Tag Archives: Charles Bolden

Charles Bolden poo-poos private space

In remarks at a conference yesterday NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressed his distrust and lack of confidence in the ability of private companies to build large heavy lift rockets.

“If you talk about launch vehicles, we believe our responsibility to the nation is to take care of things that normal people cannot do, or don’t want to do, like large launch vehicles,” Bolden said. “I’m not a big fan of commercial investment in large launch vehicles just yet.”

…Despite the demonstrable efforts by both SpaceX and Blue Origin, Bolden nonetheless said that “normal people” cannot, or do not want to, develop large launch vehicles. What the administrator appears to be asserting here is that NASA is more special, or better, than those in the private sector when it comes to building rockets.

The article at the link notes the strangeness of Bolden’s remarks, especially since NASA itself has failed, despite repeated efforts, to build its own new rocket since the 1970s. The author also notes the high cost of SLS, though the numbers he cites — $13 billion to develop and build SLS — is actually about half the real cost, which will be about $25 billion to build two SLS rockets.

Bolden here illustrates the old way of doing things. He will be gone soon, however, and a new way will replace him, private, competitive, innovative, and fast moving, everything that NASA has not been in the past four decades.

NASA denies new space station partnership with Russia

NASA officials today denied they were negotiating a partnership with Russia to build a space station replacement for ISS, as suggested yesterday by the head of Russia’s space program.

I am beginning to suspect that the misunderstanding here comes from NASA head Charles Bolden, who is in Russia right now. Knowing Bolden, who is a nice guy who likes to make others happy, he probably said some nice feel-good, kumbaya things to the Russians during conversations with them, things like “We want to keep working together,” and “We will support your plans for your future space station whole-heartedly.” None of this was meant as a commitment, but the Russians might have taken these statements more seriously than Bolden realized.

Close-minded politicians everywhere!

Despite the repeated news in recent weeks that the evidence for global warming is slim, or at least confused, today we have two elected officials and one appointed official screaming that the sky will fall if we don’t do something, including spending billions of dollars of other people’s money.

First we have our friend Al Gore, who was in Washington, DC to speak at an environmental event put on by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island). Whitehouse you might remember was the senator who, even before the injured and dead had been counted from the terrible Moore, Oklahoma tornado, started blaming Republicans for the tornado because they weren’t doing more to stop global warming.
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The NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, has balked at the Europe-China negotiations for docking a Chinese manned craft at ISS.

The NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, has balked at the Europe-China negotiations for docking a Chinese manned craft at ISS.

I don’t know what Bolden can do about this, however, as we don’t have the ability to get to our own space station, while Europe and the Chinese do.

The 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s spaceflight

I am on the road today, so posting will be light. Though I have many things to say about today’s historic anniversary, fifty years after the first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, I simply won’t be able to post them. However, I plan to express some of my thoughts on the John Batchelor Show at 11:30 pm (Eastern time) tomorrow. Listen in live, or on his podcast posted shortly after the live show.

The ironies, however, are amazing, and quite depressing. On the same day we celebrate the start of manned space exploration, NASA administrator Charles Bolden will announce where the United States’s three retired shuttles will be put on display. Note also that he does this on the thirtieth anniversary of the first shuttle flight. It is almost as if the Obama administration’s desire to kill the American government space program is so strong that they have to rub salt in the wound as they do it.

I say this not so much because I am in favor of a big government space program (which I am not) but because the timing of this announcement once again illustrates how astonishingly tone-deaf the Obama administration continues to be about political matters.