Restoring Funding to Constellation Solves All Technological Goals Can Be Met

1AC Plan

Text: The United States federal government should substantially increase funding for the Constellation program.

1AC Solvency

Restoring funding to Constellation solves – all technological goals can be met

Horowitz, 10 - former NASA Associate Administrator of Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (Scott, “A Trajectory to Nowhere”, May,

There is quite a bit of discourse over the future of NASA’s Exploration Program. As one who has participated in the Shuttle Program and the Exploration Program and spent a good deal of time in the sixty-four square mile logic-free zone (Washington DC), I would like to try and clarify some of the myths surrounding the current debate.

Myth 1:The current debate is about technical and programmatic issues with NASA’s Constellation Program.

The current debate has nothing to do with technical/programmatic issues, it is completely politically motivated and being driven by a few people in the current administration (Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator, Jim Kohlenberger, Office of Science and Technology Policy Chief of Staff, and Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the Office of Management and Budget). Their objective is to cancel the “Bush” program and punish the states (Alabama, Texas) that “didn’t vote for us anyway”.

Myth 2:The Constellation Program is on an “unsustainable trajectory”.
This of course is the administration’s entire platform (excuse) for wanting to cancel the Constellation Program. They used a simple 3 step process to create this catch-phrase.

  • Immediately reduce the Constellation Budget by 20% in the FY 2010 budget when the new administration took office.
  • Gather a commission to study the program populated with as few people that know anything about real development programs as possible and have agendas aligned with the desired outcome.
  • Produce a report with “options”, but insufficient data to support recommendations and pick the ones that cancel the current program even though there is no data supporting any “sustainable” alternatives.

So what the Augustine Commission found out was that the Constellation Program was underfunded (didn’t need a commission to tell us that), but more importantly, it was well managed and capable of dealing with technical issues expected in a program of this magnitude. In fact Norm Augustine testified before Congress that:

“We did review the program, its management. We believe it to be soundly managed… We saw no problems that appear to be unsolvable given the proper engineering talent, the attention, and the funds to solve them.”

The commission also used data provided to them by the Aerospace Corporation to come to the conclusion that the Constellation Program was on an “unsustainable trajectory”. The commission took the budget estimates for the Constellation Program and added 50% to the costs. While this may be appropriate for a brand new program in the early formulation stages, this is completely inappropriate for a program that has passed its early milestones and has a very detailed basis of estimate appropriate for having completed its Preliminary Design Review (PDR). So the combination of a reduced budget (FY 2010) and an inflated cost estimate produced the desired result (the program would take forever to complete). The fact is, that with the FY 2011 top-line budget submit (the best top-line budget NASA has had since the inception of Constellation) there are plenty of funds available for NASA to complete Ares I/Orion by 2015 and to return astronauts to the moon by 2022 using the Ares V as a first step to moving further out into the solar system (NEOs, Mars, LeGrange Points, etc.) The president’s FY 2011 NASA budget request doesn’t save the taxpayers any money, in fact it increases NASA’s budget and proposes to spend it on technology development projects, robotic missions, and increased earth-science missions. While these are worthy endeavors, they are not “sustainable”. Every time NASA has gone down the “technology development” path without a clearly defined mission to focus “technology development”, the result has been the same: no operational system gets developed, and NASA’s top-line budget becomes a target for OMB and Congress and gets reduced by 25%.

Myth 3:The Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) is capable of safely transporting our astronauts to the ISS sooner and for significantly less money than the government developed system.
Safety: Basically, the Augustine Commission chose to ignore all of the data that showed that Ares I/Orion were significantly safer than any other alternatives. The Valador report commissioned by NASA to support the Augustine Commission stated: “the Ares I launch vehicle… is clearly the safest launch vehicle option, and the only one having the potential to meet a target of 1 in 1000 probability of LOC (Loss of Crew).” “The simplicity of the Ares I design makes the mature Ares I clearly superior to all other vehicles, no matter what choice of quantification method…” It also determined the Probability of a Loss of Crew (LOC) for the Ares I rocket is 1 in 1,918, which is more than ten times better than the Space Shuttle and over twice as good as any other alternative even with “human-rating” modifications.

Schedule:I am a big fan of commercial space. I “wrote the check” to RpK and SpaceX for $500M to provide seed money that initiated COTS. Unfortunately, RpK failed to meet their milestones and had their Space Act Agreement terminated. The original SpaceX manifest included six test flights of the Falcon 9 rocket to be completed by September 2009. Currently their first test flight is scheduled for May of 2010 (this rocket stuff is more difficult than it looks). All of the reviews of alternative methods to deliver a crewed capsule to ISS estimate that the earliest operational date would be 2016.

Cost:The COTS providers (Orbital and SpaceX) were awarded firm fixed price contracts totaling $3.5B to deliver approximately 40MT of cargo to the ISS. This plus the $500M already invested in COTS results in a cost of $100,000/kilo ($45,000/lb) to deliver cargo to ISS. If the Ares I/Orion were flown at a similar rate (6 flights/year) the fully-burdened government cost for delivering cargo to ISS would be about $70,000/kilo ($32,000/lb)! While it is my hope that the “commercial” providers will be able to reduce costs and stimulate the market place, to date there is no data to indicate that this is the case, and as I have learned over the years “hope is not a management tool”. As hard as it is to make a business case for transporting cargo to orbit, making the case for transporting humans is even more difficult. In fact the White House advisor on Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, testified that there was no real research or verification done on the viability of the approach for the commercial market to sustain America’s space future. The only source this Administration can cite is a 2002 Futron study that has proven to be overly optimistic. This study was based on a survey of affluent individuals that predicted that 33 commercial passengers would have flown by 2010 (only 8 tourists have paid Russia $20M each to date) and as many as 60 passengers per year would be flying in 2021.

In summary this administration has been trying to come up with a plan for the last year and a half and after hearing all of the testimonies and reviewing all of the facts it has become obvious to me (and to the Congress) that the leadership team at NASA has decided that they simply do not want to do Constellation, at any cost, and are willing to cede US leadership in space. The facts show the current real program is safer, more affordable, timelier, and making better progress towards our nation’s exploration goals, than this faith-based initiative “trajectory to nowhere” the current administration is trying to sell us.

1AC Industrial Base (Econ)

Fluctuations in the US commitment to human space exploration will eviscerate the US industrial base – it will undermine the US ability to retain human capital that is vital to space access

Slazer, 11 – Vice President of the Space Aerospace Industries Association, also Director NASA/Civil Space atMcdonnell Douglas Corporation (Frank, “Contributions of Space to National Imperatives”, Senate Hearing, 5/18,

Space programs are essential to our national, technological and economic security. U.S.-developed space technology and its many spin-offs have fueled our economy and made us the unquestioned technological leader in the world for two generations. U.S. economic and technological leadership enabled us to prevail in the Cold War and emerge as the world leader in a new era.

AIA was disappointed that the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposal underfunds NASA by nearly $800 million below its authorized level—$19.4 billion—agreed upon just last fall. Given the current fiscal environment, AIA believes that the level of funding proposed by the administration for NASA provides at least the minimum required for its important programs. It is therefore imperative that NASA receive the full amount of the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget request of $18.7 billion. When allocating this funding, AIA’s position is that funding for NASA should reflect the budget priorities as outlined in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 as closely as possible.

The Need for Program Stability

Despite the clear bipartisan direction provided in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 and in the fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution (CR), substantial uncertainty remains over the direction NASA will take—most specifically on the new heavy-lift space launch system. The impact of the long delayed fiscal year 2011 CR, the current budget climate and the impending gap in America’s ability to launch crews into space—after decades of ever increasing capability—are causing ripple effects throughout the space industrial base and highly trained space workforce in both private and public sectors.

Fluctuating budgets and delayed programs take their toll on schedule, production and maintaining a skilled workforce—exacerbated by the winding down of the space shuttle program. This funding and programmatic instability may result in the permanent loss of this highly skilled, unique human capital by reducing the options for retaining this specially trained and skilled workforce. Our nation’s aerospace workforce is a perishable national treasure; experienced aerospace talent, once lost, may be unrecoverable and new workers without this critical experience may take years to train. Unfortunately, the on-again off-again plans for the Shuttle’s replacement over the past decade have led to considerable uncertainty not only at NASA—where civil service positions are protected—but across the entire industrial base where firms are faced with wrenching decisions to let highly skilled personnel go because of the lack of clear direction.

At a time when the space shuttle is being retired and the United States is paying Russia over $60 million a seat to get crews to the International Space Station, it is critical that NASA’s new programs for exploration and crew transportation be adequately funded to remain on track. Fifty years after astronaut Alan Shepard became America’s first man in space, two generations of Americans have never known a time when we were not engaged in human space flight. But let us be clear, this is a legacy not an entitlement— without continued investment, this could become the last generation of Americans being members of a space faring society. In addition to workforce impacts, failure to stick to a space program funding plan makes it difficult to manage them effectively; sends mixed signals to an industry making long term investments; and places these programs at risk of overruns or cancelation—jeopardizing the investments already made by taxpayers. NASA’s research and development efforts have consistently produced ground-breaking technologies with benefits for nearly everyone on the planet. Investments made in NASA have produced invaluable benefits to our national security, economic prosperity and national prestige and should be pursued as sound economic stimulus.

NASA Space Investment Benefits All Sectors, Including National Security

The U.S. military and national security communities rely on the space industrial base to provide them with capabilities required to keep our nation secure. Our space industrial base designs, develops, produces and supports our spacecraft, satellites, launch systems and supporting infrastructure. These systems are often produced in small or even single numbers. We need to keep this base healthy to maintain our competitive edge.

Interruptions or cancellations negatively impact large companies and can be catastrophic to smaller firms—often the only entities with the unique abilities to produce small but critical components on which huge portions of our economy, infrastructure and security depend. As an example, only one firm in the United States produces ammonium perchlorate—a chemical used in solid rocket propellants including the space shuttle solid rocket motors, other space launchers and military applications. Retiring the shuttle will impact all these other users as costs rise due to a smaller business base.

The U.S. military and national security communities rely on the space industrial base to provide them with capabilities they require to keep our nation secure. Due to export restrictions on space technology and limited commercial markets for space systems, key elements within industry often must depend on stable government programs for survival. This two-way, symbiotic relationship means that in order to keep our overall national security strong, both sides of this relationship are critical.

Given the lack of a large external space market, such as exists in civil aviation, if government spending pulls back from investing in the space domain—be it in NASA, the Defense Department or Intelligence Community—the industrial base will shrink accordingly. This will mean capacity loss and potentially leaves the United States incapable of building certain national security assets in the future.

Investing in NASA Benefits STEM Education

Developing the aerospace workforce of the future is a top issue for our industry. NASA’s space programs remain an excellent source of inspiration for our youth to study the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and math—and to enter the aerospace workforce. In fact, the exciting periods of our space program history are reflected in the demographics of our industry and the influx of young workers they engendered.

Unfortunately, the state of education for our young people is today in peril, including poor preparation for STEM disciplines. American students today rank 25th in math and 17th in science internationally. Low graduation rates of students in those fields and an overall lack of interest in STEM education contribute to a looming shortage of workers qualified to become professionals in our high tech industries.

A recent study, Raytheon found that most middle school students would rather do one of the following instead of their math homework: clean their room, eat their vegetables, go to the dentist or even take out the garbage. This lack of interest extends into interest 6 in aerospace. For example, in a 2009 survey 60 percent of students majoring in STEM disciplines found the aerospace and defense industry an unattractive place to work. 2

One of the reasons for the lack of interest in aerospace and defense could be the uncertainty of NASA programs. 3 Just as the recent Wall Street crisis turned young people away from financial careers, lack of job security in aerospace will hurt recruiting efforts. The video gaming industry has captured the magic to attract young people, while space—despite its history and potential—has lagged behind. In some instances, our own employees discourage their children from pursuing careers in aerospace engineering due to the uncertainty of future programs and career prospects. A commitment to a robust human spaceflight program will help attract students to STEM degree programs and help retain the current workforce—which also benefits national security space programs, many of which are not in the open.

While AIA and NASA are vigorously engaged in the “supply” side of the equation— exciting and inspiring students to study math, science and engineering—it’s the “demand” side that needs Congressional action by providing the resources needed for visible and inspiring aerospace projects. These, in turn, provide young people with exciting programs to work on in the near future and on an ongoing basis. A robust and sustainable space exploration program is essential to building a future aerospace workforce capable of technological innovation and economic competitiveness.

Investments in NASA Have Increased Economic Prosperity

Since its beginnings, NASA has been at the forefront in developing new technologies to meet the challenges of space exploration and much of what has been developed has had benefits in other areas. The list of NASA-derived innovations is impressive and wide-ranging, including memory foam cushions, video image stabilization technology, cordless power tools, power sources for heart defibrillators, ventricular assist pumps for heart disease, portable breathing systems for firefighters and many others. These NASA-enabled innovations are not just old history; for example, today the International Space Station is enabling us to develop new vaccines to protect people from Salmonela and MRSA pathogens by exploiting the organism’s response to the weightless environment.