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back to article ESA, NASA agree on Orion module supply

NASA’s proposed Orion spacecraft has taken another step closer to its planned 2017 launch with NASA announcing an agreement with the European Space Agency covering the craft’s service module. The service module, which would provide power, propulsion and thermal control to Orion, will be based on the ESA’s existing ATV platform …

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Bronze badge
WTF?

It's a Brand New Colour TV!!!

Are they implying with like a billion dollars and 9 years, we could have humans orbiting the moon? What year is it right now? I'm confused!

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Bronze badge

Re: It's a Brand New Colour TV!!!

I won't be at all surprised if one of the private mobs gets there well before NASA gets (back) there.

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WTF?

Tell me something

Why did it take 8 years from Kennedy's announcement that the US were commited to "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" to fruition but this seems to be going on forever?

Especially considering my phone has more computing horsepower than the spacecraft and mission control comouters combined?

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Because

the US doesn't have to prove anything to the Norks and they don't want China cutting off the supply of ipads.

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Re: Tell me something

I, For one, welcome my developer overlords, working on the software for Orion, running on the latest smartphone.

I'm glad the Do Not Disturb bug is gone now, by simply ignoring it until it would work starting at a certain date.

Can you imagine the project management meeting? "Is this year a leap year? Is the 1st saturday of this year starting on a monday?"

I would feel so much safer as a passenger on these flights...

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Boffin

Re: Tell me something

> "Especially considering my phone has more computing horsepower than the spacecraft and mission control comouters combined?"

Because spacecraft do not fly on computing power, except for some minimum amount that could already be supplied by 1960's technology. Having more does not help. Rocket technology on the other hand has not progressed that much, probably because all the major problems in that field were found and solved in the 1960's, and nature does not provide any low-hanging fruit there any more.

Your phone also has considerably smaller reliability requirements than a spacecraft. (If anything, mobile phones have seriously deteriorated in this respect since I started using them in the 1990's.)

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Silver badge

Re: Tell me something

Why did it take 8 years from Kennedy's announcement that the US were commited to "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" to fruition but this seems to be going on forever?

Money. (And politics)

A quick google indicates that, in todays money, the Apollo program cost over $100 Billion.

Because of the political situation at the time, there was the will to spend this large sum on money on the project. Today, there isn't.

Looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA you can see that during the Apollo program, NASA's budget was between 2% & 4% of federal GDP. Yet today's NASA budget is barely 0.5% of GDP (and it's falling)

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Re: Tell me something

So if we had told the failing banks to go fuck themselves we could have had SEVEN Apollo program equivalents and probably be colonising the asteroid belt by now? I am so glad we have our priorities right.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Tell me something

Money...

and the aliens told us to not come back...

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Re: Tell me something

It's all to do with money. NASA had a lot more funding during the 60s. Their budget now is about 0.5% of the overall federal budget whereas between 62 and 69 it was at least 2% every year and as much as 4.5% some years. NASA's budget is currently about $16/17 billion a year. Back then it was as much as $34 billion and that's without adjusting for inflation. Adjusted for inflation that would be close to $250 billion. If NASA was given as much funding now as it was then, things would be very different.

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Childcatcher

Re: Tell me something

Not just money...

Political and Commercial will.

There are currently no major Political gains from going to the moon other than maybe a few votes at an election.

There is currently no commercial benefit to being on the moon, yes there are many resources, but with no infrastructure, businesses see a huge expenditure for minimal gain and in the current climate of I want my 10%+ return in 6m, long term, risky adventures are not in their interest.

Won't someone think of the kids, because some of the nut jobs think that spending NASA's budget on feeding starving kids in various parts of the world is a better use of the cash, but I can personally think of a certain US government budget that wouldn't miss the money!

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Re: Tell me something

The "8 years" is a little misleading. By the time of Kennedy's speech, the Saturn 5 rocket had already been designed. The F-1 rocket that powered it had had its first test back in 1959.

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Thumb Down

Re: Tell me something

The design of the S5 was established in 1962, not before the Kennedy announcement (25th May 1961 BTW) and not greater than 8 years.

There is a difference between a rocket engine and a rocket.

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Re: Tell me something

Yes and no. The Saturn 5 had a long and complicated development history, commencing in the late 1950's. The F-1 is important because it was a milestone in rocket engine development. The engine could have been used on any design of moon rocket, but without it (or an equivalent), the moon would not have been reached.

The point is that that work was already well underway prior to Kennedy’s speech.

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Re: Tell me something

Yes the engine was under development, but the original S5 design called for 2 large SRB's and an even bigger engine called the M-1.

The F-1 was developed for heavy lift capability by the US Airforce, but abandoned when they decided they didn't need it and resurrected at some point in the process for the S5.

The F-1 wasn't developed with the moon mission in mind.

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Meh

Re: Tell me something

"So if we had told the failing banks to go fuck themselves we could have had SEVEN Apollo program equivalents and probably be colonising the asteroid belt by now? I am so glad we have our priorities right."

IIRC without inflation adjustment the bank bailout (for that year) was equal to the total NASA budget for the last fifty years.

Wheather you think that's a bargain of space research or a ridiculous amount of money spent on a bunch of arrogant ingrates who've colossal f***up has been well rewarded (so they will probably do it again) I'll leave to others to decide.

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2017?

Lots of time for the conservatives to get in again and divert all the money to weapons.

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Facepalm

Re: 2017?

Lots of time for the liberal/progressives to get in again and divert all the money to entitlement programs.

FTFY

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Re: 2017?

If you consider the F35 an entitlement program I guess your right

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FAIL

"presuming the project isn’t budget-cut to death"

That's like presuming I can jump off a 5-story building and not break my leg. It's *possible*

Plus the first time they pressure-tested the capsule at KSC, it cracked with a loud bang. That doesn't speak well of their structural engineering. I'd feel safer in a Russian Soyuz or even the first flight of a manned Dragon capsule.

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Silver badge

Re: "presuming the project isn’t budget-cut to death"

Interesting in the crack story - got a link?

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Re: "presuming the project isn’t budget-cut to death"

http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/2012/11/26/orion-capsule-cracks-pressure-test/

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Boffin

Re: "presuming the project isn’t budget-cut to death"

"Plus the first time they pressure-tested the capsule at KSC, it cracked with a loud bang. "

I don't think I've ever heard of this happening before. Main stage tanks yes, capsules no.

Machined stiffener plates have been in use since the 1960's, when they were invented by Douglas.

There is a NASA design handbook on the subject

And an update on how to improve the safety factor.

And modern methods of FEA allow much better prediction on behaviour.

So all in all a bit surprsing.

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Anonymous Coward

Nifty, and the first step towards getting the EU manned space flight!

The capsule side of things we can already do(jules vern) all we need is life-support & re-entry on that side of things...

I can see a bright future for the ESA!

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"The capsule side of things we can already do(jules vern)"

Wrong. All ATV's burn up on reentry.

ESA has already done re-entry.

Look up the ARD programme.

ESA does have more of a problem with life support.,

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But this ESA product doesn't need to survive reentry...

This modern CSM (in Apollo-speak) won't be on the capsule when the capsule reenters. There is the challenge of hardening the ESA stuff for life outside the Van Allen belts. This will be the first venture for people outside the Van Allen belts since Apollo 17 in December 1972.

This one probably won't launch men until 2012. Eventually missions will go to asteroids near 2025 and potentially Mars in the 2030s. It is all being done without long term committed capital, though.

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Re: But this ESA product doesn't need to survive reentry...

men in 2021...

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Meh

Re: But this ESA product doesn't need to survive reentry...

Every previous support module has been jettisoned prior to CM separation and reentry.

That includes the Dragon "trunk."

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Bronze badge

Anyone else a bit worried:

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/8073/maxi.jpg

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Childcatcher

Re: Anyone else a bit worried:

Maximillian from Black Hole? When I was a kid that was the scariest robot ever!

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Facepalm

Unmanned Test?

Young and Crippen would be turning in their graves! But seeing as they are not dead, maybe they are face palming instead?

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Facepalm

Unmanned?

Why is the first flight of this thing around the Moon unmanned?

Remember Apollo 8? The first test flight out of LEO, and they had three guys in there!!

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For all of you that felt Orion was going to LEO & ISS...

I hope that it is now clear that Orion is not about filching the Dragon workload.

Dragon has no plans to leave LEO for its next 10 flights (out to 2015) with its published flight manifest.

As to the failure. It is not as though the capsule exploded. There were cracks (and it needs improvement to have no more cracks). The Apollo capsules all had such cracks after reentry. Soyuz capsules aren't as available, but cracks in those capsule are expected (because of their on-land touchdowns).

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Meh

Re: For all of you that felt Orion was going to LEO & ISS...

" There were cracks (and it needs improvement to have no more cracks). "

The point is Apollo managed to build their capsules without cracking during mfg.

"The Apollo capsules all had such cracks after reentry."

Reentry is reputed to be somewhat stressful on hardware.

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Thumb Down

So I will be lucky to be 70

to see something not quite as fantastic as what I watched as a young boy on TV!

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