Obama to outline NASA/Mars plans in April....

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neutrino78x

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Well, Flexible Path, the program that the President appears to be proposing, was one of the options from the Augustine Commission. They did not describe it as somehow being the end of human spaceflight. On the contrary, Flexible Path allows you to go to multiple targets. You can send men to an asteroid with one mission, to the Moon the next, Mars the next, then the Moon again, etc.

Again, any time the goal is science, I would not send humans. I would send robots only.

I would send humans to Mars because my goal there is to establish private colonies. That is, the base is declared to be US soil, like the Louisiana Purchase, Peurto Rico, Diego Garcia, etc., with a big US flag flying there, and people can go there and buy land.

If the first mission is not going to have a military officer declare it to be US soil, then I would be sending robots only.

I think it is a little different with the Moon, because it is orbiting the Earth; I think it should be under the authority of the United Nations, like Antarctica. There is tourism to Antarctica, but it is primarily a scientific base.

--Brian
 
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rockett

Guest
neutrino78x":2sgj1ypz said:
Well, Flexible Path, the program that the President appears to be proposing, was one of the options from the Augustine Commission. They did not describe it as somehow being the end of human spaceflight. On the contrary, Flexible Path allows you to go to multiple targets. You can send men to an asteroid with one mission, to the Moon the next, Mars the next, then the Moon again, etc.
I'm afraid you have not read the Augustine Commission report in detail. "Flexible Path" is based on a 4 crew member Orion.
Here's a link to it: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf
This was cancelled by the Administration, and NASA gave it back to Lockmart. Here's the thread on it:
Orion Moved From NASA Control Today To Lockheed Martin
http://www.space.com/common/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=23240
In effect, they got rid of our only deep space design.
As for commercial, up to this point they have unilaterally said they will not be developing deep space designs, only LEO.

neutrino78x":2sgj1ypz said:
I would send humans to Mars because my goal there is to establish private colonies. That is, the base is declared to be US soil, like the Louisiana Purchase, Peurto Rico, Diego Garcia, etc., with a big US flag flying there, and people can go there and buy land.
It would need to be funded, LOTS of funding. Commercial says they could not make a profit. As I said above, we just discarded our only transportation system design to make the trip. I'm afraid we are not dealing with wooden sailboats here, but very expensive, both to build and operate, deep spacecraft. In addition, any colonies would be very hazardous, expensive to build, and far smaller than the scale that even one colonial expedition brought over. They did not have to bring everything with them, they cut trees and built on the spot. At the very least we would have to take the machines to build Mars habitats, all they needed was an ax. Nor did they have to take enough supplies to get things going (for months if not years), they had air, water, farming, and game to hunt. As for terraforming Mars, the best (and most optimistic) estimate is slightly over a hundred years, the worst 40,000 to 50,000. I suspect the answer lies somewhere between. Unless there is something found that is extremely valuable (read profitable), no one is going to want to buy land there, and unless it's tearraformed it will be extremely high cost real estate. If it is terraformed who's going to pay for something they won't see a return on investment for over a hundred years? (most would be dead) I'm afraid the US by itself could not even accomplsh such an undertaking. It would have to be a species wide (meaning every country on Earth) project, and they would have to have a very good reason for it, not simply so the guy on the street could have "40 acres and a mule".

neutrino78x":2sgj1ypz said:
I think it is a little different with the Moon, because it is orbiting the Earth; I think it should be under the authority of the United Nations, like Antarctica. There is tourism to Antarctica, but it is primarily a scientific base.
While I agree with you on this one, it doesn't look like the other countries see it that way, that have lunar programs (look at the cast of players if you don't agree, China being the first I would mention). If we want to be a player and country of influence, we need to get there, preferably first, in this new space race. we have just given that up unless something changes drasticly. There will be no game changer "miracle drives" any time soon. Especially without the drive (pun intended) to create them, that takes a very defined, funded and supported reason to create them, and the spacecraft that can use them. "Mars someday" just isn't good enough, and according to Bolden, that's the best we're getting.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
rockett":sgp24lcg said:
neutrino78x":sgp24lcg said:
Well, Flexible Path, the program that the President appears to be proposing, was one of the options from the Augustine Commission. They did not describe it as somehow being the end of human spaceflight. On the contrary, Flexible Path allows you to go to multiple targets. You can send men to an asteroid with one mission, to the Moon the next, Mars the next, then the Moon again, etc.
I'm afraid you have not read the Augustine Commission report in detail. "Flexible Path" is based on a 4 crew member Orion.
Here's a link to it: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf
This was cancelled by the Administration, and NASA gave it back to Lockmart. Here's the thread on it:
Orion Moved From NASA Control Today To Lockheed Martin
http://www.space.com/common/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=23240
In effect, they got rid of our only deep space design.
Are you calling Orion a deep space design ? What would be your definition of deep space ?
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
rockett":34xg5chg said:
I'm afraid you have not read the Augustine Commission report in detail. "Flexible Path" is based on a 4 crew member Orion. Here's a link to it: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf
I am familiar with that document, and I have it on my PC. That document states the following:

For the missions assessed in this analysis, an Orion capsule was assumed to be capable of carrying up to four crew members and operating in space for over a year. However for missions longer than about a month, an additional in-space habitat sustains the crew. All of the Earth entry, descent, and landings were to fall within the nominal design requirements for the Orion. The three transportation architectures (see Chapter 5) considered for Flexible Path missions are:

Ares V Lite – an Ares V Lite launches with crew aboard the Orion capsule. This combination is Option 5A in Chapter 6.

An EELV-heritage super-heavy launcher, which requires two launches for earlier missions, and three launches for later missions. A commercial service transports the crew to orbit, where they transfer to the Orion. This combination is Option 5B in Chapter 6.

A Shuttle-derived launcher, which also requires two launches for earlier missions, three launches for later
missions, and commercial transport of the crew to low-Earth orbit. This combination is Option 5C in Chapter
6.
Hence, commercial transport of the crew to LEO is consistent with Flexible Path. You do not have to retain Orion, Ares I, or any other part of Constellation to accomplish Flexible Path.

rockitt":34xg5chg said:
It would need to be funded, LOTS of funding. Commercial says they could not make a profit. As I said above, we just discarded our only transportation system design to make the trip.
Orion was not a Mars Direct spacecraft. A Mars Direct manned spacecraft has fuel to go one way only (the fuel for the return trip is generated by machines on a separate mission), and can carry a crew of 4 for the six month trip, powered by chemical rockets.

Colonists would pay their own way. They would pay, say, 300,000 USD, to carry a family to Mars to stay there permanently and help start a new colony on Mars. To take large numbers of colonists, we would probably link several Mars Direct modules together in LEO, and launch them together toward Mars.

I'm afraid we are not dealing with wooden sailboats here, but very expensive, both to build and operate, deep spacecraft. In addition, any colonies would be very hazardous, expensive to build, and far smaller than the scale that even one colonial expedition brought over.
That was true for the people who colonized North America also.

They did not have to bring everything with them, they cut trees and built on the spot. At the very least we would have to take the machines to build Mars habitats, all they needed was an ax. Nor did they have to take enough supplies to get things going (for months if not years), they had air, water, farming, and game to hunt.
This is where Mars Direct really makes a difference. Under Mars Direct, you are living off the land. You melt ice in the soil to make water, you use solar and wind, or, in Zubrin's original plan, nuclear, for power. Your living space, initially, will be the Mars Direct module, although, over time, we will build homes in the Martian soil, buried to protect us from radiation.

As for terraforming Mars, the best (and most optimistic) estimate is slightly over a hundred years, the worst 40,000 to 50,000. I suspect the answer lies somewhere between. Unless there is something found that is extremely valuable (read profitable), no one is going to want to buy land there, and unless it's tearraformed it will be extremely high cost real estate.
Indeed, the trade of land on Mars will help make the venture profitable.

I'm afraid the US by itself could not even accomplish such an undertaking.
This is the greatest nation in the history of the world. We can do anything which is not prevented by the laws of physics. This nation put a man on the moon, and gave the world the transistor, airplane, internet, microprocessor, telephone, etc., etc., etc.

It would have to be a species wide (meaning every country on Earth) project, and they would have to have a very good reason for it, not simply so the guy on the street could have "40 acres and a mule".
Adventure and Profit are the main reasons.

While I agree with you on this one, it doesn't look like the other countries see it that way, that have lunar programs (look at the cast of players if you don't agree, China being the first I would mention). If we want to be a player and country of influence, we need to get there, preferably first, in this new space race.
That's fine, if we want to also land on the moon and have a small base. Not the Constellation way, though. It would be using the same module that we use to go to Mars or an asteroid, just configure it in different ways for different targets. We would still live off the land on the Moon too.

"Mars someday" just isn't good enough, and according to Bolden, that's the best we're getting.
That's all we can get, right now. We are fighting two wars, we have major budget problems, etc.

--Brian
 
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rockett

Guest
EarthlingX":2f0q0rdv said:
Are you calling Orion a deep space design ? What would be your definition of deep space ?
At this point ANYTHING that can get beyond LEO :?
Orion was a baseline design intended for LEO, lunar, and NEO service in various configurations. Afraid that's the longest range we had beyond the drawing boards.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
rockett":1089amws said:
EarthlingX":1089amws said:
Are you calling Orion a deep space design ? What would be your definition of deep space ?
At this point ANYTHING that can get beyond LEO :?
Orion was a baseline design intended for LEO, lunar, and NEO service in various configurations. Afraid that's the longest range we had beyond the drawing boards.
You heard of Bigelow ?
 
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rockett

Guest
EarthlingX":3ql5qe2c said:
rockett":3ql5qe2c said:
EarthlingX":3ql5qe2c said:
Are you calling Orion a deep space design ? What would be your definition of deep space ?
At this point ANYTHING that can get beyond LEO :?
Orion was a baseline design intended for LEO, lunar, and NEO service in various configurations. Afraid that's the longest range we had beyond the drawing boards.
You heard of Bigelow ?
While they have mentioned lunar habs and orbiting habs, I can't recall if they have mentioned anything about developing spacecraft. I would think that would take a bit more than strapping engines onto anthing they currently have designed. Do you know of one? I would really be interested in reading about it.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
rockett":3tlaqnzm said:
EarthlingX":3tlaqnzm said:
rockett":3tlaqnzm said:
At this point ANYTHING that can get beyond LEO :?
Orion was a baseline design intended for LEO, lunar, and NEO service in various configurations. Afraid that's the longest range we had beyond the drawing boards.
You heard of Bigelow ?
While they have mentioned lunar habs and orbiting habs, I can't recall if they have mentioned anything about developing spacecraft. I would think that would take a bit more than strapping engines onto anything they currently have designed. Do you know of one? I would really be interested in reading about it.
How about attaching it to one of the upper stages, if you can't think of anything better ? They are designed with a function of being space tug in the mind, restartable engines and such, would need just more fuel. You heard of fuel depots, i suppose ? Not exactly new idea, either.
 
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rockett

Guest
EarthlingX":1wd949hl said:
How about attaching it to one of the upper stages, if you can't think of anything better ? They are designed with a function of being space tug in the mind, restartable engines and such, would need just more fuel. You heard of fuel depots, i suppose ? Not exactly new idea, either.
That's true, I just wondered if you had run across something more concrete.

I actually made this suggestion myself once, when someone on another thread criticized Buzz Aldrin's XM proposal. It involves using the space hab that was built for the ISS and never launched. They said that the space hab would probably be unusable after so many years from being used by NASA for other purposes. My response was to use a Bigalow module in it's place.

As for the rest, I have also been a proponent of space tugs, fuel depots and so on, so we are in full agreement.

I believe that until we get past this business of hauling eveything up from the ground each and every time we are going somewhere, we will never get anywhere. The focus needs to be on purpose built, reusable spacecraft, constructed or assembled in orbit. It also needs to be on fuel depots, refueling in orbit, and associated technologies. Put the ISS to work as a construction shack. This is old tech also, that goes way back to the 50's and 60's with Wehner Von Braun, Willy Ley, and many others. The steps proposed back then were space station>build spacecraft for moon and elsewhere>exploration.

We are at the point we can do that now with the ISS in place, what we learned building it, and today's tech. We only have to work out a few of the pieces like fuel depots, what kind of fuel and engines, and refueling in orbit.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
I don't watch msnbc or fox, they are not exactly factual and i would not call either of them a reliable source of information, i saw too much facts skewing on both. Colbert report is better.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rNn_cUrlmE[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTotzOtUANw[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WeCUJHwaB0[/youtube]
 
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edkyle99

Guest
There is a problem with "commercial space". It hasn't worked.

Look at where the United States stands today with its unmanned spacecraft launched by "commercial space" companies, compared to how it stood during the 1970s and early 1980s when NASA launched all "commercial" satellites.

Today, the U.S. Air Force depends on two high-cost "EELV" systems, neither of which is competitive on the world commercial launch market. These rockets are so expensive that only the U.S. government can afford them, and even it has only been able to buy an average of less than four EELV launches per year (Delta 4 and Atlas 5 combined). The company that makes these EELVs (or at least that makes parts of them, since many major components are made in Europe, Russia, and Japan) has decided to phase out Delta 2, the last U.S. rocket that actually competed successfully on the world stage.

As for the other "commercial" players in the U.S. market? None exist for the EELV class or world-standard GTO comsat launch market. Orbital and SpaceX are working on mid-size rockets, but one is not really a "U.S." rocket and neither has yet flown. Once flown, it is far from clear that either will be able to compete on the world stage.

Compare this status with the 1970s-80s. Then the United States launched a majority of the world's commercial and civil space satellites, using Delta and Atlas, which together flew 20 or more times per year. The U.S. military depended on Titan, which by itself flew 5-9 orbital missions per year, and to a lesser degree Atlas and Thor.

The current U.S. plan is to now depend on "commercial" to provide cheap, reliable human access to space, just as it did with unmanned payloads after the loss of Challenger in 1986. No self-sustaining commercial launch industry developed. I will argue that the switch has in the long term harmed the U.S. launch industry and has not provided either savings or a substantial improvement in reliability.

- Ed Kyle
 
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RVHM

Guest
edkyle99":22f64vaj said:
Compare this status with the 1970s-80s. Then the United States launched a majority of the world's commercial and civil space satellites, using Delta and Atlas, which together flew 20 or more times per year. The U.S. military depended on Titan, which by itself flew 5-9 orbital missions per year, and to a lesser degree Atlas and Thor.
- Ed Kyle
I agree with your basic ideas, but in the 1970s the US had less competition.

*The first commercial Ariane didn't fly until 1981.
*Zenit, in 1985.
*Rokot, in 1990.
*Dnepr, in 1999.

Also, prior to the end of the Cold War, many Western countries sent their satellites on friendly US rockets instead of "enemy" Soviet rockets. Now, they can send them on cheaper Soyuz.
 
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edkyle99

Guest
RVHM":e9kaaimj said:
edkyle99":e9kaaimj said:
Compare this status with the 1970s-80s. Then the United States launched a majority of the world's commercial and civil space satellites, using Delta and Atlas, which together flew 20 or more times per year. The U.S. military depended on Titan, which by itself flew 5-9 orbital missions per year, and to a lesser degree Atlas and Thor.
- Ed Kyle
I agree with your basic ideas, but in the 1970s the US had less competition.

*The first commercial Ariane didn't fly until 1981.
*Zenit, in 1985.
*Rokot, in 1990.
*Dnepr, in 1999.

Also, prior to the end of the Cold War, many Western countries sent their satellites on friendly US rockets instead of "enemy" Soviet rockets. Now, they can send them on cheaper Soyuz
The principal players in the commercial comsat GTO market are Ariane 5, Proton, and to a lesser extent Zenit (lesser since the Sea Launch bankruptcy). Rokot, Dnepr, and the like fly smallsats and fly much less frequently than the GTO biggies.

It is useful to review how Proton and Zenit became players in the GTO business. U.S. companies, in large part, financed their entry! Lockheed Martin helped found and owned a substantial part of International Launch Services, which marketed Proton. Boeing did likewise with Sea Launch (except that it, unlike Lockheed Martin, was unable to sell out without losing its shirt). Both companies actively participated in entities that competed against the so-called "commercial" rockets that they themselves built!

I wonder if U.S. commercial launch companies would actually build U.S. rockets if left to their own devices. Lockheed Martin bought RD-180 for Atlas 5, putting a generation of U.S. propulsion engineers out of work. Large structures for Delta 4 and Atlas 5 come from Japan and Europe. Some worldwide content is unavoidable, but every generation of rocket contains less U.S. content. Orbital, for example, is creating a Russo-Ukrainian rocket topped by a U.S. upper stage - little more than what South Korea is doing with Russia providing the first stage of its KSLV rocket.

Whatever the cause, it seems clear to me that U.S. space launch industrial capacity and know-how is today a fraction of what it was even 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. SpaceX alone seems to remain as "keeper of the flame", but its future is far from certain.

- Ed Kyle
 
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DarkenedOne

Guest
edkyle99":3gej47me said:
The principal players in the commercial comsat GTO market are Ariane 5, Proton, and to a lesser extent Zenit (lesser since the Sea Launch bankruptcy). Rokot, Dnepr, and the like fly smallsats and fly much less frequently than the GTO biggies.

It is useful to review how Proton and Zenit became players in the GTO business. U.S. companies, in large part, financed their entry! Lockheed Martin helped found and owned a substantial part of International Launch Services, which marketed Proton. Boeing did likewise with Sea Launch (except that it, unlike Lockheed Martin, was unable to sell out without losing its shirt). Both companies actively participated in entities that competed against the so-called "commercial" rockets that they themselves built!

I wonder if U.S. commercial launch companies would actually build U.S. rockets if left to their own devices. Lockheed Martin bought RD-180 for Atlas 5, putting a generation of U.S. propulsion engineers out of work. Large structures for Delta 4 and Atlas 5 come from Japan and Europe. Some worldwide content is unavoidable, but every generation of rocket contains less U.S. content. Orbital, for example, is creating a Russo-Ukrainian rocket topped by a U.S. upper stage - little more than what South Korea is doing with Russia providing the first stage of its KSLV rocket.

Whatever the cause, it seems clear to me that U.S. space launch industrial capacity and know-how is today a fraction of what it was even 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. SpaceX alone seems to remain as "keeper of the flame", but its future is far from certain.

- Ed Kyle
Well I think there are a number of reasons for that.

First of all there is just not that much money in the launch business. According to a recent report I saw on commercial space launch services accounted for around 3% of the global space economy.

A second reason is the high development cost, high regulations, and high risk inherent in the launch business. This leads companies to just

A third reason is simply oversupply. Many launchers are under significantly undercapacity. The Atlas and Delta were designed for twice the fly rate they are now putting out.
 
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DarkenedOne

Guest
edkyle99":3gjipv93 said:
There is a problem with "commercial space". It hasn't worked.

Look at where the United States stands today with its unmanned spacecraft launched by "commercial space" companies, compared to how it stood during the 1970s and early 1980s when NASA launched all "commercial" satellites.

Today, the U.S. Air Force depends on two high-cost "EELV" systems, neither of which is competitive on the world commercial launch market. These rockets are so expensive that only the U.S. government can afford them, and even it has only been able to buy an average of less than four EELV launches per year (Delta 4 and Atlas 5 combined). The company that makes these EELVs (or at least that makes parts of them, since many major components are made in Europe, Russia, and Japan) has decided to phase out Delta 2, the last U.S. rocket that actually competed successfully on the world stage.

As for the other "commercial" players in the U.S. market? None exist for the EELV class or world-standard GTO comsat launch market. Orbital and SpaceX are working on mid-size rockets, but one is not really a "U.S." rocket and neither has yet flown. Once flown, it is far from clear that either will be able to compete on the world stage.

Compare this status with the 1970s-80s. Then the United States launched a majority of the world's commercial and civil space satellites, using Delta and Atlas, which together flew 20 or more times per year. The U.S. military depended on Titan, which by itself flew 5-9 orbital missions per year, and to a lesser degree Atlas and Thor.

The current U.S. plan is to now depend on "commercial" to provide cheap, reliable human access to space, just as it did with unmanned payloads after the loss of Challenger in 1986. No self-sustaining commercial launch industry developed. I will argue that the switch has in the long term harmed the U.S. launch industry and has not provided either savings or a substantial improvement in reliability.

- Ed Kyle
There are a number of problems with your analysis.

First of all you make your analysis of the current launch vehicles are simply incorrect. 8 of the 20 Atlas V payloads were commercial, thus indicating that they are commercially viable. There are also several more commercial payloads planned for the Atlas V in the years to come. The US also has far more launch vehicles currently operational than any other country. The US still amounts to over 30 percent of all launches world wide.

Second of all it is simply not logical to base your judgement on the share of launches. Back in the 1970-80s the US's only real competition came from the Soviet Union. Today there are 9 launch capable countries with far more commercial launchers on the market. The share of launches was going to decrease no matter how good our launchers are.

With regards to the decision to turn to commercial launchers one must compare it to the government launchers they would replace. In NASA's case it would be the space shuttle. The space shuttle averages somewhere around $1.2 billion per flight. That is completely impractical for practically all commercial purposes. It is also why the shuttle as a commercial venture has failed. By contrast the Delta 4 and the Atlas V can move even greater unmanned payloads into orbit for around $250 million. The only use the Shuttle has is for manned payloads, but even for that the Russians and the Chinese can do the same for far cheaper. So as much as you want to complain about the US launchers not being competitive understand that had we stuck with the shuttle there would be no commercial launches at all.

Lastly the biggest problem with your analysis is your focus on launchers. Launchers are only the means to get satellites in to space. It is the satellites themselves that provide value. The launchers only make up a small percent of the commercial space industry by revenue. Much more money is made by the satellite manufacturers and the satellite service providers. All these services such as satellite imagery you find on goggle, satellite phones, satellite TV, satellite radio are provided by commercial companies. Together all of these services account for tens of billions a year.

The same goes for unmanned space flight. Now maybe your just fine with sending a few government scientists to these various destinations every once and a while. In that case your probably fine with a lack of practical manned commercial launchers. However if you ever want manned space flight to become something more than just a mere scientific curiosity than having over priced government launchers is not such a good idea. In order for industries such as space tourism and private space stations to develop there need to be practical commercial manned vehicles.
 
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edkyle99

Guest
DarkenedOne":7sqgljyo said:
edkyle99":7sqgljyo said:
There is a problem with "commercial space". It hasn't worked.....
There are a number of problems with your analysis.

First of all you make your analysis of the current launch vehicles are simply incorrect. 8 of the 20 Atlas V payloads were commercial, thus indicating that they are commercially viable.
Six of those eight flew before or during 2006. Only two of the last 12 Atlas 5 flights have hauled commercial comsats. Current plans call for very small numbers of such missions.
The US also has far more launch vehicles currently operational than any other country. The US still amounts to over 30 percent of all launches world wide.
This is soon to change. Delta 2 and Shuttle account for a majority of U.S. orbital launches. Both will be gone within a few months. Taking away those two from last year's totals leaves only 11 U.S. launches out of a total of 65 (after removing the 13 Delta 2 and Shuttle flights) for only 17% of the world total.
Second of all it is simply not logical to base your judgement on the share of launches. Back in the 1970-80s the US's only real competition came from the Soviet Union. Today there are 9 launch capable countries with far more commercial launchers on the market. The share of launches was going to decrease no matter how good our launchers are.
Perhaps, but U.S. capabilities did not have to decline as a result. They have, and the decline may yet continue. There is reportedly talk in the White House of dropping one of the two EELVs.

- Ed Kyle
 
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job1207

Guest
Musk puts a perspective on the numbers.

http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20100415

"The Apollo Moon landing was one of humanity's greatest achievements. Millennia from now, when the vast majority of the 20th century is reduced to a few footnotes known only to erudite scholars of history, they will still remember that was when we first set foot upon a heavenly body. It was a mere 66 years after the first powered airplane flight by the Wright brothers.

In the 41 years that have passed since 1969, we have yet to surpass that achievement in human spaceflight. Since then, our capability has actually declined considerably and to a degree that would yield shocked disbelief from anyone in that era. By now, we were supposed to have a base on the Moon, perhaps even on Mars, and have sent humans traveling on great odysseys to the outer planets. Instead, we have been confined to low Earth orbit and even that ends this yea
Musk puts a perspective on the numbers. r with the retirement of the Space Shuttle.

In 2003, following the Columbia accident, President Bush began development of a system to replace the Shuttle, called the Ares I rocket and Orion spacecraft. It is important to note that this too would only have been able to reach low Earth orbit. Many in the media mistakenly assumed it was capable of reaching the Moon. As is not unusual with large government programs, the schedule slipped by several years and costs ballooned by tens of billions.

By the time President Obama cancelled Ares I/Orion earlier this year, the schedule had already slipped five years to 2017 and completing development would have required another $50 billion. Moreover, the cost per flight, inclusive of overhead, was estimated to be at least $1.5 billion compared to the $1 billion of Shuttle, despite carrying only four people to Shuttle's seven and almost no cargo.

The President quite reasonably concluded that spending $50 billion to develop a vehicle that would cost 50% more to operate, but carry 50% less payload was perhaps not the best possible use of funds. To quote a member of the Augustine Commission, which was convened by the President to analyze Ares/Orion, “If Santa Claus brought us the system tomorrow, fully developed, and the budget didn't change, our next action would have to be to cancel it,” because we can't afford the annual operating costs.

Cancellation was therefore simply a matter of time and thankfully we have a president with the political courage to do the right thing sooner rather than later. We can ill afford the expense of an “Apollo on steroids”, as a former NASA Administrator referred to the Ares/Orion program. A lesser President might have waited until after the upcoming election cycle, not caring that billions more dollars would be wasted. It was disappointing to see how many in Congress did not possess this courage. One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!

Thankfully, as a result of funds freed up by this cancellation, there is now hope for a bright future in space exploration. The new plan is to harness our nation's unparalleled system of free enterprise (as we have done in all other modes of transport), to create far more reliable and affordable rockets. Handing over Earth orbit transport to American commercial companies, overseen of course by NASA and the FAA, will free up the NASA resources necessary to develop interplanetary transport technologies. This is critically important if we are to reach Mars, the next giant leap in human exploration of the Universe.

Today, the President will articulate an ambitious and exciting new plan that will alter our destiny as a species. I believe this address could be as important as President Kennedy's 1962 speech at Rice University. For the first time since Apollo, our country will have a plan for space exploration that inspires and excites all who look to the stars. Even more important, it will work.

–Elon–"


"
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
edkyle99":31fhef4i said:
Perhaps, but U.S. capabilities did not have to decline as a result. They have, and the decline may yet continue. There is reportedly talk in the White House of dropping one of the two EELVs.
Obama's plan will enhance US spacefaring capability. Not US Government spacefaring capability, since, at this time, the US Government does not have a significant need for manned space. But USA spacefaring capability will be enhanced.

The majority of US Flagged seagoing ships are merchant vessels, not US Navy, such as the
MV Baffin Strait, a cargo carrier.`

Note that from 1790 to 1797, there was no US Navy, but there were US Flagged ships. Merchant vessels, like the MV Baffin Strait. Were we not a seafaring country from 1790 to 1797???

--Brian
 
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job1207

Guest
bumping for comment by the space industry on the Musk comments about overall cost, and what not.
 
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edkyle99

Guest
neutrino78x":7wr06oe3 said:
edkyle99":7wr06oe3 said:
Perhaps, but U.S. capabilities did not have to decline as a result. They have, and the decline may yet continue. There is reportedly talk in the White House of dropping one of the two EELVs.
Obama's plan will enhance US spacefaring capability. Not US Government spacefaring capability, since, at this time, the US Government does not have a significant need for manned space. But USA spacefaring capability will be enhanced.

The majority of US Flagged seagoing ships are merchant vessels, not US Navy, such as the
MV Baffin Strait, a cargo carrier.`

Note that from 1790 to 1797, there was no US Navy, but there were US Flagged ships. Merchant vessels, like the MV Baffin Strait. Were we not a seafaring country from 1790 to 1797???

--Brian
The merchant marine example would be apt if there were trade in space, but with the exception of the ISS outpost and a few commercial comsats launched each year there is no cargo to haul, no ports on which to call. There is no self-sustaining commercial transport market for space and one will not exist for many decades, if not centuries.

I would like to believe that Obama's plan will strengthen U.S. capability, but, as I previously described, history suggests otherwise.

- Ed Kyle
 
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edkyle99

Guest
job1207":b6qisorl said:
Musk puts a perspective on the numbers.

http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20100415
... thankfully we have a president with the political courage to do the right thing sooner rather than later. We can ill afford the expense of an “Apollo on steroids”, as a former NASA Administrator referred to the Ares/Orion program. A lesser President might have waited until after the upcoming election cycle, not caring that billions more dollars would be wasted. It was disappointing to see how many in Congress did not possess this courage. One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!
"
In my opinion, it is very bad form for a government contractor to speak ill of any politician. It makes enemies among those who control budgets. Musk has, unfortunately, chosen political sides with this statement. The senator he mentioned may not be in the majority now, but he (or she) could be one day in the not-too-distant future. When that day comes, Musk, if he is still in business, will be on his or her "list" - just as ATK appears to have been on Obama's "list".

- Ed Kyle
 
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