Author Topic: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread  (Read 60755 times)

Offline robertross

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #20 on: 11/01/2014 08:49 PM »
This thought of how Orbital is to fulfill its current CRS contract with cargo to the ISS using another launch vehicle is, imo, just silly.

It may be that they can't fulfill their full contract, but I'm sure they'd consider that a better bet than pushing something out that isn't ready. The push should be the future, and to me that means hoping to get a portion of the CRS2 contract (in tandem with SpaceX). Being ready for that should be the #1 goal. Now if they can bring that launch vehicle design online sooner to help finish out even a part of their remaining CRS1 contract, that will only help the company in the long term.

The short term will see an impact to science on the ISS, but at this stage that is already unavoidable (as experiments have already been lost for the upcoming science time-frame). Being ready to help support ISS for its future is more important.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #21 on: 11/01/2014 08:51 PM »
It may be that they can't fulfill their full contract, but I'm sure they'd consider that a better bet than pushing something out that isn't ready. The push should be the future, and to me that means hoping to get a portion of the CRS2 contract (in tandem with SpaceX). Being ready for that should be the #1 goal.

If they can't fulfill their CRS-1 contract, they aren't going to get a CRS-2 contract

Offline robertross

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #22 on: 11/01/2014 09:20 PM »
It may be that they can't fulfill their full contract, but I'm sure they'd consider that a better bet than pushing something out that isn't ready. The push should be the future, and to me that means hoping to get a portion of the CRS2 contract (in tandem with SpaceX). Being ready for that should be the #1 goal.

If they can't fulfill their CRS-1 contract, they aren't going to get a CRS-2 contract

But that would be up to NASA to decide, no?

And NASA already has a substantial investment in getting Orbital to the point of ISS re-supply, with limited options in the near term, so perhaps contract re-negotiation could be in order.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #23 on: 11/01/2014 09:29 PM »
It may be that they can't fulfill their full contract, but I'm sure they'd consider that a better bet than pushing something out that isn't ready. The push should be the future, and to me that means hoping to get a portion of the CRS2 contract (in tandem with SpaceX). Being ready for that should be the #1 goal.
If they can't fulfill their CRS-1 contract, they aren't going to get a CRS-2 contract
But that would be up to NASA to decide, no?

And NASA already has a substantial investment in getting Orbital to the point of ISS re-supply, with limited options in the near term, so perhaps contract re-negotiation could be in order.

I agree with Jim.  If CRS2 has pretty much the same requirements as the current CRS1 contract, then if Orbital can't complete their CRS1 contract why would anyone think they could handle the CRS2 contract?

And from a business standpoint, why would you put your faith in a company that has not been able to fulfill a contract you already have with them?  You wouldn't.

But for the record, I think Orbital will figure out how to get the rest of their CRS1 missions done.
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Offline ugordan

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #24 on: 11/01/2014 09:35 PM »
But for the record, I think Orbital will figure out how to get the rest of their CRS1 missions done.

To that end, this paragraph from Orbital's latest update is pertinent:

Quote from: Orbital
CRS Go-Forward Plan

The companyís senior managers have begun developing a comprehensive plan to maintain the cargo supply line between Earth and the International Space Station, fulfilling Orbitalís commitment to NASA for the delivery of supplies for the astronaut crew, necessary equipment for the operation and maintenance of the station, and scientific experiments conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory. Details about Orbitalís approach for completing future missions under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA will be made public in the near future.
« Last Edit: 11/01/2014 09:35 PM by ugordan »

Offline robertross

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #25 on: 11/01/2014 09:39 PM »
It may be that they can't fulfill their full contract, but I'm sure they'd consider that a better bet than pushing something out that isn't ready. The push should be the future, and to me that means hoping to get a portion of the CRS2 contract (in tandem with SpaceX). Being ready for that should be the #1 goal.
If they can't fulfill their CRS-1 contract, they aren't going to get a CRS-2 contract
But that would be up to NASA to decide, no?

And NASA already has a substantial investment in getting Orbital to the point of ISS re-supply, with limited options in the near term, so perhaps contract re-negotiation could be in order.

I agree with Jim.  If CRS2 has pretty much the same requirements as the current CRS1 contract, then if Orbital can't complete their CRS1 contract why would anyone think they could handle the CRS2 contract?

And from a business standpoint, why would you put your faith in a company that has not been able to fulfill a contract you already have with them?  You wouldn't.

But for the record, I think Orbital will figure out how to get the rest of their CRS1 missions done.

Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible. Of course NASA would want assurances before that cut off point, but I see more than enough time to fly a re-designed Antares, rather than fielding an entirely new spacecraft, perhaps building a new launch pad (if required), and meeting NASA's ISS requirements (including 1 flight with prox ops).

I see Orbital still using Antares, albeit likely with a new engine. (And personally I'd call it the Phoenix, understandably, but they likely won't change the name, and let's not start a naming game on this thread)
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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #26 on: 11/01/2014 09:39 PM »
It may be that they can't fulfill their full contract, but I'm sure they'd consider that a better bet than pushing something out that isn't ready. The push should be the future, and to me that means hoping to get a portion of the CRS2 contract (in tandem with SpaceX). Being ready for that should be the #1 goal.

If they can't fulfill their CRS-1 contract, they aren't going to get a CRS-2 contract
You seem very sure of that.

The only thing that would stop them flying the current Antares again is if it is AJ26 problem that can't be resolved. Any other possible failings of LV should be solvable.

Everything in public domain points to them using a different engine for CRS2 contract so any failure due to AJ26 shouldn't count against them. Plus tender is not just about LV but also the Cygnus which has proved its self. ISS is more precious than any cargo, having a reliable flight proven cargo vehicle is a huge plus for Orbital.

Offline ugordan

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #27 on: 11/01/2014 09:56 PM »
Everything in public domain points to them using a different engine for CRS2 contract so any failure due to AJ26 shouldn't count against them.

No, but "past" performance on CRS-1 could.

Plus tender is not just about LV but also the Cygnus which has proved its self. ISS is more precious than any cargo, having a reliable flight proven cargo vehicle is a huge plus for Orbital.

If there's anything to take away from all this, it's that terms like "reliable" shouldn't be thrown around for systems that have less than a dozen flights under their belt. That goes for *both* CRS-1 contractors.

Offline robertross

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #28 on: 11/01/2014 09:58 PM »
It may be that they can't fulfill their full contract, but I'm sure they'd consider that a better bet than pushing something out that isn't ready. The push should be the future, and to me that means hoping to get a portion of the CRS2 contract (in tandem with SpaceX). Being ready for that should be the #1 goal.

If they can't fulfill their CRS-1 contract, they aren't going to get a CRS-2 contract
You seem very sure of that.

The only thing that would stop them flying the current Antares again is if it is AJ26 problem that can't be resolved. Any other possible failings of LV should be solvable.

Everything in public domain points to them using a different engine for CRS2 contract so any failure due to AJ26 shouldn't count against them. Plus tender is not just about LV but also the Cygnus which has proved its self. ISS is more precious than any cargo, having a reliable flight proven cargo vehicle is a huge plus for Orbital.

Well to be fair to Jim's point, a contract is a contract, and the cargo these 2 commercial vehicles provides (which NASA is counting on), sustains the ISS; without both of them operating reliably, the ISS cannot. NASA requires mission assurance, and the contracts that NASA let to bring these companies to this point were to mitigate risk. Clearly there is a flaw in the rocket that needs to be resolved, and if the current engine fails to bring that assurance, Orbital needs a plan in place to deal with that (which they apparently do). It would come down to time to get it fielded in time.

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Offline Prober

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #29 on: 11/01/2014 11:27 PM »

In another thread Dan thought of using Arianne if ULA isn't able to free up a core or two. 

Sure, Arianne has issues of its own, and has a spare Soyuz-ST that could be used for Cygnus,   
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34129.msg1268946#msg1268946

a Win Win for both firms.


No, it has to be a US rocket

ok that locks things down, per the Cots agreement among other things.

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Online gongora

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #30 on: 11/01/2014 11:54 PM »
Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible.

I thought the intent of the CRS1 extensions was to buy MORE flights to fill the gap between the scheduled CRS1 missions and the beginning of CRS2?

Offline robertross

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #31 on: 11/02/2014 01:30 AM »
Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible.

I thought the intent of the CRS1 extensions was to buy MORE flights to fill the gap between the scheduled CRS1 missions and the beginning of CRS2?
Not according to what I found:

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=cff80051d20c232523953c167a42b410&tab=core&_cview=0
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #32 on: 11/02/2014 01:31 AM »

Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible. Of course NASA would want assurances before that cut off point, but I see more than enough time to fly a re-designed Antares, rather than fielding an entirely new spacecraft, perhaps building a new launch pad (if required), and meeting NASA's ISS requirements (including 1 flight with prox ops).

I see Orbital still using Antares, albeit likely with a new engine. (And personally I'd call it the Phoenix, understandably, but they likely won't change the name, and let's not start a naming game on this thread)
The standard sized Cyngus probably also can fit on Stratolaunch.
 OSC is developing the rocket so it would make sense to go ahead and design a payload interface for their own vehicles.
« Last Edit: 11/02/2014 01:33 AM by Patchouli »

Offline robertross

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #33 on: 11/02/2014 01:46 AM »

Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible. Of course NASA would want assurances before that cut off point, but I see more than enough time to fly a re-designed Antares, rather than fielding an entirely new spacecraft, perhaps building a new launch pad (if required), and meeting NASA's ISS requirements (including 1 flight with prox ops).

I see Orbital still using Antares, albeit likely with a new engine. (And personally I'd call it the Phoenix, understandably, but they likely won't change the name, and let's not start a naming game on this thread)
The standard sized Cyngus probably also can fit on Stratolaunch.
 OSC is developing the rocket so it would make sense to go ahead and design a payload interface for their own vehicles.

Not going to happen.
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #34 on: 11/02/2014 01:53 AM »
Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible.

I thought the intent of the CRS1 extensions was to buy MORE flights to fill the gap between the scheduled CRS1 missions and the beginning of CRS2?
Not according to what I found:

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=cff80051d20c232523953c167a42b410&tab=core&_cview=0
I read it as an extension to SpaceX and Orbital for 2016 but 2017 could be allocated to a CRS2 winner if they are ready in time.

If SpaceX or Orbital's CRS2 flight is lower than present and they win will 2017 flights be at CRS2 prices?

Online gongora

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #35 on: 11/02/2014 02:06 AM »
Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible.

I thought the intent of the CRS1 extensions was to buy MORE flights to fill the gap between the scheduled CRS1 missions and the beginning of CRS2?
Not according to what I found:

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=cff80051d20c232523953c167a42b410&tab=core&_cview=0

The wording in that is really strange.  The CRS contracts already went to the end of 2016, and both Orbital and SpaceX are scheduled to do their final flights under the original contract in late 2016.  There is a one year gap because CRS2 isn't scheduled to start until 2018, so they need to buy another 4-5 flights in 2017.  I think that posting really is to buy the additional 2017 flights, just hard to understand what all the bureaucratic language is actually saying.
« Last Edit: 11/02/2014 02:09 AM by gongora »

Offline robertross

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #36 on: 11/02/2014 02:23 AM »
Well I didn't know about this when I first posted (yes, posting without full knowledge of the facts), but NASA had put out a request to extend the CRS1 contract to allow both Orbital and SpaceX up to the end of 2017 to fulfill CRS1 (albeit to mitigate risk, and allow additional providers a chance to bid on CRS2). That gives Orbital up to 38 months, which I believe is possible.

I thought the intent of the CRS1 extensions was to buy MORE flights to fill the gap between the scheduled CRS1 missions and the beginning of CRS2?
Not according to what I found:

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=cff80051d20c232523953c167a42b410&tab=core&_cview=0

The wording in that is really strange.  The CRS contracts already went to the end of 2016, and both Orbital and SpaceX are scheduled to do their final flights under the original contract in late 2016.  There is a one year gap because CRS2 isn't scheduled to start until 2018, so they need to buy another 4-5 flights in 2017.  I think that posting really is to buy the additional 2017 flights, just hard to understand what all the bureaucratic language is actually saying.


I believe the key point is the first paragraph (bold mine):

"NASA/JSC intends to extend the existing Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts NNJ09GA02B, with Orbital Sciences Corporation, hereinafter referred to as Orbital, and NNJ09GA04B, with Space Exploration Technologies, hereinafter referred to as SpaceX for up to 24 months from December 2015 to December 2017 at no cost. Both contracts were awarded in December 2008 and have a not to exceed (NTE) contract value of 3.1B each."
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Online gongora

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #37 on: 11/02/2014 03:05 AM »
I believe the key point is the first paragraph (bold mine):

"NASA/JSC intends to extend the existing Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts NNJ09GA02B, with Orbital Sciences Corporation, hereinafter referred to as Orbital, and NNJ09GA04B, with Space Exploration Technologies, hereinafter referred to as SpaceX for up to 24 months from December 2015 to December 2017 at no cost. Both contracts were awarded in December 2008 and have a not to exceed (NTE) contract value of 3.1B each."

Found a copy of what appears to be a CRS contract online that has the Dec 2015 end date, but everything else I've seen, including NASA release from Dec 2008 http://www.nasa.gov/offices/c3po/home/CRS-Announcement-Dec-08.html, says the end date is Dec 2016, so the first year of the extension might just be bookkeeping to align the initial contract with what it was meant to be anyway.  I think the "no cost" part just means no more guaranteed money, because they'd be buying flights as needed and it still fits into the initial maximum values of the contracts?

Offline Jim

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #38 on: 11/02/2014 10:41 AM »
It looks like they are just extending the period of performance.  Which means they can add missions as long as they stay within max value or they allow for flights to slip into the extension.

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Re: Orbital: Cygnus General Discussion Thread
« Reply #39 on: 11/02/2014 04:04 PM »
IIRC, there was different cutoff date for ordering the flights than actually performing them. Thus, I would guess that Dec 2015 was the cutoff for ordering and Dec 2016 for performing. That was the contractural obligation. But they could do it late if all parties were in agreement. Since the CRS2 non-incumbent competitors actually asked for extra time, I guess they'll extend CRS1 at least to Dec 2017. I simply don't seen anybody else with a chance of deploying and certifying a VV to the ISS before that. Unless Boeing wants to use NDS, which would have to use the secondary port and still do the robotic aprox ops.

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