Campaign '12

Huntsman: space policy to come

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China who formally announced his candidacy for president earlier this week, opened his national campaign headquarters yesterday in Orlando. Being in central Florida, so close to the Space Coast, it’s not surpring someone asked him about his space policy views. His answer, in essence, was to stay tuned.

“We always want to be at the cutting edge of space flight. Today it’s an affordability issue,” he said, the Orlando Sentinel reported. “When we get around to space policy, we’ll come down here and make sure people are fully aware of what our hopes are.” He added, according to the article, that he puts a top priority on improving the nation’s economy, and that the “long term return on investment” from space programs can aid in that.

109 comments to Huntsman: space policy to come

  • amightywind

    Jon Huntsman isn’t a serious candidate. He won’t compete in Iowa or New Hampshire. His appeal is limited in South Carolina. He is staking all of his hopes on Florida where moderates are not appreciated by GOP primary voters. Ask Rudi Giulliani about the Florida strategy.

  • Huntsman = Utah = ATK. ‘Nuff said.

  • Doug Lassiter

    There is more that can be said. China. I would be surprised if his space policy didn’t include some general, and maybe intentionally vague, pointers to international collaboration. It won’t refer to China explicitly, but may try to set the stage for discussion (one that would have to happen at many levels) about broadening our space partnerships.

  • Scia

    “Huntsman = Utah = ATK. ‘Nuff said.”

    But Huntsman would not be representing Utah in the presidency.

    It’s different from people in congress.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Huntsman = Utah = ATK. ‘Nuff said………………..

    Well we might give him a chance to come up with a policy. The dynamics of the GOP race are far from settled in my view…and really I dont think that the dynamics of Space politics in the coming year much less the “trivial” part they will play in the 12 election is clear either.

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Jon Huntsman isn’t a serious candidat…..

    and the FAlcon 9 second stage didnt make it into orbit.

    Huntsman is serious, the question is, is he a viable campaigner. The GOP field in my view is wide open and worth having, Obama is very vulnerable in 12, particularly if we double dip…which I think we are going to do. It is early now but you can see a few things forming.

    There are right now I think two paths to the GOP nomination. One is the “crazy” crowd (thanks to Mark Whittington for that label)…and that race probably is going to be between Bachman (who I dont like a word she says but is in my view one of the most “improved campaigners” in the field and getting better every day) and Perry (Palin will not run sadly). My view of this now is that Perry cannot resist getting in, and will be creamed in search of the “crazy” (again thanks to Whittington for the label) vote by Bachman (again whose improvement as a candidate impresses me, she is listening to professional help and is gifted in her public presentation).

    Then there is the “semi normal” wing of the GOP, the one that sees a more traditional path to the general…and that will be either WMR or a battle between WMR and Huntsman (depending on Jon’s ability to light off a campaign). So far JH has impressed me as understanding the core issue of America’s future…ie our dealings with China. His recent line “This Country’s future (the USA) lies not in the prairies of Afland but in being able to compete across the Pacific”…shows he has a grasp.

    Why this is important to space politics, is that it is likely that if Bachmann or Perry have a space policy at all, it is unlikely to be very much out of the box. What it is likely to be is “less” in magnitude not so much unique in terms of its thought.

    If the race for the primary and the general turns out to be as I suspect it will be, with China substituting for all the bad things that are happening, it is likely that we might have some talk from both candidates for the semi sane wing of the GOP and in the general as well of policies which are dramatically or at least some different then the ones which got us into this mess. And that might include a space politic debate.

    Particularly if we get into a discussion of bringing jobs back to the US…then the folks who are trying to restart the commercial launch industry in this country might have some sort of shot of being on the posters of what success looks like.

    There are of course the “wild geese” in the field…Ron Paul could find traction and if he does then I think that there would be a quite different approach to space politics (when he got down to it) at least based on the other things he has said.

    Most of the time I fear for the 12 election thinking it is going to be a race between semi incompetent (Obama) and semi to quite insane (the GOP nominee) but there are times…well I think we might be treated to a real sort of ideological debate…with real choices not echos.

    RGO

  • In other words, he had the perfect opportunity to say something meaningful, and chose not to.

  • Major Tom

    “In other words, he had the perfect opportunity to say something meaningful, and chose not to.”

    If you’re not unrealistically expecting a “Mars by 2030″ announcement, Huntsman made several meaningful statements, specifically:

    “’We always want to be at the cutting edge of space flight. Today it’s an affordability issue,’… he puts a top priority on improving the nation’s economy, and that the ‘long term return on investment’ from space programs can aid in that.”

    Bulletized, Huntsman is saying:

    1) I want to do more civil human space flight;

    2) But it’s going to have to be more affordable that it’s been in the past;

    3) And it needs to produce an economic return, at least over the long-term.

    If they were honestly carried out, points #2 and #3 are significant and new principles for guiding the nation’s civil human space flight program. They would represent a significant break with the post-Apollo, national-prestige, policy justification fumes that the program has been running on for decades now.

    Now, as other posters have pointed out, whether Huntsman’s campaign lasts long enough to actually produce a civil space platform, whether his statement above actually filters down to the campaign staff that will write his platform, and whether he’ll be beholden to ATK or some other parochial interest that runs counter to points #2 and #3 remains to be seen. But the statement he made provides substantive principles for the civil human space flight program, if they were actually carried out.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt Bille wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    In other words, he had the perfect opportunity to say something meaningful, and chose not to………………..

    What JH said is perfectly reasonable if (and that is probably most candidates for The Presidency at this stage) the person is not that all personally interested in space politics …but yet is trying to form a coherent campaign around a central message and theme which affects all issues, particularly second and third tier ones.

    The issues in the 12 election SHOULD be complex. We are at a crisis stage in this countries economy (and to some extent our politics) which has existed in few other times; there are a couple of large looming central issues which are dividing lines on the future of The Republic.

    Space politics is in itself not one of those (no the Chinese are not about to take over the Moon) but the politics of space if they go anywhere (ie if there is money to be spent on human space flight at all…and that is not a given actually in my view) how that money is spent will be determined by the core values of whatever course we as a nation take on those dividing lines.

    I suspect that JH (and its clear a few others but I am pretty sure of JH) are trying to sort out where to draw their version of those lines and which side of them they stand on.

    How does this affect space politics?

    What kind of jobs do you want in the space field? Are they jobs which are government financed and dont exist without government financing…are do you want to try and bring the launcher industry back to The Republic which actually creates a taxpayer base?

    If the US cannot compete in the launcher industry for geo sat and other established launch media, then it probably cannot compete in any “high tech” industry. And since it is clear that Chinese will make drills for Walmart at a cheaper price then Americans will…then if we cannot compete in high tech industries like launchers then we are probably done.

    Thats the issues folks like JH got to figure out what side they come down on

    People like Whittington and probably the “crazy” wing of the GOP have already figured out. We cant.

    Robert G. Oler

  • I agree with RGO about Huntsman being a serious candidate and yet probably not a viable candidate, at least in 2012.

    However, if the “crazy” wing wins the GOP nomination and then if Obama is re-elected, Huntsman could be setting himself up in a good position for 2016.

    As for space policy, it remains the same as it ever was. The critical inflection point is finding revenue streams not dependent on US tax dollars.

  • amightywind

    and the FAlcon 9 second stage didnt make it into orbit.

    My reasoning on the first F9 has been vindicated many times on this forum. It is beyond reproach. Unfortunately the wrong conclusion was drawn. Part of the problem was the conflicting real time information my logical mind to process. I blame that on SpaceX.

    There are right now I think two paths to the GOP nomination. One is the “crazy” crowd

    The GOP ticket, right now is most likely to be (Romney | Perry) & Bachmann. This can change depending on if Sarah throws her luxurious locks in the ring. Yes, it is a battle between the crazy’s* and the party moderates. Huntsman is so moderate Obama could make him his running mate.

    * If you consider fiscal discipline, moral strength, and sound economic policy to be crazy.

  • Coastal Ron

    It’s encouraging that he’s planning to say anything at all regarding space policy, since most of the candidates are totally ignoring space as a topic of interest.

  • My reasoning on the first F9 has been vindicated many times on this forum. It is beyond reproach.

    Hilarious.

    Unfortunately the wrong conclusion was drawn. Part of the problem was the conflicting real time information my logical mind to process. I blame that on SpaceX.

    Well, I will concede that SpaceX seems to have driven you insane (but I suspect that was never a long trip).

  • Coastal Ron

    amightywind wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Part of the problem was the conflicting real time information my logical mind to process.

    No, you wanted to be the first to predict failure, which is what lead to your Chicken Little type comments.

    depending on if Sarah throws her luxurious locks in the ring

    If Bachmann and Palin participate in the same debate, are you going to insist that they wear bathing suites? Good grief, I hope you grow up soon.

  • amightywind

    Judging by the trial balloons being lofted by Aviation week I think we will see a renewed push toward a shared NASA/ESA transportation system. I don’t see why an Arianne V couldn’t launch and Orion, while the US keeps an STS option. It would help on the trade deficit too.

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2011/06/27/AW_06_27_2011_p41-340250.xml&headline=Space%20Station%20Offers%20Harsh%20Lesson

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2011/06/20/11.xml&headline=Europe,%20U.S.%20Should%20Team%20In%20Space:%20Bolden

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bill White wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    “I agree with RGO about Huntsman being a serious candidate and yet probably not a viable candidate, at least in 2012.

    However, if the “crazy” wing wins the GOP nomination and then if Obama is re-elected, Huntsman could be setting himself up in a good position for 2016.”

    to the second paragraph yes. if the “crazy wing” (Mark Whittington’s line actually see his blog) wins the nomination fight in my view it is likely they will lose the general. (but its not impossible that they win either given the state of the economy, politics and the view of where The Republic is headed)…and if that happens the GOP will certainly regroup and try and reshape itself after 30 plus years.

    But in 12, Huntsman is a serious candidate; what we dont know now is if he is viable. Some of that will depend on his own gifts as a campaigner…but a great deal of that will depend on if he can strike a political posture that is viable.

    Right now what is fueling the GOP is “who can beat Obama” and in my view this is why WMR has the majority of support and looks like “the front runner”. If anything this points out the weakness of the “crazy” wing of the GOP. But sooner or later there will in my view this cycle… be a second act…ie “who can fix the issues that confront us” and if JH is still alive then he has a chance to engage WMR on that; if he can come up with a notion or notions that can get traction.

    Normally this second act never really gets going; but in a campaign where things are nationally bad AND getting worse; and there is a real issue of replacing the incumbent (see 1980 and 92) then even down into the primary that second act starts.

    It is there where we really might find out some notion of what JH space politics and policy are. I am not saying he would, but you can see JH pulling a Clinton going to Florida (assuming he survives NH) and saying “Look these government jobs are never coming back, we cannot afford them. What we can do is come up with policy that ensures that private sector jobs, jobs that create wealth by launching things into orbit for profit, do START and help us compete with the evil Chinese who are robbing us of jobs and money” (OK he would probably come up with a better word for “evil Chinese”) and “we can use that new infrastructure to allow human exploration of space at an affordable price”.

    If the big issues (as I think it will be) In 12 is “where are the jobs” then I suspect competing with China and how to do it is going to be the stalking horse for that debate. JH might then gain traction by having some answers because WMR clearly right now does not.

    Meanwhile I see the Perry/Bachman debate revolving around amilitary confrontation with China which the only confrontation the crazy wing can get its arms around…and is completely tone deaf for our era (not to mention completely in my view wrong).

    Give the GOP run a couple of months and see where everyone is.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Major Tom

    “I don’t see why an Arianne V couldn’t launch and Orion, while the US keeps an STS option.”

    They’re talking about an ATV-derived service module for the MPCV and industry-to-industry teaming on SLS, not launching Orion on Ariane.

    “The ESA director general raised the potential for a joint manned exploration initiative to combine the service module of the EADS Astrium-built ATV with NASA’s crew-capable MPCV, a space capsule based on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle in development by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for the past six years. ‘If you look at what ATV’s capability is, what has been demonstrated, you can see where that has potential for use as a service module, for example,’ Bolden says…

    “‘We should converge towards the fall of this year toward possibly not even one single vehicle but at least toward one module that would make it possible to then have some derivatives in the future with one vehicle dedicated to the U.S., for instance, and one that Europeans could use in other circumstances,’ he [Dordain] says.”

    “Bolden says he hopes U.S. companies will team with European firms to develop the heavy-lift launcher… Bolden says European firms also could compete for integration work under the heavy-lift launch vehicle program.”

    FWIW…

  • The Jon Huntsman-ATK connection:

    http://plugbike.com/2010/11/03/atk-le/

    It has a photo of Huntsman on an off-road bike with ATK CEO Frank White.

    The caption: “ATK CEO Frank White rides offroad every Saturday, sometimes with US Abassador to China Jon Huntsman.”

    The article was posted in November 2010, fairly recently.

    Color me skeptical until I see Huntsman produce a “space policy” that doesn’t require ATK solid rocket boosters for a manned space vehicle.

  • Das Boese

    I don’t see why an Arianne V couldn’t launch and Orion

    Because Ariane 5 is not certified for launching humans, and the MPCV in its current form would push it to the very limits of its lifting capacity. It would likely need the increased performance of the ESC-B upper stage, which is still in development.

    The Vinci test stand in Lampoldhausen is quite an interesting sight, though.

    Major Tom wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    “The ESA director general raised the potential for a joint manned exploration initiative to combine the service module of the EADS Astrium-built ATV with NASA’s crew-capable MPCV, a space capsule based on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle in development by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for the past six years. ‘If you look at what ATV’s capability is, what has been demonstrated, you can see where that has potential for use as a service module, for example,’ Bolden says…

    The Russians are going to be pissed if this really happens. Remember they had similar plans to develop the Soyuz successor, but ESA kept dithering for years and eventually pulled out. IMO this was a monumentally stupid move, even more so if they now try the same thing with the US. Don’t be mad, Americans, but I have a little more faith in the Russians to come up with an operational, affordable vehicle than NASA.

    “‘We should converge towards the fall of this year toward possibly not even one single vehicle but at least toward one module that would make it possible to then have some derivatives in the future with one vehicle dedicated to the U.S., for instance, and one that Europeans could use in other circumstances,’ he [Dordain] says.”

    If that’s the plan, let me make a prediction:
    ESA will end up giving away the “US dedicated” module for free while the “European” variant is left on life support for a few years and then silently dies.

    “Bolden says he hopes U.S. companies will team with European firms to develop the heavy-lift launcher… Bolden says European firms also could compete for integration work under the heavy-lift launch vehicle program.”

    Meh, I don’t mind business for European companies, but I don’t think your congress will accept any hardware that isn’t made in America, or at least well-copied by an American company like the NK-33 AJ-26.

    For a while now, I’ve been thinking it would be hilarious if the Russians went and offered Energia (what’s left of it) for sale to NASA. Ok, I’m not exactly sure where all the IP rests since Zenit is built in Ukraine now, but that’s your 100 (metric!) ton HLV, right there.

  • Because Ariane 5 is not certified for launching humans

    In what way? What is it lacking? One of its original planned missions was to launch Hermes.

  • Vladislaw

    “but I have a little more faith in the Russians to come up with an operational, affordable vehicle than NASA.”

    I wouldn’t doubt that Russia is in the same boat as America with NASA. They have not built any new manned vehicles in quite awhile and do they still have the talent that they had early on. NASA has clearly shown us what they can’t do.

  • Das Boese

    Rand Simberg wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    In what way? What is it lacking? One of its original planned missions was to launch Hermes.

    In the same way as Atlas and Delta, I’d say. It’s lacking NASA “human rating”, however nebulous that term is.

    Hermes was cancelled long before the first Ariane 5 took flight, and the rocket has evolved in its commercial LV role since then.

    Like Atlas and Delta it’s certainly capable of launching manned spacecraft without major changes, no argument from me. But there will be at least some modifications necessary and, especially if NASA is involved, a mountain of documents and lots of paper shuffling.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Using ATV for the service module would be somewhat surprising. I thought NASA would prefer to continue work on the Orion SM and the new AJ-10 variant. ATV propulsion alone wouldn’t be enough. You would have to use an Aestus engine and probably an Aestus 2. Aestus is proven technology, but it’s not ATV technology. Aestus 2 would be low-risk technologically, but it’s still engine development. The Germans would probably be fairly happy with such an arrangement.

  • common sense

    @ Rand Simberg wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    “Because Ariane 5 is not certified for launching humans

    In what way? What is it lacking? One of its original planned missions was to launch Hermes.”

    I believe it is a true statement that it is not certified to launch human. After Hermes came to a stop they did not pursue the human certification or whatever the name was then for the Ariane V launcher. I can’t tell for sure what their certification process was about or whether they actually had one then.

    So whether it is certified, or not, at this time probably is more a question of opinion. I would say it is no less and no more certified than an EELV.

  • Coastal Ron

    Vladislaw wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I wouldn’t doubt that Russia is in the same boat as America with NASA.

    They certainly have had funding issues, and their new Angara launcher, which will have a maximum capacity less than Falcon Heavy, has slipped out it’s first launch until the 2013 timeframe.

    I think the trend is clear, which is that spending on space globally is getting ready to retreat from it’s prior levels. In the U.S., it’s hard to see any presidential candidate promoting spending more on space, especially without a widely recognized important reason (a National Imperative).

    I think reduced spending will stay that way until the global economy improves, but during that time I do think that the U.S. commercial cargo and crew programs will become operational. If that happens, then the U.S. will be in pretty good shape to be the primary mover of cargo and crew for the next decade or so.

    Maybe ESA would like to buy and operate Falcon 9/Dragon’s out of Kourou? I don’t know if the U.S. military will let Atlas out of the U.S., which might kill CST-100 being sold abroad, but maybe Dream Chaser could move over to Falcon 9? That could be a nice export market.

  • DCSCA

    “[Huntsman’s] answer, in essence, was to stay tuned.” In other words, he has no space policy- and his ‘staff’ has yet to pen a policy wite paper for him to quote from.

  • Martijn Meijering

    which might kill CST-100

    Boeing says CST-100 is intended to be compatible with both EELVs and Falcon 9 and maybe with Ariane 5 too in the future.

  • I believe it is a true statement that it is not certified to launch human.

    There is no such thing as “certified to launch human.” That is a currently meaningless phrase.

  • Coastal Ron

    Martijn Meijering wrote @ June 25th, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Boeing says CST-100 is intended to be compatible with both EELVs and Falcon 9 and maybe with Ariane 5 too in the future.

    Yes, and I didn’t want to imply that CST-100 couldn’t do well getting business domestically (within the U.S.).

    I’m just thinking that if we can export our crew systems, that SpaceX would capture the market for capsules (the low cost choice), since they can pair up Falcon 9 with Dragon at a pretty low price. SNC’s Dream Chaser, if mated to a Falcon 9 that is already being used for Dragon launches out of Kourou, could lock up the market for horizontal landers (likely the high cost choice).

    It’s not that CST-100 couldn’t be used, it’s just that I don’t see how Boeing will be able to attract customers in that particular market.

  • Robert G. Oler

    DCSCA wrote @ June 25th, 2011 at 1:44 am

    “[Huntsman’s] answer, in essence, was to stay tuned.” In other words, he has no space policy- and his ‘staff’ has yet to pen a policy wite paper for him to quote from.”

    the JH campaign is right now at the “four people and a SUV” stage. More is coming RGO

  • pathfinder_01

    CST100 is being designed to be loftable by many rockets. Boeing is also talking with the japanese about it(very early stages).

  • Bennett

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 24th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for the link. Given the SC’s ruling on corporations and campaign contributions, Hunt may have deep pockets.

    Imagine an ATK-ish President in the White House… Bleh.

  • There are no pockets deep enough to get him the Republican nomination.

  • common sense

    @ Rand Simberg wrote @ June 25th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    “I believe it is a true statement that it is not certified to launch human.

    There is no such thing as “certified to launch human.” That is a currently meaningless phrase.”

    I did not say there was any. I said Ariane V had not been certified. Europe may have had, or not, a certifying process. Since they cancelled Hermes long before Ariane V was to fly with a crew no one will ever know. But they indeed had plans to “certify” or rate or whatever-you-like Ariane V for crew.

    I wish I had a better reference at hands but I don’t. I am sure you can dig someting from Arianespace with enough patience.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_5

  • DCSCA

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ June 25th, 2011 at 1:44 pm
    Which has nothing to do with the posting as stated: “'[Huntsman’s] answer, in essence, was to stay tuned.’ “In other words, he has no space policy- and his ‘staff’ has yet to pen a policy white paper for him to quote from.”

    “More coming” means nothing now. Still, Broadway may just have already tipped us to what the ‘space policy’ may very well be:

    “I believe that God has a plan for all of us.
    I believe that plan involves me getting my own planet.”

    http://www.lyricsreg.com/lyrics/the+book+of+mormon/I+Believe/

  • Martijn Meijering

    But they indeed had plans to “certify” or rate or whatever-you-like Ariane V for crew.

    When the Arianespace guy gave a presentation to the Augustine commission he was asked about this. He said Ariane 5 was not currently man-rated, whatever he intended that to mean. He could have said “you know, that’s not really a meaningful term”, but he didn’t. Make of that what you will.

  • Bennett wrote:

    Imagine an ATK-ish President in the White House… Bleh.

    A throwback to the Nixon administration when James Fletcher steered the Shuttle SRB design to Thiokol (ATK’s predecessor) because of his Mormon connection.

    But Huntsman is too moderate for the Tea Partiers and the Evangelical wing won’t vote for him either (or Romney). Having served in the Obama administration is another strike against him in the eyes of the zealots.

    Put ATK in charge of NASA and we might as well fold the agency.

  • I did not say there was any. I said Ariane V had not been certified.

    Nor need it be.

    He said Ariane 5 was not currently man-rated, whatever he intended that to mean. He could have said “you know, that’s not really a meaningful term”, but he didn’t. Make of that what you will.

    I make of it that he has no more idea of what the phrase means than most people do.

  • common sense

    @Martijn Meijering wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 7:41 am

    “But they indeed had plans to “certify” or rate or whatever-you-like Ariane V for crew.

    When the Arianespace guy gave a presentation to the Augustine commission he was asked about this. He said Ariane 5 was not currently man-rated, whatever he intended that to mean. He could have said “you know, that’s not really a meaningful term”, but he didn’t. Make of that what you will.”

    Just to make sure. I used past tense, I said “they had plans”. Again, I did not say it was certified or whatever.

    When they started Hermes, Arianespace had plans. Since they never ever flew a crew, whatever rating/certification they had in mind never came to be.

    Note they also had plans for capsule and they flew a scaled down form of Apollo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_Reentry_Demonstrator

    I hope it’s clear now.

  • common sense

    All right. So here goes from Arianespace boss on the Arianespace website.

    Originally human-rated, the Ariane 5 has adapted to its present day role as the leading large capacity launch vehicle for satellite operators and international partners the world over,” Le Gall explained during his committee presentation in Washington, D.C.

    http://www.arianespace.com/news-feature-story/2009/08-05-2009-legall-nasa-presentation.asp

    Hope we’re done with this now.

  • Martijn Meijering

    http://www.lyricsreg.com/lyrics/the+book+of+mormon/I+Believe/

    when James Fletcher steered the Shuttle SRB design to Thiokol (ATK’s predecessor) because of his Mormon connection

    Now now, let’s leave people’s religion out of it.

  • Coastal Ron

    common sense wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    When they started Hermes, Arianespace had plans. Since they never ever flew a crew, whatever rating/certification they had in mind never came to be.

    I’m not worried about the human rating issue, since Ariane 5 has a great launch record and I doubt the upgrades needed would be significant.

    The bigger questions are whether Congress would allow MPCV to be sold to the ESA, or that ESA even wants to buy the MPCV? The only way I see that happening is if there is an international program that is created or space exploration beyond LEO, and the MPCV is picked as a common spacecraft.

    Since no one is enthusiastic about increasing their space budgets these days, and there is no urgency to get out past LEO right now, I don’t see that happening.

    And when exploration beyond LEO does get funded, I doubt the MPCV will be viewed as anything more than a lifeboat for something like Nautilus-X and transportation between LEO and the Moon – no exploration.

    It’s ironic that Windy brings up this original subject, since he is normally so against international efforts. ;-)

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 9:52 am

    a few points if I might.

    While I am a little “shy” about the “Utah” crowd’s influence (Meaning here ATK) I dont think it will matter. We are going to play this game out in space policy and politics THIS YEAR and when its done its done. In the end where this is going to be decided is the “room” where the money is allocated and this year is going to be the first year where the money for X is pitted against money for Y and depending on which is more or less popular with the American people.

    What most space political advocates cannot figure out is that space spending (HSF here with some things like Webb) is like almost everything else in The REpublic about to be caught up in the wake of the debt limit and spending in general. “Do you want to build a rocket to nowhere or have your streets/schools etc funded?”

    Public opinion and anger is rising about the people in DC (the House is carrying 18 percent approval ratings and Obama’s numbers on leadership are slipping)…

    What candidates for President on the GOP side are wise to do, is to sit this round in the debt effort out and see where the pieces fall…for we are about to see serious public opinion roll up one of the two sides in this debate (I dont quite know which one). Particularly if agreements cannot be reached and things start collapsing.

    In any event space spending is about to come down and that will kill a HLV.

    I think you are one of the bight lights here, and I know you did not mean it in a pejorative fashion, but the religious reference bothered me. (for what that is worth maybe nothing).

    Robert G. Oler

  • To Martijn Meijiring and Robert G. Oler:

    First, your suggestion that I intended a religious slur is baseless and I suggest you withdraw the allegation.

    Second, I direct you to Challenger: A Major Malfunction by Malcolm McConnell. Chapter 4, “The Politics of Procurement,” is largely about how Fletcher, Nixon’s Treasury Secretary David Kennedy, and Utah Senators Frank Moss and Wallace Bennett were tied into the Mormon hierarchy in Utah.

    When Fletcher chose to use SRBs in the Shuttle design, he gave a private briefing to Moss, who then told the press “Fletcher would not forget his friends back in Utah when he chose the SRB contractor,” to quote from page 53.

    When the bidders for the SRB contract were ranked, Lockheed finished ahead of Thiokol, which tied with United Technologies. But Fletcher gave the contract to Thiokol.

    A subsequent GAO investigation concluded that NASA had “mistakenly underestimated Thiokol’s projections for ammonium perchlorate fuel supplies by $68 million,” giving an undeserved advantage to Thiokol. but the GAO acknowledged that legally Fletcher had the right to choose whomever he wanted.

    To quote from the chapter’s conclusion, “Thiokol can be seen to have consistently benefited from highly placed Utah patrons: Senators Wallace Bennett and Frank Moss, Dr. James Fletcher, and Senator Jake Garn.”

    As for the allegation that to note their religious connection is somehow bigotry, McConnell wrote:

    … A reasonable observer of religious influence in American secular affairs will see that organized religions throughout the country have long lobbied the political leadership to obtain specific secular goals … Therefore an examination of Mormon influence on the American space program falls in the purview of legitimate historical investigation, not under the ugly cloak of bigotry.

    So, again, I suggest you withdraw your allegation.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Stephen, I didn’t accuse you of being a bigot, I merely suggested we should leave religion out of it. Utah fine, religion not so fine. All IMHO and I think you are one of the more valuable contributors here.

  • Das Boese

    Coastal Ron wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    The bigger questions are whether Congress would allow MPCV to be sold to the ESA, or that ESA even wants to buy the MPCV?

    ESA couldn’t afford MPCV even if they wanted to. ESA’s total budget for 2011 is around 4 billion Euros, with HSF about a tenth of that.

    ESA isn’t exactly desperate to have a capsule, the failed cooperation with the Russians and procrastination on ATV evolution are clear indicators of that.

  • common sense

    @ Coastal Ron wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 12:24 pm
    common sense wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    “The bigger questions are whether Congress would allow MPCV to be sold to the ESA, or that ESA even wants to buy the MPCV? The only way I see that happening is if there is an international program that is created or space exploration beyond LEO, and the MPCV is picked as a common spacecraft.”

    Very unlikely. ESA is building a Soyuz launch pad in Guyana that I believe can be used to launch crew. They probably would get a huge discount from Russia on their Soyuz – Purchased off the shelf or built under license. The cost of MPCV??? The timeline for it to fly??? Compared with Soyuz when the launch pad already is essentially complete? Nah. Not a chance. There is no lunar exploration, no Moon base, nothing that justifies such an expense from Europe.

    “Since no one is enthusiastic about increasing their space budgets these days, and there is no urgency to get out past LEO right now, I don’t see that happening.”

    And after the Greek crisis do you really think Europe will waste billions on exploration?

    FWIW.

  • Martijn Meijering

    And after the Greek crisis do you really think Europe will waste billions on exploration?

    Before the crisis the intention was to give the EU a 3B euro space budget. This is a tiny sum compared to the bailouts, but public perception would probably prevent such plans for the near future. Five years from now that could be different.

  • Bennett

    Martijn Meijering wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Stephen’s reference to the reality of what is basically Utah’s “State Religion” and the inevitable “good old boy” network that develops in the halls of power didn’t trigger my bigot alarm, and it’s a hair trigger.

    I’ve always had good experiences with the few Mormons I’ve had dealings with, so for me it’s a non-issue.

    At the same time I understand Martijn’s aversion to bringing religion into the conversation as it generally adds little to the understanding of a particular situation. This may be an exception to that.

    I might add that I consider both of you gentlemen to be among the “more valuable contributors here”.

  • Martijn Meijering

    ESA’s total budget for 2011 is around 4 billion Euros, with HSF about a tenth of that.

    Is there a way to get a sensible breakdown of that number? I’ve tried in vain to find this information on the ESA website, which is a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. All I could find was a bunch of old annual reports.

  • Coastal Ron

    Re: Likelihood Of MPCV Being Sold To ESA

    To all that commented, I substantially agree with you. I just wanted to flesh that out to see if there was an angle I wasn’t seeing, and it doesn’t look like it. No chance of selling the MPCV to ESA.

    Regarding Soyuz launching out of Kourou for crew, that would make sense.

    But if ITAR or other restrictions don’t get in the way, I also think there is a possibility for SpaceX to set up camp there too. With Falcon 9 ESA would have access to a larger capsule (Dragon), and the SNC Dream Chaser if it becomes operational. And if Falcon 9 is set up, Falcon Heavy could too.

    Now for ESA to buy anything from SpaceX they would probably demand to license the design and build it themselves. If they can work out how the competition will work out (who gets what worldwide business), and pricing, I think Elon Musk would want to pursue such an arrangement. And if you think about it, so would ESA. Why?

    1. They get their own crew transportation system (Dragon), which is newer and bigger than Soyuz.

    2. They can replace Ariane 5 with Falcon Heavy and lower their overall costs.

    3. Falcon 9 also gives them the ability to launch CST-100, Dream Chaser, and any other spacecraft of the same size. Or with Falcon Heavy, much bigger spacecraft.

    There are a lot of reasons why this wouldn’t happen, not the least are the various politics of the whole thing. Still, it’s an intriguing idea.

  • Martijn Meijering

    @Bennett: thanks for your kind words.

    Stephen, Robert: group hug?

  • Bennett wrote:

    I’ve always had good experiences with the few Mormons I’ve had dealings with, so for me it’s a non-issue.

    It’s a non-issue with me. I have many friends in Utah who are Mormon. I spend a lot of time in the Salt Lake City area because of my baseball activities. To me, they’re far more an expert on Mormon influence in politics and culture than I am, and they tell me how pervasive the Mormon church is in politics.

    I didn’t include the entire quote, but McConnell in pointing out how religious people use their connections for political ends cited Jews, Irish Catholics, African-Americans in the civil rights movement, and evangelical Christians.

    So I think it was highly inappropriate to imply I’d somehow written a religious slur. If I’d written that evangelical Christians were trying to manipulate the political system, more than a few on this board — including at least one of those who accused me — wouldn’t have blinked an eye.

  • At the same time I understand Martijn’s aversion to bringing religion into the conversation as it generally adds little to the understanding of a particular situation. This may be an exception to that.

    It’s much more of cronyism issue than a religious issue. Anyway, why would Mormons need solid rocket motors — they’re each going to get their own planet anyway. :-p

  • common sense

    Unlikely ESA will go the F9/Dragon route. ESA is much more a jobs program than even NASA. They would all (the nations) have to agree to go and purchase a US LV/RV when they have the greatest lifter so far… They have a budget and they are not into HSF. Essentially not. They might participate in an HSF program, e.g. LMT and EADS on CEV but it probably is as far as they will go. And they also have a suborbital plane in the work. And a potential crewed version of ATV even if it is unlikely it’ll ever see the day of light. Europe is not as romantic as the US when it comes to space for humans. They love to watch but it’s almost impossible to get a budget. If you think that it is tough for NASA then you haven’t tried ESA. Just look at the evolution of the European “spationaute” corps for kicks sine inception…

    FWIW.

  • Das Boese

    Martijn Meijering wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Is there a way to get a sensible breakdown of that number? I’ve tried in vain to find this information on the ESA website, which is a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. All I could find was a bunch of old annual reports.

    Gleaned from this pie chart:
    ESA – About ESA – Funding
    found via google, search terms “2011 esa budget”

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 26th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    “First, your suggestion that I intended a religious slur is baseless and I suggest you withdraw the allegation.”

    Stephen. Sorry I was not clear. I didnt think that you intended a religious slur, I dont know you personally but we are known by how we act and I have never read you acting in any such manner.

    A few months back I used a term “spearchucker” that some people kindly told me could be taken as a racial slur when they knew I did not intend it. I meant my comments in that manner. But if You think I owe you an apology then I offer it. I value you’re discussion and think you are one of the bright honorable lights on this forum.

    I am sorry my comments detracted not added to the discussion. I know that there is an old boy network in Utah and the basis for it.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/2011/06/nasa-shifts-into-neutral/

    it is really sad that Paul S has stooped to this level of NASA and other talking points…and fear mongering. Not to mention just plain old misinformation.

    He use to be a serious person once. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    it is really sad that Paul S has stooped to this level of NASA and other talking points…and fear mongering. Not to mention just plain old misinformation.

    The entire article begins from a false premise. Spudis wrote:

    But contrary to common belief, the VSE plan to retire Shuttle was not because it is “too dangerous to fly” or “outdated technology.” Rather, its retirement was intended to free up that portion of the NASA budget it consumes, with that money going to the development of new space vehicles for human missions beyond low Earth orbit—the limit of Shuttle’s reach.

    VSE was a response to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. CAIB wrote that Shuttle is “a complex and risky system.” They would have recommended retiring Shuttle at that point had their been another vehicle capable of completing the ISS, but there wasn’t. So they recommended flying Shuttle only to complete ISS, with crew rotations on Soyuz. Once ISS construction was completed, Shuttle was to be retired.

    And that’s exactly what happened. STS-134 officially completed construction.

    STS-135 was added last year by the Obama Administration. It fulfilled a campaign pledge in August 2008 when Obama said in Titusville that he would add one more Shuttle flight “after 2010.” He did. Funny how his critics never mention that.

  • Aggelos

    “And after the Greek crisis do you really think Europe will waste billions on exploration?”

    I am Greek ..

    And I hope Esa builds something together with nasa..

    Space exloration must go on,,is a great goal than the economic problems of separate countries..

  • common sense

    @ Aggelos wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I am not sure in what way the fact that you’re Greek makes it easier on the debt of your country, the resulting financial breakdown of Europe and the potential of worse to come with Portugal and Spain just to name two. Even if the entire Greece wanted to go to Mars, who would pay for it? France and Germany? Sorry to be blunt but be real.

    Europe has no real HSF plans, never had, never will, not now not in 5 years. They have much greater issues at hand.

    Think about the building of the early United States and think it is even worse due to the disparity of culture and economies and the lack of leadership, then you may have an idea of what is going on over there.

    ESA might participate in something if and only if NASA does it. Russia has a lot of talent and technology but no cash, and it’s not the $56M seat on Soyuz that will make them explore deep space.

    I wish people would live closer to reality so that we could have a real debate on space issues, nationally and internationally.

  • amightywind

    He use to be a serious person once. RGO

    Thanks for the link. Spudis’s point is that in absence of a post-shuttle space architecture we keep the shuttle flying. In a few short days we will have no program although we are in the 3rd year of the Obama presidency. It is plain that newspace has over promised and under delivered and that we should hedge. I don’t see why flying the shuttle past this year is taboo. One would think Obama would find this politically expedient.

    And I hope Esa builds something together with NASA.

    I am all for ESA buying spacecraft from NASA. Lockmart has a challenge enough in developing Orion. An international partnership would be a hindrance.

  • Aerospace Engineer

    Spudis is correct. The truth hurts, NewSpacers.

    Regarding the CAIB report and the claim “they would have recommended retiring Shuttle”:

    “R9.2-1 Prior to operating the Shuttle beyond 2010, develop and conduct a vehicle recertification at the material, component, subsystem, and system levels. Recertification requirements should be included in the Service Life Extension Program.”

    and

    “Finally, recertification is but one aspect of a Service Life Extension Program that is essential if the Shuttle is to continue operating for another 10 to 20 years.”

    and

    “It is the view of the Board that the present Shuttle is not inherently unsafe.”

    CAIB was perfectly ready to see shuttle use beyond 2010 as a reasonable option moving forward. Nasa in 2005 decided to use that money instead for Constellation, as Spudis correctly states.

    “Commercial” space, with its limited functionality (if it ever achieves it) should be an adjunct to HSF, not a replacement for it. We are in neutral, throwing away a proven system for less functionality. How much cheaper will this “new way” way really be? Rosy price quotes and nebulous launch manifests on web sites do not impress.

    The “Senate Launch System”, as the smug group here refer to it, was born out of necessity because the OSTP crowd had nothing but “game changing technologies” and fictitious “flexible flights to nowhere” or a vague 2025 asteroid stunt mission as a replacement for Cx cancellation. The Senate, in response to the vacuum of WH leadership and the amateur Feb 2010 Nasa rollout, was trying to make some use of the 50+ of HSF experience instead of tossing it away completely and rejoicing in a hoped for retro Gemini capability which the OSTP crowd was gleefully proposing.

    And Nasa is dragging its feet on SLS, because it doesn’t want to do it. According to Bolden it “can’t.” And “commercial” space will putter along, celebrating its retro Gemini “victories” (maybe) achieved by the US in the mid 60s. (Yawn).

    And you wonder why we veterans are disgusted.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Aerospace Engineer wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Everything you write “sounds good” and is great rhetoric but it really doesnt pass the reality test.

    The reason that there is no overlap between shuttle retirement and another NASA vehicle flying IS THAT NASA couldnt get a vehicle flying; even though they spent 12-16 billion dollars giving it a go. And there is no indication that after pouring another 12-16 billion dollars down a “Senate Launch System” hole, that there will be anything to fire into space either.

    When people like you can explain coherently how 12-16 billion dollars got spent and there is no space hardware to show for it; after Gemini consumed 5.5 billion total for the entire program…then you might have a place at the reality discussion.

    but until then you are just another “vet” upset that the gravy train is ending.

    Go work for your money…its a GOP world outthere

    Robert G. Oler

  • CAIB was perfectly ready to see shuttle use beyond 2010 as a reasonable option moving forward. Nasa in 2005 decided to use that money instead for Constellation, as Spudis correctly states.

    Nice cherry picking of quotes. Those things were necessary to keep flying, but not sufficient.

    It was not NASA’s decision to end the Shuttle in 2010, and it didn’t happen in 2005. That was Bush administration policy as of January 14th, 2004. Learn a little history.

    In any event, that train left the station years ago. NASA can’t continue to fly Shuttle even if it wants to. It would cost billions and years to restore the capability to produce the hardware needed to do so. At best, it could be restarted in a couple years with a crash program. Which would be fiscally nuts.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    He use to be a serious person once. RGO

    you replied:
    Thanks for the link. Spudis’s point is that in absence of a post-shuttle space architecture we keep the shuttle flying…………..

    but none of the reasons Spudis drags into print have any real validity. They are Rumsfeldian…ie “they are possible” but not probable or likely or even things that could really happen.

    Most of the people who work in the shuttle program are big GOP supporters…and they should have to try and find real work in a world that the right wing of the GOP has created…ie a sort of dog eat dog world. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Aerospace Engineer wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    “And Nasa is dragging its feet on SLS, because it doesn’t want to do it. According to Bolden it “can’t.”

    There is no evidence that “as things are” a Senate Launch System can be built for the money indicated (much less that the money indicated will be there after the budget talks)..

    But at some point (and the entire federal government will get around to this) the basic question is “why cant it be built for around 5 billion dollars”?

    To do just that is going to require three things. The first is that Congressional reps of both parties get their pork in control. As Rand Simberg once noted about the space station to paraphrase one can either have the jobs or the station but not both… This is kind of where a new launch system is right now.

    The third thing is that NASA needs a complete overhaul. It is an amazing but valid statistic that on a “person per dollar” level NASA out staffs the military on a given program. Meaning that per 1 billion being spent per year NASA generally assigns more people in ratio to the contractor force to a project then the DoD does. And what is even more outstanding is that the number is far higher then even in the Apollo days.

    Of course there has been “creep” in all aspects of federal programs. Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama both had larger personal staffs then FDR had during WW2. But at NASA HSF the numbers just took off during the last 10 years.

    Third industry has to evolve.

    The place to start this is probably not a large rocket. Smaller

    RGO

  • John Malkin

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    In any event, that train left the station years ago. NASA can’t continue to fly Shuttle even if it wants to. It would cost billions and years to restore the capability to produce the hardware needed to do so. At best, it could be restarted in a couple years with a crash program. Which would be fiscally nuts.

    Not to mention two of the Shuttles are well on their way to being Museum pieces. The rhetoric was about which city would get the relics not about bringing them back to life.

  • vulture4

    I recently had the opportunity to meet some of the engineers and techs who do the actual hands-on work. It isn’t the arbitrary specifications and mountains of paper that keep the Shuttle safe. Without the technical knowledge, judgement, experience and motivation of the people who actually put their hands on the flight hardware, not a single Shuttle mission would succeed. They are the most capable and motivated group of people I have ever met.

    Most had very definite ideas about how reusable spacecraft could be vastly improved, made both safer and much less expensive, based on their Shuttle experience. But these are the very people we are about to lose.

  • Dennis Berube

    I just came off of the SpaceX sight, where they claim they have 5 flights outlined for the remainder of this year. We are in June, that is half the year out. If they are going to launch they had better get with the program I would say. Where are all the rockets??????????????

  • Robert G. Oler

    John Malkin wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 2:33 pm ..

    the quote you attribute to me is actually Simberg’s but I could have written it and would have…Rand said it better.

    This is what I find so odd about the SDV “HLV” argument as well. the entire train is dying…after July it will be impossible (or difficult) to recreate as the layoffs start…RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    ulture4 wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
    ” They are the most capable and motivated group of people I have ever met.” They are capable and motivated but they are not unique (except in their skills) in terms of being capable at what they do nor motivated. The folks who fly the shuttle both in and out of NASA like to wrap themselves in the holy grail of “wow we are special” but tell that to some Marine who is on their fifth combat tour and is paid about half of what any of these people are.

    “Most had very definite ideas about how reusable spacecraft could be vastly improved, made both safer and much less expensive, based on their Shuttle experience. But these are the very people we are about to lose.” It is not a great loss in terms of the future.

    There is a reason SWA did not hire a lot of Branniff people as Branniff went under. Same issue here.

    it is a personal and individual tragedy butone that is being repeated in lots of places in The Republic

    RGO

  • John Malkin

    Wouldn’t only Shuttle-C require Orbiter workers? Otherwise it’s just some SRB and external tank people. How would the majority of Orbiter workers apply skills to Orion MPCV, Ares I, Ares V or SLS? How many do you really need?

  • Martijn Meijering

    And you wonder why we veterans are disgusted.

    I believe this disgust stems precisely from what you Americans call an entitlement culture. Organisation-wise NASA HSF wouldn’t look out of place in Continental Europe or even the old Soviet Union.

  • Coastal Ron

    Dennis Berube wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    We are in June, that is half the year out. If they are going to launch they had better get with the program I would say. Where are all the rockets?

    The first two Falcon 9 launches listed on their manifest are the COTS 2 & 3 flights, which they are awaiting word from NASA as to whether they will be combined. If they do combine them, then SpaceX has mentioned an October target date. The Orbcomm order depends on when the satellites are ready, so that’s partly out of the hands of SpaceX (SNC is building them).

    I read an interview with the SpaceX composite manufacturing team last year (in a composites mfg mag), and they mentioned that they have the tooling and ability to build a Falcon 9 core section every 3 weeks. I doubt they are staffed up for that level of production yet (no need), but that sounds like plenty of capacity to do four flights this year.

    By the way Dennis, when is NASA flying the SLS? Why aren’t you worried about NASA? Or are you just anxious for SpaceX to succeed? ;-)

  • Coastal Ron

    Aerospace Engineer wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    The “Senate Launch System”, as the smug group here refer to it, was born out of necessity because the OSTP crowd had nothing but “game changing technologies” and fictitious “flexible flights to nowhere” or a vague 2025 asteroid stunt mission as a replacement for Cx cancellation.

    What is the “necessity”?

    What is it that we must put into space that can’t be lofted by Delta IV Heavy?

    The SLS is a solution looking for a problem, but in reality there is no problem. We have plenty of lift capacity, and we could build another ISS – all 1M lbs of it – without building a new rocket.

    Now if you could identify the funded programs that require a SLS-sized launcher, then maybe we’d all stop thinking that the SLS is really just a jobs program. Can you?

  • common sense

    @ vulture4 wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    You’re mixing up stuff now. The ops people for Shuttle whatever their qualification have no like in zero experience for designing a reusable vehicle of any kind. Their experience would only serve as an input if we ever go this route, that much I agree.

    But overall you’re losing sight of the political nature of those things. Apollo and Shuttle vets were consultants to the CEV program. What is the result of this? In what way does it matter?

    Life is not fair. Some of those people will find work and some will not. Like in any industry. You cannot just say we must save them all. It will not happen, even if we had a national RLV program.

    Let me remind you that one of the side effects of the CEV, intended side effect, was to reduce the workforce. Yes it was. If you do not believe me I encourage you to do some research of your own. And the workforce that they wanted to reduce was? Yeah the Shuttle workforce. Your (?) good friends at the GOP that some like so much had planned to reduce the Shuttle workforce by a lot. Not to transfer it, to reduce it.

    FWIW.

  • Most of the people who work in the shuttle program are big GOP supporters…and they should have to try and find real work in a world that the right wing of the GOP has created

    Really? The “right wing” created this world? The last four and a half years of a Democrat Congress and two and a half years of a Democrat White House have nothing to do with it?

    Really, Robert, you need to get over your “right-wing” derangement syndrome.

  • Major Tom

    “‘Commercial’ space… should be an adjunct to HSF”

    If you’re transporting or supporting humans in space, you’re conducting human space flight (HSF). It doesn’t matter whether the vehicle was funded by public or private resources or a combination of the two. To label the transport or support humans in space as something other than “HSF” just because part of its development was paid for by private investors is ignorant.

    “We are in neutral, throwing away a proven system…”

    This is another ignorant statement. Shuttle systems are not “proven”. The Shuttle is an “experimental vehicle”, per the CAIB:

    “Although management treated the Shuttle as operational, it was in reality an experimental vehicle. Many anomalies were expected on each mission… Launching on a tight schedule, which the agency had pursued as part of its initial bargain with the White House, was not the way to operate what was in fact an experimental vehicle… The Board found that even after the loss of Challenger, NASA was guilty of treating an experimental vehicle as if it were operational and of not listening to outside experts.”

    Moreover, the SSMEs, ETs, and associated fuel lines regularly leak gaseous hydrogen and force multi-week and -month delays.

    This happened in 2010:

    news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-20022008-239.html

    In 2009:

    space-travel.com/reports/US_space_shuttle_launch_delayed_over_hydrogen_leak_999.html

    In 2007:

    usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2007-06-07-atlantis-fix-tank_N.htm

    In 2002:

    spacedaily.com/news/shuttle-02d.html

    In 1999 (when Columbia launched with one of these leaks):

    guardian.co.uk/science/1999/jul/29/spaceexploration1

    In 1995:

    articles.latimes.com/1995-09-29/news/mn-51341_1_space-shuttle-columbia

    And in 1990 (STS-35).

    On top of these gaseous hydrogen leaks, the ETs repeatedly suffer from structural cracking, forcing more multi-week and -month delays.

    It happened in 2010:

    spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts133/101115crack/

    In 2005:

    physorg.com/news/2010-11-shuttle-fuel-tank-foam.html

    And in 1991 (STS-39).

    It’s a testament to the Shuttle workforce that this technical base has not led to more mission accidents and loss of crew. But given the risks that these components carry, the enormous standing army required to avoid these risks, and the long delays they induce, the last thing you want to do is continuing flying the Shuttle if you don’t have to or carry Shuttle systems forward into a new launch system. This is especially true of SLS, which will not be capable of supporting the sensitive timing of multi-launch exploration campaigns with these delays.

    “How much cheaper will this ‘new way’ way really be?”

    Per NASA’s own report to Congress:

    “For the Falcon 9 analysis, NASA used NAFCOM to predict the development cost for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle using two methodologies:

    1) Cost to develop Falcon 9 using traditional NASA approach, and

    2) Cost using a more commercial development approach.

    Under methodology #1, the cost model predicted that the Falcon 9 would cost $4.0 billion based on a traditional approach. Under methodology #2, NAFCOM predicted $1.7 billion when the inputs were adjusted to a more commercial development approach. Thus, the predicted the cost to develop the Falcon 9 if done by NASA would have been between $1.7 billion and $4.0 billion.

    SpaceX has publicly indicated that the development cost for Falcon 9 launch vehicle was approximately $300 million. Additionally, approximately $90 million was spent developing the Falcon 1 launch vehicle which did contribute to some extent to the Falcon 9, for a total of $390 million. NASA has verified these costs.”

    nasa.gov/pdf/543572main_Section%20403%28b%29%20Commercial%20Market%20Assessment%20Report%20Final.pdf

    In contrast, NASA has no idea how much SLS/MPCV will cost. Associate Administrator for Exploration systems Doug Cooke said that “NASA had spent about $5 billion on Orion so far, but did not know how much more the program will cost or how much an individual Orion spacecraft will cost.”

    spacepolicyonline.com/pages/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1583:few-details-about-path-forward-on-orion-in-nasa-press-conference&catid=67:news&Itemid=27

    “The ‘Senate Launch System’, as the smug group here refer to it, was born out of necessity because the OSTP crowd had nothing but ‘game changing technologies’ and fictitious ‘flexible flights to nowhere'”

    This is another ignorant and false statement.

    The Augustine Committee’s Flexible Path options incorporated a specific sequence of 10-13 missions to the Moon, Lagrange Points, NEOs, and Mars over an 11-year sequence. See p. 43 (44 in the Acrobat Reader):

    legislative.nasa.gov/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf

    In response, NASA developed a specific set of exploration technology development programs, demonstrators, and precursor missions summarized in these presentations:

    nasa.gov/pdf/457438main_EEWS_EnablingTechnologyDevelopmentandDemonstration.pdf

    nasa.gov/pdf/457439main_EEWS_FlagshipTechnologyDemonstrations.pdf

    nasa.gov/pdf/457443main_EEWS_ExplorationsPrecursorRoboticMissions.pdf

    “The Senate, in response to the vacuum of WH leadership and the amateur Feb 2010 Nasa rollout, was trying to make some use of the 50+ of HSF experience instead of tossing it away completely”

    Per the documents above, there was no lack of WH leadership. Certain Senators in certain states simply wanted to preserve their Shuttle workforce votes. It was parochialism over national good.

    “and rejoicing in a hoped for retro Gemini capability which the OSTP crowd was gleefully proposing.”

    This is yet a fourth ignorant and false statement.

    CST-100, Dragon, and Dream Chaser are all being designed for seven crew. That’s more than three times the crew of Gemini.

    Dream Chaser is a lifting body derived from a design developed many years after Gemini. It is nothing like Gemini.

    SpaceX is pursuing a 53-ton Falcon Heavy vehicle, far outside the throw weight of any Gemini vehicle.

    “And Nasa is dragging its feet on SLS, because it doesn’t want to do it.”

    In comparison to Apollo, NASA is not dragging its feet. It took over a year-and-a-half to make decisions like LOR over EOR and the five F-1 arrangement of the Saturn V first-stage. The Senate is needlessly rushing the decision process, increasing the likelihood of another technically flawed study and vehicle leading to cost and schedule overruns and another program termination, as happened with the 90-day ESAS study and Constellation/Ares.

    “And you wonder why we veterans are disgusted.”

    Your statements are too ignorant for you to be a “veteran”.

    Sigh…

  • Major Tom

    “I don’t see why flying the shuttle past this year is taboo.”

    Budget. NASA won’t be able to pay for SLS/MPCV. There’s no other part of NASA’s budget that can cough up several billions of dollars each year. And that doesn’t include all the restart costs for various Shuttle parts lines or Shuttle recertification per the CAIB.

    You can pick Shuttle or SLS/MPCV, but not both.

    FWIW…

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    “Really? The “right wing” created this world? ”

    Yes they did.

    When Mr. Bush and his GOP congress took things over, there were surpluses and we were paying down the deficit. Had they done zero nothing nada that trend would have continued.

    What did they do? They cut taxes (because according to Bush it was bad to run surpluses) and then started spending like stuck hogs bleed. First it was two wars that they refused to pay for, and downplayed the cost when we got into them, then it was a Prescription drug bill…and then there was (OK small change but the point of this blog) Bush’s “return to the Moon”

    None of which were paid for…most of which were designed with no real “end game” in mind…just spend.

    Now you might argue that Mr. Bush nor the GOP folks who made up the Congress were “right wing” but in the case of The Congress the folks that were there then are the same folks that are here now and few of the folks who are saying that things are out of control now, even raised a whimper when the wars started (“cant raise taxes in a war”) nor when the foolishness started about “the wars will pay for themselves”. As for Bush, he was a darling of the right wing while he was in office.

    “The last four and a half years of a Democrat Congress and two and a half years of a Democrat White House have nothing to do with it?”

    I never have said that. The mess we are in now is and I have said frequently here and other places a function of the folks who are in power now (and that includes the GOP House) taking things that were bad and making them worse.

    You cannot argue that the GOP House or the GOP Senators who have pressed hard for a space shuttle followon have acted in a responsible manner in either promoting a “SEnate Launch system” or keeping it funded. If the GOP House really believed in fiscal then the very Congressman who argue to cut things like Medicare etc would start by cutting SLS or the second engine for the F-35 all of which receive enormous GOP “right of center ideological” support.

    Had the GOP left the tax rates in place, responded responsibly to 9/11 (instead of spending 2 trillion on various notions of nation building which are all flops) and had not given us a prescription drug bill…we, the nation would not be in the abyss we are in now. Had Bush not proposed his goofy lunar effort, we would not have spent 12-16 billion for nothing…

    Robert G. Oler

  • DCSCA

    “SpaceX is pursuing a 53-ton Falcon Heavy vehicle, far outside the throw weight of any Gemini vehicle.”

    ROFLMAO Gemini- welcome to 1964/65. SpaceX is also pursuing a compost heap to recycle its reams of press releases no doubt. Meanwhile, tick-tock, as of 2011, they’ve flown nobody. And as reported by NBC News, per SpaceX’s own execs, have no plans to attempt to fly crews for at least 4 to 5 years. More amusing are recent musings by Master Musk, who ‘ has stated in an interview that he wishes to put a man on mars within 10-20 years.’ The late Hugh Dryden, one time Deputy Administrator of NASA, stated a similar wish to put ‘men on Mars’- and Venus no less– wayyyyyyy back in early 1964.

  • John Malkin

    What was the origin of COTS program and its methodology of a milestone driven development? Who birthed it at NASA? Did it grow out of the Centennial Challenges?

  • amightywind

    The Augustine Committee’s Flexible Path options incorporated a specific sequence of 10-13 missions to the Moon, Lagrange Points, NEOs, and Mars over an 11-year sequence. See p. 43 (44 in the Acrobat Reader):

    Only 13 flights to get to the moon! The Augustine Committee was simply a group of thinly veiled partisans interested in carrying the water of our neophyte President. Aerospace Engineer is wise to call ouot their craven proposals.

  • Robert G. Oler

    DCSCA wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    “ROFLMAO Gemini- welcome to 1964/65. SpaceX is also pursuing a compost heap to recycle its reams of press releases no doubt. Meanwhile, tick-tock, as of 2011, they’ve flown nobody.”

    besides not being very well informed its not even funny. As of 2011 SLS has not flown anyone and wants 16 billion dollars to do what they couldnt do with the first 15. sorry RGO

  • Major Tom

    “Only 13 flights to get to the moon!”

    Can you not count or did you not bother to read the document?

    It’s one mission to lunar flyby and eight missions to lunar surface expenditions.

    Cripes…

  • Das Boese

    Coastal Ron wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Dennis Berube wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    “We are in June, that is half the year out. If they are going to launch they had better get with the program I would say. Where are all the rockets?”

    The first two Falcon 9 launches listed on their manifest are the COTS 2 & 3 flights, which they are awaiting word from NASA as to whether they will be combined. If they do combine them, then SpaceX has mentioned an October target date. The Orbcomm order depends on when the satellites are ready, so that’s partly out of the hands of SpaceX (SNC is building them).

    Aren’t the Orbcomm sats supposed to be piggybacking on the COTS-2 launch, anyway? So you’re down to four launches, three if COTS-2 and 3 are combined.

    Assuming that the Falcon 9 and Dragon for COTS-2 are about halfway done, that leaves them to build three and a half rockets and two and a half capsules in six months. I don’t see any problem with that.

    For comparison look at the aircraft industry. Building a large aircraft like the A380 isn’t any less challenging than building a rocket IMO and Airbus is rolling out two of them a month.

    Also note the little caveat on the SpaceX manifest:
    “*Target date indicates hardware arrival at launch site”

  • Major Tom

    “What was the origin of COTS program and its methodology of a milestone driven development? Who birthed it at NASA? Did it grow out of the Centennial Challenges?”

    There was a precursor program/budget initiative by OMB staffers in the late Clinton Administration called Alternate Access. SOMD screwed it up, but it was written into the VSE by some of the same staffers, who were working at NASA for O’Keefe by that time. A couple of them transitioned to ESMD under Steidle, and one of them became the HQ manager before the COTS program office was established at JSC. The same HQ manager happened to run Centennial Challenges initially, but there’s no direct connection to COTS. COTS and the first two rounds of CCDev have been conducted under NASA’s Space Act Authority, which allows it to step outside the FAR. Centennial Challenges required separate prize authority.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    “… tick-tock, as of 2011, they’ve flown nobody. And as reported by NBC News, per SpaceX’s own execs, have no plans to attempt to fly crews for at least 4 to 5 years. ”

    You have to orbit something before you can orbit someone. Ares/Orion failed to orbit anything (or even break the Karman line). SLS/MPCV aren’t scheduled to orbit anything, nevertheless anyone, for at least another half decade (and NASA’s report to Congress states that it will take more time than that).

    In the meantime, Falcon 9 has launched twice; Dragon has successfully orbited, reentered and landed; EELVs have chalked up over 40 successful launches, Falcon Heavy is aiming for a 2013-14 maiden launch, and another new commercial launch vehicle, three other commercial capsules and a lifting body are in advanced stages of development.

    Orbit something, anything. Tick-tock.

    Ugh…

  • Only 13 flights to get to the moon! The Augustine Committee was simply a group of thinly veiled partisans interested in carrying the water of our neophyte President. Aerospace Engineer is wise to call ouot their craven proposals.

    More lunacy from abreakingwind, who fantasized that Constellation would actually do it in one, and affordably.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 6:30 am

    The entire article begins from a false premise. ”

    yes and it just keeps going on from there.

    “How long will our rapidly growing government (with its rapidly shrinking discretionary budget) patiently support “commercial” New Space efforts?”

    This from a person who sat quietly by never uttering a peep as Cx ploughed through 12-15 billion (more including this years wasted dollars) which is far more then “new space” has consumed period.

    Or put another way, if you tossed all the “new space” money into Cx of the Senate Launch system it wouldnt even fund the thing for a year or two…thats goofy.

    In the end people like Spudis live in a world where they have become use to the federal gravy train and cannot believe that it is grinding to a halt. Sorry Paul (or Ann) goofy article and goofy logic. You are getting as bad as Whittington

    RGO

  • As a relevant aside … CNN has been running ads for a program this upcoming Sunday night called Beyond Atlantis: The Next Frontier at 8 PM. It’s going to be a one-hour program. Don’t know anything else about it, but it sounds like they’ll be talking about commercial crew.

  • DCSCA

    @Stephen C. Smith wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 6:13 am

    CNN disbanded its space/technology broadcast unit about 18 months ago to save $ — around the same time it jettisoned Miles O’Brien, so the content most likely will be soft news mixed with nostalgia and mere press release speculation from NASA and NewSpace firms of ‘things to come.’ ABC News made a similar attempt on predicting ‘the next frontier’ in July, 1979 with a telecast titled ‘Infinite Horizons- Space Beyond Apollo’ predicting the then next 20-30 years in space with a group of futurists of the era. They were over projecting and grandiose, as such programs do– everything from the late Gerald O’Neill’s orbiting space habitats to space-based manufacturing by 2001 with shuttle. About the only things they got right were personal communication systems- in the ’79 broadcast it was Jules Bergman sporting ‘Dick Tracy-styled’ wrist phones- (cellphones of today); female astronauts and shuttle controllers; shuttle ferrying crews to a space station and Musgrave simulating the Hubble’s deployment. The real question is if CNN will cease to exist (rumors of a possible merger w/CBS News persist in the industry) and/or if cable and network news operations will be granted access to cover any private enterprised space operations in the next 10 years. Private firms have an incentive to restrict coverage through their own media outlets to control their message, hide mistakes and trumpet successes as well as protect propietory information– that is, ‘corporate security’ not unlike military space missions cloaked by ‘national security.’

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 9:10 pm
    Wrong. The musings by musketeers are very funny- and false equivalency is hilarious. SpaceX has not launched, orbited and returned anybody safely to earth. Project Gemini did–about 45 years ago. A government program funded and managed. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

  • DCSCA

    @Dennis Berube wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 2:45 pm
    “I just came off of the SpaceX sight, where they claim they have 5 flights outlined for the remainder of this year. We are in June, that is half the year out. If they are going to launch they had better get with the program I would say. Where are all the rockets??????????????”

    More press fodder from SpaceX. And they sing, “It’s only a paper moon/sailing over a cardboard sea/but it wouldn’t be make-believe/if you believed in me.”

  • DCSCA

    @Major Tom wrote @ June 27th, 2011 at 11:01 pm
    False equivalency. NASA has demonstrated the capability of orbiting manned spacecraft since February, 1962. It is mid-2011 and SpaceX has not launched, orbited and safely returned anybody. Tick-tock, indeed.

  • Major Tom

    “False equivalency. NASA has demonstrated the capability of orbiting manned spacecraft since February, 1962.”

    And all those NASA manned spacecraft are sitting in museums or headed to a museum very shortly. NASA has not demonstrated the ability to design, develop, and fly a new manned spacecraft vehicle that can put something, nevertheless someone, in space since 1982, almost 30 years ago.

    You have to orbit something before you can orbit someone. Falcon 9/Dragon did that, Ares I/Orion failed to do that, and SLS/MPCV aren’t scheduled to do it for another half-decade, at least.

    You can drive a car and maybe change its oil. But that’s not the same thing as building a new vehicle. Its far from clear that NASA can still build new manned vehicles.

    “Tick-tock, indeed.”:

    In-house NASA efforts are starting over from square one again and are at least a half-decade behind Falcon 9/Dragon. Orbit something, anything. Tick-tock, tick-tock, indeedy-deedy-do.

    Ugh…

  • DCSCA

    @Major Tom wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 8:03 am
    False equivalency, again. Soyuz has been flying over 40 years. You want to reinvent the wheel. NASA has demonstrated the capability of orbiting manned spacecraft since February, 1962. It is mid-2011 and SpaceX has not launched, orbited and safely returned anybody… and ‘retirement on Mars’ awaits. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, indeedy-deedy-do… ugh.

  • Das Boese

    DCSCA wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    False equivalency, again. Soyuz has been flying over 40 years.

    Red Herring, again. This discussion is about the space policy of the United States, not that of the Russian Federation resp. the Soviet Union.

    You are of course aware of the fact that the Russians have accomplished significant success in human spaceflight on a much smaller budget than NASA – in part by using launch vehicles shared with the commercial sector.

    You want to reinvent the wheel.

    The wheel has been “reinvented” successfully many times. We went from crude wooden disks to metal wheels, adding rubber treads, then on to pneumatic tires and alloy wheels and are now experimenting with carbon fiber and airless composite wheels.
    Today’s NASA is rolling on wire-spoke wheels with bias-ply whitewall tires which have already been flat and needed to be patched two times and are starting to come apart. So they need to be replaced, but instead of taking the sensible route and buying a set of readily available alloy wheels and tires, or even a nice set of steelies, they decided to build a wooden wheel with solid rubber treads, held together by titanium nails and with some fake carbon fiber stickers on it.

    NASA has demonstrated the capability of orbiting manned spacecraft since February, 1962.

    And that remarkable history is about to end for the foreseeable future.

    It is mid-2011 and SpaceX has not launched, orbited and safely returned anybody… and ‘retirement on Mars’ awaits. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, indeedy-deedy-do… ugh.

    But they have two operational launch vehicles and a spacecraft capable of carrying humans.
    In a month or so, NASA will have neither.

    Tick-tock.
    By the way, did you know that repeating the same nonsensical sequence of words over and over in every conversation is commonly perceived as either a reaction of the terminally indoctrinated when their world view is at odds with reality, or as a sign of mental retardation?

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ June 28th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    NASA has demonstrated the capability of orbiting manned spacecraft since February, 1962.

    And when was the last time NASA helped design a manned spacecraft that made it to space? Over 30 years ago.

    Remember NASA doesn’t actually design and build spacecraft, they bid out the work to the aerospace industry.

    NASA doesn’t even operate the Shuttle Transportation System (STS), it’s done substantially by, that’s right, the aerospace industry.

    And it’s the aerospace industry that is building a new generation of spacecraft within the CCDev program that will take over from Soyuz by 2016.

    Cry all you want, but those are the facts.

  • Major Tom

    “False equivalency, again. Soyuz has been flying over 40 years.”

    Your point? That’s a foreign system. Are you really proposing that instead of growing domestic commercial human space transportation systems that the nation’s civil human space flight program rely on Russian systems forever?

    Really?

    “You want to reinvent the wheel.”

    Don’t be an idiot. This wheel has to be reinvented domestically by someone. Shuttle is retiring and every other NASA manned launch system is in a museum.

    “NASA has demonstrated the capability of orbiting manned spacecraft since February, 1962.”

    Learn the difference between operations and development. NASA hasn’t successfully completed the latter with respect to new launch or reentry systems for nearly 30 years. SpaceX has.

    SpaceX has at least a five-year head start. Blue Origin, Boeing, OSC, and SNC have a couple years head start on capsules/lifting bodies, not including a decade or so of EELV launches at ULA. NASA is starting over from square one.

    Do the math. Tick-tock…

    Cripes…

  • Robert Clark

    Any who has any doubts that commercial space is the only way to cut costs to space should read this:

    As military-launch costs soar, would-be competitors protest.
    By Mark K. Matthews, Washington Bureau
    June 26, 2011
    “Company officials said the cost of parts has gone up, and the uncertainty of post-shuttle work at NASA has resulted in subcontractors raising prices. As a result, ULA is sharply increasing the prices it charges the Defense Department to launch military satellites, prompting the Air Force to raise its projected launch costs by nearly 50 percent during the next four years.
    In addition, the company is demanding — and federal officials are acquiescing — that government agencies commit to buying more rockets than they’re likely to need from 2013 to 2017, all in the name of maintaining a “resilient, healthy and flexible space industrial base.”
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-military-missile-business-20110626,0,7372393.story

    Bob Clark

  • Robert Clark

    There is a solution that would allow you to get a 100+ mT payload launcher AND a separate manned launcher at the same time and at the cost of only a 70 mT launcher, or even less.

    See the details here:

    Some proposals for low cost heavy lift launchers.
    http://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?p=270195&postcount=9

    Bob Clark

  • Coastal Ron

    Robert Clark wrote @ June 29th, 2011 at 10:20 am

    See the details here:

    You’ve been posting this spam on a lot of space websites. If you want to talk specifics, then do it here – don’t make people go somewhere else to read up on what brilliant approach you’ve “discovered”.

    As far as I can tell, it’s a rehash of what’s already been discussed.

    Nothing new here folks – move along, move along.

  • Das Boese

    Robert Clark wrote @ June 29th, 2011 at 10:20 am

    There is a solution that would allow you to get a 100+ mT payload launcher AND a separate manned launcher at the same time and at the cost of only a 70 mT launcher, or even less.

    Yes, it was called Energia.

    SCNR

  • pathfinder_01

    Funny how heavy lift no matter the country tends to be in the past tense……. Saturn V, N1, Energia

  • Coastal Ron

    pathfinder_01 wrote @ June 30th, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Funny how heavy lift no matter the country tends to be in the past tense……. Saturn V, N1, Energia

    Good point. I think that’s because the ones you listed were built during times of national competition (mainly political & militarily), and we don’t have the same situation today.

    Those behemoths also sucked up a lot of money, which is also in short supply today, especially if the only goal is “exploration”.

  • Robert Clark

    “If you want to talk specifics, then do it here – don’t make people go somewhere else to read up on what brilliant approach you’ve ‘discovered’.”

    It would be far too long to post in entirety here.
    It’s not what I discovered. It’s what many experts in the industry have been saying for decades.
    What’s keeping us from reaching hundred dollar per kilo space access is because it is incorrectly claimed SSTO’s are impractical or impossible.
    So you see constantly said you need “unobtainium” to get vehicles light enough that can be SSTO or you need propellant with unknown energy content to propel it to orbit in one stage. No. The stages have existed since the 60’s. The engines with just kerosene or hydrogen have existed since the 70’s.
    What I’m arguing for is this incorrect information to stop being promulgated. This is a good start:

    Boeing proposes SSTO system for AF RBS program.
    The new issue of Aviation Week has a brief blurb about a Boeing proposal for the Air Force’s Reusable Booster System (RBS) program: Boeing Offers AFRL Reusable Booster Proposal – AvWeek – June.13.11 (subscription required).

    Darryl Davis, who leads Boeing’s Phantom Works, tells AvWeek that they are proposing a 3-4 year technology readiness assessment that would lead up to a demonstration of a X-37B type of system
    but would be smaller. Wind tunnel tests have been completed. Davis says the system would be a single stage capable of reaching low Earth orbit and, with a booster, higher orbits. The system would return to Earth as a glider.
    Davis says “that advances in lightweight composites warrant another look” at single-stage-to-orbit launchers.
    http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=30110

    Bob Clark

  • Coastal Ron

    Robert Clark wrote @ June 30th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    It’s not what I discovered. It’s what many experts in the industry have been saying for decades.

    Much as I want that to be true, I’m also one of those people that doesn’t believe in huge conspiracy theories.

    I also don’t see the conditions necessary for that level of disruptive technology to be funded, either through the government or the private sector. SpaceX took a big risk in just building lower cost rockets, and you can see how dicey a proposition that is. Congress has shown no interests either.

    So while in theory the technologies exist for SSTO, the theory still needs to be proven as workable and economical.

    My prediction is that until there is a demonstrated market in LEO for cargo and crew outside of the ISS (i.e. Bigelow et al), there won’t be a serious effort to go beyond the current CCDev designs that use rockets.

    But if a market does develop, then I would expect companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin to propose Two-Stage-To-Orbit systems as the next incremental transportation step. That in turn would allow companies (likely not governments at that point) to assess the cost benefits of a true SSTO as the next innovation.

    It’s going to be a slow evolution, just like commercial airliners have been slow to evolve. The few big innovations that have been proposed (SST, Sonic Cruiser, Blended Wing Body, etc.) haven’t made a lasting impact yet. And new technology can’t be just marginally workable, but robustly so.

    Large tubes filled with fuel and launched vertically are likely to be around a while…

  • DCSCA

    Major Tom wrote @ June 29th, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Point made. Fly somebody. Get someone up around and back down safely. Just do it. Put up, or shut-up. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>