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Obama's Latest Vision

Posted by: sanman - Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:46 am
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Obama's Latest Vision 
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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Sun May 16, 2010 1:03 pm
http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index ... 668ca1978a

this is the latest senate hearing on this, with the second panel consisting of Armstrong, Cernan, and Augustine. Yep... Armstrong actually came to a public event for this.tells you hoe strongly he feels about it.


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
According to Wikipedia he used to be on the board of directors of Thiokol, who happen to make the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters, and also the first stage of Ares-1. He's retired now; I have no idea if he is still on anyone's payroll, but he may not be entirely unbiased with respect to old space vs. new space...

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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Sun May 16, 2010 9:21 pm
Thank you for the link MFL, was quite interesting to watch.

Personally I think that both Armstrong an Cernan a) underestimate the "new" commercial space companies (and more or less ignore the fact that there also are quite a few "old" commercial space companies") and b) both seem to have the fixed mindset, that things can only be done the NASA way. It becomes quite obvious when they talk about how long they think that commercial space will need to be able to ferry crew to the station.

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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Tue May 18, 2010 5:04 am
On the one hand, Obama doesn't trust the private sector to manage healthcare, but on the other hand, he puts blind faith in untested private companies for the future of the US space program. I would point out that healthcare is a much older and more mature field than spaceflight which is in its infancy, and the American private sector has been participating in healthcare much longer than there's even been a space program.


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Tue May 18, 2010 6:35 am
Actually, of all the possible private space companies there is only ONE untested company (SpaceX) and ironically, they seem to be further along the road than anybody else, including "oldspace".

In my opinion, transportation (it is irrelevant if in space or somewhere else) is an area that naturally fits capitalism, Health care isn't (at least not without very strict rules/laws that disable some of the normal mechanisms of a free market - otherwise those who need it the most could never get it).

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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Tue May 18, 2010 7:58 am
sanman wrote:
On the one hand, Obama doesn't trust the private sector to manage healthcare, but on the other hand, he puts blind faith in untested private companies for the future of the US space program. I would point out that healthcare is a much older and more mature field than spaceflight which is in its infancy, and the American private sector has been participating in healthcare much longer than there's even been a space program.


One major difference - everyone needs health care. Only people who need space flight need spaceflight. Therefor health is better provided by the state, Spaceflight is better provided by the public sector.

I sure Obama does trust the private sector to manage healthcare - but only for the people who can afford it. Government supplied healthcare provides a necessity to those who cannot afford it. If you cannot afford to launch a satellite, then you don't die, you just don't launch a satellite, because your business plan doesn't support it. Your own health should not be the the subject of a business plan.


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2010 1:00 pm
JamesHughes wrote:
One major difference - everyone needs health care. Only people who need space flight need spaceflight.
I kinda see what you're getting at, but as a whole i must disagree. Much of the advances in medicine and health related technologies came about because of the manned spaceflight program being run by the government. The big reason being that nearly all technology developed by NASA directly is pretty much 'open source' and they don't charge to license out their designs etc. Whereas a private company would have to do that in order to recoup money lost in the development process.

Hobbling the premier manned spaceflight (and consequently research) organization in the world in order to cram this healthcare program that looks like something from the files of Faulty Towers is just plain stupid. If Obama and the rest of them actually worked to FIX what was BROKEN in the program instead of heaping on more broken garbage, then things may be different. Hell, they may even save money instead of dumping more into it.

Yes I do feel strongly about this. Partially because I am one who's job is on the line because of Obama's space plans, but mostly because it is taking steps backwards instead of pushing forward. Obama made it clear early in his presidential campaign that he was against manned spaceflight. The only reason he changed his tune is because of the number of votes that Florida and Texas held.


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2010 8:55 pm
And the same thing goes for his healthcare plans. His original plans are quite similar to what we have here in The Netherlands, and it's working quite well. The changes are just there because of the health care providers' lobby.

I'm not sure that the manned spaceflight programme did all that much for terrestrial medicine; it mainly studied the effects of weightlessness and space flight on the human body as far as I know, and that's not very relevant to the folks here on Earth. Can you give any examples?

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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2010 11:03 pm
work on artificial hearts was done in conjunction with NASA<
as was the development of the MRI if i remember correctly.

yes alot of work in the early years went to researching the effects of weightlessness, and still does today, bit alot of technology had to be developed in order to study those effects.

http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/

not taken a close look at the website yet, though I've heard its a great resource.

I'll see if i can find some other examples


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Wed May 19, 2010 11:07 pm
quick search results
http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/330860main_nasa_city.pdf
http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/Medic ... /main.html
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent ... 2d132.html

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp& ... 474882bfe2


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Thu May 20, 2010 4:49 pm
MFL wrote:
The big reason being that nearly all technology developed by NASA directly is pretty much 'open source' and they don't charge to license out their designs etc. Whereas a private company would have to do that in order to recoup money lost in the development process.

Actually that is a huge part of what was broken at NASA "lately". They did still do a lot of research at their various centers, but just not nearly enough, especially not in relation to how much money went into NASA. Way too much money was eaten up by Shuttle and/or Constellation.

I for one really hope that this situation will improve under the new plan.

MFL wrote:
If Obama and the rest of them actually worked to FIX what was BROKEN in the program instead of heaping on more broken garbage, then things may be different.

I'm no rocket scientist, but I strongly believe that the Constellation Program was broken way beyond fixing. At the very first day, that the Ares I and V got announced I immediately said to my friends something like: "What? That's completely stupid, they don't develop something new, they just try to keep almost all shuttle-related facilities in continued operation to avoid job cuts when the shuttles have to be retired. Stupid politics!"

MFL wrote:
Yes I do feel strongly about this. Partially because I am one who's job is on the line because of Obama's space plans, but mostly because it is taking steps backwards instead of pushing forward.

Almost anything that I can think of is less of a step backwards, than Constellation was. Come on, the worlds first (partly) reusable spacecraft is now around 30 years old and we aren't a single step closer to a fully reusable launch system today! We should have cool SSTOs by now, or at least fully reusable TSTOs instead of re-inventing the space capsule.

Obama's (it's not even his actually) new plans won't bring us any exciting new launch vehicles anytime soon, but it (re)sets NASA on a course that it should have taken after the Challenger disaster _at the very latest_!

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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Thu May 20, 2010 10:36 pm
Ok... there are some things that really need to be made clear about constellation.
ARESI... sucks, always have, but the intentions were good (hoping to reduce overall cost of heavy lift development)

ARESV would have been excellent. yet it never actually entered the design phase. no money to start.

ORION, would have been excellent had ARES I not sucked. It would have been a very capable vehicle, but because ARES I was not living up to expectations they had to start hacking the hell out of Orion so that the underpowered ARESI could lift it. It was never an issue of "Oh, ORION is just sooooo heavy and overweight." it was more of the fact that ARES I couldn't meet the requirements it should have. That though, is because Griffen mandated that they HAD to use a 5seg booster right from the beginning *facepalm*

Constelation was a program that, had it not been so micromanaged, and had they not made design decisions in the requirement phase (really bad thing to do), AND had they actually been properly funded in the first place, then things would be different.
Bush and his congress gave NASA a job, a hugely expensive job, but then didn;t give them money to do it, forcing NASA to take money from other projects and divisions to meet the mandated goals.
Marcus Zottl wrote:
especially not in relation to how much money went into NASA
You do realize that NASA's budget only comprises of less than 1% of the nations budget. and is less than $18billion a year. So yeah, remember taht 700 billion dollar bailout the government threw away last year into wallstreet? that would have funded NASA at double their current budget for the next 20 years.... NASA doesn't get squat for a budget. And yet they manage to run the Shuttle program, the ISS, develope a new launch system, do a crapton of research and development. and yet people still complain that NASA wastes money.
Marcus Zottl wrote:
they just try to keep almost all shuttle-related facilities in continued operation to avoid job cuts when the shuttles have to be retired. Stupid politics!"
There is actually a very good reason for retaining those facilities and personnel. Its less money spent on retraining people and less money spent on decommissioning old facilities and then building a whole new set of facilities. think of it as Recycling.

As for using alot of shuttle derived tech in Constellation, the intention behind it was to reduce the overall development cost, testing time, and cost of operation. allowing us to field a replacement faster, cheaper, and more effectively. who screwed the pooch on that one? well ask congress for one, and mike griffen.

Marcus Zottl wrote:
Almost anything that I can think of is less of a step backwards, than Constellation was. Come on, the worlds first (partly) reusable spacecraft is now around 30 years old and we aren't a single step closer to a fully reusable launch system today! We should have cool SSTOs by now, or at least fully reusable TSTOs instead of re-inventing the space capsule
lets see.... I can think of at least a few projects that NASA had been working on towards that end that congress then cancelled.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_X-33
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_Sciences_X-34
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_X-38
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-40

NASA has been getting the shaft for years because of short sighted, tightwad politicians. NASA is a long term programs Agency being funded and run by short term politics. It has been the whipping boy of government agencies because of its high profile. Politicians have readily cancelled promising programs (like the X-38) to show the constituants they were being tough on "waste" while at the same time not trying to save the taxpayers money by fixing what is truly broken, like heathcare and social security.

You'll have to excuse my horrid typing. Doing the best I can one handed with a toddler in my lap :)

I don't mean to come off as hostile on this, but the misinformation about NASA just really irks me. Most of NASA's problems comes from Congress. They're the ones that hold the purse strings, AND tell NASA how they can spend their money.


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Fri May 21, 2010 11:22 am
Thank you for a detailed reply MFL!

It may surprise you, but actually I agree with almost all of your arguments.

I now realize, that the way I tried to describe my opinions wasn't clear enough (and the language barrier probably did it's part as well).

NASA:
When I said that things at NASA were "broken" I didn't want to blame NASA themselves for the status quo. I'm fully aware of (most of) the political reasons for why things are the way they are. I just wrote things sloppy and didn't go into any details (in your previous post you didn't either ;)).

It was not my intent to say that NASA wastes any money either. I wanted to point out, that NASAs current (and even the proposed, "increased" new one) budget just isn't enough to do the amount of R&D that they should do imho. Their operational programs (shuttle, ISS, as well as CxP although that wasn't exactly "operational") just eat away to much of their tiny budget to spend a lot on new research and developing _really_ new stuff.

Example: the X-48 program is very exciting, but if we truly want to transform air travel anytime soon we would need to spend WAY more money on such projects. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-48).

With the retirement of the shuttle and the cancellation of constellation it is just my hope that all those cool research projects get the funding, that they deserve. However, there is no question about it, that a greatly increased budget to do all things in parallel would have been better (but highly unlikely in the current environment).


Constellation:
I think that the intentions where good (as you said yourself), but the execution was poor. Continued use of facilities and personal is indeed a good idea, but not in the way that constellation would have done. I think that the "Direct" proposals would have been far more reasonable because it would have allowed for a more incremental approach.

Ares I:
crap, crap, and oh yeah, crap!
Using a solid only stage for a crewed vehicle is one of the dumbest (but daring! :D) things I can think of, but regardless of that the whole idea of building a dedicated launcher for Orion that pretty much can't do anything else is just mindbogglingly unwise. Not the mention (as you already have done) the fact that Ares I just wasn't up to the job and therefore Orion had to be "downgraded" numerous times...

Ares V:
Without any kind of revolutionary technology there are pretty few alternatives for a heavy lift vehicle, so I don't think that Ares V would have been bad. But again, I would have preferred a more incremental approach like the proposed "Direct" heavy lift variants.

Orion:
Not bad in itself. Since it may be a problem to rendezvous in earth orbit after coming back from the moon/an asteroid/mars chances are you need a reentry capsule anyway. But for "LEO-taxi" it just doesn't compare at all to what the shuttle can do, or better to what a fully reusable spaceplane would allow us to do, while on the other side because of its exploration goals it is a bit... I can't come up with a proper term for this: "overqualified" - if you know what I'm trying to say.


Anyway. Regardless of CxP being a good or bad program, it was years (decades imho) to late and like you said: underfunded. If NASA should have continued to ferry astronauts to and from LEO, then they should have received the money to design and build a replacement for the shuttle to be operational once the shuttle had to be retired. This sadly didn't happen.

All those promising projects that you have linked to (I knew about all of them) got trashed more or less because lack of funding. That's in essence the main reason for the current situation: they never got the money that would have been needed to push technology forward at the rate that would have been possible/necessary.

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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Fri May 21, 2010 12:28 pm
Hey again Marcus,
Yeah, sorry if I came off as a bit of an ass in my last post. I was a bit tired at the time and probably shouldn't have been posting on topic I have such close ties to...lol

I see what you're saying now, and I can also see where i may have misread what you meant before.

When it comes to Shuttle and a replacement, there were two major events that derailed any attempt that would have been made to replace it anytime soon.
The first being Challenger, and teh second, of course columbia.

From what I've come to understand, After flights resumed after Challenger, the plan was to continue to operate shuttle until about 2020. Several projects had been invested into that would have continued to upgrade the shuttle fleet, and allow them to continue flight for that long. That was until the Columbia accident, however, and when Bush gave his "space vision" and Constellation was born. Money was taken from Shuttle, and programs like Chang-Diaz's VASIMR, in order to fund constellation... and so forth and so on... and now we have a gap with no US manned spaceflilght looming, no true vision of NASA's future, and a program(Constellation) that could be saved and made quite successful, if someone had the cajones to set the goal and give the money to do it. (I like the Direct and the Inline shuttle derived concepts, I think they could work quite well).

But there again, It comes back to Obama, and the mess he started. Everyone knows he's been opposed to Manned spaceflight, contray to his current stance. and his current plan, which is different from the previous plan he released, stepped on a lot of toes in Congress, so they are pissed about it. And because he keeps changing his "vision" its just dragging things out longer, until the very quickly approaching Shuttle retirement deadline. Essentially he is creating a situation of "Death by Inacation" I do agree that more money needs to be spent on research, but why earth sciences? why not let the EPA, NOAA, and the other agencies who's job it is to do that research, do that research, and let NASA do the research it's meant to do: Air and Space technologies.

A side note about constellation. One thing that almost certainly hobbled it was the fact that no changes could be made to the program or the architecture without direct congressional approval. So once they realized they had a faulty design, they couldn't do anything about it without huge delays while waiting for congress to get its act together. Yeah... I hope they smack whoever's idea that was. lol

Mike


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Post Re: Obama's Latest Vision   Posted on: Fri May 21, 2010 1:08 pm
You may want to se this: NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun Talks About Technology's Role in NASA's Future

Bobby Braun mostly talkes about the good things in the new vision for NASA.
But between the lines he also said what was wrong with Constellation:
a) It stopped or slowed down all tech. research.
b) It was only focused on goal (the moon).
c) It killed of our research platform in space (ISS).

The main problem with this is that it would lead to a not sustainable space program, because research on important steps to bring cost down wasn’t done. Think about it, NASA doing almost no tech research the next 10 years or more.

Second problem, killing ISS in 2015 would mean no human spaceflight from 2015 to 2020 (or later), when the moon lading would start (because there would be nowhere to go). That would all lead to a dramatically lower number of launches, and that would again lead to increased launch prices.

Third problem US would have to use russian space taxi's for the rest of ISS's lifetime.

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