[FPSPACE] Re: recycling space assets [Was: Mir]
DEMPSEY, ROBERT C. (JSC-DF25)
Tue, 23 Jan 2001 13:24:49 -0600
Having been an active researcher with IUE I have to disagree with your
assessment that it was perfectly functional. Yes, you could do some
science. But the quality was getting pretty low. HST far surpassed it.
But because IUE was of lower quality you could get some basic projects that
would not get time on the tight HST. At its death, you were in a regime of
diminishing returns. I had to agree the money was better spent. And I am a
If you somehow got it back - its technology was so old you would have to
build a whole new spacecraft - you could not refurbish it.
Actually, I now recall its orbit was not accessible with shuttle anyway.
From: Robert G Kennedy III [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2001 11:18 AM
Subject: [FPSPACE] Re: recycling space assets [Was: Mir]
>Why would NASA treat it any differently? IUE (history) and GRO (refurbish
>and refly) would have been worth bringing back and it still could nto be
>justified to spend the money. I really doubt if NASA owened MIR it would
Agreed (on IUE, anyway. I dunno about Compton.)
In 1994, I had a number of meetings over this exact issue with Yoji Kondo,
the principal investigator of the IUE project out of Goddard SFC. NASA shut
that bird down in 1995, even though it was perfectly functional and was
returning good science data. They did it because they were unwilling to pay
approx $4M per yer (IIRC, it may have been less than that) for grad
students to crunch the data. Typically stupid capital vs. operations
Sometimes NASA management reminds me of real estate developers, who'd
rather tear down perfectly servicable old buildings, or dig up virgin land,
rather than make an existing asset work. That's because developers make
their living by commission off large principal transactions, not off the
income stream from a successful project. What's good for the larger
community just isn't considered.
Maybe I'm just cheap. (I know I'm a major pack rat.) NASA wants to dump
billions into this ridiculous new Space Launch Initiative, even though they
and their passive-aggressive contractors couldn't make the previous
initiative (X-33 et al) work. Meanwhile, really important science missions
are being forced into an artificial competition (Pluto Kuiper Express vs.
Europa Orbiter) for the lack of a couple hundred million. News flash: SLI
will *never* work with the current gang doing the work. Better to give the
money to other projects which can use it.
Robert Kennedy, PE
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