Why is going beyond LEO so important?

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DarkenedOne

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MeteorWayne":2ghgtxko said:
The Hubble was designed to be upgraded and repaired.

The JWST will be BEO..

"The Earth-Sun L2 point, about which the Webb telescope will orbit, is 1,500,000 km (930,000 mi) from the Earth, which is about 3.92 times farther away from Earth than is the moon. (This distance underscores how much more difficult the Webb telescope would be to service than the Hubble telescope after launch; no plan contemplates doing so)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Webb_Space_Telescope
I was just using the JWST as an example of a telescope that it would be worth a billion dollars to upgrade and repair. Yes it is true that it is placed in an orbit that would be difficult to access. However like I said there are plenty of satellites being orbited now that would probably be worthwhile for human repair missions given their cost and would be more easily accessed.
 
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neilsox

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I agree it is difficult to find near term payback from space beyond GEO stationary orbit. A human extinction event might also devastate humans in Earth orbit, so farther away is desirable, if off Earth humans are going to repopulate Earth. Obviously not worth much to the investors who died in the extinction, but it does perhaps have great value that the human species has a shot at continuing. Neil
 
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rcsplinters

Guest
DarkenedOne":2dkhaazd said:
First of all with regards to safety if cars had the same loss of crew probability as the shuttle they would not be used. With a 2/132 chance of loss of crew for a car a person who uses their car an average of 2 times daily would have practically a zero percent chance of surviving to the first six months. Instead there is a significant probability that I will go on until the end my life without ever dying in my car, thus leaving us with a probability of loss of crew in a car at 1/100000. So the car beats the shuttle hands down.

Secondly since there are only 5 shuttles in existence each costing in the billions even a small chance of failure is intolerable. The shuttle was designed to have something like a 1/1000 chance of failure. Clearly it failed this design criteria.

Thirdly the shuttle was designed as a reusable vehicle with the anticipation that it would be less expensive than their expendable counterparts. Yet it turned out to be the case that the shuttle was significantly more expensive than its expendable counterparts, and according to some including the former NASA administrator cost about as much as the Saturn V, a rocket far more capable than the Shuttle. For a reusable vehicle to cost more than a disposable one is pretty damning.

I could go on, but I think I have made enough points. NASA concurs that the Shuttle has been an absolute failure as evidenced by the fact that they are retiring the vehicle and they are not even considering building a Shuttle 2.0. In fact they have abandoned the concept of the shuttle completely.
I think by your definition, any machine which did not achieve every objective, even the arbitrary ones proposed by uninvolved parties is a failure. By that definition, man has never made a successful machine.

The shuttle by any objective measure has been the most resounding success in the history of human space flight. Its safety record in man launches is very close to the Soyuz. It was the first human rated vehicle to land horizontally. It was the first human rated vehicle to return significant mass to the surface of the planet. It was the first human rated craft to demonstrate re-usablity. It had an extreme service life. Its safer now than it has ever been. These are among the most minor of its accomplishments.

I could go on. The shuttle did not meet 100% of its objectives, hence it was not perfect. However, comparing the safety expectations of an experimental vehicle (yes, that's how it is classified) which is the most complex machine ever made of its kind, with a car meant to be driven by those such as your self is rather pointless. I'm not quite sure what agenda would lead one to such outlandish comparisons though objectivity doesn't seem to be a criteria. Let's compare your car with the shuttle. What's your likelyhood to survive through the life of the car, say 100,000 miles driven at its very top speed ALL of the time? What's the likelyhood of your car to break down after 10's of million miles of service? How many tons can your car carry to low earth orbit? Again, I could go on, but refuting an out of context statistic contrived to prove a false point isn't particularly productive. Foolish comparisons on my part? Out of context? Yes. I agree, I was being foolish and out of context.

Next, the shuttle proved that a re-usable vehicle was possible. That was a goal as was horizon landings and many other goals which you failed to mention. While it was projected to be cheaper to operate, it wasn't so expensive that they stopped it after the first couple of launches. Failure? No, not by any objective measure. Failure would have been marked by removal from service many years ago. That didn't happen.

To be defined as a failure because the next generation of craft isn't designed as a shuttle is equally arbitrary. The shuttle was designed as a truck to be used in LEO. It fulfilled that mission in stellar fashion by any objective measure. The next generation of craft isn't designed for LEO. Its designed for operations beyond LEO. More shielding. No requirement to return payload. No requirement to land horizontally. Much higher return velocities. I could go on. Why would we be surprised to learn that a capsule best fits those design requirements?

Lastly, NASA's decision to retire the vehicle has NOTHING to do with it behing a failure. It is retired because the administration at that time realized it could not support the shuttle AND develop a new vehicle, which in hindsight would have been the correct decision. The shuttle will be retired at its most capable due to funding and politics. Its mission success rate has been unprecedented and it has performed the most complex construction, science and servicing missions ever attempted by humans in LEO earth orbit. Failure has nothing to do with the decision to retire the shuttle.

I could go on. Only a rare few define failure as the absence of perfection. That said, I'm quite sure in your eyes the shuttle has failed. It is your right to see it so in this country. Just don't expect a lot of concurrence.

Regarding the radiation problems being overstated. Could we see your math on that or maybe even a link? I'm guessing that revelation would be most useful science and resolve many engineering problems that we currently face.
 
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bdewoody

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I realise that my comparison of automobiles to the shuttle was absurd but at the time it was the only thing I could think of. But as rcsplinters and others have written it is not widely believed that the shuttle program was a failure. While it never lived up to the impossible schedule that was anticipated the shuttle system did serve us well during the last 30 years.

Regarding the dangers of radiation in space outside of the earth's magnetic field one only has to do a google search to find out how really dangerous the radiation threat is.
 
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vulture4

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Yet it turned out to be the case that the shuttle was significantly more expensive than its expendable counterparts...
Actually Ares/Orion has a launch cost higher than Shuttle even though it carries barely half the crew and less than a tenth the cargo. The reason Shuttle is expensive to operate is not because it is reusable, it is because it was our first-ever attempt at a reusable launch system, and it was built with no real prototypes. Consequently critical design decisions were made at a time when we had NO hands-on flight experience with some of the critical new systems including the TPS and SRBs. In the 90's NASA understood this. That's why we started the X-33, X-34, DC-X and X-37. All were crushed by Bush. Today the debate goes on between those who remember Apollo with the selective memory of nostalgia and want human spaceflight to be spectacular, expensive, and rare, and those who understand why Apollo was begun and why it was canceled, and want human spaceflight to be inexpensive, routine, and available to many. The latter can only be achieved with fully reusable systems.

With regard to reliability, the two Shuttle losses do not affect its current reliability because those failure modes are now understood and have been corrected in the design. The major parameter of launch vehicle reliability is the number of flights it has made, not the number of failures. The most dangerous Shuttle flight was actually STS-1; John Young was well aware of this though he considered the risk acceptable. Each additional flight is a little safer. Even when a failure occurs only the following one or two flights when there are design changes are at even a slightly increased risk. The often-quoted 1 in 10,000 risk was not a Shuttle specification. The current PRA (1 in 70) is obviously not correct since if there is another potential LOC failure mode it hasn't occurred at all in 133 missions.

As to flight BEO, that will be practical with reusable vehicles after we have a real and cheaply accessible base in LEO where vehicles can be assembled and serviced, and then shuttle back and forth to points beyond, exactly as von Braun, Willy Ley and many others long envisioned.

Radiation is a minor problem, but it only requires a shielding, and electrostatic and electromagnetic methods are available. The designs of Robert youquist http://www.space.com/businesstechnology ... 40527.html are a key advance.

The real long pole in spaceflight is cost.
 
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DarkenedOne

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rcsplinters":341awu5j said:
I think by your definition, any machine which did not achieve every objective, even the arbitrary ones proposed by uninvolved parties is a failure. By that definition, man has never made a successful machine.

The shuttle by any objective measure has been the most resounding success in the history of human space flight. Its safety record in man launches is very close to the Soyuz. It was the first human rated vehicle to land horizontally. It was the first human rated vehicle to return significant mass to the surface of the planet. It was the first human rated craft to demonstrate re-usablity. It had an extreme service life. Its safer now than it has ever been. These are among the most minor of its accomplishments.
As an engineer I can tell you that engineers make things for a purpose. This purpose is summarized as the design criteria. Lets review some of the major points in the design criteria for the Shuttle.

1. Safe access to space, (pre-Colombia the chance of failure was predicted to be 1/7000)
2. Reliable access to space (Obviously needed for maintaining space station)
3. Fast turnover - (12 flights per year were expected)
4. Cost - The Shuttle was expect to deliver payload at around $260 per kg, which is far superior than the most inexpensive expendable launchers.

Remember back before Challenger the US government was set to launch all domestic payloads on the Shuttle, so everyone believed it was going to deliver.

Now let compared the design criteria to the results.

1. In reality the Shuttle achieved a loss of crew probability of 1/66 with 2 failures and 132 launches.
2. In reality the Shuttle was brought out of service several times during its career
3. The fastest turnover achieved in one year was 9 flights, and it averaged around 4.5.
4. The shuttle cost about $1.3 billion per launch using completely life cycle. Far greater than an commercial or government launcher of similar size.

Thus the Shuttle was a failure from a design standpoint.

I could go on. The shuttle did not meet 100% of its objectives, hence it was not perfect. However, comparing the safety expectations of an experimental vehicle (yes, that's how it is classified) which is the most complex machine ever made of its kind, with a car meant to be driven by those such as your self is rather pointless. I'm not quite sure what agenda would lead one to such outlandish comparisons though objectivity doesn't seem to be a criteria. Let's compare your car with the shuttle. What's your likelyhood to survive through the life of the car, say 100,000 miles driven at its very top speed ALL of the time? What's the likelyhood of your car to break down after 10's of million miles of service? How many tons can your car carry to low earth orbit? Again, I could go on, but refuting an out of context statistic contrived to prove a false point isn't particularly productive. Foolish comparisons on my part? Out of context? Yes. I agree, I was being foolish and out of context.

I did it for bdewoody. Yes I understand the problems with the comparison.

Next, the shuttle proved that a re-usable vehicle was possible. That was a goal as was horizon landings and many other goals which you failed to mention. While it was projected to be cheaper to operate, it wasn't so expensive that they stopped it after the first couple of launches. Failure? No, not by any objective measure. Failure would have been marked by removal from service many years ago. That didn't happen.
It did not get removed from service because of the US requirement in the ISS. As you correctly stated latter the US was not able to develop another vehicle to replace the Shuttle while still paying for the Shuttle, and no other US vehicle could deliver parts and people to the station.

Trust me people at NASA were very disappointed that they would not be able to work on a new vehicle for 3 decades straight. If they could of they would of even if the SHuttle was a success. It is only now that the station no longer needs more large parts and that other nations can deliver cargo to it as well that we are able to fulfill our obligation without the Shuttle.

To be defined as a failure because the next generation of craft isn't designed as a shuttle is equally arbitrary. The shuttle was designed as a truck to be used in LEO. It fulfilled that mission in stellar fashion by any objective measure. The next generation of craft isn't designed for LEO. Its designed for operations beyond LEO. More shielding. No requirement to return payload. No requirement to land horizontally. Much higher return velocities. I could go on. Why would we be surprised to learn that a capsule best fits those design requirements?
There is nothing that says that you could not design a shuttle concept to fulfill the same mission. The fact that the Shuttle is not used is that the a reusable capsule is far superior in safety, reliability, and cost.

Lastly, NASA's decision to retire the vehicle has NOTHING to do with it behing a failure. It is retired because the administration at that time realized it could not support the shuttle AND develop a new vehicle, which in hindsight would have been the correct decision. The shuttle will be retired at its most capable due to funding and politics. Its mission success rate has been unprecedented and it has performed the most complex construction, science and servicing missions ever attempted by humans in LEO earth orbit. Failure has nothing to do with the decision to retire the shuttle.
RC the shuttle has been dying ever since Challenger. Once it was positioned to perform ALL commercial and government launches in the US. After Challenger, the shuttle was banned from taking commercial payloads. Also after challenger the military turned to using the EELV, and today the military does not use the Shuttle at all. After Colombia, the Shuttles were once again restricted. Now they could ONLY travel to the ISS and Hubble, which meant it would no longer launch scientific or other NASA payloads.

So you see the Shuttle's retirement has been a long time coming with its role in spaceflight steadily being auctioned out to less expensive and less risky launchers. Over the decades it has slowly been diminished from the go to launcher for all US payloads to a launcher only for the ISS. Now that the Europeans and the Japanese are able to deliver significant payloads to the ISS with their cargo freighters, and the Russian Soyuz delivering people the Shuttle is no longer needed for anything.

I could go on. Only a rare few define failure as the absence of perfection. That said, I'm quite sure in your eyes the shuttle has failed. It is your right to see it so in this country. Just don't expect a lot of concurrence.
RC it is not a matter of opinion. Like every machine the Shuttle was built to perform a function. To meet a list of design criteria. Just like the computer you are typing on or the monitor you are watching. The shuttle failed to accomplish important aspects its design criteria, thus making it a engineering failure.

Now that being said in the eyes of non-engineers the Shuttle is an awesome vehicle. It is an enormous technological feat. It did achieve a number of firsts for the space industry.

As for the engineers who designed and worked on it I do not blame them for the failure of the Shuttle to meet its design criteria. Personally I think it was just too much of a technological advancement too quickly. They should of tested the concept much more on small unmanned launchers before building a full scale system, which then took on so much responsibility. I am impressed that they were able to do everything that they did and meet the specification capability wise.
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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Yuri_Armstrong":rxtl2q9l said:
My problem is people who get tunnel vision when it comes to the future of manned spaceflight. Private space industry= good, BEO missions= good. NASA should be investing in and planning for both of these to maintain a successful program.
The problem is Government’s goals are not private industry’s goals. To get things going the two need to more closely align. The reason there is so much discussion and conflict in the political arena is the Government goals are moving toward the private industry goals of space infrastructure development for the possibility to make money. The Government goal of space industry development to create a robust space industry that has high potential to create jobs and tax revenue is a new concept that hasn’t sunk into the brains of our legislators.

We have a robust commercial satellite industry but the commercial HSF industry is non-existent with a fledgling commercial LV industry. By government supporting the development of a commercial HSF industry it will cause the commercial LV industry to expand. True commercial space is all about controlling costs and maximizing revenues. By doing something your competition is not doing to attract both investors and customers.

A goal for government should be in the short term the support of establishing private industry research orbiting laboratories. This would do several things: create a commercial customer for HSF other than tourism and government (space hardware test labs, biological labs, pharmaceutical labs, etc.), develop cheaper space station hardware (competitors to Bigelow who seems to be the only true developer in this industry currently), develop cheaper HSF spacecraft for Earth to LEO, develop cheaper LV and increase economies of scale for existing LV’s.

Just supporting commercial industry’s development of the HSF Taxi’s is not going to get us very far. It would still tie the commercial HSF to fortunes of government budgets.
 
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dryson

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The main issue of traveling past LEO is how to compensate the bodies need for the pull of the Earth's gravity along with the Moon's gravity that allows muscle to work and blood flow to travel to the areas of the body where it is needed to fuel the orgins of the body.

Without knowing how to design suits and an environment for the human body to function in outside of the gravity of a planet then a short journey to a planet like Mars would be nearly impossible.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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dryson":34q5l17f said:
The main issue of traveling past LEO is how to compensate the bodies need for the pull of the Earth's gravity along with the Moon's gravity that allows muscle to work and blood flow to travel to the areas of the body where it is needed to fuel the orgins of the body.

Without knowing how to design suits and an environment for the human body to function in outside of the gravity of a planet then a short journey to a planet like Mars would be nearly impossible.
You seriously think that zero g is the main issue of BEO travel?
 
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neutrino78x

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I think BEO is very important for the future of humanity, but I don't think that NASA/government astronauts going there is.

Private citizens should colonize Mars. We should create the equivalent of the London Company, which privately managed the colonization of North America, to do the same with Mars.

--Brian
 
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csmyth3025

Guest
neutrino78x":2qmzf8of said:
I think BEO is very important for the future of humanity, but I don't think that NASA/government astronauts going there is.

Private citizens should colonize Mars. We should create the equivalent of the London Company, which privately managed the colonization of North America, to do the same with Mars.

--Brian
Creating the equivalent of the London Company is a great idea - but we should remember that the London Company was established in 1606 and by 1624 it was, essentially, bankrupt. The venture did, however, help begin the colonization of America by Europeans (much to the detriment of the native Americans, I might add).

So, as long as we ("we" as in "investors") realize that a private venture like this is very risky, I say go for it.

Chris
 
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DarkenedOne

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Yuri_Armstrong":2bv3yvtn said:
DarkenedOne":2bv3yvtn said:
That depends on how you judge greatness. True Apollo was a huge technological achievement, however in terms of making a impact on humanity its impact was pretty low.
What are you talking about? When Apollo 11 landed and returned safely, the entire world watched and celebrated. Perhaps for the only time in history, the world felt a true "oneness". The impact was huge. I'm sure anyone who lived to witness this would say the same.
So large yet no nation has done it or even attempted to do it in 30 years.

So low that people did not mind the fact that it was cancelled, and no one seems to be in any rush to repeat it.
Got any numbers to back that statement up? I'd like to see an opinion poll or two!
I do not know what the numbers are. All I know is that it is clearly not enough.

No Yuri. Nixon cannot be blamed for Apollos cancellation.
Seeing as how he's the one responsible for cancelling it and opting to ONLY do the space shuttle, then yes, I'd say we can hold him and the others like him responsible.
Like I said if people felt it was worth it we would of gone back there immediately.

If that were so than we would of gone back by now. If people thought it was worth what it costs than we would of been back there by now.
Which people are we talking about here? I'd be willing to bet 90% of the people on this board would be ecstatic to see another moon mission. The problem is that we don't have the political leadership necessary to get us back to the moon, not right now anyway.
Yuri we do not have the political leadership because not many people are interested enough to fight for it. Honestly we just passed a $1.1 trillion dollar health care bill. You would think that if there was any significant will to go back to the moon they would be able to give NASA a hundred billion dollars or so to do it.

If only you could convince people the Martian's had a WMD program.

Yes I have, and as I remember he was quoting around 50 billion for a few 4 man missions Mars.
Actually he said it could be accomplished with as little as 4 to 5 billion. He added in more for the inevitable government waste of the funds, and the plan was not "just" 4 manned missions to Mars. It was a long term plan to send science expeditions, establish a small outpost, and eventually have private companies willing to take the risk establish their own villages and towns on the surface. But even if it was only 4 manned science missions like Apollo, I think $50 billion would be well worth the cost!
I took the 50 billion from their website, and it only covers 3-4 manned missions. It was not a long term plan. It did not cover base building. Here is the link.
http://www.nss.org/settlement/mars/zubrin-promise.html

Now how in hell do you anticipate private companies working on Mars when there is not even yet a firm commercial human presence in LEO.

Now I could go on about how optimistic it is to say NASA will accomplish such a feat at a price cheaper than what Apollo costs, what the Shuttle costs, and what the ISS costs, but lets just go with it for now. Well $50 billion seems reasonable if you objective is to just land there and do nothing beyond that. However if your planning to build any sort of colony on Mars getting there is generally the easy part.
Robert Zubrin factored the cost of the base into the $50 billion estimate. It would likely go over that number, but as I said earlier, that is a small price to pay for the gains we would receive.
Which are what? What is the ROI and when do we get it?

It will require hundreds if not thousands of people,
Dude. Even the most ambitous Mars plan had only about 80 people. Hundreds of thousands??? We're going to need a star destroyer for that type of crew, nevermind the Battlestar Galactica ship envisioned by the SEI.
A colony of 80 people. We are talking about a colony right?

an enormous amount of technological development,
You are saying this like it's somehow a bad thing or a problem.
It is not a bad thing it just costs tonnes of $. I mean do you have any idea how much tech development would be required to get people to live there.

and more infrastructure than has ever been put into space. So yes if it costs you billions of dollar per person than the transport costs to Mars for a population to support a colony alone costs hundreds of billions and several decades.
Again, you are not providing any stats or papers to back up this claim. How many decades are we talking? 3? 4? 5? 10??? I can definitely see it costing hundreds of billions over many decades. Let's see you give us a per-year estimate that we can actually make judgements on.
Yuri I am using Zubrin's incredibly optimistic figures. Once again in the link I referenced above he quoted $50 billion just to get a few manned expeditions of 4 people.


Once again I reiterate that the whole case for going to Mars is poorly thought out. There is just no way NASA is going to get enough money to carry out any significant level of operation on Mars. Now that being said let me propose an alternative route to colonizing the red planet.

Rather than spend hundred of billions to send a few people to far off destination lets focus our efforts and our money on truly opening up space for mankind. Lets spend that money on launch systems that will actually get people into space at a more reasonable cost. You might of heard of the billionaires who have paid their way onto the Soyuz. Well if some billionaires are willing to spend that much money on going to space could you imagine how many people would go if the costs were brought down significantly.

Its time to make human spaceflight a significant economic sector, not just a pet project of the government.


Well Yuri I think we can agree on many things. The only problem I have is with the people who seemed so focused on going beyond LEO and really do not seem to care if commercial human spaceflight ever gets of the ground. My vision of what NASA should do is that it should support commercialization efforts as well as be the Christopher Colombus of space.
My problem is people who get tunnel vision when it comes to the future of manned spaceflight. Private space industry= good, BEO missions= good. NASA should be investing in and planning for both of these to maintain a successful program.[/quote]
 
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