Author Topic: National Space Council Reestablished  (Read 37888 times)

Offline Star One

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #80 on: 10/05/2017 08:06 PM »
All I can say to this is good, shame it’s about a decade late.

While I agree with you generally (the Moon is the only realistic goal, and Mars is a dream for the more distant future), it's way more important to stick to one destination, commit to it for a period longer than a presidential term (that's it, 4-5 years), allocate funds and what's most important, start to work on dedicated hardware.

After three administrations switched (Bush-Obama-Trump) it was clear that we should go beyond LEO, but it was never decided where to. To go to the Moon in the Constellation way looked boring (we repeat Apollo again), going to asteroid seemed uninspiring, and Mars (the ultimate goal) - still distant in the future, in 2030 at the earliest.

The result of all this is that we have production of SLS hardware, as well as the Orion spaceship. This allow us to go beyond LEO, but there aren't a lot of choices. Perhaps we'll live to see a mission to the orbit of the Moon. Maybe touristic circumlunar voyages.

But the entry descend and landing hardware was never developed - either for the Moon or Mars. So if we commit to a lunar landing, it will take some years to develop the lander.

The US should have never switched its attention to Mars, talk about thinking you can run before you’ve even crawled.

Online Svetoslav

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #81 on: 10/05/2017 08:20 PM »

The US should have never switched its attention to Mars, talk about thinking you can run before you’ve even crawled.

My memories are quite fresh and we're talking about decisions taken 10-15 years ago :)

What do I mean? Back then the ISS was quite hated. It was still unfinished and the schedule was lagging due to Columbia disaster. And certain modules like CAM never flew. There were a lot of people who thought the ISS distracted NASA from doing real exploration. Renowned scientists like Steven Weinberg called the station an "orbital turkey". Bob Park was quite active too and he wasn't a fan of the ISS either.

Right now the attitude is different. The ISS is being used to test new hardware like the BEAM module or as a destination of new commercial spaceships. We also had a year-long mission. It does feel like a testing ground for deep space exploration and there is some progress.

But 10 years ago Mars fans claimed we just can't afford another ISS, but on the Moon, which would distract us from the Red Planet. We'll have to plan it, then we'll have to build it and it would take years, then we'll have to support it for even more years. And what purpose will it serve except for supporting a small crew on the lunar surface?

It looked like a good argument back then. And we'll have to keep in mind that if we commit to some kind of an international lunar station, it will be a focus of manned international efforts for quite some time, just as the ISS is the focus until 2024 at the earliest.

Online speedevil

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #82 on: 10/05/2017 10:27 PM »
Just watching todays meeting.
Gwynne Shotwell:
Quote
So far this year, SpaceX has successfully completed thirteen launches, more than any other nation.

Amused me.

Talking of the vision of passenger transport.
Quote
... But the system is also being designed to do earth hops, and those are going to be some of the first tests that you will actually see with the falcon spaceship


Offline sanman

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #83 on: 10/05/2017 10:45 PM »
The US should have never switched its attention to Mars, talk about thinking you can run before you’ve even crawled.

So did you want the Constellation program under US President Bush to be retained at the time?

Strangely, the zigs and zigs gave way to programs like COTS, which allowed companies like SpaceX to emerge. I recall people here saying that COTS originated from Mike Griffin, who was NASA administrator when Constellation was being pursued.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #84 on: 10/05/2017 10:48 PM »
The US should have never switched its attention to Mars, talk about thinking you can run before you’ve even crawled.

Everything depends on what the national goal will be, and we don't know what that will yet. And as has been proven many times, just having a goal doesn't mean that Congress will fund the effort.

Presidents have been wanting to go to Mars for decades, yet the cost of going there has been too high for Congress to agree to fund. As for returning to the Moon, the Constellation program was cancelled by Congress partially due to it's high cost, and nothing has changed since then.

So other than a new Administration being in power, what makes what V.P. Pence proposes more likely to happen than any other BEO plan in the past?
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: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #85 on: 10/05/2017 10:49 PM »
... I recall people here saying that COTS originated from Mike Griffin, who was NASA administrator when Constellation was being pursued.
No it didnt. We can take this to history section, but AAS existed way before, COTS was just the existing concept repurposed.

EDIT: from the horses mouth:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/SP-2014-617.pdf
« Last Edit: 10/05/2017 10:53 PM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline sanman

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #86 on: 10/05/2017 10:59 PM »
The US should have never switched its attention to Mars, talk about thinking you can run before you’ve even crawled.

Everything depends on what the national goal will be, and we don't know what that will yet. And as has been proven many times, just having a goal doesn't mean that Congress will fund the effort.

Presidents have been wanting to go to Mars for decades, yet the cost of going there has been too high for Congress to agree to fund. As for returning to the Moon, the Constellation program was cancelled by Congress partially due to it's high cost, and nothing has changed since then.

So other than a new Administration being in power, what makes what V.P. Pence proposes more likely to happen than any other BEO plan in the past?

Perhaps because the "new space" companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, ULA, OrbitalATK) are further along than before? There was no Falcon9R at the time of Constellation - what if there had been? What if NewGlenn, Vulcan, Antares, were as near to completion back then as they are today?

It seems like there was no talk of reducing launch prices, reusability, etc back in that time. Fortunately, now the conversation has expressly shifted towards the topic of reducing launch costs. Now suddenly that root issue is being attended to, and marketed to the public.

Is it Elon Musk who's mainly responsible for that?

Offline Star One

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #87 on: 10/05/2017 11:02 PM »
The US should have never switched its attention to Mars, talk about thinking you can run before you’ve even crawled.

Everything depends on what the national goal will be, and we don't know what that will yet. And as has been proven many times, just having a goal doesn't mean that Congress will fund the effort.

Presidents have been wanting to go to Mars for decades, yet the cost of going there has been too high for Congress to agree to fund. As for returning to the Moon, the Constellation program was cancelled by Congress partially due to it's high cost, and nothing has changed since then.

So other than a new Administration being in power, what makes what V.P. Pence proposes more likely to happen than any other BEO plan in the past?

Perhaps because the "new space" companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, ULA, OrbitalATK) are further along than before? There was no Falcon9R at the time of Constellation - what if there had been? What if NewGlenn, Vulcan, Antares, were as near to completion back then as they are today?

It seems like there was no talk of reducing launch prices, reusability, etc back in that time. Fortunately, now the conversation has expressly shifted towards the topic of reducing launch costs. Now suddenly that root issue is being attended to, and marketed to the public.

Is it Elon Musk who's mainly responsible for that?

The commercial market now looks to be the most effective way to reach the moon and stay there at least for the US.

Offline sanman

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #88 on: 10/05/2017 11:29 PM »
The commercial market now looks to be the most effective way to reach the moon and stay there at least for the US.

And that's why the US will likely establish a huge lead in space and retain it for quite some time. I can't imagine the space programs of other major powers suddenly going privatized like this, especially since only the US has a large enough domestic market to support it.

This could ignite a huge "Virtuous Cycle" of innovation and technological advancement - a major wave of change with ripple effects that transform the broader economy. It will probably require an emphasis on "access to space", just like the internet boom was driven by people and businesses "going online" and "getting on the superhighway" to seek value and opportunity.
« Last Edit: 10/05/2017 11:33 PM by sanman »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #89 on: 10/05/2017 11:41 PM »
I want my 2.5 hours of sleep back, but I look forward to seeing the policy that comes out of this.
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?

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #90 on: 10/06/2017 12:36 AM »
The commercial market now looks to be the most effective way to reach the moon and stay there at least for the US.

That may be so, but that is likely not a fundable program since it would leave out the use of the SLS. And as of today NASA is mandated to use the SLS by Congress.

This type of paradox is why I said that everything depends on what the national goal will be.

- If the goal is to find a use for the SLS, then the predominate space transportation systems will be the SLS and the Orion and what is accomplished on the Moon will be focused on what they can support. However, once NASA announces what the cost of operating the SLS & Orion are (which they haven't yet told Congress), I doubt this would be fundable.

- If the goal is to establish a scientific outpost on the Moon for the least practical cost, then commercial transportation systems will likely be chosen. But this would signal the end of the SLS for sure, which may not survive as a plan in Congress.

Personally I don't think the U.S. Congress is interested in spending money on sending U.S. Government employees back to the Moon, so at most I think Pence will try to get some program approved that mandates the use of the SLS and Orion - which could be the Deep Space Gateway, and it would be characterized as part of the path to returning to the Moon. But they only way it would be approved is without a program budget being approved in advance.

We'll see what happens next...
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 QuantumG

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #91 on: 10/06/2017 12:46 AM »
The commercial market now looks to be the most effective way to reach the moon and stay there at least for the US.

That may be so, but that is likely not a fundable program since it would leave out the use of the SLS.

Hmm? Blue Origin will make ya a lander, just send money. SpaceX will deliver cargo direct to the surface under a COTS/CRS style deal. LMOrbitalATK will happily come to that party too. The usual suspects will put in proposals and maybe one or two will get a few bucks before dropping out. The brave astronauts (wrapped in cotton wool) can still launch on SLS/Orion and recreate Apollo and wrap themselves in the American flag. What's the problem?

The great thing about commercial space getting cheaper is that they don't threaten the pork. They're still living on scraps but they can do so much more with those scraps. If you're worried that SLS/Orion don't make any damn sense because you could just ride one of the much cheaper commercial vehicles, just make up something about human rating or NASA insight vs oversight. Throw enough red tape and paperwork at the new providers that they can't move faster than the old providers.

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 su27k

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #92 on: 10/06/2017 02:24 AM »
So nobody picked up Griffin wants the military to go back to design and build their own launch vehicle instead of using commercial ones?

Is this guy evil or what?

Offline sanman

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #93 on: 10/06/2017 02:43 AM »
So nobody picked up Griffin wants the military to go back to design and build their own launch vehicle instead of using commercial ones?

Is this guy evil or what?

When he said that, it seemed like he wanted the US govt to maintain/operate its own independent fleet. Does this automatically mean rockets of its own separate design? Couldn't the US govt simply buy vehicles from SpaceX, BlueOrigin, etc to operate on their own - particularly when the rockets from these companies represent the state-of-the-art in reusability?

Why reinvent the wheel, especially at considerable expense?
« Last Edit: 10/06/2017 02:46 AM by sanman »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #94 on: 10/06/2017 02:44 AM »
So nobody picked up Griffin wants the military to go back to design and build their own launch vehicle instead of using commercial ones?

I took it more as keeping ULA around even when they become 10x the price of SpaceX... because national security.

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 the_other_Doug

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #95 on: 10/06/2017 02:51 AM »
So nobody picked up Griffin wants the military to go back to design and build their own launch vehicle instead of using commercial ones?

Is this guy evil or what?

When he said that, it seemed like he wanted the US govt to maintain/operate its own independent fleet. Does this automatically mean rockets of its own separate design? Couldn't the US govt simply buy vehicles from SpaceX, BlueOrigin, etc to operate on their own - particularly when the rockets from these companies represent the state-of-the-art in reusability?

Why reinvent the wheel, especially at considerable expense?

I don't know about any other providers, but SpaceX doesn't sell rockets.  They sell launch services.

There is a difference.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #96 on: 10/06/2017 02:55 AM »
Hmm? Blue Origin will make ya a lander, just send money. SpaceX will deliver cargo direct to the surface under a COTS/CRS style deal.

OK. Just because someone offers to do something doesn't mean that Congress will pay for it.

Quote
LMOrbitalATK will happily come to that party too.

I think you mean NGOrbitalATK (Northrop Grumman is buying Orbital ATK).

Quote
The usual suspects will put in proposals and maybe one or two will get a few bucks before dropping out. The brave astronauts (wrapped in cotton wool) can still launch on SLS/Orion and recreate Apollo and wrap themselves in the American flag. What's the problem?

The SLS and the Orion have to be fully funded, and only then will money be allocated for commercial capabilities. That won't leave much money.

Quote
The great thing about commercial space getting cheaper is that they don't threaten the pork.

To a certain degree that's true, or at least was true. I've always said that the SLS lives or dies based on whether the U.S. Government needs it, not whether there are lower cost commercial alternatives. But the SLS has only stayed alive because of a few in the Senate, yet a majority in the Senate and House have to agree to fund any long-term programs that rely on the SLS - and there are lots of debates about what money to spend and cut these days.

Quote
They're still living on scraps but they can do so much more with those scraps.

Agreed. And I think they only way we'll expand out into space is by the efforts of commercial companies, not due to the interest of the U.S. Government.

Quote
If you're worried that SLS/Orion don't make any damn sense because you could just ride one of the much cheaper commercial vehicles, just make up something about human rating or NASA insight vs oversight. Throw enough red tape and paperwork at the new providers that they can't move faster than the old providers.

It's not about me or you, Pence is talking about sending U.S. Government employees to the Moon, and they have to ride on U.S. Government certified transportation systems - and the POR's today are the SLS and Orion.
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 su27k

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #97 on: 10/06/2017 03:03 AM »
So nobody picked up Griffin wants the military to go back to design and build their own launch vehicle instead of using commercial ones?

I took it more as keeping ULA around even when they become 10x the price of SpaceX... because national security.

That's one interpretation, but I'm not getting this vibe, if he wants to save ULA he would emphasize redundancy, at least two providers, etc. But what he said was military has their unique needs, so they need their unique vehicle.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #98 on: 10/06/2017 03:07 AM »
I think you mean NGOrbitalATK (Northrop Grumman is buying Orbital ATK).

Yep. Fingers aren't trained to that one yet.

Quote from: Coastal Ron
The SLS and the Orion have to be fully funded, and only then will money be allocated for commercial capabilities. That won't leave much money.

Commercial doesn't need much money. Blue Origin is willing to contribute their own money, so is SpaceX, it's totally reasonable to expect a LunarCOTS or better, I think.

Quote from: Coastal Ron
It's not about me or you, Pence is talking about sending U.S. Government employees to the Moon, and they have to ride on U.S. Government certified transportation systems - and the POR's today are the SLS and Orion.

... and nothing for landing. If boots on the Moon really becomes Pence's pet project then the only question is Congressional support - for which you can rely on Blue Origin lobbying. As I cynically said at 2 am this morning, there's really no reason for Blue to have a seat at these things. They have virtually no track record, don't sell any products yet, etc. The only reason they were there today, and testifying in Congress last week is that they've got people in Washington whispering in the right ears.
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 QuantumG

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Re: National Space Council Reestablished
« Reply #99 on: 10/06/2017 03:10 AM »
That's one interpretation, but I'm not getting this vibe, if he wants to save ULA he would emphasize redundancy, at least two providers, etc. But what he said was military has their unique needs, so they need their unique vehicle.

Yeah, to be built and operated by the usual suspects, regardless of the cost. Griffin's position has always been that industry should build what the government tells them to build. It's not that he loves government and wants to give them power over industry, quite the opposite, it's that he thinks the customers is always right and should always get exactly what they ask for. In this case the customer is the military and they shouldn't ever skimp on getting what they need, even if there's an off-the-shelf solution that is 90% what they want.


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?

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