Author Topic: SPECIAL EVENT: George Sowers - ULA VP for Human Launch Services - Q&A  (Read 66474 times)

Offline Star One

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What sort of work would be involved and on what timescale should it be desirous to man-rate the D4H in the near future and will the introduction of the RS-68A assist in achieving this in a timely fashion should it be needed?
« Last Edit: 08/22/2012 07:57 PM by Star One »

Offline Eric Hedman

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Do you think non-government market for human launch services set to grow significantly and when?   Commercial space stations?  Asteroid mining?  Moon mining?  Orbital Space tourism?  Space based Solar Power construction? etc?

« Last Edit: 08/22/2012 08:39 PM by Eric Hedman »

Offline Don Mc0

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What would be your preference for the Exploration Roadmap? Such as are you interested in the Exploration Platform concept. Would you prefer to go back to the Moon first?

Online robertross

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Thanks for the Q&A opportunity!

What challenges do you foresee with fixed price (or fixed term) contracts in keeping vehicle costs down (to maintain profitability) with the materials market spikes we have seen in the past (before the market collapse)?
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Offline spectre9

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ULA launch vehicles are seen as expensive compared to SpaceX.

Does ULA plan to compete on price?

Offline Prober

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What future business opportunities are available for ULA to get launch rates up?
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Online Ronsmytheiii

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How far along is ULA on EELV line consolidation, how much of the LV standardization is internally funded and what items need external funding?

ULA seems to be quite active recently with funding or supporting emerging space companies (ie work with XCOR Aerospace,Masten Space Systems) How does ULA balance new and emerging technologies/suppliers versus the need for technical conservatism in launch contracts, and how would the ramp up process work for new suppliers?

Speaking of which, how will the United Technologies Corporation acquisition of Rocketdyne effect ULA both in present subsystems and future evolution?

Finally and getting back to human launch services, when would we expect to see new infrastructure construction for commercial crew (ie contract not time, like CCiCAp phase one ect) Will the spacecraft builders, ULA, or a combination of both pick the infrastructure needed?
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Offline notherspacexfan

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If you were to book a flight to orbit today, would you rather ride on Atlas V + CST-100, Atlas V + Dreamchaser, or Delta IV-H + Orion?

Online Space Pete

Dr. Sowers:

Under the proposed Exploration Gateway concept, which would see several additional modules delivered to the ISS, the method of delivery was proposed to be a Centuar equipped with a Launch Mission Kit (LMK), in order to allow the Centuar to rendezvous and fly in close proximity with the ISS.

My question is: Has ULA conducted any formal studies or work into the LMK, or the safety of flying a Centuar in close proximity to the ISS? What is the current status of such plans (if indeed they exist at all)?

Thank you for your time.

-Pete Harding, NASASpaceflight.com's ISS reporter.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2012 02:20 PM by Space Pete »
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Jason Davies

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I would be fascinated as to what you think of SLS's current design, such as the Shuttle Derived elements and thoughts on the booster preference.

Online Chris Bergin

Dr Sowers is in the building and will start answering questions around 10am MDT, which is shortly.

Won't be moving the thread into live events, as we need to move the Atlas V launch into there and it'll only get confusing if we move both. It'll stay top in this ULA section.

Online Chris Bergin

PS Everyone will be allowed to follow up, but respect Dr Sowers already has a lot of questions to get through (whatever he selects), so don't overload. Make sure it's an important follow up.

Offline georgesowers

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PS Everyone will be allowed to follow up, but respect Dr Sowers already has a lot of questions to get through (whatever he selects), so don't overload. Make sure it's an important follow up.

Thanks Chris for the setting this up!  I really appreciate the opportunity to interact with the members here.  It is apparent that my passion for spaceflight is shared by pretty much everyone here.  My plan is just to plow through the questions in the order asked.  My appologies in advance if my answers are (necessarily) brief.

Offline georgesowers

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On the future human flights, how would ULA and the customers deal with safety at the management level to ensure that any problems related to astronaut safety and risks of LOM/LOC can be clearly and effectively reported to the highest level?

GP

One of the challenges facing ULA as we get into human spaceflight is building a culture of safety to the same level of rigor we currently treat mission success.  We are in the process of establishing an internal safety organization with independent reporting, but more important is to instill the idea that safety is everyone's responsibility.

As to the specific process of how safety issues are handled, that will be worked out in conjunction with the prime contractors (e.g. BA and SNC) in conjunction with NASA during CCiCap.  NASA's 1100 series requirements provide a lot of guidance.

Offline georgesowers

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Thanks for being willing to participate in this event, Mr Sowers.

How much assistance have NASA provided during the Human Rating efforts under the SAA. Does this cooperation model work, in your opinion?

NASA's assistance during the SAA was invaluable.  For example, ULA was given access to a wealth of LC-39 data on access and egress designs.  We also profited by the direct and frequent interaction with NASA HSF experts.

The limitation of the SAA was the inability of NASA to provide any formal feedback on the acceptability of our proposed approaches.

Offline georgesowers

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If I can ask, did ULA have to redesign simulated trajectoriesm etc. for crewed Atlas V missions due to black zones, or was that never a real problem?

It was never a real problem.  A trajectory has to be designed from the beginning to close black zones, but that's a fairly standard process.

Offline georgesowers

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Will ULA be building access towers, etc, for the commercial crew vehicles or is that something the vehicle providers will handle themselves?


ULA

Offline georgesowers

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If a fatal accident occurs, what liability will ULA incur?

---  CHAS

The overall issue of liability and indemnification is yet to be worked out.  I'm sure it will keep lawyers (and potentially even congress) busy for many years to come.

Offline georgesowers

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And further on pad modifications, what are the plans for the EES (Emergency Egress System), past the use of the lift.

We are still looking a differrent options for emergency egress.  Detailed hazard analysis of the launch operations is a key determinant and is being refined.  We have the option of implementing a shuttle-like slide wire system, if required.

Offline georgesowers

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What is the future of RL-10 and Centaur? Are there modifications under consideration to reduce the costs there to improve the costs of ULA vehicles compared to foreign and domestic competition for commercial or DoD launches?

We believe RL10 and Centaur have a very bright future.  For example, we and PWR are currently working on the RL10C engine that will be common between Atlas and Delta upper stages.  And we have been working hard on ACES, the next generation Centaur with all kinds of enhancements for producability, reliability, long duration, commonality and performance.

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