“-the skills and technologies needed to acquire and use off-planet resources-“to launch tons of water from Earth is to completely miss the point of attempting it—we are learning how to “cut the umbilical cord”- Excerpts from Paul Spudis’ article in Air and Space Magazine.
Any dialogue with the NewSpace sycophants presently hijacking the discussion about space exploration inevitably devolves into their screaming cheap. When presented with any plan that requires government resources or things outside the capability of billionaire hobbyists the NewSpace mob wails and gnashes their teeth, crying out it is just too expensive and a waste of tax dollars.
This mantra is incredibly frustrating because these creatures claim to be all about space exploration but in reality are anti-space and have an agenda that goes nowhere but LEO- which is not really space at all. They will make noise about Mars and making us a “multi-planet species” yet when it is actually shoved in their face and they can’t avoid addressing the hard questions they default to snarky veiled insults and complaining on libertarian principles. A shaky facade as their flagship company is the poster child for corporate welfare.
The best example is of course the SLS; it is obligatory for the private enterprise fanatics to always make a Carthago delenda est statement about how the SLS should be canceled. I respond with my own version naming the space station to nowhere and the hobby rocket as items that must be done away with. The SLS is presently the only vehicle specifically designed to carry humans Beyond Earth Orbit and calls for its cancellation are for that reason. Going directly to the Moon dumps the NewSpace LEO business plan in the trashcan.
“When it comes to human interplanetary missions (as it inevitably does), we require hundreds of tons of material, all delivered to some marshalling area in space (e.g., LEO, GEO, Lagranians, or some other departure point).”- Excerpts from Paul Spudis’ article in Air and Space Magazine.
Any long duration missions into deep space will require massive shielding and artificial gravity. This is the dirty secret NASA does not want to talk about. No matter how willing to permanently damage their bodies astronauts are the decision is not going to be theirs- and nobody is going to sign off on profoundly debilitating and dosing human beings just for a T-shirt. The damage is certain and so is that damage being a showstopper.
Sending humans on multi-year deep space missions automatically means true spaceships with well over a thousand tons of water as a cosmic ray shield and an artificial gravity system. This automatically makes chemical propulsion useless for human interplanetary missions- only nuclear energy will work. And it may as well be stated in no uncertain terms- only one form of propulsion is viable- nuclear pulse propulsion. This means hydrogen bombs and those cannot be used inside the Earth’s magnetosphere, which extends almost to the Moon.
It is not that “space is hard”, it is that the truth about space is hard. The most basic truths about space exploration the public must come to understand is that LEO is not space and there is no other place to go to acquire shielding, assemble, test, and launch nuclear missions but the Moon. LEO is the worst possible place to put together spaceships and the smaller-cheaper-better hobby rocket scam makes the “flexible path” an unworkable mess.
“The proposed Falcon Heavy (if it works and costs as advertised) would emplace even more mass (about 22,000 tons for the same amount of money).”- Excerpts from Paul Spudis’ article in Air and Space Magazine.
Falcon light blew up as I recall on its 19th flight while ULA just went one hundred in a row- without blowing up. You get what you pay for. The cheaper-is-better crowd continues to proclaim a new age of cheap lift and just don’t get it: when the space station to nowhere closes shop, NewSpace is over. Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is not space. The mob of Ayn Rand worshipers who are anti-space, anti-NASA, anti-government, while posing as good ole boys waving the flag, have done more damage to space exploration than both shuttle disasters.
As the ISS deteriorates it costs more and more per year and very soon there will be a call to pour extra billions into this hole in LEO. Lashing together 3 hobby rockets to carry more junk up there to go in circles- going nowhere- is just more corporate welfare. The ideological war between those scamming taxpayers to continue this sham and those supporting Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) operations with the Space Launch System (SLS) is real. The ice on the Moon and the Space Launch System to reach it should be the central focus of all true space advocacy.
NewSpace is the enemy. I have said it for years and have been banned from almost all the popular space forums for saying so. The time is coming when that sordid mess also known as “private space” and “commercial space” will either be exposed and rejected or finally and completely ruin any near term possibility of human beings again traveling in space. Abandoning LEO and funding more tooling and workers for SLS cores at Michoud is the only hope. A public works project to establish a permanent base on the Moon is the worthy goal- not LEO tourist stations and boot prints on Mars.
Setting up straw men and knocking or burning them down is not logic. Characterizing those who disagree with you as sycophants and worse is not a valid or useful form of argument. Trying to define that which you do not like as not part of the discussion is cheating with questionable logic. LEO may not be a part of space in which you are interested, but it is space and it is the most accessible part of space. It is the gateway to all else that we do in space. What we have learned and will in the future learn there is intrinsic to our future in space as well as our present. Using giant and very expensive rockets to boost heavy loads beyond LEO is neither efficient or safe. In the long run, whatever goes beyond LEO should be assembled on and boosted from LEO by the most efficient means available that meets the needs of a particular mission. Infrastructure such as the ISS is a necessary part of that system, though the ISS is not necessarily needed past the point that we have a replacement.
Fuel depots, assembly crews and facilities, shops, as well as research facilities are needed. Whatever provides boost to that facility or facilities most economically will make our permanent, independent future in space most probable. Water is a fine shielding material and useful in other ways, but it is not the only way to accomplish shielding. With nuclear-electric power, active shielding can work quite well. Asteroidal bodies can provide both shielding and resources in orbit and for transport. Use of any body with a significant gravity well makes establishment of anything advantageous beyond basic landings, very expensive. Resources from such a body cannot be obtained without enormous expenditures for production facilities and for all the things named in the first sentence of this paragraph.
We cannot easily or safely bypass LEO in any process. Denigrating “New Space” as if it is some monolithic entity that can be tossed off as a unit ignores the diversity of capabilities that are to be found in the commercial and semi-commercial space industry. Positing SLS as a useful route into the future ignores the fact that all future plans for that rocket lack funded loads. Those who propose using that rocket for Moon, Mars, or lagrangian missions ignore that lack of funding or room for that funding in budgets largely fully devoted to it and its sole load, Orion. Even at the cost of one in twenty boost failures, we must find a way to get loads to orbit less expensively than SLS/Orion or really any of the current ULA or ESA offerings. Maybe we want to yield that low cost area to Russia, China, and maybe even India. We face the probability of that happening if we do not find a way to encourage some of the current competitors to fill that vacuum in our space system.
Again, continuing intemperate attacks filled with character attacks and innuendo will accomplish no goal of any worth, even if mixed with occasionally useful ideas.
Thanks for the obnoxious naysaying.
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