Future of space exploration -Poll
Since the end of the Apollo era, US space policy has been to develope systems for living in space and robotic exploration. The Interntional Space Station has been essential in learning how to construct, live and operate in space as well as be an excellent scientific outpost for research. Robotic missions have seen the farthest galaxies, inner workings of the sun and ventured to most of the planets as well as comets, asteroids and the edge of our solar system. Is this enough, or should we reach farther?
a) Should we maintain the status quo in Earth orbit?
b) Should we colonize and industrialize the Moon and Mars?
c) Should we explore Moon and Mars, but build an outpost near Jupiter?
I choose 'c'
Other, We should establish a life vessel to go out into space with the goal of exploration. That being said I wish we would spend more time fixing our planet and less time trying to explore other stars.
We feel this need because we keep hoping that another viable planet exists because everyone knows we are abusing and killing this one. Secondly we search for intelligent life else where because we've stopped trying to be and encourage intelligent life on our own planet.
1) Our status quo in earth's orbit sucks. The only thing we've polluted more than the ocean is the space around our planet.
2) We don't need homes on the moon or mars. Both are overrated and too far to be well connected. Neither is viable or self-sustaining.
3) Outpost near Jupiter may be viable if one of the moons has water but it is too far to be well maintained fromm Earth.
We should spend the billions on cleaning the ocean, solar energy, feeding the starving masses and providing genetic medication to millions dying around the globe.
Narrator: When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.
Lockheed Martin just opened their space simulation facility for the new Orion spacecraft. The facility is located in Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Facility in the foothills s.west of Chatfield Reservoir. Orion was designed for mulitple missions carrying a crew of four beyond Earth orbit, including the Moon and Mars. Apollo is the only other spacecraft designed and built to travel beyond Earth and Orion the only one ment for deep space and Mars.
More at AviationWeek article - 3.24.11
Later, an option of adding more crew and removing capabilities was made so it could carry astronauts just to orbit and back if nessisary. Current administration plans claim to want it as an emergency lifeboat for the International Space Station, with the Russian Soyuz and possibly SpaceX Dragon capsules handeling crew launch/return, but this will probably result in cancelling Orion.
What should be done with this spacecraft?
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is an idiot
Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) intends to subpoena NASA. He and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) released a letter saying such June 23rd that also stated,
(-snip from Aviationweek.com 07.24.2011-)http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...&channel=space
"...NASA, they wrote, “has repeatedly refused to provide documents the Senate Commerce Committee needs to conduct appropriate oversight of your agency.” Among those documents are “at least 19 separate drafts of a report” required under the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 that “may contain important information about the data and analyses NASA has relied on to comply with the 2010 act’s space launch system and crew vehicle requirements.
“As the Senate committee responsible for developing NASA’s policies and authorizing its expenditures, we also have the duty to make sure that NASA is spending taxpayers’ dollars in accordance with the law,” Rockefeller and Hutchison say. “In the process of conducting this legislative oversight, the committee has the right to any information that will aid us in understanding how and whether NASA is implementing the 2010 act.” ..."
The space launch system, or SLS, is the replacement super-heavy lifting rocket to replace the Space Shuttle. Administrator Charles Bolden earlier told Congress that such a rocket could not be completed on time or within budget. This is a lie. His alternative plan is to use the remaining Shuttle engines for the main stage of the SLS. They're no longer in production, with only enough remaining for test flights and maybe one actual flight. After that, he proposes an incredibly expensive, all-new engine development program and flight tests to replace it.
Additionally, he's proposed a competition to replace the solid boosters (white sticks), including liquid boosters using AJ26 engines from California's Aerojet. These engines are also planned for the small TaurusII rocket contracted to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Likewise, there's a limited number of AJ26s (old, refurbished Soviet engines) that will likely all be used by the TaurusII program (using a Ukranian main stage). Itself questionable because that company, Orbital, blew up the last two NASA satellites and the next planned launch is being reviewed.
An alternative is to use slightly tweeked RS-68 engines for the main stage of the SLS. They were developed years ago off the Space Shuttle engines, like Bolden plans to do again, and have been in production for the DeltaIV rocket.
Bolden should also stick with the solid booster, already developed and proven for decades, instead of massive investment and test flights for new ones. NASA could also restart work on the dirt-cheap AresI ('the stick') if solid motor production is secure and Europe's Astrium also submitted a similar rocket proposal called Liberty. It replaces the US upper stage with a tweeked main stage and motor from Europe's Ariene5 rocket.
~~NASA 2012 Budget Bill~~ (summary)
$16.8bil total for the year = $1.6bil less than '11 and about $2bil less than little-O requested. "The legislation ... spelled out specific spending levels for NASA’s nine major budget accounts and a handful of programs, including the Webb telescope. ...(but) opted to leave it to NASA to make many of the line-item cuts. “Rather than including a detailed table showing the recommended levels for each individual project and activity proposed in the budget request, the Committee has chosen to provide a table that focuses more generally at the theme and program level with a limited amount of additional detail,” ... “This will permit NASA some discretion to allocate available funds according to the most urgent priorities and needs.” "
Space Operations Directorate = $4.06bil
- $2.8bil for the space station
- $749mil for space and flight support
- $548mil closing the Shuttle program
Exploration Mission Directorate = $3.65bil
- $312mil for Commercial Crew development (Congress gave $500mil last Oct and little-O wanted $800mil)
- $289mil for exploration R&D
- $1.06 bil for Orion capsule
- $1.99 bil for SLS 130ton heavy lift rocket "The subcommittee also warned NASA that funds appropriated for (SLS and Orion) are intended for design and development, and not for covering expenses related to “civil service oversight, program integration, ground operations and mission operations. ... NASA’s spending plan should clearly itemize all costs ... not directly tied to actual vehicle design and development and provide a justification for why those expenses cannot be addressed elsewhere or deferred,” the report said."
Science Missions Directorate = $4.5bil
- $1.5bil for planetary science : Planned missions like MLS and Juno launching later this year and $10mil for facilities producing nuclear RTGs for future flights
- $1.7bil for Earth science : Cut of $100mil "while urging the agency “to protect, to the extent possible, high priority missions ... as well as missions with near-term launch readiness dates.” "
- $622mil for heliophysics
- $643mil for astrophysics : Explicitly cuts the James Webb Space Telescope. "The report holds up the (JWST) as a poster-child for NASA inefficiency and a “particularly serious example” of the kind of cost overruns that are “commonplace at NASA.” The panel said it elected to make an example of JWST to “establish clear consequences for failing to meet budget and schedule expectations.” " JWST article from 3days earlier; http://www.spacenews.com/civil/11070...wn-senate.html "NASA’s 2012 budget proposal, submitted back in February, asked Congress for $375 million for JWST for the coming year..." to keep it on track for a 2015 launch.
Cross Agency Support = $3.05bill
Aeronautics = $570mil
Construction and Environmental Compliance = $424mil
Space Technology = $375mil
Education = $138mil
Inspector General = $36mil
note: Additional or corrected figures from http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/07/...ts/#more-26847
and appropriations pdf-p.67 http://appropriations.house.gov/Uplo...2_SUBC_xml.pdf
The James Webb Space Telescope and Ares1 rocket should both be funded and completed, but both face the ax due to ridiculous accounting exaggerations and policy squabbles. Though the cost for both, in this age of austerity, is not insignificant at around $1.5bil combined, the wealth of science gained by the JWST and cheap access to Low Earth Orbit provided by Ares1 is worth it. There are many foolish expenditures across the Federal Gov that could be cut instead of these two important programs.
~~ Last year it was estimated the JWST would cost $500mil over the next two years and be ready to launch by 2015. This telescope has about 9times the resolution of Hubble and sees in infrared wavelengths, allowing it to peer through dust that blocks visible light. For 2012, little-O proposed spending $375mil/yr over 5yrs before launch. The subcommittee used this figure to claim it wouldn't launch until 2018 and after $1.5bil, but that was a lie derived from little-O trying to bait and switch funding under a marque program.
~~ The Ares1 rocket, designed to loft the Orion capsule and/or supplies to the Space Station and beyond, was nearly complete, already has its launch tower built, already flew a boiler plate test flight and finished development on the solid engine. Per flight cost, including Orion, was at $140mil - equal to what a SpaceX Dragon would cost - but with twice the payload. In comparison, the Russians charge over $100mil for two astronauts and minimal supplies while Orion and Dragon launch seven astronauts. Since Ares1 would compete with California's SpaceX and the commercial space agenda, as well as replace ULA's heavy lift rockets for LEO construction at 1/3 the price, a random +$1bil/flight figure was presented to try and ax the program.
NASA selects Gale Crater for MSL
This rover's capabilities and the location selected is awesome. To date, all rovers and landers to Mars have been baby steps to test procedures, mechanics and environment. The MSL -Mars Science Laboratory or Curiosity Rover - is a nuclear powered, car sized lab filled to the hilt with equipment. It is the first mission capable of thorough scientific exploration with breakthrough design - like the skycrane landing and spectroscopy laser - as well as proven equipment and systems from previous missions.
Above is the entire Gale Crater, landing ovoid and mission path. Below, a better view of the terrain.
Gale Crater is almost 100mi across with plains, canyons and a 3mi high mountain in the center. It is a microcosm of all Mars, located near the equator where Mars' two very different terrains meet (rugged south and lower-elevation northern plains). The vastly different elevations give a long and complete geologic record, as well as test navigation and mechanics like no other mission.
IMO, this is the best, and should be the last, robotic rover sent to Mars. After this, we should send men.
out post near jupiter ...... out post near mars ,other side of the kelper belt , then jupiter....then out from there
NASA's Jupiter orbiter (Juno) set for launch Friday Aug 4, 2011
~ The launch window for Jupiter occurs about every 13mos, taking place between this Aug 5th and 26th, unlike Mars where launch windows occur about every 2yrs.
~ An AtlasV rocket burning kerosene and liquid oxygen through a Russian engine, along with solid fuel strapon boosters, will hoist the Juno orbiter and a second stage rocket into Earth orbit in about 11min. The liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen second stage will then fire for about 9min, sending Juno on a 5yr journey to Jupiter.
~ Juno is designed to enter an elliptical polar orbit and study Jupiter's composition over a year.
*edit: Juno successfully launched at 10:25am and separated from the second stage 53min later. Godspeed Juno.
International Space Station may be temporarily abandoned = because of little-O
Info available in these two Aug 29th articles-
USA Today.com http://content.usatoday.com/communit...yuz-failure-/1
~ There's six men aboard the ISS and two Russian Soyuz capsules, each capable of carrying three. There's also a Russian cargo container docked (Progress), but its replacement was lost during launch a few days ago. The Station is stocked with supplies from the last Shuttle mission and is fine until the Japanese or European cargo containers (HTV and ATV respectively) launch in Spring 2012.
~ Due to a rash of failures in Russian rockets, Russia wants to launch both a Soyuz and a Progress before putting men on board.
~ The Soyuz capsule has a finite lifespan in orbit and both will end before the two Russia rest flights take place. Three astronauts must return in mid-Sept and the other capsule cannot be used after the end of Nov/first of Dec.
Both articles list the high possibility the other three astronauts will return in mid-Nov and leave the Station unmanned. While it will continue to orbit and can be maintained from ground control, all the science experiments will end - some prematurely.
Another option not mentioned is if the first Russian launch is a Soyuz capsule (as expected and is successful) in late Oct/early Nov, the remaining three astronauts could stay aboard until around late-May 2012, sending the old Soyuz back unmanned once its replacement arrives. They could continue the ISS science mission, including keeping the HTV and ATV launches and science on track. By late-May 2012, the new Soyuz capsule will be at the end of its lifespan and the crew will have been on orbit for nearly a year. If they cannot be replaced at that time, the ISS would then be abandoned.
* For a bit of political twist, China is planning to launch their own 'space station' (little more than a can, temporarily manned like Skylab) around the end of the year.
Should also be noted little-O has done everything possible to cancel the Shuttle replacement capsule and did cancel the rocket (Ares1) to carry it. Though both are still under development (the capsule nearly complete and the rocket has a final test next week), they would be flying right now as a replacement if not for his actions. In return, almost a billion has been spent on pork-barrel powerpoint presentations for commercial flight and made the US wholey dependent on the Russia vehicles for ISS access.
Well you would think with all the global warming rhetoric ( end of the earth) blah blah blah they would support venturing out to new planets (but oddly they want to cut funding) hummmmmmmmmmmmm.
Mars Science Laboratory successfully launched today -
--and to update earlier posts; The Soyuz capsule successfully delivered three new crew members to the ISS, allowing three to return in their old capsule and keeping the crew compliment at six.
The 2012 NASA budget was passed last week, but with different funding levels than earlier proposed - including another $1bill (bringing it to $17.8) and funding for the JWST.
lets all chill there.
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