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 To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be

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Will Ares survive?
It will die a death
33%
 33% [ 2 ]
It will soar like an Eagle
17%
 17% [ 1 ]
There will be an almightly fudge with no clear victor
50%
 50% [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 6
 

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lkm



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PostSubject: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   25.07.08 6:23

I was wondering, how does everybody here feel about Ares versus Direct versus something else entirely?
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Mike
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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   25.07.08 7:16

Too difficult to call! Personally, I can draw a few parallels between Griffin & Bush, and the Ares V kinda represents the 'old system', or the old way of thinking (powerful characters pushing their pet projects without consideration to cost). So I'm hoping DIRECT, which represents the 'we can do it too' sorta new-gen system, will get recognized a bit more. Using a StarWars analogy, it's a bit like the 'Empire' versus the 'Rebels'. The Empire (Ares V) might be slightly evil, but its still kinda cool. Plus, you really shouldn't underestimate the power of the Empire. But that doesn't necessarily stop me routing for DIRECT... I'll put my money on Ares; but my heart's still with DIRECT. That way, so long as one of them win, I'll be happy Wink

My only hope is that Ares doesn't get cancelled late; bringing down the whole heavy lift program altogether. That would be very sad. Crying or Very sad
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   25.07.08 11:53

Well I would say that whatever else happens Ares V already seems pretty much toast.
The presidency seems Obama's to loose and his only space policy in the primary was to axe the big one to pay for an education initiative. There's whispers that Buzz Aldrin is lobbying him in favour of direct but that's another thing altogether.
As for Ares 1, that could well bodge through to become a slightly pointless, slightly dangerous alternate EELV.
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davamanr
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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   10.09.08 6:21

For short term goal I think Direct is the best. For long term I think there is a place Ares V (or PARIS for that matter). Ares I however should be dropped completely.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   12.09.08 15:19

Ares V would be an awful lot more money for not a great deal more lift, if any, over Direct. As I understand it, which undeniably is limitedly, that would require a whole new 10 metre core, an new upper stage to match and extensive launch pad redevelopment. And all you might gain is 20mt or so extra lift. For the same money you could probably build sea dragon and start throwing 400 mt space stations into orbit. Or maybe not.
Personally I think NASA has become so disfunctional a major reorganisation is required.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   12.09.08 16:04

lkm wrote:
Ares V would be an awful lot more money for not a great deal more lift, if any, over Direct. As I understand it, which undeniably is limitedly, that would require a whole new 10 metre core, an new upper stage to match and extensive launch pad redevelopment. And all you might gain is 20mt or so extra lift. For the same money you could probably build sea dragon and start throwing 400 mt space stations into orbit. Or maybe not.
Personally I think NASA has become so disfunctional a major reorganisation is required.

In the short term, Direct is much better. But in the long term, with a slow, careful and economic development program I see Ares V, or some other heavy lift design very pausible as well as necessary.
Ares V is too much too soon, but with the proper development process I can see some derivative being able to lift 200mt.
Sea Dragon is another good idea, but the problem is that you would basically have to start from scratch. Building necessary infrastructure is the expensive part. It's not just building the rocket. It's building the factories to build the hardware and tools to build the factories to build hardware and tools to build the rocket. I DID NOT accidentally repeat myself. If you want to build a dog house TRULY from scratch, you have to build the forge to make the saw to cut down the tree to cut into the useable pieces of wood to make the dog house.
Using this analogy, we have a lot of wood left over from the shuttle, so building a Direct doghouse would be easy. Later on ,however we need to build an Ares V human house, and the shuttle wood pieces are too small, therefore we need to cut down another tree. Difficult yes, but at least the saw has already been built!! I apologise for this analogy, but hopefully it makes the point!
Going to the moon is great for Direct, but IMHO although going to MARS with Direct is feasible, 200mt heavy lifters are much easier.

As for a reorganisation at NASA, most definitely!
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   13.09.08 4:17

Going to mars needs NERVA and propellant depots, everything else can easily be in 100mt chunks.
NASA needs to be split into an operational agency and a research agency, at the moment it is a dog with two heads.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   13.09.08 7:44

I can't say conclusively what is the best Mars strategy. I'm biased toward the heavy lifters because of what we MIGHT need to carry in the future.
As for splitting up NASA, there are valid arguments for and against. For me it would just be a coin toss.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   16.09.08 9:23

The more I read about the subject the more it seems to me that for a successful and self perpetuating exploration agenda to coexist with an effective research and science program the two tasks must be parceled out to separate agencies.
Give manned space flight over to a Exploration and Development Agency and concentrate NASA wholy on pushing critical technologies, science and basic reasearch. In turn move all the disparate aerospace research programs away from DARPA, the air force and everyone else and put them all in the NASA budget. NASA thus becomes the sole centre for driving aerospace research enabling less duplication of efforts greater sharing of expertise and results from black to white and an enlarged more opaque budget mixing civilian and military expenditure. Having such a mixed budget should provide greater congressional cover as from the right it is defense spending and you don't cut defense, and from the left is science, and you don't cut science.
With NASA able to become just another government agency quietly spending its budget the EDA becomes the public focus of space, the guys the President has to dinner, the guys with the rockets. Cutting the EDA budget would be directly cutting national pride, and the one thing you can't be unpatriotic.
At least, that's how it seems to me.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   16.09.08 12:21

From a political stand point your idea has merit. From the funding and development standpoint there are pitfalls.
When Chrysler Motors was having problems in the early eighties part of their problems were due to the lack of communication between R&D and manufacturing. R&D would come up with an ingenious component but because there was no coordination with manufacturing the component was unuseable. I see the same problem with splitting up NASA.
On the other hand, EDA would be the visible face of space travel and so the funding wouldn't APPEAR to be as high as with a consolidated agency, even though the actual expense due to the "pitfall" and duplication of effort would make it more expensive in actuality. Thus the coin toss.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   17.09.08 8:07

I could be specious and say if it were possible for good management to win out over political desirability NASA wouldn't be in the pit that it is, or indeed ask when has it ever happened that good maanagemnet won out over politics? However rather I would say that the EDA in this setup would become only one of several customers for NASA's R&D product and NASA would be much more akin to just another contractor with respect to EDA. It would be hoped that the EDA could operate more like the air force, as more of a purchaser and operator of vehicle rather than any sort of developer. DIRECT could clearly drive the most change if it was developed in such a manner that its services were open to commercial use, where the EDA is merely an anchor tennant for the business.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   17.09.08 12:56

Trust me, you don't want the EDA operationing like the AF! Cost plus contracts where lowest bidder ends up costing more than the highest bidder through cost overruns and time extensions!
But seriously, at the very least there would need a very extensive EDA liaison structure to coordinate development and prevent the Chrysler scenario. I do like the idea of having an R&D department that encompasses several different agencies as well as NASA. This could help keep the costs down by minimizing duplication in a different way.
Although NASA does have a certain degree of commercial tasks I have always felt that this would be a great way of generating more revenue for space exploration; at least until commercial companies want to get in on the act.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 6:54

Obviously we'd want the EDA to have a functional procurement system, and someone, somewhere must know what that looks like.
Just as an aside, would Al Gore be a genius or absurd pick for Administrator? He is a Washington insider in the Webb mold, has great access, has served in both house and senate, has history with NASA as VP, has a strong interest in NASA earth science, public popularity, name recognition, and a definite cool factor.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 9:47

I think Al gore would make a good, but not necessarily the best, pick for for NASA administrator. He has the right mindset for the job, but he might lack the necessary technical background. Either way he is a much better pick that the present administrator!
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 9:51

Al Gore would focus NASA's budget entirely on "green" fuels, renewable energy, blah blah. Why not choose a retired AF general, someone with an old school, Cold War-esque, get to Mars first attitude?
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 9:57

We have a guy with that kind of mentality in there right now. He basically is a yes man for Bush and has the same "I'm right and everyone else is wrong" attitude.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 10:14

I don't think there's much disagreement that Webb is the best Ad in NASA's history, and he had no technical experience at all, just good washington connections and an ability to see the big picture. Or am I wrong?
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 11:47

The ability to see the big picture is a quality that is clearly missing from the present Ad, despite his technical background. I still consider technical background important, but if our hypothetical Ad has the humility to put the right people on his staff then this would put NASA back on track.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 15:33

Just because someone is a good leader doesn't make him necessarily say "I'm right and everyone else is wrong." We need someone like you said who can see the big picture, but has ambition and the fortitude to get things done.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 15:57

It does seem to me that NASA has been suffering from the same systemic failing for the last thirty years. From Challenger to Columbia to Ares there seems to be a running thread of an organisation unwilling to listen to its employees and being ruthless against disent. I don't know if this is chain of command thing held over from so many air force personel joining the agency, but how is an R&D establishment is meant to run without questioning the status que?
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 16:04

A main issue, in my opinion, is perhaps there was no incentive to challenge the status quo. Why develop leaping technologies when you can get away with smaller steps? Less work and stress, and you keep your job and still get a pat on the back.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 16:35

While it's true that Administrator Truly never took the x-30 seriously and consistently retarded its funding, despite congressional pressure otherwise, counterproductive as it was, he was the choice of the sitting President, he was the reccomendation of the Space council. Blame the voters.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 16:39

Blame the system. If a system allows that to happen, then there is something grievously wrong with it. I agree with you that NASA needs an overhaul.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 17:23

In which case the only solution is a massive curtailing in the Presidents power of appointment.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 19:56

Political immunity is necessary for the success of some organizations it would seem.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   18.09.08 23:56

I wouldn't go so far as to call what's happened in the past eight years a success!! Political immunity has a positive aspect ONLY if it isn't abused, but that is clearly asking too much of our politicians. This is why the founding fathers developed the separation of powers to minimize the abuses that have occured over the past eight years. Just imagine where we'd be if we didn't have the separation of powers!!
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   19.09.08 4:40

I think what was meant by political immunity was for a federal agency to be beyond the tinkering or preasurisation from any politician or political grouping.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   19.09.08 5:59

If what you say is the case then there is also the possibility of the leader of that agency to go rogue. I can't say what the answer is. I mean the Supreme court was supposed to be set up as you describe, but of course the only people who are going to be appointed are the ones that the appointer believes will most closely follow his agenda. The system looks good on paper...
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   19.09.08 13:24

Quote :
I think what was meant by political immunity was for a federal agency to be beyond the tinkering or preasurisation from any politician or political grouping.

That's the point I was trying to get at without blatantly saying it.

The point of checks and balances is to keep things just that, checked and balanced. Just because an organization is beyond the direct influence of say the executive branch, doesn't mean that they can do whatever the hell they want. They are governed by laws and the organization's own principles.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   19.09.08 13:27

Quote :
If what you say is the case then there is also the possibility of the leader of that agency to go rogue. I can't say what the answer is. I mean the Supreme court was supposed to be set up as you describe, but of course the only people who are going to be appointed are the ones that the appointer believes will most closely follow his agenda. The system looks good on paper...

Some tweaking of the Supreme Court has been in order virtually since its creation. The founders clearly had no idea party affiliation would lead to "What's in the best interest of the party" instead of "What's in the best interest of the nation."
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   19.09.08 13:31

Locksley wrote:
Quote :
I think what was meant by political immunity was for a federal agency to be beyond the tinkering or preasurisation from any politician or political grouping.

That's the point I was trying to get at without blatantly saying it.

The point of checks and balances is to keep things just that, checked and balanced. Just because an organization is beyond the direct influence of say the executive branch, doesn't mean that they can do whatever the hell they want. They are governed by laws and the organization's own principles.

Tell that to Dubya!! The one thing that can't be forgotten in any of the social sciences is that the primary factor is human nature and humans are not necessarily inately good.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   19.09.08 13:40

He's abusing the system, and no one is doing anything about it. Human nature is not innately good, in fact I would say it's innately self-centered.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   20.09.08 5:43

Human nature is self-interested, and it's in everyones to, by and large, get along. So we do, by and large.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   07.10.08 9:36

Assuming the Griffin plan succeeds and NASA is left in 2010 with absolutely no manned space program at all, STS is retired and dismantled, the workforce has been desimated and fired, Ares 1/V have been canceled as unworkable and far too expensive, and thus NASA is free to begin again with a clean slate, what should it do?
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   07.10.08 15:11

IMHO develop a Saturn V class booster that is crude, rugged and reliable and can be built in a production line manner. Develop a standardized module system that can put a wide variety of payloads into orbit, again built in a production line manner.
From there arrange a launch schedule that would launch a new mission into orbit about once a month.
Do not try and over-think or over-optimize the system. Make it simple, rugged and reliable so that it can do the job and being in a production line system the costs will plummet.
Establish a way station in orbit to for the payloads to dock to. From there the way station crew will set up the payload for whatever mission it has and launch from there.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   07.10.08 15:39

Can the words, simple, rugged and reliable ever really be applied to launch system?
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: To the moon and beyond, or not as the budget may be   07.10.08 16:24

The Russians seem to have a pretty good system.IMHO part of the problem of the shuttle was we asked it to do too much.  As I said before I have nothing but admiration for the shuttle's designers, but it was ahead of it's time.  The Direct proposal has a lot of merit as it is using numerous tried and true components.  It wouldn't be too hard to build in a large margin of simplicity, ruggedness, reliability and safety with an LV like Jupiter 232.  Will we find problems as we proceed?  Of course, but with this production line approach we can optimize,  improve and correct as we go.  We can just keep on cranking out the equivalent of Model T spacecraft every month or so. Depending on the mission(s) that we are launching we build the necessary modules to fit the requirement and send them up.  
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