July 27, 2011

VISIT Your Senators and Representative this Summer Regarding the Space Program

It's August, and members of Congress are spending a lot of time at home and are more available to meet with constituents at their state/district offices, and at Town Hall meetings.

Setting up a meeting with a Representative or Senator or their staff is easier than you might imagine. Call their office at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to their legislative assistant who deals with NASA.

Ask to meet with the member in the district or state office when possible to discuss the importance of the space program as a national priority, that it should be exempted from across-the-board budget cuts and even increased, and discuss how to get manned space back on track.

You can go with a group of fellow space supporters too. Take any supportive information with you to give them. If you end up meeting with a staff member, ask the Rep/Sen to send you a letter after the staffer briefs him on the visit. You will find it easier than you imagine to set up such a meeting, and if you tell the staff that you are willing to meet anytime during August at the member's convenience, that will make it easier to arrange.

Keep the meeting focused on the subject, don't try to cover every issue under the sun or your efforts to get answers and action on the space program will be diluted.

The space program is very popular with the public. Some recent polls which you can print and take with you on visits:
Current debt limit talks indicate many long range spending cuts will be negotiated separately from the debt increase vote, giving us a window in which to get the message across.

During August, there will be many "town hall" meetings too, where you can publicly ask questions. Call their office or check their website or Facebook page for town hall dates. You can video town hall meetings but videoing a one-on-one meeting would likely spoil the desired result.

Try it!  Post the results of your meetings as a comment to this posting, on Facebook, and on space-related websites. Find us at www.Facebook.com/SaveMannedSpace and www.Twitter.com/SaveMannedSpace  

radio talk shows too: One call can alert thousands or even millions, and inspire others to call and visit Congress too. Numbers matter, let's get a FLOOD of Americans pushing Congress to truly support the space program!

Pass the word! Blog it, Facebook it! Email your list! Let's get some action going! You can link to this article, and similar postings are on www.Facebook.com/SaveMannedSpace 

July 25, 2011

Call Congress: Don't Cut Space Exploration, Make it a National Priority

Following how debt limit negotiations are proceeding at this point, decisions on long-term spending cuts will likely be considered separately and later than the debt limit increase.

This gives an opportunity to promote space exploration as a national priority which should not be subject to cuts. Please call your Senators and Representative at 202-224-3121

July 20, 2011

Apollo Astronaut and Former Senator Schmitt on America's Space Program: Past, Present And Future

Harrison Schmitt on the Moon
The 42nd Anniversary of the humankind's first lunar landing by Apollo 11 on July 20, 2011, followed by the return of STS-135 on the next day, concluding the final flight of a United States Space Shuttle, places a capstone on the remarkable accomplishments of the post-Apollo generations of space engineers, builders and operators.

Those of us who were in attendance at the launch of Atlantis on July 8, 2011, felt both pride in this final accomplishment and sadness at another unnecessary, ill-conceived and excessively prolonged break in America's commitment to lead humankind in space. Pad 39A, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the Crawler Transporter stand in the Florida sunshine as still functional but unwanted relics of past glories. Unfortunately, these momentous events also starkly frame the deficiencies in American space policy relative to long-term national interests. This policy began its slow decline in 1968-69 when the Johnson and Nixon Administrations began the process to end procurements of the Saturn V boosters and spacecraft advocated by Eisenhower and Kennedy for the Apollo Moon-landing Program.

The absence of any significant national goals epitomizes current space policy. That policy lacks any coherent strategy to lead humankind in space and promote liberty there and on Earth. Failure of all Administrations and Congresses since Eisenhower and Kennedy to maintain a sustainable, indefinite commitment to human deep  space exploration and settlement has undermined America¹s status in the world and the technological foundations necessary for national security and economic growth. We have reached a point where America and its partners depend on Russia for future access to the International Space Station. More critically, we will be ceding the Moon and deep space to China. This should be an intolerable situation to American taxpayers who paid for most of the Space Station and whose Astronauts blazed the trail for humankind to the Moon.

President George W. Bush provided the Nation with a space policy in 2004 that met critical geopolitical requirements. If it had been properly funded by Congress, Bush's policy would have created a replacement for the Space Shuttle by 2010 and, more importantly, provided for a return to the Moon on the way to Mars. Mr. Bush, however, did not ask Congress for the funds necessary to fully implement his Constellation Program. Constellation nonetheless could have been executed fully when President Barack Obama took office in 2009, although with a several year delay in the availability of the Shuttle replacement spacecraft (Orion).

President Obama, however, soon canceled Constellation, reflecting his personal bias against American exceptionalism and anything identified with Bush. His visions of largely unsupervised private contractors providing astronaut transportation to space and an unproductive visit to an asteroid are just that, unproven "visions" but hardly visionary. In light of increases of trillions of dollars in recent federal government spending, the $3 billion per year cost of implementing a "shovel ready" and "employment ready" Constellation Program appears, relatively, very small.

The enormous geopolitical damage to America¹s world leadership role that its cancellation has brought about will cost us dearly in the future.

Atlantis's final arrival in Earth-orbit was historically comparable to the arrivals of the last covered wagon at Western destinations just before the Union Pacific, Central Pacific, Santa Fe and other railroads reached rapidly expanding local economies in the late 1800s. Unbelievably, and unlike the replacement of covered wagon technology with railroad technology, no American replacement exists for the Space Shuttle. Now that
Obama has made NASA largely irrelevant in America¹s future, the next President and Congress must consider how to reverse this damage to national security and to the future motivation of young Americans.

The next President must seriously consider focusing United States' space goals on deep space exploration. Until the Space Station must be shut down and deorbited, NASA can continue to be responsible for managing related international obligations. A separate and intense focus on deep space, however, could be accomplished by reassignment of most NASA functions to other agencies and the creation of a new National Space Exploration Agency (NSEA) [see http://americasuncommonsense.com/, Essay 46]. This would be a proper tribute to the sacrifices made on behalf of America by the personnel of NASA and its contractors since 1958. A clear commitment to deep space would also restore America¹s geopolitical will to lead humankind into the future.

Harrison H. Schmitt is a former United States Senator from New Mexico as well as a geologist and former Apollo 17 Astronaut. He currently is an aerospace and private enterprise consultant and a member of the new Committee of Correspondence.

July 14, 2011

Radio & News Interviews on the Space Program

This section will not be updated; for the latest interviews, please go to our NEW Media Coverage page: 

Here are recent and upcoming media interviews of Coalition Director Art Harman, discussing the future of the space program.
Listen to and share the podcasts. Radio, TV, newspaper and web outlets are invited to book Mr. Harman for an interesting and informative interview.

Upcoming:  January 31 at 8:10 AM ET on the "Good Mornings" show on WFIN radio in central Ohio to discuss the space program and the ideas of the presidential candidates. www.wfin.com/morning.

Upcoming:  January 30 Time TBA on the Sarah Palin Radio show, with LaDonna Hale Curzon, Executive Producer and Host; to discuss the space program, Newt Gingrich's speech and related developments. www.blogtalkradio.com/sarahpalinradio

Upcoming:  January (this week TBA) on 65 stations affiliated with Florida News Network. 40 second report regarding Newt Gingrich's space policy speech. Stations Also will be featured in a print news story.
Upcoming:  January 30 on the nationwide John Batchelor Show to analyze Newt Gingrich's speech calling for a bold new space program. Segment will be in the midnight to 1:00 AM hour.  Podcast available after show.

January 15 on WQYX and 4 other CBS Radio stations in the Tampa Bay area on the "In Touch With Tampa Bay" show; to discuss recent upcoming events in the space program, where presidential candidates stand on space policy, and how listeners can help support the space program by contacting candidates.  WiLD 94.1, 6:30-7:00 AM; WRBQ 104.7, 7:00-7:30 AM; WQYK 99.5, 11:30-12:00 Midnight; WSJT 98.7, 8:30-9:00 AM; WQYK-AM 1010 6:00-6:30 AM

December 27 at 8:30 CT on KMA AM/FM (western Iowa and Missouri, Omaha Nebraska and eastern Kansas) on the Chuck and Don Show to discuss opportunities and threats to the space program, presidential candidates positions on space policy, and how YOU can help. Podcast: kmaland.com/chuckanddon....mp3

November 21 at 2:30 AM EST on the Goldstein on Gelt Show, on Israeli National Radio and other stations worldwide, to discuss the future of the space program. The world is interested! Goldstein on Gelt Show -- Check out the podcast.

November 1 at 1:15 ET with Jim Lynch on WUSB Radio 90.1 FM to discuss the space program and other issues relating to what made America a truly great nation. Coverage: Long Island, Southern Connecticut, parts of NYC (Brooklyn and Queens), and Westchester County. www.WUSB.fm/ Podcast may be available soon.

October 5 on the nationwide John Batchelor Show regarding the Space Launch System (SLS), Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan's call for a real vision and plan for manned space, and Lockheed Martin's vision for exciting space missions in this decade. Advance in the podcast to 9:15 for the start of the interview: wabcradio.com/FlashPlayer/default.asp

September 14 at 2:15 PM ET with Patrick O'Heffernan and Chuck Morse on the Fairness Doctrine Show, regarding the future and the value of our space program. Listen to the podcast The program airs on WDIS AM 1170 Boston area; 1490 WWPR 1490 AM Tampa Bay, Florida; KRKQ-FM Ashland/Medford Oregon; and online at cyberstationlive.com/TheFairnessDoctrine

September 14 on a home-page featured FoxNews.com article, where Mr. Harman was interviewed along with former NASA Manned Space Director Christopher Kraft. The article discussed the dangers of evacuating the space station, and briefly mentioned Mr. Harman's solutions which are being evaluated by NASA and are described on this website. Article: FoxNews.com/.../russia-delays-manned-space-launch
Additional Coverage:  DailyMail.co.uk  HuntsvilleSpaceProfessionals.com   GlobalPost.com

September 1 at 12:55 AM on the nationwide John Batchelor Show regarding the dangers of evacuating crew from the International Space Station and one of the solutions Mr. Harman proposed to NASA, which they are evaluating. Listen at the last 5 min of this podcast, right after the show's theme music: wabcradio.com/FlashPlayer/default.asp?SPID=33447

July 22  Interview with Märkische Allgeimeine, a daily newspaper in Potsdam, Germany on the final shuttle flight, and the present and future of the space program, both commercial and NASA. (in German)  www.maerkischeallgemeine.de

July 17 at 7:50 AM Issues and Ideas with Chris Bello, on 4 New Jersey radio stations:  WHCY-FM, Blairstown, WSUS-FM, Franklin, WNNJ-FM, Newton, WTOC-AM, Newton. Info: issuesandideasradio.com
Podcast: issuesandideasradio.com/audio.html - Interview is about 2/3 down the page.
July 12 at 3:20 PM with Pete Ferrand on WRJN Newstalk 1400 AM radio in Racine and Kenosha, WI  http://www.wrjn.com/

July 9 at 12:55 AM on the nationwide John Batchelor Show after the final space shuttle launch, to discuss the post-shuttle world. Listen at the end of this podcast segment:

July 8 on KXYL-FM Radio, Brownsville, TX at 8:10 AM on The Big Show, live from the space shuttle launch site.

July 8th, on WDUN AM/FM at 7:40 AM, ET on the Bill and Joel Show, live from the shuttle launch viewing area. WDUN covers Atlanta and north Georgia. Listen on the radio or online at wdun.com/listen/  

July 8 8:15 AM ET on the Michael Patrick Shiels show on 12 stations in Michigan including WJIM Lansing 1240 AM. www.michigantalknetwork.com/
Podcast: Listen to Coalition Director Art Harman Live From Shuttle Launch Area

July 7 at 1:30 PM on CFAX, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on Straight Talk with Dave Dickson.

July 7 with Pete Ferrand on WRJN Newstalk 1400 AM radio in Racine and Kenosha, WI  http://www.wrjn.com/

July 7 11:00 AM on the Mike Pomp Show on WTSN Radio, Dover, NH.

July 6  7:20 PM on the nationwide Leslie Marshall Showwww.lesliemarshallshow.com/

July 5 with Wayne Metrano and Freddy George's On The Street Show cyberstationlive.com/OnTheStreet | Listen to the podcast

July 1 at 10:50 PM on the nationwide John Batchelor Showwww.johnbatchelorshow.com/ | wabcradio.com/article.asp?id=531472

June 30 10:20-11:00 AM with Bryan Allen on CKNX AM 920 Ontario, Canada http://www.cknxam920.ca/  Podcast: Listen to Mr. Harman's interview on CKNX Radio

June 30 4-5 AM on KOA Denver on the Rick Barber Showwww.850koa.com | Podcast: Listen to Art Harman's Interview about the Space Program
May 29 WQYX and 5 other CBS Radio stations in the Tampa Bay area on the "In Touch With Tampa Bay" show.

May 25 WBZ Radio in Boston at 8:10 AM with Deb Lawler. http://boston.cbslocal.com/personality/deb-lawler/

May 25 on the nationwide John Batchelor Show regarding the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's historic challenge to go to the moon "in this decade."

July 7, 2011

Watch the Last Shuttle Launch! DON'T MISS IT! How to See it in Person or on Web

Can't make it to see it in person, watch on NASA TV on on TV.
Atlantis STS-132 Launch from Space View Park
Have you ever wanted to watch a space shuttle launch in person? If so, don't miss your very last opportunity, and make your way to Florida for the final shuttle launch.  Atlantis (STS-135) is scheduled to launch no earlier than Friday, July 8 at 11:26 a.m. EDT.

Rain may delay the launch a day or two, check below links for latest news.

A shuttle launch is a spectacular experience!  Kennedy Space Center is sold out of tickets, but check with Dolphin Tours and Gator Tours in Orlando in case they get any more "Causeway" viewing packages.  The Causeway viewing area is the very best. If you do not secure tickets to watch it on the Causeway, I recommend watching it at Space View Park in Titusville, FL where you will not only have a great view but will share the experience with a huge crowd of space enthusiasts and you will hear the live launch announcements and countdown.  Get there many hours in advance for the best view. There are plenty of other locations up and down the coast which offer good viewing opportunities.

Keep up on the news, as the launch could be delayed at any time for reasons of equipment or weather. Each launch "window" usually lasts only for several days, so it if doesn't launch on the scheduled date, attempts can be made for the following several days before being rescheduled for perhaps weeks later.

Will it Launch?
Launch Weather forecast: http://www.patrick.af.mil/weather/index.asp

NASA Launch Schedule and News:

A brilliant description of a shuttle launch from Jason Davis at Planetary.org--read it before launch and pass on to your friends!
Part 1: The Countdown http://planetary.org/blog/article/00003075/
Part 2: The Ascent http://planetary.org/blog/article/00003082/
Space View Park:

Excellent Launch Viewing Page:
List of off-base launch viewing sites:

A few sources for shuttle launch information:

Photo credit Art Harman

July 1, 2011

Astronauts Call For Saving Shuttles to Save ISS PLEASE READ AND TAKE ACTION

This is an incredibly vital issue and you'll find other postings on this site providing further information. The near-miss by space junk a few days ago, last year's failure of a cooling pump, and (so far) minor micrometeroid damage to ISS and the shuttle all underscore the absolute necessity to have a way to replace large items on an urgent basis. Simply, nothing but the shuttles can in a timely way deliver replacements. A couple billion a year is cheap insurance for a $100 billion space station.

This is making national news--here's the Washington Post's article, but you and I and our associates can help decision makers understand the significance of this issue.

I urge everyone to call this letter to the attention of your Senators and Representative, and to spread the word around the web, Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else.

June 30, 2011
Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
Administrator National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Headquarters
300 E Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20546
Dear Administrator Bolden,
We believe that the planned retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet after the flight of STS-135 next month will create an unacceptable flight risk for maintaining safe and reliable operations of the International Space Station (ISS). As you well know, the shuttles are the only spacecraft that can provide independent spacewalks for critical ISS repairs.

If an incident or life support failure rendered the ISS uninhabitable, repair spacewalks to restore operations would not be possible from the space station. In a worst case scenario, deterioration and loss of systems on an abandoned ISS could result in an uncontrolled, catastrophic reentry with risks to populated areas around the world. This would have significant ramifications to foreign relations and liability for the United States, Russia and the other countries who participate as partners on the International Space Station. The recent near miss of space debris, which caused the ISS astronauts to seek shelter in the Soyuz spacecraft, is a reminder that a catastrophic accident is a stark possibility.

This issue was the subject of a commentary article we co-authored, published in the June 12th edition of the New York Daily News, which is enclosed. (Link)

The Space Shuttle fleet is the only spacecraft, now operating or under development, that is equipped with the airlocks, life support supplies and robotic arm needed to support the required two-person spacewalking repair crews. We believe the Space Shuttle fleet should be kept in service to provide the capability of independent repair spacewalks in the event that the International Space Station is crippled by a systems failure or accident. The Space Shuttles would also be available to support one or two logistics and science missions per year, provide unmatched capacity to return components and scientific experiments to Earth (with low gravitational loads on crew and cargo during reentry) and extend the reliability of space station operations with a Service Life Extension Program.

The capability of the Space Shuttles to provide the independent repair spacewalks, critical for restoring operations on a disabled ISS, would also be vital for protecting the ISS cargo and crew transport business of the emerging commercial space industry. Keeping the shuttle fleet in service would also comply with a new, internationally accepted flight criteria that we believe should be established: Any object placed in orbit that is too large for an uncontrolled reentry must have a spacecraft available to support independent EVA repairs.
To maintain this vital life safety margin for long-term ISS operations we are requesting the following:

* Congress should request an immediate, 3 week, impartial study and hold emergency hearings on this matter.

* In these hearings, Congress should consider passing emergency legislation ordering NASA to halt all work on modifying the Space Shuttle fleet for museum display. Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour should be stored at Kennedy Space Center in the Orbiter Processing Facility and maintained in such a manner as to keep them flightworthy. Moreover, the Vehicle Assembly Building, Crawler-Transporters, Launch Complex 39-A, Shuttle Landing Facility and other facilities and support equipment needed for Space Shuttle operations should be maintained in place to support future Space Shuttle flights.

* NASA and its International Space Station partners should consider the shared responsibility of developing funding solutions for the continued operation of the Space Shuttle fleet to ensure the long-term safety of space station operations. NASA led plans, as well as commercial alternatives to operate the shuttles commercially, should be presented to Congress and considered to reduce costs and budget impacts.

* To avoid any gap in providing independent repair spacewalks as a safety contingency for the space station, Congress, NASA and the ISS partners should evaluate the option of postponing the launch of STS - 135 until more external fuel tanks and other parts can be built to support additional shuttle flights in 2012.

We appreciate your consideration of our recommendation for NASA and Congress to take immediate action to reverse the retirement of the Space Shuttles. The Space Shuttles are the only solution for restoring space station operations with independent spacewalk repair capabilities. Given the risks and liabilities for NASA and the ISS partners if the International Space Station is crippled by a systems failure or accident, the Space Shuttles are too valuable an asset to be retired into museums. Sincerely,

Christopher C. Kraft
Former Director of NASA Manned Spaceflight Center
Houston, Texas

Scott R. Spencer
Transportation Management Consultant
Wilmington, Delaware

Endorsed by:

Robert L. Crippen, Pilot STS-1, Commander (STS-7, STS-41C and STS-41G)
Frederick H. Hauck, Pilot STS-7, Commander (STS-51A and STS-26)
Walter Cunningham, LM Pilot, Apollo 7
Neil A. Armstrong, Commander, Apollo 11
James A. Lovell, Jr., Commander, Apollo 13
Eugene A. Cernan, Commander, Apollo 17
Gene Kranz, Director of Mission Operations - Flight Director
Tom Moser, NASA Space Station Program Director
John W. Robinson, Chairman, Space Propulsion Synergy Team

cc: President Barack Obama
Vice President Joseph Biden
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
U.S. Representative Ralph Hall

Can the Shuttles Be Saved? Possible Hint At NASA Press Conference: Call Congress

Watching the June 30 NASA press conference revealed a possible hint of staff support for saving the shuttle orbiters in some way--or at least delaying their destruction as flightworthy spacecraft as long as possible.

In answer to a question about United Space Alliance's proposal to save shuttles, the response was that they did not know if it will happen. They did NOT rule it out. Further, they stated Endeavour (and presumably Atlantis after landing) "will not be released for unrecoverable changes until NASA headquarters orders it."

What this may mean is NASA staff are not in support of destroying the flightworthiness of the shuttles and ending any possibility of a launch on need or the proposed United Space Alliance's takeover. They'll follow orders if "ordered by NASA HQ," which means ONLY if Administrator Bolden (or the White House) orders them to carve up the orbiters.

Certainly saving the shuttles in any form would likely take Congressional pressure and immediate willingness to fund the costs.

Call Congress now 202-224-3121 and ask they pressure the President to at minimum store in flightworthy condition the shuttles and not destroy the launch pad and other infrastructure. To be able to launch, staff would have to be retained and tanks/boosters built or sourced.

This week's space junk near-collision plus last July's failure of the cooling pump shows the continued ability to be able to deliver large items must be continued to assure we don't lose the entire ISS in an otherwise avoidable emergency.