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Old October 13 2012, 03:38 AM   #225
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

publiusr wrote: View Post
The shuttle derived crowd has always been on the outside looking in--wanting something tried and true. Venture Star should have suffered the ire aimed now at SLS which is far simpler.
Except that, unlike the SLS, Venture Star was actually a pretty good idea. The only complicated part of the venture star was the composite propellant tanks that NASA couldn't get to hold integrity under full propellant loading.

That, ironically, is what Venture Star and SLS have in common: both include features that were inserted for political reasons, and otherwise aren't in any way necessary for the system's development.

NASA shouldn't be run by businessmen--that was my point all along--or they would have bailed on Webb.
You say that like it's a bad thing.

It isn't about profit man
If we ever plan to get serious about expanding humanity's reach into space, it needs to be. We need to sort of grow up and admit to ourselves that the real world isn't like Star Trek, and the people who are going to make the biggest breakthroughs colonizing the final frontier aren't going to do it for free. SOMEBODY has to pay for it. It does not have to be taxpayers (not exclusively, and eventually not at all).

HLV proponents are the ones capable of looking at the history of spaceflight
The ENTIRE history of spaceflight includes less than a dozen flights by HLVs of any kind. One of those HLV flights deployed a space station whose life was cut tragically short by the lack of a mature spaceflight infrastructure in its country of origin.

That history ALSO includes eight space stations whose modules, crews and supplies were launched by much smaller vehicles. It also includes two whose modules were deployed by smaller rockets and were assembled in orbit with the help of orbiting vehicles. It includes four successfully developed cargo vehicles designed to launch on medium-lift rockets, and a fifth soon to fly in the near future. It includes the Mercury and Gemini programs, and more than forty years of consistent service by the Soyuz, and it includes the Shenzhou program and the in-development Tiangong modules.

HLVs have proven useful in one and only one application: the ability to launch an extremely small expedition to the surface of the moon with a very short development schedule. In other words, an HLV is exactly the kind of rocket you need if you want to beat your political rival in a space race.

So do we need to beat China to a near earth asteroid? Is that what's going on here?

So I'm supposed to think your word is worth more than theirs?
I couldn't care less who YOU believe. There is a lot of interesting work being done right now on spaceflight architecture and launch systems that will, over time, evolve into the kind of infrastructure we will need to really expand into space. HLVs will not be part of that infrastructure, and if NASA is forced to spend the entire bank on the SLS, they won't be part of it either.

Nelsons district will get space money no matter what rocket is used.
But not nearly as much, and not a guaranteed supply if private contractors are competing for reduced costs and increased capability.

I think a lot of Griffins priorities of simplifying spaceflight without as many Rube Goldberg space assembly missions by using larger LVs
Which is idiotic, because both NASA and the Russians have been using the "rube goldberg" technical for forty years and it has worked every single time; it has been proven to be cheaper, easier, more efficient and less dangerous. The singular disadvantage is that is SLOWER, which is only a disadvantage if you're in a hurry. And while the Mike Griffins of the world are happily "simplifying" spaceflight by forcing larger vehicles into production, who's going to be carrying crews and supplies to space stations in Earth Orbit? Who's going to be servicing the Hubble or its successors? Who's going to reboost the ISS or its successors when its orbit begins to decay? Who's going to send parts and equipment to repair those stations/satellites/telescopes when something unexpected happens to them?

All I know is, there is an American space craft in orbit right now, and it wasn't launched on an HLV.

SPEAKING of the history of spaceflight, HLVs have a considerably lower success rate, especially in light of the Polyus fiasco and the near-failure of Skylab.

Speaking more of the history of spceflight, I was recently reminded that the original Atlas rockets -- the very systems from which the current expendable launch vehicles evolved -- were instrumental in the Mercury program. Strictly speaking, EELVs have a more important place in that history than HLVs ever will.
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