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posted by martyb on Wednesday February 21 2018, @11:44AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the SpaceX-did-the-FH-for-about-half-that dept.

NASA's nearly billion-dollar mobile launcher tower for the Space Launch System (SLS) is leaning, and may be discarded after a single use:

[The "mobile launcher" component] supports the testing and servicing of the massive SLS rocket, as well as moving it to the launch pad and providing a platform from which it will launch.

According to a new report in NASASpaceflight.com, the expensive tower is "leaning" and "bending." For now, NASA says, the lean is not sufficient enough to require corrective action, but it is developing contingency plans in case the lean angle becomes steeper.

These defects raise concerns about the longevity of the launch tower and increase the likelihood that NASA will seek additional funding to build a second one. In fact, it is entirely possible that the launch tower may serve only for the maiden flight of the SLS rocket in 2020 and then be cast aside. This would represent a significant waste of resources by the space agency.

[...] [From] the tower's inception in 2009, NASA will have spent $912 million on the mobile launcher it may use for just a single launch of the SLS rocket. Moreover, the agency will have required eight years to modify a launch tower it built in two years.

The second mobile launcher, intended for larger versions of the SLS, will cost about $300 million (if not more).

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset
NASA Opens Door to Possibly Lowering SLS Cost Using Blue Origin's Engines
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019 5 comments

The first launch of the SLS has slipped again:

NASA has decided it must delay the maiden flight of its Space Launch System rocket, presently scheduled for November 2018, until at least early 2019. This decision was widely expected due to several problems with the rocket, Orion spacecraft, and ground launch systems. The delay was confirmed in a letter from a NASA official released Thursday by the US Government Accountability Office.

The Falcon Heavy will be able to deliver payloads that are similar to what SLS Block 1 can carry:

In its maiden flight configuration, named Block 1, the heavy-lifter will be able to haul up to 77 tons (70 metric tons) of cargo to low Earth orbit, more than double the capacity of the most powerful launcher flying today — United Launch Alliance's Delta 4-Heavy. The Block 1 version of SLS will fly with an upper stage propelled by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine, based on the Delta 4's second stage.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, scheduled to make its first flight later this year, will come in just shy of the SLS Block 1's capacity if the commercial space company gave up recovering its booster stages.

NASA plans to introduce a bigger four-engine second stage on the EM-2 launch, a configuration of the SLS named Block 1B.

GAO report.


Original Submission

Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset 52 comments

Trump space adviser: Blue Origin and SpaceX rockets aren't really commercial: Scott Pace likens heavy-lift rockets to aircraft carriers.

In recent months, the executive secretary of the National Space Council, Scott Pace, has worked assiduously behind the scenes to develop a formal space policy for the Trump administration. In a rare interview, published Monday in Scientific American, Pace elaborated on some of the policy decisions he has been helping to make.

In the interview, Pace explained why the Trump administration has chosen to focus on the Moon first for human exploration while relegating Mars to becoming a "horizon goal," effectively putting human missions to the Red Planet decades into the future. Mars was too ambitious, Pace said, and such a goal would have precluded meaningful involvement from the burgeoning US commercial sector as well as international partners. Specific plans for how NASA will return to the Moon should become more concrete within the next year, he added.

In response to a question about privately developed, heavy-lift boosters, the executive secretary also reiterated his skepticism that such "commercial" rockets developed by Blue Origin and SpaceX could compete with the government's Space Launch System rocket, which is likely to make its maiden flight in 2020. "Heavy-lift rockets are strategic national assets, like aircraft carriers," Pace said. "There are some people who have talked about buying heavy-lift as a service as opposed to owning and operating, in which case the government would, of course, have to continue to own the intellectual properties so it wasn't hostage to any one contractor. One could imagine this but, in general, building a heavy-lift rocket is no more 'commercial' than building an aircraft carrier with private contractors would be."

I thought flying non-reusable pork rockets was about the money, not strategy. SpaceX is set to launch Falcon Heavy for the first time no earlier than December 29. It will have over 90% of the low Earth orbit capacity as the initial version of the SLS (63.8 metric tons vs. 70).

Previously: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned
Commercial Space Companies Want More Money From NASA
U.S. Air Force Will Eventually Launch Using SpaceX's Reused Rockets


Original Submission

NASA Opens Door to Possibly Lowering SLS Cost Using Blue Origin's Engines 19 comments

NASA could use an engine developed by Blue Origin instead of the four RL-10 engines currently used by the Space Launch System (SLS):

[One] problem with legacy hardware, built by traditional contractors such as Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne, is that it's expensive. And while NASA has not released per-flight estimates of the expendable SLS rocket's cost, conservative estimates peg it at $1.5 to $2.5 billion per launch. The cost is so high that it effectively precludes more than one to two SLS launches per year.

[...] [The RL-10] engines, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, are also costly. (Ars understands that NASA paid an average of $17 million for each RL-10 engine for the maiden Exploration Upper Stage vehicle). So in October, to power the EUS, the space agency issued a request for information to the aerospace community for "a low cost drop-in replacement engine to minimize program cost." According to the document, the initial set of four engines would be needed in mid-2023 to prepare for the third flight of the SLS rocket, known as Exploration Mission-3.

Then, after an extension of the deadline for responses beyond mid-November, NASA revised the RFI on December 1. The revised document no longer seeks a "drop-in replacement" for the RL-10 engine, rather it asks for a "low-cost replacement engine." Although this seems like a subtle change, sources within the aerospace industry indicated to Ars that it is significant. According to NASA, it was done to increase the number of responses.

[...] That would probably include Blue Origin's BE-3U engine, which the company plans to use for its upper stage on the New Glenn heavy lift rocket. This is a modified version of the BE-3 engine that powers the New Shepard rocket, which has now flown successfully seven times. Blue Origin has previously marketed the BE-3U to Orbital ATK for its Next Generation Launch System, which is looking for an upper stage engine. A single BE-3U provides about 120,000 pounds of thrust, which exceeds the 100,000 pounds of thrust provided by four RL-10 engines.

Just cancel SLS and give that money to SpaceX, Blue Origin, or anybody willing to launch competitively.

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned
Commercial Space Companies Want More Money From NASA
Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset
Boeing CEO Says His Company Will Carry Humans to Mars Before SpaceX
President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1


Original Submission

After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System? 57 comments

An op-ed written by Lori Garver, a former deputy administrator of NASA, suggests cancelling the Space Launch System in favor of Falcon Heavy and BFR:

SpaceX could save NASA and the future of space exploration

The successful launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is a game-changer that could actually save NASA and the future of space exploration. [...] Unfortunately, the traditionalists at NASA — and their beltway bandit allies — don't share this view and have feared this moment since the day the Falcon Heavy program was announced seven years ago.

The question to be answered in Washington now is why would Congress continue to spend billions of taxpayer dollars a year on a government-made rocket that is unnecessary and obsolete now that the private sector has shown they can do it for a fraction of the cost? [...] Once operational, SLS will cost NASA over $1 billion per launch. The Falcon Heavy, developed at zero cost to the taxpayer, would charge NASA approximately $100M per launch. In other words, NASA could buy 10 Falcon Heavy launches for the coat of one SLS launch — and invest the remainder in truly revolutionary and meaningful missions that advance science and exploration.

While SLS may be a "government-made rocket", the "beltway bandits", also known as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, and Aerojet Rocketdyne, are heavily involved in its development. The United Launch Alliance (Boeing + Lockheed Martin) have also shown that they can build their own expensive rocket: the Delta IV Heavy, which can carry less than half the payload to LEO of Falcon Heavy while costing over four times as much per launch.

NASA's marketing of how many elephants, locomotives and airplanes could be launched by various versions of SLS is a perfect example of the frivolity of developing, building and operating their own rocket. NASA advertises that it will be able to launch 12.5 elephants to LEO on Block I SLS, or 2.8 more elephants than the Falcon Heavy could launch. But if we are counting elephants — the planned Block II version of SLS could launch 30 elephants, while SpaceX's BFR could launch 34. Talk about significant.

Wait, what? 70 metric tons (SLS Block 1) / 63.8 metric tons (Falcon Heavy) = ~1.09717868339. 1.097 * (12.5 - 2.8) = ~10.6 elephants lifted by SLS Block 1 versus 9.7 for Falcon Heavy.

NASA documents list 12 elephants for SLS Block 1 (70 metric tons), and 22 for SLS Block 2 (130 metric tons). The author might have lifted some numbers from a Business Insider article that (incorrectly) estimates that 12.5 elephants can be lifted by Falcon Heavy, while SLS Block 2 can lift 30 elephants, and 34 for BFR. Perhaps we are dealing with a mix of adult and juvenile elephants?

NASA Gets Money it Didn't Ask for to Fund Second SLS Mobile Launcher; WFIRST Mission Receives Funds 17 comments

Congress has given NASA $350 million for a second mobile launcher for the Space Launch System:

The problem stems from the fact that NASA's current mobile launch platform wasn't actually built for the SLS. NASA has been modifying a platform that was originally built for a rocket that never saw the light of day — the Ares 1, a vehicle that was meant to send humans back to the Moon as part of the now-canceled Constellation program. When the Constellation program was replaced with the SLS program in 2011, NASA decided to simply upgrade the mobile launch platform the agency had already built for Ares 1 to support the Space Launch System. The SLS is a much bigger and heavier vehicle than the Ares 1 was going to be, so NASA has had to reinforce the base of the platform, as well as expand it to accommodate the larger size of the rocket and its engines.

[...] Now, Congress is telling NASA to build a second platform, likely due to safety concerns. Building the new platform could potentially move the second flight of SLS up to 2022 instead of 2023. Otherwise, having such a huge gap between the first and second flight of the rocket could cause engineers to forget the valuable experience they gained from flying the rocket the first time. "When that happens, you have all the people — in your ground systems and in mission control — you have them sitting around for months at a time with nothing to do," Casey Dreier, director of space policy at the Planetary Society, tells The Verge. "And in the absence of real rocket launches, you might lose good people."

But another unofficial motivation could be optics. Further delays would be a bad look for the perennially delayed SLS program. The first flight of the SLS has been consistently pushed back — from 2018, to 2019, and then to 2020. And even when the first two flights of the vehicle are done, the rocket will probably only launch once a year.

Contrary to a Trump administration NASA budget proposal, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) has received additional funding:

Lawmakers provided $150 million for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, or WFIRST, which the Trump administration proposed canceling last month. Set for launch in the mid-2020s, WFIRST would be next in NASA's line of big observatories in space after Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope. It was the top priority for NASA's astrophysics program in a National Academy of Sciences decadal survey released in 2010. The agency's policy is to follow cues from the science community encapsulated in the decadal survey reports.

Agency managers last year were wary that WFIRST could exceed its $3.2 billion cost cap, and Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's science directorate, in October ordered a team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland — home of the WFIRST project office — to study how the mission could be modified to fit under the budget limit.

Officials drafting NASA's budget request for fiscal 2019 decided WFIRST was too expensive, but the mission has enjoyed strong support from Congress. In an apparent reference to WFIRST's proposed termination, lawmakers wrote that they "reject the cancellation of scientific priorities recommended by the National Academy of Sciences decadal survey process."

Previously: Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST
Leaning Tower of NASA


Original Submission

President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort 65 comments

Trump on Falcon Heavy: "I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA"

During a cabinet meeting on Thursday inside the White House, President Donald Trump called attention to several model rockets on the table before him. They included an Atlas V, a Falcon 9, a Space Launch System, and more. The president seemed enthused to see the launch vehicles. "Before me are some rocket ships," the president said. "You haven't seen that for this country in a long time."

Then, in remarks probably best characterized as spur of the moment, the president proceeded to absolutely demolish the government's own effort to build rockets by noting the recent launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. He cited the cost as $80 million. (The list price on SpaceX's website is $90 million.)

"I noticed the prices of the last one they say cost $80 million," Trump said. "If the government did it, the same thing would have cost probably 40 or 50 times that amount of money. I mean literally. When I heard $80 million, I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA.''

NASA has not, in fact, set a price for flying the SLS rocket. But Ars has previously estimated that, including the billions of dollars in development cost, the per-flight fees for the SLS rocket will probably be close to $3 billion. Indeed, the development costs of SLS and its ground systems between now and its first flight could purchase 86 launches of the privately developed Falcon Heavy rocket. So President Trump's estimate of NASA's costs compared to private industry does not appear to be wildly off the mark.

[*] SLS: Space Launch System

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs
Safety Panel Raises Concerns Over SpaceX and Boeing Commercial Crew Plans
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST
Leaning Tower of NASA
NASA Moving to Scale Back the Space Technology Mission Directorate


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @01:41PM (21 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @01:41PM (#641152)

    Government should merely be the referee in the game of life.

    Actually, we don't need Government for that service either.

    Scrap the whole thing.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Wednesday February 21 2018, @02:24PM (19 children)

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Wednesday February 21 2018, @02:24PM (#641163) Journal

      Whatever you say, comrade. Now give me your money or me and my buddies will kill you and your family.

      Now do you want government?

      --
      Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @02:41PM (16 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @02:41PM (#641165)

        Your government demands money under the threat of increasingly lethal force for refusal—the more you defend yourself, the more likely you'll be killed.

        Indeed, that's what makes an organization a government: It allocates resources by coercion rather than by agreement in advance; whether it's Uncle Sam or Dear Leader, it's the same.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Freeman on Wednesday February 21 2018, @05:30PM (8 children)

          by Freeman (732) on Wednesday February 21 2018, @05:30PM (#641263) Journal

          Except, Uncle Sam has a set of laws he has to follow, too. Where as Dear Leader's whims are law. "Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:06PM (7 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:06PM (#641324)

            You're basically assuming that which we want to prove: This particular organization ("Uncle Sam") is going to follow well defined rules of interaction.

            Not only is that circular logic, but it's patently false; history is replete with uncontested examples of Uncle Sam breaking the law, or twisting it so far beyond what anybody thought the law meant that it might as well be fraud. What else can you expect from a monopoly, especially one that grew out of violent imposition rather than voluntary interaction?

            • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:45PM (6 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:45PM (#641349)

              All true, but history also shows that every other form of government has resulted in far worse. Anarchy doesn't work out in practice, and the "series of contracts" is what government already is, we call them "laws". To address what I feel is an inevitable reply, competing contract enforcers is basically a re-imagined city state scenario which even if done perfectly would eventually devolve as some megalomaniac gains control and vies for power.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @08:19PM (5 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @08:19PM (#641378)
                • Legislation is imposition of rules; that's why legislators in the US were able to "outlaw" beer bars that had been operating continuously for 100 years—it's like letting one team come up with rules during a basketball game.

                  Contracts are agreement to rules in advance of interaction; a dispute means there is a lack of a well defined contract. The whole point of law by contracts is to approach willing adoption (a very profitable state of society), not "win" by imposing your ideas on other people (a very dangerous state of society in which we find ourselves constantly today).

                • Your "city state" scenario isn't solved by your "government" idea, so I actually have no idea what your point is.

                • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Wednesday February 21 2018, @08:40PM (4 children)

                  by MostCynical (2589) on Wednesday February 21 2018, @08:40PM (#641386) Journal

                  Do contracts never get re-negotiated?

                  --
                  "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @09:09PM (3 children)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @09:09PM (#641398)

                    Contract negotiation and enforcement is necessarily an iterative process; within a free market, they constitute an evolutionary process towards a system of interaction that best fits the environment at hand.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:33PM (2 children)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:33PM (#641449)

                      Free market troll strikes again!

                      Learn about how humanity functions. Even AI is unlikely to be the perfect arbiter required for your fantasy, humans are too good at corrupting systems.

                      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @11:31PM (1 child)

                        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @11:31PM (#641502)

                        Men aren't angels. So, why put them in control of a culturally blessed, violently imposed monopoly? Fool.

                        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @05:21AM

                          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @05:21AM (#641641)

                          I'll bite this bait.

                          Back at you sucka, but yer too stoopid to understaaaaand

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday February 21 2018, @05:33PM (6 children)

          by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday February 21 2018, @05:33PM (#641267)

          Except for a few places, the Mob is typically not considered a government.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:18PM (5 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:18PM (#641336)

            I've heard both Uncle Sam and the Mob described as "That gang of thugs."

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:47PM (4 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @07:47PM (#641353)

              I know I would prefer Uncle Sam to Uncle Tony any day. If you think they are equivalent then you've been buying the propaganda of "they're all equal / the same!" No, no they are not.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @08:08PM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @08:08PM (#641373)

                The absolute Monarchy in France was preferable to Kim's North Korean regime. What's your point, straw man?

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:39PM (2 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:39PM (#641456)

                  Do some more research mud guy, the French monarchy was not always good otherwise the heads wouldn't have rolled. You still have no reply on how to make your system work or how to overcome the human aspects.

                  You fail hard yet again, no value added to this conversation.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @02:54AM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @02:54AM (#641591)

                    Nobody claimed that the French monarchy was always good.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23 2018, @12:20AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23 2018, @12:20AM (#642108)

                      More and more I think you might be a bot. Or a human with sub 100 IQ. The best you can do is regurgitate the arguments used against you, but the obvious misapplication gives you away. The only thing going for you is your vocabulary, but with thesaurus.com that isn't exactly solid backing on the net.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by PinkyGigglebrain on Wednesday February 21 2018, @04:27PM (1 child)

        by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Wednesday February 21 2018, @04:27PM (#641214)
        Given that the Police are under no legal responsibility to actually protect you or your family [freerepublic.com] having no government isn't much different as having one in that regard.
        --
        "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
        • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday February 22 2018, @07:59PM

          by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Thursday February 22 2018, @07:59PM (#641940) Journal

          Given that the Police have indeed protected me and my family on more than one occasion, and that when I stop to render assistance at accidents as a Good Samaritan I've always had the police there in short order to offer scene protection as I do medical stuff (if they weren't there already), yeah I think there is indeed a big difference between having government and police and having an anarchic mob with roving street gangs. But you are very welcome to live a region where they offer no protection at all as a matter of course. Let me know when you find such a place that also isn't under the protection of something like ISIS or a warlord.

          --
          Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @06:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @06:51PM (#641318)

      we don't need Government for that service either. Scrap the whole thing.

      Yes, let Enron, Wells Fargo, Price-Waterhouse, and Volkswagen run things.

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday February 21 2018, @01:43PM (6 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21 2018, @01:43PM (#641155)

    Sure, the first copy of the tower cost nearly a billion dollars - when you stretch the development phase and carry all those people on salary (doing other things, but hours charged to this project), then costs spiral up.

    What would the 2nd copy of the tower cost? As compared to potentially futile "repair" efforts on the first?

    --
    Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @02:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @02:02PM (#641160)

      Remember that we have to launch negative campaigns in the press against SpaceX. The Musky One is a geek on a couch, and he may bore you [wikia.com] if you get close to the couch! Just like that disgusting, dirty boy シモン (Simon)!

      Just because a throw-away rocket that's so throw-away that even the launch tower is throw away is much better! The pork must flow!

    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by qzm on Wednesday February 21 2018, @09:28PM (4 children)

      by qzm (3260) on Wednesday February 21 2018, @09:28PM (#641403)

      Are you implying a second one would cost less?
      If so, then you obviously dont know how the NASA game is played.
      There were problems with the first, OBVIOUSLY due to underfunding, a second one will cost more.

      NASA have reached the point of being almost pure bureaucracy.. Terribly sad, but true.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by DannyB on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:10PM (3 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:10PM (#641435) Journal

        To further reinforce what you said, let me point out something I read in the late 1980's in NewsWeek magazine. The cover was "Lost In Space" and the issue was focused on US space policy with the shuttle grounded, and costs spiraling out of control.

        In designing a new space station, the aerospace contractors wanted new "advanced" engines in new boosters. Everyone else understands this to mean "expensive" engines. And they would use code words like "shuttle derrived", where at that point, it was difficult to even conceive of anything derived from the shuttle as being cheap.

        To the point:

        Someone suggests, why not just bring back the Saturn V launcher program?

        Reply: OMG!!! No way. Can't do that! It could take TEN YEARS to resurrect the Saturn V program considering the time gone by.

        (Original Saturn V development time: three years)

        (Facts are as I recall them from that issue.)

        --
        The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors him. Prov 14:31
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 22 2018, @02:23AM (2 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 22 2018, @02:23AM (#641576)

          It could take TEN YEARS to resurrect the Saturn V program considering the time gone by.
          (Original Saturn V development time: three years)

          True, but... the culture has shifted. I'm convinced the reason Apollo was cancelled was to quit while we were infallible, stop before something "bad" happened.

          Both shuttle accidents triggered years of belly-button gazing, completely opposite to what happened after the Apollo launch pad fire. NASA operates as a PR program, showing just how reliable U.S. made missiles are. Perfection is expensive. Trying to recover 3 booster stages and losing one because you didn't spend 5 years simulating it before trying is much more efficient, but that's not the NASA culture - anymore.

          --
          Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @06:48AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22 2018, @06:48AM (#641666)

            Apollo was canceled because the public got bored after Apollo 11 and didn't give a damn. They got all worked up for the drama of Apollo 13 (whose launch wasn't even televised) once the accident happened, but quickly didn't give a shit afterwards. Even the remarkable Apollo/Soyuz rendezvous was a big "meh". The oil embargo and high interest rates of the 70's resulted in a lot of budget pressure and there wasn't a whole lot of enthusiasm to keep Apollo going. Plus there wasn't a whole lot more they could do within the confines of the Apollo mission to justify keeping it going.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23 2018, @12:23AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23 2018, @12:23AM (#642110)

              Yeah, without bringing space to the common person it just turns into "we're orbiting out here, stuff is happening." However they could totally have made a moonbase, and given the lift capacity of the Saturn V I'm really surprised they didn't.

  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @01:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @01:47PM (#641157)

    Government should merely be the referee in the game of life.

    Actually, we don't need Government for that service either.

    Scrap the whole thing.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @06:47PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @06:47PM (#641314)

    "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:13PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 21 2018, @10:13PM (#641436) Journal

      I don't want to plant any crops this year. But please not to being making any unduly negative predictions about the great harvest I will have in the future harvest time.

      --
      The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors him. Prov 14:31
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