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NASA Moon Space

NASA Moon Launch May Be Delayed After 2020 261

krou writes "The Guardian is reporting that NASA is quietly revising its internal estimates of a 2018 launch for its Ares V rocket. Although publicly the date given for the launch was 2020, the internal launch date was set for 2018. The shift in dates seems to be linked to 'growing budget woes,' and 'engineers say that means the public 2020 date to send humans back to the moon is in deepening trouble.' NASA administrator Mike Griffin blamed the White House, and the previous Bush administration, saying funding for Ares V and other projects fell from $4bn through 2015 to just $500m. 'This was to be allocated to early work on the Ares V heavy-lifter, and the Altair lunar lander. With only a half-billion dollars now available, this work cannot be done.'"
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NASA Moon Launch May Be Delayed After 2020

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  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @10:35PM (#27697353) Journal
    If you ask me, We should have focused on Ares V and Orien first. We could have use EELV for human launch and later develop the Ares I.
  • FOLLOW ON (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @10:40PM (#27697389) Journal
    just thinking about this. Musk wanted to figure out a way to fund a monster rocket. My guess is that if Falcon 9 and heavy are successful, he will get his chance. The reason is that congress will probably want to kill all funding for Ares V. It is possible that Direct will get a chance, but I do not think so. The reason is that it will be the same set of ppl and companies that did Constellation. As such, I could easily see Congress saying enough is enough.
  • by j741 ( 788258 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @11:36PM (#27697785) Journal

    If it really costs 4 billion dollars to put a man on the moon, is it worth it? What resources can be economically gained from going to the moon? Is the moon made of pure Gold? If so, the shuttle's 22,700Kg cargo capacity full of pure, refined, 24 karat gold 22 would need to have a value of $1,762.12 per gram in order to make the trip economically break even. With today's gold value somewhere under $100 per gram, and the fact that the moon is not made of refined 14 karat gold, I think it will be a long time before a trip to the moon is economically viable at a cost of 4 billion dollars. ;)

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @11:59PM (#27697931)

    Rockets are so 60's.

    Its time to break out of that sandbox and fly into space like pilots instead of spam in a can. []

  • by jcnnghm ( 538570 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:11AM (#27698001)

    It is? The Chinese would need to multiply their space budget 34 times, and India would have to multiply their budget by 13 times to match ours. Even if you don't include our military space budget, which is larger than the NASA budget, we have a larger budget for space exploration than every other country on the face of the earth combined. We should stop spending, entirely, until other countries have a chance to catch up. There is no need for the American taxpayers to subsidize their substandard space programs any more than we already have.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:19AM (#27698039) Journal

    The brave men who went up in 1969 had no idea whether they would even get there let alone whether they would get home. There was no record, no experience. There were over a thousand volunteers. They went and they came back, some of them several times. I don't doubt offered a return trip they would to a man abandon all that they hold dear without hesitation to blast off for far horizons.

    A colony on the moon plus a colony on Mars plus self-sufficient habitats in Earth orbit and a pair of L5 orbits all together would cost less than TARP, the auto bailout and the Fed's increased balance sheet - and would pay better returns. If we gave a damn about the survival of the human race we'd have insured it by now.

    Americans were once better Men.

    But the good news is that the US Justice department is now a RIAA wholly owned subsidiary.

  • Re:I call baloney (Score:2, Interesting)

    by samcan ( 1349105 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:24AM (#27698073)

    But in 1969, we were in an arms race with the Soviet Union at the time, so we not only spent a gazillion dollars on nuclear missiles, we also managed to get to the Moon?

    Either we need to pay more taxes, or we need a more efficient use of our money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:47AM (#27698199)

    In the late 40's Arthur C Clark was writing stories about the British going to the moon. He thought that Britain was still enough of a superpower to be able to do it. Nowadays, we look back at his writings and say 'You've got to be dreaming. Britain is too poor to afford anything like that.'

    I venture to say that in about 40 years time we will look back to NASA's pronouncements about going back to the moon (much less going to Mars) and we'll say 'You've got to be dreaming. The US is too poor to be able to afford anything like that."

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @02:07AM (#27698613) Journal
    NASA is stuck on ARES to the point where any alternative is dismissed out of hand. Engineers are being forced to pare down the Orion capsule, removing safety features so that ARES can lift it. Progress tests have been redefined to allow ARES to pass inspection. There have been reports of persecution for disagreeing with Griffin's cronies. The Stick Must Fly.

    Some NASA engineers thought differently. They got together and dusted off some alternatives from the shuttle design days, modernized them, and came up with the Jupiter/Direct plan. They have had their designs and budgets independently (but unofficially) reviewed and verified. They can get to the moon faster, cheaper, and safer. But sorry, not NASA approved.

    It is the Cathedral and the Bazaar all over again.
  • by thelandp ( 632129 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:12AM (#27699345)

    So, we just cut the budget on this project from $4billion to $0.5billion.

    And in the meantime, we also just gave $700billion to a bunch of banks. To save them from bankruptcy that was of their own making.

    WTF !?!?!

    Give NASA some funding - like maybe a tenth of what is being spent in fixing the financial crisis? At least then we know it will be spent on achieving something great.

  • Smoke and Mirrors (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BodhiCat ( 925309 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:09AM (#27700625)
    The whole Bush administration Moon and Mars programs were just smoke and mirrors to shift funding away from the Space Station and other NASA programs, then cacel or push back the Moon and Mars missions. NASA put too many eggs in once basket with the poorly concieved Space Shuttle program and we are now paying the price with no good booster to get humans into Low Earth Orbit. I only hope the Obama administration has the imagination to keep the Space program growing in ways that are productive and that help spur the economy. What is the U.S. going to get more out of in the long run? An active space program or planting trees along a highway?
  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:17PM (#27705483)

    Falcon 9 Heavy will be the largest American-made heavy lifter in service once the rocket that's sitting on the pad at Cape Canaveral lifts off. It can boost a payload heavier than either the Space Shuttle or the Delta IV Heavy, its next closest competitors. No, it doesn't have the capacity of the Saturn V, or the projected capacity of the Ares V, but it has the advantage of being a real rocket sitting on the pad right now. Ares V is a bunch of paper, and Saturn V is history.

    Is it strictly necessary to build a rocket that can boost a payload that large? I don't think so. I believe it's not necessary to launch an entire Moon landing stack in a single shot. There have been so many successful on-orbit rendezvous between the Shuttle and the ISS that the feat is no longer remarkable. It's routine. Assembling a Moon landing stack in orbit would be similarly routine. So the fact that the Falcon 9 Heavy can only handle one quarter of the mass of the Saturn V is no real detriment, and the fact that it will only cost $94 million per launch, available essentially now, is a great big plus.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming