Discussion A contingency plan for fast return of the U.S. to space.

RGClark

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Why NASA and Congress Spent Four Hours Shouting At Each Other About Russia.
April 8, 2014 // 04:17 PM EST
Screen+Shot+2014-04-30+at+12.57.24+PM.png

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/wh...our-hours-shouting-at-each-other-about-russia

The congressmen kept asking for a short-term contingency plan to return America to space in case of seriously deteriorating U.S/Russia relations and Bolden kept responding with the three-year plan to have commercial crew flying. But there is a shorter term plan. BOTH SpaceX and Boeing have said they could be flying crew by next year with funding. So if the congressmen want a shorter term contingency plan, provide that required extra funding.

At the Humans 2 Mars 2014 conference I asked Bolden about such a contingency plan. It's about at the 15 minute mark in this video:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-Rt0ohhXsI"]NASA Administrator Discusses Getting Humans to Mars - YouTube[/ame]

He responded that SpaceX has not been selected yet as the crew launch provider. OK, then also fund Boeing so they can also return crew to the ISS by 2015.

There has been talk in Congress of only having one crew launch provider. I strongly disagree with that plan. We all saw what can happen when you only have one launch provider and that one goes down, as happened with the shuttle. SpaceX is furthest along so they should be one of the providers. But on the other hand the Boeing capsule would be carried on the Atlas V which has had a remarkable string of successful launches, which SpaceX is nowhere near to matching yet.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin mocked the U.S. space sanctions against Russia saying NASA would need to get a trampoline to get its astronauts to the ISS. This led Elon Musk to state through his twitter account that SpaceX would be revealing its man-rated Dragon 2 at the end of May:

Screen+Shot+2014-04-30+at+2.55.17+PM.png



Now, if SpaceX is flying their own crews to LEO in 2015 and there is still a strained relationship between the U.S. and Russia then, then it would be extremely embarrassing for NASA to still be paying Russia to ferry NASA astronauts to the ISS when SpaceX will already be flying American crews to LEO.

A solution would be for NASA to at least draw up a contingency plan including cost estimates of how much extra funding it would take to also take NASA astronauts to the ISS. Then the onus would be on Congress to decide if they want to provide NASA with the extra funding to do so.


Bob Clark
 
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Urwumpe

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Moar Funding = Moar Profit

:rofl:

And I seriously doubt, that funding alone can accelerate things. NASA did not get in 8 years to the moon by funding alone.
 

fred18

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And I seriously doubt, that funding alone can accelerate things. NASA did not get in 8 years to the moon by funding alone.

It's a combination: big competition enviroment (or war) and funding. One of the two is not enough, both of them must be in at the same time
 

boogabooga

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SpaceX is furthest along so they should be one of the providers. But on the other hand the Boeing capsule would be carried on the Atlas V which has had a remarkable string of successful launches, which SpaceX is nowhere near to matching yet.

Replacing relying on Russia for a spececraft with relying on Russia for an engine is not a solution.

Unfortunately, as I posted in another thread, there is a court injunction now such that the days of the U.S. using the RD-180 look numbered. Don't assume that there still will be an Atlas V when the CST is ready to use it.
 

Urwumpe

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It's a combination: big competition enviroment (or war) and funding. One of the two is not enough, both of them must be in at the same time

No, it is also a matter of infrastructure and manpower. You can't just pull a few thousand engineers out of your hat, to do the work that a few hundred would otherwise do in ten years. You need to make sure that these engineers will be there when you need them and you have to utilize those engineers that you already have - and that is something that the government can easily do, but not a company.
 

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Can't the Dragon, with very little upgrade, do a manned re-entry?
 
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Urwumpe

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Can't the Dragon, with very little upgrade, do a manned re-entry?

Some more upgrade. You need life support and crew ergonomics (seats, restraints, protection, etc). Likely you also need thermal control. And if the impact on landing is really suitable for manned landing, is another topic. Just landing on water is not automatically soft. Likely you also need crew control interfaces, at least for manual parachute and docking abort and collision avoidance.
 

RGClark

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Replacing relying on Russia for a spececraft with relying on Russia for an engine is not a solution.

Unfortunately, as I posted in another thread, there is a court injunction now such that the days of the U.S. using the RD-180 look numbered. Don't assume that there still will be an Atlas V when the CST is ready to use it.

While I favor the U.S. producing their own heavy-thrust kerosene engines, nothing beats proven reliability as the RD-180 has been proven to have.

Bob Clark

---------- Post added at 12:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:11 PM ----------

Moar Funding = Moar Profit

:rofl:

And I seriously doubt, that funding alone can accelerate things. NASA did not get in 8 years to the moon by funding alone.


"moar" -> more ?

HUGE funding did accelerate it. As a proportion of the U.S. budget, it was ten times higher than today. Imagine what we could do if NASA's budget was $180 billion every year instead of $18 billion. Heck, we'd probably have manned missions to Jupiter by now.

Anyway, SpaceX is claiming they can launch their own crews to LEO by 2015. So what else would NASA need to also send NASA astronauts to the ISS then?

Bob Clark
 

garyw

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Anyway, SpaceX is claiming they can launch their own crews to LEO by 2015. So what else would NASA need to also send NASA astronauts to the ISS then?

Proof.

Quite simply, the dragon spaceX human rated capsule needs a full scale dress rehearsal. It needs to go to the ISS. Spend six months there and then come back to Earth.

The launch escape system all needs a thorough test.

After that, it should be ready to go.
 

Urwumpe

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HUGE funding did accelerate it. As a proportion of the U.S. budget, it was ten times higher than today. Imagine what we could do if NASA's budget was $180 billion every year instead of $18 billion. Heck, we'd probably have manned missions to Jupiter by now.

If we would have this budget for at least 12 years, or two generations of engineering students. And maybe also learn the cheat codes for the universe.
 

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Anyway, its like firemen trying to save a forest that is half in fire... Funny how some politics react now that they have to face the evidence that the ISS access is allowed by Russian hardware and technology... I say, you should have started your contigency plan right after Columbia tragedy, guys, now its a bit late.
 

Andy44

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Proof.

Quite simply, the dragon spaceX human rated capsule needs a full scale dress rehearsal. It needs to go to the ISS. Spend six months there and then come back to Earth.

The launch escape system all needs a thorough test.

After that, it should be ready to go.

You mean like they "tested" the shuttle before sticking two guys in it and launching it into space?
 

Urwumpe

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You mean like they "tested" the shuttle before sticking two guys in it and launching it into space?

If we would perform the tests that the Space Shuttle did before two astronauts had been put into it for the first orbital flight with the Dragon Capsule, SpaceX could do the first manned test in 2050.

Just as example and refresher:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/04/space-shuttle-enterprise-the-orbiter-that-started-it-all/

Also, the initial Space Shuttle tests had not been over before STS-9, if you are pedantic.
 

Hlynkacg

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I know that there is a certain faction within this forum that still views Spacex as impudent youngsters that need to get of NASA's lawn but if their press is to believed Dragon's thermal control system is already capable of supporting a crew so the the only real issue that needs to be addressed is the ergonomics (seats and the like).

Launch Escape is entirely optional as Young and Crippen already demonstrated.
 

Urwumpe

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Launch Escape is entirely optional as Young and Crippen already demonstrated.

No, let me name seven arguments, why launch escape is no option, but mandatory:

Francis R. Scobee
Michael J. Smith
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Judith Resnik
Greg Jarvis
Christa McAuliffe
 

Thunder Chicken

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Andy44

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No, let me name seven arguments, why launch escape is no option, but mandatory:

Francis R. Scobee
Michael J. Smith
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Judith Resnik
Greg Jarvis
Christa McAuliffe

You're right. After those poor devils perished, NASA installed a fully functional launch escape system in the shuttle....not.
 
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