Shot across Constellation's bow

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dragon04

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again. While I'm obviously a space enthusiast, I've never viewed NASA as an "essential" organization.<br /><br />However, in terms of Federal Budget, and mismanagement, and cost overruns, etc., it's still a bargain as a line item. We've unquestionably benefited from our space program in expected and unexpected ways. IOW, we get a return on the investment.<br /><br />The only way I would personally approve of shelving the Constellation Program is if it isn't the next best evolution of our Manned Space Program.<br /><br />There lies my personal dilemma. Do we look at Constellation as the next step in a logical progression of Manned Space Flight and spend the $$$$ to do it, or do we commit that money to the development of Advanced Propulsion systems that will get us farther, faster in exchange for a few years of remaining Earth-Bound?<br /><br />Considering the overwhelming success and reliability of Russian launch/crew vehicle capabilities, I think I can make fair argument for spending dimes buying launches from Russia, and dollars developing Advanced Propulsion systems.<br /><br />I guess the real question is one of which basket(s) we want to put our eggs in.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"2012.. Year of the Dragon!! Get on the Dragon Wagon!".</em> </div>
 
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thor06

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*sigh*<br />If I trade in a B2 can I have both baskets please <flutters big beautiful blue eyes and smiles /> pretty please?<br /><br />seriously though, you make good point Dragon<br />"However, in terms of Federal Budget, and mismanagement, and cost overruns, etc., it's still a bargain as a line item. We've unquestionably benefited from our space program in expected and unexpected ways. IOW, we get a return on the investment."<br /><br />This however may become complicated<br />Dragon said "I think I can make fair argument for spending dimes buying launches from Russia"<br /><br />Czar Putin is well....scary, and I for one can't predict his future actions or disposition. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> <font color="#0000ff">                           www.watchnasatv.com</font></p><p>                          ONE PERCENT FOR NASA! </p> </div>
 
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spacester

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<font color="yellow">. . . or do we commit that money to the development of Advanced Propulsion systems that will get us farther?</font><br /><br />NO! There are none such. It is a false hope.<br /><br />There are no Advanced Concepts for launch other than Nuclear, and none of them have been shown to be anywhere near safe enough. All Advanced Propulsion Concepts are for in-space use, not launch. And they are DECADES away. We need to go with what we've got, and it is plenty good enough to do the job.<br /><br />The problem of affordable launch is everything, Dragon. I thought you knew that.<br /><br />There is NO 'farther, faster but later'. It is a fantasy notion, likely someone put it in your head when you weren't looking. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Your actual dilemma, realized or not, is whether to support the politicized program produced by this administration, or reset the development once again with the incoming administration, or something in between. Intelligent voices such as yours matter, I wish you were better informed.<br /><br />(edit: grammar) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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dragon04

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<font color="yellow">Your actual dilemma, realized or not, is whether to support the politicized program produced by this administration, or reset the development once again with the incoming administration, or something in between. Intelligent voices such as yours matter, I wish you were better informed.</font><br /><br />Honestly, this, the next, or any subsequent Administration has nothing to do with my individual notion of where and how our Space Program should progress.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">The problem of affordable launch is everything, Dragon. I thought you knew that.</font><br /><br />I DO know that. That's why I said that we can spend dimes relying on Russian boost technology as opposed to spending tens of billions of dollars on our own, discrete launch system to get into LEO.<br /><br />Why re-invent the Wheel here? Every dollar not spent on creating another unique launch infrastructure means more dollars that can be spent on the end product.<br /><br />As an analogy, Wal Mart doesn't design and build the over-the-road trucks that deliver their goods for distribution. They leave that to the truck builders.<br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"2012.. Year of the Dragon!! Get on the Dragon Wagon!".</em> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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There are other existing launch vehicles besides the Russians. Man-rating the Atlas-V is bound to be cheaper than doing the Ares-I for short-term needs. Ariane was designed for human launch wasn't it?
 
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j05h

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<i>> Man-rating the Atlas-V is bound to be cheaper than doing the Ares-I for short-term needs. Ariane was designed for human launch wasn't it?</i><br /><br />Crewed Atlas would be cheaper throughout it's life-cycle than Ares I. Delta and Ariane are also good choices, Ariane 5 was originally designed with the "Hermes" spaceplane as a payload.<br /><br />Chemical rockets and Hohmann transfers are the technology that exists now. They are fine for getting Humanity into space. The key is not some whiz-bang new tech, but frequent flights. The more frequent the flights, the less each unit costs to build. <br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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j05h

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<i>> The way I see it, the comming commercial alternatives are a start but not enough. When they reach Ares V lift capabilities</i><br /><br />Why HLV? Name a single payload that can't be broken into medium-lift pieces. Most of it is propellant. The only realistic heavier payload is something like Energia's "MarsPost" which would still only be 40t or so empty or perhaps the mega-telescope NASA was viewgraphing recently. Nobody except NASA has payloads that require HLV. Business, the military and comsat providers are all pretty satisfied with the current size of launchers - modern electronics preclude the need for 100t GEO sats. <br /><br />So, why HLV?<br /><br />josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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richalex

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>NASA has never been a pure research organization.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote>??? Oh, then what else does it do?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />It has always provided facilities for the Department of Defense. A big portion of its funding comes by way of serving DoD needs. It's founding charter states that NASA's activities <br /><br />"shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, a civilian agency exercising control over aeronautical and space activities sponsored by the United States, except that activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States (including the research and development necessary to make effective provision for the defense of the United States) shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, the Department of Defense"<br /><br />National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958
 
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comga

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NASA's charter is irrelevant. There is very little cooperation between NASA and DOD. DOD abandoned the Shuttle after Challenger, and built their own fleet of EELVs, which NASA snubs. The point of Constellation's Ares 1 is to *NOT* use the DOD supported EELV.
 
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qso1

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Theres no such thing as a pure anything organization, especially in government. NASA has indeed worked with DOD but where facilities are concerned, I'd say its the other way around. EAFB, a military built and operated facility has some NASA facilitites there that were built for pre shuttle and shuttle vehicles.<br /><br />Prior to the development of the Saturn and Shuttle LVs...NASA depended on DOD rockets, especially for getting the Mercury and Gemini programs going. I cannot even think of any major facility or vehicle NASA developed for the DOD except for shuttle and portions of the VAFB shuttle facility. And as you mentioned, the DOD pulled out of the shuttle program for the most part.<br /><br />The DOD has little use for the VAB, OPF and other NASA facilities at KSC anyway. And other NASA installations I can think of, Goddard, Wallops Island...are not very useful to the military.<br /><br />NASA funding comes form taxpayers and approximately 50% of the NASA budget goes to ISS and shuttle or human spaceflight activity. The charter was written in 1958 and written as broadly as possible and includes the provisions it does mainly to ensure anything NASA has or does during peacetime, is available to the DOD during wartime or other national emergencies.<br /><br />During the 1960s, when the DOD was still looking into human military in space programs, NASA was a substantial part of that. The military decided that they didn't require human presence in space opting for space as a place for largely intel gathering by way of spysat. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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The point of the Constellation Ares 1 was to develop a launch vehicle using as much off the shelf tech as possible. Of course, some will disagree as to whether the Ares of DOD LVs are the most economical vehicles which is what leads to these discussions. IMO, its really to early to know which vehicle will be the most cost effective as a Constellation LV. But wouldn't it be better to develop the Ares for civilian spaceflight which in turn allows the DOD to maximize the use of their EELVs, providing Ares is cost effective. Then the DOD would not have to allocate a certain percentage of ELV production to NASA human spaceflight. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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richalex

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NASA may or may not be operating very many military missions now, but that isn't the point. When I see someone state that "The space program is the largest non military use of advanced tech," I have to wonder what that person is thinking. The military certainly makes extensive use of space and space technology, and nothing prevents them from using NASA facilities any time they need them. Who do you think is manning some of the seats on our space missions? I suppose the military gets some benefit by farming its people out to NASA posts. I don't have a problem with that; I'm not anti-military. But most of the advanced tech we have, whether for the space program or not, was developed from crude concepts to workable technology because the military paid for the research for its own use. I don't just mean that the military used technology already developed; I mean the military actually developed it. I suspect the military will continue to be a significant driving force behind technological development. <br /><br />Hrm... tell me again where was the X Prize held this year? <br /><br />Now we have several nations, including China, sending probes to Moon, with talk of sending humans there, too. I would expect that the U.S. would want a manned presence on Moon simply to maintain parity, if for nothing else. The military aspect is bound to come into play, eventually.
 
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qso1

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Like you, I'm not against the military NASA cooperation either and both are contributors of advanced technology. The U.S. won't want to maintain parity with China on missions to the moon. So far, it appears there is very little military value to having the ability to send people to the moon. China is simply going to find out the hard way what we discovered in the 1970s...or go bankrupt trying to deploy some sort of lunar military capability to compete with something we probably wont even have.<br /><br />But aside from that...the U.S. is developing lunar capability by way of the Constellation program and both the U.S. and China will see humans on the moon about the same time assuming both nations programs reach fruition.<br /><br />As far as parity or taking a lead, what needs to happen is for the U.S. to be the leader of nations in which private enterprise takes over government funded human spaceflight if we want to continue to lead the world and do so economically. Especially if private enterprise/industry can crack the cost barrier to getting into low orbit. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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holmec

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Still sounds like research. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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thor06

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Yes, what was I thinking......<br /> Perhaps if you read....the next sentence in my post the fog would clear? "It is the most significant "good" thing we do, and it has the potential to change both the way we understand and manipulate the universe we all live in." Good, as in positive, as in not designed to kill people. When I look at an F-15, "wow thats so cool, such power and incredible speed, imagine what it's like to pilot that......but." The F-15 has one purpose and it's not showing off at your local air show. It is a precision instrument of death. I still like the F-15, and understand the need for it. Military= cold n' hard, NASA=warm 'n fuzzy.<br /><br />Speaking of warm n fuzzy...this post was too harsh. After re-reading, it sounded like I was attacking spacester, which was not my intention. Tough day for me, sorry for leaving a big lump here. I delete the side note, and left the rest. I apologize for the tone.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> <font color="#0000ff">                           www.watchnasatv.com</font></p><p>                          ONE PERCENT FOR NASA! </p> </div>
 
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john_316

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<br />Yeah that Obama dude is totally out of touch with reality...<br /><br /><br />These Dems these days want more social programs rather than bold ventures into space or science (with the exception of making money in the pills and drugs market).<br /><br /><br />However it isn't odd that people are pushing for government controlled social programs. Those ideals and so called values are more socialist and communist than they are democratic.<br /><br /><br />Hey wait! We'll cancel your space program and give more money to welfare moms and you can pick up the tab for all the illegal immigrants as well!!!!!!<br /><br /><br />Yeah that Obama guys is just another communist like Hillary!<br /><br /><br /><img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" />
 
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comga

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qso1, I can't understand a thing you write. What is "the Ares of DOD LVs"? Why should NASA developing their own manned rocket "allow the DOD to maximize the use of their EELVs"? And as for "providing Ares is cost effective", even NASA has to stretch to make even a faint argument for that.<br /><br />Other than carrying an SM that can return Orion from lunar orbit, an Atlas 5 401 could do everything NASA needs for access to low earth orbit. And it exists.
 
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qso1

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"the Ares of DOD LVs"? That should have been Ares or DOD LVs, sorry. NASA developing their own rocket allows the DOD to maximize use of their own vehicles for their own payloads. Just because an existing DOD rocket appears to be a better choice does not necessarily mean that it is.<br /><br />Its not like the DOD has a bunch of surplus rockets lying around to give to NASA. So far I haven't seen any cost data beyond rough estimates.<br /><br />Consider also its still early in the programs development and NASA may end up utilizing Atlas Vs or Congress/OMB might mandate their use. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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How many rockets of this size are manufactured in advance and stored in a warehouse? Aren't they built to demand?
 
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pathfinder_01

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“And I thought the purpose of EELVs was to make them simpler, faster and easier to launch? <br />More orders shouldn't be received as a burden, they should decrease the price . (shouldn't they?)â€<br /><br />Ah no. More orders does not equal reduce price to the customer. The government may demand a lower price for the rockets but that is just the government flexing its muscle. <br /><br /><br />More orders should equal increases profits to the company but it is the company which decide ts to lower its price or not. Companies don’t lower prices out of the goodness of their hearts . They only lower their prices when then expect to make even more money by doing so. <br /><br />Also depends if the company is able to handle more orders without building more buildings, training and hiring more works and purchasing more equipment. In the short run these costs will have to be taken into consideration. <br />
 
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comga

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No, I was unaware of the GhostNASA blog. (So much blogging. So little time...) Thanks for the pointer.<br />It is good, and quite quantitative, if a bit breathless. He certainly does not pull his punches. Has anyone here checked his calculations?<br />He paints an incredibly bleak picture for Ares. <br />He also claims to have originated every good idea in rocketry.
 
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comga

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qso1 "Its not like the DOD has a bunch of surplus rockets lying around to give to NASA. "<br /><br />No one is talking about "lying around" or "giving". Pretty much each rocket, or small group of rockets is built on demand. However, the design and factory for Atlas-V (and Delta-IV) are done and built, and have a much greater capacity than is being utilized. Therefore, these costs are sunk, and the price of each additional rocket can come down as the sunk costs are spread over a greater number of builds. This is basic economics. <br /><br />Paying for a new development is wasteful. If Atlas-V or Delta-IV is not sufficiently powerful to lift a six man capsule with a Eearth Trajectory Injection capable rocket and a lunar return capable heat shield, spend the $xB of Ares-1 development on a slightly larger Ares-V that can add the additional capacity. (We won't get into other architectures that would be even more cost efficient.) This saves time AND money. <br />
 
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holmec

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>spend the $xB of Ares-1 development on a slightly larger Ares-V that can add the additional capacity. (We won't get into other architectures that would be even more cost efficient.) This saves time AND money.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />While you may be correct that that would save some money (time....well 'time keeps on slipping into the future') , what I think is really needed to save some money in the long run is a different way to launch than vertical takeoff from the ground. And air launch at altitude would probably be in order. That is with the capability of Ares V and bigger. <br /><br />Air launch could be by balloon, derigible, or airplane. Obviously it would have to be a huge craft. <br /><br />I would also assume that such "money saving" techniques would be used by commercial space rather than instigated by a government agency like NASA. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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josh_simonson

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More orders from the government do lower the price to the government because they pay subsidies on top of the per-unit price. These subsidies get divided by the number of launches - and they are considerable.
 
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