Congress, NASA

Smith’s continued skepticism about NASA’s asteroid mission

When the administration released its fiscal year 2014 budget proposal last week, Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, expressed some skepticism about NASA’s new asteroid initiative contained in it, including plans to redirect a small near Earth object to lunar orbit to be visited by astronauts. “Seemingly out of the blue, this mission has never been evaluated or recommended by the scientific community and has not received the scrutiny that a normal program would undergo,” he said in a statement.

In a hearing on the overall White House R&D budget request earlier this week, Smith again raised questions regarding whether an asteroid mission made sense. “Beyond low Earth orbit of the station, where are the next destinations for our astronauts to explore?” Smith asked in his opening statement. “Is an asteroid the next destination, as the President suggested three years ago? Or is the Earth’s Moon a more compelling place for American astronauts to return, rather than finding an asteroid to pull into the Moon’s orbit?”

The first question Smith posed to the hearing’s sole witness, presidential science advisor John Holdren, was about that mission, citing last December’s report by a National Research Council committee that found little enthusiasm for an asteroid mission within or outside NASA. “It seems to me that most of the scientific community woud prefer some form of a return mission to the Moon. Why wouldn’t we follow their advice?” Smith asked Holdren.

“I think the situation has changed in a number of important respects since the National Research Council report which you quote,” Holdren responded. What’s changed, he said, is that NASA has developed “an extraordinarily ingenious and cost-effective new approach to that mission” by bringing an asteroid close to Earth. “Now we’re seeing a lot of enthusiasm for it.”

Smith wasn’t convinced, though, claiming that the mission hadn’t appeared in previous studies by the scientific community (although studies like the planetary science decadal reports typically don’t examine human missions, which are funded outside of NASA’s science program.) “It is a new mission, maybe we need to wait and see how it is received by the scientific community,” he said. “It just seems to me to be a little bit of an afterthought.”

Smith’s skepticism about NASA’s current direction in human spaceflight carried over to an op-ed he wrote in Thursday’s issue of the Houston Chronicle. “[O]ther nations are again accelerating investments in space, while our own human space program is without a clear mission,” he argued. “If China lands a man on Mars before the U.S., it would be devastating to our standing in the global community.” (China has no announced plans for a human Mars mission, and only vague plans at best for human missions to the Moon some time in the 2020s.)

Smith said, though, that NASA will not “defy budget gravity and somehow get an increase when everyone else is getting cut” and, therefore, needs to spend its existing budget more effectively. “President Obama should work with Congress to provide a vision for the agency. In order to succeed, NASA needs continuity of vision and consistency in its budget.”

191 comments to Smith’s continued skepticism about NASA’s asteroid mission

  • Seemingly out of the blue, this mission has never been evaluated or recommended by the scientific community and has not received the scrutiny that a normal program would undergo.

    When did SLS get such scrutiny?

    • Dark Blue Nine

      Or MPCV, especially in light of it being 5,000lb. overweight and without a working heat shield.

      • amightywind

        Orion’s isn’t 5000 lbs over weight. SLS is undersized. We must bring back the Ares V configuration!

        • Dark Blue Nine

          It’s overweight for its parachutes, not launch vehicle, moron.

          • Malmesbury

            And the heat shield. Which has issues already.

            • common sense

              I am sorry guys but you have it all wrong. Congress designed SLS and therefore needs no additional scrutiny. MPCV on the other hand got a lot of Scrutiny by the Congress Committee on Aerospace Design and suggested several redesigns in light of the changes to the launch vehicle. Congress is now actively working at the NEO mission and will soon propose to themselves a mission that they will immediately fund at the level of $10B over 100 yrs. Well times are tough.

              Next Congress plans to take care of the economy. What? No wait!

          • DCSCA

            It’s overweight for its parachutes, not launch vehicle, moron.

            Meaningless at this stage. LM was overweight and plaged by technical problems as well at a point muhc furth along in Apollo. SLS/MPCV will fly regardless of all the squawking by NewSpacers, who have yet to even attempt to launch, orbit and safely return anybody from LEO.

            • Dark Blue Nine

              “Meaningless at this stage.. SLS/MPCV will fly regardless of all the squawking by NewSpacers…”

              Wrong as usual. It’s NASA’s manager for these projects, Dan Dumbacher, who’s squawking and he doesn’t think the weight growth is meaningless. Dumbacher expressed doubt back in Jaunary about whether MPCV’s capsule can get back under the mass limits imposed by its parachutes:

              “Right now, Orion is about 4,000 lb. too heavy for its recovery parachutes, and the flight-test results may help trim that (although Dumbacher stresses that the margins may also prove too light).”

              http://www.aviationweek.com/awmobile/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_01_14_2013_p16-534208.xml

              Since Dumbacher made that statement in January, the MPCV capsule mass has grown by another 1,000lb to 5,000lb. See p. 55 in this PDF:

              http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653866.pdf

              “LM was overweight and plaged by technical problems as well at a point muhc furth along in Apollo.”

              You’re ignorantly comparing watermelons to grapes.

              Per the GAO report, the Orion MPCV capsule is 5,000lb too heavy for its parachutes.

              The Apollo lander module was only overweight by “a few kilograms”:

              http://www.americaspace.com/?p=19419

              Arguing that NASA can fix current problems like MPCV because they fixed the Apollo lander two generations ago is dumb. The weight issue on MPCV is three orders of magnitude more difficult — literally one thousand times harder — than the Apollo lander weight issue was.

              On top of that, NASA outsourced the lander module to Grumman. NASA didn’t fix the lander module. A private contractor did.

              • DCSCA

                “Per the GAO report, the Orion MPCV capsule is 5,000lb too heavy for its parachutes.”

                Pfft. gain, meaningless paper chaff from NewSpace spinners opposed to SLS/MPCV who are simply pressing a broader agenda focused on priivatizing government services on as many fronts as possible. The engineering challenges are to be overcome, not trumpeted as obstacles. But your agenda is well known.

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “Pfft. gain, meaningless paper chaff from NewSpace spinners”

                No, it’s the 2013 installment of an annual report titled “Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects” written by the Government Accountability Office, which is an agency of Congress. I’ll repeat the link:

                http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653866.pdf

                Stop being an ignorant idiot and learn how our government works.

        • Coastal Ron

          amightywind said:

          Orion’s isn’t 5000 lbs over weight. SLS is undersized. We must bring back the Ares V configuration!

          You’re saying the government needs a 188mt HLV to lift four astronauts to orbit?

          Gee, and SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada plan to lift seven astronauts to orbit using far smaller Atlas V 402 and Falcon 9 v1.1.

          No wonder government space exploration is so expensive… ;-)

        • josh

          lol. do you have any idea how clueless you actually are?

        • Indeed the SLS is undersized! What we’ll need for renewed deep space manned missions is the full-up Ares 5. The mistake we are making with the SLS is that there is still as yet no specified spacecraft complement of cargo, for the parameters of such a Heavy-Lift rocket to be decided on. Hence, designing & building the rocket is way too premature, at this time. This is only because of the Constellation-canceling decision, which creates this bad side-effect! Sure, you don’t actually need a Heavy-Lift to merely send the Orion craft into LEO. A smaller rocket—–an Ares 1 or what have you—–would be up to the task. But you will most definitely need a huge, multi-stage, ‘monster rocket’ in order to mount a manned Lunar mission! This is the only reason to delay Heavy-Lift: NASA needs to wait until it has a genuine deep space manned plan at hand, first. I dunno, maybe when the next President gets inaugurated on January 2017—-if a Republican makes it to the White House.

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “Hence, designing & building the rocket is way too premature, at this time… This is the only reason to delay Heavy-Lift: NASA needs to wait until it has a genuine deep space manned plan at hand, first.”

            When even the trolls agree, it’s time to terminate SLS.

          • But you will most definitely need a huge, multi-stage, ‘monster rocket’ in order to mount a manned Lunar mission!

            Just as repetition doesn’t render nonsense into sense, neither does exclamation marks.

          • @Chris
            “But you will most definitely need a huge, multi-stage, ‘monster rocket’ in order to mount a manned Lunar mission!”

            First, you know this is a lie because you have been given links before to the NASA, industry and university studies that not only say otherwise, but say it can be done cheaper and safer without the ‘monster rocket’.

            Second, even if such a ‘monster rocket’ was required, ULA has given a quote to NASA of $5.5 billion total development cost of an HLV that could lift 140 metric tons to orbit (10 more tons than SLS) and SpaceX’s quote was $2.5 billion for 150 metric ton payload (20 tons more than SLS).

            Either, way the American taxpayer is being ripped off with SLS.

            I know you’re young Chris, but at some point your thought processes should mature.

      • What’s wrong with the heat shield? I hadn’t heard that.

        Bob Clark

        • Malmesbury

          “Project officials are tracking a risk that the thermal
          protection system could crack due to the thermal
          expansion stress loads of the heatshield prior to
          reentering the Earth’s atmosphere, which could
          threaten the safety of the crew and success of the
          mission. This cracking property was known prior
          to selection of the heatshield material, but project
          officials have been conducting stress analyses on
          the heatshield, among other studies, to understand
          the magnitude of the cracking.”

          from:

          http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653866.pdf

          If the spacecraft is heavy on re-entry, this increases the thermal load on the heat shield.

          • Robert Clark

            Thanks for the info. Maybe they should reevaluate the decision to use the old Apollo era material for the heat shield and use the PICA-X material of SpaceX instead. It was already designed to withstand lunar reentry speeds.
            Plus, at half the weight, it would help with Orion’s weight problem.

            Bob Clark

    • Gregori

      He’s a hypocrite but he has a point

  • I wish Holdren had said, “You want the Moon?! Really?! Where’s the $150 billion to do it?!”

    That would have answered the question pretty directly.

    Smith is like all the others who approved Constellation in 2004. It looked great on paper. But they never properly funded it beyond pork for their districts.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      Here’s where some independent lunar systems scrutiny will finally come, almost a decade after ESAS/Constellation:

      http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/34937nasa-opens-door-to-commercial-partnerships-on-the-moon

      • Guest

        The scrutinizing has already been done in the almost eight years since ESAS. Dual fuel parallel staged reusable heavy lift launch vehicles with efficient crossfed liquid boosters and SSTO capable cores will most certainly be able to directly land industrial scale habitation and ISRU infrastructure onto the pole of the moon. The only thing now standing between the near term industrialization of the poles of the moon are NASA, congress and the executive branch of the United States government. What needs to be immediately funded is Sentinel and RESOLVE. These people are very late to the party here.

        • Coastal Ron

          Guest said:

          The only thing now standing between the near term industrialization of the poles of the moon are NASA, congress and the executive branch of the United States government.

          Whew, and I was thinking you were going to say EVERYONE.

          So essentially what you’re saying is that you’ve given up trying to get the U.S. Taxpayer to fund your idea, and now you’ll pursue private financing? Something like a Kickstarter campaign?

          Well good for you!

          • Guest

            Something like a Kickstarter campaign?

            You’ve got to be kidding. Since Charlie vetoed the moon it will have to wait until SLS goes under.

            • Coastal Ron

              Guest said:

              Since Charlie vetoed the moon it will have to wait until SLS goes under.

              You continue to show how ignorant you are of how our government works – no NASA Administrator can say that ANY destination is off limits.

              Bolden was describing the reality of NASA’s fiscal condition, and the lack of any known reasons for changing that fiscal condition.

              And just so it’s very clear, because Congress won’t fund any technology development for doing any missions beyond LEO, having an HLV doesn’t increase our chances of going anywhere, including the Moon, within the time period Bolden was talking about (i.e. his lifespan).

              Even the current President, whomever that might be, can’t do anything without our Congress not only agreeing to fund such a program, but future Congress continue to keep funding that program no matte what. Reference what happened to the Constellation program if you want a real example of that…

              • Guest

                No, Charlie vetoed the moon for the rest of this administration. So come 2017 everything changes. Since RESOLVE or Sentinel won’t even fly by then it’s just a continuation of the status quo at NASA. This is Obama’s baby.

                So just like I said, it will have to wait until 2017 when SLS is cancelled, or … redesigned and then flown in a somewhat reasonable manner.

                And yes, I’ve seen this kind of stuff play out many more times than you have, so I’ll be interested in seeing how this all plays out.

              • Coastal Ron

                Guest said:

                No, Charlie vetoed the moon for the rest of this administration.

                1. We weren’t going to the Moon the day before Bolden made his statement, so what he said didn’t change the status quo.

                2. NASA Administrators don’t decide where NASA goes, the President and Congress do.

                And yes, I’ve seen this kind of stuff play out many more times than you have

                I doubt that. In any case, you appear to be ignorant about how our government works.

              • Guest

                That’s what I said, the status quo remains. Glad you agree.

                Charlie as administrator is supposed to administrate, but apparently his role has been reduced to reporting what his booses tell him.

                As I said, the executive office has vetoed the moon for the remainder of this administration. Charlie is speaking for himself when he says ‘we’ won’t return to the moon in his lifetime. I’m glad you agree.

                I may be ignorant how my government works, since is demonstrably does NOT work here, certainly with respect to space science it doesn’t, but I’m solid on my math, chemistry, physics and engineering, and that’s what counts for me. Welcome to the show. Better late than never. This has been going on for decades now, so your late input is welcome. they couldn’t even get a simple asteroid detection satellite up in the last 20 years, and they couldn’t get a rover onto the poles of the moon in the last 40 years, it will be interesting to see what they can come up in three more years before they are finally and irreversibly let out to pasture where they belong. Considering the evidence, I am not optimistic, but the last five and a half years have been interesting to say the least.

              • Charlie vetoed the moon for the rest of this administration.

                No, he vetoed the moon until he changes his mind, or someone changes it for him.

              • Guest

                Mr. Obama could have vetoed the bill as well, but he didn’t. And he had every budget cycle to change his mind, but he hasn’t yet. These people are held hostage by COTS and CCDev. When is that gonna change? When somebody shows up in a capsule at the ISS? Or when the Chinese release lunar polar soil results? These are people who are not swayed by facts.

    • James

      And history is repeating itself w funding for SLS/MPCV. I am so glad we learn from history so we never repeat it. Whew!

    • DCSCA

      “I wish Holdren had said, “You want the Moon?! Really?! Where’s the $150 billion to do it?!”

      He’s a smart nough pol nto to set himself up, for after all, $150 billion is roughly just 14 months of expenditures wasted on the conflict in Afghanistan.

    • It can be done for 3 orders of magnitude cheaper than that simply by going small rather than humongous:

      Encyclopedia Astronautica
      Early Lunar Access.
      http://www.astronautix.com/craft/earccess.htm

      The required in-space elements could be carried to LEO by a single launch of the Falcon Heavy at ca. $120 million per flight.

      Bob Clark

      • E.P. Grondine

        Hi Bob –

        Your comparison skirts the “Why?” question.

        A question you also have to answer is “What is the purpose in going to the Moon?”, in other words, “What do you want to do there?”

        • Ben Russell-Gough

          That is a question that hasn’t been answered properly and, I think, needs to be. Various types of science? Infrastructure for further afield? This is similar to the ‘why build a rocket when you don’t know the payload yet’ question posited up-thread. There has to be a reason other than ‘go’ to do it, no matter what it is, other than ‘to go’. That was the motive for Apollo and that died off after just six landings (the last ones, I think, carried out somewhat under protest from the politicians).

          It doesn’t really even have to stand up under professional scrutiny. It only needs to be good enough so that the taxpayer (the ultimate investor in such a project) can say: “Ah! I see! That’s why they’re doing it!”

  • Dark Blue Nine

    Despite Smith’s protests, the NEO retrieval mission will be funded at some level because Mikulski wants it. APL will probably play a role due to their experience with the Shoemaker NEAR mission, and she’s likely been told that the capture hardware will probably go to GSFC given their HST servicing experience:

    http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/mikulski-will-support-asteroid-initiative-not-sure-about-orion-planetary-requests

    Smith is right that the NEO retrieval mission needs a lot more scrutiny given how little it contributes to advancing planetary defense, human deep space exploration, and space resource exploitation; how it’s already hurting planetary science; how poorly its costs are understood; the total absence of any independent review; and the existence of much better options for investing in these goals.

    Someone should also ask how Bolden and Holdren can claim enthusiasm for this mission when, after the Chelyabinsk airburst just last month, they were telling Congress not to put money into NEO programs:

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/03/20/nasa-to-congress-dont-pour-money-into-neo-programs/

    Lots of hypocrisy to go around…

    • red

      If GSFC satellite servicing gets new project money to participate in the asteroid capture, it would be nice if some of the satellite servicing funding can go for an actual satellite servicing demonstration mission.

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi DBN –

      I see you are at it again, leaving all of the impact specialists out of your definition of the “space science community”, but in this case its the “planetary science” community.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “Hi DBN –

        I see you are at it again, leaving all of the impact specialists out of your definition of the ‘space science community’, but in this case its the ‘planetary science’ community.”

        What “impact specialists” are involved in the 7m NEO retrieval mission? The objective is to find a very small, dark, non-hazardous NEO and tow it to lunar orbit. It’s not to make the NEO collide with another object in space. It’s certainly not to count or analyze crater data.

        Your statements are goofy.

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi DBN –

      Not only is your expertise in polanetary defense astounding, your sudden support for other planetary defense projects is amazing.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “your sudden support for other planetary defense projects is amazing”

        Because other planetary defense projects actually advance planetary defense. A mission like the B612 telescope helps protect the Earth from hazardous NEOs. A mission to find and retrieve one small, non-hazardous NEO does nothing to help protect the Earth. It’s a waste of time and resources from a planetary defense perspective.

        • E.P. Grondine

          Hi DBN –

          Once again, you have to find them before you can do anything with them. If I understand you correctly, you view manned flight to Mars as being the highest space priority. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, the public has a different set of priorities, and would not fund that even if you substantially lowered the cost by whatever means. In other words, devloping those technologies for planetary defense may be the only way they get done – in other words, the only path to the Moon and Mars lies through planetary defense.

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “Once again, you have to find them before you can do anything with them.”

            Agreed. Let’s not waste $2.6 billion-plus moving one, non-hazardous, 7-meter NEO until we’ve spent $450 million on a telescope to find the hazardous NEOs.

            “If I understand you correctly, you view manned flight to Mars as being the highest space priority.”

            No, I don’t. How many more time do I have to tell you that?

            • E.P. Grondine

              Hi DBN –

              Given the content of your comments here, it looks like you’ll have to remind me again what exactly you do view as the next goal for US manned spaceflight.
              (I get confused so easily anymore.)

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “it looks like you’ll have to remind me again what exactly you do view as the next goal for US manned spaceflight.”

                In response to this same question from you, I wrote out a goal for NASA’s human space exploration efforts in a prior thread. You need to put on your big boy pants and go find it. It’s not my job to repeat what you can’t grasp or remember in the first place.

                “(I get confused so easily anymore.)”

                Then please stop posting here. Your inability to grasp and remember basic facts is wasting everyone’s time.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Well, DBN, I deal with so many space fantasists that I have trouble remembering each one individually. I am sorry, but from my point of view you are simply another one of them. Its what happens when you wear big boy pants.

                A one word answer is sufficient, as in Moon or Mars, or at most four word answer, as in “Do it with robots.”

                As far as remembering facts goes, here’s one: most space fantasists use loaded language, instead of clear language. It helps them to confuse the issues.

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “A one word answer is sufficient, as in Moon or Mars, or at most four word answer, as in ‘Do it with robots.’”

                My answer wasn’t any of those options.

                “Well, DBN, I deal with so many space fantasists that I have trouble remembering each one individually. I am sorry, but from my point of view you are simply another one of them.”

                How do you know if you can’t remember what I wrote? Or never read it in the first place?

    • DCSCA

      “Despite Smith’s protests, the NEO retrieval mission will be funded at some level because Mikulski wants it.”

      Doubtful. Nothing significant in government terms– if at all. Ther’s a space already reserved in the Obama Presidential Library, next to the Constellation xancellation files, waiting for the papers terminating plans for Project Lasso.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “Doubtful. Nothing significant in government terms– if at all.”

        Mikulski chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. She’s in charge of all federal spending for the Senate. Even if the NEO retrieval mission is bone-headed, a statement that she supports it is very “significant in government terms” because she’s in charge of the purse strings.

        Learn how our government works, dummy.

  • Casey Stedman

    I find it immensely frustrating to constantly read others stating that NASA has no discernible mission. the “flexible path” has been clearly announced and acted upon since 2010. Three years later some people (and unfortunately some of those in congress) still seem to reject that reality.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “the ‘flexible path’ has been clearly announced and acted upon since 2010.”

      It was announced but never acted upon. After Obama’s KSC speech, NASA should have set up a human NEO program office, enhanced the search for NEOs, executed key hardware studies, set up an astronaut selection process, etc. None of that has happened in the past few years. An NRC report even makes the point that there was no concerted effort and that few in NASA were working towards (or even supportive of) the NEO goal:

      http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/12/06/nrc-report-nasa-hasnt-made-the-case-for-a-human-asteroid-mission/

      • Fred willett

        Within months NASA had produced a detailed plan for flexible path with a list of work to be done at the Various centers and missions that would flow from that. One line, for example was to fly a fuel depot by, if memory serves 2014. And so on. As it happens congress wanted a big rocket and defunded the bulk of flexible path.
        Some bits do survive. For example the refueling demo on iss is a precursor to fuel depots

        • Fred willett

          Go back and read NASA,s plans for flexible path. It would have given us much of the groundwork that needs to be done to actually go exploring

  • common sense

    Smith: Charlie, I can call you Charlie right?. So why are you doing this NEO mission that we told you to do but you said we should not put any money in since we told you to build SLS AND MPCV with no money at all?

    Bolden: Well to put it simply. You told us to build a rocket that we did not design and did not need so I told you to not put any money in the NEO mission so that we could eventually work this mission.

    Smith: But the scientific community thinks it is better to go to the Moon as shown in an NRC report that you asked for.

    Bolden: We asked for an NRC report so that we can justify we do not need to go to the Moon and therefore you can give us some money to do it.

    Smith: I see. I see. So what about them Chinese landing on the Moon, collecting He3 and building a fortress?

    Bolden: Did not see the movie. Any good?

    Smith: Not bad. And there is this guy who travels from Virginia to China with a stolen laptop full of classified information and he’s stopped at the airport.

    Bolden: I can assure you we never ever have laptops with classified information!!!! Only personnel private information. No biggy. But look the good thing is no NASA person can travel anymore. And all is DARed now. I even called my laptop Vader because you know, I DARed-Vader…

    Smith: I know, I know. Just this one chinese guy with a laptop. We stopped him at the airport and we had nothing on him and I tell you he is going to jail. No one of them commies is gonna land on the Moon before us. Let alone Mars. By the way, did you receive the check for the Mars mission?

    Bolden: Yeah we got the money all right and we purchased all of those Mars candies you told us about.

    Smith: Good, good. I am very pleased that we are making progress on all of this. Now. Let’s talk about them liberals and this global warming hoax. Can you believe this Charlie? Someday they will tell us we evolved from the sea! Crazy liberals.

  • A $6 to $12 billion dollar single stage reusable lunar lander shouldn’t cost more than $1 to $2 billion a year to develop which would be far less expensive than the $3 billion a year NASA’s wasting on the perpetual ISS MISSION TO LEO!!! program.

    Marcel F. Williams

    • common sense

      “A $6 to $12 billion dollar single stage reusable lunar lander”

      Wow great. You are definitely making progress. You now have numbers to support your advocacy. All right, great. Not to be annoying but where can we find reference to support those numbers?

      In addition what if someone can make said lander for only $1B or even $500M?

      Anywho.

    • Robert Clark

      It can be done at two orders of magnitude lower cost by adapting an already existing stage such as the Centaur.

      Bob Clark

  • amightywind

    “Seemingly out of the blue, this mission has never been evaluated or recommended by the scientific community and has not received the scrutiny that a normal program would undergo,”

    Amightywind made exactly this point the day this wacky proposal came out. Why on earth doesn’t Obama and his radical followers attempt to develop consensus for something as non-partisan as human spaceflight. This is leadership 101 folks. I’m glad the good congressman pointed it out. Why don’t we have some hearings about possible next missions and go from there?

    • common sense

      Funny that you might refer to yourself using the third person. You know. Just like DCSCA.

      common sense thinks something is fishy.

    • E.P. Grondine

      Well, AW, you can be sure that the attack wing of the GOP will make it as difficult as possible for any Democratis President to carry out the day to day business of government.
      Personally, I find that strategy disgusting.

      Let me make this clear to you. Exactly how much political capital do you think Obama is willing to expend in fighting for jobs in what are red states? Why you think that money from a cancellation of “commercial crew” would go to SLS/Orion is as strange as the view that money from a cancellation of SLS/Orion would go to “commercial crew”.

      For that matter, why any of you think that the public supports manned flight to Mars is beyond me, in as much as we have not funded it in the 40 years since Apollo.
      (I would like to add here that the manned flight to Mars enthusiasts are so fanatical that they attacked Dan Goldin, who actually had a workable plan for manned flight to Mars.)

      As far as where this plan came from, it was there already, and Bolden just pulled it out after Chelyabinsk. It is about as good as you could come up with, given where we’re at.

      • Well, AW, you can be sure that the attack wing of the GOP will make it as difficult as possible for any Democratis President to carry out the day to day business of government.

        This is stupid. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the “attack wing of the GOP” that prevented the president from submitting a budget for over two months after it was due.

  • “Not to be annoying but where can we find reference to support those numbers?”

    The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated the development cost for a two stage Altair lunar lander at about $12 billion.

    Costs of an International Lunar Base
    Johannes Weppler, Vincent Sabathier, and Ashley Bander September 23, 2009

    Developing a single stage lunar vehicle rather than two vehicles for a two stage lander should be substantially cheaper to develop, which is why I suggest it would cost somewhere between $6 billion to $12 billion. The recurring cost should also be cheaper once fuel from the lunar surface is utilized.

    “In addition what if someone can make said lander for only $1B or even $500M?”

    Since NASA doesn’t build space vehicles, private industry does, Boeing or Lockheed-Martin, or the ULA (which is really Boeing and Lockheed) or Space X can submit their lunar lander proposals and their estimated development cost.

    Marcel F. Williams

    • common sense

      “The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated the development cost for a two stage Altair lunar lander at about $12 billion.”

      Are you really serious? Here are the links:
      http://csis.org/files/publication/090923_weppler_lunar_base_costs.pdf
      “The development costs of the Altair lander flying aboard the Ares V or an equivalent, estimated to be about $12 billion, are part of the lunar base project. ”

      Can you please give a serious reference that shows the cost? Otherwise I can tell you my estimate is $50M, yeah, just because I say so. We know what experts already told us Constellation was going to cost so please give me numbers and the supporting rationale for the numbers.

      As for the cost. So if the lander comes down to $50M can we keep the ISS? Or do we cancel the ISS and use whatever money is there to develop the infrastructure? And when we have cancelled the ISS do we go ask our former partners to be part of the new venture or we do it all alone?

    • All that is a moot point as long as some powerful politicians supported by people like you perpetuate the SLS program. Read Booz-Allen-Hamilton. Doesn’t matter if you develop a lunar lander if the launch vehicle to get it there is perpetually under development or gets cancelled when enough people see that development would be perpetual if it is allowed to continue.

      • common sense

        Ah ah! Rick you make the mistake every one makes. And that is that we cancel the ISS and use that money to build the SLS, MPCV, EDS, SM, launchpad, launch tower, the bathrooms at KSC, a new park with a fountain and a pond, etc. So when you add ISS cancellation to Shuttle cancellation you end up with about $6B/yr. That alone gives you $60B to use over 10 years. Now the fact that we already spent what $10/15B on Orion and Ares I and we got a suborbital flight does not count. Not really anyway. It is not a reflection that the programs are out of control. Just that it takes some time to get the people to do their work. AND. who cares anyway if by the time these vehicles land on the Moon they are welcome by a SpaceX/Bigelow crew (some may be of chinese descent though – wink wink). Finally an American crew would make it to the Moon, welcomed by another American crew, just that they are less american so we would call them an american crew, lower case american.

        See where all the confusion lies now?

    • Robert Clark

      The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated the development cost for a two stage Altair lunar lander at about $12 billion.

      That’s the problem. The Altair lander weighed 45 mT(!) It could be done at a third of that weight by going small The development cost then gets reduced by two orders of magnitude by adapting an already existing Centaur-like stage.

      Bob Clark

  • Robert G. Oler

    The problem with the asteroid mission is the same issue with a space station or a lunar capability or even a great “venture” to Mars…once you do it then all the reasons advocated for doing it…seem trivial particularly compared to the cost

    Sadly human spaceflight over its last half century has demonstrated one truism. The cost have gone up while the capability and use of human spaceflight have failed to identify a single REASON of value to cost for humans in space.

    Meanwhile in the uncrewed world, capabilities have gone up and cost for those capabilities have stayed fairly constant if not come down.

    In the end you have a program oriented around capturing an asteroid or returning to the Moon or going to Mars or anything after you spend the billions making it happen; no one has a good reason why it was done.

    So Lamar is left with waiving the standard “the Chinese beating us will lower our status as a world leader”

    Pretty goofy.

    We are at the Ellen and the attackers moment “we are going no where but we are going nowhere fast.” RGO

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi RGO –

      You have to remember that the impact hazard is about 2 orders of magnitude higher than NASA’s earlier estimates.

    • DCSCA

      ““the Chinese beating us will lower our status as a world leader” Pretty goofy.”

      Except it’s not. What is ‘goofy’ is ignoring the geo-political and ecobomic implications if saee. .

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “What is ‘goofy’ is ignoring the geo-political and ecobomic implications if saee. .”

        What a complete, coherent, and lucid argument.

        Where do I sign up to get some of your meds?

  • Dave Huntsman

    If there was one message of consensus from the just-ended International Planetary Defense Conference in Arizona, it’s that what is needed, Priority Number One, before any other asteroid-related work is funded, is to do a mapping survey (by whatever name) of the inner solar system. The preferred method for this is a survey spacecraft in near-Venus orbit costing (based on Ball and JPL estimates) between $500m-$700m, total; a fraction of the total for an asteroid retrieval mission. Yet, not only are we not doing it; but successive NASA Administrators (ie, Griffin, Bolden) have actually argued against it. Yet one reason give for the ART/Asteroid Retrieval Mission is planetary defense, all while we’re not doing an adequate enough job of even finding the ones that threaten Earth.

    Learning how to manipulate asteroids (of which there are many ways), is important to the future; however, it is NOT NEO priority number 1; or Number 2, or even number 3. As Don Yeomans, head of NASA’s NEO program office has said, the first three priorities are: 1. Find them early. 2. Find Them Early. And Number 3, and most important of all, FIND THEM EARLY. We are STILL not doing that.

    Let’s do first things first, folks.

    • common sense

      What??? WHAT??? Are you crazy? Are you saying that the planetary defense scientific community knows better than Congress? Are you saying we should know first what we need to take care of before we actually do take care of something? That the horses are better in front of the carriage??? You cannot be serious!

      You Sir must be another liberal. And don’t get me started on the Global Warming hoax and that we, NASA, should monitor our planet to understand what is going on. No Sir. What we need is to build a giant monster rocket with no budget. We will add a capsule with all the trimmings – with no budget. And THEN we will go grab a NEO, take it back home, and send astronauts with our non existent vehicles to play golf on the NEO.

      Yessir. Anything else is unpatriotic and will be summarily dismissed by this Congress. We the Congress only care about one thing and only one thing: We love to mess with the American public. So funny.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “If there was one message of consensus from the just-ended International Planetary Defense Conference in Arizona, it’s that what is needed, Priority Number One, before any other asteroid-related work is funded, is to do a mapping survey (by whatever name) of the inner solar system. The preferred method for this is a survey spacecraft in near-Venus orbit costing (based on Ball and JPL estimates) between $500m-$700m, total; a fraction of the total for an asteroid retrieval mission.”

      Is this consensus written down anywhere? (Will it be written down?) Or is this your takeaway from the conference?

      Just honestly asking. I’d love to have a reference.

      • Dave Huntsman

        Good question. The ‘concensus’ is what I gleaned myself was the obvious feelings of presenters, panelists, and audience members who asked questions. They spent today, the last day of the conference, actually writing up a ‘white paper’ that they will publicly release, documenting the sense of Conference. They didn’t give a target date for when the Conference White Paper will be released.

    • Every group’s “consensus” will be to fund what the interest group wants.

      The Moonies want to go back to the Moon.

      The Marsies want to go to Mars.

      The Planetary Sciences people want lots of money for robotic probes.

      So we’re not surprised that the “International Planetary Defense Conference” people want money for … wait for it … international planetary defense.

      All this ignores political reality.

      Congress told NASA to build the SLS and Orion. They never gave NASA a use for it. NASA is trying to find a use for it.

      “International planetary defense” brings very little in pork dollars to the districts of those on the House and Senate space subcommittees.

      Congress will never approve a huge NASA budget increase to send astronauts to the Moon or to Mars.

      An asteroid in lunar orbit is about the only thing that comes close to budget reality. Why? Because it doesn’t attempt to have astronauts land in a gravity well, or launch from it.

      We can all debate whether or not there is a scientific validity for sending people to the asteroid. Look back at the papers in the JFK administration in 1963, and repeatedly you’ll find they believed there was no scientific reason to send astronauts to the Moon. It was all about “prestige.”

      But that didn’t stop Congress from funding it. Or from sending astronauts to walk on the Moon.

      Lots of independent bodies have given Congress studies warning Congress to stop telling NASA to do so many different things without providing the funding. Congress ignores them because they want to say they’re doing something like going back to the Moon. They have no intention of actually funding it. But it will exist on paper and generate some jobs in their districts, so they’ll say it.

      Planetary defense will get a similar sop but that’s about it.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “We can all debate whether or not there is a scientific validity for sending people to the asteroid. Look back at the papers in the JFK administration in 1963, and repeatedly you’ll find they believed there was no scientific reason to send astronauts to the Moon. It was all about ‘prestige.’”

        To be more specific, the decision was about beating the Soviets in space, to prove to ourselves and the world that we could win on the same front with the same dual-use technologies that the Soviets had used to create Sputnik and Gagarin’s flight. The Kennedy Administration carefully selected a manned lunar landing from a list of options as the one with the greatest chance of the US beating the Soviets in space. The Soviets’ N-1 failures proved them right, and the US won the Cold War space race. It was a stunt, but it was a carefully selected stunt that served a purpose.

        That’s not true of the NEO retrieval mission. It’s a stunt, but it serves no greater purpose — it only gives SLS/MPCV a target. There’s no context like the Cold War to give it purpose outside the space community, and internally it doesn’t advance the goals (planetary defense, human deep space exploration, space resources) it claims. It hasn’t been carefully selected, because there are much better ways to advance those goals for less money.

        In the Cold War context, the Apollo decision was a brilliant stroke of decisionmaking. The NEO retrieval decision is thoughtless grasping within the constraints of SLS/MPCV and the budget.

        “An asteroid in lunar orbit is about the only thing that comes close to budget reality.”

        In terms of advancing human deep space exploration, that’s simply not true. As the Inspiration Mars Foundation has shown, a Mars flyby mission can be mounted from scratch for less than half of what the Keck study claims the NEO retrieval mission will cost. NASA should have a huge leg up on such a mission with MPCV and SLS. Even if NASA didn’t want to take that risk, running an year-odd MPCV mission at a Lagrange point would prove many of the same systems while providing a rapid abort capability. There’s lots of things NASA could do in human deep space flight without a lander or access to a NEO.

        • E.P. Grondine

          Hi DBN –

          At last we get down to it, you believe that manned flight to Mars is a higher priority than dealing with the impact hazard. The rest of the public does not think it worth the money. Remember the polls late last year?

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “Hi DBN –

            At last we get down to it, you believe that manned flight to Mars is a higher priority than dealing with the impact hazard.”

            No, I don’t. But if I have a choice between a mission that does nothing for planetary defense or even harms planetary defense (the robotic 7m NEO retrieval mission) and a mission that does something to advance human deep space exploration (like the Inspire Mars mission), then I’ll take the mission that advances human deep space exploration.

            We improve planetary defense by accelerating the search for hazardous NEOs, not by wasting billions of dollars of resources on searches for and retrieval of non-hazardous NEOs. It’s the equivalent of wasting US intelligence resources spying on neutral Switzerland during the Cold War.

            The reality is that NASA could pay for both the Inspiration Mars mission ($1 billion) to advance deep human space exploration and the B612 telescope ($450 million) to accelerate the search for hazardous NEOs and still save more than $1 billion versus the 7m NEO retrieval mission. Given other, much more effective options for advancing planetary protection, wasting $2.6 billion-plus to retrieve a non-hazardous NEO is stupendously stupid.

            “The rest of the public does not think it worth the money. Remember the polls late last year?”

            You still havn’t produced a link to those polls, but if they rate planetary protection over Mars (or any other human space) exploration, I agree wholeheatedly.

            But because I agree that planetary protection should be a priority, I don’t want to spend billions of dollars on searches for non-hazardous NEOs and non-hazardous NEO retrieval missions that do more to harm planetary protection than help it.

            • E.P. Grondine

              The reality is that when Dan Golden proposed the “Inspiration Mars’ architecture back around 2000, the the manned Mars flight enthusiasts attacked him. They desperately want to believe in Zubrin’s imaginary engineering.

      • Robert G. Oler

        Stephen C. Smith
        April 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm · Reply

        We can all debate whether or not there is a scientific validity for sending people to the asteroid. Look back at the papers in the JFK administration in 1963, and repeatedly you’ll find they believed there was no scientific reason to send astronauts to the Moon. It was all about “prestige.”>

        tbere is on Space Review a review of a book about IKE and Sputnik…its a good read and I would urge people to do so.

        “prestige” and its equivelents are what human spaceflight “groupies” and that includes Congress/Senators always fall back on when they figure out that nothing else is selling. Today since 9/11 they throw in “national defense”…but its all a world game to try and do something that no other lever in politics will do.

        When Kennedy came up with the lunar goal (or accepted it, actually) Kennedy was at the place Presidents get sometimes where they need a “shiny toy” to luster up their presidency to sort of distract from some things that are either going wrong or not going the way that they were planned.

        There are some important differences but in large measure Bush43 and JFK did the same thing with Iraq and the Moon…

        the problem is of course that had JFK lived there is no guarantee that even he would have followed through with the effort particularly as cost mounted or not modified it or even got the large spending through Congress…and a lot of todays enthusiast forget that as well.

        There was a political purpose to the Moon in the 60′s and that was all. I agree withe DBN that there really is no political or otherwise purpose to the asteroid mission. What it is is simply an effort to try and knit together a lot of parts and get them to fly formation.

        Robert G. Oler

      • E.P. Grondine

        Hi red –

        You got political reality, and then you have physical reality.

        Everyone is wondering where this plan came from. I don’t want to spoil their fun, but it came from the planetary defense community. After Chelyabinsk, Bolden needed a plan, and found that a plan was already in place within NASA.

        • Dark Blue Nine

          “I don’t want to spoil their fun, but it came from the planetary defense community.”

          No, it didn’t. It came from the Keck Institute for Space Studies. Leading members of the planetary defense community, like Don Yeomans, are warning that all this attention on small, non-hazardous NEOs will take attention away from the search for hazardous NEOs.

          “After Chelyabinsk, Bolden needed a plan, and found that a plan was already in place within NASA.”

          Your claims are contradictory. Did the plan come from the planetary defense community or from within NASA?

          If you’re going to spread ignorant lies, at least make them consistent.

        • Hiram

          ““I don’t want to spoil their fun, but it came from the planetary defense community.”

          Just gonna lay it on here. That’s clueless.

          The planetary defense community is represented by the dozens of leading experts who were called upon to do the NRC study on “Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies” in 2010. That hundred page study had one paragraph on human spaceflight. The jist of that paragraph was — well, if you’re ever going to send people, be sure they do some good stuff. There was NOTHING in that study about capturing an asteroid and hauling it back to cis-lunar space.

          Mr. Grondine, with all due respect, you fashion yourself as a member of the planetary defense community. How could you not know about that work?

          DBN is correct. That plan came out of the Caltech/JPL KISS study. That study group had just a few people that one could call planetary defense experts. They never pretended to represent the planetary defense community. The main objectives of that study were (1) determine the feasibility of capture and return, (2) identify possible benefits, and (3) identify how such an effort might bear on human space flight. So the plan from that study wasn’t done in the name of planetary defense. Planetary defense was duct taped onto that plan.

          • E.P. Grondine

            Hi Hiram –

            My area of expertise was recent impacts and their effects on man. I managed to write one book on it (of a planned three) before my stroke. Just simple data recovery. Given that I did that work everyday for many years, that part of my brain survived my stroke.

            So here’s the part of impact studies you are unaware of, or oblivious of.

            You may have noticed that no one from the “comets and dead comet fragments hit” school paricipated in that NRC report.

            Now like I told you, NASA’s impact hazard estimates are off by 2 orders of magnitude. You have physical reality, and what some folks want to believe, and in this case they are very very different.

            There is also the “comets and dead comet fragments hit” school. That is where this plan came from. The excellent CGI work is very interesting.

            The survey necessary for the current plan should bring this debate about the magnitude of the hazard to an abbrupt end. And that survey will provide as early a detection as is possible now.

            Another item of interesting here is the current attempts at “spin”. After Obama’s intial plans were blocked, he picked up on Goldin’s decades old archtecture. Suddenly that plan became Garver’s plan, and the accusations of no earlier studies were brought up, even though the public record was clear.

            In this case, it is easier and cheaper to bring the small asteroid to the astronauts instead of sending them to it. And the budget is very tight.

            Just as a lot of manned Mars flight “enthusiasts” had and have trouble accepting that manned flight to Mars had to go through ISS, they currently have trouble accepting that manned flight to Mars also will have to go through flight to asteroids.

            But then, the manned Mars flight “enthusiasts” are so blinded by their obsession that they can not understand that manned flight to Mars does not enjoy sufficient public support to fund it now, just as they have not funded it for the past 40 years.

            On the other hand, there is no way anyone can “spin” Chelyabinsk.

            • Hiram

              This response has nothing whatsoever to do with my comment. Did you read it?

              The best and the brightest of the national research community brought together a large group of well-informed people to consider the impact threat and mitigation strategies. That group, after lengthy consideration, made no reference to anything that looks like a robotic capture mission, nor a human mission to a captured asteroid. They made almost no reference to any human mission.

              This is not about “NASA impact hazard estimates”. This is an independent group of specialists who are being called in to advise NASA and the nation.

              You’re saying “Uh, but they’re wrong”. Yes, I am aware of your belief. Well, it’s several dozen of them against you, and you weren’t on that panel of trusted experts.

              But, very simply, you’re wrong. That plan did not come from the “planetary defense community”. You can jump up and down and pretend that it did. But it didn’t.

              “In this case, it is easier and cheaper to bring the small asteroid to the astronauts instead of sending them to it. And the budget is very tight.”

              There we agree. But it has nothing to do with this argument, and it has nothing to do with a sensible mitigation strategy.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Hi Hiram –

                Why of course I know nothing about impact.
                And the only thing I have to support my estimate of the impact hazard is the physical evidence.

                And as there were no members of the comets asnd dead comet fragments hit school on the NRC committee, it did not include the nation’s “best and brithtest”. And those specialists you mention were by no means independent, period.

                None of my estimates are a matter of belief, period. You might want to throw a screaming hissy fit, or engage in personal attacks, but the facts are what them facts are, whether they agree with your beliefs nd fantasies or not.

                Facts are not determined by majority vote.
                There actually is an objective reality.

    • red

      “If there was one message of consensus from the just-ended International Planetary Defense Conference in Arizona, it’s that what is needed, Priority Number One, before any other asteroid-related work is funded, is to do a mapping survey (by whatever name) of the inner solar system. The preferred method for this is a survey spacecraft in near-Venus orbit costing (based on Ball and JPL estimates) between $500m-$700m, total; a fraction of the total for an asteroid retrieval mission.”

      The asteroid retrieval mission proposal includes some funding for searches, but it doesn’t look like it’s as ambitious as the Venus-orbit proposals. It seems to be additions to ground telescopes, more use of existing ground telescopes, and an instrument likely hosted on a comsat.

      I agree that aggressively focusing on the survey makes the most sense for the time being. The retrieval proposal is supposed to bring benefits to planetary defense, science, human spaceflight, technology, ISRU, and commercial interests. You can see discussions about whether or not that’s the case in recent threads on this site, but concentrating on the survey might do a better job in some of those areas. You mentioned the benefits to planetary defense of the survey, and I agree that the most important job at this time for planetary defense is finding the objects. A thorough survey would also bring science benefits. NEOCam was proposed as a Discovery Mission in the previous round, and it won a technology development award then, so we know Planetary Science is interested in it. (OSIRIS-REx also shows they are interested in NEO samples). A thorough survey would be useful to HSF as a robotic precursor that finds suitable destination objects for HSF missions, and of course it can find appropriate objects for retrieval missions like the currently proposed one for HSF use as well. ISRU interests would be well-served by a survey mission so they know where the potential ISRU objects are. Commercial interests like PR and DSI should also be interested in knowing where the objects are, and various commercial interests could participate in the survey.

      So a thorough survey mission, perhaps augmented by ground telescope and other work, is probably the right place to start now. If we are really talking about $500-700M instead of $2.6B, that leaves a lot of funding left for other work. If we want to give SLS/MPCV something near-term to do, that could be more traditional small sample return from NEOs (like OSIRIS-REx) or the Moon (like MoonRise/Lunar South Pole Aitken sample return). The lunar sample return was one of the handful of missions recommended by the Decadal Survey for competition in the next New Frontiers competition, and it was one of 3 finalists the last time. SLS/MPCV (or, if they fail, perhaps a commercial replacement) could retrieve these samples in cislunar space, allowing those missions to avoid the need to return the samples to the Earth’s surface. Or, a hab module could be tested with MPCV on a long-duration test mission in cislunar space. Or MPCV astronauts could test telerobotics with a lunar rover. etc… There are plenty of things they could do that probably wouldn’t cost as much as the retrieval, assuming SLS/MPCV actually get to cislunar space. Or … some of the additional funding could go towards close-up robotic NEO investigations, SEP technology demonstration, and low-level work on the retrieval mission, if that mission is still desired, while we focus a big chunk of the effort on the survey.

    • Guest

      You are right, the consensus is that an infrared space-based survey is needed. However, there is disagreement on wether the Venus-trailing orbit gives any significant improved performance over an Sun-Earth orbit. As was pointed out in one of the talks, simulations show that the performance of the two orbits are nearly identically, while the Venus-trailing is more costly and risky.

  • josh

    i couldn’t care less if the asteroid mission goes ahead or not. fund it, don’t fund it, i don’t care. what matters is what spacex is up to these days: the rlv project, the mars mission architecture. nasa hsf is a side show at this point.

  • “Can you please give a serious reference that shows the cost? Otherwise I can tell you my estimate is $50M, yeah, just because I say so. We know what experts already told us Constellation was going to cost so please give me numbers and the supporting rationale for the numbers.”

    The link that you provided shows that the Altair development cost were $12 billion for a two stage vehicle: a LOX/LH2 descent stage and a hypergolically fueled upper stage. I advocate developing only a LOX/LH2 stage as a reusable single stage vehicle which should be substantially cheaper than building two vehicles. That’s why I put the range for the development cost as reasonably between $6 billion to $12 billion.

    Where are your getting $50 million from???

    Marcel F. Williams

    • common sense

      I will try to explain something and I hope it registers.

      First I provided a link to a statement you made which is not exactly how you should advocate something, why am I the one who has to do the research?

      This being said. Your reference made up a number $12B which seems to have been taken out of thin air. And you changed that number to $6B to $12B. So let me ask again, where are those numbers coming from? How do you support such numbers? Why not $50M? Why not $19.99?

      See in the real world of engineering people use things called – or a variant thereof – Basis of Estimates (BOE). In essence they try to predict the cost of a vehicle based on past experience on similar vehicles, using similar technologies, etc. Sometime a simple BOE relies on mass, that is people say that an aircraft weighing that much will cost so much. Even though very empirical the estimate tends to work. But it is for comparing say an airliner to airliner, not an advanced stealth chopper to an airliner. So in the end again people dig further and try to create similarities between past programs to come up with a number for cost. Now, what programs would you use for your BOE for a crewed lunar lander? The only one we can think of is the Apollo LM. Or, again, you’d have to look for similarities elsewhere. The fun part is that most cost for the Apollo LM is irrelevant.

      So let me ask the question again. And answer it and I may believe your numbers, otherwise I say it’ll cost $15.77 or $1,777B

      So. How do you support your, and their, numbers?

  • Hiram

    As pointed out repeatedly, and astutely here, if you want to protect the Earth against asteroids, or eventually mine them, the first priority has to be finding them. Capturing, retrieving, and putting footprints on them is the next thing you might do. But our fascination in doing things in the wrong order is traditional. Of course, to the extent that going to the Moon was going to be about extended discovery, resource prospecting, and even settlement, sending humans there first was the wrong thing to do. Once we sent humans there a few times, we quickly lost interest, because we weren’t ready to do extended discovery, resource prospecting or even settlement. See, only thirty years later, and with little dependence on those human trips to the Moon, do we have a clue that there might be valuable stuff there. Yes, our knowledge about water and He3 could have come from far more easily returned regolith samples, as well as remote recon.

    The root problem, of course, is that NASA’s true purpose for sending humans to an asteroid is the destination. That’s it. It’s a place to go. That’s what it was for the Moon. We went there, and we were done. For asteroids, planetary protection and resource development are hollow excuses for human space flight. Once we decide we want to go, we imperfectly brand the task with those seemingly valuable excuses.

  • Robert G. Oler

    What comes to mind reading this thread, some of the post on Space Review and other places…is at least I wonder if Bolden et al are just “stomping out roaches” or there is some overall plan that they are trying to knit together.

    There is no evidence for the later and speculation would center on the former…but I gave a few moments of time to the notion of what would knit such an effort to a coherent plan.

    My thoughts

    If the US went after and captured an asteroid of some fashion it could logically and maybe even legally claim sovereignty over it. That would of course imply responsibility for it…but moving on.

    If the US captured an asteroid with some measure of “precious metals” on it then I think that the case that it is “American” would be defenseable.

    Whittington on the First of April had his usual spoofs but well…in all seriousness if the stuff on the “rock” was valuable then the US could knit together some sort of policy which would allow US companies to “mine” the asteroid for the metals AND probably return some significant amount of revenue to the Treasury.

    Would this work? I dont know that anyone has a good handle on what it would take to effectively mine an asteroid or what the break even points would be. Wingo has done some work in that; but what I have read so far is interesting but far from definitive.

    In a serious light…anyone want to comment on this notion? RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Meanwhile I am told by someone who lives in McGregor that the Grasshopper flew on 19 April 2013. RGO

    • DCSCA

      “Meanwhile I am told by someone who lives in McGregor that the Grasshopper flew on 19 April 2013.” RGO

      Pffft. Anothrt press release abd irrelevent to discussion on lunar/NEO mission planning.

  • DCSCA

    “President Obama should work with Congress to provide a vision for the agency. In order to succeed, NASA needs continuity of vision and consistency in its budget.”

    ‘Continuity in vision…’ and thus was born the charter for Project Magoo. More free drift.

    The Obama Administration couldn’t even wrestle enough voting support in Congress for minimal gun safety legislation that had the overwhelming support of 90% of the American people. He’s no LBJ and NASA ops are far down the national agenda in this administration. So most of this is just chatter for ‘muddling through’ into the next administation– likely HRC’s. Space was put in the out box by Mr. O back in 2010 at KSC.

    Project Lasso will never fly.

    __________

    “We can all debate whether or not there is a scientific validity for sending people to the asteroid. Look back at the papers in the JFK administration in 1963, and repeatedly you’ll find they believed there was no scientific reason to send astronauts to the Moon. It was all about “prestige.”” says Stephen.

    Apollo was a Cold War battlefront projecting geo-political power and economic vigor on Earth. Kennedy selected apollo and died. Better to look back on the LBJ papers as he was the point man on space for JFK- then the CIC.

    “Sadly human spaceflight over its last half century has demonstrated one truism. The cost have gone up while the capability and use of human spaceflight have failed to identify a single REASON of value to cost for humans in space.” spins RGO.

    Depends on what your metrics are for ‘value,’ Robert.

    And of course you’re speaking from a uniquely American perspective as the Soviets, now Russia (and the PRC) saw the ‘value.’ Whereas the U.S. has been reactive, not proactive, in its HSF ops since 1961. The REASON(S) in the 20th century for the U.S. HSF program w/respect to the Cold War were to project geo-political power and economic vigor– as the late Rocco Petrone often noted. That you do not ‘value’ this says more about you than the United States. It’s the viable rationale for the 21st century U.S. HSF ops which remain unresolved.

    “…tbere is on Space Review a review of a book about IKE and Sputnik…its a good read and I would urge people to do so.” notes RGO

    In fact, the backstory around Ike and Sputnik and Explorer and overflight rights- which the Soviets established w/Sputnik BTW, and the secrecy around the development of Corona has been a matter of public record for several years. ‘Sputnik Declassified’ was aired on PBS in 2007 and lays it out nicely.

    “It [Apollo] was a stunt, but it was a carefully selected stunt that served a purpose.” quips DBN/Tommy

    Except it wasn’t a ‘stunt.’ And that’s a pejorative – nay, simplitic spin- even from you. As a Cold War battlefront with “high visability” Apollo was a projection of geo-political power and economic vigor on Earth- again, as Petrone often said. Apollo was not a ‘stunt.’ On the other hand, orbiting a wheel of cheese most decidely was.

    “Is an asteroid the next destination, as the President suggested three years ago?” asks Smith.

    No.

    “Or is the Earth’s Moon a more compelling place for American astronauts to return, rather than finding an asteroid to pull into the Moon’s orbit?” asks Smith.

    Yes.

    The way out is by way of Luna. It is self-evident. And a logical stepping-stone. The challenges are daunting. The necessity for long-term investments in the tehnologies associated with it essential. And the economic and political spinoffs on Earth, enriching for the nation or nations that chart this course and set sail on it.

    Go back and look at the particulars– the details of Apollo. Getting people to the moon was hard. Keeping them alive for long stays on Luna will be harder. And developing relatively routine and reliable cis-lunar ops all the more challenging.

    That is your HSF program for the next 50, 75, or 100 years. For it is the arena to develop the systems, hardware, methods and procedures for long duration off-planet habitation before building on that experience and knowledge base and pressing on out to Mars– if the robotic probes report it’s even worth the trip.

    But before any of the above is considered, it remains vital for the United States to first articulate a rationale for HSF ops in the 21st century.

    America has failed to do this. And until it does, it will continue to lurch from one project of scale to another in ‘fits and starts’ with varying reasons- strong and weak- to sell it to the public.

    In the last century, the rationale was born out of a reactive policy; geo-political and quasi-military in nature given the character of the Cold War to project economic vitality and political power on Earth. But that’s not a viable rationale for HSF ops in this century to establish a long term policy. The ‘flags and footprints’ pitch has a short shelf-life. Americans cheer engineering triumphs for a few days but yawn waiting for any long-term science returns. It’s a culture that prefers NASCAR to NASA; that likes to be entertained, as the late Neil Armstrong lamented just before he passed. And given the quixotic nature of American culture, the U.S. may never establish a philosophy; a rationale for HSF, leaving it fated to a reactive, not proactive policy making. A posture which, as Armstrong, Cernan, Stafford and others have noted, may simply fate it to fade away.

    • Robert G. Oler

      DCSCA
      April 21, 2013 at 8:29 am · Reply

      that is the most incoherent post I have read, it is contradictory in almost every paragraph Sorry it simply is RGO

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi DCSCA –

      Why do you that taking the lead in planetary protection would not insure US leadership in space?

      About the only reason for going to the Moon wold be to set up the CAPS (Comet and Asteroid Protection System’s) detectors.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “About the only reason for going to the Moon wold be to set up the CAPS (Comet and Asteroid Protection System’s) detectors.”

        RASC’s CAPS study was pushing to put the orbit determination system (an optical interferometer) on Earth (best case) or in microgravity (worst case), not on the Moon. See slide #17, third to last bullet:

        http://www.spaceref.com/nasa/10.02.01.caps.concept.pdf

        • E.P. Grondine

          Hi DBN –

          It is better to go back to the original Langely engineering studies. That would give you and anyone else here a far better idea as to what is actually going on now, right than what you wish was happening.

          The real detection problem is working with frequencies other than visible light and sources other than passive light. The reason why you need that is to find the comets and dead comet fragments that many have pretended do not hit. By the way, as I have mentioned to you before, the disruption of the field of impact studies since the early 1980′s has been one of the saddest and sorriest chapters in the history of science.

          But once again, DBN, what exactly do you think the US priority mission shold be? In other words, what is your personal answer to the “Why?” question.

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “It is better to go back to the original Langely engineering studies.”

            I did. RASC was LaRC-led activity. See link above.

            “But once again, DBN, what exactly do you think the US priority mission shold be?”

            I answered your question in an earlier thread. You need to put on your big-boy pants and go find it. It’s not my responsibility to repeat answers that you can’t remember or failed to comprehend the first time around.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “Except it wasn’t a ‘stunt.’”

      Sure it was. Apollo didn’t lead to anything else. Even official NASA histories refer to Apollo as a “stunt”, among other things:

      http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-4214/ch14-7.html

      “And that’s a pejorative – nay, simplitic spin- even from you.”

      Awww… I verwy sorrwy that I and the NASA Headqwuarters histowy office hurwt your wittle Apollwo astwonaut hero-wowship feewings…

      Grow up, you big baby.

    • The Obama Administration couldn’t even wrestle enough voting support in Congress for minimal gun safety legislation that had the overwhelming support of 90% of the American people.

      Repetition of this nonsense doesn’t render it non-nonsense. Gun control is a very low priority with the electorate, which is why it lost. It’s about as low as support for human spaceflight — a mile wide and an inch deep. People care about jobs (and now, again, terrorists), not background checks.

      • Public Support For Gun Control Ebbs:

        “So much of the support for gun control is emotional, following the Newtown tragedy,” says Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. The December shooting at the Connecticut school left 20 children and six educators dead. “The longer you get away from there, people start thinking of other issues. They start thinking about terrorism or jobs or immigration, and not surprisingly, then some of the momentum behind gun control starts to fade.”

        Obama picked the wrong hill to die on. And very few people are thinking about space policy.

      • DCSCA

        Repetition of this nonsense doesn’t render it non-nonsense. Gun control is a very low priority with the electorate, which is why it lost. It’s about as low as support for human spaceflight — a mile wide and an inch deep. People care about jobs (and now, again, terrorists), not background checks.

        This is just wrong. You sdon’tr know what wyou’er talknig about. And having a very close friend whose cousin was one of the young victims killed in the Aurora theatre massacre and was invited to the SOTU speech, your ignorance stands out all the more. Your disregard for life in spaceflight seems to have broaden into day to day life on Earth. Pretty creppy, Rand.

  • Robert G. Oler

    ” It’s a culture that prefers NASCAR to NASA; that likes to be entertained,”

    here is one inconsistency…If this statement is accurate then why do you pan Dennis Tito’s effort? It is NASCAR

    RGO

    • DCSCA

      why do you pan Dennis Tito’s effort?

      In fact, it was Stephen Colbert, a vocal HSF advocate in media circles, who roundly lampooned Tito’s plan. It will never occur, of course. But if you want to try to argue that Americans prefer NASA over NSACAR and dispute Armstrong’s lament that Americans sadly prefer to sit back, watch and be entertained these days, go for it. We need the laughter these days.

      • Robert G. Oler

        No, I think that Dennis Tito is NASCAR at its best RGO

        • DCSCA

          “No, I think that Dennis Tito is NASCAR at its best” pleads RGO

          Of course NASCAR “at its best,” goes in circles, no place, fast. Robert.

          • Robert G. Oler

            you were the one who brought up NASCAR and compared it favorably with public opinion…as I said incoherent RGO

            • DCSCA

              you were the one who brought up NASCAR and compared it favorably with public opinion…as I said incoherent RGO
              ..
              Uh, Robert, it is you who compared Tito to NASACAR. That you made an analogy to an event that goes in circles, no place fast is something you’ll just have to live with. That yuo fail to see the simplistic mid set of those who cheer same is something you’ll have to live with as well.

  • DCSCA

    “Now we’re seeing a lot of enthusiasm for it.” insists Holdren.

    He needs to get out more. Ot at least switch on a telvision set. The concept has been met with smitrks, chuckles and outright laughter throughout the media.

    • Neil Shipley

      Money speaks and Tito is investing heaps. Let’s see, where have I seen that before? Oh YES! That upstart Elon Musk with his paper company SpaceX! Lots of laughs early on; none, zero, nada, these days. In fact it’s more ‘shakin’ in the boots’ or outright denial but the damage has been done now and btw, Antares has also flown. NASA becoming increasingly irrelevant. How things change eh?

    • E.P. Grondine

      Hi DCSCA –

      It looks to me like Obama is not into attack politics. He is instead trying to restore consensus and compromise to our political system, trying to get it to function once again.

      Otherwise he would simply ask any Democratic member of Congress for a GAO or NASA IG report on Griffin’s hinderance of the response to the George Brown Jr Ammendment.

      That would be followed by the NASA history office looking into the Ares 1 decision, or better yet, NASA Safety looking at how the large solid grain combustion oscillations of Ares 1 managed to make it through NASA engineering.

      Once again, before you go to spining, or trying to affect public perception by sharing your own warped views, may I suggest you carefully consider exactly how much political capital Obama may be willing to invest in fighting for Red State jobs?

      • It looks to me like Obama is not into attack politics. He is instead trying to restore consensus and compromise to our political system, trying to get it to function once again.

        That’s some pretty hilarious stuff. Are you here all week?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Congratulations to OSC…seemingly the only people who are having issues developing a “rocket” (and that is being kind to SLS), even a rocket from “parts” that have worked somewhere else…are the “rocket scientist” AKA NASA

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    If anyone is interested on my facebook page there are some good photos of the ALMAZ capsule properly credited. RGO

  • DCSCA

    “Lots of laughs early on; none, zero, nada, these days.” dreams Neil. Space X has failed to even attempt to launch, orbit and safely return anybody from LEO- let alone trps to Luna or Mars.

    Congrats to OS on their Antares test flight.

    • Neil Shipley

      Simply repeating that old spin doesn’t make anything I’ve stated previously any less true. Continue to bury your head in the sand. There’s a total disconnect between you and the real world these days. Must have forgotten to take your meds again. Oh well.

  • DCSCA

    Arguing that NASA can fix current problems like MPCV because they fixed the Apollo lander two generations ago is dumb.

    Except it’s not. But perpetually listing engineering obstacles to overcome is./ And that’s your agenda. You oppose SLS/MPCV. Okay, we get it. Trouble is. NewSpave is not the solution. It’s small potatoes- limited vision and no marekt to speak of. and without government maintaining trhe ISS as faux destination, it’s dead in the water. Worse still, when the ISS splashes, thesy toy companies will have a fleet of useless LEO Lvs and cargo craft after a decade of financing and the U.S. will be no further along. It’s shortsighted. It is the Magnified Importance of Diminhsed Vision. And it as foolish as posting on this forum that Apollo was ‘a stunt’ when it clearly was not while orbiting a wheel of cheese clearly was. You just don’t like government. And your agernda has been outted.

    • Guest

      So, when do you propose to stop throwing money at this thing? Just wondering.

      • DCSCA

        “So, when do you propose to stop throwing money at this thing? Just wondering.” asks Guest.

        Depends on how you look at it. clearly NewSpace wants access to the financing going to SLS/MPCV denied to them by the private sector. As a geo-poliitcal strategy, it is in a class with SDI and the ISS so from that perspective, it’s a policy decision couched in national security nd don’t disappear. And it is pork, as all government expenditures are. From a cost/benefit perspective, it’s a red inker, but then, goveernment isn’t a business– particularly wen the bational security card is played. And bear in mind, Afghanistan costs $2 billion a week. And they’ll be throwing money away there for years to come. Point is, the U.S. isn’t going to walk away from the technology nor scuttle the established aerospace industry/infrastructure and turn it over to NewSpace, just to go in circle,s no place, fast. Won’t happen. Especially as they don’t even attempt to fly anybody, which would at least give them some street cred.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    “‘Arguing that NASA can fix current problems like MPCV because they fixed the Apollo lander two generations ago is dumb.’

    Except it’s not.”

    Comparing a grape to a watermelon is dumb.

    The Apollo lander module was only overweight by “a few kilograms”:

    http://www.americaspace.com/?p=19419

    The Government Accountability Office is reporting that the MPCV capsule is overweight by 5,000lb. See p. 55 in this PDF:

    http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653866.pdf

    Pretending that NASA can fix a 5,000lb problem today because they fixed a few kilogram problem 40 years ago is a stupid, ridiculous argument. The former is literally a thousand times harder than the latter. I have the ability to lift a tire over my head, but I don’t have the ability to pick an SUV off the ground.

    Moreover, NASA didn’t fix the lunar lander. A private contractor called Grumman Aerospace did.

    “But perpetually listing engineering obstacles to overcome is./ [sic]”

    I’m not the one “listing engineering obstacles to overcome”. The Government Accountability Office, an independent agency of Congress, is.

    “And that’s your agenda. You oppose SLS/MPCV.”

    My agenda doesn’t matter a hoot. NASA’s manager for these projects, Dan Dumbacher, expressed doubt back in Jaunary about whether MPCV’s capsule can get back under the mass limits imposed by its parachutes:

    “Right now, Orion is about 4,000 lb. too heavy for its recovery parachutes, and the flight-test results may help trim that (although Dumbacher stresses that the margins may also prove too light).”

    http://www.aviationweek.com/awmobile/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_01_14_2013_p16-534208.xml

    “And it as foolish as posting on this forum that Apollo was ‘a stunt’ when it clearly was not”

    It was a stunt.

    The history office at NASA Headquarters uses the term in official histories of the program:

    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-4214/contents.html

    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-4214/ch14-7.html

    This history of technology in postwar-America refers to Apollo as a stunt:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Ax9ZoMomcCIC&pg=PT65&lpg=PT65&dq=apollo+program+stunt&source=bl&ots=TtRGwxlv-O&sig=KZG-EpqlcxnWROHmGFzhifN6QFI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p492Ud7OLcT84APN44HYCg&ved=0CEwQ6AEwBQ

    This editorial calls Apollo a stunt:

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/870/1

    Even President Kennedy thought Apollo looked like a stunt:

    http://spaceksc.blogspot.com/2011/05/jfk-feared-apollo-would-look-like-stunt.html

    “You just don’t like government. And your agernda [sic] has been outted.”

    I love government when it works and makes lasting contributions to society. MPCV is not working. It’s broken. It will probably never fly beyond EFT-1, nevertheless make lasting contributions to the space sector. Apollo, although a wondrous technical achievement, made no lasting contribution. It was a political stunt. Even Kennedy realized this.

    • Guest

      That’s not a particularly fair assessment. Apollo had a lot of unintended consequences in the technology sector. Anytime you throw that money money at a project, and more or less successfully complete it on time and under budget (Manhattan, Apollo with the caveats of almost unlimited budgets and national security directives to execute them) there will be widespread positive technological outcomes, if the money is spent wisely.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “Apollo had a lot of unintended consequences in the technology sector.”

        Apollo vehicles largely used technologies already developed or under development for ICBMs and warheads. The old chestnut about Apollo creating integrated circuits is a lie. They were invented in 1958/9 for the military, not during the Apollo years for NASA, and were being pushed by Minuteman development; Apollo simply picked them up. There was all sorts of military research into smaller, lighter weight, and more effective heat shields for MIRVs; Apollo picked that up, too. The prior generations of ICBMs employed liquid rockets; Apollo picked that up. Other examples of suppossed Apollo technologies, like tang and teflon, are pure myths.

        Outside astronaut-specific systems like miniaturized and wireless biomedical monitoring and fire-retardant clothing, Apollo was not a net technology creator. Integrator and scalor, yes. Creator, no.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        I’d add that Apollo certainly left little that was usable for furthering space exploration or the aerospace sector in general. Apollo stopped after a handful of missions because the standing army was too expensive and the hardware too risky. We never landed a man on the Moon, launched an HLV, or even employed an F-1 engine again because the program never made economic sense after we won the Cold War’s space race.

        In context, Apollo was a great foreign policy and political stunt, and the Kennedy Administration was shrewd in how it picked a manned lunar landing over all the other options for beating the Soviets in space. Despite Sputnik and Gagarin, we showed the Soviets that we were ultimately better than them at marshalling ICBM and satellite technologies. But once that was proven, the program left little that was affordable and sustainable to build upon. A good stunt in its time, but a stunt nonetheless.

  • Guest

    Apollo was a HUGE driver in the IC business, both in sales and technology.

    I’m sorry you just can’t seem to come to grips with that. I was there. The entire electronics industry was immature before Apollo, and very mature after Apollo.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “Apollo was a HUGE driver in the IC business, both in sales and technology.”

      Again, the technology was invented several years (1958/9) before Kennedy even announced Apollo (1961). The Minuteman II program was the first to make a major commitment to semiconductor integrated circuits.

      And Apollo sales were small compared to the Minuteman II ICBM, of which thousands were built starting in 1962, each of which required a digital flight computer employing semiconductor integrated circuits. Minuteman II was the major buyer of integrated circuits from 1962 to 1967. Not to mention other military needs.

      “I was there.”

      Bully for you. Doesn’t mean that you were omniscent, working at a high level, had the right security clearances, or even worked for the right agencies that were driving these technologies.

      “The entire electronics industry was immature before Apollo, and very mature after Apollo.”

      You’re conflating coincidence with cause. A lot of aerospace systems were under development during the Apollo years. That doesn’t mean that Apollo had anything to do with the creation or demand for their technologies.

      • Guest

        You’re conflating coincidence with cause. A lot of aerospace systems were under development during the Apollo years. That doesn’t mean that Apollo had anything to do with the creation or demand for their technologies.

        I’m sorry you are simply wrong on this point, and it appears it would be unproductive to attempt to convince you. Invention does not equate to production and use. Apollo more or less turned an obscure and primitive side business (IC electronics) into an industry that was open to entrepreneurs at almost any level in the early to mid 70′s. After 40 years we have the desktop boxes, flat screens and cell phones to prove it. None of this would have occurred in the way that it did without Apollo money and demand for these kinds of products with the industry was literally flailing around.

        • Dark Blue Nine

          “Invention does not equate to production and use.”

          Agreed. But Apollo use of integrated circuits was dwarfed by the Minuteman program alone.

          “Apollo more or less turned an obscure and primitive side business (IC electronics) into an industry… None of this would have occurred in the way that it did without Apollo money”

          Simply wrong. In its first production run starting in 1962, the Minuteman II ICBM replaced 800 A- and B-model Minuteman I ICBMs. Each of those 800 Minuteman II ICBMs was directed by a flight guidance computer, specifically the Autonetics D-37C. That’s 800 flight guidance computers (plus prototypes and spares) requiring integrated circuits. By the end of production, over 1,000 Minuteman II ICBMs were built.

          The Minuteman III ICBMs started production in 1966. Each employed an Autonetics D-37D and Honeywell HDC-701 flight computer, computers that employed integrated circuits. 450 Minuteman III ICBMs exist today in the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Hundreds more were built and decommissioned.

          Apollo demand for integrated circuits came nowhere close to the thousands of integrated circuits required for the thousands of Minuteman II and III flight computers built during Apollo development.

          And that’s just one military program that incorporated integrated circuits during the Apollo era.

          ICBM production and military demand drove the integrated circuit market. Not Apollo or NASA.

        • DCSCA

          “I’m sorry you are simply wrong on this point, and it appears it would be unproductive to attempt to convince you.” said Guest wisely.

          Precisely.

          It’s a waste of time defending Apollo with NewSpacers and all his points are easily outed or refuted as mere nuanced NewSpace spin.

          For instance: “ICBM production and military demand drove the integrated circuit market. Not Apollo or NASA.” spins dbn.

          This is just wrong.

          60% of all the ICs manufactured in the 1960s were made for and purchased by NASA, most of which wre specialized in design per a recent PBS series on the birth of Silicon Valley. He’s just wrong.

          You see dbn/Tommy has a political agenda and dissing Apollo on a space forum only reflects desperation and diminishes credibility. It’s a foolish position to take. Even their own hero, Elon Musk, publicly embraced the Apollo astronauts as his ‘heroes’ (a point dbn disses as well) in a CBS News 60 Minutes interview last spring as well, desperate for any visit by them to his operations for a photo op.

          And, of course, the official Apollo history never, ever concludes that Apollo was a ‘stunt.’ That’s just more disingenuous, desperate NewSpace spin by dbn. Even his JFK references are spin, for as we know, JFK may be credited for initiating Apollo but he had little to do with it as he was kikked in 1963, months later Mercury ended and months before the first Gemini flight. It was LBJ who was point man for JFK on space matters and carried the ball on through as CIC with Apollo.

          The kid’s a NewSpacer so labelling Apollo a stunt is all they have. For as we know, NewSpace flies nobody. Their entire industry is a legacy built upon the technologies established and accelerated in that era. Ah, to be young and full of vinegar and piss.

          Apologies for typos.

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “60% of all the ICs manufactured in the 1960s were made for and purchased by NASA, most of which wre specialized in design per a recent PBS series”

            Patently false.

            The Minuteman II program built 1,000 ICBMs.

            http://www.strategic-air-command.com/missiles/Minuteman/Minuteman_Missile_History.htm

            Each Minuteman II ICBM used 2,000 Texas Instruments integrated circuits in its North American Autonetics D-37C computer:

            http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/company/history/timeline/defense/1960/docs/62-special_ics.htm

            1,000 Minuteman II ICBMs each carrying 2,000 integrated circuits in their Autonetic D-37C computers yields 2,000,000 (2 million) integrated circuits bought by the Minuteman II program alone.

            By contrast, the 25 Apollo Guidance Computers built by Raytheon only consumed 200,000 Fairchild integrated circuits:

            http://www.computerhistory.org/semiconductor/timeline/1962-Apollo.html

            The Minuteman II program consumed 2 million integrated circuits. The Apollo Program only consumed 200,000 integrated circuits. Demand for integrated circuits from the Minuteman II program was ten times (10x) larger than the demand from the Apollo Program. Apollo represented only 10% of the Minuteman II market for integrated circuits.

            Add in Minuteman III development and production during the Apollo years and other military projects, and Apollo likely represented only ~1% of the market for integrated circuits during the 1960s.

            Apollo demand for integrated circuits never represented 60% of the market during the 1960s. Based on Minuteman II and III figures, Apollo demand for integrated circuits was more like 1-10% of the market. 6% maybe (big maybe). Never close to 60%.

            You shouldn’t rely on unreferenced TV shows (or more likely your addled imagination) for your information.

            “You see dbn/Tommy has a political agenda”

            I hold and am not running for political office and have never possessed membership in any political party. I have no political agenda.

            Even if I did, the figures above are what they are. I could be a card-carrying communist from Cuba, and that doesn’t change the fact that the Apollo Guidance Computers only required 200,000 integrated circuits while the Minuteman II flight guidance computers required 2 million integrated circuits.

            “and dissing Apollo”

            I’m just repeating a description of Apollo (stunt) that has already been used by numerous others.

            Like the former head of the Advanced Lunar Missions Study Program in the NASA Headquarters Office of Manned Space Flight during Apollo:

            http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/the-proper-course-for-lunar-exploration-1965/

            Like Dr. Michio Kaku in Forbes:

            http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/16/apollo-moon-landing-anniversary-opinions-contributors-cost-money.html

            And this space writer:

            http://amyshirateitel.com/2011/06/21/what-to-do-after-the-moon/

            “publicly embraced the Apollo astronauts as his ‘heroes’ (a point dbn disses as well)”

            I’d publicly embrace the Apollo astronauts as heroes, too. It takes an incredible amount of bravery to calmly ride a controlled bomb into a vacuum, spend days separated from the vacuum by only thin metal and plastic shells, ride a smaller bomb to a landing with only seconds of fuel margin, and then come back home in a fireball that will crash in the middle of an ocean.

            They’re arguably the best pilots that the world has ever seen and, in a couple cases, inventive engineers or successful politicians. But that’s it. None of this means that the Apollo astronauts are smarter, wiser, or more experienced when it comes to matters of policy, management, economics, or systems engineering. It certainly doesn’t change the fact that the Apollo Guidance Computers only required 200,000 integrated circuits while the Minuteman II flight guidance computers required 2 million integrated circuits.

            I don’t worship the Apollo astronauts or Apollo. It was what it was — a brilliant political stunt. But a stunt nonetheless that left little behind in terms of systems or technology legacy. Apollo certainly didn’t drive the integrated circuit market. That was the Minuteman Program.

            “And, of course, the official Apollo history never, ever concludes that Apollo was a ‘stunt.’”

            If we never goes back or extend human space exploration elsewhere, which we havn’t, then the official history in the NASA HQ history office concludes that Apollo was a “stunt”, not a “portent”.

            “Even his JFK references are spin, for as we know, JFK may be credited for initiating Apollo but he had little to do with it as he was kikked in 1963, months later Mercury ended and months before the first Gemini flight. It was LBJ who was point man for JFK on space matters and carried the ball on through as CIC with Apollo.”

            In 1965, Johnson started ordering cuts to the Apollo Program’s budget that continued through the rest of his Presidency. He didn’t “carry the ball” farther than a landing or two.

            • Paul

              I suspect there was a short period early on in the 1960s when Apollo was buying 60% of the ICs. This short blip cannot be extended to the entire decade. Nor can one argue that Apollo was in any way indispensible for the advancement of ICs.

              BTW, I believe a total of 75 Apollo Guidance computers were constructed, although not all of them flew. There were 500 Minuteman II missiles in operation by May 1969.

              • Guest

                This short blog article should help.

                http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2009/07/integrated_circ.html

                I further posit is that what the world needs now are optical devices, superconductors and thermoelectics, along with the variety of devices that can leverage Onsagar’s relationships through strong correlation, lattice, spin and charge dynamics for giant magnetocaloric and magneto electrics, not even mentioning topological insulators and Mott effects.

                The lunar poles, with their exemption from attitude control fuel and their radial optical and thermal gradients and deep thermal reservoir craters could provide a unique environment to drive their development.

            • DCSCA

              “You shouldn’t rely on unreferenced TV shows (or more likely your addled imagination) for your information.”

              Unrefernced??? CBS News 60 minutes? Gee, those fellas at PBS/NOVA up at WGBH/Boston need to hear from you, don’t they. Why don’t you give them a call and tell them they’re wrong and set ‘em straight. =eyeroll=

              “I’m just repeating a description of Apollo (stunt) that has already been used by numerous others.”

              No. You’e spinning. And now you’re backpeddling. hi9larious.

              “He [LBJ] didn’t “carry the ball” farther than a landing or two.”

              Which if you knew your history, was JFK’s stated objective- “I beleive this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” THat’s carrying the ball across the goal line, which RMN, a ella on the opposing team, tried to take credit for. LBJs budget taperings were in line with the arc of the program development- a great deal of the budgeting early on went simply to construct the infrastructure. It’s all in the Congressional Record. Being disingenuous doesn’t help NNewSpace, dbn.

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “Unrefernced???”

                Yes, unreferenced. You’ve provided no reference (a video, a link, a title) for your imaginary TV show.

                “CBS News 60 minutes? Gee, those fellas at PBS/NOVA”

                Which is it? 60 Minutes? Or Nova? You do realize those are two different shows on two different networks?

                You can’t even keep your imaginary, unreferenced, TV shows straight.

                “No. You’e spinning. And now you’re backpeddling.”

                How is providing yet more references to historians, physicists, and even Apollo managers themselves using the word “stunt” to describe Apollo “spinning” or “backpeddling” from my description of Apollo as a stunt?

                Do you even understand what “spinning” and “backpeddling” mean?

                “LBJs budget taperings were in line with the arc of the program development”

                They weren’t “taperings”. Johnson cut the NASA topline from nearly $6 billion to barely more than $4 billion. That’s a 30% whack.

                Now who’s “spinning”?

                Rapid budget reductions of that magnitude only a few years after a program has started are not “in line” with “program development”. Johnson’s budget cut terminated production, limited the number of future lunar missions, and turned the Apollo Applications Program into a ghost of its former plans.

                “Being disingenuous”

                I’m very genuine in describing Apollo as a stunt.

                “doesn’t help”

                And repeatedly making up bullshit out of thin air does?

            • DCSCA

              the official history in the NASA HQ history office concludes that Apollo was a “stunt”, not a “portent”.”

              Totally, completely inaccurate, dbn. And you know it. So Apollo was a ‘stunt’ insists young dbn….

              Excerpt from CNN’s Larry King Live, aired 7/20/1994. In studio guests- Rocco Petrone, Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad.

              LARRY KING: “How do you respond to those who say it [Apollo] was more PR than anything. That it was great PR?”

              ROCCO PETRONE: “Well, Larry, they couldn’t be more wrong. And I know after the first flight, there was a big furor that we didn’t do enough science and engineering. That first flight, we had to prove we could do it. The flights there on in, was an exploration of the moon and everything we did shows that we did, I think, a very fine job. We left seismometers there; we left remote controlled instruments; brought back selective specimens… so anyone who says it’s PR, Larry, it’s likely they just don’t understand or they want to belittle something they don’t understand.”

              There you go, dbn. All teed up for you. Go ahead and ‘be more wrong’…’belittle’ yourself some more and take a healthy NewSpacer slice out of a dead man’s comments– a man who was an Apollo launch director.. who flew somebody. Lots of somebodies. Something NewSpace has yet to even attempt.

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “Totally, completely inaccurate, dbn.”

                How? The NASA History Office concludes that Apollo was either: 1) a portent if we get back to the Moon and press further with human space exploration, or 2) a stunt if we don’t. We havn’t returned humans to the Moon or pressed further with human space exploration in 40-odd years, so it must be option 2, a stunt.

                “LARRY KING: ‘How do you respond to those who say it [Apollo] was more PR than anything. That it was great PR?’”

                Where did I — or President Kennedy or any of the other people who used the word “stunt” to describe Apollo — refer to Apollo as “PR”?

                And why do you keep insisting on using the idiot box for your information?

                “take a healthy NewSpacer slice out of a dead man’s comments”

                I’m not going to take a slice out of anything. Your quote is a non-sequitor about the public relations aspects of Apollo. I’m referring to the fact that Apollo left little exploration, systems, or technology heritage that anyone subsequently built upon. That’s what makes Apollo a stunt, not how people perceived its public relations aspects.

                “a man who was an Apollo launch director.. who flew somebody. Lots of somebodies.”

                Good for him. Good that he defended the Apollo PR machine.

                Regardless, there are Apollo managers who viewed the effort as an empty stunt. Like Tom Evans, the former head of the Advanced Lunar Missions Study Program in the NASA Headquarters Office of Manned Space Flight during Apollo, who stated that a manned lunar landing had “too much the flavor of a stunt to be the final goal of a $20 billion national effort”:

                http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/the-proper-course-for-lunar-exploration-1965/

                If you stop worshipping astronauts and start reading clearly and thinking critically, you won’t be so disappointed when reality smacks you in the face.

              • E.P. Grondine

                Hi DBN –

                There was a lot left after Apollo. But it was decided that the nation needed a lower cost launch system, which is what the shuttle was supposed to provide.

                Why the shuttle failed to deliver those lower launch costs is another question in the history of cosmonautics.

              • Why the shuttle failed to deliver those lower launch costs is another question in the history of cosmonautics.

                It’s not exactly a mystery.

    • DCSCA

      “Apollo was a HUGE driver in the IC business, both in sales and technology.” said Guest witrh the voice of experience.

      Yep. And it was reitereated only recently per a recent PBS special on the origins of Silicon Valley which noted that 60% of the ICx manufactured and developed in the 1960s were purchased by NASA. Apollo was a boom to the industry.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “And it was reitereated only recently per a recent PBS special on the origins of Silicon Valley which noted that 60% of the ICx manufactured and developed in the 1960s were purchased by NASA.”

        Patently false.

        The Minuteman II program built 1,000 ICBMs.

        http://www.strategic-air-command.com/missiles/Minuteman/Minuteman_Missile_History.htm

        Each Minuteman II ICBM used 2,000 Texas Instruments integrated circuits in its North American Autonetics D-37C computer:

        http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/company/history/timeline/defense/1960/docs/62-special_ics.htm

        1,000 Minuteman II ICBMs each carrying 2,000 integrated circuits in their Autonetic D-37C computers yields 2,000,000 (2 million) integrated circuits bought by the Minuteman II program alone.

        By contrast, the 25 Apollo Guidance Computers built by Raytheon only consumed 200,000 Fairchild integrated circuits:

        http://www.computerhistory.org/semiconductor/timeline/1962-Apollo.html

        The Minuteman II program consumed 2 million integrated circuits. The Apollo Program only consumed 200,000 integrated circuits. Demand for integrated circuits from the Minuteman II program was ten times (10x) larger than the demand from the Apollo Program. Apollo represented only 10% of the Minuteman II market for integrated circuits.

        Add in Minuteman III development and production during the Apollo years and other military projects, and Apollo likely represented only ~1% of the market for integrated circuits during the 1960s.

        Apollo demand for integrated circuits never represented 60% of the market during the 1960s. Based on Minuteman II and III figures, Apollo demand for integrated circuits was more like 1-10% of the market. 6% maybe (big maybe). Never close to 60%.

        You shouldn’t rely on unreferenced TV shows (or more likely your addled imagination) for your information

  • vulture4

    I have always felt that NASA’s tendency to take credit for technological advances outside its primary mission sometimes minimized the importance of the people who actually did the work, be it integrated circuits, pacemakers, MRI, or even velcro. At the same time NASA has not been very aggressive at investing in practical technology in aviation, or in communicating with industry about what is needed. NASA did lead early fuel cell development but has pretty much let the area slide, despite some really creative work i.e.
    https://technology.grc.nasa.gov/documents/auto/Solid-Oxide-Fuel-Cells.pdf
    Part of the problem is that the agency likes the idea that it provides practical benefits but apparently does not consider it a primary mission.

  • NASA actually does a decent job of developing new technology, when it actually gets funded for it, but it does a terrible job of commercializing it, or even infusing it into its own programs.

    • Right on. Example: AVCOAT being used on Orion instead of PICA.

      • common sense

        True to some point. The feeling was that AVCOAT had flown, successfully. PICA was showing issues of differential ablation between the TPS itself and the gap-fillers. On the other hand the recipe for AVCOAT had been lost and a lot of work had to be done to make it happen. But AVCOAT is a pain to build.

        The problem here was PICA had not flown, in such a fashion before… A lot of uncertainties. AND the base heatshield for Orion was intended for Moon returns not LEO returns. However I cannot remember if the issues existed for LEO returns heat rates. It was kind of a mess.

        I believe there is a better reference somewhere but see this for example
        http://www.planetaryprobe.eu/IPPW7/proceedings/IPPW7%20Proceedings/Presentations/Session5/pr406.pdf

        • I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you for a several reasons.

          The fact that AVCOAT was flown successfully before is obviated by the fact that, as you say, the recipe for AVCOAT had been lost. They were essentially reformulating it from scratch; therefore, their version of AVCOAT is an untested product (by definition). NASA already had the recipe for PICA, though it may have taken some modification to work on Orion (just as the newly formulated AVCOAT is being modified for that purpose).

          Furthermore, PICA successfully returned comet samples from the Stardust mission. Again, given that the recipe for PICA is well known, even if it took some extra work for use on Orion, so did AVCOAT under the circumstances.
          http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.1997-2482

          Lastly, Orion is now being touted for crewed asteroid missions far beyond lunar orbit so that it would experience re-entry temperature regimes that are beyond what AVCOAT experienced with Apollo. Once again, PICA might need some tweaking for the purpose to adapt it to Orion, but the newly formulated version of AVCOAT may need more changes considering the new untried conditions it would experience for an asteroid mission.

          But the way I understand it SpaceX’s improved version of PICA, PICA-X, or as SpaceX likes to call it SPAM (SpaceX Proprietary Ablative Material) is formulated with crewed mission returns from deep space in mind. In fact that is part of the reason why Dragon was chosen for Inspiration Mars. Though IM is a project for which I have some skepticism as to whether it will be completely financed.

          • common sense

            I don’t think we disagree all that much. I was giving some perspective regarding the AVCOAT/PICA issue. And by the way PICA was the original choice for the CEV. It does not preclude the fact that NASA felt more comfortable with a (let’s say) concept that had already flown. PICA is a tiled TPS and gap fillers are a major problem is they protrude in the flow field (augmented turbulent heating downstream, a nightmare – remember this http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050801/full/news050801-9.html). I also understood that the differential ablation was not necessarily occurring at the highest heat rates. They did not have a good grasp of the issue then – unpredictable. Something was troublesome… Anyway.

            Also bear in mind that PICA is a NASA product that SpaceX uses, or a variant thereof. There is an interesting history between SpaceX and NASA in that area. Maybe history books will tell someday. ;)

            • Well, any way you cut it. SpaceX apparently solved the problems you mentioned with PICA and re-entry from interplanetary distances. That means that NASA could have solved it also, regardless of what their perception was. ’nuff said.

              • common sense

                “SpaceX apparently solved the problems you mentioned with PICA and re-entry from interplanetary distances.”

                That, Rick, is a bold statement. Let’s rather say, they seem to have found a way to make it work for LEO, not necessarily interplanetary, return which is very, very different in terms of heat rates/loads and dynamic pressure from say a lunar return.

                “That means that NASA could have solved it also, regardless of what their perception was.”

                Of course NASA might have been able to find a similar solution but again Orion was supposed to reenter from the Moon. LEO was a secondary mission. Originally ISS was not even supposed to be part of the CEV mission… But as we all know requirements at NASA change on a daily basis, if not hourly.

                “’nuff said.”

                Nah. Not yet, not yet.

              • common sense

                Also. Please don’t forget that SpaceX worked with NASA on their TPS development. Not just on their own. So please, due credit must go to both organizations.

                As I already said in the past, some NASA centers/people do get it. Others… Not so much.

                http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/appel/ask/issues/40/40s_space-x_prt.htm
                http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/cargo/spacex_heatshield.html

              • Nope. Not a bold statement. That is why their version is called SpaceX Proprietary ablative material. It is not the original NASA version. Dragon is supposed to withstand interplanetary re-entry speeds. Remember that is the reason why Inspiration Mars chose Dragon for their re-entry vehicle.

              • common sense

                “Dragon is supposed to withstand interplanetary re-entry speeds.”

                Yeah well. Supposed to. We shall see.

                “Remember that is the reason why Inspiration Mars chose Dragon for their re-entry vehicle”

                Well since Dragon is the only vehicle around that makes it easy for a choice…

                This being said. NASA and SpaceX have worked and are working hand-in-hand to develop the TPS for Dragon. There is no denying this fact. Nor that even if it is PICA-X, it was developed out of PICA.

                http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20090223

                “SpaceX developed the ability to manufacture PICA-X with the assistance of NASA, the originator of PICA (Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator). The “X” stands for the SpaceX-developed variants of the rigid, lightweight material, which has several improved properties and greater ease of manufacture.”

                Whether they have solved the issues for beyond LEO reentry remains to be seen. And hopefully we’ll know sooner rather than later.

              • common sense

                The real fun is not SpaceX, not even NASA, the real fun is here

                http://mfile.akamai.com/65778/live/reflector:39667.asx?bkup=39949&prop=n

                I started and I already feel sick listening to this garbage.

              • common sense

                Congress: Mr. Bolden we told you to decrease the budget, so now and then, what gives you the right to follow our instructions?

                Bolden: With all due respect I beg to differ. We actually did not reduce the budget at all. We are following your instructions quite carefully, even though we are actually not doing it, and you will see that the budget is now allocated by category.

                Congress: So despite the obvious reduced budget in the SLS that you requested here, you do not see any reduction in budget. is that a correct statement?

                Bolden: Yes absolutely. Simply. We cut our budget per your recommendations but we actually do not have any plans to do that and we will use however much money we can and plan to cut the increased request for budget. Some day.

                Congress: Thank you sir. Nice to see that you understand that we are adamant that you do not follow our instructions. Will you fly to the asteroid for which you have no budget to go?

  • DCSCA

    Apollo demand for integrated circuits came nowhere close to the thousands of integrated circuits required for the thousands of Minuteman II and III flight computers built during Apollo development.

    This is just wrong. 60% of the ICs created in the 1960s were purchaed by NASA. It’s a matter o record and most recently broadcast in a PBS special on the orgins of Silicon Valley. You’re just wrong about this. Guest is correct.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “60% of the ICs created in the 1960s were purchaed by NASA.”

      Patently false.

      The Minuteman II program built 1,000 ICBMs.

      http://www.strategic-air-command.com/missiles/Minuteman/Minuteman_Missile_History.htm

      Each Minuteman II ICBM used 2,000 Texas Instruments integrated circuits in its North American Autonetics D-37C computer:

      http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/company/history/timeline/defense/1960/docs/62-special_ics.htm

      1,000 Minuteman II ICBMs each carrying 2,000 integrated circuits in their Autonetic D-37C computers yields 2,000,000 (2 million) integrated circuits bought by the Minuteman II program alone.

      By contrast, the 25 Apollo Guidance Computers built by Raytheon only consumed 200,000 Fairchild integrated circuits:

      http://www.computerhistory.org/semiconductor/timeline/1962-Apollo.html

      The Minuteman II program consumed 2 million integrated circuits. The Apollo Program only consumed 200,000 integrated circuits. Demand for integrated circuits from the Minuteman II program was ten times (10x) larger than the demand from the Apollo Program. Apollo represented only 10% of the Minuteman II market for integrated circuits.

      Add in Minuteman III development and production during the Apollo years and other military projects, and Apollo likely represented only ~1% of the market for integrated circuits during the 1960s.

      Apollo demand for integrated circuits never represented 60% of the market during the 1960s. Based on Minuteman II and III figures, Apollo demand for integrated circuits was more like 1-10% of the market. 6% maybe (big maybe). Never close to 60%.

      You shouldn’t rely on unreferenced TV shows (or more likely your addled imagination) for information.

      • DCSCA

        “60% of the ICs created in the 1960s were purchaed by NASA.”

        “Patently false.’ Except it’s not. It;s true and the fact you fail to accept this and insist 1+1=11, not 2, only diminishes your credbility even more. You’re wriong, dbn. Pay the $2. Accept it and move on. Better still, catch the PBS pieceon Silicon Valley. and learn something.

        • Dark Blue Nine

          “Except it’s not.”

          Then prove it. Show me your integrated circuit production numbers, with references, for Minuteman and Apollo.

          “It;s true and the fact you fail to accept this and insist 1+1=11, not 2″

          I know it’s hard for an illiterate and ignorant idiot like you to understand, but the math is straightforward. I’ll repeat it.

          The Apollo Guidance Computers only used 200,000 integrated circuits. Here’s the reference from the Computer History Museum:

          http://www.computerhistory.org/semiconductor/timeline/1962-Apollo.html

          Each Minuteman II missile used 2,000 integrated circuits. Here’s the reference from Texas Instruments, the makers of the integrated circuits used in the Minuteman II missiles:

          http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/company/history/timeline/defense/1960/docs/62-special_ics.htm

          The Air Force had 1,000 Minuteman II missiles built during the 1960s. Here’s the reference from Air Force Strategic Command:

          http://www.strategic-air-command.com/missiles/Minuteman/Minuteman_Missile_History.htm

          Multiply 1,000 Minuteman II missiles by 2,000 integrated circuits each and you get a total demand of 2,000,000 (2 million) integrated circuits from the Minuteman II program.

          2,000,000 Minuteman II integrated circuits is ten times (10x) greater than 200,000 Apollo integrated circuits.

          There is no way that Apollo represented 60% of the demand for integrated circuits during the 1960s when the demand from the Minuteman II program was ten times greater.

          Simple enough for you?

          “catch the PBS pieceon Silicon Valley”

          Why should I? Either you misinterpreted their figure (probably 6%, not 60%), or they relied on incorrect secondary sources instead of checking the numbers for themselves.

          Or, more likely, you’re just making it up. You’ve failed to even provide a reference for your imaginary television show.

          “Accept it and move on.”

          Accept what? That you can’t back up your 60% figure with the math behind it or even the reference it suppossedly came from?

          “You’re wriong”

          What is “wriong [sic]” with your command of the English language? Why can’t you write a single post without mangling the spelling of several simple words?

  • “This being said. NASA and SpaceX have worked and are working hand-in-hand to develop the TPS for Dragon. There is no denying this fact.”
    Where did you get the idea that I was saying otherwise? I expect this kind of non sequitur from others, not from you.

  • DCSCA

    “And repeatedly making up bullshit out of thin air does? reveals dbn. You’re projecting again, dbn. Tell you what dbn, why don’t you call WGBH/Boston, ask then to transfer yuo to the producers of PBS/NOVA and tell them they’re wrong and yo are tight beccause you’re a NewSpacer who insisits 1+1=11, not 2.

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “Tell you what dbn, why don’t you call WGBH/Boston… of PBS/NOVA”

      Now it’s NOVA on PBS? Earlier you wrote that the series in question was 60 Minutes on CBS.

      Let me know when you get your bullshit straightened out.

      “ask then to transfer to the producers”

      Sure, as soon as you figure out which network and series the show appeared on and produce a video, credits, reference, title, or link. Otherwise, I’ll just be harassing random people at two television networks to find an unnamed producer for an unnamed show that likely only exists in your addled bullshit imagination.

      “you’re a NewSpacer who insisits 1+1=11, not 2.”

      No, I’m an old hand with a couple decades in the sector who knows how to do basic multiplication and compare two numbers. I’ll explain it to you yet again:

      The Apollo Guidance Computers only used 200,000 integrated circuits. Here’s the reference from the Computer History Museum:

      http://www.computerhistory.org/semiconductor/timeline/1962-Apollo.html

      Each Minuteman II missile used 2,000 integrated circuits. Here’s the reference from Texas Instruments, the makers of the integrated circuits used in the Minuteman II missiles:

      http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/company/history/timeline/defense/1960/docs/62-special_ics.htm

      The Air Force had 1,000 Minuteman II missiles built during the 1960s. Here’s the reference from Air Force Strategic Command:

      http://www.strategic-air-command.com/missiles/Minuteman/Minuteman_Missile_History.htm

      Multiply 1,000 Minuteman II missiles by 2,000 integrated circuits each and you get a total demand of 2,000,000 (2 million) integrated circuits from the Minuteman II program.

      2,000,000 Minuteman II integrated circuits is ten times (10x) greater than 200,000 Apollo integrated circuits.

      There is no way that Apollo represented 60% of the demand for integrated circuits during the 1960s when the demand from the Minuteman II program was ten times greater.

      Understand now?

      “yuo… yo”

      It’s spelled “you”. Learn English.

      • DCSCA

        Wrong, CS.

        It is not a fact. It is, in fact, your opinion.

        ——–\\

        “Now it’s NOVA on PBS? Earlier you wrote that the series in question was 60 Minutes on CBS.”

        Inaccurate. Pay the $2 dbn. You’re simply wrong about it and been caught spiing falsehoods. It’s your Apollo ‘stunt’ claim has been easily refuted by the very tect you cited; the IC numbers aaffirmed by WGBH/Boston’s PBS/Nova and your astronat hero slur refuted CBS 60 Minutes by Elon musk himself. Pay the $2, dbn. Guest was correct. As is DCSCA. Your spin has been outed. But do continue to attack Apollo and belittle Apollo astronauts. It’s a great strategy for NewSpacers.

        • Dark Blue Nine

          “Inaccurate.”

          No, it’s an accurate statement. When I wrote that your TV show about Apollo integrated circuits was unreferenced, you wrote in a post dated April 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm:

          “Unrefernced??? CBS News 60 minutes?”

          In other posts, you claim that your Apollo integrated circuits show appeared on NOVA on PBS.

          Again, when you figure out your bullshit, decide which network (CBS, PBS, or other) and series (60 Minutes, NOVA, or other) your Apollo integrated circuits show appeared on, and provide a video, a link, credits, or a show title so that we know it’s not imaginary, then I’ll be glad to call up the producers and correct their figure.

          “It’s your Apollo ‘stunt’ claim has been easily refuted by the very tect you cited”

          Here’s the text I cited:

          “[President Kennedy]: ‘… you can learn most of what you want scientifically through instruments and putting a man on the moon really is a stunt and it isn’t worth that many billions… it does look like a stunt’”

          http://spaceksc.blogspot.com/2011/05/jfk-feared-apollo-would-look-like-stunt.html

          “Thomas Evans headed up the Advanced Lunar Missions Study Program in the NASA Headquarters Office of Manned Space Flight… Evans told assembled members of the AAS that ‘the idea of a manned [landing] on the moon was so spectacular. . .that [it] dominated most pronouncements and thoughts on the space program.’ He argued, however, that this objective had ‘too much the flavor of a stunt to be the final goal of a $20 billion national effort.’”

          http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/the-proper-course-for-lunar-exploration-1965/

          “But although President Kennedy’s objective was duly accomplished,” wrote the Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center in 1987, “the Apollo Program had no logical legacy.” It was a technological dead end. One reporter likened the whole race to the Moon to a dog chasing a car… The dog, somewhat uncertain what to do once it had the car, hesitated, marked it as dogs will, and then walked away… Like the Apollo Program, the Space Shuttle was a spectacular stunt with little or no payoff.”

          http://books.google.com/books?id=Ax9ZoMomcCIC&pg=PT65&lpg=PT65&dq=apollo+program+stunt&source=bl&ots=TtRGwxlv-O&sig=KZG-EpqlcxnWROHmGFzhifN6QFI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p492Ud7OLcT84APN44HYCg&ved=0CEwQ6AEwBQ

          “Project Apollo: Stunt or Portent?

          Magnificent as they were, the launch vehicles that carried men to the moon turned out to be too expensive for other missions. The choice of lunar-orbit rendezvous as the mission mode – largely dictated by the end-of-the-decade challenge – produced two spacecraft ideally adapted to their function but without sufficient margin for growth to advance the exploration of the moon as far as scientists wanted. Apollo’s scientific results were of vital interest to only a very small fraction of the scientific community and did not authoritatively answer the questions scientists hoped they would answer before the first landing. (As one critic caustically commented, the scientists were able to obtain ‘a neater fix, so to speak, on the number of angels who can dance on the point of a pin.’)”

          http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-4214/contents.html

          “As fascinating and awesome as the Apollo program was, there is some truth behind dissenters’ opinions that the program was little more than a stunt.”

          http://amyshirateitel.com/2011/06/21/what-to-do-after-the-moon/

          “At the height of the Cold War, the superpowers spared no expense in funding the latest space spectacular. Dazzling stunts in space, not cost-cutting, were the order of the day. No one bothered to read their price tag.

          But after 1969, the Soviets dropped out of the race to the moon and, like a cancer, the land war in Asia began to devour the budget. The wind gradually came out of the sails of the space program; the Nielsen ratings for each moon landing began to fall. The last manned mission to the moon was Apollo 17, in 1972.

          As Isaac Asimov once commented, we scored a touchdown, then took our football and went home.”

          http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/16/apollo-moon-landing-anniversary-opinions-contributors-cost-money.html

          “Face the facts. The Mercury program was a stunt. The Gemini program was a stunt. And the Apollo program was a stunt. President Kennedy’s original challenge for lunar landing had to be done ‘by the end of this decade’ meant that a magnificent stunt was all that could be accomplished. There was not time to develop the basic technologies, techniques and infrastructure that would make manned space exploration safe, reliable, and sustainable, or even to simply actually explore the Moon. All Apollo could accomplish — and that just barely — was to send two men to the surface of the Moon and then bring them back again after a stay of no more than a matter of hours. The ‘giant leap’ was in reality a tiny step away from just grabbing a handful of moondirt and scooting quickly back to Earth, never to return. That was all that was required to prove that the United States was the technological and organizational superior to the Soviet Union, and that was the real objective.

          It was a stunt. That does not mean that great engineering wasn’t done, or that tremendous courage wasn’t required, or that good science wasn’t accomplished. But it was a stunt, because it truly was not designed to lead to anything else.

          We have to stop thinking of manned space exploration in terms of doing stunts.”

          http://www.thespacereview.com/article/870/1

          Only an idiot with no reading comprehension would think any of those quotes — one of which comes from President Kennedy, two of which come from Apollo managers, and one of which comes from a volume commissioned by the NASA HQ History Office — state that Apollo was anything other than a stunt.

          “Guest was correct.”

          Guest referenced a retraction which shows your statement that Apollo bought 60% of the ICs during the 1960s to be false:

          “Texas Instruments delivered 100,000 integrated circuit components by the end of 1964 to Autonetics Inc. for the Minuteman II guidance computer. In 1965, deliveries increased to 15,000 per week, making the Air Force program the largest single consumer.

          Long before the production phase [of Apollo] was complete, even the two giants, Fairchild and Texas Instruments, dropped out. They apparently considered the Micrologic product line obsolete and moved on to ‘newer and better’ products, more advanced technologies.

          … well before the Apollo program reached the moon, commercial technology has leapt well past the space program.

          … it’s clear that I overstated my case in the original version of my previous post.

          Given this, I have substantially revised my previous post… I blew this one by misreading the historical evidence—I won’t let it happen again.”

          You might take a lesson from that writer.

          “As is DCSCA.”

          Why are you referring to yourself in the third-person?

          Are you off your meds again?

          “Pay the $2 dbn.”

          “Pay the $2, dbn.”

          Get some treatment for your OCD.

          Get some treatment for your OCD.

          • Robert Clark

            Deep Blue Nine said:
            Guest referenced a retraction which shows your statement that Apollo bought 60% of the ICs during the 1960s to be false…

            I think that article suggests you are both partially right:

            Integrated Circuits and the Space Program: A Partial Retraction.
            Posted by: Michael Mandel on July 19

            “The best source I found was a 1996 book called Journey to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Guidance Computer by Eldon Hall, who was one of the main designers of the Apollo computer (a search will find this on Google books). Here are four of the most relevant paragraphs.”

            “This action made NASA’s Apollo Program the largest single consumer of integrated circuits between 1961 and 1965. Design and production of the Block I Apollo computer consumed about 200,000 Micrologic elements.”

            “Texas Instruments delivered 100,000 integrated circuit components by the end of 1964 to Autonetics Inc. for the Minuteman II guidance computer. In 1965, deliveries increased to 15, 000 per week, making the Air Force program the largest single consumer.”

            “Long before the production phase was complete, even the two giants, Fairchild and Texas Instruments, dropped out. They apparently considered the Micrologic product line obsolete and moved on to “newer and better” products, more advanced technologies.”

            “Fortunately for the Apollo Program, the Philco Corporation Microelectronics Division maintained production for the life of the project. The Apollo Program had a job to do. It could not continue the necessary design changes to keep up with the technology’s state of the art.”

            http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2009/07/integrated_circ.html

            The previous article he refers to was one where he questioned the economic benefits of the Apollo program. After a barrage of criticism he edited it:

            The Economic Value of the Space Program (corrected version).
            Posted by: Michael Mandel on July 19
            http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2009/07/the_economic_fa.html

            Bob Clark

            • Dark Blue Nine

              “I think that article suggests you are both partially right”

              The article only does that if the other poster retracts his claim that Apollo represented 60% of the demand for ICs during the 1960s, and replaces it with a statement that Apollo only represented a significant amount of the demand for ICs for a short time period in the early 1960s. The idiot never did that, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. He/she would rather live in their own Apollo astronaut-worshipping fantasy world and use random, inaccurate tidbits from likely imaginary TV shows to justify policy. So be it. The rest of us will continue to smack him/her upside the head with reality.

  • hmm

    Another Senator with Buck Rogers fantasies who is unwilling to fund them. Tell us more about your inner dreamscape.

  • E.P. Grondine

    As usual, posts on this BBS have covered a wide range of topics. Ands as always, it is our host Jeff’s call as to what remains posted.

    In the dicussion of 1950′s space history, no one mentioned Trevor Gardner. I am sorry that I never got a chance to interview and tape record General Goodpasteur before his passing. That would have been definitive for the history of Eisenhower and space.

    As it is, a lot of the materials on Eisenhower are yet to be declassified.

    The degradation of Apollo, a tactic in a geopolitical contest, to a “stunt”, is not justified in my analysis, no matter who did it.

    • common sense

      “The degradation of Apollo, a tactic in a geopolitical contest, to a “stunt”, is not justified in my analysis, no matter who did it.”

      It’s just because you, like certain others, don’t seem to understand the meaning of words. It is in no way contradictory that Apollo was a stunt yet was motivated by geopolitics. And it is not “degradation”, just a mere fact.

      —-

      http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=define+stunt&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

      stunt
      /stənt/

      Noun
      An action displaying spectacular skill and daring.

      • E.P. Grondine

        Hi CS –

        President Kennedy asked for and was presented with an estimate of the Soviet Union’s space goals. While that estimate was flawed, as it did not contain the TMK, the appraisal was that the only goal which the US could accomplish first was manned flight to the Moon.

        In response to Kennedy and the Congree’s decision, Soviet leadership dropped the TMK Venus and Mars flyby and decided to race the US to the Moon.

        This was not a “stunt’, in any normal English usage of the word.

        • common sense

          “This was not a “stunt’, in any normal English usage of the word.”

          Yeah. Well I am not sure what English usage of the word you refer to but on occasion I use this dictionary when in doubt.

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stunt

          “: an unusual or difficult feat requiring great skill or daring; especially : one performed or undertaken chiefly to gain attention or publicity”

          You are rapidly approaching critical mass to the DCSCA kind I am afraid.

          • E.P. Grondine

            The part ot the definition you are having trouble with is this part”

            “one performed or undertaken chiefly to gain attention or publicity”

            Apollo was a demonstration of US technical superiority.

            IMO, you are also mistaking the kind of courage shown by those who made those flights with the
            kind of courage stuntment have.
            They are very different, IMO.

            • common sense

              It was precisely to gain attention by the rest of the world on the superiority of the US – in a nutshell if I may say so myself.

              As for courage, I submit that 1) it has nothing to do with the topic at hand and 2) you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

              As I said. Critical mass is nearing.

  • Robert Clark

    Deep Blue Nine said:

    Regardless, there are Apollo managers who viewed the effort as an empty stunt. Like Tom Evans, the former head of the Advanced Lunar Missions Study Program in the NASA Headquarters Office of Manned Space Flight during Apollo, who stated that a manned lunar landing had “too much the flavor of a stunt to be the final goal of a $20 billion national effort”:

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/the-proper-course-for-lunar-exploration-1965/

    What Evans was saying was not that Apollo shouldn’t have been done, but that it didn’t go far enough. He was arguing in favor of establishing space stations on the Moon as a prelude to colonization by using the Apollo architecture. Back then it would have been too expensive. But now by following the principal of going small it can be done for a fraction of the costs of the Apollo program. The Falcon Heavy for example could deliver ca. 12 metric tons cargo to the lunar surface or send a crewed Dragon capsule round-trip for ca. $200 milion in launch cost.

    Bob Clark

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “What Evans was saying was not that Apollo shouldn’t have been done, but that it didn’t go far enough”

      Agreed. Evans was arguing that there should have been a robust Apollo Applications Program to derive some real value from these manned lunar landings, which he otherwise viewed as a stunt. But that never happened, so Apollo remained a stunt, which is the point I’m making. (And that there are knowledgeable, even experienced, people like Evans who refer to Apollo as stunt in the first place.)

      “But now by following the principal of going small it can be done for a fraction of the costs of the Apollo program. The Falcon Heavy for example could deliver ca. 12 metric tons cargo to the lunar surface or send a crewed Dragon capsule round-trip for ca. $200 milion in launch cost.”

      You don’t need to convince me on this. But other Apollo-worshippers on this forum will dismiss your point about efforts like Golden Spike and Bigelow.

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