POLL: What Do You Think About NASA's New Direction?

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POLL: What Do You Think About NASA's New Direction?

  • Awesome. Let’s go boldly and put the moon in our rearview mirror.

    Votes: 19 27.9%
  • Big mistake bypassing the moon, which would serve as a practice target and a launch point.

    Votes: 23 33.8%
  • Phhhht. Given all the indecision in recent years, we’ll likely still be stuck right here in 2030.

    Votes: 26 38.2%

  • Total voters
    68
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neutrino78x

Guest
Gravity_Ray":6o6siftd said:
One came up with a Moon, Mars, and beyond direction at the end of his term without any funding. The other came up with Asteroids, then the moons of Mars without any sort of logic.
Actually that is not Obama's plan. See below.

The best thing is to get NASA to simply fund private enterprise with some seed money to do basic work in LEO. Getting cargo and then astronauts to LEO first. Then fund them with additional seed money to get them into cislunar space while NASA continues to fund scientific endeavors to increase our abilities with engines, and robotic missions to map out our solar system so private sector will know what is where.

Then get the heck out of the way so the private sector will do the job cheaper and faster.
This is Obama's plan. That's why people on here were complaining that he is destroying human space flight or whatever. In fact, Obama's original plan preserves HSF forever, instead of making it something to be destroyed by the next administration.

--Brian
 
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robn02

Guest
Forget the moon! Been there, done that. Don't waste valuable time & resources here. President Obama made the right choice. Head for Mars. We can do it with our present technology.
 
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ruftfuture

Guest
Big Mistake, because we should have both a commercial way to space AND the constellation program. I think that was where we were heading anyway before this new change in mission and direction. I like the potential asteroid mission, and the heavy lift vehicle, but we were already developing a heavy lift vehicle. In this new bill didn't Congress reduce some of the funding that President Obama wanted for the commercial rocket development? This is going down the same path of not enough funding to get the job done. We would have been better off with the original plan. Wait til you see the cost overruns of the new program. As for having been to the moon before... Did we stop launching shuttles after the first launches? Did we say, OK we did that, let's stop.
On every level, this makes no sense, and will cost more in the end.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
The catalyst for the sometimes contentious give and take has been the looming retirement of NASA’s shuttle program.
We still need a proper discussion of the cancellation of Shuttle. The widespread assertion that its reliability was decreasing was and is not supported by any rigorous assessment. The official PRA of 1 in 70 for loss of crew is clearly in error. Obviously the failure modes that caused the loss of Columbia and Challenger were each corrected before return to flight. If other failure modes existed that could result in a 1 in 70 probability of LOC, we would have to have seen at least one and probably two additional losses by now. In reality the shuttle becomes more reliable with each flight, as improvements are made. Read http://www.aero.org/publications/crossl ... 01/03.html

We can't simply sweep this under the rug. The decision to cancel Shuttle was made in 2005 by Bush and Griffin, not by Obama, and their cancellation of Shuttle supply contracts and destruction of tooling made it irreversible. We can't go back. But unless we understand why this decision was fundamentally wrong we cannot hope to make better decisions in the future.
 
D

DarkenedOne

Guest
vulture4":3g37ghf2 said:
The catalyst for the sometimes contentious give and take has been the looming retirement of NASA’s shuttle program.
We still need a proper discussion of the cancellation of Shuttle. The widespread assertion that its reliability was decreasing was and is not supported by any rigorous assessment. The official PRA of 1 in 70 for loss of crew is clearly in error. Obviously the failure modes that caused the loss of Columbia and Challenger were each corrected before return to flight. If other failure modes existed that could result in a 1 in 70 probability of LOC, we would have to have seen at least one and probably two additional losses by now. In reality the shuttle becomes more reliable with each flight, as improvements are made. Read http://www.aero.org/publications/crossl ... 01/03.html

We can't simply sweep this under the rug. The decision to cancel Shuttle was made in 2005 by Bush and Griffin, not by Obama, and their cancellation of Shuttle supply contracts and destruction of tooling made it irreversible. We can't go back. But unless we understand why this decision was fundamentally wrong we cannot hope to make better decisions in the future.
First of all your only the shuttle was cancelled for other reasons than just reliability. A greater reason was the cost. It cost $4 billion a year to run. NASA simply did not have the money to maintain the Shuttle system and pursue other endeavors. Thus in order to move on the SHuttle had to go.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
The average cost of a shuttle mission was $450 million until recently however much of this was overhead; under the so-called full cost accounting system many unrelated activities that are really institutional functions were charged to Shuttle. The cost of an additional mission in a given year was under $100; for STS-75, for example, a reflight mission that was actually added to the schedule, the additional money added to the budget was $77 million. Higher estimates have been generated by averaging in development costs, but these are "sunk costs" that no longer have to be spent and should not be considered in comparing the cost of Shuttle, which is already flying, to that of a new system where additional money has to be spent fir development.

Obviously stretching out the last couple Shuttle flights over almost a year is not cost-effective. However the launch cost of Ares I was considerably higher than that of Shuttle Because of its low flight rate and vast facilities costs, despite its tiny cargo capacity. If the Shuttle is too expensive, the Ares I and Ares V are vastly too expensive and, it pains me to say, should be canceled. If we need an HLV we can procure one from ULA or SpaceX.
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
vulture4":3llj8myd said:
The average cost of a shuttle mission was $450 million until recently however much of this was overhead; under the so-called full cost accounting system many unrelated activities that are really institutional functions were charged to Shuttle. The cost of an additional mission in a given year was under $100; for STS-75, for example, a reflight mission that was actually added to the schedule, the additional money added to the budget was $77 million. Higher estimates have been generated by averaging in development costs, but these are "sunk costs" that no longer have to be spent and should not be considered in comparing the cost of Shuttle, which is already flying, to that of a new system where additional money has to be spent fir development.

Obviously stretching out the last couple Shuttle flights over almost a year is not cost-effective. However the launch cost of Ares I was considerably higher than that of Shuttle Because of its low flight rate and vast facilities costs, despite its tiny cargo capacity. If the Shuttle is too expensive, the Ares I and Ares V are vastly too expensive and, it pains me to say, should be canceled. If we need an HLV we can procure one from ULA or SpaceX.
Shuttle has a large $1300 mil yearly fixed cost plus the additional recurring cost of ~$100 mil per flight making the fact that if you flew Shuttle 12 times in a year the cost would be $200 mil for a Shuttle flight. The original estimation of shuttle flight capability when costs were being analyzed during Shuttle design the number of flights per year was envisioned to be 24. When Shuttle goes away these $1.3 billion yearly costs will go away as well, almost all of it manpower.
 
V

vulture3

Guest
When Shuttle goes away these $1.3 billion yearly costs will go away as well, almost all of it manpower.
I would agree if the successor program is human flight via SpaceX Commercial services, which at present appears to have a remarkably low overhead. Unless NASA gets too involved in "man-rating" their systems, in which case costs could go through the roof.

However if the successor program is Constellation, as is still essentially the case, there are high overheads to pay, indeed Shuttle was canceled because the previous administration could not figure out any other way to fund Constellation. Some of these costs, i.e. maintenance on the VAB, MLP, crawler and the SRB logistics chain would be essentially the same as for Shuttle. Others, the logistics chains for the Ares upper stage, or HLV, and Orion, would be somewhat different but no less expensive.
 
Y

Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
What do I think about their new direction? I think it's lousy. The contracting of commerical ships was a good idea because that will help us tame LEO. But the goal should be moon base by 2020 and Mars mission by 2025-2030. I honestly have no idea what is taking so long.
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
vulture3":3o9az2ex said:
When Shuttle goes away these $1.3 billion yearly costs will go away as well, almost all of it manpower.
I would agree if the successor program is human flight via SpaceX Commercial services, which at present appears to have a remarkably low overhead. Unless NASA gets too involved in "man-rating" their systems, in which case costs could go through the roof.

However if the successor program is Constellation, as is still essentially the case, there are high overheads to pay, indeed Shuttle was canceled because the previous administration could not figure out any other way to fund Constellation. Some of these costs, i.e. maintenance on the VAB, MLP, crawler and the SRB logistics chain would be essentially the same as for Shuttle. Others, the logistics chains for the Ares upper stage, or HLV, and Orion, would be somewhat different but no less expensive.
The Constellation infrastructure is left over Shuttle era infrastructure which is left over Apollo era infrastructure. This penchant for reusing infrastructure that may not make good business sense is NASA’s way of avoiding some development costs at the expense of out year operation costs. The Apollo era infrastructure which Shuttle added even more infrastructure to is just too expensive to use. One of the unseen items in the SRB costs is all the infrastructure costs to be able to make them reusable: tugs, ports, post mission cleaning and environmental cleanup, and the shipment back and forth to Utah for refilling. A purely throw away SRB would not have these costs and be lighter weight resulting in an almost equal cost to reusable SRB. But the directive was reusability and so the reusable SRB was designed. The Ares 1 and Ares V should have thrown out the reusable SRB for using a one time throw away booster. They could have saved a lot of development costs trying to adapt an SRB as a complete booster. Using one F1A engine and the J2X they could have been ready to go by now.

You are correct that Space X has low overhead, this is because when they designed the Falcon 9 they optimized for the total costs in tradeoffs, one of them being lowering the fixed costs in infrastructure such as using only one propellant mixture and the easier one to handle at that LOX/RP1. For each different propellant there is a separate infrastructure cost to maintain the equipment. SRBs are considered a different propellant which has its own infrastructure costs for handling the loaded SRBs.

As far as the new directives they read the same as the old ones: reuse current Shuttle infrastructure, maximize reusability, and keep developmental yearly expenditures low irregardless of the effects on operational costs, total development costs, and length of time to develop.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
www.thespacereview.com : International partners and NASA’s new direction
by Jeff Foust

Monday, October 18, 2010

A key element of the National Space Policy released by the White House in late June is its focus on international cooperation. Cooperating with, and leveraging the capabilities of, other countries is “woven throughout the entire policy”, in the words of one administration official (see “Parsing the policy”, The Space Review, August 2, 2010). Yet, in the nearly four months since the policy’s release discussion on space issues in the US has been almost entirely domestically focused, in particular the debate about the NASA authorization bill and its policy provisions.

That policy, and the completion of the NASA authorization bill (signed into law last Monday by President Obama) have provided other spacefaring nations with plenty to consider as they weigh current and future cooperation with the US on space ventures. At a panel last Friday organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, representatives of several European and Japanese agencies expressed an interest in working with NASA on both continued use of the International Space Station and future exploration programs, but potentially under a different relationship than today.
...
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
The President has signed the NASA authorization bill. Constellation is officially canceled. It is official policy now that Mars is the goal and we will get there via Flexible Path in the Augustine report. :)

--Brian
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
It is also official policy that the replacement for the Space Shuttle to LEO will be commercial launch services. :) A heavy lift launcher has also been authorized, based on DIRECT (shuttle derived). :) See my other thread about the President signing the authorization bill.

--Brian
 
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vulture3

Guest
In reality Orion and the heavy Lift Launcher are still going full steam ahead. Ares i is questionable but mainly because it doesn't appear to be powerful enough to launch the increasingly heavy Orion.Huge amounts of money are going into this program. Can you name one thing it will produce that will be of practical value for America? When America is going broke, borrowing $100B from China for a few symbolic flights to the moon or an asteroid is absurd; any scientific objective can be satisfied at a fraction of the cost by a robotic probe.

Our big mistake was destroying the Shuttle program, which was finally working well. This occurred under Bush although virtually all Republicans now claim Obama canceled the Shuttle. The seven year gap under Constellation and the completely unaffordable plans for We were told again and again how expensive it was, overhead about $1.5B/year, never mind that the marginal price of adding another Shuttle mission was only about $100M. Constellation, by whatever name it goes, will cost more than Shuttle per launch and carry much less. We cannot afford BEO flight. Dragon/Falcon vastly outperforms Orion for ISS logistics, a mission for which Orion was not designed and for which it is singularly unsuited.
 
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chilliewillie

Guest
What Do You Think About NASA's New Direction?

This is nuts. Obama is effectively reducing NASA and has used a trip to the asteriod as a means of misdirection. Private sector, (guffaw) I sure don't feel comfortable with the private sector having anything to do with space travel.
Our technological superiority in the modern age has been fueled by NASA, and I see it as a travesty to watch Obama take that away from us too, and all in the name of change, yeah, Obama is after the spare change you have in your pocket, thats the change he is after. You just wait and see.

We need to continue to fund NASA and feed the technological breakthroughs into our own economy. You can't transform the government into a welfare unit. Remember, "A government big enough to give you what you want, is big enough to take everything away from you." And I am afraid that is what is going to happen, and at NASA's expense. They will gut NASA, take that money and pay people not to work, not to try to work, but to remain dependant on the government. NASA is the personified culmination of America. It is a shame that Obama wants to do away with that. I know you say, "Oh, look, he wants us to go to an Asteroid?" Hooey and Hogwash, it is just a smoke screen people, don't buy into it. Really, please, don't buy into it, our way of life is slowly disintegrating before our eyes a little at a time.
 
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djpboston

Guest
I think we are making a big mistake retiring the shuttle program leaving us to rely on Russia and others for access to the ISS and NO heavy lift capacity to support the station in the near future. This is a BIG problem I think we will learn to regret. NASA has not had much choice as they are at the whim of the Bush administration and now the lack of commitment by the Obama administration for funding.

Maybe the lame duck session of Congress will see fit to extend the lift of the program another year or two.
 
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vulture4

Guest
djpboston":3ihvz64q said:
I think we are making a big mistake retiring the shuttle program leaving us to rely on Russia and others for access to the ISS and NO heavy lift capacity to support the station in the near future. This is a BIG problem I think we will learn to regret. NASA has not had much choice as they are at the whim of the Bush administration and now the lack of commitment by the Obama administration for funding.

Maybe the lame duck session of Congress will see fit to extend the lift of the program another year or two.
We cannot extend the Shuttle program because Bush and Griffin canceled the supply contracts and much of the tooling was destroyed.
 
F

fnsgreen

Guest
zigi_24":1evti80l said:
I think it's a good direction, but I still think that a lot more money should be invested in space exploration. Especially a private sector should be given the upper-hand by the Government. If we invest a lot in Defense, space program shouldn't be an exception. :)
I would have to agree 100%.

First we only have so much money available. The plan we currently have approved is much closer to the reality of the funds provided than the Bush Plan. We can continue forward and make progress within budget. The Bush plan was grand and inspiring but was fraught with disappointment and failure given the resources available. The new plan may be less grandiose but it is achievable. We need to live in the reality of our times.

Second, We do need to invest more in the program. We have the benefits not only of the shear science, but the engineering. By investing in the space program we are investing in the Engineering of the future. Experience is hard to quantify, but is extremely valuable. The largest value of President Bush's moon program was the process we would evolve for our future space program. The actual quantifiable return on investment has been noted to be as high as 10:1. Our advances in Medicine, Computer technology, Composites, and of course Aeronautics can be attributed to a large extent on the space program of the last 50 years.

Third, Let's face it, the most motivating factor right now in the space program development is keeping jobs that are currently being held. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Keeping our smartest rocket scientist happily employed is probably a good idea. But by developing the private sector, we can easily have a situation where those talented people can find an alternative to the public sector. Also, the private sector when given the chance, will come up with all sorts of interesting and productive developments, products and services from the space program. The expansion of mankind beyond earth is much more likely to develop through the private sector. Look at current trends now. You have Bigelow talking about Hotels in space and Spacex talking about trips to Mars. These may seem outrageous claims to some, but we are talking about business men who have a reputation of taking ideas and developing them to the point of making a profit.
 
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