Obama withdraws funding for constellation

Page 14 - Seeking answers about space? Join the Space community: the premier source of space exploration, innovation, and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier.
Status
Not open for further replies.
E

EarthlingX

Guest
edkyle99":3pr0c4ib said:
If stuck in LEO is good enough for you, that's O.K.. Reasonable people differ. It isn't good enough for me.

- Ed kyle
Why stuck in LEO with no heavy lift ? And where exactly does it start, being a heavy lift ? at 20t ? 50 ? 100 ?

Reason for a heavy lift in USA, as i see it, is preserving the knowledge and experience of people who worked on the program, some of them into second, perhaps third generation, facilities and equipment that might be used and remaining inventory, if it is usable.
If heavy lift comes out as evolutionary result of the Shuttle program, while cleaning the inventory of stuff that would end i don't know where, great. If it is something completely new, and i'm not talking RS-68B, than much less so.

Anything above SDLV is dreaming in colours, making noise. I prefer watching Colbert report, he's at least funny.

Russians have different problems with Angara, but i think it will walk, as engines are already successfully flight tested, and i think they will sell and test more.
 
R

RVHM

Guest
Angara is just an over-sized Proton. It's never going to do any good to manned spaceflight.
 
E

edkyle99

Guest
EarthlingX":bxsj9jhx said:
edkyle99":bxsj9jhx said:
If stuck in LEO is good enough for you, that's O.K.. Reasonable people differ. It isn't good enough for me.

- Ed kyle
Why stuck in LEO with no heavy lift ? And where exactly does it start, being a heavy lift ? at 20t ? 50 ? 100 ?
Stuck in LEO not due to launch vehicle choice (beyond LEO is theoretically possible using existing rockets combined with rendezvous/propellant transfer methods), but due to the decision to buy only the smaller LEO ISS space taxi. It can't do beyond LEO. Not enough Delta-V.

- Ed Kyle
 
N

neutrino78x

Guest
edkyle99":3nse21sn said:
Stuck in LEO not due to launch vehicle choice (beyond LEO is theoretically possible using existing rockets combined with rendezvous/propellant transfer methods), but due to the decision to buy only the smaller LEO ISS space taxi. It can't do beyond LEO. Not enough Delta-V.

- Ed Kyle
Sure it can. You launch your habitat module, in which the astronauts will live on the way to Mars. Then, you launch your Earth Departure Module, that is to say, the rocket and fuel which will propel the habitat module to Mars. This docks automatically to the habitat module. Then, you launch your "space taxi" with the humans on it. You dock to the habitat module, the humans go in, the space taxi goes back to Earth. If you don't want to develop a habitat module, you can always dock two or three of the space taxis together to make something more suitable for "deep space." You will still have to develop aerobrake modules and some kind of module which allows the space taxi to land on Mars.

That's the "Mars for Less" method. Same as Mars Direct, except it uses "light lift" commercial rockets, which already exist.

Having said all that, I do agree that Orion is probably the only aspect of the Constellation program worth keeping....although Dragon probably does much the same thing. Ares I is definitely not needed, as it duplicates what is already available from industry.

--Brian
 
E

edkyle99

Guest
neutrino78x":3w0lxmaw said:
edkyle99":3w0lxmaw said:
Stuck in LEO not due to launch vehicle choice (beyond LEO is theoretically possible using existing rockets combined with rendezvous/propellant transfer methods), but due to the decision to buy only the smaller LEO ISS space taxi. It can't do beyond LEO. Not enough Delta-V.

- Ed Kyle
Sure it can. You launch your habitat module, in which the astronauts will live on the way to Mars. Then, you launch your Earth Departure Module, that is to say, the rocket and fuel which will propel the habitat module to Mars. This docks automatically to the habitat module. Then, you launch your "space taxi" with the humans on it. You dock to the habitat module, the humans go in, the space taxi goes back to Earth. ...
So in order to make Space Taxi work, all you have to do is develop *another spacecraft*! Why not just develop one? That would have been Orion.

- Ed Kyle
 
P

pathfinder_01

Guest
edkyle99":1venq82c said:
So in order to make Space Taxi work, all you have to do is develop *another spacecraft*! Why not just develop one? That would have been Orion.

- Ed Kyle
In theory it could be more efficient, although it might cost more upfront. Your LEO departure craft could be roomier than a cramp capsule and wont need as much propellant if it isn't lugging all the propellant for the entire mission at the start of the mission. The craft could be reusable\refurbish able if it does not have to come back to earth(the big question is the engine..how many times can it be safely used?)

The Apollo CM weighted about 30 mt. If you could cut that mass in 1/2 or even a 1/3 you now only need to move 10-20mt to Lunar injection. You need 1/3 to 1/2 the propellant that Apollo needed while gaining more interior space(which could be used for storage). Now you only need 40-60 tons of lox\loh to get one way to the moon.

Now put 40-60 tons of lox\loh on the other end you can reuse your lunar transfer craft.

Additionally you could move an earth return vehicle separately from your lunar transfer craft(IF you have tugs(esp. electric ones). Send the BEO capable capsule ahead unmanned via the tug(it can take a slow trip). Launch to LEO on a BEO capable capsule. Transfer to the lunar transfer craft, send your capsule on a tug for the next crew. Go to the moon\l point, Transfer back to an BEO capsule at the end. Send the lunar transfer craft back to LEO for refueling\restocking\removing larger items. Again you gain reuse, but this time perhaps not needing as much proplent at\near the moon.

Finally although it costs more up front, it could possibly be cheaper to sustain(than just having a long mission and carrying everything all at once) and give more bang for the buck. Now instead of pushing a tiny capsule all the way to the moon, your heavy lift (or multiple launchers) is just putting up fuel in LEO while other craft are taking it where it is needed.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
pathfinder_01":1p65cmx5 said:
edkyle99":1p65cmx5 said:
So in order to make Space Taxi work, all you have to do is develop *another spacecraft*! Why not just develop one? That would have been Orion.

- Ed Kyle
In theory it could be more efficient, although it might cost more upfront. Your LEO departure craft could be roomier than a cramp capsule and wont need as much propellant if it isn't lugging all the propellant for the entire mission at the start of the mission. The craft could be reusable\refurbish able if it does not have to come back to earth(the big question is the engine..how many times can it be safely used?)

The Apollo CM weighted about 30 mt. If you could cut that mass in 1/2 or even a 1/3 you now only need to move 10-20mt to Lunar injection. You need 1/3 to 1/2 the propellant that Apollo needed while gaining more interior space(which could be used for storage). Now you only need 40-60 tons of lox\loh to get one way to the moon.

Now put 40-60 tons of lox\loh on the other end you can reuse your lunar transfer craft.

Additionally you could move an earth return vehicle separately from your lunar transfer craft(IF you have tugs(esp. electric ones). Send the BEO capable capsule ahead unmanned via the tug(it can take a slow trip). Launch to LEO on a BEO capable capsule. Transfer to the lunar transfer craft, send your capsule on a tug for the next crew. Go to the moon\l point, Transfer back to an BEO capsule at the end. Send the lunar transfer craft back to LEO for refueling\restocking\removing larger items. Again you gain reuse, but this time perhaps not needing as much proplent at\near the moon.

Finally although it costs more up front, it could possibly be cheaper to sustain(than just having a long mission and carrying everything all at once) and give more bang for the buck. Now instead of pushing a tiny capsule all the way to the moon, your heavy lift (or multiple launchers) is just putting up fuel in LEO while other craft are taking it where it is needed.
This way you get specialized vehicles, optimized for own tasks, reusable, and with standards, independent from supplier.
 
E

edkyle99

Guest
pathfinder_01":7ccqhskt said:
edkyle99":7ccqhskt said:
The Apollo CM weighted about 30 mt. If you could cut that mass in 1/2 or even a 1/3 you now only need to move 10-20mt to Lunar injection. You need 1/3 to 1/2 the propellant that Apollo needed while gaining more interior space(which could be used for storage). Now you only need 40-60 tons of lox\loh to get one way to the moon.
The Saturn V Apollo *CSM* weighed about 30 tonnes for lunar missions. The *CM* only weighed 5.8 tonnes. About 18.5 tonnes of the total CSM mass (nearly 62% of the total) was propellant. That propellant provided enough delta-v to do a lunar insertion burn and a trans-Earth injection burn, in addition to providing for LM rendezvous/docking and various course adjustment and lunar orbit shifting maneuvers as required.

If this spacecraft were built new today, it might be possible to shave a few tens of kilograms off of the vehicle dry mass, but the total mass would not change substantially. No one to my knowledge is proposing using liquid hydrogen/LOX for crew spacecraft propellant. The standard is still hypergolic N2O4/UDMH or something similar, as it was for Apollo.

One way to reduce spacecraft weight would be to reassign propulsion requirements. Build, in other words, a common spacecraft that could attach to a mission-specific propulsion module. The propulsion module would not be a "Service Module" as for Apollo, but a real "stage" that would just perform a propulsion burn or two. ULA proposed using an ACES stage in this manner. The SM life support equipment would be housed either in the capsule portion of the spacecraft or in a smaller attached life support module. That provides an opportunity to use LH2/LOX for the propulsion module, which would result in less total mass being needed for a given mission.

Orion, of course, would have weighed only 25 tonnes or so because the lunar insertion burn task had been assigned to Altair's LH2/LOX descent stage. The lunar program didn't end this year, but last year when NASA de-funded Altair development, because Orion would not be able to orbit the Moon without Altair.

- Ed Kyle
 
P

pathfinder_01

Guest
edkyle99":1ma0tg3y said:
One way to reduce spacecraft weight would be to reassign propulsion requirements. Build, in other words, a common spacecraft that could attach to a mission-specific propulsion module. The propulsion module would not be a "Service Module" as for Apollo, but a real "stage" that would just perform a propulsion burn or two. ULA proposed using an ACES stage in this manner. The SM life support equipment would be housed either in the capsule portion of the spacecraft or in a smaller attached life support module. That provides an opportunity to use LH2/LOX for the propulsion module, which would result in less total mass being needed for a given mission.

- Ed Kyle
Reassigning propulsion requirement was I was thinking about. The lunar transfer vehicle would be more like the third stage of the Saturn V but instead of a fully fueled CM+LM, it would be pushing a habitat. Remember the third stage also achieved a speed that would take it to the moon (it simply lacked the propellant to slow into orbit or leave). In this case the question is why waste it? That third stage moved itself plus 30MT of CM and 14MT of lunar module to the speed needed to get near the moon. Imagine how much smaller it could be if it was not pushing 44 tons of dead weight.

There are ISS modules that weigh about 23 tons so I can imagine that the hab module of the craft might mass about 10(or less). It would be one craft whose sole job was to take the crew from LEO to depot (probably located at an L point.). It would be for in space use only. It only and would lack a heat shield and other systems needed for landing. However it would have solar panels, life-support, ect. So long as you keep the mass of these additional systems lower than the mass of Apollo’s CM you should need less propellant to do the job. Yes you do need to figure out how to store cryogenic propellants long term, but even if you go hypergolic the masses needed should be manageable.

It would not carry propellant for trans earth injection, and if I operate out of an L point it might not need to carry propellant for lunar orbit insertion or to break out of lunar orbit. It just needs enough propellant to get to the depot. Propellant for earth return will either be supplied at the depot or by a tug pushing the empty stage back to LEO and with the crew leaving on an earth return vehicle.

It would contain all the fuel needed to get to a depot located near the moon (Lagrange point most likely). At the L point, I could either transfer to another craft or refuel this craft for the next mission (going to\from the moon). Fuel for the depot is moved via tugs\tankers on slow trajectories. If electric propulsion works it would be a boon. Only the crew needs to move on faster trajectories.

The total mass is greater, but you gain new abilities:

Your lunar transfer craft is freed from requirements for launch and landing.

Your lunar transfer craft could have an airlock and robot arm (or leave them behind at the L point to save mass for the return trip).

Your lunar transfer craft could have an ISS style life support system.

Your lunar transfer craft could have additional radiation shielding.

Apollo was made with certain assumptions some of them may no longer hold true. It was made to beat the commies to the moon. Not be sustainable. It was made before a space station had ever been orbited. I was reading the blog of a guy working on Orion, and it was enlightening. It wasn’t so much that Orion wouldn’t work (it would), but trying to fit 21st century requirements\ expectations into 1960ies technology might not be smart. We have changed and some of the ways we do things need to change as well.

For instance if you have a depot, you are a lot less tied down by launch windows and bad weather. If you break from the Apollo shape, you may find a more ideal form for your mission. In his case he was complaining about having a washroom in the crew cabin of Orion. Adding people and adding mass got rid of one of the handy things about space capsules (ability to do a survivable ballistic reentry from LEO) and required bigger parachutes (which are more prone to fail). If they put the potty in an expendable module like Soyuz, that would have saved mass on the landing system and volume in the cabin.
 
N

nimbus

Guest
Saw at NSF someone point out that it's not South Park but some other show, and the assertion wasn't contested.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
If stuck in LEO is good enough for you, that's O.K.. Reasonable people differ. It isn't good enough for me.
- Ed kyle

If you want to go to the moon and have $150 billion in personal wealth to spend on the trip, you are free to do so. In reality, no one who actually has that much money would spend it on the trip, including the US taxpayers. That's why Nixon canceled Apollo in 1974. So if you really want to go, you first have to reduce the cost by a factor of at least 100.

Mike Griffin and the others who proposed Constellation never considered cost or practical value. They had motivations that were incredibly superficial for something of this scope, and not open to debate. They wanted to spend $150 billion in tax dollars essentially because they were bored. They remembered Apollo through some sort of nostalgic haze, and were too lazy to even study the history of NASA and learn why Apollo was canceled. It is said that those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. Constellation is a case in point.

The maximum market value of a flight to LEO is currently about $20 million, and only about one seat per year was ever sold at that price. At least 100 people are willing to pay Virgin $200K for a suborbital flight. So the market is highly sensitive to cost. Even flight to the moon has real value. But Constellation was always a dead end because its cost exceeded this value by orders of magnitude. It had no chance at all to ever succeed, and it has no chance now. The billions still to be poured into Constellation will be wasted, and should be stopped immediately.

But there's no reason spaceflight has to be expensive, even with rocket propulsion. LOX is 60 cents a gallon at LC-39; the energy that puts the Shuttle's wings and landing gear in orbit costs almost nothing. Most of the cost is in building a new vehicle for each trip. So only fully reusable launch vehicles have any chance of reducing the cost of human spaceflight to an affordable level. That was why we built the Shuttle.

Obviously it was more expensive than predicted, but it was the very first attempt, and has provided a wealth of knowledge that could make a next-generation shuttle less expensive, safer, and more practical. But the people who have that knowledge, mainly the USA technicians and engineers who actually put their hands on the Shuttle, are about to be fired and dispersed forever in order to pay for Constellation.

And in a bizarre twist, Constellation, bereft of any meaningful mission, is now being promoted as a meaningless jobs program, the "only" way to save jobs for a few of those who will be fired when Shuttle is shut down, even though there is no reason to shut down Shuttle, which is doing something useful, except to pay for Constellation, which would carry a tiny fraction of the people and cargo into orbit that the Shuttle can even if it worked.
How could NASA make such an obviously wrong decision on such a huge scale? Partly it's the lack of any forum within NASA for honest debate about strategic goals. This leaves the NASA administrator surrounded by people who will not question his decisions. To my knowledge there is no forum within NASA where these questions can be openly debated in any meaningful way.

Finally, I don't believe it is correct to lump all NASA in one pile and all industry in another. There are major contrasts between different programs. At one time there were serious problems in Shuttle, but today the Shuttle contractors demonstrate experience and judgment and the NASA management seems willing to listen to them. After all these years, the Shuttle program is finally working as we had always hoped it would. Now management is going to kill it because they are not willing to admit that they might have made a mistake.
 
R

rockett

Guest
vulture4":1j18zdxj said:
Finally, I don't believe it is correct to lump all NASA in one pile and all industry in another. There are major contrasts between different programs. At one time there were serious problems in Shuttle, but today the Shuttle contractors demonstrate experience and judgment and the NASA management seems willing to listen to them. After all these years, the Shuttle program is finally working as we had always hoped it would. Now management is going to kill it because they are not willing to admit that they might have made a mistake.
And "management" is the politicians. Ultimately, Congress will decide the shuttle's fate (by law), not the President (though he can make things difficult via "his" Administrator). Bolden has said bluntly in interviews that the Pres is his boss, and he is following orders.

It's all about their (the politicians) priorities. They will do what they think will get them re-elected, and the only way to change that is a grass roots effort to tell them that the shuttle is important enough to keep flying. Support for the original STS mission would do that. We would need to remind them that the shuttle is the LEO stepping stone to the rest of the solar system via in-space construction of deep space exploration craft.

But at this point, it would be 2-3 years just to get the shuttle back in the air on a regular basis. Too much has been dismantled already.
 
N

neutrino78x

Guest
rockett":3he2p0pz said:
They will do what they think will get them re-elected, and the only way to change that is a grass roots effort to tell them that the shuttle is important enough to keep flying.
I do not agree that the shuttle is important. The shuttle is an obsolete platform, and the future is in private space launch.

See SpaceX's recent successful launch. They did that with a total staff of, what, fewer than 1,000 people? How many people are involved in the space shuttle???

We would need to remind them that the shuttle is the LEO stepping stone to the rest of the solar system via in-space construction of deep space exploration craft.
In 1985 that would be true, but this is 2010, and SpaceX et al is "the LEO stepping stone".

But at this point, it would be 2-3 years just to get the shuttle back in the air on a regular basis. Too much has been dismantled already.
I agree with this.

--Brian
 
R

rockett

Guest
neutrino78x":3pom1rlk said:
In 1985 that would be true, but this is 2010, and SpaceX et al is "the LEO stepping stone".
...and Falcon 9 has lofted how many astronauts and how much real cargo? While I applaud SpaceX's successful launch, a single launch does not make a reliable platform for HSF. There is much to be proven yet and much to be developed. Even Elon Musk realizes and acknowledges that much, and the years ahead to do it. In the meantime, the US still has only one reliable human rated spacecraft. Keep it flying until the new kids on the block catch up.
 
N

neutrino78x

Guest
rockett":2p505gxp said:
neutrino78x":2p505gxp said:
In 1985 that would be true, but this is 2010, and SpaceX et al is "the LEO stepping stone".
...and Falcon 9 has lofted how many astronauts and how much real cargo?
Everybody has to start somewhere. Look how much they have accomplished with only 1000 people. Again, how many people are needed to operate the Space Shuttle???

In the meantime, the US still has only one reliable human rated spacecraft.
The Shuttle is reliable? Columbia? As far as human rating, NASA should make it as fast a process as possible, given that their safety standards are being met. NASA should try and get as many rockets human rated as they can, including the expendable rockets.

Keep it flying until the new kids on the block catch up.
It is a deathtrap, get rid of it and let private enterprise take over. There will be a time when we need spaceships that say "US NAVY" on them, but not yet. Right now is the time for private enterprise to exploit space, and the government should support it.

--Brian
 
R

rockett

Guest
neutrino78x":32zpj1iv said:
Everybody has to start somewhere. Look how much they have accomplished with only 1000 people. Again, how many people are needed to operate the Space Shuttle???
I don't disagree that NASA is bloated as a whole, that seems to be endemic to all government agencies. In defense of the shuttle team however, it is a highly complex system. Early in the space program, you would find similar numbers to SpaceX involved in the early launches.
neutrino78x":32zpj1iv said:
The Shuttle is reliable? Columbia? As far as human rating, NASA should make it as fast a process as possible, given that their safety standards are being met. NASA should try and get as many rockets human rated as they can, including the expendable rockets.
Actually it is. It's safety rating is far higher than just about any other in the world. This is because it has evolved to be more safe as time has gone on. We learned from both Challenger and Columbia, and made changes to eliminate and prevent those problems. You seem to assume that the shuttle has been static all these years, when it has actually been evolving and uprated.

As to man-rating other rockets, since you brought Columbia up, caution and care is needed. Cut corners and you will have worse. Man-rating also requires successful launches, lots of them. So I would answer to that, that the private companies need to get as many birds in the air as fast as they can. Launch rate is not a NASA issue, but the private company's.
neutrino78x":32zpj1iv said:
It is a deathtrap, get rid of it and let private enterprise take over. There will be a time when we need spaceships that say "US NAVY" on them, but not yet. Right now is the time for private enterprise to exploit space, and the government should support it.
Frankly "death trap" is rather extremist more than a little unfair, and is far from the case. With the improvements made after Columbia, the shuttles could easily fly through 2020. The service lifetimes of the airframes is 100 flights, so that overall they are only at about one third of their service lifetimes.

Finally, if private enterprise wanted to exploit space, they've had 50 years to do it. Why haven't they done it already? You say the "government should support it". In case you haven't understood this yet, the White House has made it very clear that it is not a priority, and they want someone else (or another administration) to do it, if it gets done at all. 6 billion across 5 years, spread across multiple companies (4 or 5 I think), is a drop in the bucket for a serious program.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
The Shuttle is flying safely and efficiently, and could certainly continue to do so until 2020.
 
M

MeteorWayne

Guest
Except no parts or ability to manufacture them exist to do that....
 
R

rockett

Guest
MeteorWayne":3bsdu17e said:
Except no parts or ability to manufacture them exist to do that....
Very true. But has anyone looked at the idea of what it would take to bring it back online vs new vehicle development time? Bet it would still be faster.

Problem is, there is a lot of confusion out there about what the "new vehicle" should be, let alone the design. Consequently we are looking at a much longer "space gap" than anyone would ever have believed.

If we did ramp it back up, we would still have the space capability to move forward with the original STS plan:
shuttle+orbital_construction_shack+fuel_depot+translunar/interplanetary_craft

All that could continue to move forward while the collective head scratching is going on...
 
V

vulture4

Guest
MeteorWayne":2szb2ead said:
Except no parts or ability to manufacture them exist to do that....
The only reason spares are running out is that under Mike Griffin NASA stopped ordering them. I have frequently heard that "parts can no longer be made", however I have yet to see just one statement from an actual Shuttle supply contractor that it was unable to make even one Shuttle part if such a component were ordered. I have to wonder if this is actually true or simply a rationale generated to support canceling Shuttle. I have seen stories from Constellation managers asserting that many Shuttle suppliers were "mom and pop" manufacturers that were just doing it as a favor to NASA and had already gone out of business and disappeared. Maybe so, but where is the evidence? Similar stories that ET tooling had been destroyed were denied by representatives from MAF. I honestly have an open mind on this question; if you have information from actual Shuttle suppliers that they can or will no longer resume production even if it is requested I'd be interested to hear it.
 
S

sftommy

Guest
If Congress mandated funding for additional shuttle launches would Bolden actually direct the money appropriately?
 
S

steve82

Guest
sftommy":13d6k1zj said:
If Congress mandated funding for additional shuttle launches would Bolden actually direct the money appropriately?
Only with Lori Garver's permission.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY