“-I’m not talking about the more recent SJW/identity political movement.”
Why does it seem like you are? Damning NASA and the people “running these programs” is the NeoLiberal Kool-Aid millions of Americans have poured down their throats to varying degrees.
Got news for you….it was all bought and paid for by right-wing “think tanks” and the super-rich funding them who have been after one thing since The New Deal raised taxes on them to 91 percent (after their free market crashed due to greed and corruption, which they always do). That one thing they want is “freedom” and “liberty” and just to enlighten you those are code words for “NO TAXES.” They are almost there.
The key to your whole “take” on “Western Civilization.” You have been conned. The less than 1% that own most of the wealth on this planet want you stupid and living on almost nothing- and working 80 hours a week for them if they can get you to do it. If you actually are stupid enough.
Mars is a dead end. It is a tenet of the Musk Cult that making Mars the second home of humankind is the altruistic goal of the great one. Complete B.S.
Mars is the worst place to go and simply a P.R. tool- so the billionaire can keep conning people into supporting his hobby projects.
The Moon as a Space Solar Power satellite factory to solve climate change and a multi-trillion dollar Green New Space Deal is the only path to expanding humankind into the solar system. NewSpace is presently the biggest obstacle to any progress by promising much for little which will result in nothing. There is no cheap.
Well, the great hope is they start making an engine in the 2 million pound+ thrust range. This is the missing piece of the puzzle for Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit (HSF-BEO) missions.
The recent methane engines from those two NewSpace companies are one quarter the appropriate size needed to support Super Heavy Lift Vehicle programs.
LockMart-Aerojet-Rocketdyne can likely build what the billionaire hobbyists will not. Some idea of just how badly such an engine is needed; the 15 million pound thrust of the “Super Heavy” would require only 5 engines if each generated 3 million pounds of thrust. (The 5 segment SRB on the SLS generates 3.2 and a liquid fuel engine would be far more efficient of course).
Five would be better than the 28 engine cluster-mess.
Let me guess…you don’t think engines can throttle down or two different kinds of engines is an incredible waste and it is better to have 3 times as many.
Landing back the engines is not necessarily the best idea and unfortunately the Shuttle SRB’s tend to color peoples perception of ocean recovery. If the Shuttle boosters had been liquid fuel they would have been taken back to the launch site and “turned around.” With a few other design flaws eliminated the Space Transportation System would still be going strong today, at least in a cargo version. The big dumb booster concept is to essentially have a strong stage that can withstand parachuting into the ocean and multiple reuse and a pressure-fed, or partially pressure-fed booster lends itself to that. A pressure-fed will always be much tougher than a conventional stage. A pressure fed would require some type of water barrier instead of landing gear and parachutes instead of extra fuel for the landing burn. Instead of landing on a recovery ship and possibly blowing up it is lifted from the water with a frame.
For landing back the best solution, since asking a several million pound thrust engine to throttle down to only a few percent is difficult, is to use two different size engines. For the first stage I would guess four large ones and smaller central landing engine. For the second stage a single large one and four smaller ones for landing. Four and one lends itself to landing gear but it could be done with three and one.
Smaller rockets are moneymakers for satellite launch but make Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit much more difficult and Super Heavy Lift Vehicles are the way to go.
And those 2 to 3 million pound thrust engines are what are needed for SHLVs.
“Due to the engine’s potential advantage in specific impulse, if this F-1B configuration (using four F-1Bs in total) were integrated with the SLS Block 2, the vehicle could deliver 150 tonnes (330,000 lb) to low Earth orbit,”
And…why not drop those two boosters in the ocean like the Shuttle SRB’s and recover for reuse? https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…
“Recoverable Liquid Booster: A large focus of the NASA/MSFC Shuttle Growth Study contract was upgraded Recoverable Liquid Boosters. The boosters would have a similar flight path fo the solid rocket motors, separating and deploying a parachute for recovery in the Atlantic Ocean. They were to be water-recoverable and used clam shell doors to protect the engines from salt water immersion.” They could even try feeding LOX to the core like they entertained with the FH.
And if they are going to do that why not have an engine module land back with the 4 RS-25’s and reuse them also. “An in-line integrated booster/ET with a recoverable aft engine pod”
That iteration of the SLS would be what the Shuttle really should have been.