Archive for the ‘ISS’ Category

This is the link which won’t show per normal methods…sigh.

Interesting to be sure, but where’s the beef?!

Tell me again just what we get from the ISS?  It was supposed to be a one decade, $8 billion effort.  It turned into a $100 billion 25-year effort.

The idea of putzing around in LEO is getting old.  Hasn’t that part of space been fully explored?


The things we do to put people on orbit.

You’re in trouble!

Either within five clicks or a half-click depending on which official is talking.

Clown Arrives at Space Station

Posted: October 4, 2009 in ISS, Space Clown

Finally a mission for the ISS?

The clown “reportedly paid $35 million to become the world’s seventh space tourist. “

Andy Pasztor of the WSJ reports the administration is “leaning towards outsourcing major components of its space program.” This would mean some competition (or even cancellation!) for the planned NASA-sponsored Ares programs which (in six to eight years) will be used to resupply the International Space Station with materials and astronauts. To paraphrase Emil Faber, “Competition is good.”

The Air Force would like the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle to get man-rated. That would allow them to have some of the cost-burden of that program, which was supposed to provide cost savings of at least 25 percent on USAF launches (cue Bob Euker sound-bite: “Just a bit outside”) to other users. Likewise, commercial providers like Orbital Sciences, and SpaceX will be in the mix, too. However, don’t expect the Ares programs to go down without a fight.

Also, while the President “has confirmed his commitment to human space exploration,” the next part of the challenge will be to understand exactly what the President means by ‘human space exploration.’

We are already at the point where human space exploration–currently defined by orbiting the earth in the ISS–fails to satisfy. One manned trip to the Moon may satisfy for a short while, but after that…

“Manned space” needs to provide a vision of space travel that is not completely disconnected with reality. Space tourism may be the start. Perhaps the lessons learned in space tourism and the technologies developed in that aspect of the space economy will be applied to the space domain in general. I think it is space’s best hope.

NASA is underfunded. They need an extra $50 billion or so across the next ten years to do what they’re supposed to do.

Given the anticipated national-level direction and funding trend for this sort of discretionary endeavor, NASA should expect to be riding on a man-rated version of the Delta IV and cancel their Ares programs.

There will be little Congressional consensus towards plussing NASA up to perform their “program of record.”

And let’s consider the ISS as a point of comparison. As Taylor Dinerman reports, the ISS went from an $8 billion program estimate in 1984 to an actual program costing about $100 billion as we speak. So that $50 billion estimate the Augustine panel has come up might well end up being much more than they’ve anticipated.

The bottom line: the shuttle won’t retire on time and its replacement won’t be ready on time. Those are some preliminary findings of the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, led by Norm Augustine and briefed by former astronaut Sally Ride.

In total, the delays could add another year without a U.S. provided ride to the ISS. That gap could be mitigated by adding one or more shuttle missions. Man-rating the Delta IV EELV won’t change the timelines appreciably.

The ISS may be a beneficiary of this review. The ISS is planned for deorbit in 2016, but the panel seems poised to advocate it stay on orbit longer. Why? Because the planned deorbit might hurt NASA partners and “U.S. leadership in space.”

I cringe at that type of attitude. Rather, what should be considered is how (or if) our partners are helping us achieve the ISS’s objectives and what could be done if we didn’t have to support the money-sucking ISS.