Basics, History, and Future Issues The CONSTELLATION PROJECT
What Is Constellation? • Not long ago, NASA abandoned the space shuttle. • The space shuttle was a reusable rocket and spacecraft system that NASA created. Space shuttles were often piloted by astronauts.
Constellation Program • Constellation was created to be the future of human space travel. • Was tasked with creating rocket boosters and spacecrafts to replace the retired shuttles.
Budget Re-Structure • Obama recently cancelled the Constellation program because … • He thought it was too expensive • He had a new plan. • Thus, human spaceflight has been put on hold.
The New Plan • Obama’s new plan delegates (assigns) the future of human spaceflight to private businesses. • He also prescribes the use of robots for most of the things that humans do now.
Downsides . . . • Space Leadership • The Economy
Space Leadership • The Space Race was a great time for U.S. leadership. • Invented a lot of cool technology (like Tang!) • Created jobs • Made us look really awesome to other countries.
Space Leadership vs. China • Without space leadership, the U.S. will start to fall behind in space. • That’s dangerous because China is building up its space power. • Developing something called an ASAT (anti-satellite missile). • Human launch vehicles. • That means the U.S. may have to depend on China to put people in space …
That Could Cause War… • First, by miscalculation . . . • Wars by miscalculation start by accident. Basically, if the U.S. and China start to become resentful and suspicious of one another, they could misinterpret things and start a war by accident. • Second, by asymmetry . . . • In an asymmetrical force structure, one country can attack another because they have awesome weapons that the other country does not (ASATS.)
Also would destroy U.S. hegemony… • A lack of space leadership could damage overall leadership. • If the United States loses its position as a global leader, it would lose its hegemony. • U.S. hegemony refers to the power and influence of the United States over the other countries in the world.
Hegemony Prevents War • Hegemony works a lot like being the biggest kid on the playground. • No one will mess with you. • Some authors believe that U.S. hegemony is important for global stability (freedom from conflict). • This is because, if once country is in charge, everyone knows where they stand and no one will start fights.
Everyone is happiest . . . • When there’s a shark and no one messes with the shark.
The Economy • The economy is the sum total of all the money, labor (jobs), and other related activities. • If the economy is doing well, people are making money and they have jobs! • If the economy is doing poorly, the opposite happens.
Constellation to the Rescue! • Constellation could fix the economy in two ways: • Innovation: The creation of new, better technology and products that replace old, less effective ones. • STEM Education: Education of U.S. in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Innovation . . . • Constellation requires a lot of research into technology that can send humans into space, let alone the things they’ll discover when they get there. • They can discover all kinds of cool technology! • Which the United States can sell for a profit!
STEM • Currently, the United States is falling behind in STEM. • This is because U.S. students just aren’t that into it. • This may be because they don’t know much about it and can’t picture all of the cool careers in STEM.
Constellation = Inspiration • Some scholars believe that students will be more motivated to pursue STEM education if they can picture themselves in cool STEM careers. • Part of that is the U.S. maintaining a human space-flight program under Constellation.
That’s important . . . • Without innovation and STEM, the United States won’t have the money and smart people to maintain our economy and other countries with better technology and smarter people will get all the money. • That will destroy our economy.
Economic Decline • Many historians and political scholars believe that economic decline can cause countries to go to war. • This is for a lot of reasons, but mainly because: • They run out of resources and so they need to steal them. • They have nothing to lose because they have no money.
Like World War 2… • World War 2 followed the Great Depression, which was one of the biggest economic declines of all time.
So Constellation is AMAZING, right? • Not so fast. Some people think Constellation would be a bad idea. • They think robots are better. • They think private companies are better for the economy • They think Constellation is a huge waste of money.
Robots Better… • They’re cheaper. • They’re immortal so • They can’t get hurt. • They can go further into space than humans. • They can do almost all the same things humans can, especially if they get more money under the Obama plan.
Private investment… • Private companies can do many of the same things the government can do, but the advantage is: • They do not use government money to do it, which helps the economy. • They take some risks the government would not because they have their own money.
Private investment better? • Maybe, but they are constrained by risk. • Risk is the idea that private companies only spend their money on things that they think will make money. • They want to see a return on their investment.
Government first? • Some scholars argue that demand pull is necessary. • Demand pull is the idea that the government needs to send a signal to private companies that their investment in space will be profitable. • This may mean the government should have kept Constellation or it may mean the new budget is better. What do you think?
What do you think? • Do you think Obama’s new budget is better than the Constellation Program? • If so, why? • If not, why?
Now switch! • Can you think of three arguments against what you just said?
Quiz. • This is a reusable, human piloted space flight system. • Shuttle.
Question 2 • Obama replaced ______ with robots in Constellation. • Human space travel.
Question 3 • What are companies that are not run by the government called? • Private.
Question 4. • This refers to the creation of exciting new inventions that replace old ones. • Innovation.
Question 5. • What does STEM stand for? • Science, technology, engineering, and math.
Question 6. • This major economic collapse came before World War 2. • The Great Depression.
Question 7. • This refers to the ability of the U.S. to be the dominant global power. • Hegemony.
Question 8 • What is an ASAT? • Anti-satellite missile.
Question 9. • This refers to a war that starts by accident. • Miscalculation.
Question 10. • What is is the idea that the government needs to send a signal to private companies that their investment in space will be profitable? • Demand pull.