Skip to comments.Wanted! Your Views On America's Space Program Goals
Posted on 01/13/2009 8:25:11 AM PST by presidio9
It's time to put your 21st century thinking cap because you've been invited to take part in a new study into why the U.S. has a space program.
The new study "Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program" is looking for the public's view on the following questions:
What's the future of human, robotic, commercial, and personal spaceflight? Is your life impacted in a meaningful way by the space program? What kind of emphasis should the space program represent in going forward? How can the country's civil, or non-military, space program address key national issues?
Views - positive or negative - of the general public are welcomed.
This study is sponsored exclusively by The National Academies, and it is not receiving any funds from government agencies or any other external sources. The assessment is a joint effort of the Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
"Specifically, we are anxious to hear a broad range of views from the public, including people from outside and inside traditional space interest sectors," said Joe Alexander, study director for the appraisal. The effort is geared to explore the long-range rationale and goals of the civil space program, he told SPACE.com.
Best objective judgment
The ad hoc committee will prepare a report to advise the nation on key goals and critical issues in 21st century U.S. space policy. Furthermore, the committee's to-do list includes:
Identifying overarching goals that are important for our national interest. Identifying issues that are critically important to achieving these goals and ensuring the future progress of the U.S. space activities. Discussing options to address unresolved issues. Using its best objective judgment and recognizing other national priorities, the committee will explore
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Eliminate the space shuttle program. They were a poor compromise of a good idea that is well over 30 years old. Make cargo rockets unmanned. Make manned rockets smaller and more survivable. Perhaps much smaller versions of the space shuttle.
In direct contrast to the current Ares Launch System (ALS), the Jupiter Launch System (JLS) reuses most of the existing manufacturing, integration and launch facilities of STS, as illustrated in figure 2. Because all the new technology requirements are moved to the lunar exploration phase of the VSE, NASA can focus initially on fielding a significantly safer launch system than the Space Shuttle, yet one which is far more capable than the Ares-I. With more than double the lift capability of Ares-I, the first Jupiter Launch System (JLS) variant enables the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) development team to deliver a fully lunar-capable vehicle to NASA, unconstrained by the current limitations of the Ares-I. In addition, this first variant of the JLS, the Jupiter-120, has enough excess capacity to complete the ISS, thus obviating the painful decision of leaving finished ISS elements on the ground or retiring the Space Shuttle on schedule.
Amazing what engineers can do when you leave the bureaucrats out of the equation.
I like the idea of using existing components in a new configuration to "git'r done", and not leave us out of the game for so long.
Remember when this country used to have the "can do" spirit?
Manned mission to Mars
permanent space station on Moon
hiring old fat guys to fly those contraptions who aren’t military pilots
hiring old fat guys to mine the Moon and Mars
We can put them in a conex box and helo lift it to the Bermuda Shelf, is that enough?
You're kidding, Mister Central Government, right?
Private industry has always led the way with meaningful inventions, because it has the greatest financial motives to do so. Government does so only inefficiently and erratically, and at far, far, greater costs.
Private industry would have a lot more resources if our bloated government were downsized and taxes followed suit. It's a malicious joke to tax people and then say "haha, you can't do ____ as well as our rich, well-funded government. Guess you need government after all!"
The notion that the space program gave us computers is so historically ignorant I won't comment.
Likewise, while there are many spin-off inventions from the space program, think how many more inventions we would be enjoying if the engineering and technical resources spent by government on its space programs were in private hands, meeting real wants and needs expressed by the free markets and the citizenry? We would inherently be better off with the more direct application of scientific resources to our own wants and needs, rather than getting the crumbs from the table of Big Government.
The space program should have one primary goal: GET HUMANS OFF OF THE PLANET.
More specifically, set up sustainable human colonies on other worlds. The Moon is a good start and Mars should be next. Space habitats should also be explored.
Absolutely! The longer we sit here on this dirtball without a self-sustaining offworld human colony, the closer we come to that comet or asteroid collision that wipes out humanity.
Given those objectives, DIRECT on its face does seem to be the far better option - it can do what Ares claims it can do 2-3 years sooner, and for close to half the cost, and more safely. Apparently even NASA's own internal review suggested as much. Unfortunately, while Griffin was right to want to terminate the Shuttle, he seems too wedded to Ares. And Ares has reached the point where it uses virtually no Shuttle systems any longer - which means more cost, longer testing, more uncertainty, and higher risk of cancellation (especially of the big Ares V booster).
Could you design a better system "clean sheet?" Sure. But we have to work within what Congress wants and will go for.
And having said that, ideally Direct would be focused on beyond LEO exploration, while LEO becomes the preserve of commercial space enterprises as soon as possible through award contracts, deregulation, and tax breaks.
The DIRECT guys claim they can get us back into (manned) space by 2013 with the Jupiter 120 launcher, as opposed to 2015 for Ares I (which may be sliding now to 2016 due to various difficulties) - assuming the word "go" is given in April after a 60 day review. On the moon by 2017 instead of 2020.
It seems unconscionable to wait six years without a manned capability. Of course with luck SpaceX will be available with their Dragon capsule by 2011-2012 (I hope that happens either way, so that NASA can get out of the Low Earth Orbit game and leave that to private contractors and private enterprise), but there's no guarantee. This still leaves a three year gap, but that's more manageable, and easier to fill with SpaceX or, with considerably higher risk, extending the shuttles with a few more missions if Congress is really willing to cough up the extra cash they're talking about.
So I do hope Obama's people really listened to the DIRECT presentation seriously, and have it independently assessed. It's not too late to ditch Ares and go DIRECT.
And if their charts and data are to believed (and I have no reason to doubt it), payload capabilities blow any configuration of Aries away.
More bang for the taxpayers buck while saving as much of the investments in infrastructure for the current system. What a concept. Therefore Congress won't even look at it.
Or we could just ask them to go home on the one that brought them here.
Most of the time.
My goal... get RID OF NASA. It is a giant black hole of money.