The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.
The fundamental problem with NASA is congress. They give NASA lofty goals but only give them a fraction of the funding necessary. Everything is therefore done in half measures such that little is ever accomplished. They build a shuttle to construct and maintain an infrastructure in LEO to use as a staging point for manned missions into the solar system but they only fund the shuttle and not the infrastructure. They build the SLS to take humans beyond Earth's orbit but they designate or fund any missions that would utilize the SLS.
Congress appreciates the goals of NASA but cares more about having a rocket factory built in their state than they care about NASA actually accomplishing anything.
>>614304 No there are missions planned. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System#SLS_program_mission_schedule Asteroid capture is going to be the shit. It would be great if we could do this all sooner, like you said their budget is shit, the center I was at is on a hiring freeze.
>>614327 Large amounts of money have gone into the SLS. Very little has gone into developing the missions that will actually utilize the SLS and I doubt that will change.
The SLS is sadly a rocket to nowhere. The only thing that will change that is a significant increase in support for manned space missions among the general American population. As it stands, Congress doesn't give a rat's ass about what NASA accomplishes. They just use it as an excuse for feeding their respective state's pork.
>no means to protect from radiation outside Van Allen belts >launch vehicles actually the reason for holes in ozone layer (biggest, dirtiest secret in science) >shittons of satellite and satellite garbage littering outer atmosphere
Congress knows what it's doing. We are stuck on our planet forever. Best to make the most of it and start purging the lesser races and faiths.
>>614585 >launch vehicles actually the reason for holes in ozone layer (biggest, dirtiest secret in science) >shittons of satellite and satellite garbage littering outer atmosphere This is the stupidest post I've read all day.
>>614612 You are citing the most minor shit as reasons to accept all but extinction. Humans can make it to other planets without lethal doses of radiation, rocketry is not a relatively significant contributor to the depletion of the ozone let alone enough to warrant ending the space program, and orbital debris is very manageable so long as no one views up satellites.
>>614836 No? Shit has been flying through the atmosphere long before humans were. Meteroids displace atmosphere on their entry. Just because you displaced some gas doesn't mean its gone. The gas diffusion laws state that molecules will move from areas of high concentrations to areas of lower concentrations, therefore if there were an area that lacked ozone created by an object moving through it ozone would diffuse to this area and replace the displaced ozone. This contrasts with ozone eating chemicals because they neutralize the ozone and occupy the space ozone should occupy disallowing diffusion.
tl;dr No, he's just trolling, except about the space junk.
>>614826 Except it's not. Anything bad enough to completely wipe out life on earth is sure as shit going to fuck up the moon as well, and the moon is far more hostile than the earth.
If you're going to put some kind of colony orbiting the earth, you might as well throw one in a Lagrange point. It'll have all the vulnerability of a moon colony, but at least it won't be sitting in a gravity well like a moon colony would.
>>615006 It doesn't have to be all or nothing. It's inarguable that a self sufficient foothold in space would be beneficial to humanity should a global catastrophe befall Earth. Any amount of redundancy is beneficial.
Congress has given NASA all the money they have asked for. The problem is with NASA itself.
Namely, in the 1970s they committed to the shuttle in the hope that it would somehow evolve into an SSTO when the tech for that simply wasn't there. The shuttle proved to be too complicated and too large to be used for anything other than orbital missions as well. Meanwhile, as spacex and boeing have showed, traditional rockets could do the same job at a lower cost. The Constellation project aimed to get everything back on track but was mired in delays and not feasible. Hence the reset with Orion and the SLS.
However, this left a five year gap between programs meanwhile the burgeoning satellite market found a niche in Russian rockets for the time being. However, Congress has given NASA all the money they want (for the SLS, Orion, private spaceflight development, even an orbital fuel station).
Money isn't a problem. It's a previous lack of vision and red tape. NASA is only just starting to unfuck itself by using more traditional launch systems. Fortunately when they do get running at full speed, the X-37 built for the USAF has beta tested a lot of tech that NASA will utilize.
>They build the SLS to take humans beyond Earth's orbit but they designate or fund any missions that would utilize the SLS.
That's because in order to fund missions, you have to have something that can be funded. The SLS needs to be built first for the wheels of bureaucracy to work and figure out the actual costs. Then missions around the tech can be planned, funded, and implemented.
Or in other words, NASA's problem is that instead of pushing for more moon missions they went for LEO missions like the ISS. But they also did so using a vehicle that was far more complicated then regular ones.
>>618052 NASA has plans on paper for manned missions across the solar system and has so for decades. It's the President and Congress which establishes NASA's goals. Bush Jr. said go to the Moon but NASA never got sufficient funding to go anywhere. Obama scrapped the idea because it was going nowhere and said capture an asteroid. Now we have a costly heavy rocket in development with no word on funding for the missions that would actually utilize the rocket. It's the space shuttle all over again.
The President gives NASA a lofty goal for publicity and Congress funds only the first half of it because they don't care about space as much as they care about building rocket factories in their respective states.
Maybe you are right and as soon as the SLS is complete we will see manned missions to asteroids quickly develop and then a mission to Mars or the Moon, but I won't hold my breath. More likely the missions will only get half developed due to lack of funding before a change in administration changes NASA's goals once again.
The Space Shuttle would have worked fine had Congress shelled out for vastly more extensive LEO infrastructure instead of just for part of the ISS. The shuttle was intended as a first step in an age of space exploration of unparalleled scale. The space shuttles build and maintain space stations and perhaps even help construct spacecraft en situ for the manned interplanetary missions.
Lofty goals but never the budget necessary to accomplish them. That's why everything NASA does seems incompetent. Complaining about red tape is dumb IMHO. Get rid of the rules and regulations NASA follows and you increase the failure rate. People complain about red tape all the time as if it serves no purpose, but it does. You can use it as an excuse for the failure of any organization, warranted or not.
>NASA has plans on paper for manned missions across the solar system and has so for decades.
They got outlines. Which is important, but they don't have the nuts and bolts yet. The devil's in the details and mission planning can only go so far when you're using modeled vehicles and not real world ones.
For all your complaints of funding issues, NASA has almost always gotten the money they requested. The only reason they're in the current bind they are is because Constellation did not work out even by NASA's internal metrics.
Orion and the SLS were created from it to give NASA a much sharper goal to work towards. It is just more a efficient use of resources. The result is that Orion and SLS will be doing manned missions by the mid 2020s, probably to the moon. The system can then be expanded to go to Mars. There's only a net 5-year penalty here due to the inconvenient timing of the Shuttle program ending. Overall, everything sorted itself out so I don't see what the problem is.
Also, again for all the plans NASA makes it's another thing to actually implement them. The Shuttle never got out of being just a LEO space truck, which in hindsight smaller, cheaper capsules and dedicated cargo systems would have been able to do cheaper. Thus all of NASA's plans to do expanded LEO space stations, moon missions, Mars missions etc were stymied by their existing commitment to the Shuttle.
The solution to this was Constellation, which was planned to get going just as the Shuttle program ended. However, the initial planning was totally bogged down with internal issues and technical problems such that completing it would require more money then initially expected. It was scrubbed and a more pointed program, Orion and the SLS, was implemented. Not an ideal situation, but now NASA is operating far more efficiently. Which is why Congress has had no issues funding them in 2013 and 2015.
>>618539 >They got outlines. Which is important, but they don't have the nuts and bolts yet. Yes, because that takes funding.
The reason NASA doesn't ask for the absurd amounts of money necessary to accomplish the goals set for them by Congress and the President is because discussion goes on behind the scenes to work out just how much funding they can realistically expect. The amount is never what they truly need.
I'm not saying NASA is internally without fault and I will take back what I am saying if everything goes according to plan after the SLS is ready to go. But I am still adamant about the main problem with NASA is external. NASA doesn't create it's own goals, Congress and the President do. NASA doesn't control their own funding, Congress does. The President typically just cares about making it seem like he wants NASA to achieve lofty goals and Congress cares more about the pork they can fit into bills than what NASA actually accomplishes.
The solution is to inspire more support for the exploration, exploitation, and eventual colonization of space among the public such politicians stand to benefit from supporting NASA, not complaining about some nebulous red tape.
>>618550 In the shuttle's defense, the goal was to increase rocket and spacecraft reusability instead of just using one time use hardware that is only cheaper in the short term. The technology developed for the shuttle and the reusable solid rocket boosters is what made SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket possible.
Of course NASA has bureaucracy issues, that's my point. But funding isn't really an issue. What is problematic is when Boeing won't let NASA use anything other than Shuttles since they want use it to beta test things (like aerodynamics to make a commercial SST. Boeing was salty after Rockwell got the B-1 contract in '74 and the response was the Orbiter in '81). The Shuttle itself stayed in place since it utilized components from Rockwell, Lockheed, and Boeing and none of them wanted to disrupt it.
That being said, NASA always got money for it. Constellation, which would have serviced all three companies as well, didn't form because it couldn't meet deadlines since it was four different vehicles in one program.
True, there's overall still a net gain. The problem is that, in hindsight, traditional rockets would have done it's job better and at lower cost. We could have things on par with the Falcon 9 in the 80s if it weren't for the Shuttle.
It's a missed opportunity for NASA. Though, much of the tech that went into the Shuttle was used in Boeing's 787 (specifically research into aerodynamics and composites) and the V-22 (the B-1 and B-2s as well, because Boeing obviously has no issues licensing their tech to their best friends).
>>618623 The shuttle was the best option. It doesn't require advanced control systems like the Falcon 9 does. It can simply glide after reentering the atmosphere. It was the ideal first step in spacecraft and rocket reusability.
You've seen The Martian, right? NASA has an image to maintain. Spending an extra decade blowing up rockets on launch pads by skipping that first step and going straight to rockets that can control their own landing would have killed NASA.
>>618614 As I said, NASA gets all the money it asks for because it only asks for what it thinks it can get. When it turns out they can't get the money they absolutely need, like with the Constellation program, they just scrap what they are working on. Congress implies NASA's mismanagement is the fault and NASA bites the bullet because they can't bite the hand that feeds.
I predict Orion will be scrapped, because of "cost overruns". It will only work out if public support is such that Congressman think they spend the needed money without catching flak from competitors during elections for "wasting" money on NASA.
>>618681 >It will only work out if public support is such that Congressman think they spend the needed money without catching flak from competitors during elections for "wasting" money on NASA. >implying congressmen ever need to worry about reelection
>There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.
>The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
>>619130 More defeatist than anything else. Even without gerrymandering, congressional reelection rates are so high that their seats are generally safe unless it happens to be a swing year and they're in a district that's very split.
Congressmen being held accountable for their voting history is so absurdly rare that it's pretty safe to assume that they aren't afraid of losing their seats over a single bad vote.
I'm not saying that Congressmen aren't necessarily working for their constituents, but there's plenty of districts where a Congressman could go on a campaign to reanimate hitler and start gassing all the nonwhites without fear of losing their seat because of either gerrymandering or voter apathy.
>>614227 When I was a very young child, my mother sat me upon the couch to watch the Challenger lift off, live on television. She busied herself in the kitchen while I sat and watched the Challenger lift off from the launching pad, veer off course at an ominous angle and then suddenly explode in the sky, near enough the ground to be seen by cameras and the naked eye. I was almost four years old and this is my oldest memory. It is also the first indication I received that some things in this world can go very, very wrong.
So, I grew older. I learned about the Soviet Union and the Cold War and Nuclear Weapons accidentally. I was one of the very last cold war kids and the spectre of destruction was recognized but inscrutable. Something too big and too abstract but terrifying and real all the same.
And then the wall came down. I remember watching that on the TV as well. I still remember how relieved my teacher was when next I saw her. It was like a load had been lifted from everyone's shoulders. I entered adolescence and then came of age in the nineties: The golden decade. I watched the repairing of relations between America and Yeltsin's Russia while I watched the first flowerings of the internet and the information age with wide-eyed wonder. It was like a whole new world opening up within our own in a span that could be measured over the end of a chilldhood and it was glorious. But still, tragedy creeped in around the edges. There was disturbing imagery trickling in from the Balkans... a picture of bodies wrapped in sheet plastic or of a young mother who had hung herself, despite her two young children holding her legs as they cry; wondering why mommy won't move or call out to them.
So, I became a man and I joined the army as an airborne infantryman... in August of 2001. I watched the dawn of the age of terror as I watched the nation wake up from the American dream. Vladimir Putin siezed a country that he would never let go of. (cont.)
>>620129 and we got to watch journalists beheaded on television shortly before we got to watch a Hurricane virtually destroy an American city. Watching a pack of feral dogs tear apart a water-logged corpse tends to give one a fine appreciation of tragedy. So add all of this up and then muster out a year after the financial crisis and three tours in small, ugly wars. Work your ass off for peanuts to keep a roof over your head and your car on the road because Southern California is a shithole with a depressed job market to this day.
And then one night while I lie in bed, I think back to the challenger exploding and everything that came after it and I realize just how fucking tired I am and how old I feel I'm only thirty-three and born just in time to take everything that the world had to give me right to the face.
And it all starts with a space shuttle that never should have been flown atomizing its crew and searing itself into the national consciousness. That is where my story starts. That is my history.
>>620093 Sounds irrationally pessimistic to me. Just because Congressman are more secure than the presidency doesn't mean they aren't at all responsive to the will of the people. Furthermore, the House was designed to be the more responsive part of Congress and it is.
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