Author Topic: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser  (Read 62167 times)

Offline clongton

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #160 on: 09/19/2014 03:51 PM »
Chris do we have any details on what this “non-abandonment” will consist of?

I believe the 1st paragraph of Chris's story describes what's called an unfunded SAA.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #161 on: 09/19/2014 04:20 PM »
Chris do we have any details on what this “non-abandonment” will consist of?

I believe the 1st paragraph of Chris's story describes what's called an unfunded SAA.
Thanks Chuck, I went back to looked at a couple of articles. I assume SNC will still have access to wind tunnels, the Armstrong flight test range and other facilities...
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Offline daveklingler

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #162 on: 09/19/2014 04:29 PM »
Contrary to popular belief, Ariane 5 isn't "man-rated". Any provisions for crew launches were abandoned when Hermes were cancelled, well before the Ariane 5 development phase.

All of this was discussed in depth in the Liberty threads.  I think the consensus was that ATK was not completely crazy.

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Off the top of my head, manned flights on Ariane would require:
- Expensive redesign work on Ariane, which is unlikely at this point in the launcher's lifecycle.

Man-rating Ariane 5 would be similar in cost to man-rating Atlas V.  The majority of the expense lies in the development of the crewed portion, which in this case has been funded by NASA and Sierra Nevada.

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- Construction of manned operations facilities at Kourou.
- Modifications to the launch pad, including a new launch tower and escape capability.
- Deployment of search and rescue forces for abort situations.

None of those are significant expenses compared to the overall Dream Chaser development cost.

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ESA really doesn't have much interest in manned spaceflight. I don't see ESA or European governments justifying the expense at this stage.

While I agree that ESA has never shown any committed interest in manned spaceflight, I think partnering with Sierra Nevada is a bargain opportunity compared to what it would cost to develop a new vehicle.  Realistically, the current odds of a European crew carrier being developed to completion are absolutely dismal.   For not much more than the cost of a few buildings and a gantry modification, i.e. less than Europe's current manned space budget, it would bring Europe's crew launches over to Ariane and bring a big leap to Europe's LEO space launch capability.

I'm not privy to ESA's accounting practices with regard to launch services, but my bemused outsider's take is that more launches for Ariane would be considered attractive, not to mention no longer depending on the American space agency.

Offline daveklingler

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #163 on: 09/19/2014 04:45 PM »
Do you know if DC is going to have its development funded by ESA or DLR? If DC did get picked up it'd be great. The numbers that just got awarded could indicate that the remaining development cost for DC is substantial. Any info on that?

I would expect that DC could be completed for well under $100M at this point, based on the cost of other manned vehicles over the past couple of decades.  The DC milestones were structured to retire the majority of DC's risk, and what remains is not that substantial.  Remember that the current CC awards are not only for vehicle completion.

SN has, up until now, pursued a strategy closer to Boeing's than that of SpaceX.  The SpaceX strategy was bargain-basement prices, while the Boeing/SN strategy has been to spread development costs over many states by using many levels of subcontractors, thus providing incentives for Congressional support.

That approach is always far more expensive than the SpaceX approach of consolidating everything under one roof.  I don't know what Mark Sirangelo is planning right now, but he has to have reweighed political considerations against cutting DC's remaining R&D costs and getting it operational.  Sierra Nevada is absolutely capable of building DC in-house.

Offline erioladastra

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #164 on: 09/19/2014 11:15 PM »
Do you know if DC is going to have its development funded by ESA or DLR? If DC did get picked up it'd be great. The numbers that just got awarded could indicate that the remaining development cost for DC is substantial. Any info on that?

I would expect that DC could be completed for well under $100M at this point, based on the cost of other manned vehicles over the past couple of decades. 

This shows that you, and I mean this in a nice way, don't understand what is involved.  Just going through NASA's process of certification will take that much.  SpaceX, which many on this board (incorrectly) state is the most ahead is not even close to being within a few hundred million dollars of being complete based on their own budget/award.  DC hasn't even completed a full and formal CDR.  I don't know the amount it would need to complete, but I know it is WAAAAY more than $100M.

Offline AJW

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #165 on: 09/19/2014 11:41 PM »
SpaceX, which many on this board (incorrectly) state is the most ahead is not even close to being within a few hundred million dollars of being complete based on their own budget/award. 

I haven't followed CST-100 development as closely as DV2 and from your statement you appear to assert that CST-100 development is ahead of DV2.  I would be interested to hear your assessment of why you believe that this is the case.

Offline erioladastra

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #166 on: 09/20/2014 04:02 AM »
SpaceX, which many on this board (incorrectly) state is the most ahead is not even close to being within a few hundred million dollars of being complete based on their own budget/award. 

I haven't followed CST-100 development as closely as DV2 and from your statement you appear to assert that CST-100 development is ahead of DV2.  I would be interested to hear your assessment of why you believe that this is the case.

Nope, I don't mean to imply CST-100 is ahead.  My contention is you can't easily evaluate that.   SpaceX has a big advantage with the fact they are flying Dragons.  But there is a lot of work in designing for crew ahead.  Some ways you could measure (e.g., Critical Design Review) you could maybe say they are behind (look at NASA milestones).  Integration with NASA for this program is going to be HUGE.  I would have to say that Boeing is significantly ahead there and SpaceX doesn't quite see the bus about to hit them (hey, not saying this is good, just that is the way it is).  Cargo is/was handled differently.  So my point is you can't just look and clearly state one or another is ahead.  However, I think Boeing would likely agree, that have to move quickly (and by all measures they have mnoved VERY fast the last few years).

Offline AJW

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #167 on: 09/20/2014 05:13 AM »
We do see very different futures and fortunately we won't have to be too patient before we start to see some key trends develop. 

I was very surprised and disappointment last year when NASA extended the Roscosmos contract through 2017 since the SpaceX CC progress with 5 F9 launches already made 2016 and possibly late 2015 appear achievable.  I would certainly rather have seen the $424M go to accelerate the US launch providers including DC development.   The timing of this, like the EELV Block Buy, seemed odd, since delaying the need for CC to 2017 appears to benefit Boeing, and there does not appear to have been a real benefit to rush this contract through.

Based on their development approach, I do have confidence that SpaceX will dodge any incoming bus you describe, but I don't know if their competition can avoid the backlash over significantly higher taxpayer costs for the same service.

Offline Prober

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #168 on: 09/20/2014 01:21 PM »
We do see very different futures and fortunately we won't have to be too patient before we start to see some key trends develop. 

I was very surprised and disappointment last year when NASA extended the Roscosmos contract through 2017 since the SpaceX CC progress with 5 F9 launches already made 2016 and possibly late 2015 appear achievable.  I would certainly rather have seen the $424M go to accelerate the US launch providers including DC development.   The timing of this, like the EELV Block Buy, seemed odd, since delaying the need for CC to 2017 appears to benefit Boeing, and there does not appear to have been a real benefit to rush this contract through.


You asked a lot of the right questions.   Questions that still need to be looked at.   Sadly, several possibilities could that $424M been used to prop up partner Roscosmos?   I doubt another extension like this would be possible for 2018 given the current "political" nature of things.   There are way, way too many questions that could be asked but the mods would trash this post or I'd tick off Chris. >:(
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Offline robertross

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Re: CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser
« Reply #169 on: 09/20/2014 05:56 PM »
We do see very different futures and fortunately we won't have to be too patient before we start to see some key trends develop. 

I was very surprised and disappointment last year when NASA extended the Roscosmos contract through 2017 since the SpaceX CC progress with 5 F9 launches already made 2016 and possibly late 2015 appear achievable.  I would certainly rather have seen the $424M go to accelerate the US launch providers including DC development.   The timing of this, like the EELV Block Buy, seemed odd, since delaying the need for CC to 2017 appears to benefit Boeing, and there does not appear to have been a real benefit to rush this contract through.

Based on their development approach, I do have confidence that SpaceX will dodge any incoming bus you describe, but I don't know if their competition can avoid the backlash over significantly higher taxpayer costs for the same service.

It would be different if SpaceX, Boeing, or SNC had one crew launch under their belt, even if it didn't make it to the ISS. When one talks about managing risk, ensuring one still has a working option trumps all. NASA really had no choice, and congress wasn't helping them all that much.

Regardless, this is where we are, and hopefully they can get those successful flights in before NASA needs to give money to Russia (any more than they have to) to buy seats on a Soyuz.
« Last Edit: 09/20/2014 05:57 PM by robertross »
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