No SLS launch today.
While the Trump Force gets funding close to NASA’s entire budget next year to weaponize Earth orbit with megaconstellations in a new cold war money scam, the spacex fanboys wail and gnash their teeth over SLS. While the Navy gets their new missile submarine and the Air Force gets their new stealth bomber, and the Army is offering a 20,000 dollar enlistment bonus to privates because they can’t find enough people who can pass the drug and physical fitness tests.
But somehow the SLS has to make “economic sense” and be “sustainable” and provide a “ROI.”
The damage done to the public perception of space by NewSpace fanboys, who are not really about space, but about an ideology, is profound.
There is no cheap. The way to keep corporations from making too much profit off cost-plus is the same way they did after the Apollo 1 fire, with draconian oversight. The way to lower the cost of the SLS per flight is to fly it more. The scam by the NewSpace Mob has been in progress for a decade. To make space “pay for itself”, which had already killed two shuttle crews. For-profit is the opposite of what Human Space Flight does. It does not generate revenue or sell anything. The small rockets used to launch satellites are useless for Beyond Earth Orbit Human Space Flight.
The death-to-SLS comments, literally libraries of them, and the NASA-bashing, is about a cult of personality and a pernicious right-wing libertarian ideology.
Why NewSpace is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.
NewSpace is mostly about spacex, as most people can clearly see. I know you see that. Rocket jesus built a small rocket to start with, essentially a redux of the 1961 rocket NASA called “clusters last stand” because they knew it had too many engines, which violated a fundamental design principle. Musk’s manic groupies screamed bloody murder at any hint of the hobby rocket being deficient in any way. I remember it well. Even ten years ago they were shouting the miracle of Musk from the mountaintop and calling for the dismantling of NASA so it could all be handed over to the magic entrepreneur. Elon called Mars the second home of humankind…when it is not suitable for colonization. And there is the divide between the true prophet of space colonization, Gerard K. O’Neill, and the false prophet Elon Musk.
The far-right libertarian whackjobs that have taken up the torch for this billionaire grifter have influenced the public perception of space much like Trumpists have now driven democracy to the edge of the cliff. It is crazy. It is ALL 50 year old technology. That we never built any engines in the same class as the F1 after Saturn is clear proof that Human Space Flight has been at a near standstill for that long. If Human Space Flight and space colonization had been a national goal then we would have engines an order of magnitude more powerful than the F1 and would have been landing them back by the early 90’s.
So, I don’t understand how you can say the SLS has “no redeeming virtues.” It will get us out there and nothing else will. And it has an excellent escape system. And that is more than we have had since 1972. “Commercial” rockets are sized to make money with satellites, not send human-crewed spacecraft to the Moon. It is a case of go big or stay home and the SLS is the only big thing going.
Well, the difference is that I understand that humans require a Near Sea Level Radiation One Gravity environment to thrive. Not visit. To live there. But the price tag exposes who wants to exploit space and make a buck and who wants an insurance policy for our species.
Orbital assembly and refueling is incredibly inefficient and this can be seen by looking at a single example- the Saturn V. If von Braun had been given a couple million more dollars to make Skylab a true wet workshop instead of a dry one, that first space station would have had more interior space than the ISS. It went up on one rocket. We landed on the Moon with one rocket and dozens of orbital refuelings were not required.