The Great Libertarian Lie About Private Space Systems

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And so they cut.  They shred, and they destroy.  The Pink Flamingo is well aware that we live in a world where there are now no possibilities, there is, according to the far right and the tea parties no future, and according to the Dems, we are worth nothing.

Where is the great vision for this nation?

They call it Spaceport America.  It is the great libertarian hope for the future.   It is a place where they go to launch bottle rockets and have a good time playing space.  There has been NO construction update in two months.

“…“We have a saying around there,” a spokesman says: “The first mile of space is free.” But the project has met with controversy. It’s already late and over-budget, and the government, which has spent $200 million on it, wants private companies to pay the rest. One county commissioner says they’re having buyer’s remorse. “It was very glamorous and exciting. And there was a lot of promises on jobs,” she says. “We’re still waiting.”..”

The Pink Flamingo does not like libertarians.  I think they are lying fools who have no earthly idea about the realities of life.  Neither do their dimwitted little tea party supporters.

They like to promote this glowing picture of how wonderful it will be to have private space systems take over for NASA. It is a wonderful idea.  The problem is there is no reality.  The adorable little libertarians like to think all they need to do is wave a magic wand and poof – they have full grown rockets who can do things the Enterprise can do.  They are out of their pathetic little non-existent brains.  Yes, it is a growing industry, but it hasn’t even been born yet.

New West Development

They are nothing but a bunch of idiotic fools.

Take the tea party in space, please.  Go flush them out of an airlock.

This stupid little dream of private systems in space is nice.  It is sweet, adorable, and just plain cute.

They are nothing but a bunch of damn fool libertarians who would rather throw our future away to save two cents than to do what is right.

When you allow libertarians to show their dirty little heads out of the primordial soup from wince they came, you get wisdom like this:

“...So, I actually think Obama is going to right direction here. We need to shift away from the “big-program” style of governance — whether that be in space or in health care. As to whether New Mexico will ultimately benefit or not from this shift, that is another question. The Spaceport is so speculative at this point that any positive result would seem to be a bonus….”

Private systems, no matter how romantic, are years away.

You want cold, hard reality?  This is Spaceport America.

WMFE

The dirty truth…?

“...The project has already cost the state of New Mexico $200 million. Newser reported that certain local officials have buyer’s remorse for agreeing to the project. Job creation had been promised, but never delivered. David Wilson, spokesman with the Spaceport Authority, said that New Mexico is a natural choice for the first spaceport, and not only because of the Roswell connection.

“Robert Goddard brought his experiments and rockets to the New Mexican desert in the ’30s for the same reasons,” Wilson told NPR. “There’s this incredible weather window; there’s no population out here, and then you’re a mile up from sea level. We have a saying around there, ‘The first mile of space is free.’ It takes less energy to get to space from a place out here like this.”…”

It is smoke and mirrors.

Virgin Galactic

“…NASA officials last week highlighted the commercial space industry as a means for human spaceflight to continue in the absence of the shuttle program, which will end later this month with the return of Atlantis to Earth.

“Spaceport America definitely represents the future of space travel,” said New Mexico Spaceport Authority board member Scott Krahling. “Private companies are slowly preparing themselves to take over spaceflight, and that’s a good thing.”

Virgin Galactic is one of a number of companies venturing into the suborbital spaceflight business through vehicle development. Others, however have their sites set on orbital launches, something not possible yet at Spaceport America because of regulatory and physical challenges, experts have said.

Virgin Galactic has said it’s ramping up staffing in preparation for the move to New Mexico and eventual operations. Flights may not start until 2013, spaceport and Virgin Galactic officials have said.

In addition to Virgin Galactic, the Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace was awarded NASA funds for low-orbit vertical launches, said David Wilson, spokesman for Spaceport America. One launch happened earlier this year, while two or three more are slated. It’s a sign of the shift toward commercialized spaceflight, he said.

“Everybody is interested in how this is going to be privatized,” he said. “Spaceport America is going to be very active there.”

Rono Danakili, 57, a Do-a Ana Community College student who hopes to eventually become a technician at the spaceport, said a paradigm shift is occurring, and one sign is the growing attendance at an international spaceflight symposium that takes place annually in Las Cruces. “Whatever is happening, it’s snowballing,” said Danakili, who plans to graduate next spring with an aerospace technology degree. “I’m all for that because the private sector, more so than the government, is more one of simplicity and efficiency.”…”

Get it?  Cost delays, over- runs, contractors not being paid on time?  What does this sound like to you?

LC Sun-News

It’s just great, isn’t it.  Virgin Galactic appears to have screwed the state out of a pile of money. They want to get the “spaceport” self sufficient within a few years – how the hell are they going to do that, pray tell?

.”...Spaceport America’s new director promised lawmakers that the state shouldn’t have to support operation costs within a couple of years.

Through customers using the $209 million spaceport and partnerships with private industry, New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Christine Anderson told Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) members meeting Wednesday, July 13, in Elephant Butte that she plans to ask for only one more year of state support to operate her office.
The first major construction phase is nearly complete for Spaceport America, located in desert ranchland between Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces. Anderson said there’s still much work to be done to get everything operational.

That’s why funding for her office this year was challenging.

The year before, the spaceport authority office had a budget of little more than $1.1 million. Anderson said she was surprised to learn the office only had a budget of $500,000 because lawmakers assumed Virgin Galactic – Spaceport America’s primary tenant – would already be making lease payments.

The problem is there remains work to done to complete the Terminal Hangar Facility construction and several licensing steps necessary before Virgin Galactic can occupy it, she said.

By making use of unspent funds from the previous fiscal year and getting access to some other funding, the office now has a budget of $922,000 to get through this fiscal year, Anderson said.

Anderson reviewed for lawmakers her plan for getting the spaceport to become self-sufficient within a couple of years, refining its business plan with clearer goals and objectives than had been previously set down.

Her plan includes attracting at least one more major spaceport tenant, getting…”

SpaceX has its act together, but please, read between the lines here.

“…Whenever someone proposes to do something that has never been done before, there will always be skeptics.

So when I started SpaceX, it was not surprising when people said we wouldn’t succeed. But now that we’ve successfully proven Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Dragon, there’s been a steady stream of misinformation and doubt expressed about SpaceX’s actual launch costs and prices.

As noted last month by a Chinese government official, SpaceX currently has the best launch prices in the world and they don’t believe they can beat them. This is a clear case of American innovation trumping lower overseas labor rates.

I recognize that our prices shatter the historical cost models of government-led developments, but these prices are not arbitrary, premised on capturing a dominant share of the market, or “teaser” rates meant to lure in an eager market only to be increased later. These prices are based on known costs and a demonstrated track record, and they exemplify the potential of America’s commercial space industry.

Here are the facts:

The price of a standard flight on a Falcon 9 rocket is $54 million. We are the only launch company that publicly posts this information on our website (www.spacex.com). We have signed many legally binding contracts with both government and commercial customers for this price (or less). Because SpaceX is so vertically integrated, we know and can control the overwhelming majority of our costs. This is why I am so confident that our performance will increase and our prices will decline over time, as is the case with every other technology.

The average price of a full-up NASA Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station is $133 million including inflation, or roughly $115m in today’s dollars, and we have a firm, fixed price contract with NASA for 12 missions. This price includes the costs of the Falcon 9 launch, the Dragon spacecraft, all operations, maintenance and overhead, and all of the work required to integrate with the Space Station. If there are cost overruns, SpaceX will cover the difference. (This concept may be foreign to some traditional government space contractors that seem to believe that cost overruns should be the responsibility of the taxpayer.)

The total company expenditures since being founded in 2002 through the 2010 fiscal year were less than $800 million, which includes all the development costs for the Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Dragon. Included in this $800 million are the costs of building launch sites at Vandenberg, Cape Canaveral and Kwajalein, as well as the corporate manufacturing facility that can support up to 12 Falcon 9 and Dragon missions per year. This total also includes the cost of five flights of Falcon 1, two flights of Falcon 9, and one up and back flight of Dragon.

The Falcon 9 launch vehicle was developed from a blank sheet to first launch in four and half years for just over $300 million. The Falcon 9 is an EELV class vehicle that generates roughly one million pounds of thrust (four times the maximum thrust of a Boeing 747) and carries more payload to orbit than a Delta IV Medium.

The Dragon spacecraft was developed from a blank sheet to the first demonstration flight in just over four years for about $300 million. Last year, SpaceX became the first private company, in partnership with NASA, to successfully orbit and recover a spacecraft. The spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket that carried it were designed, manufactured and launched by American workers for an American company. The Falcon 9/Dragon system, with the addition of a launch escape system, seats and upgraded life support, can carry seven astronauts to orbit, more than double the capacity of the Russian Soyuz, but at less than a third of the price per seat.

SpaceX has been profitable every year since 2007, despite dramatic employee growth and major infrastructure and operations investments. We have over 40 flights on manifest representing over $3 billion in revenues.

These are the objective facts, confirmed by external auditors. Moreover, SpaceX intends to make far more dramatic reductions in price in the long term when full launch vehicle reusability is achieved. We will not be satisfied with our progress until we have achieved this long sought goal of the space industry.

For the first time in more than three decades, America last year began taking back international market-share in commercial satellite launch. This remarkable turn-around was sparked by a small investment NASA made in SpaceX in 2006 as part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. A unique public-private partnership, COTS has proven that under the right conditions, a properly incentivized contractor — even an all-American one — can develop extremely complex systems on rapid timelines and a fixed-price basis, significantly beating historical industry-standard costs.

China has the fastest growing economy in the world. But the American free enterprise system, which allows anyone with a better mouse-trap to compete, is what will ensure that the United States remains the world’s greatest superpower of innovation….”

The adorable, cute, glittery little tea party people who want to populate space with delusions of Ron Paul grandeur don’t even “get” this.

SpaceX

I wish the tea party libertarians understood how the world works.  Unfortunately they do not.  They are waxing poetic about “private” small companies moving into space to do the job they no want NASA to do.  What they don’t begin to even compromise, because they are such Buzz Lightyear come late-lies is that we’re simply looking at the logical continuation of the large aerospace companies such as Rockwell, Northrop, etc.

Dear Lord these people delusional!  Yes, commercial space is the “way to go” but it is a long time away from today.

A reasoned approach comes from the AAS.

AAS= Space Ref

Let’s face it, the primary growth commercial system for space now is tourism.

There are numerous companies and ventures to get us into space, again.  Let’s not make it more exciting and successful that it actually is.  It is terribly expensive.  The problem is the idiot libertarians and tea party types of the world have no grasp on actual reality.

This is reality:

“...Right now it looks like Space Exploration Technologies Inc. (SpaceX) has the best chance of doing that with its Falcon 9/Dragon cargo variant. The idiosyncratic private startup has used the dot-com deep pockets and business savvy of founder Elon Musk—plus the lion’s share of NASA’s $500 million Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) effort to establish a space-transportation industry—to orbit a Dragon from Cape Canaveral and recover it off the California coast.

That was a private-sector first. But SpaceX’s finances and the exact technical status of its vehicles remain hidden from view. The public-sector Ares I and Orion developments were more transparent until Obama terminated them as “unsustainable,” in the words of the outside panel headed by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine commissioned by Obama to study the issue. That transparency left the projects open to criticism, not all of it constructive or even objective.

There’s a little more visibility into Orbital Sciences Corp.’s (OSC) effort to combine the COTS seed money with its own technical skills and funding, and those of an international array of subcontractors, to develop the Taurus II/Cygnus combination for cargo deliveries to the ISS. A team that includes 50-60 Ukrainian engineers and technicians is laboring at Wallops Flight Facility, Va., to meld the Ukrainian-built main stage with surplus NK-33 Russian rocket engines; an ATK solid-fuel upper stage; a capsule built in Turin, Italy; and an Orbital-built service module into a vehicle that can fly from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va.

Like SpaceX, the company had planned to meet its COTS milestone and deliver cargo this year. But an acceptance-test fire caused by a fuel leak in the plumbing feeding a flight-ready AJ26 engine, as Aerojet designates the NK-33s it has modified, has thrown that schedule into doubt (AW&ST June 27, p. 42).

Gerstenmaier intends the final shuttle mission to deliver enough supplies to avoid reducing the station crew size before Dragon and Cygnus begin cargo deliveries. But cargo is only part of the story. NASA also is funneling seed money into commercial human-rated spacecraft that it hopes eventually will reduce the need for U.S., European, Canadian and Japanese astronauts to reach the station on the Soyuz capsules.

Under the second round of its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev-2) program, the agency has distributed $269.3 million to help add maturity to concepts for private spacecraft to carry astronauts to the ISS. Boeing was the big winner in CCDev-2, awarded $92.3 million on top of the $18 million it received in last year’s CCDev-1 competition. Sierra Nevada Corp., last year’s top winner, will get $80 million to go with the $20 million it received in 2010.

SpaceX will receive another $75 million to develop a launch abort system and other hardware so the Dragon capsule can carry crew. Blue Origin, the secretive startup organized by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, will receive $22 million to continue work on its vertical-takeoff-and-landing spacecraft….”

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5 thoughts on “The Great Libertarian Lie About Private Space Systems

  1. You know, I would be for the Space Launch System and MPCV if it wasn’t seven years behind schedule and $2 billion over budget. I would be for the Senate Launch system if it wasn’t seven years behind budget and at least $6 billion over budget.

    What republicans need to understand is that NASA doesn’t have huge budgets. Infact we are at about .42 of one percent. Moreover, NASA was drastically reduced this year and it will be reduced again next year. I would estimate to 2005 levels.

    So while the big government solution that is behind schedule and costing us billions, which you vehemently defend, the Commercial Crew people are doing more with less. MUCH less. I was at the AIAA forum last week on Capital Hill. NASA and the FAA admitted that commercial crew would get Americans back into space before MPCV and shuttle ever will.

    I had heated, and heartfelt discussions with people and I can tell you that while I appreciate your passion for the subject, NASA is not going to get the economic outlays it will require to complete MPCV and SLS. Commercial crew can close the gap.

    In reference to the TEA Party in Space: “Flush them out an airlock”… really? We are attacked by liberals, we are attacked by RINOs, and yet we are the only with a REAL space platform which you can look at online. For the record, that platform was built and designed by people who worked for or are currently employed by NASA. They are engineers and scientists. They are technicians and metal benders.

    Just thought you would like to know Ms. Flamingo.

    Respectfully,
    Andrew Gasser
    President, TEA Party in Space

    PS We will be at the NewSpace Conference this week. Make sure you swing by the site and follow us on twitter so you can keep up to date with us as we plan to restore America’s presence and power in space.

  2. You poor little thing, typical of all tea party “patriots”, you don’t know much about history. If you did, you would understand that Democrats like to destroy things like NASA. The fight is against the Dems, not good honest honorable Republicans. You know, the people you denigrate as “RINOS”. Grow up! Learn a little about what has gone before you – and the people who have been fighting this battle since the 1980s. I was there the whole time. What you envision in your platform is nice. It’s a sweet little idea that is a crock. It is a crock because no one is going to pay a bit of attention it. I’ve fought this battle. I’ve fought the battle for commercial space for years. To think that a private company is going to accomplish something with a heavy launch vehicle is a crock. Your idea of private and commercial is naive.

    * Fuel depots
    * Space tugs
    * Space-based nuclear reactors
    * Space-based solar power generation

    These are wonderful ideas. I bet you don’t even know the backs of giants you are attempting to step all over in trying to promote pie in the sky – literally. We are years from these ideas.

    Ever heard of Jerry O’Neill?

    “…Although NASA was supporting his work with grants of up to $500,000 per year, O’Neill became frustrated by the bureaucracy and politics inherent in government funded research. He thought that small privately funded groups could develop space technology faster than government agencies.In 1977, O’Neill and his wife Tasha founded the Space Studies Institute, a non-profit organization, at Princeton University. SSI received initial funding of almost $100,000 from private donors, and in early 1978 began to support basic research into technologies needed for space manufacturing and settlement.

    One of SSI’s first grants funded the development of the mass driver, a device first proposed by O’Neill in 1974. Mass drivers are based on the coilgun design, adapted to accelerate a non-magnetic object.[48] One application O’Neill proposed for mass drivers was to throw baseball-sized chunks of ore mined from the surface of the Moon into space. Once in space, the ore could be used as raw material for building space colonies and solar power satellites. He took a sabbatical from Princeton to work on mass drivers at MIT. There he served as the Hunsaker Visiting Professor of Aerospace during the 1976–77 academic year. At MIT, he, Henry H. Kolm, and a group of student volunteers built their first mass driver prototype. The eight-foot (2.5 m) long prototype could apply 33 g (320 m/s2) of acceleration to an object inserted into it. With financial assistance from SSI, later prototypes improved this to 1,800 g (18,000 m/s2), enough acceleration that a mass driver only 520 feet (160 m) long could launch material off the surface of the Moon…

    ….In 1977, O’Neill saw the peak of interest in space colonization, along with the publication of his first book, The High Frontier. He and his wife were flying between meetings, interviews, and hearings. On October 9, the CBS program 60 Minutes ran a segment about space colonies. Later they aired responses from the viewers, which included one from Senator William Proxmire, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee responsible for NASA’s budget. His response was, “it’s the best argument yet for chopping NASA’s funding to the bone …. I say not a penny for this nutty fantasy”. He successfully eliminated spending on space colonization research from the budget. In 1978, Paul Werbos wrote for the L-5 newsletter, “no one expects Congress to commit us to O’Neill’s concept of large-scale space habitats; people in NASA are almost paranoid about the public relations aspects of the idea”. When it became clear that a government funded colonization effort was politically impossible, popular support for O’Neill’s ideas started to evaporate.

    Other pressures on O’Neill’s colonization plan were the high cost of access to Earth orbit and the declining cost of energy. Building solar power stations in space was economically attractive when energy prices spiked during the 1979 oil crisis. When prices dropped in the early 1980s, funding for space solar power research dried up.[ His plan had also been based on NASA’s estimates for the flight rate and launch cost of the Space Shuttle, numbers that turned out to have been wildly optimistic. His 1977 book quoted a Space Shuttle launch cost of $10 million, but in 1981 the subsidized price given to commercial customers started at $38 million. Eventual accounting of the full cost of a launch in 1985 raised this as high as $180 million per flight….”

    Ever heard of Carl Sagan?
    Doubt if you even know who Dr. David Webb was. He chaired the National Coordinating Committee on Space, attempting to bring together NASA, NGOs, and commercial endeavors. I was the only woman on the NCCS.

    Don’t patronize people about whom you know nothing. You are telling me nothing I don’t know. You “appreciate” my passion? Good luck with your agenda. It’s not going to go over well at the conference. They are real people who know a lot about space, and have devoted their lives to it. There’s a heck of a lot of reality with them. You might want to look up Jim Muncy. I see he is one of the speakers. He was working in Newt’s basement office when the Congressional Space Conference was formed. He’s been there from day one. Didn’t burn out like I did.

    I can’t get over the arrogance of the tea parties. You announce you have arrived and think you are going to remake the nation in your image. Good luck with that one.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

  3. So now the Tea Party knows more about space then the engineers who have spent their entire career involved in the Space Program. Tea Party for Space? What next? Tea Party to mow lawns? Would love to be at the conference to see the looks on the faces of the people who do this for a living when the Tea Party tells them what to do. What is with the arrogance of the Tea Party?

    The Tea Party is now attacking Dr. Coburn, our Senator from Oklahoma, who has a 100% conservative voting record and knows more about cutting the deficit as he actually a plan than the Tea Party favorites who pontificate without a plan.

    Dr. Coburn was the Tea Party long before Fox News and the Koch Brothers decided to push the Tea Party. In 2004, Dr. Coburn and the Oklahoma Grassroots were the Tea Party fighting the establlishment to get Dr. Coburn elected to the Senate because we believed in his no nonsense approach to spending and his willingness to put America First even when it means working across the aisle. He has done in the Senate what we expected and shame that people like DeMint and others not to mention the Democrats are more concerned about face time with grandstanding then helping Dr. Coburn who has a real plan to cut the deficit and get American back in the black in ten years.

    If the Tea Party is wrong on Dr. Coburn, why would I pay attention to what they have to say on much else. The only Tea Party groups who are actually contributing are the local ones who are the Republican grassroots. Since Paul takes credit for the creation of the Tea Party, several local groups changed their name after learning that fact.

    More smoke and mirrors by the Libertarians as they pretend to be Republicans since they cannot get elected as Libertarians. Bet the Libs of the 70’s wouldn’t recognize the Lib’s of today either.

  4. I’m working on a post for tomorrow about tea party “patriots” and the psychology of being a true believer. In order to become one, a person must give up all sense of personal liberty and individuality.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

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