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Old September 1 2013, 07:41 PM   #22
Location: Kentucky
Re: China to land rover on Moon by end of this year

What I find so disturbing (or damning) is that Bush announced the retirement of the Shuttle in 2004, telling NASA to come up with a new system that would allow us to do more than go around in circles. The first manned test flight, of a capsule, is scheduled for 2019. That's the same time span from Sputnik in 1957, when we realized that we should do something in space, until the end of the Apollo lunar missions in 1972.

The first manned SLS block II mission is tentatively scheduled to take place in 2035 or 2036, which is the same span of time from Yuri Gagarin's first flight, through Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George HW Bush, and into Clinton's first term, going from Vostok to the post-Challenger Shuttle era. (It's almost the same span as from Chuck Yeager's first supersonic flight to the launch of the Space Shuttle, but not quite).

You could meet a girl today, get married, have kids, put them through college, and then take them to that inaugural launch - of something Bush told NASA to build back in 2004. The average-aged NASA engineers who started working on the original concept will be 75 years old before a crewed Block II ever flies.

They're not having to invent whole knew groundbreaking technologies along the way. The SRB's are virtually unchanged from the 1970's models, bolting on an extra segment, unless they're replaced by liquid boosters using the F-1 engines we developed in the 1950's. The SLS main engines were developed in the early 1970's, while the upper stage SLS engines were being tested when John Glenn was flying around the Earth in his little Mercury capsule.

How NASA can manage to pass that off as "the future" is beyond me, since they plan to be still developing the SLS into the 2040's, while its engines were designed by people who were born prior to World War I. And I don't mean "invented the concept" of the engines, I mean "used a T-square to draft the actual freakin' high-speed moving parts bolted to the ship."
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