Author Topic: Reopening the American Frontier: Partnerships Between Commercial Space and Govt  (Read 2670 times)

Offline yg1968

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« Last Edit: 07/15/2017 12:46 AM by yg1968 »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Eric Berger picked up on one aspect of SpaceX's evidence:

Quote
SpaceX goes there—seeks government funds for deep space
Ideas: Vertical takeoff of rockets on the Moon. Cargo to Mars. Deep space comms.

by Eric Berger - Jul 13, 2017 6:30pm BST

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/spacex-urges-lawmakers-to-commercialize-deep-space-exploration/

Online AncientU

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The 'walled-off' BEO theme that NASA has been pushing has always ringed hollow.  NASA lost its capability to go to LEO, so 'conceded' it to commercial as if they had a choice (other than continuing to buy rides from Russia).  BEO exploration cannot be their sole domiane because they don't have the technology needed in hand or any reasonable prospect of getting the budget to develop it -- per their own admission this week.

Either NASA taps the commercial world for the rides and other hardware they need, or they'll lose BEO and human exploration, too. SpaceX 'Going there' was the flip side of Gerstenmaier 'Going there.'
« Last Edit: 07/16/2017 08:16 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Jim

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Nonsense.  NASA has had technology for decades.  It has only been a matter of direction and money.

Your tribades are getting tiresome
« Last Edit: 07/16/2017 10:27 PM by Jim »

Offline woods170

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Nonsense.  NASA has had technology for decades.  It has only been a matter of direction and money.

Your tribades are getting tiresome
With all due respect Jim but your continued uttering of nonsense is getting tiresome as well. I'll give a few examples with regards to your latest back-and-forth with AncientU:

Example:
Despite you claiming the opposite NASA does not have the technology to go beyond BEO. If NASA in fact had the technology there would be no need for Orion. However, Orion is there to re-learn and re-develop the beyond-LEO technology because the beyond-LEO technology for manned missions was thrown out the window in the 1972 - 1975 timeframe without properly securing, archiving and retaining the then-existing BLEO knowledge-base.
Also, as you point out ever so often: almost none of the people working back then are available anymore. So, that know-how is gone, and with it a substantial part of the knowledge about the technology.

Another example:
Despite you claiming otherwise is it not "only a matter of direction and money". Multiple presidents beyond Nixon have directed NASA towards BLEO destinations such as the Moon, Mars or asteroids. Heck, some of them even threw money after it. What was lacking everytime was will (as in willpower) to turn those directions into national goals in stead of jobs programs.
NASA needs a helluva lot more than just direction and money. For NASA to be succesful in any BLEO undertaking it needs major re-structuring. It also needs to be freed from the influence of folks like senator Shelby et al. Getting rid of a substantial part of overhead as well as getting rid of a dozen competing field centers are absolute necessities as well.

Offline Jim

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Despite you claiming otherwise is it not "only a matter of direction and money". Multiple presidents beyond Nixon have directed NASA towards BLEO destinations such as the Moon, Mars or asteroids. Heck, some of them even threw money after it. What was lacking everytime was will (as in willpower) to turn those directions into national goals in stead of jobs programs.


Wrong.  If congress is not onboard with it, then what the president directs is meaningless.  So direction includes Congress's backing

Offline yg1968

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The 'walled-off' BEO theme that NASA has been pushing has always ringed hollow.  NASA lost its capability to go to LEO, so 'conceded' it to commercial as if they had a choice (other than continuing to buy rides from Russia).  BEO exploration cannot be their sole domiane because they don't have the technology needed in hand or any reasonable prospect of getting the budget to develop it -- per their own admission this week.

Either NASA taps the commercial world for the rides and other hardware they need, or they'll lose BEO and human exploration, too. SpaceX 'Going there' was the flip side of Gerstenmaier 'Going there.'

At the AIAA meeting, Gerst mentionned that cargo to the deep space gateway (DSG) would be commercial. I am hoping that the deep space habitat will also be commercial. Gerst specifically rejected the notion that BEO would be NASA only. He said that private-government partnerships were important for BEO exploration.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43362.0
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 02:16 PM by yg1968 »

Offline spacenut

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Congress and the senate is the problem.  They want money spent in their districts or states.  Thus, the bureaucratic nightmare.  Someone must make a clear direction (usually the president with congressional leaders), then money appropriated for the direction and spent for that direction only, regardless of whose state or district it is in.  Other things may have to be cut within NASA to achieve that direction. 

If, private partnerships are to be involved, those leaders and CEOs must be in the committee with the congressional leaders and NASA to determine the direction, determine who will do what, then have NASA coordinate them to work together to achieve the goal. 

Offline Lar

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Crazy idea... let's not rehash the last 19 debates but instead focus on whatever new information this hearing generated, and whatever new statements were made that are cogent.

Thanks
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Coastal Ron

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From the "SpaceX goes there—seeks government funds for deep space | Ars Technica" article:

"For Bolden, the lines were clear: we'll support you near Earth, but leave deep space to the professionals. "We believe our responsibility to the nation is to take care of things that normal people cannot do, or don’t want to do, like large launch vehicles," Bolden said of NASA."

I liked Administrator Bolden. I thought he did a very good job as an Administrator, and pretty much the only area of disagreement I had with him was his support of the SLS.

And I also believe that the role of our government should be to do what individuals and groups can't or won't do, but I think he was very premature is saying that about "large launch vehicles".

For instance, it was Congress that told NASA to build the SLS, not NASA (actually Obama, since he ran NASA), since NASA wasn't saying that they had plans that could only be accomplished if the U.S. Government built and operated their own space launch system. So I think Bolden was just supporting the views of Congress, which is not unusual for heads of agencies when Congress is very specific about what they want.

Also, in order to justify that "only NASA" can do something, that something has to be defined very explicitly and the private sector has to have been given a chance to say "nope, we can't do that". That has never happened with regards to "large launch vehicles".

But I think the Commercial Cargo program, which was started in the Bush43 Administration, has shown that in the realm of space transportation that the U.S. aerospace industry now has capabilities that can exceed what NASA is able to do within a restricted budget. In other words, the genie is out of the bottle, and coupled with a lack of funded programs for the SLS, it's hard to see how NASA's future won't involve even more private sector involvement. And overall that should be a good thing we should all support.

However, as long as the SLS and Orion programs are active we should not be surprised when NASA and Congress dismiss what the private sector is potentially capable of, since to do otherwise would be to validate that the SLS and Orion are not really needed at this moment in history. I think it's just a few short years before it's painfully obvious what messrs Musk and Bezos have accomplished, and that NASA has new options it should consider...
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 Alpha Control

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Despite you claiming otherwise is it not "only a matter of direction and money". Multiple presidents beyond Nixon have directed NASA towards BLEO destinations such as the Moon, Mars or asteroids. Heck, some of them even threw money after it. What was lacking everytime was will (as in willpower) to turn those directions into national goals in stead of jobs programs.


Wrong.  If congress is not onboard with it, then what the president directs is meaningless.  So direction includes Congress's backing

A notable example of this is the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), proposed by President George H. W. Bush on July 20, 1989.  I was there, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, outside of the Natl' Air & Space museum, to hear the president give this major address on the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.

This was in the pre-9-11 era when average citizens like me could just walk up to the Mall to see & hear the president in person. Hard to believe now.   

I was quite excited by this announcement. I followed it in the pages of Aviation Week (my primary source of space news in the pre-internet days). But in the immediate years that followed, the Congress was quite put off by the cost estimate - $500B - and their reaction was decidely negative.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 02:30 AM by Alpha Control »
Space launches attended:
Antares/Cygnus ORB-D1 Wallops Island, VA Sept 2013 | STS-123 KSC, FL March 2008 | SpaceShipOne Mojave, CA June 2004

Offline woods170

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Op-ed on SN calling (basically) for "the best of both worlds":

http://spacenews.com/op-ed-a-house-divided-or-in-this-case-a-rocket/

Offline Proponent

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As I read it, the major point of the op-ed is that, because SLS is so expensive, it must be terminated if NASA is to send people into the solar system.  Terminating SLS, in turn, requires finding something else for the SLS workforce to do, because simply getting rid of them is politically impossible.

The author implies that the name "Constellation" was chosen for the Constellation Program, because it was originally intended to use a constellation of small vehicles.  I didn't know that.

Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Op-ed on SN calling (basically) for "the best of both worlds":

http://spacenews.com/op-ed-a-house-divided-or-in-this-case-a-rocket/

Reading that op-ed, I was actually reminded of a debate that is going on right now in the liberal/progressive activist community. 

Disclaimer - (The next paragraph is a description of a current major political debate that is not space related.  Please note, I am not taking a position on this issue, nor do I actually want to debate the issues in it.  I am noting it and describing it - any actual debating of these issues should go elsewhere)

Arguably one of the biggest items that has been under debate in the liberal community since the 2016 election is what is causing the divide of lower income white-males.  Is it an economic problem caused by lack of job, or is it a cultural problem caused by the changing social dynamics of the last 10-20 years?

Clearly Mr. Robertson is making the case that the shuttle workforce has to be given something useful to do in a world with a very different structure around space, and that, if we do that,   they will buy into the concept of NewSpace.  But, I've heard very vociferous opinions that, even if you were to have a viable plan to engineer a NewSpace community in Alabama, or more traditional southern space states, there would still be a strong resistance to it, because of cultural issues around how we view NASA and space.  A few examples of space cultural issues that are raised by moving towards a more distributed space policy:

What happens if NASA isn't the leader for US space when it comes to a particular issue?
What happens if NASA isn't in control of a major US civil space activity?
What if NASA astronauts are no longer the rock stars of the US Space community? 

It's much like the piece that Mr. Hale wrote about in his killing Constellation piece, where he talks about what we got, vs the proposed Shawcross alternative, vs some other option that doesn't get more money. 

Anyway, my main point - In many respects, the debate of SLS vs non-SLS isn't just a technical debate, or an economic debate.  It's a cultural debate. 
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Anyway, my main point - In many respects, the debate of SLS vs non-SLS isn't just a technical debate, or an economic debate.  It's a cultural debate.

A debate about NASA would include cultural aspects, especially since the Space Race was such a large part of what we have been known for.

But when the SLS was being created by a few key people in the Senate in 2010, our nation was deep into the worst recession in generations.

Was there a technical debate about the best way to satisfy future NASA needs? The Augustine Commission had already concluded that commercial launch providers could satisfy NASA's needs, and the Senate did not hold any debates asking whether it was better to build another government-owned space transportation system, or whether it was better to 100% rely on the private sector (which was only ULA at that point). So no, there was no technical debate.

Was there an economic debate about whether owning and operating yet another space transportation system was a good idea? No. Nor was there any debate about the amount of need required for a government-owned, government-run space transportation system. So Congress really had no idea whether they were making the right decision from an economic standpoint.

Were there indicators that the SLS and Orion were created to save jobs at a critical time in our economy? Yes.

And just to be clear, funding jobs is not a bad thing for a government to do, especially in a recession. But whereas investing in existing infrastructure makes sense, committing NASA to exclusive use of the SLS does not. ULA had a plan to provide whatever lift needs NASA had, and it would have cost the U.S. Taxpayer far less. So there were options for how Congress could have funded jobs in a recession to allow people to come out of the recession in decent shape.

As I've said before, the future of the SLS and Orion rests on a very simple question - do we need them?

Not "gee wiz it'd be nice if we had an HLLV around for doing something", but YES!, the U.S. Government has a long-term need to move lots of mass out into space, and it does not want to use the private sector for "X" reason!

So far Congress has not come up with that reason, and has avoided any review of the need for the SLS and Orion. But so far only development of the SLS and Orion are funded, not any SLS-specific missions, so we are only a few year away from declaring the SLS operational and then looking around and seeing nothing for it to do...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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