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 Commander Red Shirt

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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 Commander Red Shirt

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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 Commander Red Shirt

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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 Commander Red Shirt

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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