Updates Orion (MPCV) Updates and Discussion

tblaxland

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Why a bit late? I think that despite the Ares launchers, Orion will be the Shuttle replacement in any case?
Because the current talk is to have Orion launch unmanned to serve as a lifeboat for ISS. Unmanned = no launch abort system required.
 

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Because the current talk is to have Orion launch unmanned to serve as a lifeboat for ISS. Unmanned = no launch abort system required.

I think that the US space program does not end together with the ISS. In the long term their goal still is to operate beyond LEO. And Orion is a potential, actually the most likely future crew vehicle in case NASA gets the assignment again to put humans into space. Having spend already a lot of work and money on it, the abort test is a gain of knowledge for future missions I think. At least it would have been stupid not to do it just because it's all useless now.
 

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That is perhaps the scariest sentence in modern spaceflight.

Yes, in terms of budget i.e. operating costs. No, in terms of continuing access to space. But then, NASA would make the same mistake again: operate an expensive brick, and I think lose the ability for manned missions beyond LEO (once again).
 

Urwumpe

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And Orion is a potential, actually the most likely future crew vehicle in case NASA gets the assignment again to put humans into space.

I have doubts - capsules can be made by private companies, with all the limitations that Orion has. I would say, when the discussion in NASA starts again, technology and demands will have grown even more, and make a "Apollo on steroids" even less acceptable.
 

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Brains, who wants brains! Rarely used! Almost as new!
Well, from the article I posted, is it too late to cancel Ares I? It's either that or the Delta IV. But, at this rate, Ares V and Altair need to be re-done (or, as in the article, the Ares I can be modified).
I do prefer going to the moon, however, than having no other plans for space exploration currently.
Is it too ambitious building a moon base using Constellation? It calls for sending four people to the surface of the moon with a significantly larger LEM, lunar transportation, and a habitable module.
Though, what makes Orion so much better than the rest of the program? I've never really followed these reasons (Ares I is too far behind schedule?). It's a capsule with solar panels, more like the Soyuz.
Where is the evidence that Ares I will be much more expensive? The first trip to the moon was over-budget, especially the LEM.
 

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I have doubts - capsules can be made by private companies, with all the limitations that Orion has. I would say, when the discussion in NASA starts again, technology and demands will have grown even more, and make a "Apollo on steroids" even less acceptable.

I don't think that any company or agency would build and operate something different than capsules anytime soon. NASA is going to have Orion as a lifeboat for the ISS, and I think they'll have something similar as the basic crew vehicle after the ISS rea.

By the way, this is by far not the first time that something NASA intends to do is in doubt. Just get a beer, lean back and watch the upcoming fight. The outcome might be something almost nobody yet expects... whether if we do like it or not.
 
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Urwumpe

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Where is the evidence that Ares I will be much more expensive? The first trip to the moon was over-budget, especially the LEM.

Some NASA reports, the findings of the Augustine commission, the budget plans of NASA for it....

Also because Apollo was so expensive, there had been only 6 manned landings on the moon. Apollo operated for a while under different rules, but when the USSR had been beaten, the reality came back. Even the Saturn IB was a close contender to the Shuttle launch costs.

Copying Apollo is the worst thing you can do if your budget is only one tenth of what it was during Apollo. You can't afford it, or you will work so painfully slow because of budget limitations, that you will always look close to failure even in the best case.
 

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Some NASA reports, the findings of the Augustine commission, the budget plans of NASA for it....

Also because Apollo was so expensive, there had been only 6 manned landings on the moon. Apollo operated for a while under different rules, but when the USSR had been beaten, the reality came back. Even the Saturn IB was a close contender to the Shuttle launch costs.

Copying Apollo is the worst thing you can do if your budget is only one tenth of what it was during Apollo. You can't afford it, or you will work so painfully slow because of budget limitations, that you will always look close to failure even in the best case.

Yep, I know. If I remember right, Apollo costed more than 150 billion in todays USD.

But you'll never know how rash they might decide something in order to keep voters and make look everything fine. I don't say they would revive Constelllation. They for sure won't. But maybe just Ares I to keep the NASA job machine busy. At least there seems to be some headwind for the Obama plans.

I doubt anyway that NASA would return to "deep" space manned anytime soon. I see them continue to stuck in LEO for decades, as usual.
 

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But maybe just Ares I to keep the NASA job machine busy.

NASA is no "job machine" at all. 250,000 in the spaceflight industry in the whole USA sounds impressive, but NASA keeps just 85,000-95,000 people directly busy. The rest produces for private companies already. The United Space Alliance, that does all ground support for the Shuttle, has only 8,800 employees, and they are the loudest protesters.

Even if you claim the tickle-down effect, the whole projected 18 billion NASA budget does only keep 290,000 people in the whole USA employed - out of 100 million who need or have a job.

Of course we are, by the scope of the forum, closer to those who work in spaceflight, but practically, we are only talking about a small industry in trouble out of many. And if NASA would have had better management, including O'Keefe, who was doing generally a great job as NASA administrator, we wouldn't have such discussions today. You have really to say that much money got used inside NASA for no critical results. A lot of the money got spend for decorating the NTRS with reports of canceled projects.
 
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If thousands are going to lose their jobs, and if your political career somehow depends on it, you might want to try to keep those jobs. Although it is a small one to other industries, I think it is a job machine. And in comparison of other space agencies, the biggest one I guess.
 

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The only thing I can think of cheaper than the space shuttle would be an SSTO, or some even more futuristic technology such as a mass driver, space elevator, etc. As for going to the moon, something completely different would need to be done to be cheaper.


Causing NASA employees to lose their jobs may cost Obama Florida.
 

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SpaceNews.com: "This Is No Time to Retire Shuttle" by Mike Snyder, Space Shuttle engineer.

And on a related note, check out this interesting video - Spaceflight Now gave a United Space Alliance employee a camcorder to make their own "Space Shuttle home movie".
YouTube- Space Shuttle Home Video - United Space Alliance

I do understand that it is a very hard time for those who work on the Shuttle program. But, with due respect to Mike Snyder, I think it is wrong to say that American people now pay for Russian seats and to imply that it's a bad thing to do. We all actually pay for Soyuz since the beginning. Soyuz is the primary crew transportation and crew support vehicle for the ISS program, whilst the Shuttle is the basic ISS assembly vehicle. It was done consciously. Also, I'm not a space flight expert, and no space flight economist, but I do not see how the Shuttle can be "more economically", heck, economically at all. Why should NASA continue to operate a system that costs more than a billion USD per launch just to fly astronauts to and from the ISS once ISS assembly is complete?

Just as the Constellation cancellation, I think the Shuttle retirement comes at the right time (actually even too late). They should review the potentials and possibilities for the future of manned space flight way more closely than they did with Constellation. Continue to operate the Shuttle to keep jobs and satisfy people and employees certainly is not the right path. It does not matter at which point in time you retire the Shuttle, there will be always job losses and unhappy employees. It will always hurt people.

As for the video: it's great to see the faces behind the STS. Very nice people obviously. I would love to work on it as well, but of course not these days ;)

I personally would like to see Falcon 9 and Dragon a complete success, and as a result a close partnership between SpaceX and NASA.
 
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Urwumpe

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I think the US Airforce generates more spaceflight jobs, just like the FAA.
 
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