Author Topic: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004  (Read 9988 times)

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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"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online 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

Online 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?

Online 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...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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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).

3-30-2017: The start of a great future
"Live Long and Prosper"

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