back to article Obama may militarise NASA to save money

President-Elect Barack Obama may seek to save money and advance America's space presence by promoting closer cooperation between the US military space programme and NASA, according to reports. Bloomberg News, in an exclusive report, claims that "Obama’s transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Seems logical to me, I mean both industries are quite interested in lobbing large chunks of stuff around the place at high speed with some degree of accuracy.

    <With apologies to Tom Lehrer>

    Don't say that he's hypocritical

    Say rather that he's apolitical

    "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down

    That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun

    Mine's the one with the cyanide coated peanuts in the pockets, heading in the direction of the park...

  2. Anton Ivanov

    Good technical assumptions, wrong economical assumptions

    Historically, the correct means to spend your way out of a depression is to invest into infrastructure and R&D either directly or indirectly via investments into what is referred to as the "war machine". FDR did that for the US nearly years ago. He was not alone in this approach. Infrastructure, R&D (direct and indirect one via military) spending does a lot of rounds in the economy and provides a systemic boost top to bottom.

    If the USA president elect will follow FDR (and other less politically correct examples) on how to get out of depression the budget is actually likely to be opposite to shoestring. In fact, in that case NASA better prepare technical, not financial reasons for the flight gap.

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  4. Anonymous Coward

    titles suck

    Will this result in some kind of merger between NASA and DARPA?

    Mines the one with "My God, it's full of stars!" printed on the back in large friendly letters. It's pockets contents are classified!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was thinking

    How many jobs would you make if you poured 700 billion dollars into space projects, think about it, building new labs, factories, they'd need machine tools and components produeced from industries that are currenty dependent on things like the automotive industry. There'd be a massive demand for skilled and unskilled labour alike.

    Doesn't matter though, nice to see Obama already acting like a common politico though, I was wondering how long it would take.

  6. Lee Staniforth

    Pure Science Research?

    It's the end of Pure Space Science Research as we know it, Jim.

    It may seem like a good idea to help reduce costs, but the main point of NASA is pure science/space research. A closer tie to the US military will inevitably mean that the experiements will have to produce some tangible and useful result. Not to say that pure science research doesn't produce tangible results, by the way...

  7. TeeCee Gold badge

    NASA + Military? It'll never work you know.

    What you'll get is a vehicle capable of carrying seven Astronauts plus cargo to orbit, but which has an additional design feature of being able to explode violently, destroying everything around it.

    Oh, hang on a second......

  8. Alastair Smith

    Watcher satellites

    > watcher satellites designed to spot attacks on existing US sats

    Who, or, more realistically, *what*, will watch the watcher satellites?

    Mine's the one with "Mine's the one with "Mine's the one with "Mine's the one with ... on the back" on the back" on the back" on the back.

  9. John Macintyre

    probably heresay but

    last i heard nasa was 70% military projects/funded anyway, so this simply extends that a bit more surely?

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Pushing the space industry is 100% worthless... long as no-one has a clear idea what to do with it in the first place. Well, if the US wants to splurge on stupid war gear, why not. Apparently these days gov. revenues are shat out by some pony in the basement of the Federal Reserve.

    "Historically, the correct means to spend your way out of a depression is to invest into infrastructure and R&D either directly or indirectly via investments into what is referred to as the "war machine"."

    This is also called "putting yourself out to pasture". This will actually prolong the depression as sparse resources (i.e. taxpayer monies) are redirected to useless sinks of stuff like warships or are applied where they should not be (building streets across the nation for cars that don't exist) on the say-so of well-meaning civil servants instead of where they should (private investment in new competitive industries producing goods that people actually want). Hoover and FDR did not get the US out of the depression, the US got out of it _despite_ these guys.

  11. Daniel B.

    Alternative to ARES?

    ... maybe like that DIRECT project I read somewhere? You know, the competing project?

    Still I wonder why NASA can't just do a reusable space plane; the reason the Space Shuttle is seen as a white elephant is because it is the equivalent of an 18-wheeler. Cut the "cargo bay", and you might get a nice, reusable orbiter.

  12. Ian Michael Gumby
    Black Helicopters

    It will never work...

    Ok it *is* a good concept. You can then roll DARPA underneath them.

    The reason it won't work is that you have a large diverse agency (NASA) which has major security leaks. The US will have to spend $$$$ money on security checks and implementing an IT lockdown.

    BTW who do you think does all of the Chinese govt's research for them? :-)

  13. Martin Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Nasa != Space

    The majority of NASA funding is for aerospace. Most of this is for LCA (large civil airliners) which subsidises a certain US manufacturer that also does a lot of defence stuff.

    By making NASA part of the military all they are doing is hiding Boeing's subsidy from scrutiny.

  14. brian turner

    You still get facts wrong

    ICBM launches are monitored from geo-stationary orbit, not low earth orbit so are perfectly safe. Further to that there are rumours that the latest LEO sats are stealthed and very difficult to map their orbits.

    Finally the Shuttle did succeed in being a reusable orbiter, it just didn't meet the criterion of being cheap.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Have these guys not seen Firefly?

    Give up now merkans, China gets there first cos they are the only superpower with enough resources to colonize space.

    Time to pull out the English-Chinese phrasebooks.

  16. TimM

    I was hoping...

    ... this would happen earlier and we'd get Shuttles flying round the earth blasting evil villains from their space stations with frickin lasers, all Moonraker style :-)

  17. Michael

    Theres always...

    that crashed UFO sitting around doing nothing... Modify it a little and bobs your uncle!

    Makes you think they arent taking this whole space thing seriously though.. Or are they??

    (Mines the coat with the ticket to the pleides star group in the pocket, ready to welcome our gray coloured - big eyed overseers)

  18. David Casler

    Missile Warning Satellite Well Above Chinese Intercept Capability

    From unclassified general knowledge, the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites that watch for missile launches are in geostationary orbit, about 22K miles above the earth. By contrast, the Space Shuttle is seldom more than 200 miles from earth. The American antisat attempts have been against low-earth-orbit objects at around the same elevation as the Space Shuttle. The Chinese attempt, however, went quite a bit above that, which created two problems. First, it endangers a new class of satellites. Second, the explosion created literally thousands of pieces of shrapnel that will stay in orbit essentially forever, thus continuing to endanger satellites at that altitude. A low earth orbit, on the other hand, gradually degrades because of contact with the very thin atmosphere at LEO elevations, so debris from these satellites eventually falls out of orbit.

  19. Seán

    Useless dolts

    Now that all their WWII Germans are dead the US space program is finished. Pointlessly going to Mars without even a working moonbase says it all. Irritating the Russians is hardly a sensible move and if they think ESA and RKA are going to let some boshed together piece of crap kill the ISS and all its personnel they'll have to think again. H3 harvesting on the moon is a nice project which will get the moonbase developed.

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