Heavy-Lift Follies

Keith Cowing, Marcia Smith and Jeff Foust all have reports on General Bolden’s comments yesterday, some of which were in response to questions from Keith. I would note (as Jeff does) that Congress doesn’t want a vehicle sized in metric tons — it asked for one in tons. NASA seems to have confused this issue by sizing in MT, and now Keith and Marcia are stating that as though it’s the requirement. But that oversizes the system considerably, as I noted in my satirical but sadly accurate robot theater a few weeks ago.

5 thoughts on “Heavy-Lift Follies”

  1. it seems this is what NASA is going to present to Congress http://quantumg.net/sdhlv-block-0.png

    2 ATK 4-seg SRBs
    1 Lockheed Martin ET
    3 Rocketdyne SSMEs
    1 Lockheed Martin Orion
    1 Orbital Sciences Launch Abort Tower


    1) flatten the ET and attach the 3 SSMEs (this may take up to 3 years)
    2) stack the ET and SRBs as directed in your Space Shuttle launch recipe, taking care to not scratch the SSMEs.
    3) attach launch abort tower to Orion as directed in your 1960s Mercury/Apollo manual, ignore all developments made in Gemini as usual.
    4) slap the Orion docking fixture on top of the ET. This may require welding or superglue.
    5) announce with fanfare that the crawler will be humping this monstrosity out to the launch pad.
    6) fly the billion dollar Shuttle stack to deliver less than the shuttle (how do you even *do* that?)

    Serves 4 congressional districts.

  2. Can’t we just shut NASA down? Save some money. Save headaches and grief for the commercial guys coming up the pipeline. Congresscritters want to save “jobs” in their districts, can just pension the (non)workers off. the exworkers will still vote for the critters, but at least there won’t be any hypocrisy about “doing” anything anymore.

  3. John Wolf asked:

        Can’t we just shut NASA down?

    Patience…the co-chairs of Obama’s deficit commission, Erskine Bowles [D] and Alan Simpson [R] recently agreed to disagree about how long things could continue on the present course before the U.S. (and dollar-linked world) economy was consumed in a runaway “debt spiral” where loss in confidence drives up interest rates, which multiplies debt service costs, which increases deficits, reducing credit ratings, etc. Their dispute? One thinks it will happen within a year, the other within two years.

    If this is allowed to happen (and that’s the way to bet, given the feckless response to the imminent crisis by all parties so far), then all of the minutiae of side-mounts and solids vs. LOX-kerosene inline boosters will be forgotten as millions riot in the streets when the ultimate bubble pops. See the events in London in the last few days as a preview. This is not like an Argentine debt crisis—it’s like the fall of Rome. There is no modern precedent for the collapse of a global superpower along with the world’s reserve currency, taking down the reserves of the central banks of most developed nations.

    One imagines New Horizons sailing past Pluto and Charon with nobody listening, but of course that won’t happen because at least Parkes will still be there, since Australia has largely insulated itself from the madness.

  4. Of course the simplest course of action would be for you chaps to start using metric measures properly.

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