image: National Geographic voices

image: National Geographic voices

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.

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Before it is Censored

Since just about everything I post on other blogs gets removed the only recourse to keep my opinion from being disappeared is to post it somewhere where it cannot be deleted. That would be here. Unfortunately I cannot cite the article or comment I am commenting on or replying to as I have been “warned” against doing so.

October 23, 2015 at 1:36 pm · Reply

I suggest a grass roots campaign to re-fly the Apollo 8 mission in 2018, a half a century after human beings first left the gravitational field of Earth; a symbolic restarting of the space age.
October 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm · Reply

(Someone replied that it was a great idea but not very likely to happen)

October 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm · Reply

Well…It’s not probable, but it’s not impossible either. Maybe if the hobby rocket blows up again and SpaceX goes out of business and NASA suddenly decides the space station to nowhere should be decommissioned now- as originally planned- and Mars gets put on the shelf as the “horizon goal” and the Moon becomes the new destination.

If the space agency was honest with the public about the effects of cosmic radiation on astronauts and admitted that Mars is a ridiculous fantasy, at least until a cislunar infrastructure is created, and that the flexible path is not practical- all that is left is the Moon.

Low Earth Orbital assembly using inferior lift rockets is a dead end. It is a hopeless mess compared to just going direct to the Moon with a SHLV like the SLS. The only resource that is going to allow humans to explore further into the solar system is the ice on the Moon. That is the reality that the present regime wants to keep hidden. We can only hope the next President does not have Lori Garver as her space adviser. Might as well rename it the space tourist agency.

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One Trillion Dollars



Thank you Norm Augustine for giving us this piece of junk instead of a base on the Moon. And to continue the earlier letter to Paul:
October 21, 2015 at 10:54 am

At the beginning of the year I commented on a fairly well known blog about the danger of an asteroid or comet impact- specifically, I completely disagreed with the author who was trivializing the danger. There were of course several wishy-washy waffle statements in the article so he could plead not guilty but it was obvious he was portraying it all as a joke. He answered my arguments with a string of replies that were increasingly hostile and insulting until perhaps he realized that was not such a good idea and deleted the entire conversation.

Two weeks later came the Chelyabinsk event.

image: Youtube

image: Youtube

Said author column has since been discontinued but I doubt his “fun with flaming death” article had anything to do with that. Many of the so-called experts who write popular science columns are among the worst liars and deceivers in popular culture media. The almost unanimous support for NewSpace and the flexible path among this bunch of charlatans shows they do not take their profession or integrity as journalists seriously.

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Another letter to Paul

October 20, 2015 at 8:05 am

image at wikipedia; meteor impact

image at wikipedia; meteor impact

“It is difficult for people to envision the immensity of geologic time, as they tend to reckon time spans in relation to their own lives.” Excerpt from Paul Spudis’ article on Smithsonian site.

My own theory is that it is difficult for people to make any decision that does not immediately benefit them. We all know subconsciously we are going to die so most of our thinking is based on getting what we can before that happens- and not much else matters. I used to be skeptical about such subconscious devices until my own participation in rescue missions came back to haunt me.

We take it for granted this world is the way it should be because it is. When someone says the chances of the Earth getting hit by a large comet or asteroid in our lifetime is “astronomically low” then we accept that as not worth any more attention. It is not “we” that say this, it is “I” that reasons I will be dead so it does not matter. And so biological life may be too stupid to survive.

But as Dr. Spudis has done here, if we had lives that stretched across geological time, an indefinite lifespan, then our reasoning would be much different. This is actually not so hard to imagine when star travel is taken into account. The present most plausible method of traveling to another solar system is the “sleeper ship.” In this scenario our bodies are frozen with a process that does not damage cells and the temperature lowered to close to absolute zero. The Starship is propelled to a few percent of the speed of light, probably with a tremendous beam of energy. After a voyage lasting several centuries or even thousands of years, upon arrival the ship slows down, probably using H-bombs, and the crew is revived. The alien solar system is explored and the Starship begins the return voyage. When the crew arrives they have aged perhaps ten years while centuries or millennia have passed on Earth. It would be a reasonable assumption for the crew that while they were frozen a cure for old age would be found.

The people on a Starship would be far more concerned about the future than we are. In some modest lab on planet Earth somewhere a dog or monkey may wake up tomorrow after being frozen- with no ill effects- and then what I just wrote will matter.

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Hillary’s Biggest Mistake

5.8 million pound thrust SRB, 1965. How far the mighty have fallen!

At some point she is going to announce some kind of future space policy and with Ms. Garver being mentioned as her “space adviser”, this does not look good.
Not a win for space exploration or for the planet in general.

The only cure for climate change is to beam down the energy to power civilization from space. The only other solution is to kill off most of the human race and go back to herding goats.

Space Solar Power was the original cure for climate change proposed in the 1976 book by Gerard K. O’Neill, The High Frontier. Building solar power satellites on the Moon is still the only practical solution.

I would urge anybody concerned about the future of life on planet Earth to consider contacting Hillary Clinton and recommending Space Solar Power. The biggest mistake she could make will see the 21st century end in catastrophe or her best decision give birth to a second space age, and a new era in history.

Musk’s Biggest Mistake…..
While Ms. Garver may advise Hillary to follow the NewSpace agenda, this will only compound a fundamental error made repeatedly over the last half a century. This mistake is noted in a timeline I created for a critical four year period that determined the course of space exploration to this day. It begins on January 5, 1972, when President Richard M. Nixon announced his approval of the Space Transportation System.

“I have decided today that the United States should proceed at once with the development of an entirely new type of space transportation system designed to help transform the space frontier of the 1970s into familiar territory, easily accessible for human endeavor in the 1980s and ’90s.”

TRW Pressure-fed booster study is completed.
Apollo 17 returns to Earth and the first space age ends.

Sky Lab is launched.
Pioneer 10 first encounter with Jupiter

Last Sky Lab crew returns to Earth.
Hawking Radiation is predicted by Stephen Hawking.

The term “Global Warming” is first used.
NASA SP-413, A Design Study for Space Settlements, is completed.

The Soviet Luna 24 makes the last landing on the Moon for 37 years until the Chinese rover in 2013.
The High Frontier by Gerard K. O’Neill is published.

It is the second event, the TRW pressure-fed booster study, that connects directly to Elon Musk’s debilitating effect on the U.S. space program. The failure to develop the pressure-fed reusable booster was arguably the most disastrous decision made pertaining to the shuttle program. When Elon Musk began the “NewSpace revolution” he repeated the same error and insured nothing meaningful could be accomplished. The distraction of the “flexible path” has been worse for space exploration than both shuttle disasters.
There is no cheap.

For Hillary to effect any solution to climate change and a host of other problems facing the United States, a complete change of direction by the space agency will be required.

And if you are wondering why Hawking radiation is in the timeline, well, I could not really find anything else for 1974. It is the Genesis of perhaps the only known plausible “relativistic” drive.

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Luna 27 and U.S. Failure

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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Spaceship in full shock

Spaceship in full recoil

Spaceship ready for powered flightSpaceship transitioning to artificial gravityEngine Section seperated from Crew SectionCrew Section separated from Engine SectionSpaceship in Artificial Gravity Mode print

Spaceship in Artificial Gravity Mode1astounding stories feb 1937

Most Americans are familiar with water towers and these towers are fascinating examples of the necessary minimum dimensions of what could be called a “true” spaceship. The definition of a true spaceship is a craft that can carry human beings on interplanetary journeys while providing an Earth gravity/radiation environment. The last part is what determines most of everything else- radiation is square one. As Eugene Parker has stated in his articles concerning the heavy nuclei component of galactic cosmic radiation, the only guaranteed solution to shielding space travelers is mass and distance. Mass on the order of 500 tons and a distance of about 15 feet- with water being the most utilitarian shielding material. Since this figure would protect only a minimum crew area the size of a small capsule, for long duration missions the psychological space necessary for mental health equates to a realistic shield way over 1000 tons. To push such a shield around the solar system at a speed that will allow missions to the gas and ice giants lasting 3 to 5 years only one form of propulsion is practical: H-bombs.

The two most difficult challenges when using nuclear pulse propulsion are first the scale required for an efficient engine and then where it can be fired. The “engine” used in pulse propulsion is essentially a metal disc massing a minimum of several thousand tons. The reason for the over one hundred foot diameter disc is the difficulty in building a small enough bomb to be efficient. The larger the disc, the larger the bomb that can be used and since H-bombs all use a standard amount of fissionable material with small amounts of tritium and deuterium added for the fusion reaction, pulse propulsion efficiency increases with size. As the disc approaches a thousand feet in diameter the Isp numbers soar into the tens of thousands. Lighting off H-bombs in the Earth’s magnetosphere results in fission byproducts being sucked down into the atmosphere and since this sphere extends almost to the Moon, the Moon is the jumping off point for interplanetary travel.

The remaining question is how to acquire the plate. The shielding can be had by way of lunar ice but bringing the disc up from Earth is problematic. Fabricating the engine from lunar titanium would be ideal but requires a factory. Giant lava tubes are theorized to exist beneath the surface of the Moon and these could serve as factory floors. An underground lunar factory with several hundred workers does not seem to be a possibility in this half of the century. The prerequisite is a Super Heavy Lift Vehicle much larger than the current SLS and flying at a rate the shuttle only aspired to (just before Challenger the shuttle had 15 launches planned over the following year of operations). These SHLV’s would probably have reusable pressure fed boosters (originally proposed for the shuttle) and would also most likely fly the main engine module around the Moon on a free return back to Earth reentry and also be recovered at sea.

If a lava tube site was found and after about a ten year development period this proposed SHLV could fly around ten missions a year for the next ten years at the end of these two decades a factory capable of producing pulse propulsion discs several hundred feet in diameter might be ready to start up. The first of a fleet of lunar production spaceships is a possibility by the year 2040. Perhaps even before my eightieth birthday. By 2040 there should be a dozen or so crewed wheels in GEO providing telecom services. The questions that arise concerning this move into space are what kind of ship can serve as an interim to move the nuclear arsenal into deep space in the decades before lunar production begins? There is also the ultimate goal of Space Solar Power satellites and Bernal Spheres which will be the focus of the second half of the 21st century.

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