8 thoughts on “Congressional Support For Artemis”

  1. The more affordable architecture is obvious. Starship HLS to LEO. Refuel there. Launch Artemis 3 crew in a Dragon. Dock & transfer. Then proceed with the mission.

    Later mission architectures can be done with only SpaceX tech without needing SLS, Orion, or Gateway. When Starship lands cargo on the lunar surface and conducts the Dear Moon mission, there’s really not much left to prove.

    1. Why use Dragon? Presumably by the time HLS starts lunar landings with Starship, it will also be flying humans to LEO – so why mix architectures including a partially-expendable one?

      1. Why use Orion/SLS?

        I retrospect I often wonder if SpaceX would have been better off to have just walked away from Artemis. Keeping the focus long term on Mars with short term focus on Lunar surface missions as a proving ground for Mars. Why tie yourself up in knots over someone else’s schedule? Some will say its all about the $$$. That SpaceX has *always* been a foster child of government spending on space. Historically there’s an awful lot of truth to that. But that doesn’t mean it will always have to be that way.

  2. Time to remember expendable Starkicker + SuperHeavy should be able to push a entire Artemis stack (Orion, Blue Moon, and fully fueled EUS) through TLI in a single launch. Literally “Apollo on Steroids.” Launch cost would be reduced by 20x, assuming cost through launch of Starkicker and Superheavy was $60-100 million and SLS somewhere north of $2 billion. Of course, that would do nothing for the cost of the payload, but what the heck, eh?

    Of course, an expendable SuperHeavy could put a standard Starship with 250 tons of residuals aboard in LEO. Maybe a single expendable tanker could get you a round trip from Texas to the surface of Moon and back for maybe $150 million? You’d expend two SuperHeavies and get back the expensive human-rated Starship for reuse.

  3. Rand, Shelby’s gone, but now Nelson’s running NASA. I commend him for stepping forward to apply private participation on critical elements of the program, but does anyone expect that he’d EVER give up on using SLS? It may be ugly and an insane waste, but is he going to let that fat troll depart? Nope again.

  4. > Why use Dragon

    That proposal is only an interim step during the timeframe between after Starship achieves orbit and when NASA feels comfortable launching their astronauts on Starship. If there was a mission with either Isaacman, Tito, or Maezawa in which the crew were launched in Dragon and then transferred in LEO then it would be the first moment NASA would have no legitimate argument to continue with SLS-Orion. Starship’s lack of LAS takes some getting used to.

    1. Falcon 9 has done 230+ launches since the last mishap. Statistically, it would be safer to remove the LAS from Dragon as it has a nonzero chance of exploding spontaneously. It’s far safer than STS ever was. By 2030, when Dragon makes it’s last scheduled flight to ISS, Starship will have flown hundreds of times (counting tanker and Starlink launches). Until then, something like a crew ejection capsule is probably the best bet, probably for a crew of 12. Useful for Earth launch/landing and maybe adaptable for early Mars flights (where you have infrastructure pre-landed on Mars by unmanned cargo ships). What do you call an emergency landing on the Moon? Thumper.

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