Employees of aerospace companies aren’t the only ones headed for the unemployment line. Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats thinks there probably will be a slight adjustment at JSC also. “Our center is already scheduled to receive about $1.5 billion less in Fiscal Year 2012 than in the current year, when we received about $6 billion. And, that’s a big impact to our valuable contractor team,” he said, going on to trace the repercussions from the retirement of the space shuttle and cancellation of the Constellation program. While he isn’t sure what kind of a budget NASA will receive in 2012, indicating that’s still up in the air, he is expecting significant reductions. “That’s almost guaranteed. It is true that 2011 and2012 will be transition years for our center. “NASA is fortunate in that it has strong bi-partisan congressional support. However, this nation faces a huge deficit and Congress is facing some tough decisions. “As NASA continues to evolve, we can anticipate incremental adjustments of our agency’s structure. JSC will also re-adjust and align its workforce accordingly. I see our most important goal as maintaining and leveraging the critical skills of our employees,” he told the Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership at its June 21 luncheon at Cullen’s. NEW EFFORTS With cancellation of the Constellation program, Coats said “NASA is now able to focus on transitioning to the new efforts for exploration – a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a Space Launch System and 21st Century Ground Operations.”
Orion—Impact—A2: Lunar/Mars !
Solar power fails for lunar and mars missions Zaitsev 7 (Yuri, academic adviser at the Academy of Engineering Sciences, 8/15/7, RIANovosti, http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Nuclear_Power_In_Space_999.html) JPG
Solar energy supplies most of power in spacecraft nowadays. Although the efficiency of solar cells has grown substantially recently, they have reached the limit of their development and can supply electricity only in near-Earth orbits and for satellite-borne equipment. Such large-scale projects as the exploration of the Moon or a manned mission to Mars require nuclear power plants.
Solar power limits lunar missions Borenstein 9 (Seth, writer @ AP, 5/7/9, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30621668/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/fuel-deep-space-exploration-running-low/) JPG
The last two missions to use plutonium were the New Horizons probe headed for Pluto and the Cassini space probe that is circling Saturn. Plutonium-powered probes last a long time. The twin Voyager spacecraft headed beyond our solar system and launched in 1977 are expected to keep working until about 2020, McNutt said. Solar power is preferable to plutonium because it is cheaper and has fewer safety concerns, McNutt and Allen said. But solar power just doesn't work in the darkest areas of space, including deep craters of the moon. Some have protested past nuclear-powered missions, such as Cassini, worrying about potential accidents.
Orion cant do deep space missions – limited operation times Whittington 11 (Mark, author of The Last Moonwalker, contributes articles to major newspapers, 5/25/11, http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110525/sc_ac/8534339_nasas_mpcv_inadequate_for_asteroid_mars_mission_ideal_for_lunar_missions) JPG
Officially the MPCV is envisioned for missions to Earth approaching asteroids and eventually Mars, in compliance with Obama administration space policy. However the 21-day mission limit would tend to foreclose such missions; asteroid missions would take upwards from 60 to 90 days. Clearly, modifications would be needed for an MPCV to be part of any deep space mission that the current NASA is officially envisioning, perhaps the addition of a habitation module. There are a variety of deep space missions that an MPCV, presumably launched on the heavy lift vehicle that is also envisioned. One could fly to one of the Lagrange points where the gravity of the Earth and the moon cancel one another out. One could use a MPCV to fly an Apollo 8 style mission in lunar orbit.
Solar power doesn’t work in deep space AAPG 9 (American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Astrogeology Committee, 6/9/9, http://www.aapg.org/committees/astrogeology/EMDCampbell060909925AM.pdf.) JPG
It would be tempting to believe that all power after launch could be supplied by solar energy. However, in many cases, missions will take place in areas too far from sufficient sunlight, areas where large solar panels will not be appropriate. Limitations of solar power have logically leadto the development of alternativesources of power and heating. One alternative involves the use of nuclear power systems (NPSs). These rely on the use of radioisotopes and are generally referred to as radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs), thermoelectric generators (TEGs), and radioisotope heater units (RHUs). These units have been employed on both U.S. and Soviet/Russian spacecrafts for more than 40 years. Space exploration would not have been possible without the use of RTGs to provide electrical power and to maintain the temperatures of various components within their operational ranges (Bennett, 2006).
Alternatives guarantee ISS missions Daily Galaxy 11 (5/25/11, http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2011/05/nasa-unveils-new-spaceship-for-deep-space-exploration.html) JPG
The agency's space shuttle program, for example, will draw to a close this summer after three decades of service. The shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission in July will be the last for NASA's workhorse orbiter fleet, which will soon be put on display in museums around the country. In the short term, NASA astronauts will get rides to the space station aboard Russian Soyuz vehicles. But over the long haul, Obama's vision calls for commercial American spaceships to provide this taxi service.NASA is working with and funding several private companies, such as California-based SpaceX, to help them develop these new craft.
Orion wont be used for the ISS Harwood 11 (William, space writer @ CBS, 5/24/11, http://news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-20065857-239/nasa-picks-orion-type-capsule-for-deep-space-missions/) JPG
As for serving as a lifeboat on the International Space Station, an idea that never gained traction in the space community, Cooke said the MPCV "will not function in that mode except as a backup." In the future, he said, "we will be adding to that capability with commercial crew spacecraft."
No set mission date means no timeframe – alternative crafts solve the impact Physorg 11 (5/24/11, http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-deep-space-vehicle-based-orion.html) JPG
The capsule will weigh 23 tons and NASA has no date set for a potential launch, said Douglas Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's exploration systems mission directorate. There is also no final cost associated with the project. "We are still working on our integrated architecture, and that includes the space launch system along with ground systems and other supporting projects," said Cooke. "At this point we do not have a specific date," he said. "In terms of deep space exploration we hope to have test flights obviously in this decade. We are not exactly sure when but obviously as early as possible." With the space shuttle program ending this year, NASA is working with private companies on a separate effort to build a new spacecraft to replace the shuttle and transport astronauts and cargo to the orbiting International Space Station. When the shuttles become museum pieces, US astronauts will hitch rides on Russian spacecraft to orbiting station until a replacement is developed. SpaceX successfully tested its Dragon capsule last year on the first ever flight into orbit and back by an unmanned commercial spacecraft. Several companies are competing to be the first to have a new crew space vehicle ready for low Earth orbit by 2015.