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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Final Public Meeting 

The "Augustine Committee" reviewing US plans for human spaceflight held its final scheduled public meeting this afternoon in DC, which I attended. While past meetings featured guest speakers highlighting various concepts and proposals, the committee used today's meeting to focus on narrowing a complex set of options for the direction and architecture of the human spaceflight program that can be sustained in difficult budget circumstances. Dr. Edward Crawly presented the Integrated Options (PPT) under consideration. Former astronaut Dr. Sally Ride presented an eye-opening presentation (PPT) on how the current plans and some of the proposed options fit into a realistic budget profile (or not, which may drive significant changes to the space plans, as explained in these articles linked by NASA Watch). Dr. Wanda Austin then presented Evaluation Measures and Criteria (PPT) which were used by the committee in an extensive and informative deliberation on the options under consideration.

I left before the meeting concluded, after Committee Chairman Norm Augustine explained to the audience that this process was required by law to be carried out in public and not be agreed upon ahead of time behind closed doors. He said that the committee would stay 'til midnight if necessary to complete their deliberations, though the audience was not required to stay (though I think they were actually going to be able to wrap up long before midnight). I think there may have been more public transparency shown today by Mr. Augustine's committee than we've seen all year from the White House and Congress as they try to push a massive health plan, stimulus package, etc.

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Comments:
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I hope that Barack Obama and his W.H. experts will NOT believe in what the Augustine Commission will say them, since...
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first of all, the AG hasn't really examined ALL proposals it has received
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I've sent them over a dozen emails and links without receive just ONE answer or feedback!
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that, despite, I've two blogs that talks about Space from four years and are regularly visited weekly by space agencies and aerospace companies, I've contributed to several space and science forums and blogs with (at least) 8000 posts (so far) in four years, I've developed and published dozens suggestions about Space, ESAS and Constellation and, despite, the rocket that will (likely) be used, could be one of which I've designed and published the concept 3.5 years ago:
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http://www.gaetanomarano.it/articles/005_SLVnow.html
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I'm not alone in saying that, since, on the HSF Facebook Wall page, other have claimed to have send documents and suggestions NEVER taken in consideration by the HSF Committee!
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since I've not received any answer to my email to the HSF, I've posted many ideas, opinions and links on the HSF Facebook Wall page
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well, the (unknown) moderator of the HSF page, has FIRST warned me to send my ideas ONLY through the HSF-email/BLACK-HOLE, then, he has BLOCKED my comment privileges
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but, before and after that, the HSF moderator HASN'T blocked the guys that posted LOTS of propaganda for the Ares-1/5 and (try to imagine...) ..."Direct"... (from the homonymous LOBBY)
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ALL the (7-8) "options" proposed by the AC's "experts" (but, which kind of "experts" are they, if not able to know EXACTLY the right choice?) are WRONG and PRETTY SIMILAR, that, since, the AC looks DEEPLY INFLUENCED by LOBBIES and, with their conclusion, they JUST want to demonstrate that NASA, contractors and new.space companies need MUCH MORE MONEY (maybe, also the $35 Bn to develop the Ares-1) if the US President did not want to be the one that allowed NASA and USA to be surpassed by China, Russia and India in the new (commercial) "moon-race" (that, however, could happen anyway...)
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there are SEVERAL OTHER options that can be taken in consideration to come back to the Moon or go to Mars, but the AC hasn't discussed proposed them, while, they have discussed and taken in consideration old/wrong designs like the Shuttle-C, crazy and expensive technologies like the "orbital refuel" and things like the RESIZED-Ares-5 called "Direct"... (from the homonymous LOBBY)
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in fact, it's NOT TRUE that $81 Bn in the next ten years are "not enough" to accomplish ALL the orbital and Moon mission planned and it's NOT TRUE that NASA absolutely needs three more billion$ per years to accomplish these missions
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clearly, if NASA will receive more funds will be a very good news (hoping they'll not burn them like the $9 Bn spent in last four years for nothing...) but, $81 Bn (or a slightly higher) budget could be enough just IF the right choices are made and no one further cent is burned in crazy and bad things!
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