Author Topic: SLS EM-1 & -2 launch dates realign; EM-3 gains notional mission outline  (Read 12497 times)

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.

Online envy887

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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.

Online 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.

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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.

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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 »

Offline 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.

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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!

Online 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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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 »

Offline 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.

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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.

Online 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

Online 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.

Online Chris Bergin

There's always a blame game. The Orion end of the stack blamed Ares I during the CxP schedule stretch and it turned out it was mainly their end. I think we all remember the flapping over Thurst Oscillation, which was overplayed. Orion's continual changes were feeding down to Ares I, not the other way around. Orion said they had to keep changing because Ares I couldn't lift it. Back and forth. Probably needed better project management.

ESM certainly gets a lot of the blame. I think a lot of that is valid when they have to send an ESM minus some of its tanks just to protect some schedule.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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There's always a blame game. The Orion end of the stack blamed Ares I during the CxP schedule stretch and it turned out it was mainly their end. I think we all remember the flapping over Thurst Oscillation, which was overplayed. Orion's continual changes were feeding down to Ares I, not the other way around. Orion said they had to keep changing because Ares I couldn't lift it. Back and forth. Probably needed better project management.

ESM certainly gets a lot of the blame. I think a lot of that is valid when they have to send an ESM minus some of its tanks just to protect some schedule.
A bit of experience about scheduling/task management and how crucial upper management is in keeping things on schedule by immediately identifying a schedule problem and quickly resolving the schedule problem. As part of the VAFB Shuttle pad SLC-6 effort in the 1985-87 timeframe, I got an up close look at how it should be done by a very accomplished complex project task manager (a certain Colonel who previous project was the F-15 based anti-sat project that was able to come in under budget, under schedule and be successful). He and his picked staff resolved scheduling problems quickly by maintaining a detailed tasking schedule with it's very complex inter-dependencies. That was my first introduction to a sophisticated task scheduling software. I was the computer security officer for the complete Shuttle Pad project.

The general item I want to make is that controlling the schedule (and costs) by refocusing effort where really needed was a weekly even daily task by the project management staff. It was the number one priority of the staff and what took most of their time. That was even with a sophisticated scheduling task management software equal to anything currently used. Now days such software runs on a PC distributed over a private network but then it was a minicomputer dedicated to just that one task with its own large format printer. Each week a new color coded chart showing the trouble tasks and all of the dependencies between the tasks that was 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide was hung on the wall of the Project Manager's office. An ever present focus on getting stuff done and maintaining schedule. Basically the analysis on when the new end date was and which way it was moving and how much with what was the reason (task delayed) that caused it was done every week. None of this we will study the problem and give you a new date in 3 months. This staff knew exactly where the end date was and why it was there instead of some other date and they knew at almost a constant (updated weekly with detailed task information) what the end date was.

When a project says... "Uh...We will get back to you in 3 months to tell you what our new end date schedule is." It is because they are not doing a good job of project management at a high enough task management level elevated to the Project Management weekly view of where the project is at what the problems are what changed and became the new "show stopper" and why. Because if they where doing a good job of project management they would have the new date just by looking at the latest (at least a weekly analysis) task scheduling analysis output.

Offline woods170

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There's always a blame game. The Orion end of the stack blamed Ares I during the CxP schedule stretch and it turned out it was mainly their end. I think we all remember the flapping over Thurst Oscillation, which was overplayed. Orion's continual changes were feeding down to Ares I, not the other way around. Orion said they had to keep changing because Ares I couldn't lift it. Back and forth. Probably needed better project management.

ESM certainly gets a lot of the blame. I think a lot of that is valid when they have to send an ESM minus some of its tanks just to protect some schedule.

Understood. But a full year delay? Launch date for EM-1 was officially still NET December 2018 just a few months ago and it got bumped to (unofficially) NET December 2019 recently. A full 12-months delay over some ESM tanks? That sounds unlikely to me. Particularly given the fact that all the tankage for the ESM STA was delivered on schedule.

It's not as if ESM tankage suffered the same screw-up that has affected the EM-1 Core Stage tankage.
And now that I touched the latter subject: what is the latest status on the EM-1 Core Stage tankage? Somewhere I lost track. Is NASA still planning to flight-certify the qual tanks or are they going to produce a whole new set of tanks for the EM-1 Core Stage?
« Last Edit: 10/18/2017 06:32 AM by woods170 »

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