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posted by martyb on Thursday September 24 2020, @08:15AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the "De-la-Terre-à-la-Lune" dept.

NASA lays out $28 billion plan to return astronauts to the moon in 2024:

NASA officials released a nearly five-year, $28 billion plan Monday to return astronauts to the surface of the moon before the end of 2024, but the agency's administrator said the "aggressive" timeline set by the Trump administration last year hinges on Congress approving $3.2 billion in the next few months to kick-start development of new human-rated lunar landers.

The plan unveiled Monday contained few new details not previously disclosed by NASA. It assumes crews will launch on NASA's Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, fly to the moon's vicinity on an Orion capsule, then transfer into a commercially-developed lunar lander to ferry the astronauts to and from the lunar surface.

NASA released a new overview document [(pdf)] Monday describing the agency's approach to landing astronauts on the moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. The program, named Artemis, encompasses the SLS, Orion, Human Landing Systems, and the Gateway, a human-tended platform in lunar orbit that will eventually serve as a staging point for missions to the moon.


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NASA Wants to Buy SLS Rockets at Half Price, Fly Them Into the 2050s 27 comments

NASA wants to buy SLS rockets at half price, fly them into the 2050s

NASA has asked the US aerospace industry how it would go about "maximizing the long-term efficiency and sustainability" of the Space Launch System rocket and its associated ground systems.

[...] In its request NASA says it would like to fly the SLS rocket for "30 years or more" as a national capability. Moreover, the agency wants the rocket to become a "sustainable and affordable system for moving humans and large cargo payloads to cislunar and deep-space destinations."

[...] Among the rocket's chief architects was then-Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who steered billions of dollars to Kennedy Space Center in his home state for upgraded ground systems equipment to support the rocket. Back in 2011, he proudly said the rocket would be delivered on time and on budget.

"This rocket is coming in at the cost of... not only what we estimated in the NASA Authorization act, but less," Nelson said at the time. "The cost of the rocket over a five- to six-year period in the NASA authorization bill was to be no more than $11.5 billion. This costs $10 billion for the rocket." Later, he went further, saying, "If we can't do a rocket for $11.5 billion, we ought to close up shop."

After more than 10 years, and more than $30 billion spent on the rocket and its ground systems, NASA has not closed up shop. Rather, Nelson has ascended to become the space agency's administrator.

Previously:


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  • (Score: 2, Redundant) by Mojibake Tengu on Thursday September 24 2020, @09:34AM (1 child)

    by Mojibake Tengu (8598) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 24 2020, @09:34AM (#1056078) Journal

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program#Costs [wikipedia.org]

    Total 25.4 billion

    🤦‍♂️

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    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24 2020, @10:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24 2020, @10:00AM (#1056080)

      https://www.planetary.org/space-policy/cost-of-apollo [planetary.org]

      The United States spent $28 billion to land men on the Moon between 1960 and 1973, or approximately $283 billion when adjusted for inflation. Spending peaked in 1966, three years before the first Moon landing. The total amount spent on NASA during this period was $49.4 billion ($482 billion adjusted).

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Username on Thursday September 24 2020, @01:12PM (2 children)

    by Username (4557) on Thursday September 24 2020, @01:12PM (#1056119)

    What is the mission that requires landing on the moon? To give Trump a going away present?

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday September 24 2020, @03:40PM (4 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday September 24 2020, @03:40PM (#1056176) Journal

    Wouldn't building a Moon base with robots controlled via telepresence be cheaper, faster, easier, and safer? There's a significant delay to signals that travel to Mars and back, but the Moon is close.

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    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday September 24 2020, @03:46PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 24 2020, @03:46PM (#1056184) Journal

      Humans on the moon strengthens the territorial claim.

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    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday September 24 2020, @05:25PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday September 24 2020, @05:25PM (#1056241)

      Wouldn't building a Moon base with robots controlled via telepresence be cheaper

      Probably, but as programs drag on their cost integrates over time and can balloon dramatically.

      faster, easier

      Initially, to land the first robot? Yes. To build a high capacity base which supports mining, manufacturing, assembly, fuel processing and launch capabilities? No. Boots on the ground will be able to overcome challenges faster than the development cycles required to address them as they are identified. There's a healthy quantity of unknown unknowns remaining in moon based operations. Even when most operations have been established and automated, people to install and maintain the robots will be faster to develop and deploy than robots. People have a high overhead, but not as high as complex robot systems development teams.

      and safer?

      Of course, unless delay / abandonment of the program is a risk we are including in the definition of "safe/unsafe" evaluation.

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    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Thursday September 24 2020, @05:26PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday September 24 2020, @05:26PM (#1056242) Journal

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemis_program#Artemis_Base_Camp [wikipedia.org]

      They haven't finalized the plans, but it sounds like the initial habitat will be a payload that would be fully built on Earth, and delivered to the surface of the Moon. No lava tubes [wikipedia.org] or lunar concrete [wikipedia.org].

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24 2020, @10:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24 2020, @10:24PM (#1056413)

      Robots are boring, and Musk wouldn't like it anyway.

      Plus, don't forget the egos involved.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24 2020, @03:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24 2020, @03:50PM (#1056186)

    You used to be the counter example: the government can do things efficiently and competently, look at NASA

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday September 24 2020, @09:59PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 24 2020, @09:59PM (#1056405) Journal
    My take is that this program won't happen on any deadline as long as it depends on SLS. SLS is just too broken and too expensive - they won't be able to fund an expensive program in addition to it. Now, if they drop SLS, and go with a sensible commercial launcher, they might have a chance, but I still don't think the NASA approach will land anything on the Moo this decade.
  • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Friday September 25 2020, @05:46AM

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Friday September 25 2020, @05:46AM (#1056561) Journal

    What a waste of time and money.

    That money could help with the homeless and indigent.

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