Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 223468 times)

Offline 93143

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #100 on: 09/22/2015 09:47 PM »
Well what will happen is if the fixed costs are $2 Billion for 1-flight and 2-flights are $2.4 Billion then it will be reported that each launch costs $1.2 Billion.  Just like the B-2 Bomber is quoted as costing $2 Billion per plane when at the end of the Production run, the incremental cost of adding another air-frame to the production run was ~$500 Million.

That is exactly why I keep bringing up marginal cost.  I've seen people claim that "the SLS flight rate is so low because it costs $xB per flight"...  No, it only costs that much per flight because the flight rate is so low.

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ULA has stated that after they retire the Delta-IV medium, keeping the production line open for just the Delta-IV Heavy would result in a "significant" increase in price.  Which based on the models you present, a SLS Block-1B would be very price competitive against a Delta-IV heavy.

That would seem to depend on what "significant" means, and on how much the SLS program can reduce overhead/infrastructure costs with tech enhancements and right-sizing; even now we don't know what effect the affordability effort has had.  The unimproved Shuttle-based SLS fixed cost is pretty high, and at two flights per year it would dominate the launch cost.

I can kinda see the HEOMD being convinced to sell launches to the SMD for marginal cost, but doing the same for the DoD seems a bit of a stretch.  Maybe - back in the day Shuttle launches were sold to all comers for marginal cost, which was about 1/10 of total recurring cost...

Also keep in mind that unlike Jupiter, SLS is being set up for a manufacturing rate of two per year (launch can do up to three per year by accumulating hardware first).  Going beyond that will require additional infrastructure investments.  I mean, I really hope the outlook improves enough that it gets done, but if not it might be a hurdle...

...yes, I do expect a significant reduction in fixed cost.  Advanced infrastructure capable of a small fraction of the Shuttle production rate should cost a heck of a lot less than the legacy infrastructure would have...
...

(BTW from that quote it sounds like there are indeed fixed costs in EELV prices.)

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To bad NASA cannot due a multi-year procurement block-buy of the SLS-Block 1B.  I would suspect that this would save even more money per LV.  However that would also mean that actual missions are also funded for the SLS.  Instead Congress likes to keep a tight rein on the purse strings, year to year.

The numbers I've been using assume a steady launch rate and thus, I presume, a fairly predictable multi-year procurement schedule.  You can actually see something like this happening in the ESD Integration document, as costs start to diverge between the cases in 2016 (for ground systems) and 2017 (for SLS proper) even though the first "extra" launch is in 2022.

On the other hand, SLS can't launch less often than once per year or more often (as matters stand) than twice per year on average, and if the thing survives long enough to get to that point I don't expect the manifest to be quite as ethereal as it is now.  I don't see any reason why they couldn't run it more or less like they ran Shuttle once it gets going.
« Last Edit: 09/22/2015 10:07 PM by 93143 »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #101 on: 09/23/2015 08:32 AM »
What payload increase would the proposed liquid boosters give over solids?  Is the increase worth the cost increase?

The solids had better performance since they needed to use a core with five or six RS-25E engines in order to get above 130 t. Detailed information below:

RSRMV/6xRS-25E Core/2xJ-2X LUS = 137.0 t
Dark Knights/5xRS-25E Core/2xJ-2X LUS = 144.1 t
2xF-1B Boosters/4xRS-25E Core/2xJ-2X LUS = 133.2 t
3xAJ1E6 Boosters/4xRS-25E Core/2xJ-2 LUS = 136.2 t
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline spacenut

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #102 on: 09/23/2015 01:19 PM »
I see you have the Dark Knights with 5 RS25E core.  What would that size core do with the F1's or AJ1E6's or even 6 like the RSRMV version?

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #103 on: 09/23/2015 05:53 PM »
[


That would seem to depend on what "significant" means, and on how much the SLS program can reduce overhead/infrastructure costs with tech enhancements and right-sizing; even now we don't know what effect the affordability effort has had.  The unimproved Shuttle-based SLS fixed cost is pretty high, and at two flights per year it would dominate the launch cost.

I can kinda see the HEOMD being convinced to sell launches to the SMD for marginal cost, but doing the same for the DoD seems a bit of a stretch.  Maybe - back in the day Shuttle launches were sold to all comers for marginal cost, which was about 1/10 of total recurring cost...

Also keep in mind that unlike Jupiter, SLS is being set up for a manufacturing rate of two per year (launch can do up to three per year by accumulating hardware first).  Going beyond that will require additional infrastructure investments.  I mean, I really hope the outlook improves enough that it gets done, but if not it might be a hurdle...


...

(BTW from that quote it sounds like there are indeed fixed costs in EELV prices.)



On the other hand, SLS can't launch less often than once per year or more often (as matters stand) than twice per year on average, and if the thing survives long enough to get to that point I don't expect the manifest to be quite as ethereal as it is now.  I don't see any reason why they couldn't run it more or less like they ran Shuttle once it gets going.

With just keeping the Delta-IV Heavy in production, ULA has said that there would be considerable cost for each launch.  Usually it seems the USAF has only about 1-payload a year that requires the Delta-IV Heavy.  If ULA needs to maintain the Production Line and two launch facilities for one launch a year we could see fairly substantial fixed costs for just one launch.  I could imagine the pricing for a single launch a year going at $1 Billion for all that support structure.  As you have shown, the projected cost of a single SLS each year is about $2 Billion.  At that pricing using the SLS, since you have a smaller incremental cost would seem to be the best thing.  Even if you just accept that you might be launching a 20-ton Satellite on a vehicle capable of 70+ tons of performance.  For Polar Orbits I wonder if the SLS could perform a "dog-leg" maneuver from the Cape and just take the performance hit? 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #104 on: 09/23/2015 11:14 PM »




With just keeping the Delta-IV Heavy in production, ULA has said that there would be considerable cost for each launch.  Usually it seems the USAF has only about 1-payload a year that requires the Delta-IV Heavy.  If ULA needs to maintain the Production Line and two launch facilities for one launch a year we could see fairly substantial fixed costs for just one launch.  I could imagine the pricing for a single launch a year going at $1 Billion for all that support structure.  As you have shown, the projected cost of a single SLS each year is about $2 Billion.  At that pricing using the SLS, since you have a smaller incremental cost would seem to be the best thing.  Even if you just accept that you might be launching a 20-ton Satellite on a vehicle capable of 70+ tons of performance.  For Polar Orbits I wonder if the SLS could perform a "dog-leg" maneuver from the Cape and just take the performance hit?

Not going to happen for many reasons. ULA is already consolidating products. Vulcan should be cheaper as well as FH. No payload that size could come online fast enough. NASA is forbidden from competing with the private sector. Polar orbits are usually done out of Vandenberg for reasons of safety.

The only missions SLS can have are manned missions that are impossible to do with commercial crew or cargo or government missions unable to use commercial launchers and one would have to wonder what extra costs and delays doing this would add.

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #105 on: 09/24/2015 02:19 AM »




With just keeping the Delta-IV Heavy in production, ULA has said that there would be considerable cost for each launch.  Usually it seems the USAF has only about 1-payload a year that requires the Delta-IV Heavy.  If ULA needs to maintain the Production Line and two launch facilities for one launch a year we could see fairly substantial fixed costs for just one launch.  I could imagine the pricing for a single launch a year going at $1 Billion for all that support structure.  As you have shown, the projected cost of a single SLS each year is about $2 Billion.  At that pricing using the SLS, since you have a smaller incremental cost would seem to be the best thing.  Even if you just accept that you might be launching a 20-ton Satellite on a vehicle capable of 70+ tons of performance.  For Polar Orbits I wonder if the SLS could perform a "dog-leg" maneuver from the Cape and just take the performance hit?

Not going to happen for many reasons. ULA is already consolidating products. Vulcan should be cheaper as well as FH. No payload that size could come online fast enough. NASA is forbidden from competing with the private sector. Polar orbits are usually done out of Vandenberg for reasons of safety.

The only missions SLS can have are manned missions that are impossible to do with commercial crew or cargo or government missions unable to use commercial launchers and one would have to wonder what extra costs and delays doing this would add.

NASA is not forbidden from competing with the private sector.  Where are you getting that idea from? 

Yes, Polar Orbits are done usually out of Vandenberg for reasons of safety.  However high inclination orbits have been done out of the Cape by using a "dog-leg" trajectory.  Satellite launches have occurred using this maneuver to launch satellites to a inclination of 101-degrees.  These maneuver results in a reduction of vehicle performance but the SLS flying a DOD satellite wouldn't be flying anywhere near its maximum capability.

You can also reference this article from August about adapting SLS to fly additional payloads - http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/08/usa-adapt-sls-additional-payloads/
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #106 on: 09/24/2015 02:58 AM »
1.  NASA is not forbidden from competing with the private sector.  Where are you getting that idea from? 

2.  However high inclination orbits have been done out of the Cape by using a "dog-leg" trajectory. y



1.  Yes, it is.   Commercial Space Act.

2.  Only on a couple of occasions, and it required a 3 stage Delta vs a two stage.  And it wasn't really a dog leg, it was plane change much like for GSO sats.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 02:58 AM by Jim »

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #107 on: 09/24/2015 04:54 AM »


http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/08/usa-adapt-sls-additional-payloads/

Yes they are building an payload adapter in case they want to carry something other than Orion, but that something is very debatable as just about nothing has been funded.  The short of the Commercial Space Act is that if any private launch provider can do the mission then NASA must use it. This is an reversal of pre-Challenger NASA policy and the problems attempting to use the shuttle as the sole launch vechile. This is what makes Orbital, Space X, and ULA possible and what got NASA out of the business of launching communication sats and many probes.

The Air force handed responsibility to launch over to it's contractors and private space was born. Those contractors eventually merged into ULA.  This is part of the reason why ULA has both Delta(Boeing) and Atlas(LM). The payload would have to be too large(or something) for either Vulcan or FH to carry in order for SLS to be viable.

Lifting an 20 ton payload could be done by either, it just might not be able to be lifted into as high an orbit but if it falls into the range they can lift it can be done. The military which has much more political pull than NASA has not pushed for higher payload capacities than currently offered and likely would choose FH or Vulcan if they ever needed an bigger payload.

Polar Orbits from Florida present safety issues and would never be done as an matter of course. (i.e. For some reason the payload couldn't go out of Vandenberg).
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 04:57 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #108 on: 09/24/2015 05:15 AM »




http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/08/usa-adapt-sls-additional-payloads/

Yes they are building an payload adapter in case they want to carry something other than Orion, but that something is very debatable as just about nothing has been funded.  The short of the Commercial Space Act is that if any private launch provider can do the mission then NASA must use it.

Would NASA have use Vulcan even though the payload may require distributed launch which would add a higher risk factor compared to SLS.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #109 on: 09/24/2015 05:16 AM »
That would seem to depend on what "significant" means, and on how much the SLS program can reduce overhead/infrastructure costs with tech enhancements and right-sizing

Reduce?  NASA is a government entity, not a commercial one, they don't know how to reduce costs on a new product.  As to "tech enhancements and right-sizing", where are you hearing this?  NASA would have to pay Boeing more to change their current setup, and they have already locked in their current capabilities.

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...even now we don't know what effect the affordability effort has had.

You keep talking about this like there is some unseen effort to significantly reduce costs.  Unless you can point it out in statements NASA or Boeing has made, it's not there.  They have built the production processes, and their costs are locked in.  As a data point, in an article SpaceNews has with the outgoing SLS Program Manager they state:

"Boeing has Michoud set up to stamp out enough stages for one SLS a year — two at most with the factory’s current manufacturing capabilities, and then only if NASA pours more money and personnel into the facility."

This is low-rate production, and it's highly unusual to make significant changes to the production processes after pre-production (SLS-1 & SLS-2), and if they do it's because of problems that they will have found.

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...yes, I do expect a significant reduction in fixed cost.  Advanced infrastructure capable of a small fraction of the Shuttle production rate should cost a heck of a lot less than the legacy infrastructure would have...

I think you've been listening to the NASA PR machine too much.

First of all the Shuttle manufacturing system built their tooling for relatively high volume.  The SLS is a different manufacturing design with different manufacturing processes, and it has a much lower production volume.  Plus that 1st stage is HUGE - there are only so many ways to bend metal that big.

Costs are locked in for building two SLS per year, so it would have to go up quite a bit to merit a significant investment in cost reduction technologies.  Maybe being authorized for a Mars program will merit that size of an investment, but we'll have to wait for that to happen.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #110 on: 09/24/2015 05:45 AM »





Would NASA have use Vulcan even though the payload may require distributed launch which would add a higher risk factor compared to SLS.

That I don't know. I do know that if Vulcan can demonstrate distributed launch on an mission, NASA will be in an tougher(but far from impossible) position to justify SLS over it. There could be reasons like Vulcan can't lift the Payload in one piece or issues of time. Basically the more and more capable the Private sector becomes the harder and harder it gets for an Government owned rocket to find an mission. ULA would have motive and reason to push an lawsuit if distributed launch was equally capable of doing it.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 05:50 AM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #111 on: 09/24/2015 09:00 AM »
I see you have the Dark Knights with 5 RS25E core.  What would that size core do with the F1's or AJ1E6's or even 6 like the RSRMV version?

I never simulated those versions as I was only interested in the minimum configuration that got over 130 t. Nevertheless, I would expect significant payload increases with a five or six engine core.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #112 on: 09/24/2015 11:22 AM »


http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/08/usa-adapt-sls-additional-payloads/

Yes they are building an payload adapter in case they want to carry something other than Orion, but that something is very debatable as just about nothing has been funded.  The short of the Commercial Space Act is that if any private launch provider can do the mission then NASA must use it. This is an reversal of pre-Challenger NASA policy and the problems attempting to use the shuttle as the sole launch vechile. This is what makes Orbital, Space X, and ULA possible and what got NASA out of the business of launching communication sats and many probes.

The Air force handed responsibility to launch over to it's contractors and private space was born. Those contractors eventually merged into ULA.  This is part of the reason why ULA has both Delta(Boeing) and Atlas(LM). The payload would have to be too large(or something) for either Vulcan or FH to carry in order for SLS to be viable.

Lifting an 20 ton payload could be done by either, it just might not be able to be lifted into as high an orbit but if it falls into the range they can lift it can be done. The military which has much more political pull than NASA has not pushed for higher payload capacities than currently offered and likely would choose FH or Vulcan if they ever needed an bigger payload.

Polar Orbits from Florida present safety issues and would never be done as an matter of course. (i.e. For some reason the payload couldn't go out of Vandenberg).

I understand about the Commercial Space Act.  What you are leaving out is the cost-effective part.  If the choice is procuring Delta-IV Heavy's at launch price's of over $1 Billion or procuring a SLS at a incremental price of less than $ 500 Million then the SLS could be chosen.  During Congressional testimony the subject of using the SLS to bridge any launch capability gaps has been brought up. 

Ok, what you are saying about the Commercial Space Act would imply that if a Commercial Entity develops a comparable vehicle to the SLS that is cost-effective then NASA would have to use it.  Is that true? 
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 11:32 AM by Brovane »
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Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #113 on: 09/24/2015 12:54 PM »
I understand about the Commercial Space Act.  What you are leaving out is the cost-effective part.  If the choice is procuring Delta-IV Heavy's at launch price's of over $1 Billion or procuring a SLS at a incremental price of less than $ 500 Million then the SLS could be chosen. 

DIV isn't going to be over 1 billion and SLS incremental is going to be more than $500 million.

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #114 on: 09/24/2015 01:04 PM »
I understand about the Commercial Space Act.  What you are leaving out is the cost-effective part.  If the choice is procuring Delta-IV Heavy's at launch price's of over $1 Billion or procuring a SLS at a incremental price of less than $ 500 Million then the SLS could be chosen. 

DIV isn't going to be over 1 billion and SLS incremental is going to be more than $500 million.

The point is Jim is that there is enough exceptions in the Commercial Space Act to allow the acquisition of Space Transportation Services from a government launch vehicle even if a commercial provider could provide those services.  This act wouldn't prohibit the launching of a DOD payload on the SLS. 

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TITLE II--FEDERAL ACQUISITION OF SPACE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES

(a) In General.--Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Federal Government shall acquire space transportation services from United States commercial providers whenever such services are required in the course of its activities. To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers.
(b) Exceptions.--The Federal Government shall not be required to acquire space transportation services under subsection (a) if, on a case-by-case basis, the Administrator or, in the case of a national security issue, the Secretary of the Air Force, determines that--
(1) a payload requires the unique capabilities of the Space Shuttle;
(2) cost effective space transportation services that meet specific mission requirements would not be reasonably available from United States commercial providers when required;
(3) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers poses an unacceptable risk of loss of a unique scientific opportunity;
(4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;
(5) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with international agreements for international collaborative efforts relating to science and technology;
(6) it is more cost effective to transport a payload in conjunction with a test or demonstration of a space transportation vehicle owned by the Federal Government; or
(7) a payload can make use of the available cargo space on a Space Shuttle mission as a secondary payload, and such payload is consistent with the requirements of research, development, demonstration, scientific, commercial, and educational programs authorized by the Administrator. Nothing in this section shall prevent the Administrator from planning or negotiating agreements with foreign entities for the launch of Federal Government payloads for international collaborative efforts relating to science and technology.
(c) Delayed Effect.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to space transportation services and space transportation vehicles acquired or owned by the Federal Government before the date of the enactment of this Act, or with respect to which a contract for such acquisition or ownership has been entered into before such date.
(d) Historical Purposes.--This section shall not be construed to prohibit the Federal Government from acquiring, owning, or maintaining space transportation vehicles solely for historical display purposes.
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Offline woods170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #115 on: 09/24/2015 01:05 PM »
I understand about the Commercial Space Act.  What you are leaving out is the cost-effective part.  If the choice is procuring Delta-IV Heavy's at launch price's of over $1 Billion or procuring a SLS at a incremental price of less than $ 500 Million then the SLS could be chosen. 

DIV isn't going to be over 1 billion and SLS incremental is going to be more than $500 million.
The latter is an assumption Jim. There will be no such thing as an incremental price for SLS if it never flies.

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #116 on: 09/24/2015 02:05 PM »
This act wouldn't prohibit the launching of a DOD payload on the SLS. 

True, but the DOD would prohibit it.  They will never get in bed with NASA on a NASA launch vehicle.

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #117 on: 09/24/2015 02:30 PM »
This act wouldn't prohibit the launching of a DOD payload on the SLS. 

True, but the DOD would prohibit it.  They will never get in bed with NASA on a NASA launch vehicle.

Very true, the DOD would be less than thrilled.  However if Congress directed funding for the DOD to procure a National Security launch on the SLS, the DOD couldn't say No to Congress.  Especially if Congress perceives a need for a backup to the FH and the DIVH production line is shutdown for the switchover to the Vulcan LV. 
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 02:31 PM by Brovane »
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Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #118 on: 09/24/2015 03:01 PM »

Very true, the DOD would be less than thrilled.  However if Congress directed funding for the DOD to procure a National Security launch on the SLS, the DOD couldn't say No to Congress.  Especially if Congress perceives a need for a backup to the FH and the DIVH production line is shutdown for the switchover to the Vulcan LV. 

Nonsense.  Congress isn't going to do that since they wouldn't know why it would be needed in the first place.  DOD would drag their feet anyway.  DIVH doesn't have a backup now anyways, so why would it need a backup to a back up.  DIVH is not shutting down until Vulcan can handle the missions.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #119 on: 09/24/2015 03:44 PM »
I hadn't seen this statement that Coastal Ron posted:

"As a data point, in an article SpaceNews has with the outgoing SLS Program Manager they state:

"Boeing has Michoud set up to stamp out enough stages for one SLS a year — two at most with the factory’s current manufacturing capabilities, and then only if NASA pours more money and personnel into the facility.""

I was under the impression that the current budget would produce almost 1 and a half flyable SLS vehicles a year. That statement says only 1 without a large increase in the budget.

So, under the current budget, only 1 per year?

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