Author Topic: Is there still a way to close the gap?  (Read 10737 times)

Offline sdsds

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Is there still a way to close the gap?
« on: 12/24/2009 12:07 AM »
A gap in orbital human spaceflight on U.S. vehicles will occur after STS-133 (or after STS-135 if that mission flies).  Other than a Shuttle schedule stretch (i.e. inserting delays between the remaining Shuttle flights), is there now any practical way to close the gap?

Assume Obama and Congress are in perfect accord; assume shortening of schedules through added funding; assume a greater tolerance of LOM/LOC risk; assume anything else within reason.  I'm not asking about visiting ISS; just getting people to orbit.  Is there still a way? 
-- sdsds --

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #1 on: 12/24/2009 12:33 AM »
People in space - use a Delta IV to launch Gemini or Apollo capsules.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #2 on: 12/24/2009 12:49 AM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Online edkyle99

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #3 on: 12/24/2009 02:31 AM »
A gap in orbital human spaceflight on U.S. vehicles will occur after STS-133 (or after STS-135 if that mission flies).  Other than a Shuttle schedule stretch (i.e. inserting delays between the remaining Shuttle flights), is there now any practical way to close the gap?

Assume Obama and Congress are in perfect accord; assume shortening of schedules through added funding; assume a greater tolerance of LOM/LOC risk; assume anything else within reason.  I'm not asking about visiting ISS; just getting people to orbit.  Is there still a way? 

Augustine Committee said Orion won't be operational until 2017 (NASA still says 2015), but Augustine also said that the alternative, commercial "space taxis", would not be operational until 2016 at the earliest.  As far as I'm concerned, neither option can, at this point in time, realistically claim to beat the other, time-wise.  (One option is funded and underway, however, while the other is an idea posited by a Committee.)

So no, no gap-closing unless shuttle keeps flying. 

My question is what's wrong with a "gap"?  NASA astronauts will continue to orbit Earth during the entire interim, will continue to fly on Soyuz, and will, at some point, begin to be supplied by systems launched from the U.S. (albeit powered in part by Russian rocket engines on Ukrainian-built boosters).

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 04:06 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Nascent Ascent

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #4 on: 12/24/2009 02:58 AM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.

Rebuild Gemini?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just keep flying the shuttles?
“Why should we send people into space when we have kids in the U.S. that can’t read”. - Barack Obama

Offline jml

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #5 on: 12/24/2009 03:00 AM »
ATK still has the ability to cast more SRB segments, and MSFC has the partially-built ET 139 and ET 140 plus the non-SLWT ET-94. If the dollars and the will are there, another two or three missions could be added after STS-135.

At this point, the best option to narrow but not entirely close the gap would be to add these as ISS resupply missions, stretch the manifest out a bit, and come up with some dollars to accelerate whatever's next, be it Ares I, some other SDLV, or commercial LV's.

I'd note that ULA think that Atlas and/or Delta can be ready for commercial crew launch much faster than Aerospace and Augustine suggest, and Space-X sure think that Falcon 9 and Dragon will be ready far before 2016. Whether these are all just unreasonably optimistic sales pitches by these vendors is the question.

What's wrong with a gap?  Just the brain drain that will occur when thousands of people lose their jobs at KSC, MAF, ATK and elsewhere and don't just stick around collecting welfare checks and waiting years for NASA to resume operations. It will take many years for new crews to re-discover the know-how that will be lost.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #6 on: 12/24/2009 03:07 AM »
There sure is and it's easy just extend the shuttle to 2012 and fund COTS-D the gap will all but disappear.
How to get the money kill Ares and fly Jupiter instead this also will act as insurance if COTS-D is delayed.

The only hard part will be shutting up naysayers and the stay the course with Ares I types.
But they had their chance in fact several chances and they failed.

Offline Antares

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #7 on: 12/24/2009 03:35 AM »
Money = more STS flights + (Orion acceleration V crew taxi development) - Ares 1 + EELV

for Gap = (Money)-1
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Offline Archibald

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #8 on: 12/24/2009 06:15 AM »
A gap in orbital human spaceflight on U.S. vehicles will occur after STS-133 (or after STS-135 if that mission flies).  Other than a Shuttle schedule stretch (i.e. inserting delays between the remaining Shuttle flights), is there now any practical way to close the gap?

Assume Obama and Congress are in perfect accord; assume shortening of schedules through added funding; assume a greater tolerance of LOM/LOC risk; assume anything else within reason.  I'm not asking about visiting ISS; just getting people to orbit.  Is there still a way? 

Augustine Committee said Orion won't be operational until 2017 (NASA still says 2015), but Augustine also said that the alternative, commercial "space taxis", would be operational until 2016 at the earliest.  As far as I'm concerned, neither option can, at this point in time, realistically claim to beat the other, time-wise.  (One option is funded and underway, however, while the other is an idea posited by a Committee.)

So no, no gap-closing unless shuttle keeps flying. 

My question is what's wrong with a "gap"?  NASA astronauts will continue to orbit Earth during the entire interim, will continue to fly on Soyuz, and will, at some point, begin to be supplied by systems launched from the U.S. (albeit powered in part by Russian rocket engines on Ukrainian-built boosters).

 - Ed Kyle


What about Orion lite ? If Lockheed and Bigelow strip down the design, can't the schedule be compressed ?

Offline ares-mojo

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #9 on: 12/24/2009 06:49 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

Offline khallow

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #10 on: 12/24/2009 07:49 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

Why would we invade the sovereign territory of an allied country? Is this how you propose to get an "international partner" to help pay for NASA's stuff?

My view is that this level of international drama would not help us close the gap.
Karl Hallowell

Offline ares-mojo

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #11 on: 12/24/2009 07:58 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

Why would we invade the sovereign territory of an allied country? Is this how you propose to get an "international partner" to help pay for NASA's stuff?

My view is that this level of international drama would not help us close the gap.


It was a joke. We all know only extending the STS program is the only way to close the gap.

Merry Christmas by the way.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #12 on: 12/24/2009 09:09 AM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

I know three space activists who would be happy with your proposal. Initials M.W, T.D, and R.S.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #13 on: 12/24/2009 09:53 AM »
At this stage, only an indefinate shuttle extension could close the gap.  Note: 'Gap' is defined here as the US indigenous crew launch capability.  As Ed rightly points out, there will be no US HSF gap as US crews will fly on Soyuz to the ISS until the shuttle follow-up spacecraft is ready.

What strategy would be used in the event of a shuttle extension? Well, the cost of maintaining shuttle would probably massively slow the development of Ares-I.  Because of this, it might be wise to try to go for one of the quicker-to-deploy "more-directly shuttle-derived" alternative LVs instead.  Ideally, the objective would be to get as smooth as possible transition as possible, with the new LV's test flights overlapping the last shuttle flights.
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Offline butters

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #14 on: 12/24/2009 10:01 AM »
With an unlimited amount of money, anything is possible.


If it were a matter of national security, or if Goldman Sachs requested that it happen, then I'm sure we could find a way, probably via ULA, to whip us up a spacecraft and launch vehicle in 3 years.


Humanity has an almost limitless capacity for achievement.  All that stands in the way is money and politics.

Offline Downix

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #15 on: 12/24/2009 11:33 AM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.

Rebuild Gemini?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just keep flying the shuttles?
Actually no, Gemini was, don't forget, designed to be built in short-order with as much off-the-shelf hardware as possible.  A student research group in Alabama has been doing a lot of preliminary work on redoing Gemini's original landing profile with the parasail.  Adapting their work, could easily get it going by the time the shuttle ends in 2012.

http://www.aio50.org/
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #16 on: 12/24/2009 03:36 PM »
to close a "human spaceflight gap" in US, Pull SpaceShipOne out of Smithsonian.

For orbital, tough call. Yes, maybe a Gemini rebuilt would work.

Rebuild Gemini?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just keep flying the shuttles?
Actually no, Gemini was, don't forget, designed to be built in short-order with as much off-the-shelf hardware as possible.  A student research group in Alabama has been doing a lot of preliminary work on redoing Gemini's original landing profile with the parasail.  Adapting their work, could easily get it going by the time the shuttle ends in 2012.

http://www.aio50.org/

For a few billion ULA and Boeing probably could build big Gemini in just a few years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Gemini.

The original Gemini looks good from a mass stand point but I read only people 5'10" or shorter could ride on it though removing the ejection seats probably would remove that limitation.
As for more on orbit time maybe resurrect MOL and have more room in the service module.
Since the service module is not reused a Soyuz style non referbishable WCS also can be used.

Might be best to try and use as much off the shelf stuff as possible like they did in 1962.
Maybe borrow the service module systems from the Starbus platform used in Cygnus and the hab module from a standard MPLM.
The LAS a cut down version of Orion's or just reproduce the old Apollo LAS with a new controller.
Heck even use the three wires running down the LV from Apollo's LAS as a triggering system it was simple and it worked.


But I'd also fund DreamChaser on Atlas and try to design the two vehicles for complementary missions.

Manned Dragon would be the backup as it would only cost 700 million.

As for Ares I and Orion since it seems Ares V is not being funded these programs can be delayed or even canceled.

As for the Moon we need to forget about ESAS it was a mistake and go with something like ELA and LANTR.

Gemini and Dragon can both be used as crew vehicles for ELA.
Dragon or a highly modified Dreamchaser cabin could be used for the crew compartment of the NTR ferry in LANTR.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 04:06 PM by Patchouli »

Offline Nascent Ascent

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #17 on: 12/24/2009 03:43 PM »
i dont buy it. you would have all the design, testing, prototyping, etc to do. all that work for something that would only fly for a few missions/years?  it probably would cost 75% of Orion.

it would be less costly and make more sense stretch funding to the shuttles and to accelerate orion.
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Offline HIPAR

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #18 on: 12/24/2009 03:47 PM »
To close but not eliminate the gap:

a) Cross your fingers and hope SpaceX doesn't encounter developmental problems with cargo missions to the space station. 

b) Stretch out the remaining Shuttle flight manifest into 2012

c) Plus-up funding for Ares/Orion attempting to shave a year (or so) from its development

---  CHAS
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 03:51 PM by HIPAR »

Offline Nascent Ascent

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #19 on: 12/24/2009 03:54 PM »
i dont understand...  if you're going to bite the bullet and make new components to stretch out the shuttle into 2012, why not bite a little harder and make a bit more and stretch it out to 2015 or even further?

why the self-imposed deadline?  the shuttles are performing very nicely now with a minimum of problems and in the big scheme the extra cost would seem to be a drop in the bucket (well, considering how much we're spending these days - just increase the debt ceiling by only .001 percent should cover it).
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Offline SpacexULA

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #20 on: 12/24/2009 03:56 PM »
The US could annex French Guyana (is after all in "the Americas"), then have the Soyuz facilities upgraded for HSF and eh voila, no gap IF of course Russia sells Soyuz capsules + Soyuz-FG rockets.

Commit an act of war to get something the Energia/ESA would be glad to let us lease.  Wow, Ares advocates always find the cheapest ways to do things.  ;)
No Bucks no Buck Rogers, but at least Flexible path gets you Twiki.

Offline Nascent Ascent

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #21 on: 12/24/2009 03:57 PM »
it was clearly a JOKE.   ::)
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Offline HIPAR

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #22 on: 12/24/2009 04:07 PM »
i dont understand...  if you're going to bite the bullet and make new components to stretch out the shuttle into 2012, why not bite a little harder and make a bit more and stretch it out to 2015 or even further?

why the self-imposed deadline?  the shuttles are performing very nicely now with a minimum of problems and in the big scheme the extra cost would seem to be a drop in the bucket (well, considering how much we're spending these days - just increase the debt ceiling by only .001 percent should cover it).

The operative shuttle concept is the remaining manifest .  Unfortunately, Every passing day precludes making new shuttle parts.

I agree with you on the relative budgetary impact of space projects but the Washington political establishment isn't as sympathetic.

---  CHAS


Offline Patchouli

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #23 on: 12/24/2009 04:10 PM »
i dont buy it. you would have all the design, testing, prototyping, etc to do. all that work for something that would only fly for a few missions/years?  it probably would cost 75% of Orion.

it would be less costly and make more sense stretch funding to the shuttles and to accelerate orion.

Orion and Ares themselves are something that probably would only fly for a few years before ending up in a museum.

Constellation is pretty much Apollo all over again and we all know what happened to Apollo.

Offline Nascent Ascent

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #24 on: 12/24/2009 04:19 PM »
i dont buy it. you would have all the design, testing, prototyping, etc to do. all that work for something that would only fly for a few missions/years?  it probably would cost 75% of Orion.

it would be less costly and make more sense stretch funding to the shuttles and to accelerate orion.

Orion and Ares themselves are something that probably would only fly for a few years before ending up in a museum.

Constellation is pretty much Apollo all over again and we all know what happened to Apollo.

Only if we lack the vision and commitment to a long term goal.  I mean that was the whole purpose of ESAS.  I think we forget that and get all hung up on the hardware details.
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Offline SpacexULA

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #25 on: 12/24/2009 04:41 PM »
i dont understand...  if you're going to bite the bullet and make new components to stretch out the shuttle into 2012, why not bite a little harder and make a bit more and stretch it out to 2015 or even further?

why the self-imposed deadline?  the shuttles are performing very nicely now with a minimum of problems and in the big scheme the extra cost would seem to be a drop in the bucket (well, considering how much we're spending these days - just increase the debt ceiling by only .001 percent should cover it).

Because the next time the shuttle systems fails, there will be hell to pay politically for NASA.

I would not want to be in the room when Congress investigates NASA for a LOC event during a shuttle extension only implemented for appearance reason (just to close the gap).

Once ISS is completed the Shuttle NEEDS to be canceled.  Let NASA run out it's ISS construction flights in the safest manner it can, not artificially hurried or stretched, then put the orbiters in the museum.

The gap is not an engineering issue, its a funding issue, and at this point it's not worth the extra money it would take to close it.  Luckily the cold war is over and the US can buy seats on Soyuz, and there is an outside change commercial crew transport might come online before Ares.

All that said, the funniest thing that could ever happen is we shut down Shuttle, and go to Soyuz only, then Soyuz has a LOM (or god forbid a LOC) event and get's shut down for a year or more for investigations by both NASA & RSA. 

Interesting question, if Soyuz has an LOM event, and has to be shut down, and Soyuz is the only human access to ISS, how long can ISS function with no new crew?
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Offline Downix

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #26 on: 12/24/2009 04:50 PM »
i dont understand...  if you're going to bite the bullet and make new components to stretch out the shuttle into 2012, why not bite a little harder and make a bit more and stretch it out to 2015 or even further?

why the self-imposed deadline?  the shuttles are performing very nicely now with a minimum of problems and in the big scheme the extra cost would seem to be a drop in the bucket (well, considering how much we're spending these days - just increase the debt ceiling by only .001 percent should cover it).

Because the next time the shuttle systems fails, there will be hell to pay politically for NASA.

I would not want to be in the room when Congress investigates NASA for a LOC event during a shuttle extension only implemented for appearance reason (just to close the gap).

Once ISS is completed the Shuttle NEEDS to be canceled.  Let NASA run out it's ISS construction flights in the safest manner it can, not artificially hurried or stretched, then put the orbiters in the museum.

The gap is not an engineering issue, its a funding issue, and at this point it's not worth the extra money it would take to close it.  Luckily the cold war is over and the US can buy seats on Soyuz, and there is an outside change commercial crew transport might come online before Ares.

All that said, the funniest thing that could ever happen is we shut down Shuttle, and go to Soyuz only, then Soyuz has a LOM (or god forbid a LOC) event and get's shut down for a year or more for investigations by both NASA & RSA. 

Interesting question, if Soyuz has an LOM event, and has to be shut down, and Soyuz is the only human access to ISS, how long can ISS function with no new crew?
You realize that the gap is more than a funding *or* an engineering, it is a staffing gap as well.  No shuttle flights == nobody to support those flights == nobody to manage the follow-on system == total USHSF collapse.  No staff means no US launches for human space flight.

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Offline Nascent Ascent

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #27 on: 12/24/2009 04:54 PM »
That was my point.

We're going to be losing so much by the early termination of the shuttles.

Hell, if the shuttles are that unreliable then why fly them at all?  I think a few more flights for each shuttle until 2015-16 is a reasonable risk that would maintain continuity. The shuttles are safer now than they have ever been.

We'll have to spend the money we saved eventually when it comes to restaffing, etc.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2009 04:59 PM by Nascent Ascent »
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Offline Downix

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #28 on: 12/24/2009 05:04 PM »
That was my point.

We're going to be losing so much by the early termination of the shuttles.

Hell, if the shuttles are that unreliable then why fly them at all?  I think a few more flights for each shuttle until 2015-16 is a reasonable risk that would maintain continuity. The shuttles are safer now than they have ever been.

We'll have to spend the money we saved eventually when it comes to restaffing, etc.
There is an alternative, if we do a hybred DIRECT/EELV approach.  DIRECT->Ares V Classic, can be flying X flights in 2014, minimalizing workforce gap, but does not minimalize HSF gap.  For the HSF gap, man-rate one (or both) of the EELV's.  I am very much into redundancy, no single point of failure.  I'd even like to see production of the AIO Gemini as a backup capsule in case of Orion issues.
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Offline SpacexULA

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #29 on: 12/24/2009 05:10 PM »
You realize that the gap is more than a funding *or* an engineering, it is a staffing gap as well.  No shuttle flights == nobody to support those flights == nobody to manage the follow-on system == total USHSF collapse.  No staff means no US launches for human space flight.

But the Staffing issue is more political than real.  All programs but Direct will lead to a MASSIVE staff reduction.  And Direct becomes less likely every day.

The only thing that would save a good portion of the jobs lost after shuttle retirement would be another HLV sitting on the pad the day the orbiters ride off to museums.  There is nowhere near the budget out there for something like that.

The Gap has been a known factor since the day shuttle retirement was announced, but we have not chosen to make the hard decisions to eliminate it.  Now that we are nearly within a year of the last Shuttle flight, it's a little late to try to close the Gap.

"No shuttle flights == nobody to support those flights == nobody to manage the follow-on system == total USHSF collapse"  You are likely right, but that is what we have been choosing to happen for the last 5 years, we are sort of stuck with it now.
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Offline Antares

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #30 on: 12/24/2009 05:31 PM »
Humanity has an almost limitless capacity for achievement.  All that stands in the way is money and politics.

Fixed that for ya.  Money is merely the means of translating your achievement to my achievement and vice versa.  Politics is a money sink that produces no achievement.
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Offline mrhuggy

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #31 on: 12/24/2009 08:44 PM »
The easiest way would be to give NASA the money they need and tell them to get it done any way nessceary. The way i see it most of the mess is from a lack of funding and people keep changing things.

My personal solution is 2 contracts for HSF. One for LEO human access ie a space taxi to ISS and a second contract for BEO human access capable of sending a orion class system to beyond Earth orbit.

That way there would be 2 different systems and a backup.
Chris Hugman
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Offline butters

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #32 on: 12/25/2009 12:52 PM »
Humanity has an almost limitless capacity for achievement.  All that stands in the way is money and politics.

Fixed that for ya.  Money is merely the means of translating your achievement to my achievement and vice versa.  Politics is a money sink that produces no achievement.

However, money is created (and destroyed) by banks.  Depending on how you look at it, governments and banks are both financial institutions or both political institutions.

When you have an idea to do something, you either lobby a banker or a politician to get the money to do it.  The banker lets you spend depositor money, and the politician lets you spend taxpayer money.

If money were just a medium of exchange, then the explosion of progress in the past 300 years would not have been possible.  Money is also a bill of debt, allowing people to spend money that they didn't earn.

It's true that governments and banks aren't productive in their own right, and they often allocate money quite recklessly.  These days they bail each other out as if they're really a single entity.

Because they are.

So the question is: can we prosper without governments any more than we can prosper without banks?

Offline khallow

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #33 on: 12/25/2009 01:57 PM »

However, money is created (and destroyed) by banks.  Depending on how you look at it, governments and banks are both financial institutions or both political institutions.

When you have an idea to do something, you either lobby a banker or a politician to get the money to do it.  The banker lets you spend depositor money, and the politician lets you spend taxpayer money.

If money were just a medium of exchange, then the explosion of progress in the past 300 years would not have been possible.  Money is also a bill of debt, allowing people to spend money that they didn't earn.

Money remains just a medium of exchange. Debt is different than money. It's an obligation to provide something of value in the future.

Quote
It's true that governments and banks aren't productive in their own right, and they often allocate money quite recklessly.

Who is productive in their "own right"? Almost nobody in a modern society is strictly self-sufficient. Also cooperation generally improves the efficiency of effort. So you can be productive, but more productive when cooperating with someone else. Banks are a relatively extreme example in that their value is in enabling other parties to access capital that they wouldn't be able to reach otherwise (in orders, they loan money for a living). If nobody wanted to borrow money, then a bank wouldn't exist.

Quote
So the question is: can we prosper without governments any more than we can prosper without banks?

There are certain roles that a government has. The most important one is an insurer of last resort. That is, if something really bad happens (your region gets invaded, big asteroid hits, supervolcano erupts, etc), then it is the responsibility of the government to fix it. Nobody smaller has the resources or power. They also have a role as relatively impartial mediator. Now certain aspects of governments (such as the monopoly on its authority in a region) might be unnecessary, but someone has to fill those roles in a modern society and they become a government as a result.
Karl Hallowell

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #34 on: 12/25/2009 11:29 PM »
Quote
is there now any practical way to close the gap?


Yes sure,
the way is more money.
"No bucks,no Buck Rogers".
With appropriated funds NASA could back on the moon in 2018 with a Shuttle flight extension for until that year.
Or,if you prefer,with appropiated funds could built an "Shuttle phase-II" in five or six years.
Ah,wait a moment,in addition at many bilions of dollars would too the full support of the taxpayers.
But  i have fear that both this things are pure science fiction (if not fantasy).
« Last Edit: 12/25/2009 11:30 PM by carmelo »

Offline phantomdj

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #35 on: 12/26/2009 01:35 PM »

Because the next time the shuttle systems fails, there will be hell to pay politically for NASA.

I would not want to be in the room when Congress investigates NASA for a LOC event during a shuttle extension only implemented for appearance reason (just to close the gap).

Once ISS is completed the Shuttle NEEDS to be canceled.  Let NASA run out it's ISS construction flights in the safest manner it can, not artificially hurried or stretched, then put the orbiters in the museum.


The Shuttles are safer today than they has been over the last 28 years despite their age.

As long as the ISS is in orbit it will need a heavy lift capability.  One of the biggest problems is upmass.

With the likelihood of the ISS being extended to 2020 a virtual given, what vehicle is going to supply spare parts, supplies in bulk and possible large replacement parts?  Let's say a solar array or water purifier has to be replaced, there is no vehicle other than the shuttle that can carry these large heavy items.

It is my understanding this is one of the reasons that one of the MPLM's  (Leonardo, Raffaello or Donatello) will be packed with supplies, upgraded with extra shielding and left on the ISS as an extra room on one of the last shuttle missions.  No other launcher can bring the upmass.  So either the shuttle should be extended or vehicles like the J-130 or 140SH would be a perfect contingency launcher for any possible crisis onboard ISS, bring new research experiments, backup future commercial crew launches and a test vehicle (ala ARES 1-X) for the J-246SH.
1 percent for NASA.  We spend more than twice that per year on soda.

Offline phantomdj

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #36 on: 12/26/2009 01:44 PM »
You realize that the gap is more than a funding *or* an engineering, it is a staffing gap as well.  No shuttle flights == nobody to support those flights == nobody to manage the follow-on system == total USHSF collapse.  No staff means no US launches for human space flight.

But the Staffing issue is more political than real.  All programs but Direct will lead to a MASSIVE staff reduction.  And Direct becomes less likely every day.

The only thing that would save a good portion of the jobs lost after shuttle retirement would be another HLV sitting on the pad the day the orbiters ride off to museums.  There is nowhere near the budget out there for something like that.

The Gap has been a known factor since the day shuttle retirement was announced, but we have not chosen to make the hard decisions to eliminate it.  Now that we are nearly within a year of the last Shuttle flight, it's a little late to try to close the Gap.

"No shuttle flights == nobody to support those flights == nobody to manage the follow-on system == total USHSF collapse"  You are likely right, but that is what we have been choosing to happen for the last 5 years, we are sort of stuck with it now.


Gaps in US launch capability of a year or two can sustain the work force without the brain drain that would normally occur.

As I wrote in another thread:

A Wallstreet Journal article stated:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126135372896199409.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLETopStories

"The Obama administration appears set to chart a new course for U.S. space exploration by promoting the use of private companies to ferry astronauts into orbit, according to people familiar with the matter.

"But even as it moves to outsource major components of the space program to private industry, these people said, the White House is planning to hedge its bets in various other ways. One likely option is to ramp up funding for certain in-house rocket programs that over the next few years could serve as a technical safety net, and eventually provide the families of more-powerful boosters required for longer-term exploration of the solar system."

This seems to imply that they are open to using a J-140SH type vehicle to hedge their bets as a safety net and be scalable to the heavy lift (J-246) they really want for exploration.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #37 on: 12/26/2009 01:55 PM »

It is my understanding this is one of the reasons that one of the MPLM's  (Leonardo, Raffaello or Donatello) will be packed with supplies, upgraded with extra shielding and left on the ISS as an extra room on one of the last shuttle missions.  No other launcher can bring the upmass.


Incorrect, EELV's can lift the same mass. 

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #38 on: 12/26/2009 04:23 PM »
That was my point.

We're going to be losing so much by the early termination of the shuttles.

Hell, if the shuttles are that unreliable then why fly them at all?  I think a few more flights for each shuttle until 2015-16 is a reasonable risk that would maintain continuity. The shuttles are safer now than they have ever been.

We'll have to spend the money we saved eventually when it comes to restaffing, etc.

Sadly the Shuttles are NOT unreliabale, it is a FUD, to promote a political decision, to help fund the POR, just as the decommissioning of the ISS in 2015, is a political decision to release more money to the POR; NASA has been underfunded for so long, that it is cutting 'muscle off the bone' to fund future projects; this is not the way to run a successful Space Agency, by cutting it's most successful aspects to move others forward; we should be using the Shuttles for the foreseeable future, until a new LV is up and launching to the ISS and where ever; the way it is run now, is insanity; the inmates of 'Bedlam' are running the show;
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Offline phantomdj

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #39 on: 12/26/2009 04:52 PM »

It is my understanding this is one of the reasons that one of the MPLM's  (Leonardo, Raffaello or Donatello) will be packed with supplies, upgraded with extra shielding and left on the ISS as an extra room on one of the last shuttle missions.  No other launcher can bring the upmass.


Incorrect, EELV's can lift the same mass. 

You are picking nits.  You know there is more to it than just lift.  The shuttle is the only vehicle that can bring such heavy payloads to the ISS else the EELV’s would have done it during the times the shuttles were grounded. 
1 percent for NASA.  We spend more than twice that per year on soda.

Offline Jim

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #40 on: 12/26/2009 05:02 PM »

You are picking nits.  You know there is more to it than just lift.  The shuttle is the only vehicle that can bring such heavy payloads to the ISS else the EELV’s would have done it during the times the shuttles were grounded. 


They could if NASA wanted them to.  There are many studies for this.  It is not that hard
« Last Edit: 12/26/2009 05:02 PM by Jim »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #41 on: 12/26/2009 05:27 PM »
That was my point.

We're going to be losing so much by the early termination of the shuttles.

Hell, if the shuttles are that unreliable then why fly them at all?  I think a few more flights for each shuttle until 2015-16 is a reasonable risk that would maintain continuity. The shuttles are safer now than they have ever been.

We'll have to spend the money we saved eventually when it comes to restaffing, etc.

Sadly the Shuttles are NOT unreliabale, it is a FUD, to promote a political decision, to help fund the POR, just as the decommissioning of the ISS in 2015, is a political decision to release more money to the POR; NASA has been underfunded for so long, that it is cutting 'muscle off the bone' to fund future projects; this is not the way to run a successful Space Agency, by cutting it's most successful aspects to move others forward; we should be using the Shuttles for the foreseeable future, until a new LV is up and launching to the ISS and where ever; the way it is run now, is insanity; the inmates of 'Bedlam' are running the show;

Technically the Shuttles have proven to be safer then their predecessor which had an LAS.
Really the only accident that can be blamed mostly on the vehicle is Columbia.
Challenger was more on the fault of the upper management then the vehicle it's self.
A Thiokol engineer told them to not launch in cold weather as they had a few Titians blow up due to O-ring issues during cold weather.

The gap exists because of the same kind of stupidity .
They could and should use an EELV as an interim LV it would not impact anything in a negative manner.
Heck the Delta IV-H is in fact more powerful then Ares I and would solve a few problems.


« Last Edit: 12/26/2009 05:32 PM by Patchouli »

Offline HappyMartian

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #42 on: 12/27/2009 02:07 PM »
Downix notes, "For the HSF gap, man-rate one (or both) of the EELV's.  I am very much into redundancy, no single point of failure.  I'd even like to see production of the AIO Gemini as a backup capsule in case of Orion issues."

Usually there are several ways to solve technical redundancy issues. Some of the paths that gain redundancy are affordable, and some of the affordable paths can even be traveled quickly.

The Chinese government might be willing to help provide the much needed redundancy for human spaceflight to the International Space Station. The Soyuz system is pretty reliable as far as spaceships go, but a serious effort to make wise use of China's well-qualified and modern Shenzhou spaceship is an idea worth discussing with our International Space Station Partners.

Redundancy in human transportation to the International Space Station is an important technical and political need. If we lost control of the space station due to a major failure of the Soyuz system, astronauts could die. Any unplanned and uncontrolled reentry of the space station into the atmosphere might result in additional deaths on the ground.

President Obama could discuss with the Chinese political leadership the idea of launching a Shenzhou spaceship on an Atlas, Delta IV Heavy, or J-140SH. A Chinese pilot would be on the Shenzhou spaceship to enjoy the spectacular flight away from the Kennedy Space Center. Hopefully the Chinese pilot would have already gained some solid experience in docking a Shenzhou spaceship at the International Space Station in a previous flight launched with a CZ-2F booster from China.

According to:
http://www.astronautix.com/articles/shefacts.htm
"Shenzhou has a total weight of 7800 kg (17,000 lbs), is 8.55 m (28 ft) long and has a maximum diameter of 2.8 m (9.2 ft). It is powered with four solar panels that generate a total of 1500 watts of power. It consists of three modules that separate during flight."

Launching the Shenzhou from the Kennedy Space Center would allow NASA to gain some needed familiarity with a spacecraft that could have an important role in the international effort to explore the Moon. The Chinese space program would gain from participating in research at the International Space Station and the technical cooperation with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: 12/27/2009 11:54 PM by HappyMartian »
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #43 on: 12/27/2009 02:35 PM »
Shenzhou does not have an assembly line yet and China would not sell the design.
A better idea might be to contract the manufacture of this composite capsule.
http://onorbit.com/node/1604
Maybe have Scaled and Spacedev partner with ATK.
This probably could be flying much sooner then a legacy or foreign design.

A good example as to why a direct copy is not always the best idea would be the TU-4 which ended up costing the USSR more then a domestically developed bomber would have as it required copying the entire industry that produced the B29.

Now borrowing lessons from a design is a good idea Shenzhou's concept of a free flying OM can be useful for some missions.

The EELVs are obviously the fastest way to get a CLV they are flying today and have a proven track record.
Just do a fast track development program on your EELV launched capsule or small space plane and be willing to loose a few unmanned prototypes.
I prefer spaceplane type vehicles but a capsule probably would be the faster of the two unless there's already extensive R&D done for the latter.
Over engineer the first prototypes and then do mass savings after the first flight.
Talk with the new space guys even track down some of the ex Gemini engineers who are still around.
I think the Gemini program only took 3 years form concept to first flight so there are important lessons here.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2009 03:07 PM by Patchouli »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #44 on: 12/27/2009 03:14 PM »

There are certain roles that a government has. The most important one is an insurer of last resort. That is, if something really bad happens (your region gets invaded, big asteroid hits, supervolcano erupts, etc), then it is the responsibility of the government to fix it.


An asteroid impacting or super volcano would be events far beyond the scope of what any government could handle.
Either event likely would result in the complete collapse of the social economic systems the effected nation.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2009 03:15 PM by Patchouli »

Offline neilh

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #45 on: 12/27/2009 04:58 PM »
Augustine Committee said Orion won't be operational until 2017 (NASA still says 2015), but Augustine also said that the alternative, commercial "space taxis", would not be operational until 2016 at the earliest.

I think you've misread the report -- 2016 for commercial crew is an upper estimate, not a lower bound. From page 71 of the report:
Quote
It  was  estimated  by  the  Committee  that  under  the  “less-constrained budget” to be discussed in Chapter 6, the commercial crew launch service could be in place by 2016.  Estimates from providers ranged from three years to fve years from  the  present.   Assuming  a  year  for  program  re-alignment, this would produce a start in early FY 2011.  Using the upper end of the estimated range, a capability in 2016 could be estimated with reasonable confdence.

The readiness estimate for Ares I+Orion is 2017-2019:
Quote
The results of the analysis indicate  to  the  Committee  that, under  the  FY  2010  budget profile,  there  is  likely  an  additional delay of at  least  two years, with first  launch in 2017, and perhaps as much as four years of delay, with  first  launch  in  2019.
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Offline khallow

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #46 on: 12/28/2009 06:33 AM »

An asteroid impacting or super volcano would be events far beyond the scope of what any government could handle. Either event likely would result in the complete collapse of the social economic systems the effected nation.

But that isn't the government. Even in the collapse of society, government still can provide leadership, communication, resources, collective bargaining with the rest of the world (assuming there is someone who isn't similarly affected). Doesn't mean that a government will survive, but it does tend to have a collection of people and knowledge useful in these sorts of situations.
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Is there still a way to close the gap?
« Reply #47 on: 12/29/2009 04:46 PM »

Because the next time the shuttle systems fails, there will be hell to pay politically for NASA.

I would not want to be in the room when Congress investigates NASA for a LOC event during a shuttle extension only implemented for appearance reason (just to close the gap).

Once ISS is completed the Shuttle NEEDS to be canceled.  Let NASA run out it's ISS construction flights in the safest manner it can, not artificially hurried or stretched, then put the orbiters in the museum.


The Shuttles are safer today than they has been over the last 28 years despite their age.

As long as the ISS is in orbit it will need a heavy lift capability.  One of the biggest problems is upmass.

With the likelihood of the ISS being extended to 2020 a virtual given, what vehicle is going to supply spare parts, supplies in bulk and possible large replacement parts?  Let's say a solar array or water purifier has to be replaced, there is no vehicle other than the shuttle that can carry these large heavy items.

It is my understanding this is one of the reasons that one of the MPLM's  (Leonardo, Raffaello or Donatello) will be packed with supplies, upgraded with extra shielding and left on the ISS as an extra room on one of the last shuttle missions.  No other launcher can bring the upmass.  So either the shuttle should be extended or vehicles like the J-130 or 140SH would be a perfect contingency launcher for any possible crisis onboard ISS, bring new research experiments, backup future commercial crew launches and a test vehicle (ala ARES 1-X) for the J-246SH.


I'd prefer the Shuttle to have 2 years overlap with Orion or Dragon at least if possible.
So I favor an extension to 2012 to 2013.

As for what can carry heavy items after the Shuttle there is one thing that can be flying by 2014 that can bring up just about everything the Shuttle use to.
Orion launched on the J130 plus a cargo carrier can transport 95% of the large items the shuttle once carried.
Actually it's payload would be a little larger.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2009 04:59 PM by Patchouli »

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