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Old September 29 2012, 05:56 AM   #188
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

publiusr wrote: View Post
That's actually my biggest disagreement with you. Hey--I wish these warp drive anti-gravity folks were right and we could boot rockets to the curb--PERIOD. But I'm not buying into that field effect stuff. To me, this anti-NASA stance is wrong-headed in the same way Rep. candidates are wrong for wanting to shut down DoE, EPA, etc.
Except it's entirely a group of Republicans who think the SLS is a really great idea.

I'm not down on NASA because I'm anti-government or ideologically opposed to Federal spending. I'm down on NASA because I'm tired of watching them suck. It's pretty much the same reason I'm not a Cubs fan (Does Chicago really NEED two baseball teams, especially if one of them is the Cubs?).

Now, to his credit, Musk really does seem to want to help--but if we lose more jobs--high skill--high paying jobs just to save a few millionaires money--I don't think that is smart.
You know what I don't think is smart? Undercutting an emerging spaceflight industry that actually produces new and innovative technologies and has the potential to create a boom period for space exploration, in order to prop up a pork-heavy top-down space program that doesn't actually explore space.

You want to talk about high-paying job losses? Evidently the lalyoffs at Bigelow Aerospace -- largely blamed on the delayed development of affordable launchers for their space station modules -- completely slipped under your radar. Do you think the Robert Bigelows of the world are going to benefit from the SLS? How about Orbital Sciences, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, hell even Boeing... are ANY of them going to have access to the SLS if and when it becomes operational?

No? So then who the hell are we building it for? The answer is NOBODY. All the people out there who want to do things in space... they're not looking for enormous 70-ton payload launchers that cost $2 billion per flight. They're looking for smaller, cheaper, more efficient rockets that they can use to bootstrap their way into doing profitable business in space. They want to build space stations and lease them to countries that don't have space programs of their own; they want to build orbital debris retrieval systems and compete for contracts from interested governments; they want to learn how to repair and service orbiting satellites and sell those services to telecommunications giants; they want to experiment with orbital solar power and eventually orbital manufacturing; they want to send probes to asteroids to search for valuable resources, and eventually develop technologies to EXPLOIT those resources. They want to sell freighters and transports that can carry crews and supplies not just to the ISS, but to privately operated space stations and even to the Chinese if they're willing.

No one -- and I mean NO ONE -- who is doing any serious work in space right now has any need whatsoever for a heavy lift vehicle, nor could they afford to use one even if it was available. The lack of affordable launches means a lack of demand for privately-operated space projects, and the lack of space projects, means a lack of jobs. In essence, propping up the SLS saves 3,000 jobs at Kennedy at the expense of 30,000 jobs that COULD be created in the emerging space industry.

And here's a perfectly non-rhetorical question for you: if SpaceX is working to develop the Falcon Heavy, a launcher that is almost an HLV in its own right, why do we need the SLS?

China now has a lot of shipbuilding because of subsidies, when they used to have very little.
I agree 100%. And I think instead of flushing billions of dollars down the SLS toilet we should be subsidizing the fuck out of SpaceX and ULA. And if you don't like ULA for some reason -- which you clearly don't -- you don't suppose Orbital Sciences could benefit from a little extra funding for the Antares rocket?

But what if we did as you wanted--cut the so called pork, and Musk became the sole provider by dumping Falcon cores. I think 40 per year is the goal now. What is to keep him from jacking prices up after he kills everything.
Somebody asked the same question about AT&T thirty years ago (not that it did us any good, apparently).

The best answer then is the same as it is now: fund multiple providers, as many as feasible, as many as you can find, as many as are willing and can prove they can really do it. You don't create an agency or a provider, you create an INDUSTRY, and then you create an agency to regulate that industry and make sure there's no funny business.

NASA could have been that regulatory agency if it had its shit together. But it doesn't, and it probably won't in the future. That's better off being handled by the FAA now, and NASA's usefulness to American spaceflight is basically at an end. Their remaining purpose in this process is to pass on the knowledge it collected in its many years of operating spacecraft, and one private operators have mined NASA for its last bit of expertise, it will have exhausted its very last reasons to exist.

Musk might turn into a Melinda Gates, want to solve world hunger, and shelve Space X tomorrow.
He can't at this point. The most he can do is sell it or stop giving it money, but he's already on the hook with NASA for their cargo supply contracts and SpaceX must either deliver or get spanked by NASA for breach of contract.

But then, there's that final touch of irony from you:

I trust institutions, not individuals
Which is funny, because according to all the spam you've been posting, the SLS wasn't conceived by an institution, but by a half dozen INDIVIDUALS with very strong opinions (and two of those individuals aren't even scientists, but POLITICIANS). Seems like you have no problem trusting individuals as long as they're telling you what you want to hear.
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