Author Topic: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?  (Read 12770 times)

Online speedevil

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Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« on: 05/22/2017 02:24 PM »
The 2017 budget request for NASA required several reports to be prepared.
Amongst these was 'Subsec. 421(e)   Enactment + 60 days   On Orion to ISS without SLS'.

I've had a quick look, and found no discussion on this. Or is it just not quite yet public?
« Last Edit: 05/22/2017 02:27 PM by speedevil »

Offline Starlab90

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #1 on: 05/22/2017 06:10 PM »
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/244/actions

Not entirely sure, but I believe the clock starts ticking when the bill becomes law, which, according to the link above, was May 5. That would put the due date at July 4.

Maybe somebody who understands Congress better than I do can confirm or correct?

Offline Proponent

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #2 on: 05/22/2017 06:53 PM »
It is actually the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 which mandates the study.  That was enacted on 21 March, so enactment + 60 days would be 20 May.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #3 on: 05/22/2017 11:48 PM »
Unfortunately, many of these reports aren't public, as far as I know.

Offline woods170

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #4 on: 05/23/2017 06:40 AM »
Unfortunately, many of these reports aren't public, as far as I know.
Correct. This one will not be public either. Eventually one may get hold of a copy via a FOIA request.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #5 on: 05/26/2017 04:31 AM »
So what LV do they propose to use?

Offline sevenperforce

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #6 on: 05/26/2017 05:50 PM »
So what LV do they propose to use?
Delta IV Heavy, launching from the Cape, can send 23.7 tonnes to 400x409 km at 52 degrees. That's enough to send the Orion and its SM, albeit not fully-fueled.

Offline clongton

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #7 on: 05/26/2017 08:17 PM »
So what LV do they propose to use?
Delta IV Heavy, launching from the Cape, can send 23.7 tonnes to 400x409 km at 52 degrees. That's enough to send the Orion and its SM, albeit not fully-fueled.

The Air Force does not want and will not fund it's RS-68 engine to be changed for human rating.
They own it. They control it.
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I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #8 on: 05/26/2017 09:08 PM »
So what LV do they propose to use?
Delta IV Heavy, launching from the Cape, can send 23.7 tonnes to 400x409 km at 52 degrees. That's enough to send the Orion and its SM, albeit not fully-fueled.

The Air Force does not want and will not fund it's RS-68 engine to be changed for human rating.
They own it. They control it.

Nothing like throwing cold water on an idea Chuck...  ;)

But an important point that needs to be remembered, because the normal assumption would be that ULA would be in complete control of their own launch vehicles.

So would this make it likely that Falcon Heavy could have been considered?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Jim

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #9 on: 05/26/2017 09:22 PM »

They own it. They control it.

No and no

Online ncb1397

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #10 on: 05/27/2017 12:39 AM »
Well, I think the LAS, an empty Orion and an empty service module together weigh ~21 mT. According to Rocketbuilder.com, the heaviest Atlas can send 18856 to LEO, but that isn't including the 5 meter fairing which the LAS replaces. I think it would just be a matter of stripping some parts out of the service module to get enough fuel load to do an ISS mission.  Strip out 2 out of 4 propellant tanks, some of the O2 and N2 tanks, 3 out of 6 of the H20 tanks and use 2 panel solar panels vs 3 panel. Rocketbuilder website doesn't include a dual-centaur upper stage, so that might boost things even farther.

If we are considering a Delta-IV Heavy, why not just use a SLS without an upper stage? 4 SSMEs cost ~$50 million each and the SRBs are what? $50 million each? That is $300 million in rocket hardware not counting the rest of the core stage. It would be in the same ballpark as what NASA pays for a Delta-IV heavy.
 
Another option would be Orbital's NGL if that gets off the ground. Think it will use the VAB so resources for Orion would be close by.
« Last Edit: 05/27/2017 12:42 AM by ncb1397 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #11 on: 05/27/2017 02:14 AM »
So what LV do they propose to use?
Delta IV Heavy, launching from the Cape, can send 23.7 tonnes to 400x409 km at 52 degrees. That's enough to send the Orion and its SM, albeit not fully-fueled.

The Air Force does not want and will not fund it's RS-68 engine to be changed for human rating.
They own it. They control it.
Same argument could be made for Atlas V. But Atlas V is being crew-rated, so...
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 Patchouli

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #12 on: 05/27/2017 02:45 AM »
So what LV do they propose to use?
Delta IV Heavy, launching from the Cape, can send 23.7 tonnes to 400x409 km at 52 degrees. That's enough to send the Orion and its SM, albeit not fully-fueled.

The Air Force does not want and will not fund it's RS-68 engine to be changed for human rating.
They own it. They control it.

The human rated changes do not need to be applied to the NRO/USAF LVs much like the changes needed for the Gemini Titian II's didn't have to be applied to the USAF ones.
You just set aside some RS-68s and CBCs to be built to slightly different specs along the same assembly line.

Much like how Soyuz U and Soyuz FG come off the same assembly line.
« Last Edit: 05/27/2017 04:13 AM by Patchouli »

Offline sevenperforce

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #13 on: 05/27/2017 03:56 PM »
So what LV do they propose to use?
Delta IV Heavy, launching from the Cape, can send 23.7 tonnes to 400x409 km at 52 degrees. That's enough to send the Orion and its SM, albeit not fully-fueled.

The Air Force does not want and will not fund it's RS-68 engine to be changed for human rating.
They own it. They control it.
In theory, it doesn't even need to be man-rated. Send the Orion up on its own and send the crew separately, or run through the testing with ISS crew.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #14 on: 05/28/2017 12:58 AM »
EDIT:  Send up a couple Orion trained Astronauts as part of a regular ISS crew launch. Launch an Orion on D-IVH with two out of four Service Module propellant tanks deleted or all four only half full. Orion flies automated to ISS and docks. Crew of two test Astros get aboard then fly a week long shakedown flight in orbit before entering and splashing down in the Pacific.

Avoids having to man-rate the Delta IV-Heavy and will accomplish half of the goals or more of EM-2. So: fly EM-1 as planned, fly the first crew-rated Orion to ISS as stated above - they could still call it EM-2. EM-3 could be crew on Orion/SLS out to high lunar orbit; taking a 10 ton Habitation 'Gateway' module out there with them. This means only 1x ICPS needed. With a bit of extra funding (yeah, right), EM-3 could fly with the Exploration Upper Stage in 2022. But they would have to make the revised EM-2 & EM-3 plans soon and start official development of the EUS soonish as well.
« Last Edit: 05/28/2017 11:55 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #15 on: 05/28/2017 07:04 AM »
Send up a couple Orion trained Astronauts as part of a regular ISS crew launch. Launch an Orion on D-IVH with two out of four Service Module propellant tanks deleted. Orion flies automated to ISS and docks. Crew of two test Astros get aboard then fly a week long shakedown flight in orbit before entering and splashing down in the Pacific.

No need to delete the tanks, that creates extra design complexity as well as of centre of gravity offsets. Just fly with the tanks half full. The crew could return to ISS and the Orion does a high apogee burn to test the new heat shield without risking the astronauts. I would expect this flight to be called EFT-2.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Brovane

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #16 on: 05/29/2017 10:38 PM »
Well, I think the LAS, an empty Orion and an empty service module together weigh ~21 mT. According to Rocketbuilder.com, the heaviest Atlas can send 18856 to LEO, but that isn't including the 5 meter fairing which the LAS replaces. I think it would just be a matter of stripping some parts out of the service module to get enough fuel load to do an ISS mission.  Strip out 2 out of 4 propellant tanks, some of the O2 and N2 tanks, 3 out of 6 of the H20 tanks and use 2 panel solar panels vs 3 panel. Rocketbuilder website doesn't include a dual-centaur upper stage, so that might boost things even farther.

If we are considering a Delta-IV Heavy, why not just use a SLS without an upper stage? 4 SSMEs cost ~$50 million each and the SRBs are what? $50 million each? That is $300 million in rocket hardware not counting the rest of the core stage. It would be in the same ballpark as what NASA pays for a Delta-IV heavy.
 
Another option would be Orbital's NGL if that gets off the ground. Think it will use the VAB so resources for Orion would be close by.

Why not just use a block-V F9?  The Block-V F9 flying expendable should be able to do 22,800kg to LEO.  The Block-V version will be the one that will be human rated for crew.   
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #17 on: 05/29/2017 11:37 PM »
Crazy to think Falcon 9 could probably send an underfueled Orion to LEO. Crazy how close it is to Delta IV Heavy to LEO.
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Offline woods170

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #18 on: 05/30/2017 06:41 AM »
Crazy to think Falcon 9 could probably send an underfueled Orion to LEO. Crazy how close it is to Delta IV Heavy to LEO.
Saturn IB basically was the same. What began as a potent launcher (Saturn I) became a really potent launcher thanks to first stage upgrades and an improved upper stage (S-IVB). It lifted underfueled Apollo CSM's on suborbital missions (AS-201, AS202) and 4 orbital missions (Apollo 7, Skylab 2, Skylab 3 and Skylab 4).
I would not be surprised at all it it turned out that F9 Block V could indeed lift an underfueled Orion all the way to LEO.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Orion to ISS without SLS proposal due today?
« Reply #19 on: 05/30/2017 03:00 PM »
The last values published for the DIVH with upgrades is 28,370kg to LEO. It could take a fully fueled Orion to orbit and then let its SM do the orbital maneuvering to dock with ISS. The configuration used on EFT-1 no longer exists.

As far as F9 the current "Block 3" has the 22,500kg to orbit as max expendable capability. But we do not know just how much more than that the Block 5 is capable of. My estimate is 25,000+kg to LEO.

It is just to show that there are many options. Plus an F9 or FH would have HR status and could lift off with astronauts aboard on an EFT-3 flight (after having done an EFT-2 flight unmanned with same Orion and LV configuration) that would fully qualify Orion ready for operations without using SLS at all.

Would it take a lot of engineering work to validate the configuration to fly on a different vehicle: YES. But that cost is bound to be a lot less than a single SLS flight cost let alone 2: <$1B[per SLS flight cost without Orion].

But this proposition ignores the PTBs (Powers That Be) that control the SLS and Orion program, Congress. Without authrization and appropriations NASA can not do anything other than what they are doing now.

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