Obama 'deep space' Mars plans in Boeing booster bitchslap
Megacorp sees Elon Musk/prez chumship threat?
Brobdingnagian US aerospace firm Boeing has more or less openly condemned the revised Obama plan for the US space programme, under which no decision on a heavy-lift rocket will be taken until 2015. The space megacorp seems worried at the close relationship between the President and upstart startup rocket firm SpaceX.
I'm telling you, Mr President, those Boeing guys'll skin ya
Boeing is a major established player in US space exploration, and was heavily involved in the now largely-cancelled "Constellation" programme. Constellation would have replaced the retiring space shuttle fleet with an Orion space capsule and Ares I person-lifter plus Ares V heavy-lift rockets. There would also have been new "Altair" lunar landers.
Last week President Obama's revised plan for manned space exploration - outlined in a speech made at Cape Canaveral - confirmed that Ares I and V remain dead, and that the Orion capsule will be used in the immediate future only as a lifeboat for the International Space Station, being sent up unmanned on an existing rocket.
The President also confirmed that there will be no return to the Moon, which not only renders the hotly-debated question of lunar ice mining irrelevant but kills the Altair landers too.
"I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before," said Obama.
Boeing should try and compete on merit with the smaller companies and develop a commercially viable lifter that they can then sell/run for NASA.
But it seems they actually just want to suckle on the Goverment teat and have no interest in furthering Space exploration. Bunch of whining pussies.
Letting in the small guys to build lift vehicles is better for the US government in the long run. It may slow down the NASA's jaunt to Mars in the short term, but governments are useless (by and large) at running any sort of project like this without hemorrhaging large amounts of cash and time. Commercial companies can do it better as they can't afford to do this.
By letting the small guys in and to catch up to Boeing, Obama is being very shrewd. In 20 years time he's counting on there being a thriving commercial market place for lift vehicles and all the benefits of driving down costs that that brings. This is opposed to the government backed near-monopoly that Boeing have enjoyed so far where they can more or less dictate the price and know that if they don't deliver on time the best that the administration could do was cancel the project or fine them - both of which would have been factored in to the original cost estimate. I know this: been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Ever wondered why government projects always seem to cost so much more than anything done in private industry?
Plus, what's the betting the top dogs at Boeing are all friends of the former Bush administration? If I was Obama I'd be looking to reallocate as much money away from such big businesses as possible, just because I would never be sure how much of that business was won on merit or favour.
Any commercial company only makes these types of statements when something is affecting their bottom line. If Boeing was too cuddly, lazy and expensive in the past then this is just the reaction that they will have towards more competition.
Anyway, one small piece of the military-industrial complex just got vaporized, lets have a round!