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JFK has to be rolling in his grave

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posted on Apr, 18 2012 @ 05:48 PM
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reply to post by Stari
 


OK, hang on. Yes I was the first to get very seriously upset about the cancelation of the Orion projects and follow-on launchers to the space shuttle when canceled by Obama. I can honestly state no one is as pro human space access then me. Including simple national security reasons (I will not go into the "other" US space program run by the US military, through the NRO and other agencies that does ensure the US does have access to space, including manned capability. Having an independent civilian capability is also an adjunct to national security interests, thats another discussion) economic, and technology development, etc.

Then I took a closer look at the programs Obama cancelled and all I can say is what took ANY President so long? A wonderful example of missed engineering targets, production schedule delays, and more delays. And cost over runs? You don't want to know. Consider the fact it was known a decade ago that the shuttle was on the way out. THATS when you have to prepare for something as bureaucratically and financially complicated as a launch vehicle replacement. Thats when previous administrations should have done what Obama did. Invest in private, many very new, space launch developers and vehicle manufacture's.

The Apollo Project was structured in many ways as was the Manhattan Project. Money was (more or less) no object. And of course with that kind of passion and national commitment, you can achieve the amazing technological leaps we did in the 1960's. In many ways what the US did was not really invent anything fundamentally new. The Germans did that in the 1940's. The US with its technological and mega-$$ resources was able to optimize, enhance and augment a rage of technologies with the needed scientific and industrial support behind them to get to the moon less then ten years later. Even the US could not sustain that kind of open ended program. Sadly the dreams of bases on the moon and missions to Mars were planned and though immensely difficult they were doable even with comparatively primitive 1960's technology. By now it would be "been there, done that", but for a major debacle called the Vietnam War. You can help to create a "Star Trek" future, or drop more bombs on Vietnam then in all of WW-2, but you can't do both.

I don't have to tell anyone in which direction that nightmare went. This pre-amble is important because the entire space shuttle program was an attempt to REDUCE the cost of getting into space on a regular, consistent schedule with a vehicle that was not a one-trip wonder. Problem was, the entire space shuttle program, began under Nixon and frequently starved for cash as a convenient place to cut spending to say, buy more bombs by his and subsequent administrations, is the best example I can think of of how NOT to design, build, and operate a cutting edge technology when the main consideration by the government-client is: "OK, but is there any way to make this 1.4 million part rocket pretending to be a true aerospace plane cheaper"?

The early designs for the shuttle were to have a fully re-usable vehicle, often presented in a mated two vehicle VTO/HL arrangement. And while materials and electronics/computer science had seen great advances since Apollo, the one area where there had been no effective changes, just "tweaks" in engineering was in that before-mentioned 1940's rocket technology. At least in the conventional, largely unclassified NASA power plants. With out an all-out "Apollo-program-like Shuttle-program" national commitment, the result was frustratingly predictable. It would require developing new rocket et el technologies for a "REAL" re-usable STS, and no one in the morbidly depressing, socio-political climate of the 1970's was willing to do it the right way. So we had a shuttle far more expensive, more "complicated", not to be confused with sophisticated, and in such a system things were inevitably going to go wrong, catastrophically. With tragic results twice.

Its ironic to me, that an arguably better approach (IMHO) for the US to get into manned spaceflight and onto the moon would have been in a program that followed-up the incredible 1950's-60's era X-15 rocket plane. It had the first, (as far as I know) liquid fueled engine where the pilot could vary the specific impulse. It had a throttle. There has been a glaring lack of progress, at least openly in rocket propulsion ever since. That approach would have taken longer then ten years to get men to the moon, but after the Russian early accomplishments (and how it REALY freaked out the US public), it was expedient to replace astronaut-pilots in a rocket plane they flew, with astronaut-passenger's on top a ballistic missal they rode.

The need for new technologies was confronted by the founder of Space-X Corp (also founder of Tesla Motors) when he tried to enter the field.TBContin...




posted on Apr, 18 2012 @ 06:45 PM
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reply to post by arbiture
 


Um, rockets today have specific impulse vectoring. There is nothing fundamentally different in lift vehicles today than in the early 60's. These leaps in technology by SpaceX are non-existent, its the same tech. The fumbling about by the Apollo program was far ahead of the Russians in several important areas, being reliable 7+mil ft/lbs of heavy lift and manned landings, Russian's working on their 'moon race' said they never could have landed men on the moon and returned them home. Their N-1 heavy failed every launch, and they still have yet to soft land a manned spacecraft.

I really don't hope you are implying that nuclear rockets in the 60's-70's was this leap of tech. because it simply was inapplicable. X-series you may not have followed long enough to know by X-30 it was demonstrated to be inefficient means of achieving orbit or was grossly more expensive than the Space Shuttle. They simply couldn't carry sufficient fuel is the short answer, and Scramjets didn't provide the speeds calculated, in practice, without scaling up to ridiculous proportions that led to the cancellation of that dream of the X's replacing the Shuttles.



posted on Apr, 18 2012 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by arbiture
 


To continue, I had mentioned the company Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or Space-X with CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk (also CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors). Founded in 2002, he wanted to offer reliable, and affordable space access for those wanting to launch satellites. But his main interest was in providing a huge increase in the number of manned flights, first to the ISS. After founding the company he went over to Russia to see if he buy an off the shelf ICBM to launch first unmanned payloads to space. He found in the end that the cost and logistics of adopting a weapon designed to launch a nuclear warhead against the US, or anyone else, to a commercial launch vehicle apparently impractical. He decided to design his own range of "Falcon" series launch rockets (Falcon 1,9 and Falcon Heavy).

Late this month they plan on a launch of an unmanned cargo vehicle to the ISS. This will utilize the "Dragon" capsule in autonomous cargo mode originally designed to send a human crew into space, and the ISS. There are considerable design similarities between Dragon and the cancelled Orion manned capsule. This is designed to do what Orion would have done in a few years. On paper. Only founded in 2002, Space-X has already launched payloads successfully. Dragon will also have an in house designed escape rocket system for manned flights. Escape rocket motors are integrated into the capsule shell itself, unlike the escape towers on top of the Apollo design, that would have pulled the command module off the top of the Saturn rocket if a launch period emergency was detected.

This is a critical, and dramatic safety improvement over any manned launch vehicle to date. When the space shuttle was being tested, I believe it was equipped with some variation of the Project Gemini ejection seats for the two man test crew. This feature did not exist on any of the later operational flights, for anyone. The way the shuttle was pieced together made this technologically incompatible. Safety systems have to be an integral part of any complex vehicle design from day one. The fact about the shuttle that made me angry, was politics created a vehicle driven more by compromise, then design. And we paid vast amounts for the privilege of getting much less.

The main reason I wanted to reply to your post was to point out, IMO, that today the only continuous and sustainable model, and the only way we're likely to get into space in large enough numbers, and we must, is to make it profitable for private companies to see the business rational in doing so. The activity in private space launch development over the past ten years has been nothing short of remarkable. This is also an enterprise where you match many diverse disciplines, it being a driver of new technologies, with a passion I can't imagine any other "business" coming remotely close to. This is where innovation and the laws of nature merge.

Add to the fact in the current US budget climate, I would rather see any major federal spending deal with our crumbling infrastructure. Frankly I don't see how we can even afford to solve THIS huge problem with out major technological innovation in multiple areas. Fortunately, there has been developments in this area. Some. Companies and investors are lining up to invest in areas to develop the variety of technologies needed to economically launch payloads and people, in large numbers into space. The prize? Economical access to the wealth of the solar system. You can't put a price on that. If these firms can offer a capability better and cheaper then previously, no up-front tax dollars required. And those not successful? Then the rest of us haven't lost a dime.



posted on Apr, 18 2012 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by Illustronic
 


No, regarding the use of NERVA like rockets. Many studies had them being used to launch payloads into space, from Earth. Thats just nuts. Those involved knew that even then, but the capability was envisioned for "emergency" purposes (if you have to ask...) The space program, like other areas has always had military and non-military considerations. If one technology would address both operational applications, great. I would, needless to say love to see any possible capabilities developed for military use, that could safely be made available to the civilian community made available. I'm not holding my breath. Also, the Russian attempt to develop a multi stage booster the N-1 to compete with the Saturn-5 and its five F-1 first stage engines may have failed from a integration-control problem between its individual first stage engines, and not the engines individually.
edit on 18/4/12 by arbiture because: add stuff


jra

posted on Apr, 18 2012 @ 09:01 PM
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Originally posted by Stari
I cannot believe we are giving up our only means to reach the ISS. Please if anyone knows of any NASA ships that will get us into space and to the ISS other then relying on Russia to get there then please post and let me know.

This just makes me sick


The Space Shuttles were getting old and they're expensive to operate and maintain. I love them, but they need to go.

NASA is working on the Orion MPCV which will be able to go to the ISS and beyond Earth orbit (BEO).

There are a number of other American, but non-NASA, spaceships being built that will also be able to take astronauts to the ISS.

There is the previously mentioned Dragon spacecraft made by SpaceX. It will bring cargo and eventually astronauts to the ISS.

The CST-100 which is being built by Boeing in collaboration with Bigelow aerospace.

The Dream Chaser spacecraft which is being designed and built by SpaceDev/Sierra Nevada Corporation. Which is based off of the HL-20 lifting body design.

And then there is the unmanned Cygnus spacecraft. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation.And it will bring cargo to the ISS.

The US using Russia's Soyuz spacecraft is only a temporary situation, so I wouldn't worry about it.



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