Author Topic: Outside study blames NASA’s bureaucracy and contracting practices for delays  (Read 2935 times)

Offline Brovane

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The latest missive from Pasztor over at the WSJ.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/if-we-can-put-a-man-on-the-moon-why-cant-we-put-a-man-on-the-moon-1514833480

Interesting article from Pasztor over on the WSJ.

Does anyknow what study that Pasztor is reffering to that was released last month?  It looks like Joel Sercel led the team that wrote the report.  However I cannot seem to locate the report and I would like to read it.  I can find earlier reports by Sercel about aestroid mining but apparently this report was released within the last 60-days. 

Quote
NASA’s current plans for returning astronauts to the moon aren’t affordable and likely won’t produce sustainable, long-term economic benefits, according to an independent research study commissioned by the agency.

Released last month without publicity, the report advocates using asteroids to produce fuel outside the atmosphere for both robotic and manned missions, in what would be the most extensive public-private cooperation in the history of space exploration.
...

edit/gongora:  You can't just quote a huge block of text or entire article from a copyrighted source.  Select a few quotes, not the whole thing.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2018 10:44 PM by gongora »
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline Rocket Science

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I wonder how much this study cost since you could pretty much get the same information just by reading NSF and come to a better conclusion...
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Online Lar

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I wonder how much this study cost since you could pretty much get the same information just by reading NSF and come to a better conclusion...

Advice is worth what you pay for it. More than once I have been called in to consult about something and the people in the trenches already knew the answer, but the bigwigs wanted an outside expert to  come in and evaluate things. 

I LOVE those kinds of gigs, easy money. So just reading NSF (even assuming we weren't all raving pro SpaceX fanboys that have no idea how NASA actually works) won't cut it.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Will be interesting to see the report - that is if it's made public. It might not be made public, since not every report NASA contracts for has to be made public.

More importantly though, in the vein of what Law said, is whether anyone is listening to the results of this report? Was it commissioned to prove a point someone was making internally, or was it a leftover from the Obama era? Or maybe the Trump-era NASA asked for the report, but if it runs counter to any Trump narratives it might not see the light of day.

Need more info before we can jump to anymore conclusions...  ;)
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Online butters

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It's not intuitively obvious how asteroid mining could make a lunar surface program cheaper, and certainly not sooner. Possibly better, but only in the long run. We should really be able to do lunar missions exclusively with terrestrial propellant (using orbital transfer where practical). If we can't manage a propellant supply chain from Earth to the Moon, then how are we supposed to tackle asteroid mining and processing?

Offline Brovane

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It's not intuitively obvious how asteroid mining could make a lunar surface program cheaper, and certainly not sooner. Possibly better, but only in the long run. We should really be able to do lunar missions exclusively with terrestrial propellant (using orbital transfer where practical). If we can't manage a propellant supply chain from Earth to the Moon, then how are we supposed to tackle asteroid mining and processing?

Without seeing the full report it is hard to say exactly but I don't think the report emphasized aestroid mining.  From the parts that Pasztor picked out it appears to emphasize the practices that were used for COTS development and then contracting. 

Quote
The report calls for shifting to commercial practices championed by private space-transportation companies such as Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Blue Origin LLC, run by Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos

Quote
Faced with such schedule and spending pressures, “NASA must dramatically change the way it works,” said Joel Sercel, an industry consultant and fledgling space entrepreneur who led the team that wrote the report. “Public-private partnerships should become the cornerstone of NASA’s plans, not an adjunct to them,” according to the former academic researcher.
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Offline woods170

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The latest missive from Pasztor over at the WSJ.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/if-we-can-put-a-man-on-the-moon-why-cant-we-put-a-man-on-the-moon-1514833480

Interesting article from Pasztor over on the WSJ.

Does anyknow what study that Pasztor is reffering to that was released last month?  It looks like Joel Sercel led the team that wrote the report.  However I cannot seem to locate the report and I would like to read it.  I can find earlier reports by Sercel about aestroid mining but apparently this report was released within the last 60-days. 

Quote
NASA’s current plans for returning astronauts to the moon aren’t affordable and likely won’t produce sustainable, long-term economic benefits, according to an independent research study commissioned by the agency.

Released last month without publicity, the report advocates using asteroids to produce fuel outside the atmosphere for both robotic and manned missions, in what would be the most extensive public-private cooperation in the history of space exploration.
...

edit/gongora:  You can't just quote a huge block of text or entire article from a copyrighted source.  Select a few quotes, not the whole thing.

First of all: Pasztor articles are not interesting. They are hit-pieces. Period.

Second: The quoted research study had nothing to do with getting an assessment on the how and why of delays to NASA's HSF program. It's a study into mining asteroids.

Third: Joel Sercel has been pushing asteroid mining, as THE solution for making NASA BLEO HSF affordable, for years. For him to be successful in his mission he has to convince the outside world that NASA BLEO HSF is unaffordable. So, what does he do: he throws into the world whatever reason he can find to as evidence that NASA BLEO HSF is unaffordable. And if he can do so AND push his own asteroid mining agenda as well, than he will do so.
And that is exactly what he did (again). Mr. Sercel has realized by now that he'll need newspace companies to make his asteroid mining dream a reality. So, what does he do: he calls-out the current NASA contracting methods in an effort to steer NASA more towards public-private partnerships.


Quotes from him, straight from the NASA NIAC website:

Quote from: Joel Sercel
Finally, NEOs are exciting candidates as targets for human exploration and they represent a virtually unlimited resource of valuable material for radiation shielding, propellant, and life support consumables that could make NASA’s envisioned deep space human exploration program affordable.

Quote from: Joel Sercel
PROBLEM, DEEP SPACE HUMAN EXPLORATION IS UNAFFORDABLE

In 2014 the NASA Advisory Council issued a finding that “The mismatch between NASA’s aspirations for human spaceflight and its budget for human spaceflight is the most serious problem facing the Agency.” Since the time of that advisory, NASA has conducted many mission and systems analyses, but has yet to publish a sustained mission plan and cost analysis that fits within any budget that Congress will approve. NASA’s vision of human exploration remains unaffordable largely due to the high cost of launching large quantities of drinking water, oxygen, radiation shielding and especially rocket propellant from Earth.

Fourth: the quoted report is the (interim) report of phase II of this: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/niac/2017_Phase_I_Phase_II/Sustainable_Human_Exploration

Fifth: there is nothing "outside" about this research study. It is commissioned and financed by NASA via the NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) program.

Finally: the reason you can't find the report is this:
Quote from: NASA
***NIAC program officials have temporarily removed study report documents from the website to ensure that all reports receive the appropriate reviews. The documents will be returned to public access following confirmation that all appropriate requirements have been met.***

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/niac/NIAC_funded_studies.html
« Last Edit: 01/02/2018 07:18 AM by woods170 »

Offline Rocket Science

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I wonder how much this study cost since you could pretty much get the same information just by reading NSF and come to a better conclusion...

Advice is worth what you pay for it. More than once I have been called in to consult about something and the people in the trenches already knew the answer, but the bigwigs wanted an outside expert to  come in and evaluate things. 

I LOVE those kinds of gigs, easy money. So just reading NSF (even assuming we weren't all raving pro SpaceX fanboys that have no idea how NASA actually works) won't cut it.
The political/structural problems within NASA existed before there was SpaceX Fanfoi cheering section so all one has to go read before that... When it comes to waxing about the glory days of Apollo "the agency isn't full of idiots today" compared to 1960's IMO if you direct NASA and funded them at the same percent of the budget you would get a similar successful outcome. This smacks of a "big government is bad" political hit piece. Follow the money as to who paid for it to get what they wanted to hear... I would also add that the landscape has changed from the 1960's when NASA and the USAF where main two players and "new-space" did not exist... So what was "good then is now bad"... My two cents...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline AnalogMan

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Might this be related to the report referenced?  Funded by NIAC and published by NASA on December 13, 2017

Stepping Stones: Economic Analysis of Space Transportation Supplied From NEO Resources
PI: Joel C. Sercel, PhD / TransAstra Corporation
Dated October 15, 2017 - 82 pages

Abstract
(NEO) resources demonstrates the potential to break the tyranny of increasing space transportation costs created by dependence on Earth-based resources, particularly propellant. The increasing challenges of space exploration, particularly by humans, rapidly become unaffordable if only Earthbased resources are available. By using Asteroid-Provided In-Situ Supplies (Apis™) spacecraft to extract resources from NEOs and the creation of a space-based transportation infrastructure, including a crewed lunar outpost in an energetically advantageous lunar orbit for storage and propellant processing along with reusable spacecraft for transport, these resources can be utilized to support crewed lunar surface exploration, crewed NEO exploration, crewed Mars missions, and even space tourism at less than 25% of the cost otherwise required (~90B$ vs ~390B$ over 20+ years). This analysis further suggests that with relatively modest initial government investment, a business case can be developed for a profitable industry in space resources.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/eso_final_report.pdf

[warning this file is 138MB]
« Last Edit: 01/03/2018 04:04 PM by AnalogMan »

Offline Brovane

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First of all: Pasztor articles are not interesting. They are hit-pieces. Period.



What specifically about this article do you find that makes it a hit-piece? 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline woods170

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First of all: Pasztor articles are not interesting. They are hit-pieces. Period.



What specifically about this article do you find that makes it a hit-piece? 

The fact that he "promotes" someone's personal opinion (the personal opinion of Joel Sercel) to a supposed "official" finding/fact.
Mr. Pasztor has a consistent history of spinning information to suit his own agenda. That agenda mainly revolves around making headlines, no matter what.
He is just about the worst space-reporter out there.

Offline john smith 19

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Quote from: Joel Sercel
PROBLEM, DEEP SPACE HUMAN EXPLORATION IS UNAFFORDABLE

In 2014 the NASA Advisory Council issued a finding that “The mismatch between NASA’s aspirations for human spaceflight and its budget for human spaceflight is the most serious problem facing the Agency.” Since the time of that advisory, NASA has conducted many mission and systems analyses, but has yet to publish a sustained mission plan and cost analysis that fits within any budget that Congress will approve. NASA’s vision of human exploration remains unaffordable largely due to the high cost of launching large quantities of drinking water, oxygen, radiation shielding and especially rocket propellant from Earth.
In other shock revelations water is wet and the Sun goes down at night.

The fact that either NASA is inadequately funded for the list of tasks Congress requires it to do (or that list is too long for the budget that Congress is prepared to grant NASA) has been known since at least the Augustine II commission

How you get the Congress or the President to change that process is the problem.  :(

Essentially when Congress says "We wants it," and NASA tells them how much, and then asks Congress how much they will appropriate, and Congress says "nothing" and NASA says "we can't do it" and Congress writes a law that says "We wants it" anyway.

Does anyone else think there's something a bit wrong with this approach as a decision making process?
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline QuantumG

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... and doing it cheaper isn't an option they're interested in investigating.  :'(
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline john smith 19

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... and doing it cheaper isn't an option they're interested in investigating.  :'(
That's a great line but it's a bit more complex.

NASA is 11 centres across the US. People like JPL and Goddard have been quite vigorous in using AI methods to reduce routine work to more of a "management-by-exception" process, while CCiCAP has been very effective at getting new LV's and vehicles at significantly lower costs.

That said other centres seem to be more dedicated to BAU than their mission.  :(
« Last Edit: 01/05/2018 10:23 AM by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Brovane

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First of all: Pasztor articles are not interesting. They are hit-pieces. Period.



What specifically about this article do you find that makes it a hit-piece? 

The fact that he "promotes" someone's personal opinion (the personal opinion of Joel Sercel) to a supposed "official" finding/fact.
Mr. Pasztor has a consistent history of spinning information to suit his own agenda. That agenda mainly revolves around making headlines, no matter what.
He is just about the worst space-reporter out there.

I didn't get that takeway from reading the article.  What specifically as written in the article gives you the impression that Mr. Pasztor is making a claim about "official" finding of fact(s) in regards to the report? 





"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

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