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White House Panel Considers New Paths To Space 151

Neil H. writes "The White House's Human Space Flight Plans blue-ribbon panel (the 'Augustine panel') has posted the material from their first public meeting on the future of NASA's spaceflight program, which was held on Wednesday. NASA officials presented their Ares I rocket plans and their belief that they can work around its design flaws, with projected development costs ballooning to $35 billion. The panel also heard several alternative proposals, such as adapting already-existing EELV and SpaceX rockets to carry crew to orbit; these proposals would have better safety margins than the Ares I, be ready sooner, and cost NASA less than $2 billion to complete, but are politically unattractive."
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White House Panel Considers New Paths To Space

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  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:11AM (#28410409)

    It's not NASA's fault that they lost the technology used to put the first people on the Moon. It's the fault of the government of the USA. They are the ones who set NASA's goals. They killed manned space exploration with the Space Shuttle, which was a compromise designed by committee for the purposes of putting up and bringing down spy satellites and to "build the space station."

    Nonsense. NASA wasn't some powerless orphan pushed around by bigger forces. They were the only ones who really understood what they were doing. The Apollo program worked as advertised and possibly ended later than planned (after all, once someone walks on the Moon you've satisfied all the requirements laid out at the beginning by Kennedy!). Sure they didn't have the ability to retain their cushy Apollo era budget, but Congress didn't force them to design a vehicle that only made sense with an Apollo era budget. My view is that NASA, if it had come up with a competent vehicle, could have gotten the funding approved. The "spy satellite" capability only was needed when NASA's vehicle became so big that they couldn't fund it solely with NASA funds. A smaller vehicle (for example, get rid of 90% of the payload capability of the Shuttle) wouldn't have needed military funding and hence would not have labored under military requirements. But NASA wanted the big, heavy lift vehicle. So in order to get enough funding for the Shuttle, they had to get some from the DoD.

    The key to understanding the drama surrounding the Shuttle is to realize first, that the original design of the Shuttle was too ambitious. Virtually all of the problems and difficulties (eg, the Shuttle tiles, attempting to force all commercial satellites onto the Shuttle in the early 80s, making numerous space science projects and the ISS dependent on the Shuttle) since flow from that original bad design decision.

  • by Zeussy ( 868062 ) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:00PM (#28414771) Homepage
    NASA commercialises about 150 technologies a year, they can be found here []

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