Author Topic: Challenges and Opportunities for Human Space Exploration: April 23rd Hearing  (Read 10265 times)

Offline yg1968

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Senate Hearing Link

Apr 23 2013 2:30 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C.The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space will hold a hearing titled "Challenges and Opportunities for Human Space Exploration."

Witness Panel 1

Mr. William H. Gerstenmaier
Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lieutenant General Thomas P. Stafford
United States Air Force (Ret.)
Astronaut (Ret.)

Mr. Stephen A. Cook
Director, Space Technologies
Dynetics
« Last Edit: 04/23/2013 06:05 pm by yg1968 »

Offline deltaV

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It's 2:40 pm Eastern so the hearing should be happening now, but the webcast is showing a replay of a NOAA and Coast Guard hearing from earlier today. Maybe they're running late?

Offline yg1968

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Offline yg1968

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Cook is talking about commercial BLEO opportunities. He mentions the need for cargo and crew for a lunar outpost. Speaks of mining possibilities: helium 3 and platinum. But says that SLS could be used for that.  He also spoke of Planetary Resources and B612.
« Last Edit: 04/23/2013 07:31 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Blackstar

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Ugh. As soon as anybody mentions Helium-3 it's time to change the channel.

Offline Lar

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Ugh. As soon as anybody mentions Helium-3 it's time to change the channel.

Nod.

Water is far more valuable than helium-3 OR platinum, at least at the present time in our space infrastructure development.
"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 yg1968

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Stafford mentions that SLS is essential because it is not possible to use many small rockets because of the boiloff of LH2. 

Offline yg1968

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Gerst mentions that you could get a Mars sample and bring it back to a retrograde orbit and eventually retrieve it.

Offline yg1968

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Hearing is over.

Offline yg1968

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Offline jongoff

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Stafford mentions that SLS is essential because it is not possible to use many small rockets because of the boiloff of LH2.

So I guess that's the new B$ excuse de jour for not following an affordable space exploration plan that actually has any chance of getting us anywhere. I'm getting sick of playing whack-a-mole with lame anti-depot FUD.

To be clear, I'm not trying to insult Stafford, just sort of annoyed at dismissive answers like that when research we've been discussing here on NSF.com over the past several years pretty clearly shows ways of dealing with the problem.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 04/23/2013 11:12 pm by jongoff »

Offline Silmfeanor

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Stafford mentions that SLS is essential because it is not possible to use many small rockets because of the boiloff of LH2.

So I guess that's the new B$ excuse de jour for not following an affordable space exploration plan that actually has any chance of getting us anywhere. I'm getting sick of playing whack-a-mole with lame anti-depot FUD.

To be clear, I'm not trying to insult Stafford, just sort of annoyed at dismissive answers like that when research we've been discussing here on NSF.com over the past several years pretty clearly shows ways of dealing with the problem.

~Jon

Agreed. Without overdoing the whole debate, that small sentence is not enough and overlooks all the ideas about hypergolics depots, the Lox-only depots, other fuels or just the heap of giant improvements that can be made to LH2 depots and cooling. Sigh.
« Last Edit: 04/23/2013 11:15 pm by Silmfeanor »

Offline yg1968

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Stafford mentions that SLS is essential because it is not possible to use many small rockets because of the boiloff of LH2.

So I guess that's the new B$ excuse de jour for not following an affordable space exploration plan that actually has any chance of getting us anywhere. I'm getting sick of playing whack-a-mole with lame anti-depot FUD.

To be clear, I'm not trying to insult Stafford, just sort of annoyed at dismissive answers like that when research we've been discussing here on NSF.com over the past several years pretty clearly shows ways of dealing with the problem.

~Jon

Senator Cruz said that he wanted to explore ways to increase commercial activity in space. But none of the witnesses made any suggestions in that regard.

Stafford said that NASA has always done everything commercially. NASA never builds anything, the work is contracted to commercial companies. He said that a LH2 upper stage stage was essential because of its higher ISP over LOX/RP-1 or solids.

Cook was not entirely clear on what he considers commercial. But he gave Dynetics an example of a commercial company that is successful.
« Last Edit: 04/24/2013 02:46 am by yg1968 »

Offline QuantumG

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Senator Cruz said that he wanted to explore ways to increase commercial activity in space. But none of the witnesses made any suggestions in that regard.

Stafford said that NASA has always done everything commercially. NASA never builds anything, the work is contracted to commercial companies. [..]

Cook was not entirely clear on what he considers commercial. But he gave Dynetics an example of a commercial company that is successful.

I used to be surprised that answers like this actually worked, but they do. It suggests people who accept these answers didn't really know what they were asking about. When I hear Senator Cruz say he wants to "increase commercial activity in space", I think about activities that don't necessarily involve the government, like communications satellites. Most importantly, I think about activities which are not funded by NASA. To answer this question with a comment about NASA contracting is to completely miss the point.


Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline yg1968

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I forgot to mention that both Stafford and Cook said that it would be a huge mistake to move away from the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. These witnesses are invited because the Senators know that they will answer what they want to hear. Although to be fair, I think that both Senators Cruz and Nelson are pro-commercial crew and cargo.

Offline jongoff

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Stafford said that NASA has always done everything commercially. NASA never builds anything, the work is contracted to commercial companies.

I have to say that argument is almost as lame as the "if only we had consistent long-term plans with destinations and timetables, commercial companies and VC money would be flocking to support NASA's wise exploration initiatives" logic that Steve Cook was suggesting.

Quote
He said that a LH2 upper stage stage was essential because of its higher ISP over LOX or solids.

I actually agree with this part. I just think that the "we have to use SLS because of boiloff" argument is lame and unsupported FUD. Is boiloff an issue that shouldn't be ignored when dealing with LH2? Of course. Is it some sort of magic showstopper? No. Not anymore than "EELV black zones" were for crew launch.

~Jon

Offline yg1968

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Quote
He said that a LH2 upper stage stage was essential because of its higher ISP over LOX or solids.

I actually agree with this part. I just think that the "we have to use SLS because of boiloff" argument is lame and unsupported FUD. Is boiloff an issue that shouldn't be ignored when dealing with LH2? Of course. Is it some sort of magic showstopper? No. Not anymore than "EELV black zones" were for crew launch.

~Jon

What about a methane upper stage as SpaceX is contemplating?

Offline jongoff

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I forgot to mention that both Stafford and Cook said that it would be a huge mistake to move away from the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. These witnesses are invited because the Senators know that they will answer what they want to hear. Although to be fair, I think that both Senators Cruz and Nelson are pro-commercial crew and cargo.

Congressional hearings are rarely about actually trying to learn and seek honest advice or feedback on plans. They're usually just about lining up yes-men to tell you that what's most politically convenient also happens to have a fig-leaf technical argument to go with it that sounds plausible enough to snow the casual observer.

~Jon

Offline jongoff

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What about a methane upper stage as SpaceX is contemplating?

I think that while Methane isn't as bad as storables or solids, I'm not convinced it's actually better than LH2 except in some limited situations (like when you can easily make Methane via ISRU such as on Mars). Especially with XCOR's comments that LH2 doesn't seem to be the Cryogenic Satan Juice that some people make it out to be, my take is that LH2 still makes a lot of sense for in-space large-deltaV-propulsion.

That said, while I think LH2 makes more sense, CH4 isn't as bad as most of the other alternatives, and might even win out in some corner cases.

~Jon

Offline yg1968

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What about a methane upper stage as SpaceX is contemplating?

I think that while Methane isn't as bad as storables or solids, I'm not convinced it's actually better than LH2 except in some limited situations (like when you can easily make Methane via ISRU such as on Mars). Especially with XCOR's comments that LH2 doesn't seem to be the Cryogenic Satan Juice that some people make it out to be, my take is that LH2 still makes a lot of sense for in-space large-deltaV-propulsion.

That said, while I think LH2 makes more sense, CH4 isn't as bad as most of the other alternatives, and might even win out in some corner cases.

~Jon

Doesn't methane have less boiloff?

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