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Old September 9 2009, 10:49 PM   #41
Peter the Younger
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Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Arrghman wrote: View Post
As has been stated several times now, NASA's budget is a very small portion of the yearly federal budget. If you want to look for wasteful spending overall, then NASA is the wrong place to look.
A lot of it does come down to 'cost per pound to low earth orbit'.

If we could reduce that number then it might be possible to cut the government out of the loop, at least in terms of financing.
Agreed. Unfortunately I don't see a lot of progress on that front. There is some speculation into improved oxidizers and some pretty whacky ideas about using suspended atomic hydrogen, but nothing has left the drawing board. The best bet is probably still space elevators, but that's also a long way off.

Honestly, the biggest impact the administration could have on price to orbit would be to open competition up to more companies, and reform the process so we don't end up with the same three companies building everything. I think SpaceX is on the right track, for instance, using off-the-shelf parts whenever possible, with simpler engine designs. Give them some play, let the big boys sweat a little bit, and innovation might start flowing.
All these arguments have happened before, and all these arguments will happen again.

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