Originally posted by veritas 7
Why oh why, has no other country, or the US for that matter, ever put another person back on the moon?
It does not make sense, why it has never been repeated?
The answer to that is fairly straightforward. Money. Lots of websites and books claim that a moon landing today would cost around $200 billion to
accomplish, and upwards of one trillion dollars to land men on Mars. I think those values are a bit high. So, lets see what the original program would
cost in today's money.
The cost of the Apollo program in 1969 was thirty five billion dollars. I'll break it down for you. (I'm doing this more for me out of curiosity
than anything - but I figured I'd share it here since people are curious.
NASA's Budget from 1960 to 1970:
) And then adjusted to 2005
(based on consumer price index
(in millions of dollars) -- today's dollars (actual)
= 485.1 ----- 2,857,876,172
= 964.0 ----- 6,012,432,194
= 1,825.3 -- 11,271,612,182
= 3,674.1 -- 22,441,485,476
= 5,100.0 -- 30,781,536,326
= 5 250.0 -- 31,280,232,606
= 5 175.0 -- 30,317,966,706
= 4 968.0 -- 28,284,983,516
= 4 588.9 -- 25,390,284,185
= 3 995.3 -- 21,214,883,165
= 3 696.6 -- 18,623,148,117
Lets just focus on 1965 to 1970 to get a better idea of the price of the Apollo program (which started in 1964 with the Gemini program, but we'll
ignore the first "learning" programs as we already know how to get into space and how to operate in space - I've also ignored the 1971 budget
year). I have adjusted each year's budget individually to 2005 dollars.
Total budget from 1965 to 1970: $27,673,800,000
Total budget 65-70, adjusted annually, to 2005 dollars: $155,111,498,295
If we split that into a 5 year program that would amount to $31.02 billion per year, not adjusting for inflation
Comparatively, NASA's entire budget for 2004 was $16.2 billion ($2.7 billion in 1965 dollars).
If NASA adjusted their spending to match the spending trend during the five year period between 1965 and 1970, and eliminated all space exploration
projects except for the moon landing and some small projects (about 8% of their total budget went elsewhere) that means they'd still have to cough up
something around $26 billion per year.
Where is the money going to come from? What nation can afford to put upwards of $30 billion towards going to the moon when there are other things down
here on earth their citizens want and need? (services, social programs, roads, airports, etc..)
Lets say Canada decides to go to the Moon tomorrow, how much of it's budget would have to go towards it?
Canada's 2004 national budget
(the only G-7 country to show a budget surplus in 2004-2005
btw): $186 billion ($9 billion surplus budget)
That would mean, for Canada to create a space program and get men to the moon, Canada would have to take over %16.12 of it's entire budget (Canada
currently spends $12.9 billion per year on defense for example). Even with the utilization of 100% of the $9 billion budget surplus directed at a
space program instead of paying off the national debt, Canada would still have to allocate $21 billion a year for 5 years, or %11.29 (which is money
that would have to be taken away from other existing programs in a country with taxpayers already pissed off over healthcare and education cuts). I
think you'll see that a moon landing is not in the cards for Canada...
What about for China
? Well China had $317.9 billion in revenues, and $348.9
billion in expenditures in 2004. A $30 billion per year space program would be a significant 9.43% of their (pre deficit) budget, something that in
the past just wasn't feasible (they have been spending big bucks to modernize their country and their military for the past 10 years). Now they're
apparently in a position to spend money on prestige and in the progress gain a lot of technological benefits from their space program (it's why we
have computers, polymers, composites, teflon, velcro, tang, etc. folks).
Then there's the technological hurdles...
Nobody has a rocket big enough to do the job.
have the CZ-4 (Longmarch 4)
which can lift 11,000 lbs into low orbit
and 5,000 lbs to stationary orbit.
have the Zenit-2 or Zenit 3SL which can lift 13.74 tons (27,480lb) to 51 degrees or 11.38 tons (22,560lb) to 99 degrees
(stationary) orbit -- the Zenit is not man-rated however. The Russians
also have the Proton-M which can
launch 22 tons (44,000lb) into low earth orbit - the Proton-M is also not man-rated. The Russian space program relies on the Soyuz series (based on
the R-7) which is used for launching cosmonauts to the space station, and for satellite launches. The Soyuz (SL-4 or A-2) can launch 5,300-5,500kg
(11,685-12,125 lbs) into low to medium orbit. The space station is not in a high orbit (like some people think) and performs orbital burns to
adjust it's orbit trajectory often.
have two rocket designs (one in use, one available in 2007). The
European Space Agency
have the Ariane 5 with a maximum payload of 6 tonnes (metric
tons) or 13,332 lbs ; the Vega with a maximum payload of 1500kg (3,307 lbs) is designed for launching smaller payloads (satellites etc). The ESA also
plans to have an Ariane 5 ECA with a max payload of 10 tonnes (22,000 lbs) in late 2005 or early 2006; and an Ariane 5 ES ATV with max payload of up
to 21 tonnes sometime in 2006. None of the ESA rockets are man-rated.
have no big rockets and haven't had one since 1971. The space shuttle is 1/2 the size it was originally intended to be, it's
maximum payload is 63,500 lb (28,800 kg) and it is a low to medium orbit vehicle. (Primarily low) The other workhorses for the USA are the
(the most powerful in this series is the Delta 9720 which has a maximum payload
of 11,330lbs (5,139 kg); the Atlas
series comes in a variety of models with
the smallest Atlas V-4xx being capable of lifting 10,910-16,800 lbs (4950–7620 kg) and the largest Atlas Heavy which will be capable of lifting
27,888 lbs (12,650 kg) if/when it's available for launch sometime after 2006.
Comparing the above existing rockets to what the Saturn V
of (and did) is like comparing a moped to a dump truck. The Saturn V could launch a 129,300 kg (285,000 lb) payload into orbit, or a 48,500 kg
(107,000 lb) payload to the moon.
So, you asked why has no other nation put a man on the moon and the answer is simple: it's a complete waste of money if you don't have a specific
need to do it. And nobody has a rocket capable of doing anything close to what is required anymore. The cold war is/was the only reason anyone has
ever been to the moon. Prestige did it, and as soon as it was done the American tax-payer said "ENOUGH!" and the Apollo program was abruptly ended
with 6 more scheduled launches, and 2 complete and ready Saturn V rockets never to be used (one lays on its side outside Cape Kennedy, rusting away on
display to this day).
[edit on 23-7-2005 by CatHerder]