In Obama's America we don't Do hard

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Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

Well there are actually A LOT a whole lot of people lining up waiting and paying a lot of money for the opportunity to do their research on the ISS or any other space station, or space vehicle.
I know of biomedical research and of material science. There sure is more too. The Dragon lab has plenty of interest as well and there is a lot of interest in doing microgravity research on the suborbital RLVs once they become available. So, I do actually think that there is a lot of interest. For a lot, the price is the biggest issue though.

zapkitty
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Post by zapkitty »

Skipjack wrote: I think that Bigelow wants to do his own station with his modules. The ISS would probably be unneeded balast for him. From what I understand his modules would make for a much larger station than the ISS (in regards to volume).
Not quite. Bigelow would be perfectly happy to sell a module or three to ISS... or to anyone else who wants one.

That's his business plan.

He does intend to build a commercial space complex on orbit and to build other spacecraft and of course he'll use his modules in doing so.

ISS could well wind up using a Bigelow module to test long-duration transit hab technologies... it all depends.
Skipjack wrote: From what I understand though, he would have funded an Orion light anyway, even without NASA doing that. His plan is, if I am not mistaken, to launch his clients on the EELVs with a Orion Light.
This is a rather common misunderstanding. Bigelow will be happy to have any compatible spacecraft able to dock with his modules... and this has always included USA, ESA, JAXA and Russian craft. In fact he needs them all compatible to get them to use his stations as right now the modules would be destinations with limited ways to get to them.

The purpose of backing the pseudo-orion, as stated in the press releases, is to make sure that the craft can carry Bigelow-compatible docking gear.

Bigelow will not be running an actual launch service per se.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Skip,

I'm sure there are, but that says little about how useful any of the research actually is, as opposed to just being done for the sake of doing research in space. For instance, in the wiki they say they're doing distance sonograms and studying the effects of weightlessness. The first could be done on Earth, the second doesn't have a whole lot of practical applications beyond sending a man to Mars, which itself is fairly useless from a practical standpoint. The mixing of fluids in microgravity might conceivably be useful in some application someday, but it doesn't seem worth the cost.

To the extent the symbolic "gee whiz! space!" factor is attractive, I'd rather see it funded with tourist dollars than by taxpayer money that could go to other things.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

but it doesn't seem worth the cost.
Well there are corporations(!) that are willing to pay a lot of money to do experiments on the ISS. So clearly it must be worth the cost to someone.
I'd rather see it funded with tourist dollars than by taxpayer money that could go to other things.
Well that is a different question all together. Personally I think that Bigelows stations will be the future. He currently has a big problem getting his hardware into space for an acceptable price however. So this is where we get back to the point (that I have been making for years) that we have to get the cost of access to LEO down first of all. That should be our main priority. For this we have to do research into enabling tech. Since this also has military applications, I can see the DOD (airforce, DARPA, whatsoever) be involved with this as well. Again, I could totally see the airforce and NASA funding fusion research (on a milestone based approach, like COTS) into fusion, ML Thrusters and other enabling tech for these very reasons.
That is where NASA should be. Ares was no new technology, nothing to learn from this, so something that commercial entities can build and operate without NASA messing with their business. NASA needs to do the stuff that nobody else wants to do (high risk, high yield research) and then license that off to commercials, so they can build it.

93143
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Post by 93143 »

Betruger wrote:The ISS can't be kept in orbit for much longer than the current plan (~2020, right?) for reasons other than resupply (orbital transportation and paying for it) and station keeping, right? If not, what are the other reasons for it, in short?
If I recall correctly, the Russian modules will be nearing end-of-life around that time, and since they are the heart of the station and cannot be swapped out or replaced, any attempt to keep it going past that date would have to involve either using the hardware beyond its design life or massively rearranging the station on orbit and adding new core modules (which would be very expensive and difficult, and is probably flat-out impossible without something like Shuttle - you'd be better off just building a new station, and maybe carting over a couple of the newer and less essential modules if you really wanted to keep them).

The international partners want to extend ISS to 2028. I believe this would involve using basically the entire station past its design life, probably with lots of spares/ORUs required, and maybe a few replacement modules or solar panels. I'm also reasonably sure NASA has not yet studied what it would take to do this, since even the requirements for extension to 2020 aren't known yet.
Skipjack wrote:The shuttle programme was ended by the previous administration. So that too was already in motion and unpreventable.
Wrong. Even now, it's not too late for a Shuttle extension. If more than four or five extra flights are required (STS-335 tank, a few part-built tanks, and an old LWT), it would have to fly less frequently for a couple of years while the vendors were brought back on line, but anyone who says Shuttle can't be extended any more, and that it isn't just a matter of funding it ([cough]Garver[/cough]), is either lying or misinformed.
The other problem is that the old plan did not even mean that the ISS would be extended.
Griffin seems to have decided that the ISS was inconvenient to his grand moon plan, and cut it off at the knees. At least we're not planning to splash it early any more...
TallDave wrote:
There's a lot of very interesting research that can be done on the ISS.
Color me skeptical. None of this sounds all that compelling:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internatio ... c_research
No, it doesn't.

Main article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_a ... ce_Station

I'm pretty sure that's mostly what's been going on up to now (ie: squeezed in during construction, with incomplete resources), plus some known near-future work. The behind-the-scenes ramp-up sparked by Obama's "full utilization" plan is quite substantial, from what I hear... admittedly I don't know what all is going on, but just as an example, it seems there are drug companies in talks to try to get around legal obstacles so they can use the ISS...

Another point example (though it was already planned) is VASIMR, which cannot be fully tested on Earth and would be very expensive to test in orbit without a station...

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer will be going up. There's been talk of a centrifuge module too, which would be nice because there was supposed to be one but it was grounded...

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

Wrong. Even now, it's not too late for a Shuttle extension. If more than four or five extra flights are required (STS-335 tank, a few part-built tanks, and an old LWT), it would have to fly less frequently for a couple of years while the vendors were brought back on line, but anyone who says Shuttle can't be extended any more, and that it isn't just a matter of funding it ([cough]Garver[/cough]), is either lying or misinformed.
The tooling is destroyed, the workforce has been layed off, even the dismantling of some of the launch facilities is already done. Also THERE IS NO MONEY to extend it and to fund all the other things. Further, why keep going with it at all cost?
It is a pointless expense.

Oh, btw that extension that had been proposed by certain people only meant to keep operations running. In the sense of: Team A prepares the orbiter for launch and team B then goes and disassembles it again to so Team A has a job the next day ;)
Sorry, no point in that.

93143
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Post by 93143 »

Skipjack wrote:The tooling is destroyed
Not true last time I checked. It's been mothballed, and could be put back into service if necessary.
the workforce has been layed off
Some of it, not all. Fairly recently. It's not too late to get most of them back. John Shannon has specifically said he's not a fan of a really short extension because he'd have to hire people back and then fire them again a year later...
even the dismantling of some of the launch facilities is already done.
So how are they still launching Shuttles?

Strictly speaking, you only need one pad.
Also THERE IS NO MONEY to extend it and to fund all the other things.
Congress will decide that.
Further, why keep going with it at all cost?
It is a pointless expense.
I just got through explaining, repeatedly, that it's almost certainly needed to support full utilization of the ISS, even if the optimistic projections for commercial cargo actually come true. I'm not going to go through all that again just because you weren't listening.
Oh, btw that extension that had been proposed by certain people only meant to keep operations running. In the sense of: Team A prepares the orbiter for launch and team B then goes and disassembles it again to so Team A has a job the next day ;)
Sorry, no point in that.
...you made that up.

That would be absolutely retarded, especially since an actual Shuttle flight under those circumstances would be both highly beneficial to the ISS and almost free of charge. I've never heard anything remotely resembling what you just said, and I did read the Hutchison bill.

MirariNefas
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Post by MirariNefas »

I just got through explaining, repeatedly, that it's needed to support full utilization of the ISS to 2020,
Has anybody mentioned yet that the ISS isn't really getting us all that much anyway? And will continue to be relatively unproductive even if fully utilized?

Now, I like space, I think space research has value. But the ISS is limited and small and costly for the science we get out of it.

...I do wish we'd built the centrifuge accomodations module. Those experiments would have been nice.

93143
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Post by 93143 »

MirariNefas wrote:But the ISS is limited and small and costly for the science we get out of it.
We're just about done building the thing. Come back in ten years and we'll see how useful it was.

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

This is a rather common misunderstanding. Bigelow will be happy to have any compatible spacecraft able to dock with his modules... and this has always included USA, ESA, JAXA and Russian craft. In fact he needs them all compatible to get them to use his stations as right now the modules would be destinations with limited ways to get to them.

The purpose of backing the pseudo-orion, as stated in the press releases, is to make sure that the craft can carry Bigelow-compatible docking gear.

Bigelow will not be running an actual launch service per se.
True, but I was not saying anything that is in contradiction to this, was I?
If I was, then I put some things in a missunderstandable way.
So how are they still launching Shuttles?

Strictly speaking, you only need one pad.
True, but you have disadvantages that way.

Ok, let me put it that way: It would be very difficult and expensive to get the whole thing going again. It would be more cost effective to do it with the Russians. Anyway the cancellation of the shuttle programme was already set into motion by the previous administration. They needed all the money for Griffins Constellation. After a certain point it is just not reasonable to go back anymore.
...you made that up.

That would be absolutely retarded, especially since an actual Shuttle flight under those circumstances would be both highly beneficial to the ISS and almost free of charge. I've never heard anything remotely resembling what you just said, and I did read the Hutchison bill.
I was of course using some sarcasm in my previous post. Let me be more clear:
The price for the extension that Mr Shannon named does not include the price for any actual launches. It is 200 million a month just to have the thing sitting there.
So I did not really make this up:
http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index ... id=19221#c

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Well there are corporations(!) that are willing to pay a lot of money to do experiments on the ISS.
I'm skeptical that's anything more than a PR effort; corporations also pay millions to have professional athletes wear their logos. Now don't get me wrong, I think PR is a perfectly fine way for corporations to spend money, I'm just not accepting it as a justification for the existence of the ISS.
Another point example (though it was already planned) is VASIMR, which cannot be fully tested on Earth and would be very expensive to test in orbit without a station...

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer will be going up. There's been talk of a centrifuge module too, which would be nice because there was supposed to be one but it was grounded...
OK, that does sound like some valuable science, and at least some of the things in the full article sound useful.

I may harbor a few lingering doubts we really need a manned space station to do many of them, but you've made a good case the ISS will provide some real science value.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

I'm skeptical that's anything more than a PR effort;
That would be silly. Sports are the much better place to invest for PR, I am sure.
Unless it is some nationally broadcase space event, like moonlanding, or a Marslanding, or something of the like, most people dont even know what is happening in space in the first place.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

All PR is silly. Why would you buy Gatorade just because Michael Jordan drinks it? But "we're doing research in space" sounds like just the thing for those TV commercials big companies like to run, and very much the sort of thing small companies' sales departments would love to brag about to clients.

But hey, prove me wrong. Show me some profitable research companies have done on the ISS, things that led to real unsubsidized revenues, that could only be done on a manned space station.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

But hey, prove me wrong.
Well, how much "developed in space" advertising is there?
Not much. Why? Because there has not been much research done by private corporations yet on the ISS. Why? Because it is not finished yet and there was no "space" up there for extra people so far. That will change soon though.
Oh, I cant provide a link right now, but I do remember some very successful medical research that was just published and that was actually done on the ISS.

93143
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Post by 93143 »

Skipjack wrote:The price for the extension that Mr Shannon named does not include the price for any actual launches. It is 200 million a month just to have the thing sitting there.
So I did not really make this up:
http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index ... id=19221#c
Okay, so some blogger made it up. The point is, it's not a serious proposal.

The Shuttle does not cost $4B to fly. FY2010 will see six launches for $2.8B (or about $230M/month). Some previous-year costs have been higher because RTF costs were inflating the number, and SFS was lumped in (which it isn't any more, and rightly so).

Shuttle costs ~$3B/year to fly at a reasonable rate, and that includes facility upkeep and such costs that won't go away when Shuttle is cancelled. The actual launches are virtually free - I've heard as low as $44M in incremental costs.

So $200M/month is not for no launches - it's just for a low rate of launches.

John Shannon is just echoing the party line. I've heard that privately he would be perfectly fine with an extension, the longer the better, and ideally leading to an SD-HLV.

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