Author Topic: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip  (Read 7439 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

Another interesting article by Philip Sloss with - of course - cool L2 renders from Nathan Koga :)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/06/nasa-letter-congress-em-1-slip/

And no, this thread is not for anyone to post "OMG, give it all to SpaceX cause they never slip launch dates" ;)

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #1 on: 06/21/2017 07:50 PM »
Another interesting article by Philip Sloss with - of course - cool L2 renders from Nathan Koga :)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/06/nasa-letter-congress-em-1-slip/

And no, this thread is not for anyone to post "OMG, give it all to SpaceX cause they never slip launch dates" ;)
No, but I think a decent case for skipping Block 1 all together could be made at this point while spinning em-1 into an EFT flight on delta or falcon heavy.

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #2 on: 06/21/2017 08:48 PM »
Another interesting article by Philip Sloss with - of course - cool L2 renders from Nathan Koga :)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/06/nasa-letter-congress-em-1-slip/

And no, this thread is not for anyone to post "OMG, give it all to SpaceX cause they never slip launch dates" ;)
No, but I think a decent case for skipping Block 1 all together could be made at this point while spinning em-1 into an EFT flight on delta or falcon heavy.
Apart from being a red-tape nightmare NASA is also well trained in keeping all it's options open. So, it should not come as a surprise to hear that NASA is in fact looking into exactly what you propose: turn EM-1 into an EFT-2 on Delta IV Heavy with the first flight SLS being a Block 1B (thus skipping Block 1).

Offline whitelancer64

That decision should have been made years ago, but c'est la vie.

And it's kind of a shame, since the ICPS is the only part of the SLS that's complete and more or less ready to go right now.

Presumably it would still be used if EFT-2 is assigned to a Delta IV Heavy?
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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #4 on: 06/21/2017 08:56 PM »
... and, if they want to avoid an EFT-3, they should find a means to allow it to become briefly crewed (and not just dummies).

There's mission complexity added for sure, but never underestimate the value of actual humans in the vehicle on orbit, for even just a day.

(And I know they think they've got all the bases covered w/o this. But they've thought that multiple times before, and it's best that they don't end up being "dummies" once again.)

Offline Khadgars

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #5 on: 06/21/2017 10:31 PM »
Another interesting article by Philip Sloss with - of course - cool L2 renders from Nathan Koga :)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/06/nasa-letter-congress-em-1-slip/

And no, this thread is not for anyone to post "OMG, give it all to SpaceX cause they never slip launch dates" ;)
No, but I think a decent case for skipping Block 1 all together could be made at this point while spinning em-1 into an EFT flight on delta or falcon heavy.
Apart from being a red-tape nightmare NASA is also well trained in keeping all it's options open. So, it should not come as a surprise to hear that NASA is in fact looking into exactly what you propose: turn EM-1 into an EFT-2 on Delta IV Heavy with the first flight SLS being a Block 1B (thus skipping Block 1).

Are they really considering this?  Interesting change of events, though I still expect to see Block 1 fly in 2019.

Offline Rocket Science

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« Last Edit: 06/21/2017 11:13 PM by Rocket Science »
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Offline woods170

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #7 on: 06/22/2017 07:02 AM »
Another interesting article by Philip Sloss with - of course - cool L2 renders from Nathan Koga :)

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/06/nasa-letter-congress-em-1-slip/

And no, this thread is not for anyone to post "OMG, give it all to SpaceX cause they never slip launch dates" ;)
No, but I think a decent case for skipping Block 1 all together could be made at this point while spinning em-1 into an EFT flight on delta or falcon heavy.
Apart from being a red-tape nightmare NASA is also well trained in keeping all it's options open. So, it should not come as a surprise to hear that NASA is in fact looking into exactly what you propose: turn EM-1 into an EFT-2 on Delta IV Heavy with the first flight SLS being a Block 1B (thus skipping Block 1).

Are they really considering this?  Interesting change of events, though I still expect to see Block 1 fly in 2019.
"Considering" and "looking into the possibility" are two vastly different things. The former is usually done only after the latter has resulted in some sort of report.

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #8 on: 06/22/2017 07:09 AM »
Presumably it would still be used if EFT-2 is assigned to a Delta IV Heavy?
Unlikely. The iCPS is a stretched version of the Delta IV Heavy upper stage (there is an 18 inch stretch in the LH2 tank). To use it on a Delta IV Heavy would require substantial one-use-only modifications of the Delta IV launch umbilical tower and other GSE systems. That would be both impractible and expensive.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2017 08:17 AM by woods170 »

Offline Proponent

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #9 on: 06/22/2017 08:22 AM »
To use [ICPS] ... would require substantial one-use-only modifications of the ... launch umbilical tower and other GSE systems. That would be both impractible and expensive.

I don't disagree, but it's ironic that this is exactly the plan with respect to flying ICPS on SLS.

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #10 on: 06/22/2017 10:37 AM »
To use [ICPS] ... would require substantial one-use-only modifications of the ... launch umbilical tower and other GSE systems. That would be both impractible and expensive.

I don't disagree, but it's ironic that this is exactly the plan with respect to flying ICPS on SLS.
Yeah, a very expensive set of iCPS specific hardware and testing is implemented for a stage that will likely fly just once on SLS (if ever).  It was originally supposed to be 2 flights before EM-2 was promoted to EUS.

But heck, we have US Congress to thank for this mess. They were the ones ordering a launcher that could grow from 70 mT to LEO to 130 mT to LEO.

But with regards to iCPS flying on Delta IV Heavy: it would be worse than just making the one-use-only mods. After the mission is flown the one-use-mods would have to be reversed, given that iCPS is not the baseline upper stage of Delta IV Heavy. So, flying iCPS on a Delta IV Heavy would incurr the cost of changing the ground systems TWICE. IMO it is for this reason that any further missions of Orion on Delta IV Heavy will use the standard DCSS.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2017 10:41 AM by woods170 »

Offline TaurusLittrow

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #11 on: 06/22/2017 11:09 AM »
The bureaucratic waste and glacial pace of SLS/Orion are really very tiresome. So are NASA's excuses (the tornado ate my homework...) for delays.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/new-report-nasa-spends-72-cents-of-every-sls-dollar-on-overhead-costs/

For goodness sake, a lot of the hardware, at least, is derived from STS and the RS-25 engines are even "flight proven." I get it that modifications are needed to take the RS-25s as an example (inlet pressure and temp, etc.).

But after tens of billions of dollars spent and the better part of a decade, is this any way to run a railroad?

Offline jtrame

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #12 on: 06/22/2017 11:35 AM »
The bureaucratic waste and glacial pace of SLS/Orion are really very tiresome. So are NASA's excuses (the tornado ate my homework...) for delays.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/new-report-nasa-spends-72-cents-of-every-sls-dollar-on-overhead-costs/

For goodness sake, a lot of the hardware, at least, is derived from STS and the RS-25 engines are even "flight proven." I get it that modifications are needed to take the RS-25s as an example (inlet pressure and temp, etc.).

But after tens of billions of dollars spent and the better part of a decade, is this any way to run a railroad?

What it says to me is there is nothing inherently wrong with the contracted hardware or the contractors, it's the bureaucratic behemoth that has sucked up the vast majority of the funds.  Since we can't go back and unspend money already spent then the cost of NASA going forward is where we should make the changes.  It only matters going forward.   If no changes are made, then more of the same.  Congress should separate out the funds going to the contractors and the funds going to NASA.  Cut the latter.

Offline JohnF

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #13 on: 06/22/2017 11:39 AM »
I'm sure all of the above is in all phases true, however these workers need jobs too, so of course it's gonna slip, getting paychecks is a good thing.

Offline woods170

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #14 on: 06/22/2017 01:24 PM »
The current NASA POR is a prime example of this:

Quote from: Phillip Swarts
If the United States is going to stay a preeminent world power, it’s going to require failure, said Gen. John Hyten, the head of U.S. Strategic Command. “We’ve lost the ability to go fast, test, and fail,” Hyten said. “We tie the hands of our engineers and acquisition folk because we expect every test to work and if it doesn’t work it’s on the front page of the newspaper. We have got to get back to where we accept risk.”

and this:

Quote from: Phillip Swarts
Between 1959 and 1964, with $17 billion in current-year dollars, the military created the Minuteman nuclear missile, delivering  “800 missiles deployed in five different bases across America, 160 launch holes, all the missile alert facilities, all the launch control centers, all the command and control,” Hyten said.
Now, building the next-generation GBSD is estimated to cost $84 billion for 400 missiles and isn’t set to be completed until 2029.
“How did we get to the point where it used to be that we could deliver 800 three-stage solid rocket motors…and now it takes us 12 to 17 years, so in other words, four times as long, four times as expensive, for half the capability?” Hyten said.

Quotes are from here: http://spacenews.com/if-america-wants-to-succeed-it-needs-to-learn-to-fail-top-general-says/

Offline AncientU

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #15 on: 06/22/2017 01:43 PM »
To use [ICPS] ... would require substantial one-use-only modifications of the ... launch umbilical tower and other GSE systems. That would be both impractible and expensive.

I don't disagree, but it's ironic that this is exactly the plan with respect to flying ICPS on SLS.
Yeah, a very expensive set of iCPS specific hardware and testing is implemented for a stage that will likely fly just once on SLS (if ever).  It was originally supposed to be 2 flights before EM-2 was promoted to EUS.

But heck, we have US Congress to thank for this mess. They were the ones ordering a launcher that could grow from 70 mT to LEO to 130 mT to LEO.

But with regards to iCPS flying on Delta IV Heavy: it would be worse than just making the one-use-only mods. After the mission is flown the one-use-mods would have to be reversed, given that iCPS is not the baseline upper stage of Delta IV Heavy. So, flying iCPS on a Delta IV Heavy would incurr the cost of changing the ground systems TWICE. IMO it is for this reason that any further missions of Orion on Delta IV Heavy will use the standard DCSS.

You don't seriously believe Congress 'invented' the 70-130t progression, do you?
It most likely was handed to Senator Shelby's staff by a contractor lobbyist.
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Offline UltraViolet9

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #16 on: 06/22/2017 02:08 PM »

It's hard to see how EM-1 will make a 2019 launch date given that there are:

Quote
...issues with all three programs separately and with integrating hardware and software between them...

L2 notes say that currently the areas most critical to the schedule are the SLS Core Stage, Orion’s European Service Module (ESM), construction and activation of GSDO’s Mobile Launcher, and software development across the board.

I'm sure that individually each program element has a delay of less than a year and that in theory they could be integrated and ready for launch in less than a year.

But the likelihood that all three program elements will execute to the revised schedule without cascading impacts on integration pushing launch into 2020 or later must be vanishingly small.

There's also this issue, per Bill Hill:

Quote
“We will try our best to launch [in daylight] but there’s only a few months out of the year where you get enough daylight, both in the early morning and late at night — and of course we’re looking at two different coasts here.  There’s only about three or four months where we could possibly get both.  We’re going to trade one against the other.”

If SLS/Orion can only launch crewed a few summer months out of each year, then the likelihood that all three program elements can be integrated by summer 2019 for EM-1 is even smaller.

I'm guessing that a realistic launch date with 50%-80% confidence for EM-1 is summer 2020 at the earliest.

I hope the agency is honest with the Administration about this.  It's concerning that the GAO warned of these slips before NASA HEOMD did.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2017 06:48 PM by UltraViolet9 »

Offline gongora

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #17 on: 06/22/2017 02:33 PM »
Quote
“We will try our best to launch [in daylight] but there’s only a few months out of the year where you get enough daylight, both in the early morning and late at night — and of course we’re looking at two different coasts here.  There’s only about three or four months where we could possibly get both.  We’re going to trade one against the other.”

If SLS/Orion can only launch crewed a few summer months out of each year, then the likelihood that all three program elements can be integrated by summer 2019 for EM-1 is even smaller.

I'm guessing that a realistic launch date with 50%-80% confidence for EM-1 is summer 2020 at the earliest.

I hope the agency is honest with the Administration about this.

It says optimal conditions with daylight launch and landing for this particular mission is a few months of the summer.  It also says they don't have to launch in daylight.  That's a preferred time of year to launch, not a requirement.

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #18 on: 06/22/2017 03:29 PM »
What I don't understand is why NASA had to spend a fortune building new tooling using bleeding edge technology to make the tanks. What was wrong with the tooling used to build the Shuttle tanks? Might have needed some modifications, but not replacement with experimental equipment.

Offline okan170

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Re: NASA preparing letter to Congress to explain EM-1 slip
« Reply #19 on: 06/22/2017 03:57 PM »
Since we can't go back and unspend money already spent then the cost of NASA going forward is where we should make the changes.  It only matters going forward.   If no changes are made, then more of the same.  Congress should separate out the funds going to the contractors and the funds going to NASA.  Cut the latter.

Thats right, lets get that nasty nasty government out of the way of those poor noble companies and just make it a money-hose directly to them since they will always make the right choices!

Sometimes this forum's reaction to any SLS news is incredibly predictable.

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