Author Topic: Vision for Space Exploration - 2004  (Read 11456 times)

Offline 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).
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

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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