Author Topic: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission  (Read 10985 times)

Online Semmel

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Not really a surprise to this forum, but it seems NASA is going public with the lack of funding for a human Mars mission.

Ars technica link: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/nasa-finally-admits-it-doesnt-have-the-funding-to-land-humans-on-mars/

They quote Gerstenmaier:
Quote
"I can't put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars," said NASA's William H. Gerstenmaier, responding to a question about when NASA will send humans to the surface of Mars. "And that entry, descent and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars."

Link to the video given in the article: https://livestream.com/AIAAvideo/PropEnergy2017/videos/159704854

(I had no time to view that)
« Last Edit: 07/14/2017 09:35 AM by Semmel »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #1 on: 07/14/2017 10:34 AM »
The timing of finally admitting this publicly is interesting. What was said has been obvious for years but clearly NASA didn't feel able to say it. So I wonder whether saying it now is due to a lead from the new administration or an attempt to influence policy in the current policy vacuum?

I assume the former, as my impression is that career NASA people like Gerstenmaier don't speak without at least implicit approval? Especially as I imagine some in congress may not be best pleased at now being told that the previous official line was incorrect?

Online Semmel

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #2 on: 07/14/2017 11:16 AM »
The sentence about the funding was sot of barried by a lot of words talking how hard EDL is. But there is something else reeeeaaally interesting (watching the video now. You should do that too. Seriously.)

Quote by Gerstenmaier:
Quote
In the Apollo era, it was really neat because we didnt think we were so smart. So the requirement was to put human to the moon and return them safely. It didnt talk about stable orbit rendezvous, it didnt talk about the propulsion systems to be used, it didnt talk about all the other pieces. And in today’s world, sometimes our requirements generators think they know all these wonderful things. So they give us all these top level requirements and specified details that are maybe more problematic than helpful. So my guidance is to those that give me requirements: think simply and ask what you want us to really do. Dont give us the details about all the other things that need to be accomplished and are interesting but not necessarily contribute to what you really want us to do. And then let us trade through flexibility all thous other things you are going for.

PS: Really fantastic question and asnwers. A lot more interesting quote than the nugget about the funding. This Q&A should be transcripted by someone. I dont have the time for it (did the piece above) but I actually need to work and earn money. That is much better than the small quote that Ars Technica picked out.
« Last Edit: 07/14/2017 11:22 AM by Semmel »

Offline jgoldader

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #3 on: 07/14/2017 03:30 PM »
This could really cause a lot of ulcers.  My first thought was, selling the "Gateway" just became a lot harder.
Recovering astronomer

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #4 on: 07/14/2017 03:54 PM »
Bill Nye's take...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Online tdperk

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #5 on: 07/14/2017 05:42 PM »
Not really a surprise to this forum, but it seems NASA is going public with the lack of funding for a human Mars mission.

Ars technica link: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/nasa-finally-admits-it-doesnt-have-the-funding-to-land-humans-on-mars/

They quote Gerstenmaier:
Quote
"I can't put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars," said NASA's William H. Gerstenmaier, responding to a question about when NASA will send humans to the surface of Mars. "And that entry, descent and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars."

Link to the video given in the article: https://livestream.com/AIAAvideo/PropEnergy2017/videos/159704854

(I had no time to view that)

Going public with it?  Who did they think didn't know?

Online okan170

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #6 on: 07/14/2017 06:22 PM »
Not really a surprise to this forum, but it seems NASA is going public with the lack of funding for a human Mars mission.

Ars technica link: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/nasa-finally-admits-it-doesnt-have-the-funding-to-land-humans-on-mars/

They quote Gerstenmaier:
Quote
"I can't put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars," said NASA's William H. Gerstenmaier, responding to a question about when NASA will send humans to the surface of Mars. "And that entry, descent and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars."

Link to the video given in the article: https://livestream.com/AIAAvideo/PropEnergy2017/videos/159704854

(I had no time to view that)

Going public with it?  Who did they think didn't know?

Its been public for 10+  years that they can't afford to do a traditional-style manned Mars mission with the current budget, even without SLS/Orion.  Thats been part of the impetus for pushing partnerships as much as they have in the gateway and other ideas. 

The real reason this is "news" is that outlets are running this as another opportunity attack on SLS/Orion while pushing for commercial to take over most everything... again.   Gotta push that narrative-trying to kill programs with half-truthful PR.  ::) 

Offline IRobot

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #7 on: 07/14/2017 07:05 PM »
The real reason this is "news" is that outlets are running this as another opportunity attack on SLS/Orion while pushing for commercial to take over most everything... again.   Gotta push that narrative-trying to kill programs with half-truthful PR.  ::)
At least the half-truthers are launching full rockets.

I know it is an easy jab, but if this program was being run as a normal program (let´s say a new smartphone development) inside a private company, SLS option would have been discarded long ago.

Online okan170

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #8 on: 07/14/2017 07:42 PM »
The real reason this is "news" is that outlets are running this as another opportunity attack on SLS/Orion while pushing for commercial to take over most everything... again.   Gotta push that narrative-trying to kill programs with half-truthful PR.  ::)
At least the half-truthers are launching full rockets.

I know it is an easy jab, but if this program was being run as a normal program (let´s say a new smartphone development) inside a private company, SLS option would have been discarded long ago.

The full rockets aren't the ones they're talking about. 

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #9 on: 07/14/2017 08:17 PM »
Those outside of NASA have been saying this for years, and Congress has been told this too:

With Current Budget, NASA Will Never Get to Mars - io9/Gizmodo

Relevant quote from the article, which was about Thomas Young and Steven Squyres testifying before Congress:

"At today's House hearing for the NASA Authorization Act of 2013, witness Thomas Young was asked how long it would take the Agency to put a human on Mars with its current budget. His response was unambiguous: “Never.”"

The key part of the question though was "with it's current budget". And so far Republicans in Congress are not ready to change that, with an essentially flat HSF NASA funding proposal wending it's way through Congress for the FY2018 fiscal year.

And regardless the situation with the SLS, our U.S. Government has not really come to grips with WHY U.S. Taxpayers should send U.S. Government employees to Mars. Sure, "science" is always a good answer, but "science" funding has it's limits with regards to funding, which I think we're seeing today.

However ask yourself this - if Elon Musk is able to get his interplanetary transportation system working, and he only charges $500,000 per person for colonists, do you think that would be inexpensive enough for our government to buy a few seats on an early trip to Mars? I think they would go, as would many other governments.

So we can't ignore cost as a significant factor for why NASA can't get to Mars with it's current budget. And does the Orion and SLS address the cost issue? Not that I can see.

But even without the Orion and the SLS, if they were cancelled tomorrow, it would still take NASA a long time to get to Mars. And that's because NASA tends to over-engineer things because of how risk-adverse it has become. Which relates to "WHY" the U.S. Government is going to Mars, since if it was really, really important, like the Apollo program was during the Cold War, then NASA would be allowed to accept more risk - to take chances and live more with failure.

However I just don't see a big desire within our current Congress to create a brand new program to send government employees to Mars. Pursue existing programs, sure, but authorizing a new program is unlikely.

My $0.02
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 Lar

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #10 on: 07/14/2017 08:49 PM »
The real reason this is "news" is that outlets are running this as another opportunity attack on SLS/Orion while pushing for commercial to take over most everything... again.   Gotta push that narrative-trying to kill programs with half-truthful PR.  ::) 

I don't think most news outiets have attacking SLS/Orion as an explicit agenda item, much less pushing commercial[1] They just want eyeballs. And this is a way to get them.

1 - with some exceptions, such as reason.com for example...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #11 on: 07/14/2017 09:15 PM »
Not really a surprise to this forum, but it seems NASA is going public with the lack of funding for a human Mars mission.

Lack of funding for a human Mars landing. There are still missions that could be done (such as flybys) within the foreseen budgets.

This isn't really a surprise to anyone. The hardest part of a Mars surface mission is actually landing, surviving, and then getting off the surface. While I think it is most certainly doable lets not pretend that it can be done cheaply.

It doesn't matter if SLS/Orion are cancelled or not. NASA will still need a budget increase to actually land people on Mars.

The real reason this is "news" is that outlets are running this as another opportunity attack on SLS/Orion while pushing for commercial to take over most everything... again.   Gotta push that narrative-trying to kill programs with half-truthful PR.  ::) 

I don't think most news outiets have attacking SLS/Orion as an explicit agenda item, much less pushing commercial[1] They just want eyeballs. And this is a way to get them.

1 - with some exceptions, such as reason.com for example...

I agree that most news outlets don't attack SLS/Orion and promote commercial as an explicit agenda item (although many forget to note NASA's involvement in things like CRS and CCP and in their ignorance misinform people). That said, the author of the article the OP posted (among others) has been on an anti-SLS/Orion crusade for a while now.

SLS has benefits beyond just transportation of cargo. The DST design seems to be based heavily on the Skylab II proposal which would use SLS tanks to form a hab module. Also if TPTB listen to Gerst SLS/Orion will be partnered with commercial rockets which will allow faster construction of the DSG and more missions to cis-lunar space.
« Last Edit: 07/14/2017 09:22 PM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Online okan170

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #12 on: 07/14/2017 10:25 PM »
I don't think most news outiets have attacking SLS/Orion as an explicit agenda item, much less pushing commercial[1] They just want eyeballs. And this is a way to get them.

1 - with some exceptions, such as reason.com for example...

True.  Often its the easiest path as thats what they hear from the fans they encounter, and the PR they're drumming up.  When you get articles like this that come out pretty regularly... then you're probably dealing with someone pushing an agenda of their own.  Most of it is that its easiest just use incidental opinions that SpaceX's fanbase puts out there, hardly putting out a reasonable position, but getting those clicks.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #13 on: 07/15/2017 04:10 AM »

The real reason this is "news" is that outlets are running this as another opportunity attack on SLS/Orion while pushing for commercial to take over most everything... again.   Gotta push that narrative-trying to kill programs with half-truthful PR.  ::)

If Commercial would take over then mechanisms would exist for possibly doing missions for less in the future. Namely competition from other companies. Development of new systems being funded by more than just NASA HSF(i.e. Private funds, Other Government organizations like the Air Force). As well as costs being spread over multiple users. There is little hope of SLS or Orion ever being much cheaper than they are now.


I am no fan of the major reorganization needed but human history is the story of people figuring out how to do thing cheaper or better and a program that is fundamentally about jobs is one that isn't going to be about efficiency.

If the government controlled trains there would be limited models of locomotives. Development of new locomotive technology would be dictated by Congress. So say going from wood to coal burning locomotives could never occur until Congress gave the funds and states where the wood came from would oppose. You could possibly get money to switch from iron rails to steel rails, but reducing the rail laying crew could be meet with opposition. There would be a more or less fixed amount of money to transport stuff and it could even be transported free or at extremely low rates, but you could never tap into demand to fund more transportation(i.e. extending the system or getting more trains per day would be difficult).

The problem is that you can not go to mars on any reasonable budget and frankly the moon likely isn't looking much better. The solution is development of new rocket/transport systems that cost less and there isn't much incentive for Congress to do so.

Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #14 on: 07/15/2017 10:49 AM »
The real reason this is "news" is that outlets are running this as another opportunity attack on SLS/Orion while pushing for commercial to take over most everything... again.   Gotta push that narrative-trying to kill programs with half-truthful PR.  ::)

If by "commercial to take over most everything" you mean launch services, could you explain what's wrong with that.  There is, after all, only one US launch vehicle that is not commercially operated.

If you mean most of NASA's functions, could you please explain what your evidence is.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #15 on: 07/15/2017 01:05 PM »
This could really cause a lot of ulcers.  My first thought was, selling the "Gateway" just became a lot harder.

Actually the announcement may be more consistent with keeping the gateway as a lunar orbiting station.

Offline kraisee

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #16 on: 07/15/2017 01:49 PM »
Sad to see this, but not really a surprise.   We've all known SLS kept growing its budget problems, largely due to political impetus.   It never needed to be such an expensive hog of resources, and Orion didn't need to be as expensive as it has become either.   But that's exactly what congress pushed for, and that's what they provided funds for.   They got exactly what they wanted.

I particularly feel sorry for the hundreds of great engineers around the country who have been fighting hard for this programme, all of whom have been thoroughly let down by bad management.

Unfortunately, it doesn't help the rest of us who want to make real progress in this sector.   During DIRECT we tried to push the simple point that if the launcher and spacecraft don't take up the entire budget, there will be more projects (landers, rovers, habitats etc.) that could also be funded and the larger programme would benefit.

We pushed for a DIRECT evolution of the 4-seg STS-sized core stage, specifically to reduce the budget and schedule as much as possible for this exact reason - but nobody with the power wanted to hear that, usually because they benefited in some way from having fewer and much larger projects.   This writing has been on the wall since 2005.   Colour me totally un-shocked.

From where I sit, it looks like SpaceX's ITS project does have a reasonable chance of still reaching Mars by 2033 - maybe even a lot sooner than that.   NASA's usual suppliers have definitely had their fair chance.   If, after the many billions of public treasure that they have already spent, it is now clear that they cannot reach Mars with SLS/Orion, I think it's time for the agency to re-evaluate their position.

I personally think it is time start channeling a lot more of NASA's money in the other direction, to those new companies who do still believe they can achieve these ambitious goals.   The only question now (and it is the most important one) is "how to align the politics?"

Ross.
« Last Edit: 07/15/2017 02:16 PM by kraisee »
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Online AncientU

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #17 on: 07/15/2017 02:27 PM »
People talk about the budget being inadequate... (Gerst alluding to the 2% increase). 
That's not the problem at all.

Gerst also said,
Quote
“I can’t name the date of landing a man on Mars, and the reason for this is, in fact, is at the level of the budget. Now the launch, descent and landing on Mars is a huge problem for us. NASA have only 40 percent of the required budget,” said William Gerstenmaier.

http://micetimes.asia/nasa-will-not-send-people-to-mars/

Current budget at 40% of what is required means that 250% of current budget is needed.  All of this talk about SLS/Orion being 'affordable' was just refuted by the head of NASA's human spaceflight program.  Hard to say he is an SLS/Orion hater with an agenda to give it all to commercial -- AFAIK, anyway.
« Last Edit: 07/15/2017 02:27 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #18 on: 07/15/2017 03:18 PM »
Certainly one of the frustrating things for me is that I have a program management background, so when a goal has been set and barriers are encountered I naturally look for ways around them.

Here we have NASA saying that they can't afford to get to Mars, but though they won't admit it, they are refusing to look "outside the box" for alternatives. Some of the potential alternatives are:

A. Make the case more clearly for why the U.S. Government should be going to Mars, define the budget needed, and then have the President expend some political capital to get the money needed.

B. If the approach you're trying to use is too expensive, then consider alternatives. For instance, if launch costs are the biggest expense, then consider alternative transportation systems. If Mars is such an important goal then let's not get emotional about the sacrificial lambs - the goal is Mars, not what brand of hardware we use.

C. Elon Musk and SpaceX have stated publicly that they are going to Mars. The least expensive way for the U.S. Government to get government employees to Mars would be to buy a bunch of tickets and wait until they go - who cares if they are years behind their goal of 2023, since that will still be well before NASA could get there.

What a lot of people like to ignore though is that the U.S. Government has NOT decided that we should send government employees to Mars - so far they are only willing to consider it. All this talk is about the wishes of one small agency within the U.S. Government, but it does not reflect the near-term wishes of the President or our Congress.

Until that changes it won't matter which approach is used, because there won't be any money for it or official support, so STEP #1 is to get political buy-in on the need to send government employees to Mars. Until that happens no one knows what the goals are or what the options are.
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 Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #19 on: 07/15/2017 06:24 PM »
Sad to see this, but not really a surprise.   We've all known SLS kept growing its budget problems, largely due to political impetus.



All of this talk about SLS/Orion being 'affordable' was just refuted by the head of NASA's human spaceflight program.  Hard to say he is an SLS/Orion hater with an agenda to give it all to commercial -- AFAIK, anyway.

It seems a lot of people want to blame SLS/Orion and act like if we cancel these programs we can go to Mars tomorrow. AncientU unknowingly refutes that argument by stating the budget numbers from Gerst. The Exploration budget, which consists of SLS/Orion/EGS as well exploration R&D, is around $4.3 Billion. I think this is the "40%" number that Gerst refers to.  SLS/Orion/EGS take up around $3.9 Billion (which is less than STS did BTW). Even if SLS/Orion/EGS are completely superfluous and you add their budget to EDL efforts you would still need around $3 Billion extra a year in order to get the budget that Gerst says is needed.

Quote
From where I sit, it looks like SpaceX's ITS project does have a reasonable chance of still reaching Mars by 2033 - maybe even a lot sooner than that.


We'll see. I certainly wish them well and believe that they can achieve it but full scale ITS will be a project of massive proportions. New launch pad, new manufacturing center, new engines, and of course the massive scale of both the rocket and spacecraft. I want to see the system mature before we throw all our hopes and dreams into it.

It is important to note here that commercial companies can have a lot of uncertainty when it comes to future plans. Some companies can go belly up (see XCOR), Some have been promising flights for years but are still working on their spacecraft (see VG), Some change their plans when something proves too difficult or a better idea comes along (like SpaceX and F5).

What I am trying to say here is that now one can know the future. To use a hypothetical lets imagine that at some point in the future TPTB decided to cancel SLS/Orion and base our entire space program around FH. Unfortunately, SpaceX comes back to them and says that FH is in the process of being retired since they want to focus on say a sub-scale BFR or a F9 with a Raptor US. Either way the space industry suffers. If SpaceX agrees to provide FH's that means that their plans are pushed back. If they don't then our space program grinds to a halt because a capability that was assumed to be available no longer is.

My point is that we should let things play out. Let SLS/Orion mature and fly, let the commercial systems mature and fly. Not only with that provide a wealth of capability, it will allow an informed choice to be made on which launchers to use moving forward. Maybe it will be a mixture of SLS and commercial; maybe it will be all commercial. I don't know. We shouldn't be picking winners and losers now.

Quote
NASA's usual suppliers have definitely had their fair chance.   If, after the many billions of public treasure that they have already spent, it is now clear that they cannot reach Mars with SLS/Orion,


Part of that "many billions" spent has gone to creating and or strengthening the commercial sector we have today. Without the shuttle and ISS there would be no commercial cargo or commercial crew. There would be no SpaceX (as Elon Musk himself says) without NASA investment.

Aside: NASA's entire human spaceflight budget over the last 60 years is around the budget of the military for 1 year and around 1/4th of the budget for entitlements for 1 year. I have a feeling that wasted NASA money is a drop in the bucket compared to the waste in the aforementioned programs.

Quote
I personally think it is time start channeling a lot more of NASA's money in the other direction, to those new companies who do still believe they can achieve these ambitious goals.   The only question now (and it is the most important one) is "how to align the politics?"

As yes, the "give all the money to x commercial company argument." Allow me to let the indefatigable Chris Bergin respond to that:

You can be absolutely sure SpaceX won't progress past satellite launches at any pace without NASA. In fact, they might not even be doing that without NASA. Don't trust me, trust Elon and Gwynne on that. They make a point about NASA in nearly every presser.

So the "kill NASA and give it all to SpaceX" crowd are incredibly misinformed. Sure, some of it is lobbyists with personal and professional agendas under the "fiscal responsibility" banner where they think they will be able to clear national debt by killing an agency that gets 0.4 percent of the budget yet generates everything you get from NASA, which is vast, yet don't say boo to a goose when many more billions gets wasted on FAR LESS worthy projects.

If anything the problem is NASA is so useful it has been utilized into working on too many things, meaning the funding is stretched. It needs focus on what it's best known at achieving and gained the public imagination - and that's space exploration.

The article points out how that doesn't have the focus it requires and the problem that creates.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #20 on: 07/15/2017 09:56 PM »
It seems a lot of people want to blame SLS/Orion and act like if we cancel these programs we can go to Mars tomorrow.

No. As of today there is no formal, funded program to send government employees to Mars. Nor is there is a funded program to do anything beyond LEO with humans, especially one that requires 70mT of mass thrown into space every year for decades to come. So objections to the SLS/Orion center on their basic need.

However NASA appears to have "run the numbers" and figured out that their current mission assumptions don't fit within their projected budget, and I'm sure the SLS & Orion figure prominently in those budget numbers.

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It is important to note here that commercial companies can have a lot of uncertainty when it comes to future plans.

The same for NASA too, so let's not assume that our U.S. Government is any better than the private sector in that regard.

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What I am trying to say here is that now one can know the future. To use a hypothetical lets imagine that at some point in the future TPTB decided to cancel SLS/Orion and base our entire space program around FH. Unfortunately, SpaceX comes back to them and says that FH is in the process of being retired since they want to focus on say a sub-scale BFR or a F9 with a Raptor US. Either way the space industry suffers. If SpaceX agrees to provide FH's that means that their plans are pushed back. If they don't then our space program grinds to a halt because a capability that was assumed to be available no longer is.

This is a good example to use, and it applies to the SLS too since if you substitute "FH" for "SLS" the same problem occurs. Just because the SLS is government-owned doesn't mean it can't disappear from one budget cycle to another.

If anything your example makes the case for using existing launchers, and standardizing on a common payload envelope so that multiple launch vehicles can be used to support our efforts in space. Just as monopolies in the commercial marketplace are not good, neither are Single Point Of Failure (SPOF) government-owned transportation systems.

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My point is that we should let things play out. Let SLS/Orion mature and fly, let the commercial systems mature and fly. Not only with that provide a wealth of capability, it will allow an informed choice to be made on which launchers to use moving forward.

Play out how? Commercial launchers have demand and are launching many times per year. There is no question about their "maturity". So far there is only one sort of firm need for the SLS, and no funded need yet for the Orion. We don't need to wait to understand if there is sufficient "demand" for a government-owned transportation system - if there is none we don't need to make it operational.

Let's get back to the topic of this thread, which is that "NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission". How does the SLS solve that problem?

We know that we could use an existing fleet of commercial launchers for moving 4-5m diameter payloads from 15-22mT to LEO - with $0 taxpayer dollars needed for development. The 450mT ISS was assembled in space using similar components, so we know we are not limited yet by what we can assemble in space.

That sure seems like a quicker way to get HSF mission elements into space, regardless where the destination is. And NASA is trying really hard not to consider such an alternative, no doubt because it would not be politically popular even though it would be more fiscally viable.

A new approach is needed if the current one is not fiscally viable - NASA needs to be allowed to consider other transportation options than just the SLS & Orion...
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 Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #21 on: 07/16/2017 04:24 AM »
Nor is there is a funded program to do anything beyond LEO with humans, especially one that requires 70mT of mass thrown into space every year for decades to come. So objections to the SLS/Orion center on their basic need.

You say there is no funded program to send humans beyond LEO yet you are vigorously arguing against such a funded program, SLS/Orion.

Also current NASA plans center on SLS launches to NRO, not LEO. They aren't planning to launch 70mt into LEO. What matters is BEO payload capacity.

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The same for NASA too, so let's not assume that our U.S. Government is any better than the private sector in that regard.

I wasn't.

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This is a good example to use, and it applies to the SLS too since if you substitute "FH" for "SLS" the same problem occurs. Just because the SLS is government-owned doesn't mean it can't disappear from one budget cycle to another.

That was exactly my point. Having dissimilar redundancy helps prevent a total loss of BEO capability.

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If anything your example makes the case for using existing launchers

There were a lot of arguments in the past to base NASA's HSF efforts on Atlas V and Delta IV. In the near future both of those rockets will be retired. It wasn't apparent 6 years ago that they would be retired but here we are. That is why IMHO NASA's deep space efforts should be based on an all of the above approach.

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Play out how? Commercial launchers have demand and are launching many times per year. There is no question about their "maturity"


Falcon Heavy hasn't flown, Vulcan hasn't flown, New Glenn hasn't flown, BFR hasn't flown, SLS hasn't flown. None of them are mature yet. Current commercial launchers don't have the "umph" to support a BLEO program by themselves.

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Let's get back to the topic of this thread, which is that "NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission". How does the SLS solve that problem?

It isn't the SLS program's fault if NASA's budget is insufficient. In fact it can be argued that without SLS, NASA would have even less budget.

NASA doesn't have enough funding to do a Mars landing. Fine. Canceling SLS/Orion won't fix that. Even if Congress decides not to devote sufficient funds for a Mars landing there are plenty of worthwhile missions SLS/Orion can do.

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A new approach is needed if the current one is not fiscally viable - NASA needs to be allowed to consider other transportation options than just the SLS & Orion...

NASA is already considering using commercial rockets in concert with SLS/Orion, which I think is the right way to go.
« Last Edit: 07/16/2017 04:27 AM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #22 on: 07/16/2017 04:54 AM »

It is important to note here that commercial companies can have a lot of uncertainty when it comes to future plans. Some companies can go belly up (see XCOR),

This is just the cost of capitalism and ultimately a good thing. The people and some of the equipment could be put to other uses.

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Some have been promising flights for years but are still working on their spacecraft (see VG)

A COTS type program with multiple companies and concrete goals should control that.

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Some change their plans when something proves too difficult or a better idea comes along (like SpaceX and F5).

This is a Great thing. The F9 is capable of doing everything the F5 could and developing the F5 would have been a waste of time. No one had signed up to use the F5 and Space X had enough funding to skip a step. Plans need to change based upon experience, changing technologies and resources.

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What I am trying to say here is that now one can know the future. To use a hypothetical lets imagine that at some point in the future TPTB decided to cancel SLS/Orion and base our entire space program around FH. Unfortunately, SpaceX comes back to them and says that FH is in the process of being retired since they want to focus on say a sub-scale BFR or a F9 with a Raptor US. Either way the space industry suffers. If SpaceX agrees to provide FH's that means that their plans are pushed back. If they don't then our space program grinds to a halt because a capability that was assumed to be available no longer is.

1. It is not wise to put everything into one company.
2. If there are launch contracts for the FH then Space X must fly out the remaining Contracts. If they do not then Space X would get sued.
3. If FH is profitable then there is little reason to cancel without some sort of transition to the new product.

Unlike NASA not flying rockets is not an option for ULA, Space X, or Orbital. They need to make a profit and the only way they can make the profit is by providing a service. The most they can do is get the customer to agree to use the new rocket at  a later date.(i.e. Space X and F1 customers to F9 or F9 to reused F9 or FH to F9).

4. The only way for that to happen is for Space X to go belly up. Possible but so is the cancelation of SLS.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #23 on: 07/16/2017 05:10 AM »

There were a lot of arguments in the past to base NASA's HSF efforts on Atlas V and Delta IV. In the near future both of those rockets will be retired. It wasn't apparent 6 years ago that they would be retired but here we are. That is why IMHO NASA's deep space efforts should be based on an all of the above approach.

If old products were not retired technology would never advance. Delta IV has to fly out it's remaining contracts. Vulcan must be capable of replacing both. Vulcan is built to compete with Space X. It was economically irrational for 1 company to have 2 rockets that technically are competitors. There were other reasons for it, but with the rise of the FH ULA had to make moves to stay competitive. This isn't a bad thing this is a good thing.



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Falcon Heavy hasn't flown, Vulcan hasn't flown, New Glenn hasn't flown, BFR hasn't flown, SLS hasn't flown. None of them are mature yet. Current commercial launchers don't have the "umph" to support a BLEO program by themselves.

They don't have to. FH, Vulcan, and New Glenn have customers.

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Let's get back to the topic of this thread, which is that "NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission". How does the SLS solve that problem?
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It isn't the SLS program's fault if NASA's budget is insufficient. In fact it can be argued that without SLS, NASA would have even less budget.

Maybe, but maybe more could get done with a smaller budget directed towards payloads. I am no fan of Orion, but how many Orion capsules could we build if we put some of SLS budget towards it? Could we not get Orion to NRO by docking it with a prelaunched stage? Could not rockets like FH, Vulcan, Atlas, and New Glenn be able to launch a stage big enough to get it there in 1 or 2 flights? Could not such an approach be used to get us to the moon, asteroids or even Mars?

Also if multiple flights are far too risky in a world where Space X alone has done ten flights in 6 months, could not Space X or ULA build a rocket based on their other products that could get a capsule to NRO in one shoot?
« Last Edit: 07/16/2017 06:22 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #24 on: 07/16/2017 04:56 PM »
There were other reasons for it, but with the rise of the FH ULA had to make moves to stay competitive. This isn't a bad thing this is a good thing.

I never said this was a bad thing. I am all in favor of capitalism and retiring obsolete products. All I am saying is that when it comes to NASA's HSF efforts it is far better to have an all of the above approach rather than relying on a single system. It shouldn't be all commercial. It shouldn't be all SLS/Orion.

It is not just me who is arguing this. See the following quote from SpaceX SVP Tim Hughes (all emphasis is mine):

Quote from: Tim Hughes
Specific commercial partnership concepts for deep space exploration can complement and enhance the space exploration efforts NASA is currently undertaking through more traditional contract and development approaches. Here, my testimony sets forth some possibilities that are additive, and emphasizes that no single approach is perfect. That is, it is evident that the country will benefit by applying multiple different approaches and enabling multiple different, redundant pathways to space exploration. 
       
 
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They don't have to. FH, Vulcan, and New Glenn have customers.

Just because they have customers doesn't mean they are mature. You need to have flight history for that.

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Maybe, but maybe more could get done with a smaller budget directed towards payloads. I am no fan of Orion, but how many Orion capsules could we build if we put some of SLS budget towards it? Could we not get Orion to NRO by docking it with a prelaunched stage?


I am all for launching Orion on different rockets. We would need to develop stages that maintain their fuel for a longer period though (or launch Orion immediately after the prelaunched stage is put into place.)

That said I think SLS can still be useful for crew transport and launching the DST in that scenario. (as well as forming the backbone of the DST as Skylab II).
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #25 on: 07/16/2017 05:03 PM »

That said I think SLS can still be useful for crew transport and launching the DST in that scenario. (as well as forming the backbone of the DST as Skylab II).

SLS is too expensive for crew transport and Skylab II is not going to happen.  Modules are going to be smaller to allow launch on multiple vehicles.  In addition, Skylab II would be obscenely expensive.

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #26 on: 07/16/2017 05:52 PM »
SLS is too expensive for crew transport and Skylab II is not going to happen.  Modules are going to be smaller to allow launch on multiple vehicles.  In addition, Skylab II would be obscenely expensive.

Well SLS/Orion cost less than shuttle so I wouldn't say they are too expensive for crew transport. In terms of the DST it is my impression that it will be a large single module. Skylab II fits the bill, although I am sure NASA is nowhere near nailing down the DST to a single design.

Estimates I have seen dispute that Skylab II would be "obscenely expensive." I look forward to seeing whatever proposals NASA and the commercial sector come up with.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #27 on: 07/16/2017 07:06 PM »

1.  Well SLS/Orion cost less than shuttle so I wouldn't say they are too expensive for crew transport.

2. In terms of the DST it is my impression that it will be a large single module. Skylab II fits the bill, although I am sure NASA is nowhere near nailing down the DST to a single design.

3.  Estimates I have seen dispute that Skylab II would be "obscenely expensive."

1.  Crew transport was not the prime task for the shuttle.  Cargo was the prime mission.  And SLS/Orion is going to cost more per launch than shuttle.

2.  It won't be Skylab II, that is a given

3.  Anything over a billion is "obscenely expensive." Skylab II would be 1-5 billion.

Just face it, anything managed by MSFC is going to be too expensive.  Marshall looks at every project as a jobs program.  There is no need for MSFC to be the largest NASA center.
« Last Edit: 07/16/2017 07:08 PM by Jim »

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #28 on: 07/16/2017 07:44 PM »

1.  Well SLS/Orion cost less than shuttle so I wouldn't say they are too expensive for crew transport.

2. In terms of the DST it is my impression that it will be a large single module. Skylab II fits the bill, although I am sure NASA is nowhere near nailing down the DST to a single design.

3.  Estimates I have seen dispute that Skylab II would be "obscenely expensive."

1.  Crew transport was not the prime task for the shuttle.  Cargo was the prime mission.  And SLS/Orion is going to cost more per launch than shuttle.

2.  It won't be Skylab II, that is a given

3.  Anything over a billion is "obscenely expensive." Skylab II would be 1-5 billion.

Just face it, anything managed by MSFC is going to be too expensive.  Marshall looks at every project as a jobs program.  There is no need for MSFC to be the largest NASA center.

Not quite radical enough Jim. There is no need for MSFC period.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #29 on: 07/16/2017 08:16 PM »
Nor is there is a This is a good example to use, and it applies to the SLS too since if you substitute "FH" for "SLS" the same problem occurs. Just because the SLS is government-owned doesn't mean it can't disappear from one budget cycle to another.

That was exactly my point. Having dissimilar redundancy helps prevent a total loss of BEO capability.

We already have dissimilar redundancy in the commercial launch sector, since no two launch vehicles use major components that are common with another launch vehicle. Which is, as far as I can tell, what "dissimilar redundancy" means.

For instance, standardizing payloads specifically for the SLS makes the SLS a Single-Point-Of-Failure transportation system, meaning if there is a problem with the launch vehicle (or it is cancelled) whatever efforts in space the SLS is supporting are put in jeopardy.

Redundant transportation, which is what our current global fleet of commercial launchers can provide, means that the loss of any one launcher does not jeopardize the overall ability to support our efforts in space. This was recently proved when both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences had launch vehicle failures, but a combination of other launch vehicles and cargo spacecraft were able to replace the lost capabilities until the launch vehicles could be brought back online.

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If anything your example makes the case for using existing launchers

There were a lot of arguments in the past to base NASA's HSF efforts on Atlas V and Delta IV. In the near future both of those rockets will be retired. It wasn't apparent 6 years ago that they would be retired but here we are. That is why IMHO NASA's deep space efforts should be based on an all of the above approach.

Of course you left out that ULA is not going out of business, but that they are REPLACING Atlas V and Delta IV with a new, compatible, launcher. No loss of capabilities is planned. Plus NASA has been fine launching on Ariane 5, which is still flying, and now NASA can also launch on not only Falcon 9, but soon Falcon Heavy also.

Again, if NASA creates a payload that can only fit on an SLS, and the SLS is no longer available for any reason, then that payload can't fly. If the payload is sized to fit on existing launchers then NASA just moves the payload to another launcher.

So to summarize, dissimilar redundancy already exists for the commercial launch sector, and if NASA standardizes payloads for future missions so that they fit on multiple commercial launchers, not only can they leverage the best launch price, but they won't have to worry about the loss of a launcher stopping their efforts in space.

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It isn't the SLS program's fault if NASA's budget is insufficient.

Two answers to this one:

No, it's not - but NASA currently gets all the money Congress wants to give it, so ambitions have to be sized accordingly.

Yes, it is - the SLS is projected to be a very expensive transportation system to use, and apparently it will be too expensive to use for sending humans to Mars.

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In fact it can be argued that without SLS, NASA would have even less budget.

Oh come on, that's a scare tactic. NASA is funded by project and program, so funding for the SLS and Orion are isolated from everything else. Meaning the ISS program would still be funded as usual, the science programs would be funded as usual, etc.

If anything, without a government-owned transportation system being mandated on mission planners, NASA would be able to focus on payloads instead of transportation systems, and that would simplify things a lot.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #30 on: 07/16/2017 08:24 PM »

1.  Well SLS/Orion cost less than shuttle so I wouldn't say they are too expensive for crew transport.

2. In terms of the DST it is my impression that it will be a large single module. Skylab II fits the bill, although I am sure NASA is nowhere near nailing down the DST to a single design.

3.  Estimates I have seen dispute that Skylab II would be "obscenely expensive."

1.  Crew transport was not the prime task for the shuttle.  Cargo was the prime mission.  And SLS/Orion is going to cost more per launch than shuttle.

2.  It won't be Skylab II, that is a given

3.  Anything over a billion is "obscenely expensive." Skylab II would be 1-5 billion.

Just face it, anything managed by MSFC is going to be too expensive.  Marshall looks at every project as a jobs program.  There is no need for MSFC to be the largest NASA center.

Not quite radical enough Jim. There is no need for MSFC period.

Certainly true for rocketry.   
If we're going no where on SLS/Orion, we're back to Constellation end game days.
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Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #31 on: 07/16/2017 10:51 PM »
Just a point, NASA can not use Ariane.  JWST is launching on Ariane because that is part of ESAs contribution.  NASA is not buying the launch services.

Online okan170

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #32 on: 07/16/2017 11:26 PM »

Oh come on, that's a scare tactic. NASA is funded by project and program, so funding for the SLS and Orion are isolated from everything else. Meaning the ISS program would still be funded as usual, the science programs would be funded as usual, etc.

If anything, without a government-owned transportation system being mandated on mission planners, NASA would be able to focus on payloads instead of transportation systems, and that would simplify things a lot.

You just pointed out that its basically the case that if the programs were cancelled their funding would disappear from the budget (not affecting ISS etc), which was the original point in the first place.  Yes, the focus on nebulous "payloads" again, and then we start listening to the next round of people saying that "Lander X" or "Habitat Y" shouldn't be built by NASA, because maybe someone might do that one their own later... we should cancel those programs too! Maybe NASA shouldn't do much of anything really, just distribute money around if someone looks to be doing something interesting.  Maybe a payload here or there, if that doesn't get cancelled as well.

Not quite radical enough Jim. There is no need for MSFC period.

May not need to be the biggest center, but killing it is just more anti-government silliness.  A jobs program isn't  something that is a bad thing (could be run better), and killing a big operation outright is likely to cause long-term economic consequences as well.

If you mean most of NASA's functions, could you please explain what your evidence is.

Gosh, nobody here is arguing for that- well, I don't see that attitude here at all.

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #33 on: 07/17/2017 12:14 AM »
1.  Crew transport was not the prime task for the shuttle.  Cargo was the prime mission.  And SLS/Orion is going to cost more per launch than shuttle.

SLS/Orion will launch a lot more payload to a much further distance. I think that makes up for the lower launch rate.

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2.  It won't be Skylab II, that is a given

Do you have some inside information? I haven't seen any evidence that Skylab II has been written off by NASA.

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3.  Anything over a billion is "obscenely expensive." Skylab II would be 1-5 billion.

Under that definition the following programs are (or were) "obscenely expensive":

ISS, Space Shuttle, Commercial Resupply Services, Commercial Crew Program, Hubble, JWST, Juno, Cassini, MSL, the MERs, Viking, the Voyagers, Mars 2020, Skylab, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Galileo, Chandra, and Europa Clipper (among others).

I guess none of those were worth doing since they were "obscenely expensive."

A cost of $1-5 Billion for a robust hab module that can be reused looks like a good deal to me. 
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 01:16 AM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #34 on: 07/17/2017 02:29 AM »

Under that definition the following programs are (or were) "obscenely expensive":

ISS, Space Shuttle, Commercial Resupply Services, Commercial Crew Program, Hubble, JWST, Juno, Cassini, MSL, the MERs, Viking, the Voyagers, Mars 2020, Skylab, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Galileo, Chandra, and Europa Clipper (among others).

I guess none of those were worth doing since they were "obscenely expensive."
 

wrong takeaway.  Anything over a billion for a hab module is a waste. 
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 02:30 AM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #35 on: 07/17/2017 02:31 AM »

Do you have some inside information? I haven't seen any evidence that Skylab II has been written off by NASA.
 

It was just a few papers and not a sanctioned project

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #36 on: 07/17/2017 03:16 AM »
For instance, standardizing payloads specifically for the SLS makes the SLS a Single-Point-Of-Failure transportation system, meaning if there is a problem with the launch vehicle (or it is cancelled) whatever efforts in space the SLS is supporting are put in jeopardy.

No one is saying that payloads should be standardized solely for SLS. There are some payload ideas that would be too heavy for current or near future commercial launchers but that is based on BEO payload capacity, not "standardization."

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Of course you left out that ULA is not going out of business

I thought that fact was apparent to everyone here so I didn't think I needed to explicitly mention it to make my point, which was that almost no one back then foresaw that Atlas V and Delta IV would be replaced at this time. My argument is that we continue development of SLS/Orion in parallel with commercial vehicles such as Vulcan, FH, New Glenn. Then once all of them have flown an informed decision can be made to continue SLS/Orion or not. It is too early to pick winners and losers.

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Again, if NASA creates a payload that can only fit on an SLS, and the SLS is no longer available for any reason

If SLS is no longer available it will likely be because of something like ITS coming online. In that case you can just put the heavy payload on ITS.

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Oh come on, that's a scare tactic. NASA is funded by project and program, so funding for the SLS and Orion are isolated from everything else. Meaning the ISS program would still be funded as usual, the science programs would be funded as usual, etc.

You are putting words in my mouth. As okan170 stated I was referring to the loss of SLS/Orion funding from NASA's overall budget if the programs were canceled.

wrong takeaway.  Anything over a billion for a hab module is a waste.

I would strongly disagree. A hab module is the most important part of a deep space transportation system for humans. If spending $1 Billion on an unmanned probe isn't a waste then spending $1 Billion on a module that lives will depend on isn't wasteful either.

With a portion of the commercial crew budget (~$1 Billion) of the past few years (which, once CCP comes online, will be available) you could get Skylab II developed in around 5 years or so (even in your worst case scenario of $5 Billion).

Now I'm not married to the Skylab II concept. There are several hab module proposals that have a lot of merit. It will be interesting to look over the pros and cons of these proposals over the next few years.

It was just a few papers and not a sanctioned project

So what? That doesn't mean that NASA will never consider it.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #37 on: 07/17/2017 04:17 AM »
No one is saying that payloads should be standardized solely for SLS. There are some payload ideas that would be too heavy for current or near future commercial launchers but that is based on BEO payload capacity, not "standardization."

It makes sense to design payloads to maximize the available capabilities of a (very) expensive launcher. However we have a 450mT space station in LEO that was built using components no larger than 15mT, so I'm not sure why we can't use the same assembly techniques for a far smaller station or vehicle.

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My argument is that we continue development of SLS/Orion in parallel with commercial vehicles such as Vulcan, FH, New Glenn. Then once all of them have flown an informed decision can be made to continue SLS/Orion or not. It is too early to pick winners and losers.

I'm not sure you're understanding what I mean when I say to standardize payloads, but when I say that it means that it doesn't matter what the future vehicles are, only that they can take the same payloads EXISTING launchers can fly. And we have a world-wide fleet of launchers that can fly 15mT payloads to LEO today, so there is virtually ZERO risk in standardizing.

With standardization launches can be competed based on price, and over time because of standardization payload cost will likely drop also. Our world economy depends on payload standardization today, so it's not something that is unknown - we just need to apply it to our activities in space. And this specifically addresses the topic at hand, that NASA thinks their current method of going to Mars is too expensive.

As to the SLS it is a transportation system, and since the payloads it is designed to carry have very long development cycles it's very easy to see what the projected need is for the SLS. One Congressman wants an SLS for the Europa mission, NASA has pretty much ruled out the SLS for going to Mars, and the FY2018 NASA funding law does not contain funding for the Deep Space Gateway - and is unlikely to be added.

You'd think if the SLS was really needed to fly every year for decades to come, that some evidence would have showed up by now.

What would be the reason to think that would change? Is there some evidence that Congress wants to fund the DSG/DST while they are hacking and slashing funding for virtually everything else in the U.S. Government?

We all want NASA to have reasons to keep sending humans to space, but as NASA is pointing out cost is now a major consideration, so our focus should be to look at the most cost-efficient ways to do HSF in space. Shouldn't it?
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 pathfinder_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #38 on: 07/17/2017 05:30 AM »
I never said this was a bad thing. I am all in favor of capitalism and retiring obsolete products. All I am saying is that when it comes to NASA's HSF efforts it is far better to have an all of the above approach rather than relying on a single system. It shouldn't be all commercial. It shouldn't be all SLS/Orion.

The problem with all the above approaches is that resouces can be wasted on approaches that have no chance at all of being economical. Hitler had 3 A bomb programs and produced 0 bombs.

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It is not just me who is arguing this. See the following quote from SpaceX SVP Tim Hughes (all emphasis is mine):

Quote from: Tim Hughes
Specific commercial partnership concepts for deep space exploration can complement and enhance the space exploration efforts NASA is currently undertaking through more traditional contract and development approaches. Here, my testimony sets forth some possibilities that are additive, and emphasizes that no single approach is perfect. That is, it is evident that the country will benefit by applying multiple different approaches and enabling multiple different, redundant pathways to space exploration. 

He said specific(not all) approaches. For instance there isn't that much experience in building a manned lunar lander or mars lander. A traditional cost plus contract would not be too outrageous. However there was more experience in building Space capsules at the time Orion was decided upon(Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and various probes) it was time to give the private sector a larger role.

 
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They don't have to. FH, Vulcan, and New Glenn have customers.

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Just because they have customers doesn't mean they are mature. You need to have flight history for that.

They will get flight history faster than SLS ever will. Problems will be found sooner even if it means the first FH blows up on the pad. Changes, corrections, and upgrades can be made on unmanned flights. Even on flights not paid for by NASA!


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I am all for launching Orion on different rockets. We would need to develop stages that maintain their fuel for a longer period though (or launch Orion immediately after the prelaunched stage is put into place.)

WOW technological development that is actually useful and applicable to Mars missions. Imagine that. Heck it could even be useful to Space X or some future company that want to go to Mars all alone or NASA itself. The RS25 isn't useful to Mars, nor will the new SRBS SLS will need in the future. I will bet Elon would want some data about stored propellants in space for his ITS just as the DCX program was useful.

Also Orion will never launch on a different rocket without opposition from the SLS team for fear it would make their rocket redundant.

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That said I think SLS can still be useful for crew transport and launching the DST in that scenario. (as well as forming the backbone of the DST as Skylab II).

You could also assemble a DST in LEO using current rockets, crew vehicles currently under development, and Cargo vehicles. It could spiral out to what ever departure orbit you want unmanned. It would have to be larger but still doable.  At two flights a year it is cheaper to use multiple flights of existing rockets to move the crew out than use SLS. The reason why Jim states 1 billion is too much for a Hab is because Cygnus and Genesis II are examples of habitable(or near habitable) space under $1 billion. Now it would take some work to turn them into longer term systems but it should be cheaper than the Skylab II Concept.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 05:38 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #39 on: 07/17/2017 06:16 AM »


  Yes, the focus on nebulous "payloads" again, and then we start listening to the next round of people saying that "Lander X" or "Habitat Y" shouldn't be built by NASA, because maybe someone might do that one their own later... we should cancel those programs too! Maybe NASA shouldn't do much of anything really, just distribute money around if someone looks to be doing something interesting.  Maybe a payload here or there, if that doesn't get cancelled as well.

That isn't what the crowd that calls for NASA to get out of the launch business is saying. Commercial launch services have existed since the 1990ies but NASA HSF did not make use of them until forced to by Commercial Cargo and only because Orion/Ares would not be ready in time and NASA did a hail Mary pass that worked well.

Imagine if instead of having to reduce the crew of the Station after Columbia they could have sent some cargo via another launch vehicle. Imagine how much faster the station could have been assembled if the 8 flights that were resupply were used for Construction or if some of the stations parts could have been sent via other means.

The Military since even ancient times understood this and contracted out for things rather than doing everything itself and in modern times the Commercialization of the ELV likely freed resources for other things. If NASA has to build and run everything the cost of doing thing in space will always be expensive. If those costs can be shared with other users it becomes cheaper.

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May not need to be the biggest center, but killing it is just more anti-government silliness.  A jobs program isn't  something that is a bad thing (could be run better), and killing a big operation outright is likely to cause long-term economic consequences as well.

No there are proper roles for Government and for Companies and when Government does things that Companies are better at it wastes resources that could be better used on things Government is better at. For instance when resupplying the polar base the Air Force does not pick up and fly the Cargo from it's point of Origin to the base. Cargo is commercially shipped to a base in New Zealand and then flown  to the pole by the Airforce. Imagine how much more expensive it would be for the Air force to fly around the country and the world picking up Cargo for the base.  For troop transport in case of war(and in peace) the military has contracts with airlines to get the troops as close as possible to where they need to be and even then there could still be contracts for things like buses.

SLS a program the employs a few mostly aircraft workers in a few states got 3 billion dollars. Jobcore a much more worthy jobs program that seeks to train and find employment for young Americans 18-24 in all 50 states only got about 1.6 billion. As a jobs program there are better ways to do it.



« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 06:19 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #40 on: 07/17/2017 07:42 AM »
It makes sense to design payloads to maximize the available capabilities of a (very) expensive launcher. However we have a 450mT space station in LEO that was built using components no larger than 15mT, so I'm not sure why we can't use the same assembly techniques for a far smaller station or vehicle.

The issue is staging from LEO. It takes a lot of propellant to get a large mass out of LEO. It is far better to stage from NRO. (ITS could get around the LEO staging problem, but that isn't related to the above discussion).

Sure, you could send up a module and have some sort of tug take it to NRO. But then you have to worry about refueling the tug, having redundancies for the tug, tug maintenance and so forth. Given the wealth of BLEO payload capability coming down the pike it seems like this kind of setup isn't needed for this mission. (although I am sure something like it will eventually come to pass as more people live and work in space).

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NASA has pretty much ruled out the SLS for going to Mars, and the FY2018 NASA funding law does not contain funding for the Deep Space Gateway - and is unlikely to be added.

Again Gerst was talking about a Mars landing by 2033. Also NASA has just pitched the DSG so I wouldn't expect to see anything for it specifically in the 2018 budget (although portions of said budget can be used to lay the groundwork for DSG).


The problem with all the above approaches is that resouces can be wasted on approaches that have no chance at all of being economical. Hitler had 3 A bomb programs and produced 0 bombs.

The problem with Hitler's A bomb project was lack of resources for it, not the number of projects. The Manhattan project had a large amount of resources and commitment and if I recall correctly the first two atomic bombs were different designs and used different radioactive elements.

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However there was more experience in building Space capsules at the time Orion was decided upon(Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and various probes) it was time to give the private sector a larger role.

Well it had been 30 years since NASA and contractors had flown a capsule design. Loss of technical experience on that front was a huge issue if I recall correctly.
 
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They will get flight history faster than SLS ever will.

So? It still doesn't make them mature in the here and now.

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WOW technological development that is actually useful and applicable to Mars missions.


What I was trying to point out is that some development must be done in order to enable Orion to launch BLEO using existing or soon to be existing rockets. We can't just put Orion on a Delta IV and go to NRO. If fuel depots or similar tech get funding I will be all for it. That said, the ability to get that funding is dependent on Congress and I am not sure Congress would be in a mood to give such funding if SLS/Orion are canceled.

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The reason why Jim states 1 billion is too much for a Hab is because Cygnus and Genesis II are examples of habitable(or near habitable) space under $1 billion. Now it would take some work to turn them into longer term systems but it should be cheaper than the Skylab II Concept.

Genesis II was a demonstrator, like BEAM. The Bigelow module that could be used for Deep Space would be BA-330. I have seen the deep space Cygnus proposal as well and it has promise. One issue with using Cygnus though would be the rather small pressurized space in each module.

There are pros and cons to each hab module proposal. NASA should carefully consider each and then pick one (or two) to support.

Anyway I am bowing out of the discussion at this point. It seems no argument or political reality will sway those who have already made up their minds that SLS/Orion are the devil and must be canceled. They are entitled to their opinion, I am entitled to mine. I just wanted to keep this thread from becoming an echo chamber as well as let people know that it is okay to cheer for everybody in the space industry. There is no need to pick sides.

NASA and commercial space complement each other very well and whatever path forward or architecture is chosen I will cheer vigorously for its success.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #41 on: 07/17/2017 12:50 PM »
1.  Crew transport was not the prime task for the shuttle.  Cargo was the prime mission.  And SLS/Orion is going to cost more per launch than shuttle.

SLS/Orion will launch a lot more payload to a much further distance.

Not if no payloads are developed and funded because SLS/Orion eats up all the budget. This has been the problem all along and NASA is only now just starting to acknowledge it.

The purpose of SLS/Orion was to placate jobs centers which lamented the US government no longer having a huge rocket to work on. It was neither an efficient crew launcher nor a purpose built cargo launcher for any specific payloads (other than Orion flybys of the moon or other objects). Hardly any other payloads are even on the radar due to lack of resources to develop them.

It certainly COULD launch other payloads like more robust heavyweight science probes, EDL hardware for Mars/Moon, Mars habs, or even Skylab II, but none of that was ever in scope.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 12:56 PM by spacetraveler »

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #42 on: 07/17/2017 04:25 PM »
      On the face of it, the SLS has not really been that great of an idea, once it was detached from the concept of being a lunar vehicle launch system.

      In fact, it could be very well suited for heavy lift capabilities, should they somehow work a substantial amount of re-usability into the overall design.

      The main problem, as I see it, is that the initial concept was for it to use off the shelf components and systems to essentially, recreate a much longer term Apollo type of infrastructure.  While the SRBs are designed for re-usability, the rest of the rocket is not.  if at least the first and second stages could be configured as reusable items, while the upper stages could be configured as "Wet-Lab" systems, (Yes, the orbital transfer stage AND the Service Module for the Orion Capsule) then this could go a LONG ways to making this a viable transportation system.

      What we would have done with the SLS is the equivalent of throwing away an entire 747, with the exceptions of the tail section (SRBs) and the pilot's cabin. (The Orion Capsule).

      Expending hundreds of millions to billions of dollars for each flight is not only extremely wasteful, but simply not a viable transportation system for long term use.

      The main reason that the STS system was never as reusable as it was supposed to be was a combination of both being designed by politically motivated committees, and the design was both experimental and as a developmental program.  It was supposed to be replaced by the Shuttle 2 design, which was, of course, canceled by Congress, as the STS system was turning out so expensive to maintain.
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Online envy887

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #43 on: 07/17/2017 04:34 PM »
      On the face of it, the SLS has not really been that great of an idea, once it was detached from the concept of being a lunar vehicle launch system.

      In fact, it could be very well suited for heavy lift capabilities, should they somehow work a substantial amount of re-usability into the overall design.

      The main problem, as I see it, is that the initial concept was for it to use off the shelf components and systems to essentially, recreate a much longer term Apollo type of infrastructure.  While the SRBs are designed for re-usability, the rest of the rocket is not.  if at least the first and second stages could be configured as reusable items, while the upper stages could be configured as "Wet-Lab" systems, (Yes, the orbital transfer stage AND the Service Module for the Orion Capsule) then this could go a LONG ways to making this a viable transportation system.

      What we would have done with the SLS is the equivalent of throwing away an entire 747, with the exceptions of the tail section (SRBs) and the pilot's cabin. (The Orion Capsule).

      Expending hundreds of millions to billions of dollars for each flight is not only extremely wasteful, but simply not a viable transportation system for long term use.

      The main reason that the STS system was never as reusable as it was supposed to be was a combination of both being designed by politically motivated committees, and the design was both experimental and as a developmental program.  It was supposed to be replaced by the Shuttle 2 design, which was, of course, canceled by Congress, as the STS system was turning out so expensive to maintain.

SLS SRBs are not designed for reuse and do not have recovery hardware. SRBs are not amenable to economic reuse anyway, though perhaps Block 2 could have reusable LRBs.

SLS is penny wise but pound foolish. It's skimping on development dollars and time to get a system flying that will be horrendously expensive to operate at a slow cadence. Both the architecture and the lack of reuse contribute.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #44 on: 07/17/2017 04:53 PM »
If focus were shifted to long term lunar goals, a use could be found for SLS. Obviously I am not and never really have been a fan of a government manned mars program (a fly-by and Phobos missions, maybe). It's been an idea chased over and over with very little return. If we had not been so focused on the idea I do have to wonder what we could have accomplished by now. 

We have another world on our doorstep that can give us  much of what we need to know to decide whether humans have any long term business on partial-1g worlds. If it turns that out we do, then we can work out much of the best practices while exploring and settling the moon. There is this budget, it's probably not going to get much bigger, and may get smaller. Why not get the most that we can out of it.

SLS allows for the launch of the deep space gateway and subsequent infrastructure add-ons over the years for lunar visitation, asteroidal missions and at least initially, crew transfer. It could also eventually loft a very nice propellant depot for later use on an improved architecture.  Once commercial heavy lift becomes regularly available. SLS will probably have a scaled back role, but for some time into the future it could be used on a limited once or twice per year basis until no longer needed.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #45 on: 07/17/2017 05:23 PM »
We have another world on our doorstep that can give us  much of what we need to know to decide whether humans have any long term business on partial-1g worlds.

I reject that. Knowing that humans can not live long term in lunar gravity and have healthy children does in no way imply the same problem would necessarily present on Mars.

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #46 on: 07/17/2017 05:56 PM »
Just a point, NASA can not use Ariane.  JWST is launching on Ariane because that is part of ESAs contribution.  NASA is not buying the launch services.

Isn't giving away part of JWST 'buying' the launch?
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Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #47 on: 07/17/2017 07:08 PM »
Just a point, NASA can not use Ariane.  JWST is launching on Ariane because that is part of ESAs contribution.  NASA is not buying the launch services.

Isn't giving away part of JWST 'buying' the launch?

No.  NASA can not buy launch services from foreign launch providers.  The only time at NASA spacecraft can fly on a foreign launch vehicle is if the launch service is provided as part of a cooperative agreement with a foreign government.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #48 on: 07/17/2017 08:30 PM »
It makes sense to design payloads to maximize the available capabilities of a (very) expensive launcher. However we have a 450mT space station in LEO that was built using components no larger than 15mT, so I'm not sure why we can't use the same assembly techniques for a far smaller station or vehicle.

The issue is staging from LEO. It takes a lot of propellant to get a large mass out of LEO. It is far better to stage from NRO. (ITS could get around the LEO staging problem, but that isn't related to the above discussion).

Sure, you could send up a module and have some sort of tug take it to NRO. But then you have to worry about refueling the tug, having redundancies for the tug, tug maintenance and so forth. Given the wealth of BLEO payload capability coming down the pike it seems like this kind of setup isn't needed for this mission. (although I am sure something like it will eventually come to pass as more people live and work in space).

Shouldn't the energy requirement to a BLEO destination should be roughly the same regardless if you stage in LEO or not? If so this truly is a discussion of what the future of space transportation should be.

- The SLS is 100% expendable, pretty much dedicated for NASA payloads only, and it is so large and costly that NASA can only use it for high cost payloads and programs. Which are rare. The SLS is not the future of space transportation.

- The commercial launch industry is moving towards reusable launchers that can easily put payloads into LEO while recovering their 1st stages, which over time should significantly lower the cost to access LEO. And not just for payloads, but also to send propellant and other consumables into LEO. If the goal is to expand humanity out into space then we have to get good at propellant depots in LEO anyways, so best to focus on that now rather than later.

Quote
Quote
NASA has pretty much ruled out the SLS for going to Mars, and the FY2018 NASA funding law does not contain funding for the Deep Space Gateway - and is unlikely to be added.

Again Gerst was talking about a Mars landing by 2033. Also NASA has just pitched the DSG so I wouldn't expect to see anything for it specifically in the 2018 budget (although portions of said budget can be used to lay the groundwork for DSG).

So NASA doesn't have enough money to land a human on Mars in 15 years, but you think that would change if they had 20 or 30 years? If we don't need an HLV for a couple of decades, why do we need to finish building the SLS? What is it supposed to do for the next few decades?

As to the DSG, NASA obviously pitches lots of concepts, but so far none of them have included any cost estimates, and THAT is where Congress usually has a conflict. So just as the SLS does not make the effort for Mars cost effective, I don't think the SLS will make the DSG concept very cost effective either - especially if a side-by-side comparison is made of the same concept but using commercial launchers.

And this seems to be the philosophical divide between those that support the SLS and those that don't, because those that don't support the SLS do so on the basis of cost, not that they want money thrown to their favorite launch company. For instance, the whole point of payload standardization is so multiple launch providers can be used, and I would expect NASA to contract with multiple U.S. launch providers - maybe evenly divide the launches, or whatever makes sense.

The point is, I see the focus on creating a government-owned transportation system as a distraction for NASA, caused by Congress, and that it is delaying NASA's ability to send humans beyond LEO - not making it happen sooner.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 09:10 PM by Coastal Ron »
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 eric z

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #49 on: 07/17/2017 08:42 PM »
 Based on the title of this thread, what I think would be warranted [but it ain't gonna happen!] would be for NASA -TV and the PR  Dept. to immediately start phasing out all the cool pictures of astronauts walking around Mars, chipping at rocks, huge rockets blasting-off, etc. etc. Stop the hype. Answer questions truthfully w/o spin.
 "We do not have a program at the moment; we could get one together fast if directed, but at the moment, sorry..." :-[

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #50 on: 07/17/2017 11:46 PM »
Just a point, NASA can not use Ariane.  JWST is launching on Ariane because that is part of ESAs contribution.  NASA is not buying the launch services.

Isn't giving away part of JWST 'buying' the launch?

No.  NASA can not buy launch services from foreign launch providers.  The only time at NASA spacecraft can fly on a foreign launch vehicle is if the launch service is provided as part of a cooperative agreement with a foreign government.

What did NASA give the foreign government for these launch services?
Nothing of value you are saying...  I don't believe that.

What did NASA give the Europeans for the SLS service module?  Nothing again?

NASA is giving away chunks of what the taxpayers paid for in these so-called cooperative agreements... just augmenting their budgets by giving away the goods we bought.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #51 on: 07/18/2017 12:03 AM »
Just a point, NASA can not use Ariane.  JWST is launching on Ariane because that is part of ESAs contribution.  NASA is not buying the launch services.

Isn't giving away part of JWST 'buying' the launch?

No.  NASA can not buy launch services from foreign launch providers.  The only time at NASA spacecraft can fly on a foreign launch vehicle is if the launch service is provided as part of a cooperative agreement with a foreign government.

What did NASA give the foreign government for these launch services?
Nothing of value you are saying...  I don't believe that.

What did NASA give the Europeans for the SLS service module?  Nothing again?

NASA is giving away chunks of what the taxpayers paid for in these so-called cooperative agreements... just augmenting their budgets by giving away the goods we bought.
IIRC the SM is being provided as a form of barter payment towards ISS contribution. It's been a while, so if anyone can confirm that would be great...

Edit:typo
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 12:19 PM by Rocket Science »
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Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #52 on: 07/18/2017 02:05 AM »

1.  What did NASA give the foreign government for these launch services?
Nothing of value you are saying...  I don't believe that.

What did NASA give the Europeans for the SLS service module?  Nothing again?

NASA is giving away chunks of what the taxpayers paid for in these so-called cooperative agreements... just augmenting their budgets by giving away the goods we bought.

Wrong again.  Please do some background research..

NASA is not giving away US taxpayer money

NASA has a history of cooperative projects.

ESA provided solar panels and instruments for HST viewing time.
NASA built the Topex spacecraft and ESA launched it for data sharing. 
NASA has launched all the French Jason spacecraft for instrument accommodations and data sharing
NASA is launching Solar Orbiter for ESA for instrument accommodations and data sharing

ESA is launching JWST for an instrument accommodation and viewing time
ESA is providing the ESM for Orion in place of providing ISS logistics.

JWST would be on the ground and short an instrument if not for barter agreements.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 02:25 AM by Lar »

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #53 on: 07/18/2017 06:44 AM »

1.  What did NASA give the foreign government for these launch services?
Nothing of value you are saying...  I don't believe that.

What did NASA give the Europeans for the SLS service module?  Nothing again?

NASA is giving away chunks of what the taxpayers paid for in these so-called cooperative agreements... just augmenting their budgets by giving away the goods we bought.

Wrong again.  Please do some background research..

NASA is not giving away US taxpayer money

NASA has a history of cooperative projects.

ESA provided solar panels and instruments for HST viewing time.
NASA built the Topex spacecraft and ESA launched it for data sharing. 
NASA has launched all the French Jason spacecraft for instrument accommodations and data sharing
NASA is launching Solar Orbiter for ESA for instrument accommodations and data sharing

ESA is launching JWST for an instrument accommodation and viewing time
ESA is providing the ESM for Orion in place of providing ISS logistics.

JWST would be on the ground and short an instrument if not for barter agreements.

Jim is correct on this one.
The total (all-in) price-tag of JWST is $10.5 billion. Domestic funding from the United States makes up the majority of this: roughly $8.8 billion. The tab for the remaining $1.7 billion is picked up by the international partners, most notably ESA. In return for investing $1.7 billion into the JWST project the international partners (ESA included):
- get to provide instruments for JWST.
- get to launch JWST.
- get full access to every bit of data ever coming out of JWST.

So, contrary to what AncientU seems to be implying NASA did not give money to ESA to launch JWST. The launch of JWST is fully and completely funded by European taxpayers, not US taxpayers. The same applies to several of the instruments on JWST.

Another example of international cooperation on space-based astronomy missions is the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). This project was initiated in the Netherlands and later NASA and the British Science & Engineering Research Council were invited to join the project. Both of them accepted the invitation.
The work was then split-up between the partners:
- 10% of the total project cost was picked up by the British. For that money the UK provided the ground control station near Rutherford and also were responsible for the preparation and execution of day-to-day on-orbit operations as well as the science-result quick-looks.
- 40% of the total project cost was picked up by the Netherlands. For that money the Netherlands provided the spacecraft (minus the main instrument) as well as providing a secondary instrument. Additionally the Netherlands performed all pre-launch preparations, provided the software for on-orbit operations and ground-operations, and was responsible for all testing on both component level (spacecraft) and of the fully integrated satellite.
- 50% of the total project cost was picked up by the United States. For that money the United States provided the entire main instrument package, including the component-tested helium-cooled dewar and main telescope, the component-tested focal plain array and all instrument electronics. They also provided the launch vehicle as well as delivery of the satellite to it's intended orbit. The USA also provided the testing facilities at JPL for an extended thermal equilibrium test of the integrated satellite prior to launch. Finally the US was responsible for analysing the science data and producing the resulting all-sky map of the infrared universe.

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #54 on: 07/18/2017 07:04 AM »
Just a point, NASA can not use Ariane.  JWST is launching on Ariane because that is part of ESAs contribution.  NASA is not buying the launch services.

Isn't giving away part of JWST 'buying' the launch?

No.  NASA can not buy launch services from foreign launch providers.  The only time at NASA spacecraft can fly on a foreign launch vehicle is if the launch service is provided as part of a cooperative agreement with a foreign government.

What did NASA give the foreign government for these launch services?
Nothing of value you are saying...  I don't believe that.

What did NASA give the Europeans for the SLS service module?  Nothing again?

NASA is giving away chunks of what the taxpayers paid for in these so-called cooperative agreements... just augmenting their budgets by giving away the goods we bought.
IIRC the SM is being provided as a form or barter payment towards ISS. It's been a while, so if anyone can confirm that would be great...
That is correct. In stead of providing additional ATV's for ISS cargo supply runs ESA has accepted a NASA invitation to pick up the tab for developing, testing and supplying the service module for Orion, minus the main engine. Because there is no exchange of funds this is a barter agreement. ESA pays for developing, testing and supplying the service module (again: minus the main engine) out of it's own pockets. Despite what some ill-informed folks are claiming NASA (and by extension the US taxpayer) is not paying anything for the service module for Orion (minus the main engine).
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 07:08 AM by woods170 »

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #55 on: 07/18/2017 10:40 AM »
Who is picking up the tab for replacing those cargo supply runs?
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #56 on: 07/18/2017 10:41 AM »
As Woods170 wrote, these kinds of barter arrangements are common.  As an example, for HST, I believe the Europeans provided one of the original instruments (Faint Object Camera) and maybe even the original solar arrays.  In exchange, they were guaranteed a certain percentage of the observing time.  Government rules (under which NASA/ESA/etc. have to work) often prohibit just sending money, so participation then comes in the form of providing materiel, not cash.  This kind of thing is not new at all; IRAS was more than 30 years ago now, and the agreements for HST probably were signed in the mid-1970s.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were earlier examples.
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #57 on: 07/18/2017 11:40 AM »
As Woods170 wrote, these kinds of barter arrangements are common.  As an example, for HST, I believe the Europeans provided one of the original instruments (Faint Object Camera) and maybe even the original solar arrays.  In exchange, they were guaranteed a certain percentage of the observing time.  Government rules (under which NASA/ESA/etc. have to work) often prohibit just sending money, so participation then comes in the form of providing materiel, not cash.  This kind of thing is not new at all; IRAS was more than 30 years ago now, and the agreements for HST probably were signed in the mid-1970s.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were earlier examples.

Right.  Giving away observing time (GTO programs) is giving something of great value... not cash.  This is exactly how NASA augments its budget (JWST launch on Ariane is an example).  Quite different than the original agreements for building an instrument where the builder assumes all risk for cost over-runs, etc.; those are legitimate collaborative agreements.  Booking the Ariane launch instead of coming up with the extra cash over and above the $8B cost cap is augmenting the budget.
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #58 on: 07/18/2017 12:29 PM »
As Woods170 wrote, these kinds of barter arrangements are common.  As an example, for HST, I believe the Europeans provided one of the original instruments (Faint Object Camera) and maybe even the original solar arrays.  In exchange, they were guaranteed a certain percentage of the observing time.  Government rules (under which NASA/ESA/etc. have to work) often prohibit just sending money, so participation then comes in the form of providing materiel, not cash.  This kind of thing is not new at all; IRAS was more than 30 years ago now, and the agreements for HST probably were signed in the mid-1970s.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were earlier examples.

Right.  Giving away observing time (GTO programs) is giving something of great value... not cash.  This is exactly how NASA augments its budget (JWST launch on Ariane is an example).  Quite different than the original agreements for building an instrument where the builder assumes all risk for cost over-runs, etc.; those are legitimate collaborative agreements.  Booking the Ariane launch instead of coming up with the extra cash over and above the $8B cost cap is augmenting the budget.
Let's think about this for a second... If one takes the program cost and divide it by the operational lifetime in hours, then one could equate observation time to dollars... YMMV
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #59 on: 07/18/2017 01:14 PM »
$10.5B over five operational years --> $1.2M/hour (365x24 hour operations)
At 70% open shutter time --> $1.7M/hour

If observatory operates for ten years (amount of propellant onboard -- plus nothing else goes wrong), costs will drop by of order half.
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #60 on: 07/18/2017 01:28 PM »
$10.5B over five operational years --> $1.2M/hour (365x24 hour operations)
At 70% open shutter time --> $1.7M/hour

If observatory operates for ten years (amount of propellant onboard -- plus nothing else goes wrong), costs will drop by of order half.
Just a side story... The usual problem is getting funding for the observer. 25+ years back we had an astronomer at my institution who had the funding available but could not get time booked for Hubble due to high demand.... But I digress...
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #61 on: 07/18/2017 01:51 PM »
As Woods170 wrote, these kinds of barter arrangements are common.  As an example, for HST, I believe the Europeans provided one of the original instruments (Faint Object Camera) and maybe even the original solar arrays.  In exchange, they were guaranteed a certain percentage of the observing time.  Government rules (under which NASA/ESA/etc. have to work) often prohibit just sending money, so participation then comes in the form of providing materiel, not cash.  This kind of thing is not new at all; IRAS was more than 30 years ago now, and the agreements for HST probably were signed in the mid-1970s.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were earlier examples.

Right.  Giving away observing time (GTO programs) is giving something of great value... not cash.  This is exactly how NASA augments its budget (JWST launch on Ariane is an example).  Quite different than the original agreements for building an instrument where the builder assumes all risk for cost over-runs, etc.; those are legitimate collaborative agreements.  Booking the Ariane launch instead of coming up with the extra cash over and above the $8B cost cap is augmenting the budget.
Again No. NASA's cost cap for JWST never included the launch. If ESA was not there NASA would have to either:
A. Find some other partner to barter for the launch.
B. Build a cheaper, less capable JWST to free up funds within the cost cap to pay for the launch.

NASA's budget for JWST is not artificially augmented as you seem to be assuming. JWST is a more capable telescope now than it could have been for $8.8 billion, courtesy of international partners throwing in an additional $1.7 billion.

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #62 on: 07/18/2017 01:59 PM »
Who is picking up the tab for replacing those cargo supply runs?
You really don't get it, do you?

By providing a service module for Orion NASA does not have to spend funds on developing a US domestic service module for Orion. Those funds are now used to pay for additional cargo supply runs via CRS and HTV.

Had ESA continued to fly ATV's, in stead of developing a service module for Orion, than NASA would not have had to pay for additional cargo runs. However, the funding then would have been required to develop a US domestic service module for Orion.

That is what bartering is all about. Under both scenario's the input from US taxpayers and European taxpayers is equal.

Offline clongton

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #63 on: 07/18/2017 02:08 PM »
Back in the day when NASA was created, nobody asked “should NASA be building its own rockets”. The Army was working on them as well as the Navy and the Air Force. So why shouldn’t NASA follow suit and develop its own rocket? The result was the Saturn, designed and built at the MSFC, a NASA cost center. The main difference between then and now is that all those vehicles were designed for a specific purpose, and only then were they built. Every vehicle had a specific purpose – defined in large part by the cold war with the Soviet Union. Even the Apollo/Saturn vehicles were cold war related. Then the cold war ended, and with it the Saturn rocket.

The nation was left with this huge space-related military-industrial complex that employed tens of thousands of people that suddenly had no justification for its existence. But the workers were spread out all over the country and no Congressman or Senator was willing to take the hit from the voters back home for massive job losses, so the space program morphed into a jobs program for the express purpose of keeping people working. This was the age of détente, Shuttle and the ISS. Congress was happy because the back-home voters would continue to cash their paychecks and vote for them.

Then we lost Challenger. Reset. Then we lost Columbia. Panic. Then President Bush set a timeframe for retiring Shuttle and set out to keep the Congress happy by providing the VSE roadmap that would keep the workers busy and send America back into space post-Shuttle. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe developed the spiral development program where NASA would continually develop new and better spacecraft but the launch vehicles would be provided by the commercial companies that were already building the rockets. We would design our spacecraft to use existing rockets and allow them and their rockets to be upgraded over time as in-space needs evolved. NASA would not build any more rockets. But Congress *DID NOT LIKE THIS* not one single bit! No new rockets meant the end of thousands of high paying jobs back home and the loss of all their votes. And so Mr. O’Keefe was invited to retire and a new sheriff was brought into town, Mike Griffin. Mr. Griffin brought with him his own version of the VSE and huge massive rockets that NASA would design and build and the Congress loved him, for all the very best unsavory reasons. And thus was Project Constellation born.

Then the physics that Mr. Griffin kept ignoring caught up with him and all the troubles with Ares-I caused massive problems throughout the program, leading to redesign after redesign after redesign and massive cost overruns. Finally even Mr. Griffin had to admit that CxP had screwed the hooch.

In comes a new President, Mr. Obama, who by rights should have been able to take over a functioning space program. But not only was it not functioning, it was bleeding to death from a thousand cuts. And so he cancelled it. CxP was officially dead. Mr. Griffin was out and replaced by Charlie Bolden, who was told to get NASA using commercial rockets again. NASA was not to build any new rockets.

But not to be denied its back home vote legacy, the Senate, in its infinite wisdom, decided that no matter what Mr. Obama wanted to do, that there was going to be a massive rocket designed and built that would keep the voters back home happy. And thus, to make a long story short, was the Senate Launch System born.

But somewhere along the way we lost the purpose. Why were we doing all of this? We used to build rockets for a specific purpose. That began to die during the Shuttle era, and was killed off completely by the end CxP. But at least CxP had a stated goal: to go back to the moon. The Senate Launch System, on the other hand, has no mission. It never did. I take that back. It does. It’s a jobs program. But too many people wanted to know what we were going to DO with it and so pieces of the VSE were dusted off and paraded out by NASA PR. We would go to Mars! But in all this time nobody bothered to ask how much that would cost. By the time the question began to be asked, we had already spent untold billions of dollars on the rocket, so much in fact that we couldn’t afford to develop payloads that would fly on it. Wait! If we can’t afford to develop payloads to fly on it, what about Mars? Well it turns out that government sponsored Mars missions are going to cost so much, based on how the Congress “effectively” appropriates the taxpayer’s money, that even the Congress is reluctant to give NASA that much money.

So here we are today. Like the thread title says: “NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission”. Guess what folks. NASA isn’t going to Mars; at least not on the taxpayer’s dime and certainly not with this rocket. Whatever any outside commercial company figures it will have to spend to get to Mars, multiply that by 3 and then you’ll see what they will really need to spend and then multiply THAT number by 5 and you’ll see what our insightful and efficient Congress would have to spend for NASA to do the same thing all by itself. You need to remember that Congress doesn't give NASA money for the space program. It doesn't fund, nor even actually want, anything in space. Congress gives NASA money to fund payrolls in all the voting districts back home, not to actually accomplish anything in space.

Tell me again why NASA should be spending taxpayer money to develop its own rockets - at ENORMOUS expense - when there are perfectly good rockets already available. NASA should be doing what Mr. O’Keefe envisioned; designing and building payloads and spacecraft that would fly on our existing launch vehicles. We know now how to do in-space assembly. We know now how to do in-space propellant transfer. Develop a Mars architecture that does all that and then, and in my opinion only then, will NASA be able to have enough money to go to Mars.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 02:17 PM by clongton »
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Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #64 on: 07/18/2017 07:39 PM »
By providing a service module for Orion NASA does not have to spend funds on developing a US domestic service module for Orion. Those funds are now used to pay for additional cargo supply runs via CRS and HTV.

Had ESA continued to fly ATV's, in stead of developing a service module for Orion, than NASA would not have had to pay for additional cargo runs. However, the funding then would have been required to develop a US domestic service module for Orion.

That is what bartering is all about. Under both scenario's the input from US taxpayers and European taxpayers is equal.

I'm generally inclined to think that outsourcing Orion's service module through a barter agreement is a bit of a sign of desperation.  So much better if NASA could afford the SM on its own and talk ESA into providing a hab (or, really dreaming, a lander) -- then there might actually be something for Orion/SLS to do.

NONETHELESS I sense the presence of genius in the barter arrangement, for, by curtailing ATV flights, it expands the opportunities for ISS's commercial-cargo providers, Orbital ATK and SpaceX.  Even if it means, in effect, diverting some of the ISS budget to Orion.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 07:52 PM by Proponent »

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #65 on: 07/18/2017 07:54 PM »


Like-ing your post isn't enough -- bravo!

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #66 on: 07/19/2017 05:42 AM »
clongton,
that post needs to be pinned and read by everyone.
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #67 on: 07/19/2017 07:21 AM »


Like-ing your post isn't enough -- bravo!
Seconded.

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #68 on: 07/19/2017 07:30 AM »
By providing a service module for Orion NASA does not have to spend funds on developing a US domestic service module for Orion. Those funds are now used to pay for additional cargo supply runs via CRS and HTV.

Had ESA continued to fly ATV's, in stead of developing a service module for Orion, than NASA would not have had to pay for additional cargo runs. However, the funding then would have been required to develop a US domestic service module for Orion.

That is what bartering is all about. Under both scenario's the input from US taxpayers and European taxpayers is equal.

I'm generally inclined to think that outsourcing Orion's service module through a barter agreement is a bit of a sign of desperation.  So much better if NASA could afford the SM on its own and talk ESA into providing a hab (or, really dreaming, a lander) -- then there might actually be something for Orion/SLS to do.

NONETHELESS I sense the presence of genius in the barter arrangement, for, by curtailing ATV flights, it expands the opportunities for ISS's commercial-cargo providers, Orbital ATK and SpaceX.  Even if it means, in effect, diverting some of the ISS budget to Orion.
Had the US done it's own service module than ESA would have had to continue cargo-delivery duties for the ISS. Either way, there would still be no funding for stuff like habs, landers etc. The money simply isn't there given that SLS and Orion suck NASA dry as it is. Both NASA and ESA would need large budget increases to be able to develop habs and landers as well as keeping SLS and Orion in operation.
However, neither organisation will get that budget increase.

Let's face it. It is as explained by Chuck in his excellent post up-thread. SLS and Orion are jobs programs. SLS is a rocket to nowhere.

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #69 on: 07/19/2017 08:05 AM »
Had the US done it's own service module than ESA would have had to continue cargo-delivery duties for the ISS. Either way, there would still be no funding for stuff like habs, landers etc.

I agree.  What I found positive about it is that it uses Orion/SLS, which is, IMHO a waste of money (at plausible funding levels), to encourage the development of commercial cargo.

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #70 on: 07/19/2017 08:51 AM »
Had the US done it's own service module than ESA would have had to continue cargo-delivery duties for the ISS. Either way, there would still be no funding for stuff like habs, landers etc.

I agree.  What I found positive about it is that it uses Orion/SLS, which is, IMHO a waste of money (at plausible funding levels), to encourage the development of commercial cargo.
CRS was initiated by Mike Griffin. The idea was to free-up additional money for CxP by outsourcing ISS cargo to commercial companies, given that commercial cargo-supply was expected to be significantly cheaper than government-furnished cargo-supply. That was 2006. The program started flying in 2010 when SpaceX launched COTS Demo mission 1.
NASA didn't ask ESA to pick up the tab for the Orion Service Module until 2011.

So basically, it is your statement the other way around: it uses Commercial cargo to encourage development of Orion.

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #71 on: 07/19/2017 12:44 PM »
Gerst, pers Ars Technica:

"If we find out there’s water on the Moon, and we want to do more extensive operations on the Moon to go explore that, we have the ability with Deep Space Gateway to support an extensive Moon surface program," he said. "If we want to stay focused more toward Mars we can keep that."

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/07/nasa-finally-admits-it-doesnt-have-the-funding-to-land-humans-on-mars/

If water is to be found, there needs to be a mission to look for it.

  Quoting Gerst:

"In the Apollo era, it was really neat because we didnt think we were so smart. So the requirement was to put human to the moon and return them safely.  ... think simply and ask what you want us to really do."


Gerst for Administrator.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #72 on: 07/20/2017 01:19 AM »


Like-ing your post isn't enough -- bravo!
Seconded.

"Thirded" Apologies to everyone for my post it was outside the scope of this site, chuck has said it best.

We need to get our priorities in order as far as NASA is concerned. NASA should be overhauled and the mandate of the agency changed to be more oriented toward actual exploration. IE, they should be developing the habitats and surface systems needed to actually have a real presence off planet and buying launch vehicles off the shelf similar fashion to how CRS/COTS has worked. This is a no brainer at this point.

The problem is the priorities of our legislature are anything but in order and do not reflect the priorities of anybody dealing with real world problems.

The question I have is, is there a way to work within the existing system to force congress to re-orient NASA toward these goals or are we going to simply have to place all our eggs in the basket of things like ITS and hope for the best? Seems awfully stupid to me that private companies have real plans in the works yet NASA has to continue on with SLS despite it being a total lemon instead of supporting or working with those companies.
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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #73 on: 07/20/2017 01:23 AM »
By providing a service module for Orion NASA does not have to spend funds on developing a US domestic service module for Orion. Those funds are now used to pay for additional cargo supply runs via CRS and HTV.

Had ESA continued to fly ATV's, in stead of developing a service module for Orion, than NASA would not have had to pay for additional cargo runs. However, the funding then would have been required to develop a US domestic service module for Orion.

That is what bartering is all about. Under both scenario's the input from US taxpayers and European taxpayers is equal.

I'm generally inclined to think that outsourcing Orion's service module through a barter agreement is a bit of a sign of desperation.  So much better if NASA could afford the SM on its own and talk ESA into providing a hab (or, really dreaming, a lander) -- then there might actually be something for Orion/SLS to do.

NONETHELESS I sense the presence of genius in the barter arrangement, for, by curtailing ATV flights, it expands the opportunities for ISS's commercial-cargo providers, Orbital ATK and SpaceX.  Even if it means, in effect, diverting some of the ISS budget to Orion.
Had the US done it's own service module than ESA would have had to continue cargo-delivery duties for the ISS. Either way, there would still be no funding for stuff like habs, landers etc. The money simply isn't there given that SLS and Orion suck NASA dry as it is. Both NASA and ESA would need large budget increases to be able to develop habs and landers as well as keeping SLS and Orion in operation.
However, neither organisation will get that budget increase.

Let's face it. It is as explained by Chuck in his excellent post up-thread. SLS and Orion are jobs programs. SLS is a rocket to nowhere.
Not to mention that Orion is a limited spacecraft even as compared to dragon v2 (at least given the proposed specs) and SLS can scale, but it's immensely expensive to scale. On top of that the recurring costs will get worse as SLS is scaled up not better, leaving even less money as time goes on to actually do something like DSG.

The whole thing is a lemon.
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Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #74 on: 07/20/2017 06:14 PM »

Not to mention that Orion is a limited spacecraft even as compared to dragon v2

that is wrong

Offline jtrame

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #75 on: 07/20/2017 06:41 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #76 on: 07/20/2017 09:02 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

And why would we want to keep the same contractors?

Maybe the two failed attempts (Constellation/SLS) are a message*...

* Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #77 on: 07/20/2017 09:21 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

And why would we want to keep the same contractors?

Maybe the two failed attempts (Constellation/SLS) are a message*...

* Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Falcon 1 and red Dragon
Just pointing out how idiotic you statement is.
Constellation/SLS issues are not contractor related
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 09:25 PM by Jim »

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #78 on: 07/20/2017 09:36 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

And why would we want to keep the same contractors?

Maybe the two failed attempts (Constellation/SLS) are a message*...

* Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Falcon 1 and red Dragon
Just pointing out how idiotic you statement is.
Constellation/SLS issues are not contractor related

The issues with Constellation were with both the strategic and technical design.
The issues with SLS are basically limited to the strategic design.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #79 on: 07/20/2017 09:57 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

And why would we want to keep the same contractors?

Maybe the two failed attempts (Constellation/SLS) are a message*...

* Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Falcon 1 and red Dragon
Just pointing out how idiotic you statement is.
Constellation/SLS issues are not contractor related

The issues with Constellation were with both the strategic and technical design.
The issues with SLS are basically limited to the strategic design.
If by strategic you mean the problem being the politically motivated congressional requirements that make SLS what it is yes.
Quote
Not to mention that Orion is a limited spacecraft even as compared to dragon v2

that is wrong
We will find out when dv2 is flying.

I do not mean limited strictly in the technical sense either I mean limited period because of the lack of use its going to see. Dv2 will be flying alot more and doing more than Orion which will be restricted in how often it flys due to SLS sucking the air out of the room. One is built and has flown a test flight already and the other isn't so I concede for now.
Quote
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

Problem is not contractor related but if by switching them you mean "how hard would it be to change what people are working on if the congress so desired it" then that is an interesting question. It would probably require a new contractual process though at least to some extent as with what happened when CXP died, (but that wasn't everything having to be new just certain things).


My question is more how do we make/maneuver/lobby whatever you want to call it, the congress in the coming years to undo this mess and give NASA the right mandate and the funding to accomplish it with set goals?

The more I think about this the more I think such a change would have to come from the president but even then Congress showed us last time that no matter what the executive wants to do with NASA it can still be totally bypassed.

FWIW in an ideal world:
1. Cancel SLS give NASA a mandate to develop DSG+habs+surface systems and whatever else they will need, keep Orion potentially this would have to be a decision left up to NASA itself, to keep Orion or to aim for buying the use of a private spacecraft. Orion is very far along now.
2. Give NASA a set timeline of when we want to be on Mars and the mandate that we are aiming for permanent presence there.
3. Have them bid everything out again in a CRS style model for who is going to provide launch services. There is no reason that any one company has to be selected to provide the launch services you could use multiple carriers to reduce costs again similar to CRS. I'd be very much in favor of this since at least right now it appears three companies will have much larger LV's in the near future. So use all of them don't lock in to a single company that could then raise the price.
4. Increase NASA's budget to 20-50 billion a year. I don't think this is at all unreasonable and I have addressed why before, compared to some of the things we are wasting money on in the legislature right now this is pennies. And compared to the entire discretionary budget it literally is pennies.
5. Reform program management and center management. Streamline internal processes remove any and all waste possible.


This will almost certainly never happen because like Chuck has said it's a jobs program not a space agency at this point. The exploration part is incidental only as far as things are concerned right now.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 10:10 PM by FinalFrontier »
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Online envy887

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #80 on: 07/20/2017 10:16 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

And why would we want to keep the same contractors?

Maybe the two failed attempts (Constellation/SLS) are a message*...

* Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Falcon 1 and red Dragon
Just pointing out how idiotic you statement is.
Constellation/SLS issues are not contractor related

Yes, those 2 huge boondoggles had a combined cost to the taxpayer of what, $5 or $10 million?

If Congress was interested in results or efficiency they wouldn't be making NASA spend tens of billions on a CxP redo. Same contractors or otherwise. But switching contractors would be but a band-aid. The actual problems are much higher up.

Offline jtrame

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #81 on: 07/20/2017 10:46 PM »
Well I was just thinking out loud, but why would you use the same contractors? Self explanatory, to keep the Congressman happy, keep the money flowing and also because  these contractors not only have experience, the workforce, and public support, it's just possible they aren't the bad guys some want to make them out to be. Yes, just  throwing an idea out there, unrealistic as it is.

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #82 on: 07/21/2017 12:24 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

And why would we want to keep the same contractors?

Maybe the two failed attempts (Constellation/SLS) are a message*...

* Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Falcon 1 and red Dragon
Just pointing out how idiotic you statement is.
Constellation/SLS issues are not contractor related

The issues with Constellation were with both the strategic and technical design.
The issues with SLS are basically limited to the strategic design.

No problems with the technical implementation?
Seems a 1970s-1980s technology rocket with proven engines, boosters, capsule form/function should be readily implemented by a competent contractor team -- that has been doing this since the 1960s... 
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #83 on: 07/21/2017 12:33 PM »
To FinalFrontiers question, could the same contractors be switched to the habitat, exploration ship, etc. and use Michoud as an assembly point, and thus keep the jobs in the states affected?  Then support of Congress easier to accomplish.

I know a lot of things wouldn't translate, but a lot of them could.

And why would we want to keep the same contractors?

Maybe the two failed attempts (Constellation/SLS) are a message*...

* Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Falcon 1 and red Dragon
Just pointing out how idiotic you statement is.
Constellation/SLS issues are not contractor related

The issues with Constellation were with both the strategic and technical design.
The issues with SLS are basically limited to the strategic design.

No problems with the technical implementation?
Seems a 1970s-1980s technology rocket with proven engines, boosters, capsule form/function should be readily implemented by a competent contractor team -- that has been doing this since the 1960s...

Just stop with the nonsense.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #84 on: 07/21/2017 01:31 PM »
spacetraveler: I'm forced to agree with Jim - they are not building a direct analogue for a 1960s, 1970s or '80s rocket with proven engines, boosters, capsule etc. If they were building the Side-Mount, closely Shuttle-derived vehicle and a spacecraft that closely resembled Apollo or Soyuz - then your contentions would hold more water. In fact; they are also not using exactly the same mix of personnel and facilities, with their old, inherent 'chemistry' and competency. Nor are they doing it with anything like a really generous and healthy development budget; where money is virtually no object and political support is solid.

Many of those old personnel and 'game players' were laid off or retired. The SLS/Orion effort, despite some surplus Shuttle engines and booster segments, and an Apollo shape is much closer to a clean-sheet design than some sort of 'resurrection'. And the path they are on is steadily proving to not be the optimal way to do things. Oh sure - if they throw enough money at the whole shebang; they might end up with something functional and useful, after a fashion. But in the end, all they may be doing is repeating all the virtues and flaws of Apollo and Shuttle - all rolled into one huge, chimaera package.

Heh - I know that Jim is a man of much fewer words than me. But I hope I just put across the same intent as he - just less bluntly...
« Last Edit: 07/21/2017 01:32 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline clongton

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Re: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission
« Reply #85 on: 07/25/2017 12:36 AM »
Lots of useful ideas but unfortunately none will ever see the light of day so long as NASA continues to be sole-funded by the Congress. NASA is not allowed to innovate in terms of what it does. Congress tells NASA what to work on and funds that and nothing else. And as I indicated up-thread the appropriations are done in such a way so as to benefit jobs back in the voting districts, not space programs. So far as the Congress is concerned NASA exists for the sole purpose of funneling money back home, not exploring space. That's why I no longer have any faith in NASA. It used to be great. Now it's just a Congressional pawn. If anything great actually happens it will be by coincidence.

The problem isn't NASA. It's the brain-dead Congress. And NASA has no options and no way out. It's a forever hostage. Very, very sad.
« Last Edit: 07/25/2017 12:38 AM by clongton »
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