Zero-g Bonk fee?
Surprisingly, it's not listed.
NASA on Friday said it is opening the International Space Station for commercial business, a policy change expected to lead to employees of private companies working aboard the ISS as early as next year, with tourists to follow. "We are announcing the availability for private astronauts to visit the space station on US …
I wish these politicians would stop dicking NASA around. He was the one who said Mars was a waste of time and they should be going to the Moon. Usually I would just chalk this up to his inability to hold a thought in his head for 7 consecutive seconds, but this has been going on since the 90s. Once congress approves funds for a mission it should be locked in, with no ability to change it unless it goes through a congressional review (e.g. in the case of going massively over budget).
How does anyone expect them to accomplish anything when they plans keep changing with every administration (and now changing with the president's bowel movements)? It was the Moon under HW Bush, then Mars under Clinton, then the Moon under Bush, then Mars under Obama, then the Moon then Mars under Trump.
"How does anyone expect them to accomplish anything when they plans keep changing with every administration"
It's by design mate. Nothing ever has to happen and the status quo can be preserved.
Side effect of a two party system or a basterdised version of democracy?
Hmmm . . . . . . . . I'd love to hear what Sir John Curtice thinks. Doubt he reads the reg though.
Somewhere I read that a two-party system is more-or-less a result of the 'first past the post' voting system. You can have 3rd etc parties, but they'll never amount to much. And 2nd & 3rd might eventually switch places. It's a general outcome.
If you want a vibrantly-dysfunctional multiparty celebration of ineffective chaos, where every fringe view lunatic gets to have a say, then you bring in proportional voting schemes. Italy seems to be the poster child example.
To be fair, there's PR and there's PR.
Israel - bad example - get 1.25% or so of the national vote and you get a seat in the Knesset. So serious nutter representation.
But if you go down the 4/5 member seat STV route, a party needs to get about 20% in an area to get a seat, so not exactly nutters. And voting habits change under that sort of system. The big parties have to put up several named candidates, so Tory voters can choose which Tory they least dislike, and then give 2nd pref to a Green or Libdem. Yep, you may end up with coalitions and compromise. Is that a bad thing? Also tends to seriously cut down on the white, male, middle-class, right-wing, merchant-banker with a PPE degree hegemony.
And what's the alternative? FPTP is more likely to give a 'strong and stable' govt, but one that is totally unepresentative of the wishes of the voters. If that's what you want might as well just have a military dictatorship!
"Italy seems to be the poster child example."
There are PR voting schemes and there are PR voting schemes. The differences can be subtle but important.
Italy, Germany and New Zealand all use MMP - The differences are in the national vote level threshold requirements for a party to get seats if they don't win any at regional levels - Germany uses 5% and is very stable (government of concensus), Italy uses 2% and is full of looney fringes (the lunatics have taken over the asylum)
NZ (A former FPTP country) started at 5%, decreased it to 3.5% and so far seems to have keep the looney fringes mostly at bay - enough so that when the country had a referendum on whether to keep MMP or return to FPTP, MMP won a resounding victory (as it did when first proposed, _despite_ mass media opposition from both main parties and business interests all predicting doom and gloom)
One of the more curious effects of MMP - and electing a _small_ number of arguably fringeish parties to national office - is the very bright and unblinking media spotlight they're usually unprepared for. New Zealand's Christian Democrats found this out the hard way as their MPs' less savoury past activities came to light - and then the party compounded their issues by simply "erasing" said MPs from all documented existence and memory in a way that would have made Stalin proud - pretending they never happened, rather than apologising for what _had_ happened.
Proportional Voting is not the same as, or even the cause of, Proportional Representation. First past the post voting can be (and often is) used in Proportional Representation systems.
Proportional Voting is most often used for electing organizational officials, (And you can't have a proportional president!)
And proportional voting is not the only alternative to First Past The Post voting. Preferential voting (which is the same as open primaries, or run-off elections) is another alternative to FPTP. Preferential voting (or run-off elections, if your public is illiterate and innumerate) are a means of including and engaging minorities at the electoral level, rather than at the representation level.
Bottom line: voting systems are independent of representation systems.
I hate to be the one to defend Mr. Trump's... odd... use of... well, whatever language it is that he speaks; it's certainly not English nor even American. But in this case I think it's pretty obvious he meant that *missions to the moon* are a part of achieving successful *missions to Mars*, not that the moon is physically contained within the planet Mars. Granted, I'm not as sure about this as I'd like to be, but I'm still pretty sure. Especially since this tweet was during daytime hours, not drunk-drugged-out-sleep-deprived-more-insane-than-usual hours. Shudder.
> Once congress approves funds for a mission it should be locked in, with no ability to change it unless it goes through a congressional review
Nothing stops Congress from passing legislation to this effect, nor from passing appropriations bills for specific missions. If they chose to do so, only a subsequent Congress could alter, scrub, or defund the mission. Not to say that Congress wouldn't still dick around (whom are we kidding?) but the president would have no say in which missions to prioritise or fund, only the mechanics of NASA's execution of those missions. Never forget that in the American system of government, Congress is supreme in almost every way that doesn't involve military operations, if only it chooses to use its lawful powers.
Unfortunately Mars is a waste of time. Using current rocket technology which pushes you to use "efficient" trajectories you have to wait up to 26 months before the planets are in alignment before you launch. It takes you 9 months to get to Mars, and you have to stay there for 3 months (or 3 plus a multiple of 26 if you want a longer stay). It will then take you another 9 months to get back to Earth, and a wait of 5 months would be needed before the next trip to Mars starts. However by then the chances are that political changes would have occurred and what was once a priority is now just seen as a cost that should be cut. Mars is too far and too slow, the moon however does have potential.
"e.g. in the case of going massively over budget"
That depends how realistic the budget was in the first place.
I've been on - and witnessed - a number of projects where the amount allocated ended up being half (or less) what'd it had been costed out at in the first place but the people concerned forged ahead regardless.
Come the inevitable rounds of problems, the allocated budget increases, but it ALWAYS ends up costing more than if you'd been allowed to do it properly in the first place, thanks to all the lost time and fudging other groups are forced to do in the meantime.
Worse, some of those fudges and workarounds get locked in place for decades afterwards even if they're damaging compared to the corrected project - because once something's committed it's bloody hard to undo faulty perceptions.
Of course, those who slashed the original budgets are the first to slap themselves on the back and blame everyone else for "budget overuns" that they created (and exacerbated). They're seldom if ever held to account for the damage they do.
Personally, I feel the proper order is moon -> deep space with only a research outpost on Mars, but even if you want to waste resources on a real Mars colony, establishing one on the moon still makes sense as a great staging area. The lower gravity and lack of atmosphere means you can build larger, better shielded spacecraft for a healthier, better supplied trip.
Icon for my feelings on the destination shenanigans.
If you want to go to Mars, the Moon is a distraction. It is a much tougher environment with very different challenges to Mars, so you don't learn much. It costs about the same delta-v to reach. Transporting stuff from Earth to the Moon then from the Moon to Mars costs vastly more then just sending it from Earth to Moon. Using Lunar resources instead of Earth ones would eventually be good, but the break-even point will take a long time to reach. It won't be a good staging area for another 50+ years. Meanwhile we want to start the Mars outpost within 10 years.
In increasing order of fictionalness:
Soyuz: $60M to $80M per seat. The price went up when they became a monopoly and will probably fall again when there is competition.
Crew dragon: $20M-$25M.
Starliner: $54M (My guess is this number was chosen to be cheaper than Soyuz so it might change with the cost of a Soyuz seat.)
Dream Chaser: There are two flavours: crew and cargo. They are quite different. NASA has ordered launches of the cargo version to ISS but cancelled funding for the crew version. There has been talk of Crew Dream Chaser launching from Stratolaunch, Ariane 5, Atlas V and Falcon 9. Falcon 9 is the cheapest: ($50M+Dream Chaser)/7
BFS: 100,000kg to LEO for around $10M. If we call that 100 people + 900kg each for luxuries like air, water, food and a small car that makes $0.1M per seat. That many people aboard the ISS may well be too much for the life support systems so passengers would have to spend most of their time on BFS (which has a similar pressurised volume).
Blue Origin: New Sheppard cannot get anything to ISS but New Glenn could. The Blue Moon lander is a bit small but the stretched version could carry passengers. The system would be massive overkill for sending a few people to ISS. Perhaps passengers could stop there for lunch before going to the moon. No information on prices but there may be a discount with Amazon Prime.
Orion/SLS: $666M. Most of that cost is SLS. You could launch Orion on Falcon Heavy. As FH is not man rated you would need to launch the passengers separately on a Crew Dragon but it would still be far cheaper than SLS. Further savings could be made by not launching Orion at all. (I am being a little unfair. Orion is intended to go to LOPG. SLS could get it there. If launched by Falcon Heavy, another launch would be required to get the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage into orbit to push Orion to LOPG. Like New Glenn/Blue Moon, SLS/Orion is overkill for ISS.)
Orion has four seats. Increasing the crew capacity by 50% won't halve the per seat cost.
Marginal launch costs for an SLS/Orion stack shouldn't be anywhere near that bad. I wouldn't be surprised if that figure could be as low as $500 million. The cost is in the army of
workers suppliers Congress wants to fund. Congress wants this in the $3-4 billion range, preferably on the higher side. If we wanted to include development costs to make an apples to apples comparison with the commercial options we could easily be talking about $2+ billion per seat.
Orion has four seats in it's 'going to the moon' setup, but it can seat up to six for shorter missions, of which presumably LEO would count.
(Mind you, there were plans to fit five astronauts into an Apollo capsule if they'd needed to do a rescue from Skylab)
If Google is telling the truth, the ISS belongs jointly to the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and the members of the ESA.
Given the above, what if the members excluding the US decide they want a mission to the ISS via Soyuz launches and including Chinese team members.
It seems NASA has annexed the ISS.
Or is that just a name?
As an afterthought; isn't it time, in the interests of morale to have the first presidential visit to the ISS?
I would chip in a couple of quid towards the cost, more if it involved a protracted stay in space, particularly if it was beyond tweet range.
Each country contributed certain modules and/or cargo flights to the ISS, in exchange for rights to fly their astronauts occasionally and the right to have some of their experiments carried out up there.
The vast bulk of the station is half Russian and half US, and those nations historically did most of the launches, so those nations get most of the astronaut spots.
If the US wants to sell some of the US astronaut spots, that's up to the US. So long as the other countries get their fair share, they won't mind the US selling the US-owned spots. There is a history of Russia selling its astronaut spots to space tourists, so this is nothing new.
"Private astronauts will want regenerative life support and toilet facilities ($11,250 per person per day), supplies like food, air and exercise gear ($22,500 per person per day)"
Why is this cost split? Are you supposed to hold it in if you want a cheap trip?
Or avoid breathing?
OK, I suppose that not eating is an option. Hence not needing the loo so much.. Ketosis would be the answer then for the cheapskate space tourist. You could then filter and drink your own urine, and get a really cheap trip.
Can't wait for the reviews to appear on AirBnB:
- owners were rude, inconsiderate and didn't speak English
- noisy science experiments conducted at all hours of day and night
- no free WiFi
- data charged at $50 USD per GB!!
- no mobile reception
- room small, cramped with no view
- welcome pack consisted of a glass of water and a freeze dried biscuit
- communal bathroom charged at $12k USD per day
At least the flights couldn't be worse than Ryan Air:
- baggage allowance minimal
- had to pay $120k USD for a bag in the hold
- going to the loo cost me $10k USD
- crew were rude and grumpy
- seat was narrow and no leg room
- flight landed 2000km from Moscow and there were no taxis or trains
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