Author Topic: SLS General Discussion Thread 2  (Read 223377 times)

Online envy887

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1140 on: 12/07/2017 04:14 PM »
Some chatter from Eric Berger (Ars Technica) on Twitter about EM-1 launching in 2023 now. Is this actually a valid possibility?! Or is this a total worst case scenario? If it is delayed to 2023 Iím not sure the program would survive.

"Too big to fail" at this point.

Nope.

You don't think SLS has achieved too big to fail status? A twenty billion dollar sunk cost fallacy combined with the political power that protects it... I'm not attacking your opinion, just trying to further discussion. I would be very surprised if they didn't launch it at least once. Of course I would prefer that money go elsewhere, end of cost plus, and all the rest. But we're in farce territory now, and the project shows no sign whatsoever of being cancelled or curtailed.

Just to add a little precision to these discussions. On page 460 of the FY 2018 NASA Budget Request document(linked below), they have a total showing SLS program costs including formulation and development stages. Adding the Prior to 2016 amount to the 2016 actual amount and the 2017 enacted amount yields a figure of 9.923 billion through October 1, 2017(2 months, 5 days ago). Doing the same for Exploration Ground Systems(which is attributable to both Orion and SLS ground support costs) yields a number of 2.068 billion. Total "sunk costs" For SLS are therefore <$12 billion as of 8 weeks ago.

There is some discrepancy between what NASA spent and what was allocated by Congress. For instance, in FY 2016, NASA was allocated $2 billion even for SLS but this newer budget document seems to indicate that $1.922 billion was spent(~96% of appropriations for that year, other years could be less). This partly explains the disconnect between the perceived cost of the SLS program and the actual cost of the SLS program. The budget bills are the only things that make headlines every year, not NASA accounting of the year after the fact. Other explanations for the discrepancies lie with taking the most recent figures and extrapolating figures back to ~2010 when it was in the infancy and conflating constellation costs with the SLS program.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/fy_2018_budget_estimates.pdf

$12B now, with another 7.8 billion expected to be spent on SLS and Exploration Ground Systems through the end of 2020.

If SLS is canceled after failing to fly in 2020 (or even after 1 unmanned test flight), the total sunk cost will be around $20B.

Online edkyle99

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1141 on: 12/07/2017 05:00 PM »
If this thing about 2023 is indeed valid, what would be driving this delay from 2019-20?

Job security for Shelby's Alabama-based workers. SLS is, after all, little more than a massive jobs program at this point.
Hardly massive.  Fewer workers than for STS, the majority probably not working in Alabama.  Orion may account for nearly as many, if not more, jobs than SLS itself.  Quite a few of the Orion jobs are in Europe, not funded by NASA.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/07/2017 05:01 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1142 on: 12/07/2017 05:28 PM »
SLS mentioned by Boeing CEO as the way that Boeing will beat SpaceX to Mars.

http://fortune.com/2017/12/07/boeing-dennis-muilenburg-elon-musk-mars

Musk's response is classic Musk

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/938816780444745728
Quote
Do it
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Online AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1143 on: 12/07/2017 06:07 PM »
Some chatter from Eric Berger (Ars Technica) on Twitter about EM-1 launching in 2023 now. Is this actually a valid possibility?! Or is this a total worst case scenario? If it is delayed to 2023 I’m not sure the program would survive.

"Too big to fail" at this point.

Nope.

You don't think SLS has achieved too big to fail status? A twenty twelve billion dollar sunk cost fallacy combined with the political power that protects it... I'm not attacking your opinion, just trying to further discussion. I would be very surprised if they didn't launch it at least once. Of course I would prefer that money go elsewhere, end of cost plus, and all the rest. But we're in farce territory now, and the project shows no sign whatsoever of being cancelled or curtailed.

Edit: adjusted the sunk cost amount to reflect ncb1397's dose of reality  :)

Launching once or twice, never flying crew, and then being cancelled is exactly what I expect to happen.
If these 2023 lines are correct, which I believe is entirely possible, then it won't fly even once.
Either way, it is a failure.

Note: SLS costs need to include Orion -- their conception, birth, continued existence, survival, and thus price tag are inexorably linked.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2017 06:08 PM by AncientU »
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Online Space Ghost 1962

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1144 on: 12/07/2017 06:38 PM »
It is likely that SLS, a program that in one form or another has consumed more than a decade and more than $20 B in funding, massive lobbyist support, broad legislative backing,  could actually be used to reach Mars, ahead of a BFS/BFR, given that it doesn't already exist. (FH doesn't count here because there aren't any missions to Mars planned, although one to show it's possible.)

But as Musk's pithy comment indicates, it's as empty a gesture because there are no missions to Mars planned for it.

(Am not always fond of Musk's gestures. But the Boeing CEO is competing poorly with his own idiot gesture.)

Propose to both CEO's (others as well) of launcher/providers this competition:
  1. Independently wholly fund a launch campaign to heliocentric destination
  2. We'll score it by demonstrated capability of that LV as (in the vicinity, in orbit, landed, HSF)
  3. First to do so wins in each category named.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1145 on: 12/07/2017 07:08 PM »
Note: SLS costs need to include Orion -- their conception, birth, continued existence, survival, and thus price tag are inexorably linked.
I've wonder if it's possible to break this link.  What kind of effort would it take to put Orion on either Vulcan ACES or on a New Glenn?  Would refueling a second stage allow these launchers to take Orion anywhere SLS could take it?  If so, that could remove another argument for not canceling SLS.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1146 on: 12/07/2017 07:41 PM »
Note: SLS costs need to include Orion -- their conception, birth, continued existence, survival, and thus price tag are inexorably linked.
I've wonder if it's possible to break this link.  What kind of effort would it take to put Orion on either Vulcan ACES or on a New Glenn?  Would refueling a second stage allow these launchers to take Orion anywhere SLS could take it?  If so, that could remove another argument for not canceling SLS.

In theory, yes; in practice, no, as Congress would never allow it.

This is 80% of the problem.
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Online AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1147 on: 12/07/2017 11:26 PM »
It is likely that SLS, a program that in one form or another has consumed more than a decade and more than $20 B in funding, massive lobbyist support, broad legislative backing,  could actually be used to reach Mars, ahead of a BFS/BFR, given that it doesn't already exist. (FH doesn't count here because there aren't any missions to Mars planned, although one to show it's possible.)

But as Musk's pithy comment indicates, it's as empty a gesture because there are no missions to Mars planned for it.

(Am not always fond of Musk's gestures. But the Boeing CEO is competing poorly with his own idiot gesture.)

Propose to both CEO's (others as well) of launcher/providers this competition:
  1. Independently wholly fund a launch campaign to heliocentric destination
  2. We'll score it by demonstrated capability of that LV as (in the vicinity, in orbit, landed, HSF)
  3. First to do so wins in each category named.

Isn't that what Roadster in space is doing?  Next month?
If you say can't use this example because SpaceX got USG $$ -- though clearly not for FH -- then how will Boeing ever qualify? 

Problem with Boeing boss claim is the arrogance of calling SLS a Boeing rocket.  They didn't fund it, they aren't covering its overruns, they didn't win it based on anything but political chumming.  It's the closest thing to their rocket only because there isn't anything they've designed or developed out there that can compete.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2017 11:27 PM by AncientU »
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Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1148 on: 12/07/2017 11:50 PM »
SLS mentioned by Boeing CEO as the way that Boeing will beat SpaceX to Mars.

http://fortune.com/2017/12/07/boeing-dennis-muilenburg-elon-musk-mars

Musk's response is classic Musk

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/938816780444745728
Quote
Do it
He's just parroting what he heard when he said Dragons to Mars every two years.

I guess he's hoping for the same outcome in this case.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2017 11:50 PM by rayleighscatter »

Offline tea monster

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1149 on: 12/07/2017 11:56 PM »
So, if Boeing is going to beat Elon to Mars:

1. What happens to the notional DSG/Europa Clipper launch schedule if Boeing is going to race Musk to the Red Planet?

2. How are they going to get Congress to sign off on the tab?

It might be an interesting new thread to discuss how to get to Mars first if you were the CEO of Boeing and you were going to actually try to pull this off.

Online speedevil

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1150 on: 12/08/2017 03:06 AM »
It might be an interesting new thread to discuss how to get to Mars first if you were the CEO of Boeing and you were going to actually try to pull this off.

The only routes I can see would also make SLS questionable - I mean - if Boeing starts developing a Boeing Follower Rocket on its own, ...
(The aeroplane side)

Offline spacenut

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1151 on: 12/08/2017 03:13 AM »
I could see upgrading SLS with liquid reusable landable boosters like a F9.  They would have to provide what 2-4 million lbs thrust to do so.  Then upgrade with a second stage with a J2X or two.  Maybe a second stage with 3 BE-3's and reuse it.  This might get 150 lbs to orbit.  Then build a reusable Nautilus-X craft from 100-150 ton modules.  Then build a reusable Mars lander.  Now we spend another $50 billion and spread it over 10-20 years. 

After SLS is built, are there any Mars plans at all in the works at NASA?

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1152 on: 12/08/2017 03:32 AM »
SLS with a 5x RS-25 powered corestage and a pair of 5.4 meter, multi-Raptor powered fully reusable boosters would kick some serious arse. An Exploration Upper Stage with higher thrust RL-10 derivatives or replacements, that was capable of refueling would be a formidable launcher. But you'd need 2x launchpads and a suitable infrastructure at KSC to get a really good flight rate going. The booster I described above could probably get 150 metric tons into LEO per throw. Couple that with a Shuttle-type max flight rate of 5 or 6 per year and you could be talking serious tonnage.

Even the 'standard' SLS corestage of only 4x RS-25 wouldn't lose oodles of lifting power...
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Online Steven Pietrobon

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1153 on: 12/08/2017 04:20 AM »
Possibly a better solution is to replace the core and boosters with a kerolox stage using 19 AR-1 engines. Thrust would be 42.3 MN with 2724.3 t of propellant and 152.7 t dry mass. Development cost would be about $8046M. It would take 100 flights to break even, possibly a lot less if the stage can be made reusable.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1154 on: 12/08/2017 04:52 AM »
An 8.4 meter corestage, powered by the 19x AR-1s? That I'd like to see!! That AR-1 project looks like it needs a lifeline, though I think it would be a good engine. There could be two versions - Heavy Lift Expendable corestage and reusable Medium/Heavy lift corestage. Second and Upper stage options could be a 2x J-X with a 2x MB-60 third stage, or a second stage with 7x RL-10s... Heh; I like 'Rocket Legos'... ;)
« Last Edit: 12/08/2017 07:16 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline woods170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1155 on: 12/08/2017 08:16 AM »

The only routes I can see would also make SLS questionable - I mean - if Boeing starts developing a Boeing Follower Rocket on its own, ...
(The aeroplane side)
Given that the Boeing CEO is claiming they will get to Mars first it would be the Boeing Forerunner Rocket.

Offline tea monster

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1156 on: 12/08/2017 10:35 AM »
Or develop yourself a lander that can go up in sections within the shrouds of existing launchers (oh, the irony!!!!). Dock it in orbit with a Starliner, some Cygnus/Bigelow habs and a transfer stage and off you go! If you give it a few years, you may be able to use a DSG power and propulsion module for Martian transfer.

The liquid booster idea for the SLS won't work. Remember, the same political directive that got you your mega-rocket won't allow you to shut-out some of it's powerful backers by removing the solid boosters. You are stuck with the design as-is.

Online AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1157 on: 12/08/2017 11:16 AM »
Funny that all these posts carry the underlying assumption that Boeing can't get to Mars with SLS on NASA's (taxpayers') dime which is exactly what Boeing's CEO flatly stated.  Says something about SLS perhaps?

Boeing has always had the ability (for 50 years or so) and opportunity to do what Muilenburg boasted. 

Do it.
« Last Edit: 12/08/2017 11:19 AM by AncientU »
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Offline woods170

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1158 on: 12/08/2017 11:25 AM »
Or develop yourself a lander that can go up in sections within the shrouds of existing launchers (oh, the irony!!!!). Dock it in orbit with a Starliner, some Cygnus/Bigelow habs and a transfer stage and off you go! If you give it a few years, you may be able to use a DSG power and propulsion module for Martian transfer.

The liquid booster idea for the SLS won't work. Remember, the same political directive that got you your mega-rocket won't allow you to shut-out some of it's powerful backers by removing the solid boosters. You are stuck with the design as-is.

Indeed. And the advanced booster for the 130 metric ton version of SLS is not going to change that:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/01/the-dark-knights-atks-advanced-booster-revealed-for-sls/

Quote from: Chris Bergin
However, what canít be estimated is ATKís foothold as the provider of boosters for NASAís human space flight program for the past 30 years. A continuation with the familiarity of the solid motors is continually classed as the favored option by SLS sources.

That indication was confirmed in 2014 when William Gerstenmaier, NASAs associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said NASA was no longer planning to begin a competition in 2015 for advanced boosters to replace the ATK solids flying on the first two SLS missions.

In other words: the advanced boosters will be sole-sourced to OATK and they will be the black knights.
« Last Edit: 12/08/2017 11:26 AM by woods170 »

Online AncientU

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Re: SLS General Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1159 on: 12/08/2017 11:55 AM »
...

In other words: the advanced boosters will be sole-sourced to OATK and they will be the black knights.

Only if SLS still exists in 2030... 
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