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ToSeek
2003-Jul-10, 05:47 PM
The End of Manned Spaceflight Looms (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/rocketscience-03zj1.html)

Highly critical but also very informative article about NASA's plans for manned spaceflight.

Glom
2003-Jul-10, 05:56 PM
Do I need to say it?

Jigsaw
2003-Jul-10, 06:45 PM
Since many people still think that manned space flight is some kind of measure of national power (thank you, Nikita Khrushchev!) the first Chinese flight will produce another Sputnik Shock and pressure to continue a spectacular US manned program. will be irresistible.
Maybe I just don't hang around with the right people, but where I am, folks already know that the Chinese are planning to go to the moon at some point in the near future, and the reaction at this end is basically a giant "so what?" yawn.

Where I am, the knowledge is slowly but surely beginning to percolate down that the whole space program, and Manned Space Flight in particular, may be a terrific waste of taxpayer money, with increasing questions being asked on the utility of the ISS. "What's it for, anyway?" etc.

So unless the Chinese discover gold or diamonds or petroleum on the Moon, I predict that any eventual Chinese manned space flight will be given the same three seconds of "ho hum" reaction that the "Lance Bass can't afford his ticket" news got.

Emspak
2003-Jul-10, 09:24 PM
Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

I read the article referenced by ToSeek. I thought it interesting and it certainly made me rethink ideas I had thought more practical -- the "Spaceplane" for example.

But of course, part of the problem might just be that we don't have a defined long-term goal for manned flight. In the 60s it was just to show the world we were better than the Russians. That isn't much of a goal, really.

The Chinese -- and there is another thread here where we discuss this -- may well run into the same issue. Even though their government is not a democracy, that does not mean that prestige projects will all get funded. For all any of us knows there are high-level Central Committee members who are saying "President Hu, why are we sending rockets into space like that?" and lining up support for killing the program. In fact, given that the Chinese government is hardly a monolithic entity, I would guarantee that such people exist. They just don't issue press releases, yet. So Jigsaw may well be right.

Part of the problem, IMO, is that many high-profile, public projects have a long time horizon and there is a lack of two things -- policy leadership, and a culture that says long-term goals are desirable. These two things interact, so one can't say one causes the other directly.

You give people a reason to be in space, and much will follow. It can be commerce, or it can be research, or whatever. But it has to be something that will make someone say they want their kids to live there too.

So far, that hasn't materialized.

Archer17
2003-Jul-10, 09:46 PM
You would think that even if there's apathy for space exploration (a shame, what happened to our curious nature?) at least some forward-looking people would realize that manned space exploration would ultimately help address the problem of Earth's depletion of resources and overpopulation.

tracer
2003-Jul-10, 09:49 PM
Do I need to say it?
You mean "Death of COBOL predicted"?

tracer
2003-Jul-10, 09:51 PM
at least some forward-looking people would realize that manned space exploration would ultimately help address the problem of Earth's depletion of resources and overpopulation.
You mean by using an enormous amount of resources to boost 4-7 people into Low Earth Orbit over and over again? Yeah, I can sure see how that would help our problems with resource depletion and overpopulation. :roll:

Archer17
2003-Jul-10, 10:53 PM
at least some forward-looking people would realize that manned space exploration would ultimately help address the problem of Earth's depletion of resources and overpopulation.
You mean by using an enormous amount of resources to boost 4-7 people into Low Earth Orbit over and over again? Yeah, I can sure see how that would help our problems with resource depletion and overpopulation. :roll:What's with the eye-rolling bullcrap? Considering that I mentioned resources and overpopulation I can't see how anyone could've got "Low Earth Orbit" out of my post. Maybe that's part of the problem regarding lack of interest in the space program. Mention "manned space exploration" and most people automatically think of short orbital jaunts in the Shuttle. If I didn't make it clear enough in my post I was talking colonies on Mars, the moon, etc and the potential for space mining.

daver
2003-Jul-10, 11:51 PM
at least some forward-looking people would realize that manned space exploration would ultimately help address the problem of Earth's depletion of resources and overpopulation.
You mean by using an enormous amount of resources to boost 4-7 people into Low Earth Orbit over and over again? Yeah, I can sure see how that would help our problems with resource depletion and overpopulation. :roll:What's with the eye-rolling bullcrap? Considering that I mentioned resources and overpopulation I can't see how anyone could've got "Low Earth Orbit" out of my post. Maybe that's part of the problem regarding lack of interest in the space program. Mention "manned space exploration" and most people automatically think of short orbital jaunts in the Shuttle. If I didn't make it clear enough in my post I was talking colonies on Mars, the moon, etc and the potential for space mining.

Space travel may be a reasonable answer for resource problems, but not the way we've been going since 1970. Space travel will never be a solution to overpopulation, unless you go the route of one SF short story and have the rockets be essentially disintegration booths.

RickNZ
2003-Jul-11, 12:10 AM
Overpopulation isnt exactly a 'first' world problem.

Im a probe man myself and dotn care two hoots for manned flights when its so obviously stretching our current technology.

Kebsis
2003-Jul-11, 01:42 AM
I agree. We need patience. Go the cheaper, un-manned route until our technology allows for less expensive, safer and more productive manned travel. As for over population and depletion of resources, those problems aren't nearly as bad as some groups would like us to think they are, so it's not so urgent that we need to be rushing ourselves.

Byrd
2003-Jul-11, 01:55 AM
Do I need to say it?
You mean "Death of COBOL predicted"?

Every code maintainer keeps praying this will happen soon....

Argos
2003-Jul-11, 01:10 PM
Doubts, fears and hesitations of the adolescence. Too late for turning back from space. In 20 years weŽll have forgotten this phase. I stake my reputation on that the US wonŽt let the Chinese (and others) alone in this big playground called space.

Grand Vizier
2003-Jul-12, 02:19 AM
What I don't relate to about the article (which is pretty thorough, and says what needs to be said, in my opinion, dismal as the prospects are :( ) are the incessant snidies about the European ATV being a 'truffle-can' and the Japanese equivalent being a 'sushi-can'. It is already clear that the station would have to abandoned (maybe not a bad idea) without the Progress 'caviare-can', so why the pointless nationalistic snipes? (After all, the piece is about the US space progamme's failings. By US criteria, ATV is doing quite well both in terms of budget and timescale).

Or is this just some sort of standard US post-Iraq anti-European reflex - every article must have a jab at them ole surrender-eating cheese monkeys or it can't get published? :)

Tuckerfan
2003-Jul-12, 03:58 AM
Doubts, fears and hesitations of the adolescence. Too late for turning back from space. In 20 years weŽll have forgotten this phase. I stake my reputation on that the US wonŽt let the Chinese (and others) alone in this big playground called space.Maybe so, but by then I'll be fifty, dagnabbit! I wanna go now!

Kebsis
2003-Jul-13, 02:05 AM
Just take a ride in my patented time dialation machine, you'll be in space in two years flat!

Kaptain K
2003-Jul-13, 02:15 AM
Time dilation would not help me. :o I need a time machine. :roll: I passed 50 some years ago. 8) When I was 30, I had hopes that I could spend my dotage in a LEO retirement home, if not on the Moon. :wink: Now it appears that I won't even live to see permanent, meaningful, space habitation. :evil: