In Obama's America we don't Do hard

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Jccarlton
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In Obama's America we don't Do hard

Post by Jccarlton »

lately I keep finding things that resonate with me. A couple of weeks ago I posted this on Danny Choos's site after a trip to Flushing Meadows:
http://www.figure.fm/post/en/8795/Dead+Dreams.html
Here's what I posted there:
When I was small I wanted to go into space. I wanted so hard it hurt. As I grew up I was one of the biggest space boosters around. I read science fiction mags like Galaxy and Analog. I read Heinlein, Asimov, Anderson and Pournelle. I joined the National Space Society. My wall was covered with space colony pics. I built space models. I collected books on space engineering. I designed a space habitat for the National Space society's design contest. But that dream has more or less died.
Now American thinker posts this:
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/201 ... space.html
Now America didn't surrender space, the Progressives did. Lots of Americans are still trying:
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/0 ... ss_10.html

But in Obama's america there will be nobody allowed to have the freedom and the drive to put people in space and no wealth to do it. That's one of the saddest parts of Progressivism.

MirariNefas
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Post by MirariNefas »

But in Obama's america there will be nobody allowed to have the freedom and the drive to put people in space and no wealth to do it.
Obama kills a bloated government program and promises funds to private industries seeking to put people in space. I'm not sure I understand you.

kunkmiester
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Post by kunkmiester »

The best space companies are being funded by billionaires willing to put the money into something no one else seemed to be willing to do. Those same rich people are the people the progressives demonize--unless of course you're one of the ones funding the progressives.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

IntLibber
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Post by IntLibber »

MirariNefas wrote:
But in Obama's america there will be nobody allowed to have the freedom and the drive to put people in space and no wealth to do it.
Obama kills a bloated government program and promises funds to private industries seeking to put people in space. I'm not sure I understand you.
Democrats only believe in capitalism outside the atmosphere. Republicans only believe in capitalism within the atmosphere...

93143
Posts: 1131
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:51 pm

Post by 93143 »

MirariNefas wrote:
But in Obama's america there will be nobody allowed to have the freedom and the drive to put people in space and no wealth to do it.
Obama kills a bloated government program and promises funds to private industries seeking to put people in space. I'm not sure I understand you.
He's killed more than that. How the hell are we supposed to support the ISS without Shuttle?

The current manifest was based on partial utilization to 2015, followed by deorbit. ATV, HTV, and Progress are all ancillary to the Shuttle and can't replace it. Commercial won't be ready in time even if they magically hit all their milestones. None of them can send up large replacement parts if something goes wrong. So how are we going to fully utilize the ISS?

And what happens to the commercial providers' business case if we can't?

(Yes, I'm aware Shuttle's cancellation has been the plan since Bush. The point is, Obama has had more than a year to fix the problem, and he hasn't. And no, it's not too late to extend Shuttle, even now, despite what Lori Garver claims the SSP told her (SSP is a little mystified as to who exactly took the call).)

And what's this nonsense about "game changing" technology for a future NASA heavy lifter? It's BS, is what it is. Take the orbiter out of the Shuttle stack, stick the engines on the bottom of the ET and a payload adapter on top, and you have a cutting-edge, world-beating HLV that uses about 1/3 of the Shuttle workforce and costs less than Falcon 9 per kg even at a relatively low flight rate. Much less, if it's commercially operated, which there was a widely-supported plan for. Modifying the SSME design to be cheaper (RS-25e) helps too...

We're almost there. And now we're supposed to toss everything and start from scratch, because some fool in a position of power can't imagine that 30-year old technology could actually not be obsolete...

Rocket technology is mature. I'm all for MLTs if they work, but we don't know that yet.

Yes, Ares sucked. This is not the solution.

IntLibber
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:28 pm

Post by IntLibber »

93143 wrote:
MirariNefas wrote:
But in Obama's america there will be nobody allowed to have the freedom and the drive to put people in space and no wealth to do it.
Obama kills a bloated government program and promises funds to private industries seeking to put people in space. I'm not sure I understand you.
He's killed more than that. How the hell are we supposed to support the ISS without Shuttle?

The current manifest was based on partial utilization to 2015, followed by deorbit. ATV, HTV, and Progress are all ancillary to the Shuttle and can't replace it. Commercial won't be ready in time even if they magically hit all their milestones. None of them can send up large replacement parts if something goes wrong. So how are we going to fully utilize the ISS?

And what happens to the commercial providers' business case if we can't?

(Yes, I'm aware Shuttle's cancellation has been the plan since Bush. The point is, Obama has had more than a year to fix the problem, and he hasn't. And no, it's not too late to extend Shuttle, even now, despite what Lori Garver claims the SSP told her (SSP is a little mystified as to who exactly took the call).)

And what's this nonsense about "game changing" technology for a future NASA heavy lifter? It's BS, is what it is. Take the orbiter out of the Shuttle stack, stick the engines on the bottom of the ET and a payload adapter on top, and you have a cutting-edge, world-beating HLV that uses about 1/3 of the Shuttle workforce and costs less than Falcon 9 per kg even at a relatively low flight rate. Much less, if it's commercially operated, which there was a widely-supported plan for. Modifying the SSME design to be cheaper (RS-25e) helps too...

We're almost there. And now we're supposed to toss everything and start from scratch, because some fool in a position of power can't imagine that 30-year old technology could actually not be obsolete...

Rocket technology is mature. I'm all for MLTs if they work, but we don't know that yet.

Yes, Ares sucked. This is not the solution.
Sorry, but you're dead wrong about the commercial providers. Elon has said many times that their SpaceX' most pessimistic schedule has Dragon capsule being human rated by 2013, three years earlier than the overoptimistic and under funded claims of NASA's Ares I program.

I'm really sick of hearing all this BS pessimism about commercial space launch providers. Who the hell makes most of the launches in the US each year? *Commercial launch providers* (note, the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 programs are NOT NASA programs, and beyond ULA you have Orbital Sciences and SpaceX with successful launches under their belts).

The ONLY thing that Dragon needs at this point to be man rated is a launch abort system, (Same for Atlas) according to NASA's shiney new man rating standards, which, btw, Shuttle doesn't meet. There is no LAS on Shuttle, so technically, NASA doesn't have a qualified manned launcher either, right now.

Cyncism about SpaceX meeting their milestones is rather laughable, given NASA hasn't met a single one of their own on Constellation. Original first launch of Ares 1 was to be in 2008 (and not a fake Ares I-X which was just a four segment SRB with a dummy fifth segment and the worlds largest plastic model on top simulating an upper stage and orion capsule).

Try holding NASA to the same cynical standards you're holding SpaceX to.

MirariNefas
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Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:57 am

Post by MirariNefas »

93143 wrote:
MirariNefas wrote:
But in Obama's america there will be nobody allowed to have the freedom and the drive to put people in space and no wealth to do it.
Obama kills a bloated government program and promises funds to private industries seeking to put people in space. I'm not sure I understand you.
He's killed more than that. How the hell are we supposed to support the ISS without Shuttle?

The current manifest was based on partial utilization to 2015, followed by deorbit. ATV, HTV, and Progress are all ancillary to the Shuttle and can't replace it. Commercial won't be ready in time even if they magically hit all their milestones. None of them can send up large replacement parts if something goes wrong. So how are we going to fully utilize the ISS?

And what happens to the commercial providers' business case if we can't?

(Yes, I'm aware Shuttle's cancellation has been the plan since Bush. The point is, Obama has had more than a year to fix the problem, and he hasn't. And no, it's not too late to extend Shuttle, even now, despite what Lori Garver claims the SSP told her (SSP is a little mystified as to who exactly took the call).)

And what's this nonsense about "game changing" technology for a future NASA heavy lifter? It's BS, is what it is. Take the orbiter out of the Shuttle stack, stick the engines on the bottom of the ET and a payload adapter on top, and you have a cutting-edge, world-beating HLV that uses about 1/3 of the Shuttle workforce and costs less than Falcon 9 per kg even at a relatively low flight rate. Much less, if it's commercially operated, which there was a widely-supported plan for. Modifying the SSME design to be cheaper (RS-25e) helps too...

We're almost there. And now we're supposed to toss everything and start from scratch, because some fool in a position of power can't imagine that 30-year old technology could actually not be obsolete...

Rocket technology is mature. I'm all for MLTs if they work, but we don't know that yet.

Yes, Ares sucked. This is not the solution.
Obama hasn't cancelled plans for a heavy lifter. Actually, I get the impression that he's left the details open enough that NASA could step in and decide to do exactly what you describe... but we know they won't.

Anyay, I'm not sure what the problem is. The shuttle had a crappy payload anyway. Falcon 9 is about equivalent (except it won't do the big payload + crew at the same time). Other rockets in current existence aren't so far behind that, so I expect most big parts could be replaced if need be.

MirariNefas
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Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:57 am

Post by MirariNefas »

IntLibber wrote:
MirariNefas wrote:
But in Obama's america there will be nobody allowed to have the freedom and the drive to put people in space and no wealth to do it.
Obama kills a bloated government program and promises funds to private industries seeking to put people in space. I'm not sure I understand you.
Democrats only believe in capitalism outside the atmosphere. Republicans only believe in capitalism within the atmosphere...
Weirdly true.

MSimon
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Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Post by MSimon »

MirariNefas wrote:
IntLibber wrote:
MirariNefas wrote: Obama kills a bloated government program and promises funds to private industries seeking to put people in space. I'm not sure I understand you.
Democrats only believe in capitalism outside the atmosphere. Republicans only believe in capitalism within the atmosphere...
Weirdly true.
There is one other. The illegal drug market. The Ds can predict with the accuracy of a Milton Friedman the consequences of every change in the drug laws on the supply and demand situation. Republicans believe that once you pass laws supply and demand are no longer factors.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

93143
Posts: 1131
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:51 pm

Post by 93143 »

IntLibber wrote:Sorry, but you're dead wrong about the commercial providers. Elon has said many times that their SpaceX' most pessimistic schedule has Dragon capsule being human rated by 2013, three years earlier than the overoptimistic and under funded claims of NASA's Ares I program.

I'm really sick of hearing all this BS pessimism about commercial space launch providers. Who the hell makes most of the launches in the US each year? *Commercial launch providers* (note, the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 programs are NOT NASA programs, and beyond ULA you have Orbital Sciences and SpaceX with successful launches under their belts).

The ONLY thing that Dragon needs at this point to be man rated is a launch abort system, (Same for Atlas) according to NASA's shiney new man rating standards, which, btw, Shuttle doesn't meet. There is no LAS on Shuttle, so technically, NASA doesn't have a qualified manned launcher either, right now.

Cyncism about SpaceX meeting their milestones is rather laughable, given NASA hasn't met a single one of their own on Constellation. Original first launch of Ares 1 was to be in 2008 (and not a fake Ares I-X which was just a four segment SRB with a dummy fifth segment and the worlds largest plastic model on top simulating an upper stage and orion capsule).

Try holding NASA to the same cynical standards you're holding SpaceX to.
Falcon 9/Dragon is years behind schedule already, and I doubt it's done slipping.

Ares I [*spit*] is irrelevant to the argument, which is not an ideological argument, but rather an acute logistics problem. Read more carefully.


First (to get this out of the way), I'm all for commercial LEO access. Even the SDLV I'm advocating would be commercially developed and operated. With the Shuttle program ending, the IP and infrastructure would have been turned over to the contractors to build and operate an inline SD-HLV. I believe a short Shuttle extension was planned to minimize the capability gap. The contractors, NASA officials, and even Congress were all on board with this plan before Obama threw a monkey wrench in it.

It's also worth noting that the current Shuttle contractors claimed they could operate Shuttle commercially for about 60% of what it costs now, simply by deleting the NASA admin/oversight layer...


Second, the new "plan" includes full utilization of the ISS to 2020. This is a good thing, but there's a problem. The current support plan, including Shuttle through 2010, Progress, ATV, HTV, Dragon, and Cygnus, was designed under the assumption of 40-something % utilization to 2015 followed by deorbit. Ten Shuttle flights (including construction flights, if I'm not mistaken) were de-manifested because they weren't needed.

NASA doesn't even know how much extra logistical support (upmass, downmass, ORUs, spares) is required to keep the station at full throttle to 2020, never mind 2028. And Congress knows that NASA doesn't know...

We have a capability gap right now that could seriously impede the full utilization of the station. Commercial cannot come online and ramp up soon enough to solve it, even if they hit all their milestones.

The fact that the new budget doesn't even acknowledge this issue, never mind try to solve it, makes me suspect that the rest of it is just as poorly thought out. For instance, I don't think they actually have any real idea of what could possibly constitute "game-changing" HLV technology that would be high-confidence enough to justify scrapping the HLV we've virtually already got...
MirariNefas wrote:Anyay, I'm not sure what the problem is. The shuttle had a crappy payload anyway. Falcon 9 is about equivalent (except it won't do the big payload + crew at the same time). Other rockets in current existence aren't so far behind that, so I expect most big parts could be replaced if need be.
You expect wrong.

(And what's this about a "crappy payload"? The Shuttle can carry more than 230% of the total LEO payload of the Falcon 9, or more than 400% of Dragon's total cargo capacity to LEO. Shuttle is about even with the largest existing expendable (Delta IV Heavy) payload-wise, costs about as much per launch, and provides the flexibility of a large manned spacecraft with payload support and downmass capabilities into the bargain.)

a) Just because a rocket can lob something into orbit doesn't mean it can bring it to the ISS. You need a spaceship. The only existing or projected spaceship (besides Shuttle) that can haul big enough pieces is the HTV, and we'd have to pay Japan a lot of money to get them to expand their manifest that much - if they could do it at all.

b) What about downmass? The only existing or projected spaceship (besides Shuttle) that can bring anything substantial down from orbit safely is cargo Dragon, which isn't flying yet, could still slip, and is probably too little, too late to support full utilization properly even if it doesn't. (For perspective, the Shuttle's downmass per flight is about 50% more than the total LEO payload of a Falcon 9, or five times Dragon's downmass capability.)

Current and expected capabilities, without Shuttle, will be overstretched as it is just keeping the station alive and semi-functional to 2015. Saying "we'll figure something out" while refusing to keep the one system we already know can do the job right now is grossly irresponsible.

MirariNefas
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Post by MirariNefas »

(And what's this about a "crappy payload"? The Shuttle can carry more than 230% of the total LEO payload of the Falcon 9, or more than 400% of Dragon's total cargo capacity to LEO.


Space shuttle payload: 24.5 tonnes to LEO (crap). Falcon 9 Heavy payload: 32 tonnes to LEO (slightly less crap). See wikipedia. Did I say "Falcon 9" instead of "Falcon 9 Heavy"? Yes. So sue me.
Shuttle is about even with the largest existing expendable (Delta IV Heavy) payload-wise,
Exactly, yes. Other rockets already existing (not the still in development Falcon 9) can do the same payload.
costs about as much per launch,


Not what I've been reading, but I know that "per launch" estimates vary. But you're not paying per launch, you're keeping a giant dinosaur system in place. That's an incentive to develop a spaceship system for the Delta, or to pay for someone else's.
and provides the flexibility of a large manned spacecraft
You call that flexible? Sheesh.
a) Just because a rocket can lob something into orbit doesn't mean it can bring it to the ISS. You need a spaceship. The only existing or projected spaceship (besides Shuttle) that can haul big enough pieces is the HTV, and we'd have to pay Japan a lot of money to get them to expand their manifest that much - if they could do it at all.


I still don't see the problem. So pay Japan and Russia. If there's a big problem (say, an entire module drops off and disintegrates), that would be significant. But honestly, if something of that magnitude happened, we wouldn't be getting a replacement up on a shuttle for a few years anyway - enough time to ram through a new spacecraft development project if we absolutely needed to. But in reality, we won't need to.
b) What about downmass?


How is this important? Do you mean, we might need this for a specific science project someday? If so, they'll have to develop a landing system. They'd better keep that in mind when planning science projects.
Current and expected capabilities, without Shuttle, will be overstretched as it is just keeping the station alive and semi-functional to 2015. Saying "we'll figure something out" while refusing to keep the one system we already know can do the job right now is grossly irresponsible.
Disagreed. We have significant payload capacity right now, and spaceship possibilities open. The shuttle is an expensive dinosaur and the budget is exploding. It's time for the shuttle to die.

93143
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Post by 93143 »

MirariNefas wrote:
costs about as much per launch,


Not what I've been reading, but I know that "per launch" estimates vary. But you're not paying per launch, you're keeping a giant dinosaur system in place. That's an incentive to develop a spaceship system for the Delta, or to pay for someone else's.
According to John Shannon, from the beginning of FY2010 to the end, Shuttle will have flown six times for a total program cost of $2.8B.

Delta IV Heavy is estimated at about $480M/launch, which may or may not include all the hidden costs the EELVs are known to carry.

You do the math.

(Note that 6 flights for $2.8B is roughly $67M per astronaut. This is only 30% more than Russia will be charging us for Soyuz seats once Shuttle retires, and that's completely discounting the value of the payload and the extra spacecraft capabilities.)
and provides the flexibility of a large manned spacecraft
You call that flexible? Sheesh.
Shuttle can put 24.4 mT into orbit. In addition, you now have the payload support and orbital tug capabilities provided by the RMS, OMS/RCS and payload bay, the seven astronauts with spacesuits and an airlock, fifteen tons of downmass... yes, I call that flexible.

What does DIVH get you on orbit, besides the payload? That's right - nothing. If the payload isn't a spacecraft in its own right, it will be useless once launched, and you might as well not have bothered.

In fact, if you're comparing launcher performance apples-to-apples, it's probably fair to count the Shuttle orbiter (minus MPS-related elements) as payload in addition to the cargo, since it's useful post-launch. This brings the effective payload of the Shuttle to somewhere in the range of 75 mT... granted two-thirds of that is non-negotiable, so only the contents of the cargo bay can be whatever the hell you want them to be, but still...
So pay Japan and Russia.
You're missing the point. Russia doesn't have the capability. Japan doesn't have the capacity to spare. HTV is just for supporting the Japanese segment. And I'm not sure even HTV has the capability to launch the largest pieces we might need...

There is no plan for "full utilization" of the ISS. NASA has admitted this. Wishful thinking does not launch hardware.

Besides, why should we pay Japan and Russia to do something the United States could do itself? The money spent on Shuttle stays in the country. Money spent on Progress, Soyuz, etc. does not.
b) What about downmass?


How is this important? Do you mean, we might need this for a specific science project someday? If so, they'll have to develop a landing system. They'd better keep that in mind when planning science projects.
Actually it's fairly important. Recovery of science experiments for ground analysis vastly increases the potential usefulness of an orbiting lab. I don't understand how you can dismiss this so easily.
Current and expected capabilities, without Shuttle, will be overstretched as it is just keeping the station alive and semi-functional to 2015. Saying "we'll figure something out" while refusing to keep the one system we already know can do the job right now is grossly irresponsible.
Disagreed. We have significant payload capacity right now, and spaceship possibilities open.
Not true. Existing systems are insufficient; this is known. The logistics gap is simply a fact. Shuttle extension can plug that gap, but nothing else is likely to be ready in time.

It would help if we knew exactly what was needed, beyond "we're maxed out already, and we haven't looked at what it would take to double the utilization rate and the lifetime of the station, so we don't know"... Until we do know, it's stupid to throw away the highest-capacity system we have, the system the ISS was specifically designed to be serviced by...
The shuttle is an expensive dinosaur and the budget is exploding. It's time for the shuttle to die.
Shuttle costs are not out of line with its unique capabilities, and constitute roughly 0.08% of the federal budget. But this is beside the point.

It is not time for the Shuttle to die. Once commercial is up and running, and we have some confidence that the ISS can be supported adequately without Shuttle, then it will be time for the Shuttle to die.

IntLibber
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Post by IntLibber »

93143 wrote:
MirariNefas wrote:
costs about as much per launch,


Not what I've been reading, but I know that "per launch" estimates vary. But you're not paying per launch, you're keeping a giant dinosaur system in place. That's an incentive to develop a spaceship system for the Delta, or to pay for someone else's.
According to John Shannon, from the beginning of FY2010 to the end, Shuttle will have flown six times for a total program cost of $2.8B.

Delta IV Heavy is estimated at about $480M/launch, which may or may not include all the hidden costs the EELVs are known to carry.

You do the math.
Sure, I'll notice your bait and switch there. We were talking F9H, which is priced at under $100 million per launch to LEO. It could easily boost a dragon capsule (with 7 astronaut capacity) plus a Leonardo cargo pod to ISS.

One of the problems with sending men to ISS on Dragon is all the regulatory overhead. SpaceX is expected to price seats to the public for under $10 million, but due to NASA requirements in the COTS-D program, they have to price seats sold to NASA at $47 million....

(Note that 6 flights for $2.8B is roughly $67M per astronaut. This is only 30% more than Russia will be charging us for Soyuz seats once Shuttle retires, and that's completely discounting the value of the payload and the extra spacecraft capabilities.)
Russia was already charging NASA $49 million per seat, but now that shuttle is retiring, the new agreement has bumped up the price of seats on Soyuz by 50%, to $74 million.
and provides the flexibility of a large manned spacecraft
You call that flexible? Sheesh.
Shuttle can put 24.4 mT into orbit. In addition, you now have the payload support and orbital tug capabilities provided by the RMS, OMS/RCS and payload bay, the seven astronauts with spacesuits and an airlock, fifteen tons of downmass... yes, I call that flexible.

What does DIVH get you on orbit, besides the payload? That's right - nothing. If the payload isn't a spacecraft in its own right, it will be useless once launched, and you might as well not have bothered.

In fact, if you're comparing launcher performance apples-to-apples, it's probably fair to count the Shuttle orbiter (minus MPS-related elements) as payload in addition to the cargo, since it's useful post-launch. This brings the effective payload of the Shuttle to somewhere in the range of 75 mT... granted two-thirds of that is non-negotiable, so only the contents of the cargo bay can be whatever the hell you want them to be, but still...
There have been no more than two or three shuttle missions that carried more than 22,000 lb of payload in the entire history of the program. It's nice to talk capabilities, but really, thats just talk if the capability is rarely or never used.

The few rare occasions that the downmass capacity was used, was primarily for the Leonardo class cargo modules to carry home sewage and other garbage. Beyond that, I believe the last time they used downmass capacity was for that long duration exposure facility that was left in orbit in the 80's while the shuttle was grounded after the challenger disaster.
So pay Japan and Russia.
You're missing the point. Russia doesn't have the capability. Japan doesn't have the capacity to spare. HTV is just for supporting the Japanese segment. And I'm not sure even HTV has the capability to launch the largest pieces we might need...

There is no plan for "full utilization" of the ISS. NASA has admitted this. Wishful thinking does not launch hardware.

Besides, why should we pay Japan and Russia to do something the United States could do itself? The money spent on Shuttle stays in the country. Money spent on Progress, Soyuz, etc. does not.
b) What about downmass?


How is this important? Do you mean, we might need this for a specific science project someday? If so, they'll have to develop a landing system. They'd better keep that in mind when planning science projects.
Actually it's fairly important. Recovery of science experiments for ground analysis vastly increases the potential usefulness of an orbiting lab. I don't understand how you can dismiss this so easily.
Current and expected capabilities, without Shuttle, will be overstretched as it is just keeping the station alive and semi-functional to 2015. Saying "we'll figure something out" while refusing to keep the one system we already know can do the job right now is grossly irresponsible.
Disagreed. We have significant payload capacity right now, and spaceship possibilities open.
Not true. Existing systems are insufficient; this is known. The logistics gap is simply a fact. Shuttle extension can plug that gap, but nothing else is likely to be ready in time.

It would help if we knew exactly what was needed, beyond "we're maxed out already, and we haven't looked at what it would take to double the utilization rate and the lifetime of the station, so we don't know"... Until we do know, it's stupid to throw away the highest-capacity system we have, the system the ISS was specifically designed to be serviced by...
The shuttle is an expensive dinosaur and the budget is exploding. It's time for the shuttle to die.
Shuttle costs are not out of line with its unique capabilities, and constitute roughly 0.08% of the federal budget. But this is beside the point.

It is not time for the Shuttle to die. Once commercial is up and running, and we have some confidence that the ISS can be supported adequately without Shuttle, then it will be time for the Shuttle to die.
Shuttle's operating costs are a minimum of eight times the original spec, even accounting for inflation.

Furthermore, the fact that the cargo capacity is consistently underutilized demonstrates a much higher cost per kg than even the 8x spec.

That they further waste resources by refusing to take the external tanks to orbit or utilize them for building true space stations demonstrates further NASA's historically gross waste of taxpayer money.

93143
Posts: 1131
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:51 pm

Post by 93143 »

IntLibber wrote:Sure, I'll notice your bait and switch there. We were talking F9H, which is priced at under $100 million per launch to LEO. It could easily boost a dragon capsule (with 7 astronaut capacity) plus a Leonardo cargo pod to ISS.
Actually, the conversation had drifted to the Delta, since it's the only flying rocket that can match the Shuttle's payload.

F9H doesn't exist yet and won't for a while. Not useful for plugging the gap.

Does Dragon even have the necessary delta-V to haul a loaded MPLM, never mind the control authority? Remember, it has to have all-axis translation control to be allowed near the ISS...
Russia was already charging NASA $49 million per seat, but now that shuttle is retiring, the new agreement has bumped up the price of seats on Soyuz by 50%, to $74 million.
According to the information I've seen, the 2012-2013 contract was about $51M/seat, and the new contract for 2013 is for just under $56M/seat ($335M for 6 seats). Do you have a source for your numbers?
There have been no more than two or three shuttle missions that carried more than 22,000 lb of payload in the entire history of the program. It's nice to talk capabilities, but really, thats just talk if the capability is rarely or never used.
This is beside the point. The point is, we need it right now to support the ISS properly. Nothing else can come on line soon enough to guarantee full utilization of the station.
The few rare occasions that the downmass capacity was used, was primarily for the Leonardo class cargo modules to carry home sewage and other garbage. Beyond that, I believe the last time they used downmass capacity was for that long duration exposure facility that was left in orbit in the 80's while the shuttle was grounded after the challenger disaster.
That's because the ISS isn't being used for intensive scientific research yet. Downmass will become important once that gets underway.
Shuttle's operating costs are a minimum of eight times the original spec, even accounting for inflation.
So?
Furthermore, the fact that the cargo capacity is consistently underutilized demonstrates a much higher cost per kg than even the 8x spec.
Look, I'm not claiming Shuttle is ideal. I'm claiming that as far as I can tell it is (temporarily) indispensable, if the goal is 100% utilization of the ISS. If ET production needed to be restarted, an extension would fly an average of two or three flights per year for a couple of years, using up the LON tank, the 3 (IIRC) part-built tanks and maybe the old LWT that's still kicking around, until new tanks started becoming available. At that flight rate, it's even more expensive. NASA should have seen this coming, but there's not a lot we can do about it, besides either suck up the cost of a Shuttle extension or starve the ISS and roll the dice on repairs/replacement parts being needed...

The fact that a Shuttle extension paves the way for quick, relatively cheap development of a commercial HLV with triple the payload of the Shuttle, 1/3 of the workforce, and almost none of the NASA administrative overhead, is just a bonus.
That they further waste resources by refusing to take the external tanks to orbit or utilize them for building true space stations demonstrates further NASA's historically gross waste of taxpayer money.
...so you've never heard of the popcorn problem?

The foam insulation creates orbital debris if it's left up there for any length of time. No scheme that anyone's thought of to mitigate this turns out to be worth the effort.

choff
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:02 am
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Post by choff »

How much would it cost to bring back Saturn 5. It's a proven, reliable technology,
all the design and testing was done long ago, with all the advances since it was cancelled, it could probably be done for even less than the original.
CHoff

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