Indeed not. Except in this case Musk has gone out of his way to portray his efforts as those of a plucky independent entrepeneur "above" government help. If one looks at the F9 development cycle, it remained a "Powerpoint" Launch Vehicle until the COTS funding became available: remember that 18 month delay.
The payload of a Saturn V would have been considerably less had not the upper stages been LOX/LH2. It would have been still less had the first stage been Solid( see some of the NASA NOVA design studies @ Encyclopedia Astronautica). But Solids/Cryogenics provide a good compromise. Two launches would have done the Apollo mission.
I was rather surprised this article failed to mention the RS-84 advanced Hydrocarbon engine design which matched Russian performance and weight parameters; whilst being both available for use on Constellation/ARES, and in a new vehicle had NASA not canceled it as "not needed". Quite so!
I think it's time to get serious about a multi-fuel SABRE engine designed for use as current strap-on solids are currently. An STS type vehicle would be a good starting point...
LNG provides a better propellant density but in it's most advantageous Oxidant/fuel ratio only betters RP1 by some 25% in terms of Specific Impulse ratings. It also is derived from finite sources like Oil with which it is normally found in concert but in greater quantity - and used to be just burned off. No more!
NASA has experimented with it(Propane/Butane) and Methane fuels but I suspect they found little advantage since they have discontinued serious development - particularly for Constellation.
Not entirely. The Glushko designed RD-270 produced 95% of the F-1 thrust rating using NTOX/UDMH propellant in an engine weighing 60% of the F-1 and @ 200% chamber pressures w/25% better Isp. They too eventually solved the combustion instability problem that plagued the F-1 for nearly five years. It just took the Russians longer - with a lot less money and even less interest being available!
"The U.S. experiment in parallel manned space, the Air Force Gemini program, was also a boondoggle."
Utter nonsense! the fundamental HSF techniques worked out through the Gemini program were essential both for Apollo and for future orbital operations like building ISS. Gemini was actually MORE important than Apollo.
Don't forget that COTS bankrolling/contracts provided the funding for F9: hence the delay of 18 months. Why spend your own money when you can use somebody else's! Chutzpah!
A classic example of how people just don't listen to what people are saying, but concern themselves exclusively with how it is being said.
As for de Grasse; well not only is Apollo dead, but thanks to his hero, so is HSF/BEO. Why? Because by the time we get round to it again, there won't be any money.
"The Space Shuttle did not provide the cheap access to space that was required,..."
There you have it. NASA and Industry failed to match rhetoric, so all practical space applications beyond wideband transmissions and observational capacities remain in the pipe dream category. Of course if government ever decides this is what it needs: just as most of the domestic oil supply is almost exclusively for USG reserve stocks, then we'll see Solar power satellites operating: at huge expense no doubt, with OUR money...
Er, Richard Garriott is the son of Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott: definitely a Yank! Lunokhod 2 & Luna 21? I think you'll find those are/were Russian/Soviet spacecraft that in the 1970's did on the moon what we're currently trying to do on Mars. A little reading as to fact verification might be in order before posting gross inaccuracies like this!
“I feel like sort of a political punching bag, a whipping boy, I suppose,” he said of the attention the company has received from opponents of the president’s plan over the last few months. “The opponents of the commercial approach have taken a very calculated strategy of attacking SpaceX” while ignoring the record of success by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets, he said."
Oh come on Musk! You've set yourself up as the great pioneer and erstwhile critic of ULA,Kistler and other competitors; don't complain when people are not as impressed by your self-serving rhetoric as you would like. You may have provided (some) of the funding and publicity but it is - thus far - the anonymous dedicated people at SPACE X that pulled your blackening bacon out of the pan. A little praise for their superb efforts and dedication from you might have been forthcoming on your part: that's the FIRST job of a good leader.