Author Topic: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"  (Read 20607 times)

Online edkyle99

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"Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« on: 01/30/2012 02:56 PM »
A striking article by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle on Jan 28, 2011   

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Laying-groundwork-or-a-gravestone-for-spaceflight-2795090.php#page-1

"Everyone knows there is a train wreck on the horizon, and sooner or later it will become apparent we can't afford SLS," said Virginia-based space consultant James Muncy.

I was struck by the assertion by Chris Kraft that "... everybody at NASA, except those at the top level" is "skeptical" of the SLS approach. 

Two questions:

1.  Is Chris Kraft correct?
2.  What would all of those "every-bodies", if Mr. Kraft's "everybody" actually exists, do for an SLS alternative?

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 03:05 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #1 on: 01/30/2012 03:26 PM »
2.  What would all of those "every-bodies", if Mr. Kraft's "everybody" actually exists, do for an SLS alternative?

I can't really answer for any of the rest of Ed's post, but I would imagine that the alternative is an EELV-evolved/Commercial approach.
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Offline simonbp

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #2 on: 01/30/2012 03:38 PM »
Falcon Heavy, and possibly a similar ULA competitor.

I doubt it's lost on many people that FH will likely fly regardless of who's in the White House or Senate. And it has 2/3 of Block I SLS performance for 1/10 of the cost. And is independent of any political meddling over what components it should be made out of. Basically, it's already SLS done right and NASA has yet to officially acknowledge its existence.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 03:39 PM by simonbp »

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #3 on: 01/30/2012 05:03 PM »
Wow! Another of these "tell me what you would do instead" threads, again - for the millionth time.

It's bad enough this is a standalone thread, but for people to re-quote their posts from other threads to keep this running at the top, that's riled me - and removed as they should remain on their original threads and if no one is reacting to them, don't go reposting on the backs of other threads, or it comes across as "I once mentioned prop depots, spaceX, fluffy bunnies and myspace.com!" (Sorry, but that's how some of the "NASA's wrong, but unproven company A and unflown concept B is bound have no problems" sound, by the way.

One comment....

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going."

I know enough people to know that's utterly false. Did they take Mr Kraft to task on such a wild claim? Nope, that wrote the headline. Still nothing sells like negative news. Who cares about facts, or updates, or information. I want drama!! And the SECOND some incorrect quote is used, people trip over themselves to be first to proclaim the gospel according to Elon.

FFS, seriously? We've been over this to the point of boredom.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #4 on: 01/30/2012 05:11 PM »
Chris, this is the most pro-NASA-launch-vehicle site there is out there. Heck, for a long time, practically everything on this site was organized based on what launch vehicle it used. Is it really that far fetched that perhaps you would have disproportionate contact with folks at NASA who are supportive of SLS?
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 05:12 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #5 on: 01/30/2012 05:19 PM »
SLS will not fly, that's a no-brainer. Too expensive, too much time to develop. It's all about JOBS!
NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency. Why would they make it simple and cheap if they can make it expensive and complex enough to justify a lot of jobs?

Offline apace

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #6 on: 01/30/2012 05:20 PM »
SLS will not fly, that's a no-brainer. Too expensive, too much time to develop. It's all about JOBS!
NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency. Why would they make it simple and cheap if they can make it expensive and complex enough to justify a lot of jobs?

Simply not true. Check out all the current missions going around our solar system.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #7 on: 01/30/2012 05:22 PM »
Chris, this is the most pro-NASA-launch-vehicle site there is out there. Heck, for a long time, practically everything on this site was organized based on what launch vehicle it used. Is it really that far fetched that perhaps you would have disproportionate contact with folks at NASA who are supportive of SLS?

What does that have to do with my comment? My comment is Mr Kraft is utterly wrong.

Your point is?

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #8 on: 01/30/2012 05:30 PM »
SLS will not fly, that's a no-brainer. Too expensive, too much time to develop. It's all about JOBS!
NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency. Why would they make it simple and cheap if they can make it expensive and complex enough to justify a lot of jobs?

Yay, you're RIGHT on cue. Well done for proving my point about people with certain opinions (I say opinions, as there's nothing factual about what you wrote).

PS Well done for insulting thousands of people in one wacky paragraph.

Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #9 on: 01/30/2012 05:34 PM »
Yay, you're RIGHT on cue. Well done for proving my point about people with certain opinions (I say opinions, as there's nothing factual about what you wrote).

PS Well done for insulting thousands of people in one wacky paragraph.

Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph than insult millions of taxpayers over the past 30 years.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #10 on: 01/30/2012 05:37 PM »
Yay, you're RIGHT on cue. Well done for proving my point about people with certain opinions (I say opinions, as there's nothing factual about what you wrote).

PS Well done for insulting thousands of people in one wacky paragraph.

Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph than insult millions of taxpayers over the past 30 years.


Sorry, I didn't know you were a US taxpayer concerned about their 0.4 cents per day. The "Location: Portugal" didn't help.

Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #11 on: 01/30/2012 05:42 PM »
Sorry, I didn't know you were a US taxpayer concerned about their 0.4 cents per day. The "Location: Portugal" didn't help.
I pay my taxes to ESA too, which is another pork barrel.
I'm sorry if it shocks you that I demand MORE from my taxes.

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« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 05:43 PM by MikeMelga »

Offline rdale

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #12 on: 01/30/2012 05:46 PM »

Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph than insult millions of taxpayers over the past 30 years.

Unlike you, I am one of the NASA taxpayers and I am not insulted. What insults me is someone with no connection to the NASA space program insulting someone very knowledgeable about the NASA space program.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #13 on: 01/30/2012 05:55 PM »
Chris, this is the most pro-NASA-launch-vehicle site there is out there. Heck, for a long time, practically everything on this site was organized based on what launch vehicle it used. Is it really that far fetched that perhaps you would have disproportionate contact with folks at NASA who are supportive of SLS?

What does that have to do with my comment? My comment is Mr Kraft is utterly wrong.

Your point is?
""I'm very skeptical about the heavy-lift rocket," said Chris Kraft, NASA's first manned spaceflight director and the director of flight operations during the Apollo 11 mission.

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going.""


Except it's NOT wrong. Of the few NASA contractors I know, even though they are quite supportive of SD-HLVs in the right circumstances, they express quite a lot of skepticism about SLS as it stands and as it likely will be executed. They give the impression that a lot of the lower level folk are very skeptical that it is being done in a way that is going to work and not end up being canceled. They see it as becoming what Ares V had become. And to be quite honest, I'm sure Chris Kraft (former NASA flight director and director of JSC) knows a lot more NASA folk than either of us do. Maybe his statement is an exaggeration, but the general point that there is considerable skepticism with the specific approach being taken with SLS within the lower levels of NASA seems accurate to me.

That's my point. Also, your extreme reaction to that statement seems unbecoming of you. You're better than that. And it looks like this sort of attitude is causing this thread to devolve.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Online edkyle99

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #14 on: 01/30/2012 05:57 PM »
One comment....

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going."

I know enough people to know that's utterly false. ...

That's what I wondered - whether the highly respected Mr. Kraft might have either been misquoted, misunderstood, or simply incorrect in his understanding of current NASA thinking.

It does seem that many of the Apollo-era ex-NASA people are not confident about NASA's current direction, but for sometimes conflicting reasons.   

This article paints a picture of a NASA whose "line employees" are largely opposed to the project they are working on, which doesn't sound correct to me.  "Supportive but skeptical" might be more accurate.  At some point, the train is going to have to leave the station and people are going to either be on board or left behind.   

 - Ed Kyle

Offline tigerade

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #15 on: 01/30/2012 05:59 PM »
I am kind of "wait and see" on the SLS.  It's going to be a very long time until this rocket actually launches humans, which is going to be in 2019 I believe?  A lot can happen in 7 years.  For example, there weren't many people predicting 7 years ago that the economy would tank and the fiscal situation would get out of control.  Both of those factors could get worse and could impact NASA. 

I think SLS should continue to be developed.  However I do think propellent depots are a very interesting concept and should be seriously looked at.  Why can't we have both?  I always imagined that any long term stays on the moon or a crewed mars mission would not only be an international effort but a public/private effort as well.

Instead of fighting lets all work together or own projects, and then just combine them together in whatever way possible 10 years from now.  And for pete's sake lets actually go somewhere.  There's a whole universe out there to explore.  :)  (Well, just solar system for manned spaceflight, but you catch my drift).

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #16 on: 01/30/2012 05:59 PM »
Sorry, I didn't know you were a US taxpayer concerned about their 0.4 cents per day. The "Location: Portugal" didn't help.
I pay my taxes to ESA too, which is another pork barrel.
I'm sorry if it shocks you that I demand MORE from my taxes.

“The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”

This isn't about ESA, this is about part of NASA, via an inaccurate quote, which you decided to add - and I quote - "It's all about JOBS! NASA is more of a job center than a space exploration agency."

You also referenced "past 30 years" - so without using a calculator, you also think the 30 years of Shuttle, including the ISS, was a waste of money, a "jobs program" as you claim. And what a shock, you're against SLS - who'd of thought it! :D

So, as the report to mod notices fly in about your rediculous comments, I want you to go away and read up on what NASA has achieved over the past 30 years, and note the blood and sacrifices it's taken to gain the successes which are self evident, the advances which have come of it, and get to know some of the people that have made it happen.

Come back to me then and I dare you to slag them off with the "Jobs program" - and I dare you to say it to one of their faces.

Then I want to to work out that had that money not been spent on the above, it is no assurance it would have magically gone to something more desirable towards your mindset, just as you'll likely find cancelling SLS will not result in a fat check being sent to Elon (as much as - don't be shocked - I actually think that wouldn't be a bad an idea).

Offline rdale

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #17 on: 01/30/2012 06:02 PM »
Where's the +1 / LIKE button?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #18 on: 01/30/2012 06:04 PM »
..."Supportive but skeptical" might be more accurate. ...
Yes, I think that's true (though "supportive" might be ambivalent in some cases). Chris Kraft said that the vast majority of the NASA lower folk are skeptical of SLS, not that they don't support an HLV or an SD-HLV in particular.

There seems to be a lot of skepticism about all the different "Blocks" of SLS, like it's an endless (and very expensive) development cycle more than a means to an end.

Before we have a knee-jerk response, skepticism need not be antagonism.

You cannot tell me there aren't A LOT of people at NASA who, if they leveled with you, wouldn't express skepticism with at least some aspects of SLS. Remember DIRECT?
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 06:06 PM by Robotbeat »
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Online edkyle99

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #19 on: 01/30/2012 06:06 PM »
..."Supportive but skeptical" might be more accurate. ...
Yes, I think that's true (though "supportive" might be ambivalent in some cases). Chris Kraft said that the vast majority of the NASA lower folk are skeptical of SLS, not that they don't support an HLV or an SD-HLV in particular.

There seems to be a lot of skepticism about all the different "Blocks" of SLS, like it's an endless (and very expensive) development cycle more than a means to an end.

Skepticism need not be antagonism.

Right there - I bet that's the problem with this article.  Mr. Kraft said "skeptical" but the article then filled in with quotes from non-NASA types who don't support SLS.  That made Chris Kraft's quote seem more dire than it really was, I think.

 - Ed Kyle

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #20 on: 01/30/2012 06:09 PM »
One comment....

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going."

I know enough people to know that's utterly false. ...

That's what I wondered - whether the highly respected Mr. Kraft might have either been misquoted, misunderstood, or simply incorrect in his understanding of current NASA thinking.

It does seem that many of the Apollo-era ex-NASA people are not confident about NASA's current direction, but for sometimes conflicting reasons.   

This article paints a picture of a NASA whose "line employees" are largely opposed to the project they are working on, which doesn't sound correct to me.  "Supportive but skeptical" might be more accurate.  At some point, the train is going to have to leave the station and people are going to either be on board or left behind.   

 - Ed Kyle

Yep. Problem is this is being jumped on by the vocal minority (I can say that per sample polls on here), who are using every caveat in the book to use the claim to their advantage.

It's gone from "everybody" - to "most" and there is no evidence of either.

And yes, I apologize if I'm being harsh on here, but we've seen a good example of where the negative stance originates from today and it disgusts me. There's only so much crap that can be sholved down one's throat before vomitting.

If people want me to do "thank you for your comment", you've got the wrong fella. This is the forum, I'm allowed to post my opinion just like the rest of you.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #21 on: 01/30/2012 06:10 PM »
Polling on a site that caters to NASA launch vehicles shows support for NASA launch vehicles.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline TomH

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #22 on: 01/30/2012 06:19 PM »
Well, for my $o.oo2 (Yes, you read the place value correctly) worth, this whole thing is not the fault or problem of the people who work at NASA. Those people are public servants who earn less than they are worth and who strive to do the job they are told to do. The problem is too many people outside the agency trying to be in charge and placing their own interests ahead of the greater good. People in Congress continue giving NASA a new direction. They tell NASA, "Build this and do it for this much." In a year or two they cut NASA's budget then say, "You're over budget," which while technically correct, is correct only because they themselves cut NASA's budget. Dissenters never agree to go along with the majority, instead calling hearings and subpoenaing NASA personel for the sole reason that person is doing the job assigned and this congressman doesn't like that. Every new president wants to call a commission to enclave so he can give NASA a new direction. The problem is not the hard working men and women at NASA who serve their country diligently. Is NASA able to compete with the public sector? NO, but this is the case only because the government doesn't give NASA a goal and a stable budget, then get out of their way and let the professionals plan how to accomplish the goal and then do their job.

When I was 15 and in Explorers (Boy Scouts), I was selected as the representative of my district to view the lanch of Apollo 13. Several hundred Explorers flew to Orlando where each of us was picked up by an employee of NASA and taken to that person's home for three days. I was hosted by a Dr. Mitchell, a NASA engineer in the LM department. I stayed at his very modest home and shared meals with his family, none of which was subsidized by the government. He transported me and one other guest to the Cape each day where we attended classes and learned more about the space program. We viewed the launch from the VIP stands. Hundreds of NASA employees did this out of the goodness of their hearts. On the day prior to my arrival, Dr. Mitchell had been on a campout with the scout troup in his church and his closest friend was bitten by a coral snake.  That friend died during my stay. Though very grieved, Dr. Mitchell and his family continued to be kind and gracious hosts. His daughter and I were pen pals for several years.

I believe that if NASA itself were a private corporation, unfettered by a plethora of politicians tossing the agency around like a football and each wanting it to be his own private toy, NASA could out perform any private company there is. The men and women of NASA are patriots who serve their country diligently, in spite of all the outsiders who get in their way. My hat is off to them each and every one. I salute you all.

(I am a citizen and a taxpayer who does not work for NASA or the space industry. This is solely my personal opinion.)

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #23 on: 01/30/2012 06:23 PM »
Wow! Another of these "tell me what you would do instead" threads, again - for the millionth time.

It's bad enough this is a standalone thread, but for people to re-quote their posts from other threads to keep this running at the top, that's riled me - and removed as they should remain on their original threads and if no one is reacting to them, don't go reposting on the backs of other threads, or it comes across as "I once mentioned prop depots, spaceX, fluffy bunnies and myspace.com!" (Sorry, but that's how some of the "NASA's wrong, but unproven company A and unflown concept B is bound have no problems" sound, by the way.

One comment....

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going."

I know enough people to know that's utterly false. Did they take Mr Kraft to task on such a wild claim? Nope, that wrote the headline. Still nothing sells like negative news. Who cares about facts, or updates, or information. I want drama!! And the SECOND some incorrect quote is used, people trip over themselves to be first to proclaim the gospel according to Elon.

FFS, seriously? We've been over this to the point of boredom.



I am in agreement. We have been over this time and time again. Yes, there is a cost issue with SLS depending on implementation and final design (ofc if NASA would use the streamlined non 5 segment versions that wouldn't be a problem but they won't so moving on). Yes SLS is going to take longer to build and implement than, Imo, it should, again because of what I see as poor or politically driven design choices. And yes it ultimately may not be worth it.

However, continuing to repeat that over and over and over and over again on this forum is not going to change it. We have had plenty of "what instead" threads over the past year and a half and its just a dead horse at this point. We know, quite clearly, what the alternatives are. Maybe we could discuss implementation/details or some of the things that "truly" cause problems with any good exploration plan instead of posting "oh but this guy said this way is better, oh but I think this way is better, oh but EELV...ect".

Like I said, that's a dead horse, and whats more is no one wants to talk about how they would implement their idea and make it work+critical details like timeline set dates, cost, design choices, ect.


So yeah, summation: I agree with Chris.
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Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #24 on: 01/30/2012 06:24 PM »
Polling on a site that caters to NASA launch vehicles shows support for NASA launch vehicles.

Yet we appear to be a honeypot for the small groups that usually hang around the sites more angled away from objectivity and have a set tone. Add in that we cover all launch vehicles, it certainly balances out and provides a good general snapshop.

Now if we went on postings, you'd think the poll should come out the other way, but it's absolute nature to "complain" on the internet.

Maybe we should do another poll to see where things stand today. I'll set it up after I've written an article (PS it's a positive article, about cool things - so no one will read it then....;D)

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #25 on: 01/30/2012 06:28 PM »
After reading the article the “skepticism” gist I got was that the rank and file of NASA wasn’t skeptical that SLS wouldn’t work or couldn’t technically meet the requirements but that its funding to be able to complete it would dry up before it got into the production phase of the hardware.

Offline Lobo

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #26 on: 01/30/2012 06:32 PM »
Chris, this is the most pro-NASA-launch-vehicle site there is out there. Heck, for a long time, practically everything on this site was organized based on what launch vehicle it used. Is it really that far fetched that perhaps you would have disproportionate contact with folks at NASA who are supportive of SLS?

What does that have to do with my comment? My comment is Mr Kraft is utterly wrong.

Your point is?
""I'm very skeptical about the heavy-lift rocket," said Chris Kraft, NASA's first manned spaceflight director and the director of flight operations during the Apollo 11 mission.

"I believe everybody at NASA, except those at the top level, thinks that's the case. The people at the division and branch level all believe there are better ways to get going.""


Except it's NOT wrong. Of the few NASA contractors I know, even though they are quite supportive of SD-HLVs in the right circumstances, they express quite a lot of skepticism about SLS as it stands and as it likely will be executed. They give the impression that a lot of the lower level folk are very skeptical that it is being done in a way that is going to work and not end up being canceled. They see it as becoming what Ares V had become. And to be quite honest, I'm sure Chris Kraft (former NASA flight director and director of JSC) knows a lot more NASA folk than either of us do. Maybe his statement is an exaggeration, but the general point that there is considerable skepticism with the specific approach being taken with SLS within the lower levels of NASA seems accurate to me.

That's my point. Also, your extreme reaction to that statement seems unbecoming of you. You're better than that. And it looks like this sort of attitude is causing this thread to devolve.

WEll, I think if SLS looks too big and expensive and slow, a good deal of fault would lay in Congress, for mandating 130mt to LEO and the use of a bunch of Shuttle heritage stuff (yea, I know it says the the extend practicable, but that seems to have meant keep all the exisitng infrastructure the way it is as much as possible to placate politicians from those areas.)
If they'd instead said something like "starting at 70mt and evolvable to at least 100mt to LEO, with the ability to send paylaods BLEO", then we could have had much more easily something like Direct.  The core would have not required a stretch, we'd only be looking at 3-4 RS25's per core, and just a single upper stage that would do both 2nd stage duty, as well as earth departure duties.  130mt to LEO, is really too big for Shuttle hardware, as it was designed for that 70-100mt range to be optimal for, as I understand.

So I think you start there, with a bit of trying to fit 6 gallons of water into a 5 gallon bucket.  Then you need biggers boosters, a stretched tank, more RS25's, and a dedicated 2nd stage, as well as another 3rd stage/CPS both to get the full 130mt+ capability. 

NASA, however, seemed to not do themselves any favors with how they approached it.  The EELV-derived LV's they looked at were silly, and so they didn't even really seem to consider better possibilities like A5P2-HEavy and then A5P3a.
They also decided to go for the core stretch right away, rather than down the road at some point when we might want to go to mars and really need that extra capacity.  I think tey could have started out with something Direct like or AJAX like to get going sooner and with less development costs.  ANd then had a  tentative plan somewhere down the road for a core stretch with big boosters. NAA201 only said SLS had to eventually do 130mt, it didnt' say when.  A back-burnered plan for a core stretch and bigger boosters could be sitting on the shelf to be pulled out and dusted off at some point in time when there was a political will and money for projects that might benefit from that larger capacity.  (HEck, AJAX would have met the NAA2010 mandate of 130mt without ever needing to upgrade the core.  It would just be desigend to accomodate enough LRB's to do it, and it wouldn't even need an upper stage to do it.  Just a CPS as an EDS. 

So NASA seemed to bypass some options and concepts that could have gotten them flying faster and cheaper, I believe.  In addition to Congress's NAA2012 which started things off on a less than efficient path.

Still, all that said, if we had the money in the past couple of decades budgets (which I don't think are any more much more than NASA's current budgets and projections), to launch 3-5 STS's per year, and build a space station, I think they'll get SLS built and flying and have enough money to do at least some missions with her.   Hopefully some type of lunar architecture as part of that.  :-)

Online edkyle99

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #27 on: 01/30/2012 06:32 PM »
Yep. Problem is this is being jumped on by the vocal minority (I can say that per sample polls on here), who are using every caveat in the book to use the claim to their advantage.

I'll admit to being "skeptical" myself when it comes to SLS - but only for funding, not technical, reasons.

There are, of course, a world of naysayers, fueled by the Constellation cancellation, who don't remember how to say anything positive about the Agency even when there are many positives.

So here is your chance, NASA employees.  Prove us all wrong! 

Show us that you can harness the resources of the United States to create the world's most capable rocket and human spacecraft without destroying the budget or schedule.  Show us that you can afford to use them once developed.  Then, use them!

 - Ed Kyle 

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #28 on: 01/30/2012 06:34 PM »
Yay, you're RIGHT on cue. Well done for proving my point about people with certain opinions (I say opinions, as there's nothing factual about what you wrote).

PS Well done for insulting thousands of people in one wacky paragraph.

Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph than insult millions of taxpayers over the past 30 years.


Instead of pointing that finger at the dilligent Engineers and workers and NASA point it at Congress and the White House. In nearly every failed program NASA has had in the last 30 years, the failures have been nearly all related to political descisions made from the top down that have caused serious design changes or operational planning changes against the advice of the industry professionals.

The demon that your trying to find here is not the NASA workforce. It is, as usual, the politicians whose moronic and often nonsensical decsions have resulted in impossible to build plans or designs. And yes, for the record I consider the person in the position of NASA Administrator to be a politician..

Examples: Venture star failed because the NASA admin, under political pressure (and influenced by his own wacky ideas), insisted on composite structures which the industry knew would never work and had said as much repeatedly.

CXP: Failed because Mr. nutjob himself, Mike Griffin insisted on a design for which congress was never going to provide the money, and which would never have been feasible, again, when the industry was practically screaming that the design and operational plan choices were totally incorrect. And the Bush administration did nothing to stop him.

And finally: The Obama fiasco space policy. Obama decided not to listen to industry advice or the Augustine Commission, to a large extent, and wanted to just throw everything out with no long term solution. The result was, that Congress, who was never going to stand for something like that in the first place, ended up essentially designing the rocket and pushed NASA into opting for 5 segment 4 engine baselines that we won't have any payloads for and that we might never need. And that's just as a baseline, they have still larger vehicles planned but no one, except of course once again the industry, is asking where the funding for ACTUAL MISSION HARDWARE is going to come from.



The problem is not the workforce, the problem is the politics. And before you say "no its government" thats not true either as there are, or were before this presidency, government agencies that are streamlined that function quite well on limited budgets, namely because there aren't as much politics involved.

If NASA had been managed in such a way that the actual industry professionals and Engineers had been given free reign to design a system to work on limited budgets, we would likely be on Mars already. But they weren't because space has always been a political punching bag.

So please, place the blame where it belongs, with the people who makes uninformed moronic choices for the NASA professionals before they can make the right choices themselves.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 06:34 PM by FinalFrontier »
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Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #29 on: 01/30/2012 06:35 PM »
[Ed Kyle] +1

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #30 on: 01/30/2012 06:37 PM »
After reading the article the “skepticism” gist I got was that the rank and file of NASA wasn’t skeptical that SLS wouldn’t work or couldn’t technically meet the requirements but that its funding to be able to complete it would dry up before it got into the production phase of the hardware.


Exactly. And I would agree that there is probably legitimate skepticism regarding the funding.

But something like "Oh all but the Admin think its totally unfeasible or un-fund-able" is pure fud.
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Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #31 on: 01/30/2012 06:51 PM »
Instead of pointing that finger at the dilligent Engineers and workers and NASA point it at Congress and the White House. In nearly every failed program NASA has had in the last 30 years, the failures have been nearly all related to political descisions made from the top down that have caused serious design changes or operational planning changes against the advice of the industry professionals.
...
So please, place the blame where it belongs, with the people who makes uninformed moronic choices for the NASA professionals before they can make the right choices themselves.
I couldn't agree more. The guy that used to change the tiles of the shuttle has no blame. And I did not insult any NASA worker, Mr Bergin just insinuated that. I just said that NASA was more of a job center than a space agency.

Offline Harold KSC

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #32 on: 01/30/2012 06:54 PM »
Nice backtracking. It's very clear who you're attacking Melga. It is NOT ok to call NASA a jobs program. I'd like to see you try and get a job here.

Offline Harold KSC

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #33 on: 01/30/2012 06:57 PM »


So please, place the blame where it belongs, with the people who makes uninformed moronic choices for the NASA professionals before they can make the right choices themselves.

Still wrong. We choose the vehicle. Heard of the RACs? Heard of the studies before that? WE CHOSE THIS Vehicle. And before another armchair commentator says it was under definition, there is no other vehicle we'd of chosen otherwise.

Offline Lobo

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #34 on: 01/30/2012 07:07 PM »


So please, place the blame where it belongs, with the people who makes uninformed moronic choices for the NASA professionals before they can make the right choices themselves.

Still wrong. We choose the vehicle. Heard of the RACs? Heard of the studies before that? WE CHOSE THIS Vehicle. And before another armchair commentator says it was under definition, there is no other vehicle we'd of chosen otherwise.

Ok, I'll bite.

Then WHy did you choose it, if you werent' forced into it?  I'm no anti-SLS guy by an means, but RAC-3 was just silly in the crazy EELV configurations they looked at.  Why not look at some evolved options like A5P2-Heavy and A5P3a?  OR FX-Heavy?  Those would have been far better RAC-3 optiosn to look at in my humble opinion.

Why didn't you look at something like AJAX for your shuttle derived?  It would have used a non-stretched core, and existing EELV CCB boosters.  The thrust beam swould have needed to be changed from STS ET, but it'd need changed with SLS anyway with the core stretch.

Seems EELV' werent' given a fair consideration, and better SDHLV configurations where even looked at, IMHO anywa.  SO I'm very curious.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #35 on: 01/30/2012 07:14 PM »
You are correct that given the assumptions that the vehicle as defined “SLS” is what would be chosen. But were the assumptions the right ones?

One assumption is that NASA would be the owner operator of the design and vehicle. What if the assumption was that NASA would purchase a commercial ride on a commercial/government shared development vehicle where the design and operation of the vehicle was a commercial entity and not NASA? What configurations would fit that one different assumption?

Offline Harold KSC

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #36 on: 01/30/2012 07:21 PM »
Lobo, it's been discussed so many times, I really can't imagine it needs to be gone over again.

I also don't want to give this thread more excuses to grow as it contain an article which is being used as the poster child for the usual suspects.

Offline MikeMelga

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #37 on: 01/30/2012 07:25 PM »
Nice backtracking. It's very clear who you're attacking Melga. It is NOT ok to call NASA a jobs program. I'd like to see you try and get a job here.
I'm not getting into a chauvinist discussion. Going back to the topic, SLS is goal-less, too expensive, not innovative, takes 13 years to do the first manned launch, so either someone in charge is dumb or worst, pretends to be dumb. Assuming the last, one needs to start figuring out why so much money will be spent.

Offline Gary NASA

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #38 on: 01/30/2012 07:31 PM »

takes 13 years to do the first manned launch,

Just one example. If you can't even get basic facts right, don't post. You're incredibly misinformed, and I suggest you are trolling.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 07:32 PM by Gary NASA »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #39 on: 01/30/2012 07:35 PM »
Everybody everywhere gets to start a sentence once in a while with, "If only...."  It's totally understandable if people within NASA sometimes say something like, "If only Congress were more rational!"

It's a fantasy, and at some level they know it.  Congress isn't going to become more rational (from an science and engineering perspective) any time soon.  Congress works the way it does for reasons that only make sense to politicians.

Congress -- with the concurrence of the President -- imposed the requirements, and SLS is the result.  Kraft and others have every right to be skeptical about whether Congress will provide the support necessary for SLS to succeed.  It may seem to them unlikely Congress will do so. 

But then again, they're not politicians.
I sure HOPE Congress can get better, because it can hardly get any worse:
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Will

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #40 on: 01/30/2012 07:43 PM »
I would say that given the external requirements, NASA has done better than might be expected. Competing the boosters is promising.

But funding is a serious concern.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 08:22 PM by Will »

Offline tigerade

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #41 on: 01/30/2012 07:56 PM »
Nice backtracking. It's very clear who you're attacking Melga. It is NOT ok to call NASA a jobs program. I'd like to see you try and get a job here.
I'm not getting into a chauvinist discussion. Going back to the topic, SLS is goal-less, too expensive, not innovative, takes 13 years to do the first manned launch, so either someone in charge is dumb or worst, pretends to be dumb. Assuming the last, one needs to start figuring out why so much money will be spent.

Wow dude, I'm not a cheerleader for NASA/SLS but you really need to watch what you say.  Calling anyone who works on those kinds of things dumb is really insulting to very hard working and smart people.  I think you are a troll, so you will probably be banned soon.  But you need to get a clue, seriously.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #42 on: 01/30/2012 08:06 PM »
I know it was undesirable to leave some post on here, so everyone can stop reporting to mod for all posts prior to this one, I've seen it but sometimes the air needs to be cleared and examples (good and bad) of opinion need to be shown and dealt with.

Draw a line under it here (myself included!) and let's try and act like Ed, who's dealt with this thread better than most (myself included!)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #43 on: 01/30/2012 08:10 PM »
Agree with Chris, here.
How about everyone sit back and look at cute puppies for a while: http://cuteoverload.com/
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #44 on: 01/30/2012 08:55 PM »
Instead of pointing that finger at the dilligent Engineers and workers and NASA point it at Congress and the White House. In nearly every failed program NASA has had in the last 30 years, the failures have been nearly all related to political descisions made from the top down that have caused serious design changes or operational planning changes against the advice of the industry professionals.
...
So please, place the blame where it belongs, with the people who makes uninformed moronic choices for the NASA professionals before they can make the right choices themselves.
I couldn't agree more. The guy that used to change the tiles of the shuttle has no blame. And I did not insult any NASA worker, Mr Bergin just insinuated that. I just said that NASA was more of a job center than a space agency.


Well it seems to me you most directly did insult NASA's workforce with this comment

Quote
Better to insult thousands of NASA workers in a paragraph

Of course I could be wrong. Either way, moving on:

Quote
Still wrong. We choose the vehicle. Heard of the RACs? Heard of the studies before that? WE CHOSE THIS Vehicle. And before another armchair commentator says it was under definition, there is no other vehicle we'd of chosen otherwise.

Great. Explain to me what the logic was in:

1. Creating a vehicle that scales to over 130mt and is nearly 100mt to LEO IN THE BASELINE

2. Why did you use 5 segment boosters. Why not ask ATK to bring back the 4 segment tooling since 5 segment systems are far heavier, more expensive to operate, and more expensive to produce.

3. Why did you go with a 4 main engine baseline instead of a three engine configuration which would have been more than sufficient.

4. What exactly are you building this thing for? What do you possibly plan to launch into orbit at 130 mt or more at any reasonable cost reducing launch rate as opposed to one or two launches per year at most? Wheres the money for payloads and mission hardware?

5. If your going to launch at a rate of one or two per year, or not even that much, how do you plan to keep the LV costs down and from sucking all the air out of the room?


Oh. Wait. Thats right. Congress insisted on using 5 segment systems and insisted on an LV that could easily scale to 130mt or greater with a baseline of greater than 70 mt to leo.


So politics didn't play a role at all. Really? Are you sure? Because from where I am standing it looks like they made the decision for you guys before you ever got to RACS.

Oh and:

Quote
Then WHy did you choose it, if you werent' forced into it?  I'm no anti-SLS guy by an means, but RAC-3 was just silly in the crazy EELV configurations they looked at. Why not look at some evolved options like A5P2-Heavy and A5P3a?  OR FX-Heavy?  Those would have been far better RAC-3 optiosn to look at in my humble opinion.

Why didn't you look at something like AJAX for your shuttle derived?  It would have used a non-stretched core, and existing EELV CCB boosters. The thrust beam swould have needed to be changed from STS ET, but it'd need changed with SLS anyway with the core stretch.

Seems EELV' werent' given a fair consideration, and better SDHLV configurations where even looked at, IMHO anywa.  SO I'm very curious.


And neither were commercial/government duo program options either. It was either one way or the other way not a combination of both.

And no, simply delegating LEO to commercial providers and not trying to include them in a BEO program does not constitute a duo program option.


Sorry, but no, politics played a significant role and your kidding yourself if you think otherwise.
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 08:57 PM by FinalFrontier »
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Offline beb

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #45 on: 01/30/2012 09:18 PM »
Looks into the room, then quietly closes door and tiptoes away.....

Offline SpacexULA

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #46 on: 01/30/2012 09:39 PM »
After reading the article the “skepticism” gist I got was that the rank and file of NASA wasn’t skeptical that SLS wouldn’t work or couldn’t technically meet the requirements but that its funding to be able to complete it would dry up before it got into the production phase of the hardware.

That is what I got from the article also.

I have ZERO doubt that the fine people at NASA and their contractors could build SLS close to budget and near their promised dates if given their full promised budgets.  I doubt that our elected representatives have any interest in putting their neck out.

We have had 2 budget tests since SLS was announced, 2 times congress could have stepped up to the plate to fully fund the SLS, and 2 times they failed.  Even so NASA continues to work diligently.

I blame congress and stand in awe of NASA / it's contractors.

Fully fund SLS or cancel it, don't starve it to death
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Offline ciscosdad

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #47 on: 01/30/2012 10:05 PM »
My 2c worth:

It irks me to see NASA labelled a "jobs program". Spaceflight is necessarily a mammoth industrial enterprise, and will inevitably require huge numbers of workers. Its all about the little details that escape the notice of the BFR fanboys. For example: what about the guys who have to paint and repaint all the launch structures on the Cape to avoid corrosion? Who is the poor little dude who has to sweep the floor of the VAB (ok, I know they probably use a motorised sweeper, but still). You can still fill in the blanks I'm sure. All these guys are essential parts of the space program, and it all costs money.
They also have the burden of excessive regulation that is the fate of any government run enterprise ( i knoe, I'm a government employee). No idea how to avoid that, but if you have the solution you will be the first in thousands of years.
The bottom line is that NASA does a magnificent job given the obstacles, political and administrative that they face and I take my hat off to them. All of them. I just wish I could be some small part of it, but Geography puts me permanently on the sidelines.
There will always be detractors and elbow jigglers who want them to do it some other way. Most should be quietly ignored.
Keep it going guys. You are the best.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #48 on: 01/30/2012 10:22 PM »
I believe Nasa's first goal should be the U.S. commercial cargo resupply to ISS.
Then commercial crew taxi for ISS and LEO.
Sets a future foundation and takes care of our needs right now.

As for the SLS, continue with block I.
Decide on solid or liquide booster for the upgrade.
If liquide then I believe it best to have the enigines be able to work with the SLS booster and a commercial launcher as well ( could be used on a future launcher ). With a liquide engine that might be chosen, it most likely would work with a future launch vehicle becides the SLS booster. So this does not change anything just gives us a bonus with a new U.S. made engine.

I,m not a SLS fan but trying to change things to much most likely would just delay our lunar and Mars goals.

Fuel depot can be designed and built ( launched on current launch vehicles ) at the same time as SLS block I. In the 2017 to 2019 timeline let that Congress and Nasa decide what they want to do with SLS, use Block I and or upgrade it. No change here for SLS just what would most likely happen at evaluating it's use after it's test flights.

It is an election year and things will change in 2013. Might be big or small changes.

No path will please all but hopefully a given plan will make most happy at least a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10.
Mars and beyond, human exploration
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Offline Lobo

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #49 on: 01/30/2012 10:55 PM »
Lobo, it's been discussed so many times, I really can't imagine it needs to be gone over again.

I also don't want to give this thread more excuses to grow as it contain an article which is being used as the poster child for the usual suspects.

Ok, I can understand that.  I just have not seen actual answers to those questions.  A lot of speculation about politics at play, and turf wars, but no actual "official" answers as to why the RAC-3 LV's were what they were, rather than some potentially much better configurations.

Same with something like AJAX for SDHLV.

"Discussed" can mean just wild specualtion ad nausium.  (which you are right, there certainly has been)  But I don't recall seeing any answers other than specualtion.  IF there have been, and I am mistaken, please point me to them and I'll gladly bring myself up to speed.  :-)
I'm just looking for information, not trying to stir anything up here. 

But, congressional mandates, political turf battels, and divisions within NASA are the only things I've heard discussed up until now, and Like I said, that's been all pretty speculative.  You said it really wasn't COngress mandating anything, that NASA actively CHOSE SLS.  And they wouldn't have chosen anything else.  I can see why SLS was chosen over the RAC-3 LV's considered, because those were just silly.  But why weren't better EELV options considered?
I can see why SLS was chosen over RAC-1 (sort of).  RAC-1 was be a clean sheet design, and I could see  taking even longer and costing even more money.
I can even see why SLS was chosen over Direct, because Direct really couldn't be evolved to be over 130mt, whcih was the Congressional mandate.  (although you indicated that it was a NASA choice, not because of the congressional mandate, which then beggs the question, why not start with Direct-like, and then upgrade later to a stretch core when or if we ever needed it.  SLS BLock 1 being "Direct", and then SLS Block 2 being like the curent PoR SLS Block 2).
But I can't see why SLS was chosen over a SDHLV concept like AJAX.  And again I'm not trying to rehash old battles, just looking for information.  AJAX seems like it would meet Congressional Mandate, be more scalable, use current ELV CCB's, and get flying as fast and probably cheaper (don't knwand NAA2010o for sure, just from what I am guessing). 
I assumed politics were the reasons why AJAX and Direct like systems didnt' get considered for SDHLV, and why RAC-3 looked like it did.  But maybe that's not the case?
« Last Edit: 01/30/2012 11:04 PM by Lobo »

Offline spectre9

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #50 on: 01/31/2012 12:31 AM »
Designing a rocket big enough to go to Mars and using it to go to the moon is a disaster waiting to happen.

Either it's Mars Direct or the SLS isn't needed until at least 2030.

130mt is a joke and I think it's more than 90% likely it will never fly in that form.

Stripping shuttles for test flights?

Where is the real hardware development? Is any of it even getting paid for before Obama leaves office (if he stays in for a 2nd term).

Payloads are the real issue here.

No mission. No payload. No direction.

At least we get to see some smoke and fire in 2017  ::)

Can't build spaceships in orbit from small chunks???

What the hell is this then???  ???


Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #51 on: 01/31/2012 12:50 AM »
One problem I see is that everyone assumes that the heaviest evolution of SLS will be the all or nothing approach.  Lets Look at the Block 1 configuration.  Engines?  Existing SSME's which have flown, and much later simpler versions of the same ones. Tanking? Stretched core based on ET, redesign is not a huge deal as it has been done in shuttle before with the LWT and SLWT.  Booster?  Ares I five segment, already significant testing performed, and most Ares I issues removed by returning to classic SRB sidemount configuration. Upperstage using existing Delta IV Heavy U/S. Avionics using Ares I with significant work.  Perhaps the Block II version might not fly, but if you cant launch one Block 1 SLS then it must be an act of the almighty.

Commercial right now reminds me of how NASA was perceived after the moon landing.  "Well if they can (go to the moon/launch a Delta II class LV cheaply) then we can just give them an outrageous goal with little money and they can do anything!"
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Online edkyle99

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #52 on: 01/31/2012 01:06 AM »
Designing a rocket big enough to go to Mars and using it to go to the moon is a disaster waiting to happen. ...
130mt is a joke and I think it's more than 90% likely it will never fly in that form. ...
Can't build spaceships in orbit from small chunks???
What the hell is this [ISS Image] then???  ???

SLS, even Block 2 SLS, is not big enough to go to Mars by itself.  LEO assembly (see your ISS example) will be needed even with SLS!  NASA Mars DRMs call for probably three or four ISS-es worth of LEO mass, per mission (every two years)!

The SLS we will see (Block 1) probably won't even be able to crack the 100 tonne to LEO barrier.  That's less than Saturn V, which means this is a rocket that would have to fly multiple times even to go to the Moon, if it ever got to go.  So even then, LEO assembly will be needed.   

 - Ed Kyle

Offline QuantumG

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #53 on: 01/31/2012 01:11 AM »
Agree with your point, but Apollo didn't set some "minimum required mass to TLI" for a lunar mission. Everyone recognizes that many components of the Apollo stack (especially the service module) were over mass.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #54 on: 01/31/2012 01:18 AM »
1 Designing a rocket big enough to go to Mars and using it to go to the moon is a disaster waiting to happen.

2 Either it's Mars Direct or the SLS isn't needed until at least 2030.

3 130mt is a joke and I think it's more than 90% likely it will never fly in that form.

4 Stripping shuttles for test flights?

5 Where is the real hardware development? Is any of it even getting paid for before Obama leaves office (if he stays in for a 2nd term).

6 Payloads are the real issue here.

7 No mission. No payload. No direction.

8 At least we get to see some smoke and fire in 2017  ::)

9 Can't build spaceships in orbit from small chunks???

10 What the hell is this then???  ???



Oh lordy. Ok, I'll give this a go! :) However, this is what I feared, that this article's thread would become the "ask any questions about SLS" thread and I'd prefer we used a better thread. Maybe a split at some point, I'll work it out.

1) No, SLS is evolvable. Block I and Block IA are 70mt and 100mt.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/10/sls-trades-opening-four-rs-25s-core-stage/

2) I think you've gotten confused there. If it was Mars Direct, then SLS Block II 130mt wouldn't be required until the 2030s. But they aren't doing Mars Direct.

3) Kinda agree they don't need 130mt.....but then again, that Mars deal shows some massive payloads, so maybe they do. I'm not a rocket scientist, they are, they want 130mt, so there we go.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/01/sls-exploration-roadmap-pointing-dual-mars-approach/

4) Yep. Absolutely agree with this requirement. What's the point of not doing that, and leaving them to rust where not even the tourist can see that hardware? It's proven flight hardware, very expensive, allows for hands on, total commonality with the RS-25D they've saved. Big tick.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/01/engineers-removing-orbiter-mps-components-donation-sls/

5) Heard of J-2X?
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/sls-j-2x-upper-stage-engine-500-second-test-fire/

MAF:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/boeing-complete-sls-pathfinder-tank-maf-et-operations-end/

Five Seg:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/09/atk-and-nasa-ground-test-five-segment-motor/

ML:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/mobile-launcherpad-39b-providing-opening-tests-sls-con-ops/

Orion:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/eft-1-orion-hatch-door-orion-modal-testing/

(and there's more).

6) In what way? There's that argument about payloads before vehicles, but the more this goes on the more SLS' capability pretty much doesn't restrict much.

7) No mission. No payload. No direction. a) We know the missions, but we don't know the refined schedule and running order. b) They will be within SLS' capability, less concerned about that bar the potential for funding issues. c) Welcome to NASA!

They are being really slow with this all, I will add.

8 ) Mission to the moon at least. Hope they put some cameras on board.

9) That's the argument for medium launchers and a lot of people support that, but I'd ask how the heck we'd get these big habs and Mars payloads up there (that is a question). I think one Mars mission worked out at 100 medium launchers and a crazy amount of on orbit assembly?! That's wild.

10) Is what then? :D

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #55 on: 01/31/2012 01:48 AM »
#9
Atlas phase II or something similar, around 150,000lb to LEO.
Mars and beyond, human exploration
The grass is always greener on the other side. When you stand on top of the hill you see both sides!

Offline WRW

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #56 on: 01/31/2012 01:51 AM »
While I agree that there are many issues with the SLS program, I think the article is a sloppy hatchet piece which states:
"many spaceflight experts are questioning why NASA chose what could be the most expensive and riskiest approach to expanding the human spaceflight program beyond low-Earth orbit"
And then produces no direct quotes from anyone expressing that conclusion.  Lots of concern and skepticism, ok.  But really?  THE MOST expensive and riskiest approach?  Oh, it COULD be.  I see.  Well Bigfoot and UFOs COULD be real.  So what. 

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #57 on: 01/31/2012 01:57 AM »
One problem I see is that everyone assumes that the heaviest evolution of SLS will be the all or nothing approach.  Lets Look at the Block 1 configuration.  Engines?  Existing SSME's which have flown, and much later simpler versions of the same ones. Tanking? Stretched core based on ET, redesign is not a huge deal as it has been done in shuttle before with the LWT and SLWT.  Booster?  Ares I five segment, already significant testing performed, and most Ares I issues removed by returning to classic SRB sidemount configuration. Upperstage using existing Delta IV Heavy U/S. Avionics using Ares I with significant work.  Perhaps the Block II version might not fly, but if you cant launch one Block 1 SLS then it must be an act of the almighty.

Commercial right now reminds me of how NASA was perceived after the moon landing.  "Well if they can (go to the moon/launch a Delta II class LV cheaply) then we can just give them an outrageous goal with little money and they can do anything!"
Block I
1)Orion to L1/2
2)cargo to L1/2 to supply a station there
3)reusable lunar lander to L1/2
4)fuel for station and reusable lunar lander

EDS launched with anyone of thoughs to L1/2

Can it be done, would the EDS have the Delta v, would the cargo/fuel pod have a propultion unit for L1/2 entry and disposal with still enough mass left for the cargo to L1/2.
1 and 2 should be able to do their own L1/2 entry burn.
Mars and beyond, human exploration
The grass is always greener on the other side. When you stand on top of the hill you see both sides!

Offline Warren Platts

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #58 on: 01/31/2012 02:04 AM »
Quote from: FinalFrontier
4. What exactly are you building this thing for? What do you possibly plan to launch into orbit at 130 mt or more at any reasonable cost reducing launch rate as opposed to one or two launches per year at most? Wheres the money for payloads and mission hardware?

An aggressive, depot-based Lunar program with 5 or 6 missions per year would require boatloads of propellant to LEO. Zegler and Kutter were looking at 700+ mT of LH2/LO2 to LEO for their ULA architecture.

However, probably the most common objection against the ULA architecture is the high flight rates required just to launch the propellant. Griffin himself is on record as saying the problem with depots is that NASA doesn't want to put depots on the critical path because of the risk that commercial launch providers would not be able to keep them filled fast enough.

Thus, a logical solution might seem be to use the NASA SLS to fill the depots, and then let commercial LV's launch the rest of the equipment. Six flights per year was the sweet spot for Shuttle launch rates: Block 2 SLS at 6 flights per year could launch 720 mT to LEO/year. I know this kind of turns the conventional wisdom on its head, but it would get the SLS flight rates up to where they need to be, while maxing out the payload capacity, and eliminate the it's-too-risky objection to using depots.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline QuantumG

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #59 on: 01/31/2012 02:07 AM »
Six flights per year was the sweet spot for Shuttle launch rates: Block 2 SLS at 6 flights per year could launch 720 mT to LEO/year.

You already have a thread for this wacky concept.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Warren Platts

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #60 on: 01/31/2012 03:20 AM »
Six flights per year was the sweet spot for Shuttle launch rates: Block 2 SLS at 6 flights per year could launch 720 mT to LEO/year.

You already have a thread for this wacky concept.

Thanks. Since you didn't get a chance to explain what's wacky about about making efficient use of the SLS in that thread, here is the link for you:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27591.0
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline QuantumG

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #61 on: 01/31/2012 03:24 AM »
I know this kind of turns the conventional wisdom on its head

I've never seen a better definition of "wacky". Remember, wacky can be a good thing too.

« Last Edit: 01/31/2012 03:25 AM by QuantumG »
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Proponent

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #62 on: 01/31/2012 03:29 AM »
<snip>

9 Can't build spaceships in orbit from small chunks???

<snip>

9) That's the argument for medium launchers and a lot of people support that, but I'd ask how the heck we'd get these big habs and Mars payloads up there (that is a question). I think one Mars mission worked out at 100 medium launchers and a crazy amount of on orbit assembly?! That's wild.

I'm inclined to agree that if a Mars missions based on near-term technology require SLS-sized launch vehicles.  But Mars missions are decades in the future, and there is no indication at all that Congress will be willing to fund them.  If and when the opportunity to go to Mars does arise, better ways to do it -- such as lunar propellants (Spudis & Lavoie) -- may have been developed.  So why build an HLV now when any mission to be carried out in the medium term can be done with smaller vehicles?  Isn't it better to spend the billions required for a new HLV on in-space hardware and developing propellant storage and transfer which will be needed for Mars anyway?
« Last Edit: 01/31/2012 03:32 AM by Proponent »

Offline Warren Platts

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #63 on: 01/31/2012 04:16 AM »
I know this kind of turns the conventional wisdom on its head

I've never seen a better definition of "wacky". Remember, wacky can be a good thing too.

lol! Thanks for the compliment (I think...) :D

Quote from: Proponent
So why build an HLV now when any mission to be carried out in the medium term can be done with smaller vehicles?  Isn't it better to spend the billions required for a new HLV on in-space hardware and developing propellant storage and transfer which will be needed for Mars anyway?

To do it with smaller LV's is going to take depots as well, at least. Meanwhile, half the argument for SLS-style HLV's is that they don't need depots. This argument goes back to Griffin himself in 2005:

Quote from: Griffin
But NASA’s architecture does not feature a fuel depot. Even if it could be afforded within the budget constraints which we will likely face – and it cannot – it is philosophically the wrong thing for the government to be doing. It is not “necessary”; it is not on the critical path of things we “must do” to return astronauts to the Moon. It is a highly valuable enhancement, but the mission is not hostage to its availability. It is exactly the type of enterprise which should be left to industry and to the marketplace. (page 7)
http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/138033main_griffin_aas1.pdf

SLS is--er could be--a great rocket. The problem is, SLS, without depots, is hamstrung. Just look at the DRMs that are coming out of ConOps these days and the projected flight rates! But if depots were combined with SLS, then the capabilities of both would be greatly amplified.

We've got to stop thinking of SLS and depots as mutually exclusive. As long as SLS is hamstrung by forcing it to lift everything on its own, SLS will be known as the "Expensive NASA rocket that draws skepticism"....

Bottom line: SLS + depots > SLS - depots OR EELVs + depots

« Last Edit: 01/31/2012 04:25 AM by Warren Platts »
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #64 on: 01/31/2012 06:11 AM »
Quote
A key criticism of NASA's rocket plan is that, even if its cost estimates are realistic, it would require NASA to spend all of its available spaceflight funds developing this hardware, leaving very little money for payloads needed if astronauts are actually to fly a meaningful mission beyond low-Earth orbit.

IMHO, the biggest skepticism of SLS isn't the concept of SLS itself. It's that the payloads it's really being made for might not be ready for decades because of lack of funding. Arguably, Shuttle was in a similar spot (though maybe not quite as bad). Its primary job is arguably station construction and logistics, something it didn't get to do (unless you count MIR) until almost two decades after it started flying because Space Station Freedom was funding starved. I mean, sure, we did Spacelab missions and launched some satellites, but Spacelab was a poor substitute for a true space station. We made do with what we had, but the situation was far from optimal.

NASA, Congress, White House: PLEASE don't do that again. Provide enough funding, scale down or focus SLS (or even cancel it entirely), whatever is needed to provide the payloads that are (or ought to be) the real reason we're developing this launch vehicle. I look at the exploration gateway, I look at the Mars DRM, I look at the asteroid DRMs, I look at the interesting proposal from Boeing for a reusable lunar lander, I look at the SEV (Space Exploration Vehicle)... It seems like we just have no money for any of these things while SLS is being developed. And the development doesn't stop once we fly it once or twice, it is supposed to be redone several times in some key ways, which greatly increases development costs and pushes off the time we can really start developing payloads (other than Orion) off well into the 2020s. And even then, we have to pay large fixed costs while we do the development... It just doesn't make sense. We need a very limited period of developing the launch vehicle and we need enough money to do parallel development of the payloads, or we are wasting enormous amounts of funds for little in return. There are lots of other ideas out there for spending the same amount of funds in better ways, it's not like this is the only possible way to do space exploration.
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Offline gospacex

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #65 on: 01/31/2012 08:51 AM »
People in Congress continue giving NASA a new direction. They tell NASA, "Build this and do it for this much." In a year or two they cut NASA's budget then say, "You're over budget," which while technically correct, is correct only because they themselves cut NASA's budget.

Wrong. Recent NASA programs such as Constellation, and JWST had massive budget overruns.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #66 on: 01/31/2012 08:56 AM »
Well, what do we really need to get started? If ULA was given the green light, they could develop ACES ($3.5B), depots ($3B), and the DTAL lander ($5B) for approximately $12B. SLS, Block 1, at least, shouldn't be more than another $12B. Basic surface systems should run another $10B. Then whatever it takes to finish Orion MPCV ($2B?). So for $36B in DDT&E costs ($6B/year DDT&E + $2B/year ISS + $1B/year misc = $9B/year), we'd have every thing in place to start on Newt's Moon base by 2020, right on schedule....
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline spectre9

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #67 on: 01/31/2012 09:17 AM »
1 Designing a rocket big enough to go to Mars and using it to go to the moon is a disaster waiting to happen.

2 Either it's Mars Direct or the SLS isn't needed until at least 2030.

3 130mt is a joke and I think it's more than 90% likely it will never fly in that form.

4 Stripping shuttles for test flights?

5 Where is the real hardware development? Is any of it even getting paid for before Obama leaves office (if he stays in for a 2nd term).

6 Payloads are the real issue here.

7 No mission. No payload. No direction.

8 At least we get to see some smoke and fire in 2017  ::)

9 Can't build spaceships in orbit from small chunks???

10 What the hell is this then???  ???



Oh lordy. Ok, I'll give this a go! :) However, this is what I feared, that this article's thread would become the "ask any questions about SLS" thread and I'd prefer we used a better thread. Maybe a split at some point, I'll work it out.

1) No, SLS is evolvable. Block I and Block IA are 70mt and 100mt.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/10/sls-trades-opening-four-rs-25s-core-stage/

2) I think you've gotten confused there. If it was Mars Direct, then SLS Block II 130mt wouldn't be required until the 2030s. But they aren't doing Mars Direct.

3) Kinda agree they don't need 130mt.....but then again, that Mars deal shows some massive payloads, so maybe they do. I'm not a rocket scientist, they are, they want 130mt, so there we go.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/01/sls-exploration-roadmap-pointing-dual-mars-approach/

4) Yep. Absolutely agree with this requirement. What's the point of not doing that, and leaving them to rust where not even the tourist can see that hardware? It's proven flight hardware, very expensive, allows for hands on, total commonality with the RS-25D they've saved. Big tick.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/01/engineers-removing-orbiter-mps-components-donation-sls/

5) Heard of J-2X?
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/sls-j-2x-upper-stage-engine-500-second-test-fire/

MAF:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/boeing-complete-sls-pathfinder-tank-maf-et-operations-end/

Five Seg:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/09/atk-and-nasa-ground-test-five-segment-motor/

ML:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/mobile-launcherpad-39b-providing-opening-tests-sls-con-ops/

Orion:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/eft-1-orion-hatch-door-orion-modal-testing/

(and there's more).

6) In what way? There's that argument about payloads before vehicles, but the more this goes on the more SLS' capability pretty much doesn't restrict much.

7) No mission. No payload. No direction. a) We know the missions, but we don't know the refined schedule and running order. b) They will be within SLS' capability, less concerned about that bar the potential for funding issues. c) Welcome to NASA!

They are being really slow with this all, I will add.

8 ) Mission to the moon at least. Hope they put some cameras on board.

9) That's the argument for medium launchers and a lot of people support that, but I'd ask how the heck we'd get these big habs and Mars payloads up there (that is a question). I think one Mars mission worked out at 100 medium launchers and a crazy amount of on orbit assembly?! That's wild.

10) Is what then? :D

1. I guess we have no idea which version of the vehicle will be used in practice. Hopefully whatever config they choose is realistic and cheap.

2. I was trying to say if they want to develop a 130mt launcher right now they might as well be doing Mars Direct. I mean Zubrin says you could do it with a few Falcon Heavies.

3. Rocket scientists want 130mt? To launch what? Mostly propellent I guess. Better not utter the "d" word. Lets call it on orbit refuelling or something more friendly  :)

4. With Commercial crew not getting much funding and obvious delays it might have been good to use shuttle for a couple of extra ISS modules. Hey it would've taken too much money out of the powerpoint rocket so I guess that's a bad idea  :(

5. J2X contract awarded before Obama in office.
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2007/jul/HQ_C07030_J2X_Contract_prt.htm

At MAF they have built the tooling to build a 10m+ tank. Does it mean it's a good idea?

Pretty sure the 5-seg and Orion were also leftovers from previously awarded constellation contracts too.

6. Things like habitats and moon landers would be a good start. Rockets with slow launch rates are more expensive.

7. SLS can lift anything. But is all that capability really needed? "Welcome to NASA" lol

8. The blue marble in HD  ;D

9. Yes back to the SLS is needed for Mars argument. But NASA doesn't want to go to Mars first and they don't even have the capability to land on the moon anymore. Seems to be thinking way too far ahead.

10. It's a giant spaceship built with on orbit assembly. Not only that but with parts made in many different countries and launched on many different launch vehicles. I thought it was awesome watching those astronauts go out on EVA to tighten up bolts and stuff. Don't need to do everything on the ground when you have space walking engineers.

So SLS is pretty much just Constellation leftovers all packaged up into a nice feelgood "Lets go to Mars someday" story to keep the kids happy.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #68 on: 01/31/2012 11:24 AM »
So SLS is pretty much just Constellation leftovers all packaged up

Tell me if I've got this right.
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Offline aquanaut99

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #69 on: 01/31/2012 11:28 AM »
Tell me if I've got this right.

I believe, this is even closer to the truth:


Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #70 on: 01/31/2012 11:38 AM »
FWIW, I think that the headline (possibly deliberately?) mis-sells the article.  The article merely reminds us that the current PoR isn't universally and unequivocally supported throughout the community (possibly even in NASA itself) and that a lot of people remain twitchy about the costs, the slow pace of defining missions and the length of the time-line.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2012 11:39 AM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #71 on: 01/31/2012 11:51 AM »
FWIW, I think that the headline (possibly deliberately?) mis-sells the article.  The article merely reminds us that the current PoR isn't universally and unequivocally supported throughout the community (possibly even in NASA itself) and that a lot of people remain twitchy about the costs, the slow pace of defining missions and the length of the time-line.

How can anyone define any realistic missions for it? Orion isn’t exactly able to do much on its own. At least the shuttle had the mid deck which provided space for experiments. The rocket consumes so much budget that pretty much nothing else you need to go with the mission gets funded(habs, landers ect…).  And it takes time to develop habs and landers meaning at best you get a rocket that has nothing to do for a few years(maybe 5-10) before you can do anything.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2012 11:52 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #72 on: 01/31/2012 11:59 AM »
Quote
A key criticism of NASA's rocket plan is that, even if its cost estimates are realistic, it would require NASA to spend all of its available spaceflight funds developing this hardware, leaving very little money for payloads needed if astronauts are actually to fly a meaningful mission beyond low-Earth orbit.

IMHO, the biggest skepticism of SLS isn't the concept of SLS itself. It's that the payloads it's really being made for might not be ready for decades because of lack of funding. Arguably, Shuttle was in a similar spot (though maybe not quite as bad). Its primary job is arguably station construction and logistics, something it didn't get to do (unless you count MIR) until almost two decades after it started flying because Space Station Freedom was funding starved. I mean, sure, we did Spacelab missions and launched some satellites, but Spacelab was a poor substitute for a true space station. We made do with what we had, but the situation was far from optimal.



The shuttle was to be multipurpose. Sure it was to build and tend space stations and space platforms but it also served as a launcher for commercial satellites and spy satellites. The shuttle had some purpose all by itself; SLS/Orion has very little to none without additional hardware that NASA must pay for in it's own budget.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #73 on: 01/31/2012 12:05 PM »

(snip)
 

How can anyone define any realistic missions for it? Orion isn’t exactly able to do much on its own. At least the shuttle had the mid deck which provided space for experiments. The rocket consumes so much budget that pretty much nothing else you need to go with the mission gets funded(habs, landers ect…).  And it takes time to develop habs and landers meaning at best you get a rocket that has nothing to do for a few years(maybe 5-10) before you can do anything.

That is the unexpected side-benefit of the slow pace of SLS - There is time to develop cheap mission modules. ;)

That said, I think that pathfinder more or less proved my point - that there remain some who are skeptical about the approach.  The problem is that the article really oversells this and tries to suggest that, with the exception of Nelson, Hutchinson, Bolden and maybe Garver, everyone else is throwing dust into the air and screaming "No!" at the top of their voices.  I don't think that the evidence really supports that.
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Online Chris Bergin

Re: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"
« Reply #74 on: 01/31/2012 12:16 PM »
Tell me if I've got this right.

I believe, this is even closer to the truth:



Uh oh, they've got the MS Paint out! ;D

Locking this one, and setting up a new poll for an updated snapshot.

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