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  UPI: Bush OKs new moon missions (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   UPI: Bush OKs new moon missions
Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2004 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By FRANK SIETZEN JR. AND KEITH L. COWING, United Press International

Full article can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/3729r

quote:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- American astronauts will return to the moon early in the next decade in preparation for sending crews to explore Mars and nearby asteroids, President Bush is expected to propose next week as part of a sweeping reform of the U.S. space program.

To pay for the new effort -- which would require a new generation of spacecraft but use Europe's Ariane rockets and Russia's Soyuz capsules in the interim -- NASA's space shuttle fleet would be retired as soon as construction of the International Space Station is completed, senior administration sources told United Press International.


[snip]

quote:
To begin the initiative, the president will ask Congress for a down payment of $800 million for fiscal year 2005, most of which will go to develop new robotic space vehicles and begin work on advanced human exploration systems. Bush also plans to ask Congress to boost NASA's budget by 5 percent annually over at least the next five years, with all of the increase supporting space exploration. With the exception of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, no other agency is expected to receive a budget increase above inflation in FY 2005.

Along with retiring the shuttle fleet, the new plan calls for NASA to convert a planned follow-on spacecraft -- called the orbital space plane -- into versions of a new spaceship called the crew exploration vehicle. NASA would end substantial involvement in the space station project about the same time the moon landings would begin -- beginning in 2013, according to an administration timetable shown to UPI.

The first test flights of unmanned prototypes of the CEV could occur as soon as 2007. An orbital version would replace the shuttle to transport astronauts to and from the space station. However, sources said, the current timetable leaves a period several years when NASA would lack manned space capability -- hence the need to use Soyuz vehicles for flights to the station. Ariane rockets also might be used to launch lunar missions.


[snip]

quote:
Under the current plan, sources said, the first lunar landings would carry only enough resources to test advanced equipment that would be employed on voyages beyond the moon. Because the early moon missions would use existing rockets, they could deliver only small equipment packages. So the initial, return-to-the-moon missions essentially would begin where the Apollo landings left off -- a few days at a time, growing gradually longer. The human landings could be both preceded and accompanied by robotic vehicles.


The first manned Mars expeditions would attempt to orbit the red planet in advance of landings -- much as Apollo 8 and 10 orbited the moon but did not land. The orbital flights would conduct photo reconnaissance of the Martian surface before sending landing craft, said sources familiar with the plan's details.


[snip]

quote:
Sources said Bush will direct NASA to scale back or scrap all existing programs that do not support the new effort. Further details about the plan and the space agency's revised budget will be announced in NASA briefings next week and when the president delivers his FY 2005 budget to Congress.

John K. Rochester
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posted 01-08-2004 09:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course, the only problem with Presidential Programs is that once the president leaves office , is the incoming leader going to continue to pursue the program?! In this case, I would hope so.. and that President Bush isn't blowing smoke around the time of re-election to garner support from the technology industries, and aerospace industries as well.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2004 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since we have previously discussed presidential politics and funding histories here in the past, how about we use this opportunity to discuss the details (of which, by the above article, we appear to have many) of the plan?

For example, what about the suggestion of Apollo 8-like Mars missions: does it really make sense to go all that way and just orbit? And do we really need humans to do Martian reconnaissance? I thought that was the purpose of probes like MGS.

072069
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posted 01-08-2004 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 072069   Click Here to Email 072069     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One neat little thing a manned orbit around Mars could accomplish is to send an unmanned drone to the surface to collect samples, return them to the mother ship and then back to Earth for analysis.

Bernie

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2004 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 072069:
One neat little thing a manned orbit around Mars could accomplish is to send an unmanned drone to the surface to collect samples, return them to the mother ship and then back to Earth for analysis.

Thanks Bernie, I hadn't thought about that. It would also mean that real time control of any robotic rovers would be possible, allowing for much quicker operations on the surface unlike the step-by-step, Sol-by-Sol approach we are seeing with Spirit (and soon to be with Opportunity).

That said, would it prudent to send the humans back to Earth, or just the samples they collect? What I mean, is use the knowledge we have gained (and will gain) from the ISS to send a station to Martian orbit, permanently manned from the start with two-year shifts of duty rather than six months. Robotic sample returns could be sent to rendezvous with the ISS in Earth orbit.

Now, what about the Moon. Is 2013 realistic? Boy, I hope it is...

Rodina
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posted 01-08-2004 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Does it make sense to go to Mars and not land? In a word, <i>yes</i>...from a funding stand point, anyway. The total delta-V involved in, say, a Mars orbit/Phobos landing is ENORMOUSLY less (I think it's about 1/3rd as much).

Does it make sense to have a Mars and Moon program that does nothing to make cost-to-orbit cheaper by a couple orders of magnitude? Absolutely not. I don't want to be sitting here in 30 years, thinking wistfully about whether Robert Curbeam should have gotten to the (inevitably cancelled) command Mars Mission #4.

Nothing suggests to me that this program is either (a) sustainable or (b) makes space access cheaper. It keeps NASA as the one tube through which the human race extrudes itself into space. So I cannot get that excited about the program.

Now, mind you, I own a $500 bottle of scotch whisky, bottled in 1961, which I am saving for a Mars landing and I will toast our astronauts gladly, but this ain't the way to get to space to stay.


Rodina
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posted 01-08-2004 10:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Robotic sample returns could be sent to rendezvous with the ISS in Earth orbit.

That's a lot of extra delta-v, Robert. Just send em right down the pipe and have them land in Utah, like the stardust sample return. Cheaper and safer.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2004 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rodina:
That's a lot of extra delta-v, Robert. Just send em right down the pipe and have them land in Utah, like the stardust sample return. Cheaper and safer.

And a nightmare to get past the FAA.

Seriously though, there are other reasons to go to the ISS -- namely isolation of any Martian microbes from the Earth environment. Until we can definitively label Mars as dead, that is a concern (not my concern mind you but there will be those in the scientific community who will object).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2004 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rodina:
Nothing suggests to me that this program is either (a) sustainable or (b) makes space access cheaper. It keeps NASA as the one tube through which the human race extrudes itself into space. So I cannot get that excited about the program.

Any efforts to develop a new series of CEVs (Crew Exploration Vehicles) will undoubtedly lead to cost savings. We've learned lessons from Shuttle, just haven't had a chance to implement them. Further, a true Presidential and Congressional push today should be just what is needed to increase Wall Street support for private development efforts. Its possible the spinoffs from a program like this today could be greater than the initial concept for advancing the mass expansion into space.

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posted 01-08-2004 10:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

The pessimism sounds exactly like articles I read in the 1950's about a lunar landing- "too expensive" "impossible" "not sustainable" "political"
You have to dream it before it can happen.
China's recent manned program makes me believe that the Bush Admin. sees a possible "space race" developing. I think a 21st century space craft bulit to go the moon, could easily be modified to go to mars. The Apollo8 style mission makes sense because it may require multiple missions to put a man/woman on mars and then return her
because of escape velocity issues.
GO BUSH!
Tahir

[This message has been edited by fabfivefreddy (edited January 08, 2004).]

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posted 01-08-2004 11:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cklofas   Click Here to Email cklofas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But just how, exactly, is a credibility impaired President going to get Congress to go along ? Dont get me wrong, I'm all for expanding the program,but I think it will be very difficult to get Congress away from the partisan infighting and election year turf battles that lie ahead. Maybe we can get Florida to revive that lotto idea...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2004 11:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
China's recent manned program makes me believe that the Bush Admin. sees a possible "space race" developing.

Many space policy analysts and/or watchdogs agree, this has little to nothing to do with China and has everything to do with Columbia. The CAIB issued a direct order for the White House to establish a goal for NASA. That is what the President is doing with this announcement.

If Bush deserves any credit for this, it is that he isn't relying on a race or political foe to push him forward with a new space policy. If there is a foe in this situation, it is the losses of Challenger and Columbia.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited January 09, 2004).]

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-08-2004 11:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't believe for a minute that China has nothing to do with it.
We never would have funded Apollo without the Russian involvement.
I believe China is the next great world power- nukes, subs, satellites, men in space... what more? I don't think we are afraid of them, just competing. The Bush Admin. has the intelligence, not us.
Tahir

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2004 11:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
We never would have funded Apollo without the Russian involvement. I believe China is the next great world power- nukes, subs, satellites, men in space... what more? I don't think we are afraid of them, just competing. The Bush Admin. has the intelligence, not us.

Apollo was driven by the Cold War, no doubt about it. But the Cold War existed prior to the space program, it wasn't created because of it.

I am not saying that the Bush administration isn't aware of China's space program, and that it wasn't a consideration, but the planning for this new initiative predates Yang Liwei and any statements made by China regarding a lunar program.

In my opinion, saying that China's space program is pushing Bush to make this announcement is comparable to saying that science drove Kennedy's backing of Apollo. Yes, Kennedy knew of the scientific benefits that a lunar mission could return -- he had been briefed about it by James Webb -- but it wasn't on Kennedy's radar when he challenged the nation to reach the Moon.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited January 08, 2004).]

Rob Sumowski
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posted 01-09-2004 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
I don't believe for a minute that China has nothing to do with it.
We never would have funded Apollo without the Russian involvement.
I believe China is the next great world power- nukes, subs, satellites, men in space... what more? I don't think we are afraid of them, just competing. The Bush Admin. has the intelligence, not us.
Tahir

I think you may be absolutely right, Tahir. Maybe this is the kick in the pants we've needed. I really think we're going back, fellas.
Rob

DC Giants
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posted 01-09-2004 12:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that this news is exciting and compelling. The thing that stands out is that NASA will have an entirely new focus and perhaps have a sound plan in place to achieve the President's goals. Bush Sr. had a plan that was merely vaporware. This one appears to have a decent chance of surviving the politics of Washington...

Just my 2 cents.

Patrick

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-09-2004 12:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another topic for discussion: reportedly the President will direct NASA to shutdown or at least scale back its existing programs that do not support the new goals, to free up funds for those activities that do.

Does that mean an end to Earth observation missions?

What about Messenger, which is targeted at Mercury?

Do we remove the Aeronautics from NASA's name and re-title it the National Space Administration?

Where would you draw the line?

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited January 09, 2004).]

Rodina
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posted 01-09-2004 01:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Any efforts to develop a new series of CEVs (Crew Exploration Vehicles) will undoubtedly lead to cost savings. We've learned lessons from Shuttle, just haven't had a chance to implement them. Further, a true Presidential and Congressional push today should be just what is needed to increase Wall Street support for private development efforts. Its possible the spinoffs from a program like this today could be greater than the initial concept for advancing the mass expansion into space.

Robert, I don't doubt that it might get cheaper (max, 50% cost savings, amortized over the program), I just don't think it will get cheaper in a way that really makes space meaningfully more accessable (say, 90%+). I'd rather put ALL of this cash that would go into a Mars program into a bounty for the first privately launched/reusable orbital vehicle (the Y-Prize(?)), and that would get us a LOT closer to Mars for the long term.

lewarren
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posted 01-09-2004 01:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lewarren   Click Here to Email lewarren     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Humans can't go to Mars without a better understanding of how to keep them healthy until they return to Earth.

Fortunately, we have ISS to work out the answers.

Unfortunately, science on ISS is limited because we are limited by crew and supplies.

ISS is a platform to learn how to live and work in space. It is also a unique laboratory that was designed to be serviced by the shuttle.

Here's what I want to know; 1) Once ISS is complete, how big will the crew be? 2) How will scientific resupply occur? The racks in the science lab Destiny are modular so that science can be brought down to earth on the shuttle and new racks can be brought up by the shuttle. These racks won't fit in a Soyuz or Progress capsule.

Plan for Mars, but don't yet abandon the shuttle and ISS.

Liz

072069
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posted 01-09-2004 04:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 072069   Click Here to Email 072069     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Re: A return to the moon and then a manned trip to Mars -- On the rational side, these are all good points. On the emotional side, hot diggidy dog!

Bernie :-)

JasonB
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posted 01-09-2004 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that's great news. I don't know if it's doable by 2013 though. I believe it was around 8 years from Kennedy's announcement til Apollo 11. 2013 would make it 9 years from now til then. I would think with only 5% increases and a very cautious attitude these days due to the instant availability of news and other factors it will be tough to meet that date. Anything's possible though, and even if they miss the date at least now there's an excellent chance it will happen within a few years of that or maybe even before.

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posted 01-09-2004 02:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fuzzfoot   Click Here to Email fuzzfoot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great issues/topics being discussed! Just joined the board and already enjoy everything I have read.

To address some previous ideas: I think an Apollo 8 style orbit and reconnaissance is highly unlikely. One critical project on the drawing board is a single robotic mission that would accomplish two of the most important issues that face a human mission to Mars. First, to collect samples and bring them back to earth/ISS for hands-on study, and second, to create methane fuel from the Mars atmosphere and ice/water to get the vehicle/samples back, which would support the idea of making propellant on Mars vs. bringing it there. I imagine we will see dozens of robotic missions like this in the near future that will insure nothing short of a direct, manned landing to planet.

On the topic of China being a ‘push for Bush’: I think they are, but not for the reasons discussed. I don't believe this will be a ‘space race’ with China. To make all of this really work, I believe it will have to be a global effort. Not just China, Russia, and the UK, but big money like the Saudis and India could play a huge role.

In the meantime…lets finish that Space Station!

Mike B.

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posted 01-09-2004 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Friends,
First let me say that I'm a huge Pres. Bush fan. That said this initiative is more politically driven than a true drive to explore new horizons. That's not to say that it's a bad reason. Kennedy only promoted a manned Moon landing for it's political upside not to explore space and look what that got us.

I think it's a great idea to divest ourselves of the ISS and retire the aging shuttle fleet. The shuttle & ISS is sucking NASA's limited funds dry. Why not use Russian & European orbital capability to keep Alpha manned? The billions this will free up should easily fund the design of new orbital spacecraft and deep space vehicles.

I happen to agree with Robert that to first go to orbit Mars without landing is a waste of valuable funds UNLESS a permanent Mars space station is contemplated.

As mentioned above this will all hinge on Congress's desire to fund this AND do so year after year for decades. Sad to say I think it'll fail for that reason alone. That's why it's so important for ALL OF YOU to write your Congressmen & women with your support. If you can't be bothered with writing a few letters, say an hour of your time, then this initiative will never get off the ground. So don't bitch on these pages, take your bitches to Congress.

------------------
Happy trails,
Wayno
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www.TransLunarInjection.com

Glint
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posted 01-09-2004 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
I believe China is the next great world power- nukes, subs, satellites, men in space... what more? I don't think we are afraid of them, just competing. The Bush Admin. has the intelligence, not us.
Tahir

Tahir, I agree - except I think there may be genuine concern - or fear - as well. There's an article which puts the pieces together and seems to paint the picture in terms of an arms race in space...

Look at the 12/2003 article "New Star Rising in the East" at this site:
http://members.fortunecity.com/starpoints/

You'll see what I mean.

Glint

DavidH
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posted 01-09-2004 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have I missed something? Did China do something phenomenal and it didn't make the news? Last I heard, they had sent a man into space for a day? And we're supposed to be threatened by that? That's starting a race? Heck, if one man on one flight for one day is enough to get us going, then the Russians would have been scaring the beejeezus out of us for years. The Chinese put a man up, and said they could do it again 2 years later. At that rate, by the time we're talking about being on the Moon, they may have flown as many as six flights. If there were any sort of intensity to the Chinese program, if they could fly more often than once in a couple of years, then, yeah, sure I could see it. As it is, why should we take their space program seriously when they don't?
Plus, I don't understand the logic. What exactly does going back to the Moon accomplish relative to the Chinese space program. Perhaps we're going to "put China in their place" as a world superpower? "Well, we were going to be a competitive international presence, but then the U.S. went back to the Moon, so we figured why even bother?" Do we think other nations are going to take us more seriously or them less seriously because we proved that not only could we go to the Moon with 1960s technology, we could still do it with BETTER technology? That'll wow 'em!
If anything, if we were going to make decisions because of the threat of a Chinese space program, we'd be doing the exact opposite of what Bush is proposing. Stay with ISS, maintain the status quo. That's what would do us the most good on the world stage.
By leaving, we show the other 15 nations involved in ISS that we don't want to play with them anymore. Not good for international relations. Plus, since China has said they would be willing to work with other nations on a space station, we open the door for China to take our place in an international coalition, improving their relations with other nations. Again, not good for us.
But, that's not why we're doing this. This has nothing to do with China. I won't say it has nothing to do with politics, because EVERYTHING has something to do with politics, but it's a lot less political than people are making it out to be.
People may have missed it in all the China-excitement last year, but NASA lost a Shuttle in 2003 also. That raised some serious questions about where the space program is going. It created a real need for some sort of firm direction. THAT'S what this is.

------------------
"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

[This message has been edited by DavidH (edited January 09, 2004).]

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-09-2004 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The orbit vs landing on mars is interesting. It is so similar to the debate engineers had on Apollo 8.
To me it depends on how we get off mars after we land- Mars orbit-rendezvous will probably happen in the cahin at some time. We may need to construct the rocket which lifts off from Mars while people are still on Mars (scary!). I don't know the exact escape velocity needed (does anyone know?). I am sure it is still going to need a lot of fire power. This will be the single most important problem - the rest is a realtive cinch.
Orbiting gets us to Mars- a psychological barrier. Also helps develop the rocket needed to get off Mars.
Tahir

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-09-2004 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as politics- everything is political. If you really want to help poor people, develop nukes, AIDS awareness, etc.
is all political. That does not make it wrong, evil or "a stunt" to get votes. Sometimes people just do what they believe. But who knows for sure??
Tahir

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posted 01-09-2004 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Many space policy analysts and/or watchdogs agree, this has little to nothing to do with China and has everything to do with Columbia. The CAIB issued a direct order for the White House to establish a goal for NASA. That is what the President is doing with this announcement.

If Bush deserves any credit for this, it is that he isn't relying on a race or political foe to push him forward with a new space policy. If there is a foe in this situation, it is the losses of Challenger and Columbia.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited January 09, 2004).]


In fact the only solid point in this proposal, originating from the findings of CAIB, is that the shuttle flights shall end after the ISS is built. The operational tasks are then to be fulfilled by whom? The Russians and the Europeans? Were they asked, consulted, did they OK their contribution? Or is NASA paying them to do the job?

At present, NASA isn't even paying the Russians to bail them out with the Soyuz flights to deliver expedition crews to ISS, and I doubt anyone would take US astronaus to an ISS that the US have de facto abandoned unless the ticket price is paid.

And from such a bad bargaining position - how do we think negotiations about the price of the ticket will go?

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Jürgen P Esders
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Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-09-2004 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by eurospace:
I doubt anyone would take US astronaus to an ISS that the US have de facto abandoned unless the ticket price is paid.

First, the reports do not say that the ISS will be abandoned, rather that the shuttle will be retired after ISS assembly is complete. It is entirely realistic to believe that any CEV (crew exploration vehicle) developed will have the ability to dock and service the ISS.

What the reports do say is that NASA will end substantial involvement with the ISS in 2013 -- 13 years after its launch. Given that the ISS has a planned life span of 15 years, why is this a controversy? Had no new plan been announced, NASA would still be looking to pull out around that time.

Lastly, no where do the reports say that the U.S. will expect Europe and the Russians to pick up the bill. Rather it says that the US might look to Europe to launch lunar missions, a.k.a. buying flights. Since it is the President who could overturn or create an exemption to current policy to allow fund transfers to Rosaviakosmos, Russia could foreseeably benefit from this proposal as well.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited January 09, 2004).]

Rodina
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posted 01-09-2004 11:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Seriously, why wouldn't Arianespace be happy for the business? If I decide I need forty Volvo diesel trucks, I don't consult them ahead of time, I just place an order. I don't see why they wouldn't want to do business with NASA -- no consultation the EuroSuperState necessary.

And yeah, if we're dependent on Ariane flights, I suppose they can charge more -- but not so much that they can't price themselves out of the contract, either by making it too costly to work with Ariane and therefore switch to more Russian or American boosters (whether existing or new designs), or so costly it won't kill the ISS serving altogether.


[This message has been edited by Rodina (edited January 09, 2004).]

KenDavis
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posted 01-10-2004 04:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KenDavis   Click Here to Email KenDavis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Before everyone gets too excited, the press releases are that Bush will announce something next week...he hasn't done it yet.

Even announcing a decision to return to the moon won't amount to anything unless NASA's budget is substantia;;y increaed

1) Let's wait for an actual announcement
2) Let's wait and see how any announcement would be funded
3) Let's wait until NASA actually get a significant budget increase passed through congress or sentate (sorry not to up on my US politics)
4) Let's wait for a commitment from Russia and Europa to get involved as well...

...Then I'll get excited

Mike Isbell
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posted 01-10-2004 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Isbell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that the proposal to retire the shuttle fleet after the ISS is finished with construction should be reassesed. The gap that would occur between the shuttle flights and the flights of the next generation space plane would leave the US space program dependent upon other nations for manned access to orbit for several years - and at the mercy of a congress that could cancel developement of the space plane at anytime during the hatais. Further, all capability to return items (other than a limited number of very small items aboard a soyuz spacecraft) is currently available only by flying the shuttle.
In my view, the shuttle should be phased out by flying a limeted number of resupply / return of item flights ( perhaps 2 or 3 per year) while the space plane is developed and then phased in. This would appear to be a more sensable sequence that retirement of the shuttle altogether upon completion of ISS construction.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-10-2004 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think another shuttle disaster would end any future space development- I say scrap it!
Tahir

astronut
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posted 01-11-2004 12:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shuttle flights average about a 1/2 billion dollars per mission. Keeping these old war horses flying takes a huge portion of NASA's budget. We survived from 1975 to 1981 without a manned flight capability, I think we could do so again.

------------------
Happy trails,
Wayno
"...you are go for TLI."
www.TransLunarInjection.com

Mike Dixon
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posted 01-11-2004 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scrap the shuttle ??

No thanks .... you're virtually encouraging a US space activity vacuum similar to that experienced between 1975 and 1981.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-11-2004 01:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would rather have the "vacuum" than more dead astronauts and politicians calling for an end to manned space missions.
It is time to move on. The shuttle has been a great pioneer program. We need something newer that has modern technology and suits our goals.
Tahir

Mike Dixon
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posted 01-11-2004 03:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tahir,

No-one wants to see any more casualties in the manned space program, however your message implies a desire that the shuttle program never be resurrected. Sorry, I do not agree.

I'd prefer to see a continued US presence in space whilst an alternate vehicle / program is developed.

icarkie
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posted 01-11-2004 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Ken Davis with this lets wait and see what's said.
I also would like to see a MOON /MARS programme in the near future,like Ken I'm not up to scrach with American politics so as a Brit could someone over the pond answer me this Question ; If Bush Jr gives the green light to go back to the moon knowing its going to take 10 or so years what happens if he loses the next election and the new president not so keen on the space programme is it going to be orbital missions from now on ??.
All the Best Ian

John K. Rochester
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posted 01-11-2004 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We survived from 1975 to 1981 without a manned flight capability, I think we could do so again. ( posted by Wayne ) Who would sign all our stuff? " Man Must Explore..and this is exploration at its greatest" Dave Scott

astronut
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posted 01-11-2004 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah but to continue to fly space craft that have bled NASA dry of funds to be able to research and build the next generation of orbital & deep space vehicles is shooting ourselves in the foot. It is HIGHLY unlikely that Congress will vote to significantly increase NASA's budget. So just where are we to get the funds to build the vehicles that NASA needs to continue manned space exploration in the 21st century?

We are using 60's & 70's technology in shuttles 15-20 years old. The huge bill that the ISS and the shuttle fleet have incurred have all but prevented the needed research and developement of a new manned orbital capability.

Don't forget that when the shuttles were in their prime they had no place to go. Now that they have a destination (ISS Alpha) they are dangerously outdated and way too expensive to fly. Don't forget that the shuttle fleet's primary mission was to lower the cost per pound to reach orbit. They failed miserably in that regard.

It's time to move on. Otherwise when the last shuttle wears out or, God forbid, fails in flight we'll have nothing but robots to explore space with. Exciting as the Spirit landing of last weekend was, it pales almost to insignificance when compared to a manned landing.

To move into the future you first have to be willing to let go of the past.

------------------
Happy trails,
Wayno
"...you are go for TLI."
www.TransLunarInjection.com


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