Contrary to popular bullshit propaganda, the popular U.S. rocket launches are all done by businesses, not NASA. NASA provides program management, mission design for their own payloads, and so on, but they were never in rocket-making business, ever. Both Apollo and Space Shuttle were managed by NASA, but designed and built by subcontractors. Launched too. NASA has more input into design of their science payloads, but even then it's design only, not manufacturing. That's done by subcontractors still.
The only difference between the "commercial" launches and those prior to that is the amount of NASA management involvement. From the business standpoint, nothing much has changed between the "noncommercial" and "commercial" launches.
The 'commercial' launches aren't on a cost-plus contract. Any cost overruns are eaten by the launch provider, NOT the taxpayer. Can't bring it in under budget? Too bad, partner, we have a contract and have no problem suing you to get our money back.
Awful damned easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. Where was HE when the shit was getting ready to pile up?
So does this mean that charges for copyright infringement (or other such activities) will no longer be brought against people based on IP Address evidence alone? Because this certainly gives a lot of people a lot of plausible deniability.
Secondly, how are the clients being compensated for the hotspot service they are now providing?
It almost makes me want to move to Houston and slurp down a shitpile of free wifi. I've got a few terabytes of porn I need to download...
The down mass capabilities of the Shuttle have not been replaced nor is it anticipated that it will ever be replaced within this century. That is one thing which the retirement of the Space Shuttle definitely hurt.
Per specs, Shuttle could put 25 metric tons in LEO. Falcon 9 V1 can put 13.1 metric tons in LEO. Falcon Heavy is scheduled to put 53 metric tons in LEO and expected to fly in 2015. I didn't realise that the century is ending this year.
Could someone explain what the difference is between taking a cab and carpooling when the driver expects to receive compensation for the ride?
The government's cut and rules that deter competition for established businesses.
That, and the vehicles are supposed to be safer in case of a crash. Your everyday Detrot/Osaka-made car? Not NEARLY as safe as a Checker cab. Those suckers are the tanks of the street.
But who says that it's in the public's best interest to require drivers-for-hire to have $1m insurance and a special license? Why is that? Sure, you need some insurance and an actual drivers license, but why more?
Because this is the United States, and people will sue you at the drop of a hat. Stay in business long enough, it's a mathematical certainty. Liability insurance pays off when you're sued.
Want to bet on whether or not SpaceX convinces NASA to let them transition to sending up the DragonV2 on the supply runs as part of the testing? It would give the new capsule valuable flight data, and wouldn't cost NASA another cent contract wise.
Probably already in the pipeline for when they need to start testing the capsule in space. Unmanned cargo launches to see what it does, then go for the meatshots.
Or do all programs run bugfree the day you write them?
That's what incremental tests are for. Like the legs they tested out on the latest Falcon launch.
The Shuttle was awesome. Just not from a cost or safety perspective. It had a freakin' robotic arm in the payload bay and pretty decent upmass to LEO.
The Russians own half the modules on the ISS, and they've threatened to detach them from the ISS after 2020; the ISS won't function without both the Russian and American modules. Not much good being able to fly to a non-functional station.
Given the state of our space program and space program funding, it would probably take another 15 years and hundreds of billions of dollars to build a new space station to replace the ISS -- whether it's in 2020 (the current termination date) or 2024 (the proposed extension date).
Some heavy lifting capability, the US can launch replacement modules. Hell, we can put them in an orbit that makes SENSE if we don't have to worry about the Russians being able to get to it from Baikanour.
You know, international cooperation can be a wonderful and mutually-rewarding thing.
But relying on it, or even worse: having to rely on it, for space exploration (which has strategic value) is not just not smart but kind of insane.
It's kind of like when the military was buying chips from China:, a little bit crazy, and a lot stupid.
You epitomize the kind of thinking that keeps us going to war.
Not really. Jane nailed it in one this time. Single-sourcing and then outsourcing your military hardware to a potential enemy is not a good idea. And even civilian gear can have military applications. If your potential enemy becomes a real enemy, you're VSF. Look at Russia. Indifferent to them before WW1 and afterwards, allies in WW2, then enemies during the long Cold War, followed by mutual friendship for a few years til Putin decided to annex most of Ukraine. Now we're pissed off at them again and they're pissed off at us. National positions change. Outsourcing your parts is not a good idea.
However, the real reasons that astronauts like Chris Hadfield et al think that the Russian Soyuz will be hard to replace are hard to fit into a single post.
- Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).
- Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).
- There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none. It will take a lot more than a larger tin-can and a more comfortable ride to convince astronauts to put their lives in SpaceX's hands.
OK, keep in mind orbital parameters. The ISS's orbit was specifically placed the way it was to allow the Russians to get to it with ease. It's on a steep incline that takes orbital corrections to manuver to from any other launch site than Baikanour. It passes directly over Canaveral occasionally, but the delta-v required to do a one shot insertion orbit to ISS from Canaveral is expensive. That's why the Shuttle was downrated for ISS missions in payload and duration.
Shuttle was also a hell of a lot more complicated than a Soyuz capsule. It's like comparing a Prius to a Model T. Soyuz was designed for no-frills get them to orbit. Shuttle was designed to get a shitpile of cargo to orbit along with the crew and the gear to operate independently of anything once there. Think of it more like a spacegoing Winnebago.
If some issue occurs with the Dragon, it would be nice to have a means of getting people into orbit that was independently engineered.
Thats where the other also runners come in, Orion, Dreamchaser, et al. If a NASA inspector downchecks a Dragon 2, somebody will be able to fly out. Once these all come online, we really won't need Roskosmos.
Of course you do realise that the Athabasca reserves are not American property but in fact the product of a foreign country being imported to the US, that free market capitalism at work? Why should the end result of processing foreign oil be reserved to subsidise US consumers when the source material is imported?
Of course you realise that most of the oil leases are owned by Koch Industries through various cutouts, right? It is a matter of public record, you know.