Author Topic: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight  (Read 8188 times)

Offline MP99

Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #20 on: 12/14/2010 06:25 AM »
Abbey's no slouch, he knows the funding as well as any here. Its a zero sum game - for one to gain another must lose. If SpaceX doesn't because its actually having successes, and you run Shuttle long, that means SLS takes it in the shorts. How else do you get budget? Print money?

Extending Shuttle would avoid the need for SLS to carry various sustainment costs.

Don't disagree this would lead to a budget crunch, but I don't think this is "zero sum".

cheers, Martin

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #21 on: 12/14/2010 09:51 AM »
FWIW, there are inaccuracies in his comments that suggests Dr. Abbey has misunderstood what the Dragon is meant to be.

He tries to compare Dragon apples-to-apples as a shuttle replacement, which it isn't.  The Dragon can either carry ~3t pressurised cargo or up to seven crew, not both at the same time.  It was never intended to do both, so the argument that carrying crew reduces its cargo delivery usefulness is a strawman.  Whilst Dragon does indeed lack many capabilities compared to the shuttle, it also has some abilities that the shuttle does not such as very long orbital loiter and, potentially, BEO cargo and crew return.

It is likely that, once they have ironed out their initial kinks, multiple cargo launches by commercial providers should completely close the cargo gap left by the shuttle.  The cheaper Dragon and Cygnus will fly more often, thus transporting the same amount of cargo as the more expensive and less-frequently-flying shuttle.  The shuttle and Dragon are very different machines designed for different missions and cannot be directly compared.

That said, I agree that an in-service date of 2015/16 for commercial crew is reasonable.  I'd be genuinely surprised if any commercial crew vehicle, even the relatively bare-bones CST-100, are working the ISS before then.

I'm sure this will draw ire from some, but I think that it is too late to extend the shuttle program now.  The program run-down is too far advanced to reverse easily.  There will inevitably be a gap now, no matter what vehicle is selected going forward for cargo & crew ISS support.
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Offline gospacex

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #22 on: 12/14/2010 10:28 AM »
Let's see...He says the shuttle can carry 60,000 pounds of cargo. How much can it carry to the ISS? Payload ain't cargo.
 He says 5 to 6 years for anyone to have the ability to get people to orbit. People could have gone to orbit last week. Just not safely enough to meet standards.

All due respect, but I've heard this several times in the past week and it's just bad luck that I exceeded my quota right here right now. 

When the appraisal of an admittedly great achievement by SpaceX is elevated to an assertion that people could have flown Dragon last week, it begs the question as to how well people understand the complexities of human space flight.

I think you misunderstood the statement.
It merely says that if there had been an astronaut (in a seat, in a spacesuit) in the Dragon on that flight, (s)he would come down to Earth alive and well.
It doesn't say that it is a good idea to actually do that at this point.
« Last Edit: 12/14/2010 10:28 AM by gospacex »

Offline nooneofconsequence

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #23 on: 12/14/2010 07:44 PM »
Dear Jorge,

I was addressing Chris, not you, in my comment.

My point was journalistic practice on titles and the meaning of an item citation. Yes it would have been easier if the Chron editor had chosen a title for impact and not a local "softball".

To your comment about my comment:

Your claim is that my title was not neutral and that it was overburdened by opinion.

That claim is false. As I attempted to outline to Chris in detailing how I went about choosing the title a) the initial issue was a "bad original title", b) I found phrases in his words and assembled them into a reasonable quoted field (adjusting for sensible syntax no more), and c) tacked on a reasonable assumption unquoted left unsaid.

Your implication of intention is wrong of intentional misquote - more below on that allegation. You may presume more meaning than I intended - perhaps because of the limitation of a title size? If so you could have PM'ed me with a better suggestion and I'd have changed it. Trying to choose how to tighten a title to fit into the 5-6 remaining characters is always problematic.

Now to my supporting analysis (not evidence - this is journalism not law nor departmental review). Abbey is someone who talks to policy makers, at an institute that exists for that purpose. Such are used to framing a discussion with only the parts needed to complete the picture - if something is absent that is just as meaningful as the items that are present.

It is reasonable to read his comments as meaning a) he's not disfavoring commercial space eventually displacing other, b) his issue is timing to met capacity of crew+cargo to ISS requirements. Nowhere is present in the picture BEO, additional developments/needs. It is a closed box. From this one could draw the reasonable assumption this was a form of "as commercial steps up Shuttle steps down" and that how you implicitly draw the budget lines then is money sustains Shuttle long enough for commercial developed capacity to replace it.

This reasonably distilled down in a title to "- then no SLS??" e.g. "OK George, where does this fit in you picture of things?" We've got this little HLV thing that's an immense part of the future budget, and was thought to bring the heavy lifting to the ISS you described as missing from the commercial picture with "tiny capsules" etc.

Usually, such glaring omissions (this is a doozy!) are a way to signal to policy makers that theres a 500 lb gorilla in the room we've got to deal with. As you probably also know.

There's also some direct evidence that should rattle out news channels soon enough anyways.

But as to all the rest, this is a very judgmental site and you can't discuss many things w/o someone fired off on a ballistic arc.

I didn't think much of the "sputnik moment", but given all thats shaking in the trees now, and how narrow and fragile things are discussed in certain communities - yes, this is a major turning point.

But back to your original claim, I was *not* intentionally misquoting anyone.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline MP99

Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #24 on: 12/14/2010 10:48 PM »
Abbey is someone who talks to policy makers, at an institute that exists for that purpose. Such are used to framing a discussion with only the parts needed to complete the picture - if something is absent that is just as meaningful as the items that are present.

That would be reasonable if talking directly to policy makers. If talking to a journalist for a public article, many in the audience won't get that.

Are you saying he's making a coded message for policy makers, and doesn't care if it goes over the head of part of his audience?

Cheers, Martin

Offline nooneofconsequence

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #25 on: 12/14/2010 11:00 PM »
Are you saying he's making a coded message for policy makers, and doesn't care if it goes over the head of part of his audience?
Policy institutes only talk to policy makers, no matter the path the message takes. If he is talking as a member of a policy institute, its meant about policy, and for the ears of policy makers.

Policy in this case interpreting the role of commercial vs govt given success of Dragon flight.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline OpsAnalyst

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #26 on: 12/16/2010 04:07 AM »
Are you saying he's making a coded message for policy makers, and doesn't care if it goes over the head of part of his audience?
Policy institutes only talk to policy makers, no matter the path the message takes. If he is talking as a member of a policy institute, its meant about policy, and for the ears of policy makers.

Policy in this case interpreting the role of commercial vs govt given success of Dragon flight.

All I can say here is that I know Mr. Abbey, speak with him reasonably often - saw him tonight - and I think he'd be either amused or disgusted by the back and forth argument over what he meant.  Probably some of both.  I can just see that slightly raised eyebrow now.

He's concerned about the gap and implications for the U.S.  More generally he's concerned about any single nation holding all the capability to take humans up and back - not because of some nationalistic viewpoint but because his view of humanspaceflight is global, and his perception is that having "just" the shuttle, or "just" Soyuz is asking for a single point failure.

That logic extends to the gap.  He's suggested in the past that the nation continue to fly shuttle, and invest in commercial, bringing them along, and standing down shuttle when they're ready to take the ball of wax and run with it.  That's pretty much where I'm guessing he was coming from with the interview.

He and Neil Lane are working on another paper about this.  Maybe we can table the discussion about what he _really_ meant until they publish and tell us?? :) 

(Just a thought - probably not as much fun (?!), though...

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #27 on: 12/16/2010 05:15 PM »
One of the obvious limits is staying under the speed limit.  That would be c.

Gotta go!
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline nooneofconsequence

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #28 on: 12/16/2010 06:28 PM »
Policy institutes only talk to policy makers, no matter the path the message takes. If he is talking as a member of a policy institute, its meant about policy, and for the ears of policy makers.

Policy in this case interpreting the role of commercial vs govt given success of Dragon flight.

All I can say here is that I know Mr. Abbey, speak with him reasonably often - saw him tonight - and I think he'd be either amused or disgusted by the back and forth argument over what he meant.  Probably some of both.  I can just see that slightly raised eyebrow now.
I have met him. IMHO he speaks to the press poorly for a policy expert. And this is not the first time he has done so. You can tell him that the next time you see him - perhaps he'll get the message and do better next time.
Quote
He's concerned about the gap and implications for the U.S.  More generally he's concerned about any single nation holding all the capability to take humans up and back - not because of some nationalistic viewpoint but because his view of humanspaceflight is global, and his perception is that having "just" the shuttle, or "just" Soyuz is asking for a single point failure.

If this is his intention, he a) didn't specifically communicate the "frame" around his argument (and hammer on the journalist til it entered his notebook as "important"), then diagrammed a complete picture of some kind, then roll with the rest of what he mentioned. Then people wouldn't get the wrong idea.

Quote
That logic extends to the gap.  He's suggested in the past that the nation continue to fly shuttle, and invest in commercial, bringing them along, and standing down shuttle when they're ready to take the ball of wax and run with it.  That's pretty much where I'm guessing he was coming from with the interview.
Which was what I said. Still looking for the "amusing part" in what you are implying.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something" - Plato

Offline HappyMartian

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #29 on: 12/23/2010 01:26 PM »
The article notes George Abbey as saying, "'...the right thing to do is extend the space shuttle and fly longer.'"

Yep. Lots of folks on this website have expressed somewhat similar ideas. Resolving the issue involves investing some money. 

We are getting ever closer to gambling with the world's 100,000,000,000 dollar International Space Station. Soyuz is the thread that human access to the ISS will be depending on. Gambling is foolish. Gambling with an extremely valuable asset in LEO is very foolish.

Gambling with the trust of people around the world is OK, isn't it? We aren't afraid of little old LEO, are we? Nothing bad could ever happen in LEO, could it?

Maybe inviting Shenzhou spaceships to the International Space Station should be in the discussion... Nah, it is much better to close your eyes and gamble, right? 'Commercial' human spaceflight to LEO can do everything and do it cheaper and safer too, can't it? Space Shuttles are obsolete, aren't they? What does a "'former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center'" know? And his comment about the ISS, "'Without a space shuttle, it's possible the crew size will have to be reduced'" isn't true, is it?

A huge ISS gambling game is going to start in LEO. If we have to downsize the crew, underutilize the research labs, or abandon the International Space Station, President Bush supporters can blame President Obama, and President Obama supporters can blame President Bush. Some of the Russians would blame America, and some Americans would blame Russia. That would be convenient. Lots of excuses, and some of them would be quite entertaining and sophisticated lies. Life and politics would go on, but the trust and respect taxpayers have in the wisdom and honesty of our political and scientific leaders would be sorely tested. Again.

It is real nice that George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight. Maybe a few other folks can also envision some limits, too.

Cheers!  :)

Edited.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2010 01:31 PM by HappyMartian »
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Offline yinzer

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #30 on: 12/25/2010 06:52 PM »
Keep in mind that George Abbry ran the astronaut office for many years, and did so in what most astronauts regard as an arbitrary and capricious manner that caused significant harm to a lot of people.

In a world where astronauts are employees of some company that a) presumably has larger goals and b) is run by someone other than George Abbey, he has no role and his way of doing things no longer applies.

It's not surprising that he's opposed to commercial human spaceflight.
California 2008 - taking rights from people and giving rights to chickens.

Offline HappyMartian

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Re: George Abbey sees limits in private spaceflight
« Reply #31 on: 12/26/2010 01:12 PM »
One of the obvious limits is staying under the speed limit.  That would be c.

Gotta go!

Are you sure about that particular limit?

Cosmologists Discover How Black Holes Can Leak

Extra dimensions should allow information to escape from black holes, according to a new model of cosmology


At:  http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26198/

Cheers!
« Last Edit: 12/26/2010 01:12 PM by HappyMartian »
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

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