NASA

The other great debate

The so-called “Great Debate” at the National Space Society’s (NSS) International Space and Development Conference (ISDC) in Chicago on Saturday afternoon featuring Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin and former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart was something of a dud, in part because it wasn’t that much of a debate: after ten-minute opening statements by Zubrin (who opposes the agency’s proposed plans) and Schweickart (who supports them), the floor was turned over to the audience, some of whom asked questions of the two, and others who simply expressed their opinions. Conference organizers explained that the event wasn’t intended to be a debate between the two at all; the “Great Debate” title referred to the ongoing broader debate about the White House’s proposal for NASA (even though the Mars Society, in their own publicity about the event, called it a debate between Zubrin and Schweickart).

However, more interesting—and more of a debate—was an impromptu exchange between NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver and Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University and someone who has been critical of at least some elements of the NASA proposal. It came together after Garver’s luncheon ran long, overlapping with a presentation by Pace on the budget proposal that was to serve as the prelude to the Schweickart/Zubrin event. (Told about the clash of schedules, she joked, “I’m going to filibuster so that no one can go hear Scott Pace.” The luncheon did end a few minutes later because the hotel staff needed to set up the room for another event.) Conference organizers then arranged to have Garver take some audience questions with Pace during his session for a short time until Garver had to leave for the airport.

What emerged was a debate about one key aspect of the NASA plan, the development of commercial crew capabilities. Pace is skeptical that it’s a wise move. “The issue that I think is one of the main differences is what role do you think the government should play in human spaceflight in the transition now, at the end of shuttle,” he said. “Some think we’re ready to go towards human spaceflight on a commercial vehicle; and I’m not.” He said such a shift to commercial providers is not impossible, but that it would lengthen the post-shuttle gap.

He advocated that it made sense to “press to MECO” and continue building Ares 1, even if a commercial crew program goes forward. He said it would taken $7.5 billion to complete Ares 1 by 2015 or 2016, then noted that there’s $2.5 billion in the proposal already for Constellation termination costs. “If I do Ares 1 I get a $5-billion downpayment for a heavy-lift vehicle, the Ares 5.” He suggested that Ares 1 be the fallback option should commercial vehicles fall behind schedule. “I believe in the public option,” he quipped.

Garver countered that continuing to develop the Ares 1 was neither wise nor affordable. “Private sector will not have the incentive to invest and develop that capability if we have, as you call it, a backup plan,” she said, arguing that the government should not compete with the private sector in this arena. She argued that developing Ares 1 would cost far more than Pace indicated. “We have a situation where it is going to cost $18 billion overall” to develop Ares 1, she said. By comparison, she noted, “the very first case for Ares was, as I recall, from Scott Horowitz: $1 billion and by 2010.”

“I know people look at the $6 billion for commercial crew and think, ‘oh, if we just use that to complete the existing program,’” she continued. “There’s not nearly enough available to do that.”

106 comments to The other great debate

  • Gary Church

    “Garver countered that continuing to develop the Ares 1 was neither wise nor affordable. “Private sector will not have the incentive to invest and develop that capability if we have, as you call it, a backup plan,”

    I disagree strongly. Always have a plan B.

    If Ares1 has turned out to be a poor design than so be it- go with the Side mount Orion concept, but do not hang HSF out in the wind like that.

  • Gary Church

    “Some think we’re ready to go towards human spaceflight on a commercial vehicle; and I’m not.” He said such a shift to commercial providers is not impossible, but that it would lengthen the post-shuttle gap.”

    I agree with that, but why does he have to specify Ares1 as the only alternative? Like I said already, if it has these crippling vibration problems in the stack then go with another plan like the Side Mount.

  • Ferris Valyn

    If Ares1 has turned out to be a poor design than so be it- go with the Side mount Orion concept, but do not hang HSF out in the wind like that.

    Even better, lets go with a vehicle that is already flying – the Atlas V. Why do we need a new rocket?

  • Gary Church

    OK Ferris, I am with you.
    Atlas V and Delta IV heavy are not man-rated and completely expendable. The shuttle SRB’s were at least meant to be reused, even if they give no monetary benefit they can inspect them after each flight and constantly improve them with the data. I would like something with a wet workshop which has at least been entertained with shuttle external tanks.
    But….I will go with Atlas or Delta over Falcon any freakin day of the week!!

  • Gary Church

    As a side note, I corresponded with Schweickart’s planetary defense organization a couple years ago and found out they have a pretty plain agenda promoting their chemical tugboat. They adamantly refuse to even consider any nuclear devices in stopping impacts. I think that is very sad.

  • Atlas V and Delta IV heavy are not man-rated and completely expendable.

    They’re as man rated as the Shuttle is. “Man rated” is not just a worthless, but a poisonous phrase.

  • Randy Smith

    If I was Pace, I would feel badly-treated by the organizers. He was told to start late because Garver ran over in her talk in another room. Then, halfway through his presentation, she showed up and took the stage. He was promised 45 minutes and got about half of that. Not professional.

  • Gary Church

    Please explain that Rand. I would not have “man-rated” the shuttle either without an escape system but there is a difference between man-rated and vehicles that are not. Is this not true?

  • amightywind

    Well, back from Walleye fishing. The rest of you should take a break and get out of your mother’s basement once in a while…

    Lori Garvers of the world are the result of 25 years of unnatural selection in industry and the government due to political correctness. Go to any technology company in the land and see that the vast majority working engineers are men, and that women are disproportionately advanced into management positions. Many have influence way beyond what they merit. Lori Garver is a bureaucrat and politician, not a technologist. I question whether she really merits her position as deputy administrator, but that goes for many Obama appointees. Her opinions on Ares should be considered in this regard.

    “Press to MECO” on Ares. I like that slogan.

  • GeeSpace

    Atlas V and Delta IV rockets are ‘old” technology, We are in the proposed new era of designing, developing, and testing only “new technology”. No old ideas, concepts, technology need to apply.
    For those who want to use old or current technology and knpwledge, what do you want? An aggressive manned space program beyond Earth”s orbit of space exploration and development? Well, what an old fashsion (but good) idea..

  • Mark R. Whittington

    That sounds like Garver, whom I’ve personally seen pull this kind of stunt before. It’s rather laughable that she should defend the “commercial” plan with its government subsidies and bailouts. Also, I didn’t notice any reluctance to invest in commercial space when Ares 1 was still part of the plan.

  • Rhyolite

    Between Atlas, Delta, and Falcon, we can have Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C.

    $7.5 Billion for Ares I as a Plan D is a waste of money.

  • Please explain that Rand. I would not have “man-rated” the shuttle either without an escape system but there is a difference between man-rated and vehicles that are not. Is this not true?

    Man-rated means whatever NASA wants it to mean on a given day. It’s mostly used to eliminate competition to whatever NASA wants to build. The phrase hasn’t made any sense since the sixties, when it mean taking an unreliable ballistic missile and adding in redundancy and enhanced traceability for additional reliability. Modern rockets are automatically man rated in that sense, by design. There is nothing you can do to an Atlas or Delta (or Falcon, once it’s through its test phase) to make them any more reliable than they are, and nothing that you need do. They already have to launch satellites costing hundreds of millions of dollars apiece. On the other hand, we have plenty of astronauts (too many, in fact), and plenty more where they came from

  • Doug Lassiter

    “I question whether she really merits her position as deputy administrator”

    Yep, that’s what happens when you get a NASA administrator who isn’t a dyed in the wool engineer. You know, someone who can design and build real rockets. Program success depends on such skill and experience. Just look at Mike Griffin!

    Oops.

    That the vast majority of working engineers are men are obviously because the vast majority of girls have been taught, implicitly if not explicitly, that engineering is not for girls. Also, the vast majority of senior engineers, who are men, are ill disposed to hire young engineers who don’t look like them. This is old news. Old, old news. Go smooth out that Rand Paul sticker on your bumper and throw some kerosene on the cross.

    ““Press to MECO” on Ares. I like that slogan.”

    For Ares I? An SRB? Ha! As if Ares I propulsion is command driven. “Press to burnout” is more appropriate, both for Ares I … and for Constellation supporters.

  • Gary Church

    Well, how about Side Mount as plan B considering
    1. We have a capsule and an escape system- and the escape system has been tested.

    2. We have components that we have spent 30 years making work and are in fact very high performance machines (RSRB, SSME) If we cannot afford to develop an engine return module for the SSME or throw them away then substitute RS-68′s, which are designed as expendable and are also very high performance engines.

    3. We can also use this vehicle for heavy lift unmanned missions equaling the payload of the Saturn V, which none of these vehicles can even approach.

  • Gary Church

    “Man-rated means whatever NASA wants it to mean on a given day.”

    And on the day they man-rated the shuttle without an escape system they meant cheap. I have never read much about man-rating so I cannot argue with you Rand.

  • Gary Church

    “Delta IV rockets are ‘old” technology,”

    Not that old; that Delta IV heavy is a hot bird with those RS-68′s. Read the specs. I want a heavy lift with reusability and a wet workshop but that Delta is a pretty awesome machine for an expendable.

  • And on the day they man-rated the shuttle without an escape system they meant cheap.

    They didn’t man rate the Shuttle. It has never met NASA’s own human-rating criteria. We need to completely purge the phrase from the discussion, because so few people know what it means, but it’s probably hopeless at this point. We need instead to talk about acceptable levels of safety, balanced against cost.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Gary – you can’t use it right now as Heavy lift – it doesn’t exist. The only system that actually exists (outside of EELV, although Falcon is beginning to get close) is the full, complete, Space Shuttle, which can only lift 24,000 kg to LEO.

    No side-mount exists right now.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Gary – BTW, you’ve already said that EELV can be a plan B. So, if it can be a plan B (and it already exists) why do we need a plan C, that doesn’t exist?

  • Major Tom

    “I disagree strongly. Always have a plan B.”

    Per NASA’s FY 2011 budget, “plan B” is to contract with a second crew provider (or more).

    Plus there’s Soyuz.

    At some point, we have to ask how many backups we really need or whether we’re just trying to identify figleafs for Shuttle jobs.

    “If Ares1 has turned out to be a poor design than so be it- go with the Side mount Orion concept, but do not hang HSF out in the wind like that.”

    Unaffordable.

    The side-mount SDHLV that John Shannon presented to the Augustine Committee was at least $6.6B to develop.

    nasa.gov/pdf/361842main_15%20-%20Augustine%20Sidemount%20Final.pdf

    That’s $600 million more than your primary ETO path. We could wipe out the $6 billion commercial crew budget, and we still couldn’t afford to develop a side-mount SDHLV.

    And that’s just for the launcher. We havn’t paid for Orion development yet. Based on the FY 2010 budget runout for Orion, that’s another ~$7.8 billion (FY 2011-2015) at least.

    nasa.gov/pdf/345955main_8_Exploration_%20FY_2010_UPDATED_final.pdf

    And that doesn’t include Orion’s share of program integration, outyear development beyond FY 2015 (Orion readiness had slipped until at least 2017), or Orion mods to accommodate a sidemount SDHLV (big LAS bucks).

    So we could wipe out the $6 billion commercial crew budget twice over, and we still couldn’t afford to develop a side-mount SDHLV and Orion.

    And we havn’t even gotten into operations, yet. The Augustine Committee pegged Orion’s per flight costs at $1 billion. Add that to the Shuttle program’s annual carrying costs, and we’re probably looking at an operating budget that’s at least as big as, if not larger, than the Space Shuttle. Without operational savings from shutting down Shuttle, NASA’s human space flight programs won’t be doing much more than running an ISS trucking business. No commercial crew, no technology demonstrators, and no exploration.

    That’s not a backup plan. That’s an egregiously bad use of limited taxpayers dollars.

    FWIW…

  • Bennett

    This is off topic, but would one of you please explain:

    “to give the Air Force and FAA more time to review documentation on the vehicle’s flight termination system.”

    Beyond the obvious, what is it about “reviewing documentation” that takes so long to complete?

  • Vladislaw

    Gary Church wrote:

    “I disagree strongly. Always have a plan B.”

    We do have a plan B.

    Plan A – Atlas V
    Plan B – Delta IV
    Plan C – Falcon 9
    Plan D – Orbital

  • It probably makes sense to continue to develop the 5-segment SRB if a directly shuttle derived heavy lift vehicle is built. A directly shuttle derived core vehicle without the SRBs would be a better launch vehicle than the Ares I.

    What is Garver talking about? NASA is not competing with private industry for the space tourism market. But if she’s talking about shuttling people up to the ISS then that’s a government program. There’s no need for a private middle man to take people up to a space station that might be decommissioned in 2020.

  • Major Tom

    “Beyond the obvious, what is it about “reviewing documentation” that takes so long to complete?”

    Sometimes it’s just manpower constraints associated with closely scheduled launches. Until recently, the Delta IV/GPS launch was a drain on USAF personnel that would otherwise have been reviewing the FTS for the Falcon 9 launch.

    FWIW…

  • Francis Louis Charbonneau Jr

    Remember, Lori Garver’s comments were the result of pressure in all probability and intelligent surmising of her motivations, is that she was ordered to make a speech that determined NASA’s mission as that of corresponding and supporting the President’s vision of the future which include “promoting world peace, studying environmental situations, etc. etc. etc.” These are propaganda artists who paint a picture with falsified information and then expect somewhat neanderthalic minds to appreciate it as if it is some type of exemplification of wonderful forethought. She is a stooge of the Administration plain and simple and she is no better than Joseph Goebbels who was the consummate propagandist for a less than worth of being mentioned government of a country of Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

  • Major Tom

    “He [Scott Pace] advocated that it made sense to “press to MECO” and continue building Ares 1, even if a commercial crew program goes forward. He said it would taken $7.5 billion to complete Ares 1 by 2015 or 2016…”

    I hate to say this because I have (or used to have) a lot of respect for Scott Pace. The U.S. government probably owes its enlightened GPS-policy to his forethought when he was with RAND.

    But Pace’s numbers on Ares I are bull. NASA’s FY 2010 budget showed a runout cost (FY 2011-FY 2014) for Ares I development of over $8 billion:

    FY11 $2,143.3
    FY12 $1,985.5
    FY13 $1,950.1
    FY14 $2,012.0

    Total $8,070.9

    See page EXP-2 at nasa.gov/pdf/345955main_8_Exploration_%20FY_2010_UPDATED_final.pdf.

    There’s no way Ares I completion is going to come in at $7.5 billion through 2015-16 if it costs $8.1 billion through 2014.

    At a run-rate of $2 billion a year through 2015-16, we’re looking at $10-12 billion to finish Ares I, and that’s the good case. That figure still doesn’t include Ares I’s share of the program integration budget for Constellation, and it still doesn’t include funding to boost the likelihood of Ares I delivering on time to an industry standard of 80-percent (the program has always been 65-percent or less).

    And it doesn’t include the budget to finish Orion, another $8 billion-plus development.

    Of all the people in the aerospace industry who should know better than to blatantly lowball, it’s Scott Pace. Very disappointing for a guy who is/was so much sharper and wiser than that.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Lori Garvers of the world are the result of 25 years of unnatural selection in industry and the government due to political correctness. Go to any technology company in the land and see that the vast majority working engineers are men…”

    “She is a stooge of the Administration plain and simple and she is no better than Joseph Goebbels who was the consummate propagandist for a less than worth of being mentioned government of a country of Europe during the 1930s and 1940s…”

    So which is it, boys? Is Garver just a dumb dame who got lucky or is she an evil mastermind of propoganda equal the best the Nazis could produce?

    If you’re going to slander someone, at least do it with some consistency. Garver may not be my most favorite person in the world either, but this ad hominem line of argument has less coherence than my one-year old niece’s babbling.

    How idiotic… ugh…

  • Gary Church

    “We do have a plan B.

    Plan A – Atlas V
    Plan B – Delta IV
    Plan C – Falcon 9
    Plan D – Orbital”

    I disagree strongly, we need a HLV. These vehicles do not come anywhere near the 100+ tons of a Side Mount. I know you commercial crew guys would rather shut the whole subject down with a bunch of confusing comments like the shuttle can only lift so much, it does not exist, etc.

  • Robert G. Oler

    As Major tom has pointed out the problem with the Ares 1 huggers is that they are living in a world where facts are simply not important.

    Keeping Ares 1 going keeps the NASA bureaucracy that has as a poster child Jeff Hanley. As long as that project continues (or the shuttle keeps flying) it is impossible to clean up the agency and reform it.

    reform is essential if NASA is to become relevant.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Bennett

    @ Major Tom

    Thanks. It may be plebeian on my part, but having ‘manpower constraints’ seems like a pretty lame reason for delaying a government funded launch program. I’d like to think that the USAF (being a government funded agency) would have enough folks in place to get the job done in a speedy and efficient manner.

  • Major Tom

    “I disagree strongly, we need a HLV. These vehicles do not come anywhere near the 100+ tons of a Side Mount.”

    In terms of useful payload for the ISS and lunar missions analyzed, the most that the side-mount SDHLV in Shannon’s presentation to the Augustine Committee delivered was 45 mT to LEO.

    “I know you commercial crew guys would rather shut the whole subject down with a bunch of confusing comments like the shuttle can only lift so much…”

    Without a fundamental redesign of multiple, major Shuttle subsystems, a side-mount, Shuttle-derived HLV will only lift so much.

    And there are easy paths to evolve EELVs to 70 mT capability and 100 mT if new engines and launch pads are part of the equation.

    nasa.gov/pdf/361835main_08%20-%20ULA%20%201.0_Augustine_Public_6_17_09_final_R1.pdf

    “… it does not exist…”

    Semantics over what does or does not “exist” do not matter. The reality is that it costs more than double what’s available in the commercial crew budget to develop a side-mount SDHLV and finish Orion. It’s a non-starter for the budget.

    FWIW…

  • Ferris Valyn

    Gary – I don’t see how its confusing. An SDLV sidemount doesn’t exist right now – you can’t go out and order one without developmental costs. If you have to pay any level of developmental costs, right now it doesn’t exist.

    And this is true of a lot of stuff – Taurus 2 doesn’t exist yet, Falcon 9 Heavy doesn’t exist, Faclon 9 & Falcon 1e don’t totally exist yet (although they are getting close).

    And that really has to be the underlying standard when discussing launch vehicles, and whether they are available – can you, right now, go out and launch a payload on one, and not do any developmental costs of the rocket? In short, has the actual rocket, in that configuration, flown?

    A side mount SDLV has not flown. Shuttle itself has flown, and can lift only 24,000 kg to LEO, not 100+

    Further, there is a worthwhile debate to determine what level of HLv do we need. I grant there is a level of smallest biggest piece (IE how small can we get the biggest single piece we need to launch), but we don’t know for sure that it has to be 100+ tonnes. We do know that its probably over 20 tonnes, but thats a huge range, between 20 & 100 – maybe we need 50, maybe 70.

    The details need to be worked out.

    Finally, lets assume for the sake of argument that we need something on that scale (I doubt it , but lets just assume you are right) – why should that be treated as the primary backup for getting people in space? Its way overpowered, and over priced to do it. It’d be like a farmer’s car breaking down, and so he uses his combine to go to the bank.

  • Major Tom

    “It may be plebeian on my part, but having ‘manpower constraints’ seems like a pretty lame reason for delaying a government funded launch program. I’d like to think that the USAF (being a government funded agency) would have enough folks in place to get the job done in a speedy and efficient manner.”

    Agreed. Changes will have to be made on the government side if we expect the launch rate to go up at federal ranges.

    FWIW…

  • The Sidemount is actually the cheapest of all HLVs to develop. NASA’s latest estimate is that it will cost $7.8 billion to develop the sidemount plus and EDS stage, that’s actually down form their original estimate of $9.4 billion. A sidemount with an EDS stage can deliver nearly 100 tonnes of payload to LEO.

    NASA estimates that a DIRECT type of HLV with 5 expendable SSME and a pair of 5-segment SRB’s will cost 1.3 times that of the Sidemount.

    Deep Space Operations Enabled
    By A Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle-
    AIAA Space Opearations 2010 Conference

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle Study
    May 20, 2010

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 12:14 am

    I am not so sure a sidemount with even a EDS can do 100T to orbit…but even if it could…there are no payloads for that

    Robert G. Oler

  • Gary Church

    “In terms of useful payload for the ISS and lunar missions analyzed, the most that the side-mount SDHLV in Shannon’s presentation to the Augustine Committee delivered was 45 mT to LEO.”

    That would be 45 tons to lunar orbit, I believe. I am not sure but I think you are lying again Tom. I will check and if I am wrong I will apologize. But I do not see how a cargo version of a 100 ton spaceplane with no 100 ton spaceplane to lift can lose half it’s payload on a set of engines and cargo can.

  • Gary Church

    “there are no payloads for that”

    says who?
    You might want to ask the scientists who want to set up an radio telescope field on the far side and the ones trying to put a webb out in a lagrange point. Your tourist mobiles are not going to do that. In fact none of these vehicles being pushed for “commercial crew” can do much of anything except LEO and not that very well in terms HSF.

    Again, we need a HLV and the Side Mount is the best option.

  • Major Tom

    “The Sidemount is actually the cheapest of all HLVs to develop.”

    Yes, it is. Your point? It’s still many times more expensive than commercial crew

    “NASA’s latest estimate is that it will cost $7.8 billion to develop the sidemount plus and EDS stage”

    Where are you going to get the money? Commercial crew is only $6 billion. And you still havn’t paid for Orion.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Gary Church wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 12:44 am

    “there are no payloads for that”

    says who?
    You might want to ask the scientists who want to set up an radio telescope field on the far side and the ones trying to put a webb out in a lagrange point…

    you make my point. There are no payloads for it that do not require 1) a lot more tax dollars and 2) have no value for the cost involved.

    Sure scientist would be great if we put a “large RT” on the far side of the Moon…but go ask the American people if they want to pony up the 10 billion or so for that

    Robert G. Oler

  • I am frankly also befuddled that Scott Pace has turned into this font of nonsense on the new direction for NASA. i knew him at MIT when we were both students, thought he had more sense than this.

    We don’t ‘need’ a heavy lift necessarily, and especially one with a a number pulled out of a hat ‘a priori’. We desperately need to do the fuel depot demos and similar stuff proposed in the budget to create a lower cost and sustainable path to doing anything BEO. Correspondingly, we need multiple suppliers of commercial crew – _that’s_ a backup program. Ares is just yet more of the dead-end jobs program that NASA has largely been for decades.

    If we do need some kind of modest HLV, we can use the Delta IV’s big tooling (for H2/LOX) to manufacture hydrocarbon/LOX tankage, to which we add as cheap and reliable an engine as we can put together. This was pointed out by the Augustine group folks, who add that if it weren’t for some pretty legitimate national capability considerations, it would still be cheapest to have that engine be the Russian RD-180.

    Using any kind of Shuttle derived hardware anymore in any configuration is just too expensive, both in development and operation. It’s astounding to me that people continue to build castles in the air that assume rehashing the hardware and mistakes of the past. If I want to spin fantasies, there are much more satisfying ones in bookstores.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Gary Church wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 12:40 am

    That would be 45 tons to lunar orbit, I believe. I am not sure but I think you are lying again Tom..

    If all you are interested in is getting a “sanity” check on what Major Tom is saying you can go to

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuttle-Derived_Heavy_Lift_Launch_Vehicle

    I am use to know the Shuttle C numbers pretty well because I was at one point an advocate of it, but no longer. However the article give some basic information

    I’ll reproduce some

    ” * Block I vehicle without an upper stage – 79 metric tons (gross) and 71 metric tons (net) to a 120 nm x 120 nm reference orbit (28.5°) from Kennedy Space Center

    …;

    ..the block1 does not include the payload faring which is (according to the article) 51000 lbs (“otal and the 7.5m diameter payload carrier with a separable fairing weighing 51,000 lb”)

    the baseline orbit is useless for the space station…and requires some sort of “payload stage” to have the payload do something other then burn up in a few revs…so…it strikes me that Major Tom is pretty close in terms of payload.

    some facts are easy to check

    Robert G. OLer

    j

  • Major Tom

    “That would be 45 tons to lunar orbit, I believe.”

    No, it’s 45 mT to a 120nmi KSC orbit.

    “I am not sure but I think you are lying again Tom. I will check and if I am wrong I will apologize.”

    Don’t accuse people of lying before you’ve checked your figures, and you won’t have to apologize.

    “But I do not see how a cargo version of a 100 ton spaceplane with no 100 ton spaceplane to lift can lose half it’s payload on a set of engines and cargo can.”

    The engines alone are 10 mT. The structure is another 15 mT or so. And then you need an upper stage to get the payload itself someplace useful. Shannon’s presentation assumed a Delta IV upper stage, which is another 30 mT.

    FWIW…

  • There are no heavy lift payloads for an Obama plan because the Obama plan isn’t designed to go anywhere.

  • Major Tom

    “says who?
    You might want to ask the scientists who want to set up an radio telescope field on the far side”

    Such a mission has never been identified as a priority by the astrophysics community in a National Academies decadal review.

    And there are plenty of radio telescope designs that don’t need an HLV.

    lpi.usra.edu/publications/reports/CB-1063/LIRA_ERAU.pdf

    This ain’t the 1950s — we’ve moved beyond vacuum tubes.

    “and the ones trying to put a webb out in a lagrange point.”

    Webb is already going to a Lagrange point and it’s already going on an Ariane.

    jwst.nasa.gov/launch.html

    Don’t make stuff up.

    “Again, we need a HLV and the Side Mount is the best option.”

    Because NASA pays the whole bill for the Shuttle workforce and infrastructure, an SDHLV of any flavor is going to be more expensive than an HLV derived from a military and/or commercial LV.

    FWIW…

  • “The Sidemount is actually the cheapest of all HLVs to develop.”

    Yes, it is. Your point? It’s still many times more expensive than commercial crew

    “NASA’s latest estimate is that it will cost $7.8 billion to develop the sidemount plus and EDS stage”

    Where are you going to get the money? Commercial crew is only $6 billion. And you still havn’t paid for Orion.

    @ Major Tom

    What commercial crew are you talking about? How many humans have these commercial crews flown into orbit and for how many years? And how safe are these vehicles if they’re trying to get people into orbit on the cheap. What’s their market strategy beyond trying to get tax payer dollars?

    NASA is spending about $3.4 billion a year on Constellation. So a heavy lift vehicle can easily be paid for with that amount of money.

  • Gary Church

    Well I guess you guys have it all figured out. I guess we don’t need NASA anymore. Here are some numbers. Not 100 tons. Have fun trying to put this much up with those other vehicles. Have fun paying for the French and Russians to keep us in space. Don’t make stuff up? Sure. You guys have all the straight answers so I guess I can’t get away with it anymore. Congrats.

    SDLV Performance

    The HLV’s 4-segment SRBs deliver a specific impulse (isp) of 267 sec and a thrust of 5.9Mlbf and burn for about 155 seconds. The SSMEs shall be flown at 104.5% and deliver a specific impulse (isp) of 452 sec and 1.5 Mlbf (vacuum) and burn for about 500 seconds (depending on the mission profile). The payload mass for different missions are as follows:[5]

    * Block I vehicle without an upper stage – 79 metric tons (gross) and 71 metric tons (net) to a 120 nm x 120 nm reference orbit (28.5°) from Kennedy Space Center
    * Block II cargo vehicle with an upper stage (mass of upper stage not included) – 90 metric tons (gross) and 81 metric tons (net) to a 120 nm x 120 nm reference orbit (28.5°) from Kennedy Space Center
    * Block II crew vehicle with an upper stage (mass of upper stage not included) – 92 metric tons (gross) and 83 metric tons (net) to a 120 nm x 120 nm reference orbit (28.5°) from Kennedy Space Center
    * Block II lunar missions: 39 metric tons to TLI (gross) with the lunar lander and 35 metric tons to TLI (net)[4] from Kennedy Space Center.

  • Gary Church

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOnlAUpYWoc

    This makes falcon look like chump change.

  • Gary Church

    “Using any kind of Shuttle derived hardware anymore in any configuration is just too expensive, both in development and operation. It’s astounding to me that people continue to build castles in the air that assume rehashing the hardware and mistakes of the past. If I want to spin fantasies, there are much more satisfying ones in bookstores.”

    Yes, astounding. This site is being used as an infomercial for a scam called by it’s pushers, “commercial crew.” The con is simple; get rid of as much as NASA human space flight as possible by misrepresenting their mythical ability to do it cheaper and better. By lying. There is dedicated team of scammers on this site that jump on anyone disagreeing with their cheaper is better enron subprime mortgage space business plan. Anyone commenting negatively on “commercial crew” is hounded, insulted and bombarded with confusing lengthy replies to their posts.

  • Gary Church

    Well, the Side Mount does not have the payload I fantasized buy it is up there. So far above the commercial crew vehicles that it is funny. I am going to sign on to this and do my best to represent this program on Space Politics. This means all my buddies here like Rand, Ron, Tom etc. will be hearing from me as their commercial crew ripoff becomes transparent and falls apart. I can’t wait.

  • Boeing’s shuttle derived heavy lift concept would be even better, IMO, since if also offers a version without the SRBs for shuttling people into orbit:

    Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles with Existing Propulsion Systems:

    http://pdf.aiaa.org/getfile.cfm?urlX=6%3A7I%276D%26X%5BR%5B%2ES%40GOP4S%5EQ%3AO%225J%40%22%5FP%20%20&urla=%25%2ARD%26%220%20%20&urlb=%21%2A%20%20%20&urlc=%21%2A0%20%20&urld=%28%2A%22H%25%22%40%2AEUQX%20&urle=%27%282D%27%23P%3EDW%40%20%20

  • Well I guess you guys have it all figured out. I guess we don’t need NASA anymore.

    We need NASA, but we need it to do the things that others can’t do. After half a century, we don’t need NASA to get people to LEO, any more that we need the DoD to get people to the theaters in the Middle East.

  • NASA Fan

    @ Heavy Lift Fans.

    Dream on. Between Atlas, Delta, Airane, and probably some day Falcon 18, there is no need to spend tax payer dolllars on a heavy lift. Bring it up in pieces with the aforementioned rockets and let Merchant 7 astronauts’s piece it together. Geez.

    @ Robert: It will take more than firing the Cx Program Manager and killing Cx to reform NASA. And plopping Obamaspace into the existing NASA/Congress/WH/OSTP/OMB dysfunctional mess will also not lead to reforms.

    Changing content does not reform NASA.

    And Lori Garver is already thinking about and angling for her next job after NASA Deputy Administrator. IMHO.

  • DCSCA

    @DougLassiter- Garver is a creature of Washington. Little more than an aerospace lobbiest by trade and used/abused her time at the NSS to that end. She’s not really qualified to be planning America’s space program.

  • Vladislaw

    The only reason you need heavy lift is to launch a fully fueled EDS/lander combo. With a fuel depot it eliminates the need for that. You can launch all other elements with launch vehicles currently in America’s inventory.

    How many launches can be paid for and other in space hardware funded if we do not spend the rest of the estimated 200 billion for constellation?

    Spend a couple minutes and do the math. We are not going to spend any money on landing on the moon or building a base, how many launches can be paid for and other in space hardware can we fund if do you spend billions funding landing FOR NOW. NASA has to get out of the launch business for now until they can buy off the shelf, turn key systems like the White Knight II and SpaceShipTwo. NASA buys off the shelf transportation systems in all other areas. To try and argue otherwise, after 50 years means you are only interesting in a HLV phallic symbol.

  • Vladislaw

    Hey Russia! Hey China! … my ‘rocket’ is bigger than your rocket.

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 7:25 am

    @ Robert: It will take more than firing the Cx Program Manager and killing Cx to reform NASA”

    yes. it will take an entirely different setup for human spaceflight and a new mission for NASA to fix it.

    Let me suggest one

    Commercial operators of launchers and crew capsules regulated by a federal agency (the FAA) with NASA doing R&D work on focused projects where senior managers are held accountable or are fired.

    Wow what a scintillating thought

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 1:15 am

    “What commercial crew are you talking about? How many humans have these commercial crews flown into orbit and for how many years? And how safe are these vehicles if they’re trying to get people into orbit on the cheap…………”

    Delta and Atlas have done amazingly well (no failures) and I can assure you that the rocket didnt know what it was carrying. There is no “switch” on those rockets that says “People or cargo”.

    How safe are they? Well NASA has toasted 14 astronauts and lost two vehicles with all the money that they could spend….do you really think Money equates with safety?

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 7:53 am
    On the nail!
    Sadly that is what I think most of the “sound and fury” is about! Would there be this fuss if Soyuz was European Rocket (which it is btw) and as for the contortions invoked by the RD 180? Words fail…

  • NASA Fan

    @ Robert: “Commercial operators of launchers and crew capsules regulated by a federal agency (the FAA) with NASA doing R&D work on focused projects where senior managers are held accountable or are fired.

    Wow what a scintillating thought”

    Yes, makes my heart palpitate.

    One tweek to your plan if I may: End the NASA Astronaut corp. If not, there will be fights a plenty between the FAA ( who regulates/dictates requirements, especially around Astro safety) and NASA ( who will want to retain these account-abilities) the end result being higher costs heaped on the Merchant 7.

    Therefore, let the Merchant 7 hire and fire their own astronauts, thus easing the push from NASA to control the safety and other requirements related to this issue.

    In this way if a Merchant 7 LEO launch vehicle goes ‘boom’, it will not lead to a “Rogers Commission” or a “CAIB” etc. They’ll be internal investigations like BP is no doubt (I hope so!) conducting now over the lost lives of their riggers, but nothing that will result in a new layer of requirements and subsequent costs to the taxpayer.

    Keep the astro training facilities at JSC that are specifically needed to train Merchant 7 astro’s on ISS systems.

    Scintillating indeed!

  • Major Tom

    “What commercial crew are you talking about?”

    A human-rated Atlas V Medium, including an emergency detection system and a new pad with crew egress, costs $400 million for non-recurring development and $130 million per launch recurring and can be ready in 4 years.

    A human-rated Delta IV Heavy costs, including an emergency detection system, a new pad with crew egress, and reliability improvements, costs $800 million for non-recurring development and $300 million launch recurring and can be ready in 4.5 years.

    nasa.gov/pdf/361835main_08%20-%20ULA%20%201.0_Augustine_Public_6_17_09_final_R1.pdf

    Among others.

    “How many humans have these commercial crews flown into orbit and for how many years? And how safe are these vehicles if they’re trying to get people into orbit on the cheap.”

    These same vehicles launch multi-billion dollar early warning, reconnaissance, and military communications satellites that are critical to U.S. national security. If they’re safe enough to support the satellites that keep the American homeland safe from nuclear and missile attack and troops safe from enemy fire, they’re safe enough for astronauts to launch on.

    These same vehicles launch NASA planetary missions with plutonium payloads that, if blown up in the atmosphere and breathed by the public, would inflict cancer on and shorten the lifespan of thousands or millions of people. If they’re safe enough to entrust public health and safety to, they’re safe enough for astronauts to launch on.

    “What’s their market strategy beyond trying to get tax payer dollars?”

    These vehicles have had substantial markets launching military payloads and commercial satellites for years.

    “NASA is spending about $3.4 billion a year on Constellation. So a heavy lift vehicle can easily be paid for with that amount of money.”

    Check your figure — it’s wrong.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 9:13 am

    “Commercial operators of launchers and crew capsules regulated by a federal agency (the FAA) with NASA doing R&D work on focused projects where senior managers are held accountable or are fired.”

    I’m heard that somewhere before :-)

    The only thing I’d add (or change) is some of the best research a NASA could do is not on “focused projects”. It is the research aimed at technologies and not at products that often becomes the most useful. NACA had no specific product in mind when it was researching and testing wing cross-sections, but we’re still using those cross sections today.

    I wonder if the agency which does focused projects should be the same one that does the research. It would seem to fuzzy up the focus, or direct the research.

  • Vladislaw

    Gary Church wrote:

    “Well, the Side Mount does not have the payload I fantasized buy it is up there. So far above the commercial crew vehicles that it is funny.”

    Besides their bodies and space suits and life support for 48 hours, how much EXTRA payload does a crew vehicle need? All cargo is going up on the russian, japanese, european and american domestic carriers. NASA will be developing a space based infrastruct for the express purpose of getting away from launching a monster sized earth return vehicle. Why launch an 18 wheeler for crew when a VW bug will do the job required.

    ———————————————————-

    Marcel F. Williams wrote
    “What commercial crew are you talking about? How many humans have these commercial crews flown into orbit and for how many years?”

    What NASA launch system are you talking about?

    How many humans had the gemini flown into orbit and for how many years before they launched astronauts?

    How many humans had the Apollo flown into orbit and for how many years before they launched astronauts?

    How many humans had the shuttle flown into orbit and for how many years before they launched astronauts?

  • vulture4

    The Shuttle has far more operational experience than any other US launch vehicle currently in service, and consequently has the highest predicted reliability. The Atlas and Delta have considerable launch experience, as will the Falcon before it carries people. Constellation will have the fewest unmanned launches (3 or 4) of any vehicle since the Shuttle, and thus the lowest estimated reliability. So launch vehicle reliability is not a deciding factor.

    The central failing of the Ares is its operational cost per launch, which is actually higher than the Space Shuttle as it requires most of the major Apollo-era LC-39 launch facilities (VAB, MLPs, crawlers), the time-consuming and hazardous SRB assembly process, and SRB recovery, all including fixed annual overhead for a flight rate that will be only two/year initially and is unlikely to ever exceed four/year. There are no prospects for reducing the operational cost of the Ares to a level consistent with its ability to perform its only remaining mission, ISS logistics. I have the greatest respect for many people working on Constellation but the fact it that it is not economically feasible and there is no reason, other than the power of local politicians and contractors, why billions continue to be spent on it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    rich kolker wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Good morning (still here, but I guess afternoon/evening there)…we agree.

    I guess by “focused” I meant sort of technology demonstrators “nibbling” at issues to be solved before someone tries and builds a DC-1 or 2 and then moves on to an operational vehicle. To “me” “fuzzy” research (ie stuff like planetary science etc) should be left to universities operating under some lose sort of association much like JPL does now. I see the planatery/science part of NASA working pretty well right now.

    The trick is to integrate human spaceflight into the rest of the US instead of having NASA as the one shop for building/flying/investigating the accidents etc. For instance the NTSB should be the lead role on all future human spaceflight “events”.

    I’ve never seen an agency more fouled up then NASA HSF. Come home and look around and things have just gotten worse as the years have gone by. Amazing actually.

    It is almost like BP in government.

    Happy Memorial day. Long Live The Republic

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    NASA Fan wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 10:21 am

    there is no doubt that the title “astronaut” has to come to describe something different then it is right now.

    in my world we would end “professional astronauts” and move toward integrating the rest of the American science and technology group into that role. There is zero reason one needs folks like we have right now.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 1:15 am

    “What commercial crew are you talking about? How many humans have these commercial crews flown into orbit and for how many years? And how safe are these vehicles if they’re trying to get people into orbit on the cheap…………”

    Delta and Atlas have done amazingly well (no failures) and I can assure you that the rocket didnt know what it was carrying. There is no “switch” on those rockets that says “People or cargo”.

    How safe are they? Well NASA has toasted 14 astronauts and lost two vehicles with all the money that they could spend….do you really think Money equates with safety?

    Robert G. Oler

    Yes there is a switch. These vehicles have to be man rated. You just can’t launch humans at the same high acceleration that you would cargo. And that’s why its going to cost billions to man-rate these vehicles.

    Spaceflight is dangerous. Yet, the Space Shuttle has only had two fatal accidents in 132 flights over the last 28 years. And there hasn’t been a fatal launch accident for the shuttle in nearly a quarter of a century. And its probably a lot safer vehicle now that it was during its early development stage. The Russians too have had fatal accidents.

    Your boy Elon Musk’s (you know the guy whose never seen a tax payer dollar that he didn’t like) vehicles have had only 2 successful flights out of 5, a 40% success rate. Thankfully, no humans were aboard those extremely dangerous vehicles.

  • @ Vladislaw

    Can commercial companies develop spacecraft that can launch humans into space and return them safely to the Earth? Probably yes– if they have the proper funding.

    Can they do it on the cheap? I don’t know!

    Should the US shut down its manned spaceflight capability on the hope that these companies can routinely transport humans to and from orbit sometime in the future? No. There’s no logical reason to do that. NASA doesn’t need an unnecessary middle man to transport humans into orbit. NASA’s not a private company. It’s a space pioneering program. Its the people’s space program!

    Private commercial manned spaceflight companies need to focus on space tourism– not the extremely limited number of manned spaceflights commissioned by NASA.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    “These vehicles have to be man rated. ”

    a reasonable question is what does that phrase mean?

    Assume that in 2014 (when ULA could be ready…probably earlier but lets use that date) Delta IV or Atlas has “each” launched 20 times with a perfect record. So 40 cumulative times on the EELV program with no flight failures.

    What would you change?

    Would you then add a few more “string” of avionics or whatever to make sure it is “more reliable”?

    A B737 has three ways to manipulate the primary (elevators and ailerons) flight controls…two hydraulic systems with an independent actuator and if that fails then balance tabs controlled by cables. A Ercoupe has a set of cables directly to the elevator and ailerons.

    When you learn why the Boeing has two hydraulic systems and the Ercoupe has none, then you are in a position to comment on human rating.

    otherwise…

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Marcel F. Williams wrote

    “Should the US shut down its manned spaceflight capability on the hope that these companies can routinely transport humans to and from orbit sometime in the future?”

    The United States of America is not about to shut down human spaceflight, they are in the process of expanding it.

    Should NASA shut down it’s role in human space flight? No we are currently expanding it.

    Should NASA get out of the launch business to LEO? In my opinion, yes they should.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 1:15 am

    “Spaceflight is dangerous.”

    Based on what?

    Is it more dangerous then a nuclear fast attack sub cruising at 600 feet BSL? Is it more dangerous then climbing Mt. Everest? Is it more dangerous then taking a 45 foot sailboat from San Diego to Hawaii? Is it more dangerous then getting in a Boeing Stratoliner and flying from SFO to Hawaii in say 1952? A Marine doing street patrol in Fallujah in 2005? How about being a Naval Aviator doing night approaches to the pitching deck of a flattop with no Moon?

    Which is the most difficult maneuver demanding the highest pilot skill? Docking the space shuttle with the space station (after all it is done at 17,500 mph! grin) or coming aboard a flattop in the middle of the night with no Moon (calm seas)?

    Robert G. Oler

  • Marcel F. Williams wrote:

    You just can’t launch humans at the same high acceleration that you would cargo.

    Okay, engineering experts. Let’s verify or debunk this.

    What’s the maximum gravitational pull on a Delta IV or Atlas V compared to the Saturn V and STS?

    Based on brief Internet research, I gather the Saturn V was 4 Gs and I’m pretty sure STS is 3 Gs.

    I’d think the Delta or Atlas could certainly be throttled to control its velocity, correct?

  • Bennett

    Not entirely germane to the point, but the Orion’s LAS test last month pulled over 20 G’s… But heck, at least your relatives would have a (mushy) body to bury! ;-)

  • Yes there is a switch. These vehicles have to be man rated. You just can’t launch humans at the same high acceleration that you would cargo. And that’s why its going to cost billions to man-rate these vehicles.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t even know what “man rating” means.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “You might want to ask the scientists who want to set up an radio telescope field on the far side and the ones trying to put a webb out in a lagrange point. Your tourist mobiles are not going to do that.”

    A Webb is going out to Earth-Sun L2, and it’s going there on an Ariane V. (Not exactly a “tourist mobile” but we have it already, as well as its ELV counterparts.) If you want to put a larger telescope in one launcher, a CLV with a large diameter launch shroud can certianly help. But it’s help that is not scalable. That is, scientists know that when they want a bigger telescope, there isn’t going to be a bigger launcher to do it. So a predeployed big telescope in a CLV is a technological dead end, and development of a telescope that is either deployed or assembled in-space is more forward looking. You don’t need a CLV to do that. And how many CLVs are the science community going to be able to afford? The question is whether there are enough CLV payloads to justify development. The answer is no, if you’re looking to the science community.

    As to radio telescopes on the lunar farside, there is nothing about a CLV that enables this. Many more launches of a much cheaper launcher are likely to be sufficient. In any case, such huge farside radio telescopes are a far term dream.

  • Rhyolite

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    “Okay, engineering experts. Let’s verify or debunk this.”

    Atlas V has a 5 g peak acceleration for a normal LEO ascent.

    See Figure 2.3-3:

    http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/design_lib/Atlas5.pl.guide.pdf

    Delta IV has a ~4.5 g peak acceleration of for a 20,000 kg payload

    See Figure 4-17:

    http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/design_lib/Delta4.pl.guide.pdf

    Throttling is possible for lowering these values.

  • Thanks, Rhyolite … As I suspected, another bogus claim by the Constellation huggers.

  • @ Vladislaw

    First of all, the United States does not own the world so they can’t shut down human space flight for Russia or China or private industry. But Obama is shutting down NASA’s ability to access orbit.

    This is just pure anti-government extremism: the same stuff that has been crippling our economy for the last 40 years.

  • @ Robert G. Oler

    You anti-government extremist philosophy has blinded you to the fact that there simply isn’t enough manned spaceflight traffic commissioned by NASA to sustain more than one company. And any company that becomes dependent on government for its survival isn’t an economically sustainable company in the first place.

    Space X needs to stop begging the tax payers for money and start seeking private investors for the emerging space tourism industry.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Yeah. Manned spaceflight is easy, safe, and cheap. That’s why practically anyone can do it:-)

  • Bennett

    @Marcel

    I guess I just don’t understand why someone would expend so much energy posting false statements like

    “But Obama is shutting down NASA’s ability to access orbit.”

    Funding COTS and having several companies available for accessing LEO is not “shutting down” anything. I see your comments on a lot of different boards, all claiming things that are easily refuted by a quick google search, or by reading the comments that follow yours.

    You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind about this, any more than that character who was claiming that the mission to service Hubble was going to kill seven astronauts. He’s all over some of the boards, and absolutely nobody takes him seriously.

    If you can’t make an argument with clear cold facts, why bother?

  • Bennett wrote:

    If you can’t make an argument with clear cold facts, why bother?

    Exactly. My suggestion is that Marcel F. Williams is the next one to go on “the list.” He’s now on mine after all the stuff he’s made up.

  • DCSCA

    “Spaceflight is dangerous.” “Based on what?

    Is it more dangerous then a nuclear fast attack sub cruising at 600 feet BSL? Is it more dangerous then climbing Mt. Everest? Is it more dangerous then taking a 45 foot sailboat from San Diego to Hawaii? Is it more dangerous then getting in a Boeing Stratoliner and flying from SFO to Hawaii in say 1952? A Marine doing street patrol in Fallujah in 2005? How about being a Naval Aviator doing night approaches to the pitching deck of a flattop with no Moon?”

    Yes, it is.

  • DCSCA

    Yes there is a switch. These vehicles have to be man rated. You just can’t launch humans at the same high acceleration that you would cargo. And that’s why its going to cost billions to man-rate these vehicles.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t even know what “man rating” means.

    Apparently you don’t either, as acceleration and resultant G-forces are a criteria for man rating a LV.

  • Robert G. Oler

    DCSCA wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    it is not more dangerous then a nuclear sub cruising at 600 ftBSL…in fact it really is not more dangerous then any of the activities I mentioned.

    NASA just says it is.

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    “The United States of America is not about to shut down human spaceflight, they are in the process of expanding it.” – Yes, they are.

    “Should NASA shut down it’s role in human space flight? No we are currently expanding it.” – No, ‘we’ aren’t.

    “Should NASA get out of the launch business to LEO? In my opinion, yes they should.” No, they shouldn’t, but welcome additional options to access LEO.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    @ Robert G. Oler

    You anti-government extremist philosophy has blinded you to the fact that there simply isn’t enough manned spaceflight traffic commissioned by NASA to sustain more than one company. …

    I was curious about you’re answer to the safety thing…oh well.

    likewise this is pretty one dimensional.

    It is very unlikely that any of the folks who will provide either crew transport or cargo transport will do so as THEIR ONLY SOURCE OF revenue. For instance SpaceX has OTHER customers for its pretty stock Falcon9. If ULA gets into the business it is unlikely that they will stop launching “other” Payloads.

    But the converse is also accurate.

    If commercial access to orbit happens…and the cost/time etc to get a human into orbit go down, you seem blind to the fact that the market will likely expand…and not just for space tourism. In fact I think that is one of the more unlikely markets around.

    To you space is “dangerous”…to most companies it is just someplace else where mankind invents technology to deal with the environment.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Apparently you don’t either, as acceleration and resultant G-forces are a criteria for man rating a LV.

    I never said they weren’t.

  • DCSCA

    @NASAFan- “And Lori Garver is already thinking about and angling for her next job after NASA Deputy Administrator. IMHO.” Yep. She’s a creature of the corridors of Washington. A lobbiest. No more, no less. Her experience is based in procuring and expand aerospace contracting.

  • @ Bennett

    Terminating the space shuttle and not replacing it with anything is shutting down NASA’s ability to access orbit and beyond.

    Helping private companies to develop their own manned spaceflight capability is a good thing. But these private companies need to focusing on keeping their businesses afloat without depending on tax payer dollars.

  • @Bennett wrote:

    If you can’t make an argument with clear cold facts, why bother?

    Exactly. My suggestion is that Marcel F. Williams is the next one to go on “the list.” He’s now on mine after all the stuff he’s made up.

    Reporters once asked Harry Truman why he kept giving the Republicans hell and he responded, “I just tell the truth and they think its hell”

    So all I have to say to you is, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!”

  • Major Tom

    “Yes there is a switch. These vehicles have to be man rated. You just can’t launch humans at the same high acceleration that you would cargo.”

    LockMart and Boeing created launch trajectories to eliminate blackzones for Atlas V and Delta IV back under SLI.

    “And that’s why its going to cost billions to man-rate these vehicles.”

    The analysis has already been done. It costs zero going forward.

    FWIW…

  • Vladislaw

    On climbing Mount Everest:

    The Grave Reality of Mount Everest Deaths

    “The grave reality is that some 200 people still lie dead along the slopes of Mount Everest. Over the years statistically speaking 1 out of every 10 successful climbs has ended in death. The majority of Mount Everest deaths occurred while descending the mountain as opposed to on the climb to the summit.

    A study was conducted from 1921 through 2006 to examine the mortality rate amongst climbers of Mount Everest. It was conducted by the British Medical Journal and gave these statistics: 8,030 climbers during this time frame, of which 212 died on the mountain. That is a staggering number of Mount Everest deaths!

    Using those numbers they also determined that 56% died on their descent from the summit and 17% died after deciding to turn back prior to reaching the summit. The remaining 15% died on the way up or before leaving the summit.”

    So it is pretty close to even 2.6% died on Everest and about 3.2% died going to or coming home from space.

  • Vladislaw

    DCSCA wrote

    ““Should NASA shut down it’s role in human space flight? No we are currently expanding it.” – No, ‘we’ aren’t.”

    Has NASA been envolved with safety rating commercial astronaut launch service companies before? No, so they are expanding their role in human space flight.

    Will the International Space Station be deorbited at the end of 2015 ending full time American occupation of LEO? No it will be extended 5 more years allowing more NASA personal to be in space and again expanding their role.

    Will the International Space Station be gaining more ‘floor space’ testing inflatable habitats allowling for more personal to be in space? Under the new plan, yes, increasing NASA’s role in human space flight.

    Will NASA have cheaper access to LEO allowing more NASA astronauts to visit LEO? Under the new budget proposal, yes they will increasing NASA’s role in human space flight.

  • Bennett

    Marcel wrote

    Reporters once asked Harry Truman why he kept giving the Republicans hell and he responded, “I just tell the truth and they think its hell”

    So all I have to say to you is, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!”

    The problem here is that you are not telling the truth, so your comparison is invalid. You write things like “Obama is shutting down NASA’s ability to access orbit.” but anyone with half a brain knows this is untrue.

    How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you pen such nonsense?

  • Fred

    Marcel said:
    “Space X needs to stop begging the tax payers for money and start seeking private investors for the emerging space tourism industry.”

    All SpaceX got towards building Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Dragon was $278M in COTS funding. Everything else was paid for by Musks initial investment ($100M)
    and his investors.
    Founders Fund…………..= $20M
    Draper Fisher Jurvetson. = $60M
    There may be other investors, I don’t know. SpaceX hasn’t yet held an IPO.
    However with an orderbook now north of $2B I wouldn’t imagine raising funds would be a problem.
    Please note. The $1.6B CRS contract (included in the above $2B) to deliver supplies to the ISS is a performance based fixed price contract. SpaceX only gets paid for delivering. and the price is fixed through 2015,
    Oh, and how much has been spent on Ares 1 so far?

  • Bennett wrote:

    How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you pen such nonsense?

    Which is why I’ve added Marcel F. Williams to my personal “ignore” list, or the “shun” list as someone else called it.

    If they can’t tell the truth, if they post lies and smears just to get attention for themselves, then they don’t deserve a response from us, much less the courtesy of reading their drivel. So I just scroll right past them.

  • Bennett

    @Stephen

    Ditto. Well, we tried.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    “Apparently you don’t either, as acceleration and resultant G-forces are a criteria for man rating a LV.”

    And Atlas V, Delta IV and Falcon 9 all are within human rating G-force tolerances.

    Ares I however needed an LAS system that subjected it’s crew to 16G’s of force when activated – 16G’s! It had to do that because the SRB can not be “turned off” like a liquid engine, and if the SRB has exploded, then there is lots of burning solid fuel scattering in all directions through the air, and the LAS has to try and get as far away as possible (no one knows if this is even possible to do).

  • Coastal Ron

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 1st, 2010 at 7:12 am

    * Un-shun *

    I used the “Shun” thing on a different post for Gary Church – I got it from something that Dwight does on the TV show The Office. It seemed appropriate, since me announcing the use of it makes me look as silly as Dwight.

    For me personally, I enjoy a good debate, and there are many times I have learned something from them. I do evolve my positions as I learn, and that has certainly happened with Constellation, Direct, and more.

    I have a great love of aerospace and space related industries and research, and I feel that I am a great supporter of NASA. However there is more than one “right way” for us to do anything in space, and as long as a course of action will increase our capabilities in the long run, I will add my grumbling support.

    Public discourse is certainly one of the tenets of our country, and of the Internet. One should not need to be an expert to voice their opinion of how they want their tax dollars spent, and passionate prose can be very convincing.

    However, those that attack my points of view should back up their assertions with facts, otherwise they are just being argumentative. You can call me a liar, or a destroyer of NASA, but you better provide the facts that will convince me, otherwise I won’t engage you.

    At this point, my personal shun list contains Gary Church, but now I’m adding amightywind and DCSCA. They certainly bring passion to the debate, but for them it’s not a two-way street, and I would rather spend my time in an intellectual discourse than a yelling match.

    * Shun *

  • Coastal Ron wrote:

    However, those that attack my points of view should back up their assertions with facts, otherwise they are just being argumentative. You can call me a liar, or a destroyer of NASA, but you better provide the facts that will convince me, otherwise I won’t engage you.

    Agree 100%. I would deserve to be called a liar if I’m lying. But I go out of my way to back up my position with evidence. If I don’t know something — I’ve made it clear I have no engineering background — I state that and will often ask our resident engineers for the answer.

    I was a political consultant back in California part-time since the late 1980s. Inevitably when someone has no facts to support his position, he stoops to smears and lies. In politics, you’ll see people with a lot of money burn through it to circulate those lies, hoping that if voters hear it often enough they’ll start to believe it.

    So when I see our local politicians and labor leaders making up all sorts of stuff about Constellation and Obama’s proposal, it’s not hard to figure out why. They know that the current situation is unsustainable. So they smear and lie to support their agenda.

    At this point, my personal shun list contains Gary Church, but now I’m adding amightywind and DCSCA.

    I have those and Marcel F. Williams.

    I have to wonder if some of those are actually the same person. There doesn’t appear to be any way to stop someone from using more than one name. Hopefully our host Jeff has the ability to look at I.P. addresses and figure out if someone is suffering from a multiple personality disorder.

  • Gary Church

    “I was a political consultant back in California part-time since the late 1980s. Inevitably when someone has no facts to support his position, he stoops to smears and lies. In politics, you’ll see people with a lot of money burn through it to circulate those lies, hoping that if voters hear it often enough they’ll start to believe it”

    So you think that is how the world works? That is exactly what you and your commercial crew scammers are doing. You think people are so stupid. All anyone has to do is read the threads to realize your team jumps on anyone who disagrees with destroying NASA HSF and putting it in the hands of “entrepreneurs.” You are Enron and Lehman brothers and and the florida lottery all rolled into one. America is going to lose our entire knowledge base because of your Reaganomic voodo BS. You are all criminals.

  • Space Cadet

    @ DCSA

    Is it more dangerous then a nuclear fast attack sub cruising at 600 feet BSL? Is it more dangerous then climbing Mt. Everest? Is it more dangerous then taking a 45 foot sailboat from San Diego to Hawaii? Is it more dangerous then getting in a Boeing Stratoliner and flying from SFO to Hawaii in say 1952? A Marine doing street patrol in Fallujah in 2005? How about being a Naval Aviator doing night approaches to the pitching deck of a flattop with no Moon?”

    “Yes, it is.”

    The fatality rate for Everest climbs is 9.6%. If being an astronaut were equally dangerous then we would have had 12 loss-of-crew accidents in 132 shuttle flights rather than only 2 accidents. So being an astronaut is less dangerous than being an Everest climber.

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