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Reasonable?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:14 am
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Reasonable? 
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Post Reasonable?   Posted on: Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:14 am
Four Nations intend to establish lunar stations - the Americans, the Chinese, the Japans and probably the Russians too.

NASA will have the CEV and some private vehicles, the Chinese have their vehicle and now JXA is plaaning the development of their own vehicle too. The Russians are the only ones who have a cargo-specialised vehicle besides their manned vehicle.

I don't have anything against their independetn developments of their own vehicles - but it seems to be waste of ressources, time and money to plan sveral lunar stations.

Shouldn't they coordiante their plans and their developments to establish a permanent lunar station cheaper and more quickly and this way saving ressources? Which ways could they do that? And what would you recommend?



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Post Re: Reasonable?   Posted on: Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:46 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Shouldn't they coordiante their plans and their developments to establish a permanent lunar station cheaper and more quickly and this way saving ressources? Which ways could they do that? And what would you recommend?


In a perfect world that would be the best approach. Unfortunately in the world we live in that is not likely to happen. The ISS is a prime example of what can happen when you rely on others to much. All the nations involved have been held up by the grounding of the shuttle (I cast no blame), if any of the other partners had developed a heavy launch vehicle then at least some of the components could have been put in space. While nations may complain about not getting their astronauts to the ISS or that their components have been delayed they are at least partially responsible for not being self reliant.

It will be better in the long run for different nations to develop their own vehicles and bases as this will result in alternative means of achieving goals rather than reliance on a single critical path. It will also have the benefit of producing diversity in how problems are tackled and increase the competition between nations which will promote faster growth because of national pride.

This does not stop cooperation between nations, where perhaps if bases were built close enough together they could act as safe havens for one another in an emergency or ferry each others astronauts if there was spare capacity. But normally the more people working on the same problem the better or quicker the solution.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 01, 2005 4:28 pm
I think several independent programs are a good way to go. Not only can each program concentrate on it's own strategy effectively, but several different strategies can be tried. Look at the two big programs in the past.
Apollo was in direct competition with an independent program in the Soviet Union. The results were nothing short of spectacular.
ISS is an international cooperation, sort of. The result is a lot of money spent to repeat the same things already done on Mir and Skylab.
I am especially glad to see the Chinese and Japanese in competition. That should be a spirited race and great things could come from it. :D


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 02, 2005 1:14 pm
There should be competition - no question. But there is a difference between competition by proprietary systems and technologies and more open systems and technologies.

It should be possible to combine the different vehicles, payloads etc. -which means that there should be standardizations of docking mechanisms and so on. The case of Apollo 13 showed that even NASA-internal there didn't be sufficient standardization.

Concerning the probability to see four national lunar stations around 2030 perhaps the four nations should agree on the lunar region where the four stations should be placed - and they will have to be all within the same squarekilometer at least to be able to rescue each other.

I cannot see all this to be done, aimed at and chieved one day yet.



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