Author Topic: American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act  (Read 10094 times)

Offline AncientU

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Politicians trying to get out in front and 'lead':
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The “American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act” would designate NASA MSFC as providing “rocket propulsion leadership” for the US. The “Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act” covers licensing of vehicles that support comm’l launches. http://bit.ly/2ICVLGj
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/975897395794935808

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The legislation designates Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA’s lead center for rocket propulsion and establishes it as essential to sustaining and promoting U.S. leadership in rocket propulsion and developing the next generation of rocket propulsion capabilities.

And it's not April 1st yet.

« Last Edit: 03/20/2018 09:56 am by AncientU »
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Offline woods170

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Politicians trying to get out in front and 'lead':
Quote
The “American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act” would designate NASA MSFC as providing “rocket propulsion leadership” for the US. The “Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act” covers licensing of vehicles that support comm’l launches. http://bit.ly/2ICVLGj
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/975897395794935808

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The legislation designates Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA’s lead center for rocket propulsion and establishes it as essential to sustaining and promoting U.S. leadership in rocket propulsion and developing the next generation of rocket propulsion capabilities.

And it's not April 1st yet.



Indeed. What a bad joke this is. Alabama rocket maffia at its worst.
Just another provision to keep the gravy train rolling towards Alabama. Sheez...

Offline Proponent

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I seem to recall something like this circa 2010.  Wasn't there a National Institute for Launch Vehicle Technology or something like that created at MSFC already?

Offline AncientU

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Ars weighs in:
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Alabama lawmaker seems desperate to keep rocket tech in his home state
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Now, however, US rockets and engines are much more commonly developed outside of northern Alabama, where the NASA center is located in Huntsville. SpaceX has designed and built its Merlin rocket engines in California, and it is doing the same thing with its more powerful Raptor engines. Blue Origin has designed four engines in the state of Washington. Both companies have tested their rocket engines in Texas.
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The reality is that most new rocket engine design in the United States is being done largely by private companies at their own expense.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/alabama-lawmaker-seems-desperate-to-keep-rocket-tech-in-his-home-state/

Wouldn't be so bad if MSFC actually was able to build an advanced rocket... they are scarcely able to build a 1970s technology one.
« Last Edit: 03/20/2018 01:42 pm by AncientU »
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Offline incoming

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I seem to recall something like this circa 2010.  Wasn't there a National Institute for Launch Vehicle Technology or something like that created at MSFC already?

I think what you were referring to is this:  https://nirps.msfc.nasa.gov/frontpage

The subject legislation aside, to me NIRPS doesn't actually seem like that bad of an idea. With various programs at both DoD and NASA all making different investments in rocket propulsion technology, the idea was to have some sort forum for gov't and industry stakeholders to collaborate and strategize. One specific example I recall was possible synergy between NASA looking at liquid propulsion for the SLS Advanced Boosters and the AF wanting a domestic replacement for RD-180s. You had Rocketdyne developing a kerolox engine, Blue Origin quietly working on Methalox, SpaceX with a foot in both, and ATK focusing on next generation large solids. That conversation has since evolved quite a bit but at the time it would have made a lot of sense for NASA and the AF to talk about who was doing what. More conversations and collaboration with industry may have led to a more productive investment strategy on the part of NASA and the DoD.

Offline dlapine

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Is there some reason why the real-world advanced propulsion work (NTR, advanced ion, etc) wouldn't be done at JPL? If so, why wouldn't we let them coordinate efforts...

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Let's try and debate items with interesting posts. Sick and tired of the snark-a-thon from AncientU.

Offline Proponent

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I seem to recall something like this circa 2010.  Wasn't there a National Institute for Launch Vehicle Technology or something like that created at MSFC already?

I think what you were referring to is this:  https://nirps.msfc.nasa.gov/frontpage

The subject legislation aside, to me NIRPS doesn't actually seem like that bad of an idea. With various programs at both DoD and NASA all making different investments in rocket propulsion technology, the idea was to have some sort forum for gov't and industry stakeholders to collaborate and strategize. One specific example I recall was possible synergy between NASA looking at liquid propulsion for the SLS Advanced Boosters and the AF wanting a domestic replacement for RD-180s. You had Rocketdyne developing a kerolox engine, Blue Origin quietly working on Methalox, SpaceX with a foot in both, and ATK focusing on next generation large solids. That conversation has since evolved quite a bit but at the time it would have made a lot of sense for NASA and the AF to talk about who was doing what. More conversations and collaboration with industry may have led to a more productive investment strategy on the part of NASA and the DoD.

I do think the idea of the government researching advanced technology is fundamentally sound.  Establishing institutions for very specific purposes can be a bad idea, though, as the institution is likely to outlive the usefulness of the concept on which it was founded.  Rocket propulsion may be sufficiently broad a topic that that's not too big a risk.  In the case of NIRPS, though, I see that it lists no publications since 2014, and its most recent annual report is for 2012.  Looks like it's not doing anything productive; I wonder whether it's still being funded.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2018 07:54 pm by Proponent »

Offline GreenShrike

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Is there anything really to debate? I think the American government is really too late to take the lead in developing liquid propulsion systems. Are there any advanced liquid techs on the horizon requiring development?

ORSC is being done commercially -- three implementations use it, though I'm guessing only two will fly.

FFSC? SpaceX is making the Raptor with a seeming ease that makes me wonder if gas-gas engines aren't as complicated as previously believed, and that the BE-4 will be the last pure ORSC engine designed from scratch.

Electro-pumped engines are new, but the entire point of electric pumps is that they're a simplifying technology that saves from having to develop and build small turbines and turbopumps. While Rutherford is the first and thus unlikely to be the last word in the tech, Rocket Labs went a step further than a base implementation by developing ejectable battery packs, going some way to mitigating the design's main disadvantage.

Perhaps MSFC could sponsor further development of the tech into a thruster as reliable as a pressure-fed hypergolic, but this, to me, isn't grand enough to qualify as "leading the way".

There's also 3D printing. While relatively new, multiple companies have jumped on the bandwagon -- is there anyone *not* using it to build an engine? Again, it's a simplifying technology, making things easier and cheaper to produce, and isn't really an area needing MSFC to jump in with both feet to make better.

What's left? TAN seems quite drool worthy, but obviously isn't worth whatever AJR wants for the patent, so I'm not expecting production designs until the patent timer runs out. SNC/Orbitec's extra-swirly vortex tech?  Laser ignition? Super alloys for higher temperature and/or pressure seems more like materials development than rocket engine development.

I suppose there's the possibility of an F1-class FFSC engine, but would it be much different than a scaled-up Raptor? And, if produced, would it do more than keep the J2X company on a shelf?

Are there any other grand, new techs -- perhaps only whispered about in research papers -- that needs the weight of government behind them to see the light of day?

Because from my lowly layman's perspective, physics is physics, money is money and talent is talent, and the government holds a monopoly on none of them -- as increasingly shown in aerospace. Goverments should only go where business fears to tread, and today space is just another business opportunity.
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Offline yg1968

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« Last Edit: 03/23/2018 07:36 pm by yg1968 »

Online DistantTemple

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Here is an update:
http://spacenews.com/house-committee-advances-two-space-bills/
This is called the ALSTAR ACT
I hope this reply and my tags make this searchable on NSF
A recent article:
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/alabama-lawmaker-seems-desperate-to-keep-rocket-tech-in-his-home-state/
Quote from: Eric Burger(Ars Technica)
Among other things, the new legislation designates Marshall Space Flight Center as "NASA’s lead center for rocket propulsion and establishes it as essential to sustaining and promoting US leadership in rocket propulsion and developing the next generation of rocket propulsion capabilities."

AIUI (I am not American and don't know how US legislation works) this piece of "law" will be of no real consequence, as if passed it only states a "desire".

Edit: Colour added
« Last Edit: 04/23/2018 01:01 am by DistantTemple »
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Online docmordrid

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More a flag Mo Brook's campaign  can wave before the November elections.
« Last Edit: 04/23/2018 03:27 am by docmordrid »
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Online Coastal Ron

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I do think the idea of the government researching advanced technology is fundamentally sound.  Establishing institutions for very specific purposes can be a bad idea, though, as the institution is likely to outlive the usefulness of the concept on which it was founded.  Rocket propulsion may be sufficiently broad a topic that that's not too big a risk.  In the case of NIRPS, though, I see that it lists no publications since 2014, and its most recent annual report is for 2012.  Looks like it's not doing anything productive; I wonder whether it's still being funded.

The U.S. Government funding research is a great use of taxpayer money.

The U.S. Government helping industry with development, especially small companies, is a great use of taxpayer money.

The U.S. Government building things they think industry should use is a BAD use of taxpayer money.

I've been advocating that NASA should, to some degree, revert to being more NACA-like, in which case having the U.S. Government retain assets like MSFC would make sense if they are focused on helping the U.S. aerospace sector.

My $0.02
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline AncientU

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Cross-posted:
...
Re: ALSTAR Act -
...
The best rocket engines are not built in Russia or at any NASA Center. They are built in Hawthorne, California.
Congress can abudicate, obviscate, ocilate and stamafate all it wants to and SpaceX can just go about the business of space on its own terms, ...

"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Online john smith 19

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The U.S. Government funding research is a great use of taxpayer money.

The U.S. Government helping industry with development, especially small companies, is a great use of taxpayer money.

The U.S. Government building things they think industry should use is a BAD use of taxpayer money.

I've been advocating that NASA should, to some degree, revert to being more NACA-like, in which case having the U.S. Government retain assets like MSFC would make sense if they are focused on helping the U.S. aerospace sector.

My $0.02
Isn't that basically what this act does?
 or it could have been called the "Mo money for 'Bama" act, which is essentially what it is.  :(
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Offline spacetraveler

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If MSFC was truly the leader in rocket propulsion work in the country, then this fact should be self evident by what they have produced, it should not need to be declared as such in a law.

Online Coastal Ron

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The U.S. Government funding research is a great use of taxpayer money.

The U.S. Government helping industry with development, especially small companies, is a great use of taxpayer money.

The U.S. Government building things they think industry should use is a BAD use of taxpayer money.

I've been advocating that NASA should, to some degree, revert to being more NACA-like, in which case having the U.S. Government retain assets like MSFC would make sense if they are focused on helping the U.S. aerospace sector.
Isn't that basically what this act does?
 or it could have been called the "Mo money for 'Bama" act, which is essentially what it is.  :(

Without restructuring NASA to be more NACA-like, which means giving up building their own hardware, then no.

In fact I would not be surprised if Congress OK's NASA to use MSFC to do some new engine development - which would be 100% disconnected from any future private sector needs.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline PhotoEngineer

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As someone who has seen many of today's rockets which are in development up close, and also spent a lot of time at MSFC, they are definitely holding their own in the advanced tech dept.  A lot of the things they work on get percolated out to industry - and perhaps the first time you hear about them is in a SpaceX press release.  Being able to try new ideas without worrying about return on investment is incredibly freeing, and the industry needs that to keep pushing forward (in combination with a strong commercial sector).

Just my 2 cents.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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As someone who has seen many of today's rockets which are in development up close, and also spent a lot of time at MSFC, they are definitely holding their own in the advanced tech dept.  A lot of the things they work on get percolated out to industry - and perhaps the first time you hear about them is in a SpaceX press release.  Being able to try new ideas without worrying about return on investment is incredibly freeing, and the industry needs that to keep pushing forward (in combination with a strong commercial sector).

Just my 2 cents.

Can you give some examples?

Offline butters

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These are called "messaging bills." It's not about policy, it's about the midterms.

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