Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  What if Apollo continued

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   What if Apollo continued
carmelo
Member

Posts: 792
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 12-21-2004 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
President Nixon canceled the Apollo program.Nixon viewed Apollo like a Kennedy-Johnson program and had no qualms about throwing it on the scrap heap in the most malicious way.With Apollo gone,Nasa scrambled to propose a national reusable launch veichle system : the Space shuttle.Strangely no one sought to simply reduce the Apollo program to a manegeable size.If a single F1 engine a simple tankage were used to replace the Saturn Ib booster ,Nasa would have had a two stage ,two engine,highly reliable earth orbit launch system,with lts of excess capacity.The apollo service module could have been reduced in size,a refurb program starded for the Apollo capsules.All of this would reduced the cost of getting astronaut in orbit.More important it would have kept the F1,J2 and Saturn V booster in production.Nasa could have sustained a small lunar program with one flight a year (untill Apollo 23 in 1979)and contemporary continued AAP program , Skylab and Skylab-B in 70s and 80s.

Cliff Lentz
Member

Posts: 639
From: Philadelphia, PA USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 12-22-2004 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I totally agree. The decision to scrap Apollo was a total political move. The American people weren't convinced that spending money on the moon was a good idea. The premise that the money was spent on jobs and industry on EARTH was never a consideration. I believe that after the last Skylab/Apollo flight, there was still a few apollo spacecraft left that were flightready. A proposal to fly limited earth orbit science flights and maybe even dock with Skylab and boost it into a higher orbit to avoid the fiery end that eventually took place, was made and quickly dismissed. Afterall the Shuttle was just around the corner with new technology. We didn't need to go backwards or so they thought.

I also heard that in the planning stage of the Space Shuttle, Nixon was told that these would be so reliable that they could land at conventional airports and they could actually go out and steal Russian Spy Satellites right out of orbit.

spaceman48263
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 12-22-2004 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman48263   Click Here to Email spaceman48263     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree! Could you just see the Apollo CM with todays technology? It's to bad that it turned out the way it did. Maybe things will get back on track someday. People do not seem to be committed to further out of orbit space exploration like they were back in the 60's.

R.Glueck
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 12-22-2004 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nixon had little distate for reaping the political benefits of the moon landings, but I think the idea that "Nixon killed Apollo " is a bit of an urban myth. Nixon certainly was glad to reduce the expenditures of an active space program, particularly one spawned by the man he lost to in 1960, and one natured by one of the most unpopular Democratic Presidents in the 20th Cetury. Nixon had a huge dollar devaluation program going on, axed the "S.S. United States" subsidy, and was trying to end the Viet Nam war on his terms, rather than to admit we had the crap kicked out of us ("Peace with honor"). The actual order to killed Saturn rocket production was made during LBJ's administration. We had a science ignorant public and Congress who saw the moon as a pile of grey rocks and an exclusive playground for a few white astronauts. It was easy to perceive the moon program as an unnecessary expense. Now, I am not a Nixon fan, but place the blame where it is deserved. Remember thaththe shuttle was developed on Nixon's watch, which, while it is not the vehicle the Saturn V was, kept us in space. It would have been far smarter to milk the Saturn/Apollo design and go for Apollo Applications, but we didn't. I wish Nixon had the insight to do so, but he didn't. The blame for ending Apollo rests squarely on Congress and you and me. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

Matt T
Member

Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 12-22-2004 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do feel that NASA has to shoulder a fair portion of the blame. I know funding cuts forced some difficult choices, but every one of those choices went against Apollo and Apollo Applications. Three lost moon landing missions, one fully fabricated Skylab workshop turned into a museum exhibit, lunar orbit survey missions written off; every time in favour of protecting the Shuttle budget.

Cheers,
Matt

------------------
http://www.spaceracemuseum.com

carmelo
Member

Posts: 792
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 12-22-2004 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaceman48263:
I agree! Could you just see the Apollo CM with todays technology?

Yes,OSP and CEV capsule. P.S. Shuttle is not tecnology of today;Is a modernariate from 70s.Between late 70s and early 60s I prefer early 60s.

Orthon
Member

Posts: 110
From: Gilbert, Arizona 85296
Registered: May 2002

posted 12-22-2004 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Orthon   Click Here to Email Orthon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well come on now. "If we weren't spending all that money to go to the Moon, we could eliminate poverty and cure cancer...."
My sister-in-law passed away last year from cancer at the age of 52, and on the way home from work tonight I passed a few homeless people on the street.
I wonder what excuse those critics have now.

R.Glueck
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 12-23-2004 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for R.Glueck   Click Here to Email R.Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orthon, you are exactly right when you talk about political expediance. People figured that killing the space program would allow the Feds to pour that money into literacy, jobs, and medical research. The average American is a moron when it comes to the mathematics of to Federal budget and how it is used. Apollo's budget was a droplette in the Federal financial allocation. The moon was in plain sight almost every night, so they targeted that as unnecessary. I think it can be argued that had we continued Apollo applications, some of those large social problems might well be headed toward eradication today. We'll never know of course. Some things to be aware of in retrospect; the Civil Rights movement was well afoot, and deserved the focus it was receiving. THe Viet Nam war was the ugliest scar American had thrown in their faces at the time, and our society was beating itself for that giant error of judgement. Killing Apollo Applications and the last three moon landings was a terrible mistake. The shuttle has been a huge boondoggle to replace the Apollo, but better than nothing.
Please figure into this equation one more thing. Astronauts would have died in space, possibly on the lunar surface. They will die again someday. Society better be willing to face reality and move forward despite the pain we will all suffer.
Anyway, to summarize, Nixon was ot wholey responsible for killing Apollo. Killing Apollo was a stupid and gross miscalcualtion of our needs for spaceflight and development of space resources, Congress and the public is too dumb to recognize the larger picture surrounding how their money is invested or spent. Killing Apollo in no way advanced social and health reform on Earth.
I can get into how the current President is wasting money on a war that can't be won, and at the sametime proposing a lunar program that can't be done for what the idiot has budgeted, but I'll spare everyone that pain as well.

DavidH
Member

Posts: 1181
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 12-23-2004 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's interesting to study that era of history with an eye towards today, though; there are some interesting parallels: Winding down one program in order to begin developing the next one, trying to make the most of a limited budget.
In hindsight, it's easy to wonder what the heck they were thinking, but, since there are many today arguing that the Shuttle should be retired even earlier in order to free up funding for CEV, one can almost empathize with the desire 35 years ago to put as much funding into Shuttle as possible to move ahead with the next program that much sooner.
Sure, there are definitely things I would have done differently, but I have the advantage of knowing how things turned out over following decades.

------------------
http://allthese worlds.hatbag.net/space.php
"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Orthon
Member

Posts: 110
From: Gilbert, Arizona 85296
Registered: May 2002

posted 12-23-2004 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Orthon   Click Here to Email Orthon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember when they announced that the Saturn 5 production line would be shut down. I knew that the Saturn 5 or eventually an upgraded version would have provided access to the entire solar system. It became obvious that the "exploration" of space was ending. "Exploitation" was the new phrase. Exploitation - another way of saying that this country had lost it's vision and would tinker around in low Earth orbit for the next 25 years.

Stephen Clemmons
Member

Posts: 108
From: Wilmington, NC, New Hanover
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 01-09-2005 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stephen Clemmons   Click Here to Email Stephen Clemmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a lot of "what if" comments running around and have been since the late seventies.
The Apollo Program was doomed shortly after the Apollo I fire, when North American Aviation, later to become Rockwell International was selected as the prime contractor for the new shuttle program. In order for NASA to get out of their mess, they told NAA that if they would accept all the blame for the fire, they would award the new program, worth billions of dollars, to them. Here was a company that was put down as the most irresponsible aircraft builder, poor leadership, poor engineering and slipshod work habits in the days after the fire awarded the plum. It was under Johnson's administration.
We thought at the time that it would be a new Spacecraft using the tried and true Saturn Five Booster arrangement. It would be lifted aloft and return as an airplane. Maybe use the same technique used to land on the moon, a descent rocket motor and thrusters.
To our surprise, it became apparent that this was to be an entirely new system. Huge segmented Solid Rocket Boosters, a huge tank bolted onto the Orbitor containing many tons of violatile fuel and oxygen. A very dangerous arrangement for manned flight. Incidently all unproven systems.
During the early 60's, the USAF came up with the Dynasaur program, using a booster similar to the Saturn Five with the reusable Spacecraft as the payload. We thought the NASA program would be similar.
It was all downhill after that. After two landings on the moon,Apollo 13 barely made the evening news, covered only by the independent new organizations. It was only after the Service Module blew up that it made the evening news.
American interests were on Viet NAM, civil rights and unemployment. Nixon was President by then and being a politician, he saw the hand-writing on the wall, particullar at the urging of Congress. He saw a new program that would pour billions of dollars into the work forces. He told NASA to cut the amount of launches to conserve funds and concentrate on the new shuttle system.
In the meantime, after consulting with space scientists,and people that would use the new space system, NASA came up with the final Orbitor System that would fill all needs. A monster that had no space time, used unproven systems and was a death trap.
One thing they shoved to the back of the pile. Crew Safety. There was no way for the crew to escape this monster.
Instead of using the system we had developed over the years at a cost of many trillons of dollars, starting long before the first rockets were launched at the Cape. They were going to try something new that would cost trillons more.
Discarding the Apollo Spacecraft as being obselete was the first task at hand. Of course, all the contractors were now happy. Most of all NAA(Rockwell).
The Saturn Five could lift any configuration shuttle into earth orbit safely, used as a freighter,and a properly built orbitor could be ejected at any point along the launch route if something went wrong.
Yet all this went by the wayside.
We scrapped Apollo and you know the rest of the story. We have lost two Orbitors and fourteen brave Astronauts.
It can't be laid directly at Johnson's or Nixon's feet but to the ones that we intrusted our space program too. NASA.

carmelo
Member

Posts: 792
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 01-09-2005 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe,an Apollo CM block III,reusable,scaled up by 4-5% with a crew of three-six astronauts, different size service module,and a more cheap rocket (titan III)could have been a better choice for 70s and 80s.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement