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  NASA unveils moon program (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   NASA unveils moon program
Glint
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posted 09-19-2005 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just saw this on cnn.com:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- NASA unveiled plans on Monday to return humans to the moon by 2018 at a cost of $100 billion.

Not a lot of detail, but a couple of artist's conception images. Looks very similar to the CSM/LM combo:

Why change a good thing if it works?

By the way, their on-line quickvote poll can sure use a positive opinion or two.

Philip
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posted 09-19-2005 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like NASA starts to get things right... At least there's a goal: Moon, Mars & beyond.
Anyway, the best way forward is to develop (1) Heavy Lift Vehicle = 8 ton to orbit, preferably modification of current STS stack --> usable for both Mars & Moon missions.
(2) Crew Exploration Vehicle, usable for both Moon ( crew: 4 ) and Mars ( crew: 6 ) missions
;-)


Searched some earlier CEV designs -> NOT Apollo-like ... http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/cev.htm

[This message has been edited by Philip (edited September 19, 2005).]

spaceuk
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posted 09-19-2005 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With NASA sketching out its plans for the new manned lunar landing program earlier today, July 2019 would be a very 'nice' date to land one of the missions.

It would be 50 years then since Apollo-11 first landed men on the Moon !

Phill Parker
spaceuk

Philip
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posted 09-19-2005 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well that would be a great anniversary ;-)
Anuway, there's a good Flash Video at this URL, showing Apollo-like CEV landing on the compass rose of Rogers Dry Lake ;-)
http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/cev_front/index.html

Post Scriptum: I would prefer a Mars-mission, the Moon is a place to visit, Mars is a place to settle

Rob Sumowski
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posted 09-19-2005 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just two years ago, who would have thought that we would be having this conversation??

Who would have thought we'd see such a plan on CNN or Fox News or in the newspapers...in our lifetime??

WOW!

This is the most exciting news in space exploration in YEARS.

I just hope some of our Apollo buddies live to see it. Can you imagine a Duke or Cernan attending that launch? Talk about finally seeing a continuation of one's labor... Man, that would be just beautiful.

Rob

mjanovec
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posted 09-19-2005 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Post Scriptum: I would prefer a Mars-mission, the Moon is a place to visit, Mars is a place to settle

Personally, I am more excited right now for a return to the moon than I am for a Mars mission. I think getting back to the moon is a necessary skill to "re-learn" before we can attempt something on a much grander scale (i.e. Mars).

Also, building towards an eventual moonbase would be a great idea...there is still so much left to learn about the moon. Plus, establishing a longer term residency on the moon will teach us valuable lessons about building surface bases...something that will be useful in exploring and colonizing Mars. Also, a longterm residency on the moon will help us avoid the mistake of seeing the moon only as a stepping stone, where we would again abandon it in search for something else.

When we return to the moon, I really hope NASA makes a bigger effort to bring the experience back home for everyone to appreciate. I said this in another thread a while back, but it would be great to have Imax cameras there on the lunar surface, capturing the beauty of the lunar landscape for everyone to appreciate. And efforts should be made to bring back rock and soil samples that are more accessible to the public. Wouldn't it be great to be able to handle a moon rock someday instead of just seeing it behind glass? All it takes is a little extra effort (and some imagination) in order to build greater public support for these exploration efforts. If the public can "experience" these explorations and have more contact with these alien worlds, they will hopefully be more supportive of efforts to continue further exploration.

On a side note, I notice that the lunar lander would carry four people to the surface. There was no mention of whether the CEV would still have someone who remained with the vehicle in lunar orbit (i.e. a "CEV pilot") similar to what happened in the Apollo program. If the lander could only limp up into low lunar orbit (in an emergency situation), would a pilot-less CEV be able change orbit in order to rescue the crew as well as a piloted CEV could?

collshubby
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posted 09-19-2005 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Sumowski:

I just hope some of our Apollo buddies live to see it. Can you imagine a Duke or Cernan attending that launch? Talk about finally seeing a continuation of one's labor... Man, that would be just beautiful.

Rob


It would be possible, if nor probable. Lets say they make it for July, 2019. That would put the living Moonwalkers in the 85-90 year old range. I suspect a couple will still be around. :-)

This is really great news. Now I can tease my wife and ask her "Will you cry the day our kids move out...TO THE MOON???"

------------------
Brian

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http://warhorse.omegappg.com

mjanovec
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posted 09-19-2005 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
This is the most exciting news in space exploration in YEARS.

I just hope some of our Apollo buddies live to see it. Can you imagine a Duke or Cernan attending that launch?


I think it's possible that some of the Apollo guys would live to see this happen. Granted, many will be approaching 90 (or a little beyond 90) at that time. I think the odds are good that a couple of them will live to witness the return to the moon, assuming we can get back there near the proposed deadline. The Apollo guys were pretty good physical specimens in their day and it's likely some will live long enough.

I'd especially like to see Young at the launch...he's been one of the biggest supporters for further exploration. He certainly deserves to see the program continue. Cernan would probably be happy to give up his "last man on the moon" title in order to see men again explore the moon. And instead of having the president phone the first crew to return to the moon during their first EVA, who would be better than Neil Armstrong to make that historic phone call...with his voice traveling to meet the next generation of lunar explorers.

The designs for the rockets have me excited. It's nice to see them using proven technology...and saving money in the long run with reusable CEVs and reusable boosters (although a part of me would love to see another Saturn V style rocket...it just might not be practical at this time). And these designs appear to be about as safe as one could hope for.

I hope they succeed in getting these efforts underway before someone can step in and stop this from happening. We've seen too many good plans vanish in thin air due to unimaginative politicians having their way.

Glint
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posted 09-19-2005 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
On a side note, I notice that the lunar lander would carry four people to the surface. There was no mention of whether the CEV would still have someone who remained with the vehicle in lunar orbit (i.e. a "CEV pilot") similar to what happened in the Apollo program.

The flash presentation that Philip linked said that all four occupants of the CEV would land and that none would remain in orbit.

Also noticed that the egress hatch is on the lander's back side this time. That is, if you consider the side with the windows as being the front.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2005 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, the lander shown in the animation is not how the final LSEM (Lunar Surface Exploration Module) will appear. Griffin said that the design of the LSEM will be left to the contractor (within the confines of the NASA requirements). One of features that the LSEM will have (at least as I understand it from those working on its design today at NASA) are four individual "doors", a.k.a. airlocks - one for each member of the crew - allowing each to enter and exit the vehicle as needed.

mjanovec
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posted 09-19-2005 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope the design includes four big brushes to help them remove the lunar dust from their suits!

I recall John Young once stating that battling the ever-constant lunar dust would be one of the biggest obstacles of longer-term exploration and colonization of the moon.

dtemple
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posted 09-19-2005 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
On a side note, I notice that the lunar lander would carry four people to the surface. There was no mention of whether the CEV would still have someone who remained with the vehicle in lunar orbit (i.e. a "CEV pilot") similar to what happened in the Apollo program. If the lander could only limp up into low lunar orbit (in an emergency situation), would a pilot-less CEV be able change orbit in order to rescue the crew as well as a piloted CEV could?

I read that all four members of the crew would land on the moon and the CEV would be left in orbit on "autopilot." To me, that is a weak point in the plan. I would have thought the plan would have been to have one person stay with the CEV to moniter systems and conduct in-orbit experiments in the manner of Apollo 15-17 in which the those SMs had a scientific instruments module or SIM bay.

Ben
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posted 09-19-2005 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't wait to see either of these launch. That 'stick' is going to be one wild ride (I've been wondering what the thrust to weight ration is and how many Gs it will give the crew); and that monster unmanned version packs a total thrust at launch of about 9.1 million lbs.

The day and sight of either of these rolling out of the VAB will be something else.

------------------
-Ben

www.LaunchPhotography.com

Moonpaws
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posted 09-19-2005 05:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonpaws   Click Here to Email Moonpaws     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yee haw!!!!

Astro Bill
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posted 09-19-2005 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is the total cost of just the Moon landing projected to be?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2005 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Griffin said today that the cost would be 55% of what it took to accomplish Apollo, spread over 13 years. This program will be a go-as-you-pay project; in other words: NASA isn't asking for any additional or dedicated funds towards this goal. They will fund the program (as planned) from their existing (and projected) budget.

The whole package is estimated at $104 billion however as Griffin said today, the first 5-6 years of that budget are dedicated to building the replacement to the shuttle (a.k.a. CEV), a task necessary regardless if you are going to the Moon or elsewhere (the CEV will also service the ISS [both crew and cargo] as well as is intended as part of a future Mars mission.)

The breakdown between CEV and dedicated lunar mission funding has yet to be released (to my knowledge) so what part of the $104B comprises the total cost of just the Moon landing project is at this time unknown (to the public).

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited September 19, 2005).]

Blackarrow
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posted 09-19-2005 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Typically, all of the TV news reports are emphasising the "$100 billion price-tag" as if NASA is going to have to ask for a $100 billion hand-out in one go. If NASA's current budget is around $16 billion per year, the total expenditure by NASA between now and, say, 2018 is almost $200 billion. Once the shuttle has been retired, there won't be anywhere else for NASA to go. It's onward to the Moon and Mars, or close down the US space programme (except for cargo-runs to the ISS). I think that's the beauty of this plan. Unhelpful politicians could slow it down ,but ultimately it's the Moon or bust and in a few years I think we'll be seeing such a vigorous Chinese space programme that even the congressional faint-hearts might think twice about killing NASA.

Here's a thought to stir the blood of every space enthusiast: for the first time since the preparations to launch Apollo 17 in 1972, there are serious plans to put astronauts back on the Moon. (I almost said "men" but what age will Eileen Collins be in 2018?)

KSCartist
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posted 09-19-2005 08:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Eileen will be 62, Pam Melroy will be 57 - possible but doubtful. I'd estimate that the folks who next walk on the Moon are in college and/or high school today.

Tim

dss65
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posted 09-19-2005 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All I can say is, "Now we're finally talkin'." Let's GO somewhere! Gad, it's felt like forever!

------------------
Don

fabfivefreddy
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posted 09-19-2005 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a great plan and announcement.
Some things to ponder-

Was NASA quick to ground the shuttle during the last mission to help build support for this bold new initiative? We all thought it was strange to do that during the mission, but I can't help but wonder about the timing.

Also, Do you think the Chinese are up to something bold in the not too distant future? I can't imagine our government doing this without a political and strategic reason. It may be easier to sell this to the public with another space race as the reason.

Lastly-
I really hope that Neil Armstrong gets out to plug these missions. That would be a great legacy for him to leave. Much like a former president or statesman.

-Tahir

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2005 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are some that suggest that this announcement was in fact delayed by the foam problems on STS-114. That had they not been discovered, this plan may have been referenced during the flight.

IMHO, the last thing this program needs is a race. Then it becomes another flags and footprints program, of little staying power. If we want this time to be different, we need to stay focused on the goal being science and exploration, as those are never ending pursuits.

That said, I don't think China could start a new race. Two reasons: (a) communists are no longer enemy #1 and don't represent the threat they were in the 1960s; they have been replaced in today's world by terrorists, and (b) at one flight every one and a half years, China seems content to be the tortoise, slow and steady, rather than the hare. For a race to emerge, we need a couple of rabbits.

spaceheaded
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posted 09-20-2005 04:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceheaded     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Blackarrow:
[B]Typically, all of the TV news reports are emphasising the "$100 billion price-tag" as if NASA is going to have to ask for a $100 billion hand-out in one go.

....and that makes it very difficult to build public support and, ultimately, support in congress. If the headlines read "we're going back to the moon and we're going to do it within our existing budget which, by the way, is less than 1 percent of the pie" then that support would be much easier to get. It's going to be an uphill battle.

Rodina
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posted 09-20-2005 08:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert -

They can't possibly mean to put four airlocks on something. That's an appalling, profligate waste of mass. Maybe - MAYBE - they mean four doors for two airlocks, one where they dock and one out the side. An airlock, rather than depressuring the whole module, would be a good idea for a four person ship, but anything else is would be odd indeed.

Scott
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posted 09-20-2005 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ben:
I can't wait to see either of these launch. That 'stick' is going to be one wild ride (I've been wondering what the thrust to weight ration is and how many Gs it will give the crew); and that monster unmanned version packs a total thrust at launch of about 9.1 million lbs.

The day and sight of either of these rolling out of the VAB will be something else.


Yes - the launches (and everything leading up to them) will be something else. I recall how exciting the first Shuttle launch was to me when I was little. And this will be 10 times better. So wonderful to see we are actually going to do something beyond LEO again. I'll bet the astronaut corps morale is sky high.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-20-2005 09:53 AM     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:
They can't possibly mean to put four airlocks on something.
Actually, it all depends on your definition of airlock. While this concept is not what I hear they are considering (at least not specifically as outlined at the following link) it shows how multiple ports of entry are possible without being excessively bulky and as a means of controlling dust at the same time):

Docking Fixture and Mechanism for a Protective Suit

fabfivefreddy
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posted 09-20-2005 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great points, Robert.
However, I do believe we will care a lot if China puts a man on the moon. It is an honor and prestige thing for Americans.
Also, China is a huge global player. They can tilt the balance of power regionally. Don't think for a minute that the Pentagon is not watching. The Chinese have close relationships with many Asian and Arab countries. They are definitely a world player- not necessarily a direct threat to the U.S.
This new NASA plan has everything to do with all these factors- being a world leader, advancing technology and beating China. There is nothing wrong with that. It is like competing in class to get the highest grades or playing sports against each other. It is healthy competition.

As for terrorism, it is a big issue. However, terrorists have not attacked China, France, Australia, Germany, etc. It is do to regional conflicts which will sooner or later be resolved. In fact, the U.S. needs these other nations to help solve this problem and to go after the root causes of terrorism (as our 9/11 commission and others have pointed out).
-Tahir

[This message has been edited by fabfivefreddy (edited September 20, 2005).]

fabfivefreddy
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posted 09-20-2005 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
http://news.ft.com/cms/s/28cfe55a-f4a7-11d9-9dd1-00000e2511c8.html

Not exactly a "tortoise" if you ask me.


-Tahir

tegwilym
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posted 09-20-2005 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read about this in Popular Science last month, and just kind of figured "yeah right...just another one of their silly articles".

Then seeing it on www.nasa.gov was pretty exciting! It looks like a really great idea using shuttle technology and some varient of the safe and reliable Apollo design.

I guess NASA never plans on bringing any large cargo back down from orbit when this heavy lift spacecraft takes over for the shuttle? But then again...when have they actually used it to bring anything back other than a few satellites that failed to work or the LDEF thing full of tomato seeds for eBay?

Tom

skippy in space
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posted 09-20-2005 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for skippy in space   Click Here to Email skippy in space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is great news!!!

IF it happens...

Remember a manned space station completed before the end of the century...

Didn't Reagun have plans, I remember Young doing a presentation and I'm sure in the mid Eights some one said we would be back on the Moon by 2010.

I just see that this will be an easy target for Budget cuts when the current government is out of office.

Any way where is the money comming from and after Katrina should the money be put towards getting infrastructure on Earth right first.

Don't get me wrong I want to see man/woman walk on the moon in my life time but this project is going to be canceeled quietly in about 3 years time!

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posted 09-20-2005 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for christelle   Click Here to Email christelle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In french TV, we have the informations and plans explanation. Today, Jean-François Clervoy was the guest on France 2 News edition (2nd Channel)

Space conquest begin to interest french medias

Christelle

Philip
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posted 09-20-2005 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
O.K. Skippy we might be living in 'difficult' times but we're talking about different budgets here.
IMHO it's great news and I really hope to see a Manned MARS mission in my lifetime (I'm 40 now) ...

Astro Bill
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posted 09-20-2005 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
O.K. Skippy we might be living in 'difficult' times but we're talking about different budgets here.
IMHO it's great news and I really hope to see a Manned MARS mission in my lifetime (I'm 40 now) ...

Philip:

I agree with Skippy. This is NOT the time for such a venture. We have serious problems to contend with here on Earth in reality. The trouble in the Gulf and in Iraq will drain our treasury of all funds as it is. In addition, we have many other serious matters to deal with.

We will return to the Moon eventually. A poll on AOL showed that 61% of those who responded (over 90,000) think that we should NOT procees with a program to return to the Moon and to Mars. Perhaps this will change. But IMHO these 61% are the realists among us.

Returning to the Moon may be exciting to contemplate but it will take over $100-billion from programs that are more necessary and serious. Returning to the Moon is a luxury. As for advancing space science, we can do this with un-manned spacecraft or all kinds.

Perhaps NASA should be more realistic - fix the shuttle - complete the space statiom - service the Hubble Space Telescope and develop a replacement for the shuttle. Then and only then should they plan for a return to the Moon and eventually to Mars. It may not be in my lifetime or your lifetime but that does not matter.

It has been said that the $100-billion is only a re-allocation of NASA funds already approved for other NASA programs. So what happens then? Do all of the other programs simply DIE? And which NASA programs will be cut first?


gliderpilotuk
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posted 09-20-2005 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Sumowski:
I just hope some of our Apollo buddies live to see it. Can you imagine a Duke or Cernan attending that launch? Talk about finally seeing a continuation of one's labor... Man, that would be just beautiful.
Rob

Rob - that was exactly my first thought. It must also be at the forefront of the remaining moonwalkers' minds. I hope the schedule can be advanced so that these guys get to see the next generation building on their amazing foundations. Let's also not forget everyone involved in the earlier missions as this clearly is "(grand)son of Apollo" in every respect.

Paul Bramley

gliderpilotuk
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posted 09-20-2005 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I don't think China could start a new race. Two reasons: (a) communists are no longer enemy #1 and don't represent the threat they were in the 1960s; they have been replaced in today's world by terrorists, and (b) at one flight every one and a half years, China seems content to be the tortoise, slow and steady, rather than the hare. For a race to emerge, we need a couple of rabbits.

IMHO The next race won't be driven by differing political views but by access to resources or economic influence. The Chinese GDP is growing at 6% and likely to climb, in world rankings, from its current position as the sixth largest to the second largest by 2030. If "we" don't think they'll be a competitive threat in all spheres we'd better get our heads out of the sand.

That said, they have no influence on NASA's current plans, but if things hot up....

Paul Bramley

Cliff Lentz
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posted 09-20-2005 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't believe that 104 billion dollars would fix the problems with the Space Shuttle. What's needed is a super strong re-entry material that will not ding from ice or foam hits. It has to be extremely light. Right now such a system doesn't exist. Maybe it will someday, but not right now. Reconfiguring the STS system probably would also not work.

I thought initially that the CEV would be a smaller shuttle type vehicle as the early plans had intended instead of the battleship we have now. What NASA seems to be doing is working with what they know by combining the Apollo and shuttle technologies. There have been huge advances in technology since Apollo so what we may be looking at is a similar looking vehicle with monumental differences. From what I understand from reading all the NASA reports of the Return to the Moon program, they intend to work with the present budget and not ask for massive funding. If we just ended NASA right now, a huge amounts of jobs would be lost, many in the Gulf area. Not to mention the loss of business to aerospace companies that supply NASA. I'm not ready to turn my back on space technology and I don't think the America people would want to live with out the technology we consider commonplace.

If we wait for the right time, there will NEVER be a right time! I think we can do it all. Maintain the ISS, study Earth sciences, use the Moon for Earthly pursuits, work towards a future on Mars and develop the technology to make a safe space shuttle.

DavidH
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posted 09-20-2005 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few thoughts:

Re: Previous cancelled programs
The difference here versus new programs announced in the past is that today, the status quo is no longer an option. X-33 could be cancelled because the Shuttle could keep flying. Now, though, there has to be a new spacecraft, either this one that is already in planning or another one with a steeper development curve.

Re: Public sentiment
A huge part of that is how the question is asked. If you ask, in light of current events, should NASA spend $100 billion to go to the moon, with no context, sure people will say no. If you ask if NASA should use its budget to continue to stay in LEO after three decades or to explore the moon and Mars, the results might be a bit different.

Re: The Chinese
Could they be serious competition in space? Well, yes, certainly. They not only have the resources to be extremely formidable in space exploration, but they have a system of government that allows them to dedicate those resources fully to whatever they want.
But will they be serious competition in space? So far, they haven't shown the interest. One flight every two years just isn't that impressive. They seem to be content hyping what they are doing, but show little desire to pursue an aggresive program of human spaceflight. Sure, that could change in the future, but there's no sign it's about to change soon.
That said -- the one area where the nascent Chinese space program is very relevant to spaceflight is in the arena of international cooperation. The Galileo program is an excellent look at what could be the shape of things to come. Already, there are some who question how well the U.S. will live up to its obligations to its partners with the ISS. In the future, it's easy to imagine international coalitions taking a somewhat different shape.

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

Blackarrow
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posted 09-20-2005 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Returning to the Moon may be exciting to contemplate but it will take over $100-billion from programs that are more necessary and serious. Returning to the Moon is a luxury. As for advancing space science, we can do this with un-manned spacecraft or all kinds.

Perhaps NASA should be more realistic - fix the shuttle - complete the space statiom - service the Hubble Space Telescope and develop a replacement for the shuttle. Then and only then should they plan for a return to the Moon and eventually to Mars. It may not be in my lifetime or your lifetime but that does not matter.


[/B]


It bloody well matters to me! I'm not getting any younger and I want to see the next generation of space explorers continuing mankind's destiny. If sharks stop swimming they sink and die. If we don't explore, we stagnate and drown in our own complacency. I sometimes wonder if opponents of space exploration think that the money is shovelled into rockets and fired into space. I thought it went into the pay-packets of thousands of American aerospace workers who pay their taxes to fund hospitals and schools, and go out and spend the rest in American shops and bars, whose owners pay taxes to fund schools and hospitals. I wish I could pay part of my taxes towards the exploration of space.

KSCartist
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posted 09-20-2005 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill-

I was kind of surprised to read your post. I will assume you were having a bad day. I watched Griffins press conference and I think he said the same thing you did: fix the shuttle system, finish the ISS, service HST (well that's iffy because of the absense of a lifeboat option) and then develop a successor to the STS.
NASA is not going to ask for 100 billion to do this, it's supposed to come out of existing budgets. 8 billion/year over 13 years. Obviously we all hope there aren't any cost overruns or delays to redesign the CEV to death like what happened to ISS.
It does make sense to utilize existing hardware where you can and build upon a successful program like Apollo.
What we need to do as a space community is help build excitment for the program while still holding NASA and contractors feet to the fire. As they say down here in Florida: Let's get with the Program!

Tim

Philip
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posted 09-21-2005 05:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Right Tim ... Existing budgets ( NASA yearly about US $ 14 billion of which US $ 4.00 billion for the STS ) ... I won't even mention US Mil budgets which are a factor 20X larger than NASA's budget ...
( Nothing wrong about the military but when You saw the images of soldiers on fire in Iraq ... IMHO it's time to go )!

Astro Bill
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posted 09-21-2005 06:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is speculation in this thread about a "race" with China to reach the Moon. Didn't we win the race to the Moon in 1969-1972 with six moon landings and three additional orbital missions to the Moon? I agree that the USA will eventually have a return mission to the Moon, but a race with China or a race with anyone is an unnecessary incentive for a return mission. What would be the point of such a "race" - to show our superiority over a country that only in recent decades has evolved from "third world" status?

Supposedly, we were in a race with the USSR in the 1960's to reach the Moon. To this day Russia has NEVER left Earth's orbit. They nave NEVER even approached the Moon in any manned spacecraft. (We are considering manned vehicles in this thread, not unmanned spacecraft.) So if Russia or China or Japan or anyone were to announce their intentions to have a manned mission to the Moon are we supposed to challenge every country to a race? Of course not. History will record that the USA was first to land a man on the Moon. That is that.

Actually, it may be interesting to have company on the Moon, each doing their own mission. But wouldn't this be a waste of money with two missions from two countries? We speculated about this in other threads and I suggested that at some point Russia or China or Japan or ESA or even a cosmonaut/astronaut representing the UN should be asked to join us in a mission. This was met with a chorus of postings from cS members who do not appreciate the benefits of "cooperation in space." I suggested that they should be asked to pay for the privilege of using our spacecraft, but this was countered with the statement that no country could now afford to pay us for this privilage. So which is is? You cannot have it both ways. If China can afford to stage their own mission to the Moon, they could certainly afford to join us (eventually) in a cooperative mission to the Moon. I am sure that the leaders of China know that they could save a great deal of money and effort by joining us in a mission rather than competing with us in some "race."

A "race" to the Moon is an unnecessary incentive for us to return to the Moon, but "cooperation in space" is a worthwhile goal for a return mission.

If China does choose to go it alone and proceed with a manned lunar mission, it will be because they want to make a quantum leap into the 21st century, establish their own national identity and obtain respect from other countries.


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