17 April 2010

Public Backs Planetary Defense

From: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/americans-back-space-exploration-know-little-about-proposed-policy-changes-everett-group-space-poll-finds-91154014.html
Americans Back Space Exploration, Know Little About Proposed Policy Changes, Everett Group 'Space Poll' Finds
CROFTON, Md., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- As Pres. Barack Obama vows continued commitment to space exploration, including increased funding to explore the solar system and the ultimate goal of landing astronauts on Mars, he finds support from many Americans.
Most Americans have a positive image of NASA, the country's space agency, and one-third say it's very important to them that the U.S. continue to explore the solar system (with one-third more saying it's somewhat important to them).
Their reasons? Protection of the planet, according to the national scientific survey's findings. Among those who think it's important to explore space, 63 percent cited protecting the Earth from collisions with comets and asteroids, and 57 percent said understanding climate change were important reasons for the U.S. to continue exploring space. Not on many people's list: Finding extraterrestrial life, cited by only 18 percent.
Those are some of the findings from an independent "space poll," a landline and cell phone survey of 1,200 randomly-selected adults fielded nationwide between Mar. 27 and Apr. 12, just before Pres. Obama's Thursday speech on space policy. The poll's findings have a maximum margin of sampling error of 3.7 percentage points, plus or minus.
The Everett Group, an opinion and market research company headquartered near Washington, DC, found that, in the days before Obama's speech, many Americans were not familiar with the proposed changes in space policy. Two-thirds said they were either slightly or not at all familiar, while only one in 10 said they were very familiar with the issue.
Obama's Kennedy Space Center speech in Florida came on the heels of bipartisan concern about jobs and national status that would be lost if NASA's "Constellation" program were to be scrapped. Americans' main concerns about proposed changes in NASA's direction included job losses and threats to national security (both at 54 percent), but even more (63 percent) had major concern the changes would cause a loss of inspiration for America's youth to study science and math, according to the poll.
Obama's space policy counts on "commercial space entrepreneurs" to be able eventually to launch humans into Earth orbit – a feat one-third of Americans think already is being done today.
Government spending continues to be an issue for many. "Americans are split right down the middle on which should be a bigger priority for the government -- reducing the deficit or maintaining America's space leadership," said Steve Everett, Principal of The Everett Group. "Forty-five percent said cut spending on the space program to reduce the deficit, while 47 percent said increase the space budget to maintain U.S. leadership.
A summary report of the study findings is posted on the Everett Group's "Space Poll" Web site (www.spacepoll.com).  For more information about this or other Everett Group studies, contact Steve Everett (301-261-6448, see@everettgroup.com).

SOURCE The Everett Group

To download your own copy of the results summary, please use one of the links below:
PDF version
Microsoft PowerPoint version

14 April 2010

More information on Obama Space Plan

On Thursday, April 15, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the President will outline a bold strategy for human spaceflight that increases the NASA budget by $6 billion over the next five years. His plan represents an ambitious effort to foster the development of path-breaking technologies; increase the number, scope, and pace of manned and unmanned space missions; make human spaceflight safer and more efficient; and help create thousands of jobs. 

The President will lay out the goals and strategies in this new vision for NASA, including a sequence of deep-space destinations matched to growing capabilities, progressing step-by-step until we are able to reach Mars. He will provide new information about specific elements of the plan, including proceeding with a scaled- down variant of the Orion space-capsule technology developed in the Constellation program (to support crew escape requirements on theInternational Space Station) and setting a decision date for moving from research to development and production of a heavy-lift launch vehicle. In addition, he will speak to the new technologies, new jobs, and new industries this approach will create along the way. 

This new strategy means more money for NASA, more jobs for the country, more astronaut time in space, and more investments in innovation. It will result in a longer operating lifetime for the International Space Station, new launch capabilities becoming available sooner, and a fundamentally more ambitious space strategy to take us to an increased number of destinations and to new frontiers in space. By undertaking this strategy, we will no longer rely on our past achievements, and instead embrace a new and bold course of innovation and discovery.

This new plan:

  • Advances America's commitment to human spaceflight and exploration of the solar system, with a bold new vision and timetable for reaching new frontiers deeper in space.
  • Increases NASA's budget by $6 billion over 5 years.
  • Leads to more than 2,500 additional jobs in Florida's Kennedy Space Center area by 2012, as compared to the prior path.
  • Begins major work on building a new heavy lift rocket sooner, with a commitment to decide in 2015 on the specific heavy-lift rocket that will take us deeper into space.
  • Initiates a vigorous new technology development and test program to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of future exploration activities.
  • Launches a steady stream of precursor robotic exploration missions to scout locations and demonstrate technologies to increase the safety and capability of future human missions, while also providing scientific dividends.
  • Restructures Constellation and directs NASA to develop the Orion crew capsule effort in order to provide stand-by emergency escape capabilities for the Space Station - thereby reducing our reliance on foreign providers.
  • Establishes the technological foundation for future crew spacecraft needed for missions beyond low Earth orbit.
  • Increases the number of astronaut days in space by 3,500 over the next decade, extends the life of the International Space Station, likely beyond 2020, and enables the launching of astronauts on new vehicles from the Kennedy Space Center 1- 2 years sooner.
  • Jumpstarts a new commercial space transportation industry to provide safe and efficient crew and cargo transportation to the Space Station, projected to create over 10,000 jobs nationally over the next five years.
  • Invests in Florida, adding $3 billion more for the Kennedy Space Center to manage - a 60 percent increase.
  • Makes strategic investments to develop critical knowledge, technologies, and capabilities to expand long-duration human exploration into deep space in a more efficient and safe manner, thus getting us to more destinations in deep space sooner.
  • And puts the space program on a more ambitious trajectory that pushes the frontiers of innovation to propel us on a new journey of innovation and discovery deeper into space.
Specific New Elements of the President's Plan:

Outlining A Bold New Vision for Reaching New Frontiers in Space: Building on the announcement of a new heavy-lift rocket decision date and the restructuring of Orion, the President will outline a broad vision and timetable for unlocking our ambitions and expanding our frontiers in space, until ultimately we can meet the challenge of sending humans to Mars.

The President's vision for NASA space exploration enables:

  • a set of stepping-stone achievements in space that will take us further and faster into space, allowing us to reach a range of destinations including lunar orbit, Lagrange points, near-Earth asteroids, and the moons of Mars, and eventually Mars itself. This sequence of missions will begin with a set of crewed flights to prove the capabilities required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. After these initial missions, our long-duration human spaceflight technologies will enable human explorers to conduct the first-ever crewed mission into deep space to an asteroid, thereby achieving an historical first; venture into deep space locations such as the Lagrange points (potential sites of fuel depots that would enable more capable future missions to the Moon, Mars, and other destinations); and then send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth.
  • increasing investments in ground-breaking technologies that will allow astronauts to reach space faster and more often, to travel further distances for less cost, and to stay in space for longer periods of time
  • systematically tackling the hard problems of space exploration - from protecting our astronauts from radiation to developing advanced in-space propulsion -- so that we can push the boundaries not only of where we can go in space but also what we can do there to improve our lives here on Earth

Developing a Heavy Lift Rocket, with a Specific Decision in 2015, to Expand Our Reach in Space:

To demonstrate a concrete timetable and commitment for expanding human exploration further, the President is announcing that, in addition to investing in transformative heavy-lift technologies, he will commit to making a specific decision in 2015 on the development of a new heavy-lift rocket architecture. This new rocket would eventually lift future deep-space spacecraft to enable humans to expand our reach toward Mars and the rest of the Solar System. This new rocket would take advantage of the new technology investments proposed in the budget - primarily a $3.1 billion investment over five years on heavy-lift R&D. This propulsion R&D effort will include development of a U.S. first-stage hydrocarbon engine for potential use in future heavy lift (and other) launch systems, as well as basic research in areas such as new propellants, advanced propulsion materials manufacturing techniques, combustion processes, and engine health monitoring, all of which are expected to shorten the development time for any future heavy-lift rocket. The new rocket also will benefit from the budget's proposed R&D on other breakthrough technologies in our new strategy for human exploration (such as in- space refueling), which should make possible a more cost-effective and optimized heavy lift capability as part of future exploration architectures. A decision in 2015 means that major work on building a new heavy lift rocket will likely begin two years sooner than under the troubled Constellation program.

Restructuring the Orion Crew Capsule:

Our goal is to take advantage of the best work undertaken in the Constellation program. The President is announcing that NASA will restructure the Orion crew exploration vehicle program to a simpler and more efficient design that will be focused on crew emergency escape from the International Space Station. Under the Constellation program, the Orion crew capsule was intended to house astronauts during their travel to the International Space Station and later missions to the Moon. It also was to be capable of docking at the Space Station for six months and returning crews to the Earth. As part of the President's new plan for NASA, the development work already performed on this capability will be re-oriented to meet the important safety requirement of providing stand-by emergency escape capabilities for astronauts on the space Station. We will be able to launch this vehicle within the next few years, creating an American crew escape capability that will increase the safety of our crews on the Space Station, reduce our dependence on foreign providers, and simplify requirements for other commercial crew providers. This effort will also help establish a technological foundation for future exploration spacecraft needed for human missions beyond low Earth orbit and will preserve some critical high-tech contractor jobs in Colorado, Texas, and Florida.

10 April 2010

Citizen's for Space Based Solar Power Open Letter to OSTP

Here is the clincher: The idea for convening a Space Based Solar Power Conference was the number one idea supported on OpenOSTP, OpenEnergy and OpenNASA!!!

Rob Mahan
Here is my e-mailed comment on the OSTP Open Government Report, released on April 7, 2010:

To: intheopen@ostp.gov

Subject: OSTP Open Government Plan 4/7/2010 Report - Comment... See More

Dear OSTP:

I take exception to the statements about OSTP not receiving "particularly robust participation" and the paragraph on Page 22 of the subject report, which states:

While the input received via Ideascale was helpful, it was not always in a form that would easily translate for implementation. For example, someone suggested that we convene a Space Solar Power Conference. Whatever the merits of the suggestion, the format is too short to allow for any detail or specifics. The brainstorming format—although an excellent way to get new ideas quickly—is not well suited to longer postings. This is why we are working on two flagship initiatives to foster more in-depth forms of citizen participation.

These statements appear to trivialize the concept of Space Base Solar Power, which in my humble opinion, will be the primary source of energy for the entire planet within the next 50 to 100 years. The United States needs to decide which agency is going to take the lead for its development and integration with private industry partners.

Perhaps the reason that participation didn't seem robust was that 27 different agencies with often overlapping charters all ran IdeaScale websites for public comment at the same time ... and didn't do a good job at making the public aware of the window for participation, as the OSTP report states.

The idea for convening a Space Based Solar Power Conference was the number one idea supported on OpenOSTP, OpenEnergy and OpenNASA. Here are the participation statistics for each of these websites:

OpenOSTP: Ideas Posted 30 Comments 34 Votes 217 Users 133

OpenEnergy: Ideas Posted 63 Comments 74 Votes 571 Users 257

OpenNASA: Ideas Posted 420 Comments 868 Votes 8098 Users 1271

To have the idea of convening a Space Based Solar Power Conference come in first out of 513 total ideas posted, with a total of 74 detailed comments, at these threepublic participation websites in a short period of time, with nearly 10,000 total votes cast, indicates that this idea has strong public support and needs to be taken very seriously.

Please take my comments as constructive criticism and as support for the development and deployment of space-based solar power. I honestly believe it is the best solution to the energy crisis we face today. It will be a multi-administration, multi-generation project that needs to be started without further delay.

Best regards,

Rob Mahan
Citizens for Space Based Solar Power

09 April 2010

OSTP acknowledges but does not follow up #1 suggestion

Charles Radley, posting on the Solar Power Satellite Facebook group says:

Subject: The results of winning the open gov idea scale in three agencies seems to be a mention in the OSTP O
The results of winning the open gov idea scale in three agencies seems to be a mention in the OSTP Open Gov report "While the input received via Ideascale was helpful, it was not always in a form that would easily translate for implementation. For example, someone suggested that we convene a Space Solar Power Conference. Whatever the merits of the suggestion, the format is too short to allow for any detail or specifics. The brainstorming format—although an excellent way to get new ideas quickly—is not well suited to longer postings. This is why we are working on two flagship initiatives to foster more in-depth forms of citizen participation."

To comment on this Plan, please send e-mail to intheopen@ostp.gov or tweet @whitehouseostp #OPENOSTP

07 April 2010

STRATFOR's George Friedman Discusses EADS Space Solar Power

STRATFOR’s founder and CEO discusses the push for space-based energy infrastructure after EADS, Europe’s largest space company, announces plans to launch a test satellite with solar panels.

Also from:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/Lasers-to-beam-solar-energy-from-space-to-earth/articleshow/5496009.cms

Lasers to beam solar energy from space to earth

LONDON: Space engineers plan to put satellites into orbit that can collect large amounts of energy from the Sun and convert it into a infrared laser beam transmitted back to Earth as an alternative to the planet’s fast-disappearing energy sources. 

Experts at EADS Astrium, Europe’s largest space company, are working on a small demonstrator of a full sized space-based power station, a network of which could meet demands of electricity 24X7. 

“There is a global need for increased energy generation that does not have an environmental impact,” the British newspaper Daily Telegraph quoted Matthew Perren, head of innovation at Astrium’s headquarters in Paris, as saying. 

“The real advantage of space solar power is that it can provide power on demand as we can essentially point the laser beam where ever we like on the earth below the orbit. 

“Looking to the future we envisage large power stations in space that are capable of transmitting energy to any point in the planet on demand,” Perren added.