Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

"Changing To Delta IV Rocket Could Cost NASA Billions," reads the headline. The rockets would be cheaper, but Orion would be more expensive, according to an "independent assessment" done by the Aerospace Corp and released on E Street Tuesday.

Not that Orion is getting any cheaper on its own after the most recent $1.5B increase given to its builder.

Aerospace says they "focused specifically on the implications of replacing the Ares I rocket" and "failed to address a key issue raised by Columbia accident investigators: crew survivability." That's ok, we know the Air Force already looked at that.

But here's the clunker paid for by your tax dollar cash. The Aerospace Corp. "said it had not independently verified NASA's estimates for Orion cost increases or the underlying assumptions."

Now, about that headline?


Anonymous said...

Any NASA Est. should be suspect. So many people are developing data to fit conclusions. I understand all wildfires will stop in the forest, sharks will stop attacking people and cats and dogs will live together in peace if only Ares 1 is built as designed, by the people who designed it, for more money than thought, and longer than expected, with greater risk than thought...

Jon Goff said...

Jeff's idea of launching Orion unmanned, just as cargo, and then letting a commercial LEO taxi bring up the crew keeps looking better and better. Once you shed the BS about how having your earth to LEO taxi also be a lunar exploration craft makes it so much bigger and so much harder to launch on existing vehicles, maybe some sanity will return to the room.


Anonymous said...

"NASA estimates it would cost an additional $14.1 billion to $16.6 billion to finish development of the Orion crew exploration vehicle."

Since NASA estimates are historically less than final cost, assume more than $17B to finish Orion.

But even if it only costs $16.6B more to finish Orion, maybe it needs to go too. For that money the private sector could build more than one man-rated re-entry vehicle. And NASA could work on a deep space vehicle habitat instead.

Anonymous said...

Well, Did anybody actually read Sally's charts? The story here is not "overrun", but "underfund". Of course it will take more than "currently planned". That's because what is "currently planned", is about 40% less than ESAS said in the first place. Of course the slight of hand movement of another $4B in the President's FY10 budget just excacerbated the problem more. Move along, nothing to see here.

The real story is whether the nation (that is, those elected to represent it) will stand up and actually put our money where there mouth is.

Probably not. Evidently, we'd rather clunker transactions that line pockets of used car salesmen and destroy good capital at the same time rather than invest in the one area that America still has (at least for now) undisputed world leadership and which has always proven to be a worthy investment in terms of national security, technilogical prowress, and spinout prosperity.


Anonymous said...

From what is being printed about the findings of the Augustine committee, we can pretty well write off manned space flight for a generation.

Obama abandoned the Moon right up front. NASA threw Ares under the bus in order to keep their fifedoms intact. Then NASA makes claims that everything is fine, the budget is right where it should be and we are on schedule. Somewhere,somehow,the committee saw through the BS.

The cold hard truth is that we as a nation have abandoned manned space travel, except as tourists, for the forseeable future. We can safely shut down all of the centers except for JPL as they are the only ones producing useable science.

The money isn't there. The political will isn't there. The time required to pull it off isn't there. The talent got up and left there in 1985.

We have conclusively proven that fresh outs cannot duplicate a design and achieve the associated successes when they do not have the background or experience. Basing a design upon heritage, without the corporate knowledge of how and why, resulted in billions of dollars and years being wasted.

Ares has the dubious distinction of going straight from the drawing board to clunker. Modern technology has passed them by. Suppliers are bewildered by the inane set of requirements that are counterintuitive, counterproductive and contradictory, resulting in costs that stagger the imagination. It is embarrasing to have to explain such utter stupidity to the vendors.

Will somebody get the clunker form and see if this nightmare qualifies for the $4,500 rebate!