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Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-21, 06:52 AM
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090720-sts127-second-spacewalk-wrap.html

Looks like James Lovell is now amongst the famous critics of the International Space Station. Just like Weinberg, who earlier said that the ISS is an "orbital turkey", Lovell adds to this by saying it's a "white elephant"...

Err... any comments?

Damburger
2009-Jul-21, 08:16 AM
He didn't. He said its 'almost' a white elephant, until it can provide returns on investment.

The ISS is a fine space station. However, NASA and the other partners in the ISS have, all the time it has been up there, lacked the funds and the vision to make good use of a space station.

Like the shuttle, I think the ISS is perfectly good hardware, that is being derided as useless hardware because nobody has been willing to get the most out of it. Its like having a powerful desktop computer, only ever using it to go on the internet, and then saying its no better than a netbook.

Jens
2009-Jul-21, 08:53 AM
To be honest, I think that the ISS is a big waste of money. But that doesn't mean at all I'm against it or even don't like it. Just because something is a waste doesn't mean it's bad. Potato chips and Hollywood movies are wastes of resources in a way, but I don't think that efficiency should always be the measure of things. Sometimes it seems we're obsessed with efficiency. The ISS has a sort of visionary impact, whether it's worthwhile money-wise.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-21, 08:53 AM
Like the shuttle, I think the ISS is perfectly good hardware, that is being derided as useless hardware because nobody has been willing to get the most out of it.

There are parts of the shuttle that are miracles of engineering, or at least were when they were built. However, the shuttle was developed as a method of making space flight cheaper. Instead of it was more expensive than the disposable rockets it was supposed to replace which makes it an epic fail regardless of whatever good qualities it may happen to have. The ISS is earth's 9th crewed space station and I'm not really sure what it does. When you say the most isn't being gotten out of it, what do you think the ISS could be used for?

marsbug
2009-Jul-21, 09:57 AM
The ISS is a research lab, and there's actually a lot of research going on there, here's a good resource for what experiments are being carried out there (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=12055.165). You can level a lot of criticism at a lab and how it's run but if you have any interest in any of the topics under investigation there then you need some kind of lab to do those experiments!

samkent
2009-Jul-21, 11:45 AM
The ISS is a research lab, and there's actually a lot of research going on there,

Research for the sake of research does not make it a productive venture. Specialty crystals only made in space are still more expensive than diamonds.

Has there been any research done on the ISS that has changed our way of life other than lightening our wallet?

Robonaut
2009-Jul-21, 12:08 PM
Research for the sake of research does not make it a productive venture. Specialty crystals only made in space are still more expensive than diamonds.

Has there been any research done on the ISS that has changed our way of life other than lightening our wallet?

Well, there's not really any other place to study the effects of long-term weightlessness, is there? That would seem fairly essential research for any lengthy manned missions to other planets (i.e. Mars).

Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-21, 12:26 PM
Well, there's not really any other place to study the effects of long-term weightlessness, is there? That would seem fairly essential research for any lengthy manned missions to other planets (i.e. Mars).

There actually are other places to study this - you can easily simulate the effects when you're in bed. And there are a lot of simulated missions of this type.

marsbug
2009-Jul-21, 12:35 PM
Well experiments have been done relevant to cancer research and treatment, heart disease, virulence of microbes like salmonella, basic physics of colloids and crystals, improving resistance of materials to space weathering.... but no, if you want me to point to something and say 'this is worth 100 billion dollars' and give you a breakdown of how and why that is true I can't do that. To do that I'd need a time machine to go forward 100 years, put all their discoveries and what they've contributed to and led to into their proper historical context, and then make a judgement on them.

Its a research lab, not a business. All you can demand of it is that it does as much research as possible, as intelligently as possible, and for as long as possible.

marsbug
2009-Jul-21, 12:51 PM
Bed rest is a substitute for weightlessness, but there will inevitably be a gap between the effects of bed rest and the effects of weightlessness. If you want to know if you bed rest experiment is producing accurate results on whatever parameter you're measuring you still need to go into space and spend a comparable amount of time there.

Samkent, I think we're talking at cross purposes here. As far as I know research for the sake of curiosity is a valuable way of spending time. There are many important discoveries in our history that would not have been if it were not for research for the sake of curiosity. People want their curiosity satisfied! ISS as it stands may not be the best way of accomplishing this, but if experiments with space conditions are to be done we need some kind of platform in space. What would you suggest as an alternative? Or have I misunderstood you?

antoniseb
2009-Jul-21, 01:06 PM
... Has there been any research done on the ISS that has changed our way of life other than lightening our wallet?

Has there been any research done with the information and rocks brought back by the Apollo missions to the Moon that has changed our lives other than lightening our wallets? I think the answers will be small and trivial, and yet you will find many people who are content that we went, and spent the money and effort to do so.

If the ISS was going to be profitable, GE and GM would have built it, and left the government out of it.

We gained understanding in things that will be important for long-duration space missions, and dabbled in things that being in orbit might be good for.

Argos
2009-Jul-21, 02:08 PM
Certain aspects of the human experience cannot be reduced to econometrics. The ISS cannot be compared to run-of-the-mill enterprises. It represents a vision, and a necessary step towards the establishment of mankind as a space-faring civilization. It can´t be profitable. It wasn´t designed to be so. It´s not costly nor cheap. It is only necessary.

Amber Robot
2009-Jul-21, 03:41 PM
Just because something is a waste doesn't mean it's bad. Potato chips and Hollywood movies are wastes of resources in a way, but I don't think that efficiency should always be the measure of things.

That's a poor analogy because you can choose not to pay for potato chips and hollywood movies. If you are a US taxpayer, you cannot choose not to pay for the ISS.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jul-21, 03:57 PM
That's a poor analogy because you can choose not to pay for potato chips and hollywood movies.
There are probably much better analogies, but anything where you don't have a choice in paying would probably be too political.

samkent
2009-Jul-21, 04:09 PM
It represents a vision, and a necessary step towards the establishment of mankind as a space-faring civilization.

Space dabbling is about we are capable of. To pretend we are doing great things in orbit is just wrong. For the most part we are just burning through cash and astronauts while going in circles a couple hundred miles up. We have no clue how to sustain ourselves while we are up there. Until we have ways to sustain human life without constant re-supply, manned missions should be reserved for things that require the human touch.

Just look at what it costs to feed one person up there. If it takes .5 lbs of food per day and it costs $10,000 per lb to launch it, we are talking $5,000 per day.

I look at most of these experiments as being ‘keep busy’ jobs.

Polyrealastic Observer
2009-Jul-21, 04:33 PM
I remember reading something about chemists and physicists fiddling with the properties of potato batteries in the early 1800s Nobody was able to power steel mills off of that experimentation, but the experimenters were able to discover the properties of electricity which we now, 180 years or so later use in a myriad of ways. To steal a line from an early NASA engineer, "It's like a large chunk of cheese, you've got to start biting somewhere." I've always loved the BBC production Connections. The journeys that James Burke took us on in that show depicted how seemingly insignificant discoveries at one point led to fantastic and unrelated uses even a few short years later. Even discovering that certain preconceptions are untrue advances knowledge. The fact that the Descartes mountains on the moon are not volcanic as previously believed is instructive and enlightening about the limitations of photogeology. The simple act of building the station has advanced our technology here on earth. Does anyone know many carpenters who still limit themselves to cord-powered tools? I don't subscribe to the notion that we can learn the same lessons without the station that we can with it. I'm glad Lovell's quote was extended to "Almost..." I couldn't believe he would have said the other. I'm still surprised. Now to read the article. I probably should have done that before writing this post.

samkent
2009-Jul-21, 06:11 PM
The journeys that James Burke took us on in that show depicted how seemingly insignificant discoveries at one point led to fantastic and unrelated uses even a few short years later.


Yes but all of those inventors could breathe without .5 billion dollar re-supply ships.

Those experiments do nothing to inspire us on to exploration.

The ISS was sold to the public as a STATION not an orbiting aluminum can. Myself, feel let down as to its capabilities. While it may fit the strictest definition of a station, it misses the expectations of the people who have funded it. If I go into any station on Earth I don’t have to packetize my own poo in the restroom.

Had they concentrated their efforts on how to LIVE and WORK in orbit I would feel I had gotten my monies worth.

Why didn’t they add a greenhouse module? That way they would have a place to use that “purified” waste water instead of making “questionable” coffee. Plus they would get O2 and some veggies. That’s learning how to live and work in space.

I feel so let down by the ISS.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jul-21, 06:24 PM
If I go into any station on Earth I don’t have to packetize my own poo in the restroom.
Yep, and any station on Earth doesn't have the issue of microgravity.
This is an empty statement.

Why didn’t they add a greenhouse module? That way they would have a place to use that “purified” waste water instead of making “questionable” coffee.
I agree, especially after seeing those hydroponic gardens at Disney in the early 70s.
But; again, the part you mention about the water is an empty statement. It makes it sound like they don't know what to do with the water.

Plus they would get O2 and some veggies. That’s learning how to live and work in space.
That's the part I agree with. I'd like to see a little more work toward self-sufficiency.


I feel so let down by the ISS.
Me too, but it's not just NASA. There's plenty of other countries in on it. But; I think my feelings come from the fact that I never hear any straight forward information coming from it.
I only hear common news sources and thier fatalistic views, or I hear the other end: Papers with so much technical jargon that I have no clue what thier goal is.

Glom
2009-Jul-21, 06:47 PM
I would agree most certainly with the part of the rant involving a greenhouse module, not least because of the engineering challenge in building such a module. However, given what happened to the centrifuge module, it probably would never have gotten off the ground even if it had been completed.

But yes, having even a token effort to the space station being self-supporting would be valuable. If the goal is ultimately exploration and a LEO station is a proving ground for technology, much like Gemini was a proving ground for exploration technology in its day, you need a way to make food.

I'll go one further: SHEEP IN SPAAAAACE!!!!

Glom
2009-Jul-21, 06:51 PM
Okay I do joke, but then I think of something serious: an aquaculture module. Koichi would have loved it. Fish is a fundamental part of a Japanese diet. You never know. If the fish were particularly delicious from being bred in microgravity, then they could be markets. Of course, you'd need to ship up a lot of water and that stuff is heavy. Or you could use an ammonia solution and grow nitrogen-phosphorous fish like we were talking about on the other thread!

Swift
2009-Jul-21, 06:52 PM
Sometimes it seems we're obsessed with efficiency. The ISS has a sort of visionary impact, whether it's worthwhile money-wise.
Nicely said.


Research for the sake of research does not make it a productive venture.
Good. Does everything have to be about the bottom dollar, about "what have you done for me in the last 5 minutes"?

Even the company I work for (doing commercial R&D) doesn't expect 100% of all our research work to give immediate bottom line benefits. Some of what we do (admittedly a small percentage in industry) is just for the sake of looking at something that's interesting. I can't abide the notion that government labs should be doing commercial, industrial research with immediate practical applications, whether on Earth or in LEO.

And what happened to the notion of doing science for the sake of science, to learn something new? Have we lost all of our grander notions?

samkent
2009-Jul-21, 07:18 PM
Does everything have to be about the bottom dollar,

If it’s the publics bottom dollar then the answer is yes!


And what happened to the notion of doing science for the sake of science,

At what cost? It will be interesting to see how much the Soviets will charge to lift those experiments to the ISS. How much will the scientists think their experiment is worth, when the lift charge comes out of their own budget? My impression is that we don’t charge, but we do prioritize.

Glom
2009-Jul-21, 07:28 PM
Oh wait. There is a greenhouse. The Lada Greenhouse (http://www.nasa.gov/missions/science/f_lada.html) Was thinking something bigger though.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jul-21, 07:34 PM
...At what cost? It will be interesting to see how much the Soviets...
Hmm, interesting thought. How would all of these arguments change if we were sitting in the past talking about Mir?

samkent
2009-Jul-21, 07:49 PM
Wasn’t Mir more about how long a human could stay up as opposed to experiments?

NEOWatcher
2009-Jul-21, 08:01 PM
Wasn’t Mir more about how long a human could stay up as opposed to experiments?
Although it did set some duration records, the purpose of Mir was to be a research station.

Buttercup
2009-Jul-21, 08:14 PM
An orbital turkey?? :lol: That's GOOD! :D :lol:

I agree with Lovell. The ISS is not only a "white elephant," it's a piece of JUNK which should be vacated, allowed to deorbit and burn up over the south Pacific!

Let's get on to Mars! :mad:

Nicolas
2009-Jul-21, 09:24 PM
Did you learn to fly an F-16 before you learned how to walk, or the other way around?

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-21, 10:21 PM
It represents a vision, and a necessary step towards the establishment of mankind as a space-faring civilization.

I see it as a backwards step in the sense that if the money had been spent on scientific research elsewhere we would now be closer to creating a space faring civilization.

danscope
2009-Jul-22, 04:13 AM
If we are going to continue to build very expensive space stations only to let them burn up like MIR and the ISS, well.... we can burn a few billion right down here... a lot of usefull ways.
If you are going to build a station, put it in a usefull orbit to begin with.
And think about artificial gravity ( modular spin aka 2001) so that people
can live there. Grow your own, and clean your air/water is a very good idea.
These are the kind of practical questions people ask. And they pay the bills.
Throwing away space stations like last year's bicycle because you left it out in the rain over winter ...doesn't inspire confidence. :(

nauthiz
2009-Jul-22, 04:41 AM
If we're going to talk about the price of a program compared to any tangible benefits that come from the science it produces, I'd have to say that the ISS is much, much more productive than most of NASA's other space exploration work.

We spend more money on putting probes in space than we do on the ISS, but the ISS is easily more likely to produce discoveries that can be commercialized anytime in the foreseeable future. The cold hard truth is, at the end of the day the biggest thing WMAP does for the nation's GDP is provide a microscopic boost for Weyerhaeuser's revenues by adding a few more sheets of paper to the astronomy textbooks.

Also, I suspect that our opinion of the ISS compared to other programs might be at least somewhat colored by the fact that the nature of the science it produces means that any findings that come out of it aren't even close to as likely to show up in Space.com's RSS feed as other space programs' findings.

Glom
2009-Jul-22, 06:41 AM
An orbital turkey?? :lol: That's GOOD! :D :lol:

I agree with Lovell. The ISS is not only a "white elephant," it's a piece of JUNK which should be vacated, allowed to deorbit and burn up over the south Pacific!

Let's get on to Mars! :mad:

That's a particularly stupid. You can't just throw away a hundred billion dollar product just because you don't like it and then expect to get another hundred billion to do what you want.

At least the Station has the capability to be a lasting product.

Antice
2009-Jul-22, 07:02 AM
Let's see what ISS can be used for when it comes to helping us get to mars.

Testing new water recycling techniques... check.
testing spacecraft materials in the vacuum of space... check.
testing improvements to spacesuit systems under working conditions.... check.
testing construction methods in space. check..
testing robotic systems for space use check.
testing robotic medical systems. aka the Autodoc/robodoc. check.
General experience of living in space for extended time. check.

that last one includes discovering and remedying the kind of issues that are hard to imagine beforehand. tasks we take for granted in our gravity environment becomes a whole nother beast in zero G.

this is just stuff off the top of my head. i am certain more stuff that needs be done prior to going to mars that can be tested at the ISS can be found with a google search.

novaderrik
2009-Jul-22, 07:21 AM
all the anti ISS people use the "wasted money" argument against it- as if they just throw big piles of money out of the airlock every time a resupply ship or shuttle docks with the station.
all of the money that has been spent on the ISS has been spent here on earth. it has provided jobs to the people at the various agencies and companies that build and operate the ISS and it's modules. that money is spread around to the places where those people live and work, and eventually most of it ends up right back in the government coffers, waiting to be spent on something else that may or may not provide the same return to the economy as the ISS.
i'm generally not for big government programs, but NASA seems to be one place where the money seems to be put to good use- besides the spreading money around aspect, there is also the "learning new stuff" aspect.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-22, 07:33 AM
All the money is spent on earth paying people to do stuff but those people doing stuff could be paid to do something else. Whether the goal of the ISS was to explore space, settle other objects in the solar system or perform experiments in space, or all three, it seems clear to me at least that more progress would have been made if people had been paid to do different stuff other than build, construct and maintain the ISS.

Nicolas
2009-Jul-22, 09:34 AM
If you want to:


explore space, settle other objects in the solar system or perform experiments in space

, you first have to master:


build, construct and maintain

constructions in space.


Building the ISS was as much a goal as a means. If we can build something as complex as the ISS, we can start thinking about space missions that require serious assembly of the spacecraft in orbit. Think of the ISS as the Project Gemini of modular spacecraft for manned exploration of the solar system.

And the ISS is far more than that. Because instead of just trying to bolt boiler plates together in space to learn those practices, we get a huge scientific space station on top of it, learning us even more things we need to know for manned solar system exploration as well as other things.

The ISS may seem a bit pointless now, because it is a stepping stone. Just like Gemini. You need to learn before you do. Especially in space, ESPECIALLY when as far out as Mars. There's no room for "didn't see that one coming" there.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-22, 10:14 AM
Do you think the ISS has been a cost effective way to learn how to master construction in space?

Antice
2009-Jul-22, 10:27 AM
That would depend on the alternatives now wouldnt it?
The ISS is not the be all end all experiment on building stuff in space. there is still a lot more to learn before we can say that humanity has become proficient at building in space.
The ISS is what a mud hut is compared to the empire state building.
but hey. we had to learn how to build mud huts before we could learn to build steel skyscrapers.

marsbug
2009-Jul-22, 10:32 AM
ISS fulfills a lot of functions, I don't see picking out mastering construction in space and asking if it was cost effective at that one thing as much of a criticism. If you asked 'could we have a space station that does everything the ISS does, and teaches us everything the ISS has taught us, for less' then you'd be onto a good point. But it would be academic because without a time machine you can't go back and unspend that money.

The ISS is far from perfect, but the options are 'make best use of it for as long as possible' or 'burn it up after only a few years operating with a full science crew'.

And whatever the money had been spent on (Mars, the moon, tons of robot probes)there would always have been plenty of people sulking and saying: 'you should have spent it on my idea of what spaceexploration/utilisation should be, I know better!'

Glom
2009-Jul-22, 11:29 AM
I certainly think that ISS hasn't been the most productive use of the money. In some ways that is by design, in other ways, it was a victim of events (eg STS 107).

As has been discussed, ISS would have been much more valuable if it had been more geared towards Gemini type objectives: developing skills and technology necessary for the next grand step in space exploration.

Mind you, looking at the long list of experiments (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/Expedition.html#20) I couldn't say for sure that's not going on.

But then there's no space aquarium so I'm not satisfied.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-22, 11:38 AM
That would depend on the alternatives now wouldnt it?

Mir cost $4.3 billion so alternatives do appear to be cheaper.

marsbug
2009-Jul-22, 12:02 PM
I certainly think that ISS hasn't been the most productive use of the money. In some ways that is by design, in other ways, it was a victim of events (eg STS 107).

As has been discussed, ISS would have been much more valuable if it had been more geared towards Gemini type objectives: developing skills and technology necessary for the next grand step in space exploration.

Mind you, looking at the long list of experiments (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/Expedition.html#20) I couldn't say for sure that's not going on.

But then there's no space aquarium so I'm not satisfied.

I've always loved the idea of a zero g garden, big enough to really wander through and allowed to grow slightly wild.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-22, 12:03 PM
Mir cost $4.3 billion so alternatives do appear to be cheaper.

Mir is not an alternative to the ISS, it was a smaller, less capable, shorter lived predecessor that is not even around any longer.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-22, 12:09 PM
I see it as a backwards step in the sense that if the money had been spent on scientific research elsewhere we would now be closer to creating a space faring civilization.

And exactly what research would place us closer to creating a space faring civilisation than actually living and working in space?

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-22, 12:13 PM
An orbital turkey?? :lol: That's GOOD! :D :lol:

I agree with Lovell. The ISS is not only a "white elephant," it's a piece of JUNK which should be vacated, allowed to deorbit and burn up over the south Pacific!

Let's get on to Mars! :mad:

This comment is really quite quite risible.

1) Going to Mars will require a whole lot of technologies and skills that the ISS is perfecting. Abandoning the ISS will set us back on the road to Mars, not forward.

2) There is more to space than just Mars. Saying everything should be subordinated to a martian goal is myopic in the extreme.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-22, 12:23 PM
Yes but all of those inventors could breathe without .5 billion dollar re-supply ships.

Those inventors wern't working in orbit either.


Those experiments do nothing to inspire us on to exploration.

Correection, they don't inspire you - there is a big diff3erence.


The ISS was sold to the public as a STATION not an orbiting aluminum can. Myself, feel let down as to its capabilities. While it may fit the strictest definition of a station, it misses the expectations of the people who have funded it.

The people who funded it are getting what they expected. If your expectations are different then you are the one those expectations are unrealistic.


If I go into any station on Earth I don’t have to packetize my own poo in the restroom.

On Earth But even on Earth you have to packetize one's waste if you work in an undersea habitat or in Antarctica. So what?


Had they concentrated their efforts on how to LIVE and WORK in orbit I would feel I had gotten my monies worth.

This this is precisely what they are doing clearly you have no idea on what is actually going on.


Why didn’t they add a greenhouse module? That way they would have a place to use that “purified” waste water instead of making “questionable” coffee. Plus they would get O2 and some veggies. That’s learning how to live and work in space.

Growing plants in zero gravity is hard. That is why there is not a greenhouse module but a whole series of smaller scale experiments. That is learning to live and work in space, not having grandiose expectations and then complaining that reality does not match them.


I feel so let down by the ISS.

Judging by your constant hostility and negativity to everything I doubt that there has been is a single space project that you don't feel let down by.

Jon

Antice
2009-Jul-22, 12:24 PM
Mir did not have the same capabilities that ISS has. also. Mir was becomming unservicable. it had to be decomissioned. this will be the fate of ISS too some day.
weither a new one will be built to replace the ISS or not is a whole other debate. but until we have squezed every ounce of science out of the station we have, one should not cry over sunk costs. but rather try to make the most out of it.


edited: i see i was beat tenfold to the punchline. I'l let this hang here to show my shame at being so slow :(

Glom
2009-Jul-22, 01:14 PM
There's only one way to settle this dispute. Since I reside somewhere in the middle, I'll put myself forward as the arbiter. I'll travel to the Station and review it for myself. It's a big burdeon on my part, but for the sake of tranquility on this board, I'm prepared to take the hit.

Now everyone get login in to paypal and put in the funds necessary for me to carry out this arduous task.

cjameshuff
2009-Jul-22, 03:42 PM
testing construction methods in space. check..

For example...the problems with the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint. We know it's a problematic design and may be able to avoid such problems in the future. We've gained experience in troubleshooting and diagnosing such problems, and in servicing such machinery in orbit...even little details like grease wipes being more useful than grease guns for cleaning and lubricating the joint could mean the difference between success and failure for future missions.

nauthiz
2009-Jul-22, 04:15 PM
I'm certainly happy that we're learning this stuff in low earth orbit rather than while on an interplanetary transfer orbit.

Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-22, 06:17 PM
You see people - when I started the thread, I wanted to show I have both love/hate relationship with the ISS. I agree with some of the criticism - but also I see it's a testbed for technologies...

So (if we take the SARJ problem) - the ISS is teaching us not how to live in space, but how NOT to live in space.

Antice
2009-Jul-22, 06:24 PM
the How not's are just as important as the how to's. LEO and the Moon are the best places to put our capabilities trough it's paces to insure that we do it right when we shoot for Mars. we wont get any second chances once a crew is committed to a Mars trip.

Nicolas
2009-Jul-22, 06:51 PM
So (if we take the SARJ problem) - the ISS is teaching us not how to live in space, but how NOT to live in space.

And getting to learn the don'ts is as important as getting to know the do's.

Look at aircraft design since the first jet engined airliners. A small part of it has been "do's". Do make high bypass engines, do add modern flight control and guidance, etc. A very large part -mainly safety related- has been removing don'ts. Don't let all hydraulics go through one point. Don't insulate the cargo bay too much from the cabin. Don't run control cables underneath easily collapsable floors. Etcetc.

When sending people to Mars or other farout destinations, it's important to get as much as possible the don'ts out beforehand. It's not only for the potential of killing a few people, but also the huge investment in time and effort that would be wasted if such a mission would fail.

In that sense, the ISS would have been very hard to replace by something cheaper. To discover the don't, you mainly need to try things. You can't foresee everything. The ISS has been over a decade of continuously trying things in space.

And that's only the "construction" aspect of it.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-23, 01:25 AM
And exactly what research would place us closer to creating a space faring civilisation than actually living and working in space?

Working out how to live and work in space without support from earth.

And more generally, improving the economic productivity of the earth and survival prospects of life on earth will give more time and resources to work it out. For thsi reason I approve of more funding for basic research rather than applied technology which is where a lot of funding for the ISS went. I also think that developing an space impactor defence would have been a better use of resources than the ISS as it could protect lives, economic production and potentially human civilization.

If it makes you feel better I also think hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is bad for creating a space faring civilisation, not just the ISS.

timb
2009-Jul-23, 01:42 AM
Well, there's not really any other place to study the effects of long-term weightlessness, is there? That would seem fairly essential research for any lengthy manned missions to other planets (i.e. Mars).

One white elephant mounts another. Cover your eyes children!

JonClarke
2009-Jul-23, 08:52 AM
Working out how to live and work in space without support from earth.

Complete independence from terrestrial support of spaceborne activities is not going to happen for centuries.

In the shorter term reduction of the logistic requirements of manned space activities is obviously desirable. Improved water and O2 recycling is an important part of this, as is food production. Since the ISS is the proving ground for all three technologies plus improving reliability generally, it is doing exactly what you want it to.

Please explain how such technologies can be developed without testing them in space.


And more generally, improving the economic productivity of the earth and survival prospects of life on earth will give more time and resources to work it out. For thsi reason I approve of more funding for basic research rather than applied technology which is where a lot of funding for the ISS went.

Basic research like the AMS which is due to be launched next year? It's the single most expensive experiment on the ISS.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. It is inconsistent to want more research that will "place us closer to creating a space faring civilisation" and and the same time say "I approve of more funding for basic research rather than applied technology"

"I also think that developing an space impactor defence would have been a better use of resources than the ISS as it could protect lives, economic production and potentially human civilization."

At its most basic this is saying that you think money should be spent on what you think is important, not what others do. The reality is that a space station like the ISS has been identified for decades as highly desirable and the program is supported by a dozen nations. By all means we should spend more on defence against flying rocks, but not at the expense of other important, well supported objectives.
Jon

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-23, 09:04 AM
Since the ISS is the proving ground for all three technologies plus improving reliability generally, it is doing exactly what you want it to.

That's not what I want. Personally I want the entire ISS budget to be given to me personally to do with as I will. But I don't think that relevent. Perhaps you've misread my posts?

djellison
2009-Jul-23, 10:41 AM
We spend more money on putting probes in space than we do on the ISS,

Get some facts, please. 2007 budget.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/142458main_FY07_budget_full.pdf

Science
$5.3B (of which $1.6B is 'Solar System Exploration' - the 'putting probes in space' you talk about)

ISS + Shuttle and Constellation (which currently ONLY exist to build and service ISS)
Shuttle - $4B, ISS - $1.8B, Constellation Systems, $3B - Total $8.8B

The ISS has a purpose - but don't try to pretend it's pocket change. It's the largest project since Apollo and is set to cost >$100B.

That $100B would fund the entire Science Mission directorate for nearly 20 years.

The ISS has been and continue to be very VERY expensive. Start of being dishonest about that, and its very hard to then make a case for its existence.

Nicolas
2009-Jul-23, 12:06 PM
That $100B would fund the entire Science Mission directorate for nearly 20 years.

It's not as if that $100B didn't give the science community anything in return.

The ISS is expensive, true. The question is whether it is money well spent or not.

djellison
2009-Jul-23, 12:46 PM
The ISS is expensive, true. The question is whether it is money well spent or not.

I happen to think it is. I'm not having a go at the ISS - I'm just not going to have someone missinform people about how expensive it has been. It has been very very very expensive. But, from an international cooperation perspective, an experience perspective and a long duration spaceflight perspective - it has been and will continue to be, worth it.

Doug

NEOWatcher
2009-Jul-23, 02:08 PM
ISS + Shuttle and Constellation (which currently ONLY exist to build and service ISS)
Shuttle - $4B, ISS - $1.8B, Constellation Systems, $3B - Total $8.8B
Could you explain to me how Constellation exists only to build and service ISS?
Constellation is the next generation architecture for ALL human spaceflight. Take away the ISS and Constellation with all it's costs still exist.
So; that's $3B off your number, and we are soon to be rid of the $4 billion.

And the $100B spent has been over many years, so you need to spend the annual cost against the annual cost.

So; nauthiz's comment may have been an off the cuff non-factual remark, but your analysis appears to me as a manipulation of the facts.

djellison
2009-Jul-23, 03:31 PM
Could you explain to me how Constellation exists only to build and service ISS?

Sure. The Ares V isn't funded. Nothing to land on the moon is funded. Constellation right now, is Ares 1 + Orion (and lets be honest, it's not looking great at the moment). The Orion capsule as it stands is an LEO varient only, to service the ISS.

Once we actually have a moon program in place - then we can say Constellation is for it. Once someone says "Lets take Orion to a NEO" then we can say Constellation is for it...but as of now, we don't have any of that. All they've got is Orion to replace the Shuttle. Take away the ISS - and we have an entirely different space program for the last 15 years, so that's a moot point.

Either way - JUST the $1.8B of ISS operations is greater than the $1.6B of solar system exploration. There is no means by which one can claim "We spend more money on putting probes in space than we do on the ISS,"

We don't. I added every related budget slice to make the point - but I believe the point is valid.

Building the ISS, servicing the ISS, and continuing to visit the ISS beyond Shuttle Retirement has been HUGELY expensive. It has cost lots more - per year - than 'putting probes in space'.

nauthiz
2009-Jul-23, 03:43 PM
I was also thinking of other stuff for studying the cosmos that stays on or close to its home planet, so I apologize with being sloppy with the language there. I would point out though, that it should be clear from my WMAP example that I wasn't just talking about the stuff that goes under the "solar system exploration" line item; WMAP belongs pretty firmly in the one below it.

I agree with NEOWatcher; you can't assign all of Constellation or the Shuttle budget to the ISS. The latest Hubble servicing mission immediately comes to mind. That said, admittedly the shuttle's been pretty much devoted to the ISS for a while now, and by the time it's decommissioned about 1/3 of all its missions will have been for ISS construction. Anyway, I hadn't been taking Shuttle launch costs into account when I made that original statement, and that certainly does alter the numbers quite a bit.

But saying that the Constellation project is all about the ISS is horrendously pessimistic. If the Constellation project manages to produce a competitive system for getting more than just humans into orbit, then it will probably be involved in a lot more than just the ISS. I should certainly hope it will, since it would be a shame if the Aries rockets can't outlast the ISS. . . Aries I's first launch is scheduled for 2014, and Aries V's is 2018. The ISS is likely to be de-orbited by 2020, and could be evacuated as early as 2015. It would be a shame to spend all that money on launch vehicle development for just one or two years' worth of getting people to and from the ISS and the ability to add modules to it after we've stopped using it and just a couple years before we destroy it. Do you really think NASA is that bad with money?

Antice
2009-Jul-23, 04:20 PM
NASA is neither good nor bad. it spends money where congress desides they spend money. if one were to cut manned space flight out then congress would not give it to unmanned flight. it would be cut period.

Glom
2009-Jul-23, 05:06 PM
Hmm. I'm having one of my trademark swings of opinion, like when I decided to start opposing nuclear power or when I decided it would be more fun to mess with the minds of BAUTers.

When I heard they were going to switch back to a capsule type arrangement, I was pleased. The space plane idea clearly didn't live up to its ambition with the Space Shuttle.

However, the thought of a capsule type space vehicle replacing the Space Shuttle in its limited space truck duties fills me with scepticism. Do we have any idea how a logistics mission would work under Constellation? Would it be possible to deliver an MPLM and do crew rotation on one flight? Or would these duties be assumed by separate launches?

Then there's also the thing that one of the old astronauts said at an Apollo 11 talkathon the other day. He pointed out that having astronauts returning to ground from a routine ferry mission by splashing into the middle of the ocean seemed rather primitive. The Space Shuttle lands on a runway. Somehow, it has a more professional edge to it.

Have I become overcome with shallowness or is it actually a regressive step to return to the old ways of operating in LEO? Constellation to the Moon seems fine, but then again we've never done it any other way.

danscope
2009-Jul-23, 05:19 PM
The you don't understand the special capabilities of the Shuttle. Deploying sensitive satelites, delicate space telescopes and the in flight servicing of
what we put up there and then bringing items and men back to earth along with a re-useable bird is what shuttle does. It does it quite well. Nothing else does. Sir.

Glom
2009-Jul-23, 05:36 PM
The you don't understand the special capabilities of the Shuttle. Deploying sensitive satelites, delicate space telescopes and the in flight servicing of
what we put up there and then bringing items and men back to earth along with a re-useable bird is what shuttle does. It does it quite well. Nothing else does. Sir.

If that was addressed to me, that was my point. Thinking about Constellation replacing the Space Shuttle in its LEO duties, I get the impression that we're trading down to something less capable.

That impression could be very uninformed though.

Antice
2009-Jul-23, 05:50 PM
a capsule is definitely a less capable vehicle than the shuttle. there is no doubt about that. it is also unfortunately a LOT safer vehicle.
Due to the safety issues, the shuttle never got to really shine. the ISS construction and hubble servicing missions are probably as close as one get's to show how good the shuttle could be.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jul-23, 05:51 PM
The Orion capsule as it stands is an LEO varient only, to service the ISS.
The only way I'm going to agree to that is if ISS is the only capability that Orion has rather than the only current application that it has.

Funding for Ares V isn't required at this point. It would be extremely helpful and I would love if they could step up the time table, but that's not the plan.


Once we actually have a moon program in place...
So; no matter what advances we make in planning for the future of manned flight it would apply to the ISS?


Take away the ISS - and we have an entirely different space program for the last 15 years, so that's a moot point.
Of course it's entirely different, but that does not make it moot. What I'm talking about is planning and capabilities of where we are going, I am not talking about current application.


Either way - JUST the $1.8B of ISS operations is greater than the $1.6B of solar system exploration.
Yes; I can agree with you totally on this point.
I just don't like the other points that, if applied to the other side of the argument, would put the Delta and Atlas developments and costs into the cost of solar system exploration.


There is no means by which one can claim "We spend more money on putting probes in space than we do on the ISS,"
Which is why I denounced that statement as an off-the-cuff non-factual statement.


Building the ISS, servicing the ISS, and continuing to visit the ISS beyond Shuttle Retirement has been HUGELY expensive. It has cost lots more - per year - than 'putting probes in space'.
Yes it has.

Warren Platts
2009-Jul-23, 07:24 PM
Has there been any research done with the information and rocks brought back by the Apollo missions to the Moon that has changed our lives other than lightening our wallets? I think the answers will be small and trivial, and yet you will find many people who are content that we went, and spent the money and effort to do so.Has there ever been an article in Science that reported on ISS research results? My preliminary search results were negative.

My vote would be to sell the US portions of the ISS to China for $1 USD.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-23, 09:17 PM
That's not what I want. Personally I want the entire ISS budget to be given to me personally to do with as I will. But I don't think that relevent. Perhaps you've misread my posts?

Now you are just being silly.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-23, 09:22 PM
Get some facts, please. 2007 budget.

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/142458main_FY07_budget_full.pdf

Science
$5.3B (of which $1.6B is 'Solar System Exploration' - the 'putting probes in space' you talk about)

ISS + Shuttle and Constellation (which currently ONLY exist to build and service ISS)
Shuttle - $4B, ISS - $1.8B, Constellation Systems, $3B - Total $8.8B

Wrong. Constellation exists for a lot more than just servicing the ISS.


The ISS has a purpose - but don't try to pretend it's pocket change. It's the largest project since Apollo and is set to cost >$100B.

That $100B would fund the entire Science Mission directorate for nearly 20 years.

And the much quoted 100 billion dollars is the entire program cost spread over all the partners and over 20 years as well.


The ISS has been and continue to be very VERY expensive. Start of being dishonest about that, and its very hard to then make a case for its existence.

Who is being dishonest about the cost?

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-23, 09:35 PM
Sure. The Ares V isn't funded. Nothing to land on the moon is funded. Constellation right now, is Ares 1 + Orion (and lets be honest, it's not looking great at the moment). The Orion capsule as it stands is an LEO varient only, to service the ISS.

No funding for Altair? Wrong. No funding for Ares V? Wrong again? Ares I and Orion not lookiong good? In your dreams so far. We will see what Mr Augustine says.

Deliberate misrpresentation of the facts is not helping your case at all.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-23, 09:38 PM
a capsule is definitely a less capable vehicle than the shuttle. there is no doubt about that. it is also unfortunately a LOT safer vehicle.
Due to the safety issues, the shuttle never got to really shine. the ISS construction and hubble servicing missions are probably as close as one get's to show how good the shuttle could be.

It what sense is a capsule less capable than the Shuttle? If you are talking about Orion, then yes, it will carry few people and a lot less cargo. But there are better means of hauling cargo into space than the Shuttle andOrtion has all the passenger cpacity needed at present, 4-6. On the other hand Orion can go to the Moon and Mars, the Shuttle can't. That makes the Shuttle the less capable spacecraft.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-23, 09:52 PM
Has there ever been an article in Science that reported on ISS research results? My preliminary search results were negative.

Since when has publication in Science been the sole criteria for success? The is a whole range of science that does not get published in that journal.


My vote would be to sell the US portions of the ISS to China for $1 USD. This would free up American resources for the next phase, and it would tie up resources of a potential strategic rival.

Fortunately for everyone, not least the future of US spaceflight your vote doesn't count.

Jon

Argos
2009-Jul-23, 10:13 PM
This would free up American resources for the next phase, and it would tie up resources of a potential strategic rival.

I don´t get your insistence in seeing rivals left and right. China could also be a partner [and that would be great]. As for US rivals, it wouldn´t be the only one. By no means a single power can rule over the solar system. It´s not going to happen.

I think mega space endevours can´t be [and I´m certain they will not be] carried out on the basis of rivalry. This is true for the US, China and whoever else.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-23, 10:54 PM
Now you are just being silly.

I'm being honest, although that doesn't exclude me being silly as well. I have mentioned goals, but I haven't mentioned my own. But let's just pretend my goal was to have a crewed space station in orbit of over 300 tons. Even if this were the case, I would regard the ISS as a waste of money. This is because if things had been done differently, if money had been paid to people to do different things, then the station could have cost much less. I regard paying much more than you need to for something, even if it does exactly what you want it to, as being a waste of money.

nauthiz
2009-Jul-23, 11:08 PM
It what sense is a capsule less capable than the Shuttle? If you are talking about Orion, then yes, it will carry few people and a lot less cargo. But there are better means of hauling cargo into space than the Shuttle andOrtion has all the passenger cpacity needed at present, 4-6. On the other hand Orion can go to the Moon and Mars, the Shuttle can't. That makes the Shuttle the less capable spacecraft.

Jon

Well, the Shuttle has the cargo bay and the Candarm, which are capabilities that I don't think could be easily replaced with the Constellation vehicles.

On the other hand, Russia has managed to help construct one space station and put many more up there all by itself using Proton rockets to launch the modules and capsules to get the people and supplies to them. And in the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure the berth and Canadarm bits really need to be launched and landed over and over, including on missions where they aren't even needed. It might be quite a bit less expensive to develop a module with similar capabilities that can be launched and left in orbit, in which case the Constellation design would even beat the Shuttle on its home turf.

Antice
2009-Jul-24, 04:57 AM
I've been looking into mass numbers for a minimal space gantry to replace the robotic capabilities of the shuttle.
the lower end for mass seems to be in the 15 to 20 metric tonne range. basically a light truss with batteries, solar panels and a shuttle derived robotic arm.
could launch one of those babies on any of a number of existing launchers.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-24, 08:25 AM
But let's just pretend my goal was to have a crewed space station in orbit of over 300 tons. Even if this were the case, I would regard the ISS as a waste of money. This is because if things had been done differently, if money had been paid to people to do different things, then the station could have cost much less. I regard paying much more than you need to for something, even if it does exactly what you want it to, as being a waste of money.

And what evidence do you have to support this assertion?

And the ISS when finished (in 18 month's time) it will mass over 400 tonnes.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-24, 08:39 AM
Well, the Shuttle has the cargo bay and the Candarm, which are capabilities that I don't think could be easily replaced with the Constellation vehicles.

We now know that the cargo hauling tasks are generally better done by conventional unmanned launchers. Without cargo, you don't need a robot arm. For moving larger payloads about on the ISS it has at least three arms of its own.


On the other hand, Russia has managed to help construct one space station and put many more up there all by itself using Proton rockets to launch the modules and capsules to get the people and supplies to them. And in the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure the berth and Canadarm bits really need to be launched and landed over and over, including on missions where they aren't even needed. It might be quite a bit less expensive to develop a module with similar capabilities that can be launched and left in orbit, in which case the Constellation design would even beat the Shuttle on its home turf.

Certainly the approach of docking self propelled modules (as with Mir) hj\as considerable merit.

On the other hand the assembly of unpowered modules as with the Shuttle does seem to allow a better spacing of radiators, solar panels and other external equipment. But on the OTHER hand (I have three hands) the unflown Russian science power platform seems to have been able to achieve this with extendable girders.

Jon

Glom
2009-Jul-24, 09:31 AM
Is it then fair to suggest that the Space Shuttle is uniquely capable of actual construction works in space? Whether or not that type of construction is necessary is a separate issue of course.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-24, 09:47 AM
Is it then fair to suggest that the Space Shuttle is uniquely capable of actual construction works in space? Whether or not that type of construction is necessary is a separate issue of course.

Yes, I think that is true. the Shuttle specification was clearly defined round an orbital assembly capability. and every US space station design from about 1970 on was draft up assuming such a capability.

Jon

Antice
2009-Jul-24, 09:50 AM
the shuttle is the only vehicle that can act as a mobile construction platform. if we want to have that capability we would have to create a new vehicle to replace it.

do note that replicating the shuttles mobile crane capability with a purpose built mobile spacecrane is not outside current capabilities. so loosing it is not as big an issue as it may seem.

marsbug
2009-Jul-24, 10:34 AM
Has there ever been an article in Science that reported on ISS research results? My preliminary search results were negative.

My vote would be to sell the US portions of the ISS to China for $1 USD. This would free up American resources for the next phase, and it would tie up resources of a potential strategic rival.

Here (http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/~abs/PhysRevLett_96_028306_2006.pdf) and here (http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=AO-40-24-4146) are a couple (one's in optics info base and one's in physical review letters) I found interesting, both from the colloids experiments but then I am a materials science guy, a google translated russian article (http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rian.ru%2Fanalytics%2F20090217% 2F162374293.html&sl=ru&tl=en) on how mosqiutos can survive naked in space for over a year, and an out of date but still interesting review of the science accomplished from 2000 to 2008 (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090006763_2009004076.pdf)(its close to 300 pages long) and I wasn't even looking that hard! Then there's the fairly well known result shedding light on the mechanism of salmonella infection... of course they're not in science....

Re the second part of your post... well we have a no politics rule here and thats a dangling invitation to an angry political discussion isn't it.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-24, 10:55 AM
the shuttle is the only vehicle that can act as a mobile construction platform. if we want to have that capability we would have to create a new vehicle to replace it.

do note that replicating the shuttles mobile crane capability with a purpose built mobile spacecrane is not outside current capabilities. so loosing it is not as big an issue as it may seem.

There does not seem to be much need for that capability in the next 20 years.

Jon

Glom
2009-Jul-24, 11:08 AM
Of course, I just read about how Harmony was installed. I think it shows that once you get the beginnings down, you don't need a mobile construction platform. If we had anything big we wanted to add to the station, it could be fitted by the station alone. It just needs to rendezvous.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-24, 12:45 PM
Of course, I just read about how Harmony was installed. I think it shows that once you get the beginnings down, you don't need a mobile construction platform. If we had anything big we wanted to add to the station, it could be fitted by the station alone. It just needs to rendezvous.

Which is how the HTV will operate. It will rendezvous with the station and an arm will guide it to docking.

Jon

Warren Platts
2009-Jul-24, 04:31 PM
Here (http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/~abs/PhysRevLett_96_028306_2006.pdf) and here (http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=AO-40-24-4146) are a couple (one's in optics info base and one's in physical review letters) I found interesting, both from the colloids experiments but then I am a materials science guy, a google translated russian article (http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rian.ru%2Fanalytics%2F20090217% 2F162374293.html&sl=ru&tl=en) on how mosqiutos can survive naked in space for over a year, and an out of date but still interesting review of the science accomplished from 2000 to 2008 (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090006763_2009004076.pdf)(its close to 300 pages long) and I wasn't even looking that hard! Then there's the fairly well known result shedding light on the mechanism of salmonella infection... of course they're not in science....

My point was that to lump the scientific results of Apollo with those of the ISS as if they were in some way comparable in scientific value is not very useful, to put it charitably. Here's a sample of a search of "Apollo" and "Moon" from sciencemag.org: (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/search?src=hw&site_area=sci&fulltext=Apollo+Moon&search_submit.x=10&search_submit.y=7)


Apollo 12 Magnetometer: Measurement of a Steady Magnetic Field on the Surface of the Moon
Palmer Dyal, Curtis W. Parkin, and Charles P. Sonett
Science 21 August 1970 169: 762-764 [DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3947.762] (in Articles)

Volatile Elements in Apollo 16 Samples: Possible Evidence for Outgassing of the Moon
Urs Krahenbuhl, R. Ganapathy, John W. Morgan, and Edward Anders
Science 25 May 1973 180: 858-861 [DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4088.858] (in Articles)

Moon: Possible Nature of the Body That Produced the Imbrian Basin, from the Composition of Apollo 14 Samples
R. Ganapathy, J. C. Laul, J. W. Morgan, and E. Anders
Science 7 January 1972 175: 55-59 [DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4017.55] (in Articles)

Detection of a Nonuniform Distribution of Polonium-210 on the Moon with the Apollo 16 Alpha Particle Spectrometer
Paul Bjorkholm, Leon Golub, and Paul Gorenstein
Science 1 June 1973 180: 957-959 [DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4089.957] (in Articles)

Lunar Shape via the Apollo Laser Altimeter
W. L. Sjogren and W. R. Wollenhaupt
Science 19 January 1973 179: 275-278 [DOI: 10.1126/science.179.4070.275] (in Articles)

Lunar Laser Ranging: A Continuing Legacy of the Apollo Program
J. O. Dickey, P. L. Bender, J. E. Faller, X X Newhall, R. L. Ricklefs, J. G. Ries, P. J. Shelus, C. Veillet, A. L. Whipple, J. R. Wiant, J. G. Williams, and C. F. Yoder
Science 22 July 1994 265: 482-490 [DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5171.482] (in Articles)

Apollo 16 Geochemical X-ray Fluorescence Experiment: Preliminary Report
I. Adler, J. Trombka, J. Gerard, P. Lowman, R. Schmadebeck, H. Blodget, E. Eller, L. Yin, R. Lamothe, G. Osswald, P. Gorenstein, P. Bjorkholm, H. Gursky, and B. Harris
Science 21 July 1972 177: 256-259 [DOI: 10.1126/science.177.4045.256] (in Articles)

Tektite Glass in Apollo 12 Sample
John A. O'Keefe
Science 5 June 1970 168: 1209-1210 [DOI: 10.1126/science.168.3936.1209] (in Articles)

Detection of Radon Emanation from the Crater Aristarchus by the Apollo 15 Alpha Particle Spectrometer
Paul Gorenstein and Paul Bjorkholm
Science 23 February 1973 179: 792-794 [DOI: 10.1126/science.179.4075.792] (in Articles)

Carbon, Carbides, and Methane in an Apollo 12 Sample
Sherwood Chang, Keith Kvenvolden, James Lawless, Cyril Ponnamperuma, and I. R. Kaplan
Science 5 February 1971 171: 474-477 [DOI: 10.1126/science.171.3970.474] (in Articles)

Note that all ten of the above are actual scientific Science articles. Search results for "International Space Station" mainly return news items about the latest thing that's going wrong. Sorry, there is no comparison in the quality, if not the quantity, of the science that was done during Apollo versus the ISS.


the second part of your post... well we have a no politics rule here and thats a dangling invitation to an angry political discussion isn't it.
Not at all. If you'll read the rules, there's an exception to the political discussion rule for space politics. And really, there's no reason for anyone to into an angry discussion at all, whether it revolves around sports, science or space politics. If you find yourself getting angry merely because you happen to disagree with me, that's not my fault. It's certainly not my intention to provoke a fight of any sort.

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-25, 01:53 AM
And what evidence do you have to support this assertion?

I'm surprised you don't know about this. Ten billion on paper studies that were mostly scrapped before anything was built for a start, the costs of various cancelled models, extra costs due to delays both resulting from budgeting and hardware problems. The ISS has had a lot of cost problems and a substantial amount of money could have been saved if things had been done differently.


And the ISS when finished (in 18 month's time) it will mass over 400 tonnes.

So it might only have a five year life once fully constructed? Any updates on when it will be deorbited?

JonClarke
2009-Jul-25, 03:22 AM
I'm surprised you don't know about this.

What makes you think I am not aware of history?




Ten billion on paper studies that were mostly scrapped before anything was built for a start, the costs of various cancelled models, extra costs due to delays both resulting from budgeting and hardware problems.

First of all, what evidence do you have for "ten billion on paper studies"? I hope you are not claiming work on station proposals prior to 1993 against the ISS.


The ISS has had a lot of cost problems and a substantial amount of money could have been saved if things had been done differently.

Again, what evidence do you have for this assertion? Since nothing like the ISS has been built before, how do you know it could be done cheaper?


So it might only have a five year life once fully constructed? Any updates on when it will be deorbited?

No deorbit plans exist. I would be every surprised if the station does not remain operational until 2020 at least.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-25, 03:33 AM
My point was that to lump the scientific results of Apollo with those of the ISS as if they were in some way comparable in scientific value is not very useful, to put it charitably. Here's a sample of a search of "Apollo" and "Moon" from sciencemag.org: (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/search?src=hw&site_area=sci&fulltext=Apollo+Moon&search_submit.x=10&search_submit.y=7)

Why this obsession with Science Magazine? It is not the only scientific journal nor even the best place to publish in many cases. Certainly it is not usually the platform of choice for most applied research.

Jon

Warren Platts
2009-Jul-25, 04:21 AM
Why this obsession with Science Magazine? It is not the only scientific journal nor even the best place to publish in many cases. Certainly it is not usually the platform of choice for most applied research.

Jon
I'll give you a break since you live on the other side of the planet. Apparently, I've got news for ya: ;)

In the United States of America if not Australia, Science is considered to be THE premier journal for any kind of science. There is much applied science that is published in Science. The fact that ISS science is not worthy of Science is not merely the fact that ISS science is supposedly applied science. There were those mosquitos, for example. And don't get me wrong: Phys. Rev. Let. is as high as it gets--perhaps even better than Science I will stipulate for the sake of the argument. But how many of those are there? Our friend above found a grand total of ONE. Meanwhile, I found TEN Apollo's on the first page of my first search attempt! :)

Besides, Jon, you're a fellow geologist. Who's side are you on? I find it unbelievable that you would disagree with me on this one tiny point: that more better science was done during Apollo than ISS no doubt because Apollo was done on another geological world, rather than a completely artificial world.:confused:

AstroRockHunter
2009-Jul-25, 04:32 AM
Well, there's not really any other place to study the effects of long-term weightlessness, is there? That would seem fairly essential research for any lengthy manned missions to other planets (i.e. Mars).

Yes, but they would need to keep the crew up there longer than 6 months at a time to get any meaningful data.

I'm surprised that it took Lovell, or anyone else for that matter, this long to figure out that the ISS is a white elephant. I've been saying it for years, and I don't know nuthin' from nuthin'. :lol:

AstroRockHunter
2009-Jul-25, 04:43 AM
No deorbit plans exist. I would be every surprised if the station does not remain operational until 2020 at least.

Jon

Great! It's taken the better part of 20 years to build the thing (and it's still not finished) and we're gonna' get 10 years of use out of it? That's if the toilets keep working! :lol:

JonClarke
2009-Jul-25, 05:10 AM
Yes, but they would need to keep the crew up there longer than 6 months at a time to get any meaningful data.

Since most Mars mission profiles only involve 6 month legs to and from Mars a typical rotation is more than relevant.


I'm surprised that it took Lovell, or anyone else for that matter, this long to figure out that the ISS is a white elephant.

What would it take to convince you it is not?


I've been saying it for years, and I don't know nuthin' from nuthin'.

In that case perhaps it would be better not to pass judgement on things you claim you nothing don't understand.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-25, 05:16 AM
Great! It's taken the better part of 20 years to build the thing (and it's still not finished) and we're gonna' get 10 years of use out of it? That's if the toilets keep working! :lol:

Since in orbit construction started in 1998, and is to be finished in 2010, I can't see how 12 years becomes "the better part of 20 years".

As the ISS has been supplying data since the moment the first module went into orbit we will have more than 20 years use out of it.

Things break down, things get fixed. That is what living in space means. Or do you think that space technology is somehow immune from wear and tear?

Jon

AstroRockHunter
2009-Jul-25, 07:35 AM
Since in orbit construction started in 1998, and is to be finished in 2010, I can't see how 12 years becomes "the better part of 20 years".

As the ISS has been supplying data since the moment the first module went into orbit we will have more than 20 years use out of it.

Things break down, things get fixed. That is what living in space means. Or do you think that space technology is somehow immune from wear and tear?

Jon

Firstly, design began in earnest in the early 1980's. And don't try and tell me that "that doesn't count". Money was spent, time was spent.

Construction would have begun in the early 1990's if the U.S. had not lost the political will to spend the money (or maybe even they figured out that it would be a total waste of money). Then we entered into the agreement with Russia to build it jointly, which required more re-design.

I don't see how you can claim that
the ISS has been supplying data since the moment the first module went into orbit since the first module was the Russian built Zarya, launched in 1998, only provided electrical power, storage, propulsion, and guidance for construction. The stations service module, Zvezda, which was the main crew quarters, wasn't even launched until 2000. In fact, the first Expedition to the ISS wasn't until Oct. of that year.

The list of scientific research done on the ISS, to date, has been less than stunning for all of the time and money spent.

Isn't it easy, though, to defend a white elephant when you don't have to pay for it?

Yes, things do break down. But I ask you, how many times has the toilet "broken down" in the last 12 months?

And maybe, just maybe, I'm not as dumb as my quips might sometimes imply!

Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-25, 08:07 AM
I agree with Nicolas about the importance of studying the donts, but I also agree with AstroRockHunter. There are so many worlds near Earth that just wait to be explored. We have been building space station for years - Salyut, Skylab, Mir, ISS. Low Earth Orbit is starting to get very boring and the public is tired of toilets breaking down and buggy laptops. We want to see something new, something different! We have been studying donts for many years. It's time to get to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-25, 08:56 AM
I agree with Nicolas about the importance of studying the donts, but I also agree with AstroRockHunter. There are so many worlds near Earth that just wait to be explored. We have been building space station for years - Salyut, Skylab, Mir, ISS. Low Earth Orbit is starting to get very boring and the public is tired of toilets breaking down and buggy laptops. We want to see something new, something different! We have been studying donts for many years. It's time to get to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

We have been building telescopes for years. Yawn. And particle accelerators. And going to the Antarctic. More Yawns! We want to see something different!

But space research isn't about bread and circuses. Just about study of space research options for the past 90 years has high lighted the potential of space stations. Nearly 40 years of operating space stations has shown their value. Every major space agency in the world recognises their importance - ESA, RSA, CSA, JAXA, as well as NASA.

Unmanned and manned missions to the Moon and planet's are important too. But they are npot reasons to stop doing space stations. Especially when space stations develop the technology and skills that will help get us there.

Jon

Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-25, 09:00 AM
Technology and skills? Did we get VASIMR on ISS? Or a new propulsion method?

Glom
2009-Jul-25, 10:45 AM
Actually 12 years isn't all that ridiculous a lead time for a major capital project.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Jul-25, 01:39 PM
MNot at all. If you'll read the rules, there's an exception to the political discussion rule for space politics. And really, there's no reason for anyone to into an angry discussion at all, whether it revolves around sports, science or space politics. If you find yourself getting angry merely because you happen to disagree with me, that's not my fault. It's certainly not my intention to provoke a fight of any sort.
Warren read this post (http://www.bautforum.com/forum-introductions-feedback/87318-over-moderation-post1522933.html#post1522933) again and this time actually take the time to understand what it means.

That there's space involved will not save you from suspension if you continue posting political statements that are intended to provoke discussion that is not about the space aspect of the statement.

Thank yous to the rest of you for not taking Warren's bait.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-25, 01:54 PM
Technology and skills? Did we get VASIMR on ISS? Or a new propulsion method?

We don't need VASIMR to get people back to the Moon, on to Mars, or to NEAs for that matter. The J-2X is more than adequate, just like its antecedent was during Apollo.

Not that the ISS wouldn't be a good place to test it. But the fact that VASIMR (or any other advanced propulsion system for that matter) is nowhere near ready for sucyh as test is not the fault of the ISS.

And there is a lot more to back to the Moon and on to Mars and NEAs than propulsion. Life support, human factors, reliability and maintainence, power supply, operations, construction of large space structures, to name just a few.

Jon

Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-25, 02:06 PM
The ISS may be the last large construction. After 2011 we're losing the capability to launch big cargo along with crew. And Ares V is far from certain.

cjameshuff
2009-Jul-25, 02:14 PM
Technology and skills? Did we get VASIMR on ISS? Or a new propulsion method?

Did I miss some announcement that we were no longer going to get the VX-200 tested on the ISS? Or are you discounting it just because we haven't built and installed one yet?

Glom
2009-Jul-25, 02:23 PM
The ISS may be the last large construction. After 2011 we're losing the capability to launch big cargo along with crew. And Ares V is far from certain.

There are still plenty of rockets around capable of launching payloads of the size of ISS modules even without Ares V.

Swift
2009-Jul-25, 03:01 PM
I'll give you a break since you live on the other side of the planet. Apparently, I've got news for ya: ;)

In the United States of America if not Australia, Science is considered to be THE premier journal for any kind of science. There is much applied science that is published in Science. The fact that ISS science is not worthy of Science is not merely the fact that ISS science is supposedly applied science.
As a published scientist from the United States of America, that's nonsense. IMO, Science and Nature are in the upper percentiles of prestigious journals. But they are also quick publications journals, intended mostly for short articles for relatively quick publication, and are thus particularly attractive to competitive fields, such as pharma.

But, within individual disciplines, I would not consider them premier. For example, in Chemistry, I would consider Journal of the American Chemical Society to be more important than Science.

I would also say that the journal landscape is very different now, than it was in the mid 70s, if for no other reason, there are a lot more journals.

Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-25, 03:33 PM
As for bioresearch, I've used a lot of links from PubMed search engine, have to check my references in my works. But I've not used journals with very very very big impact factor - most articles don't have free full text.

Warren Platts
2009-Jul-25, 05:35 PM
As a published scientist from the United States of America, that's nonsense. IMO, Science and Nature are in the upper percentiles of prestigious journals. But they are also quick publications journals, intended mostly for short articles for relatively quick publication, and are thus particularly attractive to competitive fields, such as pharma.

But, within individual disciplines, I would not consider them premier. For example, in Chemistry, I would consider Journal of the American Chemical Society to be more important than Science.

I would also say that the journal landscape is very different now, than it was in the mid 70s, if for no other reason, there are a lot more journals.

I am a published scientist from the United States of America as well. And I am sorry to tell you, but your point that ISS research is in any way comparable in scientific quality to that generated by Apollo is "nonsense", to use your language.

First one question: if Science is not the premier scientific publication in the United States, then what is?

The fact is, it doesn't matter which publication you think is THE premier journal. The fact is that there will be more Apollo articles in it, whatever it is, than ISS articles.

And I already granted your point WRT the prestige of a few other journals. I already stipulated that a Phys. Rev. Let. article might count for more than a Science article when it comes to a hiring or tenure decision. But that doesn't help you. The one Phys. Rev. Let. article that came out of the ISS is the exception that proves the rule that Apollo delivered a much higher return on scientific investment than the ISS ever will.

That said, I don't deny that the experience gained from the ISS is worth a lot. The ISS has proved that we can master the LEO environment. But in terms of basic science, Apollo wins hands down.

Glom
2009-Jul-25, 06:49 PM
Let's talk theory here and think like engineers. Instead if saying, we're going to build a space station, what kind of science are we going to do in it, let's ask the question, which should come first, what kind of science would we want to do in a LEO space station? Then we'll all have a spacer group... think... and design the space station, which will achieve those goals.

Zvezdichko
2009-Jul-25, 07:36 PM
Let's talk theory here and think like engineers. Instead if saying, we're going to build a space station, what kind of science are we going to do in it, let's ask the question, which should come first, what kind of science would we want to do in a LEO space station? Then we'll all have a spacer group... think... and design the space station, which will achieve those goals.

The situation is different. Let's ask another question: The International Space Station is a fact. Good, bad. A fact. What could be done with this huge spacecraft so it could be scientifically productive?

Glom
2009-Jul-25, 07:51 PM
Fine, whatever.

We should ask my question though because it is through that we can fully judge the potential of ISS.

cjameshuff
2009-Jul-25, 07:52 PM
The fact is, it doesn't matter which publication you think is THE premier journal. The fact is that there will be more Apollo articles in it, whatever it is, than ISS articles.

And of course, six moon landings, ten manned flights, and ~40 years of researchers writing papers couldn't have anything to do with that....

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-25, 11:37 PM
What makes you think I am not aware of history?

Because you asked for information which I thought you would know.


First of all, what evidence do you have for "ten billion on paper studies"? I hope you are not claiming work on station proposals prior to 1993 against the ISS.

Sure, why not? Changing the name project doesn't eliminate the costs and the ISS did use make use of the designs. Either the cost of developing those designs is included in the ISS budget or it means the ISS is getting money for nothing.


Again, what evidence do you have for this assertion? Since nothing like the ISS has been built before, how do you know it could be done cheaper?

This is getting into the realm of philosophy. Maybe this is the best of all possible worlds, but I personally don't think NASA was fated to spend money on modules that were then canceled. Personally I think it is helpful to look at how things could have been done cheaper and use that information to do things more cheaply in the future.

And it is earth's ninth crewed space station, so personally I think things like it have been built before. Not the same, but similar in a not inconsiderable number of respects. And I wonder, if we are going to build things in the future that are nothing like things that have been built before, then what value is the experience gained from building the ISS? Very little in that case I would presume.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 03:44 AM
Firstly, design began in earnest in the early 1980's. And don't try and tell me that "that doesn't count". Money was spent, time was spent.

That was not the ISS, that was for earlier unbuilt studies of different designs, goals and management. You should not include them in the cost. Or do you want to include the cost of MOL in Skylab or the X-20 in the Space Shuttle?


Construction would have begun in the early 1990's if the U.S. had not lost the political will to spend the money (or maybe even they figured out that it would be a total waste of money). Then we entered into the agreement with Russia to build it jointly, which required more re-design.

The station designs of the 90's were dead in the water. Any kind of station proved possible only with the Russian partnership.


I don't see how you can claim that since the first module was the Russian built Zarya, launched in 1998, only provided electrical power, storage, propulsion, and guidance for construction. The stations service module, Zvezda, which was the main crew quarters, wasn't even launched until 2000. In fact, the first Expedition to the ISS wasn't until Oct. of that year.

Operational experience begins to be gained once the first component is in operation. But if you prefer to count it beginning with the first crew, then ythat is OK with me. Work was being done, lesson learned, results published from that moment on.


The list of scientific research done on the ISS, to date, has been less than stunning for all of the time and money spent.

What criteria do you base this on?


Isn't it easy, though, to defend a white elephant when you don't have to pay for it?

1) Whether or not I pay for it is irrelevant. 2) You have yet to show anything under than opinion that it is a white elephant.


Yes, things do break down. But I ask you, how many times has the toilet "broken down" in the last 12 months?

Twice, I think. So what? It has been fixed (and it isn't even the only toilet), lessons are learned, life goes on. My car as broken down twice this year. Does that mean it is a white
elephant? That I should not have a car?



And maybe, just maybe, I'm not as dumb as my quips might sometimes imply!

Glad to hear it.....

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 04:07 AM
Because you asked for information which I thought you would know.

I have asked your fort evidence in support of an assertion I disagree with, based on what I do know. So, once again, where is that evidence?


Sure, why not? Changing the name project doesn't eliminate the costs and the ISS did use make use of the designs. Either the cost of developing those designs is included in the ISS budget or it means the ISS is getting money for nothing.

If a project is abandoned then the mponey is irrelevant to any new project that uses that information. Or should the cost of any project include the use of heritage technology? Should Apollo inlcude the money spent on the V2? Skylab on Apollo and MOL? The Space Shuttle on the X-20? Voyager on the Grand Tour? Viking on Voyager?

[QUOTE]This is getting into the realm of philosophy. Maybe this is the best of all possible worlds, but I personally don't think NASA was fated to spend money on modules that were then canceled.

It may not be the best of all possible worlds, but it is the one got. There is very little inevitable in the historic process but the historial reality is that projects get cancelled, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not. Lessons can be learned from the process and the designs, but it does not mean to say that the costs should be transferred.


Personally I think it is helpful to look at how things could have been done cheaper and use that information to do things more cheaply in the future.

Definitely lessons should be learned on how to do things better next time. But just because we learn these lessons does not neccessary mean that the decisions made at the time were bad decisions, even if with 20/20 hindsight we think they could be improved. And of course hind sometimes shows that the decisions made were correct.

So I suggest that the onus is still on you to show how it could have been done cheaper then and better now.


And it is earth's ninth crewed space station, so personally I think things like it have been built before. Not the same, but similar in a not inconsiderable number of respects. And I wonder, if we are going to build things in the future that are nothing like things that have been built before, then what value is the experience gained from building the ISS? Very little in that case I would presume.

I suggest you presume wrong. The ISS builds on earlier experience, is larger, has more power, a bigger crew, more advanced systems, and a more polished scientific program.

Or should we not build 30 metre telescopes just because we have built 10 and 5 metre ones in the past? Or LHCs when we have bevatrons and cyclotrons?

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 04:08 AM
The situation is different. Let's ask another question: The International Space Station is a fact. Good, bad. A fact. What could be done with this huge spacecraft so it could be scientifically productive?

The hundreds if not thousands of researchers currently involved probably think it is.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 04:12 AM
Let's talk theory here and think like engineers. Instead if saying, we're going to build a space station, what kind of science are we going to do in it, let's ask the question, which should come first, what kind of science would we want to do in a LEO space station? Then we'll all have a spacer group... think... and design the space station, which will achieve those goals.

This oneline book is a good indicator at the highest scientfic level of what has been done in orbital research in the Shuttle era and what should be done with the ISS.


http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10624&page=1

Jon

AstroRockHunter
2009-Jul-26, 05:16 AM
This oneline book is a good indicator at the highest scientfic level of what has been done in orbital research in the Shuttle era and what should be done with the ISS.


http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10624&page=1

Jon

For those interested, and this would include you JonClarke, I suggest that you read the last paragraph of page 14. This online book is not the ringing endorsement of the ISS that JonClarke would have us believe.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 06:05 AM
For those interested, and this would include you JonClarke, I suggest that you read the last paragraph of page 14. This online book is not the ringing endorsement of the ISS that JonClarke would have us believe.

Nowhere did I say this document was a "ringing endorsement of the ISS". You are putting words in my mouth.

I said that "This oneline book is a good indicator at the highest scientfic level of what has been done in orbital research in the Shuttle era and what should be done with the ISS." in response to Glom's question which was "let's ask the question, which should come first, what kind of science would we want to do in a LEO space station?' It is an excellent starting point for this discussion.

With respect to the ISS the paragraph in question says:

The recent financial problems of the International Space Station (ISS) have brought a major uncertainty to the future of the microgravity program. Many of the facilities that were destined for the ISS have been delayed, and the crew time available for science has been drastically curtailed. Although additional funding for a few of the facilities has been secured, their final status remains uncertain. The original 2002 operational date for the ISS has slipped by several years. Moreover, as the report of the International Space Station Management and Cost Evaluation Task Force noted, “The existing ISS Program Plan for executing the FY 02-06 budget is not credible” (IMCE, 2001). An analysis of the effects of the ISS cutbacks on the science that can be performed on the ISS is given in Factors Affecting the Utilization of the International Space Station for Research by the NRC Task Group on Research on International Space Station (NRC, 2003). The financial crisis has also affected the ground-based program. For example, a current NRA explicitly states the following: “[D]ue to severe resource limitations, we do not plan to make flight definition awards in the combustion area from this NRA” (NASA, 2001). Whether this is a temporary setback or the beginning of the end of the microgravity program remains to be seen. Given the uncertainty in the future, the committee did not consider the availability of ISS resources in formulating its findings and recommendations.

Look at the date of publication, 2003. There is not mention of the Columbia accident, so I suspect it was published very early in 2003 and was probably written in 2002. The above statement is probably a reasonable summary of the legitimate concerns at the time, that the imputus of NASA microgravity reserarch in the Shuttle era might be effected by delays with the ISS. These citicisms were made in the light of the then fashionable "Core Compete" goal of the ISS, which was severely less capable than the original.

These are reflected in another 2003 publication http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10614&page=3 (and one much more relevant to the ISS) which said, comparing the advantages of finishing the ISS to core complete (p7):

The development cost to the United States of the ISS as currently planned is approximately $26 billion. The additional cost to increase the crew number to seven has been estimated at approximately $5 billion (IMCE, 2001).3 This 20 percent increase in development cost would yield a 900 percent increase in the crew time available for research (4.5 versus 0.5 crew available for scientific activities). If the primary objective of the ISS is indeed to be a world-class laboratory in space, then the cost-benefit of taking this course of action is obvious. Not to do so would be akin to building a million-dollar home but stopping short of running electrical and water services to it. Without plans and decisions based on crossdisciplinary priorities that are clearly articulated and supported by corresponding allocations of resources, the ISS can never achieve the status of a world-class research laboratory

These concerns were clearly taken to heart by policy makers. Seven years further down the track. "Core complete" was abandoned. The ISS will be finished next year, and close to the original design. In 2002 the ISS consisted of only 6 pressurised modules, only one of which was a dedicated laboratory, and had a crew of three. It now has its full crew of six, and ten pressurised modules (four of which are laboratories). Allowing for a crew of 6 rather than 7 it will have a 700% greater capability than its status when those concerns were raised.

Jon

AstroRockHunter
2009-Jul-26, 06:24 AM
Nowhere did I say this document was a "ringing endorsement of the ISS". You are putting words in my mouth.

I said that "This oneline book is a good indicator at the highest scientfic level of what has been done in orbital research in the Shuttle era and what should be done with the ISS." in response to Glom's question which was "let's ask the question, which should come first, what kind of science would we want to do in a LEO space station?' It is an excellent starting point for this discussion.

With respect to the ISS the paragraph in question says:

The recent financial problems of the International Space Station (ISS) have brought a major uncertainty to the future of the microgravity program. Many of the facilities that were destined for the ISS have been delayed, and the crew time available for science has been drastically curtailed. Although additional funding for a few of the facilities has been secured, their final status remains uncertain. The original 2002 operational date for the ISS has slipped by several years. Moreover, as the report of the International Space Station Management and Cost Evaluation Task Force noted, “The existing ISS Program Plan for executing the FY 02-06 budget is not credible” (IMCE, 2001). An analysis of the effects of the ISS cutbacks on the science that can be performed on the ISS is given in Factors Affecting the Utilization of the International Space Station for Research by the NRC Task Group on Research on International Space Station (NRC, 2003). The financial crisis has also affected the ground-based program. For example, a current NRA explicitly states the following: “[D]ue to severe resource limitations, we do not plan to make flight definition awards in the combustion area from this NRA” (NASA, 2001). Whether this is a temporary setback or the beginning of the end of the microgravity program remains to be seen. Given the uncertainty in the future, the committee did not consider the availability of ISS resources in formulating its findings and recommendations.

Look at the date of publication, 2003. There is not mention of the Columbia accident, so I suspect it was published very early in 2003 and was probably written in 2002. The above statement is probably a reasonable summary of the legitimate concerns at the time, that the imputus of NASA microgravity reserarch in the Shuttle era might be effected by delays with the ISS. These citicisms were made in the light of the then fashionable "Core Compete" goal of the ISS, which was severely less capable than the original.

These are reflected in another 2003 publication http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10614&page=3 (and one much more relevant to the ISS) which said, comparing the advantages of finishing the ISS to core complete (p7):

The development cost to the United States of the ISS as currently planned is approximately $26 billion. The additional cost to increase the crew number to seven has been estimated at approximately $5 billion (IMCE, 2001).3 This 20 percent increase in development cost would yield a 900 percent increase in the crew time available for research (4.5 versus 0.5 crew available for scientific activities). If the primary objective of the ISS is indeed to be a world-class laboratory in space, then the cost-benefit of taking this course of action is obvious. Not to do so would be akin to building a million-dollar home but stopping short of running electrical and water services to it. Without plans and decisions based on crossdisciplinary priorities that are clearly articulated and supported by corresponding allocations of resources, the ISS can never achieve the status of a world-class research laboratory

These concerns were clearly taken to heart by policy makers. Seven years further down the track. "Core complete" was abandoned. The ISS will be finished next year, and close to the original design. In 2002 the ISS consisted of only 6 pressurised modules, only one of which was a dedicated laboratory, and had a crew of three. It now has its full crew of six, and ten pressurised modules (four of which are laboratories). Allowing for a crew of 6 rather than 7 it will have a 700% greater capability than its status when those concerns were raised.

Jon

The point being that even as far back as 2002/2003 it was becoming clear that the resources (both physical and monetary) invested in the ISS could have been better utilized.

This book emphasizes the benefits of these research projects to NASA, not to the scientific or industrial communities in general. Granted, there will be some trickle-down, but until a private company builds an orbiting manufacturing plant, the benefit to society remains murky at best.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 07:24 AM
The point being that even as far back as 2002/2003 it was becoming clear that the resources (both physical and monetary) invested in the ISS could have been better utilized.

It does not say that at all. The report criticisms are directed at "Core Complete" not the ISS as a whole. approach It specifically it compares "Core Complete" to actual completion as "akin to building a million-dollar home but stopping short of running electrical and water services to it."


This book emphasizes the benefits of these research projects to NASA, not to the scientific or industrial communities in general.

Wrong, it talks about national and international benefits.


Granted, there will be some trickle-down, but until a private company builds an orbiting manufacturing plant, the benefit to society remains murky at best.

Again wrong. To quote the other report, speaking about the value of research on the Shuttle (p2-3):

The fluid physics research program has produced a large body of significant research in areas ranging from flows due to surface tension gradients to the dynamics of complex liquids—with important applications to industrial processes such as oil recovery and to NASA flight technologies. The unique access to space provided by NASA has led to the development of ground-based and flight research programs that have enabled growth and advancement of research in such fields as thermocapillary flow, and it has attracted leading investigators to the program, including members of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, as well as numerous fellows of professional societies.

The combustion research program has made important contributions to the fundamental understanding of such combustion behavior as the chemical kinetics of flames and flame length variation,resulting in the correction of both basic theory and college textbooks. The results of studies on smoldering, flame spread, radiative transfer, and soot production not only have led to changes in spacecraft fire safety procedures, but also have advanced knowledge about some of the most important practical problems in combustion on Earth. Some of these results are already being incorporated into industry applications such as aircraft combustor design. The NASA combustion program currently supports some of the most distinguished combustion scientists in the world, including members of the National Academy of Engineering and numerous fellows of professional societies.

The fundamental physics research program has made important contributions to both basic theory and the practice of research in such areas as critical point physics and optical frequency measurement, and the work of its investigators is published frequently in the leading scientific journals. Access to the space environment enabled a definitive test of the widely applicable renormalization group theory, while ground-based research sponsored by the program led to an orders-of-magnitude reduction in the labor, physical infrastructure, and time needed for scientists around the world to perform optical frequency
measurements. The program has attracted high-caliber talent, including six Nobel laureates and over two dozen investigators who are either members of the National Academy of Sciences or fellows of professional societies.

Research in NASA’s materials program has led to major theoretical insights into solidification
and the crystal growth process and has resulted in both the verification and refutation of classical theories predicting materials solidification behavior and microstructural development. Much of this work also has direct relevance to important commercial processes such as casting and semiconductor production, and research results have been utilized by such diverse industries as metal-cutting tool production (to improve a production process responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in annual costs) and jet engine manufacturing. Investigators have received numerous prestigious awards for their
work in this program, and a high percentage of them are professional society fellows and members of the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences.

So clear national and commerical benefits with immediate application to theoretical and applied science for earth and space industries.

Because the ISS operates continuously it is the equivalent of about 25 shuttle missions a year. The science program in the ISS builds on previous research programs and can be expected to deliver similar results, but at a much greater level, faster, and at proportionally less cost.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 08:12 AM
Two years after crewed operations began this reference https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8982453_Research_progress_and_accomplishments_on_I nternational_Space_Station

stated The first research payloads reached the International Space Station (ISS) more than two years ago, with research operating continuously since March 2001. Seven research racks are currently on-orbit, with three more arriving soon to expand science capabilities. Through the first five expeditions, 60 unique NASA-managed investigations from 11 nations have been supported, many continuing into later missions. More than 90,000 experiment hours have been completed, and more than 1,000 hours of crew time have been dedicated to research, numbers that grow daily.

The NASA web site lists 239 full publications to date. See http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/Publications.html .

During the first two years of operation nineteen commerical payloads were flown (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/4658812_Commercial_Research_Results_from_the_Inter national_Space_Station) again at a time when facilities were still quite minimal.

Jon

Warren Platts
2009-Jul-26, 03:05 PM
The NASA web site lists 239 full publications to date. See http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/Publications.html .

That's not nothing, but it pales in comparison to this:

ScienceDirect.com ALL(Apollo moon) (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleListURL&_method=list&_ArticleListID=966702075&_sort=r&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=bee21692f706eff6ffb4a293a934f667)

"4,397 articles found for: ALL(apollo moon)" :cool:

That's about 110 articles per year averaged over 40 years; ISS: 40 articles per year averaged over 6 years.

marsbug
2009-Jul-26, 06:45 PM
Two years after crewed operations began this reference https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8982453_Research_progress_and_accomplishments_on_I nternational_Space_Station

stated The first research payloads reached the International Space Station (ISS) more than two years ago, with research operating continuously since March 2001. Seven research racks are currently on-orbit, with three more arriving soon to expand science capabilities. Through the first five expeditions, 60 unique NASA-managed investigations from 11 nations have been supported, many continuing into later missions. More than 90,000 experiment hours have been completed, and more than 1,000 hours of crew time have been dedicated to research, numbers that grow daily.

The NASA web site lists 239 full publications to date. See http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/Publications.html .

During the first two years of operation nineteen commerical payloads were flown (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/4658812_Commercial_Research_Results_from_the_Inter national_Space_Station) again at a time when facilities were still quite minimal.

Jon

Thanks jon I spend ages collecting abstracts and you find one link that covers all of them! :doh:

Warren I apologise for implying that you were picking fights earlier, the post didn't read like it was intended to when I went back to it!

I'm not sure if a direct comparison between Apollo and the ISS is fair right now: the samples brought back by Apollo have been available for forty years here on earth with all the most advanced equipment from all across the world to analyse them with, whereas ISS has only been running with a full crew for a couple of months, and many of the experiments can only be studied in space which limits how much analysis can be conducted, and to what depth (if thats already been covered I'm sorry, I couldn't be bothered wading through the rest of the thread).

That said I've no beef with going back to the moon to do geology or anything else, I just think microgravity science is fascinating and important to! If the ISS wasn't there I hope there would be a fleet of research satellites to do this stuff instead, microgravity is being used to explore some fascinating topics!

JonClarke
2009-Jul-26, 10:23 PM
That's not nothing, but it pales in comparison to this:

ScienceDirect.com ALL(Apollo moon) (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleListURL&_method=list&_ArticleListID=966702075&_sort=r&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=bee21692f706eff6ffb4a293a934f667)

"4,397 articles found for: ALL(apollo moon)" :cool:

That's about 110 articles per year averaged over 40 years; ISS: 40 articles per year averaged over 6 years.

The same seach engine delivers 2958 articles for the ISS.

Jon

Ronald Brak
2009-Jul-26, 11:11 PM
If a project is abandoned then the mponey is irrelevant to any new project that uses that information. Or should the cost of any project include the use of heritage technology? Should Apollo inlcude the money spent on the V2? Skylab on Apollo and MOL? The Space Shuttle on the X-20? Voyager on the Grand Tour? Viking on Voyager?


It may not be the best of all possible worlds, but it is the one got. There is very little inevitable in the historic process but the historial reality is that projects get cancelled, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not. Lessons can be learned from the process and the designs, but it does not mean to say that the costs should be transferred.


Definitely lessons should be learned on how to do things better next time. But just because we learn these lessons does not neccessary mean that the decisions made at the time were bad decisions, even if with 20/20 hindsight we think they could be improved. And of course hind sometimes shows that the decisions made were correct.


So I suggest that the onus is still on you to show how it could have been done cheaper then and better now.

How?

It seems to me that making modules that could have been launched by proton rather than shuttle could have saved money, but I can't demonstrate that using the shuttle wasn't the best decision at the time. I can only show that the launch costs were cheaper.

Glom
2009-Jul-27, 08:28 AM
I have a thing for those modules that emerge from the Space Shuttle payload bay. They look cool somehow.

Warren Platts
2009-Jul-27, 01:23 PM
The same seach engine delivers 2958 articles for the ISS.

JonOK Jon, you've convinced me. There's some good science being done up there. And it makes sense to have a permanent platform up there rather than sending up individual shuttles for two weeks at a time. Also, the experience we've gained building modular buildings in space will prove very helpful, no doubt, when it comes time to build a Moon base. Therefore, I retract my earlier position that the American portion of the ISS be sold to the Chinese--at least for now. I support sticking with Plan A, finishing the thing, and sticking by whatever agreements have been made.

But when the current program comes time to be terminated, you know what's going to happen; people are going to say we can't abandon the investment. I'm just afraid that when the lunar program gets back on its feet, it's going to need the full resources of the NASA HSF program. I think at that point it would be an open question whether it might be best for the USA to gracefully bow out and hand over as much of the operation as possible to the international partners, including maybe China. Inclusiveness is always for the best, right? :)

Marsbug: No worries, mate! :)

nauthiz
2009-Jul-27, 02:03 PM
But when the current program comes time to be terminated, you know what's going to happen; people are going to say we can't abandon the investment.

That happens every time every high-profile space program's ending date approaches, regardless of when the ending date is. The only reliable way to avoid it would be to vacate space.

JonClarke
2009-Jul-28, 09:42 AM
How?

It seems to me that making modules that could have been launched by proton rather than shuttle could have saved money, but I can't demonstrate that using the shuttle wasn't the best decision at the time. I can only show that the launch costs were cheaper.

I think you have a point here, Warren, I would like it explored by those more knoweldegable than me.

On one hand in does seem the docking of powered modules as in the Russian segment to be a more stratight forward way of assembly than the lego approach of the US segment.

One the other hand the Russian approach does lead to a very crowded exterior, as Mir showed, with antennae and solar panels impinging on each other. The truss arrangement of the US segment (and all US studies from Skylab on) allows more optimal spacing of such components, as well as more room for external experiments. It is not impossible to have trusses with powered modules, as the unflown Russian power module shows. There is also the question of what risks are there from the residual propellants. Of course you could do what the USSR did with the Kvant 1 module on Mir, and have the module docked using a space tug which then undocks.

Like a lot of engineering issues I suspect it is a quite complex choice, and in some circumstances you would chose one, in others the other. Design heritage I am sure plays a role. Every US station study I am aware of since Skylab used the Shuttle and a lego approach with modules and trusses. There was no way the US was not doing to use this approach in its contribution to the ISS. The USSR did not have the Shuttle and so used powered modules for Mir and its part of the ISS (originally going to be part of Mir 2).

cheers

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Jul-28, 09:46 AM
OK Jon, you've convinced me. There's some good science being done up there. And it makes sense to have a permanent platform up there rather than sending up individual shuttles for two weeks at a time. Also, the experience we've gained building modular buildings in space will prove very helpful, no doubt, when it comes time to build a Moon base. Therefore, I retract my earlier position that the American portion of the ISS be sold to the Chinese--at least for now. I support sticking with Plan A, finishing the thing, and sticking by whatever agreements have been made.

Cool!


But when the current program comes time to be terminated, you know what's going to happen; people are going to say we can't abandon the investment. I'm just afraid that when the lunar program gets back on its feet, it's going to need the full resources of the NASA HSF program. I think at that point it would be an open question whether it might be best for the USA to gracefully bow out and hand over as much of the operation as possible to the international partners, including maybe China. Inclusiveness is always for the best, right? :)

I think you do have a point here, and I suspect that some in NASA would like to see this happen. Possibily US space station operations could become a place for greater involvement by the private sector, as the COTS program starts up and more commerical research payloads get flown.

Of course it would be nice if the NASA budget increased to Apollo era levels too! :)

Jon

Warren Platts
2009-Jul-28, 11:58 AM
Of course it would be nice if the NASA budget increased to Apollo era levels too! :)

Jon
I'd settle for a steady 1% of the federal budget! :)

JonClarke
2009-Jul-28, 12:06 PM
I'd settle for a steady 1% of the federal budget! :)

Preferably for all nations!

newpapyrus
2009-Aug-03, 09:24 AM
Skylab, in today's dollars, was about ten times cheaper than the ISS. If I had my way, I'd terminate US participation in the ISS program after 2010, at the same time the shuttle is supposed to be retired and use that money to fund lunar base program. There was no logical reason for a titanic microgravity space station.

Nicolas
2009-Aug-03, 12:39 PM
Is there a logical reason for a moon base?

Glom
2009-Aug-03, 03:11 PM
Skylab, in today's dollars, was about ten times cheaper than the ISS. If I had my way, I'd terminate US participation in the ISS program after 2010, at the same time the shuttle is supposed to be retired and use that money to fund lunar base program. There was no logical reason for a titanic microgravity space station.

Skylab was launched in a single bound. That was the advantage of heavy lift boosters and I lament that such technology was not available for building a modern space station. However, ISS is a more capable space station than Skylab.

nauthiz
2009-Aug-03, 04:01 PM
Not only was it built on the ground launched in a single bound, but it also weighed less than 1/4 as much, and wasn't designed for continuous habitation, all of which probably plays into the cost.

Also, Skylab only had astronauts aboard for about 6 months spread over less than a year whereas the ISS has been continuously manned for nine years, so in terms of bang for the buck, those numbers would suggest that the ISS is much more cost-efficient than Skylab was, having provided us with roughly 18 times as much laboratory time for only 10 times the cost. That difference will presumably widen now that the ISS can handle twice as many crew members.

As a side note, the span between the last Skylab mission and the first Shuttle mission was over seven years, and during that time NASA didn't have any capability for sending humans to space. The planned gap was 5 years, but the Shuttle was a couple years late. So unless it takes at least 3 years longer than the expected 4 years (after Shuttle retirement) to get Aries I up to speed, the scheduled gap in human spaceflight capability won't really be unprecedented.

Antice
2009-Aug-03, 04:40 PM
well.. the gap may not really be solved by nasa at all unless they get their stuff together and start working like a single unit on these projects. COTS may end up being what closes the gap in the end.
By the end of 2015 SpaceX will have flown the dragon capsule 15 times on Nasa contracts alone. they build all the hardware to man rated specifications from the get go with an eye to a future market in commercial launches of humans.
This is ofc barring any major delays in the future in regards to launch schedules.
Orbital does not appear to keep an eye out for a future in manned with their resupply vehicle, something I think is a crying shame.....

JonClarke
2009-Aug-03, 09:27 PM
Skylab, in today's dollars, was about ten times cheaper than the ISS.

Skylab was a fifth the mass and far less capable in every respect.



If I had my way, I'd terminate US participation in the ISS program after 2010, at the same time the shuttle is supposed to be retired and use that money to fund lunar base program.

Oh good. Finish the station, spend all the money and then bail out without using it any further. That makes a lot of sense - not. Of course the other dozen partners in the project are really going to appreciate the US cutting the spares and technical support in 2010, effectively killing the station. The ISS is not the sole property of the US it is a collaborative project which means that each contributor pulls their weight, even the US.


There was no logical reason for a titanic microgravity space station.

The US academy of science disagrees with you. So to the space agencies of a dozen nations.

Jon

Warren Platts
2009-Aug-03, 10:12 PM
Skylab was a fifth the mass and far less capable in every respect.Give Skylab a break, please. It was a cool system. It was a 5th of the mass, yet it contained 80% of the living space that ISS has. One launch. A bunch of mass is nothing to brag about. It's a sign of inefficiency. And don't forget that we built two of them. One still resides in the NASA museum. The fact that Skylab was only used for several months or so is not because of inherent limitations to the system, but because they needed the money to build the wonderful Space Shuttle (and the Vietnam War, and the War on Poverty--both very successful adventures if you ask me :rolleyes:)


Oh good. Finish the station, spend all the money and then bail out without using it any further. That makes a lot of sense - not. Of course the other dozen partners in the project are really going to appreciate the US cutting the spares and technical support in 2010, effectively killing the station.Actually, in the infamous Griffin memo that was leaked about a year ago, the NASA adminstrator himself said that the ISS could be supported by Russia alone--barring active sabotage by the US, which we could do, but never would do short of a hot war.


The ISS is not the sole property of the US it is a collaborative project which means that each contributor pulls their weight, even the US.Don't get me wrong. The ISS is a good thing. It's the 7th Wonder of the Modern World. But there is an opportunity cost for every year that the USA decides to participate. Really, one should not make decisions about the future based on sunk costs. Mr. Augustine said that himself. Any stock trader will tell you the same thing. The question to be asked is, given a limited budget, are we better off spending it on the ISS as it is, or spending that cash on the next project. While I don't advocate reneging on any formal agreements we've committed to, the question of extending commitments a day longer than we have previously agreed to is something to think very hard about. It's not obvious that the ISS is the best use of limited resources. The main point of building the ISS was in the building of the ISS. We've been there and done that. If the US pulls out, that doesn't entail that the ISS will sink. Rather it will force others to pull their weight--they can continue to do whatever useful research that can be accomplished. Surely, it will not be kept secret, so the US can still benefit from whatever scientific research gets done. In the meantime, the US can forge ahead to the next step.

JonClarke
2009-Aug-04, 12:50 PM
Give Skylab a break, please. It was a cool system. It was a 5th of the mass, yet it contained 80% of the living space that ISS has. One launch. A bunch of mass is nothing to brag about. It's a sign of inefficiency. And don't forget that we built two of them. One still resides in the NASA museum. The fact that Skylab was only used for several months or so is not because of inherent limitations to the system, but because they needed the money to build the wonderful Space Shuttle (and the Vietnam War, and the War on Poverty--both very successful adventures if you ask me :rolleyes:)

Don't get me wrong Warren, Skylab was a fantastic achievement on many levels. Not only was it a very good use of surplus hardware and was where we first really began to live in space, it led massive scientific advances, especially in solar astronomy (discovery of CMEs being perhaps the main one). Ands the non-flying of Skylab B was a crying shame.

I was very interested in Skylab from the start. I listened to the launch on the radio, read the National Geographic report with great interest, really enjoyed Cooper's BookA House in Space, find the Skylad trainer at JSC one of the highlights and have been handled debris from Skylab at the museums Balladonia and Esperance, WA.

But it was primitive by modern standards. It could not be resupplied in any meaningful sense, had no real waste disposal (rubbished was dumped through an airlock into the former S-IVB LOX tank), and at most could supported perhaps one more short mission. It's layout was very experimental (and some aspects did not work well), volume was not used efficiently, and power was limited.


Actually, in the infamous Griffin memo that was leaked about a year ago, the NASA adminstrator himself said that the ISS could be supported by Russia alone--barring active sabotage by the US, which we could do, but never would do short of a hot war.

Much as Griffin said some good things, sometimes he said some really odd things. That was one of them. While Russia, ESA and JAXA can keep the ISS resupplied, unless the US supplies spares etc. for the US components the facility will degrade over time. Plus the station uses US tracking facilities extensively as well, and many of the experinents were designed and are operated by US institutions would would be mosy unhappy if the rug was pulled from under them.

Don't get me wrong. The ISS is a good thing. It's the 7th Wonder of the Modern World. But there is an opportunity cost for every year that the USA decides to participate. [/QUOTE]

Opportunity costs cut both ways. To opt out of such a program is also an opportunity cost, especially when most of the investment has been done and maximum productivity is on the horizon. How you chose between different opportunity costs is a tricky one.

Jon

Glom
2009-Aug-04, 04:22 PM
Opportunity cost must also include less tangible consequences.

To use an example from aerospace, Boeing is making a right pig's ear of the 787 programme. There are rumours going round (just rumours of course but relevant for the point I'm making) that Boeing may want to cut its losses at this point. Starting a fresh programme may be cheaper than fixing what is wrong with the Plastic Portaloo. However, into their economic calculations, they also need to factor in the catastrophic effect it would have on their reputation if they scrapped the programme. Who would want to buy whatever they offered next?

newpapyrus
2009-Aug-04, 04:28 PM
Is there a logical reason for a moon base?

Lunar colonization to enhance the survival of our species, lunar commercialization and industrialization to increase the wealth of our civilization, lunar astronomy to expand our knowledge of the rest of the universe, international prestige and national pride [any person in any nation could look up at the Moon would know that Americans live their (America rules the heavens, at least until the Russians, Chinese, Europeans, and others decide to live there too!)].

newpapyrus
2009-Aug-04, 04:43 PM
Skylab was a fifth the mass and far less capable in every respect.




Oh good. Finish the station, spend all the money and then bail out without using it any further. That makes a lot of sense - not. Of course the other dozen partners in the project are really going to appreciate the US cutting the spares and technical support in 2010, effectively killing the station. The ISS is not the sole property of the US it is a collaborative project which means that each contributor pulls their weight, even the US.



The US academy of science disagrees with you. So to the space agencies of a dozen nations.

Jon

The US has spent about $58 billion on the ISS while our so called international partners who are cumulatively wealthier than we are, have only spent about $15 billion. And we're still committed to pay at least $2billion a year for the ISS for at least the next 5 years. So lets make it a real international space station by getting our international partners to pay their fare share!

But I'd prefer a simple and cheap Skylab-like American space station launched by a SD-HLV. I'd prefer a world where there were American space stations, Russian space stations, Chinese space stations, European space stations, Japanese space stations, Indian space stations, etc: nations competitively doing their own thing while we learn from each other.

Glom
2009-Aug-04, 05:00 PM
The US has spent about $58 billion on the ISS while our so called international partners who are cumulatively wealthier than we are, have only spent about $15 billion. And we're still committed to pay at least $2billion a year for the ISS for at least the next 5 years. So lets make it a real international space station by getting our international partners to pay their fare share!

But I'd prefer a simple and cheap Skylab-like American space station launched by a SD-HLV. I'd prefer a world where there were American space stations, Russian space stations, Chinese space stations, European space stations, Japanese space stations, Indian space stations, etc: nations competitively doing their own thing while we learn from each other.

The US does have the most operational control though.

There are advantages and disadvantages to your alternate world view. I'm the last person who should be accused of being some pinko commie sympathiser, but having an attitude that we should keep to our own is a little retro. Having said that, the current form of cooperation is inefficient. Everyone wants to have their parts of the space station to put their flag on and run them accordingly. It's almost like your world view, except everyone's too cheap to go the whole hog. If we build a space station as part of international cooperation, it should be designed in a more integrated fashion to make the most functional craft, not designed so everyone can be represented in a colour coded diagram.

nauthiz
2009-Aug-04, 06:08 PM
NASA gets control of about half of the research capacity of the Columbus and Kibo modules, and almost all of the research capacity of the Destiny module. They also get first dibs on over 3/4 of crew time and other station resources such as electrity and bandwidth.

All in all, by my back-of-the-envelope calculations based on those figures plus the number of payload racks available on each module, and the cost figures newpapyrus quoted, it looks like NASA's paying ~75% of the price of the ISS and in return it's getting ~75% of the ISS. That seems reasonable to me.

newpapyrus
2009-Aug-04, 06:30 PM
NASA gets control of about half of the research capacity of the Columbus and Kibo modules, and almost all of the research capacity of the Destiny module. They also get first dibs on over 3/4 of crew time and other station resources such as electrity and bandwidth.

All in all, by my back-of-the-envelope calculations based on those figures plus the number of payload racks available on each module, and the cost figures newpapyrus quoted, it looks like NASA's paying ~75% of the price of the ISS and in return it's getting ~75% of the ISS. That seems reasonable to me.

I'd rather have 100% control of an American space station that cost me substantially less money while launching other space stations for the other nations that want them, if they're willing to pay for them.

Nicolas
2009-Aug-04, 07:52 PM
And I'd rather have a Porsche 917 in Gulf colours.

Personal preferences do not make the ISS a white elephant.

nauthiz
2009-Aug-04, 07:54 PM
I'm not sure a 100% American one would end up really being that much cheaper, and I wouldn't be surprised if it would end up being more expensive. The consensus seems to be that much of what made the ISS so expensive is that it was designed around the only heavy lift launch vehicle the USA had at the time, so the designers ended up using many small modules rather than a lot of big ones because they had to be able to fit into the Shuttle's cargo bay. On top of that, we'd either be putting cargo up there using the Shuttle or we'd have to design our own equivalent to the Progress capsules for getting supplies to and from the station; I doubt the added costs associated with either of those options would be negligible.

Also, I really don't think that something like the ISS could be achieved in a cost profile that matches Skylab's. Skylab was made by renovating an existing S-IVB stage and launched on what's basically a Saturn V launcher - ie, they cobbled it together using spare parts left over from the Apollo program. Saturn V is long discontinued and the Space Shuttle and Delta IV's heavy version being the best we have among currently-operational heavy lift vehicles, each with only about 1/3 the mass to LEO capacity of the rocket that was used to launch Skylab. (And the Delta IV Heavy's success rate is currently standing at only 67%.) So the only real option the USA has for getting anything even remotely like Skylab into orbit right now is coming up with a new super-heavy lift vehicle. Ares V is currently scheduled to make its maiden flight in about ten years, so it would be a great idea to look into going back to large modules in whatever replaces the ISS but I'm not sure it was ever a serious option for how to build a new space station any time between 1980 and 2020.

matthewota
2009-Aug-04, 07:57 PM
Remember that Lovell and his contemporaries were military test pilots, not scientists. I would place opinions of space scientists of more importance than a retired test pilot.

Antice
2009-Aug-04, 08:57 PM
whither you go with large modules or small. you still have a lot of assembly to do once it's in orbit. ISS is a lab first and foremost and it's exterior is remarkably crowded with not only the necessities but also long duration exposed experiments. storage of spare parts for exterior station critical components, and probably lots of stuff I'm totally unable to even guess what are used for.

JonClarke
2009-Aug-04, 10:18 PM
But I'd prefer a simple and cheap Skylab-like American space station launched by a SD-HLV.

Skylab was neither simple nor cheap in the context of the times. It was the largest, most complex, and most expensive spacecraft orbited at that time.


I'd prefer a world where there were American space stations, Russian space stations, Chinese space stations, European space stations, Japanese space stations, Indian space stations, etc: nations competitively doing their own thing while we learn from each other.

Objecting to collaborative projects on principle is skirting dangerously close to xenophobia, IMHO. While there is a place for competetive, completmentary and collaborative projects, the reality is that really big science projects, be they telescopes, particle accelerators, fusion test beds, space stations, deep space probles, or ocean drilling, are nearly all collaborative projects. Get used to it. Or do you object to the Magellan telescope, ODP, and Cassini because they are collaborative?

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Aug-04, 10:25 PM
I'd rather have 100% control of an American space station that cost me substantially less money while launching other space stations for the other nations that want them, if they're willing to pay for them.

So it is a control thing for you? This is looking even more like xenophobia - its all the fault of those untrustworthy foreigners.

How do you know a 100% US station offering the same capability would be cheaper? The US could have built a cheaper station, but it would be substantially less capable since capability is roughly proportionally equivalent to cost. A US station with the same capability would be substantially more expensive as the US would have to supply from scratch those items that other ISS partners supply either off the shelf or develop at their own expense.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Aug-04, 10:40 PM
Skylab was not cheap. It cost 8 billion to build and launch and another 2 billion to visit. In current terms that is at least 45 billion. And Skylab was only a 5th the size of the ISS in most respects.

Jon

Glom
2009-Aug-04, 11:18 PM
So it is a control thing for you? This is looking even more like xenophobia - its all the fault of those untrustworthy foreigners.

How do you know a 100% US station offering the same capability would be cheaper? The US could have built a cheaper station, but it would be substantially less capable since capability is roughly proportionally equivalent to cost. A US station with the same capability would be substantially more expensive as the US would have to supply from scratch those items that other ISS partners supply either off the shelf or develop at their own expense.

Jon

It can very much be suggested that the design of the station is not optimised due to its need to have two main halves that must be linked together and the fact that the inventory of modules is heavily influenced by flag flying rather than their functional contribution to the whole. These are things that may increase the total cost of ISS relative to its capabilities than if the US had decided to build the whole thing on its own.

However, as pointed out above, the choice of LV has heavily influenced the cost (not to mention losing said LV for 2½ years) and that is not something that would have changed without international contribution.

JonClarke
2009-Aug-05, 08:23 AM
It can very much be suggested that the design of the station is not optimised due to its need to have two main halves that must be linked together...

I think this is a valid point, two examples that come to mind are the fact the the US segment sterilises its water with iodine and the Russian segment with silver, and mission controls in Houston and Moscow. At least there does not need to be an airlock, as with ATP. By contrast a completely new collaborative project would probably have compatible systems across the board and a unified mission control in (say) Lisbon. But this complexity is the inevitable consequence of using heritage technology (from abortive US stations projects and Mir 2., something that reduces the overal cost. And of course without the use of heritage items and a collaborative station there would probably would not have been a station at all.


and the fact that the inventory of modules is heavily influenced by flag flying rather than their functional contribution to the whole.

Do you have an example?

Jon

djellison
2009-Aug-05, 08:40 AM
Just worth noting - the US has access to about 50% of the Kibo and Columbus modules in exchange for launching them.

Warren Platts
2009-Aug-05, 03:17 PM
Skylab was not cheap. It cost 8 billion to build and launch and another 2 billion to visit. In current terms that is at least 45 billion. And Skylab was only a 5th the size of the ISS in most respects.

Jon

It didn't cost nearly that much. According to this nytimes.com article, Skylab cost $10.8 billion in 2003 USD. Which is about ~$12 billion in 2007 USD.

Remembering Skylab: The Space Station's Frugal Great Uncle (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/13/science/remembering-skylab-the-space-station-s-frugal-great-uncle.html)

That "5th of the size" doesn't include living space: Skylab had 80% of the living space as the ISS.

Moreover, it's not "xenophobic" to question the utility of international cooperation. Such cooperation is not necessarily an unmitigated good. The whole Georgia thing showed that international cooperation is not all peaches 'n' cream; besides Georgia, we're also technically not supposed to do business with the Russians because of the INKSA (Iran-North Korea non-proliferation law). Congress granted a NASA a specific waiver. I'm not sure if it has been renewed yet. Personally, I recommended boycotting the ISS because of Georgia. And it almost came down to that--remember NASA Administrator Griffin's memo, and Senator McCain's letter? You wouldn't draw the line there obviously, but hypothetically where would you? An invasion of Ukraine? Poland? Cutting off natural gas supplies to Europe in the middle of winter? Shooting down an unarmed airliner carrying a US congressman? Arming the Taliban in Afghanistan? The sinking of a US ship bringing supplies to Georgia?

Other problems with cooperation also ensue: for one thing, international agreements reduce flexibility. We often find ourselves unable to adjust on the fly because of previous committments that may not now seem to be very advisable. Related to this is the degradation of capability that can come from dependence on others. The fact that the US does not have an alternate manned LV at this time is largely because of the ISS. Xenophobia has nothing to do with any of these reasons.

nauthiz
2009-Aug-05, 03:52 PM
That "5th of the size" doesn't include living space: Skylab had 80% of the living space as the ISS.

That's one of the few places where Skylab compares favorably to the International Space Station, and even then it depends on how you're looking at it.

The ISS would have a lot more living space if less of it had been devoted to scientific payloads and the extra life support and logistics equipment needed to support continuous habitation. Personally, I think not doing that was a great decision. Any living space above and beyond what's necessary for the crew's comfort would be a waste. I see a bit of a contradiction between criticizing the ISS for not producing enough bang for the buck from a utilitarian perspective, and then move on to the particularity of criticizing the decision to devote as much space as possible to utilitarian purposes and scientific payload rather than turning the ISS into a $bignum_billion vacation home for astronauts.

Glom
2009-Aug-05, 03:55 PM
ISS may help in cases like Georgia. Someone has hostages! Not sure who though, but someone.

newpapyrus
2009-Aug-05, 10:02 PM
So it is a control thing for you? This is looking even more like xenophobia - its all the fault of those untrustworthy foreigners.

How do you know a 100% US station offering the same capability would be cheaper? The US could have built a cheaper station, but it would be substantially less capable since capability is roughly proportionally equivalent to cost. A US station with the same capability would be substantially more expensive as the US would have to supply from scratch those items that other ISS partners supply either off the shelf or develop at their own expense.

Jon

How is it a control thing if I'm advocating that other space faring nations should be able to do their own thing with their own funds? Diversity is a good thing, IMO. And when nations begin to set up their own individual space stations and colonies on the lunar surface, it might be nice for an American to visit a Chinese or a Russian or a European or a Japanese space station or Moon base to see how they do things-- and to taste the local cuisine!

Antice
2009-Aug-06, 04:49 AM
you are forgetting that there are very few nations that have the funds and launcher technology to build a space station at all.

nauthiz
2009-Aug-06, 06:19 AM
Until the maiden flight of the latest variant of the ESA's Ariane 5 in early 2008, the only space agencies that had heavy lift capability were Roscosmos and NASA. But the ESA doesn't have any capability for putting humans up there.

China can put people up there, but nothing for launching station modules yet - the Long March rockets they used for Shenzhou are about midway between the Delta II used for Gemini and the Saturn IB used for some of the Apollo test flights and for getting crews to Skylab. It doesn't even have half the lifting capacity that would be necessary to put something like Salyut 1 in orbit.

newpapyrus
2009-Aug-06, 06:30 AM
you are forgetting that there are very few nations that have the funds and launcher technology to build a space station at all.

If a country as poor as Russia can launch its own space station then I think communities as wealthy as Europe or Japan or China should be wealthy enough to launch there own space stations.

JonClarke
2009-Aug-06, 10:53 AM
It didn't cost nearly that much. According to this nytimes.com article, Skylab cost $10.8 billion in 2003 USD. Which is about ~$12 billion in 2007 USD.

Remembering Skylab: The Space Station's Frugal Great Uncle (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/13/science/remembering-skylab-the-space-station-s-frugal-great-uncle.html)

I went back and rechecked it, the source I had was rather confusing, but eventually I worked it out as saying 9 billion in 1994 $$$. A NASA source gives the cost as $2.6 billion in contemporary $$, which is about $12.5 today - my apologies.


That "5th of the size" doesn't include living space: Skylab had 80% of the living space as the ISS.

When complete the ISS will have just over 600 cubic m of volume (not counting docked spacecrafrt), Skylab had less than 300. The ISS will have more than twice the volume, which is what you would expect with twice the crew.


Moreover, it's not "xenophobic" to question the utility of international cooperation.

Not at all. But when the international aspect of the ISS is repatedly the the first thing blamed for the cost (without any evidence) then I do suspect xenophobia may be a factor in some cases. But discussing this further is (quite rightly) beyond the rules of this board, so I won't.


Other problems with cooperation also ensue: for one thing, international agreements reduce flexibility. We often find ourselves unable to adjust on the fly because of previous committments that may not now seem to be very advisable. Related to this is the degradation of capability that can come from dependence on others. The fact that the US does not have an alternate manned LV at this time is largely because of the ISS.

On the contrary, cooperation has increased flexibility and options. Without cooperation there would have been no space station. Without the flexibility of having both Soyuz and the Shuttle for access and resupply a US space station would have been lost post Columbia and possibly the crew stranded. And locking countries into projects is a good thing, it stiffens resolve that might otherwise waver because of short term trivialities.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Aug-06, 10:57 AM
How is it a control thing if I'm advocating that other space faring nations should be able to do their own thing with their own funds? Diversity is a good thing, IMO. And when nations begin to set up their own individual space stations and colonies on the lunar surface, it might be nice for an American to visit a Chinese or a Russian or a European or a Japanese space station or Moon base to see how they do things-- and to taste the local cuisine!

You were the one who said you would rather 100% US control.

As for the rest, I agree. Antarctica is a good model for collaboration, coordination and complementarity of independent national activities.

Jon

JonClarke
2009-Aug-06, 11:00 AM
Until the maiden flight of the latest variant of the ESA's Ariane 5 in early 2008, the only space agencies that had heavy lift capability were Roscosmos and NASA. But the ESA doesn't have any capability for putting humans up there.

China can put people up there, but nothing for launching station modules yet - the Long March rockets they used for Shenzhou are about midway between the Delta II used for Gemini and the Saturn IB used for some of the Apollo test flights and for getting crews to Skylab. It doesn't even have half the lifting capacity that would be necessary to put something like Salyut 1 in orbit.

But they will hopefully be launching Tiangong next year, which is like a very small Salyut on about a third the mass and a quarter the volume.

Jon

Swift
2009-Aug-06, 12:55 PM
<snip>
The whole Georgia thing showed that international cooperation is not all peaches 'n' cream; besides Georgia, we're also technically not supposed to do business with the Russians because of the INKSA (Iran-North Korea non-proliferation law).
...
You wouldn't draw the line there obviously, but hypothetically where would you? An invasion of Ukraine? Poland? Cutting off natural gas supplies to Europe in the middle of winter? Shooting down an unarmed airliner carrying a US congressman? Arming the Taliban in Afghanistan? The sinking of a US ship bringing supplies to Georgia?


ISS may help in cases like Georgia. Someone has hostages! Not sure who though, but someone.
Though politics as it relates to space exploration is an allowed topic, these posts are crossing the line. You want to talk about international cooperation in space, either pro or con, fine. But let's keep invasions out of the discussion.

I am not making a warning at any specific person at this time, but further discussion along these lines may lead to the closing of this thread, suspensions, or other moderator actions.

Warren Platts
2009-Aug-09, 02:20 PM
Though politics as it relates to space exploration is an allowed topic, these posts are crossing the line. You want to talk about international cooperation in space, either pro or con, fine. But let's keep invasions out of the discussion.

I am not making a warning at any specific person at this time, but further discussion along these lines may lead to the closing of this thread, suspensions, or other moderator actions.

You should have said something to Fraser:

Could Conflict in Georgia Block US Access to the Space Station? (http://www.bautforum.com/universe-today-story-comments/77727-could-conflict-georgia-block-us-access-space-station.html) ;)

Swift
2009-Aug-09, 06:14 PM
You should have said something to Fraser:

Could Conflict in Georgia Block US Access to the Space Station? (http://www.bautforum.com/universe-today-story-comments/77727-could-conflict-georgia-block-us-access-space-station.html) ;)
Fraser is one of the owners of this site and so can do as he pleases, and that was from the UT blog anyway - it links to BAUT but is seperate.

And if you question my moderation in thread again, with or without a smilie, you will be suspended. Consider this a serious warning.

matthewota
2009-Aug-13, 01:42 AM
Getting back to civil discussion, I think international cooperation has been beneficial to NASA. The Cassini program survived (just barely) cancellation at one point because of the fact that the ESA had been brought into the program and Congress realized how important it was to honor commitments with international partners.

I think the ISS would have been outright cancelled by Congress if the other countries had not been brought into the program.

Instead of canceling the ISS, Congress cancelled the supercollider that was being built in Texas. Big science takes big bucks.

Let's not knock the ISS, it has only recently increased its crew size to the point where meaningful research can be done. The Kibo and Columbus labs have only recently been added. Only the future will tell how well the completed ISS will contribute to space science.

Glom
2009-Aug-13, 07:12 AM
Getting back to civil discussion, I think international cooperation has been beneficial to NASA. The Cassini program survived (just barely) cancellation at one point because of the fact that the ESA had been brought into the program and Congress realized how important it was to honor commitments with international partners.

I think the ISS would have been outright cancelled by Congress if the other countries had not been brought into the program.

Instead of canceling the ISS, Congress cancelled the supercollider that was being built in Texas. Big science takes big bucks.

Let's not knock the ISS, it has only recently increased its crew size to the point where meaningful research can be done. The Kibo and Columbus labs have only recently been added. Only the future will tell how well the completed ISS will contribute to space science.

Based on what is going on in the other thread, we may need to cherish ISS. It's probably all we're going to get.

samkent
2009-Aug-13, 11:24 AM
Cassini would have had plenty of money if we ahd not been involved with shuttle/ISS.

I'm still waiting for the big break through with all of this 'meaningful research'.

Nicolas
2009-Aug-13, 11:47 AM
Did anyone guarantee you a "big break through" coming from ISS?

samkent
2009-Aug-13, 06:59 PM
But was it worth 100 billion? Think of all the probes we could have sent.

Nicolas
2009-Aug-13, 07:13 PM
Are these probes worth their money more than ISS? How many big break throughs would have come from that?

Also, what is a big break through is in the eye of the beholder. Methane lakes on Titan may seem a break through for some people, yet for others a better understanding of bone growth (ISS research) is orders of magnitude more relevant than methane on a faraway moon where it's -180°C.

nauthiz
2009-Aug-13, 10:05 PM
Agreed. Comparing ISS science payloads to space probe science payloads is almost like comparing apples to asphalt.

irish
2009-Aug-13, 11:42 PM
He didn't. He said its 'almost' a white elephant, until it can provide returns on investment.

The ISS is a fine space station. However, NASA and the other partners in the ISS have, all the time it has been up there, lacked the funds and the vision to make good use of a space station.

Like the shuttle, I think the ISS is perfectly good hardware, that is being derided as useless hardware because nobody has been willing to get the most out of it. Its like having a powerful desktop computer, only ever using it to go on the internet, and then saying its no better than a netbook.

Well said

naelphin
2009-Aug-14, 07:23 AM
The ISS is not a "white elephant". It has served its purpose of employing all the thousands of shuttle workers admirably by giving an excuse of building the ISS. It is a great success in this, its primary goal.

Nicolas
2009-Aug-14, 08:58 AM
If that truly were its primary goal, why would countries other than the USA have ever participated?

danscope
2009-Aug-15, 02:16 AM
Why do people buy a porsche for themselves while their children need their teeth fixed ?

Glom
2009-Aug-15, 06:29 AM
Why do people buy a porsche for themselves while their children need their teeth fixed ?

Option 1: Buy a Porsche. Use it attract a buxom blonde. Conceive more children with her who may not have buck teeth.

Option 2: Get your kid braces. Put up with their moaning for a year. Don't get any.

It makes sense really. :whistle: