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View Full Version : Is American space program in danger if the ISS gets terminated in the next few years?



selvaarchi
2014-Jun-26, 03:20 PM
Good article by Dr Morris Jones on the dominoes effect if the ISS gets shut down. As he puts it - it might not happen but one should be prepared for the consequences if it does happen.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Dominoes_Crush_Spacecraft_999.html


We can't ignore the elephant in the room. International spaceflight is in a critical state. Even without tensions over Russia's annexation of Crimea, there is enough trouble to cause much of the overall structure of astronautics to collapse. We have a perfect storm of financial austerity, technical problems, ageing hardware and management failures.

Spacewatchers mostly face this stoically, knowing that spaceflight has been limping along for decades. That's true, but a generally mediocre situation could be about to become much worse.

Let's consider the biggest question of all. Does the International Space Station have a future? There have been calls to extend Station operations beyond the current deadline of 2020. Just months ago, America was interested in keeping ISS running until 2024 or possibly even longer. Today, nobody is really sure where America or most of the international partners stand.

NEOWatcher
2014-Jun-26, 03:35 PM
Nothing changes.
The space program is, has been and probably always will be at risk of drastic changes.
The dominos in the ISS situation is against private industry and not the US space program. So it is, and has been, their risk if the US ceases operation of ISS.
I don't see that as a problem. They have been working toward this goal with the ISS as a kickstarter but goals for other private ventures. They may be building their own private market along with Bigelow and others.
The extention to 2024 is only recent. They have been working all along with the possibility of no station in 2020. So; obviously they have other applications in mind.

From the Government side, they are working on other programs. ISS will not affect that. In fact, ISS loss might even free up more resources for the other programs.

I've said before, and will continue to say. The ISS agreements were 2020. Anything past that is a bonus, not an "elephant".

selvaarchi
2014-Jun-26, 08:55 PM
Nothing changes.
The space program is, has been and probably always will be at risk of drastic changes.
The dominos in the ISS situation is against private industry and not the US space program. So it is, and has been, their risk if the US ceases operation of ISS.
I don't see that as a problem. They have been working toward this goal with the ISS as a kickstarter but goals for other private ventures. They may be building their own private market along with Bigelow and others.
The extention to 2024 is only recent. They have been working all along with the possibility of no station in 2020. So; obviously they have other applications in mind.

From the Government side, they are working on other programs. ISS will not affect that. In fact, ISS loss might even free up more resources for the other programs.

I've said before, and will continue to say. The ISS agreements were 2020. Anything past that is a bonus, not an "elephant".

Here is an article that supports Elon Musk (read US commercial space companies) for funding by buying their services.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/26/space-nasa-into-elon-musk-vc-fund-private-space-industry


Startups like SpaceX have already started launching private satellites to wean themselves off the government money that helped them get started. But the private-space industry will need customers, and that's where Congress could actually help. Politicians seem dead-set on handing out money – aerospace firm contracts, government programs, whatever creates jobs in Florida, Alabama or Texas – so why not help seed the space industries that will use startup-company rockets?

Swift
2014-Jun-26, 09:12 PM
I'm with NEOWatcher on this. The ISS may or may not be a measure of the US governments committment to space exploration, but it is not the controlling factor, IMO. If we really want to be active in manned space exploration, and are willing to spend the money to do so, then we will do so, whether it involves the ISS and/or Russia, or not. If we are not really interested, or are not willing to spend the money, then we will find a way to get out of it.

The ISS isn't the first domino in some chain of dominos (implying to me that it is a cause), it is one of the indicators of our level of interest.

Frankly, I think the government's (and the general public's) level of interest is pretty low, and it would not surprise me to see the continuing withdrawal of public involvement. It remains to be seen if this is replaced by a private program or programs.

crosscountry
2014-Jun-26, 10:37 PM
In fact, ISS loss might even free up more resources for the other programs.

I've said before, and will continue to say. The ISS agreements were 2020. Anything past that is a bonus, not an "elephant".


I like your first statement more than the second. ISS is expensive, and it is becoming a liability to boot. We could leverage the money and manpower for other programs that would better capture the public's interest, bringing us to Swift's point.

ravens_cry
2014-Jun-26, 10:37 PM
That would be too bad, because really experimental or purely scientific stuff that serves the public weal by pushing our knowledge and understanding.forward is exactly the kind of thing I see a public space program, whatever its flaws, be good for.

SkepticJ
2014-Jun-26, 10:41 PM
I think the general public isn't that interested because there's not that much going on. There's good science, but good science isn't flashy.

They went from rockets exploding on the launch pad to landing on the Moon in ten years. We've screwed around, not accomplishing very much, for 45 years in low Earth orbit.

Unless you're a science geek, like most of us here, then what's to care about?

We need to do things that excite the imaginations of the public. If we don't make sci-fi real, they're not going to care.

selvaarchi
2014-Jun-27, 02:02 PM
My view is space exploration by rovers and orbiters by the US is not in danger. They are way ahead in that department then any other country.

The danger I see is in manned space exploration. Unless commercial space companies can actual make money by ferrying paying customers to outer space the outlook does not look rosy. The government support just does not seem to be there. At least that is the impression I get from reading the press.

crosscountry
2014-Jun-27, 08:55 PM
My view is space exploration by rovers and orbiters by the US is not in danger. They are way ahead in that department then any other country.


Maybe way ahead now, but the gap is closing. India just launched their first mission to Mars. If it succeeds, they will have surpassed all Russian missions in 20 years. China had a moon rover last year. Meanwhile, the US is reducing spending for robotic exploration. If these two trends continue, NASA won't be on top for very long.

selvaarchi
2014-Jun-28, 01:41 PM
Maybe way ahead now, but the gap is closing. India just launched their first mission to Mars. If it succeeds, they will have surpassed all Russian missions in 20 years. China had a moon rover last year. Meanwhile, the US is reducing spending for robotic exploration. If these two trends continue, NASA won't be on top for very long.

US is so far ahead that I only see China and India catching up in the next 30 to 50 years in exploring the solar system. But if you talk of the moon that will be completely a different story.

India's biggest handicap is rocket power. They only got the capability to put 4 to 5 tons to LEO in January this year with their GSLV-D5. End of this year they will be launching the the GSLV-III or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. If successful then they will have the capability to put 8 to 10 tons to LEO. This will give them the capability to send 3 astronauts to LEO. It will also allow them to send a lander to the moon and also do a sample return. To start building a space station they will need still more powerful rockets (at least capable to put 20 to 25 tons to LEO).

China has already put a lander on the moon. By 2020 they have plans to put another lander on the moon and two sample returns. They will also have their own space station. Around 2020 they also have plans to put a lander on Mars and by 2030 a sample return. I expect to see them put a man on the moon and start a moon base in the 2020 to 2030 period.

crosscountry
2014-Jun-30, 10:54 PM
US is so far ahead that I only see China and India catching up in the next 30 to 50 years in exploring the solar system. But if you talk of the moon that will be completely a different story.

India's biggest handicap is rocket power. They only got the capability to put 4 to 5 tons to LEO in January this year with their GSLV-D5. End of this year they will be launching the the GSLV-III or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. If successful then they will have the capability to put 8 to 10 tons to LEO. This will give them the capability to send 3 astronauts to LEO. It will also allow them to send a lander to the moon and also do a sample return. To start building a space station they will need still more powerful rockets (at least capable to put 20 to 25 tons to LEO).

China has already put a lander on the moon. By 2020 they have plans to put another lander on the moon and two sample returns. They will also have their own space station. Around 2020 they also have plans to put a lander on Mars and by 2030 a sample return. I expect to see them put a man on the moon and start a moon base in the 2020 to 2030 period.

If China meets your expected goals, they will be far ahead of the US. NASA's plan for sample return is after 2030. Humans won't get there for much longer. If China can have a moon base before Americans get out of low earth orbit, they will have taken the lead as far as I am concerned.

selvaarchi
2014-Jun-30, 11:14 PM
If China meets your expected goals, they will be far ahead of the US. NASA's plan for sample return is after 2030. Humans won't get there for much longer. If China can have a moon base before Americans get out of low earth orbit, they will have taken the lead as far as I am concerned.

If there is no slippages in US plans, then they will be in BEO in 2021:)

Bark
2014-Jun-30, 11:16 PM
If China meets your expected goals, they will be far ahead of the US. NASA's plan for sample return is after 2030. Humans won't get there for much longer. If China can have a moon base before Americans get out of low earth orbit, they will have taken the lead as far as I am concerned.

China can put a person into LEO now, which puts them ahead of some countries.

Jens
2014-Jul-01, 11:09 AM
We need to do things that excite the imaginations of the public. If we don't make sci-fi real, they're not going to care.

What do you mean by making science fiction real? For example, what could we do that would excite people?