Author Topic: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft  (Read 22436 times)

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #20 on: 11/11/2016 02:45 AM »
Elephant in the room; ITS

They say a mid-20's replacement which coincides with SpaceX's timeline, by definition it'll have a long duration ECLSS, large internal propellant stores, and its cargo capability would eliminate the need for developing a large cargo lander for Mars. Crew size: no problem.

Just saying...

ITS is quite something, but it has the problem of being unmatched. NASA probably won't want to go with a commercial provider with no backup. Unless BO's capsule for NG is something really huge (like 40+ people), or someone else pops up with a colonization-class spacecraft, theres no backup for ITS yet. I expect NASA will eventually fund a "mega-CCDev" to make more vehicles like that, but by the time it actually happens ITS will probably have a very large lead

Orion is also unmatched.  So is SLS.  So, if the question is Orion/SLS versus ITS, in either case there's no backup. So, lack of backup is not relevant.

The days when people could say commercial options need backup but government options don't are rapidly coming to an end.

Offline okan170

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #21 on: 11/11/2016 02:47 AM »
Elephant in the room; ITS

They say a mid-20's replacement which coincides with SpaceX's timeline, by definition it'll have a long duration ECLSS, large internal propellant stores, and its cargo capability would eliminate the need for developing a large cargo lander for Mars. Crew size: no problem.

Just saying...

If SpaceX can build, test and fund the entire thing on their own by that time, while building a revolutionary ECLSS system of unprecedented scale, I'll honestly be very impressed.  But I'm not going to count on it, especially with SpaceX's dates.

What SpaceX can do entirely with internal funding is irrelevant.  What is relevant is what they could do with the Orion plus SLS budget.  And the answer is: ITS.

Yes and have your entire HLV and architecture beholden to one company with no public benefits.  I don't see why its so desirable that NASA should fund Elon's personal colonization dreams, any more than any of the other Mars plans pitched to NASA over the years by Lockheed and co.  But then again I know what forum I'm posting in.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2016 02:51 AM by okan170 »

Offline docmordrid

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #22 on: 11/11/2016 02:51 AM »
Is there a difference between one company and the establishment kieretsu? Nope, it's a single source vs a distributed single source. Same difference.
DM

Offline okan170

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #23 on: 11/11/2016 02:53 AM »
Is there a difference between one company and the establishment kieretsu? Nope, it's a single source vs a distributed single source. Same difference.

If SpaceX goes out of business, does NASA own the IP?  Thats basically what this whole thing is about with Orion to begin with, that they can shop it around in case Lockheed is unable to pick up the pace and lower the cost.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #24 on: 11/11/2016 03:05 AM »
Elephant in the room; ITS

They say a mid-20's replacement which coincides with SpaceX's timeline, by definition it'll have a long duration ECLSS, large internal propellant stores, and its cargo capability would eliminate the need for developing a large cargo lander for Mars. Crew size: no problem.

Just saying...

If SpaceX can build, test and fund the entire thing on their own by that time, while building a revolutionary ECLSS system of unprecedented scale, I'll honestly be very impressed.  But I'm not going to count on it, especially with SpaceX's dates.

What SpaceX can do entirely with internal funding is irrelevant.  What is relevant is what they could do with the Orion plus SLS budget.  And the answer is: ITS.

Yes and have your entire HLV and architecture beholden to one company

Orion is already beholden to one company.  SLS is already beholden to one company.

The government deals with that by signing contracts.  The companies are legally bound by the terms of the contracts.

with no public benefits.

There would be every public benefit there is for Orion and SLS and more.

I don't see why its so desirable that NASA should fund Elon's personal colonization dreams, any more than any of the other Mars plans pitched to NASA over the years by Lockheed and co.  But then again I know what forum I'm posting in.

Elon's personal colonization dreams are irrelevant.

The government is currently paying for Orion and SLS to achieve some ends.  If they can achieve all those ends cheaper by funding ITS instead, the government should do that.  If that accidentally also enables Elon to send people to Mars, that's not a reason to disqualify them.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #25 on: 11/11/2016 03:08 AM »
Is there a difference between one company and the establishment kieretsu? Nope, it's a single source vs a distributed single source. Same difference.

If SpaceX goes out of business, does NASA own the IP?  Thats basically what this whole thing is about with Orion to begin with, that they can shop it around in case Lockheed is unable to pick up the pace and lower the cost.

If the government were only paying a part of the cost of fulfilling the contract, that would be a valid point.  For example, with COTS the government only paid part of the cost and Rocketplane Kistler was supposed to come up with the rest.  They failed and went bankrupt.

But if the $3 billion a year that goes to Orion plus SLS were enough to fund ITS without any additional funding by SpaceX, then your point is invalid.  Companies don't go out of business when they have large government contracts paying the full costs.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #26 on: 11/11/2016 03:14 AM »
What SpaceX can do entirely with internal funding is irrelevant.  What is relevant is what they could do with the Orion plus SLS budget.  And the answer is: ITS.

NASA is currently allowed to spend money looking into going to Mars, but the SLS and Orion were not really justified specifically for a Mars program, so cancelling them won't result in a need to replace them.

I'm a supporter of SpaceX and their goal of making humanity multi-planetary, and I'd even donate some of my play money to help them, but the U.S. Government has no problem today that gets solved by sending government employees to Mars.

So if the SLS and Orion are cancelled, I don't see a comparable amount of funding being redirected to an effort to get to Mars, regardless what the private sector is doing.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline su27k

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #27 on: 11/11/2016 03:36 AM »
If SpaceX can build, test and fund the entire thing on their own by that time, while building a revolutionary ECLSS system of unprecedented scale, I'll honestly be very impressed.  But I'm not going to count on it, especially with SpaceX's dates.

SpaceX doesn't need to "build revolutionary ECLSS system of unprecedented scale" from the start, why is everyone assuming the first ITS will be able to support 100 colonists? Even an ITS that can only support 4 people to Mars would be a vast improvement comparing to Orion.

Offline su27k

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #28 on: 11/11/2016 03:40 AM »
Elephant in the room; ITS

They say a mid-20's replacement which coincides with SpaceX's timeline, by definition it'll have a long duration ECLSS, large internal propellant stores, and its cargo capability would eliminate the need for developing a large cargo lander for Mars. Crew size: no problem.

Just saying...

If SpaceX can build, test and fund the entire thing on their own by that time, while building a revolutionary ECLSS system of unprecedented scale, I'll honestly be very impressed.  But I'm not going to count on it, especially with SpaceX's dates.

What SpaceX can do entirely with internal funding is irrelevant.  What is relevant is what they could do with the Orion plus SLS budget.  And the answer is: ITS.

Yes and have your entire HLV and architecture beholden to one company with no public benefits.  I don't see why its so desirable that NASA should fund Elon's personal colonization dreams, any more than any of the other Mars plans pitched to NASA over the years by Lockheed and co.  But then again I know what forum I'm posting in.

I agree, NASA shouldn't be Elon's personal bank, if a change of direction is needed then it should be openly competed and preferably multiple providers should be selected. But I think SLS + Orion funding is more than enough to support both ITS and anything Blue Origin/ULA can come up.

Online woods170

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #29 on: 11/11/2016 07:55 AM »
Is there a difference between one company and the establishment kieretsu? Nope, it's a single source vs a distributed single source. Same difference.

If SpaceX goes out of business, does NASA own the IP?  Thats basically what this whole thing is about with Orion to begin with, that they can shop it around in case Lockheed is unable to pick up the pace and lower the cost.
Who actually owns the IP of Orion is not exactly clear from public sources. Back when Constellation was canned NASA basically handed Orion back to LockMart, pulling it's own staff off the development team because Obama had cancelled Orion along with the rest of CxP. What happened to the IP when Orion was re-instated is not clear.
There is an indicator pointing to the IP possibly still belonging to the contractor. The "fencing-off" of the Orion work-area in the OC&C. Even NASA personnel, and other non-LockMart personnel must get clearance first before being allowed into that area.

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #30 on: 11/11/2016 11:16 AM »


The government is currently paying for Orion and SLS to achieve some ends.  If they can achieve all those ends cheaper by funding ITS instead, the government should do that.  If that accidentally also enables Elon to send people to Mars, that's not a reason to disqualify them.


just no

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #31 on: 11/11/2016 11:56 AM »
NASA isn't looking for services to buy, they're looking for hardware to buy. Unless SpaceX has decided to start selling hardware rather than services then talk of ITS, Dragon, or anything else is moot.

Offline Navier–Stokes

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #32 on: 11/11/2016 01:17 PM »
Lockheed Martin issued a short statement in response to Eric Berger's story (see attachment).

Online Robotbeat

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #33 on: 11/11/2016 01:22 PM »
NASA isn't looking for services to buy, they're looking for hardware to buy. Unless SpaceX has decided to start selling hardware rather than services then talk of ITS, Dragon, or anything else is moot.
You read the article?
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline notsorandom

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #34 on: 11/11/2016 01:40 PM »
Lockheed Martin issued a short statement in response to Eric Berger's story (see attachment).
A reduction in cost by 50%? Looks like this RFI did its intended job.

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #35 on: 11/11/2016 02:14 PM »
NASA isn't looking for services to buy, they're looking for hardware to buy. Unless SpaceX has decided to start selling hardware rather than services then talk of ITS, Dragon, or anything else is moot.
You read the article?
I did. I read the RFI too.

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=235165b05e83184c0bbdeaaedbc2d429&tab=core&tabmode=list&

The RFI doesn't seem to give any indication at all about substituting alternate spacecraft.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2016 02:16 PM by rayleighscatter »

Offline Navier–Stokes

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #36 on: 11/11/2016 02:41 PM »
I did. I read the RFI too.

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=235165b05e83184c0bbdeaaedbc2d429&tab=core&tabmode=list&

The RFI doesn't seem to give any indication at all about substituting alternate spacecraft.
For ease of access, the RFI documents are attached below.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2016 02:42 PM by Navier–Stokes »

Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #37 on: 11/11/2016 03:38 PM »
The RFI doesn't seem to give any indication at all about substituting alternate spacecraft.

As I began typing this post, I was going to agree.  Then I reread the article and noticed the following passage:
Quote from: Eric Burger in Ars Technica, 10 Nov., 16:47 UTC
"If a respondent wishes to provide a broader input beyond the topics described in this RFI or beyond the technical scope of the Orion spacecraft, then it is requested alternate responses be submitted separately,” the RFI states. It adds that these “alternate approaches” should include an analysis of their cost implications for NASA.
That may seem a little fuzzy, but I think it's about as blunt as can be in the context of an RFI.

Whether a change of spacecraft would have a snowball's chance on Venus of getting through Congress is another question, but it looks to me like there is interest at NASA.

By the way, regarding Orion IP, the article also says:
Quote
The original structure of NASA’s contract with Lockheed Martin is such that NASA “owns” the design work when it is completed, so another contractor, if it could demonstrate a compelling cost advantage, could take over for Exploration Mission-3 and beyond.
« Last Edit: 11/12/2016 03:38 AM by Proponent »

Offline EE Scott

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #38 on: 11/11/2016 03:54 PM »
Any talk of ITS in the context of this RFI just seems way beyond the pale. It is so far from being a reality and so not compatible with NASA's mission plans (so far that they have conceptualized them), that IMO, it's really not helpful.

Also, just IMO, it makes sense to de-couple Orion and SLS if one seeks to salvage at least one of those programs going forward. To me it seems that SLS (if it is deemed worthy of survival by the next Administration) would make a formidable cargo-only LV that can work nicely as part of multi-launch missions where the alternative crew vehicle selected (if it shakes out that way) is launched by an LV from Blue, ULA, SpaceX, or even ESA (Ariane 6?). It also could have great utility as an LV for unmanned planetary probe missions, as we have read a lot about.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2016 03:55 PM by EE Scott »
Scott

Online AncientU

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Re: NASA considers alternatives to its Orion spacecraft
« Reply #39 on: 11/11/2016 11:40 PM »
Any talk of ITS in the context of this RFI just seems way beyond the pale. It is so far from being a reality and so not compatible with NASA's mission plans (so far that they have conceptualized them), that IMO, it's really not helpful.

Also, just IMO, it makes sense to de-couple Orion and SLS if one seeks to salvage at least one of those programs going forward. To me it seems that SLS (if it is deemed worthy of survival by the next Administration) would make a formidable cargo-only LV that can work nicely as part of multi-launch missions where the alternative crew vehicle selected (if it shakes out that way) is launched by an LV from Blue, ULA, SpaceX, or even ESA (Ariane 6?). It also could have great utility as an LV for unmanned planetary probe missions, as we have read a lot about.

What payloads?  The Europa missions were opportunities to keep SLS flying annually so that it would be safe for crewed missions.  Without crew, what justifies the cost of SLS launches?  if you think Science Mission Directorate will carry the cost of SLS, think again.

Without Orion, SLS is history.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2016 11:41 PM by AncientU »
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