May 27, 2011

Coalition Director's Radio Interviews on the Future of the Space Program

Coalition Director Art Harman was interviewed on the radio on the occassion of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's go to the moon speech regarding the future of human space exploration.

WBZ News Radio in Boston ran an interview on May 25

Listen to Art Harman's May 25th interview on the nationwide John Batchelor Show

CBS Radio Interview on Tampa Bay Stations:

May 25, 2011

New Space Program Essential to Resolve Crisis on the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Moon Speech

The Coalition To Save Manned Space Exploration
Contact: Art Harman
New Space Program Essential to Resolve Crisis on the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Moon Speech
The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration called today for NASA to launch a new space program following the legacy of JFK.
May 25 is the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's challenge to go to the Moon “in this decade." Yet on this historic anniversary our nation’s space program is in crisis and faces a future only of spending great sums of money on missions which will never launch. The space shuttles are being retired prematurely and without replacement, and the Constellation rockets to take us to the Moon, Mars and beyond were cancelled.
In an announcement by Art Harman, Director of the Coalition, he stated; “A bold and vibrant space program is essential to rebuilding America’s economy, restoring our lead in high technology and investments, and in creating—not losing—highly skilled jobs. This must become a national priority; today we are retreating; surrendering the field to other nations eager to reap the rewards from Lunar and Mars missions. It is time to return to the ‘can-do’ spirit by which President Kennedy launched America to not just the Moon, but to economic prosperity, national pride and world respect.”
“Let us again set JFK’s challenge to go “in this decade” to the Moon and to an asteroid, and with experience gained, launch a human Mars mission by or about 2025. I urge the President and Congress to launch a bold new space program to achieve these goals,” Harman continued.
“In building anew a space program worthy of JFK’s legacy, there are three essential elements it must have to succeed:
  1. It must be bold and exciting to capture the imagination and support of Americans.  
  2. It must have a specific timetable, just as did JFK’s historic challenge.
  3. It must offer near-term exciting and valuable "payoffs"—that is, space missions to lift the hearts of Americans. Nobody will put up with billions in expenses for a mission they may not live to see or which may never happen. Students will not choose engineering for a career which will not exist for a decade.”
Harman described a general outline and timeline for a JFK-like space program--what we could do if we just decided to do follow in JFK's footsteps:
  • “Build a true heavy lift rocket for delivery by 2016-2017. This must be of sufficient payload capacity for actual human Lunar and Martian missions. 
  • Set the goal to return to the Moon by 2017.  
  • Establish a continuously occupied base on the Moon by perhaps 2018 in order to develop and test habitats and technologies for a Mars mission; this is where we will learn how to live on Mars, yet is three days to home if needed.
  • Go to an asteroid "in this decade" to gain more deep space experience. 
  • Set a target to launch a manned Mars mission by 2025 or as soon as safe and technically feasible. 
  • Begin immediately to develop advanced propulsion system to make Mars merely weeks away, such as Ad Astra's VASIMR or other nuclear and ion type propulsion systems.”
Harman read a quote from JFK’s historic speech: “...The facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.” (JFK quote from his speech to Congress on May 25, 1961)

Harman then commented that “JFK’s words today ring true as to what’s wrong in our space program today—and he offers us the solution to fix it. It is time to repeat JFK’s recipe for success and specify our “long-range goals on an urgent time schedule,” that is, to return to the Moon and go to an asteroid "in this decade" and to go to Mars as soon beyond as is safe and practical; and to “manage our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.”

Mr. Art Harman is the Director of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration, and is available for interviews or commentary. He has worked in the public policy arena for three decades in the Nation's Capital, and is a powerful advocate for launching a bold, JFK-like space program. The goal of the Coalition is to help rebuild public interest in the space program to result in greater support by Congress and the Administration.

50th Anniversary of JFK's Challenge: Go to the Moon "In This Decade!"

JFK & Wernher von Braun at
Cape Canaveral, 1963
50 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy challenged our great nation to do the impossible. Not only to go to the Moon, but to do it "in this decade." This was not mere rhetoric, he meant it! And as the world stood still, Neil Armstrong spoke the immortal words, "that's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind" just eight years later. As a nation united in a great cause, we did the impossible! His footprints on the Moon will attest to American ingenuity forever.

Yet America's space program on this anniversary is in complete chaos. The shuttles are being prematurely retired without a replacement--and leaving the US subject to pressure or blackmail by the Russians on foreign policy and other matters to keep launching our crew.

Replacing a "tractor trailer" which comes to ISS with a repair and servicing crew as well as replacement ISS crew with a small "sedan" carrying only ISS crew or small cargos is not a "replacement;" it is a giant leap backwards. The fault partly lies in past decades when plans for the National Aerospace Plane--which would have been a true replacement, or even a next-generation but similar shuttle--were cancelled; and partly with the Bush and Obama administrations for retiring the shuttles before any US launch vehicle was ready; and additionally with underfunding and delays in building replacements.

Unknown to many is that each orbiter was designed for 100 launches, and none flew more than 39 times. The problems which caused the catastrophes with Challenger and Columbia were corrected, and they could have flown until US crew launch rockets were ready. Interestingly, a stopgap solution was rejected by NASA; United Space Alliance had proposed taking over two of the shuttles and flying for five years at less than the current costs (and less than the effective costs of Russian launches). Should wiser heads read this; until Endeavour lands and is dissected for museum display, it is still possible to accept the deal.

With the cancellation of Constellation, America has been set back years in the quest to finally have a heavy lift rocket capable of taking Americans back to the Moon and on to Mars.  Without a major change in course, we may never have the Lunar base from which we can learn to live on Mars, much less ever land on Mars. We may instead end up watching as Chinese, Russia and others take the lead and rewards.

Space exploration is expensive--but so was it expensive in 1961; yet it has always been an investment in our future. The payoff in skilled jobs, inventions, national pride and private investments far exceeds the monetary costs. America rocketed to leadership in high technology in part due to the space program launched on this date by JFK.

Going to the Moon in 1961 may have seemed impossible and requiring the invention of unknown materials, computers and equipment. Nobody at the time even knew how the human body would react in weightlessness. Yet we persevered as a nation and succeeded, and as a result today we enjoy so many electronic, medical, energy and other discoveries as a result. Imagine the future, where learning how to travel to and live on Mars and the Moon may yield innovations in cheap, clean energy and environmental control. That's the sort of payoff which would benefit every American and enrich our nation--rather then let other countries develop the same technologies and further drain our national wealth.

In spite of rhetoric, there is no human space exploration program outside of ISS. Vague plans to go to Mars sometime in the 2030's will never succeed--as is the case for all vague plans. Private companies will very soon offer many spectacular things, from cheaper low-earth-orbit launch vehicles, tourist spaceflight and Bigelow's incredible space station modules. Yet Mars and a Lunar research base will elude this nation until we launch a new deep space exploration program.

President Kennedy, on this day in 1961, spelled out both the cause and the solution for today's chaos and collapse in the space program"I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment."

Once JFK set the deadline and the American people rallied to the challenge, we succeeded beyond our wildest imaginations. Today, with no "urgent time schedule" and merely spending money on studies or projects which get cancelled without "managing our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment" we have essentially nothing to show for all the billions spent over the last few decades on all the cancelled next generation shuttles or rockets.

This must change for America to remain a great, prosperous nation; lest we sink further to second-class status in the world, merely watching as other nations seize the opportunities and reap the rewards in national wealth, technology, jobs and pride. That would precipitate a depression from which this nation might never recover.

On this, the 50th anniversary of JFK's challenge to go "in this decade" to the Moon, let us re-launch a bold, new space program which will again lift our spirits, and mankind's future to the stars.
Text of the full speech to Congress

Listen or download the audio:

Please watch the stirring speech which launched our great nation to the stars:

Astronaut Harrison Schmitt Calls for Replacing NASA

Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt on the Moon
One of the last two men on the Moon, Apollo 17 astronaut, geologist and former Senator Harrison Schmitt has announced his recommendation to greatly restructure NASA. In short, his plan would transfer routine functions to other agencies, leave NASA in charge of ISS during its lifespan, and create a new deep space exploration agency, the National Space Exploration Administration (NSEA), exclusively for human space exploration.

This is a brilliant idea which could have the effect of recreating the 'lean, mean fighting machine' which was NASA in the 1960's. Free from bureaucratic burdens, free of managing permanent and routine Earth monitoring and other functions, the new agency could plow through barriers to actually deliver the goods to take Americans to Mars. This is worthy of serious consideration by Congress and the Administration.

Please study the proposal at Dr. Schmitt's website as well as his booklet; Space Policy and the Constitution which "commemorates President Kennedy¹s decisive challenge 50 years to a generation of young Americans and the remarkable success of those young Americans in meeting that challenge."

Media Appearances to promote a New Start to the Space Program

Media appearances promoting a new start to the space porgram will include the John Batchelor show tonight, WBZ News Radio, and CBS News Radio this weekend.

Apollo Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan Blast Administration for Cancelling

Today, three Apollo astronauts blasted President Obama for his decision to cancel the Constellation program to return to the moon and go to Mars. Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan.

“Obama’s advisers, in searching for a new and different NASA strategy with which the president could be favorably identified, ignored NASA’s operational mandate and strayed widely from President Kennedy’s vision."

Astronauts: Obama grounding space program

May 6, 2011

Go Bold or Bust

Any plan to resurrect human space exploration will fail if it has no exact timeline when each step will occur, and if it stretches out over decades. The first danger is easy to understand; vague plans just never get carried out. JFK took us to the Moon because he specified we do it "in this decade." Without that goal, we may never have made it or perhaps given up after the Apollo 1 disaster. But we perservered as a nation and accomplished the impossible!

The second danger; 'decades-to-payoff,' is perhaps an even greater factor. Who will put up with billions in funding for something they may not live to see? The best plan in the world will fail if there's no payoff anywhere in sight to get excited about.

This is why undefined plans to get to Mars perhaps by 2035 are unlikely to attract the support needed to actually happen. The public won't get excited, and funding will be easy pickings for members of Congress who want to use that money for pork projects instead; and with the payoff decades in the future, who would notice?

Further, other nations will take advantage of American surrender of technological leadership, and will go where we won't--taking tech investments and the resulting highly-paid jobs from the US. Indeed, China has announced plans to land on the Moon around 2017-2020, they begin building their space station this year, and will have ready heavy lift rockets by 2014. Why should we effectively abandon human space exploration and let other countries reap all the rewards, investments, jobs and innovations?

Therefore, we encourage the public to support a bold and exciting space program which will excite the public and which will offer continued payoffs to build public--and thus Congressional--support. Here is an example of a bold plan, using as its core Buzz Aldrin's Mars colony plans:

Sample Timeline to Mars, Asteroids and the Moon:
2011  Begin development of ion or nuclear propulsion which would allow far shorter (and safer) voyages to Mars and beyond. This would be used for the first voyages if ready, otherwise use conventional rockets.
2011  Begin design and construction of a heavy lift rocket and lander to be ready no later than 2016. America built the Apollo system in just six years from scratch--with today's technology, existing development work on Constellation and 50 years of experience, it is ridiculous to claim we can't do it in the same or less time as in the 1960's.
2011  Begin development of automated Lunar/Mars water ice processing systems to make fuel, breathing air and drinking water.
2012  Begin using the space station to simulate long term Mars missions.
2014 or 2016  Launch a Mars soil and water return mission - make sure nothing is hazardous to humans, answer questions regarding past or present life, and to learn how better deal with Martian dust.
2016  Get a heavy lift rocket system in operation by this time and/or use "Shuttle-C" or other concepts until heavy lift is ready. As they are completed, spacecraft, landers and habitation modules would be parked at the space station for extensive testing.
2016  Return to the Moon: short trips to scout locations for a permanent base and investigate Lunar water ice for fuel and life support.
2016  Mars launch window for many possible launches.
2017  Begin long-term missions to the Moon to test systems for Mars. Establish a small colony living in similar modules as would be used on Mars. The Moon is the ideal test bed for long-term habitation technologies and physiological studies yet is just days to home in the event of emergencies. Technology which can be later used on Mars will be developed to extract metals, gasses and minerals from Moon rocks as well as to create fuel and breathing air from ice.
2018  Assemble at the space station the first of several interplanetary manned spacecraft, consisting perhaps of Bigelow-style inflatable modules to provide sufficient room for a long voyage, fuel and rocket modules, landers, Mars airplane, and more. Such craft could be tested on trips to the moon and asteroids before going to Mars. Like the shuttle, these would be reusable spaceships.
2018  Use this ideal launch window to send unmanned cargo ships with supplies, habitats, etc. to Mars for testing and for later use by later crewed launches. Robots would set up and operate equipment for long durations.
2018-2021  Possible missions to near-Earth asteroids and/or comets. This would further build experience for long duration spaceflights, while expanding our knowledge of the solar system.
The Next Step...
2020-2022-2025  Possible launch of the first human Mars mission. Astronauts would set up living modules, power systems, equipment to extract minerals and metals, equipment to make and store liquid oxygen & hydrogen for fuel and drinking water from ice, etc.
2025-2027?  Launch of the next Mars permanent colony crew. Each crew would stay at minimum until the next return launch window, with some choosing to stay permanently. Additional supplies, habitation and manufacturing modules would arrive at each 26-month launch window.

Throughout this timeline would be robotic precursor missions to Mars and other destinations, including a Mars soil return mission and establishing several telecommunications satellites around Mars. Starting about 2017 there would be manned missions to the Moon and to a near-Earth asteroid, getting the public excited. Beyond Mars could come human missions to more asteroids and comets, a Venus orbital expedition, as well as voyages to such fascinating outer-planet moons as Titan, Europa and Enceladus.

Outer Planetary
Moon Landings
in the Future
The 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, in 2019, should be commemorated not as a wistful look back at a period when America did great things, but celebrated by astronauts from an asteroid and from the Moon! By this time, America's economy would rock! As the reinvigorated high-tech leader in the world, job growth would be in overdrive as would be tech investments, and spinoff inventions might offer advances in clean, plentiful energy and new ways to clean up the environment. The 60th anniversary in 2029 should find permanent bases on the Moon and Mars, and other exciting voyages in the solar system occurring regularly.

Remember the perspective: the Bear Stearns bailout cost about $30 billion. Just one year in Iraq and Afghanistan costs about $130 billion. Let's show where our priorities should be and launch a bright, exciting future for all Americans--and rebuild our economy as a result. Funding for the space program is always an investment; an investment in leadership in technology and jobs. Perhaps several trips could be made to the Moon and Mars for the cost of just a year in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This plan packs a lot of exciting action into just a few years. Will the public get excited? You bet! Will this help rebuild our economy and attract tech investments? You bet! Will this interest kids in studying science? You bet! Will Congress fund this? Yes, but only if the public demands it. That's you and and everyone together. Please support these goals: demand Congress support this bold plan, and ask your friends to join too. Please also help get your organization to join the Coalition to push this bold vision.  Together we can succeed, sign up today and invite your friends.

Read Buzz Aldrin's interview where he outlines how to establish a Mars colony:

Bold works! Go bold or bust!

May 5, 2011

50th Anniversary of America's First Man in Space!

Let us remember America's first man in space! 50 years today, Alan Shepard made history as America launched a bold space program which would take us to the Moon in under a decade. Alan Shepard would later be the commander of Apollo 14.

With the cancellation of Constellation and plans to return to the moon, as well as the retirement of the space shuttles, let us not end our human exploration of space on this 50th year, but rededicate our great nation to return to the Moon and visit an asteroid in this decade; and land on Mars by 2025 or sooner.

Call your members of Congress 202-224-3121 and the White House in support of a new, bold space program! Blog it! Get the word out on Twitter, Facebook and email!

Read the story of the IBM computers used for the mission and tracking: 

Please enjoy these photos of Alan Shepard's accomplishments both on America's first manned launch and Apollo 14.

NASA commemorated Alan Shepard's historic mission by naming a crater on Mars after him

(Photo credits: NASA)