Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 224760 times)

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #420 on: 05/13/2016 05:11 PM »
If they were doing manned Lunar Sortie missions in preparation for a small manned Outpost - it would have purpose! Two manned plus two cargo missions per year would give it a decent enough flight rate to justify the expense of the standing armies of production and infrastructure. Also; 'trickle' funding has resulted in a virtual three-step development: Block 1, Block 1B and Block II. I feel that if they were going to be throwing away all this massive hardware each time (we call that expendable, eh?) then they should be shooting for the best and most powerful version from the word GO. Lifting 130, 140 or even 150 tons to LEO per launch would go a long way to justifying such a large expendable. I also believe Mars is, sadly, an unfunded Powerpoint fantasy at this point :(


Agreed, SLS is perfectly scaled for a lunar program and would be an enabler for a manned return to the moon. It's too expensive to go to Mars with expendables but you can go to the moon with expendables. Why not? It would justify SLS having a flight rate of value, without requiring so many launches that it should be bank breaking beyond what SLS already is.  SLS at least makes an Apollo-like program repeatable, certainly enables large payloads to cislunar and perhaps even a minor lunar surface outpost.

However, it's not going to be used for any of those things yet, which is eyewatering. I can see a shift to lunar for SLS happening eventually, but it's not going to happen in this tumultuous year.
Mars Vs Moon is a political decision and not one based on capabilities yet. We are on a Journey To Mars because that is what administration is saying. That could switch tomorrow to the Moon and NASA would be in a good position to accomplish that goal with the current roster of programs and capabilities. At this point along The Journey To Mars we haven't arrived at the point where the road to Mars splits from the road to the Moon. SLS, Orion, DSH, SEP are just as useful for a lunar program as a Mars program (if not more so). The down select to a destination can still be done a few years form now without too much trouble. Its only when things like surface habitats, and landers need to be developed that one place or another has to be chosen. In this context SLS's ambiguity of destination and mission is a feature not a defect.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #421 on: 05/13/2016 05:39 PM »
If they were doing manned Lunar Sortie missions in preparation for a small manned Outpost - it would have purpose! Two manned plus two cargo missions per year would give it a decent enough flight rate to justify the expense of the standing armies of production and infrastructure. Also; 'trickle' funding has resulted in a virtual three-step development: Block 1, Block 1B and Block II. I feel that if they were going to be throwing away all this massive hardware each time (we call that expendable, eh?) then they should be shooting for the best and most powerful version from the word GO. Lifting 130, 140 or even 150 tons to LEO per launch would go a long way to justifying such a large expendable. I also believe Mars is, sadly, an unfunded Powerpoint fantasy at this point :(


Agreed, SLS is perfectly scaled for a lunar program and would be an enabler for a manned return to the moon. It's too expensive to go to Mars with expendables but you can go to the moon with expendables. Why not? It would justify SLS having a flight rate of value, without requiring so many launches that it should be bank breaking beyond what SLS already is.  SLS at least makes an Apollo-like program repeatable, certainly enables large payloads to cislunar and perhaps even a minor lunar surface outpost.

However, it's not going to be used for any of those things yet, which is eyewatering. I can see a shift to lunar for SLS happening eventually, but it's not going to happen in this tumultuous year.
Mars Vs Moon is a political decision and not one based on capabilities yet. We are on a Journey To Mars because that is what administration is saying. That could switch tomorrow to the Moon and NASA would be in a good position to accomplish that goal with the current roster of programs and capabilities. At this point along The Journey To Mars we haven't arrived at the point where the road to Mars splits from the road to the Moon. SLS, Orion, DSH, SEP are just as useful for a lunar program as a Mars program (if not more so). The down select to a destination can still be done a few years form now without too much trouble. Its only when things like surface habitats, and landers need to be developed that one place or another has to be chosen. In this context SLS's ambiguity of destination and mission is a feature not a defect.

I agree with you, and I believe that it's where SLS will end up going if its not superseded by commercial competition within the first 5-10 years of life. I'm someone who is of the opinion that Mars and Lunar will happen roughly around the same timeframe as each other - but they'll be handled differently with different players (initially) going to each. The moon isn't needed to go to mars, but a lot of what you need to go to mars will help you establish sustained (and that's the key word here) operations around the moon. If SpaceX doesn't die or massively change its ideological bent, they will be going to Mars at some point. Good for them - SLS can go to the moon, L1, L2, near earth asteroids, you name it. SpaceX's mars plans are comparatively razor sharp. NASA's mars goals are redirectable, and that's pivotal. I'm fairly certain that NASA top brass are conscious of this hence the emphasis on habitats and enabling technologies. If SLS and Orion get off the ground, they should be used in the sphere that they're suited for.

As for distributed launch - I'd use distributed launch for most supplies to a lunar outpost/space station. Use SLS for launching major, monolithic elements (and use Orion for crew rotation since you've built it). Make the costs possible by using distributed launch for everything else. Everyone's happy - SLS gets a decent flight rate, it's not directly competing with commercial enterprise in the eyes of congress, commercial enterprise gets to make revenue, NASA doesn't have to deal with a mars mission using an expendable launch architecture, everyone gets to be winners.

For a real-world analogy, shuttle was used to launch a lot of ISS components and did some crew ops, but to make the project affordable soyuz and progress did a lot of the crew and cargo lifting. SLS is the shuttle of the modern era - let's use it in the manner in which shuttle had a commendable service history.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2016 05:42 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #422 on: 05/14/2016 12:13 AM »
If they were doing manned Lunar Sortie missions in preparation for a small manned Outpost - it would have purpose! Two manned plus two cargo missions per year would give it a decent enough flight rate to justify the expense of the standing armies of production and infrastructure.
Indeed, but remember when a lunar mission requiring multiple SLS launches was considered to be bad news? (because each launch is so cost inefficient, and the turnaround takes six months - was that a technical or budgetary limitation?) And they claimed that there wasn't enough funding for a lander.

It is beyond ridiculous that lunar missions during Apollo could be launched with one launch, but a similar capable launch vehicle now requires two launches. Unbelievable.

Yes, I know that this is an architecture for landing 4 astronauts at the poles. But still...

Concur! That was exactly the same reaction I had when I saw that when I first read the presentation, and why it's the headline.

"But still" is not an excuse, it's twice the number of astronauts with twice the surface stay time as Thorny pointed out.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2016 12:46 AM by Pipcard »

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #423 on: 05/14/2016 12:59 AM »
The 4x crew architecture shown in that article would be spectacular and useful - but of course, expensive. The most powerful Block II SLS version envisaged could do a more basic lunar mission in one launch - similar to the Apollo J-series missions but better. Say, a crew of two to the surface for a whole week instead of three days as in Apollo, with a lander halfway in size between the Apollo LM and Constellation's 'Altair'.

If they could keep the missions to 1x SLS Block II launch per time, then costs would be kept down, but capabilities could rise over time, with or without extra SLS launches. One week Sortie missions could use a crew of three to start with with two going to the surface and one staying in lunar orbit, as in Apollo. But once Habitation modules had been established on the surface, the crew could grow to 4x Astronauts with the lander taking them all down at once and the Orion orbiting alone as originally envisaged. And as mentioned by someone else, Outpost cargo supply could be done commercially. Heh, I could even see a version of Dragon soft-landing a couple tons of cargo next to an Outpost. Though for a basic Outpost discussion/design, we could start another thread ;)
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Offline TomH

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #424 on: 05/14/2016 03:23 AM »
If SpaceX doesn't die or massively change its ideological bent, they will be going to Mars at some point. Good for them - SLS can go to the moon, L1, L2, near earth asteroids, you name it. SpaceX's mars plans are comparatively razor sharp. NASA's mars goals are redirectable, and that's pivotal. I'm fairly certain that NASA top brass are conscious of this hence the emphasis on habitats and enabling technologies. If SLS and Orion get off the ground, they should be used in the sphere that they're suited for.

BFS will be flying long before any SLS-Orion missions set out toward another celestial body. BFS will be capable of Lunar landings. I would not at all be surprised by an early BFS demonstration landing on Luna. I think that after a BFS performs the highest number of missions to Mars that is deemed safe, or after it is replaced by a block upgrade, it may then be used to sell service for a couple of lunar missions to NASA, prior to permanent retirement. I have given up on SLS-Orion. They are never going to accomplish anything.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #425 on: 05/14/2016 05:58 AM »
You're putting a lot of faith into something that's not even close to flying! Still, I want you to be right far more than I don't...
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #426 on: 05/14/2016 03:41 PM »
The 4x crew architecture shown in that article would be spectacular and useful - but of course, expensive. The most powerful Block II SLS version envisaged could do a more basic lunar mission in one launch - similar to the Apollo J-series missions but better. Say, a crew of two to the surface for a whole week instead of three days as in Apollo, with a lander halfway in size between the Apollo LM and Constellation's 'Altair'.

If they could keep the missions to 1x SLS Block II launch per time, then costs would be kept down, but capabilities could rise over time, with or without extra SLS launches. One week Sortie missions could use a crew of three to start with with two going to the surface and one staying in lunar orbit, as in Apollo. But once Habitation modules had been established on the surface, the crew could grow to 4x Astronauts with the lander taking them all down at once and the Orion orbiting alone as originally envisaged. And as mentioned by someone else, Outpost cargo supply could be done commercially. Heh, I could even see a version of Dragon soft-landing a couple tons of cargo next to an Outpost. Though for a basic Outpost discussion/design, we could start another thread ;)
Realistically plan on 1x1B launch plus additional commercial LVs eg FH, A6 and Vulcan,  per lunar mission. Crew go on SLS while commercial LVs deliver lander/landers and fuel to staging post. In case of large crew rovers, they maybe landed separate to crew, using commercial LVs.

SLS would only launch once commercial LVs have completed their work.

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #427 on: 05/14/2016 04:40 PM »
Realistically plan on 1x1B launch plus additional commercial LVs eg FH, A6 and Vulcan,  per lunar mission. Crew go on SLS while commercial LVs deliver lander/landers and fuel to staging post. In case of large crew rovers, they maybe landed separate to crew, using commercial LVs. SLS would only launch once commercial LVs have completed their work.

Personally I believe that is the architecture that should be adopted. SLS tag teaming with commercial LVs. SLS can be used to launch crew and super heavy payloads (like an L2 gateway station) while commercial vehicles handle cargo delivery. As you mentioned one of the benefits of this architecture is that SLS can be launched as needed instead of having the weight of all the payload and the timetable of the mission. Then as time goes on we can have a lunar version of what is happening soon in LEO with commercial crew.

I have given up on SLS-Orion. They are never going to accomplish anything.

Whenever I see the short sighted arguments back and forth for SLS to be cancelled or for SLS to do all the work I am reminded of what it took to get to this point. It has been 44 years since the last moon landing. In my own time on this planet I can remember the late '90s and early 2000s when NASA couldn't even discuss going beyond LEO in the foreseeable future. I remember the calls from some after Columbia for manned spaceflight to be abandoned altogether. We have come a long way since then. The fact that we will soon have a wealth of capability with SLS/FH for BEO missions is a blessing.

Instead of endless arguments over which is the more "perfect" system can we please use what we have to actually do something instead of just talking about it? No system is perfectly sustainable or perfectly made. Be grateful for what we have and don't try to destroy a BEO capability that is years in the making just because it doesn't match up with what you think should happen.

Rant over. Continue with your regularly scheduled discussion. ;D
« Last Edit: 05/14/2016 04:50 PM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #428 on: 05/14/2016 07:34 PM »
This makes me think of a quote:
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back


Unfortunately this rings a bit of truth about manned BEO with SLS/Orion being an attempt ("try") rather than a solid "Do". In comparison Apollo was a solid "Do".

The Manned BEO program whatever it uses needs to be a solid "Do" in the minds of all the stakeholders in the effort. The stakeholders being NASA, Congress, the Administration, contractors, and even the US public.

So all the controversy is an extension of the "try". I like you would like to see manned BEO a "Do" no matter who or how it is done. If SLS/Orion get's it done then good.

My rant over.

No back to SLS:
Do we have any new hardware delivery milestones (that moved or not moved) related to this latest public statements of SLS/Orion being "on Track?.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2016 07:35 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline TomH

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #429 on: 05/14/2016 07:51 PM »
I have given up on SLS-Orion. They are never going to accomplish anything.

Whenever I see the short sighted arguments back and forth for SLS to be cancelled or for SLS to do all the work I am reminded of what it took to get to this point. It has been 44 years since the last moon landing. In my own time on this planet I can remember the late '90s and early 2000s when NASA couldn't even discuss going beyond LEO in the foreseeable future. I remember the calls from some after Columbia for manned spaceflight to be abandoned altogether. We have come a long way since then. The fact that we will soon have a wealth of capability with SLS/FH for BEO missions is a blessing.

Instead of endless arguments over which is the more "perfect" system can we please use what we have to actually do something instead of just talking about it? No system is perfectly sustainable or perfectly made. Be grateful for what we have and don't try to destroy a BEO capability that is years in the making just because it doesn't match up with what you think should happen.

Rant over. Continue with your regularly scheduled discussion. ;D

1. It isn't short-sighted.
2. I didn't call for it to be cancelled. It will accomplish that on its own.
3. What it took to get to this point....this point is actually loss of ground.
4. In MY time on this planet, I remember seeing six manned lunar landings in a matter of months. YOUR time on this planet....well....I'm sad we regressed during that time.
5. Use what we have to do something? What we have isn't capable of doing anything. We had MORE capable architecture when I was a teenager almost 5 decades ago.
6. Be grateful for what we have??? Um...NO. Throwing good money after bad is foolish. It's time to let go of that albatross. (The thing is so expensive that there is no money for payloads...not for Mars, which is what they say the thing is for. Orion isn't Mars capable. There isn't even money for a lunar lander.) SpaceX' architecture is going to be more cost effective by between one and two orders of magnitude. It's time to get on the right ship.
7. You are right about that being a rant.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2016 07:58 PM by TomH »

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #430 on: 05/15/2016 12:19 AM »

3. What it took to get to this point....this point is actually loss of ground.

How is that so? Sure we aren't landing people on the moon so it is a loss of ground from the lunar landings but I am referring to the time period after that. From the point where the lunar landings ceased (LEO flights only and no BEO capable rocket or spacecraft) to now the last few years have seen a tremendous amount of ground regained. We are actually building the systems that will allow for BEO missions (SLS, FH, Orion etc.). 20 years ago that was a pipe dream.

Quote
4. In MY time on this planet, I remember seeing six manned lunar landings in a matter of months.
YOUR
time on this planet....well....I'm sad we regressed during that time.5. Use what we have to do something? What we have isn't capable of doing anything. We had MORE capable architecture when I was a teenager almost 5 decades ago.

I understand your frustration. That said the fact that you saw the lunar landings and experienced the amount of time it has taken to even consider BEO missions again should show you that getting money spent on BEO mission capable systems (from both government and private sources) is progress.

Quote
6. Be grateful for what we have??? Um...NO. Throwing good money after bad is foolish. It's time to let go of that albatross. (The thing is so expensive that there is no money for payloads...not for Mars, which is what they say the thing is for. Orion isn't Mars capable. There isn't even money for a lunar lander.) SpaceX' architecture is going to be more cost effective by between one and two orders of magnitude. It's time to get on the right ship.

This is what I was trying to address in my post. There is no need to turn this into a "us vs. them" (SpaceX vs. NASA) fight. None of us has a crystal ball that enables us to see the future. It is very possible that SpaceX's architecture will outclass and replace SLS/Orion in the future. I am fine with that.

The point that needs to be made here is that SLS/Orion are not impeding that architecture. You might say, "Well if the SLS money was going to SpaceX...." but even if that was the case SpaceX would be subject to the same Congressional funding cycle whims that NASA is subject to. It is far better for SpaceX to develop their architecture under their direction and funding streams. That way there is dissimilar redundancy (if SLS/Orion fails we have a backup and vice versa) and SpaceX is free of any government meddling.

Also the fact is that SLS/Orion take up less room in the budget than the shuttle did (and I will note we built a massive space station while simultaneously flying the shuttle). Sure it is more expensive than we want but lets not treat it as the most expensive thing ever.

This "you are only a space fan if you love SpaceX and hate SLS/Orion" attitude (or the reverse) is getting quite tiring.
« Last Edit: 05/15/2016 12:21 AM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
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Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #431 on: 05/15/2016 12:35 AM »
Hold the horses. I believe SpaceX's BEO architecture is going to be the future, but that horse isn't old enough for the races yet.

The problem with SLS is not the LV - granted, the fundamental ethos behind it is dated. Yes, it will be approaching the point of being outmoded by the time it launches. Is it too expensive? Yes. Is it useless? No. Is the program salvageable? Yes.

With clear BEO targets and a respectable launch cadence SLS becomes an enabler and will start to pay back on its investment. Without those targets, at least SLS employed some people. It's only public money anyhow - it'll all end back in the pockets of the taxpayer at some point. The true loss is time and a lack of focus and missed intellectual capital if SLS falls flat. That's why it's crucial SLS works. That's why we should be invested in seeing SLS succeed.

You don't need to stand up for SpaceX. SpaceX is doing a real fine job of standing up for itself.
« Last Edit: 05/15/2016 12:36 AM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline RyanC

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #432 on: 05/15/2016 01:59 AM »
Don't worry, Long March 9 will do what SLS couldn't do; along with MCT.

Offline su27k

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #433 on: 05/15/2016 07:04 AM »
Instead of endless arguments over which is the more "perfect" system can we please use what we have to actually do something instead of just talking about it? No system is perfectly sustainable or perfectly made. Be grateful for what we have and don't try to destroy a BEO capability that is years in the making just because it doesn't match up with what you think should happen.

{rant}
This "use what we have to do something" attitude is the problem with post-2000 NASA plans. There's no long range planning, no technology development, since congress won't increase the budget, let's just use what legacy system we have (i.e. leftover Shuttle hardware)  to do something (repeat Apollo).

Let's say the next few Presidents want to redo Apollo, Orion and SLS block II won't be ready until 2024 at the earliest, add a new lander, you're looking at landing on the Moon in 2035 or so. Then what? You're still using the legacy system which has very limited growth potential, you're basically boxed in with no way out, so most likely it would be similar to the Shuttle where you repeat the same thing for another 30 years. Forgive me for not finding this inspirational.

This is never about SpaceX or "perfect" system, people used to obsess about DC-X/X-33 too, I bet you'll see SLS vs very/very/very big brother if Bezos announces a super heavy tomorrow. The reason people don't respect program of record "BEO" capability is because it's so depressing.
{/rant}

Offline Dasun

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #434 on: 05/15/2016 02:00 PM »
Good grief so much wretched hand wringing !

Flight metal is being bent, the SLS/Orion stack will fly BEO unmanned in late 2018 ( assuming a successful launch! ) and BFR will not even be past PDR and may never make it beyond Powerpoint . 

SLS is a heavy lift tool, it is up to future administrations to decide if and how it will be used.  But if it is used it can plug into many exploration architectures - both alone or in concert with commercial - as the first element of moving big stuff upstairs.

Be thankful that serious talk of BEO is happening now, it has been a long time coming for us true believers and might still die on the vine ...
I am vendor neutral, I just want to see spacecraft fly.

Offline TomH

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #435 on: 05/15/2016 05:59 PM »
Good grief so much wretched hand wringing !

Flight metal is being bent, the SLS/Orion stack will fly BEO unmanned in late 2018 ( assuming a successful launch! ) and BFR will not even be past PDR and may never make it beyond Powerpoint . 

SLS is a heavy lift tool, it is up to future administrations to decide if and how it will be used.  But if it is used it can plug into many exploration architectures - both alone or in concert with commercial - as the first element of moving big stuff upstairs.

Be thankful that serious talk of BEO is happening now, it has been a long time coming for us true believers and might still die on the vine ...

So what if flight metal is being bent? What good is a rocket when there's nothing to put on top of it?

Your 2018 launch may well be the only launch SLS ever sees. As for BFR not making it beyond Powerpoint-no one believed SET (Space Exploration Technologies aka SpaceX) could build rockets as cheaply as they do and virtually everyone said returning a rocket from hypersonic speed and landing it on its tail was beyond impossible. SET has not only done that, in a matter of months they have done it in the middle of the ocean.......beginning the burn mere seconds before impact.......setting the thing perfectly in the center of a bullseye.

I am tired of living in the past. SLS is literally going nowhere. SET has proven their technological, logistical, and financial management prowess. SLS exists for one reason-to funnel pork. People who believe that SLS is the future are like admirals who clung to battleships after Pearl Harbor. Their future was in carriers. I don't have that many years left on this planet and I want to see my species on the Red Planet in my lifetime. SLS ain't going there. FH with Raptor US may well land humans there before SLS carries its first human aloft. It is time to let go of the past and embrace the future. SpaceX is that future.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #436 on: 05/15/2016 07:01 PM »
The SLS does have missions, after first 2-3 shake down  flights. They will do extended missions in cislunar space with EAM, this has been given initial funding.

Going back to moon will then be a option, at least transport will exist.


Offline TomH

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #437 on: 05/15/2016 09:34 PM »
The SLS does have missions, after first 2-3 shake down  flights. They will do extended missions in cislunar space with EAM, this has been given initial funding.

I'm sorry, just floating around in space somewhere in the vicinity of the moon does not qualify as a mission following what I observed in my teens, half a century ago. That notion is just downright sad.

I want to move forward; this is only moving backwards.

Offline jtrame

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #438 on: 05/15/2016 09:40 PM »
At least we're going from "it will never fly" to "ok, it will fly, but just once.  Maybe twice. But not more than 10 or 20 times.  That much is certain."

Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #439 on: 05/15/2016 10:58 PM »
I want to move forward; this is only moving backwards.
While this thread continues to go in circles.

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