Congress, NASA, Other

Weekend miscellanea

“Can We Turn Over America’s Space Program to a ‘Space Cadet’?” is the lurid headline late Friday in the normally-staid The Hill. The post, part of the Capitol Hill publication’s “Pundits Blog”, is by Peter Fenn, head of a PR firm and someone who has worked extensively with Democratic candidates. The “space cadet” in question is Elon Musk: Fenn is worried that by turning over access to LEO to SpaceX in particular that “we taxpayers may be paying for it and sacrificing solid, important research and development in the process” (he doesn’t specify exactly what “solid, important research and development” would be sacrificed.) He is particularly at odds, though, with Musk’s unusual direct PR approach: “Somehow this does not seem like the right style for a company and a CEO that we should entrust with our space program and the effort to build the electric car.” (The post is as much about Tesla as it is about SpaceX, with Fenn claiming incorrectly that Musk started SpaceX because he “must be somewhat bored with electric cars”; SpaceX predates Tesla.)

In an op-ed in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle, Scott Spencer and Chris Kraft make a last-ditch bid to extend the space shuttle program as a cornerstone for a “robust manned space program”. The op-ed takes a curiouser turn later on, though, as the two advocate development of a “modular, reusable Planetary Transport Vehicle (PTV) System” for human missions beyond LEO—modules that, of course, would be sized to fit in the shuttle’s payload bay, but with crews ferried to them in LEO by commercial vehicles. It’s worth nothing that the two sent a joint letter to President Obama in April asking him to extend the shuttle program (but without the discussion of the PTV system) when Spencer made a short-lived attempt to run for the House from Delaware.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the topic of an editorial in the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday, which expresses concerns about cost overruns and delays in the program. “Such cost overruns and delays are unacceptable,” the editorial states, but expresses support for the program’s scientific potential. “Making the Webb telescope a success deserves to be a national priority. Its promise is almost unfathomable.”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is optimistic about the commercial prospects of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island in Virginia, she tells the local newspaper, the Daily News. The spaceport will start hosting launches next summer of Orbital Sciences’ Taurus 2 rocket, carrying cargo spacecraft to the ISS. Wallops, she said, “will be like the Southwest Airlines of space. It’s an upstart, lower cost, cheaper and safer way because it doesn’t require human flight.” The metaphor seems a little tangled: Orbital, it seems, would be in line to be Southwest while Wallops would be like Dallas’s Love Field, or, closer to home, BWI Airport, both major hubs for Southwest.

234 comments to Weekend miscellanea

  • Robert G. Oler

    A rather sad mix of op eds.

    Krafts is particularly depressing as it is clear he doesnt get it…and recycles a whole series of incorrect statements to try and justify the unjustifiable. The most unique one is the space shuttle has to keep flying to safely deorbit the space station…goofy.

    In the end a blind person can see what is going to come out of this “year in space”.

    The shuttle and Cx are gone. Orion will hang on some but in the end what it is going to become is a technology effort for long duration systems. The odds of it ever flying are almost zero. All serious plans for human exploration Beyond Geo are over. Doubtless there will be some flunkies at NASA studying the effort for quite sometime, thats where they always go heh Linda H needs a job…but thats all they are going to be.

    There will be some effort at a heavy lift…and the design of it is going to be critical to how it survives particularly if the budget situation worsens.

    Commercial will go forward. That horse has left the barn and before long what we are going to see is the sort of competition that has been needed in hsf for quite sometime.

    The unknown joker in the room is deficit reduction. There is a commission that is going to report shortly after the election …and the rumors that the commission is going to “whittle NASA” down to about 15 billion are pretty high. This seems to be one reason Garver and others are moving to try and get the Senate bill pushed through…so that NASA might be immune to such action.

    It is an odd sort of events. If Obama’s economic policies succeed he is a shoe in for reelect in 12 and there might not need to be tough cuts made…if they fail (as I see likely) then 12 is wide open and the cuts to NASA are going to be quite severe.

    Oh the ironies.

    Robert G. Oler

  • MrEarl

    Oh the lack of vision you show Oler. You, Coastal Ron, Bennett and others who support commercial ventures in space should jump on a proposal like Kraft’s. A Planetary Transfer Vehicle would need an orbital base like the habitation modules Bigalow is working on, crew and worker transportation that can be provided by SpaceX’s Dragon or the Boeing CT-100, supplies would need to be carried to the ship using the Dragon or Orbital’s Cyngus. It also assures that these systems will be unfettered by competition from NASA designed systems.
    A shuttle launch rate of only two or three per year would allow for the retirement of one of the orbiters and a reduction in the United Space Alliance workforce of 2 thirds.
    Heavy lift would no longer be needed so the SLS would not need to be developed saving money that can be used to develop landers and in-space propulsion systems.
    Oler, it’s clear you have a “knee-jerk’ reaction against anything seeks to expand the human presence in space.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    none of that is accurate…

    “A shuttle launch rate of only two or three per year would allow for the retirement of one of the orbiters and a reduction in the United Space Alliance workforce of 2 thirds.:”

    those person power (FTE’s) are not accurate. First off I suspect that the genius at MOD and other places will argue/concur that 2 or 3 flights a year is not safe…they have in the past…and the person power reduction by that number is fairly small. There would be some reduction but hardly 2/3…its sort of like saying 9 women can make a baby in 1 month…you have no idea how the shuttle system is processed…

    In addition the parts are no longer there for that flight rate…and the cost per flight would be astronomical.

    the space shuttle system and heavy lift have no real mission after station complete…unless one invents goofy things for it to do…and then we come to this point.

    The notion of planetary transfer vehicles is a good one (Aldrin came up with it a long time ago)…but there are a few problems, not the least is that there is no political desire to do such exploration at the cost it would require. There are other problems, like not really having the technology (particularly propulsion) to do planetary exploration…but the reality is that there is no political support for it.

    What Krafts proposal is, and he more or less says this…”is keep NASA and the contractors busy” proposal. there is really no value in that even though Kraft tries to support it with his notion that flat screen TV’s came from the space effort (goofy).

    All in all there is now no pressing need for human exploration of space beyond GEO…I know you dont agree with that, but that is the overriding sentiment of a country that is on the brink of deep financial difficulties…and is buoyed by the facts.

    Robert G. Oler

  • GeeSpace

    A question to Robert Oler

    You stated “All in all there is now no pressing need for human exploration of space beyond GEO”

    Well. okay, but what, in your opinion, would be a pressing need for human exploration of space beyond GEO.

  • MrEarl

    Oler:
    “those person power (FTE’s) are not accurate.”
    I’ve asked you and others to prove that statement for months but no one ever has.
    Each orbiter has it’s own ground crew of thousands dedicated just to that orbiter. Each also has it’s own launch crew! A flight rate of two or three per year would allow the work force reduction of two thirds at KSC for shuttle operations by having only one crew for both vehicles. You are the one who have no idea of how the shuttle is processed.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Actually, MrEarl, we did jump at the proposal (save for retaining the Shuttle)

    It was called the Obama proposal. We don’t have the tech yet to build the vehicle Craft is talking about, which means we need some R&D.

    Its a shame that we’ve decided instead to focus on another big HLV, with no payloads.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve asked you and others to prove that statement for months but no one ever has.

    Your 2/3 cost reduction doesn’t seem to match up with what the Shuttle Program Manager stated, which is that it costs him $200M/month to run the program, regardless if they fly, and that marginal costs are added in after something like flights 2 or 3 (I don’t recall the exact number). And they are really doing about your 2-3 flight rate right now anyways. Can you explain the how the Shuttle PM is wrong?

    Also, I don’t think the CAIB would agree that one less Shuttle makes the STS any safer, and in fact it would probably be less so if you don’t have a backup on the pad.

    It’s time to move on to something safer and less costly. Throw a party, congratulate everyone involved, and end the program.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    As has been pointed out to you, the shuttle program manager does not agree with you on the cost or the personel reductions.

    The numbers have been run over and over again as the genuises at MOD and other places tried to save their shuttle…but in the end there is no getting around the 200 million a month it cost either just sitting there or flying..

    learn some more.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Someone said earlier that neither Mikulski or Rockefeller have any reason to push for continued NASA funding. Apparently that person is not aware of Goddard SFC or the NASA IV&V facility in Fairmont, WV, not to mention the corporations with offices who support those operations in MAryland and West Virginia.

    There is more to NASA than Houston, the Cape and Washington, DC.

  • libs0n

    McEarl,

    The Shuttle isn’t needed to lift such payloads. There exists in your country a commercial launch industry capable of meeting that role. The same commercial launch vehicles that loft military satellites and robot probes, tasked with launching PTV modules. They just need you to come to the realization that they are an asset in hand that can be used to support human exploration. You don’t need to sustain a launch vehicle line to service your demand: you can pool your demand with the other demand on the launch vehicles that exist, with the expense avoidance and cost sharing that comes with that usage. This will benefit you, in realizing your exploration goals, and your commercial launch industry, in servicing more demand, and the other users of that industry, of being able to access the benefits that expansion has on the system.

    Look at Mir. A space station more capable than Skylab, put into space with the Proton, which continues to this day lofting military payloads and communication satellites. You have the tools you need, but not if you ignore them.

  • MrEarl

    Wow Ferris you are delusional. The administration’s plan was nothing like that.

    Ron:
    Shannon and the space shuttle program always based their figures on a retention of a full workforce. The marginal costs are the cost of the additional hardware. At such a lower flight rate you only need one full crew of technicians to handle the shuttle processing chores instead of the three employed today.

    As for the US not having the technology to build a PTV we have it now in the guise of MPLMs and other equipment leftover from the ISS construction. The only things that would be needed are maneuvering thrusters and a propulsion unit. The modular nature of a PTV would allow for swapping out different units as needed.

    Oler:
    Your right about Aldren proposing something like this as recently as this past March. That’s why I think it was a little disingenuous for him to say he supported the administration’s position when he clearly did not.

  • Robert G. Oler

    GeeSpace wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    “Well. okay, but what, in your opinion, would be a pressing need for human exploration of space beyond GEO….”

    good question

    there are three historical models for exploration.

    The first is when the exploration is a stand in for some other great national need.

    The second is when the cost of exploration goes so low that it is affordable “in the noise”

    The third is when there is some pressing human knowledge that must be had.

    There are good examples in history of all of these. Apollo was clearly of the first variety, human exploration through robotics of the solar system and the oceans and south pole exploration fall into the second category and the “exploration” for the atomic bomb fall into the third. The third is a rather unique category and is not frequently seen.

    They all interact but almost every form of exploration has one of the three as its main centerpiece.

    So if one of our robotic probes found “the monolith” on (insert solar system body here) it would be hard to argue that the cost of going were not worthwhile…

    more likely where human exploration of the solar system (including the Moon) gets its start (again) is when the cost of such an expedition draws down to a very modest number because what is done by humans in near earth orbit (out to Geo) has 1) generated a lot of revenue and 2) has built the infrastructure that can be adapted to exploration with not a lot of cost.

    Otherwise it is hard to argue that robotic exploration is not the best bang for the buck. Cassini consumes if one takes the total mission years and divides it by total mission cost…what 100 million a year (maybe I bet it is not that much)…hard to argue that we are not getting the bang for the buck on that. Cassini has filled in far more gigabits of data on Saturn and its system then Apollo did on the Moon.

    I agree that there is some amount of money that a great power like the US even in hard economic times would spend on human exploration IF the cost were at some X.X billion (say under 2 billion a year)…problem is that NASA HSF has just priced itself out of that market.

    This is why the bangers like Whittington always fly the PRC scare…”we have to go because zounds the REd Chinese will make us show passports if we ever go back”. that is just nonsense but it is an attempt to explain doing something that on its own cant pay its freight and cost far to much for what it does. And of course it really is the only model that Apollo would have worked under.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    It is not surprising about Aldrin, if you read or listen to Buzz Aldrin.

    Not to put words in his mouth, but Buzz believes more or less that Apollo was a one shot thing…ie exploration as a substitute for some other great power effort…and the circumstances that made Apollo what it was are not likely to ever return.

    What he has stated on numerous occasions that human exploration of the solar system is only possible as a “step ahead’ (his words) of routine space operations. IE when space operations at say LEO have a heavy industrial base that supports it, then it is possible to “leap” in exploration at a affordable price etc.

    Aldrin stopped believing in exploration as an entitlement a long time ago. I know you still do

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Shannon and the space shuttle program always based their figures on a retention of a full workforce..

    that is not accurate. really its not.

    shuttle orbiters and flights are not processed how you think that they are…sorry

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 1:36 pm <- Sad? More exhaust gases expelled from the aft end of Oler's service module. The use of terms like 'goofy' are more self-descriptive in the case of the Great Waldo Oler– perhaps reflections off glassed pieces on his 'I love me wall.'

    Kraft has penned a stellar editorial.

    His perspective, rationale and recommendations are based on decades of successful manned spaceflight operations and a hard-earned expertise. His points are valid and they merit strong consideration coming from an individual who helped invent manned spaceflight for the United States and made the country a space-faring nation.

    "Commercial will go forward. That horse has left the barn and before long what we are going to see is the sort of competition that has been needed in hsf for quite sometime." <- Left the barn for the glue factory, where it can actually be turned into something that has demonstrated it can turn a profit and ROI for shareholders. Earth to Waldo, for decades, commercial space has gone no place. It has FLOWN NOBODY. Government funded manned spaceflight operations have been lofting crew for half a century. The future of manned space exploration is with government funded and managed space projects– not in the private sector.

    “Can We Turn Over America’s Space Program to a ‘Space Cadet’?” That's unkind to space cadets. Try can we turn it over to Professor Harold Hill… or PT Barnum… or WC Fields as a more appropriate comparisons. Musk has flown nobody and won't for some time– if ever. The answer is obviously and appropriately, nyet.

  • DCSCA

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:18 pm <- You could exchange mirrors with Aldrin. Buzz is all about Buzz. As the late Wally Schirra liked to quip, 'Buzz would show up at the opening of an envelope." His hosting of a Canadian wrestling event earlier this year did so much for space advocacy; especially when he moonwalked across the canvas. Sad.

  • MrEarl

    Rich:
    Under the administration’s plan, Goddard would have received more in R&D than any benefit to be gained in the Senate plan. Also Wallops Island VA could have expected more launches from Orbital who’s Cygnus cargo vehicle launches from there. Both places near and dear to Mikulski’s heart.

    libsOn:
    If we are to make use of the components left over from the ISS then the shuttle or a shuttle derived vehicle would be needed. I think it’s questionable where Mir was more capable than Skylab considering the 15 additional years of development. Additionally for Mir’s approximately 15% additional volume it required 6 launches to Skylab’s 1. Imagine if we would have launched the second Skylab, the one now sitting in the Air and Space museum, and docked the two together. That capability would not have been matched until the ISS 30 years later.

  • Doug Lassiter

    “Keeping the space shuttles flying will be essential to preserve the continuity of 30,000 jobs and maintaining American technical proficiency with regular space missions. The space shuttles also provide the United States with vital space transportation redundancy.”

    So says Spencer and Kraft.

    Preserving the continuity of 30,000 jobs has no relevance to space exploration. Sorry, but it just doesn’t. Keeping 30,000 people employed somewhere is pretty important to the nation, but keeping them employed servicing 30 year old vehicles is simply delusional. Oh, but maybe we should wait until those vehicles are 40 years old? Would that make people feel better?

    Maintaining American technical proficiency with regular space missions? Presumably they’re talking about human space flight. We do regular space missions all the time, and will continue to do so. Propulsion, nav, comm. That expertise won’t go away. As to maintaining technical proficiency for human space flight, Shuttle maintains it at a level that is a decade or more old.

    Space transportation redundancy? Using woefully expensive vehicles as a backup for space transportation is ludicrous.

    Thank goodness our “robust manned space program” won’t rely on what are honorable and successful but aging vehicles for success. That’s digging in your heels instead of running forward.

  • Mr. Mark

    Please keep arguing, The members of congress, I hope, will continue the argument as well into 2011 just about the time of Spacex’s final COTS launch. As everyone is arguing, Spacex has launched into orbit the first falcon 9 and Spacex has delivered the first fully functional Dragon to the Cape along with the Falcon 9 launch vehicle for COTS 1. My hope is that by the time the dust settles in congress Spacex and hopefully Orbital will be ready for cargo to the ISS. You see by that time the argument will have already been won.

  • Mr. Mark

    I have to think how much longer can I read DCSCA’s and amightywind’s comments before I suffer a stroke?

  • MrEarl

    Oler, how would know how orbiters are processed? You have never had any dealings with operations at the cape and I’m sure you never had any in-depth discussions with Shannon.
    As for Buzz, have you ever met the man?! I don’t think so because if you did you would know that the only thing he likes to promote more than Buzz is human space exploration.

    Please learn a little bit about what you’re talking about before you put fingers to keyboard.

  • Bennett

    Mr. Mark wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    The key is NOT reading either of those trolls.

  • Bennett

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I think you’re wrong about Aldrin. He wants to see greatly expanded HSF, preferably his Mars Cycler program. Unable to get that, I believe he prefers the Flexible Path because it helps develop the technology that gets us closer to what he really wants.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    If we are to make use of the components left over from the ISS then the shuttle or a shuttle derived vehicle would be needed.

    You keep ignoring the launcher that has been built, flown, and is far less expensive than any SDLV – Delta IV Heavy. It can loft any ISS component, and all that is needed is a tug motor to maneuver the payload to it’s destination (something like the one ATV uses).

    Really MrEarl, why do you keep making these kind of statements, without acknowledging the obvious alternatives. Maybe you would like to address the real question – why not use Delta IV Heavy for ISS components?

  • GeeSpace

    Thank you, Robert G. Oler, for your posting, just a couple of rebuttals.
    I don’t think there are only three historical models for exploration. I give you two possible examples, 1. The 15th Century Chinese explorer Zheng He and 2. American explorers like Daniel Boone.

    You stated ‘more likely where human exploration of the solar system (including the Moon) gets its start (again) is when the cost of such an expedition draws down to a very modest number because what is done by humans in near earth orbit (out to Geo) has 1) generated a lot of revenue and 2) has built the infrastructure that can be adapted to exploration with not a lot of cost”
    Without getting into the quantitative issue of less or low cost, the question I have is How much infrastructure is needed for exploration and what type of exploration.
    You mentioned robotic missions. well it seems to me that we “need” no infrastructure in space for those types of missions.
    An active, aggressive human missions beyond GEO is needed for humankind for many reasons in addition to perhaps financial reasons
    ..

  • Ferris Valyn

    MrEarl – show me the tech that is already existing for doing such a craft as the vehicle that Kraft & Spencer is talking. The things needed to make it work (prop depots, advanced propulsion, long duration life support) doesn’t exist. It has to be developed. We are at Project Mercury with Deep Space flight, and we need to do the base work to ensure we can do it successfully

  • DCSCA

    Mr. Mark wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:43 pm <- Yes, Dr. Kraft's comments may just do that to the commercial space minded. Bennett's embrace of Aldrin's views is odd. A decade or so ago Aldrin's perspectives had some validity but bear in mind his voice only has any gravitas at all because he crewed the first lunar landing mission. If he'd been on a later flight and a footnote to history, his views might carry less weight today. This writer actually broached the subject of the 'Mars Cycler' in a casual conversation with Aldrin some years back at an event in Los Angeles and he simply replied, "There are some problems with it." (So yes, encountered him a few times, Markie, since the first time in October, '69.) One suspects he has a personal agenda for preferring the 'flexible path' and being in direct opposition with most of his Apollo era colleagues. Nothing wrong with that at all. Increasingly of late, Buzz is about Buzz– beyond the action figures, necktie signings, endorsements and so on. There's nothing wrong with that either, but it's a part of his public personna which he has every right to market. But his recent eccentric forays into televised wrestling events and dancing, while embracably quaint from an octogenerian POV, have done little to help pitch his position. Sad stuff to see. Armstrong, Kraft, Cernan, Lovell, Lunney, etc., all have stated a reasoned postion on how to direct manned spaceflight efforts for the next three decades. Their spring letter remains a valid and sound position which is one Aldrin does not support at this time.

  • DCSCA

    Bennett wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 6:03 pm This writer actually broached the subject of the ‘Mars Cycler’ in a casual conversation with Aldrin some years back at an event in Los Angeles. He stated without reservation, “There are some problems with it.”

  • broached? You mean you actually got a word in edgewise to Aldrin?

  • DCSCA

    Trent Waddington wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 8:02 pm <- Of course, especially if it's about him– or something he's interested in. Another amusing point- he felt the portrayal of his 'spacewalk' in the HBO series, 'From The Earth To The Moon' was a little exaggerated when it came to depicting the static electricity along his gloves. Wasn't nearly that pronounced as shown, so he said.

  • no answer yet !

    .
    .

    the spaceplane mothership WK2 has lost a landing gear on runway… :|

    these are only “advanced hobby level” vehicles… they’re not SAFE and RELIABLE like a Boeing or an Airbus… VERY DANGEROUS trips wait the “space tourists”…

    a commercial vehicle, that should fly with tourists, needs, at least, the SAME level of engineering, tests, controls, etc. that only a, non-hobbyists, big aerospace company can achieve, after years of study of an army of engineers and billion$ of investment

    why spend billion$ to develop a new airplane if it’s all that easy?

    just call an airplane building hobbyist to save lots of billion$ and lay off thousands engineers…

    of course, skilled hobbyists and single, good, engineers CAN build their own “home built” or “garage built” personal airplane, but they must be used by them and their friends (or test pilots) at their own risks and, surely, not used to carry tourists

    after all, these are the risks to rely on “commercial space” that, surey, has a great future, but, now, it’s a too young industry with a big lack of experience to have the same level of reliability of the “old.space”

    so, could the “commercial space” REALLY replace the Space Shuttle???

    or puts the $200 billion ISS under the serious risk to DIE soon?

    gho
    stnasa.co
    m/posts2/072issdeath.ht
    ml

    some people are pro-Shuttle, others are against it, but ALL know the DETAILED Space Shuttle data

    some people are pro-Ares1/5, others are against them, but ALL know the DETAILED Ares1/5 NASA studies

    some people are pro-EELVs, others are against them, but ALL know the DETAILED Delta/Atlas/Ariane/etc. data and launches

    well, now, some people are pro “commercial space”, others are against it, but HOW they/we can be PRO or AGAINST it, if they/we STILL don’t know the EXACT data and info of the “commercial” vehicles??????????

    e.g. SpaceX hasn’t given yet any detailed info and data about the Dragon

    the specs available in the .pdf published on the SpaceX site aren’t so clear

    so, it’s hard to evaluate this vehicle to know what it really can or can’t do

    these are the exact data we need to know from SpaceX about the Dragon:

    - payload adapter mass ________

    - empty service module mass ________

    - service module propellants mass ________

    - empty capsule mass ________

    - ejected nose cone mass ________

    - max LEO/ISS pressurized cargo mass ________

    - max LEO/ISS unpressurized cargo mass ________

    - max returned cargo mass ________

    - cargo Dragon GLOW ________

    - crewed Dragon GLOW ________

    - Dragon’s LAS mass ________

    - max crew life support mass ________

    - max crew+seats+spacesuits mass ________

    - max mission autonomy (days) ________

    - max Falcon-9 “dumb” payload to ISS orbit ________

    all data should be in mT (1000 kg.) or kg.

    the data of the crewed Dragon should be for a full, seven astronauts, mission

    could the “commercial” SpaceX give CLEAR data and answers to the space community and the (potential) investors?

    remember that NASA and USA should RELY (mainly or only) on the Falcon-9 and Dragon for the next TEN+ years!!!

    .
    .

  • Bennett

    I’m beginning to think that Gaetano Morano (above) and DCSCA and Windy are all the same person.

  • Byeman

    “data we need to know”

    Who is we? Certainly not Gaetano Morano, he doesn’t need the data nor would he know what to do with it if he had it.

    “give CLEAR data and answers to the space community and the (potential) investors”

    Spacex had given clear data and answers to the space community. Gaetano Morano, you are not part of this community.

  • no answer yet !

    .
    ok, but HOW MANY of those who write on (or read) this blog (that, surely, ARE part of the space community) know the TRUE and FULL Dragon data (to evaluate them) …I guess, NO ONE !!!
    .

  • Bennett

    What a goofball. How did that Deadly Hubble Service Flight (that was going to kill all the astronauts) work out for you? Yeah, your latest spam is just as believable as that was.

  • NASA Fan

    It is time to end NASA HSF. There is no real purpose for it that does anything to address the concerns of the average American. Let the ISS float in in 2015, burn up, etc. Then we’ll see what commercial HSF can accomplish.

    The party is over.

  • Coastal Ron

    no answer yet ! wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Gaetano, you already know the public information that matters:

    - 6000 kg total combined up-mass capability
    - Up to 3000 kg down mass

    In the commercial world, companies don’t have to publish everything about their product, even if they take public money. In the world of NASA it can be very difficult to find information about specific systems too, so don’t try and make it seem like SpaceX is some sort of special case.

    But it all boils down to SO WHAT. As someone else said, you just want the information so you can claim you invented it first.

  • MrEarl

    Morono makes Windy and Oler look reasonable. :-)

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    Nor do they need to. So P… O.. Gaetano Morano, you are not part of this community. Get lost and stay lost. Your comments have no validity in any rational discussion blog. Go troll where the sun don’t shine.

  • no answer yet !

    @ NASA Fan
    .
    in 2014-2016 (+ delays) the “commercial space” will be ONLY able (IF very very lucky) to offer to NASA and USA a sort of “american Soyuz” and and “american Progress” with the same (small payloads and LEO-only) performances of the (’60s designed) Soviet Union’s vehicles, but OVER 50 YEARS LATER the Soviet Union’s ones, that, also, with higher costs per launch and (probably) less reliability of the (hundreds times successful launched) Soyuz and Progress and a price-per-ton of pressurized payload to the ISS up to FIVE TIMES HIGHER than the (already expensive) Space Shuttle price-per-ton… :| :| :|
    .

  • no answer yet !

    “you just want the information so you can claim you invented it first”
    .
    no, I haven’t “invented” the cargo-Dragon-Progress nor the crew-Dragon-Soyuz… the Soviet Union has invented both them… nearly 50 years ago… :)
    .

  • no answer yet !

    “- 6000 kg total combined up-mass capability – Up to 3000 kg down mass”
    .
    so, we know more (much more) about the secret, classified, invisible, F-117 than about the SpaceX’s Pepsi-sized space capsule !!!
    .

  • no answer yet !

    Beancounter from Downunder said… “you are not part of this community”
    .
    ok, but, you ARE part of this community, I suppose, so… do you know ALL the Dragnon data I’m asking for??? I believe… NO
    .
    the “space community” is made of hundreds of thousands engineers, technicians,employees, scientists, science journalists, scientific advisors, etc.
    .
    so, it’s IMPOSSIBLE that, with so many people who knows these data (or even 1% of them) the true Dragon data still aren’t available (in full details) EVERYWHERE on the Web!!!
    .
    see the WikiLeaks story where just ONE GUY was enough to reveal 70,000 highly classified documents!!!
    .
    so, the Dragon data are much secret, than, the most secret Pentagon’s documents!!! :O
    .

  • Bennett

    Oh lord.

    next

  • Martijn Meijering

    show me the tech that is already existing for doing such a craft as the vehicle that Kraft & Spencer is talking. The things needed to make it work (prop depots, advanced propulsion, long duration life support) doesn’t exist.

    I think we could easily do what Kraft & Spencer are talking about. If the vehicle departs for the moon or other destinations from L1/L2 instead of LEO and returns to L1/L2 at the end of its missions then it is perfectly doable with hypergolics. This takes care of the refueling without need for advanced propulsion, at least for the Earth-moon system. Long duration life support has been demonstrated on the ISS.

    What K&S are proposing is similar to Buzz Aldrin’s XM or Huntress’ Deep Space Shuttle and been strongly in favour of something like this for a long time. What we don’t need is the Shuttle (the craft doesn’t have to return for refurbishment, just write it off after 5 to 10 missions or make it capable of periodic reentry).

  • mr. mark

    And “no answer yet makes three”. Looks like I found another person to give me a belly ache. Where do they all come from?

  • Peter Lykke

    There is plenty more on the ATK payroll, you haven’t seen _anything_ yet. Better stock up on castor oil

  • DCSCA

    NASA Fan wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 10:17 pm “Then we’ll see what commercial HSF can accomplish.” <– The space community and the business community has seen what commercial space has accomplished– nothing. They promise the moon, literally and figuratively– and fly nobody. Commerical space has had ample opportunity to flourish for three decades. It's going no place fast.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    @ DCSCA,

    Um… You do know that commercial launch now has virtual monopoly on satellite and space probe launch, don’t you? They have demonstrated their ability to launch repeatedly and reliably.

  • DCSCA

    Ben Russell-Gough wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 4:06 am<– Commerical space has flown nobody in space. You DO realize we're talking about flying CREWS which is the focus of this discussion. Emperor Musk has presented himself as the savior of human spaceflight. And he has flown nobody. That's what this is all about.

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    Good grief. I thought Windy et al was bad enough but now we have Morano aka no answer yet ! How the hell did he find this site !!!

  • DCSCA

    no answer yet ! wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 8:58 pm <- The world, the business community and space commuinty will applaud if/when commercial space launches, orbits and returns a crew safely to Earth. The other consideration, particularly for investors, is if they don't. Kill a crew early on and the loss of vehicle and crew will scare off deep-pocketed investors for decades given the limited market and only enhance the position that its an arena for continued government oversight, management and funding. The smart thing for commercial space to do is get a basic craft and crew up, around and down a few times. But as Cernan so rightly stated, they don't know what they don't know yet… but they're starting to learn.

  • DCSCA

    “Some have called for skipping return flights to the moon in order to conduct more spectacular missions to asteroids and Mars. However, regular and extended moon missions, utilizing the spacecraft designed for Mars missions, will be necessary to confirm the readiness of spacecraft, astronauts and flight procedures for future Mars missions. In fact, several dress-rehearsal-type missions, simulating a multiyear Mars mission, within the relative safe-return distance between the Earth and the moon, would be vital before attempting to risk the unforgiving demands of sending a manned spacecraft more than 100 million miles to Mars.”– Dr. Christopher C. Kraft., Jr. & Scott Spencer

    Superb rationale from the editorial… and the way it will be done some time in the future. Whether it’s Americans who lead the way is less certain. The proposed PTV system is a viable concept as well.

  • libs0n

    MrEarl,

    Leftover ISS components can be adapted to commercial ELV launch. New structures based upon the ISS technology can designed from inception for commercial ELV launch.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Node_4
    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2010/06/soyuz-tma-19-relocated-iss-discuss-node-4-addition/

    The thing you thought was so was not. What else do you hold true that isn’t?

  • g.h.o.s.t

    ok, but, you ARE part of this community, I suppose, so… do you know ALL the Dragnon data I’m asking for??? I believe… NO
    .
    the “space community” is made of hundreds of thousands engineers, technicians,employees, scientists, science journalists, scientific advisors, etc.
    .
    so, it’s IMPOSSIBLE that, with so many people who knows these data (or even 1% of them) the true Dragon data still aren’t available (in full details) EVERYWHERE on the Web!!!”

    Yes, I have most of the data and know where the rest is and could get it if I want to.

    No, The community involved with Spacex is very small, only a few hundred. Just a the Spacex workers and the NASA people that work with them on COTS and CRS.

    Wrong again, it is not impossible and not everybody leaks information. Your examples (WikiLeaks) are exceptions and not the rule. There is much more information that not available on the web, than is available on the web.

    Gaetano, go try to find information on the Boeing CST-100, X-37 or LM PAN, you won’t find it.

  • amightywind

    “Can We Turn Over America’s Space Program to a ‘Space Cadet’?”

    Wow! That is a headline that might have been penned by ‘amightywind’. The article is right on. Bad for Musk that it appeared on ‘The Hill’. Musk is quickly running out of political friends.

    As for the shuttle, Kraft is wrong on this one. We have been living on borrowed time since 2003. Another orbiter will go down if it keeps flying. We should just stick to the plan and complete Ares I/Orion and Ares V.

  • byeman

    Ares I and Ares V are never going to happen. They are dead and for the right reasons. The ESAS was one of the worse architectures ever. Only fools think other wise.

  • b-26marauder

    First of all a disclaimer. This is a crazy idea, but no more so than some of the ideas posted here. First of all target a platinum metals group NEO, Launch 3 or 4 transponders to make a claim for the international community, launch a robotics sample return mission to prove valuable metals exist, and can be brought back (you don,t have to bring them back just prove you can bring them back), estimate monetary value of said metals, contact international banking cartel (federal reserve) I mean they print more of out money out of thin air and charge us interest on it, lets give them collateral out of thin air.HSF is about exploration, science, AND explotation. The second you bring back somthing of monetary value wether it pays for itself or not will grab the public interest.

  • still no news

    .
    “I have most of the data and know where the rest is and could get it if I want to.”
    .
    NO, you don’t know NOTHING about it, and not even the SpaceX employees know anything about the Dragon, because, CLEARLY, it’s only a MOCKUP good to raise government money… :|
    .
    “to find information on the Boeing CST-100, X-37″
    .
    the CST-100 is only a paper-capsule, so, there will be no REAL info and data about it, for, at least, the next 3-5 years… the X-37 is a military program, but we already know MORE about it (weight, dimensions, payload, etc.) than about the Dragon, and, in the next 5 years, when (probably) ALL the info about the X-37 will be revealed or leaked, we STILL will not know NOTHING about the Dragon, because the Dragon is only a dumb MOCKUP that SpaceX launches with the Falcon-9, or drop with a parachute, ONLY to raise government money… :|
    .

  • byeman

    “NO, you don’t know NOTHING about it, and not even the SpaceX employees know anything about the Dragon, because, CLEARLY, it’s only a MOCKUP good to raise government money”

    How can an a spammer from Italy with a nonsensical blog, who has no experience in spaceflight and knows much less, have the insight into what I know or what hardware is at the Spacex facilities in Cape Canaveral? CLEARLY, you don’t have a clue on either point. What makes you think it is a mockup? Because, CLEARLY, it isn’t.

    Also, you don’t know the same information about the X-37. What is its payload adapter weight, propellant weight?

    CLEARLY, Gaetano doesn’t know what he is talking about.
    CLEARLY, he is a troll.
    CLEARLY, he is the forum equivalent of a computer virus.

  • Wow! That is a headline that might have been penned by ‘amightywind’. The article is right on.

    Yeah and just as ignorant too!

    Nothing but a hack piece. Go take a powder with your pal Gaetano.

  • Churchill Winston

    CLEARLY, he is a troll.

    Let me try to explain reality to James Behling the ULA employee and over obsessive troll. If Jim has spoken up forcefully in October of 2005, we would not have to be watching Jeff Bingham (trolling as Mascot 51D over at NSF) serving as chief architect of a national heavy lift launch vehicle architecture, designed on the floor of the United States Senate here in August of 2010.

    A senate committee staff member, designing launch vehicles for NASA.

    Classic Americana.

  • still no news

    .
    @byeman
    .
    1. the X-37 is a military program while the Dragon (IF really exists) is a commercial program
    .
    2. the only thing CLEAR here is that you just try to defend the BUSINE$$$ of YOUR company
    .

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    Gaetano… You do know that they performed a drop-test of the Dragon to check out the parachute recovery system last week, don’t you? You do know that they are actually going to fly and recover a full Cargo Dragon vehicle in October this year, don’t you?

    Believe me, Dragon is real and will be flying cargo to the ISS no later than 2012, barring a total catastrophe.

    Scepticism is a good quality when dealing with the political mind for whom a lie is a reflex. However, at some point, it turns into a kind of flat Earth cynicism that just makes you look stupid.

  • still no news

    @Ben
    .
    yes, I know, but are both MOCKUPS
    .
    REAL DATA please!
    .

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    Only mock-ups in your mind, Gaetano. The thing ready to fly is the real McCoy.

  • byeman

    t”he only thing CLEAR here is that you just try to defend the BUSINE$$$ of YOUR company”

    What company? I don’t work for Spacex.

  • Robert G. Oler

    GeeSpace wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    You mentioned robotic missions. well it seems to me that we “need” no infrastructure in space for those types of missions…

    Robotic exploration of space would be next to impossible and certainly far more expensive if the folks who did it had to invent the boosters that launched them. Those boosters are adapted (and have been) from boosters that are developed for other purposes. There are some minor tweaks to them sometimes for interplanetary work, but for the most part they roll off stock.

    Likewise robotic probes benefit from the advances that earth orbiting satellites make in terms of satellite control and other aspects.

    Really the only thing that has to be developed scratch is the payload.

    HSF of deep space will not happen as long as everything has to be developed each time a new destination is picked from scratch. That was Griffin’s fatal mistake on Cx…instead of taking near term modifications to “nasa rate” the EELV’s Griffin for a reason he has never quite explained chose to push a lot of money into booster development.

    instead of taking modules that are built and operating for ISS and adapting them…Griffin chose a Apollo model which expended everything but the capsule on the trip…

    none of it makes sense to me, and Griffin has so far gotten a pass on all of it…but in the end until we can take “existing things in hand” and modify them for the mission desired…the cost is always going to be to high.

    Think exploring the South Pole with special built airplanes instead of first DC-3′s and now C-130′s (and 17s)

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 22nd, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Oler, how would know how orbiters are processed? You have never had any dealings with operations at the cape and I’m sure you never had any in-depth discussions with Shannon….

    I’ve lost track of the number of times I have made the trip from EFD to the Cape and back…all with you and other Americans paying for it…

    And if I needed more information then I would simply walk across the street and ask my across the street neighbor…he has a big desk at USA.

    and…

    but even if I never had, its not hard to find out how the shuttle is processed…all one has to do is type some things on Goggle or google (grin) and the information pops up. You need to do that.

    As for Aldrin. Dont attack the man. Buzz has his faults but he still can start a bar fight and win it, and his theories on space exploration have far more gravity behind them then yours do.

    enjoy

    Robert G. Oler

  • hu

    “mock-ups in your mind”
    .
    NASA has performed a (failed) drop test of the Orion, to try its parachutes, WITHOUT actually have a real Orion but just a MOCKUP… there is NO NEED of a REAL Dragon to test its parachutes
    .

  • MrEarl

    Oler:
    You should go across the street and get to know your USA neighbor better. Obviously you guys don’t talk shop if you talk at all.

    As for Buzz, I have no illusions that my theories would carry more weight than his, (unlike your delusions of grandeur), but for most people, men like Krantz, Craft, Cernan and his crew mate Armstrong present a more thoughtful and weighty presence than Mr Aldren.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 1:02

    My next door neighbor and I chat alot…he particularly likes to meet out at the Cape and we go fishing!

    And you dont know what you are talking about in terms of orbiter processing…

    Sorry Mr. Earl…its an autoland moment for you.

    “Aldren”…learn to spell names correctly

    Robert G. Oler

  • amightywind

    As for Aldrin. Dont attack the man. Buzz has his faults but he still can start a bar fight and win it, and his theories on space exploration have far more gravity behind them then yours do.

    Buzz Aldrin made his reputation before and after his moon flight. Its a shame that he sullied it. The legend of Neil Armstrong has only grown over the same period. I hope NASA names the first Orion spacecraft after him.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/08/20/new-nasa-spaceships-forge-uncertain-atmosphere/

    Think exploring the South Pole with special built airplanes instead of first DC-3′s and now C-130′s (and 17s)

    Great analogy. The South Pole was first explored by dog sled.

  • MrEarl

    That’s great Oler, then you should be able to get from him the number of techs assigned to each orbiter from TPS specialists to launch controllers and report back. Average salary per FTE would be helpful too.

  • amightywind

    Congratulations to SpaceX for meeting “100% of their chute test objectives”, whatever they were. After the initial problematic launch the bar is indeed low.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    That’s great Oler, then you should be able to get from him the number of techs assigned to each orbiter

    I’ve been listening in on this conversation, and I wanted to make sure I understand what you are saying. You stated earlier:

    Each orbiter has it’s own ground crew of thousands dedicated just to that orbiter. Each also has it’s own launch crew!

    Are you saying that USA has personnel (like the TPS specialist you mention) that only work on one orbiter? What percentage would you say that is?

    Do you have any proof of this, because from a management and personnel standpoint, that would be horrendously overstaffed, especially since only one orbiter is ever in flight. For instance, for TPS the right way to do it would be to have a TPS department that every orbiter flows through after each flight. You make it seem like there are no dedicated departments, only dedicated personnel.

    What do the TPS personnel do when they are done fixing the TPS? This begs more questions than it answers.

    I’m not saying that there wouldn’t be some people dedicated to each orbiter, especially engineers that are familiar with a particular orbiters unique needs, but I can’t imagine that each orbiter is THAT different.

    It would hard to imagine that no one in Congress, or any NASA watchdog, has every noticed. USA is paid somewhere around $100M/month, and that is one of the reasons the Shuttle is so expensive to operate.

    I would say the burden of proof for this lies with you. Can you provide any NASA or USA information that provides verification?

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I just noticed this, mainly because Gaetano posted right after you.

    What you wrote:

    then you should be able to get from him the number of techs assigned to each orbiter from TPS specialists to launch controllers and report back. Average salary per FTE would be helpful too.

    What Gaetano has been writing:

    could the “commercial” SpaceX give CLEAR data and answers to the space community and the (potential) investors?

    MrEarl, I don’t know if you want to sound like a Gaetano wanna be… ;-)

  • Mr. Mark

    Ah… Did I just read that right “the dragon capsule is only a mockup to raise money. Ah..No, the first fully functional dragon is at the cape right now. It’s not a mock up and is a final version. Sorry to dissapoint you “still no news”.

  • byeman

    “After the initial problematic launch”
    It was not problematic, the mission was successful from a Spacex, NASA and DOD point of view. The roll was no real issue. Only the uninformed would think otherwise

    ” the bar is indeed low”

    Yes, it is with people who have no spaceflight knowledge making clueless posts on this forum

    BTW, Gaetano, I don’t work for Spacex, ULA or LM

  • MrEarl

    Ron said:
    “Are you saying that USA has personnel (like the TPS specialist you mention) that only work on one orbiter? What percentage would you say that is?”

    YES!!!! That’s what I’ve been saying for months! Each tech is assigned an orbiter to work on as their primary responsibility. That’s not to say that a Discovery TPS or SSME tech won’t work on Atlantis when needed. I’ve been to the Cape four times now and met dozens of techs working in the OPF’s and VAB and they have all been assigned to their own orbiter. When I question them about why that is they tell me that it’s needed maintain the flight rate of 5 or 6 per year and that each orbiter has it’s own quirks and history so they like to keep staff working on their own orbiter. Up until May when I went down for STS132 I thought it only applied to the the OPS, VAB and Payload techs but I found out that it applies to the launch crew too, at least on a lower level.
    That’s the shuttle army that everyone says is so expensive to maintain. I’ll take their word for it when they say they need the staff to maintain that flight rate but I think one crew can maintain two orbiters for 2 to 3 flights a year. I may be stretching things a little when I say that there could be a 2/3rds reduction in force because the workers in the VAB and payload specialists are more interchangeable from what I’ve been told, but I really think a reduction of force by one half is very possible.

    “USA is paid somewhere around $100M/month, and that is one of the reasons the Shuttle is so expensive to operate.”

    That is THE reason the the shuttle is so expensive. I get my information by talking to the techs I have met there. I don’t see where every one of them would have a reason to make things up. I’m only half joking with Oler about asking his neighbor about the number assigned to each orbiter. I think that would shed light on the real reasons as to why the shuttle is so expensive to fly.

  • amightywind

    The roll was no real issue. Only the uninformed would think otherwise

    Only an Elon Musk fanboi would ignore it. If you were unfortunate enough to ride a capsule on an uncontrolled spinning stage you would think otherwise. The video cut out before we saw the maximum spin rate. I observed about 4 rpm when the video cut out. Lord knows how high it went. I don’t ever recall a NASA upper stage malfunctioning in such a way. I wonder what they did to fix it.

  • DCSCA

    amightywind wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 1:58 pm “As for the shuttle, Kraft is wrong on this one.” Disagree. Kraft’s proposal has merit and his rationale for pressing on outward is the way it will happen whether commercial space likes it or not. Whether it’s American led is less certain.. Ares was a poor design and the weakest part of Constellation. Liquids are a better way to go. SpaceX’s parachute test was deja vu all over again. Pretty amusing splashing a boiler plate from a chopper at 15,000 feet. Shades of Mercury capsule parachute tests… circa 1960. But Musketeers can rejoice that their parachute system works, to their satisfaction anyway, for a 3 mile drop into the sea. It’s a successful manned flight 250 miles above that threshold the world awaits… and waits… and waits…

  • Mr. Mark

    Ken Bowersox has stated that lift off roll will be a “no issue”. Liftoff roll was corrected after initial start as witnessed in flight video. The roll was from engine torque and that will be corrected this coming flight. In other words it’s a programming issue. As far as the second stage, Elon Musk said that thruster controls stopped working most likely because of excessive heat from the second stage Merlin vaccum engine. Spacex is correcting that by providing additional insulation to the thruster housings.

  • Mike Snyder

    Mr. Earl,

    You are quite incorrect. Each OPF, pad, etc has their own “shops”. This is to facilitate parallel operations. It just so happens with three orbiters and three OPF’s, the same vehicles typically go back to where they left.

    In addition, there are no firewalls between those facilities. Even though that is where the personnel may be assigned they will go where needed.

    The only people generally “assigned” to an orbiter are the vehicle managers, flow mangers and typically a system engineer is assigned to a particular tail number as lead for that vehicle (yet they too can and do work other vehicles).

    For Mr. Oler,

    I will ask who your neighbor is. Initials are fine too if you do not feel comfortable saying the name. I’d also like to know more about you as well. While I tried to do my own homework, I can only find references back to this website and a couple of other blogs.

    I ask, because, with all due respect, you generally seem to repeat the same thing over and over again but with little to no new information or, to the best of my knowledge, justification.

    I am asking what allows you this “insight”? Have you ever worked for NASA or a contractor on a technical project? If so, which one(s)? Have you ever worked for the federal government with some sort of oversigtht/insight role with respect to NASA? If so, what did that entail and when was it?

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    For myself, I like to refer to original documents when I repeat stuff, and it’s a little hard to depend on unconfirmed observations and conversations.

    Can you find any documentation online that backs up what the techs are telling you?

  • DCSCA

    Mr. Mark wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 2:33 pm A ‘fully functional’ Dragon capsule will only exist in the eyes of the investors and the space community when the world sees a crewed vehicle lofted atop a Falcon9, orbited a few times, reenters and splashes down off the Santa Barbara coast. Launching cargo is nothing new. The Russian Progress has been doing it for years and years and years. Tick-tock, tick-tock…

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I don’t ever recall a NASA upper stage malfunctioning in such a way.

    You’re right. Usually either the vehicle blew up before that, or acquired so much damage during the 1st stage that it caused the destruction of the vehicle when it returned to earth.

    Of course for the DOD, usually they just blow up during the 1st or 2nd stage portion of the flight, or the payload assist module malfunctions. And since they don’t have video camera attached to them, we can’t watch them when they fail, but I’m sure they are not EXACTLY like the Falcon 9 upper stage test article.

    Yep, perceptive as always Windy. Oh, and how goes those Ares I cost justification numbers? Maybe you need a 5th grader to help you? ;-)

  • DCSCA

    amightywind wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 3:45 pm RE- roll rates: “Only an Elon Musk fanboi would ignore it.” Here’s a fresh idea– maybe Elon should launch a few chimpanzees first to test the system…then let Bowersox take a ride on, say… May 5, 2011.

  • MrEarl

    Mike Snyder:
    “Each OPF, pad, etc has their own “shops”. This is to facilitate parallel operations. ”
    Ok, I’ll buy that. The people I have talked to said generally the same thing that they will go to other Orbiters as needed. Can you tell me then how many are generally assigned to each “shop”, OPF, Pad etc? Has anyone done any studies of staffing needs if the flight rate was dropped down to two and three per year? About how many techs solely dedicated to orbiter refurbishment?
    When I was talking to people I just thought the staffing was overkill even for the flight rate and parallel operations. Any first hand information you would have on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Ron:
    I’ve look for more granular information than Shanon’s $200 million per month but could never find anything online.

  • Yes, the fact that any of your comments appear would indicate a major malfunction with the blog system.

  • The government agenda in space is totally different from the agendas of private industry. NASA’s manned spaceflight agenda in space should be to explore and pioneer the New Frontier. And they’d be doing that if presidents, starting with Nixon, hadn’t forced them to restrict their manned spaceflight activities to LEO.

    Private industry’s agenda should be to attempt to use the knowledge gained from NASA in order to attempt to make a profit from the New Frontier. There would be no multi-hundred billion dollar a year satellite based telecommunications industry if the US Federal government hadn’t invested billions in aerospace technology. And there wouldn’t even be an emerging private commercial spaceflight industry if it weren’t for manned spaceflight R&D at NASA over the past 50 years.

    These private commercial spaceflight firms should be thanking NASA instead of trying to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. And they should be focusing their efforts on space tourism and stop trying to become part of wasteful big government programs like the ISS.

  • amightywind

    Maybe you need a 5th grader to help you?

    It doesn’t take a 5th grader to notice that a single man rated SRB first stage with over 250 successful firings is a simpler, more elegant first stage solution than a triple body LH2 rocket. Heck, the mere act of starting the RS-68 nearly incinerated the first Delta IVH. Most of you here cannot be engineers. You have no intuition for the simple, direct solution of problems. You only understand technology within the confines of your politics. You read off of John Holden’s sheet of music. We need a strong administrator again in the James Webb mode to end this bickering. Mike Griffin is free 7;^)

  • Bennett

    Hey Jeff,

    Respectfully, you need to fine tune the comments filter so that NONE of Gaetano’s drivel is allowed to post, no matter the ID he picks for himself.

    ;-)

  • Mike Snyder

    Mr. Earl,

    Yes, folks do know how and what the numbers are to throttle the workforce as required for any major change in operations. However, that is sensitive and I will not share that here. It does exist and I am afraid you will have to be satisfied with that.

    It’s not overkill. In general there is a forward, mid and aft shop. These techs work electrical and mechanical subsystems throughout the ship. There are techs that are more familar with particular systems as well as they have gained experience. Lets just look at the “aft” for example. Within it contains the following systems: MPS, APU, Hydraulics, WSB, OMS, RCS, avionics. In addition, platorms are installed, platforms are revoved. Look at the mid body: A vehicle may needs its payload removed and need to be reconfigured for the next. Under the liner there are the fuel cells, PRSD tansk, N2 and O2 tanks. There is also he ODS, Ku band, raditors and freon loops, etc and other mechanisms. The forward has the lockers, the potty, FRCS, TACAN/GPS, GPC’s, av bays and all the general crew accomodations

    Some TPS techs may “follow” the vehicle because there are always issues as the vehicle moves from one facility to another as various carrier panels are removed for FOM and need re-installation, etc. Once the oribter or shuttle leaves a facility one way or the other the crews are either repurposed or are working GSE mainenance, calibrations, validations, etc in that particular facility for the next flow.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Yes, the fact that any of your comments appear would indicate a major malfunction with the blog system.

    Artificial intelligence is no match for real stupidity…

  • Major Tom

    “Pretty amusing splashing a boiler plate from a chopper at 15,000 feet. Shades of Mercury capsule parachute tests… circa 1960. But Musketeers can rejoice that their parachute system works, to their satisfaction anyway, for a 3 mile drop into the sea.”

    Your point? The Orion project utterly failed the equivalent parachute test:

    gizmodo.com/5039573/nasa-tests-orion-parachute-result-spectacular-failure

    Not to mention the Ares I-X parachute failures:

    spaceflightnow.com/ares1x/091030recovery/

    Any idiot would take a design and an organization that has demonstated it can replicate early 1960s NASA achievements over one that has repeatedly demonstrated that it cannot.

    Think before you post and stop wasting other posters’ and readers’ time with repetitive, stupid comments made out of ignorance.

    Lawdy…

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    It’s funny to see how you define success, versus how SpaceX does.

    For SpaceX and their Dragon capsule, success is measured by both progress and revenue.

    For progress, SpaceX can be rightfully proud when they continue to make incremental improvements in their systems and capabilities. For those of us that have watched their efforts since the first Falcon 1 launch, they have never repeated a mistake, and they have never been stopped by a problem. If past is prologue, I’m sure the same will be true with Falcon 9. And that is how THEY measure success.

    They also measure monetary success with their work. For instance, with the COTS program, they have been steadily completing milestones, and receiving payments for them – $244M so far. For each upcoming COTS Demo flight, they get $5M for the readiness review and $5M for a successful flight. For the CRS program, they will get about $133M for each successful resupply mission. Not only is success measured in progress, but it’s also measured in revenue – smart for a startup.

    For you, maybe you are secretly rooting for them to provide crew services, and in your own way you’re trying to urge them to go faster. If that’s true, then good for you…

    …or, you could be jealous that they are making progress in developing a low-cost way to access space for cargo and crew, and you don’t want to see it.

    In any case, you sure seem to have a skewed sense of time, since you keep shifting the goal posts around to make it seem like they so behind the times, when in reality they are making more progress than any organization building new cargo or crew systems. Weird.

    I’d had to see how you treat your kids when they bring home a report card…

  • Major Tom

    “It doesn’t take a 5th grader to notice that a single man rated SRB first stage with over 250 successful firings”

    You’re off by two orders of magnitude. The five-segment SRB for Ares I has only had a couple ground test firings in Utah and no flight heritage.

    Learn something about the topic you’re posting on. Don’t waste poster and reader time with idiotic and false statements out of ignorance.

    “is a simpler, more elegant first stage solution than a triple body LH2 rocket.”

    There is nothing elegant about a first-stage that falls short of its payload’s needs and requires nothing less than a complete and untested propellant grain and geometry redesign to have any hope of ever meeting its payload’s needs.

    There is nothing elegant about a first-stage that continues to fall short of its payload’s needs, forces major compromises in the redundancy and other safety features in that payload, resulting in a watered-down rewrite of NASA’s human space flight safety standards.

    There is nothing elegant about a first-stage that requires its second stage to incorporate gigantic, weighty, untested LOX bellows to counteract thrust oscillations from that same first-stage.

    There is nothing elegant about a first-stage that is suppossed to be recoverable to meet key recurring cost and safety measures but is too heavy for parachute recovery.

    There is nothing elegant about a first-stage that costs many, many more billions of dollars and many, many more years to develop than that _existing_ triple-body solution did.

    Learn something about the topic you’re posting on. Don’t waste poster and reader time with idiotic and false statements out of ignorance.

    “Most of you here cannot be engineers. You have no intuition for the simple, direct solution of problems.”

    This from the poster who claimed to work in the medical industry a couple threads back?

    Really?

    “You read off of John Holden’s sheet of music.”

    It’s “Holdren”, not “Holden”, genius.

    Ugh…

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    No, you need outside help so you can understand simple math, and any 5th grader should be able to help you – it’s that easy.

    You have yet to be able to explain how the Ares I could have been a good investment for the U.S. Taxpayer versus using the existing Delta IV Heavy. Oh, and your buddy Griffin even said that Delta IV Heavy could do the job, so be careful what you wish for.

    I really get the impression that you work for ATK, either directly or indirectly. There’s no other explanation for the phallic love you have for Ares I – or maybe you just love big, powerful SRM’s… ;-)

  • Mike Snyder

    It is also funny, and quite sad, how many in the so-called “space community”, root for failure from one side or the other.

    Both extremes of both camps are quilty of it and the mouths that do it just erode their credibility.

    With respect to the parachute drop tests, everyone should be happy that SpaceX suceeded. With respect to the Orion test, it seems the extreme of one camp just wants to tell part of the story and not discuss the differences in test conditions and configurations or the actual cause of the failure.

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1301

  • DCSCA

    Think before you post and stop wasting other posters’ and readers’ time with repetitive, stupid comments made out of ignorance. <- Tommy, please do.

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Socialist Ron wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 4:50 pm <- How SpaceX measures 'success' is meaningless. It's how the world in general and investors in particular measure it that counts– and orbiting a crew and returning safely a few times would do much to bolster confidence. Stop talking, start flying.

  • DCSCA

    “Your point?” Oh and Tommy, read the last line again: “It’s a successful manned flight 250 miles above that threshold the world awaits… and waits… and waits…” <- That's the point. "Think before you post and stop wasting other posters’ and readers’ time with repetitive, stupid comments made out of ignorance." 'Stupid,' indeed.

  • MrEarl

    Ok Mike, what is/was your involvement with USA?
    Unlike others I don’t need documentation for everything some one says but it is helpful to at least know someones position.
    For the record, I’m just a systems administrator for a bank in Maryland. I’ve taken an interest in space flight since Mercury, which also shows my age, and I’m always on the lookout for information from the people who actually do the work.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I wont give you this persons name or initials on open forum, I am on facebook…the long knives are out….but Chuck Shaw and Milt Heflin know me very well and what I did eons ago. For the last 10 years I have “done something else”…but go to EFD and look at the four engine gate guard. On my I love me wall are lots of pictures of “me” in the front seats…the best in the house! When it wasnt a gate guard. I still hang out a lot at EFD (and overhead) and can get into the center…whenever I want!

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    MrEarl wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 5:37 pm <- Commercial hsf advocates are talkers not do-ers.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    It’s how the world in general and investors in particular measure it that counts

    Oh to be so business ignorant as you… :-)

    Those working at SpaceX may have their own goals that they are working towards, as does their founder Musk, but SpaceX is focused on what their customers want, not whiners like you. And that means completing contractual obligations like their COTS milestones, which has netted them $244M so far. Pretty good for not following your advice.

    I know you’re confused about financial type stuff, so I’ll just restate an obvious one for you – SpaceX is not publicly traded, so the general public has no vote. The one outside investor they have, the Founders Fund, knows what the goals need to be for their eventual payoff, and as a minority investor, they get their financial reward when Musk does.

    For initial investors, their financial reward comes with a liquidity event, not with “dividends” as you’ve stated in the past. That happens when the company IPO’s or is purchased by another company. Because of this, SpaceX is focused on bringing in contracts and revenue, not listening to your definitions of success.

    To them, it’s business. To you, apparently, it’s personal. Guess you shouldn’t have invested in that Conestoga I venture back in the 80′s, huh? Then you wouldn’t be so envious of what they have done.

  • DCSCA

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 5:23 pm- <- Nobody of any value or consequence is rooting for failure. Quite the contrary. But it's past time to get on with it. Commercial hsf advocates have set themselves up as being on an equal par with NASA and the Russians who've been flying crews for half a century on missions to space stations and in the case of NASA, to the moon. But commercial space has flown nobody. NOBODY. When Musk pitches himself and his private enterprised space company as the savior of the future of human spaceflight while asking for commercial space government subsidies, he brings well deserved ridicule on himself– and his firm. Government funded and managed space program have already done the hard work the heavy lifting of inventing spaceflight. It should be easier today for Musk to orbit a crew than it was for the Soviets to loft Gagarin or for NASA to orbit Glenn ages ago. It's past time for'em to put somebody up– or shut up.

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Socialist Ron wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 6:20 pm <- ROFLMAO More excuses. tick-tock.. tick-tock… Stop talking. Start flying.

  • Mike Snyder

    DCSCA,

    I’m going to have to disagree to a certain extent. Private enterprise has been there since the beginning. Private enterprise designed the vehicle, built the vehicle, operated the vehicle, etc. While very true it was with government funding and NASA “oversight” and configuration control, NASA has always, and always will, rely on its commercial counterparts from the top of the program chain of command right on down. Certainly there are commercial companies out there that I absolutely have no question on if they will succeed.

    The probable operations model in the future will likely be a combination of the traditional mechanism above, along with more FFP contracts for services. Potentially those same companies as above actually own the hardware they create as opposed to the government.

    That said, I also partly agree with you. I sometimes find the actions of some “commercial” companies or advocacy organizations questionable. They are the first to bash government spending on this or that yet then turn around and try to mobilize whatever power they have to get to try to get that funding for their own purposes. I also agree it is not totally honest to call them “commercial” since certainly development funding will go to them from the government and the question is still very much at large about how much the fixed price will really be during operations to account for fixed costs, etc if there is no other market.

  • Mike Snyder

    Robert,

    Thank you for that bit of information and that is fine if you don’t want to give their names or initials. Perhaps I will just talk to all of them.

    With respect to the rest, you didn’t really answer the rest of my questions that do not pertain to anyone else. I presuem from your response you used to fly the vomit comit. I respect that but how does that really give you insight, and more importantly credibility, to some of the things you have said? Thank you.

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    tick-tock.. tick-tock

    Poor DCSCA – watching “Destination Moon” over and over in his basement, and refusing to give up his wind-up alarm clock. No wonder your views on space are so out of date…

  • MrEarl

    Yes Oler, we all knew you flew the Vomit Comet a LONG time ago. Doesn’t mean you have any real access or in-site to the program today.

    I’m familiar with Houston too.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    check away, I live on St. Cloud in Oakbrook West.

    Sorry about the brevity of the answers at the time I was watching Baby.

    lets see how do I get the insight.

    Space ops are not really that hard or difficult, they are no more so then say operation of a nuclear submarine or some of the other great technological efforts of our society. The last real connection I had to anything “NASA HSF” was hanging around during the CAIB. It was shocking to see 1) that the same old problems from Challenger had returned and 2) that every at the agency who was part of the problem was eager to explain how “space was hard”…when the problems that caused the issue are no more so then Colgan has at its operation. As the presenter said at my Aviation Investigator school refresher “the two failed organizations on the planet in terms of safety are The Russian Submarine force and NASA HSF” my reply was “you tell em sister”.

    As SpaceX (and maybe some others) are about to prove…spaceflight is really just good technology and management all rolled into one, something the genius at MOD, particularly the current ones, have no real clue about.

    Oh I see the Lisa Caputo (aka Nowak) thing is coming to an end sort of…here is a link to one of the op eds I wrote on the subject.

    I’ve written a lot about space policy…but this one was a sad one to write

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/4561945.html

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Yes Oler, we all knew you flew the Vomit Comet a LONG time ago. Doesn’t mean you have any real access or in-site to the program today. …

    very old..you are free to disregard what I am saying…I really dont care.

    but most of what you say is wrong and most of what I say is correct so as they say ones mileage may vary.

    I am not familiar with Houston…heck I live here…under a bridge as some use to say as I use to tell folks on my last time in Sand Land.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Coastal Ron wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I thought the “tick tock” was him imitating the start of a Madonna song!
    Robert G. Oler

  • Mike Snyder

    Mr Earl,

    I work orbiter propulsion and power systems.

  • MrEarl

    Thanks. It’s good to know there is a trusted source for shuttle information in here that seems to be relatively impartial. Are you the Mike Synder who won an award for the new design for thruster covers in 2006?

  • Mike Snyder

    Robert,

    Lisa Nowak has little to do, nothing really, with the statements you have made. If you want to try to tie that line of “wierdness” to it and safety boards, then I could easily point to pilots of commercial airlines who have been drunk, overshot their destination city for some “reason”, etc. It just really doesn’t belong with the comments you have made.

    So you “hung around” during CAIB and I now know you flew the vomit comet. Did you do anything specific while there? Thank you but would you be so kind as to answer the specific questions I posed above? Again, just trying to understand your logic and reasoning in order for me to properly weigh the credibility of your comments.

    Also, just so you know, I have written op-eds as well and also was recently involved with “policy”.

  • Mike Snyder

    Mr. Earl,

    LOL, yes I am.

  • DCSCA

    @Snyder – “I’m going to have to disagree to a certain extent. Private enterprise has been there since the beginning.” It has never led the way in this field, which is the fallacy commercial hsf advocates are pushing. It’s simply bogus. Over the 80 year history of rocketry, it has been governments, in various political guises, that have funded and fueled the the progress up and out into space, not the private sector. Private enterprise has always been a follow-along, cashing in where it could. It has never led in this field and wont for the forseeable future, particularly in the subset of manned space exploration. The ‘operational model’ is essentially what Kraft stated in his editorial. It’s the right one and the way it will be done. Whether it’s led by Americans is less certain. But governments will do it, not private enterprise. The next humans to set foot on the moon- or Mars– will arrive in a craft bearing the emblems of his or her nation(s), not corporate logo(s).

  • MrEarl

    As you probably noticed Mike, Oler still hasn’t answered your question. My theory is that he’s always been a peripheral person with little tidbits of information with no understanding of the overall picture.

    On another topic, how I understand it from reading Chris from NSF, there are at least 2 maybe three partly built ET’s in Michoud. Is that true?

  • DCSCA

    @Snyder- The thing of it is, a huge amount of credibility and goodwill, probably more than justified on the surface of it, would shift and be validated by commerical space if it would simply launch, orbit and safely land somebody a few times in a privately designed and built spacecraft. As previously stated, the hard part has already been done for them- the literal invention of spaceflight by government programs. It really should be easier for them to orbit a crew today than it was for Russia and NASA 50 years ago. It’s past time for them to stop talking and start flying. And as you may note, simply saying ‘tick-tock, tick-tock’ drives them crazy. Because they know that’s the hang-up— they’ve flown nobody.

  • Mike Snyder

    DCSCA,

    I agree with you those craft will have the emblems of their nations, I expect and hope that emblem to be the flag of the United States of America.

    Also, I do not disagree with you that it has been funded by governments to this point. In fact, I said just that.

    I will humbley disagree that private enterprise has not “fueled” the way. I do not work for the government. I will likely be out of a job in the very near future but I am also even more certain that I am one of many, who are also not NASA, that sit right there and make the recommendations we make with respect to our areas of expertise that the program heads take very seriously.

    I am also quite sure private industry has lead the charge and then NASA made the ultimate decision but everything to that point was done by someone wearing a badge other than NASA.

  • Coastal Ron

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    They are the first to bash government spending on this or that yet then turn around and try to mobilize whatever power they have to get to try to get that funding for their own purposes.

    I see a distinction between what Congress funds and what NASA does with those funds.

    For the most part, NASA does a good job of R&D and exploration. Sometimes though, it is given a mission that it is not equipped to handle, or that is pretty much impossible. Constellation is a good example of that, where the goals were noble, but the proposed method quickly became a financial morass.

    Since the leader of NASA proposed the Constellation architecture, “NASA” became associated with what was wrong with Constellation. Who is to blame? I’m sure there is a short list we could each name, but suffice it to say that I think it was a group effort – bad architecture from Griffin, bad funding from Bush/Congress, and a lack of oversight that should have raised flags sooner.

    Failures of programs like Constellation end up raising the stakes for any future plans, and that’s where we are today. Some see the need to preserve jobs as necessary for NASA’s future, others think NASA needs to build an HLV to somehow leap ahead, and others like myself feel that we can achieve more in space with smaller goals that pay off quicker. Patriots all, but there is not a lot of consensus there.

    For the group that I agree with, the “smaller goals that pay off quicker” one, we look around and see lots of space hardware that can be used today, but is being ignored. We also think that NASA is being set up for failure again by being forced to build an HLV, which will commit a significant amount of NASA’s future budgets for jobs and overhead, not exploration.

    It really gets down to what the goals for NASA should be:

    - If it’s saving jobs, then an HLV is one way to do it.

    - If it’s exploration, we can start today with the hardware and launchers that are already available – we don’t need an HLV.

    You and I already discussed this on another SpacePolitics topic (Space policy and topsy-turvy political philosophy), where I stated that with $10B you would get part of an HLV and no payload, whereas I could launch a manned expedition to L1/L2 (and maybe beyond) with usable space hardware. It boils down to choices.

    I want results for my taxpayer money, and that is also where commercial companies come in. For those tasks that NASA has made routine enough to hand off (like ISS cargo), commercial companies have the potential to save NASA lots of money. After 50 years of launching people into space, I think we’re there for crew too.

    The arguments against NASA providing any money for getting commercial crew off the ground seem rather cynical to me. One only has to ask their congressional rep for a list of money they have brought to their district, and see the smiling faces of those that took that money. In the case of NASA, they would be funding the set up of a transportation system that saves them money over time, so from a purely taxpayer standpoint, who would be against NASA saving money?

    And I have always advocated for an open competition, so I don’t really care if it’s Boeing/ULA, SpaceDev or SpaceX that wins, as long as we get more than one launch system (unlike what an HLV would give us).

    My $0.02

  • Mike Snyder

    MrEarl,

    More…..

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Ron wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 7:00 pm / Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Another day moves from dawn to dusk;
    And still no humans flown by Musk.
    The clock tick-tocks; the calendar flies;
    But no manned Dragons cross our skies.

    Bud and Lou had it right with you two:

    COSTELLO: Hey Abbott, what makes a balloon go up?
    ABBOTT: Hot air.
    COSTELLO: What’s holdin’ you down?

    Stop talking. Start flying.

  • DCSCA

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 7:47 pm Agreed- the spacecraft will hopefully be emblazoned with ‘USA.’ But that’s not a certainty and a multi-nation approach may be the route ultimately taken. Given the state of the art in this era, though, Kraft’s rationale of how it will be accomplished is the way it will happen. It’s the clear and rational approach for the next 30, 40 or 50 years given the lag time needed for development. And it would be a challenging and exciting effort for a new generation. If the powers that be are convinced by the proven expertise and recommendations of colleagues such as Kranz, Lunney, Armstrong, Lovell, Cernan, etc., then you’ll have contracts and challenges to work on for decades to come. If the nation follows the Musk approach… learn Chinese.

  • Mike Snyder

    Ron,

    With all due respect, are you trying to convince me or yourself?

    You should not see a distinction because everything NASA does must be authorized by Congress. NASA cannot spend more than allowed, transfer money across programs, etc unless it has the specific guidance and approval from the Legislative branch.

    I know you *believe* you can do all that for 10 billion, I glanced at it the other day. That is fine and everyone wants results. You and your “group” do not have the monopoly on that mindset.

  • Mike Snyder

    DCSCA,

    I completely disagree with your interpretation of what those gentlemen have advocated with respect to their core message. In some cases, I have read what they have to say and disagree on some details. That is fine. In some cases I happen to agree with those details.

    I completely disagree that private enterprise is not up to the task for certain functions. I know better.

    I do believe we need to understand the mechanisms of those functions, technical and financial, prior to commiting billions of dollars where if not well understood could cost us essentially what we are paying now for less capability.

  • amightywind

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    I really get the impression that you work for ATK, either directly or indirectly. There’s no other explanation for the phallic love you have for Ares I – or maybe you just love big, powerful SRM’s…

    No, I don’t have an ATK conflict of interest. I don’t own their stock either. Attractive PE but no dividend. I do find compelling the image of the finished first stage lying on its side in Utah, ready to launch Orion for lack of a lousy upper stage. What kind of losers to we have in Washington who won’t let the engineers finish their work on a capability we all want? As for the rest of your comment, it is the kind of prepubescent humor we have all come to expect.

    Oh, and your buddy Griffin even said that Delta IV Heavy could do the job, so be careful what you wish for.

    I made the call on congress seizing control of NASA in February. I’m making another call now. The Delta IV will not be used as a carrier rocket for Orion. It is a weak technical solution and it has no political support. The carrier will be STS based. Bet on it.

  • DCSCA

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 8:12 pm <– Then we can disagree. Commercial space is certainly up to 'some functions' but commercial hsf as the spearhead of 'space exploration' is certainly not one of them. They've flown nobody. And it's going no place fast. Space 'exploitation' is another matter but even that area is a limited market. Given the largess of the financing and risks involved, private capital markets have avoid it and found other more lucrative investments w/quicker, less riskier ROI, like offshore oil drilling. The methodology described by Kraft, whose proven success and expertise in this field was hard earned, is the path the next phase manned space exploration will follow. Whether it's American-led or not, is uncertain, but it is the obvious and most logical way to go. If you believe Musk is the future of human space exploration, as he's labeled himself and his firm, then you're in for a long wait and a whole lot of disappointment.

  • Mike Snyder

    DCS,

    I never mentioned commercial being the “spearhead” of exploration. They can and will likely be an integral part of it, supporting operations.

    There is a difference between government-based operations and commercial-based operations. A different mindset and different motivations. Neither is wrong and they can compliment one another.

    If commercial operations one day push the boundry further in search of profit, etc that is perfectly acceptable. It does not mean NASA is irrelevant if it goes in another direction for different purposes.

    People need to stop looking at this so black and white and “us versus them”. If not, nothing will happen and everyone loses.

  • Bennett

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Mike, I’m curious. If your job goes away with the retirement of the Shuttle, and if it takes (only) 5 years to get a sdhlv designed and built, what do you see yourself doing between now and then? This presumes that you anticipate working in a similar capacity on the new LV.

    Coastal Ron knows he has no monopoly on believing that a new HLV at this time is a waste of resources, many outside of NASA/USA have looked at the situation and think that a HLV will kill all of the BEO infrastructure R&D, let alone the development of any payloads to put on the HLV.

    So how do we square that circle? What do we do with a HLV with no payloads developed for it? How does starting to design and build one save the jobs of the current army of folks working on the Shuttle? What do we have them do for the next 5 years?

  • DCSCA

    @Snyder” I never mentioned commercial being the “spearhead” of exploration.They can and will likely be an integral part of it, supporting operations.”<– 'Integral' aka 'follow-along.' It simply cannot 'spearhead' the effort, which is the the pitch commerical hsf is making, particularly Musk's SpaceX. But the focus is to spearhead expanding manned space exploration, along the methodology as spelled out by Kraft, ultimately to Mars. That's the way it will be accomplished in this period of human history.

    "There is a difference between government-based operations and commercial-based operations. A different mindset and different motivations. Neither is wrong and they can compliment one another."<– Indeed, one is for profit, 'exploitive', the other is not– chiefly exploratory to date. Those are difficult to compliment in the extreme. Which is why, half-tongue-in-cheek, the references to 'Destination Moon' are not as comical as they may seem to some lesser-minded commercial hsf advocates. Though fiction, the 'business plan' used was chiefly one devised by private enterprise with various motivations– and it was for profit once they added the discovery of uranium on the moon. Watch it some time. Strip away the entertainment elements and it's actually a faitly good business plan. But the reasons governments have conducted space exploration are multiple in motivations. We know what they are. But simply put, the largess of the financing involved, the risks associated with it and the scale of the projects at hand are why governments do it.

  • Coastal Ron

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Yep, NASA, like every government agency, is partially hamstrung by the budgets they are given. I say hamstrung, because Congress can always direct specific program money in the ways they see fit, as opposed to what is in the best interests of NASA or the taxpayer. Politics of the republic, and it won’t change.

    This gets back to the goals.

    This year is turning out to be kind of a perfect storm for NASA, both good and bad. Good, in that Constellation was ended without too much effort. Bad because there is little consensus on what NASA should be doing next. Part of this is caused by gigantic changes in programs – Constellation cancelled, Shuttle ending, ISS resurrected. Lots of money to reallocate.

    Out of this is no consensus on what the nation wants out of NASA, and certainly that is partially caused by the administration, and partly because of a resetting of reality (i.e. the Moon is very expensive). But if the Tea Party is a response to perceived problems in D.C., then my blog advocacy could be seen in the same light for NASA’s goals. Doesn’t mean I’m right of course, but I think I have valid points of view.

    Regarding the $10B budget exercise, I did it to illustrate choice. You may look at an HLV as a good idea that solves a number of problems, but there are some who say that we as a nation cannot move forward in space without an HLV. That to me is FUD, and why I challenge such assertions.

    By what you’ve written on this blog topic above, we do agree on in a number of areas, but I guess we’ll pass on future HLV debates.

    TTFN

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Commercial space is certainly up to ‘some functions’ but commercial hsf as the spearhead of ‘space exploration’ is certainly not one of them.

    You keep making this false argument. Nobody is advocating for NASA to stand aside and let commercial companies take the lead for exploration. Maybe you are watching too many 60′s movies again.

    The goals as I see them have always been for NASA to turn over routine tasks to commercial companies as soon as NASA can, and that this will lower the overall costs for NASA, as well as provide new markets for the private sector. This happens already, but apparently you don’t recognize it.

    COTS/CRS is the most current version of this, but USA servicing the Shuttle program is also a good example. Let NASA focus on the unique, and not the routine.

    The question is whether it’s time to transition crew transportation to LEO over to commercial, and many people say yes. I don’t remember what you think, other than SpaceX blah, blah, blah. You need to keep up with the topics of conversation better.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Nobody is advocating for NASA to stand aside and let commercial companies take the lead for exploration.

    Nevertheless, that may turn out to be exactly what happens. If the Deficit Commision recommends reducing NASA’s budget by $5B, then all hopes for SDLV are dead. If Bigelow and SpaceX are successful (supported by NASA contracts), then a commercial L1/L2 or circumlunar mission might happen sooner than a NASA mission. Similarly, if government manned spaceflight is abandoned altogether, then suborbital tourism could still evolve into orbital tourism, it will just take longer. It’s been almost 40 years since there last was a man on the moon. It is not inconceivable that it will take another 40 years before NASA sets foot on the moon again.

  • Mike Snyder

    Bennet,

    Thank you for your concern!

    The simple fact of the matter is I have no idea what I will be doing. I work within the orbiter project, which is going away and much more than a launch vehicle. In addition, I am based at JSC and I expect SDLV will be run by Marshall with only some influence from JSC. I hope to stay within this industry but there are also other external factors that come into play.

    To your questions….. What BEO infrastructure? What R&D? What operations will implement said R&D? How will those operations focus the necessary R&D into near-, medium- and long-term? Should we just start doing R&D for the sake of doing R&D? The fact is NASA has always done R&D and will do R&D with SDLV yet it will have to be properly “phased and planned” and the ultimate goals and objectives must be approved and authorized by NASA administration and the government.

    Honestly, and I truly do not mean any disrespect, but I really enjoy how nameless “bloggers” like yourself decry “waste!” and proclaim how they want this or that, but only at a top level, and always just enough as to tell everyone else why they are wrong and why they are to blame. Why are you different and why are you credible?

    As for the “army”, as you casually refer to it, I never claimed anywhere that every job should/could or can be saved and must translate over 1:1. I have said it makes little sense to throw away valuable experience and knowledge that has been accumulated for over 30 years. That doesn’t mean everyone is safe and things are not going to change.

    Payloads on an HLV…..this will be the last time I answer this question because it like the fourth or fifth time it has been asked. The mission, destination(s) and architecuture need to finalize first. There are DRM’s in work but a true SDLV is not even officially funded yet, so how can there be all these payloads? Especially when those items I ticked off above are still in flux?

    How do you pay for it? Is commercial not supposed to vastly reduce costs? Will the “seed money” for development not result in low cost, routine and fixed prices for cargo and personnel reducing that overhead? Are the “commercial extremists” so blind to the bigger picture that they forget what and why they are trying to promote what they are?

  • Mike Snyder

    Where is this 5 billion defecit reduction rhetoric coming from? Where is there a link, from the government or even a respectable news organization, that hints at this….and this amount?

    We absolutely need to reduce the defecit. We need everything to be as efficient as possible. We need to remove *truly* wasteful spending.

    Reduction of the budget by 25% to NASA is huge. It will not just end SDLV, it will end everything. It also seems questionable as to why that would happen when, even in these times, 5 billion is the equivalent of the change you would find in your couch. It also seems extreme unless every agency is directed to cut 25% from their budget. Five billion will do nothing for the defecit, yet if it is spent, that money flows back into the economy at a greater value and you increase your tax revenue.

  • Martijn Meijering

    25% cuts across the board is what is happening in the UK. No Western country can avoid the upheaval that is coming, though the reckoning can be delayed a bit. Manned spaceflight is a luxury when cuts are being made in things like healthcare and housing.

  • Mike Snyder

    Ahhh, so we are making broad assumptions based on foreign nations and entitlement programs.

    No link? Not even a semi-official statement, made by someone with the authority to speak to that?

    Got it….

  • Martijn Meijering

    I said if, by way of illustration that it is not beyond the realm of possibility commercial space will go beyond LEO before NASA does. In any event the issue of unfunded entitlements can’t be wished away and I think cuts to the NASA budget are likely in the coming years. Of course, I want that to happen so there may be a bit of wishful thinking there.

  • Coastal Ron

    Martijn Meijering wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    If Bigelow and SpaceX are successful (supported by NASA contracts), then a commercial L1/L2 or circumlunar mission might happen sooner than a NASA mission.

    Though this would be nice, I don’t see it being possible without a lot of government business to support the initial revenue. Government money is need for both the supply and demand sides of the equation, at least until there is enough non-government activity to support the industry.

    However, once commercial crew is established in LEO, I definitely think there will be attempts to do low cost trips, including trans-lunar roundtrips.

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Socialist Ron wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 9:22 pm <- Uh, the only people making 'false arguments' are advocates of commercial human spaceflight– particular Musketeers. Suggest you re-read Emperor Musk's message pleading for government subsidies on the premise of being the 'savior' of the future of human spaceflight. Because you've flown nobody and have zero credibility in proposing any commercial hsf alternative. Get some skin in the game and earn some credibility. Stop talking, start flying. The quicker you do, the more credibility you'll have. As it stands now, commericial space has none in manned spaceflight activities. But you know that– and that's the hang-up. As to "The question is whether it’s time to transition crew transportation to LEO over to commercial, and many people say yes…" many smarter people sinmply look at the reality of what is and what isn't and say no, especially as commercial has no experience flying anyone. But you'd have more credibility if you orbited someone and returned them safely. The world, and investors worldwide, await your success. Tick-tock… tick-tock…

  • Mike Snyder

    Martijn,

    Why do want funding to be cut?

    You somehow believe that will all of the sudden and at once enable your hypergolic depots to nowhere, that will then somehow trickle down to a bunch of launch vehicles launching some ill-defined and non-existance prop cargo pods to fuel said hypergolic depots that no one else is using?

    Sure, makes sense.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Because I believe budget cuts may be the only way to align the interests of NASA with those of commercial space.

    And it’s not the depots I want, but a market for propellant in orbit, which presumably requires NASA to do something with that propellant, like, you know, propelling a spacecraft. A refuelable hypergolic lander or PTV or Deep Space Shuttle or whatever you want to call it is about the simplest thing I can think of if it has to be manned. And I want to optimise for low development cost and quick deployment. Not because that is what we should optimise for in general, but because I believe that will best address high commercial launch prices which I believe to be critical. In other areas (say Mars EDL) getting things operational as soon as possible is not what I’d advocate, simply because Mars is not at the top of my personal list of goals.

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    I don’t doubt that SpaceX and Bigelow will be successful in leo. It’s just the timeframe which is a bit up in the air so to speak.

    Both SpaceX and Bigelow must have detailed plans on where they want to get and how they intend to do it otherwise there is no way they would have invested the money they have. This is evidenced by the fact that, irrespective of what Windy et al like to post (they don’t think of course!), they’re flying actual hardware.

    They’re also willing to take a risk otherwise they would have put their money into other things although not banks!!

  • Bennett

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Why are you different and why are you credible?

    Mike, I am somewhat concerned as I understand that what you have been doing has value. I’m hopeful that folks like you find positions that leverage your experience, perhaps with ULA, Boeing, or one of the start-ups that look to be players in the years ahead.

    Am I <different? Than what? I am no different than any number of folks who pay their taxes and want that money well spent. Over the last 40 years, I’d say that the spending hasn’t led to the accomplishments that I’d envisioned. That’s not your fault of course. You haven’t been setting the policy or running the agency. But if NASA is going to finally deliver on the unstated promise of BEO exploration before I’m worm’s food, they damn well better get going. If this means that an expensive LEO LV needs to go away to free up resources for something that will lead to a base on the moon or mars, so be it.

    Your job? It’s not even worth mentioning when weighed against actual progress toward these goals. Sorry, but people die every day, by the thousands, and you are still alive to face your next challenge.

    I am self employed and have been for the last 18 years. I have no pension and no guarantee that my products will continue to sell strongly enough to keep putting food on the table for my family. Given my self reliance, I guess I should ask you the same questions.

    Why are you different and why are you credible? Do you deserve to live off of MY taxes even though what you do is no longer needed by NASA?

    I’m not a welfare case, are you?

  • Mike Snyder

    Bennet,

    Where the heck did that come from? I answered everyone of your questions and did so politely. In turn I get called a welfare case and again my current job gets linked to it which, as I just explained to you, has absolutely nothing to do with a SDLV.

    I know nothing about you, except that you are self-employed because you just said that. Otherwise you are still a complete blank yet am I just so casually expected to abandon my beliefs and what I believe is the correct way forward because you say so? Because you *believe* that a SDLV will be so “expensive” and without it all of the sudden moon and Mars bases become a reality? Because you, some nebulous person on the internet, says it is no longer needed?

    I have no idea what you mean about my job not even “being worth it” and the rest of your paragraph there about people dieing every day. But you know what, you know my name, you know my job and you know where I stand and what I believe. That is much, much more than I can say about you.

    I am far from a welfare case and thank you for continuing to insult me in such ways. I work and I work rather hard not only doing this but also spending a lot my time as part of this Nation’s armed forces defending your right to make nonsense comments.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 10:43 pm


    Why do want funding to be cut? ”

    Mike.

    I want federal funding cut in general (25 percent sounds harsh…) and NASA in specific, because I think that only cuts will force federal agencies that are non performing to make the hard choices to start performing…and that includes all of them (including the Pentagon).

    Right now most but not all federal agencies are underperforming particularly in the management of contractors. This is true in the DoD and it is certainly true at NASA HSF…an example…there are about 15000 or so (a tad less) contractor personnel at Alliance…thats the complement of three nuclear Aircraft carriers…and the CVN’s can under certain conditions fight with far less people.

    The Littoral Combat ship(s) …each one of them have more people on the contractor staff then it took in WW2 to design and build the prototype Fletcher and Gearing Destroyers…there are more people working on the F-35 project then built the B-29 in WW2.

    These numbers should be lower…the technology requirements are relative wise no greater…and there are far more automated tools available…it can be done…the MRAP was designed and built with numbers more approximating a WW2 style development program.

    Unless NASA (in specific) is forced to make hard choices (which can be made) in HSF then it is simply unaffordable.

    BTW you asked what do I do? Besides testing and flying airplanes (big ones for my employer and small ones for my friends) I do mostly flight controls but a lot of next gen cockpits including AC-90-100A type flight particularly GPS autoland) my big collateral is, for my employer going to organizations which are floundering or have made large systematic errors which have caused some major problem, figuring out what those are and then (in cases for my employer) helping to fix them.

    The errors made in the loss of Columbia were, had they been made in a private organization near criminal. Just sheer willful incompetence. Colgan airlines did something like that which resulted in the crash near Buffalo and while they are no where near sat, at least they had the horsepower to show the management that had put up with the BS, the door.

    The software on Node 3 is apparently something that Boeing was able to slide in under the goofy radar of NASA. (at least that is what I hear)…

    but there are reasons NASA HSF has not run a single solitary launch vehicle development program to completion since the shuttle, even though they have tried multiple times…and it aint because space is hard.

    Sorry you didnt like the Lisa N reference…it was on my mind from a conversation…

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/100820update/

    this is very cool….love the picture of the recovery fleet!

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mike Snyder wrote @ August 23rd, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    spending on HSF does very little in the local economy at least compared to infrastructure projects.

    Put it this way. If 5 billion were dumped into JSC there would be a certain amount of “blow down” in the community ie you and others spend some of that income…but thats it…

    On the other hand when money went to developing NASA Parkway (or the DGPS system at Hobby etc) then not only does one get the blow down, but one is left with a functioning product that has value at the end of it.

    So for instance say a shuttle launch cost oh pick a number lets say 600 million total (again I am just picking one)…once that 600 million is spent it trickles down and thats it.

    Now spend 600 million on ADS B upgrades to Houston Center…you get the trickle down but once the system is operational then air traffic flows a lot better and everyone is a lot more competitive (or spend it on new power transmission networks the result is still the same).

    The problem with the federal government right now is we have far to much spending on things that have little value to cost…and far to little spending on things that have higher value then cost.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Bennett

    Mike,

    If you want to interpret my questions as statements, and then feign insult to avoid answering, well, that’s an interesting strategy.

    Good luck with that.

  • Mike Snyder

    Bennet,

    Mine my be interesting, yours is horrible.

  • Rhyolite

    “tick tock”

    Seems to me that the clock is running down a lot faster on an SDLV/Orion vehicle than on anything commercial. The lights are going out on shuttle, the production lines are closing and the workers are being laid off. Restarting these things gets more expensive by the day.

    Congress is “designing” vehicles who’s performance and schedule goals are incompatible with their budget. Something has to give. If congress doesn’t admit this now, they are setting themselves up for a costly program replan and even more schedule slides just a couple of years down the road.

    The commercial providers are going to keep plugging away in the mean time, accumulating flight history. They have substantial contracts resupply contracts to keep them going, the prospect of more contracts with the extension of ISS and, in the case of Falcon 9, a substantial satellite launch backlog. Their not going away. The question of crew services is only going to grow more acute with each cost overrun and schedule slide on the SDLV side.

    Likewise, the EELVs will keep plugging along. They exist for national security purposes. Their not going away either so the question will always remain as to why we are developing a new launch vehicle for Orion when suitable ones already exist. The cost advantage will continue to threaten an SDLV every time it’s development slips up.

  • DCSCA

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 12:22 am <–Golly… this was very cool, too… 50 years ago.

    http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4001/images/fig18.jpg
    http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4001/images/fig17.jpg

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 2:04 am

    …this was very cool, too… 50 years ago.

    And yet you drive a vehicle that is essentially 100 year old tech, and use a knife that is eons old tech. The wonder is not that they can build it, it’s that they can build it for so much less than the U.S. Government.

    And tick tock, tick tock – where is the governments capsule, and how much have they spent?

    Poor DCSCA – you keep missing the point…

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Socialist Ron wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 2:34 am <- Actually it's you that keeps missing the point, as Dr. Kraft so rationally expressed in his editorial. Stop talking. Start flying…. the world- and investors- awaits your success.

  • DCSCA

    Oh, and CoastalSocialistRon, the fact that all the heavy lifting and ground breaking development costs for this technology was already invented and accomplished by a government funded and managed space program over half a century ago (which is a back door subsidity in itself) should make this ‘ wonder ‘ a lot easier for any ‘enterprise’ today. The ‘wonder’ is why commercial hsf has not flown anyone sooner– or yet. But then you know that. Of course, if you understood how free market capitalism operates, you’d know the constraints of limited markets, largess of capital investment requirements… the high risk, low return on investment for investors… yes, the learning curve will be steep with this one.

  • Dennis Berube

    Gentilemen, even with all your rhetoric, the full Aries stack is to be ground tested the last day of this month. Also I understand the first flight of the full stack is still set for next year. It looks to me so far, that Aries is still a go! The SRB, is still apparently slated to be used also on a SDHLV, and that is apparently the way it is headed. Now I enjoy these discussions, as long as we dont call each other names, such as liars, morons, etc. I will try again, as I have an interst in the space program. Can we at least act like adults. We are all here with imput, but lets be nice about it.

  • Dennis Berube

    Adding to what I said above, everyone says the SRBs are old tech, yet I was reading where their upgrades include the removal of the troublesome O-rings, and heaters, and are being replaced with a new material that can withstand cold temps. I havent found out what the new material is, and will try to find out. The SRBs, like Orion are being upgraded from old designs. Orion is not the same vehicle Apollo was, nor are the SRBs the exact same replications that fly on the shuttles. Advancement takes time and necessity for improvements, and that appears to be what is happening.

  • byeman

    There is no flight of a stack next year nor have the orings been removed. Ares-I is dead. Do some research outside of an ATK propaganda site.

  • byeman

    “I don’t ever recall a NASA upper stage malfunctioning in such a way.”

    NASA hasn’t had an “upperstage” since 1975. However, look at TDRS-A/IUS in 1983, it didn’t roll, it tumbled.

    “It doesn’t take a 5th grader to notice that a single man rated SRB first stage with over 250 successful firings is a simpler, more elegant first stage solution than a triple body LH2 rocket..”

    It doesn’t take a 5th grade to notice that a 5 segment SRB is not the same as the shuttle 4 segment and therefor the 250 successful firings are not applicable. NASA is ignoring its own processes and policies to say that the flight history is directly applicable. The 5 segment SRB is a “new” vehicle.

    Also, It doesn’t take a 5th grader to notice that a single man rated SRB first stage and triple body LH2 rocket are complete launch vehicles and therefore the comparison is not relevant.

  • Dennis Berube

    Mr. Byeman, we will see what comes of next year.

  • amightywind

    Robert G. Oler wrote:

    this is very cool….love the picture of the recovery fleet!

    The rear view of the F9 reveals what a hack the first stage propulsion system really is. Compare to this which is much more confidence inspiring.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Ares-I is dead.

    But is is it merely dead or sincerely dead? We have to make sure it is undeniably and reliably dead. Right now it’s limping on in zombie mode.

  • MrEarl

    The hypocrisy on this site is at times incredible!
    Bennett, Ron, Oler and others bash NASA, it’s employees and contractors at will, but dare raise a dissenting word about golden child SpaceX and you’re labeled an idiot and troll. DCSCA is right, it’s put-up or shut-up time for SpaceX and September will be a crucial for them. They have come a long way with a good deal of success but now they have to prove consistency. I hope they do it because progress from companies like SpaceX benefits everyone who want to see us eventually get beyond Earth orbit. But it’s way too early to anoint them as the next

    The fight is essentially over. From Garver’s statements last week, the administration is supporting the Senate compromise bill. Commercial space flight companies will likely have more funding available through tax breaks and loan guarantees than through direct government funding. Shuttle technology and experience is not something we should so lightly dispose of. The ability to lift 100+mT to LEO is an ability we should develop further not just cast aside. Payloads are the big straw-man thrown out in this debate. Once the capability is in place or even in the development stage the payloads will be there to take advantage of it. Bigalow, another golden boy to some denizens of this blog, is developing a module to be launched on an Aries V class launcher. Build it and they will come.
    As for expense, let’s put NASA’s budget in perspective. It’s less than one half of one percent of the total US budget, less than 2% of the deficit alone!
    So we have a choice. Do we continue this idiotic bickering, each side wishing for the other to fail, or do we try our best to see that all sides succeed?

  • byeman

    “The rear view of the F9 reveals what a hack the first stage propulsion system really is. Compare to this which is much more confidence inspiring.”

    Comments like these show that the poster in clueless about launch vehicle engineering.

    Ares-I does not exist because it is a well engineered launch vehicle. It is exists to provide early development of Ares V required 5 segment SRB’s, the J-2 and launch vehicle avionics.

    Ares-I as a standalone vehicle makes no sense on all accounts, engineering, financial and safety because it does not provide an advantage in any category.

    SRM’s are not a “safe” design for manned flight (the shuttle was a fluke). Compare two new first stages, one solid and one liquid. On their first flights, the liquid vehicle is the safer one because the actually stage can be tested, which is not applicable for the solid.

    Now take a solid motor with flight history and new liquid stage, the solid motor may be more reliable.

    This is not applicable to Ares I because it no longer is the original ‘Stick”. By going to 5 segments, the previous flight history is no longer applicable per industry and NASA processes and standards. The propaganda for Ares I conveniently ignores this.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 9:28 am
    Once the capability is in place or even in the development stage the payloads will be there to take advantage of it….

    there is no data to support that analysis. It is a nice hope but no real data.

    If your wish were reality, there would be payloads now building to support the heavier lift versions (which are capable) of Delta and Atlas…and there are no payloads for that. The Europeans are NOT designing a heavier lift version of Ariane V.

    Most “consumers” have been burned by NASA. When the shuttle was suppose to be the “build it and they will come” several manufactors did, with private money design vehicles which would take advantage of its attributes in terms of payload and size…none are in use today.

    There is no evidence that any sort of commercial use exist for the large payloads (mass and shroud) that a SDV would have…and the DoD has on more then one occasion said not only “no but he double l no”

    NASA HSF is a dysfunctional organization…they cannot even fly a amateur radio payload for under 1 million dollars….

    Robert G. Oler

  • Suggest you re-read Emperor Musk’s message pleading for government subsidies on the premise of being the ‘savior’ of the future of human spaceflight.

    It’s not possible for us to read, let alone re-read, things that exist only in your fantasy world.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 9:28 am

    “So we have a choice. Do we continue this idiotic bickering, each side wishing for the other to fail, or do we try our best to see that all sides succeed?”

    that is like my children when they were small explaining to me “Dad our allowance is .X percent of you and Mom’s take home what is the point of arguing about an increase”.

    goofy.

    The NASA budget might be small in terms of the overall federal budget but waste is waste. The good people in Ohio who want an alternate engine built for the F-35 make the same argument…”its only a small percentage of the DoD budget much less the national budget” (it is about 1 billion a year)…but 1) there is no need for it and 2) it waste money that could go to something else.

    All sides in the HSF do not have value. NASA HSF needs to prove that it has some value for the cost it incurs and seemingly cannot. I dont support waste in a federal budget that is simply out of control.

    If NASA could build a Falcon9 class rocket (or even a Delta IV class) for the dollars spent on Falcon 9 or Delta IV we might not be having this discussion…it is clear that they cannot.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    rocket engines bolted horizontally to the Earth never have been all that impressive to me

    Robert G. Oler

  • byeman

    “Once the capability is in place or even in the development stage the payloads will be there to take advantage of it.”

    False logic and history proves it wrong.
    a. There is no need for the capability, NASA does even use the largest vehicles available now.
    b. There is no money for large payloads, NASA only funds one per decade.

    Commercial space is still going to be funded on the order of the president’s request.

    “The hypocrisy on this site is at times incredible!”

    You know why? Because idiots and trolls only think commercial space equates to Spacex. Commercial space already exists and NASA uses them, ULA, OSC, Astrotech/Spacehab, etc. They already “put up”, so it is time for the commercial space bashers to shut up. Boeing, the most experienced HSF contractor, is building a commercial spacecraft.

    NASA had not designed a manned spacecraft in thirty years, so it has no more experience than Spacex. Organizations do not carry legacy, people do. Hence contractors like Boeing and Spacex have the same experience as NASA.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    It’s not possible for us to read, let alone re-read, things that exist only in your fantasy world….

    that is pretty funny Robert G. Oler

  • byeman

    Dennis Berube wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 8:08 am

    There is nothing to see. There is no hardware or plans to fly anything next year, period. It is even too late to even start now for something to launch next year, so there is no chance if there is a change of heart.

  • craig morford

    egads. All this posturing! Why don’t we just repeal healthcare. slash the defense budjet by 25% and up NASA’s budget to 50 billion a year. Then we might get somthing done. This country needs to be BEO and now, quit bickering and light the dang candle. While sit here and argue the japanese will be sending their 2nd sample return mission to an asteroid in a few years. The United States needs as a country to stop talking and start flying. Light the dang candle!!!

  • craig morford

    LO as far as it goes i think NASA should have a 600 billion doller budgetL

  • Martijn Meijering

    The Europeans are NOT designing a heavier lift version of Ariane V.

    In fact, they want a smaller Ariane because it is too expensive and too big, even though it lifts less than an EELV Heavy. Only in the short run do they want a slightly larger Ariane, so they remain twice as large as necessary which is much more efficient than 1.8 times as large when used with dual payloads.

    Intriguingly, for ESA something like Ares I (though much smaller) may make sense.

  • Martijn Meijering

    This country needs to be BEO

    Why? I think this is hyperbole. It would be more accurate to say “I really want this country to go beyond LEO ASAP”.

  • MrEarl

    Oler defecated:
    “If NASA could build a Falcon9 class rocket (or even a Delta IV class) for the dollars spent on Falcon 9 or Delta IV we might not be having this discussion…it is clear that they cannot.”
    First, NASA has not been charged with building that class launcher so we don’t know where or not they could build it.
    Second, Why have NASA waste money on something that’s already available in the market place when that money can be spent on developing something that isn’t already available.
    The only thing “goofy” is your analogy’s and pretending to know more about spaceflight than you do.

    “and the DoD has on more then one occasion said not only “no but he double l no””
    Is that even English?
    That’s not true because you yourself said in posts on other threads that the DoD was pushing Boeing for develop a Delta IV super heavy, a SDLV in everything but name, so there is a need for HL and that need will grow once it becomes clear that HL will be developed.

    byeman:
    “Commercial space already exists and NASA uses them, ULA, OSC, Astrotech/Spacehab, etc. They already “put up”,”
    Launching satellites and probes are quite different the launch and recovery of a manned vehicle. Even Spacehab was just a “passenger” in the shuttle cargo bay not capable of life support or reentry on it’s own. I singled out SpaceX because that seems to be the darling of the commercial space crowd on this site yet still has the most to prove. It seems that when this is pointed out is the only time ULA, Boeing and LochMart are brought into the conversation.

  • It seems that when this is pointed out is the only time ULA, Boeing and LochMart are brought into the conversation.

    Just because it “seems that” doesn’t make it true. Even Elon says that ULA is more likely to get the work than SpaceX, despite the warped fantasies of the Musk haters here.

  • byeman

    “Launching satellites and probes are quite different the launch and recovery of a manned vehicle.”

    As for launching, there is no difference.

    “so there is a need for HL and that need will grow once it becomes clear that HL will be developed. ”

    wrong, there is no need and current vehicles are more than adequate

  • MrEarl

    Majin:
    In fact, they want a smaller Ariane because it is too expensive and too big, even though it lifts less than an EELV Heavy.

    Since when do we base our needs for LV’s on the plans or needs of ESA?

  • MrEarl

    byeman:
    “As for launching, there is no difference.”

    So you admit that a little thing like recovery is a different set of skills.
    As for launch, it certainly is different! A LV that is to be manned has to take into account g loads, fault monitoring systems need to be more stringent, guidance and performance has to be taken into account to minimize “black zones” where the LAS will not be effective.
    Not that I think ULA/Boeing even SpaceX couldn’t do it, but let’s withhold the cheering till they do.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Since when do we base our needs for LV’s on the plans or needs of ESA?

    I was illustrating the point that smaller is more economical and that build it and they will come does not apply.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 10:37 am

    lol

    NASA has not been able to build “any class” launcher since the shuttle. ALS/NLS/Venture Star now Ares the list is endless of billions spent and nothing accomplished.

    The odd thing is that all NASA really does is “manage” the building…few of its employees have the skills or technological horsepower to actually DO the design…it is private industry that is tasked with actually cutting metal (or whatever) and NASA does the managing and thats “double P”

    (insert word that starts with a P) Poor

    Robert G. Oler

  • MrEarl

    Rand:
    I don’t think they are “Musk haters” more like pragmatists that want to see more data and results before crowning him Lord of Human Space Flight lie many on this blog seem to want to do already.
    As for windy….. well what can I say. He lives in his own little windy world.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 10:37 am

    That’s not true because you yourself said in posts on other threads that the DoD was pushing Boeing for develop a Delta IV super heavy, a SDLV in everything but name..

    wrong again

    (more autoland moments)

    A Delta IV super heavy is not an SDV in everything but name. There are no SRB’s of anykind, there are no SSME’s there “might” be an external tank knock off, and then there might not be.. there are no shuttle avionics, or shuttle control systems and really no NASA.

    sorry

    Robert G. Oler

  • MrEarl

    Oler: Take a look at the Boeing proposal for SDLV,s, the latest studies done by the SSP and the Delta IV super heavy and even someone of your limited in-site can see there are a lot of similarities.

  • I don’t think they are “Musk haters” more like pragmatists that want to see more data and results before crowning him Lord of Human Space Flight lie many on this blog seem to want to do already.

    Like whom? Again, because something “seems” to be doesn’t make it a reality. I’ll bet you can’t point out a single example of such a person.

    Is pointing out the objective fact that he’s built a company and developed two rockets for the cost of the Ares I-X launch site, and less than ten percent of the money spent on Constellation to date “crowning him Lord of Human Space Flight”? Only to the deranged.

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    it doesnt matter “the latest” studies. No one who is going to pay for a launch vehicle wants the added “shroud” size of a SDV…hence the Delta IV super heavy is going to look a lot like well the growth potential of the Delta IV ie a common core with four straps and maybe some cross tankage…

    Even if they were to use a ET knock off as a common core (and I think thats a good idea actually) it is not an SDV…it is an ET feeding Delta IV propulsion with Common core straps and Delta Avionics.

    The DoD wants nothing to do with NASA infrastructure and if there are customers for a super heavy, it will be the DoD…no one else has any payloads…and NASA isnt going to get any money to develop them

    The laughter over their “solar power demonstrator” was heard all over the beltway.

    Robert G. Oler

  • MrEarl

    Oler:
    “The laughter over their “solar power demonstrator” was heard all over the beltway.”

    Proof?

  • amightywind

    Rand Simberg wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Is pointing out the objective fact that he’s built a company and developed two rockets for the cost of the Ares I-X launch site, and less than ten percent of the money spent on Constellation to date “crowning him Lord of Human Space Flight”?

    As a journalist you need to be especially careful about your obvious conflict of interest pumping SpaceX. Are you really different from the hopeless leftist partisans on JournalList or the rest of the lame stream media? Rush has you guys nailed. He’s a tip, your readers might like to know the seamier side of a new start technology company run my a megalomaniac. And we all know there is one…

  • Robert G. Oler

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    it will never get built. Five billion for 1 KW of power is nuts…the insanity of anyone who could actually propose such a “demonstration” is just mind boggling.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Rand Simberg wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Rush has you guys nailed…
    that would be the same Rush who was arguing “stay the course” right up until Bush changed course!

    or the same one who does drugs…or plays with little girls?

    Robert G. Oler

  • Mike Snyder

    Mr. Oler.

    You still have not answered my basic questions. I did see your diatribe about employment and multiple aircraft carries. It seems very non sequitur and has a lot of words without saying too much at all.

    Again, with all due respect, I ask if you have any direct technical experience with design, development, test and engineering of systems and or projects related to NASA. I ask if you have any direct operations experience with any of these projects. I ask if you have any experience with the processes and programattic aspects of large and complex NASA programs. I ask if you have or had any practical experience within the “beltway” with any kind of “oversight” role of NASA as an agency.

    You said you “hung around” during CAIB. I ask again what did you do specifically and how did your knowledge, experience and wisdom further the investigative efforts.

    You speak a lot of about safety and, it appears, to imply incompetence. Yet, at the same time, you say space operations are “not hard”. Surely, with as much knowledge and experience as you have, you understand that aerospace is challenging and unforgiving. Surely, you did not mean to be so cavalier in your statements.

    I understand, and respect, you would like everything to be more efficient. There is nothing wrong with that. Yet instead of building on a conversation, you say the same thing over and over again and taking the conversation on seemingly wild tangents. For someone who clearly wants others to know how much they believe they can offer, why the rather technically, politically and financially shallow comments time and time again? Where is the depth?

    Tell me where I am wrong because, at this point in time, this is my impression of your comments.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    He’s a tip, your readers might like to know the seamier side of a new start technology company run my a megalomaniac.

    One can assign good and evil traits to anyone (like you) or any thing, but the fact remains that SpaceX has created two launchers and one capsule, have completed $244M worth of NASA COTS milestones (with $10M due for the upcoming demo flight), and they have $2.4B in order backlog. All on $120M of initial investment.

    If Musk is evil, then there are a lot of people that want to be his kind of capitalistic evil.

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis Berube wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Welcome back Dennis.

    Also I understand the first flight of the full stack is still set for next year.

    My suggestion is that you look at what parts make up the Ares I, and then look at the development schedule for those parts.

    The ATK 5-segment SRM is just the 1st stage for Ares I. After it burns out, then the J-2X upper stage has to take the payload to LEO.

    The last review of the Ares I schedule showed that even with complete funding and continued work (neither of which it has), Ares I would not be ready for it’s first flight until at least 2015, and more likely 2017 & beyond.

    Another way to look at the ATK 5-segment SRM tests is that if the design was mature and ready for Ares I to use, they wouldn’t be spending all that money to test it.

    Besides, both the Senate and House have agreed – Ares I is dead. They only need to deliver the final budget to the President to shut it down.

  • amightywind

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    Sigh. More dubious numbers PFYA. Like Senator Shelby said, “They are two years behind schedule and now are looking for more government funding to be successful.”

    Robert G. Oler wrote:

    that would be the same Rush who was arguing “stay the course” right up until Bush changed course!

    Oler, your reflex reaction toward Rush, George Bush, Sarah Palin, and traditional NASA is the same one my dog has when when he sees a cat. Higher brain functions are not involved.

  • MrEarl

    Oler :
    “it will never get built. Five billion for 1 KW of power is nuts…the insanity of anyone who could actually propose such a “demonstration” is just mind boggling.”

    Still looking for proof, not your uninformed opinion.

  • MrEarl

    Rand:
    I speak from many years for being human and observing human nature, neither of which you can lay claim to. :-)

  • Dennis Berube

    Coastal Ron, I agree with what you are saying, as to the Ares 1, being not utilized for the Orion. However isnt it still in competition for the HLV? They do seem to be moving forward toward that goal. Why continue with testing if it is in shut down mode? I do understand that the upperstage wasnt going to be ready for next year also. When I wrote the above post, I had forgotten about that fact. I do stand corrected on that. Wasnt it next year they were going to test the second stage liquid fueled section? Is that still on? From my understanding this months test is still go!

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Bennett, Ron, Oler and others bash NASA, it’s employees and contractors at will, but dare raise a dissenting word about golden child SpaceX and you’re labeled an idiot and troll.

    There are multiple issues going on here, and it’s easy to mix them together.

    First of all, I have been quite clear in my support of NASA, and my wish to see them do more R&D and exploration, so you’re wrong if you think I don’t fully support NASA. What I don’t support is efforts to force NASA to do things it is not capable of doing.

    Constellation is a good example of where NASA was given a marginal design to use (Ares I) and not enough budget to build it. But people internal to NASA were also complicit in hiding Ares I problems (i.e. management), so of course “NASA” is going to pop up as part of the problem. You have to understand the arguments better to understand who is being discussed.

    For instance, when I talk about the Shuttle program being too expensive to continue, I’m not talking about Mike Snyder’s salary. And I have not pointed any fingers at USA or other contractors for being responsible for the design of the Shuttle. But nevertheless, Shuttle is too expensive to keep running, and is too big of a burden for NASA if NASA is supposed to do more R&D and exploration.

    Regarding SpaceX, yes I like them, particularly because they are making progress in lowing the cost to access space. They also happen to be the most active company in that space right now, so who else are we supposed to be talking about? Weird.

    But I have also be very vocal about my support for Delta IV Heavy, Atlas V, Orbital Sciences and SpaceDev (Dream Chaser). I have always advocated that man-rating Delta IV Heavy and Atlas V are no brainers, and we should proceed immediately. Does that change your perception about me and SpaceX?

    I want more human exploration in space, and I want it as soon as possible. We don’t need HLV to do it, so I advocate against SDLV. That makes me a NASA lover, an HSF supporter, and a dreamer who wants to explore space vicariously through others (I can’t afford it otherwise).

    Capisce?

  • byeman

    “As for launch, it certainly is different! A LV that is to be manned has to take into account g loads, fault monitoring systems need to be more stringent, guidance and performance has to be taken into account to minimize “black zones” where the LAS will not be effective.”

    That is not “different”, that is just normal integration, which is done for every payload.

    Have you worked spacecraft/launch vehicle integration? I have for many payloads and OSP. So I know what is involved and it is not different.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    More dubious numbers PFYA.

    PFYA = Parents for Young Actors?

    You make weird references.

    Regarding the numbers I cited, they are all public. We’re still waiting for your public numbers showing how much cheaper Ares I could have been compared to Delta IV Heavy…

  • MrEarl

    Ron:
    Capisce.. Sorry if I misrepresented your positions. It seems than that our main differences are my support for SDHLV’s and your belief that they are not needed.

  • amightywind

    Dennis Berube wrote:

    Why continue with testing if it is in shut down mode?

    Because it isn’t. At very least the 5 segment SRB will be used on the Ares V…er..HLV. Another successful test of the 5 segment SRM will drive home the point that the Ares I is near completion and that it doesn’t make sense to restart the program using a non man rated military launcher.

  • byeman

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    1. ” Sigh. More dubious numbers PFYA. Like Senator Shelby said, “They are two years behind schedule and now are looking for more government funding to be successful.”

    2. Higher brain functions are not involved.”

    1. They are not two years behind. Anyways if you are going to point out schedules delays, Ares I was much further behind before Obama did the smart thing and pulled the plug.

    2. Which applies every time you post here.

    Your blind manlove for Ares I is proof that you don’t know what makes for a good launch vehicle

  • amightywind

    Coastal Ron wrote:

    We’re still waiting for your public numbers showing how much cheaper Ares I could have been compared to Delta IV Heavy…

    The marginal cost of an Ares I launch is $138M, compared to $350 for a Delta IV Heavy. Wow! 3 Deltas are a tad pricey, and dangerous…

    http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/pages/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=817:how-much-would-ares-i-cost&catid=67:news&Itemid=27

    Simple, soon, and cheap! Remember this next time Ron tries to bamboozle you with Obamaspace propoganda.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    It seems than that our main differences are my support for SDHLV’s and your belief that they are not needed.

    It appears so.

    For me, the ISS is a clear demonstration of why we don’t need anything bigger than Delta IV Heavy to get started on exploration. If we wanted to duplicate something like the ISS using an HLV, we would still need to launch multiple pieces, since it currently weighs 408 tons.

    No matter how big the launcher we build, we will always need to assemble multiple pieces in orbit. If that’s true, then why wait, and let’s start building exploration vehicles now, instead of spending money on bigger launchers that won’t be the right size anyways.

    We have ISS modules built, tested, and in use, and we can use those designs to build new vehicles – all of which fit on existing launchers. No need to wait.

    My $0.02

  • byeman

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Not more sense but more nonsense from windy.

    A. Ares I is far from completion. It has just had PDR.
    B. EELV’s are not “military” launchers. They launch NASA, commercial and NRO payloads.
    c. Use of an EELV would not be a restart, it would be a “move ahead 3 spaces (years)” card.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I try not to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man, but you keep trying to fight… ;-)

    Ok, let’s use the article you cite. You said:

    The marginal cost of an Ares I launch is $138M

    What you forgot to add is that they also said it costs $781M/year recurring for Ares, which is in addition to the marginal cost. So that 1st flight costs $919M, the 2nd averages $529M, and it takes until the 5th flight in one year before you hit an average of $294M/flight.

    The CEO of ULA, Michael Gass, testified last year that after $1.3B in NRE to man-rate Delta IV Heavy, they would charge $300M/flight. So Ares I would have to fly 5 times per year, EVERY YEAR, in order to equal the cost of Delta IV Heavy.

    Oh, and let’s look at that Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE) again. For Delta IV Heavy, that would be $1.3B. For Ares I, though no one seems to know for sure, it certainly seems to be $20B+.

    Both do the same job, but Delta IV Heavy has 20% margins for Orion, and there are no black zones during it’s ascent to LEO. Ares I was struggling with so many weight issues, that Orion had to be derated from 6 to 4 crew.

    So Windy, if the American Taxpayer is looking at two equal launchers, the clear choice is going to be the one that costs $20B less – and that is Delta IV Heavy.

  • amightywind

    Ron wrote:

    Ares I was struggling with so many weight issues, that Orion had to be derated from 6 to 4 crew.

    Weren’t we just talking about costs? We can change the subject. NASA literature quotes 4 on Orion to BEO and 6 to LEO, like always. Perhaps you will invest some new figures here as well. With all of the turmoil in the last year with the sabotage of Augustine and Obama it is hard to know where the program of record really stands. You really shouldn’t be biased too much by the Powerpoints you see coming from Silicon Valley. Just because a secretary at SpaceX was able to stuff 7 crash dummies in her Viseo drawing doesn’t mean that Dragon will actually do it.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Weren’t we just talking about costs?

    And comparisons. Unless you are a RINO (Republican In Name Only), the ROI for Delta IV Heavy is clearly the better choice. Now is the time to save money, not experiment on expensive solid-fuel people launchers.

  • MrEarl

    Ron:
    I am in full agreement on starting to build exploration vehicles now and the space infrastructure to support them like fuel depots, landers, etc. unfortunately congress isn’t going to fund that and no one with any pull in either congress or the administration has stepped forward to champion the idea. But congress will support and the administration will accept the building of a shuttle derived HLV. So lets make the best of what is going to be available.
    You look at the construction of the ISS and see that large structures can be built 20mT’s at a time. I don’t think there’s any denying that although I wonder how much of that assembly was made possible withthe unique abilities of the shuttle. When looking at the ISS I see an arduous 12 year process that could more quickly and easily be done with HLV’s launching two or three fully outfitted modules at a time. I can respect your point of view if you can respect mine.

    What I’m hoping is that during the next few years support can be built for just that type of modular space craft but if not we would have a launcher capable of at least doing sortie style missions to cis-lunar space and possible beyond using the Orion capsule.

  • Major Tom

    “NASA literature quotes 4 on Orion to BEO and 6 to LEO, like always.”

    Wrong. Hanley had to reduce Orion’s crew size for ISS missions in March of last year:

    “However, some decisions have already been made, including the move to a four man crew on Orion for both ISS and Lunar versions of the vehicle – as previously reported by this site in March [2009].”

    nasaspaceflight.com/2009/04/refining-constellations-roadmap-2015-hanley-proposes-major-changes/

    The only way Orion is going to get six crew to ISS is via Delta IV or another launch vehicle. Ares I imposes unresolvable mass restrictions and cost penalties for a six-crew Orion.

    If you’re out of date on a topic, then don’t post on it. It’s a waste of other posters’ time to correct stupid statements made out of ignorance.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m not tilting at windmills. I see what the budget is proposing, and what is likely to be funded. But I’m also in favor of making that work obsolete before it ever gets finished, kind of like Constellation. Not that I like to see the waste, but that in the long run I view existing launchers as less expensive. A debatable point for sure.

    how much of that assembly [ISS] was made possible withthe unique abilities of the shuttle.

    From a payload standpoint, none. Each piece could be carried by Delta IV Heavy instead. What the Shuttle brought is truly unique, in that it was a temporary construction shack (i.e. robotic arm, extra spacewalk capability, etc.). But that could be replaced fairly easily I think, and certainly the Russians never needed a Shuttle to build their 143 ton Mir.

    When looking at the ISS I see an arduous 12 year process that could more quickly and easily be done with HLV’s launching two or three fully outfitted modules at a time.

    Just to clarify.

    Part of the delay was based on the Shuttle program shut down, which is a weakness the CAIB recognized when it recommended that future crew and cargo flights be made separate.

    Other delays were budgetary, which a NASA HLV will be susceptible to also. And in fact a case could be made that a NASA HLV will be more susceptible to budgetary issues, because of how much budget is needed to develop it, and how much it costs for ongoing NASA operations. Existing launchers avoid both the R&D and ongoing NASA operations costs.

    My attempt at a math formula that shows the trade-off is:

    Spend $X to develop, build, launch and operate stuff in space, OR, spend $X on building an HLV. Whereas $X = the cost to develop the NASA HLV.

    Congress clearly wants an HLV. I view that as a lost opportunity to do stuff in space. FWIW

  • amightywind

    Minor Tom wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Wrong. Hanley had to reduce Orion’s crew size for ISS missions in March of last year:

    Source? Please keep the postings factual and argue honestly. Your propaganda is tiresome. I don’t share your concerns about the short comings of a block I spacecraft. They should just build the damn thing. Besides. What good are extra seats? Just more room for Russians and Eurotrash.

    Coastal Ron wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    And comparisons. Unless you are a RINO (Republican In Name Only)

    A RINO is a moderate. Are you accusing me of that? That would be a first. A dumb idea is a dumb idea no matter what herd you run with. I am sorry the launch manifest of the Delta IV is so small. The rocket was sized poorly and bad technical decisions were made to accommodate using 3 common cores.

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    As amightywind blows, Ares I goes… away – so says Congress.

    Whereas Delta IV, in both it’s single & triple core versions, keeps putting payloads to space, including payloads the DOD would never consider flying on Ares I.

    Oh, the humiliation you must feel!

  • DCSCA

    amightywind wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 2:52 pm <- Ares is a bad rocket. The quicker its killed off, the quicker the space agency can press on to a better bird.

  • Major Tom

    “Source? Please keep the postings factual and argue honestly. Your propaganda is tiresome.”

    The web address is in my earlier post above, directly following the quote.

    Learn how to read for comprehension, learn how to cut and paste web addresses, and learn how to navigate the internet.

    If you can’t do that, then don’t post here. You’re wasting everyone else’s time.

    Cripes…

  • DCSCA

    @Rand Simberg wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 9:49 am <– Inaccurate, as usual. A recent plea below, from someone who has flown absolutely NOBODY in space. Nobody. :

    ""We" recently asked for your help to protect the future of human spaceflight – and the response was impressive… "We" still have a tough fight ahead of us… preserving America’s leadership role in space. "We" hope you will continue to fight for the opportunity to show how a true public/private partnership can transform America’s space program…"We" thank you for your support and look forward to working together to ensure an exciting future for American spaceflight… -Elon-"

    Get somebody up, around and down safely, Elon. Stop talking, start flying, Elon. Otherwise, your egocentric 'here-I-come-to-save-the-day' mantre is a lot like Mighty Mouse after all… humorious, cartoonish… and pure fiction. Tick-tock… tick-tock…

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 10:02 am – Oh yes, Waldo, Elon is pretty humerous… just like WC Fields– or Professor Harold Hill.

  • DCSCA

    @Waldo “rocket engines bolted horizontally to the Earth never have been all that impressive to me –Robert G. Oler” <– Watch 500 yards from a test stand at ignition you'll get a fresh impression… and need some fresh Jockey shorts as well.

  • MrEarl

    byeman:
    “Have you worked spacecraft/launch vehicle integration? I have for many payloads and OSP. So I know what is involved and it is not different.
    Since when did payloads have launch abort systems?
    Sorry byeman, integrating payloads is only a small part of making a system safe enough to carry people.

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 24th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    integrating payloads is only a small part of making a system safe enough to carry people.

    I can’t speak to that, but all modern launchers already have health monitoring systems incorporated into their design, so this is not a major redesign for crew we’re talking about. I have heard Atlas V already has “man-rated” health monitoring systems, and SpaceX has stated Falcon 9 definitely does.

    The #1 way to make a launcher safe enough to carry people is to make sure it doesn’t fail, so frequent launches are a big part of validating launch systems. This is an advantage commercial launchers have since they use the same rockets for both cargo and crew – they validate their crew systems with every launch, not just crew.

    Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast regulations for “man-rating” a launch system. Shuttle would not be considered “man-rated”, because it does not have a crew escape system. The Soyuz was “man-rated” by NASA by what they called equivalency – they looked at what they Russians were doing, and found their safety systems to be equivalent to what NASA would do. Not much written down.

    NASA has stated that they plan to provide high level requirements for commercial crew, and not be involved in the specific details. This is 50 year old tech we’re talking about, so there is not a lot mystery as to what the launcher needs, and what the human factors are.

    In the end, the proof of the pudding will be the LES demo’s, and I’m sure everyone is budgeting for them. This IS rocket science, and all the companies HAVE rocket scientists…

  • byeman

    “Since when did payloads have launch abort systems?
    Sorry byeman, integrating payloads is only a small part of making a system safe enough to carry people.

    Wrong, and it shows that you don’t no what you are talking about. A manned spacecraft is a payload. An abort system is just a unique feature of a payload.

    Launch vehicles do not have to be “made safe” to carry people. The launch vehicles would not be selected if they had to be made safe. All that needs to be down is to integrate the manned spacecraft (which may have some unique requirements) on to the launch system. Eliminating a abort black zone is no more different than tweaking a trajectory

    The reliability of existing launch vehicles is adequate for manned flight, since they already launch payloads with nuclear material, one of a kind science spacecraft and important national security satellites.

  • 4 Horsemen

    Tom,
    The article you linked to does not say that the crew reductions were explicitly due to Ares I performance. In fact, that happened several months after the ZBV was completed. This was a cost\schedule issue for supporting two configurations. Ares I receives a get out of jail card this time.

    Almighty,
    There are enough reasons to rid of Ares I, while this one was an exception, it still has forced Orion to make several other cuts and it needs to go. Wouldn’t you rather see a more powerful launcher that allows Orion to restore what was lost, and does not duplicate what LV’s already exist?

  • MrEarl

    What ever byeman.
    It still comes down to can they put someone in orbit, and get them down safely?! Bottom line.
    To prove it, they gotta to do it.
    Simple

  • Coastal Ron

    MrEarl wrote @ August 25th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    To prove it, they gotta to do it.

    You’re talking about NASA & Orion, right? Cuz this NASA has not done that with a capsule for almost 40 years.

    It’s actually a silly argument, since the knowledge to do this exists throughout the industry, and is not kept in some secret room at NASA.

    NASA did not use this level of restriction for the COTS/CRS program, so why would they need to do it for crew? Also, any crew program is going to require validation & review before anyone flies, including NASA, so it’s not like it’s you and Uncle Harold trying to launch your drunken neighbor.

    As for SpaceX, which is usually targeted for this type of nonsense, their next flight will be testing the Dragon capsule, including a return to Earth. Every time Dragon flies they are validating their cargo/crew return capability, so they will have a big head start on NASA and everyone else. Once they succeed in returning their capsule, your statement no longer applies to them, but it still applies to NASA. Keep that in mind.

  • DCSCA

    Coastal Socialist Ron wrote @ August 25th, 2010 at 8:15 pm “To prove it they gotta do it.” “You’re talking about NASA & Orion, right? Cuz this NASA has not done that with a capsule for almost 40 years.”

    What a bogus comparison you desperate Musketeers keep making. No, he’s talking about Elon Musk and SpaceX, who have NEVER done it at all and flown NOBODY into space– for 40 years or ever in all of time. NASA’s expertise at successfully lofting, orbiting and returning ‘capsules’ unmanned and manned, at varying velocities between 17,000 and 25,000 mph., from the earth orbit as well as from returning lunar exploration… manned missions to the moon… are all well documented. Russia has doe it for decades. China has done it. Space X has not. SpaceX has flown nobody. They have not lofted, orbited and returned a ‘capsule’ safely, manned or unmanned. But they have had NASA’s experience and expertise to show them how it’s done and to learn from… so it should be much easier now than it was 40 years ago. Tick-tock… tick-tock… stop talking, start flying. The world, the space community and investors await your ‘success’….

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ August 26th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Ooh, hit a nerve, did we?

    I’m glad you agree that NASA is not doing anything anyone else can do, and that they have to prove themselves as much as anyone else.

    I’ve also figured out your ” tick-tock… stop talking, start flying.” – you’re overly anxious about the potential for someone other than NASA to fly crew.

    Well calm down. You’ll have to wait until SpaceX decides when they want to fly crew, and until then you’ll have to survive vicariously on the successes of Dragon for cargo. If you’re biting your finger nails, you better stop, because it won’t be any earlier than 2014 until any new vehicles fly crew from the shores of the U.S.

    Check with you doctor – maybe he can prescribe some additional meds to help you during this stressful time… ;-)

  • Commercial space will be a total failure! Those companies WON’T be able to launch a single manned space flight! And years are going to go by and down the drain, while they deliberate endlessly and “try”. May Obama lose the next election, and some wiser Republican get to the Presidency! NO B.O. in 2012!!!

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