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In Reply to: RE: Elaborate on the impressive restoration? ;-) (nt) posted by Steve O on August 30, 2018 at 10:15:38
***Fast forward to now, 17 years after zero date and we find a moribund space program where we (US) rely on Russians to get a man into orbit, a large number of satellite launches get to space using 1960s era Russian rocket technology and no one could get a man to the moon if humanity's very existence depended on it. ***
That is not a very real picture. While it is true that the US space industry has lost some time doing not much, it woke up and is gaining fast, overtaking the former rivals like while those are stuck in the bog.
The Russian industry is falling apart, they are unable to keep up with the likes of SpaceX, who is now leading in launches. There are new developments everywhere, with several companies really pushing the frontier. First manned flight to ISS is supposed to happen next year. These are VERY good times for the US space industry.
...I was speaking of the present, not the future. As of August 2018, what I stated is unequivocally true.
While there is no doubt that there is renewed interest in space exploration, in the US, there's a lot of "re-inventing the wheel" going on. This coupled with the transition to private sector operations brings much added risk to the ventures from the perspective of continuity. As I'm sure you're aware, Musk's Tesla automotive and solar panel operations are under great financial pressure these days. Success here is not a given. How this uncertainty might affect his Space-X operations is unknown but it's easy to envision a Tesla failure cascading into his other ventures regardless of supposed financial firewalls betw them.
Also, I believe the Boeing/Lockheed Martin venture that gave us the antiquated Russian rocket technology situation is behind schedule with their supposed USA sourced alternative.
Another major issue with the US space program is that it has become highly politicized and from what I see, rife with conflicting priorities that politics brings with it.
Bottom line is that much uncertainty remains in the present US space program as we attempt to both privatize it and make up for much lost time and lost expertise while simultaneously navigating the eternal BS of the politics that will ultimately control its direction. I'm hopeful but have low expectations.
And at present all the stuff that I mentioned is happening. Tesla and SpaceX are not exactly related, and there seems to be no issues with the launches, they are getting new contracts, including the real big deal - military launch on its new Falcon Heavy rocket.
There are several new engines (things like AR-1 and BE-4) in the works, as well as boosters, two spacecraft and even some crazy stuff like the Stratolaunch.
Now, one can, of course, feel any way he wishes about all this. I am entirely optimistic.
We are in a transition from public sector to private sector funding. Hard to say at this point where it will end up.
I would much rather pay money to an American company, than to the soviet regime. SpaceX is today number one launcher in the world.
As result of our cancelling further flights with with the russians, the soviet Roskosmos is experiencing great difficulties, and I like that. We lost some years, but now we are taking the lead again.
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