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#1 2017-01-23 20:53:12

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,710

Space Solar Economy Involving NEO's.

http://www.sltrib.com/home/4776266-155/ … srupt-nasa

Per the article I would like to list the stakeholders as identified, and especially those reportedly interested in NEO's.

Moon:

To the extent that Donald Trump has signaled any intentions, it's in the makeup of the "landing team" now at NASA to plan the transition. The team has several people who have shown interest in going back to the moon. So, as we've reported, the moon could be very much back in play.

Some moon advocates say there are resources there, such as ice, that could be turned into fuel for a Mars mission.

The landing team at NASA was recently expanded to include several people associated with commercial space. Among them: Alan Stern, whom readers will recognize as the leader of the New Horizons mission to Pluto. A few years ago, Stern formed a company aspiring to create commercial flights to the moon.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/spe … nce&wpmm=1

PORK NIPPLE: smile (This particular article does not name them, but they are the traditional method, I am at peace with the necessity of them).

The Trump folks could conceivably take the radical step of killing the SLS rocket -- the Space Launch System, a descendant of the heavy-lift rocket pushed a decade ago by the George W. Bush administration under its Constellation program. Obama officially killed Constellation, but elements survived, protected by several powerful senators. Those include the SLS and Orion, a crew capsule now in its second decade of development, with a price tag north of $10 billion. The idea is, the SLS will launch Orion into outer space, and Orion will orbit the moon, and the astronauts will return to Earth, and then they'll do that a bunch more times.
It’s hard to kill big space programs that cost a lot of money. Think: stakeholders. Think: too big to fail.

NEO:

Novelist David Brin, author of Earth, The Postman and Heart of the Comet, emailed a response to this blog item:b]
Joel. I like most of your reporting a lot, but the piece on Trump and NASA, while informative, seems to miss an undercurrent. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are eager for an all-out "Mars or Bust" push, though both see it as a long term goal. The alternative to the Moon is not Mars, it is asteroids.
Most of the scientific community and all the new space entrepreneurs, from [Elon] Musk and Bezos and [Peter] Diamandis to Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, are eager for missions to analyze the wide variety of near-Earth asteroids or NEOs. Ever since John Lewis wrote Mining the Sky, in the 1980s, we've known that some of these objects offer easy access to gobs of water — the massive necessity for space activities. Others offer prodigious amounts of iron, nickel, gold and platinum. Except for some meager ice at the hard-to-reach lunar poles, the moon has none of these things.

Mars or bust:
Sorry, you seem to have the Pork Nipple people or maybe Elon Musk but I don't Elon Musk will pass up a chance at NEO's or maybe even the Moon.

The Trump folks could conceivably take the radical step of killing the SLS rocket -- the Space Launch System, a descendant of the heavy-lift rocket pushed a decade ago by the George W. Bush administration under its Constellation program. Obama officially killed Constellation, but elements survived, protected by several powerful senators. Those include the SLS and Orion, a crew capsule now in its second decade of development, with a price tag north of $10 billion. The idea is, the SLS will launch Orion into outer space, and Orion will orbit the moon, and the astronauts will return to Earth, and then they'll do that a bunch more times.
It’s hard to kill big space programs that cost a lot of money. Think: stakeholders. Think: too big to fail.

ME:

So let me get this right SLS has evolved from this to that?
1) Mission to Mars!
2) Mission to an Asteroid!
3) Mission to pluck a bolder off of a NEO, and drag it into a temporary Moon orbit, Hmmm.....
4)

The idea is, the SLS will launch Orion into outer space, and Orion will orbit the moon, and the astronauts will return to Earth, and then they'll do that a bunch more times.

So do I have this right?  First we were going to go to the Moon, and do big things.  Then Obama killed it and claimed we were going to go to Mars.  Then they said we would try going to an NEO first as practice for going to Mars.  Then they said we would go get a rock/boulder from a NEO and put it into an orbit of the Moon (We were back to the Moon).  Now we are going to orbit the Moon and do it again and again.

And you guys think it is OK to stifle all thinking on the Moon and NEO's so that you can hope that someday someone will do a hail Mary, and send a handful of people to Mars to build a greenhouse so that people can eat vegetables on Mars.

Hmmm.....  "Mars or Bust".  How about bust!

I tried to do a similar post about the Moon and got a lot of harassment and discouragement, and attempts to divert from the topic.  Well boo hoo.  I am calling you out on it though.  I see it for what it is.

Sounds like the only useful purpose for the SLS/Orion would be to assist in accessing NEO's, research as such, into that.  OK then.

As for the Moon, it is possible that Bezos and some others might access the Moon.  I don't see the Moon as a major source of water, but I suppose if the NEO's don't work out then that might be done.  I think you can look at my Moon post for what might happen with the Moon (Might).
http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7565

There is no government sponsored Mars program at this time, as far as I can see.

But NEO's that's actually maybe rather good.

Last edited by Void (2017-01-23 21:31:10)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#2 2017-01-23 23:08:41

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,706

Re: Space Solar Economy Involving NEO's.

Actual sponsoring requires documented funding and not just words....So far all we have is congressional funding of SLS regarding its use it has been taken on blind faith that nasa can produce but what they have done is make more pork.....and has not been forced to make it happen aways using the excuse that we need more money which is coming from there cost plus contractors.....

Here is the topic we have here: SLS and what asteriod will we go to
I agree that we do not need make work programs but its congress that needs to grow up....They are the one's that resurected the constellation program and are forcing it to execute the law that was passed....

If we want to work the possibility of NEO's we will not and should not be waiting for Nasa but commercial industry needs to put up the funding and create a program to do so.....

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#3 2017-01-24 12:16:37

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,335
Website

Re: Space Solar Economy Involving NEO's.

What's missing from all of this has gotten buried under Congressional micromanagement of NASA,  for nothing but pork barrel politics.  If it weren't for pork,  there would be no SLS to argue about.  Whether you call it Constellation,  Ares,  or SLS matters not,  it's a reprise of Saturn-5 with Shuttle technology,  and a flawed one at that.  Nothing but an Apollo flag/footprints stunt vehicle,  really. 

Because it's flawed,  that's why the "asteroid redirect mission" has evolved to what it has become:  a robot brings a boulder off an asteroid to near the moon,  where SLS/Orion can really fly,  since it cannot land on the moon without a lander that it couldn't carry anyway. 

Men only fly to near the moon,  but cannot land on it.  There is no "deep space" to that.  Not since Apollo.  The only thing that goes to the asteroid in deep space is a robot,  which can only do what it is programmed to do,  not truly explore by following up on the unexpected. Plus it takes another rocket to launch it there,  which has to be a big one,  so the robot can return.

Yeah,  you can use the SLS giant rocket to send bigger probes across the solar system,  but why would you want to,  given its cost?  Before this program ever actually flies,  launch costs per rocket will probably fall in the $1-2 billion class.  That's pretty near a shuttle launch cost,  but the payloads are bigger than shuttle could carry (an inherent thing with spaceplanes). It's shuttle technology,  plus a dash of Apollo stuff (Orion = Apollo-on-steroids).  Why should high costs be surprising?

The launch costs for the rockets used in the satellite launch business are far lower.  Compare them fairly as unit cost = launch cost / max delivered payload weight.  What ULA,  Spaces,  Roscosmos,  Arianespace,  and the rest have done is reduce that unit cost to the vicinity of $5.5M/metric ton.  Shuttle was way over 10 times higher!  SLS will be 2-4 times higher,  assuming they make it for $1.5B per launch of 100 ton payloads to LEO.  NASA knows nothing about inexpensive launch:  they have never,  ever done it.  The private guys have. 

Now,  there are two functions going on here (coming up with new data and stuff vs going and doing things),  and two different types of missions to consider (unmanned one-way vs manned two-way).  This gets lost in all the arguing,  but it's fundamentally important.

There is on the one hand the science/exploration and technology development stuff that business doesn't like to do.  Then there is the "lets build hardware and go do something that will make money",  about which government typically knows next-to-nothing.  You need both in order to plant colonies,  simple as that.  Which means government and business need to be doing appropriate roles (and right now they are not).

Government's proper role is to do the science/exploration stuff (planting bases,  sending probes).  And to develop the enabling technologies to go and do all those things (new propulsion,  artificial gravity,  better life support,  radiation shielding,  etc).  Business's role is to "very-applied" develop and turn those technology things into real vehicles and equipment to set up the infrastructure and to "go and do" those things that turn small bases into larger colonies with a trade network. 

We've seen it many times before:  the most familiar is exploration and colonization of the New World from the Old,  starting about 500 years ago. 

Now,  sending one-way probes is an entirely different sort of enterprise than sending people on two-way trips.  Except for the 3-days-away moon,  you cannot send men there and back again with just a big rocket.  That why the oft-repeated claim that "SLS/Orion is for deep space exploration" is utter bullshit.  Sorry,  there's no nicer way to say that,  and still be clear about it. 

We have known since the 1950's a better way to do this 2-way trip stuff. It's the analog to the small lighters and barges that used to load and unload oceangoing ships in harbors,  before the advent of gigantic port facilities.  You build an orbit-to-orbit transport for the men,  that can be used again and again,  and doesn't care which destination it goes to.  And you build the reusable landing boats the men need to travel between orbit and surface at the destination (custom for each type,  atmosphere or vacuum,  and sized for the bigger gravity wells). 

Assets and cargo can be sent ahead one-way/unmanned with multiple rocket launches,  and probably electric propulsion.  Out to Mars we can use solar electric.  Beyond that,  we'll need nuclear electric.  The men just rendezvous with the assets and cargo in orbit when they get there.  Then they go do their missions:  could be exploring,  could be setting up a base, or could be expanding that base into something larger. 

The very same transportation scheme does all these things!  Mars,  Mercury,  asteroids and NEO's,  outer planet moons,  it's all the same scheme and the same equipment!  You build your items to last half-centuries,  the way navies build their ships.  And you keep using and reusing them for timescales like that.

There's nothing about what I suggest that cannot be done with the launchers we have flying right now!  It gets even cheaper to do,  as the available launchers get bigger.  And they will,  in a sort-of bootstrap process, just as they always have.  I'm thinking Falcon-Heavy (at $100M/54 ton = 1.9M/ton to LEO) and maybe New Glenn here,  and possibly some form of the MCT.  But not SLS (at around $15M/ton):  it's a step backward to far,  far higher cost. 

So the right folks need to be doing the launchers:  that's folks in real business,  who demonstrably can lower costs.  There's that "proper roles" thing again!

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2017-01-24 12:45:01)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#4 2017-01-24 20:37:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,706

Re: Space Solar Economy Involving NEO's.

At this point Nasa can not even pull off a stunt mission and that really is sad....Maybe musk will loan them a real rocket to play with....

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