Author Topic: "Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism"  (Read 20526 times)

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 isnít 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 ectÖ).  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 isnít 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 ectÖ).  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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