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#1 2005-06-03 19:12:21

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Space.com  message board link however numerous news articles are referenced in the thread, including one from today when Griffin told workers at Michoud not to worry about losing their jobs making big tanks.

Memories of the Spring 2004 Shuttle C wars right here at New Mars are coming back to me. :;):

Fly crew in the new t/Space CVX and send up a really big CEV that does NOT re-enter the atmosphere. Then go exploring. . .[/color:post_uid0]


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#2 2005-06-03 23:04:33

GregM
Member
Registered: 2005-01-16
Posts: 30

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Its Gonna happen. You can bank on it. Look for an announcement in July. SDV heavy lift is gonna be reality. If they were gonna go the heavy lift route for supporting VSE (and Griffin has always believed in that route) and do it fast, did anyone think anything else was really gonna be selected??  I know some folks like tSpace, or Falcon, or doing the whole thing by EELV, but one has to be realistic in a realpolitik kind of way here. A few points:

1) LC-39, the LCC, the VAB, the SRB processing facility, the SPF, and the OPF comprise NASA’s entire launch infrastructure. Pretty much every other launch facility is owned or run by the DOD or the private sector. NASA isn’t gonna scrap the facilities and staff of the largest launch facility in the world – and the only one it happens to own.

2) The above mentioned facilities are the only ones in the world that can currently process heavy launch vehicles and very heavy payloads. It is the only facility in the west that can currently process manned spacecraft. When it comes to processing several very large LV’s at once, the VAB is a priceless national treasure. Is anyone in the USA gonna scrap all of that infrastructure and build something else to replace it? No chance.

3) A lot of you guys love to dis the shuttle, but as a launch vehicle it is one of the most reliable LV’s ever built. One failure in over 100 launches. I’ll bet you that Atlas 5 or Delta 4  never does that well.  That said, the Orbiter portion of the STS is aging, is still very complex, very expensive to operate, has a propulsion system pushed to the max, and has to worry about TPS protection during launch. All very seriously problematic issues that have never really been solved to complete satisfaction.  However, the launch vehicle fundamentals of the STS system as a whole are very well understood – in fact better understood that any other launch vehicle ever developed. Take the Orbiter out of the equation and one will have the fastest developed, cheapest, and most capable heavy launch system one could get in 5 years. Hands down.

4) Production facilities for most SDV components exist NOW.

5) All competing heavy lift proposals are totally unproven in the sense that they have never been built or flown. No facilities for such proposals exist. Where would they be built, who would pay? What would development times for such vehicles be? Hell, Delta 4 sat on the pad for 8 months before it first flew.

Basically an STS derived unmanned heavy lift launch vehicle would be the fastest developed, cheapest overall, and initially likely the most reliable. Other HLV proposals might be better in the long run, but Griffin needs to keep the ball rolling on the VSE. Momentum is important here. One can debate whether the decision to go with a 100 ton lift LV vs. a 25 ton LV methodology for VSE is wise. However once the decision to go with the heavy lift capability has been made, it is difficult to argue with an STS-derived heavy lift vehicle as the best and most efficient “quick and dirty solution”.

Lastly, I might be so bold to comment on the audacity of the style of some of you folks criticizing Griffin and NASA. Don’t misunderstand me, everyone has the right to free speech and to voice an honest opinion. However, I was reading one post calling Griffin “an idiot”.  Unfreekin believable! This guy has 7 university degrees and is one of the most respected individuals in the spaceflight business for heaven’s sake! Are you guys that knowledgeable or smart?? Being a Trekkie, having a degree in physics or computer science, or being a member of the Mars Society STILL doesn’t qualify you to call these folks idiots. Do some of you guys have any idea how complex and difficult spaceflight is? What many, many folks at NASA do every day would be considered amazing by the standards of 99% of the population. It is exactly NOT like is portrayed in the movies or TV.

Just because you don’t agree with decisions made by others does not make them idiots.  To have any credibility at all yourselves, you had better be able to say that you have already walked a mile in their shoes before you criticize to such an extreme degree.[/color:post_uid0]

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#3 2005-06-04 06:22:03

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]The space shuttle is an amazing vehicle, a great achievement from 1970's technology.  But in my opinion it's been around for too long.  It has focused us on low earth orbit and we have forgotten about reaching for the stars. 

I don't believe that anyone in NASA is an idiot, well, maybe the person who sent the wrong instructions to that mars probe that caused it to fail is. 

What I do see is a lack of a reaching vision.  We do have the technology to put humans on mars but our leadership doesn't want to take the chance because THEY don't think we can do it.  So we waste our time with the ISS and try to get people excited about going back to the moon.  What are they compared to mars?[/color:post_uid0]

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#4 2005-06-04 08:31:20

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Now Greg, I would hope that you understood that just because you have multiple secondary education degrees, proof that you are intelligent and knowledgeable yes, are [b:post_uid0][u:post_uid0]NOT[/b:post_uid0][/u:post_uid0] proof that you are [i:post_uid0][u:post_uid0]wise[/u:post_uid0][/i:post_uid0] and strong enough to make [i:post_uid0][u:post_uid0]unpopular[/u:post_uid0][/i:post_uid0] decisions. Then there is the question about what is his [b:post_uid0]TRUE[/b:post_uid0] goal?

I see Griffin is [i:post_uid0]dangerously[/i:post_uid0] close to being such a person, intelligent as can be, but perhaps lacking in wisdom and spine to do what is needed or has a hidden motive... The Space Shuttle system, and all of its required facilities for construction/processing/etc all are quite capable of doing the job, the unmanned SDV heavy lifter would likly work, [i:post_uid0]but that is [u:post_uid0]not[/u:post_uid0] the issue![/i:post_uid0]

The problem is really very simple: [b:post_uid0]money[/b:post_uid0]. All these facilities that you mention as being a "priceless national asset" require somewhere between 13,000 and 17,000 professional engineers to operate, depending on who you ask and if you include JSC. NASA spends somewhere around $2.5-3.0Bn a year (thats Billion) to pay all these engineers. The simple reality of the matter is, that NASA isn't likly to ever get a big funding boost, limiting their operating budget to around $15-16Bn/yr. Of this money, NASA could realisticly spend about $10Bn anually. The cold, hard calculus dictates that, even if SDV stayed on-budget for hardware and used cheaper RS-68 engines, about half of these engineers simply have to go if NASA is to have enough money ($7.5Bn/yr minimum) to actually build anything to put on those rockets.

I question if Griffin is doing the right thing; he has consistantly harped SDV at every opportunity since his appointment, but has barely even mentioned other options. Why? Is Griffin even considering which option is the best for VSE? Or is he making the decision based on... other criteria. If he is not selecting the launcher best for VSE, then he has no business being the NASA cheif administrator.

I fear that Griffin is what Jeff Bell terms a "Shuttle Hugger:" for the last thirty years or so, NASA's goal has been anything except what its stated mission is, and the cheif number one priority has not been technology or exploration or whatnot... it has been to keep the maximum number of engineers employed for as long as possible. Doesn't matter doing what, but to keep them employed no matter what. NASA is unique among government agencies in its unwavering loyalty to its engineering staff, that it quite literally would prefer to see them stay on the job accomplishing nothing rather then getting to Mars or mining Lunar platinum or whatnot. The simple problem is, the major fraction of these engineers have to go, they just cost too much to keep.

So this is what I fear that Griffin is or will become, the fact that he has said basically nothing about alternates to SDV and that he hasn't really thought about any other options. He has been seduced by the pretty glossies of Shuttle-C/etc combined with the "added bennefit" of keeping the Shuttle Army in business to a signifigant degree. I worry that he has ignored the fact that a viable alternative has already been test launched and a production model sold [i:post_uid0]on budget[/i:post_uid0] in large part because he wants to "save the army." I think this position is supported by his assurances to the Michoud engineers that Shuttle tankage will not be "going away."

I think its a fair question if Griffin has honestly sat down and calculated if SDV can be accomplished with less then half the personel as Shuttle, if he has the spine to lay off so many long-time NASA engineers, and most importantly... why SDV? Why [i:post_uid0]really?[/i:post_uid0] Calling the 50MT class EOR arcitecture "silly" (his own word) does not instill much faith in me that he is taking other options seriously. If he has also (I don't recall if it was him or not) cited the ultrasimplistic "fact" that bigger rockets are more efficent per-pound, then I have even less faith in him... the Shuttle system is unique among modern vehicles in the [b:post_uid0]huge[/b:post_uid0] amount of infrastructure and manpower required to operate, this concept simply does not hold true for it.

Delta-IV HLV can be modified to lift ~50MT, not twenty five, but fifty without too much modification. Delta is already being sold on-budget for $180M a copy at an extremely low flight rate of two or three anually. The Delta-IV production and launch pad facilities are capable of handling a dozen flights per year (40 cores, 15 launches max) which would equal mass parity with six SDV launchers and leave three Delta-IV mediums for crew launch... However, the economies of scale of Delta and its low overhead with its highly automated processing means that dollars-per-pound, Delta will be affordable and hard to beat... and we have it right now today. The Delta and Atlas rockets are just as reliable as SDV will ever be, with late-model Atlas rockets not suffering a single failure in over a hundred flights and Delta is just as reliable as the Shuttle Stack.[/color:post_uid0]


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#5 2005-06-04 10:50:45

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

the Shuttle system is unique among modern vehicles in the huge amount of infrastructure and manpower required to operate[/quote:post_uid0]

That's the shuttle *system*. How much manpower is needed for the shuttle alone (w/o boosters/ET)?

of the 17000 give or take a few thousand... How much of them work on the shuttle, how much on the ET/boosters?

that is the comparison to make, not STS as a whole vs another system.[/color:post_uid0]


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#6 2005-06-04 11:11:36

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]That is the question, and the answer to which Griffin needs to objectively, honestly, accurately answer and consider before making sweeping statements about "already own an HLLV" and "don't worry Michoud."

6,500-8,500 people need to be layed off or reassigned... I find it hard to believe that this many are needed soley for the orbiter. If Griffin can't or won't consider doing this, then he is the wrong man for the job.

Where's O'Keefe the hatchet when you need him...[/color:post_uid0]


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#7 2005-06-04 11:29:07

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Then again, can you lay off such an army in one fell swoop w/o serious effects on (regionl) economy? NASA being state-thing (yea whatever) they probably have someone looking over their masssssive shoulder to make sure economics/empolyment figures stay as rosy as possible...

"We don't want a higher number of unemployed in (insert place) in the charts, woulda make me the governor/president/upper-honcho whatever look bad, and them pesky guys from the other political parties woulda like it waaay too much."

I guess NASA "top brass" hands are somewhat tied in that respect.[/color:post_uid0]


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#8 2005-06-04 11:31:56

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]NASA really doesn't have a choice, Congress is never going to raise their budget by a double-digit percentage (not including inflation) needed if the majority of the Shuttle Army is maintained in some capacity. I figure that if NASA has to spend more then 25% of its manned spaceflight budget on launch vehicles, then VSE... and NASA... are doomed.[/color:post_uid0]


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#9 2005-06-04 14:38:18

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]NASA Watch update.

Early July announcement?[/color:post_uid0]


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#10 2005-06-06 06:01:12

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]SDV is the right idea at the wrong time. Won't happen.

One, SDV isn't Griffin's call. That call is made by Bush based on the reccomendation of Rumsfeld (after consultation with Griffin).

Two, SDV development will reduce available spending for CEV spiral development and further cut down on the budget for hard science research in NASA.

Three, all available future launch stacks are meant for ISS construction, meaning that the soonest a spare stack for development can occur is sometime after 2010.

Four, using SDV flies counter to the modular approach of 'pay as you go' CEV development. What's the point of developing standardized modular components that are interchangeable, each capable of being launched on an EELV if you can just throw up several in one go?

Five, SDV will not get us anywhere beyond the Moon. Almost all realistic beyond-Moon scenerio's require a clean sheet HLLV.

What will happen with if SDV is chosen: CEV-ISS-taxi will be created, then spiral development will slow as funds are shifted to complete the SDV transfer. The SDV will be built to supposedly take us to the Moon (even though we could go without SDV), and take more time.

By the time we are ready, we will have forgotten why we were going in the first place (just look at the Shuttle-ISS situation).

What do we need the Shuttle stack for, other than to lift the orbitor, which we are going to retire after completeing the ISS? We would have a vehicle without a job, and NASA hates vehicles without a job (they built the ISS for the Shuttle for crissakes), so we would end up with NASA getting diverted.

SDV also will end up meaning a big footprint on the Moon, which will make it harder to move beyond.

The only plausible reason to pursue SDV now is if you wanted to launch something big, something heavy, and something in one piece. The only thing that comes to mind is a space rated nuclear reactor. [shrug]

My money is on a non-SDV route given the reduced funding for Prometheus and the postponment of JIMO.[/color:post_uid0]

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#11 2005-06-06 07:28:25

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I think that Bush wouldn't or couldn't dismiss Griffins' preference so easily without him quitting and making a huge stink in the media (who would looove any kind of Bush ignores council! stories).

Everything else about the Moon I agree with, that the investment in SDV is unessesarry, its lack of granularity is problematic, and modularity is a nessesity and not a "nice thing to have."

More importantly though I want to echo your concern that SDV won't fly often enough to make each flight economical, the fact remains that flight rate must be fairly high to justify the huge overhead for operating SDV and KSC and support the large minimum number of engineers to stay in business.

However, I think its a great thing that the USAF could chip in with NASA and both buy the same rocket, that would certainly go a long way to controlling the cost of NASA's launch vehicles and [i:post_uid0]FINALLY[/i:post_uid0] deprive NASA of a reason to keep the Shuttle Army in business... This is where I am really wary of Griffin, that he wants SDV so badly not because its good for NASA, but because its good for the Army.

That said, I don't think that SDV would be worthless for a "beyond Earth" mission, and infact NASA even calls for one version of SDV (Magnum inline medium-heavy) as the baseline vehicle for the DRM-III mission plan to Mars. This, however, should not be construed as an excuse to go the SDV route, if its too expensive then its too expensive. Period.

And just to stoke your parinoia a little more Clark, a big multimegawatt space reactor would probobly fit on a 50MT Delta in one go.[/color:post_uid0]


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#12 2005-06-06 08:04:26

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I think that Bush wouldn't or couldn't dismiss Griffins' preference so easily without him quitting and making a huge stink in the media (who would looove any kind of Bush ignores council! stories).[/color:post_uid0][/quote:post_uid0]
[color=#000000:post_uid0]I agree with this.

I need to find again that cartoon about Griffin's Senate confirmation hearing and appointment. Compared with Bolton, Gonzales and nuclear war over judges, Griffin's confirmation was a total love fest. That gives Griffin power, and he knows it.

I remember the tag line:

"Congradulations Dr. Michael Griffin, you are confirmed."

"What, no questions? But I studied for this!"[/color:post_uid0]


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#13 2005-06-06 08:18:37

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,800

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I think the decision of the military has been made with regards to the use of delta IV and atlas V in that each has has been chosen by the military to be continued. The joint cooperation of Boeing and Lockheed to have a 50/50 split of the launches of military has been affirmed. So that only leaves what nasa used for science probes to be selected for each mission as based on propulsion needs for these ships.

SDV fits a low number of heavy lift launches as needed to get things up there all in one piece I agree with.

Putting on a hiring freeze thou would not help Nasa nor would down sizing the shuttle army imediately to only what is needed for the use of SDV type ships. Now removing duplication of operation and red tape that would reduce the head count where it is needed.[/color:post_uid0]

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#14 2005-06-06 08:30:09

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

I agree with this.

I need to find again that cartoon about Griffin's Senate confirmation hearing and appointment. Compared with Bolton, Gonzales and nuclear war over judges, Griffin's confirmation was a total love fest. That gives Griffin power, and he knows it.
[/quote:post_uid0]

I disagree.

Griffin wasn't the first choice, but he was non-controversial and he had credintals. That got him inside, that didn't make him his own man (again, listen to what he is saying now versus what he has said before).

He can make the recomendation for SDV- but Rumsfeld makes the final recomendation to Bush. It's in black and white, and this process was set up for a reason.

The only legitimate rationale for SDV is to complete ISS construction- but it remains to be seen if it can be modified to meet that goal. Even if it could, the money isn't there for that, science, CEV and ISS construction (unless you stop flying the Shuttle immediately, a politcal non-starter).

For Moon or Mars, you might need 2 SDV launches per year, or every 2 years. How is that rate of launch justified given the standing operating costs? It isn't.

I see paper studies and design schematics in the future for and SDV, to give the illusion that jobs will be saved by continued NASA funding in Congress (which is what SDV is ALL about).

Griffin has people in charge of NASA programs- Griffin himself is charged with dealing with Congress. What does Congress worry about? It sure as hell isn't the moon or Mars. They want votes, and they want jobs in their districts.

Call me cynical and paranoid, whatever. SDV, it ain't real.[/color:post_uid0]

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#15 2005-06-06 08:47:53

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

They want votes, and they want jobs in their districts.[/quote:post_uid0]

For the foreseeable future, Florida is the toll booth for the White House. Why do you think Jeb moved there (and George to Texas) in the first place?

Florida jobs trump all other jobs in this equation.

Call me cynical and paranoid, whatever.[/quote:post_uid0]

Now who is more cynical? Griffin may well have been chosen to preserve the Florida jobs option.

= = =

Another PS  - -  If SDV is dead per Rumsfeld, someone screwed up politically by letting Griffiin encourage the folks at Michoud.[/color:post_uid0]

Edited By BWhite on 1118069714


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#16 2005-06-06 09:11:52

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Fair enough, but I discount that a bit in the final analysis. I think you would be spot on if this were the run up to 2004. But the reality is that Jeb isn’t running in 2008, and Bush is out at that time.

You don’t get the blue hair or Cuban vote by funding rockets in Florida.

I tend to view Griffin’s statements, like all of the ones he has made since gaining his post, as appeasing Congress to prevent political show downs with the white house on funding. Why? Because the political capital is being spent elsewhere, and Bush will sacrifice gains made in NASA funding for his higher priority items.

What does that mean then? It means Griffin is largely on his own to secure funding support for NASA. He has to give it credibility that it can do the job (and thus not be a stick to beat Bush over the head with) assigned. Griffin must also make Congress happy- thus the reevaluation of the Hubble decision (even though it would be cheaper to fund an entirely new telescope), thus the determination to build CEV sooner with one less contractor (saves money so he doesn’t have to beggar from Congress and appeases others in Congress worried about manned flight), thus the backing off of turning centers into JPL clones, thus him telling his staff that Congress pork *must* be funded.

Now, you’ve got Tom Delay backing NASA, but that name doesn’t shine like it once did, and you have Griffin smiling at the centers while he tells each one that they are losing jobs- but they’re still important!

Griffin is a hatchet man and he is taxed with making the changes to NASA as outlined while O’Keefe was at the helm. We hear talk about saving Hubble- and we are hearing talk about saving the main stack. But it’s just talk. There will be no Hubble rescue, and there will be no SDV.[/color:post_uid0]

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#17 2005-06-06 09:17:15

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Re. the question posted somewhat earlier: "Do some of you guys have any idea how complex and difficult spaceflight is?"

Of course, but not once the final configurations and routines are established. It'll be a simple case of pilotage, say, in fifty or so years. Glad I am, to be living in the pioneering stages, right now, when things are difficult.[/color:post_uid0]

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#18 2005-06-06 09:33:11

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

Griffin is a hatchet man and he is taxed with making the changes to NASA as outlined while O’Keefe was at the helm. We hear talk about saving Hubble- and we are hearing talk about saving the main stack. But it’s just talk. There will be no Hubble rescue, and there will be no SDV.[/quote:post_uid0]
Okay, I cry "Uncle" on the cynicism match.   :;):

Perhaps the real target by those at the top is a "de facto" elimination of NASA altogether. To raise and crush Hubble hopes  undermines NASA enormously. Mix with ITAR and that ends civilian space flight for a generation, or longer.

Griffin's the fall guy. O'Keefe saw the handwriting and wanted to get out and get those lucrative directorships rather than the blame for the death of NASA.

Ouch.

Time will tell whether we are being "too" cynical. In the meantime, those who want civilian space, should buy Russian.

Columbus wasn't born in Spain, you know.[/color:post_uid0]


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#19 2005-06-06 09:56:05

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

Perhaps the real target by those at the top is a "de facto" elimination of NASA altogether. To raise and crush Hubble hopes  undermines NASA enormously. Mix with ITAR and that ends civilian space flight for a generation, or longer.
[/quote:post_uid0]

I wouldn't go this far.  :laugh:

No one really wants NASA to die (well, those who make the decisions). A civilian space agency has a lot of value, otherwise everything would be military.

I merely wished to point out how unlikely SDV development is given some other stated priorities and actions.

Like I said, good idea, bad timing. In ten years time we can go with clean sheet HLLV anyway.[/color:post_uid0]

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#20 2005-06-06 11:04:12

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Reading between the lines:

http://www.nola.com/news....270.xml

Although Griffin's comments suggest Michoud would continue as one of NASA's pre-eminent manufacturing facilities, he pointed out that there may be a gap of two to four years between the end of shuttle tank production and the beginning of tank production for the next-generation cargo vehicle, known in NASA circles as a "shuttle-derived vehicle."

During the gap, NASA will make sure the plant stays open and that its work force remains intact, the administrator said.

"If the shuttle-derived architecture is the direction that we go in, NASA will do what ever is necessary to preserve (Michoud's tank-manufacturing) capability. We will not allow that facility to go out of production if it is to be part of our future, because the restart would be too expensive," he said.

Griffin did not say what Michoud workers would do during the years of the gap.

A spokesman for Michoud's operator, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, called Griffin's comments "very encouraging." However, he noted that NASA managers will deliver a clearer road map of the agency's future to Congress by the end of the summer.

"We understand that there is still analysis to do and decisions yet to be completed," Lockheed's Harry Wadsworth said.
[/quote:post_uid0]

So best-case scenerio is NASA keeping the plant idle for several years, doing absolutely nothing to further us towards space exploration? Now if that isn't selling rope, I don't know what is!

If t/space can come up with a cheap alternative for CEV, we should forget the whole SDV concept and just get on with EELV and uprated Falcon's.

Clean sheet HLLV, designed for Mars, and then we don't have to make any sacrifices or trade offs because we made the short term bargain of SDV.[/color:post_uid0]

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#21 2005-06-06 12:00:20

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,800

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]But if you start making other size tanks for use on other vehicles from this facility would that not take up the idle hands when not suppling shuttle external tanks. This is all conjecture since Boeing and Lockheed agreed to share resource on shuttle in an alliance.[/color:post_uid0]

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#22 2005-06-06 21:06:26

GregM
Member
Registered: 2005-01-16
Posts: 30

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Holy smokes gentlemen! You guys seem really angry! Don’t misunderstand me, maybe you all have a right to be so. I’m an outsider here, so maybe there is something I don’t understand. But let me recap some of your major points:

- Any SDV is useless, or at least massively wasteful and very impractical. Any attempt to start such a program would purely for politics’ sake.

- Any SDV program would be harmful to the US space program

- SDV will never happen

- EELV is the ONLY way to go on this matter.

- tSpace is another only way to go on this matter

- Falcon is another only way to go on this matter

- A clean sheet HLLV is another only way to go on this matter.

- Mike Griffin is a just a White House hatchetman, finishing off the job of O’Keefe.

- Mike Griffin is DANGEROUS, as he is lacking in wisdom.

- Mike Griffin is DANGEROUS, as has a hidden agenda.

- Mike Griffin is interested only in providing a welfare system to NASA engineers, as opposed to really carrying out the VSE.

- Griffin is blinded by his devotion to STS systems, to the detriment of all other options

- Rumsfeld really pulls the strings at NASA anyway, not Griffin

- Congress really pulls the strings at NASA anyway, not Griffin

- 6000 to 8000 NASA employees or contractors should be fired or reassigned. They are wasteful doing what they are doing.

- Hubble rescue will never happen

So, that said (or should I say read), let me ask you fellows this: do you believe that the US space program in its current form, or the form that it seems to be setting up to become, has any real future? Other than going to Mars at some point in the future, nobody here seems to agree with or have any faith in NASA to get the job done.

And yes, some of you sound a little paranoid, in the grassy knoll kinda way. Don’t take that as an insult, it’s not intended as such – it just really does sound that way. Maybe it’s just cynicism and loathing however.[/color:post_uid0]

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#23 2005-06-06 21:27:45

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Or, some of us have been arguing with each other for a little too long, perhaps.  :;):

Intellectual incest, as it were.

Someone, I forget who, wrote an essay about the narcissism of petty differences, where powerless people will argue forever about trivial distinctions.

That said, I believe many at these boards truly desire that humanity become spacefaring, a multi-planet species, and we fear "The Emperor's New Space Program"  where there is lots of talk and pretty viewgraphs but nothing really happens.

= = =

By the way, I favor SDV for cargo and vessels and t/Space for crew. <wink>

= = =

I also favor ending the paradigm that says "NASA equals spaceflight and spaceflight equals NASA"[/color:post_uid0]

Edited By BWhite on 1118115363


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#24 2005-06-07 02:47:34

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,746
Website

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Well, didn't GregM have a strong opinion. Let me just state for the record that what little I know of Michael Griffin is positive, and what he's doing is correct. I believe SDV is the way to go. After all, clustering Delta 4 CCBs gets inefficient after too many. GregM had some valid points. The concern is that major contractors operating Shuttle will want to retain that money (per year) while incurring new spending for a manned space program. That's in direct violation of George W.'s VSE, but there will be Shuttle contractors (such as United Space Alliance) that want to do it that way. However, GregM's second post changed from defending Mike Griffin to calling him dangerous. Hmm; how inconsistent.

I do have some suggestions to reduce on-going operational cost of SDV:

1) Stop the practice of technicians who do maintenance work (refurbish engines, replace tiles, etc.) spending 6 hours out of every 8 hour shift doing paperwork. That only leaves 2 hours per day or 1/4 of the technician's time. Commercial industry limits technician paperwork to 1/2 hour per day maximum leaving 7.5 hours to do physical work. That's 3.75 times as much work per technician-day as NASA gets. And most technicians complain about spending even that much time on paperwork.

2) Streamline paperwork. I saw an interview with one supervisor who stated that if all paperwork necessary for each Shuttle launch were piled beside it, the paper would be taller than the Shuttle itself. Airline maintenance requires a paperwork trail so comprehensive that every bolt can be traced back to the ore body from which it was mined. That's certainly comprehensive enough! Exceeding that is ridiculous.

3) Once SDV flies the first time, freeze the design. The Space Shuttle has undergone several concurrent upgrade development programs at any time. There was no time when research and development wasn't on-going. Stop this practice. Focus development on new vehicles, not redesigning an existing one.

4) Hold contractors to the price they bid. There is a habit of bidding low then deliberately incurring cost overruns. This makes the bid price completely irrelevant. It's not fair to award contracts based on bid price when that bid price is not what NASA will pay. NASA tried this with VentureStar and Lockheed Martin refused to honour the contract clause that said they had to share the overrun cost for the propellant tank. Lawyers argued for 2 years before George W. cancelled VentureStar. Good decision by George W.! But, this obviously means it's an on-going issue.[/color:post_uid0]

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#25 2005-06-07 05:55:25

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Shuttle derived revival - Space.com

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Okay, to satisfy the love-fest emotional requirements [group hug].

Feel better?

Griffin is wonderful. NASA is top notch. In fact, Griffin leading NASA is the second coming, and he will lead that agency, and our nation, to a bright new dawn filled with unexpected wonder, all at or below budgetary cost!

I took one of those orange pills, so the paranoia and cynicism is understated now.

GregM, welcome to the boards, or the ongoing intellectual incest as some may characterize it (I’m looking at you Bill). You will find that there are several camps of views, all to varying degrees, all opining on the state of NASA and the future of space exploration. But those are just labels, and it is always easy to put labels on things, place them on a shelf, let the dust collect, and never give it a second thought. That’s no fun, and I hate dusty knick-knacks.

So, how do you see it? NASA and Griffin that is.

We can all get on board, and through the sheer power of belief, hope against hope that our best aspirations and wishes will come to fruition. We could do that, but then we might find ourselves sadly disappointed, when for some reason or another, our desires fail to materialize.

If you want to know what I really think, I think NASA is a capable agency and if it were charged with going to the Moon, Mars, or Beyond, it could do it. I really think Griffin is a capable scientist and a proven leader. I think if NASA were allowed to build an SDV, they would do it. I think if our space exploration plans existed in a vacuum where budgets, national policy, national security, and congressional pork did not exist, we would be half way to Alpha Centarui by now.

That’s what I think.

That said, I know what I think is ideallic and not constrained by the horrible agency called ‘reality’. There are budgetary concerns to contend with, which limit the best possible routes to pursue for NASA. There are national security issues that constrain and limit NASA’s plans. There is congressional pork that starves NASA of resources and does little to further space exploration. If you want to talk about fantasy, just say so.

SDV, which was the genesis of some of this discussion will not happen. The reasons are many, and have been outlined. The money isn’t there to do SDV and CEV and space sciences. Space sciences is already being defunded, there isn’t much room to give there without NASA completely giving up on it’s mandate (mandate=reason for being). CEV is a top priority and I see no reason why it will, or should, be curtailed to make way for SDV development. Griffin even stated that in order to do SDV, the Michound plant would be lefty idle for 4-5 years. 4-5 years of doing nothing while we hopefully build and test an SDV. Further, we cannot even begin testing SDV until 2010, after Shuttle retirement. The decision to go the SDv route has not been made- even Griffin has stated that the requirements are for 100 tons to LEO. SDV can do it, but there are other ways to achieve 100 tons to LEO (Griffin acknowledged this). And no, Rumsfeld isn’t running NASA, but the decision to retain the Shuttle stack is not Griffin’s alone. That decision is made by Bush on the recommendations of the NASA head and the Secretary of Defense. However, if you look into the policy guidelines related to this matter, the fine print states that the NASA head takes his recommendation to the Secretary of Defense, who then takes the final recommendation to the President. I am not making this up.

Griffin leads NASA, but Griffin serves at the pleasure of the President and is primarily charged with executing the President’s directives. I’m sorry, that’s just how it works over here.

Oh yeah, and Hubble rescue won’t happen. But I only believe that because a one-eyed hobo told me.  big_smile[/color:post_uid0]

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