QuestionUsefulness of the ISS (and other space stations) for humanity

T.Neo

I don't see any reason why China is beating everyone else. After all, who maintains and crews a $100 billion dollar orbital complex? The US, Europe, and Russia. And Japan. Also, what is really beating US progress is nonsense politics. If we hadn't had this nonsense about SLS and whatnot, NASA would be on its way to creating partnerships with commercial entities to create an architecture for BEO exploration. Pity that never happened. SpaceX could do a lunar flyby in future... we shall see. I think they are more likely to do a lunar flyby than Orion and SLS... but maybe this is just my urge to see the new guys beat over the political pork monstrosity more than anything else. EDIT: Didn't they sey they were going to the Moon...by 2030? Surely the would not go back on that goal, otherwise their "propaganda" might suffer? By then, who cares? Everyone will have forgotten. :lol: Also, just getting to the Moon does not mean much. The US did it, but where is the US now? It does not change things much. It would be pretty embarassing for China to land on the Moon and for nobody else to be there... but if someone else goes further (to an asteroid, etc), their exploration efforts might be considered outmoded. Personally, I think China's rate of progress is fine. They're about to launch a space station...and I don't see the ESA launching manned missions or space stations! Oh yes the ESA does have a space station! It's called the International Space Station. And yes, they launch astronauts too... not on native vehicles, but maybe this does not matter that much. Even the Shuttle was an international program, really. And you had, what was it again? Intercosmos? International cooperation in space goes back further than you think. I think it is a very good thing, for those with the capability, to offer it to those without the capability. Countries like South Africa or Thailand couldn't hope to launch their own manned vehicles... but they could cooperate with international partners and fly in space that way. Last edited: Scruce Ad astra per aspera I don't see any reason why China is beating everyone else. After all, who maintains and crews a$100 billion dollar orbital complex?

The US, Europe, and Russia. And Japan.

More like the $100 billion dollar waste of money. What use is that orbital junkyard up there? The money could be used better, like for a manned Mars mission, no? Last edited: Urwumpe Not funny anymore Addon Developer Donator More like the$100 billion dollar waste of money. What use is that orbital junkyard up there? The money could be used better, like for Mars, no?

This junkyard is not only the only space station we currently have - it is also the biggest and best true spacecraft ever build.

Also, how can you fly to Mars, if you can't even stay in LEO without resupplies every 3 months?

Scruce

By then, who cares? Everyone will have forgotten. :lol:

Also, just getting to the Moon does not mean much. The US did it, but where is the US now? It does not change things much.

It would be pretty embarassing for China to land on the Moon and for nobody else to be there... but if someone else goes further (to an asteroid, etc), their exploration efforts might be considered outmoded.

So what is the point of the U.S. even returning to the Moon, if the goals have already been achieved?

Oh yes the ESA does have a space station! It's called the International Space Station. And yes, they launch astronauts too... not on native vehicles, but maybe this does not matter that much.

China is about to launch a space station all on it's own, a feat that has not been seen since Skylab, they have Shenzou as well, what does ESA have, but a tiny little PROBA-2?

International cooperation in space goes back further than you think. I think it is a very good thing, for those with the capability, to offer it to those without the capability. Countries like South Africa or Thailand couldn't hope to launch their own manned vehicles... but they could cooperate with international partners and fly in space that way.

So Europe isn't big enough to handle it's own matters then? That they need international cooperation to be "uplifted"?

---------- Post added at 22:17 ---------- Previous post was at 22:15 ----------

Also, how can you fly to Mars, if you can't even stay in LEO without resupplies every 3 months?

Then what is the point of going to Mars if you can not surpass three months of duration?

Zachstar

Donator
Just a note if going to mars was the only goal of the ISS it would be a couple of modules and thats it. Not the large political win station it is today.

What china is doing is logical. The station is going to allow them to test the spacecraft for longer duration with less risk. They don't have the multi decade track record of shuttle and russian capsules so a small station that is lower cost will help.

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Donator
China is about to launch a space station all on it's own, a feat that has not been seen since Skylab, they have Shenzou as well, what does ESA have, but a tiny little PROBA-2?

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=71

(This list doesn't include the missions of pre-ESA times and not the many satellites that are done by ESA countries but as national program)

How many scientific satellites does China currently have? How many such missions has China completed? How many astronauts has China put into space?

Europe never developed a manned spacecraft themselves, right. Mostly because there had been many small projects instead of real collaboration. But: ESA managed to bring much more astronauts into space than China so far. And that on BOTH sides of the Iron Curtain back then. ESA developed the SpaceLab for the Space Shuttle and delivered the computer system of the Russian part of the ISS, additionally to their own module and their own space freighter as part of the ISS contracts.

Additionally to ESA, most ESA countries also have their own national spaceflight programs, that are not always scientific - but still existing. Take the German military satellites ComSatBW and SAR Lupe as example.

China, is currently a very small candle light with a PR guy next to it declaring it to become the new sun soon. That will soon be surpassed by SpaceX, if we are lucky. Simply because SpaceX has real progress, where China has just political missions.

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Jarvitä

New member
China is about to launch a space station all on it's own, a feat that has not been seen since Skylab, they have Shenzou as well, what does ESA have, but a tiny little PROBA-2?

The Salyut and Mir programs don't exist in the alternate reality you exist in?

So Europe isn't big enough to handle it's own matters then? That they need international cooperation to be "uplifted"?

And you don't understand the meaning of "cooperation" either? The ISS was about creating something that none of the participating agencies could have put together and ran on their own. And that includes the USA.

T.Neo

SA 2010 Soccermaniac
So what is the point of the U.S. even returning to the Moon, if the goals have already been achieved?

Emulating the legendary Apolo era:

:lol:

China is about to launch a space station all on it's own, a feat that has not been seen since Skylab, they have Shenzou as well, what does ESA have, but a tiny little PROBA-2?

The ESA has the ATV, which is a very capable resupply vehicle, I think.

They have a laboratory onboard the ISS.

Multiple ISS modules were constructed in Europe.

There have been many European astronauts.

Europe has done more in space than China has, at this time.

So Europe isn't big enough to handle it's own matters then? That they need international cooperation to be "uplifted"?

It was their choice to not develop a manned spacecraft. They had the chance to do so.

Scruce

You are getting a bit stupid on purpose here, right?

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=71

(This list doesn't include the missions of pre-ESA times and not the many satellites that are done by ESA countries but as national program)

Nice list there, but where are the manned missions, space stations etc. Sure you can launch a satellite and call it a name, take a few temperature measurements but that is all. Manned missions like Shenzou and Tiangong 1 are what matter.

How many scientific satellites does China currently have? How many such missions has China completed? How many astronauts has China put into space?

That is not a fair statement, considering that the CNSA is a new organisation compared to the ESA, RKA or NASA.

Hypothetical scenario:
You have two children, one four years older than the other. The older one starts to go onto higher education, but you moan at the younger one for not starting higher education as the older one, despite the fact that the younger one has not matured enough.

This is the same hypothetical scenario in your statement above.

China, is currently a very small candle light with a PR guy next to it declaring it to become the new sun soon. That will soon be surpassed by SpaceX, if we are lucky. Simply because SpaceX has real progress, where China has just political missions.

SpaceX has real progress? Look around, I don't see a SpaceX space station, or (currently) working manned craft. China, in a few weeks will surpass SpaceX.

---------- Post added at 22:50 ---------- Previous post was at 22:50 ----------

The Salyut and Mir programs don't exist in the alternate reality you exist in?
Yes, I forgot Salyut, for that I am sorry. But the Shuttle visited MIR and installed a docking ring making MIR a joint program between NASA and the RKA.

Orbinaut Pete

ISSU Project Manager
Just a note if going to mars was the only goal of the ISS it would be a couple of modules and thats it. Not the large political win station it is today.

The goal of the ISS is not to go to Mars. It is large to support many experiments and six permanent crewmembers. It has nothing at all to do with "political win". Indeed, the original ISS was downsized by politicians.

T.Neo

SA 2010 Soccermaniac
The original goal of the space station studies that went all the way through the 80s was a Shuttle-tended manned laboratory in LEO.

The original goal of the Mir-2 station was... to replace Mir?

Both were combined to create the ISS. You could say that the ISS, even in its reduced state, is larger than both the original US and Russian station studies.

If the whole point was to study for a Mars program, then things would be very different... but the major original motivation for the ISS is the concept of a space laboratory tended by the space shuttle, which goes back to the days of von Braun's original proposals.

Zachstar

Donator
And for it's size it has done virtually jack to help us in the real world. China's station isn't going to be up there for 20 years. It will be up long enough for them to get what they want and be destroyed.

It's almost obvious that the real reason its up there it to serve as a safe harbor for longer stays in orbit and to get the data needed to certify the spacecraft for translunar flights.

The moon is staring them in the face and if it is just political. A flyby of the moon would be a real slap to the apathy filled world.

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Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Donator
Nice list there, but where are the manned missions, space stations etc. Sure you can launch a satellite and call it a name, take a few temperature measurements but that is all. Manned missions like Shenzou and Tiangong 1 are what matter.

OK... what does China have: Three Shenzhou missions and a vaporware space station, that has 2 days left to launch to meet the vague announcements of the Chinese.

Lets just be fair and look what ESA did while Shenzhou was flying (manned since 2003):

2003: Soyuz TMA-3 (Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque)
2004 Soyuz TMA-4 (Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers)
2005 Soyuz TMA-6 (Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori)
2006 STS-121 (German astronaut Thomas Reiter)
2006 STS-116 (Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang)
2007 STS-120 (Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli)
2008 STS-122 (Hans Schlegel and Léopold Eyharts, installed Columbus space station module on ISS)
2008 ATV-1 Jules Verne
2009 Soyuz TMA-16 (Frank de Winne)
2009 STS-128 (Christer Fuglesang)
2010 Soyuz TMA-20 (Paolo Nespoli)
2011 STS-134 (Roberto Vittori)
2011 ATV-2 Johannes Kepler

12 manned missions, 9 different astronauts, one space station module, 2 unmanned cargo spacecraft to the space station.

China: 6 astronauts in three missions.

Yes, I know Europe should be way better and could be way better there.

But we are still flying loops around the Chinese here.

Orbinaut Pete

ISSU Project Manager
And for it's size it has done virtually jack to help us in the real world.

Please do some research, then you'll see how & why that statement is completely incorrect.

Zachstar

Donator

One cure.
One major affect on economy.
One near term great affect it will have on anything other then. (Well maybe in the future Y will be developed because of the brazillions spent on Y today)

But this isn't the place to discuss the failure that is the ISS. This about China and how despite it's slow pace is leaving the rest of the world in the dust.

And Dennis if flying on another nation's vehicle is a measure of national success I wonder why Soyuz isn't flying into Orbit every tuesday with someone's "Astronaut" Why not Mir?

I will tell you why. Because in the end relationships can change and you can find yourself with a government that dosent want to be involved in another nation's space program because of an action taken completely irrelevant to space. (Such as war) If you don't have your own assured access to space you are behind.

And it is damn sad that we even have to rely on SpaceX for the mere hope of US manned flight in the near future. Good on China to go its own way instead of relying on another nation to claim flight status.

T.Neo

SA 2010 Soccermaniac
And it is damn sad that we even have to rely on SpaceX for the mere hope of US manned flight in the near future.

Why. :dry:

Why is it worse than relying on Lockheed? Especially when their contract to build a vehicle has cost ten times more and has not resulted in a vehicle flying yet?

Please do some research, then you'll see how & why that statement is completely incorrect.

Where is it completely incorrect? Sorry, but I read through a lot of those ISS experiments, and I couldn't really find any that were majorly useful- other than RASV.

There still isn't something that justifies the immense cost of the ISS beyond question. Except maybe international cooperation, and offering a destination for manned spaceflight programs for the last ~10 years.

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Are you kidding?

Orbinaut Pete

ISSU Project Manager

One cure.
One major affect on economy.
One near term great affect it will have on anything other then. (Well maybe in the future Y will be developed because of the brazillions spent on Y today)

But this isn't the place to discuss the failure that is the ISS

No, I won't tell you, because I tire of explaining things to people that they could find elsewhere.

You can't point to one near term "great effect" that will justify ISS (apart from research into Salmonella vaccines), nor can you say with absolute certainty what the research on ISS will lead to. That can be said of any laboratory on Earth, however - it is just the nature of research.

Remember, it's not just the benefits that ISS gives to us on Earth, it's also the benefits it gives to future space exploration that are important.

There's just no way you can say ISS has been a failure, when the full research program only began a few months ago.

Where is it completely incorrect? Sorry, but I read through a lot of those ISS experiments, and I couldn't really find any that were majorly useful- other than RASV.

There still isn't something that justifies the immense cost of the ISS beyond question. Except maybe international cooperation, and offering a destination for manned spaceflight programs for the last ~10 years.

As I've said before, no, there isn't any one experiment that you can point to that justifies the cost of ISS. Rather, it is the collective experience/knowledge that it will give is over the course of its life that justifies it. I've already told you what those things are.