Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 226210 times)

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #620 on: 08/23/2016 09:08 PM »
Thanks for the open discussion about what we believe the number of personnel means for SLS costs compared to the statement from the NASA source is an interesting contrast. His statement is pure yearly costs and ours is per unit.

If his under $2B is for the yearly cost of SLS then at a flight rate of every other year from 2022 to 2028 (4 launches) makes the per launch cost of SLS just under $4B each!!!!!!!!!!!
« Last Edit: 08/23/2016 09:10 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline ncb1397

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #621 on: 08/23/2016 11:06 PM »
SLS build rate is like half per year, not 1 per year.

If you're going by max rate, you'll have to compare with Shuttle's projected max (15, 20 per year? 40?). Shuttle achieved 9 missions one year and has a whole bunch of years where they achieved 7 or 8.

Just look at the VAC flow and you will see that it is more than half an SLS per year.

July 2016 - SLS hydrogen tank qualification article complete
June 2016 - SLS O2 tank confidence article
June 2016 - LVSA structural test article
April 2016 - Engine section flight article
Feb 2016 - SLS hydrogen tank confidence article

That hardware represents everything that goes into the Core stage except the forward skirt and inter-tank...in half a year.


Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #622 on: 08/23/2016 11:13 PM »
SLS build rate is like half per year, not 1 per year.

If you're going by max rate, you'll have to compare with Shuttle's projected max (15, 20 per year? 40?). Shuttle achieved 9 missions one year and has a whole bunch of years where they achieved 7 or 8.

Just look at the VAC flow and you will see that it is more than half an SLS per year.

July 2016 - SLS hydrogen tank qualification article complete
June 2016 - SLS O2 tank confidence article
June 2016 - LVSA structural test article
April 2016 - Engine section flight article
Feb 2016 - SLS hydrogen tank confidence article

That hardware represents everything that goes into the Core stage except the forward skirt and inter-tank...in half a year.

I think Robotbeat was referencing the flight rate need based on the interview with NASA's Bill Hill.

And while the development schedule could show what's possible, Boeing and NASA would likely have different goals for development versus production, and what you do in development is not always what you do (i.e. staffing, production rates, etc.) in production.

My $0.02
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 Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #623 on: 08/25/2016 02:10 PM »
And with a NASA-managed launch vehicle, there are funding risks as the program moves from one phase to the next, as Blackjax pointed out some time ago in what I thought was a very interesting post.

It has been approximately constant for decades, give or take a couple billion dollars. Removing SLS and/or Orion and NASA not keeping all or most of the money is entirely consistent with the waxing and waning of NASA's budget historically. For instance, in 1991, the 2014 inflation adjusted budget was 24,235. In 1994, it was 21,979. This represented a decrease of about 10%, which is about the portion of NASA's budget that is dedicated to SLS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

Was a major program canceled between FY 1991 and FY 1994?  If not (and off hand, I can't think of one), this information tends to suggest that factors other than cancellations are a bigger risk than cancellations.
« Last Edit: 08/25/2016 02:11 PM by Proponent »

Offline ncb1397

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #624 on: 08/25/2016 11:56 PM »
And with a NASA-managed launch vehicle, there are funding risks as the program moves from one phase to the next, as Blackjax pointed out some time ago in what I thought was a very interesting post.

It has been approximately constant for decades, give or take a couple billion dollars. Removing SLS and/or Orion and NASA not keeping all or most of the money is entirely consistent with the waxing and waning of NASA's budget historically. For instance, in 1991, the 2014 inflation adjusted budget was 24,235. In 1994, it was 21,979. This represented a decrease of about 10%, which is about the portion of NASA's budget that is dedicated to SLS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

Was a major program canceled between FY 1991 and FY 1994?  If not (and off hand, I can't think of one), this information tends to suggest that factors other than cancellations are a bigger risk than cancellations.


Space Exploration Initiative. A return to the moon and a manned mission to mars was abandoned under Clinton who labeled it too expensive. Without a BEO program, NASA was descoped and hence required less funding to complete a more limited mission.

Funding also dropped significantly after the cancelling of constellation and the shuttle program in 2010. It is simply not feasible to ramp up funding for alternative programs quick enough to offset the abrupt termination of large scale programs like ISS, Orion or SLS. There is also simply the lack of motivation to start another large decade long program when the last one was a failure. Orion and SLS being successful, within the confines of the goals of the program, is good for NASA's topline budget while failure will have at least some detrimental affects.

This is all besides the point though. Someone was making the case that NASA's budget never significantly goes up and down and hence the topline budget can never be damaged by anything. This is clearly not the case, but there is a post Apollo floor of about 15 billion(2014 dollars) that it never has gone below. We, today, at a budget of 19.3 billion aren't near that floor and so a significant drop is feasible.

Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #625 on: 08/26/2016 07:36 PM »
And with a NASA-managed launch vehicle, there are funding risks as the program moves from one phase to the next, as Blackjax pointed out some time ago in what I thought was a very interesting post.

It has been approximately constant for decades, give or take a couple billion dollars. Removing SLS and/or Orion and NASA not keeping all or most of the money is entirely consistent with the waxing and waning of NASA's budget historically. For instance, in 1991, the 2014 inflation adjusted budget was 24,235. In 1994, it was 21,979. This represented a decrease of about 10%, which is about the portion of NASA's budget that is dedicated to SLS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

Was a major program canceled between FY 1991 and FY 1994?  If not (and off hand, I can't think of one), this information tends to suggest that factors other than cancellations are a bigger risk than cancellations.


Space Exploration Initiative. A return to the moon and a manned mission to mars was abandoned under Clinton who labeled it too expensive. Without a BEO program, NASA was descoped and hence required less funding to complete a more limited mission.

Bush the Elder proposed SEI and NASA performed a well-known 90-day study, but Congress never funded it.  Thus, there was nothing to cancel.  More later when I have more time.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #626 on: 08/26/2016 08:42 PM »
There is also simply the lack of motivation to start another large decade long program when the last one was a failure. Orion and SLS being successful, within the confines of the goals of the program, is good for NASA's topline budget while failure will have at least some detrimental affects.

I don't know why anyone would be surprised that American aerospace companies can build a rocket and a capsule to ride on the rocket.  We perfected this 50 years ago.  Even millionaires with no experience can do this nowadays.

However focusing attention on the SLS and Orion ignores the only question that matters - is there really a government need to send a lot of mass and people into space after the ISS is gone?

Today there isn't.  Other than onesie-twosie type payloads like the Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission, Congress so far has refused to approve efforts that would require yearly launches of the SLS.

That's not NASA's fault.  NASA isn't allowed much say on their future.  It's really a situation of circumstance, since whatever is next will cost a lot of money, yet we as a nation don't have an urgent need to do whatever is next right away.  Like fixing our terrestrial infrastructure, which Congress continues to delay fixing - pushing it off onto our children and grandchildren.  The Moon and Mars will still be there for them, so why hurry?

Quote
This is all besides the point though. Someone was making the case that NASA's budget never significantly goes up and down and hence the topline budget can never be damaged by anything. This is clearly not the case, but there is a post Apollo floor of about 15 billion(2014 dollars) that it never has gone below. We, today, at a budget of 19.3 billion aren't near that floor and so a significant drop is feasible.

NASA has a lot of overhead.  Things like wind tunnels, engine testing facilities, zero-gravity simulation pools, etc.  Which are needed if the U.S. Government is building it's own capabilities in space.

But we have certainly reached a moment in history where the private sector is more capable than NASA for pushing mass to & through space.  And without a defined need for capabilities that don't exist in the private sector, the business case for NASA to continue to have lots of legacy development capabilities will just get weaker.

That is not America becoming weaker, that is the successful shift of capabilities from the government to the private sector.  And shouldn't that always be the goal for non-defense capabilities?
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 okan170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #627 on: 08/26/2016 10:01 PM »
That is not America becoming weaker, that is the successful shift of capabilities from the government to the private sector.  And shouldn't that always be the goal for non-defense capabilities?

Well... not always this bit.  Its often extremely disastrous for everyone (but the stakeholders) to privatize everything.  Perhaps its emblematic of my generation, but I prefer having baseline government accountability instead the impenetrable black box of private corporations for most things.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #628 on: 08/28/2016 06:16 PM »
That is not America becoming weaker, that is the successful shift of capabilities from the government to the private sector.  And shouldn't that always be the goal for non-defense capabilities?

Well... not always this bit.  Its often extremely disastrous for everyone (but the stakeholders) to privatize everything.  Perhaps its emblematic of my generation, but I prefer having baseline government accountability instead the impenetrable black box of private corporations for most things.

I do agree that there are some things that make sense to keep government-owned, like defense and government specific services, or keep as a public benefit monopoly like power & water services, and basic mail.

There are also cases to be made for the government to subsidize certain services in order to assure access for what is perceived to be a national need, and our national road system is certainly a good example of that, where the government not only subsidizes the interstate road network, but state and local roads too.  Science falls into this category too.

I use the following philosophy to help me understand what the role of the government should be:

"The government should only do what individuals or the private sector can't or won't do."

Now there is a lot of leeway in that, and I'm quite willing to state not everything is black and white.

But with regards to moving mass to space, and through space, our private sector is certainly capable of satisfying whatever the government forecasts their needs to be.  In other words, other than money, the U.S. Government doesn't have any innate abilities that can't be matched or surpassed by our private sector, and because of that having the U.S. Government develop their own transportation system is duplicative at best, and thus wasteful of taxpayer money.

My $0.02
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 ncb1397

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #629 on: 08/28/2016 06:57 PM »
And with a NASA-managed launch vehicle, there are funding risks as the program moves from one phase to the next, as Blackjax pointed out some time ago in what I thought was a very interesting post.

It has been approximately constant for decades, give or take a couple billion dollars. Removing SLS and/or Orion and NASA not keeping all or most of the money is entirely consistent with the waxing and waning of NASA's budget historically. For instance, in 1991, the 2014 inflation adjusted budget was 24,235. In 1994, it was 21,979. This represented a decrease of about 10%, which is about the portion of NASA's budget that is dedicated to SLS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

Was a major program canceled between FY 1991 and FY 1994?  If not (and off hand, I can't think of one), this information tends to suggest that factors other than cancellations are a bigger risk than cancellations.


Space Exploration Initiative. A return to the moon and a manned mission to mars was abandoned under Clinton who labeled it too expensive. Without a BEO program, NASA was descoped and hence required less funding to complete a more limited mission.

Bush the Elder proposed SEI and NASA performed a well-known 90-day study, but Congress never funded it.  Thus, there was nothing to cancel.  More later when I have more time.

NASA got significant increases in funding every year for a few years after the 1989 speech. At one point, NASA was 1.0% of the federal budget. If those budget levels were sustained, adjusted for inflation, conceivably 2 or 3 parts of the 3 part SEI could have been completed and not just the space station.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #630 on: 08/28/2016 08:52 PM »
Look, the way the economy runs right now does not allow the past to function as it did.

How to use things to get somewhere is more the challenge, when we have different choices then before.

Unfortunately (in retrospect) Congress chose a poor time to chose, and ended up with vehicles/programs that are awkward to go forward with.

So none of the past funding situations gives any clarity to this more novel situation. And the associated politics are unpredictable WRT to proceeding further.

Reason is that there are enough "commercial" vehicles to complicate forward budgeting of landers/habs/etc all up government development - they'll have to be leveraging the existing ones for economic/regulatory reasons.

Also, since reusable LV's might be able to get those vehicles to destinations, even with multiple launches (now possible), the scope of SLS use will remain restricted. Follow-on SLS upgrades would also be scoped/budgeted against those same mature vehicles, so redoing the core/boosters won't easily be in the cards.

Best one can hope for is to apply some of the benefits obtained from "commercial" LV's where possible to extend SLS economic "life" to where non EM1/2 missions have significant impact given what EUS allows.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #631 on: 08/28/2016 11:17 PM »



NASA has a lot of overhead.  Things like wind tunnels, engine testing facilities, zero-gravity simulation pools, etc.  Which are needed if the U.S. Government is building it's own capabilities in space.

But we have certainly reached a moment in history where the private sector is more capable than NASA for pushing mass to & through space.  And without a defined need for capabilities that don't exist in the private sector, the business case for NASA to continue to have lots of legacy development capabilities will just get weaker.



The reason commercial space companies, especially new ones can build lower cost vehicles (landers, LV, capsules etc) is because they have full access to NASA facilities and knowledge. Without NASA help a lot of these companies would never get off the ground.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #632 on: 08/29/2016 12:36 AM »
The reason commercial space companies, especially new ones can build lower cost vehicles (landers, LV, capsules etc) is because they have full access to NASA facilities and knowledge. Without NASA help a lot of these companies would never get off the ground.

The same could be said about just about everything the government funds - we all stand on the shoulders of those that came before us.  But the money that paid for all that came from taxpayers, both private citizens and companies, so sharing that knowledge is part of the repayment.  And at least for NASA, it's mandated by law that they share what they have learned.

And that still doesn't alter the situation we have where the private sector is now more capable than NASA with regards to moving mass to space.  NASA is just contracting for services - paying Boeing to build the SLS, paying someone else to manage the launch ops, etc.  Other than money, NASA is not really bringing much to the table that the private sector wouldn't be able to do on their own - if asked.
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 Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #633 on: 08/29/2016 05:57 PM »
The reason commercial space companies, especially new ones can build lower cost vehicles (landers, LV, capsules etc) is because they have full access to NASA facilities and knowledge. Without NASA help a lot of these companies would never get off the ground.

The same could be said about just about everything the government funds - we all stand on the shoulders of those that came before us.
Various parts of government haven't absorbed the changes in processes/acquisition. Time lagged by change too fast.

Quote
But the money that paid for all that came from taxpayers, both private citizens and companies, so sharing that knowledge is part of the repayment.
To a degree. NASA doesn't share proprietary information but, like AF, is "informed" by it. Both AF/NASA maintain "subject matter expertise" from all of them.

Quote
And at least for NASA, it's mandated by law that they share what they have learned.
Perspective not always practice.

Quote
And that still doesn't alter the situation we have where the private sector is now more capable than NASA with regards to moving mass to space.  NASA is just contracting for services - paying Boeing to build the SLS, paying someone else to manage the launch ops, etc.  Other than money, NASA is not really bringing much to the table that the private sector wouldn't be able to do on their own - if asked.
Which is why NASA needs "practice". Our idi0t policymakers are beginning to twig to that.

Offline Proponent

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #634 on: 08/30/2016 06:08 AM »
Bush the Elder proposed SEI and NASA performed a well-known 90-day study, but Congress never funded it.  Thus, there was nothing to cancel.  More later when I have more time.

NASA got significant increases in funding every year for a few years after the 1989 speech. At one point, NASA was 1.0% of the federal budget. If those budget levels were sustained, adjusted for inflation, conceivably 2 or 3 parts of the 3 part SEI could have been completed and not just the space station.

But Congress did not appropriate any funds for SEI.

Offline ncb1397

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #635 on: 08/30/2016 05:27 PM »
Bush the Elder proposed SEI and NASA performed a well-known 90-day study, but Congress never funded it.  Thus, there was nothing to cancel.  More later when I have more time.

NASA got significant increases in funding every year for a few years after the 1989 speech. At one point, NASA was 1.0% of the federal budget. If those budget levels were sustained, adjusted for inflation, conceivably 2 or 3 parts of the 3 part SEI could have been completed and not just the space station.

But Congress did not appropriate any funds for SEI.

It depends on if you consider Space Station Freedom as part of SEI. Space Station Freedom received billions of dollars per year in that time period. Ultimately, reluctant funding of the space station only delayed the project. References to mars missions and lunar bases show up in NASA budget documents of the early 1990s and so even if there were not explicit funding from congress, resources were being allocated for really early stages.

But my point is that if NASA had a budget today that it had back then, it would be able to accomplish a full mars landing mission. The extra funds back then were being put into the space station which was seen as the first step on the road to Mars. Which is actually the program of record for NASA today BTW. The funding drop was related to not following up with the next part in a multi-part plan by the administration of Bush Sr. The National Launch System wasn't funded back then, but it is basically the configuration of SLS that is cutting hardware now.
« Last Edit: 08/30/2016 06:21 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #636 on: 09/02/2016 02:44 PM »
Jon posted this today

Jonathan A. Goff (@rocketrepreneur) tweeted at 8:21 AM on Fri, Sep 02, 2016:
Heck, we might even be actually exploring by now if it hadn't been for NASA's insistence on building a NASA-run HLV (12/n)
(https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/771442911481171969)

When SLS was proposed, SpaceX was unkown especially F9 which left ULA.
Using the existing Delta Heavy with extra SRBs and ACES would've got a 45t HLV. To go any heavier they needed 2xRD180 core (70t in 3 core heavy version), not option given it was Russian engine. Developing a RD180 replacement was an option but it would only been ready about now. With 70t HLV flying about 2018 on unproven engine.

http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/57c98c9d6744b/EELVPhase2_2010.pdf

NASA still would have been up for Orion development to enable BLEO HSF, which required a 70t HLV with LH/LOX US.

SLS may not be cheap but it was most reliable way to get a HLV given flight proven engines available at time. 



Offline jongoff

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #637 on: 09/02/2016 03:35 PM »
Jon posted this today

Jonathan A. Goff (@rocketrepreneur) tweeted at 8:21 AM on Fri, Sep 02, 2016:
Heck, we might even be actually exploring by now if it hadn't been for NASA's insistence on building a NASA-run HLV (12/n)
(https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/771442911481171969)

When SLS was proposed, SpaceX was unkown especially F9 which left ULA.
Using the existing Delta Heavy with extra SRBs and ACES would've got a 45t HLV. To go any heavier they needed 2xRD180 core (70t in 3 core heavy version), not option given it was Russian engine. Developing a RD180 replacement was an option but it would only been ready about now. With 70t HLV flying about 2018 on unproven engine.

http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/57c98c9d6744b/EELVPhase2_2010.pdf

NASA still would have been up for Orion development to enable BLEO HSF, which required a 70t HLV with LH/LOX US.

SLS may not be cheap but it was most reliable way to get a HLV given flight proven engines available at time. 

As much as I started that on Twitter, let's not start that again here on NSF, please? I could answer your objections, but I think most people here have already made up their minds and don't want to hear constant criticism from those of us who think SLS is a waste.

~Jon

Offline Khadgars

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #638 on: 09/02/2016 04:45 PM »
Jon posted this today

Jonathan A. Goff (@rocketrepreneur) tweeted at 8:21 AM on Fri, Sep 02, 2016:
Heck, we might even be actually exploring by now if it hadn't been for NASA's insistence on building a NASA-run HLV (12/n)
(https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/771442911481171969)

When SLS was proposed, SpaceX was unkown especially F9 which left ULA.
Using the existing Delta Heavy with extra SRBs and ACES would've got a 45t HLV. To go any heavier they needed 2xRD180 core (70t in 3 core heavy version), not option given it was Russian engine. Developing a RD180 replacement was an option but it would only been ready about now. With 70t HLV flying about 2018 on unproven engine.

http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/57c98c9d6744b/EELVPhase2_2010.pdf

NASA still would have been up for Orion development to enable BLEO HSF, which required a 70t HLV with LH/LOX US.

SLS may not be cheap but it was most reliable way to get a HLV given flight proven engines available at time.

After the failure of the F9 yesterday, I think its a pretty clear reminder that nothing should be taken for granted.  I am a huge supporter of SpaceX, but BFS/MCT have no business being on their road map right now until they figure out what is going on.  They will definitely survive this accident, but I believe they can't afford another failure for quite some time.

I think it is also a good reminder, that we will need everyone pulling in the same direction, including SLS/SpaceX/ULA/Bigelow, etc if we have any chance of getting to Mars.

Offline Arb

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #639 on: 09/02/2016 07:41 PM »
Jon posted this today

Jonathan A. Goff (@rocketrepreneur) tweeted at 8:21 AM on Fri, Sep 02, 2016:
Heck, ... if it hadn't been for NASA's insistence on building a NASA-run HLV...
Minor nit. The phrasing you used always irks me. My understanding is that the top of NASA (Bolden and Garver at the time) did not want SLS; it was Congress that insisted. Though, on reflection, you may have been thinking of the Constellation program.

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