please

  7. Mr. Rhian

    First, if you looked at my driver’s license, you’d know that it isn’t an issue of Ferris Valyn sounding like Aaron Oesterle. As for why use a pseudonym – personal preference, and history. When I started writing, oh so many years ago, I preferred a bit of anonymity, and took a pseudonym that has special meaning to me. Although I’ve outed myself, that meaning hasn’t changed. Besides, many people know Ferris Valyn, so I keep the pseudonym, but make it relatively easy to find the person behind the mask.

    It isn’t about splitting hairs and semantics – its about understanding what a person actually said. In the realm of politics, you HAVE to understand precisely what has been said, or you will get screwed by a politician. That is part of the reason why someone like Grover Norquest has been so successful – he understand how to pay attention, and get them to agree in the beginning. You have to look at what was said, and the context (both of which was missed)

    As for your argument about sustainable exploration and incremental steps – I’ll grant that. But then you jump ahead, into a defense about the moon, when you actually missed part of the point. Perhaps the moon is the right near term BEO destination, perhaps not. But lets put that entirely to the side, and we’ll say for the sake of argument that its the only one that works. But you have ignored the other part of you assumption – the one involving money.

    The point is you are assuming a massive increase in the NASA budget is required to do lunar exploration. Whether you intended to include that assumption or not, you have. Why not start with the question of “Can I do lunar exploration without a massive budget increase?” Or maybe “Can we get more money outside of NASA’s budget?” In fact, I would argue, there was a candidate who was articulating this point, and you, and Americaspace, rejected him. As did Florida and ultimately the Republican Party.

    Finally, its not about my opinion matching yours – its about articulating and understanding the assumptions made, and then being able to test those assumptions.

  8. You must have AmericaSpace confused with another site; we never took a position on any of the GOP Primary candidates, including Newt.

  9. Thank you Jason for your article. It was spot on! Just couldn’t agree more!

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