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Author Topic: Moon return plan 'is dead'  (Read 29521 times)
Moonwalker
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« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2010, 11:19:44 PM »

SpaceX Falcon 1 reaching earth orbit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGHWheEM-ww

« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 11:22:26 PM by Moonwalker » Logged
Nicholas
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« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2010, 01:24:24 AM »

If the Obama 2011 budget passed by congress, the Augustine Committee's report may provide some answers about the near-future:

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf
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bjbeard
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« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2010, 10:12:40 PM »

Well, after Lockheed dropped the balls on the F-35 and Orion, I knew that Constellation was in trouble. I think something has been missing form all these debates, so I am going to shove my two cents in here.

Mercury and Gemini were built by Douglas. Apollo was built by North American. Rockwell built the Space Shuttle. All are now a part of Boeing. Yet during the original contractor bid process for Orion, then known as the CEV, Boeing lost the competition. The only contractor that had ever built manned spacecraft, with the exception of Grumman the LM builder, was out. Lockheed had never built a manned spacecraft. Did they ask Boeing for any assistance? Of course not. So in 2006 Lockheed got $3.9 billion and went though that like poop through a goose. There are no figurs that I can find on just how far over budget Orion got, but I would think it is safe to say that $5bn is not a stretch.

Constellation was doomed when NASA chose Lockheed-Martin. Lockheed has a track record of milking as much cash as it can. Don't think that is the case? Look at the U-2. That program has cost more than the entire B-52 program including the modifications. And only about 40 aircraft have been constructed.

There was a similar argumant in the mid-60's when NAA was tapped to build the Apollo CM. Everyone here instinctively knows you dont throw your history away, but it has been done twice in the US space program. Now it has cost us our entire manned program.

I can put into words the rage and anger I have toward this administration and it handling of the space program, as well as other issues. This is just the latest in a long line of failures for Obama. When his one year anniversary approached, everyone in the US was asking "How has he done?" A much better and telling question would be "What has he done?"

The answer?

EPIC FAILURE
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schmidtrock
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« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2010, 03:33:03 AM »

I DESPISE Lockheed-Martin. 
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Moonwalker
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« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2010, 04:24:00 AM »

It's not only Lockheed. Above all it's mismanagement within NASA, and the political decision to go on a non-innovative program for returning to the Moon to set a few footprints again. None of it, neither Apollo, nor Constellation, was long-term programs (at least not the Ares and Orion part of Constellation).

We also do not need the Moon if we want to go beyond LEO, i.e. to Mars for example, like some people tend to think. We already have a great platform for long-term studies: the ISS (and we already have been to the Moon 4 decades ago by the way). What we need is what we get for the first time: competition and commercialization, which will result in new and cheaper technology. Those big bloated governmental programs are not very useful in the long-term. The future will be about international partnership and innovation. Anything else always is doomed to fail sooner or later without following innovation like Apollo, the Shuttle, Buran. It's all dead-end whilst Apollo just had the most glamorous leaving. The most significant and important thing we ever had in relation to future manned space exploration was Skylab, Mir and today ISS. What we need now and finally is new technologies to enable us to travel faster and further. Liquid propulsion won't make it to Mars manned annyway...
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 04:29:09 AM by Moonwalker » Logged
Admin
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« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2010, 10:30:39 PM »

Moonwalker, your last post disappointed me because it ignores a few critical facts.

I understand that you "kind-of" support the new "vision" and that's legitimate and I have no problem with that, but you shouldn't shape and ridiculize facts to fit your point of view - not to this extent anyway.

The "Back to Moon" programn was NOT about "glamor". It was not even about building a bigger rocket than the "competition".

It was all about building a long-term habitat on the Moon and learn how to "live off the land" for an extended period - if that is possible at all. ISS is a long way from being suitable for that kind of research.

Can you grasp the ramifications and benefits of that kind of program?

Moon was a necessary stepping stone towards landing the first human on Mars, but since Mars meant a long trip and an even longer wait until return was possible, that meant that living there for a long duration needed the results of the Moon Base research.

So basically, opinion is opinion but stick to the facts.

/Admin

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Moonwalker
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« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2010, 11:27:18 PM »

Constellation wasn't called "Apollo on Steorids" from the beginning just because. The glamor of that program was the words "Moon, Mars and beyond", because almost everybody knew there was never any funding for those verbal intentions, but just hopes that bugdet would come in "one day". There was no funding for the Ares V from the beginning, and no funding for a lander and not for a lunar base less than ever. Instead, they claimed that the design of the Ares launchers and Orion would allow to return to the Moon "in the most cost-effective manner". But together with the Ares 1 cost, mass and vibration level issues, that program suffered public criticism and scepticism like no other program before. I could not see why for a long period of time because I was, just like a lot of people, dazzled by the promises of Griffin and Constellation managers who claimed that everything is just fine and business as usual, although almost everywhere you could read it was not (and by far not only on nasaspaceflight.com). On other forums I visit as well you could read, 2 years ago already, that Constellation is going to die because it has no innovation and no serious concepts beside footprints on lunar soil and eating up budget. I thought that this is just opinions and nonsense. But in fact it turned out to be mostly smart estimates by people inside the business but also outside the business.

Moon, Mars and beyond was set by the Bush admin. It was a political agenda as a result of STS-107. It was and still is rather contorversal whether we need to land on the Moon or not. It's no fact at all that we need to land there in order to fly to Mars. Now, even NASA itself says that instead we need faster propulsion and new technologies to get to Mars quick, but to land on near earth asteroids as well. Most importantly, we have the ISS in orbit and it will be there for "at least" another 10 years. Nobody intents to start a serious Moon project. And this is based on the realization that we need innovation and new and cheap technologies first, in order to get to Mars rather than to do a few footprints on lunar soil for some hundred billions of tax dollars.

If it would just be my opinion that Constellation was dead-end brick, it would not have been canceled and NASA would not going to be restructured now. There is way more than just opinions in it Wink
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« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2010, 06:21:50 AM »

No, it's not just your opinion, just like mine is not only mine. And of course, this fact doesn't even say that you are right. You are part of one side of the story just like I and others are part of the other side. Writing long posts on the subject doesn't manage to change this fact.

/Admin
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Moonwalker
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« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2010, 09:05:32 AM »

No, it's not just your opinion, just like mine is not only mine. And of course, this fact doesn't even say that you are right. You are part of one side of the story just like I and others are part of the other side. Writing long posts on the subject doesn't manage to change this fact.

Of course we all have different opinions on that topic (and yes, I write long posts  Tongue). But we can not change the fact that Ares development has been canceled due to massive over-budget caused by development issues, which made the program unreasonable because NASA would have gone exactly nowhere beside into LEO. This is not an opinion. This is, sadly, facts based on over-budget and results of the Augustine Commissions research. But of course it is still opinions whether the commercial path would work better or not. But it's fact that there are signs it likely would work better which is why NASA, i.e. the government is going to decide for that path.

I'm aware that the current events do hurt to those who expected a great outcome of the Constellation program (which I did as well). But it's not me who is responsible for those decisions Wink
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schmidtrock
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Hiatus over, to the stars!!


« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2010, 11:49:20 AM »

So, how about them Space Shuttles?? Cheesy
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bjbeard
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« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2010, 10:31:30 PM »

May not be possible. Michoud has already sent all the ET production tooling to the desert. That and a few boutique manufacturers that are no longer in business have provided the final nail in the coffin for STS. Admin and Moonwalker both make great point on the failure of Constellation, but the program is not 'dead' yet. The PROPOSED budget is already under fire, as it was written by the Obama administration. Those people really though that the Obamacare plans would have gone though, but they didn't. Sen Ted Kennedy's seat went to a republican, and that screwed the budget. The Obama Administration was so blind to the realities of the American people they failed to take into account even the possibility of that happening!
Now we have a massive debate coming in the sub-committees over this budget. There is a really good chance it may got to Ye 'Ole Circular File. That happens you can bet your house cat that Constellation will be back on. That program carries over 400 thousand jobs in Alabama alone and that kind of cancellation is just the thing that could tip off the massive collapse of the stock market everyone is worried about.

Seriously, is the US going to write off $9bn???
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Moonwalker
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« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2010, 01:06:56 AM »

Seriously, is the US going to write off $9bn???

They have to, if they don't want to make the whole situation worse.

The Ares program is definitely doomed, and not just since the announcement. Ares 1 would have costed up to at least 40 billion dollars until 2015, whilst not being able to launch any human into LEO at that date. 40 billion dollars is more than just over-budget. That's a massive cost overrun combined with the serious development issues we all know about (or should know about). It's money that NASA does not have and does not get. And most importantly: there is no Ares V, no lunar lander, nothing else. The program has reached a financial, technological and therefore temporal deadlock. The Augsutine Report has taken place way too late to change the situation, but it has just happened at the right time to prevent the situation from becomming really worse and much more painful than it already is.

There are two ciritcal things: the President is not willing to support the Ares program, for valid reasons which are actually fiscal facts. And, the sconed one: NASA is not able to innovate cost effectively. In fact, NASA never was. There will be debates for sure. But only due to political reason -> just to bid for votes by pretending to keep jobs. The Ares launchers won't be back again by a 100%. Maybe a different path, like DIRECT. That would be great. But, there has to be money for all this. Money that won't be there due to the fiscal hole, the global economics situation, the health care reform, the educational system reforms, etc. Bad, really bad times for announcing and funding big space flight programs. Just speculation, but I still risk to mention this here: the commercial concept and NASAs restructuring is the most likely option to happen...
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bjbeard
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« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2010, 09:37:16 AM »

40Bn US?

What fantasy planet are you living on?


At most 14BN US could be spent on Orion. Do Some research and basic math and you will find the "Scotty factor"

It is overage by x4!

Look at US spaceflight history.

Anyway, Sen. Bill Nelson is holding the line.
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4merly known as blazingstang
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Moonwalker
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« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2010, 02:03:24 PM »

40Bn US?

What fantasy planet are you living on?


At most 14BN US could be spent on Orion. Do Some research and basic math and you will find the "Scotty factor"

It is overage by x4!

You seem to be fairly misinformed about NASAs budget on human space flight. You do not have to calculate yourself any fictive numbers. Fiscal experts inside and outside NASA have done this already on a firm knowledge base and on current Constellation numbers and facts.

In 2006 the Ares 1 development was proposed to cost 28 billion USD through 2015, which had been risen to more than 40 billion USD in 2009 (to be more precisely: to roughly 49 billion USD). The money already spend is 9 billion USD only for first stage development. There is no second stage hardware, no Orion hardware and no launch escape system hardware (just mockups). Not to mention the small Ares V wind tunnel model, which is the only Ares V hardware that will ever exist. Constellation was underfunded anyway, and additionally went over-budget.

To achive the goals of Constellation from 2010 to 2020, 145 billion USD would have been required all in all, which does not include an ISS extension to 2020. If Constellation would have been accompanied by an ISS extension to 2020, 159 billion USD would have been required for that period of manned space flight.

You may want to read the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight by the Augustine Commission:

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf

Look at US spaceflight history.

Which would have been my next point anyway:

The Apollo program costs through 1972, including the 6 manned moon landings, was about 25 billion 1969 USD which is about 145 billion 2008 USD. Not included in this costs is the entire program costs i.e. all Saturn 1b and V launches and missions including Skylab and the ASTP (Apollo Soyuz Test Project).

To reduce those enormous costs for manned space flight, NASA and the congress intended to build a reusable space plane that would be "profitable". That was the birth of the Space Transportation System in 1972 (the votes for the Shuttle took place when John Young was on the Moon with Apollo 16). The Shuttle was believed to fly about 600 times until the year 2000 and being cost-efficient (some studies implied the Shuttle could even fly more often). But just like Apollo, STS turned out to be a budget eater as well.

Just like the Shuttle initially, Constellation also was believed to be cost-efficient. But once again in NASAs history, instead it suffered from an extreme over-budget. 145 billion USD from 2010 to 2020 without ISS extension to 2020, that's more than the Apollo budget through 1972. Nothing has changed. NASA is not able to do cost-efficient manned space flight. That's exactly why commercial space flight will be on the table for the first time.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 02:13:40 PM by Moonwalker » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2010, 12:47:03 PM »

....But we can not change the fact that Ares development has been canceled due to massive over-budget caused by development issues, which made the program unreasonable because NASA would have gone exactly nowhere beside into LEO. This is not an opinion. This is, sadly, facts based on over-budget and results of the Augustine Commissions research. ....

And so they say... the development issues which generated the over-budget are unquestionable facts, but that's ALWAYS been an issue of Space Exploration or any "extreme" frontier Exploration for that matter. And I don't remember that budget issues have been EVER been an "issue" with matters related to keeping the US at the head of the pack - politically and technologically (in whichever order you prefer).

As to THIS being THE reason, allow me to take it with a pinch of salt - with all due respect to the Augustine Commission. My information says something a "bit" different, and as time comes, truth will come out of this dramatic move on NASA. And you may be surprised by some of Administrator C. Bolton's future moves too.

/Admin
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