Saturday, December 16, 2006

Arrogance of the Underdog (Chihuahuas Yap Loudly)

Space Cynics

Little dogs bark a lot. The Space Frontier Foundation’s recent white paper does too. The document has some interesting arguments and ideas that merit consideration, but those positive aspects are lost in arrogance.

Unfortunately, the idea that NASA should give significant public funds to unproven launch alt.spacers with no track records is the height of ignorant arrogance. It would be a totally irresponsible violation of the public trust to disburse public funds in that manner.

It is actually amusing to see these independent hairy-chested capitalists jostling to swill at the public trough.

A more constructive approach for the launch alt.spacers would be to start small, get their own capital, and grow like most start-ups as they develop track records. Rather than appear like a coalition of COTS losers trying to get a second chance, the groups that were eliminated should prove themselves with deeds rather than rhetoric.

SFF advocates having NASA leave relatively near term LEO access to the launch community. How? Who? What companies have demonstrated their ability to gain reliable and inexpensive LEO access? Who is currently bending metal for future LEO access? What are their track records? How does NASA taking money from Boeing or LockMart and giving it to the launch start-ups differ from the status quo other than by switching recipients?

Advocacy organizations like SFF could approach NASA management and offer to work with them to develop and improve a coherent national space policy rather than nipping at their heels like a berserk Chihuahua. Besides, they are nipping at the wrong set of heels. NASA is only part of the problem. Congress has been and continues to be the major part of the problem with their propensity to micromanage and politicize the entire national budget.