With the Artemis program years behind schedule and billions over budget, and derided as a wasteful and ponderous boondoggle by the NewSpace crowd, NASA has a lot to prove.
Actually, it is “the NewSpace crowd” that has proved what a bunch of toxic cyberthugs they are…for years. The worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.
They have flooded these forums with death-to-SLS propaganda from the beginning of the program, literally libraries of it. Screaming bloody murder and cost plus atrocity and proclaiming the end of the world. All for one purpose of course; to try and get that money for Musk. Transparent.
That it is a NASA rocket made to fly U.S. astronauts to the Moon makes this effort on behalf of a narcissist billionaire hobbyist and an anti-government libertarian ideology disgusting. Hiding it behind some kind of concerned citizen fiscal responsibility facade is absolutely disgusting.
Before I am silenced again, I will continue to state Musk committed three unforgivable sins:
1. He diverted NASA from a lunar return after ice had been discovered, setting human space flight back a decade.
2. He promoted a fantastical scam of colonizing Mars while also embarking on a megaconstellation program that will essentially strip mine Earth orbit.
3. Worst of all, with a single sentence, he contributed to the unfolding climate change catastrophe by branding the greatest hope of solving climate change and saving billions of lives, “the stupidest idea ever.”
Americans who visit these forums, unless they are a certain type of gullible and close-minded personality type and have already been sucked into the cults of Musk and Trump, read a few comments from Ayn-Rand-in-Space libertarian whackjobs and never come back.
A decade of NewSpace cyberthugs hijacking these forums have driven any real space enthusiasts away and replaced them with neoliberal cheerleaders. This has done tremendous damage to the public perception of space.
The worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.
These “long duration” ISS missions cause permanent damage to the astronauts and raise their risk of cancer. The tours should at least be shortened, and the best path is decommissioning and directing the funding at a new shielded space station with artificial gravity, using lunar water and tether systems.
This is actually how space exploration should have logically progressed:
1. The Saturn V made reusable piece by piece, evolving into a mostly reusable vehicle for continued lunar exploration, which might have found ice in 1978 instead of 2008.
2. Semi-expendable robot Lunar Landers processing propellants and transporting water derived from lunar ice to Super Heavy Lift Vehicle wet workshops.
3. “Fat Workshop” double-hulled upper stages facilitating cosmic ray water shields for Space Stations in Lunar and Earth Orbits, especially GEO, and Lunar Cyclers.
With Tether Generated Artificial Gravity systems, combined with water shielding, Near Sea Level Radiation One gravity (NSLR1G) crew compartments would then allow human crews to stay in space indefinitely without Dosing or Debilitation, and eventually enable true Atomic Spaceships.
3.6 Million is not bad….but we have to do better. The environmental effects are problematic but new propellent mixes may soon be available that minimize harmful chemical byproducts while improving Isp. Then those 6 million pound thrust submarine-hulled reloadable Aerojet monsters might actually get built (AJ-260). And then there is the 325 inch model:
Notional solid rocket engine. Study 1963. Recoverable motors; separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange. Solid propellant rocket stage. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. Recoverable stage; separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange.
AKA: Nova GD-S. Status: Study 1963. Thrust: 69,047.00 kN (15,522,383 lbf). Specific impulse: 263 s. Specific impulse sea level: 238 s. Burn time: 116 s. Height: 60.40 m (198.10 ft). Diameter: 8.30 m (27.20 ft).
Not really a fan of solids but I am a firm believer in “Super Rockets” and boosters that put out 15 million pounds of thrust appeal to me. We build large jetliner engines and so I imagine turbopumps an order of magnitude larger could be built to feed “full flow” liquid hydrogen/oxygen engines in thrust ranges also an order of magnitude larger. In the case of the F-1 that would be 18 million pounds of thrust. Four of those, and a central variable thrust engine sized to land back the empty stage, is, in my view, what is needed for the ideal launch vehicle fist stage. Around 80 million pounds of thrust would likely require a small lake sized mass of water to soak up launch vibration. Would have to launch it in a remote location and it might put a thousand tons into LEO.
Only the state can undertake projects like that. Which is yet another reason why NewSpace is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.
Not even a mention of the heavy nuclei component of cosmic radiation. The real problem for long duration missions, the elephant in the room nobody will talk about, is permanent damage. There is a set amount of shielding required to stop heavy nuclei; “The Parker Minimum.”
The ice on the Moon is the key to Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit (HSF-BEO). The only solution to Dosing and Debilitation is a massive water shield and tether-generated-artificial-gravity. The water also enabling life support providing years of air and drinking water.
Until NASA starts telling the truth there will be no progress. They might think they can get away with sending a pair or two of astronauts to a Gateway for a month or two at a time and leave it vacant the rest of the year but that is even more of a money hole than the ISS.
There is a logical sequence that reveals itself if the administration goes by Feynman’s dictum: “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
The first step is getting that water off the Moon using 20 to 23 times less energy than from Earth.
The second step is to put it in double-hulled “Fat Workshops” in space.
The third step is to connect these crew compartments with a tether system.
The result is a Near Sea Level Radiation One Gravity (NSLR1G) environment where astronauts are protected from dosing and elevated cancer risk (especially young females) and tissue loss due to microgravity debilitation. Crews can stay in space indefinitely with no damage.
The necessary hardware is Super Heavy Lift Vehicles to loft the workshops and semi-expendable Robot Lunar Landers able to process ice into propellants and carry water into space repeatedly.
Depends on the solar event. I would guess if they are profoundly dosed for several days then it won’t matter. If it is a lesser event and only lasts a couple hours, the vest may be significant.
For any long duration missions Beyond Earth Orbit it is the combination of cosmic ray dosing and debilitation that causes permanent damage, and the only solution is a whole new paradigm that nobody seems willing to accept. Even Eugene Parker was skeptical about his minimum requirement of 400 tons of plastic for a small capsule. Parker is a radiation scientist though and was only thinking in terms of Space Shuttle payloads.
The ice on the Moon and nuclear energy are the solutions to Human Space Flight Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit. Water can be lifted into space from the Moon with 20 to 23 times less energy than from Earth, which means for every 20 tons of shielding that can be lifted from the Earth 400 tons can be lifted from the Moon. Water equates to 500 tons for a capsule and for any practical living space for long missions very likely well over a thousand will be required. The upside is that much water makes closed loop life support providing years of air and drinking water far easier to effect. I call this a Near Sea Level Radiation One Gravity (NSLR1G) environment.
Artificial gravity requires structures strong enough to contain the water while being spun at a couple hundred miles an hour on the ends of a mile or so of tether system. Upper stage wet workshops of a double hull configuration, what I call “Fat Workshops”, are the likely solution. Only nuclear propulsion, and NOT nucear thermal, is going to push that much mass around the solar system. Either Nuclear Pulse (Bombs) or some new development of Nuclear Electric will work. New advances in TPV cells would allow Spaceship nuclear reactors to produce electricity straight from heat and might be the answer. Plenty of water for radiators and dampening tether oscillation.
With no water a Moonbase will require bringing ice from the asteroid belt and establishing a permanent presence is many years away. With ice on the Moon it is not many years away at all. With even one lava tube we can move right into with inflatable structures it could happen very quickly. With even one of the very large lava tubes likely to exist available then….an incredible opportunity to establish a cislunar industrial infrastructure based on Space Solar Power component manufacture.
I see only the Gateway for many years, and it will not even be permanently occupied. But when Robot Landers find ice and maybe lava tubes on the Moon this will generate incredible excitement and funding for a more appropriate lander will be found. That 14 story office building is never going to land on the Moon. The number of shiny refuels required alone make it a farce.
As for “Orbital Reef”, the likelihood of the government subsidizing a multi-billion dollar a year “commercial” LEO space station is nil. Not going to happen. LEO is a dead end.
Ceres, then Callisto, are the forward bases for scientific exploration of the subsurface oceans of icy bodies and the moons of the gas and ice giants. With human-crewed submarines transported by human-crewed Spaceships.
Same old NewSpace dogma. Yet Musk dumped it for a Super Heavy. It was always absurd, taking stuff up a bucket or armful at a time and saying you are going to the Moon or, even more ridiculous- Mars. Like saying a cargo vessel line across the North Atlantic with boy scout canoes is the way to go.
NewSpace has set space exploration back at least a decade.
“Off Earth” manufacturing is not necessarily the criteria. Asteroids are not a “better resource” than the Moon. SPS will not “evolve.”
Space Solar Power will be a multi-trillion dollar international commitment soon enough. The Climate Change catastrophe is looming.
Hydrogen Oxygen SHLV’s can lift Space Solar Power components with minimal damage to the atmosphere. Certainly less than kerosene or methane exhaust.
BO New Glenn first stages look like they could replace the SLS solid rocket boosters. They are in the same thrust range. Might even try what spacex failed at: cross feeding liquid oxygen into the SLS core. LEO space stations are a dead end.
I strongly doubt there will ever be a “commercial” LEO space station.
Not enough billionaires in the world willing to blow the billions it would take to enable them to enjoy floating in a radiation bath and vomiting while looking out a window.
Faux astronaut wings are just not worth it.
“Invaluable” is not really accurate.
Too much gravity to land on easily.
Not enough solar energy.
Three strikes you are out.
Mars is a dead end.
When we finally have “true” Spaceships (cosmic ray shielding, artificial gravity, nuclear propulsion) then Ceres becomes the best first mission Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (HSF-BELO).
Mars will be bypassed as a rock. The qualifier is nuclear propulsion to push the necessary mass but nuclear thermal, which is getting some money thrown at it again, is also a dead end. For fantastic expense, only about twice the Isp of chemical rockets. Either nuclear pulse (bombs) or possibly some new form of nuclear electric will enable interplanetary human spaceflight.
“So far the cost/benefit ratios are negative.”
Not according to the British and German studies. You either did not even look at the executive summaries, or you are lying.
“SPS will happen when it is time for it to happen. That time will be when it makes engineering, economic, and political sense.”
It will happen when fossil fuels are legislated out of existence and decarbonization becomes international policy….and that is happening very quickly. If preventing a Climate Change catastrophe that will kill billions does not make sense then what does? Starlink for rural video gamers? You are uninformed and your comment is the worst kind of disinformation.
The spacex fanboys parroting their cult leader is disgusting.
The stupidest creeps ever.
Nothing of value has ever been returned from LEO space stations that could for a fraction of the cost have been done on automated laboratory satellites. Half a century wasted in LEO is enough! Time to drop that money hole into the ocean and move Beyond Earth Orbit.
Long past time.
“The company has launched 3,108 Starlink satellites with 2,809 spacecraft working,”
Only 38,000 to go. Not counting the ones that go bad of course. What a mess.
Trump robbed you and the rest of us by pouring hundreds of billions of more dollars into billionaire pockets with his tax cuts.
Crying about NASA is hilarious….and transparent.
Donald Bren donated 100 million for Space Solar Power research. Not invested, donated. Europe, China, the Air Force, the Navy, they are all looking at it as the future. And the Moon is the place to build that cislunar power infrastructure. A recent study showed that while a much larger initial investment, building Space Solar Power components in lunar factories would power our entire civilization faster and at far less cost than building and launching them from Earth. Global utilities are a 6 trillion dollar a year market. Climate Change is going to be a catastrophe and wreck the planet if action is not taken. I believe a sea change is coming.
Of course the spacex fanboys smirk and parrot rocket jesus;
“the stupidest idea ever.”
I am certainly interested in Callisto as the second destination after Ceres for human missions. Outside those nasty radiation belts and it might have an ocean even though no tidal heating. Like Ceres.
Mars is the “never going to happen”; too much gravity to land easily and no ocean makes it a dead end.
True, no tubes at the poles but likely elsewhere. Can drive water trucks to the poles and do some exploring with them also since they carry their own shielding- I commented about that a couple times- about having them lower themselves down around a small area the astronauts could explore without being dosed.
As for the program needing something to do….space is the next step for humankind so it is far more than just something to do.f they were to find a nice big lava tube then the money would flow. If not for any other reason than to keep the Chinese from moving in. We found ice and that is the only reason we are trying to go back now so it could happen.
Far superior to the toxic dragon. The spacex capsule has an “escape system” that is more likely to kill the crew than anything else that could go wrong. The exact opposite of what it is supposed to do.
The Orion escape tower is awesome.
So….space elevators are not a good idea. They are like Helium 3 and cold fusion and several other pseudoscience favorites. People say they are serious about them being practical but…they are not (either not serious or not practical). What is practical is what we can actually build in various time frames like ten years. That’s how long it took to dig the Suez and Panama Canals. For something like powering the planet with Space Solar Power, go with a quarter century from landing on the Moon with the first construction equipment to actually beginning to get useful power from antennae fields on Earth. That would be with trillions of dollars sending Super Heavy Lift Vehicles from various nations every week. We can actually do that right now to stop Climate Change. I would be in my 90’s if that happened. I might live to see it if tomorrow they decided to do it.
Gerard K. O’Neill was a visionary that understood you can build megastructures in space because it is zero gravity and you have plenty of energy. Somewhat like glass blowing on a very large scale. His ultimate goal was space colonies, miles-in-diameter-artificial-spinning-hollow-moons, heading and trailing Earth in orbit around the sun, in solar orbit.
The following paragraph from the article is B.S. so I am not ready to give it a try. While Ceres is of great interest to me as the best first destination for human missions Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit, because it is easy to land on (unlike Mars) and might have an ocean (unlike Mars), more solar energy is needed for space colonies. Any semi-permanent science base on Ceres would likely have a circular “sleeper train” under the ice providing artificial gravity sleeping and exercise spaces for inhabitants. Not practical for large populations.
“This would be logistically awful, too. If the population grows too large for one settlement, multiple settlements may be required. If multiple colonies are in orbit around the Sun, they could drift apart, creating other problems, such as inter-settlement travel. If they’re orbiting a common body, collision avoidance becomes a problem.”
You can say the Shuttle never missed a landing in 133 missions but….if this “misses” then what happens? It crashes with enough fuel left to blow it into pieces. If they move operations offshore maybe not such a big deal. It will bounce off the rig and into the ocean I guess. Without an escape system to get the crew clear it will NEVER carry humans.
This lack of escape system seems to tell the whole story- the shiny is about one thing; Starlink. And if Starlink fails, which I hope it does as those 41,000 pieces of space junk are something that NEVER should have been allowed, the shiny fails.
Spacex will still have their mediocre satelite launcher, the F9, but I doubt they will have rocket jesus in charge. We can only hope.
Robotic Rovers for “excavation missions that must operate in remote permanently shadowed regions of the Moon and survive multiple lunar nights” and “enable in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) missions on the Moon-“.
These Robotic Rovers and semi-expendable Robot Lunar Landers are needed to exploit ice resources. The Ice on the Moon is the key to Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit by providing the thousands and then hundreds of thousands of tons of cosmic ray water shielding for Space Station, Lunar Cycler, and Spaceship crew compartments.