The Shiny Horror

Comments from Parabolic Arc and The Space Review

“The reason they’ve had so many failures of the Starship prototypes is that it represents nearly a half-century of development compressed into a short period of time.”

Not really the reason at all. It is actually just a space shuttle that takes the external tank into space with it and brings it back down. An even worse design than the space shuttle. No escape system. It is the same doomed-to-fail-do-it-cheap philosophy that has kept humans trapped in Low Earth Orbit since 1972.

There is no cheap.

Ocean-recovered liquid boosters that could be fished out and returned to the cape would have succeeded in saving the first shuttle crew lost. Having an engine module capable of being recovered instead of attaching it to the Orbiter would have saved the second shuttle crew lost (by placing the Orbiter on top of the stack). The liquid boosters and engine module would have allowed for a larger payload and thus an escape system. It also would have allowed for a cargo version.

Sacrificing one tank to the rocket equation and bringing everything back for reuse was the single redeeming feature of the STS- and it is possible to do the same with the SLS- but it costs money. Instead of spending what is necessary the U.S. is once again trying to go cheap- while tens of billions are squandered on questionable DOD programs without a qualm.

The shiny starship is…a disaster for space exploration.


Sadly, the true visionary of space colonization was Gerard K. O’Neill, while the false prophet, the antithesis, is Elon Musk. That is where we are and it is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. NewSpace ranks with trickle-down economics and climate change denial as one of the three worst calamities to befall civilization.

NewSpace rejects Space Solar Power as the economic engine to expand humankind into space (and the solution to climate change). Neoliberalism locks space into an only-for-profit dead end of deregulation and obscene greed. Strip-mining Earth orbit with smallsats has replaced going to the Moon to build the giant space solar power arrays necessary to power civilization carbon free. It is a disaster.

“-doubts about the company’s ability to remain on schedule and a complex concept of operations that requires multiple missions to fuel Starship in Earth orbit before going to the Moon-“

What a disaster for space exploration…worse than the shuttle.

NewSpace has set space exploration back at least a decade and the damage is accumulating.

“Given the lunar lander’s central role, any development delays could jeopardize NASA’s plans to land astronauts on the Moon-“

Selecting the shiny was a profoundly bad decision and has, in a stroke, set a lunar return back years. The antigovernment libertarian fanboys groveling before their Tony Stark cult figure could care less about landing on the Moon. Their hijacking of every forum discussing space is actually about their ideology, which is fundamentally anti-democratic and anti-American. It is the worst thing that has ever happened to the U.S Space Program.

There is some hope this will be reversed and NewSpace put in check. The years it took spacex to simply lash three hobby rockets together are a clue as to how this is going to go.

I remember very clearly the rolling of the eyes and the sarcasm during the hearing about assured access. SpaceX made promises then everyone in the room knew they would not keep. And they did not…the FH took far longer to develop and the taxpayer ended up paying a huge penalty to keep the Delta IV Heavy flying special missions in case spacex dropped the ball.

They have consistently dropped the ball on everything they have attempted. Without fail. There is no real evidence reusing the first stage vs dropping it in the ocean is breaking even and that is their principle claim to fame. Actually the concept and the first successes were not the work of spacex at all though they certainly take credit for it. They failed from the start with an engine far too small.

“SpaceX has already saved the taxpayers billions of dollars, and saved years of time for NASA and DoD. “ Pure fantasy. The propaganda and lies of fanboy-world are eternal. Spacex was going to get all the pork when the Augustine commission murdered Sidemount- plain and simple. The ice on the Moon has had to wait while Elon built his company on the taxpayers dime.

The political influence of the NewSpace flagship company has made them the sole source and as one of the most heavily subsidized companies in America they are the ultimate example of corporate welfare. It has set space exploration back a decade and the damage is accumulating.

Now SpaceX is making a new promise and considering what needs to be accomplished the chances they will not drop the ball again on HLS are about the same as a snowball in hell.

“The years of delay in the development of the Falcon Heavy, as well as recent tests of the Starship program as reported in the news, also raise technical and scheduling questions.”

Not to mention the toxic dragon blowing up and then being used on crewed missions anyway, despite a fundamentally unsafe design.

What do the fanboys say so far?

The poser thinks it is bland and the best bang in ages. Ridiculous.
“-this looks like to me more and more of a sort of “kill SLS” effort. and in it is a reasonable hail mary-“ Fanboys will always play their part in the infomercial without fail.

The wrong turns being made send Human Space Flight in the same circle it has been going in since 1972. It is essentially about the most profit at the least risk without regard for any end goal except that. It is not about accomplishing anything except political pay-offs and shareholder checks. And the American people are left holding the empty bag.

Musk has his gimmick- Mars and humans as a “multi-planet species.” Except somebody made it clear almost a half a century ago that Mars is a dead end. Mars is essentially a marketing tool and a lie. Just to make sure the real path is hidden from view the great one has made it clear he considers Space Solar Power a non-starter and instead pushes strip mining Earth orbit. Beaming down cat videos and enabling video gamers in Alaska is not a viable economic engine for space colonization.

This is a mess. NewSpace is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. The saddest part of all is the big lie that Musk is doing this to safeguard our species when in reality he is doing exactly the opposite.

The Space Shuttle, which was a very bad design in so many ways, at least had the potential to make the 180 billion dollar boondoggle space station to nowhere unnecessary.

Extra life support pallets or resupply from rockets (as is done with the ISS) would have allowed the Shuttle to stay in orbit for six months or longer. That giant never-completely-filled cargo bay could have held a fairly large crew compartment.

And when it came time to bring the shuttle down then the next shuttle would have transferred the pilot needed to land it. In this way that so overblown “permanent presence in space” could have
been effected for a tiny fraction of that mountain of treasure poured down the LEO rathole. Now at 4 billion a year being flushed and if finally deorbited in 2030 that will, with rising costs, be over 36 billion that could have been directed at a lunar return.

About 15 years is the service life expected of anything in space but the ISS has been the cash cow for NewSpace and so it is being kept up there till every possible penny is taken out of the taxpayers pocket.

“Safely and sustainably transporting crew and cargo to and from low Earth orbit destinations for NASA and other future customers is the ultimate goal.”

The “ultimate goal” is, of course, shareholder checks. Both spacex and Boeing are trying to go cheap to get there. There is no cheap.

Both the Starliner and toxic dragon are unsafe designs due to their hypergolic abort systems, though Starliner has a slight edge in that at least that system can be jettisoned. These LEO taxis were always a waste of time…just like the space station to nowhere.

LEO is a dead end. Fifty years of LEO platforms (they are not really space stations) is enough.

A true space station would feature a Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity environment (NSLR1G) provided by a double-hulled compartment (with the outer envelope filled with a cosmic ray water shield) and Tether Generated Artificial Gravity (TGAG) system.

The mass of water required to shield even a small crew while providing minimal working space would be well over a thousand tons. The prerequisites are a Super Heavy Lift Vehicle (SHLV) able to loft a large diameter wet workshop (“Fat Workshop”) and water brought up from the lunar poles using 23 times less energy than bringing it up from Earth.

These workshops, likely around 60 feet in diameter, would be the basic crew compartment for space stations in GEO, NRHO, Lunar Cyclers, and nuclear propelled spaceships. Once a construction pipeline is in operation fleets of such constructs would be assured. The missing piece is a semi-expendable robot lander able to process lunar polar ice and ferry the derived water and propellants to a frozen Low Lunar Orbit (LLO). This lander would also double as a modular booster able to transit the filled workshops back across the cislunar sea to GEO or other orbits.

or humans (especially young females) to live and work in space a Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity environment (NSLR1G) will be required. Until wet workshops with the structure to contain a kiloton plus water shield and spin using a tether generated artificial gravity system are in use there will be no expansion into the solar system or space based industry. It is as simple as that. Only a state sponsored program of Super Heavy Lift Vehicles (SHLV) sent to the Moon to fill their “Fat Workshop” radiation shields will enable a second space age. Dosing and debilitation is the penultimate challenge…with the ruinous NewSpace only-for-profit ideology being the primary obstacle.

The minimum requirement is an engine with more power than the benchmark F-1A at 1.8 million pounds of thrust. Very disappointing that an engine first test-fired in 1959, over 60 years ago, has not been bettered. It took less time than that to advance from the Wright brothers to Gagarin. The simple reason being the only need for such a powerful engine is Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit (HSF-BEO). Not much ROI there; GEO telecom satellites are the big moneymaker and do not need those big engines. Simple greed has prevented any progress.

Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

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