Author Topic: SLS EM-1 & -2 launch dates realign; EM-3 gains notional mission outline  (Read 11894 times)


Offline 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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Offline 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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Offline 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!   ::)

Online 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.

Online 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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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.
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...

Offline 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.

Offline 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.

Online 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 »

Offline 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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Offline 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.


Offline 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.

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.

Typically, dates on NASA milestone schedules that are listed as TBR -- to be reviewed -- are dates that are slipping later, but not known yet how much later.  Delivery of the core stage to KSC is listed in your article as June 2019, but TBR.  Both this in-question date and the NET end of the year make the schedule look like it was politically necessary to say '2019' instead of 2020.

One critical item is the amount of schedule reserve that is available to hold the line on December 15, 2019.  Was that number tossed around in your discussions at MAF or elsewhere?  Seems that it should be six months based on difficulty of this phase and track record to date... if end of 2019 is to be believed.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 12:06 PM by AncientU »
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Offline Paul Smith

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Great article and let's not miss the fact their have REDUCED the gap between EM-1 and EM-2. No small feat with the first crewed launch and EUS.

Offline CitabriaFlyer

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This was a great article and I appreciate the update.

SLS can potentially let us do some worthwhile things in the 2020s (Europa Clipper and lunar gateway) that cannot be done otherwise in that time frame.  I am the biggest SpaceX fan there is but that does not mean I do not want SLS to succeed.  In fact establishing an outpost around the moon with SLS provides one more market for space transportation companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin to serve. 

I think SLS is ultimately a costly dead end; however, it may prove to be a critical bridge until we get what we really need to open the space frontier - reusable super heavy lift.

As for delays shuttle was supposed to fly in 1977.  Launched in 1981 and did not approach an operational cadence until 1984-85.  ISS was announced in 1984 and supposed to fly in 1994 but did not fly with crew until 2000.  Building these complex systems is not easy.

Offline AncientU

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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!   ::)

It is disingenuous for someone as creative as you, Nathan, to dismiss this slip as 'every little thing.'
Is there nothing that wouldn't get your full acceptance in this program?

'The usual crowd' as you call us* was apparently on the money all this time while Bolden et al continued to chant 2018 and #JourneytoMars -- both are now in the dust bin.

* I am a proud member of this group because I believe an organization as well staffed with professionals as is NASA should have its programs evaluated on their merit, not on their political backing.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 12:35 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Hauerg

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If they continue at that pace they might as well plan a rendezvous with mini ITS for their first mission.

Offline Proponent

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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.

Regarding SLS, paragraph 302(c)(2) of the Act states
Quote
The Space Launch System shall be designed from inception as a fully-integrated vehicle capable of carrying a total payload of 130 tons or more into low-Earth orbit in preparation for transit for missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The Space Launch System shall, to the extent practicable, incorporate capabilities for evolutionary growth to carry heavier payloads. Developmental work and testing of the core elements and the upper stage should proceed in parallel subject to appropriations. Priority should be placed on the core elements with the goal for operational capability for the core elements not later than December 31, 2016.

As to Orion, paragraph 303(a)(2) stipulates
Quote
It shall be the goal to achieve full operational capability for the transportation vehicle developed pursuant to this subsection by not later than December 31, 2016. For purposes of meeting such goal, the Administrator may undertake a test of the transportation vehicle at the ISS before that date.

Hence, my read is that Orion/SLS is (or rather, was) supposed to be operational only to LEO by the end of 2016.

Offline edkyle99

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

 - Ed Kyle   

Offline redliox

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Great article and let's not miss the fact their have REDUCED the gap between EM-1 and EM-2. No small feat with the first crewed launch and EUS.
This was a great article and I appreciate the update.

SLS can potentially let us do some worthwhile things in the 2020s (Europa Clipper and lunar gateway) that cannot be done otherwise in that time frame.

It is nice to hear about the details of the first 3 Orion missions coming to fruition, but I'm frankly more interested in Europa Clipper and the EUS' debut.  Is it still going to happen between the EM-1 and EM-2?
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Offline Rocket Science

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Thanks for the great update Chris G and to Nathan for the "eye candy"! :)
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Offline Endeavour_01

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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...

I think these are the kinds of comments Nathan is talking about. Of course they should "get a lot of mileage" out of this. A flipping tornado hit the main production facility. If a tornado or earthquake seriously damaged Hawthorne or Decatur I would be more than understanding if their schedule slipped.

Thank goodness SpaceX has access to 39A since LC-40 has been offline for over a year after Amos 6. If LC-40 had been their only East Coast pad the launch schedule would have suffered much more. I hate delays as much as the next guy but the vast majority of the workers at NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Blue Origin, etc. are doing good work on a very hard job. Let's try to cut them some slack.

Also as I stated in my comment the tornado is not responsible for the whole delay. Unfortunate accidents and mishaps have played a large part in the delays we are seeing. At least NASA has a plan to deal with them and get SLS back on track.

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!   ::)

It is disingenuous for someone as creative as you, Nathan, to dismiss this slip as 'every little thing.'
Is there nothing that wouldn't get your full acceptance in this program?

Is there nothing that would even get tacit acceptance from you? I am convinced that even if we landed humans on Mars using only SLS/Orion (+ hab and lander) the anti-SLS/Orion crowd would say it wasn't worth it and it could have been done better using x,y, and z. I believe the phrase, "Perfect is the enemy of good enough" comes into play here.

Quote
'The usual crowd' as you call us* was apparently on the money all this time while Bolden et al continued to chant 2018 and #JourneytoMars -- both are now in the dust bin.

I don't think anyone, including SLS fans like myself, took #JourneytoMars seriously*. There was no serious mandate from the administration to do much of anything BEO. That might be changing with DSG and the new NASA leadership.

As for the date I admit to being overly optimistic. I also predicted that Falcon Heavy would fly last year so my optimism isn't limited to SLS.  :) 

Quote
* I am a proud member of this group because I believe an organization as well staffed with professionals as is NASA should have its programs evaluated on their merit, not on their political backing.

In a perfect world that would be the case, but this is not a perfect world. NASA is funded by the federal government so politics will always play some role. Personally I believe SLS/Orion have merit as well as political support.

As for "being a proud member of this group" I am a proud member of the "all of the above" group. Sometimes it seems that some people would rather be "right" than see humans explore BLEO.

*Note that there have been some great Mars mission ideas from JPL and others under the "Journey to Mars" umbrella. What was not taken seriously was the administration's desire to implement these mission plans.
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 ChrisWilson68

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

I think these are the kinds of comments Nathan is talking about. Of course they should "get a lot of mileage" out of this. A flipping tornado hit the main production facility. If a tornado or earthquake seriously damaged Hawthorne or Decatur I would be more than understanding if their schedule slipped.

The facility is huge and tornados cause very localized damage.  Obviously, the whole facility wasn't wiped out.  It's legitimate to question how much of an impact it actually had.  Being righteously indignant when someone questions that is not helpful.  It doesn't make you look reasonable.

How about countering with specific information on exactly what was damaged and how exactly that affected the SLS program?  Then we can debate what a reasonable schedule impact from that could be.

Online ChrisWilson68

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

$1.5 to $2.0 billion a year to provide nothing that is actually needed that couldn't have been done much more cheaply in other ways is no bargain.

Offline Endeavour_01

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How about countering with specific information on exactly what was damaged and how exactly that affected the SLS program?  Then we can debate what a reasonable schedule impact from that could be.

Here is some information on specific damage.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/05/maf-push-sls-full-thrust/

From what I can recall it was stated at that NAC meeting that the tornado caused at least a couple of months of schedule disruption.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 04:38 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 Endeavour_01

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$1.5 to $2.0 billion a year to provide nothing that is actually needed that couldn't have been done much more cheaply in other ways is no bargain.

I guess ISS hasn't been worth it then since it could have been assembled more cheaply some other way.
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 meberbs

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

 - Ed Kyle   
I tried to point out that this shouldn't be the thread to argue such things, but it seems that ship has sailed.

STS flew 135 times in 30 years. 4.5 times per year. SLS can at most fly twice per year. How is nearly half the cost for clearly less than half the flight rate a "bargain"? (Yes you could add in other factors, like mass, destination, etc, but then to do a fair comparison, you would have to look at things that have somewhat comparable capabilities, like New Glenn, ITSy, or Saturn V.) Point is your way of stating the "bargain" is incredibly misleading.

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!   ::)

It is disingenuous for someone as creative as you, Nathan, to dismiss this slip as 'every little thing.'
Is there nothing that wouldn't get your full acceptance in this program?

Is there nothing that would even get tacit acceptance from you?
There is already a thread that asks that exact question (in both directions). It is in space policy, so I think that is a sign here is the wrong place for this discussion.

Offline Endeavour_01

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There is already a thread that asks that exact question (in both directions). It is in space policy, so I think that is a sign here is the wrong place for this discussion.

Agreed.
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 edkyle99

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

$1.5 to $2.0 billion a year to provide nothing that is actually needed that couldn't have been done much more cheaply in other ways is no bargain.

One SLS Block 1B launch is the equivalent of 13 Falcon 9 launches (recoverable first stage mode) in deep space capability.  That is $800 million plus right there just for the launches, assuming the number on the SpaceX web site holds.  To that, add the payloads, which would likely cost at least as much, and the complexity, which would have its own cost.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline okan170

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I think these are the kinds of comments Nathan is talking about. Of course they should "get a lot of mileage" out of this. A flipping tornado hit the main production facility. If a tornado or earthquake seriously damaged Hawthorne or Decatur I would be more than understanding if their schedule slipped.

...

"Perfect is the enemy of good enough"

Yes this is what I'm referring to.  Continuing to attack a program well beyond the point of doing more damage than good.  Its going to be a rocket we have- we can always do better, but for the amount of international interest in DSG, institutional support for SLS and Orion- we should make the best of it.

As for my full support of the program- its the funded NASA HSF program of record right now.  Its miles away better than what we had for that purpose and as a proponent of BEO spaceflight I think it will allow us to set a baseline that we can build on for the future.

As far as I'm concerned, everything else is gravy.  We can work to build off each other's work and reach out into the solar system, or we can work against each other and wind up right back where we started- arguing about the future while stuck in LEO. 

I won't mention this any more in this thread.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 07:53 PM by okan170 »

Offline jabe

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One SLS Block 1B launch is the equivalent of 13 Falcon 9 launches (recoverable first stage mode) in deep space capability.  That is $800 million plus right there just for the launches, assuming the number on the SpaceX web site holds.  To that, add the payloads, which would likely cost at least as much, and the complexity, which would have its own cost.

 - Ed Kyle
If FH works that # should change a lot!  SLS gets a boost of it fails..so lots riding on FH.
jb

Offline Star One

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In response to this article is this tweet.

Quote
Jeff Foust @jeff_foust
NASA HQ public affairs says they’ll have an official update to the planned EM-1 launch date next month.

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/911362477354450944
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 08:07 PM by Star One »

Offline Lars-J

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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?  ;)

Stop spreading that FUD. A glance at the NASA budget for the last few decades proves that this is wrong. Programs come and go, yet the budget remains remarkably steady. So if anything any money released would with a very high degree of likelihood be spent on other space projects. If this other spending would be worse or better, who knows...
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 10:45 PM by Lars-J »

Offline Endeavour_01

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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?  ;)

Stop spreading that FUD. A glance at the NASA budget for the last few decades proves that this is wrong. Programs come and go, yet the budget remains remarkably steady. So if anything any money released would with a very high degree of likelihood be spent on other space projects. If this other spending would be worse or better, who knows...

Actually if you look at the NASA budget the agency has lost around $6 Billion (2014 dollars) since 1991. Major human spaceflight programs like the space shuttle and Constellation may come and go but they are replaced with programs like SLS/Orion. Just look at what happened in 2010. There is no guarantee that if SLS/Orion were canceled their funds would go to your preferred space project. That isn't "fear mongering." That's a fact.
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 okan170

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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?  ;)

Stop spreading that FUD. A glance at the NASA budget for the last few decades proves that this is wrong. Programs come and go, yet the budget remains remarkably steady. So if anything any money released would with a very high degree of likelihood be spent on other space projects. If this other spending would be worse or better, who knows...

Actually if you look at the NASA budget the agency has lost around $6 Billion (2014 dollars) since 1991. Major human spaceflight programs like the space shuttle and Constellation may come and go but they are replaced with programs like SLS/Orion. Just look at what happened in 2010. There is no guarantee that if SLS/Orion were canceled their funds would go to your preferred space project. That isn't "fear mongering." That's a fact.

Redirecting it would also require convincing almost all of congress to vote for spending elsewhere which would be a very... interesting challenge.  Oh and closeout costs as well.
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 11:42 PM by okan170 »

Offline Khadgars

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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?  ;)

Stop spreading that FUD. A glance at the NASA budget for the last few decades proves that this is wrong. Programs come and go, yet the budget remains remarkably steady. So if anything any money released would with a very high degree of likelihood be spent on other space projects. If this other spending would be worse or better, who knows...

Offline Khadgars

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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!   ::)

Couldn't agree more.  I'm fine with discourse, but its been ridiculous now for years.

Offline DreamyPickle

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One SLS Block 1B launch is the equivalent of 13 Falcon 9 launches (recoverable first stage mode) in deep space capability.  That is $800 million plus right there just for the launches, assuming the number on the SpaceX web site holds.  To that, add the payloads, which would likely cost at least as much, and the complexity, which would have its own cost.

Exploration architectures using Falcon or other vehicles are arguably off-topic but you can definitely do better than claim 1 SLS = 13 Falcon.

First of all if you do orbital assembly it makes sense to place the payload LEO and then use space tugs. The DSG propulsion element could be adapted to ferry modules from LEO to NRHO and this would take advantage of the Falcon 9's ~20 tons to LEO. But really it's the Falcon Heavy that should be considered instead because it will fly several times before SLS EM-1. The New Glenn might also become available before SLS 1B.

Looking at the current schedule for SLS the missions don't even take full advantage of it's capability. Instead you see flights that consist of Orion paired up with a very small (<10 tons) DSG module. You could do better using 2x Falcon Heavy or New Glenn flights.

The fact that NASA is planning to do "space construction" similar to the Shuttle program is absolutely insane. If you look at Russian station modules they were launched unmanned and either used a modified Progress or had their own propulsion for docking. This is much better because it uses the full capacity of the launcher. SLS should do more cargo missions!

Offline UltraViolet9

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Hence, my read is that Orion/SLS is (or rather, was) supposed to be operational only to LEO by the end of 2016.

Point taken. 

But whether to LEO or BEO, Orion cannot support a crew until EM-2. 

And since Orion doesn't achieve that "full operational capability" until EM-2, the schedule figures remain unchanged.

FWIW... YMMV

Offline Lars-J

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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?  ;)

Stop spreading that FUD. A glance at the NASA budget for the last few decades proves that this is wrong. Programs come and go, yet the budget remains remarkably steady. So if anything any money released would with a very high degree of likelihood be spent on other space projects. If this other spending would be worse or better, who knows...

Actually if you look at the NASA budget the agency has lost around $6 Billion (2014 dollars) since 1991. Major human spaceflight programs like the space shuttle and Constellation may come and go but they are replaced with programs like SLS/Orion.

...which underscores my point! There has been a slow and steady decline since 1991 (the prime days of the Shuttle program) until now, and the in that time Shuttle disappeared, ISS came, CxP came and went, SLS appeared. Are you seeing the trend here?

Just look at what happened in 2010. There is no guarantee that if SLS/Orion were canceled their funds would go to your preferred space project. That isn't "fear mongering." That's a fact.

What happened in 2010 supports my point. The funds for NASA programs did not go away, despite the fear mongering here and elsewhere.

Of course there is no guarantee for what will happen in the future. But the past history supports my claim, and not your fear mongering. I assume you understand that Congress has no specific attachment to specific programs, only that they bring jobs to their district. If anything else can do that, they will all jump on it in a heartbeat.

And no, I don't expect a replacement program (*IF* SLS is cancelled) to be any more efficient. This is the nature of the beast.

Offline woods170

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

$1.5 to $2.0 billion a year to provide nothing that is actually needed that couldn't have been done much more cheaply in other ways is no bargain.

One SLS Block 1B launch is the equivalent of 13 Falcon 9 launches (recoverable first stage mode) in deep space capability.  That is $800 million plus right there just for the launches, assuming the number on the SpaceX web site holds.  To that, add the payloads, which would likely cost at least as much, and the complexity, which would have its own cost.

 - Ed Kyle
Ah yes. I was waiting for that argument to rear it's ugly head.

Tell me Ed: what 40 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none
What 33 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to Mars? Answer: none.

Two points why your post is poor in quality:
1. Falcon Heavy is not intented for launching (pieces of) a deep space architecture. Thus, the comparison tot SLS block 1B is apples-to-oranges.
2. SLS will launch, at best, pieces of a deep space architecture in co-manifest mode. Because no single item of the developing deep space architecture warrants the need of SLS Block 1B capacity, on it's own. Simply put: a less powerful launcher could do the job just as well and have the virtue of having to fly more often to get the job done. Thus preventing the huge financial waste of having a standing army for a launcher that, on average, flies only once a year.

Online A_M_Swallow

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{snip}
What happened in 2010 supports my point. The funds for NASA programs did not go away, despite the fear mongering here and elsewhere.

Of course there is no guarantee for what will happen in the future. But the past history supports my claim, and not your fear mongering. I assume you understand that Congress has no specific attachment to specific programs, only that they bring jobs to their district. If anything else can do that, they will all jump on it in a heartbeat.

And no, I don't expect a replacement program (*IF* SLS is cancelled) to be any more efficient. This is the nature of the beast.

Which states are the DSG, Mars Transport and the Moon base's federal habitat being built in?

Offline TrevorMonty

The manned EM2 flight is far more important than EM1, as long as EM1 delays don't effect EM2 I don't care when EM1 flys.

For those criticizing schedule slippages, this is a large space project, slippages and going over budget a the norm not exception. If you can't accept that then an interest in spaceflight is not for you.

Offline meberbs

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The manned EM2 flight is far more important than EM1, as long as EM1 delays don't effect EM2 I don't care when EM1 flys.

For those criticizing schedule slippages, this is a large space project, slippages and going over budget a the norm not exception. If you can't accept that then an interest in spaceflight is not for you.
EM1 slips directly lead to EM2 slips as this new schedule shows. This is largely due to needs to update a lot of GSE between Block1A and Block1B. As it is the current schedule shows 2.5 years between these flights which is better than the 3 years that I had seen reported previously. Hopefully this is due to them having found a way to compress the GSE schedule, I always had thought 3 years was a bit much.

On the other hand, previous reporting indicated that Europa Clipper would launch before EM-2, and this seems like it should be required for safety (no crew on first launch of EUS), but it does not appear to be accounted for in this schedule.

Again, I think skipping Block1A would help all of this, since it should induce minimal if any delay in EM-2, and maybe even have EM-2 faster, since EM-1 would then cover the first launch of EUS, and Europa Clipper could come either before or after EM-2 depending on schedule. Main question is the EUS schedule, and if that would limit when EM-1 on block 1B could happen. Since EUS has not seemed to be the driving force on the EM-2 schedule, I don't have enough information to be sure when an EM-1 on Block1B could launch.

Offline Endeavour_01

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...which underscores my point! There has been a slow and steady decline since 1991 (the prime days of the Shuttle program) until now, and the in that time Shuttle disappeared, ISS came, CxP came and went, SLS appeared. Are you seeing the trend here?

Yes I see the trend. Apparently you don't. When Shuttle was retired the funding went into a shuttle derived SHLV (SLS). If SLS hadn't been approved that funding would have likely left NASA. 

Quote
Of course there is no guarantee for what will happen in the future. But the past history supports my claim, and not your fear mongering.

<snip>

And no, I don't expect a replacement program (*IF* SLS is cancelled) to be any more efficient. This is the nature of the beast.

Then there is no point in canceling SLS. All we will gain is lost time and effort. My point was that if there is no similar replacement program then more than likely the funds will flow elsewhere. Usually when someone argues "SLS/Orion cost too much" they advocate that the funding be sent to dissimilar efforts.

The fact remains that if SLS/Orion are canceled and are replaced with something dissimilar there is much less incentive for the providers of that funding (Congress) to keep it within the space program budget.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 06:38 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 clongton

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Thanks for the article Chris, but I don't understand:

Quote
Following RS-25 engine delivery to MAF, teams will spend seven months integrating the engines into the MPS (Main Propulsion System) of the Core Stage...

Why so much time? It shouldn't take 7 months to integrate 4 identical engines.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline edkyle99

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Tell me Ed: what 40 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none
What 33 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to Mars? Answer: none.
Orion will weigh 25 tonnes or more.  Nothing but SLS could boost that mass trans-Lunar.  Certainly nothing but SLS could boost Orion plus PPE or DSG at the same time, which is the current plan.  Those missions will accelerate 33-35 tonnes of "revenue payload" beyond LEO all at once.

 - Ed Kyle

Online A_M_Swallow

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Tell me Ed: what 40 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none
What 33 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to Mars? Answer: none.
Orion will weigh 25 tonnes or more.  Nothing but SLS could boost that mass trans-Lunar.  Certainly nothing but SLS could boost Orion plus PPE or DSG at the same time, which is the current plan.  Those missions will accelerate 33-35 tonnes of "revenue payload" beyond LEO all at once.

 - Ed Kyle


An empty Bigelow B330 habitat module weights at least 20 tonnes. Adding furniture and an air lock will add several more tonnes. A reusable heavy lander like XEUS will need propellant.

I suspect that the SLS will be used to build the Moon base and deliver its in situ resource utilization (ISRU) machinery.

Offline woods170

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Tell me Ed: what 40 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none
What 33 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to Mars? Answer: none.
Orion will weigh 25 tonnes or more.  Nothing but SLS could boost that mass trans-Lunar.  Certainly nothing but SLS could boost Orion plus PPE or DSG at the same time, which is the current plan.  Those missions will accelerate 33-35 tonnes of "revenue payload" beyond LEO all at once.

 - Ed Kyle

Apart from Orion, no HSF BEO payloads exist right now. Not right now and not for many years to come given that PPE and DSG are only conceptual in nature right now.
Orion was never going to fly on any other launcher than SLS. So, I ask again: why are you comparing BEO payload capacity of FH with BEO payload capacity of SLS? It's apples-to-oranges because those two systems have very different missions. FH missions will be primarily missions in orbit around Earth whereas SLS will be primarily BEO.
A more correct comparison would be to compare SpaceX-BEO system to NASA-BEO system. In other words: compare ITS/BFS against SLS. Than you're apples-to-apples.

Additionally:
As Jim has pointed out several times you don't need ISS-style in-space construction to establish a deep space outpost. Yet, ISS-style construction of a deep space outpost is exactly what NASA is proposing right now. The individual pieces for this don't have enough mass to justify anything remotely as powerful as SLS Block 1B. That's why Orion is co-manifested with those pieces. That leaves outpost construction as the prime job for those co-manifested Orion's. Which is a waste of money given that you rather have those crews do something useful. Like doing science missions.
One would better justify the capabilities of SLS Block 1B by launching a single 40 mT outpost straight to the Moon. So, more like Skylab-style than ISS-style.
And that brings me back to my previous question: what 40 metric ton payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none.
Combine that with the inefficiency of an ISS-style deep space outpost and the reasons for having SLS Block 1B quickly disappear.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 11:26 AM by woods170 »

Offline AncientU

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The manned EM2 flight is far more important than EM1, as long as EM1 delays don't effect EM2 I don't care when EM1 flys.

For those criticizing schedule slippages, this is a large space project, slippages and going over budget a the norm not exception. If you can't accept that then an interest in spaceflight is not for you.

The MST cannot be rebuilt for EUS until EM-1 flies.  EM-1 slips are day-for-day slips in EM-2.
You should care.
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Offline hektor

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Apart from Orion, no HSF BEO payloads exist right now. Not right now and not for many years to come given that PPE and DSG are only conceptual in nature right now.

You have to help me there, because you lost me. I thought the DSG modules PPE and HAB are flying on EM-2 and EM-3 respectively ? How can they be only conceptual in nature since metal is being cut right now on EM-2 ?
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 03:12 PM by hektor »

Offline clongton

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Tell me Ed: what 40 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none
What 33 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to Mars? Answer: none.
Orion will weigh 25 tonnes or more.  Nothing but SLS could boost that mass trans-Lunar.  Certainly nothing but SLS could boost Orion plus PPE or DSG at the same time, which is the current plan.  Those missions will accelerate 33-35 tonnes of "revenue payload" beyond LEO all at once.

 - Ed Kyle

As was correctly pointed out back in the DIRECT days, the CAIB did not recommend that a future Shuttle replacement not carry crew and cargo together. It was recommended that they not be together “in the same vehicle” unless absolutely necessary. Thus Orion carrying crew and stacked on the SLS with separately encapsulated cargo for delivery to BEO is a legitimate use of the vehicle as recommended in the CAIB, just the same as we had proposed back then for the Jupiter Shuttle replacement system. In this way Ed’s postulations are correct.

However I tend to [partially] agree with Wood’s position because if NASA is only going to send crew BEO in Orion, then the flight rate of the SLS would need to be significantly increased - which we all know is not going to happen - ever. No one expects NASA crew to spend 1-1/2 years aboard the DSG or in a lunar surface outpost before being rotated out. So the use of commercially available crew vehicles capable of cis-lunar operations flying and rotating NASA cis-lunar crew is specifically indicated. Which begs the question – Why use Orion at all? If NASA is only going to fly SLS once every 12-18 months or so it will take FOREVER to gain a legitimate safety record for this manned spacecraft. And sense Commercial Crew vehicles will be visiting those same NASA cis-lunar locations to rotate crew anyway,wouldn’t NASA be far better off using Commercial Crew vehicles for ALL its crewed missions and reserving SLS for massive cargo launches - uncrewed? I agree with Woods – make maximum use of the SLS capability by using it to launch Skylab-style stations and outposts. Make them big enough to fully use the SLS capability. Whatever the SLS is capable of delivering to the target location – make the delivered vehicle that size. SLS is going to fly so infrequently because of cost that it is a waste of capability not to max it out every time it flies – and NOT by substituting a hardly ever flown human spacecraft as ballast to justify a too-small cargo delivery.

Fly SLS – if properly utilized it is justified for heavy lift delivery, even if it is infrequently used. But ditch Orion completely. It’ll never be used often enough to ever be declared operational because the only vehicle capable of flying it will hardly ever fly. Use the Commercial Crew capabilities for human delivery that has been so painfully developed over the past few years for ALL crewed flights. Orion is a waste of resources and a huge waste of money - money that could be better utilized in payload development. Ditch Orion but keep SLS. At least SLS can deliver something of value for all its investment. Orion never will.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 01:59 PM by clongton »
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Online envy887

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Tell me Ed: what 40 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none
What 33 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to Mars? Answer: none.
Orion will weigh 25 tonnes or more.  Nothing but SLS could boost that mass trans-Lunar.  Certainly nothing but SLS could boost Orion plus PPE or DSG at the same time, which is the current plan.  Those missions will accelerate 33-35 tonnes of "revenue payload" beyond LEO all at once.

 - Ed Kyle

As was correctly pointed out back in the DIRECT days, the CAIB did not recommend that a future Shuttle replacement not carry crew and cargo together. It was recommended that they not be together “in the same vehicle” unless absolutely necessary. Thus Orion carrying crew and stacked on the SLS with separately encapsulated cargo for delivery to BEO is a legitimate use of the vehicle as recommended in the CAIB, just the same as we had proposed back then for the Jupiter Shuttle replacement system. In this way Ed’s postulations are correct.

However I tend to [partially] agree with Wood’s position because if NASA is only going to send crew BEO in Orion, then the flight rate of the SLS would need to be significantly increased - which we all know is not going to happen - ever. No one expects NASA crew to spend 1-1/2 years aboard the DSG or in a lunar surface outpost before being rotated out. So the use of commercially available crew vehicles capable of cis-lunar operations flying and rotating NASA cis-lunar crew is specifically indicated. Which begs the question – Why use Orion at all? If NASA is only going to fly SLS once every 12-18 months or so it will take FOREVER to gain a legitimate safety record for this manned spacecraft. Wouldn’t NASA be far better off using Commercial Crew vehicles for ALL its crewed missions and reserving SLS for massive cargo launches - uncrewed? I agree with Woods – make maximum use of the SLS capability by using it to launch Skylab-style stations and outposts. Make them big enough to fully use the SLS capability. Whatever the SLS is capable of delivering to the target location – make the delivered vehicle that size. SLS is going to fly so infrequently because of cost that it is a waste of capability not to max it out every time it flies – and NOT by substituting a hardly ever flown human spacecraft as ballast to justify a too-small cargo delivery.

Fly SLS – if properly utilized it is justified for heavy lift delivery, even if it is infrequently used. But ditch Orion completely. It’ll never be used often enough to ever be declared operational because the only vehicle capable of flying it will hardly ever fly. Use the Commercial Crew capabilities for human delivery that has been so painfully developed over the past few years for ALL crewed flights. Orion is a waste of resources and a huge waste of money - money that could be better utilized in payload development. Ditch Orion but keep SLS. At least SLS can deliver something of value for all its investment. Orion never will.

Nobody seems in the least worried about gaining "a legitimate safety record" before putting crew on Orion. The first all-up Orion flight will be crewed.

But the DSG isn't going to be permanently inhabited or have rotating crews. Crew will fly there on Orion, then fly back home on the same Orion 3 weeks later.

Offline clongton

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1. Nobody seems in the least worried about gaining "a legitimate safety record" before putting crew on Orion.
    The first all-up Orion flight will be crewed.
2. But the DSG isn't going to be permanently inhabited or have rotating crews.
    Crew will fly there on Orion, then fly back home on the same Orion 3 weeks later.

1. That's exactly how NASA killed 2 crews.
2. The same cannot be said for a surface outpost. Unless it is intended to become permanently crewed it's a waste.
    As for the DSG if it is only visited once every 18 months for a few days then why even bother?
    That too would be a huge waste of resources and effort.

Doesn't anybody even care about crew safety and fiscal responsibility anymore?
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 02:14 PM by clongton »
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Offline Coastal Ron

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I suspect that the SLS will be used to build the Moon base and deliver its in situ resource utilization (ISRU) machinery.

There are a lot of missions the SLS could be used to support, but so far none of them, including a Moon base, have been authorized and funded.

The Deep Space Gateway (DSG) hardware is penciled in for the EM-3 flight, but the DSG is not fully funded in the FY2018 budget that is getting ready to be voted on, meaning FY2019 is the earliest the DSG could be funded. That would be a challenge for getting it built, tested, and made ready for flight by 2024, which some have speculated would be the first operational SLS flight where NASA's SLS safe launch tempo is no-less-than once every 12 months.
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Online A_M_Swallow

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I suspect that the SLS will be used to build the Moon base and deliver its in situ resource utilization (ISRU) machinery.

There are a lot of missions the SLS could be used to support, but so far none of them, including a Moon base, have been authorized and funded.

The Deep Space Gateway (DSG) hardware is penciled in for the EM-3 flight, but the DSG is not fully funded in the FY2018 budget that is getting ready to be voted on, meaning FY2019 is the earliest the DSG could be funded. That would be a challenge for getting it built, tested, and made ready for flight by 2024, which some have speculated would be the first operational SLS flight where NASA's SLS safe launch tempo is no-less-than once every 12 months.

Over the next 2-3 years rovers and other probes will be landed on the Moon. The press and public are likely to ask "When will America show the world that it is great again by putting men on the Moon?". Any such mission will need Congress to appropriate large sums of money. NASA can afford to produce mission proposals for the President and Congress containing time and cost estimates.

Offline okan170

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"The Deep Space Gateway (DSG) hardware is penciled in for the EM-3 flight, but the DSG is not fully funded in the FY2018 budget that is getting ready to be voted on, meaning FY2019 is the earliest the DSG could be funded."

Haven't they said repeatedly that its being funded now under the NextStep and ARM allocation or are we just forgetting that again.


Offline ncb1397

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"The Deep Space Gateway (DSG) hardware is penciled in for the EM-3 flight, but the DSG is not fully funded in the FY2018 budget that is getting ready to be voted on, meaning FY2019 is the earliest the DSG could be funded."

Haven't they said repeatedly that its being funded now under the NextStep and ARM allocation or are we just forgetting that again.

My understanding is the funding is listed under Advanced Exploration Systems and Space Technology in nasa appropriations. Presumably, Space technology is buying the electric propulsion system components and the laser communication system and AES are buying the satellite bus(i.e. chemical propulsion, RF communication). Comsats have production lines already established, and functionality is not crew safety critical as Orion will be there regardless. I wouldn't really worry about the PPE. It is basically rounding error on NASA's budget. The hab module is something we haven't really done in a long while though.

Offline Coastal Ron

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"The Deep Space Gateway (DSG) hardware is penciled in for the EM-3 flight, but the DSG is not fully funded in the FY2018 budget that is getting ready to be voted on, meaning FY2019 is the earliest the DSG could be funded."

Haven't they said repeatedly that its being funded now under the NextStep and ARM allocation or are we just forgetting that again.

From a SpaceNews article on the ISS extension:

Quote
Lightfoot cautioned that the Deep Space Gateway remained just a concept at this time, without the former endorsement of the project by the administration or Congress.

And the key phrase I used (and underlined above) is "fully funded". Yes, they are cobbling together stuff from other existing programs to see what would be usable, but so far the President and Congress have not agreed that the DSG is a real effort the U.S. wants to undertake.

It also doesn't mean that they won't, and maybe this is something that the reconstituted National Space Council will take up early on, but as of today EM-3 is truly notional.

Also, there is no mention in our NSF article about the Europa mission and when that might launch. Maybe NASA will fill in that missing information when they officially release the revised SLS schedule, but the way it looks like based on the NSF info is that there would be no SLS hardware available for the Europa mission until after a nominal EM-3 flight, which would put it out around 2025.
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Online A_M_Swallow

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"The Deep Space Gateway (DSG) hardware is penciled in for the EM-3 flight, but the DSG is not fully funded in the FY2018 budget that is getting ready to be voted on, meaning FY2019 is the earliest the DSG could be funded."

Haven't they said repeatedly that its being funded now under the NextStep and ARM allocation or are we just forgetting that again.



This is what NASA's 2018 Budget request says in Advanced Exploration Systems (AES), page EXP-60

"In August 2016, NASA selected five proposals under the NextSTEP-2 BAA to develop prototype cislunar habitats. The estimated period of performance begins in FY 2017 and extends until FY 2018. NASA intends to integrate functional habitation systems into ground prototype habitats for testing in 2018. Throughout the NextSTEP-2 performance phase, NASA will provide Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) and systems as well as NASA personnel expertise to each industry partner. During this phase, NASA will lead the effort to develop standards and common interfaces, and will develop an internal reference architecture to support the next acquisition phase. The intended outcome of activities is a diverse set of complete, long duration deep space architecture designs (including standards, common interfaces, and testing approaches) from the awarded contractors, and development and test of full-size ground prototypes. The acquisition phase will begin after all milestones have been met under the NextSTEP-2 contracts, and will be informed by ongoing discussions with international partners."


From page EXP-55
AES Budget Request ($ millions)
FY 2018 $210.0
FY 2019 $380.0
FY 2020 $475.1

Offline ZachF

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

 - Ed Kyle   

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43641.0

The entire global LV business is $5.5 billion/year... That we're spending $4 billion/year just to develop SLS/Orion is a titanic waste of money.

Even $1.5-2 billion a year is equal to 1/4 to 1/3 of the global LV business by $, for about one launch per year.

Offline edkyle99

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

 - Ed Kyle   

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43641.0

The entire global LV business is $5.5 billion/year... That we're spending $4 billion/year just to develop SLS/Orion is a titanic waste of money.

Even $1.5-2 billion a year is equal to 1/4 to 1/3 of the global LV business by $, for about one launch per year.
The SLS/Orion budget would be for SLS *and* Orion - launch plus payload, so obviously launch would not cost $1.5-2 billion per year.  It would cost half as much or less, for the equivalent mass capability of roughly 6-8 big expendable launch vehicles or 12-14 medium size launchers. 

Since 2007 inclusive, only ten launches out of the 853 total launches worldwide have gone beyond Earth orbit.  Those payloads weighed a combined 20.3 tonnes.  SLS 1B could do half-again as much mass beyond Earth orbit in one launch, and probably for less money than those 10 launches.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 09/26/2017 03:51 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline UltraViolet9

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Doesn't anybody even care about crew safety... anymore?

I've asked the same thing with SLS/Orion carrying a projected LOC of 1-in-75 for a simple lunar flyby.  That's slightly worse than the projected LOC of 1-in-90 for STS at program end, and barely different from the demonstrated LOC of 1-in-67 for STS over its lifetime.

Morally, it is hard to justify flying astronauts on a system that is projected to take their lives at a somewhat higher rate than its predecessor system.

Politically, it is hard to continue developing a program with flight crew safety figures that are worse or no better than its predecessor program, which was terminated for reasons of flight crew safety.

And programmatically, real human space exploration missions will carry higher-risk elements than ETO launch, a quick lunar flyby, and EDL back at Earth.  It is hard to see how such missions can have reasonable chances of success when what should be the lowest-risk segments of these missions will be exposed to such high probabilities of loss.

Doesn't anybody even care about... fiscal responsibility anymore?

Before affordability, basic questions about executability should be asked.

With a launch cadence only one-half to one-quarter that of Apollo 11-17, can SLS support a human lunar program that is an advance over Apollo?

With a launch cadence of one every year or two, can SLS support a human Mars program when NASA's own Mars DRMs call for a couple handfuls of heavy lift launches, each 30 days apart?

If the answer to both is "no", then what are we doing?

Offline woods170

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https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43641.0

The entire global LV business is $5.5 billion/year... That we're spending $4 billion/year just to develop SLS/Orion is a titanic waste of money.

Even $1.5-2 billion a year is equal to 1/4 to 1/3 of the global LV business by $, for about one launch per year.
The SLS/Orion budget would be for SLS *and* Orion - launch plus payload, so obviously launch would not cost $1.5-2 billion per year.  It would cost half as much or less, for the equivalent mass capability of roughly 6-8 big expendable launch vehicles or 12-14 medium size launchers. 

Since 2007 inclusive, only ten launches out of the 853 total launches worldwide have gone beyond Earth orbit.  Those payloads weighed a combined 20.3 tonnes.  SLS 1B could do half-again as much mass beyond Earth orbit in one launch, and probably for less money than those 10 launches.

 - Ed Kyle
Could do, but will not do as no such payload exists and will not exist given the path NASA has chosen for developing a deep space outpost.
« Last Edit: 09/26/2017 05:59 AM by woods170 »

Offline su27k

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Actually if you look at the NASA budget the agency has lost around $6 Billion (2014 dollars) since 1991. Major human spaceflight programs like the space shuttle and Constellation may come and go but they are replaced with programs like SLS/Orion. Just look at what happened in 2010. There is no guarantee that if SLS/Orion were canceled their funds would go to your preferred space project. That isn't "fear mongering." That's a fact.

What you proved is just we need another human spaceflight program to replace SLS/Orion once the latter is gone, it doesn't prove anything beyond that. There's no reason this new program couldn't be partially supported by commercial contracts and commercial space companies.

Look at ISS, it's doing fine even though a significant part of its budget goes to commercial contracts (hell it even sends hundreds of millions to Russia of all the places). It doesn't need a big launcher or having to please a particular senator in order to gather support in congress, it even survived the assassination attempt by a NASA administrator. And now they're talking about extending it even further, I haven't seen anyone in congress says no to this idea.

Commercial Crew is another example. The only resistance to it comes from old space supporters in congress, once their objection is removed, the full congress has no trouble fully funding it.

And what happened in 2010 just means you need to plan the transition carefully, preferably years in advance, which is exactly why what comes after SLS/Orion should be contemplated today. Because while I realize their position is pretty safe for now, I think there's a big chance they would become increasingly unsupportable in the next 10 years.

Online envy887

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Doesn't anybody even care about crew safety... anymore?

I've asked the same thing with SLS/Orion carrying a projected LOC of 1-in-75 for a simple lunar flyby.  That's slightly worse than the projected LOC of 1-in-90 for STS at program end, and barely different from the demonstrated LOC of 1-in-67 for STS over its lifetime.

Morally, it is hard to justify flying astronauts on a system that is projected to take their lives at a somewhat higher rate than its predecessor system.

Politically, it is hard to continue developing a program with flight crew safety figures that are worse or no better than its predecessor program, which was terminated for reasons of flight crew safety.

And programmatically, real human space exploration missions will carry higher-risk elements than ETO launch, a quick lunar flyby, and EDL back at Earth.  It is hard to see how such missions can have reasonable chances of success when what should be the lowest-risk segments of these missions will be exposed to such high probabilities of loss.

SLS / Orion is a successor to Apollo, not to STS. It's probably much safer than Apollo, so I don't have a problem with that once shown to be operationally sound.

But flying crew on EM-2 without an actual all-up test flight of EUS and Orion is just asking for trouble.

Offline Proponent

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But flying crew on EM-2 without an actual all-up test flight of EUS and Orion is just asking for trouble.

Yet, according NASA, crewing even EM-1 for a circum-lunar mission is acceptably safe, if one were willing to spend a little more money!

Offline Proponent

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On the other hand, previous reporting indicated that Europa Clipper would launch before EM-2, and this seems like it should be required for safety (no crew on first launch of EUS), but it does not appear to be accounted for in this schedule.

I suppose this is necessarily up in the air at the moment, since, as far as I know, the launch vehicle for Europa Clipper has yet to be determined (vague memory says a decision is due a year from now).

But still, you'd think there would might be a placeholder or conditional indication of some sort.

EDIT:  Actually, I guess the launch vehicle has been determined, but for the time being people still have to pretend it hasn't.
« Last Edit: 09/26/2017 04:25 PM by Proponent »

Offline Coastal Ron

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On the other hand, previous reporting indicated that Europa Clipper would launch before EM-2, and this seems like it should be required for safety (no crew on first launch of EUS), but it does not appear to be accounted for in this schedule.

I suppose this is necessarily up in the air at the moment, since, as far as I know, the launch vehicle for Europa Clipper has yet to be determined (vague memory says a decision is due a year from now).

But still, you'd think there would might be a placeholder or conditional indication of some sort.

It would be very difficult to shoehorn in another build, test and launch of an SLS between EM-1 and EM-2 for a Europa mission, if they didn't already have it in their planning schedule. And they don't appear to have it on their schedule at all according to this latest info.

And a 2025 SLS launch for Europa would interrupt the momentum for the Deep Space Gateway, so either the Europa mission is going to slip further out into the 2nd half of the 2020's, or it will have to use a commercial launcher in order to launch in the 1st half of the 2020's. That's the challenge when you have a launch system that only launches once a year.

We may get a hint of which it will be when the Trump Administration releases it's first not-rushed, full-staffed, budget request early next year for NASA.
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Offline UltraViolet9

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SLS / Orion is a successor to Apollo, not to STS.

It was the ASAP that made the STS comparison in an annual report.  (They also expressed some disappointment that the LOC figures for SLS/Orion were coming in so low.)

And it's the right comparison to make.  The 1-in-75 LOC figure for SLS/Orion is for a lunar flyby.    Apollo 11-17 involved other, riskier mission elements (lunar landing, surface ops, lunar ascent, LOR).  So the closest analog is an STS mission.

Apollo also lacks enough flight history to make statistical comparisons meaningful.

Quote
But flying crew on EM-2 without an actual all-up test flight of EUS and Orion is just asking for trouble.

Agreed.

Offline jgoldader

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And what happened in 2010 just means you need to plan the transition carefully, preferably years in advance, which is exactly why what comes after SLS/Orion should be contemplated today.

This is the difficult part, right here.  As a spectator, it seems that this is where the process has failed for the last 30 years.  Politically, there hasn't been a case for the budget needed to operate one system, while properly funding the development of the successor.  Apollo was cancelled early, before STS was ready.  STS was cancelled well before its successor was ready.  I fervently hope this can change.
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Offline Lars-J

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And what happened in 2010 just means you need to plan the transition carefully, preferably years in advance, which is exactly why what comes after SLS/Orion should be contemplated today.

This is the difficult part, right here.  As a spectator, it seems that this is where the process has failed for the last 30 years.  Politically, there hasn't been a case for the budget needed to operate one system, while properly funding the development of the successor.  Apollo was cancelled early, before STS was ready.  STS was cancelled well before its successor was ready.  I fervently hope this can change.

Was there budget to both operate Apollo and develop Shuttle? I doubt it. Just like there was no budget for developing CxP during Shuttle.

Ideally NASA should not be operating one giant launch system (giant as in its budget footprint), the budget should be spent on smaller projects that hopefully have some synergy.

Offline the_other_Doug

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If SLS (and Orion) wasnt hogging so much money people wouldnt object to SLS as much...
Orion and SLS development together are costing perhaps $4 billion per year as I understand things.  STS cost that much per year during some periods just to fly.  By the way, Orion is costing more than SLS to develop, according to GAO. 

Once developed, NASA plans for an annual budget of something like $1.5 to $2.0 billion, nearly half of the STS budget.  That sounds like a bargain to me. 

$1.5 to $2.0 billion a year to provide nothing that is actually needed that couldn't have been done much more cheaply in other ways is no bargain.

One SLS Block 1B launch is the equivalent of 13 Falcon 9 launches (recoverable first stage mode) in deep space capability.  That is $800 million plus right there just for the launches, assuming the number on the SpaceX web site holds.  To that, add the payloads, which would likely cost at least as much, and the complexity, which would have its own cost.

 - Ed Kyle
Ah yes. I was waiting for that argument to rear it's ugly head.

Tell me Ed: what 40 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to the Moon? Answer: none
What 33 metric Ton, single-piece payload is being developed by NASA to be flown to Mars? Answer: none.

Two points why your post is poor in quality:
1. Falcon Heavy is not intented for launching (pieces of) a deep space architecture. Thus, the comparison tot SLS block 1B is apples-to-oranges.
2. SLS will launch, at best, pieces of a deep space architecture in co-manifest mode. Because no single item of the developing deep space architecture warrants the need of SLS Block 1B capacity, on it's own. Simply put: a less powerful launcher could do the job just as well and have the virtue of having to fly more often to get the job done. Thus preventing the huge financial waste of having a standing army for a launcher that, on average, flies only once a year.

Good points, Ed.  But you always have to keep yourself, in this kind of discussion (as you admirably do) from just adding up payload mass for a large construction and then adding up the number of smaller launcher launches that can put that tonnage into LEO, or wherever you want to put it.

For example, the Apollo TLI stage was about 320,000 pounds, placed by a single launch into a very low Earth orbit of about 90 statute miles circular, on later missions.  You could have put up that many tons of mass in something like 40 Atlas launches, or 20 Titan II launches, or six to eight Saturn IB launches.  So, by that logic, the Saturn V was a useless waste of money.

But... each individually launched payload needs its own structure, its own avionics, its own maneuvering and attitude control system... so your one-launch TLI stage weighs 320,000 pounds, but 40 individually-launched piecework payloads will weigh on the order of half a million pounds.  And can't be placed in an unstable parking orbit, because it will take weeks, if not months, to assemble them all into the piecework variant of an Apollo TLI stage, so your initial energy requirements, just to get to LEO to assemble, go up.

Just comparing tonnage is like making deep space exploration into Lego elements.  It woefully fails to account for an enormous host of other factors that come into play when you piece-meal an exploration stage into being from tens to hundreds of individually-launched payloads.

Indeed, SpaceX is taking the approach of planning large payloads with the fewest number of launches feasible in order to accomplish their plans.  I am a strong proponent of SLS, but I am not a strong proponent of the idea of heading off into the Solar System in a kludged-up structure of Bigelow inflatables and Cygnus closets as your exploration craft.  SLS will at least allow for putting together larger pieces into good-sized spacecraft, rather than attaching a whole lot of tin cans, each barely able (if at all) of providing one person's minimal personal space requirements.

I, for one, am not sanguine about the possibility of launching a Tokyo tube hotel towards Mars and pretending that the crew will be sane when they get there... :(  So, you're going to need at least FH-and-bigger launchers to get large enough structures up to assemble.  Yes, there is no funding to *build* such a large-structure DSH at the moment, but Marshall's DSH plans are for a structure as large in diameter as the SLS.  They, rather like me, seem to believe that you need something more than Cygnus closets for your equipment and living spaces.  And their hab design requires SLS to launch; it would not possibly be achievable with 13 F9 launches -- structurally, if not tonnage-wise.

Just some thoughts... :)
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline AncientU

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And what happened in 2010 just means you need to plan the transition carefully, preferably years in advance, which is exactly why what comes after SLS/Orion should be contemplated today.

This is the difficult part, right here.  As a spectator, it seems that this is where the process has failed for the last 30 years.  Politically, there hasn't been a case for the budget needed to operate one system, while properly funding the development of the successor.  Apollo was cancelled early, before STS was ready.  STS was cancelled well before its successor was ready.  I fervently hope this can change.

Was there budget to both operate Apollo and develop Shuttle? I doubt it. Just like there was no budget for developing CxP during Shuttle.

Ideally NASA should not be operating one giant launch system (giant as in its budget footprint), the budget should be spent on smaller projects that hopefully have some synergy.

Ideally, NASA shouldn't be operating any launch system.
Or building same...
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Offline jgoldader

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And what happened in 2010 just means you need to plan the transition carefully, preferably years in advance, which is exactly why what comes after SLS/Orion should be contemplated today.

This is the difficult part, right here.  As a spectator, it seems that this is where the process has failed for the last 30 years.  Politically, there hasn't been a case for the budget needed to operate one system, while properly funding the development of the successor.  Apollo was cancelled early, before STS was ready.  STS was cancelled well before its successor was ready.  I fervently hope this can change.

Was there budget to both operate Apollo and develop Shuttle? I doubt it. Just like there was no budget for developing CxP during Shuttle.

Ideally NASA should not be operating one giant launch system (giant as in its budget footprint), the budget should be spent on smaller projects that hopefully have some synergy.

No, there wasn't enough money, but one could argue the lack of funding was the result of no suitably compelling case being made.

If we keep having to do everything in serial, with ~5-10 year gaps, that's not an operations paradigm that leads to sustained space exploration efforts. You can propose any combination of commercial-led ventures, fine; but that's a different paradigm than Apollo/STS/SLS.  History since the late 1960's suggests long gaps in exploration capability are a feature of the way those three programs were conceived, authorized, and (for Apollo and STS) closed out.  It's a high-level problem.
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Offline Coastal Ron

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Just comparing tonnage is like making deep space exploration into Lego elements.  It woefully fails to account for an enormous host of other factors that come into play when you piece-meal an exploration stage into being from tens to hundreds of individually-launched payloads.

Keep in mind that the Deep Space Gateway (DSG) is planned to be built out of "Lego elements", and regardless how big a launcher is available, our needs in space will always require multiple launches - even SpaceX is planning to need multiple launches to get their spaceships into orbit and fueled enough to leave for their destinations.

So no single rocket is capable of lifting any substantial HSF mission.

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I am a strong proponent of SLS, but I am not a strong proponent of the idea of heading off into the Solar System in a kludged-up structure of Bigelow inflatables and Cygnus closets as your exploration craft.

So far everything you advocate for ignores cost, which is what the Bigelow inflatables and Cygnus "closets" are meant to address. We've spent 17 years living in space inside such "kludges", so regardless of how they look they can do the job that is required.

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SLS will at least allow for putting together larger pieces into good-sized spacecraft, rather than attaching a whole lot of tin cans, each barely able (if at all) of providing one person's minimal personal space requirements.

Your assumption, again, ignores cost, so while it could be technically feasible to do what you outline, it may not be economically feasible.

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Yes, there is no funding to *build* such a large-structure DSH at the moment, but Marshall's DSH plans are for a structure as large in diameter as the SLS.

Upsizing something that is potentially unaffordable doesn't not automatically make it more affordable. Until NASA releases the operational cost estimates for both the SLS and the Orion Congress won't have enough information to decide if they want to fund the Deep Space Gateway - not just for the hardware, but for years of operation too.

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And their hab design requires SLS to launch; it would not possibly be achievable with 13 F9 launches -- structurally, if not tonnage-wise.

NASA has no choice in the matter - they HAVE to use the SLS. If NASA sent out an RFQ that allowed for any transportation system and hardware to be used to satisfy a stated goal, you would see plenty of proposals that did not include the SLS or the Orion. And certainly the 450mT ISS proves that large complex structures can be built out of modules massing 15mT and less.
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 Proponent

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For example, the Apollo TLI stage was about 320,000 pounds, placed by a single launch into a very low Earth orbit of about 90 statute miles circular, on later missions.  You could have put up that many tons of mass in something like 40 Atlas launches, or 20 Titan II launches, or six to eight Saturn IB launches.  So, by that logic, the Saturn V was a useless waste of money.

But... each individually launched payload needs its own structure, its own avionics, its own maneuvering and attitude control system... so your one-launch TLI stage weighs 320,000 pounds, but 40 individually-launched piecework payloads will weigh on the order of half a million pounds.  And can't be placed in an unstable parking orbit, because it will take weeks, if not months, to assemble them all into the piecework variant of an Apollo TLI stage, so your initial energy requirements, just to get to LEO to assemble, go up.

Just comparing tonnage is like making deep space exploration into Lego elements.  It woefully fails to account for an enormous host of other factors that come into play when you piece-meal an exploration stage into being from tens to hundreds of individually-launched payloads.

This is a very valid and important point.  But it's only one of the factors that need be considered in deciding whether a heavy lifter is a good idea.  To my knowledge, no professional study of any BEO mission has compared architectures with and without heavy lift for anything NASA is likely to be tasked with anytime soon and concluded that heavy lift is the way to go.  SLS has as yet literally no technical justification.

Though I'm very skeptical of SLS's value, I wouldn't say that the Saturn V was a useless waste of money.  It performed very well in accomplishing the task: getting to the moon before the Soviets.  NASA could have sent people to the moon with smaller rockets.  That may well have been cheaper (and more sustainable) but probably also slower.  Back then, time was more important than money.  Now it's the other way around.  The utility of heavy lift needs to be evaluated in that context.
« Last Edit: 09/28/2017 06:09 PM by Proponent »

Offline TrevorMonty

The only way to match SLS BLEO capabilities with smaller LV is by distributed launch, which is whole new technology to be developed and proven. Even then the EELVs in 2010 would've been to small, something in 35-50t class would be need.   
Commercially developed  DL and 3 vehicles in this class are now in development,  only 5-7yrs to late.

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Offline AncientU

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The only way to match SLS BLEO capabilities with smaller LV is by distributed launch, which is whole new technology to be developed and proven. Even then the EELVs in 2010 would've been to small, something in 35-50t class would be need.   
Commercially developed  DL and 3 vehicles in this class are now in development,  only 5-7yrs to late.

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Never too late... just wishful thinking TM.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Back to the dates.

Because the pad/VAB rebuild time to go from an SLS 1A to an SLS 1B has been stated unequivocally as being a duration of 30 months, this is where the notional EM-2 date of 1 June 2022 seems to spring from. But here is the catch. The mods can not be made until EM-1 is launched. So the date will slip day for day as EM-1 slips and there are no recourse for mitigation of the schedule impact to the EM-2 launch date. Specifically that 30 months is 24 months of pad/VAB rework followed by hardware arrival for fit checks and pad processing flows over a period of 6 months. So the 30 months is a hard launch to launch span irregardless of anything else. Unfortunately that duration cannot be shortened but many things could cause it to lengthen.

But if there is an additional requirement that the EUS fly unmanned like on the EC mission then that date is very notional. But the article does give some interesting mission plans for the various go-nogo points, one of which outlined for the EM-3 mission is prior to the EUS burn the EUS+Orion+ is placed in LEO in a very rapid decaying orbit such that Orion would return if EUS fails it checks while on orbit before a burn. So maybe the safety concerns in requiring flying the EUS on an unmanned mission prior to a manned one may be adequately answered.

Again in reference to EC the 30 month rule still applies because it is all because of the change from a 1A to a 1B. So the earliest a EC mission could take place is also that 1 June 2022 date.

Offline Zed_Noir

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So it is a race between the newly announced SpaceX BFR flight to Mars and the SLS EM-2 test flight in 2022 to see which one get off the pad first.  ;D

Pass the popcorn for the forthcoming launches

Offline tesla

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No SpaceX discussion here.
SLS is the real rocket and not an impossible concept suggested by an eccentric billionaire.

Offline woods170

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No SpaceX discussion here.
SLS is the real rocket and not an impossible concept suggested by an eccentric billionaire.
Back in 2010 the concept of doing an RTLS of a an orbital-class rocket booster also seemed to be an impossible concept. And yes, it was suggested by that same eccentric billionaire (with the difference that Elon wasn't a billionaire back then).

Offline MATTBLAK

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No SpaceX discussion here.
SLS is the real rocket and not an impossible concept suggested by an eccentric billionaire.
SLS hasn't even been presented as a set of test stages yet - even though it's design is relatively mature and feasible. And don't bring Elon's BFR into the discussion for now - though it is a difficult, slightly improbable design; not an impossible one just yet ;)

And sometimes; eccentric billionaires change the world.
« Last Edit: 09/29/2017 07:22 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Proponent

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The only way to match SLS BLEO capabilities with smaller LV is by distributed launch, which is whole new technology to be developed and proven. Even then the EELVs in 2010 would've been to small, something in 35-50t class would be need.   
Commercially developed  DL and 3 vehicles in this class are now in development,  only 5-7yrs to late.

This is the same fallacy in another form:  you identify one weakness of a non-heavy-lift approach and conclude that heavy lift is better.  The fact remains that there is as yet literally no technical justification for SLS.

Offline AncientU

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No SpaceX discussion here.
SLS is the real rocket and not an impossible concept suggested by an eccentric billionaire.

Nothing to compare.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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I have a question about what NASA means by a Launch Readiness Date (LRD)?

My interpretation is that the vehicle is stacked, been moved out to the pad, is all checked out with the pad GSE, and is ready for a dry and then a wet dress rehearsal followed by a launch if the other two are uneventful.

So correct me if my interpretation is wrong. A hard and fast definition of what this milestone means is required to really understand when an actual launch will take place. If there is significant number of tasks still to take place after this milestone then an EM-2 LRD can still slip if problems occur between this milestone and actual launch. If it takes longer than the planned nominal duration then the LRD for EM-2 slips by the amount that the duration is greater than the nominal/planned/scheduled. But then again since EM-2 is also nearly a new vehicle with new GSE it is likely to experience similar snags and delays as that experienced by EM-1 during its processing and effort to launch.

So the 1 June 2022 date can be said to be one thing. The EM-2 launch will occur several months after that date.

Offline Khadgars

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So it is a race between the newly announced SpaceX BFR flight to Mars and the SLS EM-2 test flight in 2022 to see which one get off the pad first.  ;D

Pass the popcorn for the forthcoming launches

I do in-fact believe BFR will fly, or something close to it.  But I would add 10 years to the schedule, so 2032 would be first test flight of BFR IMO.  For the 2020s, SLS/Orion will have plenty to do.

Offline Khadgars

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The only way to match SLS BLEO capabilities with smaller LV is by distributed launch, which is whole new technology to be developed and proven. Even then the EELVs in 2010 would've been to small, something in 35-50t class would be need.   
Commercially developed  DL and 3 vehicles in this class are now in development,  only 5-7yrs to late.

This is the same fallacy in another form:  you identify one weakness of a non-heavy-lift approach and conclude that heavy lift is better.  The fact remains that there is as yet literally no technical justification for SLS.

The same can be said to your argument "The fact remains that there is as yet literally no technical justification for SLS".  Technical justification?  That is as subjective a "fact" as any.

Online RonM

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So it is a race between the newly announced SpaceX BFR flight to Mars and the SLS EM-2 test flight in 2022 to see which one get off the pad first.  ;D

Pass the popcorn for the forthcoming launches

I do in-fact believe BFR will fly, or something close to it.  But I would add 10 years to the schedule, so 2032 would be first test flight of BFR IMO.  For the 2020s, SLS/Orion will have plenty to do.

There will be delays for BFR, although 10 years is pessimistic. Congress will continue funding SLS/Orion at least until BFR is operational. So, I agree SLS/Orion will probably be operational in the 2020s. That will get DSG deployed. Even with BFR flying, DSG will be a useful asset as a transportation hub in cislunar space.

Offline UltraViolet9

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For the 2020s, SLS/Orion will have plenty to do.

I dunno.  It's late 2017.  For that statement to become true, the payload hardware needs to be in mid- to late-development now.  Since Apollo, NASA human spacecraft programs (STS, ISS, Orion) have required a decade or more to design, develop, launch, and become operational.

Even if DSG gets the go-ahead soon and doesn't encounter the schedule issues of those earlier programs, the emergence of ITS and similar reusable upper stages/spacecraft/landers on an early 3030s timetable would make DSG obsolete soon after completion.

NASA should _not_ bet the farm on SpaceX or BFG/ITS.  But what little insurance and utility SLS/Orion provides does not seem worth its high expense and large opportunity cost given the portfolio of Falcon Heavy, Vulcan/ACES, New Glenn/Blue Moon, New Armstrong, and BFG/ITS that NASA should be preparing for.

It would be a better use of the nation's resources and the NASA civil servant/contractor workforce to start reorienting NASA's human space flight program away from ETO transportation and towards BEO missions, payloads, and infrastructure, especially for planetary surfaces.

Sooner than later, IMO.  YMMV...
« Last Edit: 09/29/2017 10:43 PM by UltraViolet9 »

Online A_M_Swallow

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I dunno.  It's late 2017.  For that statement to become true, the payload hardware needs to be in mid- to late-development now.  Since Apollo, NASA human spacecraft programs (STS, ISS, Orion) have required a decade or more to design, develop, launch, and become operational.

Even if DSG gets the go-ahead soon and doesn't encounter the schedule issues of those earlier programs, the emergence of ITS and similar reusable upper stages/spacecraft on an early 3030s timetable would make DSG obsolete soon after completion.
{snip}

EM-2 is aiming for 2022. If ITS is 2030+ that give DSG 10-15 years before a rival turns up. ITS is SpaceX only where as DSG could be hosting several lunar landers from different manufacturers.

Offline JohnF

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One thing to keep in mind is the longer it takes to get SLS/Orion flying, the longer the folks working on SLS/Orion have jobs, it's not like there will be thousands of these things manufactured on an assembly line, wouldn't be surprised if the dates slip further and further.

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I dunno.  It's late 2017.  For that statement to become true, the payload hardware needs to be in mid- to late-development now.  Since Apollo, NASA human spacecraft programs (STS, ISS, Orion) have required a decade or more to design, develop, launch, and become operational.

Even if DSG gets the go-ahead soon and doesn't encounter the schedule issues of those earlier programs, the emergence of ITS and similar reusable upper stages/spacecraft on an early 3030s timetable would make DSG obsolete soon after completion.
{snip}

EM-2 is aiming for 2022. If ITS is 2030+ that give DSG 10-15 years before a rival turns up. ITS is SpaceX only where as DSG could be hosting several lunar landers from different manufacturers.
F1 took 6 years. F9 took 4 years. Even FH will take about 6 years.

I don't think SLS has 15-20 years without significant competition.

Offline UltraViolet9

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EM-2 is aiming for 2022.

The DSG won't be complete and have an airlock until 2026.

And that schedule holds only if the Administration and Congress approve the DSG soon.

The DSG will also need to evade the kind of weak rationales, political tinkering, changing partnerships, and multiple redesigns that put Alpha/Freedom/ISS in development hell for over a decade.

DSG is obviously simpler than ISS.  But even if it's approved soon, based on more recent experience with our "simple" Orion, I doubt DSG can avoid similar (if not quite as long) delays as ISS and Orion.

Quote
If ITS is 2030+ that give DSG 10-15 years before a rival turns up.

I don't think ITS is the only "rival".  Blue Moon or an ACES lander don't need the DSG and can use multiple launchers.  Even the little guys like Moon Express don't talk about DSG.

I doubt ULA will pursue an ACES lander without NASA skin in the game.  But Blue Origin certainly has a backer with deep enough pockets to bring Blue Moon forward in whatever timeframe he wants.

Quote
ITS is SpaceX only where as DSG could be hosting several lunar landers from different manufacturers.

In Blue Origin, SpaceX, and ULA, the US has three very capable launch operators and manufacturers who are each interested in building large reusable upper/transit stages and human-scale planetary landers.  Two are self-motivated and resourced enough to do it on their own.

Instead of trying to steer these companies towards a small station in lunar orbit that none of them have expressed much enthusiasm for, NASA should be trying to assist, accelerate, and build upon their efforts.

With this kind of triply-redundant industrial base, I don't see a need for NASA to be in (or get back into) the launch development/operation, chemical upper/transit stage, or routine large planetary lander business anymore.

Research, technical/facilities assistance, development cost-sharing, qualification, and service procurements, sure.  But no more design, development, test, and operation in these areas.  Leave that to industry, as it should be when an industry has multiple, healthy competitors.

Instead, put the enormous resources going towards SLS/Orion and potentially DSG into human planetary missions and payloads.  IMO, NASA's human space flight program should be regearing as soon as possible to become a planetary surface research, mobility, mission, ISRU, and infrastructure program.  Maybe with some nuclear or high-power electric transit stage work.  That's what industry is not doing and where the hardest problems lie. 

YMMV...


« Last Edit: 09/30/2017 12:30 AM by UltraViolet9 »

Online A_M_Swallow

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EM-2 is aiming for 2022.

The DSG won't be complete and have an airlock until 2026.

And that schedule holds only if the Administration and Congress approve the DSG soon.

The DSG will also need to evade the kind of weak rationales, political tinkering, changing partnerships, and multiple redesigns that put Alpha/Freedom/ISS in development hell for over a decade.

DSG is obviously simpler than ISS.  But even if it's approved soon, based on more recent experience with our "simple" Orion, I doubt DSG can avoid similar (if not quite as long) delays as ISS and Orion.

Quote
If ITS is 2030+ that give DSG 10-15 years before a rival turns up.

I don't think ITS is the only "rival".  Blue Moon or an ACES lander don't need the DSG and can use multiple launchers.  Even the little guys like Moon Express don't talk about DSG.

I doubt ULA will pursue an ACES lander without NASA skin in the game.  But Blue Origin certainly has a backer with deep enough pockets to bring Blue Moon forward in whatever timeframe he wants.

{snip}

To support lunar operations the DSG does not need an airlock, just two docking ports. However when fitted the airlock will permit EVAs to repair the landers. (80:20 rule)

NASA needs to duck political meddling, possibly by getting extra features included in additional modules. Some of the modules may even arrive.

If there is significant messing around with the habitation modules requirements NASA can simply buy and fit a B330 from Bigelow as a 'temporary' measure.

The ACES lander does not have a heat shield so it cannot reenter. To be reusable therefore the lander needs leaving in either lunar orbit or LEO. A second ACES transfer stage that pushes a capsule, able to reenter, to DSG permits manned Moon landings.

Currently most landers are expendable since their main bodies do not have heat shields and at the present time there is no where in space they can be refuelled.

Offline Proponent

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The only way to match SLS BLEO capabilities with smaller LV is by distributed launch, which is whole new technology to be developed and proven. Even then the EELVs in 2010 would've been to small, something in 35-50t class would be need.   
Commercially developed  DL and 3 vehicles in this class are now in development,  only 5-7yrs to late.

This is the same fallacy in another form:  you identify one weakness of a non-heavy-lift approach and conclude that heavy lift is better.  The fact remains that there is as yet literally no technical justification for SLS.

The same can be said to your argument "The fact remains that there is as yet literally no technical justification for SLS".  Technical justification?  That is as subjective a "fact" as any.

I'm afraid I don't understand your statement.  If you're saying that there is also no as yet no technical justification for alternatives to SLS, then firstly I would say that it doesn't matter, because nobody is spending billions of dollars of public money on them every year.  Then I would point out that, actually, qualified professionals have studied what we might now call distributed-lift alternatives to SLS and concluded that a under a NASA-like exploration budget, distributed lift likely delivers more exploration.  And even if heavy lift is useful, where has anybody ever compared SLS with alternative heavy lifters and come out in favor of SLS?

If you're saying that technical justification itself is meaningless, well, that's a very lazy criticism.  It certainly can happen that a technical analysis is slanted to reach a pre-determined conclusion, but to dismiss all studies that way is another logical fallacy.  After all, the first of Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design reads "Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion."


Offline ZachF

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https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=43641.0

The entire global LV business is $5.5 billion/year... That we're spending $4 billion/year just to develop SLS/Orion is a titanic waste of money.

Even $1.5-2 billion a year is equal to 1/4 to 1/3 of the global LV business by $, for about one launch per year.
The SLS/Orion budget would be for SLS *and* Orion - launch plus payload, so obviously launch would not cost $1.5-2 billion per year.  It would cost half as much or less, for the equivalent mass capability of roughly 6-8 big expendable launch vehicles or 12-14 medium size launchers. 

Since 2007 inclusive, only ten launches out of the 853 total launches worldwide have gone beyond Earth orbit.  Those payloads weighed a combined 20.3 tonnes.  SLS 1B could do half-again as much mass beyond Earth orbit in one launch, and probably for less money than those 10 launches.

 - Ed Kyle
Could do, but will not do as no such payload exists and will not exist given the path NASA has chosen for developing a deep space outpost.

SLS is a bit of an Ouroboros; The massive funding it gets/needs takes away funds from payloads that could justify it's existence.

Offline Proponent

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SLS is a bit of an Ouroboros....

Had to look that one up.  I see the ancient Egyptians had a word for "self-licking ice-cream cone" millennia before the invention of the ice-cream cone!

Offline UltraViolet9

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To support lunar operations the DSG does not need an airlock, just two docking ports.

We're still looking at 2024 or later before that capability comes online.  Half the decade or more will be over.

Quote
NASA needs to duck political meddling, possibly by getting extra features included in additional modules.

With additional time, complexity, and cost.  Political horse-trading be unavoidable, but it further stretches out the timeline.  The ISS partnership took 3 years to negotiate.  Adding Russia took another 3 years of negotiation.

Quote
If there is significant messing around with the habitation modules requirements NASA can simply buy and fit a B330 from Bigelow as a 'temporary' measure.

For better or worse, NASA has to get buy-in from its stakeholders to make such moves.  The White House killed TransHab when it found out JSC was pursuing TransHab without permission as a temporary addition to ISS.  Congress did not restore it. 

Quote
The ACES lander does not have a heat shield so it cannot reenter. To be reusable therefore the lander needs leaving in either lunar orbit or LEO.

Sure, a reusable lander just needs to be refueled in space.  It does not need to come back to the Earth's surface.

Quote
and at the present time there is no where in space they can be refuelled

For reasons of flight safety, I don't see that place being the DSG.  NASA is not going to attach large tanks of pressurized, temperature-sensitive propellants to a man-tended station like DSG.

And there probably won't be a place (or places) for refueling in space some time to come.  Until there is sufficient demand, it doesn't make sense to invest in a propellant depots.  One-off upper stages or maybe robotic servicers will do the work until then.

Quote
A second ACES transfer stage that pushes a capsule, able to reenter, to DSG permits manned Moon landings.

Now we're back to the airlock, which doesn't come online until 2026 or later.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2017 07:08 PM by UltraViolet9 »

Online A_M_Swallow

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{snip}
and at the present time there is no where in space they can be refuelled

For reasons of flight safety, I don't see that place being the DSG.  NASA is not going to attach large tanks of pressurized, temperature-sensitive propellants to a man-tended station like DSG.

And there probably won't be a place (or places) for refueling in space some time to come.  Until there is sufficient demand, it doesn't make sense to invest in a propellant depots.  One-off upper stages or maybe robotic servicers will do the work until then.

The lander's fuel tanks will be nearly empty so the propellant depot will have to be in a similar orbit to the space station. A long tether could be used.

Quote

Quote
A second ACES transfer stage that pushes a capsule, able to reenter, to DSG permits manned Moon landings.

Now we're back to the airlock, which doesn't come online until 2026 or later.

People going to the Moon and Mars will not use the airlock. They will enter and transfer through the docking ports.

Offline okan170

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Back in 2010 the concept of doing an RTLS of a an orbital-class rocket booster also seemed to be an impossible concept. And yes, it was suggested by that same eccentric billionaire (with the difference that Elon wasn't a billionaire back then).

No, it really wasn't an impossible concept.  You have only to look back at the discussions for years on this site discussing the different ways it was possible to do, or possible to do safely.  We all spent a lot of time figuring out what they were going to do, but especially on this board I think we all pretty much felt it was pretty doable since at least CRS-3 touched down on the ocean.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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If NASA really is scheduling a possible EM-1 date of May 2020, the hard minimum 30 month duration for pad rework prior to EM-2 would put EM-2 at NET Oct 2022.

Offline woods170

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Per waiting on the new EM-1 date.

L2 info shows they are deciding between the "best case" date of December 2019 and a "risk informed" date of Q2 (around May) 2020 for EM-1.
This is getting way beyond ridiculous. We are talking a 3 year delay from the originally NASA-targeted launch date and almost 4 years of delay from the mandated-by-law launch date.

What the h*ll is the delay this time? It can't be all ESM related.

Offline Calphor

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Per waiting on the new EM-1 date.

L2 info shows they are deciding between the "best case" date of December 2019 and a "risk informed" date of Q2 (around May) 2020 for EM-1.
This is getting way beyond ridiculous. We are talking a 3 year delay from the originally NASA-targeted launch date and almost 4 years of delay from the mandated-by-law launch date.

What the h*ll is the delay this time? It can't be all ESM related.
Actually, most of it is. The ESM delivery date keeps sliding. Some of the delays were related to the friction stir weld issues (ie, core stage) and some were driven by software, but by and large the more recent slips are driven by ESM delivery.

Offline Proponent

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If NASA really is scheduling a possible EM-1 date of May 2020, the hard minimum 30 month duration for pad rework prior to EM-2 would put EM-2 at NET Oct 2022.

Apparently the 30 months between EM-1 and -2 has now stretched to 33 months.

Offline redliox

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I'm still curious about Europa Clipper's launch between EM-1 and EM-2.  How vulnerable will it be if either of the Orion launches are delayed?  It still seems to be poised to play guinea pig for the EUS before the crew ride it themselves.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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I'm still curious about Europa Clipper's launch between EM-1 and EM-2.  How vulnerable will it be if either of the Orion launches are delayed?  It still seems to be poised to play guinea pig for the EUS before the crew ride it themselves.
The 30 or 33 month item is for the SLS 1B not EM-2 specifically. So nothing can launch, EC or EM-2 prior to if it is 33 months January 2023.

> 5 years from now.

NG (an SHLV) and Vulcan (an HLV) should be flying regularly by then. With a possibility of BFR also but I don't think I am that optimistic about BFR schedule.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2017 11:42 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline woods170

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Per waiting on the new EM-1 date.

L2 info shows they are deciding between the "best case" date of December 2019 and a "risk informed" date of Q2 (around May) 2020 for EM-1.
This is getting way beyond ridiculous. We are talking a 3 year delay from the originally NASA-targeted launch date and almost 4 years of delay from the mandated-by-law launch date.

What the h*ll is the delay this time? It can't be all ESM related.
Actually, most of it is. The ESM delivery date keeps sliding. Some of the delays were related to the friction stir weld issues (ie, core stage) and some were driven by software, but by and large the more recent slips are driven by ESM delivery.
That's not what I'm hearing from sources at Airbus and NASA. And it is also not what is reflected in ASAP notes and materials available to NAC HEO. All those say the primary delay-driver is the core-stage and that has been the case for (at least) the past 6 months. Second delay-driver is ESM and third is software development efforts.

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