• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

NASA Mars Landing...US still on bleeding edge in technology

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

Paul98

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2010
3,690
133
106
What did I post which is factually incorrect and what did I actually say (not what you wish I had said) which is untrue?
I said Obama didn't gut NASA, where did you hear that?

you replied with

more like the truth.

The overall budget is much the same as 2012 but in DC a non increase is a cut. Mars exploration is cut by 40% however. The LA Times did do a decent apologist piece though. They cite a heavy booster project (similar to the Saturn V) as questionable because there isn't a planet picked for it, but anyone who knows much about our needs realizes that we've needed it for a long time.
You think that is gutting NASA?
 

techs

Lifer
Sep 26, 2000
28,567
3
0
NASA Mars Landing...US still on bleeding edge in technology

I'm confused. Is this the thread about how the government can't do anything right?
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
35,642
9,270
136
Is there something worth the development costs for SSTO? The shuttle was supposed to be "economical" and would have very quick turn around times because it was reusable and it failed horribly at both.

Not a loaded question at all, I am genuinely curious as to the advantages that a SSTO system would offer.
Being able to service stuff we put into orbit and retrieve it if desirable when the mission is complete. Payload capability to LEO comparable to shuttle and much faster turnaround. More survivable than disposable launchers.

A lot of the X-33 development was done or in process. Restarting the program which Lockeed has kept in cold storage wouldn't be all that hard.
 

DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Administrator
Mar 5, 2001
49,619
160
111
www.slatebrookfarm.com
Consider how much the shuttle fleet was costing NASA each year. Effectively, cutting that from their budget opens up a lot of additional funding for other projects. i.e. imagine your household has included 3 cars in their budget. Then, next year, you no longer have the cars and have no need to go anywhere - your travel expenses just got eliminated.

Now, to make the analogy perfect - in all the previous years, all you used the cars for was to drive in circles around the block & wave at the neighbors. Oh, and occasionally, you drove 500 times around the block, and the only thing you accomplished was dropping off a letter for one of the neighbors (something that could have otherwise been done a hell of a lot cheaper, using another service that's available.)
 

Nintendesert

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2010
7,761
5
0
Oh they reversed the canceling of the James Webb Telescope, nice to see they simply capped spending at 8billion so it's only going to be a 4x cost overrun.

NASA's problems are more related to administration and execution than budget.
 

DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Administrator
Mar 5, 2001
49,619
160
111
www.slatebrookfarm.com
Being able to service stuff we put into orbit and retrieve it if desirable when the mission is complete. Payload capability to LEO comparable to shuttle and much faster turnaround. More survivable than disposable launchers.

A lot of the X-33 development was done or in process. Restarting the program which Lockeed has kept in cold storage wouldn't be all that hard.
Service what stuff? What stuff do we have up there that servicing would be a hell of a lot cheaper than simply replacing? Over its lifetime, the space shuttle cost about $1.5 billion per flight. http://www.space.com/11358-nasa-space-shuttle-program-cost-30-years.html (And, let's not forget to factor in inflation, since we're thinking in today's dollars.) Let's say you can do it for 1/5 that cost. For the vast vast majority of things, it's still cheaper to replace. And, for many of the things worth repairing, the space shuttle's capability wasn't even remotely ready to head to them. Geosynchronous orbit is 22,236 miles in altitude. Let's round that off to 22,000 miles. Space shuttle flights were at an altitude roughly equal to that rounding error. The space shuttle was as capable of getting to those satellites as an electric car is capable of driving (the distance) completely around the Earth at the equator on a single charge.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
35,642
9,270
136
Service what stuff? What stuff do we have up there that servicing would be a hell of a lot cheaper than simply replacing? Over its lifetime, the space shuttle cost about $1.5 billion per flight. http://www.space.com/11358-nasa-space-shuttle-program-cost-30-years.html (And, let's not forget to factor in inflation, since we're thinking in today's dollars.) Let's say you can do it for 1/5 that cost. For the vast vast majority of things, it's still cheaper to replace. And, for many of the things worth repairing, the space shuttle's capability wasn't even remotely ready to head to them. Geosynchronous orbit is 22,236 miles in altitude. Let's round that off to 22,000 miles. Space shuttle flights were at an altitude roughly equal to that rounding error. The space shuttle was as capable of getting to those satellites as an electric car is capable of driving (the distance) completely around the Earth at the equator on a single charge.
Any experiments we would like to park in low orbit, optical space telescopes for example. Also being able to service and man the ISS independently. I'm not saying the shuttle program should be resurrected. I'm saying it should have been replaced long ago with a cheaper reusable alternative. A SSTO with a launch cost of 10-15% of a shuttle mission is well within our present technical capability.
 
Last edited:

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,947
2,323
126
Oh they reversed the canceling of the James Webb Telescope, nice to see they simply capped spending at 8billion so it's only going to be a 4x cost overrun.

NASA's problems are more related to administration and execution than budget.
I disagree completely. It DOES need a much larger budget and it needs a long term goal to spend that budget on. Currently it spends a ton of money on project A just to have the next president come in and say fuck that project we are going to do project B. Those, imho, are probably NASA's biggest two problems.

Granted 4X budget is a big ass miscalculation but they are kinda building shit that no one has ever built before that then has to get shot by a huge fucking rocket into space and then operate in space for hopefully a decade or longer. Just sort of a tough job, just saying.
 

techs

Lifer
Sep 26, 2000
28,567
3
0
Any experiments we would like to park in low orbit, optical space telescopes for example. Also being able to service and man the ISS independently. I'm not saying the shuttle program should be resurrected. I'm saying it should have been replaced long ago with a cheaper reusable alternative. A SSTO with a launch cost of 10-15% of a shuttle mission is well within our present technical capability.
Even the Russians get it right sometimes.

Just use existing technology to make a tried and true mulitple stage to orbit with an expendable capsule.

It could be built with existing technology very quickly and at a far lower cost than any new kind technology.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
35,642
9,270
136
Even the Russians get it right sometimes.

Just use existing technology to make a tried and true mulitple stage to orbit with an expendable capsule.

It could be built with existing technology very quickly and at a far lower cost than any new kind technology.
Since we haven't built an expendable capsule since Apollo and have no human rated launch vehicle presently available it would be more involved than you'd think.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,879
4,210
126
I said Obama didn't gut NASA, where did you hear that?

you replied with



You think that is gutting NASA?
Did I say it was? There are claims made and as an fyi I posted the facts. No, nasa isn't being gutted but i'd say that in the specific instance of mars exploration a 40% reduction is substantial, perhaps "gutting". I presented the facts as I could find them for clarity of discussion. I even backed your overall contention. The problem again?
 

Nintendesert

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2010
7,761
5
0
I disagree completely. It DOES need a much larger budget and it needs a long term goal to spend that budget on. Currently it spends a ton of money on project A just to have the next president come in and say fuck that project we are going to do project B. Those, imho, are probably NASA's biggest two problems.

Granted 4X budget is a big ass miscalculation but they are kinda building shit that no one has ever built before that then has to get shot by a huge fucking rocket into space and then operate in space for hopefully a decade or longer. Just sort of a tough job, just saying.



I don't disagree that NASA needs a better budget, but giving them more money when they are having these kinds of cost overruns is simply going to turn them into something like the military and the F22 or F35 projects.

With better management even modest increases in budget will have a much bigger impact than a poorly managed entity getting a faucet of cash.
 

-Slacker-

Golden Member
Feb 24, 2010
1,563
0
76
Service what stuff? What stuff do we have up there that servicing would be a hell of a lot cheaper than simply replacing? Over its lifetime, the space shuttle cost about $1.5 billion per flight. http://www.space.com/11358-nasa-space-shuttle-program-cost-30-years.html (And, let's not forget to factor in inflation, since we're thinking in today's dollars.) Let's say you can do it for 1/5 that cost. For the vast vast majority of things, it's still cheaper to replace. And, for many of the things worth repairing, the space shuttle's capability wasn't even remotely ready to head to them. Geosynchronous orbit is 22,236 miles in altitude. Let's round that off to 22,000 miles. Space shuttle flights were at an altitude roughly equal to that rounding error. The space shuttle was as capable of getting to those satellites as an electric car is capable of driving (the distance) completely around the Earth at the equator on a single charge.


The main advantage of a SSTO is cost per launch; Since none of the parts of the lifter are throw-away, you don't have to take into account the millions, or hundreds of millions of dollars that you'd spend on new first and second stage rockets that are dumped into the ocean during every launch.

The shuttles, on the other hand, were little more than conventional, 3 stage rockets, with their third stage differing a bit form conventional capsules in that they could carry bigger payloads along with the astronauts, and that they landed on a runway. That small difference in functionality was worth hundreds of millions extra, while a SSTO is guaranteed to cut launch costs significantly.
 

Paul98

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2010
3,690
133
106
Did I say it was? There are claims made and as an fyi I posted the facts. No, nasa isn't being gutted but i'd say that in the specific instance of mars exploration a 40% reduction is substantial, perhaps "gutting". I presented the facts as I could find them for clarity of discussion. I even backed your overall contention. The problem again?
He said that Obama gutted NASA, which I said was wrong, and wondered where he got that from. You respond with "more like the truth" maybe I just didn't understand what you were trying to say with that. Clearly you agree with what I had said. Seems like you should have responded to him showing that NASA isn't being gutted.
 

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,947
2,323
126
I don't disagree that NASA needs a better budget, but giving them more money when they are having these kinds of cost overruns is simply going to turn them into something like the military and the F22 or F35 projects.

With better management even modest increases in budget will have a much bigger impact than a poorly managed entity getting a faucet of cash.
I have no problem with new management but I have no idea whatsoever as to how a budget to build something that has never been built before works AND making that budget palatable to retarded ass politicians.

For all we know they could have known how much it was going to cost but flubbed the numbers to get it approved. Personally, I think 8 billion for the capabilities we will get is still a bargain. Especially for the US since we don't seem to be very fond of science anymore.

A perfect example is particle science, we used to be IT in particle physics but we decided we didn't like it anymore (or more specifically no more .mil applications) and now Europe is IT in particle physics. If you look at the periodic table of elements you can actually see exactly when we became the best in the world at it and exactly when we stopped being the best in the world.
 

Paul98

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2010
3,690
133
106
I don't disagree that NASA needs a better budget, but giving them more money when they are having these kinds of cost overruns is simply going to turn them into something like the military and the F22 or F35 projects.

With better management even modest increases in budget will have a much bigger impact than a poorly managed entity getting a faucet of cash.
Budgeting for something that has never been done before where everything is custom built, much never been done before, changing what we know as it goes,... it is not possible to come up with a reasonably accurate number for how much it will cost.
 

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,947
2,323
126
Since we haven't built an expendable capsule since Apollo and have no human rated launch vehicle presently available it would be more involved than you'd think.
They made it to the moon in lest than a decade and had NO previous experience in space at all. I would think that we have a slight advantage today.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,879
4,210
126
I don't disagree that NASA needs a better budget, but giving them more money when they are having these kinds of cost overruns is simply going to turn them into something like the military and the F22 or F35 projects.

With better management even modest increases in budget will have a much bigger impact than a poorly managed entity getting a faucet of cash.
Government doesn't have a good grasp of costs and thats intentional.

Hypothetical-

President X says he wants a probe to drill through the ice of Europa and look for life. In this case it isn't for aerospace votes. He means it. So the pressure is on the nasa administration to come up with the costs for such a project and a timeline. The scientists and engineers rightly say they have no idea. This represents unknown challenges and every interplanetary effort is a new one of a kind effort. The Admin says "I know that but DC wants answers so give me something plausable.

The science people know this is their chance and stuff all the goodies in and pad the estimate because they know it's going to get scaled back. So after some revisions and cuts by administrators, it's passed on to the bean counters who promptly have a stroke. Whoever is in charge in Congress has no clue, but he never really cared about the science. NASA is a party piece to show how "sciencey" the government is. So the government politicians slice the budget in half.


Now the NASA admins up their blood pressure meds as Congress tells them to make bricks without straw. They in turn say "ok guys, seriously, what do you need to make this work, and a realistic cost estimate. Really. After some thought they come up with a final proposal. They show off their final design and costs. Lets say a project on this scale will cost 10 billion. The admin swallows a few Xanax and says "this is the minimum right?" The response is "absolutely".

So the sales pitch to Congress fails. Oh yes we believe your estimates or perhaps the Congress critter has no idea, but The Pet Program of the dominant party won't allow for useless exploration. "Do it at half the cost and we'll authorize it. It's a bad day to give up heroin.

So the mandate has been given with a politically correct budget and the thing gets built for 10 billion, like everyone knew, but Congress can point at nasa for cost overruns, the scientists get their toy, and the admins and bean counters get drunk out of their minds.

And thats how things work.
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
6,533
449
126
What we really need is a global space agency... but that will never happen because govts treat space as a pissing contest.
 

DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Administrator
Mar 5, 2001
49,619
160
111
www.slatebrookfarm.com

ASK THE COMMUNITY