Thursday, December 18, 2008

Three Questions?

Having somehow evaded jail despite being the master of the revolving door, the proprietor of Doc's Aerospace (who must also not be too busy or he wouldn't have had the time to write such drivel) asks us three questions this week in an op-ed piece for a prominent national trade newspaper. Should the Emperor continue as Emperor? Should the exploration program continue on its current path? Should the space shuttle retire in 2010? You can guess his answers and read the rest of his pablum for yourself.

You will also enjoy some new rewriting of history, as the stickly author ignores his and the Emperor's initial promises of a 2011 delivery of CEV, instead fast forwarding into a discussion of budgeting mumbo jumbo and a $4.8B (thought that used to be just $2B?) gap to maintain the other "gap" (getting to LEO after space shuttle retirement) to just four years. Perhaps a remedial course in creative writing would go a long way towards making the author more understandable in his retelling of this fairy tale.

Nevertheless, we have three questions of our own.

"Soon?"

"Simple?"

"Safe?"

2016, Thrust oscillation and flight dynamic control, and a 1 in 8 chance of making it back from the moon were not the answers that were suggested "less than three years" ago. Eh, What's up, Doc?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the driving urgency to go back to the Moon? It must really be important to think that we should continue spending money even though we have a 1/8 chance of success.

Wonder where we would be if Gene Krantz had told the boys in the back room that a 1 in 8 possibility of success on Apollo 13was okay?

Whomever is keeping this program going could sell banana trees in Alaska!

Jon Goff said...

Anonymous,
I think that was a typo, I think he meant a 1 in 8 chance of not making it back from the moon. Even that's atrocious though.

~Jon

Anonymous said...

Kranz Motto : Competent and Tough

Current Motto : Incompetent and uncontrolled.

Anonymous said...

actually i think he meant a 1:8 chance of
landing and returning safely

kT said...

I wanna see Ceres.

Are we there yet?

Ben the Space Brit said...

With reference to that 1:8 probability, I wonder what causes is. How much is due to exclusively the Orion (a different crew vehicle would be safer) and how much is due to the LV (can't lift a safer CV)?

With that issue aside, I am beginning to get just a tiny bit annoyed at this implicit assumption that Ares is the only game in town. In essence, Return to the Moon is being judged as a function of how expensive and difficult it would be with the current Constellation archetecture. Few people seem able to make the necessary leap of imagination to ask if it were worthwhile if a cheaper, safer and more quickly available archetecture were used.

Anonymous said...

The 1/8 was just my shorthand description - sorry for the confusion.

For Ben - You are correct in that there are a number of solutions to the problem. The real issue about Ares being the only game in town is that it is the only "funded" game in town. NASA funding is what puts them into the "Golden Rule" position: He who has the gold, makes the rules.

I would think that most of the contributors to this blog can readily see other possibilities for accomplishing the manned access to space mission. NASA is fixated upon their unique solution and since they are the gatekeepers to space / funding, it is their way or the highway.

What is truly incredible is the number of contractors that have signed up to build Ares, based upon NASA design, accepting whatever risk may have found its' way into the effort due to the less than stellar capabilities of the design staff.

Anonymous said...

Without thrust termination, ARES-1 requires a larger abort system than an EELV would require. That's contributing to its lousy numbers.