Congress, NASA, White House

Bolden’s “exile”, more on Kosmas-Adams, and Hall’s ambitions

Is NASA administration Charles Bolden being pushed aside by the White House? That’s the claim of a Houston Chronicle article Saturday, cobbling together various events, ranging from controversy about his China trip to his now-infamous al-Jazeera interview, suggesting that the administration is considering replacing Bolden. (The article also claims that the administration slighted Bolden by not holding a “high-profile White House signing ceremony” for the NASA authorization bill, but such ceremonies are the exception rather than the rule for legislation in general.) The article doesn’t ask whether Bolden’s recent globetrotting “well beyond the limelight” was at the instigation of a White House wanting to push him aside, or of his own volition.

In separate interviews in the Daytona Beach News-Journal today, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) and her Republican challenger, Sandy Adams, discuss topics including space policy. Kosmas reviews the provisions of the NASA authorization bill in her interview, noting that “NASA and protecting the Space Coast and the space exploration program is a very high priority for me.” In her interview Adams discusses general support of spaceflight, including human missions to Mars as part of a “long-term vision for NASA” and the need to not rely on other nations for access to the ISS. Her language is vague in places, though: when she says “I think it’s a vital part of our national security” it’s not clear if she’s referring to human spaceflight, which she mentioned immediately preceding that comment, or spaceflight in general.

Should Republicans take control of the House in November’s elections, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) would be in position to chair the House Science and Technology Committee, on which he is currently the ranking member. However, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Hall is also a candidate to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has been that committee’s top Republican for six years, a limit under current party rules. Hall, though, indicates he’d prefer to run the science committee in a GOP-led House, saying of chairing the energy committee: “I probably ought to make a run for it but I’m not going to.” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is widely rumored to also be interested in chairing the science committee if the GOP wins the House next month.

59 comments to Bolden’s “exile”, more on Kosmas-Adams, and Hall’s ambitions

  • MichaelC

    “Her language is vague in places, though: when she says “I think it’s a vital part of our national security”

    I guess republican Sandy is insane also. But I am a democrat…and confused.

    What do you think Simberg?

  • Robert G. Oler

    The Chronicle story is opinions looking for facts…I see that the usual suspects have made a lot of it…but there is little Robert

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    I have to say that, given the nature of support for human deep-space flight at this time, I wonder if a ‘grand tour’ single mission might be more likely to receive funding than a sustained effort (such as Zubrin’s Mars Direct idea). Basically, as NASA is likely only going to have one shot at a major mission before “been there, done that” sinks in, it might be better to do as much as possible on one mission in case you don’t have another chance for thirty years again.

  • NASA funding needs to be a bigger election issue this year.

    The fiscal conservatives coming in need to put their space views on record, whatever state they’re in.

    Now before the election, what cuts they would foresee for NASA, what strategic and tactical abilities they would have us not pursue, what technologies and industries they would prefer be developed in other countries, which nation they would prefer to dominate the space above of our skies?

    Rep. Boehner voted NO on the NASA bill, he needs to explain himself and what vision he had in mind when he voted that way. If he wants to cut it back to 2008 and $17B he needs to explain what he would cut and justify it. Myself, I can’t see any such plan benefiting his Ohio constituents?

  • Vladislaw

    sftommy wrote:

    “Rep. Boehner voted NO on the NASA bill, he needs to explain himself and what vision he had in mind when he voted that way. If he wants to cut it back to 2008 and $17B he needs to explain what he would cut and justify it.”

    It’s simple, he would find out which democrats have a NASA center in their district and he would say the funding for that center should be cut.

  • Justin Kugler

    Robert, that’s pretty typical of Stewart Powell’s reporting on NASA, from what I can tell. My wife won’t even read anything with his name on it anymore. I read his stuff largely to see what groups like BAHEP are pushing now.

  • MichaelC

    “I wonder if a ‘grand tour’ single mission might be more likely to receive funding than a sustained effort (such as Zubrin’s Mars Direct idea).”

    I do not think any mission is likely to receive funding until it is decided what hardware is going to be used and how it is going to be “put up.”

    There is a 39 day mission VASMR space ship on the cover of Popular Science on the magazine rack; the story neglects to mention that VASMR is really just a research project about as viable as fusion power at this point. There is no single reactor design that can power it- it will require multiple reactors and at least they got that right. Not to mention the reactors will have to put out a really tremendous amount of electricity for their weight. Then you have all the superconductor and liquid hydrogen issues. It is a monster.

    Trying to build this space ship in orbit without a HLV would involve so many 25 ton launches no one can seriously propose it. Building a chemically propelled manned spaceship that can get to mars in a matter of weeks is impossible.

    Why do they have to get their in 39 days? From what I have read their is a pretty low survival probability for any long mission due to a number of different physiological hazards.

    So perhaps it might be better to talk about some technology that will make it possible before discussing actually doing it. I have read some of Bob’s stuff and he has some great ideas and views but I do not think his nuclear salt water rocket or ISRU schemes are viable.

  • We need Dana back as chairman!

    Hall would only try to keep the zombified old policies looking good by pumping good money into preservatives for their corpse.

  • NASA Fan

    The Chronicle article is speculation designed to show how clever the author is about inside the beltway clap trap.

    NASA HSF is no better or worse under a dem or rep house. NASA Earth science however is always a political play thing for the House, i.e. dem’s throw money at it, repub”s take money out. Look for Earth Science, not HSF, to come under scrutiny if the dem’s get booted.

  • Coastal Ron

    MichaelC wrote @ October 17th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    VASMR is really just a research project about as viable as fusion power at this point.

    The VASIMR engine is real hardware that has been tested on the ground, and is slated for actual use on the ISS. The big unknown is the power source to scale VASIMR up for short interplanetary trips. However, less powerful versions could be used soon for fuel-efficient (but slow) trips. VASIMR is just a different design for an electro-magnetic thruster, so it’s not like it’s something new.

    Trying to build this space ship in orbit without a HLV would involve so many 25 ton launches no one can seriously propose it.

    Why? We’ve already built a 420 ton space station out of segments far less than 25 ton. And if we finish off Atlas V Heavy and Falcon 9 Heavy, we can just about double the lengths & mass of those segments.

    How big a vehicle/station are you thinking Congress is going to fund?

    Regarding HLV’s, take the R&D it will cost us for an HLV, and divide it by the $300M price of a man-rated Delta IV Heavy (25 ton capacity), or for a real eye opener, the $95M price of Falcon 9 Heavy (35 ton capacity). See how much mass we put up without an HLV? Plus we don’t have to pay for a new generation of larger diameter payloads (which will be very expensive).

    If there was a funded mission right now (which there isn’t), we could get it going quicker using existing launchers, and it would be less expensive overall. We don’t need HLV’s.

  • Matt Wiser

    Boehner and most of the other Ohio Congresscritters voted against the NASA bill because of GRC not getting as much money as originally proposed when that FY 11 nightmare of a proposal was first rolled out. Rohrabacher would be a very good friend of Commercial Space if he gets the chair. And that’s still an if.

  • Jason

    If Dana doesn’t get the Committee Chair, would it be possible he gets Gifford’s Subcomittee Chair?

  • Ferris Valyn

    Trying to build this space ship in orbit without a HLV would involve so many 25 ton launches no one can seriously propose it.

    No its not. Lots of people have, and it would be entirely doable.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Today I was out in Galveston County putting out campaign signs (a family member is running for office in GAL County) and low and behold there were the “Vote GOP, Stop Obama, Save NASA”.

    goofy

    Robert G. Oler

  • Why do they have to get there in 39 days?

    Because artificial gravity is still considered “too hard”, or dangerous, or whatever the latest excuse is.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Radiation is also a serious issue.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Why? We’ve already built a 420 ton space station out of segments far less than 25 ton. And if we finish off Atlas V Heavy and Falcon 9 Heavy, we can just about double the lengths & mass of those segments.

    Not to mention that inflatables also give you plenty of volume without needing an HLV. And proponents of single launch space stations keep forgetting that their argument only applies if you already have an HLV and payloads for it. Building and then resupplying the ISS is what kept the Shuttle alive, and deliberately so, as it could have been done with EELVs instead. You can’t justify an HLV with a single space station module every twenty years and a single large telescope every twenty years. And there is no money for more than that. Any new launch vehicle, large or small, will need payloads and the only affordable ones are people, propellant, and things like food and T-shirts. And those fit on existing launchers.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    Why do they have to get their in 39 days?

    The bg worry right now is galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). Depending on who you ask, they’re either an exaggerated threat or a silver bullet that makes human life beyond he magnetosphere an impossibility

  • Dennis Berube

    the thing also about the plasma engine, is the crew would be surrounded by hydrogen tanks which would help protect them against the radiation. 39 days would be good. With inflatables, water jackets couldhelp protect the crew. Either way, I think we will find ways to harbor safe passage for crew members to Mars.

  • Dennis Berube

    With Boldens sudden unpopularity, just perhaps we should bring back Mike Griffin!

  • Justin Kugler

    When I was researching Mars mission durations for my Space Flight Habitat design class last fall, I found that there is some evidence that GCR incidence is reduced during periods of increased solar activity.

    It may turn out to be optimal to fly during periods where GCR exposure is minimized and solar radiation exposure is managed at ALARA (“As Low As Reasonably Achievable”) levels with modern materials.

  • amightywind

    Is NASA administration Charles Bolden being pushed aside by the White House?

    Somebody has to pay for the Obamaspace fiasco. You can bet it won’t be the real architect, John Holdren. What better fall guy than the cipher Bolden?

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is widely rumored to also be interested in chairing the science committee if the GOP wins the House next month.

    Rohbacher lacks legitimate Tea Party credentials. He’ll never make it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Dennis Berube wrote @ October 18th, 2010 at 8:18 am
    I think we will find ways to harbor safe passage for crew members to Mars…

    of course, the human mind can more or less solve any issue that it needs to…the problem is of course, there is no need.

    Robert G. Oler

  • John G

    Yes, bring back Griffin!

  • amightywind

    Susan Kosmas is a dead woman walking because of her Obamacare vote. In two weeks you will never hear her name again.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Dems-find-careers-threatened-by-Obamacare-votes-1228371-105059824.html

  • Robert G. Oler

    John G wrote @ October 18th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Yes, bring back Griffin!..

    always a good plan to bring back the folks who screwed things up badly.

    Robert G. Oler

  • “Trying to build this space ship in orbit without a HLV would involve so many 25 ton launches no one can seriously propose it.”

    For the $9B spent on Constellation we could have launched 30 Atlas V heavies at $300 million each. At 25 ton each to LEO that’s 750 tons of architecture and supplies in space.

    Even quibbling the numbers, I would find that a serious proposal.

  • amightywind

    For the $9B spent on Constellation we could have launched 30 Atlas V heavies at $300 million each.

    Except there is no such thing as an Atlas V Heavy. Why Obamaspace nuts are so drawn to absurd hack launch solutions is an enduring mystery.

  • Coastal Ron

    sftommy wrote @ October 18th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    we could have launched 30 Atlas V heavies at $300 million each.

    I think you mean Delta IV Heavy, which is already flying, and has a capacity of 25 tons to LEO. The current price is probably well below $300M, but ULA quoted a man-rated version at $300M, so that’s the number I like to use for pricing purposes.

    Atlas V Heavy, which will put 32 tons into LEO, is 30 months away from being finished once they have enough orders to make it operational – no orders yet. Falcon 9 Heavy will lift 35 tons to LEO, and does not have a operational date yet, and does not have any customers either, even though it only costs 1/3 of Delta IV Heavy ($95M for F9H).

    If the market was truly looking for higher mass payload capacity, they have bigger options available. Unfortunately the world is not demanding bigger payloads to space at this time – a lesson for HLV advocates.

  • @sftommy

    No we could not have launched 30 Atlas missions for $9B to assemble a spaceship for deep space missions. EELV supporters frequently like to cite the “cheap” costs of launching multiple EELVs, yet the costs they list is only for the launch systems, not payload and operational support costs. Nor are logistics costs included. Developing 30 separate payloads, or even 15 separate payloads with the other 15 being supply modules, is not cost effective in the slightest.

  • mr. mark

    Bring back Griffin ? He’s the one that got us into this problem into the first place. Pushing architecture that was over budget and that could not be completed until 2030 and you want him back? Please, now I’ve heard everything.!

  • michaelC

    “The VASMR engine is real hardware”

    So was the tokamak. 30 years ago. We don’t need an HLV? You mean your company doesnt, don’t you?

  • btw, $9B wasn’t for “Constellation” it was *just* for Ares I… and the meter kept running since that number, it’s more like $10B now.

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Miles wrote @ October 18th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    EELV supporters frequently like to cite the “cheap” costs of launching multiple EELVs, yet the costs they list is only for the launch systems, not payload and operational support costs.

    That’s because launch costs, or $/lb to LEO, are what is being debated with regards to HLV’s, and what sftommy was pointing out was the trade-off on spending for LAUNCHERS, not payloads.

    I don’t know why you want to include “operational support costs” in the costs for transportation, and even if you did, I don’t think they would make a difference, especially since we have lots of experience with 5m wide payloads, and none with anything bigger.

    Developing 30 separate payloads, or even 15 separate payloads with the other 15 being supply modules, is not cost effective in the slightest.

    Who said each payload would be “different”, and what makes you think an HLV would somehow avoid this problem?

    We already know how to build 5m wide ISS-type payloads, and with standard sized modules production lines can easily turn out as many as you want. I think our eventual designs could end up being very much like making airliners, where the airplanes themselves are of standard design, but the post manufacturing outfitting would be where each receives their specialized functions. Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and others don’t have problems with this, so I don’t get your argument.

  • Byeman

    Miles,

    Get a cluel, the 9 billion was for Ares I and not spacecraft, so it is a valid comparison. Some of the 30 launches could be for Orion and the rest are”free”

  • Rhyolite

    Gary Miles wrote @ October 18th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    “Developing 30 separate payloads, or even 15 separate payloads with the other 15 being supply modules, is not cost effective in the slightest.”

    Taking HEFT as a reference point and example, 750 tones would be enough to loft three full HEFT NEO missions at about 230 tones each. In fact, we would not be talking about 15 or 30 separate payload but three sets of 10 payloads.

    Within each set of payloads, more than half of the mass would be propellant so half of the launches, 5 of 10, would be tankers. The other 5 payloads would correspond to the mission elements for HEFT, none of which are larger than 23.6 tones. They could be exactly the same as those launched on an HLV.

    So, out of the 30 payloads, there would be six unique payloads repeated 3 to 15 times, of which 5 would correspond to mission elements that would have to be developed anyways and 1 new payload, the tanker.

    That seems pretty straight forward and cost effective, especially since it allows you to skip at $10 to $40 billion dollar, 6 to 10 year HLV development program, with all of the attendant risks of schedule slide and cost overrun.

  • Dennis Berube

    Lets hope that the first test flight of Dragon, goes as well as the drop test by Virgin Galactic of the Enterprise.

  • Coastal Ron

    michaelC wrote @ October 18th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    So was the tokamak. 30 years ago. We don’t need an HLV? You mean your company doesnt, don’t you?

    Actually the Tokamak is a component of an end product (a future fusion power plant), whereas VASIMR is the end product, and it has been tested on the ground at full power. You need to research your analogies more before you post.

    Regarding who I work for, I don’t work for any company that is related to aerospace or space products or services. However, since my career has been in manufacturing, I’m not impressed with arguments that say producing lots of something is bad.

    Overall, I advocate for lowering the cost to access space, so of course I like companies like Orbital Sciences and SpaceX, but I also like United Launch Alliance, because even though it represents the high end of the commercial market, they are still significantly less expensive than any government-run transportation system.

    Pray tell, why is an HLV such a good of an idea, even though we don’t have any defined programs or payloads for such a thing?

  • Pray tell, why is an HLV such a good of an idea, even though we don’t have any defined programs or payloads for such a thing?

    Other than greasing political wheels, it’s not.

    I supported the Senate compromise because the commercial industry will get a leg-up, not as much as it should have, but perhaps enough to get the ball rolling.

    If it needed a pork-barrel DIRECT-ish rocket to please the jack-ass politicos, I guess it just goes with the territory.

  • The $9B was for Ares, Orion, and infrastructure development – which includes the new launch tower and retooling Michoud among other things. Trent and other are just plain lying or ignorant if they believe that the $9B went soley for the Ares I launcher. And no, you cannot fairly compare launch costs of a non-human rated EELV satellite launch system to development costs of human rated Ares I launcher and Orion spacecraft. BTW, the USAF and DOD paid for the development of the EELVs from its own budget, of which many of the program development costs were never revealed. So please quit making false arguments.

  • Martijn Meijering

    The new launch tower and retooling Michoud (actually LC-39 and Michoud as a whole) are only necessary for Ares and their cost is therefore part of the cost of Ares.

  • Vladislaw

    Gary Miles wrote:

    “BTW, the USAF and DOD paid for the development of the EELVs from its own budget, of which many of the program development costs were never revealed. “

    http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=5207
    Acquisition History

    “The initial phase of the EELV program, Low Cost Concept Validation (LCCV), was successfully completed in November 1996. LCCV emphasized competition in preliminary designs and risk reduction demonstrations. Four $30-million contracts were awarded during this phase to Alliant Techsystems, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace. (Note: Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas at about the time this competition ended.)

    During the second phase, pre-engineering and manufacturing development, two $60-million, 17-month contracts were awarded to The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation to continue refining their system concepts and complete a detailed system design.

    EELV phase three began in October 1998 with the award of two development agreements and two initial launch services contracts (known as Buy 1) totaling more than $3 billion. The development agreements will run through fiscal year 2007 and the initial launch services contracts through FY 2012.”

    Of the 3 billion dollar contract for development and launches they each received 500 mil for development. The remaining 2 billion was for 28 launches. Boeing got 19 of the launches and would receive 1.38 billion or about 72 million per launch. Lockmart got 9 launches for 620 million or 68.8 million per launch.

    Late in the development stage Boeing got caught with 25000 pages of LM’s proprietary information about their system. Boeing lost some launches which were given to LM and LM got an additional 230 million to upgrade their launch facilities. The two companies had invested about 1 – 1.5 billion of their own money.

  • Coastal Ron

    Gary Miles wrote @ October 19th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I see that Martijn and Vladislaw have already brought you up to date on reality – these topics have been raised and corrected many times over the past few months, so there’s not too much “new” info you can provide.

    But I think you’re focusing on the wrong issue here. It’s not how much Ares I had consumed so far, it’s the total amount it needed to consume to become operational. That amount was estimated to have risen from $28B to $40B by 2009, and was part of the reason Obama killed Constellation (severely over budget).

    And no, you cannot fairly compare launch costs of a non-human rated EELV satellite launch system to development costs of human rated Ares I launcher and Orion spacecraft.

    Let’s focus on the launcher part, since Orion could really be launched by anything with enough oomph.

    Ares I was projected to be have a capacity to LEO of ~56,000 lbs. Delta IV Heavy can lift 50,000 lbs to LEO (20% margins for Orion), and ULA has stated that it would cost $1.3B to man-rate it, and cost $300M/flight after that. Keep in mind that Delta IV flies many times a year, and that Delta IV Heavy has been used by the Air Force for our largest reconnaissance satellites, so it’s definitely trustworthy.

    So instead of spending $28B+ for a government-run rocket, Mike Griffin could have spent 5% of that for launcher that gets lots of use, for both cargo & crew. Don’t you think it would have been smart to save more than $26B?

    Oh, and Orion would have been flying on Delta IV Heavy by now without Ares I forcing it into so many redesigns. Ares I deserved to die.

  • Vlad, those are the public cost figures provided by the USAF. They do not include the actual and true development or launch cost of the EELVs. Much of that development cost was paid for under DOD black budget and thus the information is classified. Here is a short excerpt from a article written by Edgar Zapata:

    Nonetheless, valid, transparent comparisons between Human Space Flight and Expendable systems have been prevented by various roadblocks. First, detailed cost data for the EELVs has been designated “sensitive”, “classified”, or worse, “proprietary” under assorted National Security justifications or as simply standard operating procedure. This makes any comparison to the Space Shuttle, a highly studied program with a relatively well documented cost picture, impossible simply for lack of EELV cost data of any quality. Second, even when some data has been accessible to a select few, a good picture of EELV costs can never evolve within the process of critique and broad peer review by the interested community to a degree that creates broad consensus as to the meaning or validity of the data or comparison. Numbers never pass the level of the anecdotal. Third, the comparison of Human Space Flight vs. Expendable Launch Vehicles is beset by the syndrome of comparing un-equal requirements. What would a Shuttle cost, minus a crew, with an expendable cargo carrier, but with a commercial payload, as a service contract? What would an EELV cost equivalent be to meet the Shuttle fleets combined human, cargo and scientific experiment / on-orbit time requirements in any given year? This may be as easily resolved as asking weather apples or oranges taste better.

    Here is the link to the article: A Review of Costs of US Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV)

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    Dennis Berube wrote @ October 19th, 2010 at 9:08 am
    ‘Lets hope that the first test flight of Dragon, goes as well as the drop test by Virgin Galactic of the Enterprise.’

    Yes let’s, but there’s no comparison wrt difficulty.

  • byeman

    “A Review of Costs of US Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV)”

    is not a validated nor sanctioned document. It is a personal opinion and mostly wrong. and the author had no insight into the EELV program. He did not seek any information from even NASA’s Launch Services Program

  • Paul

    Actually the Tokamak is a component of an end product (a future fusion power plant), whereas VASIMR is the end product, and it has been tested on the ground at full power.

    To the extent it can be tested on the ground. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they still haven’t measured the thrust of the system.

  • byeman

    “Much of that development cost was paid for under DOD black budget and thus the information is classified.’

    is an outright lie. All of the EELV budget numbers are unclassified and publicly available.

  • byeman

    Miles,

    Look in a mirror.
    your posts are “just plain lying or ignorant”

    “And no, you cannot fairly compare launch costs of a non-human rated EELV satellite launch system to development costs of human rated Ares I launcher”

    Yes, you can. human rating is not a big deal. Even Griffin said so. As he said processes to launch a billion dollar national security payload, a spacecraft with nuclear material or a one of a kind science satellite are no different than to launch a manned spacecraft.

    Anybody who thinks manrating is a big deal doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    Also, the projected (projected and not actual) reliability numbers (which have not been independently validated) of Ares I is only .004 more than the EELV’s. That projected difference is not worth the final 20 billion cost of the Ares I program.

  • byeman

    “The $9B was for Ares, Orion, and infrastructure development – which includes the new launch tower and retooling Michoud among other thing”

    OK, let’s say at this point, 1/2 the 9 million is for Ares I, which includes some Michoud tooling, a half completed launch tower, mostly complete first stage and an upperstage that just finished design reviews.

    For the 1.5 billion provided by the US Gov’t, the 1.5 by LM and the 2.5 provided by Boeing, the US got: two operational launch vehicle families, two launch bases with 2 pads each and two rocket factories. During OSP timeframe for about 2 Billion, the US Gov’t could have had two manrated vehicles and pads.

    That is water under the bridge. Orion is going to fly on Delta IV heavy.

  • amightywind

    Orion is going to fly on Delta IV heavy.

    It would appear it is going to fly on Direct according to the Authorization Bill. At least until the GOP redirects NASA again next year. Aviation Week has a nice summary. The Delta IV Heavy lacks man rating and is under powered.

  • Ferris Valyn

    It would appear it is going to fly on Direct according to the Authorization Bill. At least until the GOP redirects NASA again next year. Aviation Week has a nice summary. The Delta IV Heavy lacks man rating and is under powered.

    Not a done deal, IMHO.

    You don’t need to launch Orion manned, if you want to use Orion on a BEO mission.

    And that raises an important question – which is more important – an HLV, or beginning BEO spaceflight sooner?

    Because you could launch Orion on a Delta IV heavy right now, unmanned, and then fly up & dock with the Orion on a Commercial Crew vehicle, and go to BEO locations (GEO, lunar orbit).

  • common sense

    @ Ferris Valyn wrote @ October 20th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    “And that raises an important question – which is more important – an HLV, or beginning BEO spaceflight sooner?”

    I am afraid you already answered your question:

    “Because you could launch Orion on a Delta IV heavy right now, unmanned, and then fly up & dock with the Orion on a Commercial Crew vehicle, and go to BEO locations (GEO, lunar orbit).”

    I believe you’re optimistic about Orion launched now, but… So, what takes? Easy is it not? Politics. HLV and Orion but less so Orion (there is a lot more cash in an HLV than in Orion) is all about politics. Pork so to speak. Therefore they will put cash in an HLV and fail again. Now don’t get me wrong: Congress will fail, not NASA. I am sure NASA knows very well there is not enough cash to build an HLV.

    Oh well…

  • Major Tom

    “It would appear it is going to fly on Direct according to the Authorization Bill.”

    Only as a backup. And then only if NASA chooses to pursue Jupiter-120 (or its facsimile).

    “At least until the GOP redirects NASA again next year.”

    If the Republicans take control of Congress and NASA gets redirected, it will be in the context of a budget cut. The Republicans have proposed cutting the federal discretionary budget, where NASA is funded, by 21 percent. The DIRECT proposal is not executable under that kind of reduction.

    “The Delta IV Heavy lacks man rating

    Jupiter 120 “lacks man rating [sic]“, has no flight history, and doesn’t even exist.

    “…and is under powered.”

    Delta IV-H has over 1,300kg of margin to LEO versus Orion GLOW as of last summer (before the FY11 cancellation).

  • byeman

    “The Delta IV Heavy lacks man rating and is under powered”

    Delta IV Heavy has more performance than Ares I.

    Ares I has not been manrated at this time.

    Orion is going to fly on Delta IV, period. Anything you say, Windy, is not going to change that fact. Any change in the political makeup is not going to change that. Ares I is dead, get use to it.

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    30 years of failed vehicle development attempts, ISS hanging in there, Shuttle going, Ares gone, Orion, HLV … No cash, no mission, no payload, … NASA HSF dead in the water. Congress engineering. Great track record. The Russians had it right when they laughed at NASA plans and timelines for asteroid missions et al.
    Sound bites transmission now ended.

  • amightywind

    Orion is going to fly on Delta IV, period. Anything you say, Windy, is not going to change that fact. Any change in the political makeup is not going to change that. Ares I is dead, get use to it.

    The recently signed appropriations bill says that the carrier vehicle for Orion will be shuttle derived, not a Delta. But keep on hoping if it makes you feel good. Ares I is dead. But the Direct design has even more margin for the LEO mission. I’m fine with it.

  • byeman

    “The recently signed appropriations bill says that the carrier vehicle for Orion will be shuttle derived, not a Delta.”

    I don’t hope, I know, unlike you since:
    1. You aren’t in the business
    2. What you do know, doesn’t amount to squat and is usually wrong.

    The bill doesn’t constain Orion to SDLV. Orion’s early and LEO flights will be on Delta IV. It is in work now.

  • Major Tom

    “The recently signed appropriations bill says that the carrier vehicle for Orion will be shuttle derived, not a Delta.”

    First, there is no “recently signed appropriations bill” for NASA. All appropriations have been tabled until after the election.

    Second, the NASA _Authorization Act_ of 2010 only states that the SLS should be capable of lifting the MPCV and that the MPCV should be capable of riding on the SLS. The Act doesn’t prevent the MPCV from riding other LVs. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that the MPCV will be Orion-derived or that the SLS will resemble Jupiter 120. The Act requires the MPCV and SLS to utilize existing Constellation work only to the extent practicable and sets lift requirements for the SLS that can be met by at least several different vehicle concepts and families.

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