Did Kennedy hamper space travel with his Go to the Moon Speach?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by valkyrie013, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Captain Captain

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    So, just thinking about this, this weekend, During the late 50's early 60's the airforce were doing there X-plane series of aircraft, pushing past Mach1, etc. the X-15 first flew in 1959, and its pilots were awarded Astronuat wings because they went so high and fast.. Enter Kennedy and Nasa.. and some part the Russians and Sputnik.. We then went to ground sitting rockets that pushed up small capsules to space.. and exept for the shuttle.. thats all we've done..
    So.. my question/quandry is... if we let the airforce continue on the Planes to Space route.. would we today have ground to orbit space planes? be it a parasite craft that is dropped from a mother plane, or a 2 stage.. but the US wouldn't have capsules.. we'd fly to and from space..
    Thoughts??
     
  2. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

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    I think if anything has been proven in the mishaps and fits and starts spaceflight has had in the last 30 years or so of spaceflight it's been the obsession with wings. When the Space Shuttle program was in its infancy, of course the idea would be tried out. It has certain advantages under very specific reasons, primarily being the cross-range on reentry: you get more places to park (edit.. meant land). But that's it. Why waste all that extra mass and drag for wings that you will only use during the final few minutes of a flight?

    That's not to say that they are a finished design. Virgin Galactic is still pushing their design. There is that current military craft that flies and flies quite often. There is the Dreamchaser, though its cargo only and a lifting body, not really a spaceplane. It may be the primary use for winged space vehicles is military.

    the real breakthrough in access to space came in the 90's with the Delta Clipper program. DC-X paved the way for vertical launch and landing, and you can see it almost weekly now, performed by SpaceX. Blue Origin is going that route too. Of the currently being built and currently flying crewed space vehicles in the world, Soyuz, Shenzou, Crew Dragon, Starliner, Orion: all of them are capsules. None one of them has wings. I'll throw Starship into that because it also will not have wings.

    No, I don't think that Kennedy slowed space access down. I also don't think if he'd lived that we would have made it to the moon before 1970. That promise attached to someone who'd been martyred in the eyes of the public made it a commitment that the country had to follow. I think the US still would have went. But once it became apparent that the Russians were failing with their N-1 launches, they could have taken their time.

    What killed the forward impetus: I think Johnson and Nixon did, along with a congress that was bogged down by a hot war, a cold war, a great deal of turmoil and fear. If you look at Apollo Applications and some of what they had proposed down the line as a follow through for Apollo, it would have been amazing. If the right people had followed O'Neil's plan, for that matter, we could have thousands of people living in orbit and working on the moon right now. But it's going to happen. It's starting to happen.
     
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  3. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Captain Captain

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    I'll take any SSTO system..
    Its just that 60 years of space flight.. we still use small capsules launched onatop a throwaway booster..
    So to me dragging some wings and maybe air breathing engines up is better than throwing away a whole rocket to get there ( yes I know, Space X reuses there 1st stage, that would be like a parasite craft on a motherplane)
     
  4. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

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    Maybe eventually the British group working on Skylon will get the funding they need to make a nearly fully reusable spaceplane a reality. I hope they do. Without the kind of technological breakthrough they are working on, I think it continually means mass fraction equations are going to win out over SSTO being a good idea. Short of that is going to take some very exotic propulsion to make it happen.

    Even Starship is two stages. Admittedly both are capable of return so it solves a good deal of the problem. SSTO isn't some unbelievable thing. The original balloon tank Atlas vehicles could have been SSTO, they just would not have had much, if any, payload.
     
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  5. E-DUB

    E-DUB Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  6. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    You might find this interesting given the topic.

     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  7. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A different perspective:
    https://www.wired.com/2014/10/dreamingadifferentapollo/

    Apollo didn't die; it was killed. The Apollo Program might have continued for many years, evolving constantly to achieve new goals at relatively low cost.

    Saturn V-B comes to mind.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V-B

    Had shuttle not been proposed, we might still have had the Saturns.

    To me--the big enemy of space was always the United States Air Force. They prop up ULA, have made life hell for SpaceX.

    I am convinced they had something to do with the killing of the ABMA
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_I#Near-cancellation

    As ABMA commander John B. Medaris put it:
    By this time, my nose was beginning to sniff a strange odor of "fish." I put my bird dogs to work to try to find out what was going on and with whom we had to compete. We discovered that the Air Force had proposed a wholly different and entirely new vehicle as the booster for Dynasoar, using a cluster of Titan engines and upgrading their performance to get the necessary first-stage thrust for take-off. This creature was variously christened the Super Titan, or the Titan C. No work had been done on this vehicle other than a hasty engineering outline. Yet the claim was made that the vehicle in a two-stage or three-stage configuration could be flown more quickly than the Saturn, on which we had already been working hard for many months. Dates and estimates were attached to that proposal which at best ignored many factors of costs, and at worst were strictly propaganda.


    Apollo tech could have been used for MOL--but the fix was in. See my comments here, with regards to de-classified info:
    http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=29654

    The MOL-Apollo task team quickly noted that not all information...was made available--(page 110)
    The P-15 was withheld, nixing the MOL-Apollo effort (top of page 111)
    Some griping with costs but "with slight modifications Saturn/Apollo could meet all requirements of the MOL program. The decision "was prejudged 'in favor" of Gemini Titan. (Page 112)


    On page 191--we saw that MOL launch dates were slipping--money could have been saved had Titan III been nixed. Page 209 to 210 detail the Florida uprising. As if Saturn IB pads could'nt be built west.

    Had the Saturns lived, we'd be on Mars now.
     
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  8. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

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    that.

    Apollo could have had reusable Chrysler first stages long before spacex, and NERVA nuclear upper stages getting us around the solar system and establishing a real presnece in the solar system to be followed up by work based settlement. But we've been stuck for decades. The DOD forced NASA to accept a much larger more complicated shuttle than NASA needed and that was the end of the Saturn rockets. They had to use LC39 for the new STS fleet.They couldn't even save skylab, the last real working bit of Apollo.
     
  9. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Captain Captain

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    So, my original opinion, that the DOD runing space would have gotten us a space plane is crap, that the DOD is the one giving Nasa some stupid directives and hobbling the push to space.. Got it.. and not surprised... Why do something for 10 million when you could do something less for 100 million! ugh..
    Have to do a deep read of the Saturn rocket based on the comments.. Thanks for that! :)
     
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  10. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

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    Take a look at early NASA studies for shuttle before it had to be required to be modified to launch large DOD payloads.

    The really sad thing is: it never launched that many and after Challenger's loss, it didn't launch anymore.

    But it found a new life as a space station building truck and for that it did a great job.
     
  11. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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  12. Lakenheath 72

    Lakenheath 72 Commodore Commodore

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    Looking at Mercury through Apollo, there was a sense of momentum. We were getting better at the space thing. Then, the momentum stalled out as NASA shifted focus to the space shuttle and to the ISS. The only momentum now is the rate of verbiage coming from the mouths of people, who are describing what might come at some future date.
     
  13. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

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    They're pushing Artemis at extreme speed now, honestly.
     
  14. StametsFungi

    StametsFungi Commander Red Shirt

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    Apparently Kennedy talked about cancelling Apollo just before he was assassinated in favour of an international co-operation program, had he lived we mightn't of even landed on the Moon.
     
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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  16. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Captain Captain

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    Would like NASA to go back and take a look at the venture star/x-33 space plane. One of the main hurdles was a hydrogen tank, which was overcome a whole back.
    How about this.. You have different configurations, a normal ssto bare bones version, then maybe a "heavy lift" version with a returnable first stage booster or jetesonable extra fuel tank
     
  17. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Composites still leave a lot to be desired. This is why Musk abandoned composites
    https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/5ul1du/remains_of_the_its_composite_tank_in_anacortes_wa/

    More on the issue:
    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2006/01/x-33venturestar-what-really-happened/

    ....ultimately leading to be the end of the program – the failure of the composite LH2 (liquid hydrogen) tank during testing.
    However, this was no surprise to those working on the program, with new information now showing that engineers and designers had protested at the very moment they were informed of a management decision to build a composite LH2 tank.


    The full up Venture Star design first had internal cargo--then a hump--and finally an exterior cargo pod very like Polyus--plus it had wings fitted at the tips of the lifting body design proper.

    SLS level funds for EELV--ot smaller--payloads

    The Rockwell X-33 design, on the other hand--the general design--exists as the new DARPA spaceplane. More conventional.

    ADVENT had some interesting methane designs. New materials advances really need to come before we get an Orion III

    In terms of your original post, we got good rockets in the form of the Saturns. Yes, Musk's Starship vehicles will probably be cheaper. That has been the trend. But the very fact that the Saturns employed as many people as it did was in its favor--in that it built up pro-space voters--and for every dollar on Apollo--about 7-10 bucks on return.

    The Saturn was, I think--a totom beast. Each expended segment wasn't a waste, but a ritual sacrifice.... I've seen messy stage separations, but the Saturns had a certain dignity. Saturn looks steeple like--yet looks more advanced, somehow--than Starship.

    Apollo was very like the recent eclipse that held America together while we were bursting at the seams ourselves. It touched many lives as a system of systems. Everyone had a part. That was a feature, not a bug.

    In some respects, Apollo was able to out-Soviet the Soviets, who were torn apart by competing chief designers.

    Starship hopes to democritize space further--putting space in the hands of the average worker. Both Old Space and New Space have their parts to play. To mangle a quote....soon you will believe that a water tower can fly. At least the Palomino....
     
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  18. XCV330

    XCV330 A Being of Pure Caffeine Premium Member

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    X-33 demanded too much of one X program. X planes were supposed to develop a few or one specific technology, not be some drastic rethink of everything. X-33 reached too far and failed. The X-33 design they went with was a poor design. The VTVL follow on to Delta Clipper would have been better, I think.

    Look at the X vehicles from that era. X-33 died early after burning through money. X-34 didn't do much and never flew, but it's FASTRAC engine program was, I think, one of the least known but most important developments to the current boom in commercial spaceflight. There might be a spacex without fastrac, but it would not be the same SpaceX. X-38 was cancelled in a brilliantly stupid move that should never have happened, and the Phenomenauts can say my peace about that:



    X-37.. still flying, still up there.
     
  19. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh well, Vulcan will be the ride for spiral---um...BOR-4..I mean...Dream Chaser

    A shame what happened to X-34
    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...-planes-ended-up-rotting-in-someones-backyard

    This is why I wish STS had been an Energiya Buran type system. One orbiter would have been a scaled up X-34 with turbo-jets going where OMS pods would go on the orbiter. One orbiter could have been a Faget straight wing--another, a large lifting body.

    An engine-equipped External Tank (Energiya/SLS-like core) would have allowed simpler orbiters--perhaps of different sizes and shapes (within reason)

    I want large scale boilerplates. But this modularity would have cost a great deal--but having a lot of tests--and different shaped payload-bays--might have allowed novel construction--and whatever spaceplane performed the best could be Shuttle II--with the Energiya evolving into a super HLLV

    Liquid fueled Zenit like strap-ons could carry capsules.

    This would have been a true space transportation system. I would have liked a scaled up X-34 with no payload bay--just a docking ring somewhere for astronaut only transfer--and self ferry.
     
  20. arch101

    arch101 Commodore Commodore

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