Author Topic: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan  (Read 18984 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« on: 04/15/2010 05:33 PM »
At Long Last, an Inspiring Future for Space Exploration

The Apollo Moon landing was one of humanity’s greatest achievements.  Millennia from now, when the vast majority of the 20th century is reduced to a few footnotes known only to erudite scholars of history, they will still remember that was when we first set foot upon a heavenly body.  It was a mere 66 years after the first powered airplane flight by the Wright brothers.

 

In the 41 years that have passed since 1969, we have yet to surpass that achievement in human spaceflight.  Since then, our capability has actually declined considerably and to a degree that would yield shocked disbelief from anyone in that era.  By now, we were supposed to have a base on the Moon, perhaps even on Mars, and have sent humans traveling on great odysseys to the outer planets.  Instead, we have been confined to low Earth orbit and even that ends this year with the retirement of the Space Shuttle.

 

In 2003, following the Columbia accident, President Bush began development of a system to replace the Shuttle, called the Ares I rocket and Orion spacecraft.  It is important to note that this too would only have been able to reach low Earth orbit.  Many in the media mistakenly assumed it was capable of reaching the Moon.  As is not unusual with large government programs, the schedule slipped by several years and costs ballooned by tens of billions.

 

By the time President Obama cancelled Ares I/Orion earlier this year, the schedule had already slipped five years to 2017 and completing development would have required another $50 billion.  Moreover, the cost per flight, inclusive of overhead, was estimated to be at least $1.5 billion compared to the $1 billion of Shuttle, despite carrying only four people to Shuttle’s seven and almost no cargo.

 

The President quite reasonably concluded that spending $50 billion to develop a vehicle that would cost 50% more to operate, but carry 50% less payload was perhaps not the best possible use of funds.  To quote a member of the Augustine Commission, which was convened by the President to analyze Ares/Orion, “If Santa Claus brought us the system tomorrow, fully developed, and the budget didn’t change, our next action would have to be to cancel it,” because we can’t afford the annual operating costs. 

 

Cancellation was therefore simply a matter of time and thankfully we have a President with the political courage to do the right thing sooner rather than later.  We can ill afford the expense of an “Apollo on steroids”, as a former NASA Administrator referred to the Ares/Orion program.  A lesser President might have waited until after the upcoming election cycle, not caring that billions more dollars would be wasted.  It was disappointing to see how many in Congress did not possess this courage.  One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!

Thankfully, as a result of funds freed up by this cancellation, there is now hope for a bright future in space exploration.  The new plan is to harness our nation’s unparalleled system of free enterprise (as we have done in all other modes of transport), to create far more reliable and affordable rockets.  Handing over Earth orbit transport to American commercial companies, overseen of course by NASA and the FAA, will free up the NASA resources necessary to develop interplanetary transport technologies.  This is critically important if we are to reach Mars, the next giant leap in human exploration of the Universe. 

Today, the President will articulate an ambitious and exciting new plan that will alter our destiny as a species.  I believe this address could be as important as President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University.  For the first time since Apollo, our country will have a plan for space exploration that inspires and excites all who look to the stars.  Even more important, it will work.

--Elon--

 

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #1 on: 04/15/2010 05:40 PM »
At Long Last, an Inspiring Future for Space Exploration

The Apollo Moon landing was one of humanity’s greatest achievements.  Millennia from now, when the vast majority of the 20th century is reduced to a few footnotes known only to erudite scholars of history, they will still remember that was when we first set foot upon a heavenly body.  It was a mere 66 years after the first powered airplane flight by the Wright brothers.

 

In the 41 years that have passed since 1969, we have yet to surpass that achievement in human spaceflight.  Since then, our capability has actually declined considerably and to a degree that would yield shocked disbelief from anyone in that era.  By now, we were supposed to have a base on the Moon, perhaps even on Mars, and have sent humans traveling on great odysseys to the outer planets.  Instead, we have been confined to low Earth orbit and even that ends this year with the retirement of the Space Shuttle.

 

In 2003, following the Columbia accident, President Bush began development of a system to replace the Shuttle, called the Ares I rocket and Orion spacecraft.  It is important to note that this too would only have been able to reach low Earth orbit.  Many in the media mistakenly assumed it was capable of reaching the Moon.  As is not unusual with large government programs, the schedule slipped by several years and costs ballooned by tens of billions.

 

By the time President Obama cancelled Ares I/Orion earlier this year, the schedule had already slipped five years to 2017 and completing development would have required another $50 billion.  Moreover, the cost per flight, inclusive of overhead, was estimated to be at least $1.5 billion compared to the $1 billion of Shuttle, despite carrying only four people to Shuttle’s seven and almost no cargo.

 

The President quite reasonably concluded that spending $50 billion to develop a vehicle that would cost 50% more to operate, but carry 50% less payload was perhaps not the best possible use of funds.  To quote a member of the Augustine Commission, which was convened by the President to analyze Ares/Orion, “If Santa Claus brought us the system tomorrow, fully developed, and the budget didn’t change, our next action would have to be to cancel it,” because we can’t afford the annual operating costs. 

 

Cancellation was therefore simply a matter of time and thankfully we have a President with the political courage to do the right thing sooner rather than later.  We can ill afford the expense of an “Apollo on steroids”, as a former NASA Administrator referred to the Ares/Orion program.  A lesser President might have waited until after the upcoming election cycle, not caring that billions more dollars would be wasted.  It was disappointing to see how many in Congress did not possess this courage.  One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!

Thankfully, as a result of funds freed up by this cancellation, there is now hope for a bright future in space exploration.  The new plan is to harness our nation’s unparalleled system of free enterprise (as we have done in all other modes of transport), to create far more reliable and affordable rockets.  Handing over Earth orbit transport to American commercial companies, overseen of course by NASA and the FAA, will free up the NASA resources necessary to develop interplanetary transport technologies.  This is critically important if we are to reach Mars, the next giant leap in human exploration of the Universe. 

Today, the President will articulate an ambitious and exciting new plan that will alter our destiny as a species.  I believe this address could be as important as President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University.  For the first time since Apollo, our country will have a plan for space exploration that inspires and excites all who look to the stars.  Even more important, it will work.

--Elon--

 

I wonder what it is the Musk knows to make him say that? We will see, but I am expecting the press to basically sell the original plan (try to sell) with two STS missions tacked on. Oh and the orion life boat thing.
Nothing has changed......yet.
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"Live Long and Prosper"

Offline yg1968

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #2 on: 04/15/2010 05:42 PM »
Quote
One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!

Now, now Elon be nice to Senator Shelby...
« Last Edit: 04/15/2010 05:43 PM by yg1968 »

Offline kraisee

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #3 on: 04/15/2010 05:43 PM »
Elon should not have released that before Obama actually makes his speech.

Gazumping the President's News Cycle is a really bad way to make friends with any of the WH staff, let alone the occupant of the Oval.   And those folk have long memories.

Ross.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2010 05:43 PM by kraisee »
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Offline Mark S

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #4 on: 04/15/2010 05:46 PM »
Elon should not have released that before Obama actually makes his speech.

Gazumping the President's News Cycle is a really bad way to make friends with any of the WH staff, let alone the occupant of the Oval.   And those folk have long memories.

Ross.

He's just helping to ratchet up the excitement.  It's not like he revealed anything new in his press release, other than the fact that he has an opinion like everyone else.

Mark S.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #5 on: 04/15/2010 05:48 PM »
I think if he'd sung the praises of SDLV, the Cult would be cheering him on, right now.

I'm with Buzz and Elon.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #6 on: 04/15/2010 05:48 PM »
Quote
One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!

Now, now Elon be nice to Senator Shelby...


Wow, I missed that one. I'm astonished he would say something like that. In general taking potshots at someone who has a lot of influence over your future business prospects is a bad idea. Unless that person's antagonism is already maxed out, which might be the case with senator Shelby. Or if the battle has already been won, which I doubt. Does Musk know something we don't?
« Last Edit: 04/15/2010 05:49 PM by mmeijeri »
We will be vic-toooooo-ri-ous!!!

Offline telomerase99

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #7 on: 04/15/2010 05:49 PM »
What are you talking about? The WH made an extensive release with details 48 hours prior.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #8 on: 04/15/2010 05:52 PM »
I think if he'd sung the praises of SDLV, the Cult would be cheering him on, right now.

I'm with Buzz and Elon.
Then you may ride the train to wherever it goes (crazy land???).
I would not place bets on ANY of these statements.
Oh and even he had sung SDHLV I would STILL not place any bets because most of the "rumors" recently have turned out to be wrong.
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Offline gladiator1332

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #9 on: 04/15/2010 05:54 PM »
I see nothing wrong with that statement, and I would expect nothing less than that from him since he has such a large stake in this new plan. However, after today and once congress approves the budget, if commercial crew remains, it will be "put up or shut up" time for SpaceX.

Offline marsavian

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #10 on: 04/15/2010 05:55 PM »
Elon's Ares I numbers are about double the accepted reality unless he's included Ares V as well and not told us ;). I suppose FUD is a two way street in this battle for NASA funds ;).

Offline rjholling

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #11 on: 04/15/2010 05:57 PM »
Quote
One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!

Now, now Elon be nice to Senator Shelby...

I LOL'd at that.  I think that Elon articulated his view well and didn't say anything misleading regarding Ares I.  For his company this is all great news and why shouldn't he be cheering on the President right now.

Offline Diagoras

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #12 on: 04/15/2010 06:00 PM »
Elon did not pull any punches! Good on him.
"It’s the typical binary world of 'NASA is great' or 'cancel the space program,' with no nuance or understanding of the underlying issues and pathologies of the space industrial complex."

Offline dks13827

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #13 on: 04/15/2010 06:03 PM »
Musk is an Obama contributor, and as such, stands to gain Nasa funds.  What has he DEMONSTRATED thus far ?  His naivete about manned flight being 'not that difficult'  is unbelievable.  Unrealistic people like that are not a good thing, they cause harm.  Witness the past few months re:  Nasa.

Offline telomerase99

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #14 on: 04/15/2010 06:11 PM »
There is no change. The fact is that the budget is revolutionary and will allow people like Musk to prove that they are right, or wrong. Musk believes that with the money available he will get people to orbit so cheap that he will get people to the moon and mars.

Maybe he will be proved wrong, but this budget as is gives him and others their chance.

The budget is indeed bold and revolutionary.

Offline jongoff

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #15 on: 04/15/2010 06:17 PM »
What has he DEMONSTRATED thus far?

SpaceX has demonstrated the ability to design from scratch a new booster using new propulsion systems and successfully place payloads into orbit using it.  While he did have some learning curve issues, that's a feat that NASA hasn't done successfully in the past 30 years (in spite of blowing through several dozen times the amount they've spent on SpaceX to-date).

That isn't everything they need to do by a long-shot, but they've actually got a better recent track record than MSFC.

~Jon

Offline Namechange User

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #16 on: 04/15/2010 06:24 PM »
Jon,

The statement above is part of the problem.  I hope SpaceX and everyone else succeeds.  As I have stated many times before, from my perspective, we are all in this together and want the best for this industry.  Government and commercial alike. 

SpaceX has made some impressive accomplishments.  However, as dks also points out, there is nothing operational yet, or even flown, that helps support the position we are in today. 

The "us versus them" mentality is most of the reason you are recieved the way you are by some, especially me. 
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #17 on: 04/15/2010 06:27 PM »
What has he DEMONSTRATED thus far?

SpaceX has demonstrated the ability to design from scratch a new booster using new propulsion systems and successfully place payloads into orbit using it.  While he did have some learning curve issues, that's a feat that NASA hasn't done successfully in the past 30 years (in spite of blowing through several dozen times the amount they've spent on SpaceX to-date).

That isn't everything they need to do by a long-shot, but they've actually got a better recent track record than MSFC.

~Jon
If you mean f1 thats " a booster which has a track record of 2 sucess for 3 failures."

If you mean F9 thats "a booster which has not flown yet." Nasa did that too when they built ares 1x. And just because it flew doesn't mean anything because it *wasn't* really an ares rocket. So Nasa has done just as much, by your meter stick.
Still, I accept criticism to MSFC, personally I REALLY don't like how they handled CXP, they were part of the problem.
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Offline ugordan

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #18 on: 04/15/2010 06:27 PM »
I will LOL if f9 flight one crashes back to the cape in pieces.

And so what if it does? India's latest booster also ended up in the drink, is that actual proof they're incompetent of actually doing it right eventually?

Offline jongoff

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Re: Elon/SpaceX on FY2011 Plan
« Reply #19 on: 04/15/2010 06:33 PM »
OV,

The "us versus them" mentality is most of the reason you are recieved the way you are by some, especially me.

Fair enough.  I was just responding to someone else's "us-vs-them", but I probably could have found a way to put MSFC's past 30 years of new vehicle development efforts more tactfully... That said, even MSFC has some things it does well (being a manufacturing engineer I'm a fan of a lot of the work they've done on various mfg processes), and I've got respect for the work done in other areas of NASA, even if I think there were better ways of doing some things.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 04/15/2010 06:35 PM by jongoff »

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