Friday, March 12, 2010

ISS thru 2028 and NewSpace Laws

Well, I'm glad to see people actually thinking about life even after 2020. I think the international partners of the ISS are starting to make their feelings known. I don't think they sunk loads of money and staked a good portion of their national worth on a project that was going to fall into the ocean just a few years after completion.

There is still so much we can learn using the ISS at full capacity, including how to replace old and broken systems with new, updated ones. Talk about "This Old House" meets "Star Wars". lol. It will be very beneficial to learn how to replace entire modules, parts, solar panels, etc. while on orbit. And of course we can throw up Bigelow attachments, maybe a sister station floating around, and learn how to go from station to station maybe? The things we can learn are numerous, not just about all the science that can go on board, but also station operations and upkeep in general. :)

Oh, am I thankful for some common sense legislation to protect NewSpace. Space travel is dangerous and risky, wear a fraggin' helmet! As it was so eloquently put, and in my opinion so awesomely said by a friend:

Here's the short form:

Please check all boxes below to signify that you both understand and agree with them:

[ ] 1) I might die

[ ] 2) Even if I die, this will be totally awesome!

Signed: ____________________________


Marcel F. Williams said...

I pretty much hate the ISS program. Why?

1. I don't understand the logic of having just one titanic microgravity space station. Multiple smaller space stations could accommodate more scientist.

2. The ISS is in the wrong orbit for American fuel depots for trips beyond LEO. That's why I would prefer that the $2 billion a year in ISS funds Americans are spending should go to a NSS fund (national space station fund)

3. It would be nice if we invested some money in finally building a rotating space station that can produce artificial gravity. Let's see if humans can really adjust to a simulated gravity environment.

4. Funding the ISS is probably going to keep us from establishing a Moon base. $2 billion a year for the ISS would have given us $20 billion over ten years. That's more than enough to fund the development of the Altair lunar lander plus lunar base modules before the end of the decade.

Douglas Mallette said...

1. That's all they could pull off using international partners to help offset the cost. A bunch of smaller stations would be harder to get to logistically, require more overall maintenance and resupply, and wouldn't be as "cost effective" to implement. I doubt we would have gotten any international help with that plan.

2. Agreed, but the fuel depot idea wasn't even in the picture when they were working ISS planning, so how can you fault them for something that wasn't considered until now. Hindsight is always 20/20, but again, with so many other nations involved, you can't just scrap the thing without including them in the debate, and they want to keep it.

3. I totally agree! I can't stand the fact that we've not built rotating habs to simulate gravity. It's stupid. Maybe Bigelow will do that for.

4. I don't think the government was ever interested in a Moon Base. Hell, Kennedy didn't even really care about space at all, he just wanted to beat the Russians. So for anyone to think we had altruistic motives for the establishment of our space program, you're fooling yourself.

They (govt.) cared more about Vietnam and blowing money there instead of continuing Apollo to the next level of Lunar Habitation. And now they favor ridiculous spending on all kinds of crap, but hardly anything (relatively speaking) on the space program now.

NewSpace will do this, because government is inept.

Marcel F. Williams said...

1a. Where ever you locate a space station, I believe that it is safer to have two space stations near each other so if something happens at one station, astronauts can take refuge at another. So the ISS should have been two small stations, IMO.

1b. The US should have had its own pair of small space station in an orbit that's cheaper for US rockets to access.

2. That's why internationalism can hurt you because it sometimes keeps you from doing what you need to do.

3. NASA should simply announce that they're going to deploy a simple rotational space station and allow vendors like Bigelow and other vendors to make their bids and present their concepts for doing this.

4. The problem is you have the Mars first people who think that we've already been to the Moon. Now its time to go to Mars. But this is what's fundamentally wrong with the manned space program. Its really a space adventure program designed for an elite few instead of being a-- space pioneering program-- designed to determine if humans can live permanently and profitably beyond the Earth.

As I've said before, NASA astronauts need to be our pioneers in order to make it a lot easier for the privateers and settlers to follow. Government funded Moon bases, Mars bases, and artificial gravity space stations would make it a lot easier for private industry to commercialize and colonize the New Frontier.

As far as Kennedy is concerned, he frequently called space 'a New Ocean that Americans must sail'. Therefore I strongly believe that Kennedy viewed the Apollo program as just the first step towards sailing that new ocean. Of course, Kennedy's Vice President, Johnson, frequently said that whoever controls the frontiers of space will control the world.

Douglas Mallette said...

1ab. I'm okay with that.

2. Money prevents you from doing what you want to do a LOT more than anything else. Internationalism is just a communication tool for the human species, one we're still developing.

3. Sounds good.

4. Agreed. It's all damn politics and limitation. Thus why I like commercial space, for now. I REALLY want all this money bullcrap to go away so that there are no restrictions other than natural resources, which we can get from asteroids really, so even that's not a solid impediment.

Lastly, I don't believe anything a politician says anymore, because you never know who's controlling their purse strings.

Anonymous said...


I remember reading that the Space Station is pretty much a fixed construction, with very few modules that could ever be swapped out. If you look at the new Hubble exhibit under construction at the NASM, you can see pretty quickly what features have to be built into the hardware to make it serviceable in space. Your in a much better position to evaluate, so I'd love to hear what really could, and could not be replaced on the ISS.

Oh, and while we are on the topic... We could have an amazing little US space station for 1/100th the cost of the ISS. Call it Atlantis. No wait. Its already called Atlantis. Rather than letting that magnificent hardware collect dust or bird droppings in a museum, pull a Skylab. Tweak the Ohms & electrical systems, remove the wings, reinstall space-lab and a nice big solar panel in the cargo bay, and launch it into a permanent orbit that private enterprise could eventually easily reach from US space ports. It would be smaller than ISS, but it would be much more roomier than Mir.

When it comes to use it and/or loose it, I'm going to check boxes 1 & 2.


Douglas Mallette said...

Anon - Some parts are fixed, but every module can be isolated, for fire safety reasons, like a submarine. So you could isolate, disconnect and shift modules, as long as you maintain the proper CG and balance on the station.

Shuttle as another station? Some thought has been given to just sticking the Shuttle on the station and leaving it attached, but that brings other issues into play.

Marcel F. Williams said...

If the space shuttle is extended then I'd like to see NASA purchase a couple of Bigelow Sundancer space stations and place them in a proper orbit. NASA could use them as future way stations to L1,L2, or the Moon. So they'll be ready when our heavy lift vehicle is ready.

They could also be used as orbital targets for American private commercial spaceflight companies to test the capability of their manned operations. Bigelow, of course, would benefit from finally having one of its space stations placed into orbit and tested with human occupants.

Since Space X won't be ready to launch a Sundancer until 2014, an extended shuttle program might be able to launch the Sundancer into orbit around 2012. Maybe NASA could invite a couple of Bigelow employees to fly on the space shuttle with them so that they could inspect their space station product.

Bigelow would also like to deploy super large space stations into orbit once the US has a heavy lift vehicle again.

Douglas Mallette said...

Marcel - I have no problem with any of that! :)