POLL - Who Should Build Big Space Rockets?

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Who Should Build Big Space Rockets, NASA or the Private Sector?

  • NASA needs more funding so it can continue to lead the way and maintain total control.

    Votes: 19 38.8%
  • NASA should move aside somewhat, use funds as incentives to spur commercial competition.

    Votes: 27 55.1%
  • Time for NASA to step aside completely and let private enterprise compete boldly.

    Votes: 3 6.1%

  • Total voters
    49
Status
Not open for further replies.
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Swampcat

Guest
Booban, I call BS on your whole line of reasoning.

Booban":2bg2t3k8 said:
They have not done anything yet, you cannot say that it ultimately saves money. You cannot assume that they can do it so cheap and still make hundreds of millions in their own personal profit. SpaceX has not launched any manned rocket, nobody except NASA has. There is no proof that big corporations are not as bloated as government organizations, if you want those NASA engineers fired, write a letter to your congressman. At least he won't tell you to shove it like a corporation would.
It is true that SpaceX has yet to put humans in space, but you cannot assume that they won't nor can you assume that they can't do it cheaper than others. This is a pointless and unprovable argument. (BTW, I guess you must have forgotten China and Russia have also put humans in space.)

And where did you get the "hundreds of millions" figure? I'd say you just pulled it out of your...uhmm, made that up to make your argument sound good.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX is a self-avowed human spaceflight advocate. Yes, he's taken taxpayer's money when it was made available, but he's also spent a considerable amount of his personal fortune on getting humans into space. SpaceX is a privately owned company with just over 800 employees -- hardly a big corporation by any stretch of the imagination.

These private corporations want the know how and knowledge from NASA which has cost a lot of money, they want to then claim that they have developed a rocket when all they did was just build it. Of course it is cheaper if you stole someone else's 50 years of experience!
This is baloney. Nobody has stolen anything. With this logic, anyone who, since the Chinese developed black power* rockets, dares to develop a new launch vehicle is guilty of stealing somebody else's experience. This is nonsense. The development of the Falcon family of launch vehicles stands on the shoulders of previously developed vehicles and propulsion technology. SpaceX not only developed their propulsion systems and vehicle technology in-house, they build the majority of it themselves. That is quite an accomplishment for a privately held company in only 7 years.

Private corporations and capitalism has absolutely no place in a monopolistic situation where there is just one customer and few competitors. Nothing will be cheaper for it.
Monopolistic? Are you forgetting about Orbital Sciences Corp., Boeing, Lockheed Martin, ULA? I would agree with you that a monopoly on human spaceflight would not be good. I would like to see as many companies in the game as possible -- all of them competing for LEO crew taxi services and more. The reality is, however, that the current market is limited and SpaceX, arguably, happens to be further along than others.

Again, as has been pointed out to you, private enterprise already builds the vehicles that NASA designs. Do some research. Your ignorance is showing.

*Edit: "Black power rockets" ?? :shock: :oops: Here's the "d" I left out. Put it in the appropriate spot.
 
T

topastro

Guest
Since TreasureHuntFan and Swampcat have already addressed some of the issues raised here by what I call the "NASA's upper administration has NEVER made any mistakes" crowd, I'll answer some issues they did not address completely. But first, I would like to remind everyone of a simple truth. No matter how smart or knowledgeable NASA's upper administration is or how much past experience they've had, they are human and capable of making bad decisions just as I, you and any one else may. At worst they are not guilty of building a bad rocket, but of not thinking that there may be other ways than their traditional way of going about it. And by the way, I'm only talking about some of the most powerful administrators, other administrators came up with a lot of these "new" ideas a long time ago, but were overruled by fellow administrators with either more seniority or authority.

"The report is claimed to say that 5 billion should be given to private companies to develop technology that will then be sold back to NASA at a profit. How is that supposed to be cheaper than just keeping the money and doing something you, and actually only you have proven track record to do. NASA's budget is only 17 billion and they can't get more, but there's apparently 5 billion to giveaway to people who have never built a man rated rocket."


When one considers that to finish Ares I alone is expected to cost at least another $10 billion beyond what has already been spent on it, having several companies coming up with multiple vehicles for $5 billion seems like a deal to me. :D

As for the issue that you bring up about man-rating. Please read the beginning of the last post that I made before this one.

I would also remind you that NASA has failed to complete any new orbital launch vehicle (even unmanned ones) over which it has overseen development since the 80s (when it and its industry partners finished the Shuttle). For example, look at the X-33 and X-34. In my a opinion that's a worse track record than the commercial companies which have produced a number of new orbital launchers since then!

"On the other side giving them the monopoly, there could be a time that NASA needed to send a heavy sattelite or some special cargo to the ISS or to any mission and they wanted 20 billions for that launch... Since the american rules say that NASA or any military unit can´t use another launcher when they have some "items" on board, the american tax payer would have to pay them those 20 bilions since that was the only launcher that was available."

No one is talking about a monopoly of any one private company. Instead, there are to be multiple launch vehicles operating from multiple companies. If one vehicle proves problematic, America can still put people in space with the other vehicles. Having only one launch vehicle now (the shuttle) is the reason we're going to have to rely on the Russians during the "gap" after the Shuttle stops operating. I've got nothing against the Russians, but I would rather see American tax money going to Americans!
 
B

Booban

Guest
OMG these replies are wrong on so many levels I give up. Fine smart people, giveaway your money, this is why such a small percentage of americans own so much money in America.
 
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sroman

Guest
The problem with Ares is the solids.Can the manufacturer keep going only making segments for ARES 1-Y in the next 7 years?They are making small booster rockets for Delta etc.There are several liquid fuel rockets that an adapter could be made to fit the Orion and Altair.SpaceX is advertising a heavy(63,000lbs)that would lift these spacecraft.These rocket companies will have other work to keep the production line going.It would be cheaper also.NASA would just be another customer.
 
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raanan

Guest
If spaceX can do it in half the time and for 1/3 the cost, they should be doing it. (Instead of NASA / Lockheed Martin)
 
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heavylift

Guest
doublehelix":2wt6xuwv said:
An independent blue-ribbon panel that reviewed NASA's plans to replace its space shuttles said Thursday that the agency should consider using commercial vehicles to help achieve its goal, and perhaps nix the new Ares I rocket slated to fly future astronauts. The reason: The agency is severely underfunded for achieving present goals.

Thing is, Ares 1 is on the launch pad and slated for its first launch Oct. 27. Still, the panel suggests NASA invest $5 billion as incentives to spur commercial growth and competition in this arena.

http://www.space.com/news/091022-august ... eport.html
:?: This is crazy our country has held thelead in space and now the politicians want to just hand all of our sacrifice over to the other countries keep N.A.S.A. in the lead in space! Remember the pride in this country when we made it to the moon lets do it again and again. Give N.A.S.A. what they need and get out of the way and see great things happen!
 
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topastro

Guest
Attention HeavyLift!

Did you not see this earlier post by Spaceman57?

Correction: The Ares I is NOT on the launchpad. This rocket on the launchpad is no more the real Ares I than an Estes rocket model is a real spaceship. It is a slightly modified four-segment SRB with a dummy fifth segment mounted on top and a dummy second stage and a dummy third stage and a dummy Orion crew module shell and a dummy abort tower . What is on the pad is the Ares 1-X demonstrator.
 
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Ruri

Guest
NASA needs to buy off the shelf unless they have a vehicle that creates new capabilities or lowers cost.
Ares I does not create any new capabilities you can buy rockets that exceed it's payload for a lot lower cost.
The Delta IV-H already can meet or exceed all Ares I's performance goals for a lower cost.
As for simplicity and safety the D4H may have a total of 4 engines but it does not have nor needs an active damping system,ullage rockets or have the top of it's first stage blown off to terminate it's thrust.
This also means the LAS can be a lot smaller this translates as 3kg saved on the LAS = 1kg more payload as the LAS is not carried to orbit.
So in practice the D4H Orion is probably going to be a simpler vehicle.

But there does not appear to be any HLVs ie vehicles with an over 45T payload being developed by the private sector so they probably should build Jupiter.
The largest is F9-H with a cryogenic upper stage with a payload of around 40T so any LV NASA develops in house needs to exceed that.
Unless they got a fully reusable RLV I doubt they can meet it's per launch price.

The J130 can lift 70T and the J246 100T this is new capability esp with fairing size since these vehicles offer a 10M fairing.
As far as a I know no one is offering a 10M fairing not even ULA.

As for sticking with Ares this program has a lot of the same flaws as the Soviet N1 program which failed in the end.
 
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SpecialEd

Guest
Yes, I believe that NASA should be funded more, no big surprise there. I also agree that private companies, be they 'big', 'medium' or 'small' should be brought in to further develop/construct space-related hardware, rockets or complimentary systems, all the while under governmental standards/supervision (I want some oversight, no fly-by-night rockst for me, please), leaving a properly-funded NASA to further develop advanced propulsion technology (read as NERVA) AND long-duration vehicles (probably spun for artificial gravity) AND advanced shielding technology.

Yes, Luna first but I don't want to overlook going to Mars.
 
W

Whitespliff

Guest
Why is there no option that NASA could work together with let's say ESA or another agency?
ESA is doing a pretty good job with the Ariane rockets.
Or does it HAVE to stay all American?
 
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rcsplinters

Guest
I think a point that many are overlooking, most importantly the politicians, is the practicality of a transition such as this poll suggests. If we propose and accept a very simple premise: That the United States must remain the world leader in manned space flight we can see a pretty logical path forward.

The recent report basically said that its time to transition LEO to commercial venture and charge NASA with deep space exploration for manned space flight. Frankly, in a vacuum, I don't have a problem with that. However, we don't have a serious commercial venture as yet and none has suffered a loss that could sour a commercial endeavor in a single explosion. We can't afford to lose LEO for manned spaceflight per our premise, which could happen if NASA turns its back on LEO in favor of fledgling commercial flights. The answer is simple, albeit expensive. You have to fund NASA with Constellation as the logical choice. Further you must continue to seed commercial ventures.

Anyone that has been involved in large technological transition knows that to maintain availability during the transition, you have to operate in dual modes for a time. Its expensive but if your goal is to stay in space AND adopt a new paradigm at the same time, that is your choice. With Aries 1 we have a back up to commercial ventures if they fail plus we have a cheaper means to put a crew in orbit which doesn't involve heavy lift plus we get a dual purpose capsule in the bargin. Without it, we have nothing for LEO but a heavy lift option for deeper space with will not present until the early to mid 20's.

We can not lead manned space flight from the sidelines. However, it seems we are seriously contemplating taking ourselves out of the game. If NASA is sidelined with no viable near term alternative, we may not see another US launched manned spacecraft for more than a decade after the shuttle is retired and if the commercial efforts suffer a set back. Is this risk really acceptable?
 
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topastro

Guest
rcsplinters said,
"We can't afford to lose LEO for manned spaceflight per our premise, which could happen if NASA turns its back on LEO in favor of fledgling commercial flights. The answer is simple, albeit expensive. You have to fund NASA with Constellation as the logical choice. Further you must continue to seed commercial ventures."[/b]

And what makes you think that Ares I is any more likely to be completed than one of the commercial launchers? Ares I-X is vastly different from it, so the launch of it this week will prove nothing. The production version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 is slated to launch in February with a prototype Dragon capsule. Remember that NASA has failed to complete any orbital launcher it has worked on after the shuttle was completed in the 80s (see X-33 and X34 to name two). That's a lousy record! Do you honestly think that if you have several commercial companies building launchers at the same time that at least one won't make it? Especially, when one of them has already essentially completed development of their vehicle? Given all of these facts, continuing to go with Constellation as it now exists is a much bigger risk, because we can't afford the already planned version of Constellation and commercial manned launch for reasons stated below.

"The recent report basically said that its time to transition LEO to commercial venture and charge NASA with deep space exploration for manned space flight. Frankly, in a vacuum, I don't have a problem with that. However, we don't have a serious commercial venture as yet and none has suffered a loss that could sour a commercial endeavor in a single explosion. We can't afford to lose LEO for manned spaceflight per our premise, which could happen if NASA turns its back on LEO in favor of fledgling commercial flights. The answer is simple, albeit expensive. You have to fund NASA with Constellation as the logical choice. Further you must continue to seed commercial ventures."


Even if Falcon 9 encounters problems on it's first few of flights the way Falcon I did and it takes just as long to work the bugs out, it only took about a year and a half to get everything straightened out on Falcon I.

If you will read further into the Augustine report, it says that if Congress went along with the increased funding recommended in the report, and even if all of the elements of Constellation had already been built we still couldn't afford to operate it! Just from an operational standpoint Constellation is so expensive, it would eat up all the money needed for commercial development.
 
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rcsplinters

Guest
To clarify a couple of points I made rather poorly.

I think we can agree that the report indicated that funding isn't adequate for Constellation either in design or operation. This means NASA basically is out of the picture currently for manned space flight if that report is correct. Given that obvious bit, it seems if we are to contemplate a future in manned space flight involving NASA in any context, more money is needed. Further, there was no question as to the technical viability of Constellation.

Let me further clarify that I have no objection to the commercial option. However, every successful orbital flight has been backed by very large government which is highly motivated. The commercial efforts are mere fledglings by comparison. A loss of craft or loss of crew can dramatically affect the business model for such incredibily difficult activites. Because this is so incredibly difficult and the marketplace is utterly without definition, its a very reasonable possibility that any given commercial effort could suffer a few false starts and a company could simply decide to exit the market once the cost of craft and loss of life is tabulated. Again, I'm not against commercial LEO operations. I do believe that manned space flight is absolutely critical to the nation on several levels. So much so, that I believe we can't put our eggs in just the NASA basket nor the commercial basket. My point was that we must be willing to robustly fund both options until one or both demonstrate the ability for sustained success. My hope would ultimately be to see dozens of commercial flights a month while NASA and its partners reach for the moon and far beyond a couple of times a year. However, I think it incredibly unwise to bet the farm on venture capital and the elusive hope for sustained profit for private interests without Plan B in the works as well.

In terms of affordability, I completely reject the notion that we can't afford to do both. I heard that argument in the days of Saturn and Apollo. We are contemplating insignificant sums in comparison with the flow of money out of captial hill today. This would an investment that is almost assured to pay off. This is a question of priority which ultimately boils down to votes and tea leaves.

As it regards Nasa's success rate, I'm not aware that they have ever failed to deliver a fully funded manned system, though I may be putting my ignorance on display. This is not to say that they may have simply chosen not to pursue some efforts to conclusion in the face of a hostile congress.
 
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Astro_Robert

Guest
There are 2 aspects to Launch vehicle, particularly manned vehicles. Safety and Cost. Orion came about due to a special study done 5 years ago in which it was claimed that Orion would be safer, and about the same cost as developing derivatives off of EELV. It was also very big on Shuttle heritage (NASA jobs) and pooh-poohed EELV heritage.

The safety arguement is somewhat illusory. I mean they claim that various vehicle have a safety of X% based on some presumed failure rate of components, whereas we can simply say with Shuttle and existing EELVs success = 125/127 or some such thing. Furthermore, the Air Force levelled a broadside at Ares I a few weeks ago, insisting that a failure of the solids would almost certainly result in crew death. Others dispute this claim.

I believe the Air Force has chosen to get involved because they remember their experience in the 1980s. When Shuttle was announced, Air Force was supposed to go along, and SCRAP its expendible program. At the last minute, they decided to keep Titan. Soon they realized that the Shuttle launch rate was not ever going to be 20 per year as advertised. Eventually they went with EELV to maintain assured launch capability. Notice, National Security payloads normally launched on Titan and EELV, not Shuttle. I belive Air Force sees a similar threat with Ares: if they are forced to cancel their other light launchers in favor of Ares I, and it does not live up to the launch rate, then they are hosed. As far as Ares V, Air Force is probably willing to use an existing heavy launcher if available.

The Blue ribbon panel is chaired by Norm Augustine (Yes he is a retired Loclheed Martin exec) who has been called in to chair several similar panels before (including V-22 Osprey). Sally Ride is America's first Female Astronaut and has also been involved in Space policy. I am not familiar with the rest of the panel, but I think they all bring credibility to the table, and want a sucessful space program, above any parochial interests. I thought they put together a very good arguement on behalf of the deep-space first objective, which is more science based as opposed to political based, and also has the prospect of more targets of exploration to maintain popular interest.

They panel basically says that although Ares does rely on shuttle derived systems to save cost vs developing from scratch, that an EELV derived system would probably be cheaper and comparably safe. I believe that the cost estimate for EELV derivative is probably also much more credible since there is data on several development cycles (ex: Atlas I, II, V), giving us more confidence at extrapolating to man-rating or sizing for heavy lift (earlier Atlas variants have been man-rated). Shuttle is known for VERY high cost, and safety of only about 98%, so that is the basis for any and all derivatives, but it preserves NASA jobs.

The poll, and some respndents, seem the think that procuring launch services would be like shopping at K-Mart, whereas actual experience with current EELVs is different. Keep in mind, the EELV model works well for the Air Force, in which Air Force sets requirements and the launchers are built commercially, its not like EELV is a black hole with no government insight.

As far as relying on smaller commercial vendors like Musk: put up or shut up. Sorry, but there is no way this nation will put its national security on the line of unproven claims and promises. I am in favor of giving guys like Musk and his competition some money to keep them going to see if they come up with anything, but so far nobody has built a successful launcher (to orbit) outside of large government funding. Relying on a hope and a promise is not good enough we need a higher probability of success in this endeavor.
 
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Hogan_314

Guest
I'm working on a potentially improved posting about the total economic value of all possible mined ores in the asteroid belt. This is something of an experimental draft to follow below.

But I'm having trouble with the math.

The point is the asteroid belt is worth a fortune and the Constellation program should be saved and combined with private sector investment and technological development.

In a nutshell:
A one kilometer diameter stereotyped asteroid is worth over one trillion dollars, just based on 7 elements. This so called 1Km diameter asteroid is about 716,000,000 metric tons.

Hence developing the following train of thought.


The total mass of the asteroid belt has a minimum and maximum estimate.

What is 3.0Kg to the 1021st power Minimum guess. Then convert to metric tons.

What is 3.6Kg to the 1921st power Maximum guess. Then convert to metric tons

Just for your curiosity the source of the potential economic value comes from these links.


Asteroid Composition Table
There's almost 80 elements of value in this chart

Asteroid Mining for Profit



Excerpt from second link above.

In a nut shell.........
A one kilometer diameter stereotyped asteroid is worth over one trillion dollars, just based on 7 elements. This so called 1Km diameter asteroid is about 716,000,000 metric tons.

Following is a short list from this chart, based on the above mentioned elements, expressed in parts per billion (PPB) by mass (weight)*, with the equivalent in total metric tons for our 1 km. dia. asteroid.

* Iron - 220,000,000 PPB = 440,000,000 M.T. @ $410/M.T. = $180.4 Billion
* Magnesium - 120,000,000 PPB = 240,000,000 M.T. @ $3,460/M.T. = $830.4 Billion
* Nickel - 13,000,000 PPB = 26,000,000 M.T. @ $4,630/M.T. = $120.38 Billion
* Aluminum - 9,300,000 PPB = 18,600,000 M.T. @ $1,440/M.T. = $26.784 Billion
* Cobalt - 600,000 PPB = 1,200,000 M.T. @ $47,245/M.T. = $56.694 Billion
* Titanium - 550,000 PPB = 1,100,000 M.T. @ $9,650/M.T. = $10.615 Billion
* Platinum - 1,000 PPB = 2,000 M.T. @ $25,000,000/M.T. = $50 Billion

Of course, there are many other strategic metals (and non-metals) in equally staggering quantities on our asteroid, such as germanium, chromium, copper, zinc, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, tellurium, and many more (78 quantified elements in our chart). But the seven elements listed above will do nicely for our illustration. Based on 1998 spot prices (except Platinum - $779./troy oz. or $25/gm.) for the above metals**, the total value of the above would be over $1.275 trillion! Breaking it down another way, these 7 elements would yield $637.64 in refined metals for each metric ton of ore. When all elements (excluding most alkaline metals and some non-metals - see Chart) are considered, the average value of refined elements per metric ton of ore is about $1,125.





I believe my goal is to multiply/ figure out the mass of the entire asteroid belt and it's total gross economic value. I'm not going to get into the mining aspect, that's another story.



Well maybe not.......If I'm on the right track.... I'm supporting the development of the Constellation program combined with private sector commercial interests and technological development. Basically NASA will take us to the Moon again but private commercial investments wants to learn how to mine the Moon for technological development and then take that expertise to the asteroid belt.

Delta and Atlas can develop there own interplanetary heavy lift boosters in concert to eventually go to the asteroid belt but they seem to be 1 or 2 decades behind NASA.

Save NASAs Constellation program so the commercial market will eventually start making a profit by sending their own mining equipment to the Moon then the asteroids in the decades to follow.

In conclusion, a nice number to come up with is the total gross net worth of the entire asteroid belt. And yes there's gold and Platinum...and it's worth a fortune.


GOLD Gold (Au) 170 PPB or mg./M.T.
*12,260,911.00 $ per M.T. of Elem.
*2.08 $ in 1 M.T. Ore
*2,084,355. $ in 1 mil. M.T. Ore

$1,126,725,747. $ in 1 million Metric Tons Ore of all 78 elements from table in link above.

Multiply this by the right number of metric ton of Mass in the asteroid belt and what do you get?


America must take the lead in economic development of the asteroid belt and canceling the Constellation could set us behind 10 or 20 years. The nation that leads or effectively controls economic policy of the asteroid belt and beyond will be the one that gets rich.
And that means jobs. And it can start today. America must take the cooperative lead in space resources development and the world economy will be better for it.

Am I on the right track? Can you guess mistakes in this perception of data evaluation estimate?
 
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Hogan_314

Guest
(continuation of last post about asteroid belt value)


Any pro or cons are welcome.

If you want to have fun with numbers, figure out how much all the gold and platinum is worth in the asteroid belt from the data and links above.

Please respond to this forum and also copy and past replies to my home email address please.

{removed e-mil address for multiple reasons}

Thank you kindly.

Hogan314

PS: Please note that all figures should be used only as a general guide to abundance and values. Abundance figures represent an average composition for C-Type asteroids. The actual composition of any asteroid will vary, often significantly, from these values. Element prices are subject to market conditions and will vary, often significantly, from those stated below. Please also see the section titled "Supply and Demand - Space Economics" regarding pricing.
 
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Hogan_314

Guest
I suggest that NASA with any partners sponsor an X-prize type contest to save the Constellation program.

Since this one is a biggy, prizes should reach several million dollars or more awarded to the top ten proposals.

Objective will vary yet the general theme might be, among others, combining NASA and private sector development of technology to mine the asteroids by developing technology on the moon first and creating jobs.

Read my previous posts here about the economic value of the asteroid belt

Please submit any responses to this thread and also my home email address at

{removed e-mail address for multiple reasons}
 
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topastro

Guest
Astro_Robert

I agree with virtually everything you say, but have a quibble with this:

... so far nobody has built a successful launcher (to orbit) outside of large government funding. Relying on a hope and a promise is not good enough we need a higher probability of success in this endeavor.

The last two flights of SpaceX Falcon I made it to orbit, and this launcher was NOT government funded! The last launch was with the successful deployment of a commercial payload! True Falcon I is not big enough to launch manned vehicles, but it is a successful "launcher [to orbit]" in your words. It also cost only about $100 million to develop.
 
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Hogan_314

Guest
Maybe a different strategy could save money for the Constellation program.

Let Mr. Obama fund private enterprise for Low Earth Orbit development to include supporting the ISS. This could also have an impact down the road on any future Space station developed after ISS.

Isn't Bigalow trying to develop a space hotel? Their first test launch was apparently successful so far.

Isn't Dragon, Space X , not to mention ESA, Japan and Russia oriented towards supporting the ISS?

The notion is for the Constellation program to significantly decrease LEO options including support of the ISS to save money and develop just the products to take us to the Moon and continue research there with private sector support of their goals and experiments say with mining technology and life support needs for repairs of any developing technology on the Moon.

Look what we did with Hubble.

Four servicing missions to upgrade and repair instruments.

Man must go to the Moon , among other reasons , to upgrade and repair eventual projects developed on the moon.

On a whole different notion, what if there was a military reason to spend money on the Moon project.
Funds would come much more easily through the Department of Defense.

This may sound naive but wouldn't America want spy satellites orbiting the moon to keep an eye on other counties developing projects on the Moon. China comes to mind when I speculate about this notion.

Is not good policy or etiquette but real real notion is to get Defense funding to the Moons surface. Does the Department of Defense want to mine ore to build their military hardware? Ya .....I know it's a little off key.

I grasping at straws so to speak or perhaps it's a brainstorming incentive.


Any way how much would NASA save if it pretty much skips LEO support objectives and reaches straight for the Moon?

Just curious.

Any ideas?

Regards and thank you.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Not surprising, considering your links aren't in the above posts. Please read your PM. Your behaviour is becoming a concern.
 
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Erevna

Guest
This is a great forum to promote a little idea. Some minor (and 1 major tweak) in our economic system could render space exploration and R & D projects as everyday as white bread. If you’re interested try reading at http://www.22ndcenturyeconomics.com. Suggestions are always helpful. So far the common theme is "That's a great idea, but it'll never work because of the rich and powerful." I say bla bla bla. A critical mass is all that’s needed.
 
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Ruri

Guest
topastro":3clkb8kr said:
Astro_Robert

I agree with virtually everything you say, but have a quibble with this:

... so far nobody has built a successful launcher (to orbit) outside of large government funding. Relying on a hope and a promise is not good enough we need a higher probability of success in this endeavor.

The last two flights of SpaceX Falcon I made it to orbit, and this launcher was NOT government funded! The last launch was with the successful deployment of a commercial payload! True Falcon I is not big enough to launch manned vehicles, but it is a successful "launcher [to orbit]" in your words. It also cost only about $100 million to develop.
Falcon 1 does have more in common with Falcon 9 then Ares I does with Ares V.
I can say F9 has a very good chance at working since most of it's systems where tested on Falcon 1.

Ares V on the other hand only shares the SRB casing and an upper stage engine and some parts of the upper stage with Ares I so success or failure of one may not aplly directly to the other.

NASA will need a lot more funding and be allowed to drop a few rockets in the ocean if they choose the Ares route.
The problem with Ares is you really do need both vehicles as one is too small to support exploration and you need the big vehicle for all the cargo.
The other is to large to launch more then two or three times a year and thus needs to small vehicle to help cover the infrastructure costs and keep the ground crew sharp.
 
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maxover

Guest
disclaimer: I work for a big aerospace company.
What I never understood, and nobody at any level in the company seems to be able to answer is...why are we developing a whole new launch vehicle system? The EELV program was a competition between Boeing and Lockheed Martin a few years ago, from which emerged TWO heavy lift vehicles, the Delta IV and the Atlas V. Both rockets are capable of putting large payloads into orbit. Furthermore, Lockheed Martin developed, then scrapped, the ability to do autonomous docking for an unmanned Hubble serivice mission that was planned. Instead, NASA choose to use the shuttle to service the Hubble. So...here we have a large lift capability (existing), an autonomous docking capability (existing), the proven ability to assemble components in orbit (existing; see ISS), yet NASA still thought that developing a whole new rocket and the infrastructure to go with it was a better and cheaper idea than utilizing existing, proven capabilities. It boggles my mind. Personally I think the whole thing was just a huge political ploy by NASA management; a way of getting funding, political prestige, etc. I predict that this is what will happen: the Ares program will be (is) frought with delays, setbacks, failures, overruns, and political finger pointing. This will give our esteemed members of Congress an excuse to scale back, or divert the funding even more, and the whole thing may fail completely. Then we'll take our lumps and go to Russia for rides to the ISS until somebody has the "bright" idea of using one of the EELV boosters for the job it was intended. In the meantime, we will have thrown money down the rat hole, and pushed back the human presence in space by a decade or more.
 
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Maxover said:
"What I never understood, and nobody at any level in the company seems to be able to answer is...why are we developing a whole new launch vehicle system? The EELV program was a competition between Boeing and Lockheed Martin a few years ago, from which emerged TWO heavy lift vehicles, the Delta IV and the Atlas V. Both rockets are capable of putting large payloads into orbit."

Well, I am NOT an employee of a big aerospace company, just an American who wants to see his nation remain No.1 in manned space flight. For years now, I and others like me have been saying exactly what you have just stated. The common sense and practicality of this position is finally starting to penetrate the old guard as is evidenced by the Augustine Report. Remember, the people who formulated this report are primarily former NASA and industry aerospace engineers and former prominent shuttle astronauts (such as Sally Ride and Leroy Chiao). Also, a group of ex-astronauts including Buzz Aldrin, Ken Bowersox, Jake Garn, Robert Gibson, Hank Hartsfield, John Herrington, Byron Lichtenberg, John Lounge, Rick Searfoss, Norman Thagard, Kathryn Thornton, Jim Voss and Charles Walker recently endorsed the idea.
 
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