Space Shuttle eating exploration budget?

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radarredux

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There have been a series of articles over the last few days about the increased costs to get the shuttles flying again (references below). My question is how will this affect the new space exploration effort?<br /><br />Here is my concern. <i>Before</i> the revelations of the increased costs NASA and the Whitehouse had asked for an increase in NASA's budget of $866 million for the new vision, but 85% of that increase was to go to shuttle and ISS (old vision). That only left about $130 million for the new vision efforts.<br /><br />Now with shuttle costs for 2005 to be much higher ($112-412 million according to space.com), I don't see how there could be any money left for new vision activities.<br /><br /><br />Cost of Returning Shuttle To Flight Keeps Going Up<br />By Brian Berger<br />Space.com (Space News)<br />http://www.space.com/news/rtf_costs_040716.html<br /><br />Return-to-flight costs soar<br />By Mark Carreau<br />Houston Chronicle<br />http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2686055<br /><br />Shuttles' upgrade bill leaps by 50 percent<br />By Gwyneth K. Shaw<br />Orlando Sentinel<br /> long ULR link<br />
 
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najab

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Well, hopefully the impact shouldn't be too great. Most of the big funding for the Vision is post-Shuttle. Spending an extra billion or two now will be worth it if it means an extra flight or two per year. The sooner the Station is completed and the Shuttle retired, the better. The Shuttle program gets about $4/yr. If we spend $1 billion extra now, but can close the program down a year earlier, then we've saved $3 billion.
 
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elguapoguano

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You can blame these cost over runs on the CAIB. Too many problem specific changes and recomendations were made. Fix the foam problem (which has hardley been discused) and you don't need to use 47 satelites, 14 chase planes, and 100 guys with binoculars to watch for foam TPS strikes. You don't need a 50 foot extension to the Canada Arm to check for strikes. You don't need an on orbit repair kit (which by the way would be insufficent to fix Columbia's damage). You don't need to restrict the shuttle to only ISS orbits (aka redoing the Hubble). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ff0000"><u><em>Don't let your sig line incite a gay thread ;>)</em></u></font> </div>
 
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blacknebula

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We are only six assembly flights away from core complete. It will only take a few extra flights to shuttle KIBO, Columbus, the CAM, Hab, Node 3 and a few additional hardware supplies.<br /><br />In order for this to run smootly and as soon as possible, why doesn't NASA just kill all MPLM flights until the station is complete. We can operate the station with two people until the ISS is ready to begin science operations with the adeptation of the US-Italian MPL Hab module ( still planned I believe).
 
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blacknebula

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"You would think that there would be some noticeable saving from not flying however. "<br /><br />There has been, and the extra money was/is funneled into RTF.
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">We are only six assembly flights away from core complete. ... and a few additional hardware supplies.</font>/i><br /><br />It is hard to find a definitive assembly schedule, but the best I could find is:<br /><br />http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/future/index.html<br /><br />It shows 8 flights until "core complete", which only includes two new elements: Raffaello MPLM and the U.S. Node 2. Everything else seems to be stuctural support (e.g., truss segments and solar arrays) and supplies.<br /><br />Columbus is 3 orbiter flights after core complete<br />Kibo is 10 orbiter flights after core complete<br />CAM is 13 orbiter flights after core complete<br /><br />I couldn't find a Node 3.</i>
 
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blacknebula

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I should have worded myself a little better. Six more assembly flights till core complete.
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Spending an extra billion or two now will be worth it if it means an extra flight or two per year.</font>/i><br /><br />Two concerns: (1) Does this mean that all new efforts for the new vision (e.g., Lunar orbiter and CEV) are off the table for FY05?<br /><br />(2) The new paradigm O'Keefe and others have been promoting is "We don't know how much it costs, but commit to $X dollars per year and we will stay in that budget." Now, NASA is already complaining about needing additional money in FY05. Will this affect Congress's trust in NASA's new paradigm of fixed budgets and adjusting work to stay within that limit?</i>
 
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the_ten

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This shuttle fleet should not and DOES NOT need to consume a lions share of NASA's budget! The shuttles have an extremely high success rate and no matter how many 'precautions' are added, risk will ALWAYS be a factor.<br /><br />The whole situation with the shuttles disgusts me. Enough time has gone by... Things need to be figured out, and the answers need to be WITHIN REASON. And if the NASA leadership is too scared to do it, put someone in place who can handle it. I, for one, would like to see some progress made at NASA and not just in the dust on Mars.
 
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najab

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><i>Does this mean that all new efforts for the new vision (e.g., Lunar orbiter and CEV) are off the table for FY05?</i><p>Probably not. CEV was fully funded out of the old SLI/OSP budget at least through FY06, I doubt they'd touch that money to spend on Shuttle. A more likely target for raiding would be ISS, since most if not all the major US hardware has been delivered.<p>><i>Now, NASA is already complaining about needing additional money in FY05. Will this affect Congress's trust in NASA's new paradigm of fixed budgets and adjusting work to stay within that limit?</i><p>We'll have to see, but every version of the MtM plan does start something like: "Once the Shuttle is returned to flight..." so that may be considered as a separate goal, outside of MtM.</p></p></p>
 
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earth_bound_misfit

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Indeed. Get the show on the road (or space <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> )! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p>----------------------------------------------------------------- </p><p>Wanna see this site looking like the old SDC uplink?</p><p>Go here to see how: <strong>SDC Eye saver </strong>  </p> </div>
 
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spayss

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Here's what I can't figure out. forgive me.<br /><br /> So, a few flights to finish the core of the ISS so that.....? Isn't there only 2 astronauts on the ISS? Take away the Shuttle and how is there a larger crew on the ISS than there is now? Why do we need a finished ISS for all these 'experiments' when it won't be crewed?<br /><br /> What part of the puzzle am I missing? Help.
 
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najab

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><i>Isn't there only 2 astronauts on the ISS?</i><p>Yes. But largely because, by itself, Progress can't deliver enough supplies for 3. Well, actually, it probably could but if one failed then supplies (principly water) would get tight while they waited for the next launch. With Shuttle available for 3-5 years and ATV/HTV available beyond that, a crew of 3-6 becomes possible.<p>><i>Take away the Shuttle and how is there a larger crew on the ISS than there is now?</i><p>Well, that is the $100K question - there's a gap of 3 or more years between Shuttle EOL and CEV initial flight. How the ISS will be supported in that time is anyone's guess.<p>><i>Why do we need a finished ISS for all these 'experiments' when it won't be crewed?</i><p>Well, assuming that the 2010-2012 gap can be filled, it is entirely possible that ISS can be crewed (6-7 people) from 2008->EOM. The <i>utility</i> of ISS is another matter however. I was talking with a friend about ISS over the weekend and we both agreed that at the original budget of $4B SSF would have been a steal. At the original pricetag of $20B, ISS would have been a modest bargin. At the projected total of $100B it's a total waste.</p></p></p></p></p>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">the original budget of $4B SSF would have been a steal. At the original pricetag of $20B, ISS would have been a modest bargin. At the projected total of $100B it's a total waste.</font>/i><br /><br />I wonder what would happen if instead of sponsoring NASA's manned space program at roughly $10 billion per year Congress earmarked all that money for prizes?<br /><br />About 8 years ago I was doing some information security work for DARPA, and I asked several former DOD friends who were now in the commercial space how they think the DARPA money should be spent. They all said that DARPA shouldn't be given anymore money. The military branches should be given the money and let them buy COTS products, and the revenue from those purchases would buy better research.<br /><br />It wasn't just because these people were now in the commercial sector, but as supposed former customers of DARPA research while they were in the DOD they did not feel they were getting their money's worth.<br /><br />By the way, almost all these guys are now multi-millionaires. Grrr. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /></i>
 
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dtb99

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>Probably not. CEV was fully funded out of the old SLI/OSP budget at least through FY06, I doubt they'd touch that money to spend on Shuttle. A more likely target for raiding would be ISS, since most if not all the major US hardware has been delivered.<br /><br />Actually, CEV is precisely what the House killed, that and they accelerated the termination of SLI activities.<br /><br />The other big hit was killing JIMO, or more precisely, the nuclear propulsion for it.<br /><br />Shuttle is fully funded, as is Mars exploration.<br /><br />See http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=14633
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">The NASA manned program...the Shuttle has a budget of 4.3 Billion for 2005.</font>/i><br /><br />The manned spaceflight budget is $6.6 billion ($1.8B for ISS, $4.3B for shuttle, $492M for flight support). There is another $1.8B for "Human and robotic technologies" (things like Technology Maturation, Project Prometheus, and "Advanced Space Technology) and "Transportation Systems" (things like CEV and SLI). So the total exploration budget for FY05 is about $6.6B for ISS+shuttle and $8.4B for the total exploration budget -- certainly less than my original estimate of $10B, but still up there.<br /><br />Of interesting note in light of today's appropriations announcement, it seems that it was these last two groups "Human and Robotic Technology" and "Transportation Systems" that took the brunt of the budget cuts.<br /><br />FYI: For those interested in the (now out of date <img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" /> ) budget figures, NASA has a pretty good breakdown at:<br />http://www.nasa.gov/about/budget/index.html</i>
 
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starfhury

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This sickens me. They really needed to put that money to in space nuclear propulsion with JIMO and all that it entails. These nasty proposed budget set backs are only going to derail and delay our benefittng from all that space has to offer. <br /><br />What's the possibility of commerical interests taking over in space nuclear propulsion technology and running with that? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">What's the possibility of commerical interests taking over in space nuclear propulsion technology and running with that?</font>/i><br /><br />I tend to agree. By the time the CEV flies (around 2015), I suspect some private company will have achieved orbital flights. Also, by the time ISS is complete (around 2010), there is a pretty good chance that Bigelow or others will have private owned orbital facilities (POOFs) up. There could even be a private moon landing by 2020, especially if coupled with serious prize money.<br /><br />But space nuclear power and propulsion to distant planets? I cannot see the private industry embracing this. This IMHO is where NASA really needs to be.</i>
 
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sond

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>>Isn't there only 2 astronauts on the ISS?<br /><br />Yes. But largely because, by itself, Progress can't deliver enough supplies for 3. Well, actually, it probably could but if one failed then supplies (principly water) would get tight while they waited for the next launch. With Shuttle available for 3-5 years and ATV/HTV available beyond that, a crew of 3-6 becomes possible.<br /><p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />The problem isn't with the Progress vessel, if enough funding was given to the production facilities and governement agencys could increase the rate of flights and 3 person crew could be stationed. <br /><br />So the contraint with the ISS right now is the fact that the RSA has a too limited budget for a proper upkeeping of the ISS. This could be solved with other partners jumping in on the costs of Progress and Soyuz launches, in such way that they can be increased. <br /><br />
 
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elguapoguano

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<font color="yellow">The problem isn't with the Progress vessel, if enough funding was given to the production facilities and governement agencys could increase the rate of flights and 3 person crew could be stationed.</font><br /><br />For realistic plausablity if Russia could spend more money on thier space program, ISS could have a 6 person crew. Two Soyuz's attached to ISS provides crew escape capability as well as a reliable means for crew transfer. When Europe gets their ATV flying ( hopefully in the next year or so ) resupply along with Progress could support larger crews. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ff0000"><u><em>Don't let your sig line incite a gay thread ;>)</em></u></font> </div>
 
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