NASA's New deep space program

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NASA's New deep space program

Postby Arnock » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:38 am

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1109/14heavylift/


Seems like, (if it's approved) we might be taking trips to various asteroids in the 2020's, and even Mars by 2030.


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Re: NASA's New deep space program

Postby aureon » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:22 pm

Get some decent way to do LEO<->surface travel first, deep space can wait.
I know orbital elevators aren't really feasible with today's materials, but still...
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Re: NASA's New deep space program

Postby KysenMurrin » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:33 pm

They've got the private sector working on LEO so that they can use their limited funding on the deep space projects.
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Re: NASA's New deep space program

Postby Xenix » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:38 pm

It's nice for NASA to have a plan (if they can get funding for it) since the aerospace industry involved with them is kind of at a standstill at the moment waiting to see where they'll be headed. On the other hand, it's going to be tough to get this funded, and they could probably do better investing this money into private companies.

SpaceX already has their own heavy lift vehicle in the works that will be able to handle 78% of the payload the SLS's 2017 launch can, and SpaceX plans to have its first test flight by 2014. My bet is (even if the SLS thing gets approved/funding), SpaceX will have a cheaper, higher-performance rocket ready well before NASA's planned 2021 first manned test of the SLS.

Bobby Braun (NASA's Chief Technologist, who recently left) was one of my teachers in college, and I think he had it right when he said that NASA should be focused on technologies too risky/expensive for commercial companies to want to develop on their own, not on doing stuff that anyone can do. At this point, I think launch vehicles in general (even big-ass ones like the proposed SLS) are starting to fall under the second category, and they almost definitely will in a decade by the time the SLS would be fully operational. I say leave that to private industry and work on the other stuff (like the actual spacecraft, etc. for an asteroid trip, or the Webb telescope,not the launch vehicle, ).
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