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NASA Human Landing System


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BO needs to decide what their goal really is, and what milestones are required, then just do it.

Chasing contracts is stupid, it’s chump change to Bezos as I have said before. Amazon makes more on a long weekend than the entire annual global launch market is worth.

If the road to “millions of people living in space” requires lunar resources, then do it.

If there’s no reason to build a giant rocket cause you can buy starship delivery, buy starship delivery. Make the base, make a mass driver, send resources to L5 and build an O’Neill colony (or whatever). Have a goal, pursue that goal. It’s not a _ _ _ _ measuring contest.

BO seems rudderless to me.

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58 minutes ago, tater said:

BO needs to decide what their goal really is, and what milestones are required, then just do it.

Chasing contracts is stupid, it’s chump change to Bezos as I have said before. Amazon makes more on a long weekend than the entire annual global launch market is worth.

If the road to “millions of people living in space” requires lunar resources, then do it.

If there’s no reason to build a giant rocket cause you can buy starship delivery, buy starship delivery. Make the base, make a mass driver, send resources to L5 and build an O’Neill colony (or whatever). Have a goal, pursue that goal. It’s not a _ _ _ _ measuring contest.

BO seems rudderless to me.

That is really spot on. Right now they have some really cool things in the work but their public work ethics seem like its more of a sandbox for Bezos. They do however keep their work all hush-hush so who knows really. The other week I saw a picture of an almost complete top half of a New Glenn booster.

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1 hour ago, mikegarrison said:

Maybe. Or maybe they have a rudder and they just aren't showing it to you.

Exactly, I doubt they would even be considered for that DOD nuclear thermal rocket contract if they were the aimless company they appear to be. Spacex didn't even get that to put things in comparison. Or Bezos just has a bit more lobbying power.

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4 hours ago, tater said:

BO needs to decide what their goal really is, and what milestones are required, then just do it.

Chasing contracts is stupid, it’s chump change to Bezos as I have said before. Amazon makes more on a long weekend than the entire annual global launch market is worth.

If the road to “millions of people living in space” requires lunar resources, then do it.

If there’s no reason to build a giant rocket cause you can buy starship delivery, buy starship delivery. Make the base, make a mass driver, send resources to L5 and build an O’Neill colony (or whatever). Have a goal, pursue that goal. It’s not a _ _ _ _ measuring contest.

BO seems rudderless to me.

I see it a bit differently - Bezos and Musk approached their interest in space uniquely.

Bezos followed a traditional 'investment' approach - where he hired folks to realize his dream.  Musk followed the entrepreneurial route and told people to keep up.

Bezos is somewhat at the mercy of 'the experts' who are schooled in traditional Aerospace, where you are both risk-averse and need to wait for funding before doing anything.  Musk is... well, Musk.

I mean - think about it: Musk regularly answers questions about the rockets and ships, which shows he's intimately involved in the design and production.   Bezos talks big picture.

I think Bruno at ULA thought he'd be getting a Musk-level of entrepreneurial effort out of BO - and instead they got 'traditional aerospace'.  Bezos could change all of that - but I'm not sure he's ready for the level of personal investment it would take to get there.  (By which I mean his undivided attention, rather than his money).

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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9 minutes ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

I see it a bit differently - Bezos and Musk approached their interest in space uniquely.

Bezos followed a traditional 'investment' approach - where he hired folks to realize his dream.  Musk followed the entrepreneurial route and told people to keep up.

Bezos is somewhat at the mercy of 'the experts' who are schooled in traditional Aerospace, where you are both risk-averse and need to wait for funding before doing anything.  Musk is... well, Musk.

I mean - think about it: Musk regularly answers questions about the rockets and ships, which shows he's intimately involved in the design and production.   Bezos talks big picture.

I think Bruno at ULA thought he'd be getting a Musk-level of entrepreneurial effort out of BO - and instead they got 'traditional aerospace'.  Bezos could change all of that - but I'm not sure he's ready for the level of personal investment it would take to get there.  (By which I mean his undivided attention, rather than his money).

You are talking about the guy who founded Amazon, a company that ran a deficit for decades while more or less creating the idea of an online "buy anything" store. And somehow you think he's risk-adverse and not entrepreneurial?

Bezos was never the PR face of Amazon either, but everybody agrees he was the spider right in the middle of the web, making all the decisions.

If you want to judge them by their previous work, we know Amazon played the long game, reinvesting all their profits into growing (and controlling) market share and back-end capability. Meanwhile, Musk has been (as you note) the flamboyant public face of his ventures (like Branson, also). But I don't see any evidence that Bezos is risk-adverse or that he doesn't personally involve himself in the things he is interested in.

-----------

As a side note, I get a little tired of people whining about "traditional aerospace", for obvious reasons. Traditional aerospace is why you can order something from China and get it tomorrow. It's why your GPS works. It's why you can buy a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic bike. It's why it's safer to fly to LA than to drive to the grocery store.

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@mikegarrisongrin! 

While I never worked in 'traditional aerospace' you could say that I grew up in it (AirResearch - > Garrett - > AlliedSignal - > Honeywell).  Professionally I was on the 'customer side' of the equation, where I enjoyed using the goodies - but have to acknowledge I was in the branch often treated as the *edited*child of procurement and development.  Truth told, I'm actually a fan of the companies that have brought us to where we are... But I'm also skeptical about the bureaucracy and conservative business practices of the industry. (Equally critical of the government side, btw). 

The debate at hand seems a comparison of styles in the development of new and current systems, and what people are expressing frustration about is the lagging progress towards private space competition. The promise of Branson, Bezos and Musk getting involved was pretty heady stuff.  But if you look at where we are - Branson seems sidelined by tourism, Bezos seems trapped in the conservative industry norms, and Musk is gloriously tearing it up. 

You bring up a good point - Bezos may be playing the long game and when the dust settles be the last man standing... But from the spectator perspective - there is really only one show in town. 

I'd love to see BO / ULA succeed - frankly we need them to. 

Till then, as a sideline fan... Raspberries are the norm! 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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I'm not in aerospace, but I do have experience of the UK's third largest defence contractor. They got to that size by acquisitions, and frankly you can tell.

It's a bunch of different similarly sized companies welded together. Nothing moves quickly, it has a load of different systems that don't work well together, way too many onerous procedures, and the overhead costs are staggering. If it didn't own original IP it'd struggle to hold on to existing customers who are exasperated by costs and timescales.

Legacy companies sometimes get so big that failure is almost inevitable. They overcharge and move slowly, surviving on market dominance. If they can't absorb younger more competitive startups they'll get supplanted. Whilst they may have many impressive past achievements, the glory days are well and truly over.

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3 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

As a side note, I get a little tired of people whining about "traditional aerospace", for obvious reasons. Traditional aerospace is why you can order something from China and get it tomorrow. It's why your GPS works. It's why you can buy a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic bike. It's why it's safer to fly to LA than to drive to the grocery store.

It's also how we put humans on the Moon.

I agree entirely about Bezos, too. It's why I'm so confused about BO. 10 years ago I would have said that BO had some sort of skunk works, and we'd wake up one morning to find them rolling a moon rocket out to the pad on some island Bezos secretly bought. BO has the advantage vs existing companies in that it is beholden to no one but Jeff Bezos, and can afford to innovate and indeed afford to lose money as needed. In this forum I have said a few times, "If Jeff Bezos says he's coming to eat your lunch, he;s coming to eat your lunch." None the less I'm just not seeing evidence that this is the case at this point.

BTW, since SpaceX until very recently needed business to stay afloat, I think that BFR was partially their Mars rocket, and partially a way to have a larger and cheaper to operate vehicle to compete with NG. SpaceX didn't know at the time that BO would be so very far behind in flying NG.

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10 minutes ago, tater said:

It's also how we put humans on the Moon.

I agree entirely about Bezos, too. It's why I'm so confused about BO. 10 years ago I would have said that BO had some sort of skunk works, and we'd wake up one morning to find them rolling a moon rocket out to the pad on some island Bezos secretly bought. BO has the advantage vs existing companies in that it is beholden to no one but Jeff Bezos, and can afford to innovate and indeed afford to lose money as needed. In this forum I have said a few times, "If Jeff Bezos says he's coming to eat your lunch, he;s coming to eat your lunch." None the less I'm just not seeing evidence that this is the case at this point.

BTW, since SpaceX until very recently needed business to stay afloat, I think that BFR was partially their Mars rocket, and partially a way to have a larger and cheaper to operate vehicle to compete with NG. SpaceX didn't know at the time that BO would be so very far behind in flying NG.

Well, there was a time about 20 years ago when it was really clear the people running Boeing really wanted to be running something like Amazon, and felt tied down by the fact that they were running an aerospace manufacturing company rather than an internet company. Maybe Bezos is encountering problems going in the other direction?

It's pretty clear that something major went wrong with the BE-4 engine. That was supposed to be shipped by now. But these things happen.

There do seem to be a lot of fingers pointed at Bob Smith, but I have no personal insight into how valid (or invalid) that criticism is.

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2 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Well, there was a time about 20 years ago when it was really clear the people running Boeing really wanted to be running something like Amazon, and felt tied down by the fact that they were running an aerospace manufacturing company rather than an internet company.

Maybe someday the people running Boeing will really want to run an aerospace manufacturing company.  I'm skeptical, though.

24 years on and the merger with McDonnell Douglas still has that company screwed up.

Edited by Jacke
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2 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

fingers pointed at Bob Smith

Guys take a job like this knowing that fingers will point.  The hope is that they will be 'there goes the guy who made it happen' fingers - but the ever present risk is the opposite. 

Hell we used to joke that the primary purpose of a Lieutenant was to have someone to blame. 

Buck has to stop somewhere. 

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1 hour ago, Beccab said:

And this is a properly shaped lunar lander

This is a lunar lander design from Korolev's bureau, whose last successful design was Soyuz,
 while the listed ones are from Glushko, who more-or-less successfully has built Energy, Buran,  Zenith, "Polyus", Mir (based on Chelomei's Almaz, of course), and most part of Soviet rocket engines.

Upd.
Oops, forgot to add.
And who designed (and partially tested on ground) a rocket-landing capsule spaceship Zarya with internal engines, 30 years before SpaceX "invented" it again.

Edited by kerbiloid
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37 minutes ago, tater said:

 

Tough to discuss a politic-dependent topic on a non-political forum, so I shall attempt to stay on the outskirts...

(proposes some policy, facepalm, hits del)

SLS appears to survive on the enormous momentum of existing jobs. Supporting all those jobs makes it expensive. Nobody likes to lose their jobs, but the world moves on and there are far fewer farriers in the developed world today (at least per capita) than 120 years ago. If and when SSSH proves functional with economics within an order of magnitude of Musk's ambitions, then SLS will be as obsolete as a knife at a gunfight. All those congresscritters will be aghast at the prospect of all those jobs being lost, but they don't have to be. All of these skilled workers simply need to transition to building payloads (habs, power plants, ECLSS, resource extraction bots) for space exploration. Or setting up more licensed Starship production lines. So instead of funding these jobs to provide an overpriced vehicle for which there should soon be a commercial option, fund those jobs to build the infrastructure components for the utilization of deep space resources. That's what government programs are (supposed to be) for: to research, develop, and build the infrastructure for their population to build upon.

Of course, there's that issue about teaching old dogs new tricks...

I admit there's no reason to cancel SLS when there is no operational alternative. But the cost charged is obscene, although I suppose these contractors had no idea they were about to be undercut so badly by an upstart that would prove to be so capable. Time to roll with the changes instead of standing firm and getting squashed.

 

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I talked some trash earlier about Traditional Aerospace and was rightly corrected for the overreach. The reason I bring it up is that I don't want SLS to fail - or rather I don't want all those smart and talented people to lose their jobs. 

I also don't want to see SLS just plod along as some high-tech jobs-work program funded by the government just to preserve congressional funding unnecessarily (anyone remember the report about the US Army having to buy tanks they did not want because some congressmember had a plant in their district? ). 

What I would really like to see is a whole new industry - where the modern day farriers - I mean Rocket Scientists, Engineers and Fabricators are regularly and gainfully employed in a competitive for profit economic sector that does not resemble the old way of doing things. 

From what I can tell - SLS started before Musk pushed like a madman for SSSH. SLS was a grand idea in the beginning, following the traditional approach and it simply got bypassed.  Unexpectedly - and yet enjoyably so. 

Thus the opportunity for Traditional Aerospace is, as someone pointed out - to copy and paste the success of what we are seeing as possible and not only keep their smart folks employed but to expand their business and our capabilities 

Edit - I'll add this; my fear is that we are heading towards a 'only one show in town' situation... Where the 'winner' of this competition is the only space company launching rockets.  I'd far more like to see ULA and SX and etc offering multiple platforms, launches and us actually get a true space based economy off the ground... Rather than just have the whole thing peter out and watch another 30 years of LEO centric work with just one provider 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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I too want all of them to work and be competitive.

I'm even quite fine with government programs that are not optimally efficient (or even efficient at all), and spread tech jobs throughout the country.

What I want with those government programs is the sort of work that is NOT done by commercial entities, and ideally with a useful capability, even if expensive. When SLS/Orion fans talk nonsense about it not costing a bazillion dollars per launch using some bizzaro accounting that hides the endless dev costs, etc, I will slam the money spent. My SLS/Orion problem has always been centered on it being a "rocket to nowhere."

Orion was intentionally made too massive for commercial vehicles to keep the Constellation pork going.

Orion was inherited by SLS as the primary (possibly only at this point) payload.

If landing on the Moon is the goal, the SLS needed to be designed to accomplish that mission. With Orion this means >60t to TLI, maybe >65t. If it was designed with any less capability than that, it's an abject failure, IMO. Any "not landing" lunar mission is entirely pointless, BTW. Land on the surface or don't bother.

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2 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

From what I can tell - SLS started before Musk pushed like a madman for SSSH. SLS was a grand idea in the beginning, following the traditional approach and it simply got bypassed.  Unexpectedly - and yet enjoyably so. 

Thus the opportunity for Traditional Aerospace is, as someone pointed out - to copy and paste the success of what we are seeing as possible and not only keep their smart folks employed but to expand their business and our capabilities 

**sobs in Jupiter DIRECT**

Could they have used three-segment boosters with two SSMEs and an ET for Orion Lite to the ISS?

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