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Old September 15 2012, 04:50 AM   #134
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

publiusr wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
"Big" isn't sustainable in space flight for any amount of time, unless you have an infinite supply of either capital or political will. More spam, still no point.
An opinion that you don't share isn't 'spam--its an opinion.
A mountain of hyperlinks to forum posts on other websites that have almost nothing to do with what we're talking about isn't an opinion, it's spam.

Big is sustainable, as we saw with 100= shuttle flights with not all that interest--because the STS was a LEO only system--but it was a defacto HLV in terms of mass to orbit--that that proves me correct.
Does it? Because, last time I checked, the STS is no longer operational and its replacement won't be ready before the end of the decade.

Not thinking big as we used to is the problem.
Actually, we DO think big the way we used to, which is exactly the problem. It was THINKING BIG that gave us the shuttle program, and thinking even bigger that cut the shuttle's capabilities in half. It was the marathon of Big Thoughts in the 70s that led to optimistic projections about the shuttle's launch costs, about the kinds of missions it would carry out, about the new era of space exploration it would open up by carrying huge payloads into space and directly servicing them with qualified crews and later ferrying truckloads of passengers into orbital factories and space labs.

And what was the result? Big thinking effectively cost us our first and orbiting launch platform when the shuttle mission failed to replace Apollo in a timely fashion. Big thinking resulted in a transport system that flew half as often as planned for ten times the cost, and later on filling only one in ten of its original mission roles for safety and political reasons. And when the shuttle program came to an end, history repeated itself: NASA has spent so many years trying to develop the Next Big Thing that they currently lack even the rudimentary spaceflight capabilities of early '60s. They cannot even put a crew into orbit, let alone service and maintain the space station. The next ten American spacecraft to fly anywhere at all will be built and operated by private operators with their pathetic "small change" operations.

Any prudent business manager knows that "Thinking Big" is not something you do when you're just starting out, when you've got nothing to fall back on and no way to take up the slack if your Big Idea turns into a crapshoot. The Senate Launch System, in that regard, isn't a future launch system, it's a technological gambit, betting on the ability of a group of aerospace contractors to resurrect a 1960s rocket engine, a 1970s mission profile and combine all of those with a 1980s launch system which they now have to completely refurbish to achieve just over twice the original performance with half the budget they had when these things were originally developed. It would be a pretty sweet payoff if the SLS actually flies on time and on schedule... but what exactly does NASA plan to do if it blows up on the launch pad?

Here is the problem with commercial space that folks seem to worship here. Real experts understand the need for heavy lift.
If you were in any way concerned about the opinions of real experts you wouldn't be spamming unsourced essays from the nasaspaceflight.com forum.
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