Author Topic: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread  (Read 107511 times)

Offline LegendCJS

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 575
  • Boston, MA
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #40 on: 08/25/2012 02:04 PM »
1-Is this correct, enthusiatic loose interpretation, or just more blather?

2-It could be hoped that JPL is held to the cost cap, but I doubt it. We could start a poll on our guesses for the final cost, $400-450M, $450-500M, up to >$1G. 

1-It is mostly correct. Note that he's not talking about the technology, he's essentially talking about the team of EDL experts. Most of those people were going to be out of a job. Now many of them will work on InSight. Not all, because InSight is less sophisticated. But this is an important resource to preserve.

2-What is the basis for your skepticism? This is a proven lander design, and the blueprints already exist. The instruments are being provided by European sources. Note that both GRAIL and InSight were selected because of a belief that their cost estimates were sound (and both were based upon existing spacecraft). GRAIL actually came in under budget. Can you cite a single Discovery mission that doubled in price?

Comega, lI agree with what Blackstar said.  Insight is like another copy of Phoenix, just with different instruments.  Phoenix was a copy of a previous spacecraft (MPL).  If Phoenix didn't go over budget, what makes you think InSight will? 

Another thing: You seem to carry a large amount of skepticism from some well known recent/ ongoing JPL managed missions that went over budget. 

However, Insight is a great example of re-using the investments of the past.  I have a question for you Comega:  If we are sitting here 20 years form now and there have been many large payloads landed on mars successfully with the skycrane manuver, and a few more MSL sized rovers crawling over the surface, all of which were enabled and made affordable and kept in budget by the investment and budget over-run of the MSL mission, would your opinion of JPL's management change at all?
Remember: if we want this whole space thing to work out we have to optimize for cost!

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31143
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9396
  • Likes Given: 297
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #41 on: 08/25/2012 02:41 PM »

It could be hoped that JPL is held to the cost cap, but I doubt it. We could start a poll on our guesses for the final cost, $400-450M, $450-500M, up to >$1G. 


LM is building the spacecraft vs JPL

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10751
  • Liked: 2273
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #42 on: 08/25/2012 03:48 PM »
LM is building the spacecraft vs JPL

That's a good point. JPL has management oversight, but very little to do with the hardware--spacecraft and instruments are all being built by others, not JPL.

Because JPL has little work right now there is the risk of their projects going over budget to cover their overhead costs. But it will be hard for this to happen with InSight.

Offline GuessWho

  • Member
  • Posts: 94
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #43 on: 08/26/2012 03:32 AM »

2-What is the basis for your skepticism? This is a proven lander design, and the blueprints already exist. The instruments are being provided by European sources. Note that both GRAIL and InSight were selected because of a belief that their cost estimates were sound (and both were based upon existing spacecraft). GRAIL actually came in under budget. Can you cite a single Discovery mission that doubled in price?

Where to start ...?  Phoenix redux missions have been proposed under previous Mars Scout ($475M cap in FY2007) and New Frontiers ($650M cap in FY2009) and rejected by HQ due to cost credibility concerns.  Estimates of the original PHX mission range from $420M to $480M but do not include any of the cost associated with the inherited hardware from the '01 Lander nor the value of the engineering effort (design, analyses, documentation, etc) that would have gone along with developing the hardware designs.  Given the overall dollars spent on the '01 effort that covered the orbiter and the lander was in the neighborhood of $220M, one could easily peg that total value in the $110 -$130M range.  As the '01 was done in the FBC era, corners were cut then that, in the current environment, would never be tolerated.  Thus a minimum mission now would be in the $530M - $610M range, not counting for inflation.  The previous concerns on cost credibility were justified.  Yes, the Insight instruments are contributed but that contribution doesn't come anywhere close to shaving off $100M - $175M in cost (not counting the 30% reserves that Insight has to demonstrate).  Further, there is huge risk associated with those contributed instruments.  NASA/JPL have no leverage over the providers to deliver on-time and with the necessary performance.  Since instruments habitually miss schedule targets, the whole program is at risk of delay and missing the planned launch window.  Just like MSL, they will face a two-year delay in launch if they fail to meet the planned schedule resulting in even more additional costs.  Finally, it strikes me as totally insane to reward JPL for delivering MSL two years late and more than $1.6B over cost by giving them yet another Mars lander project, particularly when they have been promised another Mars mission (directed mission) scheduled for launch in the 2018 timeframe.  MSL ate the Mars Scout program and now the Mars science community and JPL are about to eat the Discovery program as well.  But hey, at least we still get pretty rust-colored pictures of a rocky desert.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31143
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9396
  • Likes Given: 297
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #44 on: 08/26/2012 03:43 AM »
Finally, it strikes me as totally insane to reward JPL for delivering MSL

JPL isn't building Insight.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31143
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9396
  • Likes Given: 297
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #45 on: 08/26/2012 03:44 AM »
Further, there is huge risk associated with those contributed instruments.  NASA/JPL have no leverage over the providers to deliver on-time and with the necessary performance.  Since instruments habitually miss schedule targets,

It is not huge.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10751
  • Liked: 2273
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #46 on: 08/26/2012 04:09 AM »
Thus a minimum mission now would be in the $530M - $610M range, not counting for inflation.  The previous concerns on cost credibility were justified.

Discovery is cost-capped. If the mission costs as much as you claim it must, then it already exceeds the cost cap. So you're essentially saying that NASA picked a mission that exceeds the cost cap and is lying about it. That just isn't a credible claim.

Offline arachnitect

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1438
  • Liked: 384
  • Likes Given: 456
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #47 on: 08/26/2012 04:57 AM »
at least we still get pretty rust-colored pictures of a rocky desert.

Unless they redesign the cameras, the pictures will be black and white.

Offline LegendCJS

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 575
  • Boston, MA
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #48 on: 08/26/2012 05:06 AM »

2-What is the basis for your skepticism? This is a proven lander design, and the blueprints already exist. The instruments are being provided by European sources. Note that both GRAIL and InSight were selected because of a belief that their cost estimates were sound (and both were based upon existing spacecraft). GRAIL actually came in under budget. Can you cite a single Discovery mission that doubled in price?

Where to start ...?  Phoenix redux missions have been proposed under previous Mars Scout ($475M cap in FY2007) and New Frontiers ($650M cap in FY2009) and rejected by HQ due to cost credibility concerns.  Estimates of the original PHX mission range from $420M to $480M but do not include any of the cost associated with the inherited hardware from the '01 Lander nor the value of the engineering effort (design, analyses, documentation, etc) that would have gone along with developing the hardware designs.  Given the overall dollars spent on the '01 effort that covered the orbiter and the lander was in the neighborhood of $220M, one could easily peg that total value in the $110 -$130M range.  As the '01 was done in the FBC era, corners were cut then that, in the current environment, would never be tolerated.  Thus a minimum mission now would be in the $530M - $610M range, not counting for inflation.  The previous concerns on cost credibility were justified.  Yes, the Insight instruments are contributed but that contribution doesn't come anywhere close to shaving off $100M - $175M in cost (not counting the 30% reserves that Insight has to demonstrate).  Further, there is huge risk associated with those contributed instruments.  NASA/JPL have no leverage over the providers to deliver on-time and with the necessary performance.  Since instruments habitually miss schedule targets, the whole program is at risk of delay and missing the planned launch window.  Just like MSL, they will face a two-year delay in launch if they fail to meet the planned schedule resulting in even more additional costs.  Finally, it strikes me as totally insane to reward JPL for delivering MSL two years late and more than $1.6B over cost by giving them yet another Mars lander project, particularly when they have been promised another Mars mission (directed mission) scheduled for launch in the 2018 timeframe.  MSL ate the Mars Scout program and now the Mars science community and JPL are about to eat the Discovery program as well.  But hey, at least we still get pretty rust-colored pictures of a rocky desert.

R&D for the lander is already paid for.  You don't need to be re-counting that cost as part of any new effort to re-use the lander.
Remember: if we want this whole space thing to work out we have to optimize for cost!

Offline GuessWho

  • Member
  • Posts: 94
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #49 on: 08/26/2012 02:32 PM »

Discovery is cost-capped. If the mission costs as much as you claim it must, then it already exceeds the cost cap. So you're essentially saying that NASA picked a mission that exceeds the cost cap and is lying about it. That just isn't a credible claim.

To be sure, Insight proposed at the cost cap.  That is what NASA has to evaluate against and determine whether there is risk that they will exceed that cost cap and if so, by how much.  History suggests that a mars lander cannot be delivered for less than $500M.  JPL has demonstrated that they cannot control costs associated with Mars landers (MER, MSL).  Thus I am questioning how NASA can justify, based on cost credibility, the selection of another Mars lander, led by JPL, under even tighter cost caps than previous missions. 

Offline GuessWho

  • Member
  • Posts: 94
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #50 on: 08/26/2012 02:53 PM »

R&D for the lander is already paid for.  You don't need to be re-counting that cost as part of any new effort to re-use the lander.

Funny, that is essentially the same claim made when PHX was first selected.  Still blew through its cost cap of $325M (FY2002).  Inflate that to 2011 dollars and you get $449M effective cap (3.5% inflation).  If you take PHXs delivered cost (low estimate of $480M in 2007) and inflate that to 2011 dollars, you would estimate a cost of $551M.

But, back to your statement.  PHX avionics are obsolete so new avionics are required that must be requalified for the Mars surface application as all current LM avionics have been developed for orbiters and/or deep-space probes.  This includes additional software development given the mission environment and mission profile that is different from PHX.  New instruments also require new software.  New avionics and new software require extensive testing and validation beyond what PHX accomplished.  New instruments and new science site requires new thermal control design and analyses which must also go through extensive testing.  About the only thing that might remain unchanged is the primary structure and landing legs, comm system, and heatshield/backshell assuming the items that did change don't ripple through additional or different requirements on these subsystems.

Offline Sparky

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 378
  • Connecticut
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #51 on: 08/26/2012 02:58 PM »

 
Quote
History suggests that a mars lander cannot be delivered for less than $500M.  JPL has demonstrated that they cannot control costs associated with Mars landers (MER, MSL).  Thus I am questioning how NASA can justify, based on cost credibility, the selection of another Mars lander, led by JPL, under even tighter cost caps than previous missions. 

Mars Pathfinder?
« Last Edit: 08/26/2012 03:00 PM by Sparky »

Offline GuessWho

  • Member
  • Posts: 94
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #52 on: 08/26/2012 05:40 PM »


Mars Pathfinder?


Pathfinder was authorized in 1993 with a development cost cap of $150M not including the cost of the rover (est. at $25M) or the launch vehicle.  Best data I have found indicate an overall mission cap of $250M (FY1993).  Again, escalate that to 2011 dollars.  At 3.5% escalation (low estimate), that would be $464.4M.  At 4% (nominal estimate), you get $506.5M.  All this for a 275kg package to the surface (for a 10 kg rover) via airbags (thus no landing propulsion system).  PHX was a 350 kg lander but total EDL system mass was closer to 600 kg.  That is a huge difference that has associated cost increases.

Finally, while Pathfinder was a Discovery mission, it was a directed mission to JPL thus a true "proposed cost" is not available as it was never competed.  It was also done under FBC which was designed to tolerate higher risks of failure.  Discovery of today does not have that tolerance and thus additional testing/risk reduction is demanded.

The short answer is that Pathfinder is in the same class of mission cost along with every other Mars lander.  Insight will exceed its $425M cost cap, of that I am confident.  Only question is by how much.  I am predicting now that it launches at a minimum cost of $575M but I wouldn't be surprised to see it top $650M.  Just my $0.02.

Offline as58

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 707
  • Liked: 232
  • Likes Given: 158
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #53 on: 08/26/2012 10:51 PM »
A question to GuessWho: in your opinion, is any of the three Discovery finalists doable within the cost limit? I am completely unqualified to estimate the costs, but to me both CHopper and TiME seem to be even riskier and more difficult missions than InSight.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31143
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9396
  • Likes Given: 297
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #54 on: 08/26/2012 11:21 PM »
  Insight will exceed its $425M cost cap, of that I am confident.  Only question is by how much.  I am predicting now that it launches at a minimum cost of $575M but I wouldn't be surprised to see it top $650M.  Just my $0.02.

Nah, it is not even worth that.  Just some unsubstantiated mudslinging.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10751
  • Liked: 2273
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #55 on: 08/27/2012 01:08 AM »
The InSight mission's principal investigator is Bruce Banerdt. Bruce originally proposed a seismic network at Mars with three Phoenix-style landers. InSight is a scaled down version of that with only one lander.

Here is Banerdt's presentation from 2009 on a network mission.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10751
  • Liked: 2273
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #56 on: 08/27/2012 01:36 AM »
JPL has demonstrated that they cannot control costs associated with Mars landers (MER, MSL). 

MER, when approved for flight, was originally costed at $688 million. The actual cost to the end of the 90-Sol mission was $800 million, or $112 million, or a totally whopping, unacceptable, er... 16% cost overrun. Now, given the horrible performance of MER at achieving the 90-Sol mission, I can see how this huge 16% cost overrun might be considered a basis for never giving JPL another Mars mission.


Offline GuessWho

  • Member
  • Posts: 94
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #57 on: 08/27/2012 03:40 AM »

MER, when approved for flight, was originally costed at $688 million. The actual cost to the end of the 90-Sol mission was $800 million, or $112 million, or a totally whopping, unacceptable, er... 16% cost overrun. Now, given the horrible performance of MER at achieving the 90-Sol mission, I can see how this huge 16% cost overrun might be considered a basis for never giving JPL another Mars mission.



At selection in August of 2000, the estimated cost was $500M (excluding launch vehicle) according to one set of quotes from Ed Weiler when the mission was announces as a two-rover mission.  Could be that the $688M number you quote is the cost estimated at mission confirmation.  If that is the case, the mission grew by nearly 38% from ATP through confirmation and another 16% through the end of the primary mission.  But that $800M represents a 60% growth over the estimate at ATP, which is where Insight is now.  If you have better sources for costs, please provide.  Finding accurate cost info from 2000 via public sources makes for slim pickings.

Finally, your response says nothing about MSL which most represents the state of JPL and Mars missions as the backdrop to Insight.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31143
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9396
  • Likes Given: 297
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #58 on: 08/27/2012 03:44 AM »

Finally, your response says nothing about MSL which most represents the state of JPL and Mars missions as the backdrop to Insight.

Wrong, you could not be further from the truth.  MSL was an inhouse build, whereas Insight will be contractor provided.  There is no comparison to be made.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2012 03:45 AM by Jim »

Offline arachnitect

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1438
  • Liked: 384
  • Likes Given: 456
Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #59 on: 08/27/2012 05:05 AM »
I was going to ask about this, but a little internet digging turned this up:

Quote from: http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2012/02/mars-insight-proposal-implementation.html

The second facility instrument would measure basic weather conditions -- temperature, pressure, wind speed -- so that the noise from the local atmospheric conditions can be removed from the seismometer's readings.  The weather readings also will be useful meteorological data in themselves.


Looks like there will be at least a basic meteorological capability as well.