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VenusROVER
2006-Mar-28, 12:07 AM
The International space station in my words is just a big 100 billion dollar hunk a junk thats sucking up money from more interesting things like the exploration of mars and the rest of the solar system.

Launch window
2006-Mar-28, 12:14 AM
The young ones are calling our proud International Space Station 'junk' :) it must be school holidays or something...?


anyway Shuttle is an even more expensive LEO venture ( only USA pays for Shuttle while the costs of ISS is spread out between nations ), the Shuttle cost $1.2 billion per launch and perhaps Shuttle is a lot more dangerous than the ISS.

VenusROVER
2006-Mar-28, 12:16 AM
What do u mean r u happy we are calling it junk or what

antoniseb
2006-Mar-28, 12:24 AM
What do u mean r u happy we are calling it junk or what
There are a lot of people here who think that it has consumed a lot more money than it was worth. Did you think this was a revelation?

VenusROVER
2006-Mar-28, 12:27 AM
No i just think it was a piece of junk taking money from cooler missions like take JIMO for example. That would have been an awsome mission.

antoniseb
2006-Mar-28, 12:32 AM
No i just think it was a piece of junk taking money from cooler missions like take JIMO for example. That would have been an awsome mission.
I agree that JIMO would have been great. It would be fantastic for us to build the Prometheus core for future missions, and to have a big high powered mission to explore the Jovian system. Other lost missions come to mind too. At this point, we're reassessing the value of the ISS, and looking to the future.

Personally, I favor unmanned probes. Some people are looking at the manned missions to the moon and Mars as valuable (as I imagine you do). We will work it out, but not nearly fast enough for any space-enthusiast's taste.

Ilya
2006-Mar-28, 12:55 AM
I would not call ISS "a piece of junk". I would call it "a Rolls Royce sitting on blocks" -- without a prayer of ever going anywhere.

Certainly agree with VenusROVER's sentiment, though. :)

ryanmercer
2006-Mar-28, 01:25 PM
ISS has been the host to many many expirements, it isn't junk.

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Mar-28, 05:19 PM
The ISS is very useful, but to expensive.

If at first they had sunk some of those funds in developing a reliable,
cost-effective, and powerful space transportation system, which
the Shuttle was supposed to have been, and then had spend the
rest on building the space station, we'd had gotten a lot more
station for our bucks.

Hindsight is always 20/20. :whistle:

CJSF
2006-Mar-28, 05:48 PM
What do u mean r u happy we are calling it junk or what


We have these marvelous things in English... they are called WORDS. Generally speaking, only "I" and "a" are single letter words in common usage. There are no bloody words "u" or "r". We ALSO have wonderful marks called PUNCTUATION...


Seriously, using proper words and some semblence of punctuation will help you to more clearly communicate. I've noticed in some of your other posts that what you are saying or asking aren't always clear.

As to the ISS... We can look back all we want and say we should have done "this or that", but besides the Russians, whose station was built with a similar "stack modules together" paradigm, NO ONE ELSE (i.e,. private industry) stepped up to try and build such a thing. In the end, things didn't work so well, but at the time, it was an attempt to get an international project done with existing infrastructure. It's helped us learn all sorts of things relating to space-based construction, transportation and materials science. Hardly a waste, in my opinion.

CJSF

Ilya
2006-Mar-28, 06:29 PM
ISS has been the host to many many expirements, it isn't junk.
None of which even remotely justify its expense. In fact, the science return of entire manned space program, from 1961 (I am counting USSR) on, is very modest, and for its cost downright embarassing. No Nobel prize ever came out of manned spaceflight; several came out of unmanned.

That's why I call ISS a "Rolls-Royce on blocks" rather than "junk". It is beautiful, gleaming, high-tech... and it just sits there. Occasionally it gets taken off the blocks and is used to get milk from the store.

That's about the cost-benefit analysis of ISS -- cost benefit analysis being a completely foreign concept to government agencies in general, and especially to NASA.

IMO, the single biggest benefit of ISS is to provide a tourist destination, which in turn provides an incentive for cheaper, more reliable access to orbit.

mantiss
2006-Mar-28, 06:37 PM
Right now, crippled as it is, the ISS is just a showcase and lab to try a few things when the onboard crew has time. Had it ever reached it's 7-8 occupants capacity it would have been a completely different story.

The ISS is only a failure in it's crippled state, not from a technological standpoint. And yes, it was very costly for what it's doing today.

I guess the will is just not there anymore.

Nicolas
2006-Mar-28, 07:07 PM
nor is the shuttle, on which ISS heavily relied...

jt-3d
2006-Mar-28, 11:29 PM
Ya'll always discount the main reason for the ISS and that is to find out what it takes to live in space for extended periods of time.
That experience in nessessary for any long mission into space and to gain that experience you need some kind of platform. That is the ISS.


"We're doing scientific research every day to help to understand the human
body better, and that can lead to new discoveries in medicine," McArthur
said. "But the real focus of our flight is to learn how people can live and
work in space for a very long time, because we think someday, human beings
will colonize other planets."
http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/06/0310/

Of course if you're a bot lover, none of that matters.

My favorite though is...

"Yes, on shuttle missions we would very often see mosquitoes, because
Florida is a place that has so many," McArthur responded. "They seem very
confused and die very quickly."
http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/06/0317/

You don't get that kind of insight from a spacebot.

IMO the only reason there is a push to get the shuttle flying is to support the ISS and without the shuttle, or something to take it's place, there would be no manned space flight and no astronauts. Without astronauts, NASA would become just another goverment think tank who's money could be used as a slush fund to be dipped into whenever they wanted. What I think would happen is funding would be cut and cut until nothing is left and NASA would get closed down and no more bots either. No we need to keep people involved in space flight, one way or another.

Nicolas
2006-Mar-29, 08:25 AM
That means quite some dead mosquitos (from the payload bay) must float/have floated freely in LEO :)

Fram
2006-Mar-29, 09:44 AM
What impresses many young people is not so much "You have made a machine that has gone to space?" as "You have been to space?". Astronauts make the space industry more human, more appealing, to a lot of people. That alone makes it worthwhile. Furthermore, a lot of experiments are done by these people. It would be harder to make robots that are versatile enough to do all those in such a short time (although they can work 24/7 of course).
Other good things are the international collaboration, and the tests for what long periods of weightlessness do to the human body, and long periods in space do to the human mind.

Launch window
2006-Mar-29, 10:27 AM
you may call it junk

but at least they got to take this cool photo
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11763975/
eclipse snapped

gwiz
2006-Mar-29, 10:28 AM
A lot of the problems with ISS start with the political decisions. Several very expensive years of designs and re-designs essentially to fit a capped budget. Bringing the Russians in to build hardware, then refusing to bail them out when they had money problems - result two years' delay, two years' US costs instead of a relatively small one-off payment. Over reliance on the Shuttle, cancellation of the US crew transport system and again refusal to pay the Russians to develop their alternative. Results - ESA and the Japanese have had their labs completed and sitting in storage for several years; an ISS limited to a small crew that spend nearly all their time maintaining it and very little on research.

Rolls-Royce on blocks is pretty apt.

ToSeek
2006-Mar-29, 03:10 PM
It's definitely not been a good return on the money invested - imagine how much space science could have been done for a hundred billion!

John Dlugosz
2006-Mar-29, 03:53 PM
[rant]
We have these marvelous things in English... they are called WORDS. CJSF

I second that.

Ilya
2006-Mar-29, 05:05 PM
Ya'll always discount the main reason for the ISS and that is to find out what it takes to live in space for extended periods of time.
That experience in nessessary for any long mission into space and to gain that experience you need some kind of platform. That is the ISS.
Except ISS does not do well even that. Granted, it is because of very bad political decisions, but is that a valid excuse? I don't think so.

Launch window
2006-Mar-29, 05:48 PM
Ok, let me say this :

The design for the ISS is not junk, in fact it could have become one of the greatest scientific creations and the most wonderful space construction projects of all time, it could have produced even better results than MIR or Skylab. The whole international thing was badly managed and now we don't even have a half-finished station, it could be becoming a junk project fast but since the loss of Shuttle Columbia over Texas the whole thing has got even more complicated. The Russians with their Soyuz and Progress is what is keeping the United States in space right now. The Shuttle ( STS which may cost double the price of the ISS before it retires ) should return to flight soon but it has too much work lost, so I doubt it will ever be able to finish-off the station.

Doodler
2006-Mar-29, 07:59 PM
I second that.

Welcome to the future, where people learn to type on cell phones... :doh:

As for the ISS, its typical of any project where the words "promise" and "potential" are bandied about with too much abandon. Too many compromising conditions had to be covered to make it anything other than a destination unto itself because of the plurality of its sponsorship. And too many things critical to the station's success are dangerously unreliable. e.g. The Russian economy and the American space shuttle.

pasha582
2006-Mar-29, 09:30 PM
I agree that JIMO would have been great. It would be fantastic for us to build the Prometheus core for future missions, and to have a big high powered mission to explore the Jovian system. Other lost missions come to mind too. At this point, we're reassessing the value of the ISS, and looking to the future.

Better yet if we simply fund a whole lot more. I hate to intrude with political realities here, but the people apparently prefer huge tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy and futile, pointless crusades in the middle east.

Antiscience leaders and legislators will "Proxmire" projects that are not political pork for the folks back home. This is why we have ballooning deficits and bridges to nowhere, while conducting our science on a shoestring budget.

pasha582
2006-Mar-29, 09:35 PM
Regarding the NASA budget, you're not going to get your pet project funded by attacking someone else's. Suppose we gut the shuttle. Business will simply contract with the Chinese for launch facilities, and the shuttle funding won't be diverted to some other project, it will simply dry up. Kiss it all goodbye, and look for work in the private service sector. We'll have good "manufacturing" jobs building hamburgers for all those engineers.

NEOWatcher
2006-Mar-29, 09:38 PM
Better yet if we simply fund a whole lot more. I hate to intrude with political realities here, but the people apparently prefer huge tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy and futile, pointless crusades in the middle east.

Antiscience leaders and legislators will "Proxmire" projects that are not political pork for the folks back home. This is why we have ballooning deficits and bridges to nowhere, while conducting our science on a shoestring budget.
And add in what the people are doing themselves.

Considering (at the time) nearly $1000 per dependent: This situation could have completely funded NASA. (http://www.snopes.com/business/taxes/dependents.asp)

antoniseb
2006-Mar-29, 09:41 PM
I hate to intrude with political realities here...
In fact this is the only type of political discussion you can have here, but even then, you must be careful where you tread. At the moment, NASA has a budget, and a tradition for what size slice of the pie it gets. There are many states that benefit from NASA contracts, and Senators and Congressmen representing those states are ill-advised to seriously reduce funding, but cannot easily raise funding without some compelling reason (the war on space?). We have what we have, and making rapid shifts just isn't in the cards.

The ESA has the same sort of difficulty. I'm sure Japan and India as well. I have no idea how China budgets their space program.

Clive Tester
2006-Mar-29, 10:19 PM
I consider, that the true value of the ISS lays in its function as a test bed for international cooperation in space. This project represents a valuable learning exercise in the coordination of complex projects between nations. Looking at the history of space exploration in the past half century, my feeling is, that the future of manned space exploration lays in international endeavours.

Ilya
2006-Mar-30, 03:11 PM
I consider, that the true value of the ISS lays in its function as a test bed for international cooperation in space.
It certainly proved we should stay away from "international cooperation" in the future.

This project represents a valuable learning exercise in the coordination of complex projects between nations.

That it has been. We learned that such coordination is basically impossible, and leads to stagnation among conflicting priorities and unreliable partners. An expensive lesson, but worth it if NASA takes it to heart.

Looking at the history of space exploration in the past half century, my feeling is, that the future of manned space exploration lays in international endeavours.
You Have Got To Be Joking. Do you want ALL future of manned space exploration turned into politicized white elephants!?

Nicolas
2006-Mar-30, 05:11 PM
It certainly proved we should stay away from "international cooperation" in the future.

Like Huygens/Cassini, Soyuz launching for everybody and from the European spaceport, international cooperation on Clipper?

That it has been. We learned that such coordination is basically impossible, and leads to stagnation among conflicting priorities and unreliable partners. An expensive lesson, but worth it if NASA takes it to heart.

So it should never have done Huygens/Cassini and should not fly on Soyuz? I think that from your reasoning not only NASA should learn from it, but all agencies. They certainly should learn from ISS, but I don't think the lesson here is that international cooperation doesn't work in space.

You Have Got To Be Joking. Do you want ALL future of manned space exploration turned into politicized white elephants!?

If politics are left out of international cooperation (as much as possible), I think it certainly has value. I think the problem with ISS is not so much politics (maybe to stop it, but not what caused it to be not such a huge success), but the fact that it relied heavily on 2 unreliable, non-redundant elements (Shuttle and Russian money).

Launch window
2006-Mar-30, 05:23 PM
The design for the ISS is not junk, if not for the bad politics, bad management and delays ISS might have become one of the greatest scientific creations and the most wonderful space construction projects of all time and produced way more science than Salyut, Skylab or Mir but ISS is slowly becoming a failed project.

If you insist on calling the space station 'junk' then I don't know what you'd call Shuttle which is dangerous and costs more. The price of Shuttle is not 'international', the USA has to fork out the dollars for everything on STS. Shuttle is priced at about 1.2 billion per launch, by the time Shuttle retires it may have cost $ 200 billion ( twice the price of ISS )

Nicolas
2006-Mar-30, 05:38 PM
SMAD lists Shuttle launch costs as 400 million dollars per launch in 2000.

gwiz
2006-Mar-30, 05:41 PM
Try taking the total Shuttle budget and dividing by the number of launches.

Nicolas
2006-Mar-30, 05:46 PM
Ah like that. That's not what is defined as costs per launch in the normal sense :).

Oh do you take the costs of all shuttle launches to the ISS as shuttle costs, ISS costs or both? :D ;)

Ilya
2006-Mar-31, 12:35 AM
It certainly proved we should stay away from "international cooperation" in the future.

Like Huygens/Cassini, Soyuz launching for everybody and from the European spaceport, international cooperation on Clipper?
Soyuz launching for everybody is not "cooperation", it is straightforward commercial exchange. You pay Russian Space Agency money, they will launch whatever you want. No politics involved. Clipper is yet to be seen, but I suspect it will work out much like Soyuz. Russians proved very adept at capitalism.

As for Huygens/Cassini, I actually thought of it during my previous post; I should have specified "manned international cooperation." But that's what Clive Tester wrote ("the future of manned space exploration lays in international endeavours"), and that's what I was responding to.

The great problem of manned spaceflight is that it has no real purpose. The only time manned spaceflight had a defined goal was in 1960 -- "get to the Moon". Ever since there was no goal except self-justification. Shuttle was built to go to space station; ISS was built to give Shuttle some place to go. And whenever a large government program has no defined goal (but a lot of money and jobs) it becomes ALL about politics. With predictable results.

Unmanned probes such as Cassini have a definite goal and measurable performance -- they either succeed or they don't, in a timeframe defined by orbital mechanics. Consequently they are much less politicized, and teams from different countries are much more willing to work toward common good instead of scoring points for their respective governments.


You Have Got To Be Joking. Do you want ALL future of manned space exploration turned into politicized white elephants!?

If politics are left out of international cooperation (as much as possible), I think it certainly has value. I think the problem with ISS is not so much politics (maybe to stop it, but not what caused it to be not such a huge success), but the fact that it relied heavily on 2 unreliable, non-redundant elements (Shuttle and Russian money).
As long as manned spaceflight remains basically an amorphous job program, politics can not be left out of it. You are absolutely right about Shuttle and Russian money, but why does ISS rely on two such unreliable elements? Shuttle is what is because of internal US politics, and while US is not responsible for Russia's financial woes, relying on Russia was a political decision. There is nothing wrong with international cooperation when it serves a measurable purpose -- and partners who do not measure up get booted out. Instead, Clinton Administration made international cooperation ITSELF the purpose of ISS. With results we have now.

And to be honest, I do not see any space-related goal in the near future that would compel the taxpaying public (readers of this BBS excluded) in either US or Europe to fund a focused manned effort on the scale of Apollo and with success/failure as clearly definable as with Cassini. However it pains me so, I expect all manned governmental space activities for the next 50-100 years to be muddled, pork-laden, terrified of failure, and ridiculously politicized. (At least all non-military activities.) It is the nature of the beast. And when it is made international, it only gets worse.

Nicolas
2006-Mar-31, 07:41 AM
The recently published article by Energia points out some intended goals for Clipper. Indeed some of those make the means the purpose: "to give Europe and Russia a new craft for bringing people into space".

Maybe a problem with settings goals for ISS, Clipper etc is that contrary to a probe they have multiple goals, serving other tbt missions.

I agree that Soyuz launching for everyone is commercial exchange. Soyuz launching from Kourou can be seen the same.

As it seems now, at least the development of Clipper will be more than that, as they plan to really involve both Russia and Europe into the design. So it will be more than a public transportations service available to everyone, but exploited by Russia. Wait and see on that one, but I think it wouldn't b bad if Europe designed a manned spacecraft beginning to end; they have come far enough in the space business to take that step. Hermes was good practice, but it did not end in a spacecraft. Hopefully the Russian experience brought in will reduce the chance of show stoppers as was the case with Hermes.

Indeed politics show up in Clipper. The goal "independent manned launch capability" is political. But as Energia says, it also helps solving the Shuttle issue and has more use. It will make bringing people into orbit cheaper (while Soyuz TMA lready is el cheapo), will make it posssible to bring non-professional astronauts cheaper, easier and more often into space/to the ISS (so it will trigger more tourism and researchers to go to the ISS) and it has even some out of LEO applications foreseen. I think that Clipper is a good step or at least tryout to make LEO easier to access, which is a stepping stone to easier space access in general. And if 2 space agencies develop it together, I hope the scientific and technological gain outweighs the political game played behind/in front of it.

At least the design process of Clipper has a clear goal: to create a craft that can do what is described in the concept of Clipper.

If Clipper lives up to expectation and does not come too late for the ISS, it will mean a ticket to the ISS will cost about 8 million dollars and require only 3 months of preparation for non-professional astronauts (like scientists). That might trigger much better occupation of the ISS. Let's hope so.

Fram
2006-Mar-31, 09:17 AM
I'm not claiming that this justify the costs or makes it a success, but could all missions done by the Space Shuttle (e.g. repairs on satellites, Hubble, ...) have been done as well by unmanned missions?

ToSeek
2006-Mar-31, 03:38 PM
I'm not claiming that this justify the costs or makes it a success, but could all missions done by the Space Shuttle (e.g. repairs on satellites, Hubble, ...) have been done as well by unmanned missions?

Definitely not, but it's arguable that it would have been cheaper to replace the satellites serviced than to launch a shuttle to deal with them.

Ilya
2006-Mar-31, 03:54 PM
I'm not claiming that this justify the costs or makes it a success, but could all missions done by the Space Shuttle (e.g. repairs on satellites, Hubble, ...) have been done as well by unmanned missions?
In each of these cases it would have been cheaper to launch a replacement satellite by an unmanned rocket. Depending on accounting, the cost of Hubble may have been greater than that of a shuttle mission -- but only because it flew on Shuttle! "Man-rating" any shuttle payload -- Hubble included, -- approximately doubles the said payload's cost.

Nicolas
2006-Mar-31, 05:26 PM
Do you have a source for that?

I think the main problem is the rule that no combustibles may be carried in the shuttle bay.

So I see problems with station keeping fuel tanks etc, but I don't think many other aspects of a payload need severe changes because they are launched by shuttle.

Or did you mean making a sat such that it can be serviced by humans?

pasha582
2006-Mar-31, 09:45 PM
What impresses many young people is not so much "You have made a machine that has gone to space?" as "You have been to space?".

That's a good point. Machines may tell us detailed stories, but mostly to scientists and engineers trained to coax those stories out of silicon circuitry. Children (and most adults) respond far better to first hand accounts of living, breathing people.

Valentina Tareshkova was the first woman in space--beating the first american woman by two decades. She spent more time in space her first trip than all the american astronaughts combined, up to that time. She was awarded the Order of Lenin and has a lunar farside crater named after her. Who isn't inspired by stories like hers?

Валенти́на Влади́мировна Терешко́ва

(Daughter of Vladimir).

Nicolas
2006-Mar-31, 10:02 PM
Those who know that female Russian astronauts (please take care not to use "astronaughts", "astronots" or "astronuts" :D) -I should say cosmonaut- were pretty much non-existent after her.

I'm sorry, I just think she's a bad example because of what came after her.

But I do agree. Just look at the attention the first astronaut of a nation gets, even though he's just another Soyuz passenger/pilot.

JonClarke
2006-Apr-01, 02:54 AM
IHMO the ISS is a fantastic machine that should be used as long as possible once it has been completed. It as has been an invaluable source of lessons on both how do do and how not to do things that could not be obtained in any other way, and it is not even finished yet.

IMHO the critics fall into several catagories:

1) Those opposed to human spaceflight in general who focus on the ISS because it's the prime example.

2) Those (chiefly from the US) who are ideologically opposed to international ventures.

3) Those who are ideologically opposed to any government space spending (again largely from the US) but who ignore the fact that the most successful non-government program (spaceship 1) has only achieved ballistic flight.

4) Those who want to to go to the Moon or Mars now (without considering how this can be done without precisely the sort of experience that only a station like the ISS can provide)

5) Those who think the station could have been done better (generally without consideration that is is based either on hindsight or that without the compromises in the ISS design there would have been no station at all).

6) Those who are completely ignorant (sometimes deliberately so) of the enormous amount of research that has already been done in the ISS program (several thousand research publications to date and the station isn't even finished yet).

Jon

Van Rijn
2006-Apr-01, 08:32 AM
IMHO the critics fall into several catagories:

1) Those opposed to human spaceflight in general who focus on the ISS because it's the prime example.


Definitely not me.



2) Those (chiefly from the US) who are ideologically opposed to international ventures.


No.



3) Those who are ideologically opposed to any government space spending (again largely from the US) but who ignore the fact that the most successful non-government program (spaceship 1) has only achieved ballistic flight.


I'm not opposed to government space spending. HOWEVER, I am firmly convinced that we will never get very far with people in space until we have a commercial space infrastructure.

And if some people overstate private space accomplishments, others understate them.



4) Those who want to to go to the Moon or Mars now (without considering how this can be done without precisely the sort of experience that only a station like the ISS can provide)


I'd like to go to the moon and Mars, but not just to go there and not just to build "antarctic bases." We need space experience, but ISS isn't the only way to do it.



5) Those who think the station could have been done better (generally without consideration that is is based either on hindsight or that without the compromises in the ISS design there would have been no station at all).


Actually, I was telling people how ISS would go years before it went up. It wasn't hard to predict.



6) Those who are completely ignorant (sometimes deliberately so) of the enormous amount of research that has already been done in the ISS program (several thousand research publications to date and the station isn't even finished yet).


Sure, some research has happened with ISS. The question is if more and better research could have happened if the money had been spent in other ways.

First, I think NASA needed to develop another launch system before it bothered to build a space station. Even a not-so-great choice would have been better logistically and could have reduced total cost substantally. It would be nice to actually be able to use that space station up there.

Second, government should have promoted private space development to reduce costs. Government should stick to what it can do better than business (such as long term research and exploration) and leave business to do what it can do better (such as practical economical launch systems).

Instead of "a" space station that can hardly be used, I would have preferred to see a stairstep program with ever greater goals and a robust space infrastructure.

folkhemmet
2006-Apr-01, 11:45 AM
I couldn't agree more with the statement "the ISS is just a big 100 billion dollar hunk a junk thats sucking up money from more interesting things like the exploration of mars and the rest of the solar system." The International Space Station is a failure. It is incredibly expensive (>$70B), does no research, and excites no one. Think about the ratio of data and knowledge about the solar system and the universe coming from space science missions vs the ISS. There are never any important scientific headlines having to do with breakthroughs coming out of the ISS. This worthless project should be discontinued asap before it eats up any more money from space science or research into new propulsion techniques.

Nicolas
2006-Apr-02, 10:28 PM
The International Space Station is a failure. It is incredibly expensive (>$70B), does no research, and excites no one. There are never any important scientific headlines having to do with breakthroughs coming out of the ISS.

1) research is being done in the ISS, just check the task list of the short stay astronaut on every flight.
2)I know people who are very excited about ISS. Some people paid LOTS of money to go there, just to give the clearest example. Also in the scientific community, some people truly love ISS, even though it's not (yet) what was planned.
3)In magazines such as EOS, results of an ISS research project are quoted almost on monthly basis in articles.

Obviously, the ISS will not discover water on Mars or polar caps on Saturnian moons. That does not mean that even the currect incomplete station featuring way too little crew does give scientific results.


Putting your opinion strong in order to make it clear can be handy, but going to extremes (I'm talking about 1) and 2) mostly) does not help your case.

That does not mean I do not allow you to have your opinion that ISS is money badly spent.

Ilya
2006-Apr-03, 02:41 PM
Do you have a source for that?

I think the main problem is the rule that no combustibles may be carried in the shuttle bay.
No, I do not have a source. but I had talked to people involved in certifying shuttle payloads. According to them, it used to to be a fairly straightforward and sensible procedure -- before Challenger. After Challenger, aside from "no combustibles" rule, absolutely every item that comes aboard must go through a number of safety checks, and the salaries of people doing these checks and of people checking the checkers, add enormously to the payload cost. As one of these people told me -- I am not sure if he exaggerated or not, -- "Nothing flies until its weight is exceeded by the weight of the paperwork."

Nicolas
2006-Apr-03, 03:31 PM
I know that after Challenger lots of things changed to those kind of circumstances indeed, so it wouldn't surprise me. Maybe that's another thing pointing to the problem of a "one size fits all" craft: you have this huge cargo bay, but 7 vulnerable people in front as well.

If you have a craft for passengers and small loads (like Clipper) and a separate cargo craft, less safety issues arise.

Clive Tester
2006-Apr-03, 08:29 PM
politicized

Ilya, yet the space race was born of politics.
My view is, that the astonishing leap forward in manned space exploration, which we were so lucky to have witnessed in the 1960s, was the result of a very special set of circumstances; Apollo was of its time. I doubt that we are likely to see anything of its nature in the near term.

Telecom
2006-Apr-04, 11:21 AM
Any statements like 'ISS is a worthless piece of junk' are naive and stupid.

boppa
2006-Apr-04, 11:56 AM
personally i feel iss has shown that `space on a shoe string' works

ive seen costs varying from 70 billion to 150 billion
true this is a lot of money

but its not nasa spending this(hint international space station)

imho those costs would have been way way lower if the space shuttle had been left out of the equation altogether

i as yet havent been able to find a complete cost breakdown of the iss- but id like to see one

im betting that almost all of the `massive cost overun' as was recently touted on the local radio-would be tracable to one or maybe two elements

nasa crippled space shuttle and russias crippled economy

it would be interesting if anyone has found a complete breakdown of expenses(not to a rediculous degree lol-ie we spent 5c on this paperclip lol)

;-)

antoniseb
2006-Apr-04, 04:11 PM
Any statements like ... are naive and stupid.
Hi Telecom, you are fairly new to the forum, perhaps you should read the rules. You'd be allowed to say that some group of statements "seem naive to you", but categorically calling them "stupid" is over the line, because that insults people who have taken that position. In either case you need to back it up with something to support your position.

Clive Tester
2006-Apr-06, 08:20 PM
Ilya, yet the space race was born of politics.
My view is, that the astonishing leap forward in manned space exploration, which we were so lucky to have witnessed in the 1960s, was the result of a very special set of circumstances; Apollo was of its time. I doubt that we are likely to see anything of its nature in the near term.
In terms of manned space flight, the fate of Apollo and the parallel soviet program, great as they were, illustrate my point. They represented a great leap forward, at a unique period in our history where two superpowers were keen to demonstrate prowess in an emergent technology. But ultimately it was not sustainable. Forum members, what do you think of my assertion, that the only way in which we can sustain a human presence beyond low earth orbit in this post Cold War period, is with an international space program.

publiusr
2006-Apr-06, 08:58 PM
In terms of manned space flight, the fate of Apollo and the parallel soviet program, great as they were, illustrate my point. They represented a great leap forward, at a unique period in our history where two superpowers were keen to demonstrate prowess in an emergent technology. But ultimately it was not sustainable.

That isn't so. We have had over a hundred STS missions--that is sustainablility--that could easily have been there for Saturn missions had STS and its costs not come along. Apollo should have been left alone.

Proton is Saturn IB class and it is a top selling rocket.

Clive Tester
2006-Apr-07, 08:01 AM
That isn't so. We have had over a hundred STS missions--that is sustainablility--that could easily have been there for Saturn missions had STS and its costs not come along. Apollo should have been left alone.

Proton is Saturn IB class and it is a top selling rocket.
I suspect that we may be at cross purposes here, as your reply doesn’t really relate the point that I am making here. With respect, your post conversely however, does provide two examples that illustrate my point.

Clive Tester
2006-Apr-09, 09:04 PM
We have had over a hundred STS missions--that is sustainablility
On re-examining my previous post, I may not have put the point over sufficiently clearly. Speaking solely of manned exploration, since 1972, we have not ventured more than one thousandth of the distance that Apollo covered; the rate of progress that we witnessed in the 1960s was not sustained. In the case of the soviet lunar program, all of that effort went to waste. The Soviet Union concentrated its efforts toward the goal of manned lunar flight in the 1960s, only to abandon it, after the final Zond mission in 1970.

For sure, we have seen hundreds of manned flights into low earth orbit in the past 35 years, but when I was a child, I watched men walk on the moon. In the shadow of the mighty Saturns and the potential that the N1 held, does this represent progress?

Larry Jacks
2006-Apr-09, 09:47 PM
When Reagan proposed the space station back in the 1980s, it was supposed to cost from $8-12 billion. NASA spent more than that on design studies before the first piece of metal was cut. IMO, the ISS has cost way too much for what we've gotten out of it, or are likely to ever get out of it. While it is the "International Space Station", the American taxpayer has paid a disproportionate share of the total cost. The scientific return is miniscule for the price. If you're interested in a large jobs program, then the ISS has been a wonderful success. If you're interested in science and exploration, the ISS falls very short.

In economics, there is the simple principle known as "opportunity costs." Simply put, the money spent on one thing is unavailable to be spent on anything else. Over the last 20 years or so, the American taxpayers have spent tens of billions of dollars on the ISS. That's money that can't be used for anything else, such as manned and unmanned exploration of the solar system. I was 12 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Nothing the ISS has done or ever will do comes remotely close.

Glom
2006-Apr-09, 10:03 PM
Time to get rid of that damn message that appears at the top of the page for me at the moment.

ISS has been a bit of sinkhole. Why?

1. Pork barrel politics. The problem with government programs is that decisions are not based solely on getting the best product. The best way to create a space station from current technology is STS lab. Launch a Space Shuttle with control surfaces and TPS removed. Have the payload bay outfitted with space station stuff and docking mechanism. Keep the ET for even more habitable volume. One launch and bam! A working space station. You can then add more stuff in subsequent launches as well as outfitting the ET. Look at STS 107. For a week, it was a working space station. ISS was into its third launch before it could even be inhabited. Of course, STS lab doesn't dole out contracts to the most number of people, which is why it wasn't done.

2. Low lift capability. The Space Shuttle can lift a large load. Unfortunately, most of that is its own weight. Without an HLLV, the size of modules was limited. Skylab was a working space station after the first launch, but required a Saturn V. The bitty construction of ISS makes for a logistical nightmare.

3. It has a rubbish name.

Glom
2006-Apr-09, 10:05 PM
If you're interested in a large jobs program, then the ISS has been a wonderful success.

Pork barrel politics: the reason why governments should get involved in as little as possible. Or maybe I've been reading too much TCS lately. :shhh:

folkhemmet
2006-Apr-30, 12:31 AM
This is a response to Nicholas's post. The ISS is not living up to its original promise of providing humanity with a great laboratory in space. Yes, research is being done on the ISS, but research is done in a lot of places. Not all research is of equal value. The research done by HST, Chandra, Spitzer, the Mars robots, Cassini, and many other space science missions dwarf the quality of the research being sone on the ISS any day of the week. Just compare the number of headline-making science news stories related to HST and the Rovers compared to the ISS; it is the case of many versus next to none. More money should be spent gathering as much data as possible about the universe e.g. the space science program to aid future explorers. Plus, we have already proven that we don't need the ISS to get to the moon (1969). We probably won't need it to get the Mars either. The ISS should be discontinued now before it takes even more scarce funds away from more worthy projects.

You are right: people are excited about going to visit the space station. But do we really want to take tax-payer money to maintain an orbiting amusement park for billionaires? Since this is what the ISS is amounting to these days, its funding should be revoked and diverted to the space science budget, or, to new propulsion technologies.

naelphin
2006-May-01, 08:37 AM
This is a response to Nicholas's post. The ISS is not living up to its original promise of providing humanity with a great laboratory in space. Yes, research is being done on the ISS, but research is done in a lot of places. Not all research is of equal value. The research done by HST, Chandra, Spitzer, the Mars robots, Cassini, and many other space science missions dwarf the quality of the research being sone on the ISS any day of the week. Just compare the number of headline-making science news stories related to HST and the Rovers compared to the ISS; it is the case of many versus next to none. More money should be spent gathering as much data as possible about the universe e.g. the space science program to aid future explorers. Plus, we have already proven that we don't need the ISS to get to the moon (1969). We probably won't need it to get the Mars either. The ISS should be discontinued now before it takes even more scarce funds away from more worthy projects.

You are right: people are excited about going to visit the space station. But do we really want to take tax-payer money to maintain an orbiting amusement park for billionaires? Since this is what the ISS is amounting to these days, its funding should be revoked and diverted to the space science budget, or, to new propulsion technologies.
If the ISS is cancelled, I doubt it would be given to other space programs. It is much more likely that the entire amount saved would be echoed by the same amount of budget cuts.

After all, they don't need that money anymore!

Nicolas
2006-May-01, 04:58 PM
This is a response to Nicholas's post. The ISS is not living up to its original promise of providing humanity with a great laboratory in space. Yes, research is being done on the ISS, but research is done in a lot of places. Not all research is of equal value. The research done by HST, Chandra, Spitzer, the Mars robots, Cassini, and many other space science missions dwarf the quality of the research being sone on the ISS any day of the week. Just compare the number of headline-making science news stories related to HST and the Rovers compared to the ISS; it is the case of many versus next to none. More money should be spent gathering as much data as possible about the universe e.g. the space science program to aid future explorers. Plus, we have already proven that we don't need the ISS to get to the moon (1969). We probably won't need it to get the Mars either. The ISS should be discontinued now before it takes even more scarce funds away from more worthy projects.

You are right: people are excited about going to visit the space station. But do we really want to take tax-payer money to maintain an orbiting amusement park for billionaires? Since this is what the ISS is amounting to these days, its funding should be revoked and diverted to the space science budget, or, to new propulsion technologies.

The people being excited about ISS I had in mind were many aerospace engineers and scientists, not just the Lance Basses of this world. I know some control engineering PhD's who devote all their current research to applications for the ISS (like fuzzy logic docking).

As was noted, it is not certain at all that all ISS funds would be put into other projects would it be cancelled.

A lot of the ISS research is aimed especially at gaining knowledge required for long space flights. So the reason why you want the ISS gone is partly the reason why the ISS is built.

Furthermore, your headline count depends on what magazines you read. I find monthly info on ISS experiments in magazines such as EOS, in many cases noted within other articles. MER only gets an article once every few months in the same magazine, even though it has a separate space section. Not like the MERs and other missions haven't done good science, they're amazing missions. The point is that the headline count depends on your source, and the importance of the science on your own priorities. You can't compare Cassini, MERS and ISS on the same scale.

That being said, I do agree that the ISS could have been far better than what it is today. Obviously the Shuttle grounding was a huge problem for development and use of the ISS.

mugaliens
2006-May-02, 11:52 AM
NO ONE ELSE (i.e,. private industry) stepped up to try and build such a thing. In the end, things didn't work so well, but at the time, it was an attempt to get an international project done with existing infrastructure. It's helped us learn all sorts of things relating to space-based construction, transportation and materials science. Hardly a waste, in my opinion.

CJSF

You make two great points. First, it wasn't profitible for private industry to tackle it. In other words, no "tangibles." Second, there were many intangibles, essentially refining the technology for building, equipping, manning, and resupplying an off-world outpost, something that we'll likely need to keep doing if we ever have any aspirations for getting off this rock.

But some of the intangibles aren't readily apparant. First, it's almost as important to know what's not worth doing as it is to know what is worth doing. During the ISS development automation technology has increased drastically. Therefore, if there's anything we can automate getting to or aboard, it's probably worth automating. Second, we learned a good deal about working with other nations, including our old enemies/current friends the Russians. The Soyuz/Skylab hookup was great, but it was just a first step if we're to keep costs down. Our stuff tends to be too complicated. The Russians tend to keep things simpler, keeping cost down.

All these and many more things have a dollar value, but it's difficult to pin down what that might be, except to say that it was worth at least as much what we spent on it.

publiusr
2006-May-04, 10:13 PM
The point is that if you wait for private industry to open up space--you will be waiting for eons.