Author Topic: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"  (Read 26405 times)

Offline edkyle99

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"Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« on: 01/30/2012 02:56 PM »
A striking article by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle on Jan 28, 2011   

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Laying-groundwork-or-a-gravestone-for-spaceflight-2795090.php#page-1

"Everyone knows there is a train wreck on the horizon, and sooner or later it will become apparent we can't afford SLS," said Virginia-based space consultant James Muncy.

I was struck by the assertion by Chris Kraft that "... everybody at NASA, except those at the top level" is "skeptical" of the SLS approach. 

Two questions:

1.  Is Chris Kraft correct?
2.  What would all of those "every-bodies", if Mr. Kraft's "everybody" actually exists, do for an SLS alternative?

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 03:05 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #1 on: 01/30/2012 03:26 PM »
2.  What would all of those "every-bodies", if Mr. Kraft's "everybody" actually exists, do for an SLS alternative?

I can't really answer for any of the rest of Ed's post, but I would imagine that the alternative is an EELV-evolved/Commercial approach.
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Offline simonbp

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #2 on: 01/30/2012 03:38 PM »
Falcon Heavy, and possibly a similar ULA competitor.

I doubt it's lost on many people that FH will likely fly regardless of who's in the White House or Senate. And it has 2/3 of Block I SLS performance for 1/10 of the cost. And is independent of any political meddling over what components it should be made out of. Basically, it's already SLS done right and NASA has yet to officially acknowledge its existence.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 03:39 PM by simonbp »

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #3 on: 01/30/2012 05:03 PM »
Wow! Another of these "tell me what you would do instead" threads, again - for the millionth time.

It's bad enough this is a standalone thread, but for people to re-quote their posts from other threads to keep this running at the top, that's riled me - and removed as they should remain on their original threads and if no one is reacting to them, don't go reposting on the backs of other threads, or it comes across as "I once mentioned prop depots, spaceX, fluffy bunnies and myspace.com!" (Sorry, but that's how some of the "NASA's wrong, but unproven company A and unflown concept B is bound have no problems" sound, by the way.

One comment....

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going."

I know enough people to know that's utterly false. Did they take Mr Kraft to task on such a wild claim? Nope, that wrote the headline. Still nothing sells like negative news. Who cares about facts, or updates, or information. I want drama!! And the SECOND some incorrect quote is used, people trip over themselves to be first to proclaim the gospel according to Elon.

FFS, seriously? We've been over this to the point of boredom.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 05:04 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #4 on: 01/30/2012 05:11 PM »
Chris, this is the most pro-NASA-launch-vehicle site there is out there. Heck, for a long time, practically everything on this site was organized based on what launch vehicle it used. Is it really that far fetched that perhaps you would have disproportionate contact with folks at NASA who are supportive of SLS?
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 05:12 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #5 on: 01/30/2012 05:19 PM »
SLS will not fly, that's a no-brainer. Too expensive, too much time to develop. It's all about JOBS!
NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency. Why would they make it simple and cheap if they can make it expensive and complex enough to justify a lot of jobs?

Offline apace

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #6 on: 01/30/2012 05:20 PM »
SLS will not fly, that's a no-brainer. Too expensive, too much time to develop. It's all about JOBS!
NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency. Why would they make it simple and cheap if they can make it expensive and complex enough to justify a lot of jobs?

Simply not true. Check out all the current missions going around our solar system.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #7 on: 01/30/2012 05:22 PM »
Chris, this is the most pro-NASA-launch-vehicle site there is out there. Heck, for a long time, practically everything on this site was organized based on what launch vehicle it used. Is it really that far fetched that perhaps you would have disproportionate contact with folks at NASA who are supportive of SLS?

What does that have to do with my comment? My comment is Mr Kraft is utterly wrong.

Your point is?

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #8 on: 01/30/2012 05:30 PM »
SLS will not fly, that's a no-brainer. Too expensive, too much time to develop. It's all about JOBS!
NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency. Why would they make it simple and cheap if they can make it expensive and complex enough to justify a lot of jobs?

Yay, you're RIGHT on cue. Well done for proving my point about people with certain opinions (I say opinions, as there's nothing factual about what you wrote).

PS Well done for insulting thousands of people in one wacky paragraph.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 05:31 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #9 on: 01/30/2012 05:34 PM »
Yay, you're RIGHT on cue. Well done for proving my point about people with certain opinions (I say opinions, as there's nothing factual about what you wrote).

PS Well done for insulting thousands of people in one wacky paragraph.

Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph than insult millions of taxpayers over the past 30 years.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #10 on: 01/30/2012 05:37 PM »
Yay, you're RIGHT on cue. Well done for proving my point about people with certain opinions (I say opinions, as there's nothing factual about what you wrote).

PS Well done for insulting thousands of people in one wacky paragraph.

Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph than insult millions of taxpayers over the past 30 years.


Sorry, I didn't know you were a US taxpayer concerned about their 0.4 cents per day. The "Location: Portugal" didn't help.

Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #11 on: 01/30/2012 05:42 PM »
Sorry, I didn't know you were a US taxpayer concerned about their 0.4 cents per day. The "Location: Portugal" didn't help.
I pay my taxes to ESA too, which is another pork barrel.
I'm sorry if it shocks you that I demand MORE from my taxes.

“The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 05:43 PM by MikeMelga »

Offline rdale

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #12 on: 01/30/2012 05:46 PM »

Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph than insult millions of taxpayers over the past 30 years.

Unlike you, I am one of the NASA taxpayers and I am not insulted. What insults me is someone with no connection to the NASA space program insulting someone very knowledgeable about the NASA space program.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #13 on: 01/30/2012 05:55 PM »
Chris, this is the most pro-NASA-launch-vehicle site there is out there. Heck, for a long time, practically everything on this site was organized based on what launch vehicle it used. Is it really that far fetched that perhaps you would have disproportionate contact with folks at NASA who are supportive of SLS?

What does that have to do with my comment? My comment is Mr Kraft is utterly wrong.

Your point is?
""I'm very skeptical about the heavy-lift rocket," said Chris Kraft, NASA's first manned spaceflight director and the director of flight operations during the Apollo 11 mission.

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going.""


Except it's NOT wrong. Of the few NASA contractors I know, even though they are quite supportive of SD-HLVs in the right circumstances, they express quite a lot of skepticism about SLS as it stands and as it likely will be executed. They give the impression that a lot of the lower level folk are very skeptical that it is being done in a way that is going to work and not end up being canceled. They see it as becoming what Ares V had become. And to be quite honest, I'm sure Chris Kraft (former NASA flight director and director of JSC) knows a lot more NASA folk than either of us do. Maybe his statement is an exaggeration, but the general point that there is considerable skepticism with the specific approach being taken with SLS within the lower levels of NASA seems accurate to me.

That's my point. Also, your extreme reaction to that statement seems unbecoming of you. You're better than that. And it looks like this sort of attitude is causing this thread to devolve.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline edkyle99

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #14 on: 01/30/2012 05:57 PM »
One comment....

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going."

I know enough people to know that's utterly false. ...

That's what I wondered - whether the highly respected Mr. Kraft might have either been misquoted, misunderstood, or simply incorrect in his understanding of current NASA thinking.

It does seem that many of the Apollo-era ex-NASA people are not confident about NASA's current direction, but for sometimes conflicting reasons.   

This article paints a picture of a NASA whose "line employees" are largely opposed to the project they are working on, which doesn't sound correct to me.  "Supportive but skeptical" might be more accurate.  At some point, the train is going to have to leave the station and people are going to either be on board or left behind.   

 - Ed Kyle

Offline tigerade

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #15 on: 01/30/2012 05:59 PM »
I am kind of "wait and see" on the SLS.  It's going to be a very long time until this rocket actually launches humans, which is going to be in 2019 I believe?  A lot can happen in 7 years.  For example, there weren't many people predicting 7 years ago that the economy would tank and the fiscal situation would get out of control.  Both of those factors could get worse and could impact NASA. 

I think SLS should continue to be developed.  However I do think propellent depots are a very interesting concept and should be seriously looked at.  Why can't we have both?  I always imagined that any long term stays on the moon or a crewed mars mission would not only be an international effort but a public/private effort as well.

Instead of fighting lets all work together or own projects, and then just combine them together in whatever way possible 10 years from now.  And for pete's sake lets actually go somewhere.  There's a whole universe out there to explore.  :)  (Well, just solar system for manned spaceflight, but you catch my drift).

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #16 on: 01/30/2012 05:59 PM »
Sorry, I didn't know you were a US taxpayer concerned about their 0.4 cents per day. The "Location: Portugal" didn't help.
I pay my taxes to ESA too, which is another pork barrel.
I'm sorry if it shocks you that I demand MORE from my taxes.

“The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”

This isn't about ESA, this is about part of NASA, via an inaccurate quote, which you decided to add - and I quote - "It's all about JOBS! NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency."

You also referenced "past 30 years" - so without using a calculator, you also think the 30 years of Shuttle, including the ISS, was a waste of money, a "jobs program" as you claim. And what a shock, you're against SLS - who'd of thought it! :D

So, as the report to mod notices fly in about your rediculous comments, I want you to go away and read up on what NASA has achieved over the past 30 years, and note the blood and sacrifices it's taken to gain the successes which are self evident, the advances which have come of it, and get to know some of the people that have made it happen.

Come back to me then and I dare you to slag them off with the "Jobs program" - and I dare you to say it to one of their faces.

Then I want to to work out that had that money not been spent on the above, it is no assurance it would have magically gone to something more desirable towards your mindset, just as you'll likely find cancelling SLS will not result in a fat check being sent to Elon (as much as - don't be shocked - I actually think that wouldn't be a bad an idea).
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 06:00 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline rdale

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #17 on: 01/30/2012 06:02 PM »
Where's the +1 / LIKE button?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #18 on: 01/30/2012 06:04 PM »
..."Supportive but skeptical" might be more accurate. ...
Yes, I think that's true (though "supportive" might be ambivalent in some cases). Chris Kraft said that the vast majority of the NASA lower folk are skeptical of SLS, not that they don't support an HLV or an SD-HLV in particular.

There seems to be a lot of skepticism about all the different "Blocks" of SLS, like it's an endless (and very expensive) development cycle more than a means to an end.

Before we have a knee-jerk response, skepticism need not be antagonism.

You cannot tell me there aren't A LOT of people at NASA who, if they leveled with you, wouldn't express skepticism with at least some aspects of SLS. Remember DIRECT?
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 06:06 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline edkyle99

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #19 on: 01/30/2012 06:06 PM »
..."Supportive but skeptical" might be more accurate. ...
Yes, I think that's true (though "supportive" might be ambivalent in some cases). Chris Kraft said that the vast majority of the NASA lower folk are skeptical of SLS, not that they don't support an HLV or an SD-HLV in particular.

There seems to be a lot of skepticism about all the different "Blocks" of SLS, like it's an endless (and very expensive) development cycle more than a means to an end.

Skepticism need not be antagonism.

Right there - I bet that's the problem with this article.  Mr. Kraft said "skeptical" but the article then filled in with quotes from non-NASA types who don't support SLS.  That made Chris Kraft's quote seem more dire than it really was, I think.

 - Ed Kyle

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