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  #1  
Old 09-17-2020, 05:18 PM
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Earl Earl is offline
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Default Aging Astronauts

With the entire Mercury 7 class gone for almost four years and the Gemini and Apollo groups getting thinner by the year, it IS refreshing to see another Gemini/Apollo astronaut hit the ‘#90’ milestone.

Tom Stafford, two-time Gemini and the lone surviving member of the Apollo 10 crew turned 90 years old today. He joins Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, Jim McDivitt, and Buzz Aldrin in the 90 and above club. Most all other Apollo astronauts are 85+, with Harrison Schmidt and Charlie Duke coming in around the mid 80s.

Here is a link to a NASA video saluting Stafford’s 90 years.

Link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature...e&v=-DmUZkJ9dnk

Appreciate them while they are still among us; the first humans to ever venture beyond earth orbit.

Earl
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Last edited by Earl : 09-17-2020 at 06:32 PM. Reason: Spellin’ fix
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:41 PM
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I'm afraid none of the Apollo era astronauts will ever get to see us go back to the moon. I know they are saying Artemis/SLS will fly next year and we will go in 2024, but I have a feeling it won't happen until Space-X decides to do it, hopefully before the Chinese get there.
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
I'm afraid none of the Apollo era astronauts will ever get to see us go back to the moon. I know they are saying Artemis/SLS will fly next year and we will go in 2024, but I have a feeling it won't happen until Space-X decides to do it, hopefully before the Chinese get there.

When I was born, there was no one alive that had left earth orbit. 13 1/2 years later that changed.
I fear that when I die, there will be no one alive that has left earth orbit.
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:18 PM
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Given that the Moon orbits Earth, and is well within the Earth’s Hill Sphere (gravitational influence), technically no one has as of yet left Earth orbit.

Cantankerous old astronomer
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:24 PM
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I have absolutely ZERO confidence that NASA will get back to the moon anytime soon or EVER.
Space-X will get there before anyone else does.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
I have absolutely ZERO confidence that NASA will get back to the moon anytime soon or EVER.
Space-X will get there before anyone else does.

The Chinese could probably beat Space-X to a round trip flight just because of the completely different approach with the Space-X Starship.

I'm in a catch 22 in a way. I want NASA to return to its former glory and represent our country. However, I kind of want SLS to fail because I hate that it was designed off Shuttle components to "save money" (fill pockets of senators/reps) while going hugely over budget and years behind schedule.

On the other side of it, I love the idea that a private company can do things faster, better, and cheaper, at least with the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. I'm hedging my bets on the big stainless Starship/BFR, but I hope it is successful and matures quickly.
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Old 09-18-2020, 10:52 AM
Vanel Vanel is offline
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As someone with first hand experience with NASA, I think the agency has the following major issues:

1) Lack of long term goals - what we work on is totally dependent on the current administration and amount of congressional support for that administration's goals. As a result, we end up switching gears every 8 years or so. Hard to do space exploration without a set of goals the nation gets behind. We pulled it off with Apollo/Shuttle/ISS; have been floundering ever since.

2) Bureaucracy - NASA has become a mature bureaucracy, which means lots of regulations, paperwork, etc. This inhibits the ability to get things done in a reasonable length of time and adds costs. Bureaucracies look after themselves.

3) Special skills no longer emphasized - related to 2), the agency is gradually adopting "a captain is a captain" approach, in which it is thought you can train up anyone to do any job. You can do this for some things, but it is hard to create propulsion engineers from those with non-aerospace backgrounds. Critical tasks often require folks educated in that particular area, and no amount of training can impart the necessary knowledge and skills. IMO, this is why NASA has recently stuck to Shuttle-derived technology - the ability to create new things is diminished, so it is easier to adapt the old.

I note that this is not just a problem with NASA, but with the U.S. as a whole. The country no longer appreciates special skills, as most Americans think they know just as much - if not more - than any doctor, scientist, engineer, mechanic, etc. When I grew up, a college education was something that was desired. Now those with them are scorned as "elites". These attitudes are reflected in how government agencies are run.

4) NASA has very poor communication. Space-X kicks butt in this area and it shows. In my area, young people wanting space careers aspire to work for Space X, not NASA. This is obviously bad for NASA.

My $0.02...
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
I'm in a catch 22 in a way. I want NASA to return to its former glory and represent our country. However, I kind of want SLS to fail because I hate that it was designed off Shuttle components to "save money" (fill pockets of senators/reps) while going hugely over budget and years behind schedule.


While I agree that SLS has become more of a pork barrel program than a realistic path to future space exploration, that's not what makes me the most angry. We're spending tens of billions of dollars to recreate the heavy lift capability that had with the Saturn V and simply discarded.

Vanel, when Apollo went to the moon, they were no longer within the primary influence of the earth's gravitational field - they were within the primary influence of the moon's gravitational field. Hence they were no longer in earth orbit.
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Old 09-18-2020, 01:47 PM
Vanel Vanel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdracer
Vanel, when Apollo went to the moon, they were no longer within the primary influence of the earth's gravitational field - they were within the primary influence of the moon's gravitational field. Hence they were no longer in earth orbit.


Again, astronomers like me disagree, and have always done so. No human being has ever escaped the Earth's gravitational influence (even in orbit about the Moon, the Earth significantly perturbs the orbit, and the spacecraft executes an orbit of spirals about the Earth/Moon barycenter).

Going to the Moon was a fabulous incredible achievement, but this notion that the Earth was left behind is simply wrong.
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2020, 01:51 PM
Vanel Vanel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdracer
While I agree that SLS has become more of a pork barrel program than a realistic path to future space exploration, that's not what makes me the most angry. We're spending tens of billions of dollars to recreate the heavy lift capability that had with the Saturn V and simply discarded.


A decision made by Richard Nixon, who was elected by the voters. No one cared about that heavy lift anymore. As a kid, I was dreaming of people going to Mars, only to see them stuck in low Earth orbit. It is indeed sad.
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