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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson

Grendal

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Nikxice

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Eric's article suggests some thoughtful questions to ask Nelson at his confirmation hearing. Specifically, why he wants to be NASA administrator? That might be a bit of a rhetorical question. With regards to NASA, Nelson's got a record that has demonstrated self-serving, egotistical manipulation. Historically, he has not been supportive toward making decisions that would have created smarter U.S. Space policy. Nelson only came around to SpaceX when it meant FL jobs. He can't simply divorce himself from 40 years of playing Ballast Bill for the Space Coast. Bridenstine might have been a politician, but at least he wasn't compromised by catering to a major Space hub in Oklahoma.

Nelson's nomination looks safe. He'll probably get quick Congressional approval. At least it's good business for Eric. Gives him four more years of steady readership as he rips into the SLS boondoggle.
 

jbcarioca

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Do any of you have clear insight to Nelson's positions regarding Space X in particular, and more broadly the private sector initiatives?

Frankly I was not especially a Bridenstine fan nor much of a Nelson one. His Senatorial advocacy seemed to me to be always directed to the legacy industrial priorities. After all his largest political contributor was L3Harris. That might not bode well for rational NASA progress. Maybe I am too cynical.
 
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Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,436
8,676
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Do any of you have clear insight to Nelson's positions regarding Space X in particular, and more broadly the private sector initiatives?

Frankly I was not especially a Bridenstine fan nor much of a Nelson one. His Senatorial advocacy seemed to me to be always directed to the legacy industrial priorities. After all his largest political contributor was L3Harris. That might not bode well for rational NASA progress. Maybe I am too cynical.
Nelson supported the choice of SpaceX for the Lunar lander contract. He has also been supportive of the Moon landing timeline. All current signs show he will follow in Bridenstine's footsteps and be as supportive as possible with SpaceX.
 
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jbcarioca

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Nelson supported the choice of SpaceX for the Lunar lander contract. He has also been supportive of the Moon landing timeline. All current signs show he will follow in Bridenstine's footsteps and be as supportive as possible with SpaceX.
I rally hope so. The lunar project is not entirely logical, but 2023 is long enough to change track if SLS continues to fail. Maybe this time it will work, although the cost per launch is daunting even in the world of trillion dollar projects.
 

Nikxice

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Edit: I skimmed the presentation and I didn't see or hear SpaceX mentioned once...
Right about that. Here's the only commercial contractor reference I could find in the transcript from Nelson "it’s been an amazing year for NASA. The agency has launched 10 astronauts from American rockets on American soil." Apparently Bill just forgot to say the "Thanks SpaceX!" part. Nelson was big on bold, but lacking substance. Already missing Bridenstine's ability to relate details. Hearing about SLS/Artemis with 8.8 million pounds of thrust and diversity on the moon is getting old. Bill Shatner was at the event too. Skimming the transcript I find him more inspiring than the new administrator.
 

Cosmacelf

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Right about that. Here's the only commercial contractor reference I could find in the transcript from Nelson "it’s been an amazing year for NASA. The agency has launched 10 astronauts from American rockets on American soil." Apparently Bill just forgot to say the "Thanks SpaceX!" part. Nelson was big on bold, but lacking substance. Already missing Bridenstine's ability to relate details. Hearing about SLS/Artemis with 8.8 million pounds of thrust and diversity on the moon is getting old. Bill Shatner was at the event too. Skimming the transcript I find him more inspiring than the new administrator.

In other words, a typical political hack, exactly what we thought we were getting. Bought and paid for by lobbyists.
 

Grendal

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And here we go. Demotes Kathy Leuders, proponent of commercial space, and sticks in a yes man for old space.
Kathy is still in charge of ISS, LEO operations, Commercial Space, and Human operations. It seems they just added a guy to supervise Old Space and cost plus programs. We'll see whether SpaceX loses out to SLS or anything else. So far, SpaceX has won the majority of contracts under the new administration. SpaceX really began to shine under Bridenstine. He was won over by SpaceX's successes but he did still maintain the cheerleading for SLS and Orion throughout his tenure. It seems that the new administration is continuing that as well. SpaceX is the one accomplishing things and winning contracts while SLS/Orion is getting funding and lip service. I don't see any of that changing until Starship and Super Heavy prove themselves. Which, realistically, was exactly what happened with the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Crew Operations.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,436
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Santa Fe, New Mexico
The fears about Nelson seem to be unfounded. He does seem to be building on the "get things done as best as possible" approach that Bridenstine started. SpaceX created new options. Prior to 2016, SpaceX was a small fry and newcomer with big ambitions. They have achieved a whole lot since then that makes them the powerhouse launch company they are. Congress still controls NASA's purse strings but the huge positive media spotlight that SpaceX now carries and their incredible track record is shining a big light on the wasteful spending that Congress is forcing on NASA using the old school cost plus contractors. No wasteful program has been torn down just yet but signs like these shows there needs to be some "putting up or shutting up" on those programs real soon. Failure and delays compared to success after success in the media is hard to fight.
 

Cosmacelf

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9,398
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San Diego
The fears about Nelson seem to be unfounded. He does seem to be building on the "get things done as best as possible" approach that Bridenstine started. SpaceX created new options. Prior to 2016, SpaceX was a small fry and newcomer with big ambitions. They have achieved a whole lot since then that makes them the powerhouse launch company they are. Congress still controls NASA's purse strings but the huge positive media spotlight that SpaceX now carries and their incredible track record is shining a big light on the wasteful spending that Congress is forcing on NASA using the old school cost plus contractors. No wasteful program has been torn down just yet but signs like these shows there needs to be some "putting up or shutting up" on those programs real soon. Failure and delays compared to success after success in the media is hard to fight.

I suspect the old guard within NASA is losing their power and/or retiring. Seems the new guard is taking control and becoming more assertive. While everyone likes to blame Congress for SLS etc., you have to realize that NASA actually developed those plans. Or, at least, that's my understanding (please correct me if I'm off base).
 

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