Author Topic: The Launch Vehicle Showdown  (Read 52674 times)

Offline Kayla

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #140 on: 08/15/2006 12:35 AM »
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Spacely - 14/8/2006  6:22 PM
My personal opinion is that a CEV that can launch on a number of EELVs (Delta IV, Atlas V, Ariane, etc.) is ideal, as it can fly even when/if one EELV line is stood down, and it can be sold to friendly countries.

Spacely, you hit the nail on the head.  If there is anything that we all should have learned from the last 3.5 years is NASA needs assured access.  Are we happy having Russia provide assured access?  Having multiple launchers that can fly the CEV also ensures price competition.  I've said elsewhere that CEV should be able to fly on Atlas, Delta, Ariane and who knows what else.  Competition is the way to keep costs down and ensure that we can get to orbit when we need to.

Offline kraisee

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #141 on: 08/15/2006 12:50 AM »
Actually, the ideal CEV is the one which will do the Lunar mission successfully, at minimum mass and minimal cost, while offering high degrees of reliability and safety.

Even ISS missions take a back seat to that requirement.

Whatever is required for that mission needs to be the priority, with the LV selection based on whatever is available that can launch the final spec.   At that point you start weighing other factors like economical advantages, and political backing.

If Ares-I does go away, I guarantee NASA has other options.   The 3 most logical options IMHO are (in no particular order but alphabetical):


1) Atlas Phase-2, w/ Atlas Phase 3A or 3B as Heavy Lift.

2) Direct evolution of the standard Shuttle 2x4seg, 3xSSME configuration we fly today, just made into an in-line design.   Two of these very basic launchers can launch a 150mT moon mission on their own, without a second vehicle needing to be developed.   Although they would lead nicely to a CaLV development later on.

3) "Stumpy" - the 2x3seg SRB, 2xJ-2X engine'd R2-D2 lookalike which Chris revealed a few weeks back, w/ an ESAS-style CaL (Ares-V) as Heavy Lift.


Pure speculation on my part, but I strongly doubt you will see is a mix of EELV and SDLV technologies for Crew and Cargo missions - because that gets real tricky financially-speaking.   Whatever the first vehicle is, it will be the direct descendant of whatever Heavy lifter comes later.   I'd make a bet and say it'll be one or the other, neatly.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline Smatcha

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #142 on: 08/15/2006 05:32 AM »
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kraisee - 14/8/2006  5:37 PM

Pure speculation on my part, but I strongly doubt you will see is a mix of EELV and SDLV technologies for Crew and Cargo missions - because that gets real tricky financially-speaking.   Whatever the first vehicle is, it will be the direct descendant of whatever Heavy lifter comes later.   I'd make a bet and say it'll be one or the other, neatly.

Ross.

Strongly disagree, ELV for CLV and SD for HLV is the best balance of economics, politics and physics.  We keep bouncing between the extremes.  Under Sean only ELV, Mike only SD.  Can’t we all just get along?

It reminds me of the movie a “Mad Mad Mad Mad World”

“Now look, let's be sensible about this. There's money in this for all of us. Right? There's enough for you, and there's enough for you, and for you, and there's enough for...
[They all race to their cars]
“Do we want to go to the moon or not?”
John C. Houbolt - November 15, 1961
Question posed in Letter to Dr. Robert C. Seamans Jr, NASA Associate Administrator

Ralph Ellison “I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest”




Offline kraisee

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #143 on: 08/15/2006 07:05 AM »
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SMetch - 15/8/2006  1:19 AM

Strongly disagree, ELV for CLV and SD for HLV is the best balance of economics, politics and physics.  We keep bouncing between the extremes.  Under Sean only ELV, Mike only SD.  Can’t we all just get along?

It actually costs a lot more, and forces a huge number of workers out of jobs nationwide.

If NASA goes down the Atlas branch for CLV, there is not going to be much on the way of work available for any people with experience of Shuttle.   EELV's are already fully-staffed right now, and other than some NASA management personnel needed to oversee the start of the new program, the rest are out of luck because there is no Shuttle, no SD CLV and no CaLV will be ready for at least 7 more years.

NASA would be forced to sack almost all the STS staff and just hope to re-hire enough of the experienced people again later when they finally do get the CaLV ready to deliver.

That's precisely what happened after Apollo, and that experience has taught NASA that a ~5-year long gap in contracts will cause 80-90% of trained staff to leave and NEVER return because they become disillusioned with the space program and find completely alternate careers.   When approached down the line, virtually none of them are willing to change direction back to NASA knowing their jobs can come and go at a whim.


That's precisely what NASA has been instructed NOT to do this time, so I just can't see it happening.

Further, if NASA chose to do the Atlas, I would predict they'd choose not to try to run two completely different and unrelated LV programs which share no commonality.   They'd close LC-39 and SD related ops completely and just follow the Atlas path alone.


The issue is this: If you go all-SD, you can share the cost of LC-39 and all of it's facilities, share a lot of the staff, expertise and resources between both of your launcher systems. For example: Both SRB processing and J-2X processing is the same for both CLV and CaLV, so only requires one facility and one team of workers to do both LV's.   That's a major cost saving right there.

Alternatively, if you chose both Atlas derivatives, you can share all RD-180, Centaur and also RL-10 processing costs between both programs and save a lot of expenditure that way.

Howevere, by running two programs concurrent with each other, two completely unrelated launch systems would offer no cost-savings at all.   You'd have to operate two separate vehicles, double the number of engine processing facilities, two unrelated launch complexes - 39 and 41, all the while incurring ALL the associated costs of both systems and being able to share none of the experience and facilities between them.

Whichever CLV we get, I predict its 95% certain that the CaLV will end up being directly related to it.

Of course, I'll plug my "Direct" SDLV solution ;)   One single launcher based on all the good bits of current STS hardware, with very few modifications.   Only one development cost, not two.   The same vehicle is powerful enough to fly crew or cargo - or both!   It uses well-known, already man-rated, systems throughout and has a full workforce ready to work on it right now.   Cut the cost and dangers of the Orbiter completely out of the program and open the moon up with just one payment for one launch vehicle to develop, not two.

Direct Shuttle Derivative.   2x4seg, 3xSSME, 73.5mT to LEO.   Add an EDS and this 2.0 launch solution costs about half the cost of Ares-I and Ares-V together per year, yet it does more.   For a total of less than $2.5Bn, you could launch 3 complete 4-man Lunar missions, plus two 6-man missions to the ISS, each of which would allow an extra 48 ton payload module to be brought along at the same time to resupply the station.

The unlikely looking Ares-I & Ares-V choice NASA had been planning, would have cost about $3.2Bn for just TWO 150mT Lunar missions with TWO CEV-only ISS missions, and would not offer any extra payload capacity to ISS.   Resupply missions would cost extra again.

Looks like a very good alternative to me.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Jim

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #144 on: 08/15/2006 12:18 PM »
Direct Shuttle Derivative,  2x4seg, 3xSSME is not viable for CLV, too big and too costly.  There isn't going to be a 48 ton payload module for the ISS.  Where is the money for this?

Offline RedSky

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #145 on: 08/15/2006 01:48 PM »
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Jim - 15/8/2006  7:05 AM

Direct Shuttle Derivative,  2x4seg, 3xSSME is not viable for CLV, too big and too costly.  There isn't going to be a 48 ton payload module for the ISS.  Where is the money for this?

I know I'm going to catch heck for these comments... but from reading all these posts lately, I don't see what the big deal with money is... since it seems few can agree on exactly what things cost.

Since it appears everyone wants to keep most STS employees anyway... cost doesn't appear to be the issue, and you might as well give them something to do.  I don't have a clue how things REALLY work regarding this... but what, exactly, do all the ATK guys work on when no SRBs were needed during the 2 year shuttle stand down (as compared when the flight rate was 4 or 5 launches/yr)?  How many guys does it take to refurbish and pour propellant for 8 segments to make two 4-seg SRB's?   (As compared to 5 segs for the stick?)

I think the 2x4seg is the fastest way to a CLV.  We've basically already got it.  Only have to work on in-line changes.   If its too powerful for the CEV... use less powerful engines than SSME... or use only 2 and only fuel the tank for what's needed.  I'm not a rocket scientist, so none of this may make sense, but intuitively, it seems more prudent to have a launcher more powerful than you need, than one that can't even lift the minimum it has to.

Who knows: post ISS committment, what if we really desired to do some experiments in orbit, the 2x4 might be able to launch the CEV plus an "orbital module" for whatever experiments.   With the Stick, does that mean (after ISS) we won't be doing ANYTHING manned in LEO?  Little room on board CEV for anything other than crew.

Guess I'm just frustrated with all this quibbling over "right-sizing" an LV for only the minimal required need, with no potential for upgrading for future needs.  How do you upgrade the Stick?  (make it even taller?)

RedSky
(Ducks and covers)





Offline zinfab

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #146 on: 08/15/2006 02:38 PM »
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Jim - 15/8/2006  8:05 AM

Direct Shuttle Derivative,  2x4seg, 3xSSME is not viable for CLV, too big and too costly.  There isn't going to be a 48 ton payload module for the ISS.  Where is the money for this?

By developing ONE LV instead of 2, is there no savings? Paying too much for the FEW ISS launches seems nothing compared to the $3B planned for developing the stick.

Offline Jon_Jones

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RE: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #147 on: 08/15/2006 03:08 PM »
These are my thoughts as well. this is why I'm for something like Ross' idea. It does seem to save jobs and experience, its not too adventurous in technology which was part of the over all plan that Griffin stated, it seems to be able to carry even the most grossly overweight CEV with tens of tons to spare. I think this one has more advantages than disadvantages...

Jim, I'm not sure why you are against these ideas. you mention the money, but I also would have to agree with others that say that the current Ares systems already have ballooning budgets before the first test article is made. I know the same will be true with this proposed system, but doesn't it seem that the stumpy or R2D2 LV will at least cost no more ( and perhaps hopefully less) than the stick and Ares 1?
Speed = Life iff Life = Speed

Offline RedSky

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #148 on: 08/15/2006 03:09 PM »
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zinfab - 15/8/2006  9:25 AM

By developing ONE LV instead of 2, is there no savings? Paying too much for the FEW ISS launches seems nothing compared to the $3B planned for developing the stick.

Yes! ... and the CaLV could always be justified and advertised as a logical upgrade to a 2x4 seg CLV.   It will allow time for sensible development and use of 5-seg SRBs... go from 2 or 3 engines to 5, and stretch the ET.  Developing the CaLV if we already have the Stick may be more difficult.  Also, having a medium lift 2x4 CLV still provides a measure of insurance for the future.  Administrations WILL change between now and 2018.  If we have the 2x4 CLV, we might still be able to have the Moon... (a 2-launch option, with EDS on 1st launch, and CEV+LSAM on the other).  If the CaLV is CANCELLED by a future administration and we're left with just the stick... we got nothin but LEO with nowhere to go.

Offline Smatcha

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #149 on: 08/15/2006 03:15 PM »
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kraisee - 14/8/2006  11:52 PM

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SMetch - 15/8/2006  1:19 AM

Strongly disagree, ELV for CLV and SD for HLV is the best balance of economics, politics and physics.  We keep bouncing between the extremes.  Under Sean only ELV, Mike only SD.  Can’t we all just get along?

It actually costs a lot more, and forces a huge number of workers out of jobs nationwide.

Ross.

First, the ELV is already staffed for other reasons.  Despite what the “hey kool-aid everyone will die camp says” they are perfectly good launch systems.  Because they are perfectly good launch systems there is no need to muck with them beyond a reasonable level.  They are already 10x safer than are “man-rated” SSTS which we apparently have no problem strapping our astronauts into.

By the way, if we are worried about the danger associated with going to the ISS via ELV’s we have no business going to Moon let alone Mars.  Besides, consistently crew loss events have been due to launch pressure to reclassify near miss failures as acceptable.  Any safety margin can be overwhelmed by poor decision making as evidenced by Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia.

Here is what Mike Griffin said about the safety of ELV’s

“Many, if not most, unmanned payloads are of very high value, both for the importance of their mission, as well as in simple economic terms.  The relevant question may be posed quite simplistically:  What, precisely, are the precautions that we would take to safeguard a human crew that we would deliberately omit when launching, say, a billion-dollar Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission?  The answer is, of course, “none”.  While we appropriately value human life very highly, the investment we make in most unmanned missions is quite sufficient to capture our full attention.”  Testimony of Mike Griffin before the Space and Aeronautics Committee on Science May 8, 2003

Second the +3 Billion they were planning on spend for the SRB/CLV (a ridiculous low ball estimate I might add) would now go to the development of a SD HLV so no seven year gap.  We can get started on that as soon as they pull their head out of the sand.  Come to think of it that may be the pacing item.  In fact given how close the entry level variants are to the existing SSTS we may get a 2xLunar launch system for the price of one SRB/CLV.

I suggest we ditch the stick go with ELV for CEV access to the ISS and get going back to the moon with a SD HLV now.  I agree with you that a gap to ISS or the Shuttle programs is unacceptable.  Thinking the stick will get us to the ISS sooner than an ELV or preserve most of the Shuttle infrastructure for ten years though is crazy talk.

I’m pretty sure both the ELV and Shuttle Teams are more than willing and able to pull this off.

This is by far the most economical, technical and political approach towards getting back to the moon.  Its biggest problem is that it represents a compromise between the warring camps.

“Now do we want to get the moon or don’t we?”
“Do we want to go to the moon or not?”
John C. Houbolt - November 15, 1961
Question posed in Letter to Dr. Robert C. Seamans Jr, NASA Associate Administrator

Ralph Ellison “I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest”




Offline edkyle99

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #150 on: 08/15/2006 07:30 PM »
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kraisee - 15/8/2006  1:52 AM

Quote
SMetch - 15/8/2006  1:19 AM

Strongly disagree, ELV for CLV and SD for HLV is the best balance of economics, politics and physics.  We keep bouncing between the extremes.  Under Sean only ELV, Mike only SD.  Can’t we all just get along?

It actually costs a lot more, and forces a huge number of workers out of jobs nationwide.


What is the priority - going to the Moon, or creating jobs?  

As someone who has had to switch jobs to evade commercial downsizing over the years, I say let them go.  These displaced workers will do just fine in this economy, if they want to.  They'll be more productive in the commercial world than they are working on NASA projects.

At any rate, NASA's jobs shouldn't be in the launching side, they should be in the "payload" side.  There will be plenty of work to do to prepare CEV, LSAM, and crews for missions.  

 - Ed Kyle

Offline punkboi

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #151 on: 08/15/2006 07:54 PM »

Quote
edkyle99 - 15/8/2006 12:17 PM
Quote
kraisee - 15/8/2006 1:52 AM
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SMetch - 15/8/2006 1:19 AM Strongly disagree, ELV for CLV and SD for HLV is the best balance of economics, politics and physics. We keep bouncing between the extremes. Under Sean only ELV, Mike only SD. Can’t we all just get along?
It actually costs a lot more, and forces a huge number of workers out of jobs nationwide.
What is the priority - going to the Moon, or creating jobs?

Going to the moon.


Online MATTBLAK

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #152 on: 08/15/2006 08:10 PM »
That's why my tagline says what it does..... ;)
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Offline zinfab

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #153 on: 08/15/2006 08:11 PM »
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edkyle99 - 15/8/2006  3:17 PM

Quote
kraisee - 15/8/2006  1:52 AM

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SMetch - 15/8/2006  1:19 AM

Strongly disagree, ELV for CLV and SD for HLV is the best balance of economics, politics and physics.  We keep bouncing between the extremes.  Under Sean only ELV, Mike only SD.  Can’t we all just get along?

It actually costs a lot more, and forces a huge number of workers out of jobs nationwide.


What is the priority - going to the Moon, or creating jobs?  

As someone who has had to switch jobs to evade commercial downsizing over the years, I say let them go.  These displaced workers will do just fine in this economy, if they want to.  They'll be more productive in the commercial world than they are working on NASA projects.

At any rate, NASA's jobs shouldn't be in the launching side, they should be in the "payload" side.  There will be plenty of work to do to prepare CEV, LSAM, and crews for missions.  

 - Ed Kyle

The priority is going to the moon, but Congress is currently telling NASA that they won't be ALLOWED to go there if they cut jobs.

How do we fix THAT?

Offline BogoMIPS

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #154 on: 08/15/2006 08:12 PM »
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punkboi - 15/8/2006  2:41 PM
Quote
edkyle99 - 15/8/2006 12:17 PM
Quote
kraisee - 15/8/2006 1:52 AM
It actually costs a lot more, and forces a huge number of workers out of jobs nationwide.
What is the priority - going to the Moon, or creating jobs?
Going to the moon.

Tell that to the Senators and House Representatives in the districts who feel that the workforce is threatened.  I'll bet you most don't give a rip about the Moon.  

After all, a failed VSE that builds vehicles in their district still employs their constituents.

I'm not sure I buy the whole job-loss concern myself, but we certainly keep hearing about it.

Offline shuttle_buff

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #155 on: 08/15/2006 08:27 PM »
This discussion reminds me of the days I spent supporting the HARM missle program for Texas Instruments and the production buildup right before the first Desert Storm.

One engineer after another would argue (in weekly prooduction meetings to upper management) why we will never be able to ship (ramp up to) 250 HARM missles a month (we were producing about 30 a month). HARM stands for High Speed Anti-Radiation.

Well, we shipped 250 and some times 260 missles a month for almost a nine month period. Never to have a failure in the field and we were never late!

My point is the "stick" will most likely find a path out of HARM's way and become the next CLV (my prediction, of course).

shuttle_buff

Offline Jim

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #156 on: 08/15/2006 08:27 PM »
Quote
zinfab - 15/8/2006  3:58 PM

The priority is going to the moon, but Congress is currently telling NASA that they won't be ALLOWED to go there if they cut jobs.

How do we fix THAT?

Congress has never said that.

Offline shuttle_buff

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #157 on: 08/15/2006 08:56 PM »
Quote
What is the priority - going to the Moon, or creating jobs?

It's really neither. It's about keeping America ahead of the rest of the world in technology Period! Space just happens to be the best objective to be push the envelope.

shuttle_buff


Offline imcub

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #158 on: 08/15/2006 10:22 PM »
"It's really neither. It's about keeping America ahead of the rest of the world in technology Period! Space just happens to be the best objective to be push the envelope."

Oh I don't know about that shuttle_buff ... NASA has ~$16-17 Billion a year to spend?  I don't know how much of that is spent in technology research, but I'm sure the DOD spends far more than that every year, maintaining our technological advantage.  

Cub

Offline Spacely

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Re: The Launch Vehicle Showdown
« Reply #159 on: 08/16/2006 12:04 AM »
Re: CLV fate.

Without stepping over the secrecy line maintained by L2, I'm going to just throw a wild guess out there that Ares I's troubles stem for the SRB not being structurally strong enough to support an upperstage and capsule (what with the SRB's being designed for sidemounting and all).

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