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  SpaceX's Elon Musk: Planning to retire to Mars (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   SpaceX's Elon Musk: Planning to retire to Mars
issman1
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posted 08-01-2010 05:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting interview with Elon Musk. Perhaps Mars should be the next destination?

The Guardian: Elon Musk: 'I'm planning to retire to Mars'
The SpaceX founder is convinced that humanity's survival rests on its ability to move to the red planet. He tells Paul Harris how his company is making the leap to the stars an affordable dream

cspg
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posted 08-01-2010 11:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice to have a good laugh at 6:45 a.m.

Matt T
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posted 08-02-2010 03:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Captain James T. Musk, his five-year mission: to seek out new subsidies and handouts, to boldly invest government funds where no government has invested before!

"Captain, there's a threat to our free government money on the starboard bow!"

"Quick - deploy spin-heavy media campaign! Set inane headline and ludicrously flattering super-hero comparisons to stun."

What a fantastic fluff piece that is; then again after the "Neil Armstrong is just a pilot" charm-offensive Musk's image is rather sorely in need of a little polish.

issman1
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posted 08-02-2010 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would say that Musk can talk the talk and walk the walk.

Beside, human spaceflight is long overdue a maverick in the shape and style of Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst, Howard Hughes or even Bill Gates.

Matt T
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posted 08-02-2010 03:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The combined Apollo 12 crew in their heyday, with the benefit of $3bn in the bank and Wernher von Braun as their geeky sidekick could not live up to the ridiculous hyper-glamorous image portrayed in that article.

Which wouldn't matter one jot if it weren't being deployed as just one element of the lobbying which sees the NASA bill now being delayed until after the summer. As such it is definitely due some critical scrutiny.

capoetc
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posted 08-02-2010 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Beside, human spaceflight is long overdue a maverick in the shape and style of Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst, Howard Hughes or even Bill Gates.
Hmmm... did those luminaries you mentioned seek out and receive millions of dollars in government handouts?

Musk is indeed a genius... at finding ways to get the US taxpayers to subsidize his business.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-02-2010 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert Goddard's rocket research was federally funded (through the Smithsonian) but he owned the 34 rockets he launched and 214 patents he earned. Am I to understand that was money poorly spent?

Actually, strike that. Clearly the New York Times was correct in 1920 when they criticized him and the Smithsonian for his "absurd" theories of rocket-propelled space travel to the Moon.

What about Samuel Langley? Was he wrong to pursue and receive a War Grant for his aviation research and development?

What about James "Old Mac" McDonnell? Should he have refused government funds? Should his company not pursued -- even lobbied for -- the contracts they won?

Is Burt Rutan evil for accepting millions of dollars in government "handouts" (otherwise known by everyone else as contracts) to advance his company, Scaled Composites?

And less anyone misinterpret my point: I am not comparing Elon Musk to Goddard, Langley, McDonnell or Rutan by way of his or their accomplishments. Rather, I am using the comparison to focus solely on the criticism being leveled here at SpaceX for seeking government funds.

Spacefest
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posted 08-02-2010 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to chuckle at the criticism of our space program(me) and Government from frustrated Earthbound Brits.

dfox
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posted 08-02-2010 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dfox   Click Here to Email dfox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Beside, human spaceflight is long overdue a maverick in the shape and style of Henry Ford...
The Ford analogy seems most fitting given Musk's association with Tesla. Neither invented the technology they sold, they "merely" made it available to the masses.

Howard Hughes comes to mind as well.

Matt T
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posted 08-03-2010 04:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Is Burt Rutan evil for accepting millions of dollars in government "handouts" (otherwise known by everyone else as contracts) to advance his company, Scaled Composites?
BEEEEP - there goes the disinformation buzzer! A grant, a loan and a contract are three different things - only one of them is a gift to a corporation (otherwise known by everyone else as a handout).

Elon Musk still has his contracts, there are grants on offer under the current wording of the Bill - it's just that lovely free money which the pesky politicians are being so awkward about at the moment. Time to don the suit and start spending in the right places.

Assuming you aren't inviting a full discussion of the merits and evils of the lobbying system I'll simply say that watching anyone, (US, Brit or otherwise Kim ) applauding the exploitation of the political system by lobbying (also known by a whole host of less PC terms) makes me chuckle so hard I want to weep.

issman1
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posted 08-03-2010 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suppose you would prefer Elon Musk was on a par with Steve Bennett and his Starchaser?

The Obama administration wants to encourage entrepreneurship in spaceflight, and why not? Even the US Senate is acquiescing.

capoetc
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posted 08-03-2010 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Matt T:
BEEEEP - there goes the disinformation buzzer! ...

Thanks, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2010 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So I'll repeat my question: were the federal grants awarded to Goddard and Langley, regardless their level of success, wrong?

Re-focusing on the future though, unless I have missed something, the requirements for qualifying for the proposed commercial crew development funds have not been published, let alone defined. So how does anyone know that NASA wouldn't be receiving a specific return on its investment ("handout") in the form of services delivered?

Matt T
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posted 08-03-2010 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
The Obama administration wants to encourage entrepreneurship in spaceflight, and why not?
Absolutely - but not if it has to be at the expense of NASA's budget and capacity for meaningful manned exploration. And as I said before, there will be hundreds of millions of dollars of cheap loans on offer.
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So I'll repeat my question: were the federal grants awarded to Goddard and Langley, regardless their level of success, wrong?
The receipt of a grant is a situation devoid of right or wrong - the means by which it is obtained is a different matter. I'm not aware of Goddard prompting the authoring of puff-pieces explaining he was really the best thing to happen to rocketry since Clarke Kent, but I may be misinformed. Nor am I aware of him attempting to shape the policy of the grant awarding body to benefit his own interests.
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So how does anyone know that NASA wouldn't be receiving a specific return on its investment ("handout") in the form of services delivered?
If they receive a return it's an investment; if not it's a handout - it remains to be seen. As I said above, if the price was NASA sitting on its hands while it waited for the return (the Obama plan) it would need to be a stunning payday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2010 06:39 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 Matt T:
If they receive a return it's an investment; if not it's a handout - it remains to be seen.
So then is it fair to throw about the "handout" slur? No, because as you write, it remains to be seen.

I really don't understand when self-described space enthusiasts express open hostility toward SpaceX -- or any company trying to advance spaceflight of any type. In SpaceX and the others, you have companies that are eager to talk about moving beyond low Earth orbit -- once a taboo topic on Wall Street and elsewhere -- and their comments are met by ridicule from those who claim they want to see space travel expand. To what end does that serve?

Spacefest
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posted 08-03-2010 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Probably because he's a (legal) immigrant yahoo (rather PayPal) prodigy financed by eBay money, who's putting NASA to shame with his low budget ideas. He hasn't blown up NEARLY enough rockets to deserve to be in orbit yet.

issman1
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posted 08-04-2010 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though I'm a proponent of shuttle-derived HLV, does NASA really need such a big dumb booster to get astronauts to the ISS?

This is where something like SpaceX's Falcon 9/Dragon could prove invaluable (and dare I say affordable) as a simple taxi service. Someone mentioned on another thread of the need for an "American Soyuz".

No-one can be certain when the HLV will come online, but NASA does need reliable and redundant access to LEO sooner rather than later. Commercial crew is the best option.

capoetc
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posted 08-04-2010 07:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Despite the imminent retirement of the Space Shuttle, H.R. 5781 authorizes over five times as many taxpayer dollars to fly NASA astronauts on the Russian Soyuz than it invests in developing an American commercial alternative, moreover at a time when jobs are sorely needed in the United States," Musk writes. "Quite simply, this bill represents the sort of senseless pork politics that has driven our national debt to the point where our economy can barely service it."

-- From Florida Today, Jul 29, 2010

I guess when the money is spent elsewhere, it is pork, and when it is given to SpaceX it is an investment in the future.

Here's an idea: How about if we just use the "stimulus" money to pay down the national debt, and let private companies develop their products via venture capital.

No... that idea is soooooo 20th century...

If federal grant money is available and SpaceX applies for it and receives it, great! I'm all for it.

Matt T
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posted 08-04-2010 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Goodness me - NASA spending 5 times more on it's operational programs than on its R&D! Unheard of! I sense another blast of the disinformation buzzer coming on.

P.S. I say 'its R&D' though of course I actually mean SpaceX's R&D - but it seems that in the Muskiverse all government money is his until foolishly wasted elsewhere.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-04-2010 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1956, eleven companies submitted unsolicited proposals to the U.S. Air Force to build a manned spacecraft. Companies, including McDonnell, North American, AVCO, and Convair requested the government fund their R&D efforts.

The ultimate results? Out of Project 7969 came, among other things, the Mercury spacecraft and the X-15 rocketplane.

Maybe though, that was foolish. Maybe the U.S. Air Force and NACA, which was advising on the project, should have wholesale rejected the proposals instead of convening technical reviews and conferences.

I mean the nerve of these companies to ask the government to contribute to their R&D efforts, their having already invested their own money into developing the unsolicited proposals...

Matt T
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posted 08-04-2010 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd be very interested to see the justification for your use of the term 'unsolicited'. Self-funded yes (corporate companies chasing a contract paying their own way? Outrageous!) but eleven companies spontaneously and simultaneously submitting spacecraft designs? Of course they were solicited, the Air Force was running a feasibility project to put a man in space.

As for the ironic suggestion that the Air Force should've rejected the proposals because they were self-funded? I don't even begin to see what parallel you're trying to draw. Had one of the companies gone whinging to the president and Congress that it wasn't fair that they should pay for their own R&D up front then you'd have a fantastic illustration of the current state of affairs.

BNorton
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posted 08-04-2010 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BNorton   Click Here to Email BNorton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
In 1956, eleven companies submitted unsolicited proposals to the U.S. Air Force to build a manned spacecraft. Companies, including McDonnell, North American, AVCO, and Convair requested the government fund their R&D efforts.

...and these companies were claiming to be building a "commercial" vehicle? To have any reasonable debate, one must first be able to distinguish between a government contractor and a truly commercial company and the way in which they both have been supported by NASA. Apparently such is not the case above.

Elon Musk has his hands in my and your pockets to make money. If he is going to be like any other government contractor, treat him like one.

We, the US taxpayers, are being scammed by unrealistic claims. (Have you seen the new ones by Boeing and Bigelow? A company builds a 1960s Echo like balloon and suddenly they are going to operate and lease a space station for $79-95 million a year. Of course they will need taxpayer dollars for support. It's laughable.) The only way Mr. Musk will retire on Mars is if he lives to be at least 150 years old and the US government decides to invest over two trillion dollars in NASA over the next 30 years. Or then again, maybe he believes he will have some of his ashes flown on a US government built and operated Mars robotic lander.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-04-2010 08:49 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 Matt T:
I'd be very interested to see the justification for your use of the term 'unsolicited'.
Television shows with fan followings used to receive unsolicited scripts from aspiring writers (until studios, fearing being sued for borrowed ideas, began rejecting them). There was no request for scripts but writers saw that the show was in production and took a chance, developing their own concept on their own time with no guarantee their work would amount to anything.

Such was the case, as I understand it, prior to Project 7969. Companies such as Convair and McDonnell saw the direction that ballistic research was heading and took a chance at putting together a proposal without any stated pledge by the Air Force or NACA that it would pursue such projects.

If you want a modern day example: SpaceX designed a crewed Dragon well before NASA suggested the need for one. It was an unsolicited proposal.

quote:
Had one of the companies gone whinging to the president and Congress that it wasn't fair that they should pay for their own R&D up front then you'd have a fantastic illustration of the current state of affairs.
I don't know about the President and Congress, but the companies must have made it clear they wanted their R&D efforts funded. Under the Air Force's Man-In-Space-Soonest program, the follow-on to Project 7969, North American and General Electric each received $370,000 for a three-month study to advance their previously unsolicited proposals.

The parallel today is SpaceX seeking funds to advance their originally unsolicited -- now nearly-solicited -- proposal for a manned Dragon.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-04-2010 08:56 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 BNorton:
If he is going to be like any other government contractor, treat him like one.
I agree, let's do so. Let's grant SpaceX research and development funds, just as was done with McDonnell, North American, Grumman, Lockheed, Boeing, and every other spacecraft developer in the history of the U.S. space program with no expectation of any return on the money but an advanced concept for the proposed final product, such that NASA can then fund the spacecraft's construction and flight, too.

Only this time, let's have SpaceX (and Boeing and Lockheed and Orbital and others) invest their own funds as well, such that NASA's funds can help develop multiple vehicles instead of putting all our astronauts in one basket. Agreed?

quote:
Originally posted by BNorton:
It's laughable.
It's sad really. It's sad that under the guise of being pro-space, some feel it necessary to ridicule and dismiss those who are investing millions of their own dollars in developing space technologies. Instead of suggesting that we do everything in our power to help them advance their projects and in the process push spaceflight in new directions -- some feel it is better to stick with the status quo.

It's sad because at one time space exploration inspired -- if not outright encouraged -- innovation and yet it seems today that some are more interested in finding ways to retreat into the box, then find ways to think outside of it.

Byeman
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posted 08-04-2010 11:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Byeman   Click Here to Email Byeman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
It's sad that under the guise of being pro-space, some feel it necessary to ridicule and dismiss those who are investing millions of their own dollars in developing space technologies...
Good one, Robert.

Also, being pro commercial does not make one anti NASA. In fact, one can work for NASA be pro commercial. NASA buys commercial launch and payload processing services all the time. So what is the matter with buy commercial crew transport?

Also, being pro commercial does not mean one it anti HLV (even though they are no needed, topic for another time).

And a few more thoughts:

  1. Commercial is not defined by the source of the money.

  2. There is no legitimate reason to be anti-commercial space.

BNorton
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posted 08-04-2010 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BNorton   Click Here to Email BNorton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...let's have SpaceX (and Boeing and Lockheed and Orbital and others) invest their own funds as well, such that NASA's funds can help develop multiple vehicles instead of putting all our astronauts in one basket. Agreed?
All qualified US companies should be potential candidates for R&D support money. However, the rules should not be changed to the benefit of any one company nor should R&D support be used as a way to pay for commercial development. (By the way, when companies invest their money in R&D, they expect to get it back. Government contractors generally receive a return on their R&D investment through overhead charges on contracts. It's generally not lost money.)

Multiple US manned orbital vehicles: a great idea! There is one problem however; there is no market to support them.

quote:
It's sad that under the guise of being pro-space, some feel it necessary to ridicule and dismiss those who are investing millions of their own dollars... and yet it seems today that some are more interested in finding ways to retreat into the box, then find ways to think outside of it.
I must need to have my glasses checked yet again. I do not see where I typed that I was against companies thinking "outside the box". I am not... nor am I against you investing your money in any of these companies. What I am against is taxpayers' money being wasted because someone with a government checkbook has spent too much time watching Star Trek.

I am also surprised that you are not more than a little upset with the US government. After all, we have invested over $100 Billon in the ISS, and now companies are saying they can do more or less the same per year for about the cost of a Boeing 747. If this is true, and you apparently believe there is a reasonable chance that it is true, we - US taxpayers - have been robbed for decades!

If you believe in their ideas, I would strongly encourage you to make a considerable financial investment in all the "outside the box" companies, as I am sure you have. By the way, how did your investment in Kistler Aerospace work out?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-04-2010 04:37 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 BNorton:
However, the rules should not be changed to the benefit of any one company nor should R&D support be used as a way to pay for commercial development.
Considering that NASA's charter specifically calls for the space agency to "seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space," your position would seem to be at odds with the National Aeronautics and Space Act.
quote:
Multiple US manned orbital vehicles: a great idea! There is one problem however; there is no market to support them.
You're setting up a chicken before the egg argument -- there is no market because there are no spacecraft because there is no market -- but that's a fallacy.

There is a market because the government needs multiple paths into space. Currently that need is filled by the shuttle and Soyuz. That same requirement can be filled by different U.S. service providers.

quote:
I do not see where I typed that I was against companies thinking "outside the box". I am not...
Where did I say I was talking about you? I used something you wrote to make a general observation.
quote:
If this is true, and you apparently believe there is a reasonable chance that it is true, we - US taxpayers - have been robbed for decades!
By your reasoning, Project Mercury was a waste of taxpayer money because nearly 50 years later, SpaceShipOne (and nearly SpaceShipTwo) can reach suborbital space.

MiliputMan
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posted 08-04-2010 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been following this forum for many years, I've come to consider it my main source of information. But the split that started, since the end-of-the-shuttle-and-what-now time, between the NASA fans and the space enthusiasts is ruining this forum. Dishing on the on the other team doesn't do any good.

It seems to me that the self indulgent NASA mentality, described by the CAIB, is still blocking the way of the 'new'. Sadly this mindset is still going strong.

If I was to start a car company today, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have all the engineering hardships that car pioneers had. Saying that SpaceX 'has' to blow rockets up to 'deserve' the right to be in the same field as NASA is so 1965. I bet that SpaceX has blown more simulated-rockets before their first flight than NASA ever did, in real life, before their first flight. That's called tech-no-lo-gy ad-van-ce-ment! If NASA started from scratch today they would do the same thing using the latest technologies.

I've worked in small and big companies and I've seen the ravage of inside politics and clique's power. I have stopped counting the number of times the phrase “this is how we've always done it” have killed a fresh idea.

New ideas, pro-activity and boldness is still at NASA, or should I say, inside many of the individuals. It's just hidden behind the inertia of the giant machine. I think NASA has a place in the future of space exploration, not as a competitor but as a science driven entity that fills in the gaps created by the market's direction.

issman1
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posted 08-05-2010 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would say to the critics you should look at the proposed funding for commercial crew as a loan to develop the industry.

The return will be vast in the long-term, and future generations will be grateful.

capoetc
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posted 08-05-2010 07:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
I would say to the critics you should look at the proposed funding for commercial crew as a loan to develop the industry...
Great idea... loan them your money.

capoetc
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posted 08-05-2010 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MiliputMan:
But the split that started ... between the NASA fans and the space enthusiasts is ruining this forum. ...It seems to me that the self indulgent NASA mentality, described by the CAIB, is still blocking the way of the 'new'. Sadly this mindset is still going strong.
So, in your view, if one believes that excessive reliance on an unproven commercial sector that has not yet demonstrated its ability to fly manned spacecraft makes one a "NASA fan" rather than a "space enthusiast"?

For me, it's not a question of "NASA good, commercial space bad". It's a question of "NASA - proven, commercial space - promising but unproven and, thus, risky".

To be clear, when I say "risky", I don't necessarily mean that the darn thing will blow up. What I mean is, there is more risk to US national interests in relying upon as-yet unproven commercial space as the sole US path to independent manned access to space. We know that NASA can lead the process of man-rating a launch system -- NASA has experience doing this.

Just because some of us believe that President Obama's new direction for American space policy is not the best way to go does not make us anti-commercial. It simply means that there is a difference of opinion on what route will best preserve US national interests in space.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-05-2010 07:58 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 capoetc:
We know that NASA can lead the process of man-rating a launch system -- NASA has experience doing this.
And under CCDev, NASA would still be man-rating the vehicle, so if that is your primary concern, then concern resolved.

NASA has relatively little to no experience designing, building or even operating launch vehicles and spacecraft when compared with the collective experience of the commercial space industry. Further, there is no magical insight that comes with being a civil servant: a NASA engineer is no more inherently an expert than an engineer working for a private company.

Commercial space is proven. It's proven in every U.S. manned spacecraft to date -- they were all designed, built and operated by profit-driven, commercial companies.

cspg
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posted 08-05-2010 11:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
The return will be vast in the long-term, and future generations will be grateful.
So are we grateful that Apollo and Shuttle programs existed (put aside the fact that they give us a hobby)? If so, how exactly are we expressing today this gratefulness?

I hope future generations won't be holding grudges about the mess they'll have to deal with.

Matt T
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posted 08-06-2010 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Commercial space is proven. It's proven in every U.S. manned spacecraft to date -- they were all designed, built and operated by profit-driven, commercial companies.
The problem is that no one is buying your definition Robert, not in this thread or any of the previous ones. Everyone on this board knows what the commercial spaceflight sector refers to, the rest of the space-related web community knows what commercial refers to, news agencies covering this story know what commercial refers to. If you insist that only you know the real definition of commercial and by inserting that definition into your opponents statements you can render them invalid - well I guess it helps pass the time but it doesn't advance the discussion one inch.

Enough of us have re-asserted the difference between a fully commercial vehicle and one built by a commercial company to a specific government contract so I won't do it again. It's the definition that everybody understands - that's why we're discussing it in a sub-form that you created called 'Commercial Space' - remember?

issman1
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posted 08-06-2010 03:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
So are we grateful that Apollo and Shuttle programs existed (put aside the fact that they give us a hobby)?

You just made my point. Don't you think future generations might now be able to travel into orbit en masse as opposed to a tiny handful of government-approved astronauts?

The idea that for the tens of billions poured into a single programme (such as Constellation) with so little to show for, is so 1960s.

Ironically, human spaceflight seems no farther ahead in 2010 than it was back then.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-06-2010 08:43 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 Matt T:
Enough of us have re-asserted the difference between a fully commercial vehicle and one built by a commercial company to a specific government contract so I won't do it again.
And yet, you continue to affirm my definition, which itself is a misnomer, as only the minority tries to claim that commercial is defined by the source of the money, as pointed out by Jim (Byeman).

If a company has the "proven" ability to build to a spacecraft to a government contract, then it does not lose that ability while investing some of their own funds to do so. The required engineering skills do not change based on how the spacecraft is paid for...

quote:
...that's why we're discussing it in a sub-form that you created called 'Commercial Space' - remember?
You know what else falls under this forum? United Launch Alliance's Delta and Atlas launch vehicles. The R&D for both rockets was paid for in part by the government and the government remains a customer for both.

Are you suggesting that Delta and Atlas are not commercially-built and operated vehicles? Is United Launch Alliance, which owns both rockets, not a commercial company?

cspg
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posted 08-06-2010 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
You just made my point. Don't you think future generations might now be able to travel into orbit en masse as opposed to a tiny handful of government-approved astronauts?
Travel en masse? Why? What is there to do in LEO, except looking at down below - fun for a few orbits but for days? I don't believe in "mass tourism" in space (right on Earth, let's see how mass tourism will evolve when oil starts hitting the roof again - do you see airplanes, or start-up companies developing B747/A380, with alternative fuels?).

It seems that you're projecting your own desire to travel into space onto future generations, and there are no guarantees that future generations will be pro-space (see the last three paragraphs of this brilliant article by Dwayne Day).

quote:
The idea that for the tens of billions poured into a single programme (such as Constellation) with so little to show for, is so 1960s.
"Commercial" space companies have yet to demonstrate that their vehicles are cheaper than existing ones - with the same capabilities (too bad, there's none - except Soyuz; and to beat them, SpaceX and company will have to emigrate to Russia). The only benefit they'll have is that taxpayers funded the research and development in the first place. Imagine SpaceX in 1972 building a 100-ton reusable spacecraft: would they have done it cheaper? Who knows...
quote:
Ironically, human spaceflight seems no farther ahead in 2010 than it was back then.
And still ironically, the same "commercial" companies (and NASA with Orion) are developing what? A capsule on top of a dumb booster, thus in effect duplicating what has already been made back in the 60s... No progress. Just a mere repetition. And everybody is screaming "hooray"... Go figure.

issman1
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posted 08-06-2010 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're talking about a technological revolution, whereas I'm advocating evolution of existing technology.

Nothing wrong with trying to create the rocket equivalent of the iPhone. But based upon recent history, and the funding, I wouldn't trust NASA to come up with a versatile vehicle like Falcon 9 or the Dragon.

And what's wrong with an excursion/vacation to LEO? I'm sure it would make a unique honeymoon destination

cspg
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posted 08-06-2010 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
You're talking about a technological revolution, whereas I'm advocating evolution of existing technology.

How does evolution of existing technology compatible with mass tourism? Orion was an evolution of earlier capsules with a possible crew of six (without windows, though - LOL). If you want mass tourism, you'll need a shuttle cargo bay filled with people - and windows. I don't see that happening soon - or ever.

quote:
Nothing wrong with trying to create the rocket equivalent of the iPhone.
I'm trying to live without a mobile phone - unfortunately the credit companies might force me to buy one. Please find another analogy.
quote:
But based upon recent history, and the funding, I wouldn't trust NASA to come up with a versatile vehicle like Falcon 9 or the Dragon.
Don't trust the White House and Congress. NASA does what it can with the means it is given. Some people tend to forget that.
quote:
And what's wrong with an excursion/vacation to LEO? I'm sure it would make a unique honeymoon destination.
Oh... because I need to get married first? The ultimate nightmare. Please kill me, right now.

issman1
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posted 08-06-2010 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm under no illusion that "mass tourism" can happen overnight. But if no incentive or stimulus is given, as in the Obama plan, then orbital space will forever be the preserve of government bureaucracies.


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