2008 Legislative Blitz – February 10-12 – Washington DC

US Capitol building In 2004, a group of thirteen premier space advocacy groups joined together under the Space Exploration Alliance to have their voices heard. The first SEA “Blitz” brought together 76 space enthusiasts from around the country. They converged on Washington, D.C. and talked to over 200 congressional offices in support of NASA’s bold and substantial mandate for human and robotic exploration of the solar system.                  -from the Space Exploration Alliance’s blitz webpage

Unfortunately, back then there was no one to act as the contrarian voice in the wilderness when it came to space advocacy… but not this time.

From February 10-12, 2008, while the Space Exploration Alliance is holding its annual Legislative Blitz, it is time for those of us who are sick of the kool-aid crowd holding the space agenda hostage to raise our collective Cynic voices and say (cue Jean-Luc Picard):

The line must be drawn HERE! This far – no further!

This year’s SEA blitz focus is an attempt to get Congress to change their mind in their attempts to either delay or derail NASA’s Moon-Mars plans. Apparently they are perturbed that some members of Congress have stated that the money directed towards the new Orion spacecraft would be better spent on other initiatives.

Those Congresscritters are correct.

Unfortunately, Congress has, historically, been quite happy to fund ridiculous NASA programs of yore, from the purposeless Shuttle to the even more exorbitantly priced, yet decidedly worthless, ISS. And they were SO close to killing it, too, before they bought the Goldin big lie hook line and sinker…

As the SEA rightly points out, barring a declaration of martial law and suspension of our elections, we will have a new President of the United States in less than one year. What would be nice is if we can actually dispell the mythos of human spaceflight from the political banter and get a NASA administrator appointed who would, to continue with the movie quotes (cue Al Pacino):

I would take a flamethrower to this place!

SEA states that the next few years are critical to our human space program. They are right – with the proper decision making, we can stop focusing on flag and footprint bogus programs such as going to the Moon and then going on to Mars. And we can put our efforts purely into CRATS. Hey, there’s a thought.

Come and counter the voices of the hucksters and their gullible followers – while you won’t receive any necessary training, if you are over 21 I will buy the first round at a local watering hole and help arm you with talking points for your walk through the corridors of power. You will find this experience rewarding and a lot of fun! Because nothing is better than watching a space tragic get apoplectic when you deride their precious “vision” for space exploration.

See you in Washington, D.C.

4 thoughts on “2008 Legislative Blitz – February 10-12 – Washington DC

  1. Sorry to see the misreading of this post over at Space Pragmatism, Shubber, but .. ummm… maybe if you want people to recognize the central importance of CRATS, it deserves a more prominent position than a jokey throwaway at the end of the penultimate paragraph..?

    Look: as is customary in public affairs, 90% of debate about manned spaceflight gets grossly polarized into Good Thing vs. Bad Thing.

    Among the minority who find it a Good Thing, 90% of the discussion of “how?” takes for granted “as much and as soon as possible [at any cost],” with the subsequent debate equally stupidly polarized: Moon vs Mars, public vs private, staged vs spaceplane vs SSTO, etc.

    Even among the minority who don’t subscribe to “at any cost” — i.e. those who take CRATS seriously — there’s still a strong residual attachment to the Next Big Mission as the driver for it. The idea that Big Missions actually work against progress in CRATS, as obvious as it may seem to us, is still that of a minority of a minority of a minority. And in a polarized context, it’s easy to be pigeonholed as “against”… and hard to get across “I’m ‘for,’ but by a different route.”

    Bottom line: you’re having so much fun with your movie quotes and assorted snark that you all but invite such misreading. Which do you want: to catch the tragics’ interest, provoke them to think, with luck and patience begin to persuade them — or to demonstrate that you’re clever and they’re not?

  2. Bottom line: you’re having so much fun with your movie quotes and assorted snark that you all but invite such misreading. Which do you want: to catch the tragics’ interest, provoke them to think, with luck and patience begin to persuade them — or to demonstrate that you’re clever and they’re not?

    Monte, if I weren’t at least having fun with this then I would just be depressed at the whole state of affairs and the seeming inability of so many smart people to see the big picture. Yes, I suppose I could have been extremely blunt with my positioning of the CRATS comment, but those who are regular readers *are* exposed to my mantra of CRATS above all else (as the enabling technology to those myriad other grand ideas that will remain science fiction without CRATS).

    And, frankly, the SEA press release/website just pissed me off. The rhetorical nonsense they spewed deserved a good snarky backhand, and since I’m apparently the only consistently loud, cynical voice out there, it’s fallen to me to do so. They’re just another special interest lobbying group looking for bucks, and no better than those seeking farm subsidies or a bridge to nowhere.

    As to being clever, I don’t need to demonstrate that which has already been proven 🙂

  3. Shubber,

    Without Moon-Mars, where exactly do you think support for your CRATS program would come from? Do you assume that just because you cancel a hugely expensive, wasteful program, that Congress would be willing to devote part of the savings to a worthwhile one? That money wouldn’t be redirected within NASA, it would be removed entirely from the program and redistributed to other agencies. But even if you got such a program initially funded after such a massive cataclysm, it would just be that much easier to cancel a couple of years later. After reneging on the Moon, good luck whipping up sustained political support for the kind of wandering, incremental development CRATS would require.

    “Flags and footprints” – it’s hard to fully express how ridiculous this term is. People are unenthusiastic about VSE because they assume it won’t lead to actual missions – they’ve been taught to be cynical by decades of cancelled programs and false promises. But if they actually watched people of their own generation or slightly older putting on a spacesuit and walking on the Moon beneath a crescent Earth, that would mess with their heads just as it did to the original Apollo generation. If there’s anything we’ve learned about manned space, it’s that will precedes hardware – you will not convince people to invest in CRATS for a dream they’ve never known. You have to prime their imagination with bold accomplishments. When I talk to Baby Boomers about their inspiration for being involved in space, all I hear is “Apollo,” “Apollo,” “Apollo.” And that’s also what a lot of people younger than that say, who first saw a lunar landing on a Discovery Channel documentary. People who use terms like “flags and footprints” to deride that kind of mission simply do not understand human behavior and motivation.

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