Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 224409 times)

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2476
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 2377
  • Likes Given: 1737
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #560 on: 08/08/2016 12:28 AM »
Rebuttal to your rant
I keep getting irritated by the oft-repeated rubric that NASA is wasting money by developing a rocket that has no funded missions in the offing.

Development of a launch capability is never done (with the exception of during Apollo, and even then was not initiated by a funded mission) because a series of funded flights require that capability.  You need to have the capability in place before you can start to fund the missions that will take advantage of it -- again, unless you want to repeat the heady go-for-broke days of Apollo.

Just as a reminder, the F-1 engine originally went into development in 1955, based upon a perceived need by the Air Force to eventually be able to orbit large payloads.
Before we knew what AF/country actually needed, which took a decade to resolve. We call this "risk reduction".

And the AF is still doing it. Look at recent co-investment in propulsion. Found a better, capital efficient way to do it. Far from immune to political attack.

Quote
Again, unless you're running a crash program like Apollo, you don't start funding your missions until the rocket needed is designed and nearly ready to go.  And I will remind y'all that, in 1966, the only Apollo crewed missions that were specifically funded were AS-204 and AS-276.  All other Apollo missions funded in that time period were unmanned tests of the vehicles. 

Actually, if you read the view of John Logston, the American public did not support it, they endured it, as a means to respond to the perceived Soviet threat.

And the American public was not polarized but out of concern for threat, would unify even on things they were skeptical of, while still contending vigorously on things "in bounds". When Goldwater went "out of bounds", he got whacked for it, out of the need to have bounds so we'd not descend into chaos that a fast moving enemy might take advantage of. Unique times.

Quote
While the only crewed mission to fly on SLS currently funded is EM-2, at a similar point in Apollo (which was a crash program in which all elements were being designed and built all at once) there was no funding specific to any crewed Saturn V launches, much less for actual lunar landing missions.  They weren't going to happen in the next fiscal year, and as such none of the funding was specific to any such missions.

Nope, not the same. "All up" testing ala George Mueller was a means to "catch up" with an "overwhelm and devastate" approach to belling a concern. Much more parallel development w/multiple primes. Clear mission focus, and overly singular goal with intended detachment (leave nothing in place for follow on).

There was a beginning, middle, and end. Period.

Quote
In the case of SLS/Orion, I will also point out that two of the major elements of future crewed BLEO missions -- SLS and Orion -- are in development at the same time, and targeted to come online at the same time.  And there is funding now, this year, for early stages of DSH development.  So, it's not even as if we're building a rocket that has no crewed elements under development.

NASA has rightly objected to Congress building the wrong rocket. Because of lack of commitment to goal and regular funding for that goal. Due to the substantial lag time incurred by government rules  of operation from instigation to realization, which is in the order of DECADES in some cases, annual variation reduces efficiency, thus depressing an already depressed cycle of achievement. Not the proper way to use the tool of NASA.

Quote
When y'all toss around the complaint "no funded missions," please recall Congress only funds things one fiscal year at a time (when they bother to do so at all and we don't just get stuck with a mess of CR's).  Apollo didn't have funded crewed lunar landing missions until fiscal 1969.  NASA had a longer-than-one-year plan for Apollo, and Congress appropriated for the new fiscal year based on what NASA told them were their needs to accomplish that plan.  That doesn't differ from what's happening right now, as NASA refines their DRA for Mars and presents funding requests based on accomplishing it without many "balloon" years needed to do so (i.e., with mostly flat budgets).  Congress has given them funding for the pieces they think they need to develop in the next fiscal year.

Read Logston. Not the same. Read his books and talk to him or me about it.

Here's a better view of what the issue is. Voters have been "educated" to believe that polarization is good, and that a "pure" view of things should dominate, and that letting other things (like space exploration) slide or be misappropriated is acceptable. That will be hard to change, as it is a 40 year trend that shows no change in sight.

If you want to run things back to the Apollo days, it's not the funding its the voter. You have to get from them, the same expectation that allowed Apollo to function as I and Logsdon have indicated.

If you were to do that, very little would need to be added to go forward, mostly any choice would work.

If you don't do that, absolutely no choice will make any difference.

In either case, NASA is caught in the middle and does the best it can do, while patiently explaining why things aren't working as well as they could.

add:

Read this about the problem mentioned above.
« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 12:50 AM by Space Ghost 1962 »

Offline sdsds

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5478
  • "With peace and hope for all mankind."
  • Seattle
  • Liked: 577
  • Likes Given: 677
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #561 on: 08/08/2016 01:16 AM »
Would a payload like "Skylab II" (the same diameter as SLS) need a jettisoned fairing at all? Why not design it with an aerodynamic forward end?
-- sdsds --

Offline Khadgars

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 938
  • Long Beach, California
  • Liked: 144
  • Likes Given: 493
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #562 on: 08/08/2016 02:02 AM »
I keep getting irritated by the oft-repeated rubric that NASA is wasting money by developing a rocket that has no funded missions in the offing.

Development of a launch capability is never done (with the exception of during Apollo, and even then was not initiated by a funded mission) because a series of funded flights require that capability.  You need to have the capability in place before you can start to fund the missions that will take advantage of it -- again, unless you want to repeat the heady go-for-broke days of Apollo.

Just as a reminder, the F-1 engine originally went into development in 1955, based upon a perceived need by the Air Force to eventually be able to orbit large payloads.

Nineteen-fifty-five.  Two years before anyone, anywhere had even demonstrated the capability of orbiting anything.  At all.

If there was a funded mission that required an F-1 engine in 1955, I'd love to see the funding appropriation for it.

And, to be honest, I don't believe it would have been possible to seek funding for Apollo if there was not an F-1 class engine already under development.  If the U.S. had been forced to try and design Apollo without the F-1 having been under development for five years already, I don't think anyone would have bitten the bullet and committed to it.  One of the reasons Apollo was considered within the realm of possibility in 1961 was the fact that the F-1 engine was scheduled to become available by 1965 or so.

Again, unless you're running a crash program like Apollo, you don't start funding your missions until the rocket needed is designed and nearly ready to go.  And I will remind y'all that, in 1966, the only Apollo crewed missions that were specifically funded were AS-204 and AS-276.  All other Apollo missions funded in that time period were unmanned tests of the vehicles. 

While the only crewed mission to fly on SLS currently funded is EM-2, at a similar point in Apollo (which was a crash program in which all elements were being designed and built all at once) there was no funding specific to any crewed Saturn V launches, much less for actual lunar landing missions.  They weren't going to happen in the next fiscal year, and as such none of the funding was specific to any such missions.

In the case of SLS/Orion, I will also point out that two of the major elements of future crewed BLEO missions -- SLS and Orion -- are in development at the same time, and targeted to come online at the same time.  And there is funding now, this year, for early stages of DSH development.  So, it's not even as if we're building a rocket that has no crewed elements under development.

When y'all toss around the complaint "no funded missions," please recall Congress only funds things one fiscal year at a time (when they bother to do so at all and we don't just get stuck with a mess of CR's).  Apollo didn't have funded crewed lunar landing missions until fiscal 1969.  NASA had a longer-than-one-year plan for Apollo, and Congress appropriated for the new fiscal year based on what NASA told them were their needs to accomplish that plan.  That doesn't differ from what's happening right now, as NASA refines their DRA for Mars and presents funding requests based on accomplishing it without many "balloon" years needed to do so (i.e., with mostly flat budgets).  Congress has given them funding for the pieces they think they need to develop in the next fiscal year.

Now, you can complain that the DRA doesn't realistically define needs for new start funding on various vehicles and preliminary missions.  But that's a far different discussion than just continuing to insist SLS must die because there are no funded missions.

Rant mode off... ;)

Completely agree.  The goal post on which SLS/Orion is supposed to die changes every single year.  First is was a paper rocket and would never get out of pdf slides.  Then it was technical problems that would see it die like Ares I.  Then it was funding and political will.

Opponents of SLS/Orion could care less of its progress because they feel it shouldn't exist in the first place. 

I'm a huge SpaceX band-wagoner, I love their product and what they bring to the table.  But if opponents  think SpaceX has suddenly solved how to get to Mars at 1/10 the cost simply because they are willing to accept more risk, they're kidding themselves.

EM-1 is on schedule in two short years from now, and SpaceX's plate is completely full with just LEO's activities (Crewed Dragon and F9/H customer manifest).  Regardless of our positions, we need to be rooting for both SpaceX and NASA's plans as we're going to need both entities to get to the red planet.


« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 03:40 AM by Khadgars »

Offline Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3451
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2206
  • Likes Given: 2733
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #563 on: 08/08/2016 05:28 AM »
The goal post on which SLS/Orion is supposed to die changes every single year.

I think what has surprised many of us is the overall lack of interest Congress has had in starting the conversation about what the SLS is really supposed to do.  It was that point in time where I thought the real debate about the SLS would take place.  And yes, there are a couple of individual tasks being assigned to the SLS, but other than "we're going to Mars some day" there is no signature near-term need for the SLS.  Yet.

But with development getting closer to being done, an operational budget needs to be funded.  We'll see how Congress handles that.
 
Quote
I'm a huge SpaceX band-wagoner, I love their product and what they bring to the table.  But if opponents  think SpaceX has suddenly solved how to get to Mars at 1/10 the cost simply because they are willing to accept more risk, they're kidding themselves.

What SpaceX does or doesn't do has no bearing on the future of the SLS.  Certainly not in the next few years.

That's because the SLS is a government-only transportation system, and really just a NASA-only transportation system.  So the justification for the SLS rests with what our politicians task NASA to do with it.  What the rest of the world (including SpaceX) does is immaterial.
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 Ben the Space Brit

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6997
  • A spaceflight fan
  • London, UK
  • Liked: 553
  • Likes Given: 638
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #564 on: 08/08/2016 09:55 AM »
Would a payload like "Skylab II" (the same diameter as SLS) need a jettisoned fairing at all? Why not design it with an aerodynamic forward end?

That's what they did with Skylab but it didn't work out; damage was caused during launch and ascent to the sides of the module (insulation torn off along with a solar array). I don't know if it was caused by the slipstream but it does lead to the logical conclusion that you are wiser to protect side-mounted equipment from the airflow.
"Oops! I left the silly thing in reverse!" - Duck Dodgers

~*~*~*~

The Space Shuttle Program - 1981-2011

The time for words has passed; The time has come to put up or shut up!
DON'T PROPAGANDISE, FLY!!!

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5163
  • Liked: 789
  • Likes Given: 550
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #565 on: 08/08/2016 04:33 PM »
Completely agree.  The goal post on which SLS/Orion is supposed to die changes every single year.  First is was a paper rocket and would never get out of pdf slides.  Then it was technical problems that would see it die like Ares I.  Then it was funding and political will.

I, for one, have been consistently saying for years simply that its high cost means that it will likely never deliver much in the way of actual exploration.  Using it for significant exploration would appear to require large budget increases that are unlikely.

Offline redliox

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1724
  • Arizona USA
  • Liked: 323
  • Likes Given: 54
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #566 on: 08/08/2016 04:53 PM »
how the heck are they going to test a 10m diameter fairing? Where? Or even an 8.4m fairing?

"You don't understand the power of the dark ... wait ... cost plus prime force ..." ;)

And that one won't come cheap. Also, the Skylab one didn't "fair" so well...

Thanks for the old Skylab deployment picture.  I actually wondered how it was stacked and deployed, especially with the solar telescope that stuck so oddly to one side.  So Skylab was half shrouded and the solar arrays were part of the un-shrouded section, correct?

Would a payload like "Skylab II" (the same diameter as SLS) need a jettisoned fairing at all? Why not design it with an aerodynamic forward end?

That's what they did with Skylab but it didn't work out; damage was caused during launch and ascent to the sides of the module (insulation torn off along with a solar array). I don't know if it was caused by the slipstream but it does lead to the logical conclusion that you are wiser to protect side-mounted equipment from the airflow.

Seeing how the Skylab was configured in launch form I see how the solar arrays were a bit vulnerable so I have to agree.  Had the arrays been installed on the sides of the shrouded docking adaptor that could have saved them and the grief of when one ripped off during ascent.  So any would-be Skylab 2 designs should keep arrays, radiators, ect tucked into a cocoon to play it safe.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5163
  • Liked: 789
  • Likes Given: 550
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #567 on: 08/08/2016 06:09 PM »
Development of a launch capability is never done (with the exception of during Apollo, and even then was not initiated by a funded mission) because a series of funded flights require that capability.  You need to have the capability in place before you can start to fund the missions that will take advantage of it -- again, unless you want to repeat the heady go-for-broke days of Apollo.

I'm having a hard time thinking of a US launch vehicle that was developed with such an ill-defined need as SLS.  Vanguard and Juno I, for example, were developed expressly for launching particular earth satellites.  The Jupiter-, Thor-, Atlas- and Titan-based vehicles that succeeded them were developed in the knowledge that many payloads needed vehicles of such sizes.  The Saturns IB and V had very specific Apollo payloads and missions.  Just about every launch vehicle since -- Shuttle, Atlas variants, Delta IV, Falcon 9 -- has been aimed at an existing stream of payloads.  Antares is different, but it nonetheless had a very clearly defined mission, namely ISS logistics.

The one exception was the Saturn I, which was initially just a big first stage, with upper stages and payloads TBD.  But even then, nobody doubted that a larger launch capability was needed, and the Saturn I soon had the Army's Advent communications satellite and Dyna-Soar as payloads.  Today, on the other hand, there is no obvious need for an SLS-sized launch vehicle.  Even if you regard the US government as being serious about sending humans to Mars, the need, much less desirability, of SLS has not been established.  Nothing like the Apollo mode debate has occurred.

The fact that politicians have written SLS's specs into law and have legally mandated its use for BEO HSF and for Europa only feed the impression that they're really more interested in the rocket than in missions for it.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5163
  • Liked: 789
  • Likes Given: 550
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #568 on: 08/08/2016 07:31 PM »
Quote
... unless you're running a crash program like Apollo, you don't start funding your missions until the rocket needed is designed and nearly ready to go.  And I will remind y'all that, in 1966, the only Apollo crewed missions that were specifically funded were AS-204 and AS-276.  All other Apollo missions funded in that time period were unmanned tests of the vehicles.

To amplify Space Ghost 1962's reply on this point, have a look at NASA's plans for the Saturn V as of October 1962 (see p. 4 of the 1st attachment or, for fuller explanation a few months later, pp. 11 & 12 of the 2nd attachment).  Then compare that with a typical projection of SLS launches, e.g., the third attachment.  There's a world of difference between them.  When NASA ordered 15 Saturn V's in 1962, it had a plan for each one of them.  With SLS, the plan, even several years and $10+ billion in, is to launch every year or two with most payloads and missions TBD.  It really does seem to be a rocket looking for missions.  Even if missions are found, it hardly seems an efficient way of doing things, especially since all missions so far have been placed on SLS by legislative fiat.

EDIT:  "second attachment" -> "third attachment"
« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 08:23 PM by Proponent »

Online ncb1397

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
  • Liked: 323
  • Likes Given: 3
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #569 on: 08/08/2016 07:39 PM »
Quote
... unless you're running a crash program like Apollo, you don't start funding your missions until the rocket needed is designed and nearly ready to go.  And I will remind y'all that, in 1966, the only Apollo crewed missions that were specifically funded were AS-204 and AS-276.  All other Apollo missions funded in that time period were unmanned tests of the vehicles.

To amplify Space Ghost 1962's reply on this point, have a look at NASA's plans for the Saturn V as of October 1962 (see p. 4 of the 1st attachment or, for fuller explanation a few months later, pp. 11 & 12 of the 2nd attachment).  Then compare that with a typical projection of SLS launches, e.g., the second attachment.  There's a world of difference between them.  When NASA ordered 15 Saturn V's in 1962, it had a plan for each one of them.  With SLS, the plan, even several years and $10+ billion in, is to launch every year or two with most payloads and missions TBD.  It really does seem to be a rocket looking for missions.  Even if missions are found, it hardly seems an efficient way of doing things, especially since all missions so far have been placed on SLS by legislative fiat.

SLS is specifically excluded for science missions by NASA management. That is the main reason there was none announced until congress stepped in. It is aggravating to read the NeMO study group state in one of their reports how they were directed to consider EELV class vehicles only and then go on to rule out possible mission goals due to mass or size constraints.

Quote
Additionally, the Mars Exploration Program directed JPL to form an Orbiter Study Team to
assess various technical options for a 2022 Orbiter and to work with NEX-SAG regarding
potential mission capabilities (item f above). Launch vehicles were directed to be in the
Falcon 9/Atlas V class.

Quote
NASA has been studying the development of even more powerful SEP systems, with a
view to their application for missions like ARRM. In this Exploration SEP option class
the spacecraft could carry a payload of mass 200-600 kg, powered by more than 5 kW.
At the higher end of capabilities in this class, the payload mass can be used to provide
enough fuel to bring the SEP-powered spacecraft out of low Mars orbit and to return
it to Earth vicinity. In that return option, the remote sensing payload would be
restricted to ~150 kg
and the Mars mission phase (including relay) would be
terminated after ~5 years.

Quote
Ultra-high-resolution optical imaging (~5 cm/pixel) has great promise for science,
resources, and reconnaissance objectives. This is the resolution that bridges the gap
between the state of knowledge from orbital images, and knowledge from rover and
landed platforms. The challenges are for the size and mass of the optics and the
demands on the spacecraft for exceptional pointing and stability.

http://mepag.nasa.gov/reports/NEX-SAG_draft_v29_FINAL.pdf
« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 07:52 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31349
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9627
  • Likes Given: 299
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #570 on: 08/08/2016 07:40 PM »
Development of a launch capability is never done (with the exception of during Apollo, and even then was not initiated by a funded mission) because a series of funded flights require that capability.  You need to have the capability in place before you can start to fund the missions that will take advantage of it -- again, unless you want to repeat the heady go-for-broke days of Apollo.

I'm having a hard time thinking of a US launch vehicle that was developed with such an ill-defined need as SLS.  Vanguard and Juno I, for example, were developed expressly for launching particular earth satellites.  The Jupiter-, Thor-, Atlas- and Titan-based vehicles that succeeded them were developed in the knowledge that many payloads needed vehicles of such sizes.  The Saturns IB and V had very specific Apollo payloads and missions.  Just about every launch vehicle since -- Shuttle, Atlas variants, Delta IV, Falcon 9 -- has been aimed at an existing stream of payloads.  Antares is different, but it nonetheless had a very clearly defined mission, namely ISS logistics.

The one exception was the Saturn I, which was initially just a big first stage, with upper stages and payloads TBD.  But even then, nobody doubted that a larger launch capability was needed, and the Saturn I soon had the Army's Advent communications satellite and Dyna-Soar as payloads.  Today, on the other hand, there is no obvious need for an SLS-sized launch vehicle.  Even if you regard the US government as being serious about sending humans to Mars, the need, much less desirability, of SLS has not been established.  Nothing like the Apollo mode debate has occurred.

The fact that politicians have written SLS's specs into law and have legally mandated its use for BEO HSF and for Europa only feed the impression that they're really more interested in the rocket than in missions for it.

Payloads drive launch vehicle requirements.  Any upgrades or new vehicles in the last 50 years have been driven by the needs of a payload.  There was no build it and they will come.

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5163
  • Liked: 789
  • Likes Given: 550
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #571 on: 08/08/2016 08:45 PM »
SLS is specifically excluded for science missions by NASA management. That is the main reason there was none announced until congress stepped in. It is aggravating to read the NeMO study group state in one of their reports how they were directed to consider EELV class vehicles only and then go on to rule out possible mission goals due to mass or size constraints.

There is nothing new or unusual about spacecraft having to meet mass constraints.  Establishing a launch-vehicle class for Mars missions is essentially setting a size and cost limit: even ignoring the cost of the much larger launch vehicle, an SLS-sized Mars mission will be a much larger and more expensive spacecraft. 

The Europa mission is different in that the use of SLS affects principally trajectory and mission duration rather spacecraft size.  Although an SLS launch is more expensive than an Atlas V launch, the shorter duration of the SLS-boosted mission does make it cheaper in some respects.  Whether the use of SLS in place of Atlas V reduces total costs, I don't know, and, as far as I can tell, Congress is not interested in that question.
« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 08:46 PM by Proponent »

Offline Proponent

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5163
  • Liked: 789
  • Likes Given: 550
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #572 on: 08/08/2016 08:46 PM »
Payloads drive launch vehicle requirements.  Any upgrades or new vehicles in the last 50 years have been driven by the needs of a payload.  There was no build it and they will come.

I thought that was pretty much what I said, with the partial exception of the Saturn I.

Offline Danny Dot

  • Rocket Scientist, NOT Retired
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2791
  • Houston, Texas
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #573 on: 08/09/2016 04:44 PM »
Completely agree.  The goal post on which SLS/Orion is supposed to die changes every single year.  First is was a paper rocket and would never get out of pdf slides.  Then it was technical problems that would see it die like Ares I.  Then it was funding and political will.

I, for one, have been consistently saying for years simply that its high cost means that it will likely never deliver much in the way of actual exploration.  Using it for significant exploration would appear to require large budget increases that are unlikely.

And don't forget the very high cost of any exploration spacecraft that is big enough to justify SLS over a Delta IV heavy.  We are talking many billions of dollars.

Danny Deger

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9165
  • Liked: 1176
  • Likes Given: 777
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #574 on: 08/09/2016 04:49 PM »
Completely agree.  The goal post on which SLS/Orion is supposed to die changes every single year.  First is was a paper rocket and would never get out of pdf slides.  Then it was technical problems that would see it die like Ares I.  Then it was funding and political will.

I, for one, have been consistently saying for years simply that its high cost means that it will likely never deliver much in the way of actual exploration.  Using it for significant exploration would appear to require large budget increases that are unlikely.

Not just you. The biggest criticism of SLS has always been the lack of payload for it.

Offline the_other_Doug

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2504
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Liked: 1532
  • Likes Given: 2722
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #575 on: 08/09/2016 05:38 PM »
Too many good (and not-so-good) points to pull one post out and reply to it individually, so here's a few thoughts on the discussion at this point.

Ron (and others), I hear you about what you, I, this forum, Congress, the Administration and NASA perceive as a "need" for SLS.  But note the various entities I mentioned -- they are different, serve different functions, and answer to much different constituencies.  (Thankfully, none of us here have to answer to anybody for expressing our opinions... :D )

NASA has a very specific, clearly defined need for SLS.  It is defined in the latest version of their Mars DRA.  To say that NASA has no plans to go to Mars is ridiculous -- they have had plans for decades, and keep updating and refining them.  The DRA is the "overarching vision" for Mars exploration that some people below insist doesn't exist.  NASA presents this vision before Congress every time they go to talk to them.  In this way, it's not much different from how NASA presented the Apollo DRM as their overarching plan for landing people on the Moon, back when the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations were requesting current fiscal year funding for what was needed right now to achieve that vision.

You can argue that a variety of constituencies don't agree with, or support, the current NASA Mars DRA, you can argue that it doesn't have enough political support to get funded throughout the remaining 20-some years before crewed operations could begin, you can argue a lot of things.  But you can't argue that a vision doesn't exist, or that this vision doesn't drive what NASA is asking for in re appropriations that they feel will lead to a crewed Mars exploration program in the 2030's.

To Ron specifically -- you mention that there is no need for a government-built HLV because the same NASA Mars DRA can be accomplished using commercial vehicles, and then you refute yourself by saying that NASA is not in the business of designing DRAs that use commercial vehicles, they are in the business of doing Mars missions by building their own rockets and spacecraft.  C'mon, it has to be one or the other.

Also, many of you make the point that SLS and Orion are currently in development because they are what ended up falling out of the failed Constellation program.  So, just in terms of the conditions extant when these development programs began, there wasn't a commercial HLV (or, at least, anything approaching the perceived HLV need in the DRA) available.  You couldn't in 2001 -- or even 2009 -- say "Hey, let's dump this SLS and just plan on using a Falcon Heavy for this DRA," because not only was FH not an option, it wasn't even a notional launch vehicle at those times.  And is still not a proven HLV asset available to anyone, yet.  (Soon, though, hopefully... fingers crossed...)

Finally -- in what manner would y'all believe Congress could or would have a committed, funded project to land humans on Mars?  Do you want a Congressional funding bill passed that guarantees half a trillion dollars in funding over the next 20 years?  Do you want a crash commitment, with a $100 billion this-fiscal-year supplemental appropriation, to get all the elements ready to launch before SpaceX can beat them to it?

Do you want or expect politicians who can't be guaranteed to still be in power, or even alive (a lot of them are in their 60s and 70s) in 20 years, when there will be a noticeable payoff from the investment, to get behind a 20-year funding plan?

Do you expect any Administration to propose anything they perceive cannot be accomplished during a max two-term (eight-year) period?  Can you name any President in the past 60 years who has proposed anything he knew could not be accomplished during his own Presidency?

And, in the past 20 years, have we even had a federal government that is capable of accomplishing any planning beyond the ends of their noses?  Some agencies and administrations within the government have managed to maintain their planning and operations functions amidst the total breakdown of at least two of the three branches of government, but I can't see any indication that any Administration or Congress in at least 20 years has been able to agree on any kind of planning that goes more than a fiscal year out.  The few long-term commitments we've seen have been in defense projects (no surprise), and even those have been rarer and rarer as polarization spreads its tentacles even into the Pentagon.

I'm thinking that the USG at present is incapable of delivering the commitment y'all seem to be looking for.  I also think that you won't see any Administration go to Congress asking for funding leading directly to a manned Mars expedition until and unless the remaining investment required can be made, and the work accomplished, within the eight-year, two-term expectation of that Administration being in power.  And that's under the best of circumstances, assuming we culturally manage to reject politics of polarization and learn to work together to achieve a common goal.

And even then, such a program will need to have at least enough political support, if not popular support, to get the remaining funding through Congress.  There will need to be a really good PR case made to the American people to sway the latter.  Pork may be enough to persuade the former.

But -- if you can get the funding and support, even if just to keep the pork rolling, to develop and build many of the needed pieces to fly the DRA, you can get to within that eight-year mark of the finish line.  Only then are you going to see the commitment y'all are looking for, I think.

That's my view on it, anyway.  YMMV.  :)
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Kansan52

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 874
  • Hutchinson, KS
  • Liked: 263
  • Likes Given: 311
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #576 on: 08/09/2016 06:36 PM »
Bucks. Once again it comes to Bucks. The discussion has pointed this out time and again. The aspect of Constellation I despised was it largely strip all other parts of NASA (including the ISS) to fund Constellation.

IMHO, that is the same now. Congress does not want to increase NASA's budget. A Public mandate for an increase does not exist. Any progress for SLS payloads will be constrained by the budget.

Offline Coastal Ron

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3451
  • I live... along the coast
  • Liked: 2206
  • Likes Given: 2733
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #577 on: 08/09/2016 06:39 PM »
Do you expect any Administration to propose anything they perceive cannot be accomplished during a max two-term (eight-year) period?  Can you name any President in the past 60 years who has proposed anything he knew could not be accomplished during his own Presidency?

Apollo - proposed in Kennedy's first term in office, and his goal was two years outside of his possible last term in office.

Shuttle - formally commenced in 1972, the year Nixon was running for his 2nd term in office.  No way anyone would have expected the Shuttle to start operational flights in just 4 years.

The ISS - when Reagan proposed Space Station Freedom during his 1984 State of the Union Address, he could have only expected preliminary work to have been done on it before he left office.

Constellation program - Bush proposed the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) in 2004, just before his re-election.  The goal was to return to the Moon 12 years after he left office.

So yes, many Presidents have proposed efforts in space that would not have reached space until after their time in office had ended.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online Space Ghost 1962

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2476
  • Whatcha gonna do when the Ghost zaps you?
  • Liked: 2377
  • Likes Given: 1737
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #578 on: 08/09/2016 07:09 PM »
Payloads drive launch vehicle requirements.  Any upgrades or new vehicles in the last 50 years have been driven by the needs of a payload.  There was no build it and they will come.

The best answer here.

And it isn't that hard to consider the payload. With Saturn V it was a lunar stack, with Shuttle it was a space station.

So, lets say the aggregate payload is a Mars surface expedition. You'll have a sequence of launches to get it there. Next, you go find the way to get it there.

If you don't, too easy to not do the mission for too many reasons.

A solid objective (Moon, Station, ... Mars?) delivers solid missions using solid SC that require launch capability. Hand please meet glove.

Now ... why doesn't that occur? Blame game. We don't really want to set the objective because we'll be blamed for consuming the budget, and possibly won't continue because it'll get "Proxmired" by someone part way through. Congress can't even agree on lunch at noon today, and now they'd have to agree for more than a decade.

So they build what they think John Q Public want's to see, hang a sign on it as "world's biggest rocket", and tell NASA to use it somehow, then be critical of what follows. Leadership.

Can you make it work? Possibly. We could have done Moon/Station with Titian too, but it likely would have taken a lot longer, perhaps two decades and a couple of stations - Korolev had similar notions. Apollo was a genuine plan by a leader to get there in a decade, and along the way the Saturn V became the LV that got it and the LM there.

It's not the absence of the payloads as much as the absence of the leadership/objective/plan/commitment that makes those payloads/missions to use them.

Offline the_other_Doug

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2504
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Liked: 1532
  • Likes Given: 2722
Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #579 on: 08/09/2016 07:35 PM »
Do you expect any Administration to propose anything they perceive cannot be accomplished during a max two-term (eight-year) period?  Can you name any President in the past 60 years who has proposed anything he knew could not be accomplished during his own Presidency?

Apollo - proposed in Kennedy's first term in office, and his goal was two years outside of his possible last term in office.

Shuttle - formally commenced in 1972, the year Nixon was running for his 2nd term in office.  No way anyone would have expected the Shuttle to start operational flights in just 4 years.

The ISS - when Reagan proposed Space Station Freedom during his 1984 State of the Union Address, he could have only expected preliminary work to have been done on it before he left office.

Constellation program - Bush proposed the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) in 2004, just before his re-election.  The goal was to return to the Moon 12 years after he left office.

So yes, many Presidents have proposed efforts in space that would not have reached space until after their time in office had ended.

Apollo -- the original text of Kennedy's address to Congress on May 25, 1961 called for this nation "to achieve the goal, by 1967, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."  NASA was strongly pressed to maintain a 1967 target date for the first lunar landing, and when this was found not to be feasible (after Kennedy was dead, realized at some point early in 1965), the pre-Fire DRM for Apollo called for the first landing to occur in spring or summer of 1968.  Still within the magic 8-year timeframe.

The "before this decade is out" was a weasel-word way to save face if it didn't happen by the end of his term, but the goal was always quite clear -- to land a man on the Moon before Kennedy left office after a second term.  Even after Kennedy was killed, the planning dates continued to be no later than 1968, up until the Fire forced an 18-month pause in the schedule.

Shuttle -- it was either that or cancel all American manned space flight entirely, and Nixon wasn't ready to harm the American image worldwide by doing that, I don't think.  He never really associated himself with that program, it was not something his Administration asked for, it's something NASA asked for that his Administration went along with.

ISS -- at that time, Freedom was deep into planning stages at various levels of NASA, and could well have flown its first segments prior to 1988.  I'm positive the planning was to achieve the first segments before Reagan left office.  He did say "within the decade," and his term officially ended in January of 1989 -- so, yeah, that was his goal, certainly.

Constellation -- yep, the only one that was looking at first flights 10 to 12 years after inception.  And offered up in a spirit of "Hey, I'm tryin' for it, but if y'all don't go along after I'm gone, no skin off my legacy..."  And was mostly conceived to keep the pork flowing, not necessarily because GW had a serious vision of human deep-space exploration.  And suffered exactly what everyone said it would, just as soon as GW was out of office -- the exception that proves the rule.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Tags: