Alberchico From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 2776 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1473 times:
Contrary to what the goverment says, the shuttle will most likely NOT be retired by 2010. A new administration could have have different plans for the Space Shuttle programme. Besides it would be a international disaster if the shuttle stopped flying before all the ISS countries finished building the station.
The Russians could provide heavy lift solutions if indeed the shuttle is retired early
SATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1457 times:
Quoting Alberchico (Reply 1): Contrary to what the goverment says, the shuttle will most likely NOT be retired by 2010.
Can you substantiate that somehow? Pretty easy to make a statement like that, quite another to make it happen. A new administration comes in when? Jan 2009? That would leave 8 months for the new administration to find the dough to keep things running....
FYI: Wayne Hale just said Atlantis processing is continuing for a September launch. The decision to stand down Atlantis may come on Sunday.
Cloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1452 times:
Quoting Alberchico (Reply 1): The Russians could provide heavy lift solutions if indeed the shuttle is retired early
Not so. Many components are designed to be launched by the shuttle and only the shuttle. If the shuttle goes, these components would need to be launched by a newly-designed launch vehicle. None of the presently available options would work. This was a moronic decision, but at the time it was made it was assumed that the shuttle could fly on more or less indefinitely. NASA wanted to keep its shuttle empire going, to avoid the risk of doing new things and to keep everyone saftly employed. Making the ISS utterly dependent on the Shuttle was one way to do that.
DfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 850 posts, RR: 51 Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 1422 times:
>> TedTAce Thread Start >> Obviously with SOME estimates putting off the next ISS visit beyond this year they are tyring to make the most of the current STS visit and expand the trip by another day..
STS-114 and the next mission (-121) are purely logistic flights. The station is low on potable water and some critical systems (namely guidance) are in need of repair supplies. Just being docked with the Shuttle helps the water situation as Discovery is currently pumping the station water that would otherwise have been thrown overboard.
These missions are important to getting the ISS back on its feet, but pushing -121 back a few months won't interrupt the construction to any degree that it hasn't already been upset...
>>Alberchico Reply 1>> Contrary to what the goverment says, the shuttle will most likely NOT be retired by 2010
Not trying to sound high and mighty here, but I seriously disagree. I spent a month of my summer co-oping at JSC, and all the lunch-time discussions I had with design and definition people indicate NASA is not only looking past the Shuttle but eager for a new vehicle. NASA isn't far from soliciting the final details for the CEV bids they will accept.
NASA never had great love for the Shuttle. They got strong-armed into a vehicle with too much capability by the Air Force, they never were able to ramp-up to the economics they wanted, they were never able to create Shuttle derivatives (Shuttle-C), and they had to wait 15 years to finally fly the missions the shuttle was built to fly.
The Shuttle was built for orbital construction. Prior to program delays, the Shuttle was planned to rendezvous with Skylab and help prolong the life of the station. It was described as a "space truck," and early in the 80s (with Regan in office), it was expected that construction of a modular space station would begin before the end of the 80s.
Throw in the Challenger disaster, a tremendous military build-up, the end of the Cold War, and a few changes in administration, and it's no wonder it took so long to get the Shuttle to its true mission. At this point, NASA simply wants to finish ISS and send the orbiters to a museum.
>>Alberchico Reply 1>> The Russians could provide heavy lift solutions if indeed the shuttle is retired early
Alberchico, you're forgetting that the ISS is dependant on the Shuttle for one critical item: water.
The Shuttle fuel cells produce excess water, so the Shuttle fills-up the ISS tanks when it's docked. Until the MPLM, ATV, or HTV supercede Progress vehicles, it isn't reasonable to dedicate a heavy-lift flight to water resupply. For the time being, the ISS needs the Shuttle.
>>TedTAce Reply 5>> oh yeah the Russians.. they were only how many years late in delivering the keystone module the 'made' the ISS the ISS?
A module that also required an additional (and unplanned) cash infusion by the U.S.A. to get off the ground. At one point, the Air Force was considering modifying a Minuteman III to keep the FCB/Node1 in orbit since Russia was so far behind on the SM.
>>Cloudy Reply 3>> Many components are designed to be launched by the shuttle and only the shuttle. This was a moronic decision, but at the time it was made it was assumed that the shuttle could fly on more or less indefinitely.
What's moronic about launching the payload concurrent with the crew necessary to install it?
Even if the ISS partners had opted for fully automated docking of modules, people are needed at some point to connect interior and exterior piping, wiring, and connectors.
More to the point, automated docking is virtually impossible at the mid/end stages of ISS construction because of how delicately tight the ISS modules are. For the instillation of Truss Segment P1, the Shuttle arm had to lift the truss out of the payload bay, "hand it off" to the Station arm, then maneuver it into position. Imagine later when there are twice as many modules in the way.
The Shuttle is the only vehicle that can lift both payload and crew, in addition to assisting in construction roles via the Canadian Arm.
>>Cloudy Reply 3>> NASA wanted to keep its shuttle empire going, to avoid the risk of doing new things and to keep everyone saftly employed.
Now that is exquisite bullshit. You haven't the slightest clue of NASA's mission or culture. NASA has been at the mercy of the ebb and flow of Congress and the White House since LBJ. The Shuttle/ISS consist of 25% of NASA's budget, itself consisting of .0016% of the U.S. budget. Some empire, eh? Keeping people "safely employed?" NASA has been more efficient with employees than the Forrest, Postal, or Amtrak service could ever hope to achieve.
It is insulting as a member of the NASA community to be talked down upon by someone who thinks so little at what we do with so little. And people say Rutan knows how to "value budget?" Whatever.
As I left my co-op with NASA, we had a great keynote speech from the Director of JSC. It went something like this:
"In my time at NASA, I have witnessed an unfortunate trend to portray our community as fatally flawed. We have never been down, but we have never been allowed to spread our wings. Look through the hype: the truth often lies in the middle."
But why not just bash a jewel of American and human history? It's so easy, and just an unfortunate sign of the times...
Cloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 1407 times:
Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6): Now that is exquisite bullshit. You haven't the slightest clue of NASA's mission or culture. NASA has been at the mercy of the ebb and flow of Congress and the White House since LBJ. The Shuttle/ISS consist of 25% of NASA's budget, itself consisting of .0016% of the U.S. budget. Some empire, eh? Keeping people "safely employed?" NASA has been more efficient with employees than the Forrest, Postal, or Amtrak service could ever hope to achieve.
My apologies. I was speaking only of NASA's manned space program. I should have made that clear. And I do sympathize with some of what you say about easy critisism. But the informed customer(and I am a customer, as a taxpayer) can find a heck of a lot of things wrong with NASA's manned program. As I see it, its main problem is that it has little competition and has to much political influence, from both inside and out.
I KNOW NASA's mission lives on in its unmanned space program. The media's obsession with the loss of the mars probes was pure BS. We were doing new things new ways. There is no way to do that without making a lot of mistakes. Even so, our losses for the "better, faster, cheaper" approach were less then before counted either by the percent of missions lost or by the dollars lost planning those missions. These guys, as well as the aeronautical research centers now on the chopping block, are top notch. They have a lot of competition from the Europeans and from non-NASA labs, so they keep on their toes.
Nasa has great frontline engineers even in the manned program. They have incredible expertise. It is AMAZING that the shuttle succeeded as much as it did. Building the shuttle was like building a lead canoe. It was a great achievement getting it to work, and even be somewhat useful. But, like a lead canoe, the shuttle was a bad idea as an operational vehicle. And I don't see anything wrong with blaming NASA for keeping it around for so long.
If you think a billion dollars plus a year is little, I'd like to see what someone like Rutan could do with it. Manned space flight is only part of NASA, but it is the part I was speaking of. Yes, the shuttle is controlled by a bureaucratic empire. That is why it was never an economic satellite launcher as originally promised. It needs many people to tend to it, because it is such an operationally fragile vehicle. You are right in that this is not all the fault of NASA. The defense department had a role in trying to make the shuttle all things for all people - a fatal thing to do when building something with as tight tolerances as a reusable spacecraft. Every attempt to replace the shuttle, from the NASP to the Venture Star, has utterly failed.
I can't see how NASA's top manned spaceflight managers can avoid at least some of the blame for this. It is easier to live in a bureaucratic empire than it is to truly do new things. This need not be a concious attitude. It is just that people are most comfortable with no change and less stress - and this preference subtly affects their decisions. This is especially true with managers in a government agency, when there is no real competition, such as in NASA's human spaceflight activities. The engineers involved are brilliant. At least I am trying to believe this is so. Butdoes this mean even they are immune from human nature? Human nature dictates that such organizations ossify and resist new ideas.
It is easy to blame lack of funding for this but is NASA's funding for manned spaceflight truly that low? The reason it was high in the Apollo days was because of the need to build new infrastructure and technology. Now we have the infrastructure built and much better tech. We should be able to do the same and much more even with less money. Claiming a lower percentage of the federal buget is a cop out. The economy and taxpaying population has grown since the 60's. The same % of the budget buys a lot more now than it used to. We should be able to do more with a much lower percentage of the federal budget - even assuming no technological progress, and even assuming we needed to build all the infrastructure from scratch.
Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6): In my time at NASA, I have witnessed an unfortunate trend to portray our community as fatally flawed. We have never been down, but we have never been allowed to spread our wings. Look through the hype: the truth often lies in the middle
Keith Cowing and others to accuse NASA of being very reluctant to accept ideas from any other source but itself. When I read speeches like these I am inclined to believe him. NASA's manned program does not spread its wings because it has no reason to, not because it is unable to or has been prevented from doing so. When smart people truly want to achieve a goal, they can overcome these obstacles. NASA has no trouble doing things when it has competition. It is only in areas where there is no competition (such as manned space flight) that you see ossification.
Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6): What's moronic about launching the payload concurrent with the crew necessary to install it?
Because large, unpressurized payload and crew have fundamentally different requirements. It only makes sense to launch payload with crew if you have a small, pressurized payload. Otherwise, the vehicle becomes too complicated, heavy and inefficient. This is now universally recognized. Nobody proposes building new vehicles with all the shuttle's capabilities. Work platforms, robotic arms, etc can be launched separately as cargo. Suppose the ISS components designed only for shuttle launch could be launched by other vehicles. Then we could design new orbital platforms, arms etc. to finish assembly. This would be relatively easy considering the experience and hardware we already have. The station is even designed to have robotic arms itself. Now we either have to use the shuttle or build something entirely new that can do the same thing. NASA allowed for the loss of the shuttle in designing the station - but only from a safety point of view. However, they did not consider how the program might go on without the shuttle. This was moronic given what was known about the shuttle even at the time.
NASA made many other bad decisions regarding the space station. Despite warnings from congressman Sensenbrenner and others, NASA put Russia in the critical path for the space station. The space station simply required to many things to go right for it to remain anywhere near on schedule and on budget. Many people pointed this out before the first piece of metal went up, and were ignored. If this is not a major culture problem I don't know what is.
TedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1393 times:
Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 6):
These missions are important to getting the ISS back on its feet, but pushing -121 back a few months won't interrupt the construction to any degree that it hasn't already been upset...
Umm they are also doing resupply too, and that's what I was referring to. If these were "JUST" test flights why is Raffaello on board?
SATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1386 times:
Quoting TedTAce (Reply 8): If these were "JUST" test flights why is Raffaello on board?
What's the point of taking the risk if you don't make maximum use of the capablities of the vehicle? If NASA is going to fly the shuttle (test flight or not) they may as well drag something useful to ISS.
Quoting TedTAce (Reply 8): The Russians are 100% right in their method of KISS.. If they had 'our' money they'd be KICKING our ASS 7 ways to Sunday..
Much as I admire the Russian program -- Let's not forget that Russian efforts to "keep it simple" resulted in at least one SFOG that burned out of control (damned near forced abandonment of Mir as well) and a fairly high failure rate (10-15%) for current production SFOGs. Then we should also look at the unwillingness to train folks properly on TORU that ultimately sent a Progress crashing into and depressurizing the power module on Mir. We could also talk about designing, developing, and building Energia/Buran and only flying it ONCE.
TedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1380 times:
Quoting SATL382G (Reply 9): What's the point of taking the risk if you don't make maximum use of the capablities of the vehicle? If NASA is going to fly the shuttle (test flight or not) they may as well drag something useful to ISS.
I agree, my point was to DFW, that the current and planned "Test" flights have functionality beyond just testing the STS, and that while they are not furthering the construction; the ISS is just short of dependent on the supplies being brought up by these flights.
DfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 850 posts, RR: 51 Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1378 times:
>> I agree, my point was to DFW, that the current and planned "Test" flights have functionality beyond just testing the STS,
Well you're spending $400 million just to launch the orbiter, little wasteful to not stop at the ISS and transfer some much needed supplies in the progress, no? Many aspects of -114 have been dedicated to retriving as much data as possible about vehicle performance. Note the dozens of extra cameras during ascent, the stringent take-off requirements, the "back-flip" manuever when approaching the ISS... NASA didn't get this much test data from STS-1.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12952 posts, RR: 79 Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1374 times:
When a perceived short-fall is US military capabilities is exposed (real or imagined), it is usually blamed on lack of budget, usually by the current administration blaming their predecessors.
So what's good for the Pentagon, is good for NASA surely?
No one believes Apollo era funding levels are required again (in the same way as spending is lower after a conflict than during it), as has been pointed out, a lot of that was about building the infrastructure and technology base that still largely exists today.
NASA has provided a very big technology bang for the (tax) buck, especially during and immediately after Apollo, (you have to laugh at people claiming, incorrectly, that only Teflon was a spin off from Apollo, when they do so on a computer and internet that owes a lot to Apollo pushed rapid microelectronics advances, a vital part of the modern US economy as older industries declined).
Believe me, through good times and not so good, NASA is and remains a very positive symbol of the USA.
Frankly, you could do with some of that right now.
ISS was a political compromise made necessary by the farce that was the 'Freedom' project, which produced enough paper to probably reach into space if you could pile it all up.
Some of that was NASA's fault, but NASA is ultimately a reflection of whatever administration is in office at the time;
JFK/LBJ; Thrusting, money no object, beat the Russians, restore US pride, be new pioneers, big government, JFK's vision, LBJ's posthumous tribute to him.
Glorious, unrepeatable, a victim of it's own success, also a victim of that other JFK/LBJ obsession, as SE Asia escalates out of control, NASA's budget declines faster than expected, making following Apollo increasingly difficult.
Nixon/Ford; not against NASA per se, but the 60's come-down, money tight, will for big technology projects tighter still, big spending, big man-power didn't work in SE Asia, hard to justify as US inner cities decline, environmental issues came to the fore (helped by that photo of Earth from Apollo 8).
Shuttle survives through Pentagon interest, but they'll be a price to pay for that years later.
NASA achievements in this period are virtually all Apollo era afterglow.
Carter; little interest, economic woes continue, VP Mondale has always loathed NASA, he nearly succeeds in getting NASA relegated to part of the Department Of Transport. Shuttle struggles along, slowly.
Reagan; Loves the vision, hates the spending. NASA gets canny with the PR stuff with the Shuttle as the spearhead of this, models of the proposed Space Station in Reagan's office, OMB looks aghast as Reagan gets keen, but they'll soon start eating away at it, Challenger wrecks the PR, gives opponents much ammunition.
Bush 1; Promises, promises, but no political base to realize the rather unrealistic and poorly thought out dreams. NASA is poorly served by it's own administration in this period.
Freedom becomes a near farce, this is when the damn thing should have started, but paper, more paper, to redesign after the latest round of cuts.
Clinton comes in hostile, but cuts a deal to save the whole station project, lucky with late Bush appointee Goldin, but for all Goldin's vision, his much needed skill in articulating it, the money is just not there, Goldin knows Washington too well to try and push too hard for any more.
In the period of anti Government hysteria from the 1994 'GOP revolution' he's probably wise not to. Hell, Gingrich may love movies like Apollo 13, love the Apollo era, but he's fundamentally against the spending or anything like it that realized these.
US unmanned programme revitalization by 'Faster, Better, Cheaper', for now at least.
Bush 2; A disinterested newcomer, puts a Bean Counter in charge of NASA.
Columbia changes everything, a now more engaged Bush at last sets NASA on a proper course, but money, always money, it's not as if NASA is asking for a hike, just enough to allow the new era to start.
Clearly the jury is still out here, Bush reckons he has political capital, if he really cares about NASA and the USA's future in space exploration, (and even this total non fan of him thinks he probably does deep down), now is his chance.
His dad can rightly claim a largely Democrat controlled Congress killed his own outward looking programme, however badly thought out it was.
His son's excuse?
DfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 850 posts, RR: 51 Reply 15, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1349 times:
>> That's a BIG generalization........
As is saying NASA wants nothing more than to perpetuate a "Shuttle Empire"
Like I said, the truth lies in the middle: NASA has embraced the Shuttle because it's all they had. They were always looking for safer, more economical, more efficent means for space exploration (including some concepts that were extremly promising: SLI) but had to live with the vehicle they had.