Discussion:
NASA cannot replace retiring shuttles in time
(too old to reply)
Panno Zhai
2006-04-09 04:05:01 UTC
Permalink
It is said that NASA will retire shuttles by 2010, but they will not be
able to create a new alternative space ship. So that NASA will have to
by the services of the Russians to deliver loads to the space,
http://www.gazeta.ru/lastnews.shtml . (Some information can be glanced
in English from a general article e.g.
http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1034 ).

I think this is what is happening. The the US government/NASA do not
run rigorous space projects were the staff develops the skills
necessary to develop space ships from scratch. And they retired almost
all of the engineers who were capable top create spaceships from
scratch. There are only pockets of expertise left, but the
administration has no devotion to invest into training/preparation of
the new generation of the equally-skilled engineers. I think the US
space program is doomed... alongside with the science-intensive
industry.

\/
rrc
2006-04-09 04:28:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Panno Zhai
I think this is what is happening. The the US government/NASA do not
run rigorous space projects were the staff develops the skills
necessary to develop space ships from scratch. And they retired almost
all of the engineers who were capable top create spaceships from
scratch. There are only pockets of expertise left, but the
administration has no devotion to invest into training/preparation of
the new generation of the equally-skilled engineers. I think the US
space program is doomed... alongside with the science-intensive
industry.
It's as plain as the sun during high noon.

The past fifteen years was the decline of American science, and the
abandonment of S&E, as a viable middle class career for Americans.
Corporate America and Milton Friedmanism has created this phenomena.
The govt is simply following along with this trendline.

It's time to simply admit the failure than to debate it. This whole "my
subspeciality is better than yours" or "I have tenure but you don't" or
"but I have more relevant papers" doesn't address the underlying
problem and only exacerbates the withdrawal of more people from giving
the thought of S&E careers, as a cohort effect, than individuals
getting jobs.
Old Pif
2006-04-09 04:49:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Panno Zhai
It is said that NASA will retire shuttles by 2010, but they will not be
able to create a new alternative space ship. So that NASA will have to
by the services of the Russians to deliver loads to the space,
http://www.gazeta.ru/lastnews.shtml . (Some information can be glanced
in English from a general article e.g.
http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1034 ).
I think this is what is happening. The the US government/NASA do not
run rigorous space projects were the staff develops the skills
necessary to develop space ships from scratch. And they retired almost
all of the engineers who were capable top create spaceships from
scratch. There are only pockets of expertise left, but the
administration has no devotion to invest into training/preparation of
the new generation of the equally-skilled engineers. I think the US
space program is doomed... alongside with the science-intensive
industry.
It looks somewhat different. NASA never manufactured anything in its
entire history of existence. Both Apollo and Shuttle have been build by
private companies that already do not exist. After it became clear that
the government is not going to spent more money on space project, those
companies - Rocketdyne for one - have been acquired, merged or shut
down. So, the technology has been already lost for a number of years.
Drawings are probably exists somewhere on the dusty shelves but the
manufacturing infrastructure does not.
BMJ
2006-04-09 05:28:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Old Pif
Post by Panno Zhai
It is said that NASA will retire shuttles by 2010, but they will not be
able to create a new alternative space ship. So that NASA will have to
by the services of the Russians to deliver loads to the space,
http://www.gazeta.ru/lastnews.shtml . (Some information can be glanced
in English from a general article e.g.
http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1034 ).
I think this is what is happening. The the US government/NASA do not
run rigorous space projects were the staff develops the skills
necessary to develop space ships from scratch. And they retired almost
all of the engineers who were capable top create spaceships from
scratch. There are only pockets of expertise left, but the
administration has no devotion to invest into training/preparation of
the new generation of the equally-skilled engineers. I think the US
space program is doomed... alongside with the science-intensive
industry.
It looks somewhat different. NASA never manufactured anything in its
entire history of existence. Both Apollo and Shuttle have been build by
private companies that already do not exist. After it became clear that
the government is not going to spent more money on space project, those
companies - Rocketdyne for one - have been acquired, merged or shut
down.
Actually, reductions in military spending largely the reason for the
consolidation of aerospace companies.

So, the technology has been already lost for a number of years.
Post by Old Pif
Drawings are probably exists somewhere on the dusty shelves but the
manufacturing infrastructure does not.
As far as I know, drawings from Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab no
longer exist. The tooling certainly doesn't.
Aging_Recycled_Scientist
2006-04-09 12:16:01 UTC
Permalink
I believe that all manned space missions should be abandoned as well as
the many wasteful military systems including antimissle systems,
stealthy fighters, B2 bombers, osprey helioplanes etc. Put the
resources in the people in the military and wean the military
industrial complex off the teat of the taxpayer. I happened to have
worked for NASA for a couple of years and I was impressed by the waste
and very poorly done science. What a bullshit organization, I am sorry
to say.
BMJ
2006-04-09 14:33:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
I believe that all manned space missions should be abandoned as well as
the many wasteful military systems including antimissle systems,
stealthy fighters, B2 bombers, osprey helioplanes etc. Put the
resources in the people in the military and wean the military
industrial complex off the teat of the taxpayer. I happened to have
worked for NASA for a couple of years and I was impressed by the waste
and very poorly done science. What a bullshit organization, I am sorry
to say.
I began my first master's degree studying orbital mechanics. I liked
the course material, but I thought that many of the research topics in
the field were complete nonsense. They were so far-fetched that they
hardly had any basis in reality.

As for manned spaceflight, SpaceShipOne and its descendants may be the
future. Humans will go out there, but it's uncertain as to how.
Straydog
2006-04-09 14:52:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
I believe that all manned space missions should be abandoned as well as
the many wasteful military systems including antimissle systems,
stealthy fighters, B2 bombers, osprey helioplanes etc. Put the
resources in the people in the military and wean the military
industrial complex off the teat of the taxpayer. I happened to have
worked for NASA for a couple of years and I was impressed by the waste
and very poorly done science. What a bullshit organization, I am sorry
to say.
I began my first master's degree studying orbital mechanics. I liked the
course material, but I thought that many of the research topics in the field
were complete nonsense. They were so far-fetched that they hardly had any
basis in reality.
As for manned spaceflight, SpaceShipOne and its descendants may be the
future. Humans will go out there, but it's uncertain as to how.
Rich guys are getting rides on those old Russian rockets and THEY are
making money on this. NASA is pissed about it. Because it makes the
Russians ahead of us on commercialization of human space flight. AND, it
pushes in the direction of privatizing space flight and any govt
organization will feel threatened by that. I think that there are a lot of
rich people who have enough far excess of money that they would line up
for a joyride like that (and see their names in the paper). The question
in my mind is whether "joyrides" are a meritable activity to support such
an extravagent use of money.
BMJ
2006-04-09 15:43:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Straydog
Post by BMJ
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
I believe that all manned space missions should be abandoned as well as
the many wasteful military systems including antimissle systems,
stealthy fighters, B2 bombers, osprey helioplanes etc. Put the
resources in the people in the military and wean the military
industrial complex off the teat of the taxpayer. I happened to have
worked for NASA for a couple of years and I was impressed by the waste
and very poorly done science. What a bullshit organization, I am sorry
to say.
I began my first master's degree studying orbital mechanics. I liked
the course material, but I thought that many of the research topics in
the field were complete nonsense. They were so far-fetched that they
hardly had any basis in reality.
As for manned spaceflight, SpaceShipOne and its descendants may be the
future. Humans will go out there, but it's uncertain as to how.
Rich guys are getting rides on those old Russian rockets and THEY are
making money on this. NASA is pissed about it. Because it makes the
Russians ahead of us on commercialization of human space flight. AND, it
pushes in the direction of privatizing space flight and any govt
organization will feel threatened by that. I think that there are a lot
of rich people who have enough far excess of money that they would line
up for a joyride like that (and see their names in the paper). The
question in my mind is whether "joyrides" are a meritable activity to
support such an extravagent use of money.
Much as I find the prospect of joyrides for the overly-monied as being a
reason for spaceflight, it may provide a better return on one's
investment than some of the things I've seen proposed. For example, I
always thought that tethered subsatellites deployed from the space
shuttle was a bad idea, and, as it turned out, the two attempted
demonstrations of that concept failed.

I'm not opposed to any space mission, manned or unmanned, that will
provide a proper return. The Apollo J missions (15 - 17) were largely
scientific and provided a wealth of data as well as some interesting
samples, such as the anorthosite found by Dave Scott and Jim Irwin at
Hadley Rille. The Hubble Space Telescope more than justified its
existence. The Mars Exploration Rovers are still returning valuable
data about the martian surface, two years past their projected
lifetimes, even though they are already suffering some mechanical
failures. The discovery of water being vented near the south pole of
Saturn's moon Enceladus may be the most significant finding of the
Cassini mission. Voyagers 1 and 2 are still returning data, nearly
twenty-nine years after launch, and have crossed the termination shock
into the heliosphere.

With examples like that, it's hard to justify scrapping space exploration.
Straydog
2006-04-09 14:49:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
I believe that all manned space missions should be abandoned as well as
the many wasteful military systems including antimissle systems,
stealthy fighters, B2 bombers, osprey helioplanes etc. Put the
resources in the people in the military and wean the military
industrial complex off the teat of the taxpayer. I happened to have
worked for NASA for a couple of years and I was impressed by the waste
and very poorly done science. What a bullshit organization, I am sorry
to say.
Well, I'm not not going to totally disagree, but I think some of those
efforts are worthwhile. And, if the ISS is a failing project (maybe it is,
there are books written on this), then it should be discontinued. However,
I think the waste in the Military (& CTR) is orders of magnitude worse.
BMJ
2006-04-10 02:53:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Straydog
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
I believe that all manned space missions should be abandoned as well as
the many wasteful military systems including antimissle systems,
stealthy fighters, B2 bombers, osprey helioplanes etc. Put the
resources in the people in the military and wean the military
industrial complex off the teat of the taxpayer. I happened to have
worked for NASA for a couple of years and I was impressed by the waste
and very poorly done science. What a bullshit organization, I am sorry
to say.
Well, I'm not not going to totally disagree, but I think some of those
efforts are worthwhile. And, if the ISS is a failing project (maybe it
is, there are books written on this), then it should be discontinued.
However, I think the waste in the Military (& CTR) is orders of
magnitude worse.
Here's an interesting comment about NASA's immediate future:

http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?menu=1&id_issue=11494314
R***@wdn.com
2006-04-10 17:37:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
I believe that all manned space missions should be abandoned as well as
the many wasteful military systems including antimissle systems,
stealthy fighters, B2 bombers, osprey helioplanes etc. Put the
resources in the people in the military and wean the military
industrial complex off the teat of the taxpayer. I happened to have
worked for NASA for a couple of years
So did I.
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
and I was impressed by the waste
and very poorly done science. What a bullshit organization, I am sorry
to say.
When were you there? I was there in the late 80s and my
parts of the organization did good science, such as TRMM
(still running years beyond the design life) and ozone hole
studies.

Cheers,
Russell
Aging_Recycled_Scientist
2006-04-10 22:32:52 UTC
Permalink
I was at a university, working off a large NASA grant supporting the
CELSS program or recycling biomaterials for trips to mars, in the early
90s. The project was a big waste of money , poorly led, just
porkbarrel to the individual pIs, little progress. It was embarassing
to be part of that mess.

BMJ
2006-04-09 05:04:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Panno Zhai
It is said that NASA will retire shuttles by 2010, but they will not be
able to create a new alternative space ship. So that NASA will have to
by the services of the Russians to deliver loads to the space,
http://www.gazeta.ru/lastnews.shtml . (Some information can be glanced
in English from a general article e.g.
http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1034 ).
I think this is what is happening. The the US government/NASA do not
run rigorous space projects were the staff develops the skills
necessary to develop space ships from scratch. And they retired almost
all of the engineers who were capable top create spaceships from
scratch. There are only pockets of expertise left, but the
administration has no devotion to invest into training/preparation of
the new generation of the equally-skilled engineers. I think the US
space program is doomed... alongside with the science-intensive
industry.
\/
NASA's manned spaceflight effort has been lacking in direction ever
since Skylab 4 splashed down. The space shuttle was a solution in
search of a problem, but it never fulfilled its original promise.

At the same time, the general public became bored with it, possibly
because there wasn't enough "Oooh!" and "Aaah!" or it wasn't more like
"Star Trek". A few hours after Huygens landed on Titan last year, I
mentioned to a young sales clerk what had happened that day and her
reaction was a blank look. I doubt she even knew what I talked about.

Similarly, whenever there was a lunar eclipse visible where I live, I
liked to go outside and set up my telescope. Whenever someone passed
by, I invited them to take a look. There were a lot of people, sadly,
who were unaware of what was happening up in the sky and couldn't have
cared less. Those who were interested, however, were quite thrilled at
the sight, particularly when they could see it in greater detail through
my telescope.

It's not surprising, then, that NASA receives little support as the
general public simply doesn't see the point in space exploration.
Straydog
2006-04-09 11:28:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Panno Zhai
It is said that NASA will retire shuttles by 2010, but they will not be
able to create a new alternative space ship. So that NASA will have to
by the services of the Russians to deliver loads to the space,
http://www.gazeta.ru/lastnews.shtml . (Some information can be glanced
in English from a general article e.g.
http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1034 ).
I think this is what is happening. The the US government/NASA do not
run rigorous space projects were the staff develops the skills
necessary to develop space ships from scratch. And they retired almost
all of the engineers who were capable top create spaceships from
scratch. There are only pockets of expertise left, but the
administration has no devotion to invest into training/preparation of
the new generation of the equally-skilled engineers. I think the US
space program is doomed... alongside with the science-intensive
industry.
Interesting thoughts. But, what will the long term story be for Russia?
Someday its booster rocket fleet will wear out, then what? More business
for China, India?
Post by Panno Zhai
\/
rrc
2006-04-09 13:52:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Straydog
Interesting thoughts. But, what will the long term story be for Russia?
Someday its booster rocket fleet will wear out, then what? More business
for China, India?
Does the long term matter at the moment for Russia and other former
Soviet republics?

The labor arbitrage favors having R&D in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
etc so rocket technology can go on there without any issues. Also,
being energy economies, there'll probably be a lot of overrides going
into building up that sort of sector which can go on for decades
whereas China and India may be overhelmed by all the BPO and core
manufacturing coming from the west to stay competitive in those
specialized sectors. Time will only tell.
BMJ
2006-04-09 14:34:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by rrc
Post by Straydog
Interesting thoughts. But, what will the long term story be for Russia?
Someday its booster rocket fleet will wear out, then what? More business
for China, India?
Does the long term matter at the moment for Russia and other former
Soviet republics?
The labor arbitrage favors having R&D in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
etc so rocket technology can go on there without any issues. Also,
being energy economies, there'll probably be a lot of overrides going
into building up that sort of sector which can go on for decades
whereas China and India may be overhelmed by all the BPO and core
manufacturing coming from the west to stay competitive in those
specialized sectors. Time will only tell.
Don't forget that a few years ago, the Russian space program was
seriously strapped for cash.
Straydog
2006-04-09 14:47:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by rrc
Post by Straydog
Interesting thoughts. But, what will the long term story be for Russia?
Someday its booster rocket fleet will wear out, then what? More business
for China, India?
Does the long term matter at the moment for Russia and other former
Soviet republics?
You could say the same thing about every other country in the world:
almost no one thinks much beyond 6 months- 1 year.
Post by rrc
The labor arbitrage favors having R&D in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
etc so rocket technology can go on there without any issues. Also,
being energy economies, there'll probably be a lot of overrides going
into building up that sort of sector which can go on for decades
whereas China and India may be overhelmed by all the BPO and core
manufacturing coming from the west to stay competitive in those
specialized sectors. Time will only tell.
A question in my mind is what will happen to all the 3rd world economies.
Will the exchange rates, the thing that is propelling all this massive
move of money to cheap labor, ever re-adjust? Or, will this "comparative
advantage" that all the economists brag will benefit everyone, just lock
in the existing exchange rates. Who was it (some economist) that said "bad
money will crowd out good money"? Cheap labor will crowd out the
good/decent life, too.
Old Pif
2006-04-09 15:56:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Straydog
Interesting thoughts. But, what will the long term story be for Russia?
Someday its booster rocket fleet will wear out, then what? More business
for China, India?
Russian rocket fleet is not reusable. Every launch is the last and the
only one for that spacecraft. They are able reliably manufacture this
brand of equipment even after all their economical turmoil. The
technology is old, proven, reliable and cheap. The infrastructure both
of production and launching has not been volunerable to so called
market forces and therefore have survived. If they don't do any big
mistakes they can grab 100% of commercial and even military satellite
launches for the whole world.

Old Pif
rrc
2006-04-09 16:44:25 UTC
Permalink
:If they don't do any big mistakes they can grab 100% of commercial and
even military satellite launches for the whole world.

I can see this happening.
Straydog
2006-04-09 17:48:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Old Pif
Post by Straydog
Interesting thoughts. But, what will the long term story be for Russia?
Someday its booster rocket fleet will wear out, then what? More business
for China, India?
Russian rocket fleet is not reusable. Every launch is the last and the
only one for that spacecraft.
That is true.

They are able reliably manufacture this
Post by Old Pif
brand of equipment even after all their economical turmoil.
I am less sure of this. If their economy further evolves into a
western-like net-profits-must-self-support and out of a "command driven
and centrally subsidised" project (in other words, like grants & US
corporations), then even the Russians may send their cosmonauts to India
or China for cheap launches (and fire compentant hard working Russians
[and of course our NASA could implode, too, by sending our astronauts to
India or China, or even hire Indian or Chinese astronauts to do the
experiments at 1/3 salary, and as well burn up in glitches from mechanical
breakdowns, etc.]).

The
Post by Old Pif
technology is old, proven, reliable and cheap.
And, you forgot, _simple_ (which is a good thing quite a bit of the time,
as well as the other characteristics).

The infrastructure both
Post by Old Pif
of production and launching has not been volunerable to so called
market forces and therefore have survived. If they don't do any big
mistakes they can grab 100% of commercial and even military satellite
launches for the whole world.
What a blast, Russia launches NSA satellites to spy on Russia? Actually, I
think the Chinese are already launching commercial sats for US and other
countries.
Post by Old Pif
Old Pif
rick++
2006-04-09 19:28:51 UTC
Permalink
Ironically NASA is celebrating the 25th anniverasry of the first
shuttle launch
this week when there are doubts another will ever be launched.
Straydog
2006-04-09 20:45:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
Ironically NASA is celebrating the 25th anniverasry of the first
shuttle launch
this week when there are doubts another will ever be launched.
How old are they? Is there evidence that tiles are falling off in
increasing proportions, increasing percentages? Aren't they fastened with
wires embedded into the tiles, and the wires wrapped around the frame?
Crack formation? Wire corrosion? And, out of a fleet of five, only three
remain? What else is wearing out? Will the Russian strategy of "build one,
shoot it off, and forget what is left (debris)" be proven to be the better
strategy for the long run?

As I recall, they cost a $billion each, back when. What would it cost
today? Are the Indians (who are supposed to be planning some spectacular
space shot next year [I'm still predicting that W will say "Oh, lets
outsource our space program, too, and hand over, what, how many $ billions
to them?]).
rick++
2006-04-10 14:38:37 UTC
Permalink
It costs tens of millions to refurbish them each trip.
For example, on the last mission, the first time they
photographed closeups of the belly between launch and landing
they found tile-joint sheets coming out in a couple of places.
The tiles are designed to move independently of each other
with a thin ribbon of lubricating seal between. Engineers were afraid
this material sticking out may cause some landing turbulence;
although they confess this probably happened on all previous
hundred shuttle flights. So techniticians are now replacing all
nine thousand joints in existing shuttles in a more careful way.
On a productive day a person can do four replacements.

One of the shuttles will be retired later this year for parts
and backup should there be a third accident.
Its is too outdated and expensive to refurbish.
BMJ
2006-04-10 14:59:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
It costs tens of millions to refurbish them each trip.
For example, on the last mission, the first time they
photographed closeups of the belly between launch and landing
they found tile-joint sheets coming out in a couple of places.
The tiles are designed to move independently of each other
with a thin ribbon of lubricating seal between. Engineers were afraid
this material sticking out may cause some landing turbulence;
although they confess this probably happened on all previous
hundred shuttle flights. So techniticians are now replacing all
nine thousand joints in existing shuttles in a more careful way.
On a productive day a person can do four replacements.
One of the shuttles will be retired later this year for parts
and backup should there be a third accident.
If there's another mishap, it'll be the end of manned spaceflight by NASA.
Post by rick++
Its is too outdated and expensive to refurbish.
I wouldn't consider it outdated, but the shuttle's design was a
compromise between what was really wanted and what the government at the
time was willing to pay for.
Aging_Recycled_Scientist
2006-04-10 17:10:06 UTC
Permalink
Manned space missions, using the white elephant shuttles, are the
expendable targets I vote against. Also the military systems we dont
need like the Y22 fighter. We cannot afford to build enough and they
are as stealthy as they claim. We dont need to subsidize rich
corporations for systems we dont need like nuclear or attack
submarines. or other useless weapons systems where what we need are
people systems, intelligence and men on the ground.
BMJ
2006-04-10 17:35:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
Manned space missions, using the white elephant shuttles, are the
expendable targets I vote against.
The proposed Crewed Exploration Vehicle is as much as a white elephant.
It looks like a re-hashed Apollo, using little that's innovative. I
also find that its lunar landing craft is wasteful of hardware and risky
as it requires that the entire crew is on the surface. An orbiting
station would make more sense as it would allow rotation of personnel
during a mission and provide a platform for observations from orbit, the
merits of which were demonstrated during Apollo 15.

Also the military systems we dont
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
need like the Y22 fighter. We cannot afford to build enough and they
are as stealthy as they claim.
Then there's the Joint Strike Fighter. It has a variety of capabilities
which each participating service will use. But the last time something
on such a scale was attempted for a fighter (the F-111), the result was
a major disaster. The Navy was never happy about what was offered and
went its own way. The result was the F-14 Tomcat.

We dont need to subsidize rich
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
corporations for systems we dont need like nuclear or attack
submarines.
Perhaps not as many as are deployed now.

or other useless weapons systems where what we need are
Post by Aging_Recycled_Scientist
people systems, intelligence and men on the ground.
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