Friday, March 23, 2007

Space Access ‘07 - Late Friday afternoon - Jim Muncy on PoliSpace

Jim Muncy, founder and president of PoliSpace, started off saying that many have asked him at this conference why he was depressed. He explained that he has come from the cesspool of Washington DC.

Last year at the Space Access conference he said that if NASA was going to support Commercial Orbital Transportation Services or COTS, why fight NASA over Ares. Or, why fight about Orion? If we can get enough money out of NASA to support a few private companies, just let NASA go off and do what they want to do. Don’t fight them about heavy lift, cause we’re going to beat them to the moon. Doesn’t mean that we support Ares or Orion, just why fight them?

Jim said he was wrong. He had felt that we should be able to survive if NASA messed things up. They are going about an internal consistent approach, but a lot of the things we care about are getting hurt. He is no longer observing a truce. He will go over specifics. He says that some of the problem is clearly Congress’ fault.

NASA has an approach of let everyone try, see who wins. Congress says “Gee we don’t know what district the money would be spent in, come back next year.” In the way Congress works prizes do not make sense. The goal of Congress is to get 50% plus one vote. The ultimate goal is politics, not what is best for the country. Some times Congress does make reasonable decisions.
Jim is not a big fan of prizes, but they are a useful method. There problem with prizes are they opposed to how Congress works. NASA has stopped asking for money.

Jim said ISS will die because if they do get Ares and Orion working, they’ll spend so much money they won’t get to the moon.

Jim said there are other problems. He doesn’t feel NASA needs to rush through some gap in human space flight to get Ares and Orion up and working. We had other countries and private companies doing space travel. The current administrator made a decision for a schedule pull to push Ares and Orion for political reasons.

Jim said Washington shouldn’t fight companies merging. And as space companies are starting to work, it is wrong for Congress to provide more oversight.

Jim now that he got that out of his system he feels better.

There are several good things going on. There is good leadership at FAA AST. It has been fantastic that making regulations to allow travel in to space. FAA is now providing some money for space port infrastructure.

NASA may have needs for large planet missions and the Department of Defense may also have a need for large lift. But there is also a need for DoD to do fast movement with small, light cargo. Congress does recognize that there is a need quick response for the field. Maybe for a commander in the field we might want to launch a $15 million mission to get a view of what is over the next hill. Congress is also aware that with satellites might be vulnerable and it would be good to have small responsive satellites.

There is reason to hope. The people in this room are making a difference. Jim is not as optimistic as last year, but still feels positive overall.

First: Introduction
Overview: the agenda
Previous: FAA, legal issues and insurance
Next: John Carmack of Armadillo Aerospace

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This article isn't about homeschooling. It isn't even written by the Jim Muncy that writes about homeschooling. There are two Jim Muncys that are fairly well known on the net. One is Jim Muncy who is a professor at Valdosta State University. His writings on homeschooling are fairly well distributed on the net. There is a different Jim Muncy who writes about NASA and space issues. That is who wrote this article and it has nothing whatsoever to do with homeschooling.