Author Topic: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?  (Read 26620 times)

Offline ZachS09

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Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« on: 04/15/2022 12:09 am »
With the third WDR attempt for Artemis 1 scrubbed due to GSE issues similar to the previous two attempts, something’s been bothering me.

Why do most people on social media claim that SLS should be cancelled and leave everything to SpaceX’s Starship? Starship can’t be the only option for deep space exploration; it seems that hardly anyone wants to give SLS a chance.
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Offline Lucinator

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #1 on: 04/15/2022 12:34 am »
simple, Almost 40 Billion has been spent on the SLS/Orion to date and its over double its original cost, all before its first flight.  While it is in my option necessary to guarantee that the United States has a super heavy class rocket, once the Starship become operational it should be discontinued for cost reasons alone. For example the total amount spent on the Starship development and testing to date has been roughly a 10billion 1/4 the price.  And this is for a brand new vehicle (the SLS reuses a lot of parts including its engine from the shuttle so in essence its getting those engines with a vastly lower development cost),  The Starship is also 50% more powerful and fully reusable.

Hope that helps

Offline ZachS09

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #2 on: 04/15/2022 12:58 am »
simple, Almost 40 Billion has been spent on the SLS/Orion to date and its over double its original cost, all before its first flight.  While it is in my option necessary to guarantee that the United States has a super heavy class rocket, once the Starship become operational it should be discontinued for cost reasons alone. For example the total amount spent on the Starship development and testing to date has been roughly a 10billion 1/4 the price.  And this is for a brand new vehicle (the SLS reuses a lot of parts including its engine from the shuttle so in essence its getting those engines with a vastly lower development cost),  The Starship is also 50% more powerful and fully reusable.

Hope that helps

Thank you, and welcome to the forum!
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Offline JayWee

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #3 on: 04/15/2022 12:59 am »
Why do most people on social media claim that SLS should be cancelled and leave everything to SpaceX’s Starship? Starship can’t be the only option for deep space exploration; it seems that hardly anyone wants to give SLS a chance.
Because SLS:
a) it is capable of max 1 flight per year.
b) costs $4B per flight.

Whereas Starship propomises a revolution in space access. (Rapid reuse, Very low launch cost)

It'd be nice to have a competitor for Starship, but SLS ain't it.

Online punder

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #4 on: 04/15/2022 01:02 am »
Have to say, that’s an interesting question from an NSF “old hand” who’s no doubt read bazillions of words on the subject from both sides on this forum.  :D

Offline Athelstane

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #5 on: 04/15/2022 01:03 am »
Why do most people on social media claim that SLS should be cancelled and leave everything to SpaceX’s Starship? Starship can’t be the only option for deep space exploration; it seems that hardly anyone wants to give SLS a chance.

Even if Starship did not exist, SLS's cancellation could be justified. It's just not a rocket NASA can afford to operate.

And there is more than one or two ways to skin this cat.

Offline deltaV

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #6 on: 04/15/2022 01:45 am »
1. Starship is driven by Musk's vision of humans living on Mars. SLS is driven by Boeing and the US Senate's vision for jobs in the right districts. The Starship vision is much more appealing, especially for people who don't own Boeing stock and don't live in those districts.

2. For anyone who wants to accomplish anything in space, or just doesn't like paying taxes, cost effectiveness is key. Starship has a reasonable chance of providing the most mass to LEO per dollar of any launch vehicle ever and may beat the current leader (Falcon Heavy AFAICT) by an order of magnitude or more. SLS's cost per kg to LEO also differs from Falcon Heavy by an order of magnitude, but in the wrong direction!

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #7 on: 04/15/2022 02:26 am »
Why do most people on social media claim that SLS should be cancelled and leave everything to SpaceX’s Starship? Starship can’t be the only option for deep space exploration; it seems that hardly anyone wants to give SLS a chance.
As far as I'm concerned, these are both unproven rockets that have yet to fly.  Yes, a few Starship prototypes have flown subsonic low altitude hops and one or two even landed.  And, yes, ICPS has essentially flown many times already on top of Delta IV Heavy and on some 5-meter Mediums.  Those RS-25s have flown.  But the rest hasn't flown.  Both are behind schedule and therefore over budget.  Both have big weaknesses in design and/or budget.  A lot yet to be proved by both rockets (and their human spacecraft payloads) before I see either gaining preference over the other, if any such preference is needed.  Their full development will take most of the upcoming decade, and maybe longer.  The lunar program as now envisioned needs both.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 04/15/2022 02:30 am by edkyle99 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #8 on: 04/15/2022 02:48 am »
With the third WDR attempt for Artemis 1 scrubbed due to GSE issues similar to the previous two attempts, something’s been bothering me.

Why do most people on social media claim that SLS should be cancelled and leave everything to SpaceX’s Starship? Starship can’t be the only option for deep space exploration; it seems that hardly anyone wants to give SLS a chance.

If SLS fully succeeds according to plan by NASA, how many people will it send to space in the next 50 years?

If Starship fully succeeds according to plan by SpaceX, how many people will it send to space in the next 50 years?
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline ZachS09

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #9 on: 04/15/2022 02:52 am »
Have to say, that’s an interesting question from an NSF “old hand” who’s no doubt read bazillions of words on the subject from both sides on this forum.  :D

I'm sorry, but I just wanted to ask that question because I felt like it. It's frustrating to see those same Twitter replies to every WDR update.
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Offline Kansan52

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #10 on: 04/15/2022 02:53 am »
Real fans don't prefer one vehicle over the other.

Each have theIr good and bad points.

Offline libra

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #11 on: 04/15/2022 03:32 am »
SLS has bad rep because of that 2010 act by Congress, its cornerstone. Also because it is damn expensive while its flight rates are so hopelessly low - $2 billion a launch, two launches per year, no way to ramp up that. Famously, Michoud plant building the cores can't churn a lot of them even if colossal amounts of dollars were thrown at it. That kind of bottlenecks.

Just as @JayWee said, really.

I had some discussions about this from time to time. Such as these two.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=56069.0

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=54245.msg2333741#msg2333741

The bottom line is: SLS is so expensive and with such "flight rates bottlenecks" it can't be used
a) to make Mars Direct happen at least
b) to help Musk drive to Mars via BFR-Starship.

Which is a real pity, because at least it is now ready to fly - after years of delays and massive cost overruns.

Offline dglow

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #12 on: 04/15/2022 05:40 am »
New v Old
Fast v Slow
Reusable v Expendable
Affordable v Irresponsible


Starship represents the future, SLS the past.

Offline daedalus1

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #13 on: 04/15/2022 06:46 am »
'Fans' is detrimental term used in the title. It should be something like 'some spaceflight enthusiasts'.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #14 on: 04/15/2022 07:23 am »
With the third WDR attempt for Artemis 1 scrubbed due to GSE issues similar to the previous two attempts, something’s been bothering me.

Why do most people on social media claim that SLS should be cancelled and leave everything to SpaceX’s Starship? Starship can’t be the only option for deep space exploration; it seems that hardly anyone wants to give SLS a chance.

Not everyone wanted to leave everything to Starship. The technology and approach to SLS is from the 60ies. Build a large monolithic single use, single user, rocket system and have NASA own it.  It made sense for the Saturn V. It made sense for the Shuttle. It didn't make sense since the deregulation of space flight.

Technology has advanced since the 60ies and 70ies and all other rockets are privately owned. I was more in favor of ULA's Atlas Phase II or the Delta version of it. Also more in favor of propellant depots.  I was in favor of a program that would focus more on payloads as the rocket was the solved part of the equation and the part that the private sector was already handling.

With something like Atlas Phase II you could handle payloads from 9MT all the way up to 75MT and you could also upgrade further into 100MT. The advantage is that with this rocket both NASA unmanned spaceflight, NASA manned Space flight, and other government payloads would be sharing a system. This could reduce costs via economies of scale and work out bugs and other issues with the rocket without risking lives. SLS will have no other users to share it's costs nor will it be fly without crew most of the time and so problems with the rocket are likely to show when it is manned.

With this approach as new rocket systems came online you could transfer the payloads to them and competition could be fostered.

Starship is even more new technology and a different approach to match the changes in technology and it makes SLS look about as relevant to transportation in the modern world as an horse and carriage.
« Last Edit: 04/15/2022 07:24 am by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Bananas_on_Mars

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #15 on: 04/15/2022 10:07 am »
Starship for me is a promise for a better future. With a lot of the engineering/economic decisions public and reasonable.
Failure is an option and if problems are improved upon. Even though SpaceX is a private company and not obliged to appease the thirst for information of the common spaceflight fan, they seem to embrace the community.

SLS seems like they‘re just sticking old parts together, and seem to bungle it every step.
While they‘re touting that failure is not an option, they do so with regularity.
They embrace dubious concepts from the past (huge solids?) and everything is a compromise, but not a compromise to actually improve overall capabilities, but something else. And from what i hear they‘re less transparent than during shuttle days.

So one project makes it easy to be a fan of, the other one not so much.

Online volker2020

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #16 on: 04/15/2022 11:02 am »
For me the core question is, what do we want to achieve?

If we want just to go after some premium science missions, some flag waving and having the ability to shift large amounts of money into the right hands, SLS is the way to go. In my view, there was a unholy alliance between politicians wanting to move money into the right hands and scientists wanting to explore space, and I guess both groups where rather content with the status quo.

But if you are really going serious about making space a place to live for us, SLS is as suitable as a Ferrari to plow your field. The cost of SLS, even if they manage the aspirational goal of 800m per start, and the low production frequency do ultimately mean, that there a huge limitations on the usage. If space ship comes into live and only reaches 50% of it's aspirations, it will be lower the $ per kg to orbit to values never seen, allowing usages of space, never been possible before and might really allow colonize space.

If colonization of space is your goal, SLS is only a waste of money and human resources.
If your going after space science, SLS is a save bet, to continue exploration of our solar system.

Offline Jim

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #17 on: 04/15/2022 11:57 am »
And it is not just SLS vs Starship.   It is SLS vs anything else.  There are alternatives to both.   See "distributive lift".  But SLS is the most costly, least flexible and unsustainable launch vehicle out there..
« Last Edit: 04/15/2022 11:58 am by Jim »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #18 on: 04/15/2022 12:14 pm »
With the third WDR attempt for Artemis 1 scrubbed due to GSE issues similar to the previous two attempts, something’s been bothering me.

Why do most people on social media claim that SLS should be cancelled and leave everything to SpaceX’s Starship? Starship can’t be the only option for deep space exploration; it seems that hardly anyone wants to give SLS a chance.

Not everyone wanted to leave everything to Starship. The technology and approach to SLS is from the 60ies. Build a large monolithic single use, single user, rocket system and have NASA own it.  It made sense for the Saturn V. It made sense for the Shuttle. It didn't make sense since the deregulation of space flight.

Technology has advanced since the 60ies and 70ies and all other rockets are privately owned. I was more in favor of ULA's Atlas Phase II or the Delta version of it. Also more in favor of propellant depots.  I was in favor of a program that would focus more on payloads as the rocket was the solved part of the equation and the part that the private sector was already handling.

With something like Atlas Phase II you could handle payloads from 9MT all the way up to 75MT and you could also upgrade further into 100MT. The advantage is that with this rocket both NASA unmanned spaceflight, NASA manned Space flight, and other government payloads would be sharing a system. This could reduce costs via economies of scale and work out bugs and other issues with the rocket without risking lives. SLS will have no other users to share it's costs nor will it be fly without crew most of the time and so problems with the rocket are likely to show when it is manned.

With this approach as new rocket systems came online you could transfer the payloads to them and competition could be fostered.

Starship is even more new technology and a different approach to match the changes in technology and it makes SLS look about as relevant to transportation in the modern world as an horse and carriage.
All of this.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online Jeff Lerner

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Re: Why do fans prefer Starship over SLS?
« Reply #19 on: 04/15/2022 12:17 pm »
I prefer Starship over SLS because there are so many Starships in the queue and planned. On the other hand , So much rides on each and every SLS vehicle…if something significant goes wrong with an SLS launch, the next launch is a year away.

Starships are being churned out like sausages…something goes wrong with a Starship there’s another one ( seemingly more then one ) right behind it..

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