Author Topic: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012  (Read 30585 times)

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #40 on: 08/26/2012 06:11 PM »
Not necessary for Boeing to "flame out". SNC could offer a significant enough cost per seat savings over Boeing that they would receive second place position even if they are a year behind Boeing schedule wise.

Online yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #41 on: 08/26/2012 07:45 PM »
One interesting note about the CPC award is that it will end in July 2014 whereas the CCiCap base period ends in May 2014. There is a gap of a couple of months between the end of the two programs for some reason.

No real gap.  First recall the iCAP base period is through April.  Optional can go past.  Plus CPC is not starting the same day as iCAP did so some delay there.  Plus CPC is to help bridge the gap to certification int he next phase.  No issue here.

I didn't think that it was an issue. I just thought that it was interesting. I think that it could be a positive aspect especially if it allows NASA to exercise a few additional optional milestones for all three companies prior to making another down selection. Hopefully, this will give Dream Chaser enough time to get to CDR.

Unless SNC find a lot of money to pony up it is very unlikely they can get to CDR.  They are already well behind the others and getting half the funding for a complicated vehicle just doesn't make it likely.  They have been put on the back burner should Boeing and SpaceX flame out.

Why is SNC continuing then?
« Last Edit: 08/27/2012 02:45 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #42 on: 08/29/2012 12:13 AM »
Not necessary for Boeing to "flame out". SNC could offer a significant enough cost per seat savings over Boeing that they would receive second place position even if they are a year behind Boeing schedule wise.

Problem with these type statements is anyone who is significantly behind anyone else and says "I can do it better and cheaper, pick me" just has not got to the point where the design is well enough understood to have an accurate cost estimate. 

For the record, I do not believe SNC is significantly behind either Boeing or SpaceX with respect to crewed vehicles. 

Offline tigerade

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #43 on: 08/29/2012 01:29 AM »
Now now guys, play nice.  Most of us are not concerned about the man behind the curtain.  Let's just focus on what's important - getting Americans back in space.  We have 3 great companies working towards that goal.  If one of them is behind, fine, NASA is probably only going to pick one or two for ISS crew services anyway.  We'll still get the capability we need. 

Online yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #44 on: 08/29/2012 01:43 AM »
But it still begs the question: why does SNC continue to invest in DC if NASA  sees them as a third wheel. The answer must be that SNC thinks that it has a business case even if they are not awarded a CTS contract. I can't think of any other explanations. Sierangelo has indicated that they had a plan B for DC if they stopped receiving funding from NASA. What that plan B is, nobody on this forum knows or is willing to tell.
« Last Edit: 08/29/2012 01:50 AM by yg1968 »

Online QuantumG

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #45 on: 08/29/2012 01:50 AM »
I can't think of any other explanations.

I can.. they have a team that has been obsessed with getting this vehicle into space since long before CCDev. Dreamchaser is the legacy of a hero, they feel they owe it to him to finish it.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline joek

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #46 on: 08/29/2012 02:11 AM »
But it still begs the question: why does SNC continue to invest in DC if NASA sees them as a third wheel.

We don't know what this is costing SNC or what SNC figures the resulting IP is likely to be worth.

Online yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #47 on: 08/29/2012 12:39 PM »
But it still begs the question: why does SNC continue to invest in DC if NASA sees them as a third wheel.

We don't know what this is costing SNC or what SNC figures the resulting IP is likely to be worth.

We kind of know what they have invested through an interview with Sierangelo that is posted on L2. The IP is only worth something if you can find a buyer. In their situation, I suspect that they would be looking more for a partner than a buyer.

Offline erioladastra

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #48 on: 08/29/2012 05:16 PM »
Not necessary for Boeing to "flame out". SNC could offer a significant enough cost per seat savings over Boeing that they would receive second place position even if they are a year behind Boeing schedule wise.

For the record, I do not believe SNC is significantly behind either Boeing or SpaceX with respect to crewed vehicles. 

They are definitely behind and why they were not fully funded.  They only got a half because HQ wanted a buffer.  You will note that on the iCAP announcement Jett even comment on the maturity of Boeing and SpaceX.

Offline joek

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #49 on: 08/30/2012 02:00 AM »
But it still begs the question: why does SNC continue to invest in DC if NASA sees them as a third wheel.
We don't know what this is costing SNC or what SNC figures the resulting IP is likely to be worth.
We kind of know what they have invested through an interview with Sierangelo that is posted on L2. The IP is only worth something if you can find a buyer. In their situation, I suspect that they would be looking more for a partner than a buyer.

SNC has more going on than commercial crew.  They don't necessarily need a buyer or a partner to extract value from the IP.  There is also other tangible and intangible value that SNC may accrue.  In short, very difficult to divine their motivation without knowing their broader and longer term strategy and their risk-reward appetite.

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #50 on: 08/30/2012 03:32 AM »
Not necessary for Boeing to "flame out". SNC could offer a significant enough cost per seat savings over Boeing that they would receive second place position even if they are a year behind Boeing schedule wise.

For the record, I do not believe SNC is significantly behind either Boeing or SpaceX with respect to crewed vehicles. 

They are definitely behind and why they were not fully funded.  They only got a half because HQ wanted a buffer.  You will note that on the iCAP announcement Jett even comment on the maturity of Boeing and SpaceX.

A couple of things here.  First note how I said "significantly behind".  None of these vehicles are at CDR-level so proclaiming how some are more "mature" than others is somewhat subjective. 

While "significantly" can also be subjective, I think anyone would have to acknowledge that SNC is also in the hardware development and testing phase, culminating in approach-and-landing style testing hopefully this year. 

Boeing and SpaceX also have the advantage of working the vehicles somewhat earlier than SNC, even before CCDev was announced under various other efforts.  While true the DC is based off the HL-20 and there were various efforts to produce DC with SpaceDev, it never really had the appropriate funding. 

So, all-in-all, I don't believe the playing field is as stacked as you would like to suggest, and if it is, then perhaps the money being spent is being wasted on something that has no chance where it instead could be put to better use.

So which is it?  They have a chance or CCDev/CCiCap, etc is a districation and a waste of funds?

Offline Jim

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #51 on: 08/30/2012 03:47 AM »

So which is it?  They have a chance or CCDev/CCiCap, etc is a districation and a waste of funds?

Everyone has a chance, even ATK.   It depends how much the companies want to put it.  The 1/2  that SNC got makes them like a "hot backup".

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #52 on: 08/30/2012 03:54 AM »

So which is it?  They have a chance or CCDev/CCiCap, etc is a districation and a waste of funds?

Everyone has a chance, even ATK.   It depends how much the companies want to put it.  The 1/2  that SNC got makes them like a "hot backup".

So what happens if both Boeing and SpaceX, which are implied to be the shoe-ins, don't work out for whatever reason but SNC doesn't see the business case to inject massive capital funds?  Even more government money for something called commercial?

So I go back to my original question.  Do they have a chance, on a level-playing field, or is this a waste of funds and someone should just be selected now, or even money diverted to the other two instead, so that we have the necessary capability that much sooner instead of pretending this is something that it is not?

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #53 on: 08/30/2012 04:06 AM »


So what happens if both Boeing and SpaceX, which are implied to be the shoe-ins, don't work out for whatever reason but SNC doesn't see the business case to inject massive capital funds?  Even more government money for something called commercial?

So I go back to my original question.  Do they have a chance, on a level-playing field, or is this a waste of funds and someone should just be selected now, or even money diverted to the other two instead, so that we have the necessary capability that much sooner instead of pretending this is something that it is not?

It really isn't a good idea to select now. Honestly the funds keep SNC moving foward. If Space X or Boeing goofs, overprices, or is unable to carry out the duty then SNC is't that far behind. Selecting two now would just lock you in early(which has risks too).

I like Space X and think they have the least amount to do, but they also have one heavy launch manifest. Boeing is perhaps safer in that regard but who wants to be limited to just one company unless absolutly forced to.
« Last Edit: 08/30/2012 04:07 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #54 on: 08/30/2012 04:10 AM »

So what happens if both Boeing and SpaceX, which are implied to be the shoe-ins, don't work out for whatever reason

Not a credible scenario.

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #55 on: 08/30/2012 04:29 AM »

So what happens if both Boeing and SpaceX, which are implied to be the shoe-ins, don't work out for whatever reason

Not a credible scenario.

Why not, because they received significant government funds?  Or is it something else?  If something else, what exactly?  Is it significant other customers that are providing capital to gain this capability?

And still couldn't both of those other vehicles be accelerated with more money from someone who is not a serious contender because they are "behind"?  And if what e-adastra has suggested is true in the past about there ever being only one ultimate provider, and what you and he both implied about them only being a "hot-backup" and therefore not a real contender at this point, I still ask what is the central point then?  Should we not accelerate just one at the expense of others if that is all that is really ever going to be selected?

After all, you suggested last night what you know is reality and I don't know anything.  So I am looking for that insight to answer my logic-based questions. 

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #56 on: 08/30/2012 04:36 AM »

Why not, because they received significant government funds?  Or is it something else?  If something else, what exactly?  Is it significant other customers that are providing capital to gain this capability?

Boeing isn't a small company and can throw more of it's own internal funds than Space X or SNC. CCDEV isn't 100% government funded.

Quote
And still couldn't both of those other vehicles be accelerated with more money from someone who is not a serious contender because they are "behind"?  And if what e-adastra has suggested is true in the past about there ever being only one ultimate provider, and what you and he both implied about them only being a "hot-backup" and therefore not a real contender at this point, I still ask what is the central point then?  Should we not accelerate just one at the expense of others if that is all that is really ever going to be selected?

Perhaps, but at the risk of locking you into Space X and/or Boeing not a good idea to lock yourself in too early.  IMHO it would work against the idea of commercail crew which is that the companies should invest some of their own money.

The risk of selecting early is that boeing could allow delays to mount(rightnow they have competion with Space X and SNC). The other risk is that Space X has too much on it's plate. It would be like calling two guys over to esitmate your roof. In general you want three or more choices. ATK could get in the last round too but they would have to dump such an amount of money that it is very unlikely they would.
« Last Edit: 08/30/2012 04:39 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #57 on: 08/30/2012 12:30 PM »

So what happens if both Boeing and SpaceX, which are implied to be the shoe-ins, don't work out for whatever reason

Not a credible scenario.

Why not, because they received significant government funds?  Or is it something else?  If something else, what exactly?  Is it significant other customers that are providing capital to gain this capability?

And still couldn't both of those other vehicles be accelerated with more money from someone who is not a serious contender because they are "behind"?  And if what e-adastra has suggested is true in the past about there ever being only one ultimate provider, and what you and he both implied about them only being a "hot-backup" and therefore not a real contender at this point, I still ask what is the central point then?  Should we not accelerate just one at the expense of others if that is all that is really ever going to be selected?

After all, you suggested last night what you know is reality and I don't know anything.  So I am looking for that insight to answer my logic-based questions. 

Jim?  erioladastra?

Offline erioladastra

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #58 on: 08/31/2012 01:28 AM »

Jim?  erioladastra?

All good questions.  Yes, you could make an argument that if you took all the money and put it on one company you might get there faster.  Or if you took the SNC money and put on 1 or 2, you would likely get there faster.  One issue with going to 1 is that if there is a problem (e.g., SpaceX flames out or has failures or decides to focus elsewhere or...just examples, not picking on them) you are screwed.  Boeing would likely say forget it with no money and fold up shop - you are not going to restart easily.  SNC might continue but who knows if they would survive on their own or keep slowly cooking in the background.  Plus having a competition has the companies trying to keep their costs down and schedule tight.  But in the end there will only be one (people can ergue otherwise but if we want to get there before 2020 we have to focus on 1 in the current budget climate on 1 around 2014).  So will the end result be cheaper than if threw the money at only one?  In my opinion, no.  That is because NASA is specifying the requirements - it is not a case where the companies are building their vehicle and then seeing which NASA prefers.  NASA has laid out detailed requirements that are going to be VERY pricey to meet.  So in the end you wont end up with much savings.  So your only benefit is to have a fall back for a longer time frame.

Online yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #59 on: 08/31/2012 01:55 AM »

Jim?  erioladastra?

All good questions.  Yes, you could make an argument that if you took all the money and put it on one company you might get there faster.  Or if you took the SNC money and put on 1 or 2, you would likely get there faster.  One issue with going to 1 is that if there is a problem (e.g., SpaceX flames out or has failures or decides to focus elsewhere or...just examples, not picking on them) you are screwed.  Boeing would likely say forget it with no money and fold up shop - you are not going to restart easily.  SNC might continue but who knows if they would survive on their own or keep slowly cooking in the background.  Plus having a competition has the companies trying to keep their costs down and schedule tight.  But in the end there will only be one (people can ergue otherwise but if we want to get there before 2020 we have to focus on 1 in the current budget climate on 1 around 2014).  So will the end result be cheaper than if threw the money at only one?  In my opinion, no.  That is because NASA is specifying the requirements - it is not a case where the companies are building their vehicle and then seeing which NASA prefers.  NASA has laid out detailed requirements that are going to be VERY pricey to meet.  So in the end you wont end up with much savings.  So your only benefit is to have a fall back for a longer time frame.

Interesting but very worrisome comments. It also confirms what I feared might happen, commercial crew is becoming less and less commercial and more and more like any other government program with very detailed requirements and no competition among providers. The pricey requirements that you mention (which likely relate to a very involved certification program) might also explain why Blue Origin dropped out and why SpaceX is less enthusiastic about the program than you would normally expect. The opponents of commercial crew (such as chairman Wolf) lost the initial battle with the passage of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act but will have won the war if only one expensive provider remains in 2014. If this happens, commercial crew will have been a lost opportunity.

Hopefully, it's not too late to reverse course before 2014. For one thing, NASA should refuse to down select to one commercial provider for certification and CTS regardless of the funding levels from Congress. Secondly, CTS and CRS2 should be either combined or awarded at the same time in order to benefit from economies of scale. Thirdly, NASA should go ahead with the CCiCap optional milestones and a lite certification phase (i.e., stick to the COTS model).
« Last Edit: 08/31/2012 03:23 AM by yg1968 »

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