08-01-11, 03:22 PM #181
From memory, the UK had some budgetary reforms last year where they reduced the funding for both Astronomy and Particle Physics. I guess you can say that if there isn't a return that a vast majority prospers from, it's automatically put on the back burner and suffers budgetary cuts.
However what can be looked at is that with any of these endeavors there have been hundreds of smaller technological and engineering feats that probably don't get noticed by the layperson, although it's guaranteed that the efforts of these projects have likely had subsequent spinoffs that have been unobserved in peoples homes. (e.g. Velcro is one of them)
One other thing the UK did was it raised taxes, that's obviously something that would fix the budget problem, however you'd see a lot of people complaining about it.
08-01-11, 04:22 PM #182
08-29-11, 04:18 PM #183
And this is why, on general principles, I thought (and still think) relying on one international partner to provide taxi rides is a bad idea:
The short version is that the stage that failed on the progress launch is used in the Soyuz stack, so there is (at this point) a risk of the same failure, with the same consequences occuring during a manned flight.
Now, the Russians are working on understanding what happened so they can fix it, and that's great, but the Soyuz capsules are only ceritifed to remain in space for 200 days because of their thruster propellant. TMA-21 will have to return in September - by September 19 because of saftey requirements (related to daylight hours in Khazakstan), and TMA-02M will have to return on or about November 16 as originally scheduled, again, because of teh combination of the 200 day limit, and daylight limitations.
There's talk they may be able to extend the life of the Soyuz modules, but that's not where their focus is.
While they can safely run the ISS in a redundant, automated mode from the ground, it seems to me like a not insigificant setback, that might have been avoidable if some form of backup (for example, the Shuttle, Dragon or Orion) had been available.
08-30-11, 05:36 AM #184
...And it seems the Russians may have found the problem, now it's just a case of fixing it.
09-14-11, 06:56 PM #185
09-14-11, 10:04 PM #186
They are cutting funding way below what is needed for a 2015 launch.
From the Casani report: The earliest launch date possible—and hence the minimum cost to complete—is September 2015 and would require an additional ~$250 million above the current FY 2011 President’s Budget profile in both 2011 and 2012.
09-14-11, 10:06 PM #187
09-14-11, 10:43 PM #188
09-15-11, 02:10 AM #189
09-23-11, 09:44 AM #190
James Webb Space Telescope Threatens Planetary Science
When JWST was ranked as the top major initiative for NASA astrophysics in the 2001 NRC Astronomy Decadal Survey, it was estimated to cost $1B and launch by 2011. NASA has now spent $3.5B on JWST and it is now projected to cost a minimum of $8.7B for a launch no earlier than late 2018. As a result, JWST's cost increases have outstripped the resources of the NASA Science Mission Directorate's Astrophysics Division, and NASA leadership has now declared JWST an "agency priority." Resources of other NASA programs, including the Agency's Planetary Sciences Division within the Science Mission Directorate, are now threatened to cover current and future JWST cost overruns.
Citing these overruns, the House zeroed out JWST from NASA's 2012 budget.
We believe it is time to have an open debate on JWST and its value across all targeted communities, from planetary, Earth science, and heliophysics to human spaceflight. Congress needs to be informed about the impact of the choices facing it.
We individually and together reject the premise that JWST must be restored at all costs. We further stand by the following positions:
(1) There are important national priorities in space beyond the goals of JWST that as a country we cannot afford to sacrifice.
(2) If Congress believes JWST is so important that it must be restored,then Congress should commit to adding funds to the NASA budget sufficient to cover JWST's expenses from here forward, recognizing that it may well cost more than $8.7B.
(3) Without additional funds to NASA, JWST should not be restored unless and until an open science community assessment is made of the value of what will be gained and what will be lost across the entire NASA science portfolio.
(4) If Congress cancels JWST, it is important to preserve the NASA astrophysics budget and mandate the formulation of a plan to retain US astrophysics leadership.
10-30-11, 02:30 PM #191
10-30-11, 02:35 PM #192
Latest on the JWST
Its fate for now rests on negotiations between NASA’s chief purse holders in Congress, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.). Mikulski, the telescope’s staunchest champion, chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee in charge of NASA’s budget; Wolf holds the parallel position in the House.
Fed up with Webb’s escalating costs, Wolf zeroed out in July Webb’s funding in NASA’s 2012 budget, and that’s how the House passed the spending bill.
Wolf has now softened. “I want to be able to fund the Webb,” he said of the telescope named for NASA’s second administrator. But first, Wolf wants to know how NASA will pay for the telescope’s cost overruns.
On Sept. 28, he asked the Office of Management and Budget for a list of NASA cuts to pay for the project, now priced at $8.7 billion. The office has yet to answer.
In the Senate, Mikulski countered by seeking $530 million for the Webb in fiscal 2012.
“I was able to persuade my committee and the Senate to fund the James Webb telescope,” Mikulski said Wednesday at the Maryland Science Center. “And I will tell you that next Tuesday, the Senate will pass a federal budget that will put in $500 million to put the James Webb telescope into space, into the science books, into the history books and secure America’s place in astronomy for the next 50 years.”
Mikulski touted the telescope as a job creator. Of the 1,200 jobs NASA says the project creates across 24 states, about 500 are in Maryland, home of the Webb’s operations center, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
If the Senate delivers, Wolf and Mikulski will hammer out the budget in conference committee.
“I think the Senate and I will be able to work it out,” Wolf said.
But if Congress provides less than the $530 million that NASA says the project needs next year, the schedule will slip further and costs will continue to rise.
11-01-11, 09:44 PM #193
Saving the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) — an infrared deep space observatory now expected to cost $8.8 billion — means that some other NASA science missions slated for launch after 2015 will have to be delayed, the U.S. space agency acknowledged in a report delivered to Congress in late October.
In the report, NASA also acknowledged for the first time that building and operating the long-delayed flagship telescope for five years will now cost $8.835 billion, or about $100 million more than agency conceded in August. NASA still envisions launching the telescope aboard a European rocket in October 2018, according to the report.
For 2012 through 2016, JWST will need a total of nearly $3.1 billion, or about $1.2 billion more than the White House previously budgeted for the project for that five-year period. For 2012, the report says, JWST will need $527.6 million, or about $154 million more that the White House requested for the project next year. Under the revised plan, JWST spending would peak at $659.1 million in 2014 before declining over the following two years.
NASA has already increased JWST’s 2011 funding by $44 million “without significant impact to other science projects,” the breach report says.
NASA science missions slated to launch several years from now, however, will not be so lucky.
“The impacts being assessed in Science would delay some future missions, which are currently planned for launch beyond 2015.”
11-02-11, 10:51 AM #194
11-02-11, 07:14 PM #195
"An unmanned Russian Progress cargo ship loaded with 2.9 tons of supplies and equipment completed a smooth automated docking with the International Space Station Wednesday, three days after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It was the first Progress arrival since an August launch failure and the first successful linkup of a Russian cargo craft since June. ..."
Quite like this report:
"The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft, launched earlier this week, made contact with the Tiangong-1 space lab at 1729 GMT. The union occurred over China itself. Being able to dock two space vehicles together is a necessary capability for China if it wants to start building a space station towards the decade's end. ...
The vehicles used radar and optical sensors to compute their proximity to each other and guide their final approach and contact. ... Shenzhou 8 was the active craft in the docking. It fired its thrusters to push its front end towards the docking port of Tiangong-1. Once the vehicles' docking rings had made a good capture, 12 hooks were deployed to fix the craft in place.
From first contact to confirmation of a seal took about 10 minutes.
Billy T comment: Interesting that both Russia and China do within a few days of each other what the US can no longer afford to do but has done many times earlier. China has funds for its now active program of both sending man to the moon and back plus building it own, fully controlled by China alone, space station.
11-02-11, 07:26 PM #196
11-02-11, 07:38 PM #197
11-02-11, 08:07 PM #198
Or about $8 million per day.
11-23-11, 06:52 AM #199
11-27-11, 11:16 AM #200
The JWST got funded after all.
However the extra money needed for this way over-budget project that won't get launched for 7 more years (if ever) came at the expense of the Crew Transportation System.