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Rev7

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This is the trade-off:

 

Publicly funded space exploration resulting in government-controlled technology and a lot of oversight or

 

Privately funded space exploration resulting in privately-owned (and patented) technology and very little oversight (not to mention the same-profit driven thinking that that has given us JetBlue, etc).

 

Not that I'm advocating socialism, but I do think there are some things that really just don't belong in the private sector. Maybe some day in the future someone will help me change my mind on this.

That's a good point, and I agree that some things just don't belong in the private sector. However, I do think that Space Exploration has a good chance of thriving in the private sector since it's so technology driven. I think it's heading that way anyway, with the now available commercial flights into space (although it costs a pretty penny!)

 

But are you a Republican Space Ranger? That's what I thought :xp:
Is that from GTA?
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That's a good point, and I agree that some things just don't belong in the private sector. However, I do think that Space Exploration has a good chance of thriving in the private sector since it's so technology driven. I think it's heading that way anyway, with the now available commercial flights into space (although it costs a pretty penny!)
The same way that dung beetle thrive on...nevermind, you get the picture. :xp:

 

Just because something can happen doesn't mean that it should.

 

Is that from GTA?
Yep :)
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I think their budget is big enough; however, progress is almost always stifled when it's publicly funded rather than privatized. NASA could do with some competition in the private market, I think.
Indeed, the NASA budget may big enough if you have no concern for the astronauts flying the antiquated space shuttles or you are not wanting the grand missions The Source seems to be advocating. It isn’t nearly large enough if we are really trying to following the President's vision of returning to the moon and eventually having a manned mission to Mars.

 

I love how Bush set all the benchmarks for his plan to “explore space and extend a human presence across our solar system” long after his term in office is over. Just like our current spending let the future generation foot the bill while taking credit for the vision and the tax cuts.

 

I’m sure privatization of the space program would do wonders for safety and preventing corner cutting. If privatization of space exploration happens, I see an exclusion coming to homeowner’s policies worldwide for falling space craft.

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At the end of the day no one can stop anyone else to build a space ship and send it up to the stars.

 

Also, there will be no question who will go, and it's not if interest anyway, because even if only a couple of us leave the planet to settle down somewhere else, all mankind leaves with them.

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At the end of the day no one can stop anyone else to build a space ship and send it up to the stars.[/Quote] I would agree with this statement when applied to nations. No nation can stop another nation from building a space ship. However when applied to individual nation citizens I do believe that the country itself can stop it citizen from attempting to launching a vehicle into space. At least in the U.S. with our paranoia over terrorism I’m pretty sure the government would have something to say about a citizen attempting a launch.

Also, there will be no question who will go, and it's not if interest anyway, because even if only a couple of us leave the planet to settle down somewhere else, all mankind leaves with them.
This is why I hope another country or worldwide corporation start a productive space program. That might put a spark in the U.S. commitment as NASA seems to react better when it has some competition. Overall I agree with you sentiment, as I don’t care what color flag these astronauts carry as they would represent all of mankind.
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Once is understandable. Twice is unforgiveable.
If it was the exact same thing, I would agree. This is akin to saying that once you have been involved in a car accident, you're never allowed to have one ever again.
It might not have been the same technical flaw, but it was the same failure to recognize that a previously observed and documented flaw posed a risk to the vehicle and the crew, much the same as in 1986. It's the complacency that I was referring to as being identical, not the accidents themselves.

 

The foam came loose while the craft was launching. What decision where they supposed to make?
How about an actual attempt at damage assessment, instead of just assuming that nothing could be done and letting the crew plunge to their deaths while hoping for the best? Did you read the articles in the links I provided? Sure, it's Wikipedia, but I'm sure I could find a better source if you wish.

In a risk-management scenario similar to the Challenger disaster, NASA management failed to recognize the relevance of engineering concerns for safety. Two examples of this were failure to honor engineer requests for imaging to inspect possible damage, and failure to respond to engineer requests about status of astronaut inspection of the left wing. Engineering made three separate requests for Department of Defense (DOD) imaging of the shuttle in orbit to more precisely determine damage. While the images were not guaranteed to show the damage, the capability existed for imaging of sufficient resolution to provide meaningful examination. In fact, the CAIB recommended subsequent shuttle flights be imaged while in orbit using ground-based or space-based Department of Defense assets.[5] NASA management did not honor the requests and in some cases intervened to stop the DOD from assisting.
In a way, this is even more contemptuous than their handling of the Challenger incident, because they actually had a chance to rescue the crew and instead did nothing.

Normally a rescue mission is not possible, due to the time required to prepare a shuttle for launch, and the limited consumables (power, water, air) of an orbiting shuttle. However, Atlantis was well along in processing for a March 1 launch, and Columbia carried an unusually large quantity of consumables due to an Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) package. The CAIB determined that this would have allowed Columbia to stay in orbit until flight day 30 (February 15). NASA investigators determined that Atlantis processing could have been expedited with no skipped safety checks for a February 10 launch. Hence if nothing went wrong there was a five-day overlap for a possible rescue.

 

Foam dislodging during launch was a common occurrence and up until the disaster, had never been considered a danger before.

Bipod Ramp insulation had been observed falling off, in whole or in part, on many previous flights- STS-7 (1983), STS-27 (1988), STS-32 (1990), STS-50 (1992), plus subsequent flights (STS-52 and -62) showing partial losses. In addition, Protuberance Air Load (PAL) foam has also shed pieces, plus spot losses from large-area foams. At least one previous strike caused no serious damage. NASA management came to refer to this phenomenon as "foam shedding." As with the O-ring erosions that ultimately doomed the Challenger, NASA management became accustomed to these phenomena when no serious consequences resulted from these earlier episodes. This phenomenon was termed "normalization of deviance" by sociologist Diane Vaughan in her book on the Challenger launch decision process.
The foam-shedding had caused no significant damage before, but it had indeed caused damage on previous occasions. Should that not have been a big red flag to engineers that here was a potential problem? ;)

 

Don't get me wrong: NASA's handled a life-threatening crisis before, and has done so brilliantly. Unfortunately the skill with which they handled Apollo 13 seems to have become the exception rather than the rule.

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Qliveur,

 

I apologize for the delayed response but I needed some time to process what you said in post #36. I just wanted to follow up and let you know that I found your arguments very well thought-out and persuasive. As such, you've convinced me that you are the one that is right here and I appreciate the effort that you put into your side of the debate. Thank you and take care.

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:drop2:

 

:xp:

But seriously: thank you. :)

 

This is a subject about which I (obviously) feel very strongly because I was one of NASA's biggest fans while growing up. When Challenger disintegrated, I studied the incident through every source available at the time and discovered that the SRB O-ring problem was known to and ignored by NASA prior to that disaster, and my confidence in the organization was shattered. When I found out that the Columbia fatalities were caused by the same brand of inept decision-making I was infuriated, and that fury really hasn't subsided over the years. Hence my rant. ;)

 

In spite of all of the gross human error involved, the fatalities might have been averted had the STS been designed from the outset with a real, workable crew escape system that could be used during launch, in orbit, or during re-entry. There were and are arguments for and against such a system, of course, but it was not beyond the technology of the period and the 14 lives that could have been saved by such a system would have more than justified the extra cost involved, IMHO.

 

BTW: I don't believe that NASA's resorting to designs that harken back to 1960's tech is really the answer, either, but at least it has an escape system! :p

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First man in space, Joe Kittinger, and the crew around him were working on some rescue system for space travelling vehicles before NASA was brought to life and took over. Unfortunately, from all the knowledge they took from their "predecessor", they discarded all the work on possible rescue systems.

 

I love how he shows us that you basically don't need anything but a parachute to return from space to earth:

 

472px-Kittinger-jump.jpg

 

"On August 16, 1960 he made the final jump from the Excelsior III at 102,800 feet (31,330 m). Towing a small drogue chute for stabilization, he fell for 14 minutes and 36 seconds reaching a maximum speed of 614 mph (988 km/h or 274 m/s) before opening his parachute at 18,000 feet (5,500 m)."

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I remember reading about this when I was a kid. I think that it's very cool that the first trips to the edge of space were made in hydrogen or helium balloons, of all things.

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I have seen documentaries of that on the History channel. I thought that it was simply amazing that you could fall that fast, and that high up. Amazing if you ask me...

 

I wonder if he was scared being that high up in a air ballon....I think that I might be....

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Hehe, yeah I missed a slumber party because of that, and to top it all off my arm is crooked even after 3 years, the principal was hilarious for the rest of the year he told kids to stay off of the stair case rails and everything, I miss that school (sigh) it was fun there...

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Of course. He hails from the golden age of the test pilots. There were a lot of heroes like him, quite a few of whom are now unknown because the hazards of their chosen occupation proved to be quite fatal.

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