Congress, NASA

Other notes from yesterday’s hearing

Besides the news that NASA was transferring Constellation program manager Jeff Hanley to a different position at JSC, a few other items of note from the hearing:

  • At the hearing NASA administrator Charles Bolden revealed the estimated cost of developing Orion as a crew return vehicle only: $4.5 billion over five years. Where the money will come from hasn’t been determined yet, but a spokesperson told the New York Times it won’t come from the $6 billion for commercial crew over the same time span in the existing budget proposal, but from “elsewhere in the human spaceflight program.”
  • Bolden did not get much of a warm reception from members of the committee. As Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) put it late in Bolden’s panel, “By now you have probably figured out that this committee is not with you.” But that opposition wasn’t unanimous. Shortly before Garamendi spoke, Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) praised plans in the proposal to mount a human mission to a near Earth asteroid by 2025. “That captures my imagination, actually,” she said.
  • Late in the second panel, which featured Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and Tom Young, all critical of the budget proposal (in particular its emphasis on commercial crew), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) expressed his frustration with what to him appeared to be a one-sided hearing. “It has not been a balanced hearing,” he told committee chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN). “We have not received both sides of this issue at all from this presentation.” Rohrabacher added that before the committee takes up a NASA authorization bill “we would have a panel presented to us that could give both sides of the issue.” Gordon defended the makeup of the hearing, noting that Bolden testified for two hours and that presidential science advisor John Holdren was invited but could not attend. “You can be well assured that we are not one hearing away from an authorization,” Gordon said, adding that he had talked yesterday with Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, an advocate of commercial spaceflight, who was interested in testifying.
  • The quote of the hearing, though, goes to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who sought to compare the capabilities of NASA versus the commercial sector when it comes to responding to a spaceflight crisis like Apollo 13. “I told the NASA administrator recently that my sense is that if a commercial enterprise had been running the space program at the time of Apollo 13, then all of those hundreds of engineers, mechanics, and other astronauts who worked so hard to make sure that the three men returned to Earth safely would have been replaced by one 20-year-old in a Grateful Dead t-shirt working on a laptop.”

188 comments to Other notes from yesterday’s hearing

  • amightywind

    “By now you have probably figured out that this committee is not with you.”

    Will Bolden take the hint? Doubtful. There is only one way for this to end, with Bolden’s departure.

    “Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) praised plans in the proposal to mount a human mission to a near Earth asteroid by 2015. ”

    LMAO! On what? A Soyuz? Is Elon Musk working on something in his Palo Alto garage that we don’t know about? Has the Ares/Orion project been accelerated overnight? It is hard to take Obamaspace zealots seriously.

    “Earth safely would have been replaced by one 20-year-old in a Grateful Dead t-shirt working on a laptop.”

    There your have it. Neil Armstrong or hippy acid freaks? Choose America.

  • Grayson is a jackass. Living here in Florida, unfortunately I have to watch his circus act on the nightly news.

  • Jeff Foust

    Sorry, “amightywind”, the 2015 was a typo on my part. It’s been corrected to 2025. Apologies if that takes any, um, wind out of your arguments…

  • amightywind

    Jeff Foust wrote:

    “Sorry, “amightywind”, the 2015 was a typo on my part. It’s been corrected to 2025. Apologies if that takes any, um, wind out of your arguments…”

    That’s ok, Jeff. Decade level least significant figures are the schedule accuracy I expect from Obamaspace.

  • CharlesTheSpaceGuy

    Florida has another prize winning representative; Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) would trust a crew to a college student?? Let’s see him trust the safety of his family to a similar situation. How such bozos get elected will never cease to amaze me.
    And we will develop Orion with about a billion dollars per year? Perhaps someone will tell what a Rescue vehicle consists of? For example will it have only batteries or will it be able to generate power? A “rescue” vehicle could be constrained to be very simple, or could be more capable. A billion per year is not much money to work with…

  • Grayson recently compared Republicans to Al Qaeda:

    http://wdbo.com/localnews/2010/05/alan-grayson-likens-republican.html

    During the health care debate, he said Republicans want sick people to die quickly:

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/scarce/grayson-gop-health-plan-youre-sick-die-quic

    He’s an embarrassment to his party and to the people of his district.

  • He’s an embarrassment to his party and to the people of his district.

    It’s a nominally Republican district that he only won by 52% in the 2008 Obama tidal wave. Only five months until the voters fix it.

  • Al Fansome

    The House Space Subcommittee is all theater.

    There will be no authorization bill that passes Congress, unless it is in support of the President’s proposal. The Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, who supports the President’s plan, will not go along with a bill that does not support the President’s plan. In other words, there will not be an authorization in this Congress.

    As has been stated by many, the real game is in Appropriations.

    The Chairman of House Appropriations and the Chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA, will both support the President’s plan. They have never supported the big government jobs program demanded by Alabama and Texas. They will make noises about listening to the House authorizers, but it will just be noises.

    The real game is Senate appropriations, and whether we actually will get to an FY11 appropriations.

    FWIW,

    – Al

  • Rand Simberg wrote:

    Only five months until the voters fix it.

    I’m listening to Grayson right now on Stephanie Miller. He sounds rational on the radio but put a TV camera on his face and he talks like a jackass.

    He just made a comment about cheap shots from the Republicans but then had the audacity to say, “It’s worse when it’s coming from your own party.” And yet he has no problem lying about Obama’s NASA proposal.

  • The amazing thing is the poisonous rhetoric about the majority of voters in his district. I haven’t seen his reelect numbers, but they can’t be good.

    I have to say, though, that Porter Griffith’s comments about “Ares V being the soul of America to the world,” and saying that having American private enterprise deliver astronauts to space was equivalent to outsourcing to Russia and China were pretty idiotic, too. I hope he loses his primary.

  • Ben Joshua

    Republicans in Grayson’s district are not well organized and lack a candidate with solid name recognition. They may win simply because it’s a republican district, but Grayson’s re-elect numbers are good (though soft) at this point.

    Grayson’s comments on NASA FY11 amount to posturing. He knows the hearings are a “Hail Mary” show, and that the appropriations people are “the deciders,” as Al Fansome correctly points out.

    Rohrabacher’s role is to blunt the PR value of the hearings, without further embarrassing Armstrong and Cernan, who have been placed, somewhat unprepared, in the DC maelstrom for parochial political use.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    I was very impressed by just one comment that Neil Armstrong made. He said that, whilst he believed all the funding in FY2011 would find recipients, he did not expect anything useful to come out of it. In other words, lots of R&D, possibly some demo flights but no operational capabilities. I think that he has worked out what is actually going on here.

    This is my personal concern on this plan: That all the R&D programs are simply white collar welfare to create jobs. The long-term investment of an actual program is not on the real agenda, no matter what fine rhetoric the President offers. “Decide on a design in 2015″ is a political synonym for “Not whilst I am President”. Complete hand over of crew launch to (as yet unidentified) commercial entities is also a very negative move, IMHO. It is saying: “So long as America has a commitment to send humans into space, we’ll find someone else to do it for us. However, we will not seek further commitments. Not whilst I am President.” Everything else is just words, IMHO.

  • Lol

    Chairman’s don’t decide the policy. The whole committee does. From what I saw yesterday I saw only Rohrbacher was for Obama’s plan. Every other person I saw was against it but I only caught the second half.
    hmm, 20-1 odds doesn’t look too good for Obama’s plan.
    Ares is here to stay! Get used to it.

  • Major Tom

    “This is my personal concern on this plan: That all the R&D programs are simply white collar welfare to create jobs. The long-term investment of an actual program is not on the real agenda”

    “R&D” is a “long-term investment” and it qualifies as an “actual program”.

    “‘Decide on a design in 2015′ is a political synonym for ‘Not whilst I am President.’”

    That assumes this President and this Administration plan on not winning a second term. He and they may not win, but I doubt that’s his or their plan.

    “Complete hand over of crew launch to (as yet unidentified) commercial entities is also a very negative move, IMHO.”

    Unlike all the Constellation solesourcing, NASA has to run a full and open competition for commercial crew. That takes more than a few months from when the budget it announced. The first solicitation is on the street.

    FWIW…

  • Ferris Valyn

    Lol – But not having Chairman Rockefeller on board isn’t a good thing. He has made his feelings about Constellation very clear.

    You can’t ignore him

  • Complete hand over of crew launch to (as yet unidentified) commercial entities is also a very negative move, IMHO. It is saying: “So long as America has a commitment to send humans into space, we’ll find someone else to do it for us. However, we will not seek further commitments. Not whilst I am President.” Everything else is just words, IMHO.

    With all due respect, that’s nutty. The companies are identified (SpaceX, ULA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing — there are no other viable possibilities with the possible exception of Sierra Nevada), and last time I checked, they are part of America, not “someone else.” And I’m pretty sure that the president at least hopes, if not expects, to be president in 2015.

  • Chairman’s don’t decide the policy. The whole committee does.

    Not that committee. The only committee that counts is appropriations. Other than that, the White House decides the policy.

  • Major Tom

    “Chairman’s don’t decide the policy. The whole committee does.”

    Not when the chair of corresponding Senate committee supports the Administration’s program, and not when their subcommittee has effectively no control over the budget pursestrings.

    “From what I saw yesterday I saw only Rohrbacher was for Obama’s plan. Every other person I saw was against it but I only caught the second half.”

    Even on that House authorization subcommittee and in that hearing, there were other supporters besides Rohrbacher.

    FWIW…

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    Everyone seems to be missing a point – 2015 might indeed be within a hypothetical second Obama term. However, making a decision on a design that year and any serious funding for development and production are very different things.

    Rand, I do understand what you are saying. The point that I’m trying to make is that SpaceX, ULA, etc are not state institutions. It is somewhat analogious of leasing a commercial airliner to transport troops to the ToO. A service operated and maintained by non-government external providers. Why? To minimise cost. It betrays an attitude that the ISS is an unfortunate commitment foisted on this Administration that deserves only the minimum investment to maintain, in this case a very basic Crew Taxi or two. I suspect that the hope is a couple of years of investment will lead to a massive reduction in cost enabling a run-down of the NASA budget in the near future.

  • Anne Spudis

    A lot off topic but in the NASA politics column:

    …..Mr. Horner said he expects the documents, primarily e-mails from scientists involved with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), will be yet another blow to the science behind global warming, which has come under fire in recent months after e-mails from a leading British research unit indicated scientists had manipulated some data.

    “What we’ve got is the third leg of the stool here, which is the U.S.-led, NASA-run effort to defend what proved to be indefensible, and that was a manufactured record of aberrant warming,” Mr. Horner said. “We assume that we will also see through these e-mails, as we’ve seen through others, organized efforts to subvert transparency laws like FOIA.”

    He said with a global warming debate looming in the Senate, NASA may be trying to avoid having embarrassing documents come out at this time, but eventually the e-mails will be released.

    …….James E. Hansen, director of GISS, said in a March memo that responding to FOIAs takes away from his time to do research.

    He called it “a waste of taxpayer money” and questioned the motives of those filing FOIA requests.

    “It seems that a primary objective of the FOIA requesters and the ‘harvesters’ is discussions that they can snip and quote out of context,” he said, warning that could confuse the public and that might delay the pressure Mr. Hansen said will be needed to force policymakers to combat global warming……

    [May 27, 2020] NASA accused of ‘Climategate’ Stalling

  • It is somewhat analogious of leasing a commercial airliner to transport troops to the ToO.

    This is hilarious. Are you really unaware that that’s exactly what they do? It’s called the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Most of the logistics for the first Gulf War were moved by Fedex. And yes, the troops rode in airliners.

  • Ferris Valyn

    I suspect that the hope is a couple of years of investment will lead to a massive reduction in cost enabling a run-down of the NASA budget in the near future.

    And again we are back to the whole “Obama is an evil man who is trying to kill your space program”

    Sigh

  • So now, reducing cost is something to be bewailed?

    I suspect that the hope is a couple of years of investment will lead to a massive reduction in cost enabling a run-down of the NASA budget in the near future.

    No, the hope (and intent, per the Augustine panel options) is to have the massive reduction in cost over Ares and Constellation be shifted to activities that will result in actual exploration, instead of make work for Marshall and KSC.

  • Grateful Dude

    You are your husbands nutty tin foil hat anti science conspiracies and theories make you your own worst enemies, you do know that, right?

    Science and its results are based upon multiple arguments and lines of evidence, and you are clearly unfamiliar with any of them wrt global warming.

  • t is somewhat analogious of leasing a commercial airliner to transport troops to the ToO.

    This is hilarious. Are you really unaware that that’s exactly what they do? It’s called the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Most of the logistics for the first Gulf War were moved by Fedex. And yes, the troops rode in airliners.

    And the military has been doing this for about 30 years. When my squadron rotated to Okinawa in 1982, it was on a DC Stretch 8.

    Commercial to LEO can work.

  • Al Fansome

    NASA could learn a lot from the DOD what to buy from private industry, and what not to buy.

    The DOD has been “outsourcing” many of the routine things for years, which has freed them up to focus on the key issues for the warfighter.

    DOD purchases a large part of the following things from US commercial providers:

    * Cargo delivery to the front
    * Troop delivery to the front
    * The majority of communications (to the front)
    * Remote sensing services (of the front)
    * Earth to orbit transportation services (of highly-valuable and critical spacecraft that lets the DOD see, and talk to, the front)

    This frees up the “limited resources” in the DOD budget for the “harder” parts of the DOD mission. Things like building the JSF, F-22, tanks, stealth bombers, and training and recruiting the world’s best fighting force.

    None of this “hand off” to private industry of important capabilities by the DOD came easy. In fact, each bullet point above was a point of serious contention because somebody’s ox was being gored.

    But it in the end it was a completely rational and justifiable change in the DOD business model.

    It also works.

    FWIW,

    - Al

  • Ben Joshua

    The congressional politics of NASA FY11 is theater (yesterday’s hearing) and appropriations.

    The hearing and its prior iterations sought to re-kindle the Apollo spirit in support of Ares.

    Appropriations Committee members hold the purse-strings, and are likely to leave NASA FY11 largely intact.

    Pro Constellation folks are not pleased, but I hope at some point they will look at the exploration possibilities in FY11, and at ways to ensure its success.

    The main thing is to avoid burning more money (which after all, has a louzy specific impulse) than hydrocarbons and hydrogen, because actually getting out there in a sustainable way is what counts.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Ben Russell-Gough wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 10:55 am
    It is somewhat analogious of leasing a commercial airliner to transport troops to the ToO.

    other then the fact that this is, as others have pointed out a completely wrong statement…what I find amazing is that you make it in today’s environment.

    I dont know how many news stories have shown troops in BDU’s with all the accutraments of combat walking up the boarding ladder with the nice looking (Insert airline here) Flight attendant from some airline standing at the door saying “hello”. Even Sarah Palin’s kid when he went to Iraq went on a commercial DC-10.

    the arguments that the anti forces make are so weak. I mean just pathetic. The other day on one of the facebook forums someone mentioned to me, who claims he works at KSC that “how can private industry handle docking at 17,500 mph”.

    Please at least attempt to come up with a rational argument.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    opps trying to hold baby and type…

    I wrote:

    other then the fact that this is, as others have pointed out a completely wrong statement…what I find amazing is that you make it in today’s environment.

    I dont know how many news stories have shown troops in BDU’s with all the accutraments of combat walking up the boarding ladder with the nice looking (Insert airline here) Flight attendant from some airline standing at the door saying “hello”. Even Sarah Palin’s kid when he went to Iraq went on a commercial DC-10.

    the arguments that the anti forces make are so weak. I mean just pathetic. The other day on one of the facebook forums someone mentioned to me, who claims he works at KSC that “how can private industry handle docking at 17,500 mph”.

    Please at least attempt to come up with a rational argument.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Al Fansome wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    nicely written Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Ben Russell-Gough wrote:

    “The long-term investment of an actual program is not on the real agenda, no matter what fine rhetoric the President offers. “Decide on a design in 2015″ is a political synonym for “Not whilst I am President”. “

    and:

    “Everyone seems to be missing a point – 2015 might indeed be within a hypothetical second Obama term. However, making a decision on a design that year and any serious funding for development and production are very different things.

    Are you trying to create a urban myth?

    Bolden SPECIFICALLY addressed this on May 12th. He said he asked the President to “challenge me” and proposed a final proposal NO LATER than 2015, not “in” 2015 like you keep repeating ad nauseum.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Vladislaw

    Can you drop me a quick email? I have something that may interest you

  • richardb

    My thinking about the Obama space plan has been it’s HSF on the cheap. It kills the actual procurement of expensive hardware in favor of R&D that historically fares poorly in Congress because there is no procurement while there is spending for things not likely to be used.

    I bring you today’s New York Times on yesterday’s House meeting.

    “But Mr. Gordon noted that the administration’s budget projections for what would be spent through 2025 on human spaceflight were far below what a blue-ribbon panel said last year was necessary for any program sending astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.

    “It does no good to cancel a program that the administration characterizes as ‘unexecutable’ if that program is simply replaced with a new plan that can’t be executed either,” Mr. Gordon said. ”

    Full story is here,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/science/space/27nasa.html?ref=science

    So there it is. Obama has no intention of pursuing BEO at all. It’s in the budget. Not only did Bush push grand goals without adequate funding, we now have Obama pushing lilliputian goals without adequate funding. Remember the man says he wants to go to asteroids, Lagrange points and Mars. He’s on record saying so. Bart Gordon showed yesterday that it’s just talk with no fiscal backing.

    For those of you taking comfort in all that extra R&D for “game changing” technology to get BEO, take comfort in this quote from the same story:

    A NASA spokeswoman said later that none of the financing for the Orion lifeboat would come from the $6 billion allocated to the commercial crew program, and that the offsetting funds would come from elsewhere in the human spaceflight program. ”

    Gee I wonder where those offsetting cuts will come from?

  • Robert G. Oler

    richardb wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    “So there it is. Obama has no intention of pursuing BEO at all.”

    thats OK there wasnt one under Bush the last either. There was a program that was keeping people employed and was spending LOTS of money but it wasnt even thinking about going to the Moon until 2020 or 2030…were you holding your breath?

    Robert G. Oler

  • Major Tom

    “‘But Mr. Gordon noted that the administration’s budget projections for what would be spent through 2025 on human spaceflight…’”

    There is no federal budget projection through 2025 for human space flight. Heck, there’s not even a federal budget projection through 2025 for NASA.

    The White House Office of Management and Budget releases a five-year budget projection for NASA. The last one was released in Feburary for the FY 2011 budget, which goes through FY 2015.

    “we now have Obama pushing lilliputian goals without adequate funding. Remember the man says he wants to go to asteroids, Lagrange points and Mars.”

    I don’t think the President mentioned manned missions to Lagrange points in his KSC speech.

    Moreover, since when are first-ever manned missions to Lagrange points, asteroids, and Mars “lilliputian [sic]” goals?

    And you do realize that manned missions to Lagrange points, asteroids, and Mars were also in the VSE under the Bush II Administration, right?

    “For those of you taking comfort in all that extra R&D for “game changing” technology to get BEO… Gee I wonder where those offsetting cuts will come from?”

    There’s more in the annual $9 billion civil human space flight program than game-changing R&D.

    FWIW…

  • “…one 20-year-old in a Grateful Dead t-shirt working on a laptop.”

    Hey Oler!

    Was he talkin’ about you?

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    @ Rand Simberg,

    Yes, I am aware that this is what they do. That is why I used the anology. Do try to keep up. :-)

  • I’d wish the people who feel the need to mock Robert were as willing to post their own names and not a handle as he is.

    “I sign what I write”
    Sam Seaborn (OK, really Aaron Sorkin)

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    I feel that I should actually expand on what exacly my concern is. My concern is that President Obama has concluded that the ISS is too important, in terms of international politics, for America to disentangle themselves from it. Therefore, he wants a minimum-cost maintenance scheme (commercial cargo and crew) and nothing else. Pay for the development of capability, outsource to that capability and then turn NASA’s HSF section into the travel agents that arranges the delivery of scientists to the ISS.

    Promises are fine. Rhetoric is wonderful. Commitment… well, I feel that this is somewhat iffy. Time will show whether these R&D projects will deliver anything except one-off demos. Time will also show whether or not the finalised design for the HLV will lead to the development and production of anything.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Max Peck wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    not in a GD tee shirt… Jefferson Airplane, Wagner…I like “The Dead” but am not a Dead head.

    The “irony” of Grayson’s statement however is that a “modern” laptop has the entire computing power of JSC in the Apollo era and with modern software should be able to cut the number of folks on the ground by LARGE numbers and in fact empower the crew on orbit to deal with an Apollo 13 type accident themselves.

    The later is essential if we are at some point to move into the realm of “tens of seconds” light distance from Earth exploration. Had the Apollo 13 event happen at about 99 percent of the time that a Mars crew would be in space; the crew would have to deal with it without much input from the folks on the ground.

    Even in the EArth/Moon realm modern space vehicles should be able to let most of the trouble shooting to be done on the space vehicle.

    NASA really needs a culture change in human spaceflight. Vehicles need to be developed (ISS Is really a kludge of software) that at least mimic modern airplanes/ships/subs/nuclear reactors where they are very “fault friendly” and more and more events need to move from “ground control” to the folks on orbit.

    That is resisted enormously by the culture at JSC.

    (and my wife says I am “twice the man” of any twenty year old take that as you will!)

    Robert G. Oler

  • Time will also show whether or not the finalised design for the HLV will lead to the development and production of anything.

    I’m hoping, if not expecting, that it will lead to propellant depots instead of an HLV.

  • richardb

    Oler, your need for snark is clouding your judgment. Bush did have a plan with hardware under contract, it was called Constellation. Underfunded yes, over budget yes. But our scared Augustine commission said it was a technically sound plan that would do the job…at a high price. Here is what Augustine said two days ago about Constellation: “”My one objective at this time, frankly, is to make sure we provide the funds for whatever objective we set,” Augustine said, “because that’s been the problem with the Constellation program. It has nothing to do with engineering or management. We tried to do great things without a great budget, and that just never works and never will.” ”

    Now we have a certain Democratic committee chairman pointing out that Obama’s plan is underfunded too, if BEO is the goal of it. It’s alleged that Obama picked an option from the Augustine smorgasbord, yet it’s called to our attention that it is “far below” what is needed. Explain to me why underfunding in the Bush years is bad while underfunding in the Obama years is ok.

  • Ben Russell-Gough wrote:

    My concern is that President Obama has concluded that the ISS is too important, in terms of international politics, for America to disentangle themselves from it.

    Why would we want to “disentangle” ourselves from it? We just spent decades and $100 billion building it. We promised our partners and the world that we would finally fulfill the promise to use space for scientific research. Under Constellation, that research station would be splashed into the ocean in 2015 to pay for a return to the Moon — once — near 2030. Just to get more rocks.

    That, in my opinion, is insane.

    We have lots and lots of agreements with other nations and the private sector to honor in performing scientific research aboard the ISS. I’m very excited by its potential, as are our partners. Obama wants to extend ISS until at least 2018 and we’re already talking with our partners to extend it to 2028. The expectation is that private sector firms will want to lease research time aboard ISS once they can have access via commercial LEO launches.

    To throw away all that for more Moon rocks is nutty.

  • richardb wrote:

    Explain to me why underfunding in the Bush years is bad while underfunding in the Obama years is ok.

    Underfunding either way is bad.

    But the difference is that Constellation was going to siphon away money from pretty much everything else NASA does — robotic missions, telescopes, climate change research, aeronautic technology. And the ISS would be splashed into the ocean in 2015.

    There’s no debate about that. It was designed to be that way from Day One. If you go on C-SPAN’s web site, you can find the video of the Senate hearing two weeks after Bush proposed it. Many of them warned this would happen, and Sean O’Keefe fully admitted it would.

    It’s nutty to splash ISS into the ocean right after finishing it at a cost of $100 billion. Obama’s proposal saves ISS and all the other major projects performed by NASA. That doesn’t happen if Constellation survives.

    If we all had our way, NASA would get $100 billion a year. But that’s not going to happen. The Obama proposal is rooted in the real world. We can do Constellation and go to the Moon in 2030 but give up everything else, or we can do everything else and give up Constellation which is a rerun of Apollo 11.

    I can live with the loss of Constellation if it means preserving everything else.

  • amightywind

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    “I’m hoping, if not expecting, that it will lead to propellant depots instead of an HLV.”

    What kind of propellants are you expecting to store? Mono/bi-propellants used for satellite propulsion are too low energy for an efficient TLI/TSI upper stage. LH2 is difficult to store for long periods without boil off. All Lockmart and Boeing concepts I have seen use a Ares or Centaur LH2 upper stage.

  • Major Tom

    “Explain to me why underfunding in the Bush years is bad while underfunding in the Obama years is ok.”

    Your argument is based on a reference to a 15-year (through 2025) projection for human space flight spending that doesn’t exist in the federal budget. You’ll only find five-year budget projections for NASA in White House budget requests and only one-year budgets in Congressional appropriations bills.

    Besides, the current President will only remain in the White House through 2012 or 2016. Most of the budgets in the years you’re interested in (through 2025) will be the responsibility of another President (or two).

    Think before you post.

    FWIW…

  • LH2 is difficult to store for long periods without boil off.

    Not as difficult, and expensive, as developing a heavy lifter.

    ULA doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal.

  • amightywind

    Minor Tom wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    “Think before you post.”

    Maybe you should answer his valid question.

  • Major Tom

    “What kind of propellants are you expecting to store?”

    Cryogenic, duh. Per the CRYOSTAT definition in the ESMD solicitation for demo missions:

    nasa.gov/pdf/457439main_EEWS_FlagshipTechnologyDemonstrations.pdf

    “Maybe you should answer his valid question.”

    How is a question based on a false premise “valid”?

    Think before you post.

  • Robert G. Oler

    richardb wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    “Oler, your need for snark is clouding your judgment. Bush did have a plan with hardware under contract, it was called Constellation. Underfunded yes, over budget yes. But our scared Augustine commission said it was a technically sound plan that would do the job…”

    with all due respect…you are misapplying that Augustine commission “statement”.

    “technically sound” is a euphemism.

    First off in my world and in most people’s world “Technically sound” is not something that applies to a project that is 1) over cost in terms of what it provides and 2) cannot meet any of its deadlines.

    I oppose Constellation (and have from about 30 seconds after the echo died from Bush’s speech) because the reality of how NASA JSC does projects in human spaceflight is that there is no chance of doing anything but sending a few NASA astronauts with massive ground support to do whatever it is that the project needs to be done.

    Now that maybe fine with you.

    A reality is that almost none of us on this forum have any real shot at a life that includes us actually going into space; so the notion of 4 or some number of NASA astronauts 20 years from now going back to the Moon and doing almost nothing of value (and that is what will be done) vrs cost or even doing something that actually leads to anything else MIGHT be what to you constitutes a “space program beyond LEO”.

    But it is not to me. That ship for me sailed as I watched the space station “dumb down” from a commercial center of microgravity research to “just another NASA project”. So for ME unless we do something in space with human spaceflight that has some value to cost ratio that is relevant to the entire nation…well I really dont care if it is done at all.

    Second; a technical sound project is one which can live inside its means.

    If the President says “the space station will cost 8 billion dollars” then it is not a technically sound project that comes in at 16 billion dollars and then descopes eventually to a lessor effort as cost mount.

    That is what the station did and what Orion is doing and they have not even done the really “heavy lifting” of a heavy lifter or a lunar lander…and the later is the key in the “Constellation” theory to allowing long stay times.

    You are happy to think that this effort was “going somewhere” even though the date it might do it is now 20 years away and probably about 200 billion dollars.

    If that is “sound” to you fine.

    It isnt to me

    Robert G. Oler

  • I oppose Constellation (and have from about 30 seconds after the echo died from Bush’s speech)

    Bush never made a speech about Constellation.

  • amightywind

    Rand Simberg wrote:

    “Not as difficult, and expensive, as developing a heavy lifter.”

    You are not thinking clearly. An LH2 dewar would have to be built to reduce boil off, so it would have to be heavy. There is also a weight tax on depot docking propellent handling, not to mention the hazards of the fuel itself. It is good to come up with ideas, but many in the litany of Obamaspace are illusory, just like green technologies.

    “ULA doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal.”

    ULA is trying to sell existing hardware ill suited for the task. They will be happy to sell you 2 rockets for twice the price. You can’t blame them. But you shouldn’t outsource your thinking to them, though.

    Minor Tom:

    Nice PowerPoints. But why try to perfect a technology that is utterly unnecessary?

  • Ben Russell-Gough: “The point that I’m trying to make is that SpaceX, ULA, etc are not state institutions. It is somewhat analogous of leasing a commercial airliner to transport troops to the ToO. A service operated and maintained by non-government external providers”

    It’s not analogous at all. The commercial airliners are ‘actually’ commercial companies where 90% of their revenue comes from businesses and private individuals. SpaceX, Orbital, ULA, in fact the entire Space launch business worldwide, is the exact opposite where the majority of their customer base is the government.

    None of these launch service providers could stay in business without government customers, the Airlines can. In a like manner access to Space is a national security imperative as such all governments will support at least one launch system provider almost regardless of the cost.

    What we are attempting to do under the mis-labeled ‘commercial’ space initiative is more analogous to trying to ‘commericalize’ the aircraft carrier construction and operations business. I’m sure we could find a few rich guys who would love to be catapulted off the deck in jet fighter once in a while, but the vast majority of the demand for this ‘service’ naturally comes from the government.

    The true commercialization of space industry must begin……well in space of course. Which means that new commercial applications that utilize space for profit must somehow be increased thereby driving up the ‘commercial’ demand for launch services to levels well above the government’s demand. Once the ‘commercial’ demand for launch services dominates the launch services business, it will natural self capitalize and operate on its own perhaps bank rolled by the very ‘commercial’ organizations tired of dealing with the current government dominated launch system paradigm (both cost and paperwork).

    Everyone keeps forgetting that the launch system’s portion of the Space Industry is less than 20% of the total life cycle cost. As such it’s almost an after thought to the overall business case.

  • “abreakingwind” flatulated:

    ULA is trying to sell existing hardware ill suited for the task.

    I await your analysis to show that theirs is wrong.

    They will be happy to sell you 2 rockets for twice the price. You can’t blame them. But you shouldn’t outsource your thinking to them, though.

    I don’t. But you should outsource your thinking to someone, because you don’t seem to do it very well yourself.

    @Metschan:

    Everyone keeps forgetting that the launch system’s portion of the Space Industry is less than 20% of the total life cycle cost.

    No one is “forgetting” that. We’re just trying to change it.

  • Gary Church

    “Commercial to orbit will work”

    They should stamp no dessert on your meal card for that remark.

    It might work if there was money to be made putting people in space but there are nowhere near enough billionaire space clowns for that to be remotely possible.

    As for fuel depots for BEO; chemical propulsion is next to worthless for going anywhere outside of earth orbit. It is why that 3 man capsule parachuted into the ocean after lifting off the size of a light cruiser. Sending up little pieces and a couple gallons of chemicals once a month is not going to work.

  • Gary Church

    Did I forget to mention that Church Ship everyone is talking about?

  • Major Tom

    “An LH2 dewar would have to be built to reduce boil off, so it would have to be heavy.”

    Two thin metal walls separated by vacuum are “heavy”? Since when?

    Vice a metal wall and thick insulation? Really?

    Do you have even a clue as to what you’re talking about?

    “There is also a weight tax on depot docking propellent handling,”

    Here’s a hint — you have to put docking systems on your transit stage, anyway.

    “not to mention the hazards of the fuel itself.”

    Here’s another hint — you’re going to be handling cryogenic propellants one way or another, anyway.

    “Minor Tom”

    This from a poster whose screenname is the same as the title of a mockumentary about lame folk music?

    Really?

    “Nice PowerPoints.”

    Pictures are best for those with limited reading skills.

    The solicitation is here:

    nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId=%7B980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB%7D&path=open

    “But why try to perfect a technology that is utterly unnecessary?”

    It’s necessary even with the biggest HLVs if you want to do anything more ambitious than land a few astronauts on the Moon. A simple Mars mission requires mass equivalent to about 12 International Space Stations, the vast majority of it tied up in propellant.

    Even Constellation needed in-space cryo storage to manage unrealistic launch and rendezvous windows between Ares V/EDS/Altair and Ares I/Orion.

    Try to get at least one thing right before your next post, genius.

  • Major Tom

    “ULA is trying to sell existing hardware ill suited for the task. They will be happy to sell you 2 rockets for twice the price.”

    Which would still be cheaper than one, $1 billion Ares I launch, forget Ares V.

    Think before you post, genius.

  • Everyone keeps forgetting that the launch system’s portion of the Space Industry is less than 20% of the total life cycle cost.

    By the way, even if that number is valid, what does it have to do with human exploration?

  • Gary Church

    Rand, I might hack on Musk and deride his vision, but I am not saying the vehicle will not work. I am saying there will never be a profit in sending up people. It is nice to fantasize about saving up for a ticket but it is fooling the public into believing it can actually happen. Not enough space clowns. BEO will require nuclear propulsion, massive shielding, and artificial gravity- unless you want a couple irradiated emaciated schizophrenic wrecks coming back after a couple years. My position is there is no cheap; going cheap and the profit motive is at the very core of what made the space transportation system fail. NASA may be wasteful and messed up- I will not disagree with that, but having spent most of my life in the military I could talk to you for hours about waste. So this monkey crap throwing contest between the different sides posting here seems to miss alot of key facts because they are inconvenient. And that is not a leftist code word I just used. I am talking about man in space accomplishing a vital mission. Making politics and industry an enabler instead of an obstacle should be discussed.

  • I am saying there will never be a profit in sending up people

    Who cares? You haven’t demonstrated any knowledge that would cause us to pay any attention to what you are saying. In fact, you have repeatedly demonstrated the precise opposite.

  • Gary Church

    O.K. I tried. And you are an engineer? I have never said anything that cannot be demonstrated as technically feasible or documented as fact- unless I was engaging in hyperbole. So you are calling me stupid? I think you are.

  • amightywind

    Minor Tom wrote:

    “Two thin metal walls separated by vacuum are “heavy”? Since when?”"

    The only vacuum dewars ever flown have been small (STS fuel cell cryogenics, Nicmos, IR imagers, …). You are describe a very large, sophisticated piece of hardware, that solves a non-existent problem. It is difficult to believe that they will be developed in the risk averse, PowerPoint culture that now predominates. You still gloss over the problems of propellant transfer and docking. There are no credible plans. Please don’t waste my time with Garver’s unicorns.

    “Even Constellation needed in-space cryo storage to manage unrealistic launch and rendezvous windows between Ares V/EDS/Altair and Ares I/Orion.”

    That storage is for days, not years. Big difference, which is my point. Thank you for making it.

  • “Commercial to orbit will work”

    They should stamp no dessert on your meal card for that remark.

    It might work if there was money to be made putting people in space but there are nowhere near enough billionaire space clowns for that to be remotely possible.

    I’m not a bean-counter, engineer, word-meister or a Mensa club member, but I know common sense. And true, there’s not enough billionaire clowns to fund what-ever-the-f*ck, but check this out by John Hare at John Goff’s blog; http://selenianboondocks.com/2010/05/7c-scaling-up-to-orbit-part-2/

    Pick this guy apart if you can.

  • So you are calling me stupid? I think you are.

    No, I was implying that you are ignorant. But if you think that I was calling you stupid, then you probably are that as well, or at least you’re doing a good job of impersonating a stupid person on the Internet. Certainly meaningless phrases like “billionaire space clowns” don’t burnish any reputation you might have for intelligence.

  • Gary Church

    “but I know common sense. And true, there’s not enough billionaire clowns to fund what-ever-the-f*ck,”

    Your Joe the space plumber approach and some kind blabbering about made in garage cheap rocket components “possibly” being scaled up is not worth a f*ck.

  • Tom Billings

    In all the diatribes against the new space budget a repeated theme comes up. That is that there is no “great commitment” that will focus the public’s attention on spaceflight, rally their votes, and make it easy for politicians to vote the money that keeps human spaceflight alive within NASA. They believe that without that Congress will not allow any technical developments to be funded and actually used in Space, beyond a few small demo missions, that are not followed up by an operational program using that technology. They do not trust Obama to spend political capital to change that.

    The parallel problem is that for a 40 years stretch, not developing a broad range of new human spaceflight technology is technically disastrous as a strategy. It never allows NASA to get spacecraft that perform better because they are designed for operational performance as well as specific function designs, rather than putting money in the right States.

    That is the reason that NASA was trying to use technology developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to boost their spaceships beyond Earth Orbit. They had developed nothing better in 40 years! It was not done because it would let us open the Solar System to human settlement. Naturally, it was failing to do that. It was even failing to allow anything more than an “outpost” on the Moon, just as the Saturn 5 had operational costs that would have allowed only that, at best.

    This problem has been cropping up ever since October of 1969, at least.

    So, in the view of the opponents of the new budget, we cannot get funding without following the Apollo model. Then others note that we get no technical advance (to speak of) when we try the Apollo model. (note that even the development of the F-1 & J-2 engines that powered the Moon flights was started in the 1950s, and other more advanced engine concepts starting in the 1960s were slighted, because they might not meet an “in this decade” deadline) Without technical advance in a broad range of technologies, which were mostly ignored during the years 1965-2005, we are doomed to reuse the same level of propulsion technology and operations technology that gave us Billion dollar Moon flights from 1968-1972. Billion dollar Moon flights, or billion dollar anywhere flights, are inherently a “there and back again” proposition, that cannot be sustained for any one objective, much less all the bodies in even the inner Solar System.

    This combination seems to point out that the US government cannot fund even the beginnings of the human expansion into the Solar System. Is this true? Only if the congressional politicians in States with NASA Centers choose to make it true, by demanding old technology be funded to keep jobs in their States, while the White House spends no political capital to lever their votes back towards the new budget in the years ahead. The basic assumption by opponents of the budget is that this is exactly what will happen. Somebody has to expend political capital to get a NASA budget, and opponents simply do not believe Obama will do that, year in, year out, in the crucial outyears.

    What proponents of the new budget are saying is that the old tech (Ares1 & 5) will not get us where we want to go anyway. They seem to believe that just having a NASA is not enough. If it does not do what we want, then as Jim Davidson has said for so long, “NASA, DELENDA EST!”. Frankly, I agree with them. If NASA will do nothing that justifies its existence for me, and Constellation didn’t, then I don’t want resources put there, especially when it will inhibit other parts of our society from doing what I want, the human settlement of the Solar System.

    I am no prophet, so I cannot say what the President may do in whatever years he has left in office about spending that needed political capital to defend the New Space Plans. I do know that without making a start on something very like them, I’d rather he didn’t.

  • Gary Church

    “No, I was implying that you are ignorant. But if you think that I was calling you stupid, then you probably are that as well, or at least you’re doing a good job of impersonating a stupid person on the Internet.”

    Arrogant monkey crap throwing high school insult game entrepreneur. What college did they teach you all those skill sets at?

  • Gary Church

    “NASA could learn a lot from the DOD what to buy from private industry, and what not to buy.”

    That takes the prize as the most bizarre comment posted here.

  • That takes the prize as the most bizarre comment posted here.

    Oh, don’t be so modest. Most of your comments top it easily. :-)

  • Gary Church

    I’m hoping, if not expecting, that it will lead to propellant depots instead of an HLV.

    You need an HLV to fill up those propellant depots I would think. Is that a bizarre comment? Or are you planning on sending up 50 a year and filling your depot a gallon at a time. That is how they sold the space shuttle. It was a lie, just like your whole commercial space scam.

  • You need an HLV to fill up those propellant depots I would think.

    No.

    Or are you planning on sending up 50 a year and filling your depot a gallon at a time.

    Existing launch systems have much greater cargo capacity than one gallon.

    Are you capable of doing analysis? Do you understand basic arithmetic?

  • Major Tom

    “The only vacuum dewars”

    All dewars are vacuum dewars.

    Again, do you have even a clue as to what you’re talking about?

    “ever flown have been small (STS fuel cell cryogenics, Nicmos, IR imagers, …).”

    Dewars an order of magnitude (maybe two) larger than those have flown.

    Try to keep up with the state of the art, genius.

    “You are describe”

    I “are” describe? Is English not your first language?

    “a very large, sophisticated piece of hardware, that solves a non-existent problem.”

    I didn’t describe it. You did. You claimed that a “LH2 dewar would have to be built to reduce boil off.” There are other techniques that don’t involve sophisticated tankage, from passive mechanical to powered cryocoolers, for reducing or eliminating boil-off.

    You then proceeded to claim that your preferred dewar solution “would have to be heavy” despite the fact that dewars rely on a vacuum to maintain most (in some cases, nearly all) of their thermal insulation.

    “You still gloss over the problems of propellant transfer and docking.”

    Here’s a third hint for you — between Progress, ISS, and the old Soviet space stations, docking and propellant transfer has been done for decades.

    “There are no credible plans. Please don’t waste my time with Garver’s unicorns.”

    Garver didn’t write this solicitation. ESMD staff under Doug Cooke did:

    nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230949/Section4.pdf

    Duh…

    “That storage is for days…”

    You really believe KSC could have turned around an Ares I/Orion launch within a few days of an Ares V/EDS/Altair launch? Really?

    C’mon, no one is that naive.

    “… not years”

    The demo in the solicitation is for 180 days, not years, genius.

    Try reading, comprehending, thinking, and getting at least one fact right before your next post.

    Lawdy…

  • Dewars an order of magnitude (maybe two) larger than those have flown.

    Large ones are much easier than small ones, because of the surface-area/volume ratio. But this guy probably doesn’t understand basic physics.

  • Gary Church

    “Do you understand basic arithmetic?”

    You obviously don’t, or you would know that the smaller the vehicle, the less goes up per launch, and the higher the price. The shuttle was supposed to cut costs by flying frequently, landing on runways, and being reusable. Well, it did land on runways- but the airframe used up most of the payload. Smaller vehicles are the cheap way to go and give the illusion of being more efficient. It is not real and the numbers prove it. Not your dollar figures which are so so easy to lie and swindle with- the performance numbers. If modern “smaller” vehicles are more efficient than modern “larger” vehicles will be even more so per pound of lift. Go back to engineering class.

  • <em.You obviously don’t, or you would know that the smaller the vehicle, the less goes up per launch, and the higher the price.

    There are many other factors in launch costs than vehicle size, and vehicle size isn’t a particularly strong one. Flight rate is much more important.

    The shuttle was supposed to cut costs by flying frequently, landing on runways, and being reusable.

    Yes, but the only one of those goals it met was landing on runways.

    If modern “smaller” vehicles are more efficient than modern “larger” vehicles will be even more so per pound of lift.

    The most efficient vehicles are those that have low development cost and high flight rate. Heavy lifters have high development cost and low flight rates.

  • And existing vehicles (e.g., Atlas, Delta and now Falcon 9) have the lowest development costs of all.

  • Coastal Ron

    Regarding LH2 fuel boil-off, Lockheed Martin addressed this with their ACES 41 study, and said that the LH2 loss was relatively minor over time, and that the boil-off would be used for station keeping thrust (less need for hypergolic thrusters).

    Those that are concerned about the viability of fuel depots should read up on the subject before dismissing it out of hand. I would trust a successful aerospace company a lot more than I would an anonymous poster (me included) – they have a lot more to lose if they are wrong.

  • Gary Church

    Your technobabble is getting weak Rand.

    “There are many other factors in launch costs than vehicle size, and vehicle size isn’t a particularly strong one. Flight rate is much more important.”

    Not the dollar figures you use to push your scam. And like I said, high flight rate is how they sold the shuttle.

    “The most efficient vehicles are those that have low development cost and high flight rate.”

    You are just babbling. The most efficient vehicles are the ones that lift the most per launch. I have caught you in the most often used deception of this whole commercial cheaper is better B.S. and you cannot answer except with the word “cost.” Do you understand basic math?

  • Gary Church

    “-viability of fuel depots should read up on the subject before dismissing it out of hand.”

    It is not making fuel depots that is not viable- it is using chemical propulsion BEO at all.

  • amightywind

    Minor Tom wrote:

    “from passive mechanical to powered cryocoolers, for reducing or eliminating boil-off. ”

    10000 Gal tanks? Your fantasies are amusing! Don’t make stuff up!

  • Major Tom

    “It is nice to fantasize about saving up for a ticket but it is fooling the public into believing it can actually happen. Not enough space clowns.”

    How do you know there’s not enough bazillionaire thrillseekers?

    Space Adventures has a backlog of customers paying $5 million each to reserve options for future Soyuz seats.

    spaceadventures.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.viewnews&newsid=615

    A independent study of space tourism markets, which Mr. Foust himself helped develop and write, has a baseline forecast of 10-plus flights per year by 2015 and 20-plus flights per year by 2020.

    futron.com/upload/wysiwyg/Resources/Space_Tourism_Market_Study_1002.pdf

    And how do you know that these bazillionaire thrillseekers won’t pay for enough flights to support the industry?

    Space Adventures has had an orbital client (Charles Simonyi) pay to go to the ISS twice.

    spaceadventures.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.viewnews&newsid=688

    And does it matter if there’s not enough bazillionaire thrillseekers?

    Bigelow’s business model is based on giving access to government-sponsored astronauts from countries lacking an indigenous human space flight capability and corporate astronauts performing research.

    space.com/news/070410_nss_bigelow.html

    The Atlas V, Delta IV, Falcon 9, and Taurus II manifests all have non-human payloads and customers. In fact, they make up most or all of these vehicle’s manifests.

    These systems are going to fly or not regardless of the bazillionaire thrillseeker market.

    “BEO will require nuclear propulsion, massive shielding, and artificial gravity- unless you want a couple irradiated emaciated schizophrenic wrecks coming back after a couple years.”

    No one is planning long space tourism voyages beyond Earth orbit requiring any of these systems. The most aggressive is a Space Adventures circumlunar flight using a Soyuz and a transit stage.

    spaceadventures.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Lunar.welcome

    Don’t make things up.

    FWIW…

  • Gary Church

    “And existing vehicles (e.g., Atlas, Delta and now Falcon 9) have the lowest development costs of all.”

    The old balloon tank Atlas put mercury up but the new atlas is a different animal. I doubt any of these vehicles will ever put a person into orbit. Your beloved falcon needs an escape system and that will not be cheap. And since cheap is what the vehicle is all about….

  • Gary Church

    “No one is planning long space tourism voyages beyond Earth orbit requiring any of these systems.”

    Exactly.

  • Rand: “No one is “forgetting” that. We’re just trying to change it”

    Change it how? By forcing multiple in space assemblies? by forcing 10 lbs of spacecraft into a 5 lb box? All of which produce significant increases in the cost to design and build the spacecraft.

    Think of it this way, we have had ULA/SpaceX class launchers now for about forty years. In those forty years we haven’t seen any significantly different ‘commercial’ applications of space even though launch cost is a minor cost issue in the overall business life cycle cost. This should be a big hint to you and others that the constraint holding back the greater commercial utilization of space is not due to the cost of the launch system.

    Rand: “By the way, even if that number is valid, what does it have to do with human exploration?”

    Read the space report, oh and BTW I was being generous in saying that only 20% of the cost is launch cost, its more like 10%. Looks like you are right, oh strike that it makes my case even stronger, oh well you win some you lose some.

    http://www.thespacereport.org/

    Why is it relevant to HSF, well surprise surprise surprise we find a similar ratio between actual launch cost and mission costs for human missions as well. And multiple in space assembly has definitely been more expensive (ISS) than launching larger ground integrated spacecraft (Skylab). Propellant is the only mass element that doesn’t suffer from multiple in space assemblies or packing density, provided you have a propellant depot.

    The correct place for a ‘commercial’ market is with propellant deliver since its 75% of the mass (ie big market) and doesn’t have the same ascent safety concerns as expensive spacecraft or crew (ie low liability easy entry for new providers/approaches) or packing density issues (ie geometric increases in spacecraft costs).

    This commercial market would also help establish the in space price for propellant, a necessary precondition before we can see if the Lunar ISRU business case could be more cost competitive (ie profitable) than Earth delivery.

  • And like I said, high flight rate is how they sold the shuttle.

    But they didn’t design it for a high flight rate. Are you trying to make a point? If so, what is it?

    The most efficient vehicles are the ones that lift the most per launch.

    No, they’re the ones that deliver the lowest cost per pound delivered.

    I have caught you in the most often used deception of this whole commercial cheaper is better B.S. and you cannot answer except with the word “cost.” Do you understand basic math?

    This is the stupidest comment yet.

  • In those forty years we haven’t seen any significantly different ‘commercial’ applications of space even though launch cost is a minor cost issue in the overall business life cycle cost.

    Which has nothing to do with human exploration BEO.

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    People look at how large the Shuttle is, and assume it can carry huge amounts of cargo to orbit. However, it’s carrying capacity is about the same as Delta IV Heavy, and less than Atlas V Heavy or what Falcon 9 Heavy is advertising.

    If you look at the $/lb, the Shuttle and Ares I can get cargo to LEO for about $17,000/lb. This isn’t too bad for the Shuttle, especially considering it’s an all-purpose vehicle, and it’s design is from the 70′s, but it’s really bad for Ares I.

    For Delta IV & Atlas V Heavies, their cost drops to about $6,000/lb for cargo – not bad for 1990′s technology.

    SpaceX, with the benefit of 50 years of technology to choose from and use (plus being a new company with less overhead), is able to drop the cost of cargo to LEO to less than $3,000/lb. Their Falcon 9 is rated for 23,050 lbs (within a 5m wide fairing) for $51.5M/launch, and their 9-Heavy is rated for 70,548 lbs ($$ not stated, but let’s guess $154.5M).

    We built the 850,000 lb ISS within the constraints of our current launchers, and there’s no reason we could not build more, or build bigger – no need for an HLLV. What you lose in the perceived inefficiency of the current launchers, you make up by NOT having to spend $100B on a new lifter. $100B buys you 647 Falcon 9 Heavy launches, or potentially 45,644,556 lbs of cargo to LEO. Or 20M lbs of cargo using Atlas/Delta.

    Let’s stop talking about HLLV, and let’s start using our existing launchers to do stuff in space.

  • Major Tom

    “Minor Tom wrote:”

    Again with the lame screenname jibe?

    When yours is a mockumentary title that makes a flatulence joke about folk music?

    Really?

    “10000 Gal tanks? Your fantasies are amusing! Don’t make stuff up!”

    I’m not, genius.

    “‘An upper-stage-derived depot, launched on an EELV, could place 25 metric tons of propellant into low Earth orbit—about the same amount of propellant required by Altair. ‘Essentially you could bring up with this thing, on one of our smaller birds, the propellant for the descent to the Moon,’ he said.

    Much of the same technology could be used for a dedicated depot, replacing the ACES stage with an extended tank that could fit inside the same sunshade but could contain 230 tons of liquid oxygen, well over that’s needed by ESAS. The tank would be launched empty and filled by other vehicles.

    Most of the technologies for this approach are in hand, Zegler said. A full-scale sunshield has been built and tested in the lab in the last year, with plans to eventually incorporate the technology into existing upper stages. ‘We’re trying to on-ramp this technology because we can gain performance in our existing vehicles for GSO [geosynchronous orbit] missions by using these simple sunshields,’ he said.”

    thespacereview.com/article/1127/1

    Or, if you need pictures:

    selenianboondocks.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/BernardKutter_ULA_SpaceAccess2010.pdf

    Sigh…

  • Those that are concerned about the viability of fuel depots should read up on the subject before dismissing it out of hand.

    If these cretins actually read up on subjects they’d have nothing to argue about.

  • Gary Church

    “This is the stupidest comment yet.”

    I am afraid you commercial guys are the ones showing your stupidity is spades today.

    “Let’s stop talking about HLLV, and let’s start using our existing launchers to do stuff in space.”

    Your double talk is wearing thin.

    The most efficient vehicles are the ones that lift the most per launch.
    “No, they’re the ones that deliver the lowest cost per pound delivered.”

    The only difference between the two is in your mind- which needs to go back to engineering school.

  • Gary Church

    Cretins?

    Monkey crap slinger- SHUT UP!

  • Cretins?

    How do you know I’m taking about you?

    But hey, if the shoe fits…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    “It’s not analogous at all. The commercial airliners are ‘ac”tually’ commercial companies where 90% of their revenue comes from businesses and private individuals. SpaceX, Orbital, ULA, in fact the entire Space launch business worldwide, is the exact opposite where the majority of their customer base is the government.”

    nope…at least not in the case of SpaceX.

    There are airlines (they are small but they exist) who are Part 121 or Part 125 carriers and who depend almost exclusivly on the federal government need to transport things and people all around the world. A couple of them (American Trans Air for instance) have tried break out manuevers (ie expanding off that market) but it has mostly never worked. Just off the top of my head I can name you 4 airlines that do troop tranport and 6 that do nothing but cargo for The Federal Government.

    They are quite commercial in nature, they make money and all their training is contracted out to Part 142 suppliers (I happen to own a Part 142 training company that does 4 of them).

    I can understand why your “rocket” went nowhere if you know as much about rocket science as you do the rest of the things you speak of.

    moving on.

    SpaceX IF the FALCON9 works (and that has yet to be proven) will likely make more money from its non “people/cargo” flights then it does from launching for “others” like com satellites. If the Falcon9 and the 9 heavy can make their cost and reliability marks they will take the commercial launch industry from the Europeans…there is really no two ways about that…because that market is almost like the airline industry in that the two shoes that it walks on (for a certain mass to orbit) are reliability and cost.

    There is no national security concern (now anyway) for people into space. There is for mass…and the DOD will come running to SpaceX as well if those twin pillars are met.

    As for commercial lift of people. Again there is no national security concern here. Stop repeating things that are just goofy.

    Nor is commercial lift of people to space the same as aircraft carriers. They do have a national security concern.

    Sorry Stephen. you are striking out

    Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    For those that being very “direct” about needing HLV, please answer me this:

    1. What is the project $/lb to LEO for an HLV, and at what launch rate?

    2. What is the smallest sized cargo that makes sense to launch to LEO?

    3. What is the optimum lift capacity for a future HLV?

    Since we already know the costs and capacities of the all the current launchers, maybe your answers would help people understand why you think HLV’s are so badly needed…

  • Gary Church

    Your Falcon 9 “heavy” is going to use no less than 28 engines on lift off, and unlike soyuz, each with it’s own separate turbopump. It is doing so because Musk could not afford bigger engines. Want to figure out how much test-firing, inspecting and doing maintenance, and supposedly- reusing, all those little hot rods is going to cost? It is a space shuttle program with different flaws just as doomed to failure for the same reason. Cheap. There is no cheap. Space travel is inherently expensive. The bigger the launcher the more efficient, chemical propulsion is worthless for BEO manned exploration, etc. etc.

  • Major Tom

    “‘No one is planning long space tourism voyages beyond Earth orbit requiring any of these systems.’

    Exactly.”

    First you argued that space tourism isn’t going to happen because it requires systems like “nuclear propulsion, massive shielding, and artificial gravity”.

    Then, when it’s pointed out that space tourism doesn’t require these technologies because no one is planning bazillionaire thrillseeker rides beyond Earth orbit, you argue that’s a bad thing.

    Let us know when you know which argument you want to go with.

    FWIW…

  • Gary Church

    Cretins?

    How do you know I’m taking about you?

    But hey, if the shoe fits…

    MONKEY CRAP SLINGER- SHUT UP!

  • Gary Church

    “First you argued that space tourism isn’t going to happen because it requires systems like “nuclear propulsion, massive shielding, and artificial gravity”.

    You are spending too much time filling up huge amounts of space on the screen and not paying attention to what other people say. I am not arguing that space tourism isnt going to happen, I am arguing that it is a sick joke that should not be permitted in the first place. Those systems are for doing something that matters, not the ridiculous “industry” everyone seems so obsessed with.

  • Bennett

    Cretins?

    Amusing.

    Hey! No throwing crayons!

  • Gary Church

    Uhhh, I think that was 27 engines on the falcon heavy. Sorry. That math thing. It is so hard to add big numbers with crayons.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 5:02 pm
    And multiple in space assembly has definitely been more expensive (ISS) than launching larger ground integrated spacecraft (Skylab). …

    When I built the chicken coup it was less expensive then the House but it doesnt mean it didnt have greater value.

    Comparing ISS to Skylab is like comparing DIRECT to a real rocket.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    “Your Falcon 9 “heavy” is going to use no less than 28 engines on lift off”.

    OK, now I get to have some fun. Falcon 9 has nine engines, and Falcon 9 Heavy has three Falcon 9 cores, so that would be… carry the 7… 27 engines on liftoff, not 28. Hey, math is fun!

    Whether it’s 27 engines or 5, it’s still a cluster, so what’s the diff? Their single-shaft engine is about the simplest rocket engine you can make, and it’s the most powerful for it’s weight class. As I’ve said before, it’s all a matter of engineering trade-offs, and this is what they chose. The engines are also so simple that they can make it themselves, saving more money.

    Also, SpaceX has been very public about their pricing, and they have stated that their pricing allows for each launcher to be used only once – no recovery. However, they intend to do pursue recovery, and they hope that they can reuse either the body, engines, or both. If they do, then they will adjust their pricing accordingly.

    Considering that they already have the lowest launch prices in the industry, that will put more pressure on their competitors to either innovate, or get out of the market. Let’s hope they innovate.

  • richardb

    Stephen C Smith said “But the difference is that Constellation was going to siphon away money from pretty much everything else NASA does — robotic missions, telescopes, climate change research, aeronautic technology. And the ISS would be splashed into the ocean in 2015.”

    Stephen you did read the earlier part about funding the new Orion crew return vehicle out of what is left of HSF? That is estimated now at 4.5 billion dollars siphoned off of Nasa’s HSF accounts. The ink isn’t even written on Obama’s plan and its already robbing other Obama HSF plans to pay for it. Wait till the inevitable overruns occur with lifeboat Orion. Wait till the inevitable overruns on that 6 billion commercial endeavor occur. Then we’ll see all of Nasa share the pain.

    Oler, you love straw man arguments don’t you? Good grief man, “technically sound” is simple…lets try: solves the problem and is based upon professionally agreed theory and practice.

    Yesterday should be the end of the Obama space plan. It’s amazing though after all the work Augustine did for Obama, he still couldn’t come up with a plan that is “technically sound”, “fiscally sound” and “politically sound”. Obama gave that committee a simple charter. Give me a road map for HSF that keeps to the budgets his administration has planned for Nasa. Obama just drove Nasa HSF off the cliff with his ineptitude.

  • Gary Church

    “Whether it’s 27 engines or 5, it’s still a cluster, so what’s the diff? ”

    I am not making things up; there is a difference.

  • Bennett

    “It is so hard to add big numbers with crayons.”

    Most people still remember their multiplication tables from elementary school. Three times nine is hardly higher math.

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    “BEO will require nuclear propulsion, massive shielding, and artificial gravity- unless you want a couple irradiated emaciated schizophrenic wrecks coming back after a couple years.”

    Nuclear propulsion – It’s a nice to have, not a gotta have, and in reality, no one knows for sure what a nuclear-powered spacecraft could do for us. How big a reactor, how efficient are the engines, how many engines, etc. VASIMR is still being tested, and we have no idea how to build a reactor big enough to fully power a possible Mars mission that uses it. This is a long-term project, with lots of iterations of hardware needed.

    Massive shielding – This is a subject that is near and dear to Administrator Bolden, and that’s why he wants to skip the Moon, and proceed to an asteroid. This will be hard.

    Artificial gravity – It depends on how long the astronauts are out there. We know how to keep astronauts in good shape for at least 6 months, and we’ve stretched that to 1 year in some cases. We are constantly testing new exercise regimes on the ISS, and that’s one of the reasons we should keep it – as a testbed for long-duration spaceflight technology.

    If we’re going to an asteroid, I would say of the three you mentioned that we only need to be concerned with shielding. We can use liquid fuel engines for BEO, although we may have to use a lot of fuel, we can always send extra tankers along on the trip. With fuel depot technology, fuel becomes a commodity – just like when you take a cross-country trip, you don’t buy a car that holds 200 gallons, you use a normal car and tank up along the way. Same concept, just in space.

  • Robert G. Oler

    richardb wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    “technically sound”.

    I’ve expressed this view elsewhere (but maybe you didnt read it).

    Somewhere starting about 2 years ago it surprised me a great deal that Griffin and Hanley and some of the other band of dremel tools that were in NASA at the time didnt get together and have a retreat titled “Save Constellation”.

    It should have been clear at least in 07 that three things were at work. The first is that the Ares 1 rocket was a turkey. The second is that there was not going to be the funding NASA said it needed to do Constellation and 3 (this is the big one) that by the end of Bush’s term (who of course was favorable to The whole thing) the program would not have anything flying.

    The program then became like RMS Titanic. It could float with any one of those three things not working but two was death and three just meant you went under faster.

    The afore mentioned people were (I thought at the time now not so much) politically savy and my guess was that they could see that after the election SOMETHING was going to change (ie the POTUS) and even if Griffin survived the explanations to the “new man” were going to have to be good. Turned out that they couldnt hence the horrible display by Griffin “save this man’s job”.

    But they did nothing. Likewise when the AC met my guess is that what they said what they meant… there was going to have to be 3 billion more dollars to make Constellation “technically sound” …which meant that no one at NASA had come up with a plan to fit the program into the available dollars.

    The agency is probably not capable with the current morons running the place able to do that. Since no one was willing to spend 3 billion more a year (you dont see that idea getting any traction in Congress) then the program was by default dead. Now what Hanley has been doing before he was decapitated was trying to at least on paper make this work. From what I have heard just at the local level they couldnt even pull that off.

    So even if your notion of a space program is four or less NASA astronauts having a good old time on the Moon doing whatever they were doing…there seems to be; to borrow a phrase from a great Admiral “not enough will to spend the dollars to support this turkey”.

    In other words there was probably no way to make the thing work even with 3 billion more dollars.

    sorry

    Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    “Whether it’s 27 engines or 5, it’s still a cluster, so what’s the diff? ”

    “I am not making things up; there is a difference.”

    The question stands – what’s the difference? Don’t huff or puff, just clearly state the facts.

  • Allen Thomson

    > A simple Mars mission requires mass equivalent to about 12 International Space Stations, the vast majority of it tied up in propellant.

    Unless, of course, you get propulsion systems with the right combination of ISP, thrust and run-time. That would be very hard and expensive to do, but perhaps possible. I’d really like to see some reasonably serious R&D headed in that direction come out of the current stir. And, of course, serious life-support work.

  • Coastal Ron

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    “And multiple in space assembly has definitely been more expensive (ISS) than launching larger ground integrated spacecraft (Skylab).”

    Apples and oranges, or more correctly, a 1970 mobile home to a 1995 factory home. Different goals, different technologies, and different capabilities. I would rather live in the ISS than in Skylab, and I would stand a better chance of living period.

    Skylab was big, but the only thing good about it being big was the ability to run around the inside (more like bounce). Otherwise it had a lot of wasted space.

    On the ISS, with it’s 5m diameter modules, the astronauts still have lots of room to move around, so I don’t know why you consider it too small. Also, the ISS modules are integrated on the ground, just like Skylab was. Also keep in mind that modular assemblies are much more flexible than all-in-one, and we have seen with the ISS that they have been able to accommodate changes in the configuration by just moving modules around. You can’t do that with monolithic assemblies.

    Finally, if your launcher fails to get your all-in-one spacecraft to space, you lose all of it. With modular assembly, you only lose that section.

    Modular is cheaper because you’re building lots of the same, and safer because you have more units to validate your software/hardware systems.

    All-in-one assemblies are typically custom, which means more expensive per given weight or volume, and safety has to be validated for each new custom assembly. Bigger assemblies also take more time to build, and more time means more time for schedule and cost issues to affect your project (i.e. Constellation).

    If we had to replicate the ISS today, we could use the same designs, and the cost would be far less because the R&D and tooling are already paid for, and we can use cheaper launchers to get the assemblies into space.

    You still have not made the case that using existing ISS modules and technology will not work for future space assemblies.

  • Major Tom

    “The most efficient vehicles are the ones that lift the most per launch.”

    That’s simply not true.

    Titan IV, for example, was more costly per unit of payload mass versus smaller Atlas and Delta vehicles from the same time period. (And this divergence is even larger today with Atlas V and Delta IV.)

    Titan’s high per unit costs were driven by a huge mismatch between its projected flight rate (~10/yr.) and its actual flight rate (~3/yr.). Not only was this large launch vehicle more costly per unit of payload mass than its smaller competitors, the reasons for its high costs had nothing to do with vehicle size at all.

    fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/titan_c.htm

    “You are spending too much time… ”

    I take care of my own time management responsibilities.

    Thanks.

    “…and not paying attention to what other people say. I am not arguing that space tourism isnt going to happen…”

    Yes, you are. You wrote:

    “I am saying there will never be a profit in sending up people. It is nice to fantasize about saving up for a ticket but it is fooling the public into believing it can actually happen. Not enough space clowns.”

    “I doubt any of these vehicles will ever put a person into orbit.”

    On both the business and technical side, you argued that space tourism isn’t going to happen.

    Again, go away, think about it for awhile, and then come back and let us know what argument you want to stick with.

    “I am arguing that it is a sick joke that should not be permitted in the first place.”

    Why do you want to control how other people, even bazillionaire thrillseekers, spend their money? It’s their money, not yours.

    And how would you do it? How would you enforce control over people’s spending?

    FWIW…

  • Gary Church

    Major Tom, you seemed intelligent to me at first but now you are just twisting words. I am not going to go away and think about it, or obey any of your other condescendingly asinine instructions.

    I said there was never going to be a profit, I did not say they were not going to try.

    You people are all just monotone.

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    “The most efficient vehicles are the ones that lift the most per launch.”

    Regardless of cost??

    If you had your choice of a launcher that cost $1.2B to put 53,600 lbs of cargo into space, or one that cost $300M for 49,470 lbs, which would you choose? Which is more efficient?

    If it costs you $15,000/lb to put a 100,000 lb cargo into LEO in one lift, but $4,000/lb to do it in two lifts, which is more efficient?

    Pretend the U.S. Taxpayer only gives you a set amount of money to put mass into space – how could you maximize it?

  • Major Tom

    “Major Tom, you seemed intelligent to me at first but now you are just twisting words.”

    I quoted directly from your posts. That’s not “twisting words”.

    “I said there was never going to be a profit, I did not say they were not going to try.”

    Without profit, how is there going to be a private or commercial human space flight market or industry (at least, beyond what Space Adventures has done with Soyuz/ISS)?

    “I am not going to go away and think about it, or obey any of your other condescendingly asinine instructions.”

    Keep your positions and arguments straight and people won’t have to give you “condescendingly asinine instructions”.

    “You people are all just monotone.”

    We sound that way to you because we don’t argue both sides of the same fence.

    FWIW…

  • richardb

    Oler, sorry you don’t get it. I don’t have a dog in this fight. Whether Constellation lives or dies is no concern of mine. I am interested in its replacement. Obama gave us a Potemkin Village of a plan when he could have given us an interesting alternative to VSE. Many on this blog defended it because finally NASA entered the contracting for lift world and Constellation was finally recognized for the junk that it was, ie the adults were finally in charge.

    We are now seeing there is “no there, there” and his Administrator is the “Chauncey Gardner” of Nasa Admins.

    Congress hates it. Not politically sound
    It’s not funded to do what he claims it will do. Not fiscally sound.
    There is no architecture on paper some 3 months after it was unveiled leaving Congress unsure what it claims it will do. Not sound at any level.
    I have other problems with it as well, one being the contradiction in saying a commercial market exists when only the government owned ISS is the market.

    Obama is likely to lose his Nasa plan. Obama is also Nixonian in his politics. His payback might be total disinterest in Nasa during the next Congress when it grapples with the towering fiscal crisis created over the last few years. Nasa could easily be a shell by the time 2012 comes around, a museum with more curators than engineers.

  • Bennett

    “Congress hates it.”

    Some do, but not all, not by a long shot. I have yet to see a comprehensive list of support, or lack of support, but my State’s Senators like it. All moot if we end up with a CR instead of a budget this year.

    Even so, I think it will pass when the budget does come around. As has been note here several times, even in this thread “The only committee that counts is appropriations. Other than that, the White House decides the policy.”

  • Robert G. Oler

    richardb wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I dont concur with your comments on Congress…but

    as for the rest of it

    it is far to early to engage the plan because “I dont know what it will do”. Those details will come (and in fact are “in work” now) but they are very important ones and need sometime to sort out.

    The technology programs have to have some relevance to industry; for instance NASA at one time spent a lot of money on the “propfan”. They did it despite the airlines telling them that there was really no chance that they would buy an airplane that had “those optics” because “the people wont ride on a prop plane”. The airlines (and the manufacturers) had done some serious market research and the traveling public thinks that anything with a “prop” is obsolete.

    As it turned out the effort was in vain anyway, they couldnt fix the noise issues.

    But the point is that while the research on the prop fan was entertaining the reality is that it was a dead end almost from the start.

    My impression is that the folks in the political appointee group at NASA have gotten some good teams out working those issues and I wait to see what they come up with.

    As for it being financially “sound”. I am convinced it is IF there is not a lot of legacy tagup left (ie one more shuttle mission, another Ares test launch etc) things that I dont think are going to come.

    I suspect a year or so from now we will be on the verge of some really impressive demo flights.

    And Whittington et al will still be claiming that the Reds are going back to the Moon to take us over…LOL

    Robert G. Oler

  • Rhyolite

    Coastal Ron wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Excellent post.

    “Let’s stop talking about HLLV, and let’s start using our existing launchers to do stuff in space.”

    This pretty much sums up my opinion about Constellation.

  • Rhyolite

    Gary Church wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    “There is no cheap. Space travel is inherently expensive.”

    That’s nothing more than a hand waving apology for wasting money. As other commenter have demonstrated, there can be as much as a factor of three difference in price per pound to orbit. Intelligent policies and architectures can lead to much lower costs.

  • Major Tom

    “There is no architecture on paper some 3 months after it was unveiled leaving Congress unsure what it claims it will do.”

    This is a lame excuse. The Apollo architecture wasn’t set until well into its second year. The VSE also earned its first and only full year of funding almost a year before ESAS was released.

    It’s also a prescription for disaster. Jumping to conclusions about the technical details of multi-ten and -hundred billion dollar systems and architecture after only 90 days of study ensures that those details will have to be revisited and/or totally revamped. Both happened with ESAS (a 90 day study) and Constellation. Within a year of ESAS’s release, Ares I went from a 4-segment/SSME design to a 5-segment/J-2X design. And about five years after ESAS’s release, the entire Constellation program was set on a terminal course.

    FWIW…

  • Gary Church

    “Keep your positions and arguments straight and people won’t have to give you “condescendingly asinine instructions”.

    Oh, they are straight enough. You just do not like them.
    You are pushing an entertainment industry to facilitate obscene spending by the ultra rich. But I believe it is all a scam; this new “industry” is going to end up falling on it’s face and since it is all we will have in the way of putting anyone up in orbit, it will milk the public for every tax dollar it can get away with swindling. In ten years we will be back where we are right now. What a waste.

    I am not huffing and puffing; I believe is was referred to as “clusters last stand” in the early days of NASA. Trying to use multiple small rockets is a recipe for failure. That is why there was an engine called the F-1.

  • Gary Church

    “There is no cheap. Space travel is inherently expensive.”

    That’s nothing more than a hand waving apology for wasting money.

    Space clowns and cheap rockets with lousy performance are a waste of money. I am not apologizing.

  • G Clark

    Then answer CoastalRons’ three questions.

    BTW, I like your “Church Ship” concept. Have you done a detailed cost and engineering analysis (Preferably one that doesn’t give prospective investors a heart attack)? /sarc off/

  • LOW EARTH ORBIT: WE’VE BEEN THERE ALREADY!!!! We do NOT ever have to go there again.

  • DCSCA

    “The companies are identified (SpaceX, ULA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing — there are no other viable possibilities with the possible exception of Sierra Nevada), and last time I checked, they are part of America, not “someone else.”

    Check again. Corporations are their own nation-states, chartered to operate for the benefit of ‘someone else,’ their stockholders, who don’t necessarily have to be Americans nor operate in America’s national interest. They operate at the discretion of their board of directors for the benefit, first and foremost, of their stockholders to turn quarterly profits. Stockholders who may not necessarily have an interest in being a ‘part of America’. Although British, BP should be demonstrating this to you hourly of late. Banks as well. Corporations can move and recharter. Even Hallibuton left Texas and HQ’d in Dubai. Corporations and their BoDs are only ‘loyal’ to one group- their share/stockholders and investors.

  • DCSCA

    It’s clear from President Obama’s lawyerly learning curve on briefings on offshore drilling that he is not really a technologist at heart. He showed up at KSC and read what the bureaucrats recommended and handed him. And the privateer plans peppered into the space community seems clear. Remove America’s government funded, managed, primary manned spaceflight operations from NASA, dump downsized ‘privatized’ plans for LOE projects on these fledgling, ‘toy’ rocket companies for the remainder of the ISS’s life. And in the out years, as everything today is on paper and can be easily torn up, politicians (particularly conservatives who crave eliminating government agencies and have been gunning for NASA for decades) have a clear, rational –and appealing– argument to make with the public to disband what’s left of NASA and fold the assets and esoteric research of the civilian space agency into existing agencies like DoD, NOAA, FAA, etc. It makes perfect sense in a lousy economy where a national space program can be spun as a grand luxury in lean times the nation cannot afford. It doesn’t matter if the AF or NASA lofts a government payload and the toy rocket companies can fill in the commerical gap with their LOE operations. But manned space exploration by the United States to the moon and planets beyond will be dead.

    To the general public who pay the freight and crave much more down-to-earth entitlements, it will seem a sound idea in an increasingly grim economy. If NASA isn’t putting Americans into space, exploring the New Frontier, who needs it. Certainly not Joe Sixpack or Lori Lunchbucket. And America won’t by 2020. To this writer, that is what’s in play.

  • DCSCA

    @RichardB-”Obama is likely to lose his Nasa plan. Obama is also Nixonian in his politics. His payback might be total disinterest in Nasa during the next Congress when it grapples with the towering fiscal crisis created over the last few years. Nasa could easily be a shell by the time 2012 comes around, a museum with more curators than engineers.”

    Agreed. Factor in the economic mess in the Gulf region and the job losses with this oil spill and Congress is not going to kill more jobs in that region as so many of the aerospace contractors are based in those states in an election year. But he’s no friend of NASA. Recall a few years ago when he was ramping up his candidacy, his team were opposed to the agency and when pushback came as primaries approached, he clarified and reversed position– and has done so again. But this writer agrees with you- he’ll just ice it out if he doesn’t get his plan. He has no interest in space. It really never was a part of his universe.

  • DCSCA

    @Ben Russell-Gough wrote @ May 27th, 2010 at 10:28 am.

    Good point.

  • Cretins?

    Monkey crap slinger- SHUT UP!

    Even to my “Joe the Plumber” intelligence, this looks pretty playground to me. LOL!

    You’re just mad because nobody talks about the “Church Ship!” LOL.

  • DCSCA

    “And Whittington et al will still be claiming that the Reds are going back to the Moon to take us over…LOL”

    “In German oder English I know how to count down,
    Und I’m learning Chinese,” says Wernher von Braun.”– Tom Lehrer

  • G Clark

    DCSCA:

    Pray, tell me exactly how are LM, Boeing, and OSC ‘toy’ rocket companies?

  • It’s quite amusing how not one of the Constellation huggers has yet to address the criticisms in the August 2009 GAO report:

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09844.pdf

    Since you refuse to even read it, let me post the conclusion for you:

    NASA is still struggling to develop a solid business case—including firm requirements, mature technologies, a knowledge-based acquisition strategy, a realistic cost estimate, and sufficient funding and time—needed to justify moving the Constellation program forward into the implementation phase. Gaps in the business case include

    • significant technical and design challenges for the Orion and Ares I vehicles, such as limiting vibration during launch, eliminating the risk of hitting the launch tower during lift off, and reducing the mass of the Orion vehicle, represent considerable hurdles that must be overcome in order to meet safety and performance requirements; and

    • a poorly phased funding plan that runs the risk of funding shortfalls in fiscal years 2009 through 2012, resulting in planned work not being completed to support schedules and milestones. This approach has limited NASA’s ability to mitigate technical risks early in development and precludes the orderly ramp up of workforce and developmental activities.

    In response to these gaps, NASA delayed the date of its first crewed-flight and changed its acquisition strategy for the Orion project. NASA acknowledges that funding shortfalls reduce the agency’s flexibility in resolving technical challenges. The program’s risk management system warned of planned work not being completed to support schedules and milestones. Consequently, NASA is now focused on providing the capability to service the International Space Station and has deferred the capabilities needed for flights to the moon. Though these changes to the overarching requirements are likely to increase the confidence level associated with a March 2015 first crewed flight, these actions do not guarantee that the program will successfully meet that deadline. Nevertheless, NASA estimates that Ares I and Orion represent up to $49 billion of the over $97 billion estimated to be spent on the Constellation program through 2020. While the agency has already obligated more than $10 billion in contracts, at this point NASA does not know how much Ares I and Orion will ultimately cost, and will not know until technical and design challenges have been addressed.

  • Major Tom

    “You are pushing an entertainment industry to facilitate obscene spending by the ultra rich.”

    Where did I push anything? I questioned your “Not enough space clowns” statement. It appears to be factually wrong given Space Adventures’ backlog of demand for Soyuz seats, the multiple tickets that some of these bazillionaire thrillseekers are purchasing, independent market studies — some by our very own Mr. Foust — showing low tens of annual flights by the end of the next decade, and the fact that these vehicles and stations serve markets other than bazillionaire thrillseekers.

    That’s not pushing — that’s just stating facts that happen to not support your opinion.

    “But I believe it is all a scam; this new ‘industry’ is going to end up falling on it’s face”

    But you wrote yesterday that “I am not arguing that space tourism isnt [sic] going to happen…”

    Again, which argument do you want to go with? Is space tourism “going to happen” or is it “going to end up falling on it’s face”?

    Again, go away, think about it for a while, and let us know when you’ve figured it out.

    “I am not huffing and puffing; I believe is was referred to as ‘clusters last stand’ in the early days of NASA. Trying to use multiple small rockets is a recipe for failure. That is why there was an engine called the F-1.”

    This wasn’t my comment — I’d also have some concern about the probabilities involved in clustering large numbers of engines if each engine individually had a significant chance for a catastrophic failure mode to come into play. So far, Merlin doesn’t appear to be that kind of engine, but we won’t know for sure for some time to come.

    That said, NASA is pursuing an F-1 class engine under the FY11 budget, so the point is rather moot.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Corporations are their own nation-states”

    No, they’re not. In court, they’re treated as citizens, not soveriegn powers.

    Don’t make stuff up.

    “It’s clear from President Obama… politicians (particularly conservatives who crave eliminating government agencies and have been gunning for NASA for decades) have a clear, rational –and appealing– argument to make with the public to disband what’s left of NASA…”

    You’re blaming the current President for what members of the opposing political party are going to do years after this White House is out of office?

    Really?

    Please think before you post.

    “And in the out years, as everything today is on paper and can be easily torn up…”

    That’s true of any program if doesn’t bend relevant flight metal and keep its costs and schedule under control. Exhibit A is Constellation. That’s an argument to be made in a few years if the current Administration’s also results in a growing space flight gap, mounting costs, and a lack of flight hardware. But it’s an argument that can’t be made now, only a few months after the FY11 budget was rolled out and many months before Congress will approve the funding.

    FWIW…

  • Robert: “nope…at least not in the case of SpaceX”

    Robert, when is the last time you took a look at the SpaceX customer list? I’ll save you the time it is 90% government. Their whole business model collapses ‘without’ government sales. This is not the fault of the SpaceX marketing department it’s just a fact of life in the launch services business. Most companies will sell to anyone who will buy after all.

    BTW, I loved how another real engineer at NASA took you to task as to being completely clueless as to what is actually going on within the rank and file at NASA at NASA watch.

    http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/05/jeff-hanleys-fa.html#comments

    So given that you obviously have zero actually internal NASA or engineering knowledge, where the heck do you get your opinions from? God forbid you work anywhere within the policy apparatus of the United States? Quite frankly if you don’t have a role in either your opinions are not only wrong but worthless, which would be blessing for all of us who are actually involved in some way.

  • Coastal Ron:
    “For those that being very “direct” about needing HLV, please answer me this:
    1. What is the project $/lb to LEO for an HLV, and at what launch rate?
    2. What is the smallest sized cargo that makes sense to launch to LEO?
    3. What is the optimum lift capacity for a future HLV?
    Since we already know the costs and capacities of the all the current launchers, maybe your answers would help people understand why you think HLV’s are so badly needed”

    Good questions,

    The Jupiter-130 would cost $8 Billion in DT&E and cost $1.5 Billion to operate at 2 flights per year (unmanned missions) or about $4,500/lb to LEO. Remember the Shuttle has a lot of cost associated/required for manned missions, stuff that will come across regardless of the launch system. The problem with the Space Shuttle is that it has no unmanned mode, a problem fixed by the Jupiter-130 being able to fly with or without Orion. The launch cost gets well below the best EELV at 4 per year but then you run up against the having the money to build and fly 300mT of missions/year. The Jupiter-130 will also fly with a Delta Upper stage in Phase one for beyond LEO missions so in reality its more of STS/ULA industrial base hybrid. In fact organizationally there is very little that is different between the ULA and Jupiter workforce and industrial bases at a fundamental level. There is also no reason that the government couldn’t procure the capabilities above under a COTS like contracting vehicle.

    The Jupiter-130 is capable of placing 75mT of 10m diameter payload into in LEO, with growth variants (i.e. the Jupiter-246, that deliver up to 135mT). Though I really think the Jupiter-130 may be big enough to launch what Jeff Greason called the “biggest smallest piece” provided it’s dry so this may be the end of the road configuration as Jeff suggested. It will be up to the advanced technology program to help sort out how big is big enough in long run. The key is the Jupiter-130 doesn’t require us to get too big too early nor does it cut off our ability to become significantly more capable than the Saturn V if we need to. (i.e. if the advanced tech doesn’t pan out)

    The most important thing about the Jupiter-130 is that the higher lift capacity and diameter will reduce the spacecraft DT&E at least in half if not more. Not only will these spacecraft cost less but they will have significantly higher design margins enabling us to reuse them (i.e. Lunar Lander cycled at the EML1 point or Deep Space Hab cycled at SEL). The key to making Space Exploration less expensive is to use the mass that is in Space and to stop chucking expensive Spacecraft away after each mission. The objectives of reuse are sound just not on the ascent to LEO due to the current engine physics which will limit us to around 5% of the mass at launch reaching orbit. RLV needs to replaced with RSV (Reuseable Space Vehicle)

    Everyone is way too focused on only 10% of the problem (i.e. launch cost). If you really want to get cost down and demand up you need to focus on the other 90%. A HLV directly improves the spacecraft and mission cost curve. A paradigm we have been forced to live with because of launch system limitations. Personality cults and/or notions that the engineers that came before us were idiots and missed obvious ways of lowering the cost of launch or of putting 10lbs of stuff into 5lb boxes is simple not going to work. We have been at this for over fifty years now, all obvious ways of applying existing physics and existing approaches has been done. The key is modest HLV (cover our bets) in combination with Advanced Tech (change the rules).

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church wrote @ May 28th, 2010 at 1:48 am

    “I believe is was referred to as “clusters last stand” in the early days of NASA. Trying to use multiple small rockets is a recipe for failure. That is why there was an engine called the F-1.”

    OK, here is the math problem again, and I’ll do it real sloooowwww. The F-1 engine is one engine, and it was used on the Saturn V. The letter “V” in this case stood for the number 5, which is how many F-1 engines were used on the Saturn V. Here’s the formula – 1×5=5

    So far your whole damnation of using more than one engine on a stage is based on some insult from the 60′s, and a lack of knowledge about the Saturn V rocket.

    Considering that the Shuttle uses five engines to get to orbit, and that all of our modern launchers use multiple engines, I would say that the engineering community does not share your concern.

    Do you have any facts to back up your assertions?

  • We have been at this for over fifty years now, all obvious ways of applying existing physics and existing approaches has been done.

    Nonsense. There are many things that have not been done, because they have not been funded, regardless of how long it’s been. Fortunately, this is changing, though too slowly.

  • Coastal Ron

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ May 28th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for the figures.

    I still see the problem as one of supply and demand:

    - Is there enough demand for larger cargo to merit an HLV at this time?

    - Have we reached the point where our current 5m/50,000 lb cargo launchers are inhibiting our expansion into space?

    - Can we afford to build a new family of 10m space modules (5m ISS modules already exist)?

    - Who will pay for all of this new development, and what are we NOT doing because of our focus on HLV development?

    - Will there be money at the end of development for the cargo and programs that the HLV will launch?

    In the tight economic & budget environment that we have today, I don’t see the business case.

  • richardb

    One sure way to know if a plan wasn’t thought through before its release is how it’s changed when subjected to criticism.

    In the case of Obama’s plan numerous significant changes have been introduced that significantly affect its time line and cost and business case.

    In Space News there is an article where a commercial provider complains about one of those significant changes, the introduction of Orion as a CRV. The money quote is this from a Boeing spokesmen:

    “With the recent announcement of a crew rescue vehicle as part of Orion, we do now recognize that we would have a cost-plus, government-funded capsule competing against a commercially fixed-price capsule….No matter how many folks say, ‘I can build this, I can launch it, it’s going to work,’ we have to make sure it makes business sense, and right now there’s significant challenges there,” she said. ”

    http://www.spacenews.com/civil/100521-orion-lifeboat-making-waves.html

    Now I ask you, if the plan rolled out in Feb 2010 after months of analysis by Obama’s own commission doesn’t provide for a CRV shouldn’t the public be somewhat more skeptical of it when a CRV is introduced just as Obama is giving a campaign stop in Florida? If the plan is touted as lower cost, shouldn’t the public be somewhat more skeptical when Bolden is quoted as saying he’ll provide whatever bailout is necessary to the winners? I assume Cernan was under oath when he testified to this but even if he wasn’t, it is a reputation he’s built over decades of public service that would be lost if Cernan was lying. Bolden never came out and said or implied Cernan lied did he?

    For sure we aren’t done with adjustments to the Obama plan. When Congressional committees with oversight for Nasa reject his vision, as they appear poised to do, what will he think of next?

  • Now I ask you, if the plan rolled out in Feb 2010 after months of analysis by Obama’s own commission doesn’t provide for a CRV shouldn’t the public be somewhat more skeptical of it when a CRV is introduced just as Obama is giving a campaign stop in Florida?

    CRV does nothing for Florida.

    Bolden never came out and said or implied Cernan lied did he?

    No, he just said they had differing recollections of the conversation.

  • Major Tom

    “Now I ask you, if the plan rolled out in Feb 2010 after months of analysis by Obama’s own commission doesn’t provide for a CRV shouldn’t the public be somewhat more skeptical of it when a CRV is introduced”

    Why? If the ISS needs a crew return or safing capability, the Augustine report doesn’t address that capability, and NASA senior management and the White House don’t want to rely indefinitely on a foreign Soyuz for the capability, then why shouldn’t it be introduced?

    What would you rather the agency and national leadership do? Ignore the safety of ISS crews?

    (As an aside, I wish a less costly option than a $4.5 billion Orion variant was being pursued, but that doesn’t mean that the need isn’t real.)

    “just as Obama is giving a campaign stop in Florida?”

    Do you even know what year it is?

    There was no campaign underway for the U.S. Presidency when the President delivered his speech at KSC.

    “When Congressional committees with oversight for Nasa reject his vision, as they appear poised to do, what will he think of next?”

    Nothing. The oversight (authorization) committees have little or no power over NASA’s purse. They only set ceilings on agency budget totals. Unless the authorizers are willing to defund the agency (or large sections of it) in a new authorization bill (which passes rarely anyway), its the appropriators who ultimately decide which NASA programs get funded (or not).

    FWIW…

  • (As an aside, I wish a less costly option than a $4.5 billion Orion variant was being pursued, but that doesn’t mean that the need isn’t real.)

    There is a need for a safe haven in the event of ISS problems, but there is no need to bring them all all the way back to earth. That’s a false (and dumb) requirement.

  • Coastal Ron; “Thanks for the figures.
    I still see the problem as one of supply and demand:
    - Is there enough demand for larger cargo to merit an HLV at this time?”

    This is the same argument that was made against the 747. Where is the demand for an aircraft of this capability, a capability that was about 4x (2xPax*2xMiles) above anything that was then flying? Show me the route? You couldn’t?

    Between 2015 and 2020 we will have eight Jupiter-130 launch slots, three will be taken up with ISS supply duty (basically doing more in one launch than what the o’so affordable COTS program will charge $4Billion dollars for, plus we throw in a free crew rotation at no extra charge, try and get a deal like that from the Russians. Not bad for $750 million dollars total cost per launch. Another manned class mission could be an Apollo-8 that stretches Orion’s legs. Plus now Orion can now go back to the less expensive and safer land landing so we aren’t chucking spacecraft after each mission, a new heat shield, parachutes, airbag and service module and we are good to go. In fact we should just build a block one fleet (like Space Shuttle) saving even more money.

    That leaves about four missions. Other Earth resolving telescopes, a Robust/Real Mars Sample Return and missions to Europa (on Earth, water + energy = life) come to mind. These unmanned missions would be awarded based on the same process we use for discovery class missions where we already know what the launcher is what we need is a spacecraft DT&E and mission cost proposal that fits the rest of the fixed budget award. Problems encountered during development results in less mission capability not higher costs.

    Plus I know for a fact the DoD is interested in the Jupiter-130 so we may have one or two black launches in that time frame, super large telescopes work just as well pointing back at Earth.

    Plus if we implement the policy that ‘commercial’ applications only pay the marginal cost of the launch the cost drops to less than $1,000/lb, a key cost needed before we can close the Space Base Solar Power’s initial business case (ie power delivery to remote locations, i.e. like Afghanistan). Right now the military is spending 20x what Coal fired base power is in the US.

    Coastal Ron: “- Have we reached the point where our current 5m/50,000 lb cargo launchers are inhibiting our expansion into space?”

    Yes, look at the serious cost overruns of JWST and MSL. Cost overruns many times what the launch cost is and directly traceable to trying to stuff 10lbs into a 5lb box. Why not just put 5lbs in the 5lb box? well we have already done that on past missions conducted over the last fifty years (i.e. Hubble, Mars Rovers). There is little justification to just re-fly past missions or visiting another rock with the same remote sensing capabilities. Unmanned exploration has just as many problems with been there done that as manned exploration, and yet like manned exploration there still are a number of very exciting mission we can do with a more capable launch system.

    Charlie was asked at a recent hearing why it was the Europa Lander mission has routinely been at the top of the list yet passed over year after year by NASA. The same hearing where a member that is on the Armed Service Committee asked why Charlie hadn’t talked to the DOD concerning uses of HLV (big hint). He didn’t have an answer to either question but would get back to them. Notice how after that the HLV went from sometime in tomorrow land to a decision by 2015. Coincidence? I think not. Getting warmer Charlie, how about flying before 2015.

    Any way the answer to the Europa question is that we just don’t have the throw capacity to pull this off ditto for the Mars Sample Return mission which can at best deliver less than on kg of material even after assuming a bunch of very tricky steps we have never done before at this great of a distance and must be done perfectly or its all for nothing. Plus we already know what we need in order to resolve another Earth and its well beyond JWST approaches. I think discovering if we are alone or if another genesis has occurred in our solar system are pretty important missions even if we only get a few of these done every decade or so. I’ll trade that for hundred more mission just like the ones we have already done.

    Coastal Ron: “- Can we afford to build a new family of 10m space modules (5m ISS modules already exist)?

    - Who will pay for all of this new development, and what are we NOT doing because of our focus on HLV development?”

    The Jupiter-130 is a very modest HLV using paid for systems that share the same workforce and industrial base as ULA. Hence why P&W told the DOD that shutting down the SSME will just make all the other engines they make more expensive, ditto for solid propellant. I agree we still need to keep the operational cost to a low level, which is why the PoR Ares-1 and Ares-V were so insane. I would be hard pressed to come up with a more expensive, less efficient, and more over built approach to HLV than the PoR.

    Coastal Ron: “- Will there be money at the end of development for the cargo and programs that the HLV will launch?”

    That is why in our compromise budget we have almost $3 billion/year going into these ‘precursor’ largely unmanned missions that not only build the technology base needed for the manned missions but also just so happen to be great scientific missions on their own. To put that in perspective the entire Mars exploration budget line is about $500 million per year and look what they have done. So having a modest $1.5 billion/year going to Jupiter launch operations and $3 billion going here sounds pretty balanced. Plus Science is still completely untouched so those missions could know be planning on truly new missions that break new ground.

    Coastal Ron: “In the tight economic & budget environment that we have today, I don’t see the business case.”

    In an environment where the United States spends more on Space than all other nations combined, I don’t see how we can afford not to have the best capabilities. The launch system payload fairing ‘is’ the bottleneck to the next fifty years of ‘expanded’ space exploration and development, the Jupiter-130 removes that bottle neck yet doesn’t break the bank at $1.5 Billion/year.

    Plus is not like destroying the existing SDHLV industrial base and decimating the operations workforce will save that much money. A lot of the fixed costs will just transfer to ULA plus NASA cross agency support, by far the largest single line item in the NASA budget BTW, won’t budge. We will be spending the same money, have more piles of PhD papers, but have very little progress to show for it. Just like Neil Armstrong said at the hearing on Wednesday.

    We need a balance between Research, Development and Operations. If any leg on this three legged stool grows to long at the expense of the other legs of the stool, just like our space program, it falls over.

  • Gary Church

    “So far your whole damnation of using more than one engine on a stage is based on some insult from the 60’s, and a lack of knowledge about the Saturn V rocket.

    Do you have any facts to back up your assertions?”

    The fact is that you and Major Tom are liars. You constantly lie just to confuse and take up space to divert attention from the “facts.” I am not damning more than one engine- you are lying. I am damning 28, I mean, 27. “Some insult from the 70′s?” It was not an insult- it was an engineering principle that violating caused the destruction of the Russian moon rocket.
    You two are the ones making things up and saying other people are. Foust is being fair by letting someone like me who fundamentally disagrees with the whole space tourist swindle post here. But many of the people posting here are just obfuscating insulters pandering to a entertainment business enterprise that is misrepresenting itself as a manned space exploration program.

  • This is the same argument that was made against the 747. Where is the demand for an aircraft of this capability, a capability that was about 4x (2xPax*2xMiles) above anything that was then flying? Show me the route? You couldn’t?

    It’s not the same argument. The 747 decision was made on the basis of a pre-order from Juan Trippe for large transpacific airliners. There is no Juan Trippe for heavy lift. There may be one in a few decades.

  • Plus I know for a fact the DoD is interested in the Jupiter-130 so we may have one or two black launches in that time frame, super large telescopes work just as well pointing back at Earth.

    Then let them pay for it. They have a bigger space budget than NASA HSF.

  • Gary Church

    “-our very own Mr. Foust — showing low tens of annual flights by the end of the next decade, and the fact that these vehicles and stations serve markets other than bazillionaire thrillseekers.
    That’s not pushing — that’s just stating facts that happen to not support your opinion.”

    That is pushing; you are lying.

    “But you wrote yesterday that “I am not arguing that space tourism isnt [sic] going to happen…””
    Again, which argument do you want to go with? Is space tourism “going to happen” or is it “going to end up falling on it’s face”?”

    Space tourism is happening and is going to try and keep happening- and it is going to fall on it’s face. Go away for awhile and thing about how to confuse that statement with a lie.

    ‘Again, go away, think about it for a while, and let us know when you’ve figured it out.”

    Pretty easy to figure out- everyone is clear on the game you are playing.

  • Rhyolite

    Gary Church wrote @ May 28th, 2010 at 1:48 am

    “I believe is was referred to as “clusters last stand” in the early days of NASA. Trying to use multiple small rockets is a recipe for failure.”

    The Saturn I/IB – a cluster of Redstone and Jupiter tanks, and 8 engines – had a perfect flight record.

    Soyuz – a cluster of five rocket bodies and five engines with twenty thrust chambers – is the most reliable rocket in service today.

    Delta IV Heavy – a cluster of three common cores – is entrusted with critical national security payloads.

    You simply have no basis in fact for criticizing clustered rockets – they have been a staple of rocket designers for 50 years.

  • At this point, I suggest that we stop feeding the troll(s).

  • Gary Church

    “Nuclear propulsion – It’s a nice to have, not a gotta have,”

    No- it is a gotta. You are wrong. Ask any engineer how big any chemical stages that will take a crew to mars or the belt and back are and they will give you a mind boggling number. It would take a half dozen saturn V launches to pull it off; you cluster’s last stand Falcon is not going to make it happen.

    “Massive shielding – This is a subject that is near and dear to Administrator Bolden, and that’s why he wants to skip the Moon, and proceed to an asteroid. This will be hard.”

    What is your point? It will be hard=massive radiation shielding.

    “Artificial gravity – It depends on how long the astronauts are out there. We know how to keep astronauts in good shape for at least 6 months”

    They are not “in good shape”, they have permanent loss of bone and bone marrow and radiation exposure that is a lifetime dose and excludes them from another job as a “radiation worker.” It only gets cumulatively worse. Space has always been about radiation- it was a calculated risk on the moon missions that we might lose a crew to a solar storm and this was one of the reasons the number of missions were cut.

    “If we’re going to an asteroid, – We can use liquid fuel engines for BEO, although we may have to use a lot of fuel, we can always send extra tankers along on the trip. With fuel depot technology, fuel becomes a commodity –”

    You have no idea how many launches of smaller vehicles you are talking about- you are completely misleading readers.

  • Gary Church

    Rand, you are the monkey crap sling troll, not me.

  • Major Tom

    “The fact is that you and Major Tom are liars.”

    Huh? Where did I lie?

    Again, I questioned your “Not enough space clowns” statement. It appears to be factually wrong given Space Adventures’ backlog of demand for Soyuz seats, the multiple tickets that some of these bazillionaire thrillseekers are purchasing, independent market studies — some by our very own Mr. Foust — showing low tens of annual flights by the end of the next decade, and the fact that these vehicles and stations serve markets other than bazillionaire thrillseekers. I provided links for each.

    That’s not lying — that’s just stating facts that happen to not support your opinion.

    I also quoted directly from your earlier posts and showed where your quotes were contradictory.

    That’s not lying — that’s just pointing out where your argument is not consistent.

    Don’t blame me (or accuse me of lying) if your opinion doesn’t match the facts or if your argument is not consistent.

    “Do you have any facts to back up your assertions?”

    See above.

    “I am damning 28, I mean, 27.”

    Pick a number, any number.

    FWIW…

  • Gary Church

    “You simply have no basis in fact for criticizing clustered rockets – they have been a staple of rocket designers for 50 years.”

    That is a lie. 27 engines? Google Russian moon rocket.

  • Rand: “Nonsense. There are many things that have not been done, because they have not been funded, regardless of how long it’s been. Fortunately, this is changing, though too slowly.”

    Care to list some of those things we engineers haven’t at least attempted to do over the last fifty years? I think you forget that DoD’s advanced tech department dwarfs anything NASA has done.

    Oh that’s right you must have been sworn to secrecy after Elon showed you what was in his magic bag. It’s just as well since us ignorant engineers actually flying stuff for the last fifty years wouldn’t understand them anyway.

    Show us the way Elon and Rand please show us the way to low the cost promised land, we beg of you. We rub sticks together while you move about the Universe at will using no more cost and power than what the energizer bunny needs. Please show us the errors of our primitive backward ways. BTW you’re plan doesn’t hinge on using spice to fold space does it? Remember with the ‘right’ spice you can have the illusion that just about anything is possible and is even actually happening before your eyes, important safety tip to stay way from this approach to attempting space travel.

    Sorry I have to lighten it up once in a while, when I know that if what Rand and others advocate (based solely on hope and change I might add) should come to pass less than year from now it will mean the destruction of over $50 Billion dollars worth of our national space industrial base, the virtual shutting down of a $100 Billion facility in orbit we finally completed and casting 50,000 hardworking and talented engineers and technicians out of work never to return.

  • Gary Church

    “Don’t blame me (or accuse me of lying) if your opinion doesn’t match the facts or if your argument is not consistent.

    “Do you have any facts to back up your assertions?”

    You are just arguing. If you don’t have anything to contribute why don’t you go away and think about it for awhile?

  • DCSCA

    @StephenCSmith- Constellation has many flaws, not the least of which is Ares. But the general concept of returning humans to the moon for long duration and applying that evolution in expertise for a human expedition to Mars seems a sound and logical step. And a challenge this generation of aerospace engineers deserve.

  • Major Tom

    “’-our very own Mr. Foust — showing low tens of annual flights by the end of the next decade, and the fact that these vehicles and stations serve markets other than bazillionaire thrillseekers.
    That’s not pushing — that’s just stating facts that happen to not support your opinion.’

    That is pushing; you are lying.”

    I’m lying about the content of an independent study that anyone can find online, that I linked to in an earlier post (and will link to here again), and that the manager of this forum worked on?

    futron.com/upload/wysiwyg/Resources/Space_Tourism_Market_Study_1002.pdf

    Really?

    “Space tourism is happening and is going to try and keep happening- and it is going to fall on it’s face.”

    You sure this time? That’s the argument you’re going to stick with?

    “… everyone is clear on the game you are playing.”

    What, the one where I ask for consistent arguments backed by actual evidence?

  • Major Tom

    “At this point, I suggest that we stop feeding the troll(s).”

    But it’s a nice distraction.

    FWIW…

  • Stephen, I see that you are uninterested in a serious discussion.

  • Gary Church

    “Sorry I have to lighten it up once in a while”

    Do not apologize for telling the truth or call it light. This is serious business; these people misrepresenting themselves to the public that comes to this site looking for information; they are tangible damage to any future manned space program with their garage rocket cheaper is better con game.

  • Major Tom

    “But the general concept of returning humans to the moon for long duration and applying that evolution in expertise for a human expedition to Mars seems a sound and logical step.”

    If you’re talking about general aerospace expertise and sector capabilities, it’s a fair argument.

    But if you’re arguing that lunar expeditions put in place key technical building blocks for manned Mars expeditions, there’s actually not much commonality. The trip times, communication lags, radiation exposure, microgravity exposure, toxins, landing techniques, available resources, and many other key issues are radically different and demand very different systems and solutions. If your objective is Mars (and I’m not saying whether it should be), then the Moon is a pretty big detour.

    FWIW…

  • Gary Church

    … everyone is clear on the game you are playing.

    “What, the one where I ask for consistent arguments backed by actual evidence?”

    No, the one where you keep demanding, but have no evidence except dollar figures that are about as trustworthy as enron.

  • DCSCA

    @MajorTom- “Corporations are their own nation-states” No, they’re not. In court, they’re treated as citizens, not soveriegn powers. Don’t make stuff up.” Uh, yes they are their own nation-states. Courts are easily manipulated, laws differ from country to country and litigation can be stalled and appealed to minimize exposure and reduce liability. Ask Exxon. Watch BP. It’s no accident tankers are registered in Liberia and rigs registered in the Marshalls where rules and regs are minimized. And if you think that’s ‘made up’, you’ve got a hard education ahead of you.

  • Rand: “Then let them pay for it. They have a bigger space budget than NASA HSF.”

    Who said that wasn’t now finally being discussed? Hence Neil Armstrong’s point that this policy came out of a small cabal at the Whitehouse after absolutely zero coordination with any of the policy forming functions within the Federal Government and it shows, it shows big time. In fact to even call it amateur hour at the Whitehouse would be a big insult to amateurs everywhere. Gee you might want to coordinate civilian space policy shift of this magnitude 20% of spending with DoD space policy 80% of spending. You think?

    At this point in time you have a lot of people in Congress who could really care less about the policy just mad over the complete and utter lack of coordination thereby completely disregarding Congress, the ultimate sin. It’s almost as if there are some in the Whitehouse that don’t understand that Congress is an actually a co-equal branch of government. In fact the Constitution says that 2/3 is all it takes to remove the entire executive branch and everyone on the Supreme Court if they wanted too. It’s not the most coordinated branch of government but it is by far the most powerful when you get them collectively mad or happy with you.

    The big debate now isn’t over whether the plan will change significantly but what it will change to. We still unfortunately have a number of PoR holdouts that just don’t get it. Plus there are even those that want to change it just to make a point back to the executive branch concerning the ‘importance’ of coordinating with Congress in the future.

  • DCSCA

    @MajorTommy “You’re blaming the current President for what members of the opposing political party are going to do years after this White House is out of office? Really?” Yes, really. Apparently you believe the conservative minded are only found in the opposition party. Look again. NASA has been under assult long before this administration was seated in power. “Please think before you post.” This writer does. What’s your excuse.

  • DCSCA

    @GaryChurch- Cluster rockets designed well work well. The Russian N-1 was not and did not.

  • DCSCA

    But if you’re arguing that lunar expeditions put in place key technical building blocks for manned Mars expeditions, there’s actually not much commonality. Who says, you?? Apparently you’re one of the ‘don’t know what they don’t know yet crowd.’ Its an area and opportunity worthy of a good engineering challenge. Soyuz was originally designed to be adapted as a basic lunar spacecraft yet it has been used only in LOE. Guess ‘their Germans’ were better than ‘our Germans’ after all.

  • Gary Church

    “@GaryChurch- Cluster rockets designed well work well. The Russian N-1 was not and did not.”

    The fewer the number of engines, the better. It is why launch vehicles don’t all have 27 or 28 engines. The basic R-7/soyuz design was the first rocket to put anything in orbit and the only reason it had so many thrust chambers is because Korolev could not make anything bigger work. He did not use a turbopump for every bell. There are still DC-3′s flying around but they are not my first choice for travel. The only reason they used 8 (not 27) engines on the early saturns was because they had the same problem with making big motors work. The F-1 was finally engineered so well they set bombs off inside the bell while it was running and it hardly missed a beat. And going to the moon and mars are not the logical steps. The moon has water which is great news for one reason; radiation shielding. But gravity wells are gravity wells and the very low gravity on bodies like Ceres and Vesta are where the easy resources are.

  • Low Earth Orbit: We’ve been there already!!! Let’s never ever go back there again!!

  • Gary Church

    Low Earth Orbit: We’ve been there already!!! Let’s never ever go back there again!!

    I agree.
    High polar orbit is the only place you can detonate atomic bombs at the right angle so the fallout does not get sucked into the magnetosphere and eventually contaminate the atmosphere. Nuclear pulse propulsion could easily be tested within a decade. The biggest problem is getting the oralloy into orbit safely- and a man-rated capsule with an escape tower is the best method.

  • Gary Church

    Oh yeah, ISP? Somewhere around 40,000.

  • Gary Church

    “if what Rand and others advocate (based solely on hope and change I might add) should come to pass less than year from now it will mean the destruction of over $50 Billion dollars worth of our national space industrial base, the virtual shutting down of a $100 Billion facility in orbit we finally completed and casting 50,000 hardworking and talented engineers and technicians out of work never to return.”

    Nicely said, and when it is all said and done a certain carpetbagging …person, who’s first name begins with M will be laughing all the way to the bank. And the U.S. will have no manned space program.

  • Gary Church

    I mean, who’s last name begins with M. Sorry. Meds are kicking in.

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Church said a lot of things:

    I said “So far your whole damnation of using more than one engine on a stage is based on some insult from the 60’s, and a lack of knowledge about the Saturn V rocket.”

    Do you have any facts to back up your assertions?”

    Gary Church responded “The fact is that you and Major Tom are liars. You constantly lie just to confuse and take up space to divert attention from the “facts.” I am not damning more than one engine- you are lying. I am damning 28, I mean, 27. “Some insult from the 70’s?””

    The only way I can interpret what you wrote is to think that you’re either just messing with us, or that you’re on drugs while writing this. For instance:

    1. I presented facts, such as the engine count for the Saturn V, and you called me a liar, and that I was confusing the issues to divert attention from “facts”, none of which you have tried to present.

    2. ” I am not damning more than one engine- you are lying”. Wait for it…

    3. “I am damning 28, I mean, 27.” OK, here’s where I’m suspecting drugs are involved.

    4. “Some insult from the 70’s?”. The inability to interpret and transcribe information correctly (I said the 60′s) is another indication of something being wrong. I suspect there is a nut loose on your keyboard.

    Until you are able to present opinions that contain some form of facts (beyond Liar! Liar! Liar! Liar! Liar!), I will refrain from engaging with you.

  • Gary Church

    1. Never said anything more than one engine was bad; lie.
    There are five engines on the V, not 27.
    Any more facts?
    2. I am waiting for what? You to admit you are a liar?
    3. Very factual.
    4. That’s right, pick out every single typo as a smokescreen.

    Thank you for not engaging me from now on. Please.

  • Coastal Ron

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ May 28th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    “The Jupiter-130 would cost $8 Billion in DT&E and cost $1.5 Billion to operate at 2 flights per year (unmanned missions) or about $4,500/lb to LEO.”

    I’m assuming that since this is proposed as a government program, that you are not amortizing the development costs into the launch costs? Still, $4,500/lb is at least 50% more expensive than what Falcon 9 is advertised at. For small launches, you could not compete, but let’s look at your large cargo justifications:

    ISS resupply – There are two factors to consider. 1.) Cost – Part of the cost of the current COTS program is for developing the hardware/software systems for commercial providers to use for delivering to the ISS. When the contract is re-bid for deliveries past 2015, the costs will come down quite a bit. Could you compete? 2.) Capacity – How much cargo can the ISS hold? Through 2015, they will be getting regular deliveries of supplies, including perishables. I don’t see the advantage. What happens if your launcher doesn’t make it to orbit? Would the ISS be able to last until the next delivery 6 months later? Costs being the same, whats better – two deliveries, or six?

    DOD – The DOD got burned with the Shuttle, and they are quite happy with the EELV family, so although they may have wishes, I suspect they won’t be a lead investor in Direct, but become a customer after it is closer to reality. Unless you think they will fund Direct? Heck, $8B would be a bargain if true, because they are spending over $13B just on their Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program. One does have to wonder how your costs are so much lower than what was projected for Ares V…

    Everything Else – There is nothing stopping us from using current technology to do the BEO projects you mention. The biggest problem is getting to LEO, after that you can rendezvous with a tug/booster to move you where you want to go. Modular is more flexible, cheaper, able to absorb launcher losses better, and for the $8B it takes to develop Jupiter, you can launch 1,333,333 lbs of mass on Delta/Atlas.

    We can do what we need with the current launchers.

    Good discussion – no need to reply.

  • Gary Church

    “There is nothing stopping us from using current technology to do the BEO projects you mention. The biggest problem is getting to LEO, after that you can rendezvous with a tug/booster to move you where you want to go. Modular is more flexible, cheaper, able to absorb launcher losses better, and for the $8B it takes to develop Jupiter, you can launch 1,333,333 lbs of mass on Delta/Atlas.
    We can do what we need with the current launchers.
    Good discussion – no need to reply.”

    Except it is wrong; you cannot do manned BEO with chemical propulsion without building battlestar galactica. Your tugs are like a steel space elevator; it would take the mass of the earth to make it work. That Jupiter is far superior to any other vehicle in use- and your BS will not change that. Stop making stuff up.

  • Gary Church

    How does it feel Ron?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ May 28th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Who said that wasn’t now finally being discussed?…

    if you are implying that DoD is going to be tasked to pay something for a heavy lift vehicle resembling DIRECT then you are simply stating your opinions with no fact to back them up.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Gary Church

    A heavy lift vehicle is absolutely critical to any future manned space exploration program; and so I am not accused of not having facts- I will state that this is my opinion. I will even use numbers (small numbers)

    1. There has to be an ultimate goal to any manned space program- Apollo succeeded in it’s goal. The follow-on failed without it. So I will say it; the ultimate goal is a self-sustaining off world colony. The reasons to establish this colony are the survival imperative and economic development of solar system resources. (the second part is for you Mr. Oler). Expansion into space.

    2. I will eliminate the moon and mars as colony sites because they are at the bottom of significant gravity wells, which makes even the moon expensive to travel to and from into space, and they do not have one gravity which is known to be healthy for human beings (along with sea level radiation levels). This leaves space habitats and the best design is the original 1929 hollow sphere concept of John Desmond Bernal, which we will have to build in space. Bernal Spheres.

    3. Building these structures will require energy and metal. There is certainly plenty of metal available in the asteroid belt and solar energy is also a plentiful resource that can be economically developed. The problem is utilizing them. Spaceships are needed; true spaceships that provide high speed, radiation protection, artificial gravity, and large payloads for carrying manufacturing infrastructure components. Chemical energy propulsion is completely inadequate; they will have to be nuclear powered. Atomic Spaceships.

    4. The only propulsion system that can efficiently use nuclear energy is external pulse propulsion; atomic bombs. A very large ship is necessary and that will have to be built in sections using wet workshops and reusable launch vehicle components. Wet workshops.

    5. The only way to lift the needed wet workshop payloads into orbit are with heavy launch vehicles. In addition the only acceptably safe way to transport the fissionable material into orbit is a man-rated capsule equipped with an escape tower. Man-rated heavy lift launch vehicle.

    6. These Atomic Spaceships will require massive radiation shielding and the discovery of water on the moon is a great enabler for this mass to be economically acquired.

    7. Thus we have all the pieces necessary; the technology to build extremely powerful launch vehicles with reusable monolithic solid strap ons like the AJ-260. Liquid hydrogen motors returnable from orbit with their own ablative module, and escape towers and capsules also reusable. And the empty second stage structure as a compartment in a multi-compartment nuclear powered and nuclear propelled spaceship.

    This is a reasonable plan for manned space exploration. Much better than tourists taking their girlfriends up into orbit for zero g romps in the hay.

  • Gary Church

    I will even give you a timetable; April 12, 2061 will be the day the United States welcomes it’s 51st state into the union. This state will be a Bernal sphere or several spheres as cities of the new state and it will mean we really did win the space race. I will also be 100 years old. I just might make it.

  • [...] the original here: Space Politics » Other notes from yesterday's hearing Share and [...]

  • Major Tom

    “No, the one where you keep demanding, but have no evidence except dollar figures that are about as trustworthy as enron.”

    Don’t be an idiot. I sourced by figures with four or five links. Learn how to use a mouse.

    Lawdy…

  • Major Tom

    “Uh, yes they are their own nation-states… It’s no accident tankers are registered in Liberia and rigs registered in the Marshalls…”

    If you have to register in a nation-state, then you’re not a nation-state.

    Duh…

    Think before you post.

    “Who says, you??”

    And Buzz Aldrin:

    guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jul/16/buzz-aldrin-moon-mars-space

    And Rusty Schweickart:

    spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=34108

    And Bob Zubrin:

    nss.org/settlement/mars/zubrin-colonize.html

    To name a few off the top of my head.

    “Its an area and opportunity worthy of a good engineering challenge.”

    So what? So are Disney amusement park rides. That doesn’t mean that the taxpayer should be footing the bill.

    “‘Please think before you post.’ This writer does.”

    No, you don’t.

    Sigh…

  • [...] Other notes from yesterday’s hearing – Space Politics [...]

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