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Mission Highlights: Falcon 9 engines ignite for liftoff from SpaceX’s launch pad in Cape Canaveral on May 22, 2012.
Michael Interbartolo's profile photoAaron Harper's profile photoRob Holland's profile photoJim Carver's profile photo
i just what to see one in my life time.
I'd have died a bitter old man if the last substantial thing we did in space ended with the Apollo 17 launch I was blessed to have witnessed in person.  Thank you for letting us dare to dream again.
+Aaron Harper so constructing the International Space Station (thus giving SpaceX a place to deliver to) was not a significant achievement? or launching, repairing and upgrading Hubble not a worthy event since Apollo 17? not to belittle SpaceX's achievement but discounting the past 30 years of Space Shuttle as achieving nothing is a little too much for me.
Are you forgetting this is a private company who achieved this?
yep i do. it time to make a change in going in space . i still love NASA BUT we need to move fast in devellment .
NASA needs to be private company, so they can get back to what the do best. coming up with ideas.
we just do not have the money to put in it at this time.
+Kevin Parker so then should NASA not be giving SpaceX a $1.6B contract for cargo deliver if as you say we can't afford it? can I ask how much do you believe NASA gets as a percentage of the Federal budget?
+michael interbartolo Points well made, and I'm sorry if my comments touched a nerve considering your work history, but it would seem that all NASA was actually doing was focused on low earth orbit.  Men have been locked to LEO, even though we were able to go farther in times past, yielding a quarter century economic boom.  The only things in LEO are the things we put there, so no real exploratory science can be accomplished.  

Science, yes, exploratory science, no, unless you count Hubble.  I can't do so in good conscience, for the same reason I can't credit the cartographer Al Idrisi or any other one prior to Juan de la Cosa's work in the early 16th century with representing the new world.  You have to be there to do the greatest work, even if you are not the best person to do it.

There was a lot of talk about going to the moon and Mars, but we have not made significant progress in those regards beyond sending rovers.  No recent manned craft designed to go past LEO has made it off the drawing board or mock up phase, much less the launch pad. We must grow as a species, and each step we took, Hubble and ISS being major ones, did not seem to lead to other steps; no iterative or generational progress.  

No matter how much of a step forward each was, there was no plan to come up with anything better before entire programs are cancelled and vehicles decommissioned or deorbited.  That said... please prove me wrong with the James Webb Space Telescope.  In fact, please prove me wrong on a lot of things, okay?

Two questions regarding ISS will help you understand my point of view, if not agree with me.  There is talk of de-orbiting ISS in 2020, some 7 to 8 years away.  Are there any credible plans to replace ISS?  How long did it take from the time the plans were drawn up to the point men turned on the lights did it take for ISS to come on line?  

The answers I have to these questions are "no", and "1984 to 1998, or 14 years".  Even if we assume that this will accelerate now that we know how (even though we knew how with Skylab for the Americans and Mir for the Russians), It means that we would need to have a plan NOW and we will need the ability to lift the components... which we have lost the capability to do.   The only thing that could replace ISS in the time we have is a joint venture between SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace.

The big deal that SpaceX represents is that business doesn't stop at a single success, then move on to another thing (we call this a "terminal process").  It stays with it and improves upon the success, Its attention span determined by profitability, not the 4-8 years of shifts in national priorities.  If business can see a reason to be in space, we will stay as a species. 

Taking a little side tack...  What do you see space looking like in 20 years?
+Aaron Harper my thoughts are very similar. It'll be interesting to see if +SpaceX paat/recent success can lead to continued attention for federal support as well as sustained profitability...which will be essential.
+Aaron Harper no problem, we are actually talking about moving components from the ISS to L2 possibly instead of deorbiting it. there is also talk of extending the ISS usage beyond 2020 which if SpaceX and others continue to succeed they would be crucial for continuing to supply and perform crew rotations. I agree we have been stuck on the plateau of LEO for too long and suffer the whims of a fickle congress/WH and if folks like Planetary Resources and SpaceX can keep pushing forward I am all for it.
You have no idea how glad I am to hear that.  Moving it to L2 is a pretty good idea, though you will need to do something beyond reaction wheels for station keeping.  

I assume we're thinking support / resupply for lunar missions.  Would this be an unmanned asset or a manned outpost?  A quick cost/benefit analysis didn't help me figure it out, and I figure it all depends on SpaceX and other COTS contenders' success rate, eh?   
there has been a lot of spaghetti thrown against the wall since Obama cancelled Constellation and congress mandated the SLS heavy lift rocket, L2 is just the latest thing that may or may not stick. I think they were looking at L2 observatory, telerobotic control of lunar missions and possible jumping off point. I don't think they will finalize the plan for another month before they roll it out.
To add to what +michael interbartolo said, just like Constellation, NASA programs are subject to the will of the President and Congress.   Despite the President's attempt to end Constellation, Congress still enacted legislation that "saved" larges chucks of the program.  SLS is not really that different from Ares V and Orion (now MPCV) was never axed.  Decisions on what to do with ISS hardware are subject to a lot of changes over the next decade and will include what the International partners think.  The Russians have hinted at continuing to use their segment for example...
+michael interbartolo If they're talking about telerobotics from L2 to the lunar surface, that will fix a lot of the latency and other comm issues and simplify the radios, but at the same time, the amount of Isp to get there and stop short isn't that much less than a landing.  Then there's the resupply missions...

I don't see it, but then again they haven't seen fit to brief me since '98.  ;) and do a decent job of reporting some of the big ideas. From these big ideas, it is generally possible to google the topic and look for NASA released powerpoints.

L2 logistics might be accomplished directly with a FH-Dragon, but there are other potential logistical architectures.
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