The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
BrotherIsaac, SeekingLight, NoTrueScotsman, Soraya, CuriousMarten
5,759 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
3 members (Fr. Al, Irish Melkite, 1 invisible), 112 guests, and 43 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Church of St Cyril of Turau & All Patron Saints of Belarus
Byzantine Nebraska
Byzantine Nebraska
by orthodoxsinner2, December 11
Church of the Holy Trinity (UGCC) - Brazil
Church of the Holy Trinity (UGCC) - Brazil
by Santiago Tarsicio, March 17
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
by JLF, November 10
Upgraded Russian icon corner
Upgraded Russian icon corner
by The young fogey, October 20
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics35,045
Posts413,994
Members5,759
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 473
Member
OP Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 473
Next Monday will be the 40th anniversary of what many people would consider to be America's 'finest hour'. Nobody doubted that man's first walk on the moon would be a historic event. 500 - 600 million people around the world watched this event live on mostly black & white TVs. For a brief moment in history, the democratic first world nations were united around this historic event.

Everyone who did see the live broadcast will remember where and with whom they were at the moment Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon. Just seconds after he did, he uttered a short quote that would become one of the most famous ever made by a man: "That was on small step for this man" (he paused, then said) "but a giant leap for mankind." He paused because he realized that he forgot to say the word 'this' (highlighted) but nonetheless everyone seemed to understand what he meant.

The cost to the USA to be first to have a man walk on the moon was roughly 3% of the nation's GDP over 8 years, and in 2009 would be roughly the equal to $120 billion.

The following 6 clips are a great summary of the events 40 years ago, and if you don't have time to watch all 6, just watch 4 and 5. Clip number 4 and 5 are the most touching.

July 20, 1969 - Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon

PS: My grandfather who was born in 1901, a full two years before the Wright brothers made their first successful flight never believed in NASA's Apollo missions. In his honest opinion, it was nothing more than an elaborate Hollywood production.

I.F.

Last edited by Jean Francois; 07/18/09 01:50 AM.
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,632
Likes: 7
John
Member
Offline
John
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,632
Likes: 7
Amazing that it is 40 years. I vividly remember waiting, and waiting, and waiting (trying to stay awake) for the actual walk to begin. We sat on the floor in front of the television for hours on end.

And that they did it with the technology they had - which is elementary compared to what we have now - is doubly amazing.

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
Quote
And that they did it with the technology they had - which is elementary compared to what we have now - is doubly amazing.


Now consider that, with all the technology and knowledge we have today, NASA says it will take twice as long and cost four times as much to go back. That is merely indicative of the technological and imaginative sclerosis that afflicts the Space Agency, and one reason why I believe the operational side of the space program should be privatized, with NASA reduced to a science and technology agency along the lines of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA, the predecessor of NASA).

If in 1960, you asked anyone in the field how we should proceed to a manned landing on the moon, you would have been told that first we would learn to send a man into low earth orbit, then we would develop reusable spacecraft to do so cheaply and reliably, then we would build space stations in earth orbit where we would assemble vehicles in which we would go to the moon. It was the logical and sustainable way to do it, and everyone from von Braun down to the lowliest slip-stick jockey knew it.

The came Sputnik, and space exploration became a substitute for military competition between the superpowers (the Olympics fulfilled a similar role). Now the emphasis was on getting there fast, not on getting there right, so the program changed from one focused on lunar transfer from earth orbit to direct ascent--i.e., from earth to the moon with no intermediate stops.

To do so, we built the largest, most powerful rocket the world has ever seen, the Saturn V, 365 feet tall, with a gross weight of 6.7 million pounds and first stage engines generating 7.65 million pounds of thrust. All that, to deliver just 100,000 lbs of payload into lunar orbit. Just half of that would descend to the lunar surface, and only the Apollo command module, about 13 feet tall, 10 feet in diameter and weighing just 12,000 lbs would return to the earth.

It worked, but in winning the race we also sacrificed the possibility of a sustained presence on the moon. We went for a stunt, instead of carefully considered program. We invested in the wrong technologies, as a result of which we never got a fully reusable space shuttle, and are still using the same disintegrating totem poles to put stuff in orbit as we did back in 1963. What are the three principal space boosters in service today? The Atlas V, evolutionary development of the original Atlas that sent John Glenn into orbit; the Delta V, a development of the original Thor intermediate range ballistic missile; and the Titan III, an improved version of the booster used in the Gemini program. The Russians are no better off, using basically the same booster today that put Yuri Gagarin into orbit more than four decades ago.

Our next step in space will actually be retrograde. We are abandoning even the pretense of a reusable manned space vehicle and returning to a space capsule, an evolutionary improvement on the Apollo capsule, mounted on top of a multi-stage expendable booster. Instead of flying back from orbit and landing on a runway, our brave astronauts will revert to being "spam in a can", delivered by parachute to a landing zone in the ocean somewhere. After forty years, we are back where we started. A very typical government program that provides a generation of employment for NASA engineers and their contractors, but which also ensures that space travel will never be practical or affordable.

We're building improved Wright Flyers, when we should be building a space-going DC-3. Government is never going to get that done, just as it was incapable of building a practical airliner. Only the private sector, duly incentivized by the profit motive, will provide the breakthroughs needed for mankind to break free from the earth's gravity well to begin to colonize and exploit the resources of the solar system. If the exploration of the New World had been run by NASA, we would still be living in Europe, and everything we know about the New World would be provided by unmanned seagoing probes that, at great cost and with great difficulty, manage to bring us back some samples from the beach at Cape Cod.

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,648
Likes: 3
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,648
Likes: 3
Here's a question:

Why hasn't the private sector come together and formed its own version of NASA? If the private sector were capable, why haven't they put NASA to shame with an endeavor that brings back twice the data at half the cost?

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
The answer has two points.

First, the main space technology companies (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital Science, etc.) all have incestuous relationships with the government--both on the civil (NASA) and military (DoD) side. The military is comfortable with the products industry brings to them, industry does not innovate where there is no competition and the customer is satisfied.

Second, the government has, through regulation, established extremely high costs of entry for entrepreneurial startup companies. In fact, until about a decade ago, it just was not possible for a private entity even to get permits for a space launch--in effect, the government controls who can access space. Things have been changing slowly with the entry of private enterprises like Virgin Galactic (Richard Branson's commercial space tourism business) and Space-X (builder of the low-cost Falcon launch vehicle).

Government has also pretty much taken the profit motive out of space colonization by signing on to a treaty that makes the moon and all other planets and asteroids the "common property" of all mankind. Duh! Now, back in the 1940s, Robert Heinlein saw more clearly than that when he wrote the short story "The Man Who Sold the Moon". In fact, if we were serious about space colonization, we would have chartered companies to do so, just as we chartered companies to colonize the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries. You get to the moon, you have a claim for everything you can extract from it. All revenues derived therefrom are yours--minus the government's cut, of course. How much is a permanent commercial space station worth? How much for a permanent lunar base? Nobody knows at present, but the potential value has lots and lots of zeroes at the end of it.

Tell people they can get rich in space, and we will be in space tomorrow.


Link Copied to Clipboard
The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2020 (Forum 1998-2020). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5