Author Topic: What would a better CxP have looked like?  (Read 38005 times)

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.

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