38 thoughts on “And The Hits Just Keep On Coming”

  1. Why doesn’t NASA setup a permanent lunar base about 50 miles south of Eloy AZ? Surely they could get that done by 2029?

  2. When NASA sends people to the moon, they can stay in Elonopolistonburg at the Trump Galactic Hotel Luna South Pole.

    And pay Space-X for ramp space (free if they refuel). Be sure to take all their trash with them, or Space-X will charge for cleanup.

  3. Nasa should contract base services and let industry provide the base space. Like with commercial space stations. Just bypass the BS and go straight to the commercial option.

    Didn’t Bill have a road to Damascus moment regarding contracting recently? This is a good place to show off his new religious convictions.

  4. By the time NASA slogs through the design, proposal, bidding, contracting and redesign process Musk could already have a Martian colony. Bureaucrats feel no sense of urgency…

    1. They have whatever the opposite of a sense of urgency is: The longer the project takes, the more people it consumes, the more money they spend, the longer they are employed and the higher in the management structure they climb.

      There is no penalty for failure in government work. There is in the commercial sphere.

  5. Why not just bifurcate the Artemis Program? Let NASA/SLS take the lead in build-out of the Lunar Gateway with the eventual eye of moving to (or maybe just build it at) L4/L5. There’s surely some value in having a station in CIS Lunar Space that can run experiments or perform observations. Or even serve as a base platform for Solar System Exploration. Would the Delta-V requirements to/from a Lagrange Point be significantly better (ie less fuel, etc) when starting or returning an ‘exploratory’ interplanetary mission than LEO? Then contract for Lunar Surface and Transport Ops with SpaceX. Since surface ops align with SpaceX’s long term Mars goals somewhat. Now you have something for SLS to do (very expensively) as well as not tying the SLS boat anchor around your neck for what Starship/SuperHeavy should be capable of for far less money thus freeing money for more surface ops.

    1. How about it get bifurcated and both forks are terminated, with extreme prejudice?

      Let private industry build the gateway if there is a business case for it.

  6. It is a failing program that is run so horribly that the proper decision to end it can’t be made. It will continue failing its way into the future, even after reality has shattered the narrative.

    There will be a lot of attempts at rationalization, but…, and at least we… attempts to salvage the effort. Since it is out of the fan base control, all we can do is look for silver linings and complain about the waste.

    1. Wodon, I propose that eventually the gateway is re-tasked as an orbiting cemetery free to any member of Congress that voted for SLS. You might not get back your money, just your revenge.

      1. Your idea above is a good idea assuming the math works out. I’m sure I will have my at leasts or could dos. The guy at MECO has a good rationalization for it. It is just too bad it is so wasteful overall when we will soon have better options.

  7. I used to think when NASA finally got to the Moon, Elon and Jeff would roll up in separate rovers and each demand their share of landing fees. Seems I gave Jeff too much credit. Now I think Elon will be tweeting: “All these worlds belong to me. Make no landings anywhere.”

    1. Now I think Elon will be tweeting: “All these worlds belong to me. Make no landings anywhere.”

      Even if I give him a horse?

  8. NASA should not build a lunar base.
    Unless Congress will pay for it and whether Congress pays for it, “should” depend upon whether there is mineable water on the Moon. And NASA is unable to determine whether lunar water is mineable or markets determine this.
    Musk could a huge market for lunar water with his plans of settlements on Mars.
    We don’t really know if or when there could be towns on Mars.
    NASA would do better making a base in Venus orbit- as it would improve by shorten the window of getting to Mars from Earth. And NASA imagines there is life on Mars, and accidents can happen on Mars.
    And town need a base at Venus orbit as much or more than NASA.
    Plus of course we need to test artificial gravity [artificial Mars gravity] before we send crew to Mars.
    Test less than 1 year, for exploration reasons and more years in artificial gravity in terms longer duration of living on Mars. Or we should know what 6 month in orbit with Mars artificial gravity is.
    And there could be differences between artificial gravity Mars gravity and natural Mars gravity. And any measurable difference, would be interesting.
    Exploring Moon to determine if lunar water is mineable helps explore Mars and helps make Mars more viable for settlements on Mars. And exploration of Mars [and settlements] make the Moon more viable in terms of mining and in terms of have government lunar bases.

    1. That honestly seems far more plausible than it did a year ago.

      Though, maybe just for the optics, he might send Sarah Gillis out of the Starship first.

  9. Now that the EIS has been released, what other shenanigans are available to be used to keep Starship from an orbital attempt before SLS? Each delay to SLS has meant another delay for SpaceX, so what does this mean for them?

    Note this is semi-rhetorical, semi-serious, but mostly snark.

    1. I don’t think the FAA considers SpaceX’s Social Justice Goals that they set for it to achieve to be snark. I am worried that the FAA will issue directives that future Starships must be made of copper, aluminum and carbon composite in the name of diversity, equity and inclusion.

  10. Imagine: NASA could have paid Elon $20 billion for an operating Moonbase by 2025, and they would have saved about $15 billion by doing so. But, that would drop the graft and corruption possibilities quite a bit…

    1. Think of the NASA centers that would instantly become redundant. They might have to go through a BRAC, except you know the acronym would be CRAC.

  11. Who gets fired for mismanaging this? Anyone going to get an unscheduled vacation? Demotion? Maybe if there was some personal stress and accountability involved, things would go better.

    Did anyone step up and claim responsibility?

    Maybe Jocko needs to send his books to NASA.

  12. I think Jim Bridenstine and Kathy Lueders, in their own ways and at different points, came to understand just how much of a hindrance NASA’s procurement methods and congressional megarocket mandate were to any plan to go back to the Moon.

    Jimbo tried to yank SLS off the critical path, or at least, the first part of it, and got Richard Shelby trying to fire him for his trouble. So he and Kathy worked around it. They did as much as they could to make other aspects of Artemis commercially procured. Commercial Lunar Payload Services and HLS were put out as commercial fixed cost programs, and only spurred muttering on the Hill. Then Gateway was rushed out as a fixed cost procurement, and the Artemis Accords deployed, to give the program political protection.

    The result is still an unsustainable nightmare, but at least now a pathway out of the swamp is in place (a wholly commercial EOR architecture, using commercial crew vehicles as LEO taxis, and re-fueled Starship for transport to the Moon), and the time has been bought to find a way to shift over to it.

    1. That sounds a lot like my bifurcation proposal but put in practice. Eventually when all the SLS’s are used up, the Gateway will be stranded but unnecessary. Starship, refueled in LEO as a direct, might not need it? Along with other Starships, which are left on the surface, as the beginnings of a base?

  13. Hydrogen leak. I remember Jerry Pournelle, may he rest in peace, used to talk about that, how its amazing tendency to leak made it more trouble than it was worth.

    1. And yet, the Green New Dealers (some of them anyway) want to make Hydrogen a cornerstone of clean energy. God help us.

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