Oops, there goes a quarter of a billion dollars

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MysteriousVisitor

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SPACE.com -- NASA Climate Satellite Crashes in Ocean After Launch Failure

Well that's a waste of taxpayer money. A failure of a quarter billion dollar science spacecraft because the payload fairing didn't separate.

This is what happens when you use a private startup to launch satellites before they are ready. They don't have enough money for adequate ground testing or test launches, and they need contracts just to stay afloat. This is where a space shuttle that didn't completely suck would come in handy.
 

Pojo

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Psh, I wipe my ass with that money.

I would be pissed if I were in NASA. It takes forever to make those, and it costs so much
 

MysteriousVisitor

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Can I have some of your toilet paper? :p

I bet NASA is pissed. Not just the organization, but the scientists, engineers, and even the workers who actually built the thing. They take great pride in putting together a spacecraft, and to see it destroyed because the damned explosive bolts didn't detonate and separate the payload fairing has got to be horribly dissapointing.

Again, a space shuttle that didn't suck could have deployed this. But, alas, our space shuttle sucks.
 

Fire2box

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Not nearly as bad as congress, the senate and the president passing a bill to waste around 750 billion dollars.

I bet NASA spends their money more efficiently then any other part of the government. Tough I bet even they still waste a percentage of it.
 

Lil Snap

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... But, alas, our space shuttle sucks.
It's not the space shuttle that sucks, it's the risk-averse bunch of pantywaists at NASA that sucks. For a device that has the honor of being "the most complex machine in the world", having had 119 rocket launches (118 sucessful), hundreds of millions of miles in orbit, and endured re-entry as many times, it has proven itself as a successful, versatile platform. Granted, when you have two very visible catastrophic losses, it doesn't look too good, but every astronaut knows it is a risk laden venture, yet they still sign up to go. The only things that are grounding the fleet in 2010 are the budget, and the age of the airframes that the shuttles are built on. Being upwards of 30 yrs old, there are mounting concerns about the remaining ability of the frames to continue enduring the stresses of launch, space, and reentry/ landing.
 
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g6s

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well, the Shuttle isn't what blew up. It was a cheap rocket.

Why are are ridiculing the shuttle? It was a good idea.
 

Angusmac

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SPACE.com -- NASA Climate Satellite Crashes in Ocean After Launch Failure

Well that's a waste of taxpayer money. A failure of a quarter billion dollar science spacecraft because the payload fairing didn't separate.

This is what happens when you use a private startup to launch satellites before they are ready. They don't have enough money for adequate ground testing or test launches, and they need contracts just to stay afloat. This is where a space shuttle that didn't completely suck would come in handy.
I wonder if they had an insurance policy on that... :eek:
 

MysteriousVisitor

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The design stinks. Period.

First, the Thermal Protection System. NASA got cheap and decided not to invest in next generation alloys that could be take the reentry heat generated by such a reentry. Instead, they went with brittle and maintenance intensive silica tiles and carbon-carbon panels. This caused costs per launch to skyrocket.

Second, the launch system is unnessesary and complex. NASA, again, cut corners and decided against a fully reusable booster system. Instead, we attached a marvel of an engine to the orbiter and piped the LH and LOX from an external tank to the orbiter. Again, more costs.

It would have made a hell of a lot more sense to follow a Energia/Buran approach. Attach the SSMEs to the central booster, and make the booster recoverable like the orbiter.

It's a good machine, no doubt. For a first generation vehicle, it isn't bad. But it failed in it's goal. It did not become a cheap way to access space.
 

timmahtherebel

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Oh boy.. thats just what we need, more failures, we need to lose more of our hard-earned money...

FFS.. the gov't needs to get their priorities in order.

Seriously.. I'd like to see my money going to good use.
 

g6s

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Oh boy.. thats just what we need, more failures, we need to lose more of our hard-earned money...

FFS.. the gov't needs to get their priorities in order.

Seriously.. I'd like to see my money going to good use.
I just don't think you get how insignificant this amount of money is. More of your money is wasted in corruption and lost in the system the a measly 250 million.

NASA's budget is huge, and they're finally getting there act together. Its a good investment.
 

ajsco

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I love the irony of this as it's a 'green' satellite to monitor global warming and it crashes into the sea. Anything that backfires on the greens is fantastic.
 

Lil Snap

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The design stinks. Period.

First, the Thermal Protection System. NASA got cheap and decided not to invest in next generation alloys that could be take the reentry heat generated by such a reentry. Instead, they went with brittle and maintenance intensive silica tiles and carbon-carbon panels. This caused costs per launch to skyrocket.

Second, the launch system is unnessesary and complex. NASA, again, cut corners and decided against a fully reusable booster system. Instead, we attached a marvel of an engine to the orbiter and piped the LH and LOX from an external tank to the orbiter. Again, more costs.

It would have made a hell of a lot more sense to follow a Energia/Buran approach. Attach the SSMEs to the central booster, and make the booster recoverable like the orbiter.

It's a good machine, no doubt. For a first generation vehicle, it isn't bad. But it failed in it's goal. It did not become a cheap way to access space.
wikipedia said:
The Energia rocket (Russian: Энергия, Energiya, "Energy") was a Soviet rocket that was designed by NPO Energia to serve as a heavy-lift expendable launch system as well as a booster for the Buran Space Shuttle. It had the capacity to place around 100 metric tons in Low Earth orbit.
The Thermal tiles were the state of the art (in 1971) at dispersing the tremendous thermal load of reentry, so much so that the Soviets copied that feature (among many others) when they crafted the Buran. The Carbon-Carbon shielding was also copied, for better or worse because of the lack of an alternative, i would think.

Obviously, there are new materials now that would run circles around most of these things.
Certainly, the cost was really underestimated, but what big ticket government contract has EVER come in on budget. You can't really compare the costs of a shuttle type system to a traditional rocket program because of the multi functional flexibility of the shuttle.

If you look at the expendable Energia system, which has 4 boosters (kerosene/ LO2) and 2 massive motors on the base of the core rocket, the (relative) simplicity of the NASA system, with 2 rebuildable SRB's and 3 main engines on the shuttle, becomes more evident. The motors on the shuttle are returned/ reused each time, and the SRB's are reused as well, with only the fuel tank lost in the process.

The Soviet Energia II, that was supposed to return from orbit separate from the Buran, was only in the discussion stages when funding was removed from the whole program.
 

BromeTeks

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These things do happen. Space travel is not, in fact, a risk free area nor even a low risk one. The device itself was not a waste of money, nor was any other planned part of this particular program. The satellite was supposed to help scientists study global carbon dioxide distribution, as where it was coming from and where some of it was going. What sucks was the small yet catastrophic hardware failure in the booster system.

But handfulofoats was right, more is probably lost each day in the system thanks to corruption than the cost of this spaceflight.
 

MysteriousVisitor

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The Energia/Buran system is sound when manufactured with western technology. The only reason Energia wasn't made to be recoverable (like the liquid fuel strap ons were) is because Glushko knew that a reusable closed cycle high energy cryogenic engine was beyond Soviet technology.

The simplicity of Energia becomes apparent when you realize you don't have to pump fuel and oxidizer from the external tank to the orbiter. A self contained booster is much simpler and substantially more flexible then an ET-SSME system that the American orbiters had. For example, such a booster system could be used to loft larger payloads then those that could fit in the payload bay, such as when the first Energia booster lofted Polyus.

Yet, when doing this, they abandoned all the work that they had already done on their other spaceplanes. Billions of rubles had been spent and countless man hours of research expended on, among others, the Chelomei Rakatoplan, the Myasishchev M-48, and the MiG-105 Spiral. None of them used the obviously faulty tile and carbon method of thermal control.

The Soviet Union copied the design because they wanted to copy the United States. They wanted to maintain the aura of equality with western space technology. They had successfully maintained that spectre throughout the 70s, and they did not want to lose it when the shuttle came on line. Soviet Engieneers knew that a reusable shuttle based on the technology that they had off the shelf was sure to be a failure. The only reason Buran was proposed and built is because of the American space shuttle. You see this response time and time again from the Soviets. Heck, the vast majority of the work done on the Soviet space program from 1945 onwards can be traced back to various responses to American actions and capibilities.
 
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Lots of ground has already been covered, but I'll agree and sum up and add a bit:

Doing hard things, like exploring space or ocean trenches, is hard. It is risky. However, I think that we should still fund both endeavors because exploration is a need shared across all mankind.

I have a friend with a Ph.D. from Stanford (she's smart. Really, really, terrifyingly smart) who works at NASA now. What they do with their budget would leave directors of other government agencies/groups boggled. They get a lot of ... er ... (yes, pun intended) ... bang for the buck.

Sadly, when things go sideways for them, it is public, catastrophic, and traumatic.
 
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The shuttle is a great idea and a big improvement over splashing astronauts down in the ocean.

Part of the shuttle costs could be said to offset the cost of the ships and recovery of the astronauts and capsule.

The big problem with the shuttle program, is that it never evolved and kept up with technology advances.
The thing is 1970-era design, sure state of the art at the time, but it falls a little short now.
It was designed at a time when the PC didn't even exist, a lot of people have more computing power siting on thier desk, than can be found in the shuttle.

To keep current and avoid becoming obselete, the program should have had a development component, to continuously improve and refine each new shuttle vehicle built.

Then the shuttle would never become obselete, all that would have to be decided is the number of flights each vehicle could take.
It is much easier to keep a program running than to get approval and budgets for a brand new shuttle.
Now it looks like the shuttle progam will get grounded long before a new shuttle takes to the sky.

On a related note, has anyone noticed how big the space station appears in the sky.

In the evening, just after sunset, on the west coast of North America, the space station can be seen in the western sky.
With the sun reflecting off the station, it really appears large, the biggest object in the sky next to the moon.
It won't be too long before we will be able to see it in the daytime with the naked eye.
That will really be a day to mark for history.
 

MysteriousVisitor

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I agree. The shuttle was an improvement over the very expensive water recoveries. And we could build a damned good shuttle right now if we had the money and the desire. But it was a failure in its goal to provide cheap, reliable space access. The shuttle was simply too fast too soon for too much.

I tell you, though, the Soviet Union ended up being right with their space station-capsule approaches. Hence why I think Orion is the right direction for NASA to go.
 
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