Author Topic: NASA RFI for Efficiency & Sustainability of Exploration Systems  (Read 14150 times)

Offline Proponent

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NASA has just issued an RFI (PDF version attached) for ways to make exploration less unaffordable.  It's a bit like the previously discussed RFI for Orion production, but more general.  It seems as though just about everything is in play.  Page 5 shows a table of projected SLS missions, through EM-10 in 2030.

EDIT:  Eric Berger has a bluntly-titled article on this RFI in Ars Technica: "NASA realizes SLS and Orion are too expensive, opens door to competitors."
« Last Edit: 11/18/2016 08:02 AM by Proponent »

Online MikeAtkinson

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What exactly is "proving ground", is it lunar DRO? What do they do there which cannot be done in LEO?

Offline TrevorMonty

What exactly is "proving ground", is it lunar DRO? What do they do there which cannot be done in LEO?
The radiation levels and temperature ranges are different from LEO.

Offline sdsds

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What exactly is "proving ground", is it lunar DRO? What do they do there which cannot be done in LEO?
The radiation levels and temperature ranges are different from LEO.

Also the time required to reach Earth (and thus e.g. emergency medical assistance) is considerably longer. It isn't a destination in-and-of itself. It's just ... a proving ground! ;-)
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Candidate complete systems are

-SpaceX DragonV2 on FH(expendable)

-ULA/Boeing Starliner/Vulcan/Aces(distributed launch)

-BO New Glen or New Armstrong[this one is a long-shot as a candidate] with New Shepard upgraded Capsule

-and possibly even SpaceX ITS [this one is a long-shot as a candidate]

The long-shots are scheduled for operational NET to be out past the need date target of 2021 to 2023

Edit added:
If the contracting process started for a full replacement of the SLS/Orion system, it would go on contract at about the the point of EM-1 launch. So funding would at that point switch to the new program halting spending on all SLS/Orion and EM-2 program elements except maybe DSH.
« Last Edit: 11/19/2016 01:12 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Online AncientU

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Reposting under this new RFI Topic:

There could be an open competition for say 400mT to orbit annually, starting 2025, with up to four launches, 8+m fairing capability, and minimum crew of 8 per year.  (Adjust the numbers as you see fit for a realistic exploration program that includes Mars by early to mid 2030s.)  Awards would be fixed fee/COTS model.

SLS/Orion would compete be baselined with all costs through FY 2017 ignored, but full cost accounting thereafter.  Existing industrial team would be required to propose fully document costs of this option, butand each member would be free to propose alternatives or team with others.

Development costs to USG, plus operating costs for ten years (2025-2035) at this threshold 400mT annual rate would be one of the criteria.  Another would be the tonnage and crew delivered to Mars surface per synod. Other technical features could score bonus points.  Distribution of funds to existing industrial partners not a weighed criterion.

At a minimum, this would force the SLS/Orion program to reveal costs, and possibly even work to reduce them. It would also fulfill US Law as we are frequently reminded by Robotbeat:
Quote
To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Edited to eliminate the SLS/Orion Team as a proposing group per Jim's comments, but having them fully reveal costs for a yardstick against which other costs are evaluated.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline john smith 19

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What exactly is "proving ground", is it lunar DRO? What do they do there which cannot be done in LEO?
"Proving ground" is described on page 7 of doc as "cislunar space around the Moon with the Orion crew vehicle and SLS rocket, "

Assuming of course that if this goes to an RFP that the winners continue to use an Orion and an SLS to do this.

It would seem that NASA is as happy with Boeing's costs for SLS as they are with LM's costs for Orion.  :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Hauerg

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But nobody can be surprised by these costs.
Also this looks now like yet another umpteen billion $ program that is spared to actually deliver on it's promises.

Online RonM

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But nobody can be surprised by these costs.
Also this looks now like yet another umpteen billion $ program that is spared to actually deliver on it's promises.

Blame Congress for wasting tax money.

If Congress had selected the Direct plan Jupiter would be operational today.

If Congress had gone along with Obama's idea of researching technology for five years before designing the next big rocket then commercial space would be competing for the SHLV contract.

Offline TrevorMonty

But nobody can be surprised by these costs.
Also this looks now like yet another umpteen billion $ program that is spared to actually deliver on it's promises.

Blame Congress for wasting tax money.

If Congress had selected the Direct plan Jupiter would be operational today.

If Congress had gone along with Obama's idea of researching technology for five years before designing the next big rocket then commercial space would be competing for the SHLV contract.
The only problem with SLS schedule was not committing to EUS at beginning. Block 1A will be ready in 2018 and could've flown regularly from there if US been crew rated.


Offline TrevorMonty

ULA alternatives would require Boeing & LM approval. The two companies with most to lose by an alternative. Not allowing ULA to compete could mean losing out totally to Blue or/and SpaceX.


Offline Proponent

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The only problem with SLS schedule was not committing to EUS at beginning.

Where would the extra money for starting on EUS at the beginning have come from?

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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ULA alternatives would require Boeing & LM approval. The two companies with most to lose by an alternative. Not allowing ULA to compete could mean losing out totally to Blue or/and SpaceX.
With the prospect of nothing or something, I do not think LM would object to ULA/Boeing team doing a proposal/information submittal.

If they do not support a alternate team then a SpaceX solution or a BO solution could end up with the contract. Shutting LM out completely.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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The only problem with SLS schedule was not committing to EUS at beginning.

Where would the extra money for starting on EUS at the beginning have come from?
The basic problem was SLS cost too much for just the core and boosters. Congress gave NASA a max value and told them to propose a program that fit the budget.

Offline TrevorMonty

The only problem with SLS schedule was not committing to EUS at beginning.

Where would the extra money for starting on EUS at the beginning have come from?
I stated schedule not budget. We all know it comes down to money. In away approving money for EUS a couple of years ago set their HSF program back. If decision to proceed with EUS had been put off to now or later,  block 1A US would be crew rated, at extra cost of cause.

Without block 1B NASA would need to use commercial LVs or cargo SLS launches to deliver DSH modules.
« Last Edit: 11/19/2016 05:43 PM by TrevorMonty »

Online MikeAtkinson

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What exactly is "proving ground", is it lunar DRO? What do they do there which cannot be done in LEO?
"Proving ground" is described on page 7 of doc as "cislunar space around the Moon with the Orion crew vehicle and SLS rocket, "
So just an area of space? No asset build up, crew tended space station?

The radiation levels and temperature ranges are different from LEO.

Also the time required to reach Earth (and thus e.g. emergency medical assistance) is considerably longer. It isn't a destination in-and-of itself. It's just ... a proving ground! ;-)

True, but those are not benfits of a proving ground.

Worse radiation means more crew danger, but no advantages in terms of hardware testing.

Temperature ranges are an issue, but cis-lunar space does not provide the full temperature/heat load variation of a journey to Mars.

Time to reach earth in the event of an emergency is a major problem. If it is meant to be proving equipment and procedures then failures are to be expected. While it is possible to mitigate against failures by redundant/dissimilar hardware, this costs.

So I ask again, what is the proving ground?

What is it meant to be proving? How is it meant to be doing the proving? Why cis-lunar space? Is it just one orbit destination in cis-lunar space (DRO?), or do different proving ground missions go to different orbits, and if so why?

I have some ideas about why they might possibly want flights to a proving ground (BEO space station and ARM related), but the RFI itself gives no indication about why they might want to spend many billions on doing stuff (whatever that stuff might be) in the proving ground rather than LEO.

Online okan170

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In their IAC presentations, NASA talked about primarily proving life support systems for over a year without major replacements, leading to a year-long stay in cis-lunar space.  I'd guess that's what they'd be focusing on out there.

Offline Khadgars

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To me imho, this RFI is really to just put Boeing/LM on notice that their costs estimates going forward are too high.  We've already seen the tone from LM change recently.  Will be interesting to see where this ends up.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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To me imho, this RFI is really to just put Boeing/LM on notice that their costs estimates going forward are too high.  We've already seen the tone from LM change recently.  Will be interesting to see where this ends up.
There is a portion of truth about this but it is driven by a feeling from outside that operational costs of SLS/Orion are too high to make the system usable. The basic sentiment I believe is that SLS/Orion soaks up so much budget that there is nothing left for payloads. This is a significant problem in that no payloads no missions. This is a self fulfilling prophecy for low flight rates for SLS and Orion.

Lowering the operational costs would free up NASA budget margins for payloads' development that increase total accomplishments over a set time-frame. I think this last is the main reason NASA is trying to gain additional insights. They see a max value for the budget of HSF LV and payloads /year as flat into the future and SLS/Orion budget projections currently will strangle new payload developments.

Offline sdsds

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So I ask again, what is the proving ground?

What is it meant to be proving? How is it meant to be doing the proving? Why cis-lunar space? Is it just one orbit destination in cis-lunar space (DRO?), or do different proving ground missions go to different orbits, and if so why?

I have some ideas about why they might possibly want flights to a proving ground (BEO space station and ARM related), but the RFI itself gives no indication about why they might want to spend many billions on doing stuff (whatever that stuff might be) in the proving ground rather than LEO.

Well you have me convinced! Those three words, "the proving ground," were a poor choice to express what they really meant. Why didn't they choose a phrase that more accurately reflected what they meant? I honestly don't know, but I suspect it has something to do with the mission of the NASA public affairs office.
-- sdsds --

Offline A_M_Swallow

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I have lost track of the changing specifications of the Orion.

I assume that the Orion can act as a command module taking people to and returning them from lunar orbit and the Lagrange points.

Orion is too small to take people to and from Mars. Can Orion act as the cockpit of a Mars Transfer Vehicle? The astronauts could live in a habitat module based on a Deep Space Habitat (DSH) pushed by a propulsion module with large tanks. Using fly-by-wire connections via the docking port the Orion would do the navigation and propulsion control.

Offline jgoldader

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From what I can tell, the capability that would make Orion uniquely useful is a long-duration ELCSS, which isn't yet ready.  If that can't be made to work as per spec, Orion would be redundant.  When are they aiming at for that capability, 2021, 2023?
Recovering astronomer

Online okan170

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From what I can tell, the capability that would make Orion uniquely useful is a long-duration ELCSS, which isn't yet ready.  If that can't be made to work as per spec, Orion would be redundant.  When are they aiming at for that capability, 2021, 2023?

According to a couple interviews, 2023 is the date if ESA pulls out and the SM needs to be re-competed domestically all over again.

Offline TrevorMonty

From what I can tell, the capability that would make Orion uniquely useful is a long-duration ELCSS, which isn't yet ready.  If that can't be made to work as per spec, Orion would be redundant.  When are they aiming at for that capability, 2021, 2023?

According to a couple interviews, 2023 is the date if ESA pulls out and the SM needs to be re-competed domestically all over again.
Depends if ESA wants rides to DSH, a SM will most likely be their ticket price.

Offline jgoldader

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From what I can tell, the capability that would make Orion uniquely useful is a long-duration ELCSS, which isn't yet ready.  If that can't be made to work as per spec, Orion would be redundant.  When are they aiming at for that capability, 2021, 2023?

According to a couple interviews, 2023 is the date if ESA pulls out and the SM needs to be re-competed domestically all over again.

Due to interface issues, I suppose?  Yeesh, that's 19 years for full capability, and even then, that assumes the ECLSS is all done (not some block 1/block 2 thing with short vs. long duration).
Recovering astronomer

Online brickmack

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From what I can tell, the capability that would make Orion uniquely useful is a long-duration ELCSS, which isn't yet ready.  If that can't be made to work as per spec, Orion would be redundant.  When are they aiming at for that capability, 2021, 2023?

According to a couple interviews, 2023 is the date if ESA pulls out and the SM needs to be re-competed domestically all over again.

Source? <6 years (probably much less) to contract out, develop, build, test, and deliver a crew-rated SM seems... implausible. ESM will have taken 7 years to deliver an in-flight test article from initial conception, assuming they hold to schedule (ha!). Would such an SM have to go through an integrated test before flying a crew as well?

Online okan170

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From January,
http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/missions/human-spaceflight/sls-exploration-upper-stage-eus-and-etc/#KAGYkLsMAQC5Evk1.99

Hill: “I’m very confident we can make ’21. That was, the ’23 date, was based on a probabilistic model that models the probability of a certain risk occurring at a certain time. One of the things that the modelers put in that model, for ’23, was that Orion would have to, that the Europeans wouldn’t bring a European service module for EM-2, that we’d have to have Lockheed build it from scratch. It was about a three or four hundred million dollar hit, and because of that it pushed some of that out to ’23.


Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Source? <6 years (probably much less) to contract out, develop, build, test, and deliver a crew-rated SM seems... implausible. ESM will have taken 7 years to deliver an in-flight test article from initial conception, assuming they hold to schedule (ha!). Would such an SM have to go through an integrated test before flying a crew as well?

I believe Lockheed had already done quite a bit of work on their SM before the work was transferred to ESA. Using that head start would mean they could finish a lot quicker than starting from scratch.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online RonM

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Orion is too small to take people to and from Mars. Can Orion act as the cockpit of a Mars Transfer Vehicle? The astronauts could live in a habitat module based on a Deep Space Habitat (DSH) pushed by a propulsion module with large tanks. Using fly-by-wire connections via the docking port the Orion would do the navigation and propulsion control.

That's why some NASA plans take Orion all the way to Mars; it's the "bridge" for the rest of the ship.

Offline Khadgars

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From January,
http://www.spaceflightinider.com/missions/human-spaceflight/sls-exploration-upper-stage-eus-and-etc/#KAGYkLsMAQC5Evk1.99

Hill: “I’m very confident we can make ’21. That was, the ’23 date, was based on a probabilistic model that models the probability of a certain risk occurring at a certain time. One of the things that the modelers put in that model, for ’23, was that Orion would have to, that the Europeans wouldn’t bring a European service module for EM-2, that we’d have to have Lockheed build it from scratch. It was about a three or four hundred million dollar hit, and because of that it pushed some of that out to ’23.

Thanks Orkan for sharing this.  Puts a complete different light on EM-2 schedule that everyone here swears will not happen before 2023. 

« Last Edit: 12/17/2016 02:05 AM by Khadgars »

Online Robotbeat

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From January,
http://www.spaceflightinider.com/missions/human-spaceflight/sls-exploration-upper-stage-eus-and-etc/#KAGYkLsMAQC5Evk1.99

Hill: “I’m very confident we can make ’21. That was, the ’23 date, was based on a probabilistic model that models the probability of a certain risk occurring at a certain time. One of the things that the modelers put in that model, for ’23, was that Orion would have to, that the Europeans wouldn’t bring a European service module for EM-2, that we’d have to have Lockheed build it from scratch. It was about a three or four hundred million dollar hit, and because of that it pushed some of that out to ’23.


Thanks Orkan for sharing this.  Puts a complete different light on EM-2 schedule that everyone here swears will not happen before 2023.
No it doesn't. It bolsters my stance. The probabilistic model supports my claim.

The guy hopes it will go by 2021. Well, good. I've talked with people involved, and they agree the 2023 date is probably the most likely at this point.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline rayleighscatter

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No it doesn't. It bolsters my stance. The probabilistic model supports my claim.

The guy hopes it will go by 2021. Well, good. I've talked with people involved, and they agree the 2023 date is probably the most likely at this point.
While your vague unknown source says 2023 is still the likely date numerous public sources have said the rightward drivers would be the SM (which is resolved) and the anemic White House funding guidance up to this point (which is likely to come inline with Congressional guidance now), and that 2021 is still achievable.

And as for how the probabilistic model supporting your claim you're going to have to fill me in on how that works. The interview states that model "basically says is if all those risks occur, yeah, you’re going to be out there. What it doesn’t account for is we have management that manages against those risks, that mitigate those risks."

Losing a few months here or there on an aerospace project wouldn't be surprising as an unknown challenge pops up, but assuming every conceivable problem will pop up is just disingenuous.

Offline muomega0

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Orion is too small to take people to and from Mars. Can Orion act as the cockpit of a Mars Transfer Vehicle? The astronauts could live in a habitat module based on a Deep Space Habitat (DSH) pushed by a propulsion module with large tanks. Using fly-by-wire connections via the docking port the Orion would do the navigation and propulsion control.

That's why some NASA plans take Orion all the way to Mars; it's the "bridge" for the rest of the ship.
Apollo 13 is an example of how the capsule was abandoned during an emergency, so there is no clear rationale on why anyone would take a 10mT, 20 day, capsule to Mars and further risk its heat shield, not to mention it has SPE radiation protection only, with NO GCR protection(2 mT vs 20mT required).  Simply leave the capsule at L2, its dead mass othewise.

MARS DRM  incoherently takes Orion all the way to Mars, in the incredibly expendable architecture, because folks are trying to make others believe that "the moon prepares NASA for Mars", one of the three flaws in the VSE.

Congress must change the apartheid architecture, which excludes IPs and the existing DOD fleet at the cost of $10sB more, with 100% probability. 

Online Robotbeat

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No it doesn't. It bolsters my stance. The probabilistic model supports my claim.

The guy hopes it will go by 2021. Well, good. I've talked with people involved, and they agree the 2023 date is probably the most likely at this point.
While your vague unknown source says 2023 is still the likely date numerous public sources have said the rightward drivers would be the SM (which is resolved) and the anemic White House funding guidance up to this point (which is likely to come inline with Congressional guidance now), and that 2021 is still achievable.

And as for how the probabilistic model supporting your claim you're going to have to fill me in on how that works. The interview states that model "basically says is if all those risks occur, yeah, you’re going to be out there. What it doesn’t account for is we have management that manages against those risks, that mitigate those risks."

Losing a few months here or there on an aerospace project wouldn't be surprising as an unknown challenge pops up, but assuming every conceivable problem will pop up is just disingenuous.
Akin's Law of Spacecraft Design
#27: "Schedules only move in one direction." http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/akins_laws.html
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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While your vague unknown source says 2023 is still the likely date numerous public sources have said the rightward drivers would be the SM (which is resolved) and the anemic White House funding guidance up to this point (which is likely to come inline with Congressional guidance now), and that 2021 is still achievable.

The long pole in the tent is probably the Exploration Upper Stage. At limited funding levels, that could take seven years to be ready.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online okan170

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While your vague unknown source says 2023 is still the likely date numerous public sources have said the rightward drivers would be the SM (which is resolved) and the anemic White House funding guidance up to this point (which is likely to come inline with Congressional guidance now), and that 2021 is still achievable.

The long pole in the tent is probably the Exploration Upper Stage. At limited funding levels, that could take seven years to be ready.

I was under the impression per the latest NSF articles, that the biggest danger for 2021 would be the time needed for MLP modifications.  EUS has been decently funded for the last budget or so.
« Last Edit: 12/18/2016 07:04 PM by okan170 »

Offline clongton

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Akin's Law of Spacecraft Design
#27: "Schedules only move in one direction." http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/akins_laws.html

Someone needs to tell that to the President Elect.
(ducking now)
« Last Edit: 12/19/2016 04:02 PM by clongton »
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Offline Khadgars

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From January,
http://www.spaceflightinider.com/missions/human-spaceflight/sls-exploration-upper-stage-eus-and-etc/#KAGYkLsMAQC5Evk1.99

Hill: “I’m very confident we can make ’21. That was, the ’23 date, was based on a probabilistic model that models the probability of a certain risk occurring at a certain time. One of the things that the modelers put in that model, for ’23, was that Orion would have to, that the Europeans wouldn’t bring a European service module for EM-2, that we’d have to have Lockheed build it from scratch. It was about a three or four hundred million dollar hit, and because of that it pushed some of that out to ’23.


Thanks Orkan for sharing this.  Puts a complete different light on EM-2 schedule that everyone here swears will not happen before 2023.
No it doesn't. It bolsters my stance. The probabilistic model supports my claim.

The guy hopes it will go by 2021. Well, good. I've talked with people involved, and they agree the 2023 date is probably the most likely at this point.

Your analysis isn't based on data, but your inside source.  The 2023 date was mainly based on NASA having to scarp the ESM after EM-1 and design, test and build a completely new SM for Orion, which as we now know, the ESM has been confirmed for EM-2.



« Last Edit: 12/19/2016 04:16 PM by Khadgars »

Online Robotbeat

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From January,
http://www.spaceflightinider.com/missions/human-spaceflight/sls-exploration-upper-stage-eus-and-etc/#KAGYkLsMAQC5Evk1.99

Hill: “I’m very confident we can make ’21. That was, the ’23 date, was based on a probabilistic model that models the probability of a certain risk occurring at a certain time. One of the things that the modelers put in that model, for ’23, was that Orion would have to, that the Europeans wouldn’t bring a European service module for EM-2, that we’d have to have Lockheed build it from scratch. It was about a three or four hundred million dollar hit, and because of that it pushed some of that out to ’23.


Thanks Orkan for sharing this.  Puts a complete different light on EM-2 schedule that everyone here swears will not happen before 2023.
No it doesn't. It bolsters my stance. The probabilistic model supports my claim.

The guy hopes it will go by 2021. Well, good. I've talked with people involved, and they agree the 2023 date is probably the most likely at this point.

Your analysis isn't based on data, but your inside source.  The 2023 date was mainly based on NASA having to scarp the ESM after EM-1 and design, test and build a completely new SM for Orion, which as we now know, the ESM has been confirmed for EM-2.
So some guy's opinion (who has incentive to have rose colored glasses) versus another guy's opinion and probabilistic analysis. There are many things that go into such analyses.

How about we bet on it?
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(which is likely to come inline with Congressional guidance now), and that 2021 is still achievable
1) Coming from a President Elect who talks about taking care of potholes before space exploration, who just strongly criticized both Boeing (threatening cancellation of AirForce One) and Lockheed (threatening F35), who supports those who want a federal govt hiring freeze and generally reduced budget except for defense, actually has plenty of friction with Congress, and for goodness sake look at the title of this thread if you think the funding tap for SLS/Orion will be opened up

2) Your sort of unfounded speculation belongs in the Space Policy section.

3) Even if I granted "still achievable," that's still a far cry from what's /most likely/ to occur.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2016 01:36 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline rayleighscatter

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(which is likely to come inline with Congressional guidance now), and that 2021 is still achievable
1) LOL, coming from a President Elect who talks about taking care of potholes before space exploration, who just strongly criticized both Boeing (threatening cancellation of AirForce One) and Lockheed (threatening F35), who supports those who want a federal govt hiring freeze and generally reduced budget except for defense, actually has plenty of friction with Congress, and for goodness sake look at the title of this thread if you think the funding tap for SLS/Orion will be opened up

2) Your sort of unfounded speculation belongs in the Space Policy section.

3) Even if I granted "still achievable," that's still a far cry from what's /most likely/ to occur.

First off. You display an outstanding level of cognitive dissonance to follow up your first point with your second one.


And if you reread what I said, you'll see I said nothing about increased funding.
« Last Edit: 12/21/2016 10:38 PM by rayleighscatter »

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This just in:  President elect makes good with Boeing, Air Force 1 back on the front burner, maybe we should wait at least until January 20 before trying to predict what is showing itself to be unpredictable.

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I'm with Trump on this one. The most advanced nuclear powered attack submarine in the world with every conceivable weapon system and sensor hard wired into its soul, costs a mere $2 billion dollars. It's so stealthy that it can pass just a few feet underneath you and you will never see, feel or hear it, nor detect it by any means except by pure accident. How in the world then does Boeing justify a $4 billion dollar price tag for an admittedly complicated upgrade to a single mass produced airplane?
« Last Edit: 12/21/2016 11:46 PM by clongton »
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Offline Lar

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Airforce 1... ??? Off topic.
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I'm sorry I contributed to this, but this is clearly in the space policy wheelhouse.
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(which is likely to come inline with Congressional guidance now), and that 2021 is still achievable
1) LOL, coming from a President Elect who talks about taking care of potholes before space exploration, who just strongly criticized both Boeing (threatening cancellation of AirForce One) and Lockheed (threatening F35), who supports those who want a federal govt hiring freeze and generally reduced budget except for defense, actually has plenty of friction with Congress, and for goodness sake look at the title of this thread if you think the funding tap for SLS/Orion will be opened up

2) Your sort of unfounded speculation belongs in the Space Policy section.

3) Even if I granted "still achievable," that's still a far cry from what's /most likely/ to occur.

First off. You display an outstanding level of cognitive dissonance to follow up your first point with your second one.


...
Granted. This whole discussion should be in the space policy section.

Nobody knows what Trump will do, and I've held that view for a while. My point is that you can easily construct a strong narrative that suggests the exact opposite of just going along with Congress on SLS/Orion. Heck, there's an interesting article in Ars Technical about Peter Thiel (Trump backer during the campaign) pushing for commercial space and against "Oldspace" and hints that this may be gaining over Congressional status quo. But again, This whole discussion should really be in the space policy section. I am alerting the mods.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2016 01:41 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Lar

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I'm going meta a bit (and this post might get trimmed out in a housecleaning) ... I saw your report, Robotbeat, and I just got done arguing against it. The original topic isn't space policy. It's an RFI.... and was perfectly on topic in this section. Yes it's an RFI with a lot of implications but still... if we move it, it cuts some posters off.

I'd rather that people stop talking about Trump and 747s and stick to the topic, narrowly focused, and maybe it can stay here where all can participate.

I might get overruled, we'll see...
« Last Edit: 12/22/2016 03:17 AM by Lar »
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I just see a lot of people questioning this RFI, questioning the seriousness of the new Admin supporting efficiency improvements and questioning bloated government projects like SLS/Orion. If people are arguing the new Admin is going to be kinder to SLS/Orion than the old Admin, skirting the line of Space Policy, the only way to really disagree and build a case against that is to post about policy. AirForce1 is not off-topic (provided it's just a side note) if you're talking about the new Admin being opposed to inefficient, bloated projects (or ones perceived to be that way). Which is the topic of this thread.
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Offline Lar

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I just see a lot of people questioning this RFI, questioning the seriousness of the new Admin supporting efficiency improvements and questioning bloated government projects like SLS/Orion. If people are arguing the new Admin is going to be kinder to SLS/Orion than the old Admin, skirting the line of Space Policy, the only way to really disagree and build a case against that is to post about policy. AirForce1 is not off-topic (provided it's just a side note) if you're talking about the new Admin being opposed to inefficient, bloated projects (or ones perceived to be that way). Which is the topic of this thread.

But we have lots of topics to discuss the likely policy shifts in the Space Policy section. I'm suggesting that this one stay narrow, and technical... and then it isn't just the L2 folk that can participate.

If you want to talk wider implications of the new Admin, use one of the many other topics. Again, might get overruled.
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I was just trying to counter the misconceptions on this thread that the new administration is going to automatically be really friendly with Congress over SLS/Orion. I could easily see a repeat of FY11 and Ares/Orion. The fact that the transition team (I assume) wants an RFI on ways to improve efficiency is evidence of that.
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Offline woods170

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I was just trying to counter the misconceptions on this thread that the new administration is going to automatically be really friendly with Congress over SLS/Orion. I could easily see a repeat of FY11 and Ares/Orion. The fact that the transition team (I assume) wants an RFI on ways to improve efficiency is evidence of that.
The RFI was not mandated by the transition team. Earlier GAO reports are drivers.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2016 06:58 PM by woods170 »

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This may be a silly question and may also be in the wrong thread,

Can SLS be outsourced?

I mean, after development is over, and block 1b is operational,
And assume NASA is willing to commit to one launch a year,
Can it be licensed and operated as a comercial LV ?
Will it be cheaper that way?
Can it be done by others then Boeing?

Thanks
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Offline woods170

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Can SLS be outsourced?

No
I believe you. But could you be a bit more specific as to why not?

Offline RocketmanUS

For the RFI I do not see a way to lower SLS cost were it would be a valuable asset to the launch fleet for crewed BLEO exploration. What I do see is ULA's  ( half owned by Boeing ) Vulcan with it's advanced upper stage ACES that can provide NASA the flexible path forward for Air Force, commercial, NASA robotic , and crewed BLEO missions. The Vulcan is such that it has a job of launching day to day payloads unlike SLS that is scaled to large payloads only for it's per launch cost. Vulcan with ACES ( US, tanker, and depot version ) can also deliver the crewed deep space missions. So one launch vehicle with one yearly fixed overhead instead of two with payloads already for the Vulcan. The SLS still has lack of support for missions. Were Vulcan already would have payloads and can be used by commercial for their possible BLEO enterprise such as the moon.

What I see as a possibility is to change some of the SLS contracts to Vulcan. Such as the ATK solids for SLS to the new solids for Vulcan. Doing so could help get Vulcan with ACES launching sooner. The sooner it is certified for DoD launches the sooner the Altas V and the more costly Delta IVH can be retired. The Vulcan would use American made engines unlike the Atlas V helping the over all American economy that helps fund NASA. By canceling the SLS by a phase out over 6 to 18 months can help in finding new jobs for the people that would not be switched to the Vulcan by the sub contractors. Also gives time to save some of the infrastructure that might be used later on in other projects.

As NASA crewed BLEO is for exploration and not colonizing ( that is for commercial ). Vulcan ACES is supported by other launches and can be ready for NASA BLEO launches without yearly fixed cost to NASA like the SLS has.  NASA could then invest the funding on the payloads needed for crewed BLEO exploration. This also can help when transitioning from one administration to another as they may change to destination. Hove ever the launch system stays the same, as so can the EDS ( ACES US ) and other hardware as it uses the same launcher.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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I believe you. But could you be a bit more specific as to why not?

I believe the reason is that a US government developed vehicle can't be used to compete against privately developed vehicles. Doing so would be equivalent to socialism, which is anathema to the American way of life.
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Offline clongton

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Can SLS be outsourced?
No
I believe you. But could you be a bit more specific as to why not?

In addition to what Steven said, SLS is built from proprietary designs and hardware that no company would share with another company that underbid them. Think RS-25 and ATK-SRB, among others. Could they be replaced? Yes, but would cost far more because they would be starting from scratch to design and build their own versions.
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Offline TrevorMonty

For the RFI I do not see a way to lower SLS cost were it would be a valuable asset to the launch fleet for crewed BLEO exploration. What I do see is ULA's  ( half owned by Boeing ) Vulcan with it's advanced upper stage ACES that can provide NASA the flexible path forward for Air Force, commercial, NASA robotic , and crewed BLEO missions. The Vulcan is such that it has a job of launching day to day payloads unlike SLS that is scaled to large payloads only for it's per launch cost. Vulcan with ACES ( US, tanker, and depot version ) can also deliver the crewed deep space missions. So one launch vehicle with one yearly fixed overhead instead of two with payloads already for the Vulcan. The SLS still has lack of support for missions. Were Vulcan already would have payloads and can be used by commercial for their possible BLEO enterprise such as the moon.

What I see as a possibility is to change some of the SLS contracts to Vulcan. Such as the ATK solids for SLS to the new solids for Vulcan. Doing so could help get Vulcan with ACES launching sooner. The sooner it is certified for DoD launches the sooner the Altas V and the more costly Delta IVH can be retired. The Vulcan would use American made engines unlike the Atlas V helping the over all American economy that helps fund NASA. By canceling the SLS by a phase out over 6 to 18 months can help in finding new jobs for the people that would not be switched to the Vulcan by the sub contractors. Also gives time to save some of the infrastructure that might be used later on in other projects.

As NASA crewed BLEO is for exploration and not colonizing ( that is for commercial ). Vulcan ACES is supported by other launches and can be ready for NASA BLEO launches without yearly fixed cost to NASA like the SLS has.  NASA could then invest the funding on the payloads needed for crewed BLEO exploration. This also can help when transitioning from one administration to another as they may change to destination. Hove ever the launch system stays the same, as so can the EDS ( ACES US ) and other hardware as it uses the same launcher.
The Vulcan with 8m fairing would be capable of delivering most SLS payloads, Orion included, to LEO. Where ACES could refuel and deliver payload to its final destination.

While ULA could provide fuel launches, the likes of Blue and SpaceX could do cheaper. Plus scheduling can be tighter, once fuel is launch, Vulcan can launch a day or more later.

There is no requirement for NASA to own or develop fuel depots, let ULA provide their own solution.

Offline john smith 19

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Can SLS be outsourced?
No
I believe you. But could you be a bit more specific as to why not?

In addition to what Steven said, SLS is built from proprietary designs and hardware that no company would share with another company that underbid them. Think RS-25 and ATK-SRB, among others. Could they be replaced? Yes, but would cost far more because they would be starting from scratch to design and build their own versions.
That does not sound right. SLS is solely built for NASA. AFAIK that means NASA holds the rights the design. It could be bidded to other mfg.

In contrast the CST-100 and Dragon are proprietary to their mfgs. There if NASA finds one or the other too expensive it simply does not buy launches on that design.
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Offline Jim

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Can SLS be outsourced?


Yes, the core and the avionics can. Not the engines or SRB's.

Offline muomega0

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For the RFI I do not see a way to lower SLS cost were it would be a valuable asset to the launch fleet for crewed BLEO exploration. What I do see is ULA's  ( half owned by Boeing ) Vulcan with it's advanced upper stage ACES that can provide NASA the flexible path forward for Air Force, commercial, NASA robotic , and crewed BLEO missions. The Vulcan is such that it has a job of launching day to day payloads unlike SLS that is scaled to large payloads only for it's per launch cost. Vulcan with ACES ( US, tanker, and depot version ) can also deliver the crewed deep space missions. So one launch vehicle with one yearly fixed overhead instead of two with payloads already for the Vulcan. The SLS still has lack of support for missions. Were Vulcan already would have payloads and can be used by commercial for their possible BLEO enterprise such as the moon.

What I see as a possibility is to change some of the SLS contracts to Vulcan. Such as the ATK solids for SLS to the new solids for Vulcan. Doing so could help get Vulcan with ACES launching sooner. The sooner it is certified for DoD launches the sooner the Altas V and the more costly Delta IVH can be retired. The Vulcan would use American made engines unlike the Atlas V helping the over all American economy that helps fund NASA. By canceling the SLS by a phase out over 6 to 18 months can help in finding new jobs for the people that would not be switched to the Vulcan by the sub contractors. Also gives time to save some of the infrastructure that might be used later on in other projects.

As NASA crewed BLEO is for exploration and not colonizing ( that is for commercial ). Vulcan ACES is supported by other launches and can be ready for NASA BLEO launches without yearly fixed cost to NASA like the SLS has.  NASA could then invest the funding on the payloads needed for crewed BLEO exploration. This also can help when transitioning from one administration to another as they may change to destination. Hove ever the launch system stays the same, as so can the EDS ( ACES US ) and other hardware as it uses the same launcher.
The Vulcan with 8m fairing would be capable of delivering most SLS payloads, Orion included, to LEO. Where ACES could refuel and deliver payload to its final destination.

While ULA could provide fuel launches, the likes of Blue and SpaceX could do cheaper. Plus scheduling can be tighter, once fuel is launch, Vulcan can launch a day or more later.

There is no requirement for NASA to own or develop fuel depots, let ULA provide their own solution.
This is clearly a plan built for ULA and its parents with an excessive amount of LV capacity.  Go figure.

It implies that ULA be included in every BEO mission along with SLS (LV apartheid) in direct contrast to NASA plans for a LV independent architecture with the goal of reuse to economically explore.  History has shown that same approach with Shuttle and NASA has no say to reduce costs, advance concepts, nor explore.  Recall:
 
Congress cast aside depot centric in 2004, after failing to achieve anything related to the 1958 NASA Act for decades  How best to follow up on decades of stagnation:  HLV+depots: oxymoron Par for the course and quite hypocritical.

IF the USG pays for the development, then USG sets the requirements as well.  'Set the requirements and get out of the way' (follow the 1958 Act link above for more details, esp Charters)  does not allow for technology advancement nor need changes nor the best interests of the nation.  Many issues, but fundamentally: does the awardee retain exclusive rights and for how long.  It is further complicated by ITAR. 

Vulcan v0 however with solids needs a redesign to provide more potential for reuse and lower costs but this focus is lost when the USG loses control. ("Hey there is no market for reuse") yet they want depots...triple edge sword.

ULA or any company has been 'free' to provide a tanker and refillable stage (it clearly is not a depot, just a transfer stage pretending to be a depot, as the trades are quite interesting) for quite some time without USG funding and they can set the requirements for their 'markets'.  Not reducing launch costs was not the agenda for Congress nor companies, but with a dearth of payloads, is in the interest of most of the taxpayers--the exception is if you are a taxpayer with a job supported by the decades long approach.

Another issue with the ULA tanker approach is Using propellant for power at $1,000 to $10,000 /kg -- if you are a LV provider, then you should jump all over this option as its likely best to move the propellant with EP.

So lets get started on that LV independent architecture based on reuse with common configurations for Class A to D payloads to provide demonstrated reliability.
« Last Edit: 01/08/2017 08:35 PM by muomega0 »

Offline clongton

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Can SLS be outsourced?
Yes, the core and the avionics can. Not the engines or SRB's.

Exactly
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Offline RyanC

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In addition to what Steven said, SLS is built from proprietary designs and hardware that no company would share with another company that underbid them. Think RS-25 and ATK-SRB, among others.

Who paid for SSME and the SRB in the first place?  :o

Offline clongton

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In addition to what Steven said, SLS is built from proprietary designs and hardware that no company would share with another company that underbid them. Think RS-25 and ATK-SRB, among others.

Who paid for SSME and the SRB in the first place?  :o

NASA, but the designs belong to the companies.
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Offline Proponent

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As with the Orion RFI, it's now been 3 months since replies to the RFI mentioned in the OP were due.  Has anything happened, or is this just going to be dumped in the waste bin?

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