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jflis

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I bumped into this news article from ROL (see: https://www.rocketryonline.com/Search/db_search.cgi?setup_file=News&submit_search=yes&db_id=1076 )

about how Kettering University terminates rocket club. They sited the higher cost of meeting the ATFE licensing and associated liability issues for the university.

Where would we be today if Robert Goddard had to deal with all of this mess?

It just confuses the beegebers out of me when I read an article like that and then bump into an article about how the National Science Foundation (or whatever they're called) is concerned because we aren't producing enough scientists in our colleges and universities...

go figure.
 

rbeckey

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I have been thinking about this for a while. I find myself saddened by our present course. It seems that we have peaked, and the long slide into night is ahead for my sons to witness. The moon landing was more than thirty years ago. The orbiters are falling apart and cannot be replaced for decades, if ever. The Mars mission gets pushed back decades at a time. The Concord is scrap. Science and technology are demonized and marginalized. Creeping socialism has stolen our forward momentum, and jealous dogs snap at us from every side. Our money flows to nations who aim to bury us, but are smart enough not to say it out loud. Allies who owe us their very existence spit at our feet.
I get to work with the scum of the earth on a regular basis, and I am here to tell you they outnumber us. God help my boys.

:(
I guess I need to get some sleep. Maybe things will look better in the morning.
 

flying_silverad

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Originally posted by rbeckey
I have been thinking about this for a while. I find myself saddened by our present course. It seems that we have peaked, and the long slide into night is ahead for my sons to witness. The moon landing was more than thirty years ago. The orbiters are falling apart and cannot be replaced for decades, if ever. The Mars mission gets pushed back decades at a time. The Concord is scrap. Science and technology are demonized and marginalized. Creeping socialism has stolen our forward momentum, and jealous dogs snap at us from every side. Our money flows to nations who aim to bury us, but are smart enough not to say it out loud. Allies who owe us their very existence spit at our feet.
I get to work with the scum of the earth on a regular basis, and I am here to tell you they outnumber us. God help my boys.

:(
I guess I need to get some sleep. Maybe things will look better in the morning.

WELL SAID!
 

powderburner

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I don't disagree, I think all the comments above are well put.

That having been said, I think this is still the greatest country on Earth (and that's with a small apology to the TRF Brits, but you could still be our 51st state). Whatever the conditions are, I don't think you will find anyplace better.
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by rbeckey
I have been thinking about this for a while. I find myself saddened by our present course. It seems that we have peaked, and the long slide into night is ahead for my sons to witness. The moon landing was more than thirty years ago. The orbiters are falling apart and cannot be replaced for decades, if ever. The Mars mission gets pushed back decades at a time. The Concord is scrap. Science and technology are demonized and marginalized. Creeping socialism has stolen our forward momentum, and jealous dogs snap at us from every side. Our money flows to nations who aim to bury us, but are smart enough not to say it out loud. Allies who owe us their very existence spit at our feet.
I get to work with the scum of the earth on a regular basis, and I am here to tell you they outnumber us. God help my boys.

:(
I guess I need to get some sleep. Maybe things will look better in the morning.
Wow, this needs to be published in an editorial somewhere. It slants on a political theme, but I all I feel are emotions running deep. Good stuff Sir. Well said.

Jim, just as we are all on a crusade to get rocketry back in the classroom, I fear that the government will pull them out. Heck, they're already pulling education out of the classroom.
 

illini

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I gotta take exception with the perennial cries from NSF and/or other organizations whining about the lack of scientists and engineers. In my opinion, this is a myth and always has been. It is unfortunate, but we have in this country a significant number of scientists and engineers who are either a) not employed in the practice of science or engineering, or b) employed in a technical endeavor that doesn't fully use their skills. Yes, there are many happily and gainfully employed engineers. Many good examples of that are in this forum. But I'd wager that every scientist or engineer you know can tick off several examples of former classmates or colleagues that are no longer scientists or engineers. Some leave because they decide its not for them or there's a better opportunity. Many have no choice.

A few examples I know:

1) Roommate from sophomore year - Ph.D. in physics. Spent years as a postdoc at various particle accelerators around the world. Last I checked, he was employed in the telemarketing industry.

2) Several other Ph.D. physicists I've worked with who would rather be splitting atoms but could not find employment in their area of expertise. Many of these are now code whackers. Others are doing useful technical things, but not splitting atoms.

3) Roommate from senior year - M.S. in aerospace engineering. Spent a few years with a defense contractor. Last I heard, he was an assistant band director for a small college.

Bottom line is that I don't buy the notion that we have a shortage of scientists and engineers. I've never seen a technical job opening that didn't receive a substantial number of resumes.
 

astronboy

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My Father was a mehanical engineer, and I knew many other engineers personally from the 1960s through the 1990's. The root 'problem' of the 'lack' of engineers is the same as it is for the 'shortage' of nurses.

No one wants to pay these people what the are worth.

If you cannot make as much money in 'skull sweating' fields as engineering as in, say, business, then you will nor have anyone going to school for engineering.

Additionally, I personally know a number of high quality engineers who are in the 45-55 range, but are unemployed because a newly minted college grad will accept 1/4 of the salary that the experienced engineers last earned.
 

Stymye

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shortly after 9/11 I was layed off from a job I spent 16 yrs working 60 hrs a week average

my dept alone went from 180 employees to 35

I was forced to make a decision
I chose to strike out on my own

I'ts been a long hard road ,but things are picking up now

most of the people I worked with were not so lucky,
many lost their homes, and most are working for much less today
downsizing and bare minimum are the way businesses operate today.there are plenty of seasoned mech engineers out there today looking for a job,

but as I mentioned ,things appear to be on the upswing
 

jflis

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Originally posted by astronboy

Additionally, I personally know a number of high quality engineers who are in the 45-55 range, but are unemployed because a newly minted college grad will accept 1/4 of the salary that the experienced engineers last earned.
ah'yup, that'd include me... :p
 

daveyfire

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One of my best friends GOES to Kettering and was part of their rocket club... and I'm wondering what's gonna happen to him ,and to me, and the rest of us engineer-types of the next generation.

When I go on to college, I plan to study engineering. But when I get out of college, will there even be a market left for my kind? Will I be forced into the same jobs as the rest of my generation will be because of a lack of engineering work? I find it difficult to accept that fact, because chemistry and aerospace are my true passions. I slog through tons of schoolwork today to get to what I really love to do -- design and build rocket systems. I get complete satisfaction out of building rockets and motors, and I enjoy the classes that help me in that direction. But on Monday morning, I can't find myself motivated to get up and go to school because I am sitting through a lot of classes I don't enjoy, either because of boring teachers or boring subject material (IMHO). Yes, these classes will help me later in life should I get a job other than engineering. No, I will not be happy if I get a job doing other than what I love to do.

Rocketry has kept me out of trouble -- I have never been tempted to do any drugs, commit any crimes, or do any of that other bad stuff that many kids my age succumb to. I think it's because I am able to vent my creative and constructive energies through this hobby, and I have a respite from the daily drill-n-kill of school life. I come home from school at 6:00 at night, do 3 hours of homework, and then work on rockets for an hour to get rid of the stress of the day. I just went through a traumatic experience with a couple of my friends turning out to be people different from whom I thought they were. And my school career seems to be going downhill as well. If the ATFE and the rest of those four-letter agencies take away rocketry, my last respite, I don't know what I would do... :(


Wow, that was melodramatic. But at least you guys know how I feel, as a member of the up-and-coming generation of scientists. Maybe I should take this heartfelt plea to congress? Or would they just brush me aside because I'm not of voting age? (Look out in two years though ;)). How can I help save my hobby? Because it's not just a hobby to me...
 

cls

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Daveyfire -

I now have one foot firmly in the "over 0x28" camp (computer joke) so I can comment on ageism in software engineering. I haven't been working for 2 years, by choice. recently I started seriously looking for a job and I have to say it's **** near impossible to get a position. every software engineer posting gets hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes. many "engineering" jobs have moved "offshore" to places like India and China. that trend is expected to continue, US Dep't of Labor expects something like 6.5 million engineering jobs will be irretrievably lost over the next several years.


look at your prospects as a chemist: you really can't do anything with a Bachelor's so you gotta get your Master's degree ... just to do lab work!! if you want to do anything interesting you need to get a PhD. and now guess what, you are over qualified and can't get hired anywhere!!! I think typical aerospace degrees work that way too.


but don't let my dismal career advice stop you: follow your dream! you are the only one who can do it so get out and make it happen.


but, take time to stop and smell the roses. I know you have lots of interesting things at home and you have to go to some classes that are apparently useless and boring. guess what, the business world is like that too. use this opportunity to develop a positive attitude, to try to get the best out of every situation. try to develop an "I can just grind it out" ability - you will have plenty of grunt work in your career and you will go places if you know how to just grind it out.


you might find some surprises along the way. I remember being forced to take some breadth requirements in college. I didn't want to but you know what, those classes really did broaden my world, make it richer, deeper. classes like "History of Italian Renaissance", "Film As Literature", "Enology" (that's wine tasting!!), "Game Theory" (mathematical - great stuff!)... you get the idea.


last, it's OK to have several careers. soon I will be on my 4th. it's hard but try to know when to change careers.
 

daveyfire

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LOL and a bad computer joke at that... ;)

Yup... I enjoy several of my classes, including AP Chemistry (well, duh), English III (kinda makes sense), and AP Latin (whaaaaaa?!).

That's exactly why I'm afraid to pursue my dream of getting a doctorate and going on to found a private aerospace company building sounding rockets for small contractors... so I've been broadening my horizons lately with drama, language, music, and literature. It's a fun journey, and I haven't given up complete hope on anything yet...

...however, it is extremely disappointing to be living in a situation where I can't pursue my dream because of government overreaction and overregulation! I suspect most rocketeers out there will definitely commiserate with me on that one!


:kill: ATFE
 

n3tjm

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I feel the sting man... from the ATF, and how hard it is to find a job... I have one lead right now... I need to study some A.S.P., and there are a couple complications, like I would have to move (no money), and the company does not officially have the position , so they are not sure how much they are going to pay. So, even if I decide this job is something I want to do... the amount they pay is an important factor.... if they pay 1000 a month, and rent costs 1000 a month, where does that get me?
 

arthur dent

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Originally posted by powderburner
I don't disagree, I think all the comments above are well put.

That having been said, I think this is still the greatest country on Earth (and that's with a small apology to the TRF Brits, but you could still be our 51st state). Whatever the conditions are, I don't think you will find anyplace better.
yehaa...Bring on the doller,i'd move to america right now.You guys may think you have problems but the beauty of america is that you overcome your difficulties.You have a very dynamic attitude,you have achieved more than any other country and you will lead the world into the stars:)
 

Chilly

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Daveyfire -
Don't get discouraged by the "non-essential" coursework. My college required everyone (engineers included) to take several courses outside their major. Everybody complained about it, but by senior year it started to all come together. And it definitely doesn't change in the business world.
Airlines & aerospace are extremely cyclical businesses anyway, but man we got rocked hard on 9/11. I was fortunate to be working for one of the few companies solid enough to avoid mass layoffs, but I'd been laid off three times over the previous 8 years.
Your advantage is in having more time ahead of you than behind. Pay close attention to the entire breadth of the aerospace industry and keep yourself well-rounded. The airlines and their suppliers may be turning the corner but that's just one piece. Look at the substantive changes NASA may finally be going through. Look at how the FAA & DOT have cleared up most of the regulatory hurdles, so the up-and-coming suborbital tourism industry can succeed. And it's going to happen.

Consider your own desire to found a sounding-rocket company - if XCor, Burt Rutan, Canadian Arrow, Blue Origin, et al are successful, your targeted market may dry up quickly. They'll just buy payload space on a Xerus instead of a disposable rocket. But XCor may be booming. That's just one example. Hate to resort to a cliche, but keep your eyes on the horizon and your nose to the grindstone. There could be a whole new launch industry in ten years and they'll be looking for guys like you.
 

illini

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Daveyfire,

You remind me of me 20+ years ago. I majored in aerospace engineering in college (starting in '82), and eventually went on to an M.S. and Ph.D. Unfortunately, 1991 was a terrible time to be finishing any engineering degree. The cold war was ending and the defense industry was laying off in droves. For every available aerospce position, there were 100 candidates ready to fill it. I did better than most of my colleagues coming straight out of school. I actually got a job while many of my friends lingered in postdocs or worse. I left the aerospace industry for good after a few years of dismal work in the solid rocket motor industry. Sound bad? Yes, in a way, because I didn't get to do what I really wanted to do. On the other hand, I gave it my best shot so I have no regrets. And, because of the strength of my technical training, I've had no lack of other non-aerospace opportunities and have had more than my share of work that I've genuinely enjoyed.

While I'd caution you about pursuing aerospace engineering, I'd also say don't deny yourself a shot at your dreams. The only other word of advice I'd offer is to make sure you take a broad range of courses in college. Don't overfocus in one discipline. Use your technical electives as opportunities to diversify. If you major in aero, take classes in computer science, electrical engineering, or physics. If aero falls through for you like it did for me, these "peripheral" classes may prove to be the ones most useful to you in the long run.
 

Chilly

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If I could also add: take as many business & management classes as you can stand. Be discriminating, because there's a lot of "flavor of the week" Bravo Sierra out there. I'm not an engineer, I'm an operations guy. But I can say that in my little corner of the aerospace world there are not enough people with sound business & leadership skills. That stuff cannot be overrated. At the very least, it'll help you recognize a sinking ship before you sign on to one.
 

illini

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Originally posted by Chilly
If I could also add: take as many business & management classes as you can stand.
I agree! To be a successful engineer requires business savvy as well as technical smarts. Further, a successful engineer also must be able to communicate, both orally and in writing. You may have the world's greatest ideas, but to market them successfully requires the ability to understand your customer's requirements and to communicate your ideas and achievements. That's far more than half the battle. So guess what? A *lot* of those classes that may seem irrelevant now are going to be a BIG part of your life as an engineer. :eek: There will always be a place for a technically competent engineer. But a technically competent engineer who can also understand the business and communicate with customers will have more than a place. That engineer will be in demand.
 

daveyfire

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Yup... and that's why I'm diversifying my course portfolio (stock broker anyone? :p ), and why English is one of my favorite classes. It's also why I pay attention in English... usually... when the conversation is interesting... :D

Thanks for the encouragement guys. I'll definitely keep at it in the way that I have, even though learning about the Aaron Burr conspiracy for the 100th time and being behind on an AP schedule is quite boring and frustrating at the same time (yup, AP US History... :rolleyes: )

And what frustrates me most is not that I may not get the job I want, it's that our aerospace and engineering jobs just seem to be going down the drain. I refuse to believe that the golden age of aviation and space flight is behind us -- yet with how things are progressing today, I'm afraid this might be true. And then what are we left with?
 

illini

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Originally posted by daveyfire
And what frustrates me most is not that I may not get the job I want, it's that our aerospace and engineering jobs just seem to be going down the drain. I refuse to believe that the golden age of aviation and space flight is behind us -- yet with how things are progressing today, I'm afraid this might be true. And then what are we left with?
You're waaaay too young to be frustrated. Save that for when you're my age! :) My problem is that I was born 20 years too late and, quite possibly, another 20 years too early. There are a number of positive signs that things *might* be turning around in the aerospace world. It will never be the '60's again. But there a number of positive indicators: 1) Space tourism is looking feasible stimulated, in part, by the X prize, 2) Columbia's failure and China's success seem to have stimulated Congress and the White House to at least talk about the future of space, 3) NASA is starting to make real moves toward change. A decade long hiring freeze is possibly about to be reversed by significant hiring. Still a long way to go, but there may be cause for hope and it will be people *your* age who will be blazing the trail.

Yes, its true that you probably won't get the job you want today. There are two good reasons for that: 1) your desires are going to change over the next 10 years, and 2) the direction of technology is constantly shifting and what's in demand today may not be in demand tomorrow. Be flexible and be ready to adapt. Any science or engineering job where you're not continuously learning and doing new things is a job to avoid. This is stagnation and a sure path to obsolescence. This is why I left aerospace back in '94. [just realized that this last paragraph is probably best read with a Yoda-like voice in mind. Go back and try it!]
 

rocwizard

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Originally posted by daveyfire
One of my best friends GOES to Kettering and was part of their rocket club... and I'm wondering what's gonna happen to him ,and to me, and the rest of us engineer-types of the next generation.

When I go on to college, I plan to study engineering. But when I get out of college, will there even be a market left for my kind? Will I be forced into the same jobs as the rest of my generation will be because of a lack of engineering work? I find it difficult to accept that fact, because chemistry and aerospace are my true passions. I slog through tons of schoolwork today to get to what I really love to do -- design and build rocket systems. I get complete satisfaction out of building rockets and motors, and I enjoy the classes that help me in that direction. But on Monday morning, I can't find myself motivated to get up and go to school because I am sitting through a lot of classes I don't enjoy, either because of boring teachers or boring subject material (IMHO). Yes, these classes will help me later in life should I get a job other than engineering. No, I will not be happy if I get a job doing other than what I love to do.

Rocketry has kept me out of trouble -- I have never been tempted to do any drugs, commit any crimes, or do any of that other bad stuff that many kids my age succumb to. I think it's because I am able to vent my creative and constructive energies through this hobby, and I have a respite from the daily drill-n-kill of school life. I come home from school at 6:00 at night, do 3 hours of homework, and then work on rockets for an hour to get rid of the stress of the day. I just went through a traumatic experience with a couple of my friends turning out to be people different from whom I thought they were. And my school career seems to be going downhill as well. If the ATFE and the rest of those four-letter agencies take away rocketry, my last respite, I don't know what I would do... :(


Wow, that was melodramatic. But at least you guys know how I feel, as a member of the up-and-coming generation of scientists. Maybe I should take this heartfelt plea to congress? Or would they just brush me aside because I'm not of voting age? (Look out in two years though ;)). How can I help save my hobby? Because it's not just a hobby to me...

I find myself in the same boat as David is. As long as I can remember I have been into science and mathematics. I cant tell you the number of science books I have on my shelf. But the aerospace field has always been my biggest point of interest, even before I knew about rocketry (as far as the hobby, i mean) But i'll tell ya, when I got into rocketry, i wanted nothing more than to be a part of putting rockets into space. I have watched Apollo 13 countless times, and i still love it. I love to see all the scenes showing all the NASA guys at mission control doing every thing in their power to bring our astronauts back alive. One of the lines that oarticularly is interesting for hoeful future engineers like myself and David, is: "you gotta come up with a way to make this, fit into the hole for this, using nothin' but that."

Anyways, I hope that there will still be a somewhat thriving aerospace industry left by the time colledge is over, if not, what a waste of so many's dreams and aspirations.

So not to be repetitive, butschool is pretty much the same way for myself. I enjoy school, but sometimes you know, you just want to scream from the frustration. As far as the future goes, i will continue to work towards my goal, but as you all have said, keep my horizons broad and look at other opportunities as a backup. For now, I just want to keep learning, enjoying life, and flying rockets rockets!:cool:
 

daveyfire

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Originally posted by illini868891
Yes, its true that you probably won't get the job you want today. There are two good reasons for that: 1) your desires are going to change over the next 10 years, and 2) the direction of technology is constantly shifting and what's in demand today may not be in demand tomorrow. Be flexible and be ready to adapt. Any science or engineering job where you're not continuously learning and doing new things is a job to avoid. This is stagnation and a sure path to obsolescence. This is why I left aerospace back in '94. [just realized that this last paragraph is probably best read with a Yoda-like voice in mind. Go back and try it!]
So that should be "True it is that probably the job you want you won't get today. Two good reasons there are for that..." ;)?

That's kinda the feeling I'm getting. I just hope this revival of NASA doesn't get bogged down in bureaucracy, as it has been for the past 20 years! Look at the development timeline:

1950s: Ballistic Missiles
1960s: Manned Rockets
Late 60s - early 70s: Men go to the moon
Mid-70s: Space shuttle is designed
Early 80s: Space shuttle is put into operation

...and now what? 20 years have gone by since the last major development... and in 20 years, with slide rules and vacuum tubes, we sent men to the moon! Imagine where we would be, with today's technology, if only we applied ourselves now as well as they did back then...

Thanks for listening and replying, everyone. It feels good to vent!
 

illini

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Originally posted by daveyfire
...and now what? 20 years have gone by since the last major development... and in 20 years, with slide rules and vacuum tubes, we sent men to the moon! Imagine where we would be, with today's technology, if only we applied ourselves now as well as they did back then...
...and this is precisely the source of my personal frustration. What could have been if *my* generation of engineers had been turned loose on the problem of space?

In spite of that, you and Eric *must* press on. If/when the time comes to invigorate the space program, your interests and your sport rocketry backgrounds will make you worth 100 other engineers. Still...keep your eyes open and your backgrounds diverse.
 

illini

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Here's the latest word, guys: https://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=902

Summary:

The goal will be to dominate cislunar space.

Lunar landings are likely to be part of this.

This will be done in cooperation with the military.

NASA's budget is going up, but increases are capped at 7% a year.

The approach will be to make maximum use of commercial boosters. No new Saturn style boosters.

There will be a new "flexible" manned craft, probably some variant of OSP.

A manned lunar base may or may not happen.
 

rstaff3

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Mixed feelings about the military tie. I guess this may add funding which will make this possible. But then it may add weird requirements which will hamper the project once politics change and the military drops out. Everyone who want in on this better dust off their clearances. (my opinions onlu of course)
 

illini

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Originally posted by rstaff3
Mixed feelings about the military tie.

Agree about the mixed feelings on military involvement. Certainly adds money and capability, but also will add to requirements creep. I suspect the motivation behind this is that the military has a lot of credibility with the White House and NASA doesn't. A dose of military discipline just might help NASA get its house in order. But it would surely be a shotgun wedding.
 

rstaff3

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Based on your earlier post (maybe in another thread), you are most likely right about the credibility issue. Of course, military involvement is not a guarantee of perfect project management. Also, in my experience when NASA and DoD work on the same project you quickly get an us-vs-them mentality. {rest of rant deleterd :D}
 

Chilly

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What's funny is a story in the Orlando Sentinel today that says the exact opposite. Personally I think they got snookered. Spaceref is certainly the more credible source.

Military involvement may not be too bad of a thing. They have been ramping up their own space capabilities and are serious about routine access. So long as they create their own vehicles and don't try to take over OSP then it's more ideas in development. Besides, if we're to become a truly spacefaring nation we will need our military to be able to protect our interests wherever we go.

What I took from spaceref.com is that OSP will be designed to be flexible and expandable for integrating into larger manned spacecraft. Boeing's concept looks like an Apollo CM with some kind of cargo module docked to it. And Lockmart's concept is just a cone with tiny little wings...different, but still a kind of capsule. My guess it would have better cross-range than an Apollo-type, and have more alternatives for landing areas. If that's the case my money's on Lockheed. Too bad, since I work for the other guys...
 

illini

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I've seen the NASA culture and, for the last 10 years, I've worked in the military culture. For the most part, I've had few issues of integrity with the military people I've worked with. Large programs tend to be run very purposefully and decision making is usually decisive, though not always correct (in my opinion). At the very least, I would characterize military programs as continuously trying to drive capability forward.

What I saw with NASA and its programs is a culture marked by stagnation. They know they're not moving forward, so they hunker down and take a protectionist approach. Nobody can question any aspect of their programs for fear it will take away from the program. This is where integrity starts to be sacrificed. Engineers who know better start to lie and put on a happy face in order to protect the program.

[voice of Warden from "Cool Hand Luke"]: What we have here is a case of two cultures that cannot peacefully coexist.
 

illini

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I think the Orlando Sentinel is looking for another white elephant program and is simply denouncing anything else. They want to see Saturn style boosters and Mars voyages which would build up Kennedy Space Center, add jobs to Florida, etc. They're probably looking at the same info as Spaceref but its not falling into their definition of "a good space program."

Another article that seems to bolster the Bush approach is an op-ed piece by Dana Rohrabacher in the Washington Times: https://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20031130-111249-5210r.htm

Basic theme is the same: use commercial launch services as much as possible and set your vision on developing cislunar space.
 
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