56

It is still way too early to make such a judgement. It's easy to be overly optimistic about the cost of a program. The Space Shuttle was supposed to have dozens of flights each year and be super-cheap because it was reusable. However, you simply don't know the true cost until a program has been in use for several years. After several years of the Shuttle, ...


55

From a pre-launch press release for Apollo 11: Among the many missions conceived at that time was a manned journey to the Moon and back. Dr. Silverstein himself named it "Apollo" after one of the most versatile of the Greek gods. Dr. Silverstein recalls he chose the name after perusing a book of mythology at home one evening, early in 1960. He ...


41

The relevant law is Texas Administrative Code Rule §81.35 "Voting from Outer Space" and who's going to vote against that? It is a very small modification of Texas early voting law. (a) A person who meets the eligibility requirements of a voter under the Texas Election Code, Chapter 101, but who will be on a space flight during the early-voting ...


38

Because it's required by law (51 USC Ch. 509: Commercial Space Launch Activities) and by FAA regulations (14 CFR Chapter III - Commercial Space Launch Activities, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation) that implement those laws. Even amateur rockets are subject to some FAA regulations. A rocket going up 10 km is subject to quite a few ...


29

Note: This answer is based on a source from 2001. It provides a lot of background as a historical overview, but it does not take into account recent changes in the program. Please review the end of Organic Marble's answer for a fuller perspective. Initially, it began as a temporary program. In the late 1950s, the US military needed accurate and timely ...


28

The speech is available in full here: https://dc.hillsdale.edu/News/Latest-News/The-Urgent-Need-for-a-U-S-Space-Force/ It's extremely general and non-technical. He talks about getting water from the Moon (!) at 20:25 into the video but does not discuss how. To sum up, there were no specific technical proposals in the speech, about water or anything really. ...


27

To expand a bit on David Hammen's answer, the reasons for the regulations requiring FAA permits for rocket launches are related to public safety (or sometimes the egos of bureaucrats, but mostly public safety.) There are a couple of particular areas that these fall under: Range Safety Obviously, rockets carry a lot of fuel and often very toxic materials (e.g....


21

According to an authoritative-sounding post on collectspace here, it's statute (which matches my recollection). Edit: OP @costrom found an FAA document Fact Sheet – Commercial Space Transportation Activities which confirms it.


19

I read in the news sometimes ago that Mike Pence proposed to form a new division in the US Army as US Space Force. It's not just Mike Pence. It's also Donald Trump, and also members of Congress. The only differences I can see between the Space Force currently proposed by the administration and the Space Corps previously proposed by members of Congress is ...


18

The specific needs of the military may not be served by civilian weather satellites. Specifically, the DMSP started as a classified program that supported the Corona spy satellite program. Its purpose was to predict cloud cover over foreign countries so that the expendable film in the Corona satellites would not be used up taking pictures of the tops of ...


17

Are these statute miles (1609.344 m, 5280 ft) or nautical miles (1852 m, 6076-ish ft)? TL;DR Neither. Or rather, it is 50 statute miles, but a statute mile is not 1609.344 meters. That is the length of an international mile, and U.S. statutes have intentionally not made the conversion from survey miles to international miles. A statute mile is a synonym for ...


16

The plan was not for the Department of Defense to have an additional Orbiter built for it. Instead, the Orbiter Discovery (OV-103) was to be dedicated for DOD use and based at the Vandenberg launch site. (Space Shuttle, Dennis Jenkins, 1992 edition, page 151) Prior to the Challenger accident, when NASA was preparing to launch the space shuttle ...


16

Both the Russian and American space programs use a refined kerosene; the Russian version is called RG-1 and is slightly denser than RP-1. RG-1 and RP-1 formulations are generally interchangeable; American rockets using Russian engines like the Atlas V are flown on RP-1 despite the engines having been developed on RG-1. For both RG-1 and RP-1, the ...


16

As explained in video description of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Emsf_udovU the voting is done electronically Most U.S. astronauts live in Houston. Texas law allows them to vote from space using a secure electronic ballot. Mission Control forwards the ballot to the space station and relays the completed ballot back to the county clerk.


15

Eh, to begin with this statement isn't accurate. SpaceX ... has the same capabilities if not better? Falcon Heavy as stands can't replace SLS and launch Orion on the required orbit without significant modification. (and even if Falcon Heavy could launch Orion, it wouldn't be able to dual manifest Gateway modules) Dragon isn't comparable in capabilities to ...


13

It is because the two programs are separately managed and tracked to an extent that would astound the outsider. USOS crewmembers theoretically would have to ask for permission to use a Russian screwdriver; consumables from the two sides are even more obsessively managed. Casual sharing does go on but this produces headaches for the legion of logistics ...


13

The article says that the page has been adapted from Kwast's speech, so it's possible someone transcribed something wrong or misunderstood. Taking an excerpt: With the right vision and strategy for space, America can develop the means to: Deliver unlimited, clean, affordable energy to every human on the planet without power lines or terrestrial ...


13

All the answers are right in their own way. One thing that is not addressed: The Falcon Heavy is not even remotly on par with the SLS in terms of rocket diameter and payload mass. According to Wikipedia (Falcon Heavy, SLS) the Falcon Heavy can launch 63 tonnes to LEO while SLS can deliver a whopping 95 tonnes in the Block 1 configuration which (if everthing ...


12

Part of it is leveling employment. The government is fond of large projects that require multi-year ramp-up and ramp-down and massive up/down swings in employment need. Suppose in 2019 you're hiring every rocket scientist in town for project X. 2023, you lay them all off because the project is done. Then project Y arrives, a modification on an existing ...


12

Some early rocket programs: Mercury Gemini Saturn Apollo Atlas Thor Juno Athena Jupiter There's a definite naming pattern...


11

The Americans did worry about the possibility of Soviet interference. The navigation computer was could be updated from the ground, but this was only done after confirmation via a voice channel: Apollo’s design did reflect some early concern about possible Russian sabotage. For example, in the air-ground conversations you’d often hear the ground ask the ...


11

In the USA you must be at least 18 years old for the following, so that video may be incorrect. For example HPR Level 1 Certification by the National Association of Rocketry or NAR provides certification for: Level 1 allows the purchase and use of H and I impulse class motors; solid and hybrid. Certain F and G motors may also require Level 1 certification ...


9

There are some great excerpts from the ODPO (Orbital Debris Program Office) at NASA Johnson that describe the results of ASAT operations by China (Fengyun-1C in January 2007) and the U.S. (USA-193 in February 2008). The decision to impact USA-193 while it was nearing re-entry minimized the risk of debris to the ISS and other LEO satellites. According to ...


9

Gov't contracts often have a "Buy American" clause which requires them to buy from US companies or Trade Agreeement Act countries. See FAR Subpart 25.11, and 52.225-1, 52.225-3, and 52.225-5. See the bottom of this page and the links there-in http://farsite.hill.af.mil/reghtml/Regs/far2afmcfars/fardfars/Far/25.htm#P1179_116157 and http://farsite.hill.af....


9

No Here's what ITAR says about launch vehicles Category IV - Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines (a) Rockets, space launch vehicles (SLVs), missiles, bombs, torpedoes, depth charges, mines, and grenades, as follows: Rockets, SLVs, and missiles capable of delivering at least a 500-kg ...


9

There are a number of reasons why this is more challenging. I suspect the primary difference is getting the rockets actually to Wallops Island. The rockets are made in New Zealand, not far from their launch complex. Transporting them there is quite easy. Transporting them across the world is more challenging, to say the least. Wallops Island is actually ...


9

There are four positions in NASA that require Senate confirmation: Administrator, Deputy Administrator, Chief Financial Officer, and Inspector General. Even though Inspectors General do need Senatorial confirmation, they are not viewed as political appointees. For example, the current NASA Inspector General has served since November 2009. On the other hand,...


8

Much of the rocket industry in the US has to deal with ITAR, a set of laws aimed at regulating the sale of weapons. Launchers are seen as weapons due to their ability (in principle) to deliver a payload on a ballistic arc. The Department of State insists that ITAR has limited effect and provides a security benefit to the nation that outweighs any impact ...


7

Any rocket capable of putting a spacecraft in orbit is going to fall under Category IV, paragraph (a), subparagraph (1), (2), or (4). Under Note 3 to paragraph (a), it explicitly calls out model and high power rockets defined in NFPA Code 1122 "made of paper, wood, fiberglass, or plastic containing no substantial metal parts and designed to be flown with ...


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