Author Topic: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004  (Read 11430 times)

Offline savuporo

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Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« on: 06/30/2017 08:03 PM »
Since this is now 13 years ago, i believe its fair to talk about this in history section.

https://history.nasa.gov/Bush%20SEP.htm
https://www.nasa.gov/missions/solarsystem/vision_concepts.html

At 14:00, "Using the Crew Exploration Vehicle we will undertake extended human missions to the Moon as early as 2015"



What went wrong ?

Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Online ZachS09

Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #1 on: 07/01/2017 02:37 AM »
What went wrong started during the Obama Administration. The President replaced the Vision for Space Exploration, in April 2010, with his own space policy.

In turn, all the original plans did not come to fruition.
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline RonM

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #2 on: 07/01/2017 04:56 AM »
What went wrong started during the Obama Administration. The President replaced the Vision for Space Exploration, in April 2010, with his own space policy.

In turn, all the original plans did not come to fruition.

That's not where the problems started, that's where they ended.

The Constellation program, especially Ares I, was in trouble and that's why the Obama administration cancelled Constellation.

Offline Svetoslav

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #3 on: 07/01/2017 06:07 AM »
I think that back in its days Constellation made a lot of sense. The end of the Space Shuttle was looming, and it seemed rational that we need to use shuttle hardware as much as possible. The Ares I Stick had to use one booster, one SSME for a second stage and we hoped it was going to be developed easily. Only later the problems started, when the SSME turned out to be inadequate, and a larger solid booster had to be developed, so the Stick in the end was an entirely different rocket...

2004 was a different year compared to 2010 (when Obama canceled Constellation) and much different than 2017. Back then SpaceX was too young, the private sector seemed immature, Elon started launching rockets in 2006... and it was like one rocket per year. There were three failures in 2006, 2007 and 2008. It was hard to believe that the private companies were going anywere. And Falcon 9 didn't debut until 2010...

And you keep to forget that even though we already had Falcon 9 in 2010, Elon Musk said that there was going to be no gap. Seven years later, the manned flights of Dragon are still nowhere to be seen.

Yes, there were a lot of delays of Constellation during the first 5 years, but there are a lot of delays in the private sector within a 5-year period too. Things are compareable.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #4 on: 07/01/2017 06:41 AM »
When it all started going belly-up and costs/delays crept in - the Bush and then Obama Administrations were offered a better path forward to restore Constellation - or something like it - to something approaching a credible schedule. Even if all the pork players insisted on using the Shuttle infrastructure. There was 'Direct' and there was the Side-Mount Shuttle-derived Heavy Lifter (my favorite) introduced by John Shannon... Both Shuttle derived concepts were generally agreed to be a quicker and more cost effective path for Constellation, going forward - saving the tens of billions on two launch vehicles for a more common-use ONE launch vehicle. Keeping both Pads 39A & B and the Crawlers and VAB largely as they were would have saved more money, too! Lunar launches could have been accomplished with a genuine, 2x launch architecture - not the slightly loopy '1.5' launch setup. Far more mass sent to the Moon than Apollo and much greater mission capabilities and surface stay times, too.

And several credible, Atlas & Delta IV derived concepts were put forward, too. And they were with and without Propellant Depots and what we now know as 'Distributed Launch' as touted for the Vulcan/ACES launcher. And now - with more than 7 years hindsight - we know that Orion and the Altair Lunar Lander could have been downsized slightly to fit the alternate launchers to Ares 1 & V. And over time - technologies and methodologies such as Propellant Depots, Prop Transfer, ISRU and reusability could have been phased-in to a slowly improving and evolving set of spacecraft and launchers. When Commercial Space launchers became mature enough - the Shuttle Derived 'Dinosaurs' could have been phased out in favor of the new, reusable launchers. Airlines don't directly build airliners - they buy them from Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, Bombardier etc. NASA eventually could and should be doing the same. It's the Mission that's important - not so much the hardware.
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Offline su27k

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #5 on: 07/01/2017 08:01 AM »
See attached chart for what went wrong, this is from NASA 2007 budget request. According to the chart this year's Constellation budget would need to be about $15B! The whole thing is totally unrealistic in terms of budget, this should be obvious from the start.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #6 on: 07/01/2017 08:03 AM »
Yes, there were a lot of delays of Constellation during the first 5 years, but there are a lot of delays in the private sector within a 5-year period too. Things are compareable.

There is one huge difference: every year that Orion/SLS is delayed means another $3 billion or so of the public's money being spent without result.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #7 on: 07/01/2017 10:18 AM »
What went wrong started during the Obama Administration. The President replaced the Vision for Space Exploration, in April 2010, with his own space policy.

In turn, all the original plans did not come to fruition.

This is completely stupid and biased.

- Ares I  couldn't lift Orion because of the air-started SSME siliness.

- Ares V was way too big and expensive

- More generally, ESAS had to use  shuttle components to preserve Shelby and Nelson pork in Congress,

- also ATK large solids from Utah (see SLS)

- So EELVs were discarded with shameless lies (the black zones).

-  LH2 + big solids, inherited from the shuttle pork, isn't optimal. Large kerolox is better (hint, F-1).

- best shuttle derived architecture was DIRECT

- the two launchers were more balanced (Jupiter 120 and Jupiter 232)

- DIRECT however never had a real chance of winning (we got SLS instead)

-  NASA never got the necessary budget (see Augustine budget numbers in their 2009 analysis)

- they never cut metal for the lunar lander

By ranking order, best options would have been
- EELVs
- DIRECT
- ESAS
« Last Edit: 07/01/2017 10:24 AM by Archibald »

Online ZachS09

Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #8 on: 07/01/2017 12:51 PM »
What went wrong started during the Obama Administration. The President replaced the Vision for Space Exploration, in April 2010, with his own space policy.

In turn, all the original plans did not come to fruition.

This is completely stupid and biased.

- Ares I  couldn't lift Orion because of the air-started SSME siliness.

- Ares V was way too big and expensive

- More generally, ESAS had to use  shuttle components to preserve Shelby and Nelson pork in Congress,

- also ATK large solids from Utah (see SLS)

- So EELVs were discarded with shameless lies (the black zones).

-  LH2 + big solids, inherited from the shuttle pork, isn't optimal. Large kerolox is better (hint, F-1).

- best shuttle derived architecture was DIRECT

- the two launchers were more balanced (Jupiter 120 and Jupiter 232)

- DIRECT however never had a real chance of winning (we got SLS instead)

-  NASA never got the necessary budget (see Augustine budget numbers in their 2009 analysis)

- they never cut metal for the lunar lander

By ranking order, best options would have been
- EELVs
- DIRECT
- ESAS

I was not intending to be stupid/biased. I just wrote the first thing that came to mind.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #9 on: 07/01/2017 01:30 PM »
It is perfectly natural for new or younger NSF members to be a bit less informed and us "oldsters" should help clarify the facts as they stand. I watched the speech by Bush live as it happened and it sounded great but in the back of my mind was "show me the money". Throw in the "Don Quixote like" pursuit of  Ares-1 by Griffin and the resultant waste of time and tax dollars led us astray as existing  Commercial LVs stood ready and up to the task. Orion had weight and technical problems in "The Stick" configuration and was being continually being re-designed. The new administration under Obama canceled CxP after the one-off "Hail Mary" flight of Ares-1X and proposed an extension of COTS to Commercial Crew using existing LVs and new players such as SpaceX, SNC, BO etc... DIRECT was an awesome concept born here by our friends on NSF and was greeted like the plague by "the powers that be" that would have preserved most of the work force, infrastructure and tooling, proving that rocket science is easier than political science. Now throw-in some more political hi-jinx on the Hill to delay, under fund or even kill CC, we got the stretched-out time line to return HSF to US soil...

Edit to add: I'm sure that I am forgetting a few things on the drawn-out "space soap opera"...
« Last Edit: 07/01/2017 07:55 PM by Rocket Science »
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Offline eric z

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #10 on: 07/01/2017 01:50 PM »
 How 'bout a Vision and National Execution Plan for Space Exploration 2024 instead of ENDLESSLY arguing over the past- when is enough enough already? Now these debates are coming over to the historical section?! :-[
 What if all this mental firepower could be put to use planning and then actually Doing Something with all the assets we've got for a decade or two to jump start this thing already? When it comes to SLS isn't the biggest issue now whether to resume engine production or not? If "Not", then shouldn't those flights still possible be used to orbit the most sophisticated modules and equipment we can, leading to a robust lunar orbit/surface infrastructure?
 I do not personally want to see NASA denied a lead-operational role in space; I don't want to see it de-evolve into a taxpayer funded R and D account strictly for enabling the commercialization of space, though I don't mind if that is PART of what it does. Why in 2017 are we still fighting over the idea of a moon-base? IMHO- ridiculous!
 Some of these threads remind me of high-school cafeteria debates over who was better:Hendrix or Clapton; Page or Jeff Beck? As we got a little older we realized they were all great, well Hendrix of course the best!, and had great music to contribute to society. We also expanded our horizons to include Bach and Beethoven, Duke Ellington and Coltrane-they all  contribute to the richness of life. It's time for the space program to come together and enrich us all again, instead of playing one thing off another: Manned vs.Unmanned/Private vs.Public/ Moon vs.Mars/ Military vs. Civilian/ JPL vs.JSC/Congress vs. Administration/ Old Space vs. New Space/ SpaceX vs. Blue Origin/ etc.etc etc...

Offline muomega0

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #11 on: 07/01/2017 02:11 PM »
The wrong architecture and wrong expendable hardware all started with 3 flaws of the VSE introduced at the last minute by the party in control to retain shuttle derive.   Recall that O'Keefe, appointed by Bush, was shifting to the 'spiral architecture' and consolidate to the DOD and IP fleet.

Any LV with solids increases the number of configuration to be certified and worse increase LAS abort mass, so CxP Constellation's Ares I, could not get off the ground due to a 4mT to 10mT increase over liquids.

So given the VSE's goal of reuse to dramatically lower launch costs, the existing fleet had unique limitations to achieve NASA and DOD's goal:  Atlas/Delta/SLS were expendable and contained solids

Direct/LV24/25 was not a good concept either but look at the complete picture, and ....
I'm sure that I am forgetting a few things on the drawn-out "space soap opera"...

So we have yet another thread trying to rewrite history casting blame on Obama who listened to the complete picture and cancelled CxP for sound reasons.  SLS/Orion should not be part of the equation.  The assessment became reality when SpaceX re-landed a 1st stage.

Sadly, at least for me, we have a nation and parts of the NASA community who are self centered and easily duped, but its compounded by a party who adapted Russian active measures to weaponize fake news.

The goal of HSF is enable the DSH Gateway voyager to provide long term deep space travel economically.  The technology does not exist for the benefit of all, so the two pronged approach is to preposition supplies and reduce the trip time to balance operations and long term R&D.

Find asteroids to get to Mars  8) 

What went wrong started during the Obama Administration.
The Constellation program, especially Ares I, was in trouble and that's why the Obama administration cancelled Constellation.
I think that back in its days Constellation made a lot of sense.
Both Shuttle derived concepts were generally agreed to be a quicker and more cost effective path
See attached chart for what went wrong, this is from NASA 2007 budget request. According to the chart this year's Constellation budget would need to be about $15B! The whole thing is totally unrealistic in terms of budget, this should be obvious from the start.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #12 on: 07/01/2017 02:16 PM »
The wrong architecture and wrong expendable hardware all started with 3 flaws of the VSE introduced at the last minute by the party in control to retain shuttle derive.   Recall that O'Keefe, appointed by Bush, was shifting to the 'spiral architecture' and consolidate to the DOD and IP fleet.

Any LV with solids increases the number of configuration to be certified and worse increase LAS abort mass, so CxP Constellation's Ares I, could not get off the ground due to a 4mT to 10mT increase over liquids.

So given the VSE's goal of reuse to dramatically lower launch costs, the existing fleet had unique limitations to achieve NASA and DOD's goal:  Atlas/Delta/SLS were expendable and contained solids

Direct/LV24/25 was not a good concept either but look at the complete picture, and ....
I'm sure that I am forgetting a few things on the drawn-out "space soap opera"...

So we have yet another thread trying to rewrite history casting blame on Obama who listened to the complete picture and cancelled CxP for sound reasons.  SLS/Orion should not be part of the equation.  The assessment became reality when SpaceX re-landed a 1st stage.

Sadly, at least for me, we have a nation and parts of the NASA community who are self centered and easily duped, but its compounded by a party who adapted Russian active measures to weaponize fake news.

The goal of HSF is enable the DSH Gateway voyager to provide long term deep space travel economically.  The technology does not exist for the benefit of all, so the two pronged approach is to preposition supplies and reduce the trip time to balance operations and long term R&D.

Find asteroids to get to Mars  8) 

What went wrong started during the Obama Administration.
The Constellation program, especially Ares I, was in trouble and that's why the Obama administration cancelled Constellation.
I think that back in its days Constellation made a lot of sense.
Both Shuttle derived concepts were generally agreed to be a quicker and more cost effective path
See attached chart for what went wrong, this is from NASA 2007 budget request. According to the chart this year's Constellation budget would need to be about $15B! The whole thing is totally unrealistic in terms of budget, this should be obvious from the start.
I am not blaming President Obama, the CxP zombie needed it to die and he did what needed to be done simple as that...
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Offline RonM

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #13 on: 07/01/2017 04:58 PM »
How 'bout a Vision and National Execution Plan for Space Exploration 2024 instead of ENDLESSLY arguing over the past- when is enough enough already? Now these debates are coming over to the historical section?! :-[
 What if all this mental firepower could be put to use planning and then actually Doing Something with all the assets we've got for a decade or two to jump start this thing already? When it comes to SLS isn't the biggest issue now whether to resume engine production or not? If "Not", then shouldn't those flights still possible be used to orbit the most sophisticated modules and equipment we can, leading to a robust lunar orbit/surface infrastructure?
 I do not personally want to see NASA denied a lead-operational role in space; I don't want to see it de-evolve into a taxpayer funded R and D account strictly for enabling the commercialization of space, though I don't mind if that is PART of what it does. Why in 2017 are we still fighting over the idea of a moon-base? IMHO- ridiculous!
 Some of these threads remind me of high-school cafeteria debates over who was better:Hendrix or Clapton; Page or Jeff Beck? As we got a little older we realized they were all great, well Hendrix of course the best!, and had great music to contribute to society. We also expanded our horizons to include Bach and Beethoven, Duke Ellington and Coltrane-they all  contribute to the richness of life. It's time for the space program to come together and enrich us all again, instead of playing one thing off another: Manned vs.Unmanned/Private vs.Public/ Moon vs.Mars/ Military vs. Civilian/ JPL vs.JSC/Congress vs. Administration/ Old Space vs. New Space/ SpaceX vs. Blue Origin/ etc.etc etc...

It's like you and your friends all like Hendrix, Clapton, Bach, Coltrane, etc., but you only have enough money to buy one album. Which one do you get? It would be nice to have the money to get them all, but the money isn't there.

Offline eric z

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #14 on: 07/01/2017 05:51 PM »
 Respectfully Ron, I just don't look at it that way. We disagree, OK? The pendulum, IMHO, is starting to swing too far to the commercial is great, gov sucks side instead of a good balance. That's the point i was trying to make in silly fashion. This society is awash in money; we're just not doing the best things with it; and reasonable people can disagree with what those things are. I will stipulate that SLS is a botched-birth program, far from ideal- I get all that! I've eeevolved a lot in my thinking since becoming an L2 member a few years ago-I'm fed up with the delays and cost of the POR, but rather than cancel them I want to see Orion and SLS shaped up and contribute to a unified strategy.
 BTW, most record collectors I've known will find a way to get them all, somehow, even doing w/o other things like vacations and expensive suits-ask our wives!

Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #15 on: 07/01/2017 05:54 PM »
I'd say it's like you might be able to buy a few albums, but instead you decide to blow your money on a new sound system (read launch vehicle) and then find you don't have the money for any albums (payloads and missions).

Offline eric z

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #16 on: 07/01/2017 06:27 PM »
 Proponent, that's a cool way of putting it but let's get down to the nitty-gritty: We cancel SLS and Orion, tell all the people who worked on this stuff, hey you are lucky you got the pork while we had it to give, so see you later...NASA will do aerodynamic research for the airlines and Boeing to make $ off of, and hence forth each planet will be auctioned-off for exploration to, what-the highest bidder? The company with the most political connections? Or the company with the coolest logo? Good Luck, all!-SpaceX is out-in-front right now; they're the horse to bet on! Will it always be that way? Remember, no bail-outs allowed, it's dog-eat-dog out here now.
 NASA has executed 3 of the trickiest technological programs in human history: Apollo, Shuttle and ISS; and what is their reward? A downward slide to oblivion and ridicule- it's a shame. Caught in the middle between Congress and various administrations, unable to stand up for itself. One last time- nobody here would do things the way they were done to arrive at this mess, but the real question is what to do now?
  I for one, would like to see NASA given a 10 year or so bipartisan budget outline [ length of years up to smarter people than me], and told to deal with the given goal the way they think best; and of "Better, cheaper, faster" I would go for better and faster over cheaper- time is flying by and we only, probably, live once!
« Last Edit: 07/01/2017 06:50 PM by eric z »

Offline spacenut

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #17 on: 07/01/2017 07:15 PM »
I have been on this forum for about 11 years now.  Late on Constellation, through Direct, and SLS.  Looking back, the whole Constellation/SLS spending has been a huge waste of money.  Direct or side mount would have used the Shuttle resources more efficiently, and Shuttle could have been kept flying with side mount. 

Resources NASA had:  F-1 engines, 4 seg solids, SSME, J-2 (not J-2X), RL-10, RD-180's (before Russian problems), H-1 and its decendents.  Any number of rockets could have been built using off the shelf resources to their maximum abilities. 

Today, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and potential AR-1's could be used to get more done with less cost. 

In space assembly, fuel depots, and SEP tugs, are going to have to be developed for an eventual robust space exploration system.  SLS is and expensive dead end. 

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #18 on: 07/01/2017 07:49 PM »
The only commercial alternative to SLS at time would be twin engine Atlas or Delta 4H. Atlas probably better option except for supplier of excellent foreign engines. Being government funded projects with same contractors I doubt they would be any cheaper than SLS. Distributed launch or fuel depots would need to be developed, not bad thing but another large expensive.

Resurrecting F1 would most likely have cost more with long delays.

The delays and cost overruns on Orion would still be same.

Cost overruns and long delays have been and will most likely always be part of large difficult engineering projects, civil, structural or aerospace.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #19 on: 07/01/2017 11:27 PM »
You know, this thread really isn't a discussion of history. It's just the same bunch of people who argue about this stuff on other threads in this forum arguing about it here.
While true - some excellent points and analogies have been made in the postings above. Some people are trying to summarize what has gone before - at least that was my purest intention. Those of us who have been on this virtually unique website and virtual 'think tank' for ten years or more (12 for me) have seen one main thing happen: most of us are reading from the same book, even though many times we are not all on the same page.

But what's also really happened is we've all made statements and judgements during our long time here that have borne out over time as best-case, worst-case and even-worse-than-worse-case scenarios. I've seen people's prophecies turn out either slightly wrong, totally wrong, or spookily nail-on-the-head accurate. I've been in the slightly wrong category myself with my predictions and hopes. But you know what? That's life itself; darn it.

I'm not going to go back to an old thread and pinpoint where it was among the thousands of pages where I said, morosely something like: "Huh! We're probably all going to be still discussing and still arguing about these issues in ten or 12 years time - while billions have been spent, the ISS gets older and nothing much has happened."

I'm far from the only one. I'm always trying to be an at least glass half-full guy - not the 'it's always empty' guy. But now; we see conspiracy theory morons claiming that all space exploration is 'fake news' and special effects - reaching what passes for mainstream news these days. It is actually worse than I could have imagined, ten years ago when we were all discussing 'Direct' replacing Ares 1 & V etc. Adopts a Yoda voice:

"Told you, I did. Now; matters are worse..." :'(
« Last Edit: 07/01/2017 11:35 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline RonM

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #20 on: 07/02/2017 03:35 AM »
It's not about the technology, it's about the politics. As the old saying about politics and sausages goes, "it is better not to see them being made."

Offline Lar

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #21 on: 07/02/2017 03:56 AM »
You know, this thread really isn't a discussion of history. It's just the same bunch of people who argue about this stuff on other threads in this forum arguing about it here.

It needs to be a discussion of history, not yet another rehash of the SLS debate. Or it will be shut down. This not being space policy and all. But it gets tiresome, even there.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #22 on: 07/02/2017 04:38 AM »
I'm more interested in how events unfolded and how things went off track. Personally, i consider Griffin's nomination to be the pivotal point where things took a wrong turn

I'll admit, i haven't read the book

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/826991.New_Moon_Rising
http://www.nss.org/resources/books/non_fiction/NF_057_newmoonrising.html

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15636.0;all
« Last Edit: 07/02/2017 04:38 AM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline savuporo

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #23 on: 07/02/2017 04:42 AM »
For reference, TheSpaceReview chronicles, with some significant gaps

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/262/1 Decision point, Tom Hill
Monday, November 9, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/148/1 A few words with Craig Steidle , Jeff Foust
Monday, May 24, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/159/1 Scientists and the exploration vision, Jeff Foust
Monday, June 14, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/183/1 Not quite exactly déjà vu all over again, Dwayne A. Day
Monday, July 12, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/185/1 The great launch debate, Jeff Foust
Monday, July 19, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/194/1 Is the vision losing focus?, Jeff Foust
Monday, July 26, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/222/1 Estimating the cost of the vision, Dwayne A. Day
Tuesday, September 7, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/226/1 CEV: a different approach, Jeff Foust
Monday, September 13, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/254/1 Implementing the vision, Sam Dinkin
Monday, October 25, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/268/1 The making of a space policy, Jeff Foust
Monday, November 15, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/289/1 Sean O’Keefe: NASA’s indispensable reformer, Taylor Dinerman
Monday, December 20, 2004

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/313/1 What do we do with the ISS?, Taylor Dinerman
Monday, January 31, 2005

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/322/1 CEV: let’s try and clear this up once and for all, Taylor Dinerman
Monday, February 14, 2005

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/324/1 The 2005 NASA budget and policy shuffle, Taylor Dinerman
Monday, February 21, 2005

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/335/1 Heavy lift: examining the requirements, Taylor Dinerman
Monday, March 7, 2005

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/339/1 Getting to know Michael Griffin, Jeff Foust
Monday, March 14, 2005

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/346/1 Stagflation, overcapacity, and the commercial launch industry, Jeff Foust
Monday, March 28, 2005

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/356/1 Is the Vision for Space Exploration ten years too late?, Eric R. Hedman
Monday, April 18, 2005

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/376/1 Mike Griffin’s choice, Taylor Dinerman
Monday, May 23, 2005
« Last Edit: 07/02/2017 04:51 AM by savuporo »
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #24 on: 07/02/2017 05:05 AM »
Those of us who have been on this virtually unique website and virtual 'think tank' for ten years or more (12 for me) have seen one main thing happen: most of us are reading from the same book, even though many times we are not all on the same page.


As someone who actually does space policy for a living, my observation of this "virtually unique website and virtual 'think tank'" as you put it, is that most of you guys think you understand a lot more that is going on than you actually do--and this thread is typical of that. You base your assumptions on what you read on the internet and blogs and work out on the back of napkins, not realizing that a lot of stuff is private/secret, but also that a lot of what is going on is public, but not written on the internet or blogs and you guys don't know about it. I've gone to public discussions and workshops in DC where people revealed information that is not consistent with the stuff you've seen on the internet, or where somebody comments about something that puts a lot of that information in an entirely different context, but you didn't know about it because you weren't there. And as a result of this gaping hole in knowledge on this "virtual think tank," a whole bunch of people here jumped to inaccurate conclusions, or engaged in pointless pursuits (like the "Direct" stuff, where people somehow assumed that a crowd-sourced rocket design had a snowball's chance in Hades of getting selected).

In addition, most members of this site have an abnormal fixation on rockets, as if that's the most important thing, and a misunderstanding of how policy gets made and what it actually means. So people run off and do their cost calculations trading one rocket off against another in terms of dollar value and not comprehending that the rocket is only one part of the technology question, and the technology questions are themselves embedded in a much more complex equation of political support and process and power (and even personalities). So people come to the naive conclusion that the Vision for Space Exploration failed because the rocket cost too much, when there were many other factors involved, including an attitude within the Obama administration that they didn't want to pursue any policy that the previous administration had started.

Heck, if you guys only knew how some of these decisions actually got made, you'd be startled. But you probably also wouldn't care, because it's not always about the rockets.
Your post - though quite accurate is also a bit disingenuous: it is because of people like you - and Jim - and Chuck Longton - and a host of others; that some of us do know what we're talking about and commenting on - at least some of the time. Most of the time, these are not zero-sum arguments or even clueless ramblings. This virtually underlines my point - we are all reading from the same book because people like you are writing that book; and many of us haven't got to your 'page' yet. Don't condemn some of us because we all cannot literally do what you do. Please. Lead us sometimes. Explain. Use us any way you can to help overcome the inertia and stagnation.

If you think that's at all possible.
« Last Edit: 07/02/2017 06:12 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #25 on: 07/02/2017 05:53 AM »
I think that back in its days Constellation made a lot of sense. The end of the Space Shuttle was looming, and it seemed rational that we need to use shuttle hardware as much as possible.

It was an option, but not the only one.

Quote
The Ares I Stick had to use one booster, one SSME for a second stage and we hoped it was going to be developed easily. Only later the problems started, when the SSME turned out to be inadequate, and a larger solid booster had to be developed, so the Stick in the end was an entirely different rocket...

I think you should research the history of the Ares I more to find out how it came to be. It was part of a plan that Michael Griffin instituted in order to help pay for the Ares V. But up till that point we had never sent humans into space on a solid-fueled rocket, so it was a very risky plan - one that helped to ultimately lead to the cancellation of the Constellation program.

Quote
2004 was a different year compared to 2010 (when Obama canceled Constellation) and much different than 2017. Back then SpaceX was too young, the private sector seemed immature, Elon started launching rockets in 2006... and it was like one rocket per year. There were three failures in 2006, 2007 and 2008. It was hard to believe that the private companies were going anywere. And Falcon 9 didn't debut until 2010...

Not sure why you are so focused on SpaceX, when the private sector has always built NASA's hardware. Again, I'd suggest you go back and look at the history of the Constellation program to see how much private sector capabilities there were. There was a lot, and new companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are just adding to that already large capability.

Quote
Yes, there were a lot of delays of Constellation during the first 5 years, but there are a lot of delays in the private sector within a 5-year period too. Things are compareable.

When Elon Musk misses a date, the U.S. Taxpayer doesn't pay for it. When NASA misses a date on hardware they are responsible for, the U.S. Taxpayer pays for that. So no, not the same.

Also, the real bottom line for the Constellation program was that it was a redo of Apollo, and the "business case" for redoing Apollo was not there - the value the U.S. Taxpayer would have received was nebulous. That's why big government projects should not be decided upon during emotional times, which is what happened in the aftermath of the Columbia accident - the Constellation program was created based on emotion, and not based on a rational justification of our nations needs.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline savuporo

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #26 on: 07/02/2017 06:53 AM »
The other, less discussed part of the VSE:

Quote
Beginning no later than 2008, we will send a series of robotic missions to the lunar surface to research and prepare for future human exploration.

LRO aka RLEP happened. By modern NASA standards, in an incredibly short amount of time. It's follow up programs, called RLEP-2, never apparently really got off the drawing boards.

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20050139778.pdf
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #27 on: 07/02/2017 04:03 PM »

When Elon Musk misses a date, the U.S. Taxpayer doesn't pay for it.

That's so untrue. When private contractors miss dates on government contracts the government definitely pays for it. You think that delays on commercial cargo (or blowing up an ISS resupply rocket) had no consequences? This "government bad/private good" attitude is one of the many simplistic memes pushed on this forum.

I'd agree not everything is exactly black or white, but you'd also have to agree that Firm Fixed Priced contracts mean the contractors are responsible for cost overruns, whereas with Cost Plus contracts contractors don't have strong incentives to stick to cost or schedule goals.

And this is certainly not about "government bad/private good" but about taxpayer value, since private companies are doing the work for NASA regardless which contract type is used.

The 2004 VSE was not bad per se, it was the execution of it that was bad. And that can be traced down to one person - Michael Griffin. Because it was Griffin that trashed the original plan to use EELV's for launching a planned Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), and trashed the plan to have a "fly-off" competition for the CEV. In it's place Griffin decided on the Ares I/V and the (as Griffin put it) "Apollo on steroids" Orion capsule. And he justified the new launch vehicle by lying about whether EELV's had "black zones", meaning the whole Ares I and SLS situations could have been avoided.

Certainly part of the justification for cancelling the Constellation program was cost, with the Ares I actual costs and the Ares V projected costs as significant drivers of that. It's possible that the program could have survived through multiple presidential administrations if the costs could have fit into the existing budget profile - which without the need to develop a launch vehicle, most of the program money would have gone towards the crew vehicle and to start on a lunar lander. Such an alternate reality might have been able to show better progress, and been more able to fend of attempts to change or cancel the effort.

My $0.02
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline psloss

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #28 on: 07/02/2017 04:41 PM »
In contrast, when Obama came in he created a presidential commission to provide advice (Augustine). But after that they went radio silent for MONTHS. They cut EVERYBODY out of their deliberative process. The whole thing happened in secret and kept even senior NASA officials in the dark, treating NASA as an enemy.
Thanks for the posts and perspective...apologies if I've asked you this before here, but do you know if this was done mostly in ignorance of how it would be received, or is it possible it was done that way deliberately?
« Last Edit: 07/02/2017 04:41 PM by psloss »

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #29 on: 07/02/2017 08:34 PM »
In contrast, when Obama came in he created a presidential commission to provide advice (Augustine). But after that they went radio silent for MONTHS. They cut EVERYBODY out of their deliberative process. The whole thing happened in secret and kept even senior NASA officials in the dark, treating NASA as an enemy.
Thanks for the posts and perspective...apologies if I've asked you this before here, but do you know if this was done mostly in ignorance of how it would be received, or is it possible it was done that way deliberately?
One could fairly ask what John Holdren's role played in this...
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Offline psloss

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #30 on: 07/02/2017 09:15 PM »
In contrast, when Obama came in he created a presidential commission to provide advice (Augustine). But after that they went radio silent for MONTHS. They cut EVERYBODY out of their deliberative process. The whole thing happened in secret and kept even senior NASA officials in the dark, treating NASA as an enemy.
Thanks for the posts and perspective...apologies if I've asked you this before here, but do you know if this was done mostly in ignorance of how it would be received, or is it possible it was done that way deliberately?
One could fairly ask what John Holdren's role played in this...
There's also Lori Garver's op-ed in SpaceNews from last year that included her point of view from inside the NASA transition from Bush 43 to Obama.  It sounds like there wasn't much trust left in either direction by the time that was over.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #31 on: 07/02/2017 09:36 PM »
In contrast, when Obama came in he created a presidential commission to provide advice (Augustine). But after that they went radio silent for MONTHS. They cut EVERYBODY out of their deliberative process. The whole thing happened in secret and kept even senior NASA officials in the dark, treating NASA as an enemy.
Thanks for the posts and perspective...apologies if I've asked you this before here, but do you know if this was done mostly in ignorance of how it would be received, or is it possible it was done that way deliberately?
One could fairly ask what John Holdren's role played in this...
There's also Lori Garver's op-ed in SpaceNews from last year that included her point of view from inside the NASA transition from Bush 43 to Obama.  It sounds like there wasn't much trust left in either direction by the time that was over.
Yes, and in that article she considers funding NASA to be "socialist" which IMHO was a bit over the top and to what I believe to be  more "nationalist"...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline Jim

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #32 on: 07/02/2017 10:12 PM »
I think that back in its days Constellation made a lot of sense. The end of the Space Shuttle was looming, and it seemed rational that we need to use shuttle hardware as much as possi

it never made sense

Offline Lar

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #33 on: 07/02/2017 10:16 PM »
This is a highly useful and valuable thread but it's primarily space policy. If you're not an L2 member please PM me now because I'm not seeing a reason not to move it there other than that.

Edit: It has been moved.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2017 03:15 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Jim

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #34 on: 07/02/2017 10:17 PM »

When Elon Musk misses a date, the U.S. Taxpayer doesn't pay for it.

That's so untrue. When private contractors miss dates on government contracts the government definitely pays for it. You think that delays on commercial cargo (or blowing up an ISS resupply rocket) had no consequences? This "government bad/private good" attitude is one of the many simplistic memes pushed on this forum.

I'd agree not everything is exactly black or white, but you'd also have to agree that Firm Fixed Priced contracts mean the contractors are responsible for cost overruns, whereas with Cost Plus contracts contractors don't have strong incentives to stick to cost or schedule goals.


And this forum wrongly assumes most contracts are cost plus

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #35 on: 07/03/2017 06:28 AM »
Since this is now 13 years ago, I believe its fair to talk about this in history section.
<snip>

Whoops!  I guess not!
:P

Suggested reading: A pair of blog posts from Wayne Hale.  (He's a NSF member, too!)

1st re: the VSE "Vision Sand Chart," submitted in 2004: Killing Constellation
https://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/6/

2nd re: Augustine Commission, the end of Constellation, and the Obama OMB NASA budget for FY 2010: Chasing Augustine
https://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/chasing-augustine/

EDIT ADD: Re: Rob Landis' work on crewed NEO asteroid missions, from 2007:
A Piloted Flight to a Near-Earth Object: A Feasibility Study
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20070024872.pdf

And a presentation that appears to be based on the above work, later in 2007, by David Korsmeyer:
Into the Beyond: A Crewed Mission to a Near-Earth Object
https://ti.arc.nasa.gov/m/project/neo/pdf/IAC-07-slides.pdf

Quote
NEO Target of Opportunity may exist in the desired 2015 - 2030 Timeframe
« Last Edit: 07/03/2017 04:52 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline mrhuggy

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #36 on: 07/03/2017 07:41 PM »
Vision For Space Exploration, what went wrong.

Politics, every 4 years there's a new president and congress who have different takes on what NASA should do. The 3 terms of Reagan and Bush got us towards the ISS. Even still the amount of changes too it over the years delayed and sent the budget multiple times its cost. VSE died because to me it seemed the politicians didn't really want it, too expensive and too long a time to the end goal.

For once trump was right, the Q&A he did with NASA he was asked about going to Mars he said "Wouldn't it be great to do it while i'm the president". The sad fact is today things can get done only if it can be done in 4 years.

Take Politics out and then we have commercial space doing VSE aka SpaceX.
Chris Hugman
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Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #37 on: 07/04/2017 07:53 AM »
Proponent, that's a cool way of putting it but let's get down to the nitty-gritty: We cancel SLS and Orion, tell all the people who worked on this stuff, hey you are lucky you got the pork while we had it to give, so see you later...NASA will do aerodynamic research for the airlines and Boeing to make $ off of, and hence forth each planet will be auctioned-off for exploration to, what-the highest bidder? The company with the most political connections? Or the company with the coolest logo? Good Luck, all!-SpaceX is out-in-front right now; they're the horse to bet on! Will it always be that way? Remember, no bail-outs allowed, it's dog-eat-dog out here now.

Nobody has said anything about paring NASA back to nothing but aeronautics.  Far from it: I think NASA does a lot of cool and very worthwhile things.  My point is here is, why has not NASA even considered the possibility of using commercial launch services for launching humans into deep space?  All of the US government's other space-launch needs are satisfied by the purchase of commercial launch services.  What is the justification for NASA developing its own launch vehicles?

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #38 on: 07/04/2017 08:09 AM »
Since this is now 13 years ago, i believe its fair to talk about this in history section.

https://history.nasa.gov/Bush%20SEP.htm
https://www.nasa.gov/missions/solarsystem/vision_concepts.html

At 14:00, "Using the Crew Exploration Vehicle we will undertake extended human missions to the Moon as early as 2015"



What went wrong ?

Very very simple. They had a great idea but the people in charge of executing it were absolute morons of the highest degree. Michael Griffin and various others in his orbit INSISTED on poor financial and design choices before and after ESAS. They ignored the recommendations of the engineering and technical base of the industry, even ignored independent advice by ULA and counter proposals. They ignored congress, ignored basically everybody that told them they were wrong. They insisted on a vehicle architecture which could not function, had serious unresolved design flaws, and was known to be financially unsuitable from the start. Also it is worth noting they probably lied to congress on multiple occasions as years went by and delays increased. Griffin especially continually insisted through this time period that there was no problem, that detractors were 'morons and un-educated non professionals' and that congress had nothing to worry about. If there were any justice he should have been called to account for this as well as his various deputies because it really was borderline criminal. How can you expect congressmen and woman to be able to make sound decisions if you outright lie to them, suppress what your engineers and analysts are telling you, and hand them fudged data? It should not surprise anyone CXP was never properly funded, how could they fund it when all they were getting out of the administrator was garbage, delays, and more funding requests.

Keep in mind the climate at the time. There were two wars, both going badly, congress was already indicating they would not provide the funding levels to support VSE, and the administration itself was in serious trouble at home and abroad. Anybody with a brain in their head would have looked at this and said "we absolutely have to design the most cost efficient system given this climate or this project is doomed".

Anybody who was not the arrogant pinhead that is Michael Griffin. Instead he decided to do the most complex, most expensive, and most outrageous plan possible, so it was essentially doomed from the start.

And it really was a single point failure. The upper leadership of NASA at the time, with Griffin at the source of the problems, made these decisions against everything, against even what the science dictated would be the smart move. In retrospect this has to rank as one of the all time most tragic and absolutely insane industrial failures of this century. A space agency that had a chance to use off the shelf hardware, or even simply use commercial proposals (ACES), instead ignored all of that and ignored their own experts to insist on something that was totally impossible implausible and un-fundable.

There is more to the story but the summary is that the failure of VSE was one of incompetence, negligence, and downright criminal egotism. Had the leadership of NASA been different and had the agency management listened to the recommendations of its own engineering teams we might well have been back to the moon by now. We will never know and the billions of dollars and years wasted will never be recovered.

My anger over how all of this played out has not subsided even after all these years, and it probably never will. People lost their jobs, their life's work, their entire lively-hood's over these decisions. The industry lost a tremendous amount of its technical knowledge base, the manned spaceflight gap became an un-avoidable certainty, and the nation lost a huge opportunity that we are only just now, thanks to the commercial sector, beginning to fight our way back to. 13 wasted years. Billions of dollars, all those men and women losing their shirts and more importantly their dreams. I will never forgive the people responsible for the mismanagement and failure of CXP, never ever ever and nobody else should forget what happened. Ever. 
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #39 on: 07/04/2017 08:18 AM »
How 'bout a Vision and National Execution Plan for Space Exploration 2024 instead of ENDLESSLY arguing over the past- when is enough enough already? Now these debates are coming over to the historical section?! :-[
 What if all this mental firepower could be put to use planning and then actually Doing Something with all the assets we've got for a decade or two to jump start this thing already? When it comes to SLS isn't the biggest issue now whether to resume engine production or not? If "Not", then shouldn't those flights still possible be used to orbit the most sophisticated modules and equipment we can, leading to a robust lunar orbit/surface infrastructure?
 I do not personally want to see NASA denied a lead-operational role in space; I don't want to see it de-evolve into a taxpayer funded R and D account strictly for enabling the commercialization of space, though I don't mind if that is PART of what it does. Why in 2017 are we still fighting over the idea of a moon-base? IMHO- ridiculous!
 Some of these threads remind me of high-school cafeteria debates over who was better:Hendrix or Clapton; Page or Jeff Beck? As we got a little older we realized they were all great, well Hendrix of course the best!, and had great music to contribute to society. We also expanded our horizons to include Bach and Beethoven, Duke Ellington and Coltrane-they all  contribute to the richness of life. It's time for the space program to come together and enrich us all again, instead of playing one thing off another: Manned vs.Unmanned/Private vs.Public/ Moon vs.Mars/ Military vs. Civilian/ JPL vs.JSC/Congress vs. Administration/ Old Space vs. New Space/ SpaceX vs. Blue Origin/ etc.etc etc...

It's like you and your friends all like Hendrix, Clapton, Bach, Coltrane, etc., but you only have enough money to buy one album. Which one do you get? It would be nice to have the money to get them all, but the money isn't there.
The money is there that is not the issue. Between the train wreck record of program failure up to this point by NASA and others, the severe foreign policy problems faced by the US, and the severe domestic problems faced by the US there is no political will to spend that much on science and inner to that space exploration right now.

Maybe if NASA had, I don't know, executed a successful LV design program between the start of STS and now without totally screwing up and there was some record of success people in government would be more inclined to spend more. As it stands though there is no way, and even if everything had turned out far better it would still be hard to see more spending being allowed on this stuff right now given the big elephants in the room (foreign policy and domestic faults).

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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #40 on: 07/04/2017 08:30 AM »
This how I see it, so my opinion only.

My take is that the creation of the VSE after Columbia was fundamentally flawed. It needed the cancellation of the current Orbital Space Plane (OSP) and Space Launch Initiative (SLI) programs. Had NASA stayed the course, OSP (which was going to be a capsule launched on EELV) would have been available soon after 2010. So US crewed access to the ISS would have been a lot smoother, instead of the seven year gap we have now. Instead, OSP was replaced with a new program (the Crew Exploration Vehicle or CEV) and went downhill from there. SLI would have seen NASA flying a reusable first stage, although using horizontal instead of vertical landing like SpaceX. The VSE also did not have the political support of Congress for the needed funds, and with the grandiose expansion and poor design choices of VSE under Griffin, gave the ammunition for Obama to cancel the program.

Here are some of the bad design choices that occurred under Griffin.

Choosing Ares-I instead of EELV to launch CEV.
1) The first stage used one RSRM solid booster from the Space Shuttle.
2) The second stage was new, using a modified RS-25 engine from the Space Shuttle.
3) It was found that it was too difficult and expensive to modify the RS-25 engine for air start, so the new lower performing J-2X engine from Ares-V was chosen.
4) The lower performing upper stage meant that the first stage was replaced with the five segment RSRMV, also from Ares-V.
5) The longer first stage had severe vibration problems that caused mass growth in the second stage and CEV to help mitigate the problem.
6) Launch abort from a failing first stage was found to be very problematic. There were issues that debris from the first stage would strike the capsule or parachutes.

Choosing Ares-V.
1) Used two practically new RSRMV boosters.
2) Used a new 8.4 m core with five RS-25 engines.
3) Used a new 8.4 m upper stage with two new J-2X engines.
4) To "save money" the RS-25 engines were replaced with lower performing RS-68 engines, meaning the core diameter had to increased to 10 m. The upper stage had the number of of J-2X engines reduced to one.
5) Due to base heating, the ablative nozzles on the RS-68 had to be replaced with regenerative metal nozzles.
6) To increase performance, the number of engines on the core was increase to six.

Choosing CEV.
1) A clone of the Apollo capsule but with the diameter increase from 4 to 5.5 m.
2) Due to the huge mass increase, diameter reduced to 5.
3) Due to Ares-I decreased performance, was put on a diet (the Zero Baseline Review).

Choosing LSAM (Lunar Surface Access Module)
1) Had a liquid hydrogen descent stage which performed Lunar orbit insertion and Lunar descent.
2) To reduce first stage height, used a cluster of four LOX and four LH2 tanks with associated tanks for Helium pressurisation. This had a very poor mass fraction and also increased the propellant boil off rate.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #41 on: 07/04/2017 08:34 AM »
I think that back in its days Constellation made a lot of sense. The end of the Space Shuttle was looming, and it seemed rational that we need to use shuttle hardware as much as possible. The Ares I Stick had to use one booster, one SSME for a second stage and we hoped it was going to be developed easily. Only later the problems started, when the SSME turned out to be inadequate, and a larger solid booster had to be developed, so the Stick in the end was an entirely different rocket...

2004 was a different year compared to 2010 (when Obama canceled Constellation) and much different than 2017. Back then SpaceX was too young, the private sector seemed immature, Elon started launching rockets in 2006... and it was like one rocket per year. There were three failures in 2006, 2007 and 2008. It was hard to believe that the private companies were going anywere. And Falcon 9 didn't debut until 2010...

And you keep to forget that even though we already had Falcon 9 in 2010, Elon Musk said that there was going to be no gap. Seven years later, the manned flights of Dragon are still nowhere to be seen.

Yes, there were a lot of delays of Constellation during the first 5 years, but there are a lot of delays in the private sector within a 5-year period too. Things are comparable.

I somewhat disagree. The stick never made any sense to anyone outside of Griffin and his friends, and there are acres of documentation on this forum alone to support why. Nobody had ever put a crew vehicle on top of a solid fuel first stage and that was for a very good reason. The performance was lacking, the vibration was terrible, and the safety was insufficient. Then there was the second stage. There were many people who pointed out early on that making the SSME air-startable would be very hard if not impossible. SSME was not designed for any role like this it was design to be ground started and boost a core stage (shuttle or SLS). Then there is the entire methodology here. Rather than just build a shuttle stack based vehicle, you want to go out and build two entirely new vehicles from scratch to do the job that one vehicle that could make a higher flight rate would do better. Why even bother with such a ridiculous premise? The stick was going to suck up so much money there would never be anything left for the HLV, and the HLV had design faults of its own and almost no commonality with the stick, only the boosters were common the core was totally different the upper stage was different and the core engines were to be RS 68's which would have to be totally re-designed to cope with the heating loads or they would melt and never work. Add to the fact that RS 68 was never designed for use on a vehicle so large to begin with.
Then there is the fact that NASA had previously researched the idea of creating an inline launch vehicle based on the ET and 4 segment boosters with rs-25 engines on the core years and years before as a way to get BEO access back on a tight budget. They already had the data in hand they already knew what the right call was.

The entire thing was absolutely stupid from the moment the 1.5 architecture was announced, and that was the same moment when people began very vocally expressing how stupid it was. And oh was it stupid. So stupid the only way to keep it alive was for Griffin to fire anybody who pointed out the faults, fudge data, and I kid you not, publicly have his deputies declare that literally ANY OTHER vehicle would: violate the laws of physics and was impossible. I kid you not, that is a direct quote given in response to DIRECT and questions raised at AugCom.


Other than that I absolutely agree about the private sector. There was not enough rationale at the time, politically, to justify a commercial based alternative with the exception of ACES. But ACES would have taken time to develop and it was thought at the time that it might be ultimately more time consuming and expensive to go that route than it would be to just do an SDHLV. As it turns out now that may not have been true, and the SDHLV has grown so large and ungainly, that it will likely be made obsolete at birth by commercial sector vehicles. The issue was nobody was certain at that time that this would happen. Politicians wanted certainty.


One more thing, a note on the Obama administration. One word: incompetent.  Mr. Obama's proposal to resolve the situation was ridiculous and politically impossible. You cannot simply cancel the existing program and replace it with literally nothing but rhetoric. He tired and failed and ultimately his own party saw to it that this was not the case. Furthermore, there is an argument to be made that shuttle should have been extended far further, in spite of the production restart costs and the risk. At least in that situation there would have been less of an HSF gap, something that is proving harder to deal with each year that goes by. Many on this site have described the events of 2009-2010 as throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and I would agree. As it turns out, it will probably not matter except as a historical footnote.
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Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #42 on: 07/04/2017 08:39 AM »
The only commercial alternative to SLS at time would be twin engine Atlas or Delta 4H.

Assuming there was a requirement for heavy lift, NASA could simply have requested proposals from American industry, and compared those proposals with its own ideas.  As it was, ULA proposed upgraded Atlases and Deltas with payloads up 160 metric tons.

Quote
Being government funded projects with same contractors I doubt they would be any cheaper than SLS. Distributed launch or fuel depots would need to be developed, not bad thing but another large expensive.

Those aren't questions we space cadets can conclusively answer in this forum.  The point is that those options ought to be analyzed and compared by professional engineers. 

Quote
Cost overruns and long delays have been and will most likely always be part of large difficult engineering projects, civil, structural or aerospace.

Yes, I'm sure big projects have been running behind schedule and over budget for as long as technology has existed.  But it still makes sense to consider estimated costs in choosing architectures -- a 50% overrun on a $10-billion project is still only have as expensive as a 50% overrun on a $20-billion one.  And it's also worth considering who's going to bear the overruns.  With SLS, it's NASA.  With commercial cargo and crew, NASA still incurs costs when its suppliers fail to keep to schedule, but it by no means bears the full brunt.

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #43 on: 07/04/2017 11:38 AM »
...
And it's also worth considering who's going to bear the overruns.  With SLS, it's NASA.  With commercial cargo and crew, NASA still incurs costs when its suppliers fail to keep to schedule, but it by no means bears the full brunt.

Taxpayers, you mean, right?
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #44 on: 07/05/2017 03:25 AM »
Has the White House (or Congress) gotten any less delusional about NASA funding in the last 13 years, ya think?
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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #45 on: 07/05/2017 09:30 AM »
Has the White House (or Congress) gotten any less delusional about NASA funding in the last 13 years, ya think?

No, if anything they have gotten more delusional.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #46 on: 07/05/2017 09:51 AM »
Has the White House (or Congress) gotten any less delusional about NASA funding in the last 13 years, ya think?

No, I don't think so.  A dozen years in, Congress still very happily funds a rocket and capsule, mostly a rocket, and calls it an exploration program.  And the really depressing thing is that senators and representatives seem pretty happy about this state of affairs: year after year, they pound the table demanding more money for SLS even as they ignore its expensive delays.   At the latest Senate hearing on NASA's FY2018 budget, you can watch Sen. Shelby gripe about the delays in commercial crew as he ignores SLS's problems and lack of mission.

Offline spacenut

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #47 on: 07/05/2017 11:07 AM »
I really think congress got the wool pulled over their eyes by Griffin.  We already had the shuttle stack.  To them, who are mostly lawyers and politicians, it looked easy to just put the engines on the bottom of the tank and use the existing solids for a new launcher.  For you engineers, it wasn't easy, and it has proved to be not easy, nor cheap. 

If anything, maybe they should have gone with side mount, and kept the shuttle running, and for 60-70 ton loads use side mount. 

The killer would have been Atlas V phase two heavy which probably would have been cheaper, especially if ACES was also developed.  The twin engine RD-180 would have been a great launcher in and of itself, then the heavy version could have matched or exceeded side mount in cost. 

Of course this is all before SpaceX and Blue Origin with their plans for heavy and super heavy launcher. 

Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #48 on: 07/05/2017 02:12 PM »
I really think congress got the wool pulled over their eyes by Griffin.

I'm not so sure about that.  Congress seldom, if ever, complains about SLS's costs and delays.  It complains about commercial crew and other programs that slip, but not about SLS.  Hence, I suspect members of Congress are by and large happy with just having a rocket-building program, regardless of whether it ever accomplishes much.

Offline Wayne Hale

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #49 on: 07/05/2017 04:38 PM »
"those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"

Reading this thread one gets the sense that there is little agreement on what should be learned from the past.  Therefore we must be doomed.

My immediate reaction on listening to President Bush's speech - which I told to Bill Gerstenmaier then the ISS Program manager - was:  "The only part of this that will come true is that the shuttle will be retired."

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #50 on: 07/05/2017 05:06 PM »
"those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"

Reading this thread one gets the sense that there is little agreement on what should be learned from the past.  Therefore we must be doomed.

My immediate reaction on listening to President Bush's speech - which I told to Bill Gerstenmaier then the ISS Program manager - was:  "The only part of this that will come true is that the shuttle will be retired."


I posted on this thread earlier, then got tired of all the baloney--and also disagreed with moving it to the policy section (hint: policy history is also a thing)--so I quit and deleted my posts.

But I'd just point out that the Bush folks actually did try to learn from the past. They had people research the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative and try to take action to avoid that.

I'm not convinced that debating this or discussing it makes sense on NSF, because too many people have decided on their conclusions and simply want to engage in the same arguments over and over again. It's an issue common to most discussion forums, where people want to play the same four notes rather than learn a new tune.

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #51 on: 07/05/2017 05:27 PM »
"those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"

Reading this thread one gets the sense that there is little agreement on what should be learned from the past.  Therefore we must be doomed.

My immediate reaction on listening to President Bush's speech - which I told to Bill Gerstenmaier then the ISS Program manager - was:  "The only part of this that will come true is that the shuttle will be retired."


I posted on this thread earlier, then got tired of all the baloney--and also disagreed with moving it to the policy section (hint: policy history is also a thing)--so I quit and deleted my posts.

But I'd just point out that the Bush folks actually did try to learn from the past. They had people research the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative and try to take action to avoid that.

I'm not convinced that debating this or discussing it makes sense on NSF, because too many people have decided on their conclusions and simply want to engage in the same arguments over and over again. It's an issue common to most discussion forums, where people want to play the same four notes rather than learn a new tune.
If you have the "sheet-music" for that "new tune", I for one would be happy to hear it!
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #52 on: 07/05/2017 07:02 PM »
"those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"

Reading this thread one gets the sense that there is little agreement on what should be learned from the past.  Therefore we must be doomed.

My immediate reaction on listening to President Bush's speech - which I told to Bill Gerstenmaier then the ISS Program manager - was:  "The only part of this that will come true is that the shuttle will be retired."


I posted on this thread earlier, then got tired of all the baloney--and also disagreed with moving it to the policy section (hint: policy history is also a thing)--so I quit and deleted my posts.

But I'd just point out that the Bush folks actually did try to learn from the past. They had people research the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative and try to take action to avoid that.

I'm not convinced that debating this or discussing it makes sense on NSF, because too many people have decided on their conclusions and simply want to engage in the same arguments over and over again. It's an issue common to most discussion forums, where people want to play the same four notes rather than learn a new tune.
If you have the "sheet-music" for that "new tune", I for one would be happy to hear it!

I'm sure that future historians will be writing that tune for you.

Offline Lar

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #53 on: 07/05/2017 08:50 PM »
"those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"

Reading this thread one gets the sense that there is little agreement on what should be learned from the past.  Therefore we must be doomed.

My immediate reaction on listening to President Bush's speech - which I told to Bill Gerstenmaier then the ISS Program manager - was:  "The only part of this that will come true is that the shuttle will be retired."


I posted on this thread earlier, then got tired of all the baloney--and also disagreed with moving it to the policy section (hint: policy history is also a thing)--so I quit and deleted my posts.

But I'd just point out that the Bush folks actually did try to learn from the past. They had people research the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative and try to take action to avoid that.

I'm not convinced that debating this or discussing it makes sense on NSF, because too many people have decided on their conclusions and simply want to engage in the same arguments over and over again. It's an issue common to most discussion forums, where people want to play the same four notes rather than learn a new tune.
I made a judgment call that this topic was degenerating into yet another rehash (as you noted, same arguments over and over), and that it fit space policy. I invited people to PM me before doing the move. If you disagreed, the thing to do was to report to mod. Not delete posts. I've seen this "deleted all my posts" behavior (by others, in other places) and it's often perceived as not helpful... at best.

But if we do end up continuing to go round and round (and comments calling people pinheads, as we have seen others (not you) do suggest we may be stuck) then even moving it here won't save it.
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Offline eric z

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #54 on: 07/05/2017 09:23 PM »
 Doesn't this still boil down to A] - Cancel NOW. B] - Fly out the stock of old engines. related Q - Payloads that make the most sense for this option. or C] - Try to whip this thing into a reasonable resource for the next decade or two.
 I, for one, would say Option C. Thanks to Steven P, Finalfrontier, Blackstar, MattBlak and all the others who have helped me understand how we got to this point - very appreciated!
 Thoughts, anyone?
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 09:29 PM by eric z »

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #55 on: 07/05/2017 09:42 PM »

I made a judgment call that this topic was degenerating into yet another rehash (as you noted, same arguments over and over), and that it fit space policy. I invited people to PM me before doing the move. If you disagreed, the thing to do was to report to mod. Not delete posts. I've seen this "deleted all my posts" behavior (by others, in other places) and it's often perceived as not helpful... at best.

But if we do end up continuing to go round and round (and comments calling people pinheads, as we have seen others (not you) do suggest we may be stuck) then even moving it here won't save it.

Lar, I took your instructions to mean that you were seeking input from non-L2 members before the forum move, because only L2 members can comment in Space Policy.

This is a highly useful and valuable thread but it's primarily space policy. If you're not an L2 member please PM me now because I'm not seeing a reason not to move it there other than that.

Edit: It has been moved.

I appear to have misunderstood your instructions.  I withheld my opinion then for that reason.  Sorry.
Army Axiom: Any order that CAN be misunderstood, WILL be misunderstood.

I agree for practical, not-pulling-your-hair-out reasons that the move here was necessary.  But, I agree with Blackstar, too, that if at all possible, this thread should have remained in Space History.

My opinions on this topic aren't important.  But, if I can supply some source materials, or observations from those involved in the process, then I believe that is helpful.  Thus, my links to references up-thread.

And, in the meantime, Blackstar has rejoined the thread, and Wayne Hale has commented, too!
;D

At least the thread hasn't been hijacked by SpaceX speculation...  :)
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #56 on: 07/05/2017 10:50 PM »
Has the White House (or Congress) gotten any less delusional about NASA funding in the last 13 years, ya think?

I might be the only person to argue this, but I think Obama's FY2011 budget request when he asked for the Constellation program to be cancelled was pretty reasonable.

Besides keeping the ISS and asking for the Commercial Crew program to be funded to support it, otherwise he wanted to focus on technology development - to prepare NASA for what would come after the ISS.

Seemed pretty rational to me at the time, but of course Congress ignored the technology development part and gave us the SLS and Orion instead...   :o
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Offline eric z

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #57 on: 07/05/2017 11:03 PM »
 So why didn't President Obama horsetrade the Big Booster and Capsule for the tech development stuff? This is what I don't understand, and I know someone will say it wasn't a priority...
 Still want to know what people think should be the fate of the program- not just what went wrong!
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 11:42 PM by eric z »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #58 on: 07/06/2017 01:36 AM »
So why didn't President Obama horsetrade the Big Booster and Capsule for the tech development stuff? This is what I don't understand, and I know someone will say it wasn't a priority...

As Otto von Bismarck stated, "Politics is the art of the possible."

Obama had already got Congress to cancel the Constellation program, extend the life of the ISS, and agree to funding the Commercial Crew program. At the time I thought that was a win, and I still do.

Quote
Still want to know what people think should be the fate of the program- not just what went wrong!

Well the fate of it is that it was cancelled. No way to soften that. But to me the legacy of it was that it was an OK goal with poor execution, so I would hope that "we", in the collective sense, will be smarter about such efforts in the future.
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Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #59 on: 07/06/2017 09:13 AM »
But I'd just point out that the Bush folks actually did try to learn from the past. They had people research the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative and try to take action to avoid that.

What were their conclusions about the causes of SEI's death?

Offline eric z

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #60 on: 07/06/2017 01:11 PM »
 Coastal Ron, I meant the fate of SLS now---what do you guys and gals think should be done Now???
Also, on a more "Historical" note, I always thought that zero-ing out the ISS budget by 2016, or whatever, was a ploy/joke in the first place, to make the $-projections look better. I don't think that was ever viewed as a real option, but what do I know- any thoughts on this aspect of the whole mess? Unrealistic budget games seem to be the root of all evil! ::)
« Last Edit: 07/06/2017 01:42 PM by eric z »

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #61 on: 07/06/2017 04:39 PM »
Coastal Ron, I meant the fate of SLS now---what do you guys and gals think should be done Now???
<snip>

I point out there are several OTHER threads, past and present, full of opinions about SLS.

Since this is now 13 years ago, i believe its fair to talk about this in history section.

https://history.nasa.gov/Bush%20SEP.htm
https://www.nasa.gov/missions/solarsystem/vision_concepts.html

<snip>

What went wrong ?
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #62 on: 07/06/2017 05:07 PM »
Coastal Ron, I meant the fate of SLS now---what do you guys and gals think should be done Now???

At the time my belief was that there was no justification - no justifiable "need" - for either the SLS or the Orion. So far that has proved to be true. And without a justifiable need the fate of the SLS and the Orion are that they won't become operational.

What I have been wrong about is how quickly Congress would move to end spending money on both of them, but then again Congress didn't care about how much it cost to fly the Shuttle either (i.e. $/flight), so I should have remembered the "Law of Political Momentum", which is that a program that has been funded is harder to kill than a program that hasn't been funded. However, whereas the Shuttle was well into a useful operational life before it became apparent it's shortcomings (i.e. after Challenger), the SLS and Orion have not been funded for operational use, nor do they have years of payloads and missions waiting for them like the Shuttle did.

Quote
Also, on a more "Historical" note, I always thought that zero-ing out the ISS budget by 2016, or whatever, was a ploy/joke in the first place, to make the $-projections look better. I don't think that was ever viewed as a real option...

Nope, they were serious. Certainly Michael Griffin was serious.

Quote
...but what do I know- any thoughts on this aspect of the whole mess? Unrealistic budget games seem to be the root of all evil! ::)

Budget caps are artificial political constructs - there is no constitutional limit on how much money can be spent on NASA. Which means if the perceived "need" for the goals of the Vision for Space Exploration were interpreted to be very high, then there wouldn't have needed to be a trade-off between two high priority programs (i.e. ISS and VSE).

But I think what we should learn from the VSE is that it's not enough to have lofty goals. Goals have to be grounded in specific national needs, and today we don't really have a national need to send government employees back to our Moon, or to send government employees to Mars. At least not at the cost of hundreds of $Billions of dollars.

Our nation has had a "desire" to fund general science, and today the ISS falls under that category, but there is political pressure to spend less taxpayer money on science overall, which is why I don't have high expectations for the Trump Administration announcing anything substantial about HSF initiatives.

My $0.02
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Offline Lar

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #63 on: 07/06/2017 09:44 PM »
eric z, I've said this before... Mothball SLS...
I've said this before...

Mothball comments about mothballing SLS.

This is not a thread to debate SLS. There are other threads for that.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #64 on: 07/06/2017 09:48 PM »
eric z, I've said this before... Mothball SLS...
I've said this before...

Mothball comments about mothballing SLS.

This is not a thread to debate SLS. There are other threads for that.
Please feel free Lar to delete my answer to eric z's question... No worries...
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Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #65 on: 07/08/2017 12:09 AM »
"those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"

Reading this thread one gets the sense that there is little agreement on what should be learned from the past.

Here's what it seems to me might have been learned from past programs:

* Constellation -- Don't start a program that has ridiculous projected out-year budgets (unless, of course, you actually have the political support form them, as Apollo did);
* Obama FY2011 proposal -- Don't develop a program in the dark and then spring it on Congress;
* Orion/SLS -- Decide what you want to do, then choose the hardware to do it with, not the other way around.

EDIT:  "ti" -> "it" in last line.
« Last Edit: 07/08/2017 08:21 AM by Proponent »

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #66 on: 07/08/2017 12:13 AM »
* Don't expect any of this to ever change.
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Offline Rummy

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #67 on: 07/10/2017 09:10 AM »
Just a thanks to everyone for contributing to this conversation. It may be rehashing and reopening old wounds to you, but it is new to me.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #68 on: 07/10/2017 10:21 AM »
* Don't expect any of this to ever change.

I think it would change if HSF became a government priority.  I'm not counting on that, but it has (briefly) happened in the past.

Offline jgoldader

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #69 on: 07/10/2017 12:44 PM »
Other thoughts on "lessons"...

*NASA's budget is seemingly soft-capped,allowing for inflation, at the current level.

*The budget seems about adequate to have one major new in-house HSF project (e.g., a launcher, OR a capsule) in development at any given time.  Unless there's real money sitting there, don't plan on parallel development of rockets/capsules/landers/etc. for HSF.

*Trying to develop more than one in-house HSF project without at least a couple billion/year extra budget means all are short on funds, drawing out the development timescale and increasing costs in the end. 

*Developing any major HSF system at NASA takes ~10 years (corollary: underfunding commercial HSF projects will give approximately the same result). This is about the worst possible timescale, politically.  (This one keeps coming up to me as the single biggest issue, because it ends up driving up costs and creates a negative-impact loop with the budget problems.)
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #70 on: 07/11/2017 02:22 AM »
I think it would change if HSF became a government priority.  I'm not counting on that, but it has (briefly) happened in the past.

Apollo was just as bad.


Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Proponent

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #71 on: 07/11/2017 08:38 AM »
Apollo was just as bad.

Politics played a big role in Apollo but did not prevent the program from accomplishing something in the realm of spaceflight, as well as in the realm of politics.  I think the differences were principally two:

1.  Since Apollo entailed such a large expansion of space activity, many new installations had to be built and activities undertaken.  Politics played out very much in how they were sited.  That was a bit suboptimal but not seriously destructive.  Nowadays, with no expansion of the government-run space program, politics plays out in more destructive ways.  Compare the way that Apollo selected its launch vehicle (the famous mode debate, which took place among engineers) with the way it's been done more recently (SLS emerged from a Senate committee with no visible engineering input).

2.  It actually mattered to federal politicians that Apollo succeed, so they were willing to fund it adequately.  Again, compare Orion/SLS:  Congress has ignored the CBO, the Augustine Committee and its own blue-ribbon NRC study, which have told it that the Shuttle-derived architecture isn't going anywhere without an extra $3+ billion every year.  If Orion/SLS actually got that kind of funding, I, for one, would still be complaining that NASA should have considered alternatives, but at least it would be on track to accomplish something.

Online AncientU

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #72 on: 07/11/2017 10:34 AM »
I think it would change if HSF became a government priority.  I'm not counting on that, but it has (briefly) happened in the past.

Apollo was just as bad.

Apollo succeeded because it was based on a vision of something grand.  Only moving on to a greater vision could have kept the momentum.  Shuttle might have worked, if low-cost access to space started something big -- The Space Age and all that -- but it didn't achieve the low cost goal.  Instead of trying to evolve until the goal was in hand, the program settled for status quo... basically finding ways to feed the fully colonized bureaucracy of ten centers (and associated industrial partners). 

Here we sit, not going anywhere because Status Quo is king.

« Last Edit: 07/11/2017 10:36 AM by AncientU »
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Offline clongton

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #73 on: 07/11/2017 04:58 PM »
In my opinion the VSE was, itself, a brilliant and carefully thought thru vision for where this nation should go with space. It was not the vision that was flawed – it was the execution. President Bush showed with this document that he paid attention to the experts that knew what they were talking about and his staff, which actually penned the document, did not go rogue on him. But then Congress stepped in and, with a view to political gain, required that the new transportation system be 100% Shuttle-Derived. That’s what killed the VSE.

The killer would have been Atlas V phase two heavy which probably would have been cheaper, especially if ACES was also developed.  The twin engine RD-180 would have been a great launcher in and of itself, then the heavy version could have matched or exceeded side mount in cost.

This option was my personal favorite but the way the Authorization bill was written it was not allowed to even be considered. So we did the next best thing and designed a CxP replacement that (1) conformed to the law and (2) was workable, far less expensive and theoretically could have been operational before Shuttle retired. In the beginning we believed that all we really needed was a superior proposal. That’s how DIRECT came into being. Then we entered the real world.

Lessons Learned from VSE and CxP: We learned a *LOT* in the process of designing and promoting this CxP replacement, things that rightfully belong among the Lessons Learned from VSE Category.

Chief among them is that the politics matters immensely, and that most importantly of all is that all politics is local. Never forget that when you are lobbying a politician they are evaluating everything you say, -everything- not in terms of how good your proposal is, but in terms of how it will be received back home, will it increase jobs in their districts and whether or not it will harm or help their chances for re-election. Only then will they begin to think seriously about what you have to offer. That’s even more important than the technical capability of what is being proposed. That’s the Congress. Next behind that is the White House and I would say that while a system like CxP, or DIRECT or even SLS for that matter, of necessity is extremely long term, you MUST design in missions or events that make the CURRENT administration look good. In other words, your proposal has to do something good for the sitting President in order to get White House support, so make these events significantly less than 4 years apart. Granted that is going to slow down the ultimate deployment of the operational system but if these two (2) boxes aren’t checked, don’t waste your time because you will not have the political support you need, support that is mission critical.

The key is to get in close with the power brokers and offer them something that will guarantee their support – offer them more of the votes back home in their districts by supporting what you are selling. I know it sounds cynical, but believe it or not this is a cynical business, and if you really want to win you have to play the game, according to the power-broker’s rules.

For example: [speculation] If we could go back in time I would have spent far, FAR more time with Senator Shelby, because he, more than any other of the notables, carried the most weight and influence. I would have lobbied him to go toe to toe with ATK and keep the strap-ons for himself and the workers at Decatur where the Atlas is built. That translates into votes back home for him. He has so much influence that he could likely have gotten the Senate Launch System changed to allow liquid strap-ons instead of the ATK solids. He could have sewn up the entire thing for Alabama by using the Atlas CCB as the side mount booster and that would have eliminated all the problems that were caused by Ares-I. The Atlas could have been the CLV for CxP and that would have kept many more Alabamans working for a long, long time. – Votes (and program) secured.[/speculation]

EDIT: Adding a link to the actual VSE document. Enjoy.
https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/55583main_vision_space_exploration2.pdf
BTW, while becoming less and less relevant year to year, note that while CxP was cancelled by President Obama, the VSE itself was never officially cancelled. Therefore it still is (technically) the law of the land.
« Last Edit: 07/11/2017 06:53 PM by clongton »
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I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Kansan52

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #74 on: 07/11/2017 05:16 PM »
Thanks Chuck for such a great recap. I didn't join the forum until after DIRECT. This place is so educational!

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #75 on: 07/11/2017 07:08 PM »
<Thoughtful comments from the co-founder of DIRECT>

^^This! Thank you, Chuck!

This, and Wayne Hale's post, Blackstar's observations (posted, then deleted), and some of the source material that savuporo posted links to...

And thank you, savuporo, for your original post's question.  This is what separates NSF from the rest!  This is the signal to the rest of the Internet's noise!

:)
« Last Edit: 07/11/2017 07:11 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Jim

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #76 on: 07/11/2017 07:21 PM »
I do not personally want to see NASA denied a lead-operational role in space;

It doesn't need to the lead

I don't want to see it de-evolve into a taxpayer funded R and D account strictly for enabling the commercialization of space,

That is exactly what it should be.

Offline Jim

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #77 on: 07/11/2017 07:23 PM »
Respectfully Ron, I just don't look at it that way. We disagree, OK? The pendulum, IMHO, is starting to swing too far to the commercial is great, gov sucks side instead of a good balance.

There is no need for a gov't side.  There is no govt' side for any other type endeavor.  Does NOAA do the same thing for the oceans?  Are they planning underwater bases?

Online AncientU

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #78 on: 07/11/2017 09:33 PM »
In my opinion the VSE was, itself, a brilliant and carefully thought thru vision for where this nation should go with space. It was not the vision that was flawed – it was the execution. ...

(...not trying to slight your thoughtful comments)

Briefly summarized: Don't care what you want to do in space, keep hands off of my power base!

Q.E.D.: Status Quo is king.
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Offline Semmel

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #79 on: 07/12/2017 09:55 AM »
In my opinion the VSE was, itself, a brilliant and carefully thought thru vision for where this nation should go with space. It was not the vision that was flawed – it was the execution. ...

(...not trying to slight your thoughtful comments)

Briefly summarized: Don't care what you want to do in space, keep hands off of my power base!

Q.E.D.: Status Quo is king.

I dont think at all that should be the conclusion of Clangtons post. Status Quo can change rapidly iff (two 'f' if and only if) a program is proposed that benefits enough of the relevant districts to keep the senators happy and gives wide visible publicity to the acting president. So that means the program needs to spend the money distributed in the right way and it needs to be fast, preferably showing results in less than 4 years as well as it needs to be spectacular.

The trick is to find and design such a program. If you cant find one or if you can show that its impossible, you can claim QED. Otherwise not.

For example:
* ARES failed in number two, it wasnt fast enough for the acting president.
* SLS fails in number three, it doesnt do spectacular enough stuff, which can be mitigated by the gateway to Mars. But then it fails in number two again, it takes way too long, much more than 8 years. If Clangton is correct and his statements look very compelling to me, then the gateway to Mars cant save SLS.

Examples for successful projects:
* Apollo: Distributed manufacturing and R&D, timely execution and very spectacular
* STS: Distributed manufacturing and R&D, space truck (I think) took way to long initially and replaced by the space shuttle, which then lead to a spectacular development: ISS
* ISS: Distributed manufacturing and R&D, initially space station freedom before ISS and results in steps of individual modules conceived as a success by multiple presidents.

That might be a very broad brush view but it shows that if something should be done, it needs to be bend into the political structure before the technical aspects are discussed. And great things can be done in this case.

Online AncientU

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #80 on: 07/12/2017 03:01 PM »
In my opinion the VSE was, itself, a brilliant and carefully thought thru vision for where this nation should go with space. It was not the vision that was flawed – it was the execution. ...

(...not trying to slight your thoughtful comments)

Briefly summarized: Don't care what you want to do in space, keep hands off of my power base!

Q.E.D.: Status Quo is king.

I dont think at all that should be the conclusion of Clangtons post. Status Quo can change rapidly iff (two 'f' if and only if) a program is proposed that benefits enough of the relevant districts to keep the senators happy and gives wide visible publicity to the acting president. So that means the program needs to spend the money distributed in the right way and it needs to be fast, preferably showing results in less than 4 years as well as it needs to be spectacular.

The trick is to find and design such a program. If you cant find one or if you can show that its impossible, you can claim QED. Otherwise not.

For example:
* ARES failed in number two, it wasnt fast enough for the acting president.
* SLS fails in number three, it doesnt do spectacular enough stuff, which can be mitigated by the gateway to Mars. But then it fails in number two again, it takes way too long, much more than 8 years. If Clangton is correct and his statements look very compelling to me, then the gateway to Mars cant save SLS.

Examples for successful projects:
* Apollo: Distributed manufacturing and R&D, timely execution and very spectacular
* STS: Distributed manufacturing and R&D, space truck (I think) took way to long initially and replaced by the space shuttle, which then lead to a spectacular development: ISS
* ISS: Distributed manufacturing and R&D, initially space station freedom before ISS and results in steps of individual modules conceived as a success by multiple presidents.

That might be a very broad brush view but it shows that if something should be done, it needs to be bend into the political structure before the technical aspects are discussed. And great things can be done in this case.

Only Apollo and first phase of STS meet both of your requirements.  By the time STS became a perennial program, and projects like the ISS were invented to sustain it (the Status Quo), the ruliung order had been established -- NASA didn't start that way!!!

The bolded statement you made above is exactly what I mean by Status Quo is king.  It's not about accomplishing anything in space, it is just about distributing funds to the proper districts.  This approach is devstating to getting anything done and/or getting value for the money spent... it continues to reward groups like MSFC, even after they flat-out fail (i.e., Constellation failed by any definition of the word --> MSFC rewarded with SLS).
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Offline Semmel

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #81 on: 07/14/2017 12:04 PM »
On the status Quo thing. Seems like multiple parties are chewing on it.

In the testimony of Tim Hughes from SpaceX before the subcommitty of space and in connection to this article: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/spacex-urges-lawmakers-to-commercialize-deep-space-exploration/

Quote
The basic features of the COTS program include:
(1)
Establishing  high-level  requirements  and  encouraging  contractors  to  execute  against  them  with creative,  innovate,  and  cost-effective  solutions,  reducing  “requirements  creep”  and  encouraging new thinking. The COTS program required contractors to meet a clear set of established safety and interface  ISS  requirements  and  high-level  milestone  requirements,  rather  than  implementing overly-specified   and   ever-changing   detailed   Government   requirements.   This   requires   the Government customer to tell contractors what they need to be done, rather than prescribing how to do it. Coupled with firm, fixed-price arrangements, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that “the use of firm-fixed-price contracts—along with well-defined requirements and a sufficient   level   of   knowledge about   critical   technologies—presents   the   least   risk   to   the government.”

See https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/8a62dd3f-ead6-42ff-8ac8-0823a346b926/7F1C5970AE952E354D32C19DDC9DDCCB.mr.-tim-hughes-testimony.pdf

Also I want to repeat what I said in the neighbouring thread.

Quote by Gerstenmaier in the video https://livestream.com/AIAAvideo/PropEnergy2017/videos/159704854

Quote
In the Apollo era, it was really neat because we didnt think we were so smart. So the requirement was to put human to the moon and return them safely. It didnt talk about stable orbit rendezvous, it didnt talk about the propulsion systems to be used, it didnt talk about all the other pieces. And in today’s world, sometimes our requirements generators think they know all these wonderful things. So they give us all these top level requirements and specified details that are maybe more problematic than helpful. So my guidance is to those that give me requirements: think simply and ask what you want us to really do. Dont give us the details about all the other things that need to be accomplished and are interesting but not necessarily contribute to what you really want us to do. And then let us trade through flexibility all thous other things you are going for.

Mighty interesting that SpaceX and NASA basically say the same thing w.r.t. Congress. I sincerely hope that has an impact. This is the sort of the NASA reaction I was looking for when I started this thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42891.0 Maybe I was just a bit impatient with it.

Anyway. If Industry and NASA ask for a break out of the congress circle, do they have a chance?
« Last Edit: 07/14/2017 12:08 PM by Semmel »

Offline clongton

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #82 on: 07/14/2017 05:00 PM »
Anyway. If Industry and NASA ask for a break out of the congress circle, do they have a chance?

In terms of funding? If that's your question then no. All NASA funding is Congressionally authorized and appropriated.

In terms of requirements, also unlikely. Remember that everything Congress does wrt NASA is for the benefit of the voters back home, not the space program.
« Last Edit: 07/14/2017 05:02 PM by clongton »
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Offline Semmel

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #83 on: 07/14/2017 07:37 PM »
Well, Congress could give NASA a budget of $1B for project X. Then they specify that $300M of that must be spent in Sen. Shelbys state. $200M more in the state of Senator Y and the remaining $500M NASA can spend as they see fit. That does exactly what the senators want and it doesn't overspecify technical solutions.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004
« Reply #84 on: 07/15/2017 04:28 AM »
Well, Congress could give NASA a budget of $1B for project X. Then they specify that $300M of that must be spent in Sen. Shelbys state. $200M more in the state of Senator Y and the remaining $500M NASA can spend as they see fit. That does exactly what the senators want and it doesn't overspecify technical solutions.

They want to keep the same jobs in the same place for the most part. For instance if you developed a lox/kerosene engine for the first stage of the SLS you would not need SRB.

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