I am no fan of Tricky Dick, but his decision on funding a penny-wise-
pound-foolish compromised design for future space transportation
has to be put into political perspective -- I don't think it was simply a
swipe at JFK's legacy.  Apollo was, after all, planned with the idea
in mind that it could be junked if public enthusiasm waned -- this was
one of JFK's requirements, in fact.  (See Logsdon, _The Decision to
Go to the Moon_)  That Nixon junked it when public enthusiasm
*did* wane probably only made Nixon grateful that he'd been
bequeathed such an easily-scaled-back program.  But you
can hardly call that Nixon's fault, under the circumstances.

At its peak, Apollo was consuming around 5% of Federal spending
-- and that's of the total budget, not of discretionary spending.

Nixon himself, if you take his public announcement of the
Shuttle program


at face value, bought NASA's party line that the Shuttle
would reduce launch costs dramatically, and in some ways
what he said in the speech is more visionary than any
space program justification we ever heard from Kennedy.
Kennedy said "we're doing this because it's hard," with
the understanding that the U.S. voter didn't like seeing
their country upstaged by the Soviet Union.  He was
cheerleader-in-chief for a grudge match, to a great
extent.  Once the race was won, and over, however,
votes won in that style wouldn't count for much.  And
JFK knew it.  Nothing depreciates faster than political

1971 had already brought the Oil Shocks and what amounted
to a sudden external tax on the U.S. economy by OPEC.
Nixon had enacted wage and price controls, previously
unthinkable for a Republican except during a major war,
because inflation was becoming a serious problem.

But in a way, there was a major war -- and the costs of
the Vietnam War were being seen as no longer worth
the candle, yet no so easy to scale back.  Against this
backdrop of economic crisis, it's hardly surprising that
Nixon asked NASA to come back with cheaper proposals.

It's now pretty well documented, I think, that NASA, just
to survive, simply lied about how economical the
Shuttle would be, especially with a compromised
design.  Well, government agencies do that, don't
they?  It certainly doesn't make for good engineering
decisions.  But money on that scale, for such uncertain
goals, has to come out of a political process somehow.
So in some sense, it was inevitable in the immediate

Now, I'm sure I've pissed off Republicans who
still like Nixon, Democrats who still like JFK,
Shuttle diehards, and maybe even those who are
nostalgic for Apollo.  But as I mentioned in the
context of dreams of some phoenix-like reincarnation
of Saturn V, but with reusability thrown in -- if
you want to get some traction, it helps to have your
feet on the ground.  Take off your shoes, and stick
your feet down into the mud of an unpleasant
reality: in a democracy, the people get the national
space programs they deserve.  Being in the tiny
minority who can see how it all might be done
better doesn't entitle you to a better space program,
any more than being right about anything else entitles
you to anything.  There's nothing in the Bible (AFAIK)
about what must have been the hundreds of hours
David put in on honing his slingshot skills.  Get your
facts down stone-cold, *and* your political instincts
similarly honed, and life might just offer you a shot at
making a real difference.  Otherwise, you're just
another voter, out of the loop.

-michael turner

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gary McMurtry" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2003 3:30 PM
Subject: Re: SPACE: Loss of the Saturn V

> Robert, Joe, et al.,
> We've been down this road before.  Even if the folklore (?) about the
> blueprints being stored in a trailer that burned is true, there is at
> one Saturn V left--on display at Johnson Space Center in Houston, possibly
> yet another in Huntley, Alabama--that could be reverse-engineered.  They
> were marvelous, flawless craft.  That we have to go through so many
> contortions now to justify a probe to Europa is ample testimony that the
> technology they represented is sorely missed.  Blame Nixon--he's the one
> that cancelled Apollo in favor of the Shuttle, on the dubious claim that
> they would make great launch vehicles for spy satellites, etc.  Maybe they
> have, but I don't think so.  Recall that Apollo was a JFK project, and
> Nixon was not one of his biggest fans.  We all suffer now for the
> short-sighted views of a single, powerful man.
> Gary
>    At 10:58 PM 9/5/2003 -0600, you wrote:
> >Robert,
> >
> >The biggest problem is that even if you had the blueprints it still
> >wouldn't work right.  The techniques used in manufacturing the Saturn
> >are forever lost.  We have newer (and supposedly better) ways of
> >building things.  A lot of things have just changed too much.
> >
> >Now with that said, if the Rocketdyne people kept anything about how the
> >engines were built, then we could design a HLLV (heavy lift launch
> >vehicle) that could lift significantly more than the Saturn did.  We now
> >have lightweight and strong composites.  Even if the craft were not
> >reusable, at $250 Million a launch the craft would be cheap.
> >
> >Joe L.
> >
> >On Fri, 2003-09-05 at 16:55, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> > > The recent release of the CAIB report has caused both
> > > hearings in Congress as well as lots of speculations,
> > > e.g.:
> > >
> > >
> >
> > >
> > > Obviously if we had inexpensive heavy lift capacity today, the
> > > entire debate about what to send to Europa (or Pluto) and when
> > > to send it would be very very different.
> > >
> > > The most interesting comment I found in the above URL:
> > >
> > > "When NASA killed Saturn, they killed more than the vehicle. Rocketyne
> > > engineers did an analysis, and the engines on the Saturn 5 were so
> > > overengineered that they could have been re-used 13 times each without
> > > overhaul before being refurbished! The Saturn 5 system, if built today
> > > with modern technology and some basic return features could be built
> > > about 100 million each after initial investment! That's 100 TONS of
> > > that could be made reusable (imagine putting a giant deoployable
> > > on the beast) and could lift payloads as wide as 30 ft across. Two of
> > > these launches could have put the entire ISS as it currently is
> > > in orbit!"
> > >
> > > Does anyone know if this claim is valid and what the source might be?
> > >
> > > I have heard that the Saturn 5 blueprints were destroyed -- does
> > > know if this claim is valid or an urban legend?
> > >
> > > If these claims are true, does anyone know who is most directly
> > > responsible for the termination of the knowledge of how to build
> > > a Saturn 5 -- and whether they are still alive -- because I'd
> > > certainly like to contact them and give them a piece of my mind.
> > >
> > > (A related but slightly different conversation vector is whether or
> > > not Russia still has the ability to build the Energia since it is
> > > the most recently flown rocket that might be considered to have
> > > heavy lift capacity.)
> > >
> > > Robert
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ==
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> > > Project information and list (un)subscribe info:
> >
> >==
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