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Life After The Shuttle

Posted by: Andy Hill - Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:05 pm
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Life After The Shuttle 
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Post    Posted on: Tue May 03, 2005 11:42 pm
I think that the Boeing/Lockheed Martin competition that is now pracically a forgone conclusion is mainly derived from the capabilities of the companies. Would you trust just anyone with several billion dollars to develop a state-of-the-art, brand new manned spacecraft? As much as I love the alt. spacers (and I'm a card-carrying member of the alt. space hugger's club), any small business is not ideally suited to develop a product as complex as the CEV. Scaled Composites, Spacex, and the like are all perfectly capable of developing such a vehicle, IMHO, but they dropped out of the running several months ago citing paperwork concerns (a lousy reason to quit if you ask me). The smaller alt. space companies such as Andrews Space and Xcor need to prove their legitimacy first with smaller projects. I'm not saying NASA should ignore firms outside of the big-three aerospace, but I think that we'd all agree that the CEV will be the hardest spacecraft developed for NASA in decades, and is not the best choice for first-time contractors. Niches such as low-cost probes, life support systems, subsystems, etc are prefect for today's alt. space environment.

That said, I am a little bit apprehensive about the future of the CEV in the hands of the big-3 aerospace dinosaurs, but we probably don't have to worry too much. With Boeing and LockMart competing, delays and cost overruns should be kept to a minimum in the spirit of good old captialist competition. Whoever comes up with a better product will be naturally selected over the opponent, and with two companies in the running we are assured that the chances of someone following through and actually coming up with a product are doubled. I'm a fan of the idea of using small innovative companies whenever possible over the giant inefficient corporation, but there are certain jobs that can't be done any other way. The good thing here is that NASA is finally getting off the LEO merry-go-round and venturing out where its astronauts belong, in deep space. However they end up doing that is less important than that the end result actually occurs. :)

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 04, 2005 5:38 am
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science ... 34782.html

What does everybody think about the Big Aerospace Cartel's new ride unveiled today in Pop Mech?

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 04, 2005 7:53 am
I must admit that I quite like the look of this, I was expecting both the big guys to produce an Apollo re-hash capsule. This looks a bit like the HL-20 design.

The only down side is that the full CEV (crew module, mission module and propulsion stage) requires 3 launches and in orbit assembly, thats a lot of launches and mucking about in LEO everytime you want to go somewhere. Perhaps it will be possible to use the crew module separately to ferry astronauts to the ISS and an ESA ATV for cargo to reduce some of the launches.

EDIT: If the weight split was such that the crew module was less than 6,000kg (not likely given the titanium internal structure, but you never know) it might be possible to launch it separately on a Falcon V class launcher rather than a Delta IV heavy which would make launch costs a lot cheaper. By minimising the crew module's weight compared to the other components then running costs would be cheaper as initially the majority of flights will be to the ISS which shouldn't require the other modules.

Thinking about it a little further, there would have to be other/different modules added for a Mars mission, the crew would need more supplies and a bigger living space for a long journey and a landing vehicle of some sort. This will probably mean even more launches and assembly in LEO.

I've looked up the NASA requirement for proposals and both teams should have submitted theirs by 2PM EST yesterday, so Boeings should be in as well. I wonder why we have seen very little on their design, there are some simple drawings with a few titles on their website that date back a couple of months but not much else.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 04, 2005 12:39 pm
Well, I was hoping for something like the old VentureStar, or even that CRV from a few years back. But that beast looks like the Shuttle, just uglier. It's something that a bloody first-year undergrad could come up with; essentially an Apollo remake.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 04, 2005 1:03 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Well, I was hoping for something like the old VentureStar, or even that CRV from a few years back. But that beast looks like the Shuttle, just uglier. It's something that a bloody first-year undergrad could come up with; essentially an Apollo remake.


I think that this is an indication that both teams will play it safe, nothing to radical or innovative from fear of scaring NASA into believing that a long developement program will be needed. NASA has to believe that there will be a vehicle at the end of all this rather than another cancelled project costing Billions. Something like VentureStar would be to adventurous.

I thought that they might have used more composites in the design as this would have made it lighter but we only have a limited amount of detail at the moment and should perhaps wait until more technical information is released. Then again its always fun to speculate isn't it? :)

The crew vehicle isn't to bad but you're right when you stack all the modules together it does seem to be a bit of a lash up. I guess the prime concern is that it will work rather than what it looks like though.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 04, 2005 5:56 pm
LockMart is full of it. This is the same old OSP rehash--and Griffin is going to have none of it.

This thing masses out to 40 tons--and LockMart doesn't even have their 20-25 ton Atlas V "heavy' out. It is too big for Delta IV.

This smacks of Dennis Smith and Dan Dumbacher. Smith tried to sell OSP for a cost of 13--17 billion to the taxpayer and all but got run-out of washington.

It would actually be as expensive as Energiya Buran--but with less utility--like the Hermes debacle--throwing away the trans-stage and all.

The size of this contraption is dictated by the downlift and supply need for ISS.

Right now ATK's "the stick" CEV/SRB combo is about as spartan as it gets--and last weeks' AV Week and Space had some favorable comments from Griffin on it IIRC.

It looks like an old German hand-grenade--but its sturdy form will allow it to kick over and fly depressed trajectory--unlike the EELVs which would actually impart MORE g-forces during abort--due to being comsat launchers first. They cannot fly depressed trajectory due to their fragile nature.

I really doubt the ability to pull that 40 ton slab from a stack at Max-Q during aborts.

This is why you need strong gov't--people. Griff won't allow this abomination. If you have weak gov't--the contractors run things--they gouge.

--if you have no gov't--you have Rutan and his useless toys.


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Post    Posted on: Thu May 05, 2005 12:07 pm
Quote:
if you have no gov't--you have Rutan and his useless toys.


This tends to become an inacceptabel style. It's not you who has to decide if something is useless or useful - it's each potential demander who can decide for he himself if something is useless or useful.

Some cosider Rutan's vehicles as useful because rthey want to do what can be done by them - they want suborbital space travel and they want access to space. This is sufficient justification to call Rutan's vehicles useful. If there were nobody who wants them he simply wouldn't get any revenues from any market.

Your mentioning of the government in the quote above could mean that you want the government to regulate Rutan's vehicles away - please clarify if that is the case and if it is not the case then clarify what you do have in mind.

Are you working for the government? Are you working for a company like Lockheed Martin? Is a personal interest behind the quoted issue and other issues of yours. Then please poste it explicitly.

Your posts mostly are sounding as if you claim dominance and superiority of governmental spaceflight over private personal spaceflight and of governments over privates - clarify too if that really is so.

In the western freedom-orineted democratic countries dominance of the government over privates is not acceptable because that has a tendency to totalitarism - as has been shown by Friedrich August von Hayek. If privates want private personal spaceflight then the goverment mustn't prvent or prohibit it if people like Rutan make it possible while keeping the public saftey debated in the Rgeulations section.

What I quoted is annoying - especially because this is the forum of the XPRIZE Foundation who wants vehicles like those of Rutan and who wnats private personal spaceflight.

Do you wnat action of the government against the Foundation? Do you have a "playground" at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, NASA or another governemt department or agency that is threatened by vehicles like WK/SSO and/or companies like Scaled Composites?

You often are sounding arrogant and the quote above calls for to get rid of the government - I prefer private spaceflight the more now a little bit.



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Post    Posted on: Thu May 05, 2005 1:00 pm
I think there is room enough in the space industry for everyone and people like Scaled are fulfilling different needs to the government. Lets face it the US government is not going to instruct NASA to run sub-orbital flights or even orbital flights for the general public in fact they are likely to be against it. There was supposed to be some friction on the ISS between Dennis Tito and the NASA astronaults when he visited, I dont know how true that is but I dont think that NASA was happy with the situation.

NASA should not compete with private space travel companies as they are trying to achieve different goals. NASA should be pushing the boundaries of what is possible while increasing technology and knowledge. Private companies should be exploiting the past gains that NASA have made to get the most out of them and allow NASA to move on to its next challenge by playing a support role where it can.

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Post    Posted on: Thu May 05, 2005 1:31 pm
Hello, Andy Hill,

as usual or at least mostly I agree by far. My answer to publiusr is meant to make conscious to him boundaries and to get clarifications to him. His style is a mere negative one while your style is agood one.



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Post    Posted on: Thu May 05, 2005 5:29 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Are you working for the government? Are you working for a company like Lockheed Martin? Is a personal interest behind the quoted issue and other issues of yours. ... Your posts mostly are sounding as if you claim dominance and superiority of governmental spaceflight over private personal spaceflight ...


Guess what, Ekke? Dominance and superiority of governmental spaceflight over private personal spaceflight is a fact.

And if publiusr works for Lockheed, that would explain the posting from an IP in the Alabama public library system.

publiusr's style is a little confrontational, agreed, but sometimes passion overrules polite behavior --

All he is saying, is give Griff a chance.

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Post    Posted on: Thu May 05, 2005 10:10 pm
Heh. Lookups are fun, ain't they?

Say hi to your buddies in Huntsville for me, Publius!

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Post    Posted on: Fri May 06, 2005 8:49 pm
desertbadger wrote:
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Are you working for the government? Are you working for a company like Lockheed Martin? Is a personal interest behind the quoted issue and other issues of yours. ... Your posts mostly are sounding as if you claim dominance and superiority of governmental spaceflight over private personal spaceflight ...


Guess what, Ekke? Dominance and superiority of governmental spaceflight over private personal spaceflight is a fact.

And if publiusr works for Lockheed, that would explain the posting from an IP in the Alabama public library system.

publiusr's style is a little confrontational, agreed, but sometimes passion overrules polite behavior --

All he is saying, is give Griff a chance.


Thank you--that was my point entirely.

I find some in the space-libertarian crowd confrontational and disgusting myself.

Simberg for example--and Tumlinson for his NASA/HLLV bashing. They have no hardware for their smack talk. At least Rutan has that--his Global flyer could be a good UCAV to compete with Global Hawk perhaps. That is a very good design.

But his "Spaceship One Gov't Zero sign was classless.

He drives on Public interstates just like the rest of us.

The hate gov't crowd just cannot acknowledge that some things like TVA, Big Science projects and the like just cannot (or will not) be pursued by small minded profit only thinkers. Griff will be an example of good gov't in action--if given a chance, as you say.


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Post    Posted on: Fri May 06, 2005 9:16 pm
Fine, publi, I'm happy to give Griff a chance, but apparently that is NOT all you were saying.

It seems like Burt Rutan and Rick Tumlinson are welcome in the new NASA Administrator's office -- Rand Simberg may be next!

P.S. You don't have to be a frothing Libertarian to enjoy the SpaceShip One, Govt. Zero sign. You only have to be a little discouraged by NASA.

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Post    Posted on: Fri May 06, 2005 9:36 pm
That wasn't Griff's fault.

And Griff is being a good politician.

Don't be fooled--like me--he has a mean streak. Perhaps more so--from being a driven individual.

Now to wait and see if Simberg and friends will be as welcoming to Griffin and his desires as he has been to them.

I doubt it.


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Post    Posted on: Sat May 07, 2005 8:40 am
A lot of NASA's problems stem from outside forces such as the military and politicians imposing things on it. The USAF extra requirements for the shuttle have proven to have disasterous results for it and they dont even use it. Politicians more interested in jobs and facilities in their own state rather than whether decisions are in the best interest of what NASA is trying to do has also played a role.

However NASA has still squandered many opportunities and has failed to deliver a safer more cost effective means of getting astronauts in to orbit so must bear some of the blame. You are right that Griffin is not responsible for any of these failings and should be given a chance, tthat does not mean that the past should be forgotten. NASA is currently overdrawn on its achievement account and needs to make some deposits to get back the support it has lost, Griffin can do this if he is allowed to.

desertbadger wrote:
P.S. You don't have to be a frothing Libertarian to enjoy the SpaceShip One, Govt. Zero sign. You only have to be a little discouraged by NASA.


That is the whole point, people remember NASA for things like Apollo and have become disillusioned by its lack of progress over the last 30 years. Soon people will be asking questions like "what is it for?" or "would it be better to allow commercial industry to run the US human spaceflight program?" or even worse "do we need one?".

NASA must stop that happening and I think that Griffin is the man who may be able to do that.

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