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NASA Orion crew exploration vehicle (updates)


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#91 OP DocM

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 19:37

In both cases part of it is institutional, but even more it's micromanagement induced paralysis from Congress and the Administrative branch.


#92 bguy_1986

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 20:06

Something I was thinking about (and it's really a shame) is that for all of the fantastic work that NASA has done in the past and continues to do (to some degree)  in the present, and with all of the incredible science going on in partnership with all of the various Universities, Agencies, and other Government programs around the world, NASA seems incapable of managing its' own affairs in a common-sense fashion. I'm not kidding ... it's almost as if there is some kind of purposeful incentive to do things as inefficiently and wastefully as possible.

 

During my Military days it was like that as well, to some degree. Not nearly as blatant, but anyone who has served in the U.S. Military will know exactly what I'm talking about -- that mind-numbing "hurry up and wait" thing that drove each and every one of us completely batty.  :laugh: Nothing got done expeditiously.

 

It's sad, and shouldn't be like that. NASA used to be the pinnacle of what human beings could accomplish when we worked together toward common goals. Once we got our heads out of the sand and began working with other Governments (like Russia), there was no limit to what we could accomplish. I think our best days of Space Exploration are still ahead of us, but we need to clean house. NASA, as it currently exists, has to go.

WE need to clean house the next couple elections or nothing is ever going to change.  That will fix more than just problems with NASA.  It should solve a lot of other problems.



#93 Beittil

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 22:44

So that would just change the focus from democrat proc to republican proc...

#94 BetaguyGZT

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 23:01

Not sure which one is worse, to be honest. Two sides of the same coin. Both sides of the aisle are responsible for creating the current state of affairs, and they both have a responsibility to fix it if they are tasked to do so. Generally it turns out worse than before.

 

I think one of the problems is that the entrenched elements in NASA and other organizations (and this also goes for the Corporations whom rely on the large Government contracts such as ULA) are resistant to change and in many cases do everything they can to prevent it.

 

Sad, really, when there's no accountability for poor performance in a system organized like NASA is.



#95 bguy_1986

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 01:31

So that would just change the focus from democrat proc to republican proc...

Both sides are bad.  Some new members make it in and aren't so bad, but even they slowly start caring more about their wallet instead of what's right or what's more efficient.  There needs to be accountability and not a bunch of things snuck into bills just to get votes.  Not easy to change or fix it anymore I'm afraid.



#96 BetaguyGZT

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 02:17

Yep, that's why I'm of the opinion that NASA in it's current form needs to end. I know that I'm over-simplifying it, but a short-list breakdown includes:

 

- The current unmanned missions (Voyager, New Horizons, Dawn, etc) are mostly run by JPL in California.

- The US Operations to the ISS are conducted from the JSC in Texas.

- Primary launch facilities, vehicle assembly and coordination from KSC in Florida.

- Research and Development for NASA is conducted all over the United States and Canada.

- Science and Climatology Programs are worldwide, but many fall under the auspices and direction of NASA.

- Dedicated Recovery and Rehabilitation assets , much of which was left over from the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs that were never fully decommissioned or recycled.

- Administration and Training Facilities, many of which are no longer used.

 

This is probably 60% of what NASA is.

 

So, what needs to be done? What can be done? What should be done? These are the real questions, and there are no easy answers other than 'it cannot be allowed to continue like this'.



#97 OP DocM

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 22:27

Orion's heat shield post-flight.

orion_heatshield.jpg

#98 +jjkusaf

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 23:39

So, what needs to be done? What can be done? What should be done? These are the real questions, and there are no easy answers other than 'it cannot be allowed to continue like this'.

 

I think simply put...funding and a clear direction to head.  It is hard to head in a direction when the "next" administration changes what the previous one set.  It is hard to head in any direction without funding.

 

Funding...funding...funding.  Give NASA a direction and the money to create technology and they will achieve the goal (or try).  

 

Obviously not doable now but leading up to the moon landings NASA received between 2-4.5% of the budget (varied every year).  With funding the US put its first man in space in 1961 and then just 8 years later they put man on another celestial body.  Just 8 years...to me that is fascinating...going from barely getting off the ground to the moon in just 8 years.

 

Today, they only receive about .5% with a budget of $18B in 2015.  To put that into perspective....

- You could barely buy 9 B-2 bombers  

- The F-35 program has cost around $400B to date (or around $21B per year since 1996).

 

--Neither one of those can go to space and/or perform scientific research which reveals the unknown for the benefit of all humans.



#99 BetaguyGZT

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 23:49

Hmm. Not quite what they had in mind at 80%(?) of the stated reentry speed for a manned mission ...

 

Either the seawater or the reentry itself did that. It that's indeed reentry damage, they're going to have to re-think that whole Heat Shield.

 

Video of the reentry itself didn't show any of the characteristics of the Heat Shield "burning up", as it would be quite noticeable in the plume as embers or trailing sparks.

 

This is something the Orion people will have to examine (and simulate in controlled conditions) to get a better idea of what's going on.



#100 BetaguyGZT

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 23:59

@ jjkusaf: Funding is not so much the issue as it is a problem with NASA Management. I will be the first one to state that the job of NASA Administrator is not an easy task even in the best of times. Nor is the task of any of the other Administrative personnel responsible for the other aspects of NASA's operation. They serve many masters -- The President, Congress, the Military Detachment specifically assigned to NASA's activities, the myriad of Companies with whom NASA does business, the Scientific Community, even the Public to some degree.

 

What I am saying is that it has become too convoluted. Too many masters. Too many different interests at work.

 

I suppose that what I am saying, if there's anything meaningful in my long-winded, convoluted diatribe, is that NASA needs to either reinvent itself or needs to be reinvented. The NASA of old simply does not function properly anymore.



#101 OP DocM

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 23:59

In spite of initial claims that the heat shield performed well it is going to be redone. Instead of a honeycomb with 320,000 cells which have to be manually filled with AvCoat using a caulk gun style device, they're switching to tiles. Not sure what kind of tiles yet, but if I were them I'd look very hard at using a PICA variant as SpaceX has..

#102 +jjkusaf

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 00:03

@ jjkusaf: Funding is not so much the issue as it is a problem with NASA Management. I will be the first one to state that the job of NASA Administrator is not an easy task even in the best of times. Nor is the task of any of the other Administrative personnel responsible for the other aspects of NASA's operation. They serve many masters -- The President, Congress, the Military Detachment specifically assigned to NASA's activities, the myriad of Companies with whom NASA does business, the Scientific Community, even the Public to some degree.

 

What I am saying is that it has become too convoluted. Too many masters. Too many different interests at work.

 

I suppose that what I am saying, if there's anything meaningful in my long-winded, convoluted diatribe, is that NASA needs to either reinvent itself or needs to be reinvented. The NASA of old simply does not function properly anymore.

 

Betaguy.  I do not disagree with you and I believe your remarks mirror what I said (just in a different way).  Too many "masters" giving NASA an unclear or ever changing direction.  Having a small budget does not help achieve the smaller and more manageable goals and is a major hindrance on the larger goals (whatever they are now).



#103 BetaguyGZT

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 00:42

@jjkusaf: Yep, just echoing and expounding on your point. :)

 

@DocM: That's probably a good idea on their part. SpaceX has had very good results using that solution, and those tiles can be replaced allowing for vehicle reuse. If they can reuse Orion, that would be quite a welcome development, since rehabbing Orion would be far less costly than performing the same procedure on a Space Shuttle by orders of magnitude. If I recall correctly, that's the primary reason they cannot reuse capsule-type craft (like Apollo, Soyuz and so forth) -- because of reentry damage. Mitigate that and reuse becomes an option if you build it in.

 

That's why I like Dragon and Dragon V2 so much. They're built from the ground up to be reusable.