Author Topic: SLS EM-1 & -2 launch dates realign; EM-3 gains notional mission outline  (Read 12145 times)


Online IanThePineapple

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This is not looking good for SLS. It will obviously be delayed many more times since Dec. 2019 is a while away...
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Online Coastal Ron

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No dates known yet for EM-3, but Chris Gebhardt theorizes that if EM-2 is successful and the SLS is declared operational, that EM-3 would then follow within one year. Which would make sense given NASA's prior statements on maintaining a safe launch cadence of no-less-than one launch per year for the SLS once operational.

So that would put EM-3 out about June 2023.
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Online AncientU

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Two and a third years to the NET December 15, 2019 date.  Does anyone know the amount of schedule reserve that is set aside for this toughest of all phases? 
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Offline theonlyspace

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Seems a lot of problems with getting the first SLS  even built  and to pad all stems from workers' carelessness. Wonder how many more careless workers will mess up construction?
Meanwell thanks Chris for a very detailed and indepth put together  article on the SLS history and hopefully three future  flights.
« Last Edit: 09/22/2017 09:22 PM by theonlyspace »

Offline okan170

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Thanks for the great article!  Its a pity the usual crowd is ready to attack the program over every little thing every time its so much as mentioned!   ::)

Offline Rebel44

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Thanks for the great article!  Its a pity the usual crowd is ready to attack the program over every little thing every time its so much as mentioned!   ::)

If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...

Offline Endeavour_01

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Another wonderful fact-filled NSF article. Good job Chris G.  :)

Really glad to hear about the plans for the EM-3 flight. Getting the DSG up and running while ISS is still operational would be amazing. I guess the current plan is for Europa Clipper to launch after EM-3 in the 2024 time frame?

This is not looking good for SLS.

I'll let Chris G. answer this for me.

Quote
The first flight of any new rocket is bound to encounter design and initial production delays.

Edited to add:

If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...

You mean the money that would then leave the space program budget if SLS/Orion weren't around and be spent on goodness knows what?  ;)
« Last Edit: 09/22/2017 09:51 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.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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No dates known yet for EM-3, but Chris Gebhardt theorizes that if EM-2 is successful and the SLS is declared operational, that EM-3 would then follow within one year. Which would make sense given NASA's prior statements on maintaining a safe launch cadence of no-less-than one launch per year for the SLS once operational.

So that would put EM-3 out about June 2023.

September 2017 to June 2023 is less than 6 years to build the habitation module. The RFI (Request for Information) has not been issued yet so the contractors may only have 4 years to build it. Fortunately NextSTEP-2 is performing risk reduction on prototype habitats.
https://www.nasa.gov/nextstep
« Last Edit: 09/22/2017 09:52 PM by A_M_Swallow »

Offline DreamyPickle

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EM-1 now targeting No Earlier Than 15 December 2019

Wasn't it last supposed to fly in "late 2018"? The additional delay is 1 year, this is quite a lot.

Offline Endeavour_01

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EM-1 now targeting No Earlier Than 15 December 2019

Wasn't it last supposed to fly in "late 2018"? The additional delay is 1 year, this is quite a lot.

True, but it isn't really a surprise given the issues Chris. G mentions in the article as well as the tornado that hit Michoud in February.
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 PahTo

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Nice article summarizing everything about the program as it stands--thanks ChrisG and NSF.  I sure hope we see more than EM-1 if even that, but at least metal is being bent and plans laid.  I do like the idea of NRHO...

Online meberbs

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Thanks for the great article!  Its a pity the usual crowd is ready to attack the program over every little thing every time its so much as mentioned!   ::)
What attacks? Are you referring to a different thread?

So far there has been a comment about expecting more delays (which is reasonable given that there are still more than 2 years to go), and a question about schedule margin. Since the article includes announcement of a delay, the potential for more delays is an expected topic of conversation.

The closest thing to an attack before your post is the post about problems being due to worker carelessness, and that post includes the phrase "and hopefully three future  flights," so it is hard to classify it as an attack. (the number 3 is clearly based on what the article covers, not how many times it will fly in total)

Of course after your post someone responded to you by bringing up the cost of the SLS. If your goal was to incite an argument about the worth of the SLS when people have just been discussing the new schedule the article was about, then good job.

My opinion on SLS has been stated elsewhere. The only thing relevant for me to mention here is that this delay is more evidence for my opinion that they should have dropped Block 1A entirely at the same time they decided to put EM-2 on Block 1B, and even now it seems to me that would be the better course of action.

Online yokem55

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Are there any details on what the current slip rate is? Is it better then 1:1?  It doesn't feel that it is, and thus is likely a source of a lot of the frustration here.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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EM-1 now targeting No Earlier Than 15 December 2019

Wasn't it last supposed to fly in "late 2018"? The additional delay is 1 year, this is quite a lot.

No.  As the article states, after the LH2 tank issues, NASA announced back in May that EM-1 was slipping to "sometime in 2019."

This is the first concrete date in 2019 that's been released.  So this is the full impact of "the slip to 2019" as announced earlier this year.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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I guess the current plan is for Europa Clipper to launch after EM-3 in the 2024 time frame?


Right now, Europa Clipper is still "around 2022".  Given its need to test the EUS ahead of putting a crew atop the SLS Block 1B, I wouldn't personally venture yet that it's slipping past EMs -2 and -3.  However, that said, this is all fluid.

Offline envy887

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EM-1 now targeting No Earlier Than 15 December 2019

Wasn't it last supposed to fly in "late 2018"? The additional delay is 1 year, this is quite a lot.

No.  As the article states, after the LH2 tank issues, NASA announced back in May that EM-1 was slipping to "sometime in 2019."

This is the first concrete date in 2019 that's been released.  So this is the full impact of "the slip to 2019" as announced earlier this year.

We knew it was slipping to 2019, but not when in 2019. This is... rather late into the year.

Offline ChrisGebhardt

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Quote
EM-1 now targeting No Earlier Than 15 December 2019

Wasn't it last supposed to fly in "late 2018"? The additional delay is 1 year, this is quite a lot.

No.  As the article states, after the LH2 tank issues, NASA announced back in May that EM-1 was slipping to "sometime in 2019."

This is the first concrete date in 2019 that's been released.  So this is the full impact of "the slip to 2019" as announced earlier this year.

We knew it was slipping to 2019, but not when in 2019. This is... rather late into the year.

From our article in May about the slip to 2019:

"While GSDO and the Orion/EMS issues have a good chance of being resolved in time for the newly realigned Q4 2019 launch target, the Core Stage might be a different story."

This was always late 2019.  No we have a first target date.

EDIT:  My fault for not including the "Q4 2019" reference again in today's article.  I've updated the article accordingly.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 12:04 AM by ChrisGebhardt »

Online AncientU

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Quote
EM-1 now targeting No Earlier Than 15 December 2019

Wasn't it last supposed to fly in "late 2018"? The additional delay is 1 year, this is quite a lot.

True, but it isn't really a surprise given the issues Chris. G mentions in the article as well as the tornado that hit Michoud in February.

Sure getting a lot of mileage out of that tornado...
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Online UltraViolet9

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Are there any details on what the current slip rate is? Is it better then 1:1?

According to the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, SLS and CEV (now Orion) were supposed to be capable of supporting human missions beyond LEO by 2016.  The Act was signed in October 2010, or 6 years and 2 months before the end of CY 2016.

Orion will be capable of supporting crew on EM-2, fulfilling the Act in June 2022 according to Chris's article if everything stays on track.  That's 4 years and 9 months from now.

So viewed glass half-full, the schedule for SLS and Orion is definitely not slipping month-for-month.

But viewed glass half-empty, over the past 6 years and 11 months since the 2010 NASA Authorization Act was enacted, the schedule for SLS and Orion has only made 2 years and 7 months worth of progress.

There are lots of different reasons (and potential finger-pointing) for these schedule figures, but those are the numbers.

Although a full discussion is best handled on the space policy board, it's also worth noting how these milestones line up with elections and incoming/outgoing Administrations.  EM-1 is now 10 months from slipping past the next Presidential election, and SLS/Orion will not launch its first crew until well into the second-term of the current Administration (or well into the first-term of the next Administration).  Congress will have at least one more election before EM-1 and at least two more elections (and be on the verge of a third) before EM-2.  Senator Shelby will be at least 85 when EM-1 launches and at least 88 when EM-2 launches.

FWIW... YMMV.


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