Author Topic: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"  (Read 20552 times)

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
No Bucks no Buck Rogers, but at least Flexible path gets you Twiki.

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

Offline 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.   

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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.
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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
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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?

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