Comments 23-2

“I believe you are missing the larger picture regarding Shuttle’s most valuable function/capability.”

I can see the Shuttle having been useful if not for a couple of grave shortcomings. It was a case of going cheap and this costing far more in the long run that what-should-have-been would have cost. The two loss of crew events had to do with no escape system in the case of Challenger, and the vulnerable heat shielding on Columbia. Placing a capsule with an escape tower at the top of the stack is, in regard to Human Space Flight, that “most valuable function/capability.” The heat shield is as protected as it can be, ideally by a robust cargo section placed between the capsule and the rest of the vehicle. The escape tower fairing protects the upper part of the capsule. Both the tower and capsule can parachute into the sea for recovery and reuse. It does not get any better than that.

The Shuttle concept was a Saturn V class launch vehicle that sacrificed a single tank on the altar of the rocket equation. An excellent concept executed with the worst possible design. There was nothing of real value ever brought back down from space so the cargo bay and 737 size Orbiter wasted most of the lift of the vehicle. Using the Orbiter to return the SSME’s required side-mounting and made the spaceplane much larger than it would have been without them. And of course the SRB’s, being rail-transported to Utah, could only be a certain diameter which limited their power and as a consequence the payload, leaving nothing to spare for an effective escape system. The biggest mistake of all was carrying cargo, like satellites, with crew.

The SLS is, ironically, much like what the Shuttle should have been. But while the Shuttle concept was to make space access far more economical by placing 100+ ton Saturn V class payloads into space while only expending a single large tank, the SLS expends everything and has not replaced the SRB’s with the originally specified pressure-fed boosters. The SLS can still become the Shuttle-that-should-have-been but that would require new boosters and a recoverable core engine module. Splashing the ISS and committing that over 4 billion a year to a Lunar return would be a good start

Using the negative connotation of “jobs program” always identifies the Neoliberals in the crowd. They consider corporations and top earners being taxed in any way theft, since the rich are already providing jobs for everyone, and they should not be stolen from or regulated in any way.

The reality is the rich, if they do not pay the taxes that provide for those things that hand them a healthy, educated workforce, transported to the job site, ARE the thieves in almost every way. Those taxes also pay for their military, first responders, every kind of infrastructure, and most of the basic research they develop and which generate their wealth. Obscene wealth that has in recent years bought fleets of private jets, yachts, multi-thousand acre ranches, and multiple resort-size mansions instead of being paid as taxes maintaining infrastructure.

“Jobs programs” are ostensibly the politicians handing out make-work in exchange for votes. If that is what landed Americans on the Moon then I will vote for that.

Space is not make-work.

The only “commercial” application for Human Space Flight will be for Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources. Which NASA does not seem to be a big supporter of. While the Deputy Administrator does seem to be a fan of space tourism, the most recent flights of fancy having launched courtesy of Space X. The same company spoken of in a presidential speech as the future of space in 2010 and the Moon as “been there.” The evidence for ice on the Moon had to wait another seven years for Bridenstine to call it out as the raison d’etre for a lunar return.

Satellites do not require Human crews. Factories under the lunar surface will need humans. Thousands of them. Climate Change has made Space Solar Power the path to expanding humankind into the solar system. And there is no other. There are some “proposals” for LEO private stations which have very little chance of happening. And Mars, which is a dead end and has been since the 1970’s when Gerard K. O’Neill’s people concluded no natural body other than Earth is suitable for colonization. The Moon is the key to all things space; to powering civilization carbon free and building new worlds; artificial-miles-in-diameter-spinning-hollow-moons.

While O’Neill is forgotten, a false prophet has come upon us who made the Moon verboten and also called Space Solar Power “the stupidest idea ever”, while pursuing 42,000 LEO satellites that will make him king of the internet, and the world, in his mind. Regarding flight safety, the escape system on the dragon is a poor design that is more likely to kill the crew it is supposed to save, while the shiny has no escape system at all. What could be worse for Human Space Flight?

Comments are being made to the effect that SLS and Orion are “not getting the job done.”

SLS and Orion have flown, have gone around the Moon, and with the flight heritage of the engines and boosters dating back to the 80’s and the development of Orion, which first flew, successfully, in 2014, they are ready to get their part of the job done.

The giant lander, with it’s future fleet of necessary shiny tankers, has yet to do much except blow up over and over again and finally make a successful belly flop landing. That landing, by the way, will never be done on Earth with a human on board without an escape system. I doubt the Starship lander will ever carry humans either as even in 1969 the original lander had the capability to drop it’s landing stage and abort back to lunar orbit.

This seems to be the difference between “commercial” space and whatever NASA-bashing derogatory term is used for what landed U.S. astronauts on the Moon a half a century ago. Since the Reagan Revolution and the need to “make space pay for itself” we have accomplished nothing comparable, nothing of real value ever having come down from LEO space stations after investing hundreds of billions of dollars in going around in circles at very high altitude.

The reality is that “commercial space” is satellites and satellites are NOT Human Space Flight. Since flight safety is generally about humans flying, the mixing of Human Space Flight and “commercial space” is confusing. “Private space” flying fake astronauts to a government subsidized ISS, even if some of these tourist trips are being paid for by other governments so they can boast their own astronauts, is a corrupt enterprise.

Again, the only real “commercial” application for Human Space Flight will be for Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources. Billionaut tourism is an insult to all who have dedicated their lives to space exploration “For All Mankind.”

The Shuttle was originally envisioned as the cheap ride for satellites that would “make space pay for itself.” If the concept had been executed better it might have become reality but the design was by committee, on the cheap, and ended up costing an average of 1.5 billion per launch. We could have just kept launching Saturn V’s.

The Saturn V is still the model for success. With VTVL reusable stages the state-sponsored Super Heavy Lift Vehicle, using hydrogen-oxygen engines in the 2 million pound thrust range, is the likely standard launcher that will arise from the present confusion. It is not going to be solid fuel mini’s launched from old jumbo jets.

These state launch systems will provide the most efficient transportation for the large payloads going beyond LEO. The megaconstellations are quickly becoming a Frankenstein monster that will at some point have to be put down. LEO is a dead end.

Deflect of course…but the problem is how to “deflect” a pile of rubble in space. The question appears to be whether blowing this pile apart with a nuclear device or several nuclear devices will result in a larger number of smaller impact events that would still destroy civilization or even result in extinction.

It is not really a valid question as nuclear weapons can be built to project a cloud of high speed plasma in one direction. Such a cloud, or several clouds, would “gently” deflect rubble-pile impact threats.

The B612 foundation has unfortunately popularized the notion that using nukes to save the world is somehow bad and have actively opposed their use over the years and instead proposed their “gravity tug” concept. Which is….complete idiocy.

What could be more infuriating than an organization pushing a self-serving agenda that may kill off the entire human race?

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion provides about twice the ISP of chemical rockets at fantastic expense. Hydrogen is also not a “long duration” propellent, being very difficult to store for long periods in space, making NTP an enabler for interplanetary missions unlikely.

Fission is, literally, a million times more powerful than chemical reactions, and the only twice the Isp of NTP is a fail. Work at MIT in thermo-photovoltaic-cells (TPV) has the potential to vastly simplify electrical generation by nuclear reactors in space and, along with recent University of Michigan high power testing of Hall thrusters, make Nuclear Electric Propulsion the better path.

While NTP claims of five times the efficiency of chemical rockets may be possible, it is more likely “aspirational” as the temperatures and pressures necessary make it close to handwavium. It is possible some new technology to make NTP viable is being used but nothing concerning this has been said or inferred. Five times the efficiency is more believable as a NEP number.

There is the possibility this new NTP project will be highly profitable and selected for exactly that reason. If there is a critical need for a hi thrust/hi Isp system, then Nuclear Pulse Propulsion is by far the most logical choice as an essentially off the shelf and readily available, if politically problematic, option. Surely our new Space Force has the power to revisit NPP and overcome old political barriers to what could be used to defend Earth from impact threats as well as enable interplanetary missions?

The ton and a half of hypergolic propellants wrapped around the Dragon crew capsule, instead of using an escape tower, was, in my opinion, not the best design. The tractor escape tower is far less likely to result in a loss of crew event while the amount and proximity of hypergolics on the Dragon is problematic . The system on the Starliner is not much better, though it can be jettisoned. When the Dragon exploded during testing of this system I expected it to be stripped out of the craft and a tower used, but was not. This does not seem like what an organization with a functioning “safety culture” would do. I was disappointed when NASA, which equipped Orion with an outstanding Launch Abort System, did not require a comparable system on the two LEO taxis.


angelinspace 25 days ago

“A medical cutting laser could have popped China’s balloon.
Strange how all the would-be SLS killers don’t fuss as much against Carrier groupies that spend far more.”

The F-22 fighter that shot down the China balloon was not made in great numbers because of the Obama/McCain presidential race. Both candidates promised to kill the half a billion dollar each fighter. That did not stop the most expensive program in DOD history from moving forward though. The 1.7 trillion dollar F-35 will never do anything in regards to space exploration or making life better for the majority of Americans. It will, however, continue to enrich that less than 1 percent of the population that own shares in it.

When 5 GHz chips and quantum cryptography became available that was the turning point. Not much need for human-crewed fighters anymore. They are not seeing much action in Ukraine because they will just get shot down by missiles. We now have drones and missiles in the process of replacing most of the human-crewed legacy systems. Sea glider technology is allowing these craft to infest every ocean on Earth so even submarines cannot hide anymore.

For over 60 years the U.S. has spent incalculable sums on weapons that would never be used in another global conflict as H-bombs made any more World Wars the end of the world. So this incredible waste has, for my long life, been more about enriching shareholders than warfighting.

It is profoundly depressing to contemplate what even half that treasure could have accomplished if directed at insuring the continued existence of humankind, instead of pursuing it’s end. Even when presented with the opportunity to save ourselves, the lure of easy money and absolute greed drive us toward extinction. Space Solar Power was actually a reaction to Vietnam and presented as the alternative to the Military Industrial Complex.

Ronald Reagan wished for some alien threat the world could unite against yet
the cause of the dinosaur extinction had been recently discovered, which essentially granted his wish, and it made no difference. Now Climate Catastrophe looms, and again, fossil fuel interests have insured they will get their money and to hell with humanity.

“He said later that NASA had worked with SpaceX to avoid the “normalization of deviance” problem at the root of past accidents. “We’ve seen it in flying on our SpaceX vehicles, even today, where something’s not right but nothing goes wrong,” he said. “We have to question when something’s not right.”

And yet they are not doing that.

While I am completely uninterested in air launch, I find the configuration of the Roc and White Knight extremely interesting.

The reason I find it interesting is I am not a fan of airliners falling out of the sky and it being a given that this happens and hundreds of people will die. Don’t like it. Especially considering 2017 was the first year we actually had zero airline disasters. Not since.

“2017 was the safest year in the history of commercial air travel, according to The Aviation Safety Network. There were no crashes involving large passenger airliners anywhere in the world despite the volume of air traffic reaching its highest point ever. Excluding acts of suicide, sabotage and hijacking, 59 people were killed in 14 air accidents worldwide in 2017.”

A passenger pod carried between these twin boomed aircraft could be equipped to separate from the mother craft and do a soft touch down. No more airline fatalities. The twin booms could be used to store liquid hydrogen. Zero Carbon.

“Project Orion was the first serious attempt to design a nuclear pulse rocket. The design effort was carried out at General Atomics in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The idea of Orion was to react small directional nuclear explosives against a large steel pusher plate attached to the spacecraft with shock absorbers. Efficient directional explosives maximized the momentum transfer, leading to specific impulses in the range of 6,000 seconds, or about 12 times that of the Space Shuttle Main Engine. With refinements, a theoretical maximum of 100,000 seconds (1 MN·s/kg) might be possible. Thrusts were in the millions of tons, allowing spacecraft larger than eight million tons to be built with 1958 materials.”

Ronald Reagans Star Wars spent an unknown amount since even that was classified, but it was at least several billion dollars, in “directed energy weapons” or, directing the energy of a nuclear device in a single direction. After decades of nuclear weapon research, it can be assumed at least half of the theoretical maximum Isp can be attained.

The “advice” NASA has been receiving since the end of Apollo has been all bad. Simple as that. The influence of those seeking easy cold war profits and going cheap led to wrong turn after wrong turn. This has placed America in the present situation with billionaires dictating space policy. Space Solar Power should have been the priority from the late 1970’s on and the evidence for ice on the Moon in 2010 should have accelerated efforts considering the Climate Change crisis.

“Any thought of studying launch or reentry emissions triggers fears among some in the industry of impending regulations that would slow its rate of growth or increase costs.”

More like stark terror.

Satellites, contrary to popular belief, are actually not necessary for a global telecommunications network. High altitude dirigibles, stationed at above 60,000 feet, can relay data just as effectively. Speculation about this has been posted over the years including “The Coming Zeppelin Satellite Apocalypse” in 2015.

Using hydrogen oxygen Super Heavy Lift Vehicles to create a cislunar infrastructure would have the smallest impact on the atmosphere. Only the second stage engine module, with the empty tankage being used as part of wet workshop schemes, need reenter the atmosphere from orbital altitudes for reuse. A third stage engine doing a lunar free return might also reenter for reuse. SHLV full-flow hydrogen oxygen engines would limit byproducts with the fewest number of launches.

Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources is the solution to Climate Change and the only real justification for thousands of launches a year with the hydrogen oxygen SHLV’s mentioned. The megaconstellation abomination never should have been allowed to move forward. The unintended consequences of filling Low Earth Orbit with junk will inevitably end badly and books will be written about how the debacle happened. The smaller launchers and what will expand into over 100,000 satellites constantly reentering and requiring constant replenishment will add to Climate Change as yet another environmental disaster in the making.

“-a power satellite will repay the energy cost to build and put it in orbit in a little over 2 months. This is at least 5 times the best ground renewables. That’s good, the bad number is that is takes about 500 Starship flights to put up one 5 GW power satellite. Taking 20 years to replace 1/3rd of the current energy consumption takes ~25,000 flights per year.”

25,000 SHLV missions per year sounds crazy but consider around 2000 a month, 500 a week, and about 75 per day, with those launches distributed across all the space launch facilities on Earth. Perhaps 25 from Asia, 25 from Eurasia, and 25 from our hemisphere. Then suddenly it does not seem so crazy. While 20 years might see 1/3 of our energy needs met, in a half a century lunar factories would provide satellites to meet all our energy needs. All terrestrial power plants burning fossil fuels would be decommissioned and all transportation converted to electric or liquid hydrogen for commercial airliners. Like mobilizing for World War ll, we can just as effectively mobilize to avert a Climate Catastrophe.

The last study I read gave numbers for sending up satellite components from Earth and also sending factory components to the Moon. Like many things, the lunar factory approach was far more expensive initially, but quickly caught up and was far cheaper over the long run. The long run being completely powering civilization from space of course. The global number of daily airliner flights is around 150,000.

Using lunar factories to make those Space Solar Power Satellites is the solution to Climate Change.

“How high can the frequency of rocket launches go before launch emissions become a cause for concern?”

I saw the figure ten to the fifth power in one study, or 100,000 per year as the point where serious effects will begin to show up. That is about 275 per day. Another comment here cited approximately 75 per day as necessary to build a Space Solar Power infrastructure. Exactly what and how much propellants those 275 would be burning was not specified. What is also not addressed are the satellites, upper stages, and reusable vehicles reentering, which deposit unique chemical byproducts and metals into the upper atmosphere that meteorites do not. Nothing or as little as possible burning up on reentry would likely be included in the 275 per day serious effects demarcation.

These are all very approximate figures considering large numbers of smaller “dirty launchers” and multiple megaconstellations with satellites constantly reentering and being replenished will have far larger effects than a much smaller number of Super Heavy Lift Vehicles burning hydrogen and oxygen launching long-lived GEO sats and no LEO megaconstellations.

Women are the requirement for our species to continue. Men not so much. Women in space are subject to greater risk from radiation effects than males. A Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) environment is the requirement for any “survival colony” in space. Humans evolved over millions of years in this environment and rapid “adaption” to anything else beyond what is found on Earth is not likely to succeed. Not likely at all.

Space is, above all, an insurance policy for the human species. Humankind collectively has the resources to defend Earth from extinction level impacts from space. We have the ability to replace our ecosystem-wrecking energy industry by way of Space Solar Power and lunar resources. Once humans are working in space on this energy megaproject the next step of establishing independent self-sustaining colonies is enabled.

Space Solar Power is the economic engine enabling the construction of miles-in-diameter-artificial-spinning-hollow-moons. The same constantly expanding space energy infrastructure powering planet Earth can also beam-propel “spaceliners” carrying colonists into space at the same rate humans fly commercially around the planet now. This beam propulsion can ultimately accelerate miles-in-diameter spheres to fractions of the speed of light on centuries long journeys to other stars.

This is the survivable future of humankind while the path currently being traveled leads to non-existence. Survival was the vision of Gerard K. O’Neill and others. A recent false prophet has arisen calling for a different path and following a ruinous ideology that promises to enrich a few while maintaining humankind on that path to non-existence.

A first step onto the right path is creating crew compartments with massive cosmic ray water shields using tether systems to generate artificial gravity. Such constructs will allow women and men to live and work in space indefinitely instead of incurring permanent damage from dosing and debilitation. Lunar water can be lifted into space using 20 times less energy than from Earth. Super Heavy Lift Vehicles can place double-hulled wet workshops, “Fat Workshops”, in space to store this water. These are critical components of a cislunar infrastructure.

The third reason is it would simply not be economical to launch many large satellite constellations on small boosters.”

It is a mess. Going to larger and longer lived GEO platforms would have been the trend if regulators had strictly limited smallsats. Which they should have, know they should have, and must have been paid off in some way to allow the megaconstellation Frankenstein monster.

(This comment was not posted by Marcia and she never posted another one by me) From the M2M executive summary- Lunar Infrastructure Goal 1: “Develop an incremental lunar power generation and distribution system that is evolvable to support continuous robotic/human operation and is capable of scaling to global power utilization and industrial power levels.”

Are they talking about Space Solar Power? Why didn’t they just say it instead of this unclear statement? Space Solar Power by way lunar resources as the solution to Climate Change is certainly the biggest priority of all for civilization right now. Going to Mars is a non sequitur.

However, I can see a logical progression of cosmic ray shielded crew compartments being used for first lunar Space Stations, then Lunar Cyclers, and finally nuclear propelled true Spaceships. Using double hulled wet workshops, these “Fat Workshops” would be filled with lunar water for the required mass of shielding as specified by Eugene Parker, providing a near sea level radiation environment. Spun with tether systems to provide artificial Earth gravity, these Stations and Cyclers will enable multi-year tours of duty for astronauts, especially young female astronauts most vulnerable to radiation, with no career shortening dosing and debilitation.

A Nuclear Electric Propulsion module turns these constructs into Spaceships capable of multi-year missions Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit.
If “evolvable is the key”, the question then becomes is Mars really the best destination?
Absolutely not. No possible ocean and too much gravity makes Mars a poor destination.
Ceres then becomes the place to go. Moon to Ceres, “M2C.”

Several comments about industries being destroyed by regulation and inferring the rich are the good guys and the masses are the unwashed enemy of progress need to be answered.

We the People are the masses. And We are not here to serve the rich or their luxury industry.

America was at one time about rich white male landowners seeking to evade taxation and regulation by insurrection against an aristocracy. That was then and this is now. Our ascension to greatest nation on Earth status came about after monopolies and speculation were regulated by We the People and a 91 percent tax rate levied on the rich. Unions and a complicated dance between capitalism and social safety nets created a middle class that held more of the wealth than at any time in history and taxing the rich equipped them with health care, education, and infrastructure to enable and allow all to participate in the pursuit of happiness. That is almost gone. The Reagan Revolution brought a return to a gilded age where the obscenely wealthy wield far too much power. They are unashamedly in the process of redistributing all wealth and property upward to themselves. If We are stupid enough to let them do it then they will. The Trump tax cut handed unimaginable wealth over to those already possessing vast riches.

As the Presidents recent state of the union speech demonstrated, We are not where We were and not going where We needed to go. Wealth inequality is destroying America.

Megaconstellations are the result of an “entrepreneurship” that thrives on corruption and back room deals. If an individual wants to be the king of the internet with 42,000 pieces of space junk, and in his mind the king of the world, why not? This is the danger of incredible wealth and the abuse of power it inevitably brings about. The firehose of falsehood and the amount of chaos sown by monied interests has placed America in danger it has not experienced since the civil war and the Cuban missile crisis. Oligarchy and it’s favorite ideology, fascism, are on the march again.

All of this leads back to the rich seeking to evade taxation and regulation and they are happy to gamble the future of humankind. They don’t give a damn about anything except being rich.

“NASA’s Artemis program is focused on returning astronauts to the moon. The space agency believes there is water ice and other volatiles at the south pole that can support human exploration.”

The autonomous lander that derives water from lunar ice and transports that water up to double hulled wet workshops, “Fat Workshops”, is the critical piece of hardware for establishing a permanent human presence Beyond Earth Orbit. Over twenty times less energy is required to lift water from the lunar surface into space than from Earth. Either in orbit or possibly on the surface, some of the water can be converted into propellants thus allowing the landers to constantly shuttle water into space.

These massively shielded crew compartments, along with tether systems, will provide a Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) environment. This will allow astronauts to spend tours of duty of a year or more in space with no appreciable dosing or debilitation, which is the key, especially regarding young female astronauts, to establishing a cislunar infrastructure. These workshop compartments will enable Space Stations in frozen lunar orbit, NRHO, libration points, and GEO.

After lunar Space Stations the next requirement is for Lunar Cyclers that will transport personnel to and from the Moon. These Lunar Cyclers will likely have solar electric systems to maintain their flight paths. The last step will be Nuclear Electric Propulsion modules. The thousand or more tons of water in each cosmic ray shield will also provide a grow medium for a closed loop life support system so the Stations, Cyclers, and Atomic Spaceships will require a minimum of support.

Ice and Lava Tubes are the two must-finds. Actually, the ice is the must-have but Lava Tubes would be nice. We should have known where all the ice and Lava Tubes were a half a century ago. The Moon was always the prize and everything else a distraction.

Very depressing to contemplate where we would be now if they had kept going to the Moon with constantly improved Saturn V. They could have stopped the human-crewed missions and just sent landers and rovers. Those last 40 years of LEO were a waste. We would have learned everything we needed to know with a few years of Skylab-type missions and then moved on. What a waste.

(This comment was also not posted by Marcia) In my view, SpaceX has been the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. First by taking the spotlight off the Moon even though evidence for ice should have pointed the space agency away from LEO in 2010. The Obama “been there” speech was made in the shadow of a Falcon 9.

Elon Musk stated Space Solar Power is “the stupidest idea ever” which is exactly what someone with plans to take over the internet with 42,000 LEO satellites would say. The megaconstellation Frankenstein monster will at some point have to be put down. It never should have been allowed.

The Super Heavy has far too many engines and uses the wrong propellent, hydrogen being the stuff to burn and turn into water vapor in the upper atmosphere during thousands of launches a year. The shiny starship is a combination of the shuttle with no wings or landing gear and the external tank. The landing technique makes it plain that no human will ever ride on the shiny without it having an escape system.

Hydrogen engines in the 2 million pound thrust class and Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources was the right turn that went left with Musk. The worst wrong turn in NASA history.

It is fairly obvious that when we explore the subsurface oceans of icy bodies in our solar system the prerequisite will be “true” Atomic Spaceships carrying mini-subs.

The present popular and completely false conception of space travel is fleets of chemically propelled shiny rockets taking indentured servants to a libertarian utopia on Mars. Only the most gullible and ideologically programmed need apply. Mars is a dead-end PR scheme.

The reality is constructs providing a Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) environment will be necessary to go anywhere and Mars will likely be bypassed as it has no oceans and too much gravity. Ceres is the place to go after the Moon and after Ceres, Callisto.

The first requirement is radiation shielding, the most utilitarian shielding being water and the way to get that water into space, using the least amount of energy, is to bring it up from the Moon. The second requirement is gravity and tethers are the most efficient way to provide that. The third requirement is a double shell strong enough to hold the water and be spun to provide Earth gravity, with the most efficient way to do that being the Wet Workshop, or in the case of a double hull facilitating a radiation shield, a “Fat Workshop.” The fourth requirement will be nuclear propulsion (NOT nuclear thermal) as chemicals are useless for pushing large masses.

Considering the massive cosmic ray water shield that will be required for long duration Human Space Flight Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (HSF-BELO) a food staple grown in this moderately irradiated water medium would be the best project to pursue with NASA money.

These thousand plus ton, and likely multi-thousand ton, Cosmic Ray Water Shields (CRWS) would serve several functions on true interplanetary Spaceships. They will not only provide a near sea level radiation level but also dampen oscillation in the over one mile long Tether Generated Artificial Gravity (TGAS) systems providing Earth gravity. The water will also be used in cooling systems. A regenerative life support system providing air, water, and food for years at a time will use the massive amount of water to good effect.

Callisto is outside the main Jovian radiation belts. And while it is true the inner moons would be impossible for a human-crewed mission in a unshielded spacecraft, a true Spaceship with a massive cosmic ray water shield might be able to go there. I have never read anything on that specifically but the heavy nuclei component of galactic cosmic radiation is the most penetrating and damaging form of space radiation according to the world’s leading authority on this subject, Eugene Parker. He specified 16 feet of water to stop cosmic radiation (the “Parker Minimum”) and I am guessing this would stop the far less penetrating type of energetic particles around Jupiter. In which case landing on Europa and deploying a human-crewed mini-sub would be difficult, but a far more interesting mission than Mars. There is also a possibility of subsurface oceans on both Ceres and Callisto but on Europa it is fairly certain. Thanks for the reply.

New Glenn, late 2024.

Two of those 1st stage boosters would be great replacements for the SLS SRB’s.

That would make 18 burning at lift-off. Not as bad as 27 or 33 but still not great. What is missing is a 2 million pound thrust hydrogen oxygen engine to replace the RS-25’s to be recovered by helicopter. Perhaps even LOX crossfeed to the core stage.

With a pair of Glenns replacing the SRB’s and landing back, and the core stage engine module Heli-captured, the original concept of the Shuttle, a Saturn V class launch vehicle that only expends a single tank, would be realized.

Year long ISS missions permanently damage astronauts and should not be allowed. Even six month missions have permanent effects and are ethically problematic. Why do this to people? We already know what dosing and debilitation on the ISS does to the human body and none of it is good.

Until constructs that provide a Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) environment are available and the ISS ends, the tours on the ISS should be shortened to an appropriate duration.

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion provides about twice the ISP of chemical rockets at fantastic expense. Hydrogen is also not a “long duration” propellent, being very difficult to store for long periods in space, making NTP an enabler for interplanetary missions unlikely.

Fission is, literally, a million times more powerful than chemical reactions, and the only twice the Isp of NTP is a fail. Work at MIT in thermo-photovoltaic-cells (TPV) has the potential to vastly simplify electrical generation by nuclear reactors in space and, along with recent University of Michigan high power testing of Hall thrusters, make Nuclear Electric Propulsion the better path.

While NTP claims of three times (up to “five times” in other articles) the efficiency of chemical rockets may be possible, it is more likely “aspirational” as the temperatures and pressures necessary make it close to handwavium. No matter what tricks are used at some point the material in the reactor starts melting. It is possible some new technology or design to make NTP viable is being used but nothing concerning this has been said or inferred.

There is the possibility this new NTP project, which I do not believe has been funded yet, will be highly profitable and selected for exactly that reason. If there is a critical need for a hi thrust/hi Isp system, then Nuclear Pulse Propulsion is by far the most logical choice as an essentially off the shelf and readily available, if politically problematic, option. Surely our new Space Force has the power to revisit NPP and overcome old political barriers to what could be used to defend Earth from impact threats as well as enable interplanetary missions?

RDRE’s may happen or, like aerospike engines, may not. I read a 20 percent efficiency gain somewhere which would bump a hydrogen oxygen engine like the RL10 up to an Isp of over 550. While I wish it to be so with all my heart I don’t think any 2 million pound thrust triple nickel Isp engines are around the corner.

The showstopper for Human Space Flight Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (HSF-BELO) is dosing and debilitation. The solution is massive shielding and artificial gravity and entails a crew compartment, tether system, and structure massing, at minimum, two or three thousand tons. While this always sparks outrage from the NewSpace crowd it is the reality that must be accepted if any progress is ever going to be made.

This multi-thousand ton requirement is based on the “Parker Minimum” that specifies cosmic ray shielding for a small capsule of 400 tons of plastic or 500 tons of water, with water being more utilitarian. For any long duration mission a “small capsule” will obviously not work so doubling the mass of water results in 1000 tons. Increase this figure by half again or double it for the actual structure and necessary equipment. Then place the propulsion system at the other end of the tether system. Chemical propulsion is of course useless for pushing such mass around the solar system so nuclear energy also becomes a requirement.

Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), with an Isp roughly twice that of chemicals, is a fail. This leaves only one practical and available system; Nuclear Pulse Propulsion (NPP). The repurposed nuclear weapons used in NPP can propel a Spaceship in two ways. The first is the “Medusa-type”, a large flexible “Spinnaker” that pulls the crew section, and the second is the “Orion-type”, a plate that pushes the crew section.

Besides Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP), which has not been fully developed, there is Fission Fragment Propulsion (FFP), which would require a completely new trillion dollar nuclear manufacturing infrastructure to produce the Americium fuel.

What I find fascinating is the trillion dollar modernization of our nuclear deterrent going on that is largely useless in terms of keeping it effective. Bombers cannot be kept in the air 24/7 and their bases are vulnerable. Submarines can no longer hide in oceans infested with sea glider drones and are vulnerable. And ICBMs are of course targeted in their silos. The launch-on-warning situation of two adversaries holding pistols to each others heads has gone on for well over half a century and still threatens to burn civilization to the ground and incinerate billions with a decision made in minutes.

The dream of so many, a nuclear weapon free planet, is actually possible by basing the arsenals of the superpowers months away in deep space on human-crewed “space boomers.” And it would cost about as much as the missiles, submarines, and bombers, that have been rendered obsolescent. These Atomic Spaceships could even deflect impact threats so we don’t go like the dinosaurs. That would be an actual “force in space.”

What technology is that? I don’t think it is the technology that is the problem. It is the purpose itself that is soon to be obsolete. The obscene spending displays of the super-rich are not going to be around for much longer. The calls to tax billionaires are going to end these space joyrides, along with fleets of private jets, mega-yachts, mansions and multi-thousand acre ranches. We the People are starting to realize the chaos and culture wars sown by the right have always been about one thing: distracting the citizenry from voting to tax and regulate the super-rich. The Reagan Revolution has run it’s 40 year course and the world is changing back to a new deal.

The loss of 20 percent of the middle class, the tens of millions of Americans that have fallen into poverty, while vast wealth was redistributed upward to the billionaire class, is going to be reversed.

The Space Shuttle was meant to be the “National Launch Vehicle” that would subsidize the satellite industry by launching all commercial payloads while making space exploration “pay for itself.”

These small launchers are still chasing that “something for nothing” that always ends with nothing, it is just a different path.

A hydrogen oxygen reusable VTVL Super Heavy Lift Vehicle can lift the large pieces into GEO to assemble very large platforms that will provide civilization with abundant telecommunications. LEO satellites should be few and strictly regulated and megaconstelliations….should never have been permitted. That Frankenstein monster is taking form and books will be written about it’s coming disastrous animation.

The more they make, the more they don’t spend. You don’t seem to understand how rich they actually are. Billionaires actually push for flat tax foolishness. They come out way ahead. The only three kinds of taxes that affect the super-wealthy are progressive, that is, 91 percent on top earners, as it was during most of the 20th century, windfall, and inheritance. They have always had shelters that serve them in escaping most taxes anyway, and revising the tax code to make it simple and harder to cheat is also something they dread.

“The other low hanging fruit is solar power, BUT it probably needs a decade (or two) of R&D before large scale construction can begin. For a start, perhaps a couple of proof-of-concepts?”

Almost all the R&D was already completed decades ago. The numbers are clear on exactly what is beamed down from space onto exactly what size antennae field and what comes out of that field and into the power grid. There are no real questions left to answer except one- will that amount of energy negatively affect the atmosphere. Considering the relatively narrow beam and the nature of the microwaves, the most likely answer is it will cause little or no negative effects. Large scale construction should begin NOW so the effects can be measured and a ….a total commitment to powering civilization from space made. There are many who would not profit and do not want this.

After the question is answered and the commitment made, the Moon is where the solar cells will be manufactured. So, in my view, you have two of them nailed; Space Solar and the Moon. As for LEO “commercial space stations”, they are a farce and a complete dead end.

Boots on the ground, or rather, under the surface of the Moon, will be required to set up solar cell factories. Those workers will require transportation by Lunar Cyclers and lunar Space Stations as transfer points. These constructs will require Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) crew compartments and once they are in place the pipeline producing them can add Spaceships with the addition of nuclear propulsion modules. It would be stupid not adding Spaceships to the cislunar infrastructure for defending Earth from impact threats. Why not explore icy bodies with them?

As always, big aerospace is after the easy money and defense and commercial and even interchangeable megaconstellations are all they see right now.

The space show host has guests that are largely conservative and often climate change deniers. Those that comment there are definitely far right climate deniers and several anti-vaxers. It is even worse than spacex news if that is possible.

Musk is obsessed with owning the internet and that is the entire reason for Starship and Starlink. He gave his game away when he bought twitter. Being king of cyberspace is the key to his weird brain. You will get nothing from him that matters to anyone but him.

Fossil Fuel interests will NOT allow any progress on Space Solar Power unless We the People drag their politicians kicking and screaming and make them do it or get voted out.

Simple as that.

“Nuclear powers resort to basing their nuclear weapons in silos, submarines, and on rail and road-mobile vehicles to reduce vulnerability from an adversary’s counterforce strike-“

We are currently expending over a trillion dollars over the next decade to modernize our deterrent.
Bombers are vulnerable to a preemptive “counterforce strike” on their bases as it is not practical to keep a nuclear armed bomber force in the air 24/7. Even keeping them ready for immediate launch with bombs loaded is not done anymore as it is extremely expensive. This has not stopped the Air Force from building a new fleet of stealth bombers.
Submarines are now almost certainly tracked in oceans infested with sea glider drones and are also vulnerable to a counterforce strike. This has not stopped the Navy from building a new fleet of missile submarines.
The ICBM third leg of the triad will also soon be replaced but missile silos are the whole reason for a triad due to these silos being precisely targeted and the most vulnerable to a counterforce strike. While Russia and China have mobile systems the U.S. does not.

The term “counterforce” is terrifying in itself as it presumes a scenario where a nuclear war is “winnable” by first destroying the adversaries arsenal. That it is still actually talked about is….terrifying. In the event of a nuclear war the most likely attack and response is to launch everything. This is called M.A.D. or mutually assured destruction. The result would be the fragile agriculture/transportation/refrigeration infrastructure of the global food supply chain being destroyed and the majority of the human race dying as cannibal armies roam the Earth. The end of the world as we know it. This is really what would happen.

The superpowers rely on satellite warning to preserve deterrence by assuring that missiles can be launched and destroy the enemy in the event they attack. The danger of small satellite proliferation is the temptation to engage in a limited “satellite war” to intimidate an adversary becomes too great to resist. Such a game would instantly spin out of control and end the world. Small launchers and megaconstellations are too destabilizing and never should have been permitted.

Climate Change might suddenly make everything different. If some world leader catches on and says follow me… and shames the rest into entertaining the idea, who knows. If that goofball can sell 42,000 pieces of space junk enabling video gamers in Nebraska then anything is possible.

The reality is 70 launches per day. Since factory tooling is going to the Moon to build everything there, cut that in half to 35 launches a day. And it won’t replace 1/3rd, it will replace all powerplants on Earth. A hydrogen oxygen SHLV that only reenters the second stage engine module and third stage engine, not tankage, which goes on to be used as a wet workshop, will be the standard. It is absolutely clear that arguing against Space Solar Power is an exercise in disinformation.

The precedent for a Space Solar Power manufacturing infrastructure on the Moon is World War 2. If nations can mobilize on such a vast scale against fascism and imperialism they can certainly do so to avert a Climate Catastrophe. There are no showstoppers to this except fossil fuel interests and others busy making money on military megaconstellations…and naysayers proclaiming “reality.”

While the Navy encounters certainly have elements of mystery, there is zero physical evidence. No Chariots of the Gods. Those who “want to believe” are in the same class intellectually as election and climate deniers, and anti-vaxxers, that is, the biggest threat to democracy Americans face.

We are, as a nation, endlessly distracted by make-a-buck con artists. Politics is now being corrupted by dark money and confidence criminals as never before. The culture wars are not being explained by the media for what they are; a way for the super-rich to avert attention from taxing and regulating them. Their absolute greed is on course to change America into an autocratic oligarchy.

Here is the key for space advocates: for reasons extraneous to space policy, Climate Change denial is the single biggest threat to quality of life on Earth, as fossil fuel interests safeguard their profits-to-come over the coming decades. Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources is the solution to Climate Change and will realize the greatest dreams of space advocates. The false prophet who stated Space Solar is “the stupidest idea ever” is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.

I have to disagree. The most realistic solution does not involve factories building renewable energy devices on Earth. Manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines presently requires energy mostly provided by the very fossil fuels they seek to replace, and this has zero prospect of being able to keep up with demand. The requirement is a western standard of living for 10 billion human beings and that amount of energy can only happen if beamed down from space. Building the satellites on Earth only adds to the problem. Building the satellites on the Moon solves the problem. It is the only real solution.

Familiarity with the technologies in question, critical thinking skills, and the ability to troubleshoot, to eliminate distractors and bias, leads to this conclusion.

No…Dragon is definitely ugly. The Edsel of capsules. And the spacesuits are even worse. Only the weirdness of Elon could have approved them. Like they are jokes to amuse himself. I am not amused.

“In themselves, there is nothing ‘military’ about satellites. Satellites only enable In themselves, there is nothing ‘military’ about satellites. Satellites only enable over-the-horizon communications or target identification of potential targets on ground or at-sea. .”

In themselves, satellites are essentially military devices. By enabling over-the-horizon communications or target identification of potential targets on ground or at-sea, in wartime they can be classed as nothing else but targets themselves.

Space Solar Power satellites built in lunar factories can completely power civilization by the end of the century and provide a western standard of living for 10 billion people.

The ice on the Moon is a critical resource for setting up those lunar factories. It is the only real solution to Climate Change. If we mobilized a significant percentage of the human race to fight World War 2 we can do the same to avert a catastrophe.

“Bruno said it would take several years before ULA can begin to recover and reuse the first-stage BE-4 engines.”

Reuse is only part of the problem for evolving commercial space. Hydrogen is the propellent causing the least damage to the atmosphere and concerns about the effects of byproducts in the upper atmosphere mean the days of any rocket engine that does not burn hydrogen and oxygen are numbered. Even the number of launches is going to be limited which entails far larger launch vehicles with larger engines in the 2 million pound thrust range.

Even with hydrogen/oxygen engines, bringing back the second stage tankage as the shiny is supposedly going to do will soon be unacceptable. This is due to the large-surface-generated amounts of nitrogen compounds during reentry events. Taking into account economy of scale, this means the only acceptable launch vehicles are going to be VTVL (Vertical Take-off Vertical Landing) Super Heavy Lift Vehicles (SHLV’s) that do not land back the second stage tankage.

Using the atmosphere to dispose of satellites and upper stages is not going to be acceptable in the future any more than using so many cheap and nasty small launchers. This places limits on utilizing LEO, which was always a dead end, and moves almost all activity to much higher orbits where recycling can take place. The logical progression is to a cislunar infrastructure that begins in GEO and stretches across the cislunar sea to lunar orbit. No LEO megaconstellations.

VTVL-SHLV’s will most likely launch and land back the first stage but only the second stage engine module will reenter immediately while the tankage and third stage will leave Earth orbit. The engine section of the third stage will separate and do a free return around the Moon all the way back to Earth to reenter and likely be heli-captured. The second and third stage tank structure, along with all satellites, will be reused as depots, crew compartments, and raw material for a cislunar infrastructure. Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources as the solution to Climate Change is the best possible future for commercial space.

I was listening to Naomi Oreskes on the Majority Report earlier today and she was talking about market fundamentalists. A perfect description of the dunce cap sociopaths that have stalked me on these forums for so many years, and whose several comments I just glanced at on my phone before averting my eyes in disgust . “-they believe strongly in a cosmic conflict between communism and capitalism, and they fear any compromise to free market capitalism, even a modest one,- would put us on a slippery slope to socialism, communism and soviet style totalitarianism.”

The Big Myth (the title of Oreskes new book) is that if we simply trust in the market, and give it absolute god-like freedom, then it is the best of all possible worlds. The problem of course is that what they are really talking about, when they use the word “freedom”, is greed. There have always been rules and regulation to restrain the corrupting influence of greed but the fundamentalists reject this. They reject science if it might affect the market, as with covid, they reject science if it threatens profits, as with climate change. They reject democracy because it “encroaches” on the free market as an enlightened citizenry will always eventually vote to tax and regulate those who seek to take everything. Oligarchs make wage slaves of as many as they can, always. Anti-science antigovernment conspiracies are distractions.

NewSpace is in many ways the ultimate expression of the church of market fundamentalism. It has corrupted almost everything good the space colonization movement hoped for. And that is why I am so hated….for exposing the rabid fanboys, especially the mentally disturbed ones, for what they are. When I offer new ideas, and criticize billionaire foolishness, it is blasphemy and they go crazy. As the comments below prove.

That was a big bowl of zero nutrition word salad. What a waste of time.
“That assessment usually presents an eloquent advocacy document for the field, but the process also protects the results from becoming narrowly self-serving for just one point of view or idea for the future direction of the field. In other words,-“

Don’t need any other words. A very good illustration of why NASA has made so many wrong turns and so very few right ones. Anything meaningful they could have accomplished after Apollo obviously died in committee.
We landed on the Moon and then retreated to LEO because aerospace was not making enough money on non-cold-war constructs. Did they ever discuss that or just “protect themselves”?

We built a Space Shuttle that was so incredibly flawed an article written before it ever launched by a sportswriter foresaw almost precisely it’s destiny. Many look unfavorably on and trivialize Easterbrook’s “Beam us out of this”, but it told the story. With apologies to Dwayne Day, so many seem to be protecting something, instead of troubleshooting the problem.

NASA then adopted the cheap and nasty “Flexible Path” that relied on a bizarro billionaire as it’s guiding light to steer the agency away from the Moon even as the ice resource that made a permanent presence almost obligatory was discovered. It took a director appointed by chance by the worst president in U.S. history to point NASA back at the prize it never should have taken it’s eyes off of.

And lastly, facing a Climate Catastrophe, Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources as the solution should have transformed the Space Agency or even been the genesis of some new entity like, “the Solar Energy Space Transportation Administration.” Instead the American people received a new branch of the military that does not fight, but spends as much as the NASA budget on filling LEO with satellites in a redux of the cold war money machine.

NASA has followed very little good advice in over half a century and what little they have, very half-heartedly. No SESTA on the horizon.

“Fortunately, the US can prevent both outcomes. To do so, the US must adhere to three rules in its approach to STM. First, the STM system must be-“

The opportunity to “bad-actor proof”, “warn and defend”, and create some “structure” has long since past. The bad actor who started the megaconstellation nightmare was never warned-off his rule-cyberspace-plan and no defense has been made. Any structure to control this was burned down at the beginning. It is greed of the worst kind that drives this strip-mining of Earth orbit. The new military service created to cash in now has a larger budget than NASA and is enriching shareholders in a replay of the cold war build-up to 70,000 nukes ready to incinerate the planet at the push of a button. The dream and promise of space has truly died. The true path and key to realizing all the dreams of space advocates, powering civilization with Space Solar Power, has been strangled in the cradle. The billionaire grifter who helped in the murder is a disturbed extremist.

“The United States is standing at the precipice of a new era in space security. The Biden Administration faces an historic opportunity to build an STM regime well-suited to the new space age.”

Not much hope of preventing falling off the cliff at this point. The prerequisite to a second space age is a national launch vehicle like the Saturn V and what is variously being billed as such are poor designs. But anything is possible. If Biden was to embrace Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources as the solution to Climate Change then this would be the first step. The second step would be to put down the megaconstellation Frankenstein before it is brought fully to life by severely restricting the number and type of satellites allowed in LEO and disbanding the Space Force- or at minimum limiting them to some other function, such as controlling the ICBM force and nuclear deterrent. The third step would be creating a “Solar Energy Space Transportation Administration” (SESTA) and facilitate mirror entities internationally as part of an “International Solar Energy Space Transportation Association.”

Harris Meets with Space Advisory Group as Mission Authorization Deadline Nears

(Another comment Marcia did not post)

Nothing about Space Solar Power as the solution to Climate Change. Why is this never discussed?

“There has been, though, little commercial interest in the H3 so far despite its lower cost, which remains high compared to competitors like SpaceX’s Falcon 9.”

I opined on hydrogen as the only acceptable propellent and Vertical Take-off Vertical Landing Super Heavy Lift Vehicles (VTVL-SHLV’s) as the only acceptable future launch vehicles on another forum. I was promptly attacked by several of the sociopaths that have cyberstalked me for years. That particular opinion of mine seems to be a trigger that drives them even more insane for some reason.

“It will take a couple of years to actually be reusing the engines,” he said, including technology demonstrations like the test of an inflatable decelerators flown as a secondary payload on an Atlas 5 launch last fall. “Eventually, we’ll have the confidence to recover them, inspect them, and them reuse them. That will happen in this window of a few years.”

The problems the launch industry faces are fundamental and serious. The first is, of course, the Frankenstein monster that is megaconstellations, which never should have been permitted. The second is the proliferation of small launchers competing to cash in on megaconstellations, which also never should have been permitted. The third is the propellants and structures used which have been recognized as harmful to the upper atmosphere if launched in the quantities necessary to maintain all the proposed megaconstellations.

The solutions to the problems are to first turn off the megaconstellation “revolution” by severely restricting the number and type of LEO satellites. The replacement is Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources as the solution to Climate Change. It follows that hydrogen VTVL-SHLV’s and refinements to that concept that minimize reentry byproducts will result in a launch industry orders of magnitude larger than the get-rich-quick monstrosity now in progress.

Like Walmart, Super Heavy Lift Vehicles present an economy of scale that no smaller operators can hope to match. In my view the same relationship is true for satellites. The single advantage of LEO, low latency, cannot hope to match the economy of very large platforms in GEO. As part of a cislunar infrastructure, GEO platforms can recycle material thus limiting what reenters and minimizing effects on the upper atmosphere. This is, in my opinion, the key to vastly increasing space activities. The present trend going in the opposite direction is a mess. The worst thing that could have happened.

Though the shiny has some attributes of the most desirable type of launcher, it is, however, problematic, being expressly designed to populate megaconstellations and fill Earth orbit with endless junk.

The only good I can see in this is the White Knight and Roc as being extremely interesting aircraft configurations in regard to airline safety. A centrally mounted passenger pod could be equipped with solid fuel rockets and parachutes and make airline disasters far more survivable. The twin fuselages could also carry liquid hydrogen and thus decarbonize the airline industry.

Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

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