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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old December 10 2012, 11:45 PM   #31
publiusr
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Re: Spacex CEO wants to co-build and fund huge Mars colony effort

Snowjourner wrote: View Post

It's been 40 years, let it go. You'll have a pad queen that gets launched MAYBE once every 2 to 4 years.
Better than Golden spike which will never launch--and their costs were probably on the low side anyway. No diff in the long term.

Snowjourner wrote: View Post
In fact, that's why I wasn't really excited by the Golden Spike announcement on Thursday - No big investors announced with it. Just more dreamers I fear.
That's why I support SLS. It will fly to the moon before GS, or China I hope.

gturner wrote: View Post

Rand Simberg was scratching his head over this proposal's listing of $100 million for crew training as a non-recurring cost.
There is no way to do this that isn't costly, so you might as well get as big a vehicle out of it as possible to reduce risks.
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Old December 11 2012, 03:50 AM   #32
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Re: Spacex CEO wants to co-build and fund huge Mars colony effort

publiusr wrote: View Post
Snowjourner wrote: View Post
In fact, that's why I wasn't really excited by the Golden Spike announcement on Thursday - No big investors announced with it. Just more dreamers I fear.
That's why I support SLS. It will fly to the moon before GS, or China I hope.
Considering it won't be operational until 2025 at the earliest, it will probably come in dead last of a field that includes SpaceX, the Chinese and a couple of alcoholic Russians.
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Old December 13 2012, 11:32 PM   #33
publiusr
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Re: Spacex CEO wants to co-build and fund huge Mars colony effort

I'm hoping for a circumlunar flight earlier. What I try to keep telling snowjourner is that it isn't just about costs. Curiosity at over two billion cost more than a smaller Discovery class mission atop a block I sent to Europa--and cost more than an LV many times its size.

Some DoD missions atop a Titan IV rivaled a Saturn moon shot with its payload. You could have had a lot of small, Delta II launched MER type rovers for one Curiosity--but they didn't do that because of the greater capability. At the top level, size is almost irrelevant. To go beyond LEO it will cost billions. So the first GS mission isn't 750 mil-to-1.2 billion--but 7-8 billion. It's rather like what Sea Dragon inventor Bob Truax said--often an upper stage can cost as much if not more than the simpler LV under it that doesn't need as much weight shaved off.

Something that struck me. I think that the folks behind Golden Spike were really shocked when they were not embraced.

I think the idea among those who wanted an excuse to launch a lot of standard LVs was to slime SLS advocates, certain NASA centers (MSFC as being 'old hat" as opposed to understanding physics for instance) with the idea being that the same folks they brainwash into being HLLV haters would fawn over the alternatives (i.e. their own products.)

Instead, they got (almost) the same level of hostility when those concepts were at last presented.

Could it be that they did their job too well?

I think the well has been poisoned to the point that space professionals--due to all the sniping back and forth--have lost the respect of the public.

Now it is true that the best way to get your own project done is to trash the other guys'--but in the rarified air that is real-space where you hear the same names cropping up, it doesn't take much to get the average Joe to throw up his hands and walk away.

One of the comments from around the web--and this from someone who isn't much of a SLS fan:

As for SLS, I don't think it has that much of a future, no matter what NASA does. But NASA should still persevere and build Block IA (while quietly shelving everything beyond that), because it may well be the only game in town. I no longer really believe in the commercial alternatives, TBH. SpaceX has already lost a lot of its glitter and seems to me to be going downhill fast (look at the delays and customers jumping ship).

I don't know about that, but...

Evolving SLS, even under cost-plus, is nowhere near as expensive as the Saturn V was back in the day. We're no longer dealing with bleeding edge tech in many ways. What's happened since Apollo is that NASA has been steadily starved for funds and proportionally takes up less and less of the federal budget.

Like it or not, NASA is the only game in town. And since NASA's HSF is now only Orion and Orion needs SLS, we have to either support it or support NASA abandoning HSF alltogether. Which is still an option, since the UNmanned part of NASA is doing fine, and outperforming all other unmanned space exploration programs on this planet COMBINED.

And that's the danger.

Personally I also think that if Man returns to the moon, it will be with SLS...or not at all. The in-fighting alone will do everything in. This is why the dual mode of allowing Ares I to die and ceding LEO to Musk, with NASA going to BEO only is a reasonable enough compromise in this political environment.

Public/private partnerships have worked before, and will work again--if only people will allow for them to have a chance to do so.
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Old December 14 2012, 04:59 AM   #34
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Re: Spacex CEO wants to co-build and fund huge Mars colony effort

publiusr wrote: View Post
I'm hoping for a circumlunar flight earlier. What I try to keep telling snowjourner is that it isn't just about costs. Curiosity at over two billion cost more than a smaller Discovery class mission atop a block I sent to Europa--and cost more than an LV many times its size.

Some DoD missions atop a Titan IV rivaled a Saturn moon shot with its payload. You could have had a lot of small, Delta II launched MER type rovers for one Curiosity--but they didn't do that because of the greater capability. At the top level, size is almost irrelevant.
That's a false equivalence considering that 1) payloads are not launch vehicles and 2) any payload large enough to justify an SLS launch is ALSO going to cost a couple billion dollars.

To go beyond LEO it will cost billions.
Depends on how you do it. An engineer friend of the family once told me of NASA "You can do it quickly, you can do it safely, and you can do it cheaply, but you can only do two out of the three at the same time." IOW, it doesn't have to cost billions of dollars if you take your time and build up that capability quickly, or if you use a technique that doesn't require an enormous Earth Departure Stage (say, ion thrusters or VASIMRs) you can do it cheaply and relatively safely.

I think the well has been poisoned to the point that space professionals--due to all the sniping back and forth--have lost the respect of the public.
The general public hasn't been paying any attention to them at all; to the extent that they had any respect to begin with, it's undoubtedly still intact.

Personally I also think that if Man returns to the moon, it will be with SLS...or not at all.
I doubt that very much. The Chinese space program is considerably more patient and considerably less sensitive to the kinds of political mood swings that have defined the American legislature for the past ten years. The SLS will probably begin to play around with Trans-Lunar capability right around the time the Chinese launch their first manned missionm (late 2020s or 2030s).
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