Author Topic: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech  (Read 240320 times)

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #840 on: 05/01/2010 08:35 PM »
Correct. However, if Congress fails to pass FY11 appropriations by October 1 and NASA gets funded by a Continuing Resolution, the above provision remains in force until Congress *does* pass a real appropriations bill (and if we see a repeat of FY07, even that's not a given).

Didn't realize it was that persistent.  Would it be correct to assume that IF NASA is funded by a continuing resolution, that Shuttle cancellation would continue at full speed?

If that's the case, could we be headed for a situation where:
-Congress passes a continuing resolution for FY2011
-Shuttle canceled "on schedule" in early 2011, all politicians involved point to others for causing gridlock.
-After final flight of 2011 Congress acts shocked at the now existent gap, and passes a 2012 budget in May 2011, Obama signs, and uses 1 Billion from Stimulus money to "bridge" the at that point running FY2011 over to his plan.

It seems dirty, but it would allows all parties to blame someone else for the Shuttle retirement, allows the Space Representatives to run as NASA defenders, and get's Obama what he wants in early 2011.  I hope this is not where we are headed, seems like dirty pool to me.

Under a CR with everything at FY 2010 levels, shuttle funding would be retained at a level sufficient to enable continuing operations. There is nothing anywhere in statute requiring shuttle termination (anything written in recent statutes has pushed AGAINST that termination, actually, while not actually requiring continuation). The issue would be whether the agency could "reprogram" those funds to other uses consistent with the FY 2011 request as an administrative action. That's technically "possible" but it will depend on whether the appropriators would find that acceptable. (no reason right now to think they wouldn't but the debate on these major issues is really just beginning to gather steam within the Congress, so who knows?)
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #841 on: 05/02/2010 12:20 AM »
Note that I don't think a continuing resolution for NASA appropriations is likely.

Is a CR for an individual agency even possible? I thought that always applied to the budget as a whole.

There are about 12 different budget "pieces" that cover the entire federal government. Its possible for one or more of the 12 to operate under a continuing resolution while the remainder are covered by FY 2011 budgets.

NASA's budget is wrapped up in a bundle of independent agencies, and that bundle is one of the 12 pieces described above. ALL of these agencies would have to be covered under a continuing resolution. This would mean, for example, that the Veterans Administration would have to operate under FY2010 budget limits next year, because of opposition to Obama's NASA budget. Same with HUD.

This is an extremely unlikely scenario, especially in an election year.




A CR only covers those appropriations bills (of which there are typically 13) which have not been enacted by the end of the Fiscal Year (September 30). NASA is within the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee jurisdiction. Veteran's Affairs, for example, is NOT (Used to be with NASA, when it was HUD-IA  and VA-HUD-IA, but not now.) Failure to enact a CJS bill, for whatever reason, would thus only directly impact those agencies within the jurisdiction of that subcommittee. Opposition to NASA's Budget request may or may not end up being a factor in failing to pass a CJS bill--it could very well be any of a number of items, completely unrelated to NASA. But there is simply no way that opposition to Obama's NASA Request could affect Veterans, or any other agency not a part of the CJS bill.

Now, what you suggest COULD be the case potentially in the situation of an "Omnibus" appropriations, as was done last year, when any outstanding Appropriations bills are essentially bundled into a single bill; just depends on which bills are unfinished at that point in time. An Omnibus Approps is tidier than a CR in that it allows for new initiatives to be addressed with necessary language within the respective sections of the Omnibus bill, but then again, those are the areas mostly likely to be controversial. An Omnibus has to be relatively slimmed down of new initiatives or controversial matters in order to ensure relatively easy passage; that's the whole point of doing one.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2010 12:38 AM by 51D Mascot »
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #842 on: 05/02/2010 12:41 AM »

Second, all Congress has to do is authorize and appropriate funds in the manner suggested by Obama, and the prior "Constellation" requirement is de facto eliminated.

Which is what SpacexULA said. Congress have to act. If Congress actually pass FY2011, then it isn't 'by default'.

To add some context (51D Mascot, please step in if I misstate any of this):

1) NASA Appropriations are never considered as a standalone bill. At a minimum, each agency's appropriations are bundled with the other agencies covered by each appropriations subcommittee. In NASA's case this is "Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies" (previously HUD, VA, and independent agencies).

2) In recent years it has been standard for Congress to bundle most discretionary spending into a single bill (called an Omnibus or Consolidated bill) passed on a single vote and sent to the president for either signature or veto.

3) In recent years it has been common for Congress to fail to pass appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year. In these cases Congress passes a Continuing Resolution which funds the affected agencies at the previous fiscal year's level (and leaves intact any statutory provisions in the previous appropriations act).

With that out of the way, here are the appropriations acts covering NASA for the last several years, including date they became law (keep in mind that the fiscal year starts October 1 of the previous calendar year):

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, became law 12/16/2009.
Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, became law 3/11/2009.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, became law 12/26/2007.
Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007, became law 2/15/2007.
Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006, became law 11/22/2005.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, became law 12/8/2004.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004, became law 1/23/2004.
Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, became law 2/20/2003.
Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002, became law 11/26/2001.

These results should be sobering for proponents of the FY11 plan. In none of the previous nine fiscal years has NASA appropriations been passed before the start of the fiscal year. In seven of those years NASA appropriations have been bundled with most of the rest of the government in a Consolidated or Omnibus bill. And in one of those years (2007), Congress failed to pass a NASA appropriations bill *at all*, resulting in the agency being funded for the entire year at the previous year's level. And in none of those years was the NASA appropriations bill as controversial as it is this year.

Based on this I would say that the probability of NASA starting FY11 under a Continuing Resolution at FY10 levels, with the statutory prohibition against Constellation termination in place, approaches unity.


Good summary! There are some very minor caveats I'd make, but have really done so in other posts following this one. Thanks for the overview!
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #843 on: 05/02/2010 02:30 PM »
...Based on this I would say that the probability of NASA starting FY11 under a Continuing Resolution at FY10 levels, with the statutory prohibition against Constellation termination in place, approaches unity.

Thanks for a very interesting summary of the appropriations process and recent history.

...AFAIK, Congress cannot tell a future Administration what to do with future appropriations...

"True that no Congress can bind a future Congress", but he said "Administration", which I took to refer to the executive branch.  It would appear that they can so bind, which is one of the reasons we have "structural" deficits, for example.  They are built into the process.  A previous Congress enacted Social Security, binding future administrations until such time as Congress changes the law.  As I interpret Congress' actions, supported by the implications of Jorge's observation, inertia rules Congress to a large part in some aspects of these matters.  Like it or not, we have the POR, until such time as the Congress changes the law.  I believe this to be correct, even as I disapprove of the management of the program; these things cannot be turned on and off on political whims.  As to the idea of leftover money:  It is to laugh. 

Kkattula speculates:

...
 - Constellation cancelled
 - Orion continued in some form
 - Commercial crew development
 - Some extra money for science
 - Some deep space technology R&D
 - HLV R&D (in the form of an SDHLV)
 - ISS extension to 2020
 - Possibly a short Shuttle extension

... which is very interesting also.  But still, Congress would have to get off its
butt.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline SpacexULA

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #844 on: 05/02/2010 03:12 PM »
I expect the deal language will probably be flexible enough for Obama to represent it as close enough to his budget request, while protecting the interests of Congress:

 - Constellation cancelled
 - Orion continued in some form
 - Commercial crew development
 - Some extra money for science
 - Some deep space technology R&D
 - HLV R&D (in the form of an SDHLV)
 - ISS extension to 2020
 - Possibly a short Shuttle extension
 

And for that to function, a much more than a 1-3 billion dollar a year increase being talked about at this point.
No Bucks no Buck Rogers, but at least Flexible path gets you Twiki.

Offline psloss

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #845 on: 05/02/2010 03:25 PM »
I expect the deal language will probably be flexible enough for Obama to represent it as close enough to his budget request, while protecting the interests of Congress:

 - Constellation cancelled
 - Orion continued in some form
 - Commercial crew development
 - Some extra money for science
 - Some deep space technology R&D
 - HLV R&D (in the form of an SDHLV)
 - ISS extension to 2020
 - Possibly a short Shuttle extension
 

And for that to function, a much more than a 1-3 billion dollar a year increase being talked about at this point.
Keep spending growth flat is at least part of the suggested intent behind the idea of funding FY 2011 through a series of continuing resolutions:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35647.html

And what an outline of the spin on that might look like from Steny Hoyer a couple of weeks ago:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35739.html

Definitely going to be worth keeping an eye/ear on whether this idea hangs around while we're discussing the language in the NASA authorization bill during the summer.

Offline Jorge

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #846 on: 05/02/2010 06:26 PM »
Note that I don't think a continuing resolution for NASA appropriations is likely.

Is a CR for an individual agency even possible? I thought that always applied to the budget as a whole.

There are about 12 different budget "pieces" that cover the entire federal government. Its possible for one or more of the 12 to operate under a continuing resolution while the remainder are covered by FY 2011 budgets.

NASA's budget is wrapped up in a bundle of independent agencies, and that bundle is one of the 12 pieces described above. ALL of these agencies would have to be covered under a continuing resolution. This would mean, for example, that the Veterans Administration would have to operate under FY2010 budget limits next year, because of opposition to Obama's NASA budget. Same with HUD.

This is an extremely unlikely scenario, especially in an election year.

As 51D Mascot and I pointed out, NASA is now covered under "Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies", not VA/HUD/IA.

And as I pointed out, NASA *has* started at least the last nine years under a CR, including the last four congressional election years. Indeed, in three out of the last four election years, NASA appropriations were not ultimately passed until after the new Congress convened in January. Maybe even further than that, but the legislative trail for 2001 was complex and my Thomas-fu is weak.

Why do *you* think Congress will suddenly break this 9+ year trend and get appropriations passed before October 1? The data suggests the opposite: Congress *doesn't* pass appropriations before October 1 in an election year, and if so, they typically don't pass it before the election in November (because everyone is out campaigning) or between November and January (because the session becomes lame-duck after the election until the new Congress convenes on January 3).

Given the amount of controversial legislation still piled on the plate for the current Congress (financial reform, cap-and-trade, immigration reform), I don't see them getting to appropriations before mid-summer, at the earliest, which doesn't give them much time to finish before October 1.
JRF

Offline psloss

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #847 on: 05/02/2010 06:42 PM »
Given the amount of controversial legislation still piled on the plate for the current Congress (financial reform, cap-and-trade, immigration reform), I don't see them getting to appropriations before mid-summer, at the earliest, which doesn't give them much time to finish before October 1.
And on top of that, there are likely Supreme Court nomination hearings in the Senate and then committee and floor debate on confirmation.  That will likely take precedent over...well probably over everything else.

Offline Will

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #848 on: 05/02/2010 10:45 PM »
Correct. However, if Congress fails to pass FY11 appropriations by October 1 and NASA gets funded by a Continuing Resolution, the above provision remains in force until Congress *does* pass a real appropriations bill (and if we see a repeat of FY07, even that's not a given).

Didn't realize it was that persistent.  Would it be correct to assume that IF NASA is funded by a continuing resolution, that Shuttle cancellation would continue at full speed?

If that's the case, could we be headed for a situation where:
-Congress passes a continuing resolution for FY2011
-Shuttle canceled "on schedule" in early 2011, all politicians involved point to others for causing gridlock.
-After final flight of 2011 Congress acts shocked at the now existent gap, and passes a 2012 budget in May 2011, Obama signs, and uses 1 Billion from Stimulus money to "bridge" the at that point running FY2011 over to his plan.

It seems dirty, but it would allows all parties to blame someone else for the Shuttle retirement, allows the Space Representatives to run as NASA defenders, and get's Obama what he wants in early 2011.  I hope this is not where we are headed, seems like dirty pool to me.

Under a CR with everything at FY 2010 levels, shuttle funding would be retained at a level sufficient to enable continuing operations. There is nothing anywhere in statute requiring shuttle termination (anything written in recent statutes has pushed AGAINST that termination, actually, while not actually requiring continuation). The issue would be whether the agency could "reprogram" those funds to other uses consistent with the FY 2011 request as an administrative action. That's technically "possible" but it will depend on whether the appropriators would find that acceptable. (no reason right now to think they wouldn't but the debate on these major issues is really just beginning to gather steam within the Congress, so who knows?)

If NASA is required to keep the Ares program in existence until they get approval from Congress, it seems to me that the most sensible approach is to prioritize those parts of the program that still would have value under the flexible path approach outlined by Obama: the J-2x and Ares I upper stage. Spending as little as possible on everything else in Ares seems justified  if NASA continues on 2010 funding on exploration, since the 2010 appropriation was considerably less than requested for the PoR.

Keeping the J-2x and upper stage moving forward would not be such a bad outcome, IMO.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #849 on: 05/03/2010 01:21 AM »
...Based on this I would say that the probability of NASA starting FY11 under a Continuing Resolution at FY10 levels, with the statutory prohibition against Constellation termination in place, approaches unity.

Thanks for a very interesting summary of the appropriations process and recent history.

...AFAIK, Congress cannot tell a future Administration what to do with future appropriations...

"True that no Congress can bind a future Congress", but he said "Administration", which I took to refer to the executive branch.  It would appear that they can so bind, which is one of the reasons we have "structural" deficits, for example.  They are built into the process.  A previous Congress enacted Social Security, binding future administrations until such time as Congress changes the law.  As I interpret Congress' actions, supported by the implications of Jorge's observation, inertia rules Congress to a large part in some aspects of these matters.  Like it or not, we have the POR, until such time as the Congress changes the law.  I believe this to be correct, even as I disapprove of the management of the program; these things cannot be turned on and off on political whims.  As to the idea of leftover money:  It is to laugh. 

Kkattula speculates:

...
 - Constellation cancelled
 - Orion continued in some form
 - Commercial crew development
 - Some extra money for science
 - Some deep space technology R&D
 - HLV R&D (in the form of an SDHLV)
 - ISS extension to 2020
 - Possibly a short Shuttle extension

... which is very interesting also.  But still, Congress would have to get off its
butt.

Good catch...I missed the "Administration"...too bound up in the congressional focus and not paying close attention...and you're right about future Administrations being bound by prior law. It often comes to a matter of "interpretation" and sometimes Administrations are "allowed" to make their own interpretation and act on it, if the Congress as a body does not cry foul.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline zerm

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #850 on: 05/03/2010 10:59 PM »
I just listened to a radio talk show about space where the host, Jim Banke, was interviewing Miles O'Brien on the subject of this, so called, new path that the Obama budget outlines. Miles made some interesting points that I think some of you may care to comment on here. With Chris' permission, here is the link to the show and the podcast. Be advised that it is at the bottom of the page. Additionally, this specific program will ONLY be on the site until May 8th when they will replace it with the next week's program.

http://www.wmmbam.com/cc-common/podcast.html

Offline Jorge

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #851 on: 05/04/2010 12:20 AM »
Note that I don't think a continuing resolution for NASA appropriations is likely.

Is a CR for an individual agency even possible? I thought that always applied to the budget as a whole.

There are about 12 different budget "pieces" that cover the entire federal government. Its possible for one or more of the 12 to operate under a continuing resolution while the remainder are covered by FY 2011 budgets.

NASA's budget is wrapped up in a bundle of independent agencies, and that bundle is one of the 12 pieces described above. ALL of these agencies would have to be covered under a continuing resolution. This would mean, for example, that the Veterans Administration would have to operate under FY2010 budget limits next year, because of opposition to Obama's NASA budget. Same with HUD.

This is an extremely unlikely scenario, especially in an election year.

As 51D Mascot and I pointed out, NASA is now covered under "Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies", not VA/HUD/IA.

And as I pointed out, NASA *has* started at least the last nine years under a CR, including the last four congressional election years. Indeed, in three out of the last four election years, NASA appropriations were not ultimately passed until after the new Congress convened in January. Maybe even further than that, but the legislative trail for 2001 was complex and my Thomas-fu is weak.

Why do *you* think Congress will suddenly break this 9+ year trend and get appropriations passed before October 1? The data suggests the opposite: Congress *doesn't* pass appropriations before October 1 in an election year, and if so, they typically don't pass it before the election in November (because everyone is out campaigning) or between November and January (because the session becomes lame-duck after the election until the new Congress convenes on January 3).

Given the amount of controversial legislation still piled on the plate for the current Congress (financial reform, cap-and-trade, immigration reform), I don't see them getting to appropriations before mid-summer, at the earliest, which doesn't give them much time to finish before October 1.

And, right on cue, Aviation Week agrees with my opinion on the likelihood of a NASA CR:

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awst/2010/05/03/AW_05_03_2010_p30-222957.xml&headline=Obama%20Proposal%20Likely%20Unresolved%20This%20Year&channel=space
JRF

Offline stealthyplains

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #852 on: 05/04/2010 02:57 PM »
possibly old news but nasawatch just linked
NASA Heavy Lift Launch System and Propulsion Technology Request for Information
which came out May 3

Offline robertross

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #853 on: 05/04/2010 03:05 PM »
possibly old news but nasawatch just linked
NASA Heavy Lift Launch System and Propulsion Technology Request for Information
which came out May 3

It's quite funny, actually (aside from the side-mount picture 'only').
Read this:

"Additionally, last fall, NASA officials conducted an internal Heavy Lift Vehicle study that looked at alternate configurations to the Ares V baseline system. The goal of the study was to find ways to decrease cost, given that funding for heavy-lift development was constrained in the FY 2010 budget and as a result, development activities were delayed until 2015. Therefore, given this new reality, NASA initiated the Heavy Lift study to look at whether there were alternative heavy-lift configurations that would be more affordable and would be achievable sooner than the currently planned Ares V."
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #854 on: 05/04/2010 03:08 PM »
There is a pretty big disconnect about wanting a heavy lifter that is also suitable for commercial applications.  The two are generally difficult to fit together.

The more that I hear about this process, the more that I think that ULA's Atlas-V Phase 2 has already been selected and all we are seeing is the facade of a bidding process plus an artificial delay to allow the national budget deficit to at least settle down.

It would work like this: A basic single-core EELV with the ACES common upper stage would be rated at about 16t to LEO, making it a high-end commercial lifter.  When you turn it into a triple-core, you get into the bottom of the heavy lift designation (~50t to LEO).  Put the common upper stage on the 5.4m twin-kerolox engine core and you have a 20-80t lifter which, in its super-heavy five-core form, goes over 100t IMLEO.

AVP2 is pretty much a one-stop solution for all of NASA's predictable human launch needs and, theoretically, could also be used for commercial launches.  In practice, I imagine the trjple-EELV core + ACES is the largest commercial configuration and then only for pseudo-commercial launches like launching propellent depots and tankers.  True commercial launches will likely max out at single core, ACES & SRMs.

Boeing seem to have known in advance the way this RFI was shaping up.  Their SDLV-In-line included lighter configurations that could, theoretically, be used for commercial launch (the no upper stage versions).

FWIW, I suspect that we'll have a situation where LEO crew taxis will be a commercial service (NASA buying batches of launches with semi-commercially developed vehicles, CRS-style).  However, the HLV will prove too difficult to shoehorn into the commercial procurement form and it will end up being more like military procurement, with the best bid getting a monopoly.
« Last Edit: 05/04/2010 03:10 PM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Offline stealthyplains

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #855 on: 05/04/2010 03:57 PM »
yeah, i think AVP2 has a leg up here.  it's the only realistic entry that leverages US commercial rockets, as opposed to competing with them.  building up the option of atlas expansion (partially) eliminates the problem of NASA being forced to maintain a HLV launch program whether it has HLV missions to launch or not
« Last Edit: 05/04/2010 04:00 PM by stealthyplains »

Offline major_tom

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #856 on: 05/04/2010 04:30 PM »
The more that I hear about this process, the more that I think that ULA's Atlas-V Phase 2 has already been selected and all we are seeing is the facade of a bidding process plus an artificial delay to allow the national budget deficit to at least settle down.

Yes, as more information is becoming available from last months'
developments, it is becoming clear that is pretty much the
Holdren/Crawley/Garver plan (Bolden is just the PR guy and Obama blindly
trusts Holdren on Sci/Tech matters, so he'll rubber stamp anything
Holdren demands - unless it goes over forecast budget).

If the objective is having a technologicaly advanced launch system with "relatively low"
operating costs, it makes sense.

But I also understand the point of view of those that support an
evolutionary approach, even if less efficient cost wise ...

Anyway Lockheed Martin seems to hold all the cards at the moment:
If the WH manages to make Congress approve their plan LockMart wins,
If Congress blocks the WH budget and the PoR keeps going in zombie mode... LockMart wins!
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Offline simonth

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #857 on: 05/04/2010 04:32 PM »
The more that I hear about this process, the more that I think that ULA's Atlas-V Phase 2 has already been selected and all we are seeing is the facade of a bidding process plus an artificial delay to allow the national budget deficit to at least settle down.

I doubt it. Maybe, maybe not. The whole "selection by 2015" really doesn't fit into the picture at all. If they said "selection as soon as possible AND potentially R&D into a first stage kerolox engine" I would think EELV Growth would be the front runner. But it just looks like they want to go for many, many studies first instead.

Quote
Boeing seem to have known in advance the way this RFI was shaping up.  Their SDLV-In-line included lighter configurations that could, theoretically, be used for commercial launch (the no upper stage versions).

Their SDLV proposal without upper stage (the 16mt vehicle with no boosters or those with boosters) cannot be commercially viable. Commercial payloads need an upper stage for GTO/GEO injection. It would also cost too much per launch, even EELVs would likely be lower on a marginal cost basis and they are not viable commercially.


Offline Will

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #858 on: 05/04/2010 05:59 PM »
The more that I hear about this process, the more that I think that ULA's Atlas-V Phase 2 has already been selected and all we are seeing is the facade of a bidding process plus an artificial delay to allow the national budget deficit to at least settle down.

I doubt it. Maybe, maybe not. The whole "selection by 2015" really doesn't fit into the picture at all. If they said "selection as soon as possible AND potentially R&D into a first stage kerolox engine" I would think EELV Growth would be the front runner. But it just looks like they want to go for many, many studies first instead.




The great advantage of "selection by 2015" is that you have a chance to see how propellant depot tests go. You may not even need something as big as Atlas V Phase 2

Offline jongoff

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Re: Post-speech discussion about Obama's April 15 KSC speech
« Reply #859 on: 05/04/2010 06:38 PM »
The more that I hear about this process, the more that I think that ULA's Atlas-V Phase 2 has already been selected and all we are seeing is the facade of a bidding process plus an artificial delay to allow the national budget deficit to at least settle down.

I doubt it. Maybe, maybe not. The whole "selection by 2015" really doesn't fit into the picture at all. If they said "selection as soon as possible AND potentially R&D into a first stage kerolox engine" I would think EELV Growth would be the front runner. But it just looks like they want to go for many, many studies first instead.


The great advantage of "selection by 2015" is that you have a chance to see how propellant depot tests go. You may not even need
something as big as Atlas V Phase 2

That's my take on it as well.

~Jon

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