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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

If I Remodeled my House like NASA: A Commentary on the Oversized ESAS

My wife and I just finished building our house in February. One thing we didn't get in this house (due to both time and monetary constraints) is a sun room for my wife. Now the area we have to build the sun room, due to where the HVAC drain pipes come out is about 15 x 15. My wife was hoping for about 20 x 20. She plans for this to be her room only. A room where she can sit with her friends and enjoy a toy-free environment. A room that stays clean.

Of course she is disappointed that we can't get all her stuff in it, but she is dealing with it by laying the rest of the house different (like splitting the living room into to sections, etc...) I got to thinking this morning, what would NASA do in this situation.

NASA has a plan to go to the Moon. They would like to send everything the need up in one HLV. If they can do it, more power to them. However, it looks like they can't. [insert link here]. They are still planning on the HLV with some kind of EML-2 hook-up.

Some commentators, including myself, has said we should use what we have, namely the EELVs. NASA, has chosen, at least so far, to ignore what they have and work with what they want. How would that work in my house.

Well, being NASA, I think they would say “we need a 20 x 20 sun room.” Okay, but the drainage pipes are in the way. “We just have to fix them,” they might say. So we bust up the walls and rerun the drain pipes. Well that cost a good bit. But wait, to get the 20 ft width, we will cover up the breakfast room windows. Well that doesn't meet our specifications, so they will have to be moved. We rip out the brick and the frame and move the breakfast windows down two feet. That cost a lot.

Now we have a window that comes two inches from the side wall going into the patio. My wife is not happy with that. So they propose to extend the entire house two feet so our window will look right.

All the while I am standing on the side watching this exercise in brilliance, and I wonder why they don't just accept what they have and work with it. After all the computing, an analysis comes over to me and says, it will be cheaper to build a new house with the sun room already attached. This cost more than the original house did. I tell them thanks but no thanks.

NASA wants a HLV and a single moon shot. They can't do it (well without methane anyway). They have EELVs they can hook-up in orbit. As my wife always says, “if you can't get exactly what you want, take the cheapest thing that fits your basic needs.” In this case a 16x16 room and some furniture shifting. In NASA's case, a reduction in launch capability and in-orbit rendezvous.

Just my $0.02, worth what you paid for it.

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