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February 16, 2009 Permalink

Progress on NASA's Constellation

NASA's Constellation program, established in 2005, continues its work toward the building the future of manned space exploration in the U.S. The first test flight of the Ares I-X rocket - a functional mockup of the actual Ares I rocket, similar in shape and mass - is scheduled for July, 2009. The stimulus bill just passed by the U.S. Congress will be sending an additional $1 billion to NASA, $400 million of which is for its manned space program. Engineers are now busy refitting old facilities, running tests, building the infrastructure and working towards a planned first launch of a crew to the International Space Station in 2014. Collected here are photographs of various parts of the Constellation program coming together, including parts of the Orion crew vehicle, the Ares I and Ares V rockets, and supporting systems. (31 photos total)

This schlieren photo from October 28th, 2008 depicts a wind tunnel test demonstrating air flow over the 0.34 percent scale model of the Ares V heavy cargo launch vehicle at Mach 4.5. Schlieren imaging is a diagnostic method used to visualize air flows with varying densities, widely used in aeronautical engineering to photograph the flow of air around objects. (NASA/MSFC)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

216 comments so far...

Great pictures as always! Very interesting to see!

Posted by Tony February 16, 09 12:51 PM


Posted by John February 16, 09 12:52 PM

Our bridges, roads, libraries, and universities are crumbling...we shouldn't cut back on space, but we should probably get them fixed so we don't end up as Venezuela with a space program...

Posted by pk February 16, 09 01:09 PM

Wow. That is amazing. These types of scientific missions need higher priority nowadays. There is SO much out there compared to our tiny Earth. Great to see.

Posted by John February 16, 09 01:13 PM

Wow, really fantastic!!

Posted by tg February 16, 09 01:19 PM

Mindbogglingly good.

Posted by Avishek February 16, 09 01:19 PM

@pk agreed, and every dollar we spend on space brings advancements to construction materials that help our roads and bridges last longer and be built for cheaper.

Posted by Kevin February 16, 09 01:22 PM

wow, amazing pictures, but may be we better can spend money to take care for everybody at the moment. Food, jobs, etc.

But you never know and NASA will find out a way to take just a little bit of energy in space en beam that to earth. Should be great.

In the meantime it looks to me as a very expensive toy for the kids around there.

Posted by Erik van Erne, Milieunet Foundation February 16, 09 01:51 PM

I like the pink boombox and sneakers in #10 (parachute)

Posted by Dan Mandle February 16, 09 01:55 PM

pk I feel your pain and we, as a nation, need to watch how we spend out tax dollars. But I also agree with Kevin and it's good to see that this stuff is still going on. Question.... What will happen to the launch abort system when it's, hoplfully, not needed? Does it get launched into space like the Apollo missions? If it is launched then will it go out into space, stay in orbit, or fall back to earth?

Posted by Scott February 16, 09 02:00 PM

I'm so afraid that Ares I will be a big mistake. I'll breath easier when it passes Obama's technical review and they launch to orbit a five section first stage (this year's test flight is a four section, Shuttle style booster). As this will be the US's launch system for decades, it has to be right, and as with many Bush Administration decisions, I'm afraid that the best choice wasn't made.

Posted by Jim Gagnon February 16, 09 02:09 PM

I wonder where people like Eric think we are spending the money on space? Every penny of it gets spent providing jobs and services to people ON THE EARTH.

Posted by Rick February 16, 09 02:40 PM

Haha nice, #23, bunny rabbit! :)

Posted by Kate D February 16, 09 02:43 PM

Is it just me, or does it feel that Ares will be a step back compared to the shuttles we have now? I mean, returning on earth with a parachute? Been there, done that!

Posted by Brett Brenneman February 16, 09 02:53 PM

Just to clue everyone in here, in 2007, for every 1$ of NASA funding, $98 dollars were spent on social programs. Over $1.5 trillion dollars are budgeted to those social programs.
Do you really think that if we cut nasa, the extra $17 billion dollars would fix all the problems in the country? I think not.

Posted by Jonathan February 16, 09 02:54 PM

Surprised to see NASA revert to an old re-entry system. Thought we were moving further into the 21st Century. Maybe this economic drain has created a brain-drain at NASA.

Posted by Joseph Mina February 16, 09 03:51 PM

Scott, launch abort systems are typically jettisoned during launch after the point at which they would not work. I.e., when the vehicle has gained so much speed and altitude that the crew compartment could not successfully be parachuted back to a water landing near the pad.

All crewed vehicles except for the Shuttle have employed launch abort systems. Shuttle's design precludes an abort system.


Remember, wings are are more than absolutely useless in space, they are an added cost because their mass must be hauled into and out of orbit. The Shuttle has wings because, 30 years ago, it was believed that each Shuttle vehicle would fly every two weeks or so, greatly reducing the cost of getting to orbit. That hope failed to materialize. I.e., the Shuttle's ability to glide to a landing in the last few minutes of re-entry produced no savings.

Once you get into space, the shape of a vehicle is not important. The real trick is getting the crew through re-entry, the last 20 minutes or so of the flight. (You cannot simply fly through re-entry, wings or no wings. The Shuttle re-enters at a severe nose-up angle with the famous tiles acting as the heat shield.) It turns out that a conically shaped vehicle with a heat shield on its base is pretty much the optimum shape to drop back from orbit.

Someday in the future, we will have a standard way of routinely getting to and from Earth orbit, where all space missions will then really begin. For now, we have to come up with one-off solutions.

And, finally, Jonathan is right. NASA's budget is rather small compared with other progams, and it has remained remarkably stable for a number of years. Bush directed NASA to begin the Constellation program but did not increase NASA's budget.\

Posted by justcorbly February 16, 09 04:41 PM

#8 Fog.? .......or alien mist?

Posted by ricky February 16, 09 05:01 PM


Posted by 1 February 16, 09 05:09 PM

This is why engineers should be treated as rockstars !

Posted by Matt February 16, 09 05:34 PM

"restoring the facility to its Apollo-era capabilities", sad.

Posted by xyo February 16, 09 05:44 PM

#5: Is that the Jupiter 2?

Posted by nobody February 16, 09 06:02 PM

photo #20 reminds me of wack-a-mole...

Posted by Nick February 16, 09 06:13 PM

oohh..........thank you brother.

Posted by Sri Lankan February 16, 09 07:25 PM

Re: #2, doesn't the heat shield look like your standard flying saucer?

Posted by Kevin February 16, 09 07:33 PM

parabéns pelo trabalho da nasa e do fotografo que nos fez conhecer um pouco mais do os "marcianos" da nasa estão fazendo .

Posted by marcos February 16, 09 08:08 PM

"Collected here are photographs of various parts of the Constellation program coming together, including parts of the Orion crew vehicle, the Ares I and Ares IV rockets, and supporting systems."

Small correction to your opening paragraph. It's not an "Ares IV" rocket, it's an "Ares V" rocket.

Posted by Kevin February 16, 09 08:22 PM

I'm surprised to see so many people here and elsewhere talking about how we're wasting money on the space program. We spend so little money on NASA and the technology that spins off from NASA technology more than makes up for the cost. If anything we should be spending more on NASA since we all benefit from the technology it produces (often as an unintended by-product) and the more we overhaul the space program, the more people we can put to work and the more money we can put directly into the economy through construction. It's an everybody-wins scenario.

Posted by Reed Braden February 16, 09 08:48 PM

@Kevin, thanks for the heads-up, typo fixed.

Posted by alan taylor February 16, 09 09:18 PM

Take the money from overpaid rockstars, athletes and Wall Street Brokers and double the budget! Space is such an effective laboratory that brings us new technologies that it's a great investment. The Shuttle program was a good idea early on, but turned into a boondoggle that cost way too much for what it did.

These new launch vehicles are the best choice for a long time to come. Some day we can fly into and back from space, but that's a long way off.

Posted by Eric February 16, 09 09:44 PM

Maybe solving the recession really is rocket science... that us regular folk can benefit from. Jobs, technology, scientific advancement, all sounds pretty good to me. I would like to see a new day for America sooner than later.

Posted by B McD February 16, 09 10:34 PM

It amazes me that people don't like that we are going back to some of the ideas that worked for Apollo. Why change something that works? You have some people complaining about NASA getting money at all on one side, then you have others saying NASA should develop a completely new vehicle based on some design that hasn't had a single test. At least the Apollo stuff has been tested and we know a lot about that system. Now I don't expect Constellation to be anything like Apollo other then looks since we have had a massive amount of improvements since then.

Posted by Stephen Cupp February 16, 09 10:45 PM


Posted by dileep February 17, 09 12:08 AM

@xyo: Why do you say it's sad to be restoring something to the Apollo era capabilities? The Saturn-V was the most powerful rocket assembly in history and the reason we needed that power was to shoot people to the moon in a short time. In the shuttle era, the shuttle only operated below 2km altitude. There was no need for the massive infrastructure of Apollo and in fact the towers used to hold and launch a Saturn-V had been trimmed and modified for the shuttle launches. So we're talking about gearing up for bigger rockets again, maybe for future manned lunar missions. Going back to older concepts doesn't mean space technology is going backwards; it's all progressing. In many ways the shuttle concept wasn't all that great of an idea.

Posted by MadScientist February 17, 09 01:13 AM

#5 - UFO!

Posted by Mircea February 17, 09 03:02 AM

Heh... the engineers in pics 3 and 5 look quite scientific but what happend on pic 15? Was NASA short staffed that day? Did they have to call in a local window fitter to fill in? ;-)

Posted by Adam Ralph February 17, 09 03:39 AM


Posted by Sachin Dagwale February 17, 09 03:44 AM


Posted by Daniel February 17, 09 04:00 AM

20 - Good WC !!! :-)

Posted by michael February 17, 09 04:35 AM

Not the most artistic pictures ever, but still very interesting. Thanks.

Posted by Anonymous February 17, 09 04:52 AM

Very impressive pictures. It surprised me to see the man in picture #3 wearing protective glasses, heavy gloves and other protective clothing, but wearing only a short shirt! I'm not sure if this kind of following rules give me the trust that everything is the best quality to save lifes.

Posted by Oliver J. February 17, 09 05:44 AM

interesting to see this image gallery..............

Posted by Vijay vjn_23 February 17, 09 06:01 AM

i like that we're getting some of the space oriented photos... I will always love that 25 days of Advent set you had going

Posted by freshouttatime February 17, 09 06:27 AM

26 has some amazing colours in it.

28 is awsome to.

Great Blog.

Posted by Andrew Swingler, England February 17, 09 06:40 AM

This seems quite a technical feat to build this rocket : pulsating & twisting exhaust flames (#13), UFO-like thermal protection (#5), ionized plasma jets (#4), 8-person escape rocket (#14) ... visibly, the 1'000s of $billions that Pentagon spent in the recent years was not ALL used for shredding to pieces AK47-armed Iraqis, Afghans and Somalis .. and fueling Israel's wars !!!

As a side note, I am a bit worried by the NAME for this project : wikipedia states that Ares is the "greek god of bloodlust, or SLAUGHTER PERSONIFIED" ... not even remotely as inspiring as Endeavour, Orion or Atlantis, though, if you ask me !!!!

By the way, can NASA publish its global-warming contribution (that is called for by everyone ELSE to reduce), and development costs for this Rocket ? (keeping in mind that ending world hunger would only cost around $2'000 billions, an UN figure)

P.S : as for the "economic benefits for the economy" of the space program, an awful lot of those techs seem to be from the military, hence CLASSIFIED science ...

Posted by Huang Di February 17, 09 07:07 AM

@Joseph. There is a significant amount of reuse from the Apollo days to reduce costs. The Apollo capsule shape and reentry system is a proven design, therefore it was decided to use that. Any other design would have required $$$ more to simulate and test.

@Scott, if the LAS is not used after launch it is jettisoned and falls back to earth. It is not reusable.

I was a Weight Engineer on the Northrop Grumman (loosing) proposal team for this program. Sucks we lost, but still great to see it going forward.

Posted by Alex February 17, 09 08:18 AM

Very good images. Interesting to see progress so far.

Posted by Hauk February 17, 09 09:06 AM

No need to worry too much about what is being spent on this.
The entire Constellation budget is a drop in the bucket, compared to what we spend on other parts of our government, including entitlement programs.
Heck, if Constellation was part of the recent "stimulus" bill that was passed by Congress, it wouldn't even warrant being mentioned, it's so small in comparison.
We need to worry more about what is in that ridiculous stimulus bill, that is going to bankrupt our nation, more than worry about what small amount NASA spends.

Posted by John February 17, 09 10:00 AM

@huang-di... you're speaking in generalities. you could throw $2T around to feed everyone but then what do you do next year, or if there's a drought, or you get another moths-taking-over-west-africa epidemic? the effect of rocket testing on global warming is immeasurable. NASA technology is extraorinarily public. "Ares" is the name of the rocket, not the overall project -- and i'm pretty sure if you watched a liftoff you would see the similarities between the rocket and a 4,000 year old pagan god of warfare.

i'm sorry i'm just so tired of people ripping on NASA. this is the stuff of dreams, people...

Posted by xav February 17, 09 10:04 AM

Cool. It is nice to see some good positive news for a change.

Posted by Mark February 17, 09 10:09 AM

Great to see that the USA is developing a post-shuttle launch facility, as depicted in this informative set of pictures. My questions seem to have been answered in the comments and answers already, but I would make one comment on your picture No. 25. It would appear that SEPERATION of the forward skirt extension was successful, since it occurred on two different days!

Posted by Maverickegb February 17, 09 10:27 AM

Wow, great pictures, as always. I had no idea that the project was this far along.

For those of you of who complain about the expense, remember that there are no cash registers on the moon!

This is what it means to invest in the future.

Posted by Jeff Barr February 17, 09 10:42 AM

Minor correction to MadScientist. "In the shuttle era, the shuttle only operated below 2km altitude."

Actually, average altitude for a Shuttle flight tends to be around 200-300 km. (2km altitude would actually not clear most mountains. The Himalayas have peaks over 8km high.) Otherwise, I totally agree with what you said. It may *seem* like a step backwards to go to Apollo-era tech, but the fact is, we tend to underestimate just how awesomely advanced Apollo tech really was. Shuttle is a fantastic machine, but it is ahead of its time in many ways.

Posted by Calli Arcale February 17, 09 10:44 AM

Personally I think it's a waste of money, a very big waste of money. We should be studying interdimensional methods rather than the wasteful solidfuel rocket techniques. We know theres other life here (some of us do anyway) and of course out there, the method's the UFO's use is all in physics and not rocket boosters.

Posted by vinnie February 17, 09 10:59 AM

The Shuttle was a considerable step backward for space exploration, I'm glad to see they're reverting to Space Age design.

Posted by Craig T. February 17, 09 11:06 AM


Posted by Anonymous February 17, 09 12:13 PM

Those people who think the NASA projects are a waste have the same intelligence as the people that have trouble spelling NASA.

Posted by Joseph February 17, 09 12:37 PM

These pictures make me very happy. What makes me sad is, knowing we could be so much farther ahead than we are now.

Posted by Max February 17, 09 01:28 PM

What would we ever do without NASA!!! man this country would go to the real men and woman who pay there tax's and take part in building our country. Not some imaginary plan to travel into space and do what??? try understand our galaxy our star system, that contains no habital planets. 17 trillion dollars and only a few billion go to social progams ? Like what? schools? roads? Oh I see it goes to people or organizations who have an interest in NASA. It is a shame when the american people can't make there house payments or send there children to college, which wow! you could have them inventing things to better our country. and just thank 17 trillion dolars is a enough money if stacked could probably reach the moon. Just thank of all the real jobs that could bring and the Idea of a better education system well that would be asking to much..............

Posted by I must be stupid February 17, 09 01:43 PM

I think it'll make more sense to talk about a "wire catenary system" than a "wire centenary system".

Not to take away from the gorgeous pictures, or anything.

Posted by Sili February 17, 09 02:02 PM

So if you're going to be the test pilot, do you want to see #12?

Posted by Matt February 17, 09 02:03 PM

Your comments: "I'll breath easier when it passes Obama's technical with many Bush Administration decisions, I'm afraid that the best choice wasn't made." is laughable! What Technical Expertise does the O team have....lawyers? Talk about your brain drain.
The real tragedy was stopping the Apollo programs for "more important" social programs. Then there was no where to go for gifted and talented scientists and engineers. Social programs offer hand-outs not Incentives for Excellence and Progress. GO NASA!

Posted by JoeM February 17, 09 02:17 PM

Cool picthers

Posted by Brad February 17, 09 02:21 PM

I thnk some numbers got switched, the NASA budget is 17 billion, not 17 TRILLION. Social Programs just from Health and Human Services account for 700 billion (2008). I work on Ares and believe in the necessity of human spaceflight. I pay my taxes to the Government and spend what is left here on the ground on groceries, mortages, and living in the USA. Space programs are inspring to young people, drive people to excel, make new discoveries, create value through research, and provide a path for the future. Nothing less.

Posted by Scott February 17, 09 02:38 PM

"wow, amazing pictures, but may be we better can spend money to take care for everybody at the moment. Food, jobs, etc."

Oh, and how much did your country spend on that little thing called the Iraq war? You know, the one because of WMD's that turned out to be completely false?

Before you start casting stones at NASA, perhaps stop and think about the trillions and trillions spent elsewhere for no good cause. NASA is a drop in the bucket compared to what is being spent elsewhere. Perhaps you might want to get all your billionaires to open up their purses too.

Posted by Mike Hutchison February 17, 09 03:59 PM

Couldn't quite get the explanations under the photos :-) but still enjoyed it.

Posted by Soheil February 17, 09 04:39 PM

NASA kicks butt! The jobs and projects spread across the globe.

Posted by USA February 17, 09 04:48 PM

A billion dollars from the stimulus package. A BILLION dollars. Is it going to create a billion dollars worth of economic stimulus? I don't think so. This stimulus package is a total ripoff, just a clever way to get money spent on pet projects.

Posted by Dane February 17, 09 05:11 PM


Posted by julia February 17, 09 05:37 PM

"wow, amazing pictures, but may be we better can spend money to take care for everybody at the moment. Food, jobs, etc."

You...realize that people are being paid to do these things, right? And that they will take those wages and purchase goods and services from others, right?

Now, I do have issues with the whole Constellation architecture, but no matter how we choose to do it, *somebody* must design and build it. Once again, money spent *on* space is not spent *in* space...

Posted by Frank Glover February 17, 09 05:58 PM

Manned space flight is a colossal waste of money. Robotics can do pretty much anything a man can do while being many orders of magnitude cheaper. The only supporters of manned space flight in the scientific community are those profiting from it.

Leave it to the government to put your children even more in debt for the sake of gaining power and influence through doling out money that is not rightfully theirs to dole out.

Posted by Tim February 17, 09 07:29 PM

There are conveniences and necessities in everyday life that people the world over take for granted that are born of the American Space Program. Nothing has inspired me, or made me more proud of my country and mankind in general, than the noble accomplishments that have come from our world's combined space programs. What could be more inspiring to a youngster in school than the opportunity to be involved in an undertaking of such scale and importance than sending people back to the moon and eventually on to Mars?

Posted by Matt P. February 17, 09 08:48 PM

# 45 Huang di - you must be a moron. Do yourself a little research on google and you'll find that the only exhaust from rocket motors is pure water vapor.

Also, if this was CLASSIFIED, you probably wouldn't be looking at all of these GREAT pictures on the internet.

Posted by jimmy February 17, 09 08:58 PM

Remember, Apollo was in fact only the first part of a much larger program that was put an American space station in orbit, a permanent moon base and bring astronauts to Mars. All that was cut by Nixon. Von Braun was ready to go, he had been planning for Mars since 1952. NASA's plan was to land a man on Mars by 1982 using the Apollo/Saturn rocket and the space shuttle.

Posted by dailycity February 17, 09 09:28 PM

Cool Stuff. I love rockets and motorbikes.

Anthony pittarelli

Posted by Anthony Pittarelli February 17, 09 09:57 PM

Why don't we go to Mars? We've been to the moon. It's very gray and dusty.

Posted by David February 17, 09 11:19 PM

Love the coverage on this, great work and great pictures. A lot of credit needs to be given to NASA for all the hard work they have been able to do with limited budgets.

Posted by Jason February 17, 09 11:40 PM
78. you've got to call it Ares....
its his planet after all >:)

Posted by John February 17, 09 11:45 PM

Sorry, but we need to be building massive solar and wind power plantations and a smart grid to carry the energy to the coasts. We need to be planting trillions of trees to sequester CO2. We need to be weaning ourselves off petroleum and coal asap. Don't people realize that we're on the brink of catastrophe?
Great photos, but c'mon.
Sure these programs provide jobs. But so what? We need people doing jobs that actually help ensure our survival as a planet. Outer space can wait. Our biosphere is quickly running out of time.

Posted by Rob Nelson February 18, 09 12:02 AM

As Mr. Berra says, "This is like deja vu all over again."
Having been in my prime during the 50s and 60s, this is not impressive.
Sorry, kids!

Posted by Klesb February 18, 09 12:12 AM

oohh, great pictures,really fantastic!!!!!!!!! its toooooooooooo good.

Posted by Mangala Kalkur February 18, 09 01:13 AM

Great photos and great blog!!
It's interesting to see people's views on space exploration. Both sides make some excellent points.
Space exploration is valuable only if it enlightens us on how absolutely incredible this planet we live on is. That, we should all be aware of by now... If not, treat yourself to the series on "Planet Earth". To contemplate colonating other planets and prancing around in zero gravity vacum of space is absolutely obsurd!! We have no business out there... We would be better served in focusing our creative minds on sustainability of our existance here.

Posted by Sam February 18, 09 06:06 AM

Rob, I guess you don't use plastic or own a car or do any other thing to contribute to the 'deterioration' of our planet. If you do any of that stuff then kindly shut up. Brink of catastrophe? Are you really Al Gore in disguise? I'm so sick of the chicken little mentality.

Posted by 3-2-1 Blast off! February 18, 09 09:51 AM

Mars is the ultimate destination, but a journey to Mars will take approximately 30 months: 6 months there, 18 months on the surface (for optimal planetary alignment to return) and 6 months back. We have to go to the moon first so we can test the technology and ensure we're prepared for a 30 month trip. Besides, we've been the moon six times for a couple days each time. The moon's surface size is almost as big as North and South America combined. We have so much more to learn about it -- and improved technology to help us do so -- than we did 40 years ago in a handful of days.

Posted by Stephanie February 18, 09 10:54 AM

For those worried about how much it costs for NASA to operate, the NASA budget is on the order of $15-$17 Billion, with a B. Funding for Constellation projects was ripped out of existing NASA budgets, not funded separately. In contrast, the Stimulus packages were what? $850 Billion and $867 Billion? NASA's budget is inconsequential in comparison. And for those who think they could feed people better with NASA's budget, you simply do not understand the multiplying effect that Earth and Space Science has on the American economy and America's future. We are solving todays problems with the Space program. NASA gives everyone opportuities to be a part of the cutting edge of science and technology. Contrary to populuar opinion, not everyone in the photographs is a scientist or engineer. Most of the people working on the space program are ordinary folks, like the guy in in slide 15 doing an inspection on hardware.
And for those of you who think we should be focusing just on our "problems on earth", hunger and disease have been with us since the dawn of time. How do you think we ever became aware of the impact we have to the planet in the first place? Seeing our little blue orb from space for the first time was a humbling and profound experience. And as has been stated, the impact of the spin offs from technology and science on space programs has been immense. The idea that we not explore out there is the epitomy of provincial thinking that ignores the realities of human potential, intellectual aspiration, or world politics. If you don't think the space program lifts people from their poverty, take a trip to Mississippi or Alabama and take a look at what having a space flight center does to the education level, the employment rate, and the quality of life of the people who support it, directly or indirectly. It lifts people by helping them lift themselves, by changing outlooks, and by providing realistic possibilities for their future.
Granted, this doesn't look particularly high tech to those who did Apollo. We don't have the budget of Apollo either. It is not cost effective to try to do everything new- we simply don't have the budget. But there is a long range plan, and advanced technology will be implemented when it has matured.
So quit griping about the NASA budget. There is more spent on perks and bonuses for executives who run their companies into the ground and ask taxpayers to compensate them for it and for fraudulent risky lending practices that have completely undermined the world economy than is ever spent on space exploration.

Posted by See the Broader Picture February 18, 09 11:06 AM

Space... the ONLY source of truely renewable energy and resources. We CAN NOT solve our long term problems here on Earth without utilizing the resources space provides.

Posted by MikeJ February 18, 09 11:22 AM

Best news site to follow Constellation:

Posted by John February 18, 09 11:57 AM

These are pretty's sad that some professional photographers don't know when you shouldn't use a flash.

All of these pictures look like snapshots besides number #16....I was not impressed.

Posted by Callie P. February 18, 09 12:04 PM

WOW; wonderful photos. I'm particularly entertained by all the comments at the end. I would love to see some NASA person post a response to all the morons who think nothing comes from the hard work of these highly intelligent forward-thinking individuals that has not benefitted those of us on this planet. I know there are a myriad of medical and scientific as well as engineering break throughs that have come as a result of space travel and as one other individual said, usually an inadvertent discovery. Google it; you'll find all kinds of info. People, this planet is fast becoming over populated. There may come a time when our great-great grandchildren will literally come from another planet. Everyone thought H.G. Wells story about a ship that traveled under water was simply that ... a science fiction story. Same with Star Trek and other sci-fi stories. The imagination is a powerful tool and limited only by our own small-mindedness.

Posted by R. Hawkins February 18, 09 12:51 PM

Excellent view of NASA program !

Posted by Medu February 18, 09 01:18 PM

The design of the Ares rocket and Orion capsule was agreed to based on cost. Yes, many of us @NASA agree we could have designed something more futuristic. As with any new venture money is key.

Jonathan is correct regarding the budget we have. NASA's budget is extremely small compared to some of the 'ear marks' in Obama's stimulus. The only reason people point thier fingers at NASA's budget is because we aren't hiding.

Here is something to think about. NASA developed cordless power tools, yet a whole slew of companies profit from the initial design (providing jobs, etc.) selling cordless tools while NASA gains little respect.

Please have a little common sense and do due diligence before commenting on the amount of tax payor funds used by such a worthy program.

Posted by Greg February 18, 09 01:48 PM

See the Broader Picture, R. Hawkins & Greg said it way better than I could have. Here here!

Posted by Rebecca February 18, 09 02:16 PM

And why are people being so critical of the photos? I personally may never have even seen these images if not for being sent a link to Mr. Taylor's website. Good grief, try being a little appreciative of free access to pictures you didn't have to run around the planet and take yourselves.

Posted by Rebecca February 18, 09 02:20 PM

We over pay sport figures, actors, and rock stars millions. We under pay teachers and scientists. We would rather be entertained than educated.

Posted by berndog February 18, 09 02:29 PM

I want one of those engines in pic 31 for the back of my truck. These are very impressive shots. Being a neighbor to the Space Center here in Florida, I look forward to the new launch platform and seeing my children's eyes light up as mine did when the first shuttle lifted off.

Posted by Robert February 18, 09 02:40 PM

Ziet er allemaal wel leuk uit. Ik vraag mij alleen af brengt het wel de benodigde kennis? Oftewel, hoe zit het met de kosten / baten?

Posted by Jos van Lammeren February 18, 09 02:52 PM

I do not believe anyone or very few people at best realize what NASA has contributed to our society. Without NASA many of the things we use in our everyday lives would not exist. Whatever amount of money is spent by NASA it gives back tenfold or more to our economy both in production of goods and jobs. Someday people will understand this and will better see that any money spent on space exploration now is not taking money away from our children and grandchildren but giving them a better way of life and something they can look forward to in the future.

Posted by Ken February 18, 09 02:52 PM

Do some research before posting negative comments. We all benefit from NASA. Have a look at this website.

Specifically this one.

Posted by David February 18, 09 02:53 PM

NASA contributes a lot and it is only getting $1 billion in the stimulus package - that's 1/4 of what ACORN is getting.

Posted by Carol February 18, 09 03:31 PM

The sooner we establish a lunar colony the sooner those who care to explore the universe will be out of everyone else's hair.

Posted by 50 years or 1000? February 18, 09 04:21 PM

The amount of funding spent on NASA exploration is miniscule in relation to the money frivolous law suites like that of the recent headliner giving birth to Octuplets and our tax dollars ultimately paying for her claim to fame. Illegal aliens claiming benefits hard working minimum wage working Americans can’t even obtain. I happen to have the privilege of working for the company that builds & tests those Shuttle rocket engines in Bay St. Louis, MS. I remember looking up at my father as a little girl and with my big brown eyes telling him I'd like to play in space someday. I’ve worked long and egregious hours chasing my dreams and fighting to climb that ladder to give my children a decent life. I’ve inspired my children to work hard, honestly, and be proud of my sacrifices, even if it was at their expense. Its people like us, the taxpayers of America, who inspire the next generation that through any & all adversity triumph is only a dream…a star away!

Posted by MSRcktGrl February 18, 09 04:29 PM

#73 jimmy - You should do more detailed research than just "Googling" something before you call someone a moron. Especially when you obviously don't know what you're talking about. The exhaust from rocket motors is NOT just "pure water vapor". Water vapor is the result when it's a liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine (such as the Shuttle SSME's), but there are many other types of engines and rocket motors out there. The SRB's for example use a solid propellant which has, among other things, hydrochloric acid as a biproduct. The OMS/RCS thrusters on the Shuttle use hypergols, which have various other byproducts as well.

Posted by Someone Who Knows February 18, 09 04:39 PM

Those that think NASA funding is a waste need to remember that the numbers quoted ( $146 million) are for every cent put into NASA from 1958 through 2008. The current yearly budget is much, much less like 17 million. Now, I understand that 1 billion is being added by the recently passed stimulus package and that's a major investment for the Country's future. As for what the citizen gets for the money or should I say has gotten for the past money/investment...well, go check out:
A site with a summary of benefits from the US Space Program. Also check out:
AND for even more with scientific details on all sorts of benefits..."spinoffs" as they call them with data all the way back to the Apollo era:
And each and every spinoff is a new business opportunity that provides jobs for US citizens...some are medical advancements that save the lives of our citizens and others are items that make life easier and sometimes even more fun for us all. Please go to these websites and read and learn and reconsider the impacts of the lack of NASA to the US! You can also go to "Wikipedia" and search for "NASA Budget," but I can't say every dollar figure is correct on that page.

The US does not go to Space just for the fun of it, the US is there for scientific research and advancements -- what comes from the Space Program, the spinoffs, helps our existence here on Earth -- hey, each and every one of us helps our country by being a consumer, too.

Personally, I spend my money traveling to places all across the country just to see what's there, such that I provide income to airlines, rental car companies, hotel chains, restaurants, entertainment venues, gasoline stations, grocery stores, retail stores, public transportation services, and such. Plus, I spend money in my current work location for everyday needs, including medical expenses and I pay taxes both locally and federally. My existence helps the US. And where does my money come from? You the taxpayer since I am a NASA employee. I wanted you to know where I was coming from with my comment and I do hope you check out the links I provided and learn about the benefits of NASA to the Earth, the US and you personally! These words are my personal opinion since I cannot speak for NASA itself.

Posted by Joan "NASA Rocket Engineer" G. T. February 18, 09 05:53 PM

I can't believe people don't like the spending on nasa. Nasa is responsible for some of the biggest technological advances. They are responsible for a ton of inventions. I mean they are behind the technology for things like cat scan machines and many many other inventions.

Posted by chris February 18, 09 07:13 PM

Well...what should I say ... I wish my whole family is involved in the project. Yes it's better spedning of money than we can think of ... I wish Obama will allocate more money for Space Explorations like this project .... we got to make a base on outer planet to find another Earth like planet to create a colony. This earth is going to be full may be in another 300 years. What do we do then? Kill each other like ants? Only one solution ... colonize space. I LIKE IT. I wish my kids will end up working at this kind of NASA Projects to help mankind.

Posted by Bidyut February 18, 09 09:14 PM

@ Comment 45

It's been sort of brought up, but the reason for the name Ares is because it is the other name for Mars in Greek to Roman translation. Mars is the ultimate goal, but (mostly due to how much you can load on to one ship/craft/rocket) any trip to Mars would have to have the Moon as its launch point due to the extra supplies and people. People and the things they need to survive long voyages weigh a whole lot more than a couple of RC cars or a satellite with a camera which is just about all we have ever sent to Mars. The Moon's lower gravity will allow for a higher launch mass, and eliminate the need for aerodynamics in vehicle construction.

Posted by Sir Struggle February 18, 09 11:14 PM

The Constellation Project is the first step towards the ultimate goal of putting human beings on Mars, much like Sir Struggle said. Yes, the moon will need to be our jumping off point (in current models), but that will take a multiple stage rocket system, much in the style of the Apollo missions. I think the ideal goal is:

Earth -> International Space Station -> Moon -> Mars -> ?

As a "NASA brat", I can honestly say that tax dollars put towards the space program are not ill-used; they create jobs. As someone mentioned earlier, the technologies that NASA researches find countless practical applications on Earth. Velcro, anyone?

Posted by Joseph G. February 19, 09 12:12 AM

I'm the proud recipient of some of those "wasted" tax dollars, since my company works on the Launch Abort System and many other NASA programs

If you think your tax dollars are being wasted in space, please tell that to the cafeteria ladies who make my food, the local grocery store where I shop, the doctors who treat me when I'm sick, the daycare teachers who take care of my kids, the girl scouts I buy cookies from, etc.

Since all my income ultimately derives from tax dollars, all of my contributions to the local economy derive from those tax dollars as well. Sure we could stimulate the economy by directly giving the above mentioned individuals handouts. Buyt what would you get in return?

Posted by VA Engineer February 19, 09 09:43 AM

I work in the space program because it is more than just a job, it is a way to contribute to the future of the human race. As a reliability engineer, I know that the best way to insure safety is through redundancy. Given the geological and biological history of Earth, including global extinctions, the only reasonable way to increase the probability of species survival (including Homo Sapiens) is to colonize other planets, and ultimately other star systems. While the space program might not help you pay your mortgage next month (unless you work for NASA, a contractor, or a supplier, or vendor, or writer/photographer covering a launch ora restaurant owner outside the gates of a space center...etc.) it will benefit you now, and in the future -- whether it's 100 years, 1,000 or 100,000.

Posted by RockSci February 19, 09 09:49 AM

I’m a Mission Control engineer for the International Space Station in Houston, TX. I earned an Electrical Engineering degree at a major university (my tuition paid for university research, community outreach, local business, professor/teaching assistant/groundskeeper/janitor/food service worker salaries). I am now working for NASA contractor, have a stable job, and I make a hard-earned and decent living. I buy groceries, clothing, gas, electronics, and a new car every now and then (paying salaries and wages of salesman, store workers, construction workers who build the stores, factory workers who build goods, and technicians and engineers who design them). I pay my house mortgage and bills early or on time (paying the wages of bankers, office workers, utility technicians). I have a retirement plan (despite taking a beating, provides money to investors, companies, and financial institutions and employees). I pay a LOT of taxes (for roads, schools, social programs, government programs, my own salary, welfare, and a host of things I don’t necessarily agree with but accept for the greater good of the United States). I donate a large percentage of my income to my church (which benefits the local community through food, clothing, counseling, finances, and education).

All because I am blessed enough to work at NASA and make a good living for myself.

If you want a stimulus package that actually benefits YOU, I suggest you (1) live below your means, and (2) get a college degree in science or engineering and earn a salary that allows you to support yourself, your family, your community, and your country.

I step into Mission Control and see scientists and engineers do amazing things on the ground and in space. Those amazing things are not just wonderful to behold, but benefit my everyday life. Maybe not today, or maybe not tomorrow, but 2, 5, 10 years from now. If you’ve ever used, enjoyed, or benefited from a radio, TV, CD/DVD player, cell phone, computer, seat belt/air bag, car, boat, airplane, clean water, electricity, sewer, road, bridge, or building…an engineer or scientist had a hand in getting it to you 2-100 years ago. Engineers really don’t want to be thanked or even noticed for providing you these things. (This is especially true of NASA engineers, who are often in the bottom half of national average engineering salaries.) We just want people to go about using the things we have designed, built, or been a part of that you use every day without you saying it’s a waste of your money.

Posted by Mission Control Engineer February 19, 09 10:08 AM


Posted by MIKE OBRIEN KLOIBER'S COBBLER February 19, 09 11:35 AM

If Obama wanted to really help the economy he should double the NASA budget and keep tens of thousands of jobs world wide.

Posted by J. Deer February 19, 09 12:52 PM

I think it's absolutley pathetic that NASA should have to apologize or constantly reaffirm it's value to America and the world! The incredible returns or ROI if you will, have been extremely positive. That's why I know the sarcasm comes from those who haven't the slightest clue about what's being accomplished here. But, I'll bet they could tell you who won American Idol or what Hollywood celebrities are doing. Truth is, we don't spend near enough on NASA! If you want to complain about ROI let's open some other foolish government programs and I'll show you TRUE waste!! Let's try and see the BIG PICTURE here. NASA is our FUTURE and the incredible advances in: science, medical, aeronautical and so many other fields has been truly amazing!

Posted by Chris Banzet February 19, 09 01:42 PM

The Space Program produces an incredible number of jobs, I think it was estimated about 400,000 at the peak of the Apollo/Shuttle Programs. That number doesn't include the local businesses where the Space Program workers spend the money they earn working on the Space Programs. Goodness knows how many that would be. And it creates small businesses, which the politicians claim are the heart of the economy.
The problem, as I see it, is that we need more engineers and scientists running Washington, rather than lawyers who have no clue about science and engrg.

Posted by George Phelps February 19, 09 01:44 PM

Great to see the progress!

Don't forget that NASA helps the US to have a better image abroad, something Americans really need nowdays.

With the US education system failing to keep up with the industrialized world average, your country needs a vision, something to captivate your children's minds, and something that lures great scientist to your country, scientists who where scared away by the raging anti-intellectualism that is present in the USA (like creationists getting space in biology books).

After all, your nation sent men to the moon (and got them back alive).

Posted by Hungarian February 19, 09 04:39 PM

Hey great photos! I work at the Kennedy Space Center. They got the new lighting system installed on the pad and they are very large. Thanks to all who support the
space program. You will get more bang for the buck and jobs in the USA then bailing out a failing bank and CEO's. Who know's where their money goes?? Trips, Vegas?

Posted by Rocketman February 19, 09 04:47 PM

To Oliver J., comment number 41, the technician in photo #3 was wearing the thick gloves in the photo to simulate performing this task, which will actually be accomplished in a fully encapsulating suit with a hardline breathing air supply.

This was a dry run, and he only wore the gloves without the rest of the suit so that they could see if there would be any dexterity problems when working with the gloves. Believe me, the amount of safety gear he had on was more than enough for the hazardous chemical he was dealing with (isopropyl alcohol). You needn't worry.

Posted by KSC Resident February 19, 09 05:07 PM

For advocates of tax dollars going to NASA, that's great, since you value it so much, send more money; I'd rather mine be spent as I see fit.

For NASA employees living on the taxpayers' dime, I'm sure you think money spent on you is worthwhile, but ultimately it was coerced from the taxpayer. So there's not much difference from the old Soviet Union except their space program probably didn't kill as many cosmonauts as NASA did astronauts.

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 19, 09 07:08 PM

I spent 35 years, starting in 1964 at Downey Cal. with the build up of the Apollo hardware, and transfered to KSC in 1967 to work on the launch team thru the completion of the program. Staying on to work on the first 64 launchings of the SPACE SHUTTLE. I am totally blown away by the pictures I just saw. Makes me wish I were 50 years younger and could go to work on this latest program.
My best wishes to the testing and future flights.

Posted by Ron Huff February 19, 09 08:58 PM


Posted by Walt February 20, 09 12:05 AM

I still think the rocket ships should learn from NASCAR and get sponsors and have decals on the vehicles. NASCAR pulls in a lot of money selling trinkets too.
Think how nice it would look with a big "Drink PEPSI" on the side of ARES

Posted by steve godfrey February 20, 09 01:28 AM

Just wondering... With all this talk about colonating other planets...
Has NASA looked into wether it's possible to conceive and give birth outside Earth's atmosphere? Is there any of "that" going on in the Space Station??
I'm sure finding voulanteers would be difficult... MsRcktGrl perhaps...?? ;-)

Posted by Sam February 20, 09 04:25 AM

Totally mind boggling ! They can make so many things! I wonder what kind of jewelry they could make for me if I placed an order.

Posted by Benazir February 20, 09 09:03 AM

#70. "Sorry, but we need to be building massive solar and wind power plantations and a smart grid to carry the energy to the coasts. We need to be planting trillions of trees to sequester CO2. We need to be weaning ourselves off petroleum and coal asap. Don't people realize that we're on the brink of catastrophe?
Great photos, but c'mon.
Sure these programs provide jobs. But so what? We need people doing jobs that actually help ensure our survival as a planet. Outer space can wait. Our biosphere is quickly running out of time."

Where do you think the technology for these solar cells came from? And weaning ourselves off petroleum and coal...when's the last time you saw them burning gas or coal on the ISS? The space program is almost entirely responsible for footing the bill to start the development of clean technologies like the hydrogen fuel cells that power the shuttle and solar cells. And the batteries that power your electric car (if you care so much about the environment, you MUST own an electric car, right?!) would not be so small, light, and economical without the space program again footing the bill to make batteries light enough to launch on a rocket. If our biosphere is running out of time, why not take a peek at other planets for pennies on the dollar for the "group hug, we'll just print more money" programs and develop/advance technologies that can help out right here at home in the process?

Posted by Ben February 20, 09 10:53 AM

Mooi waark !

Posted by ton February 20, 09 11:13 AM

All the pictures I have seen there is not enough diversity .
Especially at KSC, Fl. (none).

Posted by J February 20, 09 12:00 PM

Having worked at "the Cape" for 15 yrs.-"59 to '74, it does my heart good to see the good work following on.
It should be pointed out to the general public that they wouldn't be enjoying their satellite tv's, cell phones, etc.. had it not been for our science developed during the previous space programs.
Great bunch of pics.

Posted by Ralph Mc Kinney February 20, 09 12:45 PM


Posted by ANN February 20, 09 01:30 PM

I was in a NASA meeting this morning with minorities playing major roles--software engineers and flight controllers--not very visible roles, but important nonetheless. Don't judge a program by a limited number of photos. That said, yes, we need for more minorities to CHOOSE to get a good education and rise in the ranks--the opportunities are there, for sure.

Posted by Dave February 20, 09 02:27 PM

Seem many people do not realize the 100s of items the space program was essential in developing that created: new industries (jobs), energy source development (solar and battery technologies), personal things (microwave ovens, cell phones). Imagine if NASA had a few more dollars to do more research.
Energy crisis may longer exsist, wieghtlessness might help develop a cure for cancers. hmm

Posted by Mark February 20, 09 03:01 PM

Thanks for sharing the intesting and great photos!
I will like to visit NASA someday!

Posted by EvelynArchilla February 20, 09 04:49 PM

Picture #5 looks a lot like some of the UFOs seen in recent years. Do you
suppose folks may have been seeing them undergoing some type of
re-entry testing?

Posted by Len Paris February 20, 09 04:59 PM

I love these photos! I have quite a few fellow engineering friends employed by NASA around the country and this is very exciting. However, the ME's and CE's of the world are about to take space away from the AE's.

As a Civil and materials engineer, the promise of a space elevator sending payloads (manned or no) into space for 1/100th of the cost per pound (of a launch) is very exciting. Its now thought that the material and technological hurdles for the elevator will be overcome within the next decade, so I hope NASA is not planning a long service life for the constellation. ;)

Posted by Ryan@GaTech February 20, 09 06:01 PM

I enjoyed all the pics. , all the comments , ( both by thinkers and nonthinkers )
Further comment by me would be incomprehendable .

thanx , G. L.

Posted by Greg Lewis February 20, 09 06:13 PM

Thank God the Shuttle is finally going to go away. I love it (a lot!), but conventional launch systems make far more sense.

To the skeptics, this is how we test our strength. Sure, maybe there are some benefits to us (Armageddon anyone?), but more than anything else it keeps us fit and offers a way to pass down knowledge learned (often the hard way) to the younger generation. NASA can frustrate its own engineers at times, but by and large it does a good job preserving knowledge and giving us something to advance on.

Posted by Yet another engineer February 20, 09 06:16 PM

Ares I and esp Ares V will be good Blue-State Rockets, built in Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana. The enemies of Ares want to focus on lousy EELVs, and the candidate to take over Mike Griffins job wants to put the folks you see above out of work.

Lester Lyles is an Air Force hack. It was the USAF that botched STS, favored Titan III over the Saturns, etc. We need Mike Griffin back. Obama is anti-space. Support Ares V. It is better than EELVs or shuttle-C More photos here:

Posted by Jeff Wright February 20, 09 06:39 PM

Why go to the moon again? Why did Christopher Columbus set out to prove the world was round by attempting to sail to the far East? Why did Alexander set out to conquer the known world? Why oh why does man do anything? Better to sit back and live on the public dole, now that's really something. The world has gone through many, many, greast discoveries as well as "downturns" since man first took control of his (or her) environment! Till the end of time, they will do so, that's why? NASA is needed and performs admirably and contributed greatly to society. That's why, for you that question why? What have you or those on public dole or done for society?bailout

Posted by David A. Rabert February 20, 09 08:04 PM

To all proponents of the coercive use of taxpayer money for something that you like (however noble) and to recipients of that coerced money (as you pat yourselves on the back):
To argue that all the technological good in society today is because of the space program or your work in it, ignores that which might have been. You don't know what would have happened with the money used for the space program if it had been invested in other endeavors-- endeavors voluntarily supported. Consider section III at this link:
Also consider that the government does nothing efficiently.

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 20, 09 08:08 PM

"The ullage settling motor is a small, solid rocket motor that will...provide the forward motion needed to push fuel to the bottom of the fuel tanks..."
Yay! One of my favorite words, and the first time I have ever seen it in print! Ullage is the part of a container that isn't filled with what it's supposed to be filled with. So the ullage-settling motor pushes the fuel down so that it can go out the valves, and the air is pushed to the top of the tank. "Ullage-settling" should be hyphenated, but that's a small point.
I learned of ullage years ago from Tony Randall, when he'd appear on the Tonight Show and stump Johnny Carson with unusual words.
And for Carol (#99)...ACORN is not getting $4 billion. They're not getting anything in the stimulus package! They can apply for funding for projects just like any other agency, but there is no money dedicated to ACORN. Zero.

Posted by Tatts February 21, 09 12:11 AM

I am thrilled to see what America is doing as I have been dissappointed about our space future as the Shuttle Program winds down. I do believe we should continure to use the Shuttle even if compontents have lapsed their planned lifetime. We should use the Shuttle until it becomes a greater than nominal danger to our fellow American astronauts. I want my tax dollars to go to the space program to explore everything out there. Jim Ellis, Longwood, Fl

Posted by James E Ellis, Jr February 21, 09 10:55 AM

this is the best thing a tax dollar is ever used for... its great to see some progress visually, more money needs to be channeled to this and other projects like this. the space exploration pace needs to be elevated. In response to some of the other comments : USA will never solve world hunger issues, the millions of tax dollars we waste on unnappreciative countries that created thier own problems should be halted. We cannot help them any more then we could implement a selective breeding proscess based on intelligence. That would solve world hunger.

Posted by Peter February 21, 09 12:58 PM

thats awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by courtney February 21, 09 07:36 PM

As an engineer for NASA for almost thirty years working in the "un-manned" part of NASA, i.e the scientific satilites, most people don't have the foggist idea of how NASA programs have advanced technology. Technology that everyone takes for grated! Just start with satellite TV and satellite weather. It was NASA and NASA contractors that develped the first satellites to transmit pictures from space (ATS-). It was NASA that develped the first satellites to measure the greenhouses gasses. It was NASA's technology that made possible the GPS systems being used today. How many million of jobs exist today that would not be were it not for the enabling technology that came (and continues to come) from the NASA Centers spread across this country? just perhaps your lively hood may depend on this technology. You can rest assure you standard of living does!!

Posted by NASA Retiree & PROUD OF IT February 21, 09 09:35 PM

the americans better spend there money on there economy !!!!!

Posted by jeroen February 22, 09 06:56 AM

I'm young, only in my 30s, but here's my opinion nevertheless: I'll gladly support anything and anyone that will keep humanity's oldest dream from fading away. We MUST reach for the stars! We must continue our progress. We must reinforce our chances of survival as a species.

So far, NASA has had the lead. I'm also glad to see R.A. Heinlein's old dream starting to take shape: private enterprise will soon go to space.

I'm not American, therefore I can speak less directly with my money. Instead, I use every method at my disposal (e.g. CPU cycles and bandwidth for distributed computing projects, subscriptions to USA science magazines, etc.) to help advance the science cause.

Because only this way will I be able to witness in awe what my parents had 40 years ago: humans leaving their footprints on another planet's surface! Go NASA!

Posted by Steven S. February 22, 09 09:46 AM

To Sam #82 who thinks we "have no business out there":

It always appalls me to hear people say that we "have no business" doing things that expand our understanding of the universe and our capability as a species. If we had listened to small-minded individuals like yourself, we would still be living in the stone age.

The fact is, the resources on this planet are finite and they WILL run out eventually, no matter how frugal we become. When you combine this fact with the probability of an extinction level event (e.g. asteroid strike) occurring over the next few millenia, it becomes clear that spreading out into space is the only viable option for ensuring the long term survival of the human race.

Please people, try to look past the end of your nose and see the big picture before spouting off about how "useless" the manned space program is.

Posted by Matt February 22, 09 01:27 PM

The fact that you are appalled by my comment is strange... Unless you misread or read too much into it, which your misquote indicates.
Einstein understood more about the Universe than most and he never once stepped beyond the confines of our planet... All through the power of IMAGINATION which, as he said, is far more important than knowledge.
It's clear where your stock bottoms out...
I do hope that you and everyone like you gets to go to another planet and stays there! You have my full support and Earth's I'm sure!!

Posted by Sam February 23, 09 05:18 AM

Wonderful Program,

I would prefer we spend money on hunger and medical needs here on Earth. We only have so many resources to spread around. We have two wars going on, a very sick economy and tons of other problems.

Posted by Contelli Lomax February 23, 09 07:58 AM

I quote from your previous post: "We have no business out there... We would be better served in focusing our creative minds on sustainability of our existance here."

What, exactly, have I "misquoted"?

And, rest assured, those of us forward thinkers who are courageous enough to expand the limits of human existence will be happy to leave you "flat earthers" behind as soon as the option becomes available.

Posted by Matt February 23, 09 12:26 PM

How much of your tax dollars go to space:
308,000,000 people in the US (IRS site)
134,373,000 tax returns filed (43% file) (IRS site)
99,880,000 actually paid taxes (32% pay) (IRS site)

For a 17,000,000,000 dollar budget,
Those of you who actually pay taxes, on average it costs you a whopping $170.00 (assuming a flat tax rate which in not the case. Taxes range from 10% up to 35% or more) for the YEAR. That's right, $3.25 of your taxes every week goes toward ALL of NASA. Oh, but wait there are 69,000 folk that work at NASA (NASA site) either as government employees or as contractors, and odds are really pretty good that all of them pay taxes, just like you. Hmmm, so they contribute 11,672,000 of that 17 trillion budget. Some of NASA's budget goes to education ($153,000,000) (House Science Committee site).

The past 7 years of the Iraqi war cost 604 billion (unadjusted dollars). The past 50 years of NASA (excluding 2009) cost 416 billion (unadjusted dollars).
One year's national budget is 2.7 trillion. Nasa's budget is 0.6% of the national budget.

If Nasa's budget was distributed equally to the 308 million people in the US, everyone would get $55.

Posted by DakaotaBandit February 23, 09 12:30 PM

Manned space flight is ultimately about long-term earth-born species survival (especially but not limited to humans).

Robots cannot accomplish this work as there are too many factors involved in space survival that only a human going into space can reveal.

Right now, all our eggs are in one basket, one planet. All the species throughout the ages before us relied on Earth alone supporting them, and they are all gone, extinct except for the descendents of what vestiges of animal life managed to just barely get by.

What good are all the social programs in our country, all the poverty and hunger in the world solved, all the global warming halted, all the short-sighted self-focused libertarians being freed of their taxes, all the "real-job" factories making jeans and pointless gadgets being shored-up, all the new-age loons caterwauling about the power of imagination, if just after accomplishing all this, we are destroyed utterly by an asteroid hitting the earth? We only have so much time before this *will* happen again.

Who will be left to praise our civilization's great social accomplishments then?

The futile waste of money is that which is *not* spent on space exploration and colonization. The madness is how many sufficiently intelligent people there are on our planet who don't pay any attention to geological history.

Posted by Brandur February 23, 09 01:24 PM

ref post 150. I put in a typo near the end of that second paragraph. Nasa's budget is 17 billion not trillion. My brain was jumping ahead to the national budget.
Ref post 151. While I am a space enthusiast, I must say I can only agree with you in part. If we don't put money into things such as social programs and education, and protecting our environment, there won't be any civilization worth saving. But I would like to see NASA get a larger budget. If it costs those of us who pay taxes 170 dollars for the year, then just $30 more a person would give NASA an additional 3 billion.

Just as an aside, Only 4 things get less that NASA: the dept of: Transportation, Treasury, Interior and Labor. Mandatory spending eats up 2/3 of hte budget (soical security, Medicare, medicaid, children's insurance, unemployment, welfare, & interest on the national debt. Of the discretionary spending (1.14 trillion) Nasa gets 1.5 % while the DOD gets the most at 42%, then the fight against terrorism at 13% and Health and Human Services get 6%. All the others (including NASA, obviously) get less than Health and Human services.,_2008

Posted by DakotaBandit February 23, 09 02:33 PM

Great pictures & comments But we need to control the junk up there as we found out with the collision last week.

Posted by Paul Snyder February 23, 09 03:44 PM

#149 & #151,
I have not once in any of my comments insulted anyone...
I have no idea what a "libertarian" even means... or "new-age loon" for that matter.
Nowhere in may comments have I stated that space exploration/study should be eliminated. I do have an issue with "PEOPLE" colonizing other planets when we are failing miserably in colonizing the one we have here right now!! For proof of that, you only need look slighly beyond your nose.
I have been to the Biosphere near Tucson Arizona. That taught us a lot about the extreeme difficulty, if not impossibility, of colonating other planets and that thing was built here on Earth... Fortunately, that was funded by a wealthy philanthropist which is how NASA should be funded.
As far as our days being numbered here, there is absolutely no doubt about that... All is right with the Universe!!
So go sell crazy on Mars... We're all stocked up here!

Posted by Sam February 23, 09 04:10 PM

For advocates of the use of taxpayer money for NASA because you like the program and think it's worth it to force others to pay too: How many proponents are sending in extra money? How many great humanitarians working at NASA to advance our technical prowess are doing it gratis?
Arguing that it is only a small amount per taxpayer relative to other programs is: 1. misleading because we don't pay it as a head tax--the income tax is graduated.
2. irrelevant to whether it is just--it's still coerced. That NASA workers pay taxes is a non-sequitur, thieves also spend their money in the economy--that is not the question. (Previous post #138 and #118)

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 23, 09 04:33 PM

In response to post 152.

Though my position in post 151 was stated in the extreme, I do believe there are many things to care about in our society other than long-term survival. However, I do want to make the point that if we do not spend a sufficient amount of money on social programs, education and environmental protection we would not die as a civilization, we would only have less of a civilization, and a more problematic one.

On the other hand, if we don't spend a sufficient amount of money and effort on manned space flight and colonization, then when the next extinction-level asteroid collision inevitably occurs, we won't have any civilization left at all.

There is a marked level of severity between the two outcomes. And, there is no doubt that the latter condition is being all but ignored in favor of an almost total focus on short-term problems that we won't even have the benefit of working on and improving should we be caught without developed off-world survivability at the moment of a catastrophic collision.

I simply do not understand why so many people think that we as a country or as a Western World have to be responsible for solving all the world's social problems prior to solving the problem of humanity's ultimate survival. Why is it that so many otherwise thoughtful people still think that manned space flight is some kind of overgrown rich-kid's toybox or some expensive tax-paid hobby? It isn't about scientific research for knowledge's sake, inspiring young minds, exploring the great metaphysical unknown, shoring up national security, or doing something cool or anything else that goes into being an "enthusiast" for space, albeit these maybe favorable side-effects of a sufficiently funded manned spaceflight program.

Ultimately, it's about being clear as to what priorities are more important to the survival of humanity and what other earth-born species we carry with us. If a person doesn't care about these things, why care about social problems that will be solved very quickly and simply by the total destruction of our species from a catastrophic collision?

Posted by Brandur February 23, 09 04:34 PM

@Paul Snyder, post #153
Was it REALLY "space junk" that fell on the Earth on Valentine's Day ? Why not investigate the "chinese lantern" or "weather balloon" theories that where so convenient in the past ?

Near the same day, two submarines collided, from France and UK ... my brain keeps asking why such GOD-FORSAKEN collision mechanisms are in place, if the official story is anywhere near the TRUTH of what happened !!!

Beware of "space junk", both high up in Space and lurking at the bottom of Ocean Floors; global "heating" and "exhausted" money supply sure have some strange effects, lately ... Or would it all be part of Obama's side-effects ?

@Brandur, post #151 : We will be remembered only through LEGENDS, just as Rama is - investigate His Bridge connecting India and Shri Lankha if you don't believe ...

Be prepared for what is to come : Read, learn, understand, experience, AND THEN believe in the Holy Scripture's God/ Allah/ Yahveh/ Buddha/ Brahma/ ... !!!

Posted by Huang Di February 23, 09 04:38 PM

In response to Post 155.

If you want to work towards changing our tax-based society into a different system, be my guest. That's your fight. I honestly don't care whether we have a tax-based system or a libertarian one. I will lobby in either towards the proper use of our society's wealth to right priorities. The problem is that most people in their short-sighted thinking don't realize that manned space flight is in the interest of their survival and that of their descendants. And, the job of enlightening people to that fact is the same problem regardless of how wealth is distributed in our nation. So, frankly, I am not going to spend my effort focusing on changing the system of taxes in our country, I am going to spend my effort focusing on long-term human survival (a.k.a. manned space flight and colonization) within whatever system we have.

Posted by Brandur February 23, 09 04:52 PM

Ah. What money can buy!

Posted by pilot February 23, 09 10:18 PM

re 155.
I don't want to support many uses of welfare, but I am forced to pay taxes to support a large number of 2nd and 3rd gneration welfare receipients sitting around on their duffs while I work 40+ hours a week to help fund their laziness, or some of the HUD programs where folk have newer and nicer places to live per dollar than what people who are at least trying to make a living can afford.

If you truly feel space is not worthy, then please cease and desist using all benefits from the space agency. Tell your fire firefighters they may no longer use their Nomex to protect them in a fire, that all your neighbors and perhaps even you must stop using your satellite dish, that the hospital can no longer use its improved medical imaging, turn in your smoke detector, too, please. Do you use any cordless tools? Trash them. Your forced dollars helped create those too. You like those invisible braces. Nope, pitch them. No joystick controllers for you or your kid's video games. Plastic bottles? No good sir, you must return to glass and metal, or at least, pay much much more for the plastic ones because cheap liquid crystal polymers are no longer available for use. Anybody using the NASA/DeBakey heart pump? Demand they hand it over and go die without complaint. Those were tax dollars taken from you! Ever flown on a Boeing 777? Cross it off your list too. That new radiant barrier insulation for homes? Sorry, can't have that and its energy savings. No LEDs either. Okay, just go to the below webpage and please turn in all items listed there and please tell all your local industries that use any of NASA's technology that it was your tax dollars spent on space and you don't approve and so they can't use it anymore.

An incidently yes, I do contribute extra money to space supporting ventures. Just as I support the American Cancer Society and a few other charities.

Posted by DakotaBandit February 24, 09 10:38 AM

If we were more “friendly” to the rest of the world, and didn’t go abroad to “kill the guy that may want to kill my dad”, we would not spend $145.2 billion (+45.8%) on Global War on Terror and would not need $39.4 billion (+18.7%) for Department of Veterans Affairs and $34.3 billion (+7.2%) for Department of Homeland Security. $17.3 billion (+6.8%) for NASA is not enough for what they are contributing to this country and the entire human race! Read more so you will know NASA is not just going to a remote planet digging rocks. Many of your daily life luxuries and medical advantages are originated from NASA human space flight research.

BTW, why do we bailout for people who couldn’t afford to buy a nice big house but bought them anyway?! Get them out of those houses!

Posted by Taxpayer2 February 24, 09 11:37 AM

I think the Space Program is great; think we're ever going to reach the stars is total insanity. The closest star is ~ 4 light years away. Man was designed to live on earth and I believe the creator intended for it to stay that way - hence; the astronomical distances between the stars. Don't try and compare it to crossing the oceans when people thought the world was flat. We'll make it to Mars, no doubt, but going to other solar systems is flat out impossible. Even flying at the speed of light - 4 years?....and if you hit a grain of sand at that speed??

Posted by Reality Earth Come In February 24, 09 01:05 PM

In response to Post 158:
The "right priorities" and what is in the interest of one and of one's descendants certainly is the question.
Is it a heavy burden for you to carry: knowing so much about what is in the interests of the human race and on what their survival depends?
Perhaps you are so preoccupied with such lofty considerations that you miss that there are other ways of achieving goals than by force? And that those other ways might be more efficient and more effective.

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 24, 09 01:19 PM

@ 162:

If you think that YOU KNOW BETTER whats REALLY in the best interest of the human race, please go on...
The most fatal (man-made) catastrophes in human history were all results of people (lunatics) who thought that they knew better... that they were the only ones, the true ones, acting in the best interest for all..

"Perhaps you are so preoccupied with such lofty considerations that you miss that there are other ways of achieving goals than by force? And that those other ways might be more efficient and more effective."

More efficient and more effective... yeah and WHAT OTHER WAYS would that be?
Do you honestly believe that space flight would exist (by now) just by "private" effort? Yeah i know, the government can't be effective.. because, well, it just can't be, right? Its, like, a nature law or something... too bad that in the last 5000 years, since becoming of (organized) human civilization, everyone failed to produce proof of the contrary.

Posted by factsfirst February 24, 09 03:07 PM

I am really amazed at where some of these comments have gone.
I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid. With that in mind, I got degrees in math and joined the AF and have worked in support of the military and civilian space programs for over 20 years. That isn't everyone's dream so those that never dreamed of stepping outside of their own comfort zone need to understand that not all of us are content to live this moment for the rest of our lives. For new inventions to happen, for new developments to occur, for discoveries or advancements to happen, we as the human race must step away from the comfort of NOW in every discipline, every day.
My sons both want to be astronauts now and are both focusing their attentions on science and mathematics in school. They are racing each other to be the first men on Mars. Even if they don't become astronauts, I see they are already questioning the world around them and trying to understand how to change things for the better. I am proud of them both no matter where these quests lead them because they aren’t happy with things as they are, they want more and they understand that for change to happen, they have to do it themselves.
The spirit of exploration and wanting to go to places that have never been explored before is a kind of faith all its own that makes man an amazing animal. We aren’t content with the environment the way it is so we find ways to change it. It drives people to do amazing things! It takes them beyond the horizon where others believe they will “fall of the end of the Earth.” It drives them to climb mountains that “can't be climbed.” It gives them the passion to find cures for “incurable diseases.”
The moon and local planets used to be beyond our reach – not anymore. I just wish I could be the one to travel to the next nearest solar system but I will have to leave that for my great, great, great grandchildren when the stars are technologically within their reach. And I KNOW they will do it because that drive to change and explore our own environment is so important to who we are and our survival. And if our progeny do not reach out to the stars, then our race will shrivel and die on this small planet. Even recent history shows that animals that do not adapt to change and opportunity quickly become extinct. How we collectively embrace this opportunity is out choice. But it will be the explorers among us that will step into the dark in spite of the naysayers if – when the opportunity presents itself.

Posted by KF February 24, 09 03:26 PM


Posted by ekc908 February 24, 09 05:54 PM


Posted by peepdog101 February 24, 09 07:44 PM

I like it pictures..It's cool....

Posted by Hana Cat Williams February 25, 09 01:00 AM

I'm glad there are so many people out there who have stuck up for NASA and the constellation project. There is no doubt in my mind that a journey to Mars is just what this world, not just this country, needs. A human colony on Mars would offer a fresh start and a new set of breakthrough technologies if nothing else. However, I get the feeling that a large majority of the US population does not understand just how useful human space exploration is for us. It's really depressing that that is the case. If this country chooses to give up human space exploration entirely I think you can kiss your hopes of ever having it back goodbye. You'll quickly lose the documentation and expertise required to conduct such a mission. Remember, this isn't the only country with a human space program in the works. Scientists, engineers, and technicians here can find the same jobs in other countries.

Posted by Geoff February 25, 09 03:08 AM

Anyone for clean, renewable energy? Lessening dependency on limited fossil fuels? Improving the efficiency of energy production?
I am.
"220 pounds of helium-3--enough to power a city the size of Dallas or Detroit for a year."
And let's not forget the huge contributions to consumer products that come either directly, or indirectly from the space program. Who appreciates smoke detectors? How many marathon runners have used an emergency space blanket? Who has a electronics with integrated circuits? Who thinks improved and portable water filtration devices could help millions of people all over the world? Or packaged food scientifically designed to last long periods of time and provide complete nutritional value? Who likes having satellite communications, or using their GPS? Nearly 1 in every thousand patents ever issued by the US patent office (since 1790) is NASA's. This institution and it's endeavours, past and present, are incalculably valuable to the global society and we, as Americans, have the honour and the pride of not only hosting it - but of being the reason it can do so much.

Posted by Ada Byron February 25, 09 11:51 AM

For some comparison on the NASA budget, read this bloomberg article:

The last sentence: "The government has already purchased $52 billion worth of preferred shares in Citigroup."

Now, look at NASA's current FY '08 budget: $17 billion

Posted by J February 25, 09 01:14 PM

referencing #126's comments about diversity...

Don't let a few photos fool you, there is plenty of diversity at the Nasa, and ALL it's Sites. I work at SSC in Mississippi, and there has been diversity here since the early 1960's. As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that Nasa and it's contractor companies are among, if not the most diverse companies in the U.S. By the way I'm a minority, and I've been working the Shuttle program for 29 years. And loving every minute I've worked here.

Posted by Victor Hobson February 25, 09 08:00 PM

America is full of diversity - I love it. I think that NASA and all the related industries are accomplishing miracles with very limited budgets. THANK YOU. Why don't we place the responsibility of solar/wind power on the individual. Let's create "kits" for each home to harness their own energy - let's create de-salination kits for our coastal home owners. Let each individual take on the responsibility of planting trees, finding alternative fuels for their vehicles and stop looking for a handout from the government for things that are within each and everyone's (earthly) ability to create. WE live on earth. Americans need to be the world leaders in space exploration for all the benefits it will bring to human beings on earth in years to come. Thank you Mr. President!! YOU are propelling America into again being a WORLD leader in Science and Education.

Mr. President!

Posted by Just an ordinary person February 26, 09 10:11 AM

To George Phelps, poster of #114: I couldn't agree more--we certainly -do- need more scientists and engineers in the Congress.

The problem is that scientists and engineers wouldn't be -happy- in Congress, trying to steer the government--any scientist or engineer worth his/her salt would much rather spend five hours of his precious time in his lab or studying experiment results than wasted in another useless policy meeting.

And that's really sad, because it's the scientists and engineers who truly make this world a better place to live in--not slimy lawyers, who leech off the misery of others, victimize the weak at the behest of the powerful, and who do more to stifle innovation and creativity with the threat of litigation than any Communist government ever could.

Posted by piusg February 26, 09 12:41 PM

To those who think that NASA is the salvation of mankind and well worth the price:
Pay with your own money. Everyone has a cause and thinks their cause is just. Curing cancer, building roads, going to Mars are all laudable efforts. The trouble is, not everyone values the same cause. Government is the least efficient way to accomplish things--if something is worth doing the test of that worth should be people freely paying for it.
Try Hayek: The Road to Serfdom on the allure of central planning:,M1
(Previous comments:118,138,155, 163)

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 26, 09 04:39 PM

Wow! What a display of male power. Can we rename the rocket Phallus I and get some sponsorship money from Viagra? Thoreau said that before we string a wire from Maine to California, we should first know what message we feel must be sent. The same applies with spending billions on a space program that "might" bring us something someday. Not a good husbanding of limited resources.

Posted by Norbit February 26, 09 05:08 PM

When the history of the late 1960's is written, no one will care about the budget deficit, or any other mundane nonsense that doesn't make any difference in the grand scheme of things ... they will write about Apollo XI and the first venturing of mankind off the Earth. The towering achievement that this represents to all mankind makes some of the negative comments I see above look lame, small, and frankly tiny-brained. Pull your head out of your posterior and look to the stars.

Posted by Grant February 26, 09 06:48 PM

Re: Post 160:
Given that I am forced to pay for things, your argument that I not use them is a non sequitur. You presume that because something has happened, there was no other way for it to occur. My posts argue that there are better ways to accomplish technical achievements than coerced funding. Government is notoriously inefficient. Benefits from the space program are at the expense of that which didn't occur. Since it didn't occur, you don't know what might have been. What we know is only that coerced money was used, o-rings froze, tires blew up, people burned, the formula for the Saturn rockets was lost, and also many good things happened.

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 27, 09 12:26 PM

@ 175 and 178
"To those who think that NASA is the salvation of mankind and well worth the price:
Pay with your own money. Everyone has a cause and thinks their cause is just. Curing cancer, building roads, going to Mars are all laudable efforts. The trouble is, not everyone values the same cause. Government is the least efficient way to accomplish things--if something is worth doing the test of that worth should be people freely paying for it."

Why so theatrical? No sane person stated here that NASA and its programs are the "salvation of mankind". The question here is the fundamental aspect of economic thinking. The cost-benefit ratio. The economic value which has been created through all the work and effort in the history of NASA far outweighs the humble budget of NASA, which pales in comparison to other spending ventures done by the government. And that's JUST the economic value. You should NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the ideal value that comes with an outstanding project in the magnitude of, for example, space flight. You know, this is called inspiration. This is what makes any kind of future achievement possible in the first place. When you assess the benefits that may come with such an endeavor, do not forget one thing: the benefits you will reap in the long run. Who makes decisions based on long-term considerations? Government, so far, is the only way to accomplish those things.

You value things differently? Good. Probably most individuals will always value things differently. Does that mean that every opinion has to be taken into account. No, definitely not, at least not, if you want to accomplish anything. Individual (limited) perspective versus, you know, the big picture...

"Given that I am forced to pay for things, your argument that I not use them is a non sequitur. You presume that because something has happened, there was no other way for it to occur. My posts argue that there are better ways to accomplish technical achievements than coerced funding. Government is notoriously inefficient. Benefits from the space program are at the expense of that which didn't occur. Since it didn't occur, you don't know what might have been."

Are you serious? What MIGHT have been? What if, yeah what if? That is not even an argument. So lets see, what could possibly have occurred instead of the space program? What would you suggest? Oh, i know. Salvation of mankind, right? By the way, inefficiency is not exclusively limited to Government.
Up to now, every private enterprise has failed to prove that it can replace or even match, in terms of efficiency, a "government" when it comes to providing substantial services fundamental for society on a large scale.

"The Road to Serfdom" is from 1944, did you know that? Do you know the circumstances and the intention behind this work? It was a response to the collectivism and totalitarianism running rampant in Europe at this time, and the popular (and wrong) belief that fascism was an opposition to socialism.
And did you know that von Hayek was a strong supporter of the role the government has to play in the economy, unlike many of his comrades in the libertarian economists department? He was an avid critic of the laissez-faire capitalism and its supporters, like von Mises.

I get the impression that you are strongly opposed to paying taxes. If that is the case, you should consider emigration into a so called third world country. Chances are high that you won't be bothered with taxes there.

Posted by Dirk February 27, 09 05:32 PM

To 180: Re: "Why so theatrical? No sane person stated here that NASA and its programs are the 'salvation of mankind'." Dirk, try reading posts 105, 109, 113, 151, 156, 158, and 165.
Re: "The question here is the fundamental aspect of economic thinking. The cost-benefit ratio. The economic value which has been created through all the work and effort in the history of NASA ..." You've missed the point. How to judge economic value is the question. Value is determined by those willing to pay. Tough to determine value Dirk, when the money is coerced. As for the remainder of your post--you're being quite theatrical. It's as if you're addressing imaginary points rather than what's written.

ps Hayek did publish The Road to Serfdom in 1944 while in England. He saw the same road to collectivism/serfdom in America, as I'm sure you know Dirk, and the book has been reprinted since. He even mentions different nations moving at different rates to collectivism.

Hayek was not "an avid critic" of laissez-faire capitalism and von Mises; Hayek was a student of von Mises. Hayek was an avid critic of Keynes, who never saw any kind of government spending he didn't like. While Hayek acknowledged some role for government, the section I quoted from Hayek is about those "single-minded idealists" who advocate strongly for government funding of their particular ideals--which is applicable to what you wrote.

pps Dirk, your "love it or leave it" attitude doesn't seem very tolerant. Is that supposed to convince me of the rightness of your reasoning?

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 28, 09 01:14 AM

@ 180
I read all comments, trust me on this...
Definition of Salvation. That is why i objected.
But trying to neglect any advantage that came (and still comes) out of space programs is somewhat ridiculous.

And I'm not missing the point. Economic value = value to the economy (as a whole system). This is not determined by anyone's will to pay anything - that is the market price.

The Road to Serfdom: Published 1944, written between 1940 and 1943, i know.
I read it.

Yes, Hayek was indeed a student of von Mises. But did you know that Hayek earlier was a supporter of socialism, like it was proposed by Walther Rathenau?
However, Hayek later strongly opposed von Mises, stating that die-hard dogmatists (fundamentalist is a bit inflationary lately) like von Mises were the worst thing that ever happened to (classical) liberalism.

If you don't believe me, ask Google or Wikipedia. They will tell you the same.
Btw, the article in the English Wikipedia is not as accurate as the article in the German Wikipedia. Also not complete, but better.

Before anyone again hops on the old Hayek vs. Keynes debate, please explain the current global economic crises beforehand, thanks.

Don't ask me for tolerance. I'm not one of those liberals with their one-way tolerance.

Posted by Dirk February 28, 09 11:59 AM

To 181: Dirk, still arguing with strawmen while ignoring the question? Defining value to the abstraction you call "the economy (as a whole system)" is the problem--how does one calculate it? Attempts at collectivist calculations involve coercing others to pay for that which some, in this case NASA advocates, value. While I'll trust you to have read all of the comments, some did state that the survival of the species depends on space exploration. You must have missed those comments or chosen to dismiss them as not sane for your convenience.

ps Hayek's earlier socialism, like Blair's, changed; Hayek learned from Mises. He "avidly" opposed Keynesian economics.
I'm not hopping on any debate about Hayek vs. Keynes, I'm pointing out that NASA operates on coerced funding using fiat money.

pps Dirk, I'm not asking for tolerance from you--you're a mouse click away from oblivion in my world. I'm suggesting to you that you're not helping your argument with "love it or leave it" insinuations.

Posted by Jim a taxpayer February 28, 09 08:53 PM

To 182:
"While I'll trust you to have read all of the comments, some did state that the survival of the species depends on space exploration. You must have missed those comments or chosen to dismiss them as not sane for your convenience."

Well, this is actually true, in the really long run. At some point, the Earth will be uninhabitable for humans. This is millions or maybe billions of years away, obviously, but nevertheless, its true.

On "calculating" the economy: Ever heard about the nominal/real gross domestic product? This is not some invention of conspiring collectivists...

And like dirk said, Hayek was a student of von Mises, but later opposed to him.
That Hayek and Keynes did not agree with each other on the role of government in the economy is true, but Hayek nonetheless backpedaled from his support of von Mises.
By the way, who is Blair? I don't know an economist with that name.

"Attempts at collectivist calculations involve coercing others to pay"
"'m pointing out that NASA operates on coerced funding using fiat money."

Ok, I see where you are standing..making a good case for your interpretation of economic liberalism is beneath your dignity.

While i highly respect the research that Hayek has done, i must say that i strongly distance myself from von Mises. A guy like him, who refused to acknowledge any form of empiricism, is not a scientist but a preacher...

i was a economic researcher and did quite some stuff on the Mont Pelerin Society

Posted by G.Robertson March 1, 09 08:11 PM

To 183:
GDP/GNP include government purchases don't they? Calculating the value of something is distorted when you can use someone else's money--particularly if you're a counterfeiter, a thief, or a collectivist. One million men could dig a hole for billions of dollars and it gets added up into the total GDP. It could be the Big Dig or a new Grand Canyon. A million more men could fill it up for an even greater addition to the GDP. Either way it's a boondoggle and doesn't necessarily have any value.

My question, G, how to calculate real value, was meant to point out that value is a subjective thing. Allowing the collective to decide it leads to totalitarianism, which Hayek could see. I used a quote from The Road to Serfdom to point out his description of how single-minded idealists for a cause fall into the trap. It doesn't mean I agree with or even know everything Hayek ever said or wrote.

Dirk made the leap to von Mises; "avid opponent" was the key phrase in his "theatricality" with which I disagreed.

Blair, or Orwell, was not an economist, but an author who reviewed The Road to Serfdom.

You advocate empiricism, but what I'm talking about here are principles--something a preacher might better understand.

ps I've dug quite some ditches before.

Posted by Jim a taxpayer March 2, 09 09:42 AM

Hey Jim Taxpayer guy,

Just curious, when someone writes an article about a medical breakthrough in something like Cancer research that was paid for by taxpayer dollars, do you get on their blog and banter endlessly about your libertarian agenda there, too? Or do you just troll around for articles and subjects like space exploration where its a lot easier to get small-minded people (who otherwise still wouldn't agree with your general points) to rally to your bandwagon of "We don't need this!!!" ? I guess what I am wondering is, what of all the dazzling expenditures in our national budget made the little-brown-mouse-in-the-corner called space exploration such a deserving subject to warrant the grace of your tax crusade attentions?

And as for people paying privately for space exploration. Yeah, in a libertarian nation, I *do* believe there would be corporations and philanthropists we could convince to see the value in it and pay for it. In fact, imagine that, there are already those who are! There are several hundred large and small businesses working on ****commercial**** space technology and making a profit doing it, and that's only going to increase in time. In fact, did you know that a portion of NASA's budget goes to stimulating such buisness opportunities such that in time we *will* have space exploration going on that's *not* taxpayer paid for. For cyring out loud, NASA is probably one of your better allies in your little crusade.

Why is this happening? Because there *is* value in it both objectively in terms of short and long term investment returns and subjectively in terms of market value. But, the fact is our society isn't libertarian, its tax-based. And, so long as it is and everyone's being coerced out of there money, anyway, why not lobby our representatives to put some of that coerced money someplace with a reliable investment return? Someplace proven to enhance our economy, education, and long term survival... I don't know like... SPACE EXPLORATION?

Posted by Brandur March 2, 09 12:27 PM

To 185:
Just curious:
Are people "small-minded" because they don't agree with you? Do you "troll around and banter endlessly" about your everyone-else-is-doing-it-so-we-might-as-well-join-them-and-get-them-to-fund-our-stuff "agenda" too?

There is value in space exploration, but is there enough value for it to be paid for voluntarily?

Posted by Jim a taxpayer March 2, 09 01:16 PM

While these photos might not be "art" they serve a purpose and that is to document an ongoing project. And with their glimpses they lay bare the economic engine that is NASA. I'm picturing an army of technicians, engineers, designers, attendants, maintenance crew, a lot of suppliers and service industry personnel, a lot of investment in local economies. And it's healthy (if a little bit monopolized) economic stimulus. Simply put: “Every car needs a tire, every person needs a lunch.” I'm also seeing a lot of practical technology and R&D. I'm quite glad to have been allowed a glimpse of this "down to earth" view of NASA (and I'd say the same thing for any industry for that matter.) I just hope that their funding does not get rerouted to "subsidize" a growing percentage of the population who breed, eat and sit around thinking “what’s the point,” pissed off at life "'cauze it's unfair" because they haven't gotten every shiny thing that they've ever seen on TV. I don't usually talk like this but what's going on right with this" stimuls"package has me quite flabbergasted and a little bit upset.

Posted by Maria March 2, 09 01:35 PM

@Banter, post#185
Medical research is currently only read by the medical profession : if they see a need for dissemination of barely readable thesis (which, now, can be done at nearly NO COST), they'll pay for it, be it through money or time spent ...

"Nasa *stimulates* business oportunities ..." So, you definitely admit that funding Nasa is in part Grand Theft Economics, as some money it receives goes directly to private companies ... Profit's been privatized, while debts will be socialized (in other words : People, YOU have been robbed, and YOU will compensate the robbers through mounting taxes ..)

"Why is this happening" : you attempt to put a shimmering light where it's basically conflitcts of interests piling one upon another that ONLY THROUGH PURE CHANCE managed to bring ANY benefit at all for the people ... Long term survival ? Better served through increased Literacy & knowledge of world's Ecology, or through building a better rocket & spy satellite ?

In the end, it seems that you favor the Georgia Guidestones, while I won't ever consent in slaughtering 6 billions of human beings ... we'll see who is Right ...

Posted by Huang Di March 2, 09 05:30 PM

In fact, did you know that a portion of NASA's budget goes to stimulating such buisness opportunities such that in time we *will* have space exploration going on that's *not* taxpayer paid for. For cyring out loud, NASA is probably one of your better allies in your little crusade.

Why is this happening? Because there *is* value in it both objectively in terms of short and long term investment returns and subjectively in terms of market value. But, the fact is our society isn't libertarian, its tax-based. And, so long as it is and everyone's being coerced out of there money, anyway, why not lobby our representatives to put some of that coerced money someplace with a reliable investment return? Someplace proven to enhance our economy, education, and long term survival... I don't know like... SPACE EXPLORATION?
"While I'll trust you to have read all of the comments, some did state that the survival of the species depends on space exploration. You must have missed those comments or chosen to dismiss them as not sane for your convenience."

Well, this is actually true, in the really long run. At some point, the Earth will be uninhabitable for humans. This is millions or maybe billions of years away, obviously, but nevertheless, its true.

On "calculating" the economy: Ever heard about the nominal/real gross domestic product? This is not some invention of conspiring collectivists...

And like dirk said, Hayek was a student of von Mises, but later opposed to him.
That Hayek and Keynes did not agree with each other on the role of government in the economy is true, but Hayek nonetheless backpedaled from his support of von Mises.
By the way, who is Blair? I don't know an economist with that name.

Posted by arda March 3, 09 06:36 AM

To 189: The answers are already there, you've got to find them Scully.

Posted by Fox Mulder March 3, 09 03:50 PM

@arda, post#189
Repeating the same statement over and over has proven effective at luring the masses in 1936's germany and (less reliably so) lately ... but it doesn't make it true !

"Earth will be uninhabitable in Billions of years, so we must act now" : In other words, at age 7, when the house's on fire, you sit quietly at the table planning how you'll spend your retirement ?

Von Mises, Hayek, Bastiat & Blair ? Their debate may be interesting, but not relevant HERE : the questions asked ON THIS SITE by so many persons here is this : "is Nasa the BEST place to put our (Bretton Woods-convention) money, given the global economy's status, and people sufferings ?" ...

Take too much time to answer at least credibly (and with a MASK of truthfullness), and people may start asking the system-collapsing questions ...

In other words : How could current society escape the fate of every single Empire that ever roamed the earth ?? (before deflecting in a "we have technology" kind of argument, read attentively the Indian MahaBarata "legend")
Next, you may be interested in the various eschatology prophecies of various religions ...

Ignorance is the source of suffering - Buddha, 6th century BC
What is going on in the world ? - Most persons, 27 centuries later ...
WHEN did philosophical studies went the way of Ginko Biloba's era ? - Myself, now

Posted by Huang Di March 4, 09 01:41 PM

having retired from the aerospace industry in 1998, after spending from 1958 to retiring, looking at the future of space reinforces my opinion of where we should go in the future. If we can survive the next four years, perhaps aerospace work will survive nicely. I enjoyed the pics-excellent views. I started in R and D at Aerojet in 1958 . Stayed with the Titan program for 10 years at Aerojet, moved down to launch base at Vandenberg to the launch facility and from there retiring at the Cape in Fla.'s launch base. Anyone who has ever worked or seen launches, especially at night, will never forget the excitment------

Posted by George Ellis March 4, 09 05:43 PM

@George Ellis :
How comes so many retired persons from Nasa post there ?
If I had retired from the wood crafting industry, I too would like to see beautiful pieces of furnitures everywhere I cared to look, for the love of well-made things that I would have used to make for 40+ years !
But one has to realize that launching a space shuttle is WAY MORE EXPENSIVE, and diverts money(!) from agriculture & education.

And, by the way, a global food crisis is staged for the summer of 2009 (do not believe me, and investigate Chile/Argentina, or California's waters)... start piling up supplies !

The greatest trick of the Devil is making people believe he doesn't exist ... Look up Islam's Dajjal prophecy (less allegoric than Christian's apocalypse), and make up your mind. May God be with you ...

Posted by Huang Di March 5, 09 08:36 AM

I saw the scale model rocket @ the KENNEDY SPACE CENTER last yr.

Posted by Tyler March 5, 09 07:06 PM

Education is overated. Americans take it for granted yet complain about it and do nothing to improve it except throw money at it with no accountability. What do you expect? A mushrooming of Administrative positions and their salaries yet teachers are underpaid, unappreciated, and demoralized by unions, do gooder ALCU types that tie the teachers hands when it comes to disruptive students.

Posted by ReduceEducationalAdminTypes March 6, 09 12:40 PM

PBAN is a synthetic rubber binder used to hold the propellant together in a solid "grain." It is not the propellant, just a component of the propellant. A solid propellant needs a fuel component such as powdered aluminum, for example, and an oxidizer component, such as ammonium perchlorate, for example.

Posted by Raymond Wille March 6, 09 03:01 PM

Yes, doubling the NASA budget is a great idea and certainly would be a boon to our economy.

Posted by Char Johnson March 6, 09 05:07 PM

Onward and upward!

Posted by Edward Washa March 6, 09 05:43 PM

To Carol, who posted the 99th message, if you believe ACORN is receiving $4 billion then you must believe there are alien bodies in a meat locker at Area 51. If you want to disagree with President Obama, fine, that's your right, but try using facts instead of rumors spread by right-wing nut cases.

Posted by Weary March 7, 09 04:19 PM

As an Alabama State Registered Professional Engineer (B.S.E.E., 1958), retired from NASA/MSFC (1961-1987) in Huntsville, Al, it is great to see these pictures displayed. I can remember Dr. Von Braun telling a story about a women questioning our reason for going into outer space. Her comment was "Why are we trying to go into space? We should stay right here on Earth and watch television just like the Lord intended!"
It would be great to be young enough to experience this new adventure.

Posted by Ed.Baker March 9, 09 01:16 AM

Here's my opinion: Give NASA everything they want. We can't live on Earth forever and I don't see Exxon, Microsoft or Coca-Cola doing a whole lot to ensure the survival of our species. These women and men are our finest scientists, engineers, explorers and even dreamers. On TV we see the crews in orbit "swimming" about the spacecraft or eating floating food. What we do not see is the hard work, brilliant solutions and visionary genius behind the astronauts. To date, only twelve men have walked on a surface other than Earth and the last time that happened was 1972. Jimmy Carter gutted the only agency whose mission it is to find solutions to overpopulation, resourse exhaustion and survival of the human species. Lets give them what they need to do their jobs.

Posted by deke_slayton_fan March 13, 09 01:08 AM

Go Go Gadget Rocket! VROOOOOM!

Posted by Inspector Gadget March 13, 09 05:39 PM

Terribly impressed and proud of our American scientists and all their endeavors. Thank you for all your efforts. Keep up the good work. God Bless all of you.

Posted by Bud and Ruth Griebel March 14, 09 11:47 AM

NASA is the best use of federal monies we have! more power to you NASA!!!! we need to get to Mars by 2020! step it up. We will make incredible advances in energy storage and alternative energy by a worldwide concerted effort to Mars. Watch. It's happened with every major exploration initiative we've had in our species' history. Obama don't blow this one.

Posted by KK March 16, 09 04:03 PM

I would like to know how everyone will feel if some day the cure for cancer or aids is found in space? They are currently working with this on the ISS and if that cure is found, would that alone not make all the money that's ever been spent on NASA worth it?

I just graduated with a double major in Engineering Mechanics & Astronautics and physics and I am looking forward to helping the advancement of space exploration. You have no idea how much NASA assists colleges, high schools an even middle schools all around the country with various science programs.

Posted by TC March 20, 09 01:06 PM

Funding NASA with coerced money isn't the only way to advance technology, nor is it the best way. Instead of blunting the desire to advance mankind by admiring shiny tokens of our chains, why not aspire to liberty instead?

Posted by Jim a taxpayer March 20, 09 03:59 PM

Stimulus? Boyz you should have been able to do single stage to orbit by now. The heavy launch vehicle has very little to do with NASA or its noble goals. Its all about NASA falling on its face (with a lot of help from NIXON the Not-invented-here ego-trek prez) when it comes to lifting national security payloads into orbit.

That's right, FOR SPY satellites not missions to the moon or mars. The very first useful satellite (that didn't just go bleep in the night) belonged to the United States and it was called the Corona series. It took photos of the misslle silos in Cuba for then President Kennedy. It took photos of the ICBM silos in Russia.


Posted by Elwin Ransom March 25, 09 01:57 PM

this is a grate site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous March 28, 09 02:27 PM

Magellan, Christopher Columbus, Drake, even Ralph Yeager (though he won't acknowledge it) were seeking out new horizons. Go NASA.

Posted by Mike Cekosky May 12, 09 04:47 PM

Can all these brilliant scientist solve the problem of poverty and world hunger? Billions of bucks seems to be a good sum to make our world a better place to live . . .

Posted by Danny Foo June 26, 09 06:40 PM

I'm impressed with the brilliant minds capable of doing great and unimaginable things. The courage and dedication is absolutely astounding. Keep it up America, my tax dollars go to far less, far, far less endevours. I'm so happy to be living in so great a country and at such a time as this. And to think we apologize for our greatness in service to the rest of humanity!

Posted by Oscar June 27, 09 12:22 PM

Keep up the good work NASA, lets find out what's out there.

Posted by bob conatser June 28, 09 09:57 AM

Must we have the invariable whiny "My taxpayer dollars wasted" moron on every site? WHY are you here looking? Go read the WAR news and see how your money is REALLY wasted or how the FAKE Fed runs/ruin your country. worth every penny we spend on it. NASA could do better with the dated design. I am grateful to the great men and women at NASA.

Long live Human space travel.

Posted by Cino July 3, 09 03:51 AM

just amezing NASA
Best of best NASA
NASA is second world

Posted by RUSHIKESH D. GAWALI July 15, 09 02:17 AM

"Must we have the invariable whiny "My taxpayer dollars wasted" moron on every site? WHY are you here looking? Go read the WAR news and see how your money is REALLY wasted or how the FAKE Fed runs/ruin your country. "

I see. People who object to how their tax dollars are used are "morons" and "whiny." Just how is your unsubstantiated string of gratuitous assertions non-whiny and non-moronic?

And as if we don't object to waste elsewhere. That "the WAR" and "the FAKE fed" wastes our money too doesn't mean we can't object to other uses of tax money.

" worth every penny we spend on it. "

I'm not really sure how to evaluate this kind of statement. Surely you don't mean diverting our entire national budget to scientific causes.

Posted by Matthew July 31, 09 07:59 AM

I am so glad my tax dollars are going to work here rather than some worthless social program.

To all you workers on this program: Awesome job. I wish I was with you in person rather than just in spirit.

Please keep the photos coming, they are inspirational.

Posted by Derek Walton October 23, 09 04:20 PM
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