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Launchpad to nowhere: Congress Makes NASA Finish Useless $350 Million Structure

halik

Lifer
Oct 10, 2000
25,708
1
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Last edited:

dmcowen674

No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
54,906
39
91
www.alienbabeltech.com
Launchpad to nowhere: Congress Makes NASA Finish Useless $350 Million Structure

In case you missed this wonderful development:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-08/congress-makes-nasa-finish-useless-350-million-structure.html

It so happens that the subcontractor on the project is Yates Construction, Roger Wicker's 8th biggest donor. Yay washington.

http://www.modernsteel.com/Uploads/Issues/August_2009/082009_1infinity.pdf
http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2014&cid=n00003280&type=I&newmem=N
From the article:

The tower was designed to test a GenCorp Inc. (GY) engine for a rocket program canceled in 2010.

The A-3 tower is a relic of President George W. Bush’s Constellation program.

Its funding survived thanks to Mississippi Republican senators led by Roger Wicker. Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, then the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, also pushed NASA to complete the test stand.

The agency also plans to maintain it, which will run about $840,000 annually, according to Karen Northon, a NASA spokeswoman.
=======================================================

It all goes back to Bush and the Republicans (especially the ones in the south) of why this Country has gone down the shitter.
 

Brovane

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2001
3,960
33
91
Ok this is interesting. The tower was built to test engines in near vacuum and it was built specifically to test the J-2X which was to be used on the Earth Departure Stage on the Ares-V. However the J-2X is also going to be used on the Space Launch System Block II version which this article doesn't make any mention of. So it is weird for the article to say that the test stand was built to test a engine that is no longer going to be used. Also it appears that most of the test stand was already completed when the original order to cancel the Ares-V came through. I think about 290 Million out of 350 Million was already spent. So do you scrap what you have already built and spent 290 Million or do you spend another 60 Million to finish the test stand? However the test stand could be used to test any engine in near vacuum conditions. So probably the first people to use this test stand will be SpaceX.
 

Fern

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 30, 2003
26,915
172
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$292 million had already been spent, might as well spend the additional $57 million to finish it, at least we'll have something. And how many millions would it have cost to demolish it?

I'm a fan of NASA and not happy that Obama has basically shut them down.

Glenn Mahone, a spokesman for Aerojet Rocketdyne, said that while company officials know the A-3 test stand isn’t “a near-term priority, it likely will be required to support exploration objectives in the future.”

Companies like Aerojet Rocketdyne and billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, may need to test engines for yet-to-be-developed rockets that would send astronauts into space, said Chris Quilty, an analyst with Raymond James and Associates

Obama’s request to kill Constellation was included in a 2010 bill approved by Congress. At the time, NASA already had spent $292 million on the A-3 test stand, and it needed another $57 million to finish the work,
Fern
 

TerryMathews

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,474
2
0
Whether or not the contract should've been started, only a Damn McFool would abandon a project 83.4% complete.
 

Brovane

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2001
3,960
33
91
$292 million had already been spent, might as well spend the additional $57 million to finish it, at least we'll have something. And how many millions would it have cost to demolish it?

I'm a fan of NASA and not happy that Obama has basically shut them down.



Fern
Well the shuttle needed to go. However Congress is vastly increasing costs for NASA by mandating that billions of funding go into a rocket like the Space Launch System when it doesn't have a clear mission and isn't needed. Also Congress should be putting more money into the Commercial Crew Development of systems. The original date for first launch has slipped to 2017 now when it was originally 2015. Well Congress keeps cutting the funding back. So instead of blaming Obama you need to cast your blame also on Congress.
 

PottedMeat

Lifer
Apr 17, 2002
12,366
470
126
was it necessary to finish it right now though?

there aren't any engines coming down the line ready for testing anyway and by the time they're proposed couldn't they finish it in the months/years before it's ready?
 

Brovane

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2001
3,960
33
91
was it necessary to finish it right now though?

there aren't any engines coming down the line ready for testing anyway and by the time they're proposed couldn't they finish it in the months/years before it's ready?
The problem is usually with major construction projects it is hard to stop and then come back several years later to finish. The cost probably would have gone up and then people would be complaining that NASA spent $120 Million to finish a rocket test stand that a couple of years earlier they could have spent $60 million on.
 

UglyCasanova

Lifer
Mar 25, 2001
19,323
1,355
126
Well the shuttle needed to go. However Congress is vastly increasing costs for NASA by mandating that billions of funding go into a rocket like the Space Launch System when it doesn't have a clear mission and isn't needed. Also Congress should be putting more money into the Commercial Crew Development of systems. The original date for first launch has slipped to 2017 now when it was originally 2015. Well Congress keeps cutting the funding back. So instead of blaming Obama you need to cast your blame also on Congress.
Get rid of the money pit ISS and use those resources to do things with much greater bang for the buck. I'm all for NASA and giving them whatever funding they need (much bigger return than useless wars or government handouts), but the ISS seems to be just as political as it is scientific. It's a tremendous accomplishment, but I think the money could have been better spent on other systems/space projects. Same with the space shuttle.
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
60,347
12,319
136
The problem is usually with major construction projects it is hard to stop and then come back several years later to finish. The cost probably would have gone up and then people would be complaining that NASA spent $120 Million to finish a rocket test stand that a couple of years earlier they could have spent $60 million on.
Projects also exist on a schedule, with planned deliveries of various bits. Those orders may have been placed well in advance, with non-returnables already in the pipeline.

It's not like people in Mississippi don't need the jobs, either.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,465
4,202
126
Whether or not the contract should've been started, only a Damn McFool would abandon a project 83.4% complete.
Yeah, paying 90% of the cost and getting nothing because you don't want to pay the remaining 10%, that's what GOP governors are doing on Medicaid expansion :) Must be Damn McFools :D
 
Nov 25, 2013
32,101
11,715
136
Whether or not the contract should've been started, only a Damn McFool would abandon a project 83.4% complete.
So you think that they should spend money to finish building a facility that was being built to test an engine that was cancelled 3 years ago? Really?
 

cuafpr

Member
Nov 5, 2009
179
1
76
Dont know the details but in some of these cases the contracts are such that had we not completed it, the gov't would still have to pay the same amount to the contractor.... If there was no clause to get out of the contract the gov't screwed itself again....
 

Brovane

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2001
3,960
33
91
So you think that they should spend money to finish building a facility that was being built to test an engine that was cancelled 3 years ago? Really?
That is the thing the engine wasn't canceled. The engine it was originally supposed to test was the J-2X and this engine will still be used on the Space Launch System. The original rocket was canceled but the engine never was. Any rocket going BEO is going to need a Earth Depature Stage and that engine for the SLS is the J-2X. Also the same facility can be used for anyone wanting to test a engine in near vacuum conditions. I think the reporter has some bad information.
 

Brovane

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2001
3,960
33
91
Get rid of the money pit ISS and use those resources to do things with much greater bang for the buck. I'm all for NASA and giving them whatever funding they need (much bigger return than useless wars or government handouts), but the ISS seems to be just as political as it is scientific. It's a tremendous accomplishment, but I think the money could have been better spent on other systems/space projects. Same with the space shuttle.
Getting rid of the ISS would not be easy. We have a tremendous amount of money in sunk costs already in the space station. However NASA is trying to minimize support costs with the Commercial Re-Supply contracts and now the Commercial Crew Development that Congress keeps taking money from. Looking back it probably the money could have been better spent. However the problem is that Congress doesn't want NASA to spend money wisely they want NASA to spend money in ways that maximizes jobs in their congressional districts. Not necessarily what is best. The Space Launch System is a prime example of that.
 

Pray To Jesus

Diamond Member
Mar 14, 2011
3,642
0
0
From the article:

The tower was designed to test a GenCorp Inc. (GY) engine for a rocket program canceled in 2010.

The A-3 tower is a relic of President George W. Bush’s Constellation program.

Its funding survived thanks to Mississippi Republican senators led by Roger Wicker. Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, then the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, also pushed NASA to complete the test stand.

The agency also plans to maintain it, which will run about $840,000 annually, according to Karen Northon, a NASA spokeswoman.
=======================================================

It all goes back to Bush and the Republicans (especially the ones in the south) of why this Country has gone down the shitter.
How dare the Republicans support NASA.
 

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