Author Topic: EELV vs Direct  (Read 66157 times)

Offline Jim

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #140 on: 07/21/2008 12:25 AM »

Even traditional contractors will benefit from spacex succeeding in that they will emulate many things spacex does and it will be great PR for a beligered US aerospace industry often viewed as over priced and inflexible.


Incorrect.  The information is going to go from traditional to Spacex

Offline Jorge

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #141 on: 07/21/2008 01:23 AM »
I have a lot more fate in F9 then I do in Ares I and if you care about the US space program you too should hope for the best of luck to spacex.

Hope is one thing. Counting one's chickens before they hatch is, well, foolish.
JRF

Offline Zach

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #142 on: 07/21/2008 02:21 AM »
I have a lot more fate in F9 then I do in Ares I and if you care about the US space program you too should hope for the best of luck to spacex.

Hope is one thing. Counting one's chickens before they hatch is, well, foolish.

I for one do truly wish the best of luck to SpaceX.  But as Jim points out they have a long way to go before proving the F9 and Dragon.  I find  it rediculous that NASA is betting the future of a $100B investment in the ISS on such a long shot bet.  NASA should simutaneously pursue a lower risk option such as the tug proposed by Loral or ARCTUS proposed by SpaceHab in the last COTS go around.  Developing a transfer vehicle is hard enough, trying to also develop a rocket on a shoe string budget is asking for failure.

Success in multiple ISS delivery options will bode very well for commercial support of exploration.  These delivery vehicles could be the foundation to the EELV class rocket supported exploration, enabled with very little NASA required investment.
« Last Edit: 07/21/2008 02:22 AM by Zach »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #143 on: 07/21/2008 02:51 AM »
I have a lot more fate in F9 then I do in Ares I and if you care about the US space program you too should hope for the best of luck to spacex.

Hope is one thing. Counting one's chickens before they hatch is, well, foolish.

I for one do truly wish the best of luck to SpaceX.  But as Jim points out they have a long way to go before proving the F9 and Dragon.  I find  it rediculous that NASA is betting the future of a $100B investment in the ISS on such a long shot bet.  NASA should simutaneously pursue a lower risk option such as the tug proposed by Loral or ARCTUS proposed by SpaceHab in the last COTS go around.  Developing a transfer vehicle is hard enough, trying to also develop a rocket on a shoe string budget is asking for failure.

Success in multiple ISS delivery options will bode very well for commercial support of exploration.  These delivery vehicles could be the foundation to the EELV class rocket supported exploration, enabled with very little NASA required investment.

Thats why I find it a little foolish that NASA didn't select a second low risk COTS D option for crew transport such as spacehab or spacedev just as a backup since these two companies vehicles make use of the already proven EELVs.
Though I firmly believe the cost of space access can be reduced greatly from what it is now.
 I also feel spacex will make F9 and dragon work since they fully understand what happened on the last test flight.

Plus the second F1 test flight did go a lot better then the second R7 test or Atlas test.
The launch went well the first stage performed nearly flawlessly there was just a separation issue and feed back issue with the second stage control systems.

If you look at the launch as an engineer you can see that they did meet most objectives.
The Merlin 1 performed well and the Kestrel also work even though it contacted the second stage.
There were bugs but nothing really bad it didn't explode for example.

« Last Edit: 07/21/2008 03:04 AM by Patchouli »

Offline libs0n

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #144 on: 07/21/2008 03:52 AM »
Moon missions were canceled.  A downsizing of the space program, sure.   But to not further use the investment that had been made in hardware, to throw that all away to build the Space Shuttle, was a choice, a decision made by management at the time.
Can you clarify this?  If Saturn production was canceled in August 1968, how is the decision to build the shuttle involved?


Because of the choice to build the Space Shuttle, a resumption in production of elements that could have been incorporated in a post Apollo space program was not pursued.  The Shuttle was one of many options available to meet future needs.  NASA picked what it did, got behind it, and funding went to that; that choice was an opportunity cost that meant competing options were unrealized.

edit:
Jorge suggested that Apollo Moon program cancellation was well before the Space Shuttle.  My point is that even though Moon Apollo was cancelled, does not mean that hardware developed for it could not be continued to be used in a later program, if this was an appropriate path to take.  It is this lack of later use that is the true killer of the hardware, not necessarily the death of the program it was involved in.

The last few years of the 60s were when the proto-space shuttle concepts, and other options, were considered as paths going forward.  NASA management selected an ambitious post Apollo plan.  Prior to that decision there were many options on the table for consideration; even then their decisions may have been wrong.  During their identification of what they wanted, and pursuit of it, strategic decisions were made about existing programs that were influencable upon what they later desired.  At that, their plan was built upon funding assumptions.  Those assumptions proved flawed and the plan was pared back to just a space shuttle, which underwent significant revision compared to what was initially desired.  The initial conception of whether the Shuttle was valid was never revisited in the light of known reality, the other options never considered anew.  The Shuttle planning process underwent several design studies in which the reduced funding environment of both its design and operation were known.  This is when those involved should have realized and corrected their mistakes; instead the Shuttle was pursued with an obsession, an obsession that continued throughout the operation of the program.  The shuttle became the ends.

Everything stems from bad management.  There were options other than the Shuttle.  The decision to build the Shuttle, the commitment to it, were choices  They were poor choices.
« Last Edit: 07/21/2008 06:36 AM by libs0n »

Offline psloss

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #145 on: 07/21/2008 11:28 AM »
Because of the choice to build the Space Shuttle, a resumption in production of elements that could have been incorporated in a post Apollo space program was not pursued.  The Shuttle was one of many options available to meet future needs.  NASA picked what it did, got behind it, and funding went to that; that choice was an opportunity cost that meant competing options were unrealized.
I don't know that I disagree with your conclusion in general terms, but I do disagree with this premise.  NASA had even less control of the budget process than it does now, with the executive and legislative branches in essence telling NASA what they would not be given money to do.

In that time frame, NASA essentially "picked" all of the options in the studies done; the shuttle -- and certainly the shuttle by itself -- was not their first choice.  The BoB/OMB said no to all those choices given their expense and even internally drafted a NASA budget (for FY 1970 I believe) that proposed ending human spaceflight after Apollo 14.  NASA kept picking less and less expensive options until BoB/OMB and the President said yes.

Even with NASA "choosing" the shuttle direction, the funding for doing shuttle studies prior to Nixon's approval barely survived Congress.

Can you cite something that says that BoB/OMB, Congress, or the President would have supported restarting Saturn production had NASA insisted on it?  Doing so would have carried with it "continuing with the moon rockets" symbolism that I'm not sure there was much support for.

Offline psloss

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #146 on: 07/21/2008 11:37 AM »
Everything stems from bad management.  There were options other than the Shuttle.  The decision to build the Shuttle, the commitment to it, were choices  They were poor choices.
I wouldn't call it "bad" management, but the NASA administration was accountable for their role in the process.  I don't think you can ignore the other players in the process, particularly the ones at that time and the political forces they were influenced by in the time period.  They were as accountable as the NASA administration, if not more so.

Offline jongoff

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #147 on: 07/21/2008 09:03 PM »
Correct. But what does this really mean? If you could have done it but haven't you still don't have it. Europe could have Hermes by now, the Soviet Union could have landed on the moon in the 1970ies ... This argumentation is pretty pointless. It may explain, but it does not give you the capability.

All these points can be summarized: If there is a will to afford it (and if it is technically possible, by the laws of physics), you can do it. Priority means in the end: Budget, and you need the will to afford it. And this will has been, still is and very likely will be lacking. It has been there only once: In the very special climate of the cold war. Get over it, it won't come again.

I wasn't talking about Apollo levels of funding.  Most of these technologies (Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking, microgravity propellant transfer, etc) were ones that didn't take tens of billions of dollars to field.  My point is that many of the not-yet-mature technologies that NASA is trying to avoid maturing are ones that could be matured for far less than the kludges NASA is using to avoid maturing them.  The remaining technology maturation needed to go with a propellant depot based architecture would likely cost far less than what they'll blow on Ares I/V.

They don't need big budget increases, they just need to find a way to stop being a jobs program for engineers.  If they put even 5% of the current Cx budget every year into technology maturation, it would probably end up providing more benefit than the other 95% would.

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I say concentrate on LEO because this is the only place we are willing to afford, independent of the "why". If we want human spaceflight - for whatever reason - this is the least expensive place, the only we are willing to afford. And we can learn a lot by going there, as Jorge said, to once make going beyond affordable too.

I will agree with that last bit.  Trying to run off and do lunar and martian exploration on our current budget without first investing in ways to make it cheaper and more affordable isn't likely going to turn out well.  Investing up-front in the technologies and industry building needed to make manned spaceflight actually economically relevant will likely get us to the Moon and Mars faster than the "shortcut" approach of doing an Apollo rehash.

~Jon

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #148 on: 07/22/2008 02:44 AM »
It would be truly ironic if the most economic vehicle to run turned out to be the Shuttle. LEO is what it's economics were meant for.

Now if it didn't have those pesky wings, no crew escape capability (ejection seats? anyone? anyone? Buehler?),  mixed crew cargo, and crew not on top of vehicle.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #149 on: 07/22/2008 04:04 AM »
It would be truly ironic if the most economic vehicle to run turned out to be the Shuttle. LEO is what it's economics were meant for.

Now if it didn't have those pesky wings, no crew escape capability (ejection seats? anyone? anyone? Buehler?),  mixed crew cargo, and crew not on top of vehicle.

Maybe some ejection pods like the old hermes shuttle and have all the crew on the flight deck.

Or just make a shuttle with a flight deck that is able to be ejected from the vehicle.

The wings themselves are not as much trouble as the press makes them out to be.
They do weigh a lot but it is a recovery system that doesn't require the vehicle to under go any changes in configuration to land.

Remember the press often says a lot of stuff with absolutely no knowledge on the subject.
The only good way to make a sound judgment is to look at somethings safety record and the ways in which it can fail.

They also has a better track record then most other recovery systems out there .
Only one fatal failure can be partly blamed on wings though sensors and orbital inspection would have prevented that.

Now several serious injuries and one fatality can be blamed on chutes.

Plus an LOC event can be blamed on having multiple modules though if the Soyuz 11 crew had pressure suits it would not have been an LOC event.

Back on EELVs vs Direct as we gotten off topic .

Direct does have one huge advantage over the EELVs in that it's an HLLV right from the start.

50 tons appears to be the smallest size the launches can be divided up in to with out the logistics getting overly complex as seen with ISS.

The EELVs will require upgrades and lots of them to facilitate a lunar mission or vastly increased launch rates so the mission can be launched in several smaller pieces with in an acceptable time frame.

The LSAM also will have to be redesigned to fit inside an existing EELV fairing .
A horizontal lander design would likely have to be used similar to concepts from the 80s that proposed using the shuttles to lift the hardware for a moon mission into LEO.
« Last Edit: 07/22/2008 04:15 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #150 on: 07/22/2008 04:53 AM »

Everything stems from bad management.  There were options other than the Shuttle.  The decision to build the Shuttle, the commitment to it, were choices  They were poor choices.
[/quote]

The decision to build a shuttle in and of it's self wasn't really a bad one the only bad thing was the execution and the fact they put all their eggs in one basket.

A lot of mistakes and compromises were made during the course of the program many of which were forced onto NASA by outside forces.

The size of the shuttle and it's payload requirements can be partly blamed on congress forcing NASA to partner with the USAF this also cause a change from titanium to aluminum construction back in 1970 and forced use of the fragile ceramic TPS.

The first attempt really should have been with a smaller vehicle with a much smaller cargo bay.

Maybe something like the Soviet LKS or MAKS shuttles or if they wanted a full sized shuttle maybe Max Faget's NAR A shuttle.

Yes I know the NAR A shuttle's orbital mass is the same as the orbiter that eventually flew but it had less critical performance goals and also would have experienced lower heating during reentry.

BTW Max Faget had a hand in designing the previous three American spacecraft and invented the concept of the blunt cone.

The second bad decision was the shut down of the Saturn and Apollo assembly lines before the shuttle could enter service.
They should have at least kept one pad configured for the Saturn IB and been given funding to have a supply of Apollo spacecraft until 1983.

The third bad decision was a combination of NASA being forced to complete the shuttle on a deadline and on a budget that was several billion short this lead to the SRBs being used and the decision to remove some safety equipment.

The last one was putting all eggs into the shuttle basket which helped contribute to feature creep.

Still the shuttle did prove to be fairly successful and met a lot of it's mission requirements and should not be used as an example of why RLVs fail.

It did keep the skills needed to produce large cryogenic engines alive and taught us how to assemble large structures in space.

We could never go to Mars and beyond if we never learned how to assemble structures in space.
« Last Edit: 07/22/2008 04:57 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Jorge

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #151 on: 07/22/2008 05:53 AM »

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Everything stems from bad management.  There were options other than the Shuttle.  The decision to build the Shuttle, the commitment to it, were choices  They were poor choices.

The decision to build a shuttle in and of it's self wasn't really a bad one the only bad thing was the execution and the fact they put all their eggs in one basket.

A lot of mistakes and compromises were made during the course of the program many of which were forced onto NASA by outside forces.

The size of the shuttle and it's payload requirements can be partly blamed on congress forcing NASA to partner with the USAF

Agreed it was external, but that one was more OMB than Congress. And in the end, it was more effect than cause.

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this also cause a change from titanium to aluminum construction back in 1970 and forced use of the fragile ceramic TPS.

Titanium is not the panacea that everyone seems to think it is. It has a higher melting point, but that is offset by having a much lower thermal conductivity that prevents heat from spreading throughout the structure in response to a local hot spot, causing the structure around the hot spot to reach structural failure around the same time as it would in an aluminum structure (providing the hot spot was above the melting point of titanium, which was assuredly the case with Columbia). Much depends on the design details, of course. But according to an unpublished analysis commissioned by the CAIB, a titanium structure would have delayed Columbia's breakup by only about 13 seconds. It would have made no practical difference.

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The first attempt really should have been with a smaller vehicle with a much smaller cargo bay.

Close. The first attempt should have been a smaller vehicle with *no* cargo bay. It should have been an X-vehicle, not saddled with operational requirements of *any* description. The X-15 didn't have a cargo bay, it had an instrument bay. This is a critical point, on which I'll expand later.

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Maybe something like the Soviet LKS or MAKS shuttles or if they wanted a full sized shuttle maybe Max Faget's NAR A shuttle.

Yes I know the NAR A shuttle's orbital mass is the same as the orbiter that eventually flew but it had less critical performance goals and also would have experienced lower heating during reentry.

Offset by the fact that it would have needed to perform a risky "belly-flop" maneuver to transition from entry to TAEM, and would have been challenging to land in a crosswind due to its stubby wings and largely empty fuselage, both of which (according to the USAF) would have been extremely marginal for the control systems of the era to be able to handle.

With its much smaller crossrange, I could easily see most flights waiting in orbit for days for a landing opportunity within the much tighter crosswind limits this vehicle would have had.

It would have been a worthy design concept for a small X-vehicle with *no* payload requirements, but pursuing operational goals with it would have come to just as much grief as the shuttle we ended up with, I'm afraid.

Sometimes, the grass really isn't greener on the other side.

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The second bad decision was the shut down of the Saturn and Apollo assembly lines before the shuttle could enter service.
They should have at least kept one pad configured for the Saturn IB and been given funding to have a supply of Apollo spacecraft until 1983.

The termination of Saturn V production was so early (August 1968) that the shuttle really wasn't a player one way or the other, and despite protestations to the contrary, there really wasn't any way NASA could have revived the Saturn V after about 1971 with the budgets they had, with or without the shuttle. They would have had to make even more draconian cuts elsewhere. In the alternative history with Saturn V, we would not only have had no shuttle, but most likely no Vikings or Voyagers either.

Now, the Saturn IB and Apollo CSM were potentially a different story, especially if the shuttle had been scaled back to an X-vehicle followon to the X-15.

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The third bad decision was a combination of NASA being forced to complete the shuttle on a deadline and on a budget that was several billion short this lead to the SRBs being used and the decision to remove some safety equipment.

That was inevitable as well. NASA's budget was a reflection of the political will of the times. Neither the president, nor the Congress, nor the people would have supported increases - folks today either forgot or never knew how strongly the sentiment was against NASA in the early 70's; one poll I saw had about two-thirds of the public favoring cuts to NASA.

The one degree of freedom NASA had left was to scale back its ambitions to what the public was willing to fund, but NASA's leadership at the time (drunk on their own success from Apollo, egged on by Agnew, and convinced that making a deal with the USAF was the only way to salvage the program) was far too stubborn to do that.

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The last one was putting all eggs into the shuttle basket which helped contribute to feature creep.

Inevitable given the environment discussed previously.

Many want to tally all these mistakes separately. Some even want to give the later ones primary importance.

But the Original Sin - the one that made the others not just possible, but inevitable - was the belief that they could jump to an economical, operational reusable vehicle on the first iteration and get everything right the first time, in a budget-constrained environment.

It was an understandable belief, given that they'd just achieved something that many thought to be even harder - going from the first US suborbital spaceflight to a lunar landing in eight years. But of course, they'd done that largely on a blank check. They didn't notice that the lights had changed.

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Still the shuttle did prove to be fairly successful and met a lot of it's mission requirements and should not be used as an example of why RLVs fail.

Absolutely. It is folly to generalize from one data point. There is an enormous design trade space for reusable vehicles and the shuttle represents one point in that space.

But it equally folly to point to any other proposed design, or design feature, from the period - be it Faget's orbiter or titanium structure or whatnot - and assert that that would have been any better. Each one of those was only one data point, too. And more to the point, they were data points that largely remain unexplored. We just don't know.

An R&D focused organization - such as the NACA that developed the X-15 - would have had the right mentality to attack that design trade space with an array of X-vehicles. But that organization was absorbed by NASA, and effectively became extinct on May 25, 1961, when the resources of the agency were marshalled to meet one monolithic operational goal. The agency began evolving from an R&D organization to an operational one. And then, to make matters worse, the agency succeeded in that goal and became convinced that the Big Monolithic Program, not Many Small Programs, was the One True Way.

The agency hasn't been the same since. All the other debates - capsules vs, spaceplanes, science vs operations, EELV vs Direct, what have you - have been mere sideshows.
JRF

Offline Antares

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #152 on: 07/22/2008 06:33 AM »
Great discussion this weekend, folks!

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Lastly it has no Russians engines  I find it foolish to depend on a foreign engine for  the manned space program esp when international relations typically are subject to constant change.

>:(  Grrrrr!!  Repeating myself again: Russian-built RD-180's are stockpiled here, more than sufficient to allow time for development and qualification of a domestically-produced version which has made its own significant progress.  The evidence is out there on what their true availability is.  If you choose to ignore it, you only look irresponsible.  I'm tired of the deliberately uninformed, Cassandra attitude.

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Thats why I find it a little foolish that NASA didn't select a second low risk COTS D option for crew transport such as spacehab or spacedev just as a backup since these two companies vehicles make use of the already proven EELVs.

Because Griffin won't let an EELV go to Station.  It would undermine Ares.

"Low risk" - please provide rationale for this statement.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline psloss

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #153 on: 07/22/2008 10:27 AM »
An R&D focused organization - such as the NACA that developed the X-15 - would have had the right mentality to attack that design trade space with an array of X-vehicles. But that organization was absorbed by NASA, and effectively became extinct on May 25, 1961, when the resources of the agency were marshalled to meet one monolithic operational goal. The agency began evolving from an R&D organization to an operational one. And then, to make matters worse, the agency succeeded in that goal and became convinced that the Big Monolithic Program, not Many Small Programs, was the One True Way.

The agency hasn't been the same since. All the other debates - capsules vs, spaceplanes, science vs operations, EELV vs Direct, what have you - have been mere sideshows.
Nice post and you were able to bring it to the topic! :)

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #154 on: 07/22/2008 04:23 PM »
The first attempt really should have been with a smaller vehicle with a much smaller cargo bay.

Close. The first attempt should have been a smaller vehicle with *no* cargo bay. It should have been an X-vehicle, not saddled with operational requirements of *any* description.

Perhaps something closer to this?  If this technology does exist, I think we need it to come out of the black world.  If it doesn't exist, I think it's what we should be working on!

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

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An R&D focused organization - such as the NACA that developed the X-15 - would have had the right mentality to attack that design trade space with an array of X-vehicles. But that organization was absorbed by NASA, and effectively became extinct on May 25, 1961, when the resources of the agency were marshalled to meet one monolithic operational goal. The agency began evolving from an R&D organization to an operational one. And then, to make matters worse, the agency succeeded in that goal and became convinced that the Big Monolithic Program, not Many Small Programs, was the One True Way.

That's why I once suggested that maybe NASA needs to be broken up into at least a couple of separate agencies.  Of course the response I got was that creating even more bureaucracy is the last thing we need, and would just lead to more waste.  But NASA is failing to allocate resources equitably and cannot seem to pursue multiple goals simultaneously with much success.
« Last Edit: 07/22/2008 04:32 PM by vt_hokie »

Offline jongoff

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #155 on: 07/22/2008 07:48 PM »
An R&D focused organization - such as the NACA that developed the X-15 - would have had the right mentality to attack that design trade space with an array of X-vehicles. But that organization was absorbed by NASA, and effectively became extinct on May 25, 1961, when the resources of the agency were marshalled to meet one monolithic operational goal. The agency began evolving from an R&D organization to an operational one. And then, to make matters worse, the agency succeeded in that goal and became convinced that the Big Monolithic Program, not Many Small Programs, was the One True Way.

The agency hasn't been the same since. All the other debates - capsules vs, spaceplanes, science vs operations, EELV vs Direct, what have you - have been mere sideshows.

Great post, Jorge.

Reading through your post, I was about to make the comment you made above (my emphasis) about NASA morphing into an operations agency vs. a R&D agency like NACA.  Then you beat me to the punch, as per usual.  I think one of the reasons that has made it even harder for NASA to return to its NACA R&D roots is that their operations were so manpower intensive that the "standing army" has politically become a self-licking ice-cream cone.  You don't need 15,000 engineers and technicians in order to do some X-15 tests.  In fact, if you get much more than a hundred people involved in an X-project it's already getting bogged down. 

But yeah, what you said.

~Jon

Offline clongton

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #156 on: 07/22/2008 08:10 PM »
An R&D focused organization - such as the NACA that developed the X-15 - would have had the right mentality to attack that design trade space with an array of X-vehicles. But that organization was absorbed by NASA, and effectively became extinct on May 25, 1961, when the resources of the agency were marshalled to meet one monolithic operational goal. The agency began evolving from an R&D organization to an operational one. And then, to make matters worse, the agency succeeded in that goal and became convinced that the Big Monolithic Program, not Many Small Programs, was the One True Way.

The agency hasn't been the same since. All the other debates - capsules vs, spaceplanes, science vs operations, EELV vs Direct, what have you - have been mere sideshows.

Great post, Jorge.

Reading through your post, I was about to make the comment you made above (my emphasis) about NASA morphing into an operations agency vs. a R&D agency like NACA.  Then you beat me to the punch, as per usual.  I think one of the reasons that has made it even harder for NASA to return to its NACA R&D roots is that their operations were so manpower intensive that the "standing army" has politically become a self-licking ice-cream cone.  You don't need 15,000 engineers and technicians in order to do some X-15 tests.  In fact, if you get much more than a hundred people involved in an X-project it's already getting bogged down. 

But yeah, what you said.

~Jon

Exactly. Look how fast the Skunkworks went from back of the envelope to fully operational SR-71. Pure efficiency!
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #157 on: 07/23/2008 03:06 PM »
Exactly. Look how fast the Skunkworks went from back of the envelope to fully operational SR-71. Pure efficiency!
I agree with a lot of Jorge's post as well. 

One thing to remember about doing things in the Skunkworks model is that it requires several key things:
- Clear and concise objectives
- Focussed oversight
- Lack of outside interferance
- Lots of money.

Given those 4 ingredients, a small dedicated team can do an awful lot in a short time.

Many of NASA's recent programs have had none of these key things.

Paul
Sr. Mech. Engineer
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Offline clongton

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #158 on: 07/23/2008 03:29 PM »
Exactly. Look how fast the Skunkworks went from back of the envelope to fully operational SR-71. Pure efficiency!
I agree with a lot of Jorge's post as well. 

One thing to remember about doing things in the Skunkworks model is that it requires several key things:
- Clear and concise objectives
- Focussed oversight
- Lack of outside interferance
- Lots of money.

Given those 4 ingredients, a small dedicated team can do an awful lot in a short time.

Many of NASA's recent programs have had none of these key things.

Paul

The DIRECT team effort stacks up this way:
- Clear and concise objectives: Yes
- Focussed oversight: Yes
- Lack of outside interferance: Except for lots of NASA generated FUD
- Lots of money: We don't have any money at all. We've paid for everything ourselves. And this isn't our day job.

Not bad for a small, dedicated and focused team with no money. ;-)
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline simcosmos

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Re: EELV vs Direct
« Reply #159 on: 07/26/2008 10:10 AM »
Hi Antares

I seem to remember about you (or another user) posting a few links to papers (or to their abstracts) regarding RD-180's United States of America domestic production status / work in progress.

If possible, could you please go to the thread's link that I will post below and please clarify there with any eventual / *updated* extra information, in particular about if such domestic production plans are or not halted?

I mean, independently of the existence of a contract for ~100 or so RD-180 engines to be fully delivered and placed on stock and also independently of any research / development effort made until recent times for United States of America own domestic RD-180 production what is the most updated status of the RD-180 "co-production" contracts with PWR/RD AMROSS?

The thread's link that have mentioned above is:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=13587.0
(RD-180 Co-Production Work Halted?)

Any further explicit and updated clarification, correction and collection of links for extra research + reading directions (perhaps on that specific thread) would be welcomed. Thanks in advance.

António


Great discussion this weekend, folks!

Quote
Lastly it has no Russians engines  I find it foolish to depend on a foreign engine for  the manned space program esp when international relations typically are subject to constant change.

>:(  Grrrrr!!  Repeating myself again: Russian-built RD-180's are stockpiled here, more than sufficient to allow time for development and qualification of a domestically-produced version which has made its own significant progress.  The evidence is out there on what their true availability is.  If you choose to ignore it, you only look irresponsible.  I'm tired of the deliberately uninformed, Cassandra attitude.

my pics @ flickr

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