The rest of the planet is ready to go to the Moon but due to a years ago campaign contribution from an internet entrepreneur it appears the U.S. will have to be dragged kicking and screaming. When an FAA official makes the President’s official policy look stupid…..What’s next?
Perhaps revisiting some questions posed by a past study:
“Key Questions to Guide the Plan for Human Spaceflight-
The Committee identified the following questions that, if answered, would form the basis of a plan for U.S. human spaceflight:
1. What should be the future of the Space Shuttle?
2. What should be the future of the International Space Station (ISS)?
3. On what should the next heavy-lift launch vehicle be based?
4. How should crews be carried to low-Earth orbit?
5. What is the most practicable strategy for exploration beyond low-Earth orbit?
The Committee considers the framing and answering of these questions
individually, and in a consistent way, to be at least as important as their combinations in the integrated options for a human spaceflight program.”
Yes, it was definitely the framing that mattered most in my view.
1. The future of the shuttle should have been a cargo version without the orbiter. From day one. A key failure, perhaps THE key failure of the entire shuttle program. This failure was compounded into a complete disaster for Human Space Flight when the Sidemount option was rejected.
2. The future of the ISS should have been to decommission it as soon as practical. There was and is nothing more to learn after decades of LEO space stations. It goes around and around a couple hundred miles up and eats billions of tax dollars a year for no result. LEO is a dead end. Space really begins at GEO, 22,236 miles up.
3. The next Heavy Lift Vehicle should have started with developing reusable pressure-fed boosters as originally proposed for the shuttle. The less attractive option was to continue development of the SRB’s with the 5 segment version. In this matter significantly improving lift-off thrust by using 4 of the SRB’s was not entertained. Yet another failure.
4. Crews should NOT be carried to LEO but should instead go directly to a radiation sanctuary in orbit around the Moon, eventually under the surface of the Moon, and ultimately to a GEO sanctuary to await transfer to a fully shielded cislunar ferry. There was never any point in having people in LEO after Apollo 8. No point at all.
5. The ONLY “practical strategy” for Beyond Earth Orbit exploration was to acquire space radiation shielding from lunar ice, assemble, test, and launch nuclear propelled true spaceships from outside the Earth’s magnetosphere- from the Moon. Both LEO and Mars are non-starters. The Moon is the only path to space and that is not flexible.
NewSpace proponents have completely misled and misinformed the public concerning the realities of spaceflight.