The Glory Days of NASA Are Over

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posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 03:16 PM
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Just came across this. If this has already been posted, mods, feel free to close/move this thread. And btw, I did a search, and didn't come up with any results.

This is from Michio Kaku's latest blog entry from the site Big Think.

The Glory Days of NASA are Over



Many people were left gasping when President Obama unveiled his new plan for outer space, including his proposal to cancel NASA's Constellation program. It turns out that the great recession of 2008 and 2009 has claimed yet another victim, and this time it's the manned exploration of the Universe.


then he goes on to say:




As if President Obama doesn't already have enough on his plate, between health care, Afghanistan, education reform, budget deficits, etc., he now plans to visit Florida this month to host a space summit and discuss his Administration's new plans for the space program. According to the White House's official release: "The President and the NASA Administrator both believe that we have to be forward thinking and aggressive in our pursuit of new technologies to take us beyond low-Earth orbit."

In fact, over 4,500 people may lose their jobs outright when the space shuttle is phased out in the new strategy. Not to mention that over $9 billion was already spent on research to create the replacement for the space shuttle, the Ares 1 booster rocket. NASA's website states that "the Ares 1 is the essential core of a safe, reliable, cost-effective space transportation system—one that will carry crewed missions back to the moon, on to Mars and out into the solar system."

What does this all mean? It means that in the near term we'll have to depend on the Russians for access to outer space. Eventually—and this is the ultimate goal—we aim to get private enterprise to take over the manned space program. In the future, perhaps you'll see a Coca-Cola advertisement on the booster rockets as astronauts go into outer space with a Google logo on their space suits.


So what kind of implications do you think this will bring?

I know America already uses Soyuz for some things, but having to depend on Russia for all space access until private companies get in on it seems rather interesting.

On the other hand, this could be great for the economy and private sector, if it actually moves that way, by providing new jobs. But then again, we all know what happens when big corporations get a slice of the pie, PROFIT! PROFIT! PROFIT!

A good movie to check out is Moon.

Besides being a great sci-fi movie, it does give some good insight to how corporations may handle space exploration, or maybe a better term would be "exploitation".

Also, I'm curious if Air Force Space Command will be receiving the same kind of budget cuts that NASA will be getting? Something tells me "no".




posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 04:30 PM
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Hi Zombie,

In my 'opinion' ( such as it is) the glory days of NASA ended when they kept on investing money in the shuttle after it was realized that it wasn't viable as a true replacement for anything of the same weight class and certainly not the Saturn-V as HLV. The US gave up space to the SU when it kept blindly pursuing a system which clearly wasn't technologically mature enough for the type of 'shuttle' service to space this system was originally conceived to be. NASA have not earned it's keep since that day and perhaps it's time to turn off the money spigot's and see if they can emulate the Russian example of creativity and surprising activity despite having what should not even be called a fraction of NASA's budget. Either way much like the Pentagon/American defense in general throwing money at NASA has not often resulted in a scalable return on investment or even , as with the pentagon, allowed a more secure state.

Regards,

Stellar

PS ( since i am editing for spelling) I can't see that giving them less money will result in anything good happening but we all know eating too much or too little will play havoc with your life expectancy; i am all in favor of putting NASA on a diet to see what happens.

[edit on 4-4-2010 by StellarX]



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 06:08 PM
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reply to post by ZombieJesus
 


NASA has needed to change for along long time. I don't think cutting their legs off is the way to get results either.

The private sector, as you stated has no experience sending life into space and bringing them back, ALIVE. Obama's call for the corporate sector to get involved will surely have some serious consequences for the low orbit area of space.

Others have stated that this could lead to the destruction of all low earth orbit satellites by 'rogue' companies sending up launch debris.

I have hope that NASA will find a way to survive, because in the end, there is STILL A RACE FOR SPACE!



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 12:43 PM
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reply to post by StellarX
 


G'day Stellar,

Very valid points you bring up, and I agree. NASA has always kinda been the spoiled kid of the two when it came to the space race. The sad part is, its probably not all their fault, but more so the fault of corporate interests to keep investing in technology that was no longer viable.



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 12:48 PM
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reply to post by theability
 





The private sector, as you stated has no experience sending life into space and bringing them back, ALIVE.


This is what concerns me the most, especially if the private sector gets involved. Hopefully NASA would be nice enough to share test data from the past to overcome the problem, or hell, maybe even Russia would



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by ZombieJesus
 


Sharing that data might be the best thing to happen to humanity if you think about this for a moment, AN OPERATING ENVIORNMENT FOR SURVIVAL OF HUMAN'S!!! Learning how to support our species instead of polutions etc.

That is one large step, I hope it happens, we need to start thinking about the "big picture", and disregard profits.

When you really think about it, I have hope NASA will come out on top, and prevail over Obama's hack job at space ventures.



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 02:12 PM
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reply to post by theability
 




That is one large step, I hope it happens, we need to start thinking about the "big picture", and disregard profits.


My sentiments EXACTLY!

It fascinates me to think what mankind COULD have accomplished so far, if we werent too busy blowing eachother up.

Don't get me wrong, we have plenty of accomplishments as a species, but I think we are being slowed down, especially when it comes to TPTB and their agenda (whatever that may be, but I doubt it has anything beneficial for anybody but themselves).

Back on track, I do hope NASA comes out on top as well. It would be nice if space exploration could be as mainstream as american idol, where the general population is actually interested. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 04:52 PM
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reply to post by ZombieJesus
 


The one thing that scares me about the private sector and space venture is crazies having rockets!

Seriously this is a BIG RESPONSIBILITY! I see the issue, a very complicated one.

Yet again, that is exaclty why we have NASA! So for this to work, someone has to start inventing real, in-expensive-reliable means of achieving orbit.

How is that accomplished?




posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by theability
 




How is that accomplished?


Well, here's the first company getting anywhere (not the first to fancy the idea though), and its looking good so far.

Virgin Galactic

Fortunately, they're only using a little bit of rocket...



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 05:44 PM
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reply to post by ZombieJesus
 


I know but here we are talking about ON ORBIT, not go-around and fall down!

Right? These Virgin Galactic Guys are, not thinking about doing space, they're thinking $$$$ from people by showing them space.

What we need is viable alternatives to an enviornment in space, for you and me, right?

So anyone can achieve space!



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 06:08 PM
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reply to post by theability
 


I know what you mean, and it's a shame that it always has to revolve around the all mighty dollar, but I do think it is a step in the right direction.

Using an aircraft mother ship to launch a shuttle makes a lot of sense, and hopefully can be applied for actual manned space missions, not space "tourism".

But to be perfectly honest, if I had the money, I'd already be signed up to go on Virgin Galactic's maiden voyage



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 06:17 PM
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reply to post by ZombieJesus
 



But to be perfectly honest, if I had the money, I'd already be signed up to go on Virgin Galactic's maiden voyage


I am so there with you!

This does seem viable, but not HEAVY LIFTING!

Can you think how big the Jet would be to Carry 30,000lbs of payload?

Sheesh!!! it have to be HUGE!



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by theability
 


Sweet!

At least I'll have one friend on board. I'll let you know when I get the tickets as soon as I win the Lotto


As for the weight problem, a C130 could handle it, but I don't think we'll be seeing that happen anytime soon.




Maximum Allowable Payload:
C-130E, 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
C-130H, 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
C-130J, 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
C-130J-30, 44,000 (19,958 kilograms)


C130 Spec


jra

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 09:14 PM
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I think it's a bit premature to say that NASA's glory days are over, just because they won't be launching there own astronauts themselves anymore (if the Ares I gets cancelled).

The Shuttles are expensive to maintain and launch. Taking this responsibility away from NASA frees up a lot of money for them to do other things. They can focus more on exploration and on R&D of new technologies. Let the private sector take over doing the "mundane" part of launching stuff into orbit.


Originally posted by theability
Yet again, that is exaclty why we have NASA! So for this to work, someone has to start inventing real, in-expensive-reliable means of achieving orbit.

How is that accomplished?


I think the best way to achieve reliable and inexpensive spaceflight is with the private sector. In order for it to be profitable, it needs to be affordable to others as well as reliable and safe. Government agencies by nature, are just really inefficient with spending money.

I'm all for a mix of Government and Private spaceflight. I think it's the only way to go, if we want to get anywhere in space.

[edit on 5-4-2010 by jra]



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 11:01 PM
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reply to post by jra
 


I agree that a mesh of private/NASA contributions is needed.


I just find that the private sector doing things reminds me of "Gerty" waking up new men to mine Helium3!!!

Tell you it scares the crud out of me!



posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 04:45 PM
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Hi Jra,


Originally posted by jra
I think it's a bit premature to say that NASA's glory days are over, just because they won't be launching there own astronauts themselves anymore (if the Ares I gets cancelled).


NASA will be using Soyuz for the at least five years to come ( ISS missions) and probably long after that given that despite the extortion resulting in a 50 million a ticket ride it's still almost half the price of a shuttle passenger seat.


The Shuttles are expensive to maintain and launch. Taking this responsibility away from NASA frees up a lot of money for them to do other things. They can focus more on exploration and on R&D of new technologies. Let the private sector take over doing the "mundane" part of launching stuff into orbit.


They should have done all those things ( more&better) as well as been able to operate a true shuttle to LEO. The space shuttle just never worked in that role.


I think the best way to achieve reliable and inexpensive spaceflight is with the private sector. In order for it to be profitable, it needs to be affordable to others as well as reliable and safe. Government agencies by nature, are just really inefficient with spending money.


Government agencies are not by nature inefficient when it comes to productive output and it mostly comes down to whether there exists effective management ( and not just hundreds of managers managing each others free time) and some semblance of a work ethic . Even given those two factors you can still be asked to operate something like the shuttle which essentially throws productive output down the drain. That's why, logically, the design process is so critical and why tested technologies and known engineering capabilities should dictate conservative aims when it comes to building something that is expected to become a reliable and actually reusable ( the shuttle is not; it's essentially rebuilt every time) workhorse that can ferry men and equipment with zero fanfare and without %$&*%$%*& congressional approval.


I'm all for a mix of Government and Private spaceflight. I think it's the only way to go, if we want to get anywhere in space.


I'm perfectly happy with space not becoming private property ( as they will find a way) and thus ensuring that governments lead and control national efforts. The fact that NASA could not efficiently operate the shuttle isn't really saying much, there were resistance that were ignored, given it's past achievements and with proper oversight&technologically feasible goals( meaning no pentagon shuttle-can-deliver-orbital-weapons-ideas) i don't see why the future could not be quite bright.

We can and should hope!

Regards,

Stellar

[edit on 6-4-2010 by StellarX]





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