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Recession may ground space flights

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posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 10:47 PM
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thehill.com...

President-elect Obama will have to decide the fate of the costly U.S. space program amid a global recession and skyrocketing deficits. Obama faces a decision at the end of April on whether to continue the Space Shuttle initiative, which NASA otherwise plans to shut down. Congress last fall set a deadline for the new administration to decide this spring on whether to reverse course and continue the program, still the only way NASA has to transport Americans into space. Extending the program would come at a high cost; two shuttle flights a year cost $3 billion, according to outgoing NASA administrator Michael Griffin. That’s even more expensive with a $1.2 trillion fiscal-year deficit as a backdrop. Those who wanted to end the shuttle program said its continuation is shifting money from the Constellation program, the Bush administration’s plan to return astronauts to the moon by 2020 with an eye toward eventually sending them to Mars and other planets. Constellation’s estimated price tag is $100 billion, and it has been repeatedly delayed due to inadequate funding. As a consequence, the United States now faces a gap of five years between the planned retirement of the shuttle and Constellation, which will not be ready to fly earlier than 2015. In the meantime, American astronauts and cargo will have to ride on other nations’ rockets, particularly Russia’s. Obama must also make a decision on whether to provide funding for the Constellation program this spring. On the campaign trail, Obama stirred up criticism when he suggested that he would delay the Constellation program by five years. But later Obama backtracked and offered some support for the program, calling it a “vital new program” in a space-policy white paper. It’s unclear how the widening budget deficit and continued economic crisis will affect his views on the space program, which has often been a source of deep national pride for Americans. At the same time, NASA and the space program have always had their critics, who question spending public money to send rockets to the moon and Mars while the nation faces other needs. Criticism intensified earlier this decade after the 2003 Columbia shuttle accident killed seven astronauts.




posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 10:49 PM
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This would be a big blow to our efforts to advance our knowledge in many areas, not just space exploration. So many developments came out of the space program, including advances in the medical area. It would be a shame to see a program, which costs probably less than 1 week of war in Iraq, to be grounded. What do others think about this?



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 10:51 PM
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I think we should fix things at home before we go out exploring. Maybe it's just me. We don't really have the money to do it right now (or the war in Iraq...). Of course, we could restart it when things are a tad more stable.

It would be better to wait now, then to spend possibly less money or have less people employed and there to be a mistake.



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 10:51 PM
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It is time for space travel to enter the business realm and be a for profit enterprise. We will get where we want to go far faster and cheaper that way.



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:04 PM
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Sheesh.

The reasons are so "in your face" as to why there is such criticisim about NASA and the spending of tax payer money with so much wrong at home.

Should I tell everyone why? Or can we shake the "box of rocks" to figure it out?

Key word....ROCKS. Dull, boaring, plain ol ROCKS.

Ok if NASA was doing something viable, instead of going in endless circles up in low Earth orbit, and actually was supported politically to continue what it was doing in 73, there would be mining and moon bases and mars colonies and industries and countless jobs created from it and entirely new infrastructures and fields of expertiese from it all.

But nooooo.

Imagine right now, if those natural resource mining operations were in exsistance right now, all the jobs, infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, and countless other industries and jobs that go along with that, would there be this current economic depression we have right now?

I seriously doubt it.

The same excuse was used back in 73. 'Oh too expensive, too complex, too much problems at home to fix first'. Well guess what...those problems that caused the space program to come to a hault in 73...are still unfixed!! IN fact they are worse now!!!

So shall we repeat the same ho hum drum excuses and not do something different about solving the problems...or actually do something real to solve the problems?

I vote for the latter.



Cheers!!!!

[edit on 14-1-2009 by RFBurns]



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:16 PM
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reply to post by RFBurns
 


I agree with what you are saying. What really mystifies me, is NASA's claim that it would take 15-20 years to get back to the moon. Now, wait a minute. JFK issued the challenge in 1961 to get to the moon by the end of the decade, and we did in 1969. With all of the knowledge and technology, we have now, why should it take so long to get back to the moon?



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:19 PM
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reply to post by ravenshadow13
 





I think we should fix things at home before we go out exploring. Maybe it's just me. We don't really have the money to do it right now (or the war in Iraq...). Of course, we could restart it when things are a tad more stable.

Actually, if we followed through in earnest on the international space station, perhaps the enhanced cooperation of the US with Russia, would ease tensions in the world. We managed to work together with them in the past, and tensions eased. I would rather engage them in peaceful scientific efforts in space, than in military conflict on earth, don't you think?



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:21 PM
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reply to post by Blaine91555
 


The problem there, is that business doesn't seem to have the money right now either. What would you propose doing, since R & D has been drastically cut by corporations, or are you talking about a joint venture between government and business? (Ugh- I can't believe I would even suggest that myself:lol



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:21 PM
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The way I look at it, these days, what's another 3 or $4 billion to waste? We throw away that much in a week in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we're going to start printing money to bail out the banks and the auto companies, why not throw a few billion at NASA?

Besides, if we don't, we'll just have a bunch of over-educated, unemployed white collar scientists wandering around that we'll have to pay for somehow.

A few of us living on the Moon
Most of us living in the gutter



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:24 PM
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reply to post by Nohup
 





The way I look at it, these days, what's another 3 or $4 billion to waste? We throw away that much in a week in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we're going to start printing money to bail out the banks and the auto companies, why not throw a few billion at NASA? Besides, if we don't, we'll just have a bunch of over-educated, unemployed white collar scientists wandering around that we'll have to pay for somehow.

There's the right attitude- welfare for the middle class. After all, that is the ridicule aimed at the space program in the 1960's and 1970's.
I like it- "Fly with NASA and avoid the soup kitchens."



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:27 PM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
I agree with what you are saying. What really mystifies me, is NASA's claim that it would take 15-20 years to get back to the moon. Now, wait a minute. JFK issued the challenge in 1961 to get to the moon by the end of the decade, and we did in 1969. With all of the knowledge and technology, we have now, why should it take so long to get back to the moon?


Indeed. All that engineering is sitting in vaults, some of it improved upon. What is missing isnt engineering, is not the lack of funds, or even the will of the people.

What is missing is the political vision, the political drive. In Kennedy's time, it was political drive that inspired the nation to shoot for the moon.

There was one devistating blow that basically put the nail in the coffin back in 1989. When ol Bush Sr. proposed to return to the moon by 2019 and threw everything including the kitchen sink onto the tiny table for returning to the moon, costing estimates reached into well over 300 trillion dollars!!!! That made congress and the American people throw up the ball and walked off the playing field.

We dont need anything fancy. Hell the space shuttle, slightly modified, can get us back to the moon, land, explore around, start taking materials to make bases in its cargo holds, and launch VTOL style back into orbit and come back.

Its all there, it just needs the political vision and drive like it used to be in Kennedy's time, and they didnt have any real spacecraft or even viable capsules or command modules and yes..we were there 8 years later.



Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:34 PM
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reply to post by ProfEmeritus
 


The Apollo effort was a quick and dirty affair; land on the moon and return safely. The plans for the next manned lunar mission are far more ambitious. This time the goal is to eventually establish a presence on the moon. This time the task requires a lot more. The crew will be larger and stay on the moon for a longer period than the Apollo missions. The vehicle will be larger (and reusable). The plan involves much more than getting there and back and it calls for new techniques and new technology, the old stuff won't cut it.

[edit on 1/14/2009 by Phage]



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:36 PM
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reply to post by RFBurns
 

You and I see eye to eye on this. When mankind stops striving to reach out, we stagnate and eventually die. In fact, what you said about lack of vision is true not just in the area of space exploration, but in just about every aspect of American life. People and corporations don't have a real vision any more, other than to "make money" or "stay above water". In my office here at home, I have a poster of a lighthouse, shining its beam into the night, and the poster is merely titled "VISION". That is the only poster handing in my office.

I've starred your post.



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:41 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Viable points. But it is not necessary to start the new endeavors with untried, unproven new technologies that will require more years to test with all the other things going on currently. Kennedy's time did not have the economic recessions we have now, but we do have enough technologies and engineering ability to get us there, to start the initial foundation for the permanent presence on the Moon. As the foundation is being laid, the new keels for those new ships can be laid too and we would already be ahead of the game when that new craft is ready to take over, and take even more payloads, more crews etc, for that permanent presence on the Moon.

From the engineering point of view, it makes more sense to utilize already proven technologies that can be modified and adapted easily and at less expense to start the program than it would to wait around for that mystical magical carpet that will only cost more to do the same thing that we can get done with what we have now.


Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:42 PM
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We dont need anything fancy. Hell the space shuttle, slightly modified, can get us back to the moon, land, explore around, start taking materials to make bases in its cargo holds, and launch VTOL style back into orbit and come back.

Argh.

No.

That is not possible without significant modifications, unless you can explain how?



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:45 PM
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reply to post by ProfEmeritus
 


You should get a snap shot of that picture in your office and send it to NASA and to the incomming admin!


SnF for that one!!


Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:52 PM
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Originally posted by C0bzz

We dont need anything fancy. Hell the space shuttle, slightly modified, can get us back to the moon, land, explore around, start taking materials to make bases in its cargo holds, and launch VTOL style back into orbit and come back.

Argh.

No.

That is not possible without significant modifications, unless you can explain how?


Easy. The shuttle has more than 3 hard points under the belly. If you recall the initial designs, the shuttle originally was to include VTOL lift rocket bays right next to each landing gear points. Given the Moon's low gravity, these hardpoints would not require VTOL rocket pods of large size at all.

When the LEM lifted off the Moon surface, did it have a huge rocket engine to get it up off the surface? No.

Using 3 retro style rocket pods on the hardpoints underneath the shuttle, it could lift off the surface of the Moon, as well as land, all in VTOL fashion.

In fact, the shuttle's original concept was to be that re-usable spacecraft that was going to be used for the extended Moon missions after the Apollo series. It was designed for it. The problem is that after NASA was cut short, the shuttle was not outfitted with its intended hard pont mounts and bays for these VTOL rocket pods.

It is a workable solution and well within the shuttle's abilities, it was designed for it originally. So why not use it for its original intent to spring board the return to the Moon program?

Vision..determination, and will...thats all that remains to overcome.



Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:54 PM
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reply to post by RFBurns
 

Actually, I found where I bought it on the web. Here is the url:

imagecache2.allposters.com...



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 11:59 PM
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reply to post by ProfEmeritus
 


Thanks for the link! Saved!


2nd line.

Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 12:35 AM
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To get to the moon a Lunar Transfer Orbit is required. The Lunar transfer orbit is one half of an elliptic orbit that touches both the orbit that one wishes to leave and the orbit that one wishes to reach; the moon.


(1 - LEO)
(2 - TRANSFER ORBIT)
(3 - Moons Orbit)

Problem is, the Moon is 363,104 km from Earth. In a similar Transfer Orbit, Geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), the Shuttle can only lift four thousand kilograms of payload; and that's 'only' 35,786 km from Earth. However, it's not over, a transfer orbit only means it touches the destination orbit, thus when you reach it, orbital energy must be added so your orbit matches the destination orbit.

I can't touch landing on the moon. But I can touch getting back to Earth. To get back to Earth we have to loose all the energy we just gained, so the lowest point of our Orbit around Earth, is that of LEO, our desination orbit. Essentially it is Orbits 3, 2, 1, or the above transfer orbit in reverse. Once we reach LEO height, we have to further loose even more energy to we don't wizz back up. And then we have to loose even more energy so we can land at the runway.

Considering it doesn't have enough fuel to reach the moon, it certainly cannot do one trip there and one trip back, that would require double the fuel. Of course, if you really wanted to, leaving Lunar orbit, you could loose enough energy so the orbit is extremely elliptical, where the lowest point of the orbit is lower than the radius of the Earth - like the Apollo missions. But then, you still have enough energy to touch the moon again, and that energy has to be absorbed through the heatsink. It would burn up.

My best bet is a modified Delta IV Heavy with an additional stage or two.

[edit on 15/1/2009 by C0bzz]



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