Joe writes:
> I do not pine for the old days of apollo - I just want the technology.
> The engines were fabulous and as pointed out could probably be reverse
> engineered.  An HLLV would be a fantastic addition to our lift
> capabilities.
>
> According to my calculations, $250 Million divided by 100 tons equals
> $1,250 per pound.  Given every other launch vehicle out there, this is
> dirt cheap.  "I'll take 450 pounds please."

As would I, in a heartbeat.  (A little short of cash this week, though ;-)

And yet, each added Apollo launch cost about $3 billion by some estimates,
but was only able to put some 40,000 kg (about 45 tons) into a lunar
intercept orbit.  OK, this isn't fair -- a lot of that $3 billion went
into payload engineering and astronaut training and various odds and
ends.  But a lot went into launch alone.  "$250 million to construct"
is not the same as "$250 million to launch."

An Atlas launch is 4,000 people on the ground, preparing for months.
Boeing's Sea Launch is 1,000 people, preparing for months (and that's
with cutting costs by sending those cheap Ukrainians back to their
home country between launches.  Their launch sequence is probably
more automated than any other in existence, or in history.)  Neither
has broken any major new ground in reducing launch costs, though
they do pretty well.

Skilled manpower is still by far and away the biggest contributor to
launch costs.  The cheapest cost to orbit I've ever noted was a
satellite launch from a Soviet sub.  About $1800 per lb, if I remember
right.  Did they charge for the entire cost of the mission?  Probably
not -- it may have just seemed like a good way to earn pocket
change on what was otherwise a routine patrol.  Missiles?  Gotta
dump 'em anyway under the current arms limitations regime.
Additional labor costs?  The CIS can barely pay its army anyway,
those guys were probably along for the ride just so they could
eat a little better than they do at home.  Not how I'd want to live.

Would you buy a car for $200 if it cost $200 per mile to run it?

> On the subject of feet on the ground, you better believe I understand
> the issues.  The LAST thing I want is another government space program.
> I want NASA in the science business and not in the launch business.
> They need to buy payload capabilities, not create them.

In an ideal world, perhaps, but the reality is that among the paying
space applications we've seen (comsats, mainly), many of them
probably wouldn't exist, or would see rapid replacement by terrestrial
or long-term upper-atmosphere solutions, were it not for the
government subsidies to various launch programs.  Governments
will very likely remain by far the biggest customers for launch
services.  Their favorite launch service, counted by number of
vehicles produced, has been a non-launch service: ICBMs.

Governments are loath to surrender to foreign control
any industry that is militarily strategic, whether it's agriculture
or rocketry. This psychology has helped to make launch services
a very distorted and unnatural market indeed.  But what other
significant market is there, at this point?

> I say this because (letting the cat out of the bag) I am working on
> cheaper access to space.  I have a rocket team that is devoted to lower
> launch costs.  I started with an X-prize vehicle but realized I came to
> the table too late and the approach that was being taken to get that
> $10M prize money cut too many corners and would not produce a design
> that can be scaled upwards to orbital. I know personally the blood,
> sweat and heartache it takes to build a launch vehicle because I am
> doing it.  One step at a time.  One failure or success at a time.

Hats off to you -- I'm a big fan of the X Prize, and of the notion
of space tourism as the eventual way to go.  What a concept: get
people into space by exploiting ... their desire to go into space!
Why didn't someone think of this sooner?  (Well, they did, but
why it didn't start sooner is a long story, in which the above
line of argument plays a big, and sad, role.)

> I want to send something to Europa, but it won't happen with just
> discussion, it takes work and I am working on it.  The research it takes
> to accomplish this can be done inexpensively, but it takes more time
> that way.  A weekend here, an hour or two there, all in the name of
> progress on a launcher that may yet get us to space without any
> government monies involved. We do need a launcher don't we?

Europa strikes me as precisely the kind of thing that shouldn't
be undertaken by the private sector alone, for the simple reason
that there's no money in it.  Of course, private companies will
play a part, because private companies have always played
a part.  (True, I think, even in the USSR, if you're willing to
stretch the definition of "private" a little.  Yes, they did have
corporations there.)

> Please don't think I take offense by your comments, nothing can be
> further from the truth.  I agree with almost everything you said. We do
> need our feet on the ground, but we have to have our dreams in the
> stars.  The hard part is stretching far enough to do both.

If I didn't feel the same way, I wouldn't have subscribed to this
list.  I am, however, very leery of panaceas, like "we need
heavy launch capability, that's all."  Perhaps so, but we also
need a context that can pay for them.  For human launch, I'm
more in favor of lighter launch capability, plus earth-to-orbit
cargo transport that doesn't use rockets at all.  But that's
still billions of dollars just to get started.  We won't get there
from here, for a long time.  Governments do what governments
do, markets do what they can, and technology goes where
it's a paying proposition, or where governments steer it.

As someone once said, "things are the way they are because
they got that way."  How they "got that way" has to be
studied coldly, whatever the passions that may fire the effort.

-michael turner
[EMAIL PROTECTED]

> On Sat, 2003-09-06 at 04:29, Michael Turner wrote:
> > 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
> >
> >  http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/stsnixon.htm
> >
> > 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
> > capital.
> >
> > 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
> > context.
> >
> > 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
> > [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Gary McMurtry" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> > To: <[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
> > least
> > > 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.:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> >
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/09/05/1731237&mode=thread&tid=
> > 134&tid=160&tid=98&tid=99
> > > > >
> > > > > 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
> > for
> > > > > about 100 million each after initial investment! That's 100 TONS
of
> > lift
> > > > > that could be made reusable (imagine putting a giant deoployable
> > para-sail
> > > > > 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
> > configured
> > > > > 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
> > anyone
> > > > > 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
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ==
> > > > > You are subscribed to the Europa Icepick mailing list:
> > [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> > > > > Project information and list (un)subscribe info:
> > http://klx.com/europa/
> > > >
> > > >==
> > > >You are subscribed to the Europa Icepick mailing list:
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
> > > >Project information and list (un)subscribe info:
http://klx.com/europa/
> > >
> > >
> > > ==
> > > You are subscribed to the Europa Icepick mailing list:
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
> > > Project information and list (un)subscribe info:
http://klx.com/europa/
> > >
> > >
> >
> > ==
> > You are subscribed to the Europa Icepick mailing list:   [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> > Project information and list (un)subscribe info: http://klx.com/europa/
>
> ==
> You are subscribed to the Europa Icepick mailing list:   [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Project information and list (un)subscribe info: http://klx.com/europa/
>
>

==
You are subscribed to the Europa Icepick mailing list:   [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Project information and list (un)subscribe info: http://klx.com/europa/

Reply via email to