Poll

How many times will SLS hardware be flown/launched?

0 -  No SLS hardware will ever fly, not even as a demo or test
1 flight
2 flights
3 flights
4-5 flights
6-10 flights
11-20 flights
21 or more flights

Author Topic: How many flights for the SLS, ever?  (Read 54359 times)

Offline skybum

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How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« on: 08/21/2014 09:37 am »
THIS IS A SINGLE POST WITH VOTE THREAD.

Chris' recent article on the flight rate dilemma raises an interesting question: how many times will the SLS fly in its lifetime?

The Article:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/08/sls-missions-solve-flight-rate-dilemma/

SLS Articles:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/sls/


Personally, I'm a pessimist: although I'm pretty sure that they'll manage to get a single test flight in 2017-2018, I expect the program to follow the Ares trajectory and be cancelled sometime before its second test flight. By 2021-2022, the facts on the ground -- whatever they might be -- will simply be too clear. In a pessimistic scenario for the development of space, there will simply be no missions which the SLS could feasibly fly; conversely,  in an optimistic scenario for the development of space, there could be many such missions -- but that same optimistic scenario necessarily includes cheaper commercial launchers, in-space assembly capabilities, and fuel depots -- all of which would provide for cheaper and more robust missions architectures than the SLS could provide. I can't imagine a middle-ground scenario whereby there is genuine demand for SLS launch services, yet no commercial capabilities to fulfil that demand. But hey -- maybe I'm wrong! Anybody want to tell me why?

What would you vote for?
« Last Edit: 08/21/2014 06:36 pm by Chris Bergin »

Offline Hauerg

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #1 on: 08/21/2014 09:45 am »
Try as I might I cannot see more than the first few flights with the legacy engines.
Do not know if those are enough for 2, 3 or 4 flights.
(And, yes, if it were my money I would choose other ways to spend it on HLV)

Offline Lar

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #2 on: 08/21/2014 11:00 am »
A poll has been added. I have not yet set an end date and probably won't.

Some discussion below has been trimmed...

Some ground rules: Let's not get into motivations, attacking other people's views and the like.  Please keep commentary to why you think your vote is valid.  Please also don't rehash... if you think another discussion or post is pithy and explains your vote, link to it rather than regurgitating. Please don't bash SLS, Congress, NASA, Commercial Crew, JWST, whether NSF should allow polls, or LEGO (threw that last one in to see if you're paying attention)

Polls have a tendency to go pearshaped so if the posts deviate... they may be axed. Or... the poll may be locked and the thread deleted.

Final caveat: One post rule in effect. You get one post to discuss your vote and that's it. No debating other people's choices, just explain yours and done.
« Last Edit: 08/21/2014 02:10 pm by Lar »
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"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Lar

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #3 on: 08/21/2014 02:07 pm »
I voted 2.

I think the current schedule won't be accelerated much, so the second flight will be in 2020 or so and by that time I think (being a SpaceX fan boy) that SpaceX will have FH flying routinely. The MCT/BFR will be well in development and the need for SLS will lessen. Congress will come to its senses, and the need to save money and have robust missions will win over pork. Current SLS centers will be redirected to work on exploration hardware (landers and habs) so the pork will continue to flow.

Most of that has been stated ad nauseum on other threads and I know it's not a lock. It's rather optimistic, in fact. I also know that others may disagree. Which is why we have a poll.
"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
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline jsgirald

Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #4 on: 08/21/2014 02:15 pm »
Personally, I'm a pessimist: although I'm pretty sure that they'll manage to get a single test flight in 2017-2018, I expect the program to follow the Ares trajectory and be cancelled sometime before its second test flight. By 2021-2022, the facts on the ground -- whatever they might be -- will simply be too clear. In a pessimistic scenario for the development of space, there will simply be no missions which the SLS could feasibly fly; conversely,  in an optimistic scenario for the development of space, there could be many such missions -- but that same optimistic scenario necessarily includes cheaper commercial launchers, in-space assembly capabilities, and fuel depots -- all of which would provide for cheaper and more robust missions architectures than the SLS could provide. I can't imagine a middle-ground scenario whereby there is genuine demand for SLS launch services, yet no commercial capabilities to fulfil that demand. But hey -- maybe I'm wrong! Anybody want to tell me why?

Agree with you, my vote is 1.
"For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert".

Offline PahTo

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #5 on: 08/21/2014 02:29 pm »

I realize this is something of a cop out, but instead of stating how many WILL fly, I'll go with no more than four (4 )for the obvious reason of propulsion hardware availability.  It will be no more than two if SpX gets their BFR flying before/concurrent to SLS notional debut.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #6 on: 08/21/2014 02:33 pm »
I think political inertia allows for three test flights, even if cancelled before then.  Although I could be wrong, and some of the centers make good cases for needing new hardware for display on their lawns... ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline edkyle99

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #7 on: 08/21/2014 02:39 pm »
Greater than 21.  The U.S. is going to need SLS more than is now believed.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline mheney

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #8 on: 08/21/2014 02:49 pm »
I voted 4 - I think there'll be a mission or two beyond the currently manifested flights before political inertia is overcome and the program is cancelled.  But I hope Ed is right, and we evolve to a place where we actually NEED a lot of BFR flights.  And a mixed manifest of SLS and Raptors would suit me just fine.    (And maybe an Ariane 9 in the mix as well ....)

Offline M129K

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #9 on: 08/21/2014 03:25 pm »
I voted 6-10. I think that SLS will have made its first flight by 2018, and will have flown thrice by 2022, but after that, things get a little less certain. I expect maybe one or two mission campaigns using SLS after that; a manned mission to an asteroid, or a manned lunar return a la Apollo. However, after that, I expect funding for the exploration program to go down the drain after interest is gone and possibly because another cheaper vehicle with similar capacity will be flying by then. SLS will need to either get a significant redesign to cut costs, or it will be the first item canceled, as it's the most expensive yet most replaceable item of any exploration program.

Of course, if it flies 21+ times and makes itself useful, it would be amazing. I just don't see it happening.
« Last Edit: 08/21/2014 04:01 pm by M129K »

Offline Jim

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #10 on: 08/21/2014 03:37 pm »
I said 2. The USG doesn't have a need for it.

Offline butters

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #11 on: 08/21/2014 03:40 pm »
Voted 4. There are a number of missions NASA could do with SLS, but let's be honest, few if any of them can happen before the SLS industrial complex sits around too long and exceeds its sustainable shelf life. I'm skeptical about the ARRM mission actually happening, let alone Europa or Mars Sample Return. The lead times on NASA programs like these are approaching 10 years at this point. Nothing will get done until the SLS program is ready for mothballing.  A few Orion joyrides and that's it.

Offline EE Scott

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #12 on: 08/21/2014 03:57 pm »
I voted 1. The SLS teams seem to be making decent progress, and inertia can be a powerful force. However what may sink SLS as it is currently planned are the multiple versions of the rocket, which make it many times more expensive and complicated to design, test, and build than it had to be. I am not sure that Congress realizes just how convoluted the 2010 Authorization Act has made SLS, and when the cost of designing and building this rocket starts to become more obvious there is a good chance of outright cancellation. That said, SpaceX will most likely have plenty of challenges (funding and technical) and delays over the next several years, so I am not sure they will be as compelling an alternative as some people expect. Stating the obvious, there are many possible ways this could play out.
« Last Edit: 08/21/2014 04:32 pm by EE Scott »
Scott

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #13 on: 08/21/2014 04:36 pm »
3 missions from 2018-2022... because Shelby and co. won't want to give up the pork too soon... the inertia syndrome...

I am in agreement that SpaceX and others (Bigelow,etal) will be moving handily along on their own separate trajectory towards a viable 2018-2024 Cis-Lunar Space Architecture, (with an agenda to eventually go to Mars)

But don't see it as impacting SLS (aside from making Gov't efforts look weak) as much as the cost factor of 1-2 launches a year, with payload development costs rising steeply... squeezing an already thin budget even thinner...the American people will rebel at the slow rate, unexceptional missions, and waste of money, forcing the Gov't to hack the program...
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Offline mike robel

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #14 on: 08/21/2014 04:43 pm »
I voted for 3 flights, but if, and only if, the 2nd flight goes and retrieves an asteroid.  If it doesn't, then it may be only 1, given the 3 year gap from the 1st flight to the 2nd flight and the lack of any actual achievement with Humans.

Offline Davp99

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #15 on: 08/21/2014 04:49 pm »
3 and out...Punt
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #16 on: 08/21/2014 04:55 pm »
0 as orion does not count as SLS hardware and I have serious doubt about whether this program exists after November 2016.
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Offline German Space Fan

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #17 on: 08/21/2014 04:59 pm »
11-20. In my opinion its unrealistic a comparable vehicle will be operational before 2030, so SLS will make several flights. By the way: I don't think its fair to reduce a vehicles achievement on the number of flights it has carried out. Saturn V only made about 14 flights and you cant tell me it wasnt a successful launcher.

Offline newpylong

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #18 on: 08/21/2014 05:20 pm »
4-5, but I hope more.  A SpaceX BFR will not exist before the mid 2020's and Falcon Heavy doesn't cut it.

Offline Oli

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #19 on: 08/21/2014 05:24 pm »
21+

I think the chance for politicians to cancel SLS and thus human spaceflight BEO is less than 50%.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #20 on: 08/21/2014 05:27 pm »
I voted for one SLS flight. It is the sight of regular Falcon Heavy flights from LC-39A after 2016 that will make the SLS moot. Heck even an expandable FH is cheaper than a Delta IV Heavy, never mind the SLS.

Offline Lars_J

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #21 on: 08/21/2014 05:37 pm »
I voted 1 flight. The funding reality and lack of missions will catch up to it, and cause it to be cancelled after 1 flight. In particular when commercial alternatives (even if not as capable) highlight cost differences.

Offline strangequark

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #22 on: 08/21/2014 06:31 pm »
I voted 2. Does not appear to be the political will to fund the kind of missions that would require the payload. After this administration, focus moves back to Lunar, which doesn't really mandate a 130-tonne launcher.

If you will forgive a morbid point, Senator Shelby is 80, so a standard actuarial table gives him a mean of 8 more years. The same holds for Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is not on Appropriations, but is the 2nd most senior Senator. If I am right about the missions staying sparse, then around 2022 SLS will not have demonstrated a compelling raison d'etre, and Alabama and Utah will no longer have such outsized political power. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will likely take Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) slot on Appropriations. She would be 5th most senior member of the committee, and of the other 4, only Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) are from states with a NASA center. Senator Cochran won't care about SLS, so long as engines get tested at Stennis, and Senator Mikulski will be focused on science payloads, with some sympathies for Wallops/MARS. In short, I think the center of gravity moves to favor the "new space" players.

TL;DR: SLS probably loses its most powerful supporter right around 2nd launch. SLS dies when Alabama no longer has a ranking seat on Senate Appropriations.
« Last Edit: 08/21/2014 06:34 pm by strangequark »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #23 on: 08/21/2014 06:58 pm »
It is doubtful a manned Orion will fly on SLS - on the borderline. Voted 2.

If even the enormous stretch of the asteroid snatch mission, which is one of the most spend thrift HSF BEO missions in the history of the world can't get bucks, then any more Buck Rodger missions are even more far fetched,

I've stopped commenting on SLS because ... there's no point in talking to those who won't hear. It's meant to always be an indefinite threat ... if it ever gets realized, it can't be a threat, so it stops. Strangequark does an excellent job on the details.

You can tell as we get closer to first flight by the lack of progress on missions/engines/other longer term collateral. Dead man walking.

Dunno what comes after that. It may be that HSF transitions to private launch services for contracted missions on government sourced vehicles/mission modules, where they threaten to bring SLS back occasionally but fall back to commercial launch services to take up the slack given capacity. Or fades from view.

Offline Lar

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #24 on: 08/21/2014 07:09 pm »
Reminder, one post per member, and no debate. Thanks. (so far this thread is going fairly well. except for someone who violated that, thank you several members for prompt mod reports)
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"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline anonymous1138

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #25 on: 08/21/2014 07:17 pm »
Thinking this one through, it's hard to see where SLS is going. There is one development flight, then a second flight. Then ... ? I see at most 3 flights (very expensive flights), driven by what I perceive to be the answers to the questions below. The questions I ask myself - and maybe there are answers to these that I am unaware of - are:

1) How much does SLS cost to own per year even if there are no flights?
2) How slow is the production line expected to be, and can it ever sit idle, or will we keep building and storing SLS vehicles until they are needed?
3) At such a slow rate, what is the total cost per flight expected to be, and the resulting cost per pound? What if you include development costs that would not have been needed had there had instead been a competition to develop and provide specified launch services?
4) If the SLS is expected to take us to Mars, when will we start funding the development of landers, habitats, etc., how much will those cost, and when will they be ready for flight?

These questions didn't just pop up recently. They've been getting asked since SLS was announced. Taxpayers deserve an explanation. When SLS is cancelled or superseded, send Sen. Shelby the bill.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #26 on: 08/21/2014 07:22 pm »
My gut feeling is four. They'll fly out their supply of SSMEs and RSRM-Vs but I've got a feeling that funding for RS-25e and Future Booster will be cut, effectively cancelling the program after EM-3 in 2023-ish.
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Offline fast

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #27 on: 08/21/2014 07:52 pm »
I say 1. Same story as Ares.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #28 on: 08/21/2014 08:05 pm »
4-5. I suspect we are on the verge of commercial fusion power, which will change quite a bit more than spaceflight but obviously this as well. The age of the chemical superbooster might be over in two decades. I suspect two generations from now they'll regard them as we think of pre-war Zeppelins now, giant quaint ideas that went around the obvious solutions.
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Offline rayleighscatter

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #29 on: 08/21/2014 08:15 pm »
21+

Shuttle took nearly 15 years to start doing what it was built for, but the US kept flying it for those first 15 years anyway. So long as it can get one flight under its belt no one will take the political risk of cancelling the US space program. And after that it will only take one president or congress who, for whatever reason, wants to do something showy and start a lunar or martian campaign.

It'll be NASA's B-52, people might want to get rid of it but no one will want to pay to replace it.


Offline bob the martian

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #30 on: 08/21/2014 08:38 pm »
If it flies at all (and there's a non-zero chance that it won't), I don't expect more than 2 to prove out the hardware.  I do not expect any manned flights.   

It has no mission other than keeping the legacy spaceflight manufacturing sector employed.  There's no comprehensive program of deep space exploration for it to support, and one isn't going to magically spring up to justify it.  At best there would be a couple of one-offs like the asteroid capture mission, but nothing that's part of a larger goal.

Once CC starts flying people, that will be the end of it.  And that's assuming we'll still have a reason to fly people anywhere; the ISS isn't going to last forever, and I do not foresee us replacing it.


Offline sdsds

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #31 on: 08/21/2014 09:01 pm »
STS-114 through STS-135 was 22 Shuttle flights after Columbia. SLS will be about that successful. So I'm near the edge but going with "21 or more."
« Last Edit: 08/21/2014 09:08 pm by sdsds »
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Offline Planetaryduality

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #32 on: 08/21/2014 10:14 pm »
I guessed 4 or 5. They've built the tooling and upgraded the test and ground facilities, I can't see them cancelling the program before they use up the available hardware. I would like more, but realistically that's what I'm expecting.
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Offline Comga

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #33 on: 08/21/2014 11:42 pm »
What strangequark said
and Jim (in so many less words)  :)
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Robert Thompson

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #34 on: 08/22/2014 12:39 am »
none

Offline robertross

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #35 on: 08/22/2014 12:57 am »
I voted 6-10, mainly based on how I see the crystal ball play out.

What strangequark said is quite true, but I feel that there will be a bunch of hardware available to carry out a number of launches until they can close down the lines.

This will suffer the same fate as the Saturn V / Apollo program, except this time it will not reach the ultimate goal of Mars (whereas the goal of Apollo was acheived with landing a man on the moon). It's quite sad to think this will likely be the case for SLS. However, it's the fact that there were, like always, political buttons pushing things in certain directions.

I still feel they wouldn't need anything larger than the 70mt version (and still say the 'metric' notation for mass is another issue in the scheme of things).

And I am using SLS in the whole program sense, not just the final 130mt monster rocket.
I think NASA is smart enough to avoid a launch failure, but a failure in controlling costs, and in program management, could be the ultimate undoing of this rocket & program.

But on the bright side, NASA would likely have a commercial alternative already flying, or ready to fly, in SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, by the time the UNite States realizes the mistake it made (yet again) in abandoning another launch vehicle design.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #36 on: 08/22/2014 02:17 am »
At 1 launch every two years it will take 40 years to get to 20.

There were years where the shuttle flew 7-8 times. It should be easier to launch SLS.  Building payloads for the top will be the challenge, anything that big will cost a lot unless it's a repeatable payload like a cargo container, LEM etc.

If NASA ever got a clear mandate, such as building a moon base that has the goal of developing abilities to be a net exporter! Then SLS could have a big future.  Need a president with some vision for that to happen.

At least the hardware will be ready but it needs something to do.  No one can predict beyond the next few years, but NASA track record on new vehicles in the last 25 years is 0.000 to date.
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Online darkenfast

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #37 on: 08/22/2014 03:42 am »
One flight.  A majority of U.S. voters do not care enough about spaceflight to continue spending on this.
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Offline KelvinZero

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #38 on: 08/22/2014 05:11 am »
I voted 2, Its my best guess but I don't put any value on my own opinion here, I just wanted to see the poll.

I would like to see a VSE-like lunar goal, but a long life for the SLS would be sort of sad because I think it would mean the exciting possibilities (eg commercial HSF, depots, SEP, F9R) did not pan out for whatever reason. They might exist in some form but not sufficient to cause any sort of paradigm shift if we are still running SLS 20 years later.



Offline Mark S

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #39 on: 08/22/2014 06:03 am »
I'm going all in with 21+ flights of SLS, for a number of reasons. Generally because SLS is a long-term investment and will be a long-term workhorse. But specifically:

1) Once it's operational, NASA will find many more uses for it than they will currently admit.
2) All of the money invested in SLS's development will motivate politicians to continue to vote for future funding.
3) Nothing in SLS's class is currently in development.
4) Thirty years of Shuttle history show that the US is willing to pay for a space program, even one that's not going BLEO.
5) Like hard disk space and CPU cycles, any increase in capacity will eventually be used, and sooner than you think.
6) America supports its space program because it is a source of national pride.
7) There will be a discovery or development that will turn our eyes upward and outward again. As a nation, not just us space nerds. I don't know what it will be, but I know that there will be one. It is inevitable.

Some will see this as overly optimistic, just as I see those who espouse "one and done" or "three and out" as overly pessimistic. It is true that NASA failed to replace Shuttle with new launch systems repeatedly, but that was always with an operational Shuttle fleet. We no longer have that. We need a Shuttle replacement, and SLS will be that, and more.

Now we have EFT-1 lined up for December this year (four months away), and EM-1 looking good for 2018. So yes, SLS is going to fly. And it's going to keep flying for many years to come. Until we need something even bigger. :)

Cheers!

Edit: I can't believe that at the time of this edit (Sunday evening), almost 60% (102/173) of those voting don't expect SLS to even use up the 16 SSMEs on hand. Now that's depressing, seeing as it comes from those who are interested enough in spaceflight to frequent this forum.
« Last Edit: 08/25/2014 02:17 am by Mark S »

Offline Geron

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #40 on: 08/22/2014 08:40 am »
Quote from: Geron (removed post)
The jwst could have been built for a fraction of the cost as an sls payload instead of an arianne five payload!

I voted 6-10 and I think sls will find her payloads in commercial partners with an inspiration mars here and ba2100 there.

Edit/Lar: ONE post. Collapsed these two posts together. Feel free to edit this post further to reflect what is actually desired to be said
« Last Edit: 08/22/2014 12:36 pm by Lar »

Offline redliox

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #41 on: 08/22/2014 10:10 am »
11-20. In my opinion its unrealistic a comparable vehicle will be operational before 2030, so SLS will make several flights. By the way: I don't think its fair to reduce a vehicles achievement on the number of flights it has carried out. Saturn V only made about 14 flights and you cant tell me it wasnt a successful launcher.

I second your opinion in ever way.

I'll admit 20 is optimistic, but if it does prove to be as viable as the shuttle with less expense it could run longer than the entire pre-Skylab era line of spacecraft; i.e. it'd be useful for 15 to 20 years before a new rocket phases in (perhaps Falcon XX or its like).  No line of vehicle lasts indefinitely, which is why I voted for the 11-20 range.

There's no doubt the first 3 flights will be SLS' birth pains, but the labor would be worth it as it is pretty much the HLV that's been begged for decades about.  If the shuttle program is a prelude, NASA might keep the program running for the ~20 years I mentioned because it would be expensive to develop something new...again...from scratch. 

Lesson hopefully learned: make the thing upgradeable.  The poor shuttle wasn't exactly easy to modify aside from electronics.  Better engines and materials will inevitably come, and a vehicle with an open design would be able to last longer.
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Offline Celebrimbor

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #42 on: 08/22/2014 11:03 am »
Here's my rough prior predictive distribution. 

0             50%
1               5%
2               7%
3               8%
4-5          12%
6-10        13%
11-20        5%
20+           0%

Naturally, I suspect there is a real "all or nothing" bias.

My mean is roughly 2.76 though my mode is 0 :)

Edit: I voted on the basis of my mode (and note that the distributions don't match).  Have others perhaps voted based on their mean estimate?  You all did a Bayesian analysis, right? ;)  Don't answer that, as per the one post rule!
« Last Edit: 08/22/2014 11:10 am by Celebrimbor »

Offline jtrame

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #43 on: 08/22/2014 02:26 pm »
I went with 11-20 as I see it going at least a dozen flights, with a possible continuation after that or a replacement vehicle.

Exploration is very much the job of government.  The high price of spaceflight demands it.

The expedition to Mars will have to be a joint effort between NASA, ESA, and all the international partners.  SLS is our contribution, along with the joint NASA/ESA Orion.  The reality of funding says habitats, landers, etc. will (most likely) have to come from others.  The mission team will be representative of the partnership.

I agree with those that have said The SLS doesn't need a 130 ton version; press ahead with the current design.


Offline jgoldader

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #44 on: 08/22/2014 02:30 pm »
I voted 4-5, since there's propulsion hardware for 4 sets.  I expect schedule issues delaying the first flight or two, and there's no clear mission, or money to define and build payloads for SLS that require humans beyond the asteroid mission, if that ever actually flies.  (And I note that the robotic piece of that hasn't been designed yet, so there can't be realistic costing info on it, and one wonders if budget issues will get that cancelled, along with the crewed part of the mission.)  If the asteroid mission doesn't fly, then I'd guess SLS will be limited to a SLS-1 Earth orbit test flight with boilerplate Orion, SLS-2 lunar flyby or orbit (no crew), SLS-3 as a crewed lunar flyby, with SLS-4 being either Apollo 8 v.2, or a Europa mission (which may not be affordable).  It's not impossible that the SLS-4 hardware ends up as a museum exhibit around 2025.

I'm not bashing the SLS hardware or team.  Given the political constraints, the design constraints were inevitable, and I believe the team is capable of getting SLS off the ground.  But it's following in the budgetary path of CxP.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #45 on: 08/22/2014 02:32 pm »
I voted 3 based on 15 SSME's engines available. If there are enough spares to build one more we could get 4...
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Offline RonM

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #46 on: 08/22/2014 03:00 pm »
I voted 4-5. SLS will get 4 launches as NASA runs through the SSMEs, then Congress will realize they didn't fund any payloads beyond the tests. Yet another costly reset for NASA manned spaceflight.

That's too bad. I actually like the SLS.

Offline jongoff

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #47 on: 08/22/2014 03:27 pm »
I voted 4-5. NASA and Congress were clever enough to pick a vehicle that would be hard to kill quickly. By the time it hits its 4th or 5th flight though I expect NASA will on an inflation-adjusted basis have no bigger of a budget than it does today, will have no massive new programs that need SLS, and commercial competition will be making SLS look more and more obsolete. It'll eventually get cancelled, and we'll realize that we've had another lost decade of NASA manned exploration, but not until long after most of the people responsible for the mess have retired. A utter waste of money, and thousands of man-decades worth of talent that could've been spent on something useful.

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Offline kraisee

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #48 on: 08/22/2014 03:48 pm »
I agree with all of Jon's comments, however I am less optimistic about it than he is.   I think cancellation will occur sooner.   Within the first 1-2 flights.

I had to check just one of those, so I picked "1" given the thinking that it will mirror recent history, an expensive "Ares-IX" test, followed by swift cancellation as the reality sinks-in that it is never going to live up to the promise.

Without the stupid "130 ton" requirement from Congress (<cough> Shelby <cough>) this system had potential to be a reasonably affordable heavy lift system that we could really have made use of.   Unfortunately, the system we actually have coming down the pipe, misses that mark by a Martian orbit.

Ross.
« Last Edit: 08/22/2014 03:51 pm by kraisee »
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #49 on: 08/22/2014 04:02 pm »
Assuming that NASA starts getting an infusion of cash as things seem to be deteriorating with the Russians, I figure that there'll likely be 4 to 7 flights as a simplified, updated Space Shuttle System is initiated with a flyback booster.

IF, (And that's a BIG if) full reusability is established for one of the companies developing reusable launchers, more than likely NASA will go with that company to help design and build the Next Generation Reusable HLLV system.  Not withstanding a simple purchase of a few Reusable HLLV systems that said company might already have in use.

The vast majority of the cost of any space probe or satillite that NASA launches is the launch vehicle itself.  If a reusable system can be put into place, the costs would be vastly reduced to those of fuel, maintenance and replacement parts.  This would free up a large portion of NASA's limited budget to pursue science projects, and possibly more MANNED space Flights.

    As the current ISS has a limited useful lifespan left, a replacement station will be required, not only for science experiments, but as a logistics platform for future spaceflights for both Manned and unmanned craft.

The SLS, COULD loft some of the early modules for this, but teh overall expense of replacing a complete launch vehicle with each launch is unsustainable, especially at the current costs as outlined for the SLS.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #50 on: 08/22/2014 06:00 pm »
I voted 2.

I think the current schedule won't be accelerated much, so the second flight will be in 2020 or so and by that time I think (being a SpaceX fan boy) that SpaceX will have FH flying routinely. The MCT/BFR will be well in development and the need for SLS will lessen. Congress will come to its senses, and the need to save money and have robust missions will win over pork. Current SLS centers will be redirected to work on exploration hardware (landers and habs) so the pork will continue to flow.

Most of that has been stated ad nauseum on other threads and I know it's not a lock. It's rather optimistic, in fact. I also know that others may disagree. Which is why we have a poll.

I voted 2 as well, but with an option for as many as 4, as there's enough engines for four cores.  And as I understand, there's enough steel casings for several booster pairs, although I think only 2 are currently under contract with ATK.  Assuming that could be changed to 4 pairs, I think we could see up to launches, but no more than 4, for the reasons Lar stated, except even more so as the 4th launch would be in the 2021-2023 (or more) time frame likely and SpaceX BFR will be even farther along, or perhaps even flying depending on how abitiously Elon wishes to help SLS's demise along.

In addition to EM-1 and EM-2, I could see there eventually being two more stacks allocated to two more missions.  Perhaps a mission to EML2 along wtih some version of a DSH.   A Europa mission and a Mars sample return mission in the mix too.  4 missions over 5-6 years could perhaps be enough for NASA/Congress to "save face" a bit with an LV that actually flew and operated as advertised rather than being cancelled prior to it as CxP was.  Before a quiet shift over to SpaceX BFR under the guise of the law that supposedly requires the government to use commercial launche services if they are available of the necessary capability.  NASA will certainly skirt that law if they want (Ares 1), but it may also give NASA and Congress an "out" to cancel SLS and switch to BFR without the usual cloud of bad PR that accompanies most cancelled big budget government programs.
They can just say there's never been a commercial HLV before and so NASA has had to build and fly their own.  As there now is one, the law mandates that NASA use it when available.  And all the real reasons for it's cancellation don't really get talked about as much.

Caviat:  If SpaceX is late with their BFR and they run into a lot of development issues with it, I could perhaps see SLS living longer than 2-4 missions.  In the early 2020's, if it's nowhere near flying, then I could see SLS living on, with the justification that is already flying and there's nothing else that can even come close to it's performance, which NASA needs for some plan which will be announced at that time.
Once it is actually flying, I think only a SpaceX BFR will kill it, as flying hardware is much more difficult to cancel than paper hardware is.

Offline PDJennings

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #51 on: 08/22/2014 06:36 pm »
My vote would be 4.  I think production of new RS-25s will be the straw that breaks the camel's back on this program. 

On the other hand, if you cancel SLS, you almost have to cancel Orion at the same time.  What, then, will NASA do with their money if you take away those two programs?  There is wide support in Congress for NASA's bottom line, so they will have to spend it on something.  That inertia will make it hard to cancel SLS before it flies.  SLS may linger on if future administrations don't advocate something else to take over its budget line. 

One possibility would be to cancel Orion, keep the SLS, and use it to launch a replacement (or significantly renovated) international space station in the late 2020s.  The Orion money would go to funding RS-25s and boosters.  The commercial crew and cargo vehicles developed in the 2010s would be used for continuing space station operations.   BEO missions would stay in the planning phase, really no different than the past 20 years' experience.

Another possibility would be to cancel station, crew transport, and cargo transport in the 2020s in favor of a manned Mars mission.  That would probably guarantee more life for SLS, but it would also result in many years with NASA doing no manned space missions at all, until a big surge for the Mars mission (and hard to see there being more than one, at that).  I doubt this possibility will happen, because Americans have become used to having an operational manned space program.   It would be a hard adjustment (for Congress and the public) to go without any manned missions for the 8-12 years it would take to build up a Mars mission at current funding levels.

My opinion is that budget reality will eventually force any manned BEO mission to be staged at or near the ISS (or its successor), which would make it possible to assemble such a mission in a piecemeal fashion from elements launched over time by smaller launchers.  The current BEO exploration vision using Orion and SLS doesn't work due to insufficient budget to fly SLS and build the payloads for it at the same time.  We can already see that in the recent discussion of the SLS launch cadence.  That situation is not going to get any better.  The hab, lander, and ascent vehicle for a manned Mars mission will each cost what Orion has been costing.  And there are many lesser elements to be developed as well.  There is just not enough money to build them at current funding levels, with SLS, Orion, and station all still going on.

Offline TomH

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #52 on: 08/22/2014 10:30 pm »
Lobo nailed it, said exactly what I wanted to say, down to the last detail. I also agree with strangequark that Shelby and Co. are the only real reason for the LV to exist now, and that when they are gone in 10 years, SLS will need something else to justify its continued existence.

If Tesla takes off and finances SX Raptor BFR, it will go down just like Lobo said. If Tesla fails, somehow goes public and is led by a board, or Elon suffers a fate like Steve Jobs, that bird will never fly. The success of Raptor BFR depends upon one single person.

If RapMon (Raptor Monster) makes it to the pad, SLS goes down and NASA will ask SpX if it's interested in a joint public-private venture. Elon will want the greatest amount of control he can get, but also the greatest amount of supplemental money he can get. That is the part that will entail a lot of negotiation.

If RapMon does not come into existence and SLS makes it to flight 3, I do not think SLS will be cancelled. After all the other cancellations, if SLS comes in on time and on budget (do not confuse Orion's SM problems with SLS), it would be too much egg on pols' faces to cancel it and just leave no deep space options. They will find some rationalle to continue it and it will fly for a long time, like the B-52, even though the B-52 is reusable. I do believe that manned deep space exploration is a justified cause simply because that is in the nature of humanity. So if it can make it to flight 3 and there's no SX BFR, SLS will eventually take off, in more ways than one. If it cannot make it that far and/or the Raptor Monster becomes extant, SLS is doomed.

As far as SLS being a threat, there is no thing, no entity, no persons to which it manifests a threat of any kind.
« Last Edit: 08/24/2014 05:43 am by TomH »

Offline Avron

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #53 on: 08/22/2014 10:47 pm »
I am with the 2 flight gang, however, I do not see spx having any impact to SLS.. The money needs to be spent and the parties have come to an agreement where to sink that money.

Offline llanitedave

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #54 on: 08/23/2014 02:29 am »
I went with 6-10.  It would not be able to compete with SpaceX's BFR, if that becomes available for general missions, but we don't know how far into the future that will be.  In the meantime, core development money will eventually become available as payload and mission development money, and there will be some very smart people working on developing and fleshing out those missions.
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Offline CNYMike

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #55 on: 08/24/2014 12:59 am »
I voted 21 or more, assuming the SLS program lasts about 30 years -- same as the Shuttle -- and flies once or twice a year.
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Offline Bubbinski

Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #56 on: 08/24/2014 01:07 pm »
I'm going with the lower end of 11-20 flights (say, 11-14).  I do think the SLS will fly, and that eventually a "roadmap" will come about to make use of it and missions will be flown, including Mars missions (at least sample return, hopefully also flights related to a human Mars landing) and some sort of Lagrange point gateway as a successor to ISS (I believe the commercial crew companies will want something like that to keep demand for their product after ISS is deorbited). 

I also do think however that this will be the last rocket NASA develops, and that its successors will be commercially operated.  The "roadmap" that will be cobbled together will feature some exciting missions flown by SLS but will also make use of commercially operated rockets to fly some parts of these missions as well.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Hog

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #57 on: 08/24/2014 01:21 pm »
I voted 11-20 launches, my guess is more optimistic than most.  This optimism is bolstered by "new" or "legacy" RS25 engine production set to re-start in a couple months.  If the end result is actual "new" RS25 engines (RS25-E or F or whatever model) coming off the line beyond prototype or beta test models, then I think that investment will be used for increased SLS program duration.

As a child reading Popular Science magazine, Mars missions were always "20 years out".  1st it was 2000, then 2010, then 2020, then 2030,  now 2030+, and this was before any sort of hardware capable of such a mission was beyond the concept stage.  Now we have actual bent metal, actual engines(for 2 stages at that), Astros willing to go, but the currect politics/money situation isnt right.

We North Americans live in a democracy, if we want something, all we have to do is apply a little pressure to people in power and we can have whatever we want.  We have the technology, we lack the will to exploit it in human spaceflight.

I dont even care if it is a "boots and flags" mission. More money has been squandered in much more wasteful ways it is 100% laughable.  In the very long term it would be an investment.  It has always been NASA or sometimes it's countries military taking the 1st footstep, with US citizens "footing" the bill. Once NASA jumps a hurdle, there are other entities that will either try to emulate, or try to make a dollar.  There is more than one plan for other countries to make lunar attempts, with the many commercials making a financial go of spaceflight..

My dream is Mars, hopefully before I return my molecules to the Earth. But long after that point in time, we as humans will have to leave this Earth. Not doing so guarentees our extinction.

We have the hardware in hand, lets feed and nurture SLS, and when it is strong, we can let her fly to places humans have never been. Lets put the "explore", back into "space exploration".
Paul

Offline deltaV

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #58 on: 08/28/2014 05:48 am »
I wish the answer were "canceled immediately" but my vote was for what I expect to happen, namely 6-10 launches before cancellation. That's about how long I expect in to take for SpaceX's BFR to prove itself and Congresspeople in non-SLS states to realize SLS is a needless expense.

Offline anonymous

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #59 on: 08/28/2014 02:33 pm »
In 2007 I started a similar poll entitled "Will Ares I be cancelled?", which also gave a number of options for what would happen to Constellation. The poll itself has unfortunately been deleted, but the thread can be found here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=9227

The most common opinion was that Ares I would be developed, but Ares V would not. I think the lesson of that is that NSF members can be too conservative, thinking that the current plan will be stuck with to its reductio ad absurdum.

SLS still has the problem that the LV is so expensive that there isn't enough money for payloads. The way SLS rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Ares showed that there was a powerful constituency in Congress for an SDLV that was prepared to over-rule a President. The next President is likely to steer clear of the issue.

Nonetheless, the politicians are going to have to face up to the lack of money for payloads well before the end of the three test flights scheduled. I think, as TomH said, that it largely depends on how SpaceX's BFR development goes.

Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #60 on: 08/29/2014 11:04 pm »
The test flight in 2018 will happen. There is too much hardware built and too much political will to keep that from happening. A second launch in 2021+ with humans is only a possibility if they find some new use for this monster before then, which in my mind is unlikely.

After the first test, the final performance and cost of SLS will become more clear. The Falcon Heavy will be flying with similar payload capacity for 10% of the cost, the Skylon will finally be a name people know as it continues its slow limp forward toward getting funding, Russia will be flying their new Angara 5 for a fraction of the SLS price for commercial payloads, and there will be no payloads for the SLS to lift. Under the next president the asteroid retrieval mission will be canceled and the next NASA rethink cycle will be put in motion with whatever goal he or she dreams up (martian moon?). SLS will be more or less functional, albeit with no dedicated upper stage, so it will sit on a shelf waiting for a use. Capitalizing on a cheaper launch vehicle to make a deep space goal more realistic while investing in American commercial enterprise will be a boon for a new president no matter his political orientation. Congress will either acquiesce or

Regularly spending $500 million to $1 billion+ to launch a rocket designed by congress whose only purpose wast to have low development costs, at which it has already failed, will never become a reality.

Offline mb199

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #61 on: 08/29/2014 11:38 pm »
Never

Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #62 on: 08/30/2014 05:20 am »
Voted two, but wish they'd just cancel it now.

Offline redliox

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #63 on: 09/03/2014 11:32 pm »
Voted two, but wish they'd just cancel it now.

Keep SLS, cancel the Orion.
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Offline daveklingler

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #64 on: 09/03/2014 11:57 pm »
The answer is 2.  :)

I predict that more will be produced, and they'll end up as monuments. 

It's surprisingly difficult to come up with missions for it that can't be better accomplished in other ways.  Cases where it could be legitimately useful are prohibitively expensive and unlikely to be funded.

Offline Mongo62

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #65 on: 12/22/2014 06:33 pm »
Coming in very late to the party.

I voted one unmanned test flight. By the time that the second flight would have happened, it will be abundantly clear, even to Congress, that SLS is a hyper-expensive white elephant, given that SpaceX will presumably be launching substantial payloads to LEO for 1/50th the cost per kg, and to BEO for maybe 1/30th the cost per kg (when you include the SLS development and capability maintenance costs). This is with a reusable FH with expendable US, if BFR is actually built, the costs would be even lower (not to mention that the payload size would dwarf that of any version of SLS).
« Last Edit: 12/22/2014 06:36 pm by Mongo62 »

Offline rsnellenberger

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #66 on: 12/22/2014 07:10 pm »
I voted 2, based on my opinion that the SLS is NASA's N-1 or Energia -- the final, grandiose result of a program that is running on momentum and yesterday's successes.


Offline the_roche_lobe

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #67 on: 12/22/2014 08:33 pm »
I'd vote zero, if I thought the funds would be diverted to the development of 1) a means of getting to the lunar surface and back 2) a more capable upper stage for EELV. Sadly there seems to be zero interest/will in doing 1), and I imagine those funds would simply evaporate from the budget if SLS is cancelled.

Very frustrating.

P

Offline QuantumG

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #68 on: 12/22/2014 09:21 pm »
I'd vote zero, if I thought the funds would be diverted to the development of

You understand that this vote will have no effect on the outcome, right? It's not a democracy, and this isn't the senate floor..

Quote from: the_roche_lobe
I imagine those funds would simply evaporate from the budget if SLS is cancelled.

You'd rather NASA be kept busy working on a make-work project than have less to do?
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #69 on: 12/23/2014 02:46 am »
I went with 6-10.  It would not be able to compete with SpaceX's BFR, if that becomes available for general missions, but we don't know how far into the future that will be....
Musk said 2019-2020 or so is when it'll start flying. So apply the usual SpaceX dilation factor (1.5x), and you get about 2022-2024.

Anyway, I don't think it'll take BFR/MCT to doom SLS.

I voted 3. They may have enough engines for 4, but not all of them are necessarily ones they'd want to use. Really, anywhere from 1 to 4 seem possible. At this point, SLS will probably launch at least once, but I find it incredibly unlikely that it'll survive at least 2 more Presidential administrations, especially with NASA not even getting inflation adjustment budget "increases" (on average).

Then again, if China really goes to the Moon with people, all bets are off.
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Offline llanitedave

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #70 on: 12/23/2014 04:50 am »
I went with 6-10.  It would not be able to compete with SpaceX's BFR, if that becomes available for general missions, but we don't know how far into the future that will be....
Musk said 2019-2020 or so is when it'll start flying. So apply the usual SpaceX dilation factor (1.5x), and you get about 2022-2024.

Anyway, I don't think it'll take BFR/MCT to doom SLS.

I voted 3. They may have enough engines for 4, but not all of them are necessarily ones they'd want to use. Really, anywhere from 1 to 4 seem possible. At this point, SLS will probably launch at least once, but I find it incredibly unlikely that it'll survive at least 2 more Presidential administrations, especially with NASA not even getting inflation adjustment budget "increases" (on average).

Then again, if China really goes to the Moon with people, all bets are off.

I think the chances of China sending people to the Moon are significantly above 10%.

My suspicion is that certain elements within Congress will be watching Raptor development carefully.  If it seems to be going well, there will be more voices for cutting SLS.  If there are problems, SLS will be protected.
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #71 on: 12/23/2014 05:23 am »
I voted 6 -10, with a heavy emphasis on the 6 or 7 range.

The EM-1 and EM-2 are essentially a given, after that, I suspect what happens largely depends on who's in control of Congress. If the Democrats, I'd expect to see asteroid exploration missions. If the Republicans, I'd expect to see asteroid exploration nixed for a few "return to the Moon" missions. I also expect the SLS to be used to launch a Europa exploration mission.

I think NASA is stuck with the SLS at least for the next decade and a half, thanks to the sunk cost fallacy thinking of the US Congress.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #72 on: 12/23/2014 05:38 am »
I voted for "as many times as ITER will run deuterium-tritium cycle"

Random fact: easily more than 50% percent of megaprojects fail. The longer they are drawn out, the more likely they are to fail. Sometimes because of obsolescence, but mostly because everyone will get tired of getting something to work for an entire human generation...
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Offline RocketmanUS

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #73 on: 12/23/2014 05:43 am »
Voted Zero-

Expect to hear more delays for first launch past early 2018.
2018 is three years away.
Expect cancellation before 2018, might be early or mid 2017.
White House and Congress have not shown real support for the HLV, nor any real missions for it.
Even if we don't get a commercial HLV I expect SLS will be canceled.
I don't see any U.S. government funded crew missions beyond LEO.
Planetary missions might use propellant transfer for greater mass probes, but would not need an HLV.
I would also expect Orion to be canceled along side of the SLS HLV, so no BLEO crew missions for NASA.

This vote is not about a possible commercial option, but political. The politics in the U.S. and global will see the end for NASA's returned crewed BLEO program ( keep your eyes and ears on the World news).

Offline pagheca

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #74 on: 12/23/2014 06:52 am »
Voted 0.

footnote: this is not necessarily equivalent to "hope for zero".
« Last Edit: 12/23/2014 06:54 am by pagheca »

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #75 on: 12/23/2014 07:45 am »
2. Glad to see I'm in good company. Certainly anything over low single digits is out of the question.

-AJR is moribund. ULA clearly has their AJR exit strategy well in hand, but SLS doesn't have any alternatives to the RS-25.
-Still no payloads. These have long lead time, so the longer there's no major payloads funded the farther into the future we know SLS has no payloads.

Keeping it flying regularly requires an impossible to believe pipeline of enormous missions launching every year or so.

Offline marcus79

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #76 on: 12/23/2014 09:31 am »
I voted 21 or more, on the basis that it will form the basis for a new kind of HSF BEO program during the next administration. Once ISS is gone in 2020 that program will become the sole NASA HSF effort. The rocket team will learn to live with a fairly low flight rate, but the program itself will stretch into the decades much like Shuttle. If it flies for some 30 years, then it is likely that more than 21 launches will be accomplished, whether the objective is the Moon, Mars, or the flexible path.

Alternatively, it may be cancelled by the next administration, though I think that unlikely. At any rate, once established it will stay in its position. Musk will not be able to outdo it, as there is no commercial market for heavy-lift and NASA won't fund his HLV.

People will complain about it, but when it flies the rocket enthusiasts will adopt it as one of their own. Very much like Shuttle in that regard (which was far from cost-effective either). At least if it flies the missions will be more meaningful (yes, that is my very subjective opinion).

SLS is not a utopia, not a breakthrough, but it can provide a solid foundation for solid work within the existing societal constraints. As such it will prove durable, and fly many missions despite the misgivings of many here.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #77 on: 12/23/2014 10:30 am »
I voted for 4 at most. When the RS25s run out that's it. Congress will declare "Mission Accomplished" ASAP.
Although Jim's figure of 2, 1 to show they can launch an SLS, one to show they can launch it with people on top, is quite plausible.

I'm late to this thread and I think there are some misunderstandings.

1) If SLS or Orion is cancelled NASA does not keep the money. They just don't get it to begin with.  :(

2)SLS does threaten other programmes because NASA has a legal requirement to continue it. Stripping funds from other programmes (like Commercial Cargo and Crew) has come close to killing those programmes and made minimal improvements to SLS's schedule.

3) In case anyone thinks the top end SLS is too big for Mars note that SpaceX and Musks comments for the "BFR" are at the top end of the SLS payload range, and roughly the size of a Mars Colonial Transport, assuming various numbers for passenger numbers and flight duration. In fact the situation gets interesting if SpaceX deliver what is essentially a reusable SLS RLV and what reasons could Congress come up with for not using it? However I expect this is at least 8-10 years away and SLS is (sort of ) here now.

SLS's effect on NASA's budget, planning and staffing is huge.

 The real issue is that once you've built it you need to spend a shedload (metric or imperial) of cash to build the payloads. Once you know most of the mass of most of those missions is simply propellant you have to wonder why bother?

What could turn things around is a successful asteroid retrieval mission.

Suddenly you've got a ready made metre (or 2) thick rock wall radiation shield around your crew for your Mars ship. It might be quite the sleek metal structure people would hope (more a GT than a sports car) but comfortable and roomy.

I think this should be an international mission. Orion's ESA supplied Service Module could be a model for this process, with other partners supplying the habitat and the lander (what on TBD later?).
NASA supplies SLS and Orion for crew return.
Outside of that I've putting up a small "ISS 2" with a 2 or 3 modules in 1 launch?

Beyond that a settlement sized nuclear reactor? Good luck getting the funding for that through Congress.  :(

I noted that the US, using a Delta IV, Atlas V, F9 and (prior to its launch failure) Antares could, over the course of about a week, put about 63 tonnes into LEO, with no new LV development.

I'll remind people that one of the conclusions of the Augustine II committee was not that NASA did not need a big LV eventually, but it was not needed right now, as you could get a lot done (and still could) with depots.

BTW it was Robert Braun who noted that better propellant management, lowering boiloff, extending storage time on orbit was the single biggest reducer of mass on orbit needed for a Mars Mission.

IIRC Proving you could make those improvement work would lower mass to orbit by 60%
Which sounds like it should be a high priority task of NASA' s engineering people, does it not?

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Offline MattMason

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #78 on: 12/23/2014 02:52 pm »
I voted 2-5.

That was optimistic. The problem is that NASA cannot cheer-lead their own manned missions. That's serious capital that comes from taxpaxers, more specifically, legislators who want something from their appropriations bills for their constituents. In short, if NASA isn't making jobs or contracts for a senator's or congressman's area, too bad.

That said, Orion is a capable spacecraft and the SLS isn't a bad design. But like its predecessor, the reasons why it exists were muddled and defunded and delayed for years before some leadership came in to solidify a definitive purpose.

Interplanetary travel? Sure. Reasons? Hard for NASA to justify, especially when motion pictures are far more effective in pretending to send us, and when our various Mars and other space probes are reliable, exciting and doing great work. And Commercial Cargo/Crew continued work/success is nearly ready to show that NASA really doesn't need to play the LEO game.

NASA needs a cheerleader in Congress, and soon, to push Orion/SLS with more funding and with a reason that generates jobs and potential revenue. Going to Mars or snagging an asteroid won't fly. A moonbase might, especially if the Commercial side can ramp up flights while NASA leads the build team. It's close, it's comparatively easy and logical.

A brute-force attack to get SLS immediate funding is to warn that we have nothing around that can stop a rogue asteroid from hitting Earth and ending all life that we care about (us)--and make implied suggestions that something is near. A couple of clips from Armageddon should do it. :)
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #79 on: 12/23/2014 07:40 pm »
It hard to really say as it depends on a lot of variables.

Such as  the presence of commercial HLVs, will NASA return to the Moon and go to Mars ,will depots be put in use,will unmanned missions make use of the throw capacity of SLS?
A lot of missions such as a Hubble follow on or Europa orbiter would benefit greatly from the larger fairing and payload but they may not have the budget for a rocket as expensive as SLS.
A larger fairing may not necessarily require a HLV as it may be possible to put a hammer head fairing on a MHLV rocket like the Delta IV-H.

I say maybe around ten but it really depends on when  LVs like BFR come on line and the direction of BEO exploration.



« Last Edit: 12/23/2014 07:44 pm by Patchouli »

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #80 on: 12/24/2014 08:18 pm »
I voted for 21 or more flights for more or less the same reasons as marcus79. A couple of my own thoughts:

In the long run (i.e. 30 year program) the cost of 21 or more flights of SLS/Orion will come out roughly the same as the shuttle. Since NASA flew the shuttle successfully for 30 years I think SLS/Orion can make it. They are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but neither was the shuttle. SLS has a second to none payload capacity and the ability to launch human missions farther than we have gone in over 40 years (not to mention the numerous unmanned projects it can support). Just as young and old embraced the shuttle I believe the public will embrace SLS/Orion.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starship/SH, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #81 on: 12/25/2014 10:12 am »
@Endeavour_01,

Of course, the Shuttle flew multiple times a year (six on average, IIRC). SLS flights will be far less frequent and Orion launches even less frequent still. I, personally, suspect that a year when there is one or two cargo and one Orion launch in the same year will be considered a 'high launch rate'.

In the end, the mission is everything. If NASA can catch the public's imagination with a destination and a mission, then all sins will be forgiven. Otherwise it will not have widespread support and will be permanently at risk of being defunded. The Shuttle got away with place-holder missions because there was nothing else in terms of US-indigenous HSF. However, commercial crew launchers and possibly even commercial LEO destinations potentially will undermine that line of defence for SLS.
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Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #82 on: 12/25/2014 10:17 am »
Considering the possibility that the SLS may one day cost as much as an STS mission, adjusted for inflation, I'm docking my optimism to 5 flights.

The BFR will eventually knock SLS out of commission; ridiculously higher hypothetical payload, significantly lower launch costs, significantly less things to go wrong with it, easier for the crew to abort.
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Offline Hog

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #83 on: 12/28/2014 05:29 am »
Considering the possibility that the SLS may one day cost as much as an STS mission, adjusted for inflation, I'm docking my optimism to 5 flights.
It will require 2 SLS launches to be on equal comparison of a single STS launch, considering STS's unique capability. Safety is the primary driver to seperate crew and cargo.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #84 on: 12/28/2014 05:41 am »
If the cargo is to be used by the crew, that rule doesn't apply. For example, a (crewed) Lunar Lander or Orbital Module. The rule is for non-crew related payloads, like commercial communication satellites.
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Offline geza

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #85 on: 12/28/2014 05:58 am »
My understanding was that separation of crew and cargo is justified because it is easier to make a smaller rocket safe. This idea manifested in the 1.5 launch scenario of Constellation, when lander and upper stage (both crew-related) was separated from the crew during launch. Did I miss something?

Offline owais.usmani

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #86 on: 12/28/2014 09:23 am »
21 and counting.

US has the economy to sustain SLS, even when they don't need it.

Offline kbd512

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #87 on: 12/30/2014 05:47 am »
I vote for 4 launches.

If I'm not mistaken, they have 15 RS-25's and enough parts to make another RS-25, so that gives them enough hardware for 4 launches.  I can't recall exactly how many SRM parts were stated as being available, but I think there were also enough parts for at least four sets.

SLS is just bizarre to me.  I like our manned space program and I think it's a national imperative for a nation that purports to be a leader in technological innovation, assuming we're doing more than paying lip service to the idea.  I don't fault NASA for the stupidity of Congress, but I do fault them for going along with it.

I'll preface my following remarks.  I'm not a rocket scientist and I don't play one on TV.  It seems to me as if the question of how to get to the moon has already been asked and answered.  I'll be speechless if SLS ever attains the lift capability it's supposed to or is less expensive per flight than STS.

I understand why only a limited number of Saturn V rockets were flown, but I also think that every aspect of how we design, develop, manufacture, and test has been markedly improved since the 1960's.  The engineers and rocket scientists of today ought to be able to do better, given so many technological advantages over those who came before them.

Why dump expensive reusable flight hardware into the ocean instead of using it for what it was designed for?  Was it absolutely impossible, in the 30 years that the STS program was in operation, to design and build robots to perform some of the labor intensive tasks that caused each STS mission to cost so much?  A robot that drives around on Mars was worth the effort, but not a tile laying and inspecting robot?

With the amount of money NASA expended on various launch initiatives since the STS program was in operation, every major component of the Saturn V rocket could have been reconstructed and improved to restore the lift capability.

Offline quanthasaquality

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #88 on: 01/01/2015 10:07 pm »
voted 21+

The SLS surprises some people in Congress, and myself, by going only moderately over budget, and behind schedule, unlike many light rail lines, the National Ignition Facility, the James Webb Telescope, ITER, and many other government programs. Sticking with what you know has its advantages, like the rs-25, 3.7 meter ATK solid rocket motors, and 8.4 meter diameter hydrogen tanks. The SLS, with DUUS, and Ukrainian Tsyklon 4 upper stage, proves to be a low cost development way of putting stuff on the moon, at a a moderate price.

Congress, pleased that NASA delivered, at a less than a very high price, ups spending, to use the SLS's lower incremental cost, and a moon base with ISRU is the result.

I wouldn't bet money on it happening.

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #89 on: 01/08/2015 05:57 am »
Voted 6-10

The number of flights depends entirely on the success of the Falcon Heavy and its successors. There is no real commercial reason for a launch vehicle the size of the SLS, even at its most limited version and there is limited market even for the Falcon Heavy. The Delta IV Heavy has launched a very limited number of NRO birds, it seems that there is a series of spy sats that require it but beyond that no market. Elon Musk is known to create not only a technically good product but also a market out of thin air, think of Tesla succeeding where the EV-1 failed. The Falcon Heavy will make it to space, though unless SpaceX can create the sort of adapter that allows 5+ full sized satellites to be deployed in GTO it might find itself out of a market. Then comes the issue of how can you get 5 satellites ready at the same time, think of Ariane's chronic delays issues with just two. It will take a long time for a market for the MCT to appear, especially since it requires multiple Raptors, I do not see the kinks worked out before the middle of the next decade. If the MCT is successful, man rated and NASA has a budget to put cargo on it, it will replace SLS around the end of the 2020s. Thus I expect EM-1, EM-2, Europa Clipper, Habital at Lunar DRO (I do not see ARM happening) if that requires SLS (FH might do fine with an inflatable module) and a couple of missions there (and down to the moon?) until FH+ or MCT of BFR becomes proficient and cheap enough to replace SLS.

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #90 on: 03/11/2023 02:53 am »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints, the first launch of the SLS last November was a success, and construction of hardware for the SLS rockets to be used in the Artemis 2 and 3 missions is now well-advanced. SpaceX and NASA are sharing the burden of all planned Artemis missions beginning with Artemis 3 in terms of cost, so the development of the Starship HLS ensures that for the first time in the history of US space exploration, NASA will be partnering with a private company to fund an extraterrestrial human spaceflight. The Artemis 9, 10, and 11 missions will be carried out by the SLS Block 2 variant.

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #91 on: 03/11/2023 01:27 pm »
I chose 4-5 flights. It's just not sustainable and when Starship is fully operational SLS won't be needed any more. Many parts will end up in museums.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #92 on: 03/11/2023 02:09 pm »
I chose 4-5 flights. It's just not sustainable and when Starship is fully operational SLS won't be needed any more. Many parts will end up in museums.

I think in 2015 they were expecting BFR/MCT/SS to be flying by 2019?2020?

It's 2023 and the future still hasn't turned up yet.  :(
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Offline Jim

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #93 on: 03/11/2023 04:56 pm »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints, the first launch of the SLS last November was a success, and construction of hardware for the SLS rockets to be used in the Artemis 2 and 3 missions is now well-advanced. SpaceX and NASA are sharing the burden of all planned Artemis missions beginning with Artemis 3 in terms of cost, so the development of the Starship HLS ensures that for the first time in the history of US space exploration, NASA will be partnering with a private company to fund an extraterrestrial human spaceflight. The Artemis 9, 10, and 11 missions will be carried out by the SLS Block 2 variant.

No.  Falcon Heavy has nothing to do with SLS.   SpaceX is not cost sharing with NASA.  NASA will be paying for all costs associated with the lander.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #94 on: 03/11/2023 06:19 pm »
All those years ago I voted 3.  I am now in the 6 to 10 range.  I don't see how SLS keeps going long after Starship is flying.

Offline Harry Cover

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #95 on: 03/11/2023 07:25 pm »
All those years ago I voted 3.  I am now in the 6 to 10 range.  I don't see how SLS keeps going long after Starship is flying.

You should not underestimate the mighty power of Pork Barrel Congress ! Don't forget Ares V / SLS have persisted since January 2004... almost 20 years ago !
« Last Edit: 03/12/2023 04:44 am by Harry Cover »

Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #96 on: 03/11/2023 07:49 pm »
We live in a world of representative government.
Blaming 'pork barrel' for political efforts to defend ones constituency is misguided, imho.
All Elon needs to do is to set up a post Star Ship development center in Huntsville.
I'd bet he'll be overrun with talent.
The byproduct would be a sharply increased willingness by NASA to consider Artemis alternatives.

Offline VSECOTSPE

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #97 on: 03/11/2023 08:11 pm »
and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints

No budget constraints.  SLS has always received more appropriations than requested.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #98 on: 03/11/2023 08:32 pm »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints...

A false statement, since the SLS program has consistently received more than the Obama, Trump, and Biden Administrations have requested. And despite that, it STILL has not met the Congressional mandate of being "operational" by the end of 2016. So far all we have is one test flight, without humans.

Quote
...the first launch of the SLS last November was a success, and construction of hardware for the SLS rockets to be used in the Artemis 2 and 3 missions is now well-advanced. ... The Artemis 9, 10, and 11 missions will be carried out by the SLS Block 2 variant.

None of that has anything to do with how many flights of the SLS will actually happen. For instance, it doesn't matter if there is hardware already built, because Congress can cancel a program regardless how much work in progress there is. And the SLS is a political program that can be cancelled without too much advanced notice, just like the Constellation program was cancelled.

As it stands, it is only because of Elon Musk and the Starship program that NASA has a chance of landing humans on the Moon this decade, because if SpaceX was not already in development of the Starship, no other company or coalition of companies could have designed, built, tested, and made operational, a lunar lander this decade. Which means without the SpaceX Starship the SLS would have had little to do once Orion testing was complete.

So ironically, it is only because of the Starship that the SLS has something to do this decade, but it may also be the Starship that finally gets Congress to stop wasting so much money on the SLS. Time will tell...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline kraisee

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #99 on: 03/11/2023 08:37 pm »
and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints

No budget constraints.  SLS has always received more appropriations than requested.

Yes, but most of the political cabal that supported SLS have moved on. The big powerhouse in this, Shelby, just retired. Hutchison and Mikulski left a few years ago and while Nelson now runs NASA, he doesn't make the political decisions any longer, they get given to him now.

There are a few (comparatively) new faces emerging in the DC scene who are still supporting SLS, but they don't have the clout of the aforementioned group, NASA isn't such a high priority for them and being younger and with less authority, they aren't owed as many favors by others.

I personally think that as we start to see regular, low-cost Starship missions happening from multiple launch sites around the country, the next $2 billion SLS launch will see public opinion shift because nobody will be able to justify using SLS at that price - it will just look silly. And political support will completely evaporate at that point.

I therefore predict Artemis 3 will be the last to fly. Everything after that is a future museum piece.

The new Artemis Moon-focused Program will still continue without SLS though. Probably using a combination of SpaceX and Blue Origin launch systems at its core.

If I were one of the newer crowd of political figures involved, instead of supporting SLS ad-infinitum, I'd be spending my energies asking Elon when he's going to open some sort of facility in my state, building batteries, cars, robots, satellites, rockets, TBM's, Hyperloops or whatever.

Ross.
« Last Edit: 03/11/2023 08:48 pm by kraisee »
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Alvian@IDN

Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #100 on: 03/11/2023 08:39 pm »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints, the first launch of the SLS last November was a success, and construction of hardware for the SLS rockets to be used in the Artemis 2 and 3 missions is now well-advanced. SpaceX and NASA are sharing the burden of all planned Artemis missions beginning with Artemis 3 in terms of cost, so the development of the Starship HLS ensures that for the first time in the history of US space exploration, NASA will be partnering with a private company to fund an extraterrestrial human spaceflight. The Artemis 9, 10, and 11 missions will be carried out by the SLS Block 2 variant.

No.  Falcon Heavy has nothing to do with SLS.   SpaceX is not cost sharing with NASA.  NASA will be paying for all costs associated with the lander.
Wrong. SpaceX is paying more than half of HLS costs with their own money
My parents was just being born when the Apollo program is over. Why we are still stuck in this stagnation, let's go forward again

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #101 on: 03/11/2023 08:53 pm »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints, the first launch of the SLS last November was a success, and construction of hardware for the SLS rockets to be used in the Artemis 2 and 3 missions is now well-advanced. SpaceX and NASA are sharing the burden of all planned Artemis missions beginning with Artemis 3 in terms of cost, so the development of the Starship HLS ensures that for the first time in the history of US space exploration, NASA will be partnering with a private company to fund an extraterrestrial human spaceflight. The Artemis 9, 10, and 11 missions will be carried out by the SLS Block 2 variant.
No.  Falcon Heavy has nothing to do with SLS.   SpaceX is not cost sharing with NASA.  NASA will be paying for all costs associated with the lander.
Wrong. SpaceX is paying more than half of HLS costs with their own money
It's much more complicated than that. The HLS contracts are contracts for services, as are the GLS contract and the CLPS contracts. SpaceX bid $2.9 B for HLS, and later another $1.2 B for the HLS OPtion B extension. Presumably SpaceX will make a profit on these bids. In this sense, they are not "spending their own money". They were able to make this profit because the HLS development leverages on the Starship development they were already  spending their own money on, but NASA is not getting any rights to any Starship (or Starship HLS) intellectual property or hardware. The HLSs that land on the Moon will belong to SpaceX, not NASA, just like the Dragons that service the ISS.

Offline joek

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #102 on: 03/11/2023 09:45 pm »
Wrong. SpaceX is paying more than half of HLS costs with their own money
Reference for that assertion, from Source Selection Statement -- Appendix H: Human Landing System, Option A, Next Space Technologies for Exploration, Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) NNH19ZCQ001K_APPENDIX-H-HLS (pg. 13, emphasis added)...
Quote
...
SpaceX’s plans to self-fund and assume financial risk for over half of the development and test activities as an investment in its architecture, which it plans to utilize for numerous commercial applications, presents outstanding benefits to NASA. This contribution not only significantly reduces the cost to the Government (which is reflected in SpaceX’s lower price), but it also demonstrates a substantial commitment to the success of HLS publicprivate partnership commercial model and SpaceX’s commitment to commercializing technologies and abilities developed under the Option A contract.

It's much more complicated than that.
...
Do not think it is that complicated. We have seen this movie before to varying degrees (e.g., COTS, CRS, CCP). NASA wants a service. NASA is willing to pay for that service. NASA also wants to minimize their RDTE funding in order to obtain that service. Thus an emphasise on cost-sharing, which can reasonably occur only if there are non-NASA revenue streams for the service provider.

Not sure any of that has much to do with the number of SLS flights. SLS is tied to Artemis. Artemis is what it is (for the foreseeable future). Maybe Starship will change that, maybe it won't.
« Last Edit: 03/11/2023 10:13 pm by joek »

Offline woods170

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #103 on: 03/12/2023 02:25 pm »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints, the first launch of the SLS last November was a success, and construction of hardware for the SLS rockets to be used in the Artemis 2 and 3 missions is now well-advanced. SpaceX and NASA are sharing the burden of all planned Artemis missions beginning with Artemis 3 in terms of cost, so the development of the Starship HLS ensures that for the first time in the history of US space exploration, NASA will be partnering with a private company to fund an extraterrestrial human spaceflight. The Artemis 9, 10, and 11 missions will be carried out by the SLS Block 2 variant.

No.  Falcon Heavy has nothing to do with SLS.   SpaceX is not cost sharing with NASA.  NASA will be paying for all costs associated with the lander.

Oh boy Jim... you haven't done your homework.

From the HLS source selection statement (page 13):

Quote from: NASA
SpaceX’s plans to self-fund and assume financial risk for over half of the development and test activities as an investment in its architecture, which it plans to utilize for numerous commercial applications, presents outstanding benefits to NASA. This contribution not only significantly reduces the cost to the Government (which is reflected in SpaceX’s lower price), but it also demonstrates a substantial commitment to the success of HLS public- private partnership commercial model and SpaceX’s commitment to commercializing technologies and abilities developed under the Option A contract.

Had you paid attention during COTS and CCP, you would have known that self-funding part of development is standard MO for SpaceX.
For COTS SpaceX self-funded 53% of development (see the COTS final report, page 95). For CCP SpaceX self-funded ~30% of development (can't give a public link because that information is hidden in a confidential internal NASA report which I got my hands on thru a contractor employee). For HLS they are self-funding half of the development cost (per the source given above).

Offline yg1968

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #104 on: 03/12/2023 06:59 pm »
If the original poster wants an answer to this question, right now, it seems that NASA intends to continue Artemis missions until Artemis XIV or XV. See below:

Quote from: 2021 NASA Press Release
The OME will be integrated into Orion’s primary power and propulsion component, the European Service Module, and will replace the Orbital Maneuvering System Engine repurposed from the Space Shuttle Program for the service module on Artemis missions VII through XIV.

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-awards-orion-main-engine-contract-for-future-artemis-missions

This paragraph is a bit scary, it suggests that Artemis will end after Artemis XV XVI. So much for we are going back to the Moon to stay. Nelson made similar comments recently about exploring the Moon for a decade before going to Mars.

Quote from: page 16 of the Appendix P BAA
1.3.4 Sustaining Lunar Transportation (SLT) Services

Following successful crewed lunar demonstrations performed pursuant to this contract, NASA intends to separately procure transportation between Gateway and the lunar surface as commercial space transportation services. NASA estimates that it will require such services approximately once per year for a period of ten years.
« Last Edit: 03/12/2023 07:04 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #105 on: 03/12/2023 08:33 pm »
Why is that scary, tho? I think people over-estimate the challenge a deep space version of commercial crew. Which is all SLS is even used for at this point, plus maybe docking a small module or two, but those aren’t really needed for Artemis.
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 Endeavour_01

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #106 on: 03/12/2023 11:30 pm »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015

It has been a while. Definitely interesting to see what the attitudes of the day were and if they have changed.

I voted for 21 or more flights for more or less the same reasons as marcus79. A couple of my own thoughts:

Yeah, me from 8 years ago was definitely more bullish on SLS/more bearish on BFR than I am now. Still support both but I am now quite bullish for Starship/Super Heavy and believe the Starship system will play the biggest role by far in opening up the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

So if I had to vote today I would vote 6-10 with my exact guess now being around 10. I think that gives more than enough time for Starship to prove itself capable of whatever is required. If that does not happen (less likely) or political inertia remains after flight 10 (more likely) I could see it flying longer.

I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints...

A false statement, since the SLS program has consistently received more than the Obama, Trump, and Biden Administrations have requested. And despite that, it STILL has not met the Congressional mandate of being "operational" by the end of 2016. So far all we have is one test flight, without humans.

It's a bit more complicated than that. The Obama administration didn't want SLS so they didn't propose a funding spike as had occurred with previous rocket developments. This happened to suit Congress's purposes as their goal was to stretch out development, which maintained jobs in their districts and increased cost in the long run. Their "mandate" was meaningless as they had no intention of providing the amount of money needed to make it.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starship/SH, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline yg1968

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #107 on: 03/13/2023 01:14 am »
Why is that scary, tho? I think people over-estimate the challenge a deep space version of commercial crew. Which is all SLS is even used for at this point, plus maybe docking a small module or two, but those aren’t really needed for Artemis.

At the time that I wrote that message in March 2022, both Free and Nelson refused to stay that we are returning permanently to the Moon, they made it seem like the Artemis missions would end and NASA would then move on to Mars. I think that would be a huge mistake. But they have changed their message since then, both Free and Nelson are now saying that we are going to the Moon to stay.
« Last Edit: 03/13/2023 02:09 am by yg1968 »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: How many flights for the SLS, ever?
« Reply #108 on: 03/13/2023 02:09 am »
I know that no one has posted on this thread since 2015, but the Falcon Heavy has successfully launched five times, and even though the initial tentative timetable for the launch of the SLS was stymied by budget constraints...
A false statement, since the SLS program has consistently received more than the Obama, Trump, and Biden Administrations have requested. And despite that, it STILL has not met the Congressional mandate of being "operational" by the end of 2016. So far all we have is one test flight, without humans.

It's a bit more complicated than that. The Obama administration didn't want SLS so they didn't propose a funding spike as had occurred with previous rocket developments. This happened to suit Congress's purposes as their goal was to stretch out development, which maintained jobs in their districts and increased cost in the long run. Their "mandate" was meaningless as they had no intention of providing the amount of money needed to make it.

1. The assertion made was that the SLS program was somehow under-funded. So it doesn't matter what any of the presidential Administrations requested, all that mattered is what was actually provided by Congress (and approved by the President).

2. In order to determine if something is "under-funded", first you have to have a baseline of what the funding should be. But that was never officially determined by NASA or Congress. NASA never went through the normal bid process for the SLS design BEFORE Congress told them to build the SLS, and because the SLS was a new design there was no way for anyone to provide a realistic budget profile.

In other words, no one can truly say if the SLS program was under-funded, because there was never an official budget for the SLS design - it actually took NASA years to finalize the design. One data point we do have is what then Senator Nelson (now NASA Administrator) is famous for saying:
Quote
"If we can't do a rocket for $11.5 billion, we ought to close up shop."

Thru 2022 the SLS program has consumed over $23B, so how in any way can anyone say that the SLS program has been under-funded?  :o
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

 

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