NASA shouldn't be building rockets

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aphh

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<p>I think the concept is flawed. NASA should not be a logistics company or a design bureau.</p><p>They should do exploration only. Figuring out what and why, not how.<br /><br />They should send request for offer to companies, who build rockets and hardware. "We want to go here and do this, please send us an offer covering the needed hardware and logistics, the works".</p><p>They should be figuring out what we want to do and find on the Moon, not how to get there. How to get there is about logistics, not exploration. </p>
 
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BrianSlee

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I think the concept is flawed. NASA should not be a logistics company or a design bureau.They should do exploration only. Figuring out what and why, not how.They should send request for offer to companies, who build rockets and hardware. "We want to go here and do this, please send us an offer covering the needed hardware and logistics, the works".They should be figuring out what we want to do and find on the Moon, not how to get there. How to get there is about logistics, not exploration. <br />Posted by aphh</DIV><br /><br />I agree to a point.&nbsp; NASA should not be repackaging old technology and calling it new.&nbsp; Rockets are old technology and should be purchased from existing souces.&nbsp;But NASA should still be involved with&nbsp;developing new technologies&nbsp;and pushing that new technology out to the private sector via STTR programs.&nbsp; <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p>"I am therefore I think" </p><p>"The only thing "I HAVE TO DO!!" is die, in everything else I have freewill" Brian P. Slee</p> </div>
 
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aphh

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<p>The COTS program is a step to right direction, but I think Constellation is not. </p><p>Companies should be designing and building the moon rockets and landers. If that required new technologies or concepts, then they could team up with NASA to find solutions using resources at NASA centers.</p><p>Meanwhile NASA should spend the best resources in coming up with a viable and sustainable exploration program for the moon. And Mars.&nbsp;</p>
 
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danhezee

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>The COTS program is a step to right direction, but I think Constellation is not. Companies should be designing and building the moon rockets and landers. If that required new technologies or concepts, then they could team up with NASA to find solutions using resources at NASA centers.Meanwhile NASA should spend the best resources in coming up with a viable and sustainable exploration program for the moon. And Mars.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by aphh</DIV></p><p><span style="font-size:small" class="Apple-style-span">agreed</span>&nbsp;<img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-cool.gif" border="0" alt="Cool" title="Cool" /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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kyle_baron

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I think the concept is flawed. NASA should not be a logistics company or a design bureau.They should do exploration only. Figuring out what and why, not how.They should send request for offer to companies, who build rockets and hardware. "We want to go here and do this, please send us an offer covering the needed hardware and logistics, the works".They should be figuring out what we want to do and find on the Moon, not how to get there. How to get there is about logistics, not exploration. <br />Posted by aphh</DIV></p><p><strong>I applaud Nasa for taking charge of a new and reusable rocket.&nbsp; None of the problems of the Constellation program are show stoppers.&nbsp; They'll just be off schedule and expensive!&nbsp; In 10-20 years, all these critisizims will be long forgotten.</strong></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="4"><strong></strong></font></p> </div>
 
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docm

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<p>NASA should get 1% of the budget, but farm out the rocket design business if for no other reason than that the Ares program is an example how <em><strong>not</strong></em> to do it - a disqualifier for future launcher&nbsp;design efforts by them.&nbsp; God...what a freakin' nightmare.</p><p>Set the specs, do a COTS-like competition&nbsp;and have a fly-off if necessary.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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<p>I do like the idea of&nbsp;guaranteeing missions in a range of payload sizes so the various rockets to satisfy these payloads are always available at relatively short notice. Is any principle like that already in place?</p><p>btw would a minimally redesigned shuttle solid booster based rocket stage&nbsp;have filled any niche?</p>
 
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JonClarke

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<p>NASA does not build rockets.&nbsp; Contractors do.</p><p>Jon</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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Boris_Badenov

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>NASA does not build rockets.&nbsp; Contractors do.Jon <br />Posted by jonclarke</DIV></p><p><font size="2">You beat me to it. From my amateur point of view, I'd say the problem is in the method of&nbsp;procurement. Announcing the specifications needed & letting the contractors spend their own money on development, then having a fly off seems the better way to go to me. But maybe there isn't enough demand, & nobody would show up. </font></p><p><font size="2">The biggest problem as I see it, is the 'putting all the eggs in one basket" approach. The Shuttle does some thing very well & others just kind of OK.&nbsp;With the Shuttle you can take a really big load of cargo up & have "hands on" right along with it to deploy the cargo. But what if you just want to send a small cargo load & a couple of guys to your orbital outpost. It's just not cost effective to do that with an 18&nbsp;wheeler. You need an economy car to do that, & that's what we don't have.&nbsp;&nbsp;</font></p><p><font size="2">There are rockets that can put a significant load of cargo into orbit without the assistance of astronauts. But say you need to launch your Mars ship in pieces, how will you integrate them? That's where a Shuttle type comes in.<br /></font></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#993300"><span class="body"><font size="2" color="#3366ff"><div align="center">. </div><div align="center">Never roll in the mud with a pig. You'll both get dirty & the pig likes it.</div></font></span></font> </div>
 
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windnwar

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<p>Nasa may not be building Ares, but they are designing alot of it, while proving that they aren't very good at designing rockets since they've not done it in decades. The concept was flawed, but hey with enough duct tape and bailing wire, it'll fly anyway right? So what if it ends up with the same ridiculous costs as the shuttle. </p><p>Cots is a step in the right direction, and something similar should have been done for Ares. I bet between Thiokol and ULA you could have had 2 different bids, or one joint bid, funding them with say $500 million and in a year had a workable proposal and companies that actually have some experience in design could have been well on the way to building Ares-1, probably using alot of existing hardware like the EELV's and there would have been nearly no gap. Then the funding savings could have been channeled to speeding up Ares-V and the loss of workers and knowledge that will happen for certain now could have been avoided. </p><p>Sadly that isn't the case. Nasa should stick to what its good at, developing new technology and exploration and science. They aren't commercial designers and have a piss poor tract record of designing anything with any sort of commercial effiecency. This isn't to say that boeing or lockheed are great at it, but they sure as hell don't suck nearly as much. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font size="2" color="#0000ff">""Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein"</font></p> </div>
 
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aphh

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>NASA does not build rockets.&nbsp; Contractors do.Jon <br /> Posted by jonclarke</DIV></p><p>I've seen dozens of images that tell otherwise. NASA people cutting metal to build a rocket, which means they are a rocket shop after all.</p><p>A tax-payer funded rocket and logistics shop. Hardly the most efficient rocket shop I might add.</p><p>I'm pretty sure it will fly eventually, but we're wasting time and resources. Both scarce items.&nbsp;</p>
 
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j05h

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<p>The question is not whether NASA should do logistics- the questions should be "how" and "why"? </p><p>The How is by learning important lessons from terrestrial and ocean exploration. Use of existing resources and launchers (not hacked SRBs, but basically stock EELV and Russian assets). Establishment of base camps and safe harbors in LEO, at L points, orbiting Mars and the Moon. "We" (NASA and RKS plus contractors) have spent a vast amount of money and time getting really good at orbital assembly. Instead of stepping back from that, embrace it (and EELV) and let NASA focus on what they are really good at: deep space craft. So far ESAS implementation is not reflective of the VSE plan. </p><p>The Why is a deeper question. If 'why' is simply measurements in-situ then a serious rethinking of human spaceflight is required. We can send probes for much less than people. However if the goal is to extend the human economic sphere into the Inner Solar System, then humans, orbital assembly and a wider mesh of infrastructure are needed. If Why is to open a new frontier then it has to be broad-based effort where hundreds, thousands, then millions of people go to space to stay. In this context HLV is either to large (no single "Conestoga wagon" would be that large a payload) or to small (because you want to deliver 500t mining machines or reactor cores that can't be broken into 25t or 100t pieces). Even if "why?" is "to build a base at the lunar south pole" then a modular architecture using LEO assembly and existing rockets makes more sense than "Spend 20 years developing another rocket" because at this rate that is how long it will take to fly AresV. </p><p>In either the robots-only or widespread human development there is no need for the development of an HLV or especially the Stick. The Stick is the worst crew-exchange rocket ever proposed, IMHO&nbsp; - it's the weak link in the Shuttle architecture, took out a crew and our hopes for decades.&nbsp; At least 25 Delta IV-H launches could be purchased for the cost of developing the Stick - that's more than the planned number of launches of the Stick.&nbsp;</p><p>Last bit: The idea of extending the Centaur's capabilities with a long duration package is excellent. It would become a multifunction tug-propellant depot while reusing the already-expensive-and-in-space upper stage that is otherwise waste. </p><p>/rant<br /> </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I think the concept is flawed. NASA should not be a logistics company or a design bureau.They should do exploration only. Figuring out what and why, not how.<strong>They should send request for offer to companies, who build rockets and hardware. "We want to go here and do this, please send us an offer covering the needed hardware and logistics, the works".</strong>They should be figuring out what we want to do and find on the Moon, not how to get there. How to get there is about logistics, not exploration. <br />Posted by aphh</DIV></p><p>You have just accurately described a request for proposal addressed to a prime contractor.&nbsp; Good idea.<br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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aphh

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>You have just accurately described a request for proposal addressed to a prime contractor.&nbsp; Good idea. <br /> Posted by DrRocket</DIV></p><p>I admit I had been drinking when I started this thread. So what I wrote needs to be taken with a grain of salt here. But there are still many good points in this thread.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
 
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Slava33

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<font size="2">I agree with j05h in that it's a question of degrees of involvement. &nbsp;NASA certainly seems a lot more involved in the design of Ares/Orion then they probably should be. &nbsp;However, the bigger issue here is that the focus of space exploration has been lost ever since Apollo. &nbsp;NASA management seem to think being involved in design will help them to return to the glory days of spaceflight. &nbsp;They are missing the point. &nbsp;Most of their energy should be spent on finding ways to bring the public in around big idea(s), like going to Mars, developing revolutionary propulsion, etc, and NOT concentrate on the HOW.<br /><br /></font> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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vulture4

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<p style="margin-bottom:0in">ATTACHMENT J-1 :&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; "NASA is responsible for ... the design of the Ares V vehicle and elements.." That pretty much says it all.</p><p style="margin-bottom:0in"> What is the objective of NASA, as a government agency supported by taxpayer dollars?&nbsp; NASA's original role as NACA was purely to do technology development, to allow the US aviation industry to lead the world and thus provde benefits to Americans in economic growh and in cost, safety and speed of air travel. Industry was the customer, not the vendor.&nbsp; What constitutes "exploration"? New scientific knowledge? Or do people have to be there? Astronomical resarch obviously can't be conducted in person.&nbsp; </p><p style="margin-bottom:0in">The work could be in-hose of contracted out, whichever was more practical; generally laboratories were in-house but design and manufacturing of experimental aircraft and rockets was contracted out. A well-run organization will contract out those items that can be bought more cheaply than they can be built in-house. While NASA desings many aspects of Constellation in-house, it contracts out the very things private indsty would keep in-house, i.e. planning and management, R&D, and unique operations that are performed by "support contractors" and have to be re-learned every time a new contractor takes over, while the rebid usually goes to whatever comapny can exaggerate most convincingly about how few employees can do the job.</p><p style="margin-bottom:0in">The critical problem today is not so much that NASA is doing in-house design, as that, as Mike Griffin himself said, NASA cannot spend money on technology development because they have to spend it on the Constellation program. The COTS program looks promising but most other real R&D is gone; the development of reusable launch vehicles has been cancelled, the attempts to create new technology without funding through knock-offs of the X-prize seemed&nbsp; naive, and aeronautics is still moribund, at least within NASA. Cooperation with industry has not been a priority even when it would have cost nothing; when Rutan offered to fly the X-34 prototypes at his own expense. NASA refused and they have been gathering dust since. Had an ELV been selected for Constellation it would at least have been supporting a system with potential commercial viability; the Ares I is too expensive to serve any comercial role.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-bottom:0in">I'm not familiar with the process in the planetary science side, but it seems a little more reasonable; NASA establishes the basic mission, a contractor designs the spacecraft and researchers propose instruments they will design and build, so the developers have quite a bit of flexibility.&nbsp; </p><p style="margin-bottom:0in">&nbsp;</p>
 
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