Luna 27 and U.S. Failure

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34554517

The rest of the world is going to the Moon while we launch exploding hobby rockets and cheer for Matt Damon. The nation that built the Saturn V has to pay Russians hundreds of millions of tax dollars for a ride to the space station to nowhere that took over ten years and 100 billion U.S. tax dollars to build. The nation whose space agency is fighting with congress over funding the only Beyond Earth Orbit spacecraft being built (the space agency wants the hobby rocket instead). The nation that spends such a mind boggling sum on defense that billions disappear without a trace and nobody seems to question this- yet cannot build a rocket that takes astronauts even into the space-that-is-not-really-space of Low Earth Orbit.

The ice on the Moon is the critical enabling resource for any human expansion beyond Earth orbit. Yet because of the years ago campaign contribution from an internet billionaire who has made himself the invisible head of NASA, discussion of the Moon is….verboten.

Image: NASA

Image: NASA

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About billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate
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3 Responses to Luna 27 and U.S. Failure

  1. rarchimedes says:

    Using pejorative terms like “hobby rocket” does not suffice as evidence that the rockets produced are of low quality or inferior capability. Certainly, the use of Russian engines of difficult to ascertain reliability, creates a dependency that is hard to justify. The rocket that you characterize as the only one with BEO capability will not have much capacity beyond the F9H until well into the 2020’s. Even then, the cost will limit the launch rate so severely that the only missions it will be able to undertake will be one-off types that will not be sustainable. So far, there has not been funding identified or even basic design work done for actual payloads beyond the Orion. The Orion can wander around in BEO space for a limited period of time, but it can land nowhere. We couldn’t even fund or build the support module.

    In the mean time, the most prominent of the hobby rockets has had precisely one failure in 20 launches, and all indications are that the capsule would have survived even that second stage explosion if it had been programmed for such a situation. Version 2 of that capsule is fully designed for escape and landing at any point in boost or orbit. The Orion ejects its escape tower at a point where there is still large risk and is then dependent on the SM for return.

    In short, if we wish to have a full and rich space program, your hobby rocket and possibly some of its similar compdtitors are our only real hope. The sooner that all funds are diverted from SLS/Orion to the hobby rocketeers, the sooner our space program will return to the dominant position it once had, and at a cost that can be sustained for the long run.

    Like

    • billgamesh says:

      Cheap is no argument because there is no cheap.

      Like

    • billgamesh says:

      “Russian engines of difficult to ascertain reliability, creates a dependency that is hard to justify.”

      That’ not the SLS.

      “-will not have much capacity beyond the F9H until well into the 2020’s.”

      SLS has much greater capacity- the faux heavy optimistic payload relies on the miracle of propellant cross-feed which is also not forthcoming.

      “-the cost will limit the launch rate so severely-”

      The NewSpace double agents in the NASA hierarchy have strangled funding to the SLS to the point where only one core per year can be built at Michoud and only one launch pad is available (they gave the other one to SpaceX). That is why the launch rate is limited.

      “The Orion ejects its escape tower at a point where there is still large risk -”

      Actually, it gets rid of the mass of the escape system after the riskiest part of the launch is complete instead of trapping the astronauts in a capsule stuffed to the gills with toxic hypergolics. And landing “like a helicopter”? One hiccup and it’s all over. I doubt the toxic dragon will ever carry a human being.

      In short, it’s a scam. The entire NewSpace flim flam is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. Deluded sycophants have flooded the blogosphere with propaganda and lies for years.

      Like

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