CPH Theory is based on Generalized light velocity from energy into mass.
CPH Theory in Journals
First, it falls for the classic wish-fulfillment fantasy that playing nice together in space—forming partnerships on significant space projects—can actually compel terrestrial nations to become more friendly to each other despite deep-seated conflicting goals. Second, the report promotes the view that the cost of large space projects can only be afforded if they are shared by an international alliance—contrary to all experience, including that of the ISS, that splitting national responsibilities for integrated projects makes them more expensive, not less. And thirdly, it promotes a dangerously diversionary and dead-ended theory for the root cause of space disasters such as the loss of the shuttle Columbia and its crew: that there was just not enough money, a factor that can easily be fixed by budgetary largesse. Using such views as foundations for policy decisions in the coming years can only result in more waste, more losses, and a lot more tears.
There are also lesser issues, which can be dealt with in a follow-on review. Fundamentally, the sense of the report remains torn between opposing goals: using space in the “best interest of the United States”, and using space in the best interests of the world as a whole. While not a zero-sum game, “space leadership” does tend to benefit those who have it over those who do not, mainly in curtailing options to the secondary players and compelling dependent status on them for important space functions (think GPS). And while selling a policy aimed at benefiting the paying country (the US) may have domestic political value, too nationalistic a sales job at home could make selling it to potential partners more awkward.
Internationalism does appear to be the report’s preference, and in particular, expanded national partnerships on joint projects. But to argue for this strategy, the report utilizes some highly questionable “history” when it asserts: “Human spaceflight is sufficiently difficult and expensive that international collaboration may be the only way to accomplish certain goals… International partnerships in human spaceflight represent the best use of science and technology to… bring nations together around common values, hence they are a primary objective.”
This statement is not a conclusion of analysis, but is a simple declarative fiat, a strategy not chosen on any rational balancing of plus and minus arguments. It represents dogma, not debate, so as a foundation for future space policy decisions, it has no more gravitas than any whim or wish of past policy proposals.
This is worrisome because the stated historical background to this view is slanted. The example given, Apollo-Soyuz, allegedly occurred “at a time of tension between the nations”, but was “an effective instrument of global diplomacy.” This interpretation is, at best, silly, and at worst, 180 degrees away from reality. The Apollo-Soyuz followed, and did not cause, a period of US-Soviet diplomatic relaxation, and even as the mission occurred in mid-1975 the world was moving into renewed tensions over Soviet military adventurism in Africa and Afghanistan. Moves that led even a president such as Jimmy Carter (who had started out warning against “an inordinate fear of communism”) ordering that ASTP follow-on missions such as a Shuttle-Salyut docking be rejected. Diplomatic tensions ultimately faded, and Russian joined the existing International Space Station partnership, not because of any symbolic space feel-goodness but only after a fundamental shift in the Moscow regime.
It’s not surprising that NASA likes to boast of how Apollo-Soyuz laid the groundwork for ending the Cold War (see “The real lessons of international cooperation in space”, The Space Review, July 18, 2005). Every rooster likes to think it brings the sun up; every robin enjoys the idea that its song brings the spring. Delusional self-aggrandizement such asthese words from a NASA astronaut in 1998 after his third visit to the Mir space station typify the mindset:
The man was a highly competent astronaut and totally trustworthy at the controls of the space shuttle. But to allow him and those who think like him anywhere near the controls of diplomacy would be an enormous mistake.
The MIT report’s reference to the expense of certain projects requires that costs be shared among different nations is, perhaps, the most cosmic-scale misconception in the entire study. Experience has shown that there have indeed been good reasons for international cooperation on large projects such as the International Space Station (see these MSNBC articles how the ISS benefits from a “dual” design approach and a description of the current “reluctant but stable co-dependence” situation for ISS.) But as for making the project faster, cheaper, or better in terms of promised goals, none of these promises were fulfilled.
In one case, that failure of first promises turned out to be a blessing, another unexpected benefit. The long delays allowed US modules to “stack up” in the launch queue at Cape Canaveral, where engineers took the unplanned opportunity to run hardwired interface tests—tests that had been eliminated from the original “ship and shoot” mentality that assumed all equipment had been built to designs that guaranteed perfect interconnection once they met for the first time in space. As it turned out, the ground tests uncovered a plethora of interface problems, some so serious that they might not have been fixable if they hadn’t been discovered until actual space assembly.
The report’s treatment of spaceflight safety is inexplicably muddled, considering the talent available to the group. Regarding the consequences of the 1986 Challenger disaster, the report writes that “the Department of Defense began to reassess its plans for Shuttle utilization,” when it had actually—long before Challenger was lost—conducted a bitter battle with NASA in Congress over maintaining independent space access. It refers to the optical problem of the Hubble Space Telescope as being a “design flaw” when it actually was a “fabrication flaw” compounded by a “management flaw” in failing to adequately test the final product.
Most serious is its conclusion that it was lack of money that led to the Columbia disaster, the mistake of trying to do “too much with too little.” This conclusion ignores the space teams who, through sound management and good operational leadership, have ridden the perpetual creative tension between resources and schedules to fly safe missions when needed and delay inadequately-funded missions when unavoidable. The space work force, at its best, knows how to do this, and disaster strikes not when the money is inadequate, but when the team forgets what it used to know: how to keep hazards at bay.
At my request, a member of the CAIB reviewed this report alongside my concerns over its missing the basic point of the report, and he concurred that blaming funding levels was “simplistic”. He continued: “The key [cause] regarded the managerial complacency—that was what allowed the normalization of deviance and closed ears to questioning/dissension that was present at Challenger, and that re-emerged for Columbia. Additional funding would not have prevented those mindsets… Budget was a contributing factor, but far from a determining factor—a minority one at best for people who should be driven to excellence. To say otherwise… constitutes another dodging of responsibility (and accountability).”
The appearance of such policy reports is a positive step toward national debates over space policy, but merely waving wish lists isn’t enough (the report’s goals are more ambitious, and laudable—just not yet achieved). A consensus, however, is needed on the factual foundations of future decisions. This report has helped highlight how far, in terms of both astronomy and actuality, we still are from such a requisite foundation.
Response to “The problems with ‘The Future of Human Spaceflight’”
by David A.
Oberg missed that our carefully chosen words present a radical thesis: human spaceflight should be justified by objectives that can only be accomplished with the physical presence of human beings, have benefits that exceed the opportunity costs, and are worthy of significant risk to human life.
Despite this clear emphasis and flow, most of Oberg’s review criticizes the white paper’s use of what he calls “non-historic [sic] and deeply troubling myths.” These center on international collaboration, cost sharing, and causes of the Columbia disaster. We welcome criticism and will consider his points seriously as we prepare longer, more in-depth versions of the study. Nevertheless, the review responds primarily to its own straw men, misreadings, and oversimplifications of the text.
For example, Oberg takes the white paper to task for stating that, “human spaceflight is sufficiently difficult and expensive that international collaboration may be the only way to accomplish certain goals” and then ridicules as a “cosmic scale misconception” any recommendation for collaboration as a means of cost-sharing. This criticism is based on several errors. First, it is a simple and obvious fact that certain goals in human spaceflight are beyond the resources of the United States, especially at this time. Second, the review, in addition to overlooking the critical word “may,” seizes only on the “expensive” not on the “difficult”—it fails to consider the possibility that other nations might actually have skills and technology that could contribute to US efforts. Third, and most important, the white paper nowhere recommends cost-sharing as a rationale for international collaboration nor suggests that international collaboration would reduce mission costs. To the contrary, the white paper argues that international collaboration is a primary objective of human spaceflight on its own terms, for the national and international benefits it may (or may not) bring, and not a means of saving money.
The review also inaccurately extrapolates from the white paper’s single sentence on the Apollo Soyuz Test Program (ASTP): “The 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project showcased an international gesture of cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union at a time of tension between the nations.” Oberg reads into this sentence arguments that 1) the ASTP preceded détente; 2) it caused a relaxation of Cold War tensions; and 3) it supports a NASA claim that ASTP laid the groundwork for ending the Cold War. Our text neither says nor implies any of these things; it is merely an empirical description of an historical event (two historians of Soviet space contributed to the white paper). The white paper does go on to say that “human spaceflight can be an effective instrument of global diplomacy,” which the review calls “at best, silly, and at worst, 180 degrees away from reality.” Oberg either missed the crucial word “can” or he believes the opposite, that human spaceflight cannot under any circumstances be an effective instrument of US foreign policy and global diplomacy. While his previous writings may support this view, it places him at odds with historical evidence and with those who decide on, fund, participate, and observe such cooperative projects.
The most distracting part of the review is its responses to putative causes of the Columbia disaster. The white paper says: “The CAIB [Columbia Accident Investigation Board] report showed unequivocally how a constrained policy context, management failures, and inadequate funding contributed to the deaths of American astronauts.” This statement is based on the CAIB report, as quoted in the white paper: “NASA remained a politicized and vulnerable agency, dependent on key political players who accepted NASA’s ambitious proposals and then imposed strict budget limits… Policy constraints affected the Shuttle Program’s organizational culture, its structure, and the structure of the safety system. The three combined to keep NASA on its slippery slope toward Challenger and Columbia.” Nonetheless, the review inveighs against the idea that “it was lack of money that led to the Columbia disaster,” a misreading of both the white paper and the CAIB report.
Oberg goes on to misconstrue the above statements as pertaining to operations—as though bad decisions made by NASA managers and engineers during Columbia’s fatal flight resulted from inadequate funding. Here the review errs on both the CAIB report and Diane Vaughan’s book on Challenger (to which he alludes). Both focus on the inadequate funding of the shuttle less in operations than in the design phase in the 1970s that led to technical compromises and design decisions that ultimately sacrificed safety.
We acknowledge much to argue about in the white paper; it addresses controversial issues and highly constrained circumstances. But it is time for fresh ideas.
The review worries that the white paper seeks to let NASA off the hook for management failures and to lay the blame on the White House and Congress. I suspect we agree on the point that NASA has not yet fully acknowledged its own failures that contributed to the Columbia accident. Yet Oberg again misses the white paper’s argument: that where we are now, in the design and development phases of Constellation, the environment in some respects resembles that when the shuttle was under development and that a design based on too many compromises potentially heightens risks for years to come.
“The Future of Human Spaceflight” proposes a new way of thinking about this controversial national and human endeavor that holds promise as a basis for a coherent national and international policy. Our goal is to engage policymakers, experts, and the public. We acknowledge much to argue about in the white paper; it addresses controversial issues and highly constrained circumstances. But it is time for fresh ideas.
Since 1962 I doubted on Newton's laws. I did not accept the infinitive speed and I found un-vivid the laws of gravity and time.
I learned the Einstein's Relativity, thus I found some answers for my questions. But, I had another doubt of Infinitive Mass-Energy. And I wanted to know why light has stable speed?
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Last modified 12/22/2013