Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 224438 times)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #460 on: 05/19/2016 02:46 PM »
I despise this argument to defund SLS.  The U.S. will need this world's-most-capable rocket to get humans to Mars.  It will also need Falcon Heavy and Vulcan Aces and Ariane 6 and whatever other launch vehicle is developed and available. 

This is no small task.  Thinking small won't get it done.  It will take the full might of the aerospace industry, marshaled by government. 

In my opinion.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #461 on: 05/19/2016 02:53 PM »
How much per launch would the SLS cost if they launched say 4 per year?
Its a simple question but I think everyone has their own answer depending on their opinion of SLS. Some like to throw in the development cost too. According to them SLS costs billions per launch. Others like to quote only the marginal cost, leaving out the yearly program support cost. From their viewpoint SLS cost about $300 million per launch.

My favored way to look at it is the entire yearly budget divided by the number of flights. The rocket is in development right now so its hard to say what the fixed or marginal costs will be. It is probably going to keep getting roughly the same budget each year so $2 billion might not be a bad guess. If they can launch 4 a year then a ball park figure is probably in the neighborhood of $500 million per launch give or take a lot. The program requirements are up to 3 launches a year. It has been debated if they can do more than that without too much difficulty.

In general since the fixed costs can be spread out over more launches the price per launch will keep decreasing as the number of launches increases. With a high fixed support cost two launches a year represents a substantial increase over just one launch a year in the price per kg.

Just a question to put things into perspective -- in 2016 dollars, how much did each Saturn V launch cost?  And how much did they cost expressed in the various ways you have given for SLS above?

My guess is that Saturn V was comparably more expensive per launch than SLS looks like it will be.  And except for 1969, it never was launched more than twice in any given calendar year -- in fact, it was launched once in 1967, twice in 1968, four times in 1969, once in 1970, twice in 1971, twice in 1972 and once in 1973.  Of those 13 launches, of course, 10 flew crews, nine flew crews to the Moon, and one flew with only its first two stages live.

It has always sounded to me like SLS was being designed for the average flight rate of the Saturn V, and thus I think a cost comparison would be illuminating...
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 02:55 PM by the_other_Doug »
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #462 on: 05/19/2016 02:58 PM »
I despise this argument to defund SLS.  The U.S. will need this world's-most-capable rocket to get humans to Mars.  It will also need Falcon Heavy and Vulcan Aces and Ariane 6 and whatever other launch vehicle is developed and available. 

This is no small task.  Thinking small won't get it done.  It will take the full might of the aerospace industry, marshaled by government. 

That is why it is not going to happen.  US government is not going to fund manned mars missions.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 03:06 PM by Jim »

Online Kansan52

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #463 on: 05/19/2016 03:02 PM »
Based on earlier posts, more production facilities would be needed to go beyond 2 launchers a years (and current production may actually do less than 2 a year). So it isn't just increasing the production rate but the cost of expanding production facilities.

But the likely costs per launch, based on STS, would approach $1 billion per launch. So 4 launches per year would be $4 billion. Plus, what would be launched? The current hole in the SLS program is the lack of payloads.

So scrapping the ISS would be a drop in the bucket to increase SLS launch rate and building the payloads.

The rest about building 50 year stations and the such is a whole other subject.

But the common thread is that to do all these things requires a larger budget. Moving money around from one program to another, even ending one program to benefit another, will not be enough.

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #464 on: 05/19/2016 03:04 PM »

Within about 2 years the world will see American landers on the Moon

Nonsense.
a.  There are no NASA landers in design much less production
b.  There are no commercial ones even close to launching in that time frame  And if they did, they have no affect on NASA funding


Manned landings appear to be possible in the new president's second term.


The next president doesn't care about manned lunar missions.


What design of launch vehicle and reentry capsule are used to get astronauts to the Deep Space Habitat in lunar orbit has not yet been decided.

Because there is no Deep Space Habitat in lunar orbit program for astronauts to go to and there won't be one since the next president doesn't care about space

Offline jtrame

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #465 on: 05/19/2016 03:06 PM »
I despise this argument to defund SLS.  The U.S. will need this world's-most-capable rocket to get humans to Mars. 

US government is not going to fund manned mars missions.

My sense of it is that it will be an international effort like the ISS and the U.S. will fund part of it including the use of SLS for some of the heavy lifting.  That's just an opinion.  The scope of the project is so large it's hard to imagine one country taking it on alone.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #466 on: 05/19/2016 03:20 PM »
I despise this argument to defund SLS.  The U.S. will need this world's-most-capable rocket to get humans to Mars.  It will also need Falcon Heavy and Vulcan Aces and Ariane 6 and whatever other launch vehicle is developed and available. 

This is no small task.  Thinking small won't get it done.  It will take the full might of the aerospace industry, marshaled by government. 

In my opinion.

 - Ed Kyle

Jim's assumption aside (we've had thread after thread where he trots out his pet opinion that governments should have no role in manned solar system exploration), I will completely agree with you, Ed.  We will need all of the resources you mention to mount any manned BLEO expeditions.  All of the various commercial launchers and commercial satellite developers will have plenty of work in such efforts, if they want to bid for it.

I keep seeing this as a logical result of how such large projects must be funded in today's funding environment.  You just can't afford to do an Apollo-style program where all of the various elements are funded at the same time, all of which are scheduled to be complete and available for a series of scheduled and funded missions.

You have to develop the pieces serially and not in parallel, for the most part -- although there will obviously be overlaps.  The first piece to be developed for BLEO missions was the Earth-to-space-to-Earth shuttle vehicle -- Orion.  The second piece is SLS.  The third piece will be transit hab modules, and we are about to see contracts let to develop ground-based demo versions of trans habs.  If they do a good enough job, the demo vehicle(s) may even fly on ISS.

The fourth piece will be a higher-end ion propulsion unit (which has seen study contracts let over the past several years, so development contracts may be another two or three years out).  The fifth and final piece will be the mission-specific hardware.  That will always be the last piece, because you will vary that piece and use the first four pieces plus that specialized fifth element to accomplish different missions.  For example, you need a microgravity base station for a mission to an asteroid, or to Mars' moons, while you need a lander and a surface hab for Mars surface operations.

In my vision, building and launching pieces three, four and five are the areas where you're going to see commercial launch and spacecraft vendors coming to the fore.  You might see an ACES-based lander bringing a crew to the Martian surface, there to inhabit a Bigelow surface hab that was launched on a Falcon Heavy.   Lots of possible combinations.

But a lot of the pieces will require the SLS to get them off Earth, I am convinced.  It will be a needful part of any BLEO expeditions, at least IMHO...
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #467 on: 05/19/2016 03:21 PM »
Don't forget that US support for the ISS only happened for solidly geopolitical reasons: the US didn't want bankrupt Russian aerospace firms selling their know-how to people like Saddam Hussein. There would need to be a similar overriding US national security motive for any government involvement in an accelerated Mars program.
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Offline Jim

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #468 on: 05/19/2016 05:30 PM »

Jim's assumption aside (we've had thread after thread where he trots out his pet opinion that governments should have no role in manned solar system exploration),

The opinion also includes that the governments aren't going fund it anyways.  Almost 60 years since going to the moon and still have only words and no money to go back. 

Offline jtrame

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #469 on: 05/19/2016 05:46 PM »
Don't forget that US support for the ISS only happened for solidly geopolitical reasons: the US didn't want bankrupt Russian aerospace firms selling their know-how to people like Saddam Hussein. There would need to be a similar overriding US national security motive for any government involvement in an accelerated Mars program.

Whatever the reasons that got it built, I would hope the lesson learned from ISS would be that international cooperation in space exploration makes sense for a lot of reasons.  Cost being the biggest. 

Maybe it will be a smaller coalition, USA, ESA, JSA, etc.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #470 on: 05/19/2016 06:26 PM »

Within about 2 years the world will see American landers on the Moon

Nonsense.
a.  There are no NASA landers in design much less production
b.  There are no commercial ones even close to launching in that time frame  And if they did, they have no affect on NASA funding

I wrote American not NASA. You obviously think the 3 commercial lunar cargo landers in Lunar CATALYST will take more than 2 years to complete.

If NASA can use a film about someone surviving on Mars in its budget request to Congress I suspect news headlines about rovers on the Moon can also be used.

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/3-Status_of_AES.pdf

Quote

Manned landings appear to be possible in the new president's second term.


The next president doesn't care about manned lunar missions.


That is an opinion not a fact.

What candidates and presidents care about can change.

Quote


What design of launch vehicle and reentry capsule are used to get astronauts to the Deep Space Habitat in lunar orbit has not yet been decided.

Because there is no Deep Space Habitat in lunar orbit program for astronauts to go to and there won't be one since the next president doesn't care about space

This is the second year of NextSTEP. I am not giving up on it yet.

Offline Kryten

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #471 on: 05/28/2016 02:04 PM »
 Three more cubesats for EM-1, including a lander;
https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/international-partners-provide-cubesats-for-sls-maiden-flight
Quote
For the first SLS flight, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo will jointly create and provide two CubeSats, EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) and OMOTENASHI (Outstanding MOon exploration TEchnologies demonstrated by NAno Semi-Hard Impactor). EQUULEUS will help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth by imaging Earth’s plasmasphere and measuring the distribution of plasma that surrounds the planet. This opportunity may provide important insight for protecting both humans and electronics from radiation damage during long space journeys. It will also demonstrate low-energy trajectory control techniques, such as multiple lunar flybys, within the Earth-Moon region.

JAXA also will use the OMOTENASHI to demonstrate the technology for low-cost and very small spacecraft to explore the lunar surface. This technology could open up new possibilities for future missions to inexpensively investigate the surface of the moon. The CubeSat will also take measurements of the radiation environment near the moon as well as on the lunar surface.
[...]
The Italian company Argotec is building the ArgoMoon CubeSat under the Italian Space Agency (ASI) internal review and approval process. ArgoMoon will demonstrate the ability to perform operations in close proximity of the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), which will send Orion onto its lunar trajectory. It should also record images of the ICPS for historical documentation and to provide valuable mission data on the deployment of other Cubesats. Additionally, this CubeSat should test optical communication capabilities between the CubeSat and Earth.

Offline woods170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #472 on: 05/28/2016 09:37 PM »

Jim's assumption aside (we've had thread after thread where he trots out his pet opinion that governments should have no role in manned solar system exploration),

The opinion also includes that the governments aren't going fund it anyways.  Almost 60 years since going to the moon and still have only words and no money to go back. 
Correct. And anyone here who thinks this will change with the next president really ought to step out of phantasy-land.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #473 on: 05/29/2016 09:11 PM »

Jim's assumption aside (we've had thread after thread where he trots out his pet opinion that governments should have no role in manned solar system exploration),

The opinion also includes that the governments aren't going fund it anyways.  Almost 60 years since going to the moon and still have only words and no money to go back. 
Correct. And anyone here who thinks this will change with the next president really ought to step out of phantasy-land.
Ah... 1969+60=2029
It actually has been since first man on the Moon 47 years. I think you meant almost 50 years. But you are right it has been a long time with plenty of opportunity to fund a new Moon landing program, but for some reason they just can't sustain any funding if they get funded at all.

Offline Mnethercutt

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #474 on: 05/30/2016 01:43 PM »
Just curious, if by some miracle the next administration decided to double funding for SLS/Orion, how would that impact the launch rate and the launch dates of EM-1/EM-2? 
Don't worry, things can only go up from here.  Even if it explodes, the force of the explosion will probably make it go up a little.

Offline gospacex

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #475 on: 05/30/2016 01:52 PM »
I despise this argument to defund SLS.  The U.S. will need this world's-most-capable rocket to get humans to Mars.  It will also need Falcon Heavy and Vulcan Aces and Ariane 6 and whatever other launch vehicle is developed and available. 

This is no small task.  Thinking small won't get it done.  It will take the full might of the aerospace industry, marshaled by government. 

In my opinion.

 - Ed Kyle

Jim's assumption aside (we've had thread after thread where he trots out his pet opinion that governments should have no role in manned solar system exploration), I will completely agree with you, Ed.  We will need all of the resources you mention to mount any manned BLEO expeditions.  All of the various commercial launchers and commercial satellite developers will have plenty of work in such efforts, if they want to bid for it.

I keep seeing this as a logical result of how such large projects must be funded in today's funding environment.  You just can't afford to do an Apollo-style program where all of the various elements are funded at the same time, all of which are scheduled to be complete and available for a series of scheduled and funded missions.

You have to develop the pieces serially and not in parallel

No. Instead, you have to stop giving money for this development to the organization which only ever pulled off one Apollo-style development program, and had a string of failures (or worse - "successes" so financially devastating they kept the entire manned program stagnant for 40 years) ever since.

Apollo program was a success in a sense that US did beat Soviets to the Moon.

However, when you look at it from the point of view of developing a healthy space program, it looked decidedly warped.

Think about it.

Driving *five thousand 50-meter long steel piles* into Florida sands *only to build a vehicle assembly building*? That's madness.

Rolling out and moving several miles 363 feet tall LV *vertically*? You got to be kidding me!

I'm not saying Apollo program was flawed. I'm saying it was optimized for a goal which made it unsustainable, and led to cancellation.

Worse, it created a whole generation of NASA people who don't even understand that that's a *wrong* way to develop a space program.

If you stop giving R&D money to NASA and start giving them to competing private companies, you can afford to develop things in parallel.
« Last Edit: 05/30/2016 01:56 PM by gospacex »

Online AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #476 on: 05/30/2016 02:45 PM »
I despise this argument to defund SLS.  The U.S. will need this world's-most-capable rocket to get humans to Mars.  It will also need Falcon Heavy and Vulcan Aces and Ariane 6 and whatever other launch vehicle is developed and available. 

This is no small task.  Thinking small won't get it done.  It will take the full might of the aerospace industry, marshaled by government. 

In my opinion.

 - Ed Kyle

While I agree with this all-in approach, two features of your argument are troubling. 

First, SLS is implied as the 'world's most capable rocket.'  FH (with either the 1.7M or 1.9Mlbf thrust booster version) will lift more payload than SLS's first 'block' as shown by your and others' calculations.  SLS will first be flown in 2019 or so, and then have a second experimental flight several years later; FH will fly several times per year from 2017 on, and is capable of flying roughly monthly from either of two sites (three by 2019 or so).  In reusable mode, it could put roughly six SLS payload mass equivalents into LEO per launch site per year -- for the cost of one expendable SLS.  By the twenty-thirties when SLS is finally capable of approximating Saturn V's payload (again by your calculations, it will never reach the advertised 130tonnes) it still is unlikely to be the 'world's most capable rocket.'   I think it will be cancelled long before that due to it's own inadequacies and cost, not the small voice those of us who would choose to defund it...

Second, massive funding for an old technology, expendable rocket that has so little lift capability (it will *eventually* have a big fairing which some carrier rocket will have to incorporate), and even less capability to be mass produced/frequently launched, is standing in the way of putting people on Mars more than aiding it.  The full might of the (traditional) aerospace industry is marshaled and lobbying for it.

I'm afraid 'thinking small' is what NASA, Congress, and many on this forum are currently doing. 
I'd suggest that a reusable 'world's most capable rocket' is the only way we're going to get to Mars.
« Last Edit: 05/30/2016 02:48 PM by AncientU »
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #477 on: 05/30/2016 03:49 PM »
First, SLS is implied as the 'world's most capable rocket.'  FH (with either the 1.7M or 1.9Mlbf thrust booster version) will lift more payload than SLS's first 'block' as shown by your and others' calculations. 
This is simply incorrect.  SLS Block 1 will boost 24.5 tonnes toward the Moon.  (It could, if needed, lift more than 90 tonnes to low earth orbit (70 tonnes is an artifact of the old SLS Block 0 design), but SLS is never going to LEO so that number is irrelevant.)  Falcon Heavy, even in full-expendable mode, would boost probably about 15 tonnes (plus or minus) toward the Moon.  (Falcon Heavy is also listed at only 54.4 tonnes to LEO in full-expendable mode.)

It would take three fully-expendable Falcon Heavies to match the payload of one SLS Block 1B trans-Mars.  It would take four Falcon Heavies to match one SLS Block 2.  I expect that Falcon Heavy and/or others like it will be needed to support deep-space missions, but the missions will be built around the unparalleled deep space throw-weight offered by SLS. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline ThereIWas3

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #478 on: 05/30/2016 04:01 PM »
It would take three fully-expendable Falcon Heavies to match the payload of one SLS Block 1B trans-Mars.  It would take four Falcon Heavies to match one SLS Block 2.  I expect that Falcon Heavy and/or others like it will be needed to support deep-space missions, but the missions will be built around the unparalleled deep space throw-weight offered by SLS. 

An affordable launcher that can lift smaller payloads is more useful than a big one that is too expensive to operate.  In times of tight money, you can scale back to fewer loads, but at least you are making some progress.   With a big rocket either you can afford the full load or you lauch nothing at all.  Money is too tight right now, and I do not see it becoming easier to get out of Congress for elective projects like this.

When building a house, the materials are not delivered all  at once on one huge truck.  Even if you could do it, you would not be ready to use it.  I watched a house near me being built, and due to some scheduling problem the load of pre-assembled roof trusses was delivered before the foundation was poured.  All that unprotected wood sat out in the rain, and was in the way of subsequent deliveries.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #479 on: 05/30/2016 07:26 PM »
An affordable launcher that can lift smaller payloads is more useful than a big one that is too expensive to operate.  In times of tight money, you can scale back to fewer loads, but at least you are making some progress.   
I disagree with your assertion that SLS is "too expensive to operate".  It is being designed to operate on less than the Shuttle budget, involving far fewer workers.  Shuttle flew for three decades.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/30/2016 07:29 PM by edkyle99 »

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