Author Topic: What would a better CxP have looked like?  (Read 41227 times)

Offline Lobo

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What would a better CxP have looked like?
« on: 01/04/2013 11:31 PM »
I thought about attaching this to a previous hypothetical thread of mine:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30229.0

But, after reading a little more of the ESAS report when I had some time to kill, I ran across some things I hadn’t read before (over 700 pages, so that’s not too odd).

Now, the original version of CxP doesn’t seem -too- bad in theory really.  Air-started SSME, use of STS 4-seg for Ares 1 to get Oriong flying quickly.  Then a longer development for Ares V which would include the 5-seg with HTPB fuel, then upgrading Ares 1 to a 5-seg at that time for commonality.  But if I am understanding it correctly, the main reason they went with the 1.5 architecture, was because they had a pre-determined lunar architecture requirement, and the 1.5 SRB architecture was the only way they could meet that, and per their numbers, was only marginally more expensive than EELV derived options.  And they had several pages explaining why they didn’t go with EELV’s.

So, my first question for those around here “in the know”, is was NASA’s reasoning for the selection of the original version of Ares 1 and Ares V (LV 13.1 and 27.3) legitimate?  They do explain in length that they did evaluate EELV’s and EELV derived options, and found them to be wanting.  Various issues with T/W ratio at take off and how that effected the ability to carry large upper stages, man-rating RS-68 and RD-180, and infrastructure changes.  I’m no expert, so their explanations seem reasonable to me.  But are their other opinions on that?
Assuming CxP was directly LV 13.1/27.3, rather than what it morphed in to, would that have been viable given budgetary considerations?  Or was that still too expensive?
They mentioned in several places that LV 13.1/27.3 is the only one that gets them the performance they need, but couldn’t they have revised their performance requirements down some to fit into some more feasible options?
The obvious answer for some on this will be “Direct”, and they seem to evaluate Direct-like LV’s.  LV 24 and 25.  A J-130 anyway.  But they seemed fixated on launching the crew on the stick, so the turned the ET-sized core with 4-seg boosters and 3XSSME into one Ares 1 launch plus two J-130 launches if I understand them correctly.  They really don’t seem to evaluate LV24/25 as a two-launch system with no Stick.  Am I missing something?  Or is that correct?





So, I suppose the points of this hypothetical exercise are two fold.
1)   What would have been the best CxP given what ESAS evaluated?
2)   What was the best system not evaluated by ESAS for CxP?

 For #1, assuming NASA could/would have adjusted their lunar mission requirements down some, is there another ESAS option that would have really been a good one?

For #2, Direct would probably be a candidate.  What about others?

As for the options ESAS did consider, I sort of like 6.6.4.5, which is an AVP2 stick for the crew launcher, and Atlas Phase 3A for the cargo launcher.  Sounds like the cargo and crew launcher would need a new upper stage, something like ACES maybe.

I do sort of see their rationale for having a small crew launcher to worry about man rating/egress, etc., and then launch everything else on a big, dumb cargo launcher where you can used non-man rated expendable engines, etc.  So I think I see why NASA seemed to be going that route rather than launching the crew on a HLV.   
I think maybe a good system that never got evaluated (Besides Direct) would be basically AJAX, but with a Delta IV Heavy for the crew launcher with man-rated RS-68’s.…and RS-68’s on the AJAX core for commonality, and RS-25 could retired completely. 
AJAX is the dumb launcher, and D4H is what you make your nice, safe crew launcher. 
ESAS did evaluate D4H as a crew launcher, and it seems it would have been ok for a crew launcher for lunar mission, but would need a “new multi-engine upper stage” for human rating requirements, and some performance deficiencies in ISS servicing.  Doesn’t the DCSS have 2 RL-10’s?  Not sure what they mean there.  I would think a DCSS could be modified for human rating, and perhaps stretched some and flown with two RL-10’s for Crew launch, and that should do it.   Is that LV-4? (Page 396).  And that performance actually would even be better later with the RS-68A engine that was developed anyway, and better if crossfeed was added. (so there’s options for even better ISS cargo servicing to grow into)
It sounds like the upper stage, man-rating RS-68, and a system to clear GH2 from the base of the LV prior to launch were the only concerns NASA had with D4H.  Not really deal breakers considering LV 13.1 needed a whole new upper stage too.  I suppose they figured the man rated 4-seg and SSME could be used for LV 13.1 with little modification, and that seemed faster/cheaper than modifying D4H.  We know better now!  :-)
A new large EDS would be needed for AJAX too, but that would be needed for Ares V or SLS anyway. 
This way the Russian RD-180’s are cargo booster engines only, and NASA’s astronauts are flying on US engines.  D4H was already flying, so that would have been an easy transition for it to launch Orion.  Just a modified DCSS and man-rating of the RS-68 and we would be back in the HSF business.

What are other people’s thoughts?

Offline Lars_J

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #1 on: 01/05/2013 01:03 AM »
A better CxP would not have used Ares I. The "1.5" architecture was always misleading and the wrong choice. It is two launches - just be honest and deal with it.

A better CxP would just have one launch vehicle - Direct style. (i.e with adjustable performance)

Offline TomH

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #2 on: 01/05/2013 04:05 AM »
Assuming that they did still use the 1.5 launch architecture, it would have gone with a big Kerolox booster, much like the Dynetics 2 x F-1A. This would have served as the Ares I first stage as well as the Ares V booster. Ares I would then not have required J-2X, pared down Orion, and underpowered SM. With the LRBs, the Ares V first stage could have stayed with the 8.4m core and RS-68 and they'd never have had the dog chasing its tail insanity of changing engines and core diameter. A common large upper stage (like S-IVB was) could have been developed using J-2S or multiple RL-10 or one of RL-10's various proposed upgrades; this would be 2nd stage on Ares I and 3rd stage on Ares V. The Ares V 2nd stage would use multiple J-2S and would have burned out at a higher velocity than S-II on Saturn V, leaving stage 3 as mainly an EDS. The descent stage of Altair would not have had to be so oversized due to not having LOI requirement. Alternately, had they still wanted to do LOI with Altair, it would have had drop tanks rather than taking the big tanks all the way to the surface.

Ares V would have gone up from one pad placing Altair and EDS into LEO. A robust Orion CSM would have gone to EOR shortly thereafter from the other pad on Ares I. After rendezvous and docking, the Ares V stage 3/EDS would send Orion/Altair into TLI. The SM would have been Apollo like in performing LOI.

The entire cascade of problems stemmed from that SRB derived first stage on Ares I. Had they started with something like the Dynetics booster, it might have all worked. Both stages of Ares I would have been working parts of Ares V, and the resulting 2 rockets would have shared more similarity. Things would not have spiraled out of control and the number of Lunanauts might by now, or a short time from now, have numbered greater than one dozen.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2013 04:36 AM by TomH »

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #3 on: 01/05/2013 04:15 AM »
Again how do you do .5 a launch???

Offline TomH

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #4 on: 01/05/2013 04:22 AM »
Again how do you do .5 a launch???

Assuming you are not being tongue-in-cheek (I know perhaps you are  :) ), it's more like the show Two and a Half Men, just a metaphor for two full sized men and a third (half grown male) who's not as large. You have two rockets, one really large and the other about 0.5 times the size of the first (though still huge). It's the architecture that is 1.5, not the number of launches. Some might see it like a bad joke: sending up one and a half rockets in two launches.

Following STS-107, Griffin felt strongly (some would say obsessively) about sending up most of the cargo on a mega CLV (cargo launch vehicle), then sending the crew on a smaller LV with as little propellant and as little hardware as possible other than their capsule, so that the crew launch would be as safe as possible. Many felt using a modified SRB for the ride up defeated that purpose and gave a particular irony to the whole notion.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2013 05:19 AM by TomH »

Offline HIP2BSQRE

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #5 on: 01/05/2013 05:28 AM »
Again how do you do .5 a launch???

Assuming you are not being tongue-in-cheek (I know perhaps you are  :) ), it's more like the show Two and a Half Men, just a metaphor for two full sized men and a third (half grown male) who's not as large. You have two rockets, one really large and the other about 0.5 times the size of the first (though still huge). It's the architecture that is 1.5, not the number of launches. Some might see it like a bad joke: sending up one and a half rockets in two launches.

Following STS-107, Griffin felt strongly (some would say obsessively) about sending up most of the cargo on a mega CLV (cargo launch vehicle), then sending the crew on a smaller LV with as little propellant and as little hardware as possible other than their capsule, so that the crew launch would be as safe as possible. Many felt using a modified SRB for the ride up defeated that purpose and gave a particular irony to the whole notion.

And we all know what Griffin cost the US taxpayer...for very little progresss

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #6 on: 01/05/2013 06:28 AM »
Again how do you do .5 a launch???

Assuming you are not being tongue-in-cheek (I know perhaps you are  :) ), it's more like the show Two and a Half Men, just a metaphor for two full sized men and a third (half grown male) who's not as large. You have two rockets, one really large and the other about 0.5 times the size of the first (though still huge). It's the architecture that is 1.5, not the number of launches. Some might see it like a bad joke: sending up one and a half rockets in two launches.

Following STS-107, Griffin felt strongly (some would say obsessively) about sending up most of the cargo on a mega CLV (cargo launch vehicle), then sending the crew on a smaller LV with as little propellant and as little hardware as possible other than their capsule, so that the crew launch would be as safe as possible. Many felt using a modified SRB for the ride up defeated that purpose and gave a particular irony to the whole notion.

Yea, "1.5" is a misnomer obviously.  it's like being a "little" pregnant.  You are pregnant, or you are not...there is no being 0.5 pregnant.

But, I think it's just a convention for saying a small LV and a large LV, vs. two similar sized LV's, which would be a "2 launch" architecture.

For two launches of any size, I can see a bit of an issue with two similar sized launchers.  You have 3 elements for an expendable lunar architecture like CxP or Apollo.  And in LEO, they are all sort of -roughly- the same size.  Not quite, but you know what I'm getting at.  CxP had a 23mt-ish Orion CSM (with LAS), a 45mt lander, and some large 50mt-ish EDS (I think).
But if you have two launches, it's a bit difficult to properly distribute those 3 elements.  I'm going to guess and say this is why NASA seemed to only be considering options that were "1.5" or "2.5", which was always a relatively small crew launcher, and then either one really big cargo launcher for EDS and Lander, or two more medium sized cargo launchers, with the lander on one, and EDS on the other.

So, in theory, I suppose using one of the big cargo launcher's SRB's for the crew launcher seems like a feasible way to go with commonality.  It just didn't work out like that, and NASA seemed to stubbornly forge ahead rather than pause for awhile to re-evaluate when major problems started cropping up.
But even if it seemed like a good idea on paper, the 1.5 launch CxP was still NASA having to develop two new launchers, even if there were some common components.  Plus a new lander...plus a new EDS, plus a new CSM.
That seems like a LOT of new elements, even if there is some commonality. 
Seems like if they could have tried to roll EELV commonality into it, and use Delta IV Heavy as the crew launcher, then you are cutting down the development of one LV.  The big, bad cargo launcher will be new anyway, so putting new EELV derived boosters on it shouldn't be too bad...no matter how "shuttle derived" it is, it will still be a new rocket...as we are seeing with SLS.  So instead of trying to build a new LV out of a new LV's booster, use an existing LV, and make the new [cargo] LV's boosters out of -that-. 
Not only are you not development as much hardware, you are using hardware that's cost shared with USAF.

Atlas Phase 2 could be used too, even with perhaps F-1A powered 5m boosters instead of RD-180's, but I think the only way that beats D4H+AJAX, is if USAF and ULA agree to an accross-the-board change in ULA's LV's.  D4H is replaced with AVP2, and D4 is used for the medium launches.  RD-180 is dropped and 1 or 2 F-1A's used.  So USAF helps pay for, or at least agrees to use, AVP2 for it's heavy lifters instead of D4H or AV-551.  And a common 5m upper stage like ACES replaces DCSS and Centaur.
If NASA, USAF, and ULA agreed to something like that, then I think AVP2+ AJAX (powered by AVP2 boosters) would perhaps an overall better system than D4H+AJAX.

But if not, I think D4H + AJAX (at least 4 AV boosters) gets you the 1.5 architecture with the least amount of new development.  AJAX is big enough to launch two of the three lunar elements, and D4H with a modified DCSS can launch Orion CSM.  AV/RD-180 doesn't need to be man rated, nor does AJAX itself.  Just D4H.

And D4H is used for crew and cargo supply both for the ISS, so commercial crew and cargo is never really needed.  But not saying they couldn't still be developed, as the overall cost of commercial cargo and crew ISS service might be less than Orion and D4H doing it.

Or, going back to Direct, you have two "medium-heavy" launchers.  Direct could almost do the CxP LSAM and orion on a J-130.  Maybe if there was a lander that used a crasher stage instead of a descent module like the CxP LSAM, then one launch could launch the big EDS and the crasher stage on top, with a cradle.  Then the other launch is Orion CSM on top of the smaller lander.  In LEO, Orion flips, docks with the lander, and maneuvers it to dock in the cradle on the crasher stage.
It'd take a little creativity, but I'm sure the lunar architecture could fit on two similar sized LV's.



Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #7 on: 01/05/2013 06:42 AM »
Actually, D4H + AJAX concept beggs an idea.

The entire Orion stack can launch on SLS, but...
Instead of a Block 2, develop block 1B, then launch the Orion CSM on a FH, which should be already almost all man-rated with the man rating of commercial crew for ISS.  One of the STS MLP's could be modified to launch a FH from KSC from pad 39A while SLS launches from pad 39B.   Or perhaps easier, would be to launch Orion/FH from wherever Dragonrider launches from (assuming SpaceX gets a commercial crew award).  The crew access and egress systems for Dragon on an F9 going to the ISS will be pretty much the same height as Orion on FH.  The LV isn't any taller.  Whether that's at LC-40 or at KSC.

Block 2 is never needed.  And the crew launching on FH is only when the mission requirements exceed what Block 1B can do. 


Online MATTBLAK

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #8 on: 01/05/2013 06:44 AM »
CXP alternates: what Golden Spike wants to do now would have been a fairly plausible, 'bare bones' approach that Griffin might have been able to sell. But he didn't even try to make it future-proof against the U.S. economy getting in trouble. Ares 1 was too small and an expensive, needless duplication of boosters that already existed. Or boosters that could've been modified quickly & fairly cheaply to do the job (despite what Dr Griffin and some of his minions would say - and did say on this very website a few years back).

Ares V was too big, too expensive and too much a departure from Shuttle-derived. The John Shannon team's Side-Mount HLV - and I have to get this point out of the way first: despite being inferior to the Jupiter-Direct family - might have been deployed quicker than Jupiter and would have been adequate for a two-launch Lunar Mission architecture:



If keeping the Shuttle infrastructure up and running was 'The Law', it would have fitted the bill. The Shannon HLV would have been ready quicker than the Orion & Altair manned spacecraft. So as a result, the many more billions that would have gone into Ares 1 & V could have kept Shuttles flying for 3 or 4 more years at a minimal rate to ISS and developed the HLV. A pair of Orbiters flying up to 3 missions total per year, then phase them out when Orion was ready and phase in the HLV & Altair after that. No loss of sovereign American human launch capability in the interim. Also, with minimum infrastructure and vehicle mouldline change the HLV could have gotten 100 metric tons into LEO or sent about 50 metric tons on Trans Lunar Injection.

Or My Preference: A fleet of Atlas V Phase 2 EELVs as the launchers (look it up) --   http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/EELVPhase2_2010.pdf  -- doing a 2x launch Lunar mission architecture. Atlas V Phase 2 triple core HLV's, launched in pairs from modified Pads 39A & B - either rendezvous in LEO for assembly then TLI for the Moon, or send the Altair first directly to Lunar orbit and the Orion rendezvous with it later. Or if staged from Lagrange Point 1, a higher mass and more capable Altair could be used. With a Propellant Depot at L-1 a reusable version of Altair could be developed. Not to mention a Cargo-Only derivative for Lunar Outpost buildup.

Alternatively - and like Golden Spike: if off the shelf or slightly modified EELVs were the launch vehicles, a 4x launch mission architecture could be developed. And later on once an L-1 Propellant Depot had been established, a 3x launch architecture.

It makes me weep for the missed opportunities and wasted money. By the year 2013, NASA could have been well into the development of its lunar outpost goal. But for now, we are still in the Powerpoint and armchair space engineer age...  :'(
« Last Edit: 11/02/2014 08:25 PM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #9 on: 01/05/2013 07:32 PM »
Well, for the purpose of this exercise, we are rolling back time to the ESAS evaluation, and either choosing a different option than CxP, or looking at something that wasn't evaluated.

They did evaluate both an inline and side mount SDHLV, but didn't pick them.  One problem with side mount for a crew launcher is the proximity of the crew to the tank.
Also, they evaluated EELV options, and rejected them for various reasons.  So one of my questions for people is if those reasons they rejected them were "legitimate" or "thumb on the scale" reasons.

Side mount might have technically been a l little faster, but I don't know about cheaper becuase of that big carrier shell design vs, just a standard and well understood interstage adaptor and payload fairing.  Not to mention inline is just a much more efficient vehicle once you have it.  That's all been discussed in older threads.  Sidemount seems faster and easier, but that big aeroshell is the problem to design.  With Direct, all there was to design was a new MPS on the core, and a new 8.4m PLF.
Direct could have used whatever upper stage was shown in that sidemount video (DCSS maybe?) instead of JUS too. 
During Augustine, Shannon showed a two launch sidemount architecture using Orion and a lander more the size of Apollo's LEM, and using two upper stages and LOR.  IT would have been similar to Apollo capacity wise, but he said it would have worked, just been "less capable" than CxP.

Inline could have done the same thing.  A J231/246 could have been put off, and just a J-130 built, as they looked at in LV 24/25 in ESAS. 
And with two DCSS type upper stages like Shannon's sidemount presentation, the same architecture could have been done.  Direct just had a more efficient design with a larger upper stage/EDS on one launch, and the Orion and Lander on the other.  But, it looks like, during ESAS, they'd already set that they wanted a 45mt lander, and so it seems all of these medium-heavy SD vehicles were discarded because they'd need 3 launches for the hardware they wanted.  however, if they just scaled down the lander some, two J130 (or LV 24/25) or two sidemounts could have done it fine, as Shannon said during Augustine.

Anyway, so going back to ESAS, a J130 should have been able to be built and flying by 2010, which was the shuttle retirement date at that time, or very shortly after.

Thinking about it a little more, perhaps another idea would have been for NASA to pay all or part of the development of Atlas Phase 2, using either RD-180's, a US built RD-180, or a single F-1A maybe.  And have it man-rated.  That would be the ISS crew launcher.
If started in 2004, it should have been ready to take crews to the ISS by 2010 or 2011.
Then, after the shuttle is retired and Orion flying to the ISS, develop basically a J-120, but with a pair of Atlas Phase 2 boosters in place of the 4-seg SRB's, and upgraded and man-rated RS-68R's.   The performance of the AVP2 boosters should be pretty close to the 4-segs I'd think, maybe even better.
D4H and AV are both essentially retired, and D4 is used for medium EELV launches with the upgraded RS-68, and AVP2 for heavier ones.  Orion goes to ISS on AVP2 (and could launch from LC-41 perhaps), and it's used for J-130's boosters. 
A new ACES like upper stage could be used accross the line and maybe for the J130's too, perhaps instead of needing a JUS.  A smaller ACES with one or two RL-10's for AVP2 and Delta IV, and a stretched one with four RL-10's for J-120.

Ok, so basically the man-rated RS-68regen is developed in place of the RS-25E.  I figure those costs to be about the same.
J2X and 5-seg boosters are never developed.
The main project from ESAS to 2010 is AVP2 with man-rated engines.
J-120 doesn't need to start until after that.  Ablataive RS-68's could even be used at first until the regen ones were ready, for a performance penalty.
The boosters would already be ready and flying by the time J-120 development started, so only the core itself would need to be designed.
And, if you didn't want to worry about man-rating the J-120 with RS-68's, a 3-launch architecture could be looked at.  AVP2 with Orion launching from LC-40, and the two J-120's launching from pads 39A and 39B.

Either way, now NASA has a launcher that has a lot of commonlity with EELV's, but essentially have thier own HLV, which isn't as huge as Ares V or SLS. 

Just a thought.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #10 on: 01/05/2013 07:51 PM »
There are basically three options that, IMO at least, would have been quicker, cheaper and possibly generally better.  I've listed them in order of speed and cost.

1) Something like the EELV Phase-1 proposals - Minimum change on existing launchers has got to be a good thing;

2) Having a DIRECT-style scalable D-SDLV - A single launcher type speeds up development and gives you more money and time to spend on payloads;

3) Build a completely new scalable Kerolox-core 25-100t IMLEO launcher similar to the Atlas-V Phase-2/3A - The most costly as you'll be developing just about new everything.  However, it would actually be a better option if you are wedded to the "1.5-Launch" concept as you won't need a different core for your CaLV heavy lifter, just a cluster of your CLV cores and maybe a wide-body upper stage.


[edit]
Just an additional point - I believe that ESAS assessed that the D-SDLV (similar to what became DIRECT) was the best shuttle-derived option and, because of the political objective of maintaining the shuttle infrastructure, should have been the selected architecture.  IIRC, they had to have a lengthy 'appendix' full of dodgy assumptions to get the Ares Launch System to come out on top.  I believe that this appendix was kept secret for some time.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2013 07:54 PM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Offline Thorny

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #11 on: 01/05/2013 08:40 PM »
The descent stage of Altair would not have had to be so oversized due to not having LOI requirement. Alternately, had they still wanted to do LOI with Altair, it would have had drop tanks rather than taking the big tanks all the way to the surface.

Altair performing LOI enables unmanned missions to the Moon, such as moon base logistics support or equipment (big rover) pre-positioning, without requiring another expensive Orion with a crew to fly on the mission. So I'd go with the drop tanks.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #12 on: 01/06/2013 01:31 AM »

3) Build a completely new scalable Kerolox-core 25-100t IMLEO launcher similar to the Atlas-V Phase-2/3A - The most costly as you'll be developing just about new everything.  However, it would actually be a better option if you are wedded to the "1.5-Launch" concept as you won't need a different core for your CaLV heavy lifter, just a cluster of your CLV cores and maybe a wide-body upper stage.

Good assessment.  I didn't read that appendix you mentioned.

AS to your #3 here, ESAS did look at this and found reasons not to go with them.  But I think if some discussions and cooperation could have been done between NASA and USAF to work together on EELV options that would work for both of them...I sort of think this would have been the most cost effective path in the long run.

Then you are basically only developing one new stick, and scaling it up as needed.

Offline spectre9

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #13 on: 01/06/2013 02:26 AM »
No ATK.

Giant 5-segs and keeping ATK in the money was the biggest problem.

Unfortunately... well  ::)

Offline jeff.findley

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #14 on: 01/07/2013 06:35 PM »
The best CxP, IMHO, would have been switching to all commercial launches with NASA pushing technology forward (similar to NACA, back in the day) done in parallel with NASA developing a first generation LOX/LH2 orbital fuel depot.  I'd also have kept Orion, Altair, and EDS (launched on a commercial launcher). 

Having NASA focus more on the actual beyond LEO part of CxP should have been emphasized instead of the "1.5 launch" architecture, which only gets you to LEO when you assume the EDS is classified as part of the "beyond LEO" part of the program.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #15 on: 01/07/2013 07:58 PM »
No ATK.

Giant 5-segs and keeping ATK in the money was the biggest problem.

Unfortunately... well  ::)

YEa, I think something that -should- have been an absolute non-negotiable for ESAS options was to maximize commonality with EELV's, and thus other government launch operations. 
I think NASA discussions with USAF as to where they could compromise in good faith would have been really helpful.
Ideally, that would have been a discussion better done during the EELV competition, if NASA had done an ESAS evaluation then for a replacement for STS, basically a NLS redux combined with EELV, and not waited until after Columbia, a shared infrastructure could have been put into place.

Expanding on that, had NASA and USAF put out RFQ's for say a 5m dia kerolox booster replacement for the Shuttle SRB's, with something around 2Mlb thrust each, they could have gotten something like Atlas Phase 2, with a new F-1A single engine perhaps, instead of a pair of RD-180’s (I think NASA was leery of staged combustion engines for HSF boosters because of a perceived lower reliability of them? So the GG F-1A might have been an appealing option).  Which should have been an adequate LRB replacement for the Shuttle 4-seg SRB while it kept flying while a replacement capsule program was slowly developed and phased in. 
So the winning bidder builds a 5m CCB that can act as both a shuttle booster –AND- a stand alone first stage.  It uses a single modernized F-1 engine.  And they build a new 5m upper stage adequately sized to get payloads to LEO and GTO.  Perhaps something like a longer 5m DCSS with 2-4 RL-10 engines, depending on the mission.  Essentially Atlas Phase 2 with an F-1 derivative engine.  USAF launches their payloads on this EELV, and perhaps using Delta 2 for their smaller payloads.  That EELV, once developed, really shouldn’t cost any more than a Delta IV Medium+ (5,2), but it wouldn’t even need the GEM-60 solids, but it would a maximum performance of a Delta IV or better.  It could actually  cost much less considering STS would be using the booster as well, and no GEM-60’s to buy.
Once Orion was developed, it could be phased in while the Shuttle is retired, and immediately there is a single stick LV capable of taking it to the ISS plus a good deal of cargo, so there’d be no gap.  Then NASA could start work on a new HLV.  That could either be a 3-core “Heavy” version of this LV growing to a  5-core AVP3a with a larger upper stage, or, if politics demanded an 8.4m core built at MAF, they could have basically done a Jupiter-130 continuing to use these LRB’s on an ET-derived core with RS-25E’s, and a new 8.4m upper stage.  But they wouldn’t need that for ISS, just the single booster stick that the USAF was using.


Ironically, something similar could have been done if the USAF had chosen a 4-seg shuttle SRB derived EELV instead of Atlas and Delta back in the late 90’s.  I don’t know if such a concept was ever even considered, but really there was probably no reason it couldn’t have worked.  Especially if an air-startable RS-25 was used, like was the original plan for Ares 1 with 4-seg booster, so that would be shared with NASA too.  As I understand, RS-25 could be air started once, but not twice.  That would have been fine for Ares 1 or an EELV, but not for an Ares V upper stage…which needed two burns…so they scrapped that and went with J2X so both Ares LV used the same upper stage engine? (perhaps I’m wrong in that).
So, the EELV’s are Delta 2 and 4-seg Ares 1 (augmented with a small upper stage when necessary for BLEO)
And once the Shuttle was retired, NASA just switches to basically to Ares 1 for sending Orion to the ISS, and Direct’s Jupiter rocket for BLEO missions (2 Jupiter launches).

And while that would have probably been better than the way we went, I still like doing it with liquids rather than solids.  :-)

However, that would assume rewinding time to the pre-Columbia accident EELV competition with more foresight than there was at that time.  And thus we’ll stick with the ESAS study as the starting point for this hypothetical.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #16 on: 01/07/2013 08:22 PM »
However, the one configuration that I didn’t see in the ESAS report, would basically be a Jupiter, aka LV 24/25, but with Atlas Phase 2 boosters instead of SRB’s.  Which is funny, because they evaluated an 8.4m hydrolox  core with four RS-68 engines and two Atlas V or two Delta IV boosters for a cargo launcher, and they evaluated Atlas Phase 2 single stick for a crew launcher.  So they were sniffing around the endges, but seemingly missing a more optimal desing.
I’m assuming these options had four RS-68’s because two EELV boosters would be too under powered and have too low of a T/W ratio.  And thus it also needed an upper stage with a whopping four J-2S engines to even get to LEO.  And even then, it didn’t have as much capacity as an Atlas Phase 2 tri-core heavy…which only needed an RL-10 upper stage. 
So of course it’s not a very desirable LV.

But…they missed taking that same 8.4m core and two Atlas Phase 2 boosters, along with using the Atlas Phase 2 single stick for Orion to the ISS missions.
Put two RS-68’s, or three RS-25’s on the core.
Even if they considered that a 3-launch option like they did with LV 24/25, why not look at it if you are evaluating AVP2 options anyway?  It would seem an obvious option, and the Atlas Phase 2 would be roughly equal to the 4-seg SRB.   

Curious it wasn’t looked at.

Offline hyper_snyper

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #17 on: 01/07/2013 08:38 PM »
The best CxP, IMHO, would have been switching to all commercial launches with NASA pushing technology forward (similar to NACA, back in the day) done in parallel with NASA developing a first generation LOX/LH2 orbital fuel depot.  I'd also have kept Orion, Altair, and EDS (launched on a commercial launcher). 

Having NASA focus more on the actual beyond LEO part of CxP should have been emphasized instead of the "1.5 launch" architecture, which only gets you to LEO when you assume the EDS is classified as part of the "beyond LEO" part of the program.

I agree with this.  Wasn't this how it was pre-ESAS?

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #18 on: 01/08/2013 02:41 AM »
If shuttle was not to be retired then add side mount with semi expendable engines ( good for several flights on shuttle then used on side mount ).

As shuttle was retiring.
First take care of immediate need.
Build capsules for crew and cargo, disposable type too ( common SM ).
No need for BLEO version of crew capsule.
Launch on Atlas V ( should not need SRB's for crew version of capsule ).

Later after shuttle replacement in place and shuttle retired.
Build CEV for BLEO, LEO to either EML1/2 or LLO and back to LEO for reuse.
CEV would be an in space vehicle, refueled in space, good for 4 to 5 trips BLEO ( do to engine restarts and total burn time ).
CEV for in space only and another with landing legs to be able to land 3 crew ( more crew later ) on the Lunar surface with adding propellants in LLO ( for refuel at EML1/2 would need to be able to add propellants on the Lunar surface as well ).
Use crew capsule to get crew from Earth to CEV in LEO.
Launch tankers from Earth to add propellants to CEV.
There has been more than enough time and money for this. So the tanker and CEV's could have been ready by 2020 for first Lunar missions ( land get samples and return ).
For outpost, base, and better exploration a cargo lander could then be added later.

A Lunar lander CEV would take crew from LEO to LLO to surface and back to LEO.

As shuttle was phasing out start development of the Jupiter 130 ( add J-24X later if needed ).
J-130, one launch to refuel a CEV ( multiple smaller launcher used before J-130 ready ).
J-130 first launch by end of 2013, 2nd 2014, 3rd 2015, 4th 2016 ( out of shuttle SSME's )
Flights after 4th flight to start with new RS-25's or RS-25E's starting in 2017.

There would have been enough funds left for development of the in space and Lunar SEV plus a Lunar outpost.

For viable cargo to Lunar surface a cargo lander with the CECE engine would be added in after crew landing with CEV. A cargo version of the CEV would land on the Lunar surface first to test it out and land small sized probe payloads.

Mars funding to start in 2020 for first landing by late 2029.
Design around J-130, propellant transfer and possible propellant depot.

The CEV would have given us the propellant transfer.
When we would of had the technology then build it.
No need to put pressure on a date as we have seen it slip away.
The main need has and will be for crew and cargo to LEO. With propellant transfer to follow no matter how large anyone builds a single launcher.
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Offline Archibald

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #19 on: 01/08/2013 12:51 PM »
In an ideal world the expensive and extensive shuttle infrastructure should have been scrapped in favour of phase 1 EELVs. Phase 1 EELVs should have been cheap for two reasons - a) they derived from existing and reliable rockets and b) they added their numbers to ordinary EELVs mission as flown by the military and NASA scientists.
Unfortunately even in that scenario, the EELVs have become so damn expensive those years that I'm not sure that scenario would have been viable.
Why the hell are EELVs become so expensive ? they are good rockets which work quite well. They have a reasonnable numbers of missions and customers. So what ?

Next best option after EELVs would have been the small DIRECT Jupiter 120 and/or 130 later involving into AJAX.

An interesting question would be, could AJAX or Jupiter 120/130 end cheaper than phase 1 EELVs ?
« Last Edit: 01/08/2013 12:53 PM by Archibald »

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #20 on: 01/08/2013 12:54 PM »
@ Archibald.

I suppose that it is possible to be wise in retrospect when looking back at these things.  IIRC, the ESAS study was done in about 2008.  Would the EELVs have been seen as super-reliable and a no-brainer then, especially in relation to the shuttle stack?
« Last Edit: 01/08/2013 12:55 PM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #21 on: 01/08/2013 04:12 PM »
@ Archibald.

I suppose that it is possible to be wise in retrospect when looking back at these things.  IIRC, the ESAS study was done in about 2008.  Would the EELVs have been seen as super-reliable and a no-brainer then, especially in relation to the shuttle stack?

I think the ESAS study was actually done in 2004.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #22 on: 01/08/2013 05:32 PM »
In an ideal world the expensive and extensive shuttle infrastructure should have been scrapped in favour of phase 1 EELVs. Phase 1 EELVs should have been cheap for two reasons - a) they derived from existing and reliable rockets and b) they added their numbers to ordinary EELVs mission as flown by the military and NASA scientists.
Unfortunately even in that scenario, the EELVs have become so damn expensive those years that I'm not sure that scenario would have been viable.
Why the hell are EELVs become so expensive ? they are good rockets which work quite well. They have a reasonnable numbers of missions and customers. So what ?

Next best option after EELVs would have been the small DIRECT Jupiter 120 and/or 130 later involving into AJAX.

An interesting question would be, could AJAX or Jupiter 120/130 end cheaper than phase 1 EELVs ?
Yes going to the Atlas phase 1 and or 2 were a good option.

EELV's price increase.
Because they can.
Makes SLS look cost effective over EELV's upgrade phases.

J-130/24X could have later replaced the 4 seg SRB with LRB with new upgraded ( faster and cheaper to make plus to use the LRB's ) core tank.

If they would have just used the Atlas V for crew and cargo to LEO for shuttle replacement then there would have been time for cooler heads to look at were we would go and what we needed to get there.
Example , Ares 1/5, Jupiter, side mount, SLS, Atlas phase 2, or other.
We know we needed crew and cargo to LEO. What we did not know is were or how. This should have been left up to later Presidents and Congress with ideas written down by the Bush administration of were they were thinking. Later when there was the shuttle replacement then they could phase out the shuttle. Faster phase out if they were not going with Direct Jupiter or the side mount.

We have wasted a lot of money going no were!

Quote from above: "An interesting question would be, could AJAX or Jupiter 120/130 end cheaper than phase 1 EELVs ?"

Only if they needed wide body fairings and a high enough flight rate run by commercial and not government.
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Offline kfsorensen

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #23 on: 01/08/2013 06:25 PM »
What are other people’s thoughts?

The lunar rendezvous point should have been moved to EML2 rather than low lunar orbit in order to achieve all three goals of global access, anytime return, and minimal fuel consumption.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=1337.0

Offline simonbp

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #24 on: 01/08/2013 06:47 PM »
And, with L2 rendezvous, the lander and CEV would be of near-equal mass. That neatly allows a two-launch profile with two nearly-identical vehicles. The launch vehicle itself would have been significantly smaller than Ares V/SLS, and closer to Direct's Jupiter-120 or three-core Atlas Phase II.
« Last Edit: 01/08/2013 06:48 PM by simonbp »

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #25 on: 01/09/2013 06:08 AM »
And, with L2 rendezvous, the lander and CEV would be of near-equal mass. That neatly allows a two-launch profile with two nearly-identical vehicles. The launch vehicle itself would have been significantly smaller than Ares V/SLS, and closer to Direct's Jupiter-120 or three-core Atlas Phase II.

So maybe a pair of J-120's with regen nozzles, to get that 70mt to LEO performance, and to withstand the base heating...although I -still- think there's a chance base heating might not be a deal breaker with ablative RS-68's on a J-120, because the two engines are pushed out to outter edge of the core, where they can get a lot of air flow around them, and they are a maximum distance from the SRB nozzles.  NASA's evaluation of Ares V needed at least five RS-68's, which means on is trapped under the core, and the other four are very close to the booster nozzles.
But that's just my little curiosity to know if a J-120 MPS could be designed so ablative RS-68's could withstand the heating environment, especially with the thermal skirts they put on the RS-68 when Delta IV is flying with GEM-60's.
Even if they were, I think the LEO performance of a J-120 with RS-68 was less than 60mt, but with regen RS-68, the isp and performance increased enough that the J-120 performance went up to about 70mt.  (if I recall my reading of old Direct publications correctly anyway).  So it'd probably be desirable to work with USAF to get a regen nozzle on RS-68 anyway for Jupiter and Delta IV.

So, let's assume RS-68's were used, and RS-25's retired.  Maybe they use DCSS upper stages? Maybe stretched DCSS upper stages?
One launch sends the lander to a high apogee orbit for TLI, and EML parking to wait for the 2nd launch to send Orion on the same high apogee for EML Rendezvous?  Could DCSS or a stretched DCSS adequately utilize J-120's LEO capacity?  Or would it be too small?
If it would work, then that would make even more commonality with EELV.
Core engines and upper stages.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #26 on: 02/15/2013 12:39 AM »
The best CxP, IMHO, would have been switching to all commercial launches with NASA pushing technology forward (similar to NACA, back in the day) done in parallel with NASA developing a first generation LOX/LH2 orbital fuel depot.  I'd also have kept Orion, Altair, and EDS (launched on a commercial launcher). 

Having NASA focus more on the actual beyond LEO part of CxP should have been emphasized instead of the "1.5 launch" architecture, which only gets you to LEO when you assume the EDS is classified as part of the "beyond LEO" part of the program.

I agree with this.  Wasn't this how it was pre-ESAS?

Looking back at ESAS report more, I sure got the impression that NASA was fixated on the 1.5 launch architecture, they wanted about 150 total to LEO,  and they wanted to limit the number of outboard boosters to two.  And they used this criteria to toss out Atlas Phase 2 and Phase 3a, as Phase 3a wasn’t big enough to get around 150mt to LEO with an Atlas Phase 2 crew launcher. 
They used it to toss out basically the Jupiter options like LV24 and 25, as that size couldn’t get 150mt to LEO with a small crew launcher. 
They used this to toss out Atlas Phase X w/ A5 boosters, as it wasn’t big enough to get 150mt to LEO with a small crew launcher.  (along with some sketchy FOM numbers).
Same with the SD core options with Delta IV boosters (which really wasn’t a great option anyway.). 
And that left the 13.1/27/3 CxP plan as the sole option.

But, after giving their rationale and comments some thought, a different option came to mind that they didn’t even consider, which would fit their criteria and share with EELV.

First, they evaluated Atlas Phase 2 (5m) and Atlas Phase X (8m).  Atlas Phase 2-heavy cargo launcher plus Atlas Phase 2 crew launcher didn’t have the 150mt capacity to LEO.
Three Atlas Phase X cores in a tri-core heavy config would be too wide for even KSC, so I understand why it wasn’t looked at.  But obviously they considered a brand new 8m kerolox Atlas derived core as a viable option to consider.  Same with Phase 2, which is a new 5m core as well.  Atlas Phase 2 could use the Delta IV tooling, but I don’t know where they get the 8m core for Phase X, but obviously NASA figures they or ULA could do it because they looked at it. 
But that got me thinking, KSC could accommodate an LV up to about 19m wide, but not much more than 10m wide in the other direction, as one of the reasons they gave to toss out Atlas Phase 3A was not even KSC could launch it.  And I can only assume it would be to wide in the one direction with the four boosters placed at 90 deg. From each other.

So…what if CxP had been the development of a new 6m diameter kerolox core instead of 5m or 8m?  If NASA evaluated 5m and 8m, as well as obviously 8.4m at MAF, then why not a 6m?
Maybe call it an “Atlas 6” or “Atlas Phase 3c” or something.

It would have four RD-180 engines on it, and should deliver about 50mt to LEO by itself, and upwards of 150mt in a tri-core heavy config.  A tri-core heavy would be about 18mt wide, so it should fit well within the KSC flame trenches. 
The tri-core cargo LV could be used with an AVH crew launcher for a 1.5 architecture, or it could be used with a single core “Atlas 6” as the crew launcher, although it would have excess capacity to LEO.  However, back then Orion was going to service the ISS, so that extra capacity could be used for cargo going to the ISS and would serve that role pretty well.

This would involve a new 6m core, but Ares V had new 8.4m core, and later it had a new 10m core.  And that one booster core would service both crew and cargo launches.
It would involve a new EELV common wide body centaur upper stage, but that stage could be used as the common upper stage that ULA’s been wanting for their EELV’s anyway.  NASA would pay for.  But Ares 1 needed a new upper stage anyway, and this one could use RL-10’s still.  And ACES-41 would do nicely.  A potential stretched ACES-71 could be used for the tri-core heavy.  So that no new wider upper stage would be needed beyond ACES/WBC.
It would give ULA, NASA, and USAF/DoD a medium-heavy lift vehicle option for payloads to grow into, rather than this huge gap between EELV and Ares V or SLS.  A 50mt launch would probably be useful.  Elon thinks so with FH anyway.

It could do an EOR per CxP, but also the Atlas 6 should probably almost be able to send Orion through TLI by itself, so after the tri-core heavy sent Altair through TLI  to Lunar orbit, for a LOR.  It sounds like Orion has enough propellant to brake itself into lunar orbit (because it will for SLS-1 and SLS-2), so it could brake itself into orbit for hook up with the LSAM.

Hmmmm…seems like a pretty good idea I think.  Sorta fills in the gaps and solves NASA’s issues with Atlas Phase 2-heavy, Atlas Phase 3a, and Atlas PhaseX.  You are big enough for the big cargo launch with just an LV with two boosters, so you can do the 1.5 architecture.  You get in excess of 150mt to LEO.  You share some things with EELV like a common ACES/WBC upper stage, RD-180’s, RL-10’s, and maybe avionics.  The empty LV’s are light enough they can put new towers on the old MLP’s and launch from KSC.  The tri-core heavy will fit in the KSC flame trenches.  It provides NASA it’s Orion launcher for ISS and lunar missions. And USAF/DoD/NASA have a medium-heavy launcher for payloads requiring D4H or more.  (D4H could be retired.)
And the system is capable enough for future Mars Missions in the tri-core heavy.

The 6m core is developed first, and could even launch Orion with the standard Centaur to the ISS if ACES/WBC weren’t ready by the time the Shuttle was retired. 
Then ACES/WBC is developed in both standard and stretched version (ACES-41 and 71 for example).   
Then the LSAM is developed.
Then we are flying to the moon with a flexible and sustainable system.

I wonder why NASA didn’t consider something like this when they considered other options which required new cores?  In fact, really any option required a new core developed other than side mount SDHLV.  And none of the reasons I read for NASA discounting the Atlas variants mentioned them using Russian engines, so I don’t know if that would be an issue.  If so, PWR transitions to building them themselves if needed.

Anyone have any thoughts on this concept?

Offline Patchouli

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #27 on: 02/15/2013 04:19 AM »
I think a better CxP would have looked like of the ELA and LANTR concepts of the 90s.
One thing they really got wrong was giving the shuttle a set in stone retirement date.
Instead they should have worked on getting OSP finished as quickly as possible on an existing rocket.
While this is taking place slowly transition the shuttle to shuttle-C.

The original plan for a spiral development program with the CEV had a lot of merit.

Now on the the exploration architecture.
 Start out with something like ELA using existing boosters and LEO assembly and then evolve towards an architecture like LANTR using modest SDLVs and reusable in space hardware.

Some things I'd do different would be to make the NTR engine optional if an ACES like chemical stage and solar electric tug appear to be more cost effective.

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/earccess.htm

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/lannbase.htm
http://www.nss.org/settlement/moon/LANTR.html

By the time you have a reliable cis-lunar transportation network you pretty much invented and flight tested most of the technology needed to do mission to Mars and beyond.
« Last Edit: 02/15/2013 04:50 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #28 on: 02/16/2013 07:04 AM »
I think a better CxP would have looked like of the ELA and LANTR concepts of the 90s.
One thing they really got wrong was giving the shuttle a set in stone retirement date.
Instead they should have worked on getting OSP finished as quickly as possible on an existing rocket.
While this is taking place slowly transition the shuttle to shuttle-C.


I agree they didn't need to set a date certain for retirement of STS.

I think if they'd gone with this bigger Atlas Phase 2 concept, that could have worked though.  Instead of developing Ares 1, they pay ULA to develop ACES/WBC and a kerolox booster that would be a taller and maybe wider Atlas Phase 2, with four RD-180's instead of two. 
It'd be taller, than Phase 2, more like a Delta IV core, but kerolox. 
Make that the "Ares 1" launcher for Orion.  ULA consolidates their upper stages into one, and retires Delta IV (on NASA's dime).

The difference is, once this new "Ares 1" was developed, it is also the heavy lifter in a tri-core config.  The LV would be about the size of a D4H.  And you are done.

From the actual CxP, it would have saved:
1)  No 5-seg development.
2)  No J2X development.
3)  No new 8.4m or 10m hydrolox core.
4)  No new (single purpose) Ares 1 upper stage development.  The new upper stage developed for this new Ares 1 would be shared across the EELV line. 
5)  No new Ares V upper stage.

And the "Atlas Phase 2+" is Atlas derived, so while it's a new development, it's not as completley new as Ares 1 and Ares V were.  It would use all the tooling and infrastructure already at Decatur.  ULA already builds rockets, so let them do it, and just pay for the development of the new core and common upper stage (and a stretched version for the heavy variant).

I don't know much about ELA, but looking at your link it would use Shuttle Araine 5 and Titan IV?  I don't know that NASA wants to launch on a non-US rocket in Ariane 5, and Titan IV was going away. 
Shuttle-C would have been better than CxP turned out to be, but it still had some problems.  First it keeps NASA locked into this specialty set of equipment with only limited annual missions, as did CxP and STS. 
Second, it does nothing to address the inherrent safety issues of the Shuttle.   So I think Shuttle did need to go away, and Titan IV was going away too.  By the time of ESAS, where CxP was chosen, EELV's was the lifters NASA really had to work with.  Unfortunately they didn't pursue anything commonality with EELV's, and forged ahead with a bunch of new development of single purpose hardware with low flight rates...

But I really think this "Atlas Phase 2+" would have worked pretty good.  Atlas Phase 2 would probably be more useful for ULA themselves, so that's why it's in their future Atlas Concepts, but it's really too small for what NASA thought their needs were at ESAS, without doing a 2 launch system and having more than two boosters.  But as Jim's fond of reminding people, ULA will make a new rocket when there's a customer to pay for it, so if NASA wanted a new CCB with double the power of Atlas Phase 2 and would pay for it, I'm sure ULA would have happily designed and built it.






Offline Kaputnik

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #29 on: 02/16/2013 08:20 AM »
In the interests of absolute crew safety, my pet idea was a modified DIVH with an RS25 on the core, RS68A on each booster, and no upper stage. I reckon that would make for an impressively reliable vehicle.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #30 on: 02/16/2013 10:03 PM »
In the interests of absolute crew safety, my pet idea was a modified DIVH with an RS25 on the core, RS68A on each booster, and no upper stage. I reckon that would make for an impressively reliable vehicle.

Would everything launch on multiple's of this LV?  or would you have a HLV and this just be the crew launcher?

Offline Lars_J

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #31 on: 02/16/2013 10:15 PM »
I think a better CxP would have looked like of the ELA and LANTR concepts of the 90s.
One thing they really got wrong was giving the shuttle a set in stone retirement date.
Instead they should have worked on getting OSP finished as quickly as possible on an existing rocket.
While this is taking place slowly transition the shuttle to shuttle-C.

Two problems with that:
1. Thanks to the Shuttle lobby, no competitive human launch system would be developed simultaneously with Shuttle. (Just look at the history of cancelled projects) That's why Shuttle had to go away to allow replacements (be it Orion or CCrew)
2. Shuttle-C only made sense if run together with Shuttle, to allow sharing of infrastructure/costs. With shuttle gone, Shuttle-C no longer makes any sense.

Offline libs0n

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #32 on: 02/16/2013 11:43 PM »
Cancel the Shuttle program immediately after Columbia.
Eat the Gap immediately.  Soyuz and Progress to incomplete ISS in the interim.  It worked well enough for MIR.
Develop two competing crew capsules for EELV launch.
Develop something like the ULA Payload Bay concept for the remaining ISS modules.  I think this assembly method was workable with Soyuz, so some assembly could be accomplished prior to the crew vehicles coming online.
Some type of domestic cargo ship program.

For the moon, some type of storable propellant medium lift based architecture.

Offline spectre9

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #33 on: 02/17/2013 12:49 AM »
The shuttle shouldn't have been cancelled.

It was a scam.

The money goes to SLS which does nothing because of various reasons that are outlined in many of my other posts.

Offline spectre9

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #34 on: 02/17/2013 01:41 AM »
Correction. Not all the money went to SLS, some of it goes to commercial crew, commercial cargo and Soyuz ferryman.

I dare say something like LDCM could've rode in the payload bay too saving the cost of an Atlas V.

A better CxP to me uses the shuttle to build a LEO infrastructure which allows BEO transportation.

If used as a simple fuel truck you could have enough hypergolic propellant stored to go to the moon many times before 2020. Shuttle used this fuel to get around with it's OMS, those same engines are fine for depots.

Some sort of small hypergolic LEM can use the same fuel to do a descent from LLO.

Might still need a space capsule if direct return is wanted. Orion on Delta IV Heavy perhaps? Could launch unmanned and shuttle would transfer people onto it before the whole stack makes a TLI burn.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #35 on: 02/18/2013 03:25 AM »
The shuttle shouldn't have been cancelled.

It was a scam.

The money goes to SLS which does nothing because of various reasons that are outlined in many of my other posts.

The shuttle, as it existed, -should- have been cancelled.  It was inherrently overly costly and complicated and dangerous.  It was very cool, but not particuarly practical.  At least at the flight rate and cost that it ended up having.

By the time of the Columbia accident, that was abundantly clear.  It just took that to break the beurocratic inertia of an established program. 
I don't agree it should have been cancelled right away, but that it was replaced was a good thing.

Now, if the Shuttle was was launched on top of an INT-21 stack, and perhaps had a break away cabin with an LAS system, then that'd be another story.  That would have solved the safety issues. 
Etc. etc.

But I don't know that would have solved all of it's high expense and plethera of man-hours t process between flights.

SLS was a political decision, but it doesn't change the problems inherrent to the Shuttle. 

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #36 on: 02/18/2013 03:47 AM »
Cancel the Shuttle program immediately after Columbia.
Eat the Gap immediately.  Soyuz and Progress to incomplete ISS in the interim.  It worked well enough for MIR.
Develop two competing crew capsules for EELV launch.
Develop something like the ULA Payload Bay concept for the remaining ISS modules.  I think this assembly method was workable with Soyuz, so some assembly could be accomplished prior to the crew vehicles coming online.
Some type of domestic cargo ship program.

For the moon, some type of storable propellant medium lift based architecture.


I don't agree that the Shuttle should have been ended right after Columbia either.  It would have been a fairly long gap as Orion or any other capsule was several years away as none was even on the drawing board by the time of Columbia.  As all of the remaining ISS components were designed to fly on the Shuttle, it was probably cheaper to address the primary shuttle issue as they did, and fly out the remaining components rather than try to modify a D4H or Atlas-551 to fly those items (although someone with more knowledge could confirm or deny that). 

After Columbia, NASA should have proceeded in two phases.  While flying out the rest fo the ISS manifest, NASA should have paid to man rate RD-180 and the Atlas EELV, so a new capsule could fly on an Atlas-551.  I could have been a lighter, LEO "Block 0" Orion or something.  (Something like CST-100 maybe?)
That way once the ISS manifest was flown out, and the shuttle retired, the new capsule could be servicing the ISS.  As originally in the ESAS concept, there would be a cargo version to of the same serivice module to run cargo to the ISS.  NASA chose Ares 1 for this, but they could have used Atlas.  And should have.

Then a deeper study could have been done to evaluate options for going to BLEO.  Either multiple EELV's with propellant depots, or some new HLV.  Preferably EELV derived. 

Offline spectre9

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #37 on: 02/18/2013 11:54 AM »
The shuttle shouldn't have been cancelled.

It was a scam.

The money goes to SLS which does nothing because of various reasons that are outlined in many of my other posts.

The shuttle, as it existed, -should- have been cancelled.  It was inherrently overly costly and complicated and dangerous.  It was very cool, but not particuarly practical.  At least at the flight rate and cost that it ended up having.

By the time of the Columbia accident, that was abundantly clear.  It just took that to break the beurocratic inertia of an established program. 
I don't agree it should have been cancelled right away, but that it was replaced was a good thing.

Now, if the Shuttle was was launched on top of an INT-21 stack, and perhaps had a break away cabin with an LAS system, then that'd be another story.  That would have solved the safety issues. 
Etc. etc.

But I don't know that would have solved all of it's high expense and plethera of man-hours t process between flights.

SLS was a political decision, but it doesn't change the problems inherrent to the Shuttle. 

LOC numbers were fine and getting better all the time.

Sitting on the ground is safer than anything.

SLS will be more likely to face LOM on early flights because it will not be tested many times.

Overly costly? What by allowing usage of Al-Li ETs and reuse of SSME? I'm not so sure about that in hindsight. I think that was talked up a bit.

Flight rate 4 per annum vs SLS 0-1. Shuttle can make up the payload with more flights. USA wasn't even given a chance to get recurring costs down.

It can't be a good thing that it was replaced because that never happened. That might happen some day but don't count your chickens before they hatch. Everybody is riding on Soyuz which costs big dollars.

Rubbishing the shuttle because of a lack of LAS is a poor argument and I don't buy it. If I did at some point I was wrong.

Shuttle would've kept 4-seg solids around at least. ATK couldn't complain too much.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #38 on: 02/18/2013 06:44 PM »

LOC numbers were fine and getting better all the time.


Yes, but they were still relatively low compared to capsule type crew launchers.  And there’s only so much they could have increased.  The three big problems with Shuttle were, 1) exposed heatshield right next to a foam-shedding  tank.   Foam shedding abatements can only do so much, it the nature of the foam.  Dreamchaser solves this by having their shuttle on top of the stack.   2) The crew is right next to the propellant tank rather than far above it, in a side-mount configuration.  Side mount SDHLV launching Orion had this issue too.  Again, DC, another shuttle solves this by having it on top of the stack.   3)  No LAS system at all.  DC solves this by being small enough to have an integrated pusher LAS system.  The Shuttle was too large for that obviously.  In the event of a non-catastrophic booster failure, it could abort and glide to an abort landing site.  But obviously as seen on Challenger, the crew really has no chance during a catastrophic booster problem.  Even on the famous huge N-1 rocket failures, as I understand, the unmanned Soyuz test capsule and it’s LAS system worked and would have saved the crew.  And those were even larger explosions than challenger (I think) because they were all-liquid boosters, and STS was only a partial liquid booster.  The energy in the SRB’s wasn’t even part of that explosion, and the crew had no chance. 

And because of that, I actually understand NASA’s preference to a 1.5 launch architecture during the ESAS study.   Put the crew on the smallest, safest rocket that will get them to LEO.  Then put everything else on a big HLV and have them rendezvous in LEO.  Something like that really could have (and probably should have) been done using Apollo hardware in the 70’s rather than the Shuttle for our following 3 decades of LEO only operations.  Put Apollo on an upgraded Titan III rocket and make that the crew launcher that would be shared with USAF, then use INT-21 for NASA’s HLV.
Or develop a smaller reusable shuttle like HL-20 for just the crew and launch it on a Saturn 1F type rocket, that could be made into a 3-core heavy version for launching of Space Station components.  That system could be used by NASA for their needs.
Really, just about anything that was done with by the Shuttle in the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s could have been done on a space station.  We just didn’t have the money for a space station after the expensive of developing and then operating the Shuttle.   A lot of what was done with the shuttle was just using it like a mini-space station.  If we just had a real space station, all that could have been done there with a little crew taxi.


Sitting on the ground is safer than anything.


I’m not one to advocate being paralyzingly risk adverse.  But in the 60’s NASA had a design that was pretty launch safe.  Going to the Shuttle was a big step backwards from that in terms of crew-launch safety, and crew reentry safety.  That’s all I’m saying.  Give the crew a means to launch abort, put them up on top of the stack so they are as far away from a potential explosion as possible, and protect the heatshield which is what keeps the crew few burning up during the last phase of the mission.  Apollo had all of that, but the Shuttle had none of it.  Just keep –that- level of safety.  Sure, accidents can still happen, but some very obvious vulnerabilities should be addressed at least.


SLS will be more likely to face LOM on early flights because it will not be tested many times.


Fortunately, the first time a crew flies on it, they have a means of aborting.  The first few crews of STS were very, VERY brave….


Overly costly? What by allowing usage of Al-Li ETs and reuse of SSME? I'm not so sure about that in hindsight. I think that was talked up a bit.


Overly costly by the enormous amount of man-hours that ended up being needed for each orbiter to turn it around.  Which was many, many times more than originally speculated.  This might not be accurate, but I’d heard that when they set out to develop the Shuttle, they intended for roughly a crew of 50 technicians to be able to turn an orbiter around in a just a few weeks (2 weeks maybe?).   And of course there would be a flight rate of about one launch per month or something like that.
As it turned out, it took well in excess of 1000 people 3-4 months to turn an orbiter around.   And we never launched more than 8 launches at the absolute maximum.  With a yearly average of more like 4-5 launches over it’s history.   Had it only taken 50 people 2 weeks to turn one around, that would have been a different story.
I think the materials used in the ET were barely a consideration in the overall overhead and launch expense of STS. 


It can't be a good thing that it was replaced because that never happened. That might happen some day but don't count your chickens before they hatch. Everybody is riding on Soyuz which costs big dollars.

I am NOT saying that how things have unfolded is preferable to continuing to operate the Shuttle.  Quite the opposite.  I’m just saying it should have been replaced after Columbia and particularly after the ISS was finished, which really made the need for the big shuttle pretty much over since we didn’t need our own mini space station any more. 
After Columbia, NASA could have proceeded in so many different and better ways than they did, that would have had a capsule and crew launch vehicle operational and ready to service the completed ISS prior to the Shuttle being retired.  A block 0 Orion that might look a lot like CST-100 launching on a man-rated Atlas-412, or similar (add a few more Atlas SRB’s if needed), with a service module that can launch with a cargo module and autonomously dock with the ISS like ATV or HTV.  Which was the original plan, and it wasn’t a bad plan, they just needed to make Orion and the service module much smaller for this Block 0 LEO operation.  With an upgrade Orion capsule and service module for BLEO operations. 
And, even going back to 2010 when CxP was cancelled and NAA2010 was passed, I’d have advocated retiring one shuttle and keeping it for spare parts (probably Discovery), then parking another Shuttle and keeping it in stand by (probably Atlantis), and get the fleet down to one (probably Endevour, as it was the newest), and fly it just twice a year, every 6 months, to the ISS, to maintain US crew can cargo operations while Commercial Crew was under development.  MAF would build sufficient ET’s to get NASA by until Commercial crew was anticipated to start service (say, 2016), then build a few extras just in case the schedule slips.  Then once those ET’s were done, MAF would switch over to the SLS core after it was designed.  Even with the problems inherent in the Shuttle, I would advocate continuing to fly it rather than rely on the Russians.  But that rate would be reduced with just one orbiter being processed and flying, while KSC started to also transition to Orion.


Rubbishing the shuttle because of a lack of LAS is a poor argument and I don't buy it. If I did at some point I was wrong.

Shuttle would've kept 4-seg solids around at least. ATK couldn't complain too much.

The lack of the LAS is just one of 3 major safety issues with the shuttle (as I described above).  It’s high overhead and the fact that it really wouldn’t be needed after the ISS was finished were other issues.  The lack of an LAS and the other two issues were reasons the Shuttle should never have been built in the first place as it was.  A new HUGE space plane, on a brand new booster, with a new tank, new engines and new boosters. 
But, again, even thought STS really needed to go away IMHO due to it’s issues, it shouldn’t have went away until we had a replacement flying…period.

And of course ATK wouldn’t mind keeping STS around indefinitely to keep that booster business.  But that shouldn’t have been a reason to do it.  In fact, that was another reason STS shouldn’t have been built like it was.  At the very least, it could have used a pair of Titan III boosters on each side instead of the new Shuttle SRB’s.  And the Shuttle itself could have used five J2S engines.  Saving development costs of the SSME and 4-seg SRB, and cost sharing boosters with USAF.  But Titan SRB’s weren’t reusable, and STS was supposed to be all reusable except for a “cheap, dumb, external drop tank”.  Better to have done it in increments.  Go with the expendable Titan III boosters until at some point in the future a reusable liquid flyback booster could be developed if they –had- to have one.  (which probably would have never been developed…but at least that could have been deferred cots if so). 
But Direct’s J-130 flying Orion would have kept ATK happy too.  :-)

Offline spectre9

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #39 on: 02/18/2013 09:51 PM »
Well that was a big and inefficient post but I'll respond. I really think you need to be more coherent and keeps things concise. It's really an issue for me with your posting style and it leads me to glazing over many of your responses around the boards.

Space it out more, say more with less. Improve your signal to noise ratio.

Most of your argument seems to center around overhead.

Well SLS DDT&E costs rival those costs and it gets 0mt of useful payload to orbit every year until it does a test flight in 2017 and then again in 2021.

What it really amounts to is jobs @ KSC vs jobs @ MSFC.

If LAS is a big problem for some then they're welcome to refuse to ride. It's their choice.

Perhaps Apollo CSM shouldn't have been cancelled. The U.S. seems to have a history now of cancelling good working spacecraft. This is the problem I have.

Development costs are huge for new hardware. There's no way around that.

Sidemount wasn't that big an issue. Big money has been spent of things like OBSS and on orbit tile fixing methods. STS-1 landed without some of the tiles. Columbia had a big down mass putting stress on it.

Commercial crew/cargo seems to be taking an eternity to come online and by that time ISS is going to be old and needing serious repairs costing big money to keep it in orbit.

Yes shuttle would've needed OMM to keep going but that's a good thing. Upgrades were made on them all the time making them better. A new orbiter could have been built too. That would be so much cooler than a SLS.

I think we can agree on one thing. It would've been nice to keep shuttle going while commercial crew is in development. A smooth handover without the large cost of manned spaceflight on the Soyuz would be a good thing.

Yes the shuttle had problems but most of them had been ironed out in sunk cost. Going through all that again with SLS is going to be tiresome even if it is a more robust system to begin with. It's not exactly built from the ground up as a RAC2 like vehicle would be.

Instead of doing SLS money could've been put into the F-1 engine so that when the time is right MSFC could start working on the better design for SLS. I still believe this will happen anyway. Shuttle derived design work might have wasted lots of time/money but that doesn't bother me at all.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #40 on: 02/21/2013 12:49 AM »
As the moon was to be the first stop.
Design a reusable Lunar lander ( hypergolic ).
Design tug to place lander in LLO and for sending propellants and cargo to LLO.
Use existing launchers to place in LEO.

First missions robotic.
Later land needed hardware for when crew arrives.

This could have been going on while replacing the shuttle with a LEO crew transport and cargo. Once they have the shuttle replacement , retire shuttle and start work on BEO launch system and crew capsule for EML1/2 and LLO.

So to send crew to Lunar the BEO rocket could be 70mt and the capsule less mass than Orion designed for Lunar for a crew of 4. For Mars it only needs to get to and from EML1/2 from LEO. Or the crew capsule could use the tug ( human rated ).

For Mars use the 70mt launcher for LEO assembly. Could use the TLI crew capsule stage for direct to Mars for orbital probes and small surface cargo.
Mars and beyond, human exploration
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #41 on: 02/21/2013 02:44 AM »

Two problems with that:
1. Thanks to the Shuttle lobby, no competitive human launch system would be developed simultaneously with Shuttle. (Just look at the history of cancelled projects) That's why Shuttle had to go away to allow replacements (be it Orion or CCrew)
2. Shuttle-C only made sense if run together with Shuttle, to allow sharing of infrastructure/costs. With shuttle gone, Shuttle-C no longer makes any sense.

That why I would have slowly transitioned the shuttle to an unmanned system with it eventually becoming Shuttle-C and then the Jupiter 130.
ATK gets their money and KSC workers stay employed etc.
Some of the orbiter contractors will loose out but they could bid on the next vehicles.
Same goes for workers in the orbiter processing facility but many of them could end up being reassigned to other tasks.
In the interests of absolute crew safety, my pet idea was a modified DIVH with an RS25 on the core, RS68A on each booster, and no upper stage. I reckon that would make for an impressively reliable vehicle.

I had the same idea but kept the DCSS.

Cancel the Shuttle program immediately after Columbia.


I would have rushed the X38 as some sort of assured access vehicle in that case.

Finish the prototype and build two more then stick one on an Atlas V for an all up uncrewed test.

Use the aerodynamic prototypes for LAS testing.

You'll also need to build a space tug for the EELVs so they can finish assembly ISS.
Something like the SS/L 1300 based tug might work.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2013 02:55 AM by Patchouli »

Offline DLR

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #42 on: 02/21/2013 04:18 AM »
Phase 1:

Commercial EELVs (Atlas V, Delta IV Heavy) + limited Lunar surface hardware -> to get "our feet wet" quickly

Phase 2:

Larger EELVs (Atlas V Phase 2) + Depots / SEP-Tugs + extensive Lunar surface hardware -> Lunar outpost and extensive exploration, deep space missions

Phase 3:

Turn over space launches and lunar base supply delivery to private sector (COTS), NASA responsible for operation of in-space exploration equipment and lunar surface research installation.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2013 04:20 AM by DLR »
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Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #43 on: 02/21/2013 04:43 AM »

Phase 3:

Turn over space launches and lunar base supply delivery to private sector (COTS), NASA responsible for operation of in-space exploration equipment and lunar surface research installation.

Only problem is that the private sector already handles all launches except the shuttle therefore it just duplicates in NASA what is being done already.

In short if you are using Atlas or Delta there would be no need for COTS for the launcher and maybe a cots program for the spacecraft.
« Last Edit: 02/21/2013 04:43 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #44 on: 02/21/2013 05:07 AM »

Two problems with that:
1. Thanks to the Shuttle lobby, no competitive human launch system would be developed simultaneously with Shuttle. (Just look at the history of cancelled projects) That's why Shuttle had to go away to allow replacements (be it Orion or CCrew)
2. Shuttle-C only made sense if run together with Shuttle, to allow sharing of infrastructure/costs. With shuttle gone, Shuttle-C no longer makes any sense.

That why I would have slowly transitioned the shuttle to an unmanned system with it eventually becoming Shuttle-C and then the Jupiter 130.
ATK gets their money and KSC workers stay employed etc.
Some of the orbiter contractors will loose out but they could bid on the next vehicles.
Same goes for workers in the orbiter processing facility but many of them could end up being reassigned to other tasks.
In the interests of absolute crew safety, my pet idea was a modified DIVH with an RS25 on the core, RS68A on each booster, and no upper stage. I reckon that would make for an impressively reliable vehicle.

I had the same idea but kept the DCSS.

Cancel the Shuttle program immediately after Columbia.


I would have rushed the X38 as some sort of assured access vehicle in that case.

Finish the prototype and build two more then stick one on an Atlas V for an all up uncrewed test.

Use the aerodynamic prototypes for LAS testing.

You'll also need to build a space tug for the EELVs so they can finish assembly ISS.
Something like the SS/L 1300 based tug might work.
Orion was being developed before shuttle was retired.
They should have just made a 4 crew version for Lunar and use it for ISS also until a commercial replacement could there.
It should have been lite enough for DIVH or Atlas V551 for LEO.
For the SM ( service module ) have droppable escape engines placed on the sides of the SM. The propellant would be used for the escape or in space use.

And for shuttle C that should be side mount.
No problem with base heating or for the SSME's. For reasons for upgrades the inline would be the better choose. However 70mt to LEO should be all we need and side mount should have flown by now and could have flown along side shuttle. It would have used the same ET so shuttle could have flown longer if needed. Could have brought in the next generation shuttle by commercial if they wanted it ( manned or unmanned ).
Mars and beyond, human exploration
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Offline DLR

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #45 on: 02/21/2013 06:22 AM »

Phase 3:

Turn over space launches and lunar base supply delivery to private sector (COTS), NASA responsible for operation of in-space exploration equipment and lunar surface research installation.

Only problem is that the private sector already handles all launches except the shuttle therefore it just duplicates in NASA what is being done already.

In short if you are using Atlas or Delta there would be no need for COTS for the launcher and maybe a cots program for the spacecraft.

I would like NASA to procure launches just like any other organization would procure space for shipping containers on cargo vessels.

This would require the development of one or several standard payload envelopes, sort of like a "shipping container" for space.

NASA would simply specifiy the payload dimensions and launch parameters (upmass, destination, inclination) and select the best bid. In Phase 1 it would still be constrained to Atlas V / Delta IV Heavy as launch vehicles, in Phase 3, all US-based launch providers (international probably wouldn't fly politically) would be considered.

NASA says:

We need to launch a hydrogen tank, dimension standard large, mass 40mT into the following orbit: altitude 300km, inclination 28°, destination: interplanetary vessel assembly station, provisional launch date: 28th Jan 2030.

SpaceX says: We'll do it for $100.000.000!
ULA says: We'll do it for $90.000.000!
Blue Origin says: We'll do it for $85.000.000!

Nasa says: Great, Blue Origin it is, we'll sign the main contract with you, payment upon delivery. Fallback contract with ULA will also be signed.
"Bei der Eroberung des Weltraums sind zwei Probleme zu lösen: die Schwerkraft und der Papierkrieg." - Wernher von Braun

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #46 on: 02/22/2013 12:00 AM »
Well that was a big and inefficient post but I'll respond. I really think you need to be more coherent and keeps things concise. It's really an issue for me with your posting style and it leads me to glazing over many of your responses around the boards.

Space it out more, say more with less. Improve your signal to noise ratio.


Well, I won’t deny I can be verbose in my post.  But we all can’t be professional writers like you are apparently.  If my posts bother you so much, please feel free to not respond to them.  I promise I won’t loose any sleep over it.   Is that concise enough for you?


Most of your argument seems to center around overhead.

Well SLS DDT&E costs rival those costs and it gets 0mt of useful payload to orbit every year until it does a test flight in 2017 and then again in 2021.

What it really amounts to is jobs @ KSC vs jobs @ MSFC.

If LAS is a big problem for some then they're welcome to refuse to ride. It's their choice.

Perhaps Apollo CSM shouldn't have been cancelled. The U.S. seems to have a history now of cancelling good working spacecraft. This is the problem I have.

Development costs are huge for new hardware. There's no way around that.

Sidemount wasn't that big an issue. Big money has been spent of things like OBSS and on orbit tile fixing methods. STS-1 landed without some of the tiles. Columbia had a big down mass putting stress on it.

Commercial crew/cargo seems to be taking an eternity to come online and by that time ISS is going to be old and needing serious repairs costing big money to keep it in orbit.

Yes shuttle would've needed OMM to keep going but that's a good thing. Upgrades were made on them all the time making them better. A new orbiter could have been built too. That would be so much cooler than a SLS.

I think we can agree on one thing. It would've been nice to keep shuttle going while commercial crew is in development. A smooth handover without the large cost of manned spaceflight on the Soyuz would be a good thing.

Yes the shuttle had problems but most of them had been ironed out in sunk cost. Going through all that again with SLS is going to be tiresome even if it is a more robust system to begin with. It's not exactly built from the ground up as a RAC2 like vehicle would be.

Instead of doing SLS money could've been put into the F-1 engine so that when the time is right MSFC could start working on the better design for SLS. I still believe this will happen anyway. Shuttle derived design work might have wasted lots of time/money but that doesn't bother me at all.

This seems like a big and inefficient post to me, but I’ll respond anyway…
;-)

Most of your argument seems to center around DDT&E costs. 

But those could have been just a fraction of what they are turning out to be with a different approach than Ares 1/5 and later SLS.  An Orion with a LEO service module could be flying to the ISS on an Atlas-552 as soon as the CSM was ready.  But those are acceptable DDT&E costs for the Orion CSM itself, because we need something new or we’ll never leave LEO flying on the Shuttle ever again…LAS concerns aside.  Atlas-552 would only need a man-rating development costs.   Both of those are reasonable without the overhead of the entire shuttle stack and hardware.

The HLV to go with Orion flying on an Atlas 552 would be a significant DDT&E cost.  But again, unless you want to stay in LEO forever, we need a new LV.  Although, there were far better ways to go about this than Ares V and SLS without breaking the bank on DDT&E costs.  A pair of upgraded Delta IV heavy’s could get over 100mt to LEO, or a 7-core Delta Super Heavy could get almost 100mt to LEO.  Couple that with Orion on Atlas-552 with 5m upper stage (which could launch full BLEO Orion), and you have a 2-launch lunar architecture with Apollo-scale capability.  And synergy with EELV’s is maintained.  Delta IV doesn’t need to be man-rated, as it would just be a cargo launcher. 
IF you want CxP scale, then add an upgraded D4H launch of the lander for EOR with the EDS on D4SH, and Orion on Atlas-552/w 5m US, and there you go.  Minimal DDT&E  from what was already flying…just the addition of a larger upper stage, and some other upgrades to the EELV’s.    Overhead is just a fraction of the Shuttle stack (or Ares 1/5 or SLS), because ULA already has all of the capabilities running anyway for USAF/DoD.

Conversely, Direct 3.0 could have been chosen, with Atlas-552 still used for ISS servicing by Orion, and Orion riding on J-130 and J-246 on lunar missions.  This would have probably not cost much more DDT&E than D4SH, but the overhead costs of it would probably be more than all EELV-derived because nothing else will use the 8.4 core, SRB, RS-25, or JUS.   Still, it would have used all the kept most all of the Shuttle infrastructure and personnel in place while using the Shuttle’s proven hardware, and taken us to BLEO again.

Either way likely would have only cost a fraction of the DDT&E costs that it turned out, and not required a commercial cargo or crew program to be funded (for better or worse, depending on your point of view…) as Orion (as Orion was originally envisioned in ESAS) would have taken care of both of those roles.

Offline spectre9

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #47 on: 02/26/2013 02:36 AM »

Well, I won’t deny I can be verbose in my post.  But we all can’t be professional writers like you are apparently.  If my posts bother you so much, please feel free to not respond to them.  I promise I won’t loose any sleep over it.   Is that concise enough for you?


Just offering some friendly advice, please don't take anything personally. I like you and I enjoy your postings, I just want to help you improve so your posts get read by a bigger audience. I'm not a professional writer, I was educated by the public system. I wouldn't expect you to lose any sleep over anything I write but projecting proper spelling and grammar helps with the way you're perceived on a site like this with many highly intelligent contributors.


This seems like a big and inefficient post to me, but I’ll respond anyway…
;-)

Most of your argument seems to center around DDT&E costs. 

But those could have been just a fraction of what they are turning out to be with a different approach than Ares 1/5 and later SLS.  An Orion with a LEO service module could be flying to the ISS on an Atlas-552 as soon as the CSM was ready.  But those are acceptable DDT&E costs for the Orion CSM itself, because we need something new or we’ll never leave LEO flying on the Shuttle ever again…LAS concerns aside.  Atlas-552 would only need a man-rating development costs.   Both of those are reasonable without the overhead of the entire shuttle stack and hardware.

The HLV to go with Orion flying on an Atlas 552 would be a significant DDT&E cost.  But again, unless you want to stay in LEO forever, we need a new LV.  Although, there were far better ways to go about this than Ares V and SLS without breaking the bank on DDT&E costs.  A pair of upgraded Delta IV heavy’s could get over 100mt to LEO, or a 7-core Delta Super Heavy could get almost 100mt to LEO.  Couple that with Orion on Atlas-552 with 5m upper stage (which could launch full BLEO Orion), and you have a 2-launch lunar architecture with Apollo-scale capability.  And synergy with EELV’s is maintained.  Delta IV doesn’t need to be man-rated, as it would just be a cargo launcher. 
IF you want CxP scale, then add an upgraded D4H launch of the lander for EOR with the EDS on D4SH, and Orion on Atlas-552/w 5m US, and there you go.  Minimal DDT&E  from what was already flying…just the addition of a larger upper stage, and some other upgrades to the EELV’s.    Overhead is just a fraction of the Shuttle stack (or Ares 1/5 or SLS), because ULA already has all of the capabilities running anyway for USAF/DoD.

Conversely, Direct 3.0 could have been chosen, with Atlas-552 still used for ISS servicing by Orion, and Orion riding on J-130 and J-246 on lunar missions.  This would have probably not cost much more DDT&E than D4SH, but the overhead costs of it would probably be more than all EELV-derived because nothing else will use the 8.4 core, SRB, RS-25, or JUS.   Still, it would have used all the kept most all of the Shuttle infrastructure and personnel in place while using the Shuttle’s proven hardware, and taken us to BLEO again.

Either way likely would have only cost a fraction of the DDT&E costs that it turned out, and not required a commercial cargo or crew program to be funded (for better or worse, depending on your point of view…) as Orion (as Orion was originally envisioned in ESAS) would have taken care of both of those roles.


I don't deny that some sort of new capsule is needed but I prefer the Mercury/Gemini model to the giant lump which is Orion. How can a Mercury land a man for about 1.5 metric ton using half century old technology? Why can't the same or better be done today? I keep banging on with this point and it always falls of deaf ears. Even the Dragon is too big and that's because it's held to NASA requirements. Down massing human bodies doesn't require that much IMLEO. LAS was included in that design too so that's a moot point.

A new launch vehicle is not needed to go beyond LEO. Golden Spike and various other medium rocket EOR plans have shown this. Trying to build medium launchers that are a tad bigger than Delta IV Heavy isn't really a good idea, Delta IV Heavy is a great launcher and underutilised. Strapping on solids, building a new launch platform and putting extra RL-10s on the upper stage wouldn't cost that much compared to any HLLV development.

Now that J-2X is going to be finished that could be used for high powered refillable upper stages. That would destroy all future need for HLLVs unless there were payload volume constraints which can be overcome by using smaller landers and habitats.

Any version of Jupiter is going to cost about the same as SLS. It would keep MSFC in the rocket design business and they have no plans to build the smaller variants and reduce their spending and the consequent spending required at Michoud.

Yes there are better launch systems than shuttle but they all cost big money to develop and that's money that is coming out of the operational expenditure of the space shuttle program. NASA has moved from launch to development and will stay that way for about a decade and it doesn't matter which launch vehicle they chose to build if it didn't exist at the time shuttle was retired.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #48 on: 05/07/2013 11:51 PM »
I’m bumping this with a bit of an addition parameter.

First, does anyone know in particular why McDonnel Douglas went with a hydrolox booster on Delta IV for the EELV competition?  Especially when it needed a new engine developed?  (I’m assuming Jim probably knows, :-) )
I mean, hydrolox isn’t the best 1st stage booster.  It required a much larger booster core than Atlas V or any similar performing kerolox booster. 
Delta II used the kerolox RS-27 engine.  There wasn’t a US made kerolox engine other than RS-27 that I know of, but there wasn’t a US made hydrolox booster engine either.  RS-25 is a sustainer engine, not really a booster engine.
So, if MD was going to evolved Delta II for EELV, why didn’t they stick with the RS-27, and grow the core to 5m, and put maybe five of them on there?  Or maybe four with GEM-60 SRB to get it off the pad?  Four of them had more thrust than the first RS-68, and not much less than RD-180. 
What was the thought process to switch to a brand new engine development, and a propellant that isn’t the best booster propellant, not to mention being one of the most temperamental propellants.   I see why the Russians and SpaceX use kerolox for the upper stage for commonality and because it’s a really easy propellant to handle and I think rockets that use kerolox are cheaper overall than hydrolox.  LH2 is the most difficult and so they wanted to make the whole rocket use it?
Hopefully someone can enlighten me on that.  Especially when the Delta II already used a 200klbs kerolox engine that probably could have been upgraded to get to around 250klbs without much trouble.

Ok, so I set this up for a bit of alternative history going back to the EELV program for this thread.
So, MD wants to create new 5m wide rocket core tooling, and a new engine, and a new upper stage using RL-10 engine for Delta IV?
What if instead, they went with a  5m wide kerolox booster, which either used 4-5 RS-27A’s (or upgraded versions with more thrust), or, instead of having PWR create the RS-68 new, have them dust off the F-1, and create maybe an “F-1S” version of the F-1A.  I guess the F-1B is going to be like this, but like the J2S, make the F-1S with a specific eye for being simple and cheap.  A big Merlin 1D in effect maybe?  Maybe a larger upper stage (because the GG F-1 won’t be as efficient as a stage combustion kerolox engine like the RD-180) and maybe RL-60’s on it.  They were 90% developed by 2003 anyway.
So, you have something similar to an Atlas V-phase 2, but with probably less first stage burn and more 2nd stage burn.  This LV should probably put somewhere between 20-25mt to LEO, which would fulfill the upper end of the EELV requirements I believe.  No need for a tri-core heavy version.  And while it would seem overpowered for the bulk of the EELV payloads that Atlas V and Delta IV Medium handle, would it be any more money than Delta IV?  It might be more money than Atlas V, because the US-made F-1B would be more expensive each than the RD-180’s.  But You have an LV that would be be shorter than a Delta IV medium, cost about the same, but put up D4H payloads.   GEM-60’s should bump that up easily if ever needed.  I mean, it’d basically be the same hardware as a Delta IV medium.

So, let’s say MD developed that, and let’s say Boeing buys them.  And even if Boeing is caught stealing info from LM and ULA is formed, This version of Delta IV would exist.

So, during the ESAS evaluation, where NASA evaluated Atlas Phase 2, as well as an 8m wide Atlas X, they could evaluate this LV.  The single stick version should get Orion to LEO.  But it could be stretched, and have another F-1 added, and you basically have the Dynetics booster.  Now you have a crew launcher with direct synergy with EELV, and a cargo launcher with much synergy with EELV, except NASA could launch it from their pads at KSC (as Boeing would have had no reason to build the ability to launch a tri-core heavy from LC-37, since the single-stick would handle up to Delta IV-heavy roughly).
So the tri-core heavy would be only used by NASA.  And they could build the larger upper stage/EDS for it.  It only has two boosters, which was another requirement they seemed to fixate on in ESAS.  This cargo launcher would have six F-1 engines, and with a larger EDS, it should throw easily what Ares V was supposed to, to LEO.  NASA could have PWR develop the J2S (not the J2X) as was originally envisioned in ESAS on the cargo launchers.  It was mostly developed already, and should have been a relatively cheap and easy development, rather than the J2X which I understand was a very different engine than J2S.  And I don’t know if they could fit enough RL-60’s on it.  But it should be able to fit a couple of J2S under there. 

So, putting aside for a moment the politics of the time probably made SDHLV inevitable, this EELV derivative seems like it would have met all of what seemed to be NASA’s ESAS criteria.  No more than two boosters, 25mt crew launcher, 125mt cargo launcher, 1.5 architecture, etc.  And with a famous US-built engine. 
NASA evaluated Atlas Phase 2 heavy, but seemed to reject it as you’d need two of them for their planned architecture, and they wanted 1.5 architecture.  Atlas Phase 3A would have probably worked, but it had more than two boosters, and they said it wouldn’t even fit on any existing pad, which I think was because the four boosters were placed at 90 degrees to each other, making it just over 15m in depth as well as width, which I think is a problem to fit it on a ML with tower.

Could this have been the better CxP?  While having a lot of synergy with EELV’s? 
The only new developments over a Delta IV with single F-1 engine, would have been the stretched 5m core, making the tri-core heavy, man-rating it, and a new wide upper stage with J2S engines)
Compare that with CxP in developing a new 8.4m core (using existing tooling) a new Ares V upper stage, a new Ares 1 upper stage, J2S for Ares V anyway, air-startable SSME for Ares 1, and 5-seg booster. 

Offline gospacex

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #49 on: 05/08/2013 12:28 AM »
I thought about attaching this to a previous hypothetical thread of mine:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30229.0

But, after reading a little more of the ESAS report when I had some time to kill, I ran across some things I hadn’t read before (over 700 pages, so that’s not too odd).

Now, the original version of CxP doesn’t seem -too- bad in theory really.  Air-started SSME, use of STS 4-seg for Ares 1 to get Oriong flying quickly.

Ares I was never needed. DIVH can do it even today, sans man-rating straw man, and dealing with that straw man is at most a few billion $.

Quote
The obvious answer for some on this will be “Direct”, and they seem to evaluate Direct-like LV’s.  LV 24 and 25.  A J-130 anyway.  But they seemed fixated on launching the crew on the stick, so the turned the ET-sized core with 4-seg boosters and 3XSSME into one Ares 1 launch plus two J-130 launches if I understand them correctly.  They really don’t seem to evaluate LV24/25 as a two-launch system with no Stick.  Am I missing something?  Or is that correct?

Exactly. That is what NASA should have done if it would be a somewhat inefficient, but still sane bureaucracy. Empirical evidence says it slid into a stage when "sane" no longer applies. It would rather destroy itself than go with a plan which is at least semi-reasonable.

Quote
1) What would have been the best CxP given what ESAS evaluated?

DIRECT team asked themselves this exact question, and come up with a detailed solution.

Quote
2) What was the best system not evaluated by ESAS for CxP?

Get out of LV business.

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #50 on: 05/08/2013 12:59 AM »
I’m bumping this with a bit of an addition parameter.

First, does anyone know in particular why McDonnel Douglas went with a hydrolox booster on Delta IV for the EELV competition?  Especially when it needed a new engine developed?  (I’m assuming Jim probably knows, :-) )
I mean, hydrolox isn’t the best 1st stage booster.  It required a much larger booster core than Atlas V or any similar performing kerolox booster. 
Delta II used the kerolox RS-27 engine.  There wasn’t a US made kerolox engine other than RS-27 that I know of, but there wasn’t a US made hydrolox booster engine either.  RS-25 is a sustainer engine, not really a booster engine.
So, if MD was going to evolved Delta II for EELV, why didn’t they stick with the RS-27, and grow the core to 5m, and put maybe five of them on there?  Or maybe four with GEM-60 SRB to get it off the pad?  Four of them had more thrust than the first RS-68, and not much less than RD-180. 
What was the thought process to switch to a brand new engine development, and a propellant that isn’t the best booster propellant, not to mention being one of the most temperamental propellants.   I see why the Russians and SpaceX use kerolox for the upper stage for commonality and because it’s a really easy propellant to handle and I think rockets that use kerolox are cheaper overall than hydrolox.  LH2 is the most difficult and so they wanted to make the whole rocket use it?
Hopefully someone can enlighten me on that.  Especially when the Delta II already used a 200klbs kerolox engine that probably could have been upgraded to get to around 250klbs without much trouble.

Ok, so I set this up for a bit of alternative history going back to the EELV program for this thread.
So, MD wants to create new 5m wide rocket core tooling, and a new engine, and a new upper stage using RL-10 engine for Delta IV?
What if instead, they went with a  5m wide kerolox booster, which either used 4-5 RS-27A’s (or upgraded versions with more thrust), or, instead of having PWR create the RS-68 new, have them dust off the F-1, and create maybe an “F-1S” version of the F-1A.  I guess the F-1B is going to be like this, but like the J2S, make the F-1S with a specific eye for being simple and cheap.  A big Merlin 1D in effect maybe?  Maybe a larger upper stage (because the GG F-1 won’t be as efficient as a stage combustion kerolox engine like the RD-180) and maybe RL-60’s on it.  They were 90% developed by 2003 anyway.
So, you have something similar to an Atlas V-phase 2, but with probably less first stage burn and more 2nd stage burn.  This LV should probably put somewhere between 20-25mt to LEO, which would fulfill the upper end of the EELV requirements I believe.  No need for a tri-core heavy version.  And while it would seem overpowered for the bulk of the EELV payloads that Atlas V and Delta IV Medium handle, would it be any more money than Delta IV?  It might be more money than Atlas V, because the US-made F-1B would be more expensive each than the RD-180’s.  But You have an LV that would be be shorter than a Delta IV medium, cost about the same, but put up D4H payloads.   GEM-60’s should bump that up easily if ever needed.  I mean, it’d basically be the same hardware as a Delta IV medium.

So, let’s say MD developed that, and let’s say Boeing buys them.  And even if Boeing is caught stealing info from LM and ULA is formed, This version of Delta IV would exist.

So, during the ESAS evaluation, where NASA evaluated Atlas Phase 2, as well as an 8m wide Atlas X, they could evaluate this LV.  The single stick version should get Orion to LEO.  But it could be stretched, and have another F-1 added, and you basically have the Dynetics booster.  Now you have a crew launcher with direct synergy with EELV, and a cargo launcher with much synergy with EELV, except NASA could launch it from their pads at KSC (as Boeing would have had no reason to build the ability to launch a tri-core heavy from LC-37, since the single-stick would handle up to Delta IV-heavy roughly).
So the tri-core heavy would be only used by NASA.  And they could build the larger upper stage/EDS for it.  It only has two boosters, which was another requirement they seemed to fixate on in ESAS.  This cargo launcher would have six F-1 engines, and with a larger EDS, it should throw easily what Ares V was supposed to, to LEO.  NASA could have PWR develop the J2S (not the J2X) as was originally envisioned in ESAS on the cargo launchers.  It was mostly developed already, and should have been a relatively cheap and easy development, rather than the J2X which I understand was a very different engine than J2S.  And I don’t know if they could fit enough RL-60’s on it.  But it should be able to fit a couple of J2S under there. 

So, putting aside for a moment the politics of the time probably made SDHLV inevitable, this EELV derivative seems like it would have met all of what seemed to be NASA’s ESAS criteria.  No more than two boosters, 25mt crew launcher, 125mt cargo launcher, 1.5 architecture, etc.  And with a famous US-built engine. 
NASA evaluated Atlas Phase 2 heavy, but seemed to reject it as you’d need two of them for their planned architecture, and they wanted 1.5 architecture.  Atlas Phase 3A would have probably worked, but it had more than two boosters, and they said it wouldn’t even fit on any existing pad, which I think was because the four boosters were placed at 90 degrees to each other, making it just over 15m in depth as well as width, which I think is a problem to fit it on a ML with tower.

Could this have been the better CxP?  While having a lot of synergy with EELV’s? 
The only new developments over a Delta IV with single F-1 engine, would have been the stretched 5m core, making the tri-core heavy, man-rating it, and a new wide upper stage with J2S engines)
Compare that with CxP in developing a new 8.4m core (using existing tooling) a new Ares V upper stage, a new Ares 1 upper stage, J2S for Ares V anyway, air-startable SSME for Ares 1, and 5-seg booster. 

I think they developed the RS-68 so they could have a single engine.

For the RS-27, five engines do to lower thrust and ISP than the RD-180.
There was the RS-76 concept.
http://www.spaceandtech.com/spacedata/engines/rs76_specs.shtml
That could have made a good American 1st stage engine if the cost was the same or lower than the RS-68.

If they could have gone down that road with one engine with a short 1st stage and two engines for a taller 1st stage we would have had a like Atlas phase II. They would have needed to use the more powerful Atlas V solid boosters. Then with the triple core for NASA at LC-39 we would of had 70mt. That would have given us Orion, Lunar and even Mars. The single core would have been all what the Air Force needed and for NASA until they headed to the moon or Mars with the 70mt version.

As the RS-76 was being developed for the fly back boosters for the space shuttle they would have been human rated. We could have seen the LEO Orion before shuttle retirement. All the money wasted on Ares I could have been well spent on the LEO version of Orion and the cargo versions too.

Now that bring me to What if the Direct's Jupiter had been picked over SLS. They could have made the J-130 with just three RS-25's ( no fourth for J-246 at this point ). It could have flown just as shuttle was retired. It was stated that there was about 100 launches left in the shuttle's 4 segment SRB's. I was figuring on 60 launches of the block I J-130. This could have been for Orion Lunar and a small lunar program before the block II J-130/246.  Block II J-130/246 with advanced boosters ( competition ) by 2025 for crew Mars by 2030 ( the Bush administration plan date ). This would have given time to develop the needed tech for the JUS. The block I J-130 could have used the iCPS/CPS. For the small Lunar program I figured about fourteen J-130 would have been needed, up to four for the Lunar Orion test flights. Six as spares. That would leave forty for other types of missions ( Mars , deep space probes, larger modules to LEO, EML1/2 station, ect. ). About four to six flights a year up till 2025 and then block II. Block II with JUS, advanced boosters for up to 130mt, and the core to have three or for RS-25's. By then the RS-25E could have been available. The J-130 needed no new tech. The iCPS would have been a Delta IV modified US. The CPS would have had some new tech with being able to function up to 5 days in space with the RL-10 restartable by the fifth day for LLO insertion burn if needed.

So I think we should have gone with the J-130 with just three engines to start of with if we still had the option of the shuttle 4 seg SRB's back in later 2009 or 2010. Then later upgrade if we needed to the block II version. Either way after up to 60 flights of block I with the 4 seg SRB's replace them with the advanced boosters.

Only was planning for 60 flights with the shuttle 4 seg SRB's do to a possible loss of a pair or two of them.

I thought about attaching this to a previous hypothetical thread of mine:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30229.0

But, after reading a little more of the ESAS report when I had some time to kill, I ran across some things I hadn’t read before (over 700 pages, so that’s not too odd).

Now, the original version of CxP doesn’t seem -too- bad in theory really.  Air-started SSME, use of STS 4-seg for Ares 1 to get Oriong flying quickly.

Ares I was never needed. DIVH can do it even today, sans man-rating straw man, and dealing with that straw man is at most a few billion $.
Delta IV HR for LEO Orion and DIVH for Lunar Orion unmanned test flight. For crew Orion ( LEO or BLEO ) the J-130 was needed. I don't think DIVH had the performance to LEO for crew Lunar Orion with the escape tower and most of the propellant off loaded for LEO flight.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2013 01:06 AM by RocketmanUS »
Mars and beyond, human exploration
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #51 on: 05/08/2013 03:35 AM »
First, does anyone know in particular why McDonnell Douglas went with a hydrolox booster on Delta IV for the EELV competition?  Especially when it needed a new engine developed? 
My impression was that it had to do with development cost and the results of earlier Advanced Launch System studies.  Rocketdyne had done a lot of early work on the STME (Space Transportation Main Engine) for ALS.  McDonnell Douglas decided to leverage that already completed work so that it could spend less money on engine development.  RS-27A clusters were non-starters due to cost and performance.

Boeing proposed an SSME powered core.  Lockheed Martin (Marietta) was going to go with RD-180 or NK-33.  (McDonnell Douglas probably figured that Russian engines would be a non-starter for the USAF.)  Alliant was proposing big composite solid lower stages.  EELV was a winner take all competition to decide which company would control access to space for the foreseeable future.

The Air Force had seriously considered ALS and STME, so McDonnell Douglas probably thought LH2 was simply the way to go.  Rocketdyne served up RS-68, which was a cheaper, though lower ISP design than STME.  It all probably looked cheap compared to Titan IV and Space Shuttle back then.  Times were different.

Delta IV was developed and has been successful.  It is the only 25 tonne to LEO class launch vehicle in the inventory, and currently stands as the world's most capable launch vehicle.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #52 on: 05/08/2013 08:49 AM »
Just a one-liner but the thought jumped into my head and won't go away:

"Bias to flight".

What I mean by that is that the objective should have been to fly as soon as possible, working up capability in the background.  For a long time, I've thought that the gap is a potentially fatal problem as it allows the mind of the public to forget and lose interest.  The only away around that is to keep flying.
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Offline gospacex

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #53 on: 05/08/2013 10:08 AM »
Ares I was never needed. DIVH can do it even today, sans man-rating straw man, and dealing with that straw man is at most a few billion $.
Delta IV HR for LEO Orion and DIVH for Lunar Orion unmanned test flight. For crew Orion ( LEO or BLEO ) the J-130 was needed.

No, DIVH is sufficient for crew Orion to LEO.

Offline newpylong

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #54 on: 05/08/2013 04:42 PM »


No, DIVH is sufficient for crew Orion to LEO.


Barely, with no margin.

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #55 on: 05/08/2013 04:46 PM »
My impression was that it had to do with development cost and the results of earlier Advanced Launch System studies.  Rocketdyne had done a lot of early work on the STME (Space Transportation Main Engine) for ALS.  McDonnell Douglas decided to leverage that already completed work so that it could spend less money on engine development.  RS-27A clusters were non-starters due to cost and performance.

Boeing proposed an SSME powered core.  Lockheed Martin (Marietta) was going to go with RD-180 or NK-33.  (McDonnell Douglas probably figured that Russian engines would be a non-starter for the USAF.)  Alliant was proposing big composite solid lower stages.  EELV was a winner take all competition to decide which company would control access to space for the foreseeable future.

The Air Force had seriously considered ALS and STME, so McDonnell Douglas probably thought LH2 was simply the way to go.  Rocketdyne served up RS-68, which was a cheaper, though lower ISP design than STME.  It all probably looked cheap compared to Titan IV and Space Shuttle back then.  Times were different.

Delta IV was developed and has been successful.  It is the only 25 tonne to LEO class launch vehicle in the inventory, and currently stands as the world's most capable launch vehicle.

 - Ed Kyle

Costs on RS-27A’s?  They were basically updated H-1’s, right?  Weren’t H-1’s supposed to be pretty cheap, simple, and reliable?  Why would they be more expensive than a new hydrolox engine?  Especially if 4 or 5 were used per LV, so the economics of scale should decrease price. 
Performance?  Well, not quite sure about that when used as a booster.  Four RS-27A’s would have just over 800Klbs of thrust at take off, and the original RS-68 only had 650Klbs at take off.  As far as mass, a single RS-68 is 6.6mt, and a single RS-27A is 1.14mt.  So four of them is significantly less than a sing RS-68.  Five of them are still lighter.  Plus I think the RS-27 could be upgraded with more chamber pressure for better ISP as a booster?
Certainly the RS-68’s allowed for better performance during the latter booster burn due to their higher ISP.  So like I said, a kerolox powered Delta IV with RS-27’s would probably need a larger upper stage than the DCSS, with some more thrust.  Maybe two or four RL-10’s, or an RL-60 or something?

Anyway, I’m not trying to say I know more than the McDonnel Douglas engineers (obviously not) just trying to understand why such a radical departure from the Delta II for Delta IV?  Normally in a rocket evolution, don’t they just sort of grow the previous LV?  Atlas II had an RS-58 kerolox engine, then Atlas III went to the RD-180 kerolox engine, and then Atlas V kept the RD-180, and widened the booster stage.  All versions used SRB strap ons.

Seems more “logical” for Delta IV to have been kerolox like Delta II, maybe with a cluster of GEM-60’s like the Delta II/III used a cluster of GEM-46’s. 
And/or, if they wanted just one engine, why not have PWR build the RS-84?  It was being developed in the late 1990’s, early 2000’s, so it should have been as viable as an option as RS-68. 
Or, if they were going to do the wide 5m tooling, go with an update F-1A and have a single stick LV that would do up to D4H capability?

D4H, is a fine LV, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s not doing anything Atlas V-heavy couldn’t also be doing.  Or a D4H powered by RS-27A’s or RS-84’s, Or a single 5m wide F-1 powered kerolox LV. 
Just just curious as to the through process by MD there.  :-)

And if there had been a 5m F-1 powered kerolox version of Delta IV instead of hydrolox, could that have been a building block LV that NASA might have more readily wanted to use during the ESAS study?
A better CxP?
« Last Edit: 05/08/2013 04:48 PM by Lobo »

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #56 on: 05/08/2013 05:20 PM »
{snip]
And if there had been a 5m F-1 powered kerolox version of Delta IV instead of hydrolox, could that have been a building block LV that NASA might have more readily wanted to use during the ESAS study?
A better CxP?
The F-1 would have been over powered for liter mass payloads.
Making a little over half powered version of the F-1 might have been better.
Use two of the with a tall 1st stage and one with a stumpy 1st stage for liter payloads ( Atlas phase II like ).

They should have been able to make a 1,000,000lb thrust engine quickly back then. Higher thrust than the RD-180 do to lower ISP.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #57 on: 05/08/2013 05:50 PM »
Looking at the easier Delta 4M comparison, if the existing 4-meter second stage were used an RS-27A powered first stage would have to gross 500 tonnes (40% more than Atlas V CCB) and be powered by eight engines to match Delta 4M performance to GTO, which is the key mission.

An alternative would be to add one or more RL10s to the upper stage, allowing it to carry more propellant, but that would add cost and reduce upper stage specific impulse.  A Delta 4 Heavy type upper stage, but with two RL10 engines, might shrink the first stage down to 400 tonnes and six RS-27A engines.

RS-27A wasn't actually designed to be a booster engine.  It has a bigger nozzle than the previous H-1/RS-27 to get better vacuum ISP, but that came at the expense of liftoff thrust.  RS-27A doesn't throttle either, which would be a problem for an EELV. 

By the way, during the 1980s General Dynamics entered the CELV competition (won by Martin Marietta's Titan 4) with a rocket that might also have fit the bill for EELV.  It proposed a 200 inch diameter first stage powered by five "H-1D" engines, augmented by four 67 inch diameter solid rocket motors.  A Centaur G-Prime with two RL10 engines would have served as the upper stage.  This thing would have put 5 tonnes into GEO (probably 10 tonnes in GTO), but the solids were new (roughly equal to Japan's beefy SRB-A motors) and the first stage was new and all-new pads would have been needed, so it lost.  Still, the concept shows what was possible.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/08/2013 07:19 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #58 on: 05/08/2013 07:32 PM »
Looking at the easier Delta 4M comparison, if the existing 4-meter second stage were used an RS-27A powered first stage would have to gross 500 tonnes (40% more than Atlas V CCB) and be powered by eight engines to match Delta 4M performance to GTO, which is the key mission.

An alternative would be to add one or more RL10s to the upper stage, allowing it to carry more propellant, but that would add cost and reduce upper stage specific impulse.  A Delta 4 Heavy type upper stage, but with two RL10 engines, might shrink the first stage down to 400 tonnes and six RS-27A engines.

RS-27A wasn't actually designed to be a booster engine.  It has a bigger nozzle than the previous H-1/RS-27 to get better vacuum ISP, but that came at the expense of liftoff thrust.  RS-27A doesn't throttle either, which would be a problem for an EELV. 


So (after doing some Googling on DCSS, Delta II, III, and IV) it looks like a 4m DCSS was developed for Delta III.  Delta III only had 3 launches, two were failures, and was basically replaced shortly by Delta IV.  The 4m DCSS the Delta IV-medium uses was similar to the Delta III upper stage, but stretched and friction stir welded (from Wikipedia, so feel free to correct if that’s wrong).
So I could see them wanting to use that upper stage platform already developed for Delta III on Delta IV, but they already had to stretch it, so perhaps they could stretch it more?

As I understand RS-27A is a modified H-1, but modified for a longer sustainer core burn and better vacuum performance.  But the H-1 was designed to be a booster engine, so couldn’t the RS-27 be tweaked back to a booster engine?  An RS-27B or something?

But even if you wanted to use the existing RS-27A, then Delta IV could have had a wider diameter core, or 2 or 3 RS-27A with a cluster of the new GEM-60’s.  Just a scaled up Delta II. (Rather than trying to use the Delta II core and single engine the way the Delta III did).  Maybe a 4m core using a stretched 4m DCSS that Delta IV medium used anyway, but longer and maybe with two RL-10’s (or an RL-60 which was 90% developed anyway). 

Anyway, again, the MD-Boeing engineers had their reasons for going so far away from the Delta II/III platform in Delta IV.  And maybe Delta III made them think that platform wasn’t the best, and going a completely different direction was better?  Just curious.  Not only because it was so different than Delta II/III, and that hydrolox doesn’t really make the best booster propellan for various reasons.   It’s usually either an upper stage propellant where it’s high ISP is such a benefit and it’s relatively low thrust and high volume isn’t really a drawback.  Or used as a sustainer core propellant like STS, SLS, Ariane 5, and H-IIA which is basically a ground lit 2nd stage in effect.
The Delta IV is the only LV I’m aware of that uses hydrolox as the primary booster propellant, with a specially made booster engine, and SRB augmentation as an option, but not a requirement.  Are there others I’m unaware of? 
And I think there’s a reason hydrolox isn’t normally used in booster roles normally.

So one would think if the MD-Boeing engineers wanted to turn away from the Delta II/III platform for the next evolution of Delta, that they might go with something like an RS-84, which also was already in development at PWR, or an updated F-1A, which had been already developed before it was cancelled as we know.  I think either one could have been an decent kerolox option to the RS-68, even if it had had already much of it’s development done.



By the way, during the 1980s General Dynamics entered the CELV competition (won by Martin Marietta's Titan 4) with a rocket that might also have fit the bill for EELV.  It proposed a 200 inch diameter first stage powered by five "H-1D" engines, augmented by four 67 inch diameter solid rocket motors.  A Centaur G-Prime with two RL10 engines would have served as the upper stage.  This thing would have put 5 tonnes into GEO (probably 10 tonnes in GTO), but the solids were new (roughly equal to Japan's beefy SRB-A motors) and the first stage was new and all-new pads would have been needed, so it lost.  Still, the concept shows what was possible.

 - Ed Kyle

I’m guessing Titan IV was the favorite because it could use easily modified Titan III pads and infrastructure?
EELV wiped the slate clean, so yea, this General Dynamics CELV might have been an interesting concept.  And again, kinda interesting MD-Boeing didn’t go with something like that for Delta IV as it would be closer to a scaled up Delta II/III than Delta IV turned out to be.   Again, a single F-1A might have been an option instead of five H-1’s and four SRB’s.  The extra thrust of the F-1A would basically do the job of the H-1’s and SRB’s together…all with just a single liquid engine. 

Anyway, maybe I’ll start a thread over in the ULA section specifically about Delta IV.  I’m sure some people must have some inside info on MD-Boeing’s decision making process in the Delta IV.  It’s got my curiosity up!

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #59 on: 05/20/2013 08:04 PM »
I think many of us have advocated using Atlas V as a crew launcher in any "1.5" architecture, and that the focu should have been on Orion and the Atlas crew launcher to be launching by the time STS was retired before too much time and money was spent worrying about a new HLV.

However, quoting from page 382 of the ESAS report:

"The EELV options examined for suitability for crew transport were those derived from teh Delta IV and Atlas V families.  The study focused on the heavy-lift version of both Delta and Atlas families, as it became clear early in the study that none of the medium versions of either vehicle had the capability to accomodate CEV lift requirements.  Augmentation of the medium-lift class systems with solid strap-on boosters does not provide adequate capaability and poses an issue for crew saefey regarding small strap-on SRB's reliability, as determined by the OSP-ELV Flight Safety Certification Study Report, dated March 2004.  Both vehicles were assessed to require modifications for human rating, particularly in the areas of avionics, elementry, structures, and propulsion systems. 

Both Atlas- and Delta-derived systems required new upper stages to meet the lift and humanrating
requirements. Both Atlas and Delta single-engine upper stages fly highly lofted
trajectories, which can produce high deceleration loads on the crew during an abort and, in
some cases, can exceed crew load limits as defined by NASA Standard (STD) 3000, Section 5.
Depressing the trajectories flown by these vehicles will require additional stage thrust to bring
peak altitudes down to levels that reduce crew loads enough to have sufficient margins for offnominal
conditions. Neither Atlas V nor Delta IV with their existing upper stages possess the
performance capability to support CEV missions to ISS, with shortfalls of 5 mT and 2.6 mT,
respectively.
Another factor in both vehicles is the very low Thrust-to-Weight (T/W) ratio at liftoff, which
limits the additional mass that can be added to improve performance. The RD–180 first-stage
engine of the Atlas HLV will require modification to be certified for human rating. This work
will, by necessity, have to be performed by the Russians. The RS–68 engine powering the
Delta IV HLV first stage will require modification to eliminate the buildup of hydrogen at the
base of the vehicle immediately prior to launch. Assessments of new core stages to improve
performance as an alternative to modifying and certifying the current core stages for human
rating revealed that any new core vehicle would be too expensive and exhibit an unacceptable
development risk to meet the goal of the 2011 IOC for the CEV. Note the EELV costs shown in
Figure 6-17 do not include costs for terminating Shuttle propulsion elements/environmental
cleanup. Finally, both the EELV options were deemed high-risk for a 2011 IOC.
CLV options derived from Shuttle elements focused on the configurations that used an RSRB,
either as a four-segment version nearly identical to the RSRB flown today or a higher-performance
five-segment version of the RSRB using HTPB as the solid fuel. New core vehicles
with ET-derived first stages (without Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs)) similar to the new core
options for EELV were briefly considered, but were judged to have the same limitations and
risks and, therefore, were not pursued. To meet the CEV lift requirement, the team initially
focused on five-segment RSRB-based solutions."

-------------

But Atlas is being developed now for CST-100 and Dreamchacer.  CST-100 will use one Atlas SRB.
No new upper stage will be needed for CST-100 or DC (although it will be the first time a 2 engine Centaur is used I think)

High lofted trajectories?  high deceleration loads on the crew during an abort?  Atlas V-heavy not being able to get Orion to the ISS?

Is all of that valid?
I mean, why would a fully fueled Orion need to get to the ISS anyway?
Why wouldn't they do a short fueled Orion to the ISS like they sent short-fueled APollo CSM's to Skylab?
I'd think they could actually send the ORion SM up empty or almost empty.  Just a small de-orbit burn that Orion CM RCS system could probably do itself.  So you could probably leave the tanks and the engines off the SM entirely for the ISS.  That's probably trim the CSM mass down to around 12mt (plus LAS).  Maybe a bit lighter as a LEO Block 1 Orion should weigh less than a full BLEO Orion.

And an Atlas V heavy, or Atlas Phase 1-551 could get the full BLEO Orion CSM to 28.5 deg. orbit for a lunar mission.

So, was NASA just fudging the numbers to get Ares 1? Or, by their stated criteria, were EELV's really unsuitable for it?

Seems like getting US crews to the ISS should have been priority 1 for CxP.  And doing that as quickly, easily, and cheaply as possible should have been paramount. 
Even NASA developing just Ares 1, was two brand new stages, and a new upper stage engine. And although the first stage would be used as the ARes V boosters, Ares V would have been an additional new core and new upper stage.

Even if they really thought EELV's were legitimately unsuitable for launching Orion to the ISS and to EOR for lunar missions, why didn't they evaluate just a new kerolox booster that could use RD-180 engines.  Maybe it could use a man-rated 5m DCSS initially, transitioning to something else later.
And then do a tri-core heavy version for their HLV.  That way that one single new core gets them both their crew launcher, and their heavy cargo launcher.  I mean, they danced around that idea in ESAS, evaluating various new 5.4m and 8m and 8.4m kerolox and hydrolox cores for Ares 1 upper stage, Atlas Phase X (8m core with five RD-180's), Atlas Phase 2, 8.4m hydrolox with both Delta and Atlas boosters and RS-25 and RS-68 core engines.
They danced around this a lot, and had no problem looking at a new diameter core in their concepts.  KSC can't handle an 8 or 8.4m tri-core LV, but the 5-5.4m wide hydrolox LV is a little to small.  And they didn't seem to like the 5-5.4m wide kerolox Atlas Phase 2 because it needed 2-launches of tri-core LV, or a 5-core AVP3a and NASA didn't like that many boosters and the depth dimension.
But no one thought to look at maybe a 6-6.5m kerolox core with 3-4 RD-180's?
It's over powered but workable for a crew launcher, and a tri-core version is as capabile as the LV 27.3 they chose.

One new core, and one new upper stage (it would need J2S but so did LV27.3), and NASA has both a new crew launcher, and cargo launcher.  And the crew launcher could probably use Delta's existing DCSS like I said, for a little more synergy with EELV.
The cores could be produced at a reasonable clip at MAF, along with the new HLV upper stage (when needed, down the road). 

Seems like such an obvious option, what am I not seeing?  Why wasn't it even looked at, even if they opted for Ares 1/5 anyway. 

Offline newpylong

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #60 on: 05/20/2013 08:31 PM »
Why write a whole page for something that can be simplified into 3 lines?


Orion CM/SM Mass to LEO - 22 tons
Delta IV Heavy lift capacity to LEO - 22 tons

Ares I lift capacity to LEO - 25 tons

No margin on DIV for Orion
« Last Edit: 05/20/2013 08:32 PM by newpylong »

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #61 on: 05/20/2013 10:29 PM »
Why write a whole page for something that can be simplified into 3 lines?


Orion CM/SM Mass to LEO - 22 tons
Delta IV Heavy lift capacity to LEO - 22 tons

Ares I lift capacity to LEO - 25 tons

No margin on DIV for Orion


Ummm...did you look at the ESAS report?

With existing upper stages:

D4H:  20.3mt net payload to 51.6 deg. orbit (ISS).
D4H:  23.9mt net paylod to 28.5 deg. orbit (EOR lunar mission)

A5H:  17.9mt net payload to 51.6 deg. orbit (ISS).
A5H:  23.7mt net payload to 28.5 deg. orbit (EOR lunar mission).
(Which is odd, as ULA claims 29mt to A5H with existing upper stage.

So if Orion CSM is 22mt, that's almost 2mt of margin by NASA's own report, vs just 3mt of margin for Ares 1.

But NASA looked at a new 5m EELV upper stage"

D4H:  23mt to 51.6 deg, 28mt to 28.5deg
A5H:  27mt to 51.6 deg, 30mt to 28.5 deg.

These ones need a new upper stage...but so does Ares 1.  And a new air-startable RS-25, where the 5m EELV upper stage uses RL-10.  Plus ULA's been wanting a new 5m common upper stage for some time, so that upper stage would be cost shared with the entire EELV line for all other launches besides NASA crew.

So, existing upper stages actually look like they could get the full Orion CSM to 28.5 deg, and could get a short fueled Orions CSM to the ISS.  The service module doesn't need a full prop load (actual, it might not need any prop load). 
Seems like that would have been a pretty good first step to getting Orion to the ISS, which is the main first goal by the time STS was retired.

If we wanted more margin for a lunar mission, a new 5m upper stage as a good 2nd step that doens't need to be ready until the HLV was ready and we were doing a lunar mission.

That's even by NASA's ESAS numbers.

But all of that aside...NASA chose to develop a a new rocket in Ares 1, with two new stages, vs. a new 6m RD-180 powered core?
They looked at an 8m core powered by five RD-180's, and a 5m core powerd by 2 RD-180's.  Neither really worked as a single and tri-core version for a 1.5 architecture.  But a 6m core powerd by 3-4 RD-180's would have.
Why nibble around the edges, without hitting the sweet spot?
« Last Edit: 05/20/2013 10:37 PM by Lobo »

Offline TomH

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #62 on: 05/20/2013 10:35 PM »
I am starting to believe that there never has been any justification for Orion under any scenario. It's designed for a Mars direct return trajectory. Dragon or a beefed up CST-100 could handle lunar return. I think hauling an Orion to Mars and back is too much mass. Have a DS hab at EL1/2. Ride to rendezvous in Dragon or CST-100. Transfer. Go to Mars and return to EM L1/2 in hab, transfer to a Dragon or Boeing capsule for reentry. Leave the hab parked for next mission. Or use an Aldrin cycler and rendezvous as it swings by. Orion only has a 21 day active use capacity, so its use as a lifeboat is very limited. I'd rather expend Delta V on decelerating the hab for reuse than sending Orion's great mass all the way to Mars and back when it really isn't necessary.

A better CxP would not have included such a massive capsule. It would have used a less massive capsule that would go to LLO or EM L-1/2 and back, but not to Mars.

A lighter capsule would have prevented Ares I performance from ever becoming an issue.
« Last Edit: 05/20/2013 10:45 PM by TomH »

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #63 on: 05/21/2013 12:33 AM »
I am starting to believe that there never has been any justification for Orion under any scenario. It's designed for a Mars direct return trajectory. Dragon or a beefed up CST-100 could handle lunar return. I think hauling an Orion to Mars and back is too much mass. Have a DS hab at EL1/2. Ride to rendezvous in Dragon or CST-100. Transfer. Go to Mars and return to EM L1/2 in hab, transfer to a Dragon or Boeing capsule for reentry. Leave the hab parked for next mission. Or use an Aldrin cycler and rendezvous as it swings by. Orion only has a 21 day active use capacity, so its use as a lifeboat is very limited. I'd rather expend Delta V on decelerating the hab for reuse than sending Orion's great mass all the way to Mars and back when it really isn't necessary.

A better CxP would not have included such a massive capsule. It would have used a less massive capsule that would go to LLO or EM L-1/2 and back, but not to Mars.

A lighter capsule would have prevented Ares I performance from ever becoming an issue.

Possibly.  There were other CEV concepts submitted by contractors before it seems NASA decided they like this scaled up Apollo.
I think some of them would have been lighter.

However, the full up Orion CM is supposed to be a bit shy of 9mt.
Apollo was about 6mt, and Dragon is a bit under 5mt.  not sure about CST-100, but probably about what Dragon is.

So it doesn't seem like the CM itself is really the lead balloon, but more the fact the CSM was planned to be able to do it's own TEI burn from LLO.  I don't know that those few extra mt are really the kludge.  But maybe it is.

I think a BLEO capable Dragon or CST-100 would be a few mt heavier anyway.

But a Gateway station for lunar and/or Mars architecture, like proposed by Boeing with SEP MTV at EMLP 2 could have meant a much lighter SM for Orion.
If Orion only needs to get back to Earth from EMLP 2, then I don't think it needs more than it's CM RCS system.  A much smaller SM, like one that would also be good for launching Orion to the ISS on a smaller LV, might be all that's needed.  It might only need some RCS thrusters to supply enough delta V to break halo orbit and swing by the moon heading back to Earth. 
It'd just be a EMLP 2 Taxi, with missions being staged to the moon and Mars from there.

Interesting concept.  As the SM's not designed yet, maybe the design could be changed to that?  I don't think there's much to be done with the CM at this point.

Offline newpylong

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #64 on: 05/21/2013 01:04 AM »


Interesting concept.  As the SM's not designed yet, maybe the design could be changed to that?  I don't think there's much to be done with the CM at this point.

It's not?

Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #65 on: 05/21/2013 03:18 PM »


Interesting concept.  As the SM's not designed yet, maybe the design could be changed to that?  I don't think there's much to be done with the CM at this point.

It's not?

Well, they are still considering going with the original design, or an ATV derived one, so I'm assuming it's at least not far enough enough that it can't still be changed.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #66 on: 05/21/2013 09:31 PM »
I am starting to believe that there never has been any justification for Orion under any scenario. It's designed for a Mars direct return trajectory. Dragon or a beefed up CST-100 could handle lunar return. I think hauling an Orion to Mars and back is too much mass. Have a DS hab at EL1/2. Ride to rendezvous in Dragon or CST-100. Transfer. Go to Mars and return to EM L1/2 in hab, transfer to a Dragon or Boeing capsule for reentry. Leave the hab parked for next mission. Or use an Aldrin cycler and rendezvous as it swings by. Orion only has a 21 day active use capacity, so its use as a lifeboat is very limited. I'd rather expend Delta V on decelerating the hab for reuse than sending Orion's great mass all the way to Mars and back when it really isn't necessary.

A better CxP would not have included such a massive capsule. It would have used a less massive capsule that would go to LLO or EM L-1/2 and back, but not to Mars.

A lighter capsule would have prevented Ares I performance from ever becoming an issue.
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Offline luke strawwalker

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #67 on: 05/22/2013 07:08 PM »
I’m bumping this with a bit of an addition parameter.

First, does anyone know in particular why McDonnel Douglas went with a hydrolox booster on Delta IV for the EELV competition?  Especially when it needed a new engine developed?  (I’m assuming Jim probably knows, :-) )
I mean, hydrolox isn’t the best 1st stage booster.  It required a much larger booster core than Atlas V or any similar performing kerolox booster. 
Delta II used the kerolox RS-27 engine.  There wasn’t a US made kerolox engine other than RS-27 that I know of, but there wasn’t a US made hydrolox booster engine either.  RS-25 is a sustainer engine, not really a booster engine.
So, if MD was going to evolved Delta II for EELV, why didn’t they stick with the RS-27, and grow the core to 5m, and put maybe five of them on there?  Or maybe four with GEM-60 SRB to get it off the pad?  Four of them had more thrust than the first RS-68, and not much less than RD-180. 
What was the thought process to switch to a brand new engine development, and a propellant that isn’t the best booster propellant, not to mention being one of the most temperamental propellants.   I see why the Russians and SpaceX use kerolox for the upper stage for commonality and because it’s a really easy propellant to handle and I think rockets that use kerolox are cheaper overall than hydrolox.  LH2 is the most difficult and so they wanted to make the whole rocket use it?
Hopefully someone can enlighten me on that.  Especially when the Delta II already used a 200klbs kerolox engine that probably could have been upgraded to get to around 250klbs without much trouble.

Ok, so I set this up for a bit of alternative history going back to the EELV program for this thread.
So, MD wants to create new 5m wide rocket core tooling, and a new engine, and a new upper stage using RL-10 engine for Delta IV?
What if instead, they went with a  5m wide kerolox booster, which either used 4-5 RS-27A’s (or upgraded versions with more thrust), or, instead of having PWR create the RS-68 new, have them dust off the F-1, and create maybe an “F-1S” version of the F-1A.  I guess the F-1B is going to be like this, but like the J2S, make the F-1S with a specific eye for being simple and cheap.  A big Merlin 1D in effect maybe?  Maybe a larger upper stage (because the GG F-1 won’t be as efficient as a stage combustion kerolox engine like the RD-180) and maybe RL-60’s on it.  They were 90% developed by 2003 anyway.
So, you have something similar to an Atlas V-phase 2, but with probably less first stage burn and more 2nd stage burn.  This LV should probably put somewhere between 20-25mt to LEO, which would fulfill the upper end of the EELV requirements I believe.  No need for a tri-core heavy version.  And while it would seem overpowered for the bulk of the EELV payloads that Atlas V and Delta IV Medium handle, would it be any more money than Delta IV?  It might be more money than Atlas V, because the US-made F-1B would be more expensive each than the RD-180’s.  But You have an LV that would be be shorter than a Delta IV medium, cost about the same, but put up D4H payloads.   GEM-60’s should bump that up easily if ever needed.  I mean, it’d basically be the same hardware as a Delta IV medium.

So, let’s say MD developed that, and let’s say Boeing buys them.  And even if Boeing is caught stealing info from LM and ULA is formed, This version of Delta IV would exist.

So, during the ESAS evaluation, where NASA evaluated Atlas Phase 2, as well as an 8m wide Atlas X, they could evaluate this LV.  The single stick version should get Orion to LEO.  But it could be stretched, and have another F-1 added, and you basically have the Dynetics booster.  Now you have a crew launcher with direct synergy with EELV, and a cargo launcher with much synergy with EELV, except NASA could launch it from their pads at KSC (as Boeing would have had no reason to build the ability to launch a tri-core heavy from LC-37, since the single-stick would handle up to Delta IV-heavy roughly).
So the tri-core heavy would be only used by NASA.  And they could build the larger upper stage/EDS for it.  It only has two boosters, which was another requirement they seemed to fixate on in ESAS.  This cargo launcher would have six F-1 engines, and with a larger EDS, it should throw easily what Ares V was supposed to, to LEO.  NASA could have PWR develop the J2S (not the J2X) as was originally envisioned in ESAS on the cargo launchers.  It was mostly developed already, and should have been a relatively cheap and easy development, rather than the J2X which I understand was a very different engine than J2S.  And I don’t know if they could fit enough RL-60’s on it.  But it should be able to fit a couple of J2S under there. 

So, putting aside for a moment the politics of the time probably made SDHLV inevitable, this EELV derivative seems like it would have met all of what seemed to be NASA’s ESAS criteria.  No more than two boosters, 25mt crew launcher, 125mt cargo launcher, 1.5 architecture, etc.  And with a famous US-built engine. 
NASA evaluated Atlas Phase 2 heavy, but seemed to reject it as you’d need two of them for their planned architecture, and they wanted 1.5 architecture.  Atlas Phase 3A would have probably worked, but it had more than two boosters, and they said it wouldn’t even fit on any existing pad, which I think was because the four boosters were placed at 90 degrees to each other, making it just over 15m in depth as well as width, which I think is a problem to fit it on a ML with tower.

Could this have been the better CxP?  While having a lot of synergy with EELV’s? 
The only new developments over a Delta IV with single F-1 engine, would have been the stretched 5m core, making the tri-core heavy, man-rating it, and a new wide upper stage with J2S engines)
Compare that with CxP in developing a new 8.4m core (using existing tooling) a new Ares V upper stage, a new Ares 1 upper stage, J2S for Ares V anyway, air-startable SSME for Ares 1, and 5-seg booster. 

I've been saying something like this for a LONG time... it just makes too much sense...

Later!  OL JR :)
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Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #68 on: 05/28/2013 07:42 PM »
They danced around this a lot, and had no problem looking at a new diameter core in their concepts.  KSC can't handle an 8 or 8.4m tri-core LV, but the 5-5.4m wide hydrolox LV is a little to small.  And they didn't seem to like the 5-5.4m wide kerolox Atlas Phase 2 because it needed 2-launches of tri-core LV, or a 5-core AVP3a and NASA didn't like that many boosters and the depth dimension.
But no one thought to look at maybe a 6-6.5m kerolox core with 3-4 RD-180's?
It's over powered but workable for a crew launcher, and a tri-core version is as capabile as the LV 27.3 they chose.

One new core, and one new upper stage (it would need J2S but so did LV27.3), and NASA has both a new crew launcher, and cargo launcher.  And the crew launcher could probably use Delta's existing DCSS like I said, for a little more synergy with EELV.
The cores could be produced at a reasonable clip at MAF, along with the new HLV upper stage (when needed, down the road). 

Seems like such an obvious option, what am I not seeing?  Why wasn't it even looked at, even if they opted for Ares 1/5 anyway. 

In this same vein, I saw a Boeing/ULA paper noodling around the internet.  I can't find it again now, although I wished I'd saved it.  It was a Delta IV growth charge kind of like this one.

http://ninfinger.org/models/vault2004/delta_iv_heavy_lift.jpg

Except it showed at the upper end a tri-core super heavy instead of this two-core super heavy.  I'd not seen the concept before, but basically a 7m diameter Delta IV, with two RS-68's each.  A tri-core heavy would put over 100mt to LEO (according to the chart). 

With a tapered MPS and adequate spacing between the engines, it should allow enough air flow to prevent hot gas buildup...I'm assuming since Boeing/ULA seemed to think it would work.

It got me thinking about soemthing like that as an alternate to CxP.  I don't know how hard it would be to change the tooling at MAF to produce cores of narrower diameter than 8.4m, but I'll assume is easier than making wider diameter cores?

7m diameter would be a bit too wide to fit through the VAB doors in a tri-core heavy I think, as that limitation is like 19.6m?  But if NASA could make the cores like 6.5m wide.

But that could make for an interesting configuration.  A single core with 5m DCSS upper stage should put Orion to LEO, and this tri-core heavy should put a lander and EDS up...If you wanted to man-rate RS-68.  Otherwise launch Orion on an Atlas Phase 1-55x and just use this LV as a heavy cargo launcher and don't man-rate it.

If Boeing is the contractor for it at MAF like they are for the SLS core, it'd be closer to Delta IV than a SDHLV, and that knowledge could be more easily rolled into it.
It would use the Delta IV engine and engine mount. (A completely US designed and built engine)
RS-25 can be retired.  Shuttle SRB's could be retired before money was spent on 5-seg.  J2X would never have been.  Although NASA's upper stage for it could have used a J2S if RL-10's wouldn't work.  But I'd think a cluster of them would work given the burn time of the central core of a tri-core heavy.

Some GEM-60's could be used as well to boost the performance to over 100mt, espcially if it were used only as the cargo launcher.  For more Synergy with EELV.  Although NASA seemed pretty adverse to anything more than just two boosters on any HLV during the ESAS study.  Still, that could have been looked at to boost the LEO capability to maybe around 125mt, which is what NASA wanted out of their cargo launcher.

Might have been cheaper and easier to develop and build this, than try a 7-core Delta IV super heavy?  More mass-efficient for sure.  And it'd have benefitted from the use of AL2195 at MAF which was already used for the ET, but is not used for Delta IV.

Not sure if it'd have been better than an Atlas Phase 2 style kerolox, but it would have US-engines, which I could see being desirable.  The Boeing paper put performance at 100mt to LEO vs. 70mt for Atlas Phase 2-heavy.  But that sounds about right of a 7-core Delta IV super heavy can get 100mt with an extra engine but much higher dry mass.

Not sure if crossfeeding was assumed or not. 




Offline Lobo

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #69 on: 04/28/2014 10:53 PM »
Bumping this thread enlight of the recent questions about the use of RD-180's for DoD payloads.  As well as the always looming possibility Russia could cut off the supply of RD-180's.

So many have said that going with existing EELV's and using depots would have been a much better CxP, and there's a lot of merit to that.
Many have always advocated using evolved EELV's, like Atlas Phase 2, and there's a lot of merit to that too.  NASA looked at such concepts during ESAS obviously.

And it's always good to not have to develop new enignes.  So either using variants of existing EELV's or going with bigger EELV's using more RD-180's or RS-68's seems like a good idea, like ESAS looked at.

But how would that all have -really- played out, had NASA opted to join in on EELV's with USAF?
Here's some issues with that, that I am curious about some insight in to.

1)  A wide core with RS-68's would likely need engines upgraded to regen nozzles to tolerate the base heat load, even though it's much less than the SRB's.  A 10m core with a cluster of RS-68's would still have a lot of heating.  Would USAF go along with that if NASA paid for the upgrade?  Wouldn't that make the RS-68 more expensive per unit?  Would USAF just tell NASA not to screw with the engine they already like?

2)  A wider core Atlas with RD-180's.  That's easier, as RD-180 can handle the heating, and is closer to man-rating.  But it's a Russian supplied engine.  For reasons we are seeing play out today, NASA probably would want to get PWR to produce a US-built version before committing their HSF program to and LV that used it.  But would USAF shut that down too?, as a US built one that's man rated would likely be more expensive for their Atlas flights?  Would they shoot that down and tell NASA not to screw with their cheap Russian engine??

So, would USAF have worked with NASA, if it meant the chance they might have to pay more for their launches after EELV hardware is upgraded to accommodate NASA's needs?
Or would going this route actually caused so many problems, NASA would have been better off going with their own hardware as they did? (even if they did a more feasible new LV than Ares 1/5).

It's always assumed that NASA should have just did the obvious thing and went with the existing EELV's, but how amenable would USAF actually have been to NASA messing around with their rockets and engines, as would have been needed for their HSF program?  Based on posters on other threads the two don't seem very amenable to sharing...

Offline RocketmanUS

Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #70 on: 05/01/2014 02:05 AM »
EELV

Human rate Atlas or Delta ( not heavy ).
Convert 1 MLP to launch both Atlas and Delta ( not heavy ) ( similar to USA concept ).
After shuttles last flight then convert one more MLP and retire MLP #1. Launch from LC-39 A/B.

LEO Orion capsule with cargo version and Cygnus like as was originally call for.
Call for shuttle to retire 2010 with extensions till 2013 if needed. ( There was no reason they could not of had a crew and cargo capsule by 2013 at the latest ).

After crew, cargo capsule launching and shuttle retires then launch something similar to Morpheus Lunar lander fore robotic exploration. Develop and send large rover to Mars surface using existing EELV's and in-space assembly along with propellant depot and or tankers.

Later develop Lunar and or Mars Orion. Launch on EELV's  ( pusher escape system ). Add mission propellants to SM in LEO. Attach to EDS for Lunar or Mars transfer craft for Mars. Maximum of six crew. Using a pusher escape system and adding mission propellants in LEO would allow the Atlas V 501 to launch Lunar or Mars versions of Orion to LEO.

This would have focused NASA not on HLV but the needed tech for the exploration missions. Keep in mind with EELV's this would only be exploration missions. Maximum of two crew flights per year to Lunar or one crew flight to Mars about every two years. Would not have locked NASA into BLEO and kept needed crew to LEO infrastructure.

Once NASA had revisited and or visited Mars by crew then they could have look into HLV or other ( possible RLV ) for a more intense crewed  exploration program. Would most likely not seen more than two crew landings on Mars with EELV's. By this time anyway there very well could have been commercial solution(s) launching such as a HLV. EELV's would have been a temporary use to be used to no later than 2030.

Would have meant there could have been much more money for the COTS program back then including crew not just cargo.

If there became of problem with the supply of the RD-180's then NASA could have human Rated the Delta IV ( not heavy ) for LEO crewed flights. BLEO could be delayed till HLV ( or other ) or launched BLEO Orion on Delta IVH ( current Delta IVH pad ) and have crew ride up on the Delta IV from LC-39 A/B. If there were crew already beyond LEO then they would have had extra RD-180's in stock for a rescue mission if needed.

From what I understand there was plenty of extra capacity in Atlas and Delta production line to include NASA LEO needs and possible BLEO without adding another production line. Atlas and Delta provider to keep Air Force and NASA needs separate. NASA use of Atlas and Delta should have helped lower cost of both launchers. With a properly funded COTS program ( including crew ) the possible added competition should have help keep cost down too.

Edit:
Other option:

Atlas V Phase II,

Instead of Ares I/V go with Atlas II to start with.
U.S. manufactured human rated RD-180's for NASA use and make them available for DoD if there is a Russian supply problem for the Atlas V.

Use the new 5m core ( stumpy ) with (1) RD-180 engine for LEO with the crew and cargo LEO Orion versions.
Start of with the two engine Centaur and later go with the upgraded ACES.

Start with the RL-10 and have a competition for a replacement and or modern manufactured RL-10's.

Add in the (2) RD-180 regular length 1st stage version of the Atlas V phase 2.
For higher mass, orbit , and Lunar.

With the the ACES added in Crew Lunar and Mars could be down.

If they needed greater mass to orbit then they could add in Atlas V phase 3A ( 5m core with four 5m boosters ).
Phase 3B could be added in if it were ever needed.

Would have given the U.S. a U.S. back up suppler of the RD-180 for DoD if ever needed.
Less development with greater flexibility.
Taken in logical steps for return to crewed BLEO missions without locking NASA into a supper HLV or unproven launcher.

Money left over for COTS program and a better more flexible Lunar lander.

Left program to work in stages so Lunar or Mars first could have been decided later on in the BLEO program.

Atlas V phase 2 and phase 3A  would have worked well with low budget as we ended up with. Phase 3A would have been great for low flight rates as that is what we are looking at now with SLS . Phase 2 and 3 would have had much in common with Atlas V and Delta IV plus the common upper stage ( ACES ).

MLP # 2 and #3 for Phase 2 stumpy and regular dual engine regular length core, plus tri-core version. MLP #1 would have still been retired. A new MLP would have been needed for phase 3A if it were needed.

With ACES there was the option of in-space propellant transfer and depot(s).

With the U.S. made human rated RD-180 there would have been an option for a nine engine 1st stage Saturn replacement. For 2nd stage a modern J-2S. This could have been instead of Atlas Phase 3B.
« Last Edit: 05/09/2014 03:15 AM by RocketmanUS »
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Offline kraisee

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #71 on: 06/10/2014 04:26 AM »
Unfortunately the EELV route(s) never had any support in DC - especially at the Appropriations level.

Without addressing that first, you'll never get NASA's budget allocation to where it needs to be and that's a much bigger problem because, as we all know; no bucks means no Buck Rogers.

Most folk on NSF are focused on the technology -- and that's certainly important -- but without the political support from on high, it don't mean $#!&.

Look at the number of great projects that brought the best engineering and technology to the table, but died because of lack of funding.   F1A, NERVA, Aerospike, DC-X etc. etc.   For every project that actually succeeded there are hundreds that failed.   The main difference:   Getting the political support aligned behind you properly.

The EELV solution was always a good technical one.   Strange to think it, but the fact remains that they (Boeing and LM) utterly failed to get their politics aligned properly for this contest.   Without that, it means they were always going to be DOA in the old CxP fight.

The thing most people here (me included) have a really hard time swallowing is that the politics is sadly 90% of the fight.   Without it, the other 10% doesn't matter at all.   Loathe this truth to your heart's content.   But ignore it at your peril.

Ross.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2014 04:34 AM by kraisee »
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Online MATTBLAK

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #72 on: 06/23/2014 07:11 AM »
When Direct never came to pass, then uprated (Phase 1) EELV  should've been the way to go. And not necessarily because of 'Last Man Standing' syndrome either.
« Last Edit: 06/23/2014 07:17 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline kraisee

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #73 on: 06/23/2014 05:09 PM »
As I explained over on the other thread (in Historical) it doesn't depend on the technology.   It depends on the politics -- and sadly, EELV has never managed to get much political backing behind them.

The issue is more to do with NASA's annual budget process.   If you go for EELV, you lose the political support every state and regional representative that make money from an SDLV-style solution.   And many of those are members on the various committees that authorise and appropriate NASA's top-line budget every year.

There are plenty of other demands for NASA's money out there and without their explicit and sustained support each year you could realistically lose the committee votes that provide NASA with it's full Budget.   That could easily result in at least 3, more likely 5, and maybe even 7 billion off the top of NASA's budget every year.

Saving a billion a year on the launcher, but losing 5 billion a year in NASA's overall budget, would be a very bad trade indeed as the losses would mostly be directed towards the Science directorate.

Though I personally am not a fan of the current direction for SLS, it still represents the backbone of NASA's entire political support structure and without that, NASA could be in a much, much worse position.

Ross.
« Last Edit: 06/23/2014 05:16 PM by kraisee »
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #74 on: 06/23/2014 11:14 PM »
{snip}
Saving a billion a year on the launcher, but losing 5 billion a year in NASA's overall budget, would be a very bad trade indeed as the losses would mostly be directed towards the Science directorate.

Though I personally am not a fan of the current direction for SLS, it still represents the backbone of NASA's entire political support structure and without that, NASA could be in a much, much worse position.

Ross.

A Moon base would have contracts all over the USA.  As well as the launch vehicle there are landers, manned rovers, habitats and consumables.

Their Senator can tell the auto-mobile manufacturing firms to get involved with the electric rovers before the Japanese companies use cheap labour to under cut them.

Offline kraisee

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #75 on: 06/24/2014 07:38 PM »
A_M, Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

There is at least a decade's difference between when NASA's political support mechanism was destroyed, and when there could potentially be a moon base -- it just takes that long to develop all of the systems required.

Throughout that entire time though, NASA would be down billions of dollars each year.    In that financial environment, all of the other centres (and their political reps) would fight tooth-and-nail to retain their slice of the budget.   Aeronautics, Science etc.   It was HSF's fault that caused this mess, so they should bear the brunt of the cuts, no?

The internal fighting would be horrific and without the support for the extremely powerful "big rocket" delegation, there would be far fewer senior committee members fighting for the human spaceflight slice, so they would actually lose an even larger share.

The loss of topline budget would ultimately mean there would be no real money for any human exploration program BEO -- and that means outright cancellation.   Heck, if HSF caused a $5bn topline budget loss we would be damn lucky to retain any sort of human *LEO* program!   Without the robust HSF budget, there would be no Moon base.   If we can't afford the Moon base, where are your Moon base contracts?


Its a sad fact, but the folk who want SLS are *the* most powerful players in NASA's political game.   Ignore them, or turn them away from NASA at the entire agency's peril.

This is the dilemma we face today.   SLS is horrible.   But without the political backing that is actually behind SLS, the whole of NASA would be in a far, far worse position.   Its a situation of one step backwards, hopefully in return for two steps forwards.   You can tell its a government operation, can't ya? ::)

Ross.
« Last Edit: 06/24/2014 07:53 PM by kraisee »
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #76 on: 06/25/2014 12:00 AM »
A_M, Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

There is at least a decade's difference between when NASA's political support mechanism was destroyed, and when there could potentially be a moon base -- it just takes that long to develop all of the systems required.

{snip}

SLS and Orion are development projects not a manufacturing operation.

The Moon base would be a development project.

The overlap is smaller, particularly since NASA can start development in s few months.

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #77 on: 06/25/2014 07:21 PM »
I would have gone with a smaller Orion and a large modular Kerolox booster capable of landing Orion directly on the Lunar surface.

A typical Lunar mission would have involved two launches: A cargo launch would have placed a habitation module and other equipment on the Lunar surface, followed by a crew launch with the Orion Direct Ascent lander.

« Last Edit: 06/25/2014 07:22 PM by DLR »
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Offline kraisee

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #78 on: 06/25/2014 07:58 PM »

SLS and Orion are development projects not a manufacturing operation.

The Moon base would be a development project.

The overlap is smaller, particularly since NASA can start development in s few months.

That's true.   The question would probably boil-down to whether any new political supporters would have the courage to get involved in an agency that just took a big hit under the waterline.

A good leader might recognise the opportunity.   Unfortunately, when was the last time you saw any real quality leadership in Congress?

The normal refrain that I have seen is a general support for NASA at the soapbox level, but very sharp knives pointed towards NASA every time someone wants money for some other pet project.   NASA is most often the first name on the list of agencies to absorb cuts.   It would be a very unusual politician to choose to step into those shark-infested waters.

Ross.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2014 08:01 PM by kraisee »
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #79 on: 06/26/2014 02:22 PM »
The thing most people here (me included) have a really hard time swallowing is that the politics is sadly 90% of the fight.   Without it, the other 10% doesn't matter at all.   Loathe this truth to your heart's content.   But ignore it at your peril.

Can't recall exactly how the saying goes but in "general":

Any government project has four dimensions, length, width, hight and politics. If you don't get the last one right then the other's can all be perfect but it will still fail...

Randy
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Offline vulture4

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Re: What would a better CxP have looked like?
« Reply #80 on: 07/21/2014 10:21 PM »
Yet it wasn't long ago that the same budget was directed to Shuttle and OSP. Shuttle had contractors in every state. We abandoned them in a heartbeat.

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