Author Topic: NASA does not have the funds for a crewed Mars mission  (Read 13366 times)

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3409
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2169
  • Likes Given: 2675
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
  • Physics Professor in SC, USA
  • Liked: 399
  • Likes Given: 405
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1874
  • Liked: 47
  • Likes Given: 0
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1874
  • Liked: 47
  • Likes Given: 0
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.



Quote
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.

Quote
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?
Quote
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
  • Physics Professor in SC, USA
  • Liked: 399
  • Likes Given: 405
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. 
       
 
Quote
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.

Quote
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

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31279
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9562
  • Likes Given: 299
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
  • Physics Professor in SC, USA
  • Liked: 399
  • Likes Given: 405
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

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31279
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9562
  • Likes Given: 299
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

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7285
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
  • Liked: 2935
  • Likes Given: 870
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.

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3409
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2169
  • Likes Given: 2675
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.

Quote
Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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?

Offline AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4793
  • Liked: 2876
  • Likes Given: 4037
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.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31279
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9562
  • Likes Given: 299
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.

Offline okan170

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 991
  • Los Angeles
  • Liked: 5123
  • Likes Given: 1240
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
  • Physics Professor in SC, USA
  • Liked: 399
  • Likes Given: 405
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31279
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9562
  • Likes Given: 299
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

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31279
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9562
  • Likes Given: 299
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
  • Physics Professor in SC, USA
  • Liked: 399
  • Likes Given: 405
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."

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Online Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3409
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2169
  • Likes Given: 2675
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.

Quote
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1874
  • Liked: 47
  • Likes Given: 0
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.

Quote
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.

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

Quote
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!


Quote
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.

Quote
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1874
  • Liked: 47
  • Likes Given: 0
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.

Quote
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 »

Tags: