Artemis I Stacks Up


Nov. 24, 2020

1st of 10 the twin SLS rocket boosters for Artemis I was placed on the mobile launcher

The first of 10 pieces of the twin Space Launch System (SLS) rocket boosters for NASA’s Artemis I mission was placed on the mobile launcher Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers used one of five overhead cranes to lift the segment from the VAB’s High Bay 4 to the newly renovated High Bay 3. The component is the bottom section of the booster, known as the aft assembly, which house the system that controls 70% of the steering during the rocket’s initial ascent. Over several weeks, the other segments will be stacked one at a time and topped with the forward assembly.

Launching in 2021, Artemis I will be an uncrewed test of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA aims to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024 and establish sustainable lunar exploration by the end of the decade.

Image Credit: NASA/Cory HustonLast Updated: Nov. 24, 2020Editor: Yvette Smith

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mark from the midwest
November 27, 2020 2:26 am

I’m always baffled about the need to emphasize gender roles. That actually works against the notion of equality. We should choose crews based on competency, and there are a number of women that are capable pilots, engineers, and potential candidates for extra-terrestrial missions. All other things being equal, when a women is qualified then just select her for the mission, don’t make a big deal about it, that just opens the door for people to say … she’s just there because she’s a woman

Reply to  mark from the midwest
November 27, 2020 3:09 am

Well, in the context of the space race, genderism has always been a part of the program since the Soviets put a woman up in 1963. The problem now for NASA is how are they going to accommodate the other 117 genders? I say, put an example of each in one big ship and send them to Mars.

Reply to  rah
November 27, 2020 4:06 am

Mars ICE sent cease and desist orders.

Reply to  rah
November 27, 2020 4:57 am


Bill Powers
Reply to  rah
November 27, 2020 7:21 am

Lets play a game as to how well that gender game works for everybody.

I take Mr(s) Mustard in the lunar modular with an airlock for misappropriation of pronouns.

Bryan A
Reply to  rah
November 27, 2020 8:05 am

Actually Russia put the first female into space in November 1957
Unfortunately she didn’t survive to return

Reply to  Bryan A
November 27, 2020 11:52 am

Dog gone.

Reply to  rah
November 27, 2020 9:51 am

Sex: male and female. Gender: masculine and feminine sex-correlated physical and mental (e.g. sexual orientation) attributes. That said, a funny thing happened half way through the 20th century. The science and concepts were appropriated, redefined, distorted, and a claim was paraded that we would have a gay old time.

Reply to  n.n
November 27, 2020 4:12 pm

They let Nick near the definitions 🙂

Bryan A
Reply to  n.n
November 27, 2020 8:28 pm

Yabba Dabba Do

Reply to  n.n
November 28, 2020 8:28 am

The science and concepts were appropriated, redefined, distorted

Can’t blame Fred, it wasn’t done thru the courtesy of HIS two feet.

Reply to  mark from the midwest
November 27, 2020 9:49 am

Yup, I was saying to my boss, I disagree with filling roles by gender, race, sexuality etc, and pointed out he was promoted to head of design because he was bloody good at his job not because he is gay

(That’s my pay rise in the bag 😉 )

Reply to  mark from the midwest
November 27, 2020 10:02 am

The objective is to have better food preparation on the moon base.

Reply to  Scissor
November 27, 2020 10:17 am

For at least 3 out of 4 weeks

(ducks and runs for cover)

Reply to  Redge
November 27, 2020 11:51 am

Your are running a little close to being added to the Biden list of offenders. Or maybe you have been added to the list already by a google/facebook/twitter algorithm.

Doh! My association to your posts probably just got me added too.

We could meet in a Obama/Biden cage soon.

Reply to  Drake
November 28, 2020 8:31 am

Soon an Obama/Harris cage, complete w/renewable-powered electrified bars.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  mark from the midwest
November 27, 2020 11:20 am

They are trying to keep the Social-Democrat-Marxists on-board with this Lunar program by emphasizing “diversity.”

The NASA Manned Space flight folks know the Obiden-Harris Administration and Democrat-Marxists in Congress will be keen to grab all those Manned-Space flight hundreds of Billions of dollars. They want to use them for climate reparations and paying Civil War-era slavery reparations and other (fill-in the blank)-Justice programs to buy political support from Special Interest Groups.
Also lots of Blue States (Cal, NY, IL, NJ, CT, RI) are going to need a fiscal-budget bail-out for the next several years to fill the massive holes their self-imposed economic shutdowns have created in tax revenues. They are demanding that Congress print hundreds of billions of dollars and send it to them. They need control of the Senate to do that.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 27, 2020 2:24 pm

“…will be keen to grab all those Manned-Space flight hundreds of Billions of dollars. ”

NASA could only dream of a budget that size. Having a NASA budget just half of that would be an exponential budget increase.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  TomB
November 27, 2020 7:07 pm

Artemis over 10 years is hundred of billions to establish a man-habitable Lunar base.

November 27, 2020 2:32 am

Sustainable? Does that mean they can survive for generations after the supply ships stop?

Reply to  Roger.
November 27, 2020 3:17 am

No. It just means that they don’t burn fossil fuels there…

Bob B
Reply to  Roger.
November 27, 2020 3:34 am

No, it just means they will be installing windmills.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bob B
November 27, 2020 8:10 am

It would have to be windmills, solar works great for 14.5 days but then doesn’t work at all for the next 14.5 day period. 😉

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Bryan A
November 27, 2020 9:03 am

There’s a lot of dust on the Moon that will probably be clinging to the solar panels not long after they are installed. The dust will be clinging to everything.

It would be better to put your solar cells in orbit and beam the power down to the Moonbase from there.

The Chicoms are going to put a demonstration solar power satellite in orbit around the year 2030. Maybe we can buy some electricity from them for our Moonbase.

Or better yet, NASA should build its own solar power satellite and do it before the Chicoms. Let’s have another space race.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 27, 2020 10:03 am

Nuclear is even better. You don’t have to worry about needing batteries for the 14.5 days when the sun isn’t shinning.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 27, 2020 11:25 am

nuclear reactors (of anything more than a few kilowatts from a plutonium-powered RTG) are massively heavy. Delivering and then assembly of fission reactor on a Lunar base would be a monumental task in rocketry and descent technology.

Don K
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 27, 2020 2:40 pm

Mark W. “Nuclear is even better.”

Yes, but … there might be a problem. Nuclear power plants with high power output are built as heat engines. Fission heats a working fluid. Electricity is generated from engines working off the temperature difference between the working fluid and a heat sink. On Earth, the heat sink is any handy body of water. That gets rid of the waste heat with only minor problems. On the Moon, we will probably need to radiate the waste heat to space. Space is cold enough. But I expect it’s going to take a big radiator. And the radiator probably needs to be shielded from the sun? And someone or something is possibly going to have to go out every now and then and remove accumulating lunar dust from the radiator?

Tired Old Nurse
November 27, 2020 3:32 am

I have been curious as to why NASA doesn’t just use the Saturn V technology. The Saturn V can lift much more then the current planned heavy lifters and the tech may be old but its proven.

Anyone know?

Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
November 27, 2020 4:12 am

The solid booster tech. of the Shuttle has serious advantages.

Reply to  bonbon
November 27, 2020 6:33 am
Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
November 27, 2020 6:07 am

The design disclosure of the Saturn V doesn’t exist, and hasn’t for at least 40 years. But it wouldn’t matter if it did. None of the people who built the Saturn V are still around, and without the experience they gathered, it would be impossible to just “crank up production.” There are other little details, such as the fact that many of the materials used to build it are either banned (asbestos comes to mind), or non-existent in the form available at the time. The Saturn V would be just as much a new development today as it was 58 years ago (when it was first announced) – even more, actually, since nothing like the F-1 engine has been built since 1972, but a prototype F-1 had been fired in March 1959 – and the infrastructure to both build and test it were in place, shiny and new, when the Saturn V was announced.

I disagree with another commenter that large solids have big advantages – they have no advantages whatsoever for space launch, and few, if any, in any other application.

Bryan A
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
November 27, 2020 8:17 am

But NASA does have the one lying on it’s side in fact…
Three Saturn V rockets remain today, and only one is assembled entirely from flight-capable hardware. The 363-foot (110.6-meter) tall boosters on display at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Fla. and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
A few smart engineers could recreate all that is required and with modern computing technology run it from a cell phone app

Reply to  Bryan A
November 27, 2020 10:07 am

If you believe that all it takes to build a rocket is to take measurements of an existing rocket, then you have never been involved in manufacturing.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
November 27, 2020 8:33 pm

Anything that Man has made, Man can remake. Again and again.
But can we build it today as well as we did 50 years ago?

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  MarkW
November 27, 2020 8:47 pm

I once worked on a program to remanufacture the FMU-139 bomb fuze, which Motorola had produced in quantities of millions. The Navy went to restart manufacture of the device (about the size of an iPhone), and gave contracts to two firms to independently produce them. I worked for one of them, ATK, at the time. After contract award, the Navy changed the requirements: there would be no “fail and fix” for fuzes that failed pre-production qualification testing.

ATK had purchased the Motorola design disclosure, and some of the remnants of the production tooling. But they seemed immune to getting help from anyone who had actually built one of these fuzes.

We were unable to get the required number fuzes through pre-production testing, and had to do a complete redesign. I suspect that the Motorola fuzes had never had the reliability imposed by the new Navy requirements.

I believe they eventually resolved the difficulties, though I wasn’t working there anymore.

That’s a fairly trivial example of how hard it is to replicate a piece of hardware that was produced – and used – in volume in the past, without the exact production line and people who did it in the first place. I could regale you with stories from Minuteman, if you like…

Reverse engineering something like the Saturn V is stupid. It would be better to take the top level specifications, and begin development from the start.

Reply to  MarkW
November 28, 2020 3:00 pm

It’s cheaper than starting from scratch. That does not take into account all the testing and qualifying for space – let alone human rated. That is incredibly expensive and time consuming – and would have to be from scratch. Since processes are a critical part of manufacturing, there would be tons of work to be done there.

There are people around who were involved then. I know them personally. They are happily retired, and totally unwilling to go back to work – on anything except restoring cars and airplanes.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
November 27, 2020 9:36 am

The Space Shuttle Heavy-lift Launch system is the one we should have kept. It could have done anything the current heavy-lift launch system could do. Any new space development requirements could have been incorportated into the Space Shuttle launch system at much less cost than building a whole new rocket booster. If NASA wants to develop new engines, that’s fine, but they should have put them on the Space Shuttle launch system, a tried and true launch system.

We didn’t use the Space Shuttle launch system properly to get the most bang for our buck in space development, wasting years and billions of dollars on one puny space station in low-Earth orbit, and then we threw the Shuttle launch system away for no good reason.

The new SLS is just another bureaucratic boondoogle costing us billions of dollars that we could have spent on more productive things. We would be better off scrapping it now and turning all its jobs over to Musk and Bezos and the other private launchers/developers.

If we had hung on to the Space Shuttle Launch System, we could hire our buddy Elon Musk to add liquid-fueled boosters to the Shuttle launch system to give it more lifting power, and more safety, and ole Elon would recover those boosters like he does today. I read the other day that Musk has reused one booster seven times now.

There were, in fact, proposals to use liquid-fueled boosters on the Space Shuttle launch system. The designs I saw had the boosters gliding back to the launch pad and landing like an aircraft on a runway. The liquid-fueled boosters would have increased the amount of tonnage the Space Shuttle launch system could lift into orbit.

You don’t like the Space Shuttle escape system? That’s one valid criticism of the Space Shuttle launch system. Well, then, move the crew compartment to the top of the External Tank and give it the ability to separate from the boosters if that becomes necessary.

But, that’s not what bureaucrats are interested in. All they are interested in are new programs and more money for the agency. A new, heavy-lift rocket fits the bill perfectly.

I see hope, though. The private market is going to make space development work no matter what NASA does or does not do. It’s almost out of NASA’s hands now. Almost.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 27, 2020 10:19 am

If all you want to do is launch heavy things into orbit, then at least 2/3rds of shuttle isn’t needed.

Crew compartment and life support systems. Not needed.
Wings and heat shields for re-entry. Not needed.

Launching stuff into space that you don’t need to launch, isn’t efficient.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
November 29, 2020 6:33 pm

You’re right, but the cargo version of the Space Shuttle launch system would not launch a Space Shuttle, it would launch cargo containers mounted at various points on the External Tank. The three Space Shuttle engines would be housed in a module mounted to the External Tank.

The first version of this design was for the Option C space station design (1994), which was one of the three competing designs for the U.S. space station. The Option C space station would use a habitation module 15 feet long and 27.5 feet in diameter that would be attached to the bottom of the Space Shuttle’s large orange External Tank before launch and the three-engine module would ride on the side like the Space Shuttle does.

This configuration was capable of putting both the habitat module along with the External Tank into low-Earth orbit.

Upon arrival in low-Earth orbit, the habitation module would be ready to be occupied immediately, as soon as an airlock is attached, as it would have everything needed to live in orbit already installed inside.

The plan was to expand the space station’s volume by opening up the External Tank and using it as additonal space station realestate. Combined, the habitation module and the External Tank would be bigger than the current space station going by volume.

The External Tank was 27.5 feet in diameter and 153 feet long, and consisted of two tanks, one for the hydrogen, which took up about two-thirds of the External Tank, and one for the oxygen, and there was a strong interconnector between the two tanks which carried the Space Shuttle connections.

The three space shuttle engines on this Option C configuration were not designed to be reused (they were going to use the oldest engines NASA had), but future use of a vehicle such as this would have called for reusing the space shuttle engines, and there were designs that aimed to do that.

But of course, things never got that far. NASA passed over Option C. It wasn’t expensive enough and it didn’t call for launchng dozens of space shuttles to get everything in orbit.

One thing I always thought was interesting was the claim that the External Tank would still have 15 or 20 tons of hydrogen and oxygen in the tanks when they arrived on orbit. Another interesting item is the Space Shuttle was capable of putting an External Tank in orbit all by itself, but it would have to launch with an empty cargo bay.

We could have put a large space station in low-Earth orbit with one launch of a cargo version of the Space Shuttle launch system. The Option C space station would have required a couple of Space Shuttle launches to visit and bring up the crew and the airlock and the solar panels and other odds and ends and then we would be done constructing our low-Earth orbit space station.

But NASA leadership did not want that for their future. They thought the best course of action for the NASA bureaucracy was to set up a program that requied the maximum number of space shuttle launches, and using just a couple of space shuttle launches to put a space station in low-Earth orbit, as Option C did, was not at all what they had in mind.

So they picked the space station design that required the most space shuttle launches. Instead of launching huge space station modules into orbit in the form of the External Tank, they decided it was better to limit the size of the space station modules to a size that would fit inside the space shuttle’s cargo bay so the space station modules were sized at about 25 feet long and 15 feet in diameter. And it took a lot of space shuttle launches to get enough volume into orbit to match one External Tank.

NASA could have maximized the use of the Space Shuttle launch system in another way. They could have built four External Tank space stations, and launched them into orbit, and then they could use the space shuttle launch system to put one of those ET space stations in orbit around the Moon by launching enough propellants to do the job, and then put one of them on the surface of the Moon, and send the fourth ET space station into an orbit around Mars. Doing this would requie a lot of launches of the space shuttle launch system, that would have kept NASA busy for many years.

For about the same number of space shuttle launches we have already launched, we could have started the development of the Earth/Moon/Mars system in a big way.

But bureaucrats are not known for their vision.

We could have done a lot more with what we had than what we did. Unfortunately, maximizing space development was not on the agenda of the NASA bureaucracy. So we lost 20 years and billions of dollars.

Btw, the Option C space station was estimated to cost less than $10 billion and that cost included the $5 billion estimate to turn the Space Shuttle launch system into a heavy-lift cargo vehicle.

What has the International Space Station cost so far? $130 billion? Something like that. It was originally estimated to cost around $18 billion. Those NASA bureaucrats really know how to waste money. 🙂

The good news is the private space development sector won’t be wasting money like NASA does.

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 27, 2020 1:44 pm

The Shuttle crew cabin was attached to the rest of it at 4 (or 6?) main points. Explosive bolts there, cable cutting charges where needed, and det cord in the skin like is embedded in some fighter jet canopies to blow the top before the pilot ejects could have provided a means of cutting the crew cabin loose. Combined with some small solid rockets to kick the cabin forward and towards the dorsal side of the Shuttle, and provided with big enough parachutes, both Challenger and Columbia could have been survivable.

With the few main mounting points it seems like NASA had planned on making a separable crew cabin but abandoned it.

Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
November 27, 2020 10:05 am

None of the equipment needed to build the Saturn V still exists. The skilled labor required also retired years ago.
Since we have to start pretty much from scratch anyway, might as well take advantage of everything that has been learned over the last 60 years and create a brand new design.

Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
November 27, 2020 10:08 am

Another point is that the Saturn V was designed by people using slide rules. Because of that they had to leave a lot of safety margin in their calculations.

Reply to  MarkW
November 27, 2020 11:56 am

I agree with what you and others have posted re the feasibility, but it would be fun to know how much its capability (in terms of payload to LOE and cislunar) would improve if those overly large safety margins could be scaled back to smaller but still reasonable safety margins.

November 27, 2020 3:58 am

Biden would delay NASA for 4 years, he said, which means killing Artemis exactly as Obama killed Constellation.
Vote fraud could ground the US space program, and just leave space tourism for the Davos crowd.
The mob cannot even see the stars with the fires all round.

Don K
November 27, 2020 4:16 am

Men and women on the moon? To what purpose?

I’m not at all against spending a great many billions of dollars to explore the moon with sophisticated rovers. IMHO we should have been doing that for the past half century instead of wasting resource on an ill-conceived Space Shuttle and mostly pointless Space Station. I do think Skylabs — occasionally occupied orbiting laboratories — made, and still make, sense for experiments that actually require human presence.

If we’d actually explored the moon, we’d know if there was any good reason to send people there again.

But we need a colony there? We do? Why? Why not Kansas instead? It’d surely be cheaper and probably just as useful.

Maybe, centuries from now, we will be able to speed the rotation up to a reasonable day length. And provide a breathable (if long term transient) atmosphere and somehow provide artificial gravity strong enough to allow long term lunar residents to return to Earth from time to time if they wish. And … Oh yeah, it might be a good idea to somehow provide some radiation screening to make up for the lack of a magnetic field. None of that would seem to be actually impossible. But it is way beyond what we can even begin to do today.

In the mean time, if we want a colony off earth, put it in Earth orbit. I’m not a fan of the High Frontier concept. But given what we know today, that makes a lot more sense than a lunar settlement.

For that matter, maybe we should lower our eyes from space while our machines explore it, and focus on seriously exploring our oceans which are more accessible and probably a hell of a lot more interesting than our satellite and might even have resources we are unaware of that are economically exploitable with today’s technology.

Reply to  Don K
November 27, 2020 5:27 am

“Today’s technology” is rapidly becoming Facebook and green windy finance – what a joke!

The point is to break that descent into a swampy green tech hell.

Reach for the Stars!

K. Montgomery
Reply to  Don K
November 27, 2020 5:33 am

So you must be against the established settlements in Antarctica.

Antarctica has natural resources, but it’s currently uneconomical to develop them, never mind being blocked (I believe) by international agreement.

We established settlements there to explore and perform scientific investigations, sure. But we also maintain a presence there, despite there being no immediate benefit, and considerable cost, to prevent other countries from claiming sole sovereignty over Antarctica.

A similar line of reasoning could be applied to the moon. By performing some minimal level of exploration and frequent if not permanent settlement presence there, we could establish some form of sovereignty claim, or at least a controlling interest in the sovereignty process, if and when it starts up in earnest.

As with Antarctica, some form of frequent or continuous human presence on the moon is an investment against a future situation where such matters may become important.

There may be existing international agreements controlling and restricting such motivations at present, but I’d observe that such agreements could be unilaterally voided by competing foreign national interests, and who would there be to contest the situation if America and other countries do not have matching lunar presences?

Interested Observer
Reply to  K. Montgomery
November 27, 2020 6:55 am

There is logic to your argument but, I’d like to see the difference in cost between maintaining a permanent presence in Antarctica and maintaining a permanent presence on the Moon. I suspect it would be a difference of at least 2 orders of magnitude. There would have to be a very large return for that investment and it may not pay off for a very long time, if at all.

K. Montgomery
Reply to  Interested Observer
November 27, 2020 7:39 am

I agree: the full-on permanent settlement approach would be very expensive, and I suspect that 2 orders of magnitude would be about right.

Perhaps the better approach would be to do at least what the nearest national competitors are doing (sample return mission), plus more: land one or more rovers, and perform reconnaissance for those ice deposits; Explore for potentially habitable lava tubes’ Plus the occasional manned landing.

Reply to  K. Montgomery
November 27, 2020 8:39 am

Simple question – was $1 in 1963 the same as $1 in 1970? The argument of $14 return for every $1 Apollo investment avoids that rather embarrassing point.

The Moon means He3, fusion, the prospect of faster Mars transit. Ask the same question.

Monetarists, especially all London School of Economics stripes including Keynes and Hayek emphatically, are mesmerized by “currency”. As if the physical economic platform had no meaning. They mumble that physical economy spontaneously emerges in an unknowable way from the friction of currency trading. Magic anyone?

Well, the universe does actually exist, and develops with political intent totally outside MMT.

Reply to  K. Montgomery
November 27, 2020 10:15 am

The best place to build the frame of any rocket is on the moon, then use a rail gun to shoot the components into orbit where they can be assembled. The high tech components, (computers ,etc) will have to come from earth for the time being, but that’s a small fraction of the total weight.

Reply to  Don K
November 27, 2020 10:11 am

We already know that people can’t live in zero g for more than a few months at a time.
A permanent colony in orbit is a non-starter.

To travel to Mars or any of the outer planets, people are going to have to learn how to live in outerspace. A rover can’t tell you that.

Don K
Reply to  MarkW
November 27, 2020 2:55 pm

Mark W “”A permanent colony in orbit is a non-starter.”

The High Frontier concept visualizes **BIG** rotating colonies providing “artificial gravity” by centrifugal force.

The physics are probably OK. The economics dubious. Clearly well beyond 2020 technology. But maybe in a century or three. My question remains “Really-Why”?

Reply to  Don K
November 27, 2020 10:29 am

“Men and women on the moon? To what purpose?”

Well, the good lines have already been taken, one small step etc etc, so the next time, the money quote will be:
“Me too”

Mark - Helsinki
November 27, 2020 5:34 am

Amazing how hard and expensive this is 50 years after being there already tooled up washing machines, relatively speaking.

Orion has been going much longer than the original program for the first landing 😀

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
November 27, 2020 6:30 am

Armstrong’s Mom said if anyone could land a washing machine on the Moon it would be her Neil.
While the others brought coins etc., he remarked he would bring more fuel if allowed.
Turned out he landed empty – what a cool head!

Reply to  bonbon
November 27, 2020 1:26 pm

i got the meet two people prominent in aviation/space history when I was a kid because of our neighbors. Dean Armstrong, Neil’s brother, was an engineer for GM and lived near us and he would come out and play basketball with us kids. Neil came to visit and I got to meet him well before the moon mission.

Across the street lived the Bennet family. Jane Bennet’s maiden name was Tibbets. She was a niece of Paul Tibbets and he came to visit and I got to meet him.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  bonbon
November 27, 2020 2:08 pm

That was Lovell’s mother.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
November 27, 2020 9:22 am

Yea, but then the space race had the full support of the government. BHO certainly did not support NASA space exploration as JFK, LBJ, RMN did. So the programs limped along until DJT came along.

Don K
Reply to  rah
November 27, 2020 3:06 pm

The “space race” and the US and Russian space programs both benefited a lot from military spending on ICBMs and intelligence satellites. Likewise, later, China.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
November 27, 2020 10:21 am

They cut a lot of safety corners with the Apollo program in order to keep it on schedule.
The other point is that year in year out, we are spending just a few percent on the current moon mission compared to the Apollo program.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
November 27, 2020 10:55 am

Another thing is that back in the 60’s NASA wasn’t spending as much of it’s huge budget on so many unmanned missions. The goal was straight forward, be the first to put a man on the moon and return. Almost all of it’s budget went to that goal.

November 27, 2020 8:41 am

First woman. Man. Sustainable. Babies… a la the People and our [unPlanned] Posterity.

November 28, 2020 4:24 am

At least it will provide an opportunity for long term study of the effects of space radiation on female astronauts reproduction….

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