Obama withdraws funding for constellation

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gonzoprototype

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Re: HLV Plans?

Salbacka":29rmbh2w said:
It is tough to get anywhere when you have multiple drivers and they all want to go different places. Lets kick out the politicians and let NASA do the driving. That worked for Mercury-Apollo; we gave them a destination and they got there.

We gave them more than a destination. We gave them roughly 4% of our national GDP. A comical, ridiculous, criminally insane number. If we gave them 4% today, it would be something like....$500 billion dollars?! Is that right? Sweet fancy Moses, perhaps Apollo was actually a failure.
 
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Gravity_Ray

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Just finished reading the new budget. I like it.

There will be a budget increase for NASA (not as much as some people wanted, but in these hard economic times its better than many in the government are getting).

Gets rid of Constellation program and Ares I which not only wasn’t going to get to the Moon by 2020 but probably would not have got to the ISS before it was de-orbited. Furthermore it was competing with the private industry which made no sense at all.

Extends the life of the ISS so that some actual science can take place now that it is going to get finished, rather than finishing a construction site and then burning it up.

Fully funds all the science missions in the pipe line. Something the constellation program never did.

Plans to engage Private industry to take over the work to get freight and later people to LEO, and possibly beyond. Go SpaceX we are behind you 100%.

Plans to move ahead with heavy lift capabilities (I still hope for man rating a Delta IV heavy), but I'll take Direct, ULA, or Atlas.

More robotics missions (this is one of the best things in the plan).


Very good. I give it a B+ (If there was more money I would have given it an A)
 
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menellom

Guest
Gravity_Ray":1x1i13q1 said:
Plans to move ahead with heavy lift capabilities (I still hope for man rating a Delta IV heavy), but I'll take Direct, ULA, or Atlas.
I dunno, I thought they could have been clearer on that section, I'm still a little fuzzy on the details. It's hard to tell if they're considering actually starting on one of those plans (Delta IV Heavy, Direct, etc) or if they're planning on doing R&D on heavy lift for several years, then starting development of the craft itself.


Gravity_Ray":1x1i13q1 said:
Very good. I give it a B+ (If there was more money I would have given it an A)
I have mixed feelings about some of it, but for the most part I think it's good news. I'm especially glad since I'm currently considering going back to school to get a second degree in science and continue my studies - maybe even get a job in the space industry. That NASA will now be launching a lot of serious propulsion, robotics, etc research programs, on top of the coming private space boom, it means that while there will be a bit of a slump after the shuttle and constellation end job-wise, it'll pick back up shortly and by time we finally clear the recession there could be more jobs than before and NASA could be on the table for a funding increase.
 
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SciFi2010

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Although it is technologically possible to realize a manned mission to the moon that includes a permanent station, it will not be economic viable for any nation. In that sense it would not be smart to join the space-race against China with cash to burn. Even if the Chinese would be able to build a colony on the moon they will never be able to economically maintain or scale it up in size with current technology and costs. These kinds of space races will just end up as an expensive political stunt when the cash runs out certainly during a recession. A space shuttle launch already cost 400 million dollars if not more. The costs of building the international spacestation were 100 billion dollars (not to mention the costs of the constant transport of personnel and supplies to the space-station). Even the Russians want 20 million $ per astronaut. It is just not realistic to colonize the moon with some improvements in current space-technology, while the launch-costs are still enormous. Governmental organisations like NASA don’t have to think about costs or market-share, because it is tax-payer money anyway. It is not about throwing money at the space-(or any) industry; it is all about being smart (and earning good money in the process). We need smart (long-term) investments and not large (short-term) governmental expenditures. We have to think to fundamentally different about space-technology, -economics and even -politics. We first have to reduce the launch-costs to LEO about 20 times or more before we even think about getting back to the moon. The Spaceshipone project already showed us the way. What we probably need is a Spaceship(x?) project on steroids, with less complexity and costs then a SSTO (SINGLE STAGE TO ORBIT) Vehicle. Somehow we have to merge the safety, affordability, logistics and infrastructure of the aeroplane-industry with the raw rocket power of the aerospace-industry. Entrepreneurs like Burt Rutan, Richard Branson, etc… may have the money and knowledge to combine the factors materials, fuel, jet/(hybrid) rocket-technology and aerodynamics, but they may not have the capacity to do fundamental research. Here the big aerospace-industry can play their role. We all talk about fuel-efficiency. Let us take this principle also into jet- and (hybrid) rocket-engines (for example: SABRE, LACE, etc…). This allows the aviation- and space-industry to reduce the costs, expand and create new markets worth hundreds of billions $. Let us not forget whether it is a boat, car, train, aeroplane or spaceship it is all about transport. Future developments in the solar-cell industry will provide the energy, while the computer-industry will automatically mature the robot-and AI-technology for us (in 2020 a single PC will have the same computing power as a human brain) if we want build an economic viable space-station or colony. Besides America still has an advantage in the aeroplane- and aerospace industry compared with the rest of the world. It is better to invest and commercially exploit this given. In such an environment it is possible for entrepreneurs to create a commercial aerospace industry affordable for the masses in LEO. Smart (long-term) investments in new technology to create exponential cost-reduction in the aerospace-industry in LEO will create the investments and research for space-colonization in LEO, moon or mars anyway. Autonomously growing profits, investments and research can create more cost-reductions and new technology for further expansion in space, etc… Government money should not be wasted for short term political stunts like the moon-mission, but should be wisely invested or lend to business and research. Politics and emotions usually get in the way of common sense and we end up with nothing or worse with enormous amount of debts.
 
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Stephen123

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Gravity_Raywrote:

Gets rid of Constellation program and Ares I which not only wasn’t going to get to the Moon by 2020 but probably would not have got to the ISS before it was de-orbited. Furthermore it was competing with the private industry which made no sense at all.
Remind me. How many private corporations out there are actively developing competing hardware to land people on the Moon some time in the next decade?

How many have plans to land people on Mars at some point after that with that same hardware?

How many have, or are developing hardware for, sending people up to the ISS? As distinct from creating and servicing privately built and run hotels in space? (Note: the ISS is basically a government-funded and government-built research installation, not a holiday camp for those with a spare $20 million.)

If not, how, pray tell, was Constellation or Ares "competing with the private industry"?
 
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vulture4

Guest
Obama did not cancel Shuttle, in fact Augustine suggested extending it and Obama has increased the NASA budget, so the program could have continued until 2020. But Bush and Griffin and NASA's shortsighted management insisted on killing shuttle. The last straw was the ASAP report; which claimed the Shuttle was perfectly safe for five more flights but that all three orbiters would then simultaneously turn into deathtraps. Obama wouldn't fight to save Shuttle if NASA said it was unsafe.

Constellation was doomed from the start by the simple fact that it can't do anything worth its cost. I have been trying to explain that for years. It has no viable strategic objectives, whether scientific, commercial, or geopolitical. The taxpayers are just not going to put $100B into a program to go to the moon just because a few space enthusiasts think it's cool. So now we have managed to leave NASA with nothing.

Today you can't get funding for R&D unless your customer is part of NASA itself. If NASA wants a future it needs to start producing practical benefits for America, not itself. There are plenty of people at many NASA centers with ideas on how to do that. But we have to give them the chance. We really do have medical advances that really would allow people to live longer and healthier lives, but we can't get a penny for research because they aren't needed for human spaceflight. Those who want NASA to survive had better forget about bashing Obama and find something useful NASA can do. The first order of business would be to stop awarding every research penny from Washington for obscure and arbitrary objectives and let the Centers each use substantial institutional funding to support a spectrum of research they believe will benefit America.
 
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Gravity_Ray

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Stephen123":1nvhcvmc said:
Gravity_Raywrote:

Gets rid of Constellation program and Ares I which not only wasn’t going to get to the Moon by 2020 but probably would not have got to the ISS before it was de-orbited. Furthermore it was competing with the private industry which made no sense at all.
Remind me. How many private corporations out there are actively developing competing hardware to land people on the Moon some time in the next decade?

How many have plans to land people on Mars at some point after that with that same hardware?

How many have, or are developing hardware for, sending people up to the ISS? As distinct from creating and servicing privately built and run hotels in space? (Note: the ISS is basically a government-funded and government-built research installation, not a holiday camp for those with a spare $20 million.)

If not, how, pray tell, was Constellation or Ares "competing with the private industry"?
Easy questions to answer Stephen

The fact that NASA was developing Ares to get to the ISS meant nobody was going to go there privately. If you get rid of the constellation program and extend the life of the ISS like it has been done, NOW private companies have an incentive to develop rockets for the ISS. SpaceX will now have a customer to build around.

This will also mean that other companies now will want to get into the business of getting freight and people to the ISS because they think they can do it cheaper than SpaceX, which will foster MORE companies to get into the rocket building business. This same architecture can easily be used to go to the Moon. This is what NASA should be doing, engaging private companies with seed money.

Since your asking for a specific name, SpaceX is working on getting to the Moon and the ISS will be a great stepping-stone for their program. Also Bigelow is working on landing a station right on the Moon. By the way you say “in the next decade” like NASA was going to get to the Moon in the next decade??? If you think NASA was going to get to the Moon by 2020 with the Constellation program please share with me what ever your smoking.

I’m not sure I like the way you say “privately built and run hotels in space”… What are you, a communist? This great country is built on “private industry” doing things better. By the way, the ISS is a government built research platform in space, but it doesn’t belong to the United States government alone, which means that already the Russians use it as a holiday camp, like or not. Also what’s the point of having this wonderful research platform in space, because if you build Constellation you wont have money for the ISS and it would have to be de-orbited within 5 years of completing it??? What was the point of that?

Nobody including NASA has plans to land people on Mars. The Vision for Space Exploration was lacking in one fundamental Vision: How was NASA supposed to pay for it?
 
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Stephen123

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gonzoprototype":ks1bml9g said:
This budget is exactly what NASA needed. Dump the dead weight, ditch the absurdly outdated Constellation mindset, and start a truly 21st century program, complete with technology that is more than just a bastardized version of Apollo-era tech.
(Sigh!) Here we go again!

What you sneer at as "outdated" and a "bastardized version of Apollo-era tech[nology]" others would term "proven technology". Proven technology is basically what most of us drive round in every day courtesy of Ford or Toyota; or fly round in thanks to Boeing and Airbus.

When you go out to buy a new car do you demand "a truly 21st century" automobile or do you stick with the "absurdly outdated", Ford-era technology of the internal combustion engine?

New technology takes time and money to develop. Some day we may all be driving round in electric cars and flying in supersonic jets. The trouble is we aren't there yet.

So what are we to do until such wonders do arrive? Do we continue to drive our Ford-era technology or should the government issue an edict: no more internal combustion vehicles are to be built and existing ones are to be retired and taken off the road? A few billion dollars will be handed over to private industry to develop a brand new generation of gee-whiz gadgetry that will launch the new era, but until the shiny new era dawns the rest of us will be obliged to walk. Or take public transport. Or stay home.

I mention this because "stay home" was basically what happened to NASA in the 1970s when the powers-that-be decided that the future of American spaceflight lay not in that "absurdly outdated" single-shot Apollo stuff but in re-useable spaceplanes. Reusability, they decided, would make access to space more affordable and allow lots more flights. Access was seen as the key to space. Once NASA got up out of the Earth's gravity well it could go anywhere.

Or at least that was how the promise seemed to go.

The trouble was it didn't exactly turn out that way. The Saturn V and other Apollo era technology were duly pensioned off and money was poured into what became the Space Shuttle, but the technology turned out to be far more complicated and expensive than the visionaries anticipated. More expensive than the Congress and others, already struggling to pay for Vietnam and other burdens, were unwilling to fork out for. They balked, budgets got slashed, which turn led to de-scopings (eg originally the whole shuttle stack was to be reusable) and other compromises, and what America ended up with was a thing many space enthusiasts have been grumbling about ever since.

You think somebody might have learnt a thing or two the last time round. But no, once more here we go again...

$6 billion to NASA’s budget over five years...[that] draws upon American ingenuity to enable us to embark on an ambitious 21st century program of human space exploration and observation of the Earth and the Universe.
(drawn from this factsheet: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/421064main_NASA_OSTP_Joint_Fact_Sheet_FINAL_2020.pdf

Plus there are promises of "commercial partnerships and cutting-edge technology research" (I'm quoting from the front page of "www.nasa.gov")

Doh! How is any of this new?

The Shuttle program was also an "ambitious...program of human space exploration and observation of the Earth and the Universe" that made use of "cutting-edge [for the '70s] technology" and "American ingenuity". Moreover, it was done with the active participation of private enterprise. A private corporation (Rockwell), for example, designed and built the Shuttle (using government money).

Yet where is the Shuttle program today?

And where will Obama's vision be in five years?

$6 billion for manned spaceflight over that five years (that's about 1.2 billion per year) is going to be a mere drop in the bucket if the goal is to return to the Moon, let alone venture anywhere farther afield; and what is it to be spent on?

If even the Moon is no longer in NASA's sights, then this really will be back-to-the-future territory, folks! An LEO future. Unwittingly or otherwise, Obama will have turned the clock forty years. Last time we came through we got the Shuttle. From the looks of it the goal is to have private enterprise reinvent an LEO solution AGAIN.

Indeed, even the promise of "affordable human access to space" (another quote from the factsheet) was essentially the one made for the Space Shuttle!

Let's hope they do better this time round, but I wouldn't be counting on it!
 
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nimbus

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Stephen123":mfldoz4e said:
From the looks of it the goal is to have private enterprise reinvent an LEO solution AGAIN.
Do the briefs not say multiple destinations, incl ISS, Moon, Mars orbit, NEOs? The beefier the industrial base for space activity, the better.
 
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Stephen123

Guest
Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
Stephen123":1s4ixa6i said:
Remind me. How ... was Constellation or Ares "competing with the private industry"?
Easy questions to answer Stephen

The fact that NASA was developing Ares to get to the ISS meant nobody was going to go there privately. If you get rid of the constellation program and extend the life of the ISS like it has been done, NOW private companies have an incentive to develop rockets for the ISS. SpaceX will now have a customer to build around.
First of all, Ares's components are themselves being built by private enterprise. Stopping Ares to open up an opportunity for SpaceX would therefore seem to amount to robbing Peter to give an incentive to Paul!

Secondly, where does all this put Soyuz and the Russians? What incentive is there for SpaceX (or anybody else) to develop an ISS shuttlecraft of their own as long as Soyuz is being used to ferry personnel to the ISS? Should the Russians also be given their marching orders, either now (which would, of course, require closing ISS) or later once SpaceX get their act together and produced a viable competitor craft?

But that also raises the issue of what happens if SpaceX et al can't develop a solution cheaper (and thus more competitive) than Soyuz. Should SpaceX (or some other American company) be handed the job anyway, even though that would essentially mean American taxpayer dollars being spent subsiding an uncompetitive bidder?

Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
SpaceX will now have a customer to build around.
That statement carries the implication:

a) that SpaceX already have the customer in their proverbial pocket. (Otherwise why would a company spend money (its own, presumably) designing, building, and testing an entire set of spacecraft around that one customer and their specialised needs?; or

b) the craft was one the customer has commissioned them to build, which is basically what NASA did when it commissioned Rockwell as the prime contractor for the Space Shuttle.

Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
This will also mean that other companies now will want to get into the business of getting freight and people to the ISS because they think they can do it cheaper than SpaceX, which will foster MORE companies to get into the rocket building business. This same architecture can easily be used to go to the Moon. This is what NASA should be doing, engaging private companies with seed money.
1) I hate to point this out to you but that incentive exists already! There is nothing right now to prevent a company getting into the business of getting freight and people to the ISS because they think they can do it cheaper than Ares. Or Soyuz.

2) Doing it cheaper is probably not going to be good enough for those other companies. They would probably need to do it SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper. A marginal difference in price may not be enough incentive to cause NASA to change suppliers, especially if it and its international partners were otherwise happy with SpaceX's service.

3) I notice you appear to be assuming SpaceX et al would be providing the ferry service as well as the vehicle. That would seem to be equivalent to Boeing getting into the airline business!

Is that how a SpaceX ISS provisioning service would operate? Why can't NASA simply buy a SpaceX craft (or two) and run its own provisioning service? After all, it already has the launch facilities and the astronauts. But of course that would merely raise the issue of how that would differ from the way things are done right now with the Shuttle, or would be done under Ares; not to mention what incentive there would be for other players to get into the game.

I'm also wondering whether having SpaceX run the ferry service as well as building the vehicle may not once day raise antitrust issues, especially if it had no significant (private) competitors.

Which brings me to...

4) If three companies bid for the ISS contract and only one wins what do you imagine will happen to the two competitors? After all, if the ISS is the only show in town and Company X now has a monopoly on its business, at least for a certain span of years, then either Y and Z must find some other line of business to make money in or go out of business altogether. That is hardly going to breed a healthy space industry.

That raises the question of whether this obsession with winning an ISS contract is terribly healthy for that industry. In any industry where there is only one customer, how many suppliers are there likely to be, especially in the longer term?

Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
Since your asking for a specific name, SpaceX is working on getting to the Moon and the ISS will be a great stepping-stone for their program.
If SpaceX is "working on getting to the Moon" but somebody else wins the ISS contract what would happen to SpaceX's incentive to go to the Moon? Would it wither on the vine as well?

Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
Also Bigelow is working on landing a station right on the Moon. By the way you say “in the next decade” like NASA was going to get to the Moon in the next decade??? If you think NASA was going to get to the Moon by 2020 with the Constellation program please share with me what ever your smoking.
I believe NASA's Constellation program had as much chance of putting a man back on the Moon by 2020 as SpaceX has of getting somebody there by 2100. Or 2200.

As for Bigelow, I hope gets his hotel there, but he's hardly the only one with plans for a hotel on the Moon. Hilton Hotels has its eye on one (see http://www.spacetoday.org/SolSys/Moons/TheMoon/MoonHotel.html) as have various Japanese companies. But I would not go booking any rooms just yet! These others are aiming more at 2060 or later.

Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
I’m not sure I like the way you say “privately built and run hotels in space”… What are you, a communist? This great country is built on “private industry” doing things better.
Glad to hear it!

Believe it or not about the only place where Communists can still be found are under the beds of American capitalists. Everywhere else, including their old stamping grounds of Russia and China, they are now all but extinct.

Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
By the way, the ISS is a government built research platform in space, but it doesn’t belong to the United States government alone, which means that already the Russians use it as a holiday camp, like or not. Also what’s the point of having this wonderful research platform in space, because if you build Constellation you wont have money for the ISS and it would have to be de-orbited within 5 years of completing it??? What was the point of that?
Haven't you got that the wrong way round?

SpaceX is probably cursing Obama right this minute. For if NASA could not afford the ISS with the Constellation program to the point where it had to get rid of the thing then SpaceX would have had a golden opportunity: to take the whole white elephant off NASA's hands and run it themselves!

After all, if governments should not be running manned space programs of their own why should they be running holiday resorts in space? Shouldn't those resorts be handed over to private enterprise instead?

Gravity_Ray":1s4ixa6i said:
Nobody including NASA has plans to land people on Mars. The Vision for Space Exploration was lacking in one fundamental Vision: How was NASA supposed to pay for it?
The same way SpaceX was probably planning on being paid for ferrying goods and people to the ISS: the US taxpayer.

Which raises an interesting question: who do you suppose would be paying for SpaceX to send people to the Moon?
 
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Stephen123

Guest
nimbus":14ludk0x said:
Stephen123":14ludk0x said:
From the looks of it the goal is to have private enterprise reinvent an LEO solution AGAIN.
Do the briefs not say multiple destinations, incl ISS, Moon, Mars orbit, NEOs? The beefier the industrial base for space activity, the better.
IMHO that's a mere sop! It's a bone tossed in to satisfy those who don't want this turning into another Space Shuttle. (As opposed to a space exploratory vehicle.)

Think about it. Why would private enterprise bother designing and building a craft capable of going (say) the Moon if:

a) Their client (NASA) has no firm plans to go to the Moon; and
b) All the money being made in manned spaceflight was being in building craft which flew only to the ISS?

It would be like a corporation going out and designing and building a battleship when all the Navy wanted (and was prepared to pay for) was a gunboat. Or if you want a more apposite analogy, remember Constellation was not just the Ares I and V. There was also the Orion and the Altair. If the only specific goal NASA is going to be spending money on is to provide "astronaut transportation to the International Space Station":

a) Why would you give your ISS crew ferry vehicle the capability of going to the Moon? (ie fuel capacity, oxygen and water reserves, space for returning lunar samples, etc)
b) Why would you design, let alone build, a lunar landing craft? Or give your ISS ferry vehicle a lunar landing capability?
c) Why would you design or build a launch vehicle with a capability of launching your ISS ferry beyond LEO if it will never have an need to be launched there?

All these things cost money; and if you, as a private corporation, want to produce a competitive bid for the ISS ferry contract why would you want to produce a bid whose product, while it might DO more, would also COST your prospective client more to pay for?
 
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nimbus

Guest
Stephen123":1xm9mutq said:
First if all, Ares's components are themselves being built by private enterprise. Stopping Ares to open up an opportunity for SpaceX would therefore seem to amount to robbing Peter to give an incentive to Paul!
Better Paul the private entrepreneur than Peter the govt drone.

Secondly, where does all this put Soyuz and the Russians? What incentive is there for SpaceX (or anybody else) to develop an ISS shuttlecraft of their own as long as Soyuz is being used to ferry personnel to the ISS?
SpaceX or anyone else gets funding to learn to crawl and walk so they can run on their own afterwards. SpaceX knows the US would rather use them than Soyuz.

Should the Russians also be given their marching orders, either now (which would, of course, require closing ISS) or later once SpaceX get their act together and produced a viable competitor craft?
ASAP.

But that also raises the issue of what happens if SpaceX et al can't develop a solution cheaper (and thus more competitive) than Soyuz. Should SpaceX (or some other American company) be handed the job anyway, even though that would essentially mean American taxpayer dollars being spent subsiding an uncompetitive bidder?
No honey no money. Companies (e.g. ULA) have already done it, so it's not far fetched at all that SpaceX or another company would, again.

Gravity_Ray":1xm9mutq said:
This will also mean that other companies now will want to get into the business of getting freight and people to the ISS because they think they can do it cheaper than SpaceX, which will foster MORE companies to get into the rocket building business. This same architecture can easily be used to go to the Moon. This is what NASA should be doing, engaging private companies with seed money.
1) I hate to point this out to you but that incentive exists already! There is nothing right now to prevent a company getting into the business of getting freight and people to the ISS because they think they can do it cheaper than Ares. Or Soyuz.
Is that the only difference between the business model of recently ex-suppliers of NASA rockets and soon-to-be suppliers like SpaceX, Bigelow & co?

2) Doing it cheaper is probably not going to be good enough for those other companies. They would probably need to do it SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper. A marginal difference in price may not be enough incentive to cause NASA to change suppliers, especially if it and its international partners were otherwise happy with SpaceX's service.
More importantly SpaceX may lead the way to making space accessible to enough business for a wide enough playing field for proper industrial development in space. A run on sentence.. basically SpaceX will attempt to break the initial cost of space development. The catch-22 problem of space business and space access. Neither happens till the other is present.

Gravity_Ray":1xm9mutq said:
Also Bigelow is working on landing a station right on the Moon. By the way you say “in the next decade” like NASA was going to get to the Moon in the next decade??? If you think NASA was going to get to the Moon by 2020 with the Constellation program please share with me what ever your smoking.
I believe NASA's Constellation program had as much chance of putting a man back on the Moon by 2020 as SpaceX has of getting somebody there by 2100. Or 2200.
Could you rephrase this one less vaguely?

As for Bigelow, I hope gets his hotel there, but he's hardly the only one with plans for a hotel on the Moon. Hilton Hotels has its eye on one (see http://www.spacetoday.org/SolSys/Moons/TheMoon/MoonHotel.html) as have various Japanese companies. But I would not go booking any rooms just yet! These others are aiming more at 2060 or later.
And?

Believe it or not about the only place where Communists can still be found are under the beds of American capitalists. Everywhere else, including their old stamping grounds of Russia and China, they are now all but extinct.
The point is that space industry is too dependent on govt funding. Govt funding should be for stimulating commerce, not being its permanent backbone. NASA paying their way to space via Russian services is wrong.

SpaceX is probably cursing Obama right this minute. For if NASA could not afford the ISS with the Constellation program to the point where it had to get rid of the thing then SpaceX would have had a golden opportunity: to take the whole white elephant off NASA's hands and run it themselves!

After all, if governments should not be running manned space programs of their own why should they be running holiday resorts in space? Shouldn't those resorts be handed over to private enterprise instead?
Since when is SpaceX is interested in owning the ISS? And doesn't the ISS have a hardware limited lifetime?

Gravity_Ray":1xm9mutq said:
Nobody including NASA has plans to land people on Mars. The Vision for Space Exploration was lacking in one fundamental Vision: How was NASA supposed to pay for it?
The same way SpaceX was probably planning on being paid for ferrying goods and people to the ISS: the US taxpayer.
Not the point. Funding did not match objectives.

Which raises an interesting question: who do you suppose would be paying for SpaceX to send people to the Moon?
Could be tax payer money, could be actual SpaceX clients. It's a loaded question.
 
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Stephen123

Guest
vulture4":2og99250 said:
Obama did not cancel Shuttle, in fact Augustine suggested extending it and Obama has increased the NASA budget, so the program could have continued until 2020. But Bush and Griffin and NASA's shortsighted management insisted on killing shuttle. The last straw was the ASAP report; which claimed the Shuttle was perfectly safe for five more flights but that all three orbiters would then simultaneously turn into deathtraps. Obama wouldn't fight to save Shuttle if NASA said it was unsafe.
Why are you blaming Griffin for cancelling the Shuttle? Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration" came out in 2004 but Griffin didn't become NASA administrator until April 2005.

What specifically was the role Griffin played in the Shuttle's cancellation?
 
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nimbus

Guest
Stephen123":3ijdeu3i said:
nimbus":3ijdeu3i said:
Stephen123":3ijdeu3i said:
From the looks of it the goal is to have private enterprise reinvent an LEO solution AGAIN.
Do the briefs not say multiple destinations, incl ISS, Moon, Mars orbit, NEOs? The beefier the industrial base for space activity, the better.
IMHO that's a mere sop! It's a bone tossed in to satisfy those who don't want this turning into another Space Shuttle. (As opposed to a space exploratory vehicle.)

Think about it. Why would private enterprise bother designing and building a craft capable of going (say) the Moon if:

a) Their client (NASA) has no firm plans to go to the Moon; and
b) All the money being made in manned spaceflight was being in building craft which flew only to the ISS?

It would be like a corporation going out and designing and building a battleship when all the Navy wanted (and was prepared to pay for) was a gunboat. Or if you want a more apposite analogy, remember Constellation was not just the Ares I and V. There was also the Orion and the Altair. If the only specific goal NASA is going to be spending money on is to provide "astronaut transportation to the International Space Station":

a) Why would you give your ISS crew ferry vehicle the capability of going to the Moon? (ie fuel capacity, oxygen and water reserves, space for returning lunar samples, etc)
b) Why would you design, let alone build, a lunar landing craft? Or give your ISS ferry vehicle a lunar landing capability?
c) Why would you design or build a launch vehicle with a capability of launching your ISS ferry beyond LEO if it will never have an need to be launched there?

All these things cost money; and if you, as a private corporation, want to produce a competitive bid for the ISS ferry contract why would you want to produce a bid whose product, while it might DO more, would also COST your prospective client more to pay for?
Don't have time for a full reply.
0 - Everything out of politicians is hot air till actual rubber meets the road.
a - Because they want to go there themselves. Bigelow wants to. Musk wants to. He wants men on Mars and out in space in general. Has a gentleman's bet (gasp) that SpaceX will put men on Mars by 2030 or something near term like that. Bigelow has similar projections - see latest Alan Boyle Cosmic Log. Many other spacers are itching to go as well and will support this.. E.G. Bigelow and SpaceX employees.
b - SpaceX already has clients other than NASA. Bigelow will (might already) have some as well.

II - I remember what Constellation was supposed to be and what it actually turned out to be. It turned out to be something that was so far below expectations that axing it is good news.
a b and c are all more of the same loaded premises.
People want to go out into space. The access/profit catch-22 has to be broken sooner or later. The sooner the more expensive. SpaceX and others are willing to test their mettle. We'll see if they're up to it. If they are, plenty of people in the industry and in the public will back them. Your posts seem to boil down to asserting that no reward is worth the space access loss leader.

Govt paid for westward expansion. It seems to be the same rationale with this new policy.
 
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Stephen123

Guest
nimbus":35yc7yac said:
Stephen123":35yc7yac said:
First if all, Ares's components are themselves being built by private enterprise. Stopping Ares to open up an opportunity for SpaceX would therefore seem to amount to robbing Peter to give an incentive to Paul!
Better Paul the private entrepreneur than Peter the govt drone.
Is Lockheed Martin a government drone? They're the prime contractor for the Orion vehicle.

What about Rockwell? They built the Space Shuttle and the Apollo command module.

Or Boeing? They built the LRV the Apollo astronauts of the last three lunar missions used to trundle round on the lunar surface and they were also one of the lead contractors which produced the Saturn V.

If signing a contract with NASA can turn red-blooded patriotic American corporations into hissable government drones, SpaceX had better watch out! Sign no contracts! :D

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
Secondly, where does all this put Soyuz and the Russians? What incentive is there for SpaceX (or anybody else) to develop an ISS shuttlecraft of their own as long as Soyuz is being used to ferry personnel to the ISS?
SpaceX or anyone else gets funding to learn to crawl and walk so they can run on their own afterwards.
Did Boeing need to be funded by the US government before it learnt how to build aircraft? :)

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
1) I hate to point this out to you but that incentive exists already! There is nothing right now to prevent a company getting into the business of getting freight and people to the ISS because they think they can do it cheaper than Ares. Or Soyuz.
Is that the only difference between the business model of recently ex-suppliers of NASA rockets and soon-to-be suppliers like SpaceX, Bigelow & co?
What makes you think NASA will be doing business with any of these johnny-come=latelies to the American space program?

After all, just how many rockets has SpaceX put into orbit?

More likely the main contracts will go to companies with proven experience with manned spaceflight hardware.

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
2) Doing it cheaper is probably not going to be good enough for those other companies. They would probably need to do it SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper. A marginal difference in price may not be enough incentive to cause NASA to change suppliers, especially if it and its international partners were otherwise happy with SpaceX's service.
More importantly SpaceX may lead the way to making space accessible to enough business for a wide enough playing field for proper industrial development in space. A run on sentence.. basically SpaceX will attempt to break the initial cost of space development. The catch-22 problem of space business and space access. Neither happens till the other is present.
Interesting, but how is it going to achieve this if its one and only client is the US government? To survive over the long term it will need more than one client otherwise it risks becoming entirely beholden to that client.

A government drone, in other words! :)

Once the ISS closes up shop, SpaceX's space business will fold with it.

Even two clients (the ISS and Bigelow) are probably not going to be enough.

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
Gravity_Ray":35yc7yac said:
Also Bigelow is working on landing a station right on the Moon. By the way you say “in the next decade” like NASA was going to get to the Moon in the next decade??? If you think NASA was going to get to the Moon by 2020 with the Constellation program please share with me what ever your smoking.
I believe NASA's Constellation program had as much chance of putting a man back on the Moon by 2020 as SpaceX has of getting somebody there by 2100. Or 2200.
Could you rephrase this one less vaguely?
If you didn't get the point I was alluding to with the clarity I intended, then you have my sympathies!

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
The point is that space industry is too dependent on govt funding. Govt funding should be for stimulating commerce, not being its permanent backbone. NASA paying their way to space via Russian services is wrong.
Too dependant?

Buddy, it's ENTIRELY dependant! That's not going to change anytime soon. The only way it CAN change is by having more people live in space and on a long term basis. Out of that would (eventually) come markets for private enterpreneurs to cater for. Realistically that sort of thing is decades away, but Obama's cancelling of Constellation has essentially killed the prospect that it might come about sooner rather than later by killing the prospect of offworld stations proliferating first on the Moon then elsewhere. Those stations would have needed to be resupplied, for example, which in turn would have provided opportunities for companies like SpaceX.

Those poor souls who think that by killing Constellation and withdrawing America's focus of its space endeavours to one single off-Earth station, the ISS, and tossing its space industry the bone of being sole supplier to said station Obama has done them a favour should go back and do a refresher on Basic Economics 101!

Imagine if instead of spreading out into the America wilderness, building trade posts and setting up farms etc, the first settlers on the North American continent had withdrawn to asingle foothold on the shores of the New World, a foothold manned by a handful of hardy souls who rarely ventured outside, didn't bring their families over, and didn't live there permanently themselves but only came over from the Old World every now and again for a brief spell before returning home (back across the Atlantic)? Where would the trading opportunities be? Where would American capitalism or entrepreneurialism be if nobody but governments could afford the cost of setting up more footholds and only one company at a time held the resupply and personnel transport concession for the sole foothold which did exist and their paycheck came from the king (aka government) back in the Old World?

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
SpaceX is probably cursing Obama right this minute. For if NASA could not afford the ISS with the Constellation program to the point where it had to get rid of the thing then SpaceX would have had a golden opportunity: to take the whole white elephant off NASA's hands and run it themselves!

After all, if governments should not be running manned space programs of their own why should they be running holiday resorts in space? Shouldn't those resorts be handed over to private enterprise instead?
Since when is SpaceX is interested in owning the ISS? And doesn't the ISS have a hardware limited lifetime?
If SpaceX wants to be a space transport entrepreneur as well as a spacecraft builder, why NOT?

Especially given that without the ISS its space business would be non-existent.

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
Gravity_Ray":35yc7yac said:
Nobody including NASA has plans to land people on Mars. The Vision for Space Exploration was lacking in one fundamental Vision: How was NASA supposed to pay for it?
The same way SpaceX was probably planning on being paid for ferrying goods and people to the ISS: the US taxpayer.
Not the point. Funding did not match objectives.
Oh really! If NASA cannot afford to go to the Moon, what makes you think it can afford the services of SpaceX? :D

nimbus":35yc7yac said:
Which raises an interesting question: who do you suppose would be paying for SpaceX to send people to the Moon?
Could be tax payer money, could be actual SpaceX clients. It's a loaded question.
You bet it's a loaded question! Since when would the US government not be "an actual SpaceX client"? ;)
 
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nimbus

Guest
Are you saying you don't see any difference between Griffin-led Constellation and SpaceX/Musk and BA/Bigelow?

Bad analogy - Boeing wasn't learning to crawl and walk in space.

I don't think anything in particular will absolutely happen. I do know NASA needs space access, as do many others. What makes me think they'll do business with them? They already are. Policy from White House just changed to put a major emphasis on their would-be services. How many Ares rockets have gotten into orbit? Where are the finalized designs for the Ares rockets? Contracts should go to companies with proven rockets adequate for the job. Which SpaceX may well turn out to be a poster boy for. Likely sooner than Ares would be, notably.

Have you not heard that SpaceX already has a not-negligible list of clients for future launches? Do you expect this list will stagnate or shrink if they prove themselves reliable launchers?
Once the ISS closes up shop, SpaceX's space business will fold with it.
This one for posterity.

I can read the quoted piece of your post. It's ambiguously worded. It could mean that NASA has low but non negligible odds of putting men on the Moon by 2020 and that SpaceX equivalently would take a whole century. Is that what you're saying? Try to resist playing semantics.

Follows a couple paragraphs of misunderstanding and tailored analogy. The key word was too dependent. As in it ought to be less dependent. Meaning privatizing is what should be done asap. Not meaning that there should be no govt funds at all. As is confirmed later in my post when I point out the govt tutored westward expansion. Amtrak is govt owned but I can't think of a reason why it shouldn't be private. Analogies aside, should SpaceX, BA & co be profitable I'll be curious to hear your comments. The only way any diverse enough market place will develop in space is for space access to start somehow, somewhere. Constellation was more a jobs program than a commercial catalyst.

The ISS thing. I just don't see what that has to do with anything other than a convenient tailor-made rebuke to user GravityRay. Why argue that SpaceX ought to buy the ISS? Not just in some abstract sense. Specifically, right now. Where has SpaceX specifically shown any use for or interest in owning the ISS? I could see the fit with habitat builders like Bigelow Aerospace, but SpaceX?

Insufficient funds for Constellation, SpaceX prices equivocation - Why would SpaceX be more expensive than what Constellation was growing to be?

More semantics shtick - Actual client meaning private clients outside the US govt budget.
 
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Taco_Bob

Guest
Not at all! It's no end of "human space flight", just "American space flight".
 
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Gravity_Ray

Guest
Stephen

Honestly I have tried to answer all your concerns about the space program and this year’s NASA budget to the best of my ability. I don't have the patience for back and forth fencing arguments. So I’ll say my peace and then I will move on. The government has in the past supported industry and allowed them to grow and flourish. The US government was directly responsible for growing the rail business and the airline business! Space is the same way, you want the government to help the space business to grow but you don’t want the government to own the space business.

One thing that is different now from back in the 60’s is that there are some serious private companies out there doing space business with their own money. People like Paul Allen, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Robert Bigelow, etc… These people are the game changers, not Lockheed Martin, or Boeing. When Burt Rutan flew space ship one it was not that big of a deal because they only just made space, but it was a game changer because it made people interested in space again. Private industry is the only thing that has changed in the past 50 years in the business of getting to space. I want this to continue, and I don’t want to go back to the way things have been (I know you disagree with me here, and that's OK). I also want NASA to be the gate keeper for these companies much as the US Post office was the gate keeper for getting most commercial aircraft companies going back in the 20’s and the early part of the last century.

It’s obvious that you are very passionate about the space travel and so am I. Another thing I have learned in my long years is that I can only change myself, and not others, so I guess we can agree to disagree about the new NASA budget. But I have seen many NASA budgets come and go since the Nixon white house and this is neither the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. It’s just another 4 years in the government. Try and not get too angry with anything specific. Tomorrow the sun will rise again. Peace out.
 
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nimbus

Guest
Taco_Bob":bddauguw said:
Not at all! It's no end of "human space flight", just "American space flight".
SpaceX, SpaceDev, Bigelow Aerospace, Orbital, Flagsuit, Scaled, Armadillo, etc. None of those are American, are they?
 
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marsin2020

Guest
I'm just sick of every president coming in, axing the previous president's "vision" and implementing a newer, better "vision". NASA did a detailed study on what the next method should be for going to and returning from space and found that the Apollo method (and the Russian method) of a capsule on a rocket provided the safest, most cost effective way to enter and return from space. Apparently that decision is being thrown out the window. A lot of work has been done on the Orion program to provide a safe, modern replacement for the shuttle. Its not 50 year old technology as the NASA administrator implies. I hope spacecraftX succeeds but what's going to happen to our space program if/when they have a fatal accident? A whole new direction and another "vision"?
 
H

HopDavid

Guest
vulture4":19roz89j said:
If NASA wants a future it needs to start producing practical benefits for America, not itself. There are plenty of people at many NASA centers with ideas on how to do that. But we have to give them the chance. We really do have medical advances that really would allow people to live longer and healthier lives, but we can't get a penny for research because they aren't needed for human spaceflight. Those who want NASA to survive had better forget about bashing Obama and find something useful NASA can do. The first order of business would be to stop awarding every research penny from Washington for obscure and arbitrary objectives and let the Centers each use substantial institutional funding to support a spectrum of research they believe will benefit America.
From http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/ ... 91461.aspx :

"$3 billion for robotic precursor missions - for example, a lunar lander that can be remote-controlled from Earth and can send back near-live video, or a factory that turns material from the moon or an asteroid into usable resources."

Tele-robotics is a field that could pay big dividends in how we work on earth. For example sending a robot down a pipe might eliminate the need to dig up a pipe with a back hoe. People could work at construction sites from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Workers could do stuff in hostile environments where a human presence is hard or impossible.

I also believe this is the most affordable way to establish infra structure on the moon and other bodies.
 
A

aaron38

Guest
Stephen123":wsauyqfe said:
aaron38 wrote:
I do take some issue with anyone saying America is losing it's access to space, when SpaceX is an American company. The gov't doesn't build airliners, do we say that America has no access to the Stratosphere just because Boeing is a private company? If SpaceX gets flying and uses the economy of scale to provide cost effective service to Bigelow Aerospace, Americans may have a much greater access to space than they do now.
You are aware that Boeing builds airliners which are available for purchase and delivery TODAY. How many US corporations are building spaceliners which are available for NASA to purchase today as a replacement for the Orion?

In fact what US corporation is building, let alone flying, any spacecraft capable of replacing the Space Shuttle, let alone the Orion?

If Constellation, Ares, Orion, etc are now to vanish like your typical vapourware product what makes anybody think this latest ploy will survive long enough for any corporation to build anything capable of achieving flight status, especially if nobody delivers enough public funding to keep their own products afloat?

Well, first of all, it's a bit disingenuous to ask for something to be available TODAY to replace something that wouldn't fly for 5 more years. NASA doesn't have a replacement for the Shuttle ready today either. The shuttle gets retired this year, Orion wouldn't fly till 2015. So even if we stay the course, we have a 5 year gap where NASA has no access to space. SpaceX is going to sell transportation to NASA for that 5 year period. The money comes from the funding that no longer supports the Shuttle.

SpaceX, if everything goes well, should have the Dragon flying cargo flights to the ISS in 2012, with man rating to follow. If that's the case, if we have an American designed and American built capsule flying Astronauts to the ISS in 2015, what function does Orion provide? Do we need two capsule designs? That's the point. Dragon isn't a replacement for Orion, Orion would be a replacement for Dragon, which is a waste of effort.


The other reason why I'm happy Constellation was scrapped is that it had the order wrong. The missions to the Moon would just be more flags, bootprints and rocks missions. At this point I'm only interested in colonization, and the Moon is going to be much harder to settle than Mars. Mars is farther away in time, but not much further in terms of energy or the mass that can be delivered to the surface. The surface of Mars can support greenhouse agriculture, the Moon can't. Mars has orders of magnitude more water to support a colony than the Moon does. Call me a Zubrinite if you like, but the moon is a waste of time. It can wait until we need the He3.

Colonize Mars first and use the permanent colony to provide the incentive to develop the VASMIR ships needed to bring travel times down. The only goal NASA should have for Human spaceflight is to land people on Mars. I repeat, there is NOWHERE else in the solar system that humans need to go to before Mars. There is no other Manned Spaceflight destination but Mars. The Moon is dead and will always be dead. Mars can be brought back to life.

LEO taxi driving is a distraction NASA can't afford. They need to focus on Mars, to prove to everyone that people can live on other planets. When we see humans living on Mars, that there is another rock with the surface area of all the land on Earth that we can live on, that we can terraform (really only need 5psi of C02 to only need breathing gear and cold suits), then the entire solar system will open up to us. Moon missions aren't going to do that.
 
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damskov

Guest
Lots of good posts here, both for and against.

As an outsider (European) I find the decision by Obama to axe the Constellation program tragic, but sensible.

However much I want to see Americans on the Moon again it seems the majority of your politicians aren't willing to put the money where their mouth is. NASA knows this and all the while budgets and deadlines have been slipping, they've obviously been hoping someone in your administration would finally realize this and either increase the budget or axe the project that they knew all along couldn't be done properly. Now it's finally happened.

The Constellation project was interesting to me in many ways - I do like the idea of developing safe, cheap man-rated LEO access. But the choice to develop Ares 1 was primarily based on some politicians' wishes to keep their local workforce employed instead of picking the right technology for the job. The result was as you could expect; a technologically cumbersome rocket which despite its apparent simplicity is already years behind schedule. As it happens I think the choice to focus on man-rating existing rockets should have been made instead of developing Ares 1.

I can't help wonder if Ares 1 might still be done within a reasonable budget and deadline but the apparent relief with which NASA responds to the Obama plan tells me they're not optimistic.

The discussion on the advantages of competition is a bit premature, I think. The main advantages to private companies in the current situation are slim organisations and a willingness to accept risk in a way that NASA hasn't been doing for decades. And I don't mean risk for the future passengers, but risk in the way of management, technological development, investment.

So while I sympatize with those who feel this as huge setback, I think you should realize that the blame lies with the politicians who sold the Constellation pipe dream but never provided adequate funding, not with the leader who finally has the balls to put an end to it. Better to stop the project now than experience the future series of delays, budget overruns and lowered ambitions that were sure to come, don't you think?
 
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