Marcia Smith, Monday, 2-27-12 February 27, 2012Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: Appropriation Subcommittees, Appropriations Committee, audits, clean auditor statement, Commercial Crew, Congressional budgetary process, Congressional Research Service (CRS), deficit reduction, Department of Defense FY 13 Proposed Budget, influencing congress, Inspector General (IG), ISS, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Marcia Smith, Mars Missions, NASA FY 13 proposed budget, NASA planetary science, Orion, Overseas Contingency Operations Account (OCO)., projected budget cuts, sequestration, Space Launch System (SLS)., SpacePolicyOnline.com
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Marcia Smith, Monday, 2-27-12
Guest: Marcia Smith. Topics: FY 13 proposed budget analysis for NASA and DOD plus how the congressional budget process works. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed back to the program Marcia Smith to help us understand the proposed FY 13 NASA and DOD budgets plus the congressional budgetary process. I recommend following Marcia’s website and posts at SpacePolicyOnline.com for the latest information on the budget and a wide range of additional topics of interest. During our discussion, we delved into how the U.S. budget process works. Its complex. Marcia suggested looking up reports by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) so check these out: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/34649.pdf; http://opencrs.com/document/98-721. In our first segment, I started by asking Marcia to explain why we hear that the Senate has not passed a budget yet funds are allocated and programs are cancelled and supported as if there was a budget. What unfolded for a good part of our 90 minute discussion was an excellent discussion on how our budget process actually works, what is important, what is not important, and who does what and when. I urge you to listen to this discussion as you won’t find a better tutorial on understanding our federal budget than right here with Marcia Smith. In learning how things really work, we used the NASA budget as an example and to a lesser degree parts of the DOD budget. We talked about cuts and the idea that the NASA budget was flat which it is not as its down close to a billion dollars from last year when the correct analysis is applied. We talked about Mars missions, SLS, Orion, JWST, NASA overhead, commercial crew, ISS, planetary science, and more. We went through the role of OMB and the use of auditors. You may find some of this surprising or even shocking. Also in this segment we talked about the subcommittees and the other agencies in the same subcommittee with NASA. Lots of questions came from listeners, including one about applying money from cutting back on the wars to NASA. No such luck, listen to why that does not happen, i.e. Overseas Contingency Operations Account (OCO). We also asked about taking money from one subcommittee and using it in another. That does not work either.
In our second segment, we continued our budgetary process tutorial, focusing on NASA tweaking the appropriations and sending it back to Congress for their approval which they may or may not approve. Next, we talked about DOD cuts but they were cuts from the projections which led us to talking about using out year projections for budgetary planning purposes. We talked about classified and unclassified space projects within the DOD, plus the efforts to hold the agencies accountable with audits and IG reports. As you will hear, most agencies including NASA and DOD do not get a clean statement from the auditor, instead they end up with a Disclaimed Audit. As the program ended, I asked Marcia to share with us what she has found to be the most effective way of communicating our passion for space with the public and congress.
If you have comments or questions about this discussion, please post them on The Space Show blog URL above. Marcia Smith can be reached through her website which is provided earlier in this summary.
Dr. Jeff Bell, Monday, 2-20-12 February 21, 2012Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: " Phobos Grunt Mission, Anatoly Zak, Bob Zubrin, Chinese Space Program, Curiosity, Delta 2 program, Dr. Jeff Bell, Dragon, EELV, Falcon, human spaceflight, ISS, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Kepler Space Telescope, Lavochkin, low cost space access, lunar settlement, Mars Polar Lander, MSL, NASA science missions, National Lab, NewSpace, Phobos 88, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Russian management, Russian space industry, Sergei Korolev., Soyuz, Space Launch System (SLS)., Space X, Stratolaunch, ULA
Dr. Jeff Bell, Monday, 2-20-12
Guest: Dr. Jeff Bell. Topics: Dr. Bell’s assessment of NASA, the science missions, human spaceflight, the Russian space problems, & Phobos-Grunt conspiracy theories. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. Jeff Bell back to the program for his assessment of space today in theUnited States, along with the problems facing the Russian space industry and the Phobos-Grunt conspiracy theories as to why the mission failed. Those familiar with Dr. Bell and his Space Show programs will not be disappointed as this two hour plus discussion is vintage Jeff Bell. Dr. Bell started with an assessment of the problems over the last year and half or so with the Russian space industry and its management. Jeff does a good job of summarizing their history of manufacturing, technology, and engineering problems going back to the time of Sergei Korolev. He also shares with us his experiences working with the Russians on the Phobos 88 mission. He said typical characteristics of Russian missions leading to problems include being too ambitious, costly for their budgets, and the labor allocated to the projects. He suggested that we in theU.S. do the same thing and cited MSL and Curiosity as an example. He had much to say about the early Soviet Venus probes and how their data was widely discounted outside of theSoviet Union. He then said Space X might be overextending and he cited several ongoing Space X projects which might distract from their primary mission at hand which is to get Falcon and Dragon operational. Listeners asked about the Russian problems driving customers away from doing business withRussia in favor of ULA in theU.S. Here, Dr. Bell had much to say about ULA pricing, overhead costs without NASA sharing them, and more. He also mentioned what was happening to Delta 2 given the GPS system needing larger rockets as an example of the impact of government policy/spending in space industries. Dr. Bell turned to the latest Phobos-Grunt conspiracy theories for the mission failure. At the end of this segment, Dr. Bell talked about the JWST & Curiosity in terms of overly complex and costly missions.
In the second segment, Jeff talked about the Newt space policy suggestions and the idea of the Moon as the 51st state. He had much to say about the ridicule in the media and was not surprised by it. He used this as an example to say reality “conflicts with the space cadet world view.” In talking about Mars missions, he said people had been conned by the Mars theory of life stories and promoters. He said that Mars and HSF were not worth it. Several listeners called in to debate Jeff on these comments but Jeff took no prisoners. He then talked about the ISS and its less than full utilization and that the entire idea of HSF had come and gone. At one point in response to a listener question/comment, Dr. Bell said that all Zubrin offered was a 60′s program! Jeff did have good things to say about the science and robotic missions, said our planet exploration would be with robots, not humans, and that we needed more missions like the Kepler Space Telescope. He repeated throughout the discussion that nothing useful has come form HSF nor would it. He offered that the basic technology was from the70′s and had not changed. He said overall interest in space had declined since Apollo. In his closing comments, he said he was still hopeful that NewSpace would decrease the launch costs as that would be a game changer.
If you have questions/comments for Dr. Jeff Bell, post them on The Space Show blog URL above.
Dr. Jeff Bell, Friday, 12-9-11 December 9, 2011Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: " Phobos Grunt Mission, Boeing, Commercial Crew, Cots, Dr. Jeff Bell, Falcon 9. , Federal Acquisition Rules (FAR), flyback boosters, HARP, ISS< Soyuz, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), manned Mars missions, Mars Science Lab, NASA, NASA Discovery Missions, nitrous oxide, rocket reusability, Roscosmos, Russian lunar & planetary missions, Russian Zond, Soyuz, Space Act Agreement (SAA), Space X, SpaceShip 2, suborbital tourism, TDRS Satellites, U.S. Congress & space, U.S. space policy, Virgin Galactic, X-37B
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Dr. Jeff Bell, Friday, 12-9-11
(Note: This interview aired live on 11/30/11)
GuestSearch: Dr. Jeff Bell. Topics: Phobos Grunt mission, space policy, commercial crew, rocket reusability & more. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign . Please note that this program was recorded live on Nov. 30, 2011 and is being archived today, Dec. 9, 2011. We welcomed Dr. Jeff Bell back to the show for a wide ranging discussion on multiple topics starting with the troubled Russian Phobos Grunt Mission. This Space Show program is vintage Jeff Bell with something to say about most everything, hard hitting, critical, take no prisoners, and of course, thought provoking. Dr. Bell started our discussion talking about the Phobos-Grunt Mission. To put it in context with Russian lunar & planetary missions, he gave us a brief history of the Russian exploration program starting in 1958. This is an interesting history lesson you do not want to miss. In bringing the history current to Phobos Grunt, the problems faced by the Russian program seem a bit clearer. We then talked about some of the many space blog comments with suggestions for rescuing or saving the mission and he totally debunked them. Jeff mentioned shuttle rescues, X-37B rescues, even Virgin suborbital rescues. He also mentioned some of the conspiracy theories out there (he spent more time on them later in our discussion), finger pointing the blame for the mission problems. Next, Dr. Bell addressed the recent SpaceShipTwo drop test that was a problem and he wasted no time in stating what is wrong with the SS2 design as well as what he said was a problematic track record for the project. He also had much to say about the use of composites and fundamental design flaws. Space debris issues came up and Dr. Bell referenced USA 193. Terry called in to ask about the hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) or nitric acid on board Phobos Grunt. When we started the second segment, Dr. Bell again went over the conspiracy theories re Phobos Grunt that appeared in some news articles. One he mentioned was the HARP theory which he debunked as well as the biological warfare theory. We then talked about commercial crew and Dr. Bell said Congress does not want it to be successful and he explained why. Near the end of this discussion, Trent called in from Australia. He wanted to know at what point Jeff thought commercial crew was changing from maybe working out to going down for the count. What was the turning point for our guest? During their exchange, Jeff said that space travel was not politically important anymore, instead political pork was the priority. Trent mentioned his blog, QuantumG, http://quantumg.blogspot.com. Check it out for his comments on Space X, Commercial Crew and more. Jeff read his Space X comments and then started discussing the Space X reusability plan. As the program ended, we talked about the JWST and I asked Dr. Bell what part of the space program he liked, if any. He did have something he liked, the science and robotic missions. If you have a comment/question for Dr. Bell, please post it on the blog URL and I will make sure he sees it.