RyanCole":2ghoixdb said:Where have you guys been? We have replacements to the shuttle. SpaceX has the Dragon, Lockheed has Orion "Lite", and Boeing has been developing an alternative craft. That is three, and definitely not nothing. The Dragon and Lockheed Orion "Lite" craft are over 10 times cheaper to launch crew than the shuttle will ever be.
All three of which are still in development, not to mention Orion "Lite" wont fly with a manned crew during launch. Only being used as a lifeboat for ISS. We don't have a proven launch system, or a proven spacecraft to replace the shuttle which is the point.
Heck, the Falcon 9 was delayed again, for all the hoopla about Space X you'd think they'd be more commercially viable now. Yank the government funding away from them, and they'd go nowhere. Which is kind of sad, considering that they really are the best hope we've got. Even if who knows when or if they'll ever fly a Dragon spacecraft with humans aboard. After all their main goal thus far is just to launch the Falcon 9, and help keep ISS flying via cargo/supplies etc.
RyanCole":2ghoixdb said:Considering the costs involved to run the shuttle, it makes no sense to try to close the gap with it.
I do agree with this point, we can't go forward unless we retire this spacecraft. I love the shuttle, but its an over complex spacecraft that never was what it was sold to be. Not that I blame the space shuttle it self, it did exactly what it was designed for and has for the past 29 years. Problem is, we made unrealistic goals despite the limits of the spacecraft. So, I'll be sad to see it go, but it must go to ensure a more sustainable future of spaceflight.
RyanCole":2ghoixdb said:For one it hardly closes the gap, as we are likely to only get two flights before commercial comes online. We are clearly better off excepting it at this point, and investing in the next thing to come.
I think you're too optimistic here, I just don't see it. Sure, the launch systems/spacecraft may be online by then but there is a difference between that and putting actual humans aboard and expecting them to survive the journey. Again if you're putting stock in Space X, I'm going to have to say don't hold your breath. Space X has failed to make a commercial business out of launching payloads into space just yet. Only one such launch thus far, with no set date on the next. Not to mention the Falcon 9 has been delayed countless times, was suppose to launch last year.
Thus far they really will go nowhere if they keep with the delays, and lose government funding as a result of not being able to fulfill their contract. So, we'll see what happens but I'm not hopeful. Oh, it isn't all doom and gloom but things couldn't be more uncertain.