Congress, NASA

House committee puts in its requests to appropriators

Prior to the passage of S.3729 in the House last week, science committee chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) has indicated that he planned to “continue to advocate to the Appropriators for the provisions” in the “compromise” version his committee drafted but never voted upon. Late Friday committee leadership, including Gordon, ranking member Ralph Hall (R-TX), space subcommittee chair Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and subcommittee ranking member Pete Olson (R-TX), sent letters to the key members of the appropriations committees in the Senate and House outlining their views on what the committees should do to provide “further clarification and direction” to the language in the authorization bill.

A summary of the key points in the effectively identical letters from Gordon et al.:

  • They expressed concern about the “$500 million unfunded mandate that requires NASA to keep the Shuttle program going through the remainder of FY 2011″ even though the additional shuttle mission would likely take place three to four months before the end of the fiscal year.
  • On the HLV provision included in the bill, they argued that “NASA should determine the best approach for the future human space flight and exploration program”, worried that the “very prescriptive” Senate language on the HLV design will result in a vehicle too big for ISS crew transport missions and too small for exploration beyond LEO. They also express confusion about when the system is supposed to be ready: while the bill requires the “multi-purpose crew vehicle” (aka Orion) to be fully operational by the end of 2016, “the bill is not clear about the goal of having a fully capable launch system based on existing exploration program investments able to serve the ISS no later than December 31, 2016.” (The bill does state that, for the HLV, “Priority should be placed on the core elements with the goal for operational capability for the core elements not later than December 31, 2016.”)
  • They state that while they support the development of commercial cargo and crew capabilities, any funding appropriated for those programs “should be given to first providing the funding needed for the proposed Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program… and that this need should be prioritized over commercial crew capability funding at this time.”

89 comments to House committee puts in its requests to appropriators

  • Bennett

    and that this need should be prioritized over commercial crew capability funding at this time.

    What, do they think that the minuscule funds allocated for CCDev2 should be applied instedd to something else? Something that will reduce “the gap” sooner than Delta IV-CST100 or F9-Dragon?

    What exactly do they think is “soon to be available”?

    If they succeed in cutting CCDev2, what do they imagine they will they do with the one billion dollars over 3 years to “protect American Superiority In Manned Space Flight”? Isn’t having two viable launch systems to LEO better than none?

    Gordon, Giffords, and Olson continue to impress me with their ignorance.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Bennett,

    I really find this line more enlightening

    Senate language on the HLV design will result in a vehicle too big for ISS crew transport missions and too small for exploration beyond LEO.

    In other words, please give us back Ares I and Ares V. We don’t like anything that isn’t that.

  • Ferris Valyn

    And, just to add one last thing – if that doesn’t convince everyone that the House Science committee was ALWAYS pushing for Constellation, even through their “compromise”, (until they agreed to the Senate language), then you are blind

  • Bennett

    Ferris,

    100% dead on, as usual. ATK has its fingers deeply sunk into our congresscritters. All we need is for China to buy controlling interest in ATK and the circle becomes unbroken…

  • aremisasling

    I disagree. I think they are right to question the proscriptive language in the bill and I think it doesn’t even come close to locking in Ares as the vehicle of choice. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, removing congressional rocket engineering requirements, an unusual legislative move to begin with, may open the field to Ares once more, but NASA shows absolutely 0 indication that Ares is on the table.

    There are dozens of ways they could have written their request to more specifically target Ares. Why remove the limits? Why not just adjust them to fit Ares only? Why not specify a solid? Why not specify shuttle-derived? Why leave a decision up to a space agency that has already reseeded the grass on Ares’ grave?

    If this is the miracle work that ATK’s money is getting them, they’re getting screwed on the deal. I mean, come on, lobbyist all but own Washington, and this is all they can get? Sorry, I’m not buying the Gordon/Giffords/ATK conspiracy theory.

  • Ferris Valyn

    aremisasling – I absolutely want the Congressional mandated rocket to go away.

    But thats not what they are advocating, it is clear.

    Note the following

    NASA should determine the best approach for the future human space flight and exploration program

    They separate Human spacef flight & the exploration program. The obvious point there is that NASA is the deciding factor for both standard spaceflight (IE to LEO) as well as BEO.

    Then there is the point about being too big for ISS, and too small for BEO. Thats a clear shot at the Jupiter 130/240 (since 130 can loft more than Ares I, and 240 lofts less than Ares V)

    Then there is the “confusion about when the system is suppose to be ready” in time. Note the following

    the bill is not clear about the goal of having a fully capable launch system based on existing exploration program investments able to serve the ISS no later than December 31, 2016.

    In other words, they want the exploration program investments to also provide a launching platform for Orion, to ISS.

    They’ve shot at Commercial Crew further down, they’ve shot at Direct, and they tried to muddy the waters, so as to allow the exploration systems to provide a launch vehicle, to both LEO & BEO.

    Me thinks me sees a pattern here.

    And Congress, being Congress, won’t be convinced that Constellation is dead until someone else in Congress (ideally the House) tells them its dead.

    Which means it’ll take 2 years, or election loss, whichever comes first.

    That said, I have a very simple way to deal with this. I agree “NASA should determine the best approach for the future of humans space flight” – it already did, in fact.

    Its called Commercial Crew. Start to accept that fact

  • I asked Dennis Stone on The Space Show the other day why NASA never went for COTS-D. His non-answer was that NASA never got the funding. Well duh, they never asked for the funding. It’s just the blind leading the stupid.

  • Rep Boehner, the Speaker presumptive, voted against the Senate version. His incoming shadow will look large over the appropriators when they meet after the election. It wouldn’t be unlikely to see the Glenn Research facility to get more out of this budget.

    Then again, after the election, the leadership may not need to appear so budget-ax happy. The jobs picture, coupled with Wolfe having played the China-National Security card, major cuts would be surprising. As the House committee letter suggests an additional $500-$700M for shuttle closeout is sorely needed.

    Hopefully House Appropriations won’t be willing to reopen this political mess again and stretch NASA’s uncertainties into the new year as some have suggested. Wolf will probably be head of appropriations in new Congress, he’s the one with clout right now, his NASA statements have been few and carefully guarded this year. He and Boehner may decide this between themselves come November 9th.

  • red

    From the letter:

    “We believe that NASA should determine the best approach for the future human space flight and exploration program, making use of the investments made to date in the Orion, Ares, and Shuttle programs…”

    The second part of this sentence contradicts the first part. If these House members want NASA to make use of Ares and Shuttle for the next rocket, then they don’t want NASA to determine the best approach.

  • Ed Tessmacher

    NASA has ONE CHANCE to get this right. This is the last opportunity, because if they don’t do the smart thing and build DIRECT-Jupiter, there won’t BE any NASA to have to worry about.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but Giffords and Olsen may not know that what they are holding out for will be the death knell of the Agency. Then again, that might be exactly what they’re holding out for, and they do know it.

    Either way, if NASA screws this up again, they need to go away. Ares did not work. It was a lie, a sham, and so totally unaffordable that it’s difficult to describe just how impossibly ridiculous it is. Griffin’s Folly…

  • Ares did not work.

    Yes it did…for MSFC, Michoud and Glenn.

    As a political jobs program, it worked very well indeed.

    And that’s what these politicians want…not workable NASA programs.

  • aremisasling

    “They separate Human spacef flight & the exploration program. The obvious point there is that NASA is the deciding factor for both standard spaceflight (IE to LEO) as well as BEO.”

    Congress cares about headline makers and the robotic missions won’t make any headlines for years, if ever. So why invest political capital in their defense?

    “Then there is the point about being too big for ISS, and too small for BEO. Thats a clear shot at the Jupiter 130/240 (since 130 can loft more than Ares I, and 240 lofts less than Ares V)”

    Ares I was too big for ISS already. Any ISS resupply should be handled by EELV, or if we absolutely have to build a shiny new rocket, a rocket with Delta IV capability. Not only should Jupiter be out of the ISS resupply picture, but Ares I should as well. No matter how you crunch the numbers, the cost per launch to ISS is way too high on anything bigger. Ares ISS was just a trick to make Ares I look useful without a BEO mission for 10+ years.

    “In other words, they want the exploration program investments to also provide a launching platform for Orion, to ISS.”

    There’s a reason LockMart temporarily went down the Orion Lite path. BEO Orion is expensive for ISS operations. I consider it minimal threat to commercial crew.

    “They’ve shot at Commercial Crew further down”

    No, they said finish COTS first. COTS has a fixed pricetag and fixed delivery contracts. And it gets commercial providing services sooner, so I’m all for it.

    “they’ve shot at Direct, and they tried to muddy the waters, so as to allow the exploration systems to provide a launch vehicle, to both LEO & BEO.”

    The opponents to commercial crew have stood firm on the LEO function. And at least in that respect, they’ve succeeded. What was the very first thing Obama did to reconcile his budget proposal with it’s opponents? He added Orion back in as an ISS rescue boat. That’s a fact you’ll have to start to accept.

    “And Congress, being Congress, won’t be convinced that Constellation is dead until someone else in Congress (ideally the House) tells them its dead.”

    Aside from writing in actual wording defining Ares as our only option forward, they don’t have a whole heck of a lot of choice. They can keep leaving the back window open for Ares, but until they lock the front door, NASA’s going to keep writing off Ares as a dead rocket.

    “Its called Commercial Crew. Start to accept that fact”

    I hope that wasn’t directed at me in specific. I’m one of the strongest proponents of commercial crew on this site. I don’t think ISS Orion is a threat to that.

  • red

    Ed: “NASA has ONE CHANCE to get this right.”

    I remember a lot of people saying that in 2005 when ESAS was introduced.

  • amightywind

    I am glad to hear the HLV provision will be reopened. The prescribed vehicle is too large for the Orion LEO mission and too small to support the lunar mission. I think you will see opinion converge around the Ares architecture, particularly with new leadership.

  • Reality Bites

    Congress cares about headline makers and the robotic missions won’t make any headlines for years, if ever.

    Er … Opportunity is headed for a hill of exposed and heavily hydrated soils and clays from the Noachian period on Mars right now as we speak :

    Here.

    and Dawn will be in orbit around the largest asteroid next year, and be in orbit around Ceres in 2015. Ceres is a freaking unknown new planet!

    Give us a break. We’ll have thousands of new planets discovered by then.

  • David Davenport

    Congress cares about headline makers and the robotic missions won’t make any headlines for years, if ever.

    There won’t be any Orion space capsule missions for years, if ever.

    It’s hard to make good headlines if you’re not flying anything.

  • Vladislaw

    Administrator Bolden mentioned this during one of his first press confrences. It related to how can NASA be more in the public mind. From polling it showed, in general, the public wants to see firsts. I think that a few of Bolden’s statements were made to express this. He was talking about the new architecture that would do multiple firsts and repeated this several times.

    If NASA wants to appear relevant and it takes making “firsts” to get the public engaged then firsts it is. I have no problem with this as long as at the heart of it is technical development of new systems like fuel depots/stations, aerocapture, nuclear propulsion .. to name a few, that can be pushed into the private sector.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark Whittington

    everyone else excuse the personal bandwidth.

    Rich Kolker is coming into town today, shortly Monica and I are headed to the airport to pick him up. He will be here until Tuesday Morning staying with us.

    If youhave the schedule maybe Monday we could get together for lunch in Clear Lake.

    I dont have your email but you can probably send something to Rich’s or mine Facebook or I could share cell phone here..

    Let me know Robert

  • MichaelC

    We have ATK and their 5 segment strap on’s and Boeing and their RS-68’s. Would a “super delta” with around 9 million pounds of thrust be a suitable HLV?

    Just build it and let’s go from there. This is all getting so Byzantine and I wonder what it is costing just yapping about what to build as the months go by.

    I wrote my rep and he said in so many words the space program is a waste of money. I read the other day there is water in these 100 mile wide chunks of rock between mars and jupiter. I think we should send some robotic missions to these objects while we develop a manned capability with the same HLV.

    I am fairly disgusted with my government at this point. Who can I write more letters to?

  • Reality Bites

    We have ATK and their 5 segment strap on’s and Boeing and their RS-68′s. Would a “super delta” with around 9 million pounds of thrust be a suitable HLV?

    I’m pretty sure that was called ‘Ares V’. It was a failure if I recall. And I’m also not sure if ‘strap ons’ is the appropriate term for five segment SRBs.

    I am fairly disgusted with my government at this point. Who can I write more letters to?

    Jesus or Santa Claus, take your pick.

  • mr. mark

    NASA’s being held hostage by several companies and congressmen. It’s becoming a joke and a jobs program. Senator Nelson better get on this pronto. These guys are going back to the 2030 model that is over budget and won’t work. Thank God for Elon Musk!

  • Vladislaw

    MichaelC wrote:

    “Just build it and let’s go from there.”

    Okay .. we have spent 35-50 billion for a heavy lift, how many times are we going to launch it per year and what are the payloads we are launching? A new suite of telescopes with a 10 meter lens? Those should be a bargin at 10 billion a pop. Space station modules at another 10 billion a piece? Or will we only use it once or twice a year for a lunar shot.?

  • Rhyolite

    Regardless of Gordon’s intent, removing the proscriptive language regarding the HLV helps the Administration and NASA. He may want Ares back but the administration interprets the law once it is passed and they seem predisposed to a more rational approach to spaceflight.

  • Ferris Valyn

    aremisasling

    Congress cares about headline makers and the robotic missions won’t make any headlines for years, if ever. So why invest political capital in their defense?

    When congress is talking about the exploration program, they are talking about the Human Exploration Program.

    Ares I was too big for ISS already. Any ISS resupply should be handled by EELV, or if we absolutely have to build a shiny new rocket, a rocket with Delta IV capability. Not only should Jupiter be out of the ISS resupply picture, but Ares I should as well. No matter how you crunch the numbers, the cost per launch to ISS is way too high on anything bigger. Ares ISS was just a trick to make Ares I look useful without a BEO mission for 10+ years.

    Well, I agree with you. And I’d note that Ares I had only slightly better capability than the Delta IV heavy. But Gordon, and Giffords, and Olson all made it clear, they wanted Ares I. I agree Ares ISS was just a trick. I haven’t seen any evidence that they have moderated their positions. The fact that Giffords voted against the Senate bill, I think, is REALLY telling.

    Frankly, Ares I was a trick all around, trying to arrange for Ares V.

    There’s a reason LockMart temporarily went down the Orion Lite path. BEO Orion is expensive for ISS operations. I consider it minimal threat to commercial crew.

    Orion isn’t the issue here – its that they want a rocket that will launch Orion to ISS to deliver astronauts to ISS, and they want it from the exploration program.

    No, they said finish COTS first. COTS has a fixed pricetag and fixed delivery contracts. And it gets commercial providing services sooner, so I’m all for it.

    Thats a dodge, on their part. The money planned for COTS wasn’t going to make the hardware come any sooner. It was a completion bonus (which, I agree, they should get).

    The opponents to commercial crew have stood firm on the LEO function. And at least in that respect, they’ve succeeded. What was the very first thing Obama did to reconcile his budget proposal with it’s opponents? He added Orion back in as an ISS rescue boat. That’s a fact you’ll have to start to accept.

    We’re talking about launch vehicles, here, not the spacecraft. I have no problem with Orion. Its not my first choice, but I can see enough benefit that canceling it is too much work. I’d love to do a launch of Orion, on a Delta IV, and then have a CST-100 or Dragon or Dream Chaser take a crew up to it, and fly to GEO, or to lunar orbit.

    The issue is the launch vehicle ie rocket, that is being used for BEO. And yes, I grant we lost that battle. But its clear they haven’t accepted that the fact that the BEO rocket isn’t going to be providing the flights to LEO.

    Aside from writing in actual wording defining Ares as our only option forward, they don’t have a whole heck of a lot of choice. They can keep leaving the back window open for Ares, but until they lock the front door, NASA’s going to keep writing off Ares as a dead rocket.

    Because they know they don’t have the votes/power to do the first, they are doing what they can. And I agree, that NASA leadership is going to keep writing Ares I off as a dead rocket.

    I hope that wasn’t directed at me in specific. I’m one of the strongest proponents of commercial crew on this site. I don’t think ISS Orion is a threat to that.

    It wasn’t – it was to Gordon, Giffords, and Olson

  • Dennis Berube

    Those hot 5 segment SRBs are warming up!!!!!!!

  • Reality Bites

    Those hot 5 segment SRBs are warming up!!!!!!!

    Always use lots of exclamation points when you don’t have a point.

    Here’s a new data point or two :

    New crawlers, new crawler way. Good luck with funding those.

  • MichaelC

    I detect a distinct bias against HLV’s and SRB’s on this site. To the point of being insulting to anyone who disagrees with this “NASA HLV and SRB bad” philosophy.

    Too bad. The “reality” is that one launch of a hundred tons will ALWAYS make more sense than a dozen launches of ten tons. SRB’s and RS-68’s are available- now. Some of the people posting here need to understand they are not the gods of new space and control their arrogance and ego.

  • Off-topic …

    I mentioned a few weeks back I had applied to be a docent at the U.S. Space and Missile Museum at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

    I was accepted, and this morning we began our training with an orientation.

    Here’s a link to the blog I wrote about this:

    http://spaceksc.blogspot.com/

    For you space history geeks, there are some photos and video links you might find of interest. For those of you who like to watch things blow up, near the bottom is video of the Delta II explosion in 1997.

    The one big perk is access anywhere on base at CCAFS that isn’t a restricted area, so I’ll be able to go exploring.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Too bad. The “reality” is that one launch of a hundred tons will ALWAYS make more sense than a dozen launches of ten tons. SRB’s and RS-68′s are available- now. Some of the people posting here need to understand they are not the gods of new space and control their arrogance and ego.

    So, are we going to go to Jupiter on 1 big rocket? Or you want to try and back that claim up with any evidence?

  • Ben Joshua

    “…any funding appropriated for those programs “should be given to first providing the funding needed for the proposed Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program… and that this need should be prioritized over commercial crew capability funding at this time.””

    Sounds like some are hoping Orion will be flight-worthy before Dragon or CST-100, even if CC-DEV funds are diverted to COTS to give Orion a few more years breathing space.

    Once commercial crew are flying, some truth about cost, private capability and development time will be hard to dismiss.

    “…Senate language on the HLV design will result in a vehicle too big for ISS crew transport missions and too small for exploration beyond LEO.”

    Several proposals competing for ISS / LEO service (and one test flight achieved) would seem to have the former covered. An Ares V class LV for beyond LEO is a budget bridge too far, and “foot-in-the-door” budgeting won’t work anymore.

    A Jupiter class LV would probably be a sweet capability if it was designed and contracted with reduced costs in mind, and if it had a justifying mission and payload (that could pass Congress in tough times). Using it to keep an expensive infrastructure and out-moded contracting model going, will just grind away at everything else in the budget.

  • MichaelC Wrote:

    The “reality” is that one launch of a hundred tons will ALWAYS make more sense than a dozen launches of ten tons.

    Unless your one launch blows up and destroys a lot more on board than with multiple smaller launches.

    Challenger taught us the consequence of the “all eggs in one basket” mentality.

  • The “reality” is that one launch of a hundred tons will ALWAYS make more sense than a dozen launches of ten tons.

    That’s a “reality” only to those ignorant of the economics of launch.

  • Coastal Ron

    MichaelC wrote @ October 9th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I detect a distinct bias against HLV’s and SRB’s on this site. To the point of being insulting to anyone who disagrees with this “NASA HLV and SRB bad” philosophy.

    There are biases on all sides of the HLV & SRB issues, because there is a large amount of disagreement over the need for an HLV or SRB’s. Are you also surprised that there is a large amount of bias in the political world? Remember what the name of this blog is…

    Concerning HLV’s, I’m in the camp that doesn’t think there is a need for HLV’s at this time. Maybe someday we’ll need higher capacity transportation systems, but who knows what the technology is that will be used.

    Regarding SRB’s, they are an engine, and even though they are partly reusable, they are still very expensive, and they have extremely high handling requirements (each segment is fueled at the factory). So far the controversies around them deal with the Shuttle versions, not the smaller types that have been used on rockets for decades. It really boils down to what the rocket manufacturer thinks they need for propulsion – Congress wants Shuttle SRB’s to be used, but they are not propulsion experts, just pork experts…

  • Reality Bites

    Too bad. The “reality” is that one launch of a hundred tons will ALWAYS make more sense than a dozen launches of ten tons.

    Except when the 100 ton rocket consumes te billion dollars of funding and fails to materialize after five years, and the 10 ton rockets are available now for $56 million dollars a copy at current market prices. Some of us egotistical newspace gods have a problem throwing another ten billion dollars and another five years at the 100 ton rocket under those particular historical circumstances. The imaginary 100 ton rocket loses out when one applies simple economic, scientific and technical methods to the problem.

  • MichaelC

    All of you just line right up and start the nay saying. Interesting.
    Simple economic scientific and technical methods used by the committee say:

    Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee
    Page 12
    “No one knows the mass or dimensions of the largest hardware
    that will be required for future exploration missions, but it will
    likely be significantly larger than 25 metric tons (mt) in launch
    mass to low-Earth orbit, which is the capability of current
    launchers. As the size of the launcher increases, the result is
    fewer launches and less operational complexity in terms of assembly
    and/or refueling in space. In short, the net availability
    of launch capability increases. Combined with considerations
    of launch availability and on-orbit operations, the Committee
    finds that exploration would benefit from the availability of
    a heavy-lift vehicle. In addition, heavy-lift would enable the
    launching of large scientific observatories and more capable
    deep-space missions. It may also provide benefit in national
    security applications. The question this raises is: On what system
    should the next heavy-lift launch vehicle be based?”

    You can argue with the people who signed the report. From the responses I have to conclude you new space advocates really have only one agenda- suppress anything and anyone that does not agree with your imaginary private space program.

  • MichaelC

    “Those hot 5 segment SRBs are warming up!!!!!!!”

    Actually they pre-cooled the last one they test fired and purposely damaged one of the seals to test their fail safe integrity. A couple hundred launches with one failure on the 4 segment and now the 5 has 30 years of data incorporated into improving the design.

    It is awesome. Anyone who thinks different is…..ignorant of simple scientific and technical facts.

  • Bennett

    you new space advocates really have only one agenda

    Naw, that’s certainly not true. But we do share some common ideas about what is real, and what is simply pork masquerading as a space program.

    If a SDHLV will cost 10 billion and 7 years to design and build, then 5 billion and less than 6 years is a recipe for disaster (other than as a relatively short jobs program).

    your imaginary private space program

    No, imaginary is Ares1 and Ares V. Tangible is Delta IV, Atlas V, and Falcon 9. Is it surprising that we prefer real progress, within the available budget, over photoshop rockets and doomed-to-fail underfunded programs that will once again eat everything else NASA is working on?

    At this point I have to admit that I view any LV planned as a “NASA Rocket”, designed by NASA for future NASA missions, as certainly doomed to fail.

    However, if NASA managers decide to buy into the architecture laid out in VSE or “Obamaspace” in a meaningful fashion (i.e. leverage commercially available LVs), we may end up with a manned space program that all of us can be proud of.

  • Bennett

    ATK SRBs – It is awesome. Anyone who thinks different is…..ignorant of simple scientific and technical facts.

    Anyone who thinks that “it’s awesome” is either working for ATK or has no clue what those bastards cost per launch.

  • Coastal Ron

    MichaelC wrote @ October 9th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    …I have to conclude you new space advocates really have only one agenda- suppress anything and anyone that does not agree with your imaginary private space program.

    There are a couple of ways to interpret what you just said.

    1. That you think government-run transportation is better than private industry.

    2. That money is not a consideration for you, especially U.S. Tax Payer money.

    3. That you have no idea how big the “private space program” really is (hint – the USAF uses it exclusively).

    I advocate for lowering the cost to access space, whether that be cargo or crew. And while I admire what SpaceX has done so far, I also advocate for ULA’s Atlas V and Delta IV Heavy, because a healthy commercial space industry cannot depend on one company – it must have multiple ways to accomplish a task.

    To illustrate the cost advantages that the current generation of launchers have over a government-run HLV, let’s look at what $10B would get us:

    Falcon 9 (med-class launcher) – For $56M to put 23,050 of payload into LEO ($2,930/lb), $10B would let us put 4,115,000 lbs of payload into space in 10 ton chunks, which is about 5 ISS space stations worth.

    Delta IV Heavy (med-heavy launcher) – ULA has stated that a man-rated version would cost $300M/flight, and at 49,470 lbs to LEO ($6,064/lb), that gives us 1,649,000 lbs in 25 ton chunks, which is about 2 ISS space stations.

    A Congressionally mandated HLV (heavy launcher) – All we have to go on is recent history with NASA, and they spent $10B trying to get Ares I thru it’s PDR (Preliminary Design Review). The 5-segment SRB is still in test, the 2nd stage J-2X engine is not done, and there is no flight hardware. If NASA performs in a similar fashion, after spending $10B there will be no HLV, and NASA will still be stuck on the ground.

    Now you tell us MichaelC, if the U.S. Taxpayer (you and I) gave NASA $10B, don’t you think they would expect something in space after NASA spends that money? If so, then an HLV is not a very good deal, especially since there are no known payloads that require an HLV. Not imaginary, but known.

    Oh, and if we need something bigger than 25 tons, then Atlas V Heavy is 30 months away from launching 32 tons, and Falcon 9 Heavy is about the same time away from launching 35 tons ($95M/flight, or $1,347/lb).

    We don’t need to wait for an HLV to do anything in space. We could build another ISS quite easily with existing launchers, and far cheaper than what it cost to build the ISS with Shuttle.

    So from a cost and schedule standpoint, I don’t see a reason why my tax dollars have to be spent on an HLV. If you do, then please give us the details of why, and please assume that money matters.

  • Major Tom

    “We have ATK and their 5 segment strap on’s”

    There are no “5 segment strap on’s [sic]”. They aren’t operational, they aren’t flight qualified, their testing is tightly coupled to the vehicle configuration they’re paired with, and none have been built outside of two horizontal ground firings.

    “The ‘reality’ is that one launch of a hundred tons will ALWAYS make more sense than a dozen launches of ten tons.”

    The “reality” (if you really think something is real, then you shouldn’t qualify it with quotes) is that no one is proposing to build human space exploration architectures in 10-ton increments. Existing EELVs put up to 25 tons into orbit. Your hypothetical 100-ton architecture could be emplaced in as few as 4 launches using existing launch vehicles, not 10.

    There’s no good reason to waste tens to hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars building an HLV and postpone human space exploration for years to decades when we have launchers that can get exploration underway now.

    “Simple economic scientific and technical methods used by the committee say…”

    The only thing that passage from the Augustine report states is that a launcher with more than 25-tons of throw mass and bigger payload fairings will likely be needed at some point in the future. It’s doesn’t state when or how much and it certainly doesn’t dictate 5-segment SRBs and RS-68s. In fact, other portions of the report point towards commercial kerolox launchers being a less expensive alternative to SDHLVs and that broad investment in exploration technology is a higher priority than HLV development.

    “Actually they pre-cooled the last one they test fired and purposely damaged one of the seals to test their fail safe integrity. A couple hundred launches with one failure on the 4 segment and now the 5 has 30 years of data incorporated into improving the design. It is awesome.”

    It took a quarter century to develop and test a fail-safe for a failure mode that killed multiple astronauts. That’s not awesome. It’s embaressing and unacceptable.

    “To the point of being insulting to anyone who disagrees… Some of the people posting here need to understand they are not the gods of new space and control their arrogance and ego… Anyone who thinks different is…..ignorant…”

    It’s insulting for a first-time poster to resort to ad hominem arguments about the “arrogance and ego” of every other poster on a site and, within their first three or four posts, call all those other posters “ignorant.”

    Look in the mirror before you throw stones through your glass house.

    Ugh…

  • MichaelC

    You must be the local troll. What a jerk.

  • Rhyolite

    MichaelC wrote @ October 9th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    <blockquote cite="
    All of you just line right up and start the nay saying. Interesting. Simple economic scientific and technical methods used by the committee say:

    Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee
    Page 12
    “No one knows the mass or dimensions of the largest hardware that will be required for future exploration missions, but it will likely be significantly larger than 25 metric tons (mt) in launch mass to low-Earth orbit, which is the capability of current launchers.

    The heaviest element in the arguably already bloated HEFT 2 study was 23.6 mt. That is within the capability of current launchers. Everything other element that was launched was lighter or a fungible commodity like propellant that doesn’t need to be launched in discreet quantities.

    Even if future studies determine that the maximum element mass is higher than 23.6 mt, our current launch vehicle fleet is revolvable to larger sizes. There is a very straight forward path to a 70 mt by clustering Dleta IV cores with minimal development. There is simply no reason to carry the staggering development and fixed costs of dedicated HLV today or in the foreseeable future, especially a shuttle derived HLV.

  • Rhyolite

    Argh…tag fail.

    That should have been:

    MichaelC wrote @ October 9th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    “All of you just line right up and start the nay saying. Interesting. Simple economic scientific and technical methods used by the committee say:

    Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee
    Page 12
    “No one knows the mass or dimensions of the largest hardware that will be required for future exploration missions, but it will likely be significantly larger than 25 metric tons (mt) in launch mass to low-Earth orbit, which is the capability of current launchers.”

    The heaviest element in the arguably already bloated HEFT 2 study was 23.6 mt….

  • common sense

    @ red wrote @ October 9th, 2010 at 10:19 am
    “Ed: “NASA has ONE CHANCE to get this right.”

    I remember a lot of people saying that in 2005 when ESAS was introduced.”

    I actually said this before ESAS when the VSE came about and O’Keefe was in charge. Here we are today. I was right. Actually NASA lost its ONE chance to get it right. Now they better support commercial crew otherwise there will soon be no NASA HSF whatsoever: HLV+HEFT+Congress = Disaster!

    Oh well…

  • Ferris Valyn

    Rhyolite
    I appreciate what you were trying to say, and do. But

    Even if future studies determine that the maximum element mass is higher than 23.6 mt, our current launch vehicle fleet is revolvable to larger sizes.

    revolvable??? Is that even a word?

    Otherwise, beautiful

  • Coastal Ron

    MichaelC wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 12:07 am

    You must be the local troll. What a jerk.

    And you, sir, seem to be “all hat, no cattle”.

    We bring facts to the table, whereas you bring rhetoric – it’s hard for us to have a battle of wits with an unarmed blogger… ;-)

  • @Coastal Ron-
    “All we have to go on is recent history with NASA, and they spent $10B trying to get Ares I thru it’s PDR (Preliminary Design Review). The 5-segment SRB is still in test, the 2nd stage J-2X engine is not done, and there is no flight hardware. If NASA performs in a similar fashion, after spending $10B there will be no HLV, and NASA will still be stuck on the ground.”

    The HLV won’t be done the same way. NASA is expected to take it to SDR, which doesn’t require detailed designs. If you don’t like the outcome, you can yell at the prime and procurement. :) It will be structured more like shuttle (NASA does oversight).

    @Rand-

    There is more to consider besides cost alone. Multiple launches require infrastructure to support them, add complexity, and can add much more time to do a mission. Try and see the big picture. :)

  • We Can't Get There From Here

    The reality is that NASA is no longer capable of building rockets that can take humans into space. Today’s senior management in HSF is so arrogant and incompetent that you can’t tell them their ideas won’t work. Any talented engineer who makes any attempt to tell them their baby is ugly will be moved off the project or to a broom closet and his calendar will be emptied of all project meetings. Whether you want to believe it or not, this is how today’s NASA functions.

    Right now NASA has many independent, mostly center-centric, groups off looking at the future of HSF. Each group has their own “pet” projects, and the groups are kept separate by egos and politics. Talk about a waste of tax payers money.

    If this country wants to fly in space, the Falcon and the Delta are the only “real” options. NASA will be working on paper for the next 10 years.

  • Coastal Ron

    Spase Blagher wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    It will be structured more like shuttle (NASA does oversight).

    You’re assuming that is a good thing. Remember the Shuttle program cost us taxpayers $200M/month, regardless if anything flew. Maybe you should try using examples that show us have efficiently the program will be run – do you have any real examples?

    Multiple launches require infrastructure to support them, add complexity, and can add much more time to do a mission.

    Multiple launches on commercial launchers don’t require any more infrastructure to support them, and if they do (i.e. business is booming), then the launch company takes care of that, not the customer (NASA or whoever).

    Regarding complexity, if we use the building-block method of space construction, that actually simplifies construction, test, assembly and maintenance costs. We already have a space-certified family of 5m wide modules, and it would fairly easy to crank out more of them with different interiors for different needs.

    If we build an HLV, and payload diameters are increased, then you have to build and certify a whole new family of wider, bigger space modules. This can be done, of course, but anytime you increase the complexity of a system, the costs to design, build, test and maintain go up even more – complexity requires added cost.

    What you also lose in larger integrated systems is flexibility. The ISS has been rearranged many times, and they can rearrange more for future modules like a Bigelow habitat. With highly integrated modules, you lose that. Now, if we knew what we were doing in space, and we knew what we needed, that wouldn’t be a problem, but we don’t – we’re just getting started with expanding into space, and I don’t think it’s time to lock us into anything bigger than we know we need. 5m wide assemblies work great, and there is no identified reason to go bigger.

  • Major Tom

    “You must be the local troll.”

    I’m not the poster who made false statements about building exploration architectures in 10-ton increments and the availability of 5-segment SRBs and who then proceeded to hurl insults at every other poster in this thread.

    That’s trolling.

    Again, look in the mirror before you throw stones through your glass house.

    “What a jerk.”

    Why do you insist on namecalling and insults? I havn’t done such to you.

    Grow up or go away.

    Cripes…

  • Major Tom

    “The heaviest element in the arguably already bloated HEFT 2 study was 23.6 mt….”

    Good point.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “Multiple launches require infrastructure to support them”

    The EELV infrastructure was designed to support an annual launch rate in the low tens of launches. It can handle the freight without much additional fixed cost.

    “can add much more time to do a mission.”

    Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend a year assembling an exploration mission in LEO than a decade developing an HLV on the ground.

    FWIW…

  • Martijn Meijering

    Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend a year assembling an exploration mission in LEO than a decade developing an HLV on the ground.

    Assembling makes it sound much more dramatic than it is: docking and refueling is more like it.

  • Vladislaw

    We Can’t Get There From Here wrote:

    “Today’s senior management in HSF is so arrogant and incompetent that you can’t tell them their ideas won’t work. Any talented engineer who makes any attempt to tell them their baby is ugly will be moved off the project or to a broom closet and his calendar will be emptied of all project meetings. Whether you want to believe it or not, this is how today’s NASA functions.”

    Could you name some names of exactly who in senior management is so arrogant and incompetent?

  • Congress has already told the President want they want. They want a real HLV with the same capability that NASA use to have back in the days when America use to send humans to another world. A Delta IV heavy can’t give you Saturn V capability. And a Delta IV super heavy, which could, is a totally different vehicle with larger core diameters and multiple RS-68 engines in each booster.

    Of course, there really is no reason for NASA to build anything or to use anything if you have a President that doesn’t really believe that NASA should have a manned space program. Since Obama could care less, Congress is probably going to have to step in an actually give NASA beyond LEO missions for the new HLV.

  • Congress has already told the President want they want.

    And in a few weeks, the American people are going to tell Congress what they want. I don’t think that it’s going to be an HLV porkfest.

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    They want a real HLV with the same capability that NASA use to have back in the days when America use to send humans to another world.

    We’ve never sent humans to another world. I don’t know what world you live in, but here on Earth, we’ve only sent humans to an airless moon.

    And a Delta IV super heavy, which could, is a totally different vehicle with larger core diameters and multiple RS-68 engines in each booster.

    Arguments can be made about any “evolution” of a product, and to whether any of the hardware qualification or production lessons can be reused.

    I think the thing to keep in mind about a Delta IV or Atlas V upsizing is that the same workforce is operating both types, and the upsized vehicles use a lot of the same hardware, but just more of it. There is a direct transfer of knowledge from one generation of vehicles to the next.

    The biggest difference is that a company that is concerned with profit/loss over the life of the vehicle will be making hardware decisions, and not congressional staffers.

  • Coastal Ron

    Automatic italics seem to be engaged. Post accordingly.

  • We Can't Get There From Here

    We can start with senior managers in Constellation, since in that program they knew early on that the vehicle (Ares 1) could not lift the payload (Orion). So instead of fixing the vehicle, Orion was gutted. Bringing that problem to the attention of management ruined more than a few careers.

    If you are truly interested, you can ask HR for the resumes of senior management at the HSF centers and their position descriptions, and see how those resumes and PDs align. Or ask HR for the list of complaints about senior management at HSF centers. That should be insightful.

    But just for example, how did Hanley’s Ops experience qualify him to run a development program?

  • Anon

    I’m kinda surprised that none of you picked up on this bit:

    “As such we believe that priority should be given to first providing the funding needed for the proposed Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to ensure cargo access to the ISS … and that this need should be prioritized over commercial crew capability funding at this time. We also think that is it appropriate that NASA tries to get the would-be commercial providers to put some “skin in the game” if they receive taxpayer funding.”

    proposed COTS program?

    tries to get “would-be” providers to put skin in the game?

    If this letter wasn’t dated I’d think it was written 5 years ago.

  • @Rand Simberg

    Actually, polls show that 57% of Americans actually think the government should be spending more money on creating jobs. Plus your not going to control Federal spending and lack of job creation by cutting the NASA budget which represents less than 1% of Federal spending and actually creates a lot more wealth than it consumes.

  • Coastal Ron wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    “We’ve never sent humans to another world. I don’t know what world you live in, but here on Earth, we’ve only sent humans to an airless moon.”

    Humans never learned to permanently colonize Europe after leaving Africa until we learned how to use fire in a more sophisticated manner. So sometimes you have to use your technological know how to survive in non-tropical alien environments! Or do you think that all humans should have simply remained in Africa:-)

    The Moon is composed of 40% oxygen, so there’s plenty of air. The Moon also has water at the poles, so there’s plenty of water. The Moon also has a practically endless supply of regolith, so there’s plenty of mass shielding against radiation. What we don’t know, however, is can the human body adjust to a 1/6 macrogravity environment. A small Moon base could finally tell us that!

  • Actually, polls show that 57% of Americans actually think the government should be spending more money on creating jobs.

    No, they think that the government should be doing more to allow job creation, not “spending more money to create jobs.” The government has already spent far too much money to create “jobs,” instead of putting into place sensible policies that permit the creation of wealth.

  • Coastal Ron

    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    “They want a real HLV with the same capability that NASA use to have back in the days when America use to send humans to another world.”

    I responded by writing:

    “We’ve never sent humans to another world. I don’t know what world you live in, but here on Earth, we’ve only sent humans to an airless moon.”

    Then Marcel F. Williams wrote at 2:57 pm

    “The Moon is composed of 40% oxygen, so there’s plenty of air.”

    You said that we sent humans to another world, and I pointed out that we’ve only sent humans to an airless moon.

    It’s one thing to be opinionated, but it’s another to careless with facts. You are both, which means that what you say has to be validated before it is believed.

    Also, “air” is not the same as Oxygen.

  • MichaelC

    “We don’t need to wait for an HLV to do anything in space. We could build another ISS quite easily with existing launchers, and far cheaper than what it cost to build the ISS with Shuttle. So from a cost and schedule standpoint, I don’t see a reason why my tax dollars have to be spent on an HLV. If you do, then please give us the details of why, and please assume that money matters.”

    Try reading something for a change instead of paraphrasing anti-nasa talking points;

    As the size of the launcher increases, the result is
    fewer launches and less operational complexity in terms of assembly
    and/or refueling in space. In short, the net availability
    of launch capability increases. Combined with considerations
    of launch availability and on-orbit operations, the Committee
    finds that exploration would benefit from the availability of
    a heavy-lift vehicle. In addition, heavy-lift would enable the
    launching of large scientific observatories and more capable
    deep-space missions. It may also provide benefit in national
    security applications.

    That is not “rhetoric.”

    “Regarding complexity, if we use the building-block method of space construction, that actually simplifies construction, test, assembly and maintenance costs.”

    Ridiculous. You newspace fanatics are buying your own B.S. to the point of cognitive dissonance. Is this some kind of gathering place for people who think money can magically transmute scientific fact? Nothing can be accomplished with your private space voodoo. It is certainly doomed to fail like any other scheme predicated on a non-existent market deciding all.

    Worship of “the market” has nearly destroyed America and you want a space program based on it? That means no space program. You people are the enemy.

  • MichaelC

    rhet·o·ric
       /ˈrɛtərɪk/ Show Spelled[ret-er-ik] Show IPA
    –noun
    1.
    (in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast.

  • Ferris Valyn

    MichaelC – you do know there was also a whole section on the importance of
    1. Commercial Crew
    2. Tech development
    3. Prop depots

    The world doesn’t begin and end with Heavy lift

  • Coastal Ron

    MichaelC wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    You said: “Try reading something for a change instead of paraphrasing anti-nasa talking points”

    My response: Why don’t you stop copy & pasting what the pro-HLV people say, and try thinking for yourself. All they talk about is the limited benefits of larger payload sizes, but they neglect to talk about the cost associated with that capability, or the alternatives and what they cost.

    My background is in manufacturing mangement, for both DOD and commercial products. As the size and complexity of an assembly increases, the attention paid to manufacturing, testing and eventual maintenance goes up far faster, so bigger is not necessarily cheaper, and it can be more expensive and less flexible.

    You’ll also note that they don’t rule out existing launchers, and in fact all they say is stuff like “exploration would benefit from the availability of
    a heavy-lift vehicle”. Well gee, that took a lot of money to figure out. But how much do HLV’s cost, and does it make economic sense for the defined mission. Oh, and what is the defined mission?

    And for as much as you diss building-block assembly techniques, that is something that we already know how to do (i.e. the ISS), so it’s not “private space voodoo”, it’s space fact.

    You need to go off and do more independent research before you post, otherwise you’ll continue to be “all hat, no cattle” (i.e. too much rhetoric).

  • @Rand Simberg

    “No, they think that the government should be doing more to allow job creation, not “spending more money to create jobs.” The government has already spent far too much money to create “jobs,” instead of putting into place sensible policies that permit the creation of wealth.”

    That’s your philosophy. But that’s not what the CNN polls said. People still want more investment in American infrastructure as we did back in the 1930s and as China has just done to revive their economy.

  • MichaelC

    “The world doesn’t begin and end with Heavy lift”

    But space flight does.

  • MichaelC

    “policies that permit the creation of wealth.”

    You are about ten years behind the times; everyone knows what that is code for now; tax breaks for the rich.

    And everyone (except profoundly gullible far right white trailer trash) knows it does not accomplish anything except make the rich richer and the poor……..

  • @ Coastal Ron

    The Moon and other planets are often referred to as other worlds. Even Buzz Aldrin, who has been there, has called the Moon a “lifeless world”.

  • MichaelC

    @Marcel
    Do not even reply to such comments. It is not worth anyone’s time except the person who wanted to irritate you by writing it. You are just playing their game instead of standing up for your own views. I notice their is a clique here that thinks they own this board. Is there a moderator or does Mr. Foust just let these fools contaminate his site? I can see why there are only a small number of people posting. Trolls like that major tom drive everyone away. What a jerk.

  • Reality Bites

    Awesome meltdown, MichaelC. We want more. Please, keep posting here.

    I think the record is eight consecutive posts. Thanks in advance.

  • Ferris Valyn

    MichaelC – You going to have to explain how it begins and ends with Super Heavy lift (cause that is what we are really talking about)

    Also – when we go out into the Solar System (Moon, asteroids, Mars, Jupiter, other solar systems), we’re going to do so with 1 big rocket? Absolutely everything will be built on earth, and then transported to space on 1 big rocket?

    And you don’t think we’d all be better off with a price point to orbit that is in the hundreds of thousands, rather than in the realm of double digit millions? And if you believe this would be better, how is Super Heavy how in the world is Super Heavy lift going to help us get that?

    Also, its worth pointing out – I seem to recall a time when the Saturn Ib was considered Heavy lift. Did something change?

  • MichaelC

    “Awesome meltdown, MichaelC. We want more. Please, keep posting here.”

    Right on man, thanks. It is nice to have fans.

  • Coastal Ron

    MichaelC wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    “But space flight does.”

    The last time a heavy lifter put payload in orbit was in 1973 (Skylab), and I think an awful lot of space flight has been happening since then. In fact, over 400 people have gone to space since Skylab, so obviously your statement is false.

    Again, please research before you post.

    Oh, and before you try to point out something inane like “but the Shuttle is a heavy lifter”, keep in mind that the end result of the Shuttle system is either 55,000 lbs to LEO, 6 passengers, or some lesser combination of both. All the other mass lifted to orbit re-enters the atmosphere within two weeks. Regardless of the effort, it’s the end result that matters.

  • Coastal Ron

    MichaelC wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    “Right on man, thanks. It is nice to have fans.”

    I think your sarcasm detector is turned off… ;-)

  • Bennett

    “The world doesn’t begin and end with Heavy lift”

    MichaelC wrote in response:

    “But space flight does.”

    …and in a way he is right. If we allow another NASA budget meltdown because of a new NASA HLV, it might be the end of NASA Space Flight.

    U.S. Commercial Space and International Space Programs will do just fine without a HLV, TYVM.

  • Rhyolite

    Ferris Valyn wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Sorry, that should have been “evolvable” but the Firefox spellchecker apparently doesn’t like that word. Revolvable, however, it thinks is just fine, though it’s not what I had intended.

  • “You are about ten years behind the times; everyone knows what that is code for now; tax breaks for the rich. “

    OK, so in addition to being ignorant of the economics of space launch, you’re ignorant about economics in general. Imagine my shock.

  • Major Tom

    “‘The world doesn’t begin and end with Heavy lift’

    But space flight does.”

    Space flight has never begun begin with heavy lift. The first human space flight programs like Mercury and Gemini didn’t use HLVs. And the Soviet and Chinese human space flight programs have never employed HLVs operationally.

    And space flight programs aren’t maintained by heavy lift, either. ISS today is serviced by Soyuzes and Progresses that don’t launch on HLVs.

    But historically, the high costs of HLVs do end human space flight programs, sometimes before they start. Saturn V proved to be too expensive to maintain for more than a handful of Apollo missions. And the Energia was too expensive for the Soviets to pursue past flight testing.

    “That is not ‘rhetoric.'”

    Your posts are chock full of rhetoric. Here’s a few examples just from one paragraph:

    “You newspace fanatics… certainly doomed to fail… nearly destroyed America… You people are the enemy.”

    Your apocalyptic language makes you sound like you belong in a mental institution. Tone down the rhetoric.

    And for the third time, look in the mirror before you hurl stones through your glass house. It’s hypocritical to accuse other posters of writing things you’re guilty of writing in your own posts.

    “I can see why there are only a small number of people posting. Trolls like that major tom drive everyone away. What a jerk.”

    If you have something you want to say to me, address me directly. If you’re going to hurl insults and engage in namecalling, at least be adult enough not to do so in responses to other posters.

    Again, grow up or go away.

    Sigh…

  • MichaelC

    “If you have something you want to say to me, address me directly.”

    Who would want to talk to you? You are abusive and take whatever I say out of context. You are a troll. I will post the views I want to discuss, and never answer to a jerk like you. Goodbye.

  • C.R. Keith

    Coastal Ron wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 7:04 pm
    “My background is in manufacturing mangement, for both DOD and commercial products.’ In other words, you live off the government. Sad.

  • Byeman

    MichaelC wrote @ October 11th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Troll? Look in the mirror.

    You are the enemy, the clueless masses who do know anything about spaceflight.

  • Major Tom

    “You are abusive…”

    Where was I “abusive”? Specifically?

    You hurled insults and called me names. Where did I do that to you? Specifically?

    “…and take whatever I say out of context.”

    If you think I’m taking you out of context, then explain your words. Explain why you use extreme vocabular like “fanatics… certainly doomed to fail… nearly destroyed America… You people are the enemy.” Put it in context for us.

    “You are a troll.”

    Again, I’m not the poster who made false statements about exploration architectures being built in 10-ton increments and human space flight starting with HLVs, and then proceeded to insult every other poster on the board.

    False statements and broad insults — that’s trolling.

    “I will post the views I want to discuss”

    Post whatever views you want.

    But don’t make false statements and expect not to be called on it.

    And don’t throw insults and engage in namecalling and expect not to be called on it.

    “… and never answer to a jerk like you.”

    There you go again with the namecalling and insults. What’s your major malfunction? Why can’t you engage in an adult conversation?

    “Goodbye.”

    Adios.

  • brobof

    [This may not work!]
    Marcel F. Williams wrote @ October 10th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    “Humans never learned to permanently colonize Europe after leaving Africa until we learned how to use fire in a more sophisticated manner. So sometimes you have to use your technological know how to survive in non-tropical alien environments! Or do you think that all humans should have simply remained in Africa:-)”

    Again with the fact checking Marcel.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_erectus#Use_of_tools

    “Homo erectus remains one of the most successful and long-lived species of Homo.” (ibid.) With a Fossil range: 1.9–0.1 MegaYears I would posit these were pretty successful colonists! Humans (H. sap. sap.) a generous 200,000 years and counting. (But for how long!)

    As to the rest.
    Air:
    How much Nitrogen is on the Moon?
    Plenty? I think not! Perhaps you have some references?

    Water:
    Let’s take Paul Spudis’s values = 600,000,000t at North pole, say it’s all Water ice (Not a given) = m^3
    = 1.2 km^3 for two poles worth (Not a given.)
    To put this in a UK terrestrial context.
    Lake Windemere = ~1km^3; Windermere has a pop. = 8,245 (WikiFact) although the lake obviously supports other villages.
    Closer to home? Lake Mead = 35.2 km^3 and that is STILL running dry!
    Plenty? I think not! Perhaps you have some references?

    1/6th g:
    A small spinning habitat in LEO could also provide us with that information. For a fraction of the cost! With the added bonus that if 1/6 g was a fatal condition in the long term, we could try say: 1/5th g merely by increasing the rotation or letting out a bit of tether.

  • Coastal Ron

    C.R. Keith wrote @ October 11th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    “in other words, you live off the government.”

    No, my paychecks came from the companies I worked for. And my companies provided goods and services to the government, so using your narrow definition, probably 1/2 the U.S. “live off the government”.

    Of course you also missed the commercial part, which sold products to the consumer market, but since some of those people work for the government, you would probably tag that work as living off the government too.

    I assume you work in an industry that is not tainted by government money?

    But the true dichotomy is that you make it sound bad, but yet you obviously want a government-run space program. Your right & left brain must be arguing all the time – that explains your blog posts… ;-)

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