Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 225457 times)

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #120 on: 09/24/2015 03:53 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.

ULA has already stated that they will phase out all DIV launches by 2018 except for DIVH.  On average the DIVH has only averaged about one launch a year.  This would mean that all the year over year costs for the DIVH production line and launch facility costs will have be amortized by ULA for this single yearly, DIVH launch.  This will have a large impact on the DIVH launch cost's, which are already about $400 Million.  This is why I think launch costs for the DIVH could soar approaching $1Billion.  Of course this would mean the DIVH would in no way be competitive with the FH (Once the FH gets EELV certification).  If ULA cannot get launch contracts for the DIVH they are going to shutdown the production line, regardless of the status of the Vulcan.

In my opinion, Congress would be forced to either; pay money to ULA to keep launch capability for DIVH, accept that FH is the only vehicle that can meet the full range of DOD payloads until Vulcan is in service, or use the SLS as a backup to the FH for DOD launches until the Vulcan is online. 

"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 oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #121 on: 09/24/2015 04:34 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.

ULA has already stated that they will phase out all DIV launches by 2018 except for DIVH.  On average the DIVH has only averaged about one launch a year.  This would mean that all the year over year costs for the DIVH production line and launch facility costs will have be amortized by ULA for this single yearly, DIVH launch.  This will have a large impact on the DIVH launch cost's, which are already about $400 Million.  This is why I think launch costs for the DIVH could soar approaching $1Billion.  Of course this would mean the DIVH would in no way be competitive with the FH (Once the FH gets EELV certification).  If ULA cannot get launch contracts for the DIVH they are going to shutdown the production line, regardless of the status of the Vulcan.

In my opinion, Congress would be forced to either; pay money to ULA to keep launch capability for DIVH, accept that FH is the only vehicle that can meet the full range of DOD payloads until Vulcan is in service, or use the SLS as a backup to the FH for DOD launches until the Vulcan is online.
We are getting sidetracked.

The DIVH will share initially the 5m tank production line with Vulcan thereby reducing both vehicles costs while they are both in the low quantity mode. Vulcan because its is in early developmental test and flights. Once it goes operational and the build rate increases, that would be a good time to discontinue (or slightly before) DIVH. Note this would happen 2 years in advance of Vulcan going operational.

Since the AF policy for having redundant LV's to launch payloads is a policy and not a requirement, having a backup to the DIVH or even the FH which could replace the DIVH's position in launching these very heavy 20mt ppayloads is not a requirement for the AF such that they would spend a lot of money for little gain.

It took >$150M to certify the F9. To certify the SLS for DOD payloads, although some shortcuts can be done since it has such a high level of oversight from NASA, will be definitely more costly than certifying the F9 because it is a very complex vehicle and will not have a standard configuration until after 2021. Yhis means that it could not even be considered for DOD use until after the second flight which could occur as late as 2023 by which time Vulcan with ACES will be flying.

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #122 on: 09/24/2015 04:39 PM »
use the SLS as a backup to the FH for DOD launches until the Vulcan is online. 


Never will happen

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #123 on: 09/24/2015 04:40 PM »

It took >$150M to certify the F9. To certify the SLS for DOD payloads,

There is no need for SLS certification.  It is a gov't vehicle and not a commercial one.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #124 on: 09/24/2015 05:53 PM »


In my opinion, Congress would be forced to either; pay money to ULA to keep launch capability for DIVH, accept that FH is the only vehicle that can meet the full range of DOD payloads until Vulcan is in service, or use the SLS as a backup to the FH for DOD launches until the Vulcan is online.

Note quite. Vulcan is planned to be online in 2019(1 year after SLS). FH will compete with Atlas and Delta from about 2016-2018. Delta is phased out in 2018,which allows plenty of time for planning and transitioning. Vulcan is up by about 2020/2019. There is hardly any gap. FH isn't the only vehicle that can meet the the full range of payloads unless relations with the Russians get much worse. Atlas launches most payloads with Delta only handling the largest.

Congress can not be forced to do anything by AF policy. However ULA and Space X could sue if an payload that they could launch is put on SLS.  Those exceptions are for specific purposes.

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #125 on: 09/24/2015 06:07 PM »


In my opinion, Congress would be forced to either; pay money to ULA to keep launch capability for DIVH, accept that FH is the only vehicle that can meet the full range of DOD payloads until Vulcan is in service, or use the SLS as a backup to the FH for DOD launches until the Vulcan is online.

Note quite. Vulcan is planned to be online in 2019(1 year after SLS). FH will compete with Atlas and Delta from about 2016-2018. Delta is phased out in 2018,which allows plenty of time for planning and transitioning. Vulcan is up by about 2020/2019. There is hardly any gap. FH isn't the only vehicle that can meet the the full range of payloads unless relations with the Russians get much worse. Atlas launches most payloads with Delta only handling the largest.

Congress can not be forced to do anything by AF policy. However ULA and Space X could sue if an payload that they could launch is put on SLS.  Those exceptions are for specific purposes.

This assumes the Vulcan Development proceeds without any problems/delays.  ULA doesn't even have the  commitment from Boeing and LM for full funding for development of the Vulcan.  They are going quarter by quarter right now for funding. 

If you look closely at the Commercial Space Act. Item #4 would qualify.  Congress could decide that having the SLS as a backup to the FH until Vulcan is online is consistent with national security objectives.  SpaceX and ULA could sue but they would loose the lawsuit. 

Quote
4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;
"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 #126 on: 09/24/2015 06:13 PM »


In my opinion, Congress would be forced to either; pay money to ULA to keep launch capability for DIVH, accept that FH is the only vehicle that can meet the full range of DOD payloads until Vulcan is in service, or use the SLS as a backup to the FH for DOD launches until the Vulcan is online.

Note quite. Vulcan is planned to be online in 2019(1 year after SLS). FH will compete with Atlas and Delta from about 2016-2018. Delta is phased out in 2018,which allows plenty of time for planning and transitioning. Vulcan is up by about 2020/2019. There is hardly any gap. FH isn't the only vehicle that can meet the the full range of payloads unless relations with the Russians get much worse. Atlas launches most payloads with Delta only handling the largest.

Congress can not be forced to do anything by AF policy. However ULA and Space X could sue if an payload that they could launch is put on SLS.  Those exceptions are for specific purposes.

This assumes the Vulcan Development proceeds without any problems/delays.  ULA doesn't even have the  commitment from Boeing and LM for full funding for development of the Vulcan.  They are going quarter by quarter right now for funding. 

If you look closely at the Commercial Space Act. Item #4 would qualify.  Congress could decide that having the SLS as a backup to the FH until Vulcan is online is consistent with national security objectives.  SpaceX and ULA could sue but they would loose the lawsuit. 

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4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;

Delta Heavy won't go offline until Vulcan is online, so won't apply and Congress would be getting into to same mess it did back in the 80ies with respect to the Shuttle. Taking payloads away from the private sector is not an wise move for either the exploration of space or national security.  There is no need to use SLS as back up to Vulcan or FH. The smarter, cheaper and less politically dangerous move would just be to wait until Vulcan is online.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 06:16 PM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #127 on: 09/24/2015 06:31 PM »

If you look closely at the Commercial Space Act. Item #4 would qualify.  Congress could decide that having the SLS as a backup to the FH until Vulcan is online is consistent with national security objectives.  SpaceX and ULA could sue but they would loose the lawsuit. 


Congress isn't going to make that choice, it would be up the DOD and as stated before, they would not do it.

SLS doesn't have a VAFB launch capability and what was done with a few Delta flights in the 60's/70's out of the east coast is not applicable. The spacecraft are too large.   The DOD also requires payload installation and access at the pad, which SLS can not support. 
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 07:00 PM by Jim »

Offline psloss

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #128 on: 09/24/2015 07:11 PM »
If you look closely at the Commercial Space Act. Item #4 would qualify.  Congress could decide that having the SLS as a backup to the FH until Vulcan is online is consistent with national security objectives.  SpaceX and ULA could sue but they would loose the lawsuit. 

Quote
4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;
As Jim alluded to, the law states that the determination would be made by the Secretary of the Air Force:
Quote
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--
.
.
.
(4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;
(My emphasis.)

Offline Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #129 on: 09/24/2015 07:28 PM »


In my opinion, Congress would be forced to either; pay money to ULA to keep launch capability for DIVH, accept that FH is the only vehicle that can meet the full range of DOD payloads until Vulcan is in service, or use the SLS as a backup to the FH for DOD launches until the Vulcan is online.

Note quite. Vulcan is planned to be online in 2019(1 year after SLS). FH will compete with Atlas and Delta from about 2016-2018. Delta is phased out in 2018,which allows plenty of time for planning and transitioning. Vulcan is up by about 2020/2019. There is hardly any gap. FH isn't the only vehicle that can meet the the full range of payloads unless relations with the Russians get much worse. Atlas launches most payloads with Delta only handling the largest.

Congress can not be forced to do anything by AF policy. However ULA and Space X could sue if an payload that they could launch is put on SLS.  Those exceptions are for specific purposes.

This assumes the Vulcan Development proceeds without any problems/delays.  ULA doesn't even have the  commitment from Boeing and LM for full funding for development of the Vulcan.  They are going quarter by quarter right now for funding. 

If you look closely at the Commercial Space Act. Item #4 would qualify.  Congress could decide that having the SLS as a backup to the FH until Vulcan is online is consistent with national security objectives.  SpaceX and ULA could sue but they would loose the lawsuit. 

Quote
4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;

Delta Heavy won't go offline until Vulcan is online, so won't apply and Congress would be getting into to same mess it did back in the 80ies with respect to the Shuttle. Taking payloads away from the private sector is not an wise move for either the exploration of space or national security.  There is no need to use SLS as back up to Vulcan or FH. The smarter, cheaper and less politically dangerous move would just be to wait until Vulcan is online.

If the Delta Heavy doesn't have any launch contracts why would ULA keep the production line open and launch facilities in-place until the Vulcan is online?  Without any launch contracts who is paying for that? 
"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 Brovane

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #130 on: 09/24/2015 07:33 PM »
If you look closely at the Commercial Space Act. Item #4 would qualify.  Congress could decide that having the SLS as a backup to the FH until Vulcan is online is consistent with national security objectives.  SpaceX and ULA could sue but they would loose the lawsuit. 

Quote
4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;
As Jim alluded to, the law states that the determination would be made by the Secretary of the Air Force:
Quote
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--
.
.
.
(4) the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;
(My emphasis.)

Yeah as if Congress doesn't have any influence on the Secretary of the USAF..........

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/02/sls-dod-market-secondary-payloads-potential/

A article was even written in 2012 on this site about SLS DOD support. 
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 07:40 PM by Brovane »
"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 #131 on: 09/24/2015 07:41 PM »

If the Delta Heavy doesn't have any launch contracts why would ULA keep the production line open and launch facilities in-place until the Vulcan is online?  Without any launch contracts who is paying for that? 

Because contracts don't go out that far. 

There is a standing requirement (outside of NASA's needs) of 3-4 east coast and 2-3 west coast DIVH per decade.

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #132 on: 09/24/2015 07:43 PM »

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/02/sls-dod-market-secondary-payloads-potential/

A article was even written in 2012 on this site about SLS DOD support. 

It does nothing to support your case.  That is just an SLS marketing pitch from the SLS program.  The DOD has no interest. 
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 07:44 PM by Jim »

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #133 on: 09/24/2015 08:25 PM »


If the Delta Heavy doesn't have any launch contracts why would ULA keep the production line open and launch facilities in-place until the Vulcan is online?  Without any launch contracts who is paying for that?

It has contracts. Flights are booked years in advance and it can take two years from when an rocket was ordered to when it is launched. Delta will be available for booking until Vulcan is online. ULA is on the hook for any Delta flights already ordered. Vulcan will be able to accept some launch contracts before it's first flight as well. SLS can not gain payloads this way. The short is that payloads book flights years in advance and payloads can be shifted between launchers if needed(with negotiation).
« Last Edit: 09/24/2015 08:40 PM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline 93143

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #134 on: 09/24/2015 09:16 PM »
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.

I'm talking about what they've already locked in.  You yourself mentioned how they've been bragging about how efficient their new tooling is and how much touch labour it will save, and in the very post I'm quoting you mention the fact that they've designed the infrastructure for low-rate production.  (Furthermore, ATK and Rocketdyne have been working to reduce costs as well.)

But here's the thing - we don't know of any recurring cost estimates made since that stuff was figured out.  The estimates I've been working with all predate the start of the SLS program, and are for a directly Shuttle-derived vehicle like Jupiter.  Even the ESD Integration estimates were based directly on Shuttle and Ares; it straight-up says so in the document, and the fact that the estimated fixed cost is very similar to that of the J-246 would seem to back this up.  And since SLS is still deep in development, operational cost savings wouldn't yet be evident in the budget numbers (though the early estimates of cost to IOC did drop by a few billion dollars before climbing partway back up).

Hence my claim that we don't yet know what effect the new approach will have on ops costs.

...

As an aside, I should acknowledge that the fact that they seem to be understaffed for production of two cores per year probably adds somewhat to the marginal cost of going to that rate.  But if you look at the staffing numbers associated with production and how they compare with those for Shuttle, it's hard to see how that by itself could increase it by a whole lot.  How much are these people paid?

Quote
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.

You haven't been paying attention.  They've been going on about "affordability" and "sustainability" since the program started, and the actual work being done seems to be at least somewhat consistent with the rhetoric.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/boeing-complete-sls-pathfinder-tank-maf-et-operations-end/
http://spacenews.com/nasa-centers-see-commonality-key-sls-affordability/
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20120003874.pdf
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/11/dynetics-pwr-liquidize-sls-booster-competition-f-1-power/
http://www.americaspace.com/?p=25799
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/01/the-dark-knights-atks-advanced-booster-revealed-for-sls/
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/10/28/atk-build-sls-boosters-cheaper-peformance/
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/02/sls-new-buckling-standards-drops-super-light-alloy/
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/03/31/3-d-printing-makes-its-mark-in-nasas-new-engine/
http://aviationweek.com/space/aerojet-rocketdyne-cranking-expendable-ssme
http://spacenews.com/36012tooling-processes-coming-together-for-affordable-space-launch-system/
« Last Edit: 09/25/2015 03:15 AM by 93143 »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #135 on: 09/25/2015 04:48 PM »
The whole point about SLS unit costs are that the production line is being setup to be at its lowest per unit cost at 1 per year. A higher or lower rate will increase the per unit cost. There is also a maximum rate due to the design of the tooling of 2 per year. To do higher rates a new set of tooling would be needed designed to support 5 or more (10) vehicle production rate per year. This is an overhead cost plus the unit margin costs such that until you get to a production rate of >3 the per unit cost will be more than the current 1 per year. As you move to the closer to 10 per year you may eventually get to the often quoted unit cost amount of $300M.

The conclusion is that for production rates from .5 to 3 per year the unit costs ripple up and down but generally stay almost the same or greater than the current setup for 1 per year amount.

Offline 93143

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #136 on: 09/25/2015 09:24 PM »
Okay, first you should probably define what you mean by "unit cost".
« Last Edit: 09/25/2015 09:28 PM by 93143 »

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #137 on: 09/26/2015 01:51 AM »
Postulate:  There is a defined (and funded) need to build 3 to 4 SLS rockets a year for a period of 20 to 30 years.  (This is the postulate, not an argument -- trying to knock down the postulate short-circuits the purpose of the question.)

Given this, what do you need to do in order to fulfill that production rate?  If the factory ain't big enough, do you farm out work to other providers, rather like the von Braun team built the first Saturn I stages and then farmed out the work to Chrysler?  Do you expand the factory?

Is the issue lack of sufficient tooling?  If so, what is the extra cost of developing a second and/or third tooling set?  Heck, aren't they making spares of most of the most important tooling, anyway?  If so, how much additional does it cost to make another set or two?

I'm not trying to downplay the potential costs and difficulties in ramping up SLS production.  I'm just trying to understand where these costs and difficulties mostly lie.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #138 on: 09/26/2015 02:24 AM »
Given this, what do you need to do in order to fulfill that production rate?  If the factory ain't big enough, do you farm out work to other providers, rather like the von Braun team built the first Saturn I stages and then farmed out the work to Chrysler?  Do you expand the factory?

You expand the current factory.  The transportation requirements are very unique, and few aerospace factories would qualify.

Quote
Is the issue lack of sufficient tooling?

Apparently so, but I'm not sure we have enough public information to fully answer this.

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If so, what is the extra cost of developing a second and/or third tooling set?

The first set of tooling is usually the most expensive, but when it comes to custom tooling you might not get a break on the cost per unit, but you obviously wouldn't need to pay for the development costs.

Quote
Heck, aren't they making spares of most of the most important tooling, anyway?  If so, how much additional does it cost to make another set or two?

Yes, there would be both consumables and repairable items that are already in the factory, so you would just order more of those.  But the fixtures would be unique, such as the Vertical Assembly Center welding tool.

As a reference, here is a NASA article about the SLS tooling:

Tooling Up to Build the World's Largest Rocket | NASA

You may not need duplicates of everything, but that depends on how Boeing and their contractors designed them, or how NASA spec'd them.

Expanding your current factory also allows for economies of scale, especially in production support functions such as manufacturing engineers, which have to be at the factory they support, so one factory only requires a fractional increase in manufacturing engineering staffing when expanded, whereas a second factory requires a doubling of staffing.
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 Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #139 on: 09/26/2015 02:31 AM »
Postulate:  There is a defined (and funded) need to build 3 to 4 SLS rockets a year for a period of 20 to 30 years.  (This is the postulate, not an argument -- trying to knock down the postulate short-circuits the purpose of the question.)

Given this, what do you need to do in order to fulfill that production rate? 

Doesn't do any good if it could.  The national infrastructure for spacecraft has to be beefed up if SLS is to fly more than Orion or 15ft diameter payloads.

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