Author Topic: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken  (Read 15843 times)

Offline MATTBLAK

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The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« on: 04/19/2017 02:55 AM »
Wayne Hale has noted that the gap between manned U.S. Space missions from U.S. soil with American spacecraft is now greater than that between Apollo & Shuttle! Depressing... Not much to say about that. :(

...Other than when I said a couple years ago that this would happen; I was told to shut my mouth - I didn't know what I was talking about. I don't always like being right - especially about this subject... :'(

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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #1 on: 04/19/2017 03:00 AM »
For me at least, I'm not as concerned about HOW we get into space, but that we are IN space.  And have been for 16 years, 5 months and 17 days.

So if anything I'm more concerned with how many people are in space at any one time, not whose ride they took to get there.

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 MATTBLAK

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #2 on: 04/19/2017 03:16 AM »
You are quite right, of course. Still doesn't make me any less sad about the general thrust of Wayne Hale's point, though.
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Offline spacenut

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #3 on: 04/19/2017 03:37 AM »
NASA has lacked direction for years.  The directors have allowed congress to pick and choose what should be done lately.  The good news is private companies are making great strides such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.  At this point, NASA shouldn't focus on vehicles and/or a way to get into space.  They should have some goals and objectives, ask private companies for solutions, and award the best solutions with contracts, like they did with COTS.  It worked great and got us new engines, new companies, and new rockets. 

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #4 on: 04/19/2017 03:40 AM »
NASA being unable to launch people is a public embarrassment.

Measures had to be taken to cure this problem and prevent it from happening again.

Cure = design new launch vehicle and capsule
Prevent again = multiple launch vehicles & capsules from different companies, so no single source failure problems
« Last Edit: 04/19/2017 03:42 AM by A_M_Swallow »

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #5 on: 04/19/2017 03:48 AM »
To me, the important question is why we have the gap.  Is it because we're just not doing anything and the future looks bleak?  Or is it because new and better things are coming?

I believe it is the latter.  I'm excited about what the gap means.  To me, it's like tearing down an old building to make way for a new, better building.  Yes, there is a period when you don't have that building, but it's worth it if in the end you are getting something significantly better.

To me, the new, better things that are coming are commercial crew vehicles, and, more generally, the shift to commercial decision making rather than government decision making.

The shuttle had to be cancelled to make commercial crew vehicles happen.  Sure, in my ideal world we could have had both, but we don't live in that ideal world.  In the world we live in, if shuttle had kept going, I firmly believe commercial crew never would have happened.  Even commercial cargo flights were predicated on the coming retirement of the shuttle.  No gap means shuttle continuing, means no COTS, means SpaceX goes bankrupt in 2006.

Your mileage may vary, of course -- if you liked the shuttle better than commercial cargo and crew, better than reusable launch vehicles, better than all the things SpaceX and Blue Origin have planned for the future, then for you the gap will be a waste.  For me, it is creative destruction that makes way for the new.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2017 03:49 AM by ChrisWilson68 »

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #6 on: 04/19/2017 04:17 AM »
ChrisWilson - I certainly hope you turn out to be right.
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #7 on: 04/19/2017 04:38 AM »
To me, the new, better things that are coming are commercial crew vehicles, and, more generally, the shift to commercial decision making rather than government decision making.

For me I keep in mind what the ultimate goal should be, which is the expansion of humanity out into space.

Now that sounds like a big goal, and it is.  More importantly though what it also provides is a window into what we want that future to look like.  For instance, do we want the U.S. Government to be leading the way?  For as much as I love my country, the U.S. of A., the answer is "no".  Mainly because the U.S. Government really doesn't have a reason to expand humanity out into space.  Do science in space, sure, and that would include humans.  But what is the ROI for the U.S. Taxpayer for spending money on colonizing the Moon, Mars or other places?  The U.S. Government just can't be counted on for long-term planning and commitment.

My bet on the future is that we find non-governmental reasons to expand out into space.  Which hopefully includes commerce, but will likely also include people who go to space because they believe humans should expand out into space - who I'm sure Elon Musk is counting on to a great degree to colonize Mars.

Quote
The shuttle had to be cancelled to make commercial crew vehicles happen.

I don't think people know how much the government-run Shuttle program suppressed the commercial space transportation sector.  Because no one can compete with "FREE", or at least government discounts.  I highly doubt anyone paid the actual full price for a Shuttle ride, either cargo or crew.

So yes, the Shuttle had to die in order for the commercial space transportation sector to gain new life.  And it has, big time with SpaceX, Blue Origin and many other companies that stepped up to take over what the Shuttle did.

This is a wonderful time to be a space geek, and most recently that's been because of what the private sector has been doing.  We should encourage that, not compete with it...
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 FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #8 on: 04/19/2017 05:03 AM »
Eric Berger's take on it:

Quote
NASA set an ignominious record last week—but don’t blame the space agency
NASA is taking steps to ensure this kind of capability gap never again occurs.

by Eric Berger - Apr 18, 2017 6:13pm BST

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/nasa-set-an-ignominious-record-last-week-but-dont-blame-the-space-agency/

I agree with points made earlier in this thread. Yes the gap is unfortunate and longer than it needed to be or should have been but it is a blip in the wider picture. What matters is that after the gap the US will be in the best position it's ever been with respect to both redundant and more cost-effective crew transport.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #9 on: 04/19/2017 05:50 AM »
I don't really blame NASA - they've just run with what they've been given. A simpler Shuttle-derived lifter than SLS might have sufficed better and a slightly smaller Orion than the 5 meter wide behemoth - and Lockheed-Martin's feet held to the fire! >:(  But most of all - better support for Commercial Crew from all sides... :(
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Offline redliox

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #10 on: 04/19/2017 06:16 AM »
It would have happened sooner or later.  NASA's budget is barely a fifth of its Apollo glory days so it is little wonder when the time came to retire the space shuttle the fiscal cupboard was bare; NASA being setup to fail basically.  Can't build a cathedral on the head of a pin.

It's not the Cold War, so NASA isn't seen as a glamorous trophy to flash in the enemy's face anymore.  Personally I expect the Orion to get canceled after a few flights.  Best hope is a larger NASA budget and a variety of commercial ships.
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Online woods170

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #11 on: 04/19/2017 06:33 AM »
Throwing the proverbial bat in the henhouse:

There is no gap.

NASA is still launching it's astros to the ISS. But instead of using a NASA-owned system, it hires a foreign service (Roscosmos/Soyuz) to do so.
As such, there won't be changing much once NASA switches to hiring Starliner or Crew Dragon's to get their astros to the ISS. Because NASA does not own Starliner or Crew Dragon either.

There only is a gap IF one starts phrasing it the way Wayne deliberately did
Quote from: Wayne Hale
...longest gap in human launches from US soil.

And that kind of gap is, IMO, not much of a problem to have. It sure as h*ll never bothered other space agencies enough to get their own indigenous manned launch system into orbit. China being the major exception here, not being driven by need, but by prestige.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2017 06:42 AM by woods170 »

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #12 on: 04/19/2017 07:31 AM »
Throwing the proverbial bat in the henhouse:

I've never heard that expression before.  What does it mean?  Do bats scare the hens into running around like mad?

There is no gap.

NASA is still launching it's astros to the ISS. But instead of using a NASA-owned system, it hires a foreign service (Roscosmos/Soyuz) to do so.
As such, there won't be changing much once NASA switches to hiring Starliner or Crew Dragon's to get their astros to the ISS. Because NASA does not own Starliner or Crew Dragon either.

There only is a gap IF one starts phrasing it the way Wayne deliberately did
Quote from: Wayne Hale
...longest gap in human launches from US soil.

And that kind of gap is, IMO, not much of a problem to have. It sure as h*ll never bothered other space agencies enough to get their own indigenous manned launch system into orbit. China being the major exception here, not being driven by need, but by prestige.

I disagree.  I think every space agency on Earth desperately wishes to be able to have their own indigenous human launch system to orbit.  The only reason most don't is that they don't have the funding to do it.  But they're all constantly talking about long-range plans to do so, dreaming of the day they can afford it.

And giving Russia a huge amount of leverage to embarrass the U.S. government seems like a really bad idea, particularly after Crimea.

Plus, I think there are benefits to having the dollars spent on launching a country's astronauts to orbit going to that country.  It encourages a higher technology and education level that benefits the country indirectly in many ways.  Paying Russia to do it just benefits Russia.

Finally, I wish to see the U.S. with its own human launch systems just because I think aerospace is something the United States does well, and I like to see us making that contribution to the general progress of all humankind.  The U.S. is showing the world the way forward with reusable launch vehicles and a focus on cost reduction that is being felt everywhere.  Programs in the United States are the only ones in the world with chances of really revolutionizing access to space and even possibly starting an actual colonization program.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #13 on: 04/19/2017 07:45 AM »
Now that sounds like a big goal, and it is.  More importantly though what it also provides is a window into what we want that future to look like.  For instance, do we want the U.S. Government to be leading the way?  For as much as I love my country, the U.S. of A., the answer is "no".  Mainly because the U.S. Government really doesn't have a reason to expand humanity out into space.  Do science in space, sure, and that would include humans.  But what is the ROI for the U.S. Taxpayer for spending money on colonizing the Moon, Mars or other places?  The U.S. Government just can't be counted on for long-term planning and commitment.

I agree with a lot of your points, and I think if there are purely private commercial motives for the expansion into the universe, that's great, and that's more efficient than having a government making the decisions.

But I'm not entirely counting the government out as you seem to be doing.  There is such a thing as a commons problem, and markets alone don't solve those.  Some things in space are such problems, I think.

Some things NASA does really well.  In particular, I think they've been very successful with unmanned scientific probes.  What hasn't been done so efficiently by NASA, in my opinion, is human spaceflight since Apollo.

The difference is whether there's competition and a monolithic bureaucracy or not.  With science missions, many teams are formed to make proposals that must compete with one another.  The people making the decisions don't have a vested interest in doing it a particular way or keeping particular people employed (for the most part).  And the programs are fixed-length and then the funding is done.

With human spaceflight, none of that is true.  The programs don't have to compete with anything.  The government workforce has a monopoly and the programs last indefinitely.

That is changing with commercial cargo and crew, and those programs have worked wonderfully.  But SLS is still sucking up a lot more dollars than commercial cargo and crew.

If we could get NASA out of the business of doing things and instead get it limited to the business of funding competing, independent entities to do things, then we'd really have something.

I think the U.S. government has at least as much reason to fund colonization of space as it has to fund science in space.  They just don't know how to do it.  The average voter would probably be more likely to think colonization of space is a good use of money than more science.

Offline MattMason

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #14 on: 04/19/2017 07:52 AM »
The "Gap" is based on a supposition: "NASA is the only US entity obligated to keep an American presence in space."

That's false. Do we think that Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Robert Bigelow, SNC and others are going to be contracted only to NASA for every launch they make or ship into orbit? Of course not.

Their idea is to create a permanent space presence, funded by non-governmental interests. Places that, over time, government officials visit to so as set up services and to tax their residents for the said services that governments provide as part of a habitable area in their sovereign places.

While it is regrettable that a national federal space presence isn't around, private industry will not be so discouraged about the opportunities up there. And they will not only build permanent launch vehicles and spacecraft that support travel but add habitats for various uses there.

Most importantly, private space enterprise can do something NASA or other governmental space agencies can't (at least, not outside the context of war, asteroid collision or mass exodus): Private enterprise SELLS the idea of going, not just the hardware that goes.

The genie is out of the bottle. It simply hasn't fully formed enough yet to ask those it wants to serve, "Whaddya need?"
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #15 on: 04/19/2017 08:00 AM »
Wayne Hale has noted that the gap between manned U.S. Space missions from U.S. soil with American spacecraft is now greater than that between Apollo & Shuttle! Depressing... Not much to say about that. :(

...Other than when I said a couple years ago that this would happen; I was told to shut my mouth - I didn't know what I was talking about. I don't always like being right - especially about this subject... :'(

https://twitter.com/waynehale
But let's add a few further qualifiers to his statement.
"..from US soil" on an LV specified, owned and operated by NASA for their use.

Orion has not launched already because NASA chose to have it fly on an their own LV. It is massively heavier than either CST 100 or Crew Dragon yet has still has one less seat.

They recreated the Apollo era TPS (then discovered that H&S rules on dangerous chemicals mean you can't actually recreate it).

It's SM weighs 15 tonnes, although a substantial part of that are consumables. Clearly running most of the consumable tanks part filled would have cut the load a lot.

And of course it could not be launched on either EELV because they could not be crew rated. Except it turns out that Atlas V could be crew rated fairly easily. 

Assuming it flies in 2018 it will have been under development by NASA since 2004, IE 14 years. This is despite (or perhaps because of) the entire NASA library of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsule work to draw on for ideas on what worked well, what could be made to work with a lot of effort and what not to touch with a barge pole.

To put that in perspective in 2004 SpaceX was 2 years old and was 2 years away from blowing up its first rocket. 4 years after that it launched its first capsule and has now been launching them for 7 years.

NASA has so far spent 13 years and an awful lot of US taxpayers money to almost get to the point it was at with Apollo

I'd suggest the that the US human crew space transport industry is in quite good shape right now.
The US government owned and controlled human space flight programme is in less good shape.
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #16 on: 04/19/2017 08:05 AM »
I disagree.  I think every space agency on Earth desperately wishes to be able to have their own indigenous human launch system to orbit.  The only reason most don't is that they don't have the funding to do it. 
And as long as they think the only way to orbit is with a TSTO ELV they never will.

Which was the point REL were making with Skylon.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #17 on: 04/19/2017 09:12 AM »
Everyone has forgotten SpaceShipOne - built for pennies by NewSpace and on a comparable timescale to the Mercury sub-orbital flights.


Offline IRobot

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #18 on: 04/19/2017 10:55 AM »
There is no gap.

NASA is still launching it's astros to the ISS. But instead of using a NASA-owned system, it hires a foreign service (Roscosmos/Soyuz) to do so.
That is a politic liability, to depend on a nation which is not friendly.

What if this was a case where a French aircraft carrier was being used for years by US airplanes due to lack of aircraft carrier building capabilities in the US? Do you think this would be acceptable to the public and to the military?

Offline spacenut

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #19 on: 04/19/2017 01:24 PM »
For me, an American, we need access to space.  I don't care if it is public or private, as long as it is an American company.  Depending on foreign countries or companies can be problematic, even a friendly allied country.  Things change, people change, problems arise.  Many of the aerospace companies from the 1960's are no longer in business.  They have been bought out, merged, etc.  That is just in America.  If a foreign company providing launch service goes out of business for any reason, it could hurt American projects. 

For instance.  Say a Japanese rocket is used to launch Americans in orbit, but they have a Tsunami that wipes out the manufacturing plant.  Well, goodby launches for a while.  Now if we have at least two launch providers in America, we have backup.  What if an earthquake knocks out the SpaceX manufacturing plant.  Goodby SpaceX for a while, back to ULA. 

NASA should just do everything COTS style.  From launches to in space facilities, etc.  Just use the money to help fund the projects.  We have two human launch providers coming on line.  We want to build a moon orbiting station.  Send out proposals to American companies, then choose two for the equipment.  There should be some common sizes, etc.  Docking ports, refueling equipment attach points all should be made the same so any competitor can use their equipment with others.  Vehicle refueling in America is standardized.  Garage doors, vehicle size limits, parking buildings, parking spaces are all standardized.  Same should be done in space. 

All that being said, when Dragon and CTS-100 come on line, there should be no need for Orion, even in deep space.  Either of these capsules could dock with a deep space module for radiation protection if needed beyond the Van Allen radiation belt.  Orion is overkill.  No matter which way we go to the moon or Mars, in space habitats will be needed.  So either of these can taxi you to dock to a station or mother ship. 

SLS is a kludge and has taken too long and too much money to develop for the amount of capability it can provide.  I think a clean sheet design would have been better.  They could have developed AR-1 for a large first stage rocket, Saturn V sized, and used the J2-X for second stage engines.  With about 9 AR-1's on a 10m first stage, it could have been made reusable and landed back at the cape.  A 3-5 engine J2X upper stage could have also been made reusable to land.  Two stage to orbit reusable for about 150 tons, and add a third stage with a J2-X and you have a large deep space probe launcher.  This concept is being proven out by SpaceX and Blue Origin as the way forward. 

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #20 on: 04/19/2017 01:54 PM »
"Everyone has forgotten SpaceShipOne - built for pennies by NewSpace and on a comparable timescale to the Mercury sub-orbital flights."

Hi Bob!  No, we haven't forgotten it. But Mercury was an orbital spacecraft that was tested as a sub-orbital.  SpaceShipOne couldn't come anywhere near what Mercury was.

Offline MattMason

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #21 on: 04/19/2017 02:23 PM »
"Everyone has forgotten SpaceShipOne - built for pennies by NewSpace and on a comparable timescale to the Mercury sub-orbital flights."

Hi Bob!  No, we haven't forgotten it. But Mercury was an orbital spacecraft that was tested as a sub-orbital.  SpaceShipOne couldn't come anywhere near what Mercury was.

Yep. And SS1 was a prototype for the X-Prize, not intended as a functional or practical resource. Not that SpaceShipTwo developers thought that was their business...
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #22 on: 04/19/2017 02:44 PM »
Wayne Hale has noted that the gap between manned U.S. Space missions from U.S. soil with American spacecraft is now greater than that between Apollo & Shuttle! Depressing.
This "gap" is the nation's punishment for bad decisions made long ago, during the Apollo-Shuttle "gap".  Hopefully, choices made during this "gap" will have better long term results.

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Offline RonM

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #23 on: 04/19/2017 03:13 PM »
The current gap goes back to a bad decision made during the Constellation program. Orion should have been designed to launch from an EELV instead of Ares I.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #24 on: 04/19/2017 03:29 PM »
The current gap goes back to a bad decision made during the Constellation program. Orion should have been designed to launch from an EELV instead of Ares I.
Well technically Orion's precursor was expected to go to the Moon at least and going to the ISS was a backup mission, so in theory it was sized to carry what was felt necessary for the Moon mission.

I can't recall if CCCP was planned in parallel or before or after Orion. Nor can I recall if Orion was "EELV weight" but put on too much poundage to fit a fully loaded vehicle or if being able to be carried on an EELV was ever a constraint

Some might say the smartest decision NASA made was not to make Orion to only fit Ares 5, because then of course even a DIVH would not have been able to carry it on its first test flight given its size.

I agree though. NASA did this to itself, and it did not have to be this way.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2017 03:34 PM by john smith 19 »
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #25 on: 04/19/2017 03:37 PM »
The current gap goes back to a bad decision made during the Constellation program. Orion should have been designed to launch from an EELV instead of Ares I.
Orion would not have been able to do its mission (lunar at the time) if it had been down-sized to be EELV-capable.  Nor would such a design effort have prevented the "gap".  We are waiting right now, for example, for Starliner to fly on Atlas 5.  We are probably at T-minus one year or longer to "gap's" end.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/19/2017 03:41 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Kansan52

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #26 on: 04/19/2017 03:49 PM »
For me, it is important that United States has a way to send people to space, not but rides from someone else.

Offline RonM

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #27 on: 04/19/2017 03:54 PM »
The current gap goes back to a bad decision made during the Constellation program. Orion should have been designed to launch from an EELV instead of Ares I.
Orion would not have been able to do its mission (lunar at the time) if it had been down-sized to be EELV-capable.  Nor would such a design effort have prevented the "gap".  We are waiting right now, for example, for Starliner to fly on Atlas 5.  We are probably at T-minus one year or longer to "gap's" end.

 - Ed Kyle

Orion was going to rendezvous with Altair and the EDS in LEO. The Lunar mission could have been designed to work with a smaller Orion. Remember, Apollo did it with one launch. Orion on an EELV plus the rest of the stack on Ares V would still be more capable than Apollo.

When President Bush decided that STS would stop flying in 2010, the plan was for Orion to start flying in 2012. The Ares I debacle prevent that. Even with typical program delays, Orion on EELV would be operational today.

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #28 on: 04/19/2017 04:13 PM »
Throwing the proverbial bat in the henhouse:

I've never heard that expression before.  What does it mean?  Do bats scare the hens into running around like mad?
I suggest you throw a bat (as in club or bludgeon) in a henhouse once. It will for sure send the chickens running around like mad.

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #29 on: 04/19/2017 04:21 PM »
When President Bush decided that STS would stop flying in 2010, the plan was for Orion to start flying in 2012. The Constellation Ares I debacle prevented that. Even with typical program delays, Orion on EELV would be operational today.
There. Fixed that for ya.
And you don't have any proof for the latter assessment.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #30 on: 04/19/2017 04:22 PM »
Throwing the proverbial bat in the henhouse:

I've never heard that expression before.  What does it mean?  Do bats scare the hens into running around like mad?

Think this is ... "de knuppel in het hoenderhok gooien".

Stirring things up. Bat as in a stick. Tossing it in to freak them out. So things change.

In this case, more akin to the English idiom of being a "king mixer" to create a problem de novo.

He's right, this is all totally specious in effect since one contractor is like another, and the point, to which you'd both agree, is to motivate more spending/attention to HSF, in this case the US Congress funding an indigenous capsule.

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #31 on: 04/19/2017 04:39 PM »
Look at it this way:  This will be the last gap, correct?

Offline whitelancer64

Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #32 on: 04/19/2017 05:05 PM »
Look at it this way:  This will be the last gap, correct?

For now.
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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #33 on: 04/19/2017 05:19 PM »
Wayne Hale has noted that the gap between manned U.S. Space missions from U.S. soil with American spacecraft is now greater than that between Apollo & Shuttle! Depressing... Not much to say about that. :(

...Other than when I said a couple years ago that this would happen; I was told to shut my mouth - I didn't know what I was talking about. I don't always like being right - especially about this subject... :'(

https://twitter.com/waynehale

Gap: This is sad because it didn't have to be this way. NASA had the solution in-hand, in time and threw it away. Orion could have been flying operationally on a Shuttle-based launch vehicle to and from station before the last Shuttle lifted off. The IMS showed approximately 1 year of operation overlap.

Commercial: NASA having the ability to launch a 25-mT Orion to the station together with up to 60mT of cargo with a Shuttle replacement would likely have at least delayed the Commercial option. But I do believe that commercial crew and logistical resupply to the ISS would have happened anyway because Administrator Griffin did not want to use Ares/Orion for that purpose.  He was the one that actually initiated the commercial effort for ISS because Constellation was targeting the moon, not the station. So Commercial would have happened anyway, but probably on a different timescale.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #34 on: 04/19/2017 06:40 PM »
NASA had the solution in-hand, in time and threw it away.
Yes.

Quote
Orion could have been flying operationally on a Shuttle-based launch vehicle to and from station before the last Shuttle lifted off.
No.

Strongly insist that the flaw was in under funding ISS CRV/CTV as concurrent with Shuttle, using Soyuz as a "gap filler" . Then the "two bit" tomfoolery of the idi.ot Bush administration getting CRV/CTV on the cheap to kill a cheap program that maintained the ability to have consistent HSF development maintained as a skill all along.

Then if you wanted Orion (or OSP) you might have had it ready for follow-on before Shuttle program conclusion.

Everyone wants it simple, reductionist, and cheap. It's never that way.

Best you can do is minimal proficiency with consistent, gradual budgets. Which can be ramped up/down.

Quote
.
Commercial: NASA having the ability to launch a 25-mT Orion to the station together with up to 60mT of cargo with a Shuttle replacement would likely have at least delayed the Commercial option. But I do believe that commercial crew and logistical resupply to the ISS would have happened anyway because Administrator Griffin did not want to use Ares/Orion for that purpose.  He was the one that actually initiated the commercial effort for ISS because Constellation was targeting the moon, not the station. So Commercial would have happened anyway, but probably on a different timescale.
Disagree.

He was sure commercial would fail but it would take other things with it, leaving budget room for what he wanted. Which was "FLO on steroids".

Offline clongton

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #35 on: 04/19/2017 07:47 PM »
Orion could have been flying operationally on a Shuttle-based launch vehicle to and from station before the last Shuttle lifted off.
No.

Strongly insist that the flaw was in under funding ISS CRV/CTV as concurrent with Shuttle, using Soyuz as a "gap filler" . Then the "two bit" tomfoolery of the idi.ot Bush administration getting CRV/CTV on the cheap to kill a cheap program that maintained the ability to have consistent HSF development maintained as a skill all along.

Then if you wanted Orion (or OSP) you might have had it ready for follow-on before Shuttle program conclusion.

Everyone wants it simple, reductionist, and cheap. It's never that way.

Best you can do is minimal proficiency with consistent, gradual budgets. Which can be ramped up/down.

We spent a lot of time in May 2009 at the ISDC in Orlando with Cleon Lacefield, the LM Orion Program manager, specifically going over their IMS for the spacecraft. We talked *a lot*, then and later by conference calls, about what you have mentioned and many other things, and ways to mitigate the damage and get moving ahead on a reasonable schedule. The bottom line is that he said that if those “things” (which included a lot of totally unnecessary impediments) could be properly mitigated then they could have Orion ready for 1st unmanned test flight by end of 3rd quarter 2010 and 1st manned test flight by late 2nd quarter 2011. Straight from the horse’s mouth. This man was previously the LM Skunk Works X-33 Program manager so he knows how to get stuff done. Paraphrasing now, he indicated that if Orion had been a Skunk Works project it would be nearly done already. So based on the statements of the one man in command of all the actual facts on the ground, I stand by my statement.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2017 08:09 PM by clongton »
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Offline Endeavour126

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #36 on: 04/19/2017 08:20 PM »
The gap between ASTP launch and STS-1 launch was 2.098 days. The gap between STS-135 launch and now is 2.112 days, so the record was broken the April 6th not yesterday.

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #37 on: 04/19/2017 08:45 PM »
But I'm not entirely counting the government out as you seem to be doing.  There is such a thing as a commons problem, and markets alone don't solve those.  Some things in space are such problems, I think.

I'm not counting out the U.S. Government.  But NASA is a "tool" that the U.S. Government uses to solve peaceful problems in space, and more specifically problems that require science and technology solutions.  I just don't see a near-term problem the U.S. Government needs solved that requires sending government employees to space.

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Some things NASA does really well.  In particular, I think they've been very successful with unmanned scientific probes.  What hasn't been done so efficiently by NASA, in my opinion, is human spaceflight since Apollo.

I support government funding of science and technology, and NASA can be effective at doing bleed-edge science and technology development.  But for NASA it can be argued that NASA does far less technology development today, and after the ISS mission ends NASA will likely be doing far less science too.  Conversely, I think too much of NASA's funding is going into becoming a transportation provider, even though there is no clear need for it to be a transportation provider.  So conflicting priorities like that tell me that our government is not positioned to help humanity expand out into space in a consistent way.

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That is changing with commercial cargo and crew, and those programs have worked wonderfully.  But SLS is still sucking up a lot more dollars than commercial cargo and crew.

If we could get NASA out of the business of doing things and instead get it limited to the business of funding competing, independent entities to do things, then we'd really have something.

Well said.

Quote
I think the U.S. government has at least as much reason to fund colonization of space as it has to fund science in space.  They just don't know how to do it.

I think using pure science funding as a comparison is a good idea, since American's support investment in science as long as they see it producing occasional results.  And if the U.S. Government were a partner in expanding humanity out into space, and not the leader per se, then I think the stakes would be lower and the funding could be more consistent.

Quote
The average voter would probably be more likely to think colonization of space is a good use of money than more science.

I'd like a balance of both, but science is never-ending, and expanding humanity out into space - which really hasn't started yet - will certainly take a long time before it can be self-sustaining.  So both could use support for a long time, and I would think the public could be convinced that expanding humanity out into space is a good idea as a long-term goal.  As long as it doesn't cost too much...
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 Arch Admiral

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #38 on: 04/19/2017 08:58 PM »
You guys are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The reason for the Gap is that no one in the space community has been able to think up and articulate to the political leadership of the USA a sensible post-Cold War reason for a national manned spaceflight program. Similarly, no one has been able to think up and articulate to the business community a sensible way for manned spaceflight to return anything on the vast investment required.

Note that the Gap has not even been noticed by the general news media. Nobody cares much about manned space anymore.

Using slightly different spacecraft with slightly reduced launch costs won't change this situation. Man in space is a 1950s concept that is out of date in the 21st century. We should be discussing IF American manned launches will ever resume and, if they do, how long they will continue after ISS is crashed in 2024.

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #39 on: 04/19/2017 09:16 PM »
The gap between ASTP launch and STS-1 launch was 2.098 days. The gap between STS-135 launch and now is 2.112 days, so the record was broken the April 6th not yesterday.
Yes, there were a number of tweets following Mr. Hale's original tweet discussing that:

Quote from: Wayne Hale
check my math. I'm notoriously bad at time calculations
Quote from: William Harwood
Excel says 2098 days since July 21, 2011
Quote from: Eric Berger
are y'all calculating from the end of STS 135 or the beginning?
Quote from: Robert Pearlman
From launch to launch: July 15, 1975 (ASTP) to April 12, 1981 (STS-1) is 2,098 days. And from July 8, 2011 (STS-135) to today is 2,111 days.
Quote from: Eric Berger
to landing of ASTP to STS 1 launch was a gap of 2,089 days, correct? which would put us now 9 days beyond that gap.

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #40 on: 04/19/2017 09:23 PM »
Wayne Hale has noted that the gap between manned U.S. Space missions from U.S. soil with American spacecraft is now greater than that between Apollo & Shuttle! Depressing... Not much to say about that. :(

...Other than when I said a couple years ago that this would happen; I was told to shut my mouth - I didn't know what I was talking about. I don't always like being right - especially about this subject... :'(

https://twitter.com/waynehale

To be honest, pretty pointless post.  U.S manned spaceflight is about to get three spectacular manned spacecraft and rockets operational within the next 12-18 months, and as Coastal Ron stated, we've been in-space for over 16 years straight.

I'd be concerned if we had nothing on the drawing board, but as that is obviously not the case, I don't understand the sensationalism.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #41 on: 04/19/2017 09:24 PM »
This man was previously the LM Skunk Works X-33 Program manager so he knows how to get stuff done.
So just to be clear the guy who managed to burn through the whole X33 build budget and the test budget and still didn't deliver a complete flight vehicle would have done much better on Orion?

This may seem unfair but don't forget LM claimed they had solved any issues due to the shape in black programmes they could not talk about.  This turned out to be (at best) an exaggeration. :(

Now it looks like he's managed to burn through the SM budget to the point NASA requested ESA supply their contribution to the ISS as Orions SM.
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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #42 on: 04/19/2017 10:06 PM »
Wayne Hale has noted that the gap between manned U.S. Space missions from U.S. soil with American spacecraft is now greater than that between Apollo & Shuttle! Depressing... Not much to say about that. :(

...Other than when I said a couple years ago that this would happen; I was told to shut my mouth - I didn't know what I was talking about. I don't always like being right - especially about this subject... :'(

https://twitter.com/waynehale

To be honest, pretty pointless post.  U.S manned spaceflight is about to get three spectacular manned spacecraft and rockets operational within the next 12-18 months, and as Coastal Ron stated, we've been in-space for over 16 years straight.

I'd be concerned if we had nothing on the drawing board, but as that is obviously not the case, I don't understand the sensationalism.

Mr Hale is someone myself and many others respect immensely - I was just reporting what this honorable man said. If you don't agree with him - write to him and say so. I could possibly disagree with some of his assertions, but actually I strongly agree with the general thrust of his statement. I don't think he was trying to stir a hornets nest of 'space geeks' into a frenzy. I think - me - that the gap of thousands of days and the hundreds more still to come is outrageous and need not have happened. Essentially saying "So what - we're going to have three really cool, shiny ships soon" is disingenuous and a bit specious. Saying that the gap doesn't matter or hasn't mattered is - I think - rather incorrect thinking - possibly even deliberately so. Now; you might think; "Oh, boo-hoo Mr Antipodean Space Geek - let me call you a Waaaaahhmbulance".... And I would understand that sentiment!! I really would.

But it didn't have to be this way. In a couple of years, it seemingly wont matter - just as presumably the Apollo-Soyuz-STS-1 gap didn't matter, right up until the 24th Shuttle flight. Then..... :(  But at least this time, with multiple launchers and spacecraft - all the eggs wont be in the one basket, so to speak.
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Offline clongton

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #43 on: 04/19/2017 10:19 PM »
The totally unnecessary extent of the gap caused extreme financial hardship and complete disillusionment and hardship to thousands of NASA workers and their families. Many lost homes. Many more had to pull their kids from college. Some of these were personal friends of mine and I have felt their pain. Most have had to eventually relocate to other parts of the country and are no longer in the aerospace field at all. To say anything that even hints that the gap isn't a big deal is really disingenuous and betrays an ignorance of what it was responsible for, for the suffering and heartbreak that it caused. I'm sorry. You may disagree with me and that's your right. But there it is. I put it out there. YMMV 
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Online mike robel

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #44 on: 04/19/2017 11:11 PM »
I deplore this gap.  However, manned space is not currently a national imperative and I don't really see it becoming one absent some foreign spectacular rivaling a sputnik moment or some black swan event which convinces the whole world that we need to get into space.  (Impending asteroid strike is not one because (1) it's not a black swan, and (2) we know it can happen.  We just don't know when, yet.

This past gap wasn't the first such gap that had that effect and I suspect it won't be the last.  If you go to work for NASA, or any other government agency, particularly as a contractor.  I should think you should expect it.  The Apollo RIFs were one reason why I did not become an aeronautical engineer.  (of course my lack of solid math skills was also a significantimpact.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  NASA made a strategic and tactical mistake by swinging for the moon or mars first instead of just getting US Manned Spacecraft into orbit to supply  the ISS.  Orion and Delta IV Heavy would have done the job.

Direct should have been the next step (IMHO) and if it could have been ready soon enough as Chuck says, there would be no need for the Delta IVH option I so strongly favor.  (Of course, the Northrop-Grumman/Boeing team should have won Orion, but that is just more opinion.)

I think a government manned space program can be justified if it is limited to conducting reconnaissance of the Moon and Mars, establishing research stations in LEO, on the moon, and Mars to serve as laboratories to advance technologies in space exploration that can be harvested by commercial companies.  I don't think, in the future, they need to build these vehicles however.  Perhaps they don't now and we would be better served by just canceling them now.

Other efforts more properly belong in the commercial sphere.  I think "they" should find ways to find better public-private partnerships that are not so heavily contract based.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #45 on: 04/20/2017 02:10 AM »
The bottom line is that he said that if those “things” (which included a lot of totally unnecessary impediments) could be properly mitigated then they could have Orion ready for 1st unmanned test flight by end of 3rd quarter 2010 and 1st manned test flight by late 2nd quarter 2011.

Don't doubt that you heard this. Don't doubt that he believed this. Not relevant to what we were discussing.

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Straight from the horse’s mouth. This man was previously the LM Skunk Works X-33 Program manager so he knows how to get stuff done.
Agreed, but still not the point.

Quote
Paraphrasing now, he indicated that if Orion had been a Skunk Works project it would be nearly done already.
True but irrelevant. It was not and could never have been a Skunk Works project/program, as you well know.

Quote
So based on the statements of the one man in command of all the actual facts on the ground, I stand by my statement.
It's not about your word or his belief.

It's about Congresses will, as expressed by congressional staffers in the Senate office building, at the time.

My remarks were about policy, you're bringing up the potential. It's never been about capability, but about political will (and whim).

The totally unnecessary extent of the gap caused extreme financial hardship and complete disillusionment and hardship to thousands of NASA workers and their families. Many lost homes. Many more had to pull their kids from college. Some of these were personal friends of mine and I have felt their pain. Most have had to eventually relocate to other parts of the country and are no longer in the aerospace field at all. To say anything that even hints that the gap isn't a big deal is really disingenuous and betrays an ignorance of what it was responsible for, for the suffering and heartbreak that it caused. I'm sorry. You may disagree with me and that's your right. But there it is. I put it out there. YMMV 
Could not agree more.

Was myself a victim of the time before as well as that time. Gave me time to develop other skills in other places. But the personal costs during those times were very high.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #46 on: 04/20/2017 02:21 AM »
The totally unnecessary extent of the gap caused extreme financial hardship and complete disillusionment and hardship to thousands of NASA workers and their families. Many lost homes. Many more had to pull their kids from college. Some of these were personal friends of mine and I have felt their pain. Most have had to eventually relocate to other parts of the country and are no longer in the aerospace field at all.

I have a lot of respect for you Chuck and Wayne Hale, but I do have a different perspective on this, probably because I'm not involved in the aerospace field at all.

In my line of work I have changed jobs a number of times, including times that I didn't have a choice.  During my generation the idea that you could stay in one job for your whole career became no longer true, with whole industries shifting around the country (and leaving too).

So while it sucks to have to change jobs or relocate to another location, NASA workers had plenty of advanced notice on what to expect regarding the Shuttle program.  More notice than workers in the private sector usually have.

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To say anything that even hints that the gap isn't a big deal is really disingenuous and betrays an ignorance of what it was responsible for, for the suffering and heartbreak that it caused. I'm sorry.

For me I don't assume that NASA was supposed to be like the Amtrak for space, that our government was always going to have it's own space transportation system, even if the biggest government customer for space transportation (i.e. the USAF) was not going to use it.

The SLS and Orion aren't even meant to perpetuate NASA's role in LEO space transportation, as they are really only meant for BLEO destinations.

So it was really only a matter of time before NASA gave up it's responsibility for transportation to space, and what little it currently has a responsibility for (i.e. BLEO) likely will go away sometime in the not too distant future.

As to the gap, I'm very happy with the Commercial Crew systems that are close to coming online, and I'm not sure they could have come online 5 years earlier, so in this case I think the delay will provide a better outcome.  And it's not like the Russians didn't provide what we needed in the mean time - their participation in the ISS and supporting the ISS has been an example of how international cooperation can happen even during the most challenging of relationships.

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You may disagree with me and that's your right. But there it is. I put it out there. YMMV

You have a lot of connections to NASA, so your passion for this topic shows.  I wish it could have been less painful for all involved.

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 AS-503

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #47 on: 04/20/2017 03:05 AM »
The current gap goes back to a bad decision made during the Constellation program. Orion should have been designed to launch from an EELV instead of Ares I.

Orion is (of course) a man rated spacecraft. The two EELVs (Atlas V and Delta 4) don't meet NASA's standards for man-rated space craft including structure margins (~1.4) and man-rated engines.

Also, a BEO manned spacecraft like the current Orion is too heavy for either of these two vehicles to deliver the spacecraft to low earth orbit without black zones on ascent.

That said, how should Orion (or any other BEO manned spacecraft) be "designed" to fly on an EELV?   

Offline RonM

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #48 on: 04/20/2017 03:49 AM »
The current gap goes back to a bad decision made during the Constellation program. Orion should have been designed to launch from an EELV instead of Ares I.

Orion is (of course) a man rated spacecraft. The two EELVs (Atlas V and Delta 4) don't meet NASA's standards for man-rated space craft including structure margins (~1.4) and man-rated engines.

Also, a BEO manned spacecraft like the current Orion is too heavy for either of these two vehicles to deliver the spacecraft to low earth orbit without black zones on ascent.

That said, how should Orion (or any other BEO manned spacecraft) be "designed" to fly on an EELV?

Atlas V is being man rated for Commercial Crew, so why is that an issue?

Orion could have been designed to be launched on an Atlas V by not making it so massive. If NASA needed a little more mass, then design Orion for DIVH and man rate that rocket. Of course it would cost money, but it would have been a lot cheaper than trying to build a totally new rocket like the Ares I.

Dragon 2 will be doing a lunar flyby mission using a FH. That's a BEO mission. F9 or Atlas V can be used to assemble a stack in LEO for a lunar mission. An ACES stage would make a good commercial EDS.

C'mon and think about it. I'm not talking about today's bloated Orion, I'm talking about how NASA could have made more practical decisions a dozen years ago. Fortunately, we have Commercial Crew, which will be flying before a crewed Orion flight, even if EM-1 is crewed.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #49 on: 04/20/2017 03:52 AM »
The totally unnecessary extent of the gap caused extreme financial hardship and complete disillusionment and hardship to thousands of NASA workers and their families. Many lost homes. Many more had to pull their kids from college. Some of these were personal friends of mine and I have felt their pain. Most have had to eventually relocate to other parts of the country and are no longer in the aerospace field at all. To say anything that even hints that the gap isn't a big deal is really disingenuous and betrays an ignorance of what it was responsible for, for the suffering and heartbreak that it caused. I'm sorry. You may disagree with me and that's your right. But there it is. I put it out there. YMMV 

Agreed it is inexcusable and the gap should not have even existed at all.

If the SDV was closer to STS and didn't require razing the shuttle's infrastructure STS's retirement would not have been set in stone or if the spiral development plan was kept the EELVs could have been used as crew launch vehicles.
One thing that could have been done would have been to dust off the X-38 or HL-20 and then work to a BEO vehicle from there.
Even if the OML needs to be completely changed for BEO missions a lot of systems could be reused.
Though that said Orion itself is not too heavy for an EELV class vehicle with a reduced SM it could even fly on Atlas.

As for saying the EELVs are unsafe their operational record and the fact two companies choose Atlas to lift crewed vehicles says otherwise.
I'd even go as far and say both LV's are probably safer than Soyuz U.
Less ignition events,more modern avionics,and less staging events etc.

« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 03:55 AM by Patchouli »

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #50 on: 04/20/2017 06:38 AM »
I still think the Atlas V Phase II with 5-meter diameter stages should have been the way to go to lift Orion and evolve for Heavy Lift needs. That is, if they didn't go for the Direct or Side-Mount Shuttle-derived Heavy Lifter for cargo. The 'single stick' Atlas V-Phase 2 with twinned RD-180s should have easily lifted the Orion into LEO. And the 'triple barrel' Phase 2 heavy lifter could have done the Constellation Lunar missions in twinned launches of the same class of vehicle. With a single J-2X or multiple RL-10 upper stage such as the 'Direct' upper stage (and SLS E.U.S.) then this vehicle could have had a great deal of flexibility and capability.

Even with the political trouble of Russian engines; the launcher could evolve to AR-1 or very similar - with increased performance to boot. But NASA was hamstrung by the Ares political football and most of us know how that ended up. SpaceX, ULA and Blue Origin are proving that hydrocarbon mainstages were the way to go for cost and future capability. Shuttle Derived is powerful and relatively reliable - but very expensive and relatively slow; it's day appears to be over :(  We can do a retrospective on how many bad decisions were made and micro-analyse all the bad past decisions. But being smart post-mortem is not as good as being smart pre-mortem - ambulances at the bottom of the cliff are more wasteful than preventing the tumble off the cliff in the first place!

It boils down to bad decisions and pork-flavored, political footballs. Sorry for the mixed metaphors; but we are in a post-decision traumatic-stress mode. There is light at the end of the tunnel. But going forward; we need some pragmatic, smart and bold decisions made about the coming capabilities that are going to be available.
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Online Svetoslav

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #51 on: 04/20/2017 11:01 AM »
Although certain media love to focus on the gap and to stress on the so called "dependency" on Russian vehicles, certain point must be made.

What kind of dependency is it? Does the fact that NASA relies on Russian ship means a technology lag between the USA and Russia? Of course, we know that this is not true. New rockets and vehicles are currently being developed in the USA, while Russia relies mainly on rockets developed decades ago. This doesn't rule out that there's no modernisaton in the Russian space sector. No, certain new technologies have been developed in the Post-soviet era. These include two new upper stages - Briz and Fregat. The Soyuz craft has also received substantial upgrades. However, the development of de-novo rockets and de-novo spacecraft has been met with delays. After two test flights of Angara several years ago, they're nowhere close to entering regular service. And Federatsiya won't fly until next decade. Meanwhile the USA operates two cargo craft (Cygnus and Dragon), and a new rocket (Falcon 9) has entered regular service.

So is it then an economical dependency? No! In fact, it's the exact opposite. The Russian space industry depends on the USA! The existence of NPO Energomash depends on the USA. It's because this plant produces engines for Atlas V and Antares (US customers), as well as for Soyuz (we know that  NASA still buys seats for Soyuz). In a worst case political scenario when Russia stops working with the USA, it will have a huge impact on the Russian space program. NPO Energomash will be endangered, especially if Angara is nowhere close to flying as regularly as Atlas.

Politicians know that very well. Apparently this is why Russia is a very loyal partner and it will continue to be so. Of course, certain Russian politicians would tease the USA about launching their astronauts on a trampoline, or about pulling out the Russian segment from the American portion of the ISS and forming a Russian-made station Mir-2. Oh, come on. We know it ain't gonna happen. Russia doesn't have the resources to operate its own station alone. Hell, the core Russian module MLM Nauka which was supposed to be a node for the Russian segment and modern science modules, is way behind schedule, and engineers are dealing with contamination of the fuel lines and amortization of the rubber components. MLM Nauka is more like a laughing stock these days.

Online AncientU

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #52 on: 04/20/2017 01:07 PM »
To me, the new, better things that are coming are commercial crew vehicles, and, more generally, the shift to commercial decision making rather than government decision making.

For me I keep in mind what the ultimate goal should be, which is the expansion of humanity out into space.

...

Quote
The shuttle had to be cancelled to make commercial crew vehicles happen.

I don't think people know how much the government-run Shuttle program suppressed the commercial space transportation sector.  Because no one can compete with "FREE", or at least government discounts.  I highly doubt anyone paid the actual full price for a Shuttle ride, either cargo or crew.

So yes, the Shuttle had to die in order for the commercial space transportation sector to gain new life.  And it has, big time with SpaceX, Blue Origin and many other companies that stepped up to take over what the Shuttle did.

This is a wonderful time to be a space geek, and most recently that's been because of what the private sector has been doing.  We should encourage that, not compete with it...

This is an important point.  The Shuttle, while a wonderful vehicle, never realized its goal of cheap access to space.  All of the USG-promoted reasons for breaking down the cost barrier faded away into the night -- but that was only due to the need for justification of the hugely-colonized program that was STS (then STS + ISS).  Had NASA acted responsibly, they would have called the Shuttle an important first step and continued down the technological path to lower cost access to space.  The next step could have been refinement of the STS... reusable engines that needed near zero post-flight refurbishment (equivalent of hydrogen-fueled BE-4s or Raptors), reusable fly-back boosters, better heat shield tiles -- or pivoted and gone down a completely different technological path.  While it existed, the USG had negative incentive to encourage private development efforts, except for the National security needs for more frequent and more affordable launches.  STS set the price baseline and EELV came into existence to undercut that price and increase the launch frequency... these programs created an extreme barrier against new entrants.

This is a major flaw of any central planned economy or program... it soon losses sight of the original purpose and begins to justify its ongoing existence, sustenance, and growth.  Constellation was a misguided effort to go retro to an APOLLO on steroids -- as if General Motors could have flourished by reverting to big steel, eight-cylinder, dual four-barrel carburetor speed machines when their cars weren't selling in the 1980-1990s. 

Russia, formerly Soviet Union, has and always had incredible technical prowess in rocketry.  Again, the central planning process became too inertial to change directions.  China is heading down a similar path; their long term prospects are at risk by the same centralized control.

Sad to have lost the Shuttle program (and to have this long gap in US human spaceflight capability), but if it had to happen to allow the original vision that created STS to sprout anew, then it was worth it.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 01:10 PM by AncientU »
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Offline gospacex

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #53 on: 04/20/2017 01:40 PM »
It would have happened sooner or later.  NASA's budget is barely a fifth of its Apollo glory days so it is little wonder when the time came to retire the space shuttle the fiscal cupboard was bare; NASA being setup to fail basically.  Can't build a cathedral on the head of a pin.

Oh really, they (human spaceflight program at NASA) had "only" about $7B per year. Who can build a rocket and launch humans to LEO on such a meagre budget??? [sarcasm]

Offline gospacex

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #54 on: 04/20/2017 01:46 PM »
Some things NASA does really well.  In particular, I think they've been very successful with unmanned scientific probes.  What hasn't been done so efficiently by NASA, in my opinion, is human spaceflight since Apollo.

Was it efficient _during_ Apollo?
No.
To be fair, it was not trying to be efficient, the task was to beat Russians to the Moon, regardless of cost - and this was successfully accomplished.
But in the process, NASA human spaceflight was "infected" by the notion that somehow financial efficiency is "not important".

Quote
The difference is whether there's competition and a monolithic bureaucracy or not.  With science missions, many teams are formed to make proposals that must compete with one another.  The people making the decisions don't have a vested interest in doing it a particular way or keeping particular people employed (for the most part).  And the programs are fixed-length and then the funding is done.

With human spaceflight, none of that is true.  The programs don't have to compete with anything.  The government workforce has a monopoly and the programs last indefinitely.

This is also true of almost all other government programs, and this makes most government programs (not only in US) inefficient.

Trying to fix this problem by "improving efficiency of government programs" is generally futile. About two dozen different countries tried to do so, every single one has failed, or is failing as we speak.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 01:47 PM by gospacex »

Offline Jim

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #55 on: 04/20/2017 02:47 PM »

Was it efficient _during_ Apollo?
No.


Really?  Try posting something supported up by data. 
Your NASA bashing is getting sickening.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #56 on: 04/20/2017 03:15 PM »
Now it looks like he's [the LM Skunk Works X-33 Program manager] managed to burn through the SM budget to the point NASA requested ESA supply their contribution to the ISS as Orions SM.
Not the actual sequence of events.  ESA asked NASA if it could contribute the ESM as a barter in lieu of ISS contributions.  NASA said yes, because at the time it had no budget for ESM.  The Obama Administration had cancelled the program!  The Orion capsule was being strung along as a potential ISS rescue vehicle or something.  Remember?  So no one "managed to burn through the SM budget".  There was no "SM budget".

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 03:17 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Ludus

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #57 on: 04/20/2017 04:15 PM »
Both gaps resulted from a loss of political interest. In the first case because of the success of Apollo at winning the race there wasn't an obvious point to be made. In the second case the Cold War had gone away and there was both a lack of competition and an active desire to help employ the Russian rocket industry to keep their people from getting into mischief.

The rise of commercial space in the second gap seems to be an accident of history but if it takes hold it may be the real beginning of history with everything else just a preface.

Offline Comga

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #58 on: 04/20/2017 04:22 PM »
Throwing the proverbial bat in the henhouse:

I've never heard that expression before.  What does it mean?  Do bats scare the hens into running around like mad?
I suggest you throw a bat (as in club or bludgeon) in a henhouse once. It will for sure send the chickens running around like mad.

I thought he meant to send an old crone into the henhouse to pick one out for dinner, thereby causing mass panic, but that version of 'bat' could be seen as sexist.

Really, all this for one confused metaphor.

What's really interesting is that almost all of these posts, with the exception of Orion to the Moon, are "supply side astronautics".  "Build it and they will come".  It presumes the lack of functioning spacecraft is the limit for people flying to orbit.  Only a few have mentioned the demand side.  There needs to be a place to go.  NASA is pushing the ISS as a destination, but it is insufficiently commercial for people to develop and fly vehicles as an enterprise. Dragon-2 and CST-100 are both still government programs, with development paid for. We are still in search of something to drive demand.

While I fear that there will always be one more safety requirement from one more oversight group that prevents Dragon from flying NASA astronauts, and almost no destinations for non-NASA flyers, it is encouraging that Dragon continues to progress, as does CST-100.  We will see if demand rises once supply exists, as Bigelow, for one, has stated.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Ludus

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #59 on: 04/20/2017 04:29 PM »
Although certain media love to focus on the gap and to stress on the so called "dependency" on Russian vehicles, certain point must be made.

What kind of dependency is it? Does the fact that NASA relies on Russian ship means a technology lag between the USA and Russia? Of course, we know that this is not true. New rockets and vehicles are currently being developed in the USA, while Russia relies mainly on rockets developed decades ago. This doesn't rule out that there's no modernisaton in the Russian space sector. No, certain new technologies have been developed in the Post-soviet era. These include two new upper stages - Briz and Fregat. The Soyuz craft has also received substantial upgrades. However, the development of de-novo rockets and de-novo spacecraft has been met with delays. After two test flights of Angara several years ago, they're nowhere close to entering regular service. And Federatsiya won't fly until next decade. Meanwhile the USA operates two cargo craft (Cygnus and Dragon), and a new rocket (Falcon 9) has entered regular service.

So is it then an economical dependency? No! In fact, it's the exact opposite. The Russian space industry depends on the USA! The existence of NPO Energomash depends on the USA. It's because this plant produces engines for Atlas V and Antares (US customers), as well as for Soyuz (we know that  NASA still buys seats for Soyuz). In a worst case political scenario when Russia stops working with the USA, it will have a huge impact on the Russian space program. NPO Energomash will be endangered, especially if Angara is nowhere close to flying as regularly as Atlas.

Politicians know that very well. Apparently this is why Russia is a very loyal partner and it will continue to be so. Of course, certain Russian politicians would tease the USA about launching their astronauts on a trampoline, or about pulling out the Russian segment from the American portion of the ISS and forming a Russian-made station Mir-2. Oh, come on. We know it ain't gonna happen. Russia doesn't have the resources to operate its own station alone. Hell, the core Russian module MLM Nauka which was supposed to be a node for the Russian segment and modern science modules, is way behind schedule, and engineers are dealing with contamination of the fuel lines and amortization of the rubber components. MLM Nauka is more like a laughing stock these days.

I agree. Part of the political reason for the gap was an active US interest in subsidizing the Russian rocket industry to keep their talent from being unemployed and wandering off in search of work. There were a lot of places the US didn't want to benefit from an influx of talented experienced Russian rocket engineers. Keeping them working on Space launch kept them from being employed by less stable countries for more dangerous projects.

Offline gospacex

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #60 on: 04/20/2017 04:53 PM »

Was it efficient _during_ Apollo?
No.

Really?  Try posting something supported up by data. 
Your NASA bashing is getting sickening.

If Apollo hardware was efficient economically speaking, Saturn 5 and Apollo capsules would continue flying, until even better alternatives are online.

That's how things are done in the normal (aka "capitalist") economy. That's how things are done in the West for bread, transistors, processors, CCDs, jeans, cars, passenger planes...

Socialists refuse to have normal economy and have shortages of bread, and crappy processors, cars, passenger planes... In its dying years, Soviet Union produced its first and only computer mouse. It's about the size and almost the weight of a flatiron...

It's not my fault that by a twist of Cold War history, US space program ended up running socialism-style launch vehicle development program, with corresponding results.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 04:55 PM by gospacex »

Offline Ludus

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #61 on: 04/20/2017 05:05 PM »
To me, the new, better things that are coming are commercial crew vehicles, and, more generally, the shift to commercial decision making rather than government decision making.

For me I keep in mind what the ultimate goal should be, which is the expansion of humanity out into space.

...

Quote
The shuttle had to be cancelled to make commercial crew vehicles happen.

I don't think people know how much the government-run Shuttle program suppressed the commercial space transportation sector.  Because no one can compete with "FREE", or at least government discounts.  I highly doubt anyone paid the actual full price for a Shuttle ride, either cargo or crew.

So yes, the Shuttle had to die in order for the commercial space transportation sector to gain new life.  And it has, big time with SpaceX, Blue Origin and many other companies that stepped up to take over what the Shuttle did.

This is a wonderful time to be a space geek, and most recently that's been because of what the private sector has been doing.  We should encourage that, not compete with it...

This is an important point.  The Shuttle, while a wonderful vehicle, never realized its goal of cheap access to space.  All of the USG-promoted reasons for breaking down the cost barrier faded away into the night -- but that was only due to the need for justification of the hugely-colonized program that was STS (then STS + ISS).  Had NASA acted responsibly, they would have called the Shuttle an important first step and continued down the technological path to lower cost access to space.  The next step could have been refinement of the STS... reusable engines that needed near zero post-flight refurbishment (equivalent of hydrogen-fueled BE-4s or Raptors), reusable fly-back boosters, better heat shield tiles -- or pivoted and gone down a completely different technological path.  While it existed, the USG had negative incentive to encourage private development efforts, except for the National security needs for more frequent and more affordable launches.  STS set the price baseline and EELV came into existence to undercut that price and increase the launch frequency... these programs created an extreme barrier against new entrants.

This is a major flaw of any central planned economy or program... it soon losses sight of the original purpose and begins to justify its ongoing existence, sustenance, and growth.  Constellation was a misguided effort to go retro to an APOLLO on steroids -- as if General Motors could have flourished by reverting to big steel, eight-cylinder, dual four-barrel carburetor speed machines when their cars weren't selling in the 1980-1990s. 

Russia, formerly Soviet Union, has and always had incredible technical prowess in rocketry.  Again, the central planning process became too inertial to change directions.  China is heading down a similar path; their long term prospects are at risk by the same centralized control.

Sad to have lost the Shuttle program (and to have this long gap in US human spaceflight capability), but if it had to happen to allow the original vision that created STS to sprout anew, then it was worth it.

It's also worth noting that the Shuttle (STS) was a design by politics project much like SLS. The earlier Shuttle designs were fully reusable with piloted boosters as well as orbiters. They ended up with a strange budget compromise that wasn't engineered to work efficiently but just to use the right contractors in the right districts and budgets. If the Shuttle had kept to an "engineered" version it would have been capable of orderly design evolution. They could have added an unmanned payload faring orbiter independent of the Booster or evolved the Booster independently of the orbiter. They could have evolved toward rapid reusability.

Offline Proponent

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #62 on: 04/20/2017 08:51 PM »
It's also worth noting that the Shuttle (STS) was a design by politics project much like SLS. The earlier Shuttle designs were fully reusable with piloted boosters as well as orbiters. They ended up with a strange budget compromise that wasn't engineered to work efficiently but just to use the right contractors in the right districts and budgets. If the Shuttle had kept to an "engineered" version it would have been capable of orderly design evolution. They could have added an unmanned payload faring orbiter independent of the Booster or evolved the Booster independently of the orbiter. They could have evolved toward rapid reusability.

There is a meme that, if only Congress and OMB had been willing to fund a fully reusable shuttle in 1971, it would have turned out much better, but that is in fact highly unlikely.  The first director of the Shuttle program office, Charles Donlan, had this to say of the fully reusable designs:
Quote from: 'Charles Donlan'
It wasn't until the Phase B's came along and we had a hard look at the reality of what we meant by fully reusable that we shook our heads saying, "No way you're going to build that thing in this century..." Thank God for all the pressures that were brought to bear not to go that route.

During the Columbia accident investigation, Robert Thompson, who had been Shuttle Program Manager from 1970 to 1981, testified (see p. 7 of the attachment) that
Quote from: Robert Thompson
... in my judgment, it would have cost more per flight to operate the two-stage fully-reusable system than the one we built, even though the cost analysis didnʼt show that. When you get two complex vehicles like that and all one vehicle does is help you get up to staging velocity -- and the staging velocity is 12,000 feet per second -- when you build a booster that does nothing but fly up to 12,000 feet per second, youʼve built something wrong. I think thatʼs what the two-stage fully-reusable system was; and I think, had the agency tried to build it, we wouldnʼt have a Shuttle Program today.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 08:53 PM by Proponent »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #63 on: 04/20/2017 09:16 PM »
It's not my fault that by a twist of Cold War history, US space program ended up running socialism-style launch vehicle development program, with corresponding results.
The Apollo program began before any commercial satellites had been launched, let alone launch vehicles.  (Early Bird flew in 1965.  Apollo began in 1961.  Pegasus, the first commercially developed orbital launcher, flew in 1990.)  There was no "capitalist" space program, by your definition, at the time, anywhere on the planet.

Results?  Man walked on the Moon.  Commercial alternative?  None at the time and we're still waiting, five decades on.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/20/2017 09:23 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #64 on: 04/20/2017 09:43 PM »
Results?  Man walked on the Moon.  Commercial alternative?  None at the time and we're still waiting, five decades on.

To be fair though, our government hasn't returned to our Moon, four decades on.

And I don't see that as because of a technological barrier, for either our government or the private sector, but a lack of desire.  If anything our private sector today is out-innovating NASA in the realm of space transportation.
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 john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #65 on: 04/21/2017 08:21 AM »
Atlas V is being man rated for Commercial Crew, so why is that an issue?
The interesting thing about that is how (relatively) easy the process of crew rating turned out to be. Adding a dual redundant hydraulics for TVC, an emergency detection system and developing a flight plan that kept the stress levels below 1/1.4 of failure seemed to have been the big ticket items.

But remember "back then" the NASA Administrator (Griffin?) claimed this was impossible.
Quote from: RonM
Orion could have been designed to be launched on an Atlas V by not making it so massive. If NASA needed a little more mass, then design Orion for DIVH and man rate that rocket. Of course it would cost money, but it would have been a lot cheaper than trying to build a totally new rocket like the Ares I.
But that would have prevented the objective of NASA proving (to itself) that it could design a new rocket. Or at least manage a contractor team to build a rocket to their specification to be operated by them.
Quote from: RonM
Dragon 2 will be doing a lunar flyby mission using a FH. That's a BEO mission. F9 or Atlas V can be used to assemble a stack in LEO for a lunar mission. An ACES stage would make a good commercial EDS.

C'mon and think about it. I'm not talking about today's bloated Orion, I'm talking about how NASA could have made more practical decisions a dozen years ago. Fortunately, we have Commercial Crew, which will be flying before a crewed Orion flight, even if EM-1 is crewed.
All true now but in 2005 SpaceX was a 3YO startup company that had not launched it's first rocket.
And just a note but FH is still yet to fly.

OTOH both Atlas V and Delta IV had already established strong reliability records but NASA was adamant they could not be crew rated. They also knew from Apollo you were going to need a BFR to go to the Moon.

I know we should not cry over spilt milk but AFAIK a lot of the people and processes that contributed to those decisions are still in place and could make another set of equally bad decisions the next time round.  :(
It boils down to bad decisions and pork-flavored, political footballs. Sorry for the mixed metaphors; but we are in a post-decision traumatic-stress mode. There is light at the end of the tunnel. But going forward; we need some pragmatic, smart and bold decisions made about the coming capabilities that are going to be available.
"Bold" could be a problem. :(

People forget the NASA of the Apollo era had a lot of engineers with a solid understanding of real engineering risk. When to take (calculated) risks, how to mitigate them and when to just roll the dice.  They accepted them to make progress quickly.

The modern NASA is much more risk averse, yet also seems unhappy to pass bad news up the chain to someone who can do something about it.  I'm not sure 2 Shuttle crashes have fixed this problem. IMHO the fact that ESA is building the SM for Orion should have raised a big flag that all is not well. 

But you're right barring a cataclysmic shift (I mean something like India saying they will land a man on Mars by 2030 and China saying they will be there within 10 years) NASA is not going to get the kind of budget that DRA 5.0 postulates by a very wide margin.

That means a lot more joined up thinking and a greater willingness to accept you may fail, as long as you have enough reserves to try again and have learned enough from that failure to radically raise your chances of success.

That said there are glimmers of hope. Personally I think Kilopower has been an amazing project. Getting a PoC involving a nuclear reactor tested for $64m was a staggering achievement, given modern H&S rules. Their ground testing of the first US designed and built space rated nuclear reactor in more than 50 years for a few $100m by the end of 2017 is astonishing. More subtly they have also convinced the planning teams to shift the baseline from a monolithic 400Kw reactor for the Mars surface (the single biggest piece of kit that has to be moved during the surface mission) to multiple Kilopower modules which could (in a pinch) be moved by crew memebers. Kilopower could be a real game changer for electric propulsion to the outer planets (although it raises the minimum mass of such a mission), as well as crewed flight and ISRU if NASA uses it boldly.
« Last Edit: 04/21/2017 09:26 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #66 on: 04/21/2017 08:41 AM »
Not the actual sequence of events.  ESA asked NASA if it could contribute the ESM as a barter in lieu of ISS contributions.  NASA said yes, because at the time it had no budget for ESM.  The Obama Administration had cancelled the program!  The Orion capsule was being strung along as a potential ISS rescue vehicle or something.  Remember?  So no one "managed to burn through the SM budget".  There was no "SM budget".
What I recall is Gerstheimer saying that there were 3 options for how the ESA could make it's contribution to the ISS. NASA's preferred option was they supply the SM for Orion.

I see my mistake in thinking that they would not fund Orion without an SM given its prime mission is BEO.

Which begs the question why didn't NASA ask for funds for an SM? Is Orion as it stands capable of a full 3 day mission to ISS without any SM at all?

I was wrong, but the facts as stated make no sense. 
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline gospacex

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #67 on: 04/21/2017 08:56 AM »
It's not my fault that by a twist of Cold War history, US space program ended up running socialism-style launch vehicle development program, with corresponding results.
The Apollo program began before any commercial satellites had been launched, let alone launch vehicles.  (Early Bird flew in 1965.  Apollo began in 1961.  Pegasus, the first commercially developed orbital launcher, flew in 1990.)  There was no "capitalist" space program, by your definition, at the time, anywhere on the planet.

This is supposed to prove that "capitalist" launchers are not better than government ones... how exactly?

Quote
Results?  Man walked on the Moon.

Soviets also have amazing achievements. They launched the first satellite and the first man in space.
By your logic, this constitutes a proof that Soviet system is good? (Because "Man walked on the Moon", evidently, automatically makes Apollo program ideal in all respects and above any critical discussion).

Where is the Soviet Union now?
Why Russian launch rate is plummeting like a rock last three years?

Similarly, where is the *US* manned program now, after the string of supposedly amazingly successful programs such as Apollo, STS and SLS?

Quote
Commercial alternative?  None at the time and we're still waiting, five decades on.

I have serious doubts you are waiting for it. Previous and current generation of "old space" establishment did a lot to not let it happen, or at least postpone it as far as possible - actions of Ares nee SLS supporters and ULA speak to that.

I am not trying to blame individual people on this - my point is that this is the nature of gevernment-run programs! Even good people inside them, at best, are unable to actually achieve as much as they can; often, it's worse than this - they become part of the inefficient, but entrenched system which wants to survive and therefore resists progress. BTW, hi clongton, do you recognize the description of the beast you fought against in the DIRECT days?

It's futile. Commercial space launch happens anyway. We lost some 20 years of progress, but it happens.

Online AncientU

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #68 on: 04/21/2017 12:08 PM »
...
But that would have prevented the objective of NASA proving (to itself) that it could design a new rocket. Or at least manage a contractor team to build a rocket to their specification to be operated by them.
...

Attempt One (Constellation/Ares I) proved otherwise.

Jury still out on Attempt Two, the do-over. 
So far, they've proven that they cannot design/build a new rocket on schedule or budget.

This is why there is such a large gap; it could extend to mid-2020s if we were to await this next data point.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #69 on: 04/21/2017 12:12 PM »
It's futile. Commercial space launch happens anyway. We lost some 20 years of progress, but it happens.
I get real twitchy whenever I hear something is "historically inevitable," or anything close to it.  :(

AFAIK the only thing that's historically inevitable (so far) is we will all die. :(

Everything else depends on who-does-what-and-when-with-what-resources. Somethings are quite likely, some not. That does not guarantee what's likely will happen and what's unlikely won't. People who say otherwise are usually doing so after the events have happened. In real time it's rarely so clear cut.

"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #70 on: 04/21/2017 12:18 PM »
...
But that would have prevented the objective of NASA proving (to itself) that it could design a new rocket. Or at least manage a contractor team to build a rocket to their specification to be operated by them.
...

Attempt One (Constellation/Ares I) proved otherwise.
You'd have to give them that they did manage to launch the Ares 1-x vehicle before it was shut down, although given the sunk costs that was not exactly a stunning result. A dummy 5th segment, a dummy 2nd stage and a mass simulator proved the design needed more work.
Quote from: AncientU
Jury still out on Attempt Two, the do-over. 
So far, they've proven that they cannot design/build a new rocket on schedule or budget.

This is why there is such a large gap; it could extend to mid-2020s if we were to await this next data point.
I thought the latest reports where SLS 1 is on track for a 2018 launch?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Online envy887

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #71 on: 04/21/2017 12:54 PM »
...
But that would have prevented the objective of NASA proving (to itself) that it could design a new rocket. Or at least manage a contractor team to build a rocket to their specification to be operated by them.
...

Attempt One (Constellation/Ares I) proved otherwise.
You'd have to give them that they did manage to launch the Ares 1-x vehicle before it was shut down, although given the sunk costs that was not exactly a stunning result. A dummy 5th segment, a dummy 2nd stage and a mass simulator proved the design needed more work.
Quote from: AncientU
Jury still out on Attempt Two, the do-over. 
So far, they've proven that they cannot design/build a new rocket on schedule or budget.

This is why there is such a large gap; it could extend to mid-2020s if we were to await this next data point.
I thought the latest reports where SLS 1 is on track for a 2018 launch?

SLS in 2018 certainly will not be a manned launch, if it happens at all. Even a launch in 2019 is highly unlikely to be manned.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #72 on: 04/21/2017 01:03 PM »
SLS in 2018 certainly will not be a manned launch, if it happens at all. Even a launch in 2019 is highly unlikely to be manned.
I was unclear. I was thinking just in terms of seeing a first SLS launch. I think 2023/4 is when it's meant to carry first crew?

It's certainly been a while coming.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline blasphemer

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #73 on: 04/21/2017 01:20 PM »

Was it efficient _during_ Apollo?
No.


Really?  Try posting something supported up by data. 
Your NASA bashing is getting sickening.

NASA during Apollo days spent 4% of federal budget and employed 400,000 people. It was many things but it was not efficient at all.

Now I am certainly not going to bash Apollo-time NASA because burning through money is reasonable when the money is there and it did deliver groundbreaking results nobody can argue with.

But after Apollo ended and money was tight, the huge problem with inefficiency became obvious. Which is how NASA ended up with a launch vehicle which cost $1.5 billion to launch 20 tons, stuck in LEO ever since, and now with this long and ongoing gap.

I am still hesitant to bash NASA because politicians prescribing NASA direction are arguably more to blame, but one thing is certain - someone needs a bashing. This state of things is not OK.

We can and must do better. If we dont learn to be efficient, to do more with less, then manned spaceflight will never approach the glory days of the past again (because the budgets certainly wont).

Offline clongton

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #74 on: 04/21/2017 01:31 PM »
In my line of work I have changed jobs a number of times, including times that I didn't have a choice.  During my generation the idea that you could stay in one job for your whole career became no longer true, with whole industries shifting around the country (and leaving too).

So while it sucks to have to change jobs or relocate to another location, NASA workers had plenty of advanced notice on what to expect regarding the Shuttle program.  More notice than workers in the private sector usually have.

I understand and appreciate what you have said Ron. Perhaps the disconnect comes from, as you stated, not being involved in the aerospace industry, especially the "space" part. In terms of general industry, most people have job skills that are reasonably transferrable to other kinds of jobs in other locations. If the aerospace industry connected to NASA's space program had been like that then the length of the gap would not have created the harm that it did, for both the post-Apollo and post Shuttle population. Most of the furloughed personnel could have found good jobs elsewhere, with the skillsets they had. But it's mostly not like that. The skillsets most of them had are unique and highly specialized to the launch vehicles and spacecraft they support. When their jobs went away so did the opportunities for gainful employment - anywhere. It's like an infantryman being discharged from the Army who was a munitions specialist, specializing in storing, loading and firing of tank shells in an Abrams Tank. Where can he go in civilian life and get a good job with that skillset? He can't. There are no civilian jobs that skillset can be transferred into. That's why most of them stay in the Army. They become "lifers". This was the situation faced by the majority of those affected by the ending of both the Apollo and the Shuttle programs. There were no jobs - anywhere - they could move into and apply their skills. Most had to start over from scratch, after relocating to a different part of the country. That's a very difficult and painful thing to do when you are already advanced middle age or older, have a family that's almost grown, have a home with a mortgage and kids already in college. Not impossible but very, very difficult. Lots and lots of pain and hardship.

The advance notice they had was insufficient for most of them because it required complete retraining in a totally different line of work, often at enormous expense, all while continuing to maintain your family and stay at your job, not always, but sometimes for 10-12 hours a day. That kind of retraining was not available anywhere near the Cape, not even in the state. The two biggest industries in Florida are Cattle ranching and tourism - in that order. So they couldn't adequately prepare while they were still working and they couldn't quit working to prepare while they still had family, mortgages and tuitions to pay for. Catch-22, big time. When the program was officially over, in excess of 25,000 people were directly affected, and according to the Titusville Chamber of Commerce, for every one of them 2.8 people "outside the gates" would likely loose their sources of employment.

There were only 2 real answers to prevent this kind of economic carnage:
1. Fly out Shuttle until the replacement program was operational (we offered one that would have done this) or
2. Don't ever even consider looking for employment in the space industry in the first place. Don't ever get a job at NASA or at any company that depends on NASA. Forget about space completely and go do something else.

Regarding number 2, most of the people who chose instead to work the United States Space program in or around the Kennedy Space Center did it to follow their dream, with every intention of being a "lifer", like the Army guy, to stay there for their entire career. And at the time there was every indication they could do that because Shuttle was supposed to fly for far longer than it was allowed to.

The gap didn't have to happen. It was preventable. It should not have happened. To see the damage this completely unnecessary gap caused is gut-wrenching beyond description.
« Last Edit: 04/21/2017 01:47 PM by clongton »
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #75 on: 04/21/2017 01:37 PM »
Let's not forget the "double whammy" of the 2008 economic crash on those folks as well...
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Offline spacenut

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #76 on: 04/21/2017 01:42 PM »
Again, there were designs in the 1960's for large fully reusable rockets.  Pegasus and Rombus that Phillip Bono designed.  There was Sea Dragon.  Even the booster for Saturn V had designs on the drawing board for parachute and ocean recovery.  Saturn also had a design with the third stage (second stage on Saturn IB) with a plug nozzle engine (made from a J2 engine), to return and land for reuse.  So even with a reusable booster and upper stage, Saturn could have been partially recovered, refurbished, and used again for far heavier payloads than shuttle could have made. 

If the reusable Saturn V components could have been made and used.  In the long run, I think we could have had accomplished more by not going the Shuttle route.  They even had plans for a Mars mission using Saturn V launches by 1986. 

NASA chose the most political route, because the Johnson Administration put NASA facilities all over the country, to keep it running with votes from those states and districts.  Not efficient.  Thus Shuttle and ISS instead of exploration.  Research is fine in orbit, but it could have been done cheaper. 

Online envy887

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #77 on: 04/21/2017 01:45 PM »
The skillsets most of them had are unique and highly specialized to the launch vehicles they support. When their jobs went away so did the opportunities for gainful employment - anywhere.
...
Just one more reason why the STS program having a government-backed monopoly on launch was a terrible idea in the first place.

Offline Cherokee43v6

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #78 on: 04/21/2017 03:24 PM »
In my line of work I have changed jobs a number of times, including times that I didn't have a choice.  During my generation the idea that you could stay in one job for your whole career became no longer true, with whole industries shifting around the country (and leaving too).

So while it sucks to have to change jobs or relocate to another location, NASA workers had plenty of advanced notice on what to expect regarding the Shuttle program.  More notice than workers in the private sector usually have.

I understand and appreciate what you have said Ron. Perhaps the disconnect comes from, as you stated, not being involved in the aerospace industry, especially the "space" part. In terms of general industry, most people have job skills that are reasonably transferrable to other kinds of jobs in other locations. If the aerospace industry connected to NASA's space program had been like that then the length of the gap would not have created the harm that it did, for both the post-Apollo and post Shuttle population. Most of the furloughed personnel could have found good jobs elsewhere, with the skillsets they had. But it's mostly not like that. The skillsets most of them had are unique and highly specialized to the launch vehicles and spacecraft they support. When their jobs went away so did the opportunities for gainful employment - anywhere. It's like an infantryman being discharged from the Army who was a munitions specialist, specializing in storing, loading and firing of tank shells in an Abrams Tank. Where can he go in civilian life and get a good job with that skillset? He can't. There are no civilian jobs that skillset can be transferred into. That's why most of them stay in the Army. They become "lifers". This was the situation faced by the majority of those affected by the ending of both the Apollo and the Shuttle programs. There were no jobs - anywhere - they could move into and apply their skills. Most had to start over from scratch, after relocating to a different part of the country. That's a very difficult and painful thing to do when you are already advanced middle age or older, have a family that's almost grown, have a home with a mortgage and kids already in college. Not impossible but very, very difficult. Lots and lots of pain and hardship.

The advance notice they had was insufficient for most of them because it required complete retraining in a totally different line of work, often at enormous expense, all while continuing to maintain your family and stay at your job, not always, but sometimes for 10-12 hours a day. That kind of retraining was not available anywhere near the Cape, not even in the state. The two biggest industries in Florida are Cattle ranching and tourism - in that order. So they couldn't adequately prepare while they were still working and they couldn't quit working to prepare while they still had family, mortgages and tuitions to pay for. Catch-22, big time. When the program was officially over, in excess of 25,000 people were directly affected, and according to the Titusville Chamber of Commerce, for every one of them 2.8 people "outside the gates" would likely loose their sources of employment.

There were only 2 real answers to prevent this kind of economic carnage:
1. Fly out Shuttle until the replacement program was operational (we offered one that would have done this) or
2. Don't ever even consider looking for employment in the space industry in the first place. Don't ever get a job at NASA or at any company that depends on NASA. Forget about space completely and go do something else.

Regarding number 2, most of the people who chose instead to work the United States Space program in or around the Kennedy Space Center did it to follow their dream, with every intention of being a "lifer", like the Army guy, to stay there for their entire career. And at the time there was every indication they could do that because Shuttle was supposed to fly for far longer than it was allowed to.

The gap didn't have to happen. It was preventable. It should not have happened. To see the damage this completely unnecessary gap caused is gut-wrenching beyond description.

You've just described the very lack of flexibility and adaptability that doomed the program.  As someone in business as a career you quickly learn that your first, and largest by far, expense is payroll.  Companies live or die by their ability to maximize the work they get from each employee.  Specialized positions are always the most endangered, since the company will actively seek the ability to generalize them and thus eliminate the need for a 'task only' employee.

This was not NASA's fault, nor was it NASA management's fault.  This was the fault of the political leadership from BOTH Parties, both in promulgating the existence of the situation and in yanking the rug out from underneath those who depended on it for their livelihood.

What a lot of spacefans out here sometimes fail to grasp is the difference between NASA Management, who does the best they can with the situation they are handed and the Political leadership, that hands out those situations.

Politics made the gap inevitable, because there was no way the politicians were going to fund a replacement without the 'pain' of not having what was already working.
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        ...I just pointed at it and laughed a little too loudly."

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #79 on: 04/21/2017 04:10 PM »
Perhaps the disconnect comes from, as you stated, not being involved in the aerospace industry, especially the "space" part. In terms of general industry, most people have job skills that are reasonably transferrable to other kinds of jobs in other locations.

The Shuttle program likely had it's share of unique job categories, like the workers that maintained the Shuttle thermal tiles.

But you'd be surprised at how much each large company creates unique or proprietary processes that require workers to specialize in a skill that only exists in one place in the world,  Plus there are plenty of unique machines around the world that require lots of training, but they are not all located in the same geographical area, which means if you lose your job you may have to relocate to work on the same equipment.

Quote
It's like an infantryman being discharged from the Army who was a munitions specialist, specializing in storing, loading and firing of tank shells in an Abrams Tank. Where can he go in civilian life and get a good job with that skillset? He can't.

The vast amount of my career has been in management, starting at the age of 21, and we all have to remember that the entities we work for are NOT going to be looking out for our best interests.  They don't even know their own futures.

We all must actively manage our own futures.  Which might mean leaving a job before you have to.

Quote
There were no jobs - anywhere - they could move into and apply their skills.

It certainly did not help that the Shuttle program wound down during a recession, but I just found that:

"As of 2014, more than 2,000 aerospace and aviation companies are located in Florida, employing more than 87,000 workers making an average salary of $67,000. Many of these companies are located in northwest Florida, which has become a hotbed of aviation and aerospace activity including research and development, testing and education."

So there is life in aerospace outside of the Shuttle program in Florida.  Though someone might have to move.

And this gets back to actively managing our own futures.  United Space Alliance and NASA were not looking out for their workers futures, only their own needs.  And though many of the workers may have felt a loyalty to the program they had spent so much of their lives on, obviously the reverse was not true.

Quote
There were only 2 real answers to prevent this kind of economic carnage:
1. Fly out Shuttle until the replacement program was operational (we offered one that would have done this) or

There was nothing left for the Shuttle to do, or a successor like DIRECT to do.  The ISS was complete, so any additional flights would have either have been make-work or would have eaten into the Commercial Cargo contracts for the private sector - which would have impeded the private sector bringing lower cost solutions online.

Quote
2. Don't ever even consider looking for employment in the space industry in the first place. Don't ever get a job at NASA or at any company that depends on NASA. Forget about space completely and go do something else.

I don't know anyone that has had the same job their whole career.  So again, you can't assume someone is going to manage your life for you and that nothing will change.  Change can happen at any time, and we have to be prepared for it.

Quote
Regarding number 2, most of the people who chose instead to work the United States Space program in or around the Kennedy Space Center did it to follow their dream, with every intention of being a "lifer", like the Army guy, to stay there for their entire career. And at the time there was every indication they could do that because Shuttle was supposed to fly for far longer than it was allowed to.

I have to say that their assumptions were wrong.  It's one thing to pursue a dream, but our space program is just a tool for our politicians to use to achieve national goals.  To assume politically motivated spending will continue is short-sighted - just watch what changes President Trump wants to make, and how that will affect the careers of many people.  One can never predict the future.

Quote
The gap didn't have to happen. It was preventable. It should not have happened. To see the damage this completely unnecessary gap caused is gut-wrenching beyond description.

The lesson for the future isn't that you shouldn't follow your dreams, but that you should always be prepared for change.
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 mme

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #80 on: 04/21/2017 04:44 PM »
Again, there were designs in the 1960's for large fully reusable rockets.  Pegasus and Rombus that Phillip Bono designed.  There was Sea Dragon.  Even the booster for Saturn V had designs on the drawing board for parachute and ocean recovery.  Saturn also had a design with the third stage (second stage on Saturn IB) with a plug nozzle engine (made from a J2 engine), to return and land for reuse.  So even with a reusable booster and upper stage, Saturn could have been partially recovered, refurbished, and used again for far heavier payloads than shuttle could have made. 

If the reusable Saturn V components could have been made and used.  In the long run, I think we could have had accomplished more by not going the Shuttle route.  They even had plans for a Mars mission using Saturn V launches by 1986. 

NASA chose the most political route, because the Johnson Administration put NASA facilities all over the country, to keep it running with votes from those states and districts.  Not efficient.  Thus Shuttle and ISS instead of exploration.  Research is fine in orbit, but it could have been done cheaper.
1. Paper rockets always out perform real rockets.
2. Any more complexity to the Saturn V before Apollo 11 and we would not have met the "end of the decade" deadline.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Online mike robel

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #81 on: 04/21/2017 04:54 PM »
@Clongton:  LOL.

You pretty much described me.  I was an Armor Officer, but got out after 16 years.  I got a job in the defense simulation industry working on constructive simulations and I now have been doing that longer than I was in the Army (24 years).  Even then, I moved 5 times and worked for 5 companies.  But, even then I have now lived on Merritt Island since 1998.  I am not a formally trained Engineer - I majored in History - but being a wargamer and having used simulations and wargaming since I entered the Army and having earned certificates in System Engineering and Modeling and Simulation from GA TECH, I have managed an enjoyable career that is actually more fun than work.

Plus, I can go out and watch boosters launch (and some come back and land.  What a trip!)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #82 on: 04/21/2017 05:06 PM »
You pretty much described me.  I was an Armor Officer, but got out after 16 years.  I got a job in the defense simulation industry working on constructive simulations and I now have been doing that longer than I was in the Army (24 years).  Even then, I moved 5 times and worked for 5 companies.  But, even then I have now lived on Merritt Island since 1998.  I am not a formally trained Engineer - I majored in History - but being a wargamer and having used simulations and wargaming since I entered the Army and having earned certificates in System Engineering and Modeling and Simulation from GA TECH, I have managed an enjoyable career that is actually more fun than work.
So I guess the takeaway from this is that even people with quite specialized jobs can find other employment but they have to be a bit creative about realizing what skills can transfer over to private industry?

People talk about the workers dealing with the Shuttle tiles but IIRC both DC and the X37b use versions of those tiles. And IIRC all the workforce had some level of security vetting to do the job as well.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #83 on: 04/23/2017 09:57 AM »
The skillsets most of them had are unique and highly specialized to the launch vehicles they support. When their jobs went away so did the opportunities for gainful employment - anywhere.
...
Just one more reason why the STS program having a government-backed monopoly on launch was a terrible idea in the first place.
Seen through the telescope of 50 years of further history perhaps.

But will the decisions made now seem any more sensible and rational to observers in 2067?
Keep in mind that probably the biggest injection of cash into "New Space" has been CCCP, run by NASA.

I don't think all the commercial launches Orbital and SX have made have come close to putting as much cash in their development budgets as that programme has.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #84 on: 04/23/2017 11:36 AM »
During the Columbia accident investigation, Robert Thompson, who had been Shuttle Program Manager from 1970 to 1981, testified (see p. 7 of the attachment) that
Quote from: Robert Thompson
... in my judgment, it would have cost more per flight to operate the two-stage fully-reusable system than the one we built, even though the cost analysis didnʼt show that. When you get two complex vehicles like that and all one vehicle does is help you get up to staging velocity -- and the staging velocity is 12,000 feet per second -- when you build a booster that does nothing but fly up to 12,000 feet per second, youʼve built something wrong. I think thatʼs what the two-stage fully-reusable system was; and I think, had the agency tried to build it, we wouldnʼt have a Shuttle Program today.
Let's look at that.
One of the few actual "composite" aircraft that have ever flown was the Short Mayo composite consisting of the Maia Mothership (a flying boat) and the Mercury mail carrier (a seaplane)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Mayo_Composite

A contemporary report on the design is here
http://www.engwonders.byethost9.com/e022.html?i=1

Roughly speaking Maia GTOW in launch mode was 25000 lb  to launch the Mercury, weighing 21 000lb carrying a payload of 1000lb of mail.

So in round numbers  a composite designed in the mid 1930's could carry 1000/(25000+21000) or 1/46 or 2.17% of it's total GTOW as payload.

On that basis a 30 tonne (66 000 lb) payload would need a 1380 tonne composite.

Yes that's a huge pair of aircraft (basically 4x 777-800, or 2.4x A380) but thrust wise it would need to be no more than 1/3 to 2/3 of that number. Worst case that's 920 tonnes of thrust needed. But the sea level thrust of an SSME was 186 tonnes, that of the F1 677 tonnes.

So the worst case thrust could be met by 2 F1s (already on the shelf) or 5 SSME (at their actual SL thrust level).   

BTW the Maia carrier was still configured as a passenger carrying flying boat in it's own right, suggest the Payload fraction of the composite could be raised further.

Yes the composite mass is very big. But assuming full funding both stages would be optimized to their relevant speed range. A key feature would have been to work the problem backwards. How big would the "Upper Stage" have to be to carry the 65 x 15 payload bay? How big would the wings need to be? How much propellant storage in mass and volume would you need (and it would have been smart to ask did you really need LH2) ?

Then design the booster to carry that, obviously avoiding such features as inward canting tailplanes, such as those on the SR71, which caused so much trouble in the D21 drone tests.

I'll also note that not all conventional aircraft design rules apply.  Could some sort of ground based launch assist supply the first vital 10-20m/s? Could you build them full size but launch both partly empty (like the SR71) and use in flight refueling to load most of the propellant post takeoff? The boosters mission is accelerated the composite to about M10.75 (the 12000fps mentioned in the CAIB report)  at a suitable altitude, separate and return to land (not necessarily even to base, although that would be ideal). It would only cruise if it was being in flight refueled. At 1/4 g (common VTO launch acceleration) that would be reached in 25 minutes at most.

Yes they'd be big, but at the end of the day 1380 (or whatever it turned out to be. I think 3% would be possible IE 1000 tonnes to carry a 30 tonne payload) is just a number.  :(

For reference the STS stack in the end was about 4Mlb to carry a 55Klb payload, roughly 1.375% of GTOW. 
« Last Edit: 04/23/2017 11:58 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #85 on: 04/23/2017 12:59 PM »
Seen through the telescope of 50 years of further history perhaps.

But will the decisions made now seem any more sensible and rational to observers in 2067?

Absolutely so.   Finally engineering the systems that can drop the cost of LEO access below $100/lb instead of $5,000 to 10,000/lb?  It will be seen as a long delayed no-brainer.

Keep in mind that probably the biggest injection of cash into "New Space" has been CCCP, run by NASA.

No, the majority of the money going into SpaceX is private, from Musk, Google, or non-NASA customers.  Even if that were not so, the validation of the expenditure by NASA is that what they are getting they are getting at a far lower price than they could do it themselves by their Congressionally mandated business model.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #86 on: 04/23/2017 03:09 PM »
It's not my fault that by a twist of Cold War history, US space program ended up running socialism-style launch vehicle development program, with corresponding results.
The Apollo program began before any commercial satellites had been launched, let alone launch vehicles.  (Early Bird flew in 1965.  Apollo began in 1961.  Pegasus, the first commercially developed orbital launcher, flew in 1990.)  There was no "capitalist" space program, by your definition, at the time, anywhere on the planet.

This is supposed to prove that "capitalist" launchers are not better than government ones... how exactly?
In 1969, the government launchers were better, because there was no commercial alternative. 

Quote

Quote
Commercial alternative?  None at the time and we're still waiting, five decades on.

I have serious doubts you are waiting for it.
I am waiting, expectantly.  We are within a year or two of seeing the first  commercially contracted astronaut launches - to low earth orbit.  It is NASA (government) money making it happen, and the destination is a giant government-funded and built station, but it is being done without NASA's direct oversight.  This method has worked for satellites since the late 1980s.  Now we will see how well it works for people. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/24/2017 12:25 AM by edkyle99 »

Online AncientU

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #87 on: 04/23/2017 10:10 PM »

I am waiting, expectantly.  We are within a year or two of seeing the first  commercially contracted astronaut launches - to low earth orbit.  It is NASA (government) money making it happen, and the destination is a giant government-funded and built station, but it is being done without NASA's direct over-site.  This method has worked for satellites since the late 1980s.  Now we will see how well it works for people. 

 - Ed Kyle

It is more correct to say that NASA money is making it happen NASA's way... I have no doubt that either company or others could have produced a safe craft (possibly slower, but maybe not in all cases) for human transportation to the ISS at a much lower price point.  NASA's money, but more importantly, NASA's destination and imprimatur are the prize.  The only way to get them is NASA's way.
« Last Edit: 04/23/2017 10:10 PM by AncientU »
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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #88 on: 04/24/2017 07:10 AM »

I am waiting, expectantly.  We are within a year or two of seeing the first  commercially contracted astronaut launches - to low earth orbit.  It is NASA (government) money making it happen, and the destination is a giant government-funded and built station, but it is being done without NASA's direct over-site.  This method has worked for satellites since the late 1980s.  Now we will see how well it works for people. 

 - Ed Kyle

It is more correct to say that NASA money is making it happen NASA's way... I have no doubt that either company or others could have produced a safe craft (possibly slower, but maybe not in all cases) for human transportation to the ISS at a much lower price point.  NASA's money, but more importantly, NASA's destination and imprimatur are the prize.  The only way to get them is NASA's way.

Based on the private space human launch during the three decades of "let the free market do it cheaper and faster for profit" since Reagan was electted??

I'm nearing 70, so I lived through the debate of public void private funding for R&D in the 70s and 80s. I've seen the conservatives win cuts in public funding coupled with ever increasing focus on profits as the primary criteria for good science.

Safe to say, the profit motive produces little progress. Google has been profitable, but that was and still isn't the driving force. The voting structure ensures wall Street profit where's can't run Google into the ground.

Elon Musk is not driven by profit, nor Bezos, so neither has made any profit in industries that have immense labor costs to build capital. Bezos warehouses and data centers.  Musk factories. Built in the US.

Google has tried to do what At&t/Bell labs/WE planned in the 80s: fiber to the home. Verizon is the reconstructed Bell system, Fios that 80s R&D, but deploying it is unprofitable under the since Reagan public policy. Thus it is not rolling out like copper did in the 20s and 30s most everywhere. The cost is the same as copper, except copper is paid for and good enough.

For space, what was done before 1980 was good enough. Real advances were unprofitable. Milking the status quo has been profitable.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #89 on: 04/24/2017 08:29 AM »
For space, what was done before 1980 was good enough. Real advances were unprofitable. Milking the status quo has been profitable.
People tend to forget all the design decisions on STS were taken in the early 70's. What flew in the early 80's was spec'd in the early 70's.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #90 on: 04/24/2017 12:26 PM »
Based on the private space human launch during the three decades of "let the free market do it cheaper and faster for profit" since Reagan was electted??

It's been almost 40 years since Reagan was elected, and there was no successful attempt to do it cheaper or faster until about 15 years ago.  Before 15 years ago, all attempts were stopped by the crony capitalist cost plus Congress-critters using NASA as a catspaw.  Beal didn't fail because he didn't have a good idea, he failed because the government made it clear it did not want him to succeed.

I'm nearing 70, so I lived through the debate of public void private funding for R&D in the 70s and 80s. I've seen the conservatives win cuts in public funding coupled with ever increasing focus on profits as the primary criteria for good science.

No, you have seen no such thing.

Safe to say, the profit motive produces little progress. Google has been profitable, but that was and still isn't the driving force. The voting structure ensures wall Street profit where's can't run Google into the ground.

And the reality is it is the cost plus business model enforced by pet Congresscrittters which brought about the abject lack of progress since Apollo prior to the last 15 years.

Elon Musk is not driven by profit, nor Bezos, so neither has made any profit in industries that have immense labor costs to build capital. Bezos warehouses and data centers.  Musk factories. Built in the US.

Actually Musk and Bezos are both profit driven--they just have a longer time frame for acceptable ROI then most businessmen.  Musk built factories in the US so he could better control quality, it had nothing to do with abandoning a for profit business model.

Google has tried to do what At&t/Bell labs/WE planned in the 80s: fiber to the home. Verizon is the reconstructed Bell system, Fios that 80s R&D, but deploying it is unprofitable under the since Reagan public policy. Thus it is not rolling out like copper did in the 20s and 30s most everywhere. The cost is the same as copper, except copper is paid for and good enough.

No, deploying it universally nationwide is unprofitable because it costs more than people are willing to pay for such an inflexible system.  And no, copper is not good enough.  You will not get GB/s out of twisted pair running for miles, and you can't leave the jack and take a walk and keep your signal.

For space, what was done before 1980 was good enough. Real advances were unprofitable. Milking the status quo has been profitable.

No, what was done prior to the '80s is utterly unacceptable going forward, there was no progress to be seen in the STS (which was merely partially remanufacturable as opposed to gas-and-go), and yes milking the status quo is unacceptable.

The real advances were successfully undertaken when private industry became convinced the government really meant it this time when they promised not to subsidize a government built competitor to private space access suppliers, and that progress has been seen within the last 15 years.

The for profit business model you decry will result in the development of fully re-usable gas-and-go to LEO at $50 to $15 per pound pricing (when things like the ITS are a mature system), and this is nothing that what led to Apollo or descended from it could produce--certainly, it had 40 years to do it and failed miserably, killing 14 astronauts along the way while holding the cost of LEO access to north of $5,000/lb.
« Last Edit: 04/24/2017 12:33 PM by tdperk »

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #91 on: 04/24/2017 01:25 PM »
During the Columbia accident investigation, Robert Thompson, who had been Shuttle Program Manager from 1970 to 1981, testified (see p. 7 of the attachment) that
Quote from: Robert Thompson
... in my judgment, it would have cost more per flight to operate the two-stage fully-reusable system than the one we built, even though the cost analysis didnʼt show that. When you get two complex vehicles like that and all one vehicle does is help you get up to staging velocity -- and the staging velocity is 12,000 feet per second -- when you build a booster that does nothing but fly up to 12,000 feet per second, youʼve built something wrong. I think thatʼs what the two-stage fully-reusable system was; and I think, had the agency tried to build it, we wouldnʼt have a Shuttle Program today.
Let's look at that.
One of the few actual "composite" aircraft that have ever flown was the Short Mayo composite consisting of the Maia Mothership (a flying boat) and the Mercury mail carrier (a seaplane)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Mayo_Composite

A contemporary report on the design is here
http://www.engwonders.byethost9.com/e022.html?i=1

Roughly speaking Maia GTOW in launch mode was 25000 lb  to launch the Mercury, weighing 21 000lb carrying a payload of 1000lb of mail.

So in round numbers  a composite designed in the mid 1930's could carry 1000/(25000+21000) or 1/46 or 2.17% of it's total GTOW as payload.

On that basis a 30 tonne (66 000 lb) payload would need a 1380 tonne composite.

Yes that's a huge pair of aircraft (basically 4x 777-800, or 2.4x A380) but thrust wise it would need to be no more than 1/3 to 2/3 of that number. Worst case that's 920 tonnes of thrust needed. But the sea level thrust of an SSME was 186 tonnes, that of the F1 677 tonnes.

So the worst case thrust could be met by 2 F1s (already on the shelf) or 5 SSME (at their actual SL thrust level).   

BTW the Maia carrier was still configured as a passenger carrying flying boat in it's own right, suggest the Payload fraction of the composite could be raised further.

Yes the composite mass is very big. But assuming full funding both stages would be optimized to their relevant speed range. A key feature would have been to work the problem backwards. How big would the "Upper Stage" have to be to carry the 65 x 15 payload bay? How big would the wings need to be? How much propellant storage in mass and volume would you need (and it would have been smart to ask did you really need LH2) ?

Then design the booster to carry that, obviously avoiding such features as inward canting tailplanes, such as those on the SR71, which caused so much trouble in the D21 drone tests.

I'll also note that not all conventional aircraft design rules apply.  Could some sort of ground based launch assist supply the first vital 10-20m/s? Could you build them full size but launch both partly empty (like the SR71) and use in flight refueling to load most of the propellant post takeoff? The boosters mission is accelerated the composite to about M10.75 (the 12000fps mentioned in the CAIB report)  at a suitable altitude, separate and return to land (not necessarily even to base, although that would be ideal). It would only cruise if it was being in flight refueled. At 1/4 g (common VTO launch acceleration) that would be reached in 25 minutes at most.

Yes they'd be big, but at the end of the day 1380 (or whatever it turned out to be. I think 3% would be possible IE 1000 tonnes to carry a 30 tonne payload) is just a number.  :(

For reference the STS stack in the end was about 4Mlb to carry a 55Klb payload, roughly 1.375% of GTOW.
1.375% if you consider the 55,000lb payload the only payload,  some might consider the 250,000lb of Orbiter and it's capability as part of the "payload".
Paul

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #92 on: 04/24/2017 02:42 PM »
Safe to say, the profit motive produces little progress.
The commercial satellite business seems to be progressing just fine.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/24/2017 02:42 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #93 on: 04/25/2017 12:12 AM »
1.375% if you consider the 55,000lb payload the only payload,  some might consider the 250,000lb of Orbiter and it's capability as part of the "payload".
If it was basically an uncrewed shell wrapped around a payload with the engines at the back you might have a point. That was basically the Shuttle C AKA pure cargo Shuttle. BTW the gross weight was closer to 240Klbs total.

For the rest of us the payload is what  you can put in the payload bay. Designed to be 66Klbs but IIRC never actually exceed 55Klbs.

Safe to say, the profit motive produces little progress.
The commercial satellite business seems to be progressing just fine.

 - Ed Kyle
The comm sat business is about the only section of space launch that does run more or less like a regular market.

Contracts are AFAIK not usually cost plus but paid on results and in stages. Failure to execute the stage means no payement, so failure is not rewarded. Also companies are less bothered about using "national carriers" Europeans will launch on US LV's, not Europeans will launch on Ariane while US sat operators have launched on Russian LV's.

His points seemed more directed at LV's, not their payloads.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Lar

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #94 on: 04/25/2017 12:20 AM »
I think we're veering into a lot of not very profitable areas... Reagan bashing? Govt vs private general diatribes? the usual suspects making their usual comments?

Please think before you post, ok? Make sure you're adding value and not adding a lot of general political stuff...

Thanks
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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

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #95 on: 04/25/2017 12:23 AM »

For space, what was done before 1980 was good enough. Real advances were unprofitable. Milking the status quo has been profitable.

No, what was done prior to the '80s is utterly unacceptable going forward, there was no progress to be seen in the STS (which was merely partially remanufacturable as opposed to gas-and-go), and yes milking the status quo is unacceptable.
I think you're mistaking his description of the situation with his approving of it.

I agree with his description of the situation and I don't think he thought it was healthy.
Quote from: tdperk
The for profit business model you decry will result in the development of fully re-usable gas-and-go to LEO at $50 to $15 per pound pricing (when things like the ITS are a mature system), and this is nothing that what led to Apollo or descended from it could produce--certainly, it had 40 years to do it and failed miserably, killing 14 astronauts along the way while holding the cost of LEO access to north of $5,000/lb.
There are 2 problems with lowering the cost of space access.
1) Lowering the $/lb
2) Delivering that price in a unit that people can afford.

Maybe ITS will deliver 1, but if all you and to do is put a 5 tonne comm sat in GTO that's still going to cost a shedload of cash.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline spacenut

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #96 on: 04/25/2017 02:05 AM »
The paper rockets for Saturn V reuse and for Rombus and Pegasus were for alternatives to the shuttle.  The shuttle was chosen over the reusable Saturn V because congress thought you had to "fly" into space.  Shuttle's payload was only 20 tons of cargo.  A reusable Saturn V could have done about 100 tons.  Rombus could have done more, and Sea Dragon could have launched 500 tons.  Any could have been built or evolved, but NASA's budget was cut, and we ended up 10 years later with Shuttle.  We already had Saturn, and making it reusable would not have cost that much extra, and more payload. 

Again, the budget was cut.  Saturn was also supposed to have about 6 launches with assembly in space for a Mars trip by 1986.  Now we are getting expensive SLS, while private companies are developing reusable launchers, and getting into space cheaper. 

Government can get things done, but no always the best or cheapest route, but the best politically. 

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #97 on: 04/25/2017 08:44 AM »
Government can get things done, but no always the best or cheapest route, but the best politically.
Yes, that's why part of my sig reads "STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time."  :(

It's still pretty amazing that while the first Commercial Crew launch is expected in 2018 the first crewed SLS won't be till at least 2023, another 5 years away, although obviously both of those dates could slip further flying in 2018 should mean NASA could avoid paying for anymore seats on Soyuz.   :(

That would mean getting that by setting requirement and standards (but not being able to compel the suppliers to change their hardware, although being able to observe what they are doing closely) NASA should be able to put crew back into orbit about 1825 days sooner than with a BAU government procurement solution, despite repeated under funding by Congress.

It could also be argued that not having a down select (as Congress seemed to want) has improved speed of response and maintained continuity of supply (at least in non crew goods).
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #98 on: 04/25/2017 02:28 PM »
It's still pretty amazing that while the first Commercial Crew launch is expected in 2018 the first crewed SLS won't be till at least 2023, another 5 years away, although obviously both of those dates could slip further flying in 2018 should mean NASA could avoid paying for anymore seats on Soyuz.   :(
I'm not a fan of these comparisons.  Crew to LEO is a different ball game than crew to deep space on a giant rocket, especially since the latter effort was resurrected in ad hoc fashion from a cancelled program and was then chronically underfunded.

Like you, I am not willing to wager on which year each of these programs will actually put people into orbit and safety return them.  Crewed spacecraft development has historically been full of mostly-bad surprises.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 02:31 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #99 on: 04/25/2017 03:00 PM »

For space, what was done before 1980 was good enough. Real advances were unprofitable. Milking the status quo has been profitable.

No, what was done prior to the '80s is utterly unacceptable going forward, there was no progress to be seen in the STS (which was merely partially remanufacturable as opposed to gas-and-go), and yes milking the status quo is unacceptable.
I think you're mistaking his description of the situation with his approving of it.

I have the impression he simultaneously believes something was wrong with the approach of "the '80's" and "Reagan" and approving of the "'70's" while not realizing they were one and the same approach and had similar results.

I agree with his description of the situation and I don't think he thought it was healthy.
The for profit business model you decry will result in the development of fully re-usable gas-and-go to LEO at $50 to $15 per pound pricing (when things like the ITS are a mature system), and this is nothing that what led to Apollo or descended from it could produce--certainly, it had 40 years to do it and failed miserably, killing 14 astronauts along the way while holding the cost of LEO access to north of $5,000/lb.
There are 2 problems with lowering the cost of space access.
1) Lowering the $/lb
2) Delivering that price in a unit that people can afford.

Maybe ITS will deliver 1, but if all you and to do is put a 5 tonne comm sat in GTO that's still going to cost a shedload of cash.

Two concepts 1) tugs and 2) packet service.

I know of no reason any ITS will not in regular service lift full or close to full, and why non-bulk/single target orbit payloads would cost to the end user more than twice or so the least bulk rate.

Offline Proponent

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #100 on: 04/25/2017 03:07 PM »
I'm not a fan of these comparisons.  Crew to LEO is a different ball game than crew to deep space on a giant rocket, especially since the latter effort was resurrected in ad hoc fashion from a cancelled program and was then chronically underfunded.

By what standard has Orion/SLS been underfunded?  It looks to me like the funding has been good as far as those hardware elements goes.  I would agree that funding for actually doing something useful with them, which would require more hardware, has been entirely inadequate, but that's not the question here.

Sending people BEO is a larger undertaking than sending them to LEO, but the Space Access Society has made a good argument that the costs of the former effort are entirely out of proportion to the difficulty of the task.

Offline blasphemer

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #101 on: 04/25/2017 03:24 PM »
I'm not a fan of these comparisons.  Crew to LEO is a different ball game than crew to deep space on a giant rocket, especially since the latter effort was resurrected in ad hoc fashion from a cancelled program and was then chronically underfunded.

Crew to deep space is not very different, it is just LEO + more fuel (OK that is kinda oversimplified but you get my drift). Thats not where the $ billions go. We may see SpaceX put astronauts around the Moon years before SLS even flies manned.

As for SLS being underfunded, it will be very hard to believe such rhetoric when commercial space proceeds to fly very similar missions for cheap. The problem is not money, as much as I would love to see more $$ go to NASA, $3-4 billion per year ought to be enough to develop a manned rocket+capsule in a timely manner. The problem is effective use of the money.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #102 on: 04/25/2017 05:49 PM »
I'm not a fan of these comparisons.  Crew to LEO is a different ball game than crew to deep space on a giant rocket, especially since the latter effort was resurrected in ad hoc fashion from a cancelled program and was then chronically underfunded.

By what standard has Orion/SLS been underfunded? 
http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664969.pdf

Etc.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #103 on: 04/25/2017 05:51 PM »
I'm not a fan of these comparisons.  Crew to LEO is a different ball game than crew to deep space on a giant rocket, especially since the latter effort was resurrected in ad hoc fashion from a cancelled program and was then chronically underfunded.

Crew to deep space is not very different, it is just LEO + more fuel (OK that is kinda oversimplified but you get my drift). Thats not where the $ billions go. We may see SpaceX put astronauts around the Moon years before SLS even flies manned.

If deep space crew was so much like crew to LEO, why has it been 45 years since the last crewed spacecraft left LEO?

Circumlunar (no orbit) is an interesting stunt compared to the EM mission plans.  Hopefully it will not be a reckless stunt.

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #104 on: 04/25/2017 06:15 PM »
If deep space crew was so much like crew to LEO, why has it been 45 years since the last crewed spacecraft left LEO?

Because Apollo was a (reckless?) political stunt (but it worked) and that was the only reason why the USA flew astros beyond LEO.
Because after Apollo some folks at the Hill decided that NASA could do with less money. And because of that what remained for NASA were supposedly "cheap" items like the space shuttle and the space station. But shuttle and the space station were in fact so expensive to develop, fly and maintain that there was no funding left to do anything else. Just look at how Shuttle was killed to free up the funds needed for accelerated development of CxP (and now SLS/Orion)
Despite the fact that shuttle was "just" going to LEO it was the most complex spacecraft ever developed. Much more complex than Apollo ever was. You don't need a massive, over-complex spacecraft to go beyond LEO. Apollo proved pretty much that.

Besides, with just Orion people will never go any further than they have already been: to lunar orbit. On it's own it is completely unsuited to fly folks to Mars. Orion won't do that. The DSH/Habitation module/Mission Augmentation Module/whatever-it-is-called will actually do that. Orion is just the ship that is used to get from Terra Firma to LEO and back again.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2017 06:20 PM by woods170 »

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #105 on: 04/25/2017 06:29 PM »
I'm not a fan of these comparisons.  Crew to LEO is a different ball game than crew to deep space on a giant rocket, especially since the latter effort was resurrected in ad hoc fashion from a cancelled program and was then chronically underfunded.

By what standard has Orion/SLS been underfunded? 
http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664969.pdf

Etc.

 - Ed Kyle
That doesn't say anything. CCP has been short-funded by US Congress from it's first phase in 2010 until 2015. Yet it is set to perform it's first manned missions several years before Orion will see it's first manned flight. And this is despite the fact that Orion has been in development since 2006. By the time Orion finally flies manned BLEO missions, it will be obsolete, with it's basic technology nearly two decades old already.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #106 on: 04/25/2017 09:43 PM »
That doesn't say anything.
It says "the agency’s current funding plan for SLS may be $400 million short of what the program needs to launch by 2017. Furthermore, the development schedule of the core stage —which drives the SLS schedule— is compressed to meet the 2017 launch date".

 - Ed Kyle

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #107 on: 04/26/2017 06:51 AM »
That doesn't say anything.
It says "the agency’s current funding plan for SLS may be $400 million short of what the program needs to launch by 2017. Furthermore, the development schedule of the core stage —which drives the SLS schedule— is compressed to meet the 2017 launch date".

 - Ed Kyle
GAO had it incomplete. It was not "just" the core stage that was driving the SLS schedule. As usual GAO was way behind on facts. By the time their report came out it was well established that the core stage AND Orion (particularly the ESM) AND software AND GSDO were all driving the schedule. Underfunding only worsened the problem, but is not the primary cause. IMO the primary cause is the bloated nature of SLS/Orion, particularly the SLS part. You don't need "the biggest rocket in the world" to get humankind to Mars. But US Congress decided otherwise.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #108 on: 04/26/2017 10:56 AM »
I think we can all agree that the US is not going to be sending NASA astronauts anywhere on a US LV anytime soon.  :(

However it does look like the best chance for getting NASA astronauts back into space on a US LV inside a US space vehicle lies not with the NASA specified and BAU procurred SLS and Orion but with the rockets and vehicles procured under more flexible, more commercial like procurement rules which will fly on LV's already racking up real launch safety statistics.

However in order to show Orion's superiority for deep space missions it is necessary to have an LV that can take it to deep space. NASA believe that only SLS can do this.

The GAO believe NASA's costing methodology underestimates the costs involved and think it's under funded.

The entire CCC programme has been run on an annual level (granted, not requested) less than the amount GAO think SLS has been under funded by for years and has so far delivered 3 LV (F9, Antares and Antares 2) 2 cargo vehicles (Cygnus and Dragon with perhaps DC coming on line as well) and moving to 2 human carriers (Dragon 2 and CST).

While Orion (5m Dia, 8m long) is bigger than  CST 100 (4.5m Dia, 5m long) and Dragon 2 it is hard to understand why it has cost so very much more to build, given that this is not the first capsule the company has built.

Yes space is hard. Deep space is very hard. But Orion seems to be saying that it is very very very hard.  :(
And that's before  you include some sort of living accommodation for any serious stay in deep space.  :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #109 on: 04/26/2017 11:22 AM »
I know of no reason any ITS will not in regular service lift full or close to full
If you mean going to Mars I'd agree with you
Quote from: tdperk
, and why non-bulk/single target orbit payloads would cost to the end user more than twice or so the least bulk rate.
Since ITS is probably a decade from flying it would not be surprising you would not have such a reason.

But typically satellite operators buy launches sized to their satellite and the launch services provider has a certain minimum revenue they expect to see per launch. So it costs X$. You're free to supply a payload that weighs less than, even a lot less than that. However you're unlikely to get a discount.  You can of course "ride share" with other payloads if you can agree a similar destination or the rocket can do multiple burns. Ride share is one of the main reasons Ariane 5 has been attractive and the problem that it's no longer big enough to carry 2 maximum weight comm sats to GTO is part of why it's being phased out.

Ride share with 10 comm sat sized payloads is likely to be considerably more difficult to arrange. 
« Last Edit: 04/26/2017 11:24 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline clongton

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #110 on: 04/27/2017 12:21 AM »
If deep space crew was so much like crew to LEO, why has it been 45 years since the last crewed spacecraft left LEO?
 - Ed Kyle

Ah - because NASA Congress was running the show?
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #111 on: 04/27/2017 01:27 AM »
If you mean going to Mars I'd agree with you

I mean going anywhere, LEO included.

Since ITS is probably a decade from flying it would not be surprising you would not have such a reason.


But typically satellite operators buy launches sized to their satellite and the launch services provider has a certain minimum revenue they expect to see per launch.

That's how it's done now.  Everything else you said depends for it's relevance on the continued non-existence of refuelable tugs which take a payload from a generic LEO orbit to their mission orbit, and come back to do it again.

There is no reason to think that circumstance will continue.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #112 on: 04/27/2017 04:16 AM »
If deep space crew was so much like crew to LEO, why has it been 45 years since the last crewed spacecraft left LEO?
 - Ed Kyle

Ah - because NASA Congress was running the show?
NASA only ran the U.S. space program.  What of the rest of the world?

Meanwhile, commercial - the posited answer to all problems, unfettered by government, added no crew launches to the mix, let alone any beyond LEO. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/27/2017 02:29 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Comga

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #113 on: 04/27/2017 05:04 AM »
Sigh
So tedious
A great deal of this is true, but not very informative or worth posting.
GAO says the current method needs $400M (or whatever amount) more (per year?) to do this particular job.  That could be interpreted as saying the program is underfunded, or as the program is inefficient.
NASA didn't go beyond LEO for decades because there was no goal set and funded for going beyond LEO.
That NASA didn't get funding was, at least once when asked, because its methods were unaffordable.
Commercial hasn't flown astronauts because (almost) no one wants to pay what they are asking for what they can build, which means they don't have a viable commercial product.  The one organization with real need, NASA, needs more, primarily by their criteria more safety, than has been demonstrated to date. 
("almost" references the still theoretical SpaceX cislunar flight, and the "commercial" sale of empty seats on Soyuz bound for the ISS, the sole existing destination in orbit.)
ITS has not flown, and wont for a long time, but paper rockets are always better than ones that have been manufactured by people using metals and composites.
And we have this new, longer gap.
Sigh
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline gospacex

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #114 on: 04/27/2017 08:29 AM »
Safe to say, the profit motive produces little progress.

This is _the_ thing which makes me furious about a lot of people who live in the West.

You have NO IDEA what you have due to "profit motive" being allowed to function and to generate progress. Because you are so used to it that you do not notice it.

You think that supermarkets, where any kind of food is available *at any time of day and year*, just sprout from the ground, like mushrooms.
Unlimited 100mbit internet to every home? Nothing special, is just natural order of things. It all happens "by itself".

I repeatedly stood in the line waiting to buy milk for my younger infant brother. At 7:30 in the morning. Outside of the not-yet-open food shop. In *winter*.

Because when milk is produced by the government, the result is: there is no milk in the shop by 8:30, it's all sold out. You must be there by 7:30, or your brother will have no milk.
Because there is no "profit motive", and there is no other motive to produce more milk. Or to produce cars, TV sets, furniture, even seemingly trivial goods like socks and shoes.

You know that when ex-Soviet people were first able to travel abroad en masse, they were *shocked* by what they saw in Western supermarkets? They could barely believe these things can exist: EVERYTHING is available, and it is ALWAYS available! Un-fcsking-believable.

"Profit motive produces little progress". Gosh....
« Last Edit: 04/27/2017 12:31 PM by gospacex »

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #115 on: 04/27/2017 11:54 AM »
ITS has not flown, and wont for a long time, but paper rockets are always better than ones that have been manufactured by people using metals and composites.

You're right about it being tedious.

I know of no reason why SpaceX will not clear 20 million per launch to spend as Musk pleases, and hit their launch cadence of approximately 20 to 26 per year.  I think that gets ITS launched 5 years from roughly now.

If it turns out to be 10, that's no big disappointment--it lifts more in two missions than the SLS will have done in that time, spent about 15 to 18% of the money doing it--and when it's done there is still a perfectly usable rocket available.

Let's worry more about doing it right for the long haul than bumps in the road which are only emotionally difficult.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #116 on: 04/27/2017 11:56 AM »
Safe to say, the profit motive produces little progress.

This is _the_ thing which makes me furious about a lot of people who live in the West.

You have NO IDEA what you have due to "profit motive" being allowed to function and to generate progress. Because you are so used to it that you do not notice it.

Equality in misery for most is very easy to get, just make it government's job to equalize.

Those you may not mock will still have their dachas, of course.

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #117 on: 04/27/2017 12:23 PM »
If deep space crew was so much like crew to LEO, why has it been 45 years since the last crewed spacecraft left LEO?
 - Ed Kyle

Ah - because NASA Congress was running the show?
NASA only ran the U.S. space program.  What of the rest of the world?

Meanwhile, commercial - the posited answer to all problems, unfettered by government, added no crew launched to the mix, let alone any beyond LEO. 

 - Ed Kyle
And the reason for that is very clear. As long as your name is not Elon Musk the only commercial reason to send humans into space is "to make money". But that business case doesn't close given that there is no serious money to be made by sending humans into space. Case in point: the only truly commercial "people into space" efforts today are sub-orbital. Because that is fairly "easy"and "affordable".

There is simply not enough wealthy people, willing to buy a ticket from Jeff or Elon, to get truly commercial orbital efforst going (that planned circumlunar mission from SpaceX notwithstanding).

Why is there currently a permanent human presence in LEO? Not to make money, because there is no closing business case for that. There are people in space for technology- and research reasons, as well as national pride. With a bit of luck someday we might someday throw "save humankind from extinction" into that mix of reasons. But "making money" will be, for a long time to come IMO, not a reason to send folks into (B)LEO.

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #118 on: 04/27/2017 12:26 PM »
Sigh
So tedious
A great deal of this is true, but not very informative or worth posting.
GAO says the current method needs $400M (or whatever amount) more (per year?) to do this particular job.  That could be interpreted as saying the program is underfunded, or as the program is inefficient.
"Efficiency" and "NASA" are two words that don't go together. Here's a fine example:
http://spacenews.com/nasa-auditors-criticize-spacesuit-development/

A classic example of government waste of money: "Why develop one when you can develop two for double the price."

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #119 on: 04/27/2017 01:43 PM »
If deep space crew was so much like crew to LEO, why has it been 45 years since the last crewed spacecraft left LEO?
 - Ed Kyle

Ah - because NASA Congress was running the show?
NASA only ran the U.S. space program.  What of the rest of the world?

Meanwhile, commercial - the posited answer to all problems, unfettered by government, added no crew launched to the mix, let alone any beyond LEO. 

 - Ed Kyle
Because that is fairly "easy"and "affordable".


Also, customers with deep pockets.

For a few hundred thou, no shortage of people who want to see black sky, all the stars, and the sharp curve to the horizon.  At least for a few minutes.

EDIT:  When people can spend a bit more for a billet on a Bigelow, they'll do it.
« Last Edit: 04/27/2017 02:09 PM by tdperk »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #120 on: 04/27/2017 07:32 PM »
One of my roles has been to diligence funded space startups, and as such had to prepare a valuation study analyzing the application of HSF, by both govt and commercial, to understand the "abstract ROI" of any effort, and the motivations behind such. With this, it would be possible to construct testable models for markets/growth/durability.

Since it was commissioned by a "great generation", his "testability" included the origins of the various activity and the analogous fields already with markets. As an example of this, those who'd, for example, do suborbital space tourism, would be found doing rides in supersonic fighters, zero-g ballistic flights, and perhaps extreme sports.

For governments, it's been a means of "soft power", or "force projection".  Vostok/Mercury/Voskhod/Gemini/Shenzhou - displays of nationalism by entry/beginnings of a space program. Soyuz/Apollo/Salyut/Progress/.../ISS/Tiangong - significant  non-trivial objective space objectives for permanence of accomplishment. Shuttle/Buran - attempts to dominate space transport costs worldwide.

Governments could afford to do these things because the ROI was the demonstrated power of having done them first, to only be displacable by another doing same (the second or third) in diminished form.

So to Ed's comment, why it hasn't been done is because the benefit isn't significant.

All of us have heard the rejoinder "if we could put a man on the moon, we can certainly do X". Which is painful to hear because we could only do that for about a decade, decades ago. And, during that time, it wasn't well supported by the the citizens/voters/taxpayers, but by political leadership that desired the "global domination power club" to wield, and at great cost.

Part of that effort was the mandatory requirement to leave no permanent facilities in space in the process of achieving the goal. Meaning it was to be a stunt without repeat or future. To keep the benefit from being significant.

So Ed, it was by design, from the start.

And if China did not have ambitions for HSF, of grabbing for that power club, you'd still be waiting even longer.

Never discount the memory of power. Such power is driven to be funded by mission goals/firsts.

As to commercial, you've got traditional aerospace, bootstrap aerospace, and fat bootstrap aerospace (Musk, Bezos, Branson, ...).

Traditional aerospace simply wants payload growth/frequency w/o injuring own business. ULA is limited by its parents, so injuring them by self-competition caps what they can risk.

Bootstrap aerospace first wants to leave bootstrap, by doing some aerospace business. Almost none of them achieve that necessary first. Some have huge, unrealized potentials. No investor bets on such, they bet on certain repeat achievements, taking on only the market risk. So they don't "fork out" for turning potential into achievement.

Fat bootstrap aerospace arrive with an advantage, an ace up the sleeve. Money/resources enough to gradually, and with many tries ... go into an aerospace business. Effectively they are "seed funded" several billion dollars. Here's the rub for them - they have to be outrageous! Why? Because they have to be "circus acts" that attract attention, so that after making it into business, they can get follow on financing from other sources at 10-100x the seed.
If they were to match traditional aerospace, they'd never attract a dime.

(BTW, Virgin is an "in betweener" here, Branson leverages other finance as he goes, and attempts to do things on the cheap, trying to fly between the obstacles, so far not so effectively.)

Now, deep space for commercial is a peculiar battleground, ceded by government gradually, and first in support of efforts following government leadership.

To Ed's comment, they make it more possible to more quickly make it to deep space with missions, because the logistical components of the aggregate funding "wedge" of the total mission/program footprint is "dealable"/fundable. It then boils down to political trades, and what holds it back then are legacies. This is where we are at.

Even if Musk never flies a lunar Dragon HSF free return mission, its benefit is already present. EM-1/2 now might be displaced by a "first", while not head and shoulders above it by any means, sets the govt stakes to reach well above those "joke" missions, which were never "soft power".

So now the costs of doing deep space are real, and leadership cannot use it as much for cronyism as before.

And, if America cannot use its overwhelming advantages of extreme capability in traditional aerospace (sans cronyism and false anti-competition ala ULA parents), along with proven low cost commercial efforts of bootstrap aerospace (including non-fat ;) ), then it needs to operate at a 10-100x disadvantage of goals/time/capital utilization.

Offline Comga

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #121 on: 04/27/2017 07:54 PM »
One of my roles has been to diligence funded space startups, ..
How do you use "diligence" as a verb?

Quote
Since it was commissioned by a "great generation", his "testability"...
Whose testability?

Quote
.. those who'd, for example, do suborbital space tourism, would be found doing rides in supersonic fighters, zero-g ballistic flights, and perhaps extreme sports.
So?  It might even be true right now, but so what?

Quote
Never discount the memory of power.
Eh?  Power remembers things?

Quote
Even if Musk never flies a lunar Dragon HSF free return mission, its benefit is already present.
So you disagree with the statement that paper rockets are always better than ones built of metal?

Quote
... with proven low cost commercial efforts of bootstrap aerospace (including non-fat ;) )..
So now it's "proven" and, best of all, it's non-fat.  Probably gluten and peanut free as well.

This is not up to your usual standards, Space Ghost, but aren't you essentially agreeing that no hard and fast conclusions can be drawn from the current gap?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Online envy887

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #122 on: 04/27/2017 08:34 PM »
Quote
Even if Musk never flies a lunar Dragon HSF free return mission, its benefit is already present.
So you disagree with the statement that paper rockets are always better than ones built of metal?
This (decidedly non-paper) rocket is here in no small part due to the plans for the lunar return mission.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #123 on: 04/27/2017 08:56 PM »
One of my roles has been to diligence funded space startups, ..
How do you use "diligence" as a verb?
Shorthand of "due dilligence" ... and yes you're getting me back for pouncing on your "dessert". Bet it was delicious though ;)

Quote
Quote
Since it was commissioned by a "great generation", his "testability"...
Whose testability?

Quote
.. those who'd, for example, do suborbital space tourism, would be found doing rides in supersonic fighters, zero-g ballistic flights, and perhaps extreme sports.
So?  It might even be true right now, but so what?

Provability. That you can go and interview people who have done such, then go to market exemplars and ask them the same questions, hear similar answers.

Anyone who has dealt with serious threat assessment is used to "triangulating" on it from all sides. A way to avoid being fooled.

With space tourism, my own direct experience of meeting the customers led me to be very skeptical of most of what entrepreneurs were doing in the area.

I'll share it simply - they just want to go into the history books, with significance. The rest is just noise.

And suggest you ask any astro about it for confirmation. Especially ask Buzz Aldrin.

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Never discount the memory of power.
Eh?  Power remembers things?
It sure does.

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Even if Musk never flies a lunar Dragon HSF free return mission, its benefit is already present.
So you disagree with the statement that paper rockets are always better than ones built of metal?
Paper rockets can shoot down other paper rockets.

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... with proven low cost commercial efforts of bootstrap aerospace (including non-fat ;) )..
So now it's "proven" and, best of all, it's non-fat.  Probably gluten and peanut free as well.
Unfortunately the diet is called "starvation".

At one gen-y start-up, they were funded too lean. Took them all out for the biggest meat and potatoes place I could find, because I was afraid they'd faint/pass out during DD.

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This is not up to your usual standards, Space Ghost, but aren't you essentially agreeing that no hard and fast conclusions can be drawn from the current gap?
You're right. I'm in a hurry and can't be as detailed and call out the cost/price thresholds.

Will add that the "gap" is more in keeping with a shift in global aerospace that seems to be linked with technology disruption.

Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same, ECLSS is about the same, RVs about the same ...

So its more about how things are made to work, then that they are really different intrinsically.

So the "gap" is that govt/commercial accommodate to a new balance with funding/agendas/goals. And ... its unstable.

When things are unstable, they go slower.

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #124 on: 04/27/2017 10:22 PM »
Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same
Mostly agree, but don't you think there's, if not direct improvement, at least lateral movement in propulsion technology these days? That seems likely to reverse some technology decisions that were made long ago for no reason or bad reasons. An example is the the shift towards hydrogen and solids, which I don't think was ever a winner economically. Some backtracking here likely ends up being an improvement in the long run, even ignoring reusability.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #125 on: 04/27/2017 11:25 PM »
Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same, ECLSS is about the same, RVs about the same ...

So its more about how things are made to work, then that they are really different intrinsically.
Quite true, but isn't that the point?

SX has done nothing that could (for the most part) have been done by anyone else (including the existing aerospace corps) in the last 30 years, had they wanted to?

While the availability of Lithium Aluminum alloys and PICA have certainly helped their efforts I don't think SX would have done pretty well badly without them.

Those you may not mock will still have their dachas, of course.
There is a story about a comm sat operator looking to launch one on the Shuttle.

NASA made him feeling like a trespasser that they might deign to allow their vehicle to be contaminated by.

Arianspace made him feel like a customer who had needs that they could satisfy.

I don't know if they bothered to go see ULA.

[EDIT corrected with strike out of original text and bold of new text to make more sense ]
« Last Edit: 04/28/2017 02:51 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #126 on: 04/27/2017 11:26 PM »
Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same
Mostly agree, but don't you think there's, if not direct improvement, at least lateral movement in propulsion technology these days?
Yes and no.

There are a lot of things we take for granted with terms of art like "technology improvement". And some get outraged if you overreach on them. Especially in the area of propulsion.

Briefly, you are not getting much more newtons per kilogram of kerolox - that's what I mean by "very little technology improvement". It's still a chemical reaction and there are efficiency limits that have already been found.

There's vast improvement in "the way things are made to to work". Case in point was Falcon 9 economies of scale - one engine type onramping a launch vehicle quickly/cheaply, because its cost structures were so low.

This also allowed a large number of engines in a short space of time, leading to huge flight history. That flight history made it easier to apply to recovery/reuse, allowing engine/vehicle changes to make practical economic reuse.

Note the sequence of consequential developments. That's counter to traditional systems engineering refinement.

Part of the contradiction between the two is in dependent consequences of significant design change - wrecks traceability.

So again, to get the improvement you are alluding to, some would say you are taking things backwards.

And this is why many intemperate remarks occur on this site about SX "technology".

As to "lateral" ... there is some of that, and there's considerable materials and structural enhancement. Mostly these are reapplication from different areas.

Keep in mind I'm from late 70's early 80's vintage, where much was innovated on Shuttle the first time.

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That seems likely to reverse some technology decisions that were made long ago for no reason or bad reasons.
Suggest they were done for reasons of that time, i.e. not long ranged.

They were "wrong" because Shuttle itself was a long ranged concept, to genuinely bring off what it was supposed to achieve. I believe that Musk's ITS is what Faget had in mind as the ultimate chemical propulsion Shuttle. Causes me to think of a nuclear ITS ...

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An example is the the shift towards hydrogen and solids, which I don't think was ever a winner economically.
Consequences of TAOS. Incomplete Faget design. Some cold war politics too.

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Some backtracking here likely ends up being an improvement in the long run, even ignoring reusability.
But you only get there if the agenda is bigger than it was in the 80's - 90's. Remember the shrinkage that occurred.

add:

Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same, ECLSS is about the same, RVs about the same ...

So its more about how things are made to work, then that they are really different intrinsically.
Quite true, but isn't that the point?
The point is to correctly attribute the nature of the achievement in the right category.

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SX has done nothing that could (for the most part) have been done by anyone else (including the existing aerospace corps) in the last 30 years, had they wanted to?
Yes. And the reasons no one would have done so, involve counter requirements and motivations present.

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While the availability of Lithium Aluminum alloys and PICA have certainly helped their efforts I don't think SX would have done pretty well without them.
Along with a raft of other materials and techniques.

In a nutshell, the "gap" is a confluence where one set of assumptions are being replaced by a different set.

Had that not occurred, and had a genuine need for deep space HSF been present, there would have been no gap.

The confluence was forced by the success of a competing agenda that was independent to national need. It being successful drew attention to less serious national efforts, creating the chaos/slow down "gap", but also in the end forcing a more serious national effort than the joke EM 1/2 missions.

In this, you might also read the gap as an attempt to prevent a serious HSF deep space program by political leadership unwilling to accept the presence of a new player compelling action as "out waiting them" ...
« Last Edit: 04/28/2017 01:01 AM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #127 on: 04/27/2017 11:26 PM »
You know that when ex-Soviet people were first able to travel abroad en masse, they were *shocked* by what they saw in Western supermarkets? They could barely believe these things can exist: EVERYTHING is available, and it is ALWAYS available! Un-fcsking-believable.

"Profit motive produces little progress". Gosh....
Unfortunately the profit motive works when when customers can make money going to that destination.

Historically the 2 big customers with serious money to spend have been either governments (who spend taxpayers money so don't really care what it costs as long as it's as reliable as possible) and communications satellites who (likewise) did not really care what they spent as long as they got reliable launch. Because the only way to go to orbit was by an ELV.

Do see where the emphasis has been? Not on cost reduction.

And once you've got a reliable LV, don't change it because that might invalidate your launch statistics.

And don't change it because that will reduce the profits you return to your parent companies.

That's what people mean when the "cost motive" does not encourage progress in spaceflight. The fact a large amount of ELV development work has been govt funded so your biggest customer is also indirectly your biggest funder has also made matters quite strange.
Also, customers with deep pockets.

For a few hundred thou, no shortage of people who want to see black sky, all the stars, and the sharp curve to the horizon.  At least for a few minutes.

EDIT:  When people can spend a bit more for a billet on a Bigelow, they'll do it.
That will need Bigelow to actually launch a destination first.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #128 on: 04/27/2017 11:38 PM »

If it turns out to be 10, that's no big disappointment--it lifts more in two missions than the SLS will have done in that time, spent about 15 to 18% of the money doing it--and when it's done there is still a perfectly usable rocket available.

Let's worry more about doing it right for the long haul than bumps in the road which are only emotionally difficult.
Just a little factoid you might like to keep in mind about SX development schedules.

Original first flight of FH expected 2013 (when they were looking at 3 identical stages with cross feed)
Current projected first flight of FH 2017 (special version core and no cross feed).

ITS will not be the first flight of a composite LOX tank or HC fuel tank (I think MicroCosm did that)  but it will without doubt be the largest of those tanks ever flown anywhere on Earth. It is expected to conduct multiple interplanetary flights without needing repairs while operating over decades.

This is not just a long way outside NASA or SX's current knowledge base. It is a long way outside anyone's knowledge base anywhere.

That is pretty much the textbook definition of "unknown unknowns." :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Khadgars

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #129 on: 04/27/2017 11:43 PM »

If it turns out to be 10, that's no big disappointment--it lifts more in two missions than the SLS will have done in that time, spent about 15 to 18% of the money doing it--and when it's done there is still a perfectly usable rocket available.

Let's worry more about doing it right for the long haul than bumps in the road which are only emotionally difficult.
Just a little factoid you might like to keep in mind about SX development schedules.

Original first flight of FH expected 2013 (when they were looking at 3 identical stages with cross feed)
Current projected first flight of FH 2017 (special version core and no cross feed).

ITS will not be the first flight of a composite LOX tank or HC fuel tank (I think MicroCosm did that)  but it will without doubt be the largest of those tanks ever flown anywhere on Earth. It is expected to conduct multiple interplanetary flights without needing repairs while operating over decades.

This is not just a long way outside NASA or SX's current knowledge base. It is a long way outside anyone's knowledge base anywhere.

That is pretty much the textbook definition of "unknown unknowns." :(

I was about to respond to that posts as well.  Most of what tdperk posted is completely made up, we have no idea how much it will cost, how long it will take or if ITS is even possible.  I love that SpaceX is going to try, but we're a long ways away from being able to make any predictions in its regard.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #130 on: 04/27/2017 11:58 PM »
Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same, ECLSS is about the same, RVs about the same ...

So its more about how things are made to work, then that they are really different intrinsically.
Quite true, but isn't that the point?

SX has done nothing that could (for the most part) have been done by anyone else (including the existing aerospace corps) in the last 30 years, had they wanted to?

While the availability of Lithium Aluminum alloys and PICA have certainly helped their efforts I don't think SX would have done pretty well without them.

Actually even without them, I think they'd have done quite well.  Their biggest advantage was their intent and approach.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #131 on: 04/28/2017 12:07 AM »
You know that when ex-Soviet people were first able to travel abroad en masse, they were *shocked* by what they saw in Western supermarkets? They could barely believe these things can exist: EVERYTHING is available, and it is ALWAYS available! Un-fcsking-believable.

"Profit motive produces little progress". Gosh....
Unfortunately the profit motive works when when customers can make money going to that destination.

Historically the 2 big customers with serious money to spend have been either governments (who spend taxpayers money so don't really care what it costs as long as it's as reliable as possible) and communications satellites who (likewise) did not really care what they spent as long as they got reliable launch. Because the only way to go to orbit was by an ELV.

Do see where the emphasis has been? Not on cost reduction.

And once you've got a reliable LV, don't change it because that might invalidate your launch statistics.

And don't change it because that will reduce the profits you return to your parent companies.

That's what people mean when the "cost motive" does not encourage progress in spaceflight. The fact a large amount of ELV development work has been govt funded so your biggest customer is also indirectly your biggest funder has also made matters quite strange.
Also, customers with deep pockets.

For a few hundred thou, no shortage of people who want to see black sky, all the stars, and the sharp curve to the horizon.  At least for a few minutes.

EDIT:  When people can spend a bit more for a billet on a Bigelow, they'll do it.
That will need Bigelow to actually launch a destination first.

" And don't change it because that will reduce the profits you return to your parent companies.

That's what people mean when the "cost motive" does not encourage progress in spaceflight. "

Funny, getting the cost down is SpaceX's main motive factor.  Not all companies have the same terribly (stupidly) short timeframes over which ROI is required.  Same things drives the short sellers nuts about Tesla, too.

" That will need Bigelow to actually launch a destination first. "

Only trivially true, a tautology.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #132 on: 04/28/2017 12:31 AM »

If it turns out to be 10, that's no big disappointment--it lifts more in two missions than the SLS will have done in that time, spent about 15 to 18% of the money doing it--and when it's done there is still a perfectly usable rocket available.

Let's worry more about doing it right for the long haul than bumps in the road which are only emotionally difficult.
Just a little factoid you might like to keep in mind about SX development schedules.

Original first flight of FH expected 2013 (when they were looking at 3 identical stages with cross feed)
Current projected first flight of FH 2017 (special version core and no cross feed).

ITS will not be the first flight of a composite LOX tank or HC fuel tank (I think MicroCosm did that)  but it will without doubt be the largest of those tanks ever flown anywhere on Earth. It is expected to conduct multiple interplanetary flights without needing repairs while operating over decades.

This is not just a long way outside NASA or SX's current knowledge base. It is a long way outside anyone's knowledge base anywhere.

That is pretty much the textbook definition of "unknown unknowns." :(

I was about to respond to that posts as well.  Most of what tdperk posted is completely made up, we have no idea how much it will cost, how long it will take or if ITS is even possible.  I love that SpaceX is going to try, but we're a long ways away from being able to make any predictions in its regard.

I actually don't make anything up.  There's a big difference from extrapolating from what you've seen in your own lifetime and "making things up".

To go by their history SpaceX will succeed in building the ITS in 5 to 10 years, since they began the effort about 2 years ago and have a far better cash flow than they have previously.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2017 12:42 AM by tdperk »

Offline daveklingler

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #133 on: 04/28/2017 12:48 AM »

If it turns out to be 10, that's no big disappointment--it lifts more in two missions than the SLS will have done in that time, spent about 15 to 18% of the money doing it--and when it's done there is still a perfectly usable rocket available.

Let's worry more about doing it right for the long haul than bumps in the road which are only emotionally difficult.
Just a little factoid you might like to keep in mind about SX development schedules.

Original first flight of FH expected 2013 (when they were looking at 3 identical stages with cross feed)
Current projected first flight of FH 2017 (special version core and no cross feed).

ITS will not be the first flight of a composite LOX tank or HC fuel tank (I think MicroCosm did that)  but it will without doubt be the largest of those tanks ever flown anywhere on Earth. It is expected to conduct multiple interplanetary flights without needing repairs while operating over decades.

This is not just a long way outside NASA or SX's current knowledge base. It is a long way outside anyone's knowledge base anywhere.

That is pretty much the textbook definition of "unknown unknowns." :(

I was about to respond to that posts as well.  Most of what tdperk posted is completely made up, we have no idea how much it will cost, how long it will take or if ITS is even possible.  I love that SpaceX is going to try, but we're a long ways away from being able to make any predictions in its regard.

I actually don't make anything up.  There's a big difference from extrapolating from what you've seen in your own lifetime and "making things up".

To go by their history SpaceX will succeed in building the ITS in 5 to 10 years.

I'm not sure they ever will.  If The Chessplayer follows what I suspect to be his business plan, he'll make SpaceX's lives quite a bit harder over the next decade, greatly diminishing their capacity to build giant Mars rockets.  They may also modify their plans heavily based on experience gained with hardware they're building now. I know something about improvements they're trying to make to Merlin, for instance, which might stretch Falcon's capacity even more.  In short, they might just keep iterating.

The most demonstrable advantage to come out of ITS plans right now is a technology demonstration of composite tanks.  I'd be surprised if that doesn't lead to something we haven't heard about yet.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #134 on: 04/28/2017 01:03 AM »

If it turns out to be 10, that's no big disappointment--it lifts more in two missions than the SLS will have done in that time, spent about 15 to 18% of the money doing it--and when it's done there is still a perfectly usable rocket available.

Let's worry more about doing it right for the long haul than bumps in the road which are only emotionally difficult.
Just a little factoid you might like to keep in mind about SX development schedules.

Original first flight of FH expected 2013 (when they were looking at 3 identical stages with cross feed)
Current projected first flight of FH 2017 (special version core and no cross feed).

ITS will not be the first flight of a composite LOX tank or HC fuel tank (I think MicroCosm did that)  but it will without doubt be the largest of those tanks ever flown anywhere on Earth. It is expected to conduct multiple interplanetary flights without needing repairs while operating over decades.

This is not just a long way outside NASA or SX's current knowledge base. It is a long way outside anyone's knowledge base anywhere.

That is pretty much the textbook definition of "unknown unknowns." :(

And whether the demo LOx tank for the ITS which was tested to destruction recently by SpaceX went as expected or early, they have retired risk in that regard.  It's either now a known unknown, or a known known--to them.

Mr. Musk's stated timelines are not fabulations, they are a management strategy.  No delays of unaccounted origin are tolerable.

If all goes well, I think it will be 5 years.  10 is at the outside.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #135 on: 04/28/2017 01:08 AM »

"Efficiency" and "NASA" are two words that don't go together. Here's a fine example:
http://spacenews.com/nasa-auditors-criticize-spacesuit-development/

A classic example of government waste of money: "Why develop one when you can develop two for double the price."

NASA will never be efficient. It is the wrong sort of organisation. NASA will however be first to do things, frequently. It is the right sort of organisation for that.

Why develop two spacesuits? To get one that will work.
As both COTS and CCDev show many teams fail. Redundancy means there is a much larger chance that at least one team will succeed.

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #136 on: 04/28/2017 02:24 AM »
Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same
Mostly agree, but don't you think there's, if not direct improvement, at least lateral movement in propulsion technology these days?
Yes and no.

There are a lot of things we take for granted with terms of art like "technology improvement". And some get outraged if you overreach on them. Especially in the area of propulsion.

Briefly, you are not getting much more newtons per kilogram of kerolox - that's what I mean by "very little technology improvement". It's still a chemical reaction and there are efficiency limits that have already been found.
This is why I think the lateral movement is important to acknowledge. Physics is still physics, but a different approach can expose previously inaccessible areas of the trade space, with greater effective performance even if we ignore reusability and costs/business model. Thankfully we don't need SpaceX for our examples:

-Electric pumped propulsion. Underperforms gas generator but outperforms pressure fed, and there are times it can replace pressure fed.
-Methane. Was never operationalized before. Easier to keep liquid and much denser than hydrogen, no gelling etc like kero, outperforms hypergols. Altair was going to use a pressure fed methane engine, but now we'd be looking at electric or expander.

We're not getting more impulse per kilogram of kerolox but greater ISP is available in context. Concrete missions like a manned moon mission would require less mass to TMI. Much of the methane work could have been done 50+ years ago, but it wasn't, and now it is, so new choices are available.

Even then I'd argue there's new "technology" coming. Nobody ever flew a FFSC engine. Or a dual expander AFAICT.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #137 on: 04/28/2017 03:11 AM »
Even though there's very little direct technology improvement inside the vehicles. Chemical propulsion is still about the same
Mostly agree, but don't you think there's, if not direct improvement, at least lateral movement in propulsion technology these days?
Yes and no.

There are a lot of things we take for granted with terms of art like "technology improvement". And some get outraged if you overreach on them. Especially in the area of propulsion.

Briefly, you are not getting much more newtons per kilogram of kerolox - that's what I mean by "very little technology improvement". It's still a chemical reaction and there are efficiency limits that have already been found.
This is why I think the lateral movement is important to acknowledge. Physics is still physics, but a different approach can expose previously inaccessible areas of the trade space, with greater effective performance even if we ignore reusability and costs/business model.
Perhaps.

Note that in the above posts the mention of "motivation". Think that's what your getting at, as to why things didn't enter the trades.

Motivations for the prior vehicles were much more narrow and driven by different needs. Performance and capabilities were reached by a reductionist process determined to limit the scope of risk, so that your program/schedule risk wouldn't explode, and the program would get cancelled (lot of them did end that way).

Many interesting new things that came from your "inaccessible areas of the trade space" are due to the fact that we can revisit them because other means keep us from uncontrolled risk, like better software/simulation tools, better materials/understanding, and better diagnostics techniques when things fail.

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-Electric pumped propulsion. Underperforms gas generator but outperforms pressure fed, and there are times it can replace pressure fed.
Unflown yet.

Its a competition of weight and reliability, as both have advanced in practice. (N.B. for reusable in space propulsion, electric pumps may have additional benefits.) You can also field propulsion with electric pumps more rapidly/cost effectively than TP.

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-Methane. Was never operationalized before. Easier to keep liquid and much denser than hydrogen, no gelling etc like kero, outperforms hypergols. Altair was going to use a pressure fed methane engine, but now we'd be looking at electric or expander.
The benefits of autogenous systems and the possibility of displacing hypers also have been known for decades.

Why weren't they done? Largely, because hypers were already there, worked, and there was only increased risk to do so.

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We're not getting more impulse per kilogram of kerolox but greater ISP is available in context. Concrete missions like a manned moon mission would require less mass to TMI. Much of the methane work could have been done 50+ years ago, but it wasn't, and now it is, so new choices are available.

And there are still more choices to go. Once you consider methalox, you might gain ambitions for ZBF hydrolox, or perhaps metallic hydrogen. Hydrogen is an ideal rocket fuel. How far do you go, in considering trades?

Lets get back to this thread. Its about the "gap". Ideally, if you want the gap short, you don't innovate, you simply develop and repackage what you have, using high flight history components. Which is what SDLV was to be all about.

My contention is that SDLV was already going slow and would go slower still, until there was a need to go faster.

China's ambitions were one need, but much further into the future. Musk/Bezos threaten sooner. These create a pressure, it gets fought off and delays increase briefly. Musk/Bezos become more real, the threat results in a decision to get real or leave the game - that simple.

With that, your "lateral" technology trades are due to the means by which a Musk/Bezos can enter the game, where a govt chose not to. Govt didn't need to shift the economics to make it better, they'd just pay for them, because, after all, it was temporary and would eventually "go away". Government fiat.

Unlike, for example, the intercontinental railway or interstate highway system. With those, the govt invested permanently to harvest the rewards long term of economic prosperity (which BTW China is currently doing, and Russia is too pathetically stupid to do).

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Even then I'd argue there's new "technology" coming. Nobody ever flew a FFSC engine. Or a dual expander AFAICT.
For good reason. They didn't have too.

If the consequence is that it is needed, then who ever's agenda needs it to move the ball down the field.

That's the only reason why these things are happening. And because they are happening, you're getting a contradiction between government fiat and commercial intrusion into government's space.

Online woods170

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #138 on: 04/28/2017 08:47 AM »

"Efficiency" and "NASA" are two words that don't go together. Here's a fine example:
http://spacenews.com/nasa-auditors-criticize-spacesuit-development/

A classic example of government waste of money: "Why develop one when you can develop two for double the price."

NASA will never be efficient. It is the wrong sort of organisation. NASA will however be first to do things, frequently. It is the right sort of organisation for that.

Why develop two spacesuits? To get one that will work.
As both COTS and CCDev show many teams fail. Redundancy means there is a much larger chance that at least one team will succeed.
Oh good. So that is why two types of Space Shuttle were developed and why three types of Apollo flew to the Moon and why there are two types of USA EMU's in use on the ISS.
Oh wait...

Your argument doesn't hold. What we see here was the development of two types of EMU replacements. The first was initiated under CxP. Note that under CxP only ONE type was under development, not two-or-more if we follow your line of reasoning.
Next CxP got canned. But given that an EMU replacement was still necessary, it was decided to continue development of the CxP suit. Because, heck, that program already existed. So far, this all sounds logical.
But then a second suit-development project was started, despite lacking a clear goal given the post-CxP lack of clear Exploration destinations.
The fact that there were now TWO suit development programs drew criticism from US Congress (and rightly so IMO) because those two programs paralleled each other to a large extent. It took NASA six years to finally figure out that having two suit development projects was not in the best general interest and they finally terminated the CxP suit development project in 2016, six years after CxP itself got canned. Now, NASA is back to just one suit development program, with still no quarantee of an operational replacement suit by the time EMU is to be phased out. So the redundancy argument does not hold either.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2017 08:48 AM by woods170 »

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #139 on: 04/28/2017 11:58 AM »
" Ideally, if you want the gap short, you don't innovate, you simply develop and repackage what you have, using high flight history components. Which is what SDLV was to be all about. "

No shuttle derived vehicle was fit for the purpose, ludicrous unaddressed engineering compromises which threatened every mission with a loss of crew failure more often that one in about 50 shots permeated every bit of the Shuttle technology.

There is no reason to want the gap short, but gone.  If we didn't want a gap, then in 2000, or 1990, or 1980, NASA should have done what SpaceX undertook--the development of a gas-and-go largely or entirely reusable vehicle, something iteratively update-able and economically sustainable.  No part of the Shuttle has a part to play in that, it was all done too close to the margins, unaddressed engineering compromises (some of which were ludicrous) which threatened every mission with a loss of crew failure more often that one in about 50 shots; these permeated every bit of the Shuttle technology.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #140 on: 04/28/2017 03:20 PM »
Actually even without them, I think they'd have done quite well.  Their biggest advantage was their intent and approach.
And I'd agree with you. A TSTO ELV with a GG cycle RP1/LOX engine set is very far from the leading state of the art.

OTOH how it has been designed and manufactured has very much been at the SoA in the rocket engineering business.
Funny, getting the cost down is SpaceX's main motive factor.  Not all companies have the same terribly (stupidly) short timeframes over which ROI is required.  Same things drives the short sellers nuts about Tesla, too.

In case you did not realize it SX is not quoted on the NYSE. It therefor does not need to fear having its stock price fall by people selling its stock and becoming a takeover target (and likewise it's senior management's personal wealth shrink due to the fall in that stock price).

Companies that do tend to be much more cautious in their planning.
Quote from: tdperk
" That will need Bigelow to actually launch a destination first. "

Only trivially true, a tautology.
Not if you're being asked to put down $Xm for the privilege of staying there it's not.
To go by their history SpaceX will succeed in building the ITS in 5 to 10 years, since they began the effort about 2 years ago and have a far better cash flow than they have previously.
When asked by an MIT Professor did he think ITS (or BFR) was possible in 6 years Musk replied (I think that's a little optimistic")
Hint. When the CEO and Chief Designer of the company wanting to build ITS says 6 years is too short to build ITS he is
a)Expressing an opinion based on his (very) well informed judgement about what's involved
b)Conducting a strategic deception to mislead SX's business rivals.
I will leave you to think about which one of these options is the more plausible.
FH, which conceptually is a much simpler upgrade(same materials, same engines, no cross feed), is 3 years over its first announcement and may slip to 4.

ITS needs a new engine (currently only tested to 1/4 full scale), major new tanks in a completely different material to what SX is used to using and needing some serious new infrastructure to launch it and/or transport it.
And whether the demo LOx tank for the ITS which was tested to destruction recently by SpaceX went as expected or early, they have retired risk in that regard.  It's either now a known unknown, or a known known--to them.
Partly retired as there is no way to test it through it's full flight range.
Interesting factoid #2. NASA found that hitting a composite tank could reduce it's ability to carry a pressurized load by 30% without any obvious visible signs of damage.

Slamming a composite tank into the ground will definitely give a shock load to such a tank. Hopefully they will have on board test and repair equipment to spot such damage and fix it.
Quote from: tdperk
Mr. Musk's stated timelines are not fabulations, they are a management strategy.  No delays of unaccounted origin are tolerable.
How interesting. That suggests SX had done a lot more science (delays of unaccountable origin) than I ever imagined.
Quote from: tdperk
If all goes well, I think it will be 5 years.  10 is at the outside.
Atkins first law. Engineering is done with mathematics. Engineering without mathematics is opinion.
IOW when you think SX can do ITS in 5 years, Musk says 6 is optimistic, FH is 3 years behind schedule and ITS is much harder most people will look at the evidence and conclude you're wrong.
http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/akins_laws.html
« Last Edit: 04/28/2017 03:29 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Online AncientU

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #141 on: 04/28/2017 04:55 PM »

Quote from: tdperk
If all goes well, I think it will be 5 years.  10 is at the outside.
Atkins first law. Engineering is done with mathematics. Engineering without mathematics is opinion.
IOW when you think SX can do ITS in 5 years, Musk says 6 is optimistic, FH is 3 years behind schedule and ITS is much harder most people will look at the evidence and conclude you're wrong.
http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/akins_laws.html

Adding a few numbers into your text is not mathematics... your statement is pure opinion (as is that of tdperk).
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #142 on: 04/28/2017 09:01 PM »
Adding a few numbers into your text is not mathematics... your statement is pure opinion (as is that of tdperk).
Those "few numbers"  are the actual delays for a real system SX has built (and FH has still not flown yet) and Musk's lower bounds on ITS.

So anyone thinking ITS will fly in 5 years when the CEO and Chief Designer thinks 6 is optimistic is, to put it bluntly, delusional.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #143 on: 04/28/2017 10:16 PM »
FH, which conceptually is a much simpler upgrade(same materials, same engines, no cross feed), is 3 years over its first announcement and may slip to 4.

BTW, I should very much like to see you name any reason, backed by a fact, to claim it will slip past the current date for any reason other than weather or some other vehicle taking priority over the range.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #144 on: 04/28/2017 10:31 PM »
Wayne Hale has noted that the gap between manned U.S. Space missions from U.S. soil with American spacecraft is now greater than that between Apollo & Shuttle! Depressing... Not much to say about that. :(

I feel there is this to say about it.

As the concurrent late and terribly expensive development of the SLS shows, this gap shows the contrast to be all but universally expected in the results from when free enterprise is not interfered with by political concerns, between that free enterprise and efforts where politics are paramount.

What we get out of this gap is at least one (depending on timing and how generous you are with it, three) systems based on US soil which can launch human payloads with greater reliability than the Shuttle produced, and two of which can do so at far lower cost per pound than the Shuttle ever did on it's best day.

If the Saturn's use was going to be curtailed after Skylab, a "gap" was inevitable.  We didn't get a sensible vehicle after the end of that gap.  After the end of this one, we have one or two.  It's a good thing.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #145 on: 04/28/2017 10:35 PM »
Actually even without them, I think they'd have done quite well.  Their biggest advantage was their intent and approach.
And I'd agree with you. A TSTO ELV with a GG cycle RP1/LOX engine set is very far from the leading state of the art.

OTOH how it has been designed and manufactured has very much been at the SoA in the rocket engineering business.
Funny, getting the cost down is SpaceX's main motive factor.  Not all companies have the same terribly (stupidly) short timeframes over which ROI is required.  Same things drives the short sellers nuts about Tesla, too.

In case you did not realize it SX is not quoted on the NYSE. It therefor does not need to fear having its stock price fall by people selling its stock and becoming a takeover target (and likewise it's senior management's personal wealth shrink due to the fall in that stock price).

Companies that do tend to be much more cautious in their planning.
Quote from: tdperk
" That will need Bigelow to actually launch a destination first. "

Only trivially true, a tautology.
Not if you're being asked to put down $Xm for the privilege of staying there it's not.
To go by their history SpaceX will succeed in building the ITS in 5 to 10 years, since they began the effort about 2 years ago and have a far better cash flow than they have previously.
When asked by an MIT Professor did he think ITS (or BFR) was possible in 6 years Musk replied (I think that's a little optimistic")
Hint. When the CEO and Chief Designer of the company wanting to build ITS says 6 years is too short to build ITS he is
a)Expressing an opinion based on his (very) well informed judgement about what's involved
b)Conducting a strategic deception to mislead SX's business rivals.
I will leave you to think about which one of these options is the more plausible.
FH, which conceptually is a much simpler upgrade(same materials, same engines, no cross feed), is 3 years over its first announcement and may slip to 4.

ITS needs a new engine (currently only tested to 1/4 full scale), major new tanks in a completely different material to what SX is used to using and needing some serious new infrastructure to launch it and/or transport it.
And whether the demo LOx tank for the ITS which was tested to destruction recently by SpaceX went as expected or early, they have retired risk in that regard.  It's either now a known unknown, or a known known--to them.
Partly retired as there is no way to test it through it's full flight range.
Interesting factoid #2. NASA found that hitting a composite tank could reduce it's ability to carry a pressurized load by 30% without any obvious visible signs of damage.

Slamming a composite tank into the ground will definitely give a shock load to such a tank. Hopefully they will have on board test and repair equipment to spot such damage and fix it.
Quote from: tdperk
Mr. Musk's stated timelines are not fabulations, they are a management strategy.  No delays of unaccounted origin are tolerable.
How interesting. That suggests SX had done a lot more science (delays of unaccountable origin) than I ever imagined.
Quote from: tdperk
If all goes well, I think it will be 5 years.  10 is at the outside.
Atkins first law. Engineering is done with mathematics. Engineering without mathematics is opinion.
IOW when you think SX can do ITS in 5 years, Musk says 6 is optimistic, FH is 3 years behind schedule and ITS is much harder most people will look at the evidence and conclude you're wrong.
http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/akins_laws.html

I'm quite aware SpaceX's ROI is internal and you will surely not quote anything where I claimed it is traded?  Why did you throw that out here, if not to distract from your weak argument?  The ROI of SpaceX is primarily to the satisfaction of Musk.  This does not detract from his timeframe for it being much longer than usual, as with Tesla which I mentioned and is traded.

No one is being asked to put down any money to stay on a Bigelow which isn't here yet, are they?  And yet, when they are orbited, do you doubt there will be takers?

Some of those 6 years have already elapsed, I beleive well over a year has.  The considered judgement on the forums here is that the test article is 1/3 scale, and SpaceX already brought to your attention they built and tested to destruction a full scale ITS tank.  Also, where'd you get the very foolish idea they are going to slam it into the ground?  Do you also pretend Falcon are slammed into the ground?

And yes, SpaceX has done a great deal more work than most of it's detractor admit.  They have been given nothing by NASA which they could use as is, they cut all their own metal and did the work of designing how to cut it.

I'm stating 5 to 10 years from now, you and AncientU seem possessed of the delusion that the 6 years has not already started, and there are no more mathematics to your opinion than there are to mine...

...And I do show more awareness of the apparent facts.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2017 10:53 PM by tdperk »

Offline Comga

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #146 on: 04/28/2017 10:38 PM »
We are so far from the original topic, with so many very long posts.

The gap between the end of the Shuttle program and the first occupied flight of either Orion or Dragon or CST-100 is longer than the gap between Apollo and Shuttle.

It is what it is for a hundred reasons.  As far as I can see none of them involve ITS, as it surely won't be the vehicle to end the gap.  It doesn't matter what could have been, or what might be along some alternate path.  The issue is when one of those three vehicles will do it and why it is taking so long.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #147 on: 04/29/2017 01:41 AM »
{snip}
The fact that there were now TWO suit development programs drew criticism from US Congress (and rightly so IMO) because those two programs paralleled each other to a large extent. It took NASA six years to finally figure out that having two suit development projects was not in the best general interest and they finally terminated the CxP suit development project in 2016, six years after CxP itself got canned. Now, NASA is back to just one suit development program, with still no quarantee of an operational replacement suit by the time EMU is to be phased out. So the redundancy argument does not hold either.

With COTS NASA changed its rules on equipment development. This was the start of parallel launch vehicle  development.

The NASA Office of Inspector General seems to think that there are 3 Space Suits in development.
"While maintaining the existing fleet of EMUs for use on the ISS, the Agency has also spent almost $200 million on three spacesuit development efforts to enable human exploration in deep space, including missions to Mars:  the Constellation Space Suit System ($135.6 million), Advanced Space Suit Project ($51.6 million), and Orion Crew Survival System ($12 million). "
https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY17/IG-17-018.pdf

Offline TomH

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #148 on: 04/29/2017 06:27 AM »
NASA has lacked direction for years.  The directors have allowed congress to pick and choose what should be done lately.

This is perhaps the most stunningly uninformed comment I have ever read on this site. Whom do you know in any field who does not allow their bosses to tell them what to do? How in heaven's name could you envision NASA leadership telling congress, You are wrong; we are going to do what we think we should rather than following your instructions? How do you think that would actually go over?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #149 on: 04/29/2017 07:08 AM »
I'm quite aware SpaceX's ROI is internal and you will surely not quote anything where I claimed it is traded?  Why did you throw that out here, if not to distract from your weak argument?  The ROI of SpaceX is primarily to the satisfaction of Musk.  This does not detract from his timeframe for it being much longer than usual, as with Tesla which I mentioned and is traded.
I'm not sure where or what you're reading as a reference to ROI.
Quote from: tdperk
No one is being asked to put down any money to stay on a Bigelow which isn't here yet, are they?  And yet, when they are orbited, do you doubt there will be takers?
Quote from: tdperk
Bigelow has said a key driver is cost of getting people too and from the modules. As a unique destination he should have a market. The question remains is the market big enough at the price point for transport that he can get.
Some of those 6 years have already elapsed, I beleive well over a year has.  The considered judgement on the forums here is that the test article is 1/3 scale, and SpaceX already brought to your attention they built and tested to destruction a full scale ITS tank.  Also, where'd you get the very foolish idea they are going to slam it into the ground?  Do you also pretend Falcon are slammed into the ground?
I don't believe. I know exactly.
It was September 25th 2014. 
Here's the video at around 0:15:20, shortly after he said upper stage reuse is off the table for F9 based hardware.

Quote from: tdperk
And yes, SpaceX has done a great deal more work than most of it's detractor admit.  They have been given nothing by NASA which they could use as is, they cut all their own metal and did the work of designing how to cut it.
Apart from the run of NASA's extensive library, it's specialist machinery centres and if necessary (but paid) access to its research specialists, as well as being able to license its TPS. And of course its funding through CCC

These are significant benefits and as Musk has stated SX's progress would not have been possible without NASA

It would be interesting to see which NASA centres have been most and least cooperative with SX. Johnson, where CC originated from, have probably been very helpful as they have a real need to get crew on ISS.
Quote from: tdperk
I'm stating 5 to 10 years from now, you and AncientU seem possessed of the delusion that the 6 years has not already started, and there are no more mathematics to your opinion than there are to mine...

...And I do show more awareness of the apparent facts.
And you'd be wrong. The clock started September 25th 2014. No I don't expect to seen an ITS in Mars orbit by 2020. I don't expect to see it flying by then. I'd like to see something in orbit by 2022 but I wouldn't hold my breath.

As always time will tell the winners from the losers, the skeptics from the doubters and the doubters from the fanbois.
« Last Edit: 04/29/2017 07:14 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #150 on: 04/29/2017 07:15 AM »
This is perhaps the most stunningly uninformed comment I have ever read on this site. Whom do you know in any field who does not allow their bosses to tell them what to do? How in heaven's name could you envision NASA leadership telling congress, You are wrong; we are going to do what we think we should rather than following your instructions? How do you think that would actually go over?
And yet that's pretty much Jeff Greason's comment on the conclusions of the Augustine II committee's view of CxP. That in fact Congress did not authorize NASA to do this. It decided to do it.

I do think NASA has had a very long running problem in communications with Congress regarding what Congress wants and needs and NASA wants and needs.  :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #151 on: 04/29/2017 07:24 AM »
Returning to the thread topic I think SX will be the first to put a crew on a US space vehicle into LEO again, Boeing will follow and at some point NASA will launch SLS with an Orion on it.

As for the delay IIRC Marshall is responsible for propulsion and structures for rockets. If their last major role was Shuttle that implies they have not built a govt designed (and designed to be operated by government) system for a generation. This suggests they may have had to spend a substantial amount of time either re-learning old skills or educating a new generation of engineers in what to do and how to do it.

Then again maybe that was CxP and SLS is the "Second system" as FE Brooks put it.  :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline gospacex

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #152 on: 04/29/2017 08:10 AM »
You know that when ex-Soviet people were first able to travel abroad en masse, they were *shocked* by what they saw in Western supermarkets? They could barely believe these things can exist: EVERYTHING is available, and it is ALWAYS available! Un-fcsking-believable.

"Profit motive produces little progress". Gosh....
Unfortunately the profit motive works when when customers can make money going to that destination.

Historically the 2 big customers with serious money to spend have been either governments (who spend taxpayers money so don't really care what it costs as long as it's as reliable as possible) and communications satellites who (likewise) did not really care what they spent as long as they got reliable launch. Because the only way to go to orbit was by an ELV.

I don't think you are right about comsat companies. They were happy to use cheaper launchers, as soon as those appeared as a viable alternative when after Soviet Union fall, Russians started to offer their LVs. They even accepted somewhat lower reliability of Russian tech in exchange.

And today, SES is quite explicit in its statements that they like and support SpaceX not because they are Musk fanboys, but for the very pragmatic reason that they like cheaper launch service.

Offline jgoldader

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #153 on: 04/29/2017 01:24 PM »
I don't see a separate thread for the OIG space suit report; should there be one?  I'm not surprised at the state of SLS, but reading the space suit report was kind of shocking.

(Actually, some sort of main space suit thread would be interesting.)
« Last Edit: 04/29/2017 01:25 PM by jgoldader »
Recovering astronomer

Online AnalogMan

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #154 on: 04/29/2017 01:55 PM »
I don't see a separate thread for the OIG space suit report; should there be one?  I'm not surprised at the state of SLS, but reading the space suit report was kind of shocking.

(Actually, some sort of main space suit thread would be interesting.)

See: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42824.0

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #155 on: 04/30/2017 08:08 PM »
BTW, I should very much like to see you name any reason, backed by a fact, to claim it will slip past the current date for any reason other than weather or some other vehicle taking priority over the range.
What you need is to learn the difference between criticism of SX and polite skepticism SX will meet their schedule.

People are doubtful SX will meet their stated schedule because SX have a history of not meeting their schedule. What they are not (or should not be) doubtful of is SX's tenacity to pursue their goal and to eventually achieve it.

Maybe it will launch on the stated date this time round, maybe it won't. I don't think anyone doubts it will eventually.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline tdperk

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Re: The U.S. Manned Space Gap Record is Now Broken
« Reply #156 on: 05/11/2017 12:32 PM »
BTW, I should very much like to see you name any reason, backed by a fact, to claim it will slip past the current date for any reason other than weather or some other vehicle taking priority over the range.
What you need is to learn the difference between criticism of SX and polite skepticism SX will meet their schedule.

People are doubtful SX will meet their stated schedule because SX have a history of not meeting their schedule. What they are not (or should not be) doubtful of is SX's tenacity to pursue their goal and to eventually achieve it.

Maybe it will launch on the stated date this time round, maybe it won't. I don't think anyone doubts it will eventually.

I don't think I need to learn anything you suggest, because I don't think you know the difference between skepticism based in reality and what you evince, which is not.  I believe Musk's announced, presuming if nothing goes wrong schedules are a management tool designed to try to get the best performance out of his human resources.  It has nothing to do with being a deception or with being unrealistic, and if you were being realistic you would understand the significance of the flight hardware being test fired.

Absent a failure requiring a RTF after a pause to understand and fix it, the FH will launch this year and within a month of the current date--and you have no expressed factual reason to think otherwise.

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