I am Scott Colloredo, director of Center Planning and Development at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Ask me anything!
Hi, Reddit! I am Scott Colloredo, director of the Center Planning and Development Directorate at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). I lead the implementation of KSC’s Master Plan and the transformation of the center from a government-only facility to a multi-user spaceport.
The Center Planning and Development Directorate leads the effort to establish commercial and government partnerships that maximize the use of underutilized infrastructure while leveraging KSC’s unique services and capabilities.
Our website is: http://kscpartnerships.ksc.nasa.gov/
Here is a great video about our efforts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etn8xzF3iz0
Edit: Thanks for all the great questions, I enjoyed the dialog. If you want to know more about KSC, the world's premier multi-user spaceport, please go to the website above!
We think commercial space travel is becoming more and more feasible all the time. Quite a few commercial companies are well on their way to developing systems to go suborbital and beyond.
I've learned more about orbital mechanics through Kerbal Space Program than any textbook. Any thoughts?
Whats the biggest hurdle or bottleneck in today's space programs? Are there far greater regulatory/liability issues? With all due respect, the perogatives of today seem a tad lackluster when you compare them to the 60s-70s. Maybe I'm just I'll informed.
NASA is focused on developing the means to go beyond earth orbit on our journey to Mars. The path we'll take to get there is tough and the biggest hurdles are the technologies to make it happen. It's actually a pretty exciting problem to solve -- but then, I am a rocket scientist!
What would you consider to be big achievements in space that will probably happen in the next 30 years?
The first commercial crew flights from right here at Kennedy Space Center in the next few years, followed by our early steps to Mars using the Space Launch System. And that's just a start!
What are NASA's plan regarding the future of the moon? Are we looking to go back, build a lunar base, lunar telescopes?
NASA is currently focused far beyond the moon to Mars. We're developing the Space Launch System and the deep space spacecraft Orion to go there. Meanwhile, NASA partners like Moon Express are planning trips to the moon to win Google's LunarX Prize.
I have another question.
What is the current state of KSC? I heard rumors that you could rent the launchpads for parties and such. It'd be a shame if this were true.
What you've probably heard about is that we leased one of our launch pads -- Launch Pad 39A -- to SpaceX. SpaceX has big plans to launch the Falcon 9 and the massive Falcon Heavy rocket from KSC. We'll all party after that first launch!
I recently heard that a new launch pad at KSC was constructed. Is that true?
You heard right. We just had a ribbon cutting ceremony for Launch Pad 39C for smaller commercial rockets to launch science payloads. We've had a bunch of interest in using the site and might be launching there as early as next year!
I was there for a shuttle launch in 2011, how has KSC changed since then?
Actually, a lot has been happening at KSC in the last four years. We have three launch pads being renovated to launch humans to space again. Two will be used to send astronauts to the International Space Station and one will be used to send astronauts far beyond earth orbit.
When is a good time to come back for a launch?
KSC is now part of the world's busiest spaceport, so you can come here just about anytime! We have dozens of launches planned for the Cape in the next year alone. Our next launch is an Atlas V carrying a US Navy satellite on August 31.
which rocket vehicle will be used to go to the ISS ?
There are multiple suppliers (yes, multiple companies making rockets!), but SpaceX and their Falcon 9 with the Dragon Capsule has actually delivered and is working towards crew missions. Both the Falcon's first stage and the Dragon capsule will eventually return to Earth without the use of parachutes (the landing system on the capsule doubles as the crew jettison in the event of launch failures), which easily makes them the most interesting of the suppliers.
Fortunately, we do have multiple suppliers! Two companies -- SpaceX and The Boeing Company -- were awarded Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts last year, which will take astronauts to the ISS. See this link: http://spacenews.com/41891nasa-selects-boeing-and-spacex-for-commercial-crew-contracts/
Does it mean parallel taking off into space will be possible?
If you're talking about horizontal launches, parallel to the earth, we have an ideal launch and landing site here at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility. Several companies are interested in using the SLF for tourism and scientific missions.
When can I buy a ticket to the moon?
Not yet. Commercial space is geared now toward suborbital and low earth orbit for tourism and to the International Space Station. Tickets to the moon may be a little ways off but sign me up to go with you!
NASA has invented some really cool inventions that make both space life and life here on Earth easier.
I was wondering if you know of any R&D projects that are in the works right now that we could possibly see in the future?
We're working a bunch of projects you might see. Some of the most interesting are learning how to make fuels and hardware on other planets so we don't have to take everything with us on our trips to Mars, like the '3D printing' of houses made of material from other planets.
Scott, can you please answer something for me? How come the moon isn't being used as the perfect test site for colonization of other planets? It would seem like a no brainer for many reasons. Perfecting technology for one, and testing/training astronauts being another.
I feel like anyone wanting to make the trip to Mars should be vetted by a tour in the moon first to see if they have what it takes.
Great question! The Apollo program in the 1960's and 1970's does, in fact, provide NASA with a wealth of knowledge for developing astronauts, rockets, rovers, habitat modules and other space hardware. Our focus now is NASA's 'Journey to Mars'; until we figure out all the steps to get there, the moon's future role is not yet known.
How do you plan to decrease range costs and schedule bottlenecks?
The range at KSC is actually operated by the US Air Force, and I can tell you they are working hard to support dozens of NASA, military and commercial rockets in just the next couple of years. As the world's busiest spaceport, and getting busier, we are always looking for ways to reduce cost and save time to support growing demand.
I'm really excited about the work you do. Congrats on all the accomplishments. I see you went to Tennessee, do you think they will finally beat the Gators this year or will they remain a pathetic excuse for a football team?
I'm proud of my alma mater and the Tennessee Volunteers!
Thanks for responding! A more on point question, how has SpaceX deciding to build a a commercial spaceport in Texas affected your plans for this multiuser spaceport?
We are the world's premier multi-user spaceport. For over 50 years, more launches have happened at KSC than anywhere else in the world. Our diverse partnerships -- including SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, United Launch Alliance, Moon Express, and others -- attest to our history and assure our future.
Besides Mars, the moon, and comets, are there other bodies NASA is currently planning to actually land on? You guys have achieved some amazing flybys, and I know landing is much more difficult, but sending a rover to Europa or something would be incredible.
NASA is still making plans for which bodies to go to and when, but Mars is the ultimate destination for human spaceflight. Europa is on the wish list, and parts are being funded, but the focus is more of on an orbiter mission to map the surface before landing with rovers. Rovers would hopefully come later.
Is there a plan for another space station, possibly at a Lagrange point, from which we could launch deep space missions rather than having to start from scratch (the surface) every time? Or is this not presently feasible?
Not yet. We already have the awesome US-led International Space Station, where we've learned to live and work in low earth orbit since 1998. But typically, space stations in earth orbit do not make good launch points for deep space. They would only slow you down.
Would NASA consider doing a docu reality show, centered around training kids who want to be astronauts??? It would be a fun show for children and fuel their imagination so they'll want to follow in the path of science. It's especially true for girls. What are your thoughts on that? I can write the show and I know a producer in L.A. :-)
I love your enthusiasm and creativity! What your describing sounds like Space Camp to me, which is held at several NASA centers including Kennedy Space Center. You can contact KSC's at: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/education/camp-ksc.aspx.
How feasible is commercial space travel becoming more readily available?
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