Author Topic: Orion - cost to finish?  (Read 3604 times)

Offline alexterrell

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Orion - cost to finish?
« on: 03/04/2010 07:53 AM »
A quickish question ....

I understand Orion development was going well (not withstanding the last mishap), and the major problems were trying to make up for the poor performance of Ares 1.

I now read there are efforts in Congress to revive Orion. So three questions:

1. How much was spent on Orion?

2. How much would it cost to complete Orion, assuming the launcher is fully capable (i.e, no unreasonable payload constraints)?

3. How long to operational capability, again, assuming no launch vehicle constraints?

The way I see it, Griffin invested in Dragon because he didn't want all his eggs in one basket. It seems the only sensible decision he made. But NASA might not want to rely on Dragon post shuttle retirement (which will probably be 2015?).

Offline clb22

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #1 on: 03/04/2010 08:41 AM »
1. How much was spent on Orion?
Until Sept 2010 it will be a total of about nearly 5bn (CEV planing + Orion + program integration costs).

2. How much would it cost to complete Orion, assuming the launcher is fully capable (i.e, no unreasonable payload constraints)?
About 9bn in development and operations costs until IOC.

3. How long to operational capability, again, assuming no launch vehicle constraints?
IOC of FY2015

Those are the best numbers we got for the current Orion program. Anyone who makes claims for Orion being ready in 2013 (LM's claim) for 1/10th of the costs needs to explain the Augustine Commission's assessment (Orion in 2016 for 10bn+) and NASA's current budget planing in FY2010.
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Offline neilh

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #2 on: 03/04/2010 08:53 AM »
The answer depends on what you mean by "Orion." There's been discussion of further simplifying the requirements in various ways, which would result in a lower cost:

* are you referring to LEO-only, or beyond-LEO Orion?
* cutting back on the number of crew; it was already cut from 6 to 4, and I think I've seen some discussion of cutting it back to 3 crew
* launching on a Delta IV instead of an Ares I means it doesn't need as elaborate an escape system, since it doesn't have to escape a cloud of exploding solid propellant
* launching with crew inside Orion, vs. launching crew separately and transferring to Orion once it's already in orbit, which (among other things) alleviates needs to develop escape system for Orion
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Offline Nathan

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #3 on: 03/04/2010 09:07 AM »

Those are the best numbers we got for the current Orion program. Anyone who makes claims for Orion being ready in 2013 (LM's claim) for 1/10th of the costs needs to explain the Augustine Commission's assessment (Orion in 2016 for 10bn+) and NASA's current budget planing in FY2010.

Or conversely - those on the Augustine commission need to explain why LM's dates are not to be believed - given that they are the one's making the thing!
Given finite cash, if we want to go to Mars then we should go to Mars.

Offline clb22

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2010 09:34 AM »

Those are the best numbers we got for the current Orion program. Anyone who makes claims for Orion being ready in 2013 (LM's claim) for 1/10th of the costs needs to explain the Augustine Commission's assessment (Orion in 2016 for 10bn+) and NASA's current budget planing in FY2010.

Or conversely - those on the Augustine commission need to explain why LM's dates are not to be believed - given that they are the one's making the thing!

First they better explain how they get from a contract for IOC in March 2015 and another 9bn in development costs to IOC in FY2013 and 1bn in development costs. That has nothing to do with Augustine, it's just a fact that the plan was for IOC in FY2015 and another 9bn. And no, they can't blame 8bn cost overruns and 2 years more development on Ares I.
Spirals not circles, Mr. President. Spirals!

Offline alexterrell

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #5 on: 03/04/2010 02:33 PM »
The answer depends on what you mean by "Orion." There's been discussion of further simplifying the requirements in various ways, which would result in a lower cost:

* are you referring to LEO-only, or beyond-LEO Orion?
* cutting back on the number of crew; it was already cut from 6 to 4, and I think I've seen some discussion of cutting it back to 3 crew
* launching on a Delta IV instead of an Ares I means it doesn't need as elaborate an escape system, since it doesn't have to escape a cloud of exploding solid propellant
* launching with crew inside Orion, vs. launching crew separately and transferring to Orion once it's already in orbit, which (among other things) alleviates needs to develop escape system for Orion

Orion was originally sized for 6 crew, and then  reduced to 4 due to Ares I under performance. That means it must be oversized for 4 crew. Would putting it back to six, adding in the dropped components etc, reduce the cost to operation?

Is there a big cost difference between LEO and beyond LEO, and does one follow from the other?

Launching crew separately would seem a rather strange idea. Only worth considering if your foolish enough to put Orion on top of a solid fuelled missile :)

Offline William Barton

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #6 on: 03/04/2010 02:46 PM »

Those are the best numbers we got for the current Orion program. Anyone who makes claims for Orion being ready in 2013 (LM's claim) for 1/10th of the costs needs to explain the Augustine Commission's assessment (Orion in 2016 for 10bn+) and NASA's current budget planing in FY2010.

Or conversely - those on the Augustine commission need to explain why LM's dates are not to be believed - given that they are the one's making the thing!

First they better explain how they get from a contract for IOC in March 2015 and another 9bn in development costs to IOC in FY2013 and 1bn in development costs. That has nothing to do with Augustine, it's just a fact that the plan was for IOC in FY2015 and another 9bn. And no, they can't blame 8bn cost overruns and 2 years more development on Ares I.

Didn't we just hear a proposal that a commercial consortium could fly STS 5x flights/year for $1.8bln? That'd be a good start on blame-fixture, right there. The other question would be, is that $1bln total, or just $1bln from taxpayers? One assumes CCDEV providers will be providing some of their own funding?

Offline Nate_Trost

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #7 on: 03/04/2010 03:29 PM »
How much was Orion supposed to cost? Nine billion for a capsule design is an epic fail.

Offline robertross

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #8 on: 03/04/2010 10:10 PM »
The answer depends on what you mean by "Orion." There's been discussion of further simplifying the requirements in various ways, which would result in a lower cost:

* launching on a Delta IV instead of an Ares I means it doesn't need as elaborate an escape system, since it doesn't have to escape a cloud of exploding solid propellant

If your plan is to reduce costs, why develop a new LAS, we are already developing one? Just finish it & the contract.
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Offline neilh

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Re: Orion - cost to finish?
« Reply #9 on: 03/04/2010 10:17 PM »
The answer depends on what you mean by "Orion." There's been discussion of further simplifying the requirements in various ways, which would result in a lower cost:

* launching on a Delta IV instead of an Ares I means it doesn't need as elaborate an escape system, since it doesn't have to escape a cloud of exploding solid propellant

If your plan is to reduce costs, why develop a new LAS, we are already developing one? Just finish it & the contract.

I may be mistaken, but weren't there concerns that the LAS as currently specified would be potentially unable to deal with a catastrophic explosion of the Ares I? Switching to Delta IV would make things easier; don't know about the various Jupiter designs.
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