Author Topic: Challenges and Opportunities for Human Space Exploration: April 23rd Hearing  (Read 10259 times)

Offline JohnFornaro

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There is no intention to fly, Warren.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Warren Platts

I agree, John. As I pointed out in a comment on Dr. Spudis's blog, I think the situation is actually much worse. Obviously, I'm a long-standing proponent of building a cis-lunar, "transcontinental railway" complete with a permanently crewed Lunar research station and more abundant chemical ISRU propellant than we currently know what to do with; but the question of whether we should be doing that or flags 'n' footprints stunt missions to Mars orbit or wherever is moot at this point: we ain't gonna be doin' neither. They had better extend ISS indefinitely, because that's going to be the only game in town for as long as General Bolden Eros V is still alive....
« Last Edit: 04/27/2013 10:49 am by Warren Platts »
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline RanulfC

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The idea that it is "depot" vs "SLS" and an "either/or" situation has to be changed. Any ideas on how to get that through "peoples" heads?

From an engineering standpoint SLS could presumably use depots, but from a budgetary standpoint they seem incompatible. Where are we going to find the budget to develop SLS, depots, and payloads?
The "political" incompatibilty seems to be the basis for the conflict, rather than any serious "budget" conflicts but given an "assumption" of conflict in the first place they DO "seem" to be mutually exclusive systems :)

However it is like Jon noted, SLS is going to need technologies like "boil-off" control itself among others that would be useful to either system. So there is a synergy on working both systems at the same time since there is no direct need to "add" items to the budget. As long as the research isn't too "focused" on one specific system more than neccessary it can be applied to others.
About the ONLY "specific" technolgy that isn't something directly related is propellant transfer technologies, and I would argue that this is something with long term benifits we WANT to develop anyway.

The tricky part comes in getting the people who are currently lined up on either side of the "debate" to stop making it a "political" issue and get them to understand there is lots of "value-added" to both sides in developing the technology. The budget can handle a lot of technological research and development as long as it keeps an "open" approach rather than being forced to focus on a single "system" approach as has been the habit in the past.

The problem is short of going to Washington and visiting a lot of people with liberal applications of a "clue-bat" I'm not sure how to convince the necessary parties involved to get out of their ruts and start thinking longer-term instead of short-term :)

Randy - in theory, I agree with you, when the issue is labeled as HLV vs depots.  The problem is that the current plan has you locked into a closed system, not an open system.
"Technically" the current plan actually doesn't have us "locked" into anything (other than getting SLS/Orion up and "running" :)) and the system is only "closed" because of "political" rather than "technical" issues.

We're kind-of in an interesting "spot" at present because there is NOT a "directed" goal (Moon, Mars, etc) hanging over our heads which means no "specific" path/system/program has to be laid out and adheared to. However, on the other hand since we do not have that kind of "pressure" that can be understood and/or used towards justification/politics in arriving at a "specific" path/system/program the problem of selling "capability-building" multiple objective infrastructure is exceedingly difficult.

"We" need to sell an "open" system, but in the current political climate that is going to be difficult, if not impossible to do without a REALLY, really good sales pitch.

The idea that it is "depot" vs "SLS" and an "either/or" situation has to be changed. Any ideas on how to get that through "peoples" heads?

From an engineering standpoint SLS could presumably use depots, but from a budgetary standpoint they seem incompatible. Where are we going to find the budget to develop SLS, depots, and payloads?

And, given that depots are effectively a launch-vehicle multiplier, what foreseeable affordable mission is there that will require a multiplied SLS?
None for SLS really, but a large part of that is the very lack of incentive or motivation to have "multiple" SLS missions. It is after all a "big-government-launch-vehicle" that is specifically being built to ensure that "government-employees" will have a "government-vehicle" to launch on, and so that "government-money" flows to the right places to do so. So there is no incentive or support from anywhere to fly the SLS any more often than minumully "needed" to get that result.

So the SLS isn't really a "capability-expanding" system but more exactly what it was supposed to be: A "Shuttle" replacement system. That however does not mean that those in charge of space policy should fall into the rut of "assuming" that SLS should also be the "sole" means of space access for all needs. We have been down that road before and it bit us (and them) in the butt the last time. Even worse from a political/budget perspective SLS is not going to be a very 'fleixable' system and its quite obvious that large scale extensions of its building and flight rate are not going to be supportable.

An "open" system with SLS supported by other launch vehicles is a self enhancing system which allows more flexiabilty at lower cost but this is NOT going to be "self-evident" to the folks inside and outside the government who have fallen for the "SLS-vs-Everthing-else" argument.

If the issue remains defined as being an "either/or" equation then the conclusion ends up being forgone. If it can be redefined and more inclusive the options become easier to see and understand.


And, given that depots are effectively a launch-vehicle multiplier, what foreseeable affordable mission is there that will require a multiplied SLS?

With an annual m-dot to LEO of only ~100 mT/year and a cost to LEO in excess of ~$35K/kg, it's hard to think of any such missions....
Actually it's impossible because the "capability" is far in excess of what the other factors (budget, politics, etc) can handle. That's a major reason why the discussion has to be changed from "either/or" to something else. Something more inclusive and flexiable. If not the current "inertia" will continue...

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline muomega0

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The idea that it is "depot" vs "SLS" and an "either/or" situation has to be changed. Any ideas on how to get that through "peoples" heads?

From an engineering standpoint SLS could presumably use depots, but from a budgetary standpoint they seem incompatible. Where are we going to find the budget to develop SLS, depots, and payloads?
The "political" incompatibilty seems to be the basis for the conflict, rather than any serious "budget" conflicts but given an "assumption" of conflict in the first place they DO "seem" to be mutually exclusive systems :)

However it is like Jon noted, SLS is going to need technologies like "boil-off" control itself among others that would be useful to either system. So there is a synergy on working both systems at the same time since there is no direct need to "add" items to the budget. As long as the research isn't too "focused" on one specific system more than neccessary it can be applied to others.
About the ONLY "specific" technolgy that isn't something directly related is propellant transfer technologies, and I would argue that this is something with long term benifits we WANT to develop anyway.

The tricky part comes in getting the people who are currently lined up on either side of the "debate" to stop making it a "political" issue and get them to understand there is lots of "value-added" to both sides in developing the technology. The budget can handle a lot of technological research and development as long as it keeps an "open" approach rather than being forced to focus on a single "system" approach as has been the habit in the past.

The problem is short of going to Washington and visiting a lot of people with liberal applications of a "clue-bat" I'm not sure how to convince the necessary parties involved to get out of their ruts and start thinking longer-term instead of short-term :)

Randy - in theory, I agree with you, when the issue is labeled as HLV vs depots.  The problem is that the current plan has you locked into a closed system, not an open system.
"Technically" the current plan actually doesn't have us "locked" into anything (other than getting SLS/Orion up and "running" :)) and the system is only "closed" because of "political" rather than "technical" issues.

We're kind-of in an interesting "spot" at present because there is NOT a "directed" goal (Moon, Mars, etc) hanging over our heads which means no "specific" path/system/program has to be laid out and adheared to. However, on the other hand since we do not have that kind of "pressure" that can be understood and/or used towards justification/politics in arriving at a "specific" path/system/program the problem of selling "capability-building" multiple objective infrastructure is exceedingly difficult.

"We" need to sell an "open" system, but in the current political climate that is going to be difficult, if not impossible to do without a REALLY, really good sales pitch.

The idea that it is "depot" vs "SLS" and an "either/or" situation has to be changed. Any ideas on how to get that through "peoples" heads?

From an engineering standpoint SLS could presumably use depots, but from a budgetary standpoint they seem incompatible. Where are we going to find the budget to develop SLS, depots, and payloads?

And, given that depots are effectively a launch-vehicle multiplier, what foreseeable affordable mission is there that will require a multiplied SLS?
None for SLS really, but a large part of that is the very lack of incentive or motivation to have "multiple" SLS missions. It is after all a "big-government-launch-vehicle" that is specifically being built to ensure that "government-employees" will have a "government-vehicle" to launch on, and so that "government-money" flows to the right places to do so. So there is no incentive or support from anywhere to fly the SLS any more often than minumully "needed" to get that result.

So the SLS isn't really a "capability-expanding" system but more exactly what it was supposed to be: A "Shuttle" replacement system. That however does not mean that those in charge of space policy should fall into the rut of "assuming" that SLS should also be the "sole" means of space access for all needs. We have been down that road before and it bit us (and them) in the butt the last time. Even worse from a political/budget perspective SLS is not going to be a very 'fleixable' system and its quite obvious that large scale extensions of its building and flight rate are not going to be supportable.

An "open" system with SLS supported by other launch vehicles is a self enhancing system which allows more flexiabilty at lower cost but this is NOT going to be "self-evident" to the folks inside and outside the government who have fallen for the "SLS-vs-Everthing-else" argument.

If the issue remains defined as being an "either/or" equation then the conclusion ends up being forgone. If it can be redefined and more inclusive the options become easier to see and understand.


And, given that depots are effectively a launch-vehicle multiplier, what foreseeable affordable mission is there that will require a multiplied SLS?

With an annual m-dot to LEO of only ~100 mT/year and a cost to LEO in excess of ~$35K/kg, it's hard to think of any such missions....
Actually it's impossible because the "capability" is far in excess of what the other factors (budget, politics, etc) can handle. That's a major reason why the discussion has to be changed from "either/or" to something else. Something more inclusive and flexiable. If not the current "inertia" will continue...

Randy

It ends up that even with the $35K/kg IMLEO cost, a depot is still a cost effective consideration for the HLV architecture.

Five or six HLV flights for a mars trip would boil way ~70,000 kg of prop, so at 35,000/kg = 2.5B, one could break even building a depot for only one mission.

Offline asmi

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One thing I don't quite understand about these hearings - what are they for? What is their purpose? So far it sounds like a casual blah-blah-blah without any tangible results...

Offline JohnFornaro

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A legitimate question, which you already partially answered yourself!
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline ChileVerde

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One thing I don't quite understand about these hearings - what are they for? What is their purpose? So far it sounds like a casual blah-blah-blah without any tangible results...

In theory, they're held for the purpose of developing information that's relevant to the drafting of legislation. That, in fact, does sometimes happen, but often they're held to show the members' constituents that they're doing something, to stake out or further political positions and agendas, etc.

For my part, I like to think of them as similar to Zen koan. "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan

"I canít tell you which asteroid, but there will be one in 2025," Bolden asserted.

Offline zerm

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These hearings are a part of the "process" from which policy is constructed. Without them, people (such as many here) would be barking that ALL of this is being done "behind closed doors." In fact if one follows the process closely, you can learn many things that lead to other things and thus not jump to uninformed conclusions.

What you hear in these sessions is what officially goes into the Congressional record.

It is too bad that we live in a microwave world where everyone expects everything to happen right now and to come out just the way that THEY individually want it to. We also exist in forums where usernames act as if they carry as much weight as the persons actually making the policy... strange times indeed.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2013 02:37 am by zerm »

Offline JohnFornaro

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These hearings are a part of the "process" from which policy is constructed. Without them, people (such as many here) would be barking that ALL of this is being done "behind closed doors." In fact if one follows the process closely, you can learn many things that lead to other things and thus not jump to uninformed conclusions.

What you hear in these sessions is what officially goes into the Congressional record.

It is too bad that we live in a microwave world where everyone expects everything to happen right now and to come out just the way that THEY individually want it to. We also exist in forums where usernames act as if they carry as much weight as the persons actually making the policy... strange times indeed.

There's no legal question at all that the hearing transcripts go into the Congressional Record.

The decision making, however, does go on "behind closed doors", because that's the way the legal system is structured.

The only way an individual voice can be heard is to donate large sums of money to the politicians whom you wish to influence.  Most corporations have more money than individuals, hence, by law, they get to have a louder voice in policy decisions.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Hop_David

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Here is Jon's opinion of the hearing:
http://selenianboondocks.com/2013/04/hobgoblins/

Dick Eagleson posted in that forum his hopes that Musk will be our saviour. Musk is the revolutionary that will overturn the evil SLS empire.

So far as I know, Musk has never subscribed to the depot meme. Like Griffin and Zubrin, he's a BFR to Mars guy. I give Musk's Mars retirement community for dot com billionaires the same odds as Zubrin's colony. In this revolution Musk would be like the pigs in Orwell's animal farm.

There've been some credible ULA advocates for depots. But Boeing is part of SLS and Lockheed is part of Orion. It's not in the interests of ULA's parent companies to back Zegler, Kutter and Barr.

I don't see a commercial revolution changing our direction.

In the testimony they talk about using SLS to land on the moon and lunar resources. Which would be well and good but said resources are He3 and platinum! Doesn't seem like the cold traps are even on their radar screen. I don't think this horse will even cross the starting line, much less the finish line. Seems more like public relations to justify pork.

They've also talked about sending SLS and humans to an asteroid parked in lunar orbit. I don't particularly care for SLS but this would help Planetary Resources. So far as I know Planetary Resources is one of the few players  advocating mining in situ propellant in our neighborhood.

As it now stands I'm undecided whether to call Goff's race-horse Alpo or Elmer's. Planetary Resources offers a chance to get Goff's horse past the finish line. But Jon has been lukewarm to the asteroid mission.

Since I want to see propellant depots I support any NASA efforts that help Planetary Resources.
 
« Last Edit: 05/04/2013 05:49 pm by Hop_David »

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