NASAโ€™s Perseverance Mars rover

NASAโ€™s Perseverance Mars rover

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eharding

11,567 posts

248 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
Smiljan said:
Maybe take a minute to read up on just what all the other companies are doing as well as SpaceX.

NASA clearly have a well developed program to return manned flights to the Moon. Have a read up on the Artemis program.
I'm aware of the efforts of other companies as well as other nation states - China in particular - in the area, but my reply was in the context of your comments on the merits of SpaceX vs NASA.

You'll note that NASA's "well developed program" to return to the Moon was originally planned for 2028, but that Pence decided in 2019 that having a Moon landing one election cycle earlier would play well for whoever Trump was anointing as his successor in 2024 (at least, that was the plan....and who do you think Vice President Pence had a notion of who that should be?), and hence arbitrarily brought the date forward by four years, not that he had a clue how that could happen, and neither did NASA, but since 2028 was a vague placeholder date anyway, NASA didn't really have any comeback since if they could pluck a date out of their arse then there was no reason why Pence couldn't pull an earlier one out of his arse that he liked the sound of better.

Not that everyone else in the business doesn't have wildly optimistic timescales on occasions, but they're not politically paralysed bureaucracies to anywhere near the same extent as NASA, for whom, as I've said above, the journey is the goal, and keeping it dragging on until someone calls a halt, and then start all over again. Artemis itself is largely cobbled together from parts of previously cancelled programmes, and I wouldn't be surprised if the current incarnation suffers the same fate.


Smiljan

8,764 posts

161 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
Ok, SpaceX are heavily involved in the Artemis program but never mind.

eharding

11,567 posts

248 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
Smiljan said:
Ok, SpaceX are heavily involved in the Artemis program but never mind.
You mean the $135 million that they were awarded to develop the concept of Starship as a lunar lander? Not exactly back of the sofa money, but they're not betting the farm on it either (particularly as Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada were given much larger contracts) - but that might be moot, as NASA quietly deferred making the Human Lander System supplier choice last month because it isn't clear they actually have the funds to pay whoever they choose as the HLS supplier anyway. On the plus side, SpaceX taking a cheeky $135 million to work on a Starship lander design works for them, because regardless of what happens to HLS they can use a lot of that that design work when looking at landing elsewhere....

NASA also picked SpaceX as the Lunar Gateway Logistics supplier, but that's hardly a major new development for SpaceX - they've been doing it for years for the ISS, nice work if it actually happens but the revenue would be dwarfed by the potential income from Starlink.

So, SpaceX "heavily involved" in Artemis? They're a commercial enterprise, and if there is money to be made then they're interested, but if Artemis goes spectacularly tits up - or dies a slow, lingering financially neglected death - it won't take SpaceX or the other major commercial players with it.

Edited: ...and this is now well into 'Space Launch System - Orion' terriritory rather than 'NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover', Perseverance of course being a shining example of what NASA (or more specifically JPL/Caltech) does so brilliantly well - with a little help from the parachutes made just down the road here in Devon....


Edited by eharding on Saturday 27th February 18:55

Smiljan

8,764 posts

161 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
I'm glad you're finally agreeing with me tongue out good chatting over this, I've learnt a lot. I didn't know NASA had chosen SpaceX for part of their Moon mission until we started back and forth.

It's good to have different views and opinions, I don't agree NASA is a dead old dinosaur limping along making up random missions to keep getting funding but I do agree they will struggle to ever secure the political backing to get funding and manpower at the same level needed for the Apollo missions.

Maybe with the advances in tech since those days, they just don't need it.

Maybe the Chinese will scoot off to Mars and beat all of the various American programs to get there first.

What they've done landing Percy on the surface at the spot they chose, to me, is a marvel still.

Edited by Smiljan on Saturday 27th February 19:15

Zad

12,289 posts

200 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
As I understand it, the Mars sample return mission will be a European Space Agency mission. This will collect and launch to orbit the samples that the current mission is hopefully going to generate. Future missions are planned with similar co-operation.

xeny

1,547 posts

42 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
Blackpuddin said:
Another flaw in this is the nationalism of it all. If we're going to do space exploration it should be a global effort. By keeping it nationalist we're just going to export all the same problems that it causes over here.
I suspect without a tinge of nationalism and prestige there would be much less enthusiasm for funding it all.

It took competition for status between the two richest nations on earth to make governments cough up the money to put man on the moon in the first place.

MartG

17,631 posts

168 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
Smiljan said:
NASA clearly have a well developed program to return manned flights to the Moon. Have a read up on the Artemis program.
rofl

Again, NASA have been 'planning' on returning to the Moon since Apollo ended, and only now is it starting to look like they may actually get back there "before this decade is out"

Artemis & SLS are pure pork-barrel projects designed to maximise profits for certain contractors located in certain political constituencies, so as the ensure certain politicians keep their jobs

How many SLS launches do you expect to see, at over $2Bn a pop and a flight rate of maybe 1 per year, especially when you consider SpaceX are aiming for a per launch cost of $2M for Starship ?

Smiljan

8,764 posts

161 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
I’m not sure but if SpaceX are charging $300 million to launch one defence satellite I can’t see them launching the starship payloads for $2 million. That really is bending reality.

You sure it’s not $2 million per pound of payload or such? Either that or it was another Elon Musk fantasy figure. This thing is supposed to carry 100 passengers.

Again it’s a contradiction on one hand you’re saying NASA won’t do it but SpaceX can for peanuts yet SpaceX is providing the means to do it for NASA,

I’m not buying it, respect your opinion but don’t agree with it at all.

Edited by Smiljan on Saturday 27th February 21:49

Smiljan

8,764 posts

161 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
What’s a pork-barrel project by the way, I’ve never heard that expression before.

Edit - scrub that, just looked it up, American term. Not sure you could say NASA is such a thing though that is ridiculous as an example rofl

Also had a dig into the $2 million launch cost you have for the SpaceX starship. It’s been calculated using the ultimate in man maths. Bear in mind a successful Falcon 9 launch carries a quarter of the payload and costs $62 million.

They got to $2 m per launch by bundling all of the predicted costs into one and dividing by the 10 million launches (yes ten million launches) to get to $2 million per launch, This is to get to low earth orbit, 3 flights a day every day. That’s reusing all 1000 of these craft they say they’ll have built 3 times every day.

There’s aiming big and there’s fantasy. I’ll plant my flag on fantasy.

Edited by Smiljan on Saturday 27th February 22:32

MartG

17,631 posts

168 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
Don't confuse what it costs SpaceX to launch one of their vehicles with what they charge a customer to launch a payload - the two figures are entirely different wink

Leithen

7,445 posts

231 months

Saturday 27th February
quotequote all
Here is a good explanation of the SLS pork barrel politics;

https://medium.com/cgo-benchmark/the-space-launch-...

It’s all about securing budget from different senators...

Smiljan

8,764 posts

161 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
MartG said:
Don't confuse what it costs SpaceX to launch one of their vehicles with what they charge a customer to launch a payload - the two figures are entirely different wink
I understand that, I'm still thinking $2 million per launch either way is a tad ambitious.

I shouldn't really care either way, it's all American tax payers money funding it anyway. I just get to enjoy the spectacle.

Smiljan

8,764 posts

161 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
Leithen said:
Here is a good explanation of the SLS pork barrel politics;

https://medium.com/cgo-benchmark/the-space-launch-...

It’s all about securing budget from different senators...
Ive read through that blog thanks, I’m misunderstanding that term pork-belly I think. I’m not sure I believe NASA invented the entire long term project with no intention of ever achieving it just to make sure some senators got re-elected.

That blog is more about budget slips, politicians changing their minds all the time over what they want NASA to do and the choice of contractors for the various parts of each project. At least they’ve had their funding approved against in the latest budget so there’s still a slim chance of some Moon missions in my lifetime.

Mars, still not convinced NASA or SpaceX will put humans on the surface before I’m long gone. Would love to see it happen though.

xeny

1,547 posts

42 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
Smiljan said:
the choice of contractors for the various parts of each project. .
I've always heard the term as pork barrel politics, and it is utterly applicable to SLS. Look who widely the work is spread across the various states, making logistics harder anymore costly.

Similarly, why would you choose to essentially rearrange the various components of the shuttle stack to build a "new" launcher if it wasn't to hang on the various bits of political support that funding brings.

Read this article for an example of how it restricts NASA's choices: https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/02/so-long-se...

Eric Mc

114,733 posts

229 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
When governments are in charge of projects that involve using the private sector, politics will always be involved in the decision making surrounding which private contractors get hired. It's inevitable - because governments and politicians need to get elected - and therefore must do what they can to please their constituents.

It's not unique to the USA. It happens everywhere.


annodomini2

6,106 posts

215 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
Smiljan said:
MartG said:
Don't confuse what it costs SpaceX to launch one of their vehicles with what they charge a customer to launch a payload - the two figures are entirely different wink
I understand that, I'm still thinking $2 million per launch either way is a tad ambitious.

I shouldn't really care either way, it's all American tax payers money funding it anyway. I just get to enjoy the spectacle.
Starship will be fully reusable, F9 is not, they have to build a new upper stage for every launch.

They also currently have to refurb the F9 booster after every launch.

$2m probably doesn't include infrastructure costs.

Plus the rapid turn around will take time to develop.

Leithen

7,445 posts

231 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
There is a thread on SLS (started by Eric) https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

I wonder whether the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic will serve as a lifeline for SLS and perversely increase the chances of Moon and Mars exploration.

The drastic reduction in LEO costs via private contractors has thrown such pork barrel projects into stark relief. However, if they are seen for what they really are - massive job support schemes - there would be much greater political danger in ending them. If they are kept, they need a purpose, and the Moon and Mars are the obvious targets.

The political reality of NASA's budget is that Perseverance and similar probe projects need the larger ticket items such as SLS to keep the whole show on the road. Biden will find it hard to make cuts any cuts this administration IMO.

Greshamst

1,429 posts

84 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
Eric Mc said:
NASA have lost more than one Mars probe.

By my memory, I can think of -

Mariner 3
Mariner 8
Mars Polar Lander
Mars Climate Orbiter

The last one listed was the one which was sent off course by sending a signal to the spacecraft which contained erroneous velocity change instructions due to a mix up between metric and imperial measures.
Didn’t know about these, very interesting! I’ve got some reading for this evening now.

That last bit about the mix up is a bad day at work laugh

NMNeil

1,619 posts

14 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
MartG said:
NASA has been planning manned Mars missions since the mid-1960 and has got precisely nowhere - that's nearly 60 years of effort with nothing to show but a lot of very nice artist's impressions, and design studies which someone once described as 'the most expensive science fiction on the planet'

SpaceX has gone from nothing to test flying a spacecraft capable of reaching Mars with a crew in less than a third of that time.

Now tell me again which approach is working ?
NASA's was founded in 1958 with a budget of $89 million.
The 2021 budget is now $23.3 billion.


Smiljan

8,764 posts

161 months

Sunday 28th February
quotequote all
Leithen said:
There is a thread on SLS (started by Eric) https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

I wonder whether the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic will serve as a lifeline for SLS and perversely increase the chances of Moon and Mars exploration.

The drastic reduction in LEO costs via private contractors has thrown such pork barrel projects into stark relief. However, if they are seen for what they really are - massive job support schemes - there would be much greater political danger in ending them. If they are kept, they need a purpose, and the Moon and Mars are the obvious targets.

The political reality of NASA's budget is that Perseverance and similar probe projects need the larger ticket items such as SLS to keep the whole show on the road. Biden will find it hard to make cuts any cuts this administration IMO.
Thanks I hadn’t read that thread, it’s quite remarkable how many time the phrase pork belly is thrown about in it, I must be the only person that had never heard of it, As an non American it doesn’t really bother me what they spend their taxes on. If that political part of the system means we have space projects that may never exist without it, then all the better for me.

Aside from the politics does anyone know when they’re likely to fly the helicopter Percy took with him?