Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 8  (Read 178728 times)

Offline spacenut

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 8
« Reply #960 on: 01/24/2023 12:40 pm »
SLS might have been great or cheaper than Saturn in the 1970's, but it is proving to be obsolete today.  There are existing commercial rockets that can do the same thing with distributed launch using all of them, and much cheaper.  Congress has no conception of how to get the most bang for the buck.  Thus, we are 31 trillion in debt as a nation.  With the existing reusable rockets and the onset of new reusable rockets, fuel depots, and much lower launch costs, SLS makes no sense to continue the madness. 

Offline clongton

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 8
« Reply #961 on: 01/24/2023 01:49 pm »
SLS might have been great or cheaper than Saturn in the 1970's, but it is proving to be obsolete today.  There are existing commercial rockets that can do the same thing with distributed launch using all of them, and much cheaper.  Congress has no conception of how to get the most bang for the buck.  Thus, we are 31 trillion in debt as a nation.  With the existing reusable rockets and the onset of new reusable rockets, fuel depots, and much lower launch costs, SLS makes no sense to continue the madness. 

Emphasis Mine.
And therein lies the crux of the problem. Congress has no desire to get the best bang for the buck - on ANY expenditure. SLS is totally irrelevant to Congress. I'd be willing to wager that a significant number of the members of Congress couldn't even tell you what SLS is. Congress is only interested in providing more than enough funding to keep certain voting districts well greased. The product provided for the greasing is irrelevant. It doesn't even have to work - ever. If it does actually work, well that may actually endanger the prodect because it means that the members of Congress might have to soon create a different bottomless pit to pour taxpayer money into. See the problem? I don't believe it's fixable.  :(
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline spacenut

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 8
« Reply #962 on: 01/24/2023 08:07 pm »
Yes one member of congress thought we have already gone to Mars.  One thought Guam was going to tip over if we put too many service men and women on the island.  These are people making million and billion dollar decisions. 

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 8
« Reply #963 on: 01/24/2023 08:17 pm »
...I'd be willing to wager that a significant number of the members of Congress couldn't even tell you what SLS is. Congress is only interested in providing more than enough funding to keep certain voting districts well greased. The product provided for the greasing is irrelevant. It doesn't even have to work - ever. If it does actually work, well that may actually endanger the prodect because it means that the members of Congress might have to soon create a different bottomless pit to pour taxpayer money into. See the problem? I don't believe it's fixable.  :(

To make a major change you need a major event to happen. Unfortunately it could take more than one, which happened with the Shuttle program, but the Shuttle program is an example where it was finally realized that the lack of investment in making the Shuttle safer and/or better had finally caught up with the program, and so defining an end to the program was accepted.

Of course when Congress agreed to end the Shuttle program there was already the Constellation program ramping up, but the analogy here is that (as you pointed out) Congress doesn't really care about the details, just the flow of money. So if there is an alternative to the SLS at a future "trigger event" (which does not need to be an accident), Congress may not care enough about the SLS per se to keep funding it - assuming enough funding keeps flowing to the right places after it is gone.
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 bd1223

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 8
« Reply #964 on: 01/25/2023 05:21 pm »
Yes one member of congress thought we have already gone to Mars.
And that congresswoman represents JSC's district.

Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 8
« Reply #965 on: 01/25/2023 07:25 pm »
And one asked the Department of the Interior whether it could alter the orbit of the earth or the moon to mitigate climate change.

Offline redneck

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 8
« Reply #966 on: 01/25/2023 10:22 pm »
SLS might have been great or cheaper than Saturn in the 1970's, but it is proving to be obsolete today.  There are existing commercial rockets that can do the same thing with distributed launch using all of them, and much cheaper.  Congress has no conception of how to get the most bang for the buck.  Thus, we are 31 trillion in debt as a nation.  With the existing reusable rockets and the onset of new reusable rockets, fuel depots, and much lower launch costs, SLS makes no sense to continue the madness. 

Emphasis Mine.
And therein lies the crux of the problem. Congress has no desire to get the best bang for the buck - on ANY expenditure. SLS is totally irrelevant to Congress. I'd be willing to wager that a significant number of the members of Congress couldn't even tell you what SLS is. Congress is only interested in providing more than enough funding to keep certain voting districts well greased. The product provided for the greasing is irrelevant. It doesn't even have to work - ever. If it does actually work, well that may actually endanger the prodect because it means that the members of Congress might have to soon create a different bottomless pit to pour taxpayer money into. See the problem? I don't believe it's fixable.  :(

One non answer is that the incentives have to change. Right now, all the incentives for a congressman is to spend in district. Since a congressman's' #1 job is to get elected, or reelected, spending in district buys votes, and favors for contributors buys campaign contributions. Look at the salary of a congressman compared to successful business owners, doctors, lawyers, and pro athletes. Functionally, the salaries are not commensurate with the supposed responsibilities. So that a member of congress is there for power, perks(graft), or an easy career with minimal actual responsibilities. These are not attributes of people you would want to place in power.

One potential solution is to kick back a percentage of the annual reduced expenditures in a district along with bonuses for improved conditions in their district. Electron waiting years on bureaucracy to launch would have the intense attention of a congressman losing bonus. Boca Chica would likely get some fairly rapid resolutions to outstanding regulatory questions. Dinospace might find a bit less advantage to scattering subcontractors across the nation along with a sudden reduction in cost plus gravy. Implementing something like this would be borderline impossible, and is likely to have fatal flaws in that implementation. If workable, I suspect that launch companies would suddenly find the regulatory environment far friendlier.

 

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