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Dynetics Human Lander system

One of the three companies NASA announced today will land the next NASA astronauts on the Moon. NASA awarded three firm-fixed-price, milestone-based contracts for the human landing system awards under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2. The total combined value for all awarded contracts is $967 million for the 10-month base period.

NASA downselected from the five companies in the running to only three.

The contenders for the Moon mission contract.

NASA released the Human Landing System (HLS) solicitation on October 25, 2019. Five companies submitted proposals by the required due date of November 5, 2019. Listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Blue Origin Federation, LLC (Blue Origin)
  • The Boeing Corporation (Boeing)
  • Dynetics, Inc. (Dynetics)
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)
  • Vivace Corp. (Vivace)

Some more details about the offers.

You likely recognize the more high profile companies like Boeing, SpaceX, and Blue Origin. Vivace and Dynetics profile in the general media tends to be less pronounced.

Vivace, founded in 2006, provides engineering services, ground support equipment, engineering development hardware, and flight har…

Yesterday’s program, The Next Space Race, on Bloomberg TV was an excellent introduction to the commercial aerospace companies, SpaceX, the Sierra Nevada Company (SNC), and Boeing. The following are important points, at the stated times, in the program:

0.33 mins: The cost of space travel has clipped our wings.
5:18 mins: How many people knew Google before they started?
7:40 mins: SpaceX costs, full compliment, 4x per year at $20 million per astronaut.
11:59 mins: Noisy rocket launch, notice also the length of the hot exhaust is several times the length of the rocket.
12:31 mins: One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
12:37 mins: Noisy shuttle launch, notice also the length of the hot exhaust is several times the length of the rocket.
13:47 mins: OPF-3, at one time the largest building in the world at 129 million cubic feet.
16:04 mins: States are luring private companies to start up in their states.
16:32 mins: NASA should be spending its money on exploration and missions and not maintenance and operations.
17:12 mins: The fair market value of OPF-3 is about $13.5 million.
17:19 mins: Maintenance cost is $100,000 per month
17:47 mins: Why Florida?
18:55 mins: International Space Station (ISS) cost $60B and if including the Shuttle program, it cost $150B.
19:17 mins: The size of the commercial space launch business.
21:04 mins: Elon Musk has put $100 million of his own money into SpaceX.
21:23 mins: The goals of NASA and private space do not conflict.

1. Cost of ISS is $60B, total cost including the Shuttle program is $150B.

2. SpaceX cost is $20M per astronaut (for 7 astronauts) or a launch cost of $140 million per launch at $560 million per year for 4 launches per year.

3. The next space race is about money.

4. NASA will give a multi billion dollar contract to private space companies to ferry humans & cargo into space and back.

5. Orbiter Processing Facility 3 (OPF-3) valued at $13.5million, and an estimated area of 207,000 sq ft gives a value of $65.22/sq ft.

6. With a maintenance costs of $100,000 gives a per sq ft maintenance costs of $0.48/sq ft/month or $5.80/sq ft/year.

7. Another reason for the Cape Canaveral NASA launch site is the mandatory no/low population down range for rocket launches. At Cape Canaveral this down range is the Atlantic Ocean.

Someone sent me this YouTube video. It claimed to have explained Laithwaite’s Big Wheel experiments as explained by classical mechanics. This I had to see.

The reason why I was particularly interested in this video was because, some months earlier I had spoken to a Boeing engineer who had agreed that these observations could not be solved using classical mechanics.

This video is an excellent example of sloppy research. After you have watched this video please review with my comments. Unfortunately, in spite of their academic backgrounds, the experimenters do not have a clue how to conduct world class research. Very unfortunate.

The first thing I noticed about this video’s claimed observations was that this video demonstration contradicted Laithwaite’s meticulous demonstrations as found here,

Here are the errors in this video to watch for, in their experimental method.

1. The experimenter introduces systemic errors by rotating the disc about himself while standing on the weight scale. This is observed as bounces around the 91 kg weight.

2. If the disc spin is low enough the weight change is smaller than that introduced by the bounces and therefore masked by the observations, resulting in “null” observations.

3. At 0.54 mins, he says “… if it does not get lighter why does it feel lighter?”. What was that again? It feels lighter? So what he is saying is that his body is telling a different story from his experimental observations! Not good.

4. At 2.49 mins, the experimenter tries to reverse the rotation, and says “it is hard to go back…” You can see that the disc weight has increased as it has fallen much lower and closer to the ground. This experimenter ignores this evidence.

5. At 2.57 mins, we are not sure what he is doing, but there is a weight gain from 431.0 to 431.2 i.e. you can observe weight gain, but those two folks ignore that fact.

6. At 3.29 mins, the weight is dropping all by itself.

7. At 3:36 mins, they keep messing with the experiment. Why?

I conclude this is a very sloppy experiment lacking experimental rigor. Further the experimenter himself agrees that his experiment is a “shaky mess”. Noting that Laithwaite’s own experiments ( were meticulous by comparison. You have to watch Laithwaite’s experiments to understand how meticulous he was.

And this is the crux of the matter, to make the claim that this is within classical mechanics requires a derivation from classical mechanics of a formula that matches their observations. This they have not done.

Both Laithwaite’s discussion with his esteemed peers at Imperial College London and my encounter with the Boeing engineer affirm that this is not possible.

Summarizing: A sloppy experiment resulting in more disinformation. Very unfortunate as, if they were as meticulous as Laithwaite was, this could have turned into a PhD project and God knows what other discoveries they may have found.

Science and engineering are hard to do. If it wasn’t we would have a space bridge from here to the Moon by now. If you don’t have the real world practical experience doing either science or engineering you won’t understand this, or the effort and resources companies like Boeing, Lockheed, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences Corp, Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic, and the Ad Astra Rocket Company have put into their innovations and products to get to where they are, today.

If we are to achieve interstellar travel, we have to be bold.
We have to explore what others have not.
We have to seek what others will not.
We have to change what others dare not.

The dictionary definition of a directive is, an instruction or order, tending to direct or directing, and indicating direction.

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, US Department of Defense 2005, provides three similar meanings,

1. A military communication in which policy is established or a specific action is ordered.
2. A plan issued with a view to putting it into effect when so directed, or in the event that a stated contingency arises.
3. Broadly speaking, any communication which initiates or governs action, conduct, or procedure.

In honor of the late Prof. Morris Kline who authored Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, I have named what we need to do to ensure the success of our endeavors for interstellar space travel, as the Kline Directive.

His book could be summarized into a single statement, that mathematics has become so sophisticated and so very successful that it can now be used to prove anything and everything, and therefore, the loss of certainty that mathematics will provide reasonability in guidance and correctness in answers to our questions in the sciences.

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not.

To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts:

1. Legal Standing.
2. Safety Awareness.
3. Economic Viability.
4. Theoretical-Empirical Relationship.
5. Technological Feasibility.

I will explore each of these 5 fronts on how we can push the envelop to reach the stars sooner rather than later.

Next post in the Kline Directive series


Benjamin T Solomon is the author & principal investigator of the 12-year study into the theoretical & technological feasibility of gravitation modification, titled An Introduction to Gravity Modification, to achieve interstellar travel in our lifetimes. For more information visit iSETI LLC, Interstellar Space Exploration Technology Initiative.

Solomon is inviting all serious participants to his LinkedIn Group Interstellar Travel & Gravity Modification.