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US space policy

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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.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
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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.
Ad astra per aspera

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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:
Time and tide melt the snowman.

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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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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:40 pm

In case you missed it in the daily sturm und drang, Pence committed America to a new moon race -- with itself, I guess -- to put boots on the regolith by 2024. First NASA did a spit take, and now they're trying to fall in line. The whole endeavor is delightfully political on many levels, and not predominantly in the typical red v blue vein (although there's never any escaping that anymore). Ars Technica has a good, thorough overview of the how, the why, and the wtf.
Where does this stand politically

In his quest to institute these changes, Bridenstine will have to fight on multiple fronts. Large aerospace firms, with their influential lobbies, will want to protect existing contracts. NASA field centers will fiercely protect their turf. The White House Office of Management and Budget will be reticent to sign on to new, long-term costly programs. And there is simply the inertia of a large bureaucracy like NASA and managers who will resist change to their programs.

However, Bridenstine's biggest hurdle will be Congress. In addition to the aforementioned Alabama delegation, elected officials from other big SLS and Orion states will want assurances. And then there are also Democrats to contend with.

Although Bridenstine has strived to portray this as a bipartisan effort—and since becoming administrator, he has won plaudits from some Democrats for becoming an inclusive and enthusiastic leader of NASA—at the end of the day this is a Trump-led initiative in a highly polarized political environment.

...

Is this a politically motivated date?

On one hand, of course it is. Although space is far from a priority for most voters, the Trump administration wants to demonstrate that its commitment to a lunar return is serious. This is one reason why the agency has prioritized the first launch of the SLS rocket and flying an uncrewed Orion mission around the Moon in 2020. This would show progress.

Though 2024 is another election year, it has importance beyond symbolism. Previous efforts for the Moon and Mars set distant goals. For example, when the Constellation program was developed in the mid-2000s during the presidency of George W. Bush, it targeted 2020 for a lunar landing. This spanned so many presidential administrations that it was bound to eventually lose support.

By putting down a marker for 2024, Pence is avoiding this historical trap. He’s saying we can do this during this administration, and therefore it won’t be subject to cancellation. However, the schedule is so aggressive it will require an enormous effort by the White House, both financially and by convincing Congress to go along.
Bridenstine is proving to be a good manager, despite his early reputation as a typically lightweight Trump appointee.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Defiant » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:19 am

NASA is calling India's destruction of a satellite last week a "terrible, terrible thing" and says the space debris created by the explosion should be considered a threat to the International Space Station and the astronauts on board.

India intentionally destroyed one of its satellites with a missile last week, a move Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed as one that established India "as a space power."
He said the satellite shattered into pieces, many of them large enough to pose a danger to the space station but not large enough to track. It is unclear how many pieces of debris were created.
https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-sp ... ing-2019-4

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Re: US space policy

Post by Defiant » Thu May 16, 2019 12:09 am

Ted Cruz says we need a Space Force to protect against Space Pirates.



Don't forget Reavers.

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Re: US space policy

Post by coopasonic » Thu May 16, 2019 10:23 am

Defiant wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:09 am
Ted Cruz says we need a Space Force to protect against Space Pirates.



Don't forget Reavers.
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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Mon May 20, 2019 11:55 pm

Pence's push to land on the moon by 2024 is now Project Artemis, making it 37% cooler than it was. Troupers that they are, NASA has been scrambling to Make It So, and today an internal document showing the outlines of their plan leaked. With 37 launches culminating in a lunar base by 2028, it's...ambitious, shall we say. The price tag hasn't been totted up yet, but the Trump administration has found some money that nobody needs: Pell grants!

What are the odds that anything like this will really happen? The link has details and analysis.

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Re: US space policy

Post by gbasden » Tue May 21, 2019 12:24 am

Well, I *guess* it's better than destroying Pell Grants and doing another stupid tax cut...

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Re: US space policy

Post by Remus West » Wed May 22, 2019 2:23 pm

Why do I feel like this is the response this administration has to global warming?

Trump: Wow. Things are getting bad here. We better find someplace else to exploit. Didn't the moon landing get great ratings?

Underling: How would we pay for that?

Trump: Use education funds. We would be leaving those losers behind when we go anyway.
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Re: US space policy

Post by Max Peck » Fri May 24, 2019 8:45 am

You'd almost think that Artemis was a part of Infrastructure Week.

NASA executive quits weeks after appointment to lead 2024 moon landing plan
A top NASA executive hired in April to guide strategy for returning astronauts to the moon by 2024 has resigned, the space agency said on Thursday, the culmination of internal strife and dwindling congressional support for the lunar initiative.

Mark Sirangelo, named six weeks ago as special assistant to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left the agency as NASA abandoned a reorganization plan due to a chilly reception on Capitol Hill, Bridenstine said in a statement.
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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Sat May 25, 2019 12:36 am

NASA: We're opening a new department, and we want you to lead it!
Dude: Yay! I won't let you down, Flash.
Congress: Not so fast.
NASA: Dude decided to pursue other opportunities.

I doubt that they're going to make Pence's accelerated deadline, or even be able to take a real run at it, especially if they're serious about funding it with Pell grant money. But I am getting onboard with Artemis. I've changed my mind about the lunar gateway, for instance. A flexible transfer station makes all kinds of sense.

Here's
an interesting and detailed snapshot of where they are now, if you're into the engineering side of it. WARNING: You will encounter detail like this:
“It does have the capability to go into an Earth orbit, launch and separate in Earth orbit, and then transfer itself into a trans-lunar orbit and put itself into an NRHO (Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit),” Tadros said. “That’s the nominal scenario, but depending on the ultimate configuration, that Earth orbit that we separate in could be a variety of apogees and perigees. So that has not been specified or decided yet. The vehicle has a tremendous amount of capability, as any tug would, to be able to transfer from Earth orbit to lunar orbit.”

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Re: US space policy

Post by pr0ner » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:21 pm

Why is NASA going to the moon again? We should be focusing on Mars, of which the moon is a part!

So sayeth DJT.



I kinda get what he's saying here (the moon is a stepping stone to Mars, I think is the correct parsing), but Trump does himself no favors with how he words things.
Hodor.

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Re: US space policy

Post by malchior » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:32 pm

I'll give him credit. I'm almost flabbergasted he is aware that the NASA Mars plan includes the Deep Space Gateway project. And boy is that bar abysmally low.

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Re: US space policy

Post by pr0ner » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:42 pm

Here's a reason for that Trump tweet. If you guessed it involves Fox, you win nothing!

Hodor.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:51 pm

Pretty hilarious, since Trump's Space Policy Directive 1 killed Obama's Mars initiative in favor of returning to the moon. Policy Directive 2 incoming?

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Re: US space policy

Post by Fireball » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:16 am

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Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:17 am
Zarathud: The sad thing is that Barak Obama is a very intelligent and articulate person, even when you disagree with his views it's clear that he's very thoughtful. I would have loved to see Obama in a real debate.
Me: Wait 12 years, when he runs for president. :-)

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Re: US space policy

Post by Defiant » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:29 am

:clap:

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Re: US space policy

Post by Kraken » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:44 am

Not for the first time, Trump ignores his own Artemis program to praise reusable rockets and going to Mars.
“We’re investing in the future of human spaceflight," the president said, prefacing his off-the-cuff remarks on spaceflight. "And some day soon American astronauts will plant the stars and stripes on the surface of Mars."

Trump never mentioned the Moon, or his administration's lunar program, during this comment or in any of his subsequent remarks Thursday night. This is notable, because the signature human spaceflight initiative of his administration is the Artemis Program, an attempt to accelerate a human return to the Moon by 2024. The closest Trump came to acknowledging the Moon program was saying, "NASA has some of the greatest plans we’ve ever had. These are great people, great scientists."
...
On Thursday night, however, the president spent most of his time praising the private sector efforts to reuse rockets. (This is likely another difficult conversation between the NASA administrator and the president, as Bridenstine must justify spending in excess of $2 billion a year to develop the Space Launch System rocket, which is not reusable, while private entrepreneurs are building their large, reusable rockets largely without public money).

"So I see Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, they’re putting rockets up. I think it’s great," Trump said. "The one which recently went up and you see the engines coming back down, there’s no wings or nothing. It’s almost like, what are we watching? Is this fiction?"
Trump is said to be interested in spaceflight, and his administration (via Pence) has been gung-ho, but the occupant of the Oval Office seems a bit hazy on the details.

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Re: US space policy

Post by Jaymann » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:18 am

The Art of Mucking Up the Deal.
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