Author Topic: "DIRECT" Goes Live  (Read 331987 times)

Offline kraisee

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"DIRECT" Goes Live
« on: 10/26/2006 04:43 PM »
For Your Information:

Cape Canaveral, Florida
25th October 2006

A grass-roots effort, supported by many engineers and mid-level managers within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is announcing its proposal today, targeted to influence NASA to review again its plans for the new “Ares” family of launch vehicles.  If adopted, the new approach promises to save the agency $35 Billion over the next 20 years.

Called the “Direct Shuttle Derivative”, or “DIRECT”, the proposal calls for NASA to replace the separate “Ares-I” Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) and the massive “Ares-V” Cargo Launch Vehicle (CaLV) currently being designed to replace the Space Shuttle, with a single “Universal Launcher” system capable of performing both roles.

This would immediately cut in half the expected $40 Billion development cost of the two planned launchers, and would also halve the recurring fixed costs of operating two divergent launcher systems concurrently.

The proposal, available on www.directlauncher.com, approaches the problem of Lunar and Mars missions from an integrated perspective, dealing with the most important issues facing NASA today, such as multi-billion-dollar development costs, extensive infrastructure replacement, low vehicle performance, lower safety performance than planned, and long-term program risks.

Coming hot on the heels of recent Congressional Budget Office and Government Accounting Office criticisms that NASA must reassess its spending plans for the new “Vision for Space Exploration”, and in the wake of much argument from inside NASA’s own Science Community regarding recent mission and budget cuts made to fund the development of the new launchers and the Orion CEV spacecraft, this proposal seems to offer a particularly viable alternative path for NASA to consider.

The DIRECT approach calls for a single launch vehicle, based on the very reliable and already man-rated 4-segment Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) used on the Space Shuttle today, a Core Stage based very closely on the existing External Tank, but with two RS-68R engines, based on the engines used by the Delta-IV, mounted underneath.   This configuration initially offers more than 70 tons of lift capability to orbit, compared to just 22 tons for the Ares-I.   Add an Upper Stage, similar to the one Ares-V requires and this performance climbs to over 98 tons on every flight.   Two flights of DIRECT exceed the combined payload performance of the Ares-I and Ares-V together, which are both required under current plans for each Lunar mission.

By reusing existing launcher elements, support infrastructure and current manufacturing facilities to the maximum possible degree, DIRECT requires only a fraction of the expensive changes required by the two Ares vehicles.   This not only saves Billions, but would also reduce schedules considerably.

The idea itself is far from new, in fact it was originally proposed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in 1986, in the aftermath of the 1986 Challenger accident.   However, DIRECT has evolved the concept into a modern integrated approach, which fits with NASA’s mandate, workforce retention requirements , and performance needs, and neatly integrates into the current support structure which exists for Shuttle today.

The concept promises to allow NASA to spend an extra $35 Billion of its budget on making use of its new spacecraft, instead of using that money just building and operating the launch vehicles.

For more information, please visit: www.directlauncher.com

Ross B Tierney
info@directlauncher.com
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline JIS

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #1 on: 10/26/2006 06:00 PM »
Ross, very very similar approach was considered in ESAS. Do you really think that NASA will listen to amateurs doing just another powerpoint study? I can't believe that you can be so naive. The only result will be more people believing in funny conspiracy theories not supporting space exploration.
The clever man carefully considers all alternatives and makes a decisions. Once the decision is made its time to go and perform the plan. Changing the plan all the time takes you nowhere.
The only possibility how to get to the Moon sooner is to give NASA more money or kill STS sooner.
'Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill' - Old Greek experience

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RE: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #2 on: 10/26/2006 06:26 PM »
I wonder what, if anything, will come of this.  There's nothing in here that NASA hasn't already considered.  And, since NASA came to a different conclusion, one must assume that either:
1) There are considerations not included in your proposal that resulted in the current  Ares concept, or
2) NASA is just doing whatever it wants regardless of the facts, or
3) Your information and/or conclusions are incorrect or incomplete.

In any of these cases, your presentation will have no effect on the decision to go ahead with Ares.

Will some member of congress read it and demand that NASA take a few more months to explain once again why Ares is the best approach?  Maybe, but not likely.

Will some member of congress enter it into the Congressional Record as proof of NASA's incompetence and fiscal irresponsibility, as he casts his vote against next year's NASA appropriation bill?  I wouldn't be surprised.


Is it a fun exercise in "What would I do if I was Mike Griffin?"  Surely.





Offline kraisee

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RE: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #3 on: 10/26/2006 07:15 PM »
There are fundamentally TWO key differences from the ESAS LV 24/25 vehicle to this alternative:-


1) Switch from 3 x $90m Space Shuttle Main Engines to 2 x $25m RS-68 Regenerative Nozzle engines.

This: Decreases cost considerably, decreases schedule, improves safety, increases performance.


2) ESAS *NEVER* studied the LV-24/25 configuration with an EDS performing the last part of the ascent.   Only LV27 was studied with such an Upper Stage/EDS, making LV 27.3.

This: Improves performance massively and brings the 2-launch IMLEO up to well above the Stick/CaLV alternatives.   This option was NOT considered by ESAS.


With the Ares-I underperforming, and the budget shortfalls being prediced by Griffin, GAO and also CBO, I simply think a change like this makes a lot more sence than continuing down the path being followed right now.

And there is no reason other than PR, not to consider changing.   The vast majority of the work done so far easily benefits this concept too.

I'm under no illusion that NASA will magically decide to follow this as a "god-send".   But I do not believe the current plan will work any longer.   I believe the funding for Ares-V will be cut before it ever flies, and the total performance of Ares-I will cause endless complications, cost overruns and schedule slips for NASA over the next twenty years.

Further, from Griffin's own mouth, it seems that even if Ares-V is built and flies, NASA won't have any spare funding to do much of anything with it.

Changing direction after Ares-I is built will be too late, and the US risks being stuck in Low Earth Orbit for 30 more years while China and India slowly develop their 15-20 year programs and just sweep straight past.

I'm speaking out for what I believe in.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

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RE: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #4 on: 10/26/2006 07:26 PM »
Quote
kraisee - 26/10/2006  1:58 PM

I'm speaking out for what I believe in.

Ross.

Nothing wrong with that.

Offline Jim

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #5 on: 10/26/2006 07:30 PM »
Anything that get rid of the stick is good

Offline meiza

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #6 on: 10/26/2006 08:12 PM »
Quote
JIS - 26/10/2006  6:43 PM
The clever man carefully considers all alternatives and makes a decisions. Once the decision is made its time to go and perform the plan. Changing the plan all the time takes you nowhere.
The only possibility how to get to the Moon sooner is to give NASA more money or kill STS sooner.

Now, changing the plan all the time surely, yes, takes you nowhere. But sometimes there really is a better way and it is so much better that even though you waste some time and effort by going back, you still gain so much that you come to the objectives better via that better way. It is a reasonable question.

The idea of Direct is that it is quite close to current shuttle hardware and could be brought online quickly and with little money. It also enables to make lunar flights with very much one type of launcher instead of two. That should reduce costs. It also has performance margin.

For a slightly humorous note, I can get some quote here...

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road;
in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive." -C. S. Lewis


I'm not in love with the Direct completely, since it is somewhat big for crewed flights and in a class that makes alternatives impossible, there's just no commercial uses for 70 ton rockets. Its flight rates won't be very high either because of that.
Maybe if NASA put enough money to COTS as lighter manned spaceflight / ISS service backup, I'd be closer to happier.

Perhaps the price of RS-68 engines will go down though, making Delta IV cheaper?

Offline Smatcha

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #7 on: 10/26/2006 08:27 PM »
Quote
JIS - 26/10/2006  10:43 AM

Ross, very very similar approach was considered in ESAS. Do you really think that NASA will listen to amateurs doing just another powerpoint study? I can't believe that you can be so naive. The only result will be more people believing in funny conspiracy theories not supporting space exploration.

The ESAS’s team’s primary requirement was to justify an SRB based CLV.  Known lovingly as the stick or Scotty Rocket.  This is rule number one governing all past and current decisions making at NASA for the present.  ESAS is just the cover story for the original Planetary Society paper that kicked off this whole approach.

The stick itself was born of the conflicting love astronauts feel towards flying and their families.  The stick was seen by many astronauts as a way to reconcile this conflict.  Designing and producing a machine to add 7x the explosive power of dynamite to you and then remove that energy safely in order to return you back to earth will never be safe, simple or soon.  Going to the moon and Mars is yet another order of magnitude more dangerous.  

Quote
JIS - 26/10/2006  10:43 AM
The clever man carefully considers all alternatives and makes a decisions. Once the decision is made its time to go and perform the plan. Changing the plan all the time takes you nowhere.

Actually going no where would be an improvement over the current plan.   At present we are going backwards.  Less than 1% of the total long range budget of VSE has been spent to this point.  I think we can afford a few new ideas before we burn up the other 99% going down a rat hole.  Considering how gerrymandered ESAS was we really haven’t had an unbiased study on how we are going to spend over a ¼ Trillion dollars over the next 30 years.  Ross’s plan is one of the most detailed, cohesive and consolidated near term plans I have seen.

Quote
JIS - 26/10/2006  10:43 AM
The only possibility how to get to the Moon sooner is to give NASA more money or kill STS sooner.

“Kill STS” is what got the ELV crowd kicked out.  More money is what everyone wants.  We have to work with what we have more efficiently.

Ross has compiled a very comprehensive and cohesive plan that works within the limitations of the budget, infrastructure, time frame, and politics.  All these same issues are violated under the current plan and are solved by this one.

The bigger question is this, is there anyone at NASA willing to risk their career by promoting this better approach?

Who wants to be the John Hoboult of this generation’s effort to return to the moon?

If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

“Do we want to go to the moon or not?”
John C. Houbolt - November 15, 1961
Question posed in Letter to Dr. Robert C. Seamans Jr, NASA Associate Administrator

Ralph Ellison “I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest”




Offline psloss

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #8 on: 10/26/2006 08:49 PM »
Very well done, Ross.  Thanks for sharing it here.

Offline kraisee

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #9 on: 10/26/2006 09:12 PM »
Quote
meiza - 26/10/2006  3:55 PM

I'm not in love with the Direct completely, since it is somewhat big for crewed flights and in a class that makes alternatives impossible, there's just no commercial uses for 70 ton rockets. Its flight rates won't be very high either because of that.

I agree with you Meiza, this isn't primarily designed for sat. launches (although it is capable of lifting 5 replacement TRDS satellites to GEO in one shot), no.   DIRECT's primary purpose is to enable the manned program of exploration of our solar system.

The extra Crew launcher's performance could be utilized:   Bringing crew and cargo up on a single flight is not inherently dangerous - only doing it the way STS did in a delicate winged plane, flying on the side of a debris-making launcher is.

DIRECT can bring up two or even three full Shuttle-loads on each flight, along with a Crew - and that could be put to very good use by, for example, fixing Hubble in the future, or replacing big bits of the ISS when they fail in the future.    Ares-I does not offer that ability.   Always, it will require another module to be launched separately.

Oh, with $35Bn in savings, don't you think NASA could afford to man-rate an EELV for CEV-only flights to LEO as well?

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline ryan mccabe

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #10 on: 10/26/2006 09:31 PM »
Quote
JIS - 26/10/2006  12:43 PM

The clever man carefully considers all alternatives and makes a decisions. Once the decision is made its time to go and perform the plan. Changing the plan all the time takes you nowhere.
The only possibility how to get to the Moon sooner is to give NASA more money or kill STS sooner.

JIS, that is ignorant.

The selection of the Ares vehicles was made using assumptions that are no longer valid, and it is foolish to reject alternatives simply because NASA has published CG drawings of the Stick. There is very little to "lose" by dropping Ares and adopting the DIRECT vehicle. We will use these launch vehicles for perhaps 20-30 years: we need to get them right.

The Ares I is the single greatest factor in why we will have a gap in manned capability. A more cost efficient launch vehicle (like DIRECT) and a vehicle with a shorter development phrase (like DIRECT) will get us LEO, the Moon, and beyond faster than Ares I.

Offline rumble

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #11 on: 10/26/2006 09:57 PM »
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meiza - 26/10/2006  3:55 PM

I'm not in love with the Direct completely, since it is somewhat big for crewed flights and in a class that makes alternatives impossible, there's just no commercial uses for 70 ton rockets. Its flight rates won't be very high either because of that.
Yes, it's overkill, but it's actually more economical than flying the right-sized (actually under-sized) Ares I, and certainly more economical than flying the combo of Ares I & V.  

There's a lot more to taking a ride into space than just the gas can & engines, and DIRECT takes advantage of money already spent in those areas (infrastructure & staffing) in addition to taking advantage of components and manufacturing that already exists.

I would have rather seen a rocket like the Saturn V again, but based on the constraints we have to work with, DIRECT is a slam-dunk.


Overkill...it would open up possibilities we haven't considered yet.  We don't launch 70mt at a time because we haven't had a vehicle that could get us there.  We have a good financial excuse for building an overkill vehicle:  It's dramatically cheaper without compromising anything else.

Offline Manel

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #12 on: 10/26/2006 10:36 PM »

  Overkill to ISS ?

  Only loading less LH2 and O2 on the  ET  you can adjust the mass delivered to the ISS

  But,  where is the problem with delivering more tons to LEO at the same or lower price per launch ?

Offline AndyMc

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #13 on: 10/26/2006 11:14 PM »
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kraisee - 26/10/2006  3:55 PM

Oh, with $35Bn in savings, don't you think NASA could afford to man-rate an EELV for CEV-only flights to LEO as well?

Ross.


Exactly, and going a long way to achieving 'assured manned access to space' and much faster better and cheaper (to coin a phrase) than the ESAS.

In my opinion 'Direct' is an excellent proposal that addresses all current needs, with the possibility of future powerful upgrades, without throwing away everything that was built and paid for already, (like was done in the the transition from Apollo to Shuttle).  If NASA really values the tax payers money it receives then it will look seriously at the potential of this plan, while remembering the lessons of the past.


Offline gpaul

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RE: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #14 on: 10/27/2006 12:37 AM »
Looks very interesting but brings to mind the risks involved with side by side propulsion systems. I presumed that the A1 was designed for the crew specifically to avoid placing solids next to the fuel tank. Understanding the in this case the crew cabin is above the explosion if an accident occured, it seems unlikely that we would be able to separate such a large vehicle fast enough to escape.

Gary

Offline kraisee

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RE: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #15 on: 10/27/2006 02:25 AM »
Gary,
   The key factor, for either design, comes from the reaction speed of the LAS.   It must attempt to escape the blast wave following-on behind.   That's pretty-much going to be the same environment for either vehicle in such a contingency scenario.   But on either vehicle, there is a lot of distance between the motors (the most likely point of critical failure) and the spacecraft.

   One thought I have had - with 48.9mT of spare lift capability in the SLA under the CEV, I wonder if flights going without cargo couldn't instead carry a large 48mT water tank just under the CEV itself?   That would provide one heckuva "bullet proof vest", located immediately under the CEV, in case of problems "back there".

   Another potential advantage is that the CEV is offset from the immediate trajectory of the SRB's too.   If there were an accident, the SRB may just sweep straight past a capsule...   A *Big Maybe*, but less likely to collide with the CEV than having it directly in-line ramming right up the chuff...

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline kraisee

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #16 on: 10/27/2006 02:30 AM »
Quote
Manel - 26/10/2006  6:19 PM


  Overkill to ISS ?

  Only loading less LH2 and O2 on the  ET  you can adjust the mass delivered to the ISS

  But,  where is the problem with delivering more tons to LEO at the same or lower price per launch ?

Agreed.

Ares-I sure hasn't got the ability to lift any of the unflown parts of ISS after STS retires.   It won't be able to bring up replacement Gyro's for the ISS when they fail next time.   It can't ever be able to bring up any new camera modules to Hubble.

With Ares-I, the US will lose all of that capability for the next 30 years.


Some are even beginning to question if the performance falls much more, whether it may even be able to fly the CEV.

Not to mention, but even with Ares-I, we will be forced to wait until another $20 Billion is spent to make Ares-V before we can go to the moon, or launch anything the size of SkyLab again.

DIRECT's first vehicle can do it all - and much more besides, because there's about $2 Billion worth of spare money available to NASA every year...

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline aftercolumbia

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #17 on: 10/27/2006 02:41 AM »
Quote
JIS - 26/10/2006  11:43 AM

Ross, very very similar approach was considered in ESAS. Do you really think that NASA will listen to amateurs doing just another powerpoint study? I can't believe that you can be so naive. The only result will be more people believing in funny conspiracy theories not supporting space exploration.
The clever man carefully considers all alternatives and makes a decisions. Once the decision is made its time to go and perform the plan. Changing the plan all the time takes you nowhere.
The only possibility how to get to the Moon sooner is to give NASA more money or kill STS sooner.

I would say go for it.  I am certain that efforts like this have an impact on NASA (even "big" NASA) especially remembering that it was an original "grass-roots" study that began Constellation (read Seitzen and Cowing's 2004 book "New Moon Rising" for the details.)

After Columbia Project (http://aftercolumbia.tripod.com) began in such a way on 2 February 2003 (i.e.: the question popped into my head, "what if the CAIB recommends never to fly the Shuttle again?")

Offline Jymp

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #18 on: 10/27/2006 03:38 AM »
It will never happen, NASA will go with the Ares 1 & Ares V period, you guys with all these "Better" ideas might as well drop it and get on with having a life.

Offline ryan mccabe

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Re: "DIRECT" Goes Live
« Reply #19 on: 10/27/2006 03:49 AM »
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Jymp - 26/10/2006  10:21 PM

It will never happen, NASA will go with the Ares 1 & Ares V period, you guys with all these "Better" ideas might as well drop it and get on with having a life.

Stranger things have happened....

A member of the Doobie Brothers devised the scheme now being used by the US Navy to implement the AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System.


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