Author Topic: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups  (Read 31955 times)

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #280 on: 04/16/2019 07:39 pm »
But there is zero evidence that we are at that point, or even close to that point. And the U.S. Government wanting to land at least one woman government employee at the South Pole of our Moon is not evidence that the U.S. Government has figured out how to create a profitable space-based economy. In fact it shows the complete opposite, that companies have to be paid to do things in space with humans.
It will require it be bootstrapped to happen, and that will take a lot of money.

Is that going to happen with this effort? So far all we hear about is just spending money to attain the goal of landing at least one woman on the surface of the Moon by 2024. What comes after that is lacking in details.

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Long term it will play out and pay out, but if we wait for future fur trappers or someone to go out and strike a motherlode on an asteroid, it won't happen.

Which would mean that the U.S. Government would have to have an explicit goal that guides the funding of this for years into the future. Is that part of what Bridenstine will provide to Congress at the end of this month?

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I fell for the libertarian dream of space colonization along with a lot of other people. I was wrong. But an O'Neill style incremental colonization plan CAN work, and it requires getting mining and manufacturing on the moon first. This could be the jump-start.

In other words creating the supply first in order to inspire demand. Of course that only works if what you are supplying for free/cheap is one of the major cost drivers that has been keeping commercial activity out of space. And from what Elon Musk keeps telling us, propellant is NOT a cost driver - reusability is.

So wouldn't it be a good idea for the U.S. Government to actually do a study of what they should be subsidizing, BEFORE they start subsidizing?
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 JohnFornaro

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #281 on: 04/17/2019 11:47 am »
I fully support the President's challenge to return to the Moon to stay.

^ New path moving forward.


Great! I don't.

^ Same old, same old path of the past.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #282 on: 04/17/2019 02:51 pm »
I fully support the President's challenge to return to the Moon to stay.

^ New path moving forward.

How is it a "New path" when we're repeating the glory of the 60's?

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Great! I don't.

^ Same old, same old path of the past.

For decades NASA had been on a path to go to Mars - someplace new, and more exciting. So if anything this Trump Directive is a lowering of our sights as a nation, not a raising.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online chrisking0997

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #283 on: 04/17/2019 03:47 pm »
I fully support the President's challenge to return to the Moon to stay.

^ New path moving forward.

How is it a "New path" when we're repeating the glory of the 60's?

Quote
Great! I don't.

^ Same old, same old path of the past.

For decades NASA had been on a path to go to Mars - someplace new, and more exciting. So if anything this Trump Directive is a lowering of our sights as a nation, not a raising.


NASA wants to go to Mars.  Its political masters (regardless of the letter next to their names) and most major contractors and their shareholders have less lofty goals.  To them, its the journey not the destination

Edit/Lar: Fix Quotes
« Last Edit: 04/17/2019 05:53 pm by Lar »
Tried to tell you, we did.  Listen, you did not.  Now, screwed we all are.

Offline jadebenn

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #284 on: 04/17/2019 06:01 pm »
How is it a "New path" when we're repeating the glory of the 60's?
Because we lost that capability and haven't had the will and therefore ability to do it again until now?

If we can do for Moon exploration what ISS has done for LEO, that'd be a major step-up in human spaceflight.

For decades NASA had been on a path to go to Mars - someplace new, and more exciting. So if anything this Trump Directive is a lowering of our sights as a nation, not a raising.
Trying to go to Mars when we still don't have the ability to do long-term occupation of the Moon -something much simpler- seems like running before you walk. I suppose it's not impossible to "skip" the step, but it's a lot more radical of a leap, and therefore would be much more difficult.

And your logic's confusing me. It feels to me like you're letting perfect be the enemy of the good. If the alternative to a moon mission is the status quo at NASA, why would you prefer the status quo? You've made your displeasure about it very well-known, after all.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2019 06:03 pm by jadebenn »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #285 on: 04/17/2019 06:51 pm »
Trying to go to Mars when we still don't have the ability to do long-term occupation of the Moon -something much simpler- seems like running before you walk. I suppose it's not impossible to "skip" the step, but it's a lot more radical of a leap, and therefore would be much more difficult.

Charlie Bolden, Obama's NASA administrator, once said, "Mars is actually easier than the Moon".  It was astonishing to see how many voices here agreed with this, what can only be characterized as nonsensical, statement.   It was as if to deliberately mock the HSF crowd.

Quote from: jadebenn
... If the alternative to a moon mission is the status quo at NASA, why would [one] prefer the status quo? ...

Stasis is easy, I guess.  They like to pound their screens and pronounce how they'll boldly go where no robot has gone before.  In the meantime, they'll point to enormous hollow cylinders and huge welding machines that will stay ever clean and be hardly used at  all.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2019 06:51 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #286 on: 04/17/2019 08:16 pm »
And your logic's confusing me. It feels to me like you're letting perfect be the enemy of the good.

It feels to me like you don't care what it costs to send a human to our Moon.

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If the alternative to a moon mission is the status quo at NASA, why would you prefer the status quo? You've made your displeasure about it very well-known, after all.

I look at this situation from an economic point of view. If the goal of the U.S. Government is to expand our economic sphere of influence out into space, then having NASA be the lead and using the government-only SLS & Orion is the wrong way to accomplish that goal. The government doing something is just stimulus, not market creation.

If the goal of the U.S. Government is to expand our economic sphere of influence out into space, with the end result being that the American private sector is generating GDP from human activity in space, then the U.S. Government should be defining the goals, and paying the private sector to achieve the goals. NASA should only be a supporting player, not leading the effort.

So far all we know is that Trump wants Americans to land on the Moon before his 2nd term in office is over. I don't see the ROI that justifies spending $Billions of taxpayer money.
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 Coastal Ron

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #287 on: 04/17/2019 08:26 pm »
How is it a "New path" when we're repeating the glory of the 60's?
Because we lost that capability and haven't had the will and therefore ability to do it again until now?

We didn't lose anything. You must think that just because we don't have a Saturn V that we can't get back to our Moon, but that is not true. We could have built more Saturn V, or built some other replacement. We have the technology. And ULA even published a paper in 2009 called "A Commercially Based Lunar Architecture" that shows how using commercial launchers is actually MORE affordable than big rockets like the SLS.

We have never lacked the ability to go back. The U.S. Government, specifically Congress, has not seen a justification for going back that equals the tremendous cost.

NASA is not working on lowering the cost to access space, which means NASA is not helping to solve the main problem to HSF. And Congress is fine with that for now, because the SLS is not really for space exploration, it's a jobs program. If it was needed for space exploration Congress would have authorized missions and payloads for the SLS when they told NASA to build it, but so far there is little for the SLS to do.

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If we can do for Moon exploration what ISS has done for LEO, that'd be a major step-up in human spaceflight.

No doubt. But so what? Again, we never lost the ability to send government employees to the Moon, we have always lacked big enough reasons that matched the cost of doing so.

You see the theme here? The President and Congress control what NASA does, and neither of them are concerned about the cost of human exploration. If it cost $1,000 to send someone to our Moon the place would be crowded, right? But instead it costs closer to $10B.

What Trump is proposing is not focused on reducing the cost to get to our Moon, and that means the U.S. Taxpayer is overpaying for this effort. THAT is my bottom line for why I don't support this.
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 zodiacchris

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #288 on: 04/17/2019 08:45 pm »
It seems to me that any lunar or mars program based on the use of the SLS will be unsustainable, both from a cost and a launch cadence perspective. The cost plus components in the architecture make things unnecessarily expensive and late to boot, as there is no incentive to go faster. The recent SLS article underlines that, when pressured about the slip to 2021, a sudden change from vertical to horizontal integration of the first stage now saves more than 2 months construction time. Why hasnít this been considered earlier? Because there is no need for the specialised vertical integration rig any more which was built for cost plus??? Jesus wept...

A lunar program based on the existing and pipeline commercial launchers would open possibilities for affordable expansion and would make more sense, but that is unlikely to be possible from a political perspective.

Anyhow, weíre all hoping for the same outcomes here, to go to stay, both moon and mars in the intermediate term if possible, so maybe lighten up a bit in your tone and donít get personal. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. 🙏
« Last Edit: 04/18/2019 11:43 am by zodiacchris »

Offline jadebenn

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #289 on: 04/18/2019 06:46 am »
We didn't lose anything. You must think that just because we don't have a Saturn V that we can't get back to our Moon, but that is not true. We could have built more Saturn V, or built some other replacement. We have the technology.
At this very moment, can we send humans to the moon? No. We do not currently have the capability. It is something we lost, and are rebuilding.
We have never lacked the ability to go back. The U.S. Government, specifically Congress, has not seen a justification for going back that equals the tremendous cost.
You're either greatly misunderstanding me or willfully misinterpreting my statements. I never said we could never go back. The technology has been there since the Apollo days. I said we didn't have the will to go back, and because of this, we lost the capability to do so.

Once again, I never said we lost it permanently. Just that, at this very moment, we do not have it.
NASA is not working on lowering the cost to access space, which means NASA is not helping to solve the main problem to HSF. And Congress is fine with that for now, because the SLS is not really for space exploration, it's a jobs program. If it was needed for space exploration Congress would have authorized missions and payloads for the SLS when they told NASA to build it, but so far there is little for the SLS to do.
You're using circular logic here. Bridenstine and the current administration have decided that going to the moon is the thing for the SLS to do. You object to that plan, and then say that the SLS doesn't have anything to do.
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If we can do for Moon exploration what ISS has done for LEO, that'd be a major step-up in human spaceflight.

No doubt. But so what? Again, we never lost the ability to send government employees to the Moon, we have always lacked big enough reasons that matched the cost of doing so.

You see the theme here? The President and Congress control what NASA does, and neither of them are concerned about the cost of human exploration. If it cost $1,000 to send someone to our Moon the place would be crowded, right? But instead it costs closer to $10B.

What Trump is proposing is not focused on reducing the cost to get to our Moon, and that means the U.S. Taxpayer is overpaying for this effort. THAT is my bottom line for why I don't support this.
The last time the US taxpayer was pitched a system to reduce cost to access to space, we ended up with the Shuttle program. The performance of such never reached the idealistic projections, and we probably would've been batter sticking with the Saturn family in the long-run.

Now I have no issue with companies like SpaceX pursuing such a strategy under the assumption that they can "do it right," but I remain skeptical that there's actually much of a cost-advantage in doing so. Without access to SpaceX's financials, it remains to be seen what financial benefit Falcon re-usability has or hasn't provided in regards to their launch costs, and at what launch cadence the "tipping point" for re-usability exists.

Even with a ridiculously optimistically low launch cost, I highly doubt the demand necessary for such a rocket to fly profitably at lunar scales exists today. It doesn't matter how low your theoretical price-per-kilo is if the yearly demand for your rocket is, at most, maybe a couple thousand. That could change, eventually. But it'd need some sort of catalyst to stimulate demand for services at lunar orbit, in order to stimulate commercial launch capability to those areas. Something that NASA's plan provides.

I'd rather not predicate the whole manned spaceflight program on the "re-usability" holy grail again. Not until there's conclusive proof that such an approach is superior. If SpaceX builds their BFR and shows that? More power to the; let's toss the SLS. But that hasn't happened yet.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #290 on: 04/18/2019 12:59 pm »
At this very moment, can we send humans to the moon? No. We do not currently have the capability. It is something we lost, and are rebuilding.

Bingo, but the USG is not acting like it is rebuilding.

Quote from: jadebenn
[People are] ... willfully misinterpreting my statements. I never said we could never go back. The technology has been there since the Apollo days. I said we didn't have the will to go back, and because of this, we lost the capability to do so.

I felt the need to edit your remark for neutrality, but you raise a crucial point.  Check out the oracle on the main criticism of postmodern [pomo] thought, which is what you've just experienced:

"Criticisms of postmodernism are intellectually diverse, including the assertions that postmodernism is meaningless and promotes obscurantism."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism#Criticisms

If you want to PM me to discuss pomo thought a bit more, that would be fine, but while that discussion is OT for the thread, pomo thought is a common  strategy underpinning the seemingly continual inability of NASA to perform per its charter.

Quote from: jadebenn
Bridenstine and the current administration have decided that going to the moon is the thing for the SLS to do. [People] object to that plan, and then say that the SLS doesn't have anything to do.

As I've mentioned over the years, there is nothing wrong with a "jobs program" and SLS, in principle, could be a successful launch system, justifying all those jobs.  In addition, a jobs program can be for peaceful purposes, and clearly, a cis-lunar economy offers the promise of many jobs in the future.  Note that tourism will be, at first, the biggest economic draw for that cis-lunar economy, and I think that tourism may prove to be the bootstrap for that economy.  Those service jobs will not require degrees in rocket science.

When JFK got the ball rolling on HSF, he specifically mentioned the peaceful use of HSF as an overriding goal and I certainly agree with his sentiment:

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war."

https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/rice-university-19620912

Economic activity, which generates wealth, is a hallmark of peaceful activity.  Besides, a peaceful development of the cis-lunar space will help mankind answer age-old football questions, as JFK wisely pointed out:  "Why does Rice play Texas?"

Quote from: jadebenn
If we can do for Moon exploration what ISS has done for LEO, that'd be a major step-up in human spaceflight.

Bingo. 

While it is disappointing that the US did not immediately replace the shuttle in the days after the 1986 accident, when the entire country would have funded an improved replacement, at least the shuttle did finish building the ISS.  And what of it?  They go to work every morning, and then relax and watch football games between Rice and Texas in the evening.  Like their counterparts on Earth.  ISS is a jobs program.

That's one of the reasons why Obama disappointed every HSF fan when he dismissed the return to the Moon as a "been there, done that" moment; instructing his guy to spout the nonsensical "Mars is easier than the Moon" comment.  Shortly after Obama's disparaging speech to America and the world about HSF, he went back to the exact same golf course, and played yet another round of golf. [Afterwards, I heard he watched the Rice vs. Texas game, but my sources are unreliable.]

Quote from: jadebenn
The last time the US taxpayer was pitched a system to reduce cost to access to space, we ended up with the Shuttle program.

I dunno if you remember, but they also pitched a two week turnaround!

Quote from: jadebenn
Now I have no issue with companies like SpaceX pursuing such a strategy ... [but] without access to SpaceX's financials, it remains to be seen what financial benefit Falcon re-usability has or hasn't provided in regards to their launch costs, and at what launch cadence the "tipping point" for re-usability exists.

Yeah, and we all wouldn't mind seeing Trump's tax returns either.  What matters most is what they're doing, not how much profit they may or may not be making.

Quote from: jadebenn
Even with a ridiculously optimistically low launch cost, I highly doubt the demand necessary for such a rocket to fly profitably at lunar scales exists today.

This is a weak leg to be standing on. 

SpaceX is increasing their launch cadence and them thar other companies are no slackers.  Plus, those Israeli kids just about pulled off a lunar landing on their own nickel.  Who knows how many kids in garages are working on their own lunar landers?

I think things are looking up.  [To coin a phrase.]
« Last Edit: 04/18/2019 01:01 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Lar

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #291 on: 04/18/2019 01:08 pm »

Now I have no issue with companies like SpaceX pursuing such a strategy ... [but] without access to SpaceX's financials, it remains to be seen what financial benefit Falcon re-usability has or hasn't provided in regards to their launch costs, and at what launch cadence the "tipping point" for re-usability exists.

Yeah, and we all wouldn't mind seeing Trump's tax returns either.  What matters most is what they're doing, not how much profit they may or may not be making.

Quote from: jadebenn
Even with a ridiculously optimistically low launch cost, I highly doubt the demand necessary for such a rocket to fly profitably at lunar scales exists today.

This is a weak leg to be standing on. 

SpaceX is increasing their launch cadence and them thar other companies are no slackers.  Plus, those Israeli kids just about pulled off a lunar landing on their own nickel.  Who knows how many kids in garages are working on their own lunar landers?

I think things are looking up.  [To coin a phrase.]

(fan) jadebenn is laughably wrong about SpaceX and reuse, JohnF has the right of it.
(mod) this is off topic.
"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 Coastal Ron

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #292 on: 04/18/2019 03:56 pm »
You're either greatly misunderstanding me or willfully misinterpreting my statements. I never said we could never go back. The technology has been there since the Apollo days. I said we didn't have the will to go back, and because of this, we lost the capability to do so.

Make up your mind - either we've had the technology since Apollo, or we lost it.

You seem to be saying that unless we had a lunar lander standing on a launch pad for the last 47 years, then we must have lost the capability to build a lunar lander. My definition of "capability" is that we have the knowledge and ability to do something again - which we do regarding landing humans on our Moon. We never lost it.

As this Trump 2024 exercise shows, we don't have to learn anything new, we just need someone to pay...  ;)

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You're using circular logic here. Bridenstine and the current administration have decided that going to the moon is the thing for the SLS to do. You object to that plan, and then say that the SLS doesn't have anything to do.

This Moon 2024 plan was announced less than one month ago. The SLS was created by Congress over 8 years ago. And NASA wasn't even sure they needed the SLS for going back to the Moon (and really doesn't). It shouldn't take 8 years to find a use for the most expensive transportation system in the world... ::)

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The last time the US taxpayer was pitched a system to reduce cost to access to space, we ended up with the Shuttle program. The performance of such never reached the idealistic projections, and we probably would've been batter sticking with the Saturn family in the long-run.

The problem with the Shuttle was not that we tried, it was that we didn't learn. Specifically we didn't evaluate the system to see if it was meeting it's goals, and then adjust accordingly. But now that the Shuttle program is over we do know what lessons we should have learned, and the SLS is an example of ignoring all of those lessons.

And despite all of that, you think we should still use it? Boy, you really don't care about taxpayer value.

Quote
Now I have no issue with companies like SpaceX pursuing such a strategy under the assumption that they can "do it right," but I remain skeptical that there's actually much of a cost-advantage in doing so. Without access to SpaceX's financials, it remains to be seen what financial benefit Falcon re-usability has or hasn't provided in regards to their launch costs, and at what launch cadence the "tipping point" for re-usability exists.

Many have already done the math themselves, and if you're not able to then so be it. Elon Musk does not need you to believe in reusability.

But I already pointed you to ULA's study showing that using ANY commercial rocket enables us to return to our Moon in a much more affordable way - A Commercially Based Lunar Architecture.

And even though I am a SpaceX supporter, I know that the best way to expand humanity out into space is to have MORE commercial launch providers, not less. Redundancy is the key to reducing costs through competition.

Quote
I'd rather not predicate the whole manned spaceflight program on the "re-usability" holy grail again. Not until there's conclusive proof that such an approach is superior. If SpaceX builds their BFR and shows that? More power to the; let's toss the SLS. But that hasn't happened yet.

This is a straw-man argument, because the alternative is a commercial-based exploration effort - reusability is not a requirement. And a commercial-based approach is a great way to involve our international partners, since many have commercial launchers too.
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 Diagoras

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #293 on: 04/18/2019 08:02 pm »
Quote
pomo thought is a common  strategy underpinning the seemingly continual inability of NASA to perform per its charter

I've seen a lot of things blamed for NASA's post-Apollo troubles, but this is the first time that I've seen Foucault accused of playing a part!
"Itís the typical binary world of 'NASA is great' or 'cancel the space program,' with no nuance or understanding of the underlying issues and pathologies of the space industrial complex."

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #294 on: 04/18/2019 08:26 pm »
The only reuse long pole at this moment is a refuel-able lander... It's not exotic technology, just build the dam thing already...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline Lar

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #295 on: 04/18/2019 08:36 pm »
Quote
pomo thought is a common  strategy underpinning the seemingly continual inability of NASA to perform per its charter

I've seen a lot of things blamed for NASA's post-Apollo troubles, but this is the first time that I've seen Foucault accused of playing a part!
Please fix your quotes so that the link to the post works correctly. (contrast my quote of your post with your quote of JohnFornaro's post)

Also I don't think John F is pinning anythying on Focault... read the entire quote instead of just what you snipped. If you were trying to be funny, maybe you wanted the party thread?
« Last Edit: 04/18/2019 08:38 pm by Lar »
"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 JohnFornaro

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #296 on: Today at 01:22 am »
... maybe you wanted the party thread?

Wait what?  We haven't gotten back to the Moon yet.  There's a party thread already?  Dang.
« Last Edit: Today at 01:23 am by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online FinalFrontier

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #297 on: Today at 02:32 am »
Going to disagree in the strongest possible terms that ISS is a "jobs program".
We want to create a sustained presence on at least one if not multiple other planetary bodies, yet the suggestion here is we should [have done] a program to do that WITHOUT having even created any sort of permanently manned off planet habitat in LEO, the easiest place.
ISS is at worst a test bed for learning what not to do and what doesn't work, at worst and that's a very very cynical view that doesn't jive well with what it's taught us. IMHO it's an absolutely essential and necessary step for the next thing which we couldn't do without it. Only real problem is it took way too long to build and fly it, and it is only relatively recently we have started gaining the benefits from it despite pieces of it being on orbit since the 90s.

With that said ISS is not useful forever, but with that said that point is still a few years away.


All this aside more to the topic at hand, aftermath of the Mueller report is looking very positive for POTUS politically. The election now is back in the realm of reasonable chances for this white house getting another four. In so far as that concerns this, it means this crazy publicity stunt of a plan may actually persist beyond next year.
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #298 on: Today at 12:16 pm »
Going to disagree in the strongest possible terms that ISS is a "jobs program".

I PagedUp a few pages, and didn't find this assertion.  It is certain, however, that the folks on ISS have "jobs", and they wake up every morning and go to work and they also get paychecks.  On a very small scale, ISS is a cis-lunar economy, but it is mostly an official test bed, as you point out.

As to the Mueller report easing the political pressure on Trump, possibly making a return to the Moon more likely to come about:  In  a more sane world, there would be more political agreement about NASA's work, which has traditionally been supported in a bi-partisan fashion.
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Online AnalogMan

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Re: Trump Admin. Return-to-Moon Efforts & Shake-ups
« Reply #299 on: Today at 01:50 pm »
Going to disagree in the strongest possible terms that ISS is a "jobs program".

I PagedUp a few pages, and didn't find this assertion.  It is certain, however, that the folks on ISS have "jobs", and they wake up every morning and go to work and they also get paychecks. [...]

Here you go, here is the assertion (my bolding):

[... ]
While it is disappointing that the US did not immediately replace the shuttle in the days after the 1986 accident, when the entire country would have funded an improved replacement, at least the shuttle did finish building the ISS.  And what of it?  They go to work every morning, and then relax and watch football games between Rice and Texas in the evening.  Like their counterparts on Earth.  ISS is a jobs program.
[...]
« Last Edit: Today at 01:51 pm by AnalogMan »

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