Author Topic: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?  (Read 12375 times)

Offline meberbs

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #40 on: 08/09/2017 11:16 PM »
One think that might change my mind is if they replace the solids with reusable kerolox boosters.  Have them land back at the cape to refuel and fly again.  Also, if they use a shorter reusable kerolox core, and add a second stage.  I believe costs would come down with a mostly reusable boosters and core.  Payloads would go up at the same time.  Existing rocket is an expensive kludge with todays technology. 

So would be the vehicle you describe

Theoretically, reusable rockets are cheaper if they fly often, but SLS will only fly once or twice a year. A reusable version of SLS would be more expensive to develop than the current design and would never fly enough to justify the cost.

#1 on my list of what it would take for me to support SLS would be for it to actually be designed for a reasonable flight rate. It is currently working on adding more evidence to the pile that a low flight rate will lead to a horrendously expensive rocket.

That said, I wouldn't actually advocate for cancelling it for another couple years, when Vulcan/New Glenn/mini-ITS are far enough along to have more confidence in them actually flying. This is not me supporting SLS, but acknowledging that my expectations about these rockets could be wrong so I can understand why some support SLS for now.

I would also like to see them skip to Block 1B for EM-1. Even with what has already been done, this seems like it would still likely be a cheaper and faster method of getting SLS running, though really it should have been done when they first decided not to do EM-2 on Block 1. As a bonus, the delay would mean it wouldn't fly before we get to the point where I expect the commercial capabilities to be far enough along, which would hopefully make cancellation easier.
« Last Edit: 08/09/2017 11:17 PM by meberbs »

Offline muomega0

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #41 on: 08/09/2017 11:19 PM »
Simply stated: its total costs are less over two decades than the alternatives and, per the original shuttle design goal, a focus on reuse.

Faget: We really need to get behind a really sensible first stage that's completely reusable and piggyback off of that event [till] you get the capability to have a two-stage reusable vehicle.

Slade: That you could reuse over and over again and get it back.

IOW:  It is not, and always was not, *practical* to continue shuttle derived since its 2000s cancellation.

Online brickmack

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #42 on: 08/10/2017 09:31 PM »
This big issue for me is the achievable flight rate. Right now, even with infinite money, SLS can't be flown more than twice a year, 4 times total before 2027, and with a ~3 year gap between EM-1 and 2. You simply can't do a worthwhile program at that flightrate without major support from other LVs, and at that point why bother with SLS? And the 2 big issues causing that are the upper stage size change, and the expendable RS-25s which take forever to build. Cut the engine section off the aft end of the core stage, stick a heat shield in between, parachute it back down like the sidemount HLV or pre-merger Boeing EELV concepts. Side benefit, you save ~200-300 million dollars in hardware costs per flight, not bad there either. And either keep the iCPS, or use an upgrade path that doesn't change its external interfaces (ACES is about the same size I'd note, and should give a decent performance boost, though not as huge as EUS), or cancel iCPS entirely and start converting the ML for EUS now.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #43 on: 08/11/2017 12:49 AM »
This big issue for me is the achievable flight rate. Right now, even with infinite money, SLS can't be flown more than twice a year, 4 times total before 2027, and with a ~3 year gap between EM-1 and 2. You simply can't do a worthwhile program at that flightrate without major support from other LVs, and at that point why bother with SLS?
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.  SLS will be a super-heavy-hauler, each launch flinging a serious load beyond LEO (seven Falcon Heavies-worth).  A good program could be designed around this low flight rate which, as I understand things, will likely settle at 1-2 per year.  Saturn V only flew once or twice per year, with the exception of 1969.  There are active launch vehicle families even today that fly only once or twice per year. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 12:56 AM by edkyle99 »

Online brickmack

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #44 on: 08/11/2017 02:10 AM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.  SLS will be a super-heavy-hauler, each launch flinging a serious load beyond LEO (seven Falcon Heavies-worth).  A good program could be designed around this low flight rate which, as I understand things, will likely settle at 1-2 per year.  Saturn V only flew once or twice per year, with the exception of 1969.  There are active launch vehicle families even today that fly only once or twice per year.

No idea where you got 7 FHs worth. FH expendable can send ~19 tons to TLI, block 2 can do a little over 2 FH equivalent missions. And since almost all of those are comanifested with Orions (and at this flight rate, cargo-only missions aren't an attractive option since thats a year without a crew mission, unless you use Dragon or something, and then why have Orion at all?), you can't actually do much. 6-10 tons to high cislunar orbit, thats not very much to work with (single ISS logistics flights require more total mass). You can't build a useful station that way without on-orbit outfitting, you can't bring a lunar lander. Saturn V was big enough (and the Apollo CSM was properly sized to support, unlike Orion) to do a single-launch lunar landing, and that was all it needed to do.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #45 on: 08/11/2017 03:28 AM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.  SLS will be a super-heavy-hauler, each launch flinging a serious load beyond LEO (seven Falcon Heavies-worth).  A good program could be designed around this low flight rate which, as I understand things, will likely settle at 1-2 per year.  Saturn V only flew once or twice per year, with the exception of 1969.  There are active launch vehicle families even today that fly only once or twice per year.

No idea where you got 7 FHs worth.
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43073.msg1690830#msg1690830

SpaceX isn't planning to expend Falcon Heavy cores as a standard operation.  If it is, then why all the talk about how Falcon is better than, say, Vulcan because it "recoverable"?

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 03:29 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline tdperk

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #46 on: 08/11/2017 01:27 PM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.

10 FH launches in a year lift about 540 tons to LEO for at most $1.5bn in price (at the outside) for what I believe Musk said was $1bn in R&D cost.

SLS has far higher R&D cost and for $1.5bn in a year lifts only 120 tons when available in block 2, which it isn't yet.  The R&D and per year and per vehicle cost of SLS is so high there is very little left over for hardware for it to lift.

The "lots of launches" means there can be money for hardware.

Offline tdperk

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #47 on: 08/11/2017 01:32 PM »
This reminds me of a Facebook argument a college buddy and I had over the Ares I and Ares V cancellations. He convinced me that it doesn't matter what vehicle is used, I (like most here) care about the destination.

Going beyond LEO interests me. SLS making that possible interests me. So, no change of mind.

SLS makes it impossible, because cost.

A heavy lift vehicle which is close enough to refuel to reuse makes it not merely possible, but plausible, at a cost less than $1000/lb to LEO.  For now that's the FH.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #48 on: 08/11/2017 01:44 PM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.

10 FH launches in a year lift about 540 tons to LEO for at most $1.5bn in price (at the outside) for what I believe Musk said was $1bn in R&D cost.
LEO is not the destination.  You are projecting an expendable Falcon Heavy here, which means expending 30 core stages. 

It cost $1 billion just to develop Falcon 9 first stage recovery, according to Mr. Musk.  I can only image what Falcon Heavy is costing, with its many-year delays and completely re-engineered core stage, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline tdperk

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #49 on: 08/11/2017 02:19 PM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.

10 FH launches in a year lift about 540 tons to LEO for at most $1.5bn in price (at the outside) for what I believe Musk said was $1bn in R&D cost.
LEO is not the destination.  You are projecting an expendable Falcon Heavy here, which means expending 30 core stages. 

It cost $1 billion just to develop Falcon 9 first stage recovery, according to Mr. Musk.  I can only image what Falcon Heavy is costing, with its many-year delays and completely re-engineered core stage, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle

No.  10 launches in one year will expend the lifecycle as currently anticipated in none year, but the FH expendable capacity is 70+ tons to LEO.  50 tons or so is a recoverable launch profile.

There is no reason to think the development cost is higher than the 1 billion Musk spoke of, yu can imagine whatever BS you like.

LEO is the destination from which any other system can continue from with no notable penalty.

Offline Ictogan

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #50 on: 08/11/2017 02:55 PM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.

10 FH launches in a year lift about 540 tons to LEO for at most $1.5bn in price (at the outside) for what I believe Musk said was $1bn in R&D cost.
LEO is not the destination.  You are projecting an expendable Falcon Heavy here, which means expending 30 core stages. 

It cost $1 billion just to develop Falcon 9 first stage recovery, according to Mr. Musk.  I can only image what Falcon Heavy is costing, with its many-year delays and completely re-engineered core stage, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle

No.  10 launches in one year will expend the lifecycle as currently anticipated in none year, but the FH expendable capacity is 70+ tons to LEO.  50 tons or so is a recoverable launch profile.

There is no reason to think the development cost is higher than the 1 billion Musk spoke of, yu can imagine whatever BS you like.

LEO is the destination from which any other system can continue from with no notable penalty.
Do you have any source on those numbers? Because SpaceX sure doesn't claim FH's capability to be 70+ tons. http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

Offline tdperk

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #51 on: 08/11/2017 03:05 PM »
 
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.

10 FH launches in a year lift about 540 tons to LEO for at most $1.5bn in price (at the outside) for what I believe Musk said was $1bn in R&D cost.
LEO is not the destination.  You are projecting an expendable Falcon Heavy here, which means expending 30 core stages. 

It cost $1 billion just to develop Falcon 9 first stage recovery, according to Mr. Musk.  I can only image what Falcon Heavy is costing, with its many-year delays and completely re-engineered core stage, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle

No.  10 launches in one year will expend the lifecycle as currently anticipated in none year, but the FH expendable capacity is 70+ tons to LEO.  50 tons or so is a recoverable launch profile.

There is no reason to think the development cost is higher than the 1 billion Musk spoke of, yu can imagine whatever BS you like.

LEO is the destination from which any other system can continue from with no notable penalty.
Do you have any source on those numbers? Because SpaceX sure doesn't claim FH's capability to be 70+ tons. http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

SpaceX says the FH capacity to LEO expendable is 140660 pounds.  I'm quoting them.  That is 70+ tons.

http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

I do not believe this includes all Block5 payload enhancements, so I believe that figure will grow at least a little.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 03:08 PM by tdperk »

Offline Ictogan

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #52 on: 08/11/2017 03:13 PM »
SpaceX says the FH capacity to LEO expendable is 140660 pounds.  I'm quoting them.  That is 70+ tons.

http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

I do not believe this includes all Block5 payload enhancements, so I believe that figure will grow at least a little.
http://www.rapidtables.com/convert/weight/pound-to-ton.htm
Please enter 140660 into this.

Edit: kinda forgot that short tons exist, sorry. But unlike metric tons I have never seen them used in a spaceflight context.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 04:02 PM by Ictogan »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #53 on: 08/11/2017 03:50 PM »
SpaceX says the FH capacity to LEO expendable is 140660 pounds.  I'm quoting them.  That is 70+ tons.

This is seriously OT, but I wanted to try to suggest some consistency when talking about capabilities.

I think it's safe to say that most people know that to figure out "tons" (aka "short ton") you just divide "pounds" by 2,000. But in general when people in space related topics talk "tons", they are meaning "metric tonnes", which is equal to 2,204.6 pounds.

Why convert everything to metric? Because the U.S. is not the only nation in space, so it's less confusing to just convert everything into metric. So for Falcon Heavy the 140,660 pounds to LEO becomes 63.8 metric tonnes. Saying "70+ tons" is just adding a layer of confusion.

As a note, the Senate was not very clear on the definition of "ton" when they legislated the requirements for the SLS, so that meant NASA had to interpret the technical specifications for Congress.

Quote
I do not believe this includes all Block5 payload enhancements, so I believe that figure will grow at least a little.

Maybe, maybe not. SpaceX has tended to under-state capabilities while over-stating when they would be available. However since there are no customers demanding more than what current commercial launchers can loft to space, any additional capabilities SpaceX adds to Falcon Heavy will be of interest, but likely not of use for anyone in the near term. Just bragging rights.

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 Rocket Science

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #54 on: 08/11/2017 04:04 PM »
If the Congress wanted it in SI standard they should write it as tonne... Just sayin'...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline edkyle99

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #55 on: 08/11/2017 04:11 PM »
SpaceX says the FH capacity to LEO expendable is 140660 pounds.  I'm quoting them.  That is 70+ tons.
This is seriously OT, but I wanted to try to suggest some consistency when talking about capabilities.
Agreed on the metric tons standard.  Also, I would like to suggest that when talking about SLS we compare the real payload numbers, which are NOT to LEO, as we discussed here:   https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43073.msg1690830#msg1690830 


==============================================================
Vehicle          1st Flt   TransLunar   TransMars      GTO   
==============================================================
Falcon 9 Blk 5     2017?    ~3,000 kg?   ~2,500 kg?   5,500 kg
Falcon 9 Blk 5-X   2017?    ~5,500 kg     4,020 kg    8,300 kg
Falcon Heavy       2018?    ~5,500 kg    ~4,900 kg    8,000 kg
Falcon Heavy-X     2018?   ~20,500 kg    16,800 kg   26,700 kg
SLS Blk 1          2019?    24,500 kg    19,500 kg      N/A
Vulcan Centaur 56x 2019?    ~8,300 kg    ~6,200 kg   10,200 kg
New Glenn 2 Stg    2020?    ~7,500 kg?   ~3,000 kg?  13,000 kg
NGL-5xx            2021?    ~6,000 kg    ~4,700 kg    8,500 kg
SLS Blk 1B         2021?    39,000 kg    32,000 kg      N/A
Vulcan ACES 56x    2023?    14,000 kg    10,500 kg   17,200 kg
NGL-5xx-XL         2023?   ~10,300 kg    ~8,200 kg?  14,700 kg
New Glenn 3 Stg    2025?   ~25,000 kg?  ~20,000 kg? ~30,000 kg?
SLS Blk 2          2028?   >45,000 kg   >37,600 kg      N/A
==============================================================
"X" Denotes Expendable Version

Updated 06-16-17



 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 04:12 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline tdperk

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #56 on: 08/11/2017 04:25 PM »
I would like to point out that comparing the SLS BLock 2 to payload to LEO in short tons to the FH makes then this a comparison for like per $1.5bn year cost of 130+ to 500+ tons.

And yes, payload to LEO is the proper comparison, because most payloads go there, and all can be designed to depart from there to any destination with no relevant* loss in mission capabilities.

*I suppose it is reasonable to presume employing LEO orbital docking might cost 2 to 5% of the mass of an other wise unitary structure if launched by 1 SLS at max capacity.  So three reusable FH launches gets 150 tons into LEO, and 7.5 tons of that are lost to the capability to dock in LEO and depart from there.  At most this costs $750mn for the launches.  At most.  For 142.5 tons towards the mission goals, all launches completed within 4 months.

The SLS at a cost of at least $1.5bn only puts 120tons towards the mission  These costs presume 1bn year in fixed SLS costs and $500mn per launch.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 05:07 PM by tdperk »

Offline Hauerg

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #57 on: 08/11/2017 04:38 PM »
1. see it fly
2. a few times, that is
3. see PRODUCTION run of NEW RS25
4. see the budget for real SLS class payloads.
5. there is no 5

Online mike robel

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #58 on: 08/11/2017 04:46 PM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.

10 FH launches in a year lift about 540 tons to LEO for at most $1.5bn in price (at the outside) for what I believe Musk said was $1bn in R&D cost.

SLS has far higher R&D cost and for $1.5bn in a year lifts only 120 tons when available in block 2, which it isn't yet.  The R&D and per year and per vehicle cost of SLS is so high there is very little left over for hardware for it to lift.

The "lots of launches" means there can be money for hardware.

I note you append "not yet" to the description of the SLS but do not do so for the FH, which is also in the category of "not yet" although it is closer to flight.  Even Musk semi-expects it to blow up, hopefully far enough away form 39 so as not to damage it.  If it does, then "not yet" will be "a while longer".

Offline tdperk

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Re: What would it take to change your mind on SLS/Orion?
« Reply #59 on: 08/11/2017 04:49 PM »
I don't understand this desire for lots of launches.

10 FH launches in a year lift about 540 tons to LEO for at most $1.5bn in price (at the outside) for what I believe Musk said was $1bn in R&D cost.

SLS has far higher R&D cost and for $1.5bn in a year lifts only 120 tons when available in block 2, which it isn't yet.  The R&D and per year and per vehicle cost of SLS is so high there is very little left over for hardware for it to lift.

The "lots of launches" means there can be money for hardware.

I note you append "not yet" to the description of the SLS but do not do so for the FH, which is also in the category of "not yet" although it is closer to flight.  Even Musk semi-expects it to blow up, hopefully far enough away form 39 so as not to damage it.  If it does, then "not yet" will be "a while longer".

I know the FH will fly.  Even if it blows up there is no reason to doubt it will fly successfully by mid-year next--SpaceX has no history of uselessly long waits to RTF from losses.

There is good reason to doubt the SLS will fly even once--we are one likely economic downturn away from the useless cost of it being seen as unendurable.

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