Quote from: sdsds on 08/04/2022 05:12 amQuote from: Mackilroy on 08/04/2022 04:18 am[...] we shouldn't cavalierly throw away people's livelihoods - but surely contractors can compete to design and build payloads of all kinds instead of a hobbled, fourth-rate rocket.Does this implicitly assume the skills needed to build payloads are the same skills used to e.g. cast large solid motor segments? At first blush that seems unlikely.What it certainly does assume is that there is somehow value in spending money to not further educate people whose skillset apparently doesn't allow them to find a real job. Surely if they're not capable now, they'll be even less so in five years.
Quote from: Mackilroy on 08/04/2022 04:18 am[...] we shouldn't cavalierly throw away people's livelihoods - but surely contractors can compete to design and build payloads of all kinds instead of a hobbled, fourth-rate rocket.Does this implicitly assume the skills needed to build payloads are the same skills used to e.g. cast large solid motor segments? At first blush that seems unlikely.
[...] we shouldn't cavalierly throw away people's livelihoods - but surely contractors can compete to design and build payloads of all kinds instead of a hobbled, fourth-rate rocket.
If you are going to suggest an alternative to SLS, you need to consider the workforce.
Quote from: yg1968 on 08/04/2022 03:09 pmIf you are going to suggest an alternative to SLS, you need to consider the workforce.No, you don't.
In fact, Congress is generally eager to provide funding over and above the amount NASA requests for the rocket. Again, this is independent of which party controls Congress. This suggests a broad coalition is invested in the program; the SLS is not dependent on a single powerful lawmaker... Funding is a proxy for political priority.
Consider the distinct appropriations bills drafted each year by the House and Senate. While the final bill represents a compromise between the two, each individual bill is exclusively the output of that chamber. The trend is clear: since its inception in 2012, both the House and Senate have added additional funds to the SLS program. Not just in some years, but in every single year of the program’s existence, regardless of which party controlled the chamber, and regardless of financial or schedule performance of the project:
For many, it sounds like a straightforward argument: cancel the slow and outdated SLS and direct its $2.6 billion per year into novel public-private partnerships like SpaceX’s Starship, which promise to revolutionize access to space.
Now imagine this argument from the perspective of a congressional representative from Alabama, home of the SLS: first cancel the SLS and lay off tens of thousands of constituents, then take that money that had previously allowed their voters to have good incomes, mortgages, and a sense of pride from a high-status project and give instead to California and Texas, where SpaceX is located. You may get laughed out of the room.This is the core dilemma for those who want to end the SLS: how do you make a politically viable alternative? The answer must involve building a new coalition that is stronger and more motivated than the one currently invested in the status quo.
No, you don't. Now that the SLS design is done, testing is close to being complete (assuming Artemis 1 succeeds), then there really isn't that big of a workforce left on the SLS program.
Contract Consolidation – Shuttle (USA)Consolidated multiple Shuttle prime contracts to single prime run by 50/50 Boeing/Lockheed LLC United Space Alliance in late 1995– Costplusaward/incentivecontractstructure– Consolidationwasnevercompleted(ET,SSME,RSRMnotincluded)Total Shuttle program cost reductions between 1993 and 1998 approx. 30%GAO, NASA IG, and other reports noted that reduction in Shuttle workforce/cost was result of several ongoing initiatives, not just USA contract consolidation• Difficult to differentiate savings related to each initiative
Contract Consolidation – EELV (ULA)Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program consolidated two competing contractors (Boeing/Delta IV and Lockheed/Martin Atlas V) into single contractor (United Launch Alliance) in late 2006– Expected commercial launch services market did not materialize (circa 1998); made continued operations of two competing launch services financially untenableCreated a monopoly for ULA for DOD/National Security flightsInitial estimated savings approx. $100M to $150M per year– Savings not realized; by 2012 – “critical” Nunn-McCurdy breach notificationEventually moved to 36 vehicle (“core”) block buy of Atlas + Delta (2013)– Reported 4.3% savings per year vs. previous contract approachAward of second contract to SpaceX in 2014 ended ULA monopoly; forced ULA to begin making substantial cost reduction/consolidation initiatives
Contract Consolidation – International Space Station Consolidation of 4 Work Package contracts initially awarded for Space Station Freedom consolidated to single Prime (Boeing) 1993– McDonnellDouglasandRocketdynerelegatedtosubcontractors; cancellation of 4th Work Package– BoeingsubsequentlyacquiredbothMcDonnellDouglasand RocketdyneSignificant amount of change surrounding transition from Space Station Freedom to ISS makes it difficult to extract useful data or draw useful general quantifiable conclusions
Quote from: Coastal Ron on 08/04/2022 05:43 pmQuote from: yg1968 on 08/04/2022 03:09 pmIf you are going to suggest an alternative to SLS, you need to consider the workforce.No, you don't. Even Jim and VSECOTSPE said that the transition of the workforce would be an issue and they are not exactly SLS supporters.
Quote from: Coastal Ron on 08/04/2022 05:43 pmNo, you don't. Now that the SLS design is done, testing is close to being complete (assuming Artemis 1 succeeds), then there really isn't that big of a workforce left on the SLS program.I’ve personally seen no evidence that the SLS (or Orion or EGS) workforce is shrinking as these programs transition from development to operations.
In the normal world, that development to operations workforce transition should be happening and budgets should be going down accordingly.
But that’s not what happened with the STS workforce and budget in the late 1970s/early 1980s (both were basically flat), and that is not what is happening with the Orion/SLS/EGS budget and workforce now.
If Boeing or NG or AJR were laying off or transitioning large parts of these workforces to other activities, we’d hear about it and see it reflected in the budgets. AFAIK, we don’t.
And at the agency level, NASA will not commit to a loss-of-crew requirement for Orion/SLS that is better than the Space Shuttle. Probabilistically, Orion/SLS may kill astronauts at rates higher than projected for Shuttle when it was shut down.
This is untrue. You have been corrected on this multiple times.
This is untrue.
The Panel was less pleased that these thresholds were not significantly safer than the actual historical performance of the Space Shuttle. It was the ASAP’s hope that the inherently safer architecture of the SLS and Orion as compared to the Space Shuttle, including full abort capability, separation of energetics from the crew module, and parachute reentry instead of aerodynamic, would greatly improve inherent safety. The chosen LOC probability thresholds appear in the following table:Flight Stage Maximum Probability of Loss of CrewAscent 1 in 300Cislunar Mission 1 in 150Entry 1 in 300Total Mission 1 in 75In comparison, the mature Space Shuttle system’s PRA was 1 in 90 at the end of the program for a different, but not totally dissimilar, LEO mission. It is important to note that the actual performance of the Space Shuttle over 135 flights was 1 in 67, which reflects the higher actual risk early in the program due to the unknown fail- ure modes and design weaknesses (as noted in the previous section). This comparison is exemplified in a dis- turbing phrase that the Panel has heard NASA use recently: that the safety of SLS/Orion should be “no worse than Shuttle.” While these thresholds represent a “worst case” beyond which NASA would terminate the Program, and the Program has established more conservative goals, the Panel is nonetheless concerned that more conservative thresholds could not be supported.
One difficulty in applying this type of analytical tool is that it can assess only the known failure modes. By definition, it cannot analyze the probability of failure modes that are not foreseen or known to the analyst. Because of this fact, history has shown us that PRAs predictably underestimate the risk unless safety factors are applied to account for the “unknown unknowns.” As described in last year’s Report and shown in Figure 4, the end-of-life (EOL) assessment of the Space Shuttle risk for a given launch showed that early PRAs significantly underestimated the actual risk being taken. Actual risk during early flights was as much as 10 to 100 times greater than the analyses indicated. Early Shuttle astronauts actually faced a 1 in 10 probability of catastrophe on each flight rather than the 1 in 1,000 probability that some analyses had indicated.
EDL and In-Space Phase definitions have been changed. The next model update will demonstrate a reduction in risk to a compliant number for EDL while increasing the In-Space risk without jeopardizing compliance to the mission requirement.
I'm not sure how much sway the jobs argument and the "preserving the industrial base" argument will have in the near future. Back in 2010 these are powerful arguments because there's a big recession and jobless number is through the roof...
...and NASA is literally the only game in town for HSF.
While you could argue that commercial companies may one day be able to do HSF, the opposition has literal moonwalkers making testimonies saying that's unlikely.
These are powerful arguments, can easily convince regular people, including non-space senators and congresspersons.
Today, the arguments are a lot less convincing, because we have real commercial company doing real HSF missions, and non-NASA HSF missions at that. Unemployment is at all time low, and there're a labor shortage everywhere, including in the aerospace and defense industry. A few years from now? I don't think the labor shortage situation will change, and commercial space capabilities will continue to improve, will very likely surpass NASA's own capability based on SLS/Orion. How can you make the "preserving the industrial base" argument when everybody can see this "industrial base" you're trying to preserve is like child's play comparing to commercial capabilities?
The mission drives the risk, so why the butt pucker on the comparison? If we want to go beyond LEO, there is much greater risk.
Sorry if this has been covered before, but I don’t see that comparing the safety level of STS to SLS/Orion.
@LeovinusI don't know what the LOC values for the first SLS flight are, as they are not published anywhere, to the best of my knowledge. Only the metrics are published, as given. As a pure guess, I would think the risk is higher on a first flight and will be reduced with experience and proof. We know that a crewed first flight was considered and rejected, that may have been related to not making the metrics. We also know a booster waiver (for the propellant void issue) was granted to the first flight, so likely that too did not meet the metrics.
The mission drives the risk, so why the butt pucker on the comparison?
If we want to go beyond LEO, there is much greater risk.
It’s worth noting that the actual LOC figure for Orion/SLS will likely be even lower than this, for a couple reasons. One, PRA doesn’t capture everything, especially human error, so LOC and LOM projections are almost always higher than the vehicle’s actual performance. For example, only one PRA analysis out of a dozen or two projected a LOC for STS that was lower than its actual performance. We should similarly assume that all the LOC figures for Orion/SLS above are also optimistic.
And two, with a year or two between launches, the Orion/SLS flight rate is so low that every launch will be like an experimental or developmental test launch. Workforce competence and procedures will never reach the cadence and regularity necessary to ensure routine and safe operation. Just based on it’s dangerously low and irregular launch rate, Orion/SLS is arguably a flight disaster waiting to happen.
Even if all the flight safety experts the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel are idiots and liars (and they’re not) and the official figures and analysis in the well-sourced report above should be completely ignored in favor a PowerPoint slide with no authorship or provenance, that PowerPoint slide only promises that Orion/SLS will perform about as well as commercial crew in terms of flight safety metrics and projections.
I’ve said this before, but I don’t understand why anyone would give credence to program figures when they play (and are allowed to play) these kinds of games and when this particular program has been wildly and optimistically wrong on every other figure of program merit (performance, cost, schedule, etc.).