NASA's Top 3 Priorities

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rickm99

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RadarRedux:<br /><br />Thank you for your educated and informed response. Although I wanted this series of postings to focus on "NASA's top 3 priorities", I think you showed how important the relationship between NASA and the military is.<br /><br />Thank you for elevating the conversation.<br /><br />Cheers!
 
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najab

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>In fact, the DOD was trying to develop their own shuttle, the so called "blue shuttle", that would launch out of Vandenberg, CA. One major problem was that the DOD likes polar orbits, and the shuttle doesn't really have the power to do that effectively. I think the Challenger accident finally killed off the blue shuttle idea and brought back expendables for the DOD.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote>One minor point, the Blue Shuttle and the NASA Shuttle were the same. The Shuttle design was changed quite significantly from the original NASA idea largely to meet the DoD's requirements. The payload bay was made much bigger to accomodate large NRO satellites, and the wings were made much larger to give the cross-range that would be needed to land at VAFB on a one-orbit satellite deploy mission.<p>You're correct that there would have been a payload deficit on missions launched from VAFB, but this was as much due to growth of the satellites as it was to the shortcomings of the Shuttle. NASA and the DoD both believed that when the first dedicated Blue Shuttle (OV-103) came online, the weight savings in its construction, combined with the performance increase of the fillament wound booster would give them enough performance margin.<p>As you point out, the Challenger accident, combined with technical problems with the fillament wound booster and launch pad, lead to the DoD deciding to go back to expendable boosters.</p></p>
 
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propforce

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What were the problems with SLC 6 launch pad at VAFB ? <br /><br />The experience of collarborating on Shuttle and the NASP program convinced the Air Force not to rely on NASA for space access and started the EELV route. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>What were the problems with SLC 6 launch pad at VAFB?</i><p>The problems ranged from the sublime to the rediculous. At the rediculous end of the scale, there was a serious problem with the quality control on the project: a lot of the welding work was suspect and had to be redone. And this was on a $6Billion project! Also, the site was more windy than the planners had originally realised so that stacking the Shuttle in the open was not an option. As a result they had to build a shuttle assembly building <b>on wheels</b> so that it could be rolled back to launch the Shuttle (at the time it was the largest movable structure ever built). There was also a serious concern after STS-1 that the shape of the surrounding landscape might amplify the acoustic wave caused by the SRB ignition, so they had to redesign the sound suppression system and also remove a hill.<p>At the more sublime (though potentially more deadly) side there was the problem of hydrogen entrapment in the flame ducts. These were originally built for the hypergolic Titan-2/3 launch vehicle which meant that gas buildup wasn't factored into their design. As I'm sure you know, H2 that boils off from the ET during the launch countdown is vented through the SSMEs. It was recognised that there was potential for this hydrogen to build up in the ducts and it was widely believed that it would explode on ignition of the SSMEs which would damage or destroy the vehicle. There was an ongoing project to design a system to either vent, neutralize or burn off this H2 prior to engine start.<p>While the problems with the site were numerous, they were just about solved when <i>Challenger</i> exploded. Up to that point the VAFB site had cost about $6-7Billion dollars (between MOL and STS), I've seen it claimed that it would have cost less than $500Million to fix the problems. However, given the ongoing problems with developing the filament-wound booster casings (which many believed would explode on ignition) and continued</p></p></p>
 
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propforce

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<i>"... I was looking forward to being that close to the launch. .."</i><br /><br />heh heh heh... I've been to SLC 6 and had the pleasure to walk that long underground cable trays tunnel. What an impressive sight !!! Miles and miles of trays each carrying big cables, looks like a pile of snakes over-laying over each other, in the what seemed like endless tunnel with a dim light... that gave me this somewhat freaky feeling ! <br /><br />I've had heard about the hydrogen entrapment problem at SLC 6 and, depending who you talk to, some may think it was resolved and others did not. If I recalled correctly, they put in this expensive steam ejector system to pump the exhaust out but was never deomonstrated satisfactorily.<br /><br />Speaking of H2 entrapment, this could be fun for S_G who will be watching the Delta IV launch live. The D-IV launch pad at LC-17 also has an enclosed exhaust system and, when you have 3 RS-68 firing into the hole, the concern was that the fuel-rich exhaust can react with air in the exhaust duct and cause flash-back and damage the vehicle. What worst case scenario would be in case of engine abort where each engine may dump several hundred pounds of hydrogen into the exhaust duct.<br /><br />Personally I think the flame will come out on the other end of exhaust duct and burn that chain-link fence to a crisp. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>How much of their programs depend upon military funding to keep things goin[g].</i><p>There are a <i>few</i> NASA/DoD colaborative projects, but that is to be expected since the nation cannot afford to spend it's R&D dollars developing the same technology twice. There's nothing new about this, many military technologies have civilian applications (eg the KC-135 military transport is also known as the Boeing 707).<p>><i>...how their personnel are very closely tied to military...</i><p>The vast majority of NASA's 14,000 employees are civil servants.<p>><i>... and how their goals and uses of rockets and space knoweldge are as interchangeable as GM parts. </i><p>They use the same contractors, so it is hardly suprising that they use the same 'rockets and space knowledge'! By this logic DirecTV and Dish Network are in on it too, since they use the same 'rockets and space knowledge' to launch and operate their satellites! As for goals: I've never seen a NASA spy satellite and I've never seen the DoD launch probes to the other planets.<p>><i>The very existence of large numbers of military missions of the shuttle, most of them classified, shows that, to any one.</i><p>Actually there were 8 DoD missions (2 in 1985, 1 in 1988, 2 in 1989, 2 in 1990 and 1 in 1992). Not all of these were classified however. I don't know if I would call 8 out of 112 missions a 'large number', that's about 7% of the total number of Shuttle missions.<p>Look, there's civilian space and there's military space. There are points at which the two programs converge, but their paths are totally independant.</p></p></p></p></p></p></p></p>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">How can you say it is not with the large number of astronauts who are on loan, or trained by the military into NASA manned space programs?</font>/i><br /><br />Just speculation on my part...<br /><br />I suspect part of the answer lies with the fact that the same people who would be attracted to the dangers and excitement of space are also attracted to certain aspects of the military.<br /><br />Also, finding skilled pilots to fly the shuttle is probably not easy, but the military already has a lot of pilots with ice water in their veins and tons of flying experience.<br /><br />I remember years ago seeing a segment on TV (and I would love for someone to confirm, correct, or enhance this information) where part of the training for the shuttle pilots had them go into a modified commercial jet, fly it to a specific altitude, and then throw the engines in *reverse* and fly. This would give the feeling of flying the shuttle. That is some flying brick.<br /><br />Of course, lots of the commercial airline pilots and commercial helicopter pilots are former military pilots too.</i>
 
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najab

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><i>Within the last 1 year before the disaster shut down the shuttle program, I read in NEw Scientist about a space shuttle launch, whose purpose was classified because it was military. </i><p>I'd appreciate a reference to that article. I ask this because I have never known New Scientist to be so completely <b>and proveably</b> wrong about anything like this.<p>You say that it was within a year of STS-107, so that means some time between December 2001 and December 2002, correct? Now, before we go any further, you realise that there were only 4 Shuttle Orbiters at that time (<i>Columbia</i>, <i>Discovery</i>, <i>Atlantis</i> and <i>Endeavor</i>)) and only one launch site: KSC, correct?<p> Now, in the year prior to STS-107, there were 6 Shuttle missions. They were:<li>STS-108: Endeavour (12/05/2001) ISS-UF1<li>STS-109 Columbia (03/01/2002) Hubble Servicing Mission 3B<li>STS-110 Atlantis (04/08/2002) ISS-8A <li>STS-111 Endeavour (06/05/2002) ISS-UF2<li>STS-112 Atlantis (10/07/2002) ISS-9A <li>STS-113 Endeavour(11-23-02) ISS-11A<br /><p>During 2002 Columbia was prepared and ready for STS-107 but was bumped repeatedly by the ISS missions and did not fly, and Discovery was in pieces in the OPF undergoing her Orbiter Downtime and Maintainance Period. There were, quite simply, <b>no DoD or classified missions</b> during that period.<br /></p></li></li></li></li></li></li></p></p></p>
 
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najab

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><i>I have a clearance above top secret.</i><p>Dude, you realise that makes you even cooler. <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /></p>
 
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arobie

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Shuttle_Guy, You're career is awesome!!!! <br /><br />*edit* Sorry about how that sounded before.
 
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arobie

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Ha Ha Ha, I'm not hittin on you shuttle_guy, it's just that you have a career that I would absolutely love to have. That you have clearance, what was it??, above top secret (??) just adds to the awesomeness. (new word) <br /><br />You have the most interesting career I've ever heard about, and I'm sitting hear in high school, still dealing with english papers and boring school work, although I am working toward a career aimed toward space, taking two maths this year, two sciences next year, and keeping close tabs on space here. <img src="/images/icons/crazy.gif" />
 
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nacnud

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The only thing I can think of that New Scientist has carried that involved the Shuttle and the Military would be the use of spy satellites to check on the condition of the thermal protection system. Perhaps stevehw33 is misinterpreting an article along those lines, its so unlike him be controversial… <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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arobie

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<font color="yellow">"I will only accept hits by posters that are female......just my style."</font><br /><br />I understand, I feel exactly the same way on that topic.
 
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jcdenton

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What and what aren't you allowed to talk about if you don't mind my asking? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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scottb50

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Going for four? You might never retire. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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k24anson

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Over the next several decades, NASA, JPL and the boys and girls at ESA's work to devise and then implement a system which puts an atmosphere on and above the surface of Mars. Then an ecosystem of some kind is brought to bear upon the planet, to bear fruit. And instead of just a star on 'ole Glory now, let's design a different look for a flag to fly beside 'ole Glory (and maybe to fly alongside any European nation which helped bring Mars habitable?), to represent that we own the entire surface of the Martian planet. The Asian and the Islamic governments that will exist when all this takes place will not have claim, nor the honor to do so. How better to rid the world of these potentially threatening governments in the future than for the U.S. to put a yoke on the planet Mars? They might then see their forms of government and culture as the dinosauric threats to the rest of the world that they are, and they might then change on their own, making the world a better place by doing so, and without U.S. having to fire a shot to do so, to bring about this change. Isn't this a peaceful way to bring about the change in the world that's needed, though I know I'm talking the talk of only winners win, and only the losers lose with this strategy, and approach. Hey, who thinks the world is really fair anyway. Tough booger snots I say to the losers! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <span style="color:#000080" class="Apple-style-span">Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.</span> </div>
 
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najab

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There are a lot of military and ex-military astronauts simply because only military people have a large amount of jet time. While they are astronauts they are not on active military service, they get seconded to NASA.
 
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najab

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><i>Another example of the ongoing, irreducible ties between NASA and the US military...</i><p>Actually, if you actually did a little research you would know that GPB was launched on a <b>commercial</b> Delta-2 rocket. NASA didn't launch the Delta, the Boeing Comany did, NASA just purchased the launch.<p>VAFB is the United States West coast launch facility, both military and civilian launches take place from their. The only military association with civilian launches is the Air Force provided range tracking equipment and range safety assurance. Any US launch (military or civilian) which requires a launch inclination higher than about 60 degrees will launch from VAFB. Other examples of commercial missions launched from the Western Range are the commercial orbital imaging platforms.</p></p>
 
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najab

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><i>...who BTW provide 100% of NASA's astronaut pilots, often 'on loan' from active duty....</i><p>Once again, the requirement is 1,500 hours of high-performance jet time. <b>ANYONE</b> who meets that requirement is eligable to apply. The simple fact is that very few people other than military pilots get that much stick time in high-performance jets - test pilots are probably the only group I can think of. In fact, a few people have made their way into the NASA astronaut corps that way: Neil Armstrong comes to mind.</p>
 
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najab

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><i>...there are necessarily close and irreducible ties between NASA and the military and always will be. And NOT just in manpower....</i><p>Such as?<br /></p>
 
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najab

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><i>Read the website of the graduating classes of astronauts for NASA; almost ALL of them are military.</i><p>I just picked an astronaut class at random, the class of 1996. I counted 19 military and 21 civilian - including a civilian pilot.</p>
 
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najab

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Nah Dave, it's cool. Kalter's just a bit upset because I made fun of him in another thread. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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najab

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Oh, and thanks, but I'm <b>way</b> down on the list...you, Calli, Leo (when he's not being political), drwayne, propforce...there's at least a dozen posters who have more to say and say it <b>way</b> better than I ever could.
 
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