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PPVRA
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Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:04 pm

"In this passionate talk, legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan lambastes the US government-funded space program for stagnating: "Houston, we have a problem. We're entering a second generation of no progress." He calls for entrepreneurs to lead the next wave of space exploration, funding new crafts, new (manned) missions, and entirely new approaches to space exploration."

Watch the video:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/4

It's a little old, about a year, but very interesting.

Should NASA be done away with and let entrepeneaurs take over?
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L-188
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:21 pm



Quoting PPVRA (Thread starter):
Should NASA be done away with and let entrepeneaurs take over?

I don't think it needs to go away, but NASA is purely a research arm-A highly politicalized one.

Now is the time for space to go to the entrepeneaurs.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:35 pm



Quoting PPVRA (Thread starter):
"In this passionate talk, legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan lambastes the US government-funded space program for stagnating:

Burt Rutan is a very accomplished engineer, but he shoots his mouth off a little too often. I believe he took his X-Prize victory as permission to talk down to the most accomplished space agency ever.  Yeah sure

It's utterly ridiculous to the Shuttle, ISS, and eventually Constellation eras "stagnation"

Quoting PPVRA (Thread starter):
He calls for entrepreneurs to lead the next wave of space exploration, funding new crafts, new (manned) missions, and entirely new approaches to space exploration."

Which is laugable because there is no money to be made in space exploration. Space exploration is an investment in culture and civilization, not commerce. Entrepreneurs want ROI and won't go near the bleeding-edge where NASA spends their time.

The only real money to be made is in space tourism and the commercial satellite market, neither of which are roles of NASA.

Quoting PPVRA (Thread starter):
Should NASA be done away with and let entrepeneaurs take over?

Absolutely not. NASA and private industry exist for two very different reasons.

IMO, NASA should find ways to utilize the capabilities being developed by firms like SpaceX, Bigelow, etc to reduce their in-house costs and foster new industry, but that's a far cry from doing away with NASA. For example, NASA could cancel development of the Ares V booster and instead put out a standing offer to buy fuel at $X per 1,000 kg to whoever can reach a fuel depot that NASA specifies. NASA could cancel development of the Ares I and contract out launch service to ULA or whoever would be willing to develop a vehicle with ~25,000 kg to LEO capability. NASA could work on an "ISS 2" that consist of a core service modules with inflatable Bigelow modules providing the majority of the volume.

Ultimately, NASA could do things better, but they are not doing things flat wrong.
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michlis
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:39 pm



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 2):
Which is laugable because there is no money to be made in space exploration. Space exploration is an investment in culture and civilization, not commerce.

Says who?

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 2):
Entrepreneurs want ROI and won't go near the bleeding-edge where NASA spends their time.

If the potential for profit is there they might.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.
 
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moo
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:43 pm



Quoting PPVRA (Thread starter):
Should NASA be done away with and let entrepeneaurs take over?

No - the only way it could be done by business alone is if its profitable, which means pure science missions wouldn't ever happen. Say goodbye to everything other than putting satellites into orbit.

That includes Hubble, the Mars rovers, manned spaceflight pretty much all together, Gravity Probe B, the Voyager missions .... should I go on?
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:59 pm



Quoting Michlis (Reply 3):
Says who? If the potential for profit is there they might.

..... anyone who realizes the nature of NASA's work
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Flighty
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:40 am



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 2):
permission to talk down to the most accomplished space agency ever.

In some respects, Rutan has personally out-performed NASA. That remarkable fact bears some reflection.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 2):
It's utterly ridiculous to the Shuttle, ISS, and eventually Constellation eras "stagnation"

Is it? Details are new, but ISS is hardly cutting edge tech. It was blueprinted decades ago. We knew we could build it, we did so, and it's done. It's living history, more than active science.

If Rutan were running NASA the last 20 years, and I mean running it under his personal control, we'd be on Mars today. No more silly Shuttle from the early 1980s. Who said it's acceptable to run design-flawed 30 year old machinery? It's complacency at its worst.

Recently, NASA said they plan to arrive on Mars by 2037. 30 years from today!! And they made it to the moon in only 8 years, 40 years ago. That's what I call stagnation, at best.

Rutan is a unique and special person. He alone among people is qualified to judge NASA on its innovation in the last 20 years. And face it, 1987-2007 have few notable space achievements. Mars Pathfinder and Hubble were great, but not 20 years of NASA great. They were sensor missions, an important prelude to the adventures of the future.

Rutan is a guy who sees a goal, decides if it is possible to achieve it, and does it in 5 years. We could be on Mars in 5 to 7 years if we got our slide rules out and decided to do it. Rutan, with his natural instincts, could lead such an effort. Without somebody like him, of course, it will take 25 extra years of bureaucrat delay-time.

But we'll still make it, maybe as an accessory to the Chinese Mars mission which will doubtless take place long before 2037. Maybe, just maybe, they will let an American ride shotgun, or in the back somewhere, and watch the red flag go up on the Martian surface.
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:56 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
In some respects, Rutan has personally out-performed NASA. That remarkable fact bears some reflection.

Is that so? I don't see him walking on the moon, performing orbital docking, or even going into orbit. Next!

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
Is it? Details are new, but ISS is hardly cutting edge tech. It was blueprinted decades ago. We knew we could build it, we did so, and it's done. It's living history, more than active science.

If it's really that easy, how come Burty boy hasn't done it yet?  Yeah sure

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
If Rutan were running NASA the last 20 years, and I mean running it under his personal control, we'd be on Mars today. No more silly Shuttle from the early 1980s. Who said it's acceptable to run design-flawed 30 year old machinery? It's complacency at its worst.

Uh-huh, sure we would...

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
Recently, NASA said they plan to arrive on Mars by 2037. 30 years from today!! And they made it to the moon in only 8 years, 40 years ago. That's what I call stagnation, at best.

Moon and Mars are two different ballparks chief. What, three days to the moon...with current tech the time to reach Mars on a one way trip is measured in months and years. Distances are huge. Mars has an atmosphere. Stagnation my ass.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
Rutan is a unique and special person. He alone among people is qualified to judge NASA on its innovation in the last 20 years. And face it, 1987-2007 have few notable space achievements. Mars Pathfinder and Hubble were great, but not 20 years of NASA great. They were sensor missions, an important prelude to the adventures of the future.

Rutan is a guy who sees a goal, decides if it is possible to achieve it, and does it in 5 years. We could be on Mars in 5 to 7 years if we got our slide rules out and decided to do it. Rutan, with his natural instincts, could lead such an effort. Without somebody like him, of course, it will take 25 extra years of bureaucrat delay-time.

I wonder if the employees at Scaled drink as much Kool-aid as you?

The guy's talented. But I doubt he can run an organization like NASA.

Private space will not be doing any exploring. There's no money in it. Until it is economical enough to extract resources from another planet and bring it back for use on Earth, it will be years before we get beyond sub-orbital tourist flights for the super rich.

It comes down to practicallity. Aviation quickly went from bold to highly prolific and advanced because there are many practical uses for aircraft.

Space, other than satellites, is still uncharted, and unexplored territory. And a hostile environment at that. It ain't easy.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
But we'll still make it, maybe as an accessory to the Chinese Mars mission which will doubtless take place long before 2037. Maybe, just maybe, they will let an American ride shotgun, or in the back somewhere, and watch the red flag go up on the Martian surface.

China's manned space program was started in the late 60's. Their first manned flight was in '03. In the years since then, they have flown ONE more manned mission. The "silly" shuttle as you call it has completed since that time, SEVEN flights. At China's present rate, they'll land on Mars sometime next century.  Yeah sure

 airplane B4e-Forever New Frontiers airplane 
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:02 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
In some respects, Rutan has personally out-performed NASA.

Space Ship One did nothing that NASA hadn't done 40 years earlier with the X-15. And for the SS1 to be successful, Scaled Composites relied on technology that was only commercially available because of the work NASA has done over the years.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
Is it? Details are new, but ISS is hardly cutting edge tech. It was blueprinted decades ago.

What we can blueprint doesn't matter. Flight proving is everything. The ISS contains the most advanced long-duration systems we have ever flown. That makes it cutting edge.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
If Rutan were running NASA the last 20 years, and I mean running it under his personal control, we'd be on Mars today.

1. Pure speculation because you have no way of knowing if Rutan's leadership could scale to an organization with the necessary complexity to mount a Mars mission.

2. It's faulty to assume that any other NASA director couldn't succeed if given the same latitude.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
And face it, 1987-2007 have few notable space achievements.

No, that is wrong. There has been great progress made that was absolutely essential to achieve before moving on to more ambitious tasks. Progress is not measured by the number of locations we plant flags  Yeah sure

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
Rutan is a guy who sees a goal, decides if it is possible to achieve it, and does it in 5 years.

Which, while outwardly impressive, are typically things that can be done with commercially available technology and don't come close to the difficulty of manned exploration in or beyond low-Earth orbit. Sorry. The greatest guy in the world can't change basic laws of physics, sound engineering practice, etc, etc.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:09 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
If Rutan were running NASA the last 20 years..,

He'd have ended up in the same place as every other NASA Administrator in that period, more or less: Hands tied by Presidents and Congresses who are only interested in NASA if it provides good headlines and only providing a fraction of the funding needed for them, dumping on NASA when they produce the inevitable failure.. and oh by the way, spending that money only in certain districts and with certain contractors, even though that might be detrimental to the desired headlines. And take 10% off the top of the budget for pork projects that have nothng to do with any of NASA's goals, while you're at it.

A good, strong NASA Administrator like Webb (of the Apollo era) might, just maybe have been able to get more accomplished in the last thirty or forty years, but that's unlikely, and Rutan is very far from being as politically savvy as Webb.

NASA today would look different if Rutan had been in charge, but not necessarily any better.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:55 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
In some respects, Rutan has personally out-performed NASA. That remarkable fact bears some reflection.

->

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 8):
Space Ship One did nothing that NASA hadn't done 40 years earlier with the X-15. And for the SS1 to be successful, Scaled Composites relied on technology that was only commercially available because of the work NASA has done over the years.

The Delta-V of SS1 isn't nothing near real spaceflight

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
If Rutan were running NASA the last 20 years, and I mean running it under his personal control, we'd be on Mars today. No more silly Shuttle from the early 1980s. Who said it's acceptable to run design-flawed 30 year old machinery? It's complacency at its worst.

The man is an aircraft designer genius in the classical sense.There are little aircraft designers today that can drive a design as individually as he can. What he does is something of quite a different scale as what NASA is.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
Recently, NASA said they plan to arrive on Mars by 2037. 30 years from today!! And they made it to the moon in only 8 years, 40 years ago. That's what I call stagnation, at best.

This is purely related to the political will to fund such an endeavour
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:16 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 10):
Quoting Flighty (Reply 6):
Recently, NASA said they plan to arrive on Mars by 2037. 30 years from today!! And they made it to the moon in only 8 years, 40 years ago. That's what I call stagnation, at best.

This is purely related to the political will to fund such an endeavour

Correct. Those who say, "NASA sucks! If (insert name of space hero here -- Rutan and Zubrin are most common) were in charge, we'd have men on Mars by now!" simply are not living in the real, political world.

Is NASA perfect? No, the entire Ares debacle is more than sufficient proof of that. Would better leaders have made a difference? Only slightly.

Apollo was an abberation. A "perfect storm" of technology, politics, and world events occuring simultaneously to make possible such an enormous expenditure of the nation's treasure on a single space objective. It will never happen again.
 
michlis
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:56 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 11):
simply are not living in the real, political world.

It somewhat disconcerting to see the word "real" and "political" together.  Smile
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.
 
HaveBlue
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:20 pm

Interesting thread. I am a huge fan of Burt Rutan and admire his genius. That being said I agree with Thorny and Dfwrevolution about how little he would be able to change things in the real world, with the same restrictions that current and past admins of NASA have had to contend with.


Oh, and by the way Thorny, welcome to my Respected Users list. I've always considered your input pretty much gospel when it came to all things space and enjoy your posts.

On a side note I had to dump a couple of name from my RU list to add one (first time I've altered it in years) and so to Duce50boom and SATL382G if your still around lurking or under a different name its been a while.
 
grandtheftaero
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:29 pm

This is a great thread! Thanks PPVRA for starting it.

It too find myself torn about the whole Rutan vs. NASA debate. I admire Rutan and his genius but I very much agree with DfwRevolution's statement.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 8):
Space Ship One did nothing that NASA hadn't done 40 years earlier with the X-15. And for the SS1 to be successful, Scaled Composites relied on technology that was only commercially available because of the work NASA has done over the years.

Rutan's big talk is both misleading and damaging to the aerospace industry as a whole. I find it rather selfish.

I was in DC in 2006 for AIAA's Congressional Visits Day where I spoke with senators and congressmen and their staffs about aerospace funding for universities and NASA. Many of them were surprised to hear that it takes so much money to do the type of research and development that we are doing because of "that guy in the desert who built his own space ship." In fact many of them fail to realize that many of the technologies and techniques that he uses were developed and pioneered by NASA and "big aerospace"... computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis, aircraft captive carry, aerocapture, etc. Heck the engines on the White Knight are GE J85 turbojets!

Now, I'm not trying to take away from his accomplishments, but I just wish that Rutan and all his alt.space goonies would come clean about the fact that they are reaping the benefits of work from NASA and the "mainstream" aerospace industry around them.

--Shane
 
Flighty
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:27 pm

Well after reading all your responses, I admit, I was just making a popcorn statement to see what shook out. It seems nobody is overjoyed with NASA these days, but it is right to point out that NASA has improved its knowledge a great deal.

I do believe China will overtake us in the "new space race" unless we get moving with ambitious projects. Their government has lots of money and China has a bounty crop of young scientists, as well as industrial might. Their 1969 is coming. But not for a while.



Indeed, one way to do that is retire the Shuttle. Its safety record is now just unacceptable. The Shuttle needs to go to bed. Great ride, amazing, but in 2010 it's over.

In its place, NASA is designing some new vehicles. The Orion space capsule looks promising. Then again, the contractor is Lockheed, who recently has had major problems doing a Presidential helicopter, let alone a moon lander or inter-planetary vehicle. Expect 5+ years of delay.

All I'm saying is, maybe instead of Lockheed, Rutan could be in charge. His starship project was a bust. Way over budget. But he has done other things very cheap that pushed the envelope, just as NASA perhaps might.

If we knew the right design for a spacecraft, we could start building it tomorrow. It takes a few geniuses to come up with such designs. Rutan is not the only one. But he seems to have a track record that speaks for itself. Virgin Globalflyer, etc. He is not the world's expert on spacecraft. But he does have an interesting perspective.

NASA technology has made many leaps since 1969. In some sense, I think Rutan is saying he disagrees with NASA's pessimistic timelines. It's good of him to say that, because otherwise nobody can knock NASA. NASA is the king. No question. But Rutan has a point, and a duty to tell us his opinion about aeronautics programs.

Rutan may have kool-aid drinkers, but nowhere near as many as NASA.
 
grandtheftaero
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:52 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 15):
But he has done other things very cheap that pushed the envelope, just as NASA perhaps might.

I think there is a HUGE double standard here. I cannot emphasize HUGE enough. IMO, in the eyes of the public, if Burt and company push the envelope then they are being brave, if NASA pushes the envelope they are neglecting safety.

The best example of this is when the three Scaled employees died when that NOx tank exploded. In the grand scheme of things it was a tragic industrial accident. But because Burt and friends were involved, the three that died where hailed the brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice so that others could could experience the brave new world that is private space travel. Could you imagine if some NASA contractors died in an STS refueling accident? There would be no talk of "pushing the envelope" or "brave souls". It would be an immediate witch hunt to find out which middle manager thought it was okay to "cut corners" or "endanger personnel".

That being said, this latest snafu with the shuttle fuel sensors is ridiculous. I realize that the shuttle is just about the most complex system ever created but c'mon, NASA! Coming from the aeronautics side of the industry, I feel that a system that's been in service for nearly three decades now should have its bugs hammered out. I think this aspect of space launch is where NASA has the most to learn from the alt.space community.
 
Flighty
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 3:14 am



Quoting GrandTheftAero (Reply 16):
if NASA pushes the envelope they are neglecting safety.

NASA is neglecting safety today by flying the Shuttle. I'm not sure even the Russians would fly that thing. It's like the Concorde only so much more dangerous...

it is indeed "very complex" and that's to its detriment. It was a poorly conceived vehicle in retrospect. Works OK, but poor safety record. That comes right out of its design philosophy... too complex and frankly, just unsafe. More Tu-144 than Concorde.

Quoting GrandTheftAero (Reply 16):
It would be an immediate witch hunt to find out which middle manager thought it was okay to "cut corners" or "endanger personnel".

I agree with you that's a double standard. But the public (accurately, I believe) understands that Rutan's crew actually was pushing the envelope. The Rutan cowboy image is frankly becoming legendary... just like NASA used to be. I mean jeez, they build spaceships in the desert. NASA is seen as a stable career employer, not the balls-out operation it was 40 years ago.
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 4:24 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 17):
NASA is neglecting safety today by flying the Shuttle. I'm not sure even the Russians would fly that thing. It's like the Concorde only so much more dangerous...

Statistically speakling, the difference between the safety records of the Space Shuttle and Russia's Soyuz is insignificant.

You might not have noticed, but Soyuz's guidance computer crashed during descent again six weeks ago, subjecting its crew to another punishing high-g and hundreds of miles off-course re-entry. Endeavour's dinged tile was the subject of media fascination for a week last August. Soyuz's second near-death experience in four years (the same thing happened in 2003) was only reported in trade papers. Soyuz seems to be an inherently safer design, but in the real world... it isn't.

Space Shuttle seems to be an inherently unsafe design, but here in the real world, both of its fatal accidents were 100% avoidable... management simply wasn't doing its job properly. Both accident investigations made that point loud and clear.
 
grandtheftaero
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:55 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 17):
they build spaceships in the desert

Irrelevant... NASA builds/launches spaceships from a swamp.




Quoting Flighty (Reply 17):
But the public (accurately, I believe) understands that Rutan's crew actually was pushing the envelope.

The public is WRONG! You can't push an envelope that's already been pushed. Please see reply 8:

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 8):
Space Ship One did nothing that NASA hadn't done 40 years earlier with the X-15. And for the SS1 to be successful, Scaled Composites relied on technology that was only commercially available because of the work NASA has done over the years.

 
grandtheftaero
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:15 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 17):
I agree with you that's a double standard. But the public (accurately, I believe) understands that Rutan's crew actually was pushing the envelope. The Rutan cowboy image is frankly becoming legendary...

There's something else to be said about this...

Burt and friends are putting off the wrong image if the public actually thinks they are pushing the envelope. Their goal is to open space travel to "the common man," to quote Burt himself. As a common man, the last thing I want to do when paying for a boarding pass is push the envelope. When I step into any vehicle where I'm just along for the ride, I want to know that there is considerable margin between design point and the edge of the operating envelope.

[Edited 2007-12-10 06:16:21]
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:33 pm



Quoting GrandTheftAero (Reply 19):
Irrelevant... NASA builds/launches spaceships from a swamp.

That's a popular misconception. A big chunk of what is now KSC was previously orange groves (some of the groves are still operational). Some of the land is marshy (along the Banana Creek), but none of KSC is/was swamp.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:03 pm



Quoting Michlis (Reply 3):
If the potential for profit is there they might.

There is no potential for profit from confirming what the rings of Saturn are composed of, alas.



As for Mars, it's many orders of magnitude beyond the Moon. Even if the Apollo program has been completed fully and Skylab had become a "permanent" beachhead in space ala Salyut and Mir, I don't think we'd be on Mars today, much less two decades ago as Von Braun had penciled in on his calendar.  Smile

I've been watching the series "Mars Rising" on The Science Channel and it's been pretty eye-opening regarding just what, exactly, is involved. I consider myself relatively "well read" on what a manned mission would require, but I've learned a great deal watching this show.
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:47 pm



Quoting Stitch (Reply 22):
Even if the Apollo program has been completed fully and Skylab had become a "permanent" beachhead in space ala Salyut and Mir, I don't think we'd be on Mars today, much less two decades ago as Von Braun had penciled in on his calendar.

With Apollo-level funding, it was certainly possible. Of course, Apollo-level funding was never in the cards.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 22):
I've been watching the series "Mars Rising" on The Science Channel and it's been pretty eye-opening regarding just what, exactly, is involved. I consider myself relatively "well read" on what a manned mission would require, but I've learned a great deal watching this show.

"Mars Rising" tends to gloss over some serious issues, though. In particular, it just assumes that all the glorious machines and plans that the Russians have announced will really happen. But Russia's list of promises-not-kept is even longer than NASA's. Kliper, for example, figured prominently in "Mars Rising". It's dead now. Oops. So is Energiya, which I think they also assumed was available for launches. And after 20 years of predecessors, Mir was only a modest improvement over the original Salyut (the real advances in space stations in the last 15 years are in the western half of ISS. Russia's Zarya, Zvezda, and the upcoming whatever-its-name-is-this-week module are still early 1970s technology.) But, according to "Mars Rising", just give Russia some cash and presto, we'll be on Mars. Riiiiiiiiight.

Everyone seems to complain about NASA doing nothing but going in circles (in low Earth orbit) for the last 25 years, but that is all Russia has EVER done.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:57 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 23):
Everyone seems to complain about NASA doing nothing but going in circles (in low Earth orbit) for the last 25 years, but that is all Russia has EVER done.

that's also not very close the truth either. Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union achieved many things, before NASA and also better. Don't forget the Russians saved the ISS when the Shuttle broke down.
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:49 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 24):
that's also not very close the truth either. Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union achieved many things, before NASA and also better. Don't forget the Russians saved the ISS when the Shuttle broke down.

They accomplished great things, but all of them in Low Earth Orbit, "going around in circles", as NASA's critics like to say about the Shuttle and Station. Russia has never sent humans beyond Low Earth Orbit. NASA, at least, did that in Apollo.

And what goes around comes around. NASA saved Mir in the early/mid-1990s when it would otherwise have been abandoned due to lack of funding at the nadir of Russia's post-USSR economic collapse. The 9 Shuttle-Mir missions (called Phase I of the International Space Station program) were critical to keeping Mir alive, 1995-98.
 
michlis
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:00 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 24):
Don't forget the Russians saved the ISS when the Shuttle broke down.

But the ISS was almost doomed with the constant delays in getting the propulsion module built and launched despite the money we sent to them. Interestingly, about the same time we were funding their portion of the ISS, they came out with some interesting new missile designs and even a concept of a stealth fighter.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:57 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 25):
They accomplished great things, but all of them in Low Earth Orbit, "going around in circles", as NASA's critics like to say about the Shuttle and Station. Russia has never sent humans beyond Low Earth Orbit. NASA, at least, did that in Apollo.

Yet they were the first to send a man into space, their space station designs war far superior and their unmanned space programme also achieved many great things.

Please note I think Voyager 1 and 2 are probably the greatest spacecraft ever. When I commend the Russians, I'm not saying NASA is bad, I think both should get the credit they deserve.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 25):
And what goes around comes around. NASA saved Mir in the early/mid-1990s when it would otherwise have been abandoned due to lack of funding at the nadir of Russia's post-USSR economic collapse. The 9 Shuttle-Mir missions (called Phase I of the International Space Station program) were critical to keeping Mir alive, 1995-98.

true, at the same time it was the US that killed it off later
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:43 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 27):
Yet they were the first to send a man into space, their space station designs war far superior and their unmanned space programme also achieved many great things.

It is certainly debatable that their Space Station designs were far superior. SkyLab was vastly more sophisticated and capable than the early Salyuts, until about Saylut 6. The difference is that the US went in the direction of building a new manned spacecraft rather than follow-up SkyLab, while the Soviets went the route of following-up Salyut rather than building a new manned spacecraft. Now we're both building a single Space Station and planning to build a new manned spacecraft.

But the Russian side of ISS is still heavily derived from Salyut, while the western side (NASA, ESA, JAXA, CSA) is at least a generation newer, being 1990s technology. It's like the difference between a MiG-25 and an F-22 or Typhoon. Whatever advances mankind has made in Space Stations since Mir (launched in 1986) has been US-led.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 27):
true, at the same time it was the US that killed it off later

The U.S. held the Russians to their word. They had committed Soyuz and Progress to ISS, and wanted to start shifting some of them to continue Mir. This was at a time when Russia was already behind on the number of Progress flights it had promised (the Shuttle, not Progress, did most ISS reboost in the 1999-2002 timeframe.) All of the other ISS partners, quite reasonably, objected. And when Columbia went down, that decision proved to be remarkably prescient.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:28 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 28):
It is certainly debatable that their Space Station designs were far superior. SkyLab was vastly more sophisticated and capable than the early Salyuts, until about Saylut 6. The difference is that the US went in the direction of building a new manned spacecraft rather than follow-up SkyLab, while the Soviets went the route of following-up Salyut rather than building a new manned spacecraft. Now we're both building a single Space Station and planning to build a new manned spacecraft.

But the Russian side of ISS is still heavily derived from Salyut, while the western side (NASA, ESA, JAXA, CSA) is at least a generation newer, being 1990s technology. It's like the difference between a MiG-25 and an F-22 or Typhoon. Whatever advances mankind has made in Space Stations since Mir (launched in 1986) has been US-led.

it is rather silly to compare it with aircraft. You obviously do not understand how the Russians work. They build on older proven technolgy, but it doesn't mean it is inferior. They constantly improve and that's for example why they have the highest reliability record in launchers with the Soyuz rocket. It is the Soviets that introduced a space station with more than 1 docking station. It might sound trivial, but this was a milestone in building spacestations. The whole way ISS is built is derived from principles which the Soviets developed.

I think it is a pity you look at the whole thing this way, and simply do not have the stomach to give them the credit they deserve. You are talking about them like they don't even matter.
 
PPVRA
Topic Author
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:51 pm

By 2010, the year the ISS is scheduled to be complete, it will have been in orbit for twelve years (first module) and have cost taxpayers all over the world 100 billion Euros (130bi US). Thus far, it's been inhabited a little over 7 years and there is little scientific experiments to show for. Six years after complete, the ISS is scheduled to come back to earth Mir-style.

What will be the lessons learned 8 years from now?
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:14 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 29):
it is rather silly to compare it with aircraft. You obviously do not understand how the Russians work. They build on older proven technolgy, but it doesn't mean it is inferior.

In this case, it clearly does. Zvezda and Zarya still share the basic Salyut weakness of having to run cables between modules through open hatches. The western modules use the connections through the vestibules that do not prevent quickly closing the hatches between them in an emergency. This problem nearly resulted in the loss of Mir twice, first during the fire and then after the Progress collision with Spektr.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 29):
They build on older proven technolgy, but it doesn't mean it is inferior.

That doesn't explain Buran, Enegiya, Zenit, Angara, Kliper...

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 29):
The whole way ISS is built is derived from principles which the Soviets developed.

Hardly. SkyLab started out under a plan to be built largely the same way: the Apollo Telescope Mount was originally designed around an Apollo Lunar Module (which is why it has that name) and was to be launched seperately and docked later. That plan was discarded when a Saturn V became available and assembly was unnecessary.

The first rendezvous in space was Gemini 6 and 7. The first docking was Gemini 8 in 1966.

Further, the western modules do not follow the Russian Salyut analog. They are individual modules, yes, but Russia's modules all had engines, propellant, navigation, electrical power, and communications of their own in order to fly themselves to the destination Station. That's a huge amount of unnecessary duplication, deadweight after docking, and wasted space on each module. The western modules are simply payload on the Shuttle and are enormously more efficient as Space Station components. That's why Mir looked like a dragonfly with its solar wings and antennae sticking out every which way and why Destiny looks so much larger on the inside than do Zarya and Zvezda, even though Zarya and Zvezda are larger on the outside.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 29):
It is the Soviets that introduced a space station with more than 1 docking station.

No. SkyLab had two. Salyut 1 had only one. SkyLab's Multiple Docking Adapter originally was to have five docking ports.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 29):
You are talking about them like they don't even matter.

They matter, but we are at the pointing of putting up or shutting up. Russia built a moon lander and never dared fly it, and then for 20 years denied it ever existed. Russia built Buran and trumpeted its greater payload capacity to all the world... and then quietly cancelled it. Russia hyped Kliper like it was the Second Coming. Then it quietly cancelled the program a year later. NASA's history is roughly the same (Shuttle-C, X-33, etc.) I'm tired of those saying "the Russians are the answer!". That view flies in the face of history.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 30):
By 2010, the year the ISS is scheduled to be complete, it will have been in orbit for twelve years (first module) and have cost taxpayers all over the world 100 billion Euros (130bi US).

Reference? U.S. spending on the Space Station was capped at about $22 billion by President Clinton in 1994. President Bush increased it to about $25 billion after program cost overruns in 2001. The Space Shuttle budget is around $3 billion per year, or $45 billion over 15 years (assuming all Shuttle flights were for the Space Station, but they were not.) The two combined is $70 billion to the end of 2012, not $130 billion.
 
PPVRA
Topic Author
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:08 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
Reference?

"The cost of the ISS, including development, assembly and running costs over a period of at least 10 years, will come to 100 billion Euros."
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESAQHA0VMOC_iss_0.html
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:54 pm



Quoting PPVRA (Reply 32):
"The cost of the ISS, including development, assembly and running costs over a period of at least 10 years, will come to 100 billion Euros."
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESAQHA0VMOC....html

Which is about $146 billion USD at current exchange rates.

That's essentially all of NASA's budget over 10 years. That figure is obviously incorrect, as Shuttle/Station together are only about 50% of NASA's budget. Please show me in a budget where NASA is spending $14.6 billion per year, or even half that, on the Space Station and Space Shuttle.

The Space Station is often cited in the US press as costing $100 billion USD (although these reports seldom mention that the figure includes ALL shuttle flights and all ISS operations for the 15 year life of the program, and the figure is now out of date with Shuttle retiring in 2010.)

100 billion USD is about 70 billion Euros. I think someone mixed up some numbers when they converted dollars to euros.

As I said, the actual figure is around $70 billion USD.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:10 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
In this case, it clearly does. Zvezda and Zarya still share the basic Salyut weakness of having to run cables between modules through open hatches. The western modules use the connections through the vestibules that do not prevent quickly closing the hatches between them in an emergency. This problem nearly resulted in the loss of Mir twice, first during the fire and then after the Progress collision with Spektr.

ok, there you identified a valid weak point

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
That doesn't explain Buran, Enegiya, Zenit, Angara, Kliper...

Sure they make new stuff, but if you look closely to each and every one of those projects you mentioned, you will find a huge heritage of components shared with older programmes, or follow-ups. For example: Kliper, the orbital module is an upgraded Soyuz orbital module, Zenit is in effect the Energiya strap on booster, buran used a treasure of info gathered during Spiral etc. There's more than meets the eye.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
a huge amount of unnecessary duplication, deadweight after docking, and wasted space on each module.

one could also call it redundancy and autonomy, it's a different design philosophy.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
The western modules are simply payload on the Shuttle and are enormously more efficient as Space Station components.

And therefore more vulnarable... How long are we waiting for Columbus to be sent up??

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
Russia built a moon lander and never dared fly it, and then for 20 years denied it ever existed.

They did however achieve great unmanned missions. BTW, you don't think the US has a bunch of failures hidden somewhere?

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
Russia built Buran and trumpeted its greater payload capacity to all the world... and then quietly cancelled it.

LOL, the Soviet Union collapsed, there weren't any resources to continue the project.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
Russia hyped Kliper like it was the Second Coming.

It was hardly hyped. I did a great bunch of research into it, and information was scarce. I was lucky to talk to the chief engineer at ILA 2006 and there are some websites with snippets of info.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:22 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 34):
Sure they make new stuff, but if you look closely to each and every one of those projects you mentioned, you will find a huge heritage of components shared with older programmes, or follow-ups.

And the United States doesn't do this? Please, our engineers weren't raised by wolves...

The Ares I and Ares V will use the exact same re-usable SRB casings that the Space Shuttle is flying with today. They won't even bother manufacturing new ones. The tooling for the Space Shuttle ET will simply be modified to accommodate the new diameters of the liquid stages. The Ares I US and EDS are using a revived version of an Apollo engine, the J-2. And the main propulsion for the Ares V is the RS-68, an engine borrowed from the Delta IV and itself derived from the SSME.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.
 
wvsuperhornet
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:49 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 29):
it is rather silly to compare it with aircraft. You obviously do not understand how the Russians work. They build on older proven technolgy, but it doesn't mean it is inferior. They constantly improve and that's for example why they have the highest reliability record in launchers with the Soyuz rocket. It is the Soviets that introduced a space station with more than 1 docking station. It might sound trivial, but this was a milestone in building spacestations. The whole way ISS is built is derived from principles which the Soviets developed.

The Russians do have a good space program but I remember seeing some articles even from their own people in their space program saying they were concerned that the Russian rely too much on proven technology. I dont think NASA should be abolished but I do agree with privatising some aspects of space explorartion.
 
Thorny
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:37 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 34):
Sure they make new stuff, but if you look closely to each and every one of those projects you mentioned, you will find a huge heritage of components shared with older programmes,

So? The same is true of NASA. Witness the ECO Sensors in the Shuttle's External Tank. They're the same ones used in Saturn V's S-II stage.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 34):
And therefore more vulnarable... How long are we waiting for Columbus to be sent up??

Irrelevant. Zarya and Zvezda were launched by Proton. Proton was grounded after a launch failure earlier this year and only recently returned to service.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 34):
They did however achieve great unmanned missions.

Name one in the last 22 years. Technologically, Russia is now behind America, Europe, and Japan in unmanned space exploration. India and China are perhaps ahead of them as well. When it has been 11 years since your last mission (and Mars '96 failed at launch) and 22 years since their last fully successful mission (Vega), your capability is largely lost. Yet now we are to believe, "just give Russia some cash, and we'll be on Mars." No.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 34):
one could also call it redundancy and autonomy, it's a different design philosophy.

Agreed. Although that's an awful lot of redundancy and autonomy, considerably more than they really needed. But they had no other way to launch Space Station modules once Buran was abandoned.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 34):
BTW, you don't think the US has a bunch of failures hidden somewhere?

No. We did our space program out in the open, for better or worse. Witness Vanguard TV-3 live on national television. Or newsflashes on Apollo 1 within the hour of the accident (it was a day before the USSR admitted Komarov died on Soyuz 1 three months later.) Russia had just as many catastrophic failures (and their's were a lot worse... one killed over 100 people at the launch pad) but they were a closed society and could keep it from the public. Even so, word leaked out about the Nedelin disaster... too difficult to cover up 100 deaths.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 34):
Quoting Thorny (Reply 31):
Russia hyped Kliper like it was the Second Coming.

It was hardly hyped.

When they show off a model at the Paris Air Show, that's a textbook definition of hype.
 
F27Friendship
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RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:20 am



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 35):
And the United States doesn't do this? Please, our engineers weren't raised by wolves...



Quoting Thorny (Reply 37):
So? The same is true of NASA. Witness the ECO Sensors in the Shuttle's External Tank. They're the same ones used in Saturn V's S-II stage.

LOL! I wasn't making any comment about the US, why do you feel attacked? Ofcourse you re-use things, I was simply pointing out that building on older technology is MORE present with the Russians, you named examples that were supposedly completely new, and I pointed out where they had heritage technology

Quoting Thorny (Reply 37):
Russia is now behind America, Europe, and Japan in unmanned space exploration.

I guess I have to agree with you on this point

Quoting Thorny (Reply 37):
India and China are perhaps ahead of them as well

That is a bit far fetched, as at least the chinese got most of their tech from Russia

Quoting Thorny (Reply 37):
Yet now we are to believe, "just give Russia some cash, and we'll be on Mars." No.

I don't believe that either. Just trying to say their not useless, and deserve some credit

Quoting Thorny (Reply 37):
But they had no other way to launch Space Station modules once Buran was abandoned.

They never wanted to use Buran for that anyway. They already calculated, before the Shuttle programme was officially launched, that it would NEVER be cost effective to use a reusable launcher, and therfore concluded the Shuttle HAD to have a military purpouse, so that's why they developed a very similar vehicle, to at least be able to counter that capability.

Quoting Thorny (Reply 37):
When they show off a model at the Paris Air Show, that's a textbook definition of hype.

it was a very small model. BTW, numerous models are showed at airshows (at MAKS there was a full size mock up BTW)
 
Thorny
Posts: 1508
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:44 am

RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:41 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 38):
LOL! I wasn't making any comment about the US, why do you feel attacked? Ofcourse you re-use things, I was simply pointing out that building on older technology is MORE present with the Russians, you named examples that were supposedly completely new, and I pointed out where they had heritage technology

It stems from shows like the recent "Mars RIsing" which strongly endorsed the viewpoint that the Russians are the answer to all our problems in space. And Energiya, Zenit and Angara are as completely new as the Shuttle or EELVs were in their time, anyway. Meanwhile, NASA also still frequently uses an updated version of a 50-year-old rocket... the Delta II (dervied from Thor.)

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 38):
That is a bit far fetched, as at least the chinese got most of their tech from Russia

Well, its hard to tell Chang'e 1's lineage, but if it is Russian heritage, it is very far removed. Shenzhou certainly is a Soyuz deriviative, though.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 38):

I don't believe that either. Just trying to say their not useless, and deserve some credit

Agreed. They're far from useless. But the Russians are simply another member of the team, they're not the saviors of space exploration.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 38):
They never wanted to use Buran for that anyway.

Nevertheless, that is how Mir 2 was to be launched, back when Mir 2 was an all-new space station, not the backup plan using the modules we have at ISS today.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 38):
it was a very small model. BTW, numerous models are showed at airshows (at MAKS there was a full size mock up BTW)

Space.com, IEEE, MSNBC and others reported the Kliper at Paris was a full-scale mockup.

http://www.space.com/news/050615_kliper_pas.html

Note the propaganda about "tourist class" spaceflights. That's called 'hype'.
 
F27Friendship
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:45 pm

RE: Does Burt Rutan Want To See Nasa Abolished?

Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:57 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 39):
Agreed. They're far from useless. But the Russians are simply another member of the team, they're not the saviors of space exploration.

OK, I think we are in agreement here.Thanks for the good discussion

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