Thursday, 17 February 2011

Sometimes, I don't understand spaceflight.

First off, let me point out that I consider spaceflight to be a Good Thing.

But, I really don't understand why it takes so many people.

ESA just launched Johannes Kepler to the ISS, and it took a huge crowd of people just to monitor the launch (see 40s into the video in the link).

NASA are no better, with tens of thousands of people employed to turn around each Shuttle, thousands more to watch each mission...


When McDonnell Douglas developed the DC-X & DC-XA, they only needed THREE people to run each flight, and a handful of people to turn the craft around in twenty four hours! Oh, and each of the prototypes cost around the same as the Shuttle's toilet.

Delta Clipper should have been the future of commercial LEO space flight, and then beyond.

They dropped the ball, badly, with Mars as well. NASA had sight of the Mars Direct plan twenty years ago, which would have landed long-term manned missions on Mars within a decade of the "go", using Saturn V or Shuttle launch hardwear with minimal re-tooling.

Instead, they threw away the dies for Saturn V, and used the Shuttle to ferry up parts for the ISS.

I don't know who was running NASA back then, but they were short-sighted idiots; if they had manned up to ignore the politics that killed off DC-XA and forced ISS on us all, LEO flights would be no more a luxury than a high-end cruise, and we'd have ten years worth of footprints in the sands of Mars.



  1. NASA is, I have come to believe, profoundly retarded. Not only because of stuff like this, but our government cuts its budget, and cuts it, and cuts it, because the public sees it as an absolute money pit. Why? Because NASA can't get a PR program worth crap in place.

    The thing is, they don't even need to argue anything about long-term benefits or any other reason to fund the program except THIS IS COOL SCIENCE YOU GUYS! ("To beat the damn Ruskies!" doesn't work so well anymore) to get the average American excited about it and supporting space exploration. THEY ARE LAUNCHING THINGS INTO FLIPPING SPACE. It doesn't *get* any cooler than that! But somehow they can't/won't get that across the public, which controls the pursestrings. It is literally as if NASA does not comprehend this, and sees no correlation between the public perception of the American space program (herp, derp, what're we blastin' rockets into space fer???) and the lack of funding. The NASA channel? *Utterly* boring most of the time. Astronauts? Not in the news anymore. Nobody knows what NASA is doing, or who's doing it. It's very sad.

  2. @A


    I ought to build more rockets. I happen to have some materials lying around...