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US space policy

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Isgrimnur
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Re: US space policy

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:00 pm

If I had any Photoshop skills, I'd change it to TRU

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Re: US space policy

Post by Max Peck » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:44 pm

I'm pretty sure that Trump just wants to one-up Kennedy and get in a moon-shot while he's in office. I doubt that he has an actual vision for manned space flight beyond it being something splashy for which he can take credit. A secondary concern may be keeping up with the Joneses vis-à-vis China, although that may be an excuse rather than a reason.

Pushing NASA to make the very first test flight of the SLS+Orion hardware into manned mission seemed iffy to me at first, but then I remembered that go fever has never proven to be problematic for them in the past.
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Re: US space policy

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:01 pm

Max Peck wrote:Pushing NASA to make the very first test flight of the SLS+Orion hardware into manned mission seemed iffy to me at first, but then I remembered that go fever has never proven to be problematic for them in the past.
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Re: US space policy

Post by Max Peck » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:17 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Max Peck wrote:Pushing NASA to make the very first test flight of the SLS+Orion hardware into manned mission seemed iffy to me at first, but then I remembered that go fever has never proven to be problematic for them in the past.
Ad astra per aspera
If I didn't know better, I might think you were accusing me of not being sarcastic. :coffee:
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Re: US space policy

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:52 pm

The world may never know. ;)
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Re: US space policy

Post by Defiant » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:00 pm


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Re: US space policy

Post by Pyperkub » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:14 pm

Is Trump going to get Mexico to pay for it?

No ongoing revenue commitment = no real policy.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Yeah, and a high likelihood of being reversed by the next president. Lack of consistent direction is NASA's biggest handicap. SLS and Orion are flexible enough (and far enough along in development) to survive these changes in direction, but we won't get past basic transportation until they have a mission and a budget to match it.

Personally, I believe that it makes sense to gradually build the infrastructure and capabilities that a working moon base will require before sending humans to Mars and beyond. Dashing to Mars is more inspiring, but let's leave that to Elon for now.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Holman » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:41 pm

Mars and the Moon are money pits of no use to us right now. We ought to re-engineer NASA towards an Apollo program to address climate change and a full-scale clean-power economy.

Space travel can wait until we stabilize our tottering foundations. It will be much grander after we have workable fusion anyway.
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Re: US space policy

Post by $iljanus » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:18 pm

Holman wrote:Mars and the Moon are money pits of no use to us right now. We ought to re-engineer NASA towards an Apollo program to address climate change and a full-scale clean-power economy.

Space travel can wait until we stabilize our tottering foundations. It will be much grander after we have workable fusion anyway.
Oh Holman, we'll never win the race to develop a lunar casino with that kind of thinking.
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Re: US space policy

Post by Punisher » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:30 pm

Pyperkub wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:14 pm
Is Trump going to get Mexico to pay for it?
No ongoing revenue commitment = no real policy.
I believe that the plan is to harvest the cheese from the moon and obviously the Martians are gonna pay for the Mars trip and subsequent Mars Space Wall.
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Re: US space policy

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:20 pm

Houston
NASA would face a $500 million cut in the coming budget year under a proposal released Monday by President Donald Trump's administration -- but NASA officials say the budget still is strong.

"This is a really good budget for NASA," Mark Geyer, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, said Monday. "We're blessed with this budget."
...
The most notable cuts come to the Space Launch System rocket, which is being built to carry the Orion spacecraft to the moon. Orion will carry humans back to the moon for the first time since 1972.

Trump's budget request postpones funding for upgrades to the rocket that would increase its performance, instead focusing on completing the initial version.
...
While Trump's budget calls for fully funding James Webb, it's successor, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), wouldn't receive any money. It also eliminates funding for the Office of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics Engagement, previously known as the Office of Education, and two Earth science missions, although which missions would be cut is unclear.

The Trump administration attempted to cut the Office of Education in 2018 and 2018, but the idea faced significant backlash in Congress.
Not to mention the attempt in 2018.
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Re: US space policy

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:25 pm

Don't forget 2018. It was a particularly bad year for budget cut attempts.

I know when my salary is cut I am absolutely ecstatic about my "really good salary" this year. Salary cuts are a blessing.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:50 pm

The Trump budget is DOA, as White House budgets usually are. Congress is unlikely to take a whack at NASA.

Last week NASA let it be known that the first SLS demo mission might slip into '21, and the first crewed mission would also be pushed back. There's a decent chance that SpaceX will reach the moon before NASA does, and at a fraction of the cost.

I like a bigass moon rocket more than the average person does, but I'll be surprised if SLS/Orion ever flies again after its first two missions. At an anticipated $2B per launch It's just way too expensive. Falcon Heavy launches are priced at $90M, and SpaceX expects the 100% reusable BFR to cost substantially less than that.

SLS is a white elephant, but it's too far along (with sweet sweet contracts in all 50 states) to kill, and I don't think Congress has any motive to starve it.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:14 am

I reacted prematurely to this pulled quote: "The most notable cuts come to the Space Launch System rocket, which is being built to carry the Orion spacecraft to the moon."

In fact, the proposed SLS cuts would delay the evolved Block 1B heavy-lift version, with that money directed instead to Gateway and its associated transfer and landing vehicles. That's actually a good idea if they can't do both. Delaying the already locked-in configuration, as I thought that quote meant, would have been a mistake, but that's not what the budget does.

Congress still won't cut NASA's funding, and SLS is still of questionable value, so I'm not backing out of the whole post.

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Re: US space policy

Post by raydude » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:36 am

Kraken wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:14 am
I reacted prematurely to this pulled quote: "The most notable cuts come to the Space Launch System rocket, which is being built to carry the Orion spacecraft to the moon."

In fact, the proposed SLS cuts would delay the evolved Block 1B heavy-lift version, with that money directed instead to Gateway and its associated transfer and landing vehicles. That's actually a good idea if they can't do both. Delaying the already locked-in configuration, as I thought that quote meant, would have been a mistake, but that's not what the budget does.

Congress still won't cut NASA's funding, and SLS is still of questionable value, so I'm not backing out of the whole post.
SLS Block 1 is the primary launch vehicle for Europa Clipper, since it allows us to fly a direct trajectory and get to Europa in less than 3 years. So there is that. But I agree that NASA should get out of the space taxi business. It's not their strong suit and frankly, not as exciting as building spacecraft to explore the unexplored and answer the unanswered questions.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:51 am

raydude wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:36 am
Kraken wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:14 am
I reacted prematurely to this pulled quote: "The most notable cuts come to the Space Launch System rocket, which is being built to carry the Orion spacecraft to the moon."

In fact, the proposed SLS cuts would delay the evolved Block 1B heavy-lift version, with that money directed instead to Gateway and its associated transfer and landing vehicles. That's actually a good idea if they can't do both. Delaying the already locked-in configuration, as I thought that quote meant, would have been a mistake, but that's not what the budget does.

Congress still won't cut NASA's funding, and SLS is still of questionable value, so I'm not backing out of the whole post.
SLS Block 1 is the primary launch vehicle for Europa Clipper, since it allows us to fly a direct trajectory and get to Europa in less than 3 years. So there is that. But I agree that NASA should get out of the space taxi business. It's not their strong suit and frankly, not as exciting as building spacecraft to explore the unexplored and answer the unanswered questions.
When SLS was green-lighted, it was to be the only heavy-lift rocket in the world. The world has overtaken it. That's not NASA's fault -- blame political budget shenanigans -- nor is NASA free to adapt to the new, competitive reality. SLS offers very little that the BFR (now Starship + Falcon Super Heavy) won't do at a fraction of the cost, and quite possibly sooner. But SLS is a sunk cost, and it's sunk in all 50 states. It's going to fly its two demo missions. Congress has decreed that it shall fly the Europa Clipper. But oh my, what an extravagant launch vehicle for a robotic probe. Robots don't care if it takes them 3 years or 8 to get there. Trump's budget proposal would actually overturn that requirement, saving an estimated $700M. That's a pretty good chunk of another flagship mission.

Do you think SLS will launch once or twice a year to establish lunar operations? Is there anything about Gateway that BFR can't handle?

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Re: US space policy

Post by raydude » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:13 am

Kraken wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:51 am
Do you think SLS will launch once or twice a year to establish lunar operations? Is there anything about Gateway that BFR can't handle?
Looks like SLS is the primary for Gateway for now. Hard to tell if BFR can or cannot handle it - looks like the first module is still in the "study" stage, so no one knows how big it should be.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:51 pm

Bad news for SLS: NASA is considering launching Orion's EM-1 mission around the moon with commercial boosters.
Bridenstine argued that NASA needs to stick to its commitment of sending the Orion crew capsule around the Moon by next year. One way to do that would be using a rocket other than the SLS. “We need to consider, as an agency, all options to accomplish that objective,” Bridenstine said during the hearing. “Some of those options would include launching the Orion crew capsule... on a commercial rocket.”
Why does Orion have to fly next year? Is there a long-term scheduling requirement, or is it political? Is it meant to pressure Boeing to finish the SLS?

If they can't use SLS, the mission will require two launches -- one for the command module and one for the service module. They would then have to dock autonomously -- something Orion currently can't do.
Switching to a commercial rocket for EM-1 would serve as another big blow to the SLS, which has been heavily criticized for being over budget and slow to develop. It’s estimated that NASA has spent $14 billion on developing the vehicle. And while it will be a powerful rocket, it won’t be that much more capable than other vehicles that are currently on the market. For instance, the Falcon Heavy is capable of putting up to 140,700 pounds (63.8 metric tons) into low Earth orbit, while the SLS will be able to put 209,000 pounds (95 metric tons) into the same region of space.

Additionally, the future of the SLS became even more uncertain this week with the release of the president’s budget request. In the request, the administration called for stopping development on the second version of the SLS that NASA was planning to build, one that would make the vehicle even more powerful. By canceling that upgrade, the SLS will no longer be able to boast the incredible strength that NASA has long been touting. The power of the SLS is perhaps the biggest asset the vehicle had.

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