Author Topic: Space Program Options open to President Nixon  (Read 2340 times)

Offline PMN1

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Space Program Options open to President Nixon
« on: 01/28/2008 12:46 PM »
http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4221/ch4.htm

One alternative, at $3.5 billion per year, eliminated NERVA and stopped production of Saturn V and Apollo spacecraft. This option, however, would maintain a vigorous program in piloted flight, featuring Skylab with three visits as well as six additional Apollo lunar missions. Better yet, such a budget would accommodate "Space Transportation System and Space Station module development with launch of both in 1979."

Two other options, at $2.5 billion, also permitted flight of Skylab with its three visits, along with the six Apollos. There could even be a space station in 1980, with Titan III-Gemini for logistics. However, there would be no space shuttle. NASA-Marshall would close, while activity at the Manned Spacecraft Center would fall substantially.

At $1.5 billion, the piloted space program would shut down entirely: "All manned space flight ceases with Apollo 14 in July 1970." Not only NASA-Marshall but the Manned Spacecraft Center would close, with the Saturn launch facilities at Cape Canaveral shutting down as well. Yet NASA would continue to maintain a vigorous program of automated space flight. Even at $1.5 billion, the agency could send six Viking landers to Mars, and could take advantage of a rare alignment of the outer planets to send spacecraft to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. NASA would conduct "at least one planetary launch each year in the decade," and would pursue "a relatively ambitious science and applications program with 95 launches in the decade."


What effect would taking the $2.5 billion or $1.5 billion options have had on the US Space program to date had one of these been chosen?

Offline carmelo

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Offline PMN1

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Re: Space Program Options open to President Nixon
« Reply #2 on: 05/19/2008 08:38 PM »
If the US went for option 3 and got out of manned spaceflight altogether, what effect would that have on the Soviet manned space program, would the Soviets continue to spend money on it?

Would US manned spaceflight get another look in the Reagan era?

Offline Jim

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Re: Space Program Options open to President Nixon
« Reply #3 on: 05/19/2008 08:48 PM »
There are no answers for these questions.   It is also too late to debate about these past issues since there are few participants around during that time.

Offline Blackstar

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RE: Space Program Options open to President Nixon
« Reply #4 on: 05/19/2008 11:40 PM »
Quote
PMN1 - 28/1/2008  7:46 AM

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4221/ch4.htm

One alternative, at $3.5 billion per year, eliminated NERVA and stopped production of Saturn V and Apollo spacecraft. This option, however, would maintain a vigorous program in piloted flight,

SNIP

Two other options, at $2.5 billion, also permitted flight of Skylab with its three visits, along with the six Apollos. There could even be a space station in 1980, with Titan III-Gemini for logistics.

SNIP

At $1.5 billion, the piloted space program would shut down entirely: "All manned space flight ceases with Apollo 14 in July 1970." Not only NASA-Marshall but the Manned Spacecraft Center

SNIP

What effect would taking the $2.5 billion or $1.5 billion options have had on the US Space program to date had one of these been chosen?

Well, the $2.5 billion option obviously would have resulted in the US flying the Gemini in some capacity, with no shuttle.  The shutdown of the human spaceflight program under the $1.5 billion option obviously would have shut down the program.  So they seem pretty self-explanatory.

Shutting down the program was not going to happen.  Read my explanation of what happened here:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/535/1

As for the Gemini option?  I don't view it as having long-term viability.  Gemini was a great little vehicle for its time, but quite limited in many ways.  Too little room for the astronauts, no airlock, and no good way to expand it.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Space Program Options open to President Nixon
« Reply #5 on: 05/19/2008 11:41 PM »
Quote
PMN1 - 19/5/2008  3:38 PM

If the US went for option 3 and got out of manned spaceflight altogether, what effect would that have on the Soviet manned space program, would the Soviets continue to spend money on it?

Would US manned spaceflight get another look in the Reagan era?

Yes, the Soviets would have continued spending money on it.  But they possibly would have cut back.  They were making an effort in the 1970s to explore space station capabilities and so there was a certain amount of momentum to do that.

Offline psloss

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RE: Space Program Options open to President Nixon
« Reply #6 on: 05/20/2008 01:11 AM »
Quote
Blackstar - 19/5/2008  7:40 PM

Shutting down the program was not going to happen.  Read my explanation of what happened here:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/535/1

As for the Gemini option?  I don't view it as having long-term viability.  Gemini was a great little vehicle for its time, but quite limited in many ways.  Too little room for the astronauts, no airlock, and no good way to expand it.
(And ejection seats.)

That piece you wrote is a nice review of that aspect of things and is something to keep in mind.

Offline Blackstar

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RE: Space Program Options open to President Nixon
« Reply #7 on: 05/20/2008 01:33 AM »
Quote
psloss - 19/5/2008  8:11 PM

Quote
Blackstar - 19/5/2008  7:40 PM
As for the Gemini option?  I don't view it as having long-term viability.  Gemini was a great little vehicle for its time, but quite limited in many ways.  Too little room for the astronauts, no airlock, and no good way to expand it.
(And ejection seats.)

Sometime in the 1990s the journal Air Power History had an article on the development of the ejection seats for Gemini.  It included a lot of original research (it possibly was written by one of the people who developed the ejection seats) but it was very poorly written.  I found it really hard to understand.  But you could boil the whole subject down to the fact that the astronauts didn't really think they were useful.

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