TrumpSpace: October 2019 Archives

NASA shares details of lunar surface missions--and they're pretty cool

"One of the limitations on returning samples is the Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts back from lunar orbit to Earth. Chavers said the Orion spacecraft does not have any designated space for a box of sample rocks taken from the lunar surface. "We just don't know what the capability will be," Chavers said of bringing rocks back to Earth inside Orion. This would seem to be an important detail to nail down."

Keith's note: There are times when I am convinced that NASA people are simply unaware that people are actually listening to what they say. The answer should have been "Of course we'll be bringing Moon rocks back. We're working on the exact mass/volume right now" - unless NASA is actually not planning to bring Moon rocks back to Earth - after spending tens of billions to go back to the Moon.

NASA should shed lesser priorities to achieve a 2024 moon landing, Op Ed, Doug Cooke

"NASA should focus major new development on an integrated lander/ascent vehicle launched on an SLS 1B. With Orion launched on a separate SLS, the lunar landing would be achieved with these two flights, and at most one commercial launch with additional fuel. This is a much simpler approach with a significantly higher probability of success."

Keith's note: On one hand Boeing consultant Doug Cooke wants to kill Gateway because it adds complexity and increases the number of points where a failure could derail the Moon 2024 thing. No argument there. He then goes on to push for the SLS variant that features Boeing's Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) - and requires more SLS flights. The net result is likely going to be a wash when it comes to cost. And given the SLS program's chronic inability to do anything on time or within budget, there are likely to be SLS and EUS issues that will also cause the 2024 deadline to be missed.

Or, NASA could adopt an open source, multi-path, modular approach relying on existing commercial launchers, and standard interfaces. And if you have to build SLS then use it as a cargo vehicle only. If a large effort is to be mounted on the Moon and cislunar space then propellant depots should be thrown into the mix. Relying on SLS in an architecture for sending Americans and cargo back to the Moon is, itself, the prime risk factor so long as it remains in the critical path - whether it is 2024 or 2028 that you are aiming for.

Its anyone's guess right now as to how the election will turn out. As we've all seen, when a new Administration arrives they have a strong tendency to fiddle with the previous Administration's space goals. Adopting flexibility in terms of launch vehicles and space assets is the best way to assure that something will survive a potential transition and put people on the Moon. But sticking with a program that is utterly reliant upon SLS - a program that gets more expensive and extends its target date with every passing day - is not the best way to assure that we'll be heading back to the Moon. And if this whole Moon thing is supposedly being done to get humans to Mars sooner, then the need to be more flexible and creative is underscored.

Then again Jeff and Elon may just make this whole NASA Moon/Mars thing moot.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2019/luke.gifMessage from the NASA Administrator: NASA Strategic Alignment, NASA

"There continues to be a requirement for greater coordination in the Agency to ensure alignment with the Office of the Administrator given the increasingly diverse and growing interests and capabilities in space and aeronautics, and in light of the President's major exploration campaign. Last November, I named Tom Cremins as the Associate Administrator for Strategic Engagement and Assessments to put a greater focus around these technical areas, as well as continue to support me in defining and setting Agency strategy and plans. We have now determined that a Federated Board, working closely with Tom, and led by the relevant deputy associate administrators in the Human Exploration and Operations, Science, and Space Technology mission directorates, will add to these efforts. The Board will ensure Agency alignment and coordination with my strategic direction and help to define and implement Agency priorities. The Board leverages mission directorate staff and support from Agency support offices as needed for Board discussions and coordination. I have asked the associate administrators and the center directors for their full support in making the Federated Board successful in their efforts to ensure strategic alignment across the Agency."

https://s3.amazonaws.com/images.spaceref.com/news/2019/pence21oct2019.jpg

Remarks by Vice President Pence at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress Opening Ceremony

"The truth is, for more than a generation, a vision for human space exploration had languished in this country and around the world. But those days are over. With America's renewed vision for human space exploration, we will lead mankind into the vast expanse of space. The task before us will involve hardship and hazard, sacrifice and determination. And it will require faith. Faith in the boundless capacity of American ingenuity and the ingenuity and cooperation of freedom-loving nations around the world. Faith in the extraordinary courage of the men and women who, even now, train and prepare to move the boundary lines of human knowledge. And faith, as generations of Americans have long believed, that even if we rise on the wings of the dawn, even if we go up to the heavens, even there, His hand will guide us and His right hand will hold us fast."

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Trump: "THIS IS THE FIRST TIME FOR A WOMAN OUTSIDE OF THE SPACE STATION. OUR FLIGHT ENGINEER, CHRISTINA COOK AND FLIGHT ENGINEER JESSICA MEIR. I JUST WANT TO CONGRATULATE YOU, WHAT YOU DO IS INCREDIBLE. SO, YOU'RE VERY BRAVE PEOPLE. I DON'T THINK I WANT TO DO IT. I MUST TELL YOU THAT. BUT YOU ARE AMAZING PEOPLE. THEY'RE CONDUCTING THE FIRST EVER FEMALE SPACE WALK TO REPLACE AN EXTERIOR PART OF THE SPACE STATION."

Crew: "THANK YOU. FIRST OF ALL, WE DON'T WANT TO TAKE TOO MUCH CREDIT BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN -- THERE HAVE BEEN MANY OTHER FEMALE SPACE WALKERS BEFORE US, THIS IS JUST THE FIRST TIME THERE'S BEEN TWO WOMEN OUTSIDE AT THE SAME TIME."

Trump "ON ANOTHER LAND. PRESIDENT TRUMP: VERY EXCITING. EXCITING TIMES. THAT WHOLE PROGRAM WAS DEAD WHEN I TOOK IT OVER. WHEN WE CAME INTO OFFICE. AND SOMETHING THAT MIKE LIKED VERY MUCH, I LIKED VERY MUCH. AND YOU'RE BOTH DOING A FANTASTIC JOB, EVERYBODY IS DOING A FANTASTIC JOB. IT'S BEEN TOTALLY REINVIGORATED I THINK TO A LEVEL THAT'S IT'S NEVER BEEN. AND WE'RE ALSO THINKING IN TERMS OF DEFENSE. WE HAVE THE SPACE FORCE HAPPENING THAT'S GOING ALONG VERY NICELY AS YOU KNOW. WE'RE CREATING A NEW FORCE, IT'S CALLED THE SPACE FORCE..."

Chairman Serrano Statement at Hearing on NASA's Moon Landing Proposal

"Not even NASA's own leadership has enough confidence in the success and safety of advancing this timeline. NASA Acting Associate Administrator Bowersox, who is a former astronaut and here with us today, referred to the 2024 moon landing date as difficult to achieve in a House Science hearing last month, saying quote "I wouldn't bet my oldest child's birthday present or anything like that." Additionally, NASA's Manager for the Human Landing System, Lisa Watson-Morgan, was quoted in an article about the timing of the mission saying, quote: "This is a significant deviation for NASA and the government... all of this has to be done on the fast. It has to be done on the quick ... Typically, in the past, NASA is quite methodical ... which is good. We're going to have to have an abbreviated approach to getting to approval for industry standards for design and construction ... and how we're going to go off and implement this. So, this is a big paradigm shift, I would say, for the entire NASA community, too." Unquote. We cannot sacrifice quality just to be quick. We cannot sacrifice safety to be fast. And we cannot sacrifice other government programs just to please the President. Before asking for such a substantial additional investment, NASA needs to be prepared to state unequivocally which NASA missions will be delayed or even cancelled in the effort to come up with an additional $25 billion."

Budget leader says NASA's accelerated moon mission timeline unnecessary, Huston Chronicle

"And its for political reasons that the initiative could get stalled, said Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee and editor of NASA Watch, a website devoted to space news. "Here we are, 14 months from (an election) and everyone is doing the classic thing we see here in Washington: It's time to start either waiting people out until after the election or now is the time to strike and get something in place before change happens," Cowing said. That's likely one of the reasons Serrano is OK with a 2028 moon mission, Cowing said, especially since NASA programs backed by the current administration are typically gutted by the incoming president after the election."

New Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate: Douglas Loverro

"NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Wednesday selected Douglas Loverro as the agency's next Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Loverro succeeds former astronaut Kenneth Bowersox who has been acting associate administrator since July. "I worked with Doug for many years on the Hill and he is a respected strategic leader in both civilian and defense programs, overseeing the development and implementation of highly complicated systems," said Administrator Bridenstine from Headquarters in Washington. "He is known for his strong, bipartisan work and his experience with large programs will be of great benefit to NASA at this critical time in our final development of human spaceflight systems for both Commercial Crew and Artemis." For three decades, Loverro was in the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) developing, managing, and establishing national policy for the full range of National Security space activities."

Douglas L. Loverro, LinkedIn

Why the United States needs a Space Force, OpEd, Douglas Loverro, Space News

"The president got it right. We need a Space Force. Space is too critical for the nation's defense not to have an organization that speaks for its importance, defends it against all comers, and jealously advocates for new missions and new responsibilities. Space is too crucial to national security to be stalled by a lack of focus and an unwillingness to respond until pushed."

Keith's note: Loverro still has to drink from multiple fire hoses for a while to get up to speed before he can make the big SLS decisions. And if the whole Space Force thing happens then NASA will now have firm support for it at the top levels of agency management.

Interestingly Loverro appears in the FEC donor database most recently as having made multiple contributions to Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath who is challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Earlier donations noted in OpenSecrets show him to be a Democrat - or perhaps an Independent - which tends to support the notion that Bridenstine simply sought expertise in his choice without letting politics becoming involved. A good sign.

Budget leader says NASA's accelerated moon mission timeline unnecessary, Huston Chronicle

"Cowing said he is heartened by the pick, even though Loverro appears to lack civilian space experience. "It's kind of a refreshing choice to pick someone outside the usual suspects within NASA human spaceflight," Cowing said. "Clearly, how things have been running for the past decade is rockets don't launch and bringing a new perspective is required."


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This page is an archive of entries in the TrumpSpace category from October 2019.

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