View Full Version : Coping With the Closing - a very good article

2009-Aug-24, 04:52 PM
Just found this here:


Very accurate and very true.

2009-Aug-24, 06:31 PM
I agree. the author of that article pretty well hit the spot on how a lot of us feel about space. being a foreigner i have no problem as seeing the closure of the apollo program as nothing more than a expedient way to get rid of an expense that was hard to justify to anyone but the minority we the space enthusiasts represent.
If we want the status quo to change we have to pull together. if one government either will or cannot do what we want then we have to find some other government or entity willing to help out.
It's a hard path to walk and it's fraught with disapointement. but just maybe. one day we might see our children get to the stars we were denied.

2009-Aug-24, 07:05 PM
Exactly. I hope our children will go, if not us.

But I have a strange feeling that our children may probably not see people walking on Mars ... A manned mission to Mars is always 20 years in the future... and a human return to the moon is always 15 years in the future as well.

mike alexander
2009-Aug-24, 07:36 PM
Hey, be optimistic! Practical fusion power is always FIFTY years in the future!

2009-Aug-24, 08:59 PM
I swear, is there no optimism on this sub-forum anymore...

2009-Aug-24, 09:21 PM
I see no reason to be optimistic. That's true.

2009-Aug-24, 10:06 PM

Private ventures are either tied to national budget or moving at snail pace or both.

NASA is stuck in the mud with Constellation being challenged daily by lobbyists with paper proposals hoping to come home with a chunk of juicy money and in the meantime the country is in the middle of an economic downturn that makes politicians and the people who vote them question every cent that goes towards space exploration.

Private capital is getting nowhere and public money is getting nowhere.

Right now the brightest spot are unmanned missions (hubble, mars rovers, cassini, etc) and there aren't that many of them out there neither and even some like the MSL get delayed.

Oh yeah, the ISS is floating up there. For all we know it might be doing some kind of good but we aren't being told about it. Research on closed ecosystems is being carried down here while the ISS swallows money every day.

I'd like to be optimistic, seriously, I'd like to. Then I watch TW@N and listen to the upbeat narrator talking enthusiasly about how the staff has succesfully moved the photocopier two inches and is progressing nicely along the milestones set in order to complete the "office rearrangement project".

2009-Aug-24, 11:19 PM
The robots will kill us before we get out here again.

Hows that for optimism?

2009-Aug-25, 01:59 AM
I find this very sad:

“Sometimes it seems that Apollo came before its time,” wrote Cernan. “President Kennedy reached far into the twenty-first century, grabbed a decade of time and slipped it neatly into the 1960s and 1970s.”

We humans have often (usually?) had early first starts in technology throughout our history, sometimes centuries before their time (DaVinci's parachute). Usually these ideas were little more than concepts, curiosities, and the parlor tricks used by the smart to entertain nobility. Occasionally they resulted in useful tools of technology, such as water-wheel driven pumps used for irrigation.

Rarely, however, have these technological breakthroughs been the result of the work of thousands, as was the case with NASA's efforts in space.

Is it drawing to an end? Will the tide of disinterested humanity turn against the use of funds for manned space flight?

I certainly hope not!

Yet the days I spent dreaming of the giant human habitations envisioned by the likes of O'Neil are long gone, replaced by a more sober understanding that economics nearly always changes in ways that what's really desired is only barely within reach, the result of simply free enterprise supply and demand.

Yet perhaps we want too much. I can afford Internet access because I let go of the idea of having a 4WD truck. I can afford to fly my son for visits because I let go of the idea of a larger apartment. And I can afford very tasty beef stroganoff because I buy $2 beef, not $8 beef.

But "resignation"? You mean, give up???

No way!

I'll forever to continue to fight for less expensive ways for us to retain our manned spacelift capability (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/92353-direct-proposal-discussion.html), not because I am enamored with the promises of its many benefits, but because I believe, even fear, that if we let go now, we may never recover. The cost of regaining that edge, of establishing manufacturing plants, of redesigning all the tooling, of ramping up production, is perhaps more expensive than merely maintaining our edge. It may just appear way to high, or the benefits too "been there, done that" to justify the effort and the expense.

If we allow that edge to dull, we might be able to convince ourself that we'll get back there in a decade. We may even begin socking those funds away for the day when we plan to return to space.

But will we? I don't think so. Those funds would be too enticing to ignore, too likely to be used to bolster up one government program or another, be bled off in some war, or grabbed for another economic bailout.

Therefore, I believe we must, we absolutely must find a way to maintain our edge, to build manned spacelift for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, cheaply, effectively, and safely.

If we don't, I believe I'll spend one Christmas morning, around 2045, telling my great-grandkids about how I watched an Apollo Moon Rocket lift off from the Kennedy Space Center with a thunderous roar that could be heard twenty miles away, only to see disbelief in their faces as the giggle because "everyone knows" it's too difficult for mankind to go into space, much less to the Moon.


2009-Aug-25, 08:38 AM
There are ways of doing this that do not entail NASA building any more rockets at all. adopt an architecture that alows smaller launchers to work at their greater economy of scale. once the amounts going up is big enough private companies will build bigger rockets just because the demand is there.
There is no need for Ares nor Direct. These concepts will always be doomed to have only a few launches because they are built for a very specific task.

If governments instead spendt all it's money on actually building stuff up there rather than building more rocket's we'd be a lot further along.

2009-Aug-25, 12:03 PM
I see no reason to be optimistic. That's true.

I see plenty to be cheerful about - The ISS is almost completed, more nations are launching satellites and putting people into space than ever, the space sector is growing, space tourism is starting up, we have sent probes to every planet in the solar system and more are on the way.

2009-Aug-25, 12:19 PM
Ah thanks. i needed some optimism now. We have the Cots program as well. comercial space is going to hapen soon. Let's hope bigelow get's his hotel up soon.

2009-Aug-25, 12:58 PM
Ah thanks. i needed some optimism now. We have the Cots program as well. comercial space is going to hapen soon. Let's hope bigelow get's his hotel up soon.

Bigelow's first hotel module is supposed to be launched in 2011 aboard a Falcon 9 (a rocket which has yet to leave the ground, by the way). We do know they are still building the thing (codename Sundancer) which is... good news but they desesperately need cheaper means to bring people and supplies up there. Considering the testing period and Bigelow's plans to launch another module before opening the resort, we are easily into 2012-2015 before it's operational.

Since they are using Falcon 9's to put the thing in orbit (supposing SpaceX delivers) it's not too far-fetched they'll consider Dragon as their transport, but Dragon is still in development and it's also hinges on the success of Falcon 9.

SpaceX is expected to finish qualifying Falcon 9 by November... if Falcon 9 doesn't work we're back to square one.

Anyways if you are interested on this have a look over the nasa spaceflight forums, they follow these private endeavours quite close.

2009-Aug-25, 04:57 PM
more nations are launching satellites and putting people into space than ever

I don't see how that's positive considering the vast amount of junk that's being left there. They don't calculate the Total Cost in this venture which should include disposal.

I'll just quote the late great Douglas Adams

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.