Congress, NASA

Meanwhile, in the House…

With the Senate moving ahead with an authorization bill, what will the House do? “As the ranking member of the House authorizing committee, I’m eager to reauthorize NASA and get the train back on track,” Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), ranking member of the House Science and Technology Committee, said earlier this week at a Space Transportation Association breakfast on Capitol Hill. “I think it’s possible… It’s something we absolutely have to do.”

That committee is drafting its version of an authorization bill, but Hall said the Democratic leadership of the committee has not shared any details about the legislation with him. “The chairman has not shared a bill with us,” Hall said, referring to committee chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN). “But I’m hopeful we’re going to get some of these things in there by the end of September” because if the process extends beyond that, he said, it would be hard to get anything done. “Some of these things” referred to his priorities for NASA: human spaceflight, a “balanced” science program (expressing concern about an outsized increase in Earth sciences funding), and aeronautics research. For human spaceflight Hall indicated his support for Constellation, which he said “would have provide a logical job transition path for workers coming off the Space Shuttle contracts, and kept the faith with international partners.”

Hall didn’t indicate in his remarks his opinion of the Senate bill, but one key House member endorsed the bill on Thursday. “I applaud the Senate Commerce Committee for reporting out a NASA authorization bill that embraces our compromise proposal on exploration,” said Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, in a post on The Hill’s Congress Blog. The “compromise proposal” he refers to is a letter he and about 60 other members of the House signed last month, asking President Obama to begin the immediate development of a heavy-lift launch vehicle.

Wolf’s subcommittee, when it took an up an appropriations bill late last month, elected not to take a stand and defer to authorizers on the future direction of NASA’s human spaceflight plans. “I hope the House Science Committee will similarly adopt this compromise and consider its authorization bill,” Wolf wrote yesterday. “As ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, I believe it’s important for the authorizers to signal their support so that we can enshrine this new policy in the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill.”

293 comments to Meanwhile, in the House…

  • Anyone know where the HLV-love came from? Who whispered that into ignorant ears?

  • Red State Pork Bill ‘Son of DIRECT’ looks like a winner to the Honorable Mr. Hall IMHO.

    Look for reconciliation by the end of September.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    @ Trent Waddington,

    The cynic in me wonders if the problem was that the advocates of multi-launch/EOR archetectures failed to lobby the right members of Congress or possibly get the support of the right Mil/Ind Complex companies.

    In any case, the ‘received wisdom’ at the moment is that HLV is a requirement for significant BEO human exploration and very few people have challenged this in any forum where a person in authority might hear and respect that opinion. Engineering is fundamentally a quite conservative pursuit; Radical changes of concept (such as that required for the multi-launch/EOR/propellent transfer paradigm) simply need far more effort than was made to overturn the old ways of doing things.

  • Anyone know where the HLV-love came from? Who whispered that into ignorant ears?

    Y’know the sad thing about this is that even if Obama signs a compromise bill by the end of the year, he’ll still get punished by the red states for daring to put them on a pork diet to begin with.

    We’re still mired down in the retro-nationalistic Apollo/STS mindset. Prepare for another 40 years of ATK dominated launch systems with a $200M/year standing army jobs program.

  • amightywind

    Bipartisan congressional action on NASA is heartening. Obama has made a chaotic mess of the agency. HLV love is born out of necessity. EELV derived launchers are too small for manned exploration! What irony that we are back to the Shuttle-C days, but it is a better option than waiting breathlessly for what comes out of Elon Musks garage.

  • red

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/science/space/16nasa.html?_r=1

    Senate Committee’s NASA Plan Cuts Moon Program

    “Because the Senate’s authorization bill covers only the next three years, it does not spell out how NASA could avoid a budget problem in later years as the development of the commercial crew vehicles and the heavy-lift rocket proceeds.”

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7110626.html

    “Now the question is whether there’s enough funding in the Senate plan, which is at the overall level of the president’s budget and provides far less for research into new technologies, to support the speedy development of new rockets.

    “Leroy Chiao, a former astronaut and member of the Augustine committee [said] “The only big picture question in my mind is whether or not the funding is adequate to perform this plan.”"

    http://legislative.nasa.gov/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf

    Augustine Committee Final Report (i.e. Augustine Committee II of III, if this bill is any indication):

    “The U.S. human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory. It is perpetuating the perilous practice of pursuing goals that do not match allocated resources. … it is demeaning to NASA’s professionalism to treat the human spaceflight effort as a “jobs” program. … Work should be allocated among centers to reflect their legitimate ability to contribute to the tasks to be performed, not simply to maintain a fixed workforce.”

  • red

    Does anyone have any opinions on how we can get those exploration technology demonstration and development jobs done in this grim scenario … at least the ones that have been spelled out in some detail? i.e.

    demonstrations:
    - ion solar electric propulsion demo + advanced solar panel demo
    - autonomous rendezvous and docking demo (+ what amounts to an operational space tug)
    - closed loop life support demo
    - propellant depot demo
    - inflatable habitat demo
    - aerocapture demo

    developments:
    - lunar ISRU
    - telerobotics
    - more powerful electric propulsion (leading to more powerful demo than the 1 above)
    - autonomous precision landing
    - fission power systems

    The developments are supposed to be under $100M, so I guess we could fit them within this bill’s budget (until the inevitable HLV/MPCV funding raids start). Maybe we could fit 1 of the demos, too; those are supposed to be under $1B. Maybe some are already well under their upper limit, or can be done in a cheaper way than originally planned.

    The MPCV is supposed to be capable of EVAs and servicing of other assets in space. This type of servicing is one of the technologies that was in the FY2011 plan, but which wasn’t one of the initial ones described in detail. Could we fund development or demonstration work for such servicing within the MPCV budget, and chalk that up to getting a useful technology developed/demonstrated in trade for one of the others above?

    Are there any others from the demo list that could be funded by the MPCV program, or that the MPCV program could help perform? The MPCV is supposed to include “the incorporation of new technologies”. Maybe we can depart from the Orion design a bit (or a huge amount) – I suspect all the Orion backers want is money for any work. Could we have a “Block 0″ MPCV or early “MPCV technology demo platform” (possibly uncrewed) to demonstrate (and possible add to the MPCV operational mission) aerocapture for Earth return? What about using it for autonomous rendezvous and docking technology demos (after all, the MPCV is supposed to be able to dock with the ISS – can we may it autonomous)? Could it (or a Block 0 version or demo platform for it) play a role in a propellant depot demo? Could it dock with or deliver to ISS an inflatable habitat demo? Could it be made to demonstration and then operationally DARPA’s advanced solar panels?

    It would be nice to get some productive use out of this MPCV funding. As it stands, the MPCV won’t be able to do anything because there will be no funds for any real work beyond LEO besides just trips looking out the window. That might satisfy some people who just want to get out of LEO, but I’d rather have us do some useful work on the development path there, or during the actual missions.

    The $215M/year human research budget is funded (at least before the expected budget raids). Can this be used for any of the developments or demos, like telerobotics?

    Can we use the new ISS funding, which isn’t cut yet, for any of this work?

    Is there any prospect of a low-cost COTS-like “skin in the game” demo like an inflatable habitat demo where a commercial provider will help make the demo affordable with their money, but will then keep the hardware?

  • Anne Spudis

    “…..How are costs estimated for space systems? The costing exercise for the Augustine Committee was done by The Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit science and engineering company run for the U.S. Air Force. Their costing procedures (described briefly on page 82 of the committee report) includes estimating the time and level of effort it takes to develop a system, informed by data from past projects. The vast bulk of this costing effort deals with launch vehicles and systems.

    “Looking over cost estimates is a strange experience. Almost anyone can immediately see inflated levels of costing for things they know about, but are uncertain for other items. Bob Zubrin wrote a stinging rejection of the Aerospace Corporation’s costing just before the Augustine Committee released their report. He noted in particular that the estimates included several years of increasing ground operations costs, even while nothing was being launched. Of course, if you pull together a ground crew, you have to pay them to keep them around, even during slack times. But his point is a good one; why should it cost more than Shuttle does now to support a launch system that requires an order of magnitude less preparation than the highly complex Shuttle Orbiter?

    “Using these estimates of the cost of the existing architecture, the Augustine Committee concluded that it was unaffordable. What did they do then? Rather than fix the problems with the ESAS architecture, they discarded the entire Vision for Space Exploration and came up with the so-called “Flexible Path” (FP). Although cloaked in platitudes about how technology development will give us options to go to many destinations beyond LEO, the real motivation for this idea is revealed by the committee’s words on “public engagement” (e.g., “It (FP) would provide the public and other stakeholders with a series of interesting “firsts” to keep them engaged and supportive.” – Augustine report, p. 15). Thus, the goal of FP is to create Apollo-like spectacles for public consumption, rather than creating steps toward increased space faring capability………”

    Stuck in Transit – Unchaining Ourselves From the Rocket Equation

  • Egad

    Would someone kindly remind me what heavy things the heavy lift vehicle is going to lift? Do we have any of them yet? If not, what programs and budgets are going to build them?

  • What irony that we are back to the Shuttle-C days, but it is a better option than waiting breathlessly for what comes out of Elon Musks garage.

    Yeah. By the time the good ol’ US of A gets back to the Moon with a not-Shuttle C lifted Orion, there’ll be an Elon Musk Lunar shuttle service supplying Bill White style EM1 stations with reusable Bigelow/Boeing landers supplying Russian/Indian Bigelow stations ready to sell them vodka and hummus.

    What irony.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Would someone kindly remind me what heavy things the heavy lift vehicle is going to lift?

    At this point, a very good question

    Do we have any of them yet?

    Nope

    If not, what programs and budgets are going to build them?

    Well, there is some money budgeted, but not nearly enough. So, another We don’t know.

    And we have Congress to thank

  • Rep. Hall bloviated:

    “Some of these things” referred to his priorities for NASA: human spaceflight, a “balanced” science program (expressing concern about an outsized increase in Earth sciences funding), and aeronautics research. For human spaceflight Hall indicated his support for Constellation, which he said “would have provide a logical job transition path for workers coming off the Space Shuttle contracts, and kept the faith with international partners.”

    Someone should tell Rep. Hall to read the National Aeronautics and Space Act. It says nothing about human space flight, nor does it require NASA to be a socialist government jobs program.

    Nor was I aware that we have “international partners” on Constellation. If that’s true, then why was the U.S. taxpayer paying for all of it?!

  • amightywind

    red wrote:

    “Does anyone have any opinions on how we can get those exploration technology demonstration and development jobs done in this grim scenario … at least the ones that have been spelled out in some detail? “.

    “- ion solar electric propulsion demo + advanced solar panel demo”

    http://www.boeing.com/defensespace/space/bss/factsheets/xips/xips.html

    Developed and implemented by Hughes 15 years ago. Very mainstream at this point. Same thing with triple junctions GaAs solar panels.

    “- autonomous rendezvous and docking demo (+ what amounts to an operational space tug)”

    Done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37

    “- closed loop life support demo”

    Those marooned on the Space Station Freedom currently drink their reprocessed urine. Check!

    “- propellant depot demo”

    Dumb idea proposed by apologists for Elon Musk’s small rockets.

    - inflatable habitat demo

    Equally dumb idea. A solution looking for a problem for 20 years.

    “- aerocapture demo”

    Done repeatedly. Mars Global Surveyor, Magellan Venus, and a half dozen others I forgot about.

    My point is the technology development Obamaspace proponents prattle on are not pressing issues at all.

  • red

    Anne: Here’s an excerpt from Zubrin:

    “In fact, in testimony delivered directly to the committee ( Video; Slides), SpaceX president Elon Musk offered to develop a heavy lift system for $2.5 billion, and I myself have seen Lockheed Martin presentations which estimate their cost to develop a heavy lift (150 tons to LEO) launcher at $4 billion.”

    He’s citing some low HLV development costs, but it doesn’t matter. This bill doesn’t have SpaceX building the HLV. The bill has something like $11.5B for development of the HLV (I haven’t seen the final bill and I don’t recall that reference, but it’s consistent with the draft bill’s early year figures).

    “Rather than fix the problems with the ESAS architecture, they discarded the entire Vision for Space Exploration and came up with the so-called “Flexible Path” (FP).”

    They didn’t discarge the entire VSE. They always kept the Moon as a strong option in the Flexible Path, and so did FY11. They kept the VSE’s strong commercial participation, technology innovation (ISRU, etc), robotic precursors to the Moon and other bodies, etc, and so did FY11.

    This bill largely does away with those parts of the VSE. If it is passed, they will be missed.

    I don’t think the Flexible Path needed to go as far as it did before going back to the Moon, but there is a good reason not to go straight back to the Moon first – you can’t afford to do it all at once on NASA’s budget using NASA’s traditional contracting/political approach (see Constellation, and see this Senate bill as examples), so you might as well go somewhere and do something useful in the meantime.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Trent Waddington wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Anyone know where the HLV-love came from? Who whispered that into ignorant ears?..

    Trent. The “HLV” love comes from two sources…one major and one minor.

    The minor folks are all those who want desperately some project to keep the shuttle people in their district employed.

    The major folks the ones really driving this are the DoD. The DoD is poised for some major breakout programs in space capabilities which need a pretty wide range of AFFORDABLE launch vehicles…and that includes something a tad heavier then Delta IV heavy.

    One of the reasons (I am told by a friend who is a lobbiest) that Nelson backed off his support for the Ares or Son of Ares is that the DoD wanted nothing to do with it…

    Robert G. Oler

  • Anne Spudis

    Red,

    Thank you for your response but all one has to do is read the headlines today ie “NASA Plan Cuts Moon Program” (more “education” being spooned out for those who don’t understand the difference between Constellation and VSE by those who only see unmanned stunts in NASA’s future — predictably short with that scenario).

    Please recall the president’s joke line about Buzz and not needing to return to the Moon, and understand that the idea of mining lunar resources to create a new manned space transportation system was clearly and deliberately taken off the table by the Augustine Committee, no matter how others may see it or want to spin it.

    Commercial will have a lot of contract work (and investors), once resource utilization is proved possible and cislunar space is opened up so that our security and economic assets can be serviced. The follow on of opportunities will only be limited by one’s imagination.

  • Doug Lassiter

    In response to what Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Re the essay “Stuck in Transit – Unchaining Ourselves From the Rocket Equation”, I was always struck by these words in it.

    “Simply put, our space objectives need to be – arrive, survive and thrive.”

    Simply put, that’s the opinion of one op ed writer, and not in any respect established national policy. As noted above, the Space Act says nothing of the kind. So it sure isn’t NASA’s space objectives.

    Re Mr. Hall’s enthusiasm for Constellation as “keeping the faith with international partners”, I have to chuckle. As a space transportation architecture, Constellation was all about bypassing international partnership. ESA, for example, was originally very interesting in buying into Constellation, until they figured out that what we wanted them to do was to develop lunar surface habs that we would emplace. “Keeping the faith” meant keeping them at arms length.

    I’m optimistic about the role House Science will take in this. Although that committee has some dyed-in-the-wool Constellation huggers, the Senate has conclusively ditched that unaffordable architecture, such that the more visionary members there, along with the deeply experienced staff there can, in Jeff Greason’s words, “deal with it”.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 8:18 am
    but it is a better option than waiting breathlessly for what comes out of Elon Musks garage…

    you wont have to wait much longer for the Musk garage to produce things…they are working on track for another flight.

    NASA meanwhile is turning up the photoshoped machine to impress people like you

    Robert G. Oler

  • Anne Spudis

    Doug Lassiter wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:18 am [“Simply put, our space objectives need to be – arrive, survive and thrive.”

    Simply put, that’s the opinion of one op ed writer, and not in any respect established national policy. As noted above, the Space Act says nothing of the kind. So it sure isn’t NASA’s space objectives.]

    op ed writer???

  • Robert G. Oler

    Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Commercial will have a lot of contract work (and investors), once resource utilization is proved possible and cislunar space is opened up so that our security and economic assets can be serviced. …

    it really doesnt work that way…as the shuttle and station have made abundantly clear.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Major Tom

    “… understand that the idea of mining lunar resources to create a new manned space transportation system was clearly and deliberately taken off the table by the Augustine Committee, no matter how others may see it or want to spin it.”

    This is a batty statement. The final report of the Augustine Committee has two “Moon First” options (4A and 4B), on top of three other options (1, 2, and 3) involving the PoR, which was also Moon first.

    On top of that, “Lunar In Situ Resource Utilization” and “Lunar In Situ Propellant Production and Export” appear in a table of technology opportunities on page 103 of the report.

    On top of that, Section 7.3 of the report is dedicated to “In Situ Propellant Production and Transport”, with the first several paragraphs of that section dedicated to a discussion of lunar propellant production and transport.

    Read and comprehend the work of the committee you’re criticizing before you waste this forum’s time with idiotic and stupid statements made out of ignorance.

    “Commercial will have a lot of contract work (and investors), once resource utilization is proved possible…”

    Then you should support NASA’s FY11 budget request, which included, as the very first project in the Exploration Technology Development and Demonstration Program, a “Lunar Volatiles Characterization” project.

    nasa.gov/pdf/457438main_EEWS_EnablingTechnologyDevelopmentandDemonstration.pdf

    The authorization bill cuts this and other exploration technology programs, and provides no specific funding for in situ resource projects (lunar or otherwise).

    Think before you post.

    Oy vey…

  • Anne Spudis

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:37 am [it really doesnt work that way…as the shuttle and station have made abundantly clear.]

    What “it” are you talking about?

  • David C

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:37 am

    well Brilliant, HOW DOES IT WORK??? and PLEASE be specific, the ears of the World are listening!!!

  • Robert G. Oler

    David C wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    It is not that difficult…government does technology demonstrators and industry decides when it is economically and otherwise feasible to incorporate them into a product.

    Shuttle and station have floundered as “pathfinders” because the technology is simply to expensive…

    on the other hand Syncom hit the mark just about perfectly.

    Government cannot force markets as the Obama administration will find out here shortly (I think) with the electric car. They have tried. Many years ago there was a commercial passenger carrying version of the B-36…it was so expensive not even the military of that era wanted it.

    The fallacy in all the lunar resource use theory is that government can spend lots of money and all of a sudden the commercial world just cannot wait to buy H and O from lunar water.

    Sorry

    Robert G. Oler

  • Major Tom

    “Developed and implemented by Hughes 15 years ago.”

    At the level of station-keeping for comsats. Not at the level of moving large amounts of cargo for human space missions around and beyond the Earth-Moon system.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “Done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37

    The reference from wikipedia is almost a decade out of date. X-37 isn’t doing any rendezvous and docking, autonomous or otherwise.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “Those marooned on the Space Station Freedom currently drink their reprocessed urine. Check!”

    Which is not a closed system for water intake, on top of other systems (air, food, etc.) that also need closing.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “Dumb idea proposed by apologists for Elon Musk’s small rockets.”

    In-space cryo management has the single largest benefit of any technology for reducing the IMLEO mass for any human exploration mission. See slide 4 in this presentation from the NASA Chief Technologist:

    nasa.gov/pdf/457884main_OCT_town_hall_rev4.pdf

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “Done repeatedly. Mars Global Surveyor, Magellan Venus, and a half dozen others I forgot about.”

    MGS and Magellan demonstrated aerobraking, not aerocapture. The latter involves much higher velocities and energies, and consequently much more difficult thermal environments, and has never been demonstrated.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    Ugh…

  • Doug Lassiter

    “op ed writer???”

    In this capacity, yes. Not really “opposite the editorial page”, but certainly opinion by an authority who is not on the magazine staff. Not even as a “contributing editor”. That’s not a criticism. Just a fact.

    You may take this as “that’s just the opinion of an authority who is not on the magazine staff”. Feel better?

    The point is that there is no national mandate to arrive, survive, and thrive in space. In fact, Dr. Spudis put it carefully that, in his opinion, these “need to be” national objectives. They aren’t.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Those marooned on the Space Station Freedom currently drink their reprocessed urine. Check!…

    right up there with the Falcon9 second stage spinning out of control.

    Did Space Station Freedom get launched and I missed it?

    you are goofy really. Turn off Rush Limbaugh and give the brain a chance to dry out…you have been “dittoing” far to much. you are getting worse then Whittington.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Major Tom

    “EELV derived launchers are too small for manned exploration”

    Since when is an Atlas V Phase 2 at 70mT too small for manned space exploration? Since when is a Delta IV Phase 3 at 100mT too small for manned space exploration?

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

    This is the exact same heavy lift tonnage range for the Shuttle-derived SLS in the authorization bill, only it’s supplied by an infrastructure and workforce that can spread its costs across multiple military and commercial customers so NASA doesn’t have to foot the whole bill.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

    “What irony that we are back to the Shuttle-C days”

    Shuttle sidemount can’t do 100 tons as dictated in the authorization bill, and may not be able to do 70 tons, depending on what the upper stage requires.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

  • Anne Spudis

    Major Tom wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:42 am [.......Oy vey…]

    Glad to see I rate an “Oy vey” Major Tom.

    I really don’t know how you expect all that would come to be what with NASA swinging around the Moon on their way to an asteroid some time around 2020-2024-2030???

    It was all so fuzzy…….

  • Major Tom

    “Egad

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Earth_Departure_Stage_with_Altair_and_Orion_02-2008.jpg

    Keep you eyes on the prize.”

    The Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) budget in the authorization bill doesn’t have enough funding to build an ISS-capable Orion, nevertheless a deep space Orion or Altair.

    Fiscal…..Orion in…….MPCV in
    Year……FY10 Budg…FY11 Auth…..Shortfall

    2011….$1.9B……….$1.3B………..$0.6B
    2012….$2.1B……….$1.4B………..$0.7B
    2013….$1.9B……….$1.4B………..$0.5B

    Total…..$5.9B……….$4.1B………..$1.8B

    There’s at least a $1.8 billion or over 30% shortfall through FY 2013 in the MPCV budget alone.

    And the MPCV shortfall is actually bigger than that, since those FY 2010 Orion figures only supported a 2017 delivery date (at best) for an ISS-capable Orion, not the 2016 deadline set in the authorization bill for an exploration-capable Orion MPCV. We’re probably looking at close to a 50% shortfall through FY 2013 to support a 2016 launch date. At the funding levels in the authorization bill, NASA would be very lucky to get an Orion MPCV flying by 2020. (Even the overall flat funding profile is goofy for a development program that has to ramp up then down — it’s a profile for a technology program, not a development program.)

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.

  • Major Tom

    “I really don’t know how you expect all that would come to be what with NASA swinging around the Moon on their way to an asteroid some time around 2020-2024-2030???

    It was all so fuzzy…….”

    The deadline was 2025, per the President’s KSC speech.

    Are you really so ignorant that you didn’t bother to read or listen to it?

    universetoday.com/2010/04/15/obama-wants-mission-to-asteroid-by-2025-mars-by-mid-2030s/

    Or is English not your first language?

    Or do you have a problem with reading comprehension?

    Or can you not count to 2025?

    Or do you not know what an asteroid is?

    Please, let us know what your major malfunction is that prevents you from understanding asteroid by 2025.

    Oy vey…

  • Dennis Berube

    As to astronauts drinking their own urine, lets not forget it is more pure than what comes out of your faucet at home! A HLV is necessary to loft loads that wil be required to return to the Moon or visit an asteroid. Saturn could loft 50 tons to the Moon. Today there is talk of vehicles with a lift of 100 MTs. The question must be asked: What is cheaper, to send 5 small rockets, or one large rocket, with the hardware necessary for such trips into deep space. At any point his still has a ways to go and is not finished. We must still wait for the final decision, and who knows when that will materialize!!

  • Gary Church

    Sidemount is on the way. There are obviously people being asked to explain the reality of space travel. Private space smaller-is-cheaper-is-better is being exposed for the get rich quick scheme that it is. I am very pleased about this and amused at the wailing and gnashing of teeth on this site.

    The flexible path is actually very narrow (as I have explained many times here) and it starts with Heavy Lift and Sidemount is the correct decision. I expect that we will begin to hear about radiation and the massive shielding being provided by lunar ice, and the only propulsion system that can push this mass around- nuclear pulse.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Gary Church wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Sidemount is on the way. …

    on the way out.

    The problem with all the SDV is that they die once the shuttle infrastructure ends and that will be soon. After that recycling all but parts of it become impossible.

    Worse, there is no money for SDV…

    Robert G. Oler

  • Kelly Starks

    > Trent Waddington wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:47 am
    > Anyone know where the HLV-love came from?
    > Who whispered that into ignorant ears?

    Bolden and such kept saying everyone agrees you need a HLV to go beyond LEO. There are a lot of shuttle related folks and facilities that will be on the street if you don’t do something like that – then you need to reform it all later for a big program.

    Also Nelsons plan cleans up a LOT of the issues with Constellation.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 9:01 am
    > === why should it cost more than Shuttle does now to support
    > a launch system that requires an order of magnitude less
    > preparation than the highly complex Shuttle Orbiter?..

    This is a sore point with me. People assume Shuttles dramatically more complex etc. Really it has about all the same systems as Orion (plus wings and a cargo bay) and you don’t need to build a new one for each flight. Also as a total launch stack, the orbiter eliminates the need for a second stage.

    Granted if NASA bookkeeping wasn’t legendarily bad – folks could get hard numbers for costs.

  • Kelly Starks

    The X-37 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37” ) was mentioned which made me wonder what would it take to adapt it to be a lifeboat? Its already designed for autonomous return and landing after spending 270 days in orbit. Looks like it could only hold 2 people, but it would be politically better then a couple Soyuz?

  • Dennis Berube

    http://scienceblips.dailyradar.com/video/nasa_shuttle_derived_sidemount_heavy_launch_vehicle/ Here is a neat animation of what would be instore for a HLV derived vehicle for deep space. Whether you agree with this concept or not, it is still a neat little vid to watch…

  • Byeman

    Again, on another forum, Gary Church provides more clueless posts.
    a. Sidemount is not on the way, and more so, HLV is not a given. There are still many steps before this bill become law
    b. Your “expectations” are nothing more than delusions. nuclear pulse will never, repeat, never be considered much less used. Only fringe elements continue to bring it up and no rational person or organization has it in their planning
    c. Private space is still going to dominate. NASA will be procuring services from it for manned flight, just as it now does for unmanned missions.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    > The problem with all the SDV is that they die once the shuttle
    > infrastructure ends and that will be soon. After that recycling
    > all but parts of it become impossible.
    >
    > Worse, there is no money for SDV…

    You missed Nelsens HLV should be shuttle derived comments, and HLV dev being accelerated?

  • Byeman

    X-37 is not a viable lifeboat nor it is an operational vehicle. The “X” designation is the first clue. The payload for X-37 is 500 lbs, which would be overwhelmed by a docking system, ECLSS, seats, and air tight cabin, increase heat rejection capability etc. Also, the X-37 can not maneuver to dock nor does it have rendezvous sensors.

  • Major Tom

    “Sidemount is on the way.”

    It’s not. Sidemount can’t meet the long-term 100mT threshold set in the authorization bill for the SLS. Per Shannon’s presentation to the Augustine Committee, even when all the growth options for sidemount are exercised, it only gets up to ~90mT.

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

    Honestly, sidemount may not even meet the near-term 70mT threshold set in the authorization bill for the SLS once the design moves beyond the PPT stage. It barely gets to 71-72mT.

    The only designs on the table that can get to 100mT are Delta IV Phase 3 and various inline configurations. And the only designs on the table that can get to 70mT with any confidence are Atlas Phase 2 and various inline configurations.

    The tonnage thresholds were set arbitrarily by a Senate authorization staffer (Jeff Bingham) who is, for better or worse, an inline/DIRECT fan.

    “Private space smaller-is-cheaper-is-better is being exposed for the get rich quick scheme that it is. I am very pleased about this and amused at the wailing and gnashing of teeth”

    Aside from a couple references to Musk’s “garage” by commercial space flight opponents, no one has even mentioned “private space” in this thread.

    “The flexible path is actually very narrow…”

    The authorization bill adopts flexible path, minus the priorities and deadlines set by the Obama Administration.

    “I expect that we will begin to hear about radiation and the massive shielding being provided by lunar ice…”

    Scattered grains of lunar ice aren’t going to shield anything larger than gnats.

    “and the only propulsion system that can push this mass around- nuclear pulse.”

    No one is going to allow a nuclear pulse rocket to launch within the Earth’s atmosphere (or even magnetosphere), and there’s no way to get the massive pusher plate and shock absorbers into HEO or beyond.

    FWIW…

  • Dennis Berube wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    “A HLV is necessary to loft loads that wil be required to return to the Moon or visit an asteroid.”
    OK. Name one, say, 70 tn item *that has funding* in, say, the 2016-2020 time frame. And not just one load but a round dozen p.a. IIRC DIRECT needed 12 launches per year to maximise the facilities/ infrastructure costs. In this economic environment?

    Congress rushes in…” with apologies to Pope!

  • amightywind

    Minor Tom wrote:

    “The only designs on the table that can get to 100mT are Delta IV Phase 3 and various inline configurations.”

    This was true when the Bolsheviks were making space policy. Those days are now over.

    “Sidemount can’t meet the long-term 100mT threshold set in the authorization bill for the SLS.”

    Rubbish. The shuttle stack delivers a 110,000 kg to orbit, the mass of a fully loaded orbiter. Last I looked it was side mounted. Stop making stuff up.

    Lordy! Oy vey!

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    You missed Nelsens HLV should be shuttle derived comments, and HLV dev being accelerated?

    …..

    No I didnt miss them I just know what they are …boilerplate.

    The example of a “keep alive” program was the B-1 (which is unfortunate…in terms of confession I have several articles from that era supporting building the B-1..which sadly was a misstake)…when Carter killed the B-1 in favor of the ALCM…the folks in California were pretty clever and kept some cash in the SecAF’s fund for “variable geometry wing experimentation”…that kept the B-1 program alive, three vehicles flying, a fourth as a test article, the entire avionics development on track…..until Ronaldus the Great revived it.

    No such luck for the shuttle or A SDV. Nelson can say all he wants…but the final design is up to NASA and currently NASA leadership doesnt want a SDV nor really in a few weeks/months will the appropriators give NASA the money to afford one.

    Hence as soon as Constellation and Shuttle are “fond memories” then the restart can begin…and by that point the reality is that it is far to expensive to restart shuttle derived hardware.

    If Nelson had managed to get some Ares 1-something experimental flights that would be another issue…but he couldnt even get that (and he tried) because there is no money.

    The shuttle workforce is going to be hosed (more so) in a few months when they find out the HLV is a paper study.

    Bolden et al have been very effective in herding the policy to go exactly how they want it to…

    Robert G. Oler

  • Byeman

    Geesh, Windy is clueless. Mass of the orbiter does not equate to usable payload, which was only 25 tonne. The cargo element on the sidemount will also eat into useful payload and hence it can not do 100 mT.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    The X-37 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37” ) was mentioned which made me wonder what would it take to adapt it to be a lifeboat?…

    I know that some “thought experiment” work has been done on this and other “things” for an X-37 scale up. There is an enormous amount of mass left in the launch vehicle and if they have the basic systems working well….well a lot of things are possible.

    The trick is to see how X-37 works.

    Frankly I think that the end result of all of this is going to be abandoning the lifeboat concept. Some folks are already looking into the remaining Ninja turtles (the ones other then the one that is going up to ISS permanently) as a “on orbit” life boat.

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    Re: X-37

    The X-37 is a DoD program now. There is little to no chance it’ll ever make it to NASA. DreamChaser has much more chance to ever do it and it is very very unlikely with the current or foreseeable budget.

  • Major Tom

    “Rubbish. The shuttle stack delivers a 110,000 kg to orbit, the mass of a fully loaded orbiter. Last I looked it was side mounted.”

    Buy a clue, genius.

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

    The orbiter doesn’t deliver 100mT of payload. And sidemount configurations replace the orbiter with a different carrier, aeroshell, and SSMEs that typically weigh about 30mT. That only leaves about 70mT of payload.

    No sidemount configuration has ever exceeded 100mT. Shuttle-C was 60mT, ESAS sidemounts got up to 66mT, and John Shannon’s latest iteration on the concept barely exceeds 70mT.

    Good grief…

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    he shuttle stack delivers a 110,000 kg to orbit, the mass of a fully loaded orbiter. Last I looked it was side mounted.

    The gross liftoff weight of just the orbiter is 110,000 kg. The useful payload of the Shuttle is 25,000 kg, and 170,000 kg of orbiter is returned to Earth after each flight. The balance is consumables.

    Part of the weight of the orbiter is the three SSME, which is effectively the second stage (only thrust after SRB’s jettisoned). The thing with a sidemount is that you still need the SSME and the structure that holds everything together, so that limits the ultimate useable payload. Guesses abound for the real payload capability, but you still have to throw away a wingless Shuttle after each launch, and that weighs a significant amount.

  • RealWorldCalling

    I guess Major Tom hopes that if he keeps posting his table enough times people will believe in it. But in truth the 2010 Griffin figures have nothing to do with the new budget. It was for an Orion launched on Ares I. A new HLV for it solves all of the weight issues, and the costs of dealing with them, so all Major Tom is doing is comparing Apples to Oranges to confuse people and try to destroy the compromise. I guess he thinks he is smarter then All of the members of Congress and their budget staffers combined… Or else he is implying they simply lied to members of Congress on Orion costs.

  • GaryChurch

    “I expect that we will begin to hear about radiation and the massive shielding being provided by lunar ice…”

    Scattered grains of lunar ice aren’t going to shield anything larger than gnats.

    “and the only propulsion system that can push this mass around- nuclear pulse.”

    No one is going to allow a nuclear pulse rocket to launch within the Earth’s atmosphere (or even magnetosphere), and there’s no way to get the massive pusher plate and shock absorbers into HEO or beyond.”

    Well Tom, there is ice in those polar craters, and if not there then it will be even easier to get it from smaller bodies way out there. There is no getting around the shielding requirement- it is an inconvenient truth people will have to accept. Off world water is the only solution. And the pusher plate can be put into a high polar orbit by an HLV. There were studies done of Saturn V’s doing it. And in the right orbit you can use nuclear pulse with very little fallout being drawn into the magnetosphere.

    You do not know enough about this to be making these statements- stop making things up, oh vey, whatever.

    Sidemount is on the way- and it is going to save HSF.

  • Anne Spudis

    Major Tom wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 12:17 pm [..............................Please, let us know what your major malfunction is that prevents you from understanding asteroid by 2025.]

    My best wishes for that mission “Major Tom.” A promise of an asteroid 15 years down the road, gracious me, no doubt it will fly just as you trust it will.

  • Coastal Ron

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I’m sure people would point this out, I’ll correct it here:

    The gross liftoff weight of just the orbiter is 110,000 kg. The useful payload of the Shuttle is 25,000 kg, and 78,000 kg of empty orbiter is returned to Earth after each flight. The balance is consumables.

  • Anne Spudis

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:53 am [....The fallacy in all the lunar resource use theory is that government can spend lots of money and all of a sudden the commercial world just cannot wait to buy H and O from lunar water.]

    For now complex commercial and military satellites variying orbits have to be replaced not repaired or refurbished. (I imagine you’ve seen that graphic of all there is orbiting the Earth.) If they could be serviced, it would be a very lucrative market.

    Come on Robert, scratch your imagination instead of picking at that old scab.

  • Coastal Ron

    RealWorldCalling wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    It was for an Orion launched on Ares I. A new HLV for it solves all of the weight issues, and the costs of dealing with them

    Which means another round of redesigns, which is time and money.

    First they have to figure out what Congress wants, then they have to figure out how to use what they have already done on Orion (per Congress), then they have to rebid the work to Lockheed Martin (cost-plus does have it’s limits).

    If they wanted to put the whole thing out for rebid to the industry, that takes both time and money, and if someone different then LM wins, then they have to come up to speed with everything (and NASA has to reconstitute a program management team with them). TANSTAAFL

    Whenever Congress dictates designs, they get what they want (jobs), but not what the nation needs (something functional, useful, and affordable).

  • common sense

    @ RealWorldCalling wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    “I guess he thinks he is smarter then All of the members of Congress and their budget staffers combined… ”

    Duh? Any experienced aerospace engineer that developed space systems in there? Can you please post a link to biography of one such member who ever did anything like design a rocket or a reentry vehicle or a transfer stage. Pick the one you like.

    “Or else he is implying they simply lied to members of Congress on Orion costs.”

    That would be the first time? They may not lie, they may just be incompetent. And the proof is in the pudding: Constellation.

    Oh well…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    For now complex commercial and military satellites variying orbits have to be replaced not repaired or refurbished. (I imagine you’ve seen that graphic of all there is orbiting the Earth.) If they could be serviced, it would be a very lucrative market. ..

    there is nothing that makes servicing those satellites from assets on the Moon possible UNTIL and UNLESS they are serviced from the Earth or LEO first.

    I dont have a clue what the number is to get to some “facility” on the Moon that produces O and H for the same price it could be lifted up from earth and then moved to GEO….

    I know that some people can waive their hands and come up with 20-30 billion dollars but in real terms it is far larger then that…and that 20-30 to whatever billion buys you a lot of lift from Earth…

    The people who make statements like you did “waive” their hands and then the effort is real…they have (and this includes Dr. S) any sense of what the actual cost are to get to this “happy state” (with apologies to Dr. Strangelove)

    Robert G. oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    RealWorldCalling wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I guess he thinks he is smarter then All of the members of Congress and their budget staffers combined…

    I dont think “Major Tom” is saying this, but to be “smarter” or more correctly more informed then all the members of Congress and their staffers is not that great a feat, particularly in space policy

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Look, I am oppossed to any SDV…but something that was looked at a bunch of years (almost two decades) ago was a Shuttle C carrier that in itself (absent some parts) had some value in terms of use at the space station or “anything” else.

    however having said that I agree with you the “tonnage” is really not all that great particularly in what is commonly called “useful load”

    Robert G. Oler

  • Oler wrote: “Bolden et al have been very effective in herding the policy to go exactly how they want it to…”

    I hope you meant that as a joke. At the end of the day, Bolden, Garver, et al. will have nothing that “they” want. If you consider getting rid of the name “Constellation” a victory, then they did get something. Ares V is alive in terms of the HLV and you can be assured that a certain Senator is not going to allow that to become a side mount SDV. The numerous studies that dictate the need to seperate crew from cargo will result in the government “backing” into the ETO business with a vehicle once the Appropriators begin to starve COTS. The Administration is walking away from all of this and Garver will more than likely find another area in which to serve the government after the mid-terms.

  • Anne Spudis

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:18 pm [The people who make statements like you did “waive” their hands and then the effort is real…they have (and this includes Dr. S) any sense of what the actual cost are to get to this “happy state” (with apologies to Dr. Strangelove)]

    It is going to take money and time and effort. But things worth doing usually do. I happen to think humanity needs to populate more than the Earth if we want to survive as a species.

    Too many just want to keep things as they are and not rock the boat, or upset those who have it all planned out for the rest of us — basically leave space to science and just sit back on Earth and watch the show.

    By building something incrementally, that is sustainable, and that will change how we can do business in space, to me, seems a worthy path to go down. NASA needs to test this out before commercial, as in capitalists, will get involved.

    Obviously, you think NASA should go away. I get it.

  • Major Tom

    “I guess Major Tom hopes that if he keeps posting his table enough times people will believe in it.”

    I apologize for posting that table in two or three threads to keep up with the new threads on the authorization bill.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that the numbers in the FY 2010 budget and the authorization bill are what they are. I didn’t make them up.

    “But in truth the 2010 Griffin figures have nothing to do with the new budget. It was for an Orion launched on Ares I. A new HLV for it solves all of the weight issues, and the costs of dealing with them”

    The problem isn’t mass issues. The problem is that the MPCV has to do more than what the 2010 Orion had to do. Even if you gain a little from reduced design cycles to meet Ares I capabilities, the MPCV is almost certainly going to be even more complex, heavy, and expensive than the 2010 Orion.

    “so all Major Tom is doing is comparing Apples to Oranges to confuse people and try to destroy the compromise.”

    I readily admit that it’s apples to oranges. The Orion in the FY 2010 budget is for an ISS-capable Orion. The MPCV in the authorization bill not only has to be Orion-based and capable of supporting ISS — it also has to support other assembly and exploration missions, per the bill. So the MPCV in the authorization bill is almost certainly going to be MORE complex, heavy, and expensive than the more limited, ISS-capable Orion in the authorization bill.

    “I guess he thinks he is smarter then All of the members of Congress and their budget staffers combined…”

    Huh? This bill has only gone through committee. All the members of Congress have not weighed in on it. And since when do budget staffers sit on authorization committees? Or have systems engineering experience?

    “Or else he is implying they simply lied to members of Congress on Orion costs.”

    No. I’m claiming that this authorization bill preserves Shuttle/Constellation jobs, but doesn’t produce a logical, coherent, or sane exploration architecture. We’re building a heavy lift system to a 2016 IOC, but it won’t have anything to launch until the early 2020s at best, because the MPCV is underfunded for what the authorization is asking it to do and the system (Orion) the authorization bill is requiring to be based on. And if NASA follows the dictates regarding use of existing Shuttle/Constellation components/contracts in the authorization bill, the operational costs of SLS/MPCV system won’t leave much, if any, budget for exploration, which is a shame when there are less costly alternatives to producing the same capability. And on top of that, we’re taking money out of the remaining program, commercial crew, that promises to deliver a domestic crew transport capability this decade. And we’re also taking money out of technology development activities that could reduce the costs and make exploration more affordable within the approximate budget profile NASA has had for 40 years now.

    I don’t doubt that staffers like Jeff Bingham are smart, maybe smarter than me. But their incentives — preserve jobs — are different from mine — a sane, affordable, sustainable human exploration architecture.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Ares V is alive in terms of the HLV…”

    No, it’s not. Ares V was supposed to deliver 160mT to LEO. The authorization bill only requires 70-100mT

    Try to learn numbers, folks.

    FWIW…

  • Coastal Ron

    Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Commercial will have a lot of contract work (and investors), once resource utilization is proved possible and cislunar space is opened up so that our security and economic assets can be serviced. The follow on of opportunities will only be limited by one’s imagination.

    I agree with the overall theory of this, but not the sequence it will happen.

    Here is an analogy:

    For now, you propose building a gas station in the middle of the wilderness that is only accessible by helicopter, but it makes it’s own fuel on site.

    First you have to send an expedition to find your fuel source, clear the area, lift in all the mining & processing equipment and supplies, and mine the fuel. Then you set up a processing station, fly in more materials to build the gas station. During all of this you have had to shuttle workers in and out, plus bring in their supplies. It’s assumed that the knowledge and equipment to do all of this already exists, otherwise this part will take a lot of experimentation and time to work out the bugs.

    Once things are set up, the helicopters can refuel when they are there, but you are so far away from any source of commerce that there is not much reason to fly the helicopter there except to resupply the gas station, and refuel helicopter.

    You have supply, but the demand is still far away. Fuel/water is a critical need, but it is only one of many things needed to build industries or communities that would need your local supply.

    In the meantime, the road being pushed out closer and closer to your gas station has been using supplies from existing gas stations back in civilization. They can push a tanker up a road and refuel all their vehicles, even if it takes the tanker a long time to get up the road.

    This is the standard supply & demand dilemma. In the meantime, whoever paid for your gas station (and all the work to set it up), is going to be waiting quite a while for demand to catch up to your supply. The trick is in finding investors that are OK with that.

  • Major Tom

    “My best wishes for that mission “Major Tom.” A promise of an asteroid 15 years down the road, gracious me, no doubt it will fly just as you trust it will.”

    The question wasn’t whether a NEA mission was possible in 15 years. (Although, per the Augustine Committee, such a mission require less systems development, especially in regards to a lander, than a lunar surface mission.)

    The question was whether you could read/hear and comprehend a very plain statement by the President setting a NEA goal by 2025.

    Despite the fact that the President gave his speech months ago, apparently you didn’t read/hear or comprehend such before today.

    FWIW…

  • amightywind

    Robert Oler wrote:

    “you wont have to wait much longer for the Musk garage to produce things…they are working on track for another flight.”

    SpaceX has received $350M in funding from George W. Bush for ISS resupply. They should be launching something, and not fall any further behind schedule than they are. I assumed they weren’t still guzzling champagne. Hungry, thirsty, dirty castaways on the Space Station Freedom are depending on them. And when they do launch again rest assured I will provide my ‘technical blog’ of the ascent.

  • Dennis Berube

    Okay, guys and gals, we get it! Most everyone here is glad that Constellation is gone. That wasnt enough, now everyone here is injecting their respective ideas as to what is going to be the final outcomeof this. I do think that if the government wants an HLV they will get it. If it is a Shuttle C design, they will still get something that resembles an HLV. Maybe the Delta people can do it better, however if the goal in part, is to keep some of the jobs and talent in the space program, then a shuttle derived HLV is what will become reality. Watch that vid I posted above, it shows the Shuttle C idea and how it could relate to a Lunar expedition…

  • DCSCA

    “The trick is in finding investors that are OK with that.” Trick? Now you’re thinking like a free market capitalist.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    SpaceX has received $350M in funding from George W. Bush for ISS resupply.

    SpaceX only has the potential for $278M under the current COTS contract.

    Hungry, thirsty, dirty castaways on the Space Station Freedom

    Your ability to comprehend and correct information is not working today. Oler already corrected you on this – Space Station Freedom does not exist (except for you mind maybe).

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Now you’re thinking like a free market capitalist.

    Why thank you. It just so happens that I am one.

    Now if only we could get you some professional financial education so you could learn about what it takes to be a capitalist… ;-)

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I do think that if the government wants an HLV they will get it.

    Agreed. Given enough money, pigs could be made to fly.

    if the goal in part, is to keep some of the jobs and talent in the space program

    Jobs is the #1 issue, but I’m sure there are some well meaning folks out there that are concerned about the talent. I think the talent well is deep enough without Shuttle & Constellation, but that is just my opinion.

    …it shows the Shuttle C idea and how it could relate to a Lunar expedition…

    Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is more than one way to accomplish a lunar expedition. Check out the ULA proposal called “Affordable Exploration Architecture 2009″ (AIAA 2009-6567). Using existing launchers, they detail out how to set up and run a lunar colony (with 120 day crew rotation). During the first year they preposition assets, and the second year the colony is manned – that takes 52 launches of Delta IV Heavy class launchers, which would cost $15.6B (cheaper with Falcon 9 Heavy).

    No development costs would be needed. Compare that to the $20B+ that Ares I still needed just to be finished, and the $30-50B Ares V was going to need. There are alternatives to HLV.

  • Major Tom

    “During the first year they preposition assets, and the second year the colony is manned – that takes 52 launches of Delta IV Heavy class launchers, which would cost $15.6B (cheaper with Falcon 9 Heavy).”

    What’s the maximum EELV production rate at Decatur?

    FWIW…

  • As for ISS crew drinking their own urine, click here to watch a highly classified NASA video of the urine testing process.

    Not really. A gag on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, don’t drink anything before watching because you’ll spew.

  • Anne Spudis

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    If you have something of value people will get there with what is necessary to keep it coming.

    Have you ever watched “Ice Road Truckers?”

  • Coastal Ron

    Major Tom wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    What’s the maximum EELV production rate at Decatur?

    Currently I think it’s 20 CBC’s/year for both Delta IV and Atlas V (moving there soon), so if they ever did the ULA proposed plan, they would need to ramp that up quite a bit (3x CBC/-Heavy). That would also be another reason to reach out to other comparable launchers like Falcon 9 Heavy or even Angara if it was available.

    I see Delta IV Heavy as the highest priced choice for this weight class (50,000 lbs & 300M/flight). Atlas V Heavy, though unknown for price, lifts 64,000 lbs, and Falcon 9 Heavy lifts 70,000 lbs (s/b ~$170M/flight).

    Obviously if this plan was chosen, there would be a number of years required to prepare. I thought the study laid out a good alternative to HLV’s.

    The question still remains whether the U.S. or anyone could afford such an endeavor even with the “least expensive” plan…

  • Anne Spudis

    Major Tom wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:01 pm [....The question was whether you could read/hear and comprehend a very plain statement by the President setting a NEA goal by 2025.

    Despite the fact that the President gave his speech months ago, apparently you didn’t read/hear or comprehend such before today.]

    Well, then it’s all settled – asteroid by 2025 and the president will take a bow when it happens and I will be put in my place for not understanding his “very plain statement” of NASA’s goals.

  • Coastal Ron

    Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    If you have something of value people will get there with what is necessary to keep it coming.

    Exactly, and everything we launch is coming from Earth, which has lots of water. We also know exactly how much it costs to get water to different places in space, and so far that has not been the limiting factor for what we want to do in space.

    ISRU has to compete with supplies from Earth, whether you like it or not. As launch prices continue to drop, the cost of those supplies drops too, so you are always going to be competing against an ever cheaper competitor.

    Where ISRU is really valuable is in satisfying a local demand, such as when colonies are established on the Moon. There competitors need to haul their product out of one gravity well, and decelerate it through another one.

    Have you ever watched “Ice Road Truckers?

    I watch it all the time, and that was the inspiration for my analogy.

    Notice that those truckers are supporting industries that are extracting product out of the ground and shipping it out of the area. That is not ISRU, that is mining. Other than water from local snow, they have to transport food, supplies and everything else to keep people alive.

    Now if they built a refinery where they brought up oil, then that would be your equivalent to water/fuel mining on the Moon, but to my knowledge no one does refining at the extreme ends of the roads. Be be economical, you have to situated in the middle of the demand area, not the outer reaches.

  • Major Tom

    “As for ISS crew drinking their own urine, click here to watch a highly classified NASA video of the urine testing process.”

    That’s hilarious. There are so many unexplored opportunities for humor in human space flight ops.

    FWIW..

  • Major Tom

    “Currently I think it’s 20 CBC’s/year for both Delta IV and Atlas V (moving there soon), so if they ever did the ULA proposed plan, they would need to ramp that up quite a bit (3x CBC/-Heavy). That would also be another reason to reach out to other comparable launchers like Falcon 9 Heavy…”

    Thanks, CR.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Jim D. wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    . Ares V is alive in terms of the HLV and you can be assured that a certain Senator is not going to allow that to become a side mount SDV. …

    First off killing Constellation is a big deal, because what dies with it is Ares V…to say Ares V is “alive” in terms of an HLV is nonesense.

    There is no requirement for the vehicle to even “look” like a SDV…the only language in the “authorization” (and that means nothing until appropriations steps in) that mentions it is in more or less a “hopeful” tone. There is no “we keep doing Ares V”

    It will all continue to die as the effort is studied to death, shuttle hardware is mothballed and the folks on the payroll go onto unemployment.

    Sorry that is just how it is. Any other read of it is fiction.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Ben Joshua

    I understand the senate authorizing bill would reduce robotic exploration activity (to pay for long term HLV development (separate from what ULA is developing, and from what DOD requires for heavy lift?)), despite some restoration of robotics funding by amendment.

    Why is this a good thing, a thing to whoop it up about?

    Robotic missions have:

    A) been a boon to NASA PR
    B) excited and engaged the public
    C) stimulated interplanetary technology and skills development
    D) provided immense amounts of useful data
    E) “rewritten the textbooks” as it is said
    F) made human exploration BEO more likely and possible.

    Why is less robotic exploration a good thing?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    By building something incrementally, that is sustainable, and that will change how we can do business in space, to me, seems a worthy path to go down. NASA needs to test this out before commercial, as in capitalists, will get involved….

    no thats not really how it happens, government cannot force markets…that has been tried with shuttle and station.

    “Obviously, you think NASA should go away. I get it.”

    no again, you are not reading. NASA needs to be changed. smaller, more agile, a lot less managers and a lot more “thinkers”. It needs to drop to oh about half its current size…

    I like “small government”

    Whittington is the big government person

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Jim D. wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:32 pm
    The Administration is walking away from all of this and Garver will more than likely find another area in which to serve the government after the mid-terms….

    I stop taking people and their viewpoints seriously when they start making statements like the above. There is little or no data to support that analysis, it is just wishful thinking and services whatever theories those people have anyway (like the folks they are claiming are going to get booted, should never have been their in the first place).

    I stop taking people who make statements like that seriously for a lot of reasons…I’ll mention the top three.

    First off you have no idea how the midterms are going to work out. There are a lot of trends which say the GOP should do well…and then there are quite a few that give one pause. The GOP seems to be “tea partying” and those people are not (at least now) fairing well in the polls. Crist is getting up steam (and leading) in FL, the nut that the GOP nominated in Nevada is amazingly starting to lose to Harry Reid (who should be a dead person walking),

    So to use them as a pivot point is just projection.

    Second…why should the midterms affect Garver? “We had a bad midterm so we have to shuffle the deck at NASA” are you that out of touch.

    Third…If there is a GOP Congress it is unlikely to vote more money for NASA or to protect big government programs that are floundering as it tries to make good on its promise of “less government”.

    Sorry, you are slipping into the Whittington, Wind or some of the other GOP trolls on this forum …right wing GOP trolls (sorry Rand)

    Robert G. oler

  • Major Tom

    “Why is less robotic exploration a good thing?”

    It’s not. We barely have a clue as to lunar resources/threats, nevertheless NEO or Mars resources/threats. Much more $100M class robotic exploration is needed before committing to $10B+ human missions.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    it brings to mind a Lisa Nowak moment…

    actually there is this wonderful scene I have in my mind of the “astronaut candidate” who was tossing her cookies as hard as she could go on the Vomet Comet..and it was funny right until it started impacting me.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Brad

    Where did the HLV love come from? It’s in the Obama plan already! It’s kind of absurd to expect the Obama administration to object to the new HLV mandate from Congress when the Obama plan already claimed to support HLV.

    One critic of HLV even claimed that the Obama HLV policy was just a trick to fool the rubes, and that HLV would ultimately be dropped later on. As dubious as that notion was considering the billions for HLV R&D the Obama budget contained, even if it was true we now have Congress calling Obama’s bluff.

    So sorry folks, just because Obama killed Constellation doesn’t mean that HLV is going away, like it or not. And if NASA is going to get an HLV with a payload of 70,000 kg, a SDHLV is probably the quickest and most painless path there.

  • common sense

    @ Brad wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    “And if NASA is going to get an HLV with a payload of 70,000 kg, a SDHLV is probably the quickest and most painless path there.”

    Where are the requirements for this vehicle? For what mission(s)? Or is this yet another seat of the pants design?

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 5:48 pm ..

    I like to build plastic models…and sometimes I build models of “things that should have been but never were”…One of the “notions” I am kicking around building is a Shuttle ET with four common core Delta IV’s around it…some RS 68s on the tail…and a J-2 upper stage.

    The time for that has passed… but it looks cool on my modeling program!

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    You know, this is what I mean about being very pessimistic. People have preconceived notions of what an HLV must be. Now of course it all depends whom you talk to. 70 mt or 100 mt or 1,000 metricpounds (does that exist?). This is a total waste of resources.

    Can you imagine if we were to take all these people and define a global space plan for the next 10, 20, 50 years. They would not waste so much more money and yet they may come up with a plan to actually do something. Then we could talk HLV and all the whathaveyous.

    In then end we may end up with an HLV of some sort. And it won’t be usable because we’ll have to define the mission for it. Or we’ll say “hat can you do with this gargantuan piece of antiquated hardware”? The answer will be?… Oh well we shall see.

  • Bennett

    I keep from being depressed at this Congressional Jobs-Pork/HLV Engineering proposal by reminding myself what Rand wrote yesterday:

    Yes, but this bill isn’t the last word. It’s a still a long way from being the new policy. It still has to make it out of the full Senate, the House has to do a version, it has to be reconciled, and it has to be signed, and even then, all that really matters is what’s in the appropriation bill. If NASA is operating on a CR with insufficient funding to do everything in the authorization, they’ll have a lot of leeway to do whatever they want.

    The original budget recognized that technology such as fuel depots have been stuck on the back burner for far too long. Once enough knowledge was returned from the flagship demos to know what flavor of HLV we needed (if any) we could build it. In the mean time, we’ve been building the infrastructure needed to establish permanent outposts.

  • GaryChurch

    “Gary Church provides more clueless posts.”

    Anybody who has been reading the space review comments knows you are the one that is clueless.

    The facts about the cosmic radiation problem are not going away- and neither is the very narrow path to solving it; plastic hull material and massive shielding in the form of off world water. And the only way to push that mass around……

    Nuclear Pulse is alive and well in the classified weapons community; there are mountains of very expensive star wars and nuclear weapons data that are the same numbers used for propulsion applications in space. And NASA has had several people quietly investigating this path for many years in connection with asteroid interception. I have talked to them (by email).

    There is simply a middle where two ends meet- how big and how many components for pusher plates and how small and efficient the bombs. A pusher plate in the form of a number of thin stacked segments and using active cooling, as studied for Saturn V lift, and new supercomputer calculations for more efficient and smaller nuclear weapons, makes it the best- and only- propulsion system that will work anytime soon. All other systems are pretty worthless or need some kind of unobtanium like the megawatt “lightweight” reactor required for VASIMIR.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    unless it is a DeltaIV super heavy…there wont be an HLV out of this.

    This entire “change of course” is almost like it was written as a plot for “Yes minister” or “Yes prime minister” and almost everyone is playing their role.

    In the end (unless it is the Delta I mentioned) what will happen is that they are going to study an HLV for a year or so…and in the meantime the shuttle infrastructure dies, all the Constellation folks are pushed out…and then there wont be any real money for anything as the economic situation gets worse and the need to “cut cut cut” gets higher.

    What Bolden et al figured out how to do is to use NASA inertia against the continuation of another vehicle development. And all the major players (Nelson etc) are going along with this clever bit of fig leaf to hide the sin of knowledge, which is where this thing is going.

    NASA right now couldnt stay on budget or time frame if the penalty for not doing it was the senior managers are shot. They simply are not capable of accomplishing anything really significant on any sort of budget…they no longer have either the management or technical chops to pull it off.

    Robert G. Oler

  • GaryChurch

    If something went wrong on that last flight, there would be so much hell to pay. I’m pretty sure it would be taken out of NASA’s hide, too.
    Bennett wrote @ July 15th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Justin, In the private fantasy part of my brain, something would go wrong. But only SpaceX has a capsule and LV ready to both deliver supplies to the ISS, and bring some of the crew back to Earth safely.

    The rest of the crew will be fine until the next Soyuz or Dragon launches in a month or two…”

    It’s not private anymore Bennet- and neither is your character.

    Sidemount is on the way and sorry Oler, HSF is here to stay.

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    “What Bolden et al figured out how to do is to use NASA inertia against the continuation of another vehicle development. And all the major players (Nelson etc) are going along with this clever bit of fig leaf to hide the sin of knowledge, which is where this thing is going. ”

    Boy! You are optimistic or very tortuous, both? ;) Nonetheless the whole scheme is going to cost years and funds. A long time ago I predicted the continuation of an Ares V vehicle to alleviate the workforce issue and that it’ll die a slow death. Basically you are telling me I was right? But it does not make me happy to be right if I am for the wasted time and resources that come with the whole thing.

  • Dennis Berube

    I think the HLV will have a mission. Remember even Obama said he would like to see and asteroid mission…..

  • Coastal Ron

    common sense wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Usually the best solutions are the ones that the market creates from the bottom up, not requirements being forced from the top down. The 747 is a good example, where Boeing thought there was a need, but their launch customer (Pan Am) confirmed that concept because they wanted to add passengers without adding planes (# of gates were limited). With an order in hand, Boeing proceeded to build the 747.

    One could argue that SpaceX was taking a risk on the medium sized market, but at least there was already an established demand to address with their lower prices.

    Delta IV Heavy has had three customer launches so far, and there are two more planned, but this is not a big demand. Atlas V Heavy has been proposed as an extension of Atlas V, and it would have 28% more payload capacity than Delta IV Heavy. Zero customers.

    There is no market yet for something bigger than 50,000 lbs, which is also the constraint that was used to build the ISS. We could build another ISS with current technology, and I think there is a lot of reusable elements of the ISS that could be used for even NEO trips. But so far there are no projected payloads that need an HLV. And don’t confuse something like an EDS for a payload, because there are ways to that within the 50,000 lb constraint too.

  • Major Tom

    ” think the HLV will have a mission. Remember even Obama said he would like to see and asteroid mission…..”

    Not until 2025.

    The authorization bill funds a Jupiter 130-derived SLS by 2016, but doesn’t provide funding that’s consistent with an Orion-derived MPCV before the 2020s. So the SLS is going to sit around for a half-decade or more with nothing to launch. And after that, it will only go to LEO. There is no funding in the authorization bill for NEA systems.

    FWIW…

  • RealWorldCalling

    Major Tom,

    “I readily admit that it’s apples to oranges. The Orion in the FY 2010 budget is for an ISS-capable Orion. “

    Thank you for making that clear. Yes, the new Orion may cost more, but not necessarily as other development costs may be reduced or eliminated. For example, the Launch Escape System tests were so successful the capsule was virtually undamaged and is available for additional tests, perhaps even an orbital test flight according to the program manager. That saves a large chunk of money. So let’s wait to hear from NASA on it if and when the final bill is enacted into law.

    However your statement in a later post,

    ““Ares V is alive in terms of the HLV…”

    No, it’s not. Ares V was supposed to deliver 160mT to LEO. The authorization bill only requires 70-100mT

    Try to learn numbers, folks.

    FWIW…

    Indicates you need to read the draft bill more closely. As stated on pages 25-26 referring to the Space Launch System (SLS) – aka HLV

    Sec. 302, (c) MINIMUM CAPABILITY REQUIREMENTS.—
    (1) IN GENERAL.—The Space Launch System developed pursuant to subsection (b) shall be designed to have, at a minimum, the following:
    (A) The capability of lifting payloads weighing between 70 tons and 100 tons into low-Earth orbit in preparation for transit for missions beyond low-Earth orbit.
    (B) The capability to lift the multipurpose crew vehicle.
    (C) The capability to serve as a cargo backup for supplying and supporting ISS cargo requirements or crew delivery requirements not
    13 otherwise met by available commercial or part14
    ner-supplied vehicles.

    (2) FLEXIBILITY.—The Space Launch System shall incorporate capabilities for evolutionary growth to launch objects beyond low-Earth orbit and to carry heavier or larger payloads of up to 150 tons.

    So although the initial goal is only 70T it is clearly the intent for the SLS to be capable for expanding to an Ares V class vehicle.

    You are correct that it would be impossible to meet the requirements with a side-mounted stage. However this also means the final HLV will likely be SD and will be virtually indistinguishable from what was proposed as the Ares V under Constellation. It also rules out any Delta or Atlas options as its difficult to see how either system could be extended to achieve the 150T requirement.

    So yes, it does look like the Ares V is alive and well in the new authorization bill under a different name.

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:30 pm “Why thank you. It just so happens that I am one.” Funny, it hasn’t shown, Ronnie. You were befuddled on whether this was a ‘socialist’ or ‘capitalist’ country and a proponent of government subzidizing commercial space enterprise. That’s socialism, Ronnie, not free market capitalism. A deeply endebted government, too, which would have to finance that commercial space venture you support with borrowed money- yet you’ve screamed concern over deficits and you’ve acknowledged participating in that process to earn a living. So you’re not a free market capitalist Ronnie…. indeed, ‘if only we could get you some professional financial education so you could learn about what it takes to be a capitalist…’ but there’s a ‘trick’ to it, ya’know, in that you have to first comprehend the difference between socialism and capitalism. You’ve got a big learning curve ahead.

  • Brad

    Sidemount HLV examined

    There seems to be considerable nonsense bandied about the potential of a sidemount SDHLV. Part of this no doubt comes from the tangled studies usually referred to as “Shuttle C”.

    The original Shuttle C studies examined a system that although unmanned, were still partially reusable. The SSME were expected to be recovered after flight by being “podded” and reentered from orbit! That sort of partial reusability drastically reduces the potential payload to orbit.

    A fully expendable sidemount HLV design is more comparable to the Soviet Energia launch vehicle, and the Energia is credited with a 100,000 payload to LEO in the basic 4 strap-on booster configuration.

    http://www.russianspaceweb.com/energia.html

    It’s important to remember the huge penalties the Shuttle pays in payload for reusability. Not only is the mass of the orbiter subtracted from total payload, but so is the mass of the external tank! The ET is at full orbital velocity at the time it is jettisoned in the flight of the Shuttle. It has to otherwise the Shuttle itself can’t make it orbit. The Shuttle OMS is then used to circularize the Shuttle orbit, with a tiny change of velocity.

    That SSME/ET mass is the penalty the Shuttle pays for a 1-1/2 stage to orbit flight profile. But in an unmanned fully expendable design, it doesn’t matter if SSME are recovered, and a more efficient 2-1/2 stage to orbit flight profile can be used. In a 2-1/2 stage to orbit profile, the 44 tonne mass of the SSME and ET are dumped before obit, and another final stage finishes the total burn needed for orbital velocity.

    The most recent study of an expendable sidemount SDHLV shows 82.9 MT of payload using 4 segment SRB.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/file.aspx?bid=366&ufid=31435

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    “Usually the best solutions are the ones that the market creates from the bottom up, not requirements being forced from the top down. The 747 is a good example, where Boeing thought there was a need, but their launch customer (Pan Am) confirmed that concept because they wanted to add passengers without adding planes (# of gates were limited). With an order in hand, Boeing proceeded to build the 747.”

    I am not sure this is a valid comparison. At that time airports already existed, “mass” transport had already started with the 707, DC-8 and others. So the gamble was more to whether they’d be able to fill the 747. And it worked. Had it not worked that would not have meant the end of civil transport. Probably not even the end of Boeing. Especially when they were really smart at building airplanes that people wanted.

    “One could argue that SpaceX was taking a risk on the medium sized market, but at least there was already an established demand to address with their lower prices.”

    Well as you say, there is an established demand, not so much for an HLV.

    “There is no market yet for something bigger than 50,000 lbs, which is also the constraint that was used to build the ISS. We could build another ISS with current technology, and I think there is a lot of reusable elements of the ISS that could be used for even NEO trips. ”

    Reminds me of something I proposed a long time ago to a manager…

    “But so far there are no projected payloads that need an HLV. And don’t confuse something like an EDS for a payload, because there are ways to that within the 50,000 lb constraint too.”

    I am not confused. There is no demand for an HLV because there is no mission for an HLV. At least the kind of that is being thrown around here and there.

  • GaryChurch

    My best guess is there is something going on that the public does not know about yet;

    The HLV will be sidemount and the first missions will be to put some big test bangs of plates using conventional explosives. When the test data is in and confirms there are no showstoppers for Nuclear Pulse…..then the show will start.

    It is the only path for HSF. Sudden solar events and long duration cosmic radiation require thousands of tons of shielding, probably tens of thousands of tons. That is just the way it is if you are going to fly humans beyond earth orbit. No way around it.

    It is not just about HSF- there is the very real need for a planetary defense against asteroid or comet impact. So there is the DOD funding.

    This leads to either lifting this shielding mass or getting it offworld. The only viable solution is water from a low gravity body with ice.

    And the last inconvenient truth- chemical propulsion is hopelessly inadequate no matter how many “depots” there are. The only propulsion system that will work is Nuclear Pulse- bombs. And the plates used in this type of engine require an HLV. And the best way to lift the bombs is with a man-rated capsule with an escape tower in as few a number of flights as possible. That would be Orion on Sidemount.

    That is why Sidemount is on the way. Nobody is talking about it yet because the whole nukes in space is better left under wraps until necessary.

    FWIW

  • Michael Kent

    Major Tom wrote:

    What’s the maximum EELV production rate at Decatur?

    The Decatur factory was originally designed to produce 50-52 Common Booster Cores a year. I believe — but have not verified — the original Atlas V factory had a similar production rate of Common Core Boosters. Consolidating production into a single factory and adding in Delta II production as well has reduce that quite a bit.

    I suspect, though, that if you gave them a contract for 50 CBCs and 50 CCBs per year, ULA would reverse that consolidation right quick.

    Mike

  • brobof

    DCSCA wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:42 pm
    “That’s socialism,”
    No it isn’t. Under socialism there would be no “commercial space enterprise” and as far as I can see there is no “free market capitalism” outside of political think tanks. I see: subsidies, tax breaks, trade barriers,… on all sides.
    “You’ve got a big learning curve ahead.”
    Ditto.

  • DCSCA

    “The 747 is a good example, where Boeing thought there was a need, but their launch customer (Pan Am) confirmed that concept because they wanted to add passengers without adding planes (# of gates were limited). With an order in hand, Boeing proceeded to build the 747.”

    Of course, per Boeing, 747 development was not subsidized by the U.S. government:

    ‘Notably misleading is the [belief] that Boeing benefited from U.S. government funding to develop its highly successful 707 and 747 airliners. Here are the facts: Boeing risked its own money developing the Dash 80, the prototype for the 707 and KC-135 tanker. Dash 80 development was completely separate from KC-135 funding. Later, Boeing-funded improvements to the 707 were incorporated into the KC-135 at substantial cost savings to the U.S. government.’

    ‘The notion that C-5A military transport funding aided the 747 also is flawed. With company money, Boeing began 747 development three years before the U.S. government awarded the first C-5A contracts. The company suspended 747 activity while working on the C-5A proposal, which it lost. Only then, again with company and commercially borrowed money, did Boeing resume 747 development.’ – source, Boeing

  • Doug Lassiter

    “The authorization bill funds a Jupiter 130-derived SLS by 2016″

    Let’s be careful here. The 2016 date that’s being widely quoted here is referred to exactly once in the authorization bill draft (at least the pre-markup version). Wherin it says

    “It shall be the goal to achieve full operational capability for the transportation vehicle developed pursuant to this subsection by not later than December 31, 2016.”

    This is in Sec. 303, which is about the “multi-purpose crew vehicle”. So, the 2016 date seems to apply to the crew vehicle (aka Orion), and not necessarily a HLV/Space Launch System. The wording is careful here. Did the committee intentionally mean to exclude a HLV from this date goal? Is that what they meant?

    Now, the HLV may have been referred to elsewhere as having a development target of 2016. But not in the bill I’m looking at. In principle, you can develop a crew vehicle with full operational capability for BEO, and send it BEO by 2016 using stages launched separately.

  • DCSCA

    Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:40 pm <- Well said.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Boy! You are optimistic or very tortuous, both?..

    politics is very torturous. Look the US economy is in about the worst shape it has been in in the history of The Republic even including the Depression (in my view) because we did not enter the Depression with enormous deficit spending built into the equation and getting worse.

    Why I was “OK” with Obama being elected is that 1) McCain’s choice for VP (and he is old) was starting to scare me a great deal and 2) I figured that Obama would have enough Clinton people hanging around to make his administration work.

    OK now number 2 is starting to scare me, because he (Obama) clearly doesnt. Worse Obama is not much of a leader. What is going to be forced on either Obama after the mid terms or upon his successor is a complete rethink of the the direction of The Republic. And either The Republic will emerge enormously stronger (probably leading to another American century) or we will start to fade if it cannot be done. The Country that emreged out of the Depression became a superpower.

    But things die hard inertia is great…and in this case the fact that NASA is about the most inept agency of the federal government (at least the HSF part) is going to play in the favor of those of us who are tired of the project mentality.

    If Nelson wanted a HLV based on teh shuttle he should have gotten some demo flights to keep the infrastructure at least intact. He didnt, it will die.

    Some money will be wasted but far less then Ares would have.

    Meanwhile Musk etal will plod along and get to orbit…and change will come.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Brad

    Major Tom said

    “Shuttle sidemount can’t do 100 tons as dictated in the authorization bill, and may not be able to do 70 tons, depending on what the upper stage requires.

    Don’t make stupid statements out of ignorance.”

    Sheesh! Is that Major Arrogance? Or Major Hypocrisy? Both it would seem.

    I put up the document link which shows 82.9 MT for sidemount. So much for the MT claim that sidemount can’t even do 70. And RealWorldCalling posted the bill language which makes a hash of the MT description of the bill.

    Here is hoping MT turns down his attitude dial down from his normal setting of 11 in the future. I doubt it though.

  • Coastal Ron

    common sense wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I started writing my post in response to something you wrote that I thought I was in agreement with – it was a little fuzzy which way you were arguing, but in general I have agreed with your statements and opinions in the past.

    The end of my post was trying to cut off inane responses about the EDS being a payload (it’s transportation infrastructure), but the statements were not directed about you or what you wrote. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Coastal Ron

    Michael Kent wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    The Decatur factory was originally designed to produce 50-52 Common Booster Cores a year.

    I think my figure may have been for what they are doing on one shift. I can’t find the original article, but they were discussing their capacity with Atlas V moving into the overflow production area off the Delta IV CBC line.

    I haven’t been through the Atlas production facility since they changed over to the Al-Li bodies, so I don’t know what their throughput was.

  • Robert G. Oler

    DCSCA wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    There is zero link between the C-5 and the 747. They are vastly different airplanes they are both airplanes and big and that is it. The C-5 for instance had initially a requirement to land on unprepared strips (a la C-130) the 747 couldnt carry an Abrams tank if it had to.

    It is a little more dicey between the Dash 80 and the KC. or more correctly between the Dash 80 and the B-47.

    There would have been no Dash 80 had there not been a B-47. Boeing learned an enormous amount about large turbojets…and most importantly what was economical and what was not. The Dash owes a lot of legacy to NACA…particularly on the wing.

    There would not have been a Dash 80 without the likely tanker sales. There was a “airline market” but jet transportation was dicey in those days, meaning the airlines were not for sure that there would be a profit…and Tex Johnson cemented the Tanker contract with LeMay by his outstanding feat of airmanship. And the B-52 fleet would not have had anywhere near the versatility it has had…without the “sow”. The KC 97 had just about run out of steam (literally) with the B-47.

    I never got to fly the Dash 80…but I have flown the “oldest” KC 135 on the USAF’s list of the time I got my type rating…I was assigned to the “last” 707 project for the USN…and one of the happy pictures on my “I love me wall” is the “Airport” look alike photo.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Brad wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    you must work for NASA because you have goofy logic like they do

    You said

    “I put up the document link which shows 82.9 MT for sidemount. ”

    well I thought, heck he might have a link I have not seen…so I went to it and was dissapointed…I had seen it

    reference page 12

    “Net Payload = 72 mtto
    30 x 120 nmi51.6 deg orbit from KSC”

    only NASA would count the second stage or the transfer stage or whatever as payload…and yet that is what this version does because if you dont the thing reenters.

    on page 13 a reference mission is shown

    it list 60mt available as a baseline ISS mission.

    I could go on but your post is riddled with one error after another.

    Do you work for Hanley? Sounds about right

    Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    common sense wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I am not sure this is a valid comparison. At that time airports already existed, “mass” transport had already started with the 707, DC-8 and others. So the gamble was more to whether they’d be able to fill the 747.

    The primary driver was airlines wanting to pack in more people at the same gate. Pan Am had a constraint on the number of gates they had, and they could not increase passenger flow without a larger capacity aircraft. If there would have been more gates available, the demand for the 747 would have been delayed.

    You need to have a large enough pain in order to successfully market a solution to that pain. In this case it was not the passengers that had the pain per se, but the airlines. It was the airlines that needed more capacity within the constraints of the current airport system, so in addition to building more gates, they sought out larger capacity aircraft.

    We do not have this problem with payloads to space yet. If anything, we have excess capacity.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    The notion that C-5A military transport funding…

    You’re off in la la land again. Was there any possible way that what you were talking about related to something someone else was talking about? Or maybe you just like to cut & paste… ;-)

  • Derrick

    You know what grinds my gears? People using wikipedia to back up their arguments, and a Spudis referencing another Spudis, who in turn refers to Zubrin’s comments on cost estimates from the Augustine committee, while at the same time ignoring what Zubrin has to say about how rediculious using the moon as a launch pad or a training ground is.

    Friggin educate yourselves before making silly comments, people.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    a proponent of government subzidizing commercial space enterprise. That’s socialism, not free market capitalism.

    If you think that government subsidizing companies and people is socialism, then welcome to the socialist country of America. Agriculture gets subsidies, oil companies get subsidies, and so do state and local governments.

    If you had looked up the definition before posting, you would have found on Wikipedia:

    “A subsidy (also known as a subvention) is a form of financial assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry (e.g., as a result of continuous unprofitable operations) or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor (as in the case of a wage subsidy). Examples are subsidies to encourage the sale of exports; subsidies on some foods to keep down the cost of living, especially in urban areas; and subsidies to encourage the expansion of farm production and achieve self-reliance in food production.”

    Of course what NASA would be doing with commercial crew may not classified as a subsidy as much as the government would be providing advanced payment for commercial providers to create a lower cost transportation system for the government. These types of payments usually happen when a company has a product or service that is valuable to the customer, but the company does not have the financial ability to satisfy the initial orders.

    Such would be the case with SpaceX and certifying Falcon 9 for crew, where they probably could go out and finance the LAS program on their own, but the customer (NASA) also sees a benefit in helping them so that NASA can reduce costs quicker than it could on it’s own.

    You know DCSCA, most of this stuff is on the Internet – you just have to learn how to read and comprehend… ;-)

  • Coastal Ron

    Derrick wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    You know what grinds my gears? People using wikipedia to back up their arguments…

    Oops, I guess my prior post qualifies for that. Damn Wikipedia for being so convenient!

  • Brad

    Gee Oler, must I spoon feed you? Hold your hand? Give you remedial reading lessons? The information is all there on the link I provided. Hint: it isn’t on page 12.

    But then that fact should have been obvious from the context of my post from which I provided the link. But I’m guessing you didn’t bother to read that either since you claim my post is full of errors.

    Here you go bunky, try page 16 of the link. If that doesn’t float your boat, try page 19.

    Punk.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Brad wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Gee Brad…I figured you would truck to 16 or 19…but there are problems

    First off we again have the issue of “payload”…the EDS is not payload…it is required first to get to orbit and stay there and then go somewhere else.

    Second the orbit is due east…not the Stations…

    but in any event one still doenst make “the number” you claim.

    if one is going to use “payload” then the entire definition changes…it is kind of like saying that a Boeing 747 will carry the MTOGW minus fuel to its destination and that is payload…unfortunately only NASA thinks that way.

    So bunky either get some real numbers or stop trying to be clever. This isnt NASA where all you folks can slap yourselves on the back for neat phrases like “in family”.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Brad

    Oler still can’t read. Not a surprise.

  • Rhyolite

    On the bright side, Ares I is really and truly dead. It was a monstrous policy blunder to try building a new government designed and operated medium launch vehicles when the US already has three operating in the private sector.

    I have less objection to a NASA HLV because there is no market for it outside of NASA for it. Unfortunately, a launch vehicle designed by a Senate committee to preserve jobs in certain states will likely cost much more than one designed to meet a requirement at minimum cost. Of course, there isn’t going to be much of a requirement because that additional cost will eat up the funding wedge for any payloads to fly on said HLV.

    An HLV with a lower operating cost than and SD-HLV or an exploration program that doesn’t require an HLV would lead to a more viable HSF program.

  • Rhyolite

    The Russians made out well under the Senate plan.

    First, there is no large Kerosene engine so we stay dependent on the Russians for RD-180s to launch national security payloads.

    Second, we are going to be buying a lot of Soyuz rides to ISS. MPCV isn’t ready until 2016. And if MT is correct about the funding profile then it will be later than that, not to mention the duel traditions in aerospace of schedule slides and cost overruns. At the same time, commercial funding is anemic so they are going to have to proceed much slower than had been planned or proceed without the redundancy of two providers. That seems like the worst of both worlds.

    Spasiba Senator Nelson.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Byeman wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    > X-37 is not a viable lifeboat nor it is an operational vehicle. =

    DOD’s being a bit coy about that. They may now consider it operational.

    > The payload for X-37 is 500 lbs, which would be overwhelmed
    > by a docking system, ECLSS, seats, and air tight cabin, increase
    > heat rejection capability etc.

    A ECLSS for 2 guys for a hour or two and apresure bag shouldn’t weigh 500 even with the guys, and the bay isdesigned to keep the “cargo” (which must include electronic goodies) comfy. G loads would be a HELL of a lot less then a Soyuz, and it can go to a runway rather then drop you in the middle of nowhere.

    Don’t need to carry the docking port down.

    >Also, the X-37 can not maneuver to dock nor does it have
    > rendezvous sensors.

    It doesn’t need to dock – just manuver near the station where the station can grab and park it.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    >> Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 1:24 pm
    >> You missed Nelsens HLV should be shuttle derived comments,
    >> and HLV dev being accelerated?
    …..
    > No I didnt miss them I just know what they are …boilerplate.

    Its boiler plate no ones debating.

    > The example of a “keep alive” program was the B-1
    > (which is unfortunate…in terms of confession I have several
    > articles from that era supporting building the B-1..which sadly was a misstake)…==

    Actually the B-1 works really well. Should have built enough of them that they could send the B-52s to the bone yard. But that’s a whole other story..

    >==
    > No such luck for the shuttle or A SDV. Nelson can say all he
    > wants…but the final design is up to NASA and currently NASA leadership
    > doesnt want a SDV nor really in a few weeks/months will the appropriators
    > give NASA the money to afford one.

    What NASA leadership wants is a good question, but SD-HLV seems to be what congress wants to pay for – along with supposedly more shuttle flights worth of supplies being stocked.

    Hell Ares, especially V, was a SD-HLV. There’s a lot of overlap between between shuttle support and SD-HLV support.

    By the way – I noticed in a Av week article that commercial crew now has to be able to do the life boat functions. I’m guessing that will narrow the pool of bidders. Also HLV and Orion “must” be finished by late ’11. I.E. right after the Soyuz contracts end.

    FYI

    > Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    >> Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 1:21 pm
    >> The X-37 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37” ) was mentioned
    >>which made me wonder what would it take to adapt it to be a lifeboat?…

    > up. There is an enormous amount of mass left in the launch vehicle
    > and if they have the basic systems working well….well a lot of things are possible.
    > The trick is to see how X-37 works.

    Yeah, good luck getting details out of the DOD. I heard some rumblings that they are building a couple and may consider it operational. 500 lb could hold 2 guys (don’t have to bring back docking gear.) Wonder how much more could be added to its capacities?

    Also wonder how big DOD wants to grow it if its going to use it as the top stage of a RLV EELV config?

    > Frankly I think that the end result of all of this is going to be
    > abandoning the lifeboat concept. Some folks are already looking
    > into the remaining Ninja turtles (the ones other then the one that is
    > going up to ISS permanently) as a “on orbit” life boat.

    Ninja turtles?

  • Kelly Starks

    > common sense wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
    >
    > The X-37 is a DoD program now. There is little to no
    > chance it’ll ever make it to NASA.

    I don’t think DOD is going to care if Boeing makes a couple more NASA.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Major Tom wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 12:17 pm
    >
    >== what your major malfunction is that prevents you
    > from understanding asteroid by 2025.

    Would you be interested in buying a bridge I own? Trust me, I’m much more likely to be able to get you title to the Broklin bridge, then Obama’s speech has of resulting in a 2025 asteroid mission

    ;/

  • Kelly Starks

    > Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    > For now complex commercial and military satellites variying
    > orbits have to be replaced not repaired or refurbished.
    >==If they could be serviced, it would be a very lucrative market.

    Or none at all. So far no ones been real interested in a sat recovery and refurb service. The sats last so long, they are obsolete junk by the time they die.

    > Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    > == I happen to think humanity needs to populate more than the
    > Earth if we want to survive as a species.

    It will be a real long time (maybe centuries) before we could establish enough civilization off planet to survive without Earth. So I wouldn’t worry about that as a concern in our lifetimes.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Rhyolite wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    > == we are going to be buying a lot of Soyuz rides to ISS.==

    That hasn’t changed under anyones plan — unless someone extends shuttle enough to close the gap.

  • Spaceboy

    Major Tom: You keep citing the Augustine Report like it is the bible, or better yet, like it is “Theory of Flight” or “Fundamentals of Astrodynamics”. It is not. It is a report assembled in a few weeks by a handful of people (some of whom had an agenda to grind) and most of the cost numbers in the report, not to mention the schedule estimates have left many questioning their validity. So when you keep posting your numbers on the budget, you are 100% correct that the number is lower for 2011-2013 for MPCV. However, the 2017 date you keep quoting is a myth to begin with. The long pole in that Augustine equation was Ares, not Orion, and even for Ares the long pole was (and still is Upper Stage). I base that on knowledge of what is going on in the program, not on anything in the Augustine Report. Orion was on track for a 2014 IOC. With the existing 2010 budget plan, Orion would still be on track for 2014. With the turmoil of the last 6 months, the considerable layoffs and hardware procurement stoppage, in addition to the now reduced budget that you correctly pointed out (if approved), 2016 is probably now a more realistic date. But dont extrapolate stuff out of a 2017 date from the Augustine report, because that date means absolutely nothing to anybody working on the Orion Project, never did and never will.

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 9:14 pm <- Poor, poor Ronnie. Seems you've suddenly realized the answer to your own question- "what kind of country do we want- socialist or capitalist?' You've got a steep learning curve ahead of you in the Age of Austerity.

  • DCSCA

    “There is zero link between the C-5 and the 747.” <- Nobody said there was, least of all Boeing.

  • DCSCA

    brobof wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:16 pm <- Yes, it is. But you go one believing it's not. It's amusing.

  • DCSCA

    @kelly- “DOD’s being a bit coy about that. They may now consider it operational.” It’s up there doing something. Had the kids outside this evening for a BBQ- at dusk they were treated to clear skies, the moon, a setting Venus, a very bright ISS passing directly overhead, and the X-37 a while later. Good show; good steaks.

  • Spaceboy

    amightywind wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    “And when they do launch again rest assured I will provide my ‘technical blog’ of the ascent.”

    oooh, does that mean you blogged about the ascent of the Falcon 9 launch somewhere? I would like to see it. I have been a huge supporter of Space-X from day one and I think it is great what they have accomplished. However, this constant fawning over them lately, is enough to make me cringe. (where were all of you people when I watched their video feed of their first 5 Falcon 1 launches live). That being said, my take watching that so called flawless launch was that it was far from flawless and every person I have spoken to has had the same assessment, that the launch was far from flawless. But Musk announced it was flawless and then refused to release any data or reports and everybody (i.e. the media) ate it up. NASA would have been torn to shreds for a launch that “flawless” at best.

    And everybody keeps raving about how Space-X is going to do everything so much faster eventhough the inaugural flight was 2 years behind schedule and that it now looks like not a SINGLE demo flight will fly before the end of FY2010, which was the deadline for completing all 3 Demo flights per the contract. I know they are trying to squeak Demo 1 in under the wire, Demo 2 they have delayed at least 8 months because they devoted all of their resources to the inaugural launch and Demo 1 and they are trying to convince NASA they dont need to do Demo 3 eventhough it was always part of the agreed to plan.

    I know Space-X will succeed and I think they have shown what a good company can do, I have a lot of respect for the company. What I think everybody is ignoring is the fact that their challenges have also demonstrated how difficult it all is. That even a company that has done a lot to streamline manufacturing processes and reduce costs and run as efficiently as they have, still found themselves way behind schedule. This is why I think people who think Space-X will be launching humans in 2 to 3 years are dreaming. They are still 2 to 3 years from proving reliable flight (1 launch of dubious success does not make reliability, one perfect launch would not make for reliability).

    And Space-X is years ahead of the commercial competition.

    Oh one other note since I am on the commercial topic. Could people please stop using Bigelow as an example of some great commercial enterprise. There is just nothing that can make me take Bigelow seriously at this point. Go back and read their press releases over the past 5, 6, 8 years. By now, he should have a couple hundred people living in space. I know a bunch of people who worked for Bigleow in Houston. Said the man was insane – almost everybody quit eventually, and those who didnt were eventually fired, before he closed shop and retreated back to LV.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    You’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of you in the Age of Austerity.

    Yawn… another recession. There have been so many, that I’m losing track of how many I’ve lived through. I keep a fairly conservative investment portfolio, and so far I haven’t lost anything in this recession, so I’m doing just fine.

    Oh, and the reason I laugh at your description of the “quarterly profits” that you think startup investors demand, is that my business requires me to stay in touch with the Angel and VC communities. They would be the first ones to tell you that their payoffs typically don’t happen for years after an investment (if at all).

    You must be used to getting quarterly annuity payments from your grandparents, and think that everyone gets their money that way… ;-)

  • Robert G. Oler

    Brad wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    lol I am the one who is pistol whipping you!

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Would you be interested in buying a bridge I own? Trust me, I’m much more likely to be able to get you title to the Broklin bridge, then Obama’s speech has of resulting in a 2025 asteroid mission….

    of course the same was true of Bush’s “vision”…

    nothing that “finishes” outside of a Presidential term has any assurance of being completed, continued, or not modified by the successors depending on what priorities are etc.

    That is why I find the 2016 date so humorous. It assumes that even if Obama gets a second term..that the effort can survive that many budget cycles. And there is no clue about what another person sworn in on Jan 20 2013 would have as a space priority…

    The priority wont even survive this year…

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    the B-1 was a mistake. When I wrote the piece in the USAF journal I was in college and while it was good for “me” (the recognition was nice as was the dinner in DC I got invited to) what I missed (as did a lot of others) was the failures of the plane (which were in some manner a part of the new development) and the advance in weaponry that made it obsolete. The “Bone” is a great example of an airplane that just stayed in development to long…and things moved past it. I do remember the opening line “…..the Strangelovian glow of the CRT’s bathing the face of the WSO”. the Bone contributed nothing to MAD and is a failure conventionally.

    The SDV will never happen. Congress doesnt even want to pay for it…and it doesnt matter it wont be the heavy design. Watch.

    As for the X-37. You are correct in this and other post. MOOSE and other concepts were “light” returns and an X-37 knock off would be easier then that. It would not take much to “toss” some mass (it has large manuevering engines) and come up with a “mercury with wings”.

    “ninja turtles”…the MPLM’s. They are I think going to eventually all be launched to the station.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    “And when they do launch again rest assured I will provide my ‘technical blog’ of the ascent.”..

    well try and improve on what you did for the first one. that one “sucked” as my 20 year olds say Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    Kelly Starks wrote a number of things:

    A ECLSS for 2 guys for a hour or two and apresure bag shouldn’t weigh 500 even with the guys…

    If you’re thinking of a rescue like the movie “Marooned”, then theoretically it could work. If you’re thinking about doing this as an operational system, why would you when you have other alternatives to pursue that would be better?

    Considering the life support needs, 500 lbs would only allow for one astronaut – heck the payload bay is only 7 feet long, so you would have to stack two people sideways because the bay is only 4 foot wide. Don’t you look at the spec’s for these things before you blog?

    DOD’s being a bit coy about that.

    Coy would be if they talked about it. They are not talking about it, and the only way it could be operational would be if they had more of them. Using the Atlas V also limits their ability to “launch on need”, because the Atlas is too expensive of a vehicle to leave laying around. I see this as a pathfinder mission for determining what they want in their ultimate vehicle.

    Actually the B-1 works really well.

    You missed the context of what Oler was talking about. The B-1 (B-1A) never entered production. It was killed by Carter during test, and then kept alive per what Oler was talking about until Reagan revived it as the less capable B-1B. His point was about keeping programs on life support until they can be reanimated at a later point.

    I noticed in a Av week article that commercial crew now has to be able to do the life boat functions. I’m guessing that will narrow the pool of bidders.

    Why would that narrow the pool? If Dragon can stay in space for two years, I think any new-design basic capsule can. Certainly they can stay in space for the same 6 months that Soyuz can. Weird.

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/100716firststage/

    speaking of the Falcon9 and Dragon’s next flight…

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    @CoastalSocialistRon- “Yawn– another recession?” Yet you voice worry over deficits. Bad habit falling asleep in class, Ronnie. The Age of Austerity will reveal many fresh, down-to-earth lessons to you. Not the least of which is slashing government subsidies from a deficit riddled, near bankrupt government for the ‘luxury’ of commercial space which can and should tap the capital markets in the private sector for investment potential. Yes, the learning curve will be steep.

  • DCSCA

    @Kelly- Actually the B-1 works really well. Should have built enough of them that they could send the B-52s to the bone yard. But that’s a whole other story.

    Hmmm. Seem to recall several years of cracked wing problems w/the B-1. Kept them out of operation for a time. Why trash the B-52– it works. An old college friend (now a popular novelist you’d know) who flew them says they’re old workhorses they upgrade and fly fine, as long as they can get parts.

  • Derrick

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 9:16 pm …

    “Damn Wikipedia for being so convenient!”

    And so outdated in it’s content…and so accessible to trolls.

    All good though dog. Its a safer bet to cite the actual source(s) listed in the references section instead of the Wikipedia page itself. Gives you more credibility.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA ranted something @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Yet you voice worry over deficits.

    Just because my family and I have benefited from our capitalistic society doesn’t mean that I don’t want others to succeed, nor does it mean that I want a rising debt burden on my children.

    You were the one that said that deficits don’t matter.

    You are the one that feels that government can do better than private enterprise.

    You seem to feel that if the government spends $0.10 to save it’s self $1.00, then that is an unacceptable subsidy. You didn’t even seem to understand what a subsidy truly was.

    I take the long view and try to figure out how to spend the least amount of money to get the same result. If that means investing up front to lower my overall costs, then that’s worth it to me.

    For commercial space, the potential amounts that can be saved versus a government run transportation system are HUGE – ten’s of Billions of dollars, and that to me is worth spending less than the cost of finishing Orion to get THREE commercial transportation systems in place by 2016.

    You clearly don’t get it, but that’s OK because you’re not responsible for anything space related…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:04 am

    You missed the context of what Oler was talking about. The B-1 (B-1A) never entered production. It was killed by Carter during test, and then kept alive per what Oler was talking about until Reagan revived it as the less capable B-1B. His point was about keeping programs on life support until they can be reanimated at a later point……

    that is the trick.

    in the event that some politician was trying to keep Ares/SDV alive then there are ways to do that. Someone at NASA has been VERY smart however…and have slowly but surely shut down the lifeblood of the legacy efforts…

    Nelson etc are more or less BSing their constituents

    Robert G. Oler

  • Anne Spudis

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 5:11 pm [....Be [to] be economical, you have to situated in the middle of the demand area, not the outer reaches.]

    But that is the point CR, moving off Earth, not constantly thinking here vs the outer reaches. It’s to make it all more accessible — not today or tomorrow or further down the road but to start thinking how it will happen and how we will use what we find in space and get the ball rolling. We will never go far (or anywhere for that matter) if we don’t understand and use the resources on other bodies, starting on the Moon.

  • Anne Spudis

    Derrick wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 8:43 pm [......Friggin educate yourselves before making silly comments, people.]

    SPUDIS & ZUBRIN: NASA’s mission to nowhere

  • Anne Spudis

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:26 pm [...It will be a real long time (maybe centuries) before we could establish enough civilization off planet to survive without Earth. So I wouldn’t worry about that as a concern in our lifetimes.]

    Well, at the rate we’re going we better get started in order to make that century for those who will be around.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Without cheap lift it isn’t going to happen, ISRU or not.

  • Dennis Berube

    As I have said before, if private industry was ready at this timein history to take people to LEO, let it happen. However they have yet to prove themselves. Until then let NASA do what it does best. Get back into launching rockets to the ISS and especially back into deep space. I was glad Space X reached orbit with their Falcon rocket. However they still have a long ways to go to give anyone a ride. You know here, I post on other sights, concerning sailing, and no one there calls each other stupid or otherwise. I think this is very rude and uncalled for. Everyone has an opinion and has a right to voice it. Lets attempt here to respect eachother. Some of course are more informed than others, but the remarks concerning stupid remarks should go….. Thankyou…I appreciated it, and hope we can continue on with this talk of how NASA should push its program forward.

  • Dennis Berube

    Awhile back, when the shuttle was being considered, the point of the shuttle was to bring cost of launching to space down. I think at the time they said it was a thousand dollars a pound to launch. The goal was to reduce that to ten dollars a pound. Never happened and quite probably wont. Today it is still claimed to be a thousand dollars a pound. Ahhhh what to do, that is the question? If a day comes that ten dollars a lb. is reached it will be farrrrrr into the future. So I guess we must work with what we have. As to the government cancelling programs, many can be listed. Remember too, the SST bungle with Boeing….

  • Martijn Meijering

    So I guess we must work with what we have.

    Exploration needs vast quantities of propellant. If you launch these commercially and competitively you will create enough demand to lead the market to develop RLVs or other forms of cheap lift. If you launch them on an SDLV you lock in the high costs indefinitely. That is why SDLV is such a disaster for commercial development of space.

    The principle of using what we have on the other hand is fine. In the short term that means EELVs, in the slightly longer term it includes Falcon 9 and Taurus 2. Since RLVs will be small initially, larger launch vehicles such as EELVs would still be required to launch landers, habs etc.

    Once we have cheap lift, commercial space will take of and it will no longer be dependent on government manned spaceflight.

  • Anne Spudis

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:26 pm [....Or none at all. So far no ones been real interested in a sat recovery and refurb service. The sats last so long, they are obsolete junk by the time they die....]

    ——–
    ……….“Satellite servicing is very much one of a kind,” said Dominique Rora, a senior space underwriter at Axa Corporate Solutions, a specialty insurer in Paris. “We are all very much interested.” But he cautions that making the technology work will require deep pockets and persistence.

    MDA’s great advantage is its mix of proven technologies. In addition to its long experience with satellites, it owns the robotics technology made famous in the Canadarm, as well as systems that allow a mobile service station to track and approach a target satellite. Putting these pieces together in a full satellite-servicing system is the trick.

    According to analyst Paul Steep of Scotia Capital, MDA will soon make a decision on whether to proceed with the project. What it needs is a lead customer, probably in the communications satellite business, to help back the costs of a first mission. The all-in bill is likely to be several hundred million dollars.
    One encouraging sign for the project is the frequent and enthusiastic mentions it earns from the normally reserved Mr. Friedmann. “It’s a project that if you don’t have a good shot, you probably don’t talk about it,” said Mr. Li, of Raymond James. “The fact Dan does talk about it, and spends a lot of time on it, tells me it’s moving forward.” …….For MDA, space pays

  • Martijn Meijering

    As I have said before, if private industry was ready at this timein history to take people to LEO, let it happen. However they have yet to prove themselves.

    Right now NASA is hiring a private company (the United Space Alliance) to do its manned launches and a several others (including the United Launch Alliance) for unmanned launches. What you are proposing (and what the new ‘compromise’ is also proposing) is that USA should be given a special position, free from competition. That is wasteful and deeply corrupt.

  • eh

    I think it’s a mistake but any other outcome would be unusual.

    As said by many others, now let’s see if NASA can actually build and fly the thing without it eating other programs budgets.

  • red

    eh: “As said by many others, now let’s see if NASA can actually build and fly the thing”

    Recent decades suggest their chances aren’t too good.

    “without it eating other programs budgets.”

    Assuming this bill passes, they already had the main course. Now there are only scraps left to gobble every now and then. I’m sure they’ll get around to it, though, in the best Constellation tradition.

  • Martijn Meijering

    I think it’s a mistake but any other outcome would be unusual.

    Yeah, isn’t that the truth.

    I was very surprised that Obama chose now to do a deal though, just as I was surprised at how radical his February proposal was. I liked the February surprise, this one not so much. I don’t understand why he wanted to compromise now, when he seemed to be in a very strong position that was getting stronger by the day. SDLV backers needed a compromise fast, Obama not so much, or so it seemed. The real reason probably doesn’t have much to do with space, and I wonder what secret deal was done. It would also be interesting to know what motivated Rockefeller to support the new proposal. What’s in it for him?

  • Dennis Berube

    No, I am not saying NASA should not have competition. Im saying, why become involved in something that has yet to deliver? When Space X puts a manned craft into orbit, okay if that is what government wants to go with. That has not happened yet. Also at that point will deep space exploration be put on a back burner, because LEO is finally achieved via the private market? This is the danger. Profit in orbit, or deep space exploration at a cost? One doesnt necessarily follow the other. I do believe the private sector can do it, but it hasnt yet. Also, how long will we have to wait until we have astronauts walking on the Moon again? Until someone is ready to set a vacation hotel on the Lunar surface. Again what happens when someone dies on a private vehicle?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 7:09 am

    As I have said before, if private industry was ready at this timein history to take people to LEO, let it happen. However they have yet to prove themselves. Until then let NASA do what it does best…

    with 14 astronauts killed because of NASA incompetence…what exactly is that? Robert G. Oler

  • Martijn Meijering

    No, I am not saying NASA should not have competition. Im saying, why become involved in something that has yet to deliver?

    For starters there is no need for a new launch vehicle. And most spacecraft since Mercury have been built by Boeing or by companies that have since been absorbed into Boeing. And once you go down that road, why not make sure there is competition between Boeing and SpaceX and whoever else cares to join?

  • Dennis Berube

    I though Boeing and several other companies always did make bids on NASA projects. Problem is they continually run into cost over runs! Will Space X do the same? As to astronauts dying, yes they did. However an astronauts knows the risk factor. Will traveling tourist realize the risk? I dont think they will or do? This is a mirror image of the Concorde accident. Tourist leaving for a vacation onboard the SST, and they died. Did they realize what would happen, of course not. They believed the system was so safe that nothing would or could happen. There are acceptable risks in space travel. However NASA has made it look easy, and it truly isnt, and that impart explains the high cost of riding virtually a controlled explosion to orbit! It is difficult to do!

  • Dennis Berube

    As to needing a new launch vehicle. If the HLV is derived from shuttle componants, it is not a new vehicle. The shuttle C concept is not new by any means, and at least will keep some of the work force continually working. No a new rocket may not be needed, as even today the Soviets could launch their Soyuz out to the Moon with a kicker stage placed into orbit first. I would like to see a mission of that nature take place. Soyuz was originally designed for a lunar mission, so I would like to see it happen.

  • Dennis Berube

    The decisions NASA made with regards to being incompetent, is a falsehood. They werent incompetent and have over the years produced for the public many a miracle. How often have we marveled at what they accomplished? The space shuttle is a fantastic machine, and when it works it produces marvelous outcomes. However when that system begins to falter, it does so in big ways. One part relys so much on the others that the domino effect comesinto play. One astronaut has stated that any time you get over 60 feet off the ground you are risking your life. Just getting into an auto you are risking life and limb. NASA did all it could to get the Apollo 13 astronauts home safely. It worked that time. However it will not always work, and sadly that is a fact of life! As to bad decisions, havent you made a few?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I though Boeing and several other companies always did make bids on NASA projects. Problem is they continually run into cost over runs! Will Space X do the same? As to astronauts dying, yes they did. However an astronauts knows the risk factor. Will traveling tourist realize the risk? I dont think they will or do? This is a mirror image of the Concorde accident. Tourist leaving for a vacation onboard the SST, and they died. Did they realize what would happen, of course not…

    not really.

    Most people realize that there is risk to almost every endeavor…the question is always “is the risk manageable and understandable”.

    There is no way any of the astronauts on board Columbia or Challenger for the last flight would have been aware of the “risk” that eventually killed them because they were assurred that the risk was “well understood and in family”. That is almost the exact words that were told to the Columbia folks …when the folks on the ground told them about the foam hitting the vehicle. The folks on the ground did not even have the courage to tell the folks on the orbiter that there was an intense debate going on about the safety of the vehicle.

    The rhetoric “astronauts know the risk” is goofy. None of the folks on the two orbiters launched knew that there was a debate going on, with reasonable people urging not to proceed about something the astronauts were told was “no problem”.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    The decisions NASA made with regards to being incompetent, is a falsehood. They werent incompetent ..

    yes they were. And in the case of the Challenger and Columbia last flights it got people killed…and there were at least half a dozen near misses in between.

    “One astronaut has stated that any time you get over 60 feet off the ground you are risking your life.”

    which one of the folks is so stupid to say that?

    you can die falling off of a roof 15 feet above the ground (or 10)…you can die stumbling off your front porch (or as one guy did in Houston last week pounding his golf club into the ground it breaking and killing him).

    Thats a combination of safety and random chance.

    What NASA did in both fatal incidences (and a half a dozen in between) is incompetence.

    Robert G Oer

  • Martijn Meijering

    If the HLV is derived from shuttle componants, it is not a new vehicle.

    It would still be a new vehicle, just one that costs less to develop than a clean sheet design from scratch. The same applies to EELV-based vehicles. It would still cost a lot of money to develop and run it. But in any event, we don’t need new vehicles, so why spend any money on them? To go to the moon, we need a lander. We already have launch vehicles.

    Another consideration is that there shouldn’t be a separate government funded launch vehicle to compete unfairly against commercial launch vehicles. SDLV proponents like to pretend SDLV does not compete with smaller launchers, since it is so much bigger. But that isn’t true since everything we need could be launched on existing launchers, you would just need more launches. And as it happens higher flight rates are precisely what we need to drive down launch prices, since those are dominated by fixed costs. The more flights you have per year, the lower the amount of fixed costs per flight.

    If you make your payloads so heavy that they will only fit on an SDLV (by launching them fully fueled), then you artifically shield the SDLV from competition. And that of course is precisely what SDLV proponents want. They like to pretend they are not competing with EELVs, but what they’re really trying to do is making sure EELVs cannot compete with them.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:32 am
    . However it will not always work, and sadly that is a fact of life! As to bad decisions, havent you made a few?..

    it is not a bad decision to fly with a known malfunction during conditions which make the malfunction get worse…nor is it a bad decision to continue flying with a condition that allows random chance to determine if a fatal event happens, ignore it when it happens and tell the crew that “there is no problem” Or words to that affect…even as intense debate is going on as to the problem…in the words of the flight director “what could we do anyway?”

    that is not a bad decision…it is incompetence

    Robert G. Oler

  • Ben Joshua

    The FY11 NASA budget process should eventually be required study for poly sci grads (once the behind the scenes action is known).

    It continues to be that fascinating and shines a light on the conflict between rational policy discussion and raw power politics.

    The iron grip of the status quo, right or wrong (and of course, it’s always right…) and the necessity for change, dramatically played out in the crumbling of the Soviet Union, is a dynamic played out over and over in human events.

    Too often, an established order will eventually fall of its own hubris and top-heaviness, even as it insists on its own primacy, deriding critics and alternate ideas along the way, in as ill mannered and vituperative a way as possible.

    The image used in DC a lot is watching an approaching train wreck in slow motion, powerless to stop it.

    Sometimes though, things get nudged in a good direction, with good outcomes. NASA FY11 may yet prove to be one of those rare good turns in Washington, and it will be interesting to see how it develops over the next year or so.

    Eventually, lower cost access to LEO will happen. When it bears fruit, a few space historians may have to question, for all its greatness, adrenalin and achievement, whether the period that started with Mercury and Vostok, and perhaps ended when Congress decided Ares was indeed just too expensive, may have been a “cost detour” from the lower cost ideas that were set aside along the way.

    Ideas for an orbital X-15 were eventually taken up by OSC/Pegasus. Ideas to make the Redstone rocket re-usable are finding their way into current RLV studies, inside and outside SpaceX. The original BDB studies, from inside the establishment, to Robert Truax’s ideas, from formerly inside the establishment, got a toe in the Augustine door, with the rationale for separating cargo and human flight. Just a few examples among many.

    Right now the fight seems to be to save Orion, with a big budget, large size and long development schedule, and dillute or dessimate those evil pesky budget lines for tech dev, robotics and commercial crew.

    By the way, why again would you want to bring Orion with you on a many months ( or years ) journey, only to hope it will function “nominally” under the harsh re-entry environment after all that time in space? I guess it would be so you could throw away your primary Mars or NEO transit vehicle, so Congress would have to pony up the taxpayers funds for a brand new one, for each expedition…

  • Bennett

    Ben Joshua, well said, and I ask the same question of the final two ETs. Why not bring them up to the ISS and “park” them for some (as yet unspecified) future use?

    If someone here knows a reason (deltaV?) why this cannot be done, I would like to know. I have read that this concept (which has been explored in endless studies since the late 70′s) has been consistently rejected by those that feared it would cast a questionable light on the scale of the ISS modules and could impact the funding for completing the station.

    It would seem that those arguments are now moot, and if there is no other reason, why not bring the ETs to the ISS?

  • Dennis Berube

    First to address these things individually. I dont think bad decision making is incompetence! Those who make the decisions are not always in the know so to speak, as to what really the problem is. I see it all the time in business! So too I suspect in NASA! How many times have I heard that the upper crust doesnt listen to the ones actually doing the work! That doesnt make for an incompetent decision, just for a lack of knowledge concerning problems. If you refering the the Challenger accident of 86, NASA was under pressure to launch, some of the engineers also gave the go ahead for launch, while others were opposed. It wasnt all one sided. It wasnt a decision to let fate playits hand, and is wasnt incompetence. I remember a night time launch in stormy weather where NASA bent the rules a bit because of the flight necessities. They also had confidence in the system working as it should. What would have happened on Apollo 8 (remember it had the exact same system as Apollo 13), if the same series of event took place? They never would have got home. No LEM lifeboat. Would we have continued to stretch for the Moon if they had died in Lunar Orbit? I rememger even the Soviets said that the crew of Apollo 8 wereon a very dangerous mission!

  • Dennis Berube

    A Shuttle derived HLV, is not a new vehicle. The same launch pad configuration, the same shuttle reusable parts, and this was considered as far back as the 80s I believe. I think the politicians attempting to save some jobs is a good note. If you were one of those workers concerned about your future job, wouldnt you want a chance at having it remainin place? While a shuttle derived vehicle may not lift as much to orbit, not be the best HLV offer, the system will work. It will even carry an Orion with escape tower attached for the crews safety incase of a launch abort. It this bad????? If spaceflight were easy, it would already be 5 or 10 dollars a lb. to orbit, not still be 1,000 dollars a lb. These are difficult things we are doing and want to do. Costly yes, and sure we should seek ways to bring cost down. I dont think private industry will reduce the cost that much. Someone will with out question have to think outside the box to accomplish lower cost to orbit prices. If you have ideas let NASA know!

  • Dennis Berube

    If memory serves I believe it was Alan Shepherd who made the statement. Columbia is another incompetent decision of NASA. They had no way to analyze the wing tips of Columbia. All that only came after. After the accidents both of them, steps were immediately taken to avoid these same events, although there are never any guarantees in anything. Heaters were placed on those troublesome O rings. Cameras were used to look the heat shield system over on the shuttles. I think the biggest boo boo was not have a launch escape system on the shuttle from the beginning. The concern was at the time of design that with a launch escape system the shuttle would not be able to lift as much to orbit. Was that an incompetent decision. Even Jame Oberg who I talked with about the shuttle not having a way for astronauts to escape said that the Shuttle system was so advanced that the feeling was a launch escape system was not needed. Was that incompetence?

  • Dennis Berube

    As to taking Orion on a long mission with you to say Mars. I think the point of that is not having on the return to slow for Earth orbit, but being able to enter the Earths atmosphere at high speeds.

  • Martijn Meijering

    A Shuttle derived HLV, is not a new vehicle. The same launch pad configuration, the same shuttle reusable parts, and this was considered as far back as the 80s I believe.

    It still takes a lot of money to develop it. And note that the exact same argument applies to EELVs.

    I think the politicians attempting to save some jobs is a good note.

    Really? Do you want a space program or a jobs program? If the money spent on the SDLV were spent on a lander instead we could be going to the moon in five years. We could also start reducing launch costs five years from now. Over a decade and a half those could drop by a factor of ten or so.

    And above you said you were in favour of competition. You can’t have free competition and a shielded position for the Shuttle stack at the same time, it’s one or the other. Which one do you want?

  • Dennis Berube

    If people believe that accidents will not happen in spaceflight, then they are only fooling themselves. Auto accidents happen and we still drive. Airplane crashes take place and we still fly. These things happen for whatever reasons, perhaps due to humans becoming so complacent with everything after awhile. In the future more humans will die in spaceflight. Should we stil go????? That I guess is up to each individuals own perception of it. I say yes we must go!

  • Dennis Berube

    where do shuttle derived parts originate???? In cost over run private firms like Boeing!!!!!!!!??????? Remember every one of these programs are bid on, and who NASA chooses to select, which is usually the lowest bid, is what goes. Remember astronauts are flying the lowest bid everytime they get on a rockets. It is these sometimes i think planned cost over runs that hurt everybody in the end. Remember too, Space X has quoted two prices for lifts to orbit. Not just twenty mil per trip, but they also said fifty mil. at one point. I suspect when all is said and done, it will lean toward the higher level, dont you?

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Will traveling tourist realize the risk? I dont think they will or do?

    The tourists that have already flown do, and everyone that wants to fly into space is aware of all the people that have already died.

    Actually this is a silly conversation if you think about it, because there is risk in every form of transportation, and the vast majority of our “fun” activities. Heck, just walking around can expose you to getting killed by a falling tree branch, an errant car, or by lightning. And yet we keep doing these things.

    So it is with space flight. If someone wants to spend $20M to fly into space, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? Do you have the same standard for everyone that parachutes out of a perfectly good plane? Or when a balloonist wants to set a new endurance record?

    If people want to spend their money going into space, I think that’s a good idea. And if someone doesn’t do their due diligence ahead of time to make sure there is a reasonable assurance of success, well the old saying of “A fool and his money are soon parted” still applies.

    Because surely as there will be successful companies going to space, others will come along with a not-yet-proven but “revolutionary” way to get to space, and fleece their customers. That is when the market to space will have finally arrived, when cheap imitators are rushing in to make a quick buck. And someone will die from them, but that is no different than any other industry.

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Remember astronauts are flying the lowest bid everytime they get on a rockets.

    No, not the lowest bidder. The lowest qualified bidder, and sometimes not even that, such as a bid that has the combination of price, service and product that is demonstrably better than the other bidders.

    You have to stop getting your information from movies like “Capricorn One”… ;-)

  • Dennis Berube

    I think the point here is missed. All as I am saying is that our manned space program should be preserved until such a time as the private sector can accomplish these things. They cannot as yet. If in the process jobs are saved, what is wrong with that??????? While the space program is iin of itself not a jobs program, and it shouldnt solely be. It does make jobs, of which of late, everyone seems to want to be cutting in every line of business. If a shuttle derived HLV keeps jobs GREAT, whether one politician or another if for or against it. People need to work, and space is an area where jobs can be gained. Truly if everyone wanted to bring the cost of spaceflight down, get a production line going. Replicate the vehicles on a constant daily basis, that will bring cost down. Mass produce them and many can and will fly in space. No recalls please, there already is enough of that going on in the auto industry…. If we abandon manned spaceflight, all those that went before and have paid with their lives will have died in vain… They believed in the promise of space, and so do I….

  • Spaceboy

    Yes, and a scrap of metal on the runway took down the Concorde – in Mr. Oler’s world, that is gross incompetence on the part of the entire aviation industry, all airlines, the metal industry, all airports, the FAA and Air Traffic Control. Quick alert the Media! All of those industries should be ended IMMEDIATELY!!! What a bunch of losers!

    14 lives lost in the Shuttle Program is a tragedy, but considering the fact that we have launched hundreds of astronauts into space on the shuttle (does anybody know off hand, 600? 700? more? talking each passenger, so if an astronaut flew 5 times, he counts 5 times), that number could actually be a lot worse considering the complexity and the danger involved. I also believe what people were saying is not that the astronauts knew the risk on ually those two particular missions but that every single astronaut knows (just like every engineer working in the program knows) that the entire operation is fraught with risk. They know the dangers when they sign on to be an astronaut. Things can go wrong. You mock NASA and then meanwhile you are all ready to jump on board somebody like Elon Musk who says such safety concious things like (and I quote) “all I need to do is throw on some seats, an A/C and a launch escape system and I am ready to launch crew and the only thing of note is a launch escape system”. The same man who calls his launch flawless which lost the first stage and had the upperstage in an erratic wobbly spiral when it was last seen. Oh but, I forgot, we arent allowed to ask questions about his launch or ask for data or reports, because he is private and commercial and doesnt need to give us anything, we just have to “believe” it was flawless because he said so, eventhough our eyes clearly told us otherwise. Yet you scorn NASA’s safety record?

  • Martijn Meijering

    They cannot as yet.

    Yes they can. The launch vehicles exist (EELVs) and Boeing has built most of the US spaceships that have flown since Mercury. With Falcon 9 and Dragon SpaceX may soon be capable of it too. There can be little doubt Lockheed Martin (contractors of the Orion) can build a capsule.

    I cannot escape the conclusion that you are reasoning towards a predetermined conclusion for reasons you are not willing to share with us.

    If in the process jobs are saved, what is wrong with that???????

    My guess would be that the jobs are one of the real reasons you want to preserve the Shuttle stack.

  • Aerospace Engineer

    Well said, Dennis.

  • Ben Joshua

    Of course their will be accidents and lives lost in the exploration of “the new frontier.”

    However, let’s not be glib and accepting of poor decisionmaking and a refusal to consider the recommendations of the middle echelon engineers.

    When the Apollo 13 crew were saved, it is said that NASA threw out the rule book. What NASA did not throw out, were the data. Telemetry, ground observations and good old math, biology and physics were used by people with great imaginations under stress, to bring Apollo 13 home.

    With the Apollo block 1 fire, Challenger and Columbia, data were in fact tossed to the side, ignored or rationalized out of existence beforehand. Those three fatal events were not in fact, accidents. As driver ed. instructors are fond of saying, they were “preventables,” and therefore, “deliberates.”

    Proceeding with those two flights and one test in the face of red light empirical data, pressure from above or no, was hubris, hold your breath and hope, cross your fingers irresponsibility.

    Why does it matter today? Because while those three specific events may never happen again because of steps taken after the fact, the basic lessons have not been learned and incorporated into decisionmaking procedures, witness the safety compromises made to lighten Orion, after it was realized that its planned dedicated LV lacked the required “oomph” (insert technical terms here) to achieve orbit with a full up Orion. I’m sure a “do not worry” sign on the side would have made everything OK.

    I would make Trento’s “Prescription for Disaster” required reading for anyone trying to understand the necessity for risk management, or involved in decisionmaking where human lives rest in the balance.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Spaceboy wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Yes, and a scrap of metal on the runway took down the Concorde – in Mr. Oler’s world, that is gross incompetence on the part of the entire aviation industry, all airlines, the metal industry,..

    the Concorde stopped flying permanently shortly after that incident.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    If memory serves I believe it was Alan Shepherd who made the statement. …

    if you dont know then dont say.

    Because you dont know about either the Columbia or the Challenger accident and the half a dozen near misses in between.

    I realize (or figure) that human spaceflight by others is exciting to you. But what you have done is divorce any reality from it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Dennis Berube

    Capricorn One I never watched. Also what of the test pilot and engineers and other that have lost their lives on the ground due to accidents, such as fueling rockets etc. Lets not forget them either. No I do not have a job with NASA, so my concern for jobs does not come from a personal gain. Actually it is past time for our government to stop job loss here in the US and allow them to go to China or where ever! I just said that if a shuttle stack is the quickest way to achieve a HLV and it saves jobs at the same time, what is wrong with that. It sounds like you people want every job that NASA supplies cancelled! You would rather see us pay in excess of 335 mil. to pay Russia for their taxi service? Dont get me wrong, I think Soyuz is an excellent spacecraft which certainly has an outstanding record, not only with regards to spaceflight in general, but too, having many records to its name. The Russians now seek a more advanced system too. The Soviets have even extended an arm in an effort to join with other countries to develope that new craft. Why dont we the USA join with them to build a better spacecraft, as long as we dont end up paying for the whole thing. Id be for that cooperation..

  • Dennis Berube

    Mr. Oler, the statement concerning being 60 feet off the ground was made sometime back. It is not that the statement was never made, I am just not 100% sure who said it. I am 100% sure it was said however and that is an honest statement by me. What I dont know I admit to. Attempting to decide which method is best to follow with regards to space policy, is an question that in the end will not make everyone 100% happy. Some say scrape the whole entire space program, we have no business going up there anyway. Others want total funding and every bit of Star Trek hardware available for deep space. Neither we can have. There has to be balance. As every nation now attempting to gain their own respecitve space programs are finding out, it is expensive. It will be expensive for a long time to come. Perhaps the space elevator will in the future bring cost down. Ive always felt that was thinking outside the box. A space elevator, push a button and up you go…

  • Dennis Berube

    Just like my typing people, it is not perfect, as I am not a perfect typist. Nor are peoples decisions always perfect. People die, and that is a sad fact of life. As I stated above, both with Apollo and the Shuttle, someof the people who were in the know said it was okay to go with what they had. So other threw up a red flag that wasnt listened to. They happened to be right. Let me ask each and everyone of you. Would you have boarded the Concorde that ill fated day for its disasterous flight. I would have. I have always wanted to fly Concorde, but due to cost and other commitments it never happened. Concorde should never have been grounded. When it was, we took a step backwards in aviation. She holds records that will not be broken for a long long time…

  • Dennis Berube

    I have divorced any reality from my views on spaceflight? WOW! I believe, had Korolev survived the Soviets would have beat us to the Moon. I guess too, I have always hoped that mankind could have a Star Trek like future. Have you seen the control panels for Orion? All touch screen just like in the Star Trek programs. At least the newer ones. I say Cooooolllll. Yes my fantasy does sometimes get away from me, but remember how many times in the past has science fiction become science fact? I believe if we but put our best minds to it, Star Flight is possible.. How is that for reality?

  • Dennis Berube

    It was a piece of metal off a L1011, 10 ” X 1″ something like that. The modifications from that accident were made, but then due to the cost per ticket she was grounded. Less people flew on her, at 10,000 dollars per seat. I fear the same will happen with private space. I understand they do keep one Concorde even today flight ready. I think she should be given a chance to make one more record. One flight across the Pacific. Half way she would have to land to refuel, but it could be done. One passenger flight across the Pacific, wouldnt that be cool. I remember flying 10 hours over the Pacific from Japan to the state of Washington. That would be cut to a third with Concorde.

  • Dennis Berube

    Plus Mr. Oler, spaceflight by others? If for one second I had a chance at making a spaceflight, dont think I wouldnt. Id go in a heartbeat. However i am not in a position to be able to do that. Should I win that powerball lotto, then maybe, but presently I cannot. I am looking forward to retire here in about 3 and one half months. No more punching the clock for me. I have ever since its beginnings followed the space program, and to see it going down the tubes just is a shame. I dont really believe Obamas plans are what is called for at this time. Perhaps after Obama is asked to leave office via elections, this will change once again. Lets hope so!

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Mr. Oler, the statement concerning being 60 feet off the ground was made sometime back..

    it is a stupid statement whomever said it…and repeating it is goofy.

    Think it through. There is nothing magical about 60 feet…

    It is one of those statements designed to excuse bad performance and stupid management. It is like “we are docking at 17,500 mph”

    Look I wouldnt care what you believe because you clearly are a “space fan person”…right up until you start repeating nonsense such as “commercial space has to prove itself” and then go forward spouting ignorance about how great NASA HSF is. You almost sound like General Turgidson discussion on nuclear war “I am not saying we wouldnt get our hair musted a bit, 20 million tops” (Dr. Strangelove)

    Commercial space no more needs to prove itself then NASA does or doesnt. Musk for instance has done an amazing amount of proof…on far less money then NASA flew Ares 1X which was a nothing vehicle he has sent two versions of a rocket to orbit. People like you babble on with that “prove” notion as if it really means something, as if NASA should be given a pass in all its clusterfracks because well to you “we have to explore” or something equally goofy.

    We have throughout my life always had “babble rhetoric”…when I was a child it was Nixon’s “Peace with honor” as if the four years we hung on in Vietnam achieving “Peace with honor” brought us anything but more KIA…but during hte Bush the last years I simply wore out of (for the most part) tolerating people advancing unchallenged viewpoints which consist of really only “babble rhetoric” and thats what you are pushing.

    You may think its good solid doctrine and Creator help you if you do, but try and think it through. No group of people who simply killed 14 individuals and lost two orbiters…all through incompetence…and dodged at least six other bullets through random chance…should be the standard of proof for anything.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Dennis Berube

    Mr. Oler, let me ask you: Have you by any chance lost a job from NASA? You sound like all the world just like Mr. Hoagland, who defies NASAon a regular basis. He lost his job from them after Apollo, I believe it was, and he has been biased against them ever since! Just how quickly we change from marvelling at what NASA has accomplished in the past to cries of incompetence when something goes wrong. Did you really expect NASA to have a 100% rating and success story? Come on, even I dont think you believe in that! For you what Musk has done, has proven himself. Let meask you: Would you ride his first manned rocket? Would he ride it? I do believe myself that he will succeed, but to wait until that happens with no other means of getting to space than using the Soviets, and paying 335 mil for a taxi service is rediculous!

  • Dennis Berube

    Babble Rhetoric, apparently you also feel everyone else here is babbling along not knowing what they are talking about! I respect you views, and many on here have expressed good ideas not babble. It sounds like you would shut NASA down ASAP, and totally. Would you allow them their place at sending robots out to the planets, or would you scratch that effort too? Yes I see a parallel between you and Mr. Richard Hoagland. Sorry about that, as I dont mean to be insulting!

  • Bennett

    Dennis wrote “Perhaps after Obama is asked to leave office via elections, this will change once again. Lets hope so!”

    I sincerely hope not. What you don’t seem to be able to understand is that with the proposed FY2011 NASA Budget, we actually had an opportunity to do all of the things that would help realize these “dreams” that you write about. Not rhetoric, not over hyped pork barrel projects doomed to fail (Ares), but actual technology development. Real infrastructure development, real advancement.

    Instead, if the butchery that Senators Nelson and Rockefeller sent out of the authorization committee stands, all we get is shattered hopes, jobs doing nothing of value, and powerpoint animations of LVs that will never fly because there are no payloads for them.

    What you don’t seem to get is we don’t need a HLV right now. We need the stuff that was canceled to fund the HLV.

    Please read about what was proposed. Please educate yourself about the payload capacity of existing LVs (right here in this thread), and then ask yourself, What do I really want to see before I die?

    Most folks that appose the plans laid out by Augustine and adopted into the FY2011 budget, would have KILLED for it had it been pushed by GWB, that, or they work on the shuttle right now and are willing to sacrifice our future HSF program for 18 months more pay before seeking a new job.

    That’s how shortsighted and petty this opposition has become.

  • Derrick

    @ Bennett wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Well said.

  • Dennis Berube

    Let me ask you: By failure, do you mean you dont think the Constellation program would have worked technologically? If course it would have. It would have cost plenty, but It was a program that would indeed have allowed us a return to the Moon, and eventually a trip out to Mars. So that has been voted out at least in part. The Orion part has survived. Of course the House must vote too and Obama must sign on. Anyway, what was lost if appears to me was some of the backing for the private sector. I agree NASA should work with them to make them become a faster easier way to orbit. But dont kid yourselves, the cost will still remain. Spaceflight wil not get cheaper, if anything it will rise in cost as our inflation spiral keeps getting worse. Fuel will keep on an upward trend, so how will spaceflight get cheaper in the long run? Like I said above, until that 1000 dollar a lb. comes down the cost wont change. Until a newer more inventive way to reach orbit comes into vogue, it will cost plenty. Now as I said before too, maybe the space elevator is the way to go. The problems they are having in that line of thinking, at least to my understanding, is developing a hard enough cable to withstand the tremendous pressure that will be exerted on it. It probably will come too, but at a cost. What would you have NASA do, give all its money to private industry, lay off all their scientist and engineers many who have put years into these projects? How would you handle it? Would you like to be in their shoes? Without NASA do we still need professional astronauts? Why not dump them too!!!!!! We dont need a heavy lift vehcle right now! When would you suggest we develop one? When in fifty years we decide it is finally time to go back to the Moon and on to Mars. Then probably there will be opposition to it then also. I pay taxes just like you, and personally I would like to see a shuttle derived HLV asap. Also if that keeps someof the people working that will be a plus! Id like also to see in my lifetime a swing around Mars by a manned expedition. An HLV is needed for just such a step… As to our government and its deficits, there will always and continually be deficits and probably cost over runs, sad to say! It is like other areas of science. Im personally for cloning. Many are not. It is only the fear of science that holds us back from real progress. Religions who are still clinging to backwards outdated ideas, have continually held mankind back from greater things.

  • brobof

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:41 pm
    “had Korolev survived the Soviets would have beat us to the Moon”
    ‘Fraid not! Korolev was partly responsible for the N-1. And we all know how that ended…

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:58 pm
    “It was a piece of metal off a L1011, 10 ” X 1″ something like that.”
    No it wasn’t. Dennis, like certain other persons, when you post misinformation or guesses or inanities… it devalues your post to the point of being worthless. As any aviation buff knows -or a complete ignoramus with access to Wikipedia- it was a piece of rubber. From it’s own tyre. The tyre was burst by a piece of FOD dropped by a DC-10. The chunk of rubber impacted in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.
    Bye the bye. Concorde can still fly! There were plans and still are.
    One of the main reasons that Concorde failed was that America would not allow her to fly supersonic over the USA. Where America leads (or puts pressure… So She had to go subsonic, at dismal fuel efficiencies, in order to land in NY. Ironic considering the enjoyment caused by the sonic booms made by the Shuttle. Perhaps if Boeing’s SST had come off it would have been a different story. And there were cheaper seats and trips!

  • brobof

    Bennett wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 11:04 am
    Ahh a Tank Farmer after my own heart. In one word: “popcorning.” In orbit the foam behaves like corn popping into a massive cloud of Micro-Meteoroid and Orbital Debris. Not so yummy in ISS territory. But this Tank farmer had ideas… And still has (waves hands) if the NDR (Nor DIRECT… Really!) or Not Shuttle C make the cut.
    I go on about a solution here. (As Vacuum.Head) At length. However I do post a nice picture of the sort of volume we could have been playing with: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=12605.msg369927#msg369927 If NASA had decided not to just throw them away :(

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Babble Rhetoric, apparently you also feel everyone else here is babbling ..

    not everyone else…but ..

    those who say “Commercial must prove itself” and then will not address how that must be while NASA “proved” that it can lose two orbiters, kill two crews and have half a dozen near misses….all at astronomical cost.

    Explain to me why commercial must prove itself and NASA doesnt have to and then perhaps you can leave the babbling stage.

    until then every other point you raise…is babble

    Robert G. Oler

  • Kelly Starks

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:26 pm
    > Anne Spudis wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 3:08 pm
    > For now complex commercial and military satellites variying
    > orbits have to be replaced not repaired or refurbished.
    >==If they could be serviced, it would be a very lucrative market.

    Or none at all. So far no ones been real interested in a sat recovery and refurb service. The sats last so long, they are obsolete junk by the time they die…

    …. Speaking of. .. B.C.’s MDA, a gas station floating above Earth to service satellites may be its revenue generator of the future..

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/for-mda-space-pays/article1643288/

  • Kelly Starks

    >Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 12:58 am

    > B-1 was a mistake. == the failures of the plane (which were in some
    > manner a part of the new development) and the advance in weaponry
    > that made it obsolete. ===

    By obsolete, you mean stealth?

    >==
    > As for the X-37. You are correct in this and other post. MOOSE and
    > other concepts were “light” returns and an X-37 knock off would be
    > easier then that. It would not take much to “toss” some mass (it has
    > large manuevering engines) and come up with a “mercury with wings”.

    Well at least a tandum Gemini. ;)

    MOOSE would make me really nervous – especially if I were hurt and being evac’d for medical care. Or was afraid I might miss aim and wind up in a Ocean.

    ;)

  • Kelly Starks

    > Coastal Ron wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:04 am

    >> Kelly Starks wrote a number of things:
    >> “A ECLSS for 2 guys for a hour or two and apresure bag
    >> shouldn’t weigh 500 even with the guys…”

    > If you’re thinking of a rescue like the movie “Marooned”, then
    > theoretically it could work. If you’re thinking about doing this as an
    > operational system, why would you when you have other alternatives
    > to pursue that would be better?

    Can’t think of a better alternative.

    > Considering the life support needs, 500 lbs would only allow for
    > one astronaut – heck the payload bay is only 7 feet long, so you
    > would have to stack two people sideways because the bay is only
    > 4 foot wide.==

    7 foot long by 4 in diameter is really spacious for a 2 man tandem aircraft.

    >== the only way it could be operational would be if they had more of them. ==

    Actually I think they were talking about making a couple – and it is currently in orbit operating.

    ;)

    >> “I noticed in a Av week article that commercial crew now
    >> has to be able to do the life boat functions. I’m guessing that
    >> will narrow the pool of bidders.”

    > Why would that narrow the pool?==

    6 month docked to the ISS without leaking out important stuff, etc. I don’t know if the CST-100 is built for that – etc.

  • Kelly Starks

    Anne Spudis wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 5:31 am

    >> Kelly Starks wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 11:26 pm
    >>…It will be a real long time (maybe centuries) before we could
    >> establish enough civilization off planet to survive without Earth.
    >> So I wouldn’t worry about that as a concern in our lifetimes.]

    > Well, at the rate we’re going we better get started in order to make
    > that century for those who will be around.

    Centuries – but yeah giving were going to dramatically lower our access and utilization of space over the last 30 years – were not moving in the right direction.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 7:13 am

    > Awhile back, when the shuttle was being considered, the point of the
    > shuttle was to bring cost of launching to space down. I think at the
    > time they said it was a thousand dollars a pound to launch. The goal
    > was to reduce that to ten dollars a pound. Never happened and quite
    > probably wont. ===

    Actually it was built for several reasons (routine, reliable, lower cost access to space) and the GAO said if the flight rates were as high as originally planed, the costs could go down to its margin costs of (in current year dollars) about $1000 a pound. The Margin cost is about there – though the flight rate – ain’t.

    ;)

  • Doug Lassiter

    “We’re building a heavy lift system to a 2016 IOC”

    No we aren’t. Read the bill. That’s not what is being authorized.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    >= Explain to me why commercial must prove itself and NASA doesnt have to=

    Well because your trying to sell to NASA, which is famed as the most advanced space program ever? Yeah they have been blatantly incompetent a lot, but they are still the leaders and in most folks minds – the standard barer for space exploration. Politically – they are golden.

  • Bennett

    @Brobof: “In one word: “popcorning.”” – Ah, I didn’t know that. A situation that would not be ideal.

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    You sir, are long on words but short on some of the basic knowledge required for a meaningful conversation. You pose a question, and then answer it yourself with, well, babble.

    what was lost if appears to me was some of the backing for the private sector.

    Fuel Depot, Robot Precursors, and Commercial Crew were the three biggest losses.

    But dont kid yourselves, the cost will still remain.

    Will remain what?

    Will it remain 7 years and 30 billion more for building Ares 1? 7-10 years and 10-30 billion to build a sdhlv?

    Are you mentally simple? SpaceX could have human rating in 3 years for well under half a billion. ULA could have Delta IV man rated in 3 years for ~1.5 billion and there are a number of capsules that could be ready in time for that.

    Do you not understand?

    Please, learn about the current state of affairs. Your childish rambling is doing nothing but highlighting what idiocy HSF is up against.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Per the B-1. When the triad started, the bombers were the counterforce option…the notion that the US would avoid “launch on warning” mostly ride out a first strike, see what was left in terms of Soviet Throw weight and then engage and destroy it. That doesnt mean we would not engage in the Soviet boost cycle, but the war games usually had us holding the sunday punch in terms of negating their remaining throw weight, until we were sure where it was. Ie it does no good to destroy a empty silo.

    As time moved on the SLBM force became the counterforce and by the 1980′s the command and control had evolved to where the SLBM’s were accurate enough and retargetable due to intel AND there were ways to get that information easily (or easier) to the subs…that left the bombers with “less”…they became the “rover killers” and the B-52 was far better at that (more fuel etc).

    Additionally as the 80′s progressed Buffy became less not more vulnerable. She got far better avionics and it became clear that Soviet Air Defenses would deteriorate very fast in a nuclear exchange.

    Finally as “nuclear war toe to toe with the creatorless commies” became more and more the stuff of history, Buffy’s role in conventional war is uber.

    Post the cold war, talking with “Soviet” officials it is fairly clear that they really had worries about Buffy. She did very well in a tough environment over North Vietnam. they never really worried much about the B-1.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    >= Explain to me why commercial must prove itself and NASA doesnt have to=

    Well because your trying to sell to NASA, which is famed as the most advanced space program ever? …

    this is where leadership comes in. You just find the folks who are difficult and assign them to Warp drive development. Who gives a frack what NASA says, they are demonstratably incompetent. Ares is just the latest example

    ….

    As for MOOSE.

    It all depends on what one cares about in a crew return vehicle. My theories are that the notion of a station bailout is nuts. So then the next question is what do you do if one of the crew HAS to return to earth. My line is that they should have the same chance(s) that a person at the South Pole stations would have.

    The entire notion of “we have to spend millions hundreds of millions, maybe billions to make our astronauts safe” and hence that rolls up some sort of “return” vehicle is nuts. We lost 9 Marines/Army folks in Afland over the last several days.

    Besides, in interplanetary missions something happens after the big burn…deal with it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Byeman

    “My best guess is there is something going on that the public does not know about yet;”

    You guess would be wrong as usual. No one is working any experiments with plates and explosives or anything related to nuclear pulse. What are you smoking to think of this? Nothing like this is on NASA’s radar.

    People talk reality and plausible projects on this forum. There are other forums where you can post your fantasies and also where you can learn more about spaceflight.

  • DCSCA

    @CoastalSocialistRon- “Just because my family and I have benefited from our capitalistic society…” Well, today you’ve decided it’s ‘capitalist’ and not ‘socialist. ‘You were the one that said that deficits don’t matter.’ <- Uh, no, Dick Cheney said that, as noted and quoted. But at times deficit spending is a wise, sometimes necessary policy. Yes, the learning curve will be steep with you.

  • DCSCA

    @CoastalSocialistRon- And Ronnie, you don’t have to be defensive about earning a living peddling goods and services to a deficit-riddled government– unless you’ve been supplying it with $300 staplers, $800 toilet seats and $100 hammers. ;-)

  • DCSCA

    Well because your trying to sell to NASA, which is famed as the most advanced space program ever…..

    It is.

  • DCSCA

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:41 pm “had Korolev survived the Soviets would have beat us to the Moon” <- Inaccurate.

    The N-1 was a weak design. Mishin, Korolev's replacement, is on record stating even if K'd lived, they'd not gotten much further and beat the U.S. to a landing due to the design, budget and bureaucratic obstacles. However, their then new Proton rocket was capable of orbiting the Zond spacecraft around the moon, not land, and a mission of this sort was in work but Apollo 8 beat it to the punch.

  • DCSCA

    the Concorde stopped flying permanently shortly after that incident. – Robert G. Oler

    =blink= Concorde was taken out of service because it simply had become too costly to operate in this era.

  • Spaceboy

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    “the Concorde stopped flying permanently shortly after that incident.
    Robert G. Oler”

    The concorde stopped flying because after making $50 million dollars in changes, Airbus and the French got cold feet and British Airways is still pissed about it. They couldnt afford it on their own. Another trivia fact for you, when they were getting ready to start re-flying the Concorde after the accident, in fact the very day they made their first test flight was Sept 11, 2001. They lost 40 of their most regular passengers on that day. It was cost of operations and cost of seats and lack of passengers that killed the Concorde, not the accident. But somehow people think a tourist space industry is going to appear at $30M a seat.

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    “For you what Musk has done, has proven himself. Let meask you: Would you ride his first manned rocket? Would he ride it?”

    I can answer this – Musk has said he would NOT ride it. Said the risk is too high and he has children to think of.

  • Beltway Bob

    Hey Oler – are you still flying fighter jets on secret missions for the Navy in that specially equipped F-14? Weren’t you going to marry a woman who flew on this sorties with you?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Spaceboy wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    the Concorde stopped flying because after the accident (which any other Part 121 or Part 25 certificated plane would have survived) two things happened. The FAA started getting cold feet about letting it fly into the US, insurance companies which insure the lives of the very wealthy that flew on the Concorde started getting cold feet and the mods that were done didnt fix the problems.

    All that was coupled with the economics of supersonic flight; the fact that airlines can make a lot more money with business/first class subsonic flight…and the cost to run the plane were going up almost as fast as it did. An excellent example were the “primary flight instruments”. The cost to “yellow tag” those instruments in the time from the accident to the refly had gone up over 300 percent…because almost no one does analog instruments now days. This is also the reason that is leading to the retirement of the early 737/300′s…the non EFIS ones. The cost to overhaul the analog instruments are phenomenal (and one reason the little airplanes in the family will likely get the new electronic flight instrument replacement at the next IFR overhaul).

    All these things just shut it down.

    “I can answer this – Musk has said he would NOT ride it. Said the risk is too high and he has children to think of.”

    that is not what Musk said. Its close but you left out some important parts which make the “meaning” different. It is the same reason he no longer pilots his own plane (particularly after the insurance increase with the accident related to the car guy.

    By the time they put a person on “the candle”…it will be safer then riding shuttle.

    There will be a LAS.

    Robert G. Oer

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 3:35 pm
    Let meask you: Would you ride his first manned rocket?

    without a doubt Yes.

    The vehicle will have a LAS…and besides I take lots of airplanes for their first flights…even ones built by my friends…

    Robert G. Oler

  • Bennett

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 3:35 pm
    Let meask you: Would you ride his first manned rocket?

    In a heartbeat. By the time SpaceX decides that it’s safe for the first human flight, they’ll have launched more than ten F9s.

    Would I want to be the first human in an Ares-1 after only ONE test flight of the actual configuration?

    Not so much.

    Delta IV or Atlas V?

    No doubt.

  • Kelly Starks

    >Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 6:39 pm
    >>>= Explain to me why commercial must prove itself and NASA doesnt have to=

    >>Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 6:27 pm
    >>Well because your trying to sell to NASA, which is famed as the
    >> most advanced space program ever? …

    > this is where leadership comes in. == Who gives a frack what NASA
    > says, they are demonstrably incompetent. Ares is just the latest example

    Voters, congressmen, etc. Of congress knows NASA is incompetent, its one of the reasons they supported VSE, hoping forcing NASA to focus on achieving a goal, they’d get their act together.

    ….
    >As for MOOSE.
    > It all depends on what one cares about in a crew return vehicle. My
    > theories are that the notion of a station bailout is nuts. ==

    Hey, we nearly had Mir come damn close to blowing up. It’s not unreasonable to think it could happen again and you’ldneed to get out.

    >===So then the next
    > question is what do you do if one of the crew HAS to return to earth. My
    > line is that they should have the same chance(s) that a person at the
    > South Pole stations would have. ==

    Rejected. Frankly folks would probably demand the south pole stations be abandoned if they knew how isolated they were, and if South pole scientist were as important to folks as NASA Astrounauts.

    >== The entire notion of “we have to spend millions hundreds of
    > millions, maybe billions to make our astronauts safe” and hence
    > that rolls up some sort of “return” vehicle is nuts. ===

    ISS is for political purposes. Dead astronauts left to die because NASA screwed up AGAIN and forgot to add a “life pod” – yeah that’s just not going to work.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    about the astronauts.

    The American people dont have a problem with “death” as long as they think that the effort was worthwhile and the situation did not errupt from ineptness. If either of those are not correct then they get angry.

    NASA and a lot of people have completely misread the results of Challenger and Columbia.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Spaceboy

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    “The vehicle will have a LAS”

    How quaint – there “will be a LAS” hey guess what, Orion already has a LAS and it performed beautifully a few months ago during Pad Abort 1. Space-X doesnt even have the beginnings of a design for a LAS yet. But then Space-X does not really have the beginnings of the design for a crew capsule yet either. I mean, other than you know, throwing in some seats and an A/C unit on their Dragon cargo capsule as Elon puts it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Spaceboy wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:46 am

    it is a good thing that the Orion LAS performed well…it cost so darn much.

    Actually who knows if it will work. The solid going “bang” is going to be a very nasty “pressure” thing and one has to deal with either what XX Gees or being blown to heck.

    SpaceX is closer to an orbiting crew capsule then Constellation…their rocket went into space.

    and they ahve the start of a LAS and capsule. They both are not that hard.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Coastal Ron

    Spaceboy wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Orion already has a LAS and it performed beautifully a few months ago during Pad Abort 1

    Maybe you would like to ride the first Ares I when it has to do a test abort at Max Q? Can you survive the 14 G’s the Orion LAS generates? They will be pouring you out that capsule and washing out what’s left. Maybe this is why no one has every used SRB’s as the sole thrust for crew launchers?

    Space-X doesnt even have the beginnings of a design for a LAS yet. But then Space-X does not really have the beginnings of the design for a crew capsule yet either. I mean, other than you know, throwing in some seats and an A/C unit on their Dragon cargo capsule as Elon puts it.

    First of all Spiceboy, it’s spelled SpaceX – not Space-X. Apparently you can criticize them, but you don’t know much about them.

    Musk has said that they are looking at LAS systems, and that they may use a pusher. Maybe they have an LAS under development, or maybe they have just done preliminary design studies. Since they don’t have a need for one yet, why is it so damning that they have not announced one? Weird.

    The SpaceX Dragon capsule was built for human transportation, and they have designed it to meet all the published human-rating’s they knew of from NASA. Since getting to the ISS and back to the ground with cargo proves out the majority of the needed systems for crew, most of what’s left is an LAS, seats, controls/displays, and maybe a larger version of their cargo environmental system. With more than 2.5 million parts, the Space Shuttle has been called the most complex machine yet created by humanity, but capsules are far less complex, so this should not be considered a large risk.

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis Berube wrote so many things he has started arguing with himself:

    Dennis, you seem to be pouring out a stream of consciousness, but not a response to the blog topic, what other people have written, or specific questions or statements you want to engage other people with.

    It’s like you’re throwing spaghetti words out at a furious pace to see what sticks to the blog wall.

    There’s plenty that I would want to discuss with you, but you have written too much to even read or remember, so it’s all a blur.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that if your goal is to use this blog to publish your space ideas and thoughts, then I personally am not interested in them. If, however, you want to discuss and debate something resembling the posted blog topics, then SHORTEN UP WHAT YOUR WRITE.

    Thanks

  • DCSCA

    “I can answer this – Musk has said he would NOT ride it. Said the risk is too high and he has children to think of.”

    “that is not what Musk said. Its close but you left out some important parts which make the “meaning” different. It is the same reason he no longer pilots his own plane (particularly after the insurance increase with the accident related to the car guy.” Seems Musk has the ‘fright stuff.’

  • Martijn Meijering

    Your childish rambling

    I don’t think Dennis is an adult.

  • brobof

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
    “Hey, we nearly had Mir come damn close to blowing up”
    Sorry? I seem to have wandered into a parallel universe…

  • brobof

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 1:04 am
    Pad Abort -1: 16 G’s for 2.5 sec. Ouch! Survivable but even then LAS still has problems getting the capsule away from a catastrophic failure of SRB. i.e. Ares-I, Sidemount, DIRECT. Although latter has further mitigation. Enough?

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/07/death-knell-for-nasas-ares-roc.html

    SRBs and Crewed vehicles don’t mix. IMHO. If it had to be a rocket. TSTO: Kerolox followed by LH/LOX would be my choice. But then IANARS.

  • red

    We now know the answer to the question “Do we want a space program, or a jobs program”? With the Senate compromise, we get a huge jobs program and a few tiny pieces of a space program. The jobs program should be able to stomp the space program remanents out in 2 or 3 years.

    It’s too bad we can’t have both. For example, instead of an expensive HLV and spacecraft to keep the government firmly in the space transportation business with rivers of money flowing to ATK for decades, why not do something smaller, along the lines of the PlanetSpace COTS Athena III launcher, as the government’s “compete with U.S. private industry” entry? That would use a 2.5 segment version of the Shuttle SRB and ATK’s CASTOR 120 and CASTOR 30 … plenty of ATK content! Maybe we could even throw in the extra Shuttle flight, the Orion CRV, and an immediate start on an HLV (eg: something affordable, like an EELV-based to 40-50mT HLV).

    With all of that, NASA should still be able to afford a reasonable commercial crew, space technology, exploration technology demonstration, and robotic precursor portfolio.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
    “Hey, we nearly had Mir come damn close to blowing up”…

    I too missed that one. Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    brobof wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 7:32 am ..

    one of the reasons I put so little stock in the NASA culture of “safety” is the Ares 1 booster design.

    It is fairly clear from any real objective analysis of the”safety” on Ares is that it is a farce…particularly the LAS. and the mindless trolls at NASA including in the astronaut office…went along

    Robert G. Oler

  • GaryChurch

    “You guess would be wrong as usual. No one is working any experiments with plates and explosives or anything related to nuclear pulse. What are you smoking to think of this? Nothing like this is on NASA’s radar. ”

    Not according to the people I have talked to- who still work for NASA. As usual, you are the one who is wrong.

  • Kelly Starks

    >Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:12 am

    >=
    >about the astronauts.
    > The American people dont have a problem with “death” as
    > long as they think that the effort was worthwhile and the situation
    > did not errupt from ineptness. ==

    Bingo, and NASA is usually inept – or at least ill managed. Image before lives or safety (most specifically in the Challenger loss). And not having a escape system, or some parked ship, on the ISS will look laughably stupid –AGAIN.

    Worse, no one thinks much of the ISS. If it had been Freedom, with bays servicing space probes and comsats, or assembling big ships to go out to moon and Mars, or if experiments had resulted in big headline grabbing important stuff…. But that’s not what we got. So astrounauts dieing in a accident in a not real impressive space station.. Very bad PR, and Good PR is the main mission of the ISS.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Spaceboy wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:46 am

    >> Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 9:40 pm
    >>“The vehicle will have a LAS”

    > How quaint – there “will be a LAS” ==

    By the way – LAS are more show then safety boosters. Of the two guys who ever used one, 1 died from it. Really even the mil record of ejection systems are a bit chilling. Pilots call ejecting attempted suicide to escape certain death, and 1/4th of ejections kill the person ejecting. Half of all ejections permanently maim or cripple.

    Also, during much of the launch cycle they can’t help you and none of the rest of the flight.

    So really – you might want to make the ships safer!

  • Kelly Starks

    > Coastal Ron wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 2:34 am

    > Maybe you would like to ride the first Ares I when it has to do a
    > test abort at Max Q? Can you survive the 14 G’s the Orion LAS
    > generates? They will be pouring you out that capsule and washing
    > out what’s left. Maybe this is why no one has every used SRB’s as
    > the sole thrust for crew launchers? ==

    Well yeah theirs that. ;) Also the vibration lads were so high the crew wouldn’t be able to see the instruments – but the joke was “that’s ok, if they tried to tough the controls they’d break their fingers because they’ld be shaking around so bad”.

    Yeah Ares-I/Orion. Dev costs about a 3rd more then the total shuttle stack, several times more cost per flight, and you get shaken around like a can of paint. What a plan.
    ;/

    The Architect for the life support system grossed to me that word came down asking how much heavier would things have to be if the systems had to take up to 100 g shock and vibration loads. She was not in a good mood.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    @ Robert Oler,

    Have you ever read ‘Dragonfly’? It is a very interesting insight into the working psychology at NASA. What was most interesting, for me, was the fact that NASA handles astronauts’ safety concerns by moving them off the flight rotation and continuing as if nothing had been said.

    The practical upshot of this is if you aren’t all smiles and publically certain everything NASA does is great and perfect then you don’t fly. And if there is one thing that an astronaut wants, it is to fly. Personally, that is why I thought that Ares-I had such high support amongst astronauts.

  • Kelly Starks

    > brobof wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 7:13 am

    >> Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
    >> “Hey, we nearly had Mir come damn close to blowing up”

    > Sorry? I seem to have wandered into a parallel universe…

    The on-board fire that was blasting fire on the (very thin) pressure hull? They were saying a couple more minutes and the aluminum could have softened to the point of –popping. (Explode was a bit of a over statement.)

    And of course the collision of the cargo drone that punctured the new module.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    > It is fairly clear from any real objective analysis of the ”safety” on
    > Ares is that it is a farce…particularly the LAS. and the mindless
    > trolls at NASA including in the astronaut office…went along

    You go along or you don’t get to fly. The agency has always brushed safety issues under the rug. Should have seen the post Challenger “investigation”.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Ben Russell-Gough wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    >==
    > Have you ever read ‘Dragonfly’? It is a very interesting insight into
    > the working psychology at NASA. ==

    Yes great book! (Also covered the fire in Mir.)

    > The practical upshot of this is if you aren’t all smiles and publically
    > certain everything NASA does is great and perfect then you don’t fly.
    > And if there is one thing that an astronaut wants, it is to fly. Personally,
    > that is why I thought that Ares-I had such high support amongst astronauts.

    The fact they were letting it be known that post shuttle they were laying off 80% of the astronauts, everyone would doing their best cheerleader thing to try to be 1 of the 20%.

    Management through intimidation and pressure, especially of the astronauts, was very big there.

  • Beltway Bob

    Oler: are you still John Kerry’s space advisor?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Beltway Bob wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Oler: are you still John Kerry’s space advisor?…

    since I never was I cannot be now. IN 2004 I worked (along with Rich Kolker) for Howard Dean. sorry he did not get elected.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    see there are some other replies due…off to lunch and then tag up

    Robert G. Oler

  • Dennis Berube

    Okay so you feel I am long winded. No more, I will only state what I hope happens. Orion in its initial design for deep space should be sped up. An HLV derived from the shuttle stack, I am for and if it keeps some of the jobs, that is frostingon the cake. I do not believe we should give the Soviets 335 mil. to taxi us to ISS. I do believe that private enterprize can take over orbital duties at some future date, but not presently. I am sad to see that the exploration part of spaceflight has given way to the ideas of profit in LEO! Enough said have fun!

  • Dennis Berube

    Korolev was against using exotic fuels other than the kerosene based types like in the present day launcher. Others that went against him, wanted highly toxic and more volatile types. That was why the N1 failed. Did you know the second stage of the N1 became known as todays Proton booster. The reason a manned Zoned wasnt flown, was because the chosen cosmonaut got ill, and died on an operating table just prior to the attempt. He was the other crew member on the first Voschod flight where Leonov took the first space walk. Why his backup didnt go I dont know. Today they could easily make a lunar flight with a kicker stage placed first into orbit and then have a Soyuz link up to it, with which they could push off into a lunar trajectory.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Ben Russell-Gough wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    @ Robert Oler,

    Have you ever read ‘Dragonfly’? It is a very interesting insight into the working psychology at NASA. What was most interesting, for me, was the fact that NASA handles astronauts’ safety concerns by moving them off the flight rotation and continuing as if nothing had been said. …

    they (NASA) do this to just about everyone else who raises any sort of safety concerns in terms of flight…but that party line still exist “anyone can stop a launch”

    I enjoyed Dragonfly…as I told the author…it is a nice recollection of how things were…the only thing that they got wrong was the ham radio “problem” that NASA had. The fools had a hard time dealing with something that the then teenagers in the family were dealing with.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Dennis Berube

    Next time NASA demonstrates another miracle for us, just remember some of you said they were incompetent. Shouldnt you beware? If NASA is helping Musk with his project Falcon, might not their incompetence mess him up?

  • Bennett

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I do believe that private enterprize can take over orbital duties at some future date, but not presently.

    Why? You have yet to give an argument or state any reason why you think this way. I’ll repeat what I wrote before, because you never addressed it:

    It will take at least 10 years and probably 30 billion dollars to develop and build a SDHLV

    SpaceX could have human rating in 3 years for well under half a billion because the LV has already flown. ULA could have Delta IV man rated in 3 years for ~1.5 billion and there are a number of capsules that could be ready in time for that, because the LV has already flown..

    Do you not understand these things?

  • Martijn Meijering

    Do you not understand these things?

    Or does he not care, because his mind is already made up? I think we all know the answer to that one.

  • GaryChurch

    “My best guess is there is something going on that the public does not know about yet;”
    You guess would be wrong as usual. No one is working any experiments with plates and explosives or anything related to nuclear pulse. What are you smoking to think of this? Nothing like this is on NASA’s radar.
    People talk reality and plausible projects on this forum. There are other forums where you can post your fantasies and also where you can learn more about spaceflight.”

    I had to correct you on what rockets have airlit solids and old Atlas missiles that were destroyed- and details on the space shuttle program you worked on. You did not seem to understand that filament wound means fiberglass or that an intelligence mission is flown by a spyplane. As for what is on NASA’s radar- Dr. Joseph Bonometti seems to think Nuclear Pulse Propulsion is worth writing papers about.

    So why don’t you go learn a little more about spaceflight and stop insulting people who have as much right to express their opinion here as you do?

  • GaryChurch

    “It will take at least 10 years and probably 30 billion dollars to develop and build a SDHLV”

    Bennet, I do believe you are lying.

  • GaryChurch

    “SpaceX could have human rating in 3 years for well under half a billion because the LV has already flown. ULA could have Delta IV man rated in 3 years for ~1.5 billion and there are a number of capsules that could be ready in time for that, because the LV has already flown..

    Do you not understand these things?”

    I understand that the shuttle hardware, the SRB’s,SSME’, and ET have flown about a hundred times- and your “man-rated” ULA rockets are NOT man-rated. The LAS and Orion are farther along than your Space X “products.”

    Stop making things up.

  • vulture4

    We need to completely eliminate the ridiculous jobs proposal to build a new obsolete booster and a new obsolete capsule as an ISS lifeboat. While its always good to have a backup plan, construction of a specialized lifeboat for the space station was tried before (the CERV/ACRV/X-38 project) and proved to be a billion dollar boondoggle that America cannot possibly afford today. When this was tried before everybody added all manner of unneeded “requirements” to prove they were vital to the program, until the paperwork alone was unaffordable. We can add the Dragon as an alternative to Soyuz; both are also useful for crew rotation. we do not need yet another capsule system for crew return only, and if we do I would certainly suggest Shenzou as we would not have to pay for it. I am working at a second (and a third) job as I know our contract is terminal, so I don’t have any sympathy for legislators who want to keep Ares alive with make-work projects. NASA has not a dime to waste on anything without practical value for America.

    One the other side of the coin, here’s a NASA proposal that is exactly what we need!!! NASA working with industry to develop efficient new technologies for reusable launch vehicles! What a concept!

    http://www.hobbyspace.com/AAdmin/archive/SpecialTopics/Events/2010/Resources/CRLV_Roadmap_SAS.pdf

  • Bennett

    vulture4 wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    100% in agreement with your comment, and I wish you the best once your contract ends.

    It’s exciting to note that the Initial Roadmaps from the Reusable Launch Vehicle (CRLV) Technology Study will be presented this coming weekend at the Space Frontier Foundation NewSpace Conference.

  • GaryChurch

    “By the way – LAS are more show then safety boosters. Of the two guys who ever used one, 1 died from it.”

    The only LAS escape I am aware of is from Soyuz and they both escaped a pad fire unharmed. And 14 G’s will cause no permanent damage- the human body can take alot more than that. As for all this talk about how ejections seats and LAS are more dangerous than they are worth- there is only word for that; ridiculous.
    I suspect this is all just apologetics for Musk and his supposed “hypergolic pusher.” Which sounds like a really bad idea; but not as bad an idea as calling escape systems not worth the trouble.

    There was no escape system on the shuttle because of that kind of oh-well-they-would-die-anyway stupidity.

  • GaryChurch

    “NASA has not a dime to waste on anything without practical value for America.”

    I think we can afford 8 billion for a SDHLV considering the vast treasure we blow on cold war toys.

    From Wired article; “Things have gone so wrong that Gates just announced he’s sacking the head of the star-crossed, nearly $350 billion program and is withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in performance fees to JSF-maker Lockheed Martin. “When things go wrong, people will be held accountable,” Gates told reporters.”

  • amightywind

    Bennet wrote:

    “SpaceX could have human rating in 3 years for well under half a billion because the LV has already flown.”

    Well, it didn’t explode. But the simulated dragon certainly limped into orbit on the edge of control. No, Falcon9/Dragon will be a science fair project for a considerable time.

  • Bennett

    I’m so honored to have my comments questioned by such venerable sages as church and windy.

    “lying”

    Logic 101

    Ares 1 was going to cost 30 billion dollars and 6 more years (at least) to complete. Ares V development and construction is roughly estimated (by NASA to the GAO) to be an additional 40 billion dollars (at least) completed by 2030 (if ever).

    Yet some folks expect me to believe that a clean sheet HLV (“we have to start off from scratch using current state of the art technology, but it will be based on the concept of a SDHLV” ) is going to take LESS time and money than simply completing Ares 1?

    Seriously?

    Can anyone, anywhere, guarantee me that a HLV (75-150mt) will be designed, built, tested, and ready before 2016?

    Anyone?

    Okay then. Someone please tell me why these folks want me to wait 10 more years before I see a US rocket launch a US astronaut up to the ISS.

    Isn’t NASA oversight, NASA oversight?

    Isn’t NASA capable of ensuring that a rocket is safe to fly?

    If not, then what good are they?

  • Beltway Bob

    Oler you also said that you were John McCain’s space advisor. Do you still have that position?

  • Rhyolite

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 4:50 pm:

    “Korolev was against using exotic fuels other than the kerosene based types like in the present day launcher. Others that went against him, wanted highly toxic and more volatile types. That was why the N1 failed.”

    No, all of the N-1 stages used LOX/Kerosene. The failure of the N-1 was directly related to inadequate testing prior to flight.

    “Did you know the second stage of the N1 became known as todays Proton booster.”

    No, Proton was derived from the UR-500, which was a competing project by a different design bureau. It had nothing to do with the N-1.

  • Spaceboy

    Coastal Ron wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 2:34 am

    “First of all Spiceboy, it’s spelled SpaceX – not Space-X. Apparently you can criticize them, but you don’t know much about them.”

    Coastal Ron -oh, I am so sorry that I put a hyphen in a name that actually is Space Exploration Technologies, perhaps Space-Ex would have been more appropriate. What a stupid thing to make a big deal about. Oh no, at nearly 1:00 a.m. you put an unintentional hyphen in the name of the holy of all holies. And you are wrong I do not criticize them, I commend them for all the things they have accomplished which I think has been amazing, however, unlike the ComicCon fan boys I take what they have accomplished with a dose of realism. Like the fact that the inaugural launch was two years behind schedule and far from flawless as advertised. It has also set their Demo flights waaaaay behind scehdule. Reality, not fantasy.

    “Musk has said that they are looking at LAS systems, and that they may use a pusher. Maybe they have an LAS under development, or maybe they have just done preliminary design studies. Since they don’t have a need for one yet, why is it so damning that they have not announced one? Weird.”

    Great, they are looking at a LAS system, this is good, it is needed and hopefully no launch vehicle will ever have to use their LAS but it is needed. This does not imply any design work has started. I did not say it was damning that they have not announced one, just that they do not have one yet and Oler was announcing it like it was a miracle “But SpaceX is going to have a LAS!” I was simply pointing out that Orion already has a LAS, one that has been designed, tested rigorously and undergone a test flight already – which puts them about, oh I dont know, several years ahead of anybody in the LAS category.

    “The SpaceX Dragon capsule was built for human transportation, and they have designed it to meet all the published human-rating’s they knew of from NASA. Since getting to the ISS and back to the ground with cargo proves out the majority of the needed systems for crew, most of what’s left is an LAS, seats, controls/displays, and maybe a larger version of their cargo environmental system.”

    The Dragon capsule has been designed to human ratig standards for visiting vehicles docked to the International Space Station. This has absolutely nothing to do with Launch environments, re-entry or landing. Not to mention you know, actually being able to survive on orbit for a few days.

  • GaryChurch

    “Can anyone, anywhere, guarantee me that a HLV (75-150mt) will be designed, built, tested, and ready before 2016?
    Anyone?’

    Sidemount is on the way.

  • Coastal Ron

    Spaceb-oy wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I was simply pointing out that Orion already has a LAS, one that has been designed, tested rigorously and undergone a test flight already – which puts them about, oh I dont know, several years ahead of anybody in the LAS category.”

    Yes, an Orion/Ares I LAS has been tested, but Orion is not going to be launched on an Ares I anymore, so it’s not usable as is. Orion is being redesigned, and most likely will be significantly lighter, which means the LAS would have to be redesigned so it doesn’t add to the 14G acceleration it already has. And since Orion will now be launched on a liquid-fueled launcher, the LAS acceleration rate can be reduced even further to lessen the G forces on abort, and save weight. Less thrust and less fuel means that the entire LAS structure can be reduced in size and complexity. The LAS is not done.

    Orion itself is not finished, and Lockheed Martin was estimating that it would cost $4.5-5.5B to finish it. Bolden testified that it would take about 5 years. Do you see now why people are looking at the LEO crew version of Dragon to save money and get the job done quicker?

    The Dragon capsule has been designed to human ratig standards for visiting vehicles docked to the International Space Station. This has absolutely nothing to do with Launch environments, re-entry or landing. Not to mention you know, actually being able to survive on orbit for a few days.”

    SpaceX was building Dragon for crew before the COTS program came along. Since it was also designed for cargo, SpaceX was in a good position to use the COTS program to finish most of their Dragon development for cargo, DragonLab, and future crew.

    You also assume that SpaceX has never considered what the acceleration specs or environmental needs would be for crew, and though neither of us know this for sure, I think it’s likely they do, especially since they have shown competence so far in building two launchers and a capsule. Time will tell, but so far Musk has shown that he anticipates his future markets, and crew is one he has wanted to do when he founded the company. I think it’s one of his priorities.

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    “I started writing my post in response to something you wrote that I thought I was in agreement with – it was a little fuzzy which way you were arguing, but in general I have agreed with your statements and opinions in the past.”

    Thank you. BTW, I have nothing with any one who disagrees with me so long it is based on facts and not fantasy, and/or with anyone who can remain somewhat courteous. I know the discussion often turns hmm abrasive but hey that is life.

    “The end of my post was trying to cut off inane responses about the EDS being a payload (it’s transportation infrastructure), but the statements were not directed about you or what you wrote. Sorry for the confusion.”

    No harm done. I know very well how difficult it is to make an argument on a blog. Don’t always have time to think it through, to spell check, etc.

  • common sense

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ July 16th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    “And either The Republic will emerge enormously stronger (probably leading to another American century) or we will start to fade if it cannot be done.”

    What’s your bet? It feels like the fading already started to accelerate. This WH was supposed to be the big change and so far… Why do you think another WH would be so great? Not slave to WS? Or Health insurance? Or oil? Or you name it?

    ” The Country that emreged out of the Depression became a superpower.”

    True but WW-II was no stranger to it either.

    “If Nelson wanted a HLV based on teh shuttle he should have gotten some demo flights to keep the infrastructure at least intact. He didnt, it will die.

    Some money will be wasted but far less then Ares would have.”

    This is not clear to me. Remember that no matter what according to Shannon the Shuttle is $200M a month. So we may save a little on Ares development but for the rest we will still have to pay an army of people to do… Well to do what exactly?

    “Meanwhile Musk etal will plod along and get to orbit…and change will come.”

    Change will most likely come but not necessarily a happy change. Not for everyone any way. Compared with what could have been…

  • Coastal Ron

    GaryChurch wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    “You guess would be wrong as usual. No one is working any experiments with plates and explosives or anything related to nuclear pulse. What are you smoking to think of this? Nothing like this is on NASA’s radar. ”

    Not according to the people I have talked to- who still work for NASA. As usual, you are the one who is wrong.”

    In this case, talk is cheap – i.e. there is no budget for nuclear pulse research, but people can talk about it as much as they like.

    Regardless of the merits, there is no money. Maybe someday, maybe not.

  • Coastal Ron

    Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    > Considering the life support needs, 500 lbs would only allow for
    > one astronaut – heck the payload bay is only 7 feet long, so you
    > would have to stack two people sideways because the bay is only
    > 4 foot wide.==

    7 foot long by 4 in diameter is really spacious for a 2 man tandem aircraft.

    You have to think a little deeper about the differences between traveling in space and flying below 12,000 ft… like a pressurized (i.e. bulky) space suit that has an attached environmental system. Ever watch a spacewalk off the ISS? Try fitting just one person in a spacesuit into that 7×4′ closet.

    Ooh, you can even test out your theory at home. You and your wife need to put on lots of bulky winter clothes (ski jackets, sweaters, boots, etc.), put a packed day pack on, and then try and get into a phone booth (hard to find, but I know you’re resourceful). Now stay in there for 12 hours to simulate the CRV decent profile, and let us know what happened. Be sure to ask your wife what she thinks too, since your views might be a little biased… ;-)

  • Dennis Berube

    Rhyolite, sorry I have a diagram of the N1 which shows distinctly that the Proton design made up the second stage. Now maybe the diagram is wrong, perhaps? Anyone else have input here? It says Proton design second stage… I guess it could be wrong…Have to see if I can find more on it…

  • Dennis Berube

    Mr. Meijering, as to me being an adult, well Im 62 and will retire here in about 3months. Now because my view on space policy again doesnt match up with yours, according to you makes me a non-adult? Even went through the Vietnam war. This isnt about my adulthood. It is about what direction NASA should go in! Apparently most all of you people here, with few exceptions, favor the Obama plan. This will only keep us tied to LEO for along time into thefuture. Also apparently you dont care if people do lose their jobs? I thought an economy that produced both jobs and gave us a return was a good thing, whether operated by the government or the private sector. Also I have noted the cost is monumental and that in every way lower cost methods should be looked at. Again the point here I am making is until the private sector can handle it, the govenment needs to for both civilian and militay purposes..

  • Martijn Meijering

    I stand corrected.

  • Dennis Berube

    Rhyolite, I went back and looked at the diagram of the N1 to see if perhaps I had misread the info with regards to the Proton design being used on the second stage of the N1. It clearly shows and says just that. N1 second stage with Proton design. The Proton was already under development at that time. Now perhaps it is a misprint, and I am not saying you are wrong. I dont know for sure. I will attempt to further look more info up…

  • Martijn Meijering

    Again the point here I am making is until the private sector can handle it, the govenment needs to for both civilian and militay purposes..

    The private sector can already handle it. USA is a private company, albeit one in a monopoly position. ULA has a long history of reliable launches, it uses billion dollar national security payloads. Boeing has designed most US crew vehicles since Mercury. You are perpetuating a myth. Whether deliberately or not, I leave as an exercise to the reader.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Launches, not uses.

  • Dennis Berube

    Yes, so far commercial companies have supplied NASA its hardware. Problem is, and this is no myth, they run into a continuous program of over runs in cost. Will SpaceX and Bigelow do the same?????? A way needs to be found to eliminate the over runs, wouldnt you say? The difference today is that the drive for deep space exploration is gone. How can they handle it? None have launched manned spacecraft as yet? How soon?

  • Martijn Meijering

    The proposal was to move away from cost-plus to milestone based payments. Congress wasn’t happy about that proposal.

    Do you now accept that the supposed immaturity of commercial entities is a myth?

  • Ferris Valyn

    Dennis – its called firm fixed price contract, as opposed to that cost-plus dead-end that was Constellation. Man-rating the Atlas V & Delta IV vehicles (or at least one of them) will provide no real challenges, and doing Commercial Crew like we did COTS should be a fairly easy task for companies like Boeing, and result in new companies also joining the pursuit of human spaceflight

    CST-100, Dreamchaser, and a manned Dragon – thats the way forward

  • Martijn Meijering

    CST-100, Dreamchaser, and a manned Dragon – thats the way forward

    Dragon may be the only one that can survive Congressional opposition.

  • Kelly Starks

    > Coastal Ron wrote @ July 19th, 2010 at 2:18 am
    >> Kelly Starks wrote @ July 17th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    >> 7 foot long by 4 in diameter is really spacious for a 2 man tandem aircraft.”

    > You have to think a little deeper about the differences between
    > traveling in space and flying below 12,000 ft… like a
    > pressurized (i.e. bulky) space suit that has an attached environmental
    > system.

    Actually I was thinking of fighter planes (or Gemini), where they do wear some pressure like suits, but given its a emergency lifeboat, you’d have to assume folks don’t have enough time to suit up.

    >Ever watch a spacewalk off the ISS? Try fitting just one person in a
    > spacesuit into that 7×4′ closet.

    You don’t wear EVA suits in spaceships.

    > You and your wife need to put on lots of bulky winter
    > clothes (ski jackets, sweaters, boots, etc.), put a packed
    > day pack on, ==

    Sounds like a normal winter driving day – except my wifes SUV is much smaller.

    ;)

    > and then try and get into a phone booth =

    Nit ,but this is big enough to fit the full phonebooth in it?
    >== for 12 hours to simulate the CRV decent profile, ==

    Why assume a 12 hour descent profile? It is a emergency craft – you should pick it up a bit.

  • Beltway Bob

    John McCain’s space adviser, Robert Oler, is not making much sense lately. Otherwise, he’s’ thumping his chest about things others have already said.

  • Kelly Starks wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:20 pm
    You do know that oxygen candles are supposed to burn and that Gerry’s account, shall we say, was a little hysterical. The Russians are a little more stoical. The flame was directed at non flammable internal components. Fire was extinguished. Lessons were learned.
    W.r.t. failed TORU/ Progress M-34 experiment. Whilst the event was critical to the habitability of Mir… for a time. At no time was the Station in danger of “blowing up”.
    If you post distortions or inflamatory statements of “fact” the rest of your post(s) are devalued.
    Unless, of course, you are being sarcastic. In which case the convention is to use single inverted commas.

    Spektr was launched June 1, 1995
    Docking Module: November 15, 1995
    Priroda Module: April 26, 1996
    Incident: June 25, 1997
    New?
    “Comment is free, but facts are sacred.”
    C.P. Scott.

  • Kelly Starks

    > brobof wrote @ July 19th, 2010 at 10:47 am
    >> Kelly Starks wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    > You do know that oxygen candles are supposed to burn ==

    Burn, yes. Explode adn blaze across a module into the far wall (and cut the crew off from the lifeboat), no.
    And the whole issue of a fire in space station is really bad! And the whole polution of the atmosphere thing.

    ;)
    > and that Gerry’s account, shall we say, was a little hysterical. ==

    Didn’t seem hysterical to me – and generally NASA goes to pains to dump Astronauts who are hysterical by nature.

    > The Russians are a little more stoical.==

    Fatalistic is a better term.

    >== At no time was the Station in danger of “blowing up”.

    You have a uncontrolled fire, in a space capsule, from a fractured oxygen candel. Explosion (or rupturing of the pressure vessel) was a potential result.

  • Bennett wrote @ July 18th, 2010 at 5:17 pm
    “It will take at least 10 years and probably 30 billion dollars to develop and build a SDHLV.”
    Especially AFAICS the starting gun was fired by Griffin in 2006 (ESAS) and the US has reportedly spent $9 billion so far…

    If past history is anything to go by, by the time everyone has finished kicking around with the NHLV. It probably won’t be Shuttle derived. (Like Ares!) It probably won’t be affordable. (Like Ares!) And it probably won’t be put into service. (Like Ares!)
    The Shuttle was a makeshift solution to lack of funding and a failure of Vision. The current course Congress has set upon NASA repeats the mistake.
    I am also of the opinion that the ONLY reason Congress wants a 75tn HLV is because those peski Russkis are on course with their Angara:
    http://spaceplex.com/2010/07/18/russia-to-start-testing-new-angara-rocket-in-2013/
    The new ‘socialist’ rocket must be bigger and better than the new ‘communist’ one. However you will note both RKA and ESA are contemplating a ‘cheap’ CCB capable of clustering: 1:3:5:7! SpaceX’s real competitors in the global launch market. One hopes that they too add the promise of reusability into the mix.

  • Rhyolite

    Dennis Berube wrote @ July 19th, 2010 at 7:14 am

    The N1 second stage, or Block B, was powered by 8 NK-15V engines that used LOX / Kerosene as propelants. It used in-line tanks that were nearly spherical – something I don’t recall seeing on any other large launch vehicle than the N1.

    The Proton first stage, is power by 6 RD-253 engines (or its derivitive teh RD-275) that use NTO / UDMH as propelants. It also uses a distinct tank configuration with the NTO stored in a large center tank and the UDMH stored in six smaller tanks mounted around the circumfrence of the NTO tank. These fule tanks are sometimes mistaken for strap on rockets, which they are not.

    The two stages really have nothing to do with each other. The only overlap between the N1 and Proton is that the fith stage of the N1, or Block D, was reused as the fourth stage, or Block DM, on some Proton Ks. The Block DM is also used on as the thrid stage on some Zenits.

    All of this is verifiable from public domain sights like astronautix.com, russianspaceweb.com, and Wikipedia.

  • GaryChurch

    “In this case, talk is cheap – i.e. there is no budget for nuclear pulse research, but people can talk about it as much as they like.

    Regardless of the merits, there is no money. Maybe someday, maybe not.”

    You disappoint me Ron.
    All the research has already been done- hundreds of billions of dollars of it done over the last half century by the DOD. It is all classified but a couple things have been let slip- like the term Casaba Howitzer. Google it. The NASA guy writing the papers knows more than he can say about this. He is the won who specified the test missions with conventional explosives.

    And as for people talking as much as they like-that goes for ULA and their fuel depots and lunar missions as well. And SpaceX and their 27 engine monstrosity that will probably never fly. Regardless of your comments, the money has already been spent, we have enough bombs sitting around to go anywhere we want- and someday sometimes turns out to be tomorrow.

  • Coastal Ron

    GaryChurch wrote @ July 19th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    All the research has already been done…

    In product development you have an R&D phase, which is of course Research and Development.

    Research may draw on studies done over long periods of time, and sometimes in areas that were not directly related to what they thought they would be used on.

    The development part is where you take the research and apply it to a specific application – make a product or service out of it. This means real life testing, and making real hardware to verify that the theory translates to fact.

    Lots of research has been done on various forms of nuclear propulsion, but no real development. For your nuclear pulse research, not only does it need to get funding to transition into the development phase, but there is a whole political minefield that it has to go through to get everyone to agree that we should be shipping nuclear bombs to space.

    Technically the idea could work, but politically I don’t see it happening. Have you got the support of your Senators and Congressman? If they can seriously say “that idea is worth putting my political butt on the line”, then maybe it will happen. Until then, it won’t.

  • Coastal Ron

    GaryChurch wrote @ July 19th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    And SpaceX and their 27 engine monstrosity that will probably never fly.

    SpaceX has already tested and flown their Falcon 9, and Falcon 9 Heavy is just three of their core boosters connected together. Delta IV Heavy uses this configuration, and the Russians will be using up to 7 core boosters on their Angara rockets.

    I know you have this N-1 fear, but that was an all-in-one design, and back in the days when welding was still an art, and not a verifiable science. For some reason your fear of engine clusters doesn’t seem to translate over to the SD-HLV Sidemount – not biased are we?

  • GaryChurch

    “Technically the idea could work, but politically I don’t see it happening.”

    I have thought this out as best I can Ron. Taking into account all the factors I am aware of concerning human space flight, I have a flow chart in mind of what will solve our problem and what will not. Simplistic? Yes. I am just giving all of this my best shot.

    The Nuclear Pulse Propulsion concept is not a question of possibly working- in my opinion it is simply the only thing that will work. So there is no discussion really; either we use it and go or we do not and stay. Stan Ulam understood this back in 1945. There is no other source of power that is usable- nuclear rockets melt when the ISP gets about double that of chemical rockets. Pulse is all there is. That is the first box in the flow chart.

    As for my fear of clusters; it is just too many engines. Too many little hot rods. All those turbopumps and gymbals and all that plumbing is cheap and nasty. If three of those one million pound thrust engines get mounted then the falcon 9 heavy will be a far better vehicle. I am biased toward Sidemount of course. You know why I think we need an HLV.

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