IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

5 Pages V  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Unaffordable and Unsustainable, NASA’s failing Earth-to-orbit Transportation Strategy
Jim from NSF.com
post Aug 1 2006, 11:52 AM
Post #31


Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 321
Joined: 6-April 06
From: Cape Canaveral
Member No.: 734



QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jul 31 2006, 02:42 PM) *
How much interesting new science is being done by ISS? Low Earth orbit is not a mysterious region today, and Soviet space stations have done years of human, animal and plant studies.
I question whether NASA is even allocating money for science in an effective manner.


the soviet space stations are not good examples of good science especially wrt human studies. The cosomauts never followed the protocols and so real data was collected.

So X number of space science missions a year is not effective? Private industry doesn't do science. There is no money in it
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
dvandorn
post Aug 1 2006, 08:32 PM
Post #32


Senior Member
****

Group: Members
Posts: 3254
Joined: 9-February 04
From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Member No.: 15



And, in defense of ISS, I will just say that ISS is a transition program designed to teach U.S. aerospace engineers and managers how to fly long missions, how to assemble multi-launch spacecraft in LEO, and how to keep crews alive for the time it will take to travel from one planet to another. (Or even to fly to nearby asteroids.)

Does anyone truly believe that NASA could possibly have moved directly from Mercury to Apollo? No -- Gemini was necessary to teach NASA how to fly missions with more than one pilot, to fly missions that lasted longer than a day and a half, to maneuver in space, etc. All things necessary to understand if you're serious about flying to the Moon.

In the same manner, I don't think it's reasonable to *ever* expect NASA to field a manned interplanetary mission without first having gained the hands-on knowledge they have developed in the construction and manning of the ISS.

ISS may not be an effective scientific research platform, but I continue to insist that it is a necessary step in learning how to fly manned interplanetary missions.

-the other Doug


--------------------
“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
djellison
post Aug 1 2006, 08:39 PM
Post #33


Administrator
****

Group: Chairman
Posts: 13852
Joined: 8-February 04
Member No.: 1



I think there could have been better, cheaper, faster ways to learn how to do manned interplanetary missions ( indeed, Mir could, should and perhaps did teach us those things...particularly given that some people spent up to twice as long on Mir as they ever have on ISS ).

However - given that ISS is what it is, it has a role to play.

Doug
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
dvandorn
post Aug 1 2006, 08:51 PM
Post #34


Senior Member
****

Group: Members
Posts: 3254
Joined: 9-February 04
From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Member No.: 15



Oh, I don't disagree, Doug. There probably are many, many cheaper ways to gain the knowledge needed to mount interplanetary expeditions. What I'm unsure about, though, is whether the NASA bureaucracy (or any huge government bureaucracy) is capable of learning such lessons cheaply.

I have a gut feeling that it ought to be a lot easier and cheaper to get into orbit than current technology seems to allow, as well -- but I haven't seen anyone prove it yet. And since you need the infrastructure in place before private industry will recognize a profit potential in it, I doubt that private industry is the answer for creating the infrastructure in the first place.

NASA, other governments, and hundreds of private and semi-private concerns have been trying to come up with cheaper, more practical, and still safe ways to allow humans to expand into the solar system. No one has come up with anything that promises success, or that can attract the funding necessary to get it off the ground, other than NASA, the Soviets (and now the Russians), ESA, and the People's Republic of China. And I don't see any of those programs innovating towards inexpensive access to space.

I guess I wonder whether we're running into a basic sociological principle, here. If a given task is so large that it requires a government to fund it, then it becomes almost impossible to hope that the means to accomplishing that task will ever be the cheapest, most elegant, or "best" way to do it.

Here's a good analogy for y'all -- how much does it cost, per mile or km, to build an interstate highway (or autobahn, or whatever-you-call-it)? Why is it that governments, for the most part, are the ones stuck building such highways? And does anyone really think they spend the least money possible to achieve the quality of highway they want? And yet, do we hear people complaining that our transportation infrastructure is unaffordable and unsustainable?

Think about it...

-the other Doug


--------------------
“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
helvick
post Aug 1 2006, 09:47 PM
Post #35


Dublin Correspondent
****

Group: Admin
Posts: 1797
Joined: 28-March 05
From: Celbridge, Ireland
Member No.: 220



QUOTE (dvandorn @ Aug 1 2006, 09:51 PM) *
Here's a good analogy for y'all -- how much does it cost, per mile or km, to build an interstate highway?

This is OT but it's a very good analogy. At Euro\$15-50m per mile (depending on specification) you can quickly eat up a NASA sized budget building highway\motorway\autobahn's for even a small country.

Governments build them because no end user is currently willing to pay the true economic cost of road use. Governments subsidise them up the ying yang because voters want them and on average they are wealth creating projects. Or at least we'd all better hope they are because they really do cost a lot of money. The difference with spaceflight is that even though they are similar up front (lots of capital expenditure and then some ongoing maintenance at some fraction of that) after the initial investment spend there is no clear link to wealth generation and no-one believes there is any link while they do for highways\motorways.

As an exercise if you believe that highways\motorways generate wealth here's some numbers to ponder.
A highly efficient 3 lane motorway has a safe saturation carrying capacity of around 8.6K vehicles/hr (3 lanes both directions 2.5 seconds separation). If it has a 50% loading on average over a 24 hour period then it has a carrying capacity of around 37M cars per annum. Assume a replacement lifetime of 20 years, a competitive initial construction cost of $20m/mile and a cost of capital of just 3% since the economy is doing so well. Then each mile actually costs $26million in todays money so you have to charge 0.70c per mile in a toll just to break even in this best case scenario. In the real world on a less heavily utilised road a toll of $5-$10 per mile would probably be needed to cover costs. Those numbers get even worse for non highway grade roads because even though the cost per mile is much lower (~$1m/mile) the carrying capacity is far lower still.

Now for the kicker - road damage is roughly proportional to the 4th power of the per axle vehicle weight. That's nasty because it means that large commercial trucks actually end up causing 5000-10000 times as much damage to roads as non commercial private vehicles do. And we never ever charge them for that because doing so would prevent the motorways generating wealth. Kind of funny that.

So in the end do motorways generate wealth or not and if not why do we spend so much money on them?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Aug 1 2006, 10:27 PM
Post #36





Guests






I certainly don't want to see NASA stop funding science missions to the planets. One of the frustrations with NASA's current agenda has been the amount of funding sucked away from science to keep the Shuttle and ISS going. One reason you are hearing some of us complain. For other nations, ISS is pure gravy, they get to have "astronauts" and pay a very marginal amount of the cost. Talk about space tourism.

In general, I think government should encourage private enterprise to step in, they should encourage multiple vendors, and they should never compete with private enterprise. The commercial statellite business is a good example of this policy in action in the US.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Stephen
post Aug 2 2006, 08:49 AM
Post #37


Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 307
Joined: 16-March 05
Member No.: 198



QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Aug 1 2006, 10:27 PM) *
In general, I think government should encourage private enterprise to step in, they should encourage multiple vendors, and they should never compete with private enterprise.

I was under the impression NASA long encouraged multiple vendors. Didn't multiple vendors compete to produce the LM way back in the Apollo era? And doesn't it currently have two competing to produce the CEV?

QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Aug 1 2006, 10:27 PM) *
The commercial statellite business is a good example of this policy in action in the US.

Actually your analogy with the commercial satellite business doesn't really stand up to scrutiny. For a start there is a large market for commercial satellites. Or at least the communications & weather sorts; and probably a growing one for certain other kinds, like the Landsat sort. That's why you have private enterprise building those and sending them into orbit.

By comparison where is the market for doing the kind of scientific investigations that NASA was (originally at any rate) going to do with the ISS or sending probes to other planets?

More specifically, Bigelow may want to put an orbital hotel in space, but where are all the private entrepreneurs competing to put a private enterprise version of the ISS in orbit? Or rather (given all the complaints about the ISS) one closer to the original vision for the ISS?

The ISS as it stands certainly has its problems, but I do not see anybody in private enterprise prepared to step forward and use their own money (or their investors') to do a better job. They seem to be quite willing to build something if somebody else (like NASA) pays for it, but that is as far as their interest seems to go;and as far as I can see that is as far as it is likely to go for some time yet.

That being the case just how exactly is NASA "competing" with private enterprise at all? In which fields do you see NASA competing against private enterprise?

======
Stephen
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Stephen
post Aug 2 2006, 11:17 AM
Post #38


Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 307
Joined: 16-March 05
Member No.: 198



QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Jul 31 2006, 06:42 PM) *
If space is limited to academic science experiments and taxpayer funding, then exploration will never proceed beyond the level we see now -- small robotic probes sent every few years. On the other hand, if private enterprise lowers the cost of reaching space, then science benefits as well.

I don't doubt you're right about the fate of taxpayer funded efforts; and also about the benefits that would come if private enterprise could indeed invent a way to lower the cost of "reaching space". But the fact remains that whether any of us like it or not every single scientific mission thus far sent into deep space has been conceived by a government or academic agency (American, Soviet, European, or Japanese), paid for by taxpayer funds, and launched on a rocket whose development was paid for by the taxpayers of one country or another. That may well change eventually, but I would not count on it changing soon.

Next year is the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1. In that time NASA has sent (or are sending) probes to every planet in the solar system, and has even landed men on the Moon. Yet where has private enterprise been?

Back in the 1990s various commercial outfits conceived plans for sending missions to the Moon. Orbiters, landers, even rovers. Yet thus far not one has been launched.

Innovative launch vehicles of assorted kinds have been conceived. Yet where are most of them today? (Even Bigelow's Genesis-1 module was launched on a standard Russian rocket.) Furthermore, AFAIK they were all targeted towards the LEO market.

Then there was the NEAP (Near Earth Asteroid Prospector) mission, which was going to be the first commercial deep space mission. Yet it too has not yet reached the launch pad. (In fact it is unclear whether any actual hardware has ever been built for it.)

So while none of us may like the pace at which space exploration is proceeding, at the moment and for the foreseeable future government space programs would seem to be the only shows in town as far as (deep) space exploration is concerned.

======
Stephen
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Messenger
post Aug 2 2006, 02:22 PM
Post #39


Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 624
Joined: 10-August 05
Member No.: 460



QUOTE (Stephen @ Aug 2 2006, 02:49 AM) *
I was under the impression NASA long encouraged multiple vendors. Didn't multiple vendors compete to produce the LM way back in the Apollo era? And doesn't it currently have two competing to produce the CEV?

There are two primes, but some of the subsystems can only be supplied by single vendors, most notably, the solid first stage.

In practice, this can get pretty interesting during the proposal stage: Two proposal workers may work for the same company, even share an office, and be completely embargoed from discussing their work, even though they are doing exactly the same thing.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post Aug 2 2006, 05:27 PM
Post #40





Guests






Precisely, the commercial satellite business is private now because it makes money, so NASA doesn't oversee it. Why do probes like Mars Express look like a Boeing 601 comsat? Because so many standard systems have evolved to satisfy the needs of a market.

Where are innovative launch vehicles? The Delta IV is an entirely new launch vehicle. Doesn't look anything like a Delta II. It is all LOX/LH2 and has a large new first stage engine with staged-combustion and a novel low-cost design for cooling. It seems that the comsat and milsat businesses are stimulating innovation and efficiency.

The major launch vehicles are very big. They're designed to put payloads into GSO or low polar orbit -- both very energetically expensive operations. In the case of Dnepr, you have a very dumb rocket that can boost a medium-size payload into LEO, with no large change of the orbital plane. There hasn't been a big market for that, but perhaps that will change. Polar orbit is getting cheaper with new northern launch facilities like Kodiak.

The white paper suggests that servicing ISS is ready for privatization. In theory I agree, but I doubt if the EU would stop subsidizing the Ariane/ATV plan -- even though it is not a great idea to go from Kourou to the highly inclined ISS orbit. But now who would ever pay for the real cost of a launch? This is why, if there is a viable market, you want the government to stay out.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Guest_Analyst_*
post Aug 2 2006, 06:50 PM
Post #41





Guests






QUOTE (DonPMitchell @ Aug 2 2006, 05:27 PM) *
-- even though it is not a great idea to go from Kourou to the highly inclined ISS orbit.


If you launch from the equator you are never worse off (for any inclination) than launching from another place north or south. You are better or the same, but never worse.

Analyst
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
RNeuhaus
post Aug 2 2006, 07:00 PM
Post #42


Senior Member
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1636
Joined: 9-May 05
From: Lima, Peru
Member No.: 385



QUOTE (Analyst @ Aug 2 2006, 01:50 PM) *
If you launch from the equator you are never worse off (for any inclination) than launching from another place north or south. You are better or the same, but never worse.

Analyst

Trying to understand your suposition:
At the equator line, the atmosphere is denser and highe altitude than others latitudes but the vector's velocity helps much to accelerate the spacecraft into the orbit? unsure.gif

Rodolfo
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
remcook
post Aug 2 2006, 07:38 PM
Post #43


Rover Driver
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1002
Joined: 4-March 04
Member No.: 47



then why do the russians launch polar satellites from Plesetsk?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
djellison
post Aug 2 2006, 08:29 PM
Post #44


Administrator
****

Group: Chairman
Posts: 13852
Joined: 8-February 04
Member No.: 1



Trajectory purposes I would have thought - same reason they launch polar from Vandenberg and not Florida.

Given that you are further from the centre of the earth at the equator - you start off with slightly less gravity to deal with smile.gif A tiny fraction....but a fraction none the less.

Velocity advantages from Equatorial launch sites fall off with increasing orbit inclination and trend to zero for a polar orbit I would have thought.

Doug
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
remcook
post Aug 2 2006, 09:16 PM
Post #45


Rover Driver
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1002
Joined: 4-March 04
Member No.: 47



I believe the vandenberg launch option is because otherwise you would launch over land for the florida case.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

5 Pages V  < 1 2 3 4 5 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 24th November 2014 - 02:39 AM
RULES AND GUIDELINES
Please read the Forum Rules and Guidelines before posting.

IMAGE COPYRIGHT
Images posted on UnmannedSpaceflight.com may be copyrighted. Do not reproduce without permission. Read here for further information on space images and copyright.

OPINIONS AND MODERATION
Opinions expressed on UnmannedSpaceflight.com are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of UnmannedSpaceflight.com or The Planetary Society. The all-volunteer UnmannedSpaceflight.com moderation team is wholly independent of The Planetary Society. The Planetary Society has no influence over decisions made by the UnmannedSpaceflight.com moderators.
SUPPORT THE FORUM
Unmannedspaceflight.com is a project of the Planetary Society and is funded by donations from visitors and members. Help keep this forum up and running by contributing here.