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Old September 9 2009, 01:56 PM   #31
TheMasterOfOrion
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Marc wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post

Bush never had NASA on his front burner. But he commissioned the design and construction of the Ares system. Obama has no concrete plan to replace the shuttles. and the plan for the International Space Station is now to "DE-ORBIT" it in the tear 2015.
Familiar with the concept of "busy work"? It's when you do work that makes you look like you're achieving something hen you're just spinning your wheels. By setting tasks for NASA but not giving them the actual money to achieve anything is a prime example of busy work.

Secondly Ares is intended as a replacement for the shuttle so why should Obama set NASA the goal of designing the replacement - they've already got the thing on the drawing board.

Finally as pointed out in another thread, that design work Bush got NASA to do is turning in a total cluster fuck.

http://www.nasaproblems.com/
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Old September 9 2009, 02:16 PM   #32
Cicero
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Squiggy wrote: View Post
Middle Earther wrote: View Post
I honestly want to know why we need to go to the moon again. I am saying that wanting to know what real benefits we could conceivably achieve with more moon missions at this point in time.

Anyone care to chime in on this?
Launching and fueling pad to Mars. And it would give me something cool to cover at work.
The most expensive part of spacecraft supply and construction is lift. Even with space elevators (which are beyond our current level of technology), the cost per pound to orbit is prohibitive for large spacecraft. Building craft on the moon from mostly lunar materials would offer huge cost savings until and unless we can find a way to reach Earth orbit more cheaply.
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Old September 9 2009, 02:59 PM   #33
USS KG5
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Cicero wrote: View Post
Even with space elevators (which are beyond our current level of technology), the cost per pound to orbit is prohibitive for large spacecraft.
That "beyond our current level of technology" is so key to this whole debate it is worth a quote here, and it is a point many people miss entirely.

We simply do not have the technology, and will not within the lifetime of anyone now, to make space travel cheap, efficient and everyday, it will NOT happen.

We ALL here would love in our lifetimes to go into space, and holiday on the Moon or Mars, but even in fifty years it is likely that space travel will still be an amazingly expensive, difficult and dangerous pursuit.

Added to that is the fact that the main impetus behind the space program (sticking it to the USSR) is now well and truly gone, unless some concrete reason comes along politicians have no reason to back the space program beyond its current subsistence level while the world's economies are torn apart.

A huge energy crisis, global warming completely aside, is also coming, with the pressure on oil supplies, strife in the Middle East and the pressure for global action on climate change, energy is what the next fifty years is going to be about.

Sorry, space travel is on the back-burner and will be now for a long time to come.
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Old September 9 2009, 03:12 PM   #34
Alpha_Geek
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

KG5, you're right. We "didn't have the technology" When Kennedy proclaimed that we were going to the frakkin' moon in less than a decade. We damn sure developed it though!

Unfortunately, the first US President to proclaim a goal of putting a man on Mars by 2030 wasn't backed by the rest of the government. That bold statement by George Herbert Walker Bush just fell by the wayside.

It would be interesting to see where we'd be now if there had been follow through on it at that time. So many technlogies we take for granted now came from that initial push to Luna 40 years ago.

Oh well, maybe the Bigelow people can rub some noses on an operational Transhab based facility in the not too distant future.
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Old September 9 2009, 03:57 PM   #35
Cicero
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

The old space program, even before President Kennedy chose to go to the moon, was significantly better funded than today's NASA. The space agency budget in 1962 was $5.4 billion, which is about $40 billion in today's dollars (the OMB inflation calculations are deeply flawed); 1.4% of the total budget was allocated to NASA. In 2009, NASA's budget was $17.2 billion, which accounts for only 0.55% of the national budget.

As President Kennedy put it, the difference in cost between the Mercury space program and the Apollo era was between 40 cents per person per week and 50 cents per person per week. Today, that would be about $2.40 per person per week (30 cents) and $3.20 per person per week (40 cents). The cost of the Mercury-era program today would be about $125 per person per year.

The ultimate price of Apollo was much higher than President Kennedy suggested. By 1965, NASA's budget had risen to 5.3% of the national budget, $33.514 billion. In today's dollars, the cost of the Apollo program at its cost height would be about $0.25 trillion per year.

When considering the future of the space program - when considering the future of any program - it's important to consider its costs, in terms of capital and commitment. Apollo was a tremendous undertaking in its day, and any serious space exploration in the next hundred years is likely to be similarly expensive, costly, and requiring. We cannot go to space without at least two of effort, money, and time.
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Old September 9 2009, 03:57 PM   #36
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

IM(H)O: Forget the moon, mars, and every other nearby space dirt. Lets focus on setting up a self-sufficient orbital capacity. During it's development, rescue or "life boats" are much more realistic than anything space-dirt based.

Once we have SELF-SUFFCIENT space-faring capability, we can take it "safely" wherever we want, apply it to "safe/self-sufficient" space-dirt bases on the moon, mars, Io, wherever, even fling it toward deep space, and time/resources won't be a critical issue.

Are we really that far from a space elevator? I thought self-organizing nano carbon tubes (reorganize the words the right way if they are wrong) were becoming plausible, and that we've created ribbons several feet long already? How much of this effort is even direclty or indirectly government funded? These are touted as being able to support their own weight.

But, I agree the space elevator will change everything space-wise, and would probably be the best first target of a lot of money. 2nd should be self-sustaining orbit. 3rd, take 2 to the planets, moons, and stars.
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Old September 9 2009, 04:04 PM   #37
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
Just say "NO" to wasteful space programs!
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.
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Old September 9 2009, 04:36 PM   #38
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Mr. B wrote: View Post
I can't say I disagree with the recommendation to dump Ares. The whole Constellation program seems like a step back from the space shuttle. Personally (irrelevant opinion), I'd rather see them putting heavy resources into a next generation reusable craft
A reusable spacecraft is an order of magnitude more difficult than Constellation and would most likely be an order of magnitude more expensive.
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Old September 9 2009, 04:38 PM   #39
Alpha_Geek
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
Just say "NO" to wasteful space programs!
There are other federal programs that waste more than the entire NASA budget. Look elsewhere for savings.
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Old September 9 2009, 10:35 PM   #40
T'Girl
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

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. Why do this at all? Part is just to expand, to grow as a people and a nation. Also as a way to drive the economy. At one time it was agriculture, then it was cars, then it was airplanes. Now it's information technology.

A fully reusable system is only an advantage if it cheaper than a expendable one. At several hundred million dollars a launch the shuttle is more expense than using a "big dumb booster", it make no difference if the shuttle itself is reusable.

The cost over-runs on the Ares system are mostly due to the falling value of the american dollar, not any inheirent defects in Ares.

Space has potential. Not just to spend a hundred million dollars to sent a few thousand dollars worth of parts to the outer planets for pictures. We can get humanity off this world forever, Build the huge solar collectors, create colonies everywhere, invent thing we can't even conceive of now

Space, it an area where we can shine.

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Old September 9 2009, 10:49 PM   #41
Peter the Younger
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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.
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Old September 9 2009, 10:52 PM   #42
diankra
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Johnny Rico wrote: View Post
This just in...

Obama's Space Plan just axed NASA's plan to return to the moon.

Well, so much for the Messiah reaching for the stars.

So who wouldda thunk that 'Dubya' was the "space/science-friendly" President?
Take the party politics out of it: the blunt reality is that while some presidents have made pretty speeches about America's future in space, nobody since Johnson has put his political muscle behind getting Congress to actually authorise the necessary money to deliver.
I don't like the report's conclusions, but they are realistic ones: trying to fulfil George W Bush's aims on the current budget is a recipe for another shuttle - something that could have worked with a bit more money, but ends up both costly and dangerous.
It's time for put up or shut up - either fund the next programme properly, or get out of the game.
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Old September 10 2009, 12:22 AM   #43
T'Girl
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

You need to also consider when talking about cutting NASA's budget, that the manned space program isn't all they do.
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Old September 10 2009, 12:26 AM   #44
darkwing_duck1
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

Deks wrote: View Post
Forgive me, but the government had loads of opportunities to divert the money from other sources in order to 'fix things right here on Earth' in the past and nobody ever did anything.
"Two wrongs" or "one bad bx justifying another" fallacy.
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Old September 10 2009, 12:27 AM   #45
darkwing_duck1
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Re: Obama Space Plan: Return to Moon: "No Go"

T'Girl wrote: View Post
You need to also consider when talking about cutting NASA's budget, that the manned space program isn't all they do.
I agree, and those programs (sat launch, etc) will continue.
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