Author Topic: DIRECT v3.0 - Thread 5 - Transition from STS to the new Space Launch System  (Read 716380 times)

Offline robertross

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The SSME's at 109%? (actually the RS-25e in this case). I would say that depends on the vehicle-specific avionics. If they decide to make the 'growth-option' (130mt) lauchers multi-purpose (crew & cargo), we need to certify the RS-25e at that 109% level. I'm not sure if the current SSME HR limit is 104.5%, as I seem to recall they run them to that limit for better service life. Since we're going disposable with (essentially) a 'new' RS-25e engine, they could re-qualify them to that right from the start to 109% and leave it at that. If it's a problem running them at that level, then the avionics would have to be unique for each configuration (cargo only: 109% or whatever; crew+cargo: 104.5% or whatever).
    IIRC, RS-25D is already abort certified (ie, not a contingency abort?) for 109%. Shannon said, back at the Augustine hearings, that 109% would be acceptable for uncrewed cargo, and I assume he was referring to flying out the existing SSME inventory. I have the impression that it's an option to certify RS-25E for 109% in normal operation, and they are looking at 115% with some plumbing geometry changes, not sure if the 115% would be crewed or not.
    -Alex

Found a good discussion thread on this particular issue that Jim had started WAY back.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=1781.0
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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Question:  Is a human rated SLS required by this bill?

Yes.

Good.  Then Congress stands behind funding development (at least partially in case of commercial), maintaining, and operating two human rated systems.


Keep reading. Especially Title IV, which provides caveats to the degree to which, the methods whereby, and the justifications for the government "standing behind" a commercial crew "system."

Understood, but I got to hope the door is open to their success and that the cards are not stacked against them.


I don't think they are...the commercial spaceflight "community"  collectively reviewed those parameters before they even became part of S. 3068, from whence they found their way into S. 3729. And  as a group, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation consistently supported passage of S.3729 by the House without amendments.
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline martin hegedus

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Question:  Is a human rated SLS required by this bill?

Yes.

Good.  Then Congress stands behind funding development (at least partially in case of commercial), maintaining, and operating two human rated systems.


Keep reading. Especially Title IV, which provides caveats to the degree to which, the methods whereby, and the justifications for the government "standing behind" a commercial crew "system."

Understood, but I got to hope the door is open to their success and that the cards are not stacked against them.


I don't think they are...the commercial spaceflight "community"  collectively reviewed those parameters before they even became part of S. 3068, from whence they found their way into S. 3729. And  as a group, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation consistently supported passage of S.3729 by the House without amendments.

Then lets all hope everyone has done their analysis and costs correctly, dotted their i's, crossed their t's, and that the United States ends up with two human rated launch systems.

Offline Pheogh

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Question:  Is a human rated SLS required by this bill?

Yes.

Good.  Then Congress stands behind funding development (at least partially in case of commercial), maintaining, and operating two human rated systems.


Keep reading. Especially Title IV, which provides caveats to the degree to which, the methods whereby, and the justifications for the government "standing behind" a commercial crew "system."

Understood, but I got to hope the door is open to their success and that the cards are not stacked against them.


I don't think they are...the commercial spaceflight "community"  collectively reviewed those parameters before they even became part of S. 3068, from whence they found their way into S. 3729. And  as a group, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation consistently supported passage of S.3729 by the House without amendments.

My apologies if this has been asked before but what instruments are there in the Authorization that prevent the Associate and/or Admin from simply stalling ore scuttling development of heavy lift prescribed in S.3729.

What are the ramifications if* provided the full funding by Appropriations NASA produces a vehicle which doesn't satisfy the Authorization?

In other words if they come before Congress in 2 years saying they don't have enough money to complete a Kerlox HLV (non-shuttle derived) vehicle. What happens?, and what kind of guidance should we expect from the Legislative branch going forward. Lest we forget that arguably the prescriptions of the 2005 NASA Authorization were clearly not followed placing us in our current predicament.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Question:  Is a human rated SLS required by this bill?

Yes.

Good.  Then Congress stands behind funding development (at least partially in case of commercial), maintaining, and operating two human rated systems.


Keep reading. Especially Title IV, which provides caveats to the degree to which, the methods whereby, and the justifications for the government "standing behind" a commercial crew "system."

Understood, but I got to hope the door is open to their success and that the cards are not stacked against them.


I don't think they are...the commercial spaceflight "community"  collectively reviewed those parameters before they even became part of S. 3068, from whence they found their way into S. 3729. And  as a group, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation consistently supported passage of S.3729 by the House without amendments.

My apologies if this has been asked before but what instruments are there in the Authorization that prevent the Associate and/or Admin from simply stalling ore scuttling development of heavy lift prescribed in S.3729.

What are the ramifications if* provided the full funding by Appropriations NASA produces a vehicle which doesn't satisfy the Authorization?

In other words if they come before Congress in 2 years saying they don't have enough money to complete a Kerlox HLV (non-shuttle derived) vehicle. What happens?, and what kind of guidance should we expect from the Legislative branch going forward. Lest we forget that arguably the prescriptions of the 2005 NASA Authorization were clearly not followed placing us in our current predicament.

Well, many of the same people who wrote the 2005 and 2008 Authorization Acts were involved in drafting S.3729, so they are VERY aware of the potential for "non-compliance." They are also very much aware of continuing efforts on the part of certain parties to "slow-roll" or otherwise undermine the letter and intent of what will soon be signed into law.

With regard to the bill itself, the very detailed report required in Section 309 is the first "early warning system" built into the bill to ensure steps are taken towards compliance, well before the two-year scenario you described. If it appears that the completion of that report is being delayed arbitrarily and without justification, there are a number of fairly aggressive "oversight" steps that can--and likely would--be taken that would ensure "transparency" of those activities--and accountability for those undertaking them--which appeared intended to dilute or subvert the law.

Of course, it is to be hoped that, once the President signs the bill into law, it not only becomes the law of the land and the official "policy" of the United States, but it also demonstrates his acceptance of its content as the policy of the Administration. That would open other "avenues" for Congress to pursue enforcement of the law and implementation of its provisions, in partnership with the White House.

Elsewhere  in the bill, the minimum vehicle performance requirements--which some have argued were overly prescriptive, but are, in fact, a direct response to the experience with respect to the 2005 and 2008 Acts that you refer to--provide additional "bell-weathers" regarding compliance. Over the next several weeks you will see other evidence that the authors of this bill do not consider that the bill is the "final step" in establishing NASA's future direction, but is really the first essential step of many to follow, not the least of which, of course, is the appropriations part of the overall process.

Edited to remove some language I felt was "intemperate" on my part, though not directed at anyone here.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2010 12:34 AM by 51D Mascot »
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Offline Jeff Bingham

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Question:  Is a human rated SLS required by this bill?

Yes.

Good.  Then Congress stands behind funding development (at least partially in case of commercial), maintaining, and operating two human rated systems.


Keep reading. Especially Title IV, which provides caveats to the degree to which, the methods whereby, and the justifications for the government "standing behind" a commercial crew "system."

Understood, but I got to hope the door is open to their success and that the cards are not stacked against them.


I don't think they are...the commercial spaceflight "community"  collectively reviewed those parameters before they even became part of S. 3068, from whence they found their way into S. 3729. And  as a group, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation consistently supported passage of S.3729 by the House without amendments.

Then lets all hope everyone has done their analysis and costs correctly, dotted their i's, crossed their t's, and that the United States ends up with two human rated launch systems.


Amen to that! All I can really tell you is that every effort was made to be assured of that before the bill was ever presented to the Commerce Committee. That was done through a very thorough process of outreach and "vetting" with those in industry and, albeit informally and "unofficially" due to certain constraints imposed on them, with knowledgeable individuals within NASA throughout the drafting process. It's a serious challenge; no question about that; and it will require diligence and effort to avoid the mistakes of past development efforts or the traps of "old behavior" and a willingness to transition to new ways of doing business, but at some point I have to take a leap of faith that the stage has been set, at least, for all that to come together. We will see.
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Online Robotbeat

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If this bill is VERY successful, we may eventually have more than two human rated launch systems... we may have three or even four!

(i.e. Orion/SLS, Dragon/Falcon9, Boeing/EELV, BlueOrigin/AtlasV, etc)
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Offline clongton

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Well, many of the same people who wrote the 2005 and 2008 Authorization Acts were involved in drafting S.3729, so they are VERY aware of the potential for "non-compliance." They are also very much aware of continuing efforts on the part of certain parties to "slow-roll" or otherwise undermine the letter and intent of what will soon be signed into law.

I would loathe to see this actually happen, but perhaps it might be in everyone's best interest if those "certain parties" were to be reminded privately, discreetly and thru back door channels of course, of the potential consequences of being found guilty of Contempt of Congress. If nothing else they would be put on notice that they were being individually watched to ensure compliance.
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Offline Pheogh

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Well, many of the same people who wrote the 2005 and 2008 Authorization Acts were involved in drafting S.3729, so they are VERY aware of the potential for "non-compliance." They are also very much aware of continuing efforts on the part of certain parties to "slow-roll" or otherwise undermine the letter and intent of what will soon be signed into law.

I would loathe to see this actually happen, but perhaps it might be in everyone's best interest if those "certain parties" were to be reminded privately, discreetly and thru back door channels of course, of the potential consequences of being found guilty of Contempt of Congress. If nothing else they would be put on notice that they were being individually watched to ensure compliance.

Someone  :-\ could form a coalition of Space Advocates that would essentially continue to apply pressure to their Representatives and safeguard S3729? Following its development and applying taxpayer oversight in case or representatives do not remain vigilant.

Offline martin hegedus

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Please, lets try to build support, especially if some of this is coming from the engineers and technical staff.  Rest assured there is a good chance the project will fail otherwise.  And I don't mean intentionally.  To me some of the key ingredients to a successful launch vehicle design process are technical skill, enthusiasm/dedication, ingenuity, and stubbornness.  Without these ingredients you may not get as far as you desire.  And, I have to hope that the men and women at NASA want success and not failure.  I know my friends and colleagues there want success.  And I gather one of the issues with Dr. Griffin is that he did not listen to those around him.  So please, lets learn that lesson.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2010 01:58 AM by martin hegedus »

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Please, lets try to build support, especially if some of this is coming from the engineers and technical staff.  Rest assured there is a good chance the project will fail otherwise.  And I don't mean intentionally.  To me some of the key ingredients to a successful launch vehicle design process are technical skill, enthusiasm/dedication, ingenuity, and stubbornness.  Without these ingredients you may not get as far as you desire.  And, I have to hope that the men and women at NASA want success and not failure.  I know my friends and colleagues there want success.  And I gather one of the issues with Dr. Griffin is that he did not listen to those around him.  So please, lets learn that lesson.


Extremely valid and valuable comments, and I agree wholeheartedly. There are extremely good people there who want to contribute to a successful program--and without whom it could not be realized.
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Offline Namechange User

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Please, lets try to build support, especially if some of this is coming from the engineers and technical staff.  Rest assured there is a good chance the project will fail otherwise.  And I don't mean intentionally.  To me some of the key ingredients to a successful launch vehicle design process are technical skill, enthusiasm/dedication, ingenuity, and stubbornness.  Without these ingredients you may not get as far as you desire.  And, I have to hope that the men and women at NASA want success and not failure.  I know my friends and colleagues there want success.  And I gather one of the issues with Dr. Griffin is that he did not listen to those around him.  So please, lets learn that lesson.


Extremely valid and valuable comments, and I agree wholeheartedly. There are extremely good people there who want to contribute to a successful program--and without whom it could not be realized.

Seconded!
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Offline jml

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If I may bring up another interesting tangent...

So what possible contracts could we be looking at? I'm no expert, but here's the obvious list:

* SLS Core - LockMart and other MAF contractors; Boeing for Thrust Structure and PLF?
* SRBs - ATK - Be they shuttle or 5-seg;
* RS-25E and RL-10C - PWR - The RL-10C seems a better idea than J-2X as it can be applied to the EELVs to improve their performance and the DoD may be willing to split costs on the project; It can also be spun as 'commercial-enabling';
* Orion - LockMart;
* Orion LAS - OSC;
* Upper Stage - Boeing - I call this the 'Ares-IA';
* SSPDM - TBD, if pursued;
* ATV-derived hab module - EADS Astrum, if pursued;
* LSAM2 - TBD, if pursued.

There's certainly no doubt about the vendors for Orion, the LAS, and the SLS Core. ATK and PWR are also undoubtedly the sole-source vendors for the boosters and engines, unless Space-X wants to provide a Raptor upper stage engine. I would think that the SLS thrust structure would be manufactured with the core by LM. The fairing might go to one of the vendors who supplies the composite fairings for EELV, like RUAG (nee Contraves) or ATK.

Other obvious choices:
Avionics Ring: Boeing, derived from Ares I avionics ring
KSC Ground Ops: United Space Alliance

But if I was SLS project dictator for a day, I might also suggest:
Prime Contractor: An extension of Boeing/LockMart's USA joint-venture, to be responsible for both development and operations under a fixed-price contract modeled after ULA's EELV operations
Upper Stage Engine: RL-60 or MB-60, if the USAF or ULA or JAXA will pick up part of the development and production tab
Upper Stage:
1st choice (for performance and flexibility): ULA for a JUS-181/ACES-41/ACES-71 family of stages available for use on EELV or SLS.
2nd choice (for lower fixed and per unit cost): LM for a core-tooling based 8.4m upper stage
3rd choice (simply for avoiding contract termination penalties): Boeing for an Ares I US derivative
4th choice (if we are really out of $$): ULA for a stretched DIVUS or Centaur

and just to make things interesting:
LSAM: (some years from now) Armadillo, Masten, or another such Nu-Space company after they prove themselves with other projects
Hab: Bigelow, RSC Energia, or Thales-Alenia
Commercial SEP/NEP stage for BEO: Ad Astra

On the other hand, a week ago some other random person ;) on this site posted this message with perhaps slightly more sensible and knowledgeable ideas than mine:
IMHO, Boeing should be Prime, with MSFC providing oversight.   LM should keep Orion with JSC providing oversight.   LM should get ET>JCS conversion.   ULA should get JUS.   PWR should immediately start to make new SSME Blk-II's, Human Rate the RL-10 and about 3-5 years from now, they should start producing a disposable SSME.   ATK should produce the existing 4-seg's, plus get a contract to remove the TVC system and improve the design using some good-value lessons learned from the 5-seg effort.

Offline sdsds

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* SLS Core - LockMart and other MAF contractors; Boeing for Thrust Structure and PLF?

There's certainly no doubt about the vendors for [...]  the SLS Core.  [...]  I would think that the SLS thrust structure would be manufactured with the core by LM.

LM should get ET>JCS conversion.   

Although it might seem obvious LM should get the SLS core, it isn't clear LM ET experience justifies a sole source contract.  Will this work need to be competed?
-- sdsds --

Offline FinalFrontier

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* SLS Core - LockMart and other MAF contractors; Boeing for Thrust Structure and PLF?

There's certainly no doubt about the vendors for [...]  the SLS Core.  [...]  I would think that the SLS thrust structure would be manufactured with the core by LM.

LM should get ET>JCS conversion.   

Although it might seem obvious LM should get the SLS core, it isn't clear LM ET experience justifies a sole source contract.  Will this work need to be competed?
Seems like it.
Question for everyone:
By the way, what is the situation regarding modifying those CXP contracts? I thought that was "sort of" the plan in order to try and get things moving one the program faster and prevent layoffs. Is that still going to be doable with the Senate bill and if so any idea on the timeline for it?
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Offline Jim

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But if I was SLS project dictator for a day, I might also suggest:
Prime Contractor: An extension of Boeing/LockMart's USA joint-venture, to be responsible for both development and operations under a fixed-price contract modeled after ULA's EELV operations

USA is an operations and not a development company.  Boeing still did systems engineering for the shuttle stack and orbiter for USA.

Offline Jim

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By the way, what is the situation regarding modifying those CXP contracts?

Nowhere.  CxP is still the law of the land.  Nothing can be done with current contracts until there is a new budget

Offline Jim

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   ULA should get JUS. 

It can't, JUS is not an EELV

Offline yg1968

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On the issue of "backup" and what you feel is unnecessary language, in fact, in an earlier version, was not there. But in the course of negotiating to the final language it was felt that, since the Senate was providing a path towards development of commercial crew capability, while at the same time insisting on a government-owned and operated cargo AND crew capability (back to that in a minute), that it was essential to underscore that the government capability would not be a potential competitor to the potential commercial provider. At the same time, it was recognized  that other partners (e.g., ESA) were considering, at some level, the development of crew capability through a variant of their own vehicles, and also that, while Soyuz certainly exists as a bona fide crew delivery system, there is no guarantee that it will always be "available" for technical or other reasons. The combination of those considerations led to the additional language regarding back-up capability that is troubling you. It was repeated, later, you will find, in Section 303(b)(3) regarding the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, for the same purpose.

Thanks for the clarification!

What is your take on what Congress' preference would be in the scenario where commercial crew is not available, but both SLS/MPCV and Soyuz are? It's clear that commercial crew is preferable for ISS over SLS/MPCV, but it's not clear (at least to me) that Congress would prefer to continue passing periodic INKSNA waivers to keep sending money to Russia for Soyuz, even if SLS/MPCV would be more expensive.

I am not 51D Mascot but I suspect that you are right that this would be one way out from using Soyuz. Another way out would be to call the HLV flight, a test flight and obviously commercial crew and Soyuz cannot meet the need for testing the HLV.

People complain that the language is unclear in the NASA Authorization bill. But I think that this was done on purpose. Congress wanted to give NASA some wiggle room. You don't want to paint yourself into a corner.
« Last Edit: 10/06/2010 02:17 PM by yg1968 »

Offline muomega0

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Keep reading. Especially Title IV, which provides caveats to the degree to which, the methods whereby, and the justifications for the government "standing behind" a commercial crew "system."

Understood, but I got to hope the door is open to their success and that the cards are not stacked against them.


I don't think they are...the commercial spaceflight "community"  collectively reviewed those parameters before they even became part of S. 3068, from whence they found their way into S. 3729. And  as a group, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation consistently supported passage of S.3729 by the House without amendments.
[/quote]

From the Orlando Sentinel article:
Quote
"I think it remains to be seen what heavy lift will be," Braun said. "I would like to believe now that we are making progress in Washington towards the 2011 plan that the engineers…will weigh in and that we will move towards the technically correct choice."

Is Braun really saying that NASA will ignore the clear direction of Congress and go off to do whatever they feel like doing?  That does not seem like a winning strategy for maintaining NASA's funding level. Who does he think is writing the checks for this HLV?

Instead of making antagonistic statements like this, NASA bigwigs should be falling all over themselves to reassure Congress that they will do everything in their power to follow Congress' lead as closely as physically possible. Not just the letter of the law, depending on what the definition of "is" is, but the clear intent and spirit of the law too.

Why do they continue to fight this?

Mark S.

I can assure you such comments are not viewed positively by those in the Congress who believe they have sent a clear message that the FY 2011 "plan" regarding follow-on launch vehicles and human spaceflight direction beyond LEO was, and now certifiably is, DOA. Remember Bobby Braun was brought in to oversee the HUGE redirection of formerly Constellation program funds in advanced r and d; the directionless "honey-pots" of open-ended research that were a major point of criticism for many in the Congress when the FY 2011 Budget Request was released. The majority of those funds were redirected--in both House and Senate bills--back to vehicle development. So he's precisely the person NOT to ask about NASA's intent or approach to development of launch vehicles under the terms soon to be established as the law of the land. He's correct in saying that engineers, and not politicians, will design the follow-on vehicles. But engineers have to obey not only the laws of physics, but the law of the land, as well, if they are working on government-funded programs.

Organizationally, the Chief Technologist of NASA is NOT in charge of vehicle design activities. (I doubt that he has even participated in the HEFT study activities to date to any significant degree, if at all.) His job is to seek and develop technology advances and enhancements that can INFORM the vehicle design, or make elements and subsystems more efficient and effective with applications of new technology, if possible. But he does not and will not be "designing rockets." Therefore, he is not and should not be seen as, a credible source regarding NASA's eventual approach to vehicle design.

Quite an interesting statement by M51D:  that if you are a Chief Technologist at NASA, you are not a credible source to LV design, you can only INFORM.  In other words, if Wernher von Braun were not in the correct NASA office, then he could only INFORM.

Note that the HEFT study omitted EELV, for example, in the Trade Tree, so the HEFT team alone makes decisions, and the rest of NASA and industry likely did not have any input to INFORM the trade, similar to ESAS.  Picking the team picks the winner?  What happened to the independent assessments or peer review?

According to posts here, M51D was a key player in the passage of a SD HLV in the lastest House "compromise".  Who represented other options to Congress, the Commercial Space Federation?   Were any NASA HEFT Study Team members', or the NASA Chief Technologist views represented to Congress in any way?  Who?

So IF
-  a Propellant Depot enables multiple flights across FY to reduce costs and provide schedule flexibility
- 70 to 80% of all chemical propelled Mars/Lunar missions are fuel
- if missions are all fuel ( could be reduced by Technology Development) then 1 to 2 flights could lift the hardware in 25-40 mT chunks, quite different than the mandated 70 to 130 mT
- Complexity of two flights is way less difficult than completing ISS assembly
- LV designs with Solids need higher LAS mass
- More engines in the second stage provides better performance than a single J2X
- And the Cost Trades are completed

Then
 The Chief Technologist can only inform the vehicle design group (MSFC) and not Congress of these conclusions?  Sounds like the Constellation Program mode of Operation?


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