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Thread: Newt Gingrich on the Moon

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacKuo View Post
    But which ATK doubled down on by scrapping the 4 segment production capabilities and daring anyone to scrap 5 segment.
    Hold on. How can one make a 5-segment SRB without being able to make a 4-segment one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    Heard a tweet about Gingrich's proposal being illegal under the Outer Space Treaty.
    Nothing in the OST prohibits building an American Moon base. Quite the contrary in fact; the OST says that US-launched space hardware must remain under US jurisdiction. So that's probably about his idea to incorporate the Moon into the US expressed in the same speech. This would be illegal, since OST says you can't make territorial claims to the Moon. But it appears this is not a part of the actual moon base proposal:

    From the campaign trail in Florida on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told supporters that earlier in his career he introduced something called the Northwest Ordinance for Space. He acknowledged that it was the “weirdest thing” he’s ever done, but today he says he stands by what it called for.

    “I think the number is 13,000 — when we have 13,000 Americans living on the moon, they can petition to become a state,” recalled Gingrich.

    The crowd in Cocoa, Florida responded with both laughter and applause.

    “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” Gingrich added. “We will have commercial near-Earth activities that include science, tourism and manufacturing.”
    http://www.eurasiareview.com/2601201...st-state-oped/

    ETA: Sorry. It appears that he indeed proposed that although the relationship between both his proposals is unclear:

    "I will, as president, encourage the introduction of the Northwest Ordinance for Space to put a marker down, that we want Americans to think boldly about the future,"
    http://prospect.org/article/space-case

    Passing such act would indeed require withdrawing from OST.

  3. #33
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    Yes--to the Moon!

    [Right after we get SLS (2020), CSL (2025), WIN (2031), LOLWUT (2035), etc., etc., etc...]

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    I think a perm American base on the moon would be great for national security.
    No, not like you might be thinking. I am not talking about the moon nation throwing rocks on countries.
    I mean, if the USA gets pushed too far the federal government could threaten the world with doomsday as in "what do we care? The Americans on the moon can just come down and repopulate the planet and we, in a sense, win".

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Thompson View Post
    ...
    That's over the line, and over the edge. Infraction given as the poster should know better (from a previous similar infraction a couple of days ago).

    Please, don't respond to that post.
    I don't see any Ice Giants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamaz View Post
    Hold on. How can one make a 5-segment SRB without being able to make a 4-segment one?
    A 5 segment SRB is almost a new design, due to the way solid rocket booster combustion works. The cross section of the molds needs to be different, or you'd end up with too much gas pressure from too high a combustion rate. This is one of the reasons why the Ares I-X was such a pathetic waste.

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    In this forum we try to avoid political comments.. But we can without fear discus his proposal...

    For this proposal is just what we would want. NASA and a full time manned base on the Moon.

    I can only just begin to imagine the technical advancements required for the duration of the lunar station..

    We best break out the drawing boards..

    Or is this just to win Florida...? Oh I hope not. That would be shallow... and damaging.

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    With the perspective of a few thousand miles, from England this just looks like electioneering. However, I unreservedly hope this happens but with multi national collaboration.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamaz View Post
    http://prospect.org/article/space-case
    Passing such act would indeed require withdrawing from OST.
    The article paraphrased him, so I went on a search for the correct context. (Newt Shoots for the Moon)
    And, it still seems like it would violate the OST.

    “When we have 13,000 Americans living on the moon, they can petition to become a state,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
    It was accepted as a joke, but I wonder if it was meant as one. Maybe the crowd knows that he can't do that.

    But; I found another statement in there that sounded interesting.
    He said he wants the country to be able to launch multiple spacecraft daily and partner with private industry to eliminate bureaucracy and make development cheaper.
    Even at $50M per launch, you're talking about using up the entire NASA budget. And that doesn't even consider the cost of the missions that those launches are providing. Where's that money going to come from? I doubt there's enough private interest to keep something like that alive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Thompson View Post
    How about energy? Collect solar power and send it to earth via microwave !
    Why would you do that? It'll be dark 50% of the time, just like somewhere equatorial on Earth.

    Why not just build solar panels on the Earth instead?

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    Ah newt, if only what you said had ANY chance of actually happening.. I'd vote for you from here, Europe.
    Nothing but empty nationalistic boasting meant to mobilize a certain segment of the Republican electorate. All American presidents have made similar pronouncements since Apollo, and we know what came from them - nothing.
    Comments like this and Romney's responce reminds me of the 1970's during the beginning of the microcomputer revolution. The conventional wisdom was that ordinary people didn't really need their own computers, and didn't want them. The big mainframe and minicomputer manufacturers at the time scoffed at the idea of the computer escaping from their sealed off dungeons in big companies and governments. Even when reality finally caught up to IBM, they still did not really accept it and called their PC division "Entry Level Computing Division". The result was more than a few of those pioneers who challenged that notion walked away with millions and billions.

    The article paraphrased him, so I went on a search for the correct context. (Newt Shoots for the Moon)
    And, it still seems like it would violate the OST.
    The US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty a decade ago, so it wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened.

    Even at $50M per launch, you're talking about using up the entire NASA budget. And that doesn't even consider the cost of the missions that those launches are providing. Where's that money going to come from? I doubt there's enough private interest to keep something like that alive.
    Tourism, industrial investment in orbital and eventually lunar R&D in addition to sattelite launching services should be enough to get it started. Don't forget that much of the mission cost comes from NASA's bloated bureaucracy, and the fact that we're still calling something like this a "mission" when it would be a corporate venture says something about the conventional wisdom regarding this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aquitaine View Post
    Comments like this and Romney's responce reminds me of the 1970's during the beginning of the microcomputer revolution. The conventional wisdom was that ordinary people didn't really need their own computers, and didn't want them. The big mainframe and minicomputer manufacturers at the time scoffed at the idea of the computer escaping from their sealed off dungeons in big companies and governments. Even when reality finally caught up to IBM, they still did not really accept it and called their PC division "Entry Level Computing Division". The result was more than a few of those pioneers who challenged that notion walked away with millions and billions.
    Apples and oranges. The microcomputer revolution had a lot to do with advances in electronics, miniaturization and cost. Personal applications were not feasable until costs came down.
    (ETA: and that was a revolution that came naturally with no government incentives)

    Quote Originally Posted by aquitaine View Post
    Tourism, industrial investment in orbital and eventually lunar R&D in addition to sattelite launching services should be enough to get it started.
    Let's take this step by step:
    Tourism: How much do you think is really out there to help support a lunar base?
    Industrial investment in orbital: Exactly what kind of industrial investment, and how does orbital apply to a moon base?
    Lunar R&D: What kind of R&D will benefit from being on the moon when it will take billions to invest in?
    Satellite launching: We already have that. SpaceX and ULA (and others) already have a robust industry for launches. What more can there be in relation to satellites?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquitaine View Post
    Don't forget that much of the mission cost comes from NASA's bloated bureaucracy, and the fact that we're still calling something like this a "mission" when it would be a corporate venture says something about the conventional wisdom regarding this issue.
    Please explain that.
    Yes; NASA has a bloated bureaucracy. But; even if you trim it down by a magnitude, you are still talking about missions in the billions of dollars. And; NASA has been primarily scientific missions that no other single entity would be able to afford to undertake.
    I believe you don't understand what I mean by mission. The proposal is only talking about transportation and some infrastructure. It says nothing about what will be done once we have the ability to get there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellow View Post
    With the perspective of a few thousand miles, from England this just looks like electioneering.
    There is that, but Newt Gingrich honestly does have a long standing passion for the space program.

    Incidentally, the other Republican candidates have pounced on this speech to ridicule Newt Gingrich. They have been piling it on so thick that I'm afraid the space program itself is being slighted as a joke. This is quite sad. They would never make these mocking, derisive jokes if we were talking about soldiers rather than astronauts.

    And what's even more sad is how this compares to when the Republicans pounced on President Obama for his space policy. They universally criticized Obama's policies, but they didn't make a joke of them.

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    I'm sorry. I laugh every time I read the title to this thread.

    Have to leave it at that or risk infraction.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacKuo View Post
    Incidentally, the other Republican candidates have pounced on this speech to ridicule Newt Gingrich.
    Without getting into some peeves that aren't appropriate here, there's one question that I have that I haven't heard from the other candidates on this subject. That is: "then what is your plan?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacKuo View Post
    Incidentally, the other Republican candidates have pounced on this speech to ridicule Newt Gingrich.
    Let me first introduce my perspective: I am not American, and all I know about Newt is that I remember him as a House speaker under Clinton. So, I am completely neutral about this guy, because I simply don't know much about him. And I'm orders of magnitude more interested in his ideas about space than in him.

    So, yesterday I went looking for articles describing Newt's speech. Most comments were heavily politicized. That's expected; you may not like the guy or agree with him. But then I saw something very disturbing and unexpected: ridicule.

    Now, that's a really serious matter here. Newt's plan seems to be basically Bush II's plan from 2004 (with some free-market rethoric thrown in). You may not like it, you may think there is no money for it, you may think it's a waste... but it ain't no science fiction. It's doable. It amounts to landing some stuff on the Moon, and moving people back and from the Moon. We knew how to do that back in 1969. But it gets worse. Newt seems to be getting most of the ridicule for proposing a lunar colony. As if lunar colony is something impossible and lunatic (pun intended)... Excuse me? Back in 1960s everyone thought we are going to get lunar colonies in a few years! Lem was writing stories set on the Moon by dozens. Kubrick made a movie where a Moon base features prominently. Someone even said Ten years ago the Moon was an inspiration to poets and an opportunity for lovers . Ten years from now it will be just another airport. But 40 years later, when an experienced politician (i.e. not some random crank) proposes a moon base and colony, he gets laughed at. It's as if these commenters thought that moon bases and moon colonies are impossible anyway, and so whoever talks about them must be insane. That's the tone of most of the ridicule he is getting for this.

    And that's scary. Because, by a weird coincidence, I watched Jeff Greason's TEDx talk recently. If you have 15 minutes, it's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PlzDgFQMM And at the beginning of this talk, Jeff says:

    A few years ago my son looked up at me one night and asked me [...]: "Daddy, is it really true that they used to fly to the Moon when you were a boy?"

    And that shook me. And it still does. It shook me, because that's how a dark age begins. A dark age is not just when you as a civilization have forgotten how to do something. It's when you forget that you ever could.
    Americans have forgotten that it's possible to build a moon base.

    The horror. The horror.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamaz View Post
    You may not like it, you may think there is no money for it, you may think it's a waste... but it ain't no science fiction. It's doable.
    Are you talking about the technology or the funding?

    Quote Originally Posted by kamaz View Post
    Newt seems to be getting most of the ridicule for proposing a lunar colony. As if lunar colony is something impossible and lunatic (pun intended)... Excuse me? Back in 1960s everyone thought we are going to get lunar colonies in a few years!
    A lunar colony is just part of it. The other part is that it will be done just by dangling a funding carrot out in some aerospace company's nose.
    Yes; The 60's seemed like anything was possible. Then the economy in the 70s made people think.

    It's a big jump from lunar base to lunar colony (I envision the latter to be somewhat self sufficient).

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Are you talking about the technology or the funding?
    The technology exists; mission hardware does not, but US can built it if it wants to. No magic required, only time and money. Cost: Spudis and Lavoie costed the Moon base at $87B over 16 years (including the SLS/SDHLV); their budget stays flat around $5B per year. That's around 0.15% of the Federal spending. Or less than 30% of NASA's budget. Cost reduction seems possible if launches were done using commercial providers instead of SLS (F9H, ULA's HLV). So, doable if political will exists to allocate the funding. Which what this thread is about.

    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Yes; The 60's seemed like anything was possible. Then the economy in the 70s made people think.
    No, Nixon literally trashed Saturn V, Apollo and NERVA and went for Shuttle which failed to deliver. That set us back decades. At high level, the current effort very much looks like trying to rebuild the capabilities we've had back in 1972. (Saturn-SLS, Apollo-CEV, and the newest Mars DRM features NTRs).

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    Why would you do that? It'll be dark 50% of the time, just like somewhere equatorial on Earth.

    Why not just build solar panels on the Earth instead?
    Solar power stations have their issues and it's debatable if they'd be worth the cost, but not for those reasons.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-b...wer#Advantages

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    He's talking about putting them on the moon. The moon has day night cycles, just like the Earth. There are peaks of no darkness at the poles, but they don't have 24/7 visibility of the Earth.

    Until it's cheaper to put solar arrays into space than it is to drive them to a desert - the entire concept of space based solar power production is frankly, nothing short of delusional.

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    Again, for those who think that private enterprise will explore anywhere in the Solar System: where's the immediate profit? Come on, write a business plan that will convince a venture capitalist to loan the money to do anything other than a) bid for government launches paid for by NASA or other government entities or b) launch communication and weather satellites.

    Then start hitting the streets, and tell me when you've gotten the money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacKuo View Post
    For interesting definitions of vintage Shuttle hardware. The ET is stretched 212 feet, and the SRBs are the infamous 5 segment SRBs. That still haven't flown. But which ATK doubled down on by scrapping the 4 segment production capabilities and daring anyone to scrap 5 segment.

    Unfortunately, it's now impossible to go with the vintage Shuttle hardware approach. ATK has made sure of that by burning the bridges on the less expensive faster option.
    I find that both surprising -- NASA's procurement system is probably based on the DoD's, where everything from preliminary design drawings to production tooling is owned by the government -- and appalling. Of course, the government ordering the destruction of tooling is not unheard of; it was done by Rumsfeld when he ended F-14 production during the elder Bush administration.

    addendum: I did a very preliminary poke into NASA's procurement rules. If NASA paid for the SRB production tooling, it's government property. I suspect that in one of the Constellation contracts let in the past decade or so, ATK was specifically allowed to "repurpose" the 4-segment tooling.

    --------

    References:

    http://prod.nais.nasa.gov/far/far055...2_248_253.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I wonder if the fact that the next primary is Florida and Florida has a lot of NASA employees and contractors is part of the reason for the timing of this speech? Just wondering...
    ^what him say.

    His announcement kinda lacks the oomph of Kennedy's "not because they are easy, but because they are hard" rhetoric. Plus, without an adversarial race to push, it's not like there's much motivation in DC to actually do anything serious.

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    So, all Newt's putative private-enterprise moonbase has to overcome is a) there's no money to be made with it and b) it's hideously expensive. Shockingly, these are just the two reasons that would keep private enterprise from having any interest in doing it.

    Of course, it was private enterprise that got us to the Moon in 1969. It's just that the government paid them large sums of money to do it. That's the only way we'll get back there in the lifetime of anybody or their grandchildren.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Again, for those who think that private enterprise will explore anywhere in the Solar System: where's the immediate profit? Come on, write a business plan that will convince a venture capitalist to loan the money to do anything other than a) bid for government launches paid for by NASA or other government entities or b) launch communication and weather satellites.

    Then start hitting the streets, and tell me when you've gotten the money.
    Your looking at the wrong sort of private funding there, what you need is something more like Paul Allen with Spaceship One or the current Google Lunar X-Prize, private money being attracted without the immediate prospect of a financial payoff, some of the mission being planned for the Lunar X-Prize will cost more than the prize, as did SpaceShip One for that matter. What you are looking for isn't a venture capitalist; it's a philanthropist who can be persuaded that going back to the moon really is 'for all mankind'.

    Also the NASA figures for going back to moon reflect the cost of doing business the NASA/Government way, it's possible that a private outfit could do things for considerably less. Consider that Bill Gates has put already put $26 Billion behind his charitable foundation, find the right backer and its possible.

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    Except that Gringrich doesn't want to do it "for all mankind", he explicitly wants to limit it to the part of it labeled with a certain three-letter acronym. For that, you need a chauvinist, not a philanthropist.
    (English is not my first language, so please excuse any mistakes and unintended ambiguities.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daggerstab View Post
    Except that Gringrich doesn't want to do it "for all mankind", he explicitly wants to limit it to the part of it labeled with a certain three-letter acronym. For that, you need a chauvinist, not a philanthropist.
    The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. And I was really talking about the more general point that if you are looking for private money the get rich quick types are a bust, you need to find someone who sees the bigger picture. Gingrich has to worry about selling it to the US public, so naturally he has to ham it up more than a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Your looking at the wrong sort of private funding there, what you need is something more like Paul Allen with Spaceship One or the current Google Lunar X-Prize, private money being attracted without the immediate prospect of a financial payoff, some of the mission being planned for the Lunar X-Prize will cost more than the prize, as did SpaceShip One for that matter. What you are looking for isn't a venture capitalist; it's a philanthropist who can be persuaded that going back to the moon really is 'for all mankind'.

    Also the NASA figures for going back to moon reflect the cost of doing business the NASA/Government way, it's possible that a private outfit could do things for considerably less. Consider that Bill Gates has put already put $26 Billion behind his charitable foundation, find the right backer and its possible.
    If you can find a philanthropist to cough up 2.6e10 dollars, you may have enough for a manned moon launch, but since NASA's estimate was $2.3e11, I don't think "getting government out of the way" will reduce costs by 90%.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    If you can find a philanthropist to cough up 2.6e10 dollars, you may have enough for a manned moon launch, but since NASA's estimate was $2.3e11, I don't think "getting government out of the way" will reduce costs by 90%.
    Well, if you have a philantropist with 2.6e10 dollars, you can do a lot of cool things in space. A half of that would buy a lot of R&D.

    If you gave the other half of this money to Elon Musk to launch nothing but Falcon 9's at standard prices, you'd buy 2363 launches with 10'450kg to LEO each, resulting in delivering total of 2.47e7 kg to LEO. If your moon landing system could put a conservative 10% of IMLEO on the lunar surface, you'd end up delivering a total of 2.47e6 kg to the Moon.

    On the other hand, there is no weed to limit yourself to Falcons. For 1.3e10 dollars in cash, Elon, Russians, or possibly even ULA, would gladly build you a honest heavy lifter. Elon claimed he could build one for 2.5e9 dollars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Apples and oranges. The microcomputer revolution had a lot to do with advances in electronics, miniaturization and cost. Personal applications were not feasable until costs came down.
    (ETA: and that was a revolution that came naturally with no government incentives)

    Its only apples and oranges if you completely missed the point. Firstly the microelectronics advances up to that point were very much developed for the government, mostly for the defence department. Secondly those leading computer companies I mentioned took these advances in microelectronics and built faster mainframes. They had absolutly no interest in developing a microcomputer because they all convinced themselves there was no demand for them. IBM's decision to make their first PC open architecture instead of their traditional ultra proprietary approach was entirely because they were so completely blindsided by the success of the Apple 2 they were desperate to get a competitor to market before it got too big for them to take on. No "serious" investors and businessmen believed the microcomputer could be a success and Apple proved them wrong. Perception rules reality, and thats why paying attention to human attitudes is just as important as the technology behind it.

    Let's take this step by step:
    Tourism: How much do you think is really out there to help support a lunar base?
    Industrial investment in orbital: Exactly what kind of industrial investment, and how does orbital apply to a moon base?
    Lunar R&D: What kind of R&D will benefit from being on the moon when it will take billions to invest in?
    Satellite launching: We already have that. SpaceX and ULA (and others) already have a robust industry for launches. What more can there be in relation to satellites?
    Tourism: Depends on how many millionaires and billionaires we have on this planet. Eventually costs will go down as more people do it.

    Industrial investment in orbital: It applies because setting up infrastructure in orbit will allow us to have ships that only stay in space. Once that is done, going to the moon is easy and drastically less expensive. It also has the additional effect of lowering launch costs from Earth. Industrial development would be mostly focused in R&D.

    Lunar R&D: Luna, and the Earth's orbit too, are very unique environments. The microgravity in and of itself is a feature that does have effects in fields relating to medicine, biology and materials science allowing us to advance these fields in ways that would be impossible on Earth. I'll let the below picture do the talking:



    Sattelite launches: It helps because it increases the total number of launches which keeps launch costs lower.


    Please explain that.
    Yes; NASA has a bloated bureaucracy. But; even if you trim it down by a magnitude, you are still talking about missions in the billions of dollars. And; NASA has been primarily scientific missions that no other single entity would be able to afford to undertake.
    I believe you don't understand what I mean by mission. The proposal is only talking about transportation and some infrastructure. It says nothing about what will be done once we have the ability to get there.
    NASA's scientific missions are mostly about really basic science (like the Kepler mission) that are not of commercial value. Our space launch capacity has been, until just now, totally monopolized by NASA. That by itself dramatically raises the costs of doing anything in space. To give you some idea as to the extent to which NASA's bureacracy inflates costs, the Ares 1 was looking at launch costs upwards of $1 billion. Compare that with $78 million for the Falcon 9 heavy lift which has nearly double the LEO lift capacity. The problem with NASA is that more often than not it's viewed by congresscritters as a giant piece of pork instead of what it should be: a tool to advance our interests in space. As such booting NASA out of the truck drivers seat will lower the costs of getting into space by several orders of magnitude. One positive note is that for the same budget it allows NASA to have MORE cutting edge exploration and scientific missions (both manned and unmanned) and those can be done BETTER than what we are doing today. Isn't this a good thing?

    NASA isn't the only party guilty of wildly inflating costs, their contractors are just as bad:

    Cost plus
    "Beyond These considerations stands the government contracting system, known as "cost plus," which has been in place for some time now in the United States. According to the people who invented the system, it is essential that corporations be prevented from earning excessive profits on government contracts. Therefore, rather than negotiate a fixed price for a piece of hardware and allow the company to make a large profit or loss on the job depending on what its internal costs might be, regulators have demanded that the company document its internal costs in detail and then be allowed to charge a small fixed percentage fee (genarlly in the 10 percent range) above those costs as profit. This system has served to multiple the costs of government contracting tremendously, so much so that it has produced public scandals when news leaks out thabout the military paying $700 for a hammer or a toilet seat cover.

    [b]To see how this works, consider the case of the Lockheed Martin corporation, the largest aerospace contractor in the world. I was employed as a senoir, and later staff, engineer at the prime facility of this company for seven years. Lockheed Martin almost never accepts hardware contracts on a fixed cost basis. That is, the company rarely says to the U.S. government, "We will produce the ABC vehicle for you at a price of $X. If it costs us less than $X to make it, we will make a profit. If it costs us more, we will take a loss." Instead, most important contracts are negotiated along the following lines: "We will produce ABC vehicle for you at a cost of about $X. We will then add a 10 percent for to whatever it actually costs us to produce to provide the company with a modest profit." In other words, the more the ABC vehicle costs to produce, the more money the company makes. Hence, in addition to the vast numbers of accounting personnel that the cost-plus contracting sytstemn necessarily entails, the company is saturated with "planners" "marketeers" and "matrix managers" among swarms of other overhead personnel. Of the 9,000 people employed at the Lockheed Martin main plant in Denver (where the Atlas and Titan launch vehicles are made) only about 1,000 actually work in the factory. The fact that Lockheed Martin is keenly competitive with other aerospace giants indicates that thier overhead structures are similar.[b]

    In the context of this regime, government willingess to give such corporations cost-plus contracts for product improvement can acutally serve as disincentive for company investment in innovation. A number of years ago, I was part of a team that proposed a new upper stage for the Titan rocket, which would have increased the vehicle's performance by 50 percent. Creating the new upper stage would have required a company investment of abou $150 million. (Asingle Tital launch sells for between $200 million and $400 million.) The coporation's management declined, saying, in effect, "If the Air Force wants us to improve the Titan, they will pay us to do it." As a result, the Titan was not improved and the company's commercial Titan line was shut down when all of its private-market business was taken by the slightly less obsolescent French Ariane. The company didn't mind much, however, as all of its cost-plus U.S. government launch contracts are protected by law from foreign competition, and it faces no U.S. competitors in the Titan's payload class."
    Source

    From what we've seen with collosal cost overruns from the F-22 and F-35 projects, its reasonable to assume this description is accurate. Now given that NASA's launch vehicles are built by companies like this, is it any wonder going to space is "too expensive"? When these markups are added all the way from the launch system to the moon base itself it is too expensive. So instead of throwing up our hands and giving up, why not cut out all the middlemen so you and I can go? That way ordinary people going into space wont be any more of a mission than flying an airplane from one city to another.

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