Will the US waste $100+ billion on SLS, Orion and LOP-G by 2030?

The US could get so much more accomplished in space if they stop wasting money on the Space Launch System, Orion and the Lunar gateway. The US did waste money on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. The Space Shuttle was supposed to demonstrate fast reusability but had to have its heat shield reinspected and rebuilt after launches. The Space shuttle cost more than disposable rockets. The SLS will continue that tradition of costing more for no gain. SLS will cost $2-5 billion per launch versus about $20-100 million for SpaceX Falcon Heavy with 4 boosters or a SpaceX BFR.

NASA is planning a 2023 launch of a Block 1 configuration of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The SLS will circle Earth twice while periodically firing its engines to build up enough speed to push it toward the Moon before looping back to Earth. The SLS will perform a loop around the moon.

NASA is targeting a test SLS and Orion together for the first time without crew for three weeks in 2020.

NASA Space Launch system is reusing and modifying Shuttle rockets and facilities. SLS and Orion will cost the United States more than $30 billion dollars before it has completed a single full launch. This will go over $40 billion by the time the system is ready to launch NASA astronauts.

$14 billion has been spent on the rockets between 2011 and 2018. This does not include billions more spent refurbishing and modifying aging Saturn and Shuttle-derived launch infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center.

Orion’s development has cost the U.S. about $16 billion since 2006. $4-6 billion more will be spent between now and 2023. This does not include the costs of production and operations once development is complete.

The Orion space capsule is NOT capable of landing on the Moon, much less Mars. The capsule can dock with an intermediate orbiting space station off-planet (the Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway). Operating on the moon or Mars with SLS will require a new lander. The Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway is an updated version of the International Space Station. The ISS cost $150 billion to build. The Lunar Orbital Gateway will have fewer modules but will easily cost $40 billion.

Boeing and Lockheed own United Launch Alliance. 20% of revenues for Boeing and Lockheed come from space projects.

SLS got $2.15 billion in the fiscal 2018 budget. The Orion crew capsule got $1.35 billion. A total of $3.5 billion in just 2018. Two more years of increasing funding to try to get to the first unmanned test launch in 2020.

In September 2011, the SLS program gave a development cost to the Senate of $18 billion through 2017, with $10 billion for the SLS rocket, $6 billion for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and $2 billion for upgrades to the launch pad and other facilities at Kennedy Space Center. The original plan was the first unmanned SLS launch in 2017.

The Space Review estimated the cost per launch at $5 billion, depending on the rate of launches.

SpaceX BFR is targeting 2023 for manned lunar orbiting tourist mission

SpaceX is close to completing a new Raptor engine. SpaceX is building parts of the fully reusable SpaceX BFR. Suborbital SpaceX BFR flights will start next year. Unmanned testing will be started before Space Launch System despite development of the BFR starting years after the start of SLS work.

Falcon Heavies could build a moon base in 4 years

Falcon Heavy had a successful flight in February, 2018.

Robert Zubrin detailed creating a moon base within 4 years using a few SpaceX Falcon Heavy missions.

10 kilometer power beaming is a key to creating lunar fuel.

Once we have lunar fuel production, we can use Falcon 9 to launch missions.

He wants to use a lunar vehicle with 6 kilometer per second which can explore most of the moon and directly return to earth orbit.

The Falcon Heavy can lift 60 tons to low Earth orbit (LEO). Starting from that point, a hydrogen/oxygen rocket-propelled cargo lander could deliver 12 tons of payload to the lunar surface.

We therefore proceed by sending two such landers to our planned base location. The best place for it would be at one of the poles, because there are spots at both lunar poles where sunlight is accessible all the time, as well as permanently shadowed craters nearby where water ice has accumulated. Such ice could be electrolyzed to make hydrogen-oxygen rocket propellant, to fuel both Earth-return vehicles as well as flying rocket vehicles that would provide the lunar base’s crew with exploratory access to most of the rest of the moon.

The first cargo lander carries a load of equipment, including a solar panel array, high-data-rate communications gear, a microwave power-beaming set up with a range of 100 kilometers, an electrolysis/refrigeration unit, two crew vehicles, a trailer, and a group of tele-operated robotic rovers. After landing, some of the rovers are used to set up the solar array and communications system, while others are used to scout out the landing area in detail, putting down radio beacons on the precise target locations for the landings to follow.

The second cargo lander brings out a 12-ton habitation module, loaded with food, spare spacesuits, scientific equipment, tools, and other supplies. This will serve as the astronauts’ house, laboratory, and workshop of the moon. Once it has landed, the rovers hook it up to the power supply and all systems are checked out. This done, the rovers are redeployed to do detailed photography of the base area and its surroundings. All this data is sent back to Earth, to aid mission planners and the science and engineering support teams, and ultimately forming the basis of a virtual reality program that will allow millions of members of the public to participate in the missions as well.

174 thoughts on “Will the US waste $100+ billion on SLS, Orion and LOP-G by 2030?”

  1. if the lop g ever gets built it’s main use should be changed to refueling rockets to far off places like titan instead of it’s main use being a stop over to the moon like a tollbooth or failing that the main use could be a solar power station or to fix telescopes,it would be great to see other countries get to the moon like China or Russia or ESA from Europe

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  2. And lose all that sweet tender pork?Nope. This money will be spent until the source runs dry and/or they don’t have other choice.Which means we will probably see the boondoggle trying to compete. Which will be amusing to see in some schadenfreude-ish way.

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  3. Think that your shrine building days will be quite limited. Your stable, genius president would have to drain the swamp first, set rational space development goals and convince folks to go along with him. Are we talking about the same president?

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  4. Further spending on the SLS also represents a lost opportunity. Those resources could be used to develop nuclear and/or electric propulsion that would result in shorter transit times to Mars for example. However, it is being used instead to maintain the engineering infrastructures and facilities that support a dead-end technology, chemical rocket propulsion…and the congressmen in who’s districts those facilities reside.

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  5. Sure someone has. Mining H2O and producing LOX in situ would change the payload you can take to and return from the Moon a lot. From a paltry 15-20 tons of payload for a lunar round trip (enough for an Apollo like mission) to nearly all the rocket payload minus the methane required as fuel for the return. And LOX can be produced from H2O or other local minerals, most likely as a sub-product of ore refining and production. There’s plenty of oxygen on the lunar rocks. In fact, once you have LOX production on the Moon, sending full tankers to the Moon for delivering and selling methane fuel for several return missions starts making a lot of sense. Until we find a source of carbon on the Moon, of course, then everything can be produced locally and the BFSs could land fully loaded and return with far more. Albeit the availability and location of those hypothetical carbon sources is still pending to be known.

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  6. Wonder if anyone’s thought about what equipment you’d need to take to the moon to make fuel out of the ice that thought to exist in those craters? Think someone needs to put some boots on the ground up there to see how available that ice really is.

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  7. Note that NASA no longer plans to launch the PPE modue of the LOP-G on SLS (because it won’t be ready in time.) It is possible that the module will be launched on the Falcon Heavy or BFR (the other obvious candidate is the Delta-IV heavy,)

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  8. Multiple launches to reach the moon? The Soviet space program continues to live on – in America! First rockets with a huge number of engines, then Korolevs moon shoot proposal. 😀

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  9. Yes. Yes we will waste this money. The point of SLS is to waste this money. This is government bureaucracy 101. The point isn’t the mission or the product the point is the continued vitality of the bureaucracy. NASA’s own rocket programs have long been case studies in Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

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  10. And lose all that sweet, tender pork? Nope. This money will be spent until the source runs dry and/or they don’t have other choice. Which means we will probably see the boondoggle trying to compete. Which will be amusing to see in some schadenfreude-ish way.

    Reply
  11. Think that your shrine building days will be quite limited. Your stable genius president would have to drain the swamp first set rational space development goals and convince folks to go along with him. Are we talking about the same president?

    Reply
  12. Further spending on the SLS also represents a lost opportunity. Those resources could be used to develop nuclear and/or electric propulsion that would result in shorter transit times to Mars for example. However it is being used instead to maintain the engineering infrastructures and facilities that support a dead-end technology chemical rocket propulsion…and the congressmen in who’s districts those facilities reside.

    Reply
  13. Sure someone has. Mining H2O and producing LOX in situ would change the payload you can take to and return from the Moon a lot.From a paltry 15-20 tons of payload for a lunar round trip (enough for an Apollo like mission) to nearly all the rocket payload minus the methane required as fuel for the return. And LOX can be produced from H2O or other local minerals most likely as a sub-product of ore refining and production. There’s plenty of oxygen on the lunar rocks.In fact once you have LOX production on the Moon sending full tankers to the Moon for delivering and selling methane fuel for several return missions starts making a lot of sense.Until we find a source of carbon on the Moon of course then everything can be produced locally and the BFSs could land fully loaded and return with far more. Albeit the availability and location of those hypothetical carbon sources is still pending to be known.

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  14. Wonder if anyone’s thought about what equipment you’d need to take to the moon to make fuel out of the ice that thought to exist in those craters? Think someone needs to put some boots on the ground up there to see how available that ice really is.

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  15. Note that NASA no longer plans to launch the PPE modue of the LOP-G on SLS (because it won’t be ready in time.) It is possible that the module will be launched on the Falcon Heavy or BFR (the other obvious candidate is the Delta-IV heavy)

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  16. Multiple launches to reach the moon? The Soviet space program continues to live on – in America! First rockets with a huge number of engines then Korolevs moon shoot proposal. 😀

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  17. Yes. Yes we will waste this money. The point of SLS is to waste this money.This is government bureaucracy 101. The point isn’t the mission or the product the point is the continued vitality of the bureaucracy.NASA’s own rocket programs have long been case studies in Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

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  18. Indeed, and this will create a huge payload throughput capability between Earth and the Moon. Making possible to build settlements and even turn it into a popular wealthy tourist destination. Yusaku Maezawa and the #DearMoon crew are just the beginning.

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  19. Sadly if SLS does blow up then the pressure is on Congress to drop it. Sad because I don’t root for explosions and sad because this is what it would take for Congress to cancel SLS.

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  20. Once you have LOX production on the Moon, it’s easy to upgrade to hydrolox production. Same mining equipment, same condenser/liquefier. Just need to add a water splitter – which there may already be in place, depending on how you’re making the oxygen. And once you have hydrolox production, it’s easy to upgrade to methalox production. All you’re missing is a chemical reactor to convert carbon plus hydrogen to methane. At that point, instead of delivering methane to the Moon, you can deliver just the carbon. This lets you make more methalox per unit mass delivered to the Moon. Or looked at from a different angle, it increases your payload capacity some more. Out of the total mass of methalox, oxygen is 80%, so that gives the largest saving. The hydrogen is another 5%. But once you remove the need to carry oxygen, the hydrogen is now 25% of the remaining methane mass. Looked at from the other direction: methane to methalox is 5 times mass gain; carbon to methalox is 6.66 times mass gain. So 33% more methalox per raw material mass delivered from Earth.

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  21. 1. I’m old enough to remember when Obama tasked NASA with Muslim outreach 2. The eternal advocate for SLS is congress and its bipartisan 3. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Trump he has talked about SLS in dismissive terms and talked up SpaceX which is 1,000% more than the two previous administrations

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  22. That money can be used to: 1. Build a SLS rockets (with nothing to launch) 2. R&D for thousands of scientists and engineers for decades 3. PPT designs for mission architectures for tens of thousands of working groups to secure funding for aeons

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  23. Standard NASA PPT engineering. Make a mission based on what is available right now. I’m sure somebody is working themselves in to a lather about how it could all be done with TWO, yes TWO SLS launches! See? SLS has a reason to LIVE!

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  24. As a proud founder of the Lunar ISRU LOX coupled with vintage Earthling Methane to boost payload delivered to the Moon club I can say that I have looked at a good deal of the USGS data for the Moon and…. there’s no Carbon.

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  25. Never underestimate the inefficiency of a corrupt pay-to-play campaign finance system. They are fully capable of wasting this money. Why not? It’s not theirs, always fun to spend other peoples money.

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  26. I hope there are some hidden pouches with carbon that haven’t been stripped by exposure to space.Probably a crater made by a carbonaceous asteroid/comet?

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  27. Indeed and this will create a huge payload throughput capability between Earth and the Moon.Making possible to build settlements and even turn it into a popular wealthy tourist destination.Yusaku Maezawa and the #DearMoon crew are just the beginning.

    Reply
  28. Sadly if SLS does blow up then the pressure is on Congress to drop it. Sad because I don’t root for explosions and sad because this is what it would take for Congress to cancel SLS.

    Reply
  29. Once you have LOX production on the Moon it’s easy to upgrade to hydrolox production. Same mining equipment same condenser/liquefier. Just need to add a water splitter – which there may already be in place depending on how you’re making the oxygen.And once you have hydrolox production it’s easy to upgrade to methalox production. All you’re missing is a chemical reactor to convert carbon plus hydrogen to methane. At that point instead of delivering methane to the Moon you can deliver just the carbon. This lets you make more methalox per unit mass delivered to the Moon. Or looked at from a different angle it increases your payload capacity some more.Out of the total mass of methalox oxygen is 80{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} so that gives the largest saving. The hydrogen is another 5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. But once you remove the need to carry oxygen the hydrogen is now 25{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the remaining methane mass. Looked at from the other direction: methane to methalox is 5 times mass gain; carbon to methalox is 6.66 times mass gain. So 33{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} more methalox per raw material mass delivered from Earth.

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  30. 1. I’m old enough to remember when Obama tasked NASA with Muslim outreach2. The eternal advocate for SLS is congress and its bipartisan3. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Trump he has talked about SLS in dismissive terms and talked up SpaceX which is 1000{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} more than the two previous administrations

    Reply
  31. That money can be used to:1. Build a SLS rockets (with nothing to launch)2. R&D for thousands of scientists and engineers for decades3. PPT designs for mission architectures for tens of thousands of working groups to secure funding for aeons

    Reply
  32. Standard NASA PPT engineering. Make a mission based on what is available right now. I’m sure somebody is working themselves in to a lather about how it could all be done with TWO yes TWO SLS launches! See? SLS has a reason to LIVE!

    Reply
  33. As a proud founder of the Lunar ISRU LOX coupled with vintage Earthling Methane to boost payload delivered to the Moon club I can say that I have looked at a good deal of the USGS data for the Moon and….there’s no Carbon.

    Reply
  34. Never underestimate the inefficiency of a corrupt pay-to-play campaign finance system. They are fully capable of wasting this money. Why not? It’s not theirs always fun to spend other peoples money.

    Reply
  35. I really hope it only gets shamefully delayed until cancellation due to its obvious obsolescence, and if it fails, it’s only an unmanned test flight. I don’t root for explosions either, because getting joy from misfortune and tragedy is for cowards and other contemptible people. I’d rather see them success (albeit slowly and at a very high cost) than see them fail.

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  36. I hope there are some hidden pouches with carbon that haven’t been stripped by exposure to space. Probably a crater made by a carbonaceous asteroid/comet?

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  37. I really hope it only gets shamefully delayed until cancellation due to its obvious obsolescence and if it fails it’s only an unmanned test flight.I don’t root for explosions either because getting joy from misfortune and tragedy is for cowards and other contemptible people.I’d rather see them success (albeit slowly and at a very high cost) than see them fail.

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  38. It isn’t exposure to space so much as the high heat of the Moon’s formation. If you found a giant pocket of carbon you would probably want to do things with it other than shoot it out a rocket engine. Besides Methane from Earth is relatively cheap. If you super care then you can set up a space elevator to handle the LLO-Lunar surface transitions.

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  39. It isn’t exposure to space so much as the high heat of the Moon’s formation. If you found a giant pocket of carbon you would probably want to do things with it other than shoot it out a rocket engine.Besides Methane from Earth is relatively cheap. If you super care then you can set up a space elevator to handle the LLO-Lunar surface transitions.

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  40. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars. It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding, NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list: •Achieve ≥ 75% O2 recovery from CO2 •Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment •Develop better on-board medical capabilities •Develop long-duration food systems •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems, and increase EVA time by 25% •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater •Develop a system for automatic, autonomous RFID for habitat inventory •Develop long-wear clothing and laundry •Develop inventory packaging which is capable of being re-purposed with a 3D printer •Develop better material recycling capabilities •Develop the means

    Reply
  41. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars. It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding, NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list: •Achieve ≥ 75% O2 recovery from CO2 •Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment •Develop better on-board medical capabilities •Develop long-duration food systems •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems, and increase EVA time by 25% •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater •Develop a system for automatic, autonomous RFID for habitat inventory •Develop long-wear clothing and laundry •Develop inventory packaging which is capable of being re-purposed with a 3D printer •Develop better material recycling capabilities •Develop the means and methods for robo

    Reply
  42. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars. It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list: •Achieve ≥ 75{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} O2 recovery from CO2 •Achieve ≥ 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment •Develop better on-board medical capabilities •Develop long-duration food systems •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems and increase EVA time by 25{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater •Develop a system for automatic autonomous RFID for

    Reply
  43. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars.It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list:•Achieve ≥ 75{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} O2 recovery from CO2•Achieve ≥ 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery•Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months•Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return•Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water•Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment•Develop better on-board medical capabilities•Develop long-duration food systems•Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range•Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems and increase EVA time by 25{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}•Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying•Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials•Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher•Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask•Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater•Develop a system for automatic autonomous RFID for habitat inventor

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  44. Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery” Currently, the ISS can only recover 70%. Getting to 85% and above while decreasing the form factor amongst other things (as is the next stated goal from NASA). And that’s using a distillation assembly for urine and a series of processing beds/reactors/resins for other wastewater. 98% is going to be tough.

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  45. To be fair, BFR also needs multiple launches to land stuff on the Moon (let alone Mars), since it needs to be refueled in orbit. Without refueling, the payload is much smaller.

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  46. Achieve ≥ 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery””Currently”””” the ISS can only recover 70{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. Getting to 85{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} and above while decreasing the form factor amongst other things (as is the next stated goal from NASA). And that’s using a distillation assembly for urine and a series of processing beds/reactors/resins for other wastewater. 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} is going to be tough.”””””””

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  47. To be fair BFR also needs multiple launches to land stuff on the Moon (let alone Mars) since it needs to be refueled in orbit. Without refueling the payload is much smaller.

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  48. Dunno, Goats… The undertone of most of the comments, and especially the above article/write-up itself is simple enough: the United States will be wasting money by funneling hundreds of billions into the SLS and [i][i][i][i]NASA[/i][/i][/i][/i]’s “conventional” space programs, as opposed to funneling more or less money to Elon Musk’s BFR vision. I sit here and think, “Is that really the case?” I mean, in the broader scope? I’m not so sure. Lets be clear: the idea (and now, the practice) of a reuseable rocket is quite good. Most of the cost of a rocket is concentrated in the rocket-engine subassembly. The “Big can of Gas” that makes ‘er go is by comparison relatively inexpensive. Millions can go into the engines. The rest is a high-tech pair of cryogenic fuel tanks and tubing. Its NOT that complicated. (It might chafe, but if it were “that complicated”, the shoestring-compared-to-NASA’s-budget investment of Musk, wouldn’t have been able to reinvent a whole new rocket system in what, 8 years or so? Likewise for Blue Origin.) Just stating that “the cost is concentrated in the motor assembly” then begs the question, “why not just ‘save the motors’ instead of the whole tin can?” The obvious: cryogenic fuels are REALLY (1) volatile, (2) explosive, (3) cold… then those are a big problem if they LEAK. A separatable rocket-motor requires “breakable fittings” on fuel lines. Weak seals leak. ‘Nuff said. At least that’s easy enough reasoning. I’m an “engineer enough” to balk at it, but it doesn’t much matter. The other side is related to the BFR. Big Falcon Rocket. Its big. Way bigger than Falcon. And it has been given all nature of amazing mission potentials: • BFR… suborbital 100 passenger intercontinental transport • BFR… Lunar runs… to set up Moon base, exploration. • BFR… will go to Mars, along with “side ships”. • BFR… as a supertanker of fuel from ground-to-space • BFR… to haul lots of satellites into LEO Yet, it hasn’t been built. Its only a

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  49. Dunno Goats…The undertone of most of the comments and especially the above article/write-up itself is simple enough: the United States will be wasting money by funneling hundreds of billions into the SLS and [i][i][i][i]NASA[/i][/i][/i][/i]’s conventional”” space programs”” as opposed to funneling more or less money to Elon Musk’s BFR vision.I sit here and think”” “”””Is that really the case?”””” I mean”” in the broader scope?I’m not so sure.Lets be clear: the idea (and now”” the practice) of a reuseable rocket is quite good. Most of the cost of a rocket is concentrated in the rocket-engine subassembly. The “”””Big can of Gas”””” that makes ‘er go is by comparison relatively inexpensive. Millions can go into the engines. The rest is a high-tech pair of cryogenic fuel tanks and tubing. Its NOT that complicated. (It might chafe”””” but if it were “”””that complicated”””””” the shoestring-compared-to-NASA’s-budget investment of Musk wouldn’t have been able to reinvent a whole new rocket system in what”” 8 years or so? Likewise for Blue Origin.)Just stating that “”””the cost is concentrated in the motor assembly”””” then begs the question”””” “”””why not just ‘save the motors’ instead of the whole tin can?”””” The obvious: cryogenic fuels are REALLY (1) volatile”” (2) explosive”” (3) cold… then those are a big problem if they LEAK. A separatable rocket-motor requires “”””breakable fittings”””” on fuel lines. Weak seals leak. ‘Nuff said.At least that’s easy enough reasoning. I’m an “”””engineer enough”””” to balk at it”” but it doesn’t much matter. The other side is related to the BFR. Big Falcon Rocket. Its big.Way bigger than Falcon. And it has been given all nature of amazing mission potentials:• BFR… suborbital 100 passenger intercontinental transport• BFR… Lunar runs… to set up Moon base exploration.• BFR… will go to Mars”” along with “”””side ships””””.• BFR… as a supertanker of fuel from ground-to-space• BFR… to h”

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  50. Yeah. Like more than 10 launches. But only one needs to land on the Moon. Given that SpaceX will probably still have a bunch of Falcon 9 first stages by the time BFR is available, send the BFS with whatever it can carry by that time, plus a Falcon Heavy with the lander and the astronauts.

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  51. I tried to link images of the slides but apparently that’s not permissible in the comments here. The slides from Mr. Gerstenmaier’s presentation indicated that 90% H2O recovery is already being achieved. This was in a Sept. 6 Ars Technica article by Eric Berger.

    Reply
  52. Yeah. Like more than 10 launches. But only one needs to land on the Moon.Given that SpaceX will probably still have a bunch of Falcon 9 first stages by the time BFR is available send the BFS with whatever it can carry by that time plus a Falcon Heavy with the lander and the astronauts.

    Reply
  53. I tried to link images of the slides but apparently that’s not permissible in the comments here. The slides from Mr. Gerstenmaier’s presentation indicated that 90{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery is already being achieved. This was in a Sept. 6 Ars Technica article by Eric Berger.

    Reply
  54. SLS is never going to be mass produced. And the sentiment here is against SLS (and for some people also against NASA’s Moon Gateway plans), not against NASA’s other programs. By all means, let ’em have a proper budget for science and exploration. They’re good at that. But leave the rockets to those who can make them efficiently. If you’re worried about single baskets, there’s also Blue Origin, though they’re a bit behind at the moment (I’m less convinced of their budgetary efficiency, though it’s probably better than NASA’s).

    Reply
  55. SLS is never going to be mass produced. And the sentiment here is against SLS (and for some people also against NASA’s Moon Gateway plans) not against NASA’s other programs. By all means let ’em have a proper budget for science and exploration. They’re good at that. But leave the rockets to those who can make them efficiently.If you’re worried about single baskets there’s also Blue Origin though they’re a bit behind at the moment (I’m less convinced of their budgetary efficiency though it’s probably better than NASA’s).

    Reply
  56. It is but the scale is too small and bureaucracy is rampant, once companies run their own space sector we’ll see true innovation.

    Reply
  57. It is but the scale is too small and bureaucracy is rampant once companies run their own space sector we’ll see true innovation.

    Reply
  58. They should make an deal with Lockheed and SpaceX to ensure cheap and reliable products that release in acceptable launch windows. NASA should make their designs open source to encourage innovation, with competing companies fighting to get resources in the cosmos then we would usher in a technological renaissance. The company that starts mining objects in outer-space will be the first multi-trillion dollar company, we would see innovation ten times that of WW2 and Cold War innovation in years instead of decades. I do foresee these events occurring within the next couple of decades, this is way too lucrative to ignore.

    Reply
  59. They should make an deal with Lockheed and SpaceX to ensure cheap and reliable products that release in acceptable launch windows. NASA should make their designs open source to encourage innovation with competing companies fighting to get resources in the cosmos then we would usher in a technological renaissance. The company that starts mining objects in outer-space will be the first multi-trillion dollar company we would see innovation ten times that of WW2 and Cold War innovation in years instead of decades. I do foresee these events occurring within the next couple of decades this is way too lucrative to ignore.

    Reply
  60. They should make an deal with Lockheed and SpaceX to ensure cheap and reliable products that release in acceptable launch windows. NASA should make their designs open source to encourage innovation, with competing companies fighting to get resources in the cosmos then we would usher in a technological renaissance. The company that starts mining objects in outer-space will be the first multi-trillion dollar company, we would see innovation ten times that of WW2 and Cold War innovation in years instead of decades. I do foresee these events occurring within the next couple of decades, this is way too lucrative to ignore.

    Reply
  61. SLS is never going to be mass produced. And the sentiment here is against SLS (and for some people also against NASA’s Moon Gateway plans), not against NASA’s other programs. By all means, let ’em have a proper budget for science and exploration. They’re good at that. But leave the rockets to those who can make them efficiently. If you’re worried about single baskets, there’s also Blue Origin, though they’re a bit behind at the moment (I’m less convinced of their budgetary efficiency, though it’s probably better than NASA’s).

    Reply
  62. SLS is never going to be mass produced. And the sentiment here is against SLS (and for some people also against NASA’s Moon Gateway plans) not against NASA’s other programs. By all means let ’em have a proper budget for science and exploration. They’re good at that. But leave the rockets to those who can make them efficiently.If you’re worried about single baskets there’s also Blue Origin though they’re a bit behind at the moment (I’m less convinced of their budgetary efficiency though it’s probably better than NASA’s).

    Reply
  63. Yeah. Like more than 10 launches. But only one needs to land on the Moon. Given that SpaceX will probably still have a bunch of Falcon 9 first stages by the time BFR is available, send the BFS with whatever it can carry by that time, plus a Falcon Heavy with the lander and the astronauts.

    Reply
  64. Yeah. Like more than 10 launches. But only one needs to land on the Moon.Given that SpaceX will probably still have a bunch of Falcon 9 first stages by the time BFR is available send the BFS with whatever it can carry by that time plus a Falcon Heavy with the lander and the astronauts.

    Reply
  65. I tried to link images of the slides but apparently that’s not permissible in the comments here. The slides from Mr. Gerstenmaier’s presentation indicated that 90% H2O recovery is already being achieved. This was in a Sept. 6 Ars Technica article by Eric Berger.

    Reply
  66. I tried to link images of the slides but apparently that’s not permissible in the comments here. The slides from Mr. Gerstenmaier’s presentation indicated that 90{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery is already being achieved. This was in a Sept. 6 Ars Technica article by Eric Berger.

    Reply
  67. SLS is never going to be mass produced. And the sentiment here is against SLS (and for some people also against NASA’s Moon Gateway plans), not against NASA’s other programs. By all means, let ’em have a proper budget for science and exploration. They’re good at that. But leave the rockets to those who can make them efficiently.

    If you’re worried about single baskets, there’s also Blue Origin, though they’re a bit behind at the moment (I’m less convinced of their budgetary efficiency, though it’s probably better than NASA’s).

    Reply
  68. Dunno, Goats… The undertone of most of the comments, and especially the above article/write-up itself is simple enough: the United States will be wasting money by funneling hundreds of billions into the SLS and [i][i][i][i]NASA[/i][/i][/i][/i]’s “conventional” space programs, as opposed to funneling more or less money to Elon Musk’s BFR vision. I sit here and think, “Is that really the case?” I mean, in the broader scope? I’m not so sure. Lets be clear: the idea (and now, the practice) of a reuseable rocket is quite good. Most of the cost of a rocket is concentrated in the rocket-engine subassembly. The “Big can of Gas” that makes ‘er go is by comparison relatively inexpensive. Millions can go into the engines. The rest is a high-tech pair of cryogenic fuel tanks and tubing. Its NOT that complicated. (It might chafe, but if it were “that complicated”, the shoestring-compared-to-NASA’s-budget investment of Musk, wouldn’t have been able to reinvent a whole new rocket system in what, 8 years or so? Likewise for Blue Origin.) Just stating that “the cost is concentrated in the motor assembly” then begs the question, “why not just ‘save the motors’ instead of the whole tin can?” The obvious: cryogenic fuels are REALLY (1) volatile, (2) explosive, (3) cold… then those are a big problem if they LEAK. A separatable rocket-motor requires “breakable fittings” on fuel lines. Weak seals leak. ‘Nuff said. At least that’s easy enough reasoning. I’m an “engineer enough” to balk at it, but it doesn’t much matter. The other side is related to the BFR. Big Falcon Rocket. Its big. Way bigger than Falcon. And it has been given all nature of amazing mission potentials: • BFR… suborbital 100 passenger intercontinental transport • BFR… Lunar runs… to set up Moon base, exploration. • BFR… will go to Mars, along with “side ships”. • BFR… as a supertanker of fuel from ground-to-space • BFR… to haul lots of satellites into LEO Yet, it hasn’t been built. Its only a

    Reply
  69. Dunno Goats…The undertone of most of the comments and especially the above article/write-up itself is simple enough: the United States will be wasting money by funneling hundreds of billions into the SLS and [i][i][i][i]NASA[/i][/i][/i][/i]’s conventional”” space programs”” as opposed to funneling more or less money to Elon Musk’s BFR vision.I sit here and think”” “”””Is that really the case?”””” I mean”” in the broader scope?I’m not so sure.Lets be clear: the idea (and now”” the practice) of a reuseable rocket is quite good. Most of the cost of a rocket is concentrated in the rocket-engine subassembly. The “”””Big can of Gas”””” that makes ‘er go is by comparison relatively inexpensive. Millions can go into the engines. The rest is a high-tech pair of cryogenic fuel tanks and tubing. Its NOT that complicated. (It might chafe”””” but if it were “”””that complicated”””””” the shoestring-compared-to-NASA’s-budget investment of Musk wouldn’t have been able to reinvent a whole new rocket system in what”” 8 years or so? Likewise for Blue Origin.)Just stating that “”””the cost is concentrated in the motor assembly”””” then begs the question”””” “”””why not just ‘save the motors’ instead of the whole tin can?”””” The obvious: cryogenic fuels are REALLY (1) volatile”” (2) explosive”” (3) cold… then those are a big problem if they LEAK. A separatable rocket-motor requires “”””breakable fittings”””” on fuel lines. Weak seals leak. ‘Nuff said.At least that’s easy enough reasoning. I’m an “”””engineer enough”””” to balk at it”” but it doesn’t much matter. The other side is related to the BFR. Big Falcon Rocket. Its big.Way bigger than Falcon. And it has been given all nature of amazing mission potentials:• BFR… suborbital 100 passenger intercontinental transport• BFR… Lunar runs… to set up Moon base exploration.• BFR… will go to Mars”” along with “”””side ships””””.• BFR… as a supertanker of fuel from ground-to-space• BFR… to h”

    Reply
  70. Yeah. Like more than 10 launches. But only one needs to land on the Moon.

    Given that SpaceX will probably still have a bunch of Falcon 9 first stages by the time BFR is available, send the BFS with whatever it can carry by that time, plus a Falcon Heavy with the lander and the astronauts.

    Reply
  71. I tried to link images of the slides but apparently that’s not permissible in the comments here. The slides from Mr. Gerstenmaier’s presentation indicated that 90% H2O recovery is already being achieved. This was in a Sept. 6 Ars Technica article by Eric Berger.

    Reply
  72. Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery” Currently, the ISS can only recover 70%. Getting to 85% and above while decreasing the form factor amongst other things (as is the next stated goal from NASA). And that’s using a distillation assembly for urine and a series of processing beds/reactors/resins for other wastewater. 98% is going to be tough.

    Reply
  73. Achieve ≥ 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery””Currently”””” the ISS can only recover 70{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. Getting to 85{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} and above while decreasing the form factor amongst other things (as is the next stated goal from NASA). And that’s using a distillation assembly for urine and a series of processing beds/reactors/resins for other wastewater. 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} is going to be tough.”””””””

    Reply
  74. To be fair, BFR also needs multiple launches to land stuff on the Moon (let alone Mars), since it needs to be refueled in orbit. Without refueling, the payload is much smaller.

    Reply
  75. To be fair BFR also needs multiple launches to land stuff on the Moon (let alone Mars) since it needs to be refueled in orbit. Without refueling the payload is much smaller.

    Reply
  76. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars. It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding, NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list: •Achieve ≥ 75% O2 recovery from CO2 •Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment •Develop better on-board medical capabilities •Develop long-duration food systems •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems, and increase EVA time by 25% •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater •Develop a system for automatic, autonomous RFID for habitat inventory •Develop long-wear clothing and laundry •Develop inventory packaging which is capable of being re-purposed with a 3D printer •Develop better material recycling capabilities •Develop the means

    Reply
  77. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars. It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list: •Achieve ≥ 75{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} O2 recovery from CO2 •Achieve ≥ 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment •Develop better on-board medical capabilities •Develop long-duration food systems •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems and increase EVA time by 25{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater •Develop a system for automatic autonomous RFID for

    Reply
  78. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars. It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding, NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list: •Achieve ≥ 75% O2 recovery from CO2 •Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment •Develop better on-board medical capabilities •Develop long-duration food systems •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems, and increase EVA time by 25% •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater •Develop a system for automatic, autonomous RFID for habitat inventory •Develop long-wear clothing and laundry •Develop inventory packaging which is capable of being re-purposed with a 3D printer •Develop better material recycling capabilities •Develop the means and methods for robo

    Reply
  79. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars.It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list:•Achieve ≥ 75{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} O2 recovery from CO2•Achieve ≥ 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} H2O recovery•Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months•Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return•Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water•Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment•Develop better on-board medical capabilities•Develop long-duration food systems•Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range•Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems and increase EVA time by 25{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}•Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying•Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials•Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher•Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask•Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater•Develop a system for automatic autonomous RFID for habitat inventor

    Reply
  80. Dunno, Goats…

    The undertone of most of the comments, and especially the above article/write-up itself is simple enough: the United States will be wasting money by funneling hundreds of billions into the SLS and [i][i][i][i]NASA[/i][/i][/i][/i]’s “conventional” space programs, as opposed to funneling more or less money to Elon Musk’s BFR vision.

    I sit here and think, “Is that really the case?” I mean, in the broader scope?
    I’m not so sure.

    Lets be clear: the idea (and now, the practice) of a reuseable rocket is quite good. Most of the cost of a rocket is concentrated in the rocket-engine subassembly. The “Big can of Gas” that makes ‘er go is by comparison relatively inexpensive. Millions can go into the engines. The rest is a high-tech pair of cryogenic fuel tanks and tubing. Its NOT that complicated.

    (It might chafe, but if it were “that complicated”, the shoestring-compared-to-NASA’s-budget investment of Musk, wouldn’t have been able to reinvent a whole new rocket system in what, 8 years or so? Likewise for Blue Origin.)

    Just stating that “the cost is concentrated in the motor assembly” then begs the question, “why not just ‘save the motors’ instead of the whole tin can?” The obvious: cryogenic fuels are REALLY (1) volatile, (2) explosive, (3) cold… then those are a big problem if they LEAK. A separatable rocket-motor requires “breakable fittings” on fuel lines. Weak seals leak. ‘Nuff said.

    At least that’s easy enough reasoning. I’m an “engineer enough” to balk at it, but it doesn’t much matter.

    The other side is related to the BFR.
    Big Falcon Rocket.
    Its big.
    Way bigger than Falcon.

    And it has been given all nature of amazing mission potentials:

    • BFR… suborbital 100 passenger intercontinental transport
    • BFR… Lunar runs… to set up Moon base, exploration.
    • BFR… will go to Mars, along with “side ships”.
    • BFR… as a supertanker of fuel from ground-to-space
    • BFR… to haul lots of satellites into LEO

    Yet, it hasn’t been built. Its only a 2 stage design. It hasn’t been publicly funded. Even the “ship” part remains in flux design-wise. More “optics than physics” so far.

    So, how much then is SLS really a lose-lose? It may be an expendable vehicle … which maximizes on the one hand the “lost investment” of launch-mass lower stages, but in theory with mass-production, and NOT having to invest “all the extra stuff” to make a stage reusable, costs per stage can be minimized.

    Therefore, I continue to wonder whether redirecting ALL our “chickens” to lay ALL their financial “eggs” in Elon Musk’s basket is the wisest course we might follow.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  81. It isn’t exposure to space so much as the high heat of the Moon’s formation. If you found a giant pocket of carbon you would probably want to do things with it other than shoot it out a rocket engine. Besides Methane from Earth is relatively cheap. If you super care then you can set up a space elevator to handle the LLO-Lunar surface transitions.

    Reply
  82. It isn’t exposure to space so much as the high heat of the Moon’s formation. If you found a giant pocket of carbon you would probably want to do things with it other than shoot it out a rocket engine.Besides Methane from Earth is relatively cheap. If you super care then you can set up a space elevator to handle the LLO-Lunar surface transitions.

    Reply
  83. I really hope it only gets shamefully delayed until cancellation due to its obvious obsolescence, and if it fails, it’s only an unmanned test flight. I don’t root for explosions either, because getting joy from misfortune and tragedy is for cowards and other contemptible people. I’d rather see them success (albeit slowly and at a very high cost) than see them fail.

    Reply
  84. I really hope it only gets shamefully delayed until cancellation due to its obvious obsolescence and if it fails it’s only an unmanned test flight.I don’t root for explosions either because getting joy from misfortune and tragedy is for cowards and other contemptible people.I’d rather see them success (albeit slowly and at a very high cost) than see them fail.

    Reply
  85. I hope there are some hidden pouches with carbon that haven’t been stripped by exposure to space. Probably a crater made by a carbonaceous asteroid/comet?

    Reply
  86. I hope there are some hidden pouches with carbon that haven’t been stripped by exposure to space.Probably a crater made by a carbonaceous asteroid/comet?

    Reply
  87. Indeed, and this will create a huge payload throughput capability between Earth and the Moon. Making possible to build settlements and even turn it into a popular wealthy tourist destination. Yusaku Maezawa and the #DearMoon crew are just the beginning.

    Reply
  88. Indeed and this will create a huge payload throughput capability between Earth and the Moon.Making possible to build settlements and even turn it into a popular wealthy tourist destination.Yusaku Maezawa and the #DearMoon crew are just the beginning.

    Reply
  89. “Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery”

    Currently, the ISS can only recover 70%. Getting to 85% and above while decreasing the form factor amongst other things (as is the next stated goal from NASA). And that’s using a distillation assembly for urine and a series of processing beds/reactors/resins for other wastewater. 98% is going to be tough.

    Reply
  90. Sadly if SLS does blow up then the pressure is on Congress to drop it. Sad because I don’t root for explosions and sad because this is what it would take for Congress to cancel SLS.

    Reply
  91. Sadly if SLS does blow up then the pressure is on Congress to drop it. Sad because I don’t root for explosions and sad because this is what it would take for Congress to cancel SLS.

    Reply
  92. Once you have LOX production on the Moon, it’s easy to upgrade to hydrolox production. Same mining equipment, same condenser/liquefier. Just need to add a water splitter – which there may already be in place, depending on how you’re making the oxygen. And once you have hydrolox production, it’s easy to upgrade to methalox production. All you’re missing is a chemical reactor to convert carbon plus hydrogen to methane. At that point, instead of delivering methane to the Moon, you can deliver just the carbon. This lets you make more methalox per unit mass delivered to the Moon. Or looked at from a different angle, it increases your payload capacity some more. Out of the total mass of methalox, oxygen is 80%, so that gives the largest saving. The hydrogen is another 5%. But once you remove the need to carry oxygen, the hydrogen is now 25% of the remaining methane mass. Looked at from the other direction: methane to methalox is 5 times mass gain; carbon to methalox is 6.66 times mass gain. So 33% more methalox per raw material mass delivered from Earth.

    Reply
  93. Once you have LOX production on the Moon it’s easy to upgrade to hydrolox production. Same mining equipment same condenser/liquefier. Just need to add a water splitter – which there may already be in place depending on how you’re making the oxygen.And once you have hydrolox production it’s easy to upgrade to methalox production. All you’re missing is a chemical reactor to convert carbon plus hydrogen to methane. At that point instead of delivering methane to the Moon you can deliver just the carbon. This lets you make more methalox per unit mass delivered to the Moon. Or looked at from a different angle it increases your payload capacity some more.Out of the total mass of methalox oxygen is 80{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} so that gives the largest saving. The hydrogen is another 5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. But once you remove the need to carry oxygen the hydrogen is now 25{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the remaining methane mass. Looked at from the other direction: methane to methalox is 5 times mass gain; carbon to methalox is 6.66 times mass gain. So 33{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} more methalox per raw material mass delivered from Earth.

    Reply
  94. 1. I’m old enough to remember when Obama tasked NASA with Muslim outreach 2. The eternal advocate for SLS is congress and its bipartisan 3. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Trump he has talked about SLS in dismissive terms and talked up SpaceX which is 1,000% more than the two previous administrations

    Reply
  95. 1. I’m old enough to remember when Obama tasked NASA with Muslim outreach2. The eternal advocate for SLS is congress and its bipartisan3. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Trump he has talked about SLS in dismissive terms and talked up SpaceX which is 1000{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} more than the two previous administrations

    Reply
  96. That money can be used to: 1. Build a SLS rockets (with nothing to launch) 2. R&D for thousands of scientists and engineers for decades 3. PPT designs for mission architectures for tens of thousands of working groups to secure funding for aeons

    Reply
  97. That money can be used to:1. Build a SLS rockets (with nothing to launch)2. R&D for thousands of scientists and engineers for decades3. PPT designs for mission architectures for tens of thousands of working groups to secure funding for aeons

    Reply
  98. Standard NASA PPT engineering. Make a mission based on what is available right now. I’m sure somebody is working themselves in to a lather about how it could all be done with TWO, yes TWO SLS launches! See? SLS has a reason to LIVE!

    Reply
  99. Standard NASA PPT engineering. Make a mission based on what is available right now. I’m sure somebody is working themselves in to a lather about how it could all be done with TWO yes TWO SLS launches! See? SLS has a reason to LIVE!

    Reply
  100. As a proud founder of the Lunar ISRU LOX coupled with vintage Earthling Methane to boost payload delivered to the Moon club I can say that I have looked at a good deal of the USGS data for the Moon and…. there’s no Carbon.

    Reply
  101. As a proud founder of the Lunar ISRU LOX coupled with vintage Earthling Methane to boost payload delivered to the Moon club I can say that I have looked at a good deal of the USGS data for the Moon and….there’s no Carbon.

    Reply
  102. Never underestimate the inefficiency of a corrupt pay-to-play campaign finance system. They are fully capable of wasting this money. Why not? It’s not theirs, always fun to spend other peoples money.

    Reply
  103. Never underestimate the inefficiency of a corrupt pay-to-play campaign finance system. They are fully capable of wasting this money. Why not? It’s not theirs always fun to spend other peoples money.

    Reply
  104. Think that your shrine building days will be quite limited. Your stable, genius president would have to drain the swamp first, set rational space development goals and convince folks to go along with him. Are we talking about the same president?

    Reply
  105. Think that your shrine building days will be quite limited. Your stable genius president would have to drain the swamp first set rational space development goals and convince folks to go along with him. Are we talking about the same president?

    Reply
  106. Further spending on the SLS also represents a lost opportunity. Those resources could be used to develop nuclear and/or electric propulsion that would result in shorter transit times to Mars for example. However, it is being used instead to maintain the engineering infrastructures and facilities that support a dead-end technology, chemical rocket propulsion…and the congressmen in who’s districts those facilities reside.

    Reply
  107. Further spending on the SLS also represents a lost opportunity. Those resources could be used to develop nuclear and/or electric propulsion that would result in shorter transit times to Mars for example. However it is being used instead to maintain the engineering infrastructures and facilities that support a dead-end technology chemical rocket propulsion…and the congressmen in who’s districts those facilities reside.

    Reply
  108. Sure someone has. Mining H2O and producing LOX in situ would change the payload you can take to and return from the Moon a lot. From a paltry 15-20 tons of payload for a lunar round trip (enough for an Apollo like mission) to nearly all the rocket payload minus the methane required as fuel for the return. And LOX can be produced from H2O or other local minerals, most likely as a sub-product of ore refining and production. There’s plenty of oxygen on the lunar rocks. In fact, once you have LOX production on the Moon, sending full tankers to the Moon for delivering and selling methane fuel for several return missions starts making a lot of sense. Until we find a source of carbon on the Moon, of course, then everything can be produced locally and the BFSs could land fully loaded and return with far more. Albeit the availability and location of those hypothetical carbon sources is still pending to be known.

    Reply
  109. Sure someone has. Mining H2O and producing LOX in situ would change the payload you can take to and return from the Moon a lot.From a paltry 15-20 tons of payload for a lunar round trip (enough for an Apollo like mission) to nearly all the rocket payload minus the methane required as fuel for the return. And LOX can be produced from H2O or other local minerals most likely as a sub-product of ore refining and production. There’s plenty of oxygen on the lunar rocks.In fact once you have LOX production on the Moon sending full tankers to the Moon for delivering and selling methane fuel for several return missions starts making a lot of sense.Until we find a source of carbon on the Moon of course then everything can be produced locally and the BFSs could land fully loaded and return with far more. Albeit the availability and location of those hypothetical carbon sources is still pending to be known.

    Reply
  110. Wonder if anyone’s thought about what equipment you’d need to take to the moon to make fuel out of the ice that thought to exist in those craters? Think someone needs to put some boots on the ground up there to see how available that ice really is.

    Reply
  111. Wonder if anyone’s thought about what equipment you’d need to take to the moon to make fuel out of the ice that thought to exist in those craters? Think someone needs to put some boots on the ground up there to see how available that ice really is.

    Reply
  112. Note that NASA no longer plans to launch the PPE modue of the LOP-G on SLS (because it won’t be ready in time.) It is possible that the module will be launched on the Falcon Heavy or BFR (the other obvious candidate is the Delta-IV heavy,)

    Reply
  113. Note that NASA no longer plans to launch the PPE modue of the LOP-G on SLS (because it won’t be ready in time.) It is possible that the module will be launched on the Falcon Heavy or BFR (the other obvious candidate is the Delta-IV heavy)

    Reply
  114. Multiple launches to reach the moon? The Soviet space program continues to live on – in America! First rockets with a huge number of engines, then Korolevs moon shoot proposal. 😀

    Reply
  115. Multiple launches to reach the moon? The Soviet space program continues to live on – in America! First rockets with a huge number of engines then Korolevs moon shoot proposal. 😀

    Reply
  116. Yes. Yes we will waste this money. The point of SLS is to waste this money. This is government bureaucracy 101. The point isn’t the mission or the product the point is the continued vitality of the bureaucracy. NASA’s own rocket programs have long been case studies in Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

    Reply
  117. Yes. Yes we will waste this money. The point of SLS is to waste this money.This is government bureaucracy 101. The point isn’t the mission or the product the point is the continued vitality of the bureaucracy.NASA’s own rocket programs have long been case studies in Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

    Reply
  118. And lose all that sweet, tender pork? Nope. This money will be spent until the source runs dry and/or they don’t have other choice. Which means we will probably see the boondoggle trying to compete. Which will be amusing to see in some schadenfreude-ish way.

    Reply
  119. And lose all that sweet tender pork?Nope. This money will be spent until the source runs dry and/or they don’t have other choice.Which means we will probably see the boondoggle trying to compete. Which will be amusing to see in some schadenfreude-ish way.

    Reply
  120. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars.

    It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding, NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list:

    •Achieve ≥ 75% O2 recovery from CO2
    •Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery
    •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months
    •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return
    •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water
    •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment
    •Develop better on-board medical capabilities
    •Develop long-duration food systems
    •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range
    •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems, and increase EVA time by 25%
    •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying
    •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials
    •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher
    •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask
    •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater
    •Develop a system for automatic, autonomous RFID for habitat inventory
    •Develop long-wear clothing and laundry
    •Develop inventory packaging which is capable of being re-purposed with a 3D printer
    •Develop better material recycling capabilities
    •Develop the means and methods for robotic operations that are independent of Earth and the crew
    •Integrate common interfaces for modules and systems which currently have widespread interfaces
    •Expand the capability to manufacture replacement parts in space

    Taking all that into consideration it would make sense to build the Gateway in the mean time and use it as a platform to develop and test these technologies. NASA is directed under the 2017 Authorization Act to facilitate the development of commercial space industry. The Gateway serves as a catalyst to bring commercial space to cislunar and advance current capabilities.

    In the past we have seen NASA lose capabilities with the cancellation of Constellation and the end of the shuttle program. The Gateway allows versatility and safeguards NASA politically against this sort of loss from future administrations and also maintains and advances US expertise in spaceflight, long-duration habitation and propulsion. It may lead to a deep-space ion ship.

    Reply
  121. If $100 billion is spent to develop technologies and experience that further human space exploration then it would be incorrect to conclude that the money is wasted. NASA will apply that experience and those technologies to future space exploration on both the moon and Mars.

    It’s not guaranteed that NASA will receive enough funding to do more than a flags and footprints mission within the next 10 years. Until that level of funding, NASA needs to be wary of extensive surface base plans which are likely to be cancelled. Also before we seriously consider a surface base it would be sensible for NASA to pursue the following items on their human exploration ToDo list:

    •Achieve ≥ 75% O2 recovery from CO2
    •Achieve ≥ 98% H2O recovery
    •Increase the mean time before failure of life support systems from 6 months to 30 months
    •Develop on-board environmental analysis capability without requiring sample return
    •Develop capability to identify and quantify microbial species and organisms in the habitat’s air and water
    •Develop smaller and more efficient exercise equipment
    •Develop better on-board medical capabilities
    •Develop long-duration food systems
    •Develop EVA suits with full body mobility and an expanded sizing range
    •Increase time between maintenance cycles for EVA suit life support and contamination resistant systems, and increase EVA time by 25%
    •Develop a common generic tool kit for geological sampling and surveying
    •Design a storm shelter for solar particle events and study optimizing the location of crew quarters and on-board materials
    •Develop a water mist portable fire extinguisher
    •Develop a single cartridge fire safety mask
    •Develop a better combustion products monitor and a smoke eater
    •Develop a system for automatic, autonomous RFID for habitat inventory
    •Develop long-wear clothing and laundry
    •Develop inventory packaging which is capable of being re-purposed with a 3D printer
    •Develop better material recycling capabilities
    •Develop the means and methods for robotic operations that are independent of Earth and the crew
    •Integrate common interfaces for modules and systems which currently have widespread interfaces
    •Expand the capability to manufacture replacement parts in space

    Taking all that into consideration it would make sense to build the Gateway in the mean time and use it as a platform to develop and test these technologies. This allows NASA to be versatile. NASA is directed under the 2017 Authorization Act to advance the development of the commercial space industry. The Gateway serves as a catalyst to bring commercial space to cislunar and advance current capabilities. NASA hopes to have a deep-space ion ship.

    In the past we have seen NASA lose capabilities with the cancellation of Constellation and the end of the shuttle program. The Gateway safeguards NASA politically against this sort of loss from future administrations and also maintains and advances US expertise in spaceflight, long-duration habitation and propulsion technology.

    Reply
  122. It isn’t exposure to space so much as the high heat of the Moon’s formation. If you found a giant pocket of carbon you would probably want to do things with it other than shoot it out a rocket engine.

    Besides Methane from Earth is relatively cheap. If you super care then you can set up a space elevator to handle the LLO-Lunar surface transitions.

    Reply
  123. I really hope it only gets shamefully delayed until cancellation due to its obvious obsolescence, and if it fails, it’s only an unmanned test flight.

    I don’t root for explosions either, because getting joy from misfortune and tragedy is for cowards and other contemptible people.

    I’d rather see them success (albeit slowly and at a very high cost) than see them fail.

    Reply
  124. Indeed, and this will create a huge payload throughput capability between Earth and the Moon.

    Making possible to build settlements and even turn it into a popular wealthy tourist destination.

    Yusaku Maezawa and the #DearMoon crew are just the beginning.

    Reply
  125. Once you have LOX production on the Moon, it’s easy to upgrade to hydrolox production. Same mining equipment, same condenser/liquefier. Just need to add a water splitter – which there may already be in place, depending on how you’re making the oxygen.

    And once you have hydrolox production, it’s easy to upgrade to methalox production. All you’re missing is a chemical reactor to convert carbon plus hydrogen to methane. At that point, instead of delivering methane to the Moon, you can deliver just the carbon. This lets you make more methalox per unit mass delivered to the Moon. Or looked at from a different angle, it increases your payload capacity some more.

    Out of the total mass of methalox, oxygen is 80%, so that gives the largest saving. The hydrogen is another 5%. But once you remove the need to carry oxygen, the hydrogen is now 25% of the remaining methane mass. Looked at from the other direction: methane to methalox is 5 times mass gain; carbon to methalox is 6.66 times mass gain. So 33% more methalox per raw material mass delivered from Earth.

    Reply
  126. 1. I’m old enough to remember when Obama tasked NASA with Muslim outreach
    2. The eternal advocate for SLS is congress and its bipartisan
    3. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Trump he has talked about SLS in dismissive terms and talked up SpaceX which is 1,000% more than the two previous administrations

    Reply
  127. That money can be used to:

    1. Build a SLS rockets (with nothing to launch)
    2. R&D for thousands of scientists and engineers for decades
    3. PPT designs for mission architectures for tens of thousands of working groups to secure funding for aeons

    Reply
  128. Standard NASA PPT engineering. Make a mission based on what is available right now. I’m sure somebody is working themselves in to a lather about how it could all be done with TWO, yes TWO SLS launches! See? SLS has a reason to LIVE!

    Reply
  129. As a proud founder of the Lunar ISRU LOX coupled with vintage Earthling Methane to boost payload delivered to the Moon club I can say that I have looked at a good deal of the USGS data for the Moon and….

    there’s no Carbon.

    Reply
  130. Never underestimate the inefficiency of a corrupt pay-to-play campaign finance system. They are fully capable of wasting this money. Why not? It’s not theirs, always fun to spend other peoples money.

    Reply
  131. Think that your shrine building days will be quite limited. Your stable, genius president would have to drain the swamp first, set rational space development goals and convince folks to go along with him. Are we talking about the same president?

    Reply
  132. Further spending on the SLS also represents a lost opportunity. Those resources could be used to develop nuclear and/or electric propulsion that would result in shorter transit times to Mars for example. However, it is being used instead to maintain the engineering infrastructures and facilities that support a dead-end technology, chemical rocket propulsion…and the congressmen in who’s districts those facilities reside.

    Reply
  133. Sure someone has. Mining H2O and producing LOX in situ would change the payload you can take to and return from the Moon a lot.

    From a paltry 15-20 tons of payload for a lunar round trip (enough for an Apollo like mission) to nearly all the rocket payload minus the methane required as fuel for the return.

    And LOX can be produced from H2O or other local minerals, most likely as a sub-product of ore refining and production. There’s plenty of oxygen on the lunar rocks.

    In fact, once you have LOX production on the Moon, sending full tankers to the Moon for delivering and selling methane fuel for several return missions starts making a lot of sense.

    Until we find a source of carbon on the Moon, of course, then everything can be produced locally and the BFSs could land fully loaded and return with far more. Albeit the availability and location of those hypothetical carbon sources is still pending to be known.

    Reply
  134. Wonder if anyone’s thought about what equipment you’d need to take to the moon to make fuel out of the ice that thought to exist in those craters? Think someone needs to put some boots on the ground up there to see how available that ice really is.

    Reply
  135. Note that NASA no longer plans to launch the PPE modue of the LOP-G on SLS (because it won’t be ready in time.) It is possible that the module will be launched on the Falcon Heavy or BFR (the other obvious candidate is the Delta-IV heavy,)

    Reply
  136. Yes. Yes we will waste this money. The point of SLS is to waste this money.

    This is government bureaucracy 101. The point isn’t the mission or the product the point is the continued vitality of the bureaucracy.

    NASA’s own rocket programs have long been case studies in Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

    Reply
  137. And lose all that sweet, tender pork?

    Nope. This money will be spent until the source runs dry and/or they don’t have other choice.

    Which means we will probably see the boondoggle trying to compete. Which will be amusing to see in some schadenfreude-ish way.

    Reply

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