Author Topic: USCV-1: NASA planners slip first ISS commercial crew mission to late 2017  (Read 54331 times)

Offline mr. mark

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There will be hearings on this to be sure. Elon Musk will say we're launching in 2015 with or without NASA. Then the pressure will be on NASA to take SpaceX as the sole provider because they are the only company capable of crossing the finish line with the least amount of expenditure. The decision has already been made. This is all a show at this point.

.... assuming that SpaceX really can pull this one out in 2015.  ::)

What's the plan for self-funded test flights for Boeing's CST-100? IIRC it's one flight in 2016?
Notice how I said with the least amount of expenditure. Boeing requires a higher percentage of NASA based investment. They have less skin in the game than does SpaceX. It very well may be the deciding factor especially in a limited financial environment.

From the article: "Should the test missions prove to be successful, a winning company will be selected by NASA to conduct the first crewed mission to the International Space Station a mission known as US Crew Vehicle -1 (USCV-1)".

The only problem is this does not take into account human nature and the panic factor. They are not going to wait until early 2017 to down select. 
« Last Edit: 04/07/2013 04:42 AM by mr. mark »

Online A_M_Swallow

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It sounds like the second flight of the manned dragon will have to berth to the ISS instead of docking.

Offline yg1968

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Originally the plan was to, you know, actually fund Commercial Crew at the level it needs.

What is this "plan" of which you speak? I saw no "plan", and my seat was probably rather closer to the playing field than yours.

There was never a "plan". There was a "proposal", followed by a "compromise", followed by repeated "challenges" to the compromise.

The "proposal" was the FY11 PBR. It called for the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) to be funded at $5.8B over 5 years: $0.5B in FY11, $1.4B in FY12 and 13, $1.3B in FY14, and $1.2B in FY15. There was no "science" behind these numbers; NASA HQ developed the budget request with no input from the field centers. The PBR was rolled out on Monday February 1, 2010, and I can tell you that both JSC Director Coats and KSC Director Cabana said that they had heard absolutely nothing of this proposal prior to the Friday before, when they were informed that the administration was going to propose cancelling CxP. Likewise, none of the relevant committee chairmen in Congress had gotten any advance notice or any chance for buy-in. It was a surprise attack by the administration, unprecedented in the history of NASA since 1961.

The "compromise" was the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. It authorized funding for CCP at $0.312B for FY11, and $0.5B for FY12 and 13. There was little "science" behind these numbers, either: Congress wanted to limit the funding for CCP because whatever trust had existed between the branches of government had been broken by the way the administration chose to roll out the budget request. Both Bolden and Garver have admitted this was a grievous mistake. The bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, so it remains the Law of the Land through the end of FY13.

The subsequent PBRs for FY12 and 13 have repeatedly proposed increasing CCP funding to $0.85B. As far as Congress is concerned, this is a direct challenge to the compromise so painstakingly worked out in the 2010 Authorization Act. The CRs and appropriations bills have adhered to the Act.

FY14 is the first year not covered under the Act, so there is some room to increase CCP funding. But the Administration must make the case and convince Congress.

It is a $#!+ poor salesman who blames the customer for failing to buy the product after the sales pitch. If the product is good, it is more likely the salesman who is to blame.

The plan wasn't announced prior to the FY 2011 budget because it likely came from OSTP and OMB. Some of these changes probably originated from outside NASA because the Administration doesn't believe that NASA would voluntarily propose these changes by itself. NASA kept coming up with human exploration proposals that were unaffordable and that involved too much government oversight. That is likely why OSTP and OMB had to get involved in the NASA FY 2011 budget in the first place.

As far as the price tag for commercial crew is concerned, the Administration likely asked the companies themselves. A number of them (SpaceX and SNC) said at the time that they each needed about $1B to complete their crewed program. But the price tag for the development of commercial crew depends on how many test flights you have and how many participants you have. 

As far as the compromise goes, the Administration had the choice between the Senate authorization bill and the House version (which was a lot worse for commercial crew). The Administration was thus forced to accept the Senate's authorized amounts for commercial crew. In any event, the amounts that are appropriated by Congress can be higher than the amounts that are authorized. In fact the amount that was appropriated for FY 2013 ($515M) for commercial crew is higher than the amount that was authorized for that fiscal year ($500M). The amounts that were authorized for commercial crew by Congress weren't based on needs and was based on early downselection to only one provider (which directly clashes with the principles of a commercial program which relies on competition to drive prices down).
« Last Edit: 04/07/2013 02:08 PM by yg1968 »

Offline JohnFornaro

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I'm sick and tired, of the use of the term sequestration as a cover for everything going wrong.   

I hear you.  Unfortunately, this is part of the continuous lie that our government has become.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline JohnFornaro

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I believe this is what Congress wanted. They will now be able state that the Commercial Crew program experienced "long delays" despite the fact that they funded the program at half the requested amount for years.

That's what the phrase "promised funding instability" means.

...

We have a fraudulent leadership in DC, and this is just another example of it.   
This kind of obscene treatment by the Obama Administration on Commercial Crew shows where the real problem lies in NASA today. 

There's no question about the fraud being perpetrated.  It's interesting to note that when Mr. Bolden was instructed by Mr. Obama to futz with the budget numbers, over Congress' objections, to promote commercial space over SLS, some of the SLS promotors cried "Foul!".  There was even talk of Congress issuing subpoenas.

See Jorge's post about "The subsequent PBRs for FY12 and 13 have repeatedly proposed increasing CCP funding to $0.85B."

The end game is expansion of entitlement programs for unskilled workers, who far outnumber skilled workers.  By purchasing the votes of the large number of people who are willingly dependent on these programs, the current government intends to maintain its control over the halls of ower. 

NASA's budget won't expand these entitlement programs all that much, but NASA's apparently willing inability to complete the SLS program in a timely fashion will be held out as a headline grabbing example of unnecessary government expense which could be cut, allowing for entitlement programs to grow a little bit.  NASA is a bargaining chip in a much larger game.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2013 03:08 PM by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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It is possible, maybe even probable, that the Commercial Crew Providers will be ready before the Gov't side can afford to purchase seats. As per Mr Bolden, they can't afford to do everything.


Investing is Commercial Space, building the infrastructure to create SLS, and JWST, add value to the holdings of a Space Industry... whether it is from Gov't or Private funded initiatives, during a recession, when cost is at it's lowest, that is time to look around and see what can add value...

« Last Edit: 04/07/2013 04:14 PM by Chris Bergin »
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Offline rcoppola

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IMO, there is zero chance Nasa will be allowed to buy seats on Soyuz if a domestic provider is ready in 2015. The political fallout of NOT using a domestic provider if one is ready, especially if our anemic job growth continues, would be profound.

Nobody will want to be part of a split screen where the left side shows the Soyuz blasting off with a single American Astronaut on board, while the right side of the screen show's a perfectly capable domestic Dragon, sitting idle on a factory floor.

That kind of PR is toxic and not going to be allowed to happen.

And I think Elon knows this. In fact I suspect, Elon and Bolden has either had or will have this type of "Off-The-Record" conversation.
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Offline Orbiter

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IMO, there is zero chance Nasa will be allowed to buy seats on Soyuz if a domestic provider is ready in 2015. The political fallout of NOT using a domestic provider if one is ready, especially if our anemic job growth continues, would be profound.

Nobody will want to be part of a split screen where the left side shows the Soyuz blasting off with a single American Astronaut on board, while the right side of the screen show's a perfectly capable domestic Dragon, sitting idle on a factory floor.

That kind of PR is toxic and not going to be allowed to happen.

And I think Elon knows this. In fact I suspect, Elon and Bolden has either had or will have this type of "Off-The-Record" conversation.

It would make absolutely zero sense to refuse Musk to fly manned in 2015 if he's perfectly ready just because "NASA won't be ready until 2017." That means extending, on purpose, the US manned spaceflight gap to look good to the public. Have the first test flight in 2015, delay the second test flight to mid-2016, and have the first USCV-1 flight in 2017 with SpaceX.

« Last Edit: 04/07/2013 05:12 PM by Orbiter »
Attended space missions: STS-114, STS-124, STS-128, STS-135, Atlas V "Curiosity", Delta IV Heavy NROL-15, Atlas V MUOS-2, Delta IV Heavy NROL-37, SpaceX CRS-9, SpaceX JCSAT-16, Atlas V GOES-R, SpaceX SES-11.

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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This kind of obscene treatment by the Obama Administration on Commercial Crew shows where the real problem lies in NASA today.   

It is NOT the fault of the Obama administration but of congress (and many republicans in it that are at fault here, but that I do not want to name unless it is unonymously, I am still only a permanent resident in this country).
Anyway, the original plan of the Obama administration called for a much better funding of commercial crew and much less money for the then unnamed heavy lifter.
So, I do not see what you are basing your accusations on.

Offline Lars_J

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The end game is expansion of entitlement programs for unskilled workers, who far outnumber skilled workers.  By purchasing the votes of the large number of people who are willingly dependent on these programs, the current government intends to maintain its control over the halls of power.

It sounds like you are describing Congress and SLS perfectly - but I have a feeling you intended something else.. ;)

Offline rcoppola

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IMO, there is zero chance Nasa will be allowed to buy seats on Soyuz if a domestic provider is ready in 2015. The political fallout of NOT using a domestic provider if one is ready, especially if our anemic job growth continues, would be profound.

Nobody will want to be part of a split screen where the left side shows the Soyuz blasting off with a single American Astronaut on board, while the right side of the screen show's a perfectly capable domestic Dragon, sitting idle on a factory floor.

That kind of PR is toxic and not going to be allowed to happen.

And I think Elon knows this. In fact I suspect, Elon and Bolden has either had or will have this type of "Off-The-Record" conversation.

It would make absolutely zero sense to refuse Musk to fly manned in 2015 if he's perfectly ready just because "NASA won't be ready until 2017." That means extending, on purpose, the US manned spaceflight gap to look good to the public. Have the first test flight in 2015, delay the second test flight to mid-2016, and have the first USCV-1 flight in 2017 with SpaceX.



I'm not sure I understand your response with regards to extending, on purpose, the US manned spaceflight gap to look good?

I am not suggesting that SpaceX will not be allowed an internal crewed launch in 2015 if they are ready. But what the hell good does that do if we have nobody to pay for a ride and nowhere to send it? Will Bigelow be ready by 2015? Doubtful.

I'm simply stating if SpaceX brings Crewed Dragon online in 2015 and for whatever reason, NASA is not "Ready" to purchase a domestic capability while still paying for Soyuz flights for another 2-3 years after...well, that will be exceptionally embarrassing...And will not be allowed to happen.

If SpaceX, regardless of sequestration etc, is deemed on track to be ready to go by 2015, you'll see some congressional budgetary shifting of funds to ensure NASA can purchase said flights. I can't say with regards to Boeing or SNC, but that's how I see it going down. To the victor go the spoils.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2013 07:24 PM by rcoppola »
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Offline Elmar Moelzer

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If SpaceX, regardless of sequestration etc, is deemed on track to be ready to go by 2015, you'll see some congressional budgetary shifting of funds to ensure NASA can purchase said flights. I can't say with regards to Boeing or SNC, but that's how I see it going down. To the victor go the spoils.
I am sure the goons in congress will find some way to rationalize things. I bet the main argument will be "not safe enough".

Offline aquanaut99

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I'm not sure I understand your response with regards to extending, on purpose, the US manned spaceflight gap to look good?

I am not suggesting that SpaceX will not be allowed an internal crewed launch in 2015 if they are ready. But what the hell good does that do if we have nobody to pay for a ride and nowhere to send it? Will Bigelow be ready by 2015? Doubtful.

I'm simply stating if SpaceX brings Crewed Dragon online in 2015 and for whatever reason, NASA is not "Ready" to purchase a domestic capability while still paying for Soyuz flights for another 2-3 years after...well, that will be exceptionally embarrassing...And will not be allowed to happen.

If SpaceX, regardless of sequestration etc, is deemed on track to be ready to go by 2015, you'll see some congressional budgetary shifting of funds to ensure NASA can purchase said flights. I can't say with regards to Boeing or SNC, but that's how I see it going down. To the victor go the spoils.

It's extremely unlikely that SpaceX will be ready to go with a crewed flight in 2015, IMO. Not with their proven track record of delays.

Maybe first crewed flight late 2016, in which case the first commercial ISS mission in late 2017 would make sense (execpt that I don't believe in this date either).

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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It's extremely unlikely that SpaceX will be ready to go with a crewed flight in 2015, IMO. Not with their proven track record of delays.

Maybe first crewed flight late 2016, in which case the first commercial ISS mission in late 2017 would make sense (execpt that I don't believe in this date either).
They are faster than the competition though and they are improving.

Offline rcoppola

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It's extremely unlikely that SpaceX will be ready to go with a crewed flight in 2015, IMO. Not with their proven track record of delays.

Maybe first crewed flight late 2016, in which case the first commercial ISS mission in late 2017 would make sense (execpt that I don't believe in this date either).
They are faster than the competition though and they are improving.

I think in terms of narrative. The story. Those who author them, those who consume them and those that critique them.

Space X is authoring their story. We're just through the introduction and perhaps the first chapter. It has a pace and structure all their own. The characters and settings are diverse, interesting, exciting and inspiring.

Do not underestimate the power of narrative.

I'm telling you, when they unveil Dragon 2 toward the end of this year, do their pad and MaxQ abort in 2014 and start building their crew access tower, there will be no stopping their momentum.

They will launch in 2015 and NASA will be on-board the inaugural ISS flight on December 15th 2015. 
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Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Offline joek

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I am not suggesting that SpaceX will not be allowed an internal crewed launch in 2015 if they are ready. But what the hell good does that do if we have nobody to pay for a ride and nowhere to send it? Will Bigelow be ready by 2015? Doubtful.

I'm simply stating if SpaceX brings Crewed Dragon online in 2015 and for whatever reason, NASA is not "Ready" to purchase a domestic capability while still paying for Soyuz flights for another 2-3 years after...well, that will be exceptionally embarrassing...And will not be allowed to happen.

If SpaceX, regardless of sequestration etc, is deemed on track to be ready to go by 2015, you'll see some congressional budgetary shifting of funds to ensure NASA can purchase said flights. I can't say with regards to Boeing or SNC, but that's how I see it going down. To the victor go the spoils.

I'm not sure what you mean by "online" or "ready to go by 2015".  SpaceX's proposal to perform crewed test flights in 2015 is based on optional CCiCap SAA milestones.  NASA has stated that they will not pay to fly anyone under CCiCap.  The only way SpaceX is going to launch people before certification phase 2 (CP2) is if SpaceX pays for it and it is not part of CCiCap.

Funding for CP2 will determine the earliest crewed test flights, thus when certification would complete, and thus the earliest date for start of ISS service.  The notional schedule for CP2 was (is?) approximately three years starting in CY2014-Q2 (it will also be a FAR contract).

In short, timing will be dictated by CP2, for which funding is a major factor.  I believe what we're seeing here is funding constraints causing a stretch of CP2, thus a delay in start of ISS services.  In any case, the CP2 contract award(s) in CY2014-Q2 will determine who goes further, regardless of what they might have planned or done later.

Offline RocketmanUS

What are if any commercial plans for-
1 ) CST-100
2 ) Dragon
3 ) Dream Chaser
4 ) Other commercial crew
?

Could that get the test flights done by 2016?

Ordering Soyuz thru 2019 now shows that NASA/Congress does not believe that American commercial crew taxi will be ready ( meet their standards ) any sooner than 2019.
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Offline rcoppola

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I want to thank you for that joek. I fully appreciate yours and others incredible grasp of the acronym soup that is NASA. I mean that, so don't be offended by what I am about to say. OT, so delete at will.

What the hell happened to us? The bureaucracy is mind numbing. Can't do this under that contract but you can do that under this contract as long as....WTF? Too many layers, too many complications, too many bureaucrats, too many rules written by too many lawyers.

It's a wonder anything gets done in any reasonable amount of time and budget.

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Offline Orbiter

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I want to thank you for that joek. I fully appreciate yours and others incredible grasp of the acronym soup that is NASA. I mean that, so don't be offended by what I am about to say. OT, so delete at will.

What the hell happened to us? The bureaucracy is mind numbing. Can't do this under that contract but you can do that under this contract as long as....WTF? Too many layers, too many complications, too many bureaucrats, too many rules written by too many lawyers.

It's a wonder anything gets done in any reasonable amount of time and budget.



+1

I couldn't agree with your post anymore if I could.
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