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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: Sat May 07, 2005 11:33 am
To clarify onyl - the acvtual situation clearly is that governmental spaceflight is dominating and is superior.

That wasn't my point - the point was that engineers of private companies and scientists of private organizations, federations and institutes have the skills, experineces and insights to do so too.

They missed cheap vehicles until now. And so the government did it aa a meritoric comoodity.

Two private organizations alread several times mentioned at this board are doing private Mar research - they are working on martian probes. These two private organizations are the Mars Society and AMSAT. They are working together. The probes are ARCHIMEDES - the ballon to research Mars by floating in the lower atmosphere and P2A5 which will send data to Earth via amateur radio frequences.

Currently it is planned to launch the probes piggypack by an Arian in 2009 or 2011. But if that wouldn't be possible - then SpaceX's Falcon V may be a possible and cheaper alternative - if piggypack is possible and SpaceX and the other customers of that launch agree.

The base of this is private engagement - the former lack of it is one of the reasons why governments had to do it. They still have - but it may change. And I don't see what's inferior compared to governments if private organizations do it successfully- by using private space vehicles and rockets. It should be done if it vcan be managed to do.



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Post    Posted on: Mon May 09, 2005 9:48 pm
Here's some more info on CEV designs

Andrews Aerospace
http://www.andrews-space.com/en/corporate/CEV(200411).htm

http://exploration.nasa.gov/documents/r ... Martin.pdf
http://exploration.nasa.gov/documents/r ... ndrews.pdf

Lockheed
http://exploration.nasa.gov/documents/r ... Martin.pdf

Boeing
http://exploration.nasa.gov/documents/r ... Boeing.pdf

I wonder given Griffin's current shake up how close this is all going to be to the final CEV.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:50 pm
Here is NASA's somewhat predictable selection of the initial 2 teams (to be down selected to 1 next year). I give you Lockheed in one corner and Boeing in the other, nice to see NASA ringing in the changes and really shaking the whole procurement process up. Then again I think that these were really the only 2 team left once they had all ganged together in their respective corners so NASA had little choice in the matter.

Perhaps they will throw T-space a bone and pay for the CXV to be developed, a snip at $400M, it would be a good idea to have a fall back vehicle if there are delays.

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2005/ju ... actor.html

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:39 am
desertbadger wrote:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/1534782.html

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



I think the “Popular Mechanics” article is the worst kind of NASA “HOAX”! Yes, it is a sexy drawing. But it is a drawing of a WINGED vehicle, while it is clearly stated that the vehicle WON’T GLIDE – EVER, but will use the carefully identified parachute to reach the ground. Even NASA isn’t really going to put wings they don’t need (which, remember, like to burn off on reentry!) on a reentry vehicle which will parachute to the ground! Nor will they put a winged vehicle on top of a stock launch vehicle and make the combination fly like a backward arrow (with the feathers on the front end!)

OK, NASA decided it needed to publish a sexy drawing to keep people interested. Lots of startup companies are doing the same thing. But NASA is presumed to have a higher level of credibility! Do you really want NASA setting themselves up to fit into a category with Odyssey or Da Vinci? Apollo shape lumps may not be sexy, but they were reliable, and were even guided to very accurate splashdown.

Some days I think I might like to drive a really sexy sports car. But one thing I am sure of, is that I don’t want to pay the price to purchase or maintain such a beauty. I suspect that the next “space transportation system” should be painted Brown – to remind us that cost effective results are often preferable to “glitz”.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:53 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

in "Die Welt Online" a few moments ago I read that Lockheed is acting as part of a consortium including EADS regarding the CEV.

What do you think about that?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:09 pm
I keep falling into the trap of thinking that NASA has money, and can actually make decisions about what space projects it is going to pursue. The US Congress has the money, and doles it out for its own complex reasons to NASA and others! NASA can talk about this and that new project – and publish artwork – but this is only “vaporware” until they have congressional backing and funding.

I also tend to be too hard on NASA, since they have done lots of great stuff. But I am painfully aware that they have cooperated with congress in sabotaging some good entrepreneurial efforts. Ekkehard Augustin should agree that this is a frustrating but natural problem with the present setup. Investment will only be attracted where there is a perceived need for a new product. (For example, Andrew Beal and his heavy launch system). Yet this same perceived need will stimulate the politicians to provide their own style solutions, and sabotage the independent fund raising effort. (The Space Launch Initiative.)

This situation itself may be on the edge of a radical change. A lot of politicians in congress want to send less money to NASA and more to other projects, if public opinion will let them get away with it. For better or worse, Scaled Composites’ success may make this move possible.

“It’s completely shifted,” said Charles Lurio, a space consultant with an interest in private efforts that goes way beyond ardent. “This is where the action is, not at NASA.” (His assessment of public opinion about human spaceflight.)

Significant success for SpaceX could be the “other shoe” that makes radical reductions to NASA development programs politically feasible. Substitute a hundred million dollar prize for a multi billion dollar development project, and brag about “Empowering the American Entrepreneur.” Good political fodder, but a rough transition for everyone in aerospace! “Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it!”

Yet, as soon as the CREDIBLE possibility of entrepreneurial launch vehicles is accepted, I believe that this shift will happen – with far smaller total aerospace funding. The competition is likely to get ugly, but lower cost launch capability will be the result.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 6:50 am
The article on the frontpage stating that NASA thinks its amateurstic in flying a 'plastic' ship and that they will never allow a NASA astronaut to fly in such a vehicle, is simply stupid. They spent billions and billions and they had more failure and death then a tiny $20 million plastic project. If they talk about money in relation to accomplishments, it's ridiculous. If you spent billions and billions and after that a mount of time, there are still accidents, it's time to retire those things immediately and no spent another few billions to patch things up.

I rather be send up in a scaled vehicle then the shuttle...


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:02 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Hello, Andy Hill,

in "Die Welt Online" a few moments ago I read that Lockheed is acting as part of a consortium including EADS regarding the CEV.

What do you think about that?


I think that given the ITAR rules that EADS participation is likely to be minimal and that they were possibly only included as a nod towards Bush junior's stated wish for international cooperation. I think they were added to give an international flavour to Lockheed's bid for political reasons. That is not to say that EADS wont have something to contribute but Lockheed could have done the same things themselves and working with EADS is likely to create extra paperwork.

Here's an article on T-Space who have been doing drop tests on dummy air launched boosters while the official teams are still drawing pretty pictures and filling out feasibility studies.

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/sit ... ewsLang=en

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:50 am
Hello, rpspeck,

I mostly agree to what you posted and have no problems with it - it fits inot what I myself have been saying too.

Did you read the answer I got from Prof. Collins and posted in the Financial Barriers section? That answer includes five documents online available. Collins conclusion is that the governmental space agencies should assits and work on space tourism for several reasons - one of the reasons being economical efficiency.

This could be an alternative way for NASA to get significantly increased budgets - the best solution for NASA given the current situation. And you and Microspace are working on apart of that solution.

What do you think about all that?



Hello, Andy Hill,

I myself felt surprised about the information because I couldn't imagine EADS to join that consortium. As far as I know EADS currently is second on the world market while Boeing is first -so Lockheed is behind EADS. And in this situation they join a consortium they aren't the leader of...



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:36 pm
Hello Ekkehard

I think that EADS have bid on a number of large NASA contracts over the last few years but failed to be selected, possibly they feel that by partnering with Lockheed they can establish a "history" with NASA and get an insight into how to win a NASA bid.

I suspect that an EADS led CEV bid would not be successful because the US would not select a foreign company as a prime for such a major national project. It would be like saying that they would not be capable of building the CEV without overseas assistance. With EADS as a junior partner it is seen that the CEV is predominantly American with only minor foreign assistance. Also NASA would not wish to give the bulk of the money to a company outside the US.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:48 pm
Excellent pair of posts, rpspeck!

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 3:36 pm
rp? cowboy? You really think that competition will REDUCE launch capacity?

Shucks, people... you'd think that Griffin was about to announce the dissolution of NASA based on the doomsaying in this thread!

First of all, rp is right -- in the US govt, Congress controls the purse strings, and funding is subject to the whims of a lot of folks whom may or may not have any clue about science or engineering. Keep in mind, however, that these people owe their boondoggling lifestyle to their respective constituencies, and a lot of those are wealthy aerospace communities. Not to mention that the aerospace industry is one of the most influential lobbies in the country, particularly when there is a condition of significant defense spending, as figures to be the case for at least the current administration's term. I am sure there are a few crackpots on the hill who might try to sell the "we don't need NASA as long as Musk and Rutan are doing so well" angle, but they will certainly be no match for the congresspersons from places like Georgia, Alabama, Illinois, California, Nevada, Texas, and all the other influential places where Boioioioioioing and LockMart keep thier facilities.

Second, it is actually part of NASA's charter to assist in the development of private-sector aerospace projects. It was a founding principle, in point of fact. It is true that perhaps that vision has not always been forthcoming, but it isn't as though the idea is alien to those people. Griffin has already made statements to the effect that LEO isn't the frontier and that it probably should belong to the private sector.

That being said, we should all consider that non-military government payloads are probably already the exception rather than the rule in the global spaceflight market, which means that the economic forces shaping the future of spacelaunch on this ball of mud are not going to be coming from tax money anyway. Those companies that are used to making thier bread and butter on that kind of stuff will have opportunity to evolve, too, as soon as the market pressure gets real. Once Musk gets Falcon V flying and lands a good DoD contract, watch how fast Atlas and Delta operators "find" ways to make their operations more cost-effective.

And yes, perhaps there will be some budgetary "blowback" resulting from SpaceX and t/Space developing cheaper human spaceflight, but it is likely to be self-correcting. If Griffin has a choice of operators to send his crews into orbit, then he can book whomever most affordably meets his needs. And if Falcon bursts a turbopump or the VLA blows an engine, he has a second option and doesn't have to place the whole program on hiatus even if (God forbid) he loses a crew. It will cost NASA less money in the long run to use "off-the-shelf" services than to "roll-thier-own" all of the time. Imagine what NASA's budget would look like if they were building all of thier desktop computers by the same method as thier space launch vehicles.

I can't freakin' believe that such longtime residents of this forum are chiming in with the "private space launch is bad" chorus. You've all been listening too much to publi. Or maybe it's Cadet who planted some deep subliminal programming last year?

NASA will live. NASA will lead. The next bootprints on the lunar surface, as well as the first on the martian surface, will be US government issue (made in China, of course). And it will happen in this half of the century. Shoot, Griffin himself said only yesterday that lunar landings could be as early as 2015... a scant 10 years

In the intervening time, I for one will be glad to see SpaceX, t/Space, Bigelow, Armadillo, and anyone else whom knows what they are doing, succeed and flourish. Because in the end, while the White House may have sponsored the Lewis and Clark expedition, it sure as heck didn't build the thousands of covered wagons that were responsible for the taming (or "conquest") of the American West. That was private people seeking thier fortune in the frontier and THAT, my friends, is the natural progression of humanity.


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