Author Topic: Proposed Europa Missions  (Read 299790 times)

Online Blackstar

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Offline as58

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1501 on: 02/24/2017 07:09 PM »
Is there any official cost estimate for Europa Clipper? Isn't some sort of estimate usually given by the time a mission goes to phase B?

Online Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1502 on: 02/24/2017 09:17 PM »
Is there any official cost estimate for Europa Clipper? Isn't some sort of estimate usually given by the time a mission goes to phase B?

KDP-C, which is the "confirmation" review, is when they produce a cost estimate. There are still a lot of possible changes between B and C.

Note that in the attached graphic, the Preliminary Design Review occurs right before KDP-C. Then the cost estimate is conducted after KDP-C (not shown, but that's when it happens). The way to think of this is that PDR is when the engineering team presents their design and says that it is ready and will not change substantially beyond that point. KDP-C then looks at the engineering and (I think) other factors, and they say "It is confirmed as ready to be developed." Then the cost estimate is performed, and at that point headquarters looks at the cost estimate and decides whether to proceed or to delay or to send things back to the drawing boards.

There are a lot of other major decisions during all of this. For instance, I assume (don't know) that around KDP-C the program managers have been soliciting bids from contractors. You need a star sensor, well, you contact a company that builds star sensors and you ask them to give you a price. And that price is then fed into the cost estimate.
« Last Edit: 02/24/2017 09:36 PM by Blackstar »

Offline vjkane

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1503 on: 02/26/2017 06:03 PM »
Is there any official cost estimate for Europa Clipper? Isn't some sort of estimate usually given by the time a mission goes to phase B?
They are reportedly still managing the project to target ~$2B.  Not clear if that includes launch; I suspect not.  See Blackstar's other post on when official cost estimate is set.

Online Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1504 on: 02/26/2017 09:30 PM »
They are reportedly still managing the project to target ~$2B.  Not clear if that includes launch; I suspect not.  See Blackstar's other post on when official cost estimate is set.

I think that the number is more like $2.5 billion, but it is still under $3 billion.

The presentation about the mission at OPAG was interesting because of what it revealed about instrument development. I assumed that since the contracts were awarded two years ago, the instruments would all be into full hardware production by now. Apparently not. They're doing a number of refinements to the instrument designs even now. For example, the imager is getting color, whereas previously it was panchromatic. What all that indicated to me is that there is still the possibility of the instruments going over budget.

I don't know how all this works (independent cost estimating at KDP-C, that is), but I think that awarding instrument contracts long before KDP-B is reached is unusual, so that is going to affect how the cost estimates shake out. On the one hand, I would assume that the instruments will be sufficiently mature by KDP-C that their costs would be known and that would help the accuracy of the cost estimate. However, on the other hand, I've heard some rumblings about how they may have too many instruments for the actual spacecraft, and that could force design changes that could actually increase the cost. So they might gain in some ways and lose in others.

But that's also the nature of these designs--it's like pushing on a balloon where you press on one side and something pops out elsewhere.

« Last Edit: 02/26/2017 09:34 PM by Blackstar »

Offline JH

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1505 on: 03/07/2017 06:50 PM »
And there you go:

Quote

verified NASA Europa Mission account
@NASAEuropa

It's official! @NASA's mission to explore an ocean world orbiting Jupiter will be called #Europa Clipper. https://www.nasa.gov/europa


https://twitter.com/NASAEuropa/status/839190352871350273

Offline JH

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1506 on: 03/07/2017 09:17 PM »
I was talking to some people attached to the mission at JPL recently and the consensus was that Pappalardo thought of the separate names as a sort of version control. In his mind, Europa Clipper is the 2013 concept and the current mission has evolved away from it enough (moving to solar, for one thing) that a new name was needed in order to distinguish it. I think you're right as far as OMB's reasoning, though.

Offline redliox

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1507 on: 03/07/2017 11:36 PM »
I was talking to some people attached to the mission at JPL recently and the consensus was that Pappalardo thought of the separate names as a sort of version control. In his mind, Europa Clipper is the 2013 concept and the current mission has evolved away from it enough (moving to solar, for one thing) that a new name was needed in order to distinguish it. I think you're right as far as OMB's reasoning, though.

There might have been a logic that they used at JPL. But the pressure to not use "Clipper" came from OMB.

Does this mean we should create an official "Europa Clipper" thread now?  ;D
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Online Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1508 on: 03/16/2017 06:18 PM »
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

The Presidentís 2018 Budget:

ē Reinvigorates robotic exploration of the Solar System by providing $1.9 billion for the Planetary
Science program, including funding for a mission to repeatedly fly by Jupiterís icy ocean moon
Europa and a Mars rover that would launch in 2020.  To preserve the balance of NASAís science
portfolio and maintain flexibility to conduct missions that were determined to be more important
by the science community, the Budget provides no funding for a multi-billion-dollar mission to
land on Europa.  The Budget also supports initiatives that use smaller, less expensive satellites
to advance science in a cost-effective manner.



NASA budget is on pages 43-44 of the attached document.
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 06:24 PM by Blackstar »

Offline redliox

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1509 on: 03/17/2017 02:36 AM »
Apparently Clipper is approved but the lander is being cut.   A pity, but in many ways the lander was a force-fed concept.  Regardless, it can probably afford to wait since it depends on Clipper's data to find an appropriate landing site first anyway.  I also expect Congress to fight a bit over it or at least keep it going as a back burner study, not unlike how Clipper was for many years.
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Offline JH

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1510 on: 03/17/2017 05:17 AM »
Yeah... Culberson is probably going to be Chairman of the House Appropriations CJS Subcommittee for another 4 years. I think he is more likely to shiv Trump than let him can the Europa lander.

Offline Star One

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1511 on: 03/17/2017 05:58 AM »
Yeah... Culberson is probably going to be Chairman of the House Appropriations CJS Subcommittee for another 4 years. I think he is more likely to shiv Trump than let him can the Europa lander.

The lander I expect will be reinstated by Culberson.

Offline vjkane

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1512 on: 03/19/2017 08:56 AM »
Yeah... Culberson is probably going to be Chairman of the House Appropriations CJS Subcommittee for another 4 years. I think he is more likely to shiv Trump than let him can the Europa lander.

The lander I expect will be reinstated by Culberson.
I'm not sure what re-instatement would mean at this point.  As I understand it, a relatively small team is conducting concept studies.  So far as we know there is no official estimate of what the mission would cost (but I'm betting it will be substantially more than Clipper, whose last cost estimate I saw from Eric Berger was $2.7B, although I don't know if that includes the launch vehicle). 

I believe that OMB is telling Culberson that it won't support the ramp up in spending that would come in a couple to a few years if the mission were to be approved to enter Phase A.

Offline Star One

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1513 on: 03/19/2017 03:02 PM »
Yeah... Culberson is probably going to be Chairman of the House Appropriations CJS Subcommittee for another 4 years. I think he is more likely to shiv Trump than let him can the Europa lander.

The lander I expect will be reinstated by Culberson.
I'm not sure what re-instatement would mean at this point.  As I understand it, a relatively small team is conducting concept studies.  So far as we know there is no official estimate of what the mission would cost (but I'm betting it will be substantially more than Clipper, whose last cost estimate I saw from Eric Berger was $2.7B, although I don't know if that includes the launch vehicle). 

I believe that OMB is telling Culberson that it won't support the ramp up in spending that would come in a couple to a few years if the mission were to be approved to enter Phase A.

All the commentary I've read seems to imply if they are trying to send him signals he isn't likely to heed them.

Online Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1514 on: 03/20/2017 02:34 AM »
Yeah, both vjkane and Star One are right, but...

It is very hard to see how both projects could be afforded simultaneously. There's not enough budget to pay for them. I don't know when Mars 2020 finally starts ramping down, but that has to get out of the way before Europa Clipper can really ramp up, and even if EC and the lander cost the same amount, there's not enough in the budget--and my rough guestimate is that the lander is going to cost twice what Europa Clipper costs, if not more.


Offline Archibald

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1515 on: 03/20/2017 04:34 PM »
With a little luck D. J. T won't be re-elected in 2020 (which doesn't mean NASA future would be better)

Mars 2020 is a very important mission so I'm not really shocked to see the uber-expensive Europe lander pushed after it. It makes some sense.

Online Blackstar

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1516 on: 03/20/2017 05:51 PM »
Mars 2020 is a very important mission so I'm not really shocked to see the uber-expensive Europe lander pushed after it. It makes some sense.

Mars 2020 is in the 2011 planetary science decadal survey.

A Europa orbiter is in the 2011 planetary science decadal survey.


Offline vjkane

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1517 on: 03/20/2017 09:28 PM »
Mars 2020 is a very important mission so I'm not really shocked to see the uber-expensive Europe lander pushed after it. It makes some sense.
The two missions may end up having costs within a few hundred million of each other; but caveat, I don't know if the budget numbers I'm hearing include any launch costs.  The Clipper costs certainly don't include the full cost of an SLS launch, but it's uncertain how much of an SLS cost will be charged to SMD

Offline vjkane

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1518 on: 03/20/2017 09:30 PM »
Yeah, both vjkane and Star One are right, but...

It is very hard to see how both projects could be afforded simultaneously. There's not enough budget to pay for them. I don't know when Mars 2020 finally starts ramping down, but that has to get out of the way before Europa Clipper can really ramp up, and even if EC and the lander cost the same amount, there's not enough in the budget--and my rough guestimate is that the lander is going to cost twice what Europa Clipper costs, if not more.
I believe, but haven't looked at the spreadsheets for months, that 2018 is the peak year of funding for Mars 2020

Offline jgoldader

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Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Reply #1519 on: 03/20/2017 11:55 PM »
A good argument could be made for delaying the lander until surface conditions are understood.  Having the lander die by being impaled on ice spikes during terminal descent would be double-plus ungood. But if delaying the lander, hopefully there'd be funding for instrument development and landing strategy studies, so some some of that risk can be bought down in the early, less expensive stages of such an ambitious project.
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