25 thoughts on “Must be OK…Whitey’s on the moon

  1. Tom Corbett says:

    NASA spends $1 billion for a launch tower that leans, may only be used once : Vice President Mike Pence may visit the launch tower today. https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/nasa-spends-1-billion-for-a-launch-tower-that-leans-may-only-be-used-once/ “According to a new report in NASASpaceflight.com, the expensive tower is “leaning” and “bending.” For now, NASA says, the lean is not sufficient enough to require corrective action, but it is developing contingency plans in case the lean angle becomes steeper. These defects raise concerns about the longevity of the launch tower and increase the likelihood that NASA will seek additional funding to build a second one. In fact, it is entirely possible that the launch tower may serve only for the maiden flight of the SLS rocket in 2020 and then be cast aside. This would represent a significant waste of resources by the space agency.” See also https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/02/sls-ml-leaning-not-corrective-work/ “As with all large projects, design changes were added during the initial construction phase, including the winning concept from the Emergency Egress System (EES), a roller coaster car system that would race astronauts – and/or pad crews – away from a major incident with the vehicle. Engineers from Disney were cited as members of the large design team.”

    • Flimflammery says:

      “Trump Wants a Space Station Orbiting Around the Moon : NASA is quietly asking private companies to bid on the development of a new space station that would orbit the moon starting in 2022. But why?” (Daily Beast 07.02.18) https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-wants-a-space-station-orbiting-around-the-moon According to a former NASA scientist, “China seems on track to send astronauts to the moon by the late 2020s, if not sooner.” In that context, he added, America’s new moon station represents a kind of extraterrestrial P.R. stunt – a shiny piece of hardware that the US could put in place before China’s taikonauts step foot on the moon.

  2. Honky-tonk says:

    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 2:34 PM – 13 May 2019: “Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”

    NASA revealed Monday that it needs an additional $1.6 billion in funding for fiscal year 2020 to stay on track for a human return to the moon by 2024. The space agency’s budget amendment comes in addition to the $21 billion the Trump administration asked Congress for in March. https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/05/nasa-reveals-funding-needed-for-moon-program-says-it-will-be-named-artemis/ Two people familiar with NASA’s internal deliberations say the agency has estimated that it needs as much as $6 billion to $8 billion a year for a lunar return by 2024.

    The money to pay for the accelerated schedule is coming from a reduction in the budget for Pell grants that help defray the cost of higher education for lower-income students. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/FY20_Budget_Amendment_5-13-19.pdf

  3. Space case says:

    “NASA has touted its bold plan to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024 for months. Now we’re starting to get an idea of how much it will cost.
    The space agency will need an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion over the next five years for its moon project, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told CNN Business on Thursday. That would mean adding another $4 billion to $6 billion per year, on average, to the agency’s budget, which is already expected to be about $20 billion annually.” (CNN BUSINESS 6/14/19) https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/13/tech/nasa-budget-moon-mission-artemis/index.html
    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 11:38 AM – Jun 7, 2019: “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!”
    “NASA addresses Trump’s bizarre Moon tweet, says everything is fine” (6/11/19) https://news.yahoo.com/nasa-addresses-trump-bizarre-moon-213608109.html
    “China’s space program continues to grow, but will NASA ever work with them?” https://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/space/mission-moon/article/China-s-space-program-continues-to-grow-but-13961523.php (see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_exclusion_policy_of_NASA )
    “China in Space: Ambitions and Possible Conflict” (Strategic Studies Quarterly,* Spring 2018) https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/SSQ/documents/Volume-12_Issue-1/Goswami.pdf
    [Strategic Studies Quarterly is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal sponsored by the United States Air Force covering issues related to national and international security https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Studies_Quarterly ]

  4. Lost in the Ozone says:

    “As NASA talks up its Artemis Program to return humans to the Moon by the year 2024, a new report from the US Government Accountability Office raises questions about the space agency’s ability to build the spacecraft and rockets intended to carry out that mission. See https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/699823.pdf
    “While NASA acknowledges about $1 billion in cost growth for the SLS program, it is understated,” the report found. “This is because NASA shifted some planned SLS scope to future missions but did not reduce the program’s cost baseline accordingly. When GAO reduced the baseline to account for the reduced scope, the cost growth is about $1.8 billion.”
    NASA now estimates that it will spend about $10 billion to develop the rocket and associated ground systems at Kennedy Space Center, where the vehicle will launch from. This figure assumes the vehicle does not encounter additional technical problems during the test and qualification phase of the hardware—which is where such problems typically arise. https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/06/new-report-finds-nasa-awarded-boeing-large-fees-despite-sls-launch-slips/
    See also “Gov. Watchdog: NASA Hid True Cost of Boeing Moon Rocket …And despite delays, NASA keeps giving Boeing millions.” https://futurism.com/watchdog-nasa-cost-boeing-rocket

  5. Lunacy says:

    President Trump issued an executive order Monday urging the US to mine the moon, and possibly other celestial bodies, for minerals. “Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space,” says the order, which notes that the US did not sign the 1979 moon treaty that said space activities should conform to international law. The US does not consider space a “global commons,” the order says, meaning the US should be able to drill there without needing an international treaty.
    The order says that if international law is used to try to stop the US from removing parts of the moon or, possibly, Mars and other celestial bodies should that become possible, Washington will object. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/07/trump-mining-moon-executive-order

    The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, better known as the Moon Treaty or Moon Agreement, is a multilateral treaty that turns jurisdiction of all celestial bodies (including the orbits around such bodies) over to the participant countries. Thus, all activities would conform to international law, including the United Nations Charter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Treaty

  6. All Is Vanity says:

    “NASA will pay a staggering $146 million for each SLS rocket engine : The rocket needs four engines and it is expendable.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/05/nasa-will-pay-a-staggering-146-million-for-each-sls-rocket-engine/ There are four engines on a Space Launch System rocket. At this price, the engines for an SLS rocket, alone, will cost more than $580 million. This does not include the costs of fabricating the rocket’s large core stage, towering solid-rocket boosters, an upper stage, or the costs of test, transportation, storage, and integration. With engine prices like these, it seems reasonable to assume that the cost of a single SLS launch will remain $2 billion into perpetuity.

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA and SpaceX on Friday urged everyone to stay home for the first home launch of astronauts in nearly a decade because of the coronavirus pandemic.
    Top officials warned the public against traveling to Florida for the May 27 launch of two NASA astronauts aboard a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station. https://time.com/5831043/nasa-spacex-launch/

  7. Ok then... says:

    [SLO MO 4K] Massive explosion of a SpaceX Starship Prototype (SN4) at Boca Chica Texas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIh4aLX3cZQ

    “SpaceX lost one of its Starship prototype test vehicles after a successful test fire of its SN-20 Raptor engine. Reminder that this vehicle is in no way related to the DM-2 mission, the Falcon 9 rocket or the Crew Dragon Capsule. This is a test program working on advanced prototypes for the Starship program and failure is halfway expected.”

  8. A-OK says:

    The campaign to reelect President Donald Trump has pulled a short-lived “Make Space Great Again” video ad this week that surprised NASA and appeared to violate the agency’s advertising regulations on the depictions of its astronauts. https://www.space.com/trump-make-space-great-again-campaign-ad-petition.html
    The video, which Trump’s reelection campaign released on YouTube Wednesday (June 3), was taken down Thursday, with a note stating only that it was “removed by the uploader.” It was also removed from the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
    A NASA official confirmed to Space.com Thursday that the agency was not aware of the Trump campaign video before it became public Wednesday. The ad featured NASA video footage of SpaceX’s historic first astronaut launch, as well as scenes of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who flew on the test mission, and their families bidding them farewell just before the flight.

  9. Lunatic fringe says:

    NASA’s inspector general report roasts Lockheed Martin for Orion fees : So far NASA has spent $16.7 billion to develop Orion. https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/07/nasas-inspector-general-report-roasts-lockheed-martin-for-orion-fees/
    NASA’s inspector general on Thursday released a detailed report that investigates the time and money that the space agency has spent to develop its Orion spacecraft. This is the vehicle NASA hopes to use to fly its astronauts to and from lunar orbit as part of the Artemis Program.
    Since NASA awarded its first contract on Orion in August 2006, the report says NASA has spent $16.7 billion for development of Orion, or about $1.1 billion annually. NASA has paid the lion’s share of those funds to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for development of the Orion capsule. For this tally, the report does not include funding for Orion’s large Service Module, which is being built and delivered by the European Space Agency.
    NASA Inspector General’s report (7/16/20) https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-018.pdf

    “After nearly $50 billion, NASA’s deep-space plans remain grounded” (2/19/19) https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/02/nasa-nears-50-billion-for-deep-space-plans-yet-human-flights-still-distant/ “…As far as I’m concerned, SLS and Orion are doing their jobs of providing work for NASA centers and contractors and giving the US a sense of national pride to have a major goal to work toward. They are not meant to be quick, cost efficient, or sustainable. They are symbolic grand acts of a grand nation.” Laura Forczyk, NASA Subject Matter Expert for planetary science missions.

    “In Trump’s NASA Budget, Florida Stands To Gain” https://www.wlrn.org/post/trumps-nasa-budget-florida-stands-gain#stream/0

  10. Space case says:

    NASA outlines $28 billion plan to land the first woman on the Moon by 2024 https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/22/us/nasa-woman-artemis-moon-scn-trnd/index.html
    “An allotment of $651 million will be used to support the Orion Spacecraft and the rocket that Boeing is building for the moon mission — called the Space Launch System or SLS. NASA has already spent at least $11.9 billion on the SLS, which was supposed to be ready by December 2017.”
    “…The new development baseline cost for SLS is $9.1 billion, and the commitment for the initial ground-systems capability to support the [rocket’s first] mission is now $2.4 billion,” [recently appointed leader of NASA’s human spaceflight efforts, Kathy] Lueders wrote, without elaborating on what the previous baseline costs were. Congress had previously approved a $7 billion commitment for the SLS’ development, according to 2019 fiscal numbers.” https://www.space.com/nasa-sls-megarocket-cost-rise-congress-alert.html
    “Ironically, NASA and the SLS prime contractor Boeing are no longer competing with the Falcon Heavy. SpaceX beat them two and a half years ago. Rather, NASA is competing with SpaceX’s next rocket, the Super Heavy booster that will loft Starship into orbit. SpaceX has not even built a single segment of its Super Heavy rocket—which is larger than SLS, more powerful, vastly cheaper, and reusable—but it’s possible that the vehicle makes an orbital launch before the decade-old SLS in 2021.”

  11. Overman says:

    “NASA’s new $23 million space toilet is ready for launch” https://www.space.com/nasa-space-toilet-ready-for-launch
    “NASA Can’t Figure Out Why The Space Station Is Leaking Air” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-25/nasa-can-t-figure-out-why-the-space-station-is-leaking-air
    “NASA chief Jim Bridenstine told lawmakers Wednesday it was crucial for the US to maintain a presence in Earth’s orbit after the International Space Station is decommissioned so that China does not gain a strategic advantage.
    The first parts of the ISS were launched in 1998 and it has been continuously lived in since 2000.” https://phys.org/news/2020-09-nasa-chief-congress-chinese-space.html
    “NASA report says it has big economic impact on [swing state of] Florida : Space agency economic output in Florida: $5.9 billion” https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2020/09/25/nasa-report-says-it-has-big-economic-impact-on-florida/

  12. USAUSA says:

    A pair of researchers have voiced concern that the emerging U.S. position on resource extraction could “make the United States—as the licensing nation for most of the world’s space companies—the de facto gatekeeper to the Moon, asteroids, and other celestial bodies,” according to an article published on Thursday in Science. (3/8/21) https://www.vice.com/en/article/ep4jxz/the-us-is-trying-to-be-the-gatekeeper-of-space-researchers-warn
    Planetary astronomer Aaron Boley and legal scholar Michael Byers, who serve as Canada Research Chairs at the University of British Columbia, argue in the article that “other nations need to speak up, now” about their objections to the U.S. approach to resource extraction, which they say could put “the safe development of space at risk.” https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6513/174

  13. Update says:

    NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told a House committee June 23 that NASA is awaiting a decision from the Government Accountability Office on protests of the agency’s lunar lander contract before releasing more details on plans to return humans to the moon.
    Testifying before the House Science Committee, Nelson said those plans will depend on whether the GAO upholds protests filed by Blue Origin and Dynetics of NASA’s award of a single Human Landing System (HLS) contract to SpaceX in April. The GAO has until Aug. 4 to rule on the two protests. https://spacenews.com/nelson-says-artemis-plans-pending-decision-on-gao-protest/
    NASA chief reminds Congress they’re the ones not funding a lunar lander : “You can only get so many pounds of potatoes out of a five-pound sack.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/06/nasa-expects-a-decision-on-a-lunar-lander-protest-by-early-august/

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