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Main Article: American Astronaut STOMPS on Space Plan! Are Obama's spaceplans in jeopardy?

Take Poll: The last in the five part Progressive Democrats "Americans in Space" polls. See the results of yesterdays poll below and the stunning upset results on Moon and Mars base plans.

Star Trek: In the News.

In a recent press release the Planetary Society unveiled it's Roadmap to Space "*Achieve More...Spend Less...Engage the World!*"

The new plan was not greeted with welcome arms from every member of the space community. One person in particular was Harrison H. Schmitt, who sent a letter of resignation to the Planetary Society because "they seem to have gone back to being more political than rational. I want humankind on Mars more than most, but I, at least, feel obligated to look at this goal rationally."

Harrison Schmitt is best rememebered for not only being a NASA Astronaut and for walking on the Moon but was also the only geologist for NASA. Schmitt has long abvocated a return to the moon.

The letter has been making the rounds in the space community and here is some selected highlights:

  1. Many concepts that will be required for operations on Mars need testing in a real-world deep space environment before committing to using those concepts in Mars exploration, including autonomous crew operations during entry, decent, landing and real-time exploration without communications support from Earth.
  1. We need a heavy lift launch infrastructure that can support the assembly of large interplanetary spacecraft in Earth orbit, and the requirements to return to the Moon support the development of that infrastructure.
  1. We need to develop an interplanetary propulsion system that allows continuous acceleration and deceleration so the travel time to Mars can be cut significantly. That also constitutes a program of uncertain duration and cost.

Would I like to see a Moon Base? Yes. I have read most of the arguements on both sides and I know NASA has a list of over 800 objectives they and the International Community could pursue togethe on the moon. In my opinion America needs a heavy lift option and have long advocated it and new propulsion systems.  

How will all of this weigh in with President-Elect Obama's Space Plans? Still no word on his administrations picks yet and rumors abound.

The following is my reasoning for starting to lean the other way on the Moon Base issue.

Here is a classic "chicken and the egg senerio"

Car Maker: "There isn't any hydrogen Gas pumps, therefore I won't build any hydrogen cars."
Fuel Station: "There isn't any hydrogen cars, therefore I won't build any hydrogen gas pumps."

My thinking is starting to lean towards:
First design "the car" and the "gas station" and then we can start taking "road trips".

5 earth langrange points, 5 Luna langrange points, 5 mars lagrange points, 5 venus langrange points.

Fly by missions to Luna, Mars, Phobos, Dimos, Venus, Asteroids: Atens, Apollos, Amors.
Orbital missions to Luna, Mars, Phobos, Dimos, Venus, Asteroids: Atens, Apollos, Amors.
fly by Possible Trojon asteroids around earth, mars, venus.

First "road trip" Maximum Capability range - 1 million miles. Start with Earth - Moon Largrange point. (EMLP), then Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) and last to Earth - Sun Lagrange Point 1.

System creates a model for building a routine Refueling and quick turn around time operation.

If not a highyway it is at least the trail. There are over 36 Fly to Point ( FTP) mission and types that can be run, and the associated science
without having to initially design or develope any landing, base infrastructure or rover habitat capability, and the fuel needed for moving more mass.

The FTP Vehicle acts as a mini space station both in flight and when in earth orbit.

Other then the depot itself, in LEO, Your resources are not committed or bogged down in any one spot at the detriment of all other Fly to Points.

From a orbiting FTP Vehicle you increase your capability of running surface landers, rovers, science stations from any orbital target you choose.

Nanosats, microsats probes could be launched from a FTP vehicle on all orbital targets of opportunity. Sample return landers could be dropped down to asteroid targets as well.

There is a lot of science that can be conducted before committing to a 20 year money pit.

We can see a lot or real estate on road trips, plus toss nano-sensor-sats out the window and start doing sweeps of areas and specific targets.

First "Space Gas" should be the one that offers best boil off rates and storage-transfer capabilities.

Poll Results for the Progressive Democrat's fifth and final poll in the "Americans in Space" series are out. The BIG SURPRISE WINNER? LEO Fuel Depot and FTP Vehicle (38%). Bases led in the polling all week but lost out yesterday.


The total votes for a Mars Landing (8%) or Mars Base (16%) combined wasn't enough to override the vote for a Moon Base (35%). For the final poll in this series and for the week the will be two choices: Moon Base or LEO Fuel Depot & FTP Vehicle. If the choice was between only those two pick one or the other. If you still believe Mars is the true driver and will never alter your stance on this I have added a pick for you. Also I recieved a comment about no "opt out" option. I included that also if you want overall space funding reduced.

Poll #1 Mars Base 34%
Poll #2 Moon Base 30%
Poll #3 Moon Base 40%
Poll #4 LEO Fuel Depot and FTP vehicle (38%)

Interesting comments:

Yesterday Bill White made the comment: "use Mond Process (carbonyl digestion) on those intact Ni-Fe fragments and we can vapor deposit pure nickel and make really cool stuff right there on the Moon."

Being naturally curious, and at the risk of looking foolish, I asked about the Mond process in the context of lower gravity on the moon. White explained it shouldn't matter, here is a link with some basic information about it. Mond Process

Bill also wrote an interesting article"Why NASA matters -- even if it doesn't", He makes a strong arguement for DIRECT 2.0.

You may remember Ferris Valyn and I discussed HLV's (heavy launch vehicle) for a bit and a brief comparison between ARES V and DIRECT 2.0 was later posted.

 Ferris wrote another great article, Obama Space - The Space People Pt 1 you should read it to inform yourself on uncoming decisions related to space policy. When exploring a possible Lori Garver appointment as NASA Adminstrator he wrote:

"In my July diary, I mentioned Lori as a possible candidate.  Since then, I've read on both NASAwatch and Transterrestrial Musings that she is not interested in the job, and I've also heard it from a 3rd source.  That said, I would not at all be surprised to see her play some other role.  While I think it's unlikely that she would want NASC chair, I wouldn't rule it out, although I think it's more likely she would be Deputy Administrator of NASA.  Nevertheless, expect her to have some role in helping Obama to develop his space policy."


It is my hope that a real BULLDOG is appointed to chair the NASC.

Rand Simburg and I had a brief exchange about the recent Morris departure as the Director of Space Commercialization on Jeff Foust's Space Politics.
Rand is one of those guys that can annoy the hell out of me one day, and make me understand and see with perfect clarity the next. So I do respect his opinion. Especially his comment about the Bush Administration and how long it took to fill the position:  "it took them five years. Let’s hope that Obama is quicker." I agree quite strongly.

If President Obama is going to try and make a splash for the history books, how will he do it? Will old space or new space lead the way? The emerging market seems to be Google, XPrize, SpaceX, Bigelow, Virgin, Armadillo, and Odyssey Moon. In a surprise move Space Dev recently was bought out and is no longer a publically owned company but is now in private hands.
The parent company does a lot of military work so I am assuming the military is going to get it's "dream chaser" suborbital space plane and base it in Kenya.

STAR TREK: In the News.

T'Bonz fromTrek Today reported: "While waiting for the release of Star Trek XI, don't forget to check in on the various fan-produced films and projects. As reported by Star Trek: Phase II, one of the things that can happen in a fan-produced production is that an actor will become unavailable, necessitating a search for a replacement."

Originally posted to Vladislaw on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 11:32 AM PST.



Americans in Space - Poll # 5

30%17 votes
26%15 votes
14%8 votes
28%16 votes

| 56 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  The old "science v. exploration" piefight (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill White, FerrisValyn, Vladislaw


    Personally, I'm on the "space economy can only aid space science" point of view.

    •  Given the growing budget deficits faced by (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      axel000, Vladislaw

      governments all around the world, a space economy may be the only way space science even has a chance to get done.

      Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

      by Bill White on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 12:29:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      If you can not even take your car out of the garage and gas up, what's the point?
      Space tourism HAS to be based on a commercial
      "GAS AND GO" system.
      The sooner we get going on building the space car and gas station, the sooner we can to road trips in space.
      It is like car camping. Later on you hitch up the boat and take that along. It is the same in space, design a vehicle with the "space hitch" to bring a landing system later on.

      If we can't even CONSISTANTLY and reliably take "gas and go" road trips, how can we bring a boat (landing craft) and the camper (base habitat) along.

      First things first, space gas station and FTP Vehicle. Let's start taking a spacecar for a spin around the local neighborhood.

  •  Funding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohcanada, Vladislaw

    The best use for our military industrial complex, I think, is the space program. I think our goal by the end of the century should be to establish a self-sustaining colony on Mars.

    What we do all comes down to funding priorities.

    Maybe if the U.S. cut the defense budget for weaponry and hardware and use half of that money for social programs and the other half for human-based space program. The space program could be a boon to education, research, and jobs here in the U.S.

  •  Anything Schmitt Says Should Be Ignored (0+ / 0-)

    He's the worst sort of wingnut.

    What else ya got??

    •  Here is is somewhat right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the proposal from the Planetary society should be examined with a very critical eye.  from my perspective, I have not been impressed with what they propose - for example, there suggestion of making the major long term goal humans on mars.  As much as I want to see humans on mars (and, since I've been to Mars Society conversions, including the founding, and my member number is quite low) the idea that the primary purpose is getting humans to mars is incredibly short-sighted.  The goal should be a spacefaring society, and the drive for technology should focus on that.  Further, retaining the current Constellation program as is does not lend itself easily to a sustainable plan.  Finally, it makes no mention of developing the commerical sector, which is necassary to really open up space to large scale exploration and exploitation.  

  •  To the People In the Poll Answering (5+ / 0-)

    "Screw space spending, let's focus on Earth", I want you to look at this link and see all of the Earth-based technologies and helpful, lifesaving applications that have come from space travel and exploration.

    A very, very abridged version of the list:


    And there's a lot more where that came from.  

    That's because great achievement has no road map; and the X-Ray is pretty good, and so is penicillin, and neither were discovered with a practical objective in mind; and when the electron was discovered in 1897, it was useless; and now was have an entire world run by electronics. Hayden and Mozart never studied the classics. They couldn't. They invented them.

    "The West Wing"

    You can have your "Under God" back when I get my "Liberty and Justice For All" back.

    by karateexplosions on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 11:41:51 AM PST

  •  Space should be an international effort (0+ / 0-)

    It is just silly for nation-states to launch seperate missions.

    Once they leave the atmosphere, spaceships are filled with "human beings" representing Planet Earth.

    "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

    by greendem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 11:55:36 AM PST

    •  Up to a point, your right (0+ / 0-)

      however, even within nation-states, we break ourselves up into different groups (some legit, like doctors vs engineers) some not so much (Packers fans vs Bears fans).  

      What we need is an international and commerical push that is aimed towards becoming a spacefaring society.

  •  I think (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FerrisValyn, Vladislaw

    we should be doing all 3 at the same time.

    We should be able to start building the FTP vehicle and fuel depot at the same time we are sending materials to both the Moon and Mars. Then, when the ftp vehicle is ready we can start running groups to the Moon and Mars to build the initial stations for people to stay in.

    We would probably need to build the Moon base first, after the ftp vehicle, while we continue sending materials to Mars. Since Mars is so far away, we probably would want to have a lot more stuff there before we send people. Just in case they need to stay there for an extended period. I think we would have a better chance of getting to a group on the moon quickly, if there is a problem.

    It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. Voltaire

    by KatGirl on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 12:27:09 PM PST

    •  I would prefer ... (0+ / 0-)

      That while we focus on in space refueling and a vehicle to take advantage of it. NASA work in the back ground on:
      Landing systems:
       Lunar, Mars, Asteroid.
      In situ resource systems, Lunar, Phobos, Mars,
      Power systems for Habitats Lunar, Mars
      Rovers: open and closed habitat.

      Once refueling is proven it should be open to commercial tourism vehicles.

  •  The key is to find funding sources for space (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    exploration that are taxpayer sourced. IMHO.

    How? Eh, I am thinking about that. ;-)

    Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

    by Bill White on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 12:28:20 PM PST

  •  2 things (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1.  I find it a little depressing the current vote totals - Screw space has 40%.  I find that depressing.
    1.  NPR talked about space and Obama yesterday  No mention of commerical space, which also rather depressing.
  •  Years ago I used to argue incessantly with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rand Simberg. About a year ago I posted comments predicting Barack Hussein Obama would be our next President.

    He said I was delusional. Heh!

    He and I agree about 1/3 of the time and when we agree it is strong agreement.

    The other 2/3rds? It's like we aren't even living in the same universe.

    Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

    by Bill White on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 12:32:56 PM PST

  •  Moon base + continued research on ISS (0+ / 0-)

    and robotic probes to Mars.

    Government for the people, by the people

    by axel000 on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 01:36:04 PM PST

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