Author Topic: Jim's "Mythbusters" " thread: Shuttle can be operated commercially  (Read 30710 times)

Offline Namechange User

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Re: Myth: Shuttle can be operated commercially
« Reply #140 on: 06/18/2010 07:32 PM »
You're arguing for a commercial shuttle but it's sounds like you're trying to say no on is willing to run it.


Where did you even remotely get that?

Who said I was "arguing" for a "commercial" shuttle?  I said it was possible to reduce the costs. 

What I find continuously funny is that everyone expects "commercial" to just come sailing in and everything will be just peachy.  Problem is there are no final defined requirements.  There are no contracts or Space Act Agreements for crew.  There are no decisions on how this "public/private" partnership is going to work with respect to development and ops.  No one even knows how many will be funded.  Heck there are not even any vehicles that have demonstrated operability yet for cargo. 

Given all of this, how does NASA as an agency adapt?  Again no one knows but so many out there just expect it to and more or less fork over money.

What I have advocated, argued for, is a transition and I have been very consistent about that.  A transition that could use shuttle until the "commercial" world is proven and operational.  A transition that could set NASA as an agency up for working and dealing with partners in new and different ways using shuttle as a pathfinder.  A transition that actually protects ISS and the "commercial" "anchor tenant" instead of just relying on hope and assumption. 
« Last Edit: 06/18/2010 07:34 PM by OV-106 »
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Online Jorge

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Re: Myth: Shuttle can be operated commercially
« Reply #141 on: 06/18/2010 07:47 PM »
Shuttle can be operated commercially costwise no matter how much jimgagnon wishes for it.

A.  The shuttle is operated by a NASA/contractor team
B.  The shuttle uses many multiuse facilities and GSE and therefore can not be turned over a private contractor.  And/or many are located at contractor locations.
c.The team and facilities are too interwoven separate out
d.  Even if there was commercial entity to run the shuttle, it wouldn't save any money.  It still takes the same amount to run it.
e.  There are no payloads for it to make money flying, ISS logistics are the only viable missions.

Operating the space shuttle commercialize would be incredibly stupid, it would risk destroying a piece of national history in third party hands and wouldn't save any money.

Well, that's simply a bit exagerated. 

NASA (and their sub-contractors), the people who know the most about the orbiters have lost two of five, why would a third party do any better when experience is being lost due to the changing of operators?

The Space Shuttle costs $500 million to launch (and I don't believe that includes the annual operating cost) and can only launch 25,000 kg to orbit. A Falcon 9 Heavy would cost less than 1/5th of that and would be able to launch 32,000 kg. And an Atlas V Heavy is still a significant cost improvement over the shuttle. Because of slow turn around each orbiter is limited to a certain number of flights, I believe one Shuttle is only capable of four flights per year. And the shuttles lack a launch abort system.


First of all, who is this mythical "third party" that is just going to come in?  That was the exagerated part
You're arguing for a commercial shuttle but it's sounds like you're trying to say no on is willing to run it.

1. NASA ... lost two of five...

2. The Space Shuttle costs $500 million to launch (and I don't believe that includes the annual operating cost) and can only launch 25,000 kg to orbit. A Falcon 9 Heavy would cost less than 1/5th of that and would be able to launch 32,000 kg.

1. Useless metric.  Number of losses divided by number of flights.

2. Shuttle: Real vehicle.  F9H: Not yet real vehicle, so comparison is not valid.

The rest of your post rehashes well known information, and doesn't add to your argument.
The high cost, poor safety, and restricted payload? Also I tried looking up the costs of the Delta IV Heavy which is the currently the only other American launch vehicle with the same payload capacity but I couldn't find any cost estimates. I think the operating costs alone would be too much for an independent company, the three billion someone mention eclipses even Russia's budget. Maybe if they were able to make a lot of the processes automated (but that would also mean job loss) they could get the costs down but to run the shuttle with "off the shelf" systems would be too costly to sustain.



NASA (and their sub-contractors), the people who know the most about the orbiters have lost two of five, why would a third party do any better when experience is being lost due to the changing of operators?


Shuttle is already operated by a "third party", namely USA. NASA does oversight, not day to day ops. It's not like you'd be getting rid of everybody and bringing in GM if you commercialized STS. As to some of the issues that Jim references, that's above my paygrade. In my little corner, I could see "commercial" saving a chunk of money. There is a lot of duplication of effort between us and NASA, but I don't know how pervasive that is across the whole program.

FYI, have your facts straight if you're going to argue with OV-106, given he's a senior space systems engineer on Shuttle (Prop/Power, right Mike?).
I guess that's correct (It's the United Launch Alliance right?) but would a commercial Shuttle use ULA?

No. ULA operates Delta and Atlas. The shuttle is operated by United Space Alliance (USA).
JRF

Offline Avron

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Re: Myth: Shuttle can be operated commercially
« Reply #142 on: 06/18/2010 08:03 PM »

No. ULA operates Delta and Atlas. The shuttle is operated by United Space Alliance (USA).


Whats going to happen to USA after STS retirement?

Offline strangequark

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Re: Myth: Shuttle can be operated commercially
« Reply #143 on: 06/18/2010 08:46 PM »


Whats going to happen to USA after STS retirement?

That depends on how the next program shakes out. Currently, a massive layoff (up to 4k in Florida), followed by a mad scramble to get other work. Heard rumors from friends here, at LM, and Boeing of the parent companies dissolving USA, but that's diluted through a lot of grapevine. In any case, it will be a substantially smaller company unless something SDLV comes out of the sausage mill.

Offline Namechange User

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Re: Myth: Shuttle can be operated commercially
« Reply #144 on: 06/18/2010 08:51 PM »


Whats going to happen to USA after STS retirement?

That depends on how the next program shakes out. Currently, a massive layoff (up to 4k in Florida), followed by a mad scramble to get other work. Heard rumors from friends here, at LM, and Boeing of the parent companies dissolving USA, but that's diluted through a lot of grapevine. In any case, it will be a substantially smaller company unless something SDLV comes out of the sausage mill.

Careful quark.  SDLV does not equate to the STS workforce in many ways. 

I just want to make sure that is understood before others start chiming in about "fixed cost" this or "standing army" that and incorrectly assuming that it will eat the entire budget. 
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Offline strangequark

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Re: Myth: Shuttle can be operated commercially
« Reply #145 on: 06/18/2010 08:58 PM »
Careful quark.  SDLV does not equate to the STS workforce in many ways. 

I just want to make sure that is understood before others start chiming in about "fixed cost" this or "standing army" that and incorrectly assuming that it will eat the entire budget. 

Heh, fair enough. My primary point was that we're gonna be virtually extinct, versus downsized.

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Re: Myth: Shuttle can be operated commercially
« Reply #146 on: 06/18/2010 09:02 PM »
Careful quark.  SDLV does not equate to the STS workforce in many ways. 

I just want to make sure that is understood before others start chiming in about "fixed cost" this or "standing army" that and incorrectly assuming that it will eat the entire budget. 

Heh, fair enough. My primary point was that we're gonna be virtually extinct, versus downsized.

Unfortunately we will be much smaller.  However, that is probably going to apply to much of the industry as a whole due to this "plan". 
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Sure, because this program is so rigid and "welded" it is operated exactly the same way today as it was in 1980.  Much better to make blanket statements like this and call them "absolutes" and treat them as "facts"

The "absolute" cost of the program has gone nowhere but up.  The "rigidity" is in its "welding" to the pork, I'd say.  Gramps is not talking about safety and so forth.  He is speaking from intuition, but it rings true.  If Bill Gates, George Soros, Prince Abdul Smith, and that Mexican billionaire all pool their money, they might be able to build a shuttle substitute.  Whatever that might be, it would most assuredly be run on a different basis from the current state of affairs.  And it would be a different vehicle.

It took the loss of OV-099 to effect some of the necessary changes to the shuttle program.  We've got a shuttle system that works now.  For some reason, Congress and the Prez are ignoring the information that we could have as many as six additional shuttle flights to make the transition to the next vehicle smoother.  I think your anger should be directed at them.  I'm quite aware of your consistent opinion in this regard.

Gramps statement rings true.  Let it go at that.  He was not demanding absolutism.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline manboy

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Sure, because this program is so rigid and "welded" it is operated exactly the same way today as it was in 1980.  Much better to make blanket statements like this and call them "absolutes" and treat them as "facts"

The "absolute" cost of the program has gone nowhere but up.  The "rigidity" is in its "welding" to the pork, I'd say.  Gramps is not talking about safety and so forth.  He is speaking from intuition, but it rings true.  If Bill Gates, George Soros, Prince Abdul Smith, and that Mexican billionaire all pool their money, they might be able to build a shuttle substitute.  Whatever that might be, it would most assuredly be run on a different basis from the current state of affairs.  And it would be a different vehicle.

It took the loss of OV-099 to effect some of the necessary changes to the shuttle program.  We've got a shuttle system that works now.  For some reason, Congress and the Prez are ignoring the information that we could have as many as six additional shuttle flights to make the transition to the next vehicle smoother.  I think your anger should be directed at them.  I'm quite aware of your consistent opinion in this regard.

Gramps statement rings true.  Let it go at that.  He was not demanding absolutism.
It wouldn't really be making it smoother because it would be taking money (a lot) away from development.
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Yep.  Part of what I'm sayin' is that we don't really need something new a decade from now.  We've got a used rocket that we can fire right up.  We've got a new "kid" on the block, who has graduated from baking soda and vinegar.  And we have some new workhorses ready to go, simply awaiting receipt of the workorder.

I believe that we literally do not need a new launch vehicle.  We do need a lunar lander, and a workable depot, perhaps along the lines of what Boeing sketched out.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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