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Thread: Change of Focus of NASA

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel View Post
    Now in respect to the present corse of the space program, I believe they are trying to set up living quarters on Mars (in the long run). Personally I believe it's not needed, and the $ should be spent understanding and cleaning up the planet we live on. What's your opinion William?
    Largely, the same people who don't want to spend money on scientific explorations don't think the planet needs cleaning up. They'll just spend it on something stupid like stealth potato peelers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Largely, the same people who don't want to spend money on scientific explorations don't think the planet needs cleaning up. They'll just spend it on something stupid like stealth potato peelers.
    this would be funny if I wasn't pretty convinced by now that you are in fact speaking litteral truth. I have lost all faith in any and all politician. it's like they check in their brains at the door or something. because they are most assuredly not using it to make good policies anymore.

    NASA seem to get a new direction just about every election or thereabouts. And in at least every second cycle they seem to pile on the pork. it's enough to give a polar bear a heart attack. and trust me. that takes a LOT of pork to achieve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel View Post
    the $ should be spent understanding and cleaning up the planet we live on. What's your opinion William?
    And how do we know the state of the planet? Via studying it from our Earth system science missions like Aqua, Aura, Terra, Jason, Aquarius, QuikSCAT etc etc etc. - NASA.

    And what one act is considered largely responsible for the beginning of the eco movement? The Apollo 17 blue marble photograph. NASA.

    Making the planet a better place to live, looking after it and monitoring it are all part of the NASA mission. But if we have no bigger better ambition - then what's the point anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    We can JUST afford to build it. We sure as heck can't afford to build it and have enough left over to USE it.

    Tell me - after we've spent $40B on it....where's the money to build any useful payload for it?

    Where's its purpose?


    The purpose is the same behind any space mission. HLLV advocates and NASA itself has already shown the uses. You just insist on asking the same old questions after they have already been answered. An HLV isn't something like--say--high speed rail, or a road system that has development money ad infinitum. That is rather more like the EELV depot system which is really good at selling EELVs en masse.

    BTW I for one want the planet cleaned up and deeper exploration. Space based Radar would be one payload, as would simpler space telescopes, larger simpler optics, etc:

    http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/ind...?topic=27949.0

    Look, we didn't have any payloads at all until R-7, a rocket too big to be an effective ICBM, made them possible. It was the HLLV for its day--a rocket "too big" that found all kinds of uses. Once its development was bought and paid for--and finished, the money then was focused on payloads.

    Now imagine if some worthy had piped up about how many more sub-orbital flights we could have had if R-7 funds had moved over to pay for thousands of smaller sounding rockets.

    Future longer range capability gets axed in favor of the same old same old.

    That is not progress.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel View Post
    Now in respect to the present corse of the space program, I believe they are trying to set up living quarters on Mars (in the long run). Personally I believe it's not needed, and the $ should be spent understanding and cleaning up the planet we live on. What's your opinion William?
    OK, so joining in the pile-on to rebel's obviously provocative statement above from two weeks ago...
    This may seem a bit tangential, but I think it applies. Have you ever played any of the "Civilization' style games? If so, have you ever observed what happens when you try an unbalanced approach to something? Things stagnate and die. Granted, it is just a game, but I think the principles map relatively well in a broad sense to how the world as a whole works. Doing everything at a sustainable pace is important.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    the same old same old.

    That is not progress.
    Sound like a perfect description of SLS, and everything that's wrong with it.

    Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    Tell me - after we've spent $40B on it....where's the money to build any useful payload for it?
    In the next budget cycle after it starts flying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    And what one act is considered largely responsible for the beginning of the eco movement? The Apollo 17 blue marble photograph. NASA.
    Not that it makes much of a difference to your point, but my impression is that the Apollo 8 "Earthrise" photo is generally given the lion's share of the credit.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamaz View Post
    In the next budget cycle after it starts flying.
    So we're building a rocket now (designed by politicians) for a use that has not been stated, and for a payload hasn't been specified and we can't even afford to think about building until somewhere between 13 and 18 years from now. Given the design cycle for a complex payload of that mass, there's no reason it wont take just as long as the rocket - so we're now talking about missions something like 20-30 years from now.

    This is pure pork fueled madness. It's utterly insane. It's totally indefensible.

    If a requirement is seen for a HLV - then put it out to bid. Several companies are capable of designing, building and testing a vehicle at an order of magnitude less development cost, and an order of magnitude less use cost that the shameful SLS.

    What we have now is a handful of politicians essentially defrauding the USA out of a sustainable, exciting and frontier pushing space program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    Not that it makes much of a difference to your point, but my impression is that the Apollo 8 "Earthrise" photo is generally given the lion's share of the credit.
    I've heard the 17 one cited several times, and never the early Earth rise pics. Googling - it seems both get credit.

    Not that it means much, but 'environmental movement' on Wiki has the Apollo 8 image, and 'ecology movement' has the Apollo 17 image

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    1. So we're building a rocket now (designed by politicians) for a use that has not been stated, and for a payload hasn't been specified and we can't even afford to think about building until somewhere between 13 and 18 years from now. Given the design cycle for a complex payload of that mass, there's no reason it wont take just as long as the rocket - so we're now talking about missions something like 20-30 years from now.

    2. This is pure pork fueled madness. It's utterly insane. It's totally indefensible.

    3. If a requirement is seen for a HLV - then put it out to bid. Several companies are capable of designing, building and testing a vehicle at an order of magnitude less development cost, and an order of magnitude less use cost that the shameful SLS.

    4. What we have now is a handful of politicians essentially defrauding the USA out of a sustainable, exciting and frontier pushing space program.
    1. Actually, the 130 tonne payload requirement comes straight out of the Mars Direct/Mars Semidirect playbook. However, there are DRM's coming out of NASA now, that could have us on Lunar surface before this decade is out, using SLS.

    2. No need to get so hysterical. SLS will be an awesome rocket, capable of many feats. If they can get the launch rate up to 6 or more per year (6/year was the sweet spot for Shuttle flight rate), the marginal launch costs would get down to the low $3,000's per kilogram. That is not bad at all. And before you go off on how cheap Elon is advertising launch costs: those are unproven--I'll believe them when I see them. Let's see if he can launch one rocket this year. That would be a 1,000% improvement over last year. 6 launches of SLS is over seven hundred tonnes to LEO.

    3. Several companies will be working on SLS. NASA is not building it. It will be a commercial rocket.

    4. I respectfully disagree. What these Congressmen did was get things back on track after President Obama derailed the program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    1. Actually, the 130 tonne payload requirement comes straight out of the Mars Direct/Mars Semidirect playbook. However, there are DRM's coming out of NASA now, that could have us on Lunar surface before this decade is out, using SLS.
    Except the version of the SLS funded is only 70 tonnes, and given the cost of even that more limited version, and assuming no cost overruns, there's no money for mission hardware.

    2. No need to get so hysterical. SLS will be an awesome rocket, capable of many feats. If they can get the launch rate up to 6 or more per year (6/year was the sweet spot for Shuttle flight rate),
    Since the current schedule barely envisages one a year and the likely operating cost that seems wildly optimistic at best.

    3. Several companies will be working on SLS. NASA is not building it. It will be a commercial rocket.
    No, its a purely government program with only one operator built on a cost plus contract, it's no more commercial than an F-22.

    4. I respectfully disagree. What these Congressmen did was get things back on track after President Obama derailed the program.
    You mean they reinstated a program that protected jobs in certain key states and learned nothing from, the Ares fiasco.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Platts View Post
    If they can get the launch rate up to 6 or more per year (6/year was the sweet spot for Shuttle flight rate), the marginal launch costs would get down to the low $3,000's per kilogram.
    One a year. That's what the budget can stand. One. Every Year.

    That is not bad at all.
    It's catastrophic. It's pathetic. Frankly, it's embarrasing.

    6 launches of SLS is over seven hundred tonnes to LEO.
    No it's not. Unless you're talking about the unfunded version that's 18 years away to which not one dime has yet been committed. Oh - and we can't afford to build seven hundreds tonnes of anything to launch with it, to the issue's moot.

    3. Several companies will be working on SLS. NASA is not building it. It will be a commercial rocket.
    It just isn't Warren. It's no more commercial than the Shuttle was. It's everything that was wrong with the Shuttle program, in a whole new package. For it to be an actual commercial rocket - then all the senate should have asked if for NASA to put out a request for bids on providing n Tons to LEO and let any and all manufacturers bid. They didn't. They pointed at their lobbying contractors and said 'Yay - keep building stuff from the 70's'

    It's taking the shuttle contractors, and giving them a new jobs program. Commercial indeed? Yeah, right.

    4. I respectfully disagree. What these Congressmen did was get things back on track after President Obama derailed the program.
    They've put us directly on another train wreck that simply suits their own diabolical ends. Nothing more. I don't think anyone with an iota of knowledge and honesty can look at SLS and see it as the right way forward. Not one person whose engineering, political or scientific credentials I respect has views that match yours. Not one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I suggest you do a little research before throwing out numbers or even estimates of numbers.
    It's less than 1 trillion (in 2007 dollars) since 1958 and a large portion is not spent on space travel. (the first A in NASA)
    Absolutely. And just to help put things in perspective, the money spent on the last bank bailout was more than the entire 50 year budget of NASA.

    Out of a budget dollar, how much do folks think NASA gets? Thirty cents? Twenty cents? Try again, less than half a penny....I think we should actually spend more. I'd hate to see where the US is in 10 years if we take away all of the science, exploration, and education NASA provides. Perhaps we as a nation should just roll over and give up any science and technology leads we might still have to other countries? Budget cuts shut Fermilab down, funding was cut for the SSC, and wait, where again is the LHC? Not in the US. Personally I feel we should spend more on science and NASA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i2QD...e_gdata_player

    I think I've seen that guy behind the podium somewhere, too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeya View Post
    Absolutely. And just to help put things in perspective, the money spent on the last bank bailout was more than the entire 50 year budget of NASA.
    Seeya,

    Please don't go there. If you haven't looked at our rules, please do so. Rule 12 forbids the discussion of politics and religion on BAUT, with a few exceptions. One of those exceptions is the politics of space exploration. But we try to keep that narrowly focused. As soon as you start comparing the NASA budget to specific other budget items, you start to mix in non-space-exploration politics. Please don't do so again.
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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    They've put us directly on another train wreck that simply suits their own diabolical ends. Nothing more. I don't think anyone with an iota of knowledge and honesty can look at SLS and see it as the right way forward. Not one person whose engineering, political or scientific credentials I respect has views that match yours. Not one.
    Please keep it polite. Disagreement is fine, but it has to be polite disagreement.
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    Profuse apologies.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Largely, the same people who don't want to spend money on scientific explorations don't think the planet needs cleaning up. They'll just spend it on something stupid like stealth potato peelers.
    At the risk of getting a little to political, I am hoping this still fits the "related to space" exception.

    I have heard at least one candidate say that global warming is a hoax.
    So; science is being lost in politics, and the idea of space research to help the planet will probably be the first casualty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    So we're building a rocket now (designed by politicians) for a use that has not been stated, and for a payload hasn't been specified and we can't even afford to think about building until somewhere between 13 and 18 years from now.
    Please provide support for your claim. At least according to the last schedule I can find: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...stone-roadmap/ the maiden flight is still going to be Dec. 2017, with crewed lunar flyby in 2019. That's 6-8 years from now. Interestingly, that moon flight has been moved forward two years. That goes in line with my gut feeling that there will be political pressure to do a crewed lunar flyby in 2019. And that requires having the lifter operational on schedule.

    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    If a requirement is seen for a HLV - then put it out to bid.
    The US space program was suffering from a chicken-and-egg problem since 1972. There is no mission, so there is no need for heavy lift. There is no heavy lift, so there is no mission. Mandating construction of a heavy lifer breaks the cycle. In a backwards, roundabout, way, but it does finally break it.

    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    What we have now is a handful of politicians essentially defrauding the USA out of a sustainable, exciting and frontier pushing space program.
    You cannot be defrauded out of something you don't have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    Given the design cycle for a complex payload of that mass
    If we're talking robotic exploratory mission, I don't think anyone will want to send 70 tons of hardware. Rather, having a heavy lifter allows launching spacecraft carrying a lot of propellant. Moons of Jupiter will be finally accessible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamaz View Post
    Please provide support for your claim.
    http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/pag...on_2011-08.pdf and http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/new...at-wsj-article

    And as for using it for robotic exploration.... we can't afford to do anything substantial in that regard currently, or in the foreseeable future. The idea of a robotic project that could afford an SLS launch is laughable.

    One that used a Falcon Heavy, is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    So we're building a rocket now (designed by politicians) for a use that has not been stated, and for a payload hasn't been specified and we can't even afford to think about building until somewhere between 13 and 18 years from now.
    "can't even afford to think about building until" - Building what?

    According to "The actual Senate Authorization Act", those costs are part of the budget.

    As far as "we can't afford...", I'm not sure what you are saying. We can't afford the budget, or the budget can't afford the program?
    The prior is opinion. The latter refutes what you said, and corresponds to the charts in your links.

    I don't mind opinion and have concerns myself, but your information is not supporting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Building what?
    Payloads to utilize the SLS. Show me where the budget items are for a beyond LEO habitat, or a lunar lander etc etc.

    Note that Orion itself could be launched on modest derivatives of several existing LV's.

    By 'can't afford it' - I meant that given the flat NASA budget, the quantity of it being swallowed by SLS development is out of scope to its benefits. One doesn't need to be a genius to know that it's going to go over budget - history teaches us that lesson very very well - and yet more programs will be cut back to pay for a rocket that we can't afford to use.

    SLS is a jobs program. Not a foundation for exploration. It's so very patently clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    Payloads to utilize the SLS. Show me where the budget items are for a beyond LEO habitat, or a lunar lander etc etc.
    That's much clearer. The way I read your statement, it could apply to building the SLS itself.

    Well; my opinion is the chicken and the egg. Can't budget for the paylod if you don't have something to lift it with. But; we've had two administrations pushing for some kind of BEO mission so I don't think the idea is lost... just the scale, cost and timeline.

    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    By 'can't afford it' - I meant that given the flat NASA budget, the quantity of it being swallowed by SLS development is out of scope to its benefits. One doesn't need to be a genius to know that it's going to go over budget - history teaches us that lesson very very well - and yet more programs will be cut back to pay for a rocket that we can't afford to use.
    So, like I said, your view is based on opinion and trends rather than actual plans... I agree with your view (mostly). I just wanted to point out that the items you brought up to back your opinion do not support it.

    Unfortunately; I'm also a dreamer, and I'm hoping *cough* that history doesn't repeat it itself and this will both increase interest in spending the money to utilize it and/or will be eased by a near future administration willing to throw some more funding at it (even if it's just a jobs program). Or; maybe even utilize it as the sunk cost fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    SLS is a jobs program. Not a foundation for exploration. It's so very patently clear.
    Absolutely. But that goes into a political debate atthe expense of exploration instead of a political debate about the expense of exploration. So; I will stop there.

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    The US space program was suffering from a chicken-and-egg problem since 1972. There is no mission, so there is no need for heavy lift. There is no heavy lift, so there is no mission. Mandating construction of a heavy lifer breaks the cycle. In a backwards, roundabout, way, but it does finally break it.


    Or a much more likely explanation is that our leaders never wanted to have a mission, but they still wanted all the earmarks that would go along with it. So they concoct things like Constellation and now SLS to kick the can down the road and waste billions of dollars. Besides, going with an HLV to go directly from the ground to the moon/mars/ceres/whereever is a very shortsighted, backwards way of doing it. It's all a shell game.



    You cannot be defrauded out of something you don't have.
    No but you can be defrauded out of the promise of something. The Augustine Commisission determined that the Constellation program's budget and estimated expenses were being underestimated by IIRC several billion dollars. They also found that the Ares 1, the little one, had a recurring launch cost of $1 billion a pop. I cringe to think about the cost overruns and wildly inflated launch costs the SLS is going to have.

    If I had $10,000 I'd wager the SLS will never fly an actual mission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aquitaine View Post
    If I had $10,000 I'd wager the SLS will never fly an actual mission.
    So would I. It's Constellation 2.

    Infact, I'd put that much on Falcon Heavy flying before any new rocket from ULA / KSC / Washington.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aquitaine View Post
    Or a much more likely explanation is that our leaders never wanted to have a mission, but they still wanted all the earmarks that would go along with it. So they concoct things like Constellation and now SLS to kick the can down the road and waste billions of dollars. Besides, going with an HLV to go directly from the ground to the moon/mars/ceres/whereever is a very shortsighted, backwards way of doing it. It's all a shell game.
    And lets not forget the way one President after another has made grandiose promises about the Moon or Mars; knowing full well that they weren't going to fund them but with dates set far enough in the future that they would be retired and their successors could carry the can when it didn't happen.

    No but you can be defrauded out of the promise of something. The Augustine Commisission determined that the Constellation program's budget and estimated expenses were being underestimated by IIRC several billion dollars. They also found that the Ares 1, the little one, had a recurring launch cost of $1 billion a pop. I cringe to think about the cost overruns and wildly inflated launch costs the SLS is going to have.

    If I had $10,000 I'd wager the SLS will never fly an actual mission.
    Given NASA's track record I don't think you'll find many willing to take that bet.

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    If this has already been posted here or on another thread, I apologize.

    News from the National Academies; Feb 1:



    Report Identifies 16 Highest Priorities to Guide NASA's Technology Development Efforts for Next Five Years

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    At the risk of getting a little to political, I am hoping this still fits the "related to space" exception.

    I have heard at least one candidate say that global warming is a hoax.
    So; science is being lost in politics, and the idea of space research to help the planet will probably be the first casualty.
    It's impossible to talk about government budgeting without getting into politics. Alas (I see an infraction coming....), there is a portion of the US political establishment that considers reality to be something that's defined by writings from a pre-industrial tribe in the Middle East, and this same establishment believes than any government spending not devoted to killing foreigners is wasted.

    Now, getting back to something less political -- or at least political in a less unacceptable way -- I do hope that the various private space launch services succeed in ways that are a bit more than just having NASA or the DoD writing checks to them for the fig-leaf of privatization. There is absolutely no reason why a company like Intel or GE can't fund some projects to see if microgravity processing of silicon provides real benefits or whether microgravity allows large sheets of optical-grade sapphire or ruby to be grown.
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    Neil De Grasse Tyson was recently on Coast to Coast AM, and was on Bill Maher last night, where he called for a selection of launch vehicles for differing destinations.

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