1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Nasa Announcement Today - The Death of Constellation?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by GreatOldOne, 1 Feb 2010.

  1. GreatOldOne

    GreatOldOne Wannabe Martian

    Joined:
    29 Jan 2002
    Posts:
    12,092
    Likes Received:
    112
    Charles Bolden will be outlining a new plan for NASA today. The general concensus seems to be that Ares 1, 5 & the Altair Moon Lander will get canned and money will be allocated to private enterprise launch systems like SpaceX's Falcon 9, The ISS will get extended until 2020 and a new Shuttle Derived Heavy Lift rocket will be developed.

    I've followed the Constellation project since it's inception, and have always thought that the Ares 1 was an accident waiting to happen. Ares 5 has gone through so many changes over the years it's not really a shuttle derived vehical anymore. So I'm not sad to see them go (if they do)

    The problem is what is going to happen to the grand plans for exploration? Back to the moon and then on to Mars? It looks as if NASA manned spaceflight is going to be stuck in LEO again for the foreseable future, after hitching a ride on a commercial launcher.

    As long as the plan involves some form of exploration (near earth objects, moon, mars - anywhere really) rather than visits to the world's most expensive hotel, and that the plan is sensible and sustainable, I'm all for it.

    Discuss. Especially you supermonkey as you're best placed to comment. :)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8489097.stm
     
  2. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

    Joined:
    19 Apr 2005
    Posts:
    4,768
    Likes Received:
    232
    What happened to all the grand plans? A couple of rather expensive skirmishes in Iraq and Afghanistan plus the biggest deficit in American history ;)

    I'm not sad to see Ares go - I always thought they were a step backwards after the shuttle.
     
  3. kingred

    kingred Surfacing sucks!

    Joined:
    27 Mar 2008
    Posts:
    2,462
    Likes Received:
    87
    We need to get off this rock pretty darn soon if you ask me. I for one think space exploration is our highest priority
     
  4. GreatOldOne

    GreatOldOne Wannabe Martian

    Joined:
    29 Jan 2002
    Posts:
    12,092
    Likes Received:
    112
    If they do have money in the budget for HLV, what form should it take? Jupiter like stack, or Side Mount?

    Jupiter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIRECT

    SDLV (Side Mount): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuttle-Derived_Heavy_Lift_Launch_Vehicle

    I could see the side mount being the easiest / quickest transistion, but there's no launch escape system - so it wouldn't pass the human rating requirements if they want to put a capsual (Orion) on it. But then again, the Shuttle doesn't meet that requirment either...

    So - use the SDLV as a big dumb booster to launch the exploration vehicals / architecture into orbit, and then use a Falcon 9 to launch the crew. F9 will have a launch escape system in the near future.
     
  5. C-Sniper

    C-Sniper Stop Trolling this space Ądmins!

    Joined:
    17 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    3,028
    Likes Received:
    126
    I think the Jupiter stack style HLV would probably take precedent for the current time while they develop a side mount vehicle and get it tested. I would be glad to see the Ares series of rockets go because, as everyone else has stated, it seems like a step backwards instead of forwards.
     
  6. RotoSequence

    RotoSequence Lazy Lurker

    Joined:
    6 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    4,588
    Likes Received:
    7
    Whats stopping people from applying Kaizen to the Saturn V anyway? Imagine the rocket you could build with more modern alloys, the already designed F-1A engine (lighter, more thrust, less fuel use), and other advances.

    :(
     
  7. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

    Joined:
    14 Apr 2004
    Posts:
    4,955
    Likes Received:
    202
    Well, from my knothole, the ISS Program is a good place to be. The Shuttle Program is on its way out, and the rumblings around the office this morning are that the Constellation Program is in for a rough time.

    To be honest, I don't really have any more insight than anyone else reading the news this morning. We get the occasional e-mail assuring us that senior management is doing everything it can to support all of NASA, but all of that happens at political level that is way outside my pay grade. All I know is that the NASA of today is not the NASA of 40 or 50 years ago. Rather than have a narrow scope and near unlimited funding, NASA is faced with continually decreasing public support, and a range of programs all vying for a slice of the continually decreasing pot of money.

    I suppose cuts have to be made, and compromises have to occur. I would love to see mankind return to the moon, then continue to Mars. The human species was meant to explore. Since the beginning of time we've wondered what was on the other side of the hill, what was on the other side of the country, what was on the other side of the ocean.

    In the meantime, I'll be waiting for the press conference that's set to start in 45 minutes.
     
  8. GreatOldOne

    GreatOldOne Wannabe Martian

    Joined:
    29 Jan 2002
    Posts:
    12,092
    Likes Received:
    112
    Well - Ares is dead.

    Pretty much everything rumoured to be in the Nasa budget and way forward is there. No return to the moon, Constellation cancelled, ISS extended, Commercial crew transport.
     
  9. eddie_dane

    eddie_dane Used to mod pc's now I mod houses

    Joined:
    31 Jan 2002
    Posts:
    5,547
    Likes Received:
    65
  10. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

    Joined:
    14 Apr 2004
    Posts:
    4,955
    Likes Received:
    202
    Indeed, page 3 of the budget summary pretty much spells out the cancellation of the Constellation program (last bullet on page 3).

    However, the budget does provide $3 billion over the next five years to continue R&D in heavy lift capabilities, and $3 billion for robotic precursor missions to the moon, mars, and other targets within the near solar system. The prospect of sending more robotic missions abroad is pretty exciting to me, and based on the findings they can pave the way for more efficient human exploration in the future.

    Of great interest to me are the investment in education outreach and commercial ventures. Public Affairs will get some much needed financial support to get the youth interested in science and technology, and supporting the commercial sector will free up NASA from having to concentrate as many dollars on cargo shipments to and from the ISS.
     
  11. bigkingfun

    bigkingfun Tinkering addict

    Joined:
    27 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    988
    Likes Received:
    59
    I remember reading a suggestion to strap a rocket onto a Maglev sled in a tunnel filled with helium, situated on the side of a mountain.

    The helium would help no minimize the air resistance (thats not the right term is it?) of the whole thing, until it got at the end of the tunnel / top of mountain, where the rocket would exit the tube, and go on by it self into space.

    I think it is the kind of thinking we need, before seeing any major exploration. That and a proper alliance between ESA, NASA, China and India. A giant collaboration program, with the single purpose of exploration.
     
  12. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

    Joined:
    23 Oct 2001
    Posts:
    34,712
    Likes Received:
    2,154
    While I agree in principle, we have no viable way of staying once we arrive. I think we should can all our fancy Moon and Mars missions for now. It is just spending a crazy amount of money so we can piss against a rock and leave again. We are already doing that plenty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Once a 14-year old girl was pissed off with her parents and wanted to run away. Luckily a local cop on the beat intercepted her walking down the road in a huff, dragging her small suitcase behind her. He stopped her and told her: "You don't want to run away right now". She retorted with all the irrational, selfish things her parents did that drove her insane and why shouldn't she run away? "Because you are angry", said the cop. "You want to run away when you are calm. When you have had time to think, to plan, to prepare. So that when you walk out of that door, you know that you'll never, ever have to go back".

    The girl stayed. She went to school, to college, and eventually left home with a good education and some savings in her pocket. The right way to do it.

    What we need to do is not plan to go, but plan to stay.

    I propose a two-pronged approach.

    1. Send robots. Scout immediate vincinity with probes for viable places to set up. What are the conditions there, what would we need to set up camp, what environments are available that might suit our needs and what surprises or obstacles might await us. Use this programme to also develop better AI and faster propulsion that can carry bigger payloads.

    2. Research and develop ecosphere and terraforming technology right back home on Earth. There are plenty of inhospitable places right here where we can try things out. The spin-off tech for dealing with polluted landscapes and atmospheres is useful in itself and can help to fund this R&D.

    Once we know how to, say, build a viable, long-term ecosphere on Mars we also know all there is to know about Mars' enviroment to build an ecosphere in. We will have the tech to go there fast and cheap, carry a shitload of stuff with us to set up camp and the AI to go ahead and do most of it for us so that by the time the astronauts arrive the fire is burning in the hearth, the sheets are pulled back and there is a mint on the pillow.
     
  13. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

    Joined:
    9 Sep 2005
    Posts:
    8,615
    Likes Received:
    197
    this is kinda what nasa has been doing. Problem is funding to do all the start up projects that role onto the bigger plans.
     
  14. walle

    walle Minimodder

    Joined:
    5 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    1,856
    Likes Received:
    86
    There's one thing sending out wheeled robots into space dropping them off for scout missions, those are given a one way ticket, quite another to send out humans, those will demand a return ticket, and gear. What I’m trying to say here is that we need a new propulsions system.

    Until this has been addressed we're grounded. No pan-space real estate development possible.
     
    Last edited: 1 Feb 2010
  15. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

    Joined:
    19 Apr 2005
    Posts:
    4,768
    Likes Received:
    232
    Realistically, though, how far does $6bn get NASA?
     
  16. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

    Joined:
    14 Apr 2004
    Posts:
    4,955
    Likes Received:
    202
    Based on the budget proposal announced today, NASA is thinking along similar lines. Part of the long-term plan is to fund and develop robotic missions to scout the moon, mars and its moons, and near asteroids. In addition, the ISS is already working to increase our knowledge in propulsion and meterials, but more importantly it is increasing our knowledge and experience in human factors.

    If we want to stay on the moon, eating is only half the concern; we have to figure out how to handle all the waste. Recently, the urine processing facility on the ISS went online, and this provides all kinds of opportunities for future travel, as Don Pettit eloquently stated in a recent interview:
    All of this research today will translate to longer duration stays on the moon (or mars). It also translates to better water processing technology here on Earth.
     
  17. GreatOldOne

    GreatOldOne Wannabe Martian

    Joined:
    29 Jan 2002
    Posts:
    12,092
    Likes Received:
    112
    I like the fact that they've earmarked some of the budget to develop new tech, like orbital fuel depots. This will make a huge difference to getting out and about. Launch in a smaller, lighter rocket. Get into orbit. Refuel and set out to see the local neighbourhood. :)
     
  18. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

    Joined:
    14 Apr 2004
    Posts:
    4,955
    Likes Received:
    202
    I was mulling this point over a bit more today, and it suddenly dawned me that we're already doing this one, as well. I can't believe I had forgotten about it, since one the offices was for a while on the first floor of my building.

    The NASA Extreme Environment Missions Operations program, also know as NEEMO because NASA loves acronyms, is a sort of test bed to study the effects of, and logistics required for, long duration missions in extreme environments. In fact, many of the NEEMO residents have gone on to become ISS residents.

    So I wouldn't necessarily say that NASA just wants to shoot for the moon to piss on the rocks. The Mars rovers and the NEEMO program, as well as the ISS, are accomplishing some of what you propose already. I do think you make a good point that further study of the Martian world would be beneficial.

    Oh, and you wanted robots? Ask and you shall receive. At a recent staff meeting, we were told that the ISS Program Manager has asked for a robonaut to be delivered to the ISS before the Shuttles retire. When it gets installed, I really, really want it to do the robot dance.
     
  19. xrain

    xrain Minimodder

    Joined:
    26 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    403
    Likes Received:
    21
    When I was down at JSC with the NASA Microgravity University program we went and seen the robonaut, the spidernaut?, and the constellation mock-ups amoung many other things.

    [​IMG]
    The spidernaut? I can't remember the name for it anymore... :blush:

    I'm surprised they are actually going to use the robonaut, It kinda seemed more like a proof-of-concept kinda thing.

    Sad day the constellation project was canceled, I really wanted to work on it... Oh well I guess I'll just have to wait to work on its replacement. :sigh:
     

Share This Page