rwdavidoff[6:11 PM]Good evening.
Good evening! How are you doing?
I'm....all right, I guess.
Tired, and still a bit overwhelmed by everything.
Couldn't sleep last night, and ended up staying up to 3 AM trying to watch Endeavour launch Before they scrubbed.
Trying to remind myself we're still doing ISS--Cupola seems really cool.
I'm just still bummed over the new budget documents.
I just don't know what to think. Have you read them yet?
Some, yeah. Mostly the executive summaries. I thought that they looked kind of interesting, myself.
There's just so much floating around. You've got a lot of people saying it's the end of the world, and I get it. I mean, DIRECT has been saying for years now that Ares V was a bad rocket, and Ares I was worse.
Augustine agreed. But now there's just...nothing.
But Phil Plait's saying it's not all bad.
It doesn’t really look like nothing to me?
Well, there's no HLV. You can't do the moon with no HLV. That's the thing I keep coming back to.
I was _really_ looking forward to working on Constellation when I graduate.
Are you sure you can’t do the Moon with no HLV? Didn’t the Constellation report talk about how you could do it?
I think I've mentioned a few times my great-Uncle worked on the first moon shot, and I was going to be part of the second.
I think it was just to dismiss it, but ISTR that they did construct a scenario for how you could do it...
It's a _lot_ of launches. You need depots, and tugs, and a lot of that. And they're killing Orion too, so there's also no capsule to take you there. Unless you're buying Elon's lines about Dragon being lunar rated.
Well, if NASA’s paying for it to be...
I guess, but it's a lot of work to just get back to where we are. We could be doing SDHLV _now_ you know? A lot of this development and science spending is awesome, and I'm really pleased to see that the plan isn't to just splash ISS, but...it seems like we'll be losing a lot of time.
Depot demonstrations and new engine testing and ISRu demos and all that don't get boots on the surface.
Sure, but see what Phil says in that article you linked: “We need to be able to figure out how to get there and be there, and that takes more than just big rockets. We need a good plan, and I’m not really sure what we had up until this point is that plan.”
What I think of is Antarctica.
You know, Antarctica’s a really harsh environment that you have to lug everything into from the rest of the world, right?
Kind of like outer space.
I'd heard, yeah.
And back in the day it was so expensive and difficult to do anything there that there were only little pinprick visits from time to time.
But technology developed and costs fell and eventually it got cheap enough that the United States has hundreds of people in Antarctica all the time, even during winter.
And loads and loads of countries have their own bases and outposts, even little ones like Argentina and Chile.
And it’s totally uncontroversial. No one has to beg for money for the Antarctic program.
So if you can bring the costs down--and this budget is at least _trying_ to do that--then it’s not a matter of the “moon program” any more.
Besides, it’s not like it’s giving up on exploration altogether, it’s mostly just shifting money to robots.
I think I missed that bit.
Space Science didn't talk about any new program starts.
I mean, if you go look over the budget there are budget increases for most of NASA’s science lines, which are robots.
ESMD doing precursor missions to the Moon, Mars, and other places like the near-Earth asteroids.
Bumps to Earth science, planetary science, you name it.
I mean, okay, you know how I always bring up how the Apollo missions were so much more productive than the Luna missions...
But if you can’t _get_ Apollo, and that’s what Augustine was saying, then Luna’s better than nothing.
I guess I was just hoping we wouldn't have to choose.
And it seems like a lot of the space congresspeople are pitching fits.
Like healthcare wasn't bad enough.
I am excited about the exploration demonstrations, actually putting ISRU to the test, a depot test, all that.
Yeah, though you have to remember that presidents propose, they don’t dispose.
There was a book about that, let me see...
Ah! Roger Launius, _Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership_!
Looking it up. I'm assuming the title means that he's saying they matter less than people think?
Yeah, that’s the gist.
The thing is that Presidents are powerful but not, ultimately, in charge of the disbursement of resources.
They also don’t _care_ as much as individual Congresspeople.
I mean, Alabama wants space dollars more than Obama wants not to give them space dollars, you know?
I'm not really sure what that's going to mean, though.
I dunno. I think I'm just going to hope Endeavour gets off all right tonight and I can sleep better, and then we see how it all shakes out.
Yeah, that’s probably for the best.
This budget wants a lot of cool stuff with commercial, right?
Isn’t it also great to see reuse going places?
It is! I'm looking forward to seeing K-1 refly in a month or so.
And we'll get to see what all this reuse stuff Elon keeps talking about wanting to do is once they get flying.
Yeah, and how about these other companies the budget calls out?
Blue Origin, Paragon Space?
I don't really know much about them.
I’ve been trying to learn--that astronaut seemed really excited about commercial when she visited campus last month, but there’s a lot of them.
Paragon sounds nifty, and Blue seems like they've got a lot of money, so hopefully they can make some quick progress.
I am hoping to see Virgin and RpK fly this year.
Yeah, that’ll be cool.
That's some real science fiction stuff.
Yeah, seeing everyday...well, okay, pretty rich...people flying into space, that’s a big deal.
It is. Anyway, I really should stop moping and try and finish this statics homework.
Or get a nap.
Especially if I'm staying up tonight to watch the launch attempt.
See you around?
Yeah, talk later!
NOTE: My thanks to @Workable Goblin
for his help in preparing this post.