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  #41  
Old 01-22-2021, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Baloney about the no reduction in spending.
NASA's funding as a % in relation to GDP is far lower since cancellation of Apollo.

I think the cumulative altitude of all SLS launches will NOT increase from what it is now. Exactly ZERO feet !

Also I think the BRAC reduction to the USAF and closure of USAF ONLY bases is a major disaster toward our defense as a whole. This mamby-pamby creation of "joint bases" from former USAF bases is a bunch of garbage. We should have GROSSLY OVERWHELMING force in aircraft numbers, instead of throwing money at GARBAGE platforms like the F-35.
In USN and USMC versions that turd cannot even continuously operate above Mach 1.
The money used on the F-35 should have been spent on more F-22s (to at least the originally planned production number) and upgrades to the F-15, F-16 and F-18 as well as de-mothballing the F-14.
Retiring the F-14 was one of the STUPIDEST moves ever by the USN.

The USMC needs a F-35 "Stealth" fighter about as much as the USAF should bring back the AWFUL F-105 ThunderTURD. What the USMC could use is new-production A-10s.

The F-105 would have been good at it's designed job, delivering a nuclear payload. Unfortunately, it was a fork used to eat soup. Retiring the F-14 wasn't that bad of a decision due to a lack of planes/parts, and huge down time for maintenance, though I hated to see it go. As far as building more F-22's and using overwhelming numbers of extremely well performing F-15's etc., I'm all onboard with that. We saw what happened when Clinton slashed the military. We need to build it, not dismantle it. The military is a perfect "two for the price of one" outfit. Instead of giving away free money to the jobless with all these federal programs that never work, expand the military and pay them to be there. Instead of minimum wage flipping burgers and mopping at McDonalds, entry level workers can make more flipping and mopping for the military and have full benefits. Pay the ones already in a little more to stay. At least you get something in return.
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  #42  
Old 01-22-2021, 10:17 AM
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Gentlemen, we're getting WAY off topic here!
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  #43  
Old 01-22-2021, 02:04 PM
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Sorry, Scott.
I "meandered" again...
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  #44  
Old 01-22-2021, 03:00 PM
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Sorry, Scott.
I "meandered" again...

We'd never do that, GH!
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  #45  
Old 01-24-2021, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tbzep
NASA has a training infrastructure, so they still have that to keep their toes in the water. Let the commercial companies design and build what it takes to accomplish future missions we dream up.


NASA should be doing what they do best-- designing and perfecting the advances in propulsion and systems and spacecraft necessary SPECIFICALLY to perform the missions we set as national priorities, to advance the state of the art. In the sixties NASA had to be at the forefront of EVERYTHING since it was ALL new back then, and EVERYTHING was groundbreaking back then. Times have changed. The FAA and NACA (now NASA) no longer designs airliners, nor the Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Army design the planes, helicopters, and aircraft used in those branches of the military-- they analyze and determine *requirements* that the aircraft has to meet to perform a certain mission, and then have industry come up with bids or designs to fulfill those requirements as needed, then compete their designs while analyzing the competitors designs, infrastructure, facilities, management, and capabilities to ensure that the product can actually be delivered in the necessary numbers and meet the expectations and requirements to fulfill both the need and ultimately the contract. The talents and skills and capabilities to develop launch vehicles (and now manned spacecraft) has passed to industry LONG AGO (more recently with manned spacecraft of course) and so NASA not only inventing but building with select contractors to actually "bend the metal" and put together the NASA designs is both wasteful and duplicative and invariably ends up with an inferior product at greater cost than would be available from commercial providers.

The things NASA does that industry isn't quite there yet, and which NASA does best, is designing things that industry heretofore has had no business model or requirement to build-- mission modules and the support systems necessary to perform deep space missions. Even that sector of manned spaceflight may, in the coming decade, pass to industry as new players like SpaceX and others, wanting to move out into the solar system for various reasons, will HAVE to develop these technologies and capabilities in order to achieve their aims, by necessity. NASA is uniquely positioned, as the only human spaceflight program on Earth to have operated manned vehicles beyond Earth orbit, to spearhead that effort, and the efforts to return to the Moon or explore further out into the solar system beyond, to asteroids, Mars, etc. In short, they should be focusing on building landers, orbital or surface habitats for crews, and support equipment like suits, rovers, power generation, communications, and all the other systems like life support, etc. necessary to sustain a crew and maintain an operational base elsewhere, be it in lunar or lunar Lagrange point halo orbit (gateway) stations, lunar or Mars surface base camps or outposts, or habitat vehicles and systems to transit to and explore or exploit asteroids, or other missions as required (such as servicing deep space telescopes or other infrastructure beyond low Earth orbit...

NASA has NO need to be designing launch vehicles, heavy lift or otherwise, when there is over 60 years of expertise and knowledge base, management, and industry to design and build those vehicles to launch NASA payloads on their next missions of discovery. Otherwise, we get noncompetitive unsustainable bloated kludges like SLS (and Orion basically) while NASA has neglected developing the PAYLOADS necessary to DO ANYTHING with their shiny new rocket once they have it, and have NO MONEY to develop such payloads, because they'll continue to SPEND BILLIONS to maintain even the CAPABILITY to keep building and flying their shiny new SLS in perpetuity while they can only spend the SCRAPS of money left over on actually developing PAYLOADS and MISSIONS that could be launched by that new rocket...

It's crazy but it's how gubmint operated space has worked in the past-- it's an outdated operational model and it needs to change if we're going to accomplish ANYTHING with a national space program-- and if things continue to develop in commercial spaceflight as visionaries like Elon Musk are trying to do and working to accomplish, a national space program may end up being a hopelessly obsolete waste of money in the long term anyway, as they will have frittered away their place at the table along with the billions and decades spent trying to outdo industry in failed attempt after failed attempt while industry and progress has marched on and left them in the dustbin of history...

Later! OL J R
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  #46  
Old 01-24-2021, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Training Astronauts is probably the only thing NASA will keep a strangle hold on.
Even that could be taken over by the USAF.
I envision NASA even giving up launch facilities due to lack of funding.
The funding level NASA has gotten since the Apollo days is DISGUSTINGLY SMALL.


For deep space missions beyond Earth orbit, yes... NASA has a unique skill set and facilities that should be leveraged for training of astronauts and mission support for that role-- it's called Johnson Space Center 70 miles from my back door. That's JSC's main mission as the former "Manned Spacecraft Center" as it was called before being renamed for Lyndon Baines Johnson.
The Air Force (or Space Force) has no realistic need for astronauts now or for the foreseeable future, so it would be illogical for either to be retasked with training astronauts instead of NASA JSC.

NASA has already given up launch capabilities due to lack of funding-- they've leased Pad 39A to SpaceX for at least the next decade or two, probably "in perpetuity". SpaceX has built an enormous hangar for the integration and prelaunch testing of Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rockets as part of their Commercial Crew contract with NASA. Their hangar building is built astride of the crawlerway that used to support the massive crawler transporter carrying the launch umbilical towers and Saturn V rockets (as well as Saturn IB's on the milkstool for the Skylab and ASTP missions) and the launch platforms and shuttles to Pad 39-A for launch during the shuttle era. I toured 39A in 2013 about the time all the contracts had just been signed or were in process, and 39B was already being razed for SLS. 39A is no longer capable of launching SLS or anything else NASA might come up with, unless they bought out the SpaceX contract and demolished their hangar blocking the crawlerway from the VAB, as there is no way for a vehicle to be moved from the VAB to the 39A pad WITHOUT demolishing the SpaceX facility. SO as far as NASA is concerned, 39A basically no longer exists. NASA now has ONE PAD at Kennedy Space Center available for SLS or anything else they come up with-- 39B. NASA did all this because they basically didn't have the funding to even renovate and modify both pads for Ares I/V and later SLS use, due to inadequate funding. NASA leased 39A for commercial crew to generate money to help renovate the 39B pad and VAB, crawlerways, etc. NASA had wasted a HUGE amount of money in building a new launch platform for Ares I (which was subsequently canceled) and then redesigning the thing for use by SLS. At one point the old Saturn LUT's, which had been heavily modified into the towers at 39A and B for use by the shuttle, and the old crawler platforms that the towers and Saturn V's sat on were heavily modified for use by the shuttles (the towers had to be removed from the LUT's to the Pads, because 1) the shuttle stack was simply TOO HEAVY with the platform and the heavy SRB's which must be moved fully fueled for the crawler transporter to move to the pad with the heavy steel towers on the platforms as well-- hence the towers were removed and relocated permanently to the pads, and 2) the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) towers with their vertical payload integration rooms that swung around and cocooned the shuttle orbiter for the installation and servicing of the shuttle payloads on the pad pivoted around the Fixed Service Structure (FSS-- the modified old Saturn V towers relocated to the pad) to provide the connection points to the ground support equipment and systems. The 39B pad was razed completely for SLS; I don't know what's replaced it there... IIRC they were going for a "clean pad" approach with a minimalist tower on the LUT platform again similar to how it was done for Saturn V, only it HAS to be lighter due to the enormous weight of the five segment SRB's on SLS, since SRB's MUST of necessity be moved fully fueled. Saturn V, despite its enormous proportions, was an actual lightweight for the crawler to move compared to shuttle or SLS, due to the fact that the Saturn V, being liquid fueled, was moved EMPTY of propellants and thus was essentially "full of air" and therefore weighed much less.

That's why the idea of SLS being a "Mars rocket" is laughable... by NASA's own DRM (design reference mission) plans, a Mars mission using their architecture and mission mode will require 6-8 launches to assemble the outgoing Mars vehicle in orbit and fuel it, and launch the payload and crew to it. Now, SLS is designed to fly *AT MOST ONCE EVERY OTHER YEAR*, with as much as one flight every 3 years being quite within the realm of possibilities.... A little simple math shows it would take a MINIMUM OF TWELVE YEARS for six flights occurring every other year to be launched from Pad 39B using SLS to assemble a Mars-bound spacecraft in orbit and fuel and equip it with the necessary supplies, propellant, and crew. Even if some of those flights are "auctioned off" to other service providers (like SpaceX for crew launch or for propellant or cargo deliveries (like foodstuffs and other expendable cargo to be used in the mission then it's STILL a DECADE of launch and on-orbit assembly and supply deliveries before a Mars bound spacecraft would be ready to depart Earth orbit for Mars... and possibly with NASA doing *everything* (which is their desired goal and aim) with a 3 year interval between launches, for 8 launches 3 years apart would take *TWENTY-FOUR YEARS* to assemble an outbound Mars spacecraft in orbit and send it on its way... Granted that's surely a "worst case scenario" but it DOES show how completely unrealistic NASA's "SLS/Orion" Mars plans truly are... 12 years just to assemble the spacecraft in orbit is simply ridiculous-- in the 12 years between Kennedy's "Moon speech" at Rice University inaugurating the Apollo program in 1961 and 1973, NASA built not only the entire Saturn I/IB/V rocket programs, but also the Apollo and LM, conducted numerous manned Earth orbital flights with Saturn IB and V, in Apollo 7 and 9, and the three manned Skylab flights, as well as had the finished hardware for the last Apollo flight on Saturn IB, the Apollo Soyuz Test Project in 1975... but they'd also completed the manned lunar exploration program with 9 flights to the Moon on Apollos 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17, as well as a tenth Saturn V flight to launch the Skylab space station, not including the Saturn I and IB test flights of vehicles and hardware both manned and unmanned in the entire Saturn I series, Apollo 5's unmanned LM test, and 2 Saturn V test launches on Apollos 4 and 6. Skylab was winding down 12 years after Kennedy's speech. NOW the best NASA can manage is taking TWELVE YEARS to launch a half-dozen vehicles to assemble a Mars-bound spacecraft in orbit, let alone the next 2-3 years required to actually fly the mission to Mars and back... AND to do this while simultaneously supporting a "return to the Moon to stay" program at the same time, or at the very least longer-surface stay lunar exploration relying by NASA's insistence on SLS/Orion for the launch vehicle and spacecraft?? TOTALLY UNREALISTIC. It couldn't happen EVEN IF THEY WANTED IT TO! Even if money were no object, and SLS didn't cost a BILLION DOLLARS just for the rocket and launch, not including mission or payload costs... It's simply unsupportable with the available infrastructure... let alone FUNDING...

That's why I have ZERO faith in SLS being anything beyond a big gubmint jobs program, a bone thrown to the "shuttle mafia" contractors and their lobbyists and the space state politicians more concerned about "bringing home the bacon" to their constituents than actually achieving anything in space... and NASA is perfectly content with that-- after all, if you're not launching anything, you're not potentially blowing up astronauts... Later! OL J R
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  #47  
Old 01-24-2021, 03:00 PM
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I fear that NASA is at the end of Manned Spaceflight . . .

Budget cuts and lack of future funding will be the final death blow.

If NASA wants to go to Mars, it will either be via Spacex or we will be "hitch-hiking" with the Russians & the Chinese.

Letting our space program fall apart is a disgrace !

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  #48  
Old 01-24-2021, 03:04 PM
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Agree totally with Dave F above.
USA and NASA should have never taken their foot off the Gas after landing on the Moon.
The Space Shuttle and LEO missions were a BAD JOKE.
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  #49  
Old 01-24-2021, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdracer
I disagree - the problems with NASA have little to do with funding. Even corrected for inflation, their funding over the last 40 years hasn't been all that much less than it was during the 60's. But they are not spending it efficiently or effectively - way to much going into bureaucratic overhead and insuring they "spread the butter" across many states/districts to insure congress maintains the funding. They are spending more in inflation corrected dollars to develop the SLS than they did to develop the Saturn V


Quite true... and that's what's so INFURIATING about it... we're getting the bill, but NO GOODS TO SHOW FOR IT...

Apollo cost in then-dollars about $26 billion dollars. For that NASA developed not only Apollo, but Saturn V, part of the development and manrating of Saturn IB, and built all the basic infrastructure it has now and in the shuttle era-- including Kennedy Space Center with its VAB and Pads 39 A and B, MOST of the facilities of consequence at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, including test stands for the S-IC and the complete vehicle vibration test facilities among many others there (remember MSFC started as Redstone Arsenal, which NASA basically was allocated after the Space Act of 1958 that basically created NASA out of the old NACA... so we won't count the existing infrastructure at places like Redstone Arsenal which grew into MSFC to support Apollo and Saturn I/IB/V... but MOST of the facilities built there WERE to support Saturn/Apollo). Also, the Mississippi Test Facility (Now Stennis Space Center) where the test stands are for the Saturn V stages, as well as the SSME and now SLS core tests are conducted), AND Michoud Assembly Facility, which was refitted from a former weapons plant in WWII for use constructing Saturn IB and then Saturn V first stages in nearby New Orleans. PLUS the entire Manned Spacecraft Center (Johnson Space Center in Houston) with "Mission Control" and the astronaut training facilities and manned spacecraft system development and testing facilities there as well (which had been a cow pasture that had been donated to Rice University and remained so until it was used for the grounds of the all-new MSC in the early 60's). Plus the Apollo contracts had paid for countless tests and infrastructure construction at places like NASA's facilities elsewhere operating in support functions across the country, including Little Joe II flights at White Sands to develop the Launch Escape System for Apollo, and a huge number of contractor support facilities from numerous assembly plants in California to build the S-II and S-IVB stages and Apollo spacecraft, test stands for the stages and rocket engines in at least two different locations (Santa Susana and outside Sacramento), and the Grumman plant in Long Island, NY building the LM. Plus it paid for numerous test flights of Apollo hardware-- Apollo 4 booster test of Saturn V, Apollo 5 unmanned LM test on Saturn IB, Apollo 6 booster test of Saturn V, Apollo 7 manned test of Apollo capsule on Saturn IB, Apollo 8 around the Moon on Saturn V, Apollo 9 LM/Apollo test in LEO using Saturn V, Apollo 10's LM test flight over the Moon, as well as the lunar landings themselves on Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, and the lunar flight of the ill-fated Apollo 13. It also built MOST of the hardware for the Skylab program and the Apollo Soyuz Test Program (including the S-IVB stage modified into the Skylab orbital workshop and the launch vehicle and Apollo spacecraft for the manned Skylab flights and ASTP), so MOST of the work done on those programs was evolutionary or developmental, not having to build new hardware or infrastructure (other than the "milkstool" for launching Saturn IB's from KSC instead of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's nearby pads...) *MOST* of the infrastructure that supported the shuttle program, and which supports SLS *NOW* was bought and paid for and built back in the 60's in cow pastures and swamps to support the Apollo Moon missions. Johnson said it best one time when he commented that "after spending all this time and money building up the Apollo Saturn hardware, systems, and capabilities, they'd probably just p!ss it all away..." Which is basically what happened... NASA didn't even plan to reuse KSC in the early shuttle program-- they planned to build a NEW shuttle launch facility near Wadsworth, TX south of Bay City (not far from where the South Texas Nuclear Project power plant now stands) about 70 miles west of JSC to launch shuttles... or build a spaceport on South Padre Island, not far from where SpaceX's Boca Chica test center now resides... If NASA had gotten their druthers back in the early 70's, KSC would be a rotting hulk "abandoned in place" or razed and scrapped in the 80's due to neglect after the end of Apollo... but it soon became apparent that 1) there wouldn't be money for another entirely new space center and 2) they needed the support of the "space coast" politically, which meant recycling the Apollo VAB and pads into the new Shuttle program.

So fast forward to TODAY... NASA has spent about $19 billion dollars in present-day money on SLS... this of course DOES NOT include the over $9 billion that was WASTED on Ares I development between 2004 and 2010 when it was cancelled along with the Constellation program and recycled into SLS. Granted SOME of that money (like the Ares I LUT which was being/had been built at KSC) were recycled into the SLS program rather than simply scrapped, BUT in all honesty that just makes SLS look THAT MUCH WORSE, because they've STILL spend near $20 billion dollars on the thing, and that's AFTER getting all these "freebies" from other programs like the Ares I LUT, the existing SSME's and SRB's, and the facilities at Michoud, KSC, SSC, etc. In the 18 years since the destruction of Columbia in early 2003 started this entire "replace the shuttle and return to the Moon and on to Mars" effort outside the shuttle program, NASA has managed just 2 flights related to it-- Ares I-X, which was simply an old shuttle SRB that had passed it's "best if used by" date, topped with a dummy fifth segment and a boilerplate upper stage and dummy spacecraft, which showed Ares I to be a failure because the booster was bent beyond reuse after landing in the ocean in the five-segment configuration (which is why the SLS boosters will not be recovered but left to impact the ocean and sink), and the test flight of Orion on a Delta-IV Heavy-- a vehicle not even otherwise used in the program. That's it. No new infrastructure to speak of-- oh, upgraded facilities and modifications to existing facilities, a ton of new tooling for SLS core construction at Michoud, etc... but most of it is SPECIFIC to the SLS vehicle/system and wouldn't be much if any use for anything else-- the rest was preexisting and repurposed Apollo/Saturn facilities and equipment or repurposed from the shuttle program (most of which was repurposed FOR shuttle from Saturn/Apollo itself).

AND, all this to build a vehicle which uses the most expensive bits of the shuttle, designed for reuse, in EXPENDABLE MODE... a vehicle basically with no more orbital launch capability than the existing and INFINITELY CHEAPER Falcon Heavy, and which will require BILLIONS more to develop an ascent upper stage and in-space stage before it would even be capable of supporting a lunar landing or gateway station or anything else beyond an Apollo 8/Zond redux in a looping highly elliptical "lunar orbit" and return to Earth test mission, nevermind the necessity of spending billions to design, construct, build, and test a lunar lander to make a lunar landing even a possibility... It's about like if they spent $26 billion dollars, instead of on the ENTIRE APOLLO PROGRAM, all the supporting infrastructure on Earth to build, test, and launch it, and pay for all the missions, instead if they had spent ALL THAT MONEY on SATURN V's FIRST STAGE ALONE... (since without an ascent upper stage (S-II) and in-space station (S-IVB) the S-IC first stage could do very little on its own... SLS *CAN* get to orbit with 70 tonnes, but the PAYLOAD and whatever cobbled-up interim upper stage has to provide all the propulsion from there... which is sorely lacking).

Meh... what a mess... OL J R
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  #50  
Old 01-24-2021, 04:38 PM
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SLS total flight altitude will be ZERO FEET.
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