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MAIN ARTICLE: Obama to order full review of NASA's Ares I, Orion plans.

Page 2: Return to the Moon: Outpost or sorties?

Poll Results: The poll yesterday had a bit lower then average turnout but DKOS members said no to spoilers.

Star Trek: In the News. Residents of Vulcan get private Star Trek screening.

Yesterday's Comments: "So comets are more than just dirty snowballs. Interesting. Also, if you're going to do a Tip of the Hat, you should really have a corresponding Wag of the Finger." - droogie6655321

Today's Poll: America is returning to Luna. Sorties or Outpost?


In a poll conducted on Dec 22, 2008, 'Americans in Space' asked the following question:

Take another look at the Vision for Space Exploration & Constellation.

58% Yes, better to know now before we really start spending.  
10% No, The plans are set, contracts have been awarded, Moon or Bust.

Well DKOS members once again called it right. Last week it was rumored that a review was going to happen, then it came out that it was not the case there wasn't going to be a review and today the Orlando Sentinel says the Obama Administration is going ahead with a review of the lunar architecture.

PhotobucketObama plans to order full review of NASA's Ares I, Orion plans

"WASHINGTON -- In a major turnaround, the Obama administration intends this week to order a review of the spacecraft program that NASA had hoped would one day replace the space shuttle, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

According to several administration officials and industry insiders, the review would examine whether the Ares I rocket and Orion capsule are the best option to send astronauts into orbit by 2015. It could start as soon as this month and be finished by early fall, depending on how soon a panel of experts can be assembled.

The decision follows months of critical reports that have questioned whether Ares and Orion can overcome major financial and technical hurdles that threaten to delay a scheduled 2015 launch to the international space station and even a return to the moon by 2020.

The outcome is critical for Kennedy Space Center, which is looking at as many as 10,000 job losses if the shuttle is retired in 2010. Right now, there's a five-year gap until the first Ares launch; proponents of different rocket designs say they could be launched sooner and save many jobs."
--end quote--



The battle is waging on whether the United States returns to the moon for short seven day "sorties", a sort of flags and footprints on steriods, versus returning to Luna to stay.

PhotobucketReturn to the Moon: Outpost or sorties?

"Recently, the acting Administrator of NASA testified before Congress on his agency’s implementation of our National Space Policy, previously known as the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE).  In the question and answer period, he made a rather startling statement to the effect NASA was still trying to understand what "lunar return" means - that an outpost would be "expensive" and that lunar return might instead entail a series of smaller scale sortie missions, similar to the later Apollo expeditions of the early 1970’s.  He added that people should remember that the "original purpose" of the VSE was to prepare to go to Mars and other destinations.

I found this exchange fascinating because it suggests that NASA, as an executing entity, still doesn’t fully understand the nature of their mission to the Moon and to the extent that it is understood, they have transformed it into something very different from what the VSE actually said and what was intended.

To begin with, what did the Vision actually say about lunar return?  The Vision consisted of both documents and speeches (all linked on this page) that included the following points:

  1. The purpose of the VSE is to serve national scientific, security and economic interests.
  1. The Moon is a source of material and energy resources that we can access and use to create new spacefaring capability.
  1. We return to the Moon to explore it scientifically, to learn how to live and work on another world and how to extract and use lunar resources.
  1. This experience on the Moon will allow us to journey beyond the Earth-Moon system, first to Mars and then to other destinations.
  1. We undertake this journey with small, incremental, cumulative steps, all designed to fit under NASA’s current budgetary envelope."--end quote--


Yesterday's poll: "Will you read the reviews of the new Star Trek before going to see it?", was an interesting survey and movie fans said no to reviews about the new Star Trek movie.

22% No! It'll spoil the movie for me.
38% I'll try not to, but I'm sure to catch a few.  
10% Absolutely! I'll read everything at Rotten Tomatoes and everywhere  else!
14% I do not watch Star Trek Movies.... EVER.  
14% No Opinion.  


Residents of Vulcan get private Star Trek screening

"CALGARY, Canada (AP) -- About 300 Vulcans are beaming up to Calgary for a sneak peek at the newest Star Trek movie Wednesday.

The residents of the southern Alberta town of Vulcan will see the film two days before Friday's worldwide release.

They will also get the chance to meet Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood, who plays Capt. Christopher Pike in the film."
--end quote--


"if comets seeded ingredients for life on Earth then clearly they could do so for other planets in other star systems.  

Wild speculation department: Similar chemistry produces similar biology.  

Earth-like DNA & RNA turn out to be common on Earth-like planets though macro-evolution could vary widely.  

Various other combinations of temperatures, pressures, and chemical composition of atmosphere & surface, would produce radically different types of life, using different mechanisms for information storage & transmission between successive generations.  These probably fall into distinct categories with outer boundaries, and we may find an example or two on the satellites of the outer planets in our own star system.  

After the excitement of discovering a radically different type of single-celled organism elsewhere in our own solar system, our first interstellar probe ends up returning the anticlimactic result that the bacteria and rudimentary plant life on (whatever Earth-like planet we aim for) use the same molecular building-blocks as Earth life.

Eventually (as in, thousands or tens of thousands of years from now) we could be classifying planets according to the category of life found: DNA based, and various others.  

Over that span of time, if we run into another spacefaring species, we might adopt their system of classifying life, or, if they're also relative newbies in the interstellar game, collaborate on developing the science jointly." - G2geek

Rimjob - "Sequel Talks Even before it premiers, Paramount has already been discussing a sequel to J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek.' Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and "Lost" producer Damon Lindelof will return to write the sequel. In an interview, they threw around some ideas of where they might go with it.

One idea they discuss is possibly casting Javier Bardem as Khan.


From TV Squad:

The writers also discussed putting a new spin on classic Trek stories and episodes for the sequel, which I suppose isn't the worst idea. But I don't exactly want to see strict reboots of classic episodes like "Space Seed" or "The City on the Edge of Forever" in the next film. I wouldn't mind references to those stories or events, but I think these guys are talented enough to give us brand new adventures in a new but familiar package.

"Dress up for the premiere? Not my style. I might not even go to the movie and wait for the DVD to come out.

However, I do know people who dress up as movie and TV characters.  The top one on the list, if he were still alive, would probably have attended in costume.  Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of making his acquaintance.  The one I know is much farther down the list.  She and her boyfriend were roommates of mine for a year." - Neon Vincent


Read other NASA and Space diaries on DKOS.

Originally posted to Vladislaw on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:19 AM PDT.


America is returning to Luna. Sorties or Outpost?

10%12 votes
86%96 votes
2%3 votes

| 111 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  TOPIC - Sortie or Outpost. (11+ / 0-)

    Personally, I would prefer we stay out of a gravity well until we have ships, but if we are going, lets goto to stay and bring in as much commercial space development as possible.

    Your thoughts?

    •  What's the best estimate of a mars mission cost? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaFeminista, Vladislaw, antooo, Broken

      It seems to me that a mars mission could be launched right now to great effect.

      And, if the president were to couple a Mars mission with a simultaneous decrease in outlandish military expenditures, we'd get less waste and congress wouldn't be able to say that the president is hurting the economy.

      •  When Bush Sr, did the SEI (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bnasley, Broken

        space exploration initative the numbers floated around were 300 - 400 billion over 15 years, i believe that was the timeframe.

        Apollo cost, in today's dollars 125-135 billion over the course of the entire program.

        I have seen numbers for mars on the cheap for 150 and others that it would be 400-500 billion over 20 years. That is about 20 - 25 billion a year. NASA's current TOTAL budget for everything, earth science, space science, aeronautics, human space flight, is about 20 billion.

        so it would be a chunk of change.

        •  Well with a military budget of $500 billion (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KroneckerD, Vladislaw, Broken

          or more, it seems we should be able to carve out $20 billion in wasteful projects and reallocate them to NASA.

          Part of the reason I think the military budget is a good source is that there's overlap between NASA contractors and the defense industry.

        •  The 300-400 billion figure ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... assummed that we would carry all the stuff we needed for the journey with us.  That includes all of the fuel needed for the return flight, as well as all consumables, including those to be used during the time on the surface of Mars.

          NASA's current manned Mars mission profile is a variant of Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct proposal.
          This envisions first launching an unmanned lander to the Martian surface that has a small nuclear power plant, a compessor and a simple chemistry plant that can take in CO2 from the thin martian air and process it with a liguid hydrogen feed stock (carried along from earth) to produce oxygen, water and fuel (CH4) to be used by a manned crew that will arrive at the site several months later.  The CH4 produced can also be used to fuel the ascent stage of the Martian lander, thus significantly reducing the mass that needs to be landed on the Martian surface.

          The reduction in total mass that would have to be lifted out of the Earths gravity well would be greatly reduced.  The reduction in mass of the Mars lander would also ease some design constraints.  This reduces the cost of the mission dramatically.

          Inherent in the Mars Direct concept is the notion that if you can't live off the land, you cannot build a sustainable colony.

      •  if we're going to spend that kind of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        money, better to spend it on a Solar Power Satellite (SPS) system.

        Explaining why to the voters won't be difficult. Pork (if one's area is receiving it) and jobs are generally popular.

        Doing this will require the construction of an orbital (e.g. a space industrial park) and probably lunar infrastructure that will support space exploration, industrialization, and a whole lot more space research than people have ever seen.

        When it's possible to send a grad student up via commercial space flight to an orbiting research lab, getting grant funding will be easier than it is to pay for a research satellite. And if something goes wrong with any particular experiment, the cost will be the graduate student's labor and maybe some new hardware shipped up via commercial flight from Earth.

        Mars can wait.

        With a working space infrastructure built to support the construction of an SPS network, exploration trips to Mars and the asteroid belt will be a lot cheaper and probably a lot safer.

        It's a lot smarter to pay for something with a practically guaranteed economic return that'll solve humanity's most important problem than it is to pay for a one-shot research mission, particularly if that investment facilitates future space exploration missions.

        The first step is a proof-of-concept powersat and ground rectenna station, and IMO, this is something NASA should make a high priority.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Wed May 06, 2009 at 05:13:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You gotta start somewhere and a few mission of a week or more would be a lot more doable then a full blown outpost.  Ultimately I would like to see a permanent presence on the Moon. But a series of missions to test new technology on the Moon would be of great value.

      Waitress bring me some garlic bread, and a baked potato 'cause its good for my head

      by Borg Warner on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:34:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Conspiracy theories need a boost. (7+ / 0-)

    This time say we are going then just make a CGI film of the landing.

    Admit it

    Then spread a rumour that we really went.


    "Yes, I'm a fucking idealist because without ideals we are lost." LaFeminista 04/25/2009 [-4.88. -6.97]

    by LaFeminista on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:28:52 AM PDT

  •  I've largely avoided ESAS arguments. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, bnasley, Vladislaw

    I never believed that NASA would pull it off in the first place, so all that the review means is that instead of doing less than nothing - i.e., wasting money and going nowhere - we'll just be doing plain old vanilla nothing.  

    "Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

    by Troubadour on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:34:02 AM PDT

  •  What would be the point of sorties? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, Vladislaw, antooo, Broken

    Haven't we already done that?  I know that certain science can be done better with humans than robotic probes and rovers, but how important would this science be relative to the cost - especially on the moon, a place we could be sending all sorts of probes to and to which other countries are now entering in?  i think the purpose of sending humans back to the moon should be to increase our ability to travel to other planets and to harvest the resources there.  Otherwise I just don't see the point.

    Don't falme me, bro!!

    by k00kla on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:36:50 AM PDT

  •  I think the Orion is good but the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, Vladislaw, antooo, Broken

    Ares I is a boondoggle.  There are existing, proven boosters that can be used giving a much shorter time line for a shuttle replacement.

    Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. -Thomas Jefferson-

    by coloradocomet on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:36:55 AM PDT

  •  VSE vs ESAS vs Constellation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vladislaw, antooo, Broken

    the problem is that these things tend to get used without thinking, and they shouldn't be.

    Constellation gets 2 rockets, a lunar lander, a human capsule, and an Earth Departure Stage.  In essence, its kind of like the situation with the shuttle - it get us there, but how much we can actually do with this is open for debate.  The whole point of the original post-Apollo plans was to have a station/shuttle combination, that could be utilized to move us towards a spacefaring society.  

    In a lot of respect, I find VSE indicitive of the Bush administration - it offered lofty goals and visions, but killed itself in the actual execution of it

  •  Jeeze, I'll never sell my house..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jxg, mattinjersey, bnasley

    Just outside of Kennedy Space Center....

    My opinion:  Manned mission to Mars is is stupid expensive and dangerous.  Moon, not nearly so bad, but what exactly is the point?  If I had my druthers, we would be spending most of NASA budget on satellite and ISS studies of the earth, attempting to understand/mitigate the coming climate change disaster along the lines of Al Gore's thinking.

    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    by beemerr90s on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:45:06 AM PDT

    •  The point is to open up the resources of space (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, Magnifico, antooo, Broken

      in part as a mitigation to the issues of climate change, but also to grow our economy, and the like.

      Or do you reject the idea of becoming spacefaring?

      •  I reject the idea that (0+ / 0-)

        it will mitigate the issues of climate change.

        I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

        by beemerr90s on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:52:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vladislaw, antooo

          Space based solar power should be as much, if not more, under consideration when it comes to clean energy as any other alternative energy.  

          Additionally, product development and construction that takes place off earth reduces the likelyhood of damage on the earth.

          So, again, why reject it?

          •  I don't believe space-based solar is better (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bnasley, Vladislaw

            than land-based solar and other alternatives.  I also don't believe that off-earth construction is likely to make a significant effect in diminishing damage to the earth.

            I know you feel differently, but I'm not convinced, nor even close to it.

            I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

            by beemerr90s on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:07:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  2 Question (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              1 - How do you see us meeting the energy needs of the comming centurary?

              2 - you didn't mention the potential economic growth offered by becoming spacefaring - again, your thoughts on that, including things like the Futron study with regards to space tourism, and zero-g manufacturing?

              •  Did you read the lastest at space review on (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                space based solar power and the energy needs of the 21st century?

                Pretty chilling stuff, the numbers he was using.

              •  OK... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                1.  I think we will continue on fossil fuels for way too long, but solar and other alternatives will grow considerably.  Unfortunately, nuclear will also have to grow substantially, and we will not have all the energy we would like to have.
                1.  I think very little of space tourism and Futron.  I think it's largely pie-in-the-sky and unrealistic.  I do have substantial hope for zero-G manufacturing.

                I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

                by beemerr90s on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:33:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Vladislaw, Broken

                  I think we will continue on fossil fuels for way too long, but solar and other alternatives will grow considerably.  Unfortunately, nuclear will also have to grow substantially, and we will not have all the energy we would like to have.

                  If thats the case, why not consider SBSP as an alternative to nuclear?  What reason would there be to choose nuclear over SBSP?

                  I think very little of space tourism and Futron.  I think it's largely pie-in-the-sky and unrealistic.  I do have substantial hope for zero-G manufacturing.

                  A couple of things
                  1 - What in particular do you reject of the Futron study?  Or of the fact that Virgin Galactic has already 300 paying passengers?
                  2 - lets not limit it to just tourism, but many of the proposed options for suborbital RLVs (since many of the vehicles can be modifed to do multiple jobs) - what do you think of things like cheaper remote sensing, cheaper sounding rockets, sub-orbital science in general, suborbital burials, and so on?
                  3 - If you are optimistic about zero-g manufacturing, how do you propose to do it without humans?

                •  I wonder when Oville and Wilber were (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  building the Wright Flyer and talked about people could take planes instead of ships and trains if people said that flying, IN THE AIR, was a pipe dream pie in the sky thinking?

                  Wasn't it a noted scientist of the day who said nothing heavier than air would ever fly?


                  •  Perhaps I should slightly modify or clarify (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    my stated position.

                    I am concerned and concentrated on planning primarily for this century.  Some of the things you folks are talking about may well happen, but not anytime soon.  Thirty years from now, we'll see where the science and political situation have brought us, and perhaps I'll have a change of heart, if I'm still alive.  But for now, for the public funding I am willing to consider for the next several decades, my priorities do not include space tourism, space burial, or sending people to Mars.

                    There are technical reasons I do not support space-based solar power production.  Those reasons include environmental concerns, safety concerns, and defensive concerns.  I am not convinced that efficiency of a space-based system is any significant improvement over land-based.  Who will own a space-based system?  The US?  How little would it take to destroy the thing?  How much will it cost to deploy and how long will it take?  Research, I am all for it.  Want to design a space-based system, put up a small prototype to study the possibilities?  I am OK with that.  I am NOT convinced that it is the way to go.

                    I am also not willing to give up on saving the earth, or at least trying.  I would like to see the human race survive in the large part, not saving humanity by saving a few dozen or a few hundred or a few thousand on some other world, unless maybe (and only maybe) we are relatively sure that there is no other possibility.

                    Private corporate space travel?  It will need significant regulation IMHO.  Current space technology is not particularly environmentally friendly, but perhaps that can be overcome.

                    And let me make this clear:  I am not anti-space.  I am an engineer. I have spent my career at Kennedy.  I grew up being thrilled at watching launches on fuzzy, monochrome, analog, non-cable TV.  I also watched one shuttle come down and was in launch control when another disappeared from radar and was scattered before reaching us at Kennedy.  Perhaps I'm raining on your parade because I'm looking shorter term than you are, but there we are.  That's the scope of my more political concerns.

                    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

                    by beemerr90s on Wed May 06, 2009 at 02:43:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  it could be a springboard thought in (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sychotic1, Broken

              evolving the mind to other possiblities on how to protect the planet.

            •  Space based solar would not have (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              erm, space issues.  What I mean is, you don't have to worry about the real estate it is taking up and there are no clouds to worry about.

              I always loved the SimCity version where solar energy is collected in space and "beamed" down to collector facilities.  I am sure this is way oversimplified, but it only proves that someone has sketched out something similar.

              Also, if we ever want to survive our poor choices, we are probably going to have to find another viable planet (or create one) for us in the future.  Not only that, what we learn about balancing ecosystems and why artificial ecosystems collapse will give us invaluable information on our own natural ecosystem.

              There are bagels in the fridge

              by Sychotic1 on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:26:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  BTW, for those wanting to know more about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vladislaw, Broken

          Space Based Solar Power, I suggest the following youtube videos

      •  Third option. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jxg, Vladislaw

        I'm all for us becoming spacefaring, but it's too soon, and we have other -- better -- priorities for our currently-limited space resources and abilities.

        For now, we should put our space $ into asteroid detection & deflection; various unmanned missions; and developing the space elevator. Once we have the space elevator, manned missions will get a whole lot cheaper.

        Yes, I know the space elevator may take a few decades. That is OK with me. Postponing manned spaceflight is not desirable, but it's not a tragedy, either. Postponing asteroid detection & deflection could be a tragedy of astounding proportions.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:22:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The fundemental question related to that is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vladislaw, Broken

          whether a space elevator can be done, and whether it actually gets you the cheap access, or whether there is something better that can be done in the mean time

          •  That's a fair question. Mostly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And like most interesting policy questions, it's fundamentally about deciding what to do when you don't know for sure what's going to happen. There are few guarantees in government, but many probabilities.

            Probably, we'll sooner or later develop a space elevator. Probably, when we do, it will make achieving earth orbit a lot cheaper. Thus, probably, whatever we do pre-elevator -- manned or unmanned -- will consume a lot more resources ($, mostly) than it would if done post-elevator. Thus we should put our current limited resources into (a) hastening the day when we can do everything we want more cheaply (moving the elevator along) and (b) preventing disaster in the meantime (asteroid strike, global warming, etc.).

            whether there is something better that can be done in the mean time

            With respect, this is NOT the right question. Of course manned spaceflight is better than no manned spaceflight. But the right question is, "is manned spaceflight better than the stuff we have to give up to achieve it?" Like Republicans and tax cuts -- of course paying lower taxes is better than paying higher taxes. But the right question is, "are lower taxes better than having a debilitated government and a huge debt for our kids and grandkids?" Almost anything is desirable in the abstract; the interesting policy questions are whether good things are worth what, in the real world, you have to give up to have them.

            On manned flight -- probably, if we wait and play our cards right, we can give up a lot less for it later than we'd have to give up for it now. There are no guarantees, of course, but it's smart to go with the probabilities.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Wed May 06, 2009 at 01:05:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  in foregoing human spaceflight (0+ / 0-)

          would you be open to the intial funding for commercial launch services for human space flight? a priming of the pump?

          You could do that for a lot less than the 40 billion NASA is planning on spending.

          •  Launch services: absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            A lot of the stuff I think we SHOULD be doing requires hoisting stuff into orbit. It's just that launch services are a limited commodity -- limited by $ -- and devoting a lot of launch $ to the air and food and toilets and exercise gizmos and air-conditioners and living quarters, etc. required for human spaceflight means too little launch $ would be left for all the other stuff we could do in space without people.

            When we have the space elevator, launch $ will no longer be much of a limit, for manned or unmanned missions.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:47:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I used to have your opinion... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I've come to realize that all exploration in history has been stupid, expensive, and dangerous.  Colonizing America was.  Settling the West was.  Going to the moon was.

      And going to Mars would inspire young people across the globe in a way they haven't been - and would show to the world America's desire to lead the world in science and exploration.

  •  Vulcan didn't invite Sarah Palin? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vladislaw, blue aardvark, Broken

    Is this discrimination against the Borg?

    "Yes, I'm a fucking idealist because without ideals we are lost." LaFeminista 04/25/2009 [-4.88. -6.97]

    by LaFeminista on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:51:27 AM PDT

  •  Unless we attempt lunar ISRU (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vladislaw, Broken

    in a vigorous fashion, no reason to do more than practice sorties on the Moon. In other words, absent an aggressive ISRU program, starting with lunar LOX extraction, a Moon base would be a waste of time and money.


    That said, NASA very likely has insufficient money to do everything we want and therefore we need money flowing INTO space exploration from foreign nations and private investors.

    As for private investors, I also assert that media, marketing, tourism and those other things Frederick Turner calls "charm industries" shall be the only source of genuine profit in the near to medium term.

    Better NASA procurement policies from non-traditional players would be helpful but is also insufficient to accomplish the needful increase of money flowing into space exploration.

    = = =

    Heh! There is my comprehensive review in four paragraphs!

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:53:17 AM PDT

  •  I hope they do take a hard look at Ares-1 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, Vladislaw, antooo, Broken

    The number of problems that paint shaker imposes on Orion hardware is beyond belief.

    Smiting trolls on the tubes since 1977!

    by blue aardvark on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:55:09 AM PDT

    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, NellaSelim, Vladislaw, Broken
  •  Gap? What effen Gap? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, Vladislaw, Broken

    Jupiter & Orbiter

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 11:57:43 AM PDT

    •  Direct question for you Bill (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joffan, Vladislaw, antooo, Broken

      how does the May 1st situation affect the Direct proposal?

      •  Which May 1st situation? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, Vladislaw, antooo, Broken

        If Michoud destroys the tooling to make the standard diameter ET, then there would be added expense to re-create that tooling. But remember, any Ares V variant is going to need big tanks from Michoud as well.

        The most recent Jupiter is SSME and RL-10 based.

        SSME production lines are currently out of service but P&W Rocketdyne can set those up rather easily.

        RL-10s? EELV uses those already.

        As for the SRBs, until Orbiter stops flying, the 4 segment infrastructure remains intact.

        As far as I can glean, beginning to shut down Orbiter operations will only add modest costs to going DIRECT, for a while to come. Changing a crawler or a VAB bay to accommodate Ares 1 will add a little more expense.  

        But no show stoppers.

        "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

        by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:08:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ross Tierney's latest post on Direct 3.0 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, Vladislaw

        Direct 3.0 will likely be officially released by the end of May -- maybe at ISDC! I am very happy I've scheduled myself to be there. But in plenty of time for this comprehensive review.

        Anyway, here is what Ross just now posted:

        Quote from: gladiator1332 on Today at 07:00 PM

           Will Direct 3.0 include the plans to use EELV? I know the team has said before that they envision Jupiter being for the Moon and EELV or COTS taking over ISS operations.

        Yes, we have already integrated Delta-IV Heavy into our Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) documentation and are at present re-working the documents to show how the entire commercial space industry will be utilized to support the Depot around 2019, when they will be needed to provide ~600mT of LEO propellant deliveries every year.

        Quote from: gladiator1332

           I ask this because I see the EELV guys being very pleased with this. Instead of it being EELV vs Direct vs Ares, it would be Direct and EELV vs Ares.


        This has been a very significant point which keeps coming up behind the scenes.   There are many different companies, countries and groups who all want to be involved in this new Vision, but many are currently excluded from participation because of the decsions made by Griffin.

        All it causes is in-fighting within the industry, and that isn't good for anyone because it means everyone is pulling in different directions and, in this particular case, the MAJORITY of companies are actually on the outside pulling in different directions from CxP.   That's extremely unhealthy for the future of the program.

        So we have spent a lot of time & effort trying to find ways to be INCLUSIONARY of most, if not all, these different groups, to try to bring them into the program in a meaningful way so that we can get their assistance and long-term support.   We need everyone in the industry to be pulling in one direction, not 12 different ones.

        We think we have found a number of different ways to do it, but this Phase 2 Lunar/Mars architecture approach utilizing Propellant Depot's and commercial delivery services is a key component of our plans because it then free's up 50% of our Jupiter launch capacity for launching more spacecraft & missions.

        Quote from: gladiator1332

           Heavy lift is the one area that EELV loses, as some of the growth options get rather complex. Direct can be their out. It also solves their workforce issue as Direct will keep the Shuttle guys.
           It almost seems Direct and EELV are the perfect match. Direct gets criticism for being overkill for ISS. EELV fixes that.

        Actually, I would suggest that Advanced EELV concepts could even compete in the Heavy Lift market.

        The real place where the Advanced EELV's can not compete is in the Shuttle workforce retention arena -- and that is THE #1 MOST CRITICAL subject which one must address if you ever want the funding from Congress for any plan.

        You must have a plan to save jobs if you ever want Congressional support in the form of $$$.   And that is something the EELV's have never attempted to do.


        "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

        by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:30:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Propellant depots! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joffan, Vladislaw, antooo

          It appears Direct 3.0 shall expressly include propellant depots!

          "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

          by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:32:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Question on the EELV (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bill White, Joffan, Vladislaw

            why the preference of Delta IV over Atlas V or Falcon 9, or Tarurs 2?

            •  AFAIK -- Team Direct wants NASA to human rate DIV (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joffan, Vladislaw

              for a full size Orion and for Atlas V to start carrying a less capable LEO crew taxi in coordination with Bigelow and other private efforts.

              In the end, they want all of the following human-rated:

              Falcon & Dragon

              Atlas V and some big Gemini variant (smaller and lighter than Orion)

              DIV for Orion to ISS

              J130 for Orion

              J246 for Orion and big cargo

              Ariane V gets a role, also.

              Apparently, the thought is DIVH would be too expensive for anyone except NASA while Atlas V could get its costs low enough to attract commercial users.

              "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

              by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 02:31:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Also, Atlas V and Taurus 2 are Russian derived (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joffan, Vladislaw

              wonderful for private sector work or a COTS contract but maybe not as a primary launcher for Orion.

              Also, Taurus (IIRC) uses left over Russian engines and while there are many, the supply is not infinite.

              Per the DIRECT folks I follow, Falcon 9 is to receive a COTS-D contract and maybe the Taurus/Zenit or even Atlas V could enter that competition.

              "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

              by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 02:34:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I would like to see COTS ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... take a lead role in the resupply of the space station.
          Until now I hadn't considered that there would be competition between COTS and the EELV suppliers.

          I would also like to see the government fully fund COTS-D.
          Are any of the EELV's rated for manned fight?

          •  I know from prior commentary that the DIRECT (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vladislaw, antooo

            team favors fully funding for COTS-D.

            Unfortunately, the EELV makers (Boeing & Lockheed) can argue that since ONLY SpaceX has a chance of winning COTS-D, it isn't really a competition but rather is a procurement.

            Once again, the needfulness of non-NASA buyers of human spaceflight becomes evident.

            We NEED one or more of a private sector hotel / entertainment facility in LEO and/or a non US owned station at an EML point to create demand for players like SpaceX.

            "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

            by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 01:19:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding a return to the moon: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Vladislaw

    Sorties don't make a lot of sense to me, and I think they will be very hard to justify to the taxpayers.  Been there, done that.
    Yes, you can do some science along the way, but it seems to me to be more of a justification for building the hardware, rather than a goal for which you need to build the hardware to acheive.

    As for a permanent (or at least long term) moon base, I have stated before that I can only support it if it is near an available water source.  Barring that I would prefer to see an interim objective of an L5 base, with Mars as the long term goal.

  •  A non-spoiler Star Trek review excerpt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Zachary Quinto nails young Spock in all but one aspect—his voice just isn't anywhere near as deep as Nimoy's. Karl Urban and Simon Pegg do almost direct (impressive) impersonations of DeForest Kelley and James Doohan in their respective roles as McCoy and Scotty. And John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Zoe Saldana give us updated, better-looking takes on Sulu, Chekov and Uhura.

    Sure, but is it any good? Hell yes.

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:41:43 PM PDT

  •  Going to Mars (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beemerr90s, Joffan, Vladislaw, antooo

    It's sometimes suggested by proponents of various alternative Mars plans that sending humans to Mars, and returning them safely, is a relatively simple thing, if you could just get the funding and the political will behind such a program.

    This is not entirely true.  There are some aspects of going to Mars which are just a matter of throwing sufficient money at the project, where there is a technical know-how for the project.  We now know how to get stuff into Earth orbit and assemble small stuff into larger stuff.  That may not seem like much, but it's a big deal.  We also know how to direct a spacecraft so that it leaves Earth orbit and reaches Mars usually in one piece -- also a big deal.  Space is littered with the corpses of probes that didn't get where they were going or weren't working when they got there.  We also know that crews can live and work in space for months on end without disaster; also a big deal, as being cooped up together in a metal tube with no place to go for months or years at a time is a highly unusual, and potentially highly stressful, thing for human beings.

    But there are also things we have not done yet and, in some cases, don't know how to do.  We cannot yet be sure that we can get humans from one planet to another in as good physical shape as they started out -- there are problems regarding gravity and radiation that haven't been sorted out yet.  We don't know how to keep people alive on the surface of another world for an extended period of time -- we've never done it.  And from a technical point of view, we don't know how to land something as heavy as a manned crew capsule on the Martian surface -- Mars' relatively high gravity and thin atmosphere make this a very difficult trick.  And once on the ground, we don't know how to get them back off again, and we've never brought even an unmanned spacecraft back from Mars.  In short, travelling to Mars and back shows every sign of being a very difficult, dangerous, and potentially lethal pain in the ass.

    That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.  Indeed, it's a very good reason why it should be done.  But the task is made no easier by blithe oversimplifications of the difficulties involved.  It's going to take a long period of testing equipment and trying out unmanned probes to verify technical solutions before we can seriously talk about landing humans on the Martian surface.

    In the meantime, of course, there are quite a few things we could do.  We can go back to the Moon; we can visit a near-Earth asteroid; we could travel to Venus, not to land, obviously, but there is some science that could be done more easily from Venus orbit than from Earth, the distances are less, and we'd have valuable information about doing interplanetary there-and-back flights; we could go to Mars orbit without landing (just as we went to the Moon without landing in Apollo 8 and Apollo 10); we could land on Deimos or Phobos, Mars' moons.

    Landing a human being on Mars is important, but there are other things, and it shouldn't be interpreted as the be-all and end-all of the space program; indeed, we should consider a program that would go well beyond Mars.  And far from sucking money out of the unmanned program, we should consider the manned and unmanned programs as integrated elements of a single program, on both scientific and engineering fronts; we don't want to try sending people places where we don't have evidence that an unmanned probe, of similar size and mass, can go.

  •  Rob Coppinger predicts ISS extension until 2020 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vladislaw, antooo

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Wed May 06, 2009 at 12:55:14 PM PDT

  •  Outpost, definitely. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NellaSelim, Vladislaw

    We need a practiced ability to live in space before we attempt a manned Mars trip. The moon is perfect for that.

  •  For the love of god (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    please paint the External Tank when used in Ares/DIRECT. That international orange looks ungodly ugly, and really doesn't convey a sense of power. A white paint job should be a priority for Feng shui reasons.

  •  The Moon: There's No There There! (0+ / 0-)

    Obama is right.  New moonshots should be used only as an opportunity to develop and test new systems and technology for more ambitious exploration.  The cost/benefits of a "moon outpost" are quite unfavorable.  We know a great deal about the moon already, and it is certainly no shangri la for either resource exploitation or even further scientific discovery.

    It's been done already.

    •  Not everyone agrees about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the shangri la for reasources.  Google Moon for Sale and Horizons - BBC did a show about this in the past year or so

    •  The moon is 9 BILLION acres. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Magnifico, Joffan

      The united states is about 2 billion. So you land six times in various places do a little walk around and you can now saw you have seen it all? That is just wrong thinking on so many levels.

      We could only go there when it was sunlit. We never stayed more than a couple days. We didn't even send a geologiest until the last mission.

      We have never learned out how to live off the land there. What we do not know about the moon can fill more volumnes then what we do know.

      If we knew and understood the earth we wouldn't need geologists and other disiplines, but we still learn more about earth every year.

      We haven't even scratched the surface of the moon.

  •  Well, we will see what happens regarding the... (0+ / 0-)

    ESAS review.  Robert Block and Mark Matthews often try to get the "scoop" and they often get it wrong.  The whole musical NASA administrator appointment name dropping is a case in point.  A few blogs have cited the Sentinel story but no other sources.  The story has been up for a whole day and no other major blog or media outlet is reporting the impending review which tends to cast doubt on the credibility of the story.  Scolese did testify to Congress that NASA is doing a review of the Constellation program in house in order to determine the lunar options. So perhaps there is some confusion.  I have no inside contacts at NASA but I am still skeptical of the Orlando Sentinel article.

  •  It's about time, thank goodness for sanity (0+ / 0-)

    Time to take a good hard look at the stupid Ares I stick and the too-expensive-to-fly Ares V.

    Go Direct! Their plans are all coming together at a very propitious time.

    This is not a sig-line.

    by Joffan on Wed May 06, 2009 at 07:34:59 PM PDT

  •  I must say that I am pleasantly and very... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    happily surprised for the overwhelming support for a lunar base in the poll today.  Hopefully, that is the same kind of spirit that Obama's team have.

  •  Obama's NASA budget request has been released (0+ / 0-)

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Thu May 07, 2009 at 10:45:38 AM PDT

  •  Regarding the pending "independent review" (0+ / 0-)

    It looks like its Norm Augustine will be in charge.

    I have updated my Nasaspaceflight sig to this snippet from the Rogers Commission (Challenger disaster(:

    "For a successful technology," Richard Feynman concluded, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Thu May 07, 2009 at 11:17:06 AM PDT

  •  Some "new Kirk"news (0+ / 0-)

    After Star Trek he wants to do an "A Team" remake!


    Post-"Trek," Pine's got his sights set on another TV show reboot. He told MTV he's hoping to land a part on the upcoming "The A-Team" film, which Joe Carnahan is directing. "We've talked about it," Pine admitted. But playing whom? The handsome Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck? "No, Murdock is my man. I love Murdock." (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:33:52 PM PDT

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