Space 1975 Could Von Braun's vision have worked

uk 75

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Just been leafing through a copy of an old Brooke Bond card album about spaceflight which ends with various NASA projects planned before Nixon went for a leaner option
I also have Stephen Baxter's novel VOYAGE about a US manned mission to Mars in the 80s.
To get the Von Braun vision to work takes quite a lot of alternative history. Unlike Baxter who kept Kennedy alive, I would choose Johnson instead.
Johnson had the clout to keep NASA big. But to get him in the White House from 1968 to 72 there is the not so easy matter of the Vietnam War. As I don't think the US could have won this without massive social unrest at home, I would have the Kennedy administration ditch South Vietnam after the coup against Diem.
With no Vietnam to pay for, Johnson could have linked the Great Society to the high frontier of space.
By the time Hubert Humphrey beat Richard Nixon in his final run for the White House in 1972 the Apollo progamme follow ons were starting to take shape. By 1975 lunar missions were a well established routine.
 

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edwest3

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Johnson is a bad choice. The war on poverty combined with the Vietnam War would have left little money. The bigger question is why the Vietnam War was allowed to last as long as it did. It's not like the US and its Allies in the South did not understand jungle combat. Things had petered out by 1972 and that was that. The US had landed on the Moon. So why spend more?
 

uk 75

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Sorry. Did your read what I wrote.I deliberately removed the Vietnam War from my alt usa to give Johnson a free hand.
Disenchantment with NASA might still have happened as you suggest. But I want to look at space options.
Please do not turn this into a Vietnam debate.
 

Michel Van

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The issue was the USA was only winner of Moon race and Soviet stop there effort.

Had Soviets landed Cosmonauts on Moon or official announce a Manned Mars program
The Space Race had step into next level

Vietnam conflict was Political trap were LBJ fell in,
It likely that JFK or Nixon fallen into had they be president in 1964
and would HHH support large space program or spent on social issue ?

here Nixon would be best choice
As first Cosmonaut land on Moon, he must made a decision
and Space Shuttle will not be his choice in this case
Why ?
Once the soviets abandon there Moon and Mars plans and stick to Low earth orbit
Nixon took analog program with reusable Spacecraft (after noodling over for 5 years on US space program future)
 

uk 75

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Thank you Michel
It is true that the failure of the Soviet manned moon programme was a key factor in bringing Apollo moon missions to a halt.
The public were unaware of this of course.
Mars without the nuclear Nerva and the paraphernalia of earth and moon orbital stations does seem impossible.
The unmanned science lobby in NASA delivered some triumphs like Viking and Pioneer Voyager.
For the Von Braun dream to happen Korolyev sorry about spelling needs to stay alive as his competitor.
The Russians saw the space shuttle asa serious military threat which was probably what Nixon hoped.
 

sferrin

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Sorry. Did your read what I wrote.I deliberately removed the Vietnam War from my alt usa to give Johnson a free hand.
Disenchantment with NASA might still have happened as you suggest. But I want to look at space options.
Please do not turn this into a Vietnam debate.

Well there was also the "Energy Crisis" and general malaise in the US.
 

uk 75

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The Energy crisis came about in the early 70s largely as a result of events in the Middle East. It did not especially hit budgets.
The general malaise in the US was principally caused by Vietnam. In my scenario the US ditches South Vietnam after the disastrous toppling of Diem shows there is no government worth supporting. US allies like the UK were urging this
 

Archibald

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How about Hubert Humphrey ? he was LBJ vice-President, a pretty good man AFAIK, and barely lost to Nixon in 1968. With Humphrey, no CREEP, no plumbers, no Watergate. an interesting twist would be that LBJ dropped THE 1968 campaign: that Nixon was screwing up peace talks with the Viet-Minh just to piss him and make Humphrey lose. LBJ chose not to drop that atomic bomb, had he done it, maybe - maybe - Humphrey could have won.

There is somewhere on the web a fascinating document: Von Braun Mars sales pitch to Nixon Space Task Group. Date: August 4, 1969. In the post-Apollo 11 euphoria and (rather hauntingly) only four days before the Mansons murders split the nation.

Von Braun had two options

- 1986 (hello, Voyage novel) if budget and technology were not pushed. Hence Mars landing: early April 1986 .

- 1982, exactly on August 15, 1982. The earliest possible date, busting the budget and the technology and taking many risks.

While Baxter did a pretty good job imagining the 1986 option - although on a sour-grappe, and low-key attitude - what remains to be done is the opposite - a "triumphant 1982 landing with nuclear rockets" novel.

I frequently think about it... August 15, 1982. Assumption of Virgin Mary day, how about that ! Virgin Mary lifted off like a rocket... and landed on Mars (ok, this is silly, admittedly).

1982 was a pretty shitty year.
Falkland war, Israeli war, Lebanese massacres, Formula 1 got two dead and one badly hurt (Pironi, Paletti, and the great Gilles Villeneuve) Indianapolis got a truly horrific crash, too (Gordon Smiley: he crashed at 210 mph straight into the concrete barrier and was killed and badly mauled and unrecognizable, don't you ever browse this crash on You Tube, it is sickening).

War, death, misery all over the place. Not unlike 1968, you know, the year that was saved by... Apollo 8.

Hence landing a man on Mars might have saved a very shitty year. I say that as someone who was born on May 16 of that very year.
I often think that, had Von Braun got what he wanted and men landed on Mars on August 15, 1982 I would be the most unhappy space nerd in history: not born for Apollo 11, and a three month toddler in a craddle for Mars. Dang.

Back in 1968 Boeing had the IMIS concept, a fabulous nuclear Mars ship. http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=40261
von Braun 1969 Mars sale speech to the STG was pretty much IMIS happening in 1982.

Meanwhile Rockwell was busy imagining - right from 1968 ! - the flight test program of the Mars Excursion Module. Baxter hijacked OTL STS-1 shuttle flight into Crippen and Young flying a reinforced, beefed-up MEM through Earth atmosphere for a complete reentry testing. Unlike Apollo 9 LM, a reinforced MEM could land on Earth.
MEM Flight testing as imagined by Rockwell would have been something like
- launch an unmanned MEM in orbit, let it soak there for 200 days to see how it ages in space
- launch a manned, reinforced MEM in Earth orbit, and make a descent through the atmosphere
- land a modified MEM on the Moon (!)
Pretty cool when you think about it: the MEM, first craft ever to land on three different planetary bodies (Earth - Moon - Mars !)

The MEM was so heavy, around 130 000 pounds, only a Saturn V could do the job but would be massively overkill. Alternatively, an INT-20 would be perfect (S-IC + S-IVB, no S-II).
It would be the exact same shape as an Apollo CM, with a touch of LM inside, the bastard child of these vehicles and, somewhat ironically, a return to the 1960-62 Direct Ascent Apollo vehicle.

the plan for the NERVA was to have three of them, after Earth escape the lateral vehicles would return to Earth orbit (yikes !) while the middle-one would be dumped into the inner solar system, hopefully never returning...
There were some troubling issues with NERVA. A Bellcomm memo from 1971 warned that a NERVA firing could be dangerous as far as 100 miles, downstream of the exhaust. Neutrons from the three NERVA side-by-side would tend to mess things up.
not quite as disastrous as Baxter put it in the novel, but certainly a very hot potatoe in every sense of the word. Von Braun talked about reuse of the nuclear shuttles for lunar missions, but it would have been pretty dangerous.
Also every manoeuver past Earth escape would be chemical, no way they carried a NERVA up to Mars.
 
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Archibald

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It is hard to get the Soviets to Mars without hasting their 1991 OTL bankrupcy and collapse. Apollo already pushed them over the edge, Ares could not be answered.
There are many options for the Soviets in an IMIS or Voyage TL
- Option 1 they try that Apollo old trick again "robots are better and less expensive". Fact is they had N-1F based monsters Mars rovers (4NM) and sample return (5NM) projects, they even started cutting metal between 1973 and 1978.
- Option 2 they go the full OTL Apollo-Soyuz way and seek international cooperation. In the shadows they prepare a simpler, less expensive Mars flyby: think Zond to Apollo, it very nearly worked OTL.
- Option 3 they say "screw Mars" and focuse on the Moon. L3M is the way to go, Mishin had political approval for it in spring 1972 OTL before Glushko ruined the party. http://www.astronautix.com/l/l3m.html

Option 4: they mix all the above. a big lunar program just to screw Apollo legacy, plus disjointed bits of Mars here and there as the budget is not there. Robotic Mars Sample Return (Luna to Apollo, but on Mars) + a secret flyby (Zond to Apollo, but on Mars) + international cooperation over Ares (Apollo - Soyuz, but on Mars).

Option 5 (very unlikely): they decide to go to Mars like the americans. In this case, Aelita & MEK > http://www.astronautix.com/m/mek.html
But you can probably kiss the soviet Union goodbye by 1982 rather than 1991.

For the sake of comparison: how much did Apollo cost in our present days dollars ? The answer here


300 billions to 700 billions dollars to go to the Moon. For Mars, multiply by... "I just can't imagine the amount".

Cost original $ ----------------------------- Adjusted 2019 $Relative GDP $


Total Lunar Effort28.0 billion288.1 billion702.3 billion
 
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Orionblamblam

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There is somewhere on the web a fascinating document: Von Braun Mars sales pitch to Nixon Space Task Group. Date: August 4, 1969.


Difficulty: the Johnson Administration had killed off Saturn V production a *year* earlier. There was not going to be another Saturn V, thus no further large manned space missions until a completely different launch vehicle becomes available. The von Braun missile required a number of Saturn Vs, none of which would have existed.

To have an alternate history where Apollo/Post-Apollo are saved, the divergence needs to come before summer '68. Say, Goldwater wins in '64 against LBJ, Oswald misses in '63, whatever. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, it's entirely possible that his first term might have been his last. And without the "Camelot" view of the "martyred" President, in '64 the Democrats might not have swept to dominance in Congress, and thus the Great Society programs of 64-65 might well not have come to pass.
 

Archibald

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I won't drag this thread into politics, I don't give a rat, I'm not even American. Both sides had skeletons in their closet, as far as Vietnam or Kopechne or Watergate goes, LBJ or EMK and Nixon were equal ruthless bastards AFAIK.
This said,
Saturn V production was put on standby by LBJ in summer 1968 (blame NASA Webb, too, who only cared about Apollo before leaving his job) but could be restarted until Nixon (or NASA Paine, silly Paine) definitively slammed that door in January 1970.
As late as May 1972 NASA still had lans to keep some Saturn V in mothballs to try and restart production... somewhere in the future.
 

edwest3

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Sorry. Did your read what I wrote.I deliberately removed the Vietnam War from my alt usa to give Johnson a free hand.
Disenchantment with NASA might still have happened as you suggest. But I want to look at space options.
Please do not turn this into a Vietnam debate.

Well there was also the "Energy Crisis" and general malaise in the US.


Trust me, there was no malaise. I was there. Only a lack of goals and strong leadership.
 

uk 75

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Archibald and Orion Thank you for such well informed and thoughtful replies. Apart from Mark Wade's Encyclopaedia Astonautica and some of a series of books from Apogee I am not so well sourced.
edwest I grew up during Vietnam and went to University in 75 just after the South fell. I have nothing but respect for the servicepeople who were involved, some of whom I have met. But for this thread I needed it moved offstage.
 

edwest3

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Archibald and Orion Thank you for such well informed and thoughtful replies. Apart from Mark Wade's Encyclopaedia Astonautica and some of a series of books from Apogee I am not so well sourced.
edwest I grew up during Vietnam and went to University in 75 just after the South fell. I have nothing but respect for the servicepeople who were involved, some of whom I have met. But for this thread I needed it moved offstage.
Archibald and Orion Thank you for such well informed and thoughtful replies. Apart from Mark Wade's Encyclopaedia Astonautica and some of a series of books from Apogee I am not so well sourced.
edwest I grew up during Vietnam and went to University in 75 just after the South fell. I have nothing but respect for the servicepeople who were involved, some of whom I have met. But for this thread I needed it moved offstage.


You missed my post about strong leadership? Where did I bring up that war? I got my draft card to go.
 

uk 75

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edwest my bad. I mistook your I was there comment and lack of goals and strong leadership to refer to Vietnam rather than the US. Not splitting hairs some would see lack of goals and leadership as being part of a malaise.
 

Orionblamblam

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Saturn V production was put on standby by LBJ in summer 1968 (blame NASA Webb, too, who only cared about Apollo before leaving his job) but could be restarted until Nixon (or NASA Paine, silly Paine) definitively slammed that door in January 1970.

The moment production on the Saturn V officially ceased, restarting production basically became impossible.
1: Talent - and the tribal knowledge that went with it - *immediately* started looking for other jobs elsewhere.
2: Subcontractors began closing their doors. A lot of the bits and pieces of the Apollo/Saturn program were built by mom&pop shops where anythgin from a large fraction to the entirely of their business came from Apolo/Saturn. When the contracts ended, they sought other business or just went out of business.
3: Some of the major tooling was promptly put into storage. Which meant some was almost immediately trashed (intentionally or unintentionally; you don't move hundred-ton bits of tooling out of the factory and into the rain and expect things to work., and some was mislaid.

This is why some strategically vital rocket programs such as ICBMs are never *quite* shut down, there's always some slow drag, ordering some trivally small number of bits and pieces very now and then. But even so, issue #1, the loss of expertise, is *always* nightmarish. Nothing as complex as a Saturn V, especially back then, is as simple as the blueprints. There are manufacturing processes that are often more art than science, with lots of vital people making sure that they *don't* tell anyone else how they do what they do. Because doing so makes them replaceable.

By 1970, NASA probably *couldn't* restart production in any sort of reasonable timeframe. It could well have been cheaper to start from scratch.
 

RanulfC

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Just been leafing through a copy of an old Brooke Bond card album about spaceflight which ends with various NASA projects planned before Nixon went for a leaner option

Love those old things :)

I also have Stephen Baxter's novel VOYAGE about a US manned mission to Mars in the 80s.

I'm sorry for you :)

To get the Von Braun vision to work takes quite a lot of alternative history. Unlike Baxter who kept Kennedy alive, I would choose Johnson instead.
Johnson had the clout to keep NASA big. But to get him in the White House from 1968 to 72 there is the not so easy matter of the Vietnam War. As I don't think the US could have won this without massive social unrest at home, I would have the Kennedy administration ditch South Vietnam after the coup against Diem.
With no Vietnam to pay for, Johnson could have linked the Great Society to the high frontier of space.
By the time Hubert Humphrey beat Richard Nixon in his final run for the White House in 1972 the Apollo progamme follow ons were starting to take shape. By 1975 lunar missions were a well established routine.

Er, Johnson was the one who ramped up the war in Vietnam and he pushed Kennedy, (who needed another good anti-Communist cause anyway) to go in initally and to expand support, including direct US intervention. He was initially pushing for US intervention in the conflict in Laos so he's not likely to NOT escelate the conflict or allow Kennedy to.

Johnson was very much a Progressive but he was also VERY anti-Communist to the point where I'm surprised any alt-history where he gets into the White House instead of Kennedy rarely points out he would have gone all-in on the Bay of Pigs support if he'd been in charge. Nixon was actually having second thoughts due to the changes being done to the initial plan.

The other thing is that by 1965 Congress had already begun drawing down NASA fundng and support and there was no support for a more expanded space program. By that time both public and political support had turned and by the time Apollo 11 landed space was very much on the back-burner for both Congress and the US public.

Further, (and this was what happened OTL) Johnson has to choose his battles because he could only coast on Kennedy's legacy and his "Great Society" was only mildly popular with Congress and as time wore on only a bit better in the general public. If he pushes space it will cost him in those areas and frankly he cared more for the Great Society than going to the Moon or Mars. OTL while he attempted to save some of Apollo's legacy, Congress pretty much told him no and cancled most post Apollo planning and budget. While Vietnam is used a lot in fact it was Congressional restictions and budget cuts that really drained away future support.

Of course it was Apollo's actual succes at it's "Impossible Mission" (really, a nation with NO space flight experiance other than some suborbital flight of less than 15 minutes is announcing they will beat known leader of space flight to the Moon in less than a decade, who'd take odds on that actually happening) that probably did the most damage to the future of space flight. We had done something extrordinary by spending huge sums of money and resources with no limit. That obviously couldn't continue but at the same time the very infrastructure and organization we'd built to do the job couldn't operate any other way. And the way we'd done it was specifically designed to do that one job and not much else. It certainly couldn't do the job for less money or effort. So we had a legacy unsuited to doing anything BUT going to the Moon ever so often at great expense and risk and no money or support to ramp that back down to something that would be more affordable and sustainable.

So in essence we'd have to start all over again from scratch and build a new paradigm from the ground up... Or we could just keep doing similar big budget programs and hope someone will come along and open the taps back up...

We didn't do the former

Randy

 

RanulfC

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The issue was the USA was only winner of Moon race and Soviet stop there effort.

Had Soviets landed Cosmonauts on Moon or official announce a Manned Mars program
The Space Race had step into next level

Thank you Michel
It is true that the failure of the Soviet manned moon programme was a key factor in bringing Apollo moon missions to a halt.
The public were unaware of this of course.

Well there was every indication that by 1965/67 we'd pretty much surpassed the Soviets in space and there was no sign they could realisticly catch up. A possible POD here is that they manage to pull off a Lunar flyby prior to Apollo 8 which shocks the public and political powers to reconsider the current reductions in budget. However it's likely to still only be a flash-in-the-pan and resume once we've actualy gone to the Moon.

The public weren't aware of the actual status but then again they didn't care and by the time Apollo 11 landed they majority were simply glad the 'race' was over and done with and can we stop wasting money on space travel now? Despite the popular image the Space Race was never more than periphary to most Americans and was a very low priorty even before Apollo 11 landed and it only got worse from there. The problem is that in general "space" has very little direct relevence to most people and there's not a lot other than low cost, easy and routine access that will change that.

Mars without the nuclear Nerva and the paraphernalia of earth and moon orbital stations does seem impossible.
The unmanned science lobby in NASA delivered some triumphs like Viking and Pioneer Voyager.
For the Von Braun dream to happen Korolyev sorry about spelling needs to stay alive as his competitor.
The Russians saw the space shuttle asa serious military threat which was probably what Nixon hoped.

It wouldn't have worked that way as Korolev and the Soviet government were never that interested in space beyond the occasion propganda coup and once those ran out, (which was very early on in the 60s btw) then space exploration became just another program to be competed and financed like any other. The brief 'surge' with the N1 wasn't even as high a priority or effort as Apollo so there was little chance it would succed even had Korolev survived to champion it.

Well there was also the "Energy Crisis" and general malaise in the US.

The Energy crisis came about in the early 70s largely as a result of events in the Middle East. It did not especially hit budgets.
The general malaise in the US was principally caused by Vietnam. In my scenario the US ditches South Vietnam after the disastrous toppling of Diem shows there is no government worth supporting. US allies like the UK were urging this

No in fact the energy crisis DID hit both budgets and goals as NASA was turned to energy research which took a large chunk of the budget and directly effected some work on the Shuttle. (Not to mention boosting the idea of Space Solar Power which NASA loved)

Trust me, there was no malaise. I was there. Only a lack of goals and strong leadership.

"Malaise" in this case was the lack of strong support by the US public and government for or against the war until the mid-60s when it turned decidedly against the war. Note UK75 that in your scenerio in fact the 'malaise' would be worse most likley because South Vietnam would fall pretty fast after the US pull out. In general it would probably have the opposite effect than you want because at that point there would be a lot of pressure to stop 'wasting' money on space and get back to concentrating on the only place that really matters; Keeping the Communists contained here on Earth!

Randy
 

RanulfC

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Difficulty: the Johnson Administration had killed off Saturn V production a *year* earlier. There was not going to be another Saturn V, thus no further large manned space missions until a completely different launch vehicle becomes available. The von Braun missile required a number of Saturn Vs, none of which would have existed.

Congress cut the budget so Johnson had little choice since you can't buy something with no budget :)
IIRC the production re-start option was there until around 1972 when everything was finally trashed. I know that the infrastructure and supply chain were disintigrating once the decsion was made but the re-start studies took that into consideration which is why the cost rose quickly within the first few years. The same was true with the Saturn 1B as well. Had someone convinced Congress to open up the taps again limited production could have been kept open but they didn't want NASA haveing any ability to the Moon let alone beyond it.

To have an alternate history where Apollo/Post-Apollo are saved, the divergence needs to come before summer '68. Say, Goldwater wins in '64 against LBJ, Oswald misses in '63, whatever. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, it's entirely possible that his first term might have been his last. And without the "Camelot" view of the "martyred" President, in '64 the Democrats might not have swept to dominance in Congress, and thus the Great Society programs of 64-65 might well not have come to pass.

Something to keep in mind as well, (and Baker like most folks get totally wrong about the way Kennedy felt about space flight) is that Kennedy had been extremely reluctant to put forward the Lunar goal in the first place and quickly regreted doing so. He was casting about for options to cancle or scale back Apollo even as it began to ramp up going so far as to informally enquire to the Soviets about a joint Lunar program instead. The Soviets politly declined as it would have exposed how shoddy their space program and technology was at the early stages and they had nothing to gain through cooperation. They didn't really belive that Kennedy or the US would actually commit the needed resources to actually going to the Moon until it was far to late.

Archibald and Orion Thank you for such well informed and thoughtful replies. Apart from Mark Wade's Encyclopaedia Astonautica and some of a series of books from Apogee I am not so well sourced.

You need to look at some of the Apollo Applications Project history and I'd suggest a few AH searches and the following threads which provide some good background on the actual situation facing Apollo as it drew to a close.

For some good starts.

The moment production on the Saturn V officially ceased, restarting production basically became impossible.
1: Talent - and the tribal knowledge that went with it - *immediately* started looking for other jobs elsewhere.
2: Subcontractors began closing their doors. A lot of the bits and pieces of the Apollo/Saturn program were built by mom&pop shops where anythgin from a large fraction to the entirely of their business came from Apolo/Saturn. When the contracts ended, they sought other business or just went out of business.
3: Some of the major tooling was promptly put into storage. Which meant some was almost immediately trashed (intentionally or unintentionally; you don't move hundred-ton bits of tooling out of the factory and into the rain and expect things to work., and some was mislaid.

This is why some strategically vital rocket programs such as ICBMs are never *quite* shut down, there's always some slow drag, ordering some trivally small number of bits and pieces very now and then. But even so, issue #1, the loss of expertise, is *always* nightmarish. Nothing as complex as a Saturn V, especially back then, is as simple as the blueprints. There are manufacturing processes that are often more art than science, with lots of vital people making sure that they *don't* tell anyone else how they do what they do. Because doing so makes them replaceable.

By 1970, NASA probably *couldn't* restart production in any sort of reasonable timeframe. It could well have been cheaper to start from scratch.

All good point taken into consideration and addressed in the various "restart production" studies. They all pretty much concluded that yes, starting from scratch would be cheaper and possibly easier but it could be done should someone be willing to pay. Further, and this is where most of the studies went instead of actually rebuilding the Saturn 1 or V, the compenents would likely be easier and cheaper to restart than the full vehicles so that route was open as well. In essence they recommended using the Saturn 'parts' to build something that looked like a Saturn and calling it good. Heck it would allow designing and building an actually better, more efficeint and likely cheaper "Saturn" with more capabilty and a vastly better and more robust infrastructure.

Or...

We could toss everything out and just start over and still not build a cheap, robust, and efficient space launch vehicle... Oh hey, look at that :)

Randy
 

edwest3

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Just been leafing through a copy of an old Brooke Bond card album about spaceflight which ends with various NASA projects planned before Nixon went for a leaner option

Love those old things :)

I also have Stephen Baxter's novel VOYAGE about a US manned mission to Mars in the 80s.

I'm sorry for you :)

To get the Von Braun vision to work takes quite a lot of alternative history. Unlike Baxter who kept Kennedy alive, I would choose Johnson instead.
Johnson had the clout to keep NASA big. But to get him in the White House from 1968 to 72 there is the not so easy matter of the Vietnam War. As I don't think the US could have won this without massive social unrest at home, I would have the Kennedy administration ditch South Vietnam after the coup against Diem.
With no Vietnam to pay for, Johnson could have linked the Great Society to the high frontier of space.
By the time Hubert Humphrey beat Richard Nixon in his final run for the White House in 1972 the Apollo progamme follow ons were starting to take shape. By 1975 lunar missions were a well established routine.

Er, Johnson was the one who ramped up the war in Vietnam and he pushed Kennedy, (who needed another good anti-Communist cause anyway) to go in initally and to expand support, including direct US intervention. He was initially pushing for US intervention in the conflict in Laos so he's not likely to NOT escelate the conflict or allow Kennedy to.

Johnson was very much a Progressive but he was also VERY anti-Communist to the point where I'm surprised any alt-history where he gets into the White House instead of Kennedy rarely points out he would have gone all-in on the Bay of Pigs support if he'd been in charge. Nixon was actually having second thoughts due to the changes being done to the initial plan.

The other thing is that by 1965 Congress had already begun drawing down NASA fundng and support and there was no support for a more expanded space program. By that time both public and political support had turned and by the time Apollo 11 landed space was very much on the back-burner for both Congress and the US public.

Further, (and this was what happened OTL) Johnson has to choose his battles because he could only coast on Kennedy's legacy and his "Great Society" was only mildly popular with Congress and as time wore on only a bit better in the general public. If he pushes space it will cost him in those areas and frankly he cared more for the Great Society than going to the Moon or Mars. OTL while he attempted to save some of Apollo's legacy, Congress pretty much told him no and cancled most post Apollo planning and budget. While Vietnam is used a lot in fact it was Congressional restictions and budget cuts that really drained away future support.

Of course it was Apollo's actual succes at it's "Impossible Mission" (really, a nation with NO space flight experiance other than some suborbital flight of less than 15 minutes is announcing they will beat known leader of space flight to the Moon in less than a decade, who'd take odds on that actually happening) that probably did the most damage to the future of space flight. We had done something extrordinary by spending huge sums of money and resources with no limit. That obviously couldn't continue but at the same time the very infrastructure and organization we'd built to do the job couldn't operate any other way. And the way we'd done it was specifically designed to do that one job and not much else. It certainly couldn't do the job for less money or effort. So we had a legacy unsuited to doing anything BUT going to the Moon ever so often at great expense and risk and no money or support to ramp that back down to something that would be more affordable and sustainable.

So in essence we'd have to start all over again from scratch and build a new paradigm from the ground up... Or we could just keep doing similar big budget programs and hope someone will come along and open the taps back up...

We didn't do the former

Randy



I hope someone notices the forbidden subject being mentioned.
 

edwest3

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The issue was the USA was only winner of Moon race and Soviet stop there effort.

Had Soviets landed Cosmonauts on Moon or official announce a Manned Mars program
The Space Race had step into next level

Thank you Michel
It is true that the failure of the Soviet manned moon programme was a key factor in bringing Apollo moon missions to a halt.
The public were unaware of this of course.

Well there was every indication that by 1965/67 we'd pretty much surpassed the Soviets in space and there was no sign they could realisticly catch up. A possible POD here is that they manage to pull off a Lunar flyby prior to Apollo 8 which shocks the public and political powers to reconsider the current reductions in budget. However it's likely to still only be a flash-in-the-pan and resume once we've actualy gone to the Moon.

The public weren't aware of the actual status but then again they didn't care and by the time Apollo 11 landed they majority were simply glad the 'race' was over and done with and can we stop wasting money on space travel now? Despite the popular image the Space Race was never more than periphary to most Americans and was a very low priorty even before Apollo 11 landed and it only got worse from there. The problem is that in general "space" has very little direct relevence to most people and there's not a lot other than low cost, easy and routine access that will change that.

Mars without the nuclear Nerva and the paraphernalia of earth and moon orbital stations does seem impossible.
The unmanned science lobby in NASA delivered some triumphs like Viking and Pioneer Voyager.
For the Von Braun dream to happen Korolyev sorry about spelling needs to stay alive as his competitor.
The Russians saw the space shuttle asa serious military threat which was probably what Nixon hoped.

It wouldn't have worked that way as Korolev and the Soviet government were never that interested in space beyond the occasion propganda coup and once those ran out, (which was very early on in the 60s btw) then space exploration became just another program to be competed and financed like any other. The brief 'surge' with the N1 wasn't even as high a priority or effort as Apollo so there was little chance it would succed even had Korolev survived to champion it.

Well there was also the "Energy Crisis" and general malaise in the US.

The Energy crisis came about in the early 70s largely as a result of events in the Middle East. It did not especially hit budgets.
The general malaise in the US was principally caused by Vietnam. In my scenario the US ditches South Vietnam after the disastrous toppling of Diem shows there is no government worth supporting. US allies like the UK were urging this

No in fact the energy crisis DID hit both budgets and goals as NASA was turned to energy research which took a large chunk of the budget and directly effected some work on the Shuttle. (Not to mention boosting the idea of Space Solar Power which NASA loved)

Trust me, there was no malaise. I was there. Only a lack of goals and strong leadership.

"Malaise" in this case was the lack of strong support by the US public and government for or against the war until the mid-60s when it turned decidedly against the war. Note UK75 that in your scenerio in fact the 'malaise' would be worse most likley because South Vietnam would fall pretty fast after the US pull out. In general it would probably have the opposite effect than you want because at that point there would be a lot of pressure to stop 'wasting' money on space and get back to concentrating on the only place that really matters; Keeping the Communists contained here on Earth!

Randy



Well, there's that forbidden subject again. A little history: President Kennedy told the press in a "Rose Garden" speech that the US would provide material aid but it was their war and they had to fight it. The hawks didn't like Kennedy's handling of the Bay of Pigs. Actual history tells us that he was deceived and vowed to "smash the CIA into a thousand pieces." Stars and Stripes. Oct. 4, 1963. "U.S. Troops Seen Out Of Viet By '65" Kennedy was going to get the US out of Vietnam by 1965. And once Kennedy was gone, what did Johnson get from his advisors? Bad news. Reasons to escalate. The Commander of Vietnamese naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin was asked years later about what happened there. "Absolutely nothing."

There was no stated winning strategy in Vietnam. Look it up. All that President Johnson heard in briefings was the body count. After the Tet Offensive in 1968, American troops began to be withdrawn. No one really "decidedly" anything. The US knew there was a risk of another Tet-like Offensive and called it a day. I still remember seeing those helicopters hovering over the US embassy and then seeing those same helicopters landing on the decks of waiting aircraft carriers. When there were too many, some got pushed over the side to make room. A determined enemy had pushed the US out of Vietnam and it was obvious that staying meant more country-wide attacks. Some idiot ordered a nuclear weapon to be attached to a fighter-bomber. However, someone noticed and cancelled the mission. The mission was to drop the bomb on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. However, analysts estimated that it would only cause a delay of three to four weeks.

The US had its highest level of troops in 1968. After that, South Vietnamese troop strength increased.
 

Orionblamblam

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All good point taken into consideration and addressed in the various "restart production" studies. They all pretty much concluded that yes, starting from scratch would be cheaper and possibly easier but it could be done should someone be willing to pay.

Having been involved in comparatively *small* aerospace restart programs, I feel reasonably confident in stating that any "restart production study" that concluded anything short of "bleeding out of the eyes nightmarish" was wildly optimistic. When programs start going wonky, the *first* people to leave are the vitally important ones. The ones who hang around are the lethargic or those nobody else wants to hire.

Storytime: my very first aerospace job was at OSC to help design the thrust structure for the X-34B. The damn thing got canceled at the end of my first week there. Before the announcement meeting had even begun people were already dashing about to find other jobs, elsewhere at OSC and at other companies, based purely on the *rumor* that a meeting was to be held a little later. It was an astonishing display of large-scale Brownian motion, which I was utterly unable to comprehend. I was one of the last people in my section still working on X-34 stuff because everyone who knew better had already split.

After a while in my abbreviated aerospace career I ceased to be surprised when I'd stumble across manufacturing process instructions for this item or that conductive coating that were typed out in clear, easy-to-read instructions, with handwritten notations like "ignore step 47, talk to Jim, he knows how to mix Parts A and B correctly."
 

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I hope someone notices the forbidden subject being mentioned.

I did but wanted to note Johnson was the one who WANTED to be in Vietnam.

Well, there's that forbidden subject again. A little history: President Kennedy told the press in a "Rose Garden" speech that the US would provide material aid but it was their war and they had to fight it. The hawks didn't like Kennedy's handling of the Bay of Pigs. Actual history tells us that he was deceived and vowed to "smash the CIA into a thousand pieces." Stars and Stripes. Oct. 4, 1963. "U.S. Troops Seen Out Of Viet By '65" Kennedy was going to get the US out of Vietnam by 1965. And once Kennedy was gone, what did Johnson get from his advisers? Bad news. Reasons to escalate. The Commander of Vietnamese naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin was asked years later about what happened there. "Absolutely nothing."

There was no stated winning strategy in Vietnam. Look it up. All that President Johnson heard in briefings was the body count. After the Tet Offensive in 1968, American troops began to be withdrawn. No one really "decidedly" anything. The US knew there was a risk of another Tet-like Offensive and called it a day. I still remember seeing those helicopters hovering over the US embassy and then seeing those same helicopters landing on the decks of waiting aircraft carriers. When there were too many, some got pushed over the side to make room. A determined enemy had pushed the US out of Vietnam and it was obvious that staying meant more country-wide attacks. Some idiot ordered a nuclear weapon to be attached to a fighter-bomber. However, someone noticed and cancelled the mission. The mission was to drop the bomb on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. However, analysts estimated that it would only cause a delay of three to four weeks.

The US had its highest level of troops in 1968. After that, South Vietnamese troop strength increased.

Kennedy WAS set up and really it didn't matter who was in the White House the military and CIA wanted to invade Cuba so the set the operation up to fail without direct US support. The US would have LOVED another Tet Offensive since the first one destroyed the Viet Cong organization and handed the NVA some major defeats the main problem was that despite the actual victory the US was not seen to have actually 'advanced' in the conflict when in reality they'd gained a lot but it was squandered politically and the South had no means or will to follow it up. (In fact they use the opportunity to further internal suppression and help create a whole new Viet Cong organization in record time)

No one ever loaded a nuke to attack Vietnam, in fact the US had already made it clear we wouldn't be honoring our commitment to provide air support against the invasion. Which is why the North felt secure enough to actually invade. By that point in the war the Ho Chi Mihn Trail was not being used and had no effect on the war, it's only use was when the US WAS in country to bypass the DMZ. I'm pretty well aware of the Vietnam war thanks but the main point in this context is Johnson was not going to withdraw.

Had Nixon won the election it's questionable if he'd have gone ahead with Cuba as it was presented as he'd already expressed doubts over the changed plans. Further he'd have been a bit less pressured to set the Lunar goal in the first place since he had more "anti-Communist" cred than Kennedy or Johnson did. He likely would not have gone into Vietnam at all since he was aware of the large issues involved in doing so directly. Now what you WILL get from Johnson in this scenario is that he will very much push for Nixon to continue to expand the space effort which while it does not get you to the Moon by 1970 likely gets you a more comprehensive space program.

Randy
 

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Your reading of history and mine diverge. In any case, the fact is a lot of programs were eliminated or wound down by 1973. It wasn't just about money. President Nixon resigned in 1974. I think the will to go further remained but the reasons for the cancellations elude me.
 

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Having been involved in comparatively *small* aerospace restart programs, I feel reasonably confident in stating that any "restart production study" that concluded anything short of "bleeding out of the eyes nightmarish" was wildly optimistic. When programs start going wonky, the *first* people to leave are the vitally important ones. The ones who hang around are the lethargic or those nobody else wants to hire.

Actually not that bad for the most part as it was assumed from the top down that while there would be some cuts a "new" big program was coming. It took till the mid-70s for people to really start leaving but then came the energy crisis and another influx of money. Industrial losses were there but as I noted no one really took the end of Apollo seriously for a few years and most of the loss was scheduled retirements. Heck people were aware that ANY jobs at the time were going to be scare and most recalled the major shutdowns and layoffs of the 50s and 60s followed by the upswings. Since the aerospace industry was making it well known to anyone and everyone that they NEEDED a big new program everyone fully expected the government to step in and provide one. They sorta did.

Storytime: my very first aerospace job was at OSC to help design the thrust structure for the X-34B. The damn thing got canceled at the end of my first week there. Before the announcement meeting had even begun people were already dashing about to find other jobs, elsewhere at OSC and at other companies, based purely on the *rumor* that a meeting was to be held a little later. It was an astonishing display of large-scale Brownian motion, which I was utterly unable to comprehend. I was one of the last people in my section still working on X-34 stuff because everyone who knew better had already split.

After a while in my abbreviated aerospace career I ceased to be surprised when I'd stumble across manufacturing process instructions for this item or that conductive coating that were typed out in clear, easy-to-read instructions, with handwritten notations like "ignore step 47, talk to Jim, he knows how to mix Parts A and B correctly."

Yep but that's actually indicative of the late 80s and 90s industrial culture rather than the legacy culture of the 40s and 50 which built the Apollo stuff. Oh there was a LOT of the "ask Jim" stuff but it was actually documented for the most part, (step 47 was re-written to show the actual process whereas doing so later would be kicked down the road instead) and when someone put something in 'storage' it actually went into a building with some thought to using it again. Sure it WAS going to be tough but not necessarily 'eye-bleeding' because in fact everyone DID expect to use the stuff again. I mean the US was going to the MOON! They surely wouldn't STOP going would they?

But any attempt was going to be expensive and difficult which is pretty much why it never happened but the SOONER the better because the more time passed the more it would cost and the more you'd have to rebuild from the ground up.

Take the J-2 and J-2X for examples:

J-2 was developed from pretty much scratch over 3 years where as the J=2X needed about 5 years and a lot more money for what amounted to a "clean-sheet" design "based on" the J-2 engine. The idea was they could 're-develop' the J-2 from existing models and documentation which turned out to be rather easy in concept as test firings of legacy models and design work showed they could begin cranking out 'new' J-2s in about 3 years. (About 2010 was the schedule)
However as the needed thrust levels kept climbing well past the original's design parameters, (250,000lbs, whereas the J-2X needed at least 295,000lbs) they decided to make it 'based on' rather than a modern copy. 5 years later we have a "J-2X" ready to begin production, (but actually getting them into production would need another 3 years and more money) but not very good paper trail and more than a bit of "propitiatory" design and construction information that would need to be protected before any such production would be undertaken.

Oh, so we're going with a RL10s instead... Wonder why...

Randy
 

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Your reading of history and mine diverge. In any case,

Agreed :)

...the fact is a lot of programs were eliminated or wound down by 1973. It wasn't just about money. President Nixon resigned in 1974. I think the will to go further remained but the reasons for the cancellations elude me.

The problem was actually the will to go further was NOT in fact there which was the main problem. Johnson wanted to keep "Apollo" going in the Apollo Applications Program but Congress wasn't interested. Congress was SPECIFICALLY not interested in allowing NASA to make or expect any MARS plans. The annoying fact that NASA, (who was aware of this "issue" but ignored it) tended to tie everything they spoke about for 'future' work into planning on going to Mars was not lost on them

-APP which would develop and expand Lunar and orbital work with an EYE TOWARDS FUTURE MISSIONS TO MARS.

DENIED

-A large Earth Orbiting Space Station which will be used to study Earth, Space Science, Biology and Microgravity with an EYE TOWARDS FUTURE MISSIONS TO MARS.

DENIED

-Nuclear and electric in-space propulsion which will enhance future missions with an EYE TOWARDS FUTURE MISSIONS TO MARS.

DENIED

(You may be sensing a pattern emerging from both sides here)

-A Space Shuttle to reduce the costs to getting to Earth orbit and back to the Earth, which can serve a future orbital Space Station and possibly with an EYE TOWARDS ....

SHUT UP AND BUILD A SHUTTLE

Ok, fine but we can use the Shuttle with an EYE ...

Don't MAKE me come down there and smack you... Again...

fine...

And the general public was fine with all this NOT happening because "space" was never very important to them in a personal sense anyway. And to go beyond the Moon in a big way you NEED the public to care and want it as a priority or at least among the top couple of priorities. That's never been the case though. There have been surges of interest such as in the late 50s with Colliers and Disney and then again in the late 70s with Space Solar Power and Space Colonies but it was never deep or broad enough to actually sustain momentum.

That's where the idea of "all we need is another Kennedy" falls down but the Space Cadet's (like me :) ) really don't get the underlying issues or the actual place space travel has in the public and political mind. Again even Kennedy had second thoughts about going to the Moon let alone anything else! He desperately searched for a way to 'match' the Soviets without committing to a major space effort and had he ANY other choice the US would not have committed to going to the Moon. Once he was assassinated it almost became politically impossible to reverse the decision* and Johnson (actually pretty correctly) saw it as a political tool and way to gain solid support from the South and West so no rocking the boat there. But as it drew towards the end he noted that Congressional and public support for keeping the program running were flagging and worst yet NASA itself didn't have a good plan for what to do after Apollo. NASA made no bones about their entire plan being "Apollo levels of funding and support continue forever with no questions asked" and Johnson (and many others outside and inside NASA to be fair) were aware this was anything BUT the case.

And then Apollo 1 happened. And in a politically dangerous move Johnson allowed NASA to investigate and correct itself rather than allowing Congress or an outside agency to do. Needless to say this peeved Congress to no end who were already tired of NASA's attitude and culture. (Lots of room to talk I know but keep in mind the ability to see in others what you ignore in yourself is a political survival trait :) ) And remember that "*" above where it was 'almost' impossible to reverse the decision?

You see there was likely enough support from the "martyrdom" of Kennedy to push through the Lunar landings on schedule but with Congress or an outside agency running the investigation and inquiry it was more likely that delays would happen. SERIOUS delays. Because it was also no secret that both NASA and industry were were not only writing checks they couldn't cover they were well AWARE they were doing so and had an unspoken agreement to not talk about it. (This picture is illustrative of my point this was done in all seriousness about the Apollo Capsule: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_1#/media/File:A1prayer.jpg) Outsiders would MAKE them talk about it and the delay would likely push the first Moon landing well into the early 70s which would open up the idea that "well since we didn't make the goal and it's obvious the Russians aren't going either why bother?" as a very real and present possibility. Opponents were more than ready to use 'evidence' such as the Phillips Report (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillips_Report) for just such a purpose if it could be done.

Johnson burned most of his remaining political capital, NASA and the lead contractors made several high profile firings and changes and Apollo 4 launched later that same year with an overall loss of only a few months from the schedule. But Congress now had pubic support and the ability to actually exercise their budget oversight to a more extreme degree and they used it.

Johnson had effectively lost the ability to control NASA's budget and future by the end of 1965, having effectively traded a majority of his political power to get the Great Society program rolling through Congress and the American public. Even if he manages to avoid the "forbidden subject" he still has to use his political resources to either advance the Space Program against a resistant and then hostile Congress and public or to push his Great Society program but it's unlikely he could do both.

Randy
 

Archibald

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Randy your post made me dying of laughter

Congress now had pubic support

They had whaaaat ? lmao. Congress are surely assholes and dicks, hence your post makes some sense ROTFL
 

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Well, that was a mess. President Kennedy set a clear goal about getting a man to the moon. The London Times wished us well but didn't believe it could be done. They published a "Well done." in 1969. After the stated mission objective was achieved, it was achieved. It is quite obvious that bureacrats are not scientists or visionaries. I was there in the 1960s and bought everything I could about astronauts and spacecraft. The idea of going further required NASA, not bureacrats, speaking to the public. It required the President - whoever that was - speaking to the public. By 1973, we were still listening. Still waiting to hear about that next step in space. Last I checked, 2010 was the last missed deadline for Mars. I've stopped waiting. I could care less when men make it to Mars, which is apparently too dangerous to do anyway, Forget about the cost. And the technology behind the first Appolo mission was good enough but today's technology is not good enough to get people to Mars? Fine. I'm waiting for a fully automated drill to land, reach water and bring it to the surface near the equator where it's relatively warm. No need to go to the poles. Do something that will get Americans excited about space.
 

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Randy your post made me dying of laughter

I live to amuse... My wife says so :)

Congress now had pubic support

They had whaaaat ? lmao. Congress are surely assholes and dicks, hence your post makes some sense ROTFL

Hey while Congress IS the above they also, (by the law that established NASA) responbible for establishing and maintaining NASA's budget and spending but NOT its mission and/or programing. This becomes important down the road as Congress used this power to effectivly decide what NASA could and could not do by means of that control. The idea was the President sets the direction, Congress provides the funds and NASA does the job... That lasted right up till the mid-60s and Congress hasn't let go since.

Randy
 

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I'm waiting for a fully automated drill to land, reach water and bring it to the surface near the equator where it's relatively warm. No need to go to the poles. Do something that will get Americans excited about space.
I'm not sure that finding water would do the trick. Now if they found beer on the other hand...
 

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Almost funny. If astronauts are sent to Mars and attempt to grow plants in a hothouse, they will need water. Local water. And heat. If they are successful, then man may gain a foothold on Mars. The first planet we can colonize. That would spur the public imagination, not just in the US but in Russia and China. I put my money on China to follow that development with their own landing and the establishment of a Martian base. That spirit of adventure, of taking risks, can be reignited.
 

Michel Van

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yep RanulfC brought it into Nutshell

Capitol Hill reacted aggressive on anything connected for Mars and High cost in 1967 to 1973.
But you have to understand that Apollo program was not yet at Moon and 3 dead Astronauts during ground test
and new Administration proposed even Bigger Programs for 1970s

First Victim was the Voyager Mars probe, who started as Small landers program and ende as they needed Saturn V to launch 2 of them.
Next was Apollo Applications Program
it was huge, really huge in some proposals went up to 26 Saturn IB and Saturn V launches.

Then came Spiro Theodore Agnew
Nixon vice president order the Space Task Group to come up Apollo successor Plan in 1968.
There idea of Fun was megalomaniac program that stretch over 30 years, involving huge infrastructure Shuttle - Tug - Nuclear Tug - Mars lander
in 1990s the USA would had A Space Base, Moon Base and Mars Base for reasonable price tag
and as Capitol Hill heard the needed budget they went berserk...

Here how Nixon react on that price tag..
14516511683_2259d684fa_c.jpg
 

uk 75

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Gentlemen thank you for so much discussion and Information here.
For my part, I think I have lost interest in space just because it has become Routine and geeky. No more exciting manned missions anywhere, just a lot of blokes in shirtsleeves and glasses hoping that some bit of hi tech electronic wizardry in a funny Looking probe wiill deliver great science.
 

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Musk will change that. Plus all the startups racing behind them. Just think that Starship will land on the Moon, Mars, and could also bring large payloads to the asteroids.
With a little luck, the exciting future planned by NASA in the heyday of the 60's will return, this time for real. Musk is working to build a "space 747" large passenger and cargo capability.
 

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RanulfC

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Here how Nixon react on that price tag..
14516511683_2259d684fa_c.jpg

Because this always must be shared many times :)

Yep here's where that Von Braun vison fit what it fit into:

And while we're at it here's Von Braun's complete presentation for a 1982 Mars Manned Landing complete with everyones favorite "FLOX, what could go wrong" MEM:

Lets also add the main reason and concpet from this thread, "If NASA Wasn't Broke"

Gentlemen thank you for so much discussion and Information here.
For my part, I think I have lost interest in space just because it has become Routine and geeky. No more exciting manned missions anywhere, just a lot of blokes in shirtsleeves and glasses hoping that some bit of hi tech electronic wizardry in a funny Looking probe wiill deliver great science.

Now imagine that for the general public space was never that much of a priority even at it's highest funding and support levels. The probes and geeky science ARE more exicting and relevent to them.

Musk will change that. Plus all the startups racing behind them. Just think that Starship will land on the Moon, Mars, and could also bring large payloads to the asteroids.
With a little luck, the exciting future planned by NASA in the heyday of the 60's will return, this time for real. Musk is working to build a "space 747" large passenger and cargo capability.

Musk has already changed some things as he's shown several well known paradigms to be less absolute truths and more educated guess'. But keep in mind he has his own goals and plans and those are focused around Mars rather than anything else so he plans and acts accordingly. We really don't need a "Space 747" as much as we need a "Space DC3" and the cost savings to LEO which Starship and BFR are unlikely to provide. The NASA plans, outside the Lunar/Apollo program which was forced upon them and frankly has been a major reason NASA is as 'stuck' as it is, were build around and on the idea of a step-by-step process that build upon itself to provide a robust and inexpensive (for a government program at any rate) system of interlocking and self-supporting systems that would steadily move people and materials outward from the Earth. This is why it was always so expensive even though the time factor would often make the whole thing more sensible.

Randy
 

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I don't believe Mr. Musk can do more than satellite launches. He's a money man and his Mars plans will prove too expensive. Nothing was forced on NASA. Going to the moon was proof of concept. And even though establishing a moon base was planned decades ago, nothing. There will be no movement to Mars as far as manned missions. All future missions will be robotic. Cheaper, effective.
 

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I don't believe Mr. Musk can do more than satellite launches. He's a money man and his Mars plans will prove too expensive.

Which is why he's already planning retiring the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy and to go with BFR and Starship. He and the rest of SpaceX are rather focused and also upfront about their future plans.

Nothing was forced on NASA. Going to the moon was proof of concept. And even though establishing a moon base was planned decades ago, nothing. There will be no movement to Mars as far as manned missions. All future missions will be robotic. Cheaper, effective.

NASA prior to the 1962 Kennedy Lunar goal speech was planning a steady built up of Apollo capability with initial work in Earth orbit, (along with an Earth orbital space station) to a Lunar circumnavitgation by the early 1970s and a landing sometime in the late 70s to early 80s. The Apollo program we know was focused solely and specifically on landing on the Moon and coming back to the Earth with a brute force approach and little applicabity beyond that goal. (Granted it was a bit LESS brute-force than the Direct Landing Mode and using the NOVA booster but not all that much once you look at it closely) The focus reached the point pretty early on where study of or planning for anything beyond the Lunar goal was set aside or shelved, often not to be re-visited until decades later if at all.

Going to the Moon by Saturn V was THE most expensive and complex way of doing the mission and this was quite well known and understood and it was also understood that once the Saturn V was flying then there would be a lot of incentive to continue using it despite it being cost ineffective which turned out to be the case. And yet this is the exact plan we are now using to go back to the Moon despite the obviouls flaws. Worse due to how the Apollo program was run and its legacy NASA found it extremly difficult to transition into being both a lower priority and lower funded government program which greatly showed in the Shuttle program and has continued to plauge NASA planning and operations to this day.

Robotics are in fact cheaper and more effective but the truth is that people are more interesting and can be more easily connected to by people so despite that people will eventually go again and go further but it remains to be seen if the funding and public support will be there to do so.

Randy
 

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While Musk fortune is hardly Bezos, Tesla and Starlink could generate massive amount of cash.
 

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